One of the challenges facing Continental Philosophy is how to maintain its identity as “Continental” (and thus as “European”) while avoiding the dangers of Euro-centrism. This challenge calls for many approaches, but one entry point is through the question of Europe—can we think a European identity that is pluralistic and radically open to its others, a Europe that is not Euro-centric? Rodolphe Gasché, in his recently published Europe, or the Infinite Task: A Study of a Philosophical Concept (Stanford 2009), articulates (...) just such a concept of Europe, providing careful studies of Husserl, Heidegger, Patočka, and Derrida, as well as his own insights. In spring of 2009, the Department of Philosophy at DePaul University invited Prof. Gasché for a discussion of Europe, or the Infinite Task. Peg Birmingham and Franklin Perkins presented papers engaging and responding to the book, and Rodolphe Gasché subsequently offered his response. The three essays are published together here, with slight revisions but retaining their original character as a dialogue. We hope that the lively debate they express will serve to stimulate further discussion of the relationships among philosophy, Europe, and openness to others. (shrink)
Perkins, John L With his regular programmes on radio and television, newspaper columns and commentary, Waleed Aly has become Australia's favourite Muslim celebrity. He is intelligent, articulate and provides incisive analysis of political and social issues. Given this, it might have been expected that he could have applied the same quality of analysis in his book, People Like Us: How Arrogance is Dividing Islam and the West (2007); however this is not the case.
Why was Leibniz so fascinated by Chinese philosophy and culture? What specific forms did his interest take? How did his interest compare with the relative indifference of his philosophical contemporaries and near-contemporaries such as Spinoza and Locke? In this highly original book, FranklinPerkins examines Leibniz's voluminous writings on the subject and suggests that his interest was founded in his own philosophy: the nature of his metaphysical and theological views required him to take Chinese thought seriously. Leibniz was (...) unusual in holding enlightened views about the intellectual profitability of cultural exchange, and in a broad-ranging discussion Perkins charts these views, their historical context, and their social and philosophical ramifications. The result is an illuminating philosophical study which also raises wider questions about the perils and rewards of trying to understand and learn from a different culture. (shrink)
Europe and the Question of Philosophy: A Response to Rodolfe Gasché, Europe, or the Infinite Task Content Type Journal Article Pages - Authors Franklin Thomas Perkins, Department of Philosophy, DePaul University Journal Comparative and Continental Philosophy Online ISSN 1757-0646 Print ISSN 1757-0638 Journal Volume Volume 3 Journal Issue Volume 3, Number 1 / 2011.
We report on the successful fabrication of polycrystalline silicon films by aluminium-induced crystallisation (AIC) of Radio frequency (rf) plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposited (PECVD) a-Si films. The effects of annealing at different temperatures (300 and 400°C), below the eutectic temperature of the Si?Al binary system, on the crystallisation process have been studied. This work emphasises the important role of the position of the Al layer with respect to the Si layer on the crystallisation process. The properties of the crystallised films were (...) characterised using X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, ellipsometry, field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). With an increase in the annealing temperature, it was found that the degree of crystallisation of annealed a-Si/Al and Al/a-Si films increased. The results showed that the arrangement where the Al was on top of the a-Si had a more prominent effect on crystallisation enhancement than when Al was below the a-Si. The interfacial layer between the Al and a-Si film is crucial because it influences the layer-exchange process during annealing. The oxide layer formed between the Al and the a-Si layers greatly retards the crystallisation process in the case of the Al/Si arrangement. Our investigations suggest that polycrystalline Si films formed by AIC can be used as a seed layer in solar cell fabrication. (shrink)
The weak-beam technique of electron microscopy (Cockayne, Ray and Whelan 1969) has been used to study constrictions found on extended dislocation lines in a copper-silicon alloy. The nature of these constrictions has been determined using in situ heating of the alloy.
Mary Anne Perkins re-examines Coleridge's claim to have developed a "logosophic" system which attempted "to reduce all knowledges into harmony." She pays particular attention to his later writings, some of which are still unpublished. She suggests that the accusations of plagiarism and of muddled, abstruse metaphysics which have been levelled at him may be challenged by a thorough reading of his work in which its unifying principle is revealed. She explores the various meanings of the term "logos," a recurrent (...) theme in every area of Coleridge's thought--philosophy, religion, natural science, history, political and social criticism, literary theory, and psychology. Coleridge was responding to the concerns of his own time, a revolutionary age in which increasing intellectual and moral fragmentation and confusion seemed to him to threaten both individuals and society. Drawing on the whole of Western intellectual history, he offered a ground for philosophy which was relational rather than mechanistic. He is one of those few thinkers whose work appears to become more interesting and his perceptions more acute as the historical gulf widens. This book is a contribution to the reassessment that he deserves. (shrink)
This dissertation explores several illuminating points of intersection between the philosophy of perception and the philosophy of vagueness. Among other things, I argue: (i) that it is entirely unhelpful to theorize about perception or consciousness using Nagelian "what it's like" talk; (ii) that a popular recent account of perceptual phenomenology (representationalism) conflicts with our best theory of vagueness (supervaluationism); (iii) that there are no vague properties, for Evans-esque reasons; (iv) that it is impossible to insert "determinacy" operators into representationalism in (...) a truth-preserving manner; and (v) that strong versions of dualism are unable to accommodate the possibility of borderline consciousness. (shrink)
This paper develops a novel problem for representationalism (also known as "intentionalism"), a popular contemporary account of perception. We argue that representationalism is incompatible with supervaluationism, the leading contemporary account of vagueness. The problem generalizes to naive realism and related views, which are also incompatible with supervaluationism.
In his classic 1936 essay "On the Concept of Logical Consequence", Alfred Tarski used the notion of satisfaction to give a semantic characterization of the logical properties. Tarski is generally credited with introducing the model-theoretic characterization of the logical properties familiar to us today. However, in his book, The Concept of Logical Consequence, Etchemendy argues that Tarski's account is inadequate for quite a number of reasons, and is actually incompatible with the standard model-theoretic account. Many of his criticisms are meant (...) to apply to the model-theoretic account as well. In this paper, I discuss the following four critical charges that Etchemendy makes against Tarski and his account of the logical properties: (1) (a) Tarski's account of logical consequence diverges from the standard model-theoretic account at points where the latter account gets it right. (b) Tarski's account cannot be brought into line with the model-theoretic account, because the two are fundamentally incompatible. (2) There are simple counterexamples (enumerated by Etchemendy) which show that Tarski's account is wrong. (3) Tarski committed a modal fallacy when arguing that his account captures our pre-theoretical concept of logical consequence, and so obscured an essential weakness of the account. (4) Tarski's account depends on there being a distinction between the "logical terms" and the "non-logical terms" of a language, but (according to Etchemendy) there are very simple (even first-order) languages for which no such distinction can be made. Etchemendy's critique raises historical and philosophical questions about important foundational work. However, Etchemendy is mistaken about each of these central criticisms. In the course of justifying that claim, I give a sustained explication and defense of Tarski's account. Moreover, since I will argue that Tarski's account and the modeltheoretic account really do come to the same thing, my subsequent defense of Tarski's account against Etchemendy's other attacks doubles as a defense against criticisms that would apply equally to the familiar model-theoretic account of the logical properties. (shrink)
International human rights law that protects freedom of the press provides a cross-culturally reliable foundation from which to launch a consideration of universal principles in journalism ethics. After examining certain assumptions made by the international law about individuals and about the kind of journalism the law intends to protect, in this article I propose that truthtelling, independence, and freedom with responsibility are universal ethical principles international law envisions for journalists. These principles would undoubtedly be applied differentially in different cultures, but (...) I conclude that the culturally specific ways journalists analyze ethical dilemmas can arise from a common concern for the 3 principles. (shrink)
Alfred Tarski (1944) wrote that "the condition of the 'essential richness' of the metalanguage proves to be, not only necessary, but also sufficient for the construction of a satisfactory definition of truth." But it has remained unclear what Tarski meant by an 'essentially richer' metalanguage. Moreover, DeVidi and Solomon (1999) have argued in this Journal that there is nothing that Tarski could have meant by that phrase which would make his pronouncement true. We develop an answer to the historical question (...) of what Tarski meant by 'essentially richer' and pinpoint the general result that stands behind his essential richness claim. In defense of Tarski, we then show that each of the several arguments of DeVidi and Solomon are either moot or mistaken. One of the fruits of our investigation is the reclamation of what Tarski took to be his central result on truth. This is a reclamation since: (i) if one does not understand 'essential richness', one does not know what that result is, and (ii) we must unearth a heretofore unrecognized change that occurs in Tarski's view - an alteration of his main thesis in light of a failing he discovered in it. (shrink)
I offer an interpretation of a familiar, but poorly understood portion of Tarskis work on truth – bringing to light a number of unnoticed aspects of Tarskis work. A serious misreading of this part of Tarski to be found in Scott Soames Understanding Truth is treated in detail. Soamesreading vies with the textual evidence, and would make Tarskis position inconsistent in an unsubtle way. I show that Soames does not finally have a coherent interpretation of Tarski. This is unfortunate, since (...) Soames ultimately arrogates to himself a key position that he has denied to Tarski and which is rightfully Tarskis own. (shrink)
In both content and historical position, the “ Xing Zi Ming Chu ” is of obvious significance for understanding the development of classical Chinese philosophy, particularly Confucian moral psychology. This article aims to clarify one aspect of the text, namely, its account of human motivation. This account can be divided into two parts. The first describes human motivation primarily in passive terms of response to external forces, as emotions arise from our nature when stimulated by things in the world. The (...) second comes from the role of the heart, which takes a more active role in shaping our responses to the world. This article focuses on the role of the heart. At stake is the status of human agency, in particular, the degree to which the heart, through the formation of a stable intention, allows us to go beyond being simply pulled along by external forces. (shrink)
The problem with model-theoretic modal semantics is that it provides only the formal beginnings of an account of the semantics of modal languages. In the case of non-modal language, we bridge the gap between semantics and mere model theory, by claiming that a sentence is true just in case it is true in an intended model. Truth in a model is given by the model theory, and an intended model is a model which has as domain the actual objects of (...) discourse, and which relates these objects in an appropriate manner. However, the same strategy applied to the modal case seems to require an intended modal model whose domain includes mere possibilia. Building on recent work by Christopher Menzel (Nous 1990), I give an account of model-theoretic semantics for modal languages which does not require mere possibilia or intensional entities of any kind. Mcnzel has offered a representational account of model-theoretic modal semantics that accords with actualist scruples, since it does not require possibilia. However, Menzel's view is in the company of other actualists who seek to eliminate possible worlds, but whose accounts tolerate other sorts of abstract, intensional entities, such as possible states of affairs. Menzel's account crucially depends on the existence of properties and relations in intension. I offer a purely extensional, representational account and prove that it does all the work that Mcnzel's account does. The result of this endeavor is an account of modeltheoretic semantics for modal languages requiring nothing but pure sets and the actual objects of discourse. Since ontologically beyond what is prima facie presupposed by the model theory itself. Thus, the result is truly an ontology-free model-theoretic semantics for modal languages. That is to say, getting genuine modal semantics out of the model theory is ontologically cost-free. Since my extensional account is demonstrably no less adcguatc, and yet is at the same time more ontologically frugal, it is certainly to be preferred. (shrink)
One could define a “tragic” viewpoint in many ways, but its core is the claim that things in this world do not always work out for the best. Probably the greatest tragic figure in the Zhuangzi is the defiant praying mantis, who waves her arms to fend off the oncoming chariot. This praying mantis is surely a symbol of Confucius, who was said in the Lun Yu to know that what he does is impossible but to do it anyway. In (...) the Zhuangzi, such characters are fools, not heroes. While the view of life in the Zhuangzi is certainly not an optimistic trust that virtue is rewarded, it is just as surely not a tragic text. It tends rather toward comedy or play. This paper will examine the Zhuangzi in relationship to the tragic. The underlying claim is that the Zhuangzi’s rejection of the optimism of an anthropocentric universe is more radical than tragedy and helps reveal how a tragic viewpoint remains under the sway of an anthropocentric European tradition. Ultimately, pessimism and optimism both assume the validity of human categories, but this is precisely what is attacked in the Zhuangzi. Ironically, it is precisely the unique flexibility of human beings that allows us not just to recognize the insignificance of our goals and values in the world (seeing our situation as tragic) but to accept and take up that insignificance (seeing it rather as comic). The paper concludes with some reflections on why Zhuangzi’s position is both attractive and disturbing. (shrink)
Half a century after Michael Polanyi conceptualised ‘the tacit component’ in personal knowing, management studies has reinvented ‘tacit knowledge’—albeit in ways that squander the advantages of Polanyi’s insights and ignore his faith in ‘spiritual reality’. While tacit knowing challenged the absurdities of sheer objectivity, expressed in a ‘perfect language’, it fused rational knowing, based on personal experience, with mystical speculation about an un-experienced ‘external reality’. Faith alone saved Polanyi’s model from solipsism. But Ernst von Glasersfeld’s radical constructivism provides scope to (...) rethink personal tacit knowing with regard to ‘other people’ and the intersubjectively viable construction of ‘experiential reality’. By separating tacit knowing from Polanyi’s metaphysical realism and drawing on Benedict Anderson’s concept of ‘imagined communities’, it is possible to conceptualise ‘imagined institutions’ as the tacit dimension of power that shapes human interaction. Whereas Douglass North claimed institutions could be reduced to rules, imagined institutions are known in ways we cannot tell. (shrink)
At first glance, the problem of evil has little place in Chinese thought.Â At least two assumptions associated with the classical European problem of evil are foreign to a Chinese context.Â If we take the term â€œevilâ€ in contrast to the merely â€œbad,â€ that is, if we give evil ontological status as a real force, then classical Chinese thinkers have no conception of evil, and thus no need to account for its origin.Â The second assumption connected to the problem of (...) evil is Godâ€™s creation of the world ex nihilo.Â If God is the total and complete cause of all that exists, God must be responsible for everything, including the bad things.Â Without a conception of creation ex nihilo, early Chinese thinkers need not attribute evil to any divine being.Â Even in a European context, though, requiring a conception of evil as a positive force and the creation of the world ex nihilo defines the problem of evil too narrowly.Â Most thinkers in the European tradition responded to the problem of evil by denying the ontological status of evil.Â Those who maintained the benevolence of God denied his creation of evil by equating evil with nothingness or lack.Â Augustine develops this denial of evil in response to Manicheanism, and versions of his account are taken up by Descartes and Leibniz, among others.Â Even those who responded to the problem of evil by denying the existence of a benevolent deity tended to reduce evil from a real ontological category to a mere human label, as for example, Spinoza does.Â Creation ex nihilo remains more consistently central to the problem, but again seems unnecessary.Â Kant, for example, sees the problem of evil as arising out of the structure of rationality itself.Â Hellenistic philosophers raised the problem of evil more regarding God as controlling force than God as creator.Â Even within Europe, then, the problem of evil can be formulated without.. (shrink)
Alfred Tarski (1944) wrote that "the condition of the 'essential richness' of the metalanguage proves to be, not only necessary, but also sufficient for the construction of a satisfactory definition of truth." But it has remained unclear what Tarski meant by an 'essentially richer' metalanguage. Moreover, DeVidi & Solomon (1999) have argued that there is nothing that Tarski could have meant by that phrase which would make his pronouncement true.
According to Timothy Williamson's epistemic view, vague predicates have precise extensions, we just don't know where their boundaries lie. It is a central challenge to his view to explain why we would be so ignorant, if precise borderlines were really there. He offers a novel argument to show that our insuperable ignorance ``is just what independently justified epistemic principles would lead one to expect''. This paper carefully formulates and critically examines Williamson's argument. It is shown that the argument (...) does not explain our ignorance, and is not really apt for doing so. Williamson's unjustified commitment to a controversial and crucial assumption is noted. It is also argued in three different ways that his argument is, in any case, self-defeating – the same principles that drive the argument can be applied to undermine one of its premises. Along the way, Williamson's unstated commitment to a number of other controversial doctrines comes to light. (shrink)
This paper examines the idea of “following nature” in two classical Chinese thinkers, Mengzi and Zhuangzi. The goal is to complicate appeals to “following nature” in Asian thought and to problematize the very imposition of the concept “nature” on Zhuangzi and Mengzi. The paper begins by establishing some common ground between Mengzi and Zhuangzi, based on two points—both view harmony with tian (heaven/nature) as a primary aspect of living well, and both require a process of self-transformation to reach this harmony. (...) The second part of the paper argues that Mengzi and Zhuangzi give different answers to a similar question. That question is, what does it means to follow or be in harmony with tian? The essay concludes with some reflections on how “following nature” in Zhuangzi and Mengzi might apply to environmental ethics. (shrink)
If the problem of evil is one of justifying how a perfect God could create evil, then there is no problem of evil in early Chinese thought, but my claim in this paper is that the problem of evil is one manifestation of a deeper problem, which is the conflict between the world and human values and desires. This deeper problem appears in early Chinese thought in ways analogous to the problem of evil in theistic traditions. Daoists respond to this (...) problem with a call to harmonize with heaven by overcoming conventional values and desires. Mencius, a Confucian, offers a more complex response, in which it is natural to cultivate virtue and certain desires even though nature itself is indifferent to them. My paper focuses on this Confucian response. (shrink)