Discussions of modes of analysis, as well as the received wisdom about which categories to place scholars in, often obscure the breadth and nature of inquiry a particular figure engaged in. This examination of Reinhard Bendix's various uses of comparison suggests that, beyond the sociohistorical comparison he was known for, one should also consider his reflexive works, his work on the role of social science and claims for knowledge, and his reflections on the history of ideas, the need for (...) conceptual clarification of terms, and the search for regularities and universals. (shrink)
Reinhard Bendix made a major contribution to the early reception and interpretation of Max Weber's work. His classic study, Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait (1960), developed a remarkably consistent interpretation of Weber as a comparative historical sociologist. Bendix also emulated and subtly reinterpreted in his own work key aspects of Weber's comparative method and research strategies. By searching for a middle course between `Scylla and Charybdis', between the abstractions of theoretical concepts and the richness of empirical evidence, Bendix sought (...) to reinterpret and renew the vital centre of Weber's comparative enterprise as a study of western uniqueness. In so doing, he decisively challenged Talcott Parsons's alternative methodological reading of Weber's work. Yet, curiously Bendix's status as a Weber interpreter and comparative historian profoundly influenced by Weber's legacy has often been neglected or misinterpreted. This article re-examines Bendix's classic reading of Weber's corpus, and the way in which he sought to keep alive in his substantive work the promise and spirit of Weber's comparative historical sociology. (shrink)
The article examines a series of trials involving the November 1938 destruction of the synagogue in Lörrach, Germany, held between 1947 and 1949. The alleged ringleader of the pogrom was acquitted, as were some of his codefendants. These acquittals, together with the probationary terms offered to several of the defendants, suggest that the South Baden authorities had found they could censure Nazi violence toward Jews through criminal indictment and conviction, while simultaneously reintegrating compromised individuals – some of them now burdened (...) with a criminal record for crimes of violence against Jews – into the new West German polity. The article examines the case in light of Émil Durkheim’s normative-integrative theory of criminal law/criminal deviance, suggesting that the history of the trials requires qualification of Durkheim’s theory as applied to human rights abuses by agents of the nation-state. (shrink)
There is concern that the use of neuroenhancements to alter character traits undermines consumer's authenticity. But the meaning, scope and value of authenticity remain vague. However, the majority of contemporary autonomy accounts ground individual autonomy on a notion of authenticity. So if neuroenhancements diminish an agent's authenticity, they may undermine his autonomy. This paper clarifies the relation between autonomy, authenticity and possible threats by neuroenhancements. We present six neuroenhancement scenarios and analyse how autonomy accounts evaluate them. Some cases are considered (...) differently by criminal courts; we demonstrate where academic autonomy theories and legal reasoning diverge and ascertain whether courts should reconsider their concept of autonomy. We argue that authenticity is not an appropriate condition for autonomy and that new enhancement technologies pose no unique threats to personal autonomy. (shrink)
Representing and Reconstructing: A Hermeneutical Reply to Ian Hacking. Hacking published in 1983 Representing and Intervening which has provoked, particularly in the US, the so called realism/anti-realism debate which is still alive today. He lays claim to anti-realism for theory and to realism for the experiment. Following him, only that which can be used for manipulating something (e.g., the path of an electon) is realistic. H. Putnam is a severe critic of this dualism. In my paper I am (...) going to take the Hacking-Putnam controversy as a starting-point for the problem about the determination of the relation between theory and experiment in the natural sciences. I shall then follow M. Schlick's discussion of this problem and the current solution to the problem as offered by H. Pietschmann. The differing interpretation of Kant according to the three perspectives shall be the guideline for the argumentation. The goal of my argumentation is that theory and experiment do not live their own lives, that in experimenting one always continues traditional chains of action, and that natural science cannot be regarded independently of the life world it takes place in. This insight into the representing and reconstructing overturns in natural science, due to the necessity of human decisions, opens up their hermeneutical dimension. (shrink)
Verbs such as know, believe, hope, fear, regret and desire are commonly taken to express an attitude that one may bear towards a proposition and are therefore called verbs of propositional attitude. Thus in (1) below the agent Cathy is reported to have a certain attitude.
Kant said that existence is not a predicate and Russell agreed, arguing that a sentence such as ‘The king of France exists’, which seems to attribute existence to the king of France, really has a logical form that is not reflected in the surface structure of the sentence at all. While the surface form of the sentence consists of a subject (the noun phrase ‘the king of France’) and a predicate (the verb phrase ‘exists’), the underlying logical form, according (...) to Russell, is the formula given in (1). This formula obviously has no subjectpredicate form and in fact has no single constituent that corresponds to the verb phrase ‘exists’ in the surface sentence. (1) ∃x∀y(Ky ↔ x = y) The importance of Russell’s analysis becomes clear when we consider ‘The king of France does not exist’. If this sentence would attribute non-existence to the king it should entail that there is someone who does not exist, just as ‘Mary doesn’t like bananas’ entails that there is someone who doesn’t like bananas. Thus the idea that all sentences have subject-predicate form has led some philosophers (e.g. Meinong) to the view that there are objects that lack existence. This embarrassing position can be avoided once Russell’s analysis is accepted: if ‘The king of France does not exist’ is formalised as the negation of formula (1), no unwanted consequences follow. (shrink)
Type-logical semantics studies linguistic meaning with the help of the theory of types. The latter originated with Russell as an answer to the paradoxes, but has the additional virtue that it is very close to ordinary language. In fact, type theory is so much more similar to language than predicate logic is, that adopting it as a vehicle of representation can overcome the mismatches between grammatical form and predicate logical form that were observed by Frege and Russell. The grammatical forms (...) of ordinary language sentences consequently may be taken to be much less misleading than logicians in the ﬁrst half of the 20th century often thought them to be. This was realized by Richard Montague, who used the theory of types to translate fragments of ordinary language into a logical language. Semantics is commonly divided into lexical semantics, which studies the meaning of words, and compositional semantics, which studies the way in which complex phrases obtain a meaning from their constituents. The strength of type-logical semantics lies with the latter, but type-logical theories can be combined with many competing hypotheses about lexical meaning, provided these hypotheses are expressed using the language of type theory. (shrink)