In this paper I show how modern democratic states are likely to be inimical to traditional liberal education. Drawing on theoretical considerations and recent history I show how any attempt to promote traditional educational values through state interventions, such as national curricula or state regulation, is bound to be illusory. The preservation of liberal education will best be served by the wholesale removal of education from the progressive state and its bureaucracies.
This collection brings together the primary assessments of and reactions to the work and abiding influence of this revolutionary thinker, as well as the controversy he caused across many academic and political fields. The set includes early responses to Popper's work from sources difficult to obtain, and also two early reviews (by Carnap and Grelling) in translations specially prepared for this set. It is organized thematically, and includes a substantial new introduction by the editor.
Although this collection of articles is not formally a commentary on Elizabeth Anscombe's famous article of the same title, in which she criticized the moral philosophy prevalent in 1958, a number of the contributors consider Anscombe's work as a starting point. The collection can be interpreted as a demonstration of the extent to which moral philosophers have since attempted to respond to Anscombe's challenge, and to develop an approach to their subject which is neither based on divine law nor permissive (...) of the impermissible. (shrink)
In this controversial new book O'Hear takes a stand against the fashion for explaining human behavior in terms of evolution. He contends that while the theory of evolution is successful in explaining the development of the natural world in general, it is of limited value when applied to the human world. Because of our reflectiveness and our rationality we take on goals and ideals which cannot be justified in terms of survival-promotion or reproductive advantage. O'Hear examines the nature of human (...) self-consciousness, and argues that evolutionary theory cannot give a satisfactory account of such distinctive facets of human life as the quest for knowledge, moral sense, and the appreciation of beauty; in these we transcend our biological origins. It is our rationality that allows each of us to go beyond not only our biological but also our cultural inheritance: as the author says in the Preface, "we are prisoners neither of our genes nor of the ideas we encounter as we each make our personal and individual way through life.". (shrink)
Abstract The theory of evolution justifies neither optimistic nor pessimistic inferences regarding human knowledge. Darwinian accounts of knowledge would show the adaptive virtues of beliefs, but this is independent logically and practically of their truth. But equally, considerations derived from evolution should not support a downgrading of the manifest image in favour of the scientific image. As embodied beings our first and most certain interactions with the world are and must remain those of everyday life.
In Consciousness Explained, Dennett systematically deconstructs the notion of consciousness, emptying it of its central and essential features. He fails to recognize the self?intimating nature of experience, in effect reducing experiences to reports or judgments that so?and?so is the case. His information?processing model of meaning is unable to account for semantics, the way in which speakers and hearers relate strings of symbols to the world. This ability derives ultimately from our animal nature as experiencers, though culturally supplemented in various ways. (...) But Dennett, while successful in rebutting Cartesianism about the mind, fails to take into account our natural history. He claims descent from Wittgenstein in his philosophy of mind, but he shows awareness only of Wittgensteinian's demolition of the private object of experience and overlooks the equally Wittgensteinian theme of humans as products of nature. (shrink)
This balanced and up-to-date introduction to the philosophy of science covers all the main topics in the area, and initiates the student into the moral and social reality of science. O'Hear discusses the growth of knowledge of science, the status of scientific theories and their relationship to observational data, the extent to which scientific theories rest on unprovable paradigms, and the nature of scientific explanations. In later chapters he considers probability, scientific reductionism, the relationship between science and technology, and the (...) relationship between scientific and other values. (shrink)