This essay introduces a Common Knowledge symposium on the relationship between texts (for instance, musical scores or dramatic scripts) and performance in the arts by drawing out its implications for the interpretation of publicly consequential texts (such as constitutions, legal statutes, and canon law). Arguing that judges and clerics could learn much from studying the work of Philip Gossett and other practitioners of textual criticism in the arts, the essay suggests that a wider array of choices exists for legal interpretation (...) than the usual alternative between originalism or literalism, on the one hand, and intuitionism, on the other hand. Contributions to the symposium (titled “Between Text and Performance”) emphasize what Roger Moseley calls “improvisatory fluency in historical idioms,” and this introduction recommends that jurists develop for the law the kind of “ear” that musicians must have when a score invites or demands improvisation. (shrink)
Preanalytically, we are all scientific realists. But both philosophers and scientists become uncomfortable when forced into analysis. In the case of scientists, this discomfort often arises from practical difficulties in setting out a carefully described set of objects which adequately account for the phenomena with which they are concerned. This paper offers a set of representative examples of these difficulties for contemporary physicists. These examples challenge the traditional realist vision of mature scientific activity as struggling toward an ontologically well-defined world (...) picture. They challenge antirealist alternatives as well. (shrink)
Among the principles that are generally taken to underlie the general theory of relativity is a general principle of relativity. Such a principle is supposed to extend the special principle of relativity, which holds observers in uniform motion to be indistinguishable by appeal to the laws of physics, to a requirement on observers in arbitrary states of motion. Starting with physical intuitions described graphically by Galileo, proceeding through a series of formal requirements on reference frames defined on models of space-time (...) theories, and considering other "observations" commonly associated with relativity principles, this paper argues that the general principle of relativity is neither justified by "fact", nor exemplified by the general theory of relativity. (shrink)
Pre-analytically, we are all scientific realists. But both philosophers and scientists become uncomfortable when forced into analysis. In the case of scientists, this discomfort often arises from quite practical difficulties in setting out a carefully described set of objects and their properties which adequately account at least for the phenomena with which they and those in their research specialty are concerned. I offer a set of representative examples of these difficulties for contemporary physicists. These examples challenge the traditional realist vision (...) of mature scientific activity as struggling toward a clear and ontologically well-defined world picture. (shrink)
John Earman's A Primer on Determinism treats the doctrine of Laplacian determinism by a careful look at a considerable variety of physical theories. This paper enriches Earman's discussion of chaos theory by considering in some detail the analysis of dripping faucets due to Robert Shaw. Shaw's analysis exhibits in a nice way some of the techniques used in chaos theory and gives a feel for research in this area. The paper concentrates on the tension between the determinism inherent in any (...) description involving differential equations and the in-practice unpredictability resulting from the extreme sensitivity to initial conditions of the non-linear differential equations characteristic of chaos theory. (shrink)
Despite the closure of virtually all original grindhouse cinemas, ‘grindhouse’ lives on as a conceptual term. This article contends that the prevailing conceptualization of ‘grindhouse’ is problematized by a widening gap between the original grindhouse context (‘past’) and the DVD/home-viewing context (present). Despite fans’ and filmmakers’ desire to preserve this part of exploitation cinema history, the world of the grindhouse is now little more than a blurry set of tall-tales and faded phenomenal experiences, which are subject to present-bias. The continuing (...) usefulness of grindhouse-qua-concept requires that one should pay heed to the contemporary contexts in which ‘grindhouse’ is evoked. (shrink)
Empirical work on and common observation of the emotions tells us that our emotions sometimes key us to the presence of real and important reason-giving considerations without necessarily presenting that information to us in a way susceptible of conscious articulation and, sometimes, even despite our consciously held and internally justified judgment that the situation contains no such reasons. In this paper, I want to explore the implications of the fact that emotions show varying degrees of integration with our conscious agency—from (...) none at all to quite substantial—for our understanding of our rationality, and in particular for the traditional assumption that weakness of the will is necessarily irrational. (shrink)
Francesco Guala has developed some novel and radical ideas on the problem of external validity, a topic that has not received much attention in the experimental economics literature. In this paper I argue that his views on external validity are not justified and the conclusions which he draws from these views, if widely adopted, could substantially undermine the experimental economics enterprise. In rejecting the justification of these views, the paper reaffirms the importance of experiments in economics.
He was about five feet eight inches tall, rather thin, and for the last thirty or so years of his life sported a bushy beard and moustache, fashionable for the time. His pleasing low-pitched voice, ideal for conversation, did not carry well to large audiences, and although he was much in demand as a public speaker he rarely spoke from the floor at faculty or professional meetings. As a young man, within the family or with close friends, he was frequently (...) the source and centre of fun, vying with his father in devising practical jokes or in generating lively argument. Like his father he was the victim of his moods, and his own wife and children had much to contend with; typically, he assigned the hour of his evening meal to student consultation, and would refuse to see invited guests if he suddenly felt antisocial. He hated what he called ‘loutish’ informality in dress, and the American way of eating boiled eggs; he loved bright neckties, animals and hill walking. He had no exotic tastes in food, avoided tea and coffee, and drank no alcohol—one of his brothers became an alcoholic, like their father in his younger days. From his early twenties until the end of his life he experienced, and perhaps savoured, a series of physical and mental depressions; remarkably, so did his father, his four brothers, and even more dramatically, his sister. (shrink)
In the first part of this lecture I aim to characterize the moral dimensions of Henry James's novel The Golden Bowl ; in the second part, and for the purposes of comparison with my interpretation as well as for their intrinsic interest, I outline some of James's theoretical reflections about novels and the nature of experience, supplementing them with quotations from the work of William James.
At the end of Matters of Exchange, Harold Cook's major revisionist account of the early modern scientific revolution, he locates the political and economic writings of Bernard Mandeville within the practices and values of contemporaneous Dutch observational medicine. Like Mandeville, Cook describes the potency of early modern capitalism and its attendant value system in generating industry and knowledge; like Mandeville, Cook finds coercive systems of moral regulation to be mistaken in their estimation of human capacities; and like Mandeville, Cook does (...) not shy away from the violence that often made the worldwide commerce in matters of fact possible. “Every Part was full of Vice,” famously rhymed Mandeville, “Yet the whole Mass a Paradise.” The practices and values of science, this book suggests, stemmed from the vices of the merchant and the consumer, not the sprezzatura of the baroque courtier, the asceticism of the Christian gentleman, the speculation of the university philosopher, or the dour appraisal of the theologian. Interest, not claims to disinterest, made modern science and its attendant values possible. Scrupulous attention to goods from around the world and right at home created the conditions for natural knowledge. (shrink)