Carter and Leslie's Doomsday Argument maintains that reflection upon the number of humans born thus far, when that number is viewed as having been uniformly randomly selected from amongst all humans, past, present and future, leads to a dramatic rise in the probability of an early end to the human experiment. We examine the Bayesian structure of the Argument and find that the drama is largely due to its oversimplification.
This paper assesses branching spacetime theories in light of metaphysical considerations concerning time. I present the A, B, and C series in terms of the temporal structure they impose on sets of events, and raise problems for two elements of extant branching spacetime theories—McCall’s ‘branch attrition’, and the ‘no backward branching’ feature of Belnap’s ‘branching space-time’—in terms of their respective A- and B-theoretic nature. I argue that McCall’s presentation of branch attrition can only be coherently formulated on a model with (...) at least two temporal dimensions, and that this results in severing the link between branch attrition and the ﬂow of time. I argue that ‘no backward branching’ prohibits Belnap’s theory from capturing the modal content of indeterministic physical theories, and results in it ascribing to the world a time-asymmetric modal structure that lacks physical justiﬁcation. (shrink)
This thesis is about the conceptualization of persistence of physical, middle-sized objects within the theoretical framework of the revisionary ‘B-theory’ of time. According to the B-theory, time does not flow, but is an extended and inherently directed fourth dimension along which the history of the universe is ‘laid out’ once and for all. It is a widespread view among philosophers that if we accept the B-theory, the commonsensical ‘endurance theory’ of persistence will have to be rejected. The endurance theory says (...) that objects persist through time by being wholly present at distinct times as numerically the same entity. Instead of endurantism, it has been argued, we have to adopt either ‘perdurantism’ or the ‘stage theory’. Perdurantism is the theory that objects are four-dimensional ‘space-time worms’ persisting through time by having distinct temporal parts at distinct times. The stage theory says that objects are instantaneous temporal parts (stages) of space-time worms, persisting by having distinct temporal counterparts at distinct times. In the thesis, it is argued that no good arguments have been provided for the conclusion that we are obliged to drop the endurance theory by acceptance of the B-theory. This conclusion stands even if the endurance theory incorporates the claim that objects endure through intrinsic change. It is also shown that perdurantism and the stage theory come with unwelcome consequences. -/- Paper I demonstrates that the main arguments for the view that objects cannot endure in B-time intrinsically unchanged fail. Papers II and III do the same with respect to the traditional arguments against endurance through intrinsic change in B-time. Paper III also contains a detailed account of the semantics of the tenseless copula, which occurs frequently in the debate. The contention of Paper IV is that four-dimensional space-time worms, as traditionally understood, are not suited to take dispositional predicates. In Paper V, it is shown that the stage theory needs to introduce an overabundance of persistence-concepts, many of which will have to be simultaneously applicable to a single object (qua falling under a single sortal), in order for the theory to be consistent. The final article, Paper VI, investigates the sense in which persistence can, as is sometimes suggested, be a ‘conventional matter’. It also asks whether alleged cases of ‘conventional persistence’ create trouble for the endurance theory. It is argued that conventions can only enter at a trivial semantic level, and that the endurance theory is no more threatened by such conventions than are its rivals. (shrink)
Three arguments for the conclusion that objects cannot endure in B-time even if they remain intrinsically unchanged are examined: Carter and Hestevolds enduring-objects-as-universals argument (American Philosophical Quarterly 31(4):269-283, 1994) and Barker and Dowe's paradox 1 and paradox 2 (Analysis 63(2):106-114, 2003, Analysis 65(1):69-74, 2005). All three are shown to fail.
Jesus Christ may be regarded as the chief spirit of agitation and innovation. He himself declared, “I come not to bring peace, but a sword.” One cannot delve seriously into the centuries of activism and scholarship against racism, Jim Crowism, and the terrorism of lynching without encountering the legacies of Timothy Thomas Fortune and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Black scholars from the 19th century to the present have been inspired by the sociological and economic works of Fortune and Wells. Scholars of (...) American philosophy, however, continue to ignore their writings, their theoretical contributions and their ethical aspirations, preferring instead the insipid declarations of white turn of the century .. (shrink)
This article is a modified version in translation of the original Dutch version that appeared in Tijdschrift voor Filosofie 4 (2010) / * Inspired by Kant's account of intuition and concepts, John McDowell has forcefully argued that the relation between sensible content and concepts is such that sensible content does not severally contribute to cognition but always only in conjunction with concepts. This view is known as conceptualism. Recently, Robert Hanna and Lucy Allais, among others, have brought against this view (...) the charge that it neglects the possibility of the existence of essentially non-conceptual content that is not conceptualized or subject to conceptualization. Their defence against McDowell amounts to non-conceptualism. Both views believe that intuition is synthesized content in Kant's sense. In this article I am particularly interested in how their views are true to Kant. I argue that although McDowell is right that intuition is only epistemically relevant in conjunction with concepts, I also believe that Hanna and Allais are right with regard to the existence of essentially non-conceptual content, but that they are wrong with regard to intuition being synthesized content in Kant's sense. I also point out the common failure to take account of the modal nature of Kant's argument for the relation between intuition and concept. (shrink)
H. B. D. Kettlewell's field experiments on industrial melanism in the peppered moth, Biston betularia, have become the best known demonstration of natural selection in <span class='Hi'>action</span>. I argue that textbook accounts routinely portray this research as an example of controlled experimentation, even though this is historically misleading. I examine how idealized accounts of Kettlewell's research have been used by professional biologists and biology teachers. I also respond to some criticisms of David Rudge to my earlier discussions of this case (...) study, and I question Rudge's claims about the importance of purely observational studies for the eventual acceptance and popularization of Kettlewell's explanation for the evolution of industrial melanism. (shrink)
This volume is a collection of original essays by eminent philosophers written for R. B. Braithwaite's eightieth birthday to celebrate his work and teaching. In one way or another, all the essays reflect his central concern with the impact of science on our beliefs about the world and the responses appropriate to that. Together they testify to the signal importance of his contributions in areas of philosophy bearing on this concern: the philosophy of science, especially of the statistical sciences, theories (...) of belief and of probability, decision theory and games theory. This book, which includes a full bibliography of Professor Braithwaite's work, will interest advanced students and professionals in the fields of philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
Kantian autonomy is often thought to be independent of time and place, but J. B. Schneewind in his landmark study, The Invention of Autonomy, has shown that there is much to be learned by setting Kant's moral philosophy in the context of the history of modern moral philosophy. The distinguished authors in the collection continue Schneewind's project by relating Kant's work to the historical context of his predecessors and to the empirical context of human agency. This will be a valuable (...) resource for professionals and advanced students in philosophy, the history of ideas, and the history of political thought. (shrink)
Bob B. He: Two-dimensional X-ray diffraction Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10698-011-9135-8 Authors George B. Kauffman, Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034, USA Journal Foundations of Chemistry Online ISSN 1572-8463 Print ISSN 1386-4238.
Thomas B. Rauchfuss, Editor-in-Chief: Inorganic Syntheses, Volume 35 Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10698-011-9139-4 Authors George B. Kauffman, Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034, USA Journal Foundations of Chemistry Online ISSN 1572-8463 Print ISSN 1386-4238.
Western civilization has experienced the birth of many philosophical movements. Most of these have had their origin in a particular geographical area. One usually refers to the "Continental Rationalists." the "British Empiricists." and the "American Pragmatists." Just as "Rationalism" is said to have been created in Great Britain, it is usually said that "Pragmatism" was born in America. One speaks of pragmatism as "characteristically American." The date of birth of pragmatism in America has been pin-pointed. Its genesis came about during (...) the early part of "The Classical Period in American Philosophy," a period extending from about 1870 to 1910. Both Perry and Wiener 2 have stated that in the United States the movement arose during the 1870's due in part to conversations held by James, Peirce, Wright, Holmes, Fiske, and others at the meetings in Cambridge of an organization called "The Metaphysical Club." At these gatherings the main scientific and philosophical ideas of the day were discussed, and these men produced "American Pragmatism," in part from these discussions, and in part from independent work. Although the birth of pragmatism in America has been quite thoroughly examined, the genesis of pragmatism in Europe has been only sparsely written about. There were many writers in Europe who were associated with the pragmatic movement. In Italy there were... (shrink)
This article is a response to Clifford Williams’s claim that the debate between A- and B theories of time is misconceived because these theories do not differ. I provide some missing support for Williams’s claim that the B-theory includes transition, by arguing that representative B-theoretic explanations for why we experience time as passing (even though it does not) are inherently unstable. I then argue that, contra Williams, it does not follow that there is nothing at stake in the A- versus (...) B debate. (shrink)
I offer an interpretation and a partial defense of Kit Fine's ‘Argument from Passage’, which is situated within his reconstruction of McTaggart's paradox. Fine argues that existing A-theoretic approaches to passage are no more dynamic, i.e. capture passage no better, than the B-theory. I argue that this comparative claim is correct. Our intuitive picture of passage, which inclines us towards A-theories, suggests more than coherent A-theories can deliver. In Finean terms, the picture requires not only Realism about tensed facts, but (...) also Neutrality, i.e. the tensed facts not being ‘oriented towards’ one privileged time. However unlike Fine, and unlike others who advance McTaggartian arguments, I take McTaggart's paradox to indicate neither the need for a more dynamic theory of passage nor that time does not pass. A more dynamic theory is not to be had: Fine's ‘non-standard realism’ amounts to no more than a conceptual gesture. But instead of concluding that time does not pass, we should conclude that theories of passage cannot deliver the dynamicity of our intuitive picture. For this reason, a B-theoretic account of passage that simply identifies passage with the succession of times is a serious contender. (shrink)
The debate between A-theory and B-theory in the philosophy of time is a persistent one. It is not always clear, however, what the terms of this debate are. A-theorists are often lumped with a miscellaneous collection of heterodox doctrines: the view that only the present exists, that time ﬂows relentlessly, or that presentness is a property (Williams 1996); that time passes, tense is unanalysable, or that earlier than and later than are deﬁned in terms of pastness, presentness, and futurity (Bigelow (...) 1991); or that events or facts (as opposed to language) are “tensed” (Mellor 1993). B-theorists then argue that the A-theory is incoherent, using variants on J.M.E. McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time (McTaggart 1927, ch. 33). (shrink)
A number of arguments purport to show that vague properties determine sharp boundaries at higher orders. That is, although we may countenance vagueness concerning the location of boundaries for vague predicates, every predicate can instead be associated with precise knowable cut-off points deriving from precision in their higher order boundaries. -/- I argue that this conclusion is indeed paradoxical, and identify the assumption responsible for the paradox as the Brouwerian principle B for vagueness: that if p then it's completely determinate (...) that either it's vague whether p, or p. Other paradoxes which do not appear to turn on B turn instead on some subtle issues concerning the relation between assertion, belief and higher order vagueness. -/- In this paper a B-free picture of assertion, knowledge and logic is outlined which is completely free of higher order precision. A class of realistic models containing counterexamples to B and a number of weakenings of B are introduced and its logic is shown to support vagueness at every order. A novel framework for thinking about the semantic apparatus in the presence of metalinguistic vagueness is also developed. In this framework the vague metatheoretic vocabulary is part of the object language and can readily be applied to itself. (shrink)
In this paper I consider two strategies for providing tenseless truth-conditions for tensed sentences: the token-reflexive theory and the date theory. Both theories have faced a number of objections by prominent A-theorists such as Quentin Smith and William Lane Craig. Traditionally, these two theories have been viewed as rival methods for providing truth-conditions for tensed sentences. I argue that the debate over whether the token-reflexive theory or the date theory is true has arisen from a failure to distinguish between conditions (...) for the truth of tensed tokens and conditions for the truth of propositions expressed by tensed tokens. I demonstrate that there is a true formulation of the token-reflexive theory that provides necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of tensed tokens, and there is a true formulation of the date theory that provides necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of propositions expressed by tensed tokens. I argue that once the views are properly formulated, the A-theorist’s objections fail to make their mark. However, I conclude by claiming that even though there is a true formulation of the token-reflexive theory and a true formulation of the date theory, the New B-theory nonetheless fails to provide a complete account of the truth and falsity of tensed sentences. (shrink)
This article discusses Robin Le Poidevin's proposal that a commitment to the B-theory of time provides atheists with a reason to relinquish the fear of death. For the purposes of the article, I grant Le Poidevin's assertion that the B-theory gives us a sense in which our lives are 'eternally real'; but I deny that the B-theorist is entitled to regard this as sufficient to furnish a reason to cease fearing death. This is because, according to the most prevalent B-theoretic (...) conception of our emotional attitudes, A-theoretic (and not B-theoretic) beliefs are sufficient to ground these attitudes. I discuss this B-theoretic account of our emotions, which I call the Mellor–MacBeath model, and explain how it relates to the fear of death. I argue that, according to this model, the fear of death – in so far as it is a fear of one's personal annihilation – is warranted, and hence that, if Le Poidevin's proposal is to stand, then we must be given either a new B-theoretic account of the connection between beliefs and emotions, or an account of why the fear of death is unlike other emotional attitudes. (shrink)
Abstract: Type-B materialism is the thesis that though phenomenal states are necessarily identical with physical states, phenomenal concepts have no a priori connections to physical or functional concepts. Though type-B materialists have invoked this conceptual independence to counter a number of well-known arguments against physicalism (e.g. the conceivability of zombies, the ignorance of Mary, the existence of an 'explanatory gap'), anti-physicalists have raised objections to this strategy. My aim here is to defend type-B materialism against these objections, by arguing that (...) they share the common problem of not taking the central features of the view sufficiently seriously. However, I will end by noting that type-B materialism raises other questions, and suggesting that what stands in the way of an adequate naturalistic account of phenomenal states may be the propensity to take type-B materialism more seriously than it deserves. (shrink)
This Article critically discusses Clifford Williams’ claim that the A-theory and B-theory of time are indistinguishable. I examine three considerations adduced by Williams to support his claim that the concept of time essentially includes transition as well as extension, and argue that, despite its prima facie plausibility, the claim has not been adequately justified. Williams therefore begs the question against the B-theorist, who denies that transition is essential. By Williams’ own lights, he ought to deny that the B-theory is a (...) (realist) theory of time; and thus his claim that A-time and B-time do not differ significantly should be rejected. (shrink)
The paper provides close commentary on an important but generally neglected passage in "Prior Analytics" B.21 where, in the course of solving a logical puzzle concerning our knowledge of universal statements, Aristotle offers his only explicit treatment of the Platonic doctrine of Recollection. I show how Aristotle defends his solution to the "Paradox of Knowing Universals", as we might call it, and why he introduces Recollection into his discussion of the puzzle. The reading I develop undermines the traditional view of (...) the passage and lends fresh insight into Aristotle's conception of Plato's particular version of innatism; more specifically, when understood as I recommend, the passage strongly suggests that, on Aristotle's view, Plato's theory of Recollection is specifically designed to explain our apprehension of universal truths. The reading I propose also enables us to see how the allegedly non-standard use of the technical term ἐπαγω³ή in B.21 can be understood in a perfectly straightforward fashion to refer to an inductive inference from singular statements to the universal truth they exemplify. Owing to this last point in particular, the paper carries serious consequences for our understanding of the purported doublet in the problematic opening chapter to the "Posterior Analytics" where Aristotle offers his only explicit attempt to solve Meno's Paradox. (shrink)
This essay investigates the influences that led J.B. Watson to change from being a student in an introspectionist laboratory at Chicago to being the founder of systematic (or radical) behaviourism. Our focus is the crucial period, 1913-1914, when Watson struggled to give a convincing behaviourist account of mental imaging, which he considered to be the greatest obstacle to his behaviourist programme. We discuss in detail the evidence for and against the view that, at least eventually, Watson rejected outright the very (...) existence of mental images. We also discuss in detail whether or not Knight Dunlap was the crucial influence on his eventual rejection of mental images. Finally we consider whether Watson's rejection of mental images was bolstered by some personal incapacity as regards imaging or whether his rejection was more like a form of 'ideological blindness'. (shrink)
Abstract In ?Beyond the Myth of the Myth: A Kantian Theory of Non-Conceptual Content?, Robert Hanna argues for a very strong kind of non-conceptualism, and claims that this kind of non-conceptualism originally has been developed by Kant. But according to ?Kant?s Non-Conceptualism, Rogue Objects and the Gap in the B Deduction?, Kant?s non-conceptualism poses a serious problem for his argument for the objective validity of the categories, namely the problem that there is a gap in the B Deduction. This gap (...) is that the B Deduction goes through only if conceptualism is true, but Kant is a non-conceptualist. In this paper, I will argue, contrary to what Hanna claims, that there is not a gap in the B Deduction. (shrink)
Abstract This paper is about the nature of the relationship between (1) the doctrine of Non-Conceptualism about mental content, (2) Kant?s Transcendental Idealism, and (3) the Transcendental Deduction of the Pure Concepts of the Understanding, or Categories, in the B (1787) edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, i.e., the B Deduction. Correspondingly, the main thesis of the paper is this: (1) and (2) yield serious problems for (3), yet, in exploring these two serious problems for the B Deduction, we (...) also discover some deeply important and perhaps surprising philosophical facts about Kant?s theory of cognition and his metaphysics. (shrink)
In their correspondence in 1902 and 1903, after discussing the Russell paradox, Russell and Frege discussed the paradox of propositions considered informally in Appendix B of Russell’s Principles of Mathematics. It seems that the proposition, p, stating the logical product of the class w, namely, the class of all propositions stating the logical product of a class they are not in, is in w if and only if it is not. Frege believed that this paradox was avoided within his philosophy (...) due to his distinction between sense (Sinn) and reference (Bedeutung). However, I show that while the paradox as Russell formulates it is ill-formed with Frege’s extant logical system, if Frege’s system is expanded to contain the commitments of his philosophy of language, an analogue of this paradox is formulable. This and other concerns in Fregean intensional logic are discussed, and it is discovered that Frege’s logical system, even without its naive class theory embodied in its infamous Basic Law V, leads to inconsistencies when the theory of sense and reference is axiomatized therein. (shrink)
Medical professionals, including mental health professionals, largely agree that moral judgment should be kept out of clinical settings. The rationale is simple: moral judgment has the capacity to impair clinical judgment in ways that could harm the patient. However, when the patient is suffering from a "Cluster B" personality disorder, keeping moral judgment out of the clinic might appear impossible, not only in practice but also in theory. For the diagnostic criteria associated with these particular disorders (Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic) (...) are expressed in overtly moral language. I consider three proposals for dealing with this problem. The first is to eliminate the Cluster B disorders from the DSM on the grounds that they are moral, rather than mental, disorders. The second is to replace the morally laden language of the diagnostic criteria with morally neutral language. The third is to disambiguate the notion of moral judgment so as to respect the distinction between having morally disvalued traits and having moral responsibility for those traits. Sensitivity to this distinction enables the clinician, at least in theory, to employ morally laden diagnostic criteria without adopting the sort of morally judgmental (and potentially harmful) attitude that results from the tacit presumption of moral responsibility. I argue against the first two proposals and in favor of the third. In doing so, I appeal to Grice's distinction between conventional and conversational implicature. I close with a few brief remarks on the irony of retaining overtly moral language in an ostensibly medical manual for the diagnosis of mental disorders. (shrink)
The A-theory of time states that there is an absolute fact of the matter about what events are, respectively, in the past, present and future. The B-theory says that all there is to temporality are the relations of earlier-than, later-than and simultaneous-with, and the past, present and future are merely relative.
The purpose of this paper is two fold: first, I look to show Oaklander’s (The ontology of time. New York: Prometheus Books, 2004) theory of time to be false. Second, I show that the only way to salvage the B-theory is via the adopting of the causal theory of time, and allying this to Oaklander’s claim that tense is to be eliminated. I then raise some concerns with the causal theory of time. My conclusion is that, if one adopts eternalism, (...) the unreality of time looks a better option than the B-theory. (shrink)
The aim of Jonathan Tallant’s recent article ‘What is B-time?’ (2007) is to demonstrate that B-time - which holds that time consists solely of tenseless temporal relations - is something of which we have no understanding, and that, therefore, if mind-independent time is B-time, then time is unreal. Of course, implicit in his own position is that since time is plausibly real and we do understand what time is, the correct ontology of time is A-time or tensed time. How then (...) does Tallant purport to substantiate the crucial claim that ‘we have no understanding of what “B-time” is’ (2007: 147)? The overall structure of his argument may be stated as follows:1 Argument A.. (shrink)
Do facts about water have a priori, transparent, reductive explanations in terms of microphysics? Ned Block and Robert Stalnaker argue that they do not (B&S, 1999). David Chalmers and Frank Jackson argue that they do (C&J, 2001).
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935) is, arguably, the most important American jurist of the 20th century, and his essay The Path of the Law, first published in 1898, is the seminal work in American legal theory. In it, Holmes detailed his radical break with legal formalism and created the foundation for the leading contemporary schools of American legal thought. He was the dominant source of inspiration for the school of legal realism, and his insistence on a practical approach to (...) law and legal analysis laid the basis for the realists' later concentration upon the pragmatic and empirical aspects of law and legal procedures. This volume brings together some of the most distinguished legal scholars from the United States and Canada to examine competing understandings of The Path of the Law and its implications for contemporary American jurisprudence. For the reader's convenience, the essay is republished in an Appendix. (shrink)
This paper offers a new interpretation of Kant's puzzling claim that the B-Deduction in the Critique of Pure Reason should be considered as having two main steps. Previous commentators have tended to agree in general on the first step as arguing for the necessity of the categories for possible experience, but disagree on what the second step is and whether Kant even needs a second step. I argue that the two parts of the B-Deduction correspond to the two aspects of (...) a priori cognition: necessity and universality. The bulk of the paper consists of support for the second step, the universality of the categories. I show that Kant's arguments in the second half of the B-Deduction aim to define the scope of that universality for possible experience by considering the possibilities of divine intellectual intuition, of non-human kinds of sensible intuition, and of apperception of the self. In these ways Kant delimits the boundaries of the applicability of the categories and excludes any other possible experience for human beings. (shrink)
Galton and subsequent investigators find wide divergences in people's subjective reports of mental imagery. Such individual differences might be taken to explain the peculiarly irreconcilable disputes over the nature and cognitive significance of imagery which have periodically broken out among psychologists and philosophers. However, to so explain these disputes is itself to take a substantive and questionable position on the cognitive role of imagery. This article distinguishes three separable issues over which people can be "for" or "against" mental images. Conflation (...) of these issues can lead to theoretical differences being mistaken for experiential differences, even by theorists themselves. This is applied to the case of John B. Watson, who inaugurated a half-century of neglect of image psychology. Watson originally claimed to have vivid imagery; by 1913 he was denying the existence of images. This strange reversal, which made his behaviorism possible, is explicable as a "creative misconstrual" of Dunlap's "motor" theory of imagination. (shrink)
This paper discusses Robin Le Poidevin’s proposal that a commitment to the B-theory of time provides a reason to relinquish the fear of death. After outlining Le Poidevin’s views on time and death, I analyze the specific passages in which he makes his proposal, giving close attention to the claim that, for the B-theorist, one’s life is “eternally real.” I distinguish two possible interpretations of this claim, which I call alethic eternalism and ontic eternalism respectively, and argue, with reference to (...) statements by other B-theroists, that alethic eternalism is the only viable option. I highlight two problems for Le Poidevin’s proposal: firstly, even if alethic eternalism does provide a reason not to fear death, this same reason is available to A-theorists; and secondly, alethic eternalism does not in fact provide such a reason. Having critically assessed possible responses to these problems, I conclude that Le Poidevin’s proposal is unfounded. (shrink)
Moral considerations do not appear to play a large role in discussions of the DSM-IV personality disorders and debates about their empirical validity. Yet philosophical analysis reveals that the Cluster B personality disorders, in particular, may in fact be moral rather than clinical conditions. This finding has serious consequences for how they should be treated and by whom.
The paper examines the logic and semantics of knowledge attributions of the form “ s knows whether A or B”. We analyze these constructions in an epistemic logic with alternative questions, and propose an account of the context-sensitivity of the corresponding sentences and of their presuppositions.
There are calls to expand the schema “ S knows that p ” to accommodate ways of knowing that are socially important but neglected in recent epistemology. A wider, more adequate conception of human knowing is needed that will include interested or motivated inquirers as “S,” and personal traits of persons as “ p .” Historically important treatments of knowing that accommodate these features deserve examination as part of the effort to create a broader epistemology. We find such a treatment (...) of knowing in Plato's Apology , 20 d-24 b, in which Socrates claims a bit of wisdom. We attend more carefully than others have to the concrete aspects of Socrates' encounters with interlocutors. (shrink)
This review essay assesses the significance of J. B. Schneewind's "The Invention of Autonomy" for the history of moral thought in general and for religious ethics in particular. The essay offers an overview of Schneewind's complex argument before critically discussing his four central themes: the primacy of Immanuel Kant, the fundamentality of conflict, the insufficiency of virtue, and community with God. Whereas Schneewind argues that an impasse between modern natural law and perfectionist ethics revealed irresolvable tensions within Christian ethics and (...) thus encouraged the emergence of secular moral thought, this author suggests that these tensions were specific to a voluntarist strand of Christian moral thought from which even antivoluntarists of the modern period were unable to break free. (shrink)
Carleton B. Christensen, Self and World: From Analytic Philosophy to Phenomenology Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10743-010-9078-2 Authors Morten S. Thaning, Department of Philosophy, Politics, and Management, Copenhagen Business School, Solbjerg Plads 3, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark Journal Husserl Studies Online ISSN 1572-8501 Print ISSN 0167-9848 Journal Volume Volume 26 Journal Issue Volume 26, Number 3.
In contrast to many of his contemporaries, A. J. Ayer was an analytic philosopher who had sustained throughout his career some interest in developments in the work of his ‘continental’ peers. Ayer, who spoke French, held friendships with some important Parisian intellectuals, such as Camus, Bataille, Wahl and Merleau-Ponty. This paper examines the circumstances of a meeting between Ayer, Merleau-Ponty, Wahl, Ambrosino and Bataille, which took place in 1951 at some Parisian bar. The question under discussion during this meeting was (...) whether the sun existed before humans did, over which the various philosophers disagreed. This disagreement is tangled with a variety of issues, such as Ayer’s critique of Heidegger and Sartre (inherited from Carnap), Ayer’s response to Merleau-Ponty’s critique of empiricism, and Bataille’s response to Sartre’s critique of his notion of ‘unknowing’, which uncannily resembles Ayer’s critique of Sartre. Amidst this tangle one finds Bataille’s statement that an ‘abyss’ separates English from French and German philosophy, the first recorded announcement of the analytic-continental divide in the twentieth century. References H. B. Acton. Philosophy in France. Philosophy, 22(82):161-166, 1947. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0031819100025365 A. J. Ayer & T. Honderich. An Interview with A. J. Ayer. In A. P. Griffiths, editor, A.J. Ayer Memorial Essays, pages 209-226. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991. A. J. Ayer. Language, Truth and Logic. London, Gollancz, 1936. A. J. Ayer. Novelist-Philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre. Horizon, 12(67):12–26, & 12(68):101-110, 1945. A. J. Ayer. Novelist-Philosopher, Albert Camus. Horizon, 13(75):155-168, 1946a. A. J. Ayer. Secret Session. Polemic, 2:60-63, 1946b. A. J. Ayer. Some Aspects of Existentialism. In F. Watts, editor, H. B. Acton. Philosophy in France. Philosophy, 22(82):161-166, 1947. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0031819100025365 A. J. Ayer & T. Honderich. An Interview with A. J. Ayer. In A. P. Griffiths, editor, A.J. Ayer Memorial Essays, pages 209-226. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991. A. J. Ayer. Language, Truth and Logic. London, Gollancz, 1936. A. J. Ayer. Novelist-Philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre. Horizon, 12(67):12–26, & 12(68):101-110, 1945. A. J. Ayer. Novelist-Philosopher, Albert Camus. Horizon, 13(75): 155-168, 1946a. A. J. Ayer. Secret Session. Polemic, 2:60-63, 1946b. A. J. Ayer. Some Aspects of Existentialism. In F. Watts, editor, The Rationalist Annual, pages 5-13. London, Watts & Co, 1948. A. J. Ayer. The Definition of Liberty: Jean-Paul Sartre’s Doctrine of Commitment. The Listener, 44(1135):633-634, 1950. A. J. Ayer. Jean-Paul Sartre. Encounter, 15(4):75-77, 1961. A. J. Ayer. On Existentialism. Modern Languages, 48(1):1-12, 1967. A. J. Ayer. Sartre on the Jews. The Spectator, 211(7317):394-395, 1968. A. J. Ayer. Reflections on Existentialism. In Metaphysics and Common Sense, pages 203-218. 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Dreyfus & M. Wrathall, editors, A Companion to Heidegger, pages 141-155. Oxford, Blackwell, 2005. E. W. Knight. Literature Considered as Philosophy: The French Example. New York, Macmillan, 1958. C. A. Mace. Review of The Psychology of Sartre by Peter J. R. Dempsey. Mind, 61(243):425-427, 1952. B. Magee. Men of Ideas: Some Creators of Contemporary Philosophy. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1982. A. R. Manser. Sartre and "Le Néant." Philosophy, 36(137):177-187, 1961. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0031819100058022 M. Martin. Sensible Appearances. In T. Baldwin, editor, The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1870-1945, pages 521-532. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521591041.044 PMid:14585038 F. Maubert. Francis Bacon, sa dernière interview: “Je poursois le peinture car je sais qu’il n’est pas possible de l’arreter.” Paris-Match, 2242:92-93, 1992. J. M. E. McTaggart. The Unreality of Time. 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Word and Object. M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, MA, 1960. A. Quinton. Which Philosophy is Modernistic? In Thoughts and Thinkers, pages 39-51. New York, Holmes and Meier, 1982. J. Rée. English Philosophy in the Fifties. Radical Philosophy, 65:3-21, 1993. S. Richmond. Sartre and Bergson: A Disagreement about Nothingness. International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 15(1):77-95, 2007. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09672550601143201 B. Rogers. Ayer: A Life. New York, Grove Press, 2002. K. Romdenh-Romluc. Merleau-Ponty and Phenomenology of Perception. London, Routledge, 2009. G. E. Rosado Haddock. The Young Carnap’s Unknown Master: Husserl's Influence on Der Raum and Der logische Aufbau der Welt. Aldershot, Ashgate, 2008. B. Russell. Nightmares of Eminent Persons And Other Stories. London, The Bodley Head, 1954. G. Ryle, H. A. Hodges, & H. B. Acton. Symposium: Phenomenology. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 11:68-115, 1932. G. Ryle. Phenomenology vs. The Concept of Mind. In Collected Papers: Critical Essays, Vol. 1, pages 179-196. London, Hutchinson, 1971. J. P. Sartre. Un nouveau mystique. In Critiques littéraires (Situations I), pages 174-229. Paris, Gallimard, 1975. J. Skorupski. The Presidential Address: The Legacy of Modernism. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 91:1-19, 1990. A. Stone. Heidegger and Carnap on the Overcoming of Metaphysics. In S. Mulhall editor, Martin Heidegger, pages 217-244. Aldershot, Ashgate, 2006. M. Surya, K.Fijalkowski, & M. Richardson. Georges Bataille: An Intellectual Biography. K. Fijalkowski & M. Richardson, translators. London, Verso, 2002. C. Taylor, & Alfred J. Ayer. Symposium: Phenomenology and Linguistic Analysis. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes, 33:93-124, 1959. N. Trakakis. Meta-philosophy of Religion: The Analytic-Continental Divide in Philosophy of Religion. Ars Disputandi, 7, 2007. J. Wahl. The Pluralist Philosophies of England and America. F. Rothwell, translator. London, The Open Court Company, 1925. J. Wahl. Vers le Concret. Paris, Vrin, 1932. J. Wahl. Nietzsche et la mort de dieu: note a propos du “Nietzsche” de Jaspers. Acéphale, 2:22-24, 1937. I. Waldberg & Patrick Waldberg. Un Amour Acéphale, Correspondence 1940-49. Paris, Editions de la Différence, 1992. M. Warnock. The Philosophy of Sartre. London, Hutchinson, 1965. D. Wiggins. Truth, Invention, and the Meaning of Life. In G. Sayre-McCord, editor, Essays on Moral Realism, pages 127-65. Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1988. C. Wilson. The Outsider. London, Gollancz, 1956. D. Zahavi. Phenomenology and Metaphysics. In D. Zahavi, S. Heinämaa, & H. Ruin, editors, Metaphysics, Facticity, Interpretation: Phenomenology in the Nordic Countries, pages 3-22. Dordrecht, Kluwer, 2003. (shrink)
Diagrams make it possible to present scientific facts in more abstract and generalized form. While some detail is lost, simplified and accessible knowledge is gained. E. B. Wilson's work in cytology provides a case study of changing uses of diagrams and accompanying abstraction. In his early work, Wilson presented his data in photographs, which he saw as coming closest to “fact.” As he gained confidence in his interpretations, and as he sought to provide a generalized textbook account of cell development, (...) he relied on increasingly abstract diagrams. In addition, he came to see that highly abstract and even schematic drawings could provide more than pictures directly from life. (shrink)
The paper replies to an earlier paper by Yannis Stephanou, who presented an argument purportedly showing the falsity of certain instances of the characteristic axiom of the modal logic B. The paper argues that the B axiom was not to blame for the unsoundness of Stephanou's argument.
Since its discovery in 1959 the Aharonov-Bohm effect has continuously been the cause for controversial discussions of various topics in modern physics, e.g. the reality of gauge potentials, topological effects and nonlocalities. In the present paper we juxtapose the two rival interpretations of the Aharonov-Bohm effect. We show that the conception of nonlocality encountered in the Aharonov-Bohm effect is closely related to the nonseparability which is common in quantum mechanics albeit distinct from it due to its topological nature. We propose (...) a third alternative interpretation based on the loop space of holonomies which serves to solve some of the problems and we trace back the topological nonlocality and thereby the Aharonov-Bohm effect to their quantum mechanical origin. All three discussed interpretations are, of course, empirically equivalent. In fact, they present us with an instructive case study for the thesis of theory underdetermination by empirical data. (shrink)
James B. Ashbrook's "new natural theology in an empirical mode" pursued an integrated understanding of the spiritual, psychological, and neurological dimensions of spiritual life. Knowledge of neuroscience and personality theory was central to his quest, and his understandings were necessarily revised and amplified as scientific findings emerged. As a result, Ashbrook's legacy may serve as a case example of how to do religion-and-science in a milieu of scientific change. The constant in the quest was Ashbrook's core belief in the basic (...) holism of brain, mind, personality, the nature of reality, and the underlying reality of God. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, Lee B. Brown criticizes one central kind of project in higher-order musical ontology—the project of offering an ontological theory of a particular musical tradition. I defend this kind of project by replying to Brown’s critique, arguing that musical practices are not untheorizably messy, and that a suitably subtle descriptivist ontology of a given practice can be valuable both theoretically and practically.
The paper illustrates how organic chemists dramatically altered their practices in the middle part of the twentieth century through the adoption of analytical instrumentation - such as ultraviolet and infrared absorption spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy - through which the difficult process of structure determination for small molecules became routine. Changes in practice were manifested in two ways: in the use of these instruments in the development of 'rule-based' theories; and in an increased focus on synthesis, at the expense (...) of chemical analysis. These rule-based theories took the form of generalizations relating structure to chemical and physical properties, as measured by instrumentation. This 'Instrumental Revolution' in organic chemistry was two-fold: encompassing an embrace of new tools that provided unprecedented access to structures, and a new way of thinking about molecules and their reactivity in terms of shape and structure. These practices suggest the possibility of a change in the ontological status of chemical structures, brought about by the regular use of instruments. The career of Robert Burns Woodward (1917-1979) provides the central historical examples for the paper. Woodward was an organic chemist at Harvard from 1937 until the time of his death. In 1965, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. (shrink)
On one hand, Chinese consumers are well known for conspicuous consumption and the adoption of luxury products and named brands. On the other hand, they also have a bad reputation for buying counterfeit products. Their simultaneous preferences for two contrasting types of product present a paradox that has not been addressed in the literature. This study attempts to present an explanation of this paradox by examining the effects of traditional Chinese cultural values and consumer values on consumers’ deontological judgment of (...) pirated CDs and the amount of social benefits they perceive they gain from them. We interviewed 300 Hong Kong Chinese consumers, and found that face consciousness increased materialism and risk aversion, thereby producing a favorable deontological judgment of pirated CDs. Face consciousness also has a direct effect on the amount of social benefits perceived in pirated CDs. Both favorable deontological judgment and perceived social benefits contributed to a strong intention to buy pirated CDs. The results are discussed in a cultural perspective. (shrink)
This is my review of Howard B. Radest's book on Felix Adler and Ethical Culture. The book involves interesting comparisons of Adler to Emerson and to the pragmatists, and Radest is well qualified to tell the history of Adler's work and its influence.
Elsewhere I have suggested that the B-theory includes a notion of passage, by virtue of including succession. Here, I provide further support for that claim by showing that uncontroversial elements of the B-theory straightforwardly ground a veridical sense of passage. First, I argue that the B-theory predicts that subjects of experience have a sense of passivity with respect to time that they do not have with respect to space, which they are right to have, even according to the B-theory. I (...) then ask what else might be involved in our experience of time as passing that is not yet vindicated by the B-theoretic conception. I examine a recent B-theoretic explanation of our ‘illusory’ sense of passage, by Robin Le Poidevin, and argue that it explains away too much: our perception of succession poses no more of a problem on the B-theory than it does on other theories of time. Finally, I respond to an objection by Oreste Fiocco that a causal account of our sense of passage cannot succeed, because it leaves out the ‘phenomenological novelty’ of each moment. (shrink)
Routley-Meyer type ternary relational semantics are defined for relevant logics including Routley and Meyer’s basic logic B plus the reductio rule and the disjunctive syllogism. Standard relevant logics such as E and R (plus γ ) and Ackermann’s logics of ‘strenge Implikation’ Π and Π ′ are among the logics considered.
During the three centuries from 800 to 500 B.C., the Greek world evolved from a primitive society--both culturally and economically--to one whose artistic products dominated all Mediterranean markets, supported by a wide overseas trade. In the following two centuries came the literary, philosophical, and artistic masterpieces of the classic area. Vital to this advance was the development of the polis, a collective institution in which citizens had rights as well as duties (...) under the rule of law, a system hitherto unknown in human history. In this study, the first systematic exploration of the forces that created the political framework of Greek civilization, Chester Starr shows how the Greeks emerged form a Homeric world of individuals to the polis of 500 B.C. The age-old conflict between the self-serving demands of human beings and the less vocally-expressed needs of the community serves as the backbone of Starr's interdisciplinary analysis of the rise of the polis. (shrink)
We are entering an era in which cultural construction of the body refers to a literal technological enterprise. This era was anticipated in the 1920s by geneticist J. B. S. Haldane in a lecture which inspired Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. In that lecture, Haldane reinterpreted the Greek myth of Daedalus and the Minotaur as heroic fable. Seventy years later another geneticist, FranÃ§ois Jacob, used the same myth as cautionary tale. Here I explain the Minotaur's genetic monstrosity in terms of (...) disability and hybridity, using the movie Gattaca to argue that ancient fears of monstrously disabled bodies are being recycled as bioethics. (shrink)
This article by Johannes B. Lotz, S.J., never before translated into English, describes his contacts with Martin Heidegger. First it describes his arrival, along with Karl Rahner, S.J., to pursue doctoral studies in Freiburg im Breisgau and their first experiences with the famous professor. Lotz continues his narrative by mentioning times he met with Heidegger over the subsequent forty years up to the philosopher’s death. With Gustav Siewerth, Max Müller, Bernhard Welte, and Karl Rahner, Lotz belonged to a group of (...) Catholic thinkers influenced—some more, some less—by Martin Heidegger. In Lotz’s view some of Heidegger’s ideas were already found in Aquinas, and a philosophy of Being needed to go beyond existential analysis into religion, revelation, and cultural criticism. (shrink)
On one hand, Chinese consumers are well known for conspicuous consumption and the adoption of luxury products and named brands. On the other hand, they also have a bad reputation for buying counterfeit products. Their simultaneous preferences for two contrasting types of product present a paradox that has not been addressed in the literature. This study attempts to present an explanation of this paradox by examining the effects of traditional Chinese cultural values and consumer values (...) on consumers’ deontological judgment of pirated CDs and the amount of social benefits they perceive they gain from them. We interviewed 300 Hong Kong Chinese consumers, and found that face consciousness increased materialism and risk aversion, thereby producing a favorable deontological judgment of pirated CDs. Face consciousness also has a direct effect on the amount of social benefits perceived in pirated CDs. Both favorable deontological judgment and perceived social benefits contributed to a strong intention to buy pirated CDs. The results are discussed in a cultural perspective. (shrink)
This article describes a community service project in which M.B.A. students learn about and experience directly the dynamics of leadership and power. The purposes of this project are to help students better understand the social reality of powerlessness, and how they, through their political activism and influence management skills, can improve the situations and lives of powerless people in the local community. In so doing, students begin to see the connection between political action and moral ends, the fundamental learning objective (...) of this project.Wisdom is knowing what to do next. Virtue is doing it. (shrink)
J. B. Schneewind's Sidgwick's Ethics and Victorian Moral Philosophy was the single best philosophical commentary on Henry Sidgwick's Methods of Ethics produced in the twentieth century. Although Schneewind was primarily concerned to read Sidgwick's ethical theory in its historical context, as reflecting the controversies generated by such figures as J. S. Mill, F. D. Maurice, and William Whewell, his reading also ended up being highly neo-Kantian, reflecting various Rawlsian priorities. As valuable as such an interpretation of Sidgwick surely is, Schneewind's (...) approach has always been in some key respects too narrowly conceived in its construction of Sidgwick's philosophical and cultural context, failing to grapple with such troubling, philosophically relevant issues as the possible racism of Sidgwick's ethical and political views, or the sexual politics manifest in his collaboration with such figures as John Addington Symonds. Correspondence:c1 email@example.com. (shrink)
Author Meets Critics Panel: Paul B. Thompson’s (2010) The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9340-4 Authors Raymond Anthony, Department of Philosophy, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Dōgen's views of time are descriptively compared to the modern western philosophical view called "B-theory" and found to contain elements of each of the four main tenets of the B-theory. Furthermore, a fundamental incongruency is discovered. Even accounting for traditional Buddhist approaches to apparent contradictions, Dōgen's problems in this regard call into question the assumption of consistency that has characterized modern interpretations of his views on time.
In barely the space of one generation, Athens was transformed from a conventional city-state into something completely new--a region-state on a scale previously unthinkable. This book sets out to answer a seemingly simple question: How and when did the Athenian state attain the anomalous size that gave it such influence in Greek politics and culture in the classical period? Many scholars argue that Athens's incorporation of Attica was a gradual development, largely completed some two hundred years before the classical era. (...) Anderson, however, suggests that it is not until the late sixth century that we see the first systematic attempts by the Athenian polis to integrate all of Attica. Anderson first takes issue with the prevailing view of Cleisthenes' landmark political reforms of 508-7 b.c., arguing that they were animated by a more comprehensive vision of regional political community in Attica. The Athenians' strengthened the state by establishing institutional mechanisms that would allow inhabitants of the Attic periphery to participate as never before in the life of the center. The creation of a suitable physical setting for the new order was accompanied by religious, military, and symbolic innovations. Regional participation in Athenian affairs was stimulated by encouraging the Attic populace to imagine themselves, for the first time ever, as members of a single, like-minded, self-governing political community. Greg Anderson is Assistant Professor of Classics and History, University of Illinois at Chicago. (shrink)
Thelen et al.'s model of A-not-B performance is based on behavioral observations obtained with a paradigm markedly different from A-not-B. Central components of the model are not central to A-not-B performance. All data presented fit a simpler model, which specifies that the key abilities for success on A-not-B are working memory and inhibition. Intention and action can be dissociated in infants and adults.
For cases in which to remember that p is to have (strict) nonbasic, unmixed memory knowledge that p; in which there is at most one prior time, t, from which one remembers; in which one knew at t that p; and in which there can arise a sensible question whether one remembers that p from t — a person, B, remembers that p from t if and only if: (1) There is a set of grounds a subset of which consists (...) of (i) only those grounds B has at both t and the present for B to be sure that p, and (ii) enough such grounds to make it reasonable at both t and the present for B to be sure that p (I call any such subset a set of “adequate original grounds dating from t”), and (2) there is no time prior to t such that B has a set of adequate original grounds dating from that time. The way in which the crucial terms in this explication are being used is explained. And the explication is defended by showing how it can deal with cases that are counterexamples to explications recently offered by Malcolm and by Munsat. (shrink)
Clifford Williams has recently argued that the dispute between A- and B-theories, or tensed and tenseless theories of time, is spurious because once the confusions between the two theories are cleared away there is no real metaphysical difference between them. The purpose of this paper is to dispute Williams’s thesis. I argue that there are important metaphysical differences between the two theories and that, moreover, some of the claims that Williams makes in his article suggest that he is sympathetic with (...) a B-theoretic ontology. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the interaction between science, philosophy and politics (including ideology) in the early work of J. B. S. Haldane (from 1922 to 1937). This period is particularly important, not only because it is the period of Haldane's most significant biological work (both in biochemistry and genetics), but also because it is during this period that his philosophical and political views underwent their most significant transformation. His philosophical stance first changed from a radical organicism to a position far more (...) compatible with mechanical materialism. The primary intellectual influence that was responsible for this shift was that of F. G. Hopkins. Later, Haldane came to accept Marxism and its official metaphysics, dialectical materialism, a move that let him accept the materialist conception of the world while still maintaining a resolute distance from mechanism. Throughout all these changes, what is most obvious is the influence of science on Haldane's philosophical views. An influence in the opposite direction is far less apparent. (shrink)
Amartya Sen has made deep and lasting contributions to the academic disciplines of economics, philosophy, and the social sciences more broadly. He has engaged in policy dialogue and public debate, advancing the cause of a human development focused policy agenda, and a tolerant and democratic polity. This argumentative Indian has made the case for the poorest of the poor, and for plurality in cultural perspective. It is not surprising that he has won the highest awards, ranging from the Nobel Prize (...) in Economics to the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor. This public recognition has gone hand in hand with the affection and admiration that Amartya's friends and students hold for him. -/- This volume of essays, written in honor of his 75th birthday by his students and peers, covers the range of contributions that Sen has made to knowledge. They are written by some of the world's leading economists, philosophers and social scientists, and address topics such as ethics, welfare economics, poverty, gender, human development, society and politics. This first volume covers the topics of Ethics, Normative Economics and Welfare; Agency, Aggregation and Social Choice; Poverty, Capabilities and Measurement; and Identity, Collective Action and Public Economics. It is a fitting tribute to Sen's own contributions to the discourse on Ethics, Welfare and Measurement. -/- Contributors include: Sabina Alkire, Paul Anand, Sudhir Anand, Kwame Anthony Appiah, A. B. Atkinson, Walter Bossert, Francois Bourguignon, John Broome, Satya R. Chakravarty, Rajat Deb, Bhaskar Dutta, James E. Foster, Wulf Gaertner, Indranil K. Ghosh, Peter Hammond, Christopher Handy, Christopher Harris, Satish K. Jain, Isaac Levi, Oliver Linton, S. R. Osmani, Prasanta K. Pattanaik, Edmund S. Phelps, Mozaffar Qizilbash, Martin Ravallion, Kevin Roberts, Ingrid Robeyns, Maurice Salles, Cristina Santos, T. M. Scanlon, Arjun Sengupta, Tae Kun Seo, Anthony Shorrocks , Ron Smith, Joseph E. Stiglitz, S. Subramanian, Kotaro Suzumura, Alain Trannoy, Guanghua Wan, John A. Weymark, and Yongsheng Xu. (shrink)
J. B. Schneewind's "The Invention of Autonomy" has been hailed as a major interpretation of modern moral thought. Schneewind's narrative, however, elides several serious interpretive issues, particularly in the transition from late medieval to early modern thought. This results in potentially distorted accounts of Thomas Aquinas, Hugo Grotius, and G. W. Leibniz. Since these thinkers play a crucial role in Schneewind's argument, uncertainty over their work calls into question at least some of Schneewind's larger agenda for the history of ethics.
While psychoanalysis credits the entrenchment of systems of subordination to the necessity of socialization and the transmission of dominant values from parent to child, by claiming social symbolics independent of the dominant hegemony, W.E.B. Du Bois calls for resistant forms of identification. Psychoanalyticaccounts of social power relations often assume that the dominant social group produces the only operative social symbolic and that this symbolic is also identical with the nation, but Du Bois’s attention to the slave song allows him to (...) trace the burial of a black American symbolic rather than a traumatic inculcation of the dominant white symbolic. (shrink)