This paper examines the relationship between modern theories of microeconomics and macroeconomics and, more generally, it evaluates the prospects of theoretically reducing macroeconomics to microeconomics. Many economists have shown strong interest in providing "microfoundations" for macroeconomics and much of their work is germane to the issue of theoretical reduction. Especially relevant is the work that has been done on what is called The Problem of Aggregation. On some accounts, The Problem of Aggregation just is the problem of reducing macroeconomics to (...) microeconomics. I show how to separate these problems and then try to determine to what extent particular kinds of solutions to The Problem of Aggregation succeed in reducing macroeconomics to microeconomics as well. I argue that reduction is not possible by this means given the current state of microeconomics. I also describe how reduction may be possible by means of (dis)aggregation if microeconomics is supplemented in a certain way with the results of experimental research on individual economic agents. (shrink)
This book is a wide-ranging examination of rationalist thought in philosophy from ancient times to the present day. Written by a superbly qualified cast of philosophers. Critically analyses the concept of rationalism. Focuses principally on the golden age of rationalism in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Also covers ancient rationalism, nineteenth-century rationalism, and rationalist themes in recent thought. Organised chronologically. Various philosophical methods and viewpoints are represented.
Good scientific explanations sometimes appear to make use of averages. Using concrete examples from current economic theory, I argue that some confusions about how averages might work in explanations lead to both philosophical and economic problems about the interpretation of the theory. I formulate general conditions on potentially proper uses of averages to refine a notion of average explanation. I then try to show how this notion provides a means for resolving longstanding philosophical problems in economics and other quantitative social (...) sciences. (shrink)
We argue that Descartes’s theistic proofs in the ’Meditations’ are much simpler and straightforward than they are traditionally taken to be. In particular, we show how the causal argument of the "Third Meditation" depends on the intuitively innocent principle that nothing comes from nothing, and not on the more controversial principle that the objective reality of an idea must have a cause with at least as much formal reality. We also demonstrate that the so-called ontological "argument" of the "Fifth Meditation" (...) is best understood not as a formal proof but as an axiom, revealed as self-evident by analytic meditation. (shrink)
Jean Baudrillard is one of the most important and provocative writers in the contemporary era. Widely acclaimed as the prophet of postmodernism, he has famously announced the disappearance of the subject, meaning, truth, class and the notion of reality itself. Although he worked as a sociologist, his writing has enjoyed a wide interdisciplinary popularity and influence. He is read by students of sociology, cultural studies, philosophy, literature, French and geography. Organized into eight sections, the volumes provide the most complete (...) guide to Baudrillard currently available: Section 1: Theoretical Issues In this section the central themes informing Baudrillard's work are defined and discussed. Baudrillard's place in contemporary social thought is examined through considerations of how his work has been received. The importance of signs and the sign economy in Baudrillard's analysis is highlighted. The case for treating Baudrillard as a seminal theorist in contemporary social thought is elucidated. Section 2: Postmodernism Baudrillard is reluctant to regard himself as a postmodernist. Nonetheless, it is as the leading theorist of postmodernism that he is widely celebrated and generally known. This section explores Baudrillard's relation to postmodernism and demonstrates his specific contribution. Questions of Baudrillards relation to capitalism, commodification, fatalism, Lyotard, Jameson and politics are explored. Section 3: Culture It is now commonplace to refer to the period since the late 1980s as `the cultural turn'. Baudrillard's work provided a leading exponent of the significance of culture in understanding contemporary life. Included here are reflections on Baudrillard and corporate culturalism, power, ideology, simulation, mass media, Disney, hyperreality and leisure. Section 4: War In the 1990s Baudrillard became famous for the thesis that `the gulf war did not happen'. For some critics, it revealed the poverty of Baudrillard's approach. For others it showed more profoundly why his thought is an indispensable tool in grappling with the complexities of contemporary society. At all events, Baudrillard's treatment of the war represented a climacteric in critical responses to Baudrillard. In this section the various range of responses to Baudrillard's intervention are precisely delineated, providing the reader with the essential data required to decide if Baudrillard's thesis is right or wrong. Section 5: America America dazzles and appalls Baudrillard. In America and of Cool Memories 1&2, he documents his violent responses to America as an idea; a physical space. Included here are reflections on Baudrillard, America and postmodernism; Baudrillard's significance as an ethnographer of US life; Baudrillard and American film; Baudrillard and Reagan's America; and Baudrillard, America and the politics of simulation. Section 6: Seduction Baudrillard's theory of seduction is, like much else in his work, controversial. This section examines how the theory has been interpreted and criticized. The relationship between Baudrillard and feminism is examined. Applications of his theory to art and work are explored. Section 7: Fiction and Art Baudrillard is an unusual contemporary thinker, in as much as his writing is taken seriously by artists. Baudrillard himself has responded to this, by becoming more interested in photography in the last ten years. This section aims to provide an essential guide to the relationship between Baudrillard and art. Included here are enquiries into Baudrillard and science fiction, the relationship between Baudrillard and J G Ballard's `Crash'; Baudrillard and abstract painting; Baudrillard and Francis Bacon; Baudrillard, Benjamin and Lichtenstein; Baudrillard, Barthes and photography; and Baudrillard's theory of communication. Section 8: Baudrillard and Other Social Theorists The concluding part of the collection aims to situate Baudrillard in the field of contemporary social theory. Interestingly, Baudrillard himself has never attempted to compare and contrast his theoretical ideas with those of others. The 14 contributions included in this section, seek to rectify this shortcoming. The contributions cover Baudrillard and Marx; Baudrillard, Durkheim and Rousseau; Baudrillard and psychoanalysis; Baudrillard and Bataille; existentialism, postmodernism and Baudrillard; Baudrillard and McLuhan; Baudrillard and Critical Theory; Baudrillard and Habermas; Baudrillard and Deleuze; Baudrillard and de Certeau; and the fictional Baudrillard, as dreamt up by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont. The contributions are selected and introduced by Mike Gane, Professor of Sociology at the University of Loughborough. With publications like Baudrillard's Bestiary, Baudrillard: Critical & Fatal Theory and Baudrillard Live, Gane is widely recognized as the leading secondary commentator on the work of Baudrillard. No-one else matches him in the appreciation and critical understanding of Baudrillard. In a full length `Introduction' to the volumes, written with verve and penetration, Gane shows exactly why Baudrillard is a key thinker of our times. Mike Gane is Professor of Sociology at University of Loughborough. (shrink)
Van Heijenoort’s main contribution to history and philosophy of modern logic was his distinction between two basic views of logic, first, the absolutist, or universalist, view of the founding fathers, Frege, Peano, and Russell, which dominated the first, classical period of history of modern logic, and, second, the relativist, or model-theoretic, view, inherited from Boole, Schröder, and Löwenheim, which has dominated the second, contemporary period of that history. In my paper, I present the man Jean van Heijenoort (Sect. 1); (...) then I describe his way of arguing for the second view (Sect. 2); and finally I come down in favor of the first view (Sect. 3). There, I specify the version of universalism for which I am prepared to argue (Sect. 3, introduction). Choosing ZFC to play the part of universal, logical (in a nowadays forgotten sense) system, I show, through an example, how the usual model theory can be naturally given its proper place, from the universalist point of view, in the logical framework of ZFC; I outline another, not rival but complementary, semantics for admissible extensions of ZFC in the very same logical framework; I propose a way to get universalism out of the predicaments in which universalists themselves believed it to be (Sect. 3.1). Thus, if universalists of the classical period did not, in fact, construct these semantics, it was not that their universalism forbade them, in principle, to do so. The historical defeat of universalism was not technical in character. Neither was it philosophical. Indeed, it was hardly more than the victory of technicism over the very possibility of a philosophical dispute (Sect. 3.2). (shrink)
Karl Popper has often been cast as one of the most solitary figures of twentieth-century philosophy. The received image is of a thinker who developed his scientific philosophy virtually alone and in opposition to a crowd of brilliant members of the Vienna Circle. This paper challenges the received view and undertakes to correctly situate on the map of the history of philosophy Popper’s contribution, in particular, his renowned fallibilist theory of knowledge. The motive for doing so is the conviction that (...) the mainstream perspective on Popper’s philosophy makes him more difficult to understand than might otherwise be the case. The thinker who figures most significantly in the account of Popper developed in these pages is Leonard Nelson. Both a neo-Friesian and neo-Kantian, this philosopher deeply influenced Popper through his student Julius Kraft, who met with Popper on numerous occasions in the mid 1920s. It is in the light of this influence that we understand Popper’s recollection that when he criticized the Vienna Circle in the early 1930s, he looked upon himself “as an unorthodox Kantian”. (shrink)
Jean Hamburger (1909--1992) is considered the founder of the concept of medical intensive care (reanimation medicale) and the first to propose the name Nephrology for the branch of medicine dealing with kidney diseases. One of the first kidney grafts in the world (with short-term success), in 1953, and the first dialysis session in France, in 1955, were performed under his guidance. His achievements as a writer were at least comparable: Hamburger was awarded several important literary prizes, including prix Femina, (...) prix Balzac and the Cino del Duca prize (1979), awarded, among others, to Jorge Luis Borges and Konrad Lorenz.Here we would like to offer a selected reading of a "golden" book, "Conseils aux etudiants en medicine de mon service" ("Advice to the Medical Students in my Service"), the first book dedicated to patient-physician relationship in Nephrology, written when dialysis and transplantation were becoming clinical options (1963). The themes include: the central role of the patient, who should be known by name, profession, life style, and not by disease; the importance of the setting of the care; the need for truth-telling and for leaving hope; the role of research not only in the progression of science, but also in the daily clinical practice. (shrink)
Jean-Paul Sartre is one of the most famous philosophers of the twentieth century. The principal founder of existentialism, a political thinker and famous novelist and dramatist, his work has exerted enormous influence in philosophy, literature, politics and cultural studies. Jean-Paul Sartre: Basic Writings is the first collection of Sartre's key philosophical writings and provides an indispensable resource for readers of his work. Stephen Priest's clear and helpful introductions make the volume an ideal companion to those coming to Sartre's (...) writing for the first time. (shrink)
A major voice in late twentieth-century philosophy, Alan Donagan is distinguished for his theories on the history of philosophy and the nature of morality. The Philosophical Papers of Alan Donagan, volumes 1 and 2, collect 28 of Donagan's most important and best-known essays on historical understanding and ethics from 1957 to 1991. Volume 2 addresses issues in the philosophy of action and moral theory. With papers on Kant, von Wright, Sellars, and Chisholm, this volume also covers a range (...) of questions in applied ethics--from the morality of Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to ethical questions in medicine and law. (shrink)
Jean-Francois Lyotard is often considered to be the father of postmodernism. Here leading experts in the field of cultural and philosophical studies, including Barry Smart, John O' Neill and Victor J. Seidler, tackle many of the questions still being asked about this controversial figure.
The article analyses the idea that according to the averroist Jean de Jandun, Master of Arts in Paris at the beginning of the 14th century, human beings are composed of a «double form» the separated intellect on the one hand, the cogitative soul on the other hand. After recalling several major accounts of the time, we explore Jean's reading of Averroes' major conceptions concerning the problem. Finally, we challenge the idea according to which we observe in his writings (...) the radical thesis of a sometimes cogitating sometimes thinking «double human being» that makes of the homo intelligens a punctual and exclusive new being, which is accidentally produced while the thinking takes place. (shrink)
Macaulay was wrong: The British public in one of its periodic fits of morality may be a ridiculous spectacle but it has at least one rival in the reaction we have recently witnessed to ‘cultural relativism’, ‘postmodernism’, and suchlike phenomena. One good illustration of the point is the argument of Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont's Intellectual Impostures (1998: London, Profile Books). Sokal and Bricmont spend the greater part of their time holding various postmodernist writers up to ridicule, and (...) it would be a waste of time to defend it against them. However, their most seriously argued chapter (chapter four) is a critique, not of postmodernism, but of epistemic relativism in the philosophy of science, as mainly exemplified by the work of Popper, Feyerabend, and Kuhn, and it is important to answer the case they make. There are many reasons for finding that case unconvincing. For example: (i) Sokal and Bricmont repeatedly imply that epistemic relativism is counter-intuitive. Against them it can be objected that some quite ordinary proposition can be both true and, at the same time, only true for beings with certain types of visual apparatus or with a certain cultural history. Nor are they right in claiming that all scientists find epistemic relativism implausible. Some do, but Chomsky doesn't. Neither does Stephen Hawking; (ii) Sokal and Bricmont suppose that there is a single, uniquely correct description of the universe ‘out there’ waiting to be discovered, but all the evidence we have suggests the contrary; (iii) it is not the case that epistemic relativism entails that any description is just as good as any other, so they are wrong to insist that it must endorse all manner of silly superstition; (iv) Sokal and Bricmont frequently insist that “the scientific method is not radically different from the rational attitude in everyday life or in other domains of human knowledge” but this glosses over great differences between the procedures appropriate to different areas of inquiry – science on the one hand, history and/or psychoanalysis on the other. (shrink)
Van Heijenoort’s account of the historical development of modern logic was composed in 1974 and first published in 1992 with an introduction by his former student. What follows is a new edition with a revised and expanded introduction and additional notes.
One of America's foremost public intellectuals, Jean Bethke Elshtain has been on the frontlines in the most hotly contested and deeply divisive issues of our time. Now in Real Politics , Elshtain gives further proof of her willingness to speak her mind, courting disagreement and even censure from those who prefer their ideologies neat. At the center of Elshtain's work is a passionate concern with the relationship between political rhetoric and political action. For Elshtain, politics is a sphere of (...) concrete responsibility. Political speech should, therefore, approach the richness of actual lives and commitments rather than present impossible utopias. In her essays, Elshtain finds in the writings of Václav Havel, Hannah Arendt, and Albert Camus a language appropriate to the complexity of everyday life and politics, and she critiques philosophers and writers who distance us from a concrete, embodied world. She argues against those repressive strains within contemporary feminism which insist that families and even sexual differentiation are inherently oppressive. Along the way, she challenges an ideology of victimization that too often loses sight of individual victims in its pursuit of abstract goals. Elshtain reaffirms the quirky and by no means simple pleasures of small-town life as a microcosm of the human condition and considers the current crisis in American education and its consequences for democracy. Beyond exploring the details of political life over the past two decades, Real Politics advocates a via media politics that avoids unacceptable extremes and serves as a model for responsible political discourse. Throughout her diverse and insightful writings, Elshtain champions a civic philosophy that tends to the dignity of everyday life as a democratic imperative of the first order. "Jean Bethke Elshtain is a person of rare intellect. The moral wisdom that pervades these essays reminds us that when all is said and done politics is about the life and death of real people who are anything but abstractions. Her erudition is remarkable, but equally stunning is her eye for the significant. What she is so good at is helping us see the moral and political significance of the everyday."--Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University " Real Politics serves as a forceful reminder that Jean Elshtain has been dealing with the real world in twenty-five years of powerful essaying. Transcending ideological categories, she writes out of hope that human beings can enjoy those capacities of reason and faith which make them human. It is a pleasure to be reintroduced to her sustained intelligence."--Alan Wolfe, Boston University. (shrink)
This collection of articles illustrates the intimacy between science and literature, pleasure and sense, excess and moderation that Jean Ceard sought to understand and that he instilled in those who collaborated or studied with him.
Jean Starobinski, one of Europe's foremost literary critics, examines the life that led Rousseau, who so passionately sought open, transparent communication with others, to accept and even foster obstacles that permitted him to withdraw into himself. First published in France in 1958, Jean-Jacques Rousseau remains Starobinski's most important achievement and, arguably, the most comprehensive book ever written on Rousseau. The text has been extensively revised for this edition and is published here along with seven essays on Rousseau that (...) appeared between 1962 and 1970. (shrink)
Taking his critique of totalitarianizing conceptions of community as a starting point, this text examines Jean-Luc Nancy's work of an "ontology of plural singular being" for its political implications. It argues that while at first this ontology seems to advocate a negative or an anti-politics only, it can also be read as a "theory of communicative praxis" that suggests a certain ethos - in the form of a certain use of symbols (which is expressed only inaptly by the word (...) "style") that would render the ontological plurality of singulars perceptible and practically effective. Finally, some recent texts by Nancy even sidestep the ontology of being-with and face the question of what politics, faced with demands of justice, could be and what a democratic politics could provide. Both of these aspects in Nancy's work, however, still remain to be spelled out more politically. (shrink)
Abstract Modern reflection on the ideal of personal autonomy has its Western origin in the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, where autonomy, or self-legislation, involves citizens joining together to make laws for themselves that reflect their collective understanding of the common good. Four features of this conception of autonomy continue to be relevant today. First, autonomy, a type of freedom, is introduced into modern philosophy in order to make up for a perceived deficiency, or incompleteness, in merely ?negative? freedom (the (...) right to do as one pleases, unimpeded by others). Second, autonomy is taken to be not merely a complement of negative freedom but a higher, more valuable species of freedom. Third, at its origin personal autonomy is not conceived individualistically; rather, on Rousseau's account, autonomy is achievable only if citizens surrender part of their status as individuals and think of their social membership as essential, not merely accidental, to who they are. Finally, Rousseau's conception of autonomy is distinct from the contemporary ideal of autonomy defined as judging or deciding for oneself (according to one's own reason). Nevertheless, there is an important sense in which autonomy as Rousseau conceives it also requires the developed capacity for independent, self-determined judgment. (shrink)
The thirty-three essays in <I>Relativism: A Contemporary Anthology</I> grapple with one of the most intriguing, enduring, and far-reaching philosophical problems of our age. Relativism comes in many varieties. It is often defined as the belief that truth, goodness, or beauty is relative to some context or reference frame, and that no absolute standards can adjudicate between competing reference frames. Michael Krausz's anthology captures the significance and range of relativistic doctrines, rehearsing their virtues and vices and reflecting on a spectrum of (...) attitudes. Invoking diverse philosophical orientations, these doctrines concern conceptions of relativism in relation to facts and conceptual schemes, realism and objectivity, universalism and foundationalism, solidarity and rationality, pluralism and moral relativism, and feminism and poststructuralism. Featuring nine original essays, the volume also includes many classic articles, making it a standard resource for students, scholars, and researchers. <B>Table of Contents:</B> Foreword by Alan Ryan Preface Introduction Michael Krausz <B>Part I. Orienting Relativism</B> 1. Mapping Relativisms Michael Krausz 2. A Brief History of Relativism Maria Baghramian <B>Part II. Relativism, Truth, and Knowledge</B> 3. Subjective, Objective, and Conceptual Relativisms Maurice Mandelbaum 4. “Just the Facts, Ma’am!” Nelson Goodman 5. Relativism in Philosophy of Science Nancy Cartwright 6. The Truth About Relativism Joseph Margolis 7. Making Sense of Relative Truth John MacFarlane 8. On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme Donald Davidson 9. Truth and Convention: On Davidson’s Refutation of Conceptual Relativism Hilary Putnam 10. Conceptual Schemes Simon Blackburn 11. Relativizing the Facts Paul A. Boghossian 12. Targets of Anti-Relativist Arguments Harvey Siegel 13. Realism and Relativism Akeel Bilgrami <B>Part III. Moral Relativism, Objectivity, and Reasons</B> 14. Moral Relativism Defended Gilbert Harman 15. The Truth in Relativism Bernard Williams 16. Pluralism and Ambivalence David B. Wong 17. The Relativity of Fact and the Objectivity of Value Catherine Z. Elgin 18. Senses of Moral Relativity David Wiggins 19. Ethical Relativism and the Problem of Incoherence David Lyons 20. Understanding Alien Morals Gopal Sreenivasan 21. Value: Realism and Objectivity Thomas Nagel 22. Intuitionism, Realism, Relativism, and Rhubarb Crispin Wright 23. Moral Relativism and Moral Realism Russ Schafer-Landau <B>Part IV. Relativism, Culture, and Understanding</B> 24. Anti Anti-Relativism Clifford Geertz 25. Solidarity or Objectivity? Richard Rorty 26. Relativism, Power, and Philosophy Alasdair MacIntyre 27. Internal Criticism and Indian Rationalist Traditions Martha C. Nussbaum and Amartya Sen 28. Phenomenological Rationality and the Overcoming of Relativism Jitendra N. Mohanty 29. Understanding and Ethnocentricity Charles Taylor 30. Relativism and Cross-Cultural Understanding Kwame Anthony Appiah 31. Relativism, Persons, and Practices Amélie Oksenberg Rorty 32. One What? Relativism and Poststructuralism David Couzens Hoy 33. Must a Feminist Be a Relativist After All? Lorraine Code List of Contributors Index. (shrink)
The seal of the a priori is imprinted on the reception of Kant's philosophy. Piaget's epistemological argumentation seems to ascribe knowledge a more fruitful constructiveness than Kant, seeing the a priori as rooted in unvarying reason. Yet, it seems, he failed to recognize the complexity of Kant's theory, which does not always follow a quid iuris line. Moments of experience, analysis and self-observation played more than a marginal role in his discovery of the a priori. Indeed, Kant himself raises the (...) question of ontogenetic category assimilation in a review which pre-empts Piaget, borrowing the category of `original acquisition' from the doctrine of the laws of natural right. And although Kant should not be elevated to the harbinger of the knowledge on development issues delivered thus far by the history of science and experiments, he did recognize the temporal reference of their categories in principle without resolving their validity in psychogenetic terms. Key Words: a priori categories genetic epistemology Geneva School neo-Kantianism original acquisition Jean Piaget psychogenesis self-observation. (shrink)
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.
The kind of phenomenology that can be useful to theology will be a hermeneutical phenomenology, one that takes us beyond the Cartesian/Husserlian ideal of presuppositionless intuition. It will also be a phenomenology of inverse intentionality, one in which the constituting subject is constituted by the look and the voice of another. In light of these suggestions, the phenomenology of Jean-Luc Marion is defended against three critiques, namely that it compromises the boundary between phenomenology and theology, that the theology it (...) serves is a bad one to boot, and that it has an inadequate account of the subject. At the heart of this defense is Marion's clear distinction between phenomenology as a description of possible experience, and theology as the claim that a certain kind of experience, namely revelation or epiphany, is not merely actual but veridical. Phenomenology says, If revelation occurs it will be in the form of a saturated phenomenon. Theology says, for example, the burning bush was an epiphany, or Jesus Christ is a revelation. The attentive reader should have no trouble distinguishing Marion's phenomenological analyses, which should be persuasive to believer and unbeliever alike, from his theological claims. Marion's account of the subject falls under the heading of inverse intentionality, and there are hints that vision is aufgehoben in the voice. The seer is first of all the one seen, but above all the one addressed, called forth into response-able being. (shrink)
A challenger of traditions and boundaries A pivotal figure in 20th-century philosophy, Nelson Goodman has made seminal contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, and the philosophy of language, with surprising connections that cut across traditional boundaries. In the early 1950s, Goodman, Quine, and White published a series of papers that threatened to torpedo fundamental assumptions of traditional philosophy. They advocated repudiating analyticity, necessity, and prior assumptions. Some philosophers, realizing the seismic effects repudiation would cause, argued that philosophy should retain (...) the familiar framework. Others considered the arguments compelling, but despaired of doing philosophy without the framework. Goodman disagreed with both factions. Rather than regretting the loss of structure, he capitalized on the opportunities that arise when the strictures of tradition are loosened. (shrink)
This paper concerns Alan Turing’s ideas about machines, mathematical methods of proof, and intelligence. By the late 1930s, Kurt Gödel and other logicians, including Turing himself, had shown that no finite set of rules could be used to generate all true mathematical statements. Yet according to Turing, there was no upper bound to the number of mathematical truths provable by intelligent human beings, for they could invent new rules and methods of proof. So, the output of a human mathematician, (...) for Turing, was not a computable sequence (i.e., one that could be generated by a Turing machine). Since computers only contained a finite number of instructions (or programs), one might argue, they could not reproduce human intelligence. Turing called this the “mathematical objection” to his view that machines can think. Logico-mathematical reasons, stemming from his own work, helped to convince Turing that it should be possible to reproduce human intelligence, and eventually compete with it, by developing the appropriate kind of digital computer. He felt it should be possible to program a computer so that it could learn or discover new rules, overcoming the limitations imposed by the incompleteness and undecidability results in the same way that human mathematicians presumably do. (shrink)
In his, ‘Descartes' Ontology of Thought’, AlanNelson presents, on Descartes' behalf, a compositional theory of mental representation according to which the content of any mental representation is either simple or is entirely constituted by a combination of innate simples. Here the simples are our ideas of God, thought, extension, and union. My objection will be that it is simply ludicrous to think that any four simples are adequate to the task of combining to constitute all of human (...) thought, and that the simples God, thought, extension, and union are particularly ill suited to it. (shrink)
Alan Shewmons article, The brain and somatic integration: Insights into the standard biological rationale for equating brain death with death (2001), strikes at the heart of the standard justification for whole brain death criteria. The standard justification, which I call the standard paradigm, holds that the permanent loss of the functions of the entire brain marks the end of the integrative unity of the body. In my response to Shewmons article, I first offer a brief summary of the standard (...) paradigm and cite recent work by advocates of whole brain criteria who tenaciously cling to the standard paradigm despite increasing evidence showing that it has significant weaknesses. Second, I address Shewmons case against the standard paradigm, arguing that he is successful in showing that whole brain dead patients have integrated organic unity. Finally, I discuss some minor problems with Shewmons article, along with suggestions for further elaboration. (shrink)
Rousseau's general will is mostly interpreted as promoting social unity at the expense of plurality. Conversely, this article argues that the general will depends on, and preserves, plurality for its formation and legitimacy. The general and the particular are not fixed opposites, for Rousseau, but are interdependent and contextually defined. The Rousseauian universal anticipates Laclau's notion of universality. The absence of any natural foundations for society deprives the universal of any pre-given identity. Likewise, the Laclauian universal names the lack of (...) ultimate ground for society. To prevent either sectarianism or despotism, the universal has to be constructed politically. Rousseau's contingent general will supplements the lack of universality, as diverse groups and individuals construct common values and political objectives that unify them across divisions without suppressing their difference. Due to its originary lack, the general will remains for ever incomplete. That incompleteness conditions the questioning, ambiguity and openness to change characterizing democracy. Key Words: democracy • equality • freedom • general will • Ernesto Laclau • particular • plurality • Jean-Jacques Rousseau • sovereignty • universal. (shrink)
Alan Gewirth's Reason and Morality , in which he set forth the Principle of Generic Consistency, is a major work of modern ethical theory that, though much debated and highly respected, has yet to gain full acceptance. Deryck Beyleveld contends that this resistance stems from misunderstanding of the method and logical operations of Gewirth's central argument. In this book Beyleveld seeks to remedy this deficiency. His rigorous reconstruction of Gewirth's argument gives its various parts their most compelling formulation and (...) clarifies its essential logical structure. Beyleveld then classifies all the criticisms that Gewirth's argument has received and measures them against his reconstruction of the argument. The overall result is an immensely rich picture of the argument, in which all of its complex issues and key moves are clearly displayed and its validity can finally be discerned. The comprehensiveness of Beyleveld's treatment provides ready access to the entire debate surrounding the foundational argument of Reason and Morality . It will be required reading for all who are interested in Gewirth's theory and deontological ethics and will be of central importance to moral and legal theorists. (shrink)
In chapter 8 of Miller 2003, I argued against the idea that Jackson and Pettit's notion of program explanation might help Sturgeon's non-reductive naturalist version of moral realism respond to the explanatory challenge posed by Harman. In a recent paper in the AJP[Nelson 2006, Mark Nelson has attempted to defend the idea that program explanation might prove useful to Sturgeon in replying to Harman. In this note, I suggest that Nelson's argument fails.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau remains an important figure in the history of philosophy, both because of his contributions to political philosophy and moral psychology and because of his influence on later thinkers. Rousseau's own view of philosophy and philosophers was firmly negative, seeing philosophers as the post-hoc rationalizers of self-interest, as apologists for various forms of tyranny, and as playing a role in the alienation of the modern individual from humanity's natural impulse to compassion. The concern that dominates Rousseau's work is (...) to find a way of preserving human freedom in a world where human beings are increasingly dependent on one another for the satisfaction of their needs. This concern has two dimensions: material and psychological, of which the latter has greater importance. In the modern world, human beings come to derive their very sense of self from the opinion of others, a fact which Rousseau sees as corrosive of freedom and destructive of individual authenticity. In his mature work, he principally explores two routes to achieving and protecting freedom: the first is a political one aimed at constructing political institutions that allow for the co-existence of free and equal citizens in a community where they themselves are sovereign; the second is a project for child development and education that fosters autonomy and avoids the development of the most destructive forms of self-interest. However, though Rousseau believes the co-existence of human beings in relations of equality and freedom is possible, he is consistently and overwhelmingly pessimistic that humanity will escape from a dystopia of alienation, oppression, and unfreedom. In addition to his contributions to philosophy, Rousseau was active as a composer and a music theorist, as the pioneer of modern.. (shrink)
In this expository article one of the contributions of Jean Cavailles to the philosophy of mathematics is presented: the analysis of ‘mathematical experience’. The place of Cavailles on the logico-philosophical scene of the 30s and 40s is sketched. I propose a partial interpretation of Cavailles's epistemological program of so-called ‘conceptual dialectics’: mathematical holism, duality principles, the notion of formal contents, and the specific temporal structure of conceptual dynamics. The structure of mathematical abstraction is analysed in terms of its complementary (...) dimensions: paradigmatic generalization (domain extension, descriptive definitions, creative role of the symbolism...) and thematic reflexivity of concepts (promotion of operations to objects of a higher type). (shrink)
By combining some technical results from metamathematicalinvestigations of systems of Bounded Arithmetic, I will givean argument for the untenability of Nelson's finitistic program,encapsulated in his book Predicative Arithmetic.
Jean Baudrillard is one of the most famous and controversial of writers on postmodernism. But what are his key ideas? Where did they come from and why are they important? This book offers a beginner's guide to Baudrillard's thought, including his views on technology, primitivism, reworking Marxism, simulation and the hyperreal, and America and postmodernism. Richard Lane places Baudrillard's ideas in the contexts of the French and postmodern thought and examines the ongoing impact of his work. Concluding with an (...) extensively annotated bibliography of the thinker's own texts, this is the perfect companion for any student approaching the work of Jean Baudrillard. (shrink)
D. Alan Shewmon has advanced a well-documented challenge to the widely accepted total brain death criterion for death of the human being. We show that Shewmon's argument against this criterion is unsound, though he does refute the standard argument for that criterion. We advance a distinct argument for the total brain death criterion and answer likely objections. Since human beings are rational animals – sentient organisms of a specific type – the loss of the radical capacity for sentience (the (...) capacity to sense or to develop the capacity to sense) involves a substantial change, the passing away of the human organism. In human beings total brain death involves the complete loss of the radical capacity for sentience, and so in human beings total brain death is death. (shrink)
In this paper I attempt to capture the essence of Nelson Pike’s contribution to the philosophy of religion. My summary of his insights will revolve around three general topics: omniscience (and in particular its relation to human freedom), omnipotence (and in particular its relation to the existence of human suffering), and mysticism (with a focus on the question of whether and in what sense mystic visions can be sources of knowledge). Although the details vary in interesting ways, his work (...) on these topics largely consists of recognizing an important challenge to the viability of the relevant doctrine or framework, sharpening that challenge by presenting it in a more forceful way, and then offering and assessing potential responses. Pike’s writings are characterized by exemplary rigor and relentless clarity, and together they constitute a rich (and under-appreciated) source of insight. (shrink)
The systematic philosophical foundation for Jean-François Lyotard's postmodern and post-Marxist politics is described. The central principle of the right to create different "phrases" is uncovered and examined. The political consequences of this philosophical system are explored, leading to the conclusion that Lyotard's commitment to difference leads to political indifference. The philosophical roots of this indifference are detailed in Lyotard's Cartesian starting point and his analysis of Holocaust revisionism. This analysis reveals an idealist basis to Lyotard's philosophy of difference. Lyotard's (...) concept of difference is compared to that of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. (shrink)
Using the philosophy of Jean-Luc Nancy as an anchoring point, Jacques Derrida in this book conducts a profound review of the philosophy of the sense of touch, from Plato and Aristotle to Jean-Luc Nancy, whose ground-breaking book Corpus he discusses in detail. Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Edmund Husserl, Didier Franck, Martin Heidegger, Francoise Dastur, and Jean-Louis Chre;tien are discussed, as are Rene; Descartes, Diderot, Maine de Biran, Fe;lix Ravaisson, Immanuel Kant, Sigmund Freud, and others. The scope of (...) Derrida’s deliberations makes this book a virtual encyclopedia of the philosophy of touch (and the body). Derrida gives special consideration to the thinking of touch in Christianity and, in discussing Jean-Luc Nancy’s essay “Deconstruction of Christianity,” devotes a section of the book to the sense of touch in the Gospels. Another section concentrates on “the flesh,” as treated by Merleau-Ponty and others in his wake. Derrida’s critique of intuitionism, notably in the phenomenological tradition, is one of the guiding threads of the book. On Touching includes a wealth of notes that provide an extremely useful bibliographical resource. Personal and detached all at once, this book, one of the first published in English translation after Jacques Derrida’s death, serves as a useful and poignant retrospective on the work of the philosopher. A tribute by Jean-Luc Nancy, written a day after Jacques Derrida’s death, is an added feature. (shrink)
As is well known, Alan Turing drew a line, embodied in the "Turing test," between intellectual and physical abilities, and hence between cognitive and natural sciences. Less familiarly, he proposed that one way to produce a "passer" would be to educate a "child machine," equating the experimenter's improvements in the initial structure of the child machine with genetic mutations, while supposing that the experimenter might achieve improvements more expeditiously than natural selection. On the other hand, in his foundational "On (...) the chemical basis of morphogenesis," Turing insisted that biological explanation clearly confine itself to purely physical and chemical means, eschewing vitalist and teleological talk entirely and hewing to D'Arcy Thompson's line that "evolutionary 'explanations,'" are historical and narrative in character, employing the same intentional and teleological vocabulary we use in doing human history, and hence, while perhaps on occasion of heuristic value, are not part of biology as a natural science. To apply Turing's program to recent issues, the attempt to give foundations to the social and cognitive sciences in the "real science" of evolutionary biology (as opposed to Turing's biology) is neither to give foundations, nor to achieve the unification of the social/cognitive sciences and the natural sciences. (shrink)
The following is a reflection on the possibility of teaching by example, and especially as the idea of teaching by example is developed in the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. My thesis is that Rousseau created a literary version of himself in his writings as an embodiment of his philosophy, rather in the same way and with the same purpose that Plato created a version of Socrates. This figure of Rousseau—a sort of philosophical portrait of the man of nature—is represented (...) as an example for us to follow. This would appear to have been dangerous and destabilizing work, given the mental distress that it caused Rousseau in striving to live up to his fictional self. Rousseau's own ideas on the nature of teaching by example are presented in a discussion of the section in ‘Emile’ which Rousseau takes from an incident in his own life—the story of his meeting with a young Savoyard priest who befriended him and influenced him through the power of his example. (shrink)
I live just off of Bell Road outside of Newburgh, Indiana, a small town of 3,000 people. A mile down the street Bell Road intersects with Telephone Road not as a modern reminder of a technology belonging to bygone days, but as testimony that this technology, now more than a century and a quarter old, is still with us. In an age that prides itself on its digital devices and in which the computer now equals the telephone as a medium (...) of communication, it is easy to forget the debt we owe to an era that industrialized the flow of information, that the light bulb, to pick a singular example, which is useful for upgrading visual information we might otherwise overlook, nonetheless remains the most prevalent of all modern day information technologies. Edison’s light bulb, of course, belongs to a different order of informational devices than the computer, but not so the telephone, not entirely anyway. Alan Turing, best known for his work on the Theory of Computation (1937), the Turing Machine (also 1937) and the Turing Test (1950), is often credited with being the father of computer science and the father of artificial intelligence. Less well-known to the casual reader but equally important is his work in computer engineering. The following lecture on the Automatic Computing Engine, or ACE, shows Turing in this different light, as a mechanist concerned with getting the greatest computational power from minimal hardware resources. Yet Turing’s work on mechanisms is often eclipsed by his thoughts on computability and his other theoretical interests. This is unfortunate for several reasons, one being that it obscures our picture of the historical trajectory of information technology, a second that it emphasizes a false dichotomy between “hardware” and “software” to which Turing himself did not ascribe but which has, nonetheless, confused researchers who study the nature of mind and intelligence for generations.. (shrink)
`The first and only book to explore, at once, the field of my work and its limits, with both the intimacy and distance required: doubling and shadowing. It gives me great pleasure to find something that, beyond commentary, sees what I see and at the same time what I am unable to see' - Jean Baudrillard Baudrillard is a controversial figure. His work tends to fascinate and infuriate readers in equal numbers. Yet there is no doubting his importance to (...) the key debates in culture and theory of the last ten years. A prolific author, readers sometimes find it difficult to tease out the consistencies in Baudrillard's arguments. This book seeks to redress the balance. It aims to go beyond his writings on consumer objects, the Gulf War and America, to identify the fundamental logic that underpins his writings. It does this through a series of close readings of his main texts, paying particular attention to the form and internal coherence of his arguments. The book contends that, just as Baudrillard himself grapples with the problems of how to criticize self-defining systems, so we cannot simply hold Baudrillard up against external standards but must seek to judge him on his own terms. Jean Baudrillard: A Defence of the Real will be an indispensable text for all those interested in social theory who want a general introduction to Baudrillard's work. (shrink)
This text begins by considering the phrase ‘digital haptology’ as suggested by the closing pages of Derrida's Le Toucher. It suggests that this moment in telecommunications presents a model of ‘tele-haptology’. The text goes on to consider Jean-Luc Nancy's ‘Noli me tangere’ as a response to Le Toucher. In particular it is concerned with Nancy's hypothesis on Modern literature and art as having an essential link to the gospel parables. Through a reading of Nancy's text and the gospels, this (...) hypothesis is placed in doubt. Notably, the argument is made that once again Nancy's discourse on touching leads him to make a too hasty fore-closure of otherness within his intended deconstruction of reading and his account of Mary Magdalene. In response to Nancy's formulation of literature as parable, an alternative consideration of literature as tele-haptology is proposed. (shrink)
It is commonly recognized that Jean-Luc Nancy’s efforts to elaborate a conception of ‘the political’ are based upon Heidegger’s thinking of die Tecknik , even as they seek to overcome the difficulties that beset Heidegger’s own politics. But few have noted that Nancy also seeks to critically engage Carl Schmitt’s conception of das Politische , according to which there is a metaphysical and practical need for a sovereign decision on friends and enemies if effective political community and law are (...) to be possible. This article argues that recognizing that Nancy seeks to overcome Schmitt’s conception of the political throws into high relief his failure to address the actual subject matter of politics. In the end, Nancy remains too metaphysical to engage with the political. (shrink)
Jean-Guillaume-César-Alexandre-Hippolyte de Colins (1783-1859), a Belgian baron who lived mainly in Paris, sought to develop a position—rational socialism—intermediate between the extremes of full capitalism (with only private property) and full communism (with only collective property). All persons fully own themselves and the artifactual wealth that they produce, and they are entitled to an equal share of the natural resources and of the assets inherited from previous generations. Gifts and bequests are to be subject to heavy taxation (although at less (...) than 100% of their value, for efficiency reasons). Natural resources are subject to a rent-tax. A warning about the following reading: Colins writes in many places as if he held that an unrestricted right to make gifts and bequests is both necessary for efficient social functioning and required by justice. His ultimate view, however, is that efficient social functioning requires only some kind of weak (partially restricted) right to make gifts and bequest, and that justice does not require any such right. More specifically, he holds that justice requires that gifts and bequests be taxed as much as compatible with efficient social functioning. (shrink)
This paper examines Jean-Luc Nancy's interpretation of Hegel, focusing in particular on The Restlessness of the Negative. It is argued that Nancy's reading represents a significant break with other post-structuralist readings of Hegel by taking his thought to be non-metaphysical. The paper focuses in particular on the role Nancy gives to the negative in Hegel's thought. Ultimately Nancy's reading is limited as an interpretation of Hegel, since he gives no sustained explanation of the self-correcting function of reason.
My favorite poststructuralist is Gilles Deleuze (with or without Guattari). I like to think that he was really writing an elaborate series of works of science fiction, in a non-fictional format (much as Stanislaw Lem did in Imaginary Magnitude and A Perfect Vacuum ), only without letting anyone in on the joke. Partly this is because there are moments where what he says is almost right (such as the definition of "relation" he gives in his interview with Claire Parnet, where (...) he visibly reaches for, but can't quite grasp, the notion of a set of ordered pairs), much as many science fiction writers get things almost right. That, plus the fact that he was obviously channeling La Mettrie, which seems to have escaped many people. (shrink)
This article explores how Jean-Luc Nancy attempts to gain critical traction on Christianity by proscribing thinking of completion. First, it describes Nancy's deconstruction of Christianity as stemming from his aesthetic redirection of Heidegger's thinking of finitude. Second, it further details Nancy's noetic declension of Heidegger via Kant and Lyotard, where the imagination and aesthetic communication are deemed impossible. Third, it examines Nancy's treatment of paintings of the Virgin Mary who, for Nancy, exemplifies his brand of incompletion. Nancy's work on (...) Mary reveals both the oversights and the insights of his deconstruction of Christianity, which Catholic theology should seriously engage. (shrink)
Englantilaisen yleisneron Alan Turingin kuoleman yllä lepää salaperäisyyden verho. On hyvin mahdollista, ettei kenenkään muun nykyajan ajattelijan kuolemaan liity yhtä paljon legendoja ja spekulaatioita. Kiistattomat tosiasiat ovat lyhykäisyydessään seuraavat: siivooja löysi Turingin kotoaan kuolleena 8. kesäkuuta 1954. Turingin todettiin kuolleen edellisenä iltana syanidimyrkytykseen, ja hänen viereltään löytyi puoliksi syöty omena. Hän oli kuollessaan 41-vuotias. Loppu on enemmän tai vähemmän arvailujen varassa.
Is Jean-Paul Sartre to be credited for Richard Wright's existentialist leanings? This essay argues that while there have been noteworthy philosophical exchanges between Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Richard Wright, we can find evidence of Wright's philosophical and existential leanings before his interactions with Sartre and Beauvoir. In particular, Wright's short story "The Man Who Lived Underground" is analyzed as an existential, or Black existential, project that is published before Wright met Sartre and/or read his scholarship. Existentialist (...) themes that emerge from Wright's short story include flight, guilt, life, death, dread, and freedom. Additionally, it is argued that "The Man Who Lived Underground" offers a reversal of the prototypical allegory of the cave that we find in the Western (ancient Greek) philosophical tradition. The essay takes seriously the significance of the intellectual exchanges between Sartre, Beauvoir, and Wright while also highlighting Wright's own philosophical legacy. (shrink)