What is logic? What were the most significant contributions of Kant, Plato and Descartes? What is the concept of yin and yang? The personalities, terminology, and definitions of philosophers and philosophical schools of thought are presented clearly in this unique A-to-Z reference guide.
The second word in the subtitle of this article is crucial. For there can be no doubt but that the possibility of sociobiology below the human level has already been abundantly realized in, for instance, the main body of E. O. Wilson's enormous and encyclopedic treatise Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. What may more reasonably be doubted, and what is in fact questioned here, is whether, as Wilson and others hope and believe, there is much room, or indeed any, for a (...) sociobiology of our own notoriously wayward and idiosyncratic species. In proposing this particular project Wilson and his colleagues have seen themselves as promoting a climactic conquest for evolutionary biology. For surely, they seem to have thought, now, more than a century after Darwin, it is high time and past time to launch the final assault upon the last citadel. But, as we shall proceed to argue, there are reasonsreasons which were available at least in outline even to Darwin himselfwhy the ideas which have been so triumphantly successful in explaining The Origin of Species cannot properly be applied to what is in truth a fundamentally different task. They cannot, that is to say, properly be transferred to explain developments either within or out of the particular problem species of which the author of that book, along with both all the authors and all the readers of all other books, have been themselves members. (shrink)
This is a rejoinder to some of the contentions of Part II of Jeffrey Friedman's monster article (or mini?book?) about ?The New Consensus.? After questioning his supposedly ?non?tendentious understanding of Marx,? it proceeds to deny that what Friedman calls Positive Libertarianism is any more a sort of libertarianism than imaginary or non?existent cows are a kind of cows; and to insist that what Friedman calls morality is light years removed from the dutiful, domestic decencies of what would normally be considered (...) moral conduct. Next it examines Friedman's misunderstandings of option rights, which actually presuppose only the weakest possible claims to equality. Finally it concludes with criticism of his bizarre and perverse assumption that concern about the consequences of our actions has little or nothing rather than almost everything to do with their morality. (shrink)
RELATIVISM AND THE SOCIAL SCIENCES by Ernest Gellner Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. 200 pp., £25, £8.50 (paper) Gellner assails Wittgenstein's putative legitimation of the relativistic assumption that ?forms of life?; are autonomous and ultimate, mutually incommunicable, and immune to external criticism. Gellner's view is used here to defend a reconstructed Popperian position against all comers, including Gellner. The tactic is to attack the Cartesian presuppositions Popper implicitly shares with the whole Logical Positivist tradition, arguing that these cannot even be (...) coherently expressed without presupposing the possession of knowledge of the various kinds thereby denied. (shrink)
THIS SURVEY WAS ORIGINALLY COMPOSED FOR (IN US TERMS) SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WHO ARE PREPARING FOR A NEWLY ESTABLISHED EXAMINATION IN PHILOSOPHY. ONE OF THE SET-BOOKS PRESCRIBED FOR THIS COURSE IS HUME’S FIRST "INQUIRY". "HUME’S PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION" THEREFORE CONTAINS NO MATERIAL NOT ALTERNATIVELY AVAILABLE: EITHER IN "HUME’S PHILOSOPHY OF BELIEF" (LONDON: ROUTLEDGE AND KEGAN PAUL, 1961); OR IN "DAVID HUME": "PHILOSOPHER OF MORAL SCIENCE" (OXFORD: BLACKWELL, 1986).