It is sometimes argued that the study of grammar is irrelevant or unimportant in the business of comparative philosophy, or that it ought to be avoided in favor of methods that presuppose a strongly pragmatic point of view. In this regard, some philosophers have expressed skepticism about whether facts about grammar have anything to offer in the adjudication of competing theories of interpretation or translation. This essay argues that a strongly pragmatic orientation in comparative philosophy invariably overlooks an important role (...) that the study of grammar can play in shedding light on the nature of intention and communicative practice, and that an essential part of the methodology of comparative philosophy should involve a grammatical approach to interpretation and translation. These points are supported by a semantical analysis of passages from Confucius’ Analects that clarifies the relationship between illocutionary force and grammatical mood. (shrink)
Any philosophical method that treats the analysis of the meaning of a sentence or expression in terms of a decomposition into a set of conceptually basic constituent parts must do some theoretical work to explain the puzzles of intensionality. This is because intensional phenomena appear to violate the principle of compositionality, and the assumption of compositionality is the principal justification for thinking that an analysis will reveal the real semantical import of a sentence or expression through a method of decomposition. (...) Accordingly, a natural strategy for dealing with intensionality is to argue that it is really just an isolable, aberrant class of linguistic phenomena that poses no general threat to the thesis that meaning is basically compositional. On the other hand, the later Mohists give us good reason to reject this view. What we learn from them is that there may be basic limitations in any analytical technique that presupposes that meaning is perspicuously represented only when it has been fully decomposed into its constituent parts. The purpose of this paper is to (a) explain why the Mohists found the issue of intensionality to be so important in their investigations of language, and (b) defend the view that Mohist insights reveal basic limitations in any technique of analysis that is uncritically applied with a decompositional approach in mind, as are those that are often pursued in the West in the context of more general epistemological and metaphysical programs. (shrink)
Prop oriented make-believe is make-believe utilized for the purpose of understanding what I call “props,” actual objects or states of affairs that make propositions “fictional,” true in the make-believe world. I, David Hills, and others have claimed that prop oriented make-believe lies at the heart of the functioning of many metaphors, and one variety of fictionalism in metaphysics invokes prop oriented make-believe to explain away apparent references to entities some find questionable or problematic (fictional characters, propositions, moral properties, numbers). Elisabeth (...) Camp has argued against my and David Hills’ views of metaphor. Her arguments, many of them echoed by Catharine Wearing, demolish a very implausible account of metaphor, but leave entirely untouched the views that Hills and I actually proposed. Clarifying what we say about metaphor serves also as a defense of fictionalist theories that invoke prop oriented make-believe. (shrink)
Meu objetivo é tratar a correspondência entre a Princesa Elisabeth e Descartes como um dos momentos propulsores do estabelecimento da moral cartesiano. Procuro mostrar por primeiro, como os temas propostos por Elisabeth se inscrevem no cerne mesmo do caetesianismo, na medida em que uma de suas preocupações era o modo de relação entre aIma e o corpo. Em seguida, será visto como se estabelece nesta correspondência uma reflexão moral com traços estoicos, mas que não prescinde de uma técnica médica, realizando, (...) assim, a totalidade do projeto cartesiano, que se quer comparado à sabedoria, que não dispensa a metáfora da árvore com raízes, tronco, galhos e frutos bem determinados. (shrink)
The beginning of the twentieth century saw the emergence of the discipline of genetics. It is striking how many female scientists were contributing to this new field at the time. At least three female pioneers succeeded in becoming professors: Kristine Bonnevie (Norway), Elisabeth Schiemann (Germany) and the Tine Tammes (The Netherlands). The question is which factors contributed to the success of these women's careers? At the time women were gaining access to university education it had become quite the norm for (...) universities to be sites for teaching and research. They were still expanding: new laboratories were being built and new disciplines were being established. All three women benefited from the fact that genetics was considered a new field promising in terms of its utility to society; in the case of Tammes and Schiemann in agriculture and in the case of Bonnevie in eugenics. On the other hand, the field of genetics also benefited from the fact that these first female researchers were eager for the chance to work in science and wanted to make active contributions. They all worked and studied in environments which, although different from one another, were positive towards them, at least at the start. Having a patron was generally a prerequisite. Tammes profited from her teacher's contacts and status. Bonnevie made herself indispensable through her success as a teacher and eventually made her position so strong that she was no longer dependent on a single patron. The case of Schiemann adds something new; it shows the vulnerability of such dependency. Initially, Schiemann's teacher had to rely on the first generation of university women simply because he was unable to attract ambitious young men to his institute. In those early, uncertain years of the new discipline, male scientists tended to choose other, better established, and more prestigious disciplines. However, when genetics itself had become an established field, it also became more attractive to men. Our case studies also demonstrate that a new field at first relatively open to women closes its doors to them once it becomes established. (shrink)
Between the years 1643 and 1649, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia (1618–80) and Rene; Descartes (1596–1650) exchanged fifty-eight letters—thirty-two from Descartes and twenty-six from Elisabeth. Their correspondence contains the only known extant philosophical writings by Elisabeth, revealing her mastery of metaphysics, analytic geometry, and moral philosophy, as well as her keen interest in natural philosophy. The letters are essential reading for anyone interested in Descartes’s philosophy, in particular his account of the human being as a union of mind and body, as (...) well as his ethics. They also provide a unique insight into the character of their authors and the way ideas develop through intellectual collaboration. Philosophers have long been familiar with Descartes’s side of the correspondence. Now Elisabeth’s letters—never before available in translation in their entirety—emerge this volume, adding much-needed context and depth both to Descartes’s ideas and the legacy of the princess. Lisa Shapiro’s annotated edition—which also includes Elisabeth’s correspondence with the Quakers William Penn and Robert Barclay—will be heralded by students of philosophy, feminist theorists, and historians of the early modern period. (shrink)
: This paper focuses on Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia's philosophical views as exhibited in her early correspondence with René Descartes. Elisabeth's criticisms of Descartes's interactionism as well as her solution to the problem of mind-body interaction are examined in detail. The aim here is to develop a richer picture of Elisabeth as a philosophical thinker and to dispel the myth that she is simply a Cartesian muse.