In this article we explore an argumentative pattern that provides a normative justification for expected utility functions grounded on empirical evidence, showing how it worked in three different episodes of their development. The argument claims that we should prudentially maximize our expected utility since this is the criterion effectively applied by those who are considered wisest in making risky choices (be it gamblers or businessmen). Yet, to justify the adoption of this rule, it should be proven that this is empirically (...) true: i.e. that a given function allows us to predict the choices of that particular class of agents. We show how expected utility functions were introduced and contested in accordance with this pattern in the 18th century and how it recurred in the 1950s when Allais made his case against the neo-Bernoullians. (shrink)
[David Charles] Aristotle, it appears, sometimes identifies well-being (eudaimonia) with one activity (intellectual contemplation), sometimes with several, including ethical virtue. I argue that this appearance is misleading. In the Nicomachean Ethics, intellectual contemplation is the central case of human well-being, but is not identical with it. Ethically virtuous activity is included in human well-being because it is an analogue of intellectual contemplation. This structure allows Aristotle to hold that while ethically virtuous activity is valuable in its own right, the best (...) life available for humans is centred around, but not wholly constituted by, intellectual contemplation. /// [Dominic Scott] In Nicomachean Ethics X 7-8, Aristotle distinguishes two kinds of eudaimonia, primary and secondary. The first corresponds to contemplation, the second to activity in accordance with moral virtue and practical reason. My task in this paper is to elucidate this distinction. Like Charles, I interpret it as one between paradigm and derivative cases; unlike him, I explain it in terms of similarity, not analogy. Furthermore, once the underlying nature of the distinction is understood, we can reconcile the claim that paradigm eudaimonia consists just in contemplation with a passage in the first book requiring eudaimonia to involve all intrinsic goods. (shrink)
In this paper we want to explore an argumentative pattern that provides a normative justification for expected utility functions grounded on empirical evidence, showing how it worked in three different episodes of their development. The argument claims that we should prudentially maximize our expected utility since this is the criterion effectively applied by those who are considered wisest in making risky choices (be it gamblers or businessmen). Yet, to justify the adoption of this rule, it should be proven that this (...) is empirically true: i.e., that a given function allows us to predict the choices of that particular class of agents. We show how expected utility functions were introduced and contested in accordance with this pattern in the 18th century and how it recurred in the 1950s when M. Allais made his case against the neobernoullians. (shrink)
(Barthelemy} Charles (Pierre Joseph) Dunoycr (1786-1862) was born on May 20, 1786 at Carcnnac in ancient Turcnnc (Qucrcy, Cahorsin), the present-day Lot. His father, Jean-Jacqucs— Philippe Dunoyer, was scigncur dc Scgonzac. Destined at an early age for the order of St. Jean de Malte, he began his education in the order’s near-by house at Martel. With the confiscation of the 0rder’s houses in 1792, his aunt, formerly of the Visitation order, and, then, the former Benedictine prior of Carennac, continued his (...) education at home. I-lis secondary education was completed at Cahors in the écoie centrale, one of the newly established schools under the Directory in which the ideas of the 18th century philosophcs, and especially, the ldeologues, predorninated. ln 1803, Dunoyer went to Paris to study law at the newly founded Université de Jurisprudence. (shrink)
In this paper the relations between the almost unknown Spanish mathematician Ventura Reyes Prósper (1863-1922) with Charles S. Peirce and Christine Ladd-Franklin are described. Two brief papers from Reyes Prósper published in El Progreso Matemático 12 (20 December 1891), pp. 297-300, and 18 (15 June 1892) pp. 170-173 on Ladd-Franklin, and on Peirce and Mitchell, respectively, are translated for first time into English and included at the end of the paper.
Abstract In this paper I analyze and critique Charles Griswold’s work Forgiveness: A Philosophical Exploration. Griswold’s theory of forgiveness is structured around the notion that human frailty, imperfection, and susceptibility to unfortunate circumstances are cornerstones of the human experience. While Griswold’s paradigm of forgiveness is compelling on the whole, I argue that this “human frailty thesis” creates unintentional and problematic consequences that undermine major goals of his paradigm. In particular, the human frailty thesis undermines Griswold’s requirement that forgiveness hold an (...) offender accountable for wrongdoing. After identifying and discussing the consequences of the human frailty thesis, I will propose revisions to Griswold’s paradigm that redeem it from the problems I have identified. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s11406-011-9327-4 Authors Hailey Huget, 430 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215, USA Journal Philosophia Online ISSN 1574-9274 Print ISSN 0048-3893. (shrink)
This review article outlines some of the major contributions made to political theory by Charles Taylor. It focuses on his relationship to liberalism, his contribution to the understanding of democracy and his analysis of the politics of recognition. Several lines of critique of Taylor's thought on these issues are also explored. Some reflections on Taylor's style of theorising about politics are offered, and the question of whether he is a conservative or critical theorist is examined.
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)
IN 1903, commenting on an article he had written more than thirty years before, Charles Peirce said that he had changed his mind on many issues at least a half-dozen times but had "never been able to think differently on that question of nominalism and realism" (1.20). For anyone acquainted with Peirce's writings, this remark alone could justify a study of "that question.".
The subject of this book is the thought of the American pragmatist and founder of semiotics, Charles Sanders Peirce. The book collects the papers presented to the International Conference Semiotics and Philosophy in C.S. Peirce (Milan, April 2005), together with some additional new contributions by well-known Peirce scholars, bearing witness to the vigour of Peircean scholarship in Italy and also hosting some of the most significant international voices on this topic. The book is introduced by the two editors and is (...) divided into three sections, corresponding to the three main areas of the most interesting contemporary reflection on Peirce. Namely, Semiotics and the Logic of Inquiry (part I); Abduction and Philosophy of Mathematics (part II); Peirce and the Western Tradition. (part III). The analysis is carried out from a semiotic perspective, in which semiotics should not be understood as a specific doctrine but rather as the philosophical core of Peirce’s system. As we read in the introduction: “it is semiotics and philosophy or, rather, semiotics as philosophy and philosophy as semiotics, which emerge from a reading of these papers”. (shrink)
This paper identifies and analyzes the problem of historicism in Charles Taylor's work overall, but with particular emphasis on his most recent publication, A Secular Age. I circumscribe the problem of historicism through reference to the nineteenth-century German philosophical tradition in which it developed, in particular in the thought of Wilhelm Dilthey. I then trace the structural similarities between the notions of history to be found in the thought of Taylor and Dilthey and how these structural similarities raise worries associated (...) with the problem of historicism. I argue that the structural aporia of historicism evident in Taylor's work brings to light a live philosophical problem that is basic to theoretical debates in the study religion. (shrink)
In this critical response to Charles Ess’ ‚Ethical Pluralism and Global Information Ethics’ presented in this Special Issue of Ethics and Information Technology, it is firstly argued that his account of pros hen pluralism can be more accurately reformulated as a three layered doctrine by separating one acceptance of diversity at a cultural level and another at an ethical theoretic level. Following this clarificatory section, the next section considers Ess’ political and sociological reasons for the necessity and desirability of pros (...) hen pluralism, criticising the former reasons as social scientifically problematic, while elaborating on the latter as more persuasive. In the last section, I discuss how pros hen pluralism may be realised, making three arguments in particular. First, Ess’ requirement for sensitivity to cultural diversity is to be interpreted as differentiated and extended sensitivity. Second, his discussion of shared responses to central ethical problems is ambiguous and needs further elaboration and clarification. Third, his focus on dialogue and Socratic education is persuasive, although excessive optimism is not reasonable. (shrink)
Spreading the universal monarchy myth in the early 16th century was closely linked to the magnitude of the territories controlled by Charles V. For the imperial chancellor Mercurino Gattinara, universal and messianic ideas, which were integrated into the symbolism of the Empire, were to legitimate a policy that aimed at giving a more rational structure to Charles’ territories and at securing a prominent influence for the Habsburg family in the whole of Europe. Gattinara imagined a kind of supranational monarchy, organised (...) in accordance with the mythical model of the Roman Empire, which would be able to guarantee peace under the aegis of Christianity. (shrink)
Although John Dewey has had the most profound effect on education, less is known about the philosophy of education of the original founder of pragmatism, Charles Peirce. Using Peirce's theory of formal rhetoric, I try to show that Peirce's philosophy of education, when fully understood, is aligned with Dewey's pedagogy of experiential learning, and can provide a justification for the promotion of active learning in the classroom. Peirce's rhetoric, as one part of his logical or semiotic theory, argues that reasoning (...) alone is not sufficient to gain knowledge, but that it must be embedded within a community of inquiry, of a certain sort. Applying this to the classroom, I argue that we, as teachers, should endeavor to create the features of a proper community of inquiry in the classroom, one that emphasizes engagement of the students in doing research rather than passively receiving information about its results. (shrink)
The nineteenth century theologian, author and poet Charles Kingsley was a notable populariser of Darwinian evolution. He championed Darwin’s cause and that of honesty in science for more than a decade from 1859 to 1871. Kingsley’s interpretation of evolution shaped his theology, his politics and his views on race. The relationship between men and apes set the context for Kingsley’s consideration of these issues. Having defended Darwin for a decade in 1871 Kingsley was dismayed to read Darwin’s account of the (...) evolution of morals in Descent of Man. He subsequently distanced himself from Darwin’s conclusions even though he remained an ardent evolutionist until his death in 1875. (shrink)
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)
People discussing science and religion usually frame their conversations in terms of essentialist assumptions about science, assumptions requiring the existence (but not the specification) of criteria according to which science can be distinguished from other forms of inquiry. However, criteria functioning at a level of generality appropriate to such discussions may not exist at all. Essentialist assumptions may be avoided if science is understood within a broader context of human practices. In a philosophy of practices, to label a practice as (...) “scientific” is to make a practically motivated provision for a way of speaking. Charles Taylor and Joseph Rouse have produced complementary philosophies of practice that promote this kind of understanding. In this essay I review the work of Taylor and Rouse, identify apparent residues of essentialism that each seems to harbor, and offer a resolution to some of their disagreements. I also criticize a form of essentialism commonly employed in Christian circles and outline an anti-essentialist view of science that may be helpful in science-and-religion discussions. (shrink)
Research in modern biology has largely been developed according to two main ways of inquiry, as they were outlined by Charles Darwin and Claude Bernard. Each stands for a specific approach to the living corresponding to two different methodological rules: the principle of natural selection and the principle of causation.
This chapter briefly reviews the link between Charles Taylor's life and work. It then discusses his position on the role of science in understanding human behavior. It concludes by considering the relationship between theory and practice in Taylor's thought.
This paper investigates the relationship between the eminent 19th-century naturalists Charles Darwin and Carl Vogt. On two separate occasions, Vogt asked Darwin for permission to translate some of the latter’s books into German, and in both cases Darwin refused. It has generally been assumed that Darwin turned down Vogt as a translator because of the latter’s reputation as a radical libertine who was extremely outspoken in his defence of scientific materialism and atheism. However, this explanation does not fit the facts, (...) since, on closer investigation, Darwin not only gave serious consideration to engaging Vogt as the German translator of two of his books, albeit ultimately rejecting him, but he also collaborated with Vogt on the French editions of his works. In this paper we argue that this was not because Darwin was unaware of Vogt’s personality and blunt writing style; rather, Darwin seems to have decided that the benefits he would gain from their association would clearly outweigh the risk of offending some of his readers: in working with Vogt, who was not only a knowledgeable scientist but also an avowed adherent of Darwinism, Darwin could be assured of the scientific quality of the translation and of an edition that would not distort his central concepts – both of which were by no means matters of course in 19th-century translations of scientific works. (shrink)
The reputations of scientists among their contemporaries depend not only on accomplishment, but also on interactions affected by influence and personality. The historical lore of most fields of scientific endeavor preserve these reputations, often through the identification of founders, innovators, and prolific workers whose contributions are considered fundamental to progress in the field. Historians frequently rely on the historical lore of scientists to guide their studies of the development of ideas, exhibiting justifiable caution in reassessing reputations in the light of (...) current knowledge. However, the transmission of historical lore can obscure the relative importance of accomplishment, influence and personality in shaping contemporary reputations, leaving the historian to either accept reputations at face value or attempt to reconstruct the context in which they were created. The science of taxonomy, because of its rules of priority, leaves a relatively accurate record of historical accomplishment through the persistence of taxa in catalogues and faunal guides. These records allow the modern historian an unbiased means to assess the relative accomplishments of historical figures and therefore a means to critically reassess reputations independent of personality and influence. In the historical lore of North American ichthyology, Louis Agassiz at Harvard and Spencer Baird at the Smithsonian emerge as central figures in the early development of the field during the mid-1800s, contributing not only through the quality and quantity of their science, but also through their roles as institutional leaders and mentors to workers who followed. Charles Girard, originally a student of Agassiz's and later a coworker with Baird, receives little notice in the history of ichthyology, and his reputation is that of a minor player in the initial description of the North American fish fauna, and one whose work appears to have been flawed or even careless when compared to his contemporaries. However, a review of both contemporary and modern taxonomic works reveals that Girard's productivity far exceeded that of either Agassiz or Baird. Furthermore, an examination of the tendency of Girard and his contemporaries to introduce synonymous names into the literature, which might reflect careless or uncritical work, suggests that Girard was among the more accomplished workers of his era, including Agassiz and Baird. Girard's low ranking in the folklore of North American ichthyology, therefore, can not be attributed to discernible shortcomings in his scientific work, but rather to a public and private campaign of criticism waged by Agassiz after Girard's departure from Harvard. While Agassiz's dispute with Girard stemmed from their personal interactions, he expressed them as criticisms of Girard's work, and thus helped shape Girard's scientific reputation as it has been transmitted through the lore of ichthyology. This case study reveals how scientific reputation may not always rest on accomplishment, but can be influenced by personal interactions obscured by time but nonetheless important to history. (shrink)
La notion de « commerce d’amour-propre » telle qu’elle a été élaborée par Pierre Nicole constitue-t-elle une sorte de préfiguration de l’utilitarisme moderne ? Il est commun de le penser. Mais c’est peut-être là faire trop peu de cas du soubassement théologique augustinien de la doctrine de Nicole. Pour analyser le problème, il convient de confronter la pensée de Nicole à celles de Pascal, de Hobbes et de saint Augustin lui-même.
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)
In this essay, I review the relationship between Charles Darwin's methodology and the philosophy of science of Sir John F. W. Herschel. Darwin's exposure to Herschel's philosophy was, I argue, significant. Further, when we construct an appropriate reading of Herschel's philosophy of science (a surprisingly difficult feat), we can see that Darwin's three-part argument in the Origin is crafted in order to strictly adhere to Herschel's methodological guidelines.
Carl Hausman is a former editor of The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, a revival of one of the first American philosophy journals, where Peirce published some of his early work; and Hausman has devoted a good deal of his career to Peirce scholarship. He interprets Peirce’s thought “as a fallibilistic foundationalism that affirms a unique realism according to which what is real is a dynamic, evolving extramental condition.” The theme is an interesting one partly in view of the many recent (...) criticisms of foundationalism, some drawing on pragmatist sources. It promises to re-emphasize more conservative moments of the pragmatic conception of inquiry. Similarly, Hausman’s approach highlights the historical continuities between pragmatism and realism in American philosophy. Still, if Peircean realism implies evolutionary pressure due to “extra-mental” conditions, this suggests a question. Can we also expect a corresponding realism or autonomy of human lives, thought, and cultures—themselves evolving through their interactions? A positive answer here might help avoid the de-centering excesses of contemporary anti-foundationalists, implying social and institutional space for cross-fertilizations, innovations, and the rejection of social-institutional rigidities. (shrink)
This interview with Charles Taylor explores a central concern throughout his work, viz., his concern to confront the challenges presented by the process of ‘disenchantment’ in the modern world. It focuses especially on what is involved in seeking a kind of ‘re-enchantment.' A key issue that is discussed is the relationship of Taylor’s theism to his effort of seeking re-enchantment. Some other related issues that are explored pertain to questions surrounding Taylor’s argument against the standard secularization thesis that views secularization (...) as a process involving the ineluctable fading away of religion. Additionally, the relationship between Taylor’s religious views and his philosophical work is discussed. (shrink)
ELSEWHERE WE HAVE ARGUED that Peirce's later thought manifests a commitment to the thesis that there is a world of physical objects whose existence and properties are neither logically nor causally dependent upon the noetic act of any number of finite minds. 1 In other words, we have argued that Peirce's later thought satisfies the definition of metaphysical realism as classically defined. 2 There are, however, a number of texts which might be cited to support the claim that, for Peirce, (...) the existence and properties of physical objects are causally, and therefore logically, dependent upon the noetic act of the sum of finite minds identified as the community of scientific inquirers. If this latter claim can be substantiated it would seem to follow that either (a) Peirce was fundamentally inconsistent in simultaneously espousing two mutually exclusive doctrines or (b) in his later writings Peirce was not a metaphysical realist at all and that the doctrine on externality can be subsumed into a metaphysical idealism in which the notion of 'external object' does not imply causal or logical independence of the noetic act but rather the experience of duality or otherness. In other words, if the claim that the later Peirce was a metaphysical idealist can be supported, then Peirce was either hopelessly inconsistent or merely trying to account for realistic distinctions within an idealistic framework such as to... (shrink)
Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species is unquestionably one of the chief landmarks in biology. The Origin (as it is widely known) was literally only an abstract of the manuscript Darwin had originally intended to complete and publish as the formal presentation of his views on evolution. Compared with the Origin, his original long manuscript work on Natural Selection, which is presented here and made available for the first time in printed form, has more abundant examples and illustrations of (...) Darwin's argument, plus an extensive citation of sources. (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)
Charles S. Peirce frequently mentioned reading Richard Whately's Elements of Logic when he was 12 years old. Throughout his life, Peirce emphasized the importance of that experience. This valorization of Whately is puzzling at first. Early in his career Peirce rejected Whately's central logical doctrines. What valuable insight concerning logic was robust enough to survive these specific rejections? Peirce recommended a biographical approach to understanding his philosophy. This essay follows that suggestion by considering Peirce's reading of Whately in a larger (...) life context. Surprisingly many factors in Charles Peirce's personal and intellectual development were at play when he read Whately. His father, Benjamin Peirce, oversaw rigorous home schooling intended to train young Charley for a brilliant intellectual career. Laboratory experience with qualitative chemical analysis exposed the boy to the logic of scientific investigation, specifically to the hypothetico-deductive method of inquiry. However, tensions between father and son developed over Charles' wish to devote his life to studying the logic of science. The two also disagreed upon the value of formal science. Against this background we will review relevant logical doctrines of Whately's book, as well as his innovative formalizing practice of logical inquiry. Then we will see that it was Whately's lessons about formal science that were of such importance to Peirce. (shrink)