Institutional explanations have been, and continue to be, one of the most important means of understanding the choices made by governments and other actors in society. This four volume set brings together a collection of the key readings in institutional theory and its applications to political phenomena. Although the principal focus of these readings is on institutional theory based in political science, articles from other disciplines that have been central to the development of theory in this discipline, or that have (...) substantial relevance for political phenomena, have also been included. Forming part of the SAGE Library of Political Science, this set contains a substantial overall introduction and conclusion as well as shorter introductions to each Part. It is an essential purchase for social science libraries around the world. (shrink)
Institutionalism has become one of the dominant strands of theory within contemporary political science. Beginning with the challenge to behavioral and rational choice theory issued by March and Olsen, institutional analysis has developed into an important alternative to more individualistic approaches to theory and analysis. This body of theory has developed in a number of ways, and perhaps the most commonly applied version in political science is historical institutionalism that stresses the importance of path dependency in shaping institutional behaviour. The (...) fundamental question addressed in this book is whether institutionalism is useful for the various sub-disciplines within political science to which it has been applied, and to what extent the assumptions inherent to institutional analysis can be useful for understanding the range of behavior of individuals and structures in the public sector. The volume will also examine the relative utility of different forms of institutionalism within the various sub-disciplines. The book consists of a set of strong essays by noted international scholars from a range of sub-disciplines within the field of political science, each analyzing their area of research from an institutionalist perspective and assessing what contributions this form of theorizing has made, and can make, to that research. The result is a balanced and nuanced account of the role of institutions in contemporary political science, and a set of suggestions for the further development of institutional theory. (shrink)
Pierre Bourdieu has developed a philosophy of social science, grounded in the phenomenological tradition, which treats knowledge as a practical ability embodied in skilful behaviour, rather than an intellectual capacity for the representation and manipulation of propositional knowledge. He invokes Wittgenstein’s remarks on rule-following as one way of explicating the idea that knowledge is a skill. Bourdieu’s conception of tacit knowledge is a dispositional one, adopted to avoid a perceived dilemma for methodological individualism. That dilemma requires either the explanation (...) of regularities in social behaviour as the result of the tacit representation of procedural rules (‘legalism’) or the self-conscious representation of behavioural goals (‘voluntarism’) by individuals. After explaining the apparent dilemma, I then argue that Wittgenstein’s remarks on rule following actually undermine, rather than support, a dispositional solution. Nonetheless, the philosophy of social science can survive without a dispositional account of knowledge. Such a social science needs, firstly, to embrace one horn of the dilemma, voluntarism, provided that the relevant regularities can be explained as unintended consequences of agents’ self-represented intentions. Secondly, such a social science should treat theorists’ interpretations as unifying generalizations, not hypotheses about the acquisition of tacit knowledge. Finally, where appeal to cognitive psychology can distinguish otherwise equivalent theories in social science, social science should incorporate the data of cognitive psychology concerning tacit mental processes. (shrink)
In “What Puzzling Pierre Does not Believe”, Lewis (, 412‐4) argues that the sentences (1) Pierre believes that London is pretty and (2) Pierre believes that London is not pretty both truly describe Kripke’s well‐known situation involving puzzling Pierre (). Lewis also argues that this situation is not one according to which Pierre believes either the proposition (actually) expressed by (3) London is pretty or the proposition (actually) expressed by (4) London is not pretty. These (...) claims, Lewis suggests, provide a starting point from which a correct resolution of Kripke’s puzzles about belief () can be developed. At the end of his paper (, p. 414‐7), Lewis considers and replies to a number of potential objections to his position. According to one of these, Lewis’s contentions regarding (1)‐(4) cannot all be true because ‘believes that’ and ‘believes the proposition that’ are synonymous. Although the objection Lewis considers is unsound and his response to it correct, a minor variant of that objection provides significant reason to be skeptical of his contentions. This variant, moreover, is not persuasively addressed by anything either Lewis or any other well‐known defender of this sort of view (such as Stalnaker ) has had to say on the matter. All of this is relevant, moreover, not 2 only when it comes to assessing Lewis’s contentions regarding (1)‐ (4), but also when it comes to drawing lessons from certain standard objections to the view that the propositional objects of belief and assertion are sets of metaphysically possible worlds. (shrink)
New perspectives on Pierre Duhem’s The aim and structure of physical theory Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9467-3 Authors Anastasios Brenner, Department of Philosophy, Paul Valéry University-Montpellier III, Route De Mende, 34199 Montpellier cedex 5, France Paul Needham, Department of Philosophy, University of Stockholm, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden David J. Stump, Department of Philosophy, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA Robert Deltete, Department of Philosophy, Seattle University, 901 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122-1090, USA Journal (...) Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796 Journal Volume Volume 20 Journal Issue Volume 20, Number 1. (shrink)
As a means to challenge and diminish the hold of mainstream curriculum's claim of being a colorblind, politically neutral text, we will address two particular features that partially, though significantly, constitute the hidden curriculum in the United States—race and class—historically studied as separate social issues. Race and class have been embedded within the institutional curriculum from the beginning in the US; though rarely acknowledged as intertwined issues. We illustrate how the theoretical and interpretive structure of French philosopher and sociologist (...) class='Hi'>Pierre Bourdieu can productively subsume the insights of critical race theory into its framework in a way that provides a more robust understanding of how race and class continue to be socially reproduced in schools. To perform this task we examine, through Bourdieu's constructs of habitus, field, capital, symbolic violence and misrecognition, the ways in which race, in general, and whiteness, specifically, influences pedagogical and curricular existence within the institutional superstructure of school. (shrink)
This paper addresses a central interpretive problem in understanding Pierre Duhem's philosophy of science. The problem arises because there is textual support for both realist and antirealist readings of his work. I argue that his realist and antirealist claims are different. For Duhem, scientific reasoning leads straight to antirealism. But intuition (reasons of the heart) motivates, without justifying, a kind of realism. I develop this idea to suggest a motivational realist interpretation of Duhem's philosophy.
Offered here is the first comprehensive treatment in English of the philosophical system of the seventeenth century philosopher Pierre Gassendi. Gassendi's importance is widely recognized and is essential for understanding early modern philosophers and scientists such as Locke, Leibniz and Newton. Offering a systematic overview of his contributions, LoLordo situates Gassendi's views within the context of sixteenth and early seventeenth century natural philosophy as represented by a variety of intellectual traditions, including scholastic Aristotelianism, Renaissance Neo-Platonism, and the emerging mechanical (...) philosophy. LoLordo's work will be essential reading for historians of early modern philosophy and science. (shrink)
This paper challenges the commonly made claim that the work of Pierre Bourdieu is fundamentally anti-Hegelian in orientation. In contrast, it argues that the development of Bourdieu's work from its earliest structuralist through its later 'post-structuralist' phase is better described in terms of a shift from a late nineteenth century neo-Kantian to a distinctly Hegelian post-Kantian outlook. In his break with structuralism, Bourdieu appealed to a bodily based 'logic of practice' to explain the binaristic logic of Lévi-Strauss' structuralist analyses (...) of myth. Effectively working within the tradition of the Durkheimian approach to symbolic classification, Lévi-Strauss had inherited Durkheim's distinctly neo-Kantian understanding of the role of categories in experience and action—an account that conflated two forms of representation—'intuitions' and 'concepts—that Kant himself had held distinct. Bourdieu's appeal to the role of the body's dispositional habitus can be considered as a retrieval of Hegel's earlier quite different reworking of Kant's intuition-concept distinction in terms of distinct 'logics' with different forms of 'negation'. Bourdieu commonly acknowledged the parallels of his analyses of social life to those of Hegel, but opposed Hegelianism because he believed that Hegel had remained entrapped within the dynamics of mythopoeic thought. In contrast, Durkheim and Lévi-Strauss, he claimed, by instituting a science of myth, had broken with it. This criticism of Hegel, however, relies on an understanding of his philosophy that has been rejected by many contemporary Hegel scholars, and without it, the gap separating Hegel and Bourdieu narrows dramatically. (shrink)
Bringing Pierre Bourdieu to Science and Technology Studies Content Type Journal Article Pages 263-273 DOI 10.1007/s11024-011-9174-2 Authors Mathieu Albert, Wilson Centre and Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 200 Elizabeth Street , Eaton-South 1-581, Toronto, ON M5G 2C4, Canada Daniel Lee Kleinman, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 348 Agricultural Hall 1450 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA Journal Minerva Online ISSN 1573-1871 Print ISSN 0026-4695 Journal Volume Volume 49 Journal Issue Volume 49, (...) Number 3. (shrink)
The following is an essay review of Paul Needham's translation of Pierre Duhem's Lemixte et la combinaison chimique and a numberof other essays. In this review we describe theintent and general features of Le mixte and try to place it in the larger context of Duhem'sprogram for energetics. The long essay (Essay3) opposing Marcellin Berthelot'sthermochemistry is singled out for detailedcommentary, since it gives Duhem's reasons forendorsing Josiah Willard Gibbs's chemicalstatics. We argue that a chemical mechanics ofa Gibbsian sort, defended (...) in Le mixte and otheressays in this volume, was the inspiration for,and basis of, Duhem's energetics. Needham'swelcome translations help an English-languageaudience to better understand the basiccontours of Duhem's important, if ultimatelymisguided, project. We conclude with somecomments on the difficulties in translatingDuhem and on the quality of the translationsNeedham has provided. (shrink)
Pierre Bourdieu is now recognized as one of the key contemporary critics of culture and the visual arts. Art Rules analyses Bourdieu's work on the visual arts to provide the first overview of his theory of culture and aesthetics. Bourdieu's engagement with both postmodernism and the problem of aesthetics provides a new way of analyzing the visual arts. His interest is in how artistic fields function and the implications their processes have for art and artistic practice. Art Rules applies (...) Bourdieu's theory of practice to the three fields of museums, photography and painting. These practical examples are used as a springboard to address visual arts in the 21st Century and to establish Bourdieu's rules of art. (shrink)
This paper compares Pierre Hadot’s work on the history of philosophy as a way of life to the work of Albert Camus. I will argue that in the early work of Camus, up to and including the publication of The Myth of Sisyphus , there is evidence to support the notions that, firstly, Camus also identified these historical moments as obstacles to the practice of ascesis, and secondly, that he proceeded by orienting his own work toward overcoming these obstacles, (...) and thus toward a modern rehabilitation of ascesis. Moreover, in contrast to Hadot’s Platonism, Camus located the source of this practice in the pre-philosophical stage of Athenian tragedy. This points to a further contrast between these two figures, which has historical and cultural precedents, in the distinction between this pre-Platonic form of ascesis - favoured by Camus - and the latter Christian form of asceticism - favoured by Hadot, with the status of Platonic ascesis rendered in terms of prefiguring this Christian form of asceticism. (shrink)
The essay "Physique de croyant" is an important statement of Pierre Duhem's position on the relation between his science and his religion. Duhem trod a difficult path, some might say an impossible one, in Republican France because he was both a physicist and a devout Catholic. In this essay, using "Physique de croyant" as a touchstone, I explore the way in which he tried to reconcile his conflicting allegiances. There are several strands in Duhem's strategy that need to be (...) teased out. First, Duhem sought to defend his science against the charge that it was materialist and atheist. He did this with his claim, usually called the autonomy thesis, that physics and metaphysics are fundamentally different enterprises—that physics, properly conducted, has no metaphysical implications and requires no metaphysical support. This did not deny metaphysics its rightful territory. Second, Duhem used his segregationist position to defend the Roman Catholic Church against the assaults of the positivist scientism then in favor with the Republicans. Third, he also sought to protect his science against fellow Catholics who wanted to use it for polemical purposes. I develop and evaluate these lines of defense. (shrink)
This paper investigates the implications of Pierre Bourdieus recent reformulation of his social theory as a critique of scholarly reason. This reformulation is said to point towards a definition of social theory as a sociologically informed version of the Kantian concept of critique. It is argued that, by this means, Bourdieu is able to extend and develop the critique of intellectualism in the philosophies of Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty and, furthermore, to ground this critique by showing how the intellectualist error (...) arises from a failure to reflect on the social conditions of possibility of reason. The three forms of the critique of scholarly reason (pertaining to the theoretical, the moral-practical and the aesthetic forms of reason) are then briefly presented. In the final section, the critique of scholarly reason is shown to provide the basis for a convincing response to critiques of Bourdieus work from critical theorists drawing on Habermass conception of discursive rationality. In particular, it is argued that critical theorists influenced by Habermas typically confuse practical reflexivity with intellectual reflection - the standpoint of scholarly reason. Finally, it is shown that Bourdieus own account of the unity of theory and practice is nonetheless deficient, and must be supplanted with an account centred on the idea of existential clarification. Key Words: Bourdieu critical theory Habermas intellectualism reflexivity. (shrink)
When Professor Georges Gurvitch, the highly esteemed occupant of the chair of philosophy at the University of Strausbourg before World War ll and the author of a series of brilliant studies in the pluralist philosophy of law, referred to Pierre—Joseph Proudhon as the central figure in the development of modern social and judicial philosophy, the basis of his highly flattering judgment was the philosophy of law that serves as the basis of Proudhon’s mutualism, a socio-legal conceptualization that had not (...) only greatly infiuenced Gurvitch’s own thinking but which had exerted tremendous infiuence as well over the thought of such outstanding social theorists as Herzen, Tolstoi, and Kropotkinl To state, therefore, that Proudhon was not only the first to call himself an anarchist but also “the most important" anarchist thinker of the modern period} is to establish his right to be heard. We are not entitled to skip lightly over his conception of law and justice as past generations have done. After outlining Proudhon’s legal theory and his conception of natural right, this paper will attempt to demonstrate that Proudhon’s thinking on law is an outstanding contribution to modern political theory. It is not too much to say, in fact, that his philosophy of law and natural right stands as a highly suggestive antidote to the hopeless confusion in contemporary political theory, a confusion that stems not only from the cloudy conception of justice posited by the social contract theorists but from the defective conception of justice advanced by the advocates of state socialism as well. (shrink)
Michel Callon, Pierre Lascoumes and Yannick Barthe, Acting in an Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical Democracy Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 509-511 DOI 10.1007/s11024-011-9186-y Authors Thomas Berker, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture, Centre for Technology and Society, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491 Trondheim, Norway Journal Minerva Online ISSN 1573-1871 Print ISSN 0026-4695 Journal Volume Volume 49 Journal Issue Volume 49, Number 4.
Franck Grammont, Dorothée Legrand, and Pierre Livet (eds): Naturalizing Intention in Action Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-6 DOI 10.1007/s10746-012-9217-1 Authors Brian W. Dunst, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA Journal Human Studies Online ISSN 1572-851X Print ISSN 0163-8548.
Pierre Wagner (ed.): Carnap’s logical syntax of language . Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009, 288pp, £57.00 HB Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9522-8 Authors Alan Richardson, Department of Philosophy, University of British Columbia, 1866 Main Mall—E370, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1 Canada Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
The relation between “presence” and “representation” is an age-old topic in the arts, but it is further complicated in our time of advanced media conditions. Pierre Huyghe is one artist who has consistently addressed questions of presence and representation throughout his artistic oeuvre, including the role of the witness within it. Considering the sophistication of Huyghe’s work with regard to the riddle of presence in the realm of contemporary means of representation, the artist’s work is taken as a case (...) study for a broad range of artists exploring related topics within the arts and the media. This paper argues that art that interrogates the question of presence within the context of contemporary media culture—from Marina Abramović to Stelarc, Jeffrey Shaw to Julia Scher—asks for being interpreted through presence theories developed within the field of media studies in addition to methods of art theory and criticism. Accordingly, Huyghe’s work is productively related to one such theory, namely the YUTPA model by Caroline Nevejan, which theorizes the interrelated concepts of natural, mediated, and witnessed presence. (shrink)
This volume explores the sociological legacy of the late Pierre Bourdieu through an examination of the intellectual division between his reception in the world of French social sciences and his reception in the Anglophone world.
Resumo : Os escritos de John Locke e Pierre Bayle sobre a tolerância contribuíram decisivamente para a formaçáo do discurso filosófico sobre aquele conceito, que será amplamente divulgado no século XVIII. A doutrina de Locke afirma que o indivíduo tem certos direitos, que estáo intrinsecamente relacionados com a sua liberdade e devem ser respeitados pelo Estado. Bayle também foi um defensor da tolerância, exaltando a liberdade de consciência do indivíduo. No entanto há divergências entre estes dois pensadores: Locke propõe (...) limites à tolerância, enquanto Bayle é tido como um tolerante exagerado. A proposta é investigar os principais argumentos utilizados nas suas respectivas defesas da tolerância, e a partir daí analisar algumas divergências entre os dois autores, especialmente as diferentes medidas da tolerância adotadas por cada um deles. Palavras-chave : Igualdade; Liberdade; Poder político; Tolerância. (shrink)
This volume is about searching for fundamental theory in physics which has become somewhat elusive in recent decades. Like a group of blind men investigating an elephant, one physicist postulates the trunk as a hose, another a leg as a tree, the body a wall or barrier, the tail a rope and the ears as a fan. The organizers of the Vigier series symposia strongly believe cross polination by exploring many avenues of seemingly disparate research is key to breakthrough discovery (...) and solicited papers on all areas of physics deemed pertinent in Astrophysics, Cosmology, nuclear physics, quantum theory, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, vacuum field theory and topology. (shrink)
Puede decirse, sin ir demasiado lejos, que la obra del sociólogo francés de Pierre Bourdieu ha sido una de las más brillantes e imaginativas del panorma de las ciencias sociales en la segunda mitad del siglo XX. Este libro trata de sacar a la luz la forma en la que las herramientas de su sociología fueron creadas. No obstante, este texto no comienza con un realto de sus obras, sino de su vida. Pierre Bourdieu no nace intelectual, se (...) hace en un contexto que -en su caso, especialmente durante sus primeros años de su vida- tiene poco de tal. Se trata, pues, de una investigación histórica de la figura de un intelectual que evita dos caminos ya trillados: la vía externalista, que toma a los eventos históricos, sociales o económicos como fuente de toda explicación de la vida intelectual y científica, y la vía internalista, que cosidera que sus miembros viven en una esfera aislada y ajena a toda influencia exterior. Está última vía es la que se suele transitar cuando un pensador ha legado una obra que despierta admiración. Para ello, el autor emplea algunas de las ideas que Randall Collins delineo en su opus magnum Sociología de las filosofías, quizá uno de los libros que mejor ha sabido captar las dinámicas que gobiernan el mundo intelectual. Más concretamente, el autor de este libro hace suya la idea de que son las interacciones cara a cara las relaciones fundamentales que gobiernan la vida intelectual. (shrink)
This paper is an extension of the analysis of the interpretation of Pierre Duhem's philosophy of science presented by Karen Merikangas Darling in the work 'Motivational Realism: The Natural Classification for Pierre Duhem'. There is some textual support for both realist and antirealist reading of Duhem's work. In this study I consider both realistic and antirealistic interpretations and propose some hints for understanding of Pierre Duhem's philosophy of science.
I reject the widely held view that Duhem's 1906 book La Théorie physique is a statement of instrumentalistic conventionalism, motivated by the scientific crisis at the end of the nineteenth century. By considering Duhem's historical context I show that his epistemological views were already formed before the crisis occured; that he consistently supported general thermodynamics against the new atomism; and that he rejected the epistemological views of the latter's philosophical supporters. In particular I show that Duhem rejected Poincaré's account of (...) scientific language, Le Roy's view that laws are definitions, and the conventionalist's use of simplicity as the criterion of theory choice. Duhem regarded most theory choices as decidable on empirical grounds, but made historical context the main determining factor in scientific change. (shrink)
An internal reconstruction and an immanent critique of Bourdieu's generative structuralism is presented. Rather than starting with the concept of "habitus," as is usually done, the article tries to systematically reconstruct Bourdieu's theory by an analysis of the relational logic that permeates his whole work. Tracing the debt Bourdieu's approach owes to Bachelard's rationalism and Cassirer's relationalism, the article examines Bourdieu's epistemological writings of the 1960s and 70s. It tries to make the case that Bourdieu's sociological metascience represents a rationalist (...) version of Bhaskar's critical realism, and enjoins Bourdieu to give heed to the realist turn in the philosophy of the natural and the social sciences. The article shows how Bourdieu's epistemological assumptions are reflected in his primary theoretical constructs of "habitus" and "field." To concretize their discussion, it analyzes Bourdieu's reinterpretation of Weber in his theory of the field of religion and of the young Mannheim in his theory of the scientific field. (shrink)
Duhem’s concept of “good sense” is central to his philosophy of science, given that it is what allows scientist to decide between competing theories. Scientists must use good sense and have intellectual and moral virtues in order to be neutral arbiters of scientific theories, especially when choosing between empirically adequate theories. I discuss the parallels in Duhem’s views to those of virtue epistemologists, who understand justified belief as that arrived at by a cognitive agent with intellectual and moral virtues, showing (...) how consideration of Duhem as a virtue epistemologist offers insights into his views, as well as providing possible answers to some puzzles about virtue epistemology. The extent to which Duhem holds that the intellectual and moral virtues of the scientist determine scientific knowledge has not been generally noticed. (shrink)
This paper examines Duhem’s concept of good sense as an attempt to support a non rule-governed account of rationality in theory choice. Faced with the underdetermination of theory by evidence thesis and the continuity thesis, Duhem tried to account for the ability of scientists to choose theories that continuously grow to a natural classification. I will examine the concept of good sense and the problems that stem from it. I will also present a recent attempt by David Stump to link (...) good sense to virtue epistemology. I will argue that even though this approach can be useful for the better comprehension of the concept of good sense, there are some substantial differences between virtue epistemologists and Duhem. In the light of this reconstruction of good sense, I will propose a possible way to interpret the concept of good sense, which overcomes the noted problems and fits better with Duhem’s views on scientific method and motivation in developing the concept of good sense. (shrink)
There has been a significant interest in the recent literature in developing a solution to the problem of theory choice which is both normative and descriptive, but agent-based rather than rule-based, originating from Pierre Duhem's notion of 'good sense'. In this paper we present the properties Duhem attributes to good sense in different contexts, before examining its current reconstructions advanced in the literature and their limitations. We propose an alternative account of good sense, seen as promoting social consensus in (...) science, and show that it is superior to its rivals in two respects: it is more faithful to Duhemian good sense, and it cashes out the effect that virtues have on scientific progress. We then defend the social consensus account against objections that highlight the positive role of diversity and division of labour in science. (shrink)
Despite Searle''s claim of theoretical proximity between his concept of the Background and Bourdieu''s concept of the habitus, there is at least one substantial difference in the respective ways in which these concepts have been elaborated: the Background is conceived as a nonintentional neurophysiological reality whereas the habitus is fully intentional, or rather constitutes a nonrepresentational level of intentionality completely overlooked from Searle''s standpoint. Moreover, each concept implicates a distinct perspective on social reality: the former suggests that significance is superimposed (...) yet essentially external to this reality; the latter indicates that significance is immanent. I elaborate on the comparison between the two concepts/perspectives from different angles in order to highlight the existing differences as well as explore possible underlying affinities, which depend upon reconsidering the conventional understanding of intentionality as an exclusive attribute of mental phenomena. I show that Searle''s analysis of the Background is inundated with indications of the undeniably intentional character of something he attempts to define as a nonintentional reality. Finally, I discuss the connection between the immanence of significance in Bourdieu''s account of social reality and the conflict-centered orientation of this account. This dimension is noticeably absent from Searle''s theorizing of the social. (shrink)
With thanks to Prof. Berys GautContextualism underlies a large part of the modern discussion of art interpretation. It is often accepted by both interpretational monists, who claim that there is always one correct interpretation of any given artwork, and pluralists, who argue that there can be many justified interpretations. It is also often accepted by constructivists, who claim that the interpretative effort of the audience is a part of the creative process that has influence, not only on the interpretation, but (...) also on the artwork itself—i.e., artworks are partially constructed by the audience. Notably, a large number of contextualists actively resist constructivism and endorse one of the other options.1In this .. (shrink)
The fact that the notion of ‘practice’ has achieved an ever-increasing relevance in the most various fields of knowledge must not overshadow that it can be interpreted in so many different ways as to orient fairly different historiographical paradigms and philosophical conceptions. Starting with the two main issues of Hadot’s criticism of Foucault (the lack of a distinction between joy and pleasure and the fact that his account does not underscore that the individual Self is ultimately transcended by universal Reason), (...) I have tried to show how the two scholars’ philosophical and historiographical approaches entail a different notion of ‘practice’. According to Hadot, the performativity of a practice (or spiritual exercise) is intimately tied to a universal which transcends the individual self, whereas Foucault maintains that it does not require the appeal to any universal, being exclusively grounded on the modes of exertion of the practices which constitute the individual Self. According to this address, pleasure is a fundamental notion in order to historicize the different ways in which the ethical subject structures itself. (shrink)
Duhem's discussion of physical theories as natural classifications is neither antithetical nor incidental to the main thrust of his philosophy of science. Contrary to what is often supposed, Duhem does not argue that theories are better thought of as economically organizing empirical laws than as providing information concerning the nature of the world. What he is primarily concerned with is the character and justification of the scientific method, not the logical status of theoretical entities. The crucial point to notice is (...) that he took the principle of the autonomy of physics to be of paramount importance and he developed the conception of natural classification in opposition to accounts of physical theories that contravened it. (shrink)
Many authors have argued that all studies of socially specific modalities of human action and experience depend on some form of “philosophical anthropology”, 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 philosophical anthropology, 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 philosophical anthropology 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)