William James had the courage to experience the collision of European and American ways of thinking head on, and to emerge from it with a new philosophy - one displaying a remarkable vitality for dealing with the transformative issues at the core of the human condition. This easy to read introduction to his life and work explains why James' work is overwhelmingly valuable to us today in getting to grips with the spiritual dimension of human experience.
Originally published in 1991, The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences, is the first monograph to identify and address some of the many interesting questions that pertain to thought experiments. While the putative aim of the book is to explore the nature of thought experimental evidence, it has another important purpose which concerns the crucial role thought experiments play in Brown’s Platonic master argument.In that argument, Brown argues against naturalism and empiricism (Brown 2012), for mathematical Platonism (...) (Brown 2008), and from the Platonist-friendly, abstract universals posited by the Dretske-Tooley-Armstrong (DTA) account of the laws of nature to a more general, physical Platonism. The Laboratory of the Mind is where he takes this final step. (shrink)
The Essential William James covers the primary topics for which James is still closely studied: the nature of experience, the functions of the mind, the criteria for knowledge, the definition of “truth,” the ethical life, and the religious life. His notable terms, still resonating in their respective fields, are all covered here, from “stream of consciousness” and “pure experience” to the “will to believe,” the “cash-value of truth,” and the distinction between the religiously “healthy soul” and the “sick (...) soul.” This volume’s eighteen selections receive the bulk of the attention and citation from scholars, provide excellent coverage of core topics, and have a broad appeal across many academic disciplines. (shrink)
In his introduction to this collection, John representative. McDermott presents James's thinking in all its manifestations, stressing the importance of radical empiricism and placing into perspective the doctrines of pragmatism and the will to believe. The critical periods of James's life are highlighted to illuminate the development of his philosophical and psychological thought. The anthology features representive selections from The Principles of Psychology, The Will to Believe , and The Variety of Religious Experience in addition to the complete (...) Essays in Radical Empiricism and A Pluralistic Universe . The original 1907 edition of Pragmatism is included, as well as classic selections from all of James's other major works. Of particular significance for James scholarship is the supplemented version of Ralph Barton Perry's Annotated Bibliography of the Writings of William James , with additions bringing it up to 1976. (shrink)
When William James spoke about belief to the philosophy clubs of Yale and Brown in 1896, he forewarned his audience of the nature of his comments by describing them as a “sermon on justification by faith” (James 13), titling the talk “The Will to Believe.” Although there is disagreement about the substance of James’s remarks, it is fairly innocuous to assert that James thought they were appropriate because of the prevalence of the “logical spirit” of many (...) of those who practiced academic philosophy that led them to the conclusion that religious faith was untenable. Aware of his audience, James presents his view on the permissibility of religious faith on the terms and grounds familiar to professional philosophers. .. (shrink)
Noted psychologist and philosopher develops his own brand of pragmatism, based on theories of C. S. Peirce. Emphasis on "radical empiricism," versus the transcendental and rationalist tradition. One of the most important books in American philosophy. Note.
The status of the body figures paradoxically in the interrelated discourses of whiteness, aesthetic taste, and hipness. While Richard Dyer’s analysis of whiteness argues that white identity is “in but not of the body,” Carolyn Korsmeyer’s and Julia Kristeva’s feminist analyses of aesthetic “taste” demonstrate that this faculty is traditionally conceived as something “of” but not “in” the body. While taste directly distances whiteness from embodiment, hipness negatively affirms this same distance: the hipster proves his elite status within white culture (...) by positioning himself as, in the words of James Chance’s song title, “Almost Black.” The notion of hip contributes to my analysis of taste by focusing on both the gender politics of white embodiment, and how, by taking the social body as object of the prepositions “in” and “of,” these discourses of taste and hipness produce individual bodies as white, and maintain Whiteness as a socio-political norm. (shrink)
Working within the tradition of continental philosophy, this article argues in favour of a phenomenological understanding of language as a crucial component of bioethical inquiry. The authors challenge the ‘commonsense’ view of language, in which thinking appears as prior to speaking, and speech the straightforward vehicle of pre-existing thoughts. Drawing on Maurice Merleau-Ponty's (1908–1961) phenomenology of language, the authors claim that thinking takes place in and through the spoken word, in and through embodied language. This view resituates bioethics as a (...) matter of bodies that speak. It also refigures the meaning of ethical self-reflexion, and in so doing offers an alternative view on reflexivity and critique. Referring to the Kantian critical tradition and its reception by Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault, we advance a position we call ‘critical ethical reflexivity’. We contend that Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of language offers valuable insight into ethical reflexivity and subject formation. Moreover, his understanding of language may foster new qualitative empirical research in bioethics, lead to more nuanced methods for interpreting personal narratives, and promote critical self-reflexion as necessary for bioethical inquiry. (shrink)
This article is a critical methodological reflection on the use of interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) initiated in the context of a qualitative research project on the experience of seclusion in a psychiatric setting. It addresses an explicit gap in the IPA literature to explore the ways that Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology can extend the remit of IPA for noncognitivist qualitative research projects beyond the field of health psychology. In particular, the article develops Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of the lived-body, language, and embodied speech, with (...) specific attention to the ethical implications of body and place. It concludes with a discussion on phenomenological reflexivity and prompts a reconsideration of phenomenological methods across a wide range of qualitative research projects concerned with subjectivity and ethical practice, including critical health studies, critical bioethics, and cultural studies that employ a qualitative empirical research design. (shrink)
What is an emotion? -- The dilemma of determinism -- The perception of reality -- The hidden self -- Habit -- The will -- The gospel of relaxation -- On a certain blindness in human beings -- What makes a life significant -- Philosophical conceptions and practical results -- The Philippine tangle -- The sick soul -- The Ph. D. octopus -- Does "consciousness" exist? -- The energies of men -- Concerning Fechner -- The moral equivalent of war.
Since the end of the Cold War, the scope and study of diplomacy has expanded. In the modern diplomatic environment, novel terms such as pipeline diplomacy, coercive diplomacy, diplomacy by sanction and citizen diplomacy are common, alongside the more traditional view of diplomacy as state-to-state activity, monopolized by professional, official diplomats. With such a broad range of views, the scholar can become confused as to what actually constitutes modern diplomacy? In this article, it is argued that the disparity of views (...) in the diplomacy studies field must be classified and consolidated before the enhanced role of diplomacy in the twenty-first century can be better understood. In this article, three different classifications or schools of diplomatic thought are introduced and constructed: the Traditional School, the Nascent School, and the Innovative School. (shrink)
This paper addresses the project of philosophical autobiography, using two different perspectives. On the one hand, the societal, economic, and family contexts of William James are addressed, and connected a modern academic context of business ethics research, marketing and purchasing decision making, and the continuing financial crisis. The concepts of “stream of consciousness” and “acting as-if” are connected to recent literature on William James. On the other hand, the significance of family context, and the possible connection between the (...) William James family and the author, is addressed through shared family narratives interspersed throughout the paper. (shrink)
This paper explores a novel philosophy of ethical care in the face of burgeoning biomedical technologies. I respond to a serious challenge facing traditional bioethics with its roots in analytic philosophy. The hallmarks of these traditional approaches are reason and autonomy, founded on a belief in the liberal humanist subject. In recent years, however, there have been mounting challenges to this view of human subjectivity, emerging from poststructuralist critiques, such as Michel Foucault's, but increasingly also as a result of advances (...) in biotechnology itself. In the face of these developments, I argue that the theoretical relevance and practical application of mainstream bioethics is increasingly under strain. Traditionalists will undoubtedly resist. Together, professional philosopher-bioethicists, public health policymakers, and the global commercial healthcare industry tend to respond conservatively by shoring up the liberal humanist subject as the foundation for medical ethics and consumer decision-making, appealing to the familiar tropes of reason, autonomy, and freedom. (shrink)
I argue that descartes' doubting of the external world does not rest on doubting the truth of clear and distinct ideas. in fact, he denies that we clearly and distinctly perceive the "existence" of material things. thus, their existence is not established through the validation of such ideas and we can understand why descartes' argument for their existence takes the form it does. i suggest that dreams lead him to conclude that the existence of material things is not clearly perceived (...) and to doubt their existence. (shrink)
In his six 1983 lectures published under the title, Fearless Speech (2001), Michel Foucault developed the theme of free speech and its relation to frankness, truth-telling, criticism, and duty. Derived from the ancient Greek word parrhesia, Foucault's analysis of free speech is relevant to the mentoring of medical students. This is especially true given the educational and social need to transform future physicians into able citizens who practice a fearless freedom of expression on behalf of their patients, the public, the (...) medical profession, and themselves in the public and political arena. In this paper, we argue that Foucault's understanding of free speech, or parrhesia, should be read as an ethical response to the American Medical Association's recent educational effort, Initiative to Transform Medical Education (ITME): Recommendations for change in the system of medical education (2007). In this document, the American Medical Association identifies gaps in medical education, emphasizing the need to enhance health system safety and quality, to improve education in training institutions, and to address the inadequacy of physician preparedness in new content areas. These gaps, and their relationship to the ITME goal of promoting excellence in patient care by implementing reform in the US system of medical education, call for a serious consideration and use of Foucault's parrhesia in the way that medical students are trained and mentored. (shrink)
Abstract: In this paper it is proposed that the traditional view of diplomacy is an archaic vision of the ‘engine room of international relations.’ This rhetoric, it is argued, is parochial and does not match the realities of the modern, twenty-first century diplomatic environment where plural, peaceful and polylateral networks of diplomacy are thriving. In the modern diplomatic environment, the activity of diplomacy should be viewed as the business of multi-actor peace, not only as the handmaiden of the occasionally belligerent (...) state. New, radical and innovative views on diplomacy are flooding the diplomacy studies field. This paper will summarise these views into three distinct Schools of diplomatic thought - Traditional, Nascent and Innovative - which allude to this positive growth in scholarship. This paper will argue - centrally - that an enhanced understanding of diplomacy is the best chance society has to replace the norm of conflict with that of stability and peace achieved through diplomatic functions. (shrink)
In critical care medicine, teaching and mentoring practices are extremely important in regard to attracting and retaining young trainees and faculty in this important subspecialty that has a scarcity of needed personnel in the USA. To this end, we argue that Foucault’s Technologies of the Self is critical background reading when endeavoring to effect the positive transformation of faculty into effective teachers and mentors.
The central aim of this thesis is to deconstruct and reconstruct the dominant theoretical perceptions of diplomacy, by reworking radically existing theories of diplomacy. This thesis achieves reconceptualisation of diplomatic theory by critiquing the thoughts and ideas of theorists postulating on modern diplomacy. Consequently, this thesis is concerned (largely) with the theoretical terrain of diplomacy studies. The purpose of this intended deconstruction and reconstruction is to introduce and construct three lucid types of diplomatic theory. These three types or categories introduced (...) in this thesis are Traditional, Nascent and Innovative Diplomatic Theory. By categorising these three distinct types of theories, it is hoped that the diplomatic scholar will have a choice of lenses through which to interpret the complexities of the modern diplomatic environment. Ultimately, this thesis aims to strengthen Traditional Diplomatic Theory (TDT) and introduce/construct two alternate forms of diplomatic theory, Nascent Diplomatic Theory (NDT) and Innovative Diplomatic Theory (IDT). (shrink)
Rationale, aims and objectives : Evidence-based medicine (EBM) claims to be based on 'evidence', rather than 'intuition'. However, EBM's fundamental distinction between quantitative 'evidence' and qualitative 'intuition' is not self-evident. The meaning of 'evidence' is unclear and no studies of quality exist to demonstrate the superiority of EBM in health care settings. This paper argues that, despite itself, EBM holds out only the illusion of conclusive scientific rigour for clinical decision making, and that EBM ultimately is unable to fulfil its (...) own structural criteria for 'evidence'. Methods : Our deconstructive analysis of EBM draws on the work of the French philosopher, Jacques Derrida. Deconstruction works in the name of justice to lay bare, to expose what has been hidden from view. In plain language, we deconstruct EBM's paradigm of 'evidence', the randomized controlled trial (RCT), to demonstrate that there cannot be incontrovertible evidence for EBM as such. We argue that EBM therefore 'auto-deconstructs' its own paradigm, and that medical practitioners, policymakers and patients alike ought to be aware of this failure within EBM itself. Results : EBM's strict distinction between admissible evidence (based on RCTs) and other supposedly inadmissible evidence is not itself based on evidence, but rather, on intuition. In other words, according to EBM's own logic, there can be no 'evidentiary' basis for its distinction between admissible and inadmissible evidence. Ultimately, to uphold this fundamental distinction, EBM must seek recourse in (bio)political ideology and an epistemology akin to faith. (shrink)