Philosophy was at the core of the eighteenth century movement known as the Scottish Enlightenment. The movement included major figures, such as Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Reid and Adam Ferguson, and also many others who produced notable works, such as Gershom Carmichael, George Turnbull, George Campbell, James Beattie, Alexander Gerard, Henry Home (Lord Kames) and Dugald Stewart. I discuss some of the leading ideas of these thinkers, though paying less attention than I otherwise would to Hume, (...) Smith and Reid, who have separate Encyclopedia entries. Amongst the topics covered in this entry are aesthetics (particularly Hutcheson's), Moral philosophy (particularly Hutcheson's and Smith's), Turnbull's providential naturalism, Kames's doctrines on divine goodness and human freedom, Campbell's criticism of the Humean account of miracles, the philosophy of rhetoric, Ferguson's criticism of the idea of a state of nature, and finally the concept of conjectural history, a concept especially associated with Dugald Stewart. (shrink)
This article analyzes a type of experiment, very popular in 18th-century natural philosophy, which has apparently not led to insights into nature but which was aesthetically especially attractive. These experiments--"mimetic experiments"--allow us to trace a connection between aesthetic appreciation in science and in art contemporaneous with the science. I use this case as a problem for McAllister's theory of aesthetic induction according to which aesthetic standards in science tend to be associated with empirical success and propose an alternative (...) mechanism that is able to account for the natural philosophers' predilection for unsuccessful but beautiful experiments. (shrink)
The idea that science teaching in schools should prepare the ground for society's future technical and scientific progress has played an important role in shaping modern education. This idea, however, was not always present. In this article, I examine how this idea first emerged in educational thought. Early in the 17th century, Francis Bacon asserted that the study of nature should serve to improve living conditions for all members of society. Although influential, Bacon's idea was not easily assimilated by (...) educational thinkers who remained committed to the traditional aims of teaching about nature. Yet in the second half of the 18thcentury a change has occurred; educational thinkers started to embrace Baconian ideas and therefore argued that science teaching should be oriented towards generating future scientific progress. Analysing the work of 18thcentury French and British educational thinkers, this article links the emergence of this new view to developments in the understanding of natural philosophy and to a rising interest in it. It is argued, however, that in themselves, these developments could not adequately explain why Baconian ideas started to influence educational theory in the time in which they did. It is maintained that the incorporation of Baconian ideas into educational thought resulted from a fundamental theoretical shift in the understanding of the role of education itself. (shrink)
The German theory of education refers mainly to what is called Bildung. The historical sense of Bildung is not cultivaion , but cultivation for inwardness. This concept has two sources, the neo-platonic inner soul on one hand, pietistic piety on the other hand. The article shows that these sources had been part of European discussions before the development of national cultures after 1750. So the German concept of Bildung, famous for the German Sonderweg in culture and politics, had been composed (...) out of non-German sources. The nationalizaiton of inwardness began at the end of the 18thcentury and was established in 19th century German Higher Education. (shrink)
Medical semiotics in the 18thcentury was more than a premodern form of diagnosis. Its structure allowed for the combination of empirically proven rules of instruction with the theoretical knowledge of the new sciences, employing the relation between the sign and the signified.
Abstract It is argued that the scattered remarks on the fine arts made in Reid's Inquiry into the Human Mind (1764) present a conception of the relation between perception and the fine arts that is at once compatible with and different from Reid's mature theory of art in Of Taste (1785). This alternative account of art-relevant perception also points beyond the limits of a philosophy of art developed according to the traditional theory of taste dominant in 18th-century Scottish (...) aesthetic thought, and anticipates certain 20th-century theories. (shrink)
The design argument for the existence of God took a probabilistic turn in the 17th and 18th centuries. Earlier versions, such as Thomas Aquinas’ 5th way, usually embraced the premise that goaldirected systems (things that “act for an end” or have a function) must have been created by an intelligent designer. This idea – which we might express by the slogan “no design without a designer” – survived into the 17th and 18th centuries,1 and it is with us (...) still in the writings of many creationists. The new version of the argument, inspired by the emerging mathematical theory of probability, removed the premise of necessity. It begins with the thought that goal-directed systems might have arisen by intelligent design or by chance; the problem is to discern which hypothesis is more plausible. With the epistemic concept of plausibility characterized in terms of the mathematical concept of probability, the design argument was given a new direction. (shrink)
1. The Real Claim of the Chicago School If anything dramatic has happened in economic theory over the last one hundred years – namely, since the advent of marginalism – then, everyone agrees, it was not the rise of the Chicago neo -classical school which, after all, only synthesized the various versions of marginalism, but the Keynesian Revolution. Assessments of this revolution were repeatedly invited, particularly by opponent, chiefly from Chicago. F. A. von Hayek has explicitly and bitterly blames Keynes (...) for all our economic troubles; Harry Johnson has repeatedly declared the most revolutionary work of Keynes, his General Theory of 1936, so poor that but for its author's name on its title page it would have totally flopped. Can such a flop cause so much damage? Are these two assessments – of Hayek and of Johnson – in conflict or no t? Don Patinkin has raised a different question: how different is Keynes from his Chicago opponents, say, Milton Friedman? How many heads need roll, to use his metaphor, before a revolution may be declared? Patinkin sees Keynes as slightly deviant but stil l a member of the mainstream – the mainstream of the mainstream being Friedman and his Chicago followers, of course. Now, can a minor deviant be a flop? Can minor deviations from the true blue doctrine be to blame for all of our economic woes? I do not kno w. Joan Robinson sees in Keynes a minor deviation from classical theory because he said once his correction of classical theory is implemented, that theory takes over once again. Moreover, Samuelson and Friedman have endorsed a (poor) version of Keynes' theory of shortterm relative price and ignored his general theory of price and money. (shrink)
Christian Thomasius and his school, including Andreas Rüdiger and Christian Crusius influenced Kant in the development of his Pragmatic Anthropology. They all shared a common concern that philosophy ought to be useful to students who have a role to play in the world.
This article explores the tensions between cosmopolitanism and sovereignty as a means to conceptualize the ethics of European foreign policy. It starts by discussing the claim that, in order for the EU to play a meaningful role as an international actor, a definition of the common ethical values orienting its political conduct is required. The question of a European federation of states and its ethical conceptualization emerges clearly in some of the philosophical writings of the 17th and 18th centuries. (...) I seek to provide an outline of the main arguments presented by authors such as Saint Pierre, Rousseau and Kant regarding the implications of the emerging difference between cosmopolitanism and the law of nations in the ethics of international relations. The article focuses on the normative significance of the concept of sovereignty as it emerges in modern political philosophy and highlights its tensions with the ideas of moral and political cosmopolitanism. This exploration serves a double function: theoretical and practical. From the theoretical perspective it leads to a better understanding of the tensions involved in conceptualizing a common ethical orientation for the states of Europe. From the practical standpoint it sheds light on some persistent difficulties the European Union faces in trying to move beyond an intergovernmental political arrangement in the field of foreign policy. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- Reid and Hume on the Possibility of Character--James A. Harris * Adam Smith's Rhetorical Art of Character--Stephen McKenna * The Moral Education of Mankind: Character and Religious Moderatism in the Sermons of Hugh Blair--Thomas Ahnert * The Not-So-Prodigal Son: James Boswell and the Scottish Enlightenment--Anthony La Vopa * Character, Sociability and Correspondence: Elizabeth Griffith and The Letters between Henry and Frances--Eve Tavor Bannet * Smellie's Dreams: Character and Consciousness in the Scottish Enlightenment--Phyllis Mack William * (...) Aspects of Character and Sociability in Scottish Enlightenment Medicine--Neil Vickers * The 'Peculiar Colouring of the Mind': Character and Painted Portraiture in the Scottish Enlightenment--Viccy Coltman * National Characters and Race: A Scottish Enlightenment Debate--Silvia Sebastiani * Character and Cosmopolitanism in the Scottish-American Enlightenment--Hannah Spahn * Historical Characters: Biography, the Science of Man, and Romantic Fiction--Susan Manning * Necessity, Freedom, and Character Formation from the Eighteenth Century to the Nineteenth--Jerrold Seigel. (shrink)
Condillac's claim that all our ideas are derived from sensations leads him to hold against Descartes that they are not on that account obscure and confused. The question is whether and how far he can refute the Cartesian thesis.
This article roots Kant’s concept of disinterestedness, as he uses it in the Critique of Judgment, in Aristotle’s notion of philia by establishing a path from ethics to aesthetics and back. In this way, the third Critique turns out to be one of the main sources for a new ideal of humanity: the ideal suitable for late Enlightenment. This article argues that Kant reaches this fruitful use of disinterestedness by giving to Aristotle’s concept of philia an aesthetic turn.
The 16th and 17th centuries marked a period of transition from the vitalistic ontology that had dominated Renaissance natural philosophy to the Early Modern mechanistic paradigm endorsed by, among others, the Cartesians and Newtonians. This paper focuses on how the tensions between vitalism and mechanism played themselves out in the context of 16th and 17th century chemistry and chemical philosophy. The paper argues that, within the fields of chemistry and chemical philosophy, the significant transition that culminated in the (...) class='Hi'>18thcentury Chemical Revolution was not a transition from vitalism to full-blown mechanism. Rather, chemical philosophy shifted from a vitalistic theory of matter and spirits to a naturalistic, physicalistic, and corpuscularian conception of chemical properties and reactions. Despite being naturalistic, physicalistic, and corpuscularian, however, this theory was not fully mechanistic. Special attention is paid to the contributions made by Paracelsus, Sebastien Basso, Jan Baptista van Helmont, and Robert Boyle to this ontological transition. (shrink)
The publication of 'Animal Rights and Souls in the 18thCentury' will be welcomed by everyone interested in the development of the modern animal liberation movement, as well as by those who simply want to savour the work of enlightenment thinkers pushing back the boundaries of both science and ethics. At last these long out-of-print texts are again available to be read and enjoyed - and what texts they are! Gems like Bougeant's witty reductio of the Christian view (...) of animals are included together with path-breaking works of ethics such as Primatt's A Dissertation on the Duty of Mercy and Sin of Cruelty to Brute Animals . There are works I have never seen before, including the remarkable Cry of Nature by the Scottish revolutionary Jacobin, John Oswald. In this set, everyone will find something novel, delightful and truly enlightening. - Peter Singer The discussion of animal rights and the moral status of animals, so prevalent in the late twentieth century, has its roots in the mid to late eighteenth century. Some of the themes we consider of recent invention - the legal standing of animals, the ethical status of vegetarians, cruelty towards animals, ultimately resulting in cruelty to humans - are of long standing. But in the eighteenth-century literature they are interconnected with theological issues surrounding animal souls, the birth of the life sciences, the great chain of being and other peculiarly eighteenth-century problems. This collection explores the exciting early discussions of moral theories concerning animals, placing them within their historical and social context. It reveals that issues such as vivisection, animal souls and vegetarianism were very much live philosophical subjects 200 years ago. The six volumes reprinted here includes complete works and edited extracts from such key eighteenth-century thinkers as Oswald, Primatt, Smellie, Monboddo and Jenyns. Many of the materials are extremely rare and never previously reprinted. The collection, edited with a new introduction and bio-bibliography by Aaron V. Garrett provides valuable original source material to supplement contemporary discussions of animal rights. --18th-century material on the theme of animal rights and practical ethics --an important supplement to contemporary animal rights discussions --provides a broader account of early discussions of the 'science of human nature' through animals --widens our understanding of 18th-century ethics through an important area of practical ethics --includes many scarce texts, most of which have never been reprinted before. (shrink)
In the early 18thCentury, Daniel Defoe found it natural to write a novel whose heroine was a sexually adventurous, socially marginal property offender. Only half a century later, this would have been next to unthinkable. In this paper, the disappearance of Moll Flanders, and her supercession in the annals of literary female offenders by heroines like Tess of the d'Urbervilles, serves as a metaphor for fundamental changes in ideas of selfhood, gender and social order in (...) class='Hi'>18th and 19th Century England. Drawing on law, literature, philosophy and social history, I argue that these broad changes underpinned a radical shift in mechanisms of responsibility-attribution, with decisive implications for the criminalisation of women. I focus in particular on the question of how the treatment and understanding of female criminality was changing during the era which saw the construction of the main building blocks of the modern criminal process, and of how these understandings related in turn to broader ideas about gender, social order and individual agency. (shrink)
This paper aims at specifying the complex links which two major and polemically related 18th-century linguistic theories James Harris' universal grammar in Hermes (1751) and John Horne Tooke's system of etymology in the Diversions of Purley (1786, 1804) bear to empiricism. It describes both the ideologicalethical determining factors of the theories and the epistemological consequences dependent upon their respective philosophical orientation (Harris using classical Greek philosophy against empiricism, Tooke criticizing Locke's semantics along Hobbesian lines). The effects within the (...) linguistic theories are examined through a comparison of the theories of determination which follow from divergent theses concerning abstraction. The analysis proposed in this paper exemplifies once more the historical question of the exact location of the compatibility/incompatibility between empiricist and non-empiricist linguistic theories. (shrink)
This essay argues strongly that racism in the United States hurts thefuture of all children. To eradicate this pernicious mindset inits institutional forms requires that we understand that race,as an idea that shapes social organization in this country,is a unique historical product dating from the colonial periodof the southern colonies of mainland British North America.Further, the mythology about American history, as it is taughtin school, excuses and legitimates continued inequality,oppression, and racism today. This essay traces the historyof class oppression from (...) the 17th century, when the institutionof slavery was invented as a means of securing the unpaidchattel bonded labor of Anglo-Europeans, to the emergenceof unfree labor as a form of racial oppression, and subsequently the institutionalization of racial slavery inthe 18thcentury. Racial slavery, which elevated whitesupremacy and privilege, was still not synonymous with themodern form of pseudo-scientific racism that emerged as adefense of slavery in the antebellum period and its aftermathin the Civil War and Reconstruction. Racism and the legacyof white privilege is still used as a means of social controlto mask class relations and to thereby control and diminishcollective social action that potentially would occurin the absence of the color line. Knowledge of race as anhistorical construct created by human beings in particularcircumstances raises the possibility that race, racism, and its effects can also be changed by human beings acting in opposition to the conditions that artificially separate us. (shrink)
Representational democracy has been the main form of government in the West since the English, American, and French revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries. However, there are indications that its ability to frame the relationship between citizen and state has begun to weaken. This weakening can be traced to many factors. One of these is the emergence of new collective actors, such as social movements, and the (re)recognition of the arena of "civil society" just as the articulating power (...) of political parties began to erode. Although these emerged initially under the umbrella of the nation state, toward the end of the 20th century a qualitatively new dynamic of networked social activism illustrated that the nation-state was no longer the only location for political action and the exercise of citizenship. These trends point to a new participatory dynamic, which could not yet be said to offer a serious challenge to representative forms of politics, but that arguably marks the beginning of the decline of that form. However, we are far from understanding how a participatory democracy might replace representational government. This article argues that we should begin now to discuss the uncomfortable gaps in our understanding of what "qualifies" participation, in order to develop a new theory of new practice and strengthen the content and potential of this new political imaginary. (shrink)
: This article analyses some of the anatomical waxes in the Museo della Specola in Florence. Executed in at least two different periods in the history of Florentine wax modelling (in the late 17th century and between the 18th and 19th centuries), they project culturally determined images of the body which are analysed from a historico-semiotic perspective. "Rotten corpses," a "disembowelled woman" and a "flayed man" emerge as salient figures in the collection and reveal the close tie between (...) anatomical representations and aesthetics, social relations and religious scruples, in other words, the culture tout court which produced them. (shrink)
In France there is a way of thinking about freedom that often impedes its realization. To understand this question first a fundamental contradiction of the tension between political rationalism and popular sovereignty is examined. The terms of this contradiction are presented along with the ways in which this tension manifested itself in France during the Revolution of the 19th Century. This is also shown by contrasting the French approach to producing the law-state with English liberalism which relies on a (...) balance of powers. The French case shows that there is a way, other than representative government, to think about protective rule: the establishment of a good, rational authority based on science. Key Words: democracy France law-state liberalism politics political rationalism popular sovereignty. (shrink)
Cosmopolitanism is not a single encompassing idea but rather comes in at least six different varieties, which have often been conflated in previous literature. This is shown on the basis of the discussion in late eighteenth-century Germany (roughly, 1780-1800). The six varieties are: (1) moral cosmopolitanism, the view that all humans belong to a single moral community; political cosmopolitanism, which advocates (2) reform of the international political and legal order or (3) a strong notion of human rights; (4) cultural (...) cosmopolitanism, which emphasizes the value of global cultural pluralism; (5) economic cosmopolitanism, which aims at establishing a global free market; and (6) the romantic ideal of humanity as united by faith and love. These six kinds of cosmopolitanism are not mutually exclusive, and the relationships among them are clarified. (shrink)
This paper offers an analysis of a hitherto neglected text on insoluble propositions dating from the late XiVth century and puts it into perspective within the context of the contemporary debate concerning semantic paradoxes. The author of the text is the italian logician Peter of Mantua (d. 1399/1400). The treatise is relevant both from a theoretical and from a historical standpoint. By appealing to a distinction between two senses in which propositions are said to be true, it offers an (...) unusual solution to the paradox, but in a traditional spirit that contrasts a number of trends prevailing in the XiVth century. It also counts as a remarkable piece of evidence for the reconstruction of the reception of English logic in italy, as it is inspired by the views of John Wyclif. Three approaches addressing the Liar paradox (Albert of Saxony, William Heytesbury and a version of strong restrictionism) are first criticised by Peter of Mantua, before he presents his own alternative solution. The latter seems to have a prima facie intuitive justification, but is in fact acceptable only on a very restricted understanding, since its generalisation is subject to the so-called revenge problem. (shrink)
A surprising fact in the historiography of the Hispanic philosophy of this century is its almost total opacity towards the American philosophy, in spite of the real affinity between the central questions of American pragmatism and the topics addressed by the most relevant Hispanic thinkers of the century: Unamuno, Ortega y Gasset, d'Ors, Vaz Ferreira. In this paper that situation is studied, paying special attention to Charles S. Peirce, his personal connections with the Hispanic world, the reception of (...) his texts in Spanish, and some of the connections that lie almost hidden under the mutual ignorance which divides the two traditions. -/- . (shrink)
In a spellbinding narrative that skillfully weaves together cutting-edge research among today's foremost scientists, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku--author of the bestselling book Hyperspace --presents a bold, exhilarating adventure into the science of tomorrow. In Visions, Dr. Kaku examines in vivid detail how the three scientific revolutions that profoundly reshaped the twentieth century--the quantum, biogenetic, and computer revolutions--will transform the way we live in the twenty-first century. The fundamental elements of matter and life--the particles of the atom and the (...) nucleus of the cell--have now been decoded, closing one of the great chapters of scientific history. But this is just the preface to an even more far-reaching scientific revolution, as we make the transition from being passive observers of the mysteries of nature to becoming masters of nature, able to manipulate matter, life, and intelligence to remold the world around us. In the first part of Visions, Dr. Kaku discusses the cyber future, when millions of microprocessors are scattered throughout our environment; when the iron principle that has ruled the computer industry, Moore's Law, finally collapses, forcing scientists to adopt startling new designs like DNA computers and quantum computers; and when artificial intelligence systems finally arrive. In the next section, Dr. Kaku shows how the decoding of DNA will allow us to conquer devastating genetic diseases, defeat many cancers at the molecular level, synthesize new medicines using virtual reality, grow new organs, conquer aging and reshape our genetic inheritance. Finally, he explores how quantum physicists will perfect new ways to harness the cosmic energy of the universe--from molecular machines to supermagnets that may energize a second industrial revolution, to powerful fusion engines that one day may take us to the stars. What makes Michio Kaku's vision of the future of science so compelling and authoritative is that it is based on the groundbreaking research already underway at leading laboratories around the world. Weaving interviews with over 150 scientists--several of them Nobel laureates--into a rich, inspiring narrative, Dr. Kaku reveals the growing consensus among key scientists about how science will likely evolve through the early, middle, and late years of the twenty-first century. An intimate, thrilling tour through the next century of science, Visions is a riveting, essential map to how scientists will reshape our future. (shrink)
The resercher Ann Talbot presents in this book one of the more complex and in-depth studies ever written about the influence of travel literature on the work of the British philospher John Locke (1632-1704). At the end of the 18thcentury the study of travel literature was an alternative to academic studies. The philosopher John Locke recommended with enthousiasm these books as a way to comprehend human understanding. Several members of the Royal Society like John Harris (1966-1719) affirmed (...) that the learning that could be obtained through these books was different from the one that provided the educative system of that time. Travel literature could make see the source of the ignorance of the ancients; it stressed the curiosities and extraordinary facts and led to a revision of beliefs and scientific theories of the ancient world. Besides the account of a broad diversity of sujects contributed to the creation of matters of fact, and this was important in order to put rational limits to the descriptions of the world that were commonly accepted. (shrink)
Wolf's study represents an incredible work of scholarship. A full and detailed account of three centuries of innovation, these two volumes provide a complete portrait of the foundations of modern science and philosophy. Tracing the origins and development of the achievements of the modern age, it is the story of the birth and growth of the modern mind. A thoroughly comprehensive sourcebook, it deals with all the important developments in science and many of the innovations in the social sciences, British (...) and Continental philosophy and psychology. Wolf's exposition is clear and accessible. As well as its comprehensive treatment of the practical innovations, it includes a wealth of biographical information to give a human aspect to the extensive canvas. A mine of useful information that will be repeatedly used for reference, it is also lavishishly illustrated throughout. These two volumes, published together for the first time, present in one invaluable source the history, methods and principles that form the foundations of science and philosophy. --covers both the major and minor figures in the history of science and philosophy --accessible to the general reader --provides all necessary information on the period immediately before and after the dates covered --both volumes are fully indexed --lavishly illustrated with over 660 portraits, diagrams of scientific apparatus and instruments, frontispieces, B&W photographs Abraham Wolf (1877-1948) other works include: The Oldest Biography of Spinoza (1927), The Philosophy of Nietzsche (1915). (shrink)
This vital study offers a new interpretation of Hume's famous "Of Miracles," which notoriously argues against the possibility of miracles. By situating Hume's popular argument in the context of the 18thcentury debate on miracles, Earman shows Hume's argument to be largely unoriginal and chiefly without merit where it is original. Yet Earman constructively conceives how progress can be made on the issues that Hume's essay so provocatively posed about the ability of eyewitness testimony to establish the credibility (...) of marvelous and miraculous events. (shrink)
Science provides us with the methodological key to wisdom. This idea goes back to the 18thcentury French Enlightenment. Unfortunately, in developing the idea, the philosophes of the Enlightenment made three fundamental blunders: they failed to characterize the progress-achieving methods of science properly, they failed to generalize these methods properly, and they failed to develop social inquiry as social methodology having, as its basic task, to get progress-achieving methods, generalized from science, into social life so that humanity might (...) make progress towards an enlightened world. Instead, the philosophes developed social inquiry as social science. This botched version of the Enlightenment idea was further developed throughout the 19th century, and built into academia in the early 20th century with the creation of university departments of social science. As a result, academia today seeks knowledge but does not devote reason to the task of helping humanity make progress towards a better, wiser world. Our current and impending global crises are the outcome. We urgently need to bring about a revolution in universities throughout the world so that the blunders of the Enlightenment are corrected, and universities take up their proper task of helping humanity make progress towards a wiser world. (shrink)
1. Mainstream Epistemology and Social Epistemology Epistemology has had a strongly individualist orientation, at least since Descartes. Knowledge, for Descartes, starts with the fact of one’s own thinking and with oneself as subject of that thinking. Whatever else can be known, it must be known by inference from one’s own mental contents. Achieving such knowledge is an individual, rather than a collective, enterprise. Descartes’s successors largely followed this lead, so the history of epistemology, down to our own time, has been (...) a predominantly individualist affair. There are scattered exceptions. A handful of historical epistemologists gave brief space to the question of knowing, or believing justifiably, based on the testimony of others. Testimony-based knowledge would be one step into a more social epistemology. Hume took it for granted that we regularly rely on the factual statements of others, and argued that it is reasonable to do so if we have adequate reasons for trusting the veracity of these sources. However, reasons for such trust, according to Hume, must rest on personal observations of people’s veracity or reliability.1 Thomas Reid took a different view. He claimed that our natural attitude of trusting others is reasonable even if we know little if anything about others’ reliability. Testimony, at least sincere testimony, is always prima facie credible (Reid, 1970: 240-241). Here we have two philosophers of the 18thcentury both endorsing at least one element of what nowadays is called “social epistemology.” But these points did not much occupy either Hume’s or Reid’s corpus of philosophical writing; nor were these passages much studied or cited by their contemporaries and immediate successors. Fast forward now to the second half of the 20th century. Here we find intellectual currents pointing toward the socializing of epistemology. Several of these movements, however, were centered outside of philosophy and never adopted the label of “social epistemology,” or adopted it only belatedly. (shrink)
The Enlightenment, Popper and Einstein Abstract Nicholas Maxwell Email: firstname.lastname@example.org In this paper I discuss four versions of the basic idea of the French Enlightenment of the 18thcentury, namely: To learn from scientific progress how to achieve social progress towards an enlightened world. These four versions are: 1. The Traditional Enlightenment Programme. 2. The Popperian Version of the Enlightenment Programme. 3. The Improved Popperian Enlightenment Programme. 4. The New Enlightenment Programme. The Traditional Enlightenment Programme is the version (...) of the idea upheld by the philosophes of the French Enlightenment. It was developed throughout the 19th century and put into practice in the early 20th century with the creation of departments of social science in universities all over the world. It is however damagingly defective. The Popperian Version of the Enlightenment Programme is an improvement, but still defective. As we go down the list, from 1 and 2 to 3 and 4, each Programme improves on its predecessor, until with The New Enlightenment, which can in some respects be associated with Einstein, we arrive at a version of the idea which can genuinely help humanity make social progress towards an enlightened world. (shrink)
Newly updated study surveys concept of space from standpoint of historical development. Space in antiquity, Judeo-Christian ideas about space, Newton’s concept of absolute space, space from 18thcentury to present. Extensive new chapter (6) reviews changes in philosophy of space since publication of second edition (1969). Numerous original quotations and bibliographical references. "...admirably compact and swiftly paced style."—Philosophy of Science. Foreword by Albert Einstein. Bibliography.
Can there be a philosophy of taste? This paper opens by raising some metaphilosophical questions about the study of taste – what it consists of and what method we should adopt in pursuing it. It is suggested that the best starting point for philosophising about taste is against the background of 18th-century epistemology and philosophy of mind, and the conceptual tools this new philosophical paradigm entails. The notion of aesthetic taste in particular, which emerges from a growing sense (...) of dissatisfaction with an undifferentiated category of taste, comes to be set apart from gustatory taste on account of its normativity and aspirations to objectivity. The paradox of taste, as found in Hume and Kant, is examined, and shown to be highly relevant to contemporary metaphysical debate within aesthetics. Specifically, this paper argues that both Realists and Anti-Realists rely more heavily than assumed on the idea of taste. (shrink)
A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40), David Hume's comprehensive attempt to base philosophy on a new, observationally grounded study of human nature, is one of the most important texts in Western philosophy. It is also the focal point of current attempts to understand 18th-century philosophy. -/- The Treatise first explains how we form such concepts as cause and effect, external existence, and personal identity, and to form compelling but unconfirmable beliefs in the entities represented by these concepts. It (...) then offers a novel account of the passions, explains freedom and necessity as they apply to human choices and actions, and concludes with detailed explanations of how we distinguish between virtue and vice and of the different kinds of virtue. Hume's Abstract of the Treatise, also included in the volume, outlines his 'chief argument' regarding our conception of, and belief in, cause and effect. -/- The texts printed in this volume are those of the critical edition of Hume's philosophical works now being published by the Clarendon Press. The volume includes a substantial introduction explaining the aims of the Treatise as a whole and of each of its ten parts, extensive annotations, a glossary of terms, a comprehensive index, and suggestions for further reading. (shrink)
Popper first developed his theory of scientific method – falsificationism – in his The Logic of Scientific Discovery, then generalized it to form critical rationalism, which he subsequently applied to social and political problems in The Open Society and Its Enemies. All this can be regarded as constituting a major development of the 18thcentury Enlightenment programme of learning from scientific progress how to achieve social progress towards a better world. Falsificationism is, however, defective. It misrepresents the real, (...) problematic aims of science. We need a new conception of scientific method, a meta-methodology which provides a framework for the improvement of the aims and methods of science as scientific knowledge improves. This aim-oriented empiricist idea can be generalized to form a conception of rationality – aim-oriented rationality – which helps us improve problematic aims and methods whatever we may be doing. In this way, Popper’s version of the Enlightenment programme can be much improved, indeed transformed. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant's work changed the course of modern philosophy; Karl Ameriks examines how. He compares the philosophical system set out in Kant's Critiques with the work of the major philosophers before and after Kant. Individual essays provide case studies in support of Ameriks's thesis that late 18th-century reactions to Kant initiated an "historical turn," after which historical and systematic considerations became joined in a way that fundamentally distinguishes philosophy from science and art.
In this monograph, I argue that the received conception of the aim and results of Kant’s Paralogisms must be revised in light of a proper understanding of the rational psychology that is the most proximate target of Kant’s attack. Introduction. Chapter 1: The Marriage of Reason and Experience: Wolff’s Rational Psychology. Chapter 2: From Wolff to Kant: Rational Psychology in the 18thCentury. Chapter 3: The Divorce of Reason and Experience: Pure Rational Psychology and the Substantiality of the (...) Soul. Chapter 4: The Achilles and the Tortoise: The Simplicity of the Soul. Chapter 5: The Aeneas Argument: The Personality of the Soul. Chapter 6: Cartesian Questions: Idealism and the Illusion of the Soul. Chapter 7: Kant’s Rational Psychology: Fundamental Forces and the Regulative Use of the Idea of the Soul. Conclusion. (shrink)
To understand why Kierkegaard would have hated the Internet we need to understand what he meant by the Public and why he was so opposed to the Press. The focus of his concern was what Habermas calls the public sphere which, in the middle of the 18thcentury, thanks to the recent democratization and expansion of the press, had become a serious problem for many intellectuals. But while thinkers like Mill and Tocqueville thought the problem was "the tyranny (...) of the masses", Kierkegaard thought that the Public Sphere, as implemented in the Press, promoted risk-free anonymity and idle curiosity that undermined responsibility and commitment. This, in turn, leveled all qualitative distinctions and led to nihilism, he held. (shrink)
The materialist approach to the body is often, if not always understood in ‘mechanistic’ terms, as the view in which the properties unique to organic, living embodied agents are reduced to or described in terms of properties that characterize matter as a whole, which allow of mechanistic explanation. Indeed, from Hobbes and Descartes in the 17th century to the popularity of automata such as Vaucanson’s in the 18thcentury, this vision of things would seem to be correct. (...) In this paper I aim to correct this inaccurate vision of materialism. On the contrary, the materialist project on closer consideration reveals itself to be, significantly if not exclusively, (a) a body of theories specifically focused on the contribution that ‘biology’ or rather ‘natural history’ and physiology make to metaphysical debates, (b) much more intimately connected to what we now call ‘vitalism’ (a case in point is the presence of Théophile de Bordeu, a prominent Montpellier physician and theorist of vitalism, as a fictional character and spokesman of materialism, in Diderot’s novel D’Alembert’s Dream), and ultimately (c) an anti-mechanistic doctrine which focuses on the unique properties of organic beings. To establish this revised vision of materialism I examine philosophical texts such as La Mettrie’s Man a Machine and Diderot’s D’Alembert’s Dream; medical entries in the Encyclopédie by physicians such as Ménuret and Fouquet; and clandestine combinations of all such sources (Fontenelle, Gaultier and others). (shrink)
Physicalism is the thesis that everything is physical, or as contemporary philosophers sometimes put it, that everything supervenes on, or is necessitated by, the physical. The thesis is usually intended as a metaphysical thesis, parallel to the thesis attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Thales, that everything is water, or the idealism of the 18thCentury philosopher Berkeley, that everything is mental. The general idea is that the nature of the actual world (i.e. the universe and everything in (...) it) conforms to a certain condition, the condition of being physical. Of course, physicalists don't deny that the world might contain many items that at first glance don't seem physical — items of a biological, or psychological, or moral, or social nature. But they insist nevertheless that at the end of the day such items are either physical or supervene on the physical. (shrink)
Steven Yates has criticized my claim that we need to bring about a revolution in the aims and methods of academic inquiry, so that the aim becomes to promote wisdom rather than just acquire knowledge. Yates's main criticism is that the proposed revolution does not have a clear strategy for its implementation, and is, in any case, Utopian, unrealizable and undesirable. It is argued, here, that Yates has misconstrued what the proposed revolution amounts to; in fact it is realizable, urgently (...) needed, and involves exploiting the kind of strategies utilized so effectively by the philosophes of the 18thcentury French Enlightenment. (shrink)
This book is the latest addition to the Odeon series, a multidisciplinary series devoted to original works and translations by European writers in the areas of literature, criticism, philosophy, history and politics. An English translation of the German best-seller Abschied vom Prinzipiellen, the book offers a series of essays that present a philosophy of human morality critical of philosophical utopianism. Marquard, widely considered the heir of Gadamer, Habermas, and Blumenberg, describes his role as "skeptical philosopher" and discusses the 18th- (...) class='Hi'>century formation of such themes and disciplines as aesthetics, philosophical anthropology, philosophy of history, the nature of myth and attempts to account for it, and hermeneutics. (shrink)
I argue that a metaphysical controversy, comparable with the ‘pantheism controversy’ of the late 18thcentury, is being played out today in the world-wide clash between religion and science, in which one side adheres to a strict materialism and the other admits phenomena of inspiritment as having a place in ontology. Just as the pantheism controversy was resolved, to some degree, via the concept of panentheism, so the solution to the contest between science and religion today might be (...) pointing us in a panentheist direction. Taking into account (a) the empirical evidence of science, (b) the widespread evidence of spirit phenomena from different religions and spirit traditions, and (c) that the experience of spirit phenomena varies according to cultural frame of reference, I conclude that spirit phenomena must emanate from something that is common across cultures. The only thing that could be common across cultures is matter: it must be matter itself then that is imbued with spirit. While this position has affinities with panentheism, I argue that ‘panentheism’ is not in fact an appropriate name for it in the 21st century, as this name excludes the experience of many cultures for whom phenomena of inspiritment are not describable in any kind of theistic terms. (shrink)
David Hume's sympathetic principle applies to physical equals. In his account, we sympathize with those like us. By contrast, Adam Smith's sympathetic principle induces equality. We consider Hume's “other rational species” problem to see whether Smith's wider sympathetic principle would alter Hume's conclusion that “superior” beings will enslave “inferior” beings. We show that Smith introduces the notion of “generosity,” which functions as if it were Hume's justice even when there is no possibility of contract. Footnotes1 An earlier version was presented (...) at the 18th-Century Scottish Studies Society, Arlington meeting in June 2001. We benefited from conversations with and comments from Gordon Schochet, Roger Emerson and Silvia Sebastiana. A letter from Leon Montes helped sharpen the argument. The readers for the journal contributed to the output. We remain responsible for the errors and omissions. (shrink)
Beauty was once the main or even exclusive topic of aesthetics. Now, two hundred years after Karl Rosenkranz’s Aesthetics of Ugliness and a formidable development of fine arts in which many atmospheres beyond the edge of beauty were produced, it may be time again to ask the fundamental question of what the beautiful is like. But putting this question we notice that since the 18thcentury our aesthetical experience has deeply changed, so that the concept of traditional beauty (...) must be changed itself. (shrink)
People have thought about economics for as long as they have thought about how to manage their households, and indeed Aristotle assimilated the study of the economic affairs of a city to the study of the management of a household. During the two millennia between Aristotle and Adam Smith, one finds reflections concerning economic problems mainly in the context of discussions of moral or policy questions. For example, scholastic philosophers commented on money and interest in inquiries concerning the justice of (...) "usury" (charging interest on money loans), and in the 17th century, there was a great deal of discussion of policy concerning foreign trade. Economics only emerged as a distinct field of study with the bold 18th-century idea that there were "economies"--that is autonomous law-governed systems of human interaction involving production, distribution and exchange. This view is already well developed in Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, from which much of economics derives. (shrink)
Much of the current debate opposing empathy to rationality assumes that there are no universal standards for rationality. From the postmodern perspective, the “rational” does not just vary according to the different historical stages of a people. It also differs according the social and cultural conditions that define contemporary communities. What counts as reasonable in the Afghan cultural sphere is often considered as irrational in the Western European context. What Americans take to be rational modes of conduct are not considered (...) to be such in various African communities. For postmodern thinkers, these examples point to the failure of the universalist paradigm inherited from the 18thcentury. We no longer believe that there is a single paradigm of rationality—once seen as exemplified by philosophy—that is capable of crossing our cultural divides.[i] If appeals to reason cannot bridge cultures, what can? We were all moved by the plight of the victims of the tsunami that devastated the Java Peninsula. Showing their empathy, people around the world contributed to their relief. Doesn’t this exhibit a universal empathy, one capable of bridging the gaps between cultures? A similar argument can be made from the universal appeal of certain works of literature. Reading them, we imaginatively participate in their characters’ lives. We feel what they feel, seeing the world through their eyes. We exercise our empathy in its basic etymological sense of feeling in and through another person. If empathy rather than rationality is genuinely universal, then literature, rather than philosophy, becomes our common language. Similarly, empathy rather than rationality owns the public space uniting different cultures. Appeals to our human solidarity, through literature, movies, television reports and so on must be based on it. [ii] As for philosophy, it becomes relegated to the sphere of our private beliefs and personal convictions. Its sphere is reduced to that of the “true for me.” In what follows, I would like to argue against this separation of empathy and rationality. My position will be that their opposition presupposes a limited, Cartesian concept of rationality. Once we abandon this, we find that empathy and rationality are not, in fact, distinct.. (shrink)
What distinguishes Reidian externalism from other versions of epistemic externalism about justification is its proper functionalism and its commonsensism, both of which are inspired by the 18thcentury Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid. Its proper functionalism is a particular analysis of justification; its commonsensism is a certain thesis about what we are noninferentially justified in believing.
At present the basic intellectual aim of academic inquiry is to improve knowledge. Much of the structure, the whole character, of academic inquiry, in universities all over the world, is shaped by the adoption of this as the basic intellectual aim. But, judged from the standpoint of making a contribution to human welfare, to the quality of human life, academic inquiry of this type, devoted, in the first instance, to the pursuit of knowledge, is grossly and damagingly irrational. Three of (...) four of the most elementary and uncontroversial rules of rational problem solving conceivable are violated. This rarely noticed, damaging, structural irrationality in current academic inquiry stems from the 18thcentury Enlightenment. In seeking to learn from scientific progress how humanity might make social progress towards a wiser, more enlightened world, Voltaire, Diderot, Condorcet et al. blundered; these blunders were developed throughout the 19th century, and built into the institutional structure of academic inquiry in the 20th century with the creation of diverse branches of social science. In order to create a kind of academic inquiry free of these blunders, devoted in a genuinely rational way to helping promote human welfare by intellectual and educational means, we need to bring about a major revolution in the overall aims and methods of inquiry, in its whole institutional and intellectual structure and character. The basic intellectual aim needs to become to promote wisdom - wisdom being understood to be the capacity to realize what is of value in life for oneself and others (and thus including knowledge, know-how and understanding). The social sciences need to become social philosophy, or social methodology, devoted to promoting more cooperatively rational solving of conflicts and problems of living in the world. Social inquiry, so pursued, would be intellectually more fundamental than natural science. The natural sciences need to recognize three domains of discussion: evidence, theories, and aims. Problems concerning research aims need to be discussed by both scientists and non-scientists alike, involving as they do questions concerning social priorities and values. Philosophy needs to become the sustained rational exploration of our most fundamental problems of understanding; it also needs to take up the task of discovering how we may improve our personal, institutional and global aims and methods in life, so that what is of value in life may be realized more successfully. Education needs to change so that problems of living become more fundamental than problems of knowledge, the basic aim of education being to learn how to acquire wisdom in life. Academic inquiry as a whole needs to become somewhat like a people's civil service, having just sufficient power to retain its independence and integrity, doing for people, openly, what civil services are supposed to do, in secret, for governments. These and many other changes, affecting every branch and aspect of academic inquiry, all result from replacing the aim to acquire knowledge by the aim to promote wisdom by cooperatively rational means. (shrink)
This paper evaluates the economic assumptions of economic theory via an examination of the capitalist transformation of creditor–debtor relations in the 18thcentury. This transformation enabled masses of people to obtain credit without moral opprobrium or social subordination. Classical 18thcentury economics had the ethical concepts to appreciate these facts. Ironically, contemporary economic theory cannot. I trace this fault to its abstract representations of freedom, efficiency, and markets. The virtues of capitalism lie in the concrete social (...) relations and social meanings through which capital and commodities are exchanged. Contrary to laissez faire capitalism, the conditions for sustaining these concrete capitalist formations require limits on freedom of contract and the scope of private property rights. (shrink)
What thesis is Hume trying to establish in his essay “On Miracles” (Section 10 of the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding) and does he succeed? John Earman’s answer to the latter question is clearly conveyed by the title of his new book. Earman uses a Bayesian representation of the problem to make his case. For Earman, this mode of analysis is both perspicuous and nonanachronistic, in that probability reasoning was central to the 18thcentury debate about miracles in particular (...) and testimony in general. Indeed, one of Hume’s most interesting antagonists, Richard Price, was the person to whom Thomas Bayes entrusted his now-famous essay for posthumous publication. For Earman, Price is the proper Bayesian, while Hume’s essay provides only “rhetoric and schein geld” (p. 73). Earman’s tone is consistently prosecutorial and sometimes snide; he says that his animus is not so much against Hume himself as against those who smugly invoke Hume’s essay as definitively settling the matter. This tone should not deter potential readers who are convinced that Hume’s essay contains something of value. Earman’s book is interesting and provocative in multiple ways—it places Hume’s essay in its historical setting, it offers an insightful close reading of the text, and it shows how the resources of Bayesianism can be powerfully put to work. Besides Earman’s own essay (94 pages long), the volume also contains Hume’s essay and relevant work by others, including Locke, Spinoza, Samuel Clarke, Price, Laplace, and Babbage. The book would be an excellent choice for an advanced undergraduate or graduate seminar. (shrink)
MATHEMATICS is a wonderful, mad subject, full of imagination, fantasy and creativity that is not limited by the petty details of the physical world, but only by the strength of our inner light. Does this sound familiar? Probably not from the mathematics classes you may have attended. But consider the work of three famous earlier mathematicians: Leonhard Euler (18thcentury), Georg Cantor (19th century) and Srinivasa Ramanujan (20th century).
White opposes the long-standing view that ancient Greek ethics is fundamentally different from modern ethical views. He examines the ways in which Greek ethics has been interpreted since the 18thcentury, and traces the history in Greek ethical thought of the idea of conflict among human aims, in particular the conflict between conformity to ethical standards and one's own happiness.
In perceptions of their landscapes the Latvians have denied the existence of the sublime, elevating rural and natural aspects as beautiful and good. While Latvian landscape aesthetics and ethics are based on the profound transformation of nature-landscape attitudes that occurred in Europe during the second half of the 18thcentury, when ideas of the beautiful, sublime, and the picturesque were debated, the existence of sublime characteristics within the borders of Latvia has not been recognized. In part the attitude (...) derives from the lack of dramatic topography in Latvia. Part of it is due to historic contrasts of sublime wonders in foreign lands with the simple rural beauties and virtues of Latvia. Travelers' observations of rural beauty in specific places reinforced such attitudes. But it is also bound up with the complex history of Latvians as an underclass during colonial rule that began during the 13th century and did not truly end until 1991. As during the 19th century, Latvians began to develop their own national traditions; they used a voluminous collection of rural folk songs on which to build subtle literary and other artistic interpretations of what is moral and beautiful in rural life, work, and landscapes. A particularly important motif in Latvian writing is earth. The ethics of work, social responsibility, and care for living things are a powerful theme. If the sublime is mentioned, it is brought into the compass of the rural and the tame. Sublime elements of nature occur as metaphors for human actions. Thoroughly imbued with the above traditions, the author, at first unselfconsciously, discovered sublime aspects in Latvian landscapes and nature during the course of the past 11 years. It is his belief that as Latvians distance themselves from past colonial rule, they will begin to see their land in a less narrow fashion and recognize its sublime characteristics. (shrink)
What are the criteria determining the individuation of chemical kinds? Recent philosophical discussion, which puts too much emphasis on microstructure, seems to presuppose a reductionist conception not motivated by the scientific facts. The present article traces the development of the traditional notion of a substance with the rise of modern chemistry from the end of the 18thcentury with a view to correcting this speculative distortion.