Van Gelder presents the distinction between dynamical systems and digital computers as the core issue of current developments in cognitive science. We think this distinction is much less important than a reassessment of cognition as a neurally, bodily, and environmentally embedded process. Embedded cognition lines up naturally with dynamical models, but it would also stand if combined with classic computation.
Hanoch Ben-Yami has argued that the theory of the semantics of natural kind terms proposed by Kripke and Putnam is false and has proposed an allegedly novel account of the semantics of kind terms. In this article, I critically examine Ben-Yami’s arguments. I will argue that Ben-Yami’s objections do not show that Kripke and Putnam’s theory is false, but at most that the specific versions of it held by Kripke and Putnam have some weaknesses. Moreover, I will argue that Ben-Yami’s (...) account is not a novel account but it is only an unsatisfactory version of Kripke and Putnam’s theory. (shrink)
This article describes the racial integration of Emory University and the subsequent creation of Pre-Start, an affirmative action program at Emory Law School from 1966 to 1972. It focuses on the initiative of the Dean of Emory Law School at the time, Ben F. Johnson, Jr. (1914-2006). Johnson played a number of leadership roles throughout his life, including successfully arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court while he was an Assistant Attorney General of Georgia, promoting legislation to create (...)Atlanta's subway system as a state senator, and representing Emory in its lawsuit to strike down the state statute that would have rescinded its tax exemption if it admitted African American students (Emory v. Nash, 218 Ga. 317 (Ga. 1962)). This account supplements my related article on Pre-Start, "'A Bulwark against Anarchy': Affirmative Action, Emory Law School, and Southern Self-Help" (SSRN abstract 1007006), providing more information about historical context generally, and particularly about Emory v. Nash. Johnson was ambitious for Emory as a whole, and particularly for the Law School, and he saw in segregation the single largest impediment to making Emory a nationally prominent research university. The story of Emory's integration, and Johnson's leadership, requires revision of the prevailing story of integration generally, and especially of universities. Integration at Emory came about because of the pressure that African Americans and their supporters created through the civil rights movement, but Emory administrators responded to such pressure more constructively than most (e.g., Universities of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Vanderbilt). Their actions provide an interesting case study in effective leadership during a period of significant moral and political conflict. (shrink)
This is a reply to H. Ben-Yami, 'Generalized quantifiers, and beyond' (this journal, 2009), where he argues that standard GQ theory does not explain why natural language quantifiers have a restricted domain of quantification. I argue, on the other hand, that although GQ theory gives no deep explanation of this fact, it does give a sort of explanation, whereas Ben-Yami's suggested alternative is no improvement.
It has long been considered that Arabic algebra scarcely left any traces in mathematical literature of Hebrew expression. Thanks to the unpublished sources we have discovered, and to an attentive examination of already-known texts, one can no longer subscribe to such a judgement. The evidence we examine in this first article sheds light on the circulation, in erudite Jewish circles, of Arabic algebraic knowledge in Spain, Italy, Provence, and Sicily, between the 12th and the 14th centuries. The Epistle on number (...) by the Castillian astronomer Isaac ben Salomon al-A[hudot]dab was written in Sicily at the end of the 14th century, and based on the Talkhi[sudot] a'mal al-[hudot]isab of Ibn al-Banna' (1256-1321). That part of the Epistle that is devoted to algebra follows the tradition of al-Karaji. It offers, for the first time in Hebrew, a rational presentation of arithmetical operations extended to algebraic expressions. (shrink)
Is Benjamin Franklin the old Dewey or the new Socrates? James Campbell embraces the view that he is the old Dewey, or, at least, following the late H.S. Thayer, a nascent pragmatist of a Deweyan stripe. Lorraine Pangle, among others, defends the view that Franklins thought and writings are distinctly Socratic. I would like to accomplish two objectives in this essay that might initially appear incompatible, one, to question the premise of the question and, two, to assume the premise's acceptability (...) for the sake of exploring the claim that pragmatism is quintessentially American, or as Colin Koopman puts it, a corollary to the experiment of American democracy. If indeed pragmatism has its roots in the American experience, then we would expect to find a heavy deposit of pragmatist ideas in America's formative experience, especially in the thinking of its Founders and revolutionaries, such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and John Adams, among others. While Franklins writings surely have philosophical significance, giving them a gloss based on the insights of other philosophical figures, such as John Dewey and Socrates, means reconstructing them for other purposes, and thus risks distortion by reading them through a foreign filter, what I call the filtering strategy. Still, if we accept the premise that this American founder possesses philosophical credentials that would make him resemble one figure more than the other, greater evidence can be found to support the conclusion that Franklin is the old Dewey, rather than the new Socrates. The upshot of this thesis is that the claim that pragmatism is quintessentially American gets off the ground. Furthermore, this claim has the resources to withstand a familiar criticism, namely, that pragmatism reflects philosophically shallow American values, such as practical know how, pioneer like ingenuity and the capitalist spirit. (shrink)
Was Benjamin Franklin the old John Dewey or the new Socrates? While this might strike the reader as an absurd question, scholars have supplied plausible answers. James Campbell takes the position that he was the old Dewey—or, at least, a nascent Deweyan pragmatist. Franklin biographer Walter Isaacson agrees, claiming that Franklin "laid the foundation for the most influential of America's homegrown philosophies, pragmatism" (491). Lorraine Pangle, on the other hand, defends the view that Franklin's thought and writings were distinctly Socratic. (...) I would like to accomplish two objectives in this article that might initially appear incompatible: one, to doubt whether the question is a good one and, two, to assume the .. (shrink)
According to John Maynard Keynes, great intellectual and cultural movements frequently trace back to thinkers who worked in obscurity and are now long forgotten. Of course, the converse also holds. Great intellectual and cultural movements are often also associated with thinkers who worked in the public eye and remain wildly popular. Some thinkers are both famous and influential. Others are only influential.