(1997). Considering moral sensitivity in media ethics courses and research: An essayreview by Robert F. Potter. Journal of Mass Media Ethics: Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 51-57. doi: 10.1207/s15327728jmme1201_4.
(2010). “Meaningful Educational Opportunity” May Not be Equality of Educational Opportunity [EssayReview of the Book Moving Every Child Ahead: From NCLB Hype to Meaningful Educational Opportunity] Educational Studies: Vol. 46, No. 1, pp. 116-128.
This essayreview connects Joe L. Kincheloe's Critical Constructivism on epistemological analysis to the conceptual and sociopolitical challenges of new media in educational contexts. New media is a domain of educational research that has taken ubiquitous directions in recent scholarship. From cyber-bullying to digital rights management to the development of new literacies and the Orwellian nature of plagiarism watchdog sites like Turnitin.com, teachers are wary of tapping new media resources or ?vehicles? to enhance their more traditional instructional strategies (...) and have little impetus to develop what may be called critical digital literacy skills for themselves or their students. In 12 efficacious points, Joe L. Kincheloe's Critical Constructivism: A Primer ushers readers through complex processes of teaching and learning, knowledge construction, and cognition, as well as necessary examinations of the social, historical, and cultural contexts in which the knower and known are situated. The key understandings of critical constructivism are further explored in this review by evaluating its pedagogical applications and possibilities for teachers and learners confronting the challenges of navigating the vehicles (Web sites, online gaming, any form of online community/social environment ad, use of personal digital communication devices, ad infinitum) of new media in and beyond the classroom for the purposes of gaining what may be termed as critical digital literacy. Kincheloe's primer offers teachers, students and researchers an accessible epistemological manual equipped with definitions of concepts and terms emboldened and spotlighted throughout the text, in addition to its convenient glossary compiled in the back of the text. At face value, teachers, preservice teachers, and teacher educators are provided with a practical heuristic for crossing the great divide from the abstract domains of pedagogical theory to the inviting shores of teacher and learner cognition and practice. (shrink)
I review Gabriel Richardson Lear's excellent essay on Aristotle’s conception of the human good. She solves some long-standing problems in the interpretation of Aristotle’s ethics by drawing on resources in his natural philosophy and Plato’s conception of love. Her interpretation is a compelling and, to my mind, largely true account of Aristotle’s view. In this review, I summarize the book's main argument and then explain two fundamental points on which I have concerns.
In this reviewessay, K. Peter Kuchinke uses three recent publications to consider the question of how to educate young people for work and career. Historically, this question has been central to vocational education, and it is receiving renewed attention in the context of concerns over the ability of schools to provide adequate preparation for occupational roles and career success in a rapidly changing economic landscape. Philip Gonon's Quest for Modern Vocational Education provides a historical account of Georg (...) Kerschensteiner's vision of the role of work as a central subject matter for all students. His approach served as the foundation for the dual system in present-day Germany. Nancy Hoffman's Schooling in the Workplace contrasts the U.S. system of career preparation for non-college-bound students with that of five other OECD nations where workforce and academic preparation are more strongly connected to learning in the workplace. Christopher Winch's Dimensions of Expertise, finally, offers a conceptual analysis of central ideas of vocational knowledge and underscores the important role of learning in the context of practice. The three texts offer historical, comparative, and philosophical analyses of the complex task of preparation for work and challenge education scholars to move the subject matter into the center of contemporary educational theory. (shrink)
This reviewessay explores Josiah Young's project of developing a liberatory Pan-Africanism that is attuned to cultural diversity and Victor Anderson's advocacy of postmodern cultural criticism in African-American religious thought. After situating African-American religious thought as a branch of Africana thought, the author examines these two religious thinkers' work as an effort to forge a position on African-American religious thought--including its relation to theology--in an age where even theory is treated as a god that is about to die. (...) At the conclusion, secularism emerges as a religious project that normatively undergirds the methodological dimensions of these works. (shrink)
This reviewessay critically discusses Andre Kukla's Methods of theoretical psychology. It is argued that Kukla mistakenly tries to build his case for theorizing in psychology as a separate discipline on a dubious distinction between theory and observation. He then argues that the demise of empiricism implies a return of some form of rationalism, which entails an autonomous role for theorizing in psychology. Having shown how this theory-observation dichotomy goes back to traditional and largely abandoned ideas in epistemology, (...) an alternative is presented in the guise of the pragmatist or functionalist tradition, where the interdependence of theory, observation and action is emphasized and the positivist dichotomy of pure observations and pure theory is rejected. Furthermore, we show how recent work on "active" perception supports the functionalist approach. Although the authors agree with Kukla that theory has a legitimate place in psychology, it is suggested that he needlessly limits its scope to autonomous domain-neutral theorizing, and that broadening its perspective to analyzing the presuppositions and implications of empirical work is a more fruitful approach. In fact, the attempt to find the epistemological and philosophical implications of empirical work in perception that is sketched in this reviewessay is, in the authors' view, a case of theorizing in psychology. (shrink)
Though others have surveyed the different methods in comparative religious ethics, relatively little attention has been given to different approaches to pedagogy (exceptions include Lovin and Reynolds; Juergensmeyer; Twiss). The field of comparative religious ethics has now reached a level of maturity so that there are a variety of ways such courses can be taught. In this review I consider the approaches to comparative religious ethics found in four recent texts by Jacob Neusner, Darrell Fasching and Dell deChant, Regina (...) Wolfe and Christine Gudorf, and Sumner Twiss and Bruce Grelle. In the essay I note the strengths and weaknesses of each text, with special attention given to how the texts might work in the classroom. I then argue that the different texts reflect different understandings of the goal of teaching comparative religious ethics, and I make these goals explicit in order to help teachers decide how they might approach the teaching in this growing field. (shrink)
Hauerwas's refusal to translate the argument displayed in "With the Grain of the Universe" (his recent Gifford Lectures) into language that "anyone" can understand is itself part of the argument. Consequently, readers will not understand what Hauerwas is up to until they have attained fluency in the peculiar language that has epitomized three decades of Hauerwas's scholarship. Such fluency is not easily gained. Nevertheless, in this reviewessay, I situate Hauerwas's baffling language against the backdrop of his corpus (...) to show at least this much: "With the Grain of the Universe" transforms natural theology into "witness." In the end, my essay may demonstrate what many have feared, that Hauerwas is, in fact, a Christian apologist-though of a very ancient sort. (shrink)
In this reviewessay, Mark Brenneman and Frank Margonis address three recent book-length contributions to the ongoing discussion around cosmopolitanism and educational thought: Mark Olssen's Liberalism, Neoliberalism, Social Democracy: Thin Communitarian Perspectives on Political Philosophy and Education, Sharon Todd's Toward an Imperfect Education: Facing Humanity, Rethinking Cosmopolitanism, and Ilan Gur-Ze’ev's Beyond the Modern-Postmodern Struggle in Education: Toward Counter-Education and Enduring Improvisation. Brenneman and Margonis argue that these contributions exhibit a marked disenchantment with Enlightenment conceptions of human possibilities as (...) these inform concrete recommendations in the field of the philosophy of education. All three books call for a rethinking of modernist categories in educational thought, a call that is supported by the authors' respective distrust and ultimate disenchantment with the residual presence of ideas of human perfectibility harbored in the philosophical categories that animate discussions in multicultural, liberal, neoliberal, and postmodern educational discussion. Brenneman and Margonis argue that each of these books theorizes from its own respective regionally specific circumstances, and they therefore prove valuable to philosophers of education who struggle toward their own local responses to human difference and the pedagogical possibilities of educational relations. (shrink)
In this reviewessay we focus on what we call a philosopher’s toolkit: a number of books that will help those studying Islamic philosophy texts. These books are both primers on Islamic philosophy, as well as texts that are essential to keep on one’s desk or in close reach.
In this reviewessay, numerous historical errors in The Cognitive Revolution in Psychology by Bernard J. Baars are discussed. Approximately one-half of the book is devoted to interviews of people who have been important in the cognitive revolution, but several of the interviews are less informative than they might have been. Many of the interviews involved a minimum of interaction between Baars and the interviewees. Additionally, interesting topics, the nature of representation for example, are introduced but not (...) considered in sufficient detail to make a contribution to either cognitive science or the history of psychology. (shrink)
In this reviewessay, I consider a number of possible versions of a contemporary socialist balance-sheet, by way of the three very different recent accounts provided by Alain Badiou, Peter Beilharz, and Goran Therborn. Exploring these broad, colliding understandings of the socialist past, present, and future, I seek to evaluate the responses to some of those large and pressing socialist questions: Who owned the 20th century? What was 1968? What is the meaning of the period since? What remains (...) of Marxism and of socialism? What are the situation and tasks of social theory today? (shrink)
Nature exhibits a rich variety of adaptations. Cells contain complex biomolecular structures, such as proteins, that are exquisitely adapted to perform specific biological functions. Evolutionary biology explains how biomolecular structures evolve. Intelligent design creationists reject evolutionary explanations. They want to believe that all adaptations in nature are the handiwork of God. Their critics aver that “it ain't necessarily so.” The anthology under review is an excellent display of the issues between intelligent design creationists and their critics. I agree with (...) the critics. (shrink)
Science Bought and Sold collects a large portion of the most relevant works on the 'economics of scientific knowledge production,' as well as other more recent and unpublished papers on the topic, and the long introductory essay by the editors is an illuminating guide to the field. In this critical notice, I argue that economic theorising about scientific research is providing a peaceful meeting point for many of the combatants in the 'science wars,' one from which both epistemic and (...) political questions about science can be more rationally set forth. (shrink)
RADHIKA HERZBERGER, Bhartrhari and the Buddhists. An essay in the development of fifth and sixth century Indian thought. Dordrecht, Boston, Lancaster, Tokyo: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1986. xxvi + 252 pp. DF1.145/$64/£40.25.
Science Bought and Sold collects a large portion of the most relevant works on the `economics of scientific knowledge production,' as well as other more recent and unpublished papers on the topic, and the long introductory essay by the editors is an illuminating guide to the field. In this critical notice, I argue that economic theorising about scientific research is providing a peaceful meeting point for many of the combatants in the `science wars,' one from which both epistemic and (...) political questions about science can be more rationally set forth. (shrink)
This essay reviews two recently published American books about masculinity politics - Michael Kimmel's pro-feminist Manhood in America and his edited collection The Politics of Manhood - in order to comment critically on the current debate underway in various parts of the world on 'boys' and their schooling which sees them as the 'new victims' of the educational process.
This paper contains an overview of the essays contained in the Mind and morals anthology plus a critical discussion of certain themes raised in many of these essays concerning the bearing of recent work in cognitive science on the traditional project of moral theory. Specifically, I argue for the following claims: (1) authors like Virginia Held, who appear to be antagonistic toward the methodological naturalism of Owen Flanagan, Andy Clark, Paul Churchland, and others, are really in fundamental agreement with (...) the naturalists (at least once the naturalist view is suitably clarified); (2) the prototype theory of moral concepts that is inspired by recent work in cognitive science does not necessarily jeopardize the aim of systematization characteristic of traditional moral theory; (3) nor does it threaten certain widely accepted views about moral rationality that is part of traditional moral theorizing. Moreover, I speculate that (4) recent work in cognitive science can be expected to play a corroborative role in the justification of theories in ethics, but we should probably not expect this work to yield new insights and directions in ethics. Finally, (5) Fodor's recent critique of cognitive science makes clear the perils of methodological ethical naturalism. (shrink)
The late twentieth century has provided both reasons and occasions for reassessing just war theory as an organizing framework for the moral analysis of war. Books by G. Scott Davis, James T. Johnson, and John Kelsay, together with essays by Jeffrey Stout, Charles Butterworth, David Little, Bruce Lawrence, Courtney Campbell, and Tamara Sonn, signal a remarkable shift in war studies as they enlarge the cultural lens through which the interests and forces at play in political violence are identified and evaluated. (...) In his review of the contribution made by these texts, the author focuses on the cohesion of just war theory, the asymmetry between Christian and Islamic attitudes toward holy war, and the need to develop just war theory into a tool adequate to assist in the moral evaluation of violent conflicts within, not just between, nation-states. (shrink)
This article is an extended critical review of a set of essays arguing for the deregulation of U.S. industry. The essays are by mostly lawyers and economists, not philosophers. The writers act as though non-market-based theories of distributive justice do not exist. Nonetheless, the essays are ingenious and sophisticated enough to present a considerable challenge to such theories. In criticism I discuss chiefly two broad themes — the considerations a non-market-based theory would adduce in rebuttal, and the use by (...) the writers of the existing legal framework. The book illustrates most forcefully the clash between rival philosophical visions of the Good Society. (shrink)
Australia is currently experiencing a prolonged period of water scarcity that is challenging a diverse range of water-dependent activities ranging from household gardening to horticultural production to the viability of riverine ecosystems. The political and ecological importance of water in Australia is not, however, only a recent phenomenon. For the majority of Australia’s settled history, water politics, economics, culture and engineering have reflected and embodied a dynamic relationship between Australian hydrology and Australian society. This essay examines that relationship by (...) first reviewing the work of the Australian historical geographer, Emeritus Professor J. M. Powell. For 40 years Powell has been writing about the process of natural resource appraisal and management in Australia and he has been Australia’s leading authority on the role of water in that process for most of that time. The essay then argues for an extension of Powell’s work by applying the insights provided by the scholars Karl Wittfogel, Donald Worster and Eric Swyngedouw. Their work, it is argued, suggests the possibility of a more nuanced understanding of water in Australia than that currently offered by the majority of the Australian literature, and ultimately provides some tools for thinking ourselves out of the current water crisis. (shrink)
Hilary Putnam's The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy and Other Essays serves as his latest installment attempting to detail some of the historical background and recent controversies over the so-called fact/value distinction. In it, Putnam claims that the positivists' influence led to an inflated dichotomy, rather than distinction, between descriptive sentences and evaluative sentences. He argues that such a dichotomy is unwarranted through a number of arguments intended to show that attempts to "disentangle" facts from values always fail. However, in (...) the process Putnam overlooks a number of interesting motives underlying the positivist movement, and disregards a now-enormous body of literature in the philosophy of science on descriptive and evaluative statements. Hence, his attempt, towards the end of the collection, to construct a viable philosophy of language that can support the dichotomy's collapse and an ethical theory that can support his discussion of the dichotomy's collapse appears somewhat weak. Nevertheless, Putnam engages his philosophical discussion with contemporary economic theory in order to motivate his central claim: that taking a somewhat interesting distinction between facts and values and inflating it into a dichotomy can, and often does, lead to disastrous policy decisions. Thus, the collection shines by highlighting real-world, practical and ethical consequences of certain philosophical and theoretical commitments. (shrink)
Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions is one of the most cited books of the twentieth century. Its iconic and controversial nature has obscured its message. What did Kuhn really intend with Structure and what is its real significance? -/- 1 Introduction -/- 2 The Central Ideas of Structure -/- 3 The Philosophical Targets of Structure -/- 4 Interpreting and Misinterpreting Structure -/- 4.1 Naturalism -/- 4.2 World-change -/- 4.3 Incommensurability -/- 4.4 Progress and the nature of revolutionary change -/- 4.5 (...) Relativism, rationality, and realism -/- 4.6 History and sociology of science -/- 4.7 Wittgenstein -/- 5 After Structure. (shrink)
David Buller’s recent book, Adapting Minds, is a philosophical critique of the field of evolutionary psychology. Buller argues that evolutionary psychology is utterly bankrupt from both a theoretical and an empirical point of view. Although Adapting Minds has been well received in both the academic press and the popular media, we argue that Buller’s critique of evolutionary psychology fails.
Philosophical consideration of dance has gained in vigor, diversity, and sophistication in recent decades -- even though philosophers disagree sharply on what philosophy is! Divergent methodological approaches range from the phenomenological explorations of Maxine Sheets- Johnstone, the existentialist approach of Sandra Horton Fraleigh, and the postmodernist continental work of Susan Foster to more traditional "British-American" analysis by such well-known philosophers as Nelson Goodman, Joseph Margolis, and Francis Sparshott.
Jagdish Mehra (ed.): The Collected Works of Eugene Paul Wigner. Part B. Historical, Philosophical, and Socio-Political Papers. Volume 6: Philosophical Reflections and Syntheses (annotated by Gérard G. Emch) (Berlin: Springer, 1995), XX + 631 pp., ISBN 3-.
For most of the contributions to this volume, the project is this: Fill out “Event X is a cause of event Y if and only if……” where the dots on the right are to be filled in by a claims formulated in terms using any of (1) descriptions of possible worlds and their relations; (2) a special predicate, “is a law;” (3) “chances;” and (4) anything else one thinks one needs. The form of analysis is roughly the same as that (...) sought in the Meno, and the methodology is likewise Socratic—proposals, examples, counterexamples, more proposals. The norms of the enterprise seem to be as follows (i) a proposal is defeated if someone can imagine a circumstance in which it would be false, or perhaps if one can imagine such a circumstance that is not obviously inconsistent with physical laws; (ii) approximately correct solutions, those which cover most but not all cases, are of no value unless they can be modified to cover all cases; (iii) no account is required of how the relations in the right hand side of a proposed analysis could be known or reliably.. (shrink)