b>. The current essay introduces the guidance theory of representation, according to which the content and intentionality of representations can be accounted for in terms of the way they provide guidance for action. The guidance theory offers a way of fixing representational content that gives the causal and evolutionary history of the subject only an indirect (non-necessary) role, and an account of representational error, based on failure of action, that does not rely on any such notions as proper functions, ideal (...) conditions, or normal circumstances. Moreover, because the notion of error is defined in terms of failure of action, the guidance theory meets the. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy of religion as a subject of study has developed in recent years because of the identification and exposure of explicit sexism in much of the traditional philosophical thinking about religion. This struggle with a discipline shaped almost exclusively by men has led feminist philosophers to redress the problematic biases of gender, race, class and sexual orientation of the subject. Anderson and Clack bring together new and key writings on the core topics and approaches to this growing field. (...) Each essay exhibits a distinctive theoretical approach and appropriate insights from the fields of literature, theology, philosophy, gender and cultural studies. Beginning with a general introduction, part one explores important approaches to the feminist philosophy of religion, including psychoanalytic, poststructualist, postmetaphysical, and epistemological frameworks. In part two the authors survey significant topics including questions of divinity, embodiment, autonomy and spirituality, and religious practice. Supported by explanatory prefaces and an extensive bibliography which is organized thematically, Feminist Philosophy of Religion is an important resource for this new area of study. (shrink)
For the least the last 10 years, there has been growing interest in, and grow- ing evidence for, the intimate relations between more abstract or higher order cognition—such as reasoning, planning, and language use—and the more con- crete, immediate, or lower order operations of the perceptual and motor sys- tems that support seeing, feeling, moving, and manipulating. A sub-field of the larger research program in embodied cognition (Clark, 1997, 1998; Wilson, 2001; Anderson, 2003, 2007d, 2008; Gibbs, 2006), this work (...) has generally pro- ceeded under the banner of grounded cognition, and works to support the claim that thinking is inherently tied to—grounded in—perceiving and acting. Thus, Glenberg and Kaschak (2002) discuss “grounding language in action”; Gallese and Lakoff (2005) argue that concepts are “grounded in the sensory–motor sys- tem;” and Barsalou (1999) at various times talks of “grounding cognition in perception,” “grounding conceptual knowledge in modality-specific systems” (Barsalou et al., 2003), and most recently simply of “grounded cognition” (Barsalou, 2008). (shrink)
In this engaging book, Douglas Anderson begins with the assumption that philosophy—the Greek love of wisdom—is alive and well in American culture. At the same time, professional philosophy remains relatively invisible. Anderson traverses American life to find places in the wider culture where professional philosophy in the distinctively American tradition can strike up a conversation. How might American philosophers talk to us about our religious experience, or political engagement, or literature—or even, popular music? Anderson’s second aim is (...) to find places where philosophy happens in nonprofessional guises—cultural places such as country music, rock’n roll, and Beat literature. He not only enlarges the tradition of American philosophers such as John Dewey and William James by examining lesser-known figures such as Henry Bugbee and Thomas Davidson, but finds the theme and ideas of American philosophy in some unexpected places, such as the music of Hank Williams, Tammy Wynette, and Bruce Springsteen, and the writingsof Jack Kerouac.The idea of “philosophy Americana” trades on the emergent genre of “music Americana,” rooted in traditional themes and styles yet engaging our present experiences. The music is “popular” but not thoroughly driven by economic considerations, and Anderson seeks out an analogous role for philosophical practice, where philosophy and popular culture are co-adventurers in the life of ideas. Philosophy Americana takes seriously Emerson’s quest for the extraordinary in the ordinary and James’s belief that popular philosophy can still be philosophy. (shrink)
"The question for me is how can the human mind occur in the physical universe? We now know that the world is governed by physics. We now understand the way biology nestles comfortably within that. The issue is how will the mind do that as well?" Alan Newell, 4 December 1991, Carnegie Mellon University -/- The argument John Anderson gives in this book was inspired by the passage above, from the last lecture by one of the pioneers of cognitive (...) science. Alan Newell describes what, for him, is the pivotal question of scientific inquiry, and Anderson gives an answer that is emerging from the study of brain and behaviour. -/- Humans share the same basic cognitive architecture with all primates, but they have evolved abilities to exercise abstract control over cognition and process more complex relational patterns. The human cognitive architecture consists of a set of largely independent modules associated with different brain regions. This book discusses in detail how these various modules can combine to produce behaviors as varied as driving a car and solving an algebraic equation, but focuses principally on two of the modules: the declarative and procedural. The declarative module involves a memory system that, moment by moment, attempts to give each person the most appropriate possible window into his or her past. The procedural module involves a central system that strives to develop a set of productions that will enable the most adaptive response from any state of the modules. Newell argued that the answer to his question must take the form of a cognitive architecture, and Anderson organizes his answer around the ACT-R architecture, but broadens it by bringing in research from all areas of cognitive science, including how recent work in brain imaging maps onto the cognitive architecture. (shrink)
Newell (1980; 1990) proposed that cognitive theories be developed in an effort to satisfy multiple criteria and to avoid theoretical myopia. He provided two overlapping lists of 13 criteria that the human cognitive architecture would have to satisfy in order to be functional. We have distilled these into 12 criteria: flexible behavior, real-time performance, adaptive behavior, vast knowledge base, dynamic behavior, knowledge integration, natural language, learning, development, evolution, and brain realization. There would be greater theoretical progress if we evaluated theories (...) by a broad set of criteria such as these and attended to the weaknesses such evaluations revealed. To illustrate how theories can be evaluated we apply these criteria to both classical connectionism (McClelland & Rumelhart 1986; Rumelhart & McClelland 1986b) and the ACT-R theory (Anderson & Lebiere 1998). The strengths of classical connectionism on this test derive from its intense effort in addressing empirical phenomena in such domains as language and cognitive development. Its weaknesses derive from its failure to acknowledge a symbolic level to thought. In contrast, ACT-R includes both symbolic and subsymbolic components. The strengths of the ACT-R theory derive from its tight integration of the symbolic component with the subsymbolic component. Its weaknesses largely derive from its failure, as yet, to adequately engage in intensive analyses of issues related to certain criteria on Newell's list. Key Words: cognitive architecture; connectionism; hybrid systems; language; learning; symbolic systems. (shrink)
How do the ways we argue represent a practical philosophy or a way of life? Are concepts of character and ethos pertinent to our understanding of academic debate? In this book, Amanda Anderson analyzes arguments in literary, cultural, and political theory, with special attention to the ways in which theorists understand ideals of critical distance, forms of subjective experience, and the determinants of belief and practice. Drawing on the resources of the liberal and rationalist tradition, Anderson interrogates the (...) limits of identity politics and poststructuralism while holding to the importance of theory as a form of life. Considering high-profile trends as well as less noted patterns of argument, The Way We Argue Now addresses work in feminism, new historicism, queer theory, postcolonialism, cosmopolitanism, pragmatism, and proceduralism. The essays brought together here--lucid, precise, rigorously argued--combine pointed critique with an appreciative assessment of the productive internal contests and creative developments across these influential bodies of thought. Ultimately, The Way We Argue Now promotes a revitalized culture of argument through a richer understanding of the ways critical reason is practiced at the individual, collective, and institutional levels. Bringing to the fore the complexities of academic debate while shifting the terms by which we assess the continued influence of theory, it will appeal to readers interested in political theory, literary studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and the place of academic culture in society and politics. (shrink)
Verbin, N., Divinely abused: a philosophical perspective on Job and his kin Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11153-010-9262-5 Authors A. K. Anderson, Department of Religion, Wofford College, 429 N. Church St., Spartanburg, SC 29303, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047.
Part of understanding the functional organization of the brain is understanding how it evolved. This talk presents evidence suggesting that while the brain may have originally emerged as an organ with functionally dedicated regions, the creative re-use of these regions has played a significant role in its evolutionary development. This would parallel the evolution of other capabilities wherein existing structures, evolved for other purposes, are re-used and built upon in the course of continuing evolutionary development (“exaptation”: Gould & Vrba 1982). (...) There is psychological support for exaptation in cognition (e.g. Cosmides 1989), theoretical reason to expect it (Anderson 2003; in press-a; in press-b) and neuroanatomic evidence that the brain evolved by preserving, extending, and combining existing network components, rather than by generating complex structures de novo (Sporns & Kötter 2004). However, there has been little evidence that integrates these perspectives, bringing such an account of the evolution of cognitive function into the realm of cognitive neuroscience (although see, e.g., Barsalou 1999). (shrink)
'With this scheme, John Anderson joins a very distinguished line of philosophers who have presented us with a set of categories. We have first Plato (the doctrine of Highest Kinds in his dialogue The Sophist), then Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, and Samuel Alexander.' - D. M. Armstrong, from the introduction. Space, Time and the Categories presents a unique record of personal influence and inspiration over three generations of philosophers in Australia, England and Scotland. This work is a vitally important text (...) in the history of the development of realist philosophy in Australian universities. With an introduction by Emeritus Professor D M Armstrong whose own student notes are the basis for the text used, this book brings together three of the major figures in the history of Australian philosophy. (shrink)
In barely the space of one generation, Athens was transformed from a conventional city-state into something completely new--a region-state on a scale previously unthinkable. This book sets out to answer a seemingly simple question: How and when did the Athenian state attain the anomalous size that gave it such influence in Greek politics and culture in the classical period? Many scholars argue that Athens's incorporation of Attica was a gradual development, largely completed some two hundred years before the classical era. (...)Anderson, however, suggests that it is not until the late sixth century that we see the first systematic attempts by the Athenian polis to integrate all of Attica. Anderson first takes issue with the prevailing view of Cleisthenes' landmark political reforms of 508-7 b.c., arguing that they were animated by a more comprehensive vision of regional political community in Attica. The Athenians' strengthened the state by establishing institutional mechanisms that would allow inhabitants of the Attic periphery to participate as never before in the life of the center. The creation of a suitable physical setting for the new order was accompanied by religious, military, and symbolic innovations. Regional participation in Athenian affairs was stimulated by encouraging the Attic populace to imagine themselves, for the first time ever, as members of a single, like-minded, self-governing political community. Greg Anderson is Assistant Professor of Classics and History, University of Illinois at Chicago. (shrink)
This essay examines the role of data and program?code archives in making economic research ?replicable.? Replication of published results is recognized as an essential part of the scientific method. Yet, historically, both the ?demand for? and ?supply of? replicable results in economics has been minimal. ?Respect for the scientific method? is not sufficient to motivate either economists or editors of professional journals to ensure the replicability of published results. We enumerate the costs and benefits of mandatory data and code archives, (...) and argue that the benefits far exceed the costs. Progress has been made since the gloomy assessment of Dewald, Thursby and Anderson some 20 years ago in the American Economic Review, but much remains to be done before empirical economics ceases to be a ?dismal science? when judged by the replicability of its published results. (shrink)
The Saami assert that "to move on is better than to stay put" (jot'tit lea buorit go orrot). The senior (in more ways than one) author, Myrdene Anderson, found as a Saami ethnographer that her life history resonated well with this Saami philosophy. In addition, Anderson had adopted from her own heritage the adage that "one can't hit a moving target". The Saami would also be comfortable with that formula. Together, one might minimally collapse and paraphrase both adages (...) as: "a rolling agent invests in the moment". Devika Chawla, the junior author, interrogates Anderson in nuancing this philosophy. To what degree is our research overdetermined and underdetermined by such factors as life history, culture, personality, and narrative reflections? The inquiry proceeds to unpack the opacities and transparencies in semiosic constructions. (shrink)
Heikki Ikäheimo and Arto Laitinen (eds), Recognition and Social Ontology Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 134-137 Authors Sybol Cook Anderson, St. Mary's College of Maryland, USA Journal Critical Horizons: A Journal of Philosophy & Social Theory Online ISSN 1568-5160 Print ISSN 1440-9917 Journal Volume Volume 13 Journal Issue Volume 13, Number 1 / 2012.
In this book Deland S. Anderson traces the origin of the idea, "God is dead," in the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel. Focusing on issues of language, life, and learning, Anderson presents an integrated perspective on the death of God in Hegel's philosophy as it emerged in the early years at Jena. He argues that Hegel's pronouncement of the death of God was the beginning of his radically innovative system of speculative discourse, which revolutionized not only philosophy byt the (...) wider culture as well. (shrink)
Metaphysics and language: Quine, W. V. O. On the individuation of attributes. Körner, S. On some relations between logic and metaphysics. Marcus, R. B. Does the principle of substitutivity rest on a mistake? Van Fraassen, B. C. Platonism's pyrrhic victory. Martin, R. M. On some prepositional relations. Kearns, J. T. Sentences and propositions.--Basic and combinatorial logic: Orgass, R. J. Extended basic logic and ordinal numbers. Curry, H. B. Representation of Markov algorithms by combinators.--Implication and consistency: Anderson, A. R. Fitch (...) on consistency. Belnap, N. D., Jr. Grammatical propaedeutic. Thomason, R. H. Decidability in the logic of conditionals. Myhill, J. Levels of implication.--Deontic, epistemic, and erotetic logic: Bacon, J. Belief as relative knowledge. Wu, K. J. Believing and disbelieving. Kordig, C. R. Relativized deontic modalities. Harrah, D. A system for erotetic sentences. (shrink)
What is the nature of consciousness? How is consciousness related to brain processes? This volume collects thirteen new papers on these topics: twelve by leading and respected philosophers and one by a leading color-vision scientist. All focus on consciousness in the "phenomenal" sense: on what it's like to have an experience. Consciousness has long been regarded as the biggest stumbling block for physicalism, the view that the mind is physical. The controversy has gained focus over the last few decades, and (...) phenomenal knowledge and phenomenal concepts--knowledge of consciousness and the associated concepts--have come to play increasingly prominent roles in this debate. Consider Frank Jackson's famous case of Mary, the super-scientist who learns all the physical information while confined in a black-and-white room. According to Jackson, if physicalism is true, then Mary's physical knowledge should allow her to deduce what it's like to see in color. Yet it seems intuitively clear that she learns something when she leaves the room. But then how can consciousness be physical? Arguably, whether this sort of reasoning is sound depends on how phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge are construed. For example, some argue that the Mary case reveals something about phenomenal concepts but has no implications for the nature of consciousness itself. Are responses along these lines adequate? Or does the problem arise again at the level of phenomenal concepts? The papers in this volume engage with the latest developments in this debate. The authors' perspectives range widely. For example, Daniel Dennett argues that anti-physicalist arguments such as the knowledge argument are simply confused; David Papineau grants that such arguments at least reveal important features of phenomenal concepts; and David Chalmers defends the anti-physicalist arguments, arguing that the "phenomenal concept strategy" cannot succeed. (shrink)
The nature of cognition is being re-considered. Instead of emphasizing formal operations on abstract symbols, the new approach foregrounds the fact that cognition is, rather, a situated activity, and suggests that thinking beings ought therefore be considered first and foremost as acting beings. The essay reviews recent work in Embodied Cognition, provides a concise guide to its principles, attitudes and goals, and identifies the physical grounding project as its central research focus.
Th is paper investigates the epistemic powers of democratic institutions through an assessment of three epistemic models of democracy: the Condorcet Jury Th eorem, the Diversity Trumps Ability Th eorem, and Dewey's experimentalist model. Dewey's model is superior to the others in its ability to model the epistemic functions of three constitutive features of democracy: the epistemic diversity of participants, the interaction of voting with discussion, and feedback mechanisms such as periodic elections and protests. It views democracy as an institution (...) for pooling widely distributed information about problems and policies of public interest by engaging the participation of epistemically diverse knowers. Democratic norms of free discourse, dissent, feedback, and accountability function to ensure collective, experimentallybased learning from the diverse experiences of diff erent knowers. I illustrate these points with a case study of community forestry groups in South Asia, whose epistemic powers have been hobbled by their suppression of women's participation. (shrink)
: The underdetermination argument establishes that scientists may use political values to guide inquiry, without providing criteria for distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate guidance. This paper supplies such criteria. Analysis of the confused arguments against value-laden science reveals the fundamental criterion of illegitimate guidance: when value judgments operate to drive inquiry to a predetermined conclusion. A case study of feminist research on divorce reveals numerous legitimate ways that values can guide science without violating this standard.
Abstract: The massive redeployment hypothesis (MRH) is a theory about the functional topography of the human brain, offering a middle course between strict localization on the one hand, and holism on the other. Central to MRH is the claim that cognitive evolution proceeded in a way analogous to component reuse in software engineering, whereby existing components-originally developed to serve some specific purpose-were used for new purposes and combined to support new capacities, without disrupting their participation in existing programs. If the (...) evolution of cognition was indeed driven by such exaptation, then we should be able to make some specific empirical predictions regarding the resulting functional topography of the brain. This essay discusses three such predictions, and some of the evidence supporting them. Then, using this account as a background, the essay considers the implications of these findings for an account of the functional integration of cognitive operations. For instance, MRH suggests that in order to determine the functional role of a given brain area it is necessary to consider its participation across multiple task categories, and not just focus on one, as has been the typical practice in cognitive neuroscience. This change of methodology will motivate (even perhaps necessitate) the development of a new, domain-neutral vocabulary for characterizing the contribution of individual brain areas to larger functional complexes, and direct particular attention to the question of how these various area roles are integrated and coordinated to result in the observed cognitive effect. Finally, the details of the mix of cognitive functions a given area supports should tell us something interesting not just about the likely computational role of that area, but about the nature of and relations between the cognitive functions themselves. For instance, growing evidence of the role of “motor” areas like M1, SMA and PMC in language processing, and of “language” areas like Broca’s area in motor control, offers the possibility for significantly reconceptualizing the nature both of language and of motor control. (shrink)
There is a long and storied history of debates over 'realism' that has touched literally every academic discipline. Yet realism- antirealism debates play a relatively minor role in the contemporary study of consciousness. In this paper four basic varieties of realism and antirealism are explored (existential, epistemological, semantic, and ontological) and their potential impact on the study of consciousness is considered. Reasons are offered to explain why there is not more debate over these issues, including a discussion of the powerful (...) influence of externalist versions of physicalist realism. Examples are given of approaches to consciousness studies that challenge contemporary versions of physicalist realism. (shrink)
b>. Recent findings in cognitive science suggest that the epistemic subject is more complex and epistemically porous than is generally pictured. Human knowers are open to the world via multiple channels, each operating for particular purposes and according to its own logic. These findings need to be understood and addressed by the philosophical community. The current essay argues that one consequence of the new findings is to invalidate certain arguments for epistemic anti-realism.
This essay introduces the massive redeployment hypothesis, an account of the functional organization of the brain that centrally features the fact that brain areas are typically employed to support numerous functions. The central contribution of the essay is to outline a middle course between strict localization on the one hand, and holism on the other, in such a way as to account for the supporting data on both sides of the argument. The massive redeployment hypothesis is supported by case studies (...) of redeployment, and compared and contrasted with other theories of the localization of function. (shrink)
Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit have defended a non-reductive account of causal relevance known as the ‘program explanation account’. Allegedly, irreducible mental properties can be causally relevant in virtue of figuring in non-redundant program explanations which convey information not conveyed by explanations in terms of the physical properties that actually do the ‘causal work’. I argue that none of the possible ways to spell out the intuitively plausible idea of a program explanation serves its purpose, viz., defends non-reductive physicalism against (...) Jaegwon Kim’s Causal Exclusion Argument according to which non-reductive physicalism is committed to epiphenomenalism because irreducible mental properties are ‘screened off’ from causal relevance by their physical realizers. Jackson and Pettit’s most promising explication of a program explanation appeals to the idea of invariance of effect under variation of realization , but I show that invariance of effect under variation of realization is neither necessary nor sufficient for causal relevance. (shrink)
In 'Jackson on physical information and qualia'(1984) Terry Horgan defended physicalism against Frank Jackson's Knowledge Argument by raising what later has been called the 'mode of presentation reply'- arguingthatthe Knowledge Argumentis fallacious because itsubtly equivocates on two different readings of 'physical information'. In 'Mary, Mary, quite contrary' (2000) however, George Graham and Terry Horgan maintain that none of the replies against Jackson has yet been successful, not even Horgan's own 1984 rejoinder.Tosubstantiate their claim, they present an allegedly improved version of (...) the Knowledge Argument, the 'Mary Mary Argument' whose default moral is property-dualism. In section 1, I will set the scene by making some clarifying remarks regarding Jackson's original argument. In section 2, I will consider several objections to the most promising physicalist rejoinder to the Knowledge Argument, the mode of presentation reply. In section 3 I will discuss the Mary Mary Argument and propose the indexical account of consciousness that, as it happens, is based on Horgan's own 1984 account as a possible solution. Finally,in section 4, I will argue that to the extent that the Mary Mary Argument exceeds the force of Jackson's original challenge it coincides with Joe Levine's Explanatory Gap Argument. (shrink)
I will discuss two possible options how a defender of the type identity-theory with respect to mental properties can avoid the conclusion of Putnam's Multiple Realizability Argument. I begin by offering a rigorous formulation of Putnam's argument, which has been lacking so far in the literature (section 2). This rigorous formulation shows that there are basically two possible options for avoiding the argument's conclusion. Contrary to current mainstream, I reject the first option?Kim's 'local reductionism'?as untenable (section 3). I endorse the (...) second option, which has been brought into discredit by being too closely associated with disjunctive properties. I first show that many of the criticisms of disjunctive properties miss their target or beg the question against their opponent view (sections 4 & 5). Then I argue that it is not necessary to tie the second option closely to disjunctive properties. Hence, even if we deny the legitimacy of disjunctive properties, the identity-theorist still need not accept the conclusion of the Multiple Realizability Argument since there is an alternative, though related, way to spell out the second response (section 6). (shrink)
Recent trends in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science can be fruitfully characterized as part of the ongoing attempt to come to grips with the very idea of homo sapiens--an intelligent, evolved, biological agent--and its signature contribution is the emergence of a philosophical anthropology which, contra Descartes and his thinking thing, instead puts doing at the center of human being. Applying this agency-oriented line of thinking to the problem of representation, this paper introduces the Guidance Theory, according to which (...) the content and intentionality of representations can be accounted for in terms of the way they provide guidance for action. We offer a brief account of the motivation for the theory, and a formal characterization. (shrink)
"Content and Comportment argues persuasively that the answer to some long-standing questions in epistemology and metaphysics lies in taking up the neglected question of the role of our bodily activity in establishing connections between representational states?knowledge and belief in particular?and their objects in the world. It takes up these ideas from both current mainstream analytic philosophy?Frege, Dummett, Davidson, Evans?and from mainstream continental work?Heidegger and his commentators and critics?and bings them together successfully in a way that should surprise only those who (...) persist in maintaining this barren dichotymization of the field."?Anthony Appiah , Princeton University. (shrink)
Epistemological approaches to mental causation argue that the notorious problem of mental causation as captured in the question “How can irreducible, physically realized, and potentially relational mental properties be causally efficacious in the production of physical effects?” has a very simple solution: One merely has to abandon any metaphysical considerations in favor of epistemological considerations and accept that our explanatory practice is a much better guide to causal relevance than the metaphysical reasoning carried out from the philosophical armchair. I argue (...) that epistemological approaches to mental causation do not enjoy any genuine advantage over theories which treat the problem of mental causation as a genuinely metaphysical problem. (shrink)
b>. The current essay introduces the guidance theory of representation, according to which the content and intentionality of representations can be accounted for in terms of the way they provide guidance for action. We offer a brief account of the biological origins of representation, a formal characterization of the guidance theory, some examples of its use, and show how the guidance theory handles some traditional problem cases for representation: the problems of error and of representation of fictional and abstract entities.
: Texts bear traces of complex struggles. For scientific texts, issues to do with the meaning of words and their reference are often where such struggles occur. In texts too identity is fashioned in the social realm and texts are woven closely into human cognition. The focus on how texts function to produce meaning, characteristic of recent literary theory, provides remarkable resources for locating these features in scientific texts. The project sketched here in a preliminary manner seeks to bring such (...) resources to bear on Michael Faraday's writings and explores in Faraday's rich and reflexive "textual space" his persistent concern to stabilize the meaning and reference of words as well as the less conscious subtle complexities associated with the production of meaning. Both weave closely into his scientific theorizing and fashioning of identity. (shrink)
This commentary was suggested to me in part by a colleague's remark that it would be nice if we could make William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience "respectable." The implication was that though there was something redeemable about the book, it somehow wasn't philosophically or scientifically proper. The remark awakened me to—or at least reminded me of—the fact that this has been a traditional take on James's text. As Julius Bixler points out, ridicule began soon after the book was (...) published: "The Varieties of Religious Experience, appearing at about the same time as Ernest Thompson Seton's book of animal stories, was soon nicknamed 'Wild Religions I Have Known'" (1926, 1). My awakening to this attitude—a prevalent if not a pervasive one among contemporary intellectuals—led me to consider that it would be better, and crucially important to James himself, to keep James "unrespectable." James may have been a renegade and... (shrink)
In 1905 William James wrote an essay in McClure's Magazine recalling the importance to his own work of the Scottish-born philosopher Thomas Davidson. In the essay, James states that Davidson was "essentially a teacher." What is interesting when one looks at Davidson's life and work is that, for Davidson, teaching does seem to be an essential feature of what it means to be a philosopher. Here, I develop how Davidson construes this linking of philosophy and teaching with a concluding emphasis (...) on the two schools he established: Glenmore, a summer philosophy program in the Adirondacks and the "Breadwinners' College," an open school he began for working persons in New York City. I offer this as a discussion paper so that James's recollection of Davidson's importance to his own work may provoke us to consider how we presently understand the linking of teaching and philosophy. This seems especially appropriate for an academic culture such as ours in which much of our time is spent teaching and in which we are often primarily evaluated by a separate category of professional "research." The American tradition has "lost" any number of its important... (shrink)
In the early twentieth century Walter Benjamin introduced the idea of epochal and ongoing progression in interaction between mind and the built environment. Since early antiquity, the present study suggests, Benjamin’s notion has been manifest in metaphors of gender in city-form, whereby edifices and urban voids have represented masculinity and femininity, respectively. At the onset of interaction between mind and the built environment are prehistoric myths related to the human body and to the sky. During antiquity gender projection can (...) be detected in western perceptions linking natural and built environments, commencing with Plato’s Atlantis and his Myth of Er, and later as a likely import of the Chinese yin-yang mythology. Culminating with the Age of Discovery, alongside advances in experiential awareness of the Earth’s sphericity, respective feminine and masculine earmarks can be detected in early modern perspicacity of the Earth’s southern and northern hemispheres. Our conceptions of natural and built environments inherently continue to contain gender traits. Yet urban voids, as the feminine face of city-form, have been severely understated in the built environment. Through design and configuration of urban voids, allegories of femininity in city-form ought to be celebrated, not discarded. (shrink)
: This article focuses on one aspect of the late mediaeval debate over divine power, as it was discussed by Oxford philosophers Walter Chatton (d. 1343) and William Ockham (d. 1347). Chatton and Ockham would have agreed, for example, that God is ultimately responsible for the existence of the works of Pablo Picasso, but they would not agree over wheher it violates God's omnipotence to say that he cannot make something that Picasso made, for example, the painting Guernica, without (...) using Picasso himself as an intermediate cause. The context of their dispute was a larger debate regarding the ontological status of relations. This article (1) explains how these two issues, omnipotence and relations, became so interestingly tangled together, (2) tries to see which of the two men mentioned above got the better of their exchange, and finally (3) draws out some important consequences for fourteenth-century discussions of causality, occasionalism, and omnipotence. (shrink)
Quine has argued that modal logic began with the sin of confusing use and mention. Anderson and Belnap, on the other hand, have offered us a way out through a strategy of nominalization. This paper reviews the history of Lewis’s early work in modal logic, and then proves some results about the system in which “ A is necessary” is intepreted as “ A is a classical tautology.”.
This article uses Walter Benjamin's theoretical claims in the 'Critique of violence' to shed light on some current conceptualisations of terrorism. It suggests an understanding of terrorism as an essentially contested concept. If the theorist uncritically adopts the state's account of terrorism, she occludes an important dimension of the phenomenon that allows for a rethinking of the state's claim to a monopoly on legitimate violence. Benjamin's essay conceptualises the state as resulting from a conjunction of violence, law, legitimacy and (...) power that rests on mythical ideas about nature and history. It shows why the state claims to be justified in taking exceptional measures when this link is challenged and when its prerogative to the legitimate use of force is called into question. This, I argue, is what terrorism does. Thus, Benjamin's essay adds to a more nuanced and less one-sided understanding of both terrorism and state violence. (shrink)
In a famous experiment by Tversky and Kahneman (Psychol Rev 90:293–315, 1983), featuring Linda the bank teller, the participants assign a higher probability to a conjunction of propositions than to one of the conjuncts, thereby seemingly committing a probabilistic fallacy. In this paper, we discuss a slightly different example featuring someone named Walter, who also happens to work at a bank, and argue that, in this example, it is rational to assign a higher probability to the conjunction of suitably (...) chosen propositions than to one of the conjuncts. By pointing out the similarities between Tversky and Kahneman’s experiment and our example, we argue that the participants in the experiment may assign probabilities to the propositions in question in such a way that it is also rational for them to give the conjunction a higher probability than one of the conjuncts. (shrink)
Critique as a philosophical concept needs to be recast once it is linked to the possibility of a productive opening. In such a context critique has an important affinity to destruction and forms of inauguration. Working through writings of Marx and Walter Benjamin, specifically Benjamin's 'The Meaning of Time in the Moral World', destruction and inauguration are repositioned in terns of othering and the caesura of allowing.
On 9 December 1930, Walter Benjamin sent a copy of his book The Origin of German Tragic Drama to Carl Schmitt, accompanied by a letter in which he expressed his indebtedness to Schmitt: "You will very quickly recognize how much my book is indebted to you for its presentation of the doctrine of sovereignty in the seventeenth century. Perhaps I may say, in addition, that I have also derived from your later works, especially Die Diktatur, a confirmation of my (...) modes of research in the philosophy of art from yours in the philosophy of the state. If the reading of my book allows this feeling to emerge in an intelligible fashion, then the purpose of my sending it to you will be achieved" (qtd. in Weber 1992, 5). As .. (shrink)
The point of departure of this study is Walter Benjamin’s last text, “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” Benjamin appeals to the significance of theology for historical materialism in order to overcome one of the decisive reasons why Marx’s unique theoretical project, in its positivistic interpretations, was not understood with the necessary radicality and had been in danger of losing its explanatory power and revolutionary impulse. The necessity of looking back to the past constitutes the basic theme of the (...) study, and it is analyzed at the epistemological, ontological and political levels. The view backwards is also necessary because the past shows how all its atrocities, which we think have been overcome, may at any time return in a way which we are unable to imagine. (shrink)
This essay discusses Walter Benjamin's development of 'dream' as a model for understanding 19th- and 20th-century urban culture. Following Bergson and surrealist poetics, Benjamin used 'dream' in the 1920s as an heuristic analogy for investigating child hood memories, kitsch art and literature; during the early 1930s, he also developed it into an historiographic concept for studying 19th- century Parisian culture. Benjamin's interpretative use of the dream cuts across Ricoeur's distinction between the hermeneutics of 'recol lection' and the hermeneutics of (...) 'suspicion'. The political dream analyst seeks to discharge the 'fatal powers' of the ideological dream, while at the same time fostering the experience of waking in which dream elements may recollectively be grasped. Benjamin extends this dialectic of dreaming, interpreting and waking to the relation between historical epochs and the tasks of the materialist historian. Puzzling out the recent past's dreamlike rebuses may serve in the task of a present historical awakening. Key Words: Walter Benjamin city dream hermeneutics surrealism. (shrink)
Anderson-like ontological proofs, studied in this paper, employ contingent identity, free principles of quantification of the 1st order variables and classical principles of quantification of the 2nd order variables. All these theories are strongly complete wrt. classes of modal structures containing families of world-varying objectual domains of the 1st order and constant conceptual domains of the 2nd order. In such structures, terms of the 1st order receive only rigid extensions, which are elements of the union of all 1st order (...) domains. Terms of the 2nd order receive extensions and intensions. Given a family of preselected world-varying objectual domains of the 2nd order, non-rigid extensions of the 2nd order terms belong always to a preselected domain connected with a given world. Rigid intensions of the 2nd order terms are chosen from among members of a conceptual domain of the 2nd order, which is the set of all functions from the set of worlds to the union of all 2nd order preselected domains such that values of these functions at a given world belong to a preselected domain connected with this world. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to examine the ateleological moment of learning through imitation. In general, we can learn something new through imitating models we are given, which embody the values of our own society, culture and institutions. This means that imitation is understood in terms of the representation or reproduction of original models. In this understanding of imitation, however, the creative aspect of imitation is missed. In relation to this I shall, first, consider learning through imitation in terms (...) of Walter Benjamin's theory of mimesis discussed in his essay, ‘On the Mimetic Faculty.’ It begins by examining general understanding of the concepts of experience and writing. Second and third, while reconsidering the idea of imitation, I shall bring out the difference between mimesis and copying, based on Plato and Aristotle, and I shall examine the former, especially its involuntary aspect. Fourth, in order to consider the ateleological moment of learning through imitation as mimesis, I discuss the relation between mimesis and the chance event. Fifth, Benjamin's allegorical ‘anti-autobiography’ entitled ‘A Berlin Childhood around 1900’, which ponders the idea of childhood as otherness is considered in order to explore what is happening in the very moment of writing, driven by the chance event. To conclude, I shall show how the very moment of writing involves an unceasing transformation of the self. (shrink)
Walter Thorson's two articles on the legitimacy and scope of naturalism within science attempt to identify a mediating position between the reductive naturalism of thinkers like Richard Dawkins and the complete rejection of naturalism by thinkers like Phillip Johnson. Thorson rightly notes that the purely mechanistic approach to science characteristic of reductive naturalism is inadequate. Nonetheless, he argues that science still needs naturalism as a methodological or regulative principle. Thorson's methodological naturalism leaves room for teleology in nature, though (...) a teleology that falls short of full intelligent agency. (shrink)
I seek to interpret the work of Walter Benjamin in light of the "system programme" of German Idealism, in order to confront an antinomy of contemporary radical thought. Benjamin has been regarded as an anti-Hegelian thinker of the exception. Reading him against the grain, I draw out a concept of counter-tradition that eschews the opposition of intra-historical progress and extra-historical exception. The philological inspiration is a book by Franz Joseph Molitor, student of Schelling and "teacher" of Benjamin: The Philosophy (...) of History, or, On Tradition. (shrink)
Though the work of René Girard has highlighted the interrelations between sacrifice and sacrality in the contemporary world, it has yet to engage the work of Walter Benjamin and his heir, Giorgio Agamben, whose project concerning the Homo Sacer has aroused interest in contemporary political thought. By focusing on Benjamin's early description of mimesis and its relation to language, a position can be elaborated that steers mimesis clear of its indebtedness to language and towards a ‘purer’ realm of gesture. (...) Benjamin's formulation of a more proper ‘divine’ language of gestures could then be said to coalesce with certain historical-religious proclamations, something that Agamben's work challenges us to consider as a viable, albeit ‘profane’, political and ethical option for humanity. (shrink)
Walter Benjamin, Religion, and Aesthetics is an innovative attempt to reconceive the key concepts of religious studies through a reading with, and against, Walter Benjamin. Brent Plate deftly sifts through Benjamin's voluminous writings showing how his concepts of art, allegory, and experience undo traditional religious concepts such as myth, symbol, memory, narrative, creation, and redemption. Recasting religion as religious practice, as process and movement, Plate locates a Benjaminian materialist aesthetics, what the author calls an "allegorical aesthetics," in order (...) to uncover sources and establish a new locus for the study of religion. Placing the concept of an allegorical aesthetics into practice, Plate offers examinations of aesthetic productions such as Daniel Libeskind's architecture and Marcel Duchamp's ready-mades alongside religious developments such as the Hindu Bhakti movement and Jewish Kabbalistic thought. Walter Benjamin, Religion, and Aesthetics will be necessary reading for those interested in religion and the arts, aesthetics, and material culture. (shrink)
This article identifies principles for global journalism ethics in speeches and essays by the early 20th century journalist and founder of the first American journalism school, Walter Williams. Williams is not known as a media ethicist, nor is he a prominent figure in ongoing scholarly work on global journalism ethics. However, his nascent ethical principles offer an important foreshadowing of current discussions on how journalism ethics might work in a global context. The global perspective he brought to journalism was (...) formulated at a critical period in the development of American journalism and codes of ethics. Tracing the evolution of global journalism ethics is important because the search for universal ethical principles in journalism has intensified today. That is because “media technologies are increasingly and dramatically global. Our work in media ethics should be commensurate with them” (Christians, 2005, p. 3). A century ahead of current attempts to develop principles for global journalism ethics, Williams was confronted with pluralism and globalization, just as he and other key figures in American journalism's history were shaping journalism into a profession and an academic discipline. While Williams discussed such principles as global responsibility and awareness of difference, he also contended that a specifically Christian, American, pastoral model should set the global standard. This paradoxical, unwieldy stance is discussed in the context of the Progressive Era. Implications for current scholarship on global journalism ethics are explored. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to show how philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin related to the hermeneutical tradition — and tried to move beyond it by ‘redeeming’ human experience, while avoiding the pitfalls of the philosophy of ‘authenticity’. Though convinced that questions relating to historicity were central to any understanding of modern human experience, Benjamin explicitly rejected the Heideggerian alternative, and chose a path closer to Hans-Georg Gadamer’s. He attempted to combine theological interpretation with dialectical materialism, always grounding (...) hermeneutics in the concrete manifestations of social life, inaugurating a method which I suggest could be called ‘hermeneutical materialism’. At stake was a politically motivated defence of the ‘mimetic faculty’ — understood as (re)interpretation — in the modern, technologically organized world. (shrink)
An argument that Pamela Sue Andersonâs critique of Irigaray commits her to a version of the Ideal Observer Theory, a theory Anderson rejects. This paper was delivered in the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God.