Among the casualties of the rush to relativism is a central tenet of classical thought: that great works of literature are great in and of themselves and not because of the needs and values of their time. This “canon-based view,” supply taken for granted by Johnson, Arnold, Pope, and Eliot, has long since been shown the door by views ranging from Marxism to today’s cultural studies. These views hold that the great works become great because of the values and concerns (...) of their own times, and they remain effectual, if they do, because of the ways they speak to their times’ concerns. There are no transhistorical values and concerns, though of course there is a past to culture and its works continue their indirect .. (shrink)
Whitehead's 1922 theory of gravitation continues to attract the attention of philosophers, despite evidence presented in 1971 that it violates experiment. We demonstrate that the theory strongly fails five quite different experimental tests, and conclude that, notwithstanding its meritorious philosophical underpinnings, Whitehead's theory is truly dead.
In this review essay on Mele's Free Will and Luck , I evaluate the 'daring soft libertarian' view presented in the heart of the book, and in particular the way that it provides an answer to the objection that introducing indeterminism into one's view of freedom merely adds an element of luck and so undermines freedom. I also compare the view's strengths and weaknesses to those of traditional libertarian views. Finally, I consider the 'zygote' argument that Mele takes to be (...) his reason for remaining agnostic about whether determinism is compatible with freedom, and argue that if one accepts the main arguments presented earlier in the book, one should not let this argument stand in the way of accepting compatibilism. (shrink)
Accompanying the decline of empiricism in the theory of knowledge has been an increased interest in the social determinants of knowledge and an increased recognition of the fundamental place in the constitution of knowledge occupied by accepted cognitive practices. The principal aim of this paper is to show how a view of knowledge that fully recognizes the role of these practices can adequately treat a topic that is widely considered to be an insuperable obstacle to such a view. The topic (...) is that of scientific realism, of the independence with respect to cognitive practices of certain objects of knowledge. (shrink)
Roger Garaudy, the Hellenic tradition, and imaginative space.--Kazantzakis' making of God.--Existentialism and language.--The argument of water.--Literature as ikonic language.--Literature and morality.