Why is Butterfield's best-seller The Origins of Modern Science (1949) such a powerful big picture, nearly impossible to move away from? Considered in the context of his life, the contrast between his attacks on Whig history and the contents of his best-seller reveals that his big picture of science continues at the centre because of his spiritual beliefs and practices. Butterfield did not make explicit his Christian (Methodist) world view to his history of science readers, although one could infer this (...) from his point that Christianity and the Scientific Revolution were the most significant events in universal history, transcending cultural boundaries. As long as Christian beliefs and practices continue to be at the centre of Western Society, so will Butterfield's big picture be at the centre. Western society is a Christian civilization. For Butterfield, the meaning of history is Christianity and The Origins of Modern Science is very much a Christian statement of the evolution of knowledge acquisition in Western society. To de-centre The Origins would require first a de-centred view of Christianity. (shrink)
Alan Gewirth's Reason and Morality directed philosophical attention to the possibility of presenting a rational and rigorous demonstration of fundamental moral principles. Now, these previously unpublished essays from some of the most distinguished philosophers of our generation subject Gewirth's program to thorough evaluation and assessment. In a tour de force of philosophical analysis, Professor Gewirth provides detailed replies to all of his critics--a major, genuinely clarifying essay of intrinsic philosophical interest.
Unlike many of Descartes’s other followers, Pierre-Sylvain Re´gis resists the temptations of occasionalism. By marrying the ontology of mechanism with the causal structure of concurrentism, Re´gis arrives at a novel view that both acknowledges God’s role in natural events and preserves the causal powers of bodies. I set out Re´gis’s position, focusing on his arguments against occasionalism and his responses to Malebranche’s ‘no necessary connection’ and divine concursus arguments.
In the history of philosophy, Jacques Rohault and Pierre-Sylvain Régis bear a twofold burden. They are professed followers, epigones. Worse yet, the natural philosophy they teach has been consigned to the Tartarus of fable: not a theory that failed, but something that failed even to be a theory. In the years in which they were turning Cartesianism into a system, Newton and Huygens were preparing its demise. Its empirical claims were refuted, its mathematics was rendered obsolete by the calculus, its (...) vortices and channelled magnetic particles met with the same rough justice Descartes meted out to Scholastic forms and qualities. Canonical history has little use for such ﬁgures. It prefers originals. Yet if ideas and arguments are not to seem to pass magically from one great mind to the next, we must have some account of the channels through which what was once novel and unique sediments into cliché and common ground. Those channels are not without bias and noise. Inevitably, currents from different streams meet and mix more or less coherently in the works of secondary ﬁgures, especially in the competitive intellectual world of the later seventeenth century, with its sometimes ferocious polemics fuelled by religious and political opposition. Cartesianism became a movement and—to use Leibniz’s word—a sect, divided within by disputes over the legacy of its founder, and facing opposition without from steadfast Aristotelians, pious theologians, and the avant garde of the new science. In Régis and Rohault Descartes’ legacy took the outward form of “system”. They present themselves as reworking Cartesian concepts and arguments into something coherent and comprehensive. Rohault, the more modest of the two, aims to reform the teaching of physics, still weighed down by the dead hand of Aristotle. He retains for the old philosophy only what is true and conjoin it with the new physics of Descartes, in whom France is no less fortunate than Greece once was in Aristotle (Rohault 1718, “Præfatio”).. (shrink)
Descartes's claim that the eternal truths were freely created by God is fraught with interpretive difficulties. The main arguments in the literature are classified as concerning the ontological status or the modalities of possibility and necessity of the eternal truths. The views of the principal defenders of the Creation Doctrine – Robert Desgabets, Pierre Sylvain Régis, and Antoine Le Grand are contrasted with those of Nicolas Malebranche. In clarifying the theological, ontological, and logical terms of the debate we can see (...) that what was at stake was the objectivity and certainty of the truths of mathematics and physics. I conclude by suggesting that this issue might fruitfully be used to clarify the disparate discussions in the contemporary literature. (shrink)
There is considerable debate among scholars over whether Descartes allowed for genuine body-body interaction. I begin by considering Michael Della Rocca's recent claim that Descartes accepted such interaction, and that his doctrine of the creation of the eternal truths indicates how this interaction could be acceptable to him. Though I agree that Descartes was inclined to accept real bodily causes of motion, I differ from Della Rocca in emphasizing that his ontology ultimately does not allow for them. This is not (...) the end of the story however, since two of Descartes's successors offered incompatible ways of developing his conflicted account of motion. I contrast the occasionalist view of Nicolas Malebranche that changes in motion derive directly from divine volitions with the non-occasionalist claim of Pierre-Sylvain Regis that such changes derive from a nature distinct from God. In light of Della Rocca's interpretation, it is noteworthy that the issue of eternal truths is relevant to both alternative accounts. Indeed, Regis took the doctrine that such truths are created to provide crucial support for his alternative to an occasionalist account of body-body interaction. What does not help Della Rocca, however, is that Regis's view of motion requires a fundamental revision of Descartes's ontology. (shrink)
Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, published in 1919, is an episodic collection of character sketches based mostly around the perspective of George Willard, a small-town journalist who listens to the stories of various characters, often described in grotesque terms, whose passionate inner lives contrast with their limited outwardly lived existences. The initial critical response to these stories was to regard Anderson as a sort of cheap Freudian who was making an obvious criticism of American Puritanism and conformity. One reviewer, Regis (...) Michaud, wrote that Winesburg, Ohio was "entirely in keeping with the most recent contributions of American literature to psychoanalysis";1 another reviewer, H. W. Boynton .. (shrink)
As a result of the public demand for higher ethical standards, business schools are increasingly taking ethical matters seriously. But their effort has concentrated on teaching business ethics and on students' ethical behavior. Business faculty, in contrast, has attracted much less attention. This paper explores the context and the implications of an alleged case of plagiarism in a master's dissertation submitted to a university lacking both an ethical code of conduct and a formalized procedure to deal with academic misconduct. The (...) events evolved into a bitter political process in which the more ethically aware members of faculty challenged efforts to cover-up. Here the focus is on the motives and behavior of faculty members involved in this case rather than the alleged plagiarist's. The role played by the main actors involved in the process in examined using the theory of moral development and the organizational politic perspective. The paper discusses the mechanisms available to raise ethical awareness and prevent academic misconduct, and the limitations of self-regulation and self-monitoring that prevails in the university system. It also examines the impact of ethics instruction and faculty ethical standards on students' behavior and concludes that ethics instruction can only be effective when the principles taught are in line with daily actions of their instructors. (shrink)
The term “Cartesianism” is commonly applied to a wide range of philosophical and scientific doctrines. The question of what constitutes the spirit or essence of Cartesianism – providing a common core for the works of Descartes, Arnauld, Rohault, La Forge, Régis, Spinoza, Le Grand or Malebranche, among others – has elicited a great variety of answers. Without attempting a comprehensive response to the question, I begin by presenting some main presuppositions and goals commonly attributed to Descartes and other Cartesian doctrines (...) – both by their proponents and opponents. A fundamental Cartesian postulate concerns the metaphysical dualism of body and mind. Thoughts (e.g., ideas, volitions and judgments) are regarded by Descartes as modifications of the mind, whereas extension, size, shape, motion or rest are modifications of matter. According to the Cartesian “way of ideas,” the mind is directly acquainted only with its own modifications, and the objects external to the mind are known only through the mediation of ideas. External reality is viewed as given independently of any individual subjective consciousness. Although Descartes was not the first to posit this view, he invested it with a new meaning in his novel conception of the human mind. Within this framework, the Cartesian subject has been viewed mainly as an observer – one who can only represent independent reality rather than constitute it. Some indication of this view may be found in the third part of the.. (shrink)
This is the first book-length study of two of Descartes's most innovative successors, Robert Desgabets and Pierre-Sylvain Regis, and of their highly original contributions to Cartesianism. The focus of the book is an analysis of radical doctrines in the work of these thinkers that derive from arguments in Descartes: on the creation of eternal truths, on the intentionality of ideas, and on the soul-body union. As well as relating their work to that of fellow Cartesians such as Malebranche and (...) Arnauld, the book also establishes the important though neglected role played by Desgabets and Regis in the theologically and politically charged reception of Descartes in early-modern France. This is a major contribution to the history of Cartesianism that will be of special interest to historians of early-modern philosophy and historians of ideas. (shrink)
A reader's guide -- An endpoint called origin -- High atop the dune -- Alphabetical liftoff -- Portable yet homebound -- One for all -- The mediating body -- Salve Regina -- The last flame -- Parricidal Christ -- Every man for himself -- The eternity of the eternal.
This article reviews the medieval law background of the parens patriae jurisdiction of the state as it has been exercised over incompetent persons who formerly were competent adults, concluding that the fiduciary standard implied in the statute De Prerogative Regis (1324), which is the basis for modern guardianship status, requires that the court and guardian adopt an attitude of respectful friendship toward the incompetent person, just as though they were to be accountable to the person himself, were he to (...) recover his faculties and become competent once more. This ficuciary responsibility, originating in the device of the "use" or trust employed for the management of the estates of lunatics, contrasts with the self-interested feudal guardianship used for the custody of "natural fools" or "idiots", who were under paternalistic arrangements. The article argues that because the determination of legal incompetence and the consequent transfer of custody of the person and property of an incompetent person to the state would result in a drastic forfeiture of liberty and property interests were it not for the fiduciary obligation owed by the state to the incompetent, the state is under an obligation to exercise its fiduciary duties in good faith and may not impose states policies or advance state interests of its own in the supervision of the affairs of incompetent persons, apart from interests arising legitimately out of the state's institutional interest in providing competent administration for the benefit of the incompetents themselves. Keywords: concept of the person, Cruzan, feudalism, guardianship, incompetent person, parens patriae CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Contre Regis Débray qui ne voit en Tocqueville qu’une figure emblématique de la démocratie et non un républicain, cet article cherche à réhabiliter le républicanisme tocquevillien. Cela implique d’emblée de comprendre, il est vrai, I’importance réelle accordée par Tocqueville à I’analyse de la démocratie, mais ceci non pas dans le but de l’encenser mais parce que tout indique - et même la Providence divine - qu’elle est amenée à s’imposer en Europe tout comme elle I‘a fait prioritairement aux États-Unis. (...) Après avoir étudié en détail cette analyse de la démocratie, nous montrerons que Tocqueville cherche aussi bien à en vanter les merites qu’à en relever les défauts, qu’il ne dissimule guère. Il s’agira dès lors pour lui de faire triompher I’esprit républicain sur I’esprit égalitariste, ce qui nous amènera à mettre en valeur son attachement réel aux valeurs républicaines, attachement qui, bien qu’exigeant et profond, ne pourra néanmoins transcender les bornes idéologiques de son siècle.In this paper I argue, against Regis Debray who sees in Tocqueville someone who is merely representative of democracy, that Tocqueville was indeed a true republican. This presupposes an adequate understanding of Tocqueville’s analysis of democracy; indeed democracy is important for Tocqueville not so much because it is the best regime but one which is destined to impose itself across Europeas it had already done in the United States. After examining Tocqueville’s analysis of democracy, I will show that he is as keen to point out its merits as to underscore its faults. It will be a matter for him to show the superiority of republicanism over egalitarianism. We will thus see that Tocqueville’s attachment to republican ideals is sincere even though it cannot transcend the ideological limits of his time. (shrink)
African philosophy in the twentieth century is largely the work of African intellectuals under the influence of philosophical traditions from the colonial countries. Among them are few names such as Amilcar Cabral, Franz Fanon, Kwame Nkrumah, and Julius Nyerere etc. This paper is an attempt to analyze the politicalphilosophy of Nkrumah, first President of Republic of Ghana in West Africa. The paper argues that from the African political and economic point of view Nkrumah advocated a socialist system created out (...) of the enculturation of African humanist values with the inherited European political culture and social traditions to liberate unite and integrate Ghana and rest of Africa. Following an interdisciplinary approach this paper assesses Nkrumah’s thought both as an individual, intellectual and as a politician. His book ‘Consciencism’ describes the more political than socio-economic approach to class contradictions in African society. In his ‘Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare’ he talked of three objectives i.e. nationalism, pan-Africanism and socialism. He offered the African liberationmovement a strategy of socialist revolution. Nkrumah who had earlier embraced Gandhian non-violence positive action later adopted the Fanonian lines of revolutionary violence recommending the use of universal method i.e. armed struggle to defeat colonialism.. Nkrumah played an important part in spreading the ideas of socialism in Africa. He had a holistic politico-cultural thought that was reflected in many of his speeches and works. Though critics in his thought have found profound contradictions or confusions but none can obscure the main achievements. Remembered as ‘the redeemer’ by the Africans, he provided the charisma they needed for a leading statesman against any form of imperialism. (shrink)
Este artigo parte da afirmaçáo de Hilary Putnam feita no inicio do capItulo 6 -fato e valor do seu livro Razáo, verdade e historia, ou seja, a afirmaçáo de que tem do fato e valor, ao contraio de outras questões filosoficas como as relativas a a linguagem, a epistemologia ou mesmo a metafisica; e do interesse de todas a pessoas. Assim, objetivamos mostrar a posiçáo de Putnam frente a questáo fato e valor tambem conhecida por Sein (ser) e Solen (Dever (...) ser], procurando tecer algumas considerações a respeito do seu ponto de vista, pretendendo, por fim, mostrar que a ideia defendida por este filosofo é a de que náo existe uma separaçáo absoluta entre fato e valor. Para uma melhor compreensáo deste artigo, ele sera dividido em duas partes: Putnam e os defensores da dicotomia fato-valor; Etica, ciencia e os padrões de aceitabilidade racional.  . (shrink)
One of the central issues in political philosophy is the problem of perspective: if there is a dispute as to how justice is to be defined, or a dispute as to whether a particular situation is unjust, how do we determine who is right? I reject the claim that an idealized speech situation or a transcendental perspective can legitimately be invoked to resolve such disputes. In their place, I discuss critical theory's commitment to the position that all perspectives are ideo (...) logical, partial, and rooted in interests. I then discuss Lukács's notion that, given that ideology and interests are ineluctable, certain per spectives are epistemologically privileged (though not transcenden tal). I discuss the notion of the preferential option for the poor in liberation theology, as an instance of such a claim of epistemological privilege. I argue that this has implications for the concept of alterity, and specifically for the role of the Other in a community of discourse. Finally, I discuss Lyotard's notion of incommensurable phrase regi mens, and the particular kind of harm which is done by exclusion from a discursive community. Key Words: critical theory epistemological privilege liberation theology Lukács Lyotard. (shrink)