Once in a while stunning new ideas that energize a scholarly discipline — or even wreck it altogether — come from the outside. The most influential philosopher of science in the last generation was not a philosopher at all, but an historian and physicist, Thomas Kuhn. Ernst Gombrich, an art historian, has deeply informed the philosophy of art, as the linguist Noam Chomsky has affected the philosophy of language. And Jacques Derrida continues to cast his stupefying spell over many a (...) literature department, even if most philosophers remain unimpressed. (shrink)
Henry Sidgwick's Practical Ethics offers a novel approach to practical moral issues. In this article, I defend Sidgwick's approach against recent objections advanced by Sissela Bok, Karen Hanson, Michael S. Pritchard, and Michael Davis. In the first section, I provide some context within which to situate Sidgwick's view. In the second, I outline the main features of Sidgwick's methodology and the powerful rationale that lies behind it. I emphasize elements of the view that help to defend it, noting some (...) affinities it has with those of the later Rawls. In the third section, I indicate how it promises to help alleviate some difficulties facing modern practical ethics. In the fourth, I respond to Bok's objections. I argue that her own work on practical ethics has some similarities to Sidgwick's which should make them friends, not enemies. In the fifth section, I respond to Hanson, Pritchard and Davis. (shrink)
This essay explores the practical significance of Michel Henry’s “material phenomenology.” Commencing with an exposition of his most basic philosophical intuition, i.e., his insight that transcendental affectivity is the primordial mode of revelation of our selfhood, the essay then brings to light how this intuition also establishes our relation to both the world and others. Animated by a radical form of the phenomenological reduction, Henry’s material phenomenology brackets the exterior world in a bid to reach the concrete interior (...) transcendental experience at the base of all exteriority. The essay argues that this “counter reduction,” designed as a practical orientation to the world, suspends all traditional parameters of onto(theo)logical individuation in order to rethink subjectivity in terms of its transcendental corporeality, i.e., in terms of the invisible display of “affective flesh.” The development of this “metaphysics of the individual” anchors his “practical philosophy” as he developed it—under shifting accents—throughout his oeuvre. In particular, the essay brings into focus Henry’s reflections on modernity, the industry of mass culture and their “barbaric” movements. The essay briefly puts these cultural and political areas of Henry’s of thinking into contact with his late “theological turn,” i.e., his Christological account of Life and the (inter)subjective self-realization to which it gives rise. (shrink)
There are two general routes that Augustine suggests in De Trinitate, XV, 14-16, 23-25, for a psychological account of the Father's intellectual generation of the Word. Thomas Aquinas and Henry of Ghent, in their own ways, follow the first route; John Duns Scotus follows the second. Aquinas, Henry, and Scotus's psychological accounts entail different theological opinions. For example, Aquinas (but neither Henry nor Scotus) thinks that the Father needs the Word to know the divine essence. If we (...) compare the theological views entailed by their psychologies we find a trajectory from Aquinas, through Henry, and ending with Scotus. This theological trajectory falsifies a judgment that every Augustinian psychology of the divine persons amounts to a pre-Nicene functional Trinitarianism. This study makes clear how one's awareness of the theological views entailed by these psychologies enables one to assess more thoroughly psychological accounts of the identity and distinction of the divine persons. (shrink)
This paper aims to explain Henry of Ghent's views on what kind of language is appropriate in theology, and why. It concentrates on a number of questions of the Summa quaestionum ordinariarum , which are devoted to his take on how theologians should explain their discipline to students, and to the meaningfulness in general of theological language. The paper delves into the technical terms sensus and insinuare , and compares Henry's account with H.P. Grice's views on (speaker-)meaning and (...) his notion of `conversational implicatures', thus showing that Henry emphasises the performative features of linguistic use. (shrink)
Long recognised as a painting ‘about’ painting, Velázquez’s Las Meninas comes to Lacan’s aid as he explicates the object a in Seminar XIII, The Object of Psychoanalysis (1965–1966). The famous seventeenth century painting provides Lacan with a visual mapping of the ‘ghost story’ he discovers in the Cartesian cogito, insofar as it depicts the unravelling of the Cartesian representational project at the moment of its founding gesture. This article traces Lacan’s argument as he turns to art, linear perspective and topology (...) to model how the object a persistently eludes the grasp of scientific knowledge. Following a discussion of distance-point perspective in Renaissance Italy and the role this innovation played in enabling distorted depictions of objects in space, I propose Henry James’s ghost story, “The Jolly Corner,” as the sequel to Lacan’s reading of Las Meninas. In James’s tale, we obtain a narrative account of what the figures in Velasquez’s painting might ‘see’ as they return our gaze towards us. (shrink)
I argue that there is a hitherto unrecognized connection between Henry of Ghent’s general theory of real relations and his Trinitarian theology, namely the notion of numerical sameness without identity. A real relation (relatio) is numerically the same thing (res) as its absolute (non-relative) foundation, without being identical to its foundation. This not only holds for creaturely real relations but also for the divine persons’ distinguishing real relations. A divine person who is constituted by a real relation (relatio) and (...) the divine essence is numerically the same thing (res) as the divine essence without being identical to it. Further, I compare Mark Henninger’s and Jos Decorte’s interpretations of Henry’s general theory of real relations and show that Henninger’s is to be preferred and how it is consistent with my interpretation. I argue that the difficulty with Decorte’s interpretation stems, in part, from his misrepresentation of Henry’s Trinitarian theology. Subsequently, I fill in some missing pieces to Decorte’s presentation of Henry’s Trinitarian theology, and this in turn shows why Henninger’s interpretation in conjunction with mine is to be preferred. (shrink)
Although Henry Lee is often recognized to be an important early critic of Locke's 'way of ideas', his Anti-Scepticism (1702) has hardly received the scholarly attention it deserves. This paper seeks to fill that lacuna. It argues that Lee's criticism of Locke's alleged representationalism was original, and that it was quite different from the more familiar kind of criticism that was launched against Locke's theory of ideas by such thinkers as John Sergeant and Thomas Reid. In addition, the paper (...) offers an interpretation of Lee’s claim that, pace Locke, attempts to prove the veridicality of our cognitive apparatus are fundamentally misguided. (shrink)
In Quodlibet XV q.13, Henry of Ghent considers whether the Virgin Mary was immaculately conceived. He argues that she was not, but rather possessed sin only at the first instant of her existence. Because Henry’s defense of this position involves an elaborate discussion of motion and mutation, his discussion marks an important contribution to medieval discussions of Aristotelian natural philosophy. In fact, a number of scholars have identified Henry’s discussion as the source of an unusual fourteenth-century theory (...) of change referred to as “quasi-Aristotelianism” (so-called because the account purports to be Aristotelian but is not). My aim in the paper is two-fold: first, to show that Henry's position is not quasi-Aristotelian in the sense that scholars have supposed; second, to show that, even so, his discussion in q. 13 does involve a novel interpretation of Aristotle’s account of instantaneous change. (shrink)
Cet article cherche à rendre compte de la signification du concept d'habitus que nous retrouvons chez Michel Henry en tentant de le situer par rapport aux principaux concepts qui sont au fondement de la phénoménologie matérielle.
Historically labor has been central to human interactions with the environment, yet environmentalists pay it scant attention. Indeed, they have been critical of those who foreground labor in their politics, socialists in particular. However, environmentalists have found the nineteenth-century socialist William Morris appealing despite the fact that he wrote extensively on labor. This paper considers the place of labor in the relationship between humanity and the natural world in the work of Morris and two of his contemporaries, the eminent scientist (...) Thomas Henry Huxley, and the Fabian socialist Herbert George Wells. I suggest that Morris's conception of labor has much to recommend it to environmentalists who are also interested in issues of social justice. (shrink)
Cette étude, dans un premier temps, apporte des preuves à la possibilité d’interpréter la pensée politique de Hannah Arendt comme un projet phénoménologique original dont le but est d’élever l’apparence de la personne au rang de mode unique de l’apparaître. Puis elle présente brièvement la phénoménologie matérielle de Michel Henry dans laquelle le Soi individuel joue un rôle tout aussi central, puisqu’il est la condition de l’apparence de la vie et le fondement de tout apparaître. En conclusion, l’étude esquisse (...) les conséquences d’une telle position privilégiée du sujet individuel pour la conception théorique de la réalité effective de l’apparaître, de même que pour les problèmes pratiques de l’action de l’homme dans le monde. (shrink)
El artículo se propone determinar el límite entre fenomenología y gnosis en la filosofía del cristianismo de M. Henry. Para ello analiza la cuestión del Archi-hijo en Soy yo la verdad, la de Archi-carne en Encarnación y la de la legitimación de las palabras que Cristo pronuncia sobre sí mismo en Palabras de Cristo. El análisis muestra, en primer lugar, en qué medida el tratamiento de estas tres cuestiones supera el límite estrictamente fenomenológico del pensamiento y remite a una (...) gnosis o experiencia de fe particular. En segundo lugar, explicita cómo, independientemente de esta gnosis, la intuición henryana acerca de la esencia de la vida abre un acceso fenomenológico genuino a la relación religiosa. (shrink)
This paper takes its departure from Michel Henry’s criticism of a technological view that “extends its reign to the whole planet, sowing desolation and ruin everywhere” ( I am the Truth , 271). It argues that although Henry’s critique of technology is helpful and important, it does not go far enough, inasmuch as it excludes all non-human beings from the Truth of “Life” he advocates against the destructive truths of technology and therefore cannot fully articulate the way in (...) which technology does in fact cause “desolation and ruin” on the entire planet. At the same time I suggest that this strict division between human and non-human life is not essential to Henry’s project, which may well have resources for a more environmentally friendly proposal. The first part of the paper lays out Henry’s critique of technology in some detail, highlighting the ways in which it contains important insights for our contemporary situation. The second part of the paper explores the stark division Henry draws between human generation from the divine life and the creation of everything else, including his rejection of any identification of humans with “protozoa and honey bees,” which would seem to suggest a complete lack of concern for non-human life. The final part of the paper seeks to find a way beyond this dichotomy by showing how non-human life may be included in Henry’s proposal in a way that extends his critique of technology in environmentally conscious ways without losing his phenomenological insights about the human condition. (shrink)
Henry Johnstone's philosophical development was guided by a persistent need to reform the concept of validity -either by reinterpreting it or by finding a substitute for it. This project lead Johnstone into interesting confrontations with the concept of rhetoric and especiaUy with the work of Chaim Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca. The project culminated in a failed attempt to develop a formal ethics of rhetoric and argumentation, but this attempt was itself not consistent with some of Johnstone's other characterizations ofan ethics (...) of argument ation. A virtue ethics would be truer to the Johnstonian philosophical project than a formal ethics of argument. Resume. (shrink)
Given the pragmatic tum recently taken by argumentation studies, we owe renewed attention to Henry Johnstone's views on the primacy of process over product. In particular, Johnstone's decidedly non-cooperative model is a refreshing alternative to the current dialogic theories of arguing, one which opens the way for specifically rhetorical lines of inquiry.
Edited by Marthe Chandler and Ronnie Littlejohn, this work is a collection of expository and critical essays on the work of Henry Rosemont, Jr., a prominent and influential contemporary philosopher, activist, translator, and educator in the field of Asian and Comparative Philosophy. The essays in this collection take up three major themes in Rosemont's work: his work in Chinese linguistics, his contribution to the theory of human rights, and his interest in East Asian religion. Contributions include works by the (...) leading scholars in Chinese philosophy in the Western world and Rosemont's close associates: Roger T. Ames, Bao Zhiming, Mary Bockover, Marthe Chandler, Ewing Y. Chinn, Erin M. Cline, Fred Dallmayr, Jeffrey Dippmann, Herbert Fingarette, Harrison Huang, Eric Hutton, Philip J. Ivanhoe, David Jones, William La Fleur, Ronnie Littlejohn, Ni Peimin, Michael Nylan, Harold Roth, Sumner Twiss, Tu Weiming, David Wong, with responses from Henry Rosemont, Jr. and a brief Reminiscence by Noam Chomsky. (shrink)
Este ensayo establece un estrecho diálogo entre la Filosofía, la Literatura y la Historia de las Ideas. Su problema base está relacionado con los sistemas de producción y consumo de nuestra sociedad moderna y de qué forma el hombre, en su condición humana, es definido dentro de la doctrina de la eficacia y el maquinismo que hemos heredado del siglo XVIII. Se trata de la noción del organismo social que coarta las posibilidades a nivel individual de cada sujeto. Y la (...) idea que aquí se problematiza en un principio es la del héroe de Tomas Carlyle. Frente a la noción del hombre exitoso y con espíritu de liderazgo, se propone una contraposición por medio de la figura de Henry Miller y sus novelas tituladas Trópico de Cáncer y Trópico de Capricornio. El héroe de Carlyle, que termina siendo uno de los fundamentos de inspiración para el Führer de Adolf Hitler, es pensado desde la óptica del vagabundo de Miller. Una reflexión filosófica que halla sus bases críticas en la literatura.  . (shrink)
Henry Morris (1889-1961), the great educational philosopher, and initiator of the integrated community educational centre - embodied in the Cambridgeshire village college system - was county education officer and had his first 'memorandum' on the concept of community education printed by the Cambridge University Press. 1984 is both the 60th anniversary of his first memorandum and the 400th anniversary of the Press and this commemorative book will be published to coincide with a number of events to celebrate that. The (...) book is a collection of his papers, mainly about community education, edited by Professor Harry Re;e, who is closely associated with the Community Education Development Centre in Coventry. (shrink)
Lady Anne Conway was a remarkable woman who became a philosopher in her own right at a time when most women were denied even basic education. The Conway Letters is the record of her friendship with the Cambridge Platonist, Henry More, which began when he acted as her unofficial tutor in philosophy and lasted until her death. The letters cover a wide range of topics - personal, philosophical, religious, and social. They give a detailed picture of the More-Conway circle, (...) including such figures as Jeremy Taylor, Ralph Cudworth, Robert Boyle, and Francis Mercury van Helmont, as well as Lady Conway's Quaker associates, George Keith and William Penn. The letters are thus a valuable source for mid-seventeenth-century history, and especially for the intellectual history of the period. -/- This revised edition reprints all the letters from the original 1930 edition, together with Marjorie Nicolson's biographical account of Anne Conway and Henry More. A new appendix contains some important letters not included in the first edition, among them the early discussion of Cartesianism. The introduction by Sarah Hutton sets the book in the context of recent scholarship. (shrink)
This paper examines connections between concepts of space and extension on the one hand and immaterial spirits on the other, specifically the immanentist concept of spirits as present in rerum natura. Those holding an immanentist concept, such as Thomas Aquinas, typically understood spirits non-dimensionally as present by essence and power; and that concept was historically linked to holenmerism, the doctrine that the spirit is whole in every part. Yet as Aristotelian ideas about extension were challenged and an actual, infinite, dimensional (...) space readmitted, a dimensionalist concept of spirit became possible—that asserted by the mature Henry More, as he repudiated holenmerism. Despite More’s intentions, his dimensionalist concept opens the door to materialism, for supposing that spirits have parts outside parts implies that those parts could in principle be mapped onto the parts of divisible bodies. The specter of materialism broadens our interest in More’s unconventional ideas, for the question of whether other early modern thinkers, including Isaac Newton, followed More becomes a question of whether they too unwittingly helped usher in materialism. This paper shows that More’s attack upon holenmerism fails. He illegitimately injects his dimensionalist concept of spirit into the doctrine, failing to recognize it as a consequence of the non-dimensionalist concept of spirit, which in itself secures indivisibility. The interpretive consequence for Newton is that there is no prima facie reason to suppose that the charitable interpretation takes him to deny holenmerism. (shrink)
In this essay I defend the view that Henry Sidgwick’s moral epistemology is a form of intuitionist foundationalism that grants common-sense morality no evidentiary role. In §1, I outline both the problematic of The Methods of Ethics and the main elements of its argument for utilitarianism. In §§2-4 I provide my interpretation of Sidgwick’s moral epistemology. In §§ 5-8 I refute rival interpretations, including the Rawlsian view that Sidgwick endorses some version of reflective equilibrium and the view that he (...) is committed to some kind of pluralistic epistemology. In§ 9 I contend with some remaining objections to my view. (shrink)
The capacity to engage with art is a human universal present in all cultures and just about every individual human. This indicates that this capacity is evolved. In this Critical Notice of Denis Dutton's The Art Instinct, I discuss various evolutionary scenarios and their consequences. Dutton and I both reject the "spandrel" approach that originates from the work of Gould and Lewontin. Dutton proposes, following work of Geoffrey Miller, that art is sexually selected--that art-production is a sign of a (...) fit genome in males. I argue that while assortative mating may well have had a role in the evolution of "the art instinct", group selection is a better explanation. I also take issue with Dutton's "cluster concept" approach to defining art, and argue that it is a universal and essential characteristic of art that it is appreciated both for what it expresses and for the way that it expresses. It thus requires a reflexive capacity that is not operative in the appreciation of sport spectacles and pornography. (shrink)
Wittgenstein has been likened to a Pyrrhonian sceptic, one who employs dialectical skills to avoid rather than defend doctrine, but it is his role in exposing and excavating the sands upon which modern scepticisms have been built that is the subject of this new volume of largely original essays. The first three chapters, by Crispin Wright, Akeel Bilgrami and Michael Williams find inspiration in On Certainty for singling out key moves in the initial set-up of external world scepticism; the next (...) four chapters, by James Conant, Denis McManus, Ilham Dilman and Jane Heal involve discussions of external world (Cartesian) scepticism, semantic (Kantian) scepticism, scepticism about language (linguistic idealism) and the factuality of the mental that are either commentaries on, or discussions inspired by, Wittgenstein’s writings. The last five chapters focus on Stanley Cavell’s important and under-appreciated work on other minds scepticism—a form of scepticism that, on Cavell’s reading, is never far from the surface of Philosophical Investigations. Responses to modern scepticisms can be broadly divided into two categories: (1) Problem- Accepting Responses: those that regard the sceptical problem as legitimate and seek an answer that takes the form of an appropriate justification for (what the sceptic characterizes as) our ordinary knowledge or beliefs; and (2) Problem-Rejecting Reponses: those that regard the sceptical ‘problem’ as illegitimate (and so, not requiring an answer) because of hidden and contestable theoretical commitments or because it subtly transgresses conditions of sensemaking. This is a volume devoted entirely to the second of these categories, responses that are directed to, as McManus puts it, “a layer in which our philosophical questions are constituted”(p. (shrink)
In response to Henry Allison?s and Sally Sedwick?s comments on my recent book, Kant and the Capacity to Judge, I explain Kant?s description of the understanding as being essentially a ?capacity to judge?, and his view of the relationship between the categories and the logical functions of judgment. I defend my interpretation of Kant?s argument in the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories in the B edition. I conclude that, in my interpretation, Kant?s notions of the ?a priori? and the (...) ?given? are more complex and flexible than is generally perceived. Nevertheless, Kant maintains a strict distinction between receptivity and spontaneity, the ?passive? and the ?active aspects of our representational capacities. This separates him from his German idealist successors, most notably Fichte and Hegel. Contrary to Sedgwick?s and Allison?s suggestions, I do not think that my interpretation tends to blur this distinction. (shrink)
One of Michel Henry’s persistent claims has been that phenomenology is quite unlike positive sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, history, and law. Rather than studying particular objects and phenomena phenomenology is a transcendental enterprise whose task is to disclose and analyse the structure of manifestation or appearance and its very condition of possibility.
Wittgenstein read and admired the work of John Henry Newman. Evidence suggests that from 1946 until 1951 Newman's Grammar of Assent was probably the single most important external stimulus for Wittgenstein's thought. In important respects Wittgenstein's reactions to G. E. Moore follow hints already given by Newman.
In this rich and impressive new book, Henry Somers-Hall gives a nuanced analysis of the philosophical relationship between G. W. F. Hegel and Gilles Deleuze. He convincingly shows that a serious study of Hegel provides an improved insight into Deleuze’s conception of pure difference as the transcendental condition of identity. Somers-Hall develops his argument in three steps. First, both Hegel and Deleuze formulate a critique of representation. Second, Hegel’s proposed alternative is as logically consistent as Deleuze’s. Third, Deleuze can (...) account for evolution, whereas Hegel cannot. (shrink)
When we compare Henry and Levinas, we stumble upon a difficulty. Henry tries to reduce transcendence to immanence; Levinas, on the contrary, strives to call immance into question and to lend a new dignity to transcendence. Hence, the two thinkers seem to be diametrically opposed to one another. Yet, if one does not limit oneself to such an overall view, one finds some similarities between them. There is an affinity between the two approaches which results from the fact (...) that both thinkers establish a narrow relationship between originally passive affectivity and the selfhood of the self. Henry and Levinas are, despite all their differences, united in their efforts to ground selfhood on passivity and affectivity. Assuredly, it remains a question whether or not an originally passive affectivity is really capable of founding selfhood. Some doubt arises here from the observation that affectivity tends to anonymity. However, the observation that affectivity is marked by a tendency to anonymity has not only a negative and critical significance; it also characterizes affective states and arousals in a positive way, since one can maintain that the self could not be a ?self? unless it were constantly confronted with a tendency to anonymity. (shrink)
To address the theological turn in phenomenology, this paper sets out critical arguments opposing the theist phenomenology of Michel Henry and Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of the event. Henry’s phenomenology has been overlooked in recent commentaries compared with, for example, Jean-Luc Marion’s work. It will be shown here that Henry’s philosophy presents a detailed novel turn in phenomenology structured according to critical moves against positions developed from Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. This demonstration is done through a strong contrast (...) with Deleuze and a short engagement with Quentin Meillassoux. The paper presents an argument against the theological turn on the grounds that it misunderstands the form of affectivity when compared to Deleuze’s work on affect and event. It will be argued that Henry’s search for a free-standing affect deduced as a condition for any appearance underplays the way any affect is included in many causal and transcendentally determined series such that any notion of the pure affect independent of other processes is a fiction. The loss of this pure affect entails the questioning of the theological turn in Henry. (shrink)
In Voir l'invisible Michel Henry applies his philosophy of autoaffection (which is both inspired by, and critical of, Husserl) to the realm of aesthetics. Henry claims that autoaffection, as non-objective experience, is essential not only to self-experience, but also to the experience of objects and their qualities. Intentionality tempts us to experience objects merely from the 'outside', but aesthetic experience returns us to the inner life of objects as a lived experience. On the basis of an examination of (...)Henry's aesthetic theory in the light of Husserl's analysis of our experience of visible objects, I conclude that revisions are required in both Husserl's and Henry's approaches: Husserl's noema must be considered to be a lived-through experience, and non-objective lived-through experience must be recognized as primordial evidence; Henry's claim that intentionality makes unreal all that it objectifies must be replaced by a recognition of the interdependence between autoaffection and heteroaffection. (shrink)