This essay aims to sharpen debates on the pros and cons of historical epistemology, which is now understood as a novel approach to the study of knowledge, by comparing it with the history of epistemology as traditionally pursued by philosophers. The many versions of both approaches are not always easily discernable. Yet, a reasoned comparison of certain versions can and should be made. In the first section of this article, I argue that the most interesting difference involves (...) neither the subject matter nor goal, but the methods used by the two approaches. In the second section, I ask which of the two approaches or methods is more promising given that both historical epistemologists and historians of epistemology claim to contribute to epistemology simpliciter . Using traditional problems concerning the epistemic role of perception, I argue that the historical epistemologies of Wartofsky and Daston and Galison fail to show that studying practices of perception is philosophically significant. Standard methods from the history of epistemology are more promising, as I show by means of reconstructing arguments in a debate about the relation between perception and judgment in psychological research on the famous moon illusion. (shrink)
The paper approaches the topic of what a general philosophy of science could mean today from the perspective of a historical epistemology. Consequently, in a first step, the paper looks at the notion of generality in the sciences, and how it evolved over time, on the example of the life sciences. In the second part of the paper, the urgency of a general philosophy of science is located in the history of philosophy of science. Two attempts at the (...) beginning of the twentieth century are particularly highlighted: that of Karl Popper and that of Martin Heidegger. Both of them concentrate, albeit in widely different form, on the phenomenon of research as an open-ended process. This trend is even more pronounced in Gaston Bachelard’s version of a historical epistemology, whose work is taken as a point of reference for a general historical epistemology of research. The paper concludes with a plea to look, with Georges Canguilhem, at the history of the sciences as a laboratory for epistemology. (shrink)
In this article I assess Georges Canguilhem's historical epistemology with both theoretical and historical questions in mind. From a theoretical point of view, I am concerned with the relation between history and philosophy, and in particular with the philosophical assumptions and external norms that are involved in history writing. Moreover, I am concerned with the role that history can play in the understanding and evaluation of philosophical concepts. From a historical point of view, I regard historical (...)epistemology, as developed by Gaston Bachelard and Georges Canguilhem, as a conception and practice which came out of the project, elaborated in France from the 1920s to the 1940s, of combining history of science and philosophy. I analyse in particular Canguilhem's epistemology in his theory and practice of history of science. What he called 'normative history' is the focus of my analysis. I evaluate the question of the nature and provenience of the norm employed in normative history, and I compare it with the norm as discussed by Canguilhem in Le normal et le pathologique. While I am critical of Canguilhem's treatment of history, I conclude that his philosophical suggestion to analyse the formation of scientific concepts 'from below' represents a useful model for history and philosophy of science, and that it can be very profitably extended to philosophical concepts. (shrink)
A brief discussion of the ways in which awareness of and sensitivity to the history of philosophy can contribute to epistemology even if epistemology is understood as a distinctively philosophical and not primarily historical enterprise.
The impact of social factors upon the philosophical investigations in a broad sense is quite evident. Nevertheless their impact upon epistemology as a branch of philosophy, logic, and history of science as fields of research with noticeable philosophical content is not evident enough. We are keen to claim that this impact exists within some limits, although it is not so overtly evident. Moreover in the case of Marxism it is of a paradoxical nature. Marxism always puts the accent (...) on the role of social and economic factors in the development, development of science included. To a large extent due to Marxism, externalism emerged; the key idea of externalism may be expressed through the statement that social and economic reasons are the main sources of development of science. B.M. Hessen declared and did his best in 1931 to justify this statement through the example of the emergence of classical mechanics. Meanwhile the social milieu of Marxist countries placed a taboo on the externalist approach towards epistemology, the interpretation of logic, and history of science. All these fields of knowledge were evolved in the Marxist era in the USSR and Eastern Europe - despite the spirit of Marxism - within strict internalist boarders. We offer the explanation of this contradiction. (shrink)
A non-epistemological history of historical epistemology Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9501-5 Authors W. R. Albury, School of Humanities, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Genetic epistemology analyzes the growth of knowledge both in the individual person (genetic psychology) and in the socio-historical realm (the history of science). But what the relationship is between the history of science and genetic psychology remains unclear. The biogenetic law that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny is inadequate as a characterization of the relation. A critical examination of Piaget's Introduction à l'Épistémologie Généntique indicates these are several examples of what I call stage laws common to both areas. Furthermore, (...) there is at least one example of a paradoxical inverse relation between the two — geometry. Both similarities and differences between the two domains require an explanation, a developmental explanation. Although such an explanation seems to be psychological in nature, it is not merely empirical but also normative (since psychology is both factual and normative according to Piaget). Hence genetic epistemology need not be reduced to psychology (narrowly conceived), but rather should be seen as being both empirical and normative and thus similar to certain types of contemporary philosophy of science. (shrink)
The paper focuses on the concept of matter and the material in Edgar Zilsel’s considerations about historiographical methods in the context of the Marxist debates on the materialist conception of history in the 1920s and 1930s (György Lukács, Max Adler). It sheds light on Zilsel’s understanding of matter as fluctuating, interfering processes in the lapse of time and the related concept of irreversible laws and relates it to Ernst Mach’s philosophy and to Richard Semon’s theory of mneme . Finally, (...) it shows the practical consequences of the concept of materialism in Edgar Zilsel’s epistemology. (shrink)
This is an updated (25 April 2013) and revised version (after one iteration with referees) of a draft of the book on the notion of fundamental length I have been writing for the last couple of years, covering issues in the philosophy of math, metaphysics, and the history and the philosophy of modern physics, from classical electrodynamics to current theories of quantum gravity.
Assume for the sake of argument that doing philosophy is intrinsically valuable, where ‘doing philosophy’ refers to the practice of forging arguments for and against the truth of theses in the domains of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, etc. The practice of the history of philosophy is devoted instead to discovering arguments for and against the truth of ‘authorial’ propositions, i.e. propositions that state the belief of some historical figure about a philosophical proposition. I explore arguments to think that doing (...)history of philosophy is valuable, specifically, valuable in such a way that its value does not reduce to the value of doing philosophy. Most such arguments proffered by historians of philosophy fail egregiously, as I show. I then offer a proposal about what makes doing history of philosophy uniquely valuable, but it is one that many historians will not find agreeable. (shrink)
Historians typically tell stories about the past, but how are we to understand the epistemic status of those narratives? This problem is particularly pressing for history education, which seeks guidance not only on the question of which narrative to teach but also more fundamentally on the question of the goals of instruction in history. This article explores the nature of historical narrative, first, by engaging with the seminal work of Hayden White, and second, by developing the critique of (...) White by David Carr. The picture of historical inquiry that emerges is one in which the fundamental cognitive activity is one of negotiating among narratives. Students, like historians, like any of us, come to the work of historical inquiry in possession of prior narratives, which are then thrown into an encounter with other narratives of varying size and scope. Good historians enact the negotiation among narratives responsibly and well, demonstrating the virtues of historical interpretation. History education, therefore, ought to help students improve their historical interpretations at the same time as it fosters those qualities that make them good interpreters. (shrink)
Ludwik Fleck, Edmund Husserl : on the historicity of scientific knowledge -- Gaston Bachelard : the concept of "phenomenotechnique" -- Georges Canguilhem : epistemological history -- Pisum : Carl Correns's experiments on Xenia, 1896-99 -- Eudorina : Max Hartmann's experiments on biological regulation in protozoa, 1914-21 -- Ephestia : Alfred Kähn's experimental design for a developmental physiological -- Genetics, 1924-45 -- Tobacco mosaic virus : virus research at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes for Biochemistry and Biology, 1937-45 -- The concept (...) of the gene : molecular biological perspectives -- The liquid scintillation counter : traces of radioactivity -- The concept of information : the writings of François Jacob -- Intersections -- Preparations -- The economy of the scribble. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant is one of the most influential philosophers in the history of Western philosophy. His contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics have had a profound impact on almost every philosophical movement that followed him. This portion of the Encyclopedia entry will focus on his metaphysics and epistemology in one of his most important works, The Critique of Pure Reason . (All references will be to the A (1781) and B(1787) edition pages in Werner Pluhar's translation. (...) Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996.) A large part of Kant's work addresses the question "What can we know?" The answer, if it can be stated simply, is that our knowledge is constrained to mathematics and the science of the natural, empirical world. It is impossible, Kant argues, to extend knowledge to the supersensible realm of speculative metaphysics. The reason that knowledge has these constraints, Kant argues, is that the mind plays an active role in constituting the features of experience and limiting the mind's access to the empirical realm of space and time. (shrink)
This paper evaluates the claim that it is possible to use nature’s variation in conjunction with retention and selection on the one hand, and the absence of ultimate groundedness of hypotheses generated by the human mind as it knows on the other hand, to discard the ascription of ultimate certainty to the rationality of human conjectures in the cognitive realm. This leads to an evaluation of the further assumption that successful hypotheses with specific applications, in other words heuristics, seem to (...) have a firm footing because they were useful in another context. I argue that usefulness evaluated through adaptation misconstrues the search for truth, and that it is possible to generate talk of randomness by neglecting aspects of a system’s insertion into a larger situation. The framing of the problem in terms of the elimination of unfit hypotheses is found to be unsatisfying. It is suggested that theories exist in a dimension where they can be kept alive rather than dying as phenotypes do. The proposal that the subconscious could suggest random variations is found to be a category mistake. A final appeal to phenomenology shows that this proposal is orphan in the history of epistemology, not in virtue of its being a remarkable find, but rather because it is ill-conceived. (shrink)
Game theory is the mathematical study of strategy and conflict. It has wide applications in economics, political science, sociology, and, to some extent, in philosophy. Where rational choice theory or decision theory is concerned with individual agents facing games against nature, game theory deals with games in which all players have preference orderings over the possible outcomes of the game. This paper gives an informal introduction to the theory and a survey of applications in diverse branches of philosophy. No criticism (...) is reviewed. Game theory is shown at work in discussions about epistemological dependence (prisoner’s dilemma), liberalism and efficiency (Nash equilibrium), Hume’s concept of convention (correlated equilibrium), morality and rationality (bargaining games), and distributive justice and egalitarianism (evolutionary game theory). A guide to the literature provides hints at applications in collective intentionality, epistemology, ethics, history of philosophy, logic, philosophy of language, and political philosophy. (shrink)
Twilight of the Idols has a main role in Nietzsche’s work, since it represents the opening writing of his project of Transvaluation of all values. The task of this essay is sounding out idols, i.e. to disclose their lack of content, their being hollow. The theme of eternal idols is in this work strictly related to the idea of a ‘true’ world and, consequently, a study on this latter notion can contribute to a better comprehension of what does that emptiness (...) mean and which is the way that Nietzsche wants to follow to set his thought free from any metaphysical heritage. The analysis of the notion of truth Nietzsche concerns with in Twilight of the Idols takes us back to the content of his early writings, when he gives the first sketches of his theory of knowledge. The perspective he exposed in the ‘70s is constructed on the basis of Schopenhauer’s philosophy, that Nietzsche merges with the main ideas of Lange, Spir and other neo-Kantians. The outcome of his reflections on this matter is an evolutionary epistemology, a view that leads Nietzsche to define the historical reconstruction as the only resource through which the fact that concepts are mere thoughts gradually evolved can be point out. These observations correspond in many ways to what the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach wrote in his works, and one can say that Nietzsche agrees with his “anti-metaphysical intent”, i.e. his criticizing a thought still depending on “concepts which we forgot how we’ve reached”. With my paper I’ll try to show that Nietzsche wage his war against metaphysics with the theoretical ‘weapons’ he prepared in the ‘70s, indeed that his last attack to western knowledge arises from some contents he exposed in Human, All Too Human. In this text Nietzsche reflected on the mechanisms of language and world’s representation, and connected human knowledge with the overall development of organic beings. Moreover, in his work from 1878 the philosopher presented a comparison between “metaphysische Philosophie” and “historische Philosophie”, an idea that cannot be found in the following writings, but that comes up again in the Twilight of the Idols. Indeed, in this work Nietzsche repeats his complaining philosopher’s “lack of historical sense” he dealt with in the opening pages of Human, All Too Human, and he reflects on the kind of inquiry western thinkers should adopt to set themselves free from the fixed forms of metaphysics. Thus, Nietzsche’s observation about the role of history in philosophy testifies the connection between this main works, and allow us to define the way he wants to follow to carry his critic to eternal idols out and, in doing so, to show the way forward to his last thoughts. (shrink)
Modality and Anti-Metaphysics critically examines the most prominent approaches to modality among analytic philosophers in the twentieth century, including essentialism. Defending both the project of metaphysics and the essentialist position that metaphysical modality is conceptually and ontologically primitive, Stephen McLeod argues that the logical positivists did not succeed in banishing metaphysical modality from their own theoretical apparatus and he offers an original defence of metaphysics against their advocacy of its elimination. -/- Seeking to assuage the sceptical worries which underlie modal (...) anti-realism, McLeod provides an original contribution to essentialist epistemology, engaging with current debates about modality and suggesting that standard essentialist approaches to some issues in the philosophies of logic and language require revision. -/- This book offers valuable insights to professional philosophers, postgraduates and advanced undergraduates interested in metaphysics, philosophy of logic or the history of twentieth-century analytic philosophy. (shrink)
The content of Boscovich’s Theoria philosophiae naturalis was well-known to his contemporaries, but both scientists and philosophers chiefly discussed it during the 19th century. The observations that Boscovich presented in this text, and that he himself defined as “philosophicas metitationes”, soon showed their being a good programme for the forthcoming atomic physics, and contributed to get rid of the mechanistic paradigm in science. In this paper I’ll go back to some meaningful moments of the history of Boscovich’s reception in (...) the era of contemporary philosophy, by referring to what authors such as Popper, Cassirer, Nietzsche and Fechner wrote about him. These thinkers, indeed, particularly stressed the importance of the Theoria in the history of Western thought, and showed that it can easily be evaluated beyond the plane of a pure scientific investigation. (shrink)
Over 700,000 copies of the original hardcover and paperback editions of this stunningly popular book have been sold. Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical (...) philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume. (shrink)
This article examines the communication networks within and between science and technology studies (STS) and the history of science. In particular, journal relatedness data are used to analyze some of the structural features of their disciplinary identities and relationships. The results first show that, although the history of science is more than half a century older than STS, the size of the STS network is more than twice that of the history of science network. Further, while a (...) majority of the journals in the STS network are connected by weak ties, about half of the history of science network consists of strong ties. The history of science network is thus more cohesive than the STS network. The relatively strong cohesion within the history of science network is associated with comparatively high degrees of intra-disciplinary communication, but comparatively weak ties to only a few related disciplines. The analysis also shows that very few members of the history of science cliques are situated on the shortest path between both specialties. Moreover, given the relatively impermeable nature of the history of science network, the latter partially depends on STS to reach some of the neighboring disciplines. (shrink)
A History of Intelligence and “Intellectual Disability” examines how the concepts of intellectual ability and disability became part of psychology, medicine and biology. Focusing on the period between the Protestant Reform and 1700, this book shows that in many cases it has been accepted without scientific and psychological foundations that intelligence and disability describe natural or trans-historical realities.
In a beautiful recent essay, the philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong explains the reasons for his departure from evangelical Christianity, the religious culture in which he was brought up. Sinnot-Armstrong contrasts the interpretive methods used by good philosophers and fundamentalist believers: Good philosophers face objections and uncertainties. They follow where arguments lead, even when their conclusions are surprising and disturbing. Intellectual honesty is also required of scholars who interpret philosophical texts. If I had distorted Kant’s view to make him reach a conclusion (...) that I preferred, then my philosophy professor would have failed me. The contrast with religious reasoning is stark. My Christian friends seemed happy to hide serious problems in the Bible and in their arguments. They preferred comfort to intellectual honesty. I couldn’t. To what extent can we, historians of philosophy, claim the virtue of intellectual honesty? Speaking frankly, I do not find the practice criticized by Sinnot-Armstrong’s philosophy professor rare or unusual at all. We very frequently distort the views of past philosophers in order to reach the conclusions we prefer. We just call it “Charitable Interpretation.” In this essay, I discuss and criticize the logic behind so-called charitable interpretations in the history of philosophy. This phenomenon is ubiquitous and is not at all restricted to a particular philosophical strand or ideology. Analytic philosophers and post-modernists, Marxists, liberals, secularists, and fundamentalists, we all engage in the very same domestication project. Even more disturbing than the sheer ideological pervasiveness of this phenomenon is the fact that, on many occasions, superb philosophers and historians take part in this fairly childish endeavor. In the first part of this essay, I discuss the general logic of charitable interpretations in the history of philosophy, mostly by addressing discussions in metaphysics and epistemology. In the second part, I focus on the somewhat less noticed use of charitable interpretations in the study of political philosophy, and point out the quintessential role ideology plays in these discussions. In both parts, I concentrate mostly on the interpretation of Spinoza’s thought. I do so not because I have special fondness for Spinoza (“guilty as charged,” I admit), but because Spinoza is such a beast (and may I add, an enchanting beast) and attracts a disproportionate share of the domestication efforts from historians and philosophers of all creeds and persuasions. In the third and final part of the paper, I will begin to outline an alternative methodology, which suggests that past philosophers can be most relevant to our current philosophical discussion, to the extent that they provide us with well-motivated challenges to our common-sense beliefs. Such challenges have the invaluable virtue of being able to undermine our most fundamental and secure beliefs, and force us to engage with the most fundamental questions. What more can we expect from good philosophy? (shrink)
This paper uses analogies between Socratic and Wittgenseinian dialogues to argue that analytic philosophy of history should not be abandoned. -/- In their responses to my paper ‘In Defence of Four Socratic Doctrines’ James Warren and John Shand raised a number of important methodological objections, relating to the study of the history of philosophy. I here respond by questioning the supremacy of contextualist history of philosophy over the so-called ‘analytic’ approach. I conclude that the history of (...) ideas had better leave space for both approaches, and that it is a mistake to think of each as being in competition with the other. (shrink)
Debates concerning the character, scope, and warrant of abductive inference have been active since Peirce first proposed that there was a third form of inference, distinct from induction and deduction. Abductive reasoning has been dubbed weak, incoherent, and even nonexistent. Part, at least, of the problem of articulating a clear sense of abductive inference is due to difficulty in interpreting Peirce. Part of the fault must lie with his critics, however. While this article will argue that Peirce indeed left a (...) number of puzzles for interpreters, it will also contend that interpreters should be careful to distinguish discussion of the formal and strictly epistemic question of whether and how abduction is a sound form of inference from discussions of the practical goals of abduction, as Peirce understood them. This article will trace a history of critics and defenders of Peirce’s notion of abduction and discuss how Peirce both fueled the confusion and in fact anticipated and responded to several recurring objections. (shrink)
The paper explores the question of the relationship between the practice of original philosophical inquiry and the study of the history of philosophy. It is written from my point of view as someone starting a research project in the history of philosophy that calls this issue into question, in order to review my starting positions. I argue: first, that any philosopher is sufficiently embedded in culture that her practice is necessarily historical; second, that original work is in fact (...) in part a reconstruction by reinterpretation of the past and that therefore it bears some relation to historiographic techniques for the restoration of damaged objects and texts; and third that the special oddities of the relations of present and past do not fail to ensnare the philosopher, who must restore the past but freely break from it. I describe this relationship as proleptic. Finally, I argue that this is a moral imperative in writing philosophy, derived from the imperative to be honest. (shrink)
The nature of engineering and history as disciplines are explored and found to have some striking similarities, for example in the importance they place on context and practitioner involvement. They are found to be different from science, which focuses more on universal generalizations rather than on the particulars of given situations. The history of technology is paid special attention, because the discipline has developed in a way that incorporates both scientific (generalizing) and historical (context specific) characteristics. Proposals are (...) made for giving historical studies greater space in engineering education. (shrink)
This book discusses key philosophical concepts and ideologies, including ontology, epistemology, logic, semantics, moral and political philosophy, theology and aesthetics during classical antiquity. Karsten Friis Johansen charts the history of ancient philosophy from the mythological oral tradition, Homer and early tragedy, to the giants of Plato and Aristotle through to paganism and the genesis of Christianity. A History of Ancient Philosophy also presents detailed analysis of individual ancient philosophers and interpretations and commentary on key philosophical passages.
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)
I’ve been told that in the good old days of the 1970s, when Quine’s desert landscapes were regarded as ideal real estate and David Lewis and John Rawls had not yet left a legion of inﬂuential students rewriting the terrain of metaphysics and ethics respectively, compatibilism was still compatibilism about free will. And, of course, incompatibilism was still incompatibilism about free will. That is, compatibilism was the view that free will was compatible with determinism. Incompatibilism was the view that free (...) will was incompatible with determinism.1 What philosophers argued about was whether free will was compatible with determinism. Mostly, this was an argument about how to understand claims that one could do otherwise. You needn’t have bothered to talk about moral responsibility, because it was just obvious that you couldn’t have moral responsibility without free will. The literature was a temple of clarity. Then, somehow, things began to go horribly wrong. To be sure, there had been some activity in the 1960s that would have struck some observers as ominous. Still, it was not until the 1980s that those initial warning signs gave way to real trouble. The meanings of terms twisted. (shrink)
Our paper addresses matters such as the distinction between chronological time and the “internal time” (Mikel Dufrenne) of works of art, the possibility that artists may act as future art critics, the alleged unity of classic art versus fragmentary modern approaches and the validity of historical interpretation of works of art. We shall begin by studying the common apprehension of art history and what it entails so that we may afterwards observe the major difficulties that the research in this (...) domain faces. In the second half of the following paper we shall examine how representations are formed within works of art and what is the proper way to analyze them after applying the phenomenological epoché to artistic phenomena. We will finally attempt to offer a clear image on how phenomenological philosophy contributes to the historical research of art. (shrink)
The Philosophy of R.G. Collingwood W. J. Van Der Dussen. Collingwood's conclusion is that " ... science, even at its best, always falls short of understanding the facts as they really are"88. Only history is able to realize this. It is another ...
The question of rationality and of its role in human agency has been at the core of pragmatist concerns since the beginning of this movement. While Peirce framed the horizon of a new understanding of human reason through the idea of inquiry as aiming at belief-fixation and James stressed the individualistic drives that move individuals to action, it is in Dewey’s writing that we find the deepest understanding of the naturalistic and normative traits of rationality considered as the qualifying attribute (...) of human agency. Recent developments in moral and political philosophy as well as in general pragmatist scholarship have shown a renewal of interest in the role of human reason in agency, both with respect to control of conduct (decisions about how to act) and with respect to normative attitudes (considerations of what is good and right). In this article I will examine some features of Dewey’s epistemology which are particularly promising for the elaboration of a theory of practical rationality based on pragmatist sources. In particular, I will focus on Dewey’s notion of “judgment of practice” in order to frame a distinctively Deweyan approach to practical rationality. In order to point out the specificity of Dewey’s epistemological framework, I will refer to it as an “epistemology of practice”i. The aim of this article is to clarify the epistemological meaning of the concepts of articulation and transformation, that Dewey places at the heart of his theory of inquiry. Part of my argument consists in showing that through these notions Dewey aimed at broadening the conception of rationality, bringing it beyond the reach of the standard notions of analysis and synthesis and of induction, deduction, and abduction. Once the specificity of Dewey’s conception of rationality will have been demonstrated, I will proceed to show some of its implications in the explanation of the rationality of human agency with reference to practical reasoning and value assessment. I will then conclude the article by drawing some implications of Dewey’s theory of judgment for a broader epistemology based upon the acknowledgment of the primacy of practice. (shrink)
Philip Kitcher has advanced an epistemology of science that purports to be naturalistic. For Kitcher, this entails that his epistemology of science must explain the correctness of belief-regulating norms while endorsing a realist notion of truth. This paper concerns whether or not Kitcher's epistemology of science is naturalistic on these terms. I find that it is not but that by supplementing the account we can secure its naturalistic standing.
Abstract This paper argues that not only does history matter to legal epistemology, but also that understanding legal epistemology can yield a certain understanding of the past. The paper focuses on the common law practice of precedent and argues that there is no set of rules, principles, reasons or material facts that constitute the fixed or foundational content of past decisions (a `timeless what' that determines its own relevance), but rather that what is taken by a judge (...) resolving a particular dispute to be the content of past decisions depends on the active and creative construal of relevance engaged in by that judge. Precedents are better thought of as `thick resources with dynamic content'. Such content is constrained by a variety of stabilising practices, but never so constrained as to determine how it can be construed to be relevant. This image of law's past may offer a general view of the past as something with which we can actively and creatively relate in the course of coping with the present. (shrink)
The author in terms of idealizational theory of science explicates two approaches to history represented by positivism (Hempel) and narrativism (White). According to positivism, history is branch of science, according to narrativism, history is closer to literature. In the second part of this paper, the author paraphrases some paradoxes of historical narrative elaborated by mentioned-above representatives of these standpoints what is argument for unity of scientific methods presupposed by idealizational theory of science.
The aim of the paper is an extension of the idealizational theory of science in order to explicate intuitions of historians and philosophers of history about unpredictability and contingency of history. The author identifies two types of essential structures: the first kind dominated by the main factor and the second kind which is dominated by a class of secondary factors. In an essential structure dominated by the main factor, the power of influence it exerts is greater than the (...) sum of the power of influence of secondary factors. In an essential structure dominated by secondary factors, their total influence is greater than the influence exerted by the main factor, although the power of the latter influence is greater than the power of influence of each secondary factor taken separately. In the latter kind of essential structure the so-called cascade effect can occur which means that at certain moment the power of influence of secondary factors can be greater than influence of main factor. In the further part of this paper, the author examines consequences of cascade effect for construction of scientific theory and historical narrative. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to consider the standard objections put against the construction of metanarratives in the philosophy of history. The author distinguishes following intelectual sources questioning the grasp of Entirety in the philosophy of history: anti-naturalistic German philosophy of science, dogmatic Marxism, liberalism and postmodernism. Analysis of the content of these stances allows for disclose of hidden methodological and theoretical premises which are responsible for misunderstanding and critique of the historiosophical discourse.
History, Philosophy and Science Teaching argues that science teaching and science teacher education can be improved if teachers know something of the history and philosophy of science and if these topics are included in the science curriculum. The history and philosophy of science have important roles in many of the theoretical issues that science educators need to address: the goals of science education; what constitutes an appropriate science curriculum for all students; how science should be taught in (...) traditional cultures; what integrated science is; how scientific literacy can be promoted; and the conflict which can occur between science curriculum and deep-seated religious or cultural values and knowledge. In part, answers to these questions hinge on views about the nature of science, views that are best informed by historical and philosophical study. Outlining the history of liberal, or contextual, approaches to the teaching of science, Michael Matthews elaborates contemporary curriculum developments that explicitly address questions about the nature and the history of science. He provides examples of classroom teaching and develops useful arguments on constructivism, multicultural science education and teacher education. The book will appeal to school and university science teachers, educators of science teachers, and historians and philosophers of science. (shrink)
In this paper I attempt to defuse a set of epistemic worries commonly raised against ideal observer theories. The worries arise because of the omniscience often attributed to ideal observers -- how can we, as finite humans, ever have access to the moral judgements or reactions of omniscient beings? I argue that many of the same concerns arise with respect to other moral theories (and that these concerns do not in fact reveal genuine flaws in any of these theories), and (...) further, that we can and often do have knowledge of the reactions of ideal observers (according to standard, prominent theories in the domain of epistemology). (shrink)
The increasingly common use of inclusive language (e.g., "he or she") in representing past philosophers' views is often inappropriate. Using Immanuel Kant's work as an example, I compare his use of terms such as "human race" and "human being" with his views on women to show that his use of generic terms does not prove that he includes women. I then discuss three different approaches to this issue, found in recent Kant-literature, and show why each of them is insufficient. I (...) conclude that the tension between gender-neutral and gender-specific views in Kant's work should be made explicit, and I offer several strategies for doing so. (shrink)
In this book, award-winning historian of religion Paula Fredriksen tells the surprising story of early Christian concepts of sin, exploring the ways that sin came to shape ideas about God no less than about humanity.
From the advent of general purpose, Turing-complete machines, the relation between operators, programmers and users with computers can be observed as interconnected informational organisms (inforgs), henceforth analysed with the method of levels of abstraction (LoAs), risen within the philosophy of information (PI). In this paper, the epistemological levellism proposed by L. Floridi in the PI to deal with LoAs will be formalised in constructive terms using category theory, so that information itself is treated as structure-preserving functions instead of Cartesian products. (...) The milestones in the history of modern computing are then analysed through constructive levellism to show how the growth of system complexity lead to more and more information hiding. (shrink)
This paper concerns Jean Piaget's (1896–1980) philosophy of science and, in particular, the picture of scientific development suggested by his theory of genetic epistemology. The aims of the paper are threefold: (1) to examine genetic epistemology as a theory concerning the growth of knowledge both in the individual and in science; (2) to explicate Piaget's view of ‘scientific progress’, which is grounded in his theory of equilibration; and (3) to juxtapose Piaget's notion of progress with Thomas Kuhn's (1922–1996). (...) Issues of scientific continuity, scientific realism and scientific rationality are discussed. It is argued that Piaget's view highlights weaknesses in Kuhn's ‘discontinuous’ picture of scientific change. (shrink)
Kant’s use of the terms ‘Nature’ and ‘Providence’ in his essays on history has long puzzled commentators. Kant personifies Nature and Providence in a curious way, by speaking of them as “deciding” to give humankind certain predispositions, “wanting” these to be developed, and “knowing” what is best for humans Moreover, he leaves the relationship between the two terms unclear. In this essay, I argue that Kant’s use of ‘Nature’ and ‘Providence’ can be clarified and explained. Moreover, I show that (...) Kant’s use of the terms is symptomatic of a much more important and not sufficiently appreciated fact about Kant’s philosophy of history, viz., that it fulfils a function in both his theoretical and his practical philosophy. (shrink)
This dissertation is an analysis of the development of dialectic and argumentation theory in post-classical Islamic intellectual history. The central concerns of the thesis are; treatises on the theoretical understanding of the concept of dialectic and argumentation theory, and how, in practice, the concept of dialectic, as expressed in the Greek classical tradition, was received and used by five communities in the Islamic intellectual camp. It shows how dialectic as an argumentative discourse diffused into five communities (theologicians, poets, grammarians, (...) philosophers and jurists) and how these local dialectics that the individual communities developed fused into a single system to form a general argumentation theory (adab al-bahth) applicable to all fields. I evaluate a treatise by Shams al-Din Samarqandi (d.702/1302), the founder of this general theory, and the treatises that were written after him as a result of his work. I concentrate specifically on work by 'Ad}ud al-Din al-Iji (d.756/1355), Sayyid Sharif al-Jurjani (d.816/1413), Taşköprüzâde (d.968/1561), Saçaklızâde (d.1150/1737) and Gelenbevî (d.1205/1791) and analyze how each writer (from Samarqandi to Gelenbevî) altered the shape of argumentative discourse and how later intellectuals in the post-classical Islamic world responded to that discourse bequeathed by their predecessors. What is striking about the period that this dissertation investigates (from 1300-1800) is the persistence of what could be called the linguistic turn in argumentation theory. After a centuries-long run, the jadal-based dialectic of the classical period was displaced by a new argumentation theory, which was dominantly linguistic in character. This linguistic turn in argumentation dates from the final quarter of the fourteenth century in Iji's impressively prescient work on 'ilm al-wad'. This idea, which finally surfaced in the post-classical period, that argumentation is about definition and that, therefore, defining is the business of language—even perhaps, that language is the only available medium for understanding and being understood—affected the way that argumentation theory was processed throughout most of the period in question.The argumentative discourse that started with Ibn al-Rawandi in the third/ninth century left a permanent imprint on Islamic intellectual history, which was then full of concepts, terminology and objectives from this discourse up until the late nineteenth century. From this perspective, Islamic intellectual history can be read as the tension between two languages: the "language of dialectic" (jadal) and the "language of demonstration" (burhan), each of which refer not only to a significant feature of that history, but also to a feature that could dramatically alter the interpretation of that history. (shrink)
This paper assesses the comparative reliability of two belief-revision rules relevant to the epistemology of disagreement, the Equal Weight and Stay the Course rules. I use two measures of reliability for probabilistic belief-revision rules, calibration and Brier Scoring, to give a precise account of epistemic peerhood and epistemic reliability. On the calibration measure of reliability, epistemic peerhood is easy to come by, and employing the Equal Weight rule generally renders you less reliable than Staying the Course. On the Brier-Score (...) measure of reliability, epistemic peerhood is much more difficult to come by, but employing the Equal Weight rule always renders you more reliable than Staying the Course. I conclude with some normative lessons we can draw from these formal results. (shrink)
In a recent broadcast talk it was said that philosophers commonly base arguments and theories on garbled versions of science. Professor Passmore's article in the April number of Philosophy seems to go some way to justifying this complaint. The article discusses the objectivity of history by a series of comparisons with science under various heads representing criteria of objectivity.
The Cyrenaic school was a fourth-century BC philosophical movement, related both to the Socratic tradition and to Greek Scepticism. In ethics, Cyrenaic hedonism can be seen as one of many attempts made by the associates of Socrates and their followers to endorse his ethical outlook and to explore the implications of his method. In epistemology, there are close philosophical links between the Cyrenaics and the Sceptics, both Pyrrhonists and Academics. There are further links with modern philosophy as well, for (...) the Cyrenaics introduced a form of subjectivism which in some ways preannounces Cartesian views, endorsed by Malebranche and Hume and developed by Kant. This book reconstructs Cyrenaic epistemology, explains how it depends on Cyrenaic hedonism, locates it in the context of ancient debates, and discusses its connections with modern and contemporary epistemological positions. (shrink)
Hasok Chang (Science & Education 20:317–341, 2011) shows how the recovery of past experimental knowledge, the physical replication of historical experiments, and the extension of recovered knowledge can increase scientific understanding. These activities can also play an important role in both science and history and philosophy of science education. In this paper I describe the implementation of an integrated learning project that I initiated, organized, and structured to complement a course in history and philosophy of the life sciences (...) (HPLS). The project focuses on the study and use of descriptions, observations, experiments, and recording techniques used by early microscopists to classify various species of water flea. The first published illustrations and descriptions of the water flea were included in the Dutch naturalist Jan Swammerdam’s, Historia Insectorum Generalis (1669) (Algemeene verhandeling van de bloedeloose dierkens. t’Utrrecht, Meinardus van Dreunen, ordinaris Drucker van d’Academie). After studying these, we first used the descriptions, techniques, and nomenclature recovered to observe, record, and classify the specimens collected from our university ponds. We then used updated recording techniques and image-based keys to observe and identify the specimens. The implementation of these newer techniques was guided in part by the observations and records that resulted from our use of the recovered historical methods of investigation. The series of HPLS labs constructed as part of this interdisciplinary project provided a space for students to consider and wrestle with the many philosophical issues that arise in the process of identifying an unknown organism and offered unique learning opportunities that engaged students’ curiosity and critical thinking skills. (shrink)
We present a family of counter-examples to David Christensen's Independence Criterion, which is central to the epistemology of disagreement. Roughly, independence requires that, when you assess whether to revise your credence in P upon discovering that someone disagrees with you, you shouldn't rely on the reasoning that lead you to your initial credence in P. To do so would beg the question against your interlocutor. Our counter-examples involve questions where, in the course of your reasoning, you almost fall for (...) an easy-to-miss trick. We argue that you can use the step in your reasoning where you (barely) caught the trick as evidence that someone of your general competence level (your interlocutor) likely fell for it. Our cases show that it's permissible to use your reasoning about disputed matters to disregard an interlocutor's disagreement, so long as that reasoning is embedded in the right sort of explanation of why she finds the disputed conclusion plausible, even though it's false. (shrink)
The Idea of History is the best-known book of the great Oxford philosopher, historian, and archaeologist R.G. Collingwood. It was originally published posthumously in 1946, having been mainly reconstructed from Collingwood's manuscripts, many of which are now lost. For this revised edition, Collingwood's most important lectures on the philosophy of history are published here for the first time. These texts have been prepared by Jan van der Dussen from manuscripts that have only recently become available. The lectures contain (...) Collingwood's first comprehensive statement of his philosophy of history; they are therefore essential for a full understanding of his thought, and in particular for a correct interpretation of The Idea of History itself. Van der Dussen contributes a substantial introduction in which he explains the background to this new edition and surveys the scholarship of the last fifty years. This edition adds to T. M. Knox first edition the following unpublished Manuscripts or Lectures: 1. Preliminary Discussion: The Idea of a Philosophy of Something, and, in particular, a Philosophy of History (1927); 2. Lectures on the Philosophy of History (1926); 3. Outlines of a Philosophy of History (1928). (shrink)
A lucid introduction to the "existential phenomenology" of Martin Heidegger, particularly as developed in his major work, Being and Time, this work focuses on how Heidegger's ideas bear on the central problem in epistemology--that of how we can have objective knowledge. The author constructs fresh arguments clarifying Heidegger's contribution to the theory of knowledge, and shows why Heidegger deemed misguided the search for knowledge of the way things are in themselves.
: This paper analyzes the development of Kuhn's metaphilosophical position concerning the proper relationship between the history and the philosophy of science. I reconstruct Kuhn's model of scientific change presented in Structure as having the logical status of a Weberian explanatory theory; the philosophy of science and the history of science were of equal importance in its development and defense. However, Kuhn's metaphilosophical position changed in the 1990s, when he gave primacy to philosophy over the history of (...) science in response to the challenge new sociology of science presented to his views. I analyze Kuhn's seldom discussed 'first principles' and argue that the locution should be understood as marking this metaphilosophical shift. Kuhn's project in his last writings was to develop epistemology and metaphysics capable of withstanding relativism and of selecting cognitive internal historiography as the appropriate historiography for the philosophy of science. I sketch the contours of this project which Kuhn was unable to complete in his lifetime. (shrink)
The Cambridge History of 17th Century Philosophy offers a uniquely comprehensive and authoritative overview of early-modern philosophy written by an international team of specialists. As with previous Cambridge histories of philosophy the subject is treated by topic and theme, and since history does not come packaged in neat bundles, the subject is also treated with great temporal flexibility, incorporating frequent reference to medieval and Renaissance ideas. The basic structure of the volumes corresponds to the way an educated seventeenth-century (...) European might have organized the domain of philosophy. Thus, the history of science, religious doctrine, and politics feature very prominently. The narrative that unfolds begins with an intellectual world dominated by a synthesis of Aristotelianism and scholastic philosophy, but by the end of the period the mechanistic or "corpuscularian" philosophy has emerged and exerted its full impact on traditional metaphysics, ethics, theology, logic, and epistemology. (shrink)
The important feature of Dao as a philosophic category in early Confucian philosophy is its prominent practical and historical properties, which make it different from those western metaphysic categories. Confucianism emphasizes that the Dao can not be separated with the practice and the history of human being, thus the Tao should be explored in peoples’ social activities and history. They believe that the Tao only lives in the historical tradition and can only be demonstrated by the narrative of (...)history. The historical and practical properties of Dao incarnated the unity of epistemology and axiology, and integrated the value of both “Dao” and “De”. It also spots the conjunction between Confucianism and the historical materialism that persists on the standpoint of dialectic and practice. (shrink)
Judith Butler reflects upon the relationship between women and materiality in the context of the history of philosophy. She points to the presumption of the material irreducibility of sex as the ground of feminist epistemology and ethics and analyses of gender. She also finds a similarity between Aristotle's principles of formativity and intelligibility and Foucault's discussion of how discourse materializes bodies. While Butler's analysis reveals much about the history of philosophy with regard to the discourse on matter (...) and women, nonetheless, she appears to begin with the notion of bodies as largely passive, even negative entities. Addition ally, her analysis also implies that principles of formativity and intel ligibility are historically contingent. This essay seeks to undermine those two positions in preparation for inaugurating a positive theory of fluid structures. Key Words: Aristotle Butler contingency feminism Foucault history language materiality power. (shrink)
Assume for the sake of argument that doing philosophy is intrinsically valuable, where "doing philosophy" refers to the practice of forging arguments for and against the truth of theses in the domains of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and so on. The practice of the history of philosophy is devoted instead to discovering arguments for and against the truth of "authorial" propositions, that is, propositions that state the belief of some historical figure about a philosophical proposition. I explore arguments for (...) thinking that doing history of philosophy is valuable—specifically, valuable in such a way that its value does not reduce to the value of doing philosophy. Most such arguments proffered by historians of philosophy fail, as I show. I then offer a proposal about what makes doing history of philosophy uniquely valuable, but it is one that many historians will not find agreeable. (shrink)
David Hume (1711-1776) is one of the greatest of philosophers. Today he probably ranks highest of all British philosophers in terms of influence and philosophical standing. His philosophical work ranges across morals, the mind, metaphysics, epistemology, religion, and aesthetics; he had broad interests not only in philosophy as it is now conceived but in history, politics, economics, religion, and the arts. He was a master of English prose. -/- The Clarendon Hume Edition will include all of his works (...) except his History of England and minor historical writings. It is the only thorough critical edition, and will provide a far more extensive scholarly treatment than any previous editions. This edition (which has been in preparation since the 1970s) offers authoritative annotation, bibliographical information, and indexes, and draws upon the major advances in textual scholarship that have been made since the publication of earlier editions--advances both in the understanding of editorial principle and practice and in knowledge of the history of Hume's own texts. -/- In this volume, Tom Beauchamp presents two essays from Four Dissertations (1757), the last philosophical work written by Hume, which was subsequently revised by the philosopher in the remaining years of his life. Whilst the bulk of A Dissertation on the Passions was extracted from passages in A Treatise of Human Nature, The Natural History of Religion was an original work when published in 1757, as well as the only major work devoted exclusively to the subject of religion that Hume published in his lifetime. Together with Hume's earlier work on religious topics, this essay drew considerable philosophical commentary from his contemporaries. -/- The last edition of the two works in this volume seen through the press by Hume himself appeared in 1772. It provides the copy-text for this critical edition. The Editor's primarily historical Introduction discusses the genesis, revision, and reception of these two dissertations, which went into ten editions at the author's hand. It will appeal to scholars across many disciplines. (shrink)
A survey of the emergence of early analytic philosophy as a subfield of the history of philosophy. The importance of recent literature on Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein is stressed, as is the widening interest in understanding the nineteenth-century scientific and Kantian backgrounds. In contrast to recent histories of early analytic philosophy by P.M.S. Hacker and Scott Soames, the importance of historical and philosophical work on the significance of formalization is highlighted, as are the contributions made by those focusing on (...) systematic treatments of individual philosophers, traditions, and periods in relation to contemporary issues (rule-following, neo-Fregeanism, contextualism, theory of meaning). (shrink)
Ray Monk and Anthony Palmer, (eds) Bertrand Russell and the Origins of Analytical Philosophy, Thoemmes Press, Bristol, 1996; pp. xvi + 383; Hans-Johann Glock, (ed.) The Rise of Analytic Philosophy, Blackwell, 1997; pp. xiv + 95; Matthias Schirn, (ed.) Frege: Importance and Legacy, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 1996; pp. x + 466; Stuart G. Shanker, (ed.) Philosophy of Science, Logic and Mathematics in the Twentieth Century, Routledge History of Philosophy Volume IX, Routledge, 1996; pp. xxxviii + 461; John Blackmore, (...) (ed.) Ludwig Boltzmann: His Later Life and Philosophy, 1900-1906, Kluwer, Dordrecht, 1995; pp. xvi + 266. (shrink)
This article examines Gilles Deleuze's methodological approach to the history of philosophy. While Deleuze's readings of past philosophers may not stand up to the standards set by the scholarly history of philosophy, they may be approached more productively as a continuation of the approach developed by the ancient and medieval commentary tradition.
: Two recent articles described two ways of writing the history of philosophy, one analytic, the other historical, as if the history of philosophy cannot be both analytically sharp and contextually informed at the same time. I recommend the practice of "Philosophical History of Philosophy," which combines the advantages of the analytic and historical methods.
The Study of the History of Philosophy as an independent discipline to exhibit and explicate philosophical systems as their originators meant them to be understood is less than one hundred years old. On the other hand, philosophers from Plato and Aristotle through the Middle Ages to Bertrand Russell and Richard Rorty have represented the systems of their predecessors in the light of, and as leading to, their own philosophical positions. It is not surprising then that the study of the (...) long history of the history of philosophy itself discloses a series of often greatly divergent expositions of philosophical systems throughout the ages. The purist conception of the study of the philosophical position of a .. (shrink)
Despite their divergent metaphysical assumptions, Reformed and evolutionary epistemologists have converged on the notion of proper basicality. Where Reformed epistemologists appeal to God, who has designed the mind in such a way that it successfully aims at the truth, evolutionary epistemologists appeal to natural selection as a mechanism that favors truth-preserving cog- nitive capacities. This paper investigates whether Reformed and evolutionary epistemological accounts of theistic belief are compatible. We will argue that their chief incompatibility lies in the noetic effects of (...) sin and what may be termed the noetic effects of evolution, systematic tendencies wherein human cognitive faculties go awry. We propose a reconceptualization of the noetic effects of sin to mitigate this tension. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy of mind is dominated by a conception of our propositional attitude concepts as comprising a proto-scientific causal-explanatory theory of behavior. This conception has given rise to a spate of recent worries about the prospects for “naturalizing” the theory. In this paper I return to the roots of the “theory-theory” of the attitudes in Wilfrid Sellars’s classic “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind.” I present an alternative to the theory-theory’s account of belief in the form of a parody of (...) Sellars’s “Myth of Jones,” one that highlights the normative and pragmatic aspects of this concept and, hopefully, enables us to bypass questions about its physical “realization.”. (shrink)
Introduction: making the invisible visible -- The nobility of the material -- Research at war -- The guilded age of research -- The doctor as whistle-blower -- New rules for the laboratory -- Bedside ethics -- The doctor as stranger -- Life through death -- Commissioning ethics -- No one to trust -- New rules for the bedside -- Epilogue: The price of success.
A full account of the philosophy of the Greek and Roman worlds from the last days of Aristotle (c. 320 BC) until 100 BC. Hellenistic philosophy, for long relatively neglected and unappreciated, has over the last decade been the object of a considerable amount of scholarly attention. Now available in paperback, this volume is the first general reference work to pull the subject together and present an overview. The time has come for a general reference work which pulls the subject (...) together and presents an overview. The History is organised by subject, rather than chronologically or by philosophical school, with sections on logic, epistemology, physics and metaphysics, ethics and politics. It has been written by specialists but is intended to be a source of reference for any student of ancient philosophy, for students of classical antiquity and for students of the philosophy of later periods. Greek and Latin are used sparingly and always translated in the main text. (shrink)
Brackets and tables, circles and maps, 1554-1872 -- Early botanical networks and trees, 1766-1815 -- The first evolutionary tree, 1786-1820 -- Diverse and unusual trees of the early nineteenth century, 1817-1834 -- The rule of five, 1819-1854 -- Pre-Darwinian branching diagrams, 1828-1858 -- Evolution and the trees of Charles Darwin, 1837-1868 -- The trees of Ernst Haeckel, 1866-1905 -- Post-Darwinian nonconformists, 1868-1896 -- More late-nineteenth-century trees, 1874-1897 -- Trees of the early twentieth century, 1901-1930 -- The trees of Alfred Sherwood (...) Romer, 1933-1966 -- Additional trees of the mid-twentieth century, 1931-1943 -- The trees of William King Gregory, 1938-1951 -- Hints of new approaches, 1954-1969 -- Phenograms and cladograms, 1958-1966 -- Early molecular trees, 1962-1987 -- Notable trees of the past four decades, 1970-2010 -- Primeval branches and universal trees of life, 1997-2010. (shrink)
This is a translation of the chapter on perception by Kumarilabhatta's magnum opus, the Slokavarttika , which is one of the central texts of the Hindu response to the criticism of the logical-epistemological school of Buddhist thought. It is crucial for understanding the debates between Hindus and Buddhists about metaphysical, epistemological and linguistic questions during the classical period. In an extensive commentary, the author explains the course of the argument from verse to verse and alludes to other theories of classical (...) Indian philosophy and numerous other technical matters. Notes to the translation and commentary go further into the historical and philosophical background of Kumarila's ideas. The book provides an introduction to the history and the development of Indian epistemology, a synopsis of Kumarila's work and an analysis of its argument. It is a valuable contribution to the field of Indian philosophical studies. (shrink)
I examine the consistency of Kant's notion of moral progress as found in his philosophy of history. To many commentators, Kant's very idea of moral development has seemed inconsistent with basic tenets of his critical philosophy. This idea has seemed incompatible with his claims that the moral law is unconditionally and universally valid, that moral agency is noumenal and atemporal, and that all humans are equally free. Against these charges, I argue not only that Kant's notion of moral development (...) is consistent, but also that the assumption of the possibility of moral progress is indispensible for Kant's moral theory. (shrink)
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)
Traditionally the domain of scientists, the history of science became an independent field of inquiry only in the twentieth century and mostly after the Second World War. This process of emancipation was accompanied by a historiographical departure from previous, 'scientistic' practices, a transformation often attributed to influences from sociology, philosophy and history. Similarly, the liberal humanists who controlled the Cambridge History of Science Committee after 1945 emphasized that their contribution lay in the special expertise they, as trained (...) historians, brought to the venture. However, the scientists who had founded the Committee in the 1930s had already advocated a sophisticated contextual approach: innovation in the history of science thus clearly came also from within the ranks of scientists who practised in the field. Moreover, unlike their scientist predecessors on the Cambridge Committee, the liberal humanists supported a positivistic protocol that has since been criticized for its failure to properly contextualize early modern science. Lastly, while celebrating the rise of modern science as an international achievement, the liberal humanists also emphasized the peculiar Englishness of the phenomenon. In this respect, too, their outlook had much in common with the practices from which they attempted to distance their project. (shrink)
This article argues for an unconventional interpretation of Arthur O. Lovejoy’s distinctive approach to method in the history of ideas. It is maintained that the value of the central concept of the ‘unit-idea’ has been misunderstood by friends and foes alike. The commonality of unit-ideas at different times and places is often defined in terms of familial resemblance. But such an approach must necessarily define unit-ideas as being something other than the smallest conceptual unit. It is therefore in tension (...) with Lovejoy’s methodological prescription and, more importantly, disregards a potentially important aspect of intellectual history – the smaller conceptual units themselves. In response to this, an alternative interpretation of unit-ideas as ‘elemental’ – as the smallest identifiable conceptual components – is put forward. Unlike the familial resemblance approach, the elemental approach can provide a plausible explanation for changes in ideas. These are construed as being either the creation of new unit-ideas, the disappearance of existing ones, or alterations in the groups of unit-ideas that compose idea-complexes. The focus on the movement of unit-ideas and idea-complexes through history can also be sensitive to contextual issues, carefully distinguishing the different meanings that single words may have, in much the way that both Lovejoy and his influential critic Quentin Skinner suggest. (shrink)