Introduction, by G. Holton.--Three eighteenth-century social philosophers: scientific influences on their thought, by H. Guerlac.--Science and the human comedy: Voltaire, by H. Brown.--The seventeenth-century legacy: our mirror of being, by G. de Santillana.--Contemporary science and the contemporary world view, by P. Frank.--The growth of science and the structure of culture, by R. Oppenheimer.--The Freudian conception of man and the continuity of nature, by J. S. Bruner.--Quo vadis, by P. W. Bridgman.--Prospects for a new synthesis: science and the humanities as (...) complementary activities, by C. Morris.--A humanist looks at science, by H. M. Jones. (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)
A philosophical exploration of the ideal of intellectual integrity drawing on Samuel Butler's semi-autobiographical Bildungsroaman, The Way of All Flesh; and relating this to C.S. Peirce's idea of the scientific attitude and PercyBridgman's reflections on the conditions needed for this ideal to flourish.
It is practically an article of faith in psychology that in order to do empirical research one must first operationally define one's variables. However, the 'operational attitude', first advocated by the physicist PercyBridgman in the 1920s, has since been rejected by virtually every serious philosopher of science as unworkable. Furthermore. 'operationism' -- as developed by psychologists in the 1930s and 1940s -- was based on a misunderstanding of Bridgman's intent from the outset. Nevertheless, contemporary textbooks continue (...) to extol the virtues of operational definitions and today's psychology students are still required to learn the strategy. This paper discusses the historical background of operationism, its transmission from physics to psychology and the reasons for its continued tenacity in the face of repeated refutations and Bridgman's own repudiation in the 1950s. (shrink)
This article is dedicated to the philosophy ofscience which was developed by the outstanding Soviet physicist and leader of a powerful scientificcommunity, L. I. Mandelstam. It is shown that thisphilosophy can be summed up under the heading operationalism. A comparison with the paradigmaticoperationalism of PercyBridgman is undertaken andthe German positivist roots of Mandelstam's philosophyare indicated. The final section reconstructs the principle ofexpedient idealization, the principle which was putforward by Mandelstam's disciples in the spirit of hisoperationalism to solve (...) problems of the theory ofnon-linear oscillations. (shrink)
Includes writings on pragmatism by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., George Herbert Mead, Percy W. Bridgman, C. I. Lewis, Horace M. Kallen, Sidney Hook, and, especially, William James, Charles S. Peirce, and John Dewey.
The technological transformation of the conduct of war, exemplified by the American employment of drones in Afghanistan and in Iraq, calls for a critical reflection about the fantasies that underpin, and are in turn animated by, the robotic revolution of the military. At play here is a fantasy of a “costless war" or a “sterile war", that is such act of military state violence against the other that is inconsequential for the self. In other words, the seductive appeal of the (...) “costless war’ fantasy rests on the desire to develop a self that is invulnerable in the face of violence. Importantly, it is a desire explicitly projected towards a particular American future (of an imagined warfare, or of a super-power status), but also one that is connected to a lacking critical reflection about the intersubjective aspects of violence in the debates about America’s post-9/11 military involvements. This article reflects critically about the fantasy of the “costless war" and about its underpinning politics of invulnerability from a perhaps unlikely angle of literature. In a close reading of a short story by Benjamin Percy called “Refresh, Refresh" (2008), it explores its narrative insights into how acts of violence, which are undertaken far from home, inevitably return to affect and damage, perhaps beyond repair, the subject at home. Importantly, the return of violence in Percy’s story occurs within the domain of the everyday and the mundane, not of the exceptional, and testifies to the despair experienced by young males “abandoned" by their military fathers. My interpretation draws also on theoretical explorations of the connection between violence, intersubjectivity and vulnerability, based on the ideas of Emmanuel Levinas on the subject's ethical captivity by the suffering of the other, and on Judith Butler's recent “uses" of the Levinasian ethical project in her writing about the post-9/11 America. (shrink)
In the worlds of philosophy, linguistics, and communications theory, a view has developed which understands conscious experience as experience which is 'reflected' back upon itself through language. This indicates that the consciousness we experience is possible only because we have culturally invented language and subsequently evolved to accommodate it. This accords with the conclusions of Daniel Dennett (1991), but the 'hermeneutic objection' would go further and deny that the objective sciences themselves have escaped the hermeneutic circle. -/- The consciousness we (...) humans experience is developed only within the context of crossing the 'symbolic threshold' (Percy 1975; Deacon 1997) and one of the earliest and most important symbols we acquire is that of the self, or 'the subject of experience'. It is only when we achieve self-awareness that the world, as such, comes to exist for us as an object (which contains categories and sub-categories of objects). Any consciousness imputed to prelinguistic stages of development is based on projection and guesswork, since we can know nothing directly of it. It can be said that any experience which does not separate an inner subject from an outer world is probably a continuum of sensation in which environmental stimulus and instinctive response are experienced as a unity; it may be 'lived experience' but it is experience 'lived' non-consciously. -/- Speech requires assertion and by learning to speak we find ourselves asserting, in essence, our selves into the world. The narrative form of language allows us to develop life stories, self-knowledge, and, most important, narrative memory coincident with narrative time. All this is made possible with the intersubjective 'net' of language which allows us to know ourselves by first identifying with the viewpoint of others; and, later, such allows us to identify with other minds as we anticipate their reception our communication. These three, assertion, narrative, and intersubjectivity are the essence of what language is and are the keystones that make culture possible outside of nature. (shrink)
Questions of political identity and citizenship, raised by thecreation of the `new Europe', pose new questions that politicaltheorists need to consider. Reflection upon the circumstances ofthe new Europe could help them in their task of delineatingconceptual structures and investigating the character ofpolitical argument.Does it make sense to use concepts as `citizenship' and`identity' beyond the borders of the nation-state? What does itmean when we speak about `European Citizenship' and `EuropeanIdentity'?
After describing a new method of synchronizing spatially separated clocks by means of clock transport, this paper discusses the philosophical import of the existence of such methods, including those of Ellis and Bowman and of Bridgman, with special reference to the Ellis-Bowman claim that "the thesis of the coventionality of distant simultaneity... is thus either trivialized or refuted." I argue that the physical facts do not support this philosophical conclusion, and that a substantial part of their argument against Reichenbach, (...) in particular, is misdirected. Finally, I suggest that Ellis and Bowman employ seriously unclear notions of triviality and "good physical reasons" that tend to obscure rather than clarify the basic philosophical issues. An objective criterion of nontriviality of conventions is advanced. (shrink)
If a specific question has meaning, it must be possible to find operations by which an answer may be given to it. It will be found in many cases that the operations cannot exist, and the question therefore has no meaning. —Bridgman, The Logic of Modern Physics..
In 1971, John Rawls published A Theory of Justice, the burden of which was strongly egalitarian. But Rawls eventually came to the conclusion that the project of working out a stable, well?ordered society as argued in A Theory of Justice had failed. In 1993, in Political Liberalism, Rawls sought to establish a sounder theoretical foundation for a stable, well?ordered society. Rawls was widely viewed, however, as having given up egalitarianism in Political Liberalism ? the commitment to a fair distribution, or (...) ?justice as fairness?, along lines originally developed in A Theory of Justice. I argue, by contrast, that Political Liberalism does not in fact repudiate the egalitarianism of A Theory of Justice. Political liberalism has many variants, including variant conceptions of justice. In the first part of what follows, the question is raised whether political liberalism can defend a conception of justice that is as egalitarian as ?justice as fairness?. Such a conception would guarantee the fair value of political liberties and would also contain the so?called ?difference principal?, which states that social and economic inequalities are to be adjusted so that they are to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged. Although it seems possible to defend such an egalitarian conception of justice, it does not seem necessary, all the same, that all variants of political liberalism should be as egalitarian as justice as fairness. Thus, in the second part of my argument, I seek to overturn, or at least substantially to qualify, the idea that there is no need for political liberalism to be strongly egalitarian. I conclude that the egalitarian credentials of political liberalism have to be bolstered, even more so than Rawls himself seems to think. (shrink)
Despite influencing the social sciences since the 1930s, S. S. Stevens' "operationist" philosophy of science has yet to be adequately understood. I reconstruct Stevens' operationism from his early work and assess the influence of various views (logical positivism, behaviorism and the "operational viewpoint" of P. W. Bridgman, among others) on Stevens. Stevens' operationism emerges, on my reconstruction, as a naturalistic methodological directive aimed at agreement, founded in turn on the belief that agreement is constitutive of science, the scientific community, (...) and objectivity. Further, I show that operationism is historically and philosophically independent of the views mentioned above. (shrink)
The paper (given in the section on "Recent work in the History of Philosophy of Science) discusses the method and some of the results of the doctoral dissertation on philosophical interpretations of Einstein's special and general theories of relativity, submitted to the Dept. for History of Science, Univ. of Hamburg, in 1989, also published by Birkhauser, Basel, in 1990. It is claimed that many of the gross oversimplifications, misunderstandings and misinterpretations occurring in more than 2500 texts about the theories of (...) relativity written by scientists, philosophers, and laymen contemporary to Einstein can in fact serve as a clue to a better understanding of the general process by which philosophical interpretations are formed. Another very important source for answering the question of how misinterpretations are formed are hitherto unpublished documents in the estates of physicists and philosophers of that time, including apart from Einstein himself: Bergson, Bridgman, Carnap, Cassirer, Metz, Meyerson, Petzoldt, Reichenbach, Schlick and Vaihinger. (shrink)
This article treats the use of sonification in Percy Military Training Hospital’s intensive care unit, through an interview with Anaesthetist Professor Bruno Debien. It starts with a description of the environment completed by some technical information concerning the equipment. This is followed by a commented transcription of the interview with Bruno Debien and concludes with reflections on the nature of audio alarms and their relation to different modes of listening.
This article discusses three different approaches to human knowledge. The first is that of Peter Simons, a linguistic philosopher, who suggests that language has an underlying algebraic structure. The second approach is that of Ernest Nagel, a philosopher of science, who maintains that the key to knowledge lies in logical analysis. The third approach, due to Michael Polanyi, stresses the idea of tacit integration of parts into composite wholes. All three employ hierarchical schemes, the first two work from the top (...) down, whereas Polanyi works from the bottom up, using the idea of ‘emergence’. (shrink)