This paper is part II of a trilogy on the transition from classical particle mechanics to relativistic continuum mechanics that one of the authors is working on. The first part, on the Trouton experiment, was published in the Stachel festschrift (Janssen 2003). This paper focuses on the Lorentz-Poincaré electron, and, in particular, on the "Poincaré pressure" or "Poincaré stresses" introduced to stabilize the electron. It covers both the original argument by Poincaré (1906) and a modern relativistic argument for adding (...) a negative pressure term to the system's energy-momentum tensor inspired by the work of Laue (1911a, b). It highlights the importance of a paper by Lorentz (1899) in this context and of the "electromagnetic mechanics" of Abraham (1903). (shrink)
In his book, Physical Relativity, Harvey Brown challenges the orthodox view that special relativity is preferable to those parts of Lorentz's classical ether theory it replaced because it revealed various phenomena that were given a dynamical explanation in Lorentz's theory to be purely kinematical. I want to defend this orthodoxy. The phenomena most commonly discussed in this context in the philosophical literature are length contraction and time dilation. I consider three other phenomena of this kind that played a role in (...) the early reception of special relativity in the physics literature: the Fresnel drag effect in the Fizeau experiment, the velocity dependence of electron mass in beta-ray deflection experiments by Kaufmann and others, and the delicately balanced torques on a moving charged capacitor in the Trouton-Noble experiment. I offer historical sketches of how Lorentz's dynamical explanations of these phenomena came to be replaced by their now standard kinematical explanations. I then take up the philosophical challenge posed by the work of Harvey Brown and Oliver Pooley and clarify how those kinematical explanations work. (shrink)
The images from wars in the Middle East that haunt us are those of young women killing and torturing. Their media circulated stories share a sense of shock. They have both galvanized and confounded debates over feminism and women's equality. And, as Oliver argues in this essay, they share, perhaps subliminally, the problematic notion of women as both offensive and defensive weapons of war, a notion that is symptomatic of fears of women's "mysterious" powers.
In the post-Newtonian world motion is assumed to be a simple category which relates to the locomotion of bodies in space, and is usually associated only with physics. Philosophy, God and Motion shows that this is a relatively recent understanding of motion and that prior to the scientific revolution motion was a much broader and more mysterious category, applying to moral as well as physical movements. SimonOliver presents fresh interpretations of key figures in the history of western (...) thought including Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas and Newton, examining the thinkers' handling of the concept of motion. Through close readings of seminal texts in ancient and medieval cosmology and early modern natural philosophy, the book moves from antique to modern times investigating how motion has been of great significance within theology, philosophy and science. Particularly important is the relation between motion and God, following Aristotle traditional doctrines of God have understood the divine as the 'unmoved mover' while post-Holocaust theologians have suggested that in order to be compassionate God must undergo the motion of suffering. Philosophy, God and Motion suggests that there may be an authentically theological, as well as a natural scientific understanding of motion. (shrink)
In Womanizing Nietzsche, Kelly Oliver uses an analysis of the position of woman in Nietzsche's texts to open onto the larger question of philosophy's relation to the feminine and the maternal. Offering readings from Nietzsche, Derrida, Irigaray, Kristeva, Freud and Lacan, Oliver builds an innovative foundation for an ontology of intersubjective relationships that suggests a new approach to ethics. Oliver argues that while Freud, Nietzsche and Derrida, in particular, attempt to open up philosophy to its other--the unconscious, (...) the body, difference, even the feminine--their attempts depend on closing off the possibility of a specifically feminine other. In this regard, Oliver maintains that none of these theorists have escaped the Hegelian model of intersubjectivity at the level of Lordship and Bondage. She suggests that the recent talk of the death of philosophy is a symptom of the exclusion of woman, the feminine and the maternal. By problematizing and reformulating the traditional philosophical association between the maternal and nature, Oliver presents an alternative model for intersubjectivity and ethics. (shrink)
A valuable intervention in Kristevan scholarship and a significant and exciting contribution in its own right to post-structuralist discussions of ethical and political agency and practice. Contributors: Judith Butler, Tina Chanter, Marilyn Edelstein, Jean Graybeal, Suzanne Guerlac, Alice Jardine, Lisa Lowe, Noelle McAfee, Norma Claire Moruzzi, Kelly Oliver, Tilottma Rajan, Jacqueline Rose, Allison Weir, Mary Bittner Wiseman, Ewa Ziarek.
This enterprising book, written in the spirit of William James, urges our appreciation of the intensely personal character of spiritual transcendence. Phil Oliver's work has important implications for specialists concerned with the Jamesian concept of "pure experience," and it illuminates significant interdisciplinary ties among philosophy, literature, and other intellectual domains.
This article critically engages Julia Kristeva’s latest work on maternal passion as an antidote to what she calls “feminine fatigue.” Oliver elaborates, criticizes, and expands Kristeva’s view that maternity can be a model for thinking about passion and its relation to creativity and even to ethics. She relates Kristeva’s thinking about feminine fatigue to contemporary feminism in the United States. .
In this critical notice we argue against William Craig's recent attempt to reconcile presentism (roughly, the view that only the present is real) with relativity theory. Craig's defense of his position boils down to endorsing a ‘neo-Lorentzian interpretation’ of special relativity. We contend that his reconstruction of Lorentz's theory and its historical development is fatally flawed and that his arguments for reviving this theory fail on many counts. 1 Rival theories of time 2 Relativity and the present 3 Special relativity: (...) one theory, three interpretations 4 Theories of principle and constructive theories 5 The relativity interpretation: explanatorily deficient? 6 The relativity interpretation: ontologically fragmented? 7 The space-time interpretation: does God need a preferred frame of reference? 8 The neo-Lorentzian interpretation: at what price? 9 The neo-Lorentzian interpretation: with what payoff? 10 Why we should prefer the space-time interpretation over the neo-Lorentzian interpretation 11 What about general relativity? 12 Squaring the tenseless space-time interpretation with our tensed experience. (shrink)
There is a striking difference between the methodology of the young Einstein and that of the old. I argue that Einstein’s switch in the late 1910s from a moderate empiricism to an extreme rationalism should at least in part be understood against the background of his crushing personal and political experiences during the war years in Berlin. As a result of these experiences, Einstein started to put into practice what, drawing on Schopenhauer, he had preached for years, namely to use (...) science as his means of escaping from “the merely personal.” Whatever the exact sources of Einstein’s about-face, the older man has left us with a highly misleading picture of how the younger man achieved the successes that we still celebrate today. This has had a harmful inﬂuence on theoretical physics. If the young Einstein’s successes are any guide as to how successful theoretical physics is done, close adherence to general features of the empirical data is much more and mathematical elegance is much less important than the old Einstein wanted us to believe. (shrink)
In the course of his work on optics and electrodynamics in systems moving through the ether, the 19th-century medium for light waves and electric and magnetic ﬁelds, Lorentz discovered and exploited the invariance of the free-ﬁeld Maxwell equations under what Poincaré later proposed to call Lorentz transformations. To account for the negative results of optical experiments aimed at detecting the earth’s motion through the ether, Lorentz, in effect, assumed that the laws governing matter interacting with light waves are Lorentz invariant (...) as well. Like Lorentz, Einstein ﬁrst encountered the Lorentz transformations in electrodynamics. Unlike Lorentz, for whom the transformation merely provided convenient mathematical substitutions, but like Poincaré, Einstein recognized that the Lorentz-transformed quantities are the measured quantities for the moving observer. More importantly, Einstein recognized that the Lorentz invariance of all physical laws had nothing to do with electrodynamics per se, but reﬂected the kinematics in a new relativistic space-time, to be named after Minkowski who worked out its geometry a few years later. (shrink)
The concepts of animal, human, and rights are all part of a philosophical tradition that trades on foreclosing the animal, animality, and animals. Rather than looking to qualities or capacities that make animals the same as or different from humans, I investigate the relationship between the human and the animal. To insist, as animal rights and welfare advocates do, that our ethical obligations to animals are based on their similarities to us reinforces the type of humanism that leads to treating (...) animals—and other people—as subordinates. But, if recent philosophies of difference are any indication, we can acknowledge difference without acknowledging our dependence on animals, or without including animals in ethical considerations. Animal ethics requires rethinking both identity and difference by focusing on relationships and responsivity. My aim is not only to suggest an animal ethics but also to show how ethics itself is transformed by considering animals. (shrink)
I defend the widely held view challenged by Harvey Brown in his recent book that special relativity is preferable to those parts of Lorentz’s electron theory it replaced because various phenomena that special relativity reveals to be of purely kinematical origin were given a dynamical explanation in Lorentz’s theory. The phenomena most commonly discussed in this context in the philosophical literature are length contraction and time dilation. I consider three other such phenomena that played a role in the early reception (...) of special relativity in the physics community: the Fresnel drag effect in the Fizeau experiment, the velocity dependence of electron mass in the -ray deﬂection.. (shrink)
With the discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, Einstein’s cosmological constant, which he once supposedly called his biggest blunder, is making a remarkable comeback. Einstein’s introduction of this constant had little to do with cosmology. It was part of yet another failed attempt to eliminate absolute space from physics. It took the Dutch astronomer Willem de Sitter only a few days to blow the idea out of the water. It took Einstein over a year to concede (...) the point. In the process Einstein and De Sitter produced the ﬁrst two models of relativistic cosmology, the Einstein cylinder universe and the De Sitter hyperboloid universe. (shrink)
My essay is framed by Hypatia's first special issue on Motherhood and Sexuality at one end, and by the most recent special issue (as of this writing) on the work of Iris Young, whose work on pregnant embodiment has become canonical, at the other. The questions driving this essay are: When we look back over the last twenty-five years, what has changed in our conceptions of pregnancy and maternity, both in feminist theory and in popular culture? What aspects of feminist (...) debates from the 1970s and 1980s are still relevant today? And, how might what appear to be radical shifts in popular perceptions of pregnancy actually continue traditional values that objectify and “abjectify” the maternal body?Here, I will focus on three central elements of the revaluation of pregnancy and maternity as they show up in feminist philosophy and in popular culture: 1. The relationship between pregnancy and sexuality, both in terms of pregnant sexuality and in terms of the pregnant body as sexual object; 2. The “choice” to become a mother as a “feminist choice”; 3. The temporality of pregnancy and birth as marking something like “women's time.”. (shrink)
Yah boo sucks to the grammer wot we lernt in skool! Grammar (and the bad old traditional logic) says that quantifier phrases such as 'nobody', 'everyone', 'all women', 'some men' and 'a man' are in the same category as names such as 'Milly', 'Molly' and 'Mandy'. So, prior to their first corrective lessons, students are awfully muddled, the first and fundamental problem being the Woozle hunt for somebody called 'nobody'. Hoorah for modern logic and logic teachers! The story used to (...) justify our current logics is entirely fictional. The claims about names and quantifier phrases in English are wildly false. Two of the heroes of modern logic, Russell and Hilbert, make the very mistakes which are falsely blamed on traditional logic. The villain, Meinong, turns out to have been working a different patch. Ideas ascribed to traditional grammar are modern inventions. Neither logicians nor grammarians can be trusted to tell the history of either grammar or logic. (shrink)
I argue that although in "The Gender/Science System," Keller intends to formulate a middle ground position in order to open science to feminist criticisms without forcing it into relativism, she steps back into objectivism. While she endorses the dynamic-object model for science, she endorses the static-object model for philosophy of science. I suggest that by modeling her methodology for philosophy on her methodology for science her philosophy would better serve her feminist goals.
We present a plural logic that is as expressively strong as it can be without sacrificing axiomatisability, axiomatise it, and use it to chart the expressive limits set by axiomatisability. To the standard apparatus of quantification using singular variables our object-language adds plural variables, a predicate expressing inclusion (is/are/is one of/are among), and a plural definite description operator. Axiomatisability demands that plural variables only occur free, but they have a surprisingly important role. Plural description is not eliminable in favour of (...) quantification; on the contrary, quantification is definable in terms of it. Predicates and functors (function signs) can take plural as well as singular terms as arguments, and both many-valued and single-valued functions are expressible. The system accommodates collective as well as distributive predicates, and the condition for a predicate to be distributive is definable within it; similarly for functors. An essential part of the project is to demonstrate the soundness and completeness of the calculus with respect to a semantics that does without set-theoretic domains and in which the use of settheoretic extensions of predicates and functors is replaced by the sui generis relations and functions for which the extensions were at best artificial surrogates. Our metalanguage is designed to solve the difficulties involved in talking plurally about individuals and about the semantic values of plural items. (shrink)
The history of the idea of predicate is the history of its emancipation. The lesson of this paper is that there are two more steps to take. The first is to recognize that predicates need not have a fixed degree, the second that they can combine with plural terms. We begin by articulating the notion of a multigrade predicate: one that takes variably many arguments. We counter objections to the very idea posed by Peirce, Dummett's Frege, and Strawson. We show (...) that the arguments of a multigrade predicate must be grouped into places, with perhaps several arguments occupying positions at a place. Variability may relate to places or positions. Russell's multiple judgement predicate turns out to be just one example of a family—‘is necessarily true of’, ‘is said of’, ‘is instantiated by’ and so on—of predicates with variably many places. Our main concern, however, is lists. Any adequate account of lists must include plural as well as singular terms. On one account, lists are mere strings of separate arguments, which occupy variably many positions within a place of a multigrade predicate. A quite different account takes the list itself to be a compound plural term. We compare these rival conceptions, and reach some surprising conclusions. As a coda, we deploy the conceptual apparatus developed in the paper to assess Morton's pioneer system of multigrade logic. (shrink)
Introduction: The role of animals in philosophies of man -- Part I: What's wrong with animal rights? -- The right to remain silent -- Part II: Animal pedagogy -- You are what you eat : Rousseau's cat -- Say the human responded : Herder's sheep -- Part III: Difference worthy of its name -- Hair of the dog : Derrida's and Rousseau's good taste -- Sexual difference, animal difference : Derrida's sexy silkworm -- Part IV: It's our fault -- The (...) beaver's struggle with species-being : De Beauvoir and the praying mantis -- Answering the call of nature : Lacan walking the dog -- Part V: Estranged kinship -- The abyss between humans and animals : Heidegger puts the bee in being -- Strange kinship : Merleau-Ponty's sensuous stickleback -- Stopping the anthropological machine : Agamben's tick-tocking tick -- Psychoanalysis and the science of kinship -- Psychoanalysis as animal by-product : Freud's zoophilia -- Animal abjects, maternal abjects : Kristeva's strays -- Conclusion: Sustainable ethics. (shrink)
There are two principles which bear the name Frege''sprinciple: the principle of compositionality, and the contextprinciple. The aim of this contribution is to investigate whether thisis justified: did Frege accept both principles at the same time, did hehold the one principle but not the other, or did he, at some moment,change his opinion? The conclusion is as follows. There is a developmentin Frege''s position. In the period of Grundlagen he followed to a strict form of contextuality. He repeatedcontextuality in later (...) writings, but became less strict. From 1914 on,pushed by the needs of research, he comes close to compositionality. Buthe could never make the final step toward compositionality forprincipled reasons, therefore he always would reject compositionality. (shrink)
This paper will serve as the editorial note on Einstein's 1916 review article on general relativity in a planned volume with all of Einstein's papers in Annalen der Physik. It summarizes much of my other work on history of general relativity and draws heavily on the annotation of Einstein's writings and correspondence on general relativity for Vols. 4, 7, and 8 of the Einstein edition.
Readers of this volume will notice that it contains only a few papers on general relativity. This is because most papers documenting the genesis and early development of general relativity were not published in Annalen der Physik . After Einstein took up his new prestigious position at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in the spring of 1914, the Sitzungsberichte of the Berlin academy almost by default became the main outlet for his scientific production. Two of the more important papers on (...) general relativity, however, did find their way into the pages of the Annalen [35,41]. Although I shall discuss both papers in this essay, the main focus will be on , the first systematic exposition of general relativity, submitted in March 1916 and published in May of that year. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue that the contemporary notion of law has been reduced to regulations and disciplinary codes that do not and cannot give meaning to our emotional lives and moral sensibilities. As a result, we have increasing numbers of what I call “abysmal individuals” who suffer from a split between law—broadly conceived as that which gives form and structure to social life—and personal embodied sensations of pain and pleasure. My attempt to understand the place of Abu Ghraib within (...) American culture leads to an analysis of our valorization of innocence and ignorance that not only becomes the grounds on which we morally (if not legally) excuse abusive behavior as “fun,” but also becomes part of the justification for condoning some forms of violence while condemning others. In addition, I argue that the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate violence trades on underlying assumptions about the relationship between culture and nature, technology and bodies, wherein bodies are imagined as natural and outside of the realm of law. (shrink)
Russell had two theories of definite descriptions: one for singular descriptions, another for plural descriptions. We chart its development, in which ‘On Denoting’ plays a part but not the part one might expect, before explaining why it eventually fails. We go on to consider many-valued functions, since they too bring in plural terms—terms such as ‘4’ or the descriptive ‘the inhabitants of London’ which, like plain plural descriptions, stand for more than one thing. Logicians need to take plural reference seriously (...) if only because mathematicians take many-valued functions seriously. We assess the objection (by Russell, Frege and others) that many-valued functions are illegitimate because the corresponding terms are ambiguous. We also assess the various methods proposed for getting rid of them. Finding the objection ill-founded and the methods ineffective, we introduce a logical framework that admits plural reference, and use it to answer some earlier questions and to raise some more. (shrink)
In this critical notice we argue against William Craig's recent attempt to reconcile presentism (roughly, the view that only the present is real) with relativity theory. Craig's defense of his position boils down to endorsing a 'neo-Lorentzian interpretation' of special relativity. We contend that his reconstruction of Lorentz's theory and its historical development is fatally flawed and that his arguments for reviving this theory fail on many counts.
Scientists working on the wave theory of light in the 19 th century took it for granted that there had to be a medium for the propagation of light waves. This medium was called the luminiferous [= “light carrying”] ether. One of the central questions about this medium concerned its state of motion. There were two options: (1) The ether is completely undisturbed by matter moving through it (stationary or immobile ether); (2) Matter drags along the ether in its vicinity (...) and/or in its interior (dragged-along ether). Stellar aberration provided the main argument for the first option (even though a special dragging effect in the case of transparent matter had to be built into the theory to account for refraction). Polarization provided the main argument for the second option. These two options and the arguments pro and con will be explained in more detail below. (shrink)
A substantial part of my reconstruction can aheady be found, in a very condensed form, in the annotauon for the relevant pages of the Einstein-Besso manuscript in Einstein CP4: doc. 14, pp. [41Ã¢â¬â 42]. The letter to Freundlich and other correspondence from the period 1915 Ã¢â¬â 1917 that I drew on for this paper appear in Einstein CPS. I wrote this paper in the context of a larger project of the Maxplanck-Institut flir Wissenschaflsgeschichte which aims at giving the most detailed (...) reconstruction yet of Einstein's path to general relativity. My paper does not necessarily reflect the views of the other members of the group working on this project. See Renn tk Sauer 1996 for a preliminary report on the gmup's findings. (shrink)
In "Frege: Philosophy of Mathematics" Dummett recommends the following thesis, (PNP): the correct analysis of any sentence containing a plural noun phrase will show that the phrase is functioning predictively. According to Dummett, (PNP), applied to numerical predications such as the leaves are 1,000' is the key premise in Frege's argument against Mill's theory of numbers. But Frege never subscribed to (PNP) and he rejected such numerical predications, and point out how Frege's own semantic theory for plural noun phrases obscures (...) his idea of a relation. (shrink)
: Our stereotypes of maternity and paternity as manifest in the history of philosophy and psychoanalysis interfere with the ability to imagine loving relationships. The associations of maternity with antisocial nature and paternity with disembodied cul-ture are inadequate to set up primary love relationships. Analyzing the conflicts in these associations, I reformulate the maternal body as social and lawful, and I re-formulate the paternal function as embodied, which enables imagining our primary relationships as loving.
This paper takes as its point of departure two striking incongruities between scientiªc practice and trends in modern history and philosophy of science. (1) Many modern historians of science are so preoccupied with local scientiªc practices that they fail to recognize important non-local elements. (2) Many modern philosophers of science make a sharp distinction between explanation and evidence, whereas in scientiªc practice explanatory power is routinely used as evidence for scientiªc claims. I draw attention to one speciªc way in..
This essay argues that Hegel's discussion of the family in "The Ethical Order" section of Phenomenology of Spirit undermines the entire project of that text. Hegel's project demands that every element of consciousness be conceptualizable, and yet, woman, an essential unconscious element of consciousness, is in principle unconceptualizable. The end of the essay attempts to relate Hegel's discussion of the family to contemporary discussions of family values.