In 1746 the French philosophe Condillac published his Essay on the Origin of Human Knowledge , one of many attempts during the century to determine how we organize and validate ideas as knowledge. In investigating language, especially written language, he found not only the seriousness he sought but also a great deal of frivolity whose relation to the sober business of philosophy had to be addressed somehow. If the mind truly reflects the world, and language reflects the mind, why is (...) there so much error and nonsense? Whence the distortions? How can they be remedied? In The Archeology of the Frivolous , Jacques Derrida recoups Condillac's enterprise, showing how it anticipated--consciously or not--many of the issues that have since stymied epistemology and linguistic philosophy. If anyone doubts that deconstruction can be a powerful analytic method, try this. (shrink)
The second volume in this series devoted to the writings of the English Dominican Robert Kilwardby, this work presents the Latin text of two Oxford treatises from the 1250s--one on time, the other on imagination. The treatise on time discusses its reality, connection with change, unity and beginning, the instant and time's relationship to eternity; the one on imagination examines the way imagery is acquired, retained and transmitted, and the relation between heart and head in the workings of common sense.
In this essay an effort is made to answer the question of what function psychology and psychiatry have in merleau-ponty's ``the structure of behavior and phenomenology of perception''. it is argued that in his first book merleau-ponty tried to present a philosophical critique of the behaviorist and gestaltist interpretations of empirical psychology, whereas ``phenomenology of perception'' attempts to make a contribution to philosophical anthropology which in many instances employs analyses which belong to phenomenological psychology, the regional ontology (...) of psychic phenomena. (shrink)
The paper analyzes, from a perspective which is itself existential-ontological, the way in which in an early text of Martin Heidegger, Phänomenologische Interpretationen zu Aristoteles (Anzeige der hermeneutischen Situation)  – which had already outlined some determinative elements of the ideas expounded in Being and Time –, the meditation on the always living and current conditions and hermeneutical situation of philosophizing expanded in fact into an inquiry about the origins, grounds, essence and sense of philosophy as such. Meditation in (...) and through which philosophy identifies itself and is founded on the one hand exactly as a mode of existence of the mortal “human Dasein” (menschliches Dasein), that is a factic mode of existence of this, philosophy, on the other hand, itself originates from and in man’s factic life exactly with the aim of being the modality through which this being – namely ourselves – returns towards the problematization of his existential possibilities even by taking upon himself the burden and “weight” of radical interrogation. Which therefore goes and must go itself and resolutely – because if this entirely “without God” and consequently a-theist – to the historical and ontological roots of a present con-temporarized (mitzeitigt) both with the past and the future existential horizons of the assumed factic possibilities. (shrink)
In the past 250 years, David Hume probably had a greater impact on the field of philosophy of religion than any other single philosopher. He relentlessly attacked the standard proofs for God's existence, traditional notions of God's nature and divine governance, the connection between morality and religion, and the rationality of belief in miracles. He also advanced radical theories of the origin of religious ideas, grounding such notions in human psychology rather than in divine reality. In the last decade (...) of his life Hume wrote 'I cou'd cover the Floor of a large Room with Books and Pamphlets wrote against me'. Indeed, most of these targeted his writings on religion. This, the third part of the Early Responses to Hume series, and perhaps the most eagerly awaited, collects responses to Hume's writings on religion published during his life, namely, 'Of Miracles', 'Of a Particular Providence and a Future State', The Natural History of Religion , and the posthumously published works Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion , 'Of Suicide' and 'Of the Immortality of the Soul'. The set covers a wide range of the replies Hume's writings provoked, including contributions by Philip Skelton, William Adams, Thomas Rutherforth, William Warburton, Anthony Ellys, John Douglas, John Leland, Thomas Stona, Voltaire, George Campbell, Herman Andrew Pistorius, Duncan Shaw, William Samuel Powell, Thomas Hayter, Joseph Milner, William Paley, Charles Moore, Richard Joseph Sulivan, John Hey, Samuel Vince, Lord Brougham and Thomas De Quincey. (shrink)
The author takes on the task of describing the interface between emotion and cognition by way of a narrative about psychology, and its meaning to his life. Using time as an overall metaphor, or perhaps a foundation stone underpinning a series of seemingly unconnected events, some insight is given into the author's personal life. The author invokes the works of feminist philosopher and author, Susan Faludi, to portray some aspects of his journey through fantasy, and then the reality (...) of a disparate practice on two continents in psychology and neuropsychology. With particular reference to Faludi's portrayal of men as failed heroes without a role in modern society, the author discovers that all of his work with others has been a work with his own troubled soul, and his failed heroism. Calling on his early role models, and life with and without a sense of purpose, he learns from his clients the value of courage and patience, a spiritual as well as intellectual journey that leads him to become many things to many people in order to heal them, and himself. (shrink)
Insects factored as ‘symbols of instinct’, necessary as a rhetorical device in the boundary work of early social psychology. They were symbolically used to draw a dividing line between humans and animals, clarifying views on instinct and consciousness. These debates were also waged to determine if social psychology was a subfield of sociology or psychology. The exchange between psychologist James Mark Baldwin and sociologist Charles Abram Ellwood exemplifies this particular aspect of boundary work. After providing a (...) general background of the debates, I turn specifically to the writings of Baldwin and Ellwood between 1890 and 1936, tracing the use of insects as ‘symbols of instinct’. (shrink)
James VI and I united the crowns of England and Scotland. His books are fundamental sources of the principles which underlay the union. In particular, his Basilikon Doron was a best-seller in England and circulated widely on the Continent. Among the most important and influential British writings of their period, the king's works shed light on the political climate of Shakespeare's England and the intellectual background to the civil wars which afflicted Britain in the mid-seventeenth century. James' political philosophy (...) was a moderated absolutism, with an emphasis on the monarch's duty to rule according to law and the public good. Locke quoted his speech to parliament of 1610 approvingly, and Hobbes likewise praised 'our most wise king'. This edition is the first to draw on all the early texts of James' books, with an introduction setting them in their historical context. (shrink)
Plotinus (c. AD 205-270) can be regarded as the greatest Greek philosopher of late Antiquity, and as the father of Neoplatonism. His Enneads (`the nines') are now recognised as seminal works in the development of Western thought. This book is the only detailed scholarly commentary available on this part of Plotinus' work, and should be invaluable to all scholars interested in ancient philosophy and early Christian theology. All Greek in the commentary is translated.
In conclusion, I would like to consider some of the common themes in the writings of Freud, Jung, and Lévi-Strauss, and to offer some observations on their historical significance. Firstly, all three theorists were historical pessimists. While it may be true that their historical pessimism reflected their class position as bourgeois social theorists in the age of mass society, I think it is equally important to recognize that utilization of the theory of the unconscious itself creates a paradigm with strongly (...) conservative and anti-utopian implications. Their dependence on the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer is significant. His work, early in the nineteenth century, lay the foundations both for the theory of the unconscious and for the historical pessimism that went with it. His metaphysical pessimism lies behind not only Freud's Libidolehre and Jung's “psychic energy,” but also behind the somber prophetic, cataclysmic imagery employed by Claude Lévi-Strauss from Tristes Tropiques to L'Homme Nu.The following passage, which draws to a finale the pessimism of Tristes Tropiques, a very Schopenhauerian book, is typical: The world began without the human race and it will end without it. The institutions, manners, and customs which I shall have spent my life cataloguing and trying to understand are an ephemeral efflorescence of a creative process in relation to which they are meaningless, unless it be that they allow humanity to play its destined role. That role does not, however assign to our race a position of independence. Nor, even if man himself is condemned, are his vain efforts directed towards the arresting of a universal process of decline. Far from it: his role is itself a machine, brought perhaps to a greater point of perfection than any other, whose activity hastens the disintegration of an initial order and precipitates a powerfully organized Matter towards a condition of inertia which grows even greater and will one day prove definitive. From the day when he first learned how to breath and how to keep himself alive through the discovery of fire and right up to the invention of the atomic and thermonuclear devices of the present day, man has never-save only when he reproduces himself-done other than cheerfully dismantle million upon million of structures and reduce their elements to a state in which they can no longer be reintegrated. No doubt he has built cities and brought the soil to fruition; but if we examine these activities closely we shall find that they also are inertia-producing machines, whose scale and speed of action are infinitely greater than the amount of organization implied in them. As for the creations of the human mind, they are meaningful only in relation to that mind, and will disappear into nothingness as soon as it ceases to exist. Taken as a whole, therefore, civilization can be described as a prodigiously complicated mechanism: tempting as it would be to regard it as our universe's best hope of survival, its true function is to produce what physicists call entropy: inertia, that is to say. Every scrap of conversation, every line set up in type, establishes a communication between two interlocutors, levelling what had previously existed on two different planes and had had for that reason, a greater degree of organization. “Entropology,” not anthropology, should be the word for the discipline that devotes itself to the study of this process of disintegration in its most highly evolved forms.And yet I exist. Not in any way, admittedly, as an individual: for what am I, in that respect, but a constantly renewed stake in the struggle between the society, formed by the several million nerve-cells which take shelter in the anthill of the brain, and my body, which serves that society as a robot?I have quoted this passage at length because it gives a vivid feeling of the profound metaphysical despair that lies at the roots of Lévi-Strauss' work. In his recent writings and interviews his pessimism has become even more pronounced; he seems convinced that the entire civilized world is moving rapidly and inexorably towards its ecological self-destruction.A second theme that runs through the writings of Freud, Jung, and Lévi-Strauss is the concern with polarities and their dialectical reconciliation or transcendence. Freud's theory was shot through with polarities-one thinks of the dualism of instincts, and the polarities of pleasure/unpleasure, active/passive, subject/object, etc. In the eternal struggle between these immortal adversaries, Life and Death, Super-Ego and Id, Mind and Body, Freud placed the Ego as an integrating and synthesizing principle. Freud's proclivity for dualistic ideas was shared by Jung. The interests of Jung and Lévi-Strauss in the dialectical reconciliation of the opposites was already discussed above. Once opposites are seen to be in relationship, as parts of a system, they cease to be opposites and become polarities.Schopenhauer provides a link to another common theme shared by these writers, the belief that “everything is inter-related and mutually attuned.” Schopenhauer believed that physical causality was only one of the rulers of the world; at a deeper level there was a kind of universal consciousness, compared to which individual consciousness was rather like a dream compared to wakefulness. For all of these thinkers individual consciousness was based on a larger system of intercommunications, but whereas this theme was not stressed by Freud, it became central in the works of Jung and Lévi-Strauss.As we have seen throughout this essay, Freud, Jung, and Lévi-Strauss were committed to the notion that there is a hidden order in the mental and cultural life of mankind, and they were convinced that this hidden order can be discovered by human reason. Behind the diversity of human cultures they believed that they saw an underlying unity, and they explained this unity in terms of what they believed to be a universality of unconscious processes of the human mind. Freud and Jung tried to explain their notions of the “unconscious” in terms of “energy,” drawing their models from physics. Freud's libido theory was more physical, Jung's more psychical, but they both remained tied to an energy model. I believe that one of Claude Lévi-Strauss' most important contributions to the social sciences was to liberate the notion of the unconscious from this energy theory. Instead, he spoke of it as being like a language, employing the ideas of system and structure and particularly the concept of the “symbolic function” drawn from structural linguistics and information theory.In Lévi-Strauss' Structural Anthropology “System” and “Structure” are treated as belonging to the realm of Information/Communication rather than as belonging to the realm of matter/energy. “Structure” is the ensemble of laws which govern the behavior of the system, and the components in the system are largely interchangeable. They do not necessarily derive from the same level of organization as the system which controls their various combinations, permutations and structural transformations. As we saw above, for Lévi-Strauss the unconscious is “empty.” It is simply a “universe of rules” similar to the phonological laws that govern languages. In this usage, “the unconscious” is a term designating a process of the human mind, a process which operates in all human cultures according to the same laws. In fact, the “unconscious” is nothing but the totality of these laws and relationships. Even the world of symbolism—though it exhibits an infinite variety of contents-is always bound and limited by these structural laws, because all human beings are bound by the same mental constraints. In the Kantian tradition, Lévi-Strauss sees his task as analyzing the operations of the human mind (l'esprit humain) within these contraints, and I think it is fair to say that his work is a kind of critique of sociological and anthropological reason in the same sense that Wilhelm Dilthey's was a critique of historical reason.In this paper I have attempted to show that there was a progressive development in the theory of the unconscious from Freud, through Jung, to Lévi-Strauss. Jung, working in German Switzerland, was more sympathetic to German idealism and historicism than was Freud. In his work Jung blended this German philosophical tradition with French sociological theory. This unique amalgam could have led him to elaborate a depth sociology correlative with his depth psychology, but his search for his own historical predecessors led him to investigate the psycho-historical significance of mysticism, spiritualism and alchemy instead. He was always convinced of the power, importance and significance of the “collective representations” that guide and shape our perception and experience. Jung wrote: “We should never forget that in any psychological discussion, we are not saying anything about the psyche, but that the psyche is always speaking about itself.” Modern civilized man's belief in the sole reality of the individual, along with his belief that he is born a tabula rasa, was simply an illusion, a modern myth. At our deepest core level, each of us is united to all mankind and to the history of the human race. Whether we call this deepest level “society” with Durkheim and George Herbert Mead, the “will and its representations” with Schopenhauer, the “wider self through which saving experiences come” with William James, the “Unconscious” with Freud, or the “Psyche” with Jung, or the “structures of the human mind” with Lévi-Strauss, depends on our primary assumptions, metaphysics and temperament. They are but different terms pointing towards the one common transpersonal background structure that makes possible both human experience and communication of that experience. (shrink)
Although utterly convinced of the truth of Christianity, Anselm of Canterbury struggled to make sense of his religion. He considered the doctrines of faith an invitation to question, to think, and to learn; and he devoted his life to confronting and understanding the most elusive aspects of Christianity. His writings on matters such as free will, the nature of truth, and the existence of God make Anselm one of the greatest theologians and philosphers in history, and this translation provides readers (...) with their first opportunity to read his most important works within a single volume. (shrink)
James Harrington (1611-77) was a pioneer in applying the methods of Machiavelli and other civic humanists to English political society and its landed structure. In the century after his death, his ideas were adapted to become an important ingredient in the vocabulary of both English and American political opposition to the methods of Hanoverian parliamentary monarchy. There has been no complete edition of Harrington's writings since 1771, or of Oceana, his best-known work, since 1924. This is a modernised edition, and (...) includes all of his prose works on political subjects. The critical introduction attempts to revalue the evidence concerning Harrington's life and writings, to locate them in the context of Civil War, Commonwealth and Puritan thinking and to trace the development of Harringtonian and neo-Harringtonian ideology during subsequent generations. (shrink)
Dating from about the third century A.D., the Yoga Sutra distills the essence of the physical and spiritual discipline of yoga into fewer than two hundred brief aphorisms. It is the core text for any study of meditative practice, revered for centuries for its brilliant analysis of mental states and of the process by which inner liberation is achieved. Yet its difficulties are legendary, and until now, no translation has made it fully accessible. This new translation, hailed by Yoga Journal (...) for its "unsurpassed readability," is by one of the leading Sanskrit scholars of our time, whose Bhagavad Gita has become a recognized classic. It includes an introduction to the philosophy and psychology underlying the Yoga Sutra , the full text with explanatory commentary, and a glossary of key terms in Sanskrit and English. (shrink)
For the first time in three centuries, this book brings back into print three discourses now confirmed to have been written by the young Thomas Hobbes. Their contents may well lead to a resolution of the long-standing controversy surrounding Hobbes's early influences and the subsequent development of his thought. The volume begins with the recent history of the discourses, first published as part of the anonymous seventeenth-century work, Horae Subsecivae . Drawing upon both internal evidence and external confirmation afforded (...) by new statistical "wordprinting" techniques, the editors present a compelling case for Hobbes's authorship. Saxonhouse and Reynolds present the complete texts of the discourse with full annotations and modernized spellings. These are followed by a lengthy essay analyzing the pieces' significance for Hobbes's intellectual development and modern political thought more generally. The discourses provide the strongest evidence to date for the profound influences of Bacon and Machiavelli on the young Hobbes, and they add a new dimension to the much-debated impact of the scientific method on his thought. The book also contains both introductory and in-depth explanations of statistical "wordprinting.". (shrink)
Recently, Rousselet et al. reported a 1 ms/year delay in visual processing speed in a sample of healthy aged 62 subjects (Frontiers in Psychology 2010, 1:19). Here, we replicate this finding in an independent sample of 59 subjects and investigate the contribution of optical factors (pupil size and luminance) to the age-related slowdown and to individual differences in visual processing speed. We conducted two experiments. In experiment 1 we recorded EEG from subjects aged 18-79. Subjects viewed images of faces (...) and phase scrambled noise textures under nine luminance conditions, ranging from 0.59 to 60.8 cd/m2. We manipulated luminance using neutral density filters. In experiment 2, 10 young subjects (age <35) viewed similar stimuli through pinholes ranging from 1 to 5 mm. In both experiments, subjects were tested twice. We found a 1 ms/year slowdown in visual processing that was independent of luminance. Aging effects became visible around 125 ms post-stimulus and did not affect the onsets of the face-texture ERP differences. Furthermore, luminance modulated the entire ERP time-course from 60 to 500 ms. Luminance effects peaked in the N170 time window and were independent of age. Importantly, senile miosis and individual differences in pupil size did not account for aging differences and inter-subject variability in processing speed. The pinhole manipulation also failed to match the ERPs of old subjects to those of young subjects. Overall, our results strongly suggest that early ERPs to faces (<200 ms) are delayed by aging and that these delays are of cortical, rather than optical origin. Our results also demonstrate that even late ERPs to faces are modulated by low-level factors. (shrink)
This is the first of a three-volume anthology intended as a companion to The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy. Volume 1 is concerned with the logic and the philosophy of language, and comprises fifteen important texts on questions of meaning and inference that formed the basis of Medieval philosophy. As far as is practicable, complete works or topically complete segments of larger works have been selected. The editors have provided a full introduction to the volume and detailed (...) introductory headnotes to each text; the volume is also indexed comprehensively. (shrink)