The key question in this three way debate is the role of the collectivity and of agency. Collins and Shrager debate whether cognitive psychology has, like the sociology of knowledge, always taken the mind to extend beyond the individual. They agree that irrespective of the history, socialization is key to understanding the mind and that this is compatible with Clark’s position; the novelty in Clark’s “extended mind” position appears to be the role of the material rather than the role (...) of other minds. Collins and Clark debate the relationship between self, agency, and the human collectivity. Collins argues that the Clark’s extended mind fails to stress the asymmetry of the relationship between the self and its material “scaffolding.” Clark accepts that there is asymmetry but that an asymmetrical ensemble is sufficient to explain the self. Collins says that we know too little about the material world to pursue such a model to the exclusion of other approaches including that both the collectivity and language have agency. The collectivity must be kept in mind! (Though what follows is a robust exchange of views it is also a cooperative effort, authors communicating “backstage” with each other to try to make the disagreements as clear and to the point as possible.). (shrink)
This book introduces the reader to ethics by examining a current and important debate. During the last fifty years the orthodox position in ethics has been a broadly non-cognitivist one: since there are no moral facts, moral remarks are best understood, not as attempting to describe the world, but as having some other function - such as expressing the attitudes or preferences of the speaker. In recent years this position has been increasingly challenged by moral realists who maintain that there (...) are moral facts; there is a truth of the matter in ethics, which is independent of our views, and which we seek to discover. Unfortunately much of this interesting debate found in the work of McDowell, Wiggins, Putnam, Blackburn and others is not easily accessible to undergraduates. McNaughton presents many of the major issues in ethics by way of a clear exposition of both sides of this argument and assumes no prior knowledge of philosophy. Topics discussed include: moral observation, moral motivation, amoralism and wickedness, moral weakness, cultural relativism and utilitarianism. The book concludes that a convincing case can be made out for a radical form of moral realism in which moral virtue is found, not in the following of correct moral principles, but rather in the development of moral sensitivity. Moral Vision is a clear and engaged introduction to an important, and often troubling, debate. (shrink)
cis is presented of Randall Collins's book, The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. It presents a sociological theory of intellectual networks that connect thinkers in chains of masters and pupils, colleagues and rivals, and of the internalized conversations that constitute the social processes of thinking. The theory is used to analyze long-term developments of the intellectual communities of philosophers in ancient Greece, ancient and medieval China and India, medieval and modern Japan, medieval Islam and Judaism, (...) medieval Christendom, and modern Europe through the early 20th century. (shrink)
It is widely held that propositions are structured entities. In The Nature and Structure of Content (2007), Jeff King argues that the structure of propositions is none other than the syntactic structure deployed by the speaker/hearers who linguistically produce and consume the sentences that express the propositions. The present paper generalises from King’s position and claims that syntax provides the best in-principle account of propositional structure. It further seeks to show, however, that the account faces serve problems pertaining to the (...) fine individuation of propositions that the account entails. The ‘fineness of cut’ problem has been raised by Collins (The unity of linguistic meaning, 2007) and others. King (Philos Stud 163(3):763–781, 2013) responds to these complaints in ways this paper rebuts. Thus, the very idea of structured propositions is brought into doubt, for the best in-principle account of such structure appears to fail. (shrink)
This fascinating study in the sociology of science explores the way scientists conduct, and draw conclusions from, their experiments. The book is organized around three case studies: replication of the TEA-laser, detecting gravitational rotation, and some experiments in the paranormal. "In his superb book, Collins shows why the quest for certainty is disappointed. He shows that standards of replication are, of course, social, and that there is consequently (...) no outside standard, no Archimedean point beyond society from which we can lever the intellects of our fellows."--Donald M. McCloskey, Journal of Economic Psychology "Collins is one of the genuine innovators of the sociology of scientific knowledge. . . . Changing Order is a rich and entertaining book."-- Isis "The book gives a vivid sense of the contingent nature of research and is generally a good read."--Augustine Brannigan, Nature "This provocative book is a review of [Collins's] work, and an attempt to explain how scientists fit experimental results into pictures of the world. . . . A promising start for new explorations of our image of science, too often presented as infallibly authoritative."--Jon Turney, New Scientist. (shrink)
The problem of the unity of the proposition is almost as old as philosophy itself, and was one of the central themes of early analytical philosophy, greatly exercising the minds of Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, and Ramsey. The problem is how propositions or meanings can be simultaneously unities (single things) and complexes, made up of parts that are autonomous of the positions they happen to fill in any given proposition. The problem has been associated with numerous paradoxes and has motivated general (...) theories of thought and meaning, but has eluded any consensual resolution; indeed, the problem is sometimes thought to be wholly erroneous, a result of atomistic assumptions we should reject. In short, the problem has been thought to be of merely historical interest. Collins argues that the problem is very real and poses a challenge to any theory of linguistic meaning. He seeks to resolve the problem by laying down some minimal desiderata on a solution and presenting a uniquely satisfying account. The first part of the book surveys and rejects extant 'solutions' and dismissals of the problem from (especially) Frege and Russell, and a host of more contemporary thinkers, including Davidson and Dummett. The book's second part offers a novel solution based upon the properties of a basic syntactic principle called 'Merge', which may be said to create objects inside objects, thus showing how unities can be both single things but also made up of proper parts. The solution is defended from both philosophical and linguistic perspectives. The overarching ambition of the book, therefore, is to strengthen the ties between current linguistics and contemporary philosophy of language in a way that is genuinely sensitive to the history of both fields. (shrink)
This note briefly responds to Devitt’s (2008) riposte to Collins’s (2008a) argument that linguistic realism prima facie fails to accommodate unvoiced elements within syntax. It is argued that such elements remain problematic. For it remains unclear how conventions might target the distribution of PRO and how they might explain hierarchical structure that is presupposed by such distribution and which is not witnessed in concrete strings.
Collins, John Francis In October this year there are to be two events at the Vatican. Beginning on 7 October and going through to 28 October bishops from all over the world are to gather at a Synod on 'New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.' On 11 October, midway through the Synod, the whole Church will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The bishops who are to gather this year at (...) the Synod follow in the footsteps of the more than 2000 Bishops who gathered at the Second Vatican Council. John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council, with the following words 'Looked at one way there is the deposit of faith or the truths which are contained in our doctrine which we venerate, looked at another way there is the way by which the same (the deposit of faith) is enunciated both in its meaning and its spirit.' In a recent interview for Salt and Light Television the inaugural head of the Pontifical Council for the promotion of the New Evangelisation Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella noted that what Vatican II did for the Church is still present in our community. Later in the interview the Archbishop stated that the 'New Evangelisation is not a new work, it is a new mentality; a new language, a new enthusiasm for announcing the gospel.' There is continuity between both the spirit and letter of the Archbishop's words recorded in 2012 and the words of John XXIII in opening Vatican II. That is, as a Church, what we are seeking is new ways to announce the meaning and spirit of the deposit of faith, the truths contained in doctrine. What would later be called the new evangelisation permeated Vatican II. (shrink)
Collins, John Francis; Carroll, Sandra In the April 2012 edition of The Australasian Catholic Record (ACR) John Duiker presented a useful overview and history of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) titled 'Spreading the Culture of Pentecost in the Midst of Disenchantment.' According to Duiker the CCR as an ecclesial movement 'has its origins in a retreat that was held at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the USA in February 1967.' Describing this event as a Pentecost experience Duiker writes (...) that the movement that was started by this event 'spread to other college campuses and continued to spread right across the world, and now exists in over 220 countries and has touched the lives of over 120 million Catholics.' Duiker's article draws on Charles Taylor's thesis that our post-enlightenment Western culture has been emptied-out of the idea of God's providence leading to 'a diminishing of the necessity of grace and a fading of the sense of mystery.' Duiker then presents a case for CCR being recognised 'as an example for the re-enchantment of a post-Enlightenment secular world.'. (shrink)
A range of positions persist in the proper interpretation of generative linguistics. The paper responds to recent work in this area that either weakly or strongly diverges from the non-contentful, internalist model presented in Collins (2008a). Against the sympathetic criticisms of Matthews (2008) and Smith (2008), it is argued that a crucial role for content in our understanding of linguistic theories remains obscure, although the discussion here will hopefully clarify the divergence between the parties as merely perspectival. Rey (2008) (...) more strongly argues that the non-contentful model is prey to some classic complaints. The charges are rebutted. Finally, the position of Devitt (2008a, b) is considered. It is argued that his most recent presentation of his brand of realism fails to speak to the fundamental complaints levelled against it, especially as regards the putative role of conventions in the explanation of unvoiced syntax. (shrink)
I respond to Selinger and Mix (Selinger, E. and Mix, J. 2004. On interactional expertise: Pragmatic and ontological considerations. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 3: 145–163), concentrating on their charges that Collins (Collins, H. M. 2004a. Interactional expertise as a third form of knowledge. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 3: 125–143) underrates the importance of interactional expertise as an expertise sui generis and that the paper fails to analyse the idea of embodiment sufficiently holistically, misleading treating the ‘body’ (...) as no more than the linear sum of its parts. (shrink)
Sociology, then, should prove to be relevant to a host of issues within the traditional purview of philosophy: Epistemology and philosophy of science, of course; the issue of solipsism and other minds (as Habermas has already seen, invoking Mead); ontological issues of the mind/body relation, of person/self/identity (on which there is a wealth of untapped materials, from Goffman, Mead, and in the lineage of Durkheim and Mauss now being rediscovered); Michael Carrithers, Steven Collins, and Steven Lukes, editors, The Category (...) of the Person (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985); Norbert Wiley, “The Sacred Self: Durkheim's Anomaly,” paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, New York, 1986. and more deeply the questions of materialism/idealism, realism and anti-realism. All questions in the philosophy of ethics, ranging from conceptual analysis to critical and constructive ethics, make sense realistically only if handled with a sociological understanding of where moral ideals and feelings emerge from. The extent of possible success of sociological explanations is a crucial point for any discussion of determinism and indeterminism, and relatedly for the notion of will, free or otherwise. (Obviously the sociology of the self is implicated in the free-will issue as well.) The micro/ macro issue is a wonderful ground on which to consider questions of universals and particulars, of the different orders of causality, of reification and reductionism. Though it may seem presumptious to say so, sociology has implications right across the board in philosophy, even in its stronghold of metaphysics: space and time, existence and non-existence, the Ideal and the immediacy of lived experience are all parts of our current sociological controversies. As yet we have not been very bold in bringing such implications of sociology to attention. But there is recent work such as that of Preston David Preston, Constructing Trans-cultural Reality: the Social Organization of Zen Practice (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988). on the sociology of Zen practice, which is relevant to a philosophy of ontology at its deepest levels. Furthermore, I feel optimistic about sociology's capacity to contribute to these issues philosophically, that is to say within the problem-space of philosophy itself. Tools like Goffmanian frame analysis, with a nested and grounded relation among levels, should cast light even on tricky issues such as infinities and logical indeterminacies, ontological foundations and unfoundedness. After all, if reality is socially constructed, why shouldn't our professional understanding of society reveal something central about the universe? Sal Restivo (personal communication) suggests that this Une of argument can go even farther: “You [Collins] seem to fall into the same sort of trap that people like Rorty fall into. Everything you say spells the end of philosophy, but somehow philosophy gets saved in the end. Once Durkheim enters the picture, what's left of ‘ultimate questions’? Doesn't the sociology of religion reveal that philosophy's concern with ‘ultimate questions’ (like religion's) is a strategy and a sham - and that it is sociology and anthropology ultimately that realistically address ‘ultimate questions’? It seems to me that sociologizing philosophy FEARLESSLY destroys philosophy. So in this view sociologizing philosophy can't lead to a ‘philosophy’ of sociology, but only a sociology of sociology. ‘Philosophy without mirrors’ (Rorty) is sociology/ anthropology; ‘philosophy with a hammer’ (Nietzsche) is sociology/ anthropology. In a very real sense, sociologizing philosophy is like trying to sociologize religion - either sociology has to dilute its explanatory power, or philosophy/religion has to evaporate as an intellectual strategy. The death of philosophy is another step in the Death of God process.” For a more extensive argument, see Sal Restivo, “The End of Epistemology,” Department of Science and Technology Occasional Papers 1 (1984), Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy N.Y.As of now, these implications remain only potential. But to buttress my claim for the relevance of sociology in just one area, epistemology and the reflexive issues that arise within it, let me close with a brief reflection on what the sociology of science implies about the nature of philosophy itself. We can hardly expect that sociology will give a final and definitive answer to philosophy's problems. I say that, not because of any pessimism about our intellectual tools, but because of the very nature of intellectual communities. Intellectuals make careers by gaining fame for their original contributions; there must be problems to solve if there is to be something to contribute. This of course is true of all areas of science and scholarship. But whereas the empirical disciplines can go on to create new specialties and research areas, philosophers do not have the same way out of the professional problem posed by a field's own past success.Philosophy has handled this problem in a deeper way. For philosophers have taken as their turf precisely those problems that are themselves inherently deep and, in some sense, intractable. Philosophers have traditionally been concerned with the understanding of knowledge itself, with the most fundamental categories of existence and experience, with the bases of value. These are the boundary problems of all the other fields of intellectual inquiry, and of human life itself. They are intractable, not because significant things cannot be said about them, but because they are located at the open edges of everything; they reveal themselves full of reflexivities, which constantly reemerge at a new level whenever a conceptual solution is proposed, much as in Gödel's incompleteness theorem - and in the most highly transformed level of Goffmanian frames.It is for this reason that the history of philosophy is full of complaints that previous philosophers have come to no agreement, along with new beginnings that attempt to finish its business at last. There is a striking repetitiveness to these claims: we hear them from Descartes, and again from Kant, from the Logical Positivists, from Wittgenstein, in their different ways; there is more than an echo of this intellectual strategy in today's extremists, such as Rorty and Derrida, who again are abolishing philosophy. But philosophy has not been abolished; each previous claim to bring the uselessly warring sects of the past into a final resolution has failed to stifle philosophy's perennial inquiries. Just as strikingly, each such effort at ending philosophy has given rise to a period of renewed philosophical creativity.I think this is not an accident. It is because the structure of the intellectual field in general (across the disciplines, not only philosophy) is being restructured at a particular historical time that figures like Descartes, Kant, and others appear; the crisis of intellectual restructuring is what gives them the intellectual capital (and the creative energy) to reconceptualize the fundamental boundary problems in a new way. In this sense, philosophy is indeed “foundational”; it concerns itself with the ultimate questions, the borderlines of all inquiry and all of life. But there is another sense of “foundational,” the claim that philosophy is the discipline necessary for putting all other knowledge upon a secure foundation. This is certainly not true in a practical and historical sense; the other disciplines have gone ahead quite well without guidance from philosophy. Kant's claim to provide a secure foundation for the physical sciences against Hume's scepticism was really a rhetorical ploy, a way of building up the importance of what philosophy is doing; it really made no difference to the growth of science in Hume's day, or in Kant's, just what the philosophers said about the foundations of their knowledge. The same is true for all such claims about the significance of foundational issues.But this is not to dismiss the importance of what philosophers are doing. Theirs is the great intellectual adventure into the edges of things. The rest of the disciplines, the rest of what we consider to be knowledge, nestled in a pragmatic acceptance of whatever seems to work for us as intellectual practitioners, do not rest upon philosophy. The structural relation among intellectual fields is more the other way around, as far as the dynamics of intellectual change are concerned. But philosophy has nevertheless positioned itself in the intellectual space where the deepest explorations are launched. This will continue to be so, even as sociology adds its own impetus to the philosophical project. (shrink)
The conflict tradition does not end with Max Weber, but there is room for only the barest sketch of subsequent or even contemporary developments. We have already covered many of the follow-ups of the Marx-Weber line of conflict sociology. Among these, there is the important line of influence inwhich Michels served as the link between Weber's historical theory of organizational politics and the organizational studies of the 1940–60's. Studies of stratification, although often pursued with naive theoretical categories, have gradually accumulated (...) a great deal of evidence bolstering and refining the classical principles explained above; and some work, especially since the time of C. Wright Mills (but not necessarily influenced by him) has made a conscious effort to build on classical theory.Some other lines of conflict theory must at least be mentioned. The socialpsychological tradition of conflict theory originating with Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, of course, has Freud as its most famous representative. This level of analysis, despite various theoretical attempts, has not yet been convincingly related to the organizational/stratification level outlined above, nor has it had as much empirical support. But this social-psychological conflict tradition continues to have great potential importance. It holds out the promise of a model for the shaping of the individual psyche by the emotional and symbolic interchanges involved in struggles for interpersonal advantage to replace the artificially one-sided and relatively static models of psychological learning theory. Its premises move towards replacing adult-centered “socialization” theory with a two-sided view of age conflict under conditions of unequal resources. And when cast in an explicitly historical form, its insights into sexual repression become the basis of a comparative theory of sexual stratification. Collins, R., “A Conflict Theory of Sexual Stratification,” Social Problems, 19: 2–21, 1971.Many other interesting figures have been slighted in this brief history. Some, like Simmel and Pareto, appear isolated from the main stream, as they subordinated their insights about conflict to principles which led in quite different directions: neo-Kantian idealism and liberal positivism respectively. Others, like Sorel, came closer to the main line, above all, in Sorel's emphasis that conflict is the basis of moral solidarity, a point which resonates with Weber's understanding of group ceremony as the basis of legitimacy and solidarity precisely in situations of conflict and domination. From here, the possibility exists for appropriating the main achievements of the Durkheimian tradition - the understanding of the ceremonial bases of social realityconstructing - into a comprehensive conflict theory.For the arena encompassed by conflict theory is not only the moments of obvious strife in society, but the systematic explanation of the entire social structure. The central focus is on the organization of material arrangements into a system of power which divides society into interest groups struggling for control. Such material conditions operate not only through the sphere of economic production, but also directly condition the mobilization of interest groups for political action, as well as the production of ideas and of emotional ties. We need no longer rest with an abstract assertion of the determination of structure by contending interests with varying material resources; refined principles of conflict theory may explain specific outcomes in all areas of society. (shrink)
The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes offers a revisionist interpretation of Thomas Hobbes's evolving response to the English Revolution. It rejects the prevailing understanding of Hobbes as a consistent, if idiosyncratic, royalist, and vindicates the contemporaneous view that the publication of Leviathan marked Hobbes's accommodation with England's revolutionary regime. In sustaining these conclusions, Professor Collins foregrounds the religious features of Hobbes's writings, and maintains a contextual focus on the broader religious dynamics of the English Revolution itself. Hobbes and the Revolution (...) are both placed within the tumultuous historical process that saw the emerging English state coercively secure jurisdictional control over national religion and the corporate church. Seen in the light of this history, Thomas Hobbes emerges as a theorist who moved with, rather than against, the revolutionary currents of his age. The strongest claim of the book is that Hobbes was motivated by his deep detestation of clerical power to break with the Stuart cause and to justify the religious policies of England's post-regicidal masters, including Oliver Cromwell. -/- Methodologically, Professor Collins supplements intellectual or linguistic contextual analysis with original research into Hobbes's biography, the prosopography of his associates, the reception of Hobbes's published works, and the nature of the English Revolution as a religious conflict. This multi-dimensional contextual approach produces, among other fruits: a new understanding of the political implications of Leviathan; an original interpretation of Hobbes's civil war history, Behemoth; a clearer picture of Hobbes's career during the neglected period of the 1650s; and a revisionist interpretation of Hobbes's reaction to the emergence of English republicanism. By presenting Thomas Hobbes as a political actor within a precisely defined political context, Professor Collins has recovered the significance of Hobbes's writings as artefacts of the English Revolution. (shrink)
Paul Collins travels the globe piecing together the missing body and soul of one of our most enigmatic founding fathers: Thomas Paine. A typical book about an American founding father doesn’t start at a gay piano bar and end in a sewage ditch. But then, Tom Paine isn’t your typical founding father. A firebrand rebel and a radical on the run, Paine alone claims a key role in the development of three modern democracies. In death, his story turns truly (...) bizarre. Shunned as an infidel by every church, he had to be interred in an open field on a New York farm. Ten years later, a former enemy converting to Paine’s cause dug up the bones and carried them back to Britain, where he planned to build a mausoleum in Paine’s honor. But he never got around to it. So what happened to the body of this founding father? Well, it got lost. Paine’s missing bones, like saint’s relics, have been scattered for two centuries, and their travels are the trail of radical democracy itself. Paul Collins combines wry, present-day travelogue with an odyssey down the forgotten paths of history as he searches for the remains of Tom Paine and finds them hidden in, among other places, a Paris hotel, underneath a London tailor's stool, and inside a roadside statue in New York. Along the way he crosses paths with everyone from Walt Whitman and Charles Darwin to sex reformers and hellfire ministers—not to mention a suicidal gunman, a Ferrari dealer, and berserk feral monkeys. In the end, Collins’s search for Paine’s body instead finds the soul of democracy—for it is the story of how Paine’s struggles have lived on through his eccentric and idealistic followers. (shrink)
: If liberal theory is to move forward, it must take the political nature of family relations seriously. The beginnings of such a liberalism appear in Mary Wollstonecraft's work. Wollstonecraft's depiction of the family as a fundamentally political institution extends liberal values into the private sphere by promoting the ideal of marriage as friendship. However, while her model of marriage diminishes arbitrary power in family relations, she seems unable to incorporate enduring sexual relations between married partners.
In his Philosophical Inquiry concerning Human Liberty (1717), the English deist Anthony Collins proposed a complete determinist account of the human mind and action, partly inspired by his mentor Locke, but also by elements from Bayle, Leibniz and other Continental sources. It is a determinism which does not neglect the question of the specific status of the mind but rather seeks to provide a causal account of mental activity and volition in particular; it is a ‘volitional determinism’. Some decades (...) later, Diderot articulates a very similar determinism, which seeks to recognize the existence of “causes proper to man” (as he says in the Réfutation d’Helvétius). The difference with Collins is that now biological factors are being taken into account. Obviously both the ‘volitional’ and the ‘biological’ forms of determinism are noteworthy inasmuch as they change our picture of the nature of determinism itself, but my interest here is to compare these two determinist arguments, both of which are broadly Spinozist in nature – and as such belong to what Jonathan Israel called in his recent book “the radical Enlightenment,” i.e. a kind of underground Enlightenment constituted by Spinozism – and to see how Collins’ specifically psychological vision and Diderot’s specifically biological vision correspond to their two separate national contexts: determinism in France in the mid-1750s was a much more medico-biological affair than English determinism, which appears to be on a ‘path’ leading to Mill and associationist psychology. (shrink)
In 1997, five decades after the publication of the landmark Hempel-Oppenheim article "Studies in the Logic of Explanation"(, 1970) Wesley Salmon published Causality and Explanation, a book that re-addresses the issue of scientific explanation. He provided an overview of the basic approaches to scientific explanation, stressed their weaknesses, and offered novel insights. However, he failed to mention Mary Hesse's approach to the topic and analyze her standpoint. This essay brings front and center Hesse's approach to scientific explanation formulated in (...) the 1960s and argues that rereading Hesse's account one can overcome the criticisms addressed towards another influential theory of explanation that of Bas van Fraassen's. Furthermore, it could bring the traditional philosophy of science into a fruitful conversation with science and technology studies and gender studies in science, technology and medicine. (shrink)
Harry Collins interprets Hubert Dreyfus’s philosophy of embodiment as a criticism of all possible forms of artificial intelligence. I argue that this characterization is inaccurate and predicated upon a misunderstanding of the relevance of phenomenology for empirical scientific research.
We show the intimate relationship between McNaughton Theorem and the Chinese Remaindner Theorem for MV-algebras. We develop a very short and simple proof of McNaughton Theorem. The arguing is elementary and right out of the definitions. We exhibit the theorem as just an instance of the Chinese theorem. Since the variety of MV-algebras is arithmetic, the Chinese theorem holds for MV-algebras. However, to make this paper self-contained and entirely elementary, we include a simple proof of this theorem inspired (...) in Ferraioli and Lettieri (Math Logic Q 1:27–43, 2011). (shrink)
The Clarke-Collins correspondence was widely read and frequently printed during the 18th century. Its central topic is the question whether matter can think, or be conscious. Samuel Clarke defends the immateriality of the subject of the mental against Anthony Collins’ materialism. This paper examines important assumptions about the nature of body that play a role in their debate. Clarke argued that consciousness requires an “individual being”, an entity with some sort of significant unity as its subject. They agree (...) that body does not have this type of unity, because it consists of actually distinct parts. (shrink)
During a smallpox epidemic in April 1721, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu asked Dr. Charles Maitland to "engraft" her daughter, thus instigating the first documented inoculation for smallpox (_Variola_ virus) in England. Engrafting, or variolation, was a means of conferring immunity to smallpox by placing pus taken from a smallpox pustule under the skin of an uninfected person to create a local infection. The introduction of infectious viral matter, however, could trigger fullblown smallpox, and the practice was controversial for both (...) this reason and the pervasive conviction that it was immoral to intentionally infect a human body. Eventually, engrafting was phased out altogether in favor of vaccination, a much safer procedure established by Edward Jenner in the late eighteenth century. Montagu's decision was influenced by her experiences in Constantinople, where she had spent a year, and where engrafting was commonplace. As a smallpox survivor herself, Montagu had taken an interest in Turkish inoculation practices, and had had her son Edward engrafted while in Turkey. She was not the first person to import the idea of smallpox inoculation to England, nor the first English person to have their child inoculated (other English children had been inoculated while visiting Turkey), yet she quickly became known for importing and popularizing smallpox inoculation. At the request of her acquaintances, she took her inoculated daughter with her on a round of visits into elite households to demonstrate the safety of the procedure. The reputation she gained was both positive and negative: monuments were erected in her honor, encomiastic poems were published, and Voltaire declared her "a woman of as fine a genius, and endued with as great a strength of mind as any of her sex in the British Kingdoms"; however, anti-inoculationists ridiculed her, some society figures regarded her warily, and Alexander Pope satirized her in his poetry.
Montagus pioneering role in the smallpox debate is undoubtedly significant: she instigated the first smallpox inoculation on English soil, and she was largely responsible for making the practice acceptable in elite circles. My interest in this essay is in the nature and significance of Montagus reputation as an inoculation pioneer. I will argue that her reputation was based on the particular combination of her social position as a Whig and an aristocratic woman; her interest in progressive and enlightened forms of social, political, and scientific thought; her standing in influential literary circles; and, not least, the force of her own personality. In broad terms, I offer Montagus involvement in the smallpox debate as a case study in a new kind of public role becoming available to elite women in the early eighteenth century a role that caused considerable discomfort among her peers and in the medical community, and one that stimulated a widespread controversy in print publications of the day. (shrink)
This article discusses the work of Dr Mary Louisa Gordon, who was appointed as the first English Lady Inspector of Prisons in 1908, and remained in post until 1921. Her attitude towards and treatment of women prisoners, as explained in her 1922 book Penal Discipline, stands in sharp contrast to that of her male contemporaries, and the categorisation of her approach as ‘feminist’ is reinforced by her documented connections with the suffragette movement. Yet her feminist and suffragist associations also (...) resulted in the marginalisation and dismissal of her work, such that Mary Gordon and Penal Discipline are virtually unknown today. Nevertheless, her insights into the position and needs of women prisoners retain a striking contemporary relevance. (shrink)
In "Origin of Species," the object of intense research for nearly a century and a half, Charles Darwin refers to a "Mr. Collins" as if he were a famous cattle breeder. In fact, there is no mention of a famous cattle breeder called Collins anywhere else in the literature, although there is a suitable candidate for this description by the name of "Colling." Darwin's reference to Mr. Collins is probably an error. This paper will attempt to establish (...) the identity of the real Mr. Collins, and also to suggest why the mistake has gone unnoticed for so long. (shrink)
Mary is confined to a black-and-white room, is educated through black-and-white books and through lectures relayed on black-and white television. In this way she learns everything there is to know about the physical nature of the world. She knows all the physical facts about us and our environment, in a wide sense of 'physical' which includes everything in completed physics, chemistry, and neurophysiology, and all there is to know about the causal and relational facts consequent upon all this, including (...) of course functional roles. If physicalism is true, she knows all there is to know. For to suppose otherwise is to suppose that there is more to know than every physical fact, and that is just what physicalis.. (shrink)
Feared and admired in equal measure, Mary Midgely has carefully, yet profoundly challenged many of the scientific and moral orthodoxies of the twentieth century. The Essential Mary Midgley collects for the first time the very best of this famous philosopher's work, described by the Financial Times as "commonsense philosophy of the highest order." This anthology includes carefully chosen selections from her best-selling books, including Wickedness, Beast and Man, Science and Poetry and The Myths We Live By . It (...) provides a superb and eminently accessible insight into questions she has returned to again and again in her renowned sharp prose, from the roots of human nature, reason and imagination to the myths of science and the importance of holism in thinking about science and the environment. It offers an unrivalled introduction to a great philosopher and a brilliant writer, and also includes a specially written foreword by James Lovelock. (shrink)