In this paper I make a comparison between the imaginative activity of reading literature and the elucidatory activity of doing philosophy. My aim is to highlight significant features of a non-traditional view of philosophical method – inspired by Wittgenstein.
I examine a collection of different issues: language-use, authorship, responsibility, persons and first-person self-reference (the use of the term “I”). I begin by explaining why these separate issues have seized my imagination. Then I talk about some connections that I think we can make between the different issues and explain why these connections raise some philosophically interesting questions. I then focus on one specific issue – the question of whether or not an author can deny responsibility for his or her (...) work. (shrink)
Derek Parfit claims that “Williams and Mackie…do not use the normative concepts that I and other Non-Naturalists use.” Whatever we think of Parfit’s interpretation of Williams, his interpretation of Mackie should be rejected. For understandable historical reasons, Mackie’s texts are ambiguous. But if we apply to the interpretation of Mackie the same principle of charity Parfit employs in interpreting Williams, we find decisive reason to interpret Mackie as using the same normative concepts as Non-Naturalists.
In Reconstruction in Philosophy, John Dewey issued an eloquent call for contemporary philosophy to become more relevant to the pressing problems facing society. Historically, the philosophy of a period had been appropriate to social conditions (indeed, this is why it had developed as a discipline), but despite the vast changes in the contemporary world and the complex challenges confronting it philosophy had remained ossified. Karl Popper also was dissatisfied with contemporary philosophy, which he regarded as too often focusing upon “minute” (...) problems. Both Dewey and Popper, however, were optimistic that the situation could be turned around. In this essay D.C. Phillips argues that the resources they mustered give no basis for this optimism; in particular, Phillips emphasizes that philosophy cannot have traction with closed-minded or fanatical individuals. Dewey passed over cases where his ideas about democratic processes and free intellectual exchange faced intractable difficulties, according to Phillips, and he further suggests that Popper “waffled” over the so-called “myth of the framework.”. (shrink)
This article contains a survey of recent debates in the philosophy of photography, focusing on aesthetic and epistemic issues in particular. Starting from widespread notions about automatism, causality and realism in the theory of photography, the authors ask whether the prima facie tension between the epistemic and aesthetic embodied in oppositions such as automaticism and agency, causality and intentionality, realism and fictional competence is more than apparent. In this context, the article discusses recent work by Roger Scruton, Dominic Lopes, Kendall (...) Walton, Gregory Currie, Jonathan Cohen and Aaron Meskin, Noël Carroll, and Patrick Maynard in some detail. Specific topics addressed include: aesthetic scepticism, transparency, imagination, perception, information, representation and depiction. (shrink)
We are told by philosophers that photographs are a distinct category of image because the photographic process is mind-independent. Furthermore, that the experience of viewing a photograph has a special status, justified by a viewer’s knowledge that the photographic process is mind-independent. Versions of these ideas are central to discussions of photography in both the philosophy of art and epistemology and have far-reaching implications for science, forensics and documentary journalism. Mind-independence (sometimes ‘belief independence’) is a term employed to highlight what (...) is important in the idea that photographs can be produced naturally, mechanically, accidentally or automatically. Insofar as the process is physical, natural, mechanical or causal it can occur without human agency or intervention, entirely in the absence of intentional states. Presented innocuously, the idea is that although photographs are dependent on natural or mechanical processes, they can be produced independently of human agency – particularly human beliefs. Presented in a stronger form, the claim is that even if human agency is heavily involved in the production process, the definitive features that make the photograph a photograph and determine its salient properties are nonetheless independent of human minds. In epistemic debates, mind-independence is viewed as essential for explaining why photographs occupy a distinct category among images and justifying a variety of claims about their privileged epistemic and affective status in science, forensics, popular culture and journalism. But, in the philosophy of art, claims about mind-. (shrink)
According to Roger Scruton, it is not possible for photographs to be representational art. Most responses to Scruton’s scepticism are versions of the claim that Scruton disregards the extent to which intentionality features in photography; but these cannot force him to give up his notion of the ideal photograph. My approach is to argue that Scruton has misconstrued the role of causation in his discussion of photography. I claim that although Scruton insists that the ideal photograph is defined by its (...) ‘merely causal’ provenance, in fact he fails to take the causal provenance of photographs seriously enough. To replace Scruton’s notion of the ideal photograph, I offer a substantive account of the causal provenance of photographs, centred on the distinctive role of ‘the photographic event’. I conclude that, with a proper understanding of the photographic process, we have good reason to re-open the question of photography as a representational art. (shrink)
Robert Fogelin claims that interlocutors must share a framework of background beliefs and commitments in order to fruitfully pursue argument. I refute Fogelin’s claim by investigating more thoroughly the shared background required for productive argument. I find that this background consists not in any common beliefs regarding the topic at hand, but rather in certain shared pro-cedural commitments and competencies. I suggest that Fogelin and his supporters mistakenly view shared beliefs as part of the required background for productive argument because (...) these procedural com-mitments become more difficult to uphold when people’s beliefs diverge widely regarding the topic at hand. (shrink)
Our Book Review Editor, James Keller, invited William Hasker to write a review of the Book by D.Z. Phillips, The Problem of Evil and the Problem of God and then in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief invited Phillips to respond. Aware of both their respect for each other and their philosophical differences we planned that Hasker’s review and Phillips’ response would appear in the same issue of the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. Unfortunately that was not to be. Dewi, as (...) he was known to his many friends throughout the world, collapsed at his desk on 25 July, 2006 in the library of his beloved University of Wales, Swansea. Although we were not able to have the review and response appear in the same issue as we had all planned, we are now printing his response to Hasker’s review, “D.Z. Phillips’s Problems with Evil and with God,” which appeared in IJPR, Vol. 61,3. Dewi had completed the review and thanks to the efforts of Helen Baldwin who prepared the manuscript and Dewi’s wife, Monica, and family we are able to print it here. Since Dewi was responding to an earlier version of Hasker’s review, a few minor editorial changes have been made. Dewi’s death is a great loss to the philosophical community and a deep personal loss to his family and friends, but I am confident that he would be pleased to have this response appear. He might even have a story to tell, a comment that those who knew him well will fully understand. Eugene Thomas Long. (shrink)
I argue that John Mackie’s treatment of practical reason is both attractive and unjustly neglected. In particular, I argue that it is importantly different from, and much more plausible than, the kind of instrumentalist approach famously articulated by Bernard Williams. This matters for the interpretation of the arguments for Mackie’s most famous thesis: moral scepticism, the claim that there are no objective values. Richard Joyce has recently defended a version or variant of moral scepticism by invoking an instrumentalist theory like (...) Williams’. I argue that this is a serious strategic mistake. (shrink)
This article presents a comprehensive study of the offence of trauma ek pronoias (intentional wounding) in Athenian law. Part I catalogues every occurrence of the words traËma and titr¿skv in the Attic orators and concludes that the requisite physical element of trauma ek pronoias was the use of a weapon. Part II analyses all attested trauma lawsuits and concludes that the requisite mental element of the offence was a bare intent to wound. Part III addresses the procedural evidence for trauma (...) ek pronoias and concludes that the action for trauma was a graphê, not a dikê. Two appendices discuss the use of the terms trauma and pronoia in Plato¿s Laws and Aristotle¿s Rhetoric and a reference to trauma ek pronoias in Lucian¿s Timon. (shrink)
I examine the relationship between complete analysis and clarificatory analysis and explain why Wittgenstein thought he required both in his account of how to solve the problems of philosophy. I first describe Wittgenstein’s view of how philosophical confusions arise, by explaining how it is possible to misunderstand the logic of everyday language. I argue that any method of logical analysis in the Tractatus will inevitably be circular, but explain why this does not threaten the prospect of solving philosophical problems. I (...) distinguish between complete and clarificatory analysis and argue that Wittgenstein’s ‘strictly correct’ philosophical method is clarificatory analysis. Finally I discuss the relationship between the two forms of analysis and claim that, although, at the time of writing the Tractatus, Wittgenstein believed that the possibility of complete analysis underpins clarificatory analysis, in fact this was a mistake. In the Philosophical Investigations complete analysis is rejected and clarificatory analysis is retained. (shrink)
In both the Tractatus and the Investigations, Wittgenstein claimed that the aim of philosophy is to achieve clarity: to see clearly the logic or grammar of our language. However, his view of clarity underwent an important change, one of many changes that led Wittgenstein to write, in the preface to the Investigations, that his new ideas “could be seen in the right light only by contrast with and against the background of my old way of thinking.” I argue that certain (...) “grave mistakes” of the Tractatus were due to an idealised conception of clarity, and that a revised understanding of clarity is one of the main achievements of the Investigations. In the Tractatus Wittgenstein wrongly assumed that when we see language clearly, what we see will be determinate, exact, and complete. In the Investigations he realised that when we see language clearly we cannot specify in advance whether what we see will be determinate or vague, exact or inexact, complete or incomplete. I characterise this insight as a truism: when we see clearly, what we see might not be clear. Wittgenstein wants the Tractatus to serve as a warning to the reader of the Investigations; his own past mistakes are instructive and this is why we should read the Investigations against the background of his old way of thinking. (shrink)
I argue for an interpretation of Hume on practical reason different both from the traditional instrumentalist interpretation and the more recent nihilist interpretation. Both involve reading Hume as making normative claims. On the nihilist interpretation, Hume denies that either passions or actions can violate authoritative norms of reason; on the instrumentalist interpretation, Hume denies that passions can violate authoritative norms of reason, but holds that instrumentally irrational actions violate the one such authoritative norm. I argue instead for a purely psychological (...) interpretation of T 2.3.3 and parallel passages in T 3.1.1. As I interpret him, Hume does not here even address the question whether passions or actions can violate authoritative norms. His conclusion is merely that a person’s beliefs cannot conflict with her passions. (shrink)
God is said to be Spirit, but the language of spirit is ignored in contemporary philosophy of religion. As well as exploring the notion of spirit in Hegel, Romanticism and Kierkegaard, participants explore the view that God is a spirit without a body, and the relations between "spirit" and "truth.".
This paper takes issue with remarks by Brian Clack on the manner in which Wittgensteinian philosophers have interpreted religion. Clack attributes an expressivist interpretation of religion to Wittgensteinians. By reference to my own writings, and to those of Rush Rhees, I show how wide of the mark is this gloss on the Wittgensteinian tradition's approach to religion. In particular, the view that magico-religious rituals are cathartic is demonstrated to be one that Wittgensteinians have been keen to attack, rather than defend. (...) The conclusion of the paper emphasizes the point that Wittgenstein and Wittgensteinians have been concerned with denying the appropriateness of producing a general theory of religion or magic. Hence, they have no need of an expressive theory. (shrink)
This paper describes a 'structural typology' to assist in the analysis of ways in which policy-makers in one country explore educational provision in another and seek to 'borrow' from it. In this analysis we look specifically at England's 'cross-national attraction' to education in Germany over the past 200 years. The paper aims to provide an analytical programme to use in comparative education and to facilitate exploration of the importance of context in shaping educational phenomena.
Philosophical romanticism is the view that, in maintaining out forms of life, we are engaged in the endless task of “acknowledging the human” in reading and being read by others. Winch's discussions of “human nature” and the principle of universalizability in ethics should discourage us from imputing such romanticism to his work. On the other hand, his discussions of generality in “the human” and the human neighbourhood might tempt one to do so. Winch's contemplative conception of philosophy should, in the (...) end, count against this temptation. His work is a passionate example of doing conceptual justice to different readings of “the human”. (shrink)
Remarkable in the range that it covers, The Possibilities of Sense testifies to an equally remarkable philosopher. In essays on ethics and thephilosophy of religion, on literature and education, the contributors displaynot only the breadth of D.Z. Phillips's work but also its power. This powercomes largely from Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose significance as a moral and religious philosopher rivals his reputation as a philosopher of language.
Leading philosopher of religion D. Z. Phillips argues that intellectuals need not see their task as being for or against religion, but as one of understanding it. What stands in the way of this task are certain methodological assumptions about what enquiry into religion must be. Beginning with Bernard Williams on Greek gods, Phillips goes on to examine these assumptions in the work of Hume, Feuerbach, Marx, Frazer, Tylor, Marett, Freud, Durkheim, Le;vy-Bruhl, Berger and Winch. The result exposes confusion, but (...) also gives logical space to religious belief without advocating personal acceptance of that belief, and shows how the academic study of religion may return to the contemplative task of doing conceptual justice to the world. Religion and the Hermeneutics of Contemplation extends in important ways D. Z. Phillips' seminal 1976 book Religion Without Explanation. It will be of interest to scholars and students of philosophy, anthropology, sociology and theology. (shrink)
This book offers the rare opportunity to assess, within a single volume, the leading schools of thought in the contemporary philosophy of religion. With contributions by well-known exponents of each school, the book is an ideal text for assessing the deep proximities and divisions which characterize contemporary philosophy of religion. The schools of thought represented include philosophical theism, Reformed epistemology, Wittgensteinianism, Postmodernism, Critical Theory, and Process Thought.
This paper suggests explanations for the enduring nature of the tripartite system of secondary education in Germany and the failure to develop the comprehensive school (Gesamtschule) over a long period.