Recent developments in literary theory, such as structuralism and deconstruction, have come under attack for neglecting history, while historically-based approaches have been criticized for failing to take account of the problems inherent in their methodological foundations. This collection of essays is unique in that it focuses on the relation between post-structuralism and historical (especially Marxist) literary theory and criticism. The volume includes a deconstructive reading of Marx, essays that relate history to the philosophical and institutional context, (...) and a number of studies of particular texts, literary and non-literary, which pose the question of history and literary theory with particular force. (shrink)
The problem of explaining consciousness today depends on the meaning of language: the ordinary language of consciousness in which we define and express our sensations, thoughts, dreams and memories. Paul Livingston argues that this contemporary problem arises from a quest that developed over the twentieth century, and that historical analysis provides new resources for understanding and resolving it. Accordingly, Livingston traces the application of characteristic practices of analytic philosophy to problems about the relationship of experience to linguistic meaning.
In History After Lacan, Teresa Brennan argues that Jacques Lacan was not an ahistorical post-structuralist. She tells the story of a social psychosis, beginning with a discussion of Lacan's neglected theory of history which argued that we are in the grip of a psychotic's era which began in the seventeenth century and climaxes in the present. By extending and elaborating on Lacan's theory, Brennan develops a general theory of modernity. Contrary to postmodern assumptions, she argues, we need a (...) general historical explanation. An understanding of historical dynamics is essential if we are to make the connections between the outstanding facts of modernity--ethnocentrism, the relation between the sexes, and ecological catastrophe. A challenging feminist, interdisciplinary study, History After Lacan will be essential reading for social, cultural, and political theorists, historians, psychoanalysts, and literary theorists. (shrink)
Anthropology is a discipline very conscious of its history. Alan Barnard has written a clear, detailed overview of anthropological theory that brings out the historical contexts of the great debates, tracing the genealogies of theories and schools of thought. His book covers the precursors of anthropology; evolutionism in all its guises; diffusionism and culture area theories, functionalism and structural-functionalism; action-centered theories; processual and Marxist perspectives; the many faces of relativism, structuralism and poststructuralism; and recent interpretive and postmodernist viewpoints. (...) This is a balanced and judicious survey, which also considers the problems involved in assessing anthropological theories. (shrink)
The use of the category of influence in the history of ideas has been criticized by Skinner for its failure to provide explanatory links between the ideas and theorists it purports to connect and by Condren for its failure to respect the agency of thinkers. Bevir and Collingwood support the notion of influence and argue that it does accommodate the agency of thinkers. The arguments of Condren and Skinner point to significant issues and problems in the practice of the (...)history of ideas but it is argued that these points do not count decisively against employing the notion of influence. The defence of influence by Collingwood and Bevir is seen to need qualification in the light of post-structuralist arguments that challenge the monopoly of meaning that is claimed for authors of texts in the history of ideas. The article concludes by urging that the category of influence is compatible with a nuanced account of agency. (shrink)
I examine the consistency of Kant's notion of moral progress as found in his philosophy of history. To many commentators, Kant's very idea of moral development has seemed inconsistent with basic tenets of his critical philosophy. This idea has seemed incompatible with his claims that the moral law is unconditionally and universally valid, that moral agency is noumenal and atemporal, and that all humans are equally free. Against these charges, I argue not only that Kant's notion of moral development (...) is consistent, but also that the assumption of the possibility of moral progress is indispensible for Kant's moral theory. (shrink)
Structural realism has recently re-entered mainstream discussions in the philosophy of science. The central notion of structure, however, is contested by both advocates and critics. This paper briefly reviews currently prominent structuralist accounts en route to proposing a metaphysics of structure that is capable of supporting the epistemic aspirations of realists, and that is immune to the charge most commonly levelled against structuralism. This account provides an alternative to the existing epistemic and ontic forms of the position, incorporating elements (...) of both. Structures are here identified with relations between first order, causal properties: properties that confer specific dispositions for relations. This form of structuralism constitutes an explicit proposal for what seem implicit structuralist tendencies in sophisticated but more traditional characterizations of realism. An outline of the proposal's response to the anti-realist's pessimistic induction on the history of scientific theories is considered. (shrink)
Totally revised and updated, written especially for students, the third edition of Geography – History and Concepts is the definitive undergraduate introduction to the history, philosophy and methodology of Human Geography. Accessible and comprehensive, the work comprises five sections: - What is Geography?: a historical overview of the discipline and an explanation of its organization - The Foundations of Geography: examines Geography from Antiquity to the early modern period; the discussion includes detailed explanations of environmental determinism; the French (...) School; landscape; and regional studies - Paradigms and Revolutions: includes an analysis of Kuhn’s paradigm of scientific knowledge that introduces the discussion of the quantitative revolution in the late sixties – this section examines the new human geography, as well as reviewing criticisms of quantification - Positivism and its Critics: defines positivism and empiricism and offers a comprehensive expostion of humanist and structuralist criticisms of these methodologies; concludes with a critical discussion of structuration theory, realism and postmodernism - Processes in Place and Space: an introduction to core themes and concepts in current geographical though: including space, place, and feminism. Illustrated throughout, with summaries, notes for further reading and a concept glossary of Geography – History and Concepts will be essential reading for undergraduates in Geography. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to argue that Kant's philosophy of biology has crucial implications for our understanding of his philosophy of history, and that overlooking these implications leads to a fundamental misconstruction of his views. More precisely, I will show that Kant's philosophy of history is modelled on his philosophy of biology due to the fact that the development of the human species shares a number of peculiar features with the functioning of organisms, these features entailing (...) important methodological characteristics. From this main claim will follow three further claims: (1) Kant's teleological view of history is not simply based on ethical considerations that have to do with the moral progress of the human species; rather, it stems from his conception of teleology as developed in his philosophy of biology. (2) Kant's philosophy of history allows for the practice of scientific history. In this sense, Kant's view of history is not merely teleological but involves a mechanical (and thus empirical) element. (3) Just as teleology is useful for furthering mechanical accounts of biological phenomena, teleological history is useful for scientific history. (shrink)
What are the relationships between philosophy and the history of philosophy, the history of science and the philosophy of science? This selection of essays by Lorenz Krüger (1932-1994) presents exemplary studies on the philosophy of John Locke and Immanuel Kant, on the history of physics and on the scope and limitations of scientific explanation, and a realistic understanding of science and truth. In his treatment of leading currents in 20th century philosophy, Krüger presents new and original arguments (...) for a deeper understanding of the continuity and dynamics of the development of scientific theory. These result in significant consequences for the claim of the sciences that they understand reality in a rational manner. The case studies are complemented by fundamental thoughts on the relationship between philosophy, science, and their common history. (shrink)
Analytic philosophers are often said to be indifferent or even hostile to the history of philosophy--that is, not to the idea of history of philosophy as such, but as a species of the genus philosophy rather than history. It is argued that such an attitude is actually inconsistent with commonplace positions within the philosophies of mind that are typical within analytic philosophy.
I show the sense in which the concept of history as a human science affects our theory of the natural sciences and, therefore, our theory of the unity of the physical and human sciences. The argument proceeds by way of reviewing the effect of the Darwinian contribution regarding teleologism and of post-Darwinian paleonanthropology on the transformation of the primate members of Homo sapiens into societies of historied selves. The strategy provides a novel way of recovering the unity of the (...) sciences: by construing the physical sciences themselves as human sciences - and, therefore, as themselves historied. (shrink)
Abstract In this essay I trace the role of history in the philosophy of art from the early twentieth century to the present, beginning with the rejection of history by formalists like Clive Bell. I then attempt to show how the arguments of people like Morris Weitz and Arthur Danto led to a re-appreciation of history by philosophers of art such as Richard Wollheim, Jerrold Levinson, Robert Stecker and others.
To date, no satisfactory account of the connection between natural-scientific and historical explanation has been given, and philosophers seem to have largely given up on the problem. This paper is an attempt to resolve this old issue and to sort out and clarify some areas of historical explanation by developing and applying a method that will be called “pragmatic explication” involving the construction of definitions that are justified on pragmatic grounds. Explanations in general can be divided into “dynamic” and “static” (...) explanations, which are those that essentially require relations across time and those that do not, respectively. The problem of assimilating historical explanations concerns dynamic explanation, so a general analysis of dynamic explanation that captures both the structure of natural-scientific and historical explanation is offered. This is done in three stages: In the first stage, pragmatic explication is introduced and compared to other philosophical methods of explication. In the second stage pragmatic explication is used to tie together a series of definitions that are introduced in order to establish an account of explanation. This involves an investigation of the conditions that play the role in historiography that laws and statistical regularities play in the natural sciences. The essay argues that in the natural sciences, as well as in history, the model of explanation presented represents the aims and overarching structure of actual causal explanations offered in those disciplines. In the third stage the system arrived at in the preceding stage is filled in with conditions available to and relevant for historical inquiry. Further, the nature and treatment of causes in history and everyday life are explored and related to the system being proposed. This in turn makes room for a view connecting aspects of historical explanation and what we generally take to be causal relations. (shrink)
Although first published in 1969, the methodological views advanced in Quentin Skinner's “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” remain relevant today. In his article Skinner suggests that it would be inappropriate to even attempt to write the history of any idea or concept. In support of this view, Skinner advances two arguments, one derived from the philosophy of the later Wittgenstein and the other from that of J. L. Austin. In this paper I focus on the (...) first of these arguments. I claim that the conclusion which Skinner draws from this particular argument does not necessarily follow and that an alternative assessment of the methodological significance of Wittgenstein's philosophy for historians of ideas is possible. On this alternative view, far from ruling out conceptual history, an appeal to the view of meaning set out in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations leads to a quite different conclusion, namely that the writing of such a history is arguably a necessary precondition for the elucidation of the meaning of a number of the core concepts in the canon of the history of political thought. Skinner's views have changed somewhat since 1969. Indeed, from the mid 1970s onwards he came to relax the strict opposition to the idea of conceptual history to which he was then committed. The paper concludes by noting that this evolution in Skinner's thinking has made him much more sympathetic than anybody reading “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” would have imagined to the research project of the Begriffgeschichte School of conceptual history. (shrink)
One of the most influential and significant developments in the philosophy of language over the last thirty years has been the rise of externalist conceptions of content. This essay aims to explore the implications of a form of externalism, largely derived from the work of Donald Davidson, for thinking about history, and in so doing to suggest one way in which contemporary philosophy of language may engage with contemporary philosophy of history. Much of the discussion focuses on the (...) elaboration of the externalism that is at issue, along with the holistic approach to content with which it is connected. It will be argued that such holistic externalism is itself thoroughly in keeping with the very character of historical inquiry itself, and can be seen to provide an underpinning to certain contemporary developments in historical thinking. (shrink)
Contemporary caution against anachronism in intellectual history, and the currently momentous theoretical emphasis on subjectivity in the philosophy of mind, are two prevailing conditions that set puzzling constraints for studies in the history of philosophical psychology. The former urges against assuming ideas, motives, and concepts that are alien to the historical intellectual setting under study, and combined with the latter suggests caution in relying on our intuitions regarding subjectivity due to the historically contingent characterizations it has attained in (...) contemporary philosophy of mind. In the face of these conditions, our paper raises a question of what we call non-textual (as opposed to contextual) standards of interpretation of historical texts, and proceeds to explore subjectivity as such a standard. Non-textual standards are defined as (heuristic) postulations of features of the world or our experience of it that we must suppose to be immune to historical variation in order to understand a historical text. Although the postulation of such standards is often so obvious that the fact of our doing so is not noticed at all, we argue that the problems in certain special cases, such as that of subjectivity, force us to pay attention to the methodological questions involved. Taking into account both recent methodological discussion and the problems inherent in two de facto denials of the relevance of subjectivity for historical theories, we argue that there are good grounds for the adoption of subjectivity as a non-textual standard for historical work in philosophical psychology. (shrink)
Philosophers' reflections on history have been dominated for decades by two themes: representation and memory. On both of these accounts, historical inquiry is divided by a certain gap from what it seeks to find or wants to know, and its activity is seen by philosophers as that of bridging this gap. Against this background, the concept of experience, in spite of its apparent rootedness in the present, can be revived as a means of thinking about our connection to the (...) past. After examining variants on the concept of experience, with special attention to its temporality, I argue in this essay that experience can be said to furnish a connection to the past that underlies both memory and representation. (shrink)
Abstract Contrary to most modern interpretations, in the early modern period, history was an indispensable resource for many philosophers. The different uses of history by Bacon, Gassendi, Locke, and Hume are explored to establish the role of history as a resource in early-modern philosophy.
The current paradigm in medicine generally distinguishes between genetic and environmental causes of disease. Although the word paradigm has become a commonplace, the theories of Thomas Kuhn have not received much attention in the journals of medicine. Kuhn's structuralist method differs radically from the daily activities of the scientific method itself. Using linguistic theory, this essay offers a structuralist reading of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Our purpose is to highlight the similarities between these structuralist models of science (...) and language. In part, we focus on the logic that enables Kuhn to assert the priority of perception over interpretation in the history of science. To illustrate some of these issues, we refer to the distinction between environmental and genetic causes of disease. While the activity of scientific research results in the revision of concepts in science, the production of significant differences that shape our knowledge is in part a social and linguistic process. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that, in at least two cases - his discussions of the temporal precedence o f polytheism over monotheism and of the origins of civil society - we see Hume consigning to historical development certain aspects of reason which, as a comparison with Locke will show, have sometimes been held to be uniform. In the first of these cases Hume has recourse to claims about the general historical development of human thought. In the second case, the (...) origin of the civil institution of justice and government is not linked directly to external circumstances and the principles of human nature, as it is in contractarian theories, but makes a detour through the historical acquisition of certain concepts. Because Hume's position does not conform in any simple sense to Dugald Stewart's 'incontrovertible logical maxim' that the capacities of the human mind have been the same in all ages, Stewart's account of the method of conjectural history is, in any simple sense, inadequate as a description of Hume's practice. (shrink)
Among many important claims, Allen Wood in Kant's Ethical ought proposes that Kant's philosophy of history can be grasped as a "naturalist" approach, grounding human nature in biology. I suggest some reservations. First, I question Kant's conception of biology as (a still emergent) science. Second, I question Kant's extension of his notion of "natural predisposition" to reason and freedom. Third, I question the naturalism of Kant's philosophy of history by suggesting the excessive role providence must play in Kant's (...) account. The upshot is to find Kant's philosophy of history one of the less persuasive elements in his system of thought, despite Wood's energetic effort at a contemporary reconstruction. (shrink)
This article analyzes how the relationship between philosophy and history has been conceived within the study of political thought, and how different ways of conceiving this relationship in turn have affected the definition of the subject matter as well as the choice of methods within this field. My main argument is that the ways in which we conceive this relationship is dependent on the assumptions we make about the ontological status of concepts and their meaning. I start by discussing (...) the widespread view that philosophy and history ought to be viewed as distinct if not incompatible ways of studying political thought, and then go on to describe the view that philosophical and historical approaches should be conceived of as identical or inseparable. I end this article by suggesting that these approaches rather should be viewed as mutually constitutive for the benefit of a more coherent study of political thought. (shrink)
Recent historiography of 19th century biology supports the revision of two traditional doctrines about the history of biology. First, the most important and widespread biological debate around the time of Darwin was not evolution versus creation, but biological functionalism versus structuralism. Second, the idealist and typological structuralist theories of the time were not particularly anti-evolutionary. Typological theories provided argumentation and evidence that was crucial to the refutation of Natural Theological creationism. The contrast between functionalist and structuralist approaches to (...) biology continues today, and the historical misunderstanding of 19th century typological biology may be one of its effects. This historical case can shed light on current controversies regarding the relevance of developmental biology to evolution. (shrink)
Abstract This paper argues that history of economics has a fruitful, underappreciated role to play in the development of economics, especially when understood as a policy science. This goes against the grain of the last half century during which economics, which has undergone a formal revolution, has distanced itself from its `literary' past and practices precisely with the aim to be a more successful policy science. The paper motivates the thesis by identifying and distinguishing four kinds of reflexivity in (...) economics. The main thesis of this paper is that because these forms of reflexivity are not eliminable, the history of economics must play a constitutive role in economics (and graduate education within economics). An assumption that I clarify in this paper is that the history of economics ought to be part of the subject matter studied by economics when they are interested in policy science. Even if one does not accept the conclusion, the fourfold classification of reflexivity might hold independent interest. The paper is divided in two parts. First, by reflecting on the writings of George Stigler, Paul Samuelson, George and Milton Friedman, I offer a stylized historical introduction to and conceptualization of the themes of this paper. In particular, I identify various historically influential arguments and strategies that reduced the role of history of economics within the economics discipline. In it I also canvass six arguments that try to capture the cost to economics (understood as a science) for sidelining the history of economics from within the discipline. A sub-text of the introduction is that for contingent reasons, post World War II economics evolved into a policy science. Second, by drawing on the work of Kenneth Boulding, in particular, George Soros, Thomas Merton, Gordon Tullock, I distinguish between four species of reflexivity. These are used to then strengthen the argument for the constitutive role of the history of economics within the economics profession. In particular, I argue that so-called Kuhn-losses are especially pernicious when faced with policy choices under so-called Knightian uncertainty. (shrink)
This paper tries to show how the Fregean semantic framework, especially the notions of sense and tone, can be used to explain certain features of history. Following Michael Dummett's interpretation of Gottlob Frege's notion of meaning, it is possible to conceive of historical works as proposing particular modes of presentation of past events. In fact, alternative historical works about the same past events could be viewed as differing in what sense and tone they express. In this paper, I first (...) outline some of the points and distinctions made by Frege. Second, I examine how the notions of sense, reference, and tone can be applied in semantic analysis of historical work. Finally, I point to a certain similarity between the Fregean framework and some of the views presented in the recent philosophy of history. My account suggests how to make use of some of the classical insights of Frege when dealing with the semantic issues of historical work. (shrink)
Underlying this article is the conviction that social scientists typically take on board a too restrictive concept of knowledge acquisition. The paper propounds a new concept of knowledge acquisition, one which is self-referential (i.e. which affects one's presuppositions) and which draws upon the unfamiliar to reveal and undercut the familiar. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, it is to show that this concept of knowledge acqui sition is already anticipated by Foucault, that it is a major concern of (...) his, and that it is a common thread throughout his work. Consequently, a new light can be thrown on both Foucault's archaeology and his genealogy: both are directed towards a self-referential form of knowledge, and as such the two periods are shown to have more in common than conventionally assumed. Second (and conversely), the aim of the paper is to elucidate this self-referential type of knowledge by showing how it is used by Foucault. Key Words: archaeology Foucault genealogy history methodology Nietzsche past philosophy of social sciences present structuralism. (shrink)
Introduction -- Marx and postwar French philosophy -- A writer full of affects : Marx through Lyotard -- Messianic without messianism : Marx through Derrida -- The history of the present : Marx through Foucault -- Becoming revolutionary : Marx through Deleuze -- Marx through post-structuralism.
In this paper, I show how the phenomenological and hermeneutic traditions and method converge on their treatment of the historical subject. Thinkers from both traditions claim that subjectivity is shaped by a historical worldview. Each tradition provides an account of how these worldviews are shaped, and thus how essentially historical subjective experience is molded. I argue that both traditions, although offering helpful ways of understanding the way history shapes subjectivity, go too far in their epistemic claims for the superiority (...) of subjective over positivist or academic history I propose that although the phenomenological/ hermeneutic approach to historical subjectivity is valuable for understanding both history and human nature, it cannot and ought not replace academic or what I will call ‘critical’ history. By showing the importance of historicity, and the force of historical consciousness on our actions, philosophers of history in these traditions expose the epistemic and perhaps even ethical requirement to engage in a rigorous critical history, one that recognizes the importance of historical consciousness. Such critical history is necessary to move beyond the subjective horizon of history as experienced to understand how events shaped this historical horizon. (shrink)
The paper examines Lévi-Strauss' criticisms of Sartre's conception of dialectical reason and history as presented in the last chapter of La Pensée Sauvage , suggesting that these criticisms are misplaced. Sartre's notion of reason and history in the Critique is much closer to structuralist accounts than Lévi-Strauss seems to recognize, but it differs in placing a strong emphasis on activity and praxis in place of the latter's passive conception of reason. The active role of the inquirer in structuralist (...) thought is examined using Roland Barthes' account of "The Structuralist Activity," which is shown to have important affinities with Sartre's own conception of the relation of structure and praxis in the Critique . I then briefly consider a modified conception of the role of history in structuralism expressed by Lévi-Strauss in the mid-seventies, suggesting that his altered position still fails to recognize the important role of praxis in structuralist accounts of history. I conclude by suggesting that Lévi-Strauss' criticisms are nonetheless important for illustrating the "Critical" character of Sartre's Critique. (shrink)
This article entitled “History's `So it seems'” explores the potential of phenomenology for the framing of histories which privilege partcipant perspectives. The theory agenda of the article adapts insights drawn from Heidegger's ontological hermeneutic of Da-sein - the human condition of being-there and being-aware (or not aware). The theory agenda also adapts Heidegger's readings of Heraclitus. The practical agenda of the article illustrates this potential of Heidegger's phenomenology for history by contrasting `so it once seemed' senses of the (...) Emperor Julian the Apostate's Roman pagan self-hood. The contrasts are autobiographical (Julian's Misopogon ), contemporary biographical (Ammianus Marcellinus's history), and long-lag biographical (Gore Vidal's novel avowedly constrained by the sources). (shrink)
There is no doubt that periodization is a rather effective method of data ordering and analysis, but it deals with exceptionally complex types of processual and temporal phenomena and thus it simplifies historical reality. Many scholars emphasize the great importance of periodization for the study of history. In fact, any periodization suffers from one-sidedness and certain deviations from reality. However, the number and significance of such deviations can be radically diminished as the effectiveness of periodization is directly connected with (...) its author's understanding of the rules and peculiarities of this methodological procedure. In this paper we would like to suggest a model of periodization of history based on our theory of historical process. We shall also demonstrate some possibilities of mathematical modeling for the problems concerning the macroperiodization of the world historical process. This analysis identifies a number of cycles within this process and suggests its generally hyperexponential shape, which makes it possible to propose a number of forecasts concerning the forthcoming decades. (shrink)
There is a pervasive contrast in the early natural history writings of the co-discoverers of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin. In his writings from South America and the Malay Archipelago (1848-1852, 1854-1862). Wallace consistently emphasized species and genera, and separated these descriptions from his rarer and briefer discussions of individual organisms. In contrast, Darwin's writings during the Beagle voyage (1831-1836) emphasized individual organisms, and mingled descriptions of individuals and groups. The contrast is explained by the different (...) practices of the two naturalists in the field. Wallace and Darwin went to the field with different educational experiences and social connections, constrained by different responsibilities and theoretical interests. These in turn resulted in different natural history practices; i.e., different habits and working routines in the field. Wallace's intense collecting activities aimed at a complete inventory of different species and their distributions at many localities. Darwin's less intense collecting practice focused on detailed observations of individual organisms. These different practices resulted in different material, textual and conceptual products. Placing natural history practices at the center of analysis reveals connections among these diverse products, and throws light on Wallace and Darwin's respective treatment of individuals and groups in natural history. In particular, this approach clarifies the relation between individuals and groups in Wallace's theory of natural selection, and provides an integrative starting point for further investigations of the broader social factors that shaped Victorian natural history practices and their scientific products. (shrink)