In the last 20 years postmodernism has had a powerful effect on the discipline of history and is now forcing empiricist historians to articulate their methods, and to defend them as both possible and virtuous. In this concise introduction, Stephen Davies explains what historians mean by empiricism, examines the origins, growth and persistence of empirical methods, and shows how students can apply these methods to their own work.
This book compares attitudes to empiricism in language study from mid-twentieth century philosophy of language and from present-day linguistics. It focuses on responses to the logical positivism of the Vienna Circle, particularly in the work of British philosopher J. L. Austin and the much less well-known work of Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess.
Eino Kaila's thought occupies a curious position within the logical empiricist movement. Along with Hans Reichenbach, Herbert Feigl, and the early Moritz Schlick, Kaila advocates a realist approach towards science and the project of a “scientific world conception”. This realist approach was chiefly directed at both Kantianism and Poincaréan conventionalism. The case in point was the theory of measurement. According to Kaila, the foundations of physical reality are characterized by the existence of invariant systems of relations, which he called structures. (...) In a certain sense, these invariant structures, he maintained, are constituted in the act of measuring. By “constitution”, however, Kaila meant neither the dependency of the objects of measurement on a priori concepts (or Kantian categories) nor their being effected by conventional stipulations in a Poincaréan sense. He held that invariant structures are, quite literally, real: they exist prior to and independently of our theoretical capacity. By executing measurements, invariant structures are detected and objectively determinable by laws of nature. (shrink)
Wayne Waxman here presents an ambitious and comprehensive attempt to link the philosophers of what are known as the British Empiricists--Locke, Berkeley, and Hume--to the philosophy of German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Much has been written about all these thinkers, who are among the most influential figures in the Western tradition. Waxman argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Kant is actually the culmination of the British empiricist program and that he shares their methodological assumptions and basic convictions about human thought and (...) knowledge. (shrink)
"Space," William James confessed, "is [both] a direfully difficult subject [and the] driest of subjects.'" Nonetheless, convinced that most previous accounts of space were either incoherent or mythological, he set out to describe space as it is actually experienced. His first effort, "The Spatial Quale," appeared in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy in 1879. 2 This article is historically important; as Ralph Barton Perry notes, "his peculiar view of the amplitude and eonnectedness of experience seems to have begun with the (...) application to space. ''3 But, despite this fact, it is seldom read today. It was not reprinted in James's Collected Essays and Reviews because the editor found "no important difference" between the content of this article and that of the chapter in The Principles of Psychology dealing with the same topic. 4 And it has not been included in more recent anthologies of James's writings. James would undoubtedly have concurred with the reasoning behind these editorial decisions. In the preface to the Psychology he wrote: Chapter 20, on Space-perception, is a terrible thing, which, unless written with all that detail, could not be fairly treated at all. An abridgment of it, called The Spatial Quale' ... may be found by some persons a useful substitute for the entire chapter? In fact, however, there is a significant philosophical difference between... (shrink)
This volume includes the major works of the British Empiricists, philosophers who sought to derive all knowledge from experience. All essays are complete except that of Locke, which Professor Richard Taylor of Brown University has skillfully abridged.
While previous studies of Dewey's work have taken either a historical or topical focus, Shook offers an innovative, organic approach to understanding Dewey and eloquently shows that Dewey's instrumentalism grew seamlessly out of his idealism. He argues that most current scholarship operates under a mistaken impression of Dewey's early philosophical positions.
There is an enduring story about empiricism, which runs as follows: from Locke onwards to Carnap, empiricism is the doctrine in which raw sense-data are received through the passive mechanism of perception; experience is the effect produced by external reality on the mind or ‘receptors’. Empiricism on this view is the ‘handmaiden’ of experimental natural science, seeking to redefine philosophy and its methods in conformity with the results of modern science. Secondly, there is a story about materialism, (...) popularized initially by Marx and Engels and later restated as standard, ‘textbook’ history of philosophy in the English-speaking world. It portrays materialism as explicitly mechanistic, seeking to reduce the world of qualities, sensations, and purposive behaviour to a quantitative, usually deterministic physical scheme. Building on some recent scholarship, I aim to articulate the contrarian view according to which neither of these stories is true. On the contrary, empiricism turns out to be less ‘science-friendly’ and more concerned with moral matters; materialism reveals itself to be, in at least a large number of cases, a ‘vital’, anti-mechanistic doctrine which focuses on the unique properties of organic beings. This revision of two key philosophical episodes should reveal that our history of early modern philosophy is dependent to a great extent on ‘special interests’, whether positivistic or Kantian, and by extension lead us to rethink the relation and distinction between ‘science’ and ‘philosophy’ in this period. (shrink)
This is the introduction to a collection of essays on 'embodied empiricism' in early modern philosophy and the life sciences - papers on Harvey, Glisson, Locke, Hume, Bonnet, Lamarck, on anatomy and physiology, on medicine and natural history, etc.
Immanuel Kant is one of the most influential philosophers in the history of Western philosophy. His contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics have had a profound impact on almost every philosophical movement that followed him. This portion of the Encyclopedia entry will focus on his metaphysics and epistemology in one of his most important works, The Critique of Pure Reason . (All references will be to the A (1781) and B(1787) edition pages in Werner Pluhar's translation. Indianapolis: Hackett, (...) 1996.) A large part of Kant's work addresses the question "What can we know?" The answer, if it can be stated simply, is that our knowledge is constrained to mathematics and the science of the natural, empirical world. It is impossible, Kant argues, to extend knowledge to the supersensible realm of speculative metaphysics. The reason that knowledge has these constraints, Kant argues, is that the mind plays an active role in constituting the features of experience and limiting the mind's access to the empirical realm of space and time. (shrink)
The concept of empiricism evokes both a historical tradition and a set of philosophical theses. The theses are usually understood to have been developed by Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. But these figures did not use the term “empiricism,” and they did not see themselves as united by a shared epistemology into one school of thought. My dissertation analyzes the debate that elevated the concept of empiricism (and of an empiricist tradition) to prominence in English-language philosophy. -/- In (...) the 1870s and ’80s a lively debate about psychology emerged. Neo-Kantian idealists criticized the very idea that the mind can be studied scientifically. A group of philosopher-psychologists responded, often in Mind. They were among the first to call themselves “empiricists,” arguing that psychology could provide a scientific basis for philosophical progress. Idealists held that empirical psychology depended on premises developed by Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. These premises were allegedly absurd because they rendered ideas of extension, as well as other ideas crucial to natural science, unreal. Those who wanted to advance psychology towards becoming a legitimate science were forced to engage these philosophical attacks, while at the same time to develop empirical theories that could successfully explain some characteristics of experience. I show how James’s theory of space perception accomplished both tasks. -/- In developing this theory, James found he had to reject the Lockean notion that reality is associated with passively-registered sensations. James also abandoned Berkeley and Hume’s claim that ideas are ultimately derived from atomic sensations. Instead, James presented experimental evidence that sensation is a continuous stream. The mind must actively parse this stream if it is to gain a coherent representation of its environment. I argue that James’s stream-of-thought thesis served as a presupposition of his entire psychology. The thesis showed how the labor of investigating the mind could be divided between philosophers and scientists, and in a manner sensitive to the concerns of both. The stream thesis also provided a scientific basis for a new philosophical empiricism that, I argue, has a hidden legacy in the history of analytic philosophy. (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)
From one end of his philosophical work to the other, Gilles Deleuze consistently described his position as a transcendental empiricism. But just what is transcendental about Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism? And how does his position fit with the traditional empiricism articulated by Hume? In Difference and Givenness , Levi Bryant addresses these long-neglected questions so critical to an understanding of Deleuze’s thinking. Through a close examination of Deleuze’s independent work--focusing especially on Difference and Repetition-- as well as his (...) engagement with thinkers such as Kant, Mai;mon, Bergson, and Simondon, Bryant sets out to unearth Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism and to show how it differs from transcendental idealism, absolute idealism, and traditional empiricism. What emerges from these efforts is a metaphysics that strives to articulate the conditions for real existence, capable of accounting for the individual itself without falling into conceptual or essentialist abstraction. In Bryant’s analysis, Deleuze’s metaphysics articulates an account of being as process or creative individuation based on difference, as well as a challenging critique--and explanation--of essentialist substance ontologies. A clear and powerful discussion of how Deleuze’s project relates to two of the most influential strains in the history of philosophy, this book will prove essential to anyone seeking to understand Deleuze’s thought and its specific contribution to metaphysics and epistemology. (shrink)
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. Featuring hundreds of 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)
Modern science began as natural philosophy. In the time of Newton, what we call science and philosophy today – the disparate endeavours – formed one mutually interacting, integrated endeavour of natural philosophy: to improve our knowledge and understanding of the universe, and to improve our understanding of ourselves as a part of it. Profound, indeed unprecedented discoveries were made. But then natural philosophy died. It split into science on the one hand, and philosophy on the other. This happened during the (...) 18th and 19th centuries, and the split is now built into our intellectual landscape. But the two fragments, science and philosophy, are defective shadows of the glorious unified endeavour of natural philosophy. Rigour, sheer intellectual good sense and decisive argument demand that we put the two together again, and rediscover the immense merits of the integrated enterprise of natural philosophy. This requires an intellectual revolution, with dramatic implications for how we understand our world, how we understand and do science, and how we understand and do philosophy. There are dramatic implications, too, for education, and for the entire academic endeavour, and its capacity to help us discover how to tackle more successfully our immense global problems. (shrink)
In the early eighteenth century, chemistry became the main academic locus where, in Francis Bacon's words, Experimenta lucifera were performed alongside Experimenta fructifera and where natural philosophy was coupled with natural history and 'experimental history' in the Baconian and Boyleian sense of an inventory and exploration of the extant operations of the arts and crafts. The Dutch social and political system and the institutional setting of the university of Leiden endorsed this empiricist, utilitarian orientation toward the sciences, which (...) was forcefully propagated by one of the university's most famous representatives in the first half of the eighteenth century, the professor of medicine, botany and chemistry Herman Boerhaave. Recent historical investigations on Boerhaave's chemistry have provided important insights into Boerhaave's religious background, his theoretical and philosophical goals, and his pedagogical agenda. But comparatively little attention has been paid to the chemical experiments presented in Boerhaave's famous chemical textbook, the Elementa chemiae, and to the question of how these experiments relate not only to experimental philosophy but also to experimental history and natural history, and to contemporary utilitarianism. I argue in this essay that Boerhaave shared a strong commitment to Baconian utilitarianism and empiricism with many other European chemists around the middle of the eighteenth century, in particular to what Bacon designated 'experimental history' and I will provide evidence for this claim through a careful analysis of Boerhaave's plant-chemical experiments presented in the Elementa chemiae. (shrink)
Several scholars have criticized the histories of early modern philosophy based on the dichotomy of empiricism and rationalism. They view them as overestimating the importance of epistemological issues for early modern philosophers (epistemological bias), portraying Kant's Critical philosophy as a superior alternative to empiricism and rationalism (Kantian bias), and forcing most or all early modern thinkers prior to Kant into the empiricist or rationalist camps (classificatory bias). Kant is often said to be the source of the three biases. (...) Against this criticism, this paper argues that Kant did not have the three biases. However, he promoted a way of writing histories of philosophy from which those biases would naturally flow. (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)
It is widely held that the current debate on the mind-body problem in analytic philosophy began during the 1950s at two distinct sources: one in America, de- riving from Herbert Feigl's writings, and the other in Australia, related to writings by U. T. Place and J. J. C. Smart (Feigl  1967). Jaegwon Kim recently wrote that "it was the papers by Smart and Feigl that introduced the mind-body problem as a mainstream metaphysical Problematik of analytical philosophy, and launched the (...) debate that has continued to this day" (Kim 1998, 1). Nonetheless, it is not at all obvious why these particular articles sparked a debate, nor why Feigl's work in particular came to play such a prominent part in it, nor how and to what extent Feigl's approach rests on the logical empiricism he endorsed. (shrink)
Totally revised and updated, written especially for students, the third edition of Geography – History and Concepts is the definitive undergraduate introduction to the history, philosophy and methodology of Human Geography. Accessible and comprehensive, the work comprises five sections: - What is Geography?: a historical overview of the discipline and an explanation of its organization - The Foundations of Geography: examines Geography from Antiquity to the early modern period; the discussion includes detailed explanations of environmental determinism; the French (...) School; landscape; and regional studies - Paradigms and Revolutions: includes an analysis of Kuhn’s paradigm of scientific knowledge that introduces the discussion of the quantitative revolution in the late sixties – this section examines the new human geography, as well as reviewing criticisms of quantification - Positivism and its Critics: defines positivism and empiricism and offers a comprehensive expostion of humanist and structuralist criticisms of these methodologies; concludes with a critical discussion of structuration theory, realism and postmodernism - Processes in Place and Space: an introduction to core themes and concepts in current geographical though: including space, place, and feminism. Illustrated throughout, with summaries, notes for further reading and a concept glossary of Geography – History and Concepts will be essential reading for undergraduates in Geography. (shrink)
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)
It is argued that, contrary to prevailing opinion, Bas van Fraassen nowhere uses the argument from underdetermination in his argument for constructive empiricism. It is explained that van Fraassen’s use of the notion of empirical equivalence in The Scientific Image has been widely misunderstood. A reconstruction of the main arguments for constructive empiricism is offered, showing how the passages that have been taken to be part of an appeal to the argument from underdetermination should actually be interpreted.
This essay examines the perspective from which Bas van Fraassen, in his book, The Empirical Stance , explains the project of empiricism. I argue that this perspective is a robustly transcendental perspective, which suggests that the tradition of empiricism lacks the resources to explain itself. I offer an alternative history of epistemic voluntarism in twentieth-century philosophy to the history van Fraassen himself provides, one that finds the novelty in van Fraassen’s own views to be precisely his (...) reintroduction of the knowing mind into the tradition of analytic philosophy of science. (shrink)
This article explores Galen's analysis of and response to the Rationalist and Empiricist medical sects. It argues that his interest in their debate concerning the epistemology of medicine and anatomy was key to his advancement of an experimental methodology.
Collingwood has failed to make a significant impact in the history of twentieth century philosophy either because he has been dismissed as a dusty old idealist committed to the very metaphysics the analytical school was trying to leave behind, or because his later work has been interpreted as advocating the dissolution of philosophy into history. I argue that Collingwood's key philosophical works are a sustained attempt to defend the view that philosophy is an autonomous discipline with a distinctive (...) domain of inquiry and that Collingwood's attempt to defend the autonomy of philosophy is intimately connected to his defence of intensional notions against the kind of meaning scepticism which came to prevail from the 1920s. I defend the philosophical claim that there is a third way between the idealist metaphysics with which Collingwood is often associated and the neo-empiricist agenda which characterised analytic philosophy in mid-century by defending the hermeneutic thesis that Collingwood's work is a sustained attempt to articulate a conception of philosophy as an epistemologically first science. Since there is a via media between the old metaphysics and the new empiricism there is no need to choose between a certain kind of armchair metaphysics and a scientifically informed ontology. (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)
Mainstream philosophy of science has embraced an “empiricist” approach to scientific method. To be slightly more precise, I venture that most philosophers of science today would endorse the view that experience is the source of most scientific knowledge. The aim of this essay will be to challenge the consensus, by showing how we cannot and should not abandon all elements of the “rationalist” tradition, a tradition often identified with philosophers such as Descartes. There are several elements frequently identified with “rationalist” (...) science (Stump, 2005): questioning of sense experience, the attempt to rethink the “metaphysical” foundations of one’s science, using either thought experiment, or appealing to demonstrative arguments purporting to establish ‘necessary’ truths, often using either mathematics or geometry, and appeal to “virtues” not usually considered “strictly empirical,” such as simplicity. This essay explores the effective deployment of such considerations in the history and current practice of science. (shrink)
This essay delineates the contributions of feminist critiques of science to contemporary reconstructions of empiricism. I argue that three central tenets arise from feminist attention to the dynamics of gender and oppression in the theories and methods of science: 1) a rejection of the science/politics dichotomy; 2) an acknowledgement of the epistemic import of subjective components of knowledge; and 3) a reconfiguration of the subject of knowledge. These three tenets are illustrated and supported through examples from the history (...) of science. (shrink)
There is no doubt that periodization is a rather effective method of data ordering and analysis, but it deals with exceptionally complex types of processual and temporal phenomena and thus it simplifies historical reality. Many scholars emphasize the great importance of periodization for the study of history. In fact, any periodization suffers from one-sidedness and certain deviations from reality. However, the number and significance of such deviations can be radically diminished as the effectiveness of periodization is directly connected with (...) its author's understanding of the rules and peculiarities of this methodological procedure. In this paper we would like to suggest a model of periodization of history based on our theory of historical process. We shall also demonstrate some possibilities of mathematical modeling for the problems concerning the macroperiodization of the world historical process. This analysis identifies a number of cycles within this process and suggests its generally hyperexponential shape, which makes it possible to propose a number of forecasts concerning the forthcoming decades. (shrink)
‘Empiricism’ has become for many a dirty word, and many writers have in mind the kind of neo-Humean Positivism that is the target of Wittgenstein’s Private Language Argument, Quine’s ‘Two Dogmas of Empiricism’, or Merleau-Ponty’s Phénoménologie de la perception. But examination of the Empiricist tradition before Hume uncovers views that do not involve anything like the much-abused “Myth of the Given” or twentieth-century sensedatum theory. This paper identifiesthe particular line of seventeenth-century thought that eventually gave rise to sense-datum (...) theory, and discusses other notions of experience that avoid it. The aim of this history lesson is to point to the possibility of an essentially empiricist approach today, an approach that avoids the neo-idealism or conceptualism of popular modern alternatives to sensedatum theory. (shrink)
We propose a general framework for integrating theory and empiricism in human evolutionary ecology. We specifically emphasize the joint use of stochastic nonlinear dynamics and information theory. To illustrate critical ideas associated with historical contingency and complex dynamics, we review recent research on social preferences and social learning from behavioral economics. We additionally examine recent work on ecological approaches in history, the modeling of chaotic populations, and statistical application of information theory.
The uniqueness of logic is upheld and contrasted with twenty roles of a wider responsive order that includes us and our procedures. Empirical responses are precise, but different in different approaches. Procedures and findings are independent of (not separable from) their concepts. Two-way feedback obviates a top-down derivation of findings from assumptions, hypotheses, history, or language. The postmodern problems of interpretation, conditions of appearances and relativism involve the ancient error of making perception the model-instance of experience. Instead, bodily interaction (...) functions in language and precedes perception and interpretation. Logic, space time locations and individuated referents involve positional relations derived from comparing. Beyond Kuhn, Feyerabend, Newton and Einstein, if we can give interaction priority over comparing, the responsive objectivity of both can be upheld. A new empiricism, neither naive nor constructivist, uses the words order, explication, truth, and exactly to build on Wittgenstein and on Dilthey's hermeneutic. Natural language is metaphor-like, originally crossed. Logic must ignore its assumptions. It must render everything as a machine and drop humans and animals out. A new discipline is proposed, to move between the logical and the responsive orders, to deal with the machine/human interface and the social uses of science such as bioengineering. (shrink)
In his recent book, The Empirical Stance, Bas van Fraassen forcefully raises the question of what a philosophical position can or should be. He mainly discusses this question with regard to empiricism but his discussion makes it clear that he takes his proposed answer to be generalizable: not only empiricism but philosophical positions in general should be understood as stances rather than dogmata. The first part of this essay is devoted to an examination of van Fraassen’s critique of (...) ‘naïve’ or dogmatic empiricism, which represents an integral part of his argument for ‘stance’ empiricism. It will be argued that, contrary to van Fraassen’s view, not all versions of naïve empiricism run into the problems identified by him. In the second part of the paper the case will be made that, contrary to van Fraassen’s thesis, the stance empiricist is in at least as bad a position as the naïve empiricist with regard to the task of providing a radical critique of metaphysics, which van Fraassen takes to be an essential task that any empiricist should be able to accomplish. The third part of this essay concerns van Fraassen’s general proposal, and examines the question whether a philosophical position can possibly consist in a stance. It will be suggested that this is not the case. With regard to empiricism this has the implication that if one wants to be a philosopher and an empiricist at the same time one needs to subscribe to a form of naïve empiricism. Furthermore, it will be proposed that as a philosopher-empiricist one should want, or, at least, allow some form of metaphysical theorizing to be part of the philosophical enterprise after all. (shrink)
Economics and evolutionary biology share a long history of interaction and parallel development. This pattern persists with regard to how the two fields address the issues of selfishness and cooperation. The recent renewed emphasis on empiricism in both fields provides a solid foundation on which to build a truly scientific unification of the behavioral sciences. (Published Online April 27 2007).
This illustrated edition of Sir Anthony Kenny’s acclaimed survey of Western philosophy offers the most concise and compelling story of the complete development of philosophy available. Spanning 2,500 years of thought, An Illustrated Brief History of Western Philosophy provides essential coverage of the most influential philosophers of the Western world, among them Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Jesus, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Mill, Nietzsche, Darwin, Freud, Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein. Replete with over 60 (...) illustrations - ranging from Dufresnoy’s The Death of Socrates, through to the title page of Thomas More’s Utopia, portraits of Hobbes and Rousseau, photographs of Charles Darwin and Bertrand Russell, Freud’s own sketch of the Ego and the Id, and Wittgenstein’s Austrian military identity card - this lucid and masterful work is ideal for anyone with an interest in Western thought. (shrink)
The issue of time-awareness presents a critical challenge for empiricism: if temporal properties are not directly perceived, how do we become aware of them? A unique empiricist account of time-awareness suggested by Hume's comments on time in the Treatise avoids the problems characteristic of other empiricist accounts. Hume's theory, however, has some counter-intuitive consequences. The failure of empiricists to come up with a defensible theory of time-awareness lends prima facie support to a non-empiricist theory of ideas.
History, Philosophy and Science Teaching argues that science teaching and science teacher education can be improved if teachers know something of the history and philosophy of science and if these topics are included in the science curriculum. The history and philosophy of science have important roles in many of the theoretical issues that science educators need to address: the goals of science education; what constitutes an appropriate science curriculum for all students; how science should be taught in (...) traditional cultures; what integrated science is; how scientific literacy can be promoted; and the conflict which can occur between science curriculum and deep-seated religious or cultural values and knowledge. In part, answers to these questions hinge on views about the nature of science, views that are best informed by historical and philosophical study. Outlining the history of liberal, or contextual, approaches to the teaching of science, Michael Matthews elaborates contemporary curriculum developments that explicitly address questions about the nature and the history of science. He provides examples of classroom teaching and develops useful arguments on constructivism, multicultural science education and teacher education. The book will appeal to school and university science teachers, educators of science teachers, and historians and philosophers of science. (shrink)
Feminist work in the history of philosophy has come of age as an innovative field in the history of philosophy. This volume marks that accomplishment with original essays by leading feminist scholars who ask basic questions: What is distinctive of feminist work in the history of philosophy? Is there a method that is distinctive of feminist historical work? How can women philosophers be meaningfully included in the history of the discipline? Who counts as a philosopher? This (...) collection is a unique collaboration among philosophers from North America and the Nordic Countries, including papers written from both analytic and continental philosophical perspectives and discussing both ancient and modern philosophers. Feminist Reflections on the History of Philosophy will be of interest to historians of philosophy, feminist theorists, women's studies faculty and students, and humanists interested in canon formation and transformation. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that aim-oriented empiricism (AOE), a conception of natural science that I have defended at some length elsewhere, is a kind of synthesis of the views of Popper, Kuhn and Lakatos, but is also an improvement over the views of all three. Whereas Popper's falsificationism protects metaphysical assumptions implicitly made by science from criticism, AOE exposes all such assumptions to sustained criticism, and furthermore focuses criticism on those assumptions most likely to need revision if science (...) is to make progress. Even though AOE is, in this way, more Popperian than Popper, it is also, in some respects, more like the views of Kuhn and Lakatos than falsificationism is. AOE is able, however, to solve problems which Kuhn's and Lakatos's views cannot solve. (shrink)
Constructive empiricists claim to offer a reconstruction of the aim and practice of science without adopting all the metaphysical commitments of scientific realism. Deflationists about truth boast of the ability to offer a full account of the nature of truth without adopting the metaphysical commitments accompanying substantive accounts. Though the two views would form an attractive package, I argue that the pairing is not possible: constructive empiricism requires a substantive account of truth. I articulate what sort of account of (...) truth and empirical adequacy the constructive empiricist must offer and then show why deflationists cannot uphold such an account. (shrink)
Time is the only book that offers a comprehensive history of the philosophy of time in western philosophy from the Greeks through the 20th century. Philip Turetzky explores theories in ancient and modern philosophy chronologically, from Aristotle to Nietzsche. He then describes the philosophy of time in three 20th century philosophical traditions: analytic philosophy, phenomenology and the distaff tradition. The book compares and contrasts the way these traditions treat time in regard to appearances, empiricism, existence, privileged ontological relations, (...) and pragmatic concerns. Time will be an intriguing and enlightening read for anyone who has wondered about the nature of time. (shrink)
Theory. Moral knowledge and moral principles -- Victorian Matters. First principles and common-sense morality in Sidgwick's ethics ; Moral problems and moral philosophy in the Victorian Period -- On the historiography of moral philosophy. Moral crisis and the history of ethics ; Modern moral philosophy : from beginning to end? : No discipline, no history : the case of moral philosophy ; Teaching the history of moral philosophy -- Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century moral philosophy. The divine corporation and (...) the history of ethics ; Natural law ; The misfortunes of virtue ; Voluntarism and the foundations of ethics ; Hume and the religious significance of moral rationalism -- On Kant. Why study Kant's Groundwork ; Autonomy, obligation, and virtue : an overview of Kant's moral philosophy ; Kant and Stoic ethics ; Toward enlightenment : Kant and the sources of darkness ; Kantian unsocial sociability : good out of evil -- Moral psychology. The active powers -- Afterword. Sixty years of philosophy in a life. (shrink)
History of Western Thought is a comprehensive introduction to the history of Western philosophy from the Pre-Socratics to Twentieth Century thought. In addition to all the key figures, the book covers figures whose contributions have so far been overlooked such as Vico, Montesquieu, Durkheim and Weber.
Kant’s use of the terms ‘Nature’ and ‘Providence’ in his essays on history has long puzzled commentators. Kant personifies Nature and Providence in a curious way, by speaking of them as “deciding” to give humankind certain predispositions, “wanting” these to be developed, and “knowing” what is best for humans Moreover, he leaves the relationship between the two terms unclear. In this essay, I argue that Kant’s use of ‘Nature’ and ‘Providence’ can be clarified and explained. Moreover, I show that (...) Kant’s use of the terms is symptomatic of a much more important and not sufficiently appreciated fact about Kant’s philosophy of history, viz., that it fulfils a function in both his theoretical and his practical philosophy. (shrink)
This article critically examines the views that psychology ?rst came into existence as a discipline ca. 1879, that philosophy and psychology were estranged in the ensuing decades, that psychology ?nally became scienti?c through the in?uence of logical empiricism, and that it should now disappear in favor of cognitive science and neuroscience. It argues that psychology had a natural philosophical phase (from antiquity) that waxed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that this psychology transformed into experimental psychology ca. 1900, that (...) philosophers and psychologists collaboratively discussed the subject matter and methods of psychology in the ?rst two decades of the twentieth century, that the neobehaviorists were not substantively in?uenced by the Vienna Circle, that the study of perception and cognition in psy- chology did not disappear in the behaviorist period and so did not reemerge as a result of arti?cial intelligence, linguistics, and the computer analogy, that although some psychologists adopted the language-of-thought approach of traditional cognitive science, many did not, and that psychology will not go away because it contributes independently of cognitive science and neuroscience. (shrink)
The Genealogy takes a historical form. But does the history play an essential role in Nietzsche's critique of modern morality? In this essay, I argue that the answer is yes. The Genealogy employs history in order to show that acceptance of modern morality was causally responsible for producing a dramatic change in our affects, drives, and perceptions. This change led agents to perceive actual increases in power as reductions in power, and actual decreases in power as increases in (...) power. Moreover, it led agents to experience negative emotions when engaging in activities that constitute greater manifestations of power, and positive emotions when engaging in activities that reduce power. For these reasons, modern morality strongly disposes agents to reduce their own power. Given Nietzsche’s argument that power has a privileged normative status, these facts entail that we have a reason to reject modern morality. (shrink)
Why do major historical events such as the Holocaust occupy the forefront of the collective consciousness, while profound moments such as the Armenian genocide, the McCarthy era, and France's role in North Africa stand distantly behind? Is it possible that history "overly remembers" some events at the expense of others? A landmark work in philosophy, Paul Ricoeur's Memory, History, Forgetting examines this reciprocal relationship between remembering and forgetting, showing how it affects both the perception of historical experience and (...) the production of historical narrative. Memory, History, Forgetting , like its title, is divided into three major sections. Ricoeur first takes a phenomenological approach to memory and mnemonical devices. The underlying question here is how a memory of present can be of something absent, the past. The second section addresses recent work by historians by reopening the question of the nature and truth of historical knowledge. Ricoeur explores whether historians, who can write a history of memory, can truly break with all dependence on memory, including memories that resist representation. The third and final section is a profound meditation on the necessity of forgetting as a condition for the possibility of remembering, and whether there can be something like happy forgetting in parallel to happy memory. Throughout the book there are careful and close readings of the texts of Aristotle and Plato, of Descartes and Kant, and of Halbwachs and Pierre Nora. A momentous achievement in the career of one of the most significant philosophers of our age, Memory, History, Forgetting provides the crucial link between Ricoeur's Time and Narrative and Oneself as Another and his recent reflections on ethics and the problems of responsibility and representation. (shrink)
In this paper we suggest a revisionist perspective on two significant figures in early modern life science and philosophy: William Harvey and John Locke. Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood, is often named as one of the rare representatives of the ‘life sciences’ who was a major figure in the Scientific Revolution. While this status itself is problematic, we would like to call attention to a different kind of problem: Harvey dislikes abstraction and controlled experiments (aside from (...) the ligature experiment in De Motu Cordis), tends to dismiss the value of instruments such as the microscope, and emphasizes instead the privileged status of ‘observed experience’. To use a contemporary term, Harvey appears to rely on, and chiefly value, ‘tacit knowledge’. Secondly, Locke’s project is often explained with reference to the image he uses in the Epistle to the Reader of his Essay, that he was an “underlabourer” of the sciences. In fact, despite the significant medical phase of his career, Locke’s ‘empiricism’ turns out to be above all a practical (i.e. ‘moral’) project, which focuses on the delimitation of our powers in order to achieve happiness, and rejects the possibility of naturalizing knowledge. When combined, these two cases suggest a different view of some canonical moments in early modern natural philosophy. (shrink)
This major publication is a history of the semantic tradition in philosophy from the early nineteenth century through its incarnation in the work of the Vienna Circle, the group of logical positivists that emerged in the years 1925-1935 in Vienna who were characterised by a strong commitment to empiricism, a high regard for science, and a conviction that modern logic is the primary tool of analytic philosophy. In the first part of the book, Alberto Coffa traces the roots (...) of logical positivism in a semantic tradition that arose in opposition to Kant's theory that a priori knowledge is based on pure intuition and the constitutive powers of the mind. In Part II, Coffa chronicles the development of this tradition by members and associates of the Vienna Circle. Much of Coffa's analysis draws on the unpublished notes and correspondence of many philosophers. The book, however, is not merely a history of the semantic tradition from Kant 'to the Vienna Station'. Coffa also critically reassesses the role of semantic notions in understanding the ground of a priori knowledge and its relation to empirical knowledge and questions the turn the tradition has taken since Vienna. (shrink)
Published here for the first time is much of a final and long-anticipated work on philosophy of history by the great Oxford philosopher and historian R. G. Collingwood. The original text of this uncompleted work has only recently been discovered. It is accompanied by further, shorter writings on historical knowledge and inquiry. A lengthy editorial introduction sets these writings in their context, and discusses philosophical questions to which they give rise.
Machine generated contents note: Part I. Truth and Disclosure: 1. Unconcealment; 2. The conditions of truth in Heidegger and Davidson; 3. On the 'existential positivity of our ability to be deceived'; 4. Heidegger on Plato, truth, and unconcealment: the 1931-32 lecture on The Essence of Truth; Part II. Language: 5. Social constraints on conversational content: Heidegger on Rede and Gerede; 6. Conversation, language, saying and showing; 7. The revealed word and world disclosure: Heidegger and Pascal on the phenomenology of religious (...) faith; Part III. Historical Worlds: 8. Philosophers, thinkers, and Heidegger's place in the history of being; 9. Between the earth and the sky: Heidegger on life after the death of God; 10. Nietzsche and the metaphysics of truth. (shrink)
The essays in this volume offer an approach to the history of moral and political philosophy that takes its inspiration from John Rawls. All the contributors are philosophers who have studied with Rawls and they offer this collection in his honor. The distinctive feature of this approach is to address substantive normative questions in moral and political philosophy through an analysis of the texts and theories of major figures in the history of the subject: Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Rousseau, (...) Kant, and Marx. By reconstructing the core of these theories in a way that is informed by contemporary theoretical concerns, the contributors show how the history of the subject is a resource for understanding present and perennial problems in moral and political philosophy. This outstanding collection will be of particular interest to historians of moral and political philosophy, historians of ideas, and political scientists. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy of mind is dominated by a conception of our propositional attitude concepts as comprising a proto-scientific causal-explanatory theory of behavior. This conception has given rise to a spate of recent worries about the prospects for “naturalizing” the theory. In this paper I return to the roots of the “theory-theory” of the attitudes in Wilfrid Sellars’s classic “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind.” I present an alternative to the theory-theory’s account of belief in the form of a parody (...) of Sellars’s “Myth of Jones,” one that highlights the normative and pragmatic aspects of this concept and, hopefully, enables us to bypass questions about its physical “realization.”. (shrink)
Greek, Indian and Arabic Logic marks the initial appearance of the multi-volume Handbook of the History of Logic. Additional volumes will be published when ready, rather than in strict chronological order. Soon to appear are The Rise of Modern Logic: From Leibniz to Frege. Also in preparation are Logic From Russell to Gödel, The Emergence of Classical Logic, Logic and the Modalities in the Twentieth Century, and The Many-Valued and Non-Monotonic Turn in Logic. Further volumes will follow, including Mediaeval (...) and Renaissance Logic and Logic: A History of its Central. In designing the Handbook of the History of Logic, the Editors have taken the view that the history of logic holds more than an antiquarian interest, and that a knowledge of logic's rich and sophisticated development is, in various respects, relevant to the research programmes of the present day. Ancient logic is no exception. The present volume attests to the distant origins of some of modern logic's most important features, such as can be found in the claim by the authors of the chapter on Aristotle's early logic that, from its infancy, the theory of the syllogism is an example of an intuitionistic, non-monotonic, relevantly paraconsistent logic. Similarly, in addition to its comparative earliness, what is striking about the best of the Megarian and Stoic traditions is their sophistication and originality. Logic is an indispensably important pivot of the Western intellectual tradition. But, as the chapters on Indian and Arabic logic make clear, logic's parentage extends more widely than any direct line from the Greek city states. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that for centuries logic has been an unfetteredly international enterprise, whose research programmes reach to every corner of the learned world. Like its companion volumes, Greek, Indian and Arabic Logic is the result of a design that gives to its distinguished authors as much space as would be needed to produce highly authoritative chapters, rich in detail and interpretative reach. The aim of the Editors is to have placed before the relevant intellectual communities a research tool of indispensable value. Together with the other volumes, Greek, Indian and Arabic Logic, will be essential reading for everyone with a curiosity about logic's long development, especially researchers, graduate and senior undergraduate students in logic in all its forms, argumentation theory, AI and computer science, cognitive psychology and neuroscience, linguistics, forensics, philosophy and the history of philosophy, and the history of ideas. (shrink)
For three decades I have expounded and defended aim-oriented empiricism, a view of science which, l claim, solves a number of problems in the philosophy of science and has important implications for science itself and, when generalized, for the whole of academic inquiry, and for our capacity to solve our current global problems. Despite these claims, the view has received scant attention from philosophers of science. Recently, however, David Miller has criticized the view. Miller’s criticisms are, however, not valid.
Tom Beauchamp presents the definitive scholarly edition of two famous works by David Hume, both originally published in 1757. In A Dissertation on the Passions Hume sets out his original view of the nature and central role of passion and emotion. The Natural History of Religion is a landmark work in the study of religion as a natural phenomenon. Authoritative critical texts are accompanied by a full array of editorial matter.
This book offers a novel account of the relationship of experience to knowledge. The account builds on the intuitive idea that our ordinary perceptual judgments are not autonomous, that an interdependence obtains between our view of the world and our perceptual judgments. Anil Gupta shows in this important study that this interdependence is the key to a satisfactory account of experience. He uses tools from logic and the philosophy of language to argue that his account of experience makes available an (...) attractive and feasible empiricism. (shrink)
Anthropology, History, and Education contains all of Kant's major writings on human nature. Some of these works, which were published over a thirty-nine year period between 1764 and 1803, have never before been translated into English. Kant's question 'What is the human being?' is approached indirectly in his famous works on metaphysics, epistemology, moral and legal philosophy, aesthetics and the philosophy of religion, but it is approached directly in his extensive but less well-known writings on physical and cultural anthropology, (...) the philosophy of history, and education which are gathered in the present volume. Kant repeatedly claimed that the question 'What is the human being?' should be philosophy's most fundamental concern, and Anthropology, History, and Education can be seen as effectively presenting his philosophy as a whole in a popular guise. (shrink)
Twilight of the Idols has a main role in Nietzsche’s work, since it represents the opening writing of his project of Transvaluation of all values. The task of this essay is sounding out idols, i.e. to disclose their lack of content, their being hollow. The theme of eternal idols is in this work strictly related to the idea of a ‘true’ world and, consequently, a study on this latter notion can contribute to a better comprehension of what does that emptiness (...) mean and which is the way that Nietzsche wants to follow to set his thought free from any metaphysical heritage. The analysis of the notion of truth Nietzsche concerns with in Twilight of the Idols takes us back to the content of his early writings, when he gives the first sketches of his theory of knowledge. The perspective he exposed in the ‘70s is constructed on the basis of Schopenhauer’s philosophy, that Nietzsche merges with the main ideas of Lange, Spir and other neo-Kantians. The outcome of his reflections on this matter is an evolutionary epistemology, a view that leads Nietzsche to define the historical reconstruction as the only resource through which the fact that concepts are mere thoughts gradually evolved can be point out. These observations correspond in many ways to what the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach wrote in his works, and one can say that Nietzsche agrees with his “anti-metaphysical intent”, i.e. his criticizing a thought still depending on “concepts which we forgot how we’ve reached”. With my paper I’ll try to show that Nietzsche wage his war against metaphysics with the theoretical ‘weapons’ he prepared in the ‘70s, indeed that his last attack to western knowledge arises from some contents he exposed in Human, All Too Human. In this text Nietzsche reflected on the mechanisms of language and world’s representation, and connected human knowledge with the overall development of organic beings. Moreover, in his work from 1878 the philosopher presented a comparison between “metaphysische Philosophie” and “historische Philosophie”, an idea that cannot be found in the following writings, but that comes up again in the Twilight of the Idols. Indeed, in this work Nietzsche repeats his complaining philosopher’s “lack of historical sense” he dealt with in the opening pages of Human, All Too Human, and he reflects on the kind of inquiry western thinkers should adopt to set themselves free from the fixed forms of metaphysics. Thus, Nietzsche’s observation about the role of history in philosophy testifies the connection between this main works, and allow us to define the way he wants to follow to carry his critic to eternal idols out and, in doing so, to show the way forward to his last thoughts. (shrink)
The content of Boscovich’s Theoria philosophiae naturalis was well-known to his contemporaries, but both scientists and philosophers chiefly discussed it during the 19th century. The observations that Boscovich presented in this text, and that he himself defined as “philosophicas metitationes”, soon showed their being a good programme for the forthcoming atomic physics, and contributed to get rid of the mechanistic paradigm in science. In this paper I’ll go back to some meaningful moments of the history of Boscovich’s reception in (...) the era of contemporary philosophy, by referring to what authors such as Popper, Cassirer, Nietzsche and Fechner wrote about him. These thinkers, indeed, particularly stressed the importance of the Theoria in the history of Western thought, and showed that it can easily be evaluated beyond the plane of a pure scientific investigation. (shrink)
Assume for the sake of argument that doing philosophy is intrinsically valuable, where ‘doing philosophy’ refers to the practice of forging arguments for and against the truth of theses in the domains of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, etc. The practice of the history of philosophy is devoted instead to discovering arguments for and against the truth of ‘authorial’ propositions, i.e. propositions that state the belief of some historical figure about a philosophical proposition. I explore arguments to think that doing (...) class='Hi'>history of philosophy is valuable, specifically, valuable in such a way that its value does not reduce to the value of doing philosophy. Most such arguments proffered by historians of philosophy fail egregiously, as I show. I then offer a proposal about what makes doing history of philosophy uniquely valuable, but it is one that many historians will not find agreeable. (shrink)
This book reveals the rational basis for historians' descriptions, interpretations and explanations of past events. C. Behan McCullagh defends the practice of history as more reliable than has recently been acknowledged. Historians, he argues, make their accounts of the past as fair as they can and avoid misleading their readers. He explains and discusses postmodern criticisms of history, providing students and teachers of history with a renewed validation of their practice. McCullagh takes the history debate to (...) a new stage with bold replies to the major questions historians face today. (shrink)
Two themes run through Wollheim’s work: the importance of history to the practice and appreciation of the arts, and the centrality of experience in appreciation. Prima facie, these are in tension. Reconciling them requires two steps. First, adopt a notion of experience on which features can be experienced even if we must have experience-independent access to the fact that the work exhibits them. Second, state what makes a particular experience appropriate to the work. What does so? Although Wollheim toyed (...) with a more ambitious line, I suggest that he should have given the obvious answer, that the appropriate experience reflects the work’s nature. (shrink)
Postmodernism has significantly affected the theory and practice of history. It has induced fears about the future of historical study, but has also offered liberation from certain modernist constraints. This original and thought-provoking study looks at the context of postmodernist thought in general cultural terms as well as in relation to history. Postmodernism in History traces philosophical precursors of postmodernism and identifies the roots of current concerns. Beverley Southgate describes the core constituents of postmodernism and provides a (...) lucid and profound analysis of the current state of the debate. His main concern is to counter `pomophobia' and to assert a positive future for historical study in a postmodern world. Postmodernism in History is a valuable guide to some of the most complex questions in historical theory for students and teachers alike. (shrink)
In this paper I show that Einstein made essential use of aim-oriented empiricism in scientific practice in developing special and general relativity. I conclude by considering to what extent Einstein came explicitly to advocate aim-oriented empiricism in his later years.
This essay aims to sharpen debates on the pros and cons of historical epistemology, which is now understood as a novel approach to the study of knowledge, by comparing it with the history of epistemology as traditionally pursued by philosophers. The many versions of both approaches are not always easily discernable. Yet, a reasoned comparison of certain versions can and should be made. In the first section of this article, I argue that the most interesting difference involves neither the (...) subject matter nor goal, but the methods used by the two approaches. In the second section, I ask which of the two approaches or methods is more promising given that both historical epistemologists and historians of epistemology claim to contribute to epistemology simpliciter . Using traditional problems concerning the epistemic role of perception, I argue that the historical epistemologies of Wartofsky and Daston and Galison fail to show that studying practices of perception is philosophically significant. Standard methods from the history of epistemology are more promising, as I show by means of reconstructing arguments in a debate about the relation between perception and judgment in psychological research on the famous moon illusion. (shrink)
This book explains and defends a central ideas in the theory of history put forward by R. G. Collingwood, perhaps the foremost philosopher of history in the 20th century. Professor Dray analyses critically the idea of re-enactment, explores the limits of its applicability, and determines its relationship to other key Collingwoodian ideas, such as the role of imagination in historical thinking, and the indispensability of a point of view.
This is an updated (25 April 2013) and revised version (after one iteration with referees) of a draft of the book on the notion of fundamental length I have been writing for the last couple of years, covering issues in the philosophy of math, metaphysics, and the history and the philosophy of modern physics, from classical electrodynamics to current theories of quantum gravity.
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)
Many writers have paid tribute to its power: Shakespeare urged his audiences to use it to create a setting; Hobbes asserted that "imagination and memory are but one thing;" for Wordsworth it was "the mightiest leveler known to moral world;" and to Baudelaire it represented "the queen of truth." Imagination as artistic, poetic, and cultural predicate remains one of the most influential ideas in the history of Western thought. (...) It has been simultaneously feared as a dangerous, uncontrollable force, and revered as the supreme visionary power. The questions of its origins, nature, function, and effects have absorbed writers, theologians, and philosophers alike. J. M. Cocking's Imagination shows how these questions have recurred, through the ages and in various cultures. Exploring this theme, from antiquity to the Renaissance, it opens with a discussion of the treatment of imagination in the writings of Aristotle and Plato. Tracing its development in the Middle Ages, Cocking pays particular attention to the parallel tradition in Islamic thought of the period. The book pursues the concept through the theories of Dante and the neo-Platonists, concluding with the High Renaissance. (shrink)
Having assigned experience this exclusive role in justification, empiricists then have a range of views concerning the character of experience, the semantics of our claims about unobservable entities, the nature of empirical confirmation, and the possibility of non-empirical warrant for some further class of claims, such as those accepted on the basis of linguistic or logical rules. Given the definitive principle of their position, empiricists can allow that we have knowledge independent of experience only where what is known is not (...) some objective fact about the world, but something about our way of conceptualizing or describing things. Some empiricists say we have knowledge of verbal equivalences or trivialities; some argue that any non-empirical tenets are not even properly called knowledge, but should be seen as notions accepted on pragmatic rather than properly epistemic grounds. What no empiricist will allow is substantive a priori knowledge: according to empiricism we have no pure rational insight into real necessities or the inner structure of nature, but must rely on the deliverances of our senses for all of our information about external reality. Some versions of empiricism argue against the very notion of real necessities or metaphysical structure behind the phenomena; other versions take a more agnostic approach, arguing that if there is a metaphysical structure behind the phenomena it is either out of our epistemic reach, or known only to the extent that it can be grasped through experience, rather than through rational reflection. (shrink)
This is the third edition of a classic book first published in 1960, which has sold thousands of copies in two paperback edition and has been translated into several foreign languages. Popkin's work ha generated innumerable citations, and remains a valuable stimulus to current historical research. In this updated version, he has revised and expanded throughout, and has added three new chapters, one on Savonarola, one on Henry More and Ralph Cudworth, and one on Pascal. This authoritative treatment of the (...) theme of scepticism and its historical impact will appeal to scholars and students of early modern history now as much as ever. (shrink)
This paper focuses on two conflations which frequently appear within the philosophy of history and other fields concerned with action explanation. The first of these, which I call the Conflating View of Reasons, states that the reasons for which we perform actions are reasons why (those events which are) our actions occur. The second, more general conflation, which I call the Conflating View of Action Explanation, states that whatever explains why an agent performed a certain action explains why (that (...) event which was) her action occurred. Both conflations ignore the fact that there are at least two distinct objects that legitimately qualify as objects of action explanation2. As Jennifer Hornsby (1993) has previous suggested, one thing we might wish to explain is ‘why did A do what she did?’ another is, ‘why did the event of her doing it occur?’ -/- I shall argue that when these two views are combined they give rise to a futile debate about explanation in the philosophies of history and the social sciences, and to an almost identical debate in moral psychology and the philosophy of mind. In so doing, I shall also examine a proposed distinction between explaining a phenomenon, and rendering it intelligible. I conclude by distinguishing between four different objects of historical understanding, each of which is to be understood in the light of the aforementioned distinctions between event and thing done, and explanation and intelligibility. (shrink)
This book traces a deep misunderstanding about the relation of concepts and reality in the history of philosophy. It exposes the influence of the mistake in the thought of Locke, Berkeley, Kant, Nietzche and Bradley and suggests that the solution can be found in Hegelian thought. Ellis argues that the treatment proposed exemplifies Hegel's dialectical method, an important contribution to this area of philosophy.
Debates concerning the character, scope, and warrant of abductive inference have been active since Peirce first proposed that there was a third form of inference, distinct from induction and deduction. Abductive reasoning has been dubbed weak, incoherent, and even nonexistent. Part, at least, of the problem of articulating a clear sense of abductive inference is due to difficulty in interpreting Peirce. Part of the fault must lie with his critics, however. While this article will argue that Peirce indeed left a (...) number of puzzles for interpreters, it will also contend that interpreters should be careful to distinguish discussion of the formal and strictly epistemic question of whether and how abduction is a sound form of inference from discussions of the practical goals of abduction, as Peirce understood them. This article will trace a history of critics and defenders of Peirce’s notion of abduction and discuss how Peirce both fueled the confusion and in fact anticipated and responded to several recurring objections. (shrink)
All volumes of Professor Guthrie's great history of Greek philosophy have won their due acclaim. The most striking merits of Guthrie's work are his mastery of a tremendous range of ancient literature and modern scholarship, his fairness and balance of judgement and the lucidity and precision of his English prose. He has achieved clarity and comprehensiveness.
The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1870-1945 comprises over sixty specially commissioned essays by experts on the philosophy of this period, and is designed to be accessible to non-specialists. The first part of the book traces the history of philosophy from its remarkable flowering in the 1870s through to the early years of the twentieth century. After a brief discussion of the impact of the First World War, the second part of the book describes further developments in philosophy in (...) the first half of the twentieth century. The essays concentrate on developments across the range of philosophical topics, from logic and metaphysics to political philosophy and philosophy of religion. This volume will be of critical importance not only to teachers and students of philosophy but also to scholars in neighbouring disciplines such as the history of science, the history of ideas, theology and the social sciences. (shrink)
In this article I propose a resolution to the history issue for responsible agency, given a moderate revisionist approach to responsibility. Roughly, moderate revisionism is the view that a plausible and normatively adequate theory of responsibility will require principled departures from commonsense thinking. The history issue is whether morally responsible agency – that is, whether an agent is an apt target of our responsibility-characteristic practices and attitudes – is an essentially historical notion. Some have maintained that responsible agents (...) must have particular sorts of histories, others have argued that no such history is required. Resolution of this contentious issue is connected to a wide range of concerns, including the significance and culpability of different forms of manipulation, the plausibility of important incompatibilist criticisms of compatibilism, and of course, a satisfactory account of moral responsibility. As it turns out, history matters sometimes, but less frequently than we might think. (shrink)
In History After Lacan, Teresa Brennan argues that Jacques Lacan was not an ahistorical post-structuralist. She tells the story of a social psychosis, beginning with a discussion of Lacan's neglected theory of history which argued that we are in the grip of a psychotic's era which began in the seventeenth century and climaxes in the present. By extending and elaborating on Lacan's theory, Brennan develops a general theory of modernity. Contrary to postmodern assumptions, she argues, we need a (...) general historical explanation. An understanding of historical dynamics is essential if we are to make the connections between the outstanding facts of modernity--ethnocentrism, the relation between the sexes, and ecological catastrophe. A challenging feminist, interdisciplinary study, History After Lacan will be essential reading for social, cultural, and political theorists, historians, psychoanalysts, and literary theorists. (shrink)
The Truth of History questions how modern historians, confined by the concepts of their own cultures, can still discover truths about the past. Through an examination of the constraints of history, accounts of causation and causal interpretations, C. Behan McCullagh argues that although historical descriptions do not mirror the past, they can correlate with it in a regular and definable way. Far from debating only in the abstract and philosophical, the author constructs his argument in numerous concrete historical (...) examples and explores a new position between believing that history perfectly represents the past and that history can tell us nothing true of the past. (shrink)
This dissertation is an analysis of the development of dialectic and argumentation theory in post-classical Islamic intellectual history. The central concerns of the thesis are; treatises on the theoretical understanding of the concept of dialectic and argumentation theory, and how, in practice, the concept of dialectic, as expressed in the Greek classical tradition, was received and used by five communities in the Islamic intellectual camp. It shows how dialectic as an argumentative discourse diffused into five communities (theologicians, poets, grammarians, (...) philosophers and jurists) and how these local dialectics that the individual communities developed fused into a single system to form a general argumentation theory (adab al-bahth) applicable to all fields. I evaluate a treatise by Shams al-Din Samarqandi (d.702/1302), the founder of this general theory, and the treatises that were written after him as a result of his work. I concentrate specifically on work by 'Ad}ud al-Din al-Iji (d.756/1355), Sayyid Sharif al-Jurjani (d.816/1413), Taşköprüzâde (d.968/1561), Saçaklızâde (d.1150/1737) and Gelenbevî (d.1205/1791) and analyze how each writer (from Samarqandi to Gelenbevî) altered the shape of argumentative discourse and how later intellectuals in the post-classical Islamic world responded to that discourse bequeathed by their predecessors. What is striking about the period that this dissertation investigates (from 1300-1800) is the persistence of what could be called the linguistic turn in argumentation theory. After a centuries-long run, the jadal-based dialectic of the classical period was displaced by a new argumentation theory, which was dominantly linguistic in character. This linguistic turn in argumentation dates from the final quarter of the fourteenth century in Iji's impressively prescient work on 'ilm al-wad'. This idea, which finally surfaced in the post-classical period, that argumentation is about definition and that, therefore, defining is the business of language—even perhaps, that language is the only available medium for understanding and being understood—affected the way that argumentation theory was processed throughout most of the period in question.The argumentative discourse that started with Ibn al-Rawandi in the third/ninth century left a permanent imprint on Islamic intellectual history, which was then full of concepts, terminology and objectives from this discourse up until the late nineteenth century. From this perspective, Islamic intellectual history can be read as the tension between two languages: the "language of dialectic" (jadal) and the "language of demonstration" (burhan), each of which refer not only to a significant feature of that history, but also to a feature that could dramatically alter the interpretation of that history. (shrink)