ABSTRACT. May scientists rely on substantive, a priori presuppositions? Quinean naturalists say "no," but Michael Friedman and others claim that such a view cannot be squared with the actual history of science. To make his case, Friedman offers Newton's universal law of gravitation and Einstein's theory of relativity as examples of admired theories that both employ presuppositions (usually of a mathematical nature), presuppositions that do not face empirical evidence directly. In fact, Friedman claims that the use of such presuppositions (...) is a hallmark of "science as we know it." But what should we say about the special sciences, which typically do not rely on the abstruse formalisms one finds in the exact sciences? I identify a type of a priori presupposition that plays an especially striking role in the development of empirical psychology. These are ontological presuppositions about the type of object a given science purports to study. I show how such presuppositions can be both a priori and rational by investigating their role in an early flap over psychology's contested status as a natural science. The flap focused on one of the field's earliest textbooks, William James's Principles of Psychology. The work was attacked precisely for its reliance on a priori presuppositions about what James had called the "mental state," psychology's (alleged) proper object. I argue that the specific presuppositions James packed into his definition of the "mental state" were not directly responsible to empirical evidence, and so in that sense were a priori; but the presuppositions were rational in that they were crafted to help overcome philosophical objections (championed by neo-Hegelians) to the very idea that there can be a genuine science of mind. Thus, my case study gives an example of substantive, a priori presuppositions being put to use—to rational use—in the special sciences. In addition to evaluating James's use of presuppositions, my paper also offers historical reflections on two different strands of pragmatist philosophy of science. One strand, tracing back through Quine to C. S. Peirce, is more naturalistic, eschewing the use of a priori elements in science. The other strand, tracing back through Kuhn and C. I. Lewis to James, is more friendly to such presuppositions, and to that extent bears affinity with the positivist tradition Friedman occupies. (shrink)
In the 1960s and 1970s, Hilary Putnam articulated a notion of relativized apriority that was motivated to address the problem of scientific change. This paper examines Putnam’s account in its historical context and in relation to contemporary views. I begin by locating Putnam’s analysis in the historical context of Quine’s rejection of apriority, presenting Putnam as a sympathetic commentator on Quine. Subsequently, I explicate Putnam’s positive account of apriority, focusing on his analysis of the history of physics and geometry. In (...) the remainder of the paper, I explore connections between Putnam’s account of relativized a priori principles and contemporary views. In particular, I situate Putnam’s account in relation to analyses advanced by Michael Friedman, David Stump, and William Wimsatt. From this comparison, I address issues concerning whether a priori scientific principles are appropriately characterized as “constitutive” or “entrenched”. I argue that these two features need to be clearly distinguished, and that only the constitutive function is essential to apriority. By way of conclusion, I explore the relationship between the constitutive function of a priori principles and entrenchment. (shrink)
We argue that Michael Peterson's and William Hasker's attempts to show that God and gratuitous evil are compatible constitute miserable failures. We then sketch Peter van Inwagen's attempt to do the same and conclude that, to date, no one has shown his attempt a failure.
This book offers a new interpretation of William James's ethical and religious thought. Michael Slater shows that James's conception of morality, or what it means to lead a moral and flourishing life, is intimately tied to his conception of religious faith, and argues that James's views on these matters are worthy of our consideration. He offers a reassessment of James's 'will to believe' or 'right to believe' doctrine, his moral theory, and his neglected moral arguments for religious faith. (...) And he argues that James's pragmatic account of religion is based on an ethical view of the function of religion and a realist view of the objects of religious belief and experience, and is compatible with his larger conception of pragmatism. The book will appeal to readers interested in the history of modern philosophy, especially pragmatism, as well as those interested in moral philosophy, religion, and the history of ideas. (shrink)
Michael Williams: Deforesting the Earth: From Prehistory to Global Crisis, an Abridgment Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10806-010-9294-y Authors Doug Seale, 21 Turner Ridge Road, Marlborough, MA 01752, UK Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
The relationship between William James and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) has recently been the subject of intense scholarly research. We know for instance that the later Wittgenstein's reflections on the philosophy of psychology found in James a major source of inspiration. Not surprisingly therefore, the pragmatist nature of the philosophy of the later Wittgenstein is increasingly acknowledged, in spite of Wittgenstein’s adamant refusal of being labeled a “pragmatist”. In this brief paper I merely want to piece together some of the (...) available evidence of Wittgenstein’s high regard for William James, not only for his thoughts, but even more so for his character. (shrink)
In this short paper I try to present William James’s connection with the Argentinian writer Macedonio Fernández (1874-1952), who was in some sense a mentor of Borges and might be considered the missing link between Borges and James.
The year of the centennial of the Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges is probably the right time to exhume one of the links that this universal writer had with William James. In 1945, Emece, a publisher from Buenos Aires, printed a Spanish translation of William James’s book Pragmatism, with a foreword by Jorge Luis Borges.
In a previous issue of Philo, Michael Almeida claimed to have “defeated” William Rowe’s “New Evidential Argument from Evil” againstthe existence of a benevolent god. However, Almeida’s argument suffers from serious logical errors and even logical absurdities, leaving Rowe’s argument intact and quite unthreatened by anything Almeida argues.
It is well known that Francis of Marchia and William of Ockham joined Michael of Cesena's rebellion against the pope, together escaping from Avignon and signing documents supporting Cesena's defence of Franciscan poverty. The relationship between the works of the two thinkers, on the other hand, is the subject of ongoing investigation. After discussing Francis' rejection in his Commentary on the Sentences of Ockham's theory of quantity, this paper shows how Francis' Improbatio became a source for Ockham's Opus (...) Nonaginta Dierum. Building on Offler's ground-breaking critical edition of the latter work, it is argued that Ockham made extensive use of Francis' Improbatio, even though on several points he felt it necessary to reformulate the arguments of his confrère or even to substantially modify his positions. The two Franciscan theologians differed deeply both in their basic philosophical commitments and in their methodological attitude. These differences emerged even when they were—so to speak—fighting on the same front. (shrink)
As is well known among readers of Tradition and Discovery, William H. Poteat was a central influence in bringing Michael Polanyi to the attention of American scholars and, particularly, to the interest of scholarship in religion and theology. Poteat’s own work was heavily impacted by Polanyi. In turn, Polanyi’s affiliation with Poteat at Duke and elsewhere clearly impressed and edified Polanyi and led to Polanyi’s request for Poteat’s collaboration with him on Meaning and to the prospect of Polanyi’s (...) coming to Duke for six weeksto facilitate this. Unfortunately, that promising time was not realized. This present essay represents an effort to discern a direction in which such a collaboration might have deeply and felicitously influenced Polanyi’s interpretation and celebration of his own poignant, yet quite restless, religious sensibilities. (shrink)
These remarks are an obituary for William T. Scott who worked for many years on a biography of Michael Polanyi. In addition to providing an overview of Scott’s own life and work, his connection with Polanyi is reviewed.
I here introduce a set of essays on William H. Poteat by quoting in full a 1968 letter from Poteat to Marjorie Grene. Poteat articulates reasons he cannot collaborate with Grene in editing the volume of Polanyi essays that was eventually published as Knowing and Being: Essays by Michael Polanyi in 1969.
William H. Poteat’s thought, while indebted to Michael Polanyi, originates in Poteat’s own project of remembering all articulate significances to their pre-articulate grounding in the mindbody. He invented the term mindbody both to overstep the traditional distinction between mind and body and to name the living arche of all meaning and meaning-discernment. In focusing on the recovery of the mindbody as the bedrock ontological matrix for the aquisition of speech, the act of explicit reference par excellence, Poteat radicalizes (...) and advances Polanyi’s efforts to reclaim the tacit roots of all explicit knowledge. (shrink)
This article discusses the 2005 OUP biography of Michael Polanyi by William T. Scott and Martin X. Moleski S.J., Michael Polanyi, Scientist and Philosopher . The discussants are N. E. Wetherick, Brian G Gowenlock, and John Puddefoot; Martin X. Moleski, S. J. briefly responds, providing a previously unpulished letter from Polanyi to Reverend Dr. Knox, a Presbyterian mininster.
The original 1907 text of James' Pragmatism is accompanied with a series of critical essays from scholars including Moore and Russell. In the introduction Olin evaluates the strength of the criticisms made against James.
Suppose a fire broke out in a fertility clinic. One had time to save either a young girl, or a tray of ten human embryos. Would it be wrong to save the girl? According to Michael Sandel, the moral intuition is to save the girl; what is more, one ought to do so, and this demonstrates that human embryos do not possess full personhood, and hence deserve only limited respect and may be killed for medical research. We will argue, (...) however, that no relevant ethical implications can be drawn from the thought experiment. It demonstrates neither that one always ought to let the embryos die, nor does it allow for any general conclusion concerning the moral status of human embryos. (shrink)
William James's theory of emotion is often criticized for placing too much emphasis on bodily feelings and neglecting the cognitive aspects of emotion. This paper suggests that such criticisms are misplaced. Interpreting James's account of emotion in the light of his later philosophical writings, I argue that James does not emphasize bodily feelings at the expense of cognition. Rather, his view is that bodily feelings are part of the structure of intentionality. In reconceptualizing the relationship between cognition and affect, (...) James rejects a number of commonplace assumptions concerning the nature of our cognitive relationship with the world, assumptions that many of his critics take for granted. (shrink)
On the 27th of October, 1949, the Department of Philosophy at the University of Manchester organized a symposium "Mind and Machine", as Michael Polanyi noted in his Personal Knowledge (1974, p. 261). This event is known, especially among scholars of Alan Turing, but it is scarcely documented. Wolfe Mays (2000) reported about the debate, which he personally had attended, and paraphrased a mimeographed document that is preserved at the Manchester University archive. He forwarded a copy to Andrew Hodges and (...) B. Jack Copeland, who in then published it on their respective websites. The basis of this interpretation here is the copy preserved in the Regenstein Library of the University of Chicago, Special Collections, Polanyi Collection (abbreviated RPC, box 22, folder 19). The same collection holds the mimeographed statement that Polanyi prepared for this symposium: "Can the mind be represented by a machine?" This text has not been studied by Polanyi scholars. (shrink)
This book is my new scholarly edition of William James, A Pluralistic Universe. The original text has been recovered, annotations to the text added to identify James' authors and events of interest, there is a new bibliography chiefly based on James' sources, a brief chronology of James' career, and I have added an expository and critical Introduction and a comprehensive analytical index.
In Consciousness and persons, Michael Tye (Tye, M. (2003). Consciousness and persons. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.) develops and defends a novel approach to the unity of consciousness. Rather than thinking of the unity of consciousness as involving phenomenal relations between distinct experiences, as standard accounts do, Tye argues that we should regard the unity of consciousness as involving relations between the contents of consciousness. Having developed an account of what it is for consciousness to be unified, Tye goes on (...) to apply his account of the unity of consciousness to the split-brain syndrome. I provide a critical evaluation of Tye's account of the unity of consciousness and the split-brain syndrome. (shrink)
In his recent writings, Sir Michael Dummett has reflected twice on the Catholic position on the morality of contraception, focusing his attention especially on Humanae Vitae’s prohibition of the contraceptive use of the birth control pill. On examination, Dummett finds this prohibition ‘incoherent’, arguing that its promulgation ‘greatly damaged the respect of the faithful for the Catholic Church’s moral teaching in general’, as well as ‘the integrity of Catholic moral theology’. Given Dummett’s earlier defense of Paul VI’s reaffirmation of (...) the Church’s traditional position on contraception in Humanae Vitae, as well as his forceful criticisms of certain liberalizing tendencies among Catholic theologians and biblical scholars, these arguments deserve to be taken seriously, and regarded as coming from a spirit of serious philosophical reflection rather than casual dissent. Nevertheless, this paper argues that they are based on a misapprehension of what is really behind the position Dummett means to be criticizing, and that when the essentials of that position are clarified the rationale behind it is safe from his objections. (shrink)
As suggested in the subtitle, A New Philosophical Reading, the editor aspires in his Introduction and his notes to “facilitate a deeper understanding and a critical evaluation (...) of this crucial and difficult philosophical work” (p. ix). This was the last important book which James published during his lifetime. With it James aims at a critical evaluation of Hegelian monism and an exploration of the philosophical and theological alternatives. “Our world of some one hundred years on”—the editor says (p. ix)—“is (...) much the better for James’ contribution, and understanding William James on pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding.”. (shrink)
In 1907 William James was invited to give the Hibbert Lectures at Manchester College, Oxford. Initially he was reluctant to do so since he feared undertaking them would divert him from developing rigorously and systematically some metaphysical ideas of his own that had preoccupied him for some time. In the end, however, he relented and in the spring of 1908 gave the lectures which were subsequently published as A Pluralistic Universe. As it happened, though, in the course of these (...) lectures James presented some of those metaphysical ideas, though in a popular and informal style appropriate to lecturing. Later on he did get down to working out a systematic metaphysics in proper academic style, but the project was cut short by his untimely death in 1910. The incomplete Some Problems of Philosophy, posthumously published in 1911, recapitulates some major themes of A Pluralistic Universe. (shrink)
This new edition of William James’s 1909 classic, A Pluralistic Universe reproduces the original text, only modernizing the spelling. The books has been annotated throughout to clarify James’s points of reference and discussion. There is a new, fuller index, a brief chronology of James’s life, and a new bibliography—chiefly based on James’s own references. The editor, H.G. Callaway, has included a new Introduction which elucidates the legacy of Jamesian pluralism to survey some related questions of contemporary American society. -/- (...) A Pluralistic Universe was the last major book James published during his life time. It is a substantial philosophical work, devoted to a thorough-going criticism of Hegelian monism and Absolutism—and the exploration of philosophical and social-theological alternatives. Our world of some one hundred years on is much the better for James’s contributions; and understanding James’s pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding. At present, we are more certain that American is, and is best, a pluralistic society, than we are of what particular forms our pluralism should take. Keeping an eye out for social interpretations of Jamesian pluralism, this new philosophical reading casts light on our twenty-first century alternatives by reference to prior American experience and developments. -/- . (shrink)
: William James's "The Will to Believe" has been criticized for offering untenable arguments in support of belief in unvalidated hypotheses. Although James is no longer accused of suggesting we can create belief ex nihilo, critics continue to charge that James's defense of belief in what he called the "religious hypothesis" confuses belief with hypothesis adoption and endorses willful persistence in unvalidated beliefs—not, as he claimed, in pursuit of truth, but merely to avoid the emotional stress of abandoning them. (...) I argue that James's position in "The Will to Believe" can be defended provided we give up thinking of it as ethics of belief and think of it instead as an ethics of self-experimentation. Subjective data (including wants, needs, and desires) are relevant to rational consent to participation in research. (shrink)
William James is remembered as the philosopher of pragmatism, but he was principally the founder of modern scientific psychology. During the period of his most intense scientific involvement James developed a trenchant critique of science. This was not a rejection of science but an attempt to identify limitations of the contemporary conceptualization of science. In particular, James emphasized the failure of science to understand its basis in human emotions. James developed a scientific theory of emotions in which the importance (...) of emotion in cognition and decision-making is central. James’ appreciation of the significance of emotions in science has continuing value. Nevertheless, his characterization of science in terms of its method introduces tensions in his account that an emphasis on the social dimensions of science, which he implicitly acknowledged, tends to resolve. (shrink)
This book explores Wittgenstein's long engagement with the work of the pragmatist William James. In contrast to previous discussions Russell Goodman argues that James exerted a distinctive and pervasive positive influence on Wittgenstein's thought. For example, the book shows that the two philosophers share commitments to anti-foundationalism, to the description of the concrete details of human experience, to the priority of practice over intellect, and to the importance of religion in understanding human life. Considering in detail what Wittgenstein learnt (...) from his reading of Principles of Psychology and Varieties of Religious Experience the author provides considerable evidence for Wittgenstein's claim that he is saying 'something that sounds like pragmatism'. This provocative account of the convergence in the thinking of two major philosophers usually considered as members of discrete traditions will be eagerly sought by students of Wittgenstein, William James, pragmatism and the history of twentieth-century philosophy. (shrink)
William James (1842-1910) was both a philosopher and a psychologist, nowadays most closely associated with the pragmatic theory of truth. The essays in this Companion deal with the full range of his thought as well as other issues, including technical philosophical issues, religious speculation, moral philosophy and political controversies of his time. The relationship between James and other philosophers of his time, as well as his brother Henry, are also examined. By placing James in his intellectual landscape the volume (...) will be particularly useful to teachers and students outside philosophy in such areas as religious studies, history of ideas, and American studies. New readers and nonspecialists will find this the most convenient and accessible guide to James currently available. Advanced students and specialists will find a conspectus of recent developments in the interpretation of James. (shrink)
The project method became a famous teaching method when William Heard Kilpatrick published his article ‘Project Method’ in 1918. The key idea in Kilpatrick's project method is to try to explain how pupils learn things when they work in projects toward different common objects. The same idea of pupils learning by work or action in an environment with objects also belongs to John Dewey's problem-solving method. Are Kilpatrick's project method and Dewey's problem-solving method the same thing? The aim of (...) this article is to analyze and prove that Kilpatrick's project method differs radically from Dewey's problem-solving method. (shrink)
: It is part of the conventional wisdom about the James family that the elder Henry James (1811–82) had a large influence on his son, William James (1842–1910), in the direction of religious interests. But William neither adopted his father's spirituality nor did he regard it as a foil to his own secularity. Instead, after first rejecting the elder James's idiosyncratic faith, he became increasingly intrigued with his insights into the natural world, which were in turn shaped by (...) the Swedenborgian philosophy of correspondences and use, which depict worldly facts as vessels of the spirit. The young science student drew upon this approach to nature as a resource for finding the operation of immaterial aspects within the world. The influence of the father emerges in William's emphasis on the will in human psychology, his eagerness to punctuate the striving of "the will to believe" with sessions of comforting conviction, his readiness to find "'piecemeal' supernaturalism" in subliminal psychology, his incorporation of idealism into his radical empiricism, and his openness to psychical experience. Without accepting the particulars of Henry James's faith, William James shared with his father a conviction that providential action in the universe, usually understood as the work of transcendental forces, was embedded within the natural world and within humankind. (shrink)
William James undertook to steer his way between a rationalistic system that was not empirical enough and an empirical system so materialistic that it could not account for the value commitments on which it rested. In arguing against both the absolutists (gnostics) and the empiricists (agnostics), he defined a position of pluralistic moralism that seemed equally distant from both, leaving himself vulnerable to the criticism that he had rescued morality from scientism only by reducing religion to morals. Such criticism, (...) however, ignores distinctions James made between religion and theology and between monistic theology and dualistic theology. When these distinctions are taken into account, it becomes evident that James can be criticized for reducing religion to morality only from the point of view of either absolute monism or religious humanism and that radical empiricism not only embraces a significant number of nonmoral religious experiences but also leaves open the possibility of belief in the particular historical God of traditional Christianity. (shrink)
William James and Wisconsin, by G.C. Sellery.--The distinctive philosophy of William James, by M.C. Otto.--William James, man and philosopher, by D.S. Miller.--William James and psychoanalysis, by Norman Cameron.--The William James centenary dinner: Introductory remarks, by C.A. Dykstra. William James and the world today, by John Dewey, read by Carl Boegholt. William James in the American tradition, by B.H. Bode.--The Sunday service: William James as religious thinker, by J.S. Bixler.
With this book, Jacques Barzun pays what he describes as an "intellectual debt" to William James—psychologist, philosopher, and, for Barzun, guide and mentor. Commenting on James's life, thought, and legacy, Barzun leaves us with a wise and civilized distillation of the great thinker's work.
Reprinted in Philosophical and Theological Essays on the Trinity, Oxford, 2009, eds Michael Rea and Thomas McCall. In this essay, I assess a certain version of ’social Trinitarianism’ put forward by J. P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, ’trinity monotheism’. I first show how their response to a familiar anti-Trinitarian argument arguably implies polytheism. I then show how they invoke three tenets central to their trinity monotheism in order to avoid that implication. After displaying these tenets more fully, (...) I argue that Trinitarians would do well to hold Moreland’s and Craig’s trinity monotheism at arms length. (shrink)
Michael Tye argues for two crucial theses: (1) that experiences of pain have representational content (essentially); (2) that the representational content can be specified in terms of something like damage in parts of the body. (Different types of pain are connected with different types of damage.) I reject both of these theses. In my view experiences of pain carry nonconceptual content, but do not represent essentially. Rather they are apt to represent when the subject attends to them. The experiences (...) carry nonconceptual content not only about tissue damage, but about many other qualities as well, including dispositional qualities. (shrink)
For more than 100 years, anthropologists have collected ethnographic research among communities who assert that the spirits, animal allies, and other entities of the unseen world are “really real,” yet we have historically contextualized this information under the umbrella of cultural relativism rather than taking the veracity of these claims seriously. In the last decade, some anthropologists claim that our discipline has finally undergone an ontological turn, which opens a door for anthropologists to finally take claims of nonhuman sentience seriously (...) under the umbrella of ontological, rather than cultural, relativism. This paper takes issue with ontological relativism as just one more frame for explaining away the stories of other-than-human consciousness that ethnographers report and suggests that there is an urgent need to consider the relevance, rather than the relativism, of other-than-human consciousness. It looks to Michael Harner's work as a welcome alternative to ontological relativism and encourages opening our minds to a reconsideration of what is “really real.”. (shrink)
Every scholar and reader of William James is aware of his frequent uses of "energy," especially in his discussions of ethics and most notably in his 1906 Presidential Address to the American Philosophical Association, "The Energies of Men". But while other interpretations treat James's use of "energy" as merely one of his several folksy metaphors, The Ethics of Energy: William James's Moral Philosophy in Focus is the first monograph, as its author, Sergio Franzese, rightly claims, to focus upon (...) "energy" as a central concept in James's ethics. Ethics, for James, is not about values, goods, or principles but about the organization of energy, especially into habits, in the service of personal, aesthetic ideals. As such this book is an original and valuable addition to the literature on James, and it does much to bring James into closer dialogue with other recent efforts to rethink ethics without appeal to some rule of reason, whether it be in the form of an utilitarian calculus or a categorical imperative. Such efforts include those of Friedrich Nietzsche, whom Franzese discusses extensively, Max Scheler, whom he mentions only briefly (51-52), and especially Michel Foucault, whom he does not mention at all. (shrink)
William James is notorious for the large number of inconsistencies and at least apparent contradictions in his writings. Many readers conclude that he should be appreciated more for his profound but erratic insights than for any coherent philosophical perspective. Ellen Kappy Suckiel disagrees. She argues that James is far more careful and systematic than many readers realize. Her work on James is guided by the attempt to lay bare his coherent philosophical vision and the consistent philosophical methodology underlying it. (...) As a result of this approach, Suckiel's work on James is both sympathetic to his philosophical insights and carefully argued. In her first book, The Pragmatic Philosophy of William James (1982), Suckiel applies this approach to James's philosophy as a whole. The result is a work of remarkable clarity and insight that serves as a wonderful introduction to James's thought. In her more recent book, Suckiel applies this approach specifically to James's philosophy of religion, with similar felicitous results. Heaven's... (shrink)
The importance of this collection of writings of William James lies in the fact that it has been arranged to provide a systematic introduction to his major philosophical discoveries, and precisely to those doctrines and theories that are of most burning current interest. William James: The Essential Writings is a series of philosophical arguments on some of the most "obscure and head-cracking problems" in contemporary philosophy; the relation of thought to its object; the interrelationships between meaning and truth; (...) the levels and structures of experience; the degrees of reality; the nature of the embodied self; the relation of ethics, aesthetics, and religious experience to man's strenuously and "heroically" active nature; and, above all, the structurization of the experienced life-world as the validating ground and origin of all theory; Bruce Wilshire has provided an introduction to William James's thought on these and other related points which is at once both substantial and subtle. (shrink)
Imagine putting together a jigsaw puzzle that works like the board game in the movie “Jumanji”: When you finish, whatever the puzzle portrays becomes real. The children playing “Jumanji” learn to prepare for the reality that emerges from the next throw of the dice. But how would this work for the puzzle of scientific research? How do you prepare for unlocking the secrets of the atom, or assembling from the bottom-up nanotechnologies with unforeseen properties – especially when completion of such (...) puzzles lies decades after the first scattered pieces are tentatively assembled? In the inaugural issue of this journal, Michael Polanyi argued that because the progress of science is unpredictable, society must only move forward with solving the puzzle until the picture completes itself. Decades earlier, Frederick Soddy argued that once the potential for danger reveals itself, one must reorient the whole of one’s work to avoid it. While both scientists stake out extreme positions, Soddy’s approach – together with the action taken by the like-minded Leo Szilard – provides a foundation for the anticipatory governance of emerging technologies. This paper narrates the intertwining stories of Polanyi, Soddy and Szilard, revealing how anticipation influenced governance in the case of atomic weapons and how Polanyi’s claim in “The Republic of Science” of an unpredictable and hence ungovernable science is faulty on multiple levels. (shrink)
In this biography of William James, Robert D. Richardson claims that he seeks ". . . to understand his life through his work, not the other way around" (xiii). This he does not do. Rather, where Richardson does excel is in biographical narrative or in his own words, in the aim "to present James' life [rather] than to analyze or explain it" (xiii).Richardson covers fascinating biographical territory familiar to readers of this journal. He provides an excellent narrative description of (...) James's relation to his father Henry James, Sr. He helpfully accounts for the latter's influence on William as well as their intellectual differences. Richardson's descriptions of the warm relationship between William and his brother .. (shrink)
This paper discusses how Wittgenstein’s thinking informs recent conversations about art and aesthetic practice by examining his influence on the work of the noted modernist art critic, Michael Fried. Fried considers an excerpt from Wittgenstein’s Culture and Value, with a puzzling thought experiment, to help us see more clearly the Canadian artist Jeff Wall’s photographic vision and aesthetic. I consider Fried’s account of the photographic practice of Jeff Wall, especially his photograph Morning Cleaning, Mies van der Rohe Foundation (1999).
MichaelWilliams believes that scepticism about the externalworld seems compelling only because the considerations that underpin it are thoughtto be ``mere platitudes'''' about e.g., the nature and source of human knowledge, and hence,that if it shown through a ``theoretical diagnosis'''' that it does not rest upon suchplatitudes, but contentious theoretical considerations that we are no means bound toaccept, we can simply dismiss the absurd sceptical conclusion. Williams argues thatscepticism does presuppose two extremely contentious doctrines, however, he admits (...) thatif these doctrines are themselves motivated by ``platitudes'''' then scepticism follows. Iaddress Williams''s arguments for thinking scepticism must presuppose these doctrines,and argue that he overlooks a way that they can be seen as motivated by mere platitudes.Thus, I conclude that William''s novel rejection of scepticism fails. (shrink)
Sceptical theists--e.g., William Alston and Michael Bergmann--have claimed that considerations concerning human cognitive limitations are alone sufficient to undermine evidential arguments from evil. We argue that, if the considerations deployed by sceptical theists are sufficient to undermine evidential arguments from evil, then those considerations are also sufficient to undermine inferences that play a crucial role in ordinary moral reasoning. If cogent, our argument suffices to discredit sceptical theist responses to evidential arguments from evil.
[Michael Friedman] This paper considers the extent to which Kant's vision of a distinctively 'transcendental' task for philosophy is essentially tied to his views on the foundations of the mathematical and physical sciences. Contemporary philosophers with broadly Kantian sympathies have attempted to reinterpret his project so as to isolate a more general philosophical core not so closely tied to the details of now outmoded mathematical-physical theories (Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics). I consider two such attempts, those of Strawson and (...) McDowell, and argue that they fundamentally distort the original Kantian impulse. I then consider Buchdahl's attempt to preserve the link between Kantian philosophy and the sciences while simultaneously generalizing Kant's doctrines in light of later scientific developments. I argue that Buchdahl's view, while not adequate as in interpretation of Kant in his own eighteenth century context, is nonetheless suggestive of an historicized and relativized revision of Kantianism that can do justice to both Kant's original philosophical impulse and the radical changes in the sciences that have occurred since Kant's day. /// [Graham Bird] Michael Friedman criticises some recent accounts of Kant which 'detach' his transcendental principles from the sciences, and do so in order to evade naturalism. I argue that Friedman's rejection of that 'detachment' is ambiguous. In its strong form, which I claim Kant rejects, the principles of Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics are represented as transcendental principles. In its weak form, which I believe Kant accepts, it treats those latter principles as higher order conditions of the possibility of both science and ordinary experience. I argue also that the appeal to naturalism is unhelpful because that doctrine is seriously unclear, and because the accounts Friedman criticises are open to objections independent of any appeal to naturalism. (shrink)
The radical empiricism of William James was first formally presented in his seminal papers of 1904, 'Does Consciousness Exist?' and 'A World of Pure Experience'. In James's view, pure experience was to serve as the source for psychology's primary data and radical empiricism was to launch an effective critique of experimentalism in psychology, a critique from which the problem of experimentalism within science could be addressed more broadly. This collection of papers presents James's formal statements on radical empiricism and (...) a representative sample of contemporary responses from psychologists and philosophers. With only a few exceptions, these responses indicate just how badly James was misread - psychologists ignoring the heart of James's message and philosophers transforming James's metaphysics into something quite unintelligible to the emerging generation of experimental psychologists. (shrink)
It was important to James's philosophy, especially his doctrine of the will to believe, that we could believe at will. Toward this end he argues in The Principles of Psychology that attending to an idea is identical with believing it, which, in turn, is identical with willing that it be realized. Since willing is identical with believing and willing is an intentional action, it follows by Leibniz's Law that believing also is an intentional action. This paper explores the problems with (...) James's thesis that attending=will=belief. An attempt is made to show that it has a salvageable core that is of considerable philosophical interest and importance. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction William A. Galston and Peter H. Hoffenberg; 2. Global poverty and uneven development Sakiko Fukuda-Parr; 3. The karma of poverty: a Buddhist perspective David R. Loy; 4. Poverty and morality in Christianity Kent A. Van Til; 5. Classical liberalism, poverty, and morality Tom G. Palmer; 6. Confucian perspectives on poverty and morality Peter Nosco; 7. Poverty and morality: a feminist perspective Nancy J. Hirschmann; 8. Hinduism and poverty Arvind Sharma; 9. The problem of (...) poverty in Islamic ethics Sohail H. Hashmi; 10. Jewish perspectives on poverty Noam Zohar; 11. Liberal egalitarianism and poverty Darrel Moellendorf; 12. Marxism and poverty Andrew Levine; 13. Poverty and natural law Stephen J. Pope; 14. Afterword Michael Walzer. (shrink)
The concept of empiricism evokes both a historical tradition and a set of philosophical theses. The theses are usually understood to have been developed by Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. But these figures did not use the term “empiricism,” and they did not see themselves as united by a shared epistemology into one school of thought. My dissertation analyzes the debate that elevated the concept of empiricism (and of an empiricist tradition) to prominence in English-language philosophy. -/- In the 1870s and (...) ’80s a lively debate about psychology emerged. Neo-Kantian idealists criticized the very idea that the mind can be studied scientifically. A group of philosopher-psychologists responded, often in Mind. They were among the first to call themselves “empiricists,” arguing that psychology could provide a scientific basis for philosophical progress. Idealists held that empirical psychology depended on premises developed by Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. These premises were allegedly absurd because they rendered ideas of extension, as well as other ideas crucial to natural science, unreal. Those who wanted to advance psychology towards becoming a legitimate science were forced to engage these philosophical attacks, while at the same time to develop empirical theories that could successfully explain some characteristics of experience. I show how James’s theory of space perception accomplished both tasks. -/- In developing this theory, James found he had to reject the Lockean notion that reality is associated with passively-registered sensations. James also abandoned Berkeley and Hume’s claim that ideas are ultimately derived from atomic sensations. Instead, James presented experimental evidence that sensation is a continuous stream. The mind must actively parse this stream if it is to gain a coherent representation of its environment. I argue that James’s stream-of-thought thesis served as a presupposition of his entire psychology. The thesis showed how the labor of investigating the mind could be divided between philosophers and scientists, and in a manner sensitive to the concerns of both. The stream thesis also provided a scientific basis for a new philosophical empiricism that, I argue, has a hidden legacy in the history of analytic philosophy. (shrink)
Exhuming the long-buried religious roots of our ostensibly godless age, Michael Allen Gillespie reveals in this landmark study that modernity is much less secular than conventional wisdom suggests. Taking as his starting point the collapse of the medieval world, Gillespie argues that from the very beginning moderns sought not to eliminate religion but to support a new view of religion and its place in human life—and that they did so not out of hostility but in order to sustain certain (...) religious beliefs. He goes on to explore the ideas of such figures as William of Ockham, Petrarch, Erasmus, Luther, Descartes, and Hobbes, showing that modernity is best understood as a series of attempts to formulate a new and coherent metaphysics or theology. We’re still trying, Gillespie contends, to resolve the tensions inherent in our ideas of God, man, and nature—tensions that arose in the late Middle Ages during a titanic struggle between contradictory elements within Christianity. In the end, Gillespie shows that understanding modernity’s continuing entanglement with Christian metaphysics is crucial to comprehending the hidden possibilities of our confrontation with radical Islam and with the dualistic elements of our own tradition. (shrink)
One way to understand philosophy as a form of therapy is this: it involves a philosopher who is trying to cure himself. He has been drawn into a certain philosophical frame of mind—the ‘disease’—and has thus infected himself with this illness. Now he is sick and trying to employ philosophy to cure himself. So philosophy is both: the ailment and the cure. And the philosopher is all three: pathogenic agent, patient, and therapist.
This paper deals with Ludwik Fleck’s theory of thought styles and Michael Polanyi’s theory of tacit knowledge. Though both concepts have been very influential for science studies in general, and both have been subject to numerous interpretations, their accounts have, somewhat surprisingly, hardly been comparatively analyzed. Both Fleck and Polanyi relied on the physiology and psychology of the senses in order to show that scientific knowledge follows less the path of logical principles than the path of accepting or rejecting (...) specific conventions, where these may be psychologically or sociologically grounded. It is my aim to show that similarities and differences between Fleck and Polanyi are to be seen in the specific historical and political context in which they worked. Both authors, I shall argue, emphasized the relevance of perception in close connection to their respective understanding of science, freedom, and democracy. (shrink)
A brief (10,000 word) introduction to James's philosophy with particular focus on the relation between James's naturalism and his account of various normative notions like rationality, goodness and truth.
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)
Michael Zbaraschuk’s recent article, “Not Radical Enough: William Dean’s Problems with God and History,”1 deserves a published response, because it applies not only to my work but to that of many other philosophical theologians, some of whom read this journal. Before discussing the larger issues, I must attend to an item of scholarly housekeeping. Although Zbaraschuk draws narrowly, i.e., from only two of my books—History Making History (1988) and The Religious Critic in American Culture (1994)—he applies his arguments (...) indiscriminately to my work as a totality, omitting most crucially the score of articles and the book written between 1994 and the present. Of course, there is nothing wrong with an .. (shrink)
According to William Craig, the notion of explanatory priority is the Achilles' heel of Robert Adams' argument against Molinism. Specifically, Craig contends that (1) the notion of explanatory priority is employed equivocally in the argument; (2) Adams is guilty of conflating reasons and causes; and (3) one of the intermediate conclusions of the argument is invalidly inferred, as can be seen by a counterexample. I argue that Craig is mistaken on all counts, and that Adams' argument emerges unscathed.
Michael Ruse has proposed in his recent book Taking Darwin Seriously and elsewhere a new Darwinian ethics distinct from traditional evolutionary ethics, one that avoids the latter's inadequate accounts of the nature of morality and its failed attempts to provide a naturalistic justification of morality. Ruse argues for a sociobiologically based account of moral sentiments, and an evolutionary based casual explanation of their function, rejecting the possibility of ultimate ethical justification. We find that Ruse's proposal distorts, overextends and weakens (...) both Darwinism and naturalism. So we propose an alternative Darwinian metaethics that both remedies the problems in Ruse's proposal and shows how a Darwinian naturalistic account of the moral good in terms of human fitness avoids the naturalistic fallacy and can provide genuine, even if limited, justifications for substantive ethical claims. Thus, we propose to really take Darwin seriously. (shrink)