Berkeley scholars can hardly resist dealing with the question of how his philosophical system relates to commonsense. It is an irresistible question because it first appears to have a sensational answer. On the one hand, Berkeley claims to "side in all things with the Mob," and on the other, his denial of the existence of matter seems as contrary to commonsense as any philosophical view can be. The articles, chapters, books and conference papers on this one aspect of Berkeley's philosophy (...) alone could make a sizeable bibliography. Interpretations run the gamut, from A. A. Luce's judgment that Berkeley's account of the sensible is commonsense itself, to Jonathan Bennett's pronouncement that Berkeley's attitude .. (shrink)
There are two observations about the history of Marxism as a theory, and of the movements informed by that theory, which command wide assent. The first is an indisputable empirical observation: socialist movements proved more successful in the relatively �backward� parts of the world than in the heartlands of capitalism, where Marx expected his ideas to take root and his prophecies to be fulfilled. Marxist ideas and Marxist inspired movements once registered important successes in Eastern and Central Europe (distant as (...) that now seems!), but not in Western Europe and North America. They also -- what concerns us in this essay -- occasionally triumphed, and frequently achieved some measure of influence even where they did not triumph, in �Third World� countries. The second observation is that the phenomena of nationhood and of nationalism were never adequately theorized within Marxism; nor, in most cases, were they dealt with satisfactorily in �practical� terms. This theoretical shortcoming was frequently pointed out by non-Marxists. In more recent times Marxists have been at the forefront in pointing to this lacunae or limitation. Nicos Poulantzas urges an imputedly reluctant audience, �we have to recognize that there is no Marxist theory of the nation�. Similarly Tom Nairn adjudges, in portentious tones: �The theory of nationalism represents Marxism's great historical failure.� Both these observations are indisputably true, but a paradox becomes apparent when they are juxtaposed. It would appear that Marxism proved more influential and successful in the former colonial and semi-colonial countries of the �East� than in the bourgeois societies of Western Europe, despite the fact that in the former region the national question, one of Marxism's great theoretical failings, was an issue of pressing political importance. How can one explain this paradox? This essay argues that a major part of the answer lies in the manner in which Lenin developed and reformulated Marx's theory. It suggests that the seeds both of the successful extension of Marxism to the underdeveloped parts of the world, and of its failure to develop a theory of the nation, lay in the reformulation of Marx's thought undertaken with the theory of imperialism. In order fully to understand how Lenin developed Marx's thought, it is first necessary to consider Marx's writings on the non-Western world and what would later come to be known as the 'colonial question'. (shrink)
The metacognitive stance of Smith et al. (2003) risks ignoring sensory consciousness. Although Smith et al. rightly caution against the tendency to preserve the uniqueness of the human mind at all costs, their reasoned stance is undermined by a selective association of consciousness with high-level cognitive operations. Neurobiological evidence may offer a more general, and hence more inclusive, basis for the systematic study of animal consciousness.
During times of emotional stress, individuals often engage in emotion regulation to reduce the experiential and physiological impact of negative emotions. Interestingly, emotion regulation strategies also influence memory encoding of the event. Cognitive reappraisal is associated with enhanced memory while expressive suppression is associated with impaired explicit memory of the emotional event. However, the mechanism by which these emotion regulation strategies affect memory is unclear. We used event-related fMRI to investigate the neural mechanisms that give rise to memory formation during (...) emotion regulation. Twenty-five participants viewed negative pictures while alternately engaging in cognitive reappraisal, expressive suppression, or passive viewing. As part of the subsequent memory design, participants returned to the laboratory two weeks later for a surprise memory test. Behavioral results showed a reduction in negative affect and a retention advantage for reappraised stimuli relative to the other conditions. Imaging results showed that successful encoding during reappraisal was uniquely associated with greater co-activation of the left inferior frontal gyrus, amygdala and hippocampus, suggesting a possible role for elaborative encoding of negative memories. This study provides neurobehavioral evidence that engaging in cognitive reappraisal is advantageous to both affective and mnemonic processes. (shrink)
This commentary considers Merker's mesodiencephalic proposal in relation to quantitative measures of neural dynamics suggested to be relevant to consciousness. I suggest that even if critical neural mechanisms turn out to be subcortical, the functional utility of consciousness will depend on the rich conscious contents generated by continuous interaction of such mechanisms with a thalamocortical envelope. (Published Online May 1 2007).
This new edition brings together the English translation of the renowned Plato scholar and translator, Seth Benardete, with two illuminating commentaries on it: Benardete's "On Plato's Symposium" and Allan Bloom's provocative essay, "The ...
The Laws was Plato's last work, his longest, and one of his most difficult. In contrast to the Republic, which presents an abstract ideal not intended for any actual community, the Laws seems to provide practical guidelines for the establishment and maintenance of political order in the real world. With this book, the distinguished classicist Seth Benardete offers an insightful analysis and commentary on this rich and complex dialogue. Each of the chapters corresponds to one of the twelve books (...) of the Laws, illuminating the major themes and arguments, which have to do with theology, the soul, justice, and education. The Greek word for law, "nomos," also means musical tune. Bernardete shows how music--in the broadest sense, including drama, epic poetry, and even puppetry--mediates between reason and the city in Plato's philosophy of law. Most broadly, however, Benardete here uncovers the concealed ontological dimension of the Laws, explaining why it is concealed and how it comes to light. In establishing the coherence and underlying organization of Plato's last dialogue, Benardete makes a significant contribution to Platonic studies. (shrink)
This article argues that James Seth provides illuminating contributions to our understanding of law and, more specifically, the natural law tradition. Seth defends a unique perspective through his emphasis on personalism that helps identify a distinctive and compelling account of natural law and legal moralism. The next section surveys standard positions in the natural law tradition. This is followed with an examination of Seth's approach and the article concludes with analysis of its wider importance for scholars of (...)Seth's work as well as legal philosophers more generally. (shrink)
In the context of his highly influential defence of compatibilism, P. F. Strawson 1962 introduced the terms "reactive attitude" and "objective attitude" to the free-will lexicon. He argued, in effect, that relinquishing such reactive attitudes as resentment and moral indignation isn't a real possibility for us, since doing so would commit us to exclusive objectivity, a stance incompatible with ordinary interpersonal relationships. While most commentators have challenged Strawson's link between personal relationships and the reactive attitudes, Tamler Sommers 2007 has taken (...) up Strawson's claim that exclusive objectivity would preclude meaningful relationships. Here I set out a defence of this claim by identifying a kind of interpersonal caring that is plausibly both required for such relationships and excluded by the objective attitude. I then argue that this defence helps to support Strawson's more controversial claim about personal relationships and the reactive attitudes. (shrink)
In his seminal essay “Freedom and Resentment,” Strawson drew attention to the role of such emotions as resentment, moral indignation, and guilt in our moral and personal lives. According to Strawson, these reactive attitudes are at once constitutive of moral blame and inseparable from ordinary interpersonal relationships. On this basis, he concluded that relinquishing moral blame isn’t a real possibility for us, given our commitment to personal relationships. If well founded, this conclusion puts the traditional free-will debate in a new (...) light. In particular, in so far as incompatibilists believe that we can or should forgo moral blame if determinism is true, their stance may seem out of touch with our emotional reality. Here I examine Strawson’s claim that the reactive attitudes are inseparable from ordinary interpersonal relationships. Strawson says surprisingly little to support this intriguing claim, and thus far no argument for it has emerged in the literature. My aim is to remedy this. Specifically, I set out an argument for a suitably formulated version of the inseparability claim, an argument that appeals to the relationship between the reactive attitudes and other elements of our emotional lives. I then show how this argument helps to answer an important recent challenge to Strawson’s position. If I am right, there is good reason to doubt that the reforms envisaged by some incompatibilists, reforms to our blame-related practices, are a real possibility for us. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine a new line of response to Frankfurt’s challenge to the traditional association of moral responsibility with the ability to do otherwise. According to this response, Frankfurt’s counterexample strategy fails, not in light of the conditions for moral responsibility per se, but in view of the conditions for action. Specifically, it is claimed, a piece of behavior counts as an action only if it is within the agent’s power to avoid performing it. In so far as (...) Frankfurt’s challenge presupposes that actions can be unavoidable, this view of action seems to bring his challenge up short. Helen Steward and Maria Alvarez have independently proposed versions of this response. Here I argue that this response is unavailable to Frankfurt’s incompatibilist opponents. This becomes evident when we put this question to its proponents: “Are actions that originate deterministically ipso facto unavoidable?” If they answer “yes,” they encounter one horn of a dilemma. If they answer “no,” they encounter the other horn. Since no one has a clearer stake in meeting Frankfurt’s challenge than these theorists do, it is significant that the Steward-Alvarez response is unavailable to them. (shrink)
This volume brings together Seth Benardete's studies of Hesiod's Theogony, Homer's Iliad, and Greek tragedy, of eleven Platonic dialogues, and Aristotle's Metaphysics. These essays, some never before published, others difficult to find, span four decades of his work and document its impressive range. Benardete's philosophic reading of the poets and his poetic reading of the philosophers share a common ground that makes this collection a whole. The key, suggested by his reflections on Leo Strauss in the last piece, lies (...) in the question of how to read Plato. Benardete's way is characterized not just by careful attention to the literary form that separates doctrine from dialogue, and speeches from deed rather, by following the dynamic of these differences, he uncovers the argument that belongs to the dialogue as a whole. The "turnaround" such an argument undergoes bears consequences for understanding the dialogue as radical as the conversion of the philosopher in Plato's image of the cave. Benardete's original interpretations are the fruits of this discovery of the "argument of the action.". (shrink)
The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Second Merit Criterion, or Broader Impacts Criterion (BIC), was introduced in 1997 as the result of an earlier Congressional movement to enhance the accountability and responsibility as well as the effectiveness of federally funded projects. We demonstrate that a robust understanding and appreciation of NSF BIC argues for a broader conception of research ethics in the sciences than is currently offered in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training. This essay advocates augmenting RCR education with training (...) regarding broader impacts. We demonstrate that enhancing research ethics training in this way provides a more comprehensive understanding of the ethics relevant to scientific research and prepares scientists to think not only in terms of responsibly conducted science, but also of the role of science in responding to identified social needs and in adhering to principles of social justice. As universities respond to the mandate from America COMPETES to “provide training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research”, we urge institutions to embrace a more adequate conception of research ethics, what we call the Ethical Dimensions of Scientific Research, that addresses the full range of ethical issues relevant to scientific inquiry, including ethical issues related to the broader impacts of scientific research and practice. (shrink)
Philosophy as criticism of categories, by A. Seth.--The relation of philosophy to science, by R. B. Haldane and J. S. Haldane.--Logic as the science of knowledge, by B. Bosanquet.--The historical method, by W. R. Sorley.--The rationality of history, by D. G. Ritchie.--The philosophy of art, W. P. Ker.--The social organism, by H. Jones.--The struggle for existence, by J. Bonar.--Pessimism and the religious consciousness, by T. B. Kilpatrick.
On one view about the word 'might', to say, sincerely and literally, that it might be that S is to say something about one's epistemic state (and perhaps also about the epistemic states of those around one). For convenience, I will call this the natural view about 'might' On one version of the natural view, to say that it might be that S is to say that what one is certain of is consistent with the proposition that S. Seth (...) Yalcin (2007) has argued that all versions of the natural view are wrong. My aim in this article is to show how at least one version of the natural view escapes Yalcin's argument. (shrink)
I develop a new argument for an expressivist account of epistemic modals, which starts from a puzzle about epistemic modals which Seth Yalcin recently presented. I reject Yalcin's own solution to the puzzle, and give a better explanation based on expressivism concerning epistemic modals. I also address two alleged problems for expressivism: do embeddings of epistemic modals pose a serious threat to expressivism, and how can expressivism account for disagreements about statements containing epistemic modals?
In ‘Epistemic Modals’ (2007), Seth Yalcin proposes Stalnaker-style semantics for epistemic possibility. He is inspired by John MacFarlane’s ingenious defence of relativism, in which claims of epistemic possibility are made rigidly from the perspective of the assessor’s actual stock of information (rather than from the speaker’s knowledge base or that of his audience or community). The innovations of MacFarlane and Yalcin independently reinforce the modal collapse espoused by Jaakko Hintikka in his 1962 epistemic logic (which relied on the implausible (...) KK principle and heavy idealizations). I respond to this new challenge with fresh objections to the underlying S4 equivalence: p p . I also propose counter-analyses of the intriguing data which Yalcin cites in support of his new semantics. A key collateral motivation for this defence of irredundant iterations is to ward off a threat to higher order vagueness. (shrink)
In “Epistemic Modals,” Seth Yalcin argues that what explains the deficiency of sentences containing epistemic modals of the form ‘p and it might be that not-p’ is that sentences of this sort are strictly contradictory, and thus are not instances of a Moore-paradox as has been previous suggested. Benjamin Schnieder, however, argues in his Yalcin’s explanation of these sentences’ deficiency turns out to be insufficiently general, as it cannot account for less complex but still defective sentences, such as ‘Suppose (...) it might be raining.’ Consequently, Schnieder proposes his own, expressivist treatment of epistemic modals which he thinks can explain the deficiency of both the original sentence type as well as more complex cases of embedded sentences containing epistemic modals. In this study, I argue that although Schnieder is right to draw our attention to the explanatory failure of Yalcin’s account, we aren’t forced to adopt Schnieder’s expressivist account of epistemic modals. I defend instead a contextualist-friendly alternative which explains the deficiencies of all the relevant sentence types, while avoiding both the defects of Yalcin’s account and the intuitive costs of expressivism. (shrink)
This paper investigates the concept of the guru within this important work of the Vedantic tradition. I identify some of the apparent problems involved with the very idea of spiritual teaching within the ontological and soteriological parameters of this tradition in general, and the work in particular. First, the emphasis on 'self-effort' on the part of the seeker of liberation seems to preclude the idea of a spiritual teacher of liberation. Second, it is difficult to see how teaching even proceeds (...) given what is being taught and the lack of desire on the part of the supposedly enlightened teacher to impart liberation. Finally, there appears to be no meaningful possibility of teaching here, at least in the ordinary sense of the term. I then consider some of the ways of thinking about the concept of the guru in this work that avoid some of these pitfalls. (shrink)
A friend of mine whom I’ll call “Barry” has a four-year-old son, Seth. Barry treasures Seth and loves him very much. But their family circumstances are pretty bad, and Seth is having a very rough childhood. At the time Seth was conceived, Barry had had no reason to suppose that the circumstances would turn out as they have, but: There has since been a very nasty divorce; there are protracted custody disputes, geographical dislocations, and severe financial (...) difficulties; the boy has fairly serious health problems that are exacerbated by the others; and more. As it’s turned out, it was not good for Barry to have fathered a child at that time, and Barry regrets that he did so. Knowing what he knows now, he would not do it again. In fact, he fervently wishes he had not brought Seth into the world. (shrink)
There has recently been a considerable amount of research into the influence of 18th century British philosophy--particularly into the thinking of David Hume on Continental philosophy and Kant. The aim of this collection is to provide some of the key texts which illustrate the impact of Kant's thought together with two important 20th century monographs on aspects of Kant's early reception and his influence on philosophical thought. Contents: Immanuel Kant in England 1793-1838  Rene Wellek 328 pp The Early Reception (...) of Kant's Thought in England 1785-1805  Giuseppe Micheli 114 pp A General and Introductory view of Professor Kant's Principles  F. A. Nitsch 234 pp Text-Book to Kant  (with a biographical sketch) James Hutchison Stirling 576 pp The Development from Kant to Hegel  Andrew Seth 178 pp Lectures on the Philosophy of Kant  Thomas Hill Green 155 pp On the Philosophy of Kant  Robert Adamson 270pp A Sketch of Kant's Life and Writings  H. G. Henderson 80 pp Inquisitio Philosophica , An Examination on the Principles of Kant and Hamilton M. P. W. Bolton 286 pp Philosophy of the Unconditioned  William Hamilton 38 pp On the Philosophy of Kant  Henry L. Mansel 45 pp The aim of this collection is to provide some of the key texts which illustrate the impact of Kant's thought together with two important 20th century monographs on aspects of Kant's early reception and his influence on philosophical thought. (shrink)
Benardete here interprets and, for the first time, pairs two important Platonic dialogues, the Gorgias and the Phaedrus . In linking these dialogues, he places Socrates' notion of rhetoric in a new light and illuminates the way in which Plato gives morality and eros a place in the human soul.
Seth Pringle-Pattison (233n1) observed that Locke “teaches a twofold mystery—in the first place, of the essence (‘for the powers or qualities that are observable by us are not the real essence of that substance, but depend upon it or flow from it’), and in the second place, of the substance itself (‘Besides, a man has no idea of substance in general, nor knows what substance is in itself.’ Bk. II.31.13).” In this paper, I’ll explain the relation between the two (...) mysteries. Our Rosetta Stone is Locke’s argument that we understand body and spirit equally well since we are ignorant of their underlying substances but we “have distinct clear Ideas of two primary Qualities, or Properties” (2.23.30) of each. I’ll show that he is working with a restricted notion of primary quality in this passage, but one that demonstrably falls under the kind defined in his chapter on primary and secondary qualities. According to Locke, the fundamental primary qualities of bodies flow from corporeal substances and the determinations of these fundamental qualities constitute real essences. Locke’s discussion can’t be understood without understanding the relevant scholastic background. In the first half of my paper, I’ll explain his argument as an idiosyncratic application of doctrines he learned and taught at Oxford. In the second half, I’ll use lessons from my interpretation of the argument to explain the relation that Locke believes obtains between a substance and its fundamental primary qualities, and then I’ll build upon that explanation to elucidate his general account (insofar as he has a general account) of the inherence of qualities in corporeal substances. (shrink)
Introduction: Kantian concepts, liberal theology, and post-Kantian idealism -- Subjectivity in question: Immanuel Kant, Johann G. Fichte, and critical idealism -- Making sense of religion: Friedrich Schleiermacher, John Locke, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and liberal theology -- Dialectics of spirit: F.W.J. Schelling, G.W.F. Hegel, and absolute idealism -- Hegelian spirit in question: David Friedrich Strauss, Søren Kierkegaard, and mediating theology -- Neo-Kantian historicism: Albrecht Ritschl, Adolf von Harnack, Wilhelm Herrmann, Ernst Troeltsch, and the Ritschlian school -- Idealistic ordering: Lux Mundi, Andrew (...)Seth Pringle-Pattison, Hastings Rashdall, Alfred E. Garvie, Alfred North Whitehead, William Temple, and British idealism -- The Barthian revolt: Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, and the legacy of liberal theology -- Idealistic ironies: from Kant and Hegel to Tillich and Barth. (shrink)
As regular readers of The Pluralist are aware, there appeared in 2008 an issue devoted to Jan Olof Bengtsson's The Worldview of Personalism.1 The issue included five articles, each concerned with a different aspect of the book; and after each article, there was a "Reply" by Bengtsson. In what follows, I shall say something about Bengtsson's reply to my own contribution, "Absolute and Personal Idealism." However, first let me briefly describe that article's argument.In "Absolute and Personal Idealism," I examined the (...) personalist attack on absolutism as formulated by Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison in two works: Hegelianism and Personality and The Idea of God in the Light of Recent Philosophy. In the first section of .. (shrink)
Pulvermüller traces the differences in brain activity associated with function and content words. The model considers words displayed primarily in isolation. Research on letter detection suggests that what distinguishes function from content words are their roles in text. Hence a model that fails to consider context effects on the processing of words provides an insufficient accounting of word representation in the brain.
In the first part, it is argued that the Stranger has employed in his divisions both eikastic and phantastic speech, and that the issue of being arises because Theaetetus fails to recognize Socrates as the philosopher. In the second part, it is argued that phantastic speech as the experience of eikastic speech is false opinion, and that the double account of logos, as the weaving together of species and of agent and action, corresponds respectively to that which makes speech possible, (...) the other, and that which determines truth and falsehood in terms of whether the agent is other than the action. (shrink)
F. H. Bradley (1846-1924) was considered in his day to be the greatest British philosopher since Hume. For modern philosophers he continues to be an important and influential figure. However, the opposition to metaphysical thinking throughout most of the twentieth century has somewhat eclipsed his important place in the history of British thought. Consequently, although there is renewed interest in his ideas and role in the development of Western philosophy, his writings are often hard to find. This collection unites all (...) of his published works, much of which has long been out of print, together with selected notebooks, articles, and correspondence from his previously unpublished remains. The set therefore provides the opportunity to view his entire philosophy, both in the breadth of its scope - from critical history and ethics through logic to metaphysics and epistemology - and in its historical development - from the earliest Hegelian writings to the later more psychological and pragmatic work. In addition the set features introductions to Bradley's writings, life and character, providing the framework to assess his permanent importance in the history of philosophy. --the first ever publication of all Bradley's works --includes 5 volumes of reset material, mostly never before published --a collecton that all serious philosophy libraries should have --extremely comprehensive new editorial matter --volumes 4 & 5 are indexed by subject and name --collects Bradley's correspondence, spanning 50 years, with Russell, Samuel Alexander, Bosanquet, Haldane, William James, Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison, and many others --includes Bradley's notes on Green's lectures on ethics, selected undergraduate essays, notebooks preparatory of his major works, lists of what Bradley read, essays that never reached publication, inventory of Bradley's papers, and a catalogue of Bradley's personal library. (shrink)
This paper contends thatMichael Oakeshott's analogy of conversation conveys a conception of philosophy that can be connected with 'philosophical criticism', as interpreted by British Idealists such as Andrew Seth and Edward Caird. Firstly, my claim is that Oakeshott's notion of philosophical definition is animated by a dialectical 'refutation' of current ideas, articulated in the logical study of their presuppositions. Moreover, I show that this critical idea of philosophy is expressed through a re-interpretation of the Socratic Method that can be (...) compared to that of other Idealists. By means of an examination of textual evidence, I stress the consistency of this perspective throughout all Oakeshott's career. Secondly, I consider the image of conversation as an answer to the Idealist question about the possibility of the unity of knowledge. At the outset, I highlight that Oakeshott's position can be juxtaposed to the critiques of Modern philosophy and science paradigmatically put forward by Edward Caird and R.G. Collingwood. I argue that 'conversation' is consistent with Oakeshott's conception of modality, which is a critique both of the possibility of a final synthesis between different forms of understanding and of all reductionisms. Therefore, I analyze the theoretical foundations of this conception, which I have identified with the nature of postulates, the unity ofmind, and the non-propositional character of judgments. In the conclusion, I suggest that this reading has implications for a broader understanding of Oakeshott's Idealism, of his political theory and of the debate with Analytic philosophy. (shrink)