Duhem is commonly held to have founded his view of history of science as continuous on the ‘metaphsical assertion’ of natural classification. With the help of a strict distinction between formal and material characterization of natural classification I try to show that this imputation is problematic, if not simply incorrect. My analysis opens alternative perspectives on Duhem's talk of continuity, the ideal form of theories, and the rôle of ‘bon sens’; moreover it emphasizes some aspects of Duhem's realism (...) that play an important part in his philosophy of science. (shrink)
Huang, Chun-chieh, Konfuzianismus: Kontinuität und Entwicklung: Studien zur chinesischen Geistesgeschichte (Confucianism: Continuity and Development: Studies in Chinese Intellectual History), Edited and translated by Stephan Schmidt Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11712-010-9191-0 Authors Heiner Roetz, Faculty of East Asian Studies, Ruhr University, 44780 Bochum, Germany Journal Dao Online ISSN 1569-7274 Print ISSN 1540-3009 Journal Volume Volume 9 Journal Issue Volume 9, Number 4.
Summary The transfer of children from primary school to secondary school has long been seen as a problematic area. The National Curriculum was depicted as offering a solution to some of the transfer problems by providing for curriculum continuity across the primary-secondary divide. This paper reports the results of a study of curriculum continuity in one subject, history, now that a National Curriculum has been in place for several years. It reports that teachers continue to see problems (...) with the transfer and that secondary school teachers still incline to a ?fresh start? approach to year 7 pupils. There is also some evidence of a lack of curriculum consistency within the secondary schools involved in the research, there are differences between primary and secondary schools in the range of teaching and learning methods employed, there is some decline in pupils? ratings of their experience of secondary education across year 7 and there are signs of some gender differences in these ratings. The conclusion is that there is a case for saying that the new arrangements have not alleviated the problems associated with the transfer. (shrink)
The objective of this paper is to balance two major conceptual tendencies in science policy studies, continuity and discontinuity theory. While the latter argue for fundamental and distinct changes in science policy in the late 20th century, continuity theorists show how changes do occur but not as abrupt and fundamental as discontinuity theorists suggests. As a point of departure, we will elaborate a typology of scientific governance developed by Hagendijk and Irwin ( 2006 ) and apply it to (...) new empirical material. This makes possible a contextualization of the governance of science related to the codification of the “third assignment” of the Swedish higher education law of 1977. The law defined the relation between university science and Swedish citizens as a dissemination project, and did so despite that several earlier initiatives actually went well beyond such a narrow conceptualisation. Our material reveals continuous interactive and rival arrangements linking the state, public authorities, the universities and private industrial enterprises. We show how different but coexisting modes of governance of science existed in Sweden during the 20th century, in clear contrast with the picture promoted by discontinuity theorists. A close study of the historical development suggests that there were several periods of layered governance when interactions and dynamics associated with continuity as well as discontinuity theories were prevalent. In addition, we conclude that the typology of governance applied in the present paper is fruitful for carrying out historical analyses of the kind embarked upon in spite of certain methodological shortcomings. (shrink)
Abstract Six apparent features of Kant's conception of autonomy appear to differentiate it sharply from anything that we can find in an Aristotelian conception of will and practical reason. (1) Autonomy requires a role for practical reason independent of its instrumental role in relation to non-rational desires. (2) This role belongs to the rational will. (3) This role consists in the rational will's being guided by its own law. (4) This guidance by the law of the will itself requires acts (...) of legislation?the making of laws?for oneself. (5) These acts of legislation constitute the law as one's own law, as moral constructivists hold. (6) Kant marks this character of the rational will by using ?autonomy? and cognates. These six apparent features, however, do not mark any discontinuity between Kant and an Aristotelian conception. The first three apparent features are genuinely Kantian, but are not aspects of discontinuity, whereas the last three mark aspects of discontinuity, but are not genuinely Kantian. (shrink)
Natural classification and continuity, science and history. Some Reflections on Pierre Duhem. Duhem is commonly held to have founded his view of history of science as continuous on the 'metaphysical assertion' of natural classification. With the help of a strict distinction between formal and material characterization of natural classification I try to show that this imputation is problematic, if not simply incorrect. My analysis opens alternative perspectives on Duhem's talk of continuity, the ideal form of theories, (...) and the rôle of 'bon sens'; moreover it emphasizes some aspects of Duhem's realism that play an important part in his philosophy of science. (shrink)
The tension between the advocates of the Black Death as the herald of a new age, and those who see plague as proof of the resiliency of medieval mentalities, is rapidly dissolving. The conflict/resolution model, with its overtones of teleology, progress, and Naturphilosophie, is proving less useful to historians of epidemiology than one emphasizing continuity, gradual change, and the stoicism of the ordinary person. Historians of the plague are gravitating more and more to an intensive study of the local (...) impact of the Black Death. Such local studies reveal diversity — in economic and demographic impact, in the availability of historical sources, and in the interpretation these sources allow. The Black Death still retains its “silver lining,” but even that is changing: from proof of the awesome power of nature to level mankind and transform history, to proof of humanity's ability to endure even the worst crisis, to rebuild, and to start again. (shrink)
Richard Sorabji here takes time as his central theme, exploring fundamental questions about its nature: Is it real or an aspect of consciousness? Did it begin along with the universe? Can anything escape from it? Does it come in atomic chunks? In addressing these and myriad other issues, Sorabji engages in an illuminating discussion of early thought about time, ranging from Plato and Aristotle to Islamic, Christian, and Jewish medieval thinkers. Sorabji argues that the thought of these often negelected philosophers (...) about the subject is, in many cases, more complete than that of their more recent counterparts. “Splendid. . . . The canvas is vast, the picture animated, the painter nonpareil. . . . Sorabji’s work will encourage more adventurers to follow him to this fascinating new-found land.”—Jonathan Barnes, Times Literary Supplement “One of the most important works in the history of metaphysics to appear in English for a considerable time. No one concerned with the problems with which it deals either as a historian of ideas or as a philosopher can afford to neglect it.”—Donald MacKinnon, Scottish Journal of Theology “Unusually readable for such scholarly content, the book provides in rich and cogent terms a lively and well-balanced discussion of matters of concern to a wide academic audience.”— Choice. (shrink)
What are the relationships between philosophy and the history of philosophy, the history of science and the philosophy of science? This selection of essays by Lorenz Krüger (1932-1994) presents exemplary studies on the philosophy of John Locke and Immanuel Kant, on the history of physics and on the scope and limitations of scientific explanation, and a realistic understanding of science and truth. In his treatment of leading currents in 20th century philosophy, Krüger presents new and original arguments (...) for a deeper understanding of the continuity and dynamics of the development of scientific theory. These result in significant consequences for the claim of the sciences that they understand reality in a rational manner. The case studies are complemented by fundamental thoughts on the relationship between philosophy, science, and their common history. (shrink)
It is sometimes suggested that Collingwood's philosophy of history is decidedly anti-naturalist and argues for a complete separation between history and the natural sciences. The purpose of this paper is to examine this suggestion and to argue that Collingwood's conception of the relationship between history and natural sciences is much more subtle and nuanced than such a view would allow for. In fact, there is little in Collingwood to offend contemporary naturalistic sensibilities reasonably construed. The impression that (...) Collingwood's views are incompatible with naturalism stems, in part, from an overly Kantian interpretation of the idea of rationality, as applied to historical agents, in terms of transcendentally fixed norms. This difficulty, however, does not arise if we opt for a more Hegelian interpretation of rationality in terms of continuity in thought, which Collingwood himself seemed to favor. Examining Collingwood's pronouncements on these topics leads one to the conclusion that, while objecting to the excesses of early naturalism, Collingwood saw no insurmountable obstacles to the reconciliation of science and history and their potential collaboration in some areas. (shrink)
This history of human origin studies covers a wide range of disciplines. This important new study analyses a number of key episodes from palaeolithic archaeology, palaeoanthropology, primatology and evolutionary theory in terms of various ideas on how one should go about such reconstructions and what, if any, the uses of such historiographical exercises can be for current research in these disciplines. Their carefully argued point is that studying the history of palaeoanthropological thinking about the past can enhance the (...) quality of current research on human origins. The main issues in the present volume are the uses of disciplinary history in terms of present-day research concerns, the relative weight of cultural and other 'external' contexts, and continuity and change in theoretical perspectives. The book's overall approach is an epistemological one. It does not, in other words, primarily address anthropological data as such, but our ways of handling such data in terms of our most fundamental, but usually quite implicit theoretical presuppositions. (shrink)
The article seeks to elucidate the status of transcendence in the historiography of secularization through the perspective of collective memory. It discusses two typological models dealing with the basic metaphysical problem concerned with the presence and meaning of transcendence in real human existence. According to the first, the historical reality of secularization causes a break from the collective memory whose roots are in religion. In contrast, the second model considers that despite the deep transformations in the status of religion in (...) a reality of secularization, an experience of historical continuity may also occur there. These models denote the two poles in the argument about the meaning and value of history for modern people. The article suggests a phenomenological analysis of the two models and criticizes their deficiencies. Finally, the “tension model” is outlined as a third alternative that aims at overcoming the binary situation created by the first two in favor of a perspective that necessitates and contains both immanence and transcendence. (shrink)
A comprehensive and systematic reconstruction of the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce, perhaps America's most far-ranging and original philosopher, which reveals the unity of his complex and influential body of thought. We are still in the early stages of understanding the thought of C. S. Peirce (1839-1914). Although much good work has been done in isolated areas, relatively little considers the Peircean system as a whole. Peirce made it his life's work to construct a scientifically sophisticated and logically rigorous philosophical (...) system, culminating in a realist epistemology and a metaphysical theory ("synechism") that postulates the connectedness of all things in a universal evolutionary process. In The Continuity of Peirce's Thought, Kelly Parker shows how the principle of continuity functions in phenomenology and semeiotics, the two most novel and important of Peirce's philosophical sciences, which mediate between mathematics and metaphysics. Parker argues that Peirce's concept of continuity is the central organizing theme of the entire Peircean philosophical corpus. He explains how Peirce's unique conception of the mathematical continuum shapes the broad sweep of his thought, extending from mathematics to metaphysics and in religion. He thus provides a convenient and useful overview of Peirce's philosophical system, situating it within the history of ideas and mapping interconnections among the diverse areas of Peirce's work. This challenging yet helpful book adopts an innovative approach to achieve the ambitious goal of more fully understanding the interrelationship of all the elements in the entire corpus of Peirce's writings. Given Peirce's importance in fields ranging from philosophy to mathematics to literary and cultural studies, this new book should appeal to all who seek a fuller, unified understanding of the career and overarching contributions of Peirce, one of the key figures in the American philosophical tradition. (shrink)
God and Morality evaluates the ethical theories of four principle philosophers, Aristotle, Duns Scotus, Kant, and R.M. Hare. Uses their thinking as the basis for telling the story of the history and development of ethical thought more broadly Focuses specifically on their writings on virtue, will, duty, and consequence Concentrates on the theistic beliefs to highlight continuity of philosophical thought.
This ambitious book explores the relationship between time and history and shows how an appreciation of long-term time helps to make sense of the past. The book is devoted to a wide-ranging analysis of the way different societies have conceived and interpreted time, and it develops a theory of the threefold roles of continuity, gradual change, and revolution which together form a "braided" history. Linking the interpretative chapters are intriguing brief expositions on time travel, time cycles, time (...) lines, and time pieces, showing the different ways in which human history has been located in time. In its global approach the book is part of the new shift toward “big history,” in which traditional period divisions are challenged in favor of looking at the entire past of the world from start to end. The approach is thematic. The result is a view of world history in which outcomes are shown to be explicable, once they happen, but not necessarily predictable before they do. This book will inform the work of historians of all periods and at all levels, and contributes to the current reconsideration of traditional period divisions (such as Modernity and Postmodernity), which the author finds outmoded. (shrink)
In this ambitious work, Fred Weinstein confronts the obstacles that have increasingly frustrated our attempts to explain social and historical reality. Traditionally, we have relied on history and social theory to describe the ways people understand the world they live in. But the ordering explanations we have always used--derived from the classical social theories originally forged by Marx, Tocqueville, Weber, Durkheim, Freud--have collapsed. In the wake of this collapse or "fall," the rival claims of fiction, psychoanalysis, sociology, anthropology, and (...)history have created the dilemma of radical relativism, the prospect of multiple interpretations of any complex historical event. The basic strategy of social theory and the social sciences--the search for underlying unities--proves so inherently contradictory and has provided so little in the way of reliable knowledge of social and historical relationships that to many critics it seems no longer worth pursuing. Weinstein enters the debate by rejecting any search for underlying structural unities, dynamic or social, through which historians have attempted to find continuity with the past. He looks instead to ideological processes, to the construction of successive and changing versions of reality that mediate between the power of fantasy on the one side and the power of the social world on the other. He argues further that the need to use ideological constructs in this way accounts for the heterogeneous and changing content of social movements and for the persistent need people have always had for authoritative leaders, even in democratized societies. He suggests that people have historically been able to take a step away from leaders only by substituting the possession of objects such as property or money. This book is a breakthrough in poststructuralist theory that is sure to stimulate considerable discussion, especially about the shape of the social sciences and the future of historical interpretation. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: PART ONE: TOWARD A SOCIOLOGY OF HISTORY -- SECTION I: THE SOCIOLOGICAL -- FOUNDATIONS OF HISTORY -- I. The Sources of Culture Change -- 2. Sociology as a Science -- 3. Sociology and the Theory of Progress -- 4. Civilization and Morals -- 5. Progress and Decay in Ancient and Modern Civilization -- 6. Art and Society -- 7. Vitality or Standardization in Culture -- 8. Cultural Polarity and Religious Schism -- 9. Prevision in (...) Religion -- Io. T. S. Eliot on the Meaning of Culture -- SECTION II: THE MOVEMENT OF WORLD HISTORY -- I. Religion and the Life of Civilization -- 2. The Warrior Peoples and the Decline -- of the Archaic Civilization -- 3. The Origins of Classical Civilization -- 4. The Patriarchal Family in History -- 5. Stages in Mankind's Religious Experience -- SECTION III: URBANISM AND THE ORGANIC -- NATURE OF CULTURE -- I. The Evolution of the Modern City -- 2. Catholicism and the Bourgeois Mind -- 3. The World Crisis and the English Tradition -- 4. Bolshevism and the Bourgeoisie -- PART TWO: CONCEPTIONS OF WORLD HISTORY -- SECTION IV: CHRISTIANITY AND THE -- MEANING OF HISTORY -- I. The Christian View of History -- 2. History and the Christian Revelation -- 3. Christianity and Contradiction in History -- 4. The Kingdom of God and History -- SECTION II: THE VISION OF THE HISTORIAN -- I. The Problem of Metahistory -- 2. St. Augustine and the City of God -- 3. Edward Gibbon and the Fall of Rome -- 4. Karl Marx and the Dialectic of History -- 5. H. G. Wells and the Outline of History -- 6. Oswald Spengler and the Life of Civilizations -- 7. Arnold Toynbee and the Study of History -- 8. Europe in Eclipse -- Afterword by John J. Mulloy: Continuity and Development -- in Christopher Dawson's Thought -- Sources -- Notes -- Index. (shrink)
This article takes as its provocation Marx's intriguing statement about the disjunction between the flowering of Greek art and the underdeveloped stage of social and economic development made as an epilogue to the Introduction to the Grundrisse in order to ask what are the relations between that which has been considered art and what Marx calls `production as such'. In the elaborated conditions of contemporary capitalist societies, we can ask: Is art still being made? To examine this question I juxtapose (...) what Bauman has called `thinking sociologically' with a proposition that art thinks aesthetically. So how can art historians deal with that challenge of thinking aesthetic practices both socially and historically? I track a genealogy of art historians (Clark, Antal, Shapiro) who have attempted to think socially about artistic practices. This leads into a section about the necessity for both sociological and aesthetic education if we are to avoid totalitarianism or free-market individualism (Bahro). Finally, thinking sociologically, by taking as a case study the work of Aby Warburg, I explore the technological conditions of art historical production itself particularly in relation to photography and the way this shapes our access to the image. Warburg represents the possibility of another model for art historical thinking about the image as Kulturwissenschaft, a parallel to Sozialwissenschaft in its ambition and relation to the great intellectual revolutions c.1905 (Freud, Bergson, Einstein, Hussserl). Like Marx, Warburg questioned the continuity of the imaginary space of art thinking in the age of technological industrialism. Where art is now, where art history is, are not just sociological questions to which Marx might offer a dismal answer. I conclude that what is necessary is a constructive conversation between thinking sociologically and thinking aesthetically, knowing synthetically and knowing for oneself — curricular issues made more intense by the shared conditions in which all intellectual production is being transformed in contemporary sites of intellectual practice, the university, by `production as such' leading thought to risk the same fate as art in contemporary society, as Marx hypothesized. As a final thought, I suggest that in contemporary art work that confronts trauma and catastrophe, often using new technologies as aesthetic processes, we may find a counter-argument. (shrink)
J.G.A. Pocock has been a dominant force in the history of political thought since his first major work, The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law, was published in 1957. This article is focused on the contribution he has made to the study of the revolutions of seventeenth-century England and the extraordinary body of political discourse to which they gave rise. It begins with an examination of the ways in which ideas about continuity, innovation, institutions and historiography have shaped (...) his approach to the history of political thought and their application to seventeenth-century conditions. Central to a fundamental continuity in his ideas over the last five decades have been notions about the interface of 'paradigms' with both language and socio-political circumstance in the construction and deconstruction of both historiographies and political theories. The article then offers a critical assessment of his contribution to our understanding of the English Revolution. (shrink)
Lacepède was a key figure in the French intellectual world from the Old Regime to the Restoration, since he was not only a scientist, but also a musician, a writer, and a politician. His brilliant career is a good example of the progress of the social status of scientists in France around 1800. In the life sciences, he was considered the heir to Buffon and continued the latter's Histoire naturelle, but he also borrowed ideas from anti-Buffonian (e.g. Linnaean) scientists. He (...) broached many important subjects such as the nature of man, the classification of animals, the concept of species, and the history of the Earth. All these topics led to tensions in the French sciences, but Lacepède dealt with them in a consensual, indeed even ambiguous way. For example, he held transformist views, but his concept of evolution was far less precise and daring than Lamarck's contemporaneous attempts. His somewhat confused eclecticism allowed him to be accepted by opposing camps of the French scientific community at that time and makes his case interesting for historians, since the opinions of such an opportunistic figure can illuminate the figure of the French intellectual better than more original works could do. In turn, Lacepède's important social and scientific position gave his views a significant visibility. In this sense, his contributions probably exerted an influence, in particular with regard to the emergence of transformist theories. (shrink)
I examine the consistency of Kant's notion of moral progress as found in his philosophy of history. To many commentators, Kant's very idea of moral development has seemed inconsistent with basic tenets of his critical philosophy. This idea has seemed incompatible with his claims that the moral law is unconditionally and universally valid, that moral agency is noumenal and atemporal, and that all humans are equally free. Against these charges, I argue not only that Kant's notion of moral development (...) is consistent, but also that the assumption of the possibility of moral progress is indispensible for Kant's moral theory. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to argue that Kant's philosophy of biology has crucial implications for our understanding of his philosophy of history, and that overlooking these implications leads to a fundamental misconstruction of his views. More precisely, I will show that Kant's philosophy of history is modelled on his philosophy of biology due to the fact that the development of the human species shares a number of peculiar features with the functioning of organisms, these features entailing (...) important methodological characteristics. From this main claim will follow three further claims: (1) Kant's teleological view of history is not simply based on ethical considerations that have to do with the moral progress of the human species; rather, it stems from his conception of teleology as developed in his philosophy of biology. (2) Kant's philosophy of history allows for the practice of scientific history. In this sense, Kant's view of history is not merely teleological but involves a mechanical (and thus empirical) element. (3) Just as teleology is useful for furthering mechanical accounts of biological phenomena, teleological history is useful for scientific history. (shrink)
Analytic philosophers are often said to be indifferent or even hostile to the history of philosophy--that is, not to the idea of history of philosophy as such, but as a species of the genus philosophy rather than history. It is argued that such an attitude is actually inconsistent with commonplace positions within the philosophies of mind that are typical within analytic philosophy.
I show the sense in which the concept of history as a human science affects our theory of the natural sciences and, therefore, our theory of the unity of the physical and human sciences. The argument proceeds by way of reviewing the effect of the Darwinian contribution regarding teleologism and of post-Darwinian paleonanthropology on the transformation of the primate members of Homo sapiens into societies of historied selves. The strategy provides a novel way of recovering the unity of the (...) sciences: by construing the physical sciences themselves as human sciences - and, therefore, as themselves historied. (shrink)
One of the perennial questions of philosophy concerns the simple statements which say that an object is so and so or that such and such objects are so and so related: simple predicative statements. Do such statements have an ontological basis, and if so, what is that basis? The answer to this question determinesâor in any case, is expressive ofâa specific fundamental outlook on the world. In the course of the history of Western philosophy, various philosophers have given various (...) answers to the question of predication. This essay presents the main, crucial answers: the paradigms and theories of predication of the Sophists (and of all later radical relativists), of Plato, of Aristotle, of the Aristotelian-minded non-nominalists, of Leibniz, and of Frege. In addition, the essay follows (to some extent) the most influentialâthe Aristotelian or mereologicalâparadigm of predication in its continuity and modification through the many centuries of its reign. However, the essay is not content to adopt the merely historical point of view; it also poses the question of adequacy. Prior to Frege, there was no philosophically adequate theory of predication, and the essay points out the shortcomings (besides aspects that can be viewed as advantages) of each pre-Fregean predication theory considered in it. Frege, in the nineteenth century, brought the philosophy of predication on the right track, but his own theory of predication has its own deficits. The essay ends with the presentation of a theory of predication that the author himself considers adequate. (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.
To date, no satisfactory account of the connection between natural-scientific and historical explanation has been given, and philosophers seem to have largely given up on the problem. This paper is an attempt to resolve this old issue and to sort out and clarify some areas of historical explanation by developing and applying a method that will be called “pragmatic explication” involving the construction of definitions that are justified on pragmatic grounds. Explanations in general can be divided into “dynamic” and “static” (...) explanations, which are those that essentially require relations across time and those that do not, respectively. The problem of assimilating historical explanations concerns dynamic explanation, so a general analysis of dynamic explanation that captures both the structure of natural-scientific and historical explanation is offered. This is done in three stages: In the first stage, pragmatic explication is introduced and compared to other philosophical methods of explication. In the second stage pragmatic explication is used to tie together a series of definitions that are introduced in order to establish an account of explanation. This involves an investigation of the conditions that play the role in historiography that laws and statistical regularities play in the natural sciences. The essay argues that in the natural sciences, as well as in history, the model of explanation presented represents the aims and overarching structure of actual causal explanations offered in those disciplines. In the third stage the system arrived at in the preceding stage is filled in with conditions available to and relevant for historical inquiry. Further, the nature and treatment of causes in history and everyday life are explored and related to the system being proposed. This in turn makes room for a view connecting aspects of historical explanation and what we generally take to be causal relations. (shrink)
Kantian autonomy is often thought to be independent of time and place, but J. B. Schneewind in his landmark study, The Invention of Autonomy, has shown that there is much to be learned by setting Kant's moral philosophy in the context of the history of modern moral philosophy. The distinguished authors in the collection continue Schneewind's project by relating Kant's work to the historical context of his predecessors and to the empirical context of human agency. This will be a (...) valuable resource for professionals and advanced students in philosophy, the history of ideas, and the history of political thought. (shrink)
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)
One of the most influential and significant developments in the philosophy of language over the last thirty years has been the rise of externalist conceptions of content. This essay aims to explore the implications of a form of externalism, largely derived from the work of Donald Davidson, for thinking about history, and in so doing to suggest one way in which contemporary philosophy of language may engage with contemporary philosophy of history. Much of the discussion focuses on the (...) elaboration of the externalism that is at issue, along with the holistic approach to content with which it is connected. It will be argued that such holistic externalism is itself thoroughly in keeping with the very character of historical inquiry itself, and can be seen to provide an underpinning to certain contemporary developments in historical thinking. (shrink)
Contemporary caution against anachronism in intellectual history, and the currently momentous theoretical emphasis on subjectivity in the philosophy of mind, are two prevailing conditions that set puzzling constraints for studies in the history of philosophical psychology. The former urges against assuming ideas, motives, and concepts that are alien to the historical intellectual setting under study, and combined with the latter suggests caution in relying on our intuitions regarding subjectivity due to the historically contingent characterizations it has attained in (...) contemporary philosophy of mind. In the face of these conditions, our paper raises a question of what we call non-textual (as opposed to contextual) standards of interpretation of historical texts, and proceeds to explore subjectivity as such a standard. Non-textual standards are defined as (heuristic) postulations of features of the world or our experience of it that we must suppose to be immune to historical variation in order to understand a historical text. Although the postulation of such standards is often so obvious that the fact of our doing so is not noticed at all, we argue that the problems in certain special cases, such as that of subjectivity, force us to pay attention to the methodological questions involved. Taking into account both recent methodological discussion and the problems inherent in two de facto denials of the relevance of subjectivity for historical theories, we argue that there are good grounds for the adoption of subjectivity as a non-textual standard for historical work in philosophical psychology. (shrink)
Philosophers' reflections on history have been dominated for decades by two themes: representation and memory. On both of these accounts, historical inquiry is divided by a certain gap from what it seeks to find or wants to know, and its activity is seen by philosophers as that of bridging this gap. Against this background, the concept of experience, in spite of its apparent rootedness in the present, can be revived as a means of thinking about our connection to the (...) past. After examining variants on the concept of experience, with special attention to its temporality, I argue in this essay that experience can be said to furnish a connection to the past that underlies both memory and representation. (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.
In this paper I argue that, in at least two cases - his discussions of the temporal precedence o f polytheism over monotheism and of the origins of civil society - we see Hume consigning to historical development certain aspects of reason which, as a comparison with Locke will show, have sometimes been held to be uniform. In the first of these cases Hume has recourse to claims about the general historical development of human thought. In the second case, the (...) origin of the civil institution of justice and government is not linked directly to external circumstances and the principles of human nature, as it is in contractarian theories, but makes a detour through the historical acquisition of certain concepts. Because Hume's position does not conform in any simple sense to Dugald Stewart's 'incontrovertible logical maxim' that the capacities of the human mind have been the same in all ages, Stewart's account of the method of conjectural history is, in any simple sense, inadequate as a description of Hume's practice. (shrink)
Spatiotemporal and qualitative continuity are not sufficient to trace the career or path of one and the same object through its history. One needs sortal continuity, guaranteed by the form-token of the object. In this paper I concentrate on the question of sortal continuity linked to the problem of the cohabitation of objects. I intend to test whether it is possible to stick to the belief in continuants or endurers as well as the sortal dependence of (...) identity and at the same time avoid an undesirable multiplication of spatially coinciding objects, i.e., avoid the thesis of cohabitation. I abandon the philosophical view – this is the price to be paid – that the set of the material constituents making up an object is an object proper. The basic units of reality are the objects falling under sortals and not the ultimate components thereof. That a determinate piece of copper is not identical with the statue made from it, therefore, does not imply that we have a cohabitation of two numerically different objects. (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)
This article analyzes how the relationship between philosophy and history has been conceived within the study of political thought, and how different ways of conceiving this relationship in turn have affected the definition of the subject matter as well as the choice of methods within this field. My main argument is that the ways in which we conceive this relationship is dependent on the assumptions we make about the ontological status of concepts and their meaning. I start by discussing (...) the widespread view that philosophy and history ought to be viewed as distinct if not incompatible ways of studying political thought, and then go on to describe the view that philosophical and historical approaches should be conceived of as identical or inseparable. I end this article by suggesting that these approaches rather should be viewed as mutually constitutive for the benefit of a more coherent study of political thought. (shrink)
Written by a team of distinguished scholars, this is an authoritative and comprehensive history of Western philosophy from its earliest beginnings to the present day. Illustrated with over 150 color and black-and-white pictures, chosen to illuminate and complement the text, this lively and readable work is an ideal introduction to philosophy for anyone interested in the history of ideas. From Plato's Republic and St. Augustine's Confessions through Marx's Capital and Sartre's Being and Nothingness, the extraordinary philosophical dialogue between (...) great Western minds has flourished unabated through the ages. Dazzling in its genius and breadth, the long line of European and American intellectual discourse tells a remarkable story--a quest for truth and wisdom that continues to shape our most basic ideas about human nature and the world around us. That quest is brilliantly brought to life in The Oxford History of Western Philosophy. With spectacular illustrations--including sixteen pages of full-color plates--this splendidly written volume takes the reader on a magnificient chronological tour through the revolutions of thought that have forged the Western philosophical tradition from ancient times to the present. Throughout, the six contributors--an internationally renowned team of philosophers including Roger Scruton, Anthony Quinton, and Anthony Kenny--bring the astonishingly diverse, wide-ranging landscape of intellectual history into sharp focus, emphasizing how notions seen today as part of an inevitable march of ideas were in their own time often considered radical, if not revolutionary. Thus we are treated, for example, to lively accounts of how Plato's "theory of forms" and Aristotle's pioneering exercises in logic broke with the past to irrevocably alter the course of Western thought. The authors also reveal the relationships between landmark thinkers, and the ways they drew on their intellectual heritage. They show, for instance, how St. Augustine and Aquinas, though advancing the cause of Christian doctrine, picked up where their pagan Greek forebears had left off. We witness how, during the Renaissance, the profound empiricist ideas underlying Descarte's famous utterance--"I think, therefore I exist"--lived in a tense but complementary relationship with Locke's rationalist theories. Moving into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the book explores how Hume greatly influenced Kant's conception of the "transcendental aesthetic," and how Hegel drew upon the lesser known (but groundbreaking) work of Fichte and Schelling. The authors bring the story up to our own time, vividly recounting the existential trend from Nietzsche ("God is dead") to Sartre, along with other increasingly fractious schools of thought. Along the way, we not only encounter the vast intellectual riches of the Western mind, but we also meet the personalities behind the great thoughts, from the saintly Hume (described by Adam Smith as having "come as near to perfection as anybody could") to the ill-mannered outcast Fichte. And the hundreds of maps and striking illustrations (including full-color reproductions of art ranging from medieval manuscripts to the works of Raphael, Ingres, and Magritte) form an integral part of the book, revealing the interweaving of art and ideas through the ages, as artists have striven to give visual immediacy to philosophical concepts. The Oxford History of Western Philosophy is the most authoritative single-volume account ever written for the general reader. Engagingly written and astonishingly far-reaching, it provides the consummate introduction to the intellectual bedrock upon which Western civilization is built. (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)