The Continuum Companion to Existentialism offers the definitive guide to a key area of modern European philosophy. The book covers the fundamental questions asked by existentialism, providing valuable guidance for students and researchers to some of the many important and enduring contributions of existentialist thinkers. Eighteen specially commissioned essays from an international team of experts explore existentialism’s relationship to philosophical method; ontology; politics; psychoanalysis; ethics; religion; literature; emotion; feminism and sexuality; cognitive science; authenticity and the self; its significance in Latin (...) American culture; and its contribution to the development of Poststructuralism. In addition, five short chapters summarise the status of canonical figures Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and de Beauvoir, delineating the historical approach to their work, while pointing to new directions such research is now taking. Featuring a series of indispensable research tools (A to Z of terms, concepts and thinkers; timeline of existentialism; list of resources and an annotated guide to further reading), this Companion is an essential tool to help the new reader navigate through the heart of Existentialism and modern European philosophy. (shrink)
This chapter explores some of the similarities and differences in the philosophical methods of five philosophers often considered existentialists: Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, de Beauvoir and Marcel. The relationship between existentialism and phenomenological methods, as well as transcendental reasoning in general, is examined.
The papers of this special issue are the outcome of a two-‐day conference entitled “The Second-‐Person Standpoint in Law and Morality,” that took place at the University of Vienna in March 2013 and was organized by the ERC Advanced Research Grant “Distortions of Normativity.” -/- The aim of the conference was to explore and discuss Stephen Darwall’s innovative and influential second-‐personal account of foundational moral concepts such as „obligation“, „responsibility“, and „rights“, as developed in his book The Second-‐Person Standpoint: Morality, (...) Respect, and Accountability (Harvard University Press 2006) and further elaborated in Morality, Authority and Law: Essays in Second-‐Personal Ethics I and Honor, History, and Relationships: Essays in Second-‐Personal Ethics II (both Oxford University Press 2013). -/- With the second-‐person standpoint Darwall refers to the unique conceptual normative space that practical deliberators and agents occupy when they address claims and demands to one another (and to themselves). The very first sentence of Darwall’s examination of the second-‐personal conceptual paradigm summarizes the gist of the argument succinctly when he claims that “the second-‐person standpoint [is] the perspective that you and I take up when we make and acknowledge claims on one another’s conduct and will.” (Darwall 2006, 3) The Second-‐Person Standpoint reminds us that this perspective has been ignored for much too long and that it better take centre stage in any philosophical analysis of moral phenomena, in order to yield a satisfying account of morality as a social institution. The negative part of Darwall’s strategy is to show that neither a purely first-‐personal approach (represented by Kant and contemporary Kantians), nor a third-‐personal state-‐of-‐affairs-‐perspective (represented by most varieties of contemporary consequentialism) are capable of accounting for the categorical bindingness characteristic of moral obligation. The latter feat can only be accomplished, and this is the positive part of Darwall’s argument, when those second-‐ personal normative “felicity conditions” and conceptual presuppositions are acknowledged and spelled out that are already presupposed in every instance of issuing (putatively valid) claims and demands. It is especially second-‐personal competence and second-‐personal authority that are the bedrock of these normative conceptual presuppositions, without which engaging in any meaningful address would be impossible. Kantians and utilitarians alike have neglected this critical dimension of the normative landscape. -/- In addition to working out an original conception of moral obligation, the first eight chapters of The Second-‐Person Standpoint articulate this fundamental insight with respect to a variety of traditional projects in ethical theory such as developing accounts of moral responsibility, rights, dignity, and autonomy. In this context, special emphasis is to be awarded, on the one hand, to Darwall’s refreshing second-‐personal interpretation of Strawson’s influential account of reactive attitudes and moral responsibility and, on the other, to his historically well-‐informed reconstruction of Samuel Pufendorf’s often neglected version of an enlightened theistic voluntarism concerning moral authority. Darwall dedicates the second part of The Second-‐Person Standpoint to the urgent question: how should one respond to the sceptical challenge that expresses utter indifference to the second-‐person standpoint, including all its multifarious normative presuppositions and implications? What commits us to all this? It is at this point that Darwall, firstly, refines his criticisms of the Kantian, first-‐personal, paradigm of normativity and emphasizes that only if one already incorporates the second-‐personal conceptual apparatus into a Kantian analysis of moral obligation is the latter going to yield a convincing account. Secondly, and this certainly is one of the highlights of Darwall’s theory, the Second-‐Person Standpoint employs themes from Fichte’s philosophy of right in order to strengthen the case for the inescapability of taking up the second-‐person standpoint of moral obligation. In his contribution for this special issue Darwall further develops his diagnosis that Fichte’s thought offers in many respects a more promising, since more second-‐personal, foundation of morality than, for example, Kant’s. -/- By now, the impact of Darwall’s second-‐person standpoint theory has far transcended the confines of contemporary debates on moral obligation. Darwall has put to use the second-‐personal apparatus to critical engagements with Joseph Raz’s theory of legal authority and Derek Parfit’s convergence arguments for his recent Triple Theory of moral wrongness. The constant theme that unifies all these diverse applications remains the one so impressively presented in The Second-‐Person Standpoint: without paying attention to the “interdefinable” and “irreducible” circle of (four) foundational second-‐ personal concepts (valid demand, practical authority, second-‐personal reason, and accountability), neither superior epistemic status (Raz) nor the identification of optimific states of affairs (Parfit) are potent enough sources to generate anything close to the authority relationships that underlie the idea involved in obligating ourselves and one another. Given all of the above, it comes as no surprise that Darwall reserves his strongest sympathies for a specific ethical theory, namely contractualism. Our commitment to equal basic second-‐personal authority, that Darwall arrives at through his Fichtean rectification of the Kantian project, leads him to the endorsement of a contractualist paradigm in the spirit of broadly Rawls and Scanlon. -/- . (shrink)
In Law's Empire Prof. Ronald Dworkin has advanced a new theory of law, complex and intriguing. He calls it law as integrity. But in some ways the more radical and surprising claim he makes is that not only were previous legal philosophers mistaken about the nature of law, they were also mistaken about the nature of the philosophy of law or jurisprudence. Perhaps it is possible to summarize his main contentions on the nature of jurisprudence in three theses: First, jurisprudence (...) is interpretive: “General theories of law… aim to interpret the main point and structure of legal practice”. Second, legal philosophy cannot be a semantic account of the word “law.” Legal philosophers “cannot produce useful semantic theories of law”. Third, legal philosophy or jurisprudence “is the general part of adjudication, silent prologue to any decision at law”. (shrink)
Further research on the theological contributions of experts at Vatican Council II has led to identifying six texts by Prof. Joseph Ratzinger, which are presented here. The theological themes expressed in these texts include an insistence on the interior dynamics and questioning of human beings in conceiving the present-day "hearer of the word" to which Vatican II will speak. One is not surprised by the Professor's repeated call for doctrinal formulations drawn from the biblical and patristic sources instead of (...) borrowing from recent theological textbooks. The lecture of October 10, 1962, develops, among other topics, an impressive account of God's self-revelation, which has primacy over the codified witness given by Scripture and tradition, which derive from the one fons that is God's self-manifestation. On biblical inspiration the Council should not attempt a systematic account but simply make reference to essential aspects: those active as human authors, their context which is salvation history, and the communities that they served by writing. All missionary activity in the Church arises ultimately from God's love poured out upon the world in the missions of the Son and Spirit and such action has its summa in Jesus' inaugural proclamation, "Be converted and believe in the Gospel" . In approaching its dialogue with the contemporary world, the Church speaks out of a complex conviction combining awareness that hum. (shrink)
Postema's article discusses, lucidly and probingly, a central jurisprudential idea, which he calls the autonomy thesis. In its general form it is shared by many writers who otherwise support divergent accounts of the nature of law. It is, according to Postema, a thesis that is meant to account for a core idea, that the law's “defining aim is to … unify public political judgment and coordinate social interaction.” In some form or another this core idea is probably supported by Postema (...) himself. However, in this article his concern is to criticize what he takes to be the widespread belief that it is explained by the autonomy thesis. The autonomy thesis is flawed and must be rejected. In arguing to that conclusion he succumbs to one of the unattractive tendencies of contemporary legal and political philosophy, namely he does not discuss anyone's view, but a family of views. This allows one to construct one's target by selecting features from a variety of authors so that the combined picture is in fact no one's view, and all those cited as adhering to it would disagree with it. (shrink)
Moral philosophers are fond of the dictum “ought implies can” and even deontologists normally admit the need to take account of consequences in the design of social institutions. Too often, however, philosophers fail to take advantage of the knowledge provided by the social sciences about the constraints and consequences of alternative forms of social organization. By discussing ideals in abstraction from the problems of institutionalization, they fail at least to see some of the important consequences and costs of a proposed (...) ideal, and sometimes they fail even to understand the ideal itself. (shrink)
This article argues that despite individual Fellows’ interest in artistic practices, and similarities between a philosophical and a connoisseurial appreciation of art, the Royal Society as an institution may have been wary of image-making as a way of conveying knowledge because of the power of images to stir the passions and sway the intellect. Using Robert Hooke as a case study it explores some of the connections between philosophers and makers in Restoration London. It goes on to suggest that some (...) epistemic images were in fact designed to elicit an emotional response in their viewers in order to force them to re-evaluate the subject-matter by presenting it in a new and surprising way. (shrink)
The essays in this volume place the history of science in context, especially the genre of history of science informed by Joseph Needham's ecumenical vision of science. The book presents a number of questions that relate to contemporary concerns of the history of sciences and multiculturalism.
Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world's top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is substantial variability in experimental results across (...) populations and that WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual compared with the rest of the species hence, there are no obvious a priori grounds for claiming that a particular behavioral phenomenon is universal based on sampling from a single subpopulation. Overall, these empirical patterns suggests that we need to be less cavalier in addressing questions of human nature on the basis of data drawn from this particularly thin, and rather unusual, slice of humanity. We close by proposing ways to structurally re-organize the behavioral sciences to best tackle these challenges. (shrink)
This article investigates the place of trust in learning relations in the classroom, not only between teacher and student, but also between student and student. To do this, it will first examine a pedagogy called community of inquiry, espoused by John Dewey and used in most Philosophy for Children courses in Australia. It will then consider what different forms of trust are involved in other power relations in the classroom, particularly the rational structuralism of R.S Peters, or the experiential philosophy (...) of Maria Montessori. It concludes that a community of inquiry shifts the ethical learning relation in significantly different ways because for educational growth, it values ethical trust more highly than a strategic trust in logical principle, duty, Truth, or cost/benefit analysis. (shrink)
This anthology of essays on the work of David Kaplan, a leading contemporary philosopher of language, sprang from a conference, "Themes from Kaplan," organized by the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University.
The main purpose of this paper is to bring out some significant humanistic characteristics of Chinese religious thought. My account is limited to what is originally and typically Chinese. That is to say, it will exclude what has been influenced by Buddhism from India or Christianity from the Western world. Some of the theses of this paper are based on scholarly works, while others are drawn from the author's primary experience.
What are our duties or rights? How should we act? What are we responsible for? Joseph Raz examines the philosophical issues underlying these everyday questions. He explores the nature of normativity--the reasoning behind certain beliefs and emotions about how we should behave--and offers a novel account of responsibility.
Joseph Raz presents a penetrating exploration of the interdependence of value, reason, and the will. These essays illuminate a wide range of questions concerning fundamental aspects of human thought and action. Engaging Reason is a summation of many years of original, compelling, and influential work by a major contemporary philosopher.
Eminent political theorist Joseph Carens tests the limits of democratic theory in the realm of immigration, arguing that any acceptable immigration policy must be based on moral principles even if it conflicts with the will of the majority.
This article will begin by examining the extent to which R. S. Peters merited the charge of analytic philosopher. His background in social psychology allowed him to become more pragmatic and grounded in social conventions and ordinary language than the analytic philosophers associated with empiricism, and his gradual shift from requiring internal consistency to developing a notion of ?reasonableness?, in which reason could be tied to passion, grounded him in an idiosyncratic notion of ethics which included compassion and virtue as (...) well as reason. I describe his position on ethics as a systemic one of principled pragmatism. (shrink)
This article investigates how the turn to affect within the humanities and social sciences re-imagines the relationship between cultural theory and science. We focus on how the writings of two neuroscientists and one developmental psychologist are used in order to ground certain claims about affect within cultural theory. We examine the motifs at play in cultural theories of affect, the models of biology with which they work, and some fascinating missteps characterizing the taking up of scientific literature. While neuroscience frames (...) the affective as part of a system of regulation that makes both self and social coherence possible, in cultural theory’s narratives, by contrast, affectivity becomes a placeholder for the inherent dynamism and mutability of matter. The article interrogates the consequences of cultural theory’s strange borrowings from neuroscience and developmental psychology in their institution of a model of subjectivity preoccupied with a lived present in excess of the hold of habit and embodied history. (shrink)