This commentary contests Wynn's diagnosis of the cognitive implications of the earliest stone tools and Acheulian tools. I argue that the earliest stone tools imply greater cognitive abilities than those of great apes, and that Acheulian tools imply more than the preoperational cognitive abilities Wynn suggests. Finally, I suggest an alternative adaptive scenario for the evolution of hominid cognitive abilities.
This interview with Charles Taylor explores a central concern throughout his work, viz., his concern to confront the challenges presented by the process of ‘disenchantment’ in the modern world. It focuses especially on what is involved in seeking a kind of ‘re-enchantment.' A key issue that is discussed is the relationship of Taylor’s theism to his effort of seeking re-enchantment. Some other related issues that are explored pertain to questions surrounding Taylor’s argument against the standard secularization thesis (...) that views secularization as a process involving the ineluctable fading away of religion. Additionally, the relationship between Taylor’s religious views and his philosophical work is discussed. (shrink)
Charles Taylor is one of the most distinctive figures in the landscape of contemporary philosophy. His ability to contribute to philosophical conversations across a wide spectrum of ideas is especially impressive in a time of increasing specialization. These areas include moral theory, theories of subjectivity, political theory, epistemology, hermeneutics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language and aesthetics. Most recently, Taylor has branched into the study of religion. Written by a team of international authorities, this collection will be read (...) primarily by students and academic professionals in philosophy, political science, and religious studies, and will also appeal to a broad swathe of professionals across the humanities and social sciences. Ruth Abbey is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory at University of Kent at Canterbury. She has published numerous articles and is author of Nietzsche's Middle Period (Oxford University Press, 2000) and Philosophy Now: Charles Taylor (Princeton University Press, 2000). (shrink)
This is the first comprehensive evaluation of Charles Taylor's work and a major contribution to leading questions in philosophy and the human sciences as they face an increasingly pluralistic age. Charles Taylor is one of the most influential contemporary moral and political philosophers: in an era of specialisation he is one of the few thinkers who has developed a comprehensive philosophy which speaks to the conditions of the modern world in a way that is compelling to specialists in (...) various disciplines. This collection of specially commissioned essays brings together twelve distinguished scholars from a variety of fields to discuss critically Taylor's work. The topics range from the history of philosophy, to truth, modernity and postmodernity, theism, interpretation, the human sciences, liberalism, pluralism and difference. Taylor responds to all the contributions and re-articulates his own views. (shrink)
Thomas Taylor in England, by K. Raine.--Thomas Taylor in America, by G. M. Harper.--Biographical accounts of Thomas Taylor.--Concerning the beautiful.--The hymns of Orpheus.--Concerning the cave of the nymphs.--A dissertation on the Eleusinian and Bacchic mysteries.--Introduction to The fable of Cupid and Psyche.--The Platonic philosopher's creed.--An apology for the fables of Homer.--Bibliography (p. -538).
This paper explores a remarkable convergence of ideas and evidence, previously presented in separate places by its authors. That convergence has now become so persuasive that we believe we are working within substantially the same broad framework. Taylor's mathematical papers on neuronal systems involved in consciousness dovetail well with work by Newman and Baars on the thalamocortical system, suggesting a brain mechanism much like the global workspace architecture developed by Baars (see references below). This architecture is relational, in the (...) sense that it continuously mediates the interaction of input with memory. While our approaches overlap in a number of ways, each of us tends to focus on different areas of detail. What is most striking, and we believe significant, is the extent of consensus, which we believe to be consistent with other contemporary approaches by Weiskrantz, Gray, Crick and Koch, Edelman, Gazzaniga, Newell and colleagues, Posner, Baddeley, and a number of others. We suggest that cognitive neuroscience is moving toward a shared understanding of consciousness in the brain. (shrink)
There is no doctrine about determinism and freedom that has proved to be as resilient over the past century as that of Compatibilism. It is, of course, the doctrine that we can be both free and also subject to a real determinism. If it goes back at least to Hobbes and Hume, it was strengthened and refurbished throughout the 1900's. Part of its strength has been the extent to which it has satisfied theses that in fact seem to be the (...) very substance of the doctrine opposed to it. This is Incompatibilism. What follows here is the most recent and the very best attempt to steal what has appeared to be the thunder of Incompatibilism. Professors Taylor and Dennett make use of a certain amount of technicality in giving sense, on the assumption of determinism, to the ideas that we can nevertheless do otherwise than we actually do and we can also really take credit for things. It is not my own view, but it is one that must be reckoned with by all who struggle with the problem. Put in some effort with the formalism if you have to, find out a little about possible worlds. It is certainly worth the effort. (shrink)
Barry Taylor's book mounts a major new argument against one of the fundamental tenets of much contemporary philosophy, the idea that we can make sense of reality as existing objectively, independently of our capacities to come to know it. He concludes that there is no defensible notion of truth which preserves the theses of traditional realism, nor any extant position sufficiently true to the ideals of that doctrine to inherit its title. In presenting his case Taylor engages with (...) many key works of contemporary metaphysics, semantics, and philosophical logic, so his book will be of interest to a broad spectrum of scholars and students. (shrink)
Gabriele Taylor presents a philosophical investigation of the "ordinary" vices traditionally seen as "death to the soul": sloth, envy, avarice, pride, anger, lust, and gluttony. In the course of a richly detailed discussion of individual and interrelated vices, which complements recent work by moral philosophers on virtue, she shows why these "deadly sins" are correctly so named and grouped together.
Computer simulation and philosophy of science Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9567-8 Authors Wendy S. Parker, Department of Philosophy, Ellis Hall 202, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
This is a major and comprehensive study of the philosophy of Hegel, his place in the history of ideas, and his continuing relevance and importance. Professor Taylor relates Hegel to the earlier history of philosophy and, more particularly, to the central intellectual and spiritual issues of his own time. He engages with Hegel sympathetically, on Hegel's own terms and, as the subject demands, in detail. This important book is now reissued with a fresh new cover.
" The Moment of Complexity is a profoundly original work. In remarkable and insightful ways, Mark Taylor traces an entirely new way to view the evolution of our culture, detailing how information theory and the scientific concept of complexity can be used to understand recent developments in the arts and humanities. This book will ultimately be seen as a classic."-John L. Casti, Santa Fe Institute, author of Godel: A Life of Logic, the Mind, and Mathematics The science of complexity (...) accounts for that inscrutable mix of chaos and order that governs our natural world. Complexity explains how networks emerge and function, how species organize into ecosystems, how stars form into galaxies, and how just a few sequences of DNA can account for so many different life forms. Recently, the idea of complexity has taken the worlds of business and politics by storm. The concept is used to account for phenomena as varied as the behavior of the stock market, the response of voting populations, and the effects of risk management. Even Disney has used complexity theory to manage crowd control at its theme parks. Given the startling development of new information technologies, we now live in a moment of unprecedented complexity, an era in which change occurs faster than our ability to comprehend it. With The Moment of Complexity , Mark C. Taylor offers a timely map for this unfamiliar terrain opening in our midst, unfolding an original philosophy through a remarkable synthesis of science and culture. According to Taylor, complexity is not just a breakthrough scientific concept, but the defining quality of the post-Cold War era. The flux of digital currents swirling around us, he argues, has created a new network culture with its own distinctive logic and dynamic. Drawing on resources from information theory and evolutionary biology, Taylor explains the operation of complex adaptive systems in social and cultural processes and captures a whole new zeitgeist in the making. To appreciate the significance of our emerging network culture, he claims, we need not only to understand contemporary scientific and technological transformations, but also to explore the subtle influences of art, architecture, philosophy, religion, and higher education. The Moment of Complexity , then, is a remarkable work of cultural analysis on a scale rarely seen today. To follow its trajectory is to learn how we arrived at this critical moment in our culture, and to know where we might head in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
At the International Legal Ethics Conference IV held at Stanford Law School between 15 and 17 July 2010, one of the two opening plenary sessions consisted of a panel who debated the proposition that legal ethics should be mandatory in legal education. The panel included leading legal ethics academics from jurisdictions around the world—both those where legal ethics is a compulsory part of the law degree and those where it is not. It comprised Professors Andrew Boon, Brent Cotter, Christine (...) class='Hi'>Parker, Stephen L Pepper and Richard Wu, and was organised and chaired by Professor Kim Economides. This is an edited version of the panel's discussion. It provides a useful summary of the state of legal ethics teaching in the jurisdictions represented as well as a marshalling of the arguments for and against legal ethics as a required course in the university law degree. (shrink)
With fundamentalists dominating the headlines and scientists arguing about the biological and neurological basis of faith, religion is the topic of the day. But religion, Mark C. Taylor shows, is more complicated than either its defenders or critics think and, indeed, is much more influential than any of us realize. Our world, Taylor maintains, is shaped by religion even when it is least obvious. Faith and value, he insists, are unavoidable and inextricably interrelated for believers and nonbelievers alike. (...) Using scientific theories of dynamical systems and complex adaptive networks for cultural and theological analysis, After God redefines religion for our contemporary age. Taylor begins by asking a critical question: What is religion? He then proceeds to explain how Protestant ideas in particular undergird the character and structure of our global information society—the Reformation, Taylor argues, was an information and communications revolution that effectively prepared the way for the media revolution at the end of the twentieth century. Taylor’s breathtaking account of religious ideas allows us to understand for the first time that contemporary notions of atheism and the secular are already implicit in classical Christology and Trinitarian theology. Weaving together theoretical analysis and historical interpretation, Taylor demonstrates the codependence and coevolution of traditional religious beliefs and practices with modern literature, art, architecture, information technologies, media, financial markets, and theoretical biology. After God concludes with prescriptions for new ways of thinking and acting. If we are to negotiate the perils of the twenty-first century, Taylor contends, we must refigure the symbolic networks that inform our policies and guide our actions. A religion without God creates the possibility of an ethics without absolutes that leads to the promotion of creativity and life in an ever more fragile world. The first comprehensive theology of culture since the pioneering work of Paul Tillich, After God is a radical reconceptualization of religion and Taylor’s most pathbreaking work yet, bringing together various strands of theological argument and cultural analysis four decades in the making. (shrink)
This article considers the various suggestions that have been put forward by German scholars to replace the traditional concept of intention, which the author has criticized elsewhere (Taylor 2004). The debate on this topic has become a minor academic industry in Germany, and should be better known as the English-speaking world struggles with its own concepts of intention. Despite the great amount of effort and ingenuity devoted to this topic in Germany, however, the author concludes that only one theory (...) of intention, that put forward by Professor Wolfgang Frisch, shows any substantial degree of promise. (shrink)
What follows is a dialogue, in the Platonic sense, concerning the justifications for "business ethics" as a vehicle for asking questions about the values of modern business organisations. The protagonists are the authors, Gordon Pearson – a pragmatist and sceptic where business ethics is concerned – and Martin Parker – a sociologist and idealist who wishes to be able to ask ethical questions of business. By the end of the dialogue we come to no agreement on the necessity or (...) justification for business ethics, but on the way discuss the uses of philosophy, the meanings of integrity and trust, McDonald''s, a hypothetical torture manufacturer and various other matters. (shrink)
Is it possible for postmodernism to offer viable, coherent accounts of ethics? Or are our social and intellectual worlds too fragmented for any broad consensus about the moral life? These issues have emerged as some of the most contentious in literary and philosophical studies. In Renegotiating Ethics in Literature, Philosophy, and Theory a distinguished international gathering of philosophers and literary scholars address the reconceptualisations involved in this 'turn towards ethics'. An important feature of this has been a renewed interest in (...) the literary text as a focus for the exploration of ethical issues. Exponents of this trend include Charles Taylor, Bernard Williams, Iris Murdoch, Cora Diamond, Richard Rorty and Martha Nussbaum, the latter a contributor and a key figure in this volume. This book assesses the significance of this development for ethical and literary theory and attempts to articulate an alternative postmodern account of ethics which does not rely on earlier appeals to universal truths. (shrink)
A comprehensive and systematic reconstruction of the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce, perhaps America's most far-ranging and original philosopher, which reveals the unity of his complex and influential body of thought. We are still in the early stages of understanding the thought of C. S. Peirce (1839-1914). Although much good work has been done in isolated areas, relatively little considers the Peircean system as a whole. Peirce made it his life's work to construct a scientifically sophisticated and logically rigorous philosophical (...) system, culminating in a realist epistemology and a metaphysical theory ("synechism") that postulates the connectedness of all things in a universal evolutionary process. In The Continuity of Peirce's Thought, Kelly Parker shows how the principle of continuity functions in phenomenology and semeiotics, the two most novel and important of Peirce's philosophical sciences, which mediate between mathematics and metaphysics. Parker argues that Peirce's concept of continuity is the central organizing theme of the entire Peircean philosophical corpus. He explains how Peirce's unique conception of the mathematical continuum shapes the broad sweep of his thought, extending from mathematics to metaphysics and in religion. He thus provides a convenient and useful overview of Peirce's philosophical system, situating it within the history of ideas and mapping interconnections among the diverse areas of Peirce's work. This challenging yet helpful book adopts an innovative approach to achieve the ambitious goal of more fully understanding the interrelationship of all the elements in the entire corpus of Peirce's writings. Given Peirce's importance in fields ranging from philosophy to mathematics to literary and cultural studies, this new book should appeal to all who seek a fuller, unified understanding of the career and overarching contributions of Peirce, one of the key figures in the American philosophical tradition. (shrink)
The age of information, media, and virtuality is transforming every aspect of human experience. Questions that have long haunted the philosophical imagination are becoming urgent practical concerns: Where does the natural end and the artificial begin? Is there a difference between the material and the immaterial? In his new work, Mark C. Taylor extends his ongoing investigation of postmodern worlds by critically examining a wide range of contemporary cultural practices. Nothing defines postmodernism so well as its refusal of depth, (...) its emphasis on appearance and spectacle, its tendency to collapse a three-dimensional world in which image and reality are distinct into a two-dimensional world in which they merge. The postmodern world, Taylor argues, is a world of surfaces, and the postmodern condition is one of profound superficiality. For many cultural commentators, postmodernism's inescapable play of surfaces is cause for despair. Taylor, on the other hand, shows that the disappearance of depth in postmodern culture is actually a liberation repleat with creative possibilities. Taylor introduces readers to a popular culture in which detectives--the postmodern heroes of Paul Auster and Dennis Potter--lift surfaces only to find more surfaces, and in which fashion advertising plays transparency against hiding. Taylor looks at the contemporary preoccupation with body piercing and tattooing, and asks whether these practices actually reveal or conceal. Phrenology and skin diseases, the "religious" architecture of Las Vegas, the limitless spread of computer networks--all are brought within the scope of Taylor's brilliant analysis. Postmodernism, he shows, has given us a new sense of the superficial, one in which the issue is not the absence of meaning but its uncontrollable, ecstatic proliferation. Embodying the very tendencies it analyzes, Hiding is unique. Conceived and developed with well-known designers Michael Rock and Susan Sellars, this work transgresses the boundary that customarily separates graphic design from the story within a text. The product of nearly three decades of reflection and writing, Hiding opens a window on contemporary culture. To follow the remarkable course Taylor charts is to see both our present and past differently and to encounter a future as disorienting as it is alluring. (shrink)
Nots is a virtuoso exploration of negation and negativity in theology, philosophy, art, architecture, postmodern culture, and medicine. In nine essays that range from nihility in Buddhism to the embodiment of negativity in disease, Mark C. Taylor looks at the surprising ways in which contrasting concepts of negativity intersect. In the first section of this book, Taylor discusses the question of the "not" in the religious thought of Anselm, Hegel, Derrida, and Nishitani. In the second part, he (...) analyzes artistic efforts "to figure not" in the work of artists Arakawa and Madeline Gins, architect Daniel Libeskind, pop artist David Sallee, and pop icon Madonna. The final section consists of a deeply personal and scientifically informed chapter that discusses the workings of negativity in immunology and illness. Taylor's essays work toward a sense of the not as unnameable as it is irrepressible--an "unthinkable third" that falls between being and nonbeing. Bringing together concerns that span Taylor's early investigations of Hegel and Kierkegaard and recent studies of art and architecture, Nots is an important contribution by one of the most original and distinctive voices now writing on the American scene. Religion and Postmodernism series. (shrink)
While some lament the slide of Western culture into relativism and nihilism and others celebrate the trend as a liberating sort of progress, Charles Taylor calls on us to face the moral and political crises of our time, and to make the most ...
Socrates has a unique position in the history of philosophy. It is no exaggeration to say that had it not been for his influence on Plato, the whole development of Western philosophy might have bee unimaginably different. Yet Socrates wrote nothing himself, and our knowledge of him is derived primarily from the engaging and infuriating figure who appears in Plato's dialogues. In this book, Christopher Taylor explores the relationship between the historical Socrates and the Platonic character, and examines the (...) enduring image of Socrates as the ideal exemplar of the philosophic life - a thinker whose moral and intellectual integrity permeated every detail of his life, even in the face of betrayal and execution by his fellow Athenians. (shrink)
Telliamed in its time Content Type Journal Article Category Survey Review Pages 1-7 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9638-x Authors Kenneth L. Taylor, Department of the History of Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019-3106, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
In that Case Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11673-010-9261-3 Authors Malcolm Parker, School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529.
In this article, Walter Parker brings structure and agency to the foreground of the current tumult of public schooling in the United States. He focuses on three structures that are serving as rules and resources for creative agency. These are a discourse of derision about failing schools, a broad mobilization of multiculturalism, and an enduring nationalism. Drawing on Anthony Giddens's structuration theory, Parker examines how these discourses figure in redefining school reform, redefining school curricula, and requiring schools once (...) again to serve nationalistic purposes. (shrink)
Throughout history, humans have attempted to influence and control the thoughts of others. Since the word 'brainwashing' was coined in the aftermath of the Korean War, it has become part of the popular culture, served as a topic for jokes, and been exploited to create sensational headlines. It has also been the subject of learned discussion from many disciplines: including history, sociology, psychology, and psychotherapy. But until now, a crucial part of the debate has been missing: that of any serious (...) reference to the science of the human brain. Descriptions of how opinions can be changed, whether by persuasion, deceit, or force, have been almost entirely psychological. -/- In Brainwashing, Kathleen Taylor brings the worlds of neuroscience and social psychology together for the first time. In elegant and accessible prose, and with abundant use of anecdotes and case-studies, she examines the ethical problems involved in carrying out the required experiments on humans, the limitations of animal models, and the frightening implications of such research. She also explores the history of thought-control and shows how it still exists all around us, from marketing and television, to politics and education. (shrink)
Ambitiously identifying fresh issues in the study of complex systems, Peter J. Taylor, in a model of interdisciplinary exploration, makes these concerns accessible to scholars in the fields of ecology, environmental science, and science studies. Unruly Complexity explores concepts used to deal with complexity in three realms: ecology and socio-environmental change; the collective constitution of knowledge; and the interpretations of science as they influence subsequent research. For each realm Taylor shows that unruly complexity-situations that lack definite boundaries, (...) where what goes on "outside" continually restructures what is "inside," and where diverse processes come together to produce change-should not be suppressed by partitioning complexity into well-bounded systems that can be studied or managed from an outside vantage point. Using case studies from Australia, North America, and Africa, he encourages readers to be troubled by conventional boundaries-especially between science and the interpretation of science-and to reflect more self-consciously on the conceptual and practical choices researchers make. (shrink)
Republication: In That Case Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11673-010-9264-0 Authors Malcolm Parker, School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529.
In this thoughtful exploration of a painful subject, Kathleen Taylor seeks to bring together the fruits of work in psychology, sociology, and her own field of neuroscience to shed light on the nature of cruelty and what makes human beings cruel. The question of cruelty is inevitably tied to questions of moral philosophy, the nature of evil, free will and responsibility. Taylor's approach is ambitious, but little work has been done in this area and this wide-ranging discussion, considering (...) the roles of emotion, belief, identity and 'otherizing'; evolved instincts and differences in brains; callousness and sadism; seeks to begin to identify how we might reduce or limit cruelty in our societies by a greater understanding of its causes, and the circumstances in which it can grow. -/- As with her highly regarded previous book, Brainwashing, Taylor draws in examples from history and literature in her study, making this a rich and multifaceted analysis that should be of interest to a wide readership, and provoke much thought, debate, and further research. (shrink)
Potter et al.’s (1999) response to my ‘Against Relativism in Psychology, on Balance’ (Parker, 1999) neatly summarizes what they take a ‘critical realist’ position to be and how ‘relativists’ should defend themselves. Their response also illustrates why the version of critical realism I elaborated is more thoroughly critically relativist than Potter et al. assume and how their version of relativism actually rests on a rather uncritical subscription to realism.
This essay is the journal editor's introduction to part 3 of an ongoing symposium on quietism. With reference to writings of James Joyce, Francis Picabia, J. M. Coetzee, Charles Taylor, Alasdair MacIntyre, Elaine Pagels, and Karen King—and with extended reference to Jonathan Lear's study of “cultural devastation,” Radical Hope—Jeffrey Perl explores the possibility that the fear of anomie (“anomiphobia”) is misplaced. He argues that, in comparison with the violence and narrowness of any given social order, anomie may well be (...) preferable, and, in any case, may be no more than another name for quietism. (shrink)
Dr Taylor, an English psychiatrist, considers the issue of the symposium in the context of the Mental Health (Amendment) Act 1982. This, she says, gives little guidance on how judgment of a patient's competency or capability to consent to treatment should be made, although it specifies that unless compulsorily detained patients competently consent to ECT a special second medical opinion is required. Although some guidelines from the Department of Health may be offered before implementation of the Act in September (...) 1983 all those working with psychiatric patients will have to consider the issues. After discussing her criteria for informed consent, some practical approaches for obtaining it and problems arising from these, and problems of surrogate consent, Dr Taylor concludes that there is no single or simple solution to the dilemma. She ends by asking: `Can refusal of ECT for severe depression ever be a competent decision?'. (shrink)
Language, Duty, and Value Jonathan Dancy, J. M. E. Moravcsik James Opie Urmson, Edited by Jonathan Dancy, J. M. E. Moravcsik, and C. C. W. Taylor. reasons in general. This is freedom in the sense of acting on reasons, yet not those ...
There is no uniquely standard concept of an effectively decidable set of real numbers or real n-tuples. Here we consider three notions: decidability up to measure zero [M.W. Parker, Undecidability in Rn: Riddled basins, the KAM tori, and the stability of the solar system, Phil. Sci. 70(2) (2003) 359–382], which we abbreviate d.m.z.; recursive approximability [or r.a.; K.-I. Ko, Complexity Theory of Real Functions, Birkhäuser, Boston, 1991]; and decidability ignoring boundaries [d.i.b.; W.C. Myrvold, The decision problem for entanglement, in: (...) R.S. Cohen et al. (Eds.), Potentiality, Entanglement, and Passion-at-a-Distance: Quantum Mechanical Studies fo Abner Shimony, Vol. 2, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Great Britain, 1997, pp. 177–190]. Unlike some others in the literature, these notions apply not only to certain nice sets, but to general sets in Rn and other appropriate spaces. We consider some motivations for these concepts and the logical relations between them. It has been argued that d.m.z. is especially appropriate for physical applications, and on Rn with the standard measure, it is strictly stronger than r.a. [M.W. Parker, Undecidability in Rn: Riddled basins, the KAM tori, and the stability of the solar system, Phil. Sci. 70(2) (2003) 359–382]. Here we show that this is the only implication that holds among our three decidabilities in that setting. Under arbitrary measures, even this implication fails. Yet for intervals of non-zero length, and more generally, convex sets of non-zero measure, the three concepts are equivalent. (shrink)
Psychology is meant to help people cope with the afflictions of modern society. But how useful is it? Ian Parker argues that current psychological practice has become part of the problem rather than the solution. Ideal for undergraduates, this book unravels the discipline to reveal the conformist assumptions that underlie its theory and practice. Psychology focuses on the happiness of "the individual." Yet it neglects the fact that personal experience depends on social and political surroundings. Parker argues that (...) a new approach to psychology is needed. He offers an alternative vision, outlining how debates in the discipline can be linked to political practice and how it can become part of a wider progressive agenda. Parker's groundbreaking book is at the cutting edge of current thinking on the discipline and should be required reading in all psychology courses. (shrink)
'The more we enquire, the less we can resolve,' wrote Johnson. Scepticism-a reasoned emphasis on the severe limitations of rationality-would seem to undermine the grounds of belief and action. But in some of the best eighteenth-century literature, a theoretically paralysing critique of the pretensions of reason, precept, and language went hand in hand with a vigorous intellectual, moral, and linguistic confidence. To realise philosophical scepticism as literature was effectively to transform it. Dr Parker traces the presence of this life-giving (...) irony in works by Pope, Hume, Sterne, and Johnson, relates it more broadly to the social self-consciousness of eighteenth-century culture, and discusses its source in Locke and its inspiration in Montaigne. The argument serves as a reminder that radical scepticism is not the invention of the late twentieth century, and that its strategies and implications have never been more interestingly explored than in the eighteenth. (shrink)