An integrated overview of history The volume in this series are arranged topically to cover biography, literature, doctrines, practices, institutions, worship, missions, and daily life. Archaeology and art as well as writings are drawn on to illuminate the Christian movement in its early centuries. Ample attention is also given to the relation of Christianity to pagan thought and life, to the Roman state, to Judaism, and to doctrines and practices that came to be judged as heretical or (...) schismatic. Introductions to each volume tie the articles together for an integrated understanding of the history. Offers insights and understanding The aim of the collection is to give balanced and comprehensive coverage, selected on the basis of the following criteria: original and excellent research and writing; subject matter of use to teachers and students; groundbreaking importance for the history of research; background information for issues and opinions. Understanding the development of early Christianity and its impact on Western history and thought offers valuable insights into the modern world and the present state of Christiantiy. It also provides perspective on comparable developments in other periods of history and reveals human nature in its religious dimension. (shrink)
Recent historiography of 19th century biology supports the revision of two traditional doctrines about the history of biology. First, the most important and widespread biological debate around the time of Darwin was not evolution versus creation, but biological functionalism versus structuralism. Second, the idealist and typological structuralist theories of the time were not particularly anti-evolutionary. Typological theories provided argumentation and evidence that was crucial to the refutation of Natural Theological creationism. The contrast between functionalist and structuralist approaches to (...) biology continues today, and the historical misunderstanding of 19th century typological biology may be one of its effects. This historical case can shed light on current controversies regarding the relevance of developmental biology to evolution. (shrink)
Over 700,000 copies of the original hardcover and paperback editions of this stunningly popular book have been sold. Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical (...) philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume. (shrink)
The central debate of natural theology among medieval Muslims and Jews concerned whether or not the world was eternal. Opinions divided sharply on this issue because the outcome bore directly on God's relationship with the world: eternity implies a deity bereft of will, while a world with a beginning leads to the contrasting picture of a deity possessed of will. In this exhaustive study of medieval Islamic and Jewish arguments for eternity, creation, and the existence of God, Herbert (...) Davidson provides a systematic classification of the proofs, analyzes and explains them, and traces their sources in Greek philosophy. Throughout the study, Davidson tries to take into account every argument of a philosophical character, disregarding only those arguments that rest entirely on religious faith or which fall below a minimal level of plausibility. (shrink)
In this book, award-winning historian of religion Paula Fredriksen tells the surprising story of early Christian concepts of sin, exploring the ways that sin came to shape ideas about God no less than about humanity.
What is our nature? What is this enigma that we call human? Who are we? Since the dawn of human history, people have exhibited wildly contradictory qualities: good and evil, love and hate, strength and weakness, kindness and cruelty, aggressiveness and pacifism, generosity and greed, courage and cowardice. Experiencing a sense of eternity in our hearts--but at the same time confined to temporal and spatial constraints--we seek to understand ourselves, both individually and as a species. In Who Are (...) We? Theories of Human Nature, esteemed author Louis P. Pojman seeks to find answers to these questions by exploring major theories in Western philosophy and religion, along with several traditions in Eastern thought. The most comprehensive work of its kind, the volume opens with chapters on the Hebrew/Christian view of human nature and the contrasting classical Greek theories, outlining a dichotomy between faith and reason that loosely frames the rest of the book. The following chapters cover the medieval view, Hindu and Buddhist perspectives, conservative and liberal theories, Kant's Copernican revolution, Schopenhauer's pessimistic idealism, and Karl Marx's theory. Freud's psychoanalytic view, the existentialist perspective, the Darwinian view, and scientific materialism are also discussed. Pojman concludes with a discussion of the question of free will, ultimately asserting that each one of us must decide for ourselves who and what we are, and, based on that answer, how we shall live. (shrink)
This paper uses analogies between Socratic and Wittgenseinian dialogues to argue that analytic philosophy of history should not be abandoned. -/- In their responses to my paper ‘In Defence of Four Socratic Doctrines’ James Warren and John Shand raised a number of important methodological objections, relating to the study of the history of philosophy. I here respond by questioning the supremacy of contextualist history of philosophy over the so-called ‘analytic’ approach. I conclude that the history (...) of ideas had better leave space for both approaches, and that it is a mistake to think of each as being in competition with the other. (shrink)
Abstract This paper argues that history of economics has a fruitful, underappreciated role to play in the development of economics, especially when understood as a policy science. This goes against the grain of the last half century during which economics, which has undergone a formal revolution, has distanced itself from its `literary' past and practices precisely with the aim to be a more successful policy science. The paper motivates the thesis by identifying and distinguishing four kinds of reflexivity in (...) economics. The main thesis of this paper is that because these forms of reflexivity are not eliminable, the history of economics must play a constitutive role in economics (and graduate education within economics). An assumption that I clarify in this paper is that the history of economics ought to be part of the subject matter studied by economics when they are interested in policy science. Even if one does not accept the conclusion, the fourfold classification of reflexivity might hold independent interest. The paper is divided in two parts. First, by reflecting on the writings of George Stigler, Paul Samuelson, George and Milton Friedman, I offer a stylized historical introduction to and conceptualization of the themes of this paper. In particular, I identify various historically influential arguments and strategies that reduced the role of history of economics within the economics discipline. In it I also canvass six arguments that try to capture the cost to economics (understood as a science) for sidelining the history of economics from within the discipline. A sub-text of the introduction is that for contingent reasons, post World War II economics evolved into a policy science. Second, by drawing on the work of Kenneth Boulding, in particular, George Soros, Thomas Merton, Gordon Tullock, I distinguish between four species of reflexivity. These are used to then strengthen the argument for the constitutive role of the history of economics within the economics profession. In particular, I argue that so-called Kuhn-losses are especially pernicious when faced with policy choices under so-called Knightian uncertainty. (shrink)
There are a large number of disciplines that are interested in the theoretical aspects of the history of thought. Their perspectives and subjects may vary, but fundamentally they have a common research interest: the history of human thinking and its products. Despite this, they are studied in relative isolation. I argue that having different subjects as specific objects of research, such as political or scientific thinking, is not a valid justification for the separation. I propose the formation of (...) a new integrated field of study, the philosophy of the history of thought. Its most fundamental questions can be taken to be: 1) What is the basic theoretical unit in the history of thought? 2) How does change take place and how can it be described? 3) What kind of reasons are there for change? Why is there a change in a particular case? The existing confusions around the commitments and basic vocabulary used in contemporary historiography makes the establishment of this field important. Recognizing that there is such a discipline is necessary in order to enable concentration on the fundamental theoretical issues. It is likely that progress on theoretical questions and better awareness of the implicit commitments would have a positive impact on historical practice. (shrink)
Systematic entomology flourished as a branch of Natural History from the 1750s to the end of the nineteenth century. During this interval, the “era of Heroic Entomology,” the majority of workers in the field were dedicated amateurs. This article traces the demographic and occupational shifts in entomology through this 150-year interval and into the early twentieth century. The survey is based on entomologists who studied beetles (Coleoptera), and who named sufficient numbers of species to have their own names abbreviated (...) by subsequent taxonomists. In the eighteenth century, 27 entomologists achieved this level of prominence, of whom 37% were academics, 19% were doctors, 11% had private incomes, 19% were clergymen, and 8% were government officials. Many of those with private incomes were members of the European aristocracy, and all but one were European men. The nineteenth century list included 192 entomologists, of whom 17% were academics, 16% were museum curators, 2% were school teachers, 15% were doctors, 6% were military men, 7% were merchants, 2% were government entomologists, 6% had private incomes, 5% were clergymen, 5% were government officials, and 4% were lawyers. The demographics of entomology shifted dramatically in the nineteenth century. Whereas many of the noteworthy entomologists of the eighteenth century were German, Swedish, or French, in the nineteenth century, many more European countries are represented, and almost one-fifth of the noteworthy entomologists were from the United States. The nineteenth century list, like the eighteenth century list, contains no women. By the twentieth century, 63% of 178 noteworthy systematic entomologists were paid professionals, teaching entomology courses in universities, or studying insect taxonomy in museums and government-sponsored laboratories. Only one person on the twentieth century list had a private income, but women (ten individuals) were included on the list for the first time. (shrink)
Historians often feel that standard philosophical doctrines about the nature and development of science are not adequate for representing the real history of science. However, when philosophers of science fail to make sense of certain historical events, it is also possible that there is something wrong with the standard historical descriptions of those events, precluding any sensible explanation. If so, philosophical failure can be useful as a guide for improving historiography, and this constitutes a significant mode of productive (...) interaction between the history and the philosophy of science. I illustrate this methodological claim through the case of the Chemical Revolution. I argue that no standard philosophical theory of scientific method can explain why European chemists made a sudden and nearly unanimous switch of allegiance from the phlogiston theory to Lavoisier's theory. A careful re-examination of the history reveals that the shift was neither so quick nor so unanimous as imagined even by many historians. In closing I offer brief reflections on how best to explain the general drift toward Lavoisier's theory that did take place. (shrink)
Abstract Contrary to most modern interpretations, in the early modern period, history was an indispensable resource for many philosophers. The different uses of history by Bacon, Gassendi, Locke, and Hume are explored to establish the role of history as a resource in early-modern philosophy.
Although first published in 1969, the methodological views advanced in Quentin Skinner's “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” remain relevant today. In his article Skinner suggests that it would be inappropriate to even attempt to write the history of any idea or concept. In support of this view, Skinner advances two arguments, one derived from the philosophy of the later Wittgenstein and the other from that of J. L. Austin. In this paper I focus on the (...) first of these arguments. I claim that the conclusion which Skinner draws from this particular argument does not necessarily follow and that an alternative assessment of the methodological significance of Wittgenstein's philosophy for historians of ideas is possible. On this alternative view, far from ruling out conceptual history, an appeal to the view of meaning set out in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations leads to a quite different conclusion, namely that the writing of such a history is arguably a necessary precondition for the elucidation of the meaning of a number of the core concepts in the canon of the history of political thought. Skinner's views have changed somewhat since 1969. Indeed, from the mid 1970s onwards he came to relax the strict opposition to the idea of conceptual history to which he was then committed. The paper concludes by noting that this evolution in Skinner's thinking has made him much more sympathetic than anybody reading “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” would have imagined to the research project of the Begriffgeschichte School of conceptual history. (shrink)
Among many important claims, Allen Wood in Kant's Ethical ought proposes that Kant's philosophy of history can be grasped as a "naturalist" approach, grounding human nature in biology. I suggest some reservations. First, I question Kant's conception of biology as (a still emergent) science. Second, I question Kant's extension of his notion of "natural predisposition" to reason and freedom. Third, I question the naturalism of Kant's philosophy of history by suggesting the excessive role providence must play in Kant's (...) account. The upshot is to find Kant's philosophy of history one of the less persuasive elements in his system of thought, despite Wood's energetic effort at a contemporary reconstruction. (shrink)
The case often made by scientists (and philosophers) against history and the history of science in particular is clear. Insofar as a field of study is historical as opposed to law-based, it is trivial. Insofar as a field attends to the past of science as opposed to current scientific issues, its efforts are derivative and, by diverting attention from acquiring new knowledge, deplorable. This case would be devastating if true, but it has almost everything almost exactly wrong. The (...) study of history and the study of laws are not mutually exclusive, but unavoidably linked. Neither can be pursued without the other. Much the same can be said of the history of science. The history of science is neither a distraction from "real" science nor even merely a help to science. Rather, the history of science is an essential part of each science. Seeing that this is so requires a broader understanding of both history and science. (shrink)
Throughout the twentieth century calls to modernize natural history motivated a range of responses. It was unclear how research in natural history museums would participate in the significant technological and conceptual changes that were occurring in the life sciences. By the 1960s, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, was among the few university-based natural history museums that were able to maintain their specimen collections and support active research. The MVZ therefore provides a (...) window to the modernization of natural history. This paper concentrates on the directorial transitions that occurred at the MVZ between 1965 and 1971. During this period, the MVZ had four directors: Alden H. Miller (Director 1940–1965), an ornithologist; Aldo Starker Leopold (Acting Director 1965–1966), a conservationist and wildlife biologist; Oliver P. Pearson (Director 1966–1971), a physiologist and mammalogist; and David B. Wake (Director 1971–1998), a morphologist, developmental biologist, and herpetologist. The paper explores how a diversity of overlapping modernization strategies, including hiring new faculty, building infrastructure to study live animals, establishing new kinds of collections, and building modern laboratories combined to maintain collections at the MVZ’s core. The paper examines the tensions between the different modernization strategies to inform an analysis of how and why some changes were institutionalized while others were short-lived. By exploring the modernization of collections-based research, this paper emphasizes the importance of collections in the transformation of the life sciences. (shrink)
Abstract In this essay I trace the role of history in the philosophy of art from the early twentieth century to the present, beginning with the rejection of history by formalists like Clive Bell. I then attempt to show how the arguments of people like Morris Weitz and Arthur Danto led to a re-appreciation of history by philosophers of art such as Richard Wollheim, Jerrold Levinson, Robert Stecker and others.
In this paper, I show how the phenomenological and hermeneutic traditions and method converge on their treatment of the historical subject. Thinkers from both traditions claim that subjectivity is shaped by a historical worldview. Each tradition provides an account of how these worldviews are shaped, and thus how essentially historical subjective experience is molded. I argue that both traditions, although offering helpful ways of understanding the way history shapes subjectivity, go too far in their epistemic claims for the superiority (...) of subjective over positivist or academic history I propose that although the phenomenological/ hermeneutic approach to historical subjectivity is valuable for understanding both history and human nature, it cannot and ought not replace academic or what I will call ‘critical’ history. By showing the importance of historicity, and the force of historical consciousness on our actions, philosophers of history in these traditions expose the epistemic and perhaps even ethical requirement to engage in a rigorous critical history, one that recognizes the importance of historical consciousness. Such critical history is necessary to move beyond the subjective horizon of history as experienced to understand how events shaped this historical horizon. (shrink)
From a phenomenological perspective of game-space and horizon, this paper tries to make a deconstructive reading of Hegel's "two galleries", namely, "the gallery of opinions" and "the gallery of knowledge", which are mentioned in the introduction of Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy. The reading shows that the Game-space or the ab-gruendiger Grund of the Hegelian concept of philosophical history lies in an originally differencing space that is keeping in absence, which is called by Edmund Husserl and (...) Jacques Derrida "the gallery of Dresden". (shrink)
J. B. Schneewind's "The Invention of Autonomy" has been hailed as a major interpretation of modern moral thought. Schneewind's narrative, however, elides several serious interpretive issues, particularly in the transition from late medieval to early modern thought. This results in potentially distorted accounts of Thomas Aquinas, Hugo Grotius, and G. W. Leibniz. Since these thinkers play a crucial role in Schneewind's argument, uncertainty over their work calls into question at least some of Schneewind's larger agenda for the history of (...) ethics. (shrink)
Before 1950, history of science did not exist as an independent academic branch, but was instead pursued by practitioners across various humanities and scientific disciplines. After professionalization, traces of its prehistory as a cross-disciplinary area of interest bound to an interdisciplinary, educational philosophy have remained. This essay outlines the development of history of science as an interdisciplinary academic field, and argues that it constitutes an obvious choice for inclusion in an interdisciplinary academic program, provided faculty and administrators learn (...) how best to manage its advantages and pitfalls. (shrink)
The topic of this book is 'creation'. It breaks down into discussions of two distinct, but interrelated, questions: what does the universe look like, and what is its origin? The opinions about creation considered by Norbert Samuelson come from the Hebrew scriptures, Greek philosophy, Jewish philosophy, and contemporary physics. His perspective is Jewish, liberal, and philosophical. It is 'Jewish' because the foundation of the discussion is biblical texts interpreted in the light of traditional rabbinic texts. It is 'philosophical' because the (...) subject matter is important in both past and present philosophical texts, and to Jewish philosophy in particular. Finally, it is 'liberal' because the authorities consulted include heterodox as well as orthodox Jewish sources. The ensuing discussion leads to original conclusions about a diversity of topics, including the limits of human reason and religious faith, and the relevance of scientific models to religious doctrine. (shrink)
Although history is the pre-eminent part of the gallant sciences, philosophers advise against it from fear that it might completely destroy the kingdom of darkness—that is, scholastic philosophy—which previously has been wrongly held to be a necessary instrument of theology.
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 essay is a case study of the self-destruction that occurs in the work of a social-constructionist historian of science who embraces a radical philosophy of science. It focuses on Thomas Laqueur's Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud in arguing that a history of science committed to the social construction of science and to the central theses of Kuhnian, Duhemian, and Quinean philosophy of science is incoherent through self-reference. Laqueur's text is examined in detail in (...) order to make the main point; a similar phenomenon in the work of the feminist historian of science Evelyn Fox Keller is then briefly discussed. (shrink)
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)
Contemporary caution against anachronism in intellectual history, and the currently momentous theoretical emphasis on subjectivity in the philosophy of mind, are two prevailing conditions that set puzzling constraints for studies in the history of philosophical psychology. The former urges against assuming ideas, motives, and concepts that are alien to the historical intellectual setting under study, and combined with the latter suggests caution in relying on our intuitions regarding subjectivity due to the historically contingent characterizations it has attained in (...) contemporary philosophy of mind. In the face of these conditions, our paper raises a question of what we call non-textual (as opposed to contextual) standards of interpretation of historical texts, and proceeds to explore subjectivity as such a standard. Non-textual standards are defined as (heuristic) postulations of features of the world or our experience of it that we must suppose to be immune to historical variation in order to understand a historical text. Although the postulation of such standards is often so obvious that the fact of our doing so is not noticed at all, we argue that the problems in certain special cases, such as that of subjectivity, force us to pay attention to the methodological questions involved. Taking into account both recent methodological discussion and the problems inherent in two de facto denials of the relevance of subjectivity for historical theories, we argue that there are good grounds for the adoption of subjectivity as a non-textual standard for historical work in philosophical psychology. (shrink)
This book traces the varying conceptions of the nature of God's existence from Aristotle, through the pagan Neoplatonists, to thinkers such as Augustine, Boethius, and Aquinas (in the West) and Dionysius the Areopagite, Maximus the Confessor, and Gregory Palamas (in the East). The result is a powerful comparative history of philosophical thought in Christendom that provides documentation for the schism between the Eastern and Western churches.
In the course of the history of science, some concepts have forged theoretical foundations, constituting paradigms that hold sway for substantial periods of time. Research on the history of explanations of the action of one body on another is a testament to the periodic revival of one theory in particular, namely, the theory of ether. Even after the foundation of modern Physics, the notion of ether has directly and indirectly withstood the test of time. Through a spontaneous physics (...) philosophical analysis, this article will explore how certain aspects of the concept of ether have appeared in different branches of the history of science. (shrink)