How do people make sense of their experiences? How do they understand possibility? How do they limit possibility? These questions are central to all the human sciences. Here, Vincent Crapanzano offers a powerfully creative new way to think about human experience: the notion of imaginative horizons. For Crapanzano, imaginative horizons are the blurry boundaries that separate the here and now from what lies beyond, in time and space. These horizons, he argues, deeply influence both how we experience our lives and (...) how we interpret those experiences, and here sets himself the task of exploring the roles that creativity and imagination play in our experience of the world. (shrink)
If we take a bird’s-eye view of the history of philosophical ideas and try to assess the place the problems of modality hold in it, it is likely that we will gain the impression that they are not among the priorities of philosophical thinking of the essence of human being. A closer look at some classical theses, however, can provide us with different answers. In § 76 of Critique of Judgement, which is actually “just” a comment on the (...) basic text, Kant explains that “For human reason it is of absolute necessity to distinguish between the possibility and reality of things”. Kant helps us to include modality in the very metaphysical definition of the human being. That is why we can say: human being is a modal being before being “a rational being”, “a social animal” or “homo faber”. In my opinion that “before” should be understood in a strictly metaphysical sense and it should help us to discover a non-trivial basis and principle of philosophicalanthropology. It is my thesis that philosophicalanthropology should place modality in the very definition of human nature and consider human being as a possibilia entis. We could illustrate the fundamental character of modality by demonstrating that modality is at the basis of constituting time as temporality. In view of this position only the modal being has a time in the sense of temporality. Or, to put it in a different way, we can see in nature only changes, but not temporal phenomena in the strict sense of the concept of time perceived as temporality. (shrink)
Interconnections between philosophic anthropology, conceptions of globalization and sustainable development are investigated. Found out that biological, social, intellectual and spiritual parameters of human being determine specific directions and spheres of globalization. Discovering of these interconnectionsallows to make clear necessary measures of transition to sustainable development. Substantiated that such researches serve as a basis for working out of political, economic, social, intellectual and spiritual guidelines of ensuring of reliable international communication’s security, survival of mankind and solution of internal problems of (...) every country. Investigations of interconnections between philosophic anthropology, conceptions of globalization and sustainable development could became as a mainstream of development of philosophy in XXI century. (shrink)
Aping apes: Edgar Allan Poe's "The murders in the Rue Morgue" and Richard Wright's Native son -- Slavery's bestiary: Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus tales -- Autoimmunity and ante-racism: Philip Roth's The human stain -- Ashamed of shame: J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace.
Philosophicalanthropology is the philosophical study of the conditions of human existence and the issues that confront people in the conduct of their everyday lives. This book surveys, from a contemplative, philosophical point of view, a wide variety of human-interest issues, including happiness, luck, aging, the meaning of life, optimism and pessimism, morality, and faith and belief. The author's deliberations blend historical, theoretical, and personal perspectives into philosophical appreciation of the human condition. The philosophers of (...) Greek antiquity took philosophy to center around just this issue of intelligent living - of determining the nature of life under the guidance of reason. Such a perspective puts philosophical agenda - a position it contested with the philosophy of nature throughout classical antiquity. In more recent times, however, its prominence has declined - no doubt, the author suggests, because modern man's achievements have been more notable in the natural than in the human science. (shrink)
This study looks at the lives of the most famous "wild children" of eighteenth-century Europe, showing how they open a window onto European ideas about the potential and perfectibility of mankind. Julia V. Douthwaite recounts reports of feral children such as the wild girl of Champagne (captured in 1731 and baptized as Marie-Angelique Leblanc), offering a fascinating glimpse into beliefs about the difference between man and beast and the means once used to civilize the uncivilized. A variety of educational experiments (...) failed to tame these feral children by the standards of the day. After telling their stories, Douthwaite turns to literature that reflects on similar experiments to perfect human subjects. Her examples range from utopian schemes for progressive childrearing to philosophical tales of animated statues, from revolutionary theories of regenerated men to Gothic tales of scientists run amok. Encompassing thinkers such as Rousseau, Sade, Defoe, and Mary Shelley, Douthwaite shows how the Enlightenment conceived of mankind as an infinitely malleable entity, first with optimism, then with apprehension. Exposing the darker side of eighteenth-century thought, she demonstrates how advances in science gave rise to troubling ethical concerns, as parents, scientists, and politicians tried to perfect mankind with disastrous results. (shrink)
Heidegger’s 1921 lecture course, “Augustine and Neo-Platonism,” shows the emergence of certain Augustinian elements in Heidegger’s account of the humanbeing. In Book X of Augustine’s Confessions, Heidegger finds a rich account of the historicity and facticity of human existence. He interprets Augustinianmolestia (facticity) by exhibiting the complex relation of curare (the fundamental character of factical life) and the three forms of tentatio (possibilities of falling).In this analysis, molestia appears as the how of the being of life. Heidegger also makes an (...) important critique of what is Platonic in Augustine. Specifically, herejects what he calls Augustine’s axiological interpretation of tentatio for a more existential one. Heidegger understands axiology to be a calculative preferring ofone good over another in reference to a theoretical hierarchy of goods. We offer a defense of Augustine which focuses on the historical manner in which goods are disclosed in desire. (shrink)
This book explores the tradition of the 'science of man' in French medicine of the era 1750-1850, focusing on controversies about the nature of the 'physical-moral' relation and their effects on the role of medicine in French society. Its chief purpose is to recover the history of a holistic tradition in French medicine that has been neglected because it lay outside the mainstream themes of modern medicine, which include experimental, reductionist, and localistic conceptions of health and disease. Professor Williams also (...) challenges existing historiography, which argues that the 'anthropological' approach to medicine was a short-term by-product of the leftist politics of the French Revolution. This work argues instead that the medical science of man long outlived the Revolution, that it spanned traditional ideological divisions, and that it reflected the shared aim of French physicians, whatever their politics, to claim broad cultural authority in French society. (shrink)
Figuring Animals is a collection of fifteen essays concerning the representation of animals in literature, the visual arts, philosophy, and cultural practice. At the turn of the new century, it is helpful to reconsider our inherited understandings of the species, some of which are still useful to us. It is also important to look ahead to new understandings and new dialogue, which may contribute to the survival of us all. The contributors to this volume participate in this dialogue in (...) a variety of ways--through personal experience, natural history, cultural studies, philosophical inquiry, art history, literary analysis, film studies, and theoretical imagining, and through a combination of these trains of thought. The essays expose weaknesses in western epistemological frames of reference that for centuries have limited our views and, thus, our experiences of animal being, including our own. (shrink)
The most original aspect of Hedwig Conrad-Martius’ research is her interpretation of nature, performed through the phenomenological method. She pinpoints the very essences of the natural phenomena, discovering entelechies inside them and a trans-physical dimension. She reads the evolution of nature in a new way, against the deterministic interpretation of it. Inside nature one can discover many levels, qualitatively different. The human being participates to all of them, but his/her peculiarity is linked to the mental–spiritual life.
The article is based upon the following starting position. In this post-modern time, it seems that no scholar in Europe supports what is called “Enlightenment Project” with its naïve objectivism and Correspondence Theory of Truth1, - though not being really hostile, just strongly skeptical about it. No old-fasioned “classical” academical texts; only His Majesty Discourse as chain of interpretations and reinterpretations. What was called objectivity “proved to be” intersubjectivity; what was called Object (in Latin and German and Russian tradition) now (...) is related to as a phenomenon; what was called Subject either is looked upon as Cartesian “cogito” or disappeares at all; what was called Truth turned to be either method of demonstration (by positivists) or the author’s sincerity (by existentialists); what was called Essence is now merely a joke. Alternatively, we speak about Sense, Meaning, and Value. (shrink)
This book offers the first full-length study of philosophical dialogue during the English Enlightenment. It explains why important philosophers - Shaftesbury, Mandeville, Berkeley and Hume - and innumerable minor translators, imitators and critics wrote in and about dialogue during the eighteenth century; and why, after Hume, philosophical dialogue either falls out of use or undergoes radical transformation. Philosophical Dialogue in the British Enlightenment describes the extended, heavily coded, and often belligerent debate about the nature and proper management (...) of dialogue; and it shows how the writing of philosophical fictions relates to the rise of the novel and the emergence of philosophical aesthetics. Novelists such as Fielding, Sterne, Johnson and Austen are placed in a philosophical context, and philosophers of the empiricist tradition in the context of English literary history. (shrink)
Numinous spaces in British literature from William Wordsworth to Samuel Beckett -- Jesus figures in American literature from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Edward Albee -- Using Bakhtin's definitions to discover ethical voices in Solzhenitsyn and Tolstoy -- René Girard's categories of scapegoats in literature of the American South -- Hopkins's metaphysics of nature as sacred disclosure -- The book of job as mirrored in Hopkins's metaphysics -- Beckett's mythos of the absence of God.
This book examines the complex and varied ways in which fictions relate to the real world, and offers a precise account of how imaginative works of literature can use fictional content to explore matters of universal human interest. While rejecting the traditional view that literature is important for the truths that it imparts, the authors also reject attempts to cut literature off altogether from real human concerns. Their detailed account of fictionality, mimesis, and cognitive value, founded on (...) the methods of analytical philosophy, restores to literature its distinctive status among cultural practices. The authors also explore metaphysical and skeptical views, prevalent in modern thought, according to which the world itself is a kind of fiction, and truth no more than a social construct. They identify different conceptions of fiction in science, logic, epistemology, and make-believe, and thereby challenge the idea that discourse per se is fictional and that different modes of discourse are at root indistinguishable. They offer rigorous analyses of the roles of narrative, imagination, metaphor, and "making" in human thought processes. Both in their methods and in their conclusions, Lamarque and Olsen aim to restore rigor and clarity to debates about the values of literature, and to provide new, philosophically sound foundations for a genuine change of direction in literary theorizing. (shrink)
This book is the first comprehensive account of Kant's theory of freedom and his moral anthropology. The point of departure is the apparent conflict between three claims to which Kant is committed: that human beings are transcendentally free, that moral anthropology studies the empirical influences on human beings, and that more anthropology is morally relevant. Frierson shows why this conflict is only apparent. He draws on Kant's transcendental idealism and his theory of the will and describes how (...) empirical influences can affect the empirical expression of one's will in a way that is morally significant but still consistent with Kant's concept of freedom. As the first work on Kant to integrate his anthropology with his philosophy as a whole, this book will be an unusually important source of study for all Kant scholars and advanced students of Kant. (shrink)
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.
From some of the great philosophers of the Western tradition: "The Devils gateway" --Tertullian "A misbegotten male" --Aquinas "Big children their whole life long" --Schopenhauer The roots of philosophical misogyny in the writings of thinkers from the ancient Greeks through the modern age are exposed and explored in this collection. Beverley Clack questions whether the wisdom of these philosophers can be separated from the misogyny, and whether feminists should seek an alternative to the Western philosophical canon. This collection (...) offers chronological evidence of how the great male thinkers debated the question of woman, provides and introduction of each thinker. The philosophers included are: Plato, Aristotle, Tertullian, Augustine, Aquinas, Kramer, Sprenger, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Rousseau, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Freud, Weininger, Spengler and Lucas. (shrink)
Is it possible for postmodernism to offer viable, coherent accounts of ethics? Or are our social and intellectual worlds too fragmented for any broad consensus about the moral life? These issues have emerged as some of the most contentious in literary and philosophical studies. In Renegotiating Ethics in Literature, Philosophy, and Theory a distinguished international gathering of philosophers and literary scholars address the reconceptualisations involved in this 'turn towards ethics'. An important feature of this has been a renewed (...) interest in the literary text as a focus for the exploration of ethical issues. Exponents of this trend include Charles Taylor, Bernard Williams, Iris Murdoch, Cora Diamond, Richard Rorty and Martha Nussbaum, the latter a contributor and a key figure in this volume. This book assesses the significance of this development for ethical and literary theory and attempts to articulate an alternative postmodern account of ethics which does not rely on earlier appeals to universal truths. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Acknowledgments; Introduction: scales of identification; 1. Democratic expansionism, gothic geographies, and Charles Brockden Brown; 2. Urban apartments, global cities: the enlargement of private space in Poe and James; 3. Cultural orphans: domesticity, missionaries, and China from Stowe to Sui Sin Far; 4. 'The Checkered Globe': cosmopolitan despair in the American Pacific; 5. Literature and regional production; Epilogue: scales of resistance.
While most Chaucer critics interested in gender and sexuality have used psychoanalytic theory to analyze Chaucer's poetry, Mark Miller re-examines the links between sexuality and the philosophical analysis of agency in medieval texts such as the Canterbury Tales, Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, and the Romance of the Rose. Chaucer's philosophical sophistication provides the basis for a new interpretation of the emerging notions of sexual desire and romantic love in the late Middle Ages.
In this pathbreaking study, Micaela di Leonardo reveals the face of power within the mask of cultural difference. From the 1893 World's Fair to Body Shop advertisements, di Leonardo focuses on the intimate and shifting relations between popular portrayals of exotic Others and the practice of anthropology. In so doing, she casts new light on gender, race, and the public sphere in America's past and present. "An impressive work of scholarship that is mordantly witty, passionately argued, and takes no (...) prisoners."--Lesley Gill, News Politics "[Micaela] di Leonardo eloquently argues for the importance of empirical, interdisciplinary social science in addressing the tragedy that is urban America at the end of the century."--Jonathan Spencer, Times Literary Supplement "In her quirky new contribution to the American culture brawl, feminist anthropologist Micaela di Leonardo explains how anthropologists, 'technicians of the sacred,' have distorted American popular debate and social life."--Rachel Mattson, Voice Literary Supplement "At the end of di Leonardo's analyses one is struck by her rare combination of rigor and passion. Simply, [she] is a marvelous iconoclast."--Matthew T. McGuire, Boston Book Review. (shrink)
John McDowell argues for minimal empiricism via using the notion of second nature of human beings. I should like to invite him to discuss Helmuth Plessner's PhilosophicalAnthropology in order to elaborate a more substantial conception of second nature. McDowell seems to think that it is adequate for his more epistemological aim to remind us of second nature as though it were to be taken for granted. But I think, following Plessner, that this right reminder needs a therapeutic (...) elaboration in Kant's sense of propaedeutics. What had been called our second nature found itself being questioned in order to limit the range of ways of treating the self we can authorize. (shrink)
Abstract John McDowell argues for minimal empiricism via using the notion of second nature of human beings. I should like to invite him to discuss Helmuth Plessner's PhilosophicalAnthropology in order to elaborate a more substantial conception of second nature. McDowell seems to think that it is adequate for his more epistemological aim to remind us of second nature as though it were to be taken for granted. But I think, following Plessner, that this right reminder needs a (...) therapeutic elaboration in Kant's sense of propaedeutics. What had been called our second nature found itself being questioned in order to limit the range of ways of treating the self we can authorize. (shrink)
We usually think of philosophy as the production of theories and arguments. Yet there are other sides to philosophy, the recognition of which is necessary to understand its wider personal and cultural significance. Some of these sides are seldom acknowledged as philosophical at all, perhaps because literature has appropriated what professional philosophy unfortunately has lost. One philosophical activity often overlooked is the construction of philosophical allegories: to describe one's life in explicit philosophical terms or philosophically (...) suggestive ways. Reading life allegorically is to recognize philosophy in what seems merely details of the whole picture and to develop a sense for how philosophical constellations are mirrored in one's life, no matter how ordinary that life may seem. As a theoretical position skepticism is sometimes stated by saying that we are in a prison from which we cannot escape. What if one had actually been in some kind of prison, say, a home or a university, and then described that episode so that the skeptical picture is revealed in the description? That would be what I call an autobiographical philosophical allegory: a part of one's life is sublimated into a picture of the human condition. To attain as much, the episode need not be imbued with philosophical significance at the time—it may have felt utterly ordinary or utterly private. Yet the telling of it can make it extraordinary and promote it into a philosophical piece. In the following, I shall elucidate the concept of philosophical allegory through a reading of some episodes in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's autobiographical works. (shrink)
The study of identity crosses all disciplinary borders to address such issues as the multiple interactions of race, class, and gender in feminist, lesbian, and gay studies, postcolonialism and globalization, and the interrelation of nationalism and ethnicity in ethnic and area studies. Identities will help disrupt the cliche-ridden discourse of identity by exploring the formation of identities and problem of subjectivity. Leading scholars in literary criticism, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy explore such topics as "Gypsies" in the Western imagination, the (...) mobilization of the West in Chinese television, the lesbian identity and the woman's gaze in fashion photography, and the regulation of black women's bodies in early 20th-century urban areas. This collection of twenty articles brings together the special issue of Critical Inquiry entitled "Identities" (Summer 1992), two other previously published essays, and five previously published critical responses and rejoinders, all of which is interrogated in two new essays by Michael Gorra and Judith Butler. Contributors include Elizabeth Abel, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Akeel Bilgrami, Daniel Boyarin, Jonathan Boyarin, Judith Butler, Hazel V. Carby, Xiaomei Chen, Diana Fuss, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Avery Gordon, Michael Gorra, Cheryl Herr, Saree S. Makdisi, Walter Benn Michaels, Christopher Newfield, Gananath Obeyesekere, Molly Anne Rothenberg, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Sara Suleri, Katie Trumpener, and Joseph Valente. (shrink)
In this paper, I situate Hans Blumenberg historically and conceptually in relation to a subtheme in the famous debate between Martin Heidegger and Ernst Cassirer at Davos, Switzerland in 1929. The subtheme concerns Heidegger’s and Cassirer’s divergent attitudes toward philosophicalanthropology as it relates to the starting points and goals of philosophy. I then reconstruct Blumenberg’s anthropology, which involves reconceptualizing Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms in relation to Heidegger’s objections to the philosophicalanthropology of his (...) day (e.g., Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner, and Arnold Gehlen) as unduly anthropocentric. Blumenberg builds on anthropologist Gehlen’s assumption that human beings are biologically underdetermined and therefore world-open. With this starting point, symbolic forms, such as myth and language, make up a compensatory life-world that supports human existence. Action, or self-assertion, which is necessary given the lack of a seamless fit between human beings and the environment, is thus circumscribed and shaped by the historied, cultural constructs that constitute a life-world. Human beings can thus be characterized as a species that continually renegotiates the shape of its existence through its relation to biological limits on the one hand and cultural constants on the other. Because Blumenberg and philosophicalanthropology are relatively unexplored by Anglophone philosophers, and because philosophicalanthropology is central to Blumenberg’s methodology generally, this study provides an introduction to both. (shrink)
Recent philosophical discussion about the relation between fiction and reality pays little attention to our moral involvement with literature. Frank Palmer's purpose is to investigate how our appreciation of literary works calls upon and develops our capacity for moral understanding. He explores a wide range of philosophical questions about the relation of art to morality, and challenges theories that he regards as incompatible with a humane view of literary art. Palmer considers, in particular, the extent to which (...) the values and moral concepts involved in our understanding of human beings can be said to enter into our understanding of, and response to, fictional characters. The scope of his discussion encompasses literary aesthetics, ethics, and epistemology, and he makes extensive reference to literary examples. (shrink)
This essay is concerned with the central issue of philosophicalanthropology: the relation between nature and culture. Although Rousseau was the first thinker to introduce this topic within the modern discourse of philosophy and the cultural sciences, it has its origin in Diogenes the Cynic, who was a disciple of Socrates. In my essay I (1) historically introduce a few aspects of philosophicalanthropology, (2) deal with the nature–culture exchange, as introduced in Kant, then I (3) (...) relate this topic to the Ancient Cynic Diogenes. Surprisingly, although we usually identify Critical Theory and Freudian psychoanalysis as theories that have shown that cultural progress should not be comprehended as a development from nature to culture, and that instead it should be conceived as a development from culture against (external as well as internal) nature, I show that Cynicism can be conceived as a vivid example within the history of our culture that reveals a double sense of repression and alienation, which is part of human civilization and mankind. (shrink)
Being in Time is a provocative and accessible essay on the fragmentation of the self as explored in philosophy and literature. This original study is unique in its focus on the literary aspects of philosophical writing and their interactions with philosophical content. It explores the emotional aspects of the human experience of time commonly neglected in philosophical investigation by looking at how narrative creates and treats the experience of the self as fragmented and the past as (...) "lost." Genevieve Lloyd demonstrates the continuities and the contrasts between modern philosophic discussions of the instability of the knowing subject, treatments of the fragmentation of the self in the modern novel, and older philosophical discussions of the unity of consciousness. Combining theoretical discussion with human experience, Being in Time will be important reading to anyone interested in the relationship between philosophy and literature, as well as to more general audience of readers who share Augustine's experience of time as making him a "problem to himself.". (shrink)
Criticizing liberal conceptions such as the autonomous subject and calling for self-interpreting selves, Michael Sandel's first book, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice seems to oppose liberal theory. Methodologically, however, it follows rather than challenges its liberal predecessors: Sandel arrives at his philosophicalanthropology through abstraction and deduction. This type of inquiry is not only comparable with that of liberal theory, but also incompatible with self-interpretation as Sandel defines it. The content of his argument undermines its form. It (...) also suggests an alternative approach, historical rather than philosophical reflection, actually transforming the practice of political theory as it aims to transform our self-understanding. Given Sandel's critique and his positive contribution, normative theory must be grounded in particular empirical circumstances. Sandel's second book, Democracy's Discontent, thus represents not just a completion of the earlier analysis, but a necessary methodological change. The significance of the first book lies less in its criticism of liberalism than in its criticism of philosophy as the foundation of political theory. Key Words: empiricism methodology philosophy of social sciences reflexivity Michael Sandel self-interpretation. (shrink)
Philosophicalanthropology is a broad-gauged study of man drawing on the findings of empirical sciences and the humanities. The paper is intended as a tribute to one of the pioneers in this field. The first part outlines central features of Plessner's conception, focusing on man's instinctual deficiency and his 'eccentric position' in the world; man from this perspective is an 'embodied' creature in the dual sense of experiencing the world through his bodily organs and of 'having' a body (...) and being able to reflect on his mundane situation. In social terms the perspective implies that man can find himself only through embodiment in institutional settings and role patterns - settings which, however, remain open to reinterpretation and revision. Subsequently Plessner's outlook is compared and contrasted with alternative views of the human condition. According to Gehlen, man's instinctual deficiency an openness need to be corrected through institutional stability and the standardization of role structures. Reviewing leading writings of the 'counter-culture', a final section explores contemporary anti-institutional trends which see man as a fugitive from social constraints and his search for self-fulfilment as antithetical to role patterns. (shrink)
Philosophicalanthropology, as Helmuth Plessner has explored it, vindicates its relative priority towards ethics, because it can set out the anthropological prerequisites for considering the moral subject as the embodied person. This claim, however, is still an open question. Walter Schulz has argued that the prevalence of science in contemporary life brings ethics to the fore and forces philosophicalanthropology to an auxiliary exploration of ‘leading figures of thehuman’. Jürgen Habermas endorses Plessner’s exploration of the issue (...) of the body, in order to oppose biotechnological naturalism. Thus, he enlarges his discourse on ethics through the ethics of the human species by defining the moral agent as the embodied person. Nevertheless, philosophicalanthropology is a broader theoretical endeavour that cannot be reduced to ethics. (shrink)
Many authors have argued that all studies of socially specific modalities of human action and experience depend on some form of “philosophicalanthropology”, i.e. on a set of general assumptions about what human beings are like, assumptions without which the very diagnoses of the cultural and historical variability of concrete agents' practices would become impossible. Bourdieu was sensitive to that argument and, especially in the later phase of his career, attempted to make explicit how his historical-sociological investigations presupposed (...) and, at the same time, contributed to the elaboration of an “idea of the human being”. The article reconstructs Bourdieu's philosophicalanthropology, starting with his genetic sociology of symbolic power, conceived as a form of critical theory (latu sensu), and concluding with an account of the conditio humana in which recognition (“symbolic capital”) appears as both the fundamental existential goal through which human agents strive to confer meaning on their lives and the source of the endless symbolic competition that keeps society moving. The agonistic vision of the social universe that grounds his sociological studies returns in his philosophicalanthropology under the guise of a singular synthesis between Durkheim's thesis that “Society is God” and Sartre's idea that “hell is other people”. (shrink)
Li Zehou is known as the "intellectual leader of the Chinese Enlightenment" of the 1980s. His major quest has always been for a way to define the role of human agency versus determinism on the one hand, and voluntarism on the other. In the 1980s, Li came forward with a philosophicalanthropology (his "theory of subjectivity" or "practice") that moves between two poles: On the one hand, mankind is different from the animals because of its capacity to mold (...) its own environment in a goal-directed way by means of "tools," which means that subjectivity is real if mankind can indeed to a great extent control its own destiny. On the other hand, human control over nature is subject to limitations that are largely determined by the level of technology and social organization in any given society at a certain time. Li attributes the widespread appeal of Maoist voluntarism in China to the persistence of the belief in the transformative power of the human will, unaided by science and technology. (shrink)
[Adapted from the book's back-cover:] -/- This is the ‘philosophy and. .’ book that really needed to be written – because it is about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. For (to paraphrase the great man himself) Hitchhiker’s is not above a little philosophy in the same way that the sea is not above the sky. Moreover: this edited collection tries hard to combine accessibility – and some humour – with rigour. The book contains an introduction, nine chapters (all originally (...) unpublished, save one that has been reworked for the volume), a glossary, and multiple indexes. Topics covered include the meaning of life (and ‘42’), vegetarianism, the ethics of entertainment, artificial intelligence, parallel universes, God, and philosophical method. (shrink)
A recent focus of Philip Kitcher’s research has been, somewhat surprisingly in the light of his earlier work, the philosophical analyses of literary works and operas. Some may see a discontinuity in Kitcher’s oeuvre in this respect – it may be difficult to see how his earlier contributions to philosophy of science relate to this much less mainstream approach to philosophy. The aim of this paper is to show that there is no such discontinuity: Kitcher’s contributions to the philosophy (...) of science and his more recent endeavors into the philosophy of literature and of music are grounded in the same big picture attitude towards the human mind – an attitude that he would undoubtedly call ‘pragmatic’: one that emphasizes the importance of those mental processes that are not (or not entirely) rational. (shrink)
In this article I present an original interpretation of Roy Bhaskar’s project in Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom . His major move is to separate an ontological dialectic from a critical dialectic, which in Hegel are laminated together. The ontological dialectic, which in Hegel is the self-unfolding of spirit, becomes a realist and relational philosophicalanthropology. The critical dialectic, which in Hegel is confined to retracing the steps of spirit, now becomes an active force, dialectical critique, which interposes (...) into the ontological dialectic at the ‘fourth dimension’ of a naturalistically reconfigured account of relational human nature, agency. This account allows Bhaskar to explain and vindicate the crucial role social criticism must play in any realistic project of self-emancipation, and to create a space that didn’t exist in Hegel for an open-ended concrete utopianism. Freedom is thus the actualization of human nature, but is not automatic: the relation of human nature to freedom is mediated historically through dialectical critique, which, informed by concrete utopianism, can have emancipatory power. Content Type Journal Article Category Article Pages 13-44 Authors Craig Reeves, Brunel University Journal Journal of Critical Realism Online ISSN 1572-5138 Print ISSN 1476-7430 Journal Volume Volume 12 Journal Issue Volume 12, Number 1 / 2013. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to consider the vicissitudes of “area studies” from the Second World War to the present focusing eventually on the normative imperative to develop a new paradigm of “planetary thinking.” First an overview of the history of “area studies” will be given from the start in the U.S. during the Second World War in response to the geostrategic imperative for America to know its new geopolitical responsibilities in a world divided by war. This security imperative (...) morphed into the postwar requisite to develop a counterhegemonic strategy against soviet communism in the hot spot parts of Asia, Latin American, and later Africa. The latter military-oriented strategy was added to with research into development and modernization in the third-world through to the boundary displacement of areas studies at the end of the Cold War into the current era of globalization. At this very historical moment of transition a new rationale for area studies emerged in the form of a geoeconomic imperative – both in the U.S. and, with a different gloss, in South Korea in the late 1990s. Second, on the basis of this historical apercu, the argument will be proposed that, given the problem of global warming and the issue‐area of global inequality lurking behind the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, a pressing contemporary task for philosophy is to make a critical contribution to developing a new planetary perspective for area studies informed by a constitutive philosophicalanthropology attendant to the species being of human beings. (shrink)
Featuring new selections chosen by coeditor Lewis Vaughn, the third edition of Louis P. Pojman's The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature brings together an extensive and varied collection of ninety-one classical and contemporary readings on ethical theory and practice. Integrating literature with philosophy in an innovative way, the book uses literary works to enliven and make concrete the ethical theory or applied issues addressed in each chapter. Literary works by Camus, Hawthorne, Hugo, Huxley, Ibsen, (...) Le Guin, Melville, Orwell, Styron, Tolstoy, and many others lead students into such philosophical concepts and issues as relativism; utilitarianism; virtue ethics; the meaning of life; freedom and autonomy; sex, love, and marriage; animal rights; and terrorism. Once introduced, these topics are developed further through readings by philosophers including Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Nozick, Singer, and Sartre. This unique anthology emphasizes the personal dimension of ethics, which is often ignored or minimized in ethics texts. It also incorporates chapter introductions, study questions, suggestions for further reading, and biographical sketches of the writers. The third edition brings the collection up-to-date, adding selections by Jane English, William Frankena, Don Marquis, John Stuart Mill, Mary Midgley, Thomas Nagel, Judith Jarvis Thomson, and J.O. Urmson. It also features a new chapter on euthanasia with essays by Dan W. Brock, J. Gay-Williams, and James Rachels. Ideal for introductory ethics courses, The Moral Life, Third Edition, also provides an engaging gateway into personal and social ethics for general readers. (shrink)
Perceptive, passionate, and often controversial, Raymond Tallis's latest debunking of Kulturkritik delves into a host of ethical and philosophical issues central to contemporary thought, raising questions we cannot afford to ignore. After reading Enemies of Hope , those minded to misrepresent mankind in ways that are almost routine among humanist intellectuals may be inclined to think twice. By clearing away the "hysterical humanism" of the present century this book frees us to start thinking constructively about the way forward for (...) humanity in the next. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss two philosophical issues that hold special interest for empirical researchers studying happiness. The first issue concerns the question of how the psychological notion(s) of happiness invoked in empirical research relates to those traditionally employed by philosophers. The second concerns the question of how we ought to conceive of happiness, understood as a purely psychological phenomenon. With respect to the first, I argue that ‘happiness’, as used in the philosophicalliterature, has three importantly (...) different senses that are often confused. Empirical research on happiness concerns only one of these senses, and serious misunderstandings about the significance of empirical results can arise from such confusion. I then argue that the second question is indeed philosophical and that, in order to understand the nature of (what I call) psychological happiness, we need first to determine what a theory of happiness is supposed to do: what are our theoretical and practical interests in the notion of happiness? I sketch an example of how such an inquiry might proceed, and argue that this approach can shed more light on the nature and significance of happiness (and related mental states) than traditional philosophical methods. (shrink)