Aim To ascertain the quantity and nature of gifts and items provided by the pharmaceutical industry in Australia to medical specialists and to consider whether these are appropriate in terms of justifiable ethical standards, empirical research and views expressed in the literature.
The allocation of self-determination rights to minority groups is a highly charged issue around the world, but the difficulties are particularly acute in the case of indigenous peoples within the white settler states. While liberal multiculturalism offers a 'solution' to this 'problem of diversity' through a system of differentiated citizenship rights, this comes only at the expense of excluding dissenting voices from the intercultural dialogue. Through an engagement with the multi-faceted critique of liberal multiculturalism advanced by Native American political theory, (...) the limits of the recognition paradigm are identified, and the possibilities offered by a reconstructed Proudhonian federalism are described. (shrink)
This article attempts to chart a course beyond the 'impasse of the political' in Derridean deconstruction that avoids both the ontologization of ethics in Levinas and the recourse to morality in Habermasian discourse ethics. Instead, it presents an account of the decision in a terrain of undecidability through the concept of affinity. This mode of ethico-political activity, when combined with Foucault's analytics of power and Deleuze and Guattari's schizoanalysis, provides the outlines of a project of radical social transformation that could (...) achieve greater nuance with regard to 'actually existing' democracy and justice than has so far been achieved within deconstructive political theory. At the level of social structure, such a project is commensurate with a move away from subject positions associated with the system of liberal-capitalist nation-states, in favour of identifications produced by a locus of 'coming' communities. Key Words: affinity Critchley deconstruction Deleuze and Guattari Derrida ethics Foucault Laclau and Mouffe politics. (shrink)
This paper discusses several concepts that can be used to provide a foundation for a unified, theory of rational, economic behavior. First, decision-making is defined to be a process that takes place with reference to both ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ time, that distinguishes between plans and actions, between information and states and that explicitly incorporates the collection and processing of information. This conception of decision making is then related to several important aspects of ‘behavioral economics’, the dependence of values on experience, (...) the use of behavioral rules, the occurrence of multiple goals and environmental feedback.Our conclusions are (1) the non-transitivity of observed or ‘revealed’ preferences is a characteristic of learning and hence is to be expected of rational decision-makers; (2) the learning of values through experience suggests the sensibleness of short time horizons and the making of choices according to ‘flexible’ utility; (3) certain rules of thumb used to allow for risk are closely related to principles of Safety-First and can also be based directly on the hypothesis that the feeling of risk (the probability of disaster) is identified with extreme departures from recently executed decisions. (4) The maximization of a hierarchy of goals, or of a lexicographical utility function, is closely related to the search for feasibility and the practice of ‘satisficing’. (5) When the dim perception of environmental feedback and the effect of learning on values are acknowledged the intertemporal optimality of planned decision ‘trajectories’ is seen to be a characteristic of ‘subjective’ not ‘objective’ time. This explains why decision making is so often best characterized by rolling plans. In short, we find that economic man - like any other - is an existential being whose plans are based on hopes and fears and whose every act involves a leap of faith. (shrink)
The debate about whether misoprostol should be distributed to low resource communities to prevent post-partum haemorrhage (PPH), recognised as a major cause of maternal mortality, is deeply polarised. This is in spite of stakeholders having access to the same evidence about the risks and benefits of misoprostol. To understand the disagreement, we conducted a qualitative analysis of the values underpinning debates surrounding community distribution of misoprostol. We found that different moral priorities, epistemic values, and attitudes towards uncertainty were the main (...) factors sustaining the debate. With this understanding, we present a model for ethical discourse that might overcome the current impasse. (shrink)
The recent Supreme Court decision upholding Roe v. Wade and in particular, the dissent by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, sheds new light on the issue of abortion. Let us consider any stage of a pregnancy when abortion is medically safe for the mother. If at that stage it is also medically viable to save the fetus, is an abortion performed at that stage of pregnancy morally justifiable? For example, if it is, or becomes, medically safe to perform abortions after first (...) trimester of pregnancy and at the same time saving a fetus is, or becomes, medically viable or not unusual during some stage of the second trimester, can abortions during and after that stage of pregnancy be justified? With a number of qualifications I shall argue the thesis that as a general rule, but not an absolute rule, abortion in these instances is not usually justifiable. For if it is, then one will also have to grant the moral justification for a number of other highly questionable medical practices. This thesis is not to be identified with the stronger claim that abortions of viable fetuses can never be performed. There are surely exceptions such as when the life or health of the mother is in danger. But, I shall argue, the justification for making such exceptions is on different grounds than is sometimes claimed because one must weigh the health of the mother against the life of another human being. (shrink)
This volume brings together for the first time thirteen recent interviews with the brightest names in contemporary philosophy, including W.V.O. Quine, Richard Rorty, Stanley Cavell, Hilary Putnam and John Rawls. The pieces are culled from the Harvard Review of Philosophy, which has operated at the core of Harvard's Philosophy Department since 1991. Covering wide range of topics from the philosophy of law to logic to metaphysics to literature, the interviews provide a fascinating introduction to some of the most influential (...) thinkers of the day. The book also includes a foreword by Thomas Scanlon. Interviews with Henry Alison, Stanley Cavell, Alan Dershowitz, Cora Diamond, Umberto Eco, Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr., Alexander Nehemas, Hilary Putnam, W.V. Quine, John Rawls, Richard Rorty, Michael Sandel, Cornel West. (shrink)
continent. 2.1 (2012): 44–55. Philosophers are sperm, poetry erupts sperm and dribbles, philosopher recodes term, to terminate, —A. Staley Groves 1 There is, in the relation of human languages to that of things, something that can be approximately described as “overnaming”—the deepest linguistic reason for all melancholy and (from the point of view of the thing) for all deliberate muteness. Overnaming as the linguistic being of melancholy points to another curious relation of language: the overprecision that obtains in the tragic (...) relationship between the languages of human speakers. —Walter Benjamin 2 Prologue. Any text with an inflection of the word “thesis” in its title risks closing the borders of what is posited in it. However, perhaps it would be possible to think this act of defining in a way that is less, so to say, definitive. I would like to recall the opening line of Aristotle’s De Interpretatione , a constellation of theses, if anything. “First it needs to be posited [ thesthai ] what a noun and what a verb [is].” 3 Upon closer inspection, the definitions of the noun ( onoma ) and verb ( rh?ma ) do not at all appeal to any notion of strictly bordering-off, but are merely captured in a movement toward definition, establishing their own horizons. 4 It is therefore not a coincidence that Aristotle deploys the aorist medio-passive infinitive thesthai to describe this process. It is an infinite, self-instigating movement without proper horizon or telos . 5 It is this sense of thesis in relation to the basic components of language that I will attempt—perhaps in what may prove to be a gesture of what Walter Benjamin called “overnaming” 6 —to posit as cumposition , the composition of philosophical discourse that is conscious of the abyss of language in which it moves. 7 1. In her essay “When Philosophy Meant the Love of Wisdom,” Avital Ronell evokes the following question: What if philosophy’s love for wisdom has gone bad? The perversity of philosophy’s love not only appears in its recursiveness as the love of love for wisdom, first presented in Plato’s Symposium , but also “in all its brutality, especially when it’s set against literature and poetry.” 8 Philosophy’s love is a brutal one, perverse. Indeed, Immanuel Kant famously described the scene of metaphysics as a ‘battleground of … endless controversies,” 9 and “destined for exercising its forces in mock combat, and upon which no combatant has ever been able to gain even the least ground for himself by fighting.” 10 Because of the many modalities of love from the onset of philosophy onwards, Ronell signals the difficulty of addressing in any universal way the question of love in philosophy, unless she would consider it “in its essentially sado-masochistic dimension.” 11 As Heidegger already remarked parenthetically in his Introduction to Metaphysics , polemos as war and confrontation is the same as the logos . 12 Philosophy has always been a polemical discourse. 2. At the same moment, however untimely this moment may be, love has been conspicuously absent from Heidegger’s work. Nevertheless, Giorgio Agamben has been able to tease out Dasein’s love as a “passion of facticity.” 13 Agamben develops from out of Heidegger’s war-struck logos the following definition of love, which will allows to proceed to a reading of the origin of philosophy itself as the love of wisdom, a relation that in itself may hide “a kind of original fetishism.” 14 What man introduces into the world, his “proper,” is not simply the light and opening of knowledge but above all the opening to concealment and opacity. Al?theia , truth, is the safeguard of l?th? , nontruth; […] Love is the passion of facticity in which man bears this nonbelonging and darkness, appropriating ( adsuefacit [ ereignet ]) them while safeguarding them as such. Love is thus not, as the dialectic of desire suggests, the affirmation of the self in the negation of the loved object; it is, instead, the passion and exposition of facticity itself and of the irreducible impropriety of being. In love, the lover and the beloved come to light in their concealment, in an eternal facticity beyond Being . 15 Truth as al?theia , “unhiddenness” or “unconcealment,” which has in recent times again gained a special prominence in certain regions of philosophical discourse, is thus the ultimate expression of Dasein’s love, even if, for the philosopher, the beloved is love itself. 3. In Plato’s Symposium , Socrates famously introduces the philosopher as a figure in love with wisdom. But also Love himself is a philosopher, a lover of wisdom; he is an interpreter ( herm?neuon ), 16 a hermeneutic, a messenger between the gods and men. He organises all intercourse and dialectic interaction between them. 17 Plato’s definition starts with Socrates invoking Diotima of Mantineia, who had instructed him in eroticism. 18 Diotima inseminated Socrates with the seeds of philosophy, taught him how to love. We can imagine young Socrates paying his first visit to her, seeking affection and pleasure in her maternal body. “What then,” we hear Socrates asking, “may love be?” And here we find Diotima answering his call: “the love of the good is always to its own [ aut?i einai aei ].” Socrates answers: “that is the very truth [ al?thestata ],” 19 or, as Heidegger would translate it, “the most unhidden.” 20 So already in this primal scene of philosophy’s love we find the intimate relation between love and unconcealment. 4. If Love is a philosopher who practices the love of the good as the highest truth, an abyss opens: what is the truth of philosophy itself? Necessarily, this must be a truth outside the logic of (un)concealment, outside the logic of the Ereignis or the event, if it doesn’t want to fall into an infinite regress. Some have argued that there is no such thing as philosophical truth, yet this truth has appeared, albeit marginally, in another discussion of love, as the etumos logos , true discourse. 21 This was already pointed at by Michel Foucault, 22 and later commented upon by Christopher Fynsk: “the exigencies to which Foucault answered in seeking his 'truth,' [ etumos ] […] are linked to an exigency met in any consequent meditation on the essence of language.” 23 Any consequent meditation on the essence of language, perhaps a meditation as it takes place within philosophy on its own language, will have to arrive at a certain truth, even when as unstable, incoherent, and assaulting the borders of finitude as etymology may be. Etymology is the truth of philosophical discourse. 5. Our meditation on the relations between philosophy, love and truth means in no way to move toward a philosophy which would take “Desire” as its transcendental signified, distributing different desires for truth through different discourse levels, nor discard it as an extra-philosophical affect. A position such as would be assumed by any philosophy of desire is ferociously attacked by Jean-François Lyotard in his book Libidinal Economy , but in doing so he hits upon a—for him despicable—condition of the philosopher, the one who is “nothing but thought,” the one with whom we tend to sympathise; the condition of the “as if.” This is philosophy’s meta-ontological mask. Philosophy’s love is the love of the as if: “[A]nd so, to be, I have only to place myself as well in the circumference, turn with the intensities, act as if I loved, suffered, laughed, ran, fucked, slept, shat, and pissed, I, thought.” 24 Even though Lyotard wishes that “this supreme effort of thought die,” 25 we, in our turn and not so afraid to die, may now also perhaps define etumos as truth “as if” al?theia ; the former makes an appeal to the latter’s affect, but is not “the real thing”—or wherever the quotation marks need to take hold to stabilise our discourse. 6. Even a philosophical discourse as self-asserting and sanitised from any affective overtones as Alain Badiou’s does not escape this condition. In his work, the philosopher is a figure of circulation, someone who, at the end of the day, can only act “as if.” This typology of the philosopher is first hinted at in Being and Event , when Badiou claims that, “philosophy is not centred on ontology—which exists as a separate and exact discipline—rather it circulates between this ontology […], the modern theories of the subject and its own history.” 26 Philosophy is thus in the first place separated from ontology and therefore merely circulates along it. Beside ontology, which in Badiou’s work appears as a fully atonic axiomatization of set theory, 27 philosophy circulates through the theories of the subject, which, under the procedure of poetry, are subtractive of ontology, thus allowing for the appearance of a truth as an event ( Ereignis as the unconcealment of concealment) and subjective fidelity, and the history of philosophy itself: its discourses and the story of its limitless love of wisdom. For Badiou, the right of philosophy is the right to cite its conditions, the right to cite their truths. The text of philosophy is the text of citation. 28 The philosophical act thus is “an act of second thought.” 29 7. If, as Plato suggested, the love for the good is the highest truth, the bursting forth of this truth as event happens outside philosophy. Either as the ultimate idea that is sought or as uncounted inconsistency exploding into maximum existence, registered on philosophy’s seismographs, this truth as event remains tightly bound to a philosophical desire for truth. Mehdi Belhaj Kacem even claims that “the event […] is the ontological structure of Desire,” 30 and “Desire wants the event.” 31 Superlatively (perhaps: most truthfully), “The event has the structure of rape.” 32 Although we should place a number of question marks in the margins of Kacem’s philosophical project and his rapid conflation of multiple textual registers, he does point out a certain sedation of philosophy’s love of wisdom in Badiou’s work. However, that philosophy would be a place to house multiple truths, circulating among them, again opens us to the ‘perversity’ of this love that Ronell pointed out. Philosophy cruises truths. 8. How does philosophy’s “second thought” arrive, if ever? Philosophy’s lovely circulation through what is already presented by mathematics, theories of the subject and its own history is first conditioned by a sustained belief in the possibility of formalisation. But what if this formalisation itself is bound to fail? What if we deny formalisation, or at least point to the discomfort we experience of such forcing to formal appearance such as painstakingly described in Witold Gombrowicz’ literary oeuvre. Jacques Derrida already pointed out in reference to Husserl’s final appeal to geometry, that “the institution of geometry could only be a philosophical act.” 33 Similarly, we could criticise that the act of formalisation on which Badiou’s citational appropriation of mathematics, and therefore the circulation of philosophy, rests: “As soon as we utilize the concept of form—even if to criticize an other concept of form—we inevitably have recourse to the self-evidence of a kernel of meaning. And the medium of this self-evidence can be nothing than the language of metaphysics.” 34 At the end of the same essay Derrida sketches out the consequences this has for philosophy, which, however, strangely resonate with what Badiou proposes as philosophy’s circulation. One might think […] that formality—or formalization—is limited by the sense of Being which, in fact, throughout its entire history, has never been separated from its determination as presence, beneath the excellent surveillance of the is : and that henceforth the thinking of form has the power to extend itself the thinking of Being. But that the two limits thus denounced are the same may be what Husserl’s enterprise illustrates[.…] Thus, one probably does not have to choose between two lines of thought. Rather, one has to meditate upon the circularity which makes them pass into on another indefinitely. And also, by rigorously repeating this circle in its proper historical possibility, perhaps to let some elliptical displacement be produced in the difference of repetition: a deficient displacement, doubtless, but deficient in a way that is not yet—or no longer—absence, negativity , non-Being, lack, silence. 35 In many ways this resounds with what I have stated above. Although Badiou radically separates the “thinking of form” and the “thinking of Being” to respectively the meta-ontological/philosophical domain and the ontological/mathematical domain, the remainder within philosophy itself appears as this “ circle in its proper historical possibility.” And indeed we may have traced a “deficient displacement” which is not yet or no longer an “absence” as would be the truth subtractive to ontology: the “as if”–truth 36 of the etumos as truth in philosophy itself, the truth of philosophy as love of wisdom. 9. We may want to ask whether the two lines of thought theorised by Derrida and again separated by Badiou both exhibit this circularity. If that would be the case, this would allow us to consider their intertwinement more in depth. What Derrida calls the “thinking of Being” and Badiou refers to as “ontology” is thoroughly unbound by what is commonly referred to in an economic discourse as capitalism. The sudden insertion of a materialist trope may seem infelicitous here, however, capitalism has, as Badiou put it succinctly, also a “properly ontological virtue.” 37 The logic of capitalism, even though it operates in the “most complete barbarity,” 38 has an ontological virtue of its own, namely the destruction of the One as viable metaphysical point of departure. The “barbarity” of capitalism’s destructive character operates by “brute force,” but also sometimes by, as Walter Benjamin put it, “the most refined” 39 one. In any case, it unbinds all. As Lyotard stated in one of his seemingly unending sentences: Capital is not the denaturation of relations between man and man, nor between man and woman, is the wavering of the (imaginary?) primacy of genitality, of reproduction and sexual difference, it is the displacement of what was in place, it is the unbinding of the most inane pulsions, since money is the sole justification or bond, and money being able to justify anything, it deresponsibilizes and raves absolutely, it is the sophistics of the passions and at the same time, their energetic prosthetics; […] it has certain anti-unitary and anti-totalizing traits [...]40 Thus capital and capitalism are figures of unbinding and circulation. We find ourselves here in the metaphorical domain of philosophy that both in Lyotard and Badiou has its recourse to an economic discourse. Derrida has addressed this tendency at length in his essay “White Mythology,”41 and in a different register I will attempt to address it below, acknowledging that indeed philosophical language may be a “fund of 'forced metaphors.'”42 10. How is it that truth emerges from the ontological wasteland of capitalism, to be captured by philosophy’s love of wisdom? What is this love responding to and how is it that philosophy refuses to turn the other cheek to reality? Perhaps a beginning of an answer to this question may lie in the way in which Marx parenthetically defined capitalism: “the universal relation of utility and use” as “universal prostitution.” 43 which includes everyone: Prostitution is only a particular expression of the general prostitution of the worker, and because prostitution is a relationship which includes both the person prostituted and the person prostituting—whose baseness is even greater—thus the capitalist, too, etc. is included within this category. 44 It may prove fruitful to read general prostitution here in the logic of unbinding and circulation, following Benjamin, who speaks of an “erotology of the damned.” 45 Benjamin’s work on the German translation of Charles Baudelaire must definitely have influenced his work on the destructive character of capitalism. The tropes of prostitution and destruction already appear in his note on the poem “Destruction” from Les fleurs du mal . “The bloody apparatus of destruction,” Benjamin asks himself, where is this phrase in Baudelaire? 46 In Baudelaire’s poem, the demon of destruction takes on the “most seductive form” of women, and seduces the visitor to the “planes of Boredom,” where he is introduced to the “filthy clothes' and “open wounds” and the “bloody apparatus of Destruction.” Is it from these “planes of Boredom, profound and barren” 47 that philosophy gleans its truths. 11. If philosophy thinks ontology as prostitutional, whom does it cite? Although to some authors, it would suffice to use the indicative quality of language as such to open such an ontology, 48 we should perhaps focus here on the atonic desert where the prostitutional machinery is blithely at work as captured in the work of Pierre Guyotat. He opens up to such an interpretation when he states that his novel Tomb for Fifty Thousand Soldiers is, “in spite of everything, metaphysical; a metaphysics of history, certainly not religious; it is also a somewhat ontological.” 49 Several philosophers that I have addressed above refer to his work; for example Badiou, who refers to the “neo-classicism” of Guyotat as a resurrection of the “cosmological aim” of grand literature hearkening back to Lucretius. 50 Guyotat’s “prostitutional universe,” 51 which reduces “all vital norms to the immediate commercial potentials of the body.” 52 On the other side of the philosophical spectrum, Lyotard digs deeper, describing the actual jouissance of the worker submitted to the capitalist machinery, “the machine of the machine, fucker fucked by it.” 53 And he continues: “And let’s finally acknowledge this jouissance , which is similar […] in every way to that of prostitution, the jouissance of anonimity, the jouissance of the repetition of the same in work, […]. Jouissance is unbearable .” 54 This is what Guyotat so “admirably” expresses in his work, and is also professed by himself. The same logic as Lyotard’s clearly appears upon reading a few sentences from his seminal essay Langage du corps (Language of the body). But on reflection, what spectacle is more brutally exciting than that of a child wanking with his left hand, in this system, and writing with his right. In the resultant disarray. There must be seen one of the terms of this contradictory pulsional will, being at the same time seen and voyeur (“seeing”), pimp and whore, buyer and bought, fucker and fucked. 55 Lyotard described this—within a philosophical discourse that is—as a “superbly capitalist dispositif ,” 56 a mode of writing-masturbating in which production and consumption coincide, truly a “bloody apparatus of destruction.” This logic equally distorts the clear distance that is regularly maintained by writers—and nearly always by philosophers—toward their own work. To me, the most concise formulation of this contracted distance can be located in the neologism that Guyotat coins in his novel Prostitution: “ nhommer ,” ringing with both homme (man) and nommer (to name). For example in the otherwise “untranslatable” sentence: ma e s’renâcl’ chuya se l’mâl’ le nhomme’, lui prend la fess’ o lui frott’ la mostach. 57 Nhommer is therefore an en-hommer , an insemination of a man, life-giving and naming, as well as a n’hommer , its own negation and undoing. This is echoed by Benjamin when he says that in the Bible, “the 'Let there be' and in the words 'He named' a beginning and end of the act, the deep and clear relation of the creative act to language appears each time.” 58 Nhommer is a creative act philosophy cannot accomplish but only approach. The writer always n/mam/nes , the philosopher may only cite, at the risk of introducing prostitutional logic, the shortcuts between naming and creating, creating and exploiting the fabric of philosophy. 12. Prostitutional ontology, materially captured by the bloody, short-circuiting apparatuses of capitalism, can only be cited by philosophy, acted out, at the risk of unbinding the whole of philosophical discourse itself. The events and miracles on the atonic planes of boredom may not affect philosophy itself. This could be one of the reasons that sex and sexual difference have largely remained outside of the realm philosophy. Derrida has already done a considerable amount of work on this curious lack, especially in two essays entitled “ Geschlecht ” on Heidegger’s work and Dasein’s sexuality. In “ Geschlecht 1: Sexual Difference, Ontological Difference,” Derrida investigates the role of sexuality in Heidegger’s definition of Dasein, and his general silence on the topics of sex and gender. “It is as if […] sexual difference did not rise to the height [ hauteur ] of ontological difference. […] But insofar as it is open to the question of Being, insofar as it has a relation to Being, in that very reference, Dasein would not be sexiferous [ sexifère ].” 59 The material that I adduced above might give us a frame in which to interpret this repression of Dasein’s sexuality in Heidegger. In philosophy, sexual difference is cited as ontological difference. Prostitution is cited as the unbinding of Being. However, the unbinding or separating force, hailed as the virtue of capitalism and eagerly imported into philosophical discourse, perhaps even brought to the “height of ontological difference,” is also always already at work in philosophy itself, be it as a separation between ontological and theological domains in Aristotle or the separation between a truth procedure and the citational dispositif of philosophy in Badiou. The truth, as Anne Dufourmentelle put it in her book on sex and philosophy, extracted from the “torture chamber” 60 of philosophy is that this separation is always already sexualized. If etymology is not the key to Bluebeard’s seventh door, it at least opens up a little skylight in the chamber of horrors. In Latin, sexus means separation. The Church Fathers to whom we owe the development of the Latin language thus anticipated by several centuries Lacan’s too famous remark: “There is no sexual relation.” 61 The truth of Lacan’s statement that “there is no sexual relation,” in the precise sense that the term “sex” derives from “separation” and vice versa is only etymologically validated within philosophy. The power of its truth only appears etymologically as philosophical truth. 13. Literature does not need to prove this point. It immediately participates in the circulatory logic of sexuation, without the need to distance itself from it through citational checkpoints and border patrols. It allows language to derange freely, as literature often reminds us of. Dufourmentelle clarifies to us once again, illustrating Guyotat’s point that I cited above. The act of writing is performative: writing and thinking are acts. What philosophy cannot tolerate is the nonresponse to which the enigma of sex refers it. No philosopher can bear up the boudoir. What philosophy does not succeed in conceptualizing is the traversal of a disaster. […] It may be that traversing the impossibility of the relation to sex is what founds philosophy. The black sun of thought about sex. Sex is what leads to traversal, to exile; it orients and disorients. From this exile, literature is born. Literature is the other, hidden guest at this blind date in the boudoir. 62 In her introduction to Dufourmentelle’s book, Ronell even goes as far as suggesting that certain regions of philosophy may be coinciding with the realm of “obliterature,” a space of thought’s disavowal of sex. 63 Indeed, sex induces in philosophy an anti-Platonic “black sun of thought,” that is, following Julia Kristeva, melancholy, when the words don’t come: “Recall the speech of the depressed: repetitive and monotonous. Within the impossibility to link up, the phrase interrupts itself, depletes, halts.” 64 To refer ourselves to Aristotle’s first thoughts on properly philosophical language with which we opened this text, for Aristotle the mind suddenly “halts” the moment it hears a noun or verb that is not well inflected, not properly disseminated into language. 65 Already the minimum of grammatical failure is enough for the philosopher to fall into a stupor. The unworking of grammar is the melancholic condition of philosophy. 14. We need to find the language in which philosophy writes, a writing that organises the “ elliptical displacement” of philosophy blindly circulating through its conditions, perhaps even a “language of decentering, or a dispositif of acephalic writing.” 66 But as Ronell has brilliantly argued in her reading of Freud’s case of the Rat Man, “The Sujet suppositaire ,” the circulation of philosophy should always be read through a lexicon of intervention and insemination which she calls an “Oedipedagogy,” 67 a mode of obsessional neurotic thinking, that is, a mode of cir- cul -ation: around the arse, around the riddles of the sphincter. 68 As a mode of what Ronell calls with Freud the “obsessional neurotic style,” a style of punning, the cir- cul -ation of philosophy rests on paronomasia, that is, the domain of paronomy and etymology. This is however not without scandal. In some circles of truth’s closure, pun has remained the name of an indictment, an accusatory identification of that which takes too much pleasure, disarranging academic languages, promoting a rhetoric of looseness within the parameters of a recreational linguistics, valuelessly succumbing to the most indefensible copulations of meaning, related […] to the temporal succession of shame over pleasure, incriminating the grammar of some strict order of things, and so forth. 69 That punning and its avatars of paronomasia and etymology are already present in one of the most philosophical grammars of a “strict order of things” provides us with a clue that in composition of philosophical language itself, something may be “indefensibly copulating.” 15. In the opening paragraph of Aristotle’s Categories , otherwise a work of remarkable philosophical rigour and properly purged language, we may track down the “elliptical displacement” or “acephalic writing” of philosophy. This is not to be found in the first two semantic relations described by Aristotle—homonymy and synonymy, or the grand metaphysical concepts equivocity and univocity—but in the third one, largely neglected in the corpus of occidental philosophical discourse, or so it seems. This relation, or perhaps more felicitous, movement in language, is called paronymy , and is defined as follows: “Paronymous are called those which, differing from something through case, have an appellation according to the name [of those], like 'grammarian' [ grammatikos ] from 'grammar' [ grammatik?s ] and 'courageous-man' [ andreios ] from 'courageous' [ andreias ].” 70 Paronymy, which is regulated through case ( pt?sis ), the way in which words fall into a sentence, is addressed to the form of the word, the manner of its signification, and not its meaning. 71 Case is also the driving force behind ontological differentiation, regulating the formal aspects of Being falling into beings. What is regulated by case in philosophy is regulated by the supposedly unrestrained punning and paronomasia in the process of sexual differentiation. Paronymy and case offer philosophy a window to peek into modes of discourse it does not like to associate itself with. But at the same time, philosophy is already contaminated by paronymy, which introduces the problematic of formalisation itself, the form of the name and of language at the heart of many metaphysical issues. The glorious theories of accident and substance, subject and object, Being and beings, and so on, cannot be inserted in the philosophical discourse without the lubricant of paronymy. 16. Paronymy, moving from form to form, is not without its methodology. Aristotle’s logic of the paradigm closely mimics the movement of case, neither from particular to universal, nor from universal to particular, but from particular to particular. 72 We are confronted here with what Agamben calls a “paradoxical type of movement,” 73 a movement that moves along itself and away from the doxa , the rule, and which should only be deployed when other means of deductive of syllogistic reasoning are no longer available. The paradigm signifies an insufficiency of properly philosophical thought. It should therefore not surprise us that the paradigm finds its modern inflection in what Lacan calls the “signifying chain,” where “no signification can be sustained except by reference to another signification.” 74 Metaphor is here the name for “the effect of the substitution of one signifier for another in the chain, nothing natural predestining the signifier for this function of phoros apart from the fact that two signifiers are involved, which can, as such, be reduced to a phonemic opposition,” 75 whereas at same time it is the “sole serious reality for man.” 76 It is here that Lacan explicitly chooses the reality of the etumos , the material cause of psychoanalysis, over the revelation al?theia . We might therefore interpret psychoanalysis as the only inflection of philosophy that insists on etumos as the sole source of truth. 17. If it the case, again according to our teacher Aristotle, that all meaningful philosophical discourse is essentially composed in an organised manner, we may insert in the composition of that word itself, in its philosophical circulation, a foreign element. Perhaps this also means that I insert myself in a lineage of paranoia and obsessional neurosis, but then again, as Guy Hocquenghem remarked, homosexuality itself is commonly associated with paranoid persecution mania, 77 “the apparition of the word curiously drives a cascade of lapses, or at least of the interpretation of common words as lapses. There is no innocent or objective position toward homosexuality, there are no situations of desire in which homosexuality doesn’t play a role.” 78 So why would I pretend otherwise? As Ronell adds, and I should have warned you before, “neologisms are much more common in persecution mania patients than in others.” 79 In recognition of what composes philosophy always remains in circulation, no matter whether approached from an “ontological” or “linguistic” perspective, no matter how “meta” the separation machinery drives us, it is circulation itself that justifies the term, if it is one, cumposition . In naming the decentering force of philosophical discourse thus, I not only intend to stress the “with” ( cum ) of the philosophical sum-plok? or com-positio , that is present in it already since Plato, 80 but also the position of philosophy itself, whenever it will have arrived or cum, shooting for the stars of wisdom on the metaphysical firmament. NOTES 1. A. Staley Groves, Poetry Vocare (The Hague/Tirana: Uitgeverij, 2011), 86. 2.Walter Benjamin, “On Language As Such and the Language of Man.” trans. Edmund Jephcott, in Select Writings. vol. 1, 1913-1926 , eds. Marcus Bullock and Michael W. Jennings (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004), 73. 3.Arist. DI 16a1. 4.If only because already the translational issues with these two words are in themselves breaching the constraints of sound definition. 5.Giorgio Agamben’s work has focused extensively on this mode, see for example Potentialities , trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999), 234-5. 6.Walter Benjamin, ‘On Language As Such…,’ 73. 7.This is not to say that philosophy only resides in certain language games, as Wittgenstein would have it, but that negotiating the limits of those games—which, etymologically speaking, already carries in it the “com-” of philosophy’s “composition” as the morpheme “ga-,” cf. Gothic gaman , ‘participation’ or ‘communion’—determines to a large extent how much liberty philosophy is willing to grant itself in placing certain truths inside or outside its domains. 8.Avital Ronell, Fighting Theory , trans. Catherine Porter (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010), 1. 9.Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason , trans./eds Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 99 (Aviii). 10.Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics , trans./ed. Gary Hatfield (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 143 (Bxv). Cf. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, 109 (Bxv). 11.Ronell, Fighting Theory , 2. 12.Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics , trans. Gregory Fried and Richard Polt (New Haven: Yale University Press), 65. 13.Giorgio Agamben, “The Passion of Facticity,”in Potentialities: Collected Essays in Philosophy , trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen, 202. 14.Ibid. 196. 15.Ibid. 203-4. 16.Plat. Sym . 202e. 17.Plat. Sym . 203a. Philosophy as the love of wisdom is therefore recursively defined. Here we could perhaps trace one of the origins of philosophy’s auto-immunity that Ronell has commented upon on several occasions. She signals the so-called “end of philosophy” as one of the tropes characterizing the developing auto-immunity in the body of philosophy, and while at the same distancing herself from this trope she insists that we “continue to interrogate the figures used to designate the end, and to recognize the difference among such terms as closure, finality, terminus.” (Ronell, Fighting Theory , 3) 18.Plat. Sym . 201d. 19.Ibid. 206a. 20.Martin Heidegger, The Essence of Truth , trans. Ted Sader (New York: Continuum, 2002), 48. 21.Plat. Phaed . 244a. 22.Michel Foucault, The Use of Pleasure, The History of Sexuality, vol. 2 , trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage Books, 1990), 235. 23.Christopher Fynsk, The Claim of Language: A Case for the Humanities (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), 65. 24.Jean-François Lyotard, Libidinal Economy , trans. Iain Hamilton Grant (New York: Continuum, 2004), 13. 25.Ibid. 13. 26.Alain Badiou, Being and Event , trans. Oliver Feltham (New York: Continuum, 2006), 3. 27.That is, the Zermelo-Fraenkel axiomatization, explicitly including the axiom of separation which does not allow for any inconsistent multiplicity, i.e. the appearance of the event. Nevertheless, ever since Richard Montague’s dissertation Contributions to the Axiomatic Foundations of Set Theory (Berkeley: University of California, 1957), we know that set theory can never be finitely axiomatized. 28.Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei and John Van Houdt, “Circulating Philosophy: A Note on Two Apparent Misquotations in Alain Badiou’s Logics of Worlds,” Theory and Event 14.2 (2011). 29.Alain Badiou, Conditions , trans. Steven Corcoran (New York: Continuum, 2008), 290, fn. 4. 30.Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, Événement et répétition (Auch: Tristram, 2004), 208. 31.Ibid. 209. 32.Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, L’affect (Auch: Tristram, 2004), 93. 33.Jacques Derrida, Edmund Husserl’s ‘Origin of Symmetry’: An Introduction , trans. John P. Leavey, Jr. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989), 127. 34.Jacques Derrida, “Form and Meaning: A Note on the Phenomenology of Language,” Margins of Philosophy , trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 157. 35.Derrida, Ibid. 172-3. 36.Or, if you like, the “false truth.” See for an indictment of etymology along these lines Jean Paulhan, La preuve par l’étymologie (Paris: Minuit, 1953). 37.Alain Badiou, Manifesto for Philosophy , trans. Norman Madarasz (Albany: SUNY Press, 1999), 57. 38.Ibid. 57. 39.Walter Benjamin, “The Destructive Character,” Selected Writings, Vol. II.2, 1931-1934 , trans. Edmund Jephcott (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), 541-2. 40.Lyotard, Libidinal Economy , 135. 41.“In signifying the metaphorical process, the paradigms of coin, of metal, silver and gold, have imposed themselves with remarkable insistence. Before metaphor—and effect of language—could find its metaphor in an economic effect, a more general analogy had to organize the exchanges between the two 'regions.'’ Jacques Derrida, “White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy,” Margins of Philosophy , trans. Alan Bass, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 1982, 216. 42.Ibid. 257. 43.“The exchangeability of all products, activities and relations with a third, objective entity which can be re-exchanged for everything without distinction—that is, the development of exchange values (and of money relations) is identical with universal venality, corruption. Universal prostitution appears as a necessary phase in the development of the social character of personal talents, capacities, abilities, activities. More politely expressed: the universal relation of utility and use.” Karl Marx, Grundrisse: Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy , trans. Martin Nicolaus, New York: Random House, 1973, 163. 44.Karl Marx, “Private Property and Communism,” Karl Marx Selected Writings , ed. David McLellan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), 90. 45.Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project , trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), 347. 46.Ibid. 256. 47.Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal , (Paris: Le Livre de Poche, 1999), 161. 48.For example, Jean Pierre Brisset, Le grammaire logique, suivi de La science de Dieu . Paris: Tchou, 1970, pp. 155ff. But we could equally point to the work of Jacques Lacan or refer to the intimacies between sexual and ontological differentiation as investigated by Jacques Derrida. 49.Pierre Guyotat, “L’autre scène,” Vivre (Paris: Denoël, 2003), 45. 50.Alain Badiou, Logics of Worlds: Being and Event 2 , trans. Alberto Toscano (New York: Continuum), 76. 51.Alain Badiou “Guyotat, prince de la prose,” unpublished lecture (Paris: 21 October, 2005), n.p. 52.Ibid. 53.Lyotard, Libidinal Economy , 109. 54.Ibid. 110-1. Lyotard formulates a position here parallel to Lacan’s analysis, which argues that the slave “can accept to work for the master and give up jouissance in the meantime.” (Jacques Lacan, Écrits , trans. Bruce Fink, New York: W.W. Norton, 2006, 259) This renunciation of jouissance founds the obsessive subject that I will discuss below, in an extension of the prostitutional logic developed by Lyotard. 55.Pierre Guyotat, “Langage du corps,” Vivre (Paris: Denoël, 2003), 24. Translation quoted from Lyotard, Libidinal Economy , 139. 56.Lyotard, Libidinal Economy , 139. 57.Pierre Guyotat, Prostitution (Paris: Gallimard, 1975), 90-1. In relation to his work we would also do well to recall the Lacanian dictum that “Punctuation, once inserted, establishes the meaning.” (Lacan, Écrits , 258) 58.Benjamin, “On Language As Such…,” 68. 59.Jacques Derrida, “ Geschlecht 1: Sexual Difference, Ontological Difference,” trans. Ruben Bevezdivin and Elizabeth Rottenberg, in Psyche, vol. 2 , eds Peggy Kamuf and Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), 8. 60.Anne Dufourmentelle, Blind Date: Sex and Philosophy , trans. Catherine Porter (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007), 56. 61.Ibid. 57. 62.Ibid., 101. 63.Avital Ronell, “The Stealth Pulse of Philosophy,” introduction to Anne Dufourmentelle, Blind Date: sex and philosophy , trans. Catherine Porter (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007), xv. 64.Julia Kristeva, Le soleil noir: Dépression et mé?ancholie (Paris, Gallimard, 1987), 45. 65.Arist. DI 16b20. 66.Alain Badiou, Logics of Worlds: Being and Event 2 , trans. Alberto Toscano (New York: Continuum), 545. 67.Avital Ronell, “The Sujet Suppositaire: Freud, And/Or, the Obsessional Neurotic Style (Maybe),” Finitude’s Score: Essays for the End of the Millennium (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998), 108. Cf. also: “As mere reversal, this maintains the 'intervention' of which Lacan speaks in its classic column, still following the marching orders and route traced out by the commanding symbolicity of male homosexuality whose structures, in place since the time of Plato, continue to assure the paradigm of the transmission of knowledge.” (Ibid., p. 106) 68.“The anus can be said to mark a locus of privileged transaction between at least two gendered entities. It organizes a space from which rental agreements are negotiated, leases are taken out by one gender to permit the other gender provisionally—depending on the terms of the agreement—to occupy its space. The other of genital sexuality, determinable neither as masculine nor strictly speaking as feminine, anality nonetheless constitutes a sexuality, a shared space that is often vaginized.” (Ronell, “The Sujet Suppositaire,” 108) One could, and perhaps ought, to read Guyotat’s Prostitution , as exactly a constant negotiation of this sort, where language itself succumbs to this logic of “indefensible copulations.” (Ibid., 110) 69.Ronell, “The Sujet Suppositaire,” 110. 70.Arist. Cat . 1a12-15. 71.Cf. Pierre Aubenque, Le problème de l’être chez Aristote (Paris: PUF, 1962), 184, fn. 3. 72.See Rhet . 1357b26-30 and APr 69a13-16. 73.Giorgio Agamben, The Signature of All Things: On Method , trans. Luca D’Isanto with Kevin Attell (New York: Zone Books, 2009), 19. 74.Lacan, Écrits , 415. A similar idea, originating from a different perspective, but with a similar foundation in Aristotle, can be found in the work of Paul de Man: “The convergence of sound and meaning […] is a rhetorical rather than aesthetic function of language, an identifiable trope (paronomasis) that operates on the level of the signifier.” (Paul de Man, Resistance to Theory , Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1986, 10) 75.Lacan, Écrits , 756. 76.Ibid., 758. 77.“Psychiatry supposes in general an intimate relation between homosexuality and paranoia, but gives it often the following form: the homosexual frequently suffers from persecution paranoia.” (Guy Hocquenghem, Le désir homosexuel , Paris: Fayard, 2000, 32) 78.Ibid., 59. 79.Ronell, “The Sujet Suppositaire,” 117. 80.See Plat. Soph . 262c. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne is one of the most distinguished philosophers of religion of our day. In this volume, many notable British and American philosophers unite to honor him and to discuss various topics to which he has contributed significantly. These include general topics in the philosophy of religion such as revelation, and faith and reason, and the specifically Christian doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and atonement. In the spirit of the movement which Swinburne spearheaded, the essays use analytic philosophical (...) methods to examine doctrines in particular religious traditions, expanding upon traditional discussions of theism. As such, this volume represents a field-report on the interaction of philosophy and Christian thought in the English-speaking world. Swinburne has himself contributed an individual and personal Intellectual Autobiography. (shrink)
Every day I get letters, in capitals and obsessively underlined if not actually in green ink, from flat-earthers, young-earthers, Dawkins perpetual-motion merchants, astrologers and other harmless fruitcakes. The only difference here is that Richard Milton..
Over many decades, Richard Bernstein has interpreted contemporary philosophy’s three traditions, roughly distinguished as analytic, pragmatic, and Continental, emphasizing their mutual affinities. Despite this reference to the continent of Europe, it would be wrong to identify any of these traditions geographically or linguistically; even to call them ‘traditions’ is stretching a point. Pragmatism originated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but it has spread from there, transmogrifying in the process and claiming surprising allies, such as Heidegger; the label ‘pragmatist’ has even been (...) affixed to Hegel! That its day has come is the theme of this, Bernstein’s latest book. Its title is a play on Richard Rorty’s famous .. (shrink)
We may now ask the question: In what historical perspective should we place the work of Richard Goldschmidt? There is no doubt that in the period 1910–1950 Goldschmidt was an important and prolific figure in the history of biology in general, and of genetics in particular. His textbook on physiological genetics, published in 1938, was an amazing compendium of ideas put forward in the previous half-century about how genes influence physiology and development. His earlier studies on the genetic and (...) geographic distribution of the various species and races of Lymantria contributed soundly to an understanding of the inheritance and development of sex, as well as the genetics of speciation. He was a curious mixture of the experimentalist, empiricist, and theorizer, who could grasp both the large and the small at once and wrap them into the same integrated and coherent package.In insisting on trying to relate genetics to development, Goldschmidt was continually forced to speculate and to forsake experimental fact for generalized theory. In refusing to reconcile a physiological and developmental conception with a corpuscular theory of the gene, he forced himself to substitute for a large body of experimentally verified evidence, vague and general speculations which did not lead in any precise direction. L. C. Dunn summarizes succinctly the effect of Goldschmidt's thinking on the development of genetic theory: Although Goldschmidt's ideas had a considerable influence in directing attention to the developmental processes intervening between genes and characters, they did not lead to the establishment of a general theory of development in genetical terms. In fact, at the end of the period, as signalized by Goldschmidt's book of 1938 [Physiological Gentics] doubt remained whether there was a field with a defined problem which could be identified as developmental genetics.Yet the frequency with which Goldschmidt is cited by later writers suggests that there is a more positive side to his contribution than this. The early Mendelians had recognized the genic constitution of organisms and the Drosophila workers had uncovered in detail the chromosomal mechanism of heredity. These great discoveries were of classical character, solidly based on a multitude of well established facts. By themselves, however, they would not have been sufficient to place genetics in the central position within biology which it was to assume. Beyond the “static” analysis of gene transmission an insight was needed into the dynamic role of genes in cellular physiology, biochemistry, and development. Goldschmidt recognized this aspect and outlined in brilliant generalizations a physiological theory of genetics. Necessarily the prophetic nature of this achievement — romantic in the sense of Ostwald's classification of great scientists and their discoveries — transcended its factual basis. It was the audacity of the theoretician unimpeded by the still scanty data which gave a new focus to biological thought.Some have called Goldschmidt an “obstructionist” in the history of genetics—one whose efforts were largely directed toward useless and continual criticism — challenge for the sake of challenge. As this line of argument goes, time wasted answering Goldschmidt's poorly conceived criticisms could have been better used to pursue new lines of thought within the classical gene theory. Sometimes historians are upbraided for studying the work of such “obstructionists,” or even the work of those whose ideas have later proved to be inadequate. This argument misses the point of history and the lessons which it can teach. Perhaps Goldschmidt did take the time of a number of the classical geneticists who tried to answer his objections to the gene theory; and perhaps many of his own ideas about genes were, by today's view, “wrong.” These are always easier judgments to make by hindsight than at the moment. But that is not the point. Goldschmidt had a considerable influence on his contemporaries, and to dismiss him as an obstructionist because his opponents later proved to be more nearly right, distorts history and obscures significant questions which we might well be asking. It might be valuable to know why Goldschmidt felt compelled to be an iconoclast —and how that impulse, psychological in orgin, led him to overlook critical items of evidence which his opponents considered more carefully. It might also be valuable to try and understand how a contemporary of Goldschmidt or. Morgan really viewed the gene theory — what were its strong and weak point? Such questions are not readily answered by studying the work of only those men who were correct by later standards.Answers to some of the above questions can be gleaned from this study of Goldschmidt — though the first, and most psychologically oriented, question is largely untouched here.On the one hand, Goldschmidt forced classical geneticists to reexamine the foundation of their ideas about the nature, inviolability, and even physical dimensions of genes. He also kept alive the very real problems of gene physiology and its relations to development — a relationship that was given less attention by the Drosophila school in their pursuit of the transmission process. On a broader level he emphasized to the biological community a principle that was in danger of being lost in the enthusiasm surrounding the expansion of the Mendelian-chromosome theory. The point was that all theories in science are transient, logical constructs which should not be held as sacred. Time and again, as the history of science has shown, theories become rigid structures which retard new modes of thought. From Goldschmidt's perspective, the gene theory was in danger of performing just that function, for it was preventing workers from viewing the gene in a functional as well as a structural light.On the other hand, examining the work of critics (or even of outright “obstructionists”) gives the historian an opportunity to observe how the more established community of scholars at some point in time reacts to challenges of its cherished ideas. The fact that many workers in his own day (such as Beadle, Luria, Delbruck, Sturtevant, Bridges, and others), as well as most geneticists today, saw Goldschmidt as having been largely “obstructionist” is useful historical (and/or sociological) data. Clearly, as this paper has tried to show, Goldschmidt's ideas were not all obstructionist, and his viewpoint that genes must be considered functionally was one which was clearly valid, premature as it may have been from an experimental and technique point of view. Perhaps Goldschmidt's major fault was that he developed alternative theories which were not easily testable. Nonetheless, his challenge to a fundamental and established idea brought forth a reaction from many members of the genetic community which indicates how unwilling they were to reconsider the formalized theory on which their work was based. While many of Goldschmidt's criticisms — and particularly his way of making them — arose out of his own idiosyncrasies, they were also a product of his times. His view of the nature of theory-construction, and his rejection of old-style reductionism and mechanism, were part of a growing awareness within the world scientific community that explanations based on reducing complex phenomena to ultimate particles or units were clearly inadequate. The success of the Mendelian-chromosome theory had obscured that fact for many geneticists, but to Goldschmidt it was a point that could not be allowed to pass unnoticed. (shrink)
É possível estabelecer uma relação didática entre filosofia e cinema para ilustrar, esclarecer ou levantar instigantes discussões em torno dos conceitos e das idéias filosóficas. Ainda que a linguagem cinematográfica seja diferente os gêneros do cinema podem apresentar distintas formas da realidade humana de modo crítico e conciso, como por exemplo no cinema catástrofe, onde são evidenciadas as relações entre homem e natureza como mostra o filme “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004) de Roland Emmerich exposto neste artigo com algumas idéias (...) do filósofo inglês Francis Bacon. (shrink)
Lowe argues for a dualistic account of mental causation. He claims that the agent’s decision as well as a neural event both causally determine the resulting behavior in parallel and complementary ways. The decision determines that the arm arising occurs at all but it does not determine the detailed physical parameters of the movement. The neural cause determines the detailed parameters but does not deter-mine that the movement occurs. Lowe’s main argument for this view is the argument from counterfactual implications, (...) which also undermines the psychoneural token-identity thesis. He argues that if the mental event token (the decision to raise an arm) had not occurred, the arm would not have risen, while if the neural event token (the complex neural event, which causes the arm to rise) had not occurred, the arm would still have risen albeit slightly differently. I first raise two counterexamples. Parallel arguments can be constructed to show that token identity fails at other micro-macro junctures. A token splash of hot water could be argued not to be identical with the token event of the motions of H 2 O molecules characterized by appropriate kinetic energy. A token expression of the will of the people could be argued not to be identical with the token event of such and such voting behavior on an election day. I then diagnose the problems with Lowe’s arguments for either counterfactual. The argument for the mental counterfactual relies on a premise that is quite plausibly false. The argument for the neural counterfactual is questionable because it involves the application of the possible-worlds semantics to counterfactuals with disjunctive antecedents. His argument against the token-identity thesis thus fails and his dualistic ac-count of mental causation is called into question. (shrink)
Resumo: Neste texto procuro fazer uma contextualização teórica a respeito dos fundamentos da sociologia da vida cotidiana, valendo-me dos seus princípios para o desenvolvimento da pesquisa em ciências sociais e da sua utilização como perspectiva metodológica. Nos percursos argumentativos que procuro desenvolver, situo o cenário e os sujeitos da pesquisa que motiva minhas reflexões, sinalizando alguns instrumentos necessários para a escavação do cotidiano. Tematizo os desvios das rotas do cotidiano e os desafios para a decifração dos seus enigmas. Enfatizo a (...) importância da construção de estratégias de observação do cotidiano, tendo as narrativas como matéria-prima para o seu conhecimento. Procuro entrelaçar os aportes teóricos de José Machado Pais e de Alberto Melucci no tocante às metodologias de pesquisa qualitativa com os caminhos investigativos construídos no meu estudo. Palavras-chave: Sociologia da vida cotidiana. Metodologias de pesquisa. Cotidiano.: In this text I try to contextualize theoretically the principles for the Sociology of daily life, making use of its principles for the development of a research in Social Sciences and its use as a methodological perspective. In the argumentative journey that I try to develop, I point out the scenery and the subjects of the research that motivate my reflections, indicating some instruments necessary to hollow out daily life. I discuss the bypasses from everyday’s routes in the construction of observatory strategies and the challenges to decipher their riddles. I also emphasize the construction of observation strategies for every day scenes, having narrative as raw-material for its knowledge. I try to interweave the theoretical approach at José Machado Pais and Alberto Melucci regarding all the equipment and qualitative technology with the research investigatory weights that were built in this study. Keywords: Sociology of daily life. Research methodology. Daily life. (shrink)
Projecting Illusion offers a systematic analysis of the impression of reality in the cinema and the pleasure it gives to the film spectator. Film provides a compelling experience that can be considered as a form of illusion akin to the experience of day-dream and dream. Examining the concept of illusion and its relationship to fantasy in the experience of visual representation, Richard Allen situates his explanation within the context of an analytical criticism of contemporary film and critical theory. He (...) argues that many contemporary film theorists correctly identify the significance of the impression of reality, although their explanation of it is incorrect because of an invalid philosophical understanding of the relationship between the mind, representation and reality. Offering a clear presentation and critique of the central arguments of contemporary film and critical theory, Allen also touches on fundamental issues in current discourses of philosophy, art history and feminist theory. (shrink)
In his day, theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) was immensely influential - a public intellectual and author of many books who even appeared on the cover of Time magazine (in 1948). He was a realist in political philosophy, and his book The Irony of American History continues to speak directly to the question of American imperialism. The current international situation requires serious reflection of the kind at which Niebuhr excelled, and Niebuhr's thought has experienced something of a revival. Pundits and politicians (...) from James Fallows, Jean Bethke Elshtain, and David Brooks to Bill Moyers, and Senators John Danforth and Barack Obama all cite Niebuhr's work with approval. If Niebuhr is attractive as a tough-minded political realist, he is insufficiently orthodox for some Christian theologians and ethicists. In this book, Richard Crouter offers an accessible introduction to Niebuhr's religious and political thought, while attempting to discover how Niebuhr can appeal to persons belonging to opposing political and religious camps, and whether his uncanny ability to speak to atheists as well as believers is a strength or weakness. (shrink)
William James’ celebrated lecture on “The Will to Believe” has kindled spirited controversy since the day it was delivered. In this lively reappraisal of that controversy, Father O’Connell contributes some fresh contentions: that James’ argument should be viewed against his indebtedness to Pascal and Renouvier; that it works primarily to validate our “over-beliefs” ; and most surprising perhaps, that James envisages our “passional nature” as intervening, not after, but before and throughout, our intellectual weighing of the evidence for belief.
What is one who takes normativity seriously to do if normativity can neither be discovered lurking out there in the world independently of us nor can it be sufficiently grasped from a merely explanatory perspective? One option is to accept that the normative challenge cannot be met and to retreat to some form of moral skepticism. Another possibility has recently been proposed by Christine Korsgaard in The Sources of Normativity where she aims to develop an account of normativity which is (...) grounded in autonomy. Furthermore, she argues that on her account reasons are "essentially public" and that this captures how it is that we can obligate one another. In this paper I argue that there is a serious tension between her account of normativity and the publicity of reasons-namely, that if reasons are essentially public, then it is not possible for individuals to legislate laws for themselves. However, I then argue that if we revise her conception of normativity such that it is understood to involve collective rather than individual legislation that it may then be possible to account for interpersonal reasons. (shrink)
In this paper I critically evaluate Ronald Dworkin's attempt in Life's Dominion to understand sacred value as a form of intrinsic value which is grounded in investment. I argue that there are two problems with Dworkin's conception of intrinsic value. First, it does not allow him to distinguish, as he must, between incremental and sacred values. Secondly, sacred value qua intrinsic value is not the kind of value which can be grounded in investment. I argue that both of these problems (...) are an implication of a realist conception of intrinsic value. Nevertheless, investment does seem to play a role in our judgements about intrinsic value and in light of this I aim to develop an alternative account of intrinsic value whichcan make sense of this. (shrink)
The cyclical nature of the church's timekeeping means that the sacred story begins anew at Advent, inviting the church to place the coming of the Christ child in a cosmic context in which even time is redefined by God's anticipated in-breaking into the world. Advent is the season of new beginnings and new hopes in its anticipation of the dawning of God's new age.
In popular image, Jesus as friend is sentimentalized, but not so in the Fourth Gospel. Jesus gave his life in love for others and always spoke and acted boldly—marks of friendship in the cultural world of the New Testament.
Fiona Macpherson (2007). Synaesthesia. In Mario de Caro, Francesco Ferretti & Massimo Marraffa (eds.), Cartographies of the Mind: Philosophy and Psychology in Intersection Series: Studies in Brain and Mind, Vol. 4. Kleuwer.score: 12.0
Synaesthesia is most often characterised as a union or mixing of the senses. i Richard Cytowic describes it thus: “It denotes the rare capacity to hear colours, taste shapes or experience other equally startling sensory blendings whose quality seems difficult for most of us to imagine” ( 1997, 7). One famous example is of a man who “tasted shapes”. When he experienced flavours he also experienced shapes rubbing against his face or hands. ii Such popular characterisations are rough and (...) ready. What is certainly true about synaesthesia is that it involves the interaction between sensory phenomena: in response to certain stimuli some sensory phenomena are elicited in synaesthetes that are not elicited in non-synaesthetes. However, the exact nature of the additional sensory phenomena forms a large part of the debate on the nature of synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is a condition that has been known about for some time. In the late nineteenth century, and early twentieth, century very many articles appeared on the topic in the psychological literature. iii Much of this work on synaesthesia relied on introspective reports of subjects. In consequence, when later in the twentieth century psychologists eschewed introspective reports and radical behaviourist methodology became the order of the day, synaesthesia was rarely a topic of research. In more recent times, however, psychology has once again changed tack. With the advent of cognitive psychology and of objective techniques that try to probe the nature of conscious states of the mind that are reported in introspection, psychological interest in synaesthesia has resumed. Many new findings about the subject have recently been brought to light. In philosophy, interest in synaesthesia is only just beginning to arise. The phenomenon is potentially philosophically interesting for several reasons.. (shrink)
Alan Musgrave, Michael Friedman, Jeffrey Foss, and Richard Creath raised different objections against the Distinction between observables and unobservables when drawn within the confines of Bas C. van Fraassen's Constructive Empiricism (CE), to the effect that the Distinction cannot be drawn there coherently. Van Fraassen has only responded to Musgrave but Musgrave claimed not to understand van Fraassen's succinct response. I argue that van Fraassen's response is not enough. What remains in the end is an unsolved problem which CE (...) cannot afford to leave unsolved, or so I argue; I then strengthen Musgrave's criticism and indicate that an extension of the epistemic policy of CE is mandatory to solve the problem. I also argue that Friedman's and Foss' objection against the Distinction in CE misses the mark on closer inspection. An objection due to Creath does hit the mark but can be taken care of without too much ado. All these objections seem alive and kicking until the present day; I try (and hope) to put them all to rest. (shrink)
It is striking that one of the most consequential representatives of [the] abstract scientific orientation of the seventeenth century [Thomas Hobbes] became so personalistic. This is because as a juristic thinker he wanted to grasp the reality of societal life just as much as he, as a philosopher and a natural scientist, wanted to grasp the reality of nature.... [J]uristic thought in those days had not yet become so overpowered by the natural sciences that he, in the intensity of his (...) scientific approach, should unsuspectingly have overlooked the specific reality of legal life. Carl Schmitt, Political Theology (1922)In the light of Hobbes's natural science, man and his works become a mere phantasmagoria. Through Hobbes's natural science, “the native hue” of his political science “is sicklied o'er with the pale cast” of something which is reminiscent of death but utterly lacks the majesty of death—of something which foreshadows the positivism of our day. It seems then that if we want to do justice to the life which vibrates in Hobbes's political teaching, we must understand that teaching by itself, and not in the light of his natural science. Can this be done?² Leo Strauss, “On the Basis ofHobbes's Political Philosophy” (1959). (shrink)
This paper is a reexamination of Two Dogmas in the light of Quine's ongoing debate with Carnap over analyticity. It shows, first, that analytic is a technical term within Carnap's epistemology. As such it is intelligible, and Carnap's position can meet Quine's objections. Second, it shows that the core of Quine's objection is that he (Quine) has an alternative epistemology to advance, one which appears to make no room for analyticity. Finally, the paper shows that Quine's alternative epistemology is (...) itself open to very serious objections. Quine is not thereby refuted, but neither can Carnap's analyticity be dismissed as dogma. (shrink)
Alva Noë is a modern-day empiricist. His book Action in Perception is chockablock with contemporary cognitive science; its preface and notes (not to mention general erudition) point to on-going collaboration with Evan Thompson, Kevin O’Regan, and Susan Hurley. Their research investigates the sensorimotor bases of consciousness, and Action in Perception is offered as its philosophical backdrop. As such, the book presents a series of ideas and interpretations that constitute what Noë calls the “enactive approach” to perception, many of which are (...) explicitly phenomenological in orientation. So those on the lookout for imaginative philosophy of mind will find Noë's work particularly compelling. (Noë would prefer "already feeling about for imaginative philosophy of mind," because on his account paradigmatic perceptual activity is tactile rather than visual.) In this review I will not address the empirical details concerning Noë and his compatriots, but will instead focus on the way Noë’s enactive approach should be situated vis-à-vis traditional phenomenology. Action in Perception is part of the grand project of a robustly scientific knowledge of human perceptual experience, but it is clearly also a philosophical theory, so I will address it philosophically. I address it as I take it to be: one of the best works in the philosophy of perception to appear in a very long time. (shrink)
The idea that films can be philosophical, or in some sense 'do' philosophy, has recently found a number of prominent proponents. What is at stake here is generally more than the tepid claim that some documentaries about philosophy and related topics convey philosophically relevant content. Instead, the contention is that cinematic fictions, including popular movies such as The Matrix , make significant contributions to philosophy. Various more specific claims are linked to this basic idea. One, relatively weak, but pedagogically important (...) observation is that some films can be used to provide philosophy students with vivid and thought-provoking illustrations of philosophical issues. Film screenings stimulate discussion and may motivate renewed engagement with difficult philosophical texts. A stronger contention, however, seeks to link innovative and philosophically valuable thinking to 'the film itself' or to the 'specificity of the cinematic medium'. Such claims raise interesting questions, including questions about the status of the increasingly prevalent philosophically motivated interpretations of particular movies. Who is actually doing the philosophizing in such cases? Is it the audio-visual display, the film-maker, or the philosopher who devises an interpretation of the work? What is the role of specifically cinematic devices in the philosophical points made in such interpretations? Is there any tension between the goal of appreciating a film as a work of art and the goal of arguing that a film has significant implications for a position on a problem in philosophy? A course in the general area of cinema as philosophy can focus on issues related to the locus and status of cinematic philosophizing. It can also delve into specific films and film-makers and philosophically oriented interpretations of specific philosophical topics, such as personal identity. Issues pertaining to interpretation, meaning, and authorship can be usefully investigated in this connection, as can topics in meta-philosophy related to the very nature of philosophical insight or knowledge. Author Recommends Carroll, Noël and Jinhee Choi, eds. 2008. The Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures: An Anthology , Part VIII: Film and Knowledge. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 381–405. Inclues a brief introduction by Carroll followed by papers by Bruce Russell, Karen Hanson, and Lester H. Hunt. Kania, Andrew, ed. 2009. Memento . London: Routledge. A number of philosophers elucidate philosophical themes in Memento and discuss more general issues pertaining to cinema's philosophical significance. Livingston, Paisley. 2009. Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman: On Film as Philosophy . Oxford: Oxford University Press. Part 1 surveys arguments surrounding the cinema as philosophy theme, providing detailed criticisms of some of the bold theses in this area. Part 2 discusses issues related to cinematic authorship and the status of philosophically motivated interpretations of works of fiction, arguing for a partial intentionalist account of a work's meanings. Part 3 illustrates the intentionalist principles in a discussion of Ingmar Bergman's philosophical sources, providing insight into themes of motivated irrationality, inauthenticity, and self-knowledge in some of Bergman's works. Livingston, Paisley and Carl Plantinga, eds. 2009. The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film , Part IV: Film as Philosophy. London: Routledge. 547–659. Offers a succinct survey by Wartenberg as well as entries on Ingmar Bergman, Terrence Malick, and Andrei Tarkovsky, discussions of film and specific philosophical topics (morality, skepticism, personal identity, and practical wisdom), and examples of philosophically motivated interpretations of three specific films: The Five Obstructions , Gattaca , and Memento . Smith, Murray and Thomas E. Wartenberg, eds. 2006. Thinking Through Cinema: Film as Philosophy . Malden, MA: Blackwell. A collection of papers that combines essays devoted to general positions on the cinema as philosophy topic as well as specific interpretations of works in different genres. Turvey, Malcolm. 2008. Doubting Vision: Film and the Revelationist Tradition . Oxford: Oxford University Press. A probing critical investigation into the assumptions underlying influential philosophical claims about the epistemic value of cinema. Wartenberg, Thomas E. 2008. Thinking on Screen: Film as Philosophy . London: Routledge. Ably surveys and responds to arguments against the idea that films can 'do philosophy'. It defends a conditionalist form of intentionalism in response to the 'imposition objection' according to which it is only the commentator who reads philosophical themes 'into' the movie; illustrates the favored account of film as philosophy with interpretations of specific cinematic fictions. Online Materials Film-Philosophy http://www.film-philosophy.com/ > Founded in 1996, this peer-reviewed online journal is dedicated to philosophically oriented interpretations of films and cinema studies more generally. The e-mail salon encourages discussion of related topics. Includes essays, festival reports, calls for papers, conference and job information, and book reviews. The archive includes contributions from 1997 to the present. Wartenberg, Thomas E. 'Philosophy of Film.' The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ; http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/film/ > A brief survey of a range of issues in the philosophy of cinema including a few paragraphs on the film as philosophy topic. Philosophical Films http://www.philfilms.utm.edu/2/filmlist.htm > A briefly annotated list of philosophical films grouped in rubrics such as 'The Meaning of Life' and 'Environmental Ethics'. Sample Syllabus What follows is a 4-week 'start-up module' followed by samples of optional units that focus on particular topics and cinematic examples. Introductory Module Week I: Introduction & Overview Livingston, Paisley. 'Recent Work on Cinema as Philosophy.' Philosophy Compass 3 (2008): 1–14, 20 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2008.00158.x ). Wartenberg, Thomas E. 2009. 'Film as Philosophy.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Ed. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 549–59. Russell, Bruce. 2008. 'The Philosophical Limits of Film.' The Philosophy of Film and Motion Pictures: An Anthology . Ed. Noël Carroll and Jinhee Choi. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 387–390. Week II: The Bold Thesis on Film as Philosophy Reading: Livingston, Paisley, 'Theses on Cinema as Philosophy.' Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman, Chapter One. 11–38. Screening: October (dir. Sergei Eisenstein 1928). Week III: Debating the Bold Thesis: The Case of October Carroll, Noël. 1998. 'For God and Country.' Interpreting the Moving Image . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 80–91. Smuts, Aaron. 2009. 'Film as Philosophy: In Defense of a Bold Thesis.' Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism , 67:4: 409–20. Week IV: Cinema as Philosophy: Objections and Replies Livingston, Paisley. 2009. 'Arguing over Cinema as Philosophy.' Cinema, Philosophy, Bergman, Chapter Two. 39–59. Additional Optional Units Depending on the instructor's areas of interest and expertise, any of the following units could be added (and in some cases, easily expanded into longer segments). The Case of Ingmar Bergman Livingston, Paisley. 2009. 'Ingmar Bergman.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 560–568. Screening(s): Wild Strawberries (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1957), or The Seventh Seal (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1957), or Persona (dir. Ingmar Bergman 1966). Skepticism Fumerton, Richard. 2009. 'Skepticism.' In The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 601–10. Screening: The Matrix (dir. Andy and Larry Wachowski 1999) or Total Recall (dir. Paul Verhoeven 1990). Ethics Kupfer, Joseph. 1999. Visions of Virtue in Popular Film . Boulder, CO: Westview. 35–60. Falzon, Chris. 2009. 'Why be Moral?' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 591–599. Screening: Groundhog Day (dir. <span class='Hi'>Harold</span> Ramis 1993), or Crimes and Misdemeanors (dir. Woody Allen 1989), or Hollow Man (dir. Paul Verhoeven 2000). Personal Identity Knight, Deborah. 2009. 'Personal Identity.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 611–619. Hanley, Richard. 2009. ' Memento and Personal Identity: Are We Getting it Backwards?' Memento . Ed. Andrew Kania. London: Routledge. 107–126. Martin, Raymond. 2009. 'The Value of Memory: Reflections on Memento. ' Memento . Ed. Andrew Kania. London: Routledge. 87–106. Screening: Memento (dir. Christopher Nolan 2000). Freedom and (Genetic) Determinism Sesardic, Neven. 2009. 'Gattaca.' The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film . Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. London: Routledge. 641–649. Screening: Gattaca (dir. Andrew Niccol 1997). Focus Questions • Is there anything special about the experience of fiction films that is especially well suited to the stimulation of worthwhile philosophical reflection? • Have any novel and philosophically significant ideas found their first expression in a cinematic work? • Under what circumstances can the film medium be used as an expression of a cinematic author's views? • What sort of background knowledge has to be in place for a film to be interpreted as articulating reasonably precise philosophical theses and arguments? • Does the goal of spelling out a film's philosophical meaning sometimes conflict with the goal of appreciating its value as a work of art? (shrink)
I do not for a moment question the fact that many people have experiences of a special type which may be termed “religious”, The extent to which religious experience may be regarded as a reasonably common phenomenon in present-day Britain is shown clearly by David Hay in his Exploring Inner Space, Harmondsworth 1982. that such experiences often involve reference to something which appears to display a radical unlikeness to all else and that they are therefore in some sense inexpressible. Doubtless (...) the ideas I have put forward about the possible source of such unlikeness and ineffability might suggest models of God which would not find much theological approval, at least within any mainstream theistic tradition, since some sort of pantheism seems inevitably to be implied. But however this might be, the concept of radical unlikeness as it has been analyzed here can, I think, help us towards understanding certain problematic areas in religion quite apart from the issue of intelligibility, which has been the focus of this discussion. To begin with, radical unlikeness suggests a way in which the historical continuity of concepts of the transcendent might be upheld against the discontinuity suggested by the diversity of interpretations through which they have moved. Ancient and modern outlooks on, say, God differ enormously, as indeed do the range of co-temporal accounts at many particular moments. But, by and large, theologians firmly maintain that it is a single and unchanging phenomenon which is being dealt with. Unless we can point to some common element which is both specific enough to create a binding sense of common tradition, yet never completely expressed by any attempt at understanding it within that tradition (thus persistently demanding new attempts to apprehend it), then given the widely differing views of God within, for example, the Christian community, it is difficult to see how we could assume that in fact they all stemmed from the same source and were talking about the same thing. The idea of radical unlikeness could provide an element with just these required characteristics: it could be seen as what all the accounts attempt to net, with varying degrees of adequacy, within their offered interpretations. It could be seen as what remains constant, constantly elusive yet constantly generative of fresh attempts to apprehend it, throughout a history of intra-religious diversity. This sort of explanation could, presumably, be applied to the intra-religious diversity of the non-Christian traditions too.Secondly, radical unlikeness might suggest a possible way of understanding inter-religious diversity in a way which allows that whilst such diversity exists, whilst the differences between religions are real, they are grounded in a similar root-experience. It may, at first sight, seem difficult to continue thinking of the various religious traditions as truly separate phenomena if they are taken as being grounded on experiences whose ineffability stems from the unlikeness of experiencing things as a whole. Here we must stress again that if they are to be considered intelligible, radically unlike experiences cannot be considered completely so - or putting this another way, we cannot more than approach experience of totality. Sense can be given to religious claims of ineffability by suggesting experience of near totality, where we reach the last point on the scale of inclusiveness which complies with the logical criteria demanded of something for it to be possible for us to be aware of it. We might thus attempt an explanation of inter-religious diversity based on the view that Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam etc. acquire their differences from the different elements included in their experience of near totality. Taking totality to be represented by the scale of one to ten, Hinduism might be seen as grounded on experience of 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-9-10, Buddhism on experience of 1-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 and so on. The resulting dissimilarities are thus centred not on different types of experience, but on different areas of inclusiveness. This is, of course, to suppose that the various religious traditions are all based on the same degree (as opposed to the same elements) of inclusiveness, but it is by no means clear that such a supposition is justified. Continuing with our decimal analogy, might it not be suggested that whilst Christianity stemmed from experience of 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10, Jainism was founded on a less extensive encounter with the divine (say 4-5-6-7-8-9-10)? It is, however, uncertain how we can compare and evaluate different religious traditions in such a way as to be able to comment on such claims. A definite danger of comparative religion is that by concentrating on establishing and exploring inter-religious likenesses, it may obscure the radical unlikeness of religious phenomena. It should be borne firmly in mind that such likenesses as may be established within comparative studies may not win religious phenomena a place within our understanding comparable to objects of more everyday concern. Statements found in the Old Testament, the Qur'an and the Vedas, for example, may, on occasion, be alike, but at the end of the day such things are often alike only, or chiefly, in so far as they display the same radical unlikeness in relation to the non-religious elements in our outlook.The analysis of radical unlikeness and ineffability which has been advanced might also suggest a way in which certain passages in religious writings could be understood, passages which at first sight can be seriously perplexing. If, for example, to return to the quotation given in the introductory section of this paper, we continue to think of accounts of the nature of Shiva as being attempts to describe some discrete, objective entity, then it is inevitable that either we will share the Puranic writer's puzzlement or that much of what we read about Shiva will appear as the muddled and extravagant thinking thrown up by an uncritical and over-fertile mythological imagination, consisting of little more than a hotch-potch of contradictory elements. But if we see such accounts as attempting to say something about everything, as symbols of near totality stemming from experiences which verge on the holistic, then what we read - with all its ambiguities - may become somewhat more meaningful. Thus W.D. O'Flaherty comments that Shiva “embodies all of life in all its detail at every minute” (Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Shiva, London 1973, p. 315). Similarly Alain Dani41ou sees Shiva, ultimately, in terms of his being "the supreme state of reality" beyond whom there is only "non-existence" (Hindu Polytheism, London 1964, p. 190).This analysis of ineffability and intelligibility seeks to introduce for debate a possible way of understanding the radical unlikeness which accounts of religious experience apparently attempt to speak about. It does not, however, claim to present an exhaustive treatment of the issues raised, on the contrary, I am conscious of many shortcomings and omissions. For instance, it remains to be seen under precisely what conditions something counts as being an elucidating likeness (presumably all experiences are, for example, temporal, yet temporality alone would not seem to offer a particularly elucidating comparison). Moreover, the degree to which appeal to likeness is allowed operation in actual accounts of religious experience needs to be explored. In addition, the notion of categorizing experiences according to the extent to which they approach a point of total inclusion requires careful clarification. To begin with, according to what criteria could we establish that one experience was more inclusive than another? However, such issues can only be mentioned here, any adequate consideration of them would require a separate paper.In conclusion, I would suggest that to use radical unlikeness and/or ineffability simply as devices by which to halt any process of investigation, proclaiming that the thing in question is not like anything and so is beyond all words, risks making unintelligible and placing beyond all further inquiry an important and extensive area of human experience. As William Alston put it, to label something ineffable in an unqualified way is to shirk the job of making explicit the ways in which it can be talked about. William P. Alston, “ineffability”, Philosophical Review 65 (1956), 522. It is surely more accurate to take ineffability as a “qualifier”I.T. Ramsey, Models and Mystery (Oxford 1964), p. 60. which “multiplies models without end”Ibid. than as an absolute which prevents the construction of any elucidating models. (shrink)
Olszewski claims that the Church-Turing thesis can be used in an argument against platonism in philosophy of mathematics. The key step of his argument employs an example of a supposedly effectively computable but not Turing-computable function. I argue that the process he describes is not an effective computation, and that the argument relies on the illegitimate conflation of effective computability with there being a way to find out . ‘Ah, but,’ you say, ‘what’s the use of its being right twice (...) a day, if I can’t tell when the time comes?’ Why, suppose the clock points to eight o’clock, don’t you see that the clock is right at eight o’clock? Consequently, when eight o’clock comes round your clock is right. Lewis Carroll. (shrink)
Any study of the 'Scientific Revolution' and particularly Descartes' role in the debates surrounding the conception of nature (atoms and the void v. plenum theory, the role of mathematics and experiment in natural knowledge, the status and derivation of the laws of nature, the eternality and necessity of eternal truths, etc.) should be placed in the philosophical, scientific, theological, and sociological context of its time. Seventeenth-century debates concerning the nature of the eternal truths such as '2 + 2 = 4' (...) or the law of inertia turn on the question of whether these truths were created along with nature, or were uncreated and subsisting in God's mind. One's answer to that question has direct consequences for conceptions of the necessity/contingency of mathematical and natural knowledge, how knowledge of such truths is accomplished by humans, and what grounds these truths. In this paper, I review the positions of four successors to Descartes' philosophy on the question of the eternal truths to illustrate how in specific ways that question with its theological, metaphysical, modal, and epistemological dimensions concerned the objectivity and certainty of the discoveries of the new science. Author Recommends: Clarke, Desmond. Descartes' Philosophy of Science . University Park, Penn State Press, 1982. This work provides an account of Descartes as a practicing scientist whose rationalism is mitigated by reliance on experiment and experience. Author re-examines Descartes' philosophical and scientific works in this new light. Dear, Peter. Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledge and its Ambitions, 1500–1700 . Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2001. This work provides a useful overview of the issues and thinkers of the Scientific Revolution. Of particular relevance is chapter 8 on Cartesian and Newtonian science. Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century . Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1986. This work is an advanced study of the theological and metaphysical foundations of early modern science. Discussions include questions of God's nature, God's knowledge in relation to human knowledge, providence, the laws of nature, and the truths of mathematics. In particular, chapter 3 discusses Descartes' account of the eternal truths and divine omnipotence. Garber, Daniel. Descartes' Metaphysical Physics . Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1992. This work examines how Descartes' metaphysical doctrines of God, soul, and body set the groundwork for his physics. It includes a study of God and the grounds for the laws of physics (chapter 9). Henry, John. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. New York, Palgrave, Macmillan Press, 2008. This work provides a brief, general, and informative overview of the Scientific Revolution, including the themes of method, magic, religion, and culture. Osler, Margaret J. Divine Will and the Mechanical Philosophy: Gassendi and Descartes on Contingency and Necessity in the Created World . Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994. This work is an examination and comparison of the mechanical philosophies of Gassendi and Descartes. It offers in-depth discussion of the issue of voluntarism and intellectualism in the period and how that related to conceptions of laws of nature and the eternal truths. Shapin, Steven. The Scientific Revolution . Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1996. This work provides a critical synthesis of as well as a guide to recent scholarship in the history of science for a general readership. Online Materials Dr. Robert A. Hatch's Scientific Revolution Website: http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/rhatch/pages/03-Sci-Rev/SCI-REV-Home/ A compendium of resources for the study of Scientific Revolution. Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Early English Books Online (EEBO) contains digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473 to 1700. Early Modern Resources: http://www.earlymodernweb.org.uk/emr/ Early Modern Resources is a gateway for all those interested in finding electronic resources relating to the early modern period in history. Gallica, the Digital Library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ An ever-growing digital library which includes numerous primary and secondary texts of relevance to Descartes and his role in Scientific Revolution. Hatfield, Gary, 'René Descartes', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Spring 2009 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2009/entries/descartes/ Slowik, Edward, 'Descartes' Physics', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Winter 2008 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/descartes-physics/ Syllabus Sample Syllabus: Cartesian Science The following is five weeks covering Cartesian Science in a course on Descartes or the Scientific Revolution, or 17th-century theories of matter, or related themes on early modern truth and method, especially on the continent. This material is best suited to a graduate level audience, but it could be modified to suit an upper-division undergraduate course, as the readings are basically primary texts whose context and background can be explained in lectures. Week 1: Cartesian Revolution in France • Scientific method • Role of mathematics and experiment • Certainty of scientific knowledge Readings: Hatfield, Gary, 'René Descartes', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Spring 2009 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2009/entries/descartes/ Descartes, Discourse on Method , Parts 1–3 Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy , First Meditation. Week 2: Descartes' Scientific Treatises • Mechanization and mathematization of nature • Primary–secondary quality distinction Readings: Discourse on Method, Parts 4–6 Selections from Descartes' Scientific Essays: The World or Treatise on Light (ATXI 3–48); Treatise on Man (ATXI 119–202); Optics (ATVI 82–147). Slowik, Edward, 'Descartes' Physics', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Winter 2008 ed. Ed. Edward N. Zalta; URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2008/entries/descartes-physics/ Henry, John, 'The Mechanical Philosophy,' chapter 5. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. Macmillan, 2008. Week 3: Descartes' Theory of Nature • Descartes' derivation of the law of conservation and the three laws of motion • God's role in the metaphysics and physics of nature Readings: Selections from Principles of Philosophy, Preface (all); Letter to Elizabeth; Part I: 1–8; Part II: 1–45, 55, 64; Part III: 1–4, 15–19, 45–47; Part IV: 187–207. John Henry, 'Religion and Science,' chapter 6. The Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science . 3rd ed. Macmillan, 2008. Week 4: Post-1650 Cartesian Science: Necessity and Contingency in Nature • Debates on God, Creation, and Causes Readings: Easton, Patricia, 'What is at Stake in the Cartesian Debates on the Eternal Truths?' Philosophy Compass 4.2 (2009): 348–62. Malebranche, Nicolas, 'Elucidation 10', from The Search after Truth (1674). Note: All selections available in Nicolas Malebranche (1992). Philosophical Selections , edited by S. Nadler, Hackett. Gottfried Leibniz (1714) Monadology . Week 5: Causes in Nature and Morals • Theodicy as an explanation of defect and evil in a lawful universe: Malebranche v. Leibniz Readings: Nicolas Malebranche, Elucidation XVI (on occasionalism), and Treatise on Nature and Grace, Discourse One, Part 1. Gottfried Leibniz (1706), Theodicy. Focus Questions Weekly questions can be used to focus the readings. This can be done in a web or e-mail discussion thread, as a weekly assignment, or for in class discussion. I require students to post a short paragraph in response to the question or some posting by a classmate on the question. Students are required to post by 10 a.m. the day before we meet for class on a course website. Week 1: According to Descartes, what role does skepticism play in scientific reasoning? Week 2: Comment on the following: 'But I am supposing this machine to be made by the hands of God, and so I think you may reasonably think it capable of a greater variety of movements than I could possibly imagine in it, and of exhibiting more artistry than I could possibly ascribe to it' [ Treatise on Man ; ATXI 120]. Week 3: What is Descartes' conception of the relation between the metaphysics and physics of nature? Week 4: Critically discuss the positions of Descartes, Malebranche, and Leibniz on what provides the foundation for the certitude of natural knowledge? Week 5: Explain why both Malebranche and Leibniz consider moral sin to be analogous to natural defect? Seminar/Project Idea Hold a debate on the question of the status of the eternal truths. The proposition will be Descartes' position: 'Eternal truths must be both created and necessary if certainty in science is to be possible'. Format: 1. At the beginning of the 5-week module, students will be assigned to one of three roles: Team A, Team B, and judge's panel. Students will be given the debate proposition, but will not be told which team will take the affirmative and which team the negative until the time of the debate. 2. Recommend a variation on the Classic Debate Format to encourage the development of argument: sequence begins with affirmative construction (8 minutes), negative construction (8 minutes), second affirmative construction (8 minutes), second negative construction (8 minutes), first negative rebuttal (4 minutes), first affirmative rebuttal (4 minutes), final negative rebuttal (4 minutes) and final affirmative rebuttal (4 minutes). 3. Judges Panel: will consist of 3–4 judges who will assess the performance of Teams A and B. Judgment should be based on the persuasiveness of the team position. 4. Debate will be held at the end of the fifth week, or semester, whichever makes most sense given the course length and structure. Acknowledgements The author gratefully acknowledges the immensely helpful comments and suggestions by the participants in her graduate seminar on the Scientific Revolution: Benjamin Chicka, Sarah Jacques-Ross, Richard Ross, Marcella Stockstill, and Zohra Wolters. (shrink)