This paper focuses on abduction as explicit or readily formulatable inference to possible explanatory hypotheses--as contrasted with inference to conceptual innovations or abductive logic as a cycle of hypotheses, deduction of consequences and inductive testing. Inference to an explanation is often a matter of projection or extrapolation of elements of accepted theory for the solution of outstanding problems in particular domains of inquiry. I say "projections or extrapolation" of accepted theory, but I mean to point to something broader and suggest (...) how elements of accepted theory constrain emergent models and plausible inferences to explanations--in a quasi-rationalist fashion. I draw on illustrations from quantum gravity below just because there is so little direct evidence available in the field. It is in such cases that Peirce's discussions of abductive inference provide the most plausible support for the idea of a logic of abduction--as inference to readily formulatable explanatory hypotheses. The possible need for conceptual innovation points to the limits on the possibility of a logic of abduction of a more rationalistic character--selecting uniquely superior explanations. Abduction conceived as a repeated cycle of inquiry also points to limits on our expectations for an abductive logic. My chief point is that the character of inference to an explanation, viewed below as embedded within arguments from analogy, is so little compelling, as a matter of logical form alone, that there will always be a pluralism of plausible alternatives among untested hypotheses and inferences to them--calling for some comparative evaluation. This point leads on to some consideration of the virtues of hypotheses--as a description of the range of this pluralism. (shrink)
Focused on five prominent scholars of international law, and casting light on the related institutions which frequently engaged them, the present book provides insight into chief currents of international law during the last decades of the twentieth century. Spanning the gap, in some degree, between Anglo-American and continental approaches to international law, the volume consists of short intellectual portraits, combined with interviews, of selected specialists in international law. The interviews were conducted by the editor, Antonio Cassese, between 1993 and 1995 (...) though the present volume was published only last year. -/- Cassese, an Italian jurist and international lawyer, was Professor of International Law at the University of Florence (1975-2008) and specialized in public international law. Among other posts held, he was the first President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the first President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and chaired the UN Inter-national Inquiry into Crimes in Darfur. He authored International Law (2005), a comprehensive commentary on the subject (which makes a fine companion volume to the present book). He was also editor in chief of the Oxford Companion to International Criminal Justice (2009) and founded the Journal of International Criminal Justice. His work has been credited as providing a chief impetus in the revival of international criminal law from its post-Nuremberg hiatus. -/- Cassese seeks to bring out the central ideas associated with each of his five selected scholarly jurist-professors, focusing on international law and international relations; and he aims to place each of the five scholars within the context of their own intellectual and philosophical back-grounds - and their views of the development of the international community. The interviews were based on Cassese’s “basic questionnaire,” which is reproduced in the opening pages of the volume (pp.xvii-xix). Overall, the book provides an engaging, though intricate, perspective on contemporary developments in international law combined with discussion of its roots in the post-WWII era and in legal philosophies. (shrink)
Alexander James Dallas' An Exposition of the Causes and Character of the War was written as part of an effort by the then US government to explain and justify its declaration of war in 1812. However publication coincided with the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War. The Exposition is especially interesting for the insight it provides into the self-constraint of American foreign policy and of the conduct of a war. The focus is on the foreign policy (...) of the early republic and the related philosophy of law and war. A central idea is that international law should chiefly benefit those remaining at peace. -/- Dallas was a Philadelphian who settled there in 1783, the year of the Peace of Paris which ended the War of Independence, arriving from Jamaica after a British education. He wrote much on law, becoming the first recorder of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He later served as Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and federal district attorney for Eastern Pennsylvania, appointed by President Jefferson. He was appointed Secretary of Treasury by President Madison. -/- In this edition the original text is presented with annotations to help identify persons and events of interest. The editor has also added an Introduction, a Bibliography, a short Chronology of Dallas' life and the events of the War, and an analytical Index. As such this annotated edition presents a key primary source in a manner helpful to research for students of the early Republic. (shrink)
Alison L. LaCroix is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, where she specializes in legal history, federalism, constitutional law and questions of jurisdiction. She has written a fine, scholarly volume on the intellectual origins of American federalism. LaCroix holds the JD degree (Yale, 1999) and a Ph.D. in history (Harvard, 2007). According to the author, to fully understand the origins of American federalism, we must look beyond the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and range over the (...) colonial, revolutionary, and founding periods including developments in the early republic. LaCroix questions both the idea that American federalism originated, all at once, at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the idea that republican ideology (with its strong emphasis on legislative power) was the single dominant framework of eighteenth-century American political thought. Versions and elements of federalist or con-federative ideas were also long present and in a process of development. (shrink)
This paper focuses on John Witherspoon (1723-1794) and the religious background of the American conception of religious liberty and church-state separation, as found in the First Amendment. Witherspoon was strongly influenced by debates and conflicts concerning liberty of conscience and the independence of the congregations in his native Scotland; and he brought to his work, as President of the (Presbyterian) College of New Jersey, a moderate Calvinism challenging the conception of “true virtue” found in Jonathan Edwards. Witherspoon was teacher to (...) James Madison who would substantially write the First Amendment. Religious freedom, focused on freedom of conscience, and ‘Christian magnanimity’ stand in considerable tension with the prior orthodoxy of predetermination and the historical tradition of Calvinistic theocracy. Understanding Witherspoon, we better understand the reformation background of the American Enlightenment and how his conception of the freedom of conscience contributed to American conceptions of freedom generally. (shrink)
In Memories and Portraits: Explorations in American Thought, H. G. Callaway embeds his distinctive contextualism and philosophical pluralism within strands of history and autobiography, spanning three continents. Starting in Philadelphia, and reflecting on the meaning of home in American thought, he offers a philosophically inspired narrative of travel and explorations, in Europe and Africa, illuminating central elements of American thought—partly out of diverse foreign and domestic reactions and fascinating cultural contrasts. -/- This book is of interest for the contemporary interplay (...) of analytic philosophy with American pragmatism and for those focused on the interaction of European and Anglo-American thought and society. In this book, the formalism of analytic philosophy encounters a logically articulate version of the contextualism implicit in the pragmatist tradition; and a deep and abiding interest in natural science is augmented by a more literary account of the social and cultural contexts of inquiry—encountered in many years of travel and life abroad. The final chapter, employing a methodological naturalism, brings the perspectives and lessons, from near and far, back home for renewed reflection. (shrink)
My review of Boghossian's book, Fear of Knowledge, is generally sympathetic toward his rejection of epistemic relativism and turns toward an examination of "constructivist" themes in light of an anti-nominalist perspective. In general terms, this is a fine little book, tightly argued, and well worth considerable attention--especially from the friends of relativism and those supporting versions of constructivism. (Constructivism + radical nominalism = relativism.).
Pragmata: Festschrift für Klaus Oehler Chiefly in German, this handsomely produced volume, occasioned by the 80th birthday of Hamburg philosopher Klaus Oehler, assembles 31 papers, divided among 4 sections, successively devoted to ancient philosophy, semiotics, pragmatism and topics in modernity. One of the papers appears in French, “La philosophie de la musique dans l’ancien stoicisme,” by Evanghelos Moutsopoulos of the University of Athens. The book also contains 5 papers in English, concentrated in the sections on semiotics and pragmatism, including authors (...) familiar in these pages, such as Richard Robin “Charles Sanders Peirce Then and Now,” and Sandra Rosenthal writing on Peirce’s “neglected argument.” Several of the authors writing in German are also familiar to readers of these pages, including Helmut Pape, Hans Joas and Ludwig Nagl. The book is filled out with a short preface by the editors, a catalogue of the writings of Klaus Oehler from 1989 to 2008 (including mention of recent attention to William James), a comprehensive index of names and information on the contributing authors. The overall design of the book gives the impression of Peircean semiotics and pragmatism mediating between the ancients and modern problems.<br> The editors note some of Oehler’s honors: He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Athens (1993), was the first German President of the C.S. Peirce Society (1982) and in 1998 was awarded the International Prize of the Antonio Iannone Foundation in Rome. The title “Pragmata” is understood to stand for thought’s needed reference to facts and reality, and it expresses concern with relevance (Sachbezug). It is indicative of Oehler’s rejection of “all idealistic speculation,” and his “radical critique of idealism and utopian thinking” (Hingst and Liatsi, p. 9). One may sense Peirce-inspired echoes of the nineteenth century, neo-Kantian flight from Hegel: “Zu der Sache.”<br>. (shrink)
This is my review of D.W. Howe's 2007 book, What Hath God Wrought, Transformation of America 1815-1848. The book is a volume in the new Oxford History of the U.S.(O.U.P. 2007)--exploring the transformation of the early American republic through the period of domination of the Jacksonian Democrats. This is also the period of the New England Renaissance and the early work of R.W. Emerson. Howe devotes a good deal of attention to Emerson and his influence and thereby provides needed historical (...) context for the understanding of American thought. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the preliminary evaluation of expressions of moral sentiment under conditions of cultural pluralism. The advance of science and technology puts ever new power over nature in human hands, and if this new power is to more fully serve human ends, then it must become the means or material of human virtue. This prospect poses the question of the relationship between power and virtue, and equally, the question of how scientific advances may be understood to enter into (...) a pluralism of moral doctrines and deliberations. Taking a page from the philosophy of science, the present approach examines the relationship between scientific advances and moral evaluations of developing practices as mediated by contemporary accounts of the virtues of hypotheses. If we conceive of expressions of moral sentiment as hypotheses for the amendment or expansion of existing moral doctrines in the light of new possibilities for action, then this suggests that expressions of moral sentiment may be evaluated, in a preliminary way, by reference to standard lists of the virtues of hypotheses: refutability, conservatism, modesty or simplicity, precision, elegance, and generality. Expressions of moral sentiment are subject to preliminary evaluation, on cognitive grounds, by reference to their prospective integration and/or modification of on-going moral traditions. (shrink)
Meaning without Analyticity draws upon the author’s essays and articles, over a period of 20 years, focused on language, logic and meaning. The book explores the prospect of a non-behavioristic theory of cognitive meaning which rejects the analytic-synthetic distinction, Quinean behaviorism, and the logical and social-intellectual excesses of extreme holism. Cast in clear, perspicuous language and oriented to scientific discussions, this book takes up the challenges of philosophical communication and evaluation implicit in the recent revival of the pragmatist tradition—especially those (...) arising from its relation to prior American analytic thought. This volume continues the work of Callaway’s 1993 book, Context for Meaning and Analysis, building on the “turn toward pragmatism.” . (shrink)
This new edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Society and Solitude reproduces the original 1870 edition—only updating nineteenth-century prose spellings. Emerson’s text is fully annotated to identify the authors and issues of concern in the twelve essays, and definitions are provided for selected words in Emerson’s impressive vocabulary. The work aims to facilitate a better understanding of Emerson’s late philosophy in relation to his sources, his development and his subsequent influence.
This is a expository and critical review of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. 's last book, War and the American Presidency. The book collects and focuses recent writings of Arthur Schlesinger on the themes of its title. In its short Foreword and seven concise essays, the book aims to explore, in some contrast with the genre of “instant history,” the relationship between President George W. Bush’s Iraq adventure and the national past. This aim and the present work are deserving of wide attention, (...) both because of the contemporary need to deal with the extended war in Iraq and because Americans, in particular, need to attend to their own history, if we are to avoid past mistakes and make the best use of our ongoing political traditions and institutions. In order to know better where we might go in the future, we need an adequate picture of where we have been in the past. Schlesinger invites us to debate the war, the Presidency, and their relation to the American past. (shrink)
Theories of linguistic meaning have been a major influence in twentieth century philosophy. This is due, in part, to the assumption that meaning is the crucial and interesting thing about language. To know the meaning of an expression is to understand it, and since understanding is central to philosophy in many different ways, it should be no surprise that the notion of meaning has often taken center stage. The aim of this paper is to briefly explore some influential views concerning (...) linguistic meaning. The final objective will be to demonstrate some alternatives which are open to theory with respect to this notion¾for there are those who have wanted to ban talk of meaning from serious scientific discourse. The point is that many of the disadvantages of traditional notions of meaning are avoidable¾in particular, they are avoidable along a path which starts from Frege and moves on via Tarski and Davidson. (shrink)
This book is my new scholarly edition of William James, A Pluralistic Universe. The original text has been recovered, annotations to the text added to identify James' authors and events of interest, there is a new bibliography chiefly based on James' sources, a brief chronology of James' career, and I have added an expository and critical Introduction and a comprehensive analytical index.
Peirce claims in his Lectures on Pragmatism [CP 5.196] that “If you carefully consider the question of pragmatism you will see that it is nothing else than the question of the logic of abduction;” and further “no effect of pragmatism which is consequent upon its effect on abduction can go to show that pragmatism is anything more than a doctrine concerning the logic of abduction.” Plausibly, there is, at best, a quasi-logic of abduction, which properly issues in our best means (...) for the methodological evaluation and ordering of (yet untested) hypotheses or theories. There is always a range of explanatory innovations that may be proposed, from more conservative to less conservative; and it is important, in light of what Peirce has to say on the relation of abduction to pragmatism, that in ruling out “wild guessing,” attention be initially directed to more conservative proposals. Still conservatism, which we might understand in terms of Peircean continuity, is sometimes justly sacrificed for greater comprehension or overall simplicity of approach. This paper explores the relationships among Peircean abduction and pragmatism, the “theoretical virtues” approach to the evaluation of hypotheses, and contextual constraint on the scientific imagination. (shrink)
This paper examines Santayana on imagination, and related themes, chiefly as these are expressed in his early work, Interpretations of Poetry and Religion (1900). My hypothesis is that Santayana under-estimates, in this book, the force and significance of the prevalent distinction between imagination and fancy, as this was originally put forward by Coleridge and later developed in Emerson’s late essays. I will focus on some of those aspects of Santayana’s book which appear to react to or to engage with Emerson’s (...) views and aim to bring Santayana’s treatment of the theme of imagination into relation with Emerson. Understanding the differences in greater detail we stand a better chance of reasoned evaluation of alternative conceptions of imagination. I will argue that the Coleridge-Emersonian conception of the distinction between imagination and fancy is a crucial element of the background of Peircean abduction, and in this fashion, contributes to the continuity of Emerson’s writings with the pragmatist tradition. (shrink)
In this paper we briefly examine and evaluate Quine’s physicalism. On the supposition, in accordance with Quine’s views, that there can be no change of any sort without a physical change, we argue that this point leaves plenty of room to understand and accept a limited autonomy of the special sciences and of other domains of disciplinary and common-sense inquiry and discourse. The argument depends on distinguishing specific, detailed programs of reduction from the general Quinean strategy of reduction by explication. (...) We argue that the details of the relations of particular sciences, disciplines and domains of discourse depend on empirical evidence and empirical-theoretical developments and that the generalized approach of reduction by explication is also subject to related empirical-theoretical constraints. So understood, physicalism lacks much of the controversial force and many of the implications sometimes associated with it. (shrink)
The opening essay of Emerson’s 1860 book, The Conduct of Life, posed, in that fateful year of threatening Civil War and disunion, the philosophical problem of human freedom and fate. The essay “Fate” is followed in the present book by a series of essays on related themes, including: “Power,” “Wealth,” “Culture,” “Worship,” “Beauty” and “Illusions.” The central question of the volume is, “How shall I live?” Appreciating both our freedom and its limits, we understand the vitality of power to acquire (...) what wealth is needed to scale the corrections and heights of culture and worship, find beauty in life and human society, wary still of the illusions. Overall, the book is a call for creative solutions. Yet the nation, in the year of Abraham Lincoln’s election, seemed fated to war or disunion in spite of all its dedication to freedom. (shrink)
My new edition of Emerson's Conduct, modernizes the prose spelling, annotates the text and adds a short chronology, a bibliography foused on Emerson's sources, a new Introduction, and a comprehensive index. Available in HB and PB.
The book contains twelve chapters, prefaced by acknowledgments, and followed by a short index. It derives from the author's doctoral dissertation in philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis, and thanks are offered to committee members Robert B. Barrett, Joseph Ullian and Roger Gibson. The reader who is not inclined to review the large related literature on Quine's view of cognitive meaning and translation may also be attracted to this book for concise summaries and treatment of the Quinean view from (...) St. Louis. -/- . (shrink)
This paper approaches "multiculturalism" obliquely via conceptions of social and political pluralism in the pragmatist tradition. As a matter of social analysis, the advent of multiculturalism implies some loss of confidence in our prior conceptions of accommodating ethnic, social, and religious diversity: the conversion of traditional American cultural diversity into a war of political interest groups. This, and the corresponding tendency toward cultural relativism and "anything goes," is fundamentally a product of over-centralization and cultural-political exhaustion in the wake of the (...) long ordeal of the Cold War. An over-emphasis on the political, and national centralization, has pressured our cultural variety toward more political forms, and "multiculturalism" is both product and backlash.<br><br> Many issues connected with the general theme of multiculturalism parallel philosophical debates on objectivity and the diversity of cultural perspectives. Successful treatments of these themes, drawing on the pragmatist tradition, need to be developed and applied to contemporary problems. The general approach here emphasizes a relative autonomy of religious, ethnic, and cultural-racial groups, the need to be wary of both exclusion and self-insulation, and the roles of individuals in mediating group differences. In the concluding section, specific issues relating religious pluralism and secularism will be addressed.<br><br>. (shrink)
Susan Haack presents a striking and appealing figure in contemporary Anglo-American philosophy. In spite of British birth and education, she appears to bridge the gap between analytic philosophy and American pragmatism, with its more diverse influences and sources. Well known for her writings in the philosophy of logic and epistemology, she fuses something of the hard-headed debunking style of a Bertrand Russell with a lively interest in Peirce, James and Dewey.
This book collects some 75 texts from the history of American thought, starting with the colonial religious background, and arranged into 6 historically oriented chapers. Each chapter has a general introduction and ends with suggestions for further readings; and each of the texts is prefaced by a short explanatory paragraph. Overall, the book provides an historical introduction to central ethical themes of American thought.
This paper attempts some integration of two perspectives on questions about rationality and irrationality: the classical conception of irrationality as sophism and themes from the romantic revolt against Enlightenment reason. However, since talk of "reason" and "the irrational" often invites rigid dualities of reason and its opposites (such as feeling, intuition, faith, or tradition), the paper turns to "intelligence" in place of "reason," thinking of human intelligence as something less abstract, less purely theoretical, and more firmly rooted in practice, including (...) communicative practice. "Intelligence" is "reason" naturalized. (shrink)
This is my review of Howard B. Radest's book on Felix Adler and Ethical Culture. The book involves interesting comparisons of Adler to Emerson and to the pragmatists, and Radest is well qualified to tell the history of Adler's work and its influence.
James Campbell's Understanding John Dewey represents the latest of his series of recent books, focused on the classical pragmatist tradition. In The Community Reconstructs. Campbell capably explored the meaning and relevance of pragmatic social thought, urging that the social pragmatists combined 'the inquiring and critical spirit of Peirce' with 'issues of general and direct human concern that interested James. Dewey is 'the most important figure of this movement' and the "primary figure' for the earlier book. Campbell now engages Dewey more (...) fully. (shrink)
This work first appeared as Sidney Hook's dissertation, afterward quickly published by Open Court in 1927, the same year Hook began his long career at New York University. Heretofore difficult to find, it now appears as a handsome and timely reprint, carrying John Dewey's original "Introductory Word," and providing opportunity to look back at the pragmatist tradition and the controversial role of metaphysics in it.
This paper proceeds from an analysis (Callaway 1992, pp. 239-240) of a role of conflict in the origin of value commitments, a pervasive sociological pattern in the development of unifying group values which transforms personal conflicts, or differences, into large-scale collective conflicts. I have urged that these forces are capable of distorting even the cognitive processes of science and that they are a chief reason why value claims are regarded as incapable of objective evaluation. The thesis of the present paper (...) is that romantic collectivism (uncritical attachment to an identification group) renders members passive with respect to the ideals or content embodied in collective identity and that this is often exploited to convert groups into instruments of personal power. The issue is examined by reference to Reinhold Niebuhr's 1932 thesis of the inevitability of group egoism and inter-group conflicts and an opposing pragmatist conception of moral development, self-identity, and the individual's relationship to reference communities. (shrink)
The deeper meaning of education, says Dewey in his Human Nature and Conduct (1922), which distinguishes the justly honored profession from that of mere trainer, is that a future new society of changed purposes and desires may be created by a deliberately humane treatment of the impulses of youth (p. 69). For Dewey, a truly humane education consists in an intelligent direction of native activities in the light of the possibilities and necessities of the social situation (p. 70). Student impulse (...) and interest are not to be suppressed nor continually vented in unrestrained expression. In view of the plasticity of youth, there is little danger that allowing the role of student interest will lead away from important objectives of the curriculum. Education which respects the integrity of the student is a prerequisite of the kind of educated public suited for fuller participation in the democratic processes which properly direct and reconstruct our social life. The citizen appropriate for a democratic society is neither the dull conformist nor the superficial, gushing, non-conformist or sensualist. Individual impulse and initiative is neither to be damned up nor frivolously expressed. Meaningful participation and fuller social reconstruction require that we respect the social conditions for the possibility of knowledge and its growth, and this is more easily achieved, and more broadly appealing, when we speak of plans for the school environment. Respect for the cognitive and developmental needs of our own children and young people is fundamental to the self-respect of any viable society. Education could be philosophical praxis for a better world. (shrink)
Carl Hausman is a former editor of The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, a revival of one of the first American philosophy journals, where Peirce published some of his early work; and Hausman has devoted a good deal of his career to Peirce scholarship. He interprets Peirce’s thought “as a fallibilistic foundationalism that affirms a unique realism according to which what is real is a dynamic, evolving extramental condition.” The theme is an interesting one partly in view of the many recent (...) criticisms of foundationalism, some drawing on pragmatist sources. It promises to re-emphasize more conservative moments of the pragmatic conception of inquiry. Similarly, Hausman’s approach highlights the historical continuities between pragmatism and realism in American philosophy. Still, if Peircean realism implies evolutionary pressure due to “extra-mental” conditions, this suggests a question. Can we also expect a corresponding realism or autonomy of human lives, thought, and cultures—themselves evolving through their interactions? A positive answer here might help avoid the de-centering excesses of contemporary anti-foundationalists, implying social and institutional space for cross-fertilizations, innovations, and the rejection of social-institutional rigidities. (shrink)
The short cover-description of the present book tells that "Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775-1854) was one of the formative philosophers of German idealism, whose great service was in the areas of the philosophy of nature, art, and religion." Those having some familiarity with Schelling, and his influence on American philosophy, indirectly via Coleridge and Carlyle and more directly via Emerson and C. S. Peirce, will perhaps not be surprised to learn that German idealism itself looks somewhat different, understanding Schelling's differences (...) with Kant, Fichte, and Hegel; and while the work under review shows no awareness of the distant American influence of Schelling, or American developments in general (except perhaps in some citations of Arthur Lovejoy's The Great Chain of Being), I will take the present opportunity to emphasize connections and possible connections to American philosophy, as allowed by the author's account of Schelling and some further citations. (shrink)
The book is an “introductory” reconstruction of Davidson on interpretation —a claim to be taken with a grain of salt. Writing introductory books has become an idol of the tribe. This is a concise book and reflects much study. It has many virtues along with some flaws. Ramberg assembles themes and puzzles from Davidson into a more or less coherent viewpoint. A special virtue is the innovative treatment of incommensurability and of the relation of Davidson’s work to hermeneutic themes. The (...) weakness comes in a certain unevenness. While generally convincing and well written, the book has low points which may leave the reader confused or unconvinced. Davidson is the hero in this book, and our hero is sometimes over idealized. (shrink)
This paper explicates and defends a social-naturalist conception of internationality and intentions, where internationality of scientific expressions is fundamental. Meanings of expressions are a function of their place in language-systems and of the relations of systems to object-level evidence and associated community activities-including deliberation and experiment. Naturalizing internationality requires social-intellectual reconstruction exemplified by the scientific community at its best. This approach emphasizes normative elements of pragmatic conceptions of meaning and their function in orientation. It requires social conditions and intellectual practices (...) making knowledge of intentions possible. Scientific ends, methods, and meanings, together, constitute culturally evolved instruments of adaptation to, and reconstruction of, physical and cultural environments. -/- . (shrink)
As explained in the Preface, this book connects two sets of goals, one historical and the other social. The historical aim is to "recover a fuller understanding" of the American intellectual past, and the social aims concern the "complexities of building a better future." The chief thesis is that "these two sets of goals should be connected." Among others, gratitude is expressed for the work of John J. McDermott.
Newly re-printed, Sydney Hook’s classic (1939) work on Dewey appears with an Introduction by Richard Rorty. Hook may help us see how Dewey fit into his own time. That story is important. The new printing may also help us see how Dewey fits into our time. Rorty lauds more recent treatments of Dewey’s work, especially Robert Westbrook’s intellectual biography John Dewey and American Democracy (1991), and Steven Rockefeller’s John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism (1991) gets honorable mention. Specific comments (...) focus on Alan Ryan’s John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism (1995). “It may be that Dewey and Hook witnessed, as Alan Ryan suggests, ... ‘the high tide of American liberalism,’ but if this is so, then America has lost its soul.”1 Even future-focused pragmatists need to look back to Dewey and Hook. They were “Americans” who, in the final words of the Hook volume, “still had hope for what America may yet be.”. (shrink)
Vol. 13 of John Dewey, The Later Works, brings this edition of Dewey's Collected Works to the fateful years 1938-1939. It contains three main texts Experience and Education, Freedom and Culture, and Theory of Valuation, plus essays and miscellany. The editors, Jo Ann Boydston and Barabara Levine, provide twenty-five pages of Appendices, and Steven M. Cahn has written and excellent Introduction. The hardback version includes a scholarly apparatus featured in each of the volumes of the series.
A liberalism which scorns all individualism is fundamentally misguided. This is the chief thesis of this paper. To argue for it, I look closely at some key concepts. The concepts of morislity and individualism are crucial. I emphasize Dewey on the "individuality of the mind" and a Deweyan discussion of language, communication, and community. The thesis links individualism and liberalism, and since appeals to liberalism have broader appeal in the present context of discussions, I start with consideration of liberalism. The (...) aim is to dispute overly restrictive conceptions and explore a broader perspective. To bring the argument to a close, attention turns first to Dewey on value inquiry, to Dewey's "democratic individualism" (cf. Dewey 1939, 179), and to the concept of moral community. Disputing the acquisitiveness of utilitarian influences in classical liberalism, a Deweyan argument from the nature of moral community supports re-emphasis on individualism in contemporary liberal thought. (shrink)
This is my critical review of Hans Joas' book on Pragmatism and social theory which concerns, in part the early 20th-century German reception of American philosophy and the relationship of this to contemporary German thought.
This book provides a concise overview, with excellent historical and systematic coverage, of the problems of the philosophy of language in the analytic tradition. Howard Callaway explains and explores the relation of language to the philosophy of mind and culture, to the theory of knowledge, and to ontology. He places the question of linguistic meaning at the center of his investigations. The teachings of authors who have become classics in the field, including Frege, Russell, Carnap, Quine, Davidson, and Putnam are (...) critically analyzed. I share completely his conviction that contemporary Anglo-American philosophy follows the spirit of the enlightenment in insisting on intellectual sincerity, clarity, and the willingness to meet scientific doubts or objections openly. --Professor Henri Lauener, Editor of Dialectica. (shrink)
This essay proposes a re-evaluation of Dewey's work with emphasis upon the ability of his philosophy to effect a realistic reformulation and development of America's tradition of humanistic liberalism. Dewey combines the tough-minded realism (or naturalism), congenial to the scientific orientation of American philosophy, with a firm conviction of the need of values and revaluation in community life. I draw on recent work of Hilary Putnam on Dewey and argue for the viability of Dewey's conception of value inquiry. The value (...) of Dewey's work to American liberalism extends beyond the version of liberalism, from the 1930's and the 1940's with which is name is most closely associated. (shrink)
This paper examines normative elements in Henri Lauener’s “open transcendentalism,” with an eye to evaluate distinctive theses. After setting out some of Lauener’s basic positions in this area, in comparison with related views in Quine’s work, I argue that the views surveyed converge on a normative and contextualist cognitivism in Lauener’s methodological and epistemological perspective. Though he resists similar conclusion in the name of anti-naturalism, I argue that his “open transcendentalism” is plausibly construed as a non reductive naturalism.
Tracing the background of Davidson’s work in the positivists’ philosophical emigration of the 30’s and in Quine, Evnine’s “Introduction” offers a “map of the terrain to be covered” which stresses the “rationalistic” character of Davidson’s views on holism and rationality. Thus, “his main philosophical concerns ... language, the mental and action...are the ingredients of a philosophical anthropology.” In spite of Quinean roots, the view is that “Davidson has now wholly removed himself, philosophically speaking, from the empiricist tradition.” The result: a (...) “rationalism,...a genuine, non-empiricist philosophical vision.” Though appealing to those of a “rationalist” leaning, this theme seems to generalize Davidson’s criticisms of Quine’s behaviorism as a lapse from empiricism. Often, it arises from interpretive gloss just where the tough-minded reader seeks quotation. (shrink)
In the book under review, Walter Reese-Schafer provides a concise Introduction to the sources, themes and conclusions of the philosophy of Karl-Otto Apel, Emeritus Professor at Frankfurt and close colleague of Jurgen Habermas. There are both Kantian and Peircean themes in Apel, with the chief focus on the concept of discourse ethics.
This paper argues that the influence of language on science, philosophy and other field is mediated by communicative practices. Where communications is more restrictive, established linguistic structures exercise a tighter control over innovations and scientifically motivated reforms of language. The viewpoint here centers on the thesis that argumentation is crucial in the understanding and evaluation of proposed reforms and that social practices which limit argumentation serve to erode scientific objectivity. Thus, a plea is made for a sociology of scientific belief (...) designed to understand and insure social-institutional conditions of the possibility of knowledge and its growth. A chief argument draws on work of Axelrod concerning the evolution of cooperation. (shrink)
A chief aim of this paper is to provide common ground for discussion of outstanding issues between defenders of classical logic and contemporary advocates of intuitionistic logic. In this spirit, I draw upon (and reconstruct) here the relationship between dialogue and evidence as emphasized in German constructivist authors. My approach depends upon developments in the methodology of empirical linguistics. As a preliminary to saying how one might decide between these two versions of logic (this issue is most closely approached in (...) Section V. discussing the constructivist approach), it is well worth the effort to look closely at how logic is (or might be) learned and at questions concerning logic in translation, i.e., the question of how we might detect the variety of logic actually employed in a given speech community. (shrink)
Reconciliation of semantic holism with interpretation of individual expressions is advanced here by means of a relativization of sentence meaning to object language theories viewed as idealizations of belief-systems. Fodor's view of the autonomy of the special sciences is emphasized and this is combined with detailed replies to his recent criticisms of meaning holism. The argument is that the need for empirical evidence requires a holistic approach to meaning. Thus, semantic realism requires semantic holism. -/- .
Quine's aim in this slim book is to "update, sum up and clarify variously intersecting views on cognitive meaning, objective referencce, and the grounds of knowledge." Only nine pages had previously appeared as the book came to print. It is based largely on unpublished lectures and informal discussions of the past ten years back to the Immanuel Kant Lectures given at Stanford in 1980. It does not, then duplicate Leonelli's Italian translation of the Kant lectures, La Scienza E I Datti (...) di Senso, which appeared in 1987. (shrink)
Davidson approaches the notions of meaning and interpretation with the aim of characterizing semantic competence in the syntactically characterized natural language. The objective is to provide a truth-theory for a language, generating T-sentences expressed in the semantic metalanguage, so that each sentence of the object language receives an appropriate interpretation. Proceeding within the constraints of referential semantics, I will argue for the viability of reconstructing the notion of linguistic meaning within the Tarskian theory of reference. However, the view proposed here (...) involves a revision of Davidson’s con-ception of the object of semantic investigation. Taking (idealized) language-theories as the proper object of semantic characterization, provides solutions to outstanding problems in Davidson’s views, better approximates the practice in standard model-theoretic semantics, and incorporates the elements of semantic competence sought for in tradi¬tional theories of lexical analysis. Sources of evidence beyond those emphasized by Davidson will be invoked in order to allow for the selection of interpre¬tive T-sentences. In the final section, possible Quinean objections will be considered. (shrink)
Monroe C. Beardsley has made seminal contributions to the on-going discussions of metaphor, contributions of continuing relevance and influence. His "Verbal Opposition Theory," like Max Black's "Interaction Theory," is a classic document of the contemporary semantic approach to metaphor, and has placed special emphasis upon the recognition of metaphor --the problem of the metaphorical warrant--which has lead to a deeper understanding of the complexities of this problem.
In a series of interesting and influential papers on semantics, Hilary Putnam has developed what he calls a “post-verificationist” theory of meaning. As part of this work, and not I think the most important part, Putnam defends a limited version of the analytic-synthetic distinction. In this paper I will survey and evaluate Putnam’s defense of analyticity and explore its relationship to broader concerns in semantics. Putnam’s defense of analyticity ultimately fails, and I want to show here exactly why it fails. (...) However, I will also argue that this very failure helps open the prospect of a new optimism concerning the theory of meaning, a theory of meaning finally liberated from the dead weight of the notions of analyticity and necessary truth. Putnam’s work, in fact, makes valuable contributions to such a theory. (shrink)
Chomsky’s conception of semantics must contend with both philosophical skepticism and contrary traditions in linguistics. In “Two Dogmas” Quine argued that “...it is non-sense, and the root of much non-sense, to speak of a linguistic component and a factual component in the truth of any individual statement.” If so, it follows that language as the object of semantic investigation cannot be separated from collateral information. F. R. Palmer pursues a similar contention in his recent survey of issues in semantic theory: (...) “...it is impossible even in theory to draw a clear line between the meaning of a word or sentence and all possible relevant information about it.” In spite of such skepticism, and through a variety of theories, devotion to lexical decomposition and truth dependent on language has not abated. The purpose of this paper is to focus related criticism and briefly put forward an alternative conception of empirical semantics. (shrink)