The Cambridge Companion to Socrates is a collection of essays providing a comprehensive guide to Socrates, the most famous Greek philosopher. Because Socrates himself wrote nothing, our evidence comes from the writings of his friends (above all Plato), his enemies, and later writers. Socrates is thus a literary figure as well as a historical person. Both aspects of Socrates' legacy are covered in this volume. Socrates' character is full of paradox, and so are his philosophical views. These paradoxes have led (...) to deep differences in scholars' interpretations of Socrates and his thought. Mirroring this wide range of thought about Socrates, this volume's contributors are unusually diverse in their background and perspective. The essays in this volume were authored by classical philologists, philosophers and historians from Germany, Francophone Canada, Britain and the United States, and they represent a range of interpretive and philosophical traditions. (shrink)
Dreaming in sleep must depend on the activity of the brain as does cognition and memory in wakefulness. Yet our understanding of the physiological subtleties of state differences may still be too primitive to guide theories adequately in these areas. One can state nonetheless unequivocally that the brain in REM is poorly equipped to practice for eventualities of wakefulness through dreaming, or for consolidating into memory the complex experiences of that state. [Hobson et al., Nielsen, Solms, Vertes & Eastman, Revonsuo].
This paper argues for two related theses. The first is that mathematical abstraction can play an important role in shaping the way we think about and hence understand certain phenomena, an enterprise that extends well beyond simply representing those phenomena for the purpose of calculating/predicting their behaviour. The second is that much of our contemporary understanding and interpretation of natural selection has resulted from the way it has been described in the context of statistics and mathematics. I argue for these (...) claims by tracing attempts to understand the basis of natural selection from its early formulation as a statistical theory to its later development by R.A. Fisher, one of the founders of modern population genetics. Not only did these developments put natural selection of a firm theoretical foundation but its mathematization changed the way it was understood as a biological process. Instead of simply clarifying its status, mathematical techniques were responsible for redefining or reconceptualising selection. As a corollary I show how a highly idealised mathematical law that seemingly fails to describe any concrete system can nevertheless contain a great deal of accurate information that can enhance our understanding far beyond simply predictive capabilities. (shrink)
In addition to its obvious successes within the kinetic theory the ideal gas law and the modeling assumptions associated with it have been used to treat phenomena in domains as diverse as economics and biology. One reason for this is that it is useful to model these systems using aggregates and statistical relationships. The issue I deal with here is the way R. A. Fisher used the model of an ideal gas as a methodological device for examining the causal role (...) of selection in producing variation in Mendelian populations. The model enabled him to create the kind of population where one could measure the effects of selection in a way that could not be done empirically. Consequently we are able to see how the model of an ideal gas was transformed into a biological model that functioned as an instrument for both investigating nature and developing a new theory of genetics. (shrink)
The debate between the Mendelians and the (largely Darwinian) biometricians has been referred to by R. A. Fisher as ‘one of the most needless controversies in the history of science’ and by David Hull as ‘an explicable embarrassment’. The literature on this topic consists mainly of explaining why the controversy occurred and what factors prevented it from being resolved. Regrettably, little or no mention is made of the issues that figured in its resolution. This paper deals with the latter topic (...) and in doing so reorients the focus of the debate as one between Karl Pearson and R. A. Fisher rather than between the biometricians and the Mendelians. One reason for this reorientation is that Pearson's own work in 1904 and 1909 suggested that Mendelism and biometry could, to some extent, be made compatible, yet he remained steadfast in his rejection of Mendelism. The interesting question then is why Fisher, who was also a proponent of biometric methods, was able to synthesise the two traditions in a way that Pearson either could not or would not. My answer to this question involves an analysis of the ways in which different kinds of assumptions were used in modelling Mendelian populations. I argue that it is these assumptions, which lay behind the statistical techniques of Pearson and Fisher, that can be isolated as the source of Pearson's rejection of Mendelism and Fisher's success in the synthesis. (shrink)
Existence in Black is the first collective statement on the subject of Africana Philosophy of Existence. Drawing upon resources in Africana philosophy and literature, the contributors explore some of the central themes of Existentialism as posed by the context of what Frantz Fanon has identified as "the lived-experience of the black." Among questions posed and explored in the volume are: What is to be done in a world of near universal sense of superiority to, if not universal hatred of, black (...) folk?; What is black suffering?; What is the meaning (if any) of black existence? The introduction argues that a response to these questions requires a journey through the resources of identity questions in critical race theory and the teleological dimensions of liberation theory. The contributors address these questions through an analysis of nearly every dimension of Africana phiosophy. In the first half of the book, they address Black Philosophies of Existence in terms of Traditional African Philosophy, the Harlem Renaissance, Du Boisian Double-Consciousness, and Fanonian and Sartrean Philosophies of Existence. In the second half of the book, contributors consider racial identity through examinations of such concepts as equality, death, mimesis, property, embodiment, technology, disappointment, and dread. Part II is an exploration of postmodern challenges to "black existence" through discussions of postmodern conservatism, Nietzsche's thoughts on blacks, Richard Wright and fragmented consciousness, and feminist critiques of race. And Part IV is an examination of problems of historical responsibility and constructing black liberation theories. Contributors are: Ernest Allen, Jr., Robert Birt, Bernard Boxill, George Carew, Bobby Dixon, G.M. James Gonzales, Lewis R. Gordon, Leonard Harris, Floyd Hayes, III, Paget Henry, Patricia Huntington, Joy Ann James, Clarence Shole Johnson, Bill E. Lawson, Howard McGary, Roy D. Morrison, William Preston, Jean-Paul Sartre, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Gary Schwartz, Robert Westley, and Naomi Zack. (shrink)
This infamous book has enjoyed a lively underground reputation since its first publication in 1970. Richard Meltzer (a.k.a. R. Meltzer) took his training as a young philosopher and applied it with unalloyed enthusiasm to the lyrics, sound, and culture of rock and roll. Never before had anyone noticed the relationship between the philosophy of Heidegger and a tune by Little Anthony and the Imperials, heard the cries of agony in the Shangri Las' “Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)”, or transcribed every (...) "papa-ooma-mow-mow" in the Trashmen's “Surfin' Bird.”From Dionne Warwick to Plato, Jim Morrison to Bert Brecht, Conway Twitty to Miguel de Unamuno, Meltzer subverts high and low culture in his search for meaning, emotion, and codes in popular music. At once an earnest investigation and a crypto put-on, the book can be read for its nuggets of information and insights or for its humor. Here with Greil Marcus's new introduction, yet another generation of readers can be outraged and inspired. (shrink)
As a public director of a NASDAQ stock exchange listed public corporation, I have seen how quickly the reforms in corporate governance imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have changed procedures and policies in public corporations. In areas such as transparency of financial records and other financial matters including compensation of top executives and conflict of interest policies affecting both corporate boards of directors and employees of the corporation the reforms of this new federal law have quickly changed corporate practices in (...) many corporations. Many persons who have studied this new law believe that these changes will benefit the public, shareholders, employees, and other stakeholders in the modern corporation by increasing the reputation of these organizations for integrity and transparency. Stock exchanges such as NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange now require all listed companies to have (after a transition time) a majority of independent directors on their boards of directors. Only independent directors may serve on the audit, nominating and compensation committees of boards in most cases. Some exceptions are made to these rules for foreign and domestic issues of companies where a majority of the voting power is held by one person. According to Morrison & Foster LLP, Corporate Board Advisory March , 2004, NASDAQ requires that the board of directors of a listed company determine that an independent director does not have a relationship that would “interfere with the exercise of independent judgment” in carrying out the responsibilities of a director. (shrink)