Robert Stern investigates how scepticism can be countered by using transcendental arguments concerning the necessary conditions for the possibility of experience, language, or thought. He shows that the most damaging sceptical questions concern neither the certainty of our beliefs nor the reliability of our belief-forming methods, but rather how we can justify our beliefs.
The Phenomenology of Spirit is Hegel's most important and famous work. It is essential to understanding Hegel's philosophical system and why he remains a major figure in western philosophy. Stern offers a clear and accessible introduction to what is undoubtedly one of the most complex books in the history of philosophy.
This paper examines the place of metaphorical interpretation in the current Contextualist-Literalist controversy over the role of context in the determination of truth-conditions in general. Although there has been considerable discussion of 'non-literal' language by both sides of this dispute, the language analyzed involves either so-called implicit indexicality, loose or loosened use, enriched interpretations, or semantic transfer, not metaphor itself. In the first half of the paper, I critically evaluate Recanati's (2004) recent Contextualist account and show that it cannot account (...) for the metaphorical-literal dependence characteristic of metaphor. I then turn to Carston's (2002), and Bezuidenhout's (2001) Contextualist accounts and show that they place no constraints on metaphorical interpretations. In the second half of the paper I sketch a Literalist theory of metaphor elaborated in Stern (2000) and respond to two kinds of Contextualist criticisms of that account by Camp (2005) and Stanley (2005). (shrink)
This paper argues first that, contrary to what one would expect, metaphorical interpretations of utterances pass two of Cappelan and Lepore's Minimalist tests for semantic context-sensitivity. I then propose how, in light of that result, one might analyze metaphors on the model of indexicals and demonstratives, expressions that (even) Minimalists agree are semantically context-dependent. This analysis builds on David Kaplan's semantics for demonstratives and refines an earlier proposal in (Stern, Metaphor in context, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2000). In the course (...) of this argument, I also discuss some new examples of linguistic phenomena that motivate a semantic structure underlying metaphorical interpretation, phenomena I argue that neither Minimalists nor Contextualists can explain. (shrink)
Drawing on ten years of research on the unpublished Wittgenstein papers, Stern investigates what motivated Wittgenstein's philosophical writing and casts new light on the Tractatus and Philosophical Investigations. The book is an exposition of Wittgenstein's early conception of the nature of representation and how his later revision and criticism of that work led to a radically different way of looking at mind and language. It also explains how the unpublished manuscripts and typescripts were put together and why they often (...) provide better evidence of the development of his ideas than can be found in his published writing. In doing so, the book traces the development of a number of central themes in Wittgenstein's philosophy, including his conception of philosophical method, the picture theory of meaning, the limits of language, the application of language to experience, his treatment of private language, and what he called the "flow of life." Arguing that Wittgenstein's views are often much more simple (and more radical) than we have been led to believe, Wittgenstein on Mind and Language provides an overview of the development of Wittgenstein's philosophy and brings to light aspects of his philosophy that have been almost universally neglected. (shrink)
In many histories of modern ethics, Kant is supposed to have ushered in an anti-realist or constructivist turn by holding that unless we ourselves 'author' or lay down moral norms and values for ourselves, our autonomy as agents will be threatened. In this book, Robert Stern challenges the cogency of this 'argument from autonomy', and claims that Kant never subscribed to it. Rather, it is not value realism but the apparent obligatoriness of morality that really poses a challenge to (...) our autonomy: how can this be accounted for without taking away our freedom? The debate the book focuses on therefore concerns whether this obligatoriness should be located in ourselves (Kant), in others (Hegel) or in God (Kierkegaard). Stern traces the historical dialectic that drove the development of these respective theories, and clearly and sympathetically considers their merits and disadvantages; he concludes by arguing that the choice between them remains open. (shrink)
In his new book, eminent psychologist - Daniel Stern, author of the classic 'The interpersonal world of the infant', explores the hitherto neglected topic of 'vitality' - that is, the force or power manifested by all living things. -/- Vitality takes on many dynamic forms and permeates daily life, psychology, psychotherapy and the arts, yet what is vitality? We know that it is a manifestation of life, of being alive. We are very alert to its feel in ourselves and (...) its expression in others. Life shows itself in so many different forms of vitality. But just how can we study this phenomenon? Till now, this has been a topic considered impervious to any kind of scientific study, but according to the Stern, it is possible to trace vitality to real physical and mental operations - including movement, time, perception of force - as well as spatial aspects of the movement and its underlying intention. Within this fascinating book he shows how an understanding of vitality can help the psychotherapeutic process (including a look at the developmental origins of forms of vitality) and looks at how these theories of vitality might fit with our current knowledge of the workings of the brain. Truly a tour de force from a brilliant clinician and scientist, Forms of Vitality is a profound and groundbreaking book - one that will be essential reading for psychologists, psychotherapists, and those in the creative arts. (shrink)
Aquest llibre recull els textos de les reflexions que van tenir lloc en l'encont re internacional SCAN (festival de fotografia), a Internet del 29 de febrer al 1 7 d'abril de 2008, i al Teatre Metropol, el dia 17 d'abril de 2008. Tres teòrics de la imatge de reconegut prestigi internacional -Christian Caujolle, Joan Font cuberta i Radu Stern- van debatre virtualment a internet i posteriorment de form a presencial a Tarragona sobre el paper de la imatge al nostre (...) temps. (shrink)
The Theaetetus is one of the most widely studied of any of the Platonic dialogues because its dominant theme concerns the significant philosophical question, what is knowledge? In this new interpretation of the Theaetetus, Paul Stern provides the first full-length treatment of its political character in relationship to this dominant theme. Stern argues that this approach sheds significant light on the distinctiveness of the Socratic way of life, with respect to both its initial justification and its ultimate character.
In this revolutionary work, the author sets the stage for the science of the 21st Century, pursuing an unprecedented synthesis of fields previously considered unrelated. Beginning with simple classical concepts, he ends with a complex multidisciplinary theory requiring a high level of abstraction. The work progresses across the sciences in several multidisciplinary directions: Mathematical logic, fundamental physics, computer science and the theory of intelligence. Extraordinarily enough, the author breaks new ground in all these fields. In the field of fundamental physics (...) the author reaches the revolutionary conclusion that physics can be viewed and studied as logic in a fundamental sense, as compared with Einstein's view of physics as space-time geometry. This opens new, exciting prospects for the study of fundamental interactions. A formulation of logic in terms of matrix operators and logic vector spaces allows the author to tackle for the first time the intractable problem of cognition in a scientific manner. In the same way as the findings of Heisenberg and Dirac in the 1930s provided a conceptual and mathematical foundation for quantum physics, matrix operator logic supports an important breakthrough in the study of the physics of the mind, which is interpreted as a fractal of quantum mechanics. Introducing a concept of logic quantum numbers, the author concludes that the problem of logic and the intelligence code in general can be effectively formulated as eigenvalue problems similar to those of theoretical physics. With this important leap forward in the study of the mechanism of mind, the author concludes that the latter cannot be fully understood either within classical or quantum notions. A higher-order covariant theory is required to accommodate the fundamental effect of high-level intelligence. The landmark results obtained by the author will have implications and repercussions for the very foundations of science as a whole. Moreover, Stern's Matrix Logic is suitable for a broad spectrum of practical applications in contemporary technologies. (shrink)
In this new introduction to a classic philosophical text, David Stern examines Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. He gives particular attention to both the arguments of the Investigations and the way in which the work is written, and especially to the role of dialogue in the book. While he concentrates on helping the reader to arrive at his or her own interpretation of the primary text, he also provides guidance to the unusually wide range of existing interpretations, and to the reasons (...) why the Investigations have inspired such a diversity of readings. Following closely the text of the Investigations and meant to be read alongside it, this survey is accessible to readers with no previous background in philosophy. It is well-suited to university-level courses on Wittgenstein, but can also be read with profit by students in other disciplines. (shrink)
A modest transcendental argument is one that sets out merely to establish how things need to appear to us or how we need to believe them to be, rather than how things are. Stroud's claim to have established that all transcendental arguments must be modest in this way is criticised and rejected. However, a different case for why we should abandon ambitious transcendental arguments is presented: namely, that when it comes to establishing claims about how things are, there is no (...) reason to prefer transcendental arguments to arguments that rely on the evidence of the senses, making the former redundant in a way that modest transcendental arguments, which have a different kind of sceptical target, are not. (shrink)
Contrary to stockholder theories that place the interests of profit-seeking owners above all else, stakeholder theorists argue that corporate executives have moral and ethical obligations to consider equally the interests of a wide range of stakeholders affected by the actions of a corporation. This paper argues that the stakeholder approach is particularly appropriate for the governance of news media companies and outlines an ethical framework to guide news company executives.
Nietzsche writes a great deal about freedom throughout his work, but never more explicitly than in Twiling of the Idols, a book he described as 'my philosophy in a nutshell'. This paper offers an analysis of Nietzsche's conception freedom and the role it plays within Twilight.
Within much contemporary epistemology, Kant’s response to skepticism has come to be epitomized by an appeal to transcendental arguments. This form of argument is said to provide a distinctively Kantian way of dealing with the skeptic, by showing that what the skeptic questions is in fact a condition for her being able to raise that question in the first place, if she is to have language, thoughts, or experiences at all. In this way, it is hoped, the game played by (...) the skeptic can be turned against herself.1 At the same time, however, this appeal to transcendental arguments is also widely felt to show what is wrong with Kant’s response to skepticism: for, it is suggested, such arguments can only be made to work against the background of his transcendental idealism. As we shall see, what this doctrine amounts to is much disputed; but as with any form of idealism, the worry is that it means compromising the very realism and objectivity we want to defend against skepticism in the first place, so that the price for adopting this Kantian strategy appears too high—the cure of using transcendental arguments in conjunction with transcendental idealism is almost as bad as the disease.2 Faced with this difficulty, two kinds of response have been canvassed. On the first, it is accepted that transcendental arguments do require a commitment to the wider philosophical framework of transcendental idealism, but it is claimed that this framework can and should be defended against the suggestion that it is itself ‘‘quasi-skeptical.’’ On the second, transcendental idealism is indeed abandoned as wrongheaded, but it is held that Kant’s transcendental arguments can be made to.. (shrink)
This paper offers a reading of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, arguing that there is a conflict between Zarathustra's hope for something greater (in the form of the Übermensch) and his conception of the eternal recurrence.
In this volume of fourteen new essays, a distinguished team of philosophers offer a broad and stimulating examination of the nature, role, and value of transcendental arguments. Transcendental arguments aim to show that what is doubted or denied by the sceptic must be the case, as a condition for the possibility of experience, language, or thought. The essays consider how successful such arguments are as a response to sceptical problems.
The Kant-Hegel relation has a continuing fascination for commentators on Hegel, and understandably so: for, taking this route into the Hegelian jungle can promise many advantages. First, it can set Hegel’s thought against a background with which we are fairly familiar, and in a way that makes its relevance clearly apparent; second, it can help us locate Hegel in the broader philosophical tradition, making us see that the traditional ‘analytic’ jump from Kant to Frege leaves out a crucial period in (...) post-Kantian thought; third, it can show Hegel in a progressive light, as attempting to take that tradition further forward; fourth, it can help us locate familiar philosophical issues in Hegelian thought that otherwise can appear wholly sui generis; and finally, and perhaps most importantly of all, focusing on this relation can help raise and crystalise some of the fascinating ambiguities concerning Hegel’s outlook, regarding whether Hegel’s response to Kant shows him to have been a reactionary, Romantic, pre-critical thinker, who sought to turn the philosophical clock back to a time before Kant had written, or a modernist, Enlightened and essentially critical one, who remained true to the spirit if not the letter of Kant’s philosophy. (shrink)
In an influential recent article, Karl Ameriks posed the question: ‘But can an interesting form of Hegelian idealism be found that is true to the text, that is not clearly extravagant, and that is not subject to the [charge] of triviality…?’,1 and concluded by answering the question in the negative: ‘In sum, we have yet to find a simultaneously accurate, substantive, and appealing sense in which Hegel should be regarded as an idealist’.2 Other commentators on this topic have tended (...) to be more positive; but then the fact that these commentators have differed sharply between themselves may suggest that another concern is over the coherence of Hegel’s position, and whether a consistent account is possible of it at all. In this paper, I will consider the charges of inaccuracy, triviality and extravagance that Ameriks and others have raised. Of these charges, the first two are obviously damaging; but it might reasonably be felt that that last is less clearly so (why shouldn’t a philosophical theory be extravagant?), and also that it is open to different readings (for example, does it mean ‘not consistent with “common sense”’, or ‘not consistent with the findings of the sciences’ – but what do these include?). The context of Ameriks’ concern here is how far Hegel’s position can be made consistent with Kantian objections against the pretensions of metaphysics, either by respecting those objections, or at least by satisfactorily addressing them. The interpretative issue here is thus one of charity: Hegel’s position will seem reactionary and ill-informed if it appears to be conceived in ignorance of the work of his great predecessor. One prominent recent interpreter has put the worry as follows. (shrink)
[INTRODUCTION] Like the terms 'dialectic', 'Aufhebung' (or 'sublation'), and 'Geist', the term 'concrete universal' has a distinctively Hegelian ring to it. But unlike these others, it is particularly associated with the British strand in Hegel's reception history, as having been brought to prominence by some of the central British Idealists. It is therefore perhaps inevitable that, as their star has waned, so too has any use of the term, while an appreciation of the problematic that lay behind it has seemingly (...) vanished: if the British Idealists get any sort of mention in a contemporary metaphysics book (which is rarely), it will be Bradley's view of relations or truth that is discussed, not their theory of universals, so that the term has a rather antique air, buried in the dusty volumes of Mind from the turn of the nineteenth century. This is not surprising: the episode known as British Idealism can appear to be a period that is lost to us, in its language, points of historical reference (Lotze, Sigwart, Jevons), and central preoccupations (the Absolute). Even while interest in Hegel continues to grow, interest in his Logic has grown more slowly than in the rest of his work, with Book III of the Logic remaining as the daunting peak of that challenging text - while it is here that the British Idealists focussed their attention and claimed to have uncovered that 'exotic' but 'vanished specimen', the concrete universal. Finally, as the trend of reading Hegel pushes ever further in a non-metaphysical direction, it might be thought that the future of the concrete universal is hardly likely to be brighter than its recent past - for it may seem hard to imagine how a conception championed by the British Idealists, who were apparently shameless in their metaphysical commitments, can find favour in these more austere and responsible times. In this paper, however, I want to make a case for holding that there is something enlightening to be found in how some of the British Idealists approached the 'concrete universal', both interpretatively and philosophically. At the interpretative level, I will argue that while not everything these Idealists are taken to mean by the term is properly to be found in Hegel, their work nonetheless relates to a crucial and genuine strand in Hegel's position, so that their discussion of this issue is an important moment in the reception history of his thought. At a philosophical level, I think that the question that concerned Hegel and these British Idealists retains much of its interest, as does their shared approach to it: namely, how far does our thought involve a mere abstraction from reality, and what are the metaphysical and epistemological implications if it turns out it does not? As such, I will suggest, taking seriously what these British Idealists have to say about the concrete universal can help us both in our understanding of Hegel, and in our appreciation of the contribution Hegel's position can make to our thinking on the issues that surround this topic. (shrink)
This paper sets out to demonstrate that a contrast can be drawn between coherentism as an account of the structure of justification, and coherentism as a method of inquiry. Whereas the former position aims to offer an answer to the ‘regress of justification’ problem, the latter position claims that coherence plays a vital and indispensable role as a criterion of truth, given the fallibility of cognitive methods such as perception and memory. It is argued that ‘early’ coherentists like Bradley and (...) Blanshard were coherentists of the latter kind, and that this sort of coherentism is not open to certain sorts of standard objection that can be raised against justificatory coherentism. (shrink)
One argument put forward by Christine Korsgaard in favour of her constructivist appeal to the nature of agency, is that it does better than moral realism in answering moral scepticism. However, realists have replied by pressing on her the worry raised by H. A. Prichard, that any attempt to answer the moral sceptic only succeeds in basing moral actions in non-moral ends, and so is self-defeating. I spell out these issues in more detail, and suggest that both sides can learn (...) something by seeing how the sceptical problematic arises in Kant. Doing so, I argue, shows how Korsgaard might raise the issue of scepticism against the realist whilst avoiding the Prichardian response.1. (shrink)
The aim of this article is twofold. First, it is argued that while the principle of ‘ought implies can’ is certainly plausible in some form, it is tempting to misconstrue it, and that this has happened in the way it has been taken up in some of the current literature. Second, Kant's understanding of the principle is considered. Here it is argued that these problematic conceptions put the principle to work in a way that Kant does not, so that there (...) is an important divergence here which can easily be overlooked. (shrink)
The deconstruction of the subject associated with postmodernism cannot be said to have simply carried the day. Opponents and critics of postmodernism have held that we must return to the subject and to autonomy as a necessary condition of thinking about ethics, politics, agency and responsibility. Indeed, Peter Dews has recently argued that efforts to displace the subject repeat rather than dissolve the problems generated by subject-centered theories, a charge he takes to be devastating. The implications of this return to (...) the subject, and the power of the critique which motivates it, will be my focus here. I consider especially Judith Butler's performative account of agency and her recent discussion of reflexivity, and argue that they afford us a means of obviating the critique while providing for the reflexive agency that proponents of the return to the subject think necessary. Key Words: agency • autonomy • Seyla Benhabib • Judith Butler • Dieter Henrich • power • reflexivity • subjectivation • subjectivity. (shrink)
This paper focuses on one of C. S. Peirce's criticisms of G. W. F. Hegel: namely, that Hegel neglected to give sufficient weight to what Peirce calls "Secondness", in a way that put his philosophical system out of touch with reality. The nature of this criticism is explored, together with its relevant philosophical background. It is argued that while the issues Peirce raises go deep, in some respects Hegel's position is closer to his own than he may have realised, whilst (...) in others that criticism can be resisted by the Hegelian. (shrink)
Making Sense of Inner Sense 'Terra cognita' is terra incognita. It is difficult to find someone not taken abackand fascinated by the incomprehensible but indisputable fact: there are material systems which are aware of themselves. Consciousness is self-cognizing code. During homo sapiens's relentness and often frustrated search for self-understanding various theories of consciousness have been and continue to be proposed. However, it remains unclear whether and at what level the problems of consciousness and intelligent thought can be resolved. Science's greatest (...) challenge is to answer the fundamental question: what precisely does a cognitive state amount to in physical terms? Albert Einstein insisted that the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple and can be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone. When one thinks about the complexities which present themselves in modern physics and even more so in the physics of life, one may wonder whether Einstein really meant what he said. Are we to consider the fundamental problem of the mind, whose understanding seems to lie outside the limits of the mind, to be essentially simple too? Knowledge is neither automatic nor universally deductive. Great new ideas are typically counterintuitive and outrageous, and connecting them by simple logical steps to existing knowledge is often a hard undertaking. The notion of a tensor was needed to provide the general theory of relativity; the notion of entropy had to be developed before we could get full insight into the laws of thermodynamics; the notice of information bit is crucial for communication theory, just as the concept of a Turing machine is instrumental in the deep understanding of a computer. To understand something, consciousness must reach an adequate intellectual level, even more so in order to understand itself. Reality is full of unending mysteries, the true explanation of which requires very technical knowledge, often involving notions not given directly to intuition. Even though the entire content and the results of this study are contained in the eight pages of the mathematical abstract, it would be unrealistic and impractical to suggest that anyone can gain full insight into the theory that presented here after just reading abstract. In our quest for knowledge we are exploring the remotest areas of the macrocosm and probing the invisible particles of the microcosm, from tiny neutrinos and strange quarks to black holes and the Big Bang. But the greatest mystery is very close to home: the greatest mystery is human consciousness. The question before us is whether the logical brain has evolved to a conceptual level where it is able to understand itself. (shrink)
The "standard account" of Wittgenstein’s relations with the Vienna Circle is that the early Wittgenstein was a principal source and inspiration for the Circle’s positivistic and scientific philosophy, while the later Wittgenstein was deeply opposed to the logical empiricist project of articulating a "scientific conception of the world." However, this telegraphic summary is at best only half-true and at worst deeply misleading. For it prevents us appreciating the fluidity and protean character of their philosophical dialogue. In retrospectively attributing clear-cut positions (...) to Wittgenstein and his interlocutors, it is very easy to read back our current understanding of familiar distinctions into a time when those terms were used in a much more open-ended way. The paper aims to to provide a broader perspective on this debate, starting from the protagonists’ understanding of their respective positions. Too often, the programmatic statements about the nature of their work that are repeated in manifestoes, introductions, and elementary textbooks have occupied center stage in the subsequent secondary literature. Consequently, I focus on a detailed examination of a turning point in their relationship. That turning point is Wittgenstein's charge, in the summer of 1932, that a recently published paper of Carnap's, "Physicalistic Language as the Universal Language of Science", made such extensive and unacknowledged use of Wittgenstein's own ideas that Wittgenstein would, as he put it in a letter to Schlick, "soon be in a situation where my own work shall be considered merely as a reheated version or plagiarism of Carnap’s." While the leading parties in this dispute shared a basic commitment to the primacy of physicalistic language, and the view that all significant languages are translatable, there was a remarkable lack of mutual understanding between them, and deep disagreement about the nature of the doctrines they disputed. Three quarters of a century later, we are so much more conscious of the differences that separated them than the points on which they agreed that it takes an effort of historical reconstruction to appreciate why Wittgenstein once feared that his own work would be regarded as a pale shadow of Carnap’s. (shrink)
Abstract Academic social scientists overwhelmingly vote Democratic, and the Democratic hegemony has increased significantly since 1970. Moreover, the policy preferences of a large sample of the members of the scholarly associations in anthropology, economics, history, legal and political philosophy, political science, and sociology generally bear out conjectures about the correspondence of partisan identification with left/right ideal types; although across the board, both Democratic and Republican academics favor government action more than the ideal types might suggest. Variations in policy views among (...) Democrats is smaller than among Republicans. Ideological diversity (as judged not only by voting behavior, but by policy views) is by far the greatest within economics. Social scientists who deviate from left?wing views are as likely to be libertarian as conservative. (shrink)
The model of memory as a store, from which records can be retrieved, is taken for granted by many contemporary researchers. On this view, memories are stored by memory traces, which represent the original event and provide a causal link between that episode and one's ability to remember it. I argue that this seemingly plausible model leads to an unacceptable conception of the relationship between mind and brain, and that a non-representational, connectionist, model offers a promising alternative. I also offer (...) a new reading of Wittgenstein's paradoxical remarks about thought and brain processes: as a critique of the cognitivist thesis that information stored in the brain has a linguistic structure and a particular location. On this reading, Wittgenstein's criticism foreshadows some of the most promising contemporary work on connectionist models of neural functioning. (shrink)
In their 2010 book, Biology’s First Law, D. McShea and R. Brandon present a principle that they call ‘‘ZFEL,’’ the zero force evolutionary law. ZFEL says (roughly) that when there are no evolutionary forces acting on a population, the population’s complexity (i.e., how diverse its member organisms are) will increase. Here we develop criticisms of ZFEL and describe a different law of evolution; it says that diversity and complexity do not change when there are no evolutionary causes.
This paper considers whether Hegel's master/slave dialectic in the Phenomenology of Spirit should be considered as a refutation of solipsism. It focuses on a recent and detailed attempt to argue for this sort of reading that has been proposed by Frederick Beiser ? but it argues that this reading is unconvincing, both in the historical motivations given for it in the work of Jacobi and Fichte, and as an interpretation of the text itself. An alternative reading of the dialectic is (...) proposed, where it is argued that the central problem Hegel is concerned with is not solipsism, but the sociality of freedom. (shrink)
While Wittgenstein wrote unconventionally and denied that he was advancing philosophical theses, most of his interpreters have attributed conventional philosophical theses to him. But the best recent interpretations have taken the form of his writing and his distinctive way of doing philosophy seriously. The 1980s have also seen the emergence of a body of work on Wittgenstein that makes extensive use of the unpublished Wittgenstein papers. This work on Wittgenstein's method and his way of writing are the main themes of (...) this literature review.Section 1 surveys Wittgenstein's conception of philosophical method and its reception. Section 2 is a review of recent work on rule-following and the methodological issues it raises. Section 3 concerns research on the WittgensteinNachlass and its implications for the interpretation of his philosophy. (shrink)