Material culture, strictly speaking, is substance culture. Nevertheless, studies on material culture are almost exclusively concerned with things. The specificities in the perception of substances and the related everyday practices are rarely taken into consideration. Although this can be explained by the history of anthropology, the bias towards associating material culture with “formed matter” is a foundational shortcoming. In consequence, particular perspectives on the material remain understudied, and the cultural relevance of substances as such is rarely taken into consideration. Taking (...) a perspective grounded in anthropology and phenomenology, this article intends to provide new approaches to substances that elucidate the particular modes of their perception, reveal their characteristics and reflect on particular notions implicit to substances. The final section of this contribution discusses two exemplary studies on substances and proposes transformation and incorporation as new fields of research that would contribute to a more explicit engagement with substances in material culture studies. (shrink)
In his critique of rational choice theory, Amartya Sen claims that committed agents do not (or not exclusively) pursue their own goals. This claim appears to be nonsensical since even strongly heteronomous or altruistic agents cannot pursue other people's goals without making them their own. It seems that self-goal choice is constitutive of any kind of agency. In this paper, Sen's radical claim is defended. It is argued that the objection raised against Sen's claim holds only with respect to individual (...) goals. Not all goals, however, are individual goals; there are shared goals, too. Shared goals are irreducible to individual goals, as the argument from we-derivativeness and the argument from normativity show. It is further claimed that an adequate account of committed action defies both internalism and externalism about practical reason. (shrink)
In my Mind and World I appeal to second nature, which, according to Hans-Peter Kr ger, plays a central role in Plessner's philosophical anthropology. But I think this convergence is less significant than Kr ger suggests.This note differentaties my purpose-to disarm the temptation to think perceptual experience, natural as it is, could not figure in what Sellars called “the space of reasons”-from Plessner's, which is to disarm the temptation to hope for an ahistorical insight into what is properly (...) authoritative over the shape of our lives. (shrink)
HansHahn's long-neglected philosophy of mathematics is reconstructed here with an eye to his anticipation of the doctrine of logical pluralism. After establishing that Hahn pioneered a post-Tractarian conception of tautologies and attempted to overcome the traditional foundational dispute in mathematics, Hahn's and Carnap's work is briefly compared with Karl Menger's, and several significant agreements or differences between Hahn's and Carnap's work are specified and discussed.
The existentialist philosopher Karl Jaspers is the father of a discourse on the spiritual consequences of the Holocaust. First addressed as the Schuldfrage (the question of guilt) by Jaspers immediately after the Second World War in his famous Heidelberg lecture, it has reappeared in various forms in German life and letters. Post-unification Germany has witnessed the valorization of the German experience of the Second World War. This ongoing re-evaluation has its antecedents in the generational literature of the 1970s and 1980s. (...) Whereas the Vaterliteratur of the 1970s (by authors such as Christoph Meckel, Uwe Timm, and Peter Henisch) was often embedded in a left-wing critique of the establishment, recent contributions to this growing genre (by Marcel Beyer, Stephan Wackwitz, Wibke Bruhns, and Ulla Hahn among others) speak to the issue of collective identity and transgenerational family trauma outside distinct left- and right-wing interpretations of National Socialism. The current writings on the life during the Third Reich (filtered through the experiences of discrete generations) are a confluence of historical writing, memorial literature, biography, and fiction. They are closely related to the discussions that W. G. Sebald initiated in his 1997 lecture series on the silence of German postwar literature with respect to German suffering. The subsequent debate on how to bring closure to this ?German suffering? was intensified by Günter Grass's widening of the concept of German victimization beyond the air war controversy in his book Crabwalk (2002). As Grass distinguishes clearly between the various post-World War II generations (and their different perspectives on historical events), the question becomes whether these recent writings will bring about a final so-called ?zero hour? in German postwar history. (shrink)
HansHahn, mathematician, philosopher and co-founder of the Vienna Circle, attempted to reconcile the validity and applicability of both logic and mathematics with a strict empiricism. This article begins with a review of this attempt, focusing on his view of the relation of language to logic and his answer to the question of why we need logic. I then turn to some recent work by Stephen Yablo in an attempt to show that Yablo's fictionalism, and in particular his (...) use of metaphor, can shed light on Hahn's philosophy of logic. (shrink)
This paper offers an analysis of a hitherto neglected text on insoluble propositions dating from the late XiVth century and puts it into perspective within the context of the contemporary debate concerning semantic paradoxes. The author of the text is the italian logician Peter of Mantua (d. 1399/1400). The treatise is relevant both from a theoretical and from a historical standpoint. By appealing to a distinction between two senses in which propositions are said to be true, it offers an (...) unusual solution to the paradox, but in a traditional spirit that contrasts a number of trends prevailing in the XiVth century. It also counts as a remarkable piece of evidence for the reconstruction of the reception of English logic in italy, as it is inspired by the views of John Wyclif. Three approaches addressing the Liar paradox (Albert of Saxony, William Heytesbury and a version of strong restrictionism) are first criticised by Peter of Mantua, before he presents his own alternative solution. The latter seems to have a prima facie intuitive justification, but is in fact acceptable only on a very restricted understanding, since its generalisation is subject to the so-called revenge problem. (shrink)
Many point to Peter Winch’s discussion of rationality, relativism, and religion as a paradigmatic example of cultural relativism. In this paper, I argue that Winch’s relationship to relativism is widely misinterpreted in that, despite his pluralistic understanding of rationality, Winch does allow for universal features of culture in virtue of which cross-cultural understanding and even critique is possible. Nevertheless, I also argue that given the kind of cultural universals that Winch produces, he fails to avoid relativism. This is because (...) in order to provide the standards without which relativism ensues, one requires a certain kind of criteria of rationality, namely, what I here call substantive universals, a kind of criteria which Winch rejects. (shrink)
In responding to Peter Forrest’s defence of ‘tough-minded theodicy’, I point to some problematic features of theodicies of this sort, in particular their commitment to an anthropomorphic conception of God which tends to assimilate the Creator to the creaturely and so diminishes the otherness and mystery of God. This remains the case, I argue, even granted Forrest’s view that God may have a very different kind of morality from the one we mortals are subject to.
A book symposium on Peter, Carruthers. Phenomenal Consciousness: A Naturalistic Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Contents: Author's précis Colin Allen, Evolving Phenomenal Consciousness - Carruthers's reply. José Luis Bermúdez, Commentary - Carruthers's reply - Reply to Carruthers: Properties, first-order representationalism and reinforcement. Joseph Levine, Commentary - Carruthers's reply. William Seager, Dispositions and Consciousness - Carruthers's reply.
Considering the enormous outpouring of scholarly work on Schmitt over the last two decades, the absence of an adequate treatment in English of Schmitt's concept of history and the problem of secularization is quite surprising. After all, it is Schmitt himself who claims that “all human beings who plan and attempt to unite the masses behind their plans engage in some form of philosophy of history,” such that the attempt to make sense of Schmitt's program remains incomplete without a serious (...) treatment of his philosophy of history. This article is an attempt to address this problem by means of his exchange with Hans Blumenberg who, more than any other critic of Schmitt, was privy to the political intentions behind Schmitt's metaphorical use of theology. While their discussion is extensive and wide-ranging, I focus here on their diverging philosophies of history, precisely that aspect that is most relevant to gaining a more expansive understanding of Schmitt's arguments, and indeed the relationship between political thought and historical thought. (shrink)
Peter Hare and Edward Madden's collaborative book Evil and the Concept of God (968) has become a staple in literature about the problem of evil and remains frequently cited by supporters and critics alike. The major concepts of the work arose out of earlier papers in which they first began to formulate their arguments about the problem of evil. Their article "Evil and Unlimited Power" embodies many of their arguments against quasi-theist attempts to resolve the problem of evil.1 Assembled (...) from these and other papers, their compendium frames a thorough synthesis of the long history of debate regarding the problem of evil, and contributes their own exhaustive, point-by-point attack on modern defenders of three main .. (shrink)
This article discusses the theories of perception of Robert Kilwardby and Peter of John Olivi. Our aim is to show how in challenging certain assumptions of medieval Aristotelian theories of perception they drew on Augustine and argued for the active nature of the soul in sense perception. For both Kilwardby and Olivi, the soul is not passive with respect to perceived objects; rather, it causes its own cognitive acts with respect to external objects and thus allows the subject to (...) perceive them. We also show that Kilwardby and Olivi differ substantially regarding where the activity of the soul is directed to and the role of the sensible species in the process, and we demonstrate that there are similarities between their ideas of intentionality and the attention of the soul towards the corporeal world. (shrink)