Original and penetrating, this book investigates of the notion of inference from signs, which played a central role in ancient philosophical and scientific method. It examines an important chapter in ancient epistemology: the debates about the nature of evidence and of the inferences based on it--or signs and sign-inferences as they were called in antiquity. As the first comprehensive treatment of this topic, it fills an important gap in the histories of science and philosophy.
This first chapter locates crucial elements of James's notion of truth within James's 'The Will to Believe." James recognizes evidential criteria in the formation of belief, in contrast to a common claim that for him beliefs are generated in an evidential vacuum. Jamess view of evidence in "The Will to Believe" also stands as a pragmatic reappraisal of traditional epistemology, and such criteria are individualistic. But his treatment should not be taken as subjectivist, in the sense that (...) personal whim or desire always override evidential criteria in the formation of belief. Rather, James's view allows him to avoid both subjectivism and traditional evidentialism. The second chapter suggests that "The Will to Believe" also contains a notion of pluralism, which is intimately related to radical empiricism. James develops two levels of pluralism, individualistic and social. Whereas the first chapter concerns inquiry on an individual level, the second locates the individual within society. James's position on pluralism is also discussed briefly in relation to contemporary ethical theory. Perhaps James's most important notion is that of an "intellectual republic." Such a republic would emerge from a productive mediation between the two levels of pluralism outlined in the essay. In closing, it is suggested that the relationship between James and Josiah Royce illustrates James's ideal of such mediation. The third chapter develops notions of social inquiry hinted at by James within the more radically social philosophy of John Dewey. Following a brief discussion of Platonic assumptions regnant in contemporary discussions, Dewey's views are offered as an alternative to some unpalatable consequences of Platonism. A brief discussion of Dewey's metaphysics and epistemology follows; Dewey manages to avoid both Platonism and relativism, while maintaining the stable and precarious elements traditionally associated with either approach. In conclusion, it is suggested that Dewey's use of the stable and precarious constitute a basis for his notion of criticism, where inquiry is viewed not as a bid for ultimate clarity, but rather as a pattern of interrelationships between elements imbedded within context. Since escape from context is impossible, clarity is also contextual. (shrink)
Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy is a volume of original articles on all aspects of ancient philosophy. The articles may be of substantial length, and include critical notices of major books. OSAP is now published twice yearly, in both hardback and paperback. -/- 'The serial Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy (OSAP) is fairly regarded as the leading venue for publication in ancient philosophy. It is where one looks to find the state-of-the-art. That the serial, which presents itself more as an (...) anthology than as a journal, has traditionally allowed space for lengthier studies, has tended only to add to its prestige; it is as if OSAP thus declares that, since it allows as much space as the merits of the subject require, it can be more entirely devoted to the best and most serious scholarship.' -/- Michael Pakaluk, Bryn Mawr Classical Review -/- This is a special volume dedicated to the memory of Michael Frede (1940-2007). (shrink)
In 1934, Karl N. Llewellyn published a lively essay trumpeting the dawn of legal realism, "On Philosophy in American Law." The charm of his defective little piece is its style and audacity. A philosopher might be seduced into reading Llewellyn's essay by its title; but one soon learns that by "philosophy" Llewellyn only meant "atmosphere". His concerns were the "general approaches" taken by practitioners, who may not even be aware of having general approaches. Llewellyn paired an anemic concept of philosophy (...) with a pumped-up conception of law. Llewellyn's "law" included anything that reflects the "ways of the law guild at large" - judges, legislators, regulators, and enforcers. Llewellyn argued that the legal philosophies implicit in American legal practice had been natural law, positivism and realism, each adopted in response to felt needs of a time. We must reckon with many other implicit "philosophies" to understand the workings of the law guild, not the least of which has been racism. Others, maternalism and paternalism, my foci here, persist in American law, despite women's progress toward equality. Both maternalism and paternalism were strikingly present in a recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, Gonzales v. Carhart, upholding the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. (shrink)
As a U.S. civil rights policy, affirmative action commonly denotes race-conscious and result-oriented efforts by private and public officials to correct the unequal distribution of economic opportunity and education attributed to slavery, segregation, poverty and racism. Opponents argue that affirmative action (1) violates ideals of color-blind public policies, offending moral principles of fairness and constitutional principles of equality and due process; (2) has proven to be socially and politically divisive; (3) has not made things better; (4) mainly benefits middle-class, wealthy (...) and foreign-born blacks; (4) stigmatizes its beneficiaries; and (5) compromises the self-esteem and self-respect of beneficiaries who know that they have been awarded preferential treatment. By way of a thought experiment, imagine that after decades of public policy and experimentation, the United States public finally came to agree: affirmative action is morally and legally wrong. Employing such a thought experiment, this essay by a beneficiary of affirmative action—written in response to James Sterba’s Affirmative Action for the Future (2009)—examines duties of moral repair and the possibility that the past beneficiaries of affirmative action owe apologies, compensation or some other highly personal form of corrective accountability. Beneficiaries of affirmative action have experienced woundedness and moral insecurity. Indeed, the practice of affirmative action comes with a psychology, a set of psychological benefits and burdens whose moral logic those of us who believe in our own fallibility—as much as we believe in the justice of what we have received and conferred on others—should address. (shrink)
Seven chimpanzees in twenty-seven experiments run over the course of ﬁve years at his University of Louisiana laboratory in New Iberia, Louisiana, are at the heart of Daniel Povinelli’s case that chimpanzee thinking about the physical world is not at all like that of humans. Chimps, according to Povinelli and his coauthors James Reaux, Laura Theall, and Steve Giambrone, are phenomenally quick at learning to associate visible features of tools with speciﬁc uses of those tools, but they appear to (...) lack cognitive access to forces and other invisible causal features of those tools. Povinelli’s chimps appar- ently rely on a trial-and-error strategy to learn whether a particular tool is suitable for a particular task, and and having mastered one task they appear unable to generalize to other tasks on the basis of tool properties that are not directly visible. Thus, for instance, Povinelli’s research subjects did not immediately recognize that a tool that had been demonstrated to be non- rigid would be unsuitable for dragging a piece of food towards them. When presented with a choice between a rigid, T-shaped “rake” that they had used many times previously and a rake with non-rigid arms, Povinelli and Reaux found, over the course of eight trials, that their chimps chose the non-rigid rake as frequently as they chose the rigid one (experiment 9, chapter 7). (shrink)
Henri Bergson and William James were great admirers of each other, and James seemed to think he got valuable ideas from Bergson. But early critics were right to see in Bergson the antithesis of pragmatism. Unfolding this antithesis is a convenient way to study important concepts and innovations in Bergson's philosophy. I concentrate on his ideas of duration and intuition, and show how they prove the necessity of going beyond pragmatism. The reason is because knowledge itself goes beyond (...) the utilitarian limitations in which pragmatism confines it. Knowledge is more than utility, more than adaptation, more than pragmatism, because our cognitive powers prove capable of more than any naturally selected service to survival. (shrink)
Three contemporary acts—corporate theft, sexual abuse of minors, and abortion—when done by generally moral people whose consciences at times seems to be inoperative, all share the same dynamic of harming an innocent person entrusted to them. Drawingupon philosophical anthropology, I argue that these acts reveal a mislocation of conscience in the emotions, imagination, memory, theoretical intellect, or will as defended by Hume, James, Freud, Kant, Nietzsche, or Hegel. In this article Aquinas and certain contemporary Catholic philosophers engage these erroneous (...) views about conscience. They defend the position that conscience is found in a person’s exercise of the practical intellect as integrated with, but not supplanted by, these other operations. Throughout the analysis Christine Gudorf’s existential reflection on the relation of her conscience to abortion is analyzed. I argue that many generallymoral people today have in one area either disengaged, locked tight, or transferred their conscience by what Robert Lifton calls “The Faustian Bargain of Doubling.”. (shrink)