With The Republic of Grace: Augustinian Thoughts for Dark Times, Charles Mathewes has given us a timely book that, I imagine, will be so for many times to come. His purpose throughout is to "offer a primer in the Augustinian-Christian vernacular, a language of religious, moral, and political deliberation" (2). This language and way of understanding reality, Mathewes argues, can provide us with ways of thinking about our own lives in the world as political and social creatures. The " (...) class='Hi'>dark times" to which he refers in the subtitle have to do with life after 9/11 as citizens in a country that dominates as an economic and military powerhouse and greatly under the influence of what he calls "millennial capitalism" .. (shrink)
“I often said before starting, that I had no doubt I should frequently repent of the whole undertaking.” So wrote Charles Darwin aboard The Beagle , bound for the Galapagos Islands and what would arguably become the greatest and most controversial discovery in scientific history. But the theory of evolution did not spring full-blown from the head of Darwin. Since the dawn of humanity, priests, philosophers, and scientists have debated the origin and development of life on earth, and with modern (...) science, that debate shifted into high gear. In this lively, deeply erudite work, Pulitzer Prize–winning science historian Edward J. Larson takes us on a guided tour of Darwin’s “dangerous idea,” from its theoretical antecedents in the early nineteenth century to the brilliant breakthroughs of Darwin and Wallace, to Watson and Crick’s stunning discovery of the DNA double helix, and to the triumphant neo-Darwinian synthesis and rising sociobiology today. Along the way, Larson expertly places the scientific upheaval of evolution in cultural perspective: the social and philosophical earthquake that was the French Revolution; the development, in England, of a laissez-faire capitalism in tune with a Darwinian ethos of “survival of the fittest”; the emergence of Social Darwinism and the dark science of eugenics against a backdrop of industrial revolution; the American Christian backlash against evolutionism that culminated in the famous Scopes trial; and on to today’s world, where religious fundamentalists litigate for the right to teach “creation science” alongside evolution in U.S. public schools, even as the theory itself continues to evolve in new and surprising directions. Throughout, Larson trains his spotlight on the lives and careers of the scientists, explorers, and eccentrics whose collaborations and competitions have driven the theory of evolution forward. Here are portraits of Cuvier, Lamarck, Darwin, Wallace, Haeckel, Galton, Huxley, Mendel, Morgan, Fisher, Dobzhansky, Watson and Crick, W. D. Hamilton, E. O. Wilson, and many others. Celebrated as one of mankind’s crowning scientific achievements and reviled as a threat to our deepest values, the theory of evolution has utterly transformed our view of life, religion, origins, and the theory itself, and remains controversial, especially in the United States (where 90% of adults do not subscribe to the full Darwinian vision). Replete with fresh material and new insights, Evolution will educate and inform while taking readers on a fascinating journey of discovery. (shrink)
Introduction -- Tending the dark fire: the Boehmian notion of drive -- The night-side of nature: the early Schellingian unconscious -- The speculative psychology of dissociation: the later Schellingian unconscious -- Schellingian libido theory.
Subcortical substrates for behavioural integration include the fore/midbrain nuclei of the basal ganglia and the hindbrain medial reticular formation. The midbrain superior colliculus requires basal ganglia disinhibition in order to generate orienting movements. The colliculus should therefore be seen as one of many competitors vying for control of the body's effector systems with the basal ganglia acting as the key arbiter. (Published Online May 1 2007).
Arguments by W. T. Stace and C. J. Insole show that metaphorical descriptions of God presuppose literal descriptions of God. This poses a problem for the metaphor of darkness which has often been used, for instance by Pseudo-Dionysius, in the context of negative theology and apophatic mysticism. Three strategies of dealing with the problem are discussed in this article. The negative, apophatic approach can be seen either as subverting itself, or as being restricted to certain properties, or as resting (...) on a self-excluding principle. Whereas the first two strategies have their difficulties, self-exclusion is linguistically founded and adequate to the purposes of negative theology. (shrink)
Dretske’s Naturalizing the Mind sets out the case for holding that mental states in general are natural representers of reality. Mental states have functions; for many states the function is to indicate what is going on in the world. Among such indicator states are beliefs. The content of these states is given by what they are supposed to represent. So if a state is supposed to indicate that it’s dark, then “it’s dark” is the content of the state. (...) Thus we can characterize how the organism takes things to be, its subjectivity, by noting first what physical (neural) state it is in, and second what the biological indicator function of that state is. Thus the mind and meaning are naturalized. (shrink)
Recently there has been an outpouring of consumer frustration over rising food and energy prices. Many politicians railed against “speculators” who allegedly drove up the prices of key necessities. Is speculation unethical? This article reviews the traditional arguments against speculation. Many of the standard criticisms confuse speculation with gambling. In much the same way as ethicists now draw distinctions between usury and normal business interest, we draw a distinction between socially useful speculation and gambling. Gambling involves taking on risk with (...) no plausible expectation of making a profit. Gambling may provide entertainment value to some people, but like other addictive activities causes grave harm to a subset of users. Speculation involves taking on a business risk with a plausible expectation that a profit will result. Speculators provide an important risk bearing service by taking on risks that others do not want. They help markets to function better by helping to incorporate information into prices as well as providing liquidity. Speculators may actually reduce shortages by causing quicker price increases that motivate producers to increase production and consumers to conserve. But even socially useful speculation may have an ethical dark side. Does such speculation cause damage by adding excess volatility to prices? Speculators may contribute to price bubbles. At what point does legitimate speculation become odious “price gouging?” We also draw an ethical distinction between speculation, which seeks to benefit from changing prices, and manipulation, actions taken to push prices away from their economically appropriate levels. (shrink)
Against the Modern World is the first history of Traditionalism, an important yet surprisingly little-known twentieth-century anti-modern movement. Comprising a number of often secret but sometimes very influential religious groups in the West and in the Islamic world, it affected mainstream and radical politics in Europe and the development of the field of religious studies in the United States, touching the lives of many individuals. French writer Rene Guenon rejected modernity as a dark age and sought to reconstruct the (...) Perennial Philosophy - the central truths behind all the major world religions. Guenon stressed the urgent need for the West's remaining spiritual and intellectual elite to find personal and collective salvation in the surviving vestiges of ancient religious traditions. A number of disenchanted intellectuals responded to his call. In Europe, America, and the Islamic world, Traditionalists founded institutes, Sufi brotherhoods, Masonic lodges, and secret societies. Some attempted unsuccessfully to guide Fascism and Nazism along Traditionalist lines; others later participated in political terror in Italy. Traditionalist ideas were the ideological cement for the alliance of anti-democratic forces in post-Soviet Russia, and in the Islamic world entered the debate about the relationship between Islam and modernity. Although its appeal in the West was ultimately limited, Traditionalism has wielded enormous influence in religious studies, through the work of such Traditionalists as Ananda Coomaraswamy, Huston Smith, Mircea Eliade, and Seyyed Hossein Nasr. (shrink)
This paper examines the impact that recent advances in clinical neurology, introspectionist psychology and neuroscience have upon the philosophical psycho?neural Identity Theory. Topics covered include (i) the nature and properties of phenomenal consciousness based on a study of the ?basic? visual field, i.e. that obtained in the complete dark, the Ganzfeld, and during recovery from occipital lobe injuries; (ii) the nature of the ?body?image? of neurology and its relation to the physical body; (iii) Descartes? error in choosing extension in (...) space as the criterion for distinguishing the physical and the mental; (iv) the technical distinction between sensing and perceiving; (v) why phenomenal Direct Realism is incorrect whereas epistemic DR and the representative theory are correct; (vi) the ontological and topological status of phenomenal space and physical space. This leads to considerations of the current ?binding problems? in neuroscience; the role of the brain mechanisms that construct the sensory fields of phenomenal consciousness; the ?homunculus? fallacy; the key difference between epistemic and non?epistemic perception as revealed by brain injury studies; and how the brain codes information, contrasting topological and vectorial coding, with particular reference to the binding problem. My conclusion is that the Identity Theory is incompatible with the scientific evidence from an integrated approach to modern introspectionist psychology, clinical neurology, and neuroscience. However, Cartesian Dualism is even more incompatible with the evidence. This leaves only two viable theories. The first is Bohr's theory of brain?consciousness complementarity. The second is the Broad?Price?Smythies theory of extension, which is a topological theory of the relation between phenomenal space and physical space. (shrink)
We review the observational foundations of the $\Lambda$CDM model, considered by most cosmologists as the standard model of cosmology. The Cosmological Principle, a key assumption of the model is shown to be verified with increasing accuracy. The fact that the Universe seems to have expanded from and hot and dense past is supported by many independent probes (galaxy redshifts, Cosmic Microwave Background, Big-Bang Nucleosynthesis and reionization). The explosion of detailed observations in the last few decades has allowed for precise measurements (...) of the cosmological parameters within Friedman-Lemaître-Robertson-Walker cosmologies leading to the $\Lambda$CDM model: an apparently flat Universe, dominated by a cosmological constant, whose matter component is dominantly dark. We describe and discuss the various observational probes that led to this conclusion and conclude that the $\Lambda$CDM model, although leaving a number of open questions concerning the deep nature of the constituents of the Universe, provides the best theoretical framework to explain the observations. (shrink)
The new complex [Rh2(phen)2(CH3CN)6](BF4)4 (1) was synthesized and characterized in solution and its crystal structure was determined. Irradiation of 1 with visible light (λirr>590 nm) in water results in the release of two equatorial CH3CN ligands, CH3CNeq, as well as in the formation of mononuclear radical Rh(II) fragments stemming from the homolytic photocleavage of the metal–metal bond. The photoproducts, identified by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, include [Rh(phen)(CH3 CN)(OH)]+ and [Rh(phen)(CH3CN)(H2O)3(BF4)]+. The quantum yield for the photochemical transformation of 1 in H2O (...) exceeds unity (Φ550 nm=1.38) indicative of dark reactions following the initial photoprocess. DNA photocleavage was observed for 1 (λirr>590 nm), whereas the complex is unreactive in the dark. This feature makes 1 a promising photodynamic therapy agent that does not operate via the production of singlet oxygen, 1O2. (shrink)
If religion means a commitment to a set of theological propositions regarding the nature of God, the soul, and an afterlife, Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) was never a religious enthusiast. The influence of the great religious thinker Friedrich Daniel Schleiermacher (1768-1834) on his family kept religious observance decorous and commitment vague.2 The theologian had maintained that true religion lay deep in the heart, where the inner person experienced a feeling of absolute dependence. Dogmatic tenets, he argued, served merely as inadequate symbols (...) of this fundamental experience. Religious feeling, according to Schleiermacher’s Über die Religion (On religion, 1799), might best be cultivated by seeking after truth, experiencing beauty, and contemplating nature.3 Haeckel practiced this kind of Schleiermachian religion all of his life. Haeckel’s association with the Evangelical Church, even as a youth, had been conventional. The death of his first wife severed the loose threads still holding him to formal observance. The power of that death, his obsession with a life that might have been, and the dark feeling of love forever lost drove him to find a more enduring and rational sub-. (shrink)
Introduction: the darkening spirit -- The degraded spirit in secular society -- Jung's advocacy of spiritual experience -- Jung and the prophetic life -- Jung's ambivalence toward religion -- Spiritual renewal from below -- The integration of the dark side -- The return of soul to the world: Jung and Hillman -- The problem of the spiritual in the reception of Jung -- Conclusion: Jung's contribution to a new religious vision.
Under the Superstition Mountains in central Arizona toil those who would rob humankind o f its humanity. These gray, soulless monsters methodically tear away at our meaning, our subjectivity, our essence as transcendent beings. With each advance, they steal our freedom and dignity. Who are these denizens of darkness, these usurpers of all that is good and holy? None other than humanity’s arch-foe: The Cognitive Scientists -- AI researchers, fallen philosophers, psychologists, and other benighted lovers of computers. Unless they are (...) stopped, humanity -- you and I -- will soon be nothing but numbers and algorithms locked away on magnetic tape. (shrink)
Adorno’s critical theory aims to open space for the expression of alternative futures, but its insistence on dialectical reflection encourages at the same time our sustained attentiveness to the psychic and material constraints that may prevent the very possibilities we imagine. In this article, I argue that dialectical reflection signals a location at which transcendental claims enter our thinking and that, for Adorno, such reflection provides a locus for a critically animating interplay between rhetorical figurations of darkness and redemption, or (...) material constraint and alternative possibility. Concerned less with the substance of Adorno’s criticisms than with how his dialectical mode of thinking can be said to shape critical reflection as such, I suggest that Adorno provides a model orientation for democratic engagement in our time and a sobering critical supplement to recent Derridean discourse on radical democracy. (shrink)
Since the inception of their discipline, anthropologists have studied virtually every conceivable aspect of other peoples' morality - religion, social control, sin, virtue, evil, duty, purity and pollution. But what of the examination of anthropology itself, and of its agendas, epistemes, theories and praxes? Conceived as a response to Patrick Tierney's hugely inflammatory book Darkness in El Dorado , whose allegations of immoral and negligent anthropological research in South America caused a storm of protest and debate, the book combines theoretical (...) papers and case studies from eminent scholars including Steven Nugent, Marilyn Silverman and Veronica Strang. Showing how the topic of ethics goes to the heart of anthropology, it raises the controversial question of why - and for whom - the anthropological discipline functions. (shrink)
Theory. Moral knowledge and moral principles -- Victorian Matters. First principles and common-sense morality in Sidgwick's ethics ; Moral problems and moral philosophy in the Victorian Period -- On the historiography of moral philosophy. Moral crisis and the history of ethics ; Modern moral philosophy : from beginning to end? : No discipline, no history : the case of moral philosophy ; Teaching the history of moral philosophy -- Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century moral philosophy. The divine corporation and the history of (...) ethics ; Natural law ; The misfortunes of virtue ; Voluntarism and the foundations of ethics ; Hume and the religious significance of moral rationalism -- On Kant. Why study Kant's Groundwork ; Autonomy, obligation, and virtue : an overview of Kant's moral philosophy ; Kant and Stoic ethics ; Toward enlightenment : Kant and the sources of darkness ; Kantian unsocial sociability : good out of evil -- Moral psychology. The active powers -- Afterword. Sixty years of philosophy in a life. (shrink)
A post-photographic cinema. The myth of "the myth of total cinema" -- The matrix: "a prison for your mind" -- The new realness -- Quid est veritas: the reality ofunspeakable suffering -- Social network -- Postscript: total cinema redux -- A chronicle of theBush years. 2001: after September 11 -- 2002: the war on terror begins -- 2003: invading Iraq-- 2004: Bush's victory -- 2005: looking for the Muslim world -- 2006: September 11, theanniversary -- 2007: what was Iraq and (...) where? -- 2008: the election -- Notes toward a syllabus.In praise of love (Jean-Luc Godard, 2001) -- Avalon (Mamoru Oshii, 2001) -- Avant-garde goesdigital: Corpus callosum, Cotton Candy, and Razzle Dazzle -- Russian ark (AlexanderSokurov,2002) -- Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, 2002) -- Goodbye Dragon Inn (Tsai Ming-Liang,2002) -- Dogville (Lars Von Trier, 2003) -- The world (Jia Zhangke, 2004) -- Battle in heaven(Carlos Reygadas, 2005) -- The death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu, 2005) -- Day night daynight (Julia Loktev, 2006) -- Southland tales (Richard Kelly, 2006) -- Inland empire (DavidLynch, 2006) -- Between darkness and light (after William Blake) (Douglas Gordon, 1997/2006)-- Lol (Joe Swanberg, 2006) -- Flight of the red balloon (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 2007) -- Hunger(Steve McQueen, 2008) -- Opening ceremonies, Beijing Olympics (August 8, 2008) -- Carlos(Olivier Assayas, 2010) -- The strange case of Angelica (Manoel de Oliveira, 2010) -- Onceupon a time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011). (shrink)