Sight and Embodiment in the Middle Ages breaks new ground by bringing postmodern writings on vision and embodiment into dialogue with medieval texts and images: an interdisciplinary strategy that illuminates and complicates both cultures. This is an invaluable reference work for anyone interested in the history and theory of visuality, and it is essential reading or scholars of art, science, or spirituality in the medieval period.
An integrated overview of history The volume in this series are arranged topically to cover biography, literature, doctrines, practices, institutions, worship, missions, and daily life. Archaeology and art as well as writings are drawn on to illuminate the Christian movement in its early centuries. Ample attention is also given to the relation of Christianity to pagan thought and life, to the Roman state, to Judaism, and to doctrines and practices that came to be judged as heretical or (...) schismatic. Introductions to each volume tie the articles together for an integrated understanding of the history. Offers insights and understanding The aim of the collection is to give balanced and comprehensive coverage, selected on the basis of the following criteria: original and excellent research and writing; subject matter of use to teachers and students; groundbreaking importance for the history of research; background information for issues and opinions. Understanding the development of early Christianity and its impact on Western history and thought offers valuable insights into the modern world and the present state of Christiantiy. It also provides perspective on comparable developments in other periods of history and reveals human nature in its religious dimension. (shrink)
Recent historiography of 19th century biology supports the revision of two traditional doctrines about the history of biology. First, the most important and widespread biological debate around the time of Darwin was not evolution versus creation, but biological functionalism versus structuralism. Second, the idealist and typological structuralist theories of the time were not particularly anti-evolutionary. Typological theories provided argumentation and evidence that was crucial to the refutation of Natural Theological creationism. The contrast between functionalist and structuralist approaches to (...) biology continues today, and the historical misunderstanding of 19th century typological biology may be one of its effects. This historical case can shed light on current controversies regarding the relevance of developmental biology to evolution. (shrink)
Over 700,000 copies of the original hardcover and paperback editions of this stunningly popular book have been sold. Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical (...) philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume. (shrink)
Despite the problematic political positions he adopted during his life span, the work of Carl Schmitt contains a fascinating argument in favour of `the political', which is understood as a plural symbolic space composed of friends and enemies who reciprocally recognise each other. Schmitt's struggle for the political is a struggle for a public spirit which accounts for this plurality. One of the terrains on which Schmitt wages this struggle is that of historical meaning. The image of history is (...) crucial for the political, as it is one level on which the relation between enemies is symbolised. In this paper, Schmitt's polemic for a political conception of history, which gives the enemy and the defeated their due place as political subjects, will be reconstructed. Central to Schmitt's endeavour is the attempt to think historical singularity, against the notion of repetition in history, against the understanding of history as a reservoir of `lessons' and against ideologies of progress. Through his polemic, a profane and sober image of history appears which stresses singularity, relative contingency and openness, and the pluralisation of social temporalities. The enigmatic notion of the katechon will play a crucial role in providing a very minimal but crucial form of historical meaning for such a political conception of history. (shrink)
In the move to critique managed care, the essential principles that first made it a reasonable alternative to fee-for-service medicine can easily be lost. Careful reflection on the history of early grassroots movements that created managed care, and on selected textual narratives of the founders of the managed care organizations at their inception, offers us insight into which of the critical premises and goals of that effort might be reclaimed as we analyze the current managed care environment.
In this book, award-winning historian of religion Paula Fredriksen tells the surprising story of early Christian concepts of sin, exploring the ways that sin came to shape ideas about God no less than about humanity.
This paper uses analogies between Socratic and Wittgenseinian dialogues to argue that analytic philosophy of history should not be abandoned. -/- In their responses to my paper ‘In Defence of Four Socratic Doctrines’ James Warren and John Shand raised a number of important methodological objections, relating to the study of the history of philosophy. I here respond by questioning the supremacy of contextualist history of philosophy over the so-called ‘analytic’ approach. I conclude that the history (...) of ideas had better leave space for both approaches, and that it is a mistake to think of each as being in competition with the other. (shrink)
Historians often feel that standard philosophical doctrines about the nature and development of science are not adequate for representing the real history of science. However, when philosophers of science fail to make sense of certain historical events, it is also possible that there is something wrong with the standard historical descriptions of those events, precluding any sensible explanation. If so, philosophical failure can be useful as a guide for improving historiography, and this constitutes a significant mode of productive (...) interaction between the history and the philosophy of science. I illustrate this methodological claim through the case of the Chemical Revolution. I argue that no standard philosophical theory of scientific method can explain why European chemists made a sudden and nearly unanimous switch of allegiance from the phlogiston theory to Lavoisier's theory. A careful re-examination of the history reveals that the shift was neither so quick nor so unanimous as imagined even by many historians. In closing I offer brief reflections on how best to explain the general drift toward Lavoisier's theory that did take place. (shrink)
Abstract This paper argues that history of economics has a fruitful, underappreciated role to play in the development of economics, especially when understood as a policy science. This goes against the grain of the last half century during which economics, which has undergone a formal revolution, has distanced itself from its `literary' past and practices precisely with the aim to be a more successful policy science. The paper motivates the thesis by identifying and distinguishing four kinds of reflexivity in (...) economics. The main thesis of this paper is that because these forms of reflexivity are not eliminable, the history of economics must play a constitutive role in economics (and graduate education within economics). An assumption that I clarify in this paper is that the history of economics ought to be part of the subject matter studied by economics when they are interested in policy science. Even if one does not accept the conclusion, the fourfold classification of reflexivity might hold independent interest. The paper is divided in two parts. First, by reflecting on the writings of George Stigler, Paul Samuelson, George and Milton Friedman, I offer a stylized historical introduction to and conceptualization of the themes of this paper. In particular, I identify various historically influential arguments and strategies that reduced the role of history of economics within the economics discipline. In it I also canvass six arguments that try to capture the cost to economics (understood as a science) for sidelining the history of economics from within the discipline. A sub-text of the introduction is that for contingent reasons, post World War II economics evolved into a policy science. Second, by drawing on the work of Kenneth Boulding, in particular, George Soros, Thomas Merton, Gordon Tullock, I distinguish between four species of reflexivity. These are used to then strengthen the argument for the constitutive role of the history of economics within the economics profession. In particular, I argue that so-called Kuhn-losses are especially pernicious when faced with policy choices under so-called Knightian uncertainty. (shrink)
Systematic entomology flourished as a branch of Natural History from the 1750s to the end of the nineteenth century. During this interval, the “era of Heroic Entomology,” the majority of workers in the field were dedicated amateurs. This article traces the demographic and occupational shifts in entomology through this 150-year interval and into the early twentieth century. The survey is based on entomologists who studied beetles (Coleoptera), and who named sufficient numbers of species to have their own names abbreviated (...) by subsequent taxonomists. In the eighteenth century, 27 entomologists achieved this level of prominence, of whom 37% were academics, 19% were doctors, 11% had private incomes, 19% were clergymen, and 8% were government officials. Many of those with private incomes were members of the European aristocracy, and all but one were European men. The nineteenth century list included 192 entomologists, of whom 17% were academics, 16% were museum curators, 2% were school teachers, 15% were doctors, 6% were military men, 7% were merchants, 2% were government entomologists, 6% had private incomes, 5% were clergymen, 5% were government officials, and 4% were lawyers. The demographics of entomology shifted dramatically in the nineteenth century. Whereas many of the noteworthy entomologists of the eighteenth century were German, Swedish, or French, in the nineteenth century, many more European countries are represented, and almost one-fifth of the noteworthy entomologists were from the United States. The nineteenth century list, like the eighteenth century list, contains no women. By the twentieth century, 63% of 178 noteworthy systematic entomologists were paid professionals, teaching entomology courses in universities, or studying insect taxonomy in museums and government-sponsored laboratories. Only one person on the twentieth century list had a private income, but women (ten individuals) were included on the list for the first time. (shrink)
There are a large number of disciplines that are interested in the theoretical aspects of the history of thought. Their perspectives and subjects may vary, but fundamentally they have a common research interest: the history of human thinking and its products. Despite this, they are studied in relative isolation. I argue that having different subjects as specific objects of research, such as political or scientific thinking, is not a valid justification for the separation. I propose the formation of (...) a new integrated field of study, the philosophy of the history of thought. Its most fundamental questions can be taken to be: 1) What is the basic theoretical unit in the history of thought? 2) How does change take place and how can it be described? 3) What kind of reasons are there for change? Why is there a change in a particular case? The existing confusions around the commitments and basic vocabulary used in contemporary historiography makes the establishment of this field important. Recognizing that there is such a discipline is necessary in order to enable concentration on the fundamental theoretical issues. It is likely that progress on theoretical questions and better awareness of the implicit commitments would have a positive impact on historical practice. (shrink)
Abstract Contrary to most modern interpretations, in the early modern period, history was an indispensable resource for many philosophers. The different uses of history by Bacon, Gassendi, Locke, and Hume are explored to establish the role of history as a resource in early-modern philosophy.
Although first published in 1969, the methodological views advanced in Quentin Skinner's “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” remain relevant today. In his article Skinner suggests that it would be inappropriate to even attempt to write the history of any idea or concept. In support of this view, Skinner advances two arguments, one derived from the philosophy of the later Wittgenstein and the other from that of J. L. Austin. In this paper I focus on the (...) first of these arguments. I claim that the conclusion which Skinner draws from this particular argument does not necessarily follow and that an alternative assessment of the methodological significance of Wittgenstein's philosophy for historians of ideas is possible. On this alternative view, far from ruling out conceptual history, an appeal to the view of meaning set out in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations leads to a quite different conclusion, namely that the writing of such a history is arguably a necessary precondition for the elucidation of the meaning of a number of the core concepts in the canon of the history of political thought. Skinner's views have changed somewhat since 1969. Indeed, from the mid 1970s onwards he came to relax the strict opposition to the idea of conceptual history to which he was then committed. The paper concludes by noting that this evolution in Skinner's thinking has made him much more sympathetic than anybody reading “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” would have imagined to the research project of the Begriffgeschichte School of conceptual history. (shrink)
Among many important claims, Allen Wood in Kant's Ethical ought proposes that Kant's philosophy of history can be grasped as a "naturalist" approach, grounding human nature in biology. I suggest some reservations. First, I question Kant's conception of biology as (a still emergent) science. Second, I question Kant's extension of his notion of "natural predisposition" to reason and freedom. Third, I question the naturalism of Kant's philosophy of history by suggesting the excessive role providence must play in Kant's (...) account. The upshot is to find Kant's philosophy of history one of the less persuasive elements in his system of thought, despite Wood's energetic effort at a contemporary reconstruction. (shrink)
The case often made by scientists (and philosophers) against history and the history of science in particular is clear. Insofar as a field of study is historical as opposed to law-based, it is trivial. Insofar as a field attends to the past of science as opposed to current scientific issues, its efforts are derivative and, by diverting attention from acquiring new knowledge, deplorable. This case would be devastating if true, but it has almost everything almost exactly wrong. The (...) study of history and the study of laws are not mutually exclusive, but unavoidably linked. Neither can be pursued without the other. Much the same can be said of the history of science. The history of science is neither a distraction from "real" science nor even merely a help to science. Rather, the history of science is an essential part of each science. Seeing that this is so requires a broader understanding of both history and science. (shrink)
Throughout the twentieth century calls to modernize natural history motivated a range of responses. It was unclear how research in natural history museums would participate in the significant technological and conceptual changes that were occurring in the life sciences. By the 1960s, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, was among the few university-based natural history museums that were able to maintain their specimen collections and support active research. The MVZ therefore provides a (...) window to the modernization of natural history. This paper concentrates on the directorial transitions that occurred at the MVZ between 1965 and 1971. During this period, the MVZ had four directors: Alden H. Miller (Director 1940–1965), an ornithologist; Aldo Starker Leopold (Acting Director 1965–1966), a conservationist and wildlife biologist; Oliver P. Pearson (Director 1966–1971), a physiologist and mammalogist; and David B. Wake (Director 1971–1998), a morphologist, developmental biologist, and herpetologist. The paper explores how a diversity of overlapping modernization strategies, including hiring new faculty, building infrastructure to study live animals, establishing new kinds of collections, and building modern laboratories combined to maintain collections at the MVZ’s core. The paper examines the tensions between the different modernization strategies to inform an analysis of how and why some changes were institutionalized while others were short-lived. By exploring the modernization of collections-based research, this paper emphasizes the importance of collections in the transformation of the life sciences. (shrink)
Abstract In this essay I trace the role of history in the philosophy of art from the early twentieth century to the present, beginning with the rejection of history by formalists like Clive Bell. I then attempt to show how the arguments of people like Morris Weitz and Arthur Danto led to a re-appreciation of history by philosophers of art such as Richard Wollheim, Jerrold Levinson, Robert Stecker and others.
From the time of our first communication, some thirty years ago, Fred Dallmayr and I have never ceased to disagree about key foundational issues in social and political theory. Our disagreements are not haphazard but consistent; they might be characterized roughly as stemming from the differences between his brand of hermeneutics and my brand of critical theory, or between his sources of inspiration in Hegel and Heidegger and my own in Kant and Habermas. But they are also “reasonable disagreements” that (...) allow for considerable “overlapping consensus” on both methodological and substantive issues. Thus we overlapped sufficiently on questions concerning the role of interpretive understanding in social inquiry to co-edit an anthology on that topic very early on.1 And I want to suggest here that we now overlap sufficiently on the idea of multicultural cosmopolitanism to make our ongoing conversation continually fruitful despite the persistent differences in our “comprehensive doctrines.” Those differences do entail, however, that we follow widely diverging paths before arriving in the same region of the political-theoretical world. And they likely also mean that we are relying on different maps of this region and of the roads leading beyond it as well. But I shall confine my remarks here to charting an alternative route to the sort of global and plural democracy that Dallmayr has set out in a series of recent works.2 It is a route that leads from Kant’s idea for a universal history from a cosmopolitan point of view, through Habermas’s conceptions of social evolution and a postnational constellation, to a sketch of multicultural cosmopolitanism that bears strong affinities to Dallmayr’s vision of “our world.” I Though the genre of universal history to which Kant gave exemplary expression was deeply implicated in colonial domination and exploitation, it cannot simply be discarded in favor of genealogical or other broadly deconstructive modes of historical.. (shrink)
In this paper, I show how the phenomenological and hermeneutic traditions and method converge on their treatment of the historical subject. Thinkers from both traditions claim that subjectivity is shaped by a historical worldview. Each tradition provides an account of how these worldviews are shaped, and thus how essentially historical subjective experience is molded. I argue that both traditions, although offering helpful ways of understanding the way history shapes subjectivity, go too far in their epistemic claims for the superiority (...) of subjective over positivist or academic history I propose that although the phenomenological/ hermeneutic approach to historical subjectivity is valuable for understanding both history and human nature, it cannot and ought not replace academic or what I will call ‘critical’ history. By showing the importance of historicity, and the force of historical consciousness on our actions, philosophers of history in these traditions expose the epistemic and perhaps even ethical requirement to engage in a rigorous critical history, one that recognizes the importance of historical consciousness. Such critical history is necessary to move beyond the subjective horizon of history as experienced to understand how events shaped this historical horizon. (shrink)
From a phenomenological perspective of game-space and horizon, this paper tries to make a deconstructive reading of Hegel's "two galleries", namely, "the gallery of opinions" and "the gallery of knowledge", which are mentioned in the introduction of Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy. The reading shows that the Game-space or the ab-gruendiger Grund of the Hegelian concept of philosophical history lies in an originally differencing space that is keeping in absence, which is called by Edmund Husserl and (...) Jacques Derrida "the gallery of Dresden". (shrink)