Over the past twenty-five years, Thomas Nagel has played a major role in the philosophico-biological debate on subjectivity and consciousness. This extensive collection of published essays and reviews offers Nagel's opinionated views on the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and political philosophy, as well as on fellow philosophers like Freud, Wittgenstein, Rawls, Dennet, Chomsky, Searle, Nozick, Dworkin, and MacIntyre.
Ranging from Joseph Bellamy to Hilary Putnam, and from early New England Divinity Schools to contemporary university philosophy departments, historian Bruce Kuklick recounts the story of the growth of philosophical thinking in the United States. Readers will explore the thought of early American philosphers such as Jonathan Edwards and John Witherspoon and will see how the political ideas of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson influenced philosophy in colonial America. Kuklick discusses The Transcendental Club (members Henry David Thoreau, Ralph (...) Waldo Emerson) and describes the rise of pragmatism centered on Metaphysical Club of Cambridge (and members William James, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Charles Peirce). He examines the profound impact Darwinism had on American philosophy and looks at Idealists such as the Kantian Josiah Royce and the Hegelian John Dewey. The book shows how, in the twentieth century, the Nazi conquest of Europe unleashed a flood of European intellectuals onto these shores, including such major thinkers as Theodore Adorno, Erich Fromm, Rudolph Carnap, and Alfred Tarski. Finally, Kuklick examines the contributions of such contemporary philosophers as Sidney Hook and Willard Quine and such books as John Rawl's A Theory of Justice and Herbert Marcuse's One Dimensional Man. Kuklick pulls no punches in portraying the state of American philosophy today and its contested role in the intellectual life of the nation and the world. The range of philosophical thought in our nation's history has been great, from Edwards's Religious Affections to Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and Bruce Kuklick has captured it all in a book that blends intricate details with sweeping vision. (shrink)
Why do Americans, and so often, American writers, profess moral sentiments and yet write so little in the traditionally "moralistic" genres of maxim and fable? What is the relation between "moral" concerns and literary theory? Can any sort of morality survive the supposed nihilism of deconstruction? Jefferson Humphries undertakes a discussion of questions like these through a comparative reading of the ways in which moral issues surface in French and American literature. Humphries takes issue with the "amoral" view of deconstruction (...) espoused by many of its detractors, arguing that the debate between the theory's advocates and opponents comes down to two opposing literary and moral traditions. While the American tradition views morality as a rigid system capable of being enforced by injunctions along the lines of "Thou shalt" and "Thou shalt not," the French tradition conceives of morality as a function of a relentless and unsentimental pursuit of truth, and finally, an admission that "truth" is not a static thing, but rather an ongoing process of rigorous thought. (shrink)
In his pioneering new book Interpreting America, John Ryder makes available for the first time to English-speaking readers Russian views of the full range of American philosophical thought. Using his own accurate translations, he clearly reconstructs a chain of core ideas, emphasizes the most essential concepts of each writer's work, and gives a multidimensional reconstruction of the arguments of each author.
This book provides a critical overview of the entirety of Marcuse's work and discusses his enduring importance. Kellner had extensive interviews with Marcuse and provides hitherto unknown information about his road to Marxism, his relations with Heidegger and Existentialism, his involvement with the Frankfurt School, and his reasons for appropriating Freud in the 1950s. In addition Kellner provides a novel interpretation of the genesis and structure of Marcuse's theory of one-dimensional society, of the development of his political theory, and of (...) the role of aesthetics in his critical theory. (shrink)
The philosopher John J. McDermott comes out of the long American tradition that takes the aim of philosophical inquiry to be interpretation of the open meanings of experience, so that we might all live fuller and richer lives. Here, the authors of these nine essays explore his highly original interpretations of philosophy's various questions about our shared existence. How are we to understand the nature of American culture and to carry forward its important contributions? What is the personal importance of (...) embodiment, of living in the realization of death? How does our physical and personal environment nourish bodies and spirits? What does the deliberate pursuit of a morality offer us? How can we carry forward the fundamental tasks of education to enable those who follow us to use our shared past to address their civic and spiritual problems? What are the possibilities for community? Together, these essays offer a clear, multi-layered understanding of the compelling vision that McDermott has presented over the years. In an Afterword, McDermott responds to the authors' queries and concerns, offering a restatement of his understanding of the American philosopher's task. These essays indicate, and McDermott's response confirms, that for him philosophy is not a purely cerebral activity. Philosophy is, rather, an intellectual means of exploring the fullness of human experience, and it functions best when it operates in the context of the broad sweep of the humanities. Similarly, for McDermott the self is no given substantial entity. On the contrary, it is relational, rooted geographically and socially in its place and its fellows, and damaged when these life-giving processes fail. Further, McDermott does not accept any ultimate canopy of meaning. The human journey is a personal project within which provisional meanings must be created to sustain our advance. (shrink)
Charles S. Peirce, William James, Josiah Royce, George Santayana, John Dewey, and George Herbert Mead: each of these individuals is an original and historically important thinker; each is an essential contributor to the period, perspective, and tradition of classical American philosophy; and each speaks directly, imaginatively, critically, and wisely to our contemporary global society, its distant possibilities for improvement, and its massive, pressing problems. From the initiative of pragmatism in approximately 1870 to Dewey's final work after World War II, classical (...) American philosophy has come to represent the critical articulation of attitudes, outlooks, and forms of life imbedded in the culture from which it arose. John Stuhr brings together the works of these foremost thinkers to present a comprehensive collection in American philosophy. Extensive introductory essays, written especially for this volume by leading scholars of the subject, provide not only the bibliographical and cultural contexts necessary to a full appreciation of each thinker, but also original critical and interpretive philosophical observations. (shrink)
Although best known for the hugely influential Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974), Robert Nozick has eschewed the label ''political philosopher,'' as the vast majority of his writings have focused on other areas. Indeed, the breadth of Nozick's work is perhaps greater than that of any other contemporary philosopher. A. R. Lacey presents the first book to give full and proper discussion of Nozick's philosophy as a whole and of critical reactions to it, spanning areas as diverse as ethics, epistemology, and (...) philosophy of religion. The book begins by examining Anarchy, State, and Utopia and moves on to Nozick's noted work on the theory of knowledge and his notion of ''tracking the truth.'' Lacey explores the philosopher's metaphysical writings, including his ''closest continuer theory'' of personal identity, and his reflections on free will and the existence of God. He addresses the moral basis of Nozick's political philosophy in depth. Later chapters discuss his ideas of ''symbolic utility,'' his evolutionary account of rationality, and his varying treatments of Newcomb's Paradox. The book concludes with more general topics, including Nozick's thoughts on the meaning of life and what those who search for it are really looking for. Given Nozick's reluctance to respond to his critics, the book's discussion of the secondary literature on his work is invaluable. Throughout, Lacey finds themes that unite Nozick's diverse writings, noting, for example, his hostility to coercion of all kinds. Illuminating, informative, and clearly written, the book will be welcomed as an authoritative guide to Nozick's philosophical thinking. (shrink)
This book contains the collected papers of Alan Donagan on topics in the philosophy of religion. Donagan was respected as a leading figure in American moral philosophy. His untimely death in 1991 prevented him from collecting his philosophical reflections on religion, particularly Christianity, and its relation to ethics and other concerns. This collection, therefore, constitutes the fullest expression of Donagan's thought on Christianity and ethics, in which it is possible to discern the outlines of a coherent, overarching theory. Editor Anthony (...) Perovich has supplied a useful introduction, which brings Donagan's work into focus and brings out the unifying themes in the essays. (shrink)
Hamner seeks to discover what makes pragmatism uniquely American. She argues that the inextricably American character of pragmatism of such figures as C.S. Peirce and William James lies in its often understated affirmation of America as a uniquely religious country with a God-given mission and populated by God-fearing citizens.
American philosophy and the tradition. Therapists, bootstrappers, infantry ; Parsing America ; Great white men and the Ivy League cavalcade ; Rorty's revolution -- Abandoning toothless truth : other white males muscle in. Persuasion and the brows ; Psychologists and psychiatrist ; The literary critics ; The political theorists ; Linguist, mathematician, neurologist ; The casual wisemen ; The print journalists ; The broadcasters -- The rising outsiders. African Americans ; Women ; Native Americans ; Gays -- Gutenberg's revenge : (...) the explosion of cyberphilosophy. The book lives! ; Cyberpolitics ; Cyberreligion ; Cyberliterature ; Cybercynics -- Isocrates : a man, not a typo. Busting Isocrates ; Isocrates's life ; Images and clichés of Isocrates ; Sophists and sophistry ; Rhetoricians and rhetoric ; Isocrates, philosopher ; Isocrates, Greece and America -- Just saying no to justification : the magnificent failure of John Rawls. Not since John Stuart Mill ; A lucky life ; Just another word for nothing left to argue about ; Rawls on justification ; "The theory is not successful" -- Epilogue. Obama, philosopher in chief. (shrink)
In explanation of a noble and misunderstood profession -- First lesson -- The philosophic neurosis: or, The psychiatrist's story -- The private thinker and the public world: or, A short history of a diffident philosopher -- The great purgation: a moral tale presumably written in 2060 -- The undistracted -- America's own philosopher: a parable -- The unconvinced -- The unawakened -- High thinking below the Equator -- End of the term -- In explanation of the absence of a conclusion.
Contemporary Philosophy in Focus offers a series of introductory volumes to many of the dominant philosophical thinkers of the current age. Stanley Cavell has been one of the most creative and independent of contemporary philosophical voices. At the core of his thought is the view that skepticism is not a theoretical position to be refuted by philosophical theory but is a reflection of the fundamental limits of human knowledge of the self, of others and of the external world that must (...) be accepted. This volume is the first attempt systematically and accessibly to describe and assess the full range of Cavell's work. There are new accounts of Cavell's contribution to the philosophy of mind and language, the theory of action, ethics, aesthetics, Romanticism, American philosophy, Shakespeare, and film and opera. Outside philosophy the appeal of this volume will be unusually broad. (shrink)
Stanley Cavell has been a brilliant, idiosyncratic, and controversial presence in American philosophy, literary criticism, and cultural studies for years. Even as he continues to produce new writing of a high standard -- an example of which is included in this collection -- his work has elicited responses from a new generation of writers in Europe and America. This collection showcases this new work, while illustrating the variety of Cavell's interests: in the "ordinary language" philosophy of Wittgenstein and Austin, in (...) film criticism and theory, in literature, psychoanalysis, and the American transcendentalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. The collection also reprints Richard Rorty's early review of Cavell's magnum opus, The Claim of Reason (1979), and it concludes with Cavell's substantial set of responses to the essays, a highlight of which is his engagement with Rorty. (shrink)
And how are the answers to these questions affected by the Black and Latino experience in the United States"-From the Preface This collection of new essays explores the relation between race and ethnicity and its social and political ...
This book traces the trajectory of John J. McDermott’s philosophical career through a selection of his essays. Many were originally occasional pieces and address specific issues in American thought and culture. Together they constitute a mosaic of McDermott’s philosophy, showing its roots in an American conception of experience. Though he draws heavily on the thought of William James and the pragmatists, McDermott has his own unique perspective on philosophy and American life. He presents this to the reader in exquisitely crafted (...) prose. Drawing inspiration from American history, from existentialist themes, and from personal experiences, he offers a dramatic consideration of our culture’s failures and successes.McDermott crosses disciplinary boundaries to draw on whatever works to help make sense of theissues with which he is dealing—issues rooted in medical practice, political events, pedagogical habits, and the worlds of the arts. His work thus resists simple categorization. It is precisely this that makes his vibrant prose appealing to so many both inside and outside the world of American philosophy. (shrink)
Karl Llewellyn and the course of philosophy in American law -- Philosophical perspectives on law -- Areas of philosophy and their relationship to law -- Philosophical examinations of legal issues -- Law, rhetoric, and practice theory -- Commentaries-- Questioning the relationship between philosophy and American Law.
John Dewey is celebrated for his work in the philosophy of education and acknowledged as a leading proponent of American pragmatism. His philosophy of logic, on the other hand, is largely unheard of. In Dewey's New Logic, Burke analyzes portions of the debate between Dewey and Bertrand Russell that followed the 1938 publication of Dewey's Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. Burke shows how Russell failed to understand Dewey, and how Dewey's philosophy of logic is centrally relevant to contemporary developments in (...) philosophy and cognitive science. Burke demonstrates that Russell misunderstood crucial aspects of Dewey's theory and contends that logic today, having progressed well beyond Russell's early views, is approaching Dewey's broader perspective. -/- "[This] book should be of substantial interest not only to Dewey scholars and other historians of twentieth-century philosophy, but also to devotees of situation theory, formal semantics, philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and Artificial Intelligence."--Georges Dicker, Transactions of the C.S. Peirce Society "No scholar, thus far, has offered such a sophisticated and detailed version of central themes and contentions in Dewey's Logic . This is a pathbreaking study."--John J. McDermott, editor of The Philosophy of John Dewey. (shrink)