Gary Kemp presents a penetrating investigation of key issues in the philosophy of language, by means of a comparative study of two great figures of late twentieth-century philosophy. So far as language and meaning are concerned, Willard Van Orman Quine and Donald Davidson are usually regarded as birds of a feather. The two disagreed in print on various matters over the years, but fundamentally they seem to be in agreement; most strikingly, Davidson's thought experiment of Radical Interpretation looks to be (...) a more sophisticated, technically polished version of Quinean Radical Translation. Yet Quine's most basic and general philosophical commitment is to his methodological naturalism, which is ultimately incompatible with Davidson's main commitments. In particular, it is impossible to endorse, from Quine's perspective, the roles played by the concepts of truth and reference in Davidson's philosophy of language: Davidson's employment of the concept of truth is from Quine's point of view needlessly adventurous, and his use of the concept of reference cannot be divorced from unscientific 'intuition'. From Davidson's point of view, Quine's position looks needlessly scientistic, and seems blind to the genuine problems of language and meaning. Gary Kemp offers a powerful argument for Quine's position, and in favour of methodological naturalism and its corollary, naturalized epistemology. It is possible to give a consistent and explanatory account of language and meaning without problematic uses of the concepts truth and reference, which in turn makes a strident naturalism much more plausible. (shrink)
Seen | Unseen is a deep, richly illustrated, and erudite analysis of the interconnections between science and the visual arts. Martin Kemp explores the responses of artists, scientists, and their instruments, to the world - ranging from early representations of perspective, to pinhole cameras, particle accelerators and the Hubble telescope. -/- From Leonardo, Durer, and the inventors of photography to contemporary sculptors, and from Galileo and Darwin to Stephen J. Gould, Kemp considers the way in which scientists and artists have (...) perceived the world and responded to its patterns, and sees common 'structural intuitions' reflected in their work. (shrink)
In this strikingly bold and original work, Kemp argues that the Western idea of time reversed itself between the fourteenth and the eighteenth century from a static and syncretic image of a temporal world in which all time is uniform, the past is the arbiter of truth and all inherited knowledge is eternally viable, and no secrets lie hidden in time waiting to be revealed to a future age; to a dynamic and supersessive model of history in which the past (...) dispenses only ignorance and error. Kemp describes these two opposed historical worlds, these "time texts," and traces the transition between them, its mechanism, and its motivation, concluding by drawing out the epistemological consequences of supersessive history for the modern intellect. (shrink)
Universals are a class of mind independent entities, usually contrasted with individuals, postulated to ground and explain relations of qualitative identity and resemblance among individuals. Individuals are said to be similar in virtue of sharing universals. An apple and a ruby are both red, and their common redness results from sharing a universal. If they are both red at the same time, the universal, red, must be in two places at once. This makes universals quite different from individuals, and controversial. (...) Whether universals are in fact required to explain relations of qualitative identity and resemblance among individuals has engaged metaphysicians for two thousand years. Disputants fall into one of three broad camps. Realists endorse universals. Conceptualists and Nominalists, on the other hand, refuse to accept universals and deny that they are needed. Conceptualists explain similarity among individuals by appealing to general concepts or ideas, things that exist only in minds. Nominalists, in contrast, are content to leave relations of qualitative resemblance brute and ungrounded. Numerous versions of Nominalism have been proposed, some with a great deal of sophistication. Contemporary philosophy has seen the rise of a new form of Nominalism, one that makes use of a special class of individuals, known as tropes. Familiar individuals have many properties, but tropes are single property instances. Whether Trope Nominalism improves on earlier Nominalist theories is the subject of much recent debate. In general, questions surrounding universals touch upon some of the oldest, deepest, and most abstract of philosophical issues. (shrink)
This paper presents the findings of a study of purchasing and supply management professionals in India conducted to identify the key ethical issues they face in carrying out their work related responsibilities as well as to determine the extent to which various factors appear to be helpful or to present challenges to their efforts to act ethically in the course of their work. The Indian findings are then compared to those for studies conducted among purchasing and supply management professionals in (...) the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. Key findings for the four studies are summarized and implications for business and the professions are presented. (shrink)
Richard Heck has contested my argument that the equation of the meaning of a sentence with its truth-condition implies deflationism, on the ground that the argument does not go through if truth-conditions are understood, in Davidson's style, to be stated by T-sentences. My reply is that Davidsonian theories of meaning do not equate the meaning of a sentence with its truth-condition, and thus that Heck's point does not actually obstruct my argument.
Landy’s book (OUP 2004; 255 pp.+ x) delivers what has gone long and scandalously missing: a philosophical analysis of Proust’s incomparable book that is muscular, concise, philosophically informed and sophisticated; logically rigorous, explanatorily fruitful, and meticulously answerable to its data, namely the text. The philosophy here is not, as often the case in writing about Proust, mere rhetoric or window-dressing, but substantive and literally believable. The book should for a long time be inescapable for anyone writing philosophically about Proust, and (...) perhaps for anyone writing philosophically about imaginative literature, full stop. It is that good, its themes that wide. (shrink)
This paper considers an approach to teaching ethics in bioengineering based on the How People Learn (HPL) framework. Curricula based on this framework have been effective in mathematics and science instruction from the kindergarten to the college levels. This framework is well suited to teaching bioengineering ethics because it helps learners develop “adaptive expertise”. Adaptive expertise refers to the ability to use knowledge and experience in a domain to learn in unanticipated situations. It differs from routine expertise, which requires using (...) knowledge appropriately to solve routine problems. Adaptive expertise is an important educational objective for bioengineers because the regulations and knowledge base in the discipline are likely to change significantly over the course of their careers. This study compares the performance of undergraduate bioengineering students who learned about ethics for stem cell research using the HPL method of instruction to the performance of students who learned following a standard lecture sequence. Both groups learned the factual material equally well, but the HPL group was more prepared to act adaptively when presented with a novel situation. (shrink)
Glock’s book is about evenly divided between Quine and Davidson. The central claims are (i) that they are best studied in conjunction; (ii) that they ‘can profitably be seen as logical pragmatists’ (meaning primarily that they view language as action that can be understood or clarified by means of formal logic); (iii) that they ‘combine profound insights with serious distortions’; and (iv) that their respective attempts to ‘accommodate higher phenomena such as meaning and thought within a naturalistic framework’ are ‘misguided’ (...) (pp. – ). But the overriding aim is clearly to establish (iv) along with the negative.. (shrink)
Western philosophy since Descartes has been marked by certain seminal books whose concern is the nature and scope of human knowledge. After Descartes Meditations, works by Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant are perhaps the most familiar and enduringly influential examples. Quine’s Word and Object (1960) does not conspicuously announce itself as a successor to these, but that is very much what it is. And after Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, it is amongst the most likely of the philosophical fruits of the 20th (...) century to attain something like the prestige of those earlier works (setting aside the century’s great achievements in pure logic and immediately related areas). Yet unlike so many of those earlier works, Quine’s book has the rare virtue in philosophy that it is possible, for readers here and now, to entertain seriously the possibility that its principal claims are literally true. (shrink)
One of the core debates concerning equity in the response to the threat of anthropogenic climate change is how the responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions should be allocated, or, correspondingly, how the right to emit greenhouse gases should be allocated. Two alternative approaches that have been widely promoted are, first, to assign obligations to the industrialized countries on the basis of both their ability to pay (wealth) and their responsibility for the majority of prior emissions, or, second, to assign (...) emissions rights on a (possibly modified) equal per capita basis. Both these proposals ignore intra-national distributional equity. Instead, we develop a policy framework we call 'Greenhouse Development Rights' (GDRs) which allocates obligations to pay for climate policies (both mitigation and adaptation) on the basis of an individually quantified metric of capacity (ability to pay) and responsibility (prior emissions). Crucially, the GDRs framework looks at the distribution of income within countries and treats people of equal wealth similarly, whatever country they live in. Thus even poor countries have obligations proportional to the size and wealth of their middle and upper classes, defined relative to a 'development threshold'. While this method nominally identifies the 'right to development' as applying to people, not countries, as a proposal for a treaty among sovereign nations, there is no obvious way to give legal meaning to that right. In this paper, then, we raise some of the philosophical and political questions that arise in trying to quantify capacity and responsibility and to use the 'right to development' as a principle for allocating costs.*. (shrink)
In this paper I offer three main challenges to James (2011). All three turn on the nature of philosophy and secure knowledge in Spinoza. First, I criticize James's account of the epistemic role that experience plays in securing adequate ideas for Spinoza. In doing so I criticize her treatment of what is known as the ‘conatus doctrine’ in Spinoza in order to challenge her picture of the relationship between true religion and philosophy. Second, this leads me into a criticism of (...) her account of the nature of philosophy in Spinoza. I argue it is less piecemeal and less akin to what we would recognize as ‘science’ than she suggests. Third, I argue against James's core commitment that Spinoza's three kinds of knowledge differ in degree; I claim they differ in kind. My argument will offer a new interpretation of Spinoza's conception of ‘common notions’. Moreover, I argue that Spinozistic adequate knowledge involves something akin to angelic disembodiment. (shrink)
In his 'Meaning and Truth-Conditions', Gary Kemp offers a reconstruction of Frege's infamous 'regress argument' which purports to rely only upon the premises that the meaning of a sentence is its truth-condition and that each sentence expresses a unique proposition. If cogent, the argument would show that only someone who accepts a form of semantic holism can use the notion of truth to explain that of meaning. I respond that Kemp relies heavily upon what he himself styles 'a literal, rather (...) wooden' understanding of truth-conditions. I explore alternatives, and say a few words about how Frege's regress argument might best be understood. (shrink)
In articulating a theological account of Christian hope faithful to its objective character, Pope Benedict XVI summons the authority of Thomas Aquinas, citing his comments on faith and hope as those terms occur in Hebrews 11:1. Benedict sets off Aquinas's understanding of hope-filled faith's objectivity by placing it in contrast with Luther's apparently more subjective interpretation of faith in Hebrews 11:1 as conviction. Closer analysis of both Aquinas and Luther, however, suggests a greater overlap in their exegetical conclusions, opening the (...) way for a more nuanced appreciation of a virtue whose living possession and exercise, as the rest of Spe Salvi confirms, involves both objective and subjective dimensions. (shrink)
Was sind wir? Wie immer man sich zu dieser Frage stellt, eines scheint offenkundig: Wir sind Tiere, genauer gesagt: menschliche Tiere, Mitglieder der Art Homo sapiens. Dabei mag es überraschen, daß viele Philosophen diese vermeintlich banale Tatsache abstreiten. Plato, Augustinus, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant und Hegel, um nur einige herausragende zu nennen, waren alle der Meinung, wir seien keine Tiere. Es mag zwar sein, daß unsere Körper Tiere sind. Doch sind wir nicht mit unseren Körpern gleichzusetzen. Wir sind etwas (...) anderes als Tiere. Kaum anderer Meinung sind Denker nicht-westlicher Traditionen. Und rund neun von zehn Philosophen, die heutzutage über Probleme der personalen Identität nachdenken, vertreten Ansichten, die ausschließen, daß wir Tiere sind. (shrink)
Eric R. Scerri: selected papers on the periodic table Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10698-010-9089-2 Authors Pieter Thyssen, Ph.D. Fellow of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO), Department of Chemistry, Laboratory of Coordination Chemistry, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200F bus 2404, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium Journal Foundations of Chemistry Online ISSN 1572-8463 Print ISSN 1386-4238 Journal Volume Volume 12 Journal Issue Volume 12, Number 3.
In philosophy textbooks for undergraduates the cultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict is often cited as a proponent of moral relativism, and her writings are not infrequently excerpted to illustrate the view that the individual’s moral values are culturally determined. Because Benedict established that significant differences can exist in the underlying cultural patterns of different societies, her work is commonly construed as providing evidence for the arbitrary and non-rational basis of morals. The author of the present essay argues that this popular reading (...) of Benedict is mistaken. He draws a distinction between two different forms of moral relativism—the objective and the subjective—and then contends that Benedict is widely viewed as a subjective relativist when in fact her relativism was of the objective variety. He shows that her position actually has much in common with the pragmatic meliorism of John Dewey and George Herbert Mead. (shrink)
The subject of this paper is an introduction to my assessment of the work of the late American anthropologist, Eric Wolf (1923–1999), whom I consider to be one of the greatest American anthropologist. I plan a monograph on his total work from a point of view, largely overlooked, emphasizing his sensitive, path-breaking, and poetic insights. I see Wolf’s work as having three interpenetrating periods, which I call (1) Eric Wolf, the poet, focusing primarily on his work on Mexico, (...) (2) the study of peasantry world-wide, emphasizing history, context, power, etc. (from the very beginning Wolf demolished the idea of static isolated cultures that anthropologists so loved to study; and in this respect, Eric Wolf changed anthropology forever), and (3) the third period, reaching to his death and never really finished, was Wolf the philosopher and crosser of boundaries. (shrink)
Following its determination of a finding of scientific misconduct the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) will seek redress for any injury sustained. Several remedies both administrative and statutory may be available depending on the strength of the evidentiary findings of the misconduct investigation. Pursuant to federal regulations administrative remedies are primarily remedial in nature and designed to protect the integrity of the affected research program, whereas statutory remedies including civil fines and criminal penalties are designed to deter and punish wrongdoers. (...) This commentary discusses the available administrative and statutory remedies in the context of a specific case, that of former University of Vermont nutrition researcher Eric Poehlman, and supplies a possible rationale for the legal result. (shrink)
A Kantian beginning : Georg Hermes -- A Catholic Hegel? Anton Günther -- The response of fideism : Louis Bautain -- Magisterial interventions : Gregory XVI and Pius IX -- Return to the schoolmen : Joseph Kleutgen and Leo XIII -- Embodying the Leonine project : Etienne Gilson -- The philosophy of action : Maurice Blondel -- The dispute over apologetics : from Blondel to Balthasar -- A synthetic outcome? John Paul II's letter Fides et ratio -- From Cracow to (...) Regensburg : Benedict XVI. (shrink)
Stollenwerk, Daniel J In this essay on the social encyclical Caritas in Veritate, the author looks at Pope Benedict XVI's defense of reason in an age that has lost its faith in reason. Benedict insists we are faced with a choice between being closed within immanence - which leads to an irrational rejection of meaning and value - or open to reason that leads to the transcendent. Pope Benedict, the author concludes, is a contemporary apologist, claiming that Christianity is not (...) only the most reasonable of worldviews, but also necessary for the very survival of humanity. (shrink)
The enigma of Eric Hoffer -- The migrant worker -- On the waterfront -- Intimate friendships -- The true believer -- Hoffer as a public figure -- The literary life -- America and the intellectuals -- God, Jehovah, and the Jews -- The longshoreman philosopher.
Lucas, Brian Review(s) of: Pope benedict XVI and the sexual abuse crisis - working for reform and renewal, Gregory Erlandson and Matthew Bunson, (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 2010), pb, pp.207.
In this paper I examine the sixth century ’Rule of St. Benedict’, and argue that the authority structure of Benedictine communities as described in that document satisfies well-known principles of authority defended by Joseph Raz. This should lead us to doubt the common assumption that premodern models of authority violate the modern ideal of the autonomy of the self. I suggest that what distinguishes modern liberal authority from Benedictine authority is not the principles that justify it, but rather the first-order (...) beliefs for the sake of which authority is sought by the individual, and the degree of trust between the authority and the subject. (shrink)
In a beautiful recent essay, the philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong explains the reasons for his departure from evangelical Christianity, the religious culture in which he was brought up. Sinnot-Armstrong contrasts the interpretive methods used by good philosophers and fundamentalist believers: Good philosophers face objections and uncertainties. They follow where arguments lead, even when their conclusions are surprising and disturbing. Intellectual honesty is also required of scholars who interpret philosophical texts. If I had distorted Kant’s view to make him reach a conclusion (...) that I preferred, then my philosophy professor would have failed me. The contrast with religious reasoning is stark. My Christian friends seemed happy to hide serious problems in the Bible and in their arguments. They preferred comfort to intellectual honesty. I couldn’t. To what extent can we, historians of philosophy, claim the virtue of intellectual honesty? Speaking frankly, I do not find the practice criticized by Sinnot-Armstrong’s philosophy professor rare or unusual at all. We very frequently distort the views of past philosophers in order to reach the conclusions we prefer. We just call it “Charitable Interpretation.” In this essay, I discuss and criticize the logic behind so-called charitable interpretations in the history of philosophy. This phenomenon is ubiquitous and is not at all restricted to a particular philosophical strand or ideology. Analytic philosophers and post-modernists, Marxists, liberals, secularists, and fundamentalists, we all engage in the very same domestication project. Even more disturbing than the sheer ideological pervasiveness of this phenomenon is the fact that, on many occasions, superb philosophers and historians take part in this fairly childish endeavor. In the first part of this essay, I discuss the general logic of charitable interpretations in the history of philosophy, mostly by addressing discussions in metaphysics and epistemology. In the second part, I focus on the somewhat less noticed use of charitable interpretations in the study of political philosophy, and point out the quintessential role ideology plays in these discussions. In both parts, I concentrate mostly on the interpretation of Spinoza’s thought. I do so not because I have special fondness for Spinoza (“guilty as charged,” I admit), but because Spinoza is such a beast (and may I add, an enchanting beast) and attracts a disproportionate share of the domestication efforts from historians and philosophers of all creeds and persuasions. In the third and final part of the paper, I will begin to outline an alternative methodology, which suggests that past philosophers can be most relevant to our current philosophical discussion, to the extent that they provide us with well-motivated challenges to our common-sense beliefs. Such challenges have the invaluable virtue of being able to undermine our most fundamental and secure beliefs, and force us to engage with the most fundamental questions. What more can we expect from good philosophy? (shrink)
Eric Olson argues in The Human Animal that thought-experiments involving body-swapping do not in the end offer any support to psychological continuity theories, nor do they pose any threat to his Biological View. I argue that he is mistaken in at least the second claim.
Refusing to pursue recent and possible future developments in medical research is itself a morally momentous decision—and that inaction has consequences Cohen and other right-wing thinkers refuse to acknowledge. -/- .