In the first part of the paper, I try to clarify the cluster of moods and questions we refer to generically as the problem of the meaning of life. I propose that the question of meaning emerges when we perform a spontaneous transcendental reduction on the phenomenon my life, a reduction that leaves us confronting an unjustified and unjustifiable curiosity. In Part 2, I turn to the film ikiru, Kurosawa''s masterpiece of 1952, for an existentialist resolution of the problem.
Pragmatism has enjoyed a major resurgence in Anglo-American philosophy over the course of the last decade or two, and Robert Brandom’s work – particularly his 1994 tome Making it Explicit (MIE) – has been at the vanguard of this resurgence (Brandom 1994).2 But pragmatism comes in several surprisingly distinct flavours. Authors such as Hubert Dreyfus find their roots in certain parts of Heidegger and in phenomenologists such as Merleau-Ponty, and they privilege embodied, preconceptual skills as opposed to discursive practices as (...) the basic sites of meaning and agency (Dreyfus 1991; Dreyfus 1992; Todes 2001). With strong inheritances from Dewey and Wittgenstein, Richard Rorty has championed a pragmatism whose core emphasis is on the rejection of transcendental truth and high metaphysical theorizing (Rorty 1982), and this anti-theoretical banner has been taken up by several prominent ethicists, among others. For his part, Brandom, who purports to offer a systematic theory of language and meaning grounded on a foundation of pragmatic normative relationships between speakers, looks back instead to Sellars and Quine for his stripe of pragmatism. Near the start of MIE, he writes: The explanatory strategy pursued here is to begin with an account of social practices, identify the particular structure they must exhibit in order to qualify as specifically linguistic practices, and then consider what different sorts of semantic contents those practices can confer on states, performances, and expressions caught up in them in suitable ways. (Brandom 1994, xiii) Despite his professed pragmatism, Brandom is no foe of high theory or metanarratives, and he is vastly more interested in language and theoretical reason than in the rest of human bodily activity. For Brandom, inferentially articulated discourse forms an autonomous domain of normativity, while our bodily encounters with the world in perception and in action serve as language entry and exit points respectively.. (shrink)
One of the central themes of Brandom’s work is that we should construct our sematic theories around material validity and incompatibility, rather than reference, truth, and satisfaction. This approach to semantics is motivated in part by Brandom’s pragmatism about the relation between semantics and the more general study of language use—what he calls “pragmatics”: Inferring is a kind of doing. . . . The status of inference as something that can be done accordingly holds out the promise of securing an (...) appropriate relation between pragmatics, the study of the practices, and semantics, the study of the corresponding contents. (MIE, 91)1 Although Brandom does not go so far as to say that a pragmatist attitude to the relation between semantics and pragmatics requires an inferentialist semantics, his motivating arguments strongly suggest that a pragmatist ought to be an inferentialist. In what follows, I discuss the connections between Brandom’s pragmatism and his inferentialism. I’ll argue that pragmatism, as Brandom initially describes it—the view that “semantics must answer to pragmatics”—does not favor an inferentialist approach to semantics over a truth-conditional one. I’ll then consider whether inferentialism might be.. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Chronology; Introduction John M. Najemy; 1. Niccol- Machiavelli: a portrait James B. Atkinson; 2. Machiavelli in the Chancery Robert Black; 3. Machiavelli, Piero Soderini, and the Republic of 1494-1512 Roslyn Pesman; 4. Machiavelli and the Medici Humfrey Butters; 5. Machiavelli's Prince in the epic tradition Wayne A. Rebhorn; 6. Society, class, and state in Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy John M. Najemy; 7. Machiavelli's military project and the Art of War Mikael Hörnqvist; 8. Machiavelli's History of Florence (...) Anna Maria Cabrini; 9. Machiavelli and Rome: the Republic as ideal and as history J. G. A. Pocock; 10. Philosophy and religion in Machiavelli Alison Brown; 11. Rhetoric and ethics in Machiavelli Virginia Cox; 12. Machiavelli and poetry Albert Russell Ascoli and Angela Matilde Capodivacca; 13. Comedian, tragedian: Machiavelli and traditions of Renaissance theatre Ronald Martinez; 14. Machiavelli and gender Barbara Spackman; 15. Machiavelli's afterlife and reputation to the eighteenth century Victoria Kahn; 16. Machiavelli in political thought from the Age of Revolutions to the present Je;re;mie Barthas; Index. (shrink)
The origin of paraconsistent logic is closely related with the argument, 'from the assertion of two mutually contradictory statements any other statement can be deduced'; this can be referred to as ex contradictione sequitur quodlibet (ECSQ). Despite its medieval origin, only by the 1930s did it become the main reason for the unfeasibility of having contradictions in a deductive system. The purpose of this article is to study what happened earlier: from Principia Mathematica to that time, when it became well (...) established. The two main historical claims that I am going to advance are the following: (1) the first explicit use of ECSQ as the main argument for supporting the necessity of excluding any contradiction from deductive systems is to be found in the first edition of the book Grundz ge der Theoretischen Logik (Hilbert, D. and Ackermann, W. 1928. Grundz ge der Theoretischen Logik . Berlin: Julius Springer Verlag); (2) ukasiewicz's position regarding the logical constraints against contradictions varies considerably from his studies on the principle of (non-) contradiction in Aristotle, published in 1910 and what is stated in his 'authorized lectured notes' on mathematical logic that appeared in 1929. The two texts are: 1) a paper in German ( ukasiewicz, J. 1910. ' ber den Satz des Widerspruchs bei Aristotles'. Bulletin International de l'Acad mie des sciences de Cracovie, Classe d'Histoire et de Philosophie, pp. 15-38) [English translation: ukasiewicz, J. 1971. 'On the principle of contradiction in Aristotle', Review of Metaphysics , XXIV , 485-509]; and 2) a book in Polish. ukasiewicz, J. 1910. O zasadzie sprzecznosci u Aristotelesa Studium krytyczne , Warsaw: Panstwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe [German translation: ukasiewicz, J. 1993. ber den Satz des Widerspruchs bei Aristotles . Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag]. The lecture notes were then published as a book ( ukasiewicz, J. 1958. Elementy Logiki Matematycznej . Warszawa: Panstwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe [PWN] and then translated into English ( ukasiewicz, J. 1963. Elements of Mathematical Logic. Oxford, New York: Pergamon Press/The Macmillan Company) . The second half of this article will concentrate on ukasiewicz's position on ECSQ. This will lead me to propose that to regard him as a forerunner of paraconsistent logic by virtue of those early writings is accurate only if his book published in Polish is considered but not if the analysis is restricted to the paper originally published in German (as has been the case for the principal reconstructions of the history of paraconsistent logic). Furthermore, I will stress that in the 1929 book he presented one formalization of ECSQ as an axiom for sentential calculus and, also, he used ECSQ to defend the necessity of consistency, apparently independently of Hilbert and Ackermann's book. At the end, I will suggest that the aim of twentieth century usage of ECSQ was to change from the centuries-long philosophical discussion about contradictions to a more 'technical' one. But with paraconsistent logic viewed as a technical solution to this restriction, then, the philosophical problem revives but having now at one's disposal an improved understanding of it. Finally, ukasiewicz's two different positions about ECSQ open an interesting question about the history of paraconsistent logic: do we have to attempt a consistent reconstruction of it, or are we prepared to admit inconsistencies within it? (shrink)
When Bob Brandom, six years after publishing his opus magnum Making it explicit (hereafter MIE)1, produced his slender Articulating reasons2, many people expected that finally they would have a concise introduction to his philosophical views. Their expectations, however, were to be dashed: Articulating reasons is a heterogeneous collection of texts elaborating on some of the topics of MIE and hardly digestible without the background of MIE3. As yet, Brandom has produced nothing that could be taken as introductory. His subsequent books (...) are either collections of essays addressing topics contained in or connected with MIE (Tales of the mighty dead4, Reason in Philosophy5 or the not yet published Perspectives on Pragmatism6), or engaged with Brandom's new philosophical doctrine, viz. analytic pragmatism, which is the case of Between Saying and Doing7. The last one, of course, is not unrelated to MIE, but it emphasizes different aspects of the enterprise; hence it is unlikely to pave the way to MIE for a perplexed reader. Until recently I was convinced that no readable introduction to Brandom's views therefore existed. Now I see I was mistaken. Though I knew that there was a book devoted to Brandom, by Jeremy Wanderer, I suspected it was more of a scientific biography than an introduction to the inferentialism of MIE; but in fact it is precisely the book I was missing: a congenial and comprehensible introduction to the ideas of Brandom's MIE. Hurrah!, a book my students, desperately wrestling with MIE, can be referred to! (shrink)
This is the third draft of a paper that aims to clarify the apparent contradictions in the views presented in certain standards and other specifications of health informatics systems, contradictions which come to light when the latter are evaluated from the perspective of realist philosophy. One of the origins of this document was Klein’s discussion paper of 2005-07-02 entitled “Conceptology vs Reality” and the responses from Smith, as well as the several hours of discussions during the 2005 MIE meeting in (...) Geneva. (shrink)
Curiously, though he provides in Making It Explicit (MIE) elaborate accounts of various representational idioms, of anaphora and deixis, and of quantification, Robert Brandom nowhere attempts to lay out how his understanding of content and his view of the role of logical idioms combine in even the simplest cases of what he calls paradigmatic logical vocabulary. That is, Brandom has a philosophical account of content as updating potential – as inferential potential understood in the sense of commitment or entitlement preservation (...) – and says that the point of logical vocabulary is to make available the expressive resources to make explicit such semantic structures as arise from discursive scorekeeping practice. Thus, one would expect an account of the updating or inferential potential of sentences involving logical vocabulary, an account which is such as to assign to those sentences the inferential significance necessary for this expressive job. In short, one would expect a semantics of logical vocabulary – &, , – in terms of the difference an assertion of a sentence involving it makes to the atomic score of a linguistic agent, and a completeness proof for the logic generated by this semantics. Despite this, no such semantics is given in MIE. It is in the current paper. (shrink)
: This is an interpretation of the experiential/religious meaning of Japanese Shrine Shintō as taught us primarily by the priests at Tsubaki Grand Shrine, Suzuka, Mie Prefecture. As a heuristic device, we suggest lines of comparison between the thought and practice of the Tsubaki priests and two Western thinkers: the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber and the French philosopher Georges Bataille. This in turn allows the construction of three interpretive categories that we believe illuminate both the Shintō worldview and Shintō ritual (...) practice. (shrink)
Phénoménologie de la vie et cosmologieJ’ai établi dans mes précédents ouvrages que la corrélation universelle entre l’étant transcendant et la subjectivité, corrélation qui constitue l’objet propre de laphénoménologie, mettait originairement en rapport une Vie et un Monde plutôt qu’une simple conscience et son objet. J’ai donc montré que la phénoménologie s’accomplissait sous la forme d’une phénoménologie de la vie comprenant celle-ci comme le sens originaire de la conscience, elle-même déterminée comme désir pour autant qu’elle est traversée par une vie qui (...) la déborde et l’ouvre à une transcendance. Mais il reste à s’interroger sur l’être même de cette relation, sur le soubassement ontologique permettant de rapporter l’un à l’autre la vie et le monde. Ceci revient à questionner l’essence même de la vie, en tant que sa différence, comme vie subjective, n’exclut pas mais appelle au contraire son appartenance au monde. Je voudrais montrer que c’est au plan du mouvement et, par conséquent, dans le cadre d’une dynamique phénoménologique que cette articulation est pensable. En rapportant la vie au mouvement qui la caractérisecomme désir et le monde au procès « physique » de phénoménalisation qu’il est en dernière analyse et dans lequel le mouvement de la vie s’inscrit, on se donne les moyens d’articuler vie et monde et de dépasser ainsi leur dualité vers leur sol ontologique commun.Fenomenologia della vita e cosmologiaHo stabilito nelle mie opere precedenti che la correlazione universale tra l’ente trascendente e la soggettività, correlazione che rappresenta l’oggetto proprio della fenomenologia, metteva originariamente in rapporto una Vita e un Mondo piuttosto che una semplice coscienza e il suo oggetto. Ho dunque dimostrato che la fenomenologia si realizzava sotto la forma di una fenomenologia della vita che comprende quest’ultima come il senso originario della coscienza, a sua volta determinata come desiderio in quanto attraversata da una vita che la oltrepassa e l’apre ad una trascendenza. Ma bisogna ancora interrogarsi sull’essere stesso di questa relazione, sul fondamento ontologico che permette di mettere in rapporto reciproco la vita e il mondo. Questo porta a mettere in questione l’essenza stessa della vita, in quanto la sua differenza, come vita soggettiva, non esclude ma implica al contrario la sua appartenenza al mondo. Vorrei mostrare che è sul piano del movimento e, di conseguenza, nel contesto di una dinamica fenomenologica, che questa articolazione è pensabile. Rapportando la vitaal movimento che la caratterizza come desiderio e il mondo al processo « fisico » di fenomenalizzazione nel quale in ultima analisi esso consiste e nel quale il movimento della vita s’iscrive, possiamo articolare vita e mondo e oltrepassare così la loro dualità verso il loro suolo ontologico comune. (shrink)
: The work of Herbert A. Simon has drawn increasing attention from modern scholars who argue that Simon's work changed during the Cold War. This is due to the fact that Simon seemingly changed the substance of his research in the 1950s. This paper argues that Simon did not change in any significant way, but was lead by his interest in decision making and rationality into areas of economics, political science, sociology, psychology, organization theory, and computer science. He used elements (...) of different disciplines to address his overall interest and there is therefore a considerable continuity in Simon's work. This paper also provides part of a background for the recent increase of interest in Simon's ideas by providing some details of the RAND Corporation and the Ford Foundation's support of scientific research through the post war years in general, and their connections to the behavioral science research at Carnegie Mellon University in particular. (shrink)
In his doctoral dissertation, Harold Garfinkel critically examined Talcott Parsons' classical formulation of the problem of order referred to as the Hobbesian problem. Garfinkel's criticism can be summarized under the following three headings: (1) common sense rationality replaces scientific rationality; (2) the level of the premises of conduct replaces the level of de facto action; (3) congruence theory replaces the correspondence theory. The aim of this paper is to make some observations on the structure of the problem of order which (...) Garfinkel discovered through this criticism. I propose to call it the Rashomon problem after Akira Kurosawa's film Rashomon. Ethnomethodology can be regarded as an attempt to solve the Rashomon problem. (shrink)
This is an interpretation of the experiential/religious meaning of Japanese Shrine Shinto as taught us primarily by the priests at Tsubaki Grand Shrine, Suzuka, Mie Prefecture. As a heuristic device, we suggest lines of comparison between the thought and practice of the Tsubaki priests and two Western thinkers: the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber and the French philosopher Georges Bataille. This in turn allows the construction of three interpretive categories that we believe illuminate both the Shintō worldview and Shintō ritual practice.
Environmental ethics has reached a certain level of maturity; further significant advances require reexamining its status within the larger realm of moral philosophy. It could aim to extend to nonhumans one of the familiar sets of principles subject to appropriate modifications; or it could seek to break away and put forward its own paradigm or paradigms. Selecting the proper course requires as the most immediate mission exploring the formal requirements of an ethical system. In general, are there constraints against bringing (...) our moral relations with different sorts of things under different mIes of govemance? In particular, how much independence can an environmental ethic (or ethics) aim to have? (shrink)
In his book, Earth and Other Ethics, Christopher Stone attempts to account for the moral dimension of our lives insofar as it extends to nonhuman animals, plants, species, ecosystems, and even inanimate objects. In his effort to do this, he introduces a technical notion, the moral plane. Moral planes are defined both by the ontological commitments they make and by the governance mIes (moral maxims) that pertain to the sorts of entities included in the plane. By introducing these planes, Stone (...) is left with a set of problems. (1) Do the planes provide anything more objective than a set of alternative ways of looking at moral problems? (2) How can one resolve apparent conflicts between the recommendations forthcoming from distinct planes? (3) Why do certain entities constitute moral planes; and how do we decide which planes to “buy into?” Stone’s answers to these questions endorse aseries of concessions to moral relativism. In this paper I outline an alternative to Stone’s moral planes which, while sympathetic to his ethical concerns, comes down squarelyon the side of moral realism. (shrink)
Ontology of Construction explores theories of construction in modern architecture, with a particular focus on the relationship between nihilism of technology and architecture. Providing an historical context to the concept of making, the essays collected in this volume articulate the implications of technology in works by such architects as Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Adolf Loos, and Mies van der Rohe. Also provided is an interpretation of Gottfried Semper's discourse on the Tectonic and the relationship between architecture and other crafts. (...) Emphasising 'fabrication' as a critical theme for contemporary architectural theory and practice, Ontology of Construction is a provocative contribution to the current debate in these areas. (shrink)
Animation victims: an abridged history of animated response -- Animated history -- The movement of accessories -- Fabric extensions and textual supplements from modern and antique fragments -- The movement of snakes -- Pneumatic impulses and bygone appendages from Philo to Warburg -- The afterlife of crystals -- Art historical biology and the animation of the inorganic -- Inorganic culture -- Nudes in the forest -- Models, sciences, and legends in a landscape by Léger -- Malicious houses -- Animism and (...) animosity in German architecture and film from Mies to Murnau -- Daphne's legacy -- Architecture, psychoanalysis, and petrification. (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).