On Race and Philosophy is a collection of essays written and published across the last twenty years, which focus on matters of race, philosophy, and social and political life in the West, in particular in the US. These important writings trace the author's continuing efforts not only to confront racism, especially within philosophy, but, more importantly, to work out viable conceptions of raciality and ethnicity that are empirically sound while avoiding chauvinism and invidious ethnocentrism. The hope (...) is that such conceptions will assist efforts to fashion a nation-state in which racial and ethnic cultures and identities are recognized and nurtured contributions to a more just and stable democracy. (shrink)
McCumber does not sustain with evidence his claims about the role of McCarthyism in the triumph of analytical philosophy. A balanced history would attend to other considerations potentially relevant to that triumph, including the connection between Anglo-Protestant cultural hegemony in the United States and the styles of philosophy — especially metaphysics and normative ethics — repudiated by the analytical philosophers. The crucial transition in the professional culture of philosophy in the United States is not that from pragmatism (...) to logical empiricism and ordinary language philosophy, but from philosophy that was engaged with Christianity to philosophy that was not. (shrink)
A first-of-its-kind book that seriously and profoundly examines what it means philosophically to be Latino and where Latinos fit in American society. Rejecting answers based on stereotypes and fear fed by the enormous growth of Latino numbers in the US; it offers, instead, a fresh perspective and clearer understanding of Latin American thought and culture.
In the burgeoning field of whiteness studies, What White Looks Like takes a unique approach to the subject by collecting the ideas of African-American philosophers. George Yancy has brought together a group of thinkers who address the problematic issues of whiteness as a category requiring serious analysis. What does white look like when viewed through philosophical training and African-American experience? In this volume, Robert Birt asks if whites can "live whiteness authentically." Janine Jones examines what it means to be a (...) "goodwill white." Joy James tells of beating her "addiction" to white supremacy, while Arnold Farr writes on making whiteness visible in Western philosophy. What White Looks Like brings a badly needed critique and philosophically sophisticated perspective to central issue of contemporary society. (shrink)
Francisco Gil-White (2001) argues that the ubiquity of racialism — the view that so-called ‘races’ have biological ‘essences’ — can be explained as a byproduct of a shared mental module dedicated to ethnic cognition. Gil-White’s theory has been endorsed, with some revisions, by Edouard Machery and Luc Faucher (2005a). In this skeptical response I argue that our developmental environments contain a wealth, rather than a poverty of racialist stimulus, rendering a nativist explanation of racialism redundant. I also argue that we (...) should not theorize racialism in isolation from racism, as value judgments may play a role in essentialist thinking about the ‘other’. (shrink)
Preface: What is rationality? -- Acknowledgments -- Introduction: Diversity and the social questions of reason -- Varieties of rational experience -- Ordinary historical reason -- Science, culture, and principles of rationality -- Languages of time in postcolonial memory -- Reason and unreason in politics.
Support for the biological concept of race declined slowly but steadily during the second half of the twentieth century. However, debate about the validity of the race concept has recently been reignited. Genetic-clustering studies have shown that despite the small proportion of genetic variation separating continental populations, it is possible to assign some (geographically separated and not recently admixed) individuals to their (or their ancestors’) continents of origin, based on genetic data alone. Race naturalists have interpreted these studies as empirically (...) confirming the existence of human subspecies, and by extension biological races. However, the new racial naturalism is not convincing. The continental clusters appealed to by race naturalists are arbitrary and superficial groupings, which should not be elevated to subspecies status. Moreover, the criteria applied to humans are not consistent with those used to define subspecies in nonhuman animals, and no rationale has been given for this differential treatment. (shrink)
Terrorism, Security and Nationality shows how the concepts and methods of political philosophy can be applied to the practical problems of terrorism, state violence and national security. The book clarifies a wide range of issues in applied political philosophy, including the ethics of war, theories of state and nation, the relationship between communities and nationalisms, and the uneasy balance of human rights and national security. Ethnicity, national identity and the interests of the state, concepts commonly cited to (...) justify terrorist acts, all imply starkly contrasting notions of what constitutes a political community. Paul Gilbert examines the reasons for political violence and the plausibility of such justifications. He investigates notions of terrorism as unjust war and as political crime and concludes by considering the proper response of the state to political violence. (shrink)
Naomi Zack’s unique and important collection, Women of Color and Philosophy, brings together for the first time the voices of twelve philosophers who are women of color. She begins with the premise that the work of women of color who do philosophy in academe, but who do not write exclusively on issues of race, ethnicity, and gender, merits a collection of its own. It’s rare that women of color pursue philosophy in academic contexts; Zack counts at (...) most thirty among the ten thousand members of the American Philosophical Association. Women of color in philosophy often suffer an initial lack of credibility with colleagues and students, their success is often attributed to affirmative action, and the merit of their research is often questioned. They are expected to teach classes on race and gender, and asked to serve on endless committees vouching for the diversity of university programs and policies. But Zack’s collection is not about the philosophical import of these professional considerations. The idea underlying her anthology is that social identity is relevant to both philosophical activity and the production of ideas even when an author does not address race and gender. -/- This landmark volume is divided into three sections intended to reflect three critical themes: direct critiques of traditional academic philosophy; new and original applications of philosophical methods to social issues; and the fresh interpretation of traditional philosophy in ways that suggest new areas of study. (shrink)
The central topic for this book is the ethics of treating individuals as though they are members of groups. The book raises many interesting questions, including: why do we feel so much more strongly about discrimination on certain grounds e.g. of race and sex - than discrimination on other grounds? Are we right to think that discrimination based on these characteristics is especially invidious? what should we think about rational discrimination discrimination which is based on sound statistics. To take just (...) one of dozens of examples from the book. Suppose a landlord turns away a prospective tenant, because this prospective tenant is of a particular ethnicity arguing that statistics show that one in four of this group have been shown in the past to default on their rent. That seems clearly unfair to people of this ethnicity. But we are routinely being judged in this way not just on the basis of our ethnicity, but assumptions are made about us and decisions taken about us based on our gender, religion, job, post-code, hobbies, blood-group, nationality, etc., etc., etc.. Now suppose that another landlord turns away a convicted criminal, arguing that one in four of convicted criminals have been shown to be unreliable rent payers. Is our intuition the same as before? Should it be? The book will be suitable for all students of philosophy, especially those with an interest in applied ethics. (shrink)
Introduction -- Moral reasoning from a cosmopolitan perspective : the problem of culture -- Culturalism and moral reasoning -- Towards a moral conceptual base of culture -- Cosmopolitanism : a definition and the question of tolerance -- Who owns culture : a moral cosmopolitan inquiry -- Culture-faith : the mystification of culture -- Culture-faith applied : cultural privacy and the ownership of native culture -- Counter arguments against applied culture faith : the right to cultural privacy -- Representation without authorization (...) -- Who has the right to speak for whom? -- Ethnocide or culture killings : is it so bad? -- Dismantling the tribes from within : modernization and the capabilities approach -- Moral culture is public culture : cosmopolitanism and culture warfare -- Sylvia Plath : daddy and the creation of moral culture -- Moral incommensurability and the clash of cultures -- The anatomy of anti-assimilationism and the logic of contagion -- The cult of death and the worship of ancestry : the genesis of group arcissism -- The psychopathology of tribalism : an exposé -- The tribalist as moral appropriator -- Symbolic ethnicity -- Ethnic vs. ethnic : the problem of definition -- Tribalism, untouchability, and human slime -- The art of symbolic necrophilia -- Imagistic and emblematic representations : tribal epistemology and the impossibility of knowing the other -- Moral masochism and Black identity : a tragic tale -- Jim in Africa -- Theorizing post humanity : radical inclusion, Jews as the chosen people, and the identity politics of St. Paul -- Laissez-faire existential engagement -- Post human in the flesh : Jews and the fragility of chosennes -- How God became a cosmopolitan -- The identity politics of St. Paul. (shrink)
It is commonly supposed that people of Asia, particularly the ethnic Chinese, subscribe to values which are not conducive to economic progress. The gap between the capitalist West and Asia is often attributed to the 'cultural' factor. Behind such perception is the supposition that capitalism is wholly a product of the West, alien to Asia and cannot be successfully embraced without doing violence to its cultural traditions. Against this position, I argue that classical capitalism is perfectly compatible with the key (...) elements of Chinese philosophy. Whether or not there is anything in the suggestion of some historians that Quesnay borrowed from Confucianism, I argue that his economic doctrine could have developed from the fundamentals of Chinese philosophy. If I am right, the economic gap between the West and Asia has to be explained in terms other than the 'cultural' factor, such as, perhaps, colonialism and post-colonialist ideologies. (shrink)
Except for a patina of twenty-first century modernity, in the form of logic and language, philosophy is exactly the same now as it ever was; it has made no progress whatsoever. We philosophers wrestle with the exact same problems the Pre-Socratics wrestled with. Even more outrageous than this claim, though, is the blatant denial of its obvious truth by many practicing philosophers. The No-Progress view is explored and argued for here. Its denial is diagnosed as a form of anosognosia, (...) a mental condition where the affected person denies there is any problem. The theories of two eminent philosophers supporting the No-Progress view are also examined. The final section offers an explanation for philosophy's inability to solve any philosophical problem, ever. The paper closes with some reflections on philosophy's future. (shrink)
On the political nature of the analytic - continental distinction in professional philosophy and the general tendency to discredit continental philosophy while redesignating the rubric as analytically conceived.
Claims about people's intuitions have long played an important role in philosophical debates. The new field of experimental philosophy seeks to subject such claims to rigorous tests using the traditional methods of cognitive science – systematic experimentation and statistical analysis. Work in experimental philosophy thus far has investigated people's intuitions in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, and ethics. Although it is now generally agreed that experimental philosophers have made surprising discoveries about people's intuitions in (...) each of these areas, considerable disagreement remains about the philosophical significance of the key findings. Some have argued that work in experimental philosophy should be assessed by asking whether it can contribute to the kind of inquiry that is normally pursued within analytic philosophy, while others suggest that work in experimental philosophy is best understood as a contribution to a more traditional sort of philosophical inquiry that long predates the birth of analytic philosophy. (shrink)
The following is a transcript of the interview I (Yasuko Kitano) conducted with Neil Levy (The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, CAPPE) on the 23rd in July 2009, while he was in Tokyo to give a series of lectures on neuroethics at The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy. I edited his words for publication with his approval.
Mathematics plays an inordinate role in the work of many of famous Western philosophers, from the time of Plato, through Husserl and Wittgenstein, and even to the present. Why? This paper points to the experience of learning or making mathematics, with an emphasis on proof. It distinguishes two sources of the perennial impact of mathematics on philosophy. They are classified as Ancient and Enlightenment. Plato is emblematic of the former, and Kant of the latter. The Ancient fascination arises from (...) the sense that mathematics explores something ‘out there’. This is illustrated by recent discussions by distinguished contemporary mathematicians. The Enlightenment strand often uses Kant's argot: ‘absolute necessity’, ‘apodictic certainty’ and ‘a priori’ judgement or knowledge. The experience of being compelled by proof, the sense that something must be true, that a result is certain, generates the philosophy. It also creates the illusion that mathematics is certain. Kant's leading question, ‘How is pure mathematics possible?’, is easily misunderstood because the modern distinction between pure and applied is an artefact of the 19th century. As Russell put it, the issue is to explain ‘the apparent power of anticipating facts about things of which we have no experience’. More generally the question is, how is it that pure mathematics is so rich in applications? Some six types of application are distinguished, each of which engenders its own philosophical problems which are descendants of the Enlightenment, and which differ from those descended from the Ancient strand. (shrink)
Since antiquity well into the beginnings of the 20th century geometry was a central topic for philosophy. Since then, however, most philosophers of science, if they took notice of topology at all, considered it as an abstruse subdiscipline of mathematics lacking philosophical interest. Here it is argued that this neglect of topology by philosophy may be conceived of as the sign of a conceptual sea-change in philosophy of science that expelled geometry, and, more generally, mathematics, from the (...) central position it used to have in philosophy of science and placed logic at center stage in the 20th century philosophy of science. Only in recent decades logic has begun to loose its monopoly and geometry and topology received a new chance to find a place in philosophy of science. (shrink)
Metaethics is the study of metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language, insofar as they relate to the subject matter of moral or, more broadly, normative discourse – the subject matter of what is good, bad, right or wrong, just, reasonable, rational, what we must or ought to do, or otherwise. But out of these four ‘core’ areas of philosophy, it is plausibly the philosophy of language that is most central to metaethics (...) – and not simply because ‘metaethics’ was for a long time construed more narrowly as a name for the study of moral language. The philosophy of language is central to metaethics because both the advantages of and the open problems facing different metaethical theories differ sharply over the answers those theories give to central questions in the philosophy of language. In fact, among the open problems over which such theories differ, are included particularly further problems in the philosophy of language. This article briefly surveys a range of broad categories of views in metaethics and both catalogues some of the principal issues faced by each in the philosophy of language, as well as how those arise out of their answers to more basic questions in the philosophy of language. I make no claim to completeness, only to raising a variety of important issues. (shrink)
What can--and what can't--philosophy do? What are its ethical risks--and its possible rewards? How does it differ from science? In Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline , Bernard Williams addresses these questions and presents a striking vision of philosophy as fundamentally different from science in its aims and methods even though there is still in philosophy "something that counts as getting it right." Written with his distinctive combination of rigor, imagination, depth, and humanism, the book amply demonstrates (...) why Williams was one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. Spanning his career from his first publication to one of his last lectures, the book's previously unpublished or uncollected essays address metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, as well as the scope and limits of philosophy itself. The essays are unified by Williams's constant concern that philosophy maintain contact with the human problems that animate it in the first place. As the book's editor, A. W. Moore, writes in his introduction, the title essay is "a kind of manifesto for Williams's conception of his own life's work." It is where he most directly asks "what philosophy can and cannot contribute to the project of making sense of things"--answering that what philosophy can best help make sense of is "being human." Philosophy as a Humanistic Discipline is one of three posthumous books by Williams to be published by Princeton University Press. In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political Argument was published in the fall of 2005. The Sense of the Past: Essays in the History of Philosophy is being published shortly after the present volume. (shrink)
Throughout his career, Husserl identifies naturalism as the greatest threat to both the sciences and philosophy. In this paper, I explicate Husserl’s overall diagnosis and critique of naturalism and then examine the specific transcendental aspect of his critique. Husserl agreed with the Neo-Kantians in rejecting naturalism. He has three major critiques of naturalism: First, it (like psychologism and for the same reasons) is ‘countersensical’ in that it denies the very ideal laws that it needs for its own justification. Second, (...) naturalism essentially misconstrues consciousness by treating it as a part of the world. Third, naturalism is the inevitable consequence of a certain rigidification of the ‘natural attitude’ into what Husserl calls the ‘naturalistic attitude’. This naturalistic attitude ‘reifies’ and it ‘absolutizes’ the world such that it is treated as taken-for-granted and ‘obvious’. Husserl’s transcendental phenomenological analysis, however, discloses that the natural attitude is, despite its omnipresence in everyday life, not primary, but in fact is relative to the ‘absolute’ transcendental attitude. The mature Husserl’s critique of naturalism is therefore based on his acceptance of the absolute priority of the transcendental attitude . The paradox remains that we must start from and, in a sense, return to the natural attitude, while, at the same time, restricting this attitude through the on-going transcendental vigilance of the universal epoché. (shrink)
Is Bayesian decision theory a panacea for many of the problems in epistemology and the philosophy of science, or is it philosophical snake-oil? For years a debate had been waged amongst specialists regarding the import and legitimacy of this body of theory. Mark Kaplan had written the first accessible and non-technical book to address this controversy. Introducing a new variant on Bayesian decision theory the author offers a compelling case that, while no panacea, decision theory does in fact have (...) the most profound consequences for the way in which philosophers think about inquiry, criticism and rational belief. The new variant on Bayesian theory is presented in such a way that a non-specialist will be able to understand it. The book also offers new solutions to some classic paradoxes. It focuses on the intuitive motivations of the Bayesian approach to epistemology and addresses the philosophical worries to which it has given rise. (shrink)
Over the past three decades, philosophy of science has grown increasingly “local.” Concerns have switched from general features of scientific practice to concepts, issues, and puzzles specific to particular disciplines. Philosophy of neuroscience is a natural result. This emerging area was also spurred by remarkable recent growth in the neurosciences. Cognitive and computational neuroscience continues to encroach upon issues traditionally addressed within the humanities, including the nature of consciousness, action, knowledge, and normativity. Empirical discoveries about brain structure and (...) function suggest ways that “naturalistic” programs might develop in detail, beyond the abstract philosophical considerations in their favor. -/- The literature distinguishes “philosophy of neuroscience” and “neurophilosophy.” The former concerns foundational issues within the neurosciences. The latter concerns application of neuroscientific concepts to traditional philosophical questions. Exploring various concepts of representation employed in neuroscientific theories is an example of the former. Examining implications of neurological syndromes for the concept of a unified self is an example of the latter. In this entry, we will assume this distinction and discuss examples of both. (shrink)
Nursing as a profession has a social mandate to contribute to the good of society through knowledge-based practice. Knowledge is built upon theories, and theories, together with their philosophical bases and disciplinary goals, are the guiding frameworks for practice. This article explores a philosophical perspective of nursing's social mandate, the disciplinary goals for the good of the individual and society, and one approach for translating knowledge into practice through the use of a middle-range theory. It is anticipated that the integration (...) of the philosophical perspective and model into nursing practice will strengthen the philosophy, disciplinary goal, theory, and practice links and expand knowledge within the discipline. With the focus on humanization, we propose that nursing knowledge for social good will embrace a synthesis of the individual and the common good. This approach converges vital and agency needs described by Hamilton and the primacy of maintaining the heritage of the good within the human species as outlined by Maritain. Further, by embedding knowledge development in a changing social and health care context, nursing focuses on the goals of clinical reasoning and action. McCubbin and Patterson's Double ABCX Model of Family Adaptation was used as an example of a theory that can guide practice at the community and global level. Using the theory-practice link as a foundation, the Double ABCX model provides practising nurses with one approach to meet the needs of individuals and society. The integration of theory into nursing practice provides a guide to achieve nursing's disciplinary goals of promoting health and preventing illness across the globe. When nursing goals are directed at the synthesis of the good of the individual and society, nursing's social and moral mandate may be achieved. (shrink)
From its inception in Kant's efforts to articulate a "religion within the limits of reason alone," the Continental tradition has maintained a strict division of labor between theological and philosophical reflection on religion. In what follows, I examine this continental legacy in the context of Jacques Derrida's recent work on the concept of responsibility. First I discuss three guiding themes (the limits of speculative analysis, the idea of nondogmatic religion, and the importance of the other) that characterize the continental tradition's (...) general orientation toward philosophy of religion, as well as Derrida's approach to the concept of responsibility. I turn next to elucidating Derrida's account of responsibility as developed in "Force of Law: The Mystical Foundations of Authority" and The Gift of Death. I conclude with a discussion of the uses and limits of this account for religious (and theological) reflection, as well as for the task of articulating a contemporary continental philosophy of religion. (shrink)
Does the Buddhist doctrine of no-self imply, simply put, no-other? Does this doctrine necessarily come into conflict with an ethics premised on the alterity of the other? This article explores these questions by situating Emmanuel Levinas’s ethics in the context of contemporary Japanese philosophy. The work of twentieth-century Japanese philosopher Watsuji Tetsurō provides a starting point from which to consider the ethics of the self-other relation in light of the Buddhist notion of emptiness. The philosophy of thirteenth-century Zen (...) Master Dōgen casts doubt on Watsuji’s commitment to reciprocal self-other relationality, showing that the idea of self-emptiness disrupts any conventional understanding of reciprocity and promotes instead other-oriented compassion. Despite interesting similarities between the ethics of alterity and Buddhist compassion, a Buddhist-influenced understanding of alterity differs from Levinas on important points, by making possible the claim that all others—human, animal, plant, and mineral—are ethical others. (shrink)
Social constructivists maintain that we invent the properties of the world rather than discover them. Is reality constructed by our own activity? Or, more provocatively, are scientific facts--is everything --constructed? Social Constructivism and the Philosophy of Science is a clear assessment of this critical and increasingly important debate. Andre Kukla presents a comprehensive discussion of the philosophical issues involved and analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of a range of constructivist arguments, illustrating the divide between the sociology and the (...) class='Hi'>philosophy of science through examples as varied as laboratory science, time, and criminality. He argues that current philosophical objections to constructivism are drastically inconclusive, while offering and developing new objections. Throughout, Kukla distinguishes between the social causes of scientific beliefs and the view that all ascertainable facts are constructed. (shrink)
This volume of newly commissioned essays provides comprehensive coverage of African philosophy, ranging across disciplines and throughout the ages. Offers a distinctive historical treatment of African philosophy. Covers all the main branches of philosophy as addressed in the African tradition. Includes accounts of pre-colonial African philosophy and contemporary political thought.
Abstract Recently, some philosophers of psychiatry (viz., Rachel Cooper and Dominic Murphy) have analyzed the issue of psychiatric classification. This paper expands upon these analyses and seeks to demonstrate that a consideration of the history of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) can provide a rich and informative philosophical perspective for critically examining the issue of psychiatric classification. This case is intended to demonstrate the importance of history for philosophy of psychiatry, and more generally, the potential (...) benefits of historically-informed approaches to philosophy of science. (shrink)
Africana Philosophy is a gathering notion used to cover collectively particular articulations, and traditions of particular articulations, of persons African and African-descended that are to be regarded as instances of philosophizing. (The notion is meant to cover, as well, the philosophizing efforts of persons not African or African-descended, efforts that are, nonetheless, contributions to the philosophizing endeavors that constitute Africana philosophy.) A central concern of the essay is the question whether there are characteristics of the philosophizing practices of (...) persons identified as members of social groups thought to comprise a geographically and historically dispersed and ethnically diverse race that do, or should, distinguish the practices by virtue of being those of persons African and/or African-descended. Is there, can there be, should there be a properly determined field of philosophy that is constituted, first and foremost, by the efforts of persons of a particular race and its ethnic groups? (shrink)
Criticisms of analyticphilosophy have increased in intensity in the last decade, denouncing specifically its closing in on itself, which results in barrenness and ignorance of real human problems. The thought of C. S. Peirce is proposed as a fruitful way of renewing the analytic tradition and obviating these criticisms. While this paper is largely a reflection on Hilary Putnam’s study of the historical development of analyticphilosophy, not only can some of its main roots (...) be traced back to Peirce, but also the recent resurgence of pragmatism can be regarded as a pragmatist renovation of the analytic tradition. Further, Peirce’s thought offers suggestions for tackling some of the most stubborn problems in contemporary philosophy, thereby enabling us to shoulder once more the philosophical responsibility which has been abdicated by much of twentieth-century philosophy. The most accurate understanding of Peirce is to see him as a traditional and systematic philosopher, but one dealing with the modern problems of science truth, and knowledge from a valuable personal experience as a logician and an experimental researcher in the bosom of an interdisciplinary community of scientists and thinkers. (shrink)
In recent years, experimental philosophers have questioned the reliance of philosophical arguments on intuitions elicited by thought experiments. These challenges seek to undermine the use of this methodology for a particular domain of theorizing, and in some cases to raise doubts about the viability of philosophical work in the domain in question. The topic of semantic reference has been an important area for discussion of these issues, one in which critics of the reliance on intuitions have made particularly strong claims (...) about the prospects for philosophical theories of reference and arguments based on claims about reference. In this article, I review the main lines of argument in this area of experimental philosophy, with particular emphasis on the relevance of empirical data about intuitions to philosophical views. I argue that although traditional philosophical theorizing about reference faces little threat from experimental data about intuitions, there is nevertheless much to be gained from collecting and analyzing such data, which holds the promise of greatly enriching our conception of the mechanisms governing judgments about semantic reference in ways that are highly relevant to philosophers. (shrink)
Analytic philosophers are often said to be indifferent or even hostile to the history of philosophy--that is, not to the idea of history of philosophy as such, but as a species of the genus philosophy rather than history. It is argued that such an attitude is actually inconsistent with commonplace positions within the philosophies of mind that are typical within analytic philosophy.
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)
In Speech and Phenomena and other works, Derrida criticizes Husserl’s phenomenology and attempts to pave the way to his deconstructive philosophy. The starting point of his criticism of Husserl’s phenomenology is his assessment of the latter’s phenomenology of language developed in the Logical Investigations . Derrida claims that Husserl’s phenomenology of language in the Logical Investigations and the subsequent works is guided by the premise of the metaphysics of presence. The aim of this paper is twofold: on the one (...) hand, it aims to show that Derrida’s criticism of Husserl’s phenomenology of language is off the mark and, on the other hand, it aims to reveal that the phenomenology of language goes far beyond the scope of the Derridian deconstructive philosophy of language. (shrink)
The idea that films can be philosophical, or in some sense 'do' philosophy, has recently found a number of prominent proponents. What is at stake here is generally more than the tepid claim that some documentaries about philosophy and related topics convey philosophically relevant content. Instead, the contention is that cinematic fictions, including popular movies such as The Matrix , make significant contributions to philosophy. Various more specific claims are linked to this basic idea. One, relatively weak, (...) but pedagogically important observation is that some films can be used to provide philosophy students with vivid and thought-provoking illustrations of philosophical issues. Film screenings stimulate discussion and may motivate renewed engagement with difficult philosophical texts. A stronger contention, however, seeks to link innovative and philosophically valuable thinking to 'the film itself' or to the 'specificity of the cinematic medium'. Such claims raise interesting questions, including questions about the status of the increasingly prevalent philosophically motivated interpretations of particular movies. Who is actually doing the philosophizing in such cases? Is it the audio-visual display, the film-maker, or the philosopher who devises an interpretation of the work? What is the role of specifically cinematic devices in the philosophical points made in such interpretations? Is there any tension between the goal of appreciating a film as a work of art and the goal of arguing that a film has significant implications for a position on a problem in philosophy? A course in the general area of cinema as philosophy can focus on issues related to the locus and status of cinematic philosophizing. It can also delve into specific films and film-makers and philosophically oriented interpretations of specific philosophical topics, such as personal identity. Issues pertaining to interpretation, meaning, and authorship can be usefully investigated in this connection, as can topics in meta-philosophy related to the very nature of philosophical insight or knowledge. Author Recommends Carroll, Noël and Jinhee Choi, eds. 2008. The Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures: An Anthology , Part VIII: Film and Knowledge. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 381–405. Inclues a brief introduction by Carroll followed by papers by Bruce Russell, Karen Hanson, and Lester H. Hunt. Kania, Andrew, ed. 2009. Memento . London: Routledge. A number of philosophers elucidate philosophical themes in Memento and discuss more general issues pertaining to cinema's philosophical significance. Livingston, Paisley. 2009. Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman: On Film as Philosophy . Oxford: Oxford University Press. Part 1 surveys arguments surrounding the cinema as philosophy theme, providing detailed criticisms of some of the bold theses in this area. Part 2 discusses issues related to cinematic authorship and the status of philosophically motivated interpretations of works of fiction, arguing for a partial intentionalist account of a work's meanings. Part 3 illustrates the intentionalist principles in a discussion of Ingmar Bergman's philosophical sources, providing insight into themes of motivated irrationality, inauthenticity, and self-knowledge in some of Bergman's works. Livingston, Paisley and Carl Plantinga, eds. 2009. The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film , Part IV: Film as Philosophy. London: Routledge. 547–659. Offers a succinct survey by Wartenberg as well as entries on Ingmar Bergman, Terrence Malick, and Andrei Tarkovsky, discussions of film and specific philosophical topics (morality, skepticism, personal identity, and practical wisdom), and examples of philosophically motivated interpretations of three specific films: The Five Obstructions , Gattaca , and Memento . Smith, Murray and Thomas E. Wartenberg, eds. 2006. Thinking Through Cinema: Film as Philosophy . Malden, MA: Blackwell. A collection of papers that combines essays devoted to general positions on the cinema as philosophy topic as well as specific interpretations of works in different genres. Turvey, Malcolm. 2008. Doubting Vision: Film and the Revelationist Tradition . Oxford: Oxford University Press. A probing critical investigation into the assumptions underlying influential philosophical claims about the epistemic value of cinema. Wartenberg, Thomas E. 2008. Thinking on Screen: Film as Philosophy . London: Routledge. Ably surveys and responds to arguments against the idea that films can 'do philosophy'. It defends a conditionalist form of intentionalism in response to the 'imposition objection' according to which it is only the commentator who reads philosophical themes 'into' the movie; illustrates the favored account of film as philosophy with interpretations of specific cinematic fictions. Online Materials Film-Philosophy http://www.film-philosophy.com/ > Founded in 1996, this peer-reviewed online journal is dedicated to philosophically oriented interpretations of films and cinema studies more generally. The e-mail salon encourages discussion of related topics. Includes essays, festival reports, calls for papers, conference and job information, and book reviews. The archive includes contributions from 1997 to the present. Wartenberg, Thomas E. 'Philosophy of Film.' The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ; http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/film/ > A brief survey of a range of issues in the philosophy of cinema including a few paragraphs on the film as philosophy topic. Philosophical Films http://www.philfilms.utm.edu/2/filmlist.htm > A briefly annotated list of philosophical films grouped in rubrics such as 'The Meaning of Life' and 'Environmental Ethics'. Sample Syllabus What follows is a 4-week 'start-up module' followed by samples of optional units that focus on particular topics and cinematic examples. Introductory Module Week I: Introduction & Overview Livingston, Paisley. 'Recent Work on Cinema as Philosophy.' Philosophy Compass 3 (2008): 1–14, 20 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2008.00158.x ). Wartenberg, Thomas E. 2009. 'Film as Philosophy.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Ed. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 549–59. Russell, Bruce. 2008. 'The Philosophical Limits of Film.' The Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures: An Anthology . Ed. Noël Carroll and Jinhee Choi. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 387–390. Week II: The Bold Thesis on Film as Philosophy Reading: Livingston, Paisley, 'Theses on Cinema as Philosophy.' Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman, Chapter One. 11–38. Screening: October (dir. Sergei Eisenstein 1928). Week III: Debating the Bold Thesis: The Case of October Carroll, Noël. 1998. 'For God and Country.' Interpreting the Moving Image . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 80–91. Smuts, Aaron. 2009. 'Film as Philosophy: In Defense of a Bold Thesis.' Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism , 67:4: 409–20. Week IV: Cinema as Philosophy: Objections and Replies Livingston, Paisley. 2009. 'Arguing over Cinema as Philosophy.' Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman, Chapter Two. 39–59. Additional Optional Units Depending on the instructor's areas of interest and expertise, any of the following units could be added (and in some cases, easily expanded into longer segments). The Case of Ingmar Bergman Livingston, Paisley. 2009. 'Ingmar Bergman.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 560–568. Screening(s): Wild Strawberries (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1957), or The Seventh Seal (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1957), or Persona (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1966). Skepticism Fumerton, Richard. 2009. 'Skepticism.' In The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 601–10. Screening: The Matrix (dir. Andy and Larry Wachowski 1999) or Total Recall (dir. Paul Verhoeven 1990). Ethics Kupfer, Joseph. 1999. Visions of Virtue in Popular Film . Boulder, CO: Westview. 35–60. Falzon, Chris. 2009. 'Why be Moral?' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 591–599. Screening: Groundhog Day (dir. <span class='Hi'>Harold</span> Ramis 1993), or Crimes and Misdemeanors (dir. Woody Allen 1989), or Hollow Man (dir. Paul Verhoeven 2000). Personal Identity Knight, Deborah. 2009. 'Personal Identity.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 611–619. Hanley, Richard. 2009. ' Memento and Personal Identity: Are We Getting it Backwards?' Memento . Ed. Andrew Kania. London: Routledge. 107–126. Martin, Raymond. 2009. 'The Value of Memory: Reflections on Memento. ' Memento . Ed. Andrew Kania. London: Routledge. 87–106. Screening: Memento (dir. Christopher Nolan 2000). Freedom and (Genetic) Determinism Sesardic, Neven. 2009. 'Gattaca.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 641–649. Screening: Gattaca (dir. Andrew Niccol 1997). Focus Questions • Is there anything special about the experience of fiction films that is especially well suited to the stimulation of worthwhile philosophical reflection? • Have any novel and philosophically significant ideas found their first expression in a cinematic work? • Under what circumstances can the film medium be used as an expression of a cinematic author's views? • What sort of background knowledge has to be in place for a film to be interpreted as articulating reasonably precise philosophical theses and arguments? • Does the goal of spelling out a film's philosophical meaning sometimes conflict with the goal of appreciating its value as a work of art? (shrink)
The ‘Ordinary Language’ philosophy of the early 20th century is widely thought to have failed. It is identified with the broader so-called ‘linguistic turn’, a common criticism of which is captured by Devitt and Sterelny (1999), who quip: “When the naturalistic philosopher points his finger at reality, the linguistic philosopher discusses the finger.” (p 280) The implication is that according to ‘linguistic’ philosophy, we are not to study reality or truth or morality etc, but the meaning of the (...) words ‘reality’, ‘truth’, ‘morality’ etc. Ordinary Language philosophy has fallen so thoroughly into disrepute because it is supposed to advocate that not only are we to study words and meanings rather than the phenomena themselves (which is apparently bad enough), but we must restrict that study to words and meanings as they occur in the language used by the ordinary speaker. A number of preposterous corollaries have been taken to follow from this view. Most seriously, perhaps, and irritatingly, is that any theory which contains ‘non-ordinary’ uses of expressions is thereby ‘meaningless’ or simply false – which is clearly absurd. In this paper I show that this is a completely inaccurate picture of Ordinary Language philosophy. My aim is to correct these persistent misinterpretations, and make possible a more sensible reassessment of the philosophy. (shrink)
A prominent phenomenon in contemporary philosophy of science has been the unexpected rise of alternative philosophers of science. This article analyses in depth such alternative philosophers of science as Paul Feyerabend, Richard Rorty, and Michel Foucault, summarizing the similarities and differences between alternative philosophies of science and traditional philosophy of science so as to unveil the trends in contemporary philosophy of science. With its different principles and foundation, alternative philosophy of science has made breakthroughs in terms (...) of its field of vision, scope, and methodology, and its relationship with science has become more humanistic and pluralistic. Attention should be given to alternative perspectives in the contemporary philosophy of science, and research should be expanded into the fields of the epistemology of science and cognitive science, the sociology of scientific knowledge and scientific anthropology, the scientific cultural philosophy, and scientific ethics. (shrink)
While there is a great diversity of treatments of other minds and inter-subjectivity within both analytic and continental philosophy, this article specifies some of the core structural differences between these treatments. Although there is no canonical account of the problem of other minds that can be baldly stated and that is exhaustive of both traditions, the problem(s) of other minds can be loosely defined in family resemblances terms. It seems to have: (1) an epistemological dimension (How do we know (...) that others exist? Can we justifiably claim to know that they do?); (2) an ontological dimension that incorporates issues having to do with personal identity (What is the structure of our world such that inter-subjectivity is possible? What are the fundamental aspects of our relations to others? How do they impact upon our self-identity?); and (3) A conceptual dimension in that it depends on one's answer to the question what is a mind (How does the mind – or the concept of 'mind'– relate to the brain, the body and the world?). While these three issues are co-imbricated, I will claim that analytic engagements with the problem of other minds focus on (1), whereas continental philosophers focus far more on (2). In addition, this article will also point to various other downstream consequences of this, including the preoccupation with embodiment and forms of expressivism that feature heavily in various forms of continental philosophy, and which generally aim to ground our relations with others in a pre-reflective manner of inhabiting the world that is said to be the condition of reflection and knowledge. (shrink)