The Ismailis, among whom are the followers of the Aga Khan, rose to prominence during the 4th Islamic/10th Christian century. They developed a remarkably successful intellectual programme to sustain and support their political activities, promoting demands of Islamic doctrine together with the then newly imported sciences from abroad. The high watermark of this intellectual movement is best illustrated in the writings of the Ismaili theoretician Abu Ya´qub al-Sijistani. Using both published and manuscript writings of al-Sijistani that have hitherto been largely (...) hidden, forgotten or ignored, Dr PaulWalker reveals the scholar's major contribution to the development of philosophical Shiism. He analyses his role in the Ismaili mission (da'wa) of that time and critically assesses the major themes in his combination of philosophy and religious doctrine. (shrink)
Kitcher and Aspray distinguish a mainstream tradition in the philosophy of mathematics concerned with foundationalist epistemology, and a ‘maverick’ or naturalistic tradition, originating with Lakatos. My claim is that if the consequences of Lakatos's contribution are fully worked out, no less than a radical reconceptualization of the philosophy of mathematics is necessitated, including history, methodology and a fallibilist epistemology as central to the field. In the paper an interpretation of Lakatos's philosophy of mathematics is offered, followed by some critical discussion, (...) and an extension to a social constructivist position (which might well have been unacceptable to Lakatos). (shrink)
Mathematicians and physical scientists depend heavily on the formal symbolism of mathematics in order to express and develop their theories. For this and other reasons the last hundred years has seen a growing interest in the nature of formal language and the way it expresses meaning; particularly the objective, shared aspect of meaning as opposed to subjective, personal aspects. This dichotomy suggests the question: do the objective philosophical theories of meaning offer concepts which can be applied in psychological theories of (...) meaning? In recent years cognitive scientists such as Chomsky , Fodor  and MacNamara  have used philosophical approaches to the meaning of formal language expressions as the basis for their psychological theories. Following this lead it seems appropriate to review some of the main treatments of meaning with a view to their transferability. (shrink)
We agree with Shors & Matzel's general hypothesis that the proposed link between NMDA-dependent LTP and memory is weak. They suggest that NMDA-dependent LTP is important to arousal or attentional processes which influence learning in an anterograde manner. However, current evidence is also consistent with the view that NMDA receptors modulate memory consolidation retroactively, as occurs in several other receptor classes.
Introduction: "Know yourself" -- The revelation of God's wisdom -- Credo ut intellegam -- Intellego ut credam -- The relationship between faith and reason -- The interventions of the Magisterium in philosophical matters -- The interaction between philosophy and theology -- Current requirements and tasks -- Conclusion.
This article re-contextualizes Sigmund Freud's interest in the idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics in terms of the socio-political connotations of Lamarckism and Darwinism in the 1930s and 1950s. Many scholars have speculated as to why Freud continued to insist on a supposedly outmoded theory of evolution in the 1930s even as he was aware that it was no longer tenable. While Freud's initial interest in the inheritance of phylogenetic memory was not necessarily politically motivated, his refusal to abandon (...) this theory in the 1930s must be understood in terms of wider debates, especially regarding the position of the Jewish people in Germany and Austria. Freud became uneasy about the inheritance of memory not because it was scientifically disproven, but because it had become politically charged and suspiciously regarded by the Nazis as Bolshevik and Jewish. Where Freud seemed to use the idea of inherited memory as a way of universalizing his theory beyond the individual cultural milieu of his mostly Jewish patients, such a notion of universal science itself became politically charged and identified as particularly Jewish. The vexed and speculative interpretations of Freud's Lamarckism are situated as part of a larger post-War cultural reaction against Communism on the one hand (particularly in the 1950s when Lamarckism was associated with the failures of Lysenko), and on the other hand, against any scientific concepts of race in the wake of World War II. (shrink)
The American novelist Walker Percy (1916-90) considered himself a "thief of Peirce", because he found in the views of C.S. Peirce, the founder of pragmatism, an alternative approach to prevailing reductionist theories in order to understand what we human beings are and what the peculiar nature of our linguistic activity is. -/- This paper describes, quoting widely from Percy, how abduction is the spontaneous activity of our reason by which we couple meanings and experience in our linguistic expressions. This (...) coupling of personal creativity and cultural tradition makes it possible to bridge the gaps between persons and cultures. (shrink)
Hermeneutics, or the science of interpretation,is well accepted in the humanities. In thefield of education, hermeneutics has played arelatively marginal role in research. It isthe task of this essay to introduce thegeneral methods and findings of Paul Ricoeur'shermeneutics. Specifically, the essayinterprets the usefulness of Ricoeur'sphilosophy in the study of domination. Theproblem of domination has been a target ofanalysis for critical pedagogy since itsinception. However, the role of interpretationas a constitutive part of ideology critique isrelatively understudied and it is here (...) thatRicoeur's ideas are instructive. Last, theessay radicalizes Ricoeur's insights in orderto realize their potential to disruptasymmetrical relations of power in education. To this extent, the author contributes to thebuilding of a critical brand of hermeneutics,or the interpretation of domination. (shrink)
Often we mean something else than what we have said explicitly. Consider the following scenario. I show up in a new flashy dress and ask my friend what she thinks of it. She always tries to help me improve my style and knows that I value her honest opinion. She looks at my dress and says: ‘Excellent fit, but have you gone colour blind?’. From what she says I do not take it that she is interested in whether I’ve got (...) a colour vision deficiency. Rather, I take her to mean that she does not like the colours of my dress. In this way we constantly communicate more than what our words say, or even something else than what we say. When we do so, we make use of a conversational tool which Paul Grice calls implicatures. His theory of such implicatures has been central for contemporary debates on the relation between semantics and pragmatics, and also that between logic and semantics. In this chapter we will look at the notion of implicatures in some detail. (shrink)
Revisionists and traditionalists appeal to Acts 15, welcoming the Gentiles, for analogies directing the church's response to homosexual persons. John Perry has analyzed the major positions. He faults revisionists for inadequate attention to the Jerusalem Decree and faults one traditionalist for using the Decree literally rather than through analogy. I argue that analogical use of the Decree must supplement rather than displace the plain sense. The Decree has been neglected due to assumptions that Paul opposed it, that it expired, (...) or because Gentiles wanted non-kosher meat. I argue that Paul continued to observe the Torah and supported the Decree, that it has not expired, and that Gentile desire for non-kosher meat is not a firm obstacle. Affirming the plain sense of the Decree, I develop the analogy from Acts 15 to homosexual persons. (shrink)
Søren Kierkegaard used his literary, philosophical, and theological voice to reintroduce Christianity to Christendom. In this effort, he repeatedly uses the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. Though some have noted the importance of 1 Corinthians for Kierkegaard, they have not explained this importance nor this letter’s role in Kierkegaard’s corpus. This essay seeks to fill this gap in Kierkegaard scholarship by explaining the role this letter plays in Kierkegaard’s Climacean authorship. Paul’s battle with the (...) Corinthian view of wisdom and Kierkegaard’s battle with Hegelian philosophy, which seeks to go beyond faith through speculative thinking, share similarities that engender both their works. In their battles with their respective foes, both develop a Christocentric epistemology that displaces the import of human understanding and cognitive content with the person Jesus who inverts their opponents’ epistemic values by salvifically redefining wisdom and knowledge. This epistemology of a different kind is an offense, foolishness, and absurd to their opponents because it cannot be intellectually grasped by human understanding, but rather in and through the passion of faith, which places the individual in relation with Jesus. For both authors, this relation is the essential point for the Christian life. (shrink)
To some, a misguided Lamarckian and a fraud, to others a martyr in the fight against Darwinism, the Viennese zoologist Paul Kammerer (1880-1926) remains one of the most controversial scientists of the early 20th century. Here his work is reconsidered in light of turn-of-the-century problems in evolutionary theory and experimental methodology, as seen from Kammerer's perspective in Vienna. Kammerer emerges not as an opponent of Darwinism, but as one would-be modernizer of the 19th-century theory, which had included a role (...) for the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Kammerer attempted a synthesis of Darwinism with genetics and the chromosome theory, while retaining the modifying effects of the environment as the main source of favorable variation, and he developed his program of experimentation to support it. Kammerer never had a regular university position, but worked at a private experimental laboratory, with sidelines as a teacher and a popular writer and lecturer. On the lecture circuit he held forth on the significance of his science for understanding and furthering cultural evolution and he satisfied his passion for the arts and performance. In his dual career as researcher and popularizer, he did not always follow academic convention. In the contentious and rapidly changing fields of heredity and evolution, some of his stances and practices, as well as his outsider status and part-Jewish background, aroused suspicion and set the stage for the scandal that ended his career and prompted his suicide. (shrink)