Hermann von Helmholtz was a leading figure of nineteenth-century European intellectual life, remarkable even among the many scientists of the period for the range and depth of his interests. A pioneer of physiology and physics, he was also deeply concerned with the implications of science for philosophy and culture. From the 1850s to the 1890s, Helmholtz delivered more than two dozen popular lectures, seeking to educate the public and to enlighten the leaders of European society and governments (...) about the potential benefits of science and technology to a developing modern society. David Cahan has selected fifteen of these lectures, which reflect the wide range of topics of crucial importance to Helmholtz and his audiences. Among the subjects discussed are the origins of the planetary system, the relation of natural science to science in general, the aims and progress of the physical sciences, the problems of perception, and academic freedom in German universities. This collection also includes Helmholtz's fascinating lectures on the relation of optics to painting and the physiological causes of harmony in music, which provide insight into the relations between science and aesthetics. Science and Culture makes available again Helmholtz's eloquent arguments on the usefulness, benefits, and, intellectual pleasures of understanding the natural world. With Cahan's Introduction to set these essays in their broader context, this collection makes an important contribution to the philosophical and intellectual history of Europe at a time when science played an increasingly significant role in social, economic, and cultural life. (shrink)
Mortal and immortal DNA : Craig Venter and the lure of "lamia" -- Homeopathy : Holmes, hogwarts, and the Prince of Wales -- Citizen Pinel and the madman at Bellevue -- The experimental pathology of stress : Hans Selye to Paris Hilton -- Gore's fever and Dante's Inferno : Chikungunya reaches Ravenna -- Giving things their proper names : Carl Linnaeus and W.H. Auden -- Spinal irritation and fibromyalgia : Lincoln's surgeon general and the three graces -- Tithonus and the (...) fruit fly : new science and old myths -- Swiftboating "America the beautiful" : Katharine Lee Bates and a Boston marriage -- Nothing makes sense in medicine except in the light of biology -- Apply directly to the forehead : Holmes, Zola, and Hennapecia -- Elizabeth Blackwell breaks the bonds -- Chronic lyme disease and medically unexplained syndromes -- Eugenics and the immigrant : Rosalyn Yalow and Rita Levi-Montalcini -- Science in the Middle East : Robert Koch and the cholera war -- How to win a Nobel prize : thinking inside and outside the box -- Homer Smith and the lungfish : the last gasp of intelligent design -- DDT is back : let us spray! -- Academic boycotts and the Royal Society -- Teach evolution, learn science : John William Draper and the "bone bill" -- Diderot and the yeti crab : the encyclopedias of life -- Dengue fever in Rio : Macumba versus Voltaire. (shrink)
Transactions and Encounters examines a diverse range of emerging technologies in the Victorian era. Such topics are explored as the popular craze for microscopes the uncanny possibilities of the telephone the jostling for authority between literature and science, with scenes by and including Dickens and Lewes, Huxley and Gosse the weird imaginary around androgynous barnacles and the competing versions of a mind-reading act. These essays combine to produce an invigorating and involving attempt to re-cast understandings of 19th century (...) encounters between the cultural and scientific spheres. (shrink)
This paper gives an overview of the placebo effect in popularculture, especially as it pertains to the work of authors Patrick O’Brian and Sinclair Lewis. The beloved physician as placebo, and the clinician scientist as villain are themes that respectively inform the novels, The Hundred Days and Arrowsmith. Excerpts from the novels, and from film show how the placebo effect, and the randomized clinical trial, have emerged into popularculture, and evolved over time.
Addressing the contradictions surrounding modern-day femininity and its complicated relationship with feminism and postfeminism, this book examines a range of popular female/feminist icons and paradigms. It offers an innovative and forward-looking perspective on femininity and the modern female self.
Nihilism, American style -- The quest for evil -- The negative zone : suburban familial malaise in American beauty, Revolutionary road, and Mad men -- Normal nihilism as comic : Seinfeld, Trainspotting, and Pulp fiction -- Romanticism and nihilism -- Defense against the dark arts : from Se7en to the Dark knight and Harry Potter -- God got involved : sacred quests and overcoming nihilism -- Feels like the movies.
Popularculture is ubiquitous. And referencing popularculture can be an excellent pedagogical tool. Used properly, it provides students with easily accessible examples—in some cases examples they have already been interested in. Given these facts, the creation and expansion of the literature on the intersection of popularculture and philosophy is not surprising. The purpose of these volumes has been controversial since their inception, but they do seem ideally suited as introductory texts. This essay (...) examines four recent volumes in popularculture and philosophy as pedagogical tools. These volumes on Sherlock Holmes, Christmas, Dr. Seuss, and Facebook all offer unique and useful tools for the teacher attempting to introduce students to philosophy. (shrink)
Every author has to expect that some reviewers will dislike his book, perhaps intensely. That is par for the course. But one might hope that even a scathingly negative review would be accurate in its summary of the book’s contents and principal arguments. Alas, Peter Saulson’s review1 of my book Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture 2 fails to meet this minimum standard.
In this book Jeremy Dunning-Davies deals with the influence that "conventional wisdom" has on science, scientific research and development. He sets out to explode' the mythical conception that all scientific topics are open for free discussion and argues that no-one can openly raise questions about relativity, dispute the 'Big Bang' theory, or the existence of black holes, which all seem to be accepted facts of science rather than science fiction. In today's modern climate with "Britain's radioactive refuse (...) heap already big enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall" (Edmund Conway, Economics Editor The Daily Telegraph 28.11.06), it is alarming that there are potential advances in hadronic mechanics which could conceivably pave the way for new clean energies and even a safe in-house method for the disposal of nuclear waste, that have not even been considered by the present establishment. These examples are from the field of physics but there can be little doubt that outside factors have affected the progress of most, if not all, branches of science for many years. Factors other than purely scientific ones still appear to be exerting tremendous influences on progress in a wide variety of fields. Is it too idealistic or nai;ve, to expect that science should remain pure and stay unaffected by such factors? Dr Dunning-Davies presents a beautifully written argument that if science is to progress, and be of any real use, these external factors must be held at bay. (shrink)
Background: The global expansion of biobanks has led to a range of bioethical concerns related to consent, privacy, control, ownership, and disclosure. As an opportunity to engage broader audiences on these concerns, bioethicists have welcomed the commercial success of Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 bestselling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. To assess the impact of the book on discussion within the media and popularculture more generally, we systematically analyzed the ethics-related themes emphasized in reviews and articles about (...) the book, and in interviews and profiles of Skloot. Methods: We conducted a content analysis of a population of relevant English-language articles and transcripts (n = 125) produced by news organizations and publications in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain/Ireland, and Australia/New Zealand. We scored each article for the emphasis and appearance of 9 ethics-related themes. These were informed consent, welfare of the vulnerable, compensation, scientific progress, control/access, accountability/oversight, privacy, public education, and advocacy. Results: The informed consent theme dominated media discussion, with almost 39.2 percent of articles/transcripts featuring the theme as a major focus and 44.8 percent emphasizing the theme as a minor focus. Other prominent themes and frames of reference focused on the welfare of the vulnerable (18.4 percent major emphasis; 36.0 percent minor emphasis), and donor compensation (19.2 percent major; 52.8 percent minor). Ethical themes that comprised a second tier of prominence included those of scientific progress, control/access, and accountability/oversight. The least prominent themes were privacy, public education, and advocacy. Conclusions: The book has been praised as an opportunity to elevate media discussion of bioethics, but such claims should be re-considered. The relatively narrow focus on informed consent in the media discussion generated by Skloot’s book may limit the ability of ethicists and advocates to elevate attention to donor control, compensation, patenting, privacy, and other ethical issues. Still, ethicists should view the book and a pending major TV film translation as opportunities to highlight through media outreach, consultation exercises and public forums a broader range of bioethical concerns that would otherwise be under-emphasized in news coverage. Such efforts, however, need to be carefully planned and evaluated. (shrink)
BackgroundThe global expansion of biobanks has led to a range of bioethical concerns related to consent, privacy, control, ownership, and disclosure. As an opportunity to engage broader audiences on these concerns, bioethicists have welcomed the commercial success of Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 bestselling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. To assess the impact of the book on discussion within the media and popularculture more generally, we systematically analyzed the ethics-related themes emphasized in reviews and articles about the (...) book, and in interviews and profiles of Skloot.MethodsWe conducted a content analysis of a population of relevant English-language articles and transcripts (n = 125) produced by news organizations and publications in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain/Ireland, and Australia/New Zealand. We scored each article for the emphasis and appearance of 9 ethics-related themes. These were informed consent, welfare of the vulnerable, compensation, scientific progress, control/access, accountability/oversight, privacy, public education, and advocacy.ResultsThe informed consent theme dominated media discussion, with almost 39.2 percent of articles/transcripts featuring the theme as a major focus and 44.8 percent emphasizing the theme as a minor focus. Other prominent themes and frames of reference focused on the welfare of the vulnerable (18.4 percent major emphasis; 36.0 percent minor emphasis), and donor compensation (19.2 percent major; 52.8 percent minor). Ethical themes that comprised a second tier of prominence included those of scientific progress, control/access, and accountability/oversight. The least prominent themes were privacy, public education, and advocacy.ConclusionsThe book has been praised as an opportunity to elevate media discussion of bioethics, but such claims should be re-considered. The relatively narrow focus on informed consent in the media discussion generated by Skloot’s book may limit the ability of ethicists and advocates to elevate attention to donor control, compensation, patenting, privacy, and other ethical issues. Still, ethicists should view the book and a pending major TV film translation as opportunities to highlight through media outreach, consultation exercises and public forums a broader range of bioethical concerns that would otherwise be under-emphasized in news coverage. Such efforts, however, need to be carefully planned and evaluated. (shrink)
Boys, Boyz, Bois concerns questions of ethics, gender and race in popular American images, national discourse and cultural production by and about black men. The book proposes an ethics of masculinity, as ethnics refers to a system of morality and valuation and as ethics refers to a care of the self and ethical subject formation. The texts of analysis include recent films by black/African American filmmakers, gansta rap and hip-hop and black star persona: texts ranging from Blaxploitation and New (...) Black Cinema to contemporary music video to autobiography and the public image of Sidney Poitier. The book is a significant contribution to cultural studies and gender studies and critical race theory. What is distinctive about the book is the question of ethics as a question of race and gender. (shrink)
Fags, Hags and Queer Sisters is a provocative account of the importance of women and cross-gender identification in "gay" male culture. It offers a range of cultural readings from Tennessee William's classic A Streetcar Named Desire and Forster's 'gay' novel Maurice through Pulp Fiction , queer lifestyle magazines, Roseanne , slash fan fiction, and Jarman's Edward II to Almodovar's camp classic Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Theoretically sophisticated, yet passionate, accessible and opinionated, Fags, Hags and Queer (...) Sisters takes issue with many of the sacred cows of contemporary gay politics, and offers a number of new concepts in lesbian and gay theory. (shrink)
Media in Question sets the agenda for a revitalized debate on the hybrid communicative practices that constitute the postmodern media landscape: practices that cross the boundaries between fact and fiction, information and entertainment, public knowledge, and popularculture. In this challenging and provocative collection, the individual contributors rethink key issuesùthe meaning of the public interest, the quality of media performance, and deregulation. In the process they raise questions rarely addressed in normative media theories, for example, the ethics of (...) sports reporting, the moral reasoning in popularculture, and the required professional standards for infotainment genres such as reality television and gossip journalism. Accessible and wide-ranging, The Media in Question will be essential reading for students in mass communication and political communication studies. (shrink)
This collection of essays covers the classical heritage and Islamic culture, classical Arabic science and philosophy, and Muslim religious sciences, showing continuation of Greek and Persian thought as well as original Muslim contributions ...
Figuring Animals is a collection of fifteen essays concerning the representation of animals in literature, the visual arts, philosophy, and cultural practice. At the turn of the new century, it is helpful to reconsider our inherited understandings of the species, some of which are still useful to us. It is also important to look ahead to new understandings and new dialogue, which may contribute to the survival of us all. The contributors to this volume participate in this dialogue in a (...) variety of ways--through personal experience, natural history, cultural studies, philosophical inquiry, art history, literary analysis, film studies, and theoretical imagining, and through a combination of these trains of thought. The essays expose weaknesses in western epistemological frames of reference that for centuries have limited our views and, thus, our experiences of animal being, including our own. (shrink)
In the decades since his death, Adorno's thinking has lost none of its capacity to unsettle the settled, and has proved hugely influential in social and cultural thought. To most people, the entertainment provided by television, radio, film, newspapers, astrology charts and CD players seem harmless enough. For Adorno, however, the culture industry that produces them is ultimately toxic in its effect on the social process. Here, Robert Witkin unpacks Adorno's notoriously difficult critique of popularculture in (...) an engaging and accessible style, looking first at the development of the overarching theories of authority, commodification and negative dialectics within which Adorno's work needs to be seen. This book is an essential guide for understanding one of the key thinkers of our time. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Chapter 1 Acknowledgments -- Chapter 2 Introduction: The Chatter of the Present -- Chapter 3 Definitions of Solitude -- Chapter 4 Distraction: The Flip Side of Engagement -- Chapter 5 Antigone: Literature as "Thinking Apart" -- Chapter 6 The Workshop Model in New York City -- Chapter 7 The Folly of the "Big Idea" -- Chapter 8 The Cult of Success -- Chapter 9 Mass Personalization and the "Underground Man" -- Chapter 10 The Need for Loneliness (...) -- Chapter 11 The Practice of Solitude -- Chapter 12 Discernment and the Public Sphere -- Chapter 13 Conclusion: Setting up Shop -- Chapter 14 Bibliography -- Chapter 15 About the Author -- Chapter 16 Index. (shrink)
The eight essays contained in Philosophical Feminism and PopularCulture explore the portrayal of women and various philosophical responses to that portrayal in contemporary post-civil rights society. The essays examine visual, print, and performance media — stand-up comedy, movies, television, and a blockbuster trilogy of novel. These philosophical feminist analyses of popularculture consider the possibilities, both positive and negative, that popularculture presents for articulating the structure of the social and cultural practices in (...) which gender matters, and for changing these practices if and when they follow from, lead to, or perpetuate discrimination on the basis of gender. The essays bring feminist voices to the conversation about gender where is it taking place and attest to the importance of feminist critique in what is sometimes claimed to be a post-feminist era. (shrink)
At the Intersection of High and Mass Culture analyses the contradictions and interaction between high and low art, with particular reference to Hollywood and European cinema. Written in the essayist, speculative tradition of Walter Benjamin and Theodore Adorno, this study also includes analyses of several key films of the 1980s. Tracing the boundaries of such genres as film noir, science fiction and melodrama, it demonstrates how these genres were radically expanded by such filmmakers as Neil Jordan, Chris Merker (...) and Georges Franju. This work also reflects on kitsch, the star system, racial and gender stereotypes, and the nature of audience participation. While defining the conditions under which the symbiotic relationship between high and mass culture can be cross-fertilising, this study stresses their inevitably contradictory characteristics. (shrink)
Staying for an answer : the untidy process of groping for truth -- The same, only different -- The unity of truth and the plurality of truths -- Coherence, consistency, cogency, congruity, cohesiveness, &c. : remain calm! don't go overboard! -- Not cynicism, but synechism : lessons from classical pragmatism -- Science, economics, "vision" -- The integrity of science : what it means, why it matters -- Scientific secrecy and "spin" : the sad, sleazy story of the trials (...) of remune -- Truth and justice, inquiry and advocacy, science and law -- Trial and error : the Supreme Court's philosophy of science -- An epistemologist among the epidemiologists -- Fallibilism and faith, naturalism and the supernatural, science and religion -- The ideal of intellectual integrity, in life and literature -- After my own heart : Dorothy Sayers's feminism -- Worthwhile lives -- Why I am not an oxymoron -- Formal philosophy? : a plea for pluralism. (shrink)
We live in a culture which, while largely dependent on science for its material welfare, is largely ignorant of the new ideas and perspectives on which science is based. This book examines the true significance of science and technology for society over the last three hundred years. Professor Hanbury Brown's insight and experience have resulted in a novel approach to the discussion of the cultural role of science. After reviewing the history of how science (...) grew to be both useful to, and feared by society, the book traces the same period in the context of new ideas and concepts in scientific research. Later chapters deal with society's current view of science and the need for attitudes to be changed, and then a discussion of the religious dimensions of science. This book aims to clear away some of the popular misconceptions about science and to put in their place a wider and deeper understanding of the nature of science and its value to society. (shrink)
A concern for cultural specificity, the staple of traditional anthropological research, survives the transition to domain-specific accounts of cognitive structuring such as Atran's, and is arguably better off for having made the transition. The identification of domain-specific processes provide us with criteria for sorting cultural differences and integrating cultural concerns within cognitive science.
Machine generated contents note: -- Acknowledgements -- Preface; A.McRobbie -- Notes on Contributors -- Introduction; C.Scharff & R.Gill -- PART I: SEXUAL SUBJECTIVITY AND THE MAKEOVER PARADIGM -- Pregnant Beauty: Maternal Femininities under Neoliberalism; I.Tyler -- The Right to Be Beautiful: Postfeminist Identity and Consumer Beauty Advertising; M.M.Lazar -- Spicing It Up: Sexual Entrepreneurs and The Sex Inspectors; L.Harvey & R.Gill -- '(M)Other-in-Chief: Michelle Obama and the Ideal of Republican Womanhood'; L.Guerrero -- Scourging the Abject Body: Ten Years Younger and (...) Fragmented Femininity under Neoliberalism; E.Tincknell -- PART II: NEGOTIATING POSTFEMINIST MEDIA CULTURE -- Are You Sexy, Flirty, Or A Slut? Exploring 'Sexualisation' and How Teen Girls Perform/Negotiate Digital Sexual Identity on Social Networking Sites; J.Ringrose -- 'Feminism? That's So Seventies': Girls and Young Women Discuss Femininity and Feminism in America's Next Top Model; A.L.Press -- Media 'Sluts': 'Tween' Girls' Negotiations of Postfeminist Sexual Subjectivities in PopularCulture; S.Jackson & T.Vares -- Is 'the Missy' a New Femininity?; J.Kim -- PART III: TEXTUAL COMPLICATIONS -- Of Displaced Desires: Interrogating 'New' Sexualities abd 'New' Spaces in Indian Diasporic Cinema; B.Bose -- Notes on Some Scandals: The Politics of Shame in Vers le Sud; S.Wearing -- The Limits of Cross-Cultural Analogy: Muslim Veiling and 'Western' Fashion and Beauty Practices; C.Pedwell -- PART IV: NEW FEMININITIES: AGENCY AND/AS MAKING DO -- Through the Looking Glass? Sexual Agency and Subjectification Online; F.Attwood -- Reckoning with Prostitutes: Performing Thai Femininity; J.Haritaworn -- Migrant Women Challenging Stereotypical Views on Femininities and Family; U.Erel -- Negotiating Sexual Citizenship: Lesbians and Reproductive Health Care; R.Ryan-Flood -- PART V: NEW FEMINISMS, NEW CHALLENGES -- The New German Feminisms: Of Wetlands and Alpha-Girls; C.Scharff -- The Contradictions of Successful Femininity: Third-Wave Feminism, Postfeminism and 'New' Femininities; S.Budgeon -- Skater Girlhood: Resignifying Femininity, Resignifying Feminism; D.H.Currie, D.M.Kelly & S.Pomerantz -- Will These Emergencies Never End? Some First Thoughts about the Impact of Economic and Security Crises on Everyday Life; G.Bhattacharyya -- Index. (shrink)
Two hundred years ago, Friedrich Schleiermacher took critical issue with Immanuel Kant's intellectual notion of intuition as applied to human nature (Wellmon 2006). He found it necessary to modify—"hermeneutically," as he said—Kant's notion of anthropology by enabling it to include as human the new and strange human tribes Captain Cook found in the Pacific South Seas. A similar hermeneutic move is necessary if physics is to include the local contextual empirical syntheses of relativity and quantum physics. In this hermeneutical revision (...) the synthesis is formed around the notion of a Hilbert Vector Space as the universal grammar of physics, adding to it the dynamic of the Schrödinger equation, and representing empirical "observables" by projection operators that map the subspaces of definite measurable values. Among the set of observable projection operators, some pairs share the same subspace, commute with one another, and share a common laboratory setting. Other pairs do not share this property and are described as being mutually complementary. Complementary symmetries introduce into the discursive language of physics the commonsense notion of contextuality. The new synthesis, proposed by Eugene Wigner, John von Neumann, and (in his own way) Paul Dirac, brought physics into the community of common language and established it as a work of general human achievement. 1. (shrink)
Yoga has come to be an icon of Indian culture and civilization, and it is widely regarded as being timeless and unchanging. Based on extensive ethnographic research and an analysis of both ancient and modern texts, Yoga in Modern India challenges this popular view by examining the history of yoga, focusing on its emergence in modern India and its dramatically changing form and significance in the twentieth century. Joseph Alter argues that yoga's transformation into a popular activity (...) idolized for its health value is based on modern ideas about science and medicine. Alter centers his analysis on an interpretation of the seminal work of Swami Kuvalayananda, one of the chief architects of the Yoga Renaissance in the early twentieth century. From this point of orientation he explores current interpretations of yoga and considers how practitioners of yogic medicine and fitness combine the ideas of biology, physiology, and anatomy with those of metaphysics, transcendence, and magical power. The first serious ethnographic history of modern yoga in India, this fluently written book is must reading not only for students and scholars but also practitioners who seek a deeper understanding of how yoga developed over time into the exceedingly popular phenomenon it is today. (shrink)
I distinguish between the nineteenth- to twentieth-century (modernist) tendency to rehabilitate (white) femininity from the abject popular, and the twentieth- to twenty-first-century (postmodernist) tendency to rehabilitate the popular from abject white femininity. Careful attention to the role of nineteenth-century racial politics in Nietzsche's Gay Science shows that his work uses racial nonwhiteness to counter the supposedly deleterious effects of (white) femininity (passivity, conformity, and so on). This move—using racial nonwhiteness to rescue pop culture from white femininity—is (...) a common twentieth- and twenty-first-century practice. I use Nietzsche to track shifts from classical to neo-liberal methods of appropriating “difference.” Hipness is one form of this neoliberal approach to difference, and it is exemplified by the approach to race, gender, and pop culture in Vincente Minnelli's film The Band Wagon. I expand upon Robert Gooding-Williams's reading of this film, and argue that mid-century white hipness dissociates the popular from femininity and whiteness, and values the popular when performed by white men “acting black.” Hipness instrumentalizes femininity and racial nonwhiteness so that any benefits that might come from them accrue only to white men, and not to the female and male artists of color whose works are appropriated. (shrink)
In 1996, Alan Sokal, a Professor of Physics at New York University, wrote a paper for the cultural-studies journal Social Text, entitled: 'Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity'. It was reviewed, accepted and published. Sokal immediately confessed that the whole article was a hoax - a cunningly worded paper designed to expose and parody the style of extreme postmodernist criticism of science. The story became front-page news around the world and triggered fierce and wide-ranging controversy. (...) -/- Sokal is one of the most powerful voices in the continuing debate about the status of evidence-based knowledge. In Beyond the Hoax he turns his attention to a new set of targets - pseudo-science, religion, and misinformation in public life. 'Whether my targets are the postmodernists of the left, the fundamentalists of the right, or the muddle-headed of all political and apolitical stripes, the bottom line is that clear thinking, combined with a respect for evidence, are of the utmost importance to the survival of the human race in the twenty-first century.' The book also includes a hugely illuminating annotated text of the Hoax itself, and a reflection on the furore it provoked. (shrink)
Circulation of ideas among philosophers is the core of Philosophy itself. The lack of this circulation can lead to obscurantism and cultural provincialism. The latter, for instance, afflicted Italy during the first half of the 20th century because of the close-minded neo-idealism of Croce and the mutual indifference of science and philosophy. Antonio Gramsci tried to overcome the problem of provincialism. In this essay, I explain how he attempted to overcome it. I focus on his conceptual categories like heg (...) emony, organic intellectual, national-popular and so on. (shrink)
The Congress for Cultural Freedom is remembered as a paramount example of the “cultural cold wars.” In this paper, I discuss the ways in which this powerful transnational organization sought to promote “science studies” as a distinct – and politically relevant – area of expertise, and part of the CCF broader agenda to offer a renewed framework for liberalism. By means of its Study Groups, international conferences and its periodicals, such as Minerva, the Congress developed into an influential forum (...) for examining the ways Big Science impacted the relations between science, society, and politics, thus constituting a semi-institutional niche for Science Studies before its professionalization within academia during the 1970s. I argue that the Congress contributed to the construction of public space in which the relations between science, society and politics were debated, and science was reconceptualized as a social activity. The vision of “science studies” the CCF-associated intellectuals promulgated was different from the science studies we know today. Yet, this alternative vision, in which the issues of science politics appeared inseparable from those of science policy, science organization, and science governance, constituted the “pre-history” of science studies today. (shrink)
In this article I propose that a postphenomenological approach to science and technology can open new analytical understandings of how material artifacts, embodiment and social agency co-produce learned perceptions of objects. In particle physics, physicists work in huge groups of scientists from many cultural backgrounds. Communication to some extent depends on material hermeneutics of flowcharts, models and other visual presentations. As it appears in an examination of physicists’ scrutiny of visual renderings of different parts of a detector, perceptions vary (...) in relation to social and bodily experiences. Vision in physics has seemingly allowed an objective perception at a convenient distance of the body. This article challenges this view and proposes that the variations can be analysed as cultural at two echelons with the help of a postphenomenological approach combined with cultural psychological theory of artifacts. A third echelon presumably constitutes the phenomenological limit to culture in science. Even this last resort of subjectivity can be embraced by a postphenomenological approach. The process of culturalization in physics can be defined as a process of situating knowledge in a body whose continuous learning of micro-and macro perceptions makes scientific renderings unstable. Taken together postphenomenology, following the distinctions between body one and body two, and combined with cultural psychological learning theory, enables new insight into what constitutes culture in science. (shrink)
This book argues for the ethical relevancy of contemporary fiction at the beginning of the 21st century. The writers discussed in Contemporary Fiction and the Ethics of Modern Culture pay close attention to the concrete realities of the everyday world, such as the feelings of isolation created in urban environments; the roles played by sports, drugs, advertising, and the media; and the widespread use of computer, telecommunication, and entertainment technologies. Through reading novels by such writers as David Foster Wallace, (...) Richard Powers, and Irvine Welsh, this book looks at how these works seek to transform the ways that readers live in the world. This book should appeal to scholars of contemporary literature, persons interested in cultural studies, critics interested in ethics, scholars of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, students of contemporary literature, and general readers of contemporary literature. (shrink)
Thought experiments are employed for a number of reasons and in many different disciplines. This paper explores the work of Novalis in relation to the method of thought experiments in theology, with a special focus on the encounter between Christianity and the science of his day. In a first step I revisit the ongoing philosophical discussion on thought experiments in order to highlight the lack of interest in the literary features of thought experiments. Step two is dedicated to a (...) discussion of the work of Novalis as far as his metaphysics of phantasy and imagination is concerned as it plays out in his romantic poetry. Building on the results of this discussion, in a third step I discuss the relationship (a) between thought experiments in theology and other disciplines, (b) between current discussions of thought experiments and previous periods of philosophical investigation into the ‘laboratory of the mind’, (c) between Christianity and science, and (d) between literary fiction and cognition. (shrink)
Ralph Burhoe developed his proposals for a social reformation at a time when the “two cultures” debate was still active. It is suggested here that Burhoe, sharing with his contemporaries an understanding of culture that was Western and normative in character, overlooked the distinction between the culture of the elites and popularculture, and consequently between religion as presented by theologians and church officials and popular religion. Therefore, his proposals for the revitalization of traditional religions, (...) even if implemented, would not work. Some contradictions within his own program are pointed out, and the social role of the sciences after World War II, as well as the ambiguities of their presence in the so-called underdeveloped nations, is analyzed. As a positive conclusion, it is suggested that Burhoe's main contribution should be sought, not in his outline for a social reformation, but in his role as an organizer of the dialogue between religion and science. (shrink)
In Beauty and Revolution in Science, James McAllister advances a rationalistic picture of science in which scientific progress is explained in terms of aesthetic evaluations of scientific theories. Here I present a new model of aesthetic evaluations by revising McAllister’s core idea of the aesthetic induction. I point out that the aesthetic induction suffers from anomalies and theoretical inconsistencies and propose a model free from such problems. The new model is based, on the one hand, on McAllister’s original (...) model and on further developments by Theo Kuipers in his “Beauty, a Road to the Truth?”. On the other hand, it is based on empirical findings about affection and emotion, and a naturalistic aesthetic theory. The new model is thus a naturalistic model with a wider explanatory range and much more internal consistency that McAllister’s. (shrink)
In this pioneering new book, Sandra Harding and Robert Figueroa bring together an important collection of original essays by leading philosophers exploring an extensive range of diversity issues for the philosophy of science and technology. The essays gathered in this volume extend current philosophical discussion of science and technology beyond the standard feminist and gender analyses that have flourished over the past two decades, by bringing a thorough and truly diverse set of cultural, racial, and ethical concerns to (...) bear on questioning in these areas. Science and Other Cultures charts important new directions in ongoing discussions of science and technology, and makes a significant contribution to both scholarly and teaching resources available in the field. (shrink)
This paper gives a philosophical outline of the initial foundations of politics as presented in the work of Plato and argues why this traditional philosophical approach can no longer serve as the foundation of politics. The argumentation is mainly based on the work of Latour (1993, 1997, 1999a, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008) and consists of five parts. In the first section I elaborate on the initial categorization of politics and science as represented by Plato in his Republic. In the (...) second section I discuss the gap between humans and non-humans and how they are tied together in actual real life political topics. In the third section I elaborate on the concepts of political and scientific discourse and how they are thought of as separated fields based on the ancient constitution of human society. In the fourth section I link the concepts of matter of fact and matter of concern. In a final section I present a redefinition of the nature of politics as represented in the work of Bruno Latour as an alternative foundation for the study of political systems. (shrink)
Hermeneutics, or interpretation, is concerned with the generation, transmission, and acceptance of meaning within the lifeworld, and was the original method of the human sciences stemming, from F. Schleiermacher and W. Dilthey. The `hermeneutic philosophy' refers mostly to Heidegger. This paper addresses natural science from the perspective of Heidegger's analysis of meaning and interpretation. Its purpose is to incorporate into the philosophy of science those aspects of historicality, culture, and tradition that are absent from the traditional analysis (...) of theory and explanation, to re-orient the current discussion about scientific realism around the hermeneutics of meaning and truth in science, and to establish some relationship between the current philosophy of natural science and hermeneutical philosophy. The paper has particular relevance to the history and social studies of science and technology. (shrink)
The thesis that the practice and evaluation of science requires social value-judgment, that good science is not value-free or value-neutral but value-laden, has been gaining acceptance among philosophers of science. The main proponents of the value-ladenness of science rely on either arguments from the underdetermination of theory by evidence or arguments from inductive risk. Both arguments share the premise that we should only consider values once the evidence runs out, or where it leaves uncertainty; they adopt (...) a criterion of lexical priority of evidence over values. The motivation behind lexical priority is to avoid reaching conclusions on the basis of wishful thinking rather than good evidence. The problem of wishful thinking is indeed real---it would be an egregious error to adopt beliefs about the world because they comport with how one would prefer the world to be. I will argue, however, that giving lexical priority to evidential considerations over values is a mistake, and unnecessary for adequately avoiding the problem of wishful thinking. Values have a deeper role to play in science than proponents of the underdetermination and inductive risk arguments have suggested. (shrink)
In this engaging book, Douglas Anderson begins with the assumption that philosophy—the Greek love of wisdom—is alive and well in American culture. At the same time, professional philosophy remains relatively invisible. Anderson traverses American life to find places in the wider culture where professional philosophy in the distinctively American tradition can strike up a conversation. How might American philosophers talk to us about our religious experience, or political engagement, or literature—or even, popular music? Anderson’s second aim is (...) to find places where philosophy happens in nonprofessional guises—cultural places such as country music, rock’n roll, and Beat literature. He not only enlarges the tradition of American philosophers such as John Dewey and William James by examining lesser-known figures such as Henry Bugbee and Thomas Davidson, but finds the theme and ideas of American philosophy in some unexpected places, such as the music of Hank Williams, Tammy Wynette, and Bruce Springsteen, and the writingsof Jack Kerouac.The idea of “philosophy Americana” trades on the emergent genre of “music Americana,” rooted in traditional themes and styles yet engaging our present experiences. The music is “popular” but not thoroughly driven by economic considerations, and Anderson seeks out an analogous role for philosophical practice, where philosophy and popularculture are co-adventurers in the life of ideas. Philosophy Americana takes seriously Emerson’s quest for the extraordinary in the ordinary and James’s belief that popular philosophy can still be philosophy. (shrink)
In this essay I raise a dilemma for science journalists based on recent skepticism raised by scientists about the credibility of published results in many fields. Due to systematic biases in the publication record, most published findings in these fields (including psychology and biological subfields) are almost certainly false. So should science reporters stop reporting these findings, given their mission to report verified truths? Or should they report the findings while saying they are almost certainly false?
On origins -- Adorning the feminine, or the language of fans -- Salon poets, the Bécquer craze, and Romanticism -- Textual economies : the embellishment of credit -- Fabricating history -- The dream of negation -- The margins of home : modernist cursilería -- The culture of nostalgia, or the language of flowers -- Coda : the metaphor of culture in post-Franco Spain.
This survey of major developments in North American philosophy of science begins with the mid-1960s consolidation of the disciplinary synthesis of internalist history and philosophy of science (HPS) as a response to criticisms of logical empiricism. These developments are grouped for discussion under the following headings: historical metamethodologies, scientific realisms, philosophies of the special sciences, revivals of empiricism, cognitivist naturalisms, social epistemologies, feminist theories of science, studies of experiment and the disunity of science, and studies of (...)science as practice and culture. A unifying theme of the survey is the relation between historical metamethodologists and scientific realists, which dominated philosophical work in the late 1970s. I argue that many of the alternative cognitive naturalisms, social epistemologies, and feminist theories that have been proposed can be understood as analogues to the differences between metamethodological theories of scientific rationality and realist accounts of successful reference to real causal processes. Recent work on experiment, scientific practice, and the culture of science may, however, challenge the underlying conception of the field according to which realism and historical rationalism (or their descendants) are the important alternatives available, and thus may take philosophy of science in new directions. (shrink)
Summary Philosophy of science is, in Italy, a relatively young field of research. The foreword of the paper gives some explanation of this fact, which is the consequence of a particular situation of Italian culture between the two world wars. When problems in this field began to be studied after the war, they were practically imported matter, and a rather long time was necessary before an original research started in this country. The beginning of it was marked by (...) a profound interest in mathematical logic and in the foundations of mathematics. More recently, also other topics in the philosophy of science (which is frequently called epistemology in Italy) have began to be studied, such as philosophy of physics, foundations of probability and inductive logic, philosophical problems of cybernetics, etc. The article gives a survey of these developments and offers an outline of the positions upheld by some more significant representatives of present philosophy of science in Italy, in the last section. (shrink)