In this paper I shall present an argument against Deleuze’s philosophy of painting. Deleuze’s main thesis in Logic of Sensation is twofold:  he claims that painting is based on a non-representational level; and  he claims that this level comes out of the materiality of painting. I shall claim that Deleuze’s theses should be rejected for the following reasons: first, the difference between non-intentional life and the representational world is too strict. I submit that the (...) non-intentional relation that painting opens up is itself part of and emerges out of the representational force of painting. If this would not be the case, then the criterion for differentiating between paintings and other objects cannot be developed. Indeed, Deleuze fails to give us a criterion. Second, Deleuze’s way of dealing with materiality in painting remains unsatisfactory, insofar as he is unable to take into account how materiality is charged with an “attitude towards the world.” In sum, materiality can only be painting’s materiality if we understand it as being formed and disclosed in representation. (shrink)
The Phenomenology of Painting examines the practice of painting - how a painter works with materials, the elements of space, form and color - and viewer response to a work of art. Nigel Wentworth seeks to answer some of the central questions of the philosophy of art, such as: To what extent can a painting and its meaning be understood to result from the artist's intentions? In what way can the painting be understood as an (...) expressive object? What does it mean for a painting to be a representation of something? And what is the nature of aesthetic quality in painting? In offering responses to these questions, Wentworth offers a new theory on aesthetic quality. (shrink)
Richard Wollheim is one of the dominant figures in the philosophy of art, whose work has shown not only how paintings create their effects but why they remain important to us. His influential writings have focused on two core, interrelated questions: How do paintings depict? and how do they express feelings? In this collection of new essays a distinguished group of thinkers in the fields of art history and philosophical aesthetics offers a critical assessment of Wollheim's theory of art. (...) Among the themes under discussion are Wollheim's explanation of pictorial representation in terms of seeing-in, his views of artistic expression as a type of complex projection, and his notion of the internal spectator. In the final essay Wollheim himself responds to the contributors. This book will be eagerly sought out by all serious students of the theory of art, whether in departments of philosophy or art history. (shrink)
Bogue provides a systematic overview and introduction to Deleuze's writings on music and painting, and an assessment of their position within his aesthetics as a whole. Deleuze on Music, Painting and the Arts breaks new ground in the scholarship on Deleuze's aesthetics, while providing a clear and accessible guide to his often overlooked writings in the fields of music and painting.
The definition of the human -- Perceiving paintings as paintings I -- Perceiving paintings as paintings II -- "One and only one correct interpretation" -- Toward a phenomenology of painting and literature -- "Seeing-in," "make-believe," transfiguration" : the perception of pictorial representation -- Beauty and truth and the passing of transcendental philosophy.
Painting, according to Jean-Luc Marion, is a central topic of concern for philosophy, particularly phenomenology. For the question of painting is, at its heart, a question of visibility—of appearance. As such, the painting is a privileged case of the phenomenon; the painting becomes an index for investigating the conditions of appearance—or what Marion describes as “phenomenality” in general. In The Crossing of the Visible, Marion takes up just such a project. The natural outgrowth of his (...) earlier reflections on icons, these four studies carefully consider the history of painting—from classical to contemporary—as a fund for phenomenological reflection on the conditions of (in)visibility. Ranging across artists from Raphael to Rothko, Caravaggio to Pollock, The Crossing of the Visible offers both a critique of contemporary accounts of the visual and a constructive alternative. According to Marion, the proper response to the “nihilism” of postmodernity is not iconoclasm, but rather a radically iconic account of the visual and the arts that opens them to the invisible. (shrink)
In this study, Alan Paskow first asks why fictional characters, such as Hamlet and Anna Karenina, matter to us and how they emotionally affect us. He then applies these questions to painting, demonstrating that certain paintings beckon us to view their contents as real. What we visualise in paintings, he argues, is not simply in our heads but in our world. No one would assert that the paintings themselves are in our heads; nor would anyone deny that they are (...) in our world. Paskow also situates the phenomenological approach to the experience of painting in relation to contemporary schools of thought, particularly Marxist, feminist, and deconstructionist. (shrink)
In Mourning Becomes the Law, Gillian Rose takes us beyond the impasse of post-modernism or 'despairing rationalism withour reason'. Arguing that the post-modern search for a 'new ethics' and ironic philosophy are incoherent, she breathes new life into the debates concerning power and domination, transcendence and eternity. Mourning Becomes the Law is the philosophical counterpart to Gillian Rose's highly acclaimed memoir Love's Work. She extends similar clarity and insight to discussions of architecture, cinema, painting and poetry, through which (...) relations between the formation of the individual and the theory of justice are connected. At the heart of this reconnection lies a reflection on the significance of the Holocaust and Judaism. Mourning Becomes the Law reinvents the classical analogy of the soul, the city and the sacred. It returns philosophy, Nietzsche's 'bestowing virtue', to the pulse of our intellectual and political culture. (shrink)
Most instructors who teach introductory courses in aesthetics or the philosophy of arts use the visual arts as their implicit reference for "art" in general, yet until now there has been no aesthetics anthology specifically orientated to the visual arts. This text stresses conceptual and theoretical issues, first examining the very notion of "the visual arts" and then investigating philosophical questions raised by various forms, from painting, the paradigmatic form, to sculpture, photography, film, dance, kitsch, and other forms (...) on the borders of the visual arts. The selections represent both classical and contemporary views and include sections by artists, art historians, and critics as well as philosophers. A singularly important text for courses in the philosophy of arts or aesthetics, this anthology is designed to enrich the philosophical and critical examination of our beliefs about the visual arts. (shrink)
JPVA Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts No 6 Complexity Architecture / Art / Philosophy 'Beginning with complexity will involve working with the recognition that there has always been more than one. Here however this insistent "more than one" will be positioned beyond the scope of semantics; rather than complexity occurring within the range of meaning and taking the form of a generalised polysemy, it will be linked to the nature of the object and to its production. (...) Complexity, therefore, will be inextricably connected to the ontology of the object. What this means is that complexity, in resisting the hold of a semantic idealism on the one hand, and the attempt to give to it the position of being the basis of a new foundationalism on the other, becomes a way of thinking both the presence and the production of objects.' Andrew Benjamin The Journal of Philosophy and the Visual Arts has set new standards in its exploration of themes central to philosophy's relation to the visual arts, illuminating areas of art criticism, architecture, feminism as well as philosophy itself. Rather than simply reflecting current trends it provides a forum in which the real developments in the analysis of the visual arts and its larger cultural and political context can be presented. Articles by well known philosophers and theorists, as well as some lesser known, together with writings by artists and architects allow a strong interdisciplinary approach reflecting the Journal's roots in post-structural theory. Previous issues include: Philosophy & the Visual Arts (No 1) Philosophy & Architecture (No 2) Architecture, Space, Painting (No 3) The Body (No 4) Abstraction (No 5). (shrink)
Although equal in power to other facets of the rich cultural ferment of modern Russia that have profoundly influenced Western civilization—such as painting, literature, drama, and politics—the authentic legacy of twentieth-century Russian philosophy has until recently been eclipsed by Soviet ideological dominance. Of the important philosophers drawing upon the characteristically Russian synthesis of Ancient Neoplatonism, German Idealism, and Byzantine spirituality, Sergei Bulgakov is outstanding, and his work has important implications for our contemporary thinking about the relationship between humanity (...) and nature in an age of environmental crisis. Overcoming the objectivist stance toward nature consolidated by Descartes and ensconced by Kant, Bulgakov anticipates not only many existential and phenomenological thinkers in the West—especially Heidegger—but also current ecological sensibilities, by showing the ontological status of humanity and nature as profoundly interconnected, especially through his understanding of nature as “household.” Beyond this, he elucidates a normative, “thoesophianic” character of nature corresponding to Plato’s “world soul,” the Renaissance natura naturans, and Heidegger’s “divinely beautiful nature” which is best revealed not by science and technology, but by the aesthetic and contemplative energies of a humanity whose essential interconnection with nature is shown most profoundly by means of this mode of revealing itself. (shrink)
Except for a patina of twenty-first century modernity, in the form of logic and language, philosophy is exactly the same now as it ever was; it has made no progress whatsoever. We philosophers wrestle with the exact same problems the Pre-Socratics wrestled with. Even more outrageous than this claim, though, is the blatant denial of its obvious truth by many practicing philosophers. The No-Progress view is explored and argued for here. Its denial is diagnosed as a form of anosognosia, (...) a mental condition where the affected person denies there is any problem. The theories of two eminent philosophers supporting the No-Progress view are also examined. The final section offers an explanation for philosophy's inability to solve any philosophical problem, ever. The paper closes with some reflections on philosophy's future. (shrink)
Claims about people's intuitions have long played an important role in philosophical debates. The new field of experimental philosophy seeks to subject such claims to rigorous tests using the traditional methods of cognitive science – systematic experimentation and statistical analysis. Work in experimental philosophy thus far has investigated people's intuitions in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, and ethics. Although it is now generally agreed that experimental philosophers have made surprising discoveries about people's intuitions in (...) each of these areas, considerable disagreement remains about the philosophical significance of the key findings. Some have argued that work in experimental philosophy should be assessed by asking whether it can contribute to the kind of inquiry that is normally pursued within analytic philosophy, while others suggest that work in experimental philosophy is best understood as a contribution to a more traditional sort of philosophical inquiry that long predates the birth of analytic philosophy. (shrink)
Mathematics plays an inordinate role in the work of many of famous Western philosophers, from the time of Plato, through Husserl and Wittgenstein, and even to the present. Why? This paper points to the experience of learning or making mathematics, with an emphasis on proof. It distinguishes two sources of the perennial impact of mathematics on philosophy. They are classified as Ancient and Enlightenment. Plato is emblematic of the former, and Kant of the latter. The Ancient fascination arises from (...) the sense that mathematics explores something ‘out there’. This is illustrated by recent discussions by distinguished contemporary mathematicians. The Enlightenment strand often uses Kant's argot: ‘absolute necessity’, ‘apodictic certainty’ and ‘a priori’ judgement or knowledge. The experience of being compelled by proof, the sense that something must be true, that a result is certain, generates the philosophy. It also creates the illusion that mathematics is certain. Kant's leading question, ‘How is pure mathematics possible?’, is easily misunderstood because the modern distinction between pure and applied is an artefact of the 19th century. As Russell put it, the issue is to explain ‘the apparent power of anticipating facts about things of which we have no experience’. More generally the question is, how is it that pure mathematics is so rich in applications? Some six types of application are distinguished, each of which engenders its own philosophical problems which are descendants of the Enlightenment, and which differ from those descended from the Ancient strand. (shrink)
On the political nature of the analytic - continental distinction in professional philosophy and the general tendency to discredit continental philosophy while redesignating the rubric as analytically conceived.
Metaethics is the study of metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language, insofar as they relate to the subject matter of moral or, more broadly, normative discourse – the subject matter of what is good, bad, right or wrong, just, reasonable, rational, what we must or ought to do, or otherwise. But out of these four ‘core’ areas of philosophy, it is plausibly the philosophy of language that is most central to metaethics (...) – and not simply because ‘metaethics’ was for a long time construed more narrowly as a name for the study of moral language. The philosophy of language is central to metaethics because both the advantages of and the open problems facing different metaethical theories differ sharply over the answers those theories give to central questions in the philosophy of language. In fact, among the open problems over which such theories differ, are included particularly further problems in the philosophy of language. This article briefly surveys a range of broad categories of views in metaethics and both catalogues some of the principal issues faced by each in the philosophy of language, as well as how those arise out of their answers to more basic questions in the philosophy of language. I make no claim to completeness, only to raising a variety of important issues. (shrink)
The following is a transcript of the interview I (Yasuko Kitano) conducted with Neil Levy (The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, CAPPE) on the 23rd in July 2009, while he was in Tokyo to give a series of lectures on neuroethics at The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy. I edited his words for publication with his approval.
Since antiquity well into the beginnings of the 20th century geometry was a central topic for philosophy. Since then, however, most philosophers of science, if they took notice of topology at all, considered it as an abstruse subdiscipline of mathematics lacking philosophical interest. Here it is argued that this neglect of topology by philosophy may be conceived of as the sign of a conceptual sea-change in philosophy of science that expelled geometry, and, more generally, mathematics, from the (...) central position it used to have in philosophy of science and placed logic at center stage in the 20th century philosophy of science. Only in recent decades logic has begun to loose its monopoly and geometry and topology received a new chance to find a place in philosophy of science. (shrink)
Is Bayesian decision theory a panacea for many of the problems in epistemology and the philosophy of science, or is it philosophical snake-oil? For years a debate had been waged amongst specialists regarding the import and legitimacy of this body of theory. Mark Kaplan had written the first accessible and non-technical book to address this controversy. Introducing a new variant on Bayesian decision theory the author offers a compelling case that, while no panacea, decision theory does in fact have (...) the most profound consequences for the way in which philosophers think about inquiry, criticism and rational belief. The new variant on Bayesian theory is presented in such a way that a non-specialist will be able to understand it. The book also offers new solutions to some classic paradoxes. It focuses on the intuitive motivations of the Bayesian approach to epistemology and addresses the philosophical worries to which it has given rise. (shrink)
Over the past three decades, philosophy of science has grown increasingly “local.” Concerns have switched from general features of scientific practice to concepts, issues, and puzzles specific to particular disciplines. Philosophy of neuroscience is a natural result. This emerging area was also spurred by remarkable recent growth in the neurosciences. Cognitive and computational neuroscience continues to encroach upon issues traditionally addressed within the humanities, including the nature of consciousness, action, knowledge, and normativity. Empirical discoveries about brain structure and (...) function suggest ways that “naturalistic” programs might develop in detail, beyond the abstract philosophical considerations in their favor. -/- The literature distinguishes “philosophy of neuroscience” and “neurophilosophy.” The former concerns foundational issues within the neurosciences. The latter concerns application of neuroscientific concepts to traditional philosophical questions. Exploring various concepts of representation employed in neuroscientific theories is an example of the former. Examining implications of neurological syndromes for the concept of a unified self is an example of the latter. In this entry, we will assume this distinction and discuss examples of both. (shrink)
From its inception in Kant's efforts to articulate a "religion within the limits of reason alone," the Continental tradition has maintained a strict division of labor between theological and philosophical reflection on religion. In what follows, I examine this continental legacy in the context of Jacques Derrida's recent work on the concept of responsibility. First I discuss three guiding themes (the limits of speculative analysis, the idea of nondogmatic religion, and the importance of the other) that characterize the continental tradition's (...) general orientation toward philosophy of religion, as well as Derrida's approach to the concept of responsibility. I turn next to elucidating Derrida's account of responsibility as developed in "Force of Law: The Mystical Foundations of Authority" and The Gift of Death. I conclude with a discussion of the uses and limits of this account for religious (and theological) reflection, as well as for the task of articulating a contemporary continental philosophy of religion. (shrink)
This volume of newly commissioned essays provides comprehensive coverage of African philosophy, ranging across disciplines and throughout the ages. Offers a distinctive historical treatment of African philosophy. Covers all the main branches of philosophy as addressed in the African tradition. Includes accounts of pre-colonial African philosophy and contemporary political thought.
The idea that films can be philosophical, or in some sense 'do' philosophy, has recently found a number of prominent proponents. What is at stake here is generally more than the tepid claim that some documentaries about philosophy and related topics convey philosophically relevant content. Instead, the contention is that cinematic fictions, including popular movies such as The Matrix , make significant contributions to philosophy. Various more specific claims are linked to this basic idea. One, relatively weak, (...) but pedagogically important observation is that some films can be used to provide philosophy students with vivid and thought-provoking illustrations of philosophical issues. Film screenings stimulate discussion and may motivate renewed engagement with difficult philosophical texts. A stronger contention, however, seeks to link innovative and philosophically valuable thinking to 'the film itself' or to the 'specificity of the cinematic medium'. Such claims raise interesting questions, including questions about the status of the increasingly prevalent philosophically motivated interpretations of particular movies. Who is actually doing the philosophizing in such cases? Is it the audio-visual display, the film-maker, or the philosopher who devises an interpretation of the work? What is the role of specifically cinematic devices in the philosophical points made in such interpretations? Is there any tension between the goal of appreciating a film as a work of art and the goal of arguing that a film has significant implications for a position on a problem in philosophy? A course in the general area of cinema as philosophy can focus on issues related to the locus and status of cinematic philosophizing. It can also delve into specific films and film-makers and philosophically oriented interpretations of specific philosophical topics, such as personal identity. Issues pertaining to interpretation, meaning, and authorship can be usefully investigated in this connection, as can topics in meta-philosophy related to the very nature of philosophical insight or knowledge. Author Recommends Carroll, Noël and Jinhee Choi, eds. 2008. The Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures: An Anthology , Part VIII: Film and Knowledge. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 381–405. Inclues a brief introduction by Carroll followed by papers by Bruce Russell, Karen Hanson, and Lester H. Hunt. Kania, Andrew, ed. 2009. Memento . London: Routledge. A number of philosophers elucidate philosophical themes in Memento and discuss more general issues pertaining to cinema's philosophical significance. Livingston, Paisley. 2009. Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman: On Film as Philosophy . Oxford: Oxford University Press. Part 1 surveys arguments surrounding the cinema as philosophy theme, providing detailed criticisms of some of the bold theses in this area. Part 2 discusses issues related to cinematic authorship and the status of philosophically motivated interpretations of works of fiction, arguing for a partial intentionalist account of a work's meanings. Part 3 illustrates the intentionalist principles in a discussion of Ingmar Bergman's philosophical sources, providing insight into themes of motivated irrationality, inauthenticity, and self-knowledge in some of Bergman's works. Livingston, Paisley and Carl Plantinga, eds. 2009. The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film , Part IV: Film as Philosophy. London: Routledge. 547–659. Offers a succinct survey by Wartenberg as well as entries on Ingmar Bergman, Terrence Malick, and Andrei Tarkovsky, discussions of film and specific philosophical topics (morality, skepticism, personal identity, and practical wisdom), and examples of philosophically motivated interpretations of three specific films: The Five Obstructions , Gattaca , and Memento . Smith, Murray and Thomas E. Wartenberg, eds. 2006. Thinking Through Cinema: Film as Philosophy . Malden, MA: Blackwell. A collection of papers that combines essays devoted to general positions on the cinema as philosophy topic as well as specific interpretations of works in different genres. Turvey, Malcolm. 2008. Doubting Vision: Film and the Revelationist Tradition . Oxford: Oxford University Press. A probing critical investigation into the assumptions underlying influential philosophical claims about the epistemic value of cinema. Wartenberg, Thomas E. 2008. Thinking on Screen: Film as Philosophy . London: Routledge. Ably surveys and responds to arguments against the idea that films can 'do philosophy'. It defends a conditionalist form of intentionalism in response to the 'imposition objection' according to which it is only the commentator who reads philosophical themes 'into' the movie; illustrates the favored account of film as philosophy with interpretations of specific cinematic fictions. Online Materials Film-Philosophy http://www.film-philosophy.com/ > Founded in 1996, this peer-reviewed online journal is dedicated to philosophically oriented interpretations of films and cinema studies more generally. The e-mail salon encourages discussion of related topics. Includes essays, festival reports, calls for papers, conference and job information, and book reviews. The archive includes contributions from 1997 to the present. Wartenberg, Thomas E. 'Philosophy of Film.' The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ; http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/film/ > A brief survey of a range of issues in the philosophy of cinema including a few paragraphs on the film as philosophy topic. Philosophical Films http://www.philfilms.utm.edu/2/filmlist.htm > A briefly annotated list of philosophical films grouped in rubrics such as 'The Meaning of Life' and 'Environmental Ethics'. Sample Syllabus What follows is a 4-week 'start-up module' followed by samples of optional units that focus on particular topics and cinematic examples. Introductory Module Week I: Introduction & Overview Livingston, Paisley. 'Recent Work on Cinema as Philosophy.' Philosophy Compass 3 (2008): 1–14, 20 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2008.00158.x ). Wartenberg, Thomas E. 2009. 'Film as Philosophy.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Ed. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 549–59. Russell, Bruce. 2008. 'The Philosophical Limits of Film.' The Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures: An Anthology . Ed. Noël Carroll and Jinhee Choi. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 387–390. Week II: The Bold Thesis on Film as Philosophy Reading: Livingston, Paisley, 'Theses on Cinema as Philosophy.' Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman, Chapter One. 11–38. Screening: October (dir. Sergei Eisenstein 1928). Week III: Debating the Bold Thesis: The Case of October Carroll, Noël. 1998. 'For God and Country.' Interpreting the Moving Image . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 80–91. Smuts, Aaron. 2009. 'Film as Philosophy: In Defense of a Bold Thesis.' Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism , 67:4: 409–20. Week IV: Cinema as Philosophy: Objections and Replies Livingston, Paisley. 2009. 'Arguing over Cinema as Philosophy.' Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman, Chapter Two. 39–59. Additional Optional Units Depending on the instructor's areas of interest and expertise, any of the following units could be added (and in some cases, easily expanded into longer segments). The Case of Ingmar Bergman Livingston, Paisley. 2009. 'Ingmar Bergman.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 560–568. Screening(s): Wild Strawberries (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1957), or The Seventh Seal (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1957), or Persona (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1966). Skepticism Fumerton, Richard. 2009. 'Skepticism.' In The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 601–10. Screening: The Matrix (dir. Andy and Larry Wachowski 1999) or Total Recall (dir. Paul Verhoeven 1990). Ethics Kupfer, Joseph. 1999. Visions of Virtue in Popular Film . Boulder, CO: Westview. 35–60. Falzon, Chris. 2009. 'Why be Moral?' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 591–599. Screening: Groundhog Day (dir. <span class='Hi'>Harold</span> Ramis 1993), or Crimes and Misdemeanors (dir. Woody Allen 1989), or Hollow Man (dir. Paul Verhoeven 2000). Personal Identity Knight, Deborah. 2009. 'Personal Identity.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 611–619. Hanley, Richard. 2009. ' Memento and Personal Identity: Are We Getting it Backwards?' Memento . Ed. Andrew Kania. London: Routledge. 107–126. Martin, Raymond. 2009. 'The Value of Memory: Reflections on Memento. ' Memento . Ed. Andrew Kania. London: Routledge. 87–106. Screening: Memento (dir. Christopher Nolan 2000). Freedom and (Genetic) Determinism Sesardic, Neven. 2009. 'Gattaca.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 641–649. Screening: Gattaca (dir. Andrew Niccol 1997). Focus Questions • Is there anything special about the experience of fiction films that is especially well suited to the stimulation of worthwhile philosophical reflection? • Have any novel and philosophically significant ideas found their first expression in a cinematic work? • Under what circumstances can the film medium be used as an expression of a cinematic author's views? • What sort of background knowledge has to be in place for a film to be interpreted as articulating reasonably precise philosophical theses and arguments? • Does the goal of spelling out a film's philosophical meaning sometimes conflict with the goal of appreciating its value as a work of art? (shrink)
Abstract Recently, some philosophers of psychiatry (viz., Rachel Cooper and Dominic Murphy) have analyzed the issue of psychiatric classification. This paper expands upon these analyses and seeks to demonstrate that a consideration of the history of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) can provide a rich and informative philosophical perspective for critically examining the issue of psychiatric classification. This case is intended to demonstrate the importance of history for philosophy of psychiatry, and more generally, the potential (...) benefits of historically-informed approaches to philosophy of science. (shrink)
In recent years, experimental philosophers have questioned the reliance of philosophical arguments on intuitions elicited by thought experiments. These challenges seek to undermine the use of this methodology for a particular domain of theorizing, and in some cases to raise doubts about the viability of philosophical work in the domain in question. The topic of semantic reference has been an important area for discussion of these issues, one in which critics of the reliance on intuitions have made particularly strong claims (...) about the prospects for philosophical theories of reference and arguments based on claims about reference. In this article, I review the main lines of argument in this area of experimental philosophy, with particular emphasis on the relevance of empirical data about intuitions to philosophical views. I argue that although traditional philosophical theorizing about reference faces little threat from experimental data about intuitions, there is nevertheless much to be gained from collecting and analyzing such data, which holds the promise of greatly enriching our conception of the mechanisms governing judgments about semantic reference in ways that are highly relevant to philosophers. (shrink)
The ‘Ordinary Language’ philosophy of the early 20th century is widely thought to have failed. It is identified with the broader so-called ‘linguistic turn’, a common criticism of which is captured by Devitt and Sterelny (1999), who quip: “When the naturalistic philosopher points his finger at reality, the linguistic philosopher discusses the finger.” (p 280) The implication is that according to ‘linguistic’ philosophy, we are not to study reality or truth or morality etc, but the meaning of the (...) words ‘reality’, ‘truth’, ‘morality’ etc. Ordinary Language philosophy has fallen so thoroughly into disrepute because it is supposed to advocate that not only are we to study words and meanings rather than the phenomena themselves (which is apparently bad enough), but we must restrict that study to words and meanings as they occur in the language used by the ordinary speaker. A number of preposterous corollaries have been taken to follow from this view. Most seriously, perhaps, and irritatingly, is that any theory which contains ‘non-ordinary’ uses of expressions is thereby ‘meaningless’ or simply false – which is clearly absurd. In this paper I show that this is a completely inaccurate picture of Ordinary Language philosophy. My aim is to correct these persistent misinterpretations, and make possible a more sensible reassessment of the philosophy. (shrink)
This collection brings together thirteen new essays by some of the most respected contemporary scholars of Schopenhauer's aesthetics from a wide spectrum of philosophical perspectives. The dynamics of the empirical will and Will as a thing-in-itself in the interplay of Schopenhauer's metaphysics and philosophy of fine art has important implications for the freedom, salvation, and tragic suffering of the artist, the representation of Platonic Ideas in art, and the role of artistic inspiration, emotion, and aesthetic pleasure in the beautiful (...) and sublime. These essays examine the unique theory Schopenhauer developed to explain the life and work of the artist, and the influence his aesthetic philosophy has had on subsequent artistic traditions in such diverse areas as music, painting, poetry, literature, and architecture. The authors present Schopenhauer's thought as a vital and enduring contribution to aesthetic theory, and to the idealist vision which continues to guide Romantic and neo-Romantic art. (shrink)
While there is a great diversity of treatments of other minds and inter-subjectivity within both analytic and continental philosophy, this article specifies some of the core structural differences between these treatments. Although there is no canonical account of the problem of other minds that can be baldly stated and that is exhaustive of both traditions, the problem(s) of other minds can be loosely defined in family resemblances terms. It seems to have: (1) an epistemological dimension (How do we know (...) that others exist? Can we justifiably claim to know that they do?); (2) an ontological dimension that incorporates issues having to do with personal identity (What is the structure of our world such that inter-subjectivity is possible? What are the fundamental aspects of our relations to others? How do they impact upon our self-identity?); and (3) A conceptual dimension in that it depends on one's answer to the question what is a mind (How does the mind – or the concept of 'mind'– relate to the brain, the body and the world?). While these three issues are co-imbricated, I will claim that analytic engagements with the problem of other minds focus on (1), whereas continental philosophers focus far more on (2). In addition, this article will also point to various other downstream consequences of this, including the preoccupation with embodiment and forms of expressivism that feature heavily in various forms of continental philosophy, and which generally aim to ground our relations with others in a pre-reflective manner of inhabiting the world that is said to be the condition of reflection and knowledge. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy of religion as a subject of study has developed in recent years because of the identification and exposure of explicit sexism in much of the traditional philosophical thinking about religion. This struggle with a discipline shaped almost exclusively by men has led feminist philosophers to redress the problematic biases of gender, race, class and sexual orientation of the subject. Anderson and Clack bring together new and key writings on the core topics and approaches to this growing field. (...) Each essay exhibits a distinctive theoretical approach and appropriate insights from the fields of literature, theology, philosophy, gender and cultural studies. Beginning with a general introduction, part one explores important approaches to the feminist philosophy of religion, including psychoanalytic, poststructualist, postmetaphysical, and epistemological frameworks. In part two the authors survey significant topics including questions of divinity, embodiment, autonomy and spirituality, and religious practice. Supported by explanatory prefaces and an extensive bibliography which is organized thematically, Feminist Philosophy of Religion is an important resource for this new area of study. (shrink)
For Ordinary Language philosophy, at issue is the use of the expressions of language, not expressions in and of themselves. So, at issue is not, for example, ordinary versus (say) technical words; nor is it a distinction based on the language used in various areas of discourse, for example academic, technical, scientific, or lay, slang or street discourses – ordinary uses of language occur in all discourses. It is sometimes the case that an expression has distinct uses within distinct (...) discourses, for example, the expression ‘empty space’. This may have both a lay and a scientific use, and both uses may count as ordinary; as long as it is quite clear which discourse is in play, and thus which of the distinct uses of the expression is in play. Though connected, the difference in use of the expression in different discourses signals a difference in the sense with which it is used, on the Ordinary Language view. One use, say the use in physics, in which it refers to a vacuum, is distinct from its lay use, in which it refers rather more flexibly to, say, a room with no objects in it, or an expanse of land with no buildings or trees. However, on this view, one sense of the expression, though more precise than the other, would not do as a replacement of the other term; for the lay use of the term is perfectly adequate for the uses it is put to, and the meaning of the term in physics would not allow speakers to express what they mean in these other contexts. (shrink)
Art, Mimesis and the Avant-Garde explores the relationship between art and philosophy. Andrew Benjamin argues for a reworking of the task of philosophy in terms of the centrality of ontology. It is in relation to this centrality, understood through the differences between modes of being, that art, mimesis, and the avant-garde come to be presented. A fundamental part of this book is the original interpretations of important contemporary painters and their themes: Lucian Freud's self-portraits, Francis Bacon's use (...) of mirrors, R. B. Kitaj and Jewish identity, Anselm Kiefer and iconoclasm. Apart from painting, Benjamin considers architecture, literature, and the philosophical writings of Walter Benjamin and Descartes in elaborating the various aspects of ontological difference. Benjamin develops the theory of the avant-garde as a philosophical category rather than a historical marker, thus bringing the worlds of contemporary art criticism and contemporary philosophy closer together. (shrink)
The accusation that contemporary political philosophy is carried out in too ahistorical a fashion depends upon it being possible for historical facts to ground normative political principles. This they cannot do. Each of the seven ways in which it might be thought possible for them to do so fails for one or more of four reasons: (1) History yields no timeless set of universal moral values; (2) it displays no convergence upon such a set; (3) it reveals no univocal (...) moral or cultural context in the present; (4) the failure of an ethical tradition to successfully respond to criticism over a long period of time is no guarantee of its inability to do so. Because historical critiques of contemporary normative thought rely upon one or more of these things holding true, they are, as a class of arguments, to be rejected. (shrink)
Criticisms of analyticphilosophy have increased in intensity in the last decade, denouncing specifically its closing in on itself, which results in barrenness and ignorance of real human problems. The thought of C. S. Peirce is proposed as a fruitful way of renewing the analytic tradition and obviating these criticisms. While this paper is largely a reflection on Hilary Putnam’s study of the historical development of analyticphilosophy, not only can some of its main roots (...) be traced back to Peirce, but also the recent resurgence of pragmatism can be regarded as a pragmatist renovation of the analytic tradition. Further, Peirce’s thought offers suggestions for tackling some of the most stubborn problems in contemporary philosophy, thereby enabling us to shoulder once more the philosophical responsibility which has been abdicated by much of twentieth-century philosophy. The most accurate understanding of Peirce is to see him as a traditional and systematic philosopher, but one dealing with the modern problems of science truth, and knowledge from a valuable personal experience as a logician and an experimental researcher in the bosom of an interdisciplinary community of scientists and thinkers. (shrink)
This article examines questions connected with the two features of Locke's intellectual landscape that are most salient for understanding his philosophy of science: (1) the profound shift underway in disciplinary boundaries, in methodological approaches to understanding the natural world, and in conceptions of induction and scientific knowledge; and (2) the dominant scientific theory of his day, the corpuscular hypothesis. Following the introduction, section 2 addresses questions connected to changing conceptions of scientific knowledge. What does Locke take science (scientia) and (...) scientific knowledge to be generally, why does he think that scientia in natural philosophy is beyond the reach of human beings, and what characterizes the conception of human knowledge in natural philosophy that he develops? Section 3 addresses the question provoked by Locke's apparently conflicting treatments of the corpuscular hypothesis. Does he accept or defend the corpuscular hypothesis? If not, what is its role in his thought, and what explains its close connection to key theses of the Essay? Since a scholarly debate has arisen about the status of the corpuscular hypothesis for Locke, Section 3 reviews some main positions in that debate. Section 4 considers the relationship between Locke's thought and that of a figure instrumental to the changing conceptions of scientific knowledge, Isaac Newton. (shrink)
This monumental collection of new and recent essays from an international team of eminent scholars represents the best contemporary critical thinking relating to both literary and philosophical studies of literature. Helpfully groups essays into the field's main sub-categories, among them ‘Relations Between Philosophy and Literature’, ‘Emotional Engagement and the Experience of Reading’, ‘Literature and the Moral Life’, and ‘Literary Language’ Offers a combination of analytical precision and literary richness Represents an unparalleled work of reference for students and specialists alike, (...) ideal for course use. (shrink)
So much philosophy is so unavoidably guided by intuitions, and such intuitions are so formed by examples, and such examples must of necessity present so cropped and abstract a picture of an instance or event or decision, that, left to its traditional methods, philosophy might be ill-equipped on its own to answer a question about the true content of an historical ideal like ``autonomy'', or authenticity or ``leading a free life''. One needs to bring so many factors into (...) play at once that one non-traditional but more promising path might be through reflection on the modern novel—or modern drama or poetry or film or even modern painting. (shrink)
This wide-ranging, multidisciplinary collection of newly commissioned articles brings together distinguished voices in the field of Africana philosophy and African-American social and political thought. Provides a comprehensive critical survey of African-American philosophical thought. Collects wide-ranging, multidisciplinary, newly commissioned articles in one authoritative volume. Serves as a benchmark work of reference for courses in philosophy, social and political thought, cultural studies, and African-American studies.
In this paper an attempt is made to draw out the contemporary relevance of philosophy in school education of India. It includes some studies done in this field and also reports on philosophy by such agencies like UNESCO & NCERT. Many European countries emphasises on the above said theme. There are lots of work and research done by many philosophers on philosophy for children. Indian values system is different from the West and more important than others. Education (...) has become a tool to achieve efficiency in all walks of human life whether social, political, religious or philosophical. Every nation started developing its own specific set of educational values. For India it is very necessary to increase philosophical thinking study and research. Philosophy could make significant contribution, particularly in relation to children’s moral development because the Indian curriculum currently neglects this aim. A teacher can play an important role in promoting this discussion because a teacher has the capacity to influence students with their thoughts and personality and engages them in these activities. Philosophy needs to be included in the curriculum and have demonstrated cognitive and social gains in children who were explored to philosophy in their schooling. (shrink)
Deleuze's Logique de la sensation is not a canonical art historical interpretation of Francis Bacon's painting and even less an illustration of Deleuze's philosophy. It is better read as a prolegomena to a semiotics of plastic art in which the visual image is related to the dialectics of touch and vision. These issues feature strongly in the art theories of Aloïïs Riegl, Wilhelm Worringer and Heinrich Wöölfflin. This article presents a comparative approach to the relation between Deleuze's and (...) these writers’’ conception of the image and attempts to answer the following questions: does a painting appeal strictly to the sense of vision? Does its structure point to a virtual haptic function of vision and if so, does painting overturn the stable hierarchy of senses with vision at the top? Is there a gradual relation between touch and vision? Reading Deleuze reading Riegl, Worringer and Wöölfflin offers an occasion to reconsider the image as a tensive surface grasped with a touching eye and seeing hand. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to give an analysis of a positive attitude towards philosophical problems in which we leave religious and metaphysical speculations and only consider practical problems. The motive is to achieve an intellectual detachment from all philosophical systems, and not to solve specific philosophical problems, but to become sensitively aware of what it is we do, when we philosophize. Abstraction without relevance to life and living in high sounding is nothing, but leading to darkness. The usefulness (...) of any subject lies in its lying servant of practice. Because of philosophy’s closeness to life, living should be a part of scheme of education relevant to anyone. Philosophy will provide the ways to acquire knowledge and good behavioral patterns. The present status of philosophy as a useful discipline is in doubt. This paper explained some reasons for this. Here is a basic need of such healthy and positive attitude for philosophical inquiry, which is only concerned with the problems of human life, and related to ordinary course of living. I have used the term Positive Philosophy for this. Philosophy should be creative and practical, that is the exigency of modern society. Philosophy affects Social Sciences and Humanities from hundreds of year. We should think about the implication of philosophical methods in Social Sciences and Humanities. So, we should ready to give new dimensions and do best innovations in this area which have more relevance and implications in this millennium and in future. -/- . (shrink)
Written with clarity, wit, and rigor, The Philosophy of Art provides an incisive account of the core topics in the field. The first volume in the new Foundations of the Philosophy of the Arts series, designed to provide crisp introductions to the fundamental general questions about art, as well as to questions about the several arts (such as literature, music or painting). Presents a clear and insightful introduction to central topics and on-going debates in the philosophy (...) of art. Eight sections cover a wide spectrum of topics such as the interpretation of art, the relation between art and moral values, and the expression and arousal of emotion through art. Pedagogical features include full-color illustrations, vibrant examples, thought-provoking discussion questions and helpful suggested readings. (shrink)
Through the voice of the narrator of Remembrance of Things Past, Proust observes of the painter Elstir that the paintings are bolder than the artist; Elstir the painter is bolder than Elstir the theorist. This book applies the same distinction to Proust; the Proustian novel is bolder than Proust the theorist. By this the author means that the novel is philosophically bolder, that it pursues further The task Proust identifies as the writer's work: to explain life, to elucidate what has (...) been lived in obscurity and confusion. In this, the novelist and the philosopher share a common goal: to clarify the obscure in order to arrive at the truth. It follows that Proust's real philosophy of the novel is to be found not in the speculative passages of Remembrance, which merely echo the philosophical commonplaces of his time, but in the truly novelistic or narrative portions of his text. In Against Sainte-Beuve, Proust sets forth his ideas about literature in the form of a critique of the method of Sainte-Beuve. Scholars who have studied Proust's notebooks describe the way in which this essay was taken over by bits of narrative originally intended as illustrations supporting its theses. The philosophical portions of Remembrance were not added to the narrative as an afterthought, designed to bring out its meaning. What happened was the reverse: the novel was born of a desire to illustrate the propositions of the essay. Why then should we not find the novel more philosophically advanced than the essay? Reversing the usual order following by literary critics, the author interprets the novel as an elucidation, and not as a simple transposition, of the essay. The book is not only a general interpretation of Proust's novel and its construction; it includes detailed discussions of such topics as literature and philosophy, the nature of literary genres, the poetics of the novel, the definition of art, modernity and postmodernity, and the sociology of literature. (shrink)
The paper explores the question of the relationship between the practice of original philosophical inquiry and the study of the history of philosophy. It is written from my point of view as someone starting a research project in the history of philosophy that calls this issue into question, in order to review my starting positions. I argue: first, that any philosopher is sufficiently embedded in culture that her practice is necessarily historical; second, that original work is in fact (...) in part a reconstruction by reinterpretation of the past and that therefore it bears some relation to historiographic techniques for the restoration of damaged objects and texts; and third that the special oddities of the relations of present and past do not fail to ensnare the philosopher, who must restore the past but freely break from it. I describe this relationship as proleptic. Finally, I argue that this is a moral imperative in writing philosophy, derived from the imperative to be honest. (shrink)
What are the relationships between philosophy and the history of philosophy, the history of science and the philosophy of science? This selection of essays by Lorenz Krüger (1932-1994) presents exemplary studies on the philosophy of John Locke and Immanuel Kant, on the history of physics and on the scope and limitations of scientific explanation, and a realistic understanding of science and truth. In his treatment of leading currents in 20th century philosophy, Krüger presents new and (...) original arguments for a deeper understanding of the continuity and dynamics of the development of scientific theory. These result in significant consequences for the claim of the sciences that they understand reality in a rational manner. The case studies are complemented by fundamental thoughts on the relationship between philosophy, science, and their common history. (shrink)
There is very little study of Latin American Philosophy in the English-speaking philosophical world. This can sometimes lead to the impression that there is nothing of philosophical worth in Latin American philosophy or its history. The present article offers some reasons for thinking that this impression is mistaken, and indeed, that we ought to have more study of Latin American philosophy than currently exists in the English-speaking philosophical world. In particular, the article argues for three things: (1) (...) an account of cultural resources that is useful for illuminating the fact of cultural differences and variations in cultural complexity, (2) a framework for understanding the value of philosophy, and (3) the conclusion that there is demonstrable value to Latin American philosophy and its study. (shrink)
Painting can only be thought in relation to the image. And yet, with (and within) painting what continues to endure is the image of painting. While this is staged explicitly in, for example, paintings of St. Luke by artists of the Northern Renaissance—e.g., Rogier van der Weyden, Jan Gossaert, and Simon Marmion—the same concerns are also at work within both the practices as well as the contemporaneous writings that define central aspects of the Italian Renaissance. The aim (...) of this paper is to begin an investigation into the process by which painting stages the activity of painting. This forms part of a project whose aim is an investigation of the way philosophy should respond to the essential historicity of art (where the latter is understood philosophically). (shrink)
W.V.Quine and Philip Kitcher have both developed naturalistic approaches to the philosophy of science which are partially based on a skeptical view about the possibility of rational inquiry into certain questions of value. Nonetheless, both Quine and Kitcher do not wish to give up on the normative dimension of the philosophy of science. I argue that Kitcher's recent argument against the specification of the goal of science in terms of truth raises a problem for Quine's account of the (...) normative dimensions of the discipline. However Kitcher’s alternative suggestion, that the goal of science is to be specified in terms of an ideal democratic procedure, does not escape this problem, given Kitcher's own limited skepticism about rational inquiry into certain questions of value. (shrink)
John Dewey (1859-1952) was an American philosopher, associated with pragmatism. Over a long working life, Dewey was influential not only in philosophy, but as an educational thinker and political commentator and activis.
A Companion to Ancient Philosophy provides a comprehensive and current overview of the history of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy from its origins until late antiquity. Comprises an extensive collection of original essays, featuring contributions from both rising stars and senior scholars of ancient philosophy Integrates analytic and continental traditions Explores the development of various disciplines, such as mathematics, logic, grammar, physics, and medicine, in relation to ancient philosophy Includes an illuminating introduction, bibliography, chronology, maps and (...) an index. (shrink)
Comprised of essays by top scholars in the field, this volume offers concise overviews of philosophical issues raised by biology. Brings together a team of eminent scholars to explore the philosophical issues raised by biology Addresses traditional and emerging topics, spanning molecular biology and genetics, evolution, developmental biology, immunology, ecology, mind and behaviour, neuroscience, and experimentation Begins with a thorough introduction to the field Goes beyond previous treatments that focused only on evolution to give equal attention to other areas, such (...) as molecular and developmental biology Represents both an authoritative guide to philosophy of biology, and an accessible reference work for anyone seeking to learn about this rapidly-changing field. (shrink)
This 4000 word essay was selected for a special issue of 'Image & Narrative' (Issue 18, September 2007), on 'Thinking Pictures', guest edited by Hanneke Grootenboer, author of 'The Rhetoric of Perspective' (University of Chicago Press, 2005). 'Image & Narrative' is a peer-reviewed e-journal on visual narratology, with essays reviewed by at least two members of the editorial board. The essay addresses contemporary arguments on spectatorship within the philosophy of art. It examines different ways by which internal and external (...) spectators negotiate painting's two perspectives: the absent scene represented by the picture's marked surface and the external point of view of a beholder, standing in real space. The essay argues that if the imaginative engagement provided by an internal spectator (see Wollheim) renders the picture plane transparent, so that we might enter the virtual space of the painting, then in paintings integrated into their architectural contexts the surface plays a semantic role in both connecting and separating different realms. If the picture surface disappears for the internal spectator, then for works integrated into their architectural settings its status is heightened and negated as a threshold separating spatiotemporal realms. The essay challenges semiotic accounts of painting. While linguistic derived semiotic accounts negate a spatial engagement, in Hubert Damisch's proposal that painting is a form of thinking, structure emerges from within the loop of the perspective paradigm. The essay argues, however, that if certain paintings 'think', they do so only in the sense that thought permeates a phenomenological whole where perception and imagination merge. The essay is a development of 'A spatiality of situation', published by Art In-sight, Filmwaves magazine (no. 31, 2006), guest edited with Adam Kossoff. A related paper, 'Levels of Reality', was given at the 'Real Things: matter, materiality, representation' conference at the University of York, 5-8 July 2007. (shrink)
Joshua Glasgow argues against the existence of races. His experimental philosophy asks subjects questions involving racial categorization to discover the ordinary concept of race at work in their judgments. The results show conflicting information about the concept of race, and Glasgow concludes that the ordinary concept of race is inconsistent. I conclude, rather, that Glasgow’s results fit perfectly fine with a social-kind view of races as real social entities. He also presents thought experiments to show that social-kind views give (...) the wrong results, but intuitions might differ on which results are the wrong ones, and social-kind views can resist the implications he derives from these cases. Widespread false beliefs about a concept or category need not undermine anything’s existence, and a sufficiently context-sensitive approach to races will allow for competing criteria for race-membership in different contexts without contradictory criteria in any one context. Glasgow’s arguments are therefore unsuccessful. (shrink)
The widespread impression that recent philosophy of science has pioneered exploration of the “social dimensions of scientific knowledge‘ is shown to be in error, partly due to a lack of appreciation of historical precedent, and partly due to a misunderstanding of how the social sciences and philosophy have been intertwined over the last century. This paper argues that the referents of “democracy‘ are an important key in the American context, and that orthodoxies in the philosophy of science (...) tend to be molded by the actual regimes of science organization within which they are embedded. These theses are illustrated by consideration of three representative philosophers of science: John Dewey, Hans Reichenbach, and Philip Kitcher. [Copyright &y& Elsevier]. (shrink)
The term “American Philosophy,” perhaps surprisingly, has been somewhat vague. While it has tended to primarily include philosophical work done by Americans within the geographical confines of the United States, this has not been exclusively the case. For example, Alfred North Whitehead came to the United States relatively late in life. On the other hand, George Santayana spent much of his life outside of the United States. Until only recently, the term was used to refer to philosophers of European (...) descent. Another focus for defining, or at least characterizing, American Philosophy has been on the types of philosophical concerns and problems addressed. While American philosophers have worked on traditional areas of philosophy, such as metaphysics, epistemology, and axiology, this is not unique to American Philosophy. Many scholars have highlighted American philosophers’ focus on the interconnections of theory and practice, on experience and community, though these, too, are not unique to American Philosophy. The people, movements, schools of thought and philosophical traditions that have constituted American Philosophy have been varied and often at odds with each other. Different concerns and themes have waxed or waned at different times. For instance, the analysis of language was important throughout much of the twentieth century, but of very little concern before then, while the relation between philosophy and religion, of great significance early in American Philosophy, paled in importance during much of the twentieth century. Despite having no core of defining features, American Philosophy can nevertheless be seen as both reflecting and shaping collective American identity over the history of the nation. (shrink)
Philosophy was at the core of the eighteenth century movement known as the Scottish Enlightenment. The movement included major figures, such as Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Reid and Adam Ferguson, and also many others who produced notable works, such as Gershom Carmichael, George Turnbull, George Campbell, James Beattie, Alexander Gerard, Henry Home (Lord Kames) and Dugald Stewart. I discuss some of the leading ideas of these thinkers, though paying less attention than I otherwise would to Hume, (...) Smith and Reid, who have separate Encyclopedia entries. Amongst the topics covered in this entry are aesthetics (particularly Hutcheson's), Moral philosophy (particularly Hutcheson's and Smith's), Turnbull's providential naturalism, Kames's doctrines on divine goodness and human freedom, Campbell's criticism of the Humean account of miracles, the philosophy of rhetoric, Ferguson's criticism of the idea of a state of nature, and finally the concept of conjectural history, a concept especially associated with Dugald Stewart. (shrink)
Philosophy (and its corollaries in the human sciences such as literary, social and political theory) is distinguished from other disciplines by a more thoroughgoing emphasis on the a priori. Philosophy makes no claims to predictive power; nor does it aim to conform to popular opinion (beyond ordinary intuitions as recorded by ‘thought experiments’). Many philosophers view the discipline’s self-exemption from ‘real world’ empirical testing as a non-issue or even an advantage, in allowing philosophy to focus on universal (...) and necessary truths. This article argues otherwise. The non-instrumentality of philosophical discourse renders it into a collective private language, impairing the discipline’s ability to judge the quality of its own output. The natural sciences and other technical disciplines offer the non-expert ‘windows of scrutiny’ into their respective methodologies, through numerous findings that can be easily and independently tested by amateurs. Such outside scrutiny provides a mechanism of external quality control, mitigating the internal effects of cognitive bias and institutionalised conformity upon the discourses of technical disciplines. In contrast, the conclusions of philosophy are not testable without in-depth knowledge of the methods by which they are arrived at; knowledge which can apparently only be gained through an extensive program of study, in philosophy. This epistemic circularity renders the program (even one of self-study) into a ‘black box’ in which the internal influence of cognitive biases and conformity effects cannot be independently assessed. The black box of philosophy is, in all relevant respects, analogous to the black box of the Cartesian mind that is the subject of Wittgenstein’s private language argument. (shrink)
In this essay, I draw on Henri Bergson and Maurice Merleau-Ponty to interrogate what philosophy is and how it can continue to think. Though my answer is not reducible to the views of either philosopher, what joins them is an attempt to elaborate philosophy as a different way of seeing. In this light, I propose a view of philosophy as prosthesis—as a means and a way for seeing differently. Rather than a simple tool, philosophy as prosthesis (...) is a transformative supplement, one that our bodily perception calls for and wherein that perception is recast. Rather than a fixed or assured view, this prosthesis holds open the interval in which thinking can take place. Philosophy, I argue, must wait. It sees and thinks hesitatingly, for the temporality it inscribes is not a foreseeable development but the unfolding of life as tendency, as that which creates its own possibility as it comes into existence. (shrink)
Philosophy's essence depicted by Socrates lies in its role as pedagogy for living, yet its traditional treatment of ‘body’ as a hindrance to ‘knowledge’ in fact severs it from life, transforming it into ‘an escape from life’ (James, 1978, p. 18). The philosophy/life dichotomy is thus an inherent flaw preventing philosophy as traditionally taught and engaged in, from fulfilling its original goal.Recent rejections of the Cartesian nature of Western curriculum, such as O'Loughlin's ‘Embodiment and Education: Exploring creatural (...) existence’ (2006), constitute an important theoretical paradigm shift, yet still fail to translate to substantial pedagogies which explore the ‘body’ and its relation to ‘mind’ directly. This article suggests a reorientation of philosophy teaching from its present disembodied pedagogy, towards an embodied-lived-philosophical-practice. By the description and exemplification of modern postural yoga (De Michelis, 2004) I will depict the twofold role of the ‘body’ in philosophy teaching: 1) The ‘body’ as pedagogical vehicle serving the emergence of philosophical discourse, and 2) The body as yielding livingness to mean embodied-lived-philosophy as opposed to disembodied-lofty-philosophical escape from life. It will thus be suggested that yoga be incorporated as an integral part of philosophy teaching reclaiming its educational ethos. (shrink)
LOOKING through Bertrand Russell's minor writings in McMaster University's Russell Archives I came across this sentence: 'Fanaticism is primarily an intellectual defect...one to which philosophy supplies an intellectual antidote'. This fascinated me the more, as I had just written an ...
The overall question addressed in this article is, ‘What kind of philosophy of education is relevant to educational policy makers?’ The article focuses on the following four themes: The meanings attached to the term philosophy (of education) by philosophers themselves; the meanings attached to the term philosophy (of education) by policy makers; the difference place and time makes to these meanings; how these different meanings affect the possibility of philosophy (of education) influencing policy. The question is (...) addressed using philosophical methods and empirical evidence from conversations and conversational interviews with some philosophers of education and other educational researchers. The argument begins with an investigation of different ways of understanding philosophy and philosophy of education in relation to education and educational policy. It then examines first the current policy context and secondly some evidence about the practices of policy makers in relation to ideas and to research. It goes on to present some of the findings from the conversational evidence. The article is drawn together in the penultimate section where I make some suggestions about possible fruitful relationships between doing philosophy and policy making. Finally, in the concluding section, some further—thorny—questions are raised by the analysis, especially in relationship to ethics and social justice. (shrink)
One view of philosophy that is sometimes expressed, especially by scientists, is that while philosophers are good at asking questions, they are poor at producing convincing answers. And the perceived divide between philosophical and scientific methods is often pointed to as the major culprit behind this lack of progress. Looking back at the history of philosophy, however, we find that this methodological divide is a relatively recent invention. Further, it is one that has been challenged over the past (...) decade by the modern incarnation of experimental philosophy. How might the reincorporation of empirical methods into philosophy aid the process of making philosophical progress? Building off of the work of Sytsma (2010), we argue that one way it does so is by offering a means of resolving some disputes that arise in philosophy. We illustrate how philosophical disputes may sometimes be resolved empirically by looking at the recent experimental literature on intuitions about reference. (shrink)