This paper contains a reconstruction and discussion of some central subjects in Nelson Goodman's philosophical work. Goodman's creative symbol-constructional philosophy concerns fundamental aspects of human cognition and practice. It is argued that this provides us with the intellectual tools for constructing a genuine relationship between logic, knowledge, art, and understanding. This is shown by focusing on subjects ranging from the projectibility of predicates and nominalistic mereology to constructive relativity, ways of worldmaking and a general theory of symbols.
Don't fence me in : Rorty and Sartre -- On freedom and action : Dewey and Sartre -- A (neo) American in Paris : Bourdieu and Mead -- Mead on cosmopolitanism, sympathy, and war -- W.E.B. Du Bois : double-consciousness, Jamesian sympathy, and the cosmopolitan -- Self-concept in the new sociology of ideas : reflections on Neil Gross's Richard Rorty : the making of an American philosopher -- Eros and self-determination -- What if Hegel's master and slave were women?
George Herbert Mead (1863-1931), American philosopher and social theorist, is often classed with William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, and John Dewey as one of the most significant figures in classical American pragmatism. Dewey referred to Mead as “a seminal mind of the very first order” (Dewey, 1932, xl). Yet by the middle of the twentieth-century, Mead's prestige was greatest outside of professional philosophical circles. He is considered by many to be the father of the school of Symbolic Interactionism in sociology (...) and social psychology, although he did not use this nomenclature. Perhaps Mead's principal influence in philosophical circles occurred as a result of his friendship with John Dewey. There is little question that Mead and Dewey had an enduring influence on each other, with Mead contributing an original theory of the development of the self through communication. This theory has in recent years played a central role in the work of Jürgen Habermas. While Mead is best known for his work on the nature of the self and intersubjectivity, he also developed a theory of action, and a metaphysics that emphasizes emergence and temporality, in which the past and future are viewed through the lens of the present. Although the extent of Mead's reach is considerable, he never published a monograph. His most famous work, Mind, Self, and Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist, was published after his death and is a compilation of student notes and selections from unpublished manuscripts. (shrink)
Sartre seeks both to overcome solipsism and clarify how the individual becomes an object—with a seemingly fixed char acter—through his account of The Look in Being and Nothingness. While his description of how The Look of the other transforms one into an object may at first appear to be confirmed by experience, the account proves to be inade quate as a refutation of solipsism and in showing exactly how one becomes an object. On the other hand, G.H. Mead has a (...) convincing approach to how the self comes into being as an object. In the first section of this paper I present and criticize Sartre's position, especially his explanation for how one can experience The Look when the other is not empirically present. The second section investigates Mead's approach to the genesis of the self as social object, and then shows how Mead's ideas can be employed to clarify inconsistencies in Sartre's account, highlighting why Sartre's description ap pears to be confirmed by experience. (shrink)
Jürgen Habermas is one of the most important thinkers of this century. His work has been highly influential not only in philosophy, but particularly in the fields of politics, sociology and law. This is the first collection that explores the connections between his body of work and North America's biggest philosophical movement, pragmatism. Habermas and Pragmatism investigates the influences of pragmatism on Habermas' thought in a collection of stellar essays with contributions by Habermas himself, leading representatives of pragmatism, as well (...) as critical and legal theorists. The essays cover a range of subjects including philosophy of language, democracy, nature of rationality and social theory as well as the relation of major figures such as Hegel, Pierce, Mead and Dewey to Habermas and pragmatism. (shrink)
This dissertation extends John Rawls’s mature theory of justice out to address the environmental challenges that citizens of liberal democracies now face. Specifically, using Rawls’s framework of political liberalism, I piece together a theory of procedural justice to be applied to a constitutional democracy. I show how citizens of pluralistic democracies should apply this theory to environmental matters in a four stage contracting procedure. I argue that, if implemented, this extension to Rawls’s theory would secure background environmental justice. I explain (...) why the theory can be viewed as a partially specified political conception of environmental pragmatism, and how it relates to public environmental policy and discourse. While the framework is anthropocentric, it is one that reasonable non-anthropocentrists can endorse. Using this theory, I argue that liberal democracies must take measures to secure basic environmental rights for all presently existing and future citizens. Measures must also be in place to secure a minimum of social goods (including environmental goods) that guarantees that all citizens (present and future) can exercise their basic rights and liberties. Moreover, disparities in environmental goods should only be tolerated if they arise in accord with Rawls’s principle of fair equality of opportunity. I discuss carbon taxes, as well as carbon allocation trading schemes. I also argue that free democracies should employ precautionary reasoning when attempting to meet the demands of background environmental justice. (shrink)
Michel Foucault's early works criticize the development of modern democratic institutions as creating a surveillance society, which functions to control bodies by making them feel watched and monitored full time. His later works attempt to recover private space by exploring subversive techniques of the body and language. Following Foucault, pragmatists like Richard Shusterman and Richard Rorty have also developed very rich approaches to this project, extending it deeper into the literary and somatic dimensions of self-stylizing. Yet, for a debate centered (...) on the re-creation of the vision of the self, these discussions have yet to fully engage—even while they set the conditions for this engagement with—issues of posthuman technologies, such as AI, robotics, and genetic engineering. These certainly will constitute the primary engine of public institutional surveillance in the years to come. With this surveillance, the two spheres of private self-fashioning and public institutions will continue to evolve in relation to one another. As they do so, democratic society will change considerably. Perhaps Rorty's own normative and linguistic ideal of conversational maintenance may provide something of a democratic limit case on any future posthuman self-fashioning. (shrink)
: In response to a charge of subjectivism, Kuhn in his Postscript emphasizes the importance of "values" (accuracy, simplicity, explanatory power, etc) that are shared by scientists generally. However, Kuhn adds, these values are applied differently by different scientists. By employing a comparison with partially subjective views of Carnap on confirming evidence, this paper raises questions about Kuhn's position on values by considering ways it might be interpreted as subjective and ways it may not.
American physicians are increasingly concerned that they are losing professional control. Other analysts of medical power argue that physicians have too much power. This essay argues that current analyses are grounded in a structuralist reading of power. Deploying Michel Foucault's "care of the self" and rhetorician Raymie McKerrow's "critical rhetoric," this essay claims that medical power is better understood as a way that medical actors take on power through rhetoric rather than a force that has power over medical actors. Through (...) a close reading of an essay by Senator Bill Frist, this paper argues that physicians experience a process of "subjection" wherein they are both agents of and objects of medical power as it is combined with state and corporate power in the American "war on terror." This alternative mode of analyzing medical power has implications for our collective understanding of its operations and the means by which we propose alternative enactments of medical power. (shrink)
The United States has some claim to have risen to a position of intellectual dominance in the social sciences in the post-war years. American social scientists are key players in international conferences and their premier publications have some claim to set international trends. Yet the relationship between American thought and global traditions has been peculiarly under-theorized. This unparalleled four-volume collection is divided into eight parts that focus on American post-war critical theory with special reference to social theory, sociology and politics. (...) It provides a comprehensive survey of the outstanding contributions in the field. Peter Beilharz, through a considered selection of articles, argues that American critical theory can be read not only as European, but also as profoundly American and North American. That is, it is hybrid, at the same time global and local in significance and inflection. In this way, the American experience can be read as a case study for doing critical theory today. This comprehensive collection amounts to a definitive guide to the currents and cross currents of American critical theory in the Postwar years. Peter Beilharz is Professor of Sociology at La Trobe University, Director of the Thesis Eleven Centre for Critical Theory and Associate Fellow, Yale University in 2004 -. (shrink)
Contemporary political discourse is marked with the language of democracy, and Western countries in particular seek to promote democracy at home and abroad. However, there is a sublimated conflict in general political discourse between a desire to rely on alleged political experts and a desire to assert the supposed common sense of all men. Can the struggle between the democratic and aristocratic values embodied in this conflict be reconciled? The question is perennial, and raises issues that are central to constitutional (...) design. Aristotle, developing in significant ways insights made by his teacher Plato, grapples with it in his Politics. Aristotle's views on these matters are relevant—by way of the American Founders'—to contemporary American politics and modern democracies generally. During the eighteenth century, the Founders, some of whom explicitly reached back to Aristotle's work, also struggled—especially in The Federalist Papers—with these thorny issues of constitutional design. They created the U.S. Constitution in part to address these very same problems and issues. We are living in some ways, then, in the shadow of Aristotle's political theorizing, albeit as transposed by the American Founders. Both Aristotle and some of the American Founders theoretically favor aristocracy over democracy, but concede that in practice a blend of the two has to be integrated into the fundamental structure of political society. We need to reconnect with these important political discussions in order to come to terms with aristocratic and democratic values in our current circumstances. Footnotesa I am grateful to Fred Miller and David Keyt for many helpful suggestions and thoughtful questions throughout the editing process. I would also like to thank Irfan Khawaja for valuable feedback on an earlier version of this essay. (shrink)
This short article was written for a collection on American legal philosophy today. It gives a brief overview of analytical legal philosophy, and speculates on why this theoretical approach has been consistently misunderstood in the United States, from the time of the legal realists until today.
The term “American Philosophy,” perhaps surprisingly, has been somewhat vague. While it has tended to primarily include philosophical work done by Americans within the geographical confines of the United States, this has not been exclusively the case. For example, Alfred North Whitehead came to the United States relatively late in life. On the other hand, George Santayana spent much of his life outside of the United States. Until only recently, the term was used to refer to philosophers of European descent. (...) Another focus for defining, or at least characterizing, American Philosophy has been on the types of philosophical concerns and problems addressed. While American philosophers have worked on traditional areas of philosophy, such as metaphysics, epistemology, and axiology, this is not unique to American Philosophy. Many scholars have highlighted American philosophers’ focus on the interconnections of theory and practice, on experience and community, though these, too, are not unique to American Philosophy. The people, movements, schools of thought and philosophical traditions that have constituted American Philosophy have been varied and often at odds with each other. Different concerns and themes have waxed or waned at different times. For instance, the analysis of language was important throughout much of the twentieth century, but of very little concern before then, while the relation between philosophy and religion, of great significance early in American Philosophy, paled in importance during much of the twentieth century. Despite having no core of defining features, American Philosophy can nevertheless be seen as both reflecting and shaping collective American identity over the history of the nation. (shrink)
In this article, I discuss how Samuel Stanhope Smith advanced Reidian themes in his moral philosophy and examine their reception by Presbyterian revivalists Ashbel Green, Samuel Miller, and Archibald Alexander. Smith, seventh president and moral philosophy professor of the College of New Jersey (1779–1812), has received marginal scholarly attention regarding his moral philosophy and rational theology, in comparison to his predecessor John Witherspoon. As an early American philosopher who drew on the ideals of the Scottish Enlightenment including Common Sense philosophy, (...) Smith faced heightened scrutiny from American revivalists regarding the danger his epistemology presented to the institution of religion. The Scottish School of Common Sense was widely praised and applied in nineteenth-century American moral philosophy, but before the more general American acceptance of Common Sense, Smith already appealed to Reidian themes in his methodology and treatment of external sensations, internal sensations, intellectual powers, and active powers of the human mind. In this paper, I argue that Smith's use of Reidian themes for grooming his student's morality conflicted with the educational expectations from revivalists on Princeton's board of trustees who demanded more attention on orthodox theology. I identify Smith's notions of causation, liberty, and the moral faculty as primary reasons for this tension over Princeton's educational purpose during the first decade of the nineteenth century. (shrink)
Classical American pragmatism: the pragmatist -- Enlightenment-and its problematic semantics -- Analyzing pragmatism: pragmatics and pragmatisms -- A Kantian rationalist pragmatism: pragmatism -- Inferentialism, and modality in Sellars's arguments against -- Empiricism -- Linguistic pragmatism and pragmatism about norms: an arc of -- Thought from Rorty's eliminative materialism to his pragmatism -- Vocabularies of pragmatism: synthesizing naturalism and -- Historicism -- Towards an analytic pragmatism: meaning-use analysis -- Pragmatism, expressivism, and anti-representationalism: -- Local and global possibilities.
Spring 2010Colleagues-As I hope you are aware, two major changes have occurred with the beginning of the 2010 SAAP membership cycle.First, the Society has ended its formal relationship with the Journal of Speculative Philosophy. This has been a good relationship for SAAP, resulting in the publication of the highlights of our annual meeting since 2003 and increasing the profile of the Society. I know that we are all grateful to the editors of JSP for these years of cooperative interaction, and (...) wish the journal well in the future. It is my personal hope that the members of SAAP will continue to support JSP with their contributions and subscriptions, so that it will remain an important journal for all of us working .. (shrink)
Looking back over the last 40 years of work in the philosophy of religion provides a fascinating vantage point from which to assess the state of the discipline today. I describe central features of American philosophy of religion in 1970 and reconstruct the last 40 years as a progression through four main stages. This analysis offers an overarching framework from which to examine the major contributions and debates of process philosophy of religion during the same period. The major thinkers, topics, (...) positions, and controversies are presented, analyzed, and critiqued. In the concluding section I offer a critical appraisal of the state of the field today based on the results of these historical analyses. (shrink)
Critique of idealistic naturalism: methodological pollution in the main stream of American philosophy, by D. Riepe.--Ex nihilo nihil fit: philosophy's "starting point," by D. H. DeGrood.--An historical critique of empiricism, by J. E. Hansen.--Epilogue on Berkeley, by R. W. Sellars.--Mandala thinking, by A. Mackay.--An empirical conception of freedom, by E. D'Angelo.--Heidegger on the essence of truth, by M. Farber.--Minding as a material force, by H. L. Parsons.--The crisis of the 1890's and the shaping of twentieth century America, by R. B. (...) Carson.--Ideology, scientific philosophy, and Marxism, by J. Somerville.--Marx and critical scientific thought, by M. Marković.--Experimentalism extended to politics, by E. Guevara.--The unity of opposites: a dialectical principle, by V. J. McGill and W. T. Parry.--A need definition of "value," by R. Handy.--Alienation and social action, by A. Schaff.--Naturalism in the Tao of Confucius and Lao Tzu, by D. H.-F. Poe.--Bibliography (p. 260-269). (shrink)
In this pathbreaking study, Micaela di Leonardo reveals the face of power within the mask of cultural difference. From the 1893 World's Fair to Body Shop advertisements, di Leonardo focuses on the intimate and shifting relations between popular portrayals of exotic Others and the practice of anthropology. In so doing, she casts new light on gender, race, and the public sphere in America's past and present. "An impressive work of scholarship that is mordantly witty, passionately argued, and takes no prisoners."--Lesley (...) Gill, News Politics "[Micaela] di Leonardo eloquently argues for the importance of empirical, interdisciplinary social science in addressing the tragedy that is urban America at the end of the century."--Jonathan Spencer, Times Literary Supplement "In her quirky new contribution to the American culture brawl, feminist anthropologist Micaela di Leonardo explains how anthropologists, 'technicians of the sacred,' have distorted American popular debate and social life."--Rachel Mattson, Voice Literary Supplement "At the end of di Leonardo's analyses one is struck by her rare combination of rigor and passion. Simply, [she] is a marvelous iconoclast."--Matthew T. McGuire, Boston Book Review. (shrink)
I examine the implications of stereotyping and its intersections with the political realities facing American Indian communities. Specifically, I examine the typification of Indian as ecologically noble savage, as both employed and refuted by environmentalists, through the lenses of cognitive and social psychological perspectives and then bring it within the context of a broader cultural critique. I argue that the noble savage stereotype, often used to promote the environmentalist agenda is nonetheless immersed in the political and ideological parameters of the (...) modern project. Finally, I reassert the right and, more importantly, the authority of Native American peoples to ultimately define for themselves their respective identities and destinies. (shrink)
This paper provides an overview of corporate social responsibility in Brazil, a country of vast regional and economic differences. Despite abundant natural resources and centers of advanced technology, large numbers of Brazilians live in poverty. Historical factors, which to some extent explain Brazil’s social and economic inequalities – a long period of colonialism, followed by populist reform, repressive military measures, foreign debt, unfair trade agreements, and problems of corruption – have persisted into the current period of democratic reform, marked by (...) economic and political trends toward democratization and corporate social responsibility. This paper considers the civic and business organizations that have been developing strategies to encourage social responsibility and government policies aimed at alleviating poverty. Despite progress, the complexity of the Brazilian context presents challenges for social and economic equality. (shrink)
Given as an address to the American Philosophical Association on the occasion of its centennial, this paper examines the character and standing of American philosophy now and at the outset of the twentieth century as seen (then and now) from a British point of view. A century ago Britain was itself the unquestioned leader of Anglo-Saxon thought. Now, however, as in so many areas, the US is the pre-eminent world power. This status brings prestige and various benefits but it also (...) carries responsibilities. In considering the latter I recall some virtues of an earlier generation of American philosophers, especially as they were possessed by William James. (shrink)
Robert Hanna presents a fresh view of the Kantian and analytic traditions that have dominated continental European and Anglo-American philosophy over the last two centuries, and of the connections between them. But this is not just a study in the history of philosophy, for out of this emerges Hanna's original approach to two much-contested theories that remain at the heart of contemporary philosophy. Hanna puts forward a new 'cognitive-semantic' interpretation of transcendental idealism, and a vigorous defense of Kant's theory of (...) analytic and synthetic necessary truth, making this compelling reading for all who are interested in these fundamental philosophical issues. (shrink)