Are culture driven ethical conflicts apparent in the discourse of the protagonists? A multi-year, multi-cultural study of managers by Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner resulted in two conclusions relevant to business ethics. The first is that intercultural business conflicts can often be traced to a finite set of cultural differences. The second is that enough similarities exist between cultures to provide the grounds for conflict resolution. The research reported here gives credence to their study when applied to an ethical conflict viewed from (...)French and American perspectives. (shrink)
In this paper we describe a test for Nijhout's (1978, 1980a) hypothesis that the eyespot patterns on butterfly wings are the result of a threshold reaction of the epidermal cells to a concentration gradient of a diffusing degradable morphogen produced by focal cells at the centre of the future eyespot. The wings of the nymphalid butterfly, Bicyclus anynana, have a series of eyespots, each composed of a white pupil, a black disc and a gold outer ring. In earlier extirpation (...) and transplantation experiments (Nijhout 1980a; French and Brakefield, 1995) it has been established that these eyespots are indeed organised around groups of signalling cells active during the first hours of pupal development. If these cells were to supply the positional information for eyespot formation in accordance with Nijhout's diffusion-degradation gradient model, then, when two foci are close together, the signals should sum, and this effect should be apparent in the detailed shape of the resulting pigment pattern. We give an equation for the form of the contours that would be obtained in this manner. We use this to test the morphogen gradient hypothesis on measurements of the outlines of fused eyespots obtained either by grafting focal cells close together, or by using a mutation (Spotty) that produces adjacent fused eyespots. The contours of the fused patterns were found to satisfy our equation, thus corroborating Nijhout's hypothesis to the extent possible with this particular type of experiment. (shrink)
This paper integrates genetical studies of variation in the wing patterns of Lepidoptera with experimental investigations of developmental mechanisms. Research on the tropical butterfly,Bicyclus anynana, is described. This work includes artificial selection of lines with different patterns of wing eyespots followed by grafting experiments on the lines to examine the phenotypic and genetic differences in terms of developmental mechanisms. The results are used to show how constraints on the evolution of this wing pattern may be related to the developmental organisation. (...) The eyespot pattrn can be envisaged as a set of developmental homologues; a common developmental mechanism is associated with a quantitative genetic system involving high genetic correlations. However, individual genes which influence only subsets of the eyespots, thus uncoupling the interdependence of the eyespots, may be important in evolutionary change. The postulated evolutionary constraints are illustrated with respect to differences in wing pattern found among other species ofBicyclus. (shrink)
• Why does topicalization decline in Middle English but not disappear? If the change a parametric one, it should go to completion. Otherwise, topicalization, a clear case of stylistic variation might be expected to be stable in frequency over time.
The semantic, or model-theoretic, approach to theories has recently come under criticism on two fronts: (i) it is claimed that it cannot account for the wide diversity of models employed in scientific practice—a claim which has led some to propose a “deflationary” account of models; (ii) it is further contended that the sense of “model” used by the approach differs from that given in model theory. Our aim in the present work is to articulate a possible response to these claims, (...) drawing on recent developments within the semantic approach itself. Thus, the first is answered by utilizing the notion of a “partial structure”, first introduced in this context by da Costa and French in 1990. The second claim is undermined by consideration of van Fraassen's understanding of “model” which corresponds well with that evinced by modem mathematicians. This latter discussion, in particular, has an impact on the continuing debate regarding the relative merits of the semantic and syntactic views and the developments presented here can be taken to provide further support to the former. (shrink)
Stein once urged us not to confuse the means of representation with that which is being represented. Yet that is precisely what philosophers of science appear to have done at the meta-level when it comes to representing the practice of science. Proponents of the so-called ‘syntactic’ view identify theories as logically closed sets of sentences or propositions and models as idealised interpretations, or ‘theoruncula, as Braithwaite called them. Adherents of the ‘semantic’ approach, on the other hand, are typically characterised as (...) taking them to be families of models that are set-theoretic, according to Suppes and others, or abstract, as Giere has argued. da Costa and French (Science and Partial Truth. OUP, Oxford, 2003) suggested that we should refrain from ontological speculation as to the nature of scientific theories and models and focus on their appropriate representation for various purposes within the philosophy of science. Such an approach allows both linguistic and non-linguistic resources to play their appropriate role (see also French and Saatsi, Philosophy of Science, Proceedings of the 2004 PSA Meeting, 78:548–559, 2006) and can be supported by recent case studies illustrating the heterogeneity of scientific practice. My aim in this paper is to further develop this ‘quietist’ view, and to indicate how it offers a fruitful way forward for the philosophy of science. (shrink)
Steven French and Decio Krause examine the metaphysical foundations of quantum physics. They draw together historical, logical, and philosophical perspectives on the fundamental nature of quantum particles and offer new insights on a range of important issues. Focusing on the concepts of identity and individuality, the authors explore two alternative metaphysical views; according to one, quantum particles are no different from books, tables, and people in this respect; according to the other, they most certainly are. Each view comes with (...) certain costs attached and after describing their origins in the history of quantum theory, the authors carefully consider whether these costs are worth bearing. Recent contributions to these discussions are analyzed in detail and the authors present their own original perspective on the issues. The final chapter suggests how this perspective can be taken forward in the context of quantum field theory. (shrink)
The extraordinary story of Krishnamurti, hailed early in life as the messiah for the 20th century, is told here in the light of a century of changing spiritual attitudes. It is a tale of mysticism, sexual scandals, religious fervor and chicanery, out of which emerged one of the most influential thinkers of modern times. Krishnamurti was "discovered" as a young boy on a beach in India by members of the Theosophical Society, convinced that they had found the new world leader, (...) a spiritual savior as historic and as influential as Jesus himself. By the 1920s he was attracting worldwide press attention and people flocked to his talks in the thousands. In 1922, Krishnamurti broke with the society and set out on a teaching mission of his own as a secular philosopher of spirituality. He ultimately had a career that spanned six decades, founded seven schools, published 50 books and encompassed thousands of talks. This extraordinary story is told for the first time by Roland Vernon in the full light of 20th-century attitudes in a narrative that is as compelling as any novel. (shrink)
The eminent French biologist and historian of biology, François Jacob, once notoriously declared “On n’interroge plus la vie dans les laboratoires”: laboratory research no longer inquires into the notion of ‘Life’. Nowadays, as David Hull puts it, “both scientists and philosophers take ontological reduction for granted… Organisms are ‘nothing but’ atoms, and that is that.” In the mid-twentieth century, from the immediate post-war period to the late 1960s, French philosophers of science such as Georges Canguilhem, Raymond Ruyer and (...) Gilbert Simondon returned to Jacob’s statement with an odd kind of pathos: they were determined to reverse course. Not by imposing a different kind of research program in laboratories, but by an unusual combination of historical and philosophical inquiry into the foundations of the life sciences (particularly medicine, physiology and the cluster of activities that were termed ‘biology’ in the early 1800s). Even in as straightforwardly scholarly a work as La formation du concept de réflexe aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (1955), Canguilhem speaks oddly of “defending vitalist biology,” and declares that Life cannot be grasped by logic (or at least, “la vie déconcerte la logique”). Was all this historical and philosophical work merely a reassertion of ‘mysterian’, magical vitalism? In order to answer this question we need to achieve some perspective on Canguilhem’s ‘vitalism’, notably with respect to its philosophical influences such as Kurt Goldstein. (shrink)
The self-fashioning of French Newtonianism Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9511-3 Authors Charles T. Wolfe, Unit for History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia David Gilad, Unit for History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
In this book Gary Gutting tells, clearly and comprehensively, the story of French philosophy from 1890 to 1990. He examines the often neglected background of spiritualism, university idealism, and early philosophy of science, and also discusses the privileged role of philosophy in the French education system. Taking account of this background, together with the influences of avant-garde literature and German philosophy, he develops a rich account of existential phenomenology, which he argues is the central achievement of French (...) thought during the century, and of subsequent structuralist and poststructuralist developments. His discussion includes chapters on Bergson, Sartre, Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, and Derrida, with sections on other major thinkers including Lyotard, Deleuze, Irigaray, Levinas, and Ricoeur. He offers challenging analyses of the often misunderstood relationship between existential phenomenology and structuralism and of the emergence of poststructuralism. Finally, he sketches the major current trends of French philosophy. (shrink)
This is a critical introduction to modern French philosophy, commissioned from one of the liveliest contemporary practitioners and intended for an English-speaking readership. The dominant 'Anglo-Saxon' reaction to philosophical development in France has for some decades been one of suspicion, occasionally tempered by curiosity but more often hardening into dismissive rejection. But there are signs now of a more sympathetic interest and an increasing readiness to admit and explore shared concerns, even if these are still expressed in a very (...) different idiom and intellectual context. Vincent Descombes offers here a personal guide to the main movements and figures of the last forty-five years. He traces over this period the evolution of thought from a generation preoccupied with the 'three H's' - Hegel, Husserl and Heidegger, to a generation influenced since about 1960 by the 'three masters of suspicion' - Marx, Nietzsche and Freud. In this framework he deals in turn with the thought of Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, the early structuralists, Foucault, Althusser, Serres, Derrida, and finally Deleuze and Lyotard. The 'internal' intellectual history of the period is related to its institutional setting and the wider cultural and political context which has given French philosophy so much of its distinctive character. (shrink)
Philosophy plays an integral role in French society, affecting its art, drama, politics, and culture. In this accessible, chronological survey, Matthews offers some explanations for the enduring popularity of the subject and traces the developments that French philosophy has taken in the twentieth century, from its roots in the thought of Descartes to key figures such as Bergson, Sartre, Marcel, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Derrida, and the recent French Feminists.
Martin Heidegger's impact on contemporary thought is massive and controversial. In France, the prestige of this German philosopher is such that contemporary French thought cannot be properly understood without reference to him. Heidegger and French Philosophy examines the reception of Heidegger's thought in France. Tom Rockmore argues that in the period after World War II, due to the peculiar nature of the humanist French philosophical tradition, Heidegger became the master thinker of French philosophy. Rockmore engages with (...) the controversy over Heidegger's political affiliation with Nazism and the debate on how this commitment can be reconciled with his theory. Examining the relation between Heidegger's philosophy and his politics, the book contends that the French reception of Heidegger's thought--first as philosophical anthropology and later as postmetaphysical humanism--has been systematically mistaken. (shrink)
This highly original history of ideas considers the impact of Hegel on French philosophy from the 1920s to the present. As Baugh's lucid narrative makes clear, Hegel's influence on French philosophy has been profound, and can be traced through all the major intellectual movements and thinkers in France throughout the 20th Century from Jean Wahl, Sartre, and Bataille to Foucault, Deleuze, and Derrida. Baugh focuses on Hegel's idea of the "unhappy consciousness," and provides a bold new account of (...) Hegel's early reception in French intellectual history. (shrink)
This unique book addresses trends such as vitalism, neo-Kantianism, existentialism, Marxism and feminism, and provides concise biographies of the influential philosophers who shaped these movements, including entries on over ninety thinkers. Offers discussion and cross-referencing of ideas and figures Provides Appendix on the distinctive nature of French academic culture.
This book is a critical appraisal of the distinctive modern school of thought known as French existentialism. It philosophically engages the ideas of the major French existentialists, namely, Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Marcel, Camus, and, because of his central role in the movement, especially Sartre, in a fresh attempt to elucidate their contributions to contemporary philosophy.
This book tells for the first time the long and complex story of the involvement of Locke's suggestion that God could add to matter the power of thought in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding in the growth of French materialism. There is a discussion of the 'affaire de Prades', in which Locke's name was linked with a censored thesis at the Faculty of Theology in Paris. The similarities and differences between English "thinking matter" and the French "matiere pensante" (...) of the philosophes are also discussed. (shrink)
Sartre's French Contemporaries and Enduring Influences This final volume examines Sartre's best-known philosophical contemporaries in France-Albert Camus, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Simone de Beauvoir-in terms of both their own philosophical insights and their relationship to Sartre's thought. The articles also offer some suggestive connections between Sartre's thought and subsequent developments in European philosophy, notably structuralism, poststructuralism, and postmodernism. The comparatively recent nature of much of this scholarship is solid testimony to the enduring influence of Sartrean existentialism.
This book gives a critical assessment of key developments in contemporary French philosophy, highlighting the diverse ways in which recent French thought has moved beyond the philosophical positions and arguments which have been widely ...
This book analyzes--in terms of branching--the pervasive reorganization of Latin syntactic and morphological structures: in the development from Latin to French, a shift can be observed from the archaic, left-branching structures (which Latin inherited from Proto-Indo-European) to modern right-branching equivalents. Brigitte Bauer presents a detailed analysis of this development based on the theoretical discussion and definition of "branching" and "head." Subsequently she relates the diachronic shift to psycholinguistic evidence, arguing that the difficuly of LB complex structures as reflected in (...) their painstaking and delayed acquisition accounts for the extensive typological shift from left to right branching that took place in Latin/French and the other Indo-European languages. (shrink)
Linguistics, Anthropology and Philosophy in the French Enlightenment treats the development of linguistic thought from Descartes to Degerando as both a part of and a determining factor in the emergence of modern consciousness. Through his careful analyses of works by the most influential thinkers of the time, author Ulrich Ricken demonstrates that the central significance of language in the philosophy of the enlightenment is how it reflected and acted upon contemporary understanding of humanity as a whole. Although primarily focused (...) on French thought between 1650 and 1800, the author discusses contemporary developments in England, Germany and Italy and covers an unusually broad range of writers and ideas, including Leibniz, Wolff, Herder and Humboldt. This study places the history of language philosophy within the broader context of the history of ideas, aesthetics and historical anthropology and will be of interest to scholars working in these disciplines. (shrink)
From the late sixteenth to the late seventeenth centuries, French writing is especially concerned with analyzing human nature. The ancient ethical vision of man's nature and goal (we achieve fulfillment by living our lives according to reason, the highest and noblest element of our nature) survives, even, to some extent, in Descartes. But it is put into question especially by the revival of St. Augustine's thought, which focuses on the contradictions and disorders of human desires and aspirations. Analyses of (...) behavior display a powerful suspicion of appearances. Human beings are increasingly seen as motivated by self-love: they are driven by the desire for their own advantage, and take a narcissistic delight in their own image. Moral and religious writers re-emphasize the traditional imperative of self-knowledge, but in such a way as to suggest the difficulties of knowing oneself. Operating with the Cartesian distinction between mind and body, they emphasize the imperceptible influence of bodily processes on our thought and attitudes. They analyze human beings' ignorance (due to self-love) of their own motives and qualities, and the illusions under which they live their lives. Their critique of human behavior is no less searching than that of writers who have broken with traditional religious morality, such as Hobbes and Spinoza. A wide range of authors is studied, some well-known, others much less so: the abstract and general analyses of philosophers and theologians (Descartes, Jansenius, Malebranche) are juxtaposed with the less systematic and more concrete investigations of writers like Montaigne and La Rochefoucauld, not to mention the theatre of Corneille, Moliere, and Racine. (shrink)
Why do Americans, and so often, American writers, profess moral sentiments and yet write so little in the traditionally "moralistic" genres of maxim and fable? What is the relation between "moral" concerns and literary theory? Can any sort of morality survive the supposed nihilism of deconstruction? Jefferson Humphries undertakes a discussion of questions like these through a comparative reading of the ways in which moral issues surface in French and American literature. Humphries takes issue with the "amoral" view of (...) deconstruction espoused by many of its detractors, arguing that the debate between the theory's advocates and opponents comes down to two opposing literary and moral traditions. While the American tradition views morality as a rigid system capable of being enforced by injunctions along the lines of "Thou shalt" and "Thou shalt not," the French tradition conceives of morality as a function of a relentless and unsentimental pursuit of truth, and finally, an admission that "truth" is not a static thing, but rather an ongoing process of rigorous thought. (shrink)
This volume of twelve essays focuses on two interrelated issues. First it addresses the historical and cultural determinants that have given rise to what frequently has been described as 'the French exception': the unusually conflictual French political process inherited from the revolutionary past in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and its accompanying avant-gardism in artistic, literary and philosophical practice, both of which distinguish France from other European countries. Second, the contributors assess the exhaustion of this tradition in recent (...) years - noted prominently on the occasion of the celebration of the bicentennial of the Revolution in 1989 - in a progressive 'normalization' of French society that has been the final outcome of the liquidation of the colonial empire, the collapse of Marxism as a social force. (shrink)
The late 20th century saw a remarkable flourishing of philosophy in France. The work of French philosophers is wide ranging, historically informed, often reaching out beyond the boundaries of philosophy; they are public intellectuals, taken seriously as contributors to debates outside the academy. Gary Gutting tells the story of the development of a distinctively French philosophy in the last four decades of the 20th century. His aim is to arrive at an account of what it was to 'do (...) philosophy' in France, what this sort of philosophizing was able to achieve, and how it differs from the analytic philosophy dominant in Anglophone countries. -/- His initial focus is on the three most important philosophers who came to prominence in the 1960s: Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida. He sets out the educational and cultural context of their work, as a basis for a detailed treatment of how they formulated and began to carry out their philosophical projects in the 1960s and 1970s. He gives a fresh assessment of their responses to the key influences of Hegel and Heidegger, and the fraught relationship of the new generation to their father-figure Sartre. He concludes that Foucault, Derrida, and Deleuze can all be seen as developing their fundamental philosophical stances out of distinctive readings of Nietzsche. The second part of the book considers topics and philosophers that became prominent in the 1980s and 1990s, such as the revival of ethics in Levinas, Derrida, and Foucault, the return to phenomenology and its use to revive religious experience as a philosophical topic, and Alain Badiou's new ontology of the event. Finally Gutting brings to the fore the meta-philosophical theme of the book, that French philosophy since the 1960s has been primarily concerned with thinking the impossible. (shrink)
This reader is the first of its kind to present the work of leading French women philosophers to an English-speaking audience. Howells draws on several major areas of philosophical and theoretical debate including Ethics, Psychoanalysis, Law, Politics, History, Science, and Rationality. The philosophers include some names already well-known in North American such as Kristeva, Irigaray, Cixous, and Kofman, but also many others celebrated in France but whose innovative work has not yet achieved such widespread recognition in the English-speaking world (...) such as Sylviane Agacinski, Nicole Loraux, Monique David-Menard, Francoise Collin, Genevieve Fraisse, and Blandine Kriegel. Most of the essays in the collection have been specially translated and in several cases this is the first time any of the philosopher's work has appeared in English. The project is necessarily feminist in inspiration but takes an important step forwards in not taking the feminist struggle itself as its focus but rather engaging with influential French women philosophers on the questions they themselves choose to foreground. (shrink)
What does it mean to"do theory" in America? In what ways has "French Theory" changed American intellectual and artistic life? How different is it from what French intellectuals themselves conceived, and what does all this tell us about American intellectual life? Is "French Theory" still a significant force in America, raising conceptual questions not easily answered? In this volume of new work--including the French writers Julia Kristeva, Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard, and Gilled Delezue, as well as (...) essays by Sylvere Lotringer and Sande Cohen, Mario Biagoli, Elie During, Chris Kraus, Alison Gingeras, and Kriss Ravetto, among others--French theorists assess the impact and reception of their work in America, and American-based critics account for their effects in different areas of cultural criticism and art over the last thirty years. (shrink)
More than any other figure, Friedrich Nietzsche is cited as the philosopher who anticipates and previews the philosophical themes that have dominated French theory since structuralism. Informed by the latest developments in both contemporary French philosophy and Nietzsche scholarship, Alan Schrift's Nietzsche's French Legacy provides a detailed examination and analysis of the way the French have appropriated Nietzsche in developing their own critical projects. Using Nietzsche's thought as a springboard, this study makes accessible the ideas of (...) some of the most important and difficult of contemporary French poststructuralist theorists including Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault and Helene Cixous. Through a careful analysis and close reading of the texts of Nietzsche and French poststructuralism, Schrift illuminates the ways in which Nietzsche's thought prefigures certain poststructuralist motifs. He demonstrates how several dominant themes in contemporary Frenchphilosophy emerge out of Nietzsche's own thinking. As one of the first books to critically examine the work of the new French anti-Nietzschean's, Schrift defends the value of poststructuralism and Nietzsche as critical resources for confronting the present. (shrink)
In this study of space and power and knowledge in France from the 1830s through the 1930s, Rabinow uses the tools of anthropology, philosophy, and cultural criticism to examine how social environment was perceived and described. Ranging from epidemiology to the layout of colonial cities, he shows how modernity was revealed in urban planning, architecture, health and welfare administration, and social legislation.
Critics have long treated the most important intellectual movement of modern history--the Enlightenment--as if it took shape in the absence of opposition. In this groundbreaking new study, Darrin McMahon demonstrates that, on the contrary, contemporary resistance to the Enlightenment was a major cultural force, shaping and defining the Enlightenment itself from the moment of inception, while giving rise to an entirely new ideological phenomenon-what we have come to think of as the "Right." McMahon skillfully examines the Counter-Enlightenment, showing that it (...) was an extensive, international, and thoroughly modern affair. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; Part I. Derrida Post-Existentialist: 1. Humanist pretensions: Catholics, Communists and Sartre's struggle for existentialism in post-war France; 2. Derrida's 'Christian' existentialism; 3. Normalization: the École Normale Supe;rieure and Derrida's turn to Husserl; 4. Genesis as a problem: Derrida reading Husserl; 5. The God of mathematics: Derrida and the origin of geometry; Part II. Between Phenomenology and Structuralism: 6. A history of diffe;rance; 7. L'ambiguite; du concours: the deconstruction of commentary and interpretation in Speech and Phenomena; (...) 8. The ends of man: reading and writing at the ENS; Epilogue. (shrink)
This is the first book-length study of two of Descartes's most innovative successors, Robert Desgabets and Pierre-Sylvain Regis, and of their highly original contributions to Cartesianism. The focus of the book is an analysis of radical doctrines in the work of these thinkers that derive from arguments in Descartes: on the creation of eternal truths, on the intentionality of ideas, and on the soul-body union. As well as relating their work to that of fellow Cartesians such as Malebranche and Arnauld, (...) the book also establishes the important though neglected role played by Desgabets and Regis in the theologically and politically charged reception of Descartes in early-modern France. This is a major contribution to the history of Cartesianism that will be of special interest to historians of early-modern philosophy and historians of ideas. (shrink)
Introduction -- The muse of paralysis -- Horizon of conquest: Eugene Fromentin's Algerian narratives -- Slow progress: Jean Paulhan and Madagascar -- Frustration: Michel Leiris -- Atopia: Roland Barthes -- The wake of Ulysses.
Furthermore, it is not easy for most of us to accept a philosophy however well reasoned which refuses exterior reality to all we see, hear and touch about us. It is such philosophy that gives point to Valery's boutade: 'Philosophy pretends not to ...
Introduction -- Roots, rootlessness, and fin de siècle France -- Stranger and self: Sartre's Jew -- Anti-Semite and Jew -- Dialectical history, unhappy consciousness, and the Messiah -- The ethics of uprootedness: Emmanuel Levinas's postwar project -- Literary unrest: Maurice Blanchot's rewriting of Levinas --"The Last of the Jews": Jacques Derrida and the case of the figure -- The cut -- The exemplar -- Conclusion.
Philosophy and history (with Jean Hyppolite) -- Philosophy and science (with Georges Canguilhem) -- Philosophy and sociology (with Raymond Aron) -- Philosophy and psychology (with Michel Foucault) -- Philosophy and language (with Paul Ricœur) -- Philosophy and truth (with Jean Hyppolite, Georges Canguilhem, Raymond Aron, Michel Foucault, Paul Ricœur, Alain Badiou and Dina Dreyfus) -- Philosophy and ethics (with Michel Henry) -- Model and structure (with Michel Serres) -- Teaching philosophy through television (with excerpts from Jean Hyppolite, Georges Canguilhem, Raymond (...) Aron, Michel Foucault and Paul Ricœur. Alain Badiou by telephone and Dina Dreyfus in the studio). (shrink)
This book offers an exciting re-interpretation of Auguste Comte, the founder of French sociology. Following the development of his philosophy of positivism, Comte later focused on the importance of the emotions in his philosophy resulting in the creation of a new religious system, the Religion of Humanity. Andrew Wernick provides the first in-depth critique of Comte's concept of religion and its place in his thinking on politics, sociology and philosophy of science. He places Comte's ideas in the context of (...) post-1789 French political and intellectual history, and of modern philosophy, especially postmodernism. Wernick relates Comte to Marx and Nietzsche as seminal figures of modernity and examines key features of modern and postmodern French social theory, tracing the inherent flaws and disintegration of Comte's system. Wernick offers original and fascinating insights in this rich study which will attract a wide audience from sociologists and philosophers to cultural theorists and historians. (shrink)
Abstract: Is Knud Eiler Løgstrup's conception of the ethical demand as deeply incompatible with the central theses of 20th century French Thomistic moral philosophy as it seems to be? Discussion of this question requires attention to both the Lutheran and the phenomenological background of Løgstrup's thought; a consideration of the Danish and French social contexts in which the claims of the two moral philosophies were developed; and an enquiry into how far aspects of each are complementary to rather (...) than in conflict with the other. An historical explanation for the genesis of the kind of normativity without norms defended by both Løgstrup and Levinas is proposed. (shrink)
In this essay, I provide an introduction to the so-called 'theological turn' in recent French, 'new' phenomenology. I begin by articulating the stakes of excluding God from phenomenology (as advocated by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger) and then move on to a brief consideration of why Dominique Janicaud contends that, by inquiring into the 'inapparent', new phenomenology is no longer phenomenological. I then consider the general trajectories of this recent movement and argue that there are five main themes that (...) unite the work of such varied thinkers as Levinas, Derrida, Marion, Henry, Chrétien, Lacoste, and Ricœur. I conclude by outlining points of overlap between new phenomenology and contemporary analytic philosophy of religion and suggest that the two stand as important resources for each other. (shrink)
In this article, the author offers a discussion of the evidential role of the Galilean constant in the history of physics. The author argues that measurable constants help theories constrain data. Theories are engines for research, and this helps explain why the Duhem-Quine thesis does not undermine scientific practice. The author connects his argument to discussion of two famous papers in the history of economic methodology, Milton Friedman's 'Methodology of Positive Economics', which appealed to example of Galilean Law of Fall (...) in its argument; and Vernon Smith's 'Economics in the Laboratory'. While the author offers some criticism of Friedman and Smith, most of the article is a friendly reinterpretation of their insights. (shrink)
Steven French and Décio Krause have written what bids fair to be, for years to come, the definitive philosophical treatment of the problem of the individuality of elementary particles in quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. The book begins with a long and dense argument for the view that elementary particles are most helpfully regarded as non-individuals, and it concludes with an earnest attempt to develop a formal apparatus for describing such non-individual entities better suited to the task than (...) our customary set theory. Along the way one is treated to a compendious philosophical history of quantum statistics and a well-nigh exhaustive (I’m tempted to say, “exhausting”) analytical history of philosophical responses to the quantum theory’s prima facie challenge to classical notions of particle individuality. The book is also a salvo from the headquarters artillery company of the “pro” side in the contemporary structuralism wars, and an essay in metaphysical naturalism. Whew! There are too many places where the friendly critic wants to engage the argument, and few where the authors have not already anticipated such engagement. I take this as my excuse, then, for offering not any systematic response to the whole project, but just some questions and observations about several points that caught my attention. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss the Agrégation de Philosophie—the French national examination that certifies philosophy teachers for both lycée and university instruction—in terms of the role it has played in the intellectual formation of all French philosophers and, as a corollary, its impact on developments in 20th-century French philosophy. Following a recounting of the history and structure of the examination, I discuss how the examination reveals that a thorough grounding in the history of philosophy, especially pre-1800 philosophy, (...) is a necessary condition for employment as an instructor of philosophy. After discussing the connections between the examination and the teaching activities of the Sorbonne’s Department of Philosophy, I analyze the content of the exam, showing how it offers important insights into the French philosophical tradition and how it differs from the English language and German philosophical traditions. I conclude by examining in detail the appearances of Comte, Plotinus, and Nietzsche on the examination, showing how their appearances correlate with publication trends as well as the careers of influential philosophers. (shrink)
Three of the classic "founding fathers" of sociology (Comte, Marx and Tocqueville) were contemporary observers of the French Revolution of 1848. In addition, another important theoretical tradition was represented in contemporary observations of 1848 by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. The present paper summarizes aspects of the views of these theoretically minded observers, notes some points at which more recent historical research suggests revisions to these classical views, and poses three arguments: (1) The revolution of 1848 exerted a direct shaping influence on (...) classical social theory through lessons (some now subject to revision) learned from observation of the revolutionary struggles. (2) The 1848 revolution influenced classical social theory indirectly by contributing to the submergence of the radical French revolutionary tradition (along with utopian socialism) after the defeat of the June insurrectionaires and Bonaparte's coup. (3) Both writers in the classical tradition and current researchers have failed to thematize adequately a basic transformation in effectiveness of national integration, communication and administration which made 1848 in crucial ways much more akin to 1789 than it was direct evidence for the growth of class struggle and the likelihood of further revolution in advanced capitalist countries. (shrink)
In one of his last writings, Life: Experience and Science, Michel Foucault argued that twentieth-century French philosophy could be read as dividing itself into two divergent lines: on the one hand, we have a philosophical stream which takes individual experience as its point of departure, conceiving it as irreducible to science. On the other hand, we have an analysis of knowledge which takes into account the concrete productions of the mind, as are found in science and human practices. In (...) order to account for this division, Foucault opposed epistemologists such as Cavaillès and Canguilhem to phenomenologists such as Merleau-Ponty and Sartre but, also, and more particularly, he opposed Poincaré to Bergson. The latter was presented by Foucault as being the key-figure of the ?philosophy of experience? at the beginning of the twentieth century. Fifteen years later, in his Deleuze and in the Logics of Worlds, Alain Badiou again uses this dual structure in his interpretation of the past hundred years of French thought. He employs a series of oppositional couples: himself and Deleuze, Lautmann and Sartre, and, finally, Brunschvicg and Bergson. On the one hand a ?mathematical Platonism? and on the other a ?philosophy of vital interiority.? This Manichean reading of philosophy, and the strategic use of the figure of Bergson has, itself, a long tradition. It was also proposed by Althusser who, following Bachelard, opposed his standpoint to any form of ?empiricism.? Althusser developed his thought from a tradition of Marxist thinkers and ideologists, which included Politzer's and Nizan's critique of bourgeois philosophy and, even before that, neo-Kantians such as the philosophers of the Revue de métaphysique et de morale. The aim of this essay is to deconstruct and to put into its precise context of production this series of genealogies which entails the mobilization of Bergsonism and of the name ?Bergson.? By doing so, I hope to weight the importance of Bergsonism in twentieth-century French philosophy, in both its ?positive? and its ?negative? aspect. The essay will proceed regressively, taking into account figures such as Althusser, Badiou, Deleuze, Foucault, Canguilhem, Cavaillès, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, but also Polizer, Brunschvicg and Alain. The conclusion of the essay is an attempt at reading the ?Bergson renaissance? in the light of new discoveries in genetics and the cognitive sciences and to tie it to the renewal of studies in the history of French philosophy. (shrink)