Eighteenth-century France witnessed the rise of matter itself—in forms ranging from atoms to anatomies—as a privileged object of study. Voluptuous Philosophy redefines what is at stake in the emergence of an enlightened secular materialism by showing how questions of figure—how should a body be represented? What should the effects of this representation be on readers?—are tellingly and consistently located at the very heart of 18th-century debates about the nature of material substance. French materialisms of the Enlightenment are crucially invested (...) not only in the development of a sophisticated theoretical apparatus around the notion of matter but in the production of specific relationships between readers and the "matter" of the texts that they consume. How, the book asks, did the period's fascination with a markedly immaterial and ephemeral event—the reading of works of fiction—come to coincide with what appears to be a gradual materialization of human subjects: men and women who increasingly manage to envision themselves transfigured, as the century wears on, into machines, animals, and even, in the work of the Marquis de Sade, tables and chairs? In what way did the spread of new philosophies of matter depend upon the ability of readers to perceive certain figures of speech as literally and immediately true—to imagine themselves as fully material bodies even as they found themselves most deeply compelled by disembodied literary forms? More broadly, in what sense does the act of reading literature alter and transfigure our perceptions of what is, and can be, real? Voluptuous Philosophy articulates the gradual coming into being of literature as a distinct arena of textual production with the rise of an enlightened reader who remains abstracted from the bodily symptoms that any given piece of writing may induce in him. The very definition of "the literary" as an autonomous field, this book suggests, may, ironically, be dependent upon the simultaneous construction of a material world that remains fully immune to its effects. (shrink)
Bringing together an international team of historians of science and philosophy to discuss the fate of matter and form, this volume shows how disputes about matter and form spurred innovation as well as conservatism in early modern science ...
Except for a patina of twenty-first century modernity, in the form of logic and language, philosophy is exactly the same now as it ever was; it has made no progress whatsoever. We philosophers wrestle with the exact same problems the Pre-Socratics wrestled with. Even more outrageous than this claim, though, is the blatant denial of its obvious truth by many practicing philosophers. The No-Progress view is explored and argued for here. Its denial is diagnosed as a form (...) of anosognosia, a mental condition where the affected person denies there is any problem. The theories of two eminent philosophers supporting the No-Progress view are also examined. The final section offers an explanation for philosophy's inability to solve any philosophical problem, ever. The paper closes with some reflections on philosophy's future. (shrink)
This paper rereads David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion as dramatising a distinctive, naturalistic account of toleration. I have two purposes in mind: first, to complete and ground Hume's fragmentary explicit discussion of toleration; second, to unearth a potentially attractive alternative to more recent, Rawlsian approaches to toleration. To make my case, I connect Dialogues and the problem of toleration to the wider themes of naturalism, scepticism and their relation in Hume's thought, before developing a new interpretation of Dialogues part (...) 12 as political drama. Finally, I develop the Humean theory of toleration I have discovered by comparison between Rawls's and Hume's strategies for justification of a tolerant political regime. (shrink)
Examining both why and how Emerson evades the ancient quarrel between literature and philosophy, this book entirely rethinks the nature of Emerson's radical individualism and its relation to the possibility of an ethics and a politics. The author argues that the quarrel between literature and philosophy never took place in America, and that instead traditional philosophical work staged itself here as a form of literary praxis and cultural therapeutics, epitomized in the work of Emerson. A revisionary (...) study of some of Emerson's central essays, Less Legible Meanings also invites the reader to reconsider the nature of Emerson's influence on contemporary American culture and to discover new ways in which we might continue to understand his work. Interdisciplinary in scope, the book makes equal use of the history of philosophy, psychoanalytic theory, and cultural history. (shrink)
In previous work, I have drawn attention to certain systematic differences among philosophical traditions as regards to the literary forms that are prevalent in each. In this paper, however, I focus on the commentary form. I raise the question of why the use of commentaries abounds in most traditions except those transmitted in the English language and suggest that problems of translation are central to this issue. I argue that the appearance of commentaries in a philosophical tradition is (...) a criterion of such untranslatability that emerges in a broader cultural, economic, political, and religious context. Features of the relation between language and forms of communication in the history of philosophy are here explicated, concentrating especially on the German case. (shrink)
This article aims to present the past and present state and future possibilities of philosophy of education as an academic discipline in Turkey as related to teacher training programs and academic studies in higher education institutions. It takes philosophy of education as consisting of the approaches that have emerged in its history. It has come to Turkey as a part of the modernization of education. It seems that during the Republican era in Turkey before World War II, mainly (...) due to the dominance of the German conception of educational studies, the pedagogy and the history of pedagogy courses and the textbooks for them, which were central to the curricula of teacher training schools, contained the subjects of philosophy of education in its continental form; and after World War II philosophy of education is mostly understood, primarily due to Turkey’s changing international relations and the spread of American influence, as the isms and the doctrines approaches as found in the USA between the 1940s and 1960s, while other approaches in the field have been less influential. The article identifies how the restructuring of the teacher training system and the curricula of Faculties of Education in 1998 was a serious blow to the discipline, since it excluded philosophy of education from the curricula of teacher preparation schools, and the flourishing discipline thus lost its hold and importance in the undergraduate programs, and then in graduate programs. But the 2006 revision of the curricula has given a kiss of life to the discipline. There are reasons to think that it can recover in the coming period. (shrink)
This article provides an overview of controversies in the history of Chinese philosophy concerning the diversity of meanings of the term Li , as well as the comparative issues raised in various attempts by modern Chinese and Western interpreters to come to terms with this diversity of meanings. Revisiting the earliest pre-philosophical uses of the term, an attempt is then made to synthesize the insights of previous interpreters and open up a new path for investigating its distinctive implications in (...) classical Chinese thought, Chinese Buddhism, and Neo-Confucianism. (shrink)
The essay examines Stanisław Brzozowski’s ideas on mutual interactions between the sphere of culture and the realm of the political. It shows how Brzozowski made use of literary texts in order to elucidate social and political processes. In doing so, he insisted on a specific form of knowledge accessible through texts of literature and literary criticism, which are not limited by the mere “logic of notions.” Following Vico and Sorel Brzozowski detected an “irrational core” at the bases (...) of human collectivities such as above all modern nations, and it is through literature that this core can be revealed. Brzozowski’s understanding of political ideas and concepts is informed—to a decisive degree—by the literary imagination. This can be shown by a semantic and rhetorical analysis of some of his later writings. (shrink)
Possibility and reference have been central topics in metaphysics and the philosophy of language in the past decades. Wolfgang Freitags Form and Philosophy provides a novel approach to these notions and their interrelations, based on the concept of form as the key modal concept: form is the possibility space of objects. In its historic dimension, the book analyses the role of form in Ludwig Wittgensteins Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Immanuel Kants Critique of Pure Reason. In (...) its systematic dimension, the book offers an alternative ontological basis to David Armstrongs combinatorial theory of possibility and rejects David Lewis analysis of possibility in terms of possible worlds. Representation is shown to rest on the idea of direct reference as proposed by David Kaplan and Saul Kripke. It is argued that the problem of reference links up with Wittgensteins rule-following problem, the nature of which is extensively discussed. It emerges that form and reference are complementary with respect to the notion of representation. Once their individual roles are seen, many metaphysical puzzles appear in a new light or disappear altogether. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; Part I. Theoretical Views about Pity and Fear as Aesthetic Emotions: 1. Drama and the emotions: an Indo-European connection? 2. Gorgias: a strange trio, the poetic emotions; 3. Plato: from reality to tragedy and back; 4. Aristotle: the first 'theorist' of the aesthetic emotions; Part II. Pity and Fear within Tragedies: 5. An introduction; 6. Aeschylus: Persians; 7. Prometheus Bound; 8. Sophocles: Ajax; 9. Euripides: Orestes; Appendix: catharsis and the emotions in the definition of tragedy (...) in the Poetics. (shrink)
This article explores and defends some of f r leavis's ideas about the nature of reasoning in literary criticism. In particular, It examines leavis's contention that the validity of literary criticism does not wait upon a theoretical defence of its canons of judgments of standards. It aims to show that this eschewal of theoretical thought is rationally justifiable and that the form of reasoning leavis advocates for literary criticism has respectable parallels elsewhere, Not least in (...) class='Hi'>philosophy itself. Throughout, Reference is made to the work of wittgenstein and john wisdom for elucidation and justification of leavis's point of view. (shrink)
In fourth-century Greece (BCE), the debate over the nature of philosophy generated a novel claim: that the highest form of wisdom is theoria, the rational 'vision' of metaphysical truths (the 'spectator theory of knowledge'). This book offers an original analysis of the construction of 'theoretical' philosophy in fourth-century Greece. In the effort to conceptualise and legitimise theoretical philosophy, the philosophers turned to a venerable cultural practice: theoria (state pilgrimage). In this practice, an individual journeyed abroad as (...) an official witness of sacralized spectacles. This book examines the philosophic appropriation and transformation of theoria, and analyses the competing conceptions of theoretical wisdom in fourth-century philosophy. By tracing the link between traditional and philosophic theoria, this book locates the creation of theoretical philosophy in its historical context, analysing theoria as a cultural and an intellectual practice. It develops a new, interdisciplinary approach, drawing on philosophy, history, and literary studies. (shrink)
These challenging essays defend Romanticism against its critics. They argue that Romantic thought, interpreted as the pursuit of freedom in concrete contexts, remains a central and exemplary form of both artistic work and philosophical understanding. Marshalling a wide range of texts from literature, philosophy and criticism, Richard Eldridge traces the central themes and stylistic features of Romantic thinking in the work of Kant, Hölderlin, Wordsworth, Hardy, Wittgenstein, Cavell and Updike. Through his analysis he shows that Romanticism is neither (...) emptily literary and escapist nor dogmatically optimistic and sentimental. This is the first serious philosophical defense of the ethical ideals of Romanticism and will appeal particularly to all professionals and students in philosophy, literature and aesthetics who are interested in what, philosophically, literature can show that philosophy cannot say. (shrink)
This paper discusses the role of a particular form of philosophical spirituality in the emergence of post-structuralist theory. Initially elaborated in the post-Kantian metaphysics of Husserl and Heidegger, and focused in recondite acts of intellectual self-transformation, this form of spirituality was transposed into a literary hermeneutics that permitted its wider dissemination in the Anglo-american humanities academy. Post-structuralist theory is the result of this historical transformation.
Unlike traditional Western philosophy, which places no special emphasis on the importance of family structure, traditional Chinese philosophy represented by Confucianism is a set of theories that give family a primary position. With family as the foundation, a complete framework of “human body → two genders → family and clan” is formed. Therefore, family in Chinese philosophy is existent, gender-interactive and diachronic. It should also be noted that family also plays a fundamental role in Chinese theories on (...) cosmology, religion, and many other subjects. In other words, Chinese culture as a whole is imprinted with reflections on family. Nowadays, as the value of family becomes less prominent, re-examining ancient Chinese philosophy will undoubtedly bear theoretical significance. Meanwhile, traditional Chinese philosophy can also offer an ideological framework for the re-construction of family values in the contemporary world. (shrink)
Most philosophers appear to have ignored the distinction between the broad concept of Virtual Machine Functionalism (VMF) described in Sloman&Chrisley (2003) and the better known version of functionalism referred to there as Atomic State Functionalism (ASF), which is often given as an explanation of what Functionalism is, e.g. in Block (1995). -/- One of the main differences is that ASF encourages talk of supervenience of states and properties, whereas VMF requires supervenience of machines that are arbitrarily complex networks of causally (...) interacting (virtual, but real) processes, possibly operating on different time-scales, examples of which include many different procesess usually running concurrently on a modern computer performing various tasks concerned with handling interfaces to physical devices, managing the file system, dealing with security, providing tools, entertainments, and games, and possibly processing research data. Another example of VMF would be the kind of functionalism involved in a large collection of possibly changing socio-economic structures and processes interacting in a complex community, and yet another is illustrated by the kind of virtual machinery involved in the many levels of visual processing of information about spatial structures, processes, and relationships (including percepts of moving shadows, reflections, highlights, optical-flow patterns and changing affordances) as you walk through a crowded car-park on a sunny day: generating a whole zoo of interacting qualia. (Forget solitary red patches, or experiences thereof.) -/- Perhaps VMF should be re-labelled "Virtual MachinERY Functionalism" because the word 'machinery' more readily suggests something complex with interacting parts. VMF is concerned with virtual machines that are made up of interacting concurrently active (but not necessarily synchronised) chunks of virtual machinery which not only interact with one another and with their physical substrates (which may be partly shared, and also frequently modified by garbage collection, metabolism, or whatever) but can also concurrently interact with and refer to various things in the immediate and remote environment (via sensory/motor channels, and possible future technologies also). I.e. virtual machinery can include mechanisms that create and manipulate semantic content, not only syntactive structures or bit patterns as digital virtual machines do. (shrink)
This paper examines Hume’s four essays on happiness: the “Epicurean,” the “Stoic,” the “Platonist,” and the “Sceptic.” I argue, first, that careful attention to how these essays are written shows that they do not simply argue for one position over others. They also elicit affective and imaginative responses in order to modify the reader’s outlook and to improve the reader’s understanding in service to moral ends. The analysis offers an improved reading of the essays and highlights the intimate connections between (...) the purposes of philosophical writing and its manner of presentation. Secondly, I contend that appreciating how Hume’s essays on happiness work on the reader demonstrates the insufficiency of Hume’s categories of “anatomist” and “painter.”. (shrink)
This paper responds briefly to four reviews of Force and Freedom. Valentini and Sangiovanni criticize what they see as the excessive formalism of the Kantian enterprise, contending that the Kantian project is circular, because it defines rights and freedom together, and that this circularity renders it unable to say anything determinate about appropriate restrictions and permissions. I show that the appearance of circularity arises from a misconstrual of the Kantian idea of a right. Properly understood, Kantian rights are partially indeterminate, (...) but not in a way that causes problems for the account. Ronzoni and Williams seek to broaden the reach of public right, arguing that Kant's abstract approach overlooks pressing questions of social and political life, (Ronzoni) and that public right should allow for democratic deliberation about purposes that go beyond the requirement that a state provide a rightful condition for its members (Williams). I argue that the Kantian view makes room for these factors, but that each must be understood in relation to the formal constraints of right. (shrink)
Why do people respond emotionally to works of fiction they know are make-believe? Boruah tackles this question, which is fundamental aesthetics and literary studies, from a totally new perspective. Bringing together the various answers that have been offered by philosophers from Aristotle to Roger Scruton, he shows that while some philosophers have denied any rational basis to our emotional responses to fiction, others have argued that the emotions evoked by fiction are not real emotions at all. In response to (...) this, Boruah contends that fictional emotions are rational because they are based on the same sorts of beliefs that we form about real situations and real people. He illustrates this argument with literary examples ranging from Shakespeare to Tolstoy. (shrink)
Figuring Animals is a collection of fifteen essays concerning the representation of animals in literature, the visual arts, philosophy, and cultural practice. At the turn of the new century, it is helpful to reconsider our inherited understandings of the species, some of which are still useful to us. It is also important to look ahead to new understandings and new dialogue, which may contribute to the survival of us all. The contributors to this volume participate in this dialogue in (...) a variety of ways--through personal experience, natural history, cultural studies, philosophical inquiry, art history, literary analysis, film studies, and theoretical imagining, and through a combination of these trains of thought. The essays expose weaknesses in western epistemological frames of reference that for centuries have limited our views and, thus, our experiences of animal being, including our own. (shrink)
This paper describes an attempt to introduce philosophy and history of science to pre-service science teachers. I argue briefly for the view that science in the schools cannot be taught without implicitly assuming a particular philosophy of science. Therefore, both philosophy and history of science are necessary components of undergraduate science education courses.