The so-called ‘‘species problem’’ has plagued evolution- ary biology since before Darwin’s publication of the aptly titled Origin of Species. Many biologists think the problem is just a matter of semantics; others complain that it will not be solved until we have more empirical data. Yet, we don’t seem to be able to escape discussing it and teaching seminars about it. In this paper, I briefly examine the main themes of the biological and philosophical liter- atures on the species problem, (...) focusing on identifying common threads as well as relevant differences. I then argue two fundamental points. First, the species problem is not primarily an empirical one, but it is rather fraught with philosophical questions that require—but cannot be settled by—empirical evidence. Second, the (dis-)solution lies in explicitly adopting Wittgenstein’s idea of ‘‘familyresemblance’’ or cluster concepts, and to consider spe- cies as an example of such concepts. This solution has several attractive features, including bringing together apparently diverging themes of discussion among bio- logists and philosophers. The current proposal is con- ceptually independent (though not incompatible) with the pluralist approach to the species problem advocated by Mishler, Donoghue, Kitcher and Dupre ́, which implies that distinct aspects of the species question need to be emphasized depending on the goals of the researcher. From the biological literature, the concept of species that most closely matches the philosophical discussion pre- sented here is Templeton’s cohesion idea. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's remarks about familyresemblance in the Philosophical Investigations should not be construed as implying a comprehensive theory of universals. They possess, rather, a defensive function in his exposition. The remarks allow one, nevertheless, to draw certain general conclusions about how Wittgenstein thought about concepts. Reflection on the notion of familyresemblance reveals that kinship and similarity considerations intersect in it in a problematic fashion.
It is a commonly raised argument against thefamily resemblance account of concepts that, on thisaccount, there is no limit to a concept's extension.An account of familyresemblance which attempts toprovide a solution to this problem by including bothsimilarity among instances and dissimilarity tonon-instances has been developed by the philosopher ofscience Thomas Kuhn. Similar solutions have beenhinted at in the literature on family resemblanceconcepts, but the solution has never received adetailed investigation. I shall provide areconstruction of Kuhn's (...) theory and argue that hissolution necessitates a developmental perspective withbuilds on both the transmission of taxonomies betweengenerations and a progressive development throughhistory. (shrink)
Although there is universal consensus both in the science education literature and in the science standards documents to the effect that students should learn not only the content of science but also its nature, there is little agreement about what that nature is. This led many science educators to adopt what is sometimes called “the consensus view” about the nature of science (NOS), whose goal is to teach students only those characteristics of science on which there is wide consensus. This (...) is an attractive view, but it has some shortcomings and weaknesses. In this article we present and defend an alternative approach based on the notion of familyresemblance. We argue that the familyresemblance approach is superior to the consensus view in several ways, which we discuss in some detail. (shrink)
The introduction of the notion of familyresemblance represented a major shift in Wittgenstein’s thoughts on the meaning of words, moving away from a belief that words were well defined, to a view that words denoted less well defined categories of meaning. This paper presents the use of the notion of familyresemblance in the area of machine learning as an example of the benefits that can accrue from adopting the kind of paradigm shift taken by (...) Wittgenstein. The paper presents a model capable of learning exemplars using the principle of familyresemblance and adopting Bayesian networks for a representation of exemplars. An empirical evaluation is presented on three data sets and shows promising results that suggest that previous assumptions about the way we categories need reopening. (shrink)
It is commonly thought that mental disorder is a valid concept only in so far as it is an extension of or continuous with the concept of physical disorder. A valid extension has to meet two criteria: determination and coherence. Essentialists meet these criteria through necessary and sufficient conditions for being a disorder. Two Wittgensteinian alternatives to essentialism are considered and assessed against the two criteria. These are the familyresemblance approach and the secondary sense approach. Where the (...) focus is solely on the characteristics or attributes of things, both these approaches seem to fail to meet the criteria for valid extension. However, this focus on attributes is mistaken. The criteria for valid extension are met in the case of familyresemblance by the pattern of characteristics associated with a concept, and by the limits of intelligibility of applying a concept. Secondary sense, though it may have some claims to be a good account of the relation between physical and mental disorder, cannot claim to meet the two criteria of valid extension. (shrink)
A critique of attempts by Charles Travis and others to read contextualism back into Philosophical Investigations. The central interpretive claim is that this reading is not only unsupported; it gets Wittgenstein's intent, in the parts of the text at issue, precisely backwards. The focus of the chapter is on Wittgenstein's treatment of explanation, understanding, proper names, and family-resemblance concepts.
Twenty-five years after the term "therapeutic misconception’ (TM) first entered the literature, most commentators agree that it remains widespread. However, the majority of scholarly attention has focused on the reasons why a patient cum human subject might confuse the goals of research with the goals of therapy. Although this paper addresses the social and cultural factors that seem to animate the TM among subjects, it also fills a niche in the literature by examining why investigators too might operate under a (...) similar confusion. In framing these issues, the paper expressly adopts a Wittgensteinian approach to evaluating the TM, suggesting that interlocutors do not need any analytic definition of the TM to use the term meaningfully in thinking about the moral implications of the TM in practice. (shrink)
This paper focuses on recent debates over the nature ofliberalism and its central feature of reason, both inside and outside ofeducational philosophy. Central ideas from Jonathan and Hirst contributeas do those from Rawls, Gadamer, Wittgenstein, Taylor, and Ackermantoward a less traditional contextualized and contingent view.
In §66 ofPhilosophical Investigations Wittgenstein looks for something common to various games and finds only an interconnecting network of resemblances. These are family resemblances. Sympathetic as well as unsympathetic readers have interpreted him as claiming that games form a family in virtue of these resemblances. This assumes Wittgenstein inverted the relation between being a member of a family and bearing family resemblances to others of that family. (The Churchills bear family resemblances to one another (...) because they belong to the same family, they don't belong to the same family because they resemble one another.) A close reading ofInvestigations gives no evidence that Wittgenstein made this mistake. Rather, family resemblances may play a role like the one criteria play for psychological terms. They give excellent but fallible evidence for membership in the extensions of some terms. (shrink)
Kaufman describes the current debate on the possibility of a definition of art between the theorists and the anti-theorist Wittgensteinians. The Wittgensteinian reliance on ‘family resemblances’ is a serious objection to theoretical definitions. Wittgenstein, however, is said to be unable to give a proper account of the ‘inner experience’ encountered in art. By way of response, it is urged that attention to Wittgenstein himself will show that there are misunderstandings of the idea of family resemblances and that Wittgenstein's (...) writings provide all we need to understand the depth of ‘inner experience’. (shrink)
Many discussions between realists and non-realists have centered on the issue of reference, especially whether there is referential stability during theory change. In this paper, I shall summarize the debate, sketching the problems that remain within the two opposing positions, and show that both have ended on their own slippery slope, sliding away from their original position toward that of their opponents. In the search for a viable intermediate position, I shall then suggest an account of reference which, to a (...) degree, follows the causal theory in explaining reference as carving the world at its joints. Contrary to the causal theory, however, I submit that this world is a phenomenal world whose variable joints exist only in a historical process in which they are transmitted gradually from one generation to the next. According to this account, the joints of the phenomenal world are constituted by familyresemblance, where bundles of features that span bounded areas in perceptual space underlie the joints. Furthermore, the integrity of the cognitive process by which these joints are recognized depends on a transmission process by which new generations are presented with given joints and bundles by the preceding generation. Contrary to a traditional realist account, this heritage from the preceding generation may be transformed into new joints and bundles before transmission to new generations. This permits a continuous process of referential change in which the joints and bundles at different stages in the development of a theory can be connected by chains-of-reasoning. (shrink)
The project of neuroaesthetics could be interpreted as an attempt to identify a ?neural essence? of art, i.e., a set of necessary and sufficient conditions formulated in the language of neuroscience, which define the concept art . Some proposals developed within this field can be read in this way. I shall argue that such attempts do not succeed in individuating a neural definition of art. Of course, the fact that the proposals available for defining art in neural terms do not (...) work does not mean that such an enterprise is in principle doomed to failure. However, I maintain that there are good reasons to suspect that in general such a definition cannot be worked out. This does not mean, though, that the study of neural correlates in artwork production and fruition is a senseless project. Neuroaesthetics could succeed in individuating widespread mechanisms common to different forms of art coming from remote cultural contexts, which presumably rely on aspects of our mind and/or brain's functioning that are innate and biologically determined, thus contrasting the idea that artistic phenomena are entirely dependent on cultural factors. (shrink)
Peter Kivy has maintained that the Wittgensteinian account of ‘art’ ‘is not a going concern’ and that ‘the traditional task of defining the work of art is back in fashion, with a vengeance’. This is true, in large part, because of the turn towards relational definitions of ‘art’ taken by philosophers in the 1960s; a move that is widely believed to have countered the Wittgensteinian charge that ‘art’ is an open concept and which gave rise to a ‘New Wave’ in (...) aesthetic theorizing. So successful has this New Wave been that today the philosophy of art is awash with relational definitions, which are increasingly characterized by their technical sophistication and logical complexity. The aim of this essay is to oppose this trend; to demonstrate that relationalist definitions cannot avoid the problems which provided the impetus for the Wittgensteinian view and to show that the New Wavers cannot explain why anyone would want the definitions which they are offering, irrespective of their success or failure. I will also explore, in detail, the uses, as well as the limitations, of the Wittgensteinian approach to the concept of art. (shrink)
John Rawls’s political liberalism and its ideal of public reason are tremendously influential in contemporary political philosophy and in constitutional law as well. Many, perhaps even most, liberals are Rawlsians of one stripe or another. This is problematic, because most liberals also support the redefinition of civil marriage to include same-sex unions, and as I show, Rawls’s political liberalism actually prohibits same- sex marriage. Recently in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, however, California’s northern federal district court reinterpreted the traditional rational basis review (...) in terms of liberal neutrality akin to Rawls’s “public reason,” and overturned Proposition 8 and established same-sex marriage. (This reinterpretation was amplified in the 9th Circuit Court’s decision upholding the district court on appeal in Perry v. Brown.) But on its own grounds Perry should have drawn the opposite conclusion. This is because all the available arguments for recognizing same-sex unions as civil marriages stem from controversial comprehensive doctrines about the good, and this violates the ideal of public reason; yet there remains a publicly reasonable argument for traditional marriage, which I sketch here. In the course of my argument I develop Rawls’s politically liberal account of the family by drawing upon work by J. David Velleman and H. L. A. Hart, and discuss the implications of this account for political theory and constitutional law. (shrink)
In Licensing Parents, Michael McFall argues that political structures, economics, education, racism, and sexism are secondary in importance to the inequality caused by families, and that the family plays the primary role in a child's acquisition of a sense of justice. He demonstrates that examination of the family is necessary in political philosophy and that informal structures (families) and considerations (character formation) must be taken seriously. McFall advocates a threshold that should be accepted by all political philosophers: children (...) should not be severely abused or neglected because child maltreatment often causes deep and irreparable individual and societal harm. The implications of this threshold are revolutionary, but this is not recognized fully because no philosophical book has systematically considered the ethical or political ramifications of child maltreatment. -/- By exposing a tension between the rights of children and adults, McFall reveals pervasive ageism; parental rights usually trump children's rights, and this is often justified because children are not fully autonomous. Yet parental rights should not always trump children's rights. Ethics and political philosophy are not only about rights, but also about duties--especially when considering potential parents who are unable or unwilling to provide minimally decent nurturance. While contemporary political philosophy focuses on adult rights, McFall examines systems whereby the interests and rights of children and parents are better balanced. This entails exploring when parental rights are defeasible and defending the ethics of licensing parents, whereby some people are precluded from rearing children. He argues that, if a sense of justice is largely developed in childhood, parents directly influence the character of future generations of adults in political society. A completely stable and well-ordered society needs stable and psychologically healthy citizens in addition to just laws, and McFall demonstrates how parental love and healthy families can help achieve this. (shrink)
Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra offers a fresh philosophical account of properties. How is it that two different things (such as two red roses) can share the same property (redness)? According to resemblance nominalism, things have their properties in virtue of resembling other things. This unfashionable view is championed with clarity and rigor.
Jean Hampton argues that we can detect exploitation in personal relationships by thinking about what we would agree to were we to set aside the emotional benefits we receive from those relationships. Hampton calls her account "feminist contractarianism," but it has recently been critiqued as decidedly unfeminist, on the grounds that it is hostile to women's interests and women's values. Furthermore, Hampton's requirement that we imaginatively distance ourselves from our emotional connections to our loved ones--the key element in her contractarian (...) test--is simply ad hoc. In this essay, I will evaluate these objections and offer a new justification for Hampton's test. I conclude that feminist contractarianism is not only a useful tool for detecting exploitation in the family, it is also deserving of its feminist label. (shrink)
Hume argued that experience could not justify commonly held beliefs in singular causal effcacy, according to which individual or singular causes produce their effects or make their effects happen. Hume's discussion has been influential, as motivating the view that Causal reductionism (denying that causal efficacy is an irreducible feature of natural reality) requires Causal generalism (according to which causal relations are metaphysically constituted by patterns of events). Here I argue that causal reductionists---indeed, Hume himself---have previously unappreciated resources for making sense (...) of Causal singularism, associated with a relation that has been curiously underexploited in the causation debates: resemblance. The core idea I explore here is that causation may be metaphysically and epistemologically indicated by the coming-to-be of a resemblance. Comings-to-be of resemblances are epistemically available in the singular instance, even by Hume's strict lights, and, I argue, can justify (albeit fallibly) belief in the holding of singular causal relations; hence Hume's general argument for generalism fails. More to the contemporary metaphysical point, comings-to-be of resemblances provide valuable resources for existing singularist accounts: while neither changes (Ducasse) nor transfers of physical quantities (Fair, Dowe, Salmon) provide a suffciently fine-grained basis for the individuation of causes, either changes or transfers, in combination with comings-to-be of resemblances, can do so. (shrink)
In this paper I provide a philosophical analysis of family-based immigration. This type of immigration is of great importance, yet has received relatively little attention from philosophers and others doing normative work on immigration. As family-based immigration poses significant challenges for those seeking a comprehensive normative account of the limits of discretion that states should have in setting their own immigration policies, it is a topic that must be dealt with if we are to have a comprehensive account. (...) In what follows I use the idea of freedom of association to show what is distinctive about family-based immigration and why it ought to have a privileged place in our discussion of the topic. I further show why this style of argument neither allows states to limit nearly all immigration nor requires them to have almost no limits on immigration. I conclude by showing that all states must allow some degree of family-based immigration, and that this is a duty owed not to ‘outsiders’ seeking to enter, but rather to current citizens. (shrink)
Abstract Susan Moller Okin has criticized Michael Sandel's view that the family is an example of an institution that is sometimes ?above? or ?beyond? justice, and for which justice is not, under the best conditions, a virtue. She argues that he both misses the point of justice as a virtue of social institutions and that he idealizes the family, and after undertaking this ?ground-clearing?, goes on to argue that families should be just. This paper offers a qualified defense (...) of Sandel. I argue, first, that Sandel has not missed the point of justice as a virtue of social institutions. But I go on to argue, more centrally, that if we distinguish between what I call ?internal? and ?social? justice of the family, and look carefully at the conclusions of Okin's own arguments, we see that she has really argued for the social justice of the family, and that this can be maintained alongside Sandel's vision of the family as an institution within which considerations of justice are neither central, nor necessarily appropriate. I try to carve out space both for Sandel's vision of the family, and for Okin's substantive feminist conclusions about family-based gender injustice. (shrink)
Traditionally, the key features of the family system of Eating Disorders (EDs) have been considered those originally outlined by Minuchin in his description of the "psychosomatic" family patterns of interaction. This controlled study tests two of the principal characteristics of Minuchin's model, namely enmeshment and rigidity, operationalised as extreme cohesion and low adaptability. Perceived and desired cohesion and adaptability, measured with the FACES III, were compared between 30 clinical families (mothers, fathers and daughters with an ED) and 30 (...) non-clinical families. Differences across ED family members were also considered, as well as differences between ED symptomatological subgroups (restricting anorectics vs EDs with bulimic symptoms). High cohesion scores were found in ED families, but similar findings were also reported in control families. Cohesion scores were significantly higher in restricting anorectics than in patients with bulimic symptoms. Adaptability was normal in both ED and control families. This study does not support Minuchin's observations on family enmeshment and rigidity. Although high levels of cohesion were found in ED families, the same relational pattern was found in the control families, suggesting that a tendency to a hyper-involvement of family members might be "normal" in some sociocultural contexts. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that anyone who accepts a Rawlsian account of justice should favor granting family-based immigration benefit to same-sex couples. I first provide a brief over-view of the most relevant aspects of Rawls's position, Justice as Fairness. I then explain why family-based immigration benefits are an important topic and one that everyone interested in immigration and justice must consider. I then show how same-sex couples are currently systematically excluded from the benefits that flow from (...) class='Hi'>family-based immigration rights. Next I argue that people in the constitutional and legislative stages of Rawls's original position would act to protect family-based immigration rights for themselves and show how these rights are rights of the current citizens of a state to bring in certain outsiders and not rights of outsiders seeking to enter. Importantly, this argument takes place entirely within the bounds of Rawls's domestic theory of justice and does not make reference to his more controversial views found in his account of international justice. I then show that there is no acceptable reason to restrict these rights to opposite-sex couples and good reason to extend them to same-sex couples. Finally I consider two objections to my account and show why they do not threaten my conclusion. (shrink)
Laws of nature concern the natural properties of things. Newton’s law of gravity states that the gravitational force between objects is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of their distance; Coulomb’s law states a similar functional dependency between charged particles. Each of these properties confers a power to act as specified by the function of the laws. Consequently, properties of the same quantity confer resembling powers. Any theory that takes powers seriously must account (...) for their resemblance. This is the challenge set by the paper. The first part is devoted to Armstrong’s view according to which property resemblance reduces to partial identities between categorical properties. I argue that Armstrong’s solution to the challenge involves accepting determinable properties but that these should not be admitted. In the second part, I argue that dispositional essentialism can satisfactorily account for orderings among powers in terms of degrees of overlapping potentialities. (shrink)
Robert Adams’s Finite and Infinite Goods is one of the most important and innovative contributions to theistic ethics in recent memory. This article identifies two major flaws at the heart of Adams’s theory: his notion of intrinsic value and his claim that ‘excellence’ or finite goodness is constituted by resemblance to God. I first elucidate Adams’s complex, frequently misunderstood claims concerning intrinsic value and Godlikeness. I then contend that Adams’s notion of intrinsic value cannot explain what it could mean (...) for countless finite goods to be intrinsically valuable. Next, I articulate a criticism of his Godlikeness thesis altogether unlike those he has previously addressed: I show that, on Adams’s own account of Godlikeness, a diverse myriad of excellences could not possibly count as resembling God. His theory thus fails to account for a whole world of finite goods. I defend my two criticisms against objections and briefly sketch a more Aristotelian and Christian way forward. (shrink)
Gardeners, poets, lovers, and philosophers are all interested in the redness of roses; but only philosophers wonder how it is that two different roses can share the same property. Are red things red because they resemble each other? Or do they resemble each other because they are red? Since the 1970s philosophers have tended to favour the latter view, and held that a satisfactory account of properties must involve the postulation of either universals or tropes. But Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra revives the (...) dormant alternative theory of resemblance nominalism, showing first that it can withstand the attacks of such eminent opponents as Goodman and Armstrong, and then that there are reasons to prefer it to its rival theories. The clarity and rigour of his arguments will challenge metaphysicians to rethink their views on properties. (shrink)
Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra offers a fresh philosophical account of properties. How is it that two different things (such as two red roses) can share the same property (redness)? According to resemblance nominalism, things have their properties in virtue of resembling other things. This unfashionable view is championed with clarity and rigor.
The ‘family consent’ process has been placed at the centre of Chinese clinical practice. Although there has been critical analysis of how the process functions in relation to the autonomy and rights of patients, there has been little examination of the perceptions and attitude of patients and their families and the medical professionals, in relation to moral dilemmas that arise in real cases in the bioethical discourse. When faced with a consent form in an emergency situation, the family (...) member's capacity to act is reduced, as he/she becomes enmeshed in the hospital structure of tacit, socially-imposed rules. In a questionnaires based on a real death case in 2008, 70.9% of the surveyed medical professionals (n = 3,665) disagreed with performing surgery without the consent of the family even if the patient's life was in danger, while 36.6% of the surveyed patients (n = 1,198) hold the same position. This work demonstrates the weakness of the family consent process as a safeguard of patient's autonomy. Finally, I argue that saving the patient's life should be the overriding obligation rather than the respect for the surrogate's autonomous choice at such a decisive moment. (shrink)
While ethicists have directed much attention to controversial biomedical issues--including euthanasia, abortion, and genetic engineering--they have largely ignored the less obvious, but more pervasive, everyday ethical problems faced by family physicians. Ethical Issues in Family Medicine addresses these problems, offering an ethics that reflects the distinctive features of family practice, and helping family physicians to appreciate the extent to which ethical issues influence their practice.
Medicine and families, two venerable institutions crucial to human well-being, are in crisis. The medical profession, struggling to control and equitably distribute care, finds itself compromised by its own success; families are shattered by divorce, violence and confusion about their own nature. What has gone unnoticed is the way these two powerful and pervasive spheres contribute to each other's loss of direction. The Patient in the Family diagnoses the ways in which the worlds of home and hospital misunderstand each (...) other. The authors explore how medicine, through its new reproductive technologies, is altering the structure of families, how families can participate more fully in medical decision-making, and how to understand the impact on families when medical advances extend life but not vitality . This book takes an unprecedented perspective on both institutions. Innovative and vivid, their stories tell the tales of families interacting with the medical establishment. (shrink)
Across the world, socio-economic forces are shifting the locus of long-term care from the family to institutional settings, producing significant moral, not just financial costs. This essay explores these costs and the distortions in the role of the family they involve. These reflections offer grounds for critically questioning the extent to which moral concerns regarding long-term care in Hong Kong and in mainland China are the same as those voiced in the United States, although family resemblances surely (...) exist. Chinese moral values such as virtue and filial piety embedded in a Confucian moral and social context cannot be recast without distortion in terms of modern Western European notions. The essay concludes that the Confucian resources must be taken seriously in order to develop an authentic Chinese bioethics of long-term care and a defensible approach to long-term care policy for contemporary society in general and Chinese society in particular. (shrink)
This paper surveys the impact on neuropsychology of Wittgenstein's elucidations of memory. Wittgenstein discredited the storage and imprint models of memory, dissolved the conceptual link between memory and mental images or representations and, upholding the context-sensitivity of memory, made room for a familyresemblance concept of memory, where remembering can also amount to doing or saying something. While neuropsychology is still generally under the spell of archival and physiological notions of memory, Wittgenstein's reconceptions can be seen at work (...) in its leading-edge practitioners. However, neuroscientists, generally, are finding memory difficult to demarcate from other cognitive and noncognitive processes, and I suggest this is largely due to their considering automatic responses as part of memory, termed nondeclarative or implicit memory. Taking my lead from Wittgenstein's On Certainty, I argue that there is only remembering where there is also some kind of mnemonic effort or attention, and, therefore, that so-called implicit memory is not memory at all, but a basic, noncognitive certainty. (shrink)
Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics, Wittgenstein, despite his official 'mathematical nonrevisionism', slips into attempting to refute Gödel's theorem. Actually, Wittgenstein could have used Gödel's theorem to good effect, to support his view that proof, and even truth, are 'familyresemblance' concepts. The reason that Wittgenstein did not see all this is that Gödel's theorem had become an icon of mathematical realism, and he was blinded by his own ideology. The essay is a reply to Juliet Floyd's work (...) on Gödel: what she says Wittgenstein said, I say he should have said, but didn't (couldn't). (shrink)
The cluster account of art is a purportedly non-definitional account of art, inspired by Wittgenstein's notion of familyresemblance, and recently defended by Berys Gaut. Gaut does not provide good reasons to think that art is not definable, and his approach to possible counterexamples to the cluster account would, applied consistently, preclude this. The cluster account's theory of error, its resources for accounting for borderline cases, and its heuristic usefulness are not impressive. Reasons strong enough to warrant accepting (...) the cluster account, it is concluded, have not been given. (shrink)
1. Analytic Philosophy There is extensive controversy over the correct characterization of analytic philosophy. Some have tried to define it in terms of a set of necessary and sufficient conditions. The result has been the exclusion of most of the philosophers of the twentieth century who lauded the methods of ‘analysis’ (variously conceived) and who deemed themselves analytic philosophers. Others have tried to define it as a familyresemblance concept. The result has been the unavoidable inclusion of some (...) of the ancient Greeks. While there is no disputing that some characteristic features of the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle are shared with twentieth-century analytic philosophers, it is doubtful whether this classificatory term, if it is thus explained, does anything more than distinguish ratiocinative, discursive philosophy from the pronouncements of philosophical sages and prophets. It seems to me more fruitful and illuminating to use the term ‘analytic philosophy’ as the name of a specific phase in the history of our subject. Like the Romantic movement, analytic philosophy has numerous precursors. One can find powerful strands of romanticism in the writings of Spencer and Shakespeare – but that does not make them part of the Romantic movement, which was a distinctive phase of European cultural history in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Similarly, the fact that one can find common elements with various phases of analytic philosophy in the writings of Leibniz, Bentham, Bolzano, Mill and Frege, not to mention Plato and Aristotle, does not make them part of the analytic movement. Analytic philosophy, understood as a phase in the history of ideas, originated in Cambridge in the late 1890s with the revolt, by the young Moore and Russell, against the neo-Hegelian Absolute Idealism that had dominated British philosophy in the last third of the nineteenth century. What Moore and Russell shared was a commitment to realism, as opposed to Hegelian idealism, and to analysis, as opposed to Hegelian synthesis.. (shrink)
This paper examines the species problem in microbiology and its implications for the species problem more generally. Given the different meanings of ‘species’ in microbiology, the use of ‘species’ in biology is more multifarious and problematic than commonly recognized. So much so, that recent work in microbial systematics casts doubt on the existence of a prokaryote species category in nature. It also casts doubt on the existence of a general species category for all of life (one that includes both prokaryotes (...) and eukaryotes). Prokaryote biology also undermines recent attempts to save the species category, such as the suggestion that species are metapopulation lineages and the idea that ‘species’ is a familyresemblance concept. (shrink)
‘Internalism’ is used in metaethics for a cluster of claims which bear a familyresemblance. They tend to link, in some distinctive way—typically modal, mereological, or causal—different parts of the normative realm, or the normative and the psychological. The thesis of this paper is that much metaethical mischief has resulted from philosophers’ neglect of the distinction between two different features of such claims. The first is the modality of the entire claim. The second is the relation between the (...) items specified in the claim. In part one I explain this distinction and the problems neglecting it may cause. In part two I show that it has been neglected, and has caused those problems, at least with respect to one version of internalism. That is judgment internalism, which claims that moral beliefs are necessarily related to pro- or con-attitudes; e.g., that if you believe you ought to x you must have some motivation to x. The considerations standardly adduced in favor of judgment internalism support only a version which lacks the metaethical implications typically attributed to it, at least so far as anyone has shown. Proponents and opponents of judgment internalism fail to realize this because of their neglect of the modality/relation distinction. I illustrate by considering discussions of judgment internalism by Russ Shafer-Landau, Simon Blackburn, James Dreier, David Brink, and others. (shrink)
The present paper argues that there is an affinity between Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and Wittgenstein's philosophy. It is maintained, in particular, that Kuhn's notion of paradigm draws on such Wittgensteinian concepts as language games, familyresemblance, rules, forms of life. It is also claimed that Kuhn's incommensurability thesis is a sequel of the theory of meaning supplied by Wittgenstein's later philosophy. As such its assessment is not fallacious, since it is not an empirical hypothesis and (...) it does not have the relativistic implications Kuhn's critics repeatedly indicated. Although concepts are indeed relative to a language game or paradigm, interparadigmatic intelligibility is preserved through the standard techniques of translation or praxis. The impossibility of radical translation which is captured by the claim of incommensurability lies with that which cannot be said but only shown. (shrink)
This article reviews the various ways in which the later writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein have been employed to address the question “What is Art?”. These include the familyresemblance model, the cluster concept model and the form of life model. The article defends a version of the form of life approach. Also, addressed the charge that it would have been more profitable had aestheticians explored what Wittgenstein actually said about art instead of trying to extrapolate from his writings (...) an approach to what Nigel Warburton calls the art question. (shrink)
Koan Zen is a philosophical practice that bears a strong familyresemblance to Wittgenstein's approach to philosophy. In this paper I hope to show that this resemblance is especially evident when we compare the Zen method of koan with Wittgenstein's suggestion, towards the end of his Tractatus, about what would constitute the only correct method in philosophy. Both koan Zen and Wittgenstein's method set limits to the reach of philosophical discourse. Each rules metaphysical speculation out of bounds. (...) Neither, however, represents a rejection of the metaphysical. Where Wittgenstein enjoins silence in the face of the unsayable, a silence that allows the metaphysical to show itself, koan Zen calls for concrete demonstrations of that which cannot be captured in rational discourse. I attempt to illustrate this through discussion of a number of koans that serve as reminders that the philosopher (and Zen master) should say nothing except what can be said. (shrink)
Although intersectional analyses of gender have been widely adopted by feminist theorists in many disciplines, controversy remains over their character, limitations, and implications. I support intersectionality, cautioning against asking too much of it. It provides standards for the uses of methods or frameworks rather than theories of power, oppression, agency, or identity. I want feminist philosophers to incorporate intersectional analyses more fully into our work so that our theories can, in fact, have the pluralistic and inclusive character to which we (...) give lip service. To this end, I advocate an intersectional familyresemblance strategy that does not create philosophical problems for feminists. I test my approach against María Lugones's argument in “Heterosexualism and the Colonial/Modern Gender System” (Lugones 2007) to determine, in particular, whether we can successfully resist a move to create multiple genders for women. If we can successfully resist this move, then we can answer the objection that intersectionality fragments women both theoretically and politically. I also argue that my approach avoids Lugones's critique of forms of intersectionality that fall within “the logic of purity.”. (shrink)
Frank B. Ebersole died recently. Here I remind philosophers of the thinking of this reclusive philosopher who brought out the value of Wittgenstein's dictum that philosophers should "bring words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use." I illustrate Ebersole's singular thinking by focusing on his philosophical investigation of Wittgenstein's familyresemblance metaphor.
Atran & Norenzayan (A&N) ask: “Why do agent concepts predominate in religion?” This question presupposes that we have a notion of religion that is (1) well enough defined, and (2) characterized independently of that of supernatural agents. I question these two presuppositions. I argue that “religion” is a familyresemblance notion built around the idea of supernatural agency.
: Linda Nicholson argues that because gender is socially constructed, feminist theorizing must be about an expansive multiplicity of subjects called "woman" that bear a familyresemblance to each other. But why did feminism expand its category of analysis to apply to all cultures and time periods when social constructionism led lesbian and gay studies to narrow the categories "homosexual" and "lesbian"? And given the multiplicity of genders, why insist that feminist subjects are different, resembling women rather than (...) a multiplicity including women as well as not-women and not-men? (shrink)
In chapter two of The School and Society, entitled "The School and the Life of the Child," the renowned American philosopher John Dewey demonstrates how the model of the "ideal home" can impart lessons about a model of the "ideal school." It is argued that education should give direction to the student's natural impulses, just as the concerned parent guides the growth of the child. There are at least two ways in which to interpret this argument. One is that home (...) schooling is the ideal form of early education. The other is that school life should emulate family life. Though advocates of home schooling would prefer the former account, the case is difficult to make, for (i) Dewey rarely recommended specific institutions or practices and (ii) the interpretation does not align with the book's other thesis that the classroom should be a microcosm for the best that the community has to offer. So, consistent with the overall theme of the work, it is the latter reading, viz., that school life should resemble family life, I contend, that proves more persuasive. School teachers have an ethical responsibility to care for their students' interests and, ideally, to provide a quality of mentorship approaching, if not on par with, that delivered by concerned parents. However, unlike student-centered education, in which educators curry favor with students by appealing to their native interests, what I call Dewey's model of "education as family life" imposes discipline on the student's natural desires, directing them in ways that are intended to enrich their future adult lives. (shrink)
The claim that conceptual systems change is a platitude. That our conceptual systems are theory-laden is no less platitudinous. Given evolutionary theory, biologists are led to divide up the living world into genes, organisms, species, etc. in a particular way. No theory-neutral individuation of individuals or partitioning of these individuals into natural kinds is possible. Parallel observations should hold for philosophical theories about scientific theories. In this paper I summarize a theory of scientific change which I set out in considerable (...) detail in a book that I shall publish in the near future. Just as few scientists were willing to entertain the view that species evolve in the absence of a mechanism capable of explaining this change, so philosophers should be just as reticent about accepting a parallel view of conceptual systems in science evolving in the absence of a mechanism to explain this evolution. In this paper I set out such a mechanism. One reason that this task has seemed so formidable in the past is that we have all construed conceptual systems inappropriately. If we are to understand the evolution of conceptual systems in science, we must interpret them as forming lineages related by descent. In my theory, the notion of a familyresemblance is taken literally, not metaphorically. In my book, I set out data to show that the mechanism which I propose is actually operative. In this paper, such data is assumed. (shrink)
Wittgenstein emphasizes two points concerning his notion of familyresemblance. One is that the use of a familyresemblance expression resists characterization by certain kinds of rules; the other is that due to the prevalence of familyresemblance in the philosophical lexicon, philosophical inquiry must in many cases proceed differently from how it traditionally has. This paper develops an interpretation of familyresemblance that seeks to do justice to these claims. I argue (...) that what is characteristic about familyresemblance expressions is not that they exhibit a basic semantic feature unique to themselves, but that they combine a number of semantic properties that happen not to be coinstantiated elsewhere. These features include (1) content variability (also a property of ambiguous expressions, polysemes, and standard indexicals), (2) a feature I call "topicality" (which is also a characteristic of polysemes), and (3) "semantic openness" (a feature of many ordinary indexicals). The notions of topicality and semantic openness are explained, and certain terms of natural language are shown to be familyresemblance expressions. I conclude by indicating some of the potential philosophical ramifications of these results. (shrink)
A fruit is the mature ovary of a plant. Its main biological function is to ensure the protection and dissemination of the seeds it encloses. In the case of fleshy fruits, dissemination is achieved by attracting animals who eat the fruit, digest the sweet softer flesh, and either regurgitate or excrete the harder seeds at some distance from the plant. Humans, however, have evolved, through artificial selection, plants that produce seedless fruits, such as bananas, Thomson grapes or Arrufatina clementines. Seedless (...) grapes provide an arresting example of the more general issue I want to address in this chapter. Domesticated plants and animals have simultaneously biological, cultural, and artifactual functions. So do also human bodily traits used artifactually, for instance suntans. How should we describe these functions and their articulation? What are the biological and cultural functions of seedless grapes, or of suntans, and how do these functions interact? In trying to answer such questions, we are led to rethink the relationship between nature and culture, and to reappraise the notion of an artifact. The notion of an artifact commonly used in the social sciences, particularly in archeology and anthropology, is a familyresemblance notion, useful for a first-pass description of various objects and for a vague characterization of scholarly, and in particular museographic interests. It should not be taken for granted that this notion could be defined precisely enough to serve a genuine theoretical purpose. When definitions are offered, they are based on prototypical cases. This is true of a dictionary definition such as Webster’s: ‘A usually simple object (as a tool or ornament) showing human workmanship or modification, as distinguished from a natural object.’ It is also true of a philosopher’s definition such as Risto Hilpinen’s in his entry on artifact in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: ‘An artifact may be defined as an object that has been intentionally made or produced for a certain purpose.. (shrink)
"What is art?" is a question many of us want to ask but are afraid to. This is the very question that Nigel Warburton demystifies in this brilliant and accessible book. Using carefully chosen illustrations and photographs, from Cezanne and Van Gogh to Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol and the Osmond family, best-selling author Nigel Warburton brings a philosopher's eye to art in a refreshingly jargon-free style. Nigel Warburton explains with customary clarity much discussed but little understood theories of art:art (...) as significant form; art as expression; art as familyresemblance; and the institutional theory of art. He brings to life the arguments of the thinkers behind these theories, such as Clive Bell, R. G. Collingwood and Wittgenstein, and illuminates other perplexing problems in art, such as the artist's intention, representation and emotion. Drawing on photographs of Cindy Sherman and Tiananmen Square, Warburton shows that, if we are ever to answer the art question, we must consider each work of art on its own terms. A stimulating and handy guide through the art maze, The Art Question is essential reading for anyone interested in art, philosophy and looking at pictures. (shrink)
This essay draws on Ludwig Wittgenstein?s work to argue for a practice-oriented concept of expertise. We propose that conceptualizing types of expertise as having a familyresemblance, relative to the problems such expertise addresses, escapes certain limitations of defining expertise as primarily epistemic. Recognizing the pragmatic purchase on actual problems a Wittgensteinian approach provides to discussions of expertise, we seek to understand the nature of expertise in situations where the people who need to make a difficult decision do (...) not possess or have access to the epistemic status that traditionally confers expertise. These are situations where people need to answer difficult questions that, while they may be informed by expertise in the epistemic register, are ultimately decided by expertise that weighs certified knowledge against the intractable characteristics of a particular situation. We suggest that there is not?even deep down on a conceptual level?only one kind of expertise, but multiple kinds of expertise that resonate with diverse kinds of problems. (shrink)
Relational theories of art—paradigmatically, the ‘Institutional’ theory—arose from dissatisfaction with the Wittgenstein-inspired ‘familyresemblance’ account of art, and were taken not merely to be preferable in various ways to that account, but actually to falsify it. We argue that this latter thought is rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of the falsification-conditions of a familyresemblance account; and we suggest that, once the reasons for this are appreciated, any apparent motivation to engage in relational theorizing about art (...) evaporates. (shrink)
This essay some first steps toward the naturalization of what I call rational intentionality or alternatively type II intentionality. By rational or type II intentionality, I mean that full combination of rational powers and content-bearing states that is paradigmatically enjoyed by mature intact human beings. The problem I set myself is to determine the extent to which the only currently extant approach to the naturalization of the intentional that has the singular virtue of not being a non-starter can be aggregated (...) up into an account of rational intentionality. I have in mind a broadly defined family of accounts whose main members are the indicator/information-theoretic approach of Dretske (1988), the asymmetric dependence theory of Jerry Fodor (1987, 1990, 1994) and the teleo-semantics of Ruth Millikan (1984, 1993). Somewhat inaccurately, I will call this family of approaches the information-theoretic family. To be sure, there is only a rough familyresemblance among the members of the information-theoretic family. Indeed, several intense quarrels divide the members of that family one from another, but the precise outcome of those internecine struggles is not directly relevant to the aims of this essay. 2 Taken collectively, the information-theoretic family yields a compelling picture of the place of at least a crude form of intentionality -- what I call frog-like or type I intentionality -- in the natural order. Though frog-like or type I intentionality is, I think, a genuine species of intentionality, it may subsist in the absence of rational powers. It is that species of intentionality enjoyed by irritable creatures who, following Brandom (1994). (shrink)
Many different kinds of items have been called vague, and so-called for a variety of different reasons. Traditional wisdom distinguishes three views of why one might apply the epitaph "vague" to an item; these views are distinguished by what they claim the vagueness is due to. One type of vagueness, The Good, locates vagueness in language, or in some representational system -- for example, it might say that certain predicates have a range of applicability. On one side of the range (...) are those cases to which the predicate clearly applies and on the other side of the range are those cases where the negation of the predicate clearly applies. But there is no sharp cutoff place along the range where the one range turns into the other. Most examples of The Good are those terms which describe some continuum -- such as bald describes a continuum of the ratio of hairs per cm2 on the head. But not all work this way. Alston (1968) points to terms like religion invoking a number of criteria the joint applicability of which ensures that the activity in question is a religion and the failure of all to apply ensures that it is not a religion. But when only some middling number of the criteria are fulfilled, the term religion neither applies nor fails to apply. Some accounts of "familyresemblance" and "open texture" might also fit this picture. Such a view is often called a "representational account of vagueness". Another conception of vagueness, The Bad, locates vagueness as a property of discourses, of memories, and of certain philosophers and their papers, etc. This sort of vagueness occurs when the information available does not allow one to tell, for example, that a certain sentence is true, but also does not allow one to determine that it is false. It occurs when the information available does not allow one to claim that a predicate applies to a name, but also does not allow one to claim that the negation of the predicate applies to that name.. (shrink)
The case law surrounding surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, genetic donation, and legal parenthood is notoriously confused. Yet the issues involved in these cases are of fundamental importance to our most basic rights. To make matters worse, ongoing developments in technology continue to push the conceptual limits of both our legal and moral schemes. In this paper I argue that the concept of ‘parenthood’ is deeply ambiguous and attempt to carefully untangle the notion into two distinct concepts – one biological and (...) largely descriptive, and the other social and profoundly normative. I argue that the social notion of parenthood is a complex function of intentions, actions, and emotional states. It is a concept both defined and constrained by social norms. The biological notion of parenthood, for its part, cannot be understood in strictly genetic terms. I offer, instead, a more fleshed out view that treats biological parenthood as a familyresemblance concept. Finally, I discuss the role of gestation in the context of a powerful feminist critique and argue that although gestation is a biological phenomenon, it is a mistake to think that its relevance is limited to biology. In fact, what is special about gestation, in the context of parenthood and obligation, is its distinctly social role. By shifting the discussion of gestation away from biology and toward the realm of the social, we can make better sense of the disputes that manifest themselves in the literature and in the law. (shrink)
Thomas S. Kuhn claimed that the meanings of scientific terms change in theory changes or in scientific revolutions. In philosophy, meaning change has been taken as the source of a group of problems, such as untranslatability, incommensurability, and referential variance. For this reason, the majority of analytic philosophers have sought to deny that there can be meaning change by focusing on developing a theory of reference that would guarantee referential stability. A number of philosophers have also claimed that Kuhn’s view (...) can be explained by the fact that he accepted and further developed many central tenets of logical empiricism. I maintain that the genesis of Kuhn’s meaning theorising lies in his historical approach and that his view of meaning change is justified. Later in his career he attempted to advance a theory of meaning and can be said to have had limited success in it. What is more, recent cognitive science has unexpectedly managed to shed light on Kuhn’s insights on the organisation of information in the mind, concept learning, and concept definition. Furthermore, although Kuhn’s critique of Putnam’s causal theory of reference has often been dismissed as irrelevant, he has a serious point to address. Kuhn thought that the causal theory that works so well with proper names cannot work with scientific terms. He held that conceptual categories are formed by similarity and dissimilarity relations; therefore, several features and not only one single property are needed for determination of extension. In addition, the causal theory requires universal substances as points of reference of scientific terms. Kuhn was a conceptualist, who held that universals do not exist as mind-independent entities and that mind-dependent familyresemblance concepts serve the role of universals. Further, at the beginning of his career, Kuhn was interested in the question of what concepts or ideas are and how they change in their historical context. Although he did not develop his theorising on this issue, I demonstrate that this is a genuine problem in the philosophy of history. Finally, Kuhn argued that scientists cannot have access to truth in history because we cannot transcend our historical niche, and as a consequence, the truth of a belief cannot be a reason for theory choice. Instead of truth, we can rely on justification. I also discuss Kuhn’s idea that problem-solving is the main aim of science and show that this view can be incorporated into coherentist epistemology. (shrink)
My paper sets out to demonstrate that Weber's ideal-typical theory of concept formation, subject to certain modifications, is compatible with the principles of philosophical hermeneutics and is therefore a valuable strategy of concept formation for interpretive historical inquiry. The essay begins with a brief recapitulation of the philosophical-hermeneutic approach to the human sciences. I then chart out the affinities as well as the discrepancies between philosophical hermeneutics and Weber's theory of the ideal type. Against this backdrop, I proceed to offer (...) a number of correctives and additions to Weber's theory so as to tighten its fit with philosophical hermeneutics. First, I argue that the ideal type's proper logic of concept formation is a logic of significance rather than a logic of commonality. Second, I claim that the relationship between the various empirical cases to which a given ideal type is (or can be) applied is a Wittgensteinian relationship of familyresemblance. Finally, I present two main kinds of epistemological functions that ideal types can fulfill within the framework of historical inquiry: argumentative and orientational-clarificatory. (shrink)
In these notes I want to address some issues concerning self-organization that seem to me to apply generally from the micro-physical through the biological and social to the cosmological. That is, they are a part of the general theory of self-organization. I prefer to distinguish the theory of selforganization from the analysis of the concept of self-organization (which Maturana claims is oxymoronic, since there is no self that organizes1). General usage gives us something to which the term 'self-organization' refers. We (...) can set aside the question of whether or not selves can really do such a thing until we know what it is they are supposed to do.2 This approach also allows the possibility that self-organization does not pick out a single natural kind, but may refer to a range of things that are grouped together by a Wittgenstein style “familyresemblance”. (shrink)
The spectre of determinism stalks many of the concerns surrounding the impact of genetic research into both disease and normal behaviour. The ability accurately to predict a person's actions would certainly have profound implications for notions of individuality and free will. But to what extent will the current explosion in genetic research provide more accurate predictors than have been available for millennia in the form of wealth, social status and perceived familyresemblance? The genetic research program is at (...) too early a stage to answer this question with confidence, but various indicators tend to point in the same direction: the predictive ability of genetic analysis will generally be low. This conclusion runs counter to widely perceived popular notions. The deconstruction of genetic determinism is an essential safeguard against the real concern that genetic information may be used for discrimination by unscrupulous powers. (shrink)
This "reply" continues the debate with Simon Glendinning regarding his book The Idea of Continental Philosophy, and pursues my claim that there is a distinctive 'temporal turn' associated with twentieth century continental philosophy. I also offer some familyresemblance criteria for continental philosophy.
This paper is concerned with a recent argument of Jerry Fodor's to the effect that the frame problem in artificial intelligence is in principle insoluble. Fodor's argument is based on his contention that the mind is divided between encapsulated modular systems for information processing and 'central systems' for non-demonstrative inference. I argue that positing central systems is methodologically unsound, and in fact involves a muddle that bears a strong familyresemblance to the basic error in dualism. I therefore (...) conclude that Fodor's position on the frame problem should be rejected. (shrink)
In her essay ‘The Curious Coincidence of Feminine and African Moralities’ (1987), Sandra Harding was perhaps the first to note parallels between a typical Western feminist ethic and a characteristically African, i.e., indigenous sub-Saharan, approach to morality. Beyond Harding’s analysis, one now frequently encounters the suggestion, in a variety of discourses in both the Anglo-American and sub-Saharan traditions, that an ethic of care and an African ethic are more or less the same or share many commonalities. While the two ethical (...) perspectives are indeed sisters, in this article I argue, first, that they are not identical twins, and, more strongly, that the familyresemblance between the two is significantly less than has been recognized. I highlight key differences between representative forms of an ethic of care and a sub-Saharan communitarian morality, after which I argue, second, that the latter better captures some central feminist concerns and moral considerations generally. That is, I maintain that an African ideal of community, when understood in a philosophically refined way, provides an important, relational corrective to the ethic of care. (shrink)
Plantinga claims to give a person who is agnostic about the ultimate source of his cognitive faculties an undefeatable defeater for all his beliefs. This argument of Plantinga’s bears a familyresemblance to his much better known argument for saying that naturalism is self-defeating, but it has a much more ambitious conclusion. In the present paper, I try to show both that Plantinga’s argument for this conclusion fails, and that even if an “origins agnostic” were to succumb to (...) it, a cure for his skepticism is ready at hand—one that does not involve believing in anything like God. (shrink)
In this paper I will discuss the significance of upamna (knowledge by analogy or comparison) in the Nyyastra as a source of knowledge and its role in understanding and learning about the world. Some philosophers, particularly Buddhists, have argued that upamna is reducible to inference. I am going to defend the Ny (...) style="vertical-align: -1px" alt="amacr" />ya view that upamna is in fact a fundamental source of knowledge which plays a significant role in teaching and learning. In fact, I am going to argue that by introducing upamna as a prama the Naiyyikas accounted for the way humans acquire certain types of knowledge. Finally, I will highlight the similarities between the role of upamna in the Nyyastra and some of Wittgenstein's remarks on familyresemblance and proof. (shrink)
What is ethnicity and how does it inform the way we understand ethical and political issues involving ethnic change and ethnically conscious public policies? Jorge J. E. Gracia put forth what he calls his ‘Familial-Historical View’ of ethnicity in which Hispanic identity is understood in terms of history and family resemblances. He criticizes what he calls the ‘Common-Bundle View’ of ethnicity which understands ethnic belonging in terms of an essence. I defend two negative theses which lead to the outlines (...) of a positive thesis: (1) Gracia’s arguments against the Common-Bundle View are not effective; (2) the Familial-Historical View is inadequate because it downplays the essential role that cultural phenomena play in making Hispanic history ethnically relevant to Hispanic identity. As a way of building on the Common-Bundle View I sketch a reformulation that avoids Gracia’s criticisms and is more politically and ethically effective than his familyresemblance view of ethnicity. (shrink)
This collection arose out of a conference on intuitions at the University of Notre Dame in April 1996. The papers in it mainly address two related questions: (a) How much evidential weight should be assigned to intuitions? and (b) Are concepts governed by necessary and sufficient conditions, or are they governed by ‘familyresemblance’ conditions, as Wittgenstein suggested? The book includes four papers by psychologists relating and analyzing some empirical findings concerning intuitions and eleven papers by philosophers endorsing (...) various answers to these questions. (shrink)
Language-Game vs. Complete Language. The article formulates a criticism of Wittgenstein's later philosophy which, in its substance, I would like to think, is fairly the same as the (hermeneutic) criticism issued by Apel and Habermas in the sixties. Contrary to these philosophers, however, I try to make the point by focusing on the distinction between language game and language, respectively between intralanguage relations of 'familyresemblance' (between language games) and interlanguage translation relations. The notion of a 'complete language' (...) is introduced - 'completeness' of a language being, roughly, its possibility in principle of being translated into any (other) language - and the criticism of Wittgenstein is formulated as the allegation that he does not, or will not, acknowledge such a concept of completeness. So far the contents of the first part of the article. The rest of it assembles some hints, remarks and reminders which bear upon the question of the 'completeness' of a language. These considerations include comments on the conditions of translatability, on the performative (agent's) knowledge or 'intention-in-action' of the acting person, on Habermas' concept of communicative competence and on the notion of a responsible subject of action. It is alleged that to speak of 'translation' and 'reporting an event' as language games is misleading. (shrink)
Context: Ernst von Glasersfeld’s constructivist epistemology has been a source of intellectual inspiration for several Quebec researchers, particularly in the field of science and mathematics education. Problem: However, what is less well known is the influence that his work had on the direction taken by educational reform in Quebec in the early 2000s as well as the criticisms that his work has given rise to – some of which present a familyresemblance to the science wars that swept (...) over the US and France during the 1990s. Results: We begin by outlining the constructivist orientation of Quebec’s educational reform. We then draw a parallel between the above-mentioned science wars and the critics who denounced the constructivist foundations of the reform. In both cases, the bone of contention concerns the usual interpretation of relativism, with the criticisms that we refer to tending to oppose relativism with realism or rationalism. Now, by definition, relativism stands in opposition to absolutism and not to realism, unless the latter manifests itself in an absolutist form (which is the case of some of the critiques). Implications: The fear generated by relativism is by no means new. However, it seems that more than an epistemological controversy is at stake in the current depreciation of positions that, like that of radical constructivism, question the possibility of a “view from nowhere” – that is, aperspectival objectivity – and the resultant knowledge. In the sphere of education, at least in Quebec, there may well be an ideological issue of control over education that is involved. (shrink)
A preliminary overview of Husserl reading Kant shows that both thinkers represent two essentially different types of philosophies in their methods and reach. The judgement made by Husserl about Kant allows to state that we are facing two different privileged intuitions. Nevertheless, it also allows to state a “familyresemblance”–if not in their styles and methodology– in certain ground convictions regarding philosophy and reason’s finite nature. This paper approaches, from a Husserlian perspective, the relationship between “experience and judgment” (...) –proper to a “Transcendental Theory of Elements”– and in that between “science and philosophy” –corresponding to a “Transcendental Theory of Method”. Furthermore, it will approach the distinction between natural and transcendental-phenomenological attitudes that allow Husserl to introduce two levels of philosophical interrogation and two types of philosophical anthropologies, corresponding to the splitting of the ego – a pure constitutive ego and a constituted one. This last will lead to the genetic problem of the ego’s self-constitution from the deepest strata of passive instinctive life (unconscious and irrational) towards rational life in a teleological ascending movement that enacts the Kantian problem of reason’s finitude. Despite of the incorporation that Husserl makes of a teleology of Leibnizian type that resolves the Kantian hiatus between sensible and intelligible world, the Kant connoisseurs will recognize his tracks in the configuration of the Husserlian trascendental phenomenology. (shrink)