With the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference coming up, EricBrandstedt asks what we should expect from the talks and considers the relationship between ethical and political perspectives on the climate change debate.
Based on three recently published books on climate justice, this article reviews the field of climate ethics in light of developments of international climate politics. The central problem addressed is how idealised normative theories can be relevant to the political process of negotiating a just distribution of the costs and benefits of mitigating climate change. I distinguish three possible responses, that is, three kinds of non-ideal theories of climate justice: focused on (1) the injustice of some agents not doing their (...) part; (2) the policy process and aiming to be realistic; and (3) grievances related to the transition to a clean-energy economy. The methodological discussion underpinning each response is innovative and should be of interest more generally, even though it is still underdeveloped. The practical upshot, however, is unclear: even non-ideal climate justice may be too disconnected from the fast-moving and messy climate circus. (shrink)
Some key political challenges today, e.g. climate change, are future oriented. The intergenerational setting differs in some notable ways from the intragenerational one, creating obstacles to theorizing about intergenerational justice. One concern is that as the circumstances of justice do not pertain intergenerationally, intergenerational justice is not meaningful. In this paper, I scrutinize this worry by analysing the presentations of the doctrine of the circumstances of justice by David Hume and John Rawls. I argue that we should accept the upshot (...) of their idea, that justice is context sensitive, even if this at first sight seems to invalidate intergenerational justice. On the basis of moral constructivism, I subsequently provide a fresh reading of the doctrine according to which it conveys the idea that justice is the solution to a practical problem. However, as the problem background is evolving, we need to properly characterize the relevant practical problem in order to make ethical theorizing relevant. Contrary to what has been claimed, the circumstances of justice do not then clash with intergenerational justice, but are the necessary presuppositions for its advancement. (shrink)
The common conception of justice as reciprocity seemingly is inapplicable to relations between non-overlapping generations. This is a challenge also to John Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness. This text responds to this by way of reinterpreting and developing Rawls’s theory. First, by examining the original position as a model, some revisions of it are shown to be wanting. Second, by drawing on the methodology of constructivism, an alternative solution is proposed: an amendment to the primary goods named ‘sustainability of (...) values’. This revised original position lends support to intergenerational justice as fairness. (shrink)
A challenge for the theorising of climate justice is that even when the agents whose actions are supposed to be regulated are cooperative and act in good faith, they may still disagree about how the burdens and benefits of dealing with climate change should be distributed. This article is a contribution to the formulation of a useful role for normative theorising in light of this bounded nature of climate justice. We outline a theory of pure procedural climate justice; its content, (...) function in relation to international climate diplomacy, and justification. The theory is ‘pure’ in the sense that it does not rely on an independent criterion of what are just outcomes in negotiations of climate responsibilities. Rather, it specifies procedural fairness norms, such as transparency, reciprocity and participation, which make the process of negotiation fair independently of which account of substantive climate justice happens to be correct. Such procedural fairness norms are justified in part by being expressions of an ideal of a reasonable negotiator, an ideal which itself commands respect. They are also justified as means to an effective coordinated response to dangerous climate change in virtue of their capacity to create trust, predictability and accountability. (shrink)
The meaning of welfare and the conditions for making it sustainable seemingly are related. This is at least a common idea in current discussions with the implicit assumption that conditions conducive to general welfare improvements also will secure certain sustainability objectives. In this chapter, we challenge this by way of a conceptual analysis of welfare, focused on its descriptive adequacy. Although there are different substantial theories about welfare, they all have to account for its subject-relative nature: individual welfare is whatever (...) is good for an individual from their own point of reference. Sustainability, on the other hand, is the normative requirement that economic growth and development must not be pursued to the detriment of geographically and temporally distant others. With these clarifications of relevant concepts, we provide a tentative argument against certain ‘win-win arguments’ of ‘sustainable welfare’. To respect the sustainability proviso means leaving some sources of welfare untapped, which, although it does not guarantee a decrease, neither assures an increase in welfare. We end by introducing the concept of social capital as an alternative way of accommodating the sustainability proviso. This would imply balancing individual sacrifices in welfare with mobilisation of social capital for the collective good of sustainability. (shrink)
Scholars have argued that we have compelling reasons to combat climate change because it threatens human rights, referred to here as ‘climate rights’. The prospects of climate rights are analysed assuming two basic desiderata: its accuracy in capturing the normative dimension of climate change ; and its ability to generate political measures. In order for climate rights to meet these desiderata certain conditions must be satisfied: important human interests are put at risk by global climate change; there is an identified (...) rights-holder and obligation-bearer; this relationship is codified in a legitimate formal structure; it is feasible to claim the rights; an ‘enforcement mechanism’ could strengthen compliance. When asserting climate rights it is insufficient to consider the moral ground or actual enforcement possibilities by themselves. Normative and practical aspects are closely interlinked and must be studied in tandem. (shrink)
Any future-oriented work, whether of academic or policy kind, needs a vision of the future, however vague. It is well known that such predictions are bound to be wrong, at least on the margin. The question is how to minimise that threat and make reliable assumptions. In this chapter we discuss a strategy of hypothetical retrospection. By imagining a future state of the world that is radically different from the present, we scrutinise hidden assumptions and suppositions taken for granted in (...) philosophical and policy visions of the future. More specifically, we discuss one example from political philosophy, which is John Rawls’s theorising about justice between generations, and three examples from policy, which are all from a Swedish context. We highlight some of the assumptions made in these disparate works, such as economic growth and acceptance of inequality. With the use of Tim Mulgan’s thought experiment of a ‘broken world’, where there are not enough resources to meet everyone’s basic needs, we, as it were, retrospectively assess the embedded assumptions. The main ambition is not to suggest that they are wrong from this perspective, but that the optimism they exhibit is not beyond doubt. (shrink)
This dissertation is a contribution to the debate about ‘climate justice’, i.e. a call for a just and feasible distribution of responsibility for addressing climate change. The main argument is a proposal for a cautious, practicable, and necessary step in the right direction: given the set of theoretical and practical obstacles to climate justice, we must begin by making contemporary development practices sustainable. In times of climate change, this is done by recognising and responding to the fact that emissions of (...) greenhouse gases, with climate change as their result, are an immanent threat to any reflectively embraced development project. In the universal pursuit of progress, basic needs of both present and future people are put at risk. Even so, a political stalemate and business-as-usual prevail. The situation is locked up by an uncertainty about the exact impacts of choices made and by the reasonable disagreement of modern societies. The result is passiveness, and the passing on of a slowly and indiscernibly growing problem to future generations. This dissertation brings out a crucial message about the need to make our development sustainable. Instead of delaying action through trying to resolve the intractable epistemic and normative uncertainty fully, the focus should be on vindicating already shared points of practical convergence. On the constructivist method here adopted, the task is to characterise the agent and the situation faced from a practical and first-person point of view. More specifically, to specify the practical problem climate change gives rise to; the moral importance of needs (chapter three); how a principled priority of basic needs can be defended (chapter four), intergenerationally (chapter five) and internationally (chapter six); and what natural and social limits there are to development (chapter seven). These conceptions narrows the practice of development in the present context: it can be concluded that development must not risk the basic needs of anyone implicated. This common ground brackets off disagreement irrelevant to the urgent need to act, and so brings together otherwise deeply divided agents. A sufficientarian basic needs-principle, as the focus of an overlapping consensus, is practicable and anticipatory in the disuniting moral conundrum of climate change. (shrink)
As a young scholar, Eric Voegelin wanted to prove whether the ‘race idea’ could function as a means of political integration. He published two books on race that, after his flight to the USA, were eventually passed off as an early critique of racism. This is a complete misinterpretation and inversion of his endeavor. In his tracts, Voegelin only criticized a certain direction of race thinking that he identified as a materialistic biological approach to the problem. At the same (...) time, he advocated another spiritual and metaphysical attempt, represented by the examples of Carl Gustav Carus, Othmar Spann, and Ludwig Ferdinand Clauß. Both versions of race thinking were abundant in different types of fascism and also in Nazi Germany. That is why Voegelin could publish his books in Germany—and one of them even at the recommendation of a Nazi philosopher, with a publisher close to völkisch and fascist ideology. The revaluation of his racist texts was only possible on the basis of their affirmative or superficial and uncritical reading against the backdrop of the development of a one-dimensional conception of racism. (shrink)
A proposta deste estudo é abordar de forma teórica o pensamento do filósofo e cientista político, germano-americano, Eric Voegelin, buscando compreender a relação que promove entre o gnosticismo e a modernidade, tendo como foco sua afirmação de que o gnosticismo é o fundamento da modernidade. Para esta pesquisa, são utilizados como base teórica fundamental dois conceitos de sua teoria: religiões políticas e gnosticismo. Divide-se o trabalho em uma introdução ao tema e três capítulos, seguidos da conclusão. Na introdução, se (...) aborda o contexto histórico-político que fornece o estofo para o surgimento da modernidade e movimentos totalitários; com a biografia do autor, buscam-se elementos essenciais para a compreensão de sua posição de combate irrestrito às ideologias, principalmente ao nacional-socialismo alemão e socialismo stalinista. A partir da crítica ao movimento positivista, que considera a ciência natural e seus métodos o modo por excelência de apreensão da realidade, Voegelin demonstra que a dimensão simbólica, espiritual e transcendente do ser fica relegada a uma posição inferior, inexistente ou banalizada, causando uma deformação da verdade, que pode se manifestar em dogmas ou doutrinas ideológicas. No segundo capítulo, introduz-se sua noção de que o gnosticismo é o fundamento da sociedade moderna, na medida em que a insatisfação com a ordem corrente, a crença e desejo de mudança do indivíduo por meio do conhecimento, se firmam como contrários ao desenvolvimento do ser, apontando uma tendência nos movimentos ideológicos modernos à imanentização da escatologia cristã. No terceiro capítulo, apresentam-se as principais discussões a respeito dos limites e alcances de sua teoria, sua aproximação com uma filosofia da consciência e as possibilidades de utilizá-la para a compreensão dos fenômenos totalitários na atualidade, vistos como uma doença pneumopatológica. Concluiu-se que Voegelin, categórico ao apontar para a necessidade de uma nova abordagem para a ciência social e política, evidenciou uma estrutura religiosa nos movimentos modernos, ditos seculares; o conceito de gnosticismo como fundamento da modernidade, apesar de revisto pelo próprio autor e ainda fomentar controvérsias, pode ser um ponto de partida para estudos complementares, uma vez que enfatiza a necessidade de ampliação da consciência para a restauração da ordem social e política, e de incluir o aspecto transcendente do ser, que se expressa em seus símbolos e em suas experiências religiosas ao longo da história, para a compreensão da modernidade. (shrink)
In his New Science of Politics, Eric Voegelin offers an analysis of modernity: at its heart, it is a radicalization of Christianity—a radicalization that counts as a betrayal. Like other movements of its time, Christianity judged this world in terms of another—one wherein all of us were brothers and sisters, wherein justice mattered more than victory and mercy more than justice. But rather than endure in patience their own limitations, those whom Voegelin calls “gnostics” tried to build heaven on (...) earth—inevitably, by violence. This serves as his postmortem on the twentieth century: liberalism, communism, and fascism are all, according to Voegelin, trying to do what cannot be done—specifically, to do what Voegelin calls “immanentizing the eschaton.” Each is, in its own way, a revolt against the human condition—and so a revolt against God. -/- But these gnostics would hardly have seen themselves in this demonic light. Indeed, they often called themselves “rationalists” and saw themselves as a brave few who might lead humanity out of the madness of the past. Of course, Voegelin would hardly grant that Plato or Saint Augustine were less rational than, say, Thomas Hobbes. But he would certainly grant that the gnostics hoped to render the world “rational” by abolishing whatever aspects of the human condition were “irrational”—in the case of Hobbes, our capacity for mystical experience of God. -/- Of course, this is hardly how contemporary political scientists would explain Hobbes. In the introduction to his New Science of Politics, though, Voegelin offers an indirect explanation of this. He warns that the social sciences are prisoners of their idolatry of the natural sciences: they ignore any data that cannot be rendered in language that is entirely descriptive—insisting as they do so that this methodology is only “rational.”. (shrink)
Este artigo quer mostrar que Kant descobriu, segundo Eric Weil, o problema do sentido. Entretanto, Eric Weil observa que Kant não encontrou uma linguagem apropriada para falar do sentido. A linguagem de Kant era ainda uma linguagem ontológica. Malgrado isso, Kant conseguiu fechar, na terceira Crítica, o abismo que separava natureza e liberdade.
_ Source: _Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 236 - 255 In this article I compare some elements of Eric Gans’s thought with a few aspects of the philosophy of Hermann Cohen—first and foremost, Gans’s concept of the origin and Cohen’s concept of Ursprung—while revealing the deep affinity between these two lines of thinking.
Eric Voegelin believed that a morally acceptable and in the long run successful political order (which meant for the emigrant Voegelin primarily an order that is resistant to totalitarianism) can only be built on the foundation of a healthy religiosity of the citizens and the political leaders. The question of what a healthy religiosity is was examined by Voegelin by recurring to intellectual history and to the philosophy of consciousness. In my book I offer a detailed criticism Voegelin's philosophy (...) of consciousness and of his concept of political order. (shrink)
Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin were political theorists of the first rank whose impact on the study of political science in North America has been profound. A study of their writings is one of the most expeditious ways to explore the core of political science; comparing and contrasting the positions both theorists have taken in assessing that core provides a comprehensive appreciation of the main options of the Western tradition. In fifty-three recently discovered letters, Strauss and Voegelin explore the (...) nature of their similarities and differences, offering trenchant observations about one another's work, about the state of the discipline, and about the influences working on them. The correspondence fleshes out many assumptions made in their published writings, often with a frankness and directness that removes all vestiges of ambiguity. Included with the correspondence are four pivotal re-published essays—"Jerusalem and Athens: Some Preliminary Reflections", "The Gospel and Culture", "Immortality: Experience and Symbol", and "The Mutual Influence of Theology and Philosophy" —and commentaries by James L. Wiser, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Stanley Rosen, Thomas J. J. Altizer, Timothy Fuller, Ellis Sandoz, Thomas L. Pangle, and David Walsh. (shrink)
Consciousness is at once the most obvious and mysterious feature of the human mind. Kenneth Keulman seeks a better understanding of its many dimensions through interpretations of the ideas of the twentieth-century philosopher Eric Voegelin, who viewed the complexity of modern consciousness as the result of a distinctive form of evolution combining genetic change with cultural history. Voegelin's unique contribution to political theory, Keulman shows, comes from his development of an approach to history rooted in a study of the (...) symbolisms of the history of order. It is because the problems of order in society arise from the order of consciousness that the theory of consciousness can be placed at the center of political theory. Keulman's interpretation encompasses not only Voegelin's published writings but also a substantial body of unpublished material to which Voegelin gave him access before his death in 1985, including portions of what was to become Volume V of _Order and History_. (shrink)
फेसबुक आणि ब्लॉगच्या जमान्यात तत्त्वज्ञानाची चर्चा केवळ पुस्तकांपुरती किंवा विद्यापीठीय चर्चासत्रांपुरती मर्यादित राहू नये, असे मानणारा एक चळवळय़ा प्राध्यापक, पुस्तकांच्या मानीव वर्चस्वामुळे तत्त्वज्ञान क्षेत्राचे काय नुकसान झाले, याबद्दलही बोलतो आहे आणि ही चर्चा पुस्तकांच्या बाहेरही झाली पाहिजे.. ती लोकाभिमुख झाली पाहिजे, असे सांगतो आहे..
My purpose is to analyze the peculiar thinking of Weil, according to the categories of reasoning, as a choice to avoid violence. In his definition of man, Weil recovers the notion of realization, with which man is redefined in terms of what he must be and not merely for what he is. There-to, man is ..
ABSTRACTIn a recent paper published in this journal, Eric Funkhouser argues that some of our beliefs have the primary function of signaling to others, rather than allowing us to navigate the world. Funkhouser’s case is persuasive. However, his account of beliefs as signals is underinclusive, omitting both beliefs that are signals to the self and less than full-fledged beliefs as signals. The latter set of beliefs, moreover, has a better claim to being considered as constituting a psychological kind in (...) its own right than the set of beliefs Funkhouser identifies. (shrink)
En este trabajo presento un estudio sobre el estado del arte de la llamada ‘epistemología de las simulaciones computacionales’. En particular, me centro en los varios trabajos de Eric Winsberg quién es uno de los filósofos más fructíferos y sistemáticos en este tema. Además de analizar la obra de Winsberg, y basándome en sus trabajos y en el de otros filósofos, mostraré que hay buenas razones para pensar que la epistemología tradicional de la ciencia no es suficiente para el (...) análisis de las simulaciones computacionales. (shrink)
I am grateful to Eric Schliesser for his gracious response, and to Philosophy East and West and Roger Ames for hosting this discussion. The challenges currently facing the profession regarding exclusionary practices are many, and Schliesser's work at both NewAPPS and his newer blog, Digressions&Impressions, is sensitive both to how many and how complex these challenges are. Schliesser is correct that my discussion of the profession's conversational patterns is both a bit ungenerous and more than a little ambitious, asking (...) for "revolution" in how the discipline not only talks, but operates. Likewise, Schliesser is right to point out that there are now many, and more than ever before, seeking to probe critically the... (shrink)
In this essay I propose to explicate and defend a new and improved version of a Lockean proviso—the self-ownership proviso . I shall presume here that individuals possess robust rights of self-ownership. I shall take it that each individual has strong moral claims over the elements which constitute her person, e.g., her body parts, her talents, and her energies. However, in the course of the essay, I shall be challenging what I take to be the standard conception of self-ownership and (...) proposing an enrichment of that conception. The SOP is presented and in part justified as an implication of the right of self-ownership as it is more richly conceived—hence its designation as the self-ownership proviso. As an implication of the right of self-ownership which is also compatible, in theory and practice, with extensive and robust private property rights, the SOP is offered as an integral element of classical-liberal political theory. (shrink)
In 1938, doctors Eric Guttmann and Walter Maclay, two psychiatrists based at the Maudsley Hospital in London, administered the hallucinogenic drug mescaline to a group of artists, asking the participants to record their experiences visually. These artists included the painter Julian Trevelyan, who was associated with the British surrealist movement at this time. Published as ‘Mescaline hallucinations in artists’, the research took place at a crucial time for psychiatry, as the discipline was beginning to edge its way into the (...) scientific arena. Newly established, the Maudsley Hospital received Jewish émigrés from Germany to join its ranks. Sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, this group of psychiatrists brought with them an enthusiasm for psychoactive drugs and visual media in the scientific study of psychopathological states. In this case, Guttmann and Maclay enlisted the help of surrealist artists, who were harnessing hallucinogens for their own revolutionary aims. Looking behind the images, particularly how they were produced and their legacy today, tells a story of how these groups cooperated, and how their overlapping ecologies of knowledge and experience coincided in these remarkable inscriptions. (shrink)
In this paper I offer three main challenges to James (2011). All three turn on the nature of philosophy and secure knowledge in Spinoza. First, I criticize James's account of the epistemic role that experience plays in securing adequate ideas for Spinoza. In doing so I criticize her treatment of what is known as the ‘conatus doctrine’ in Spinoza in order to challenge her picture of the relationship between true religion and philosophy. Second, this leads me into a criticism of (...) her account of the nature of philosophy in Spinoza. I argue it is less piecemeal and less akin to what we would recognize as ‘science’ than she suggests. Third, I argue against James's core commitment that Spinoza's three kinds of knowledge differ in degree; I claim they differ in kind. My argument will offer a new interpretation of Spinoza's conception of ‘common notions’. Moreover, I argue that Spinozistic adequate knowledge involves something akin to angelic disembodiment. (shrink)
Following its determination of a finding of scientific misconduct the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) will seek redress for any injury sustained. Several remedies both administrative and statutory may be available depending on the strength of the evidentiary findings of the misconduct investigation. Pursuant to federal regulations administrative remedies are primarily remedial in nature and designed to protect the integrity of the affected research program, whereas statutory remedies including civil fines and criminal penalties are designed to deter and punish wrongdoers. (...) This commentary discusses the available administrative and statutory remedies in the context of a specific case, that of former University of Vermont nutrition researcher Eric Poehlman, and supplies a possible rationale for the legal result. (shrink)
This new essay collection edited by Eric Watkins features distinguished and established scholars, and it will be an attractive volume for those who work in the field. The essays are divided under three headings: Part I contains essays on agency, Part II features essays on freedom, and Part III is dedicated to essays on persons. An essay by Karl Ameriks on Kant’s work “The End of All Things” concludes the collection. Most of the essays in the collection were originally (...) presented in early form at the conference “Agency, Persons, and Kant” in 2016, which was held in honor of Karl Ameriks. Although there are mentions of Ameriks’s work in the essays, the contributions largely do not discuss his work in detail. Rather... (shrink)
Sin duda estamos ante un fenómeno del nuevo modelo de transmisión científica que ha revolucionado tanto las formas de llevar a cabo los procesos editoriales, como también la forma en la que los investigadores recogen, almacenan y citan la información insumo de sus trabajos de investigación. Asumir los retos que generan estos nuevos modelos de transmisión científica significa estar en constante estudio de las nuevas tecnologías de la información académica. Las bases de datos se han desarrollado desde las últimas décadas (...) del siglo XX para facilitar el acceso a información sistematizada y relacionada por su contexto, permiten tratar una amplia cantidad de información en poco espacio, recuperarla de forma precisa y rápida, e incluso, acceder a información custodiada en soportes informáticos de larga distancia. Hoy en día, diferentes instituciones han agrupado o creado nuevos espacios de información separándolos por áreas temáticas haciendo mucho más precisa la búsqueda por disciplinas académicas. En esta oportunidad compartiremos con nuestros lectores una herramienta de suma importancia para los procesos investigativos en el área de educación: ERIC. (shrink)
On October 1, 1988, thirty-five years after co-discovering the structure of the DNA molecule, Dr. James Watson launched an unprecedented experiment in American science policy. In response to a reporter's question at a press conference, he unilaterally set aside 3 to 5 percent of the budget of the newly launched Human Genome Project to support studies of the ethical, legal, and social implications of new advances in human genetics. The Human Genome Project, by providing geneticists with the molecular maps of (...) the human chromosomes that they use to identify specific human genes, will speed the proliferation of a class of DNA-based diagnostic and risk-assessment tests that already create professional ethical and health-policy challenges for clinicians. “The problems are with us now, independent of the genome program, but they will be associated with it,” Watson said. “We should devote real money to discussing these issues.” By 1994, the “ELSI program” had spent almost $20 million in pursuit of its mission, and gained both praise and criticism for its accomplishments. (shrink)
In the Second Meditation, Descartes famously asks at one point, ‘But what then am I?’ – to which his immediate answer is ‘A thing that thinks.’ It is this question, or rather the plural version of it, that Eric Olson examines in this excellent book. He thinks that it is – today, at least – a rather neglected question. He points out that it is wrong to confuse the question with the much more frequently examined question of what personal (...) identity consists in. In fact, he thinks that possible answers to the two questions, even if not entirely independent of one other, constrain each other only to a rather limited extent. It is important to appreciate that Olson is not inquiring into what persons in general are, but only into what we human persons are. Olson explores all the major, and some of the less well-known, answers that have been offered to this question. He begins with the answer that he himself has defended in an earlier book, The Human Animal – the answer that we are human animals, that is, biological organisms of a certain kind. Indeed, Olson is, along with Peter van Inwagen, one of the best known ‘animalists’ – although he admits to being a little more tentative in his endorsement of this position now, for reasons that we shall come to later. The other views that he considers are these: that we are entities that are ‘constituted’ by, but not identical with, human animals (the view of Lynne Rudder …. (shrink)
In 1952, Waldemar Gurian, founding editor of The Review of Politics, commissioned Eric Voegelin, then a professor of political science at Louisiana State University, to review Hannah Arendt’s recently published The Origins of Totalitarianism . She was given the right to reply; Voegelin would furnish a concluding note. Preceding this dialogue, Voegelin wrote a letter to Arendt anticipating aspects of his review; she responded in kind. Arendt’s letter to Voegelin on totalitarianism, written in German, has never appeared in print (...) before. She wrote two drafts of it, the first and longest being the more interesting. It contained an early reference to her thinking about the relationship among plurality, politics, and philosophy. It also invoked her notion of the compelling “logic” of totalitarian ideology. But this was not the letter Voegelin received. Because of this, he misunderstood significant parts of her argument. Below, the two versions of Arendt’s letter are translated. They are prefaced by a translation of Voegelin’s initial message to Arendt. An introduction compares Arendt’s letters, offers context, and provides a snapshot of Arendt’s and Voegelin’s perceptions of each other. Their views of political religion and human nature are also highlighted. Keyed to Arendt and Voegelin’s letters are pertinent aspects of the debate in The Review of Politics that followed their epistolary exchange. (shrink)
In the years following the end of the Second World War Carol Reed directed three films, Odd Man Out, The Third Man, and The Man Between, that all dealt with individuals somehow cast alone into post-war urban environments that shared certain characteristics of division and violence. This article argues that they can be usefully analysed through the lens of Walter Benjamin's notion of the creaturely, especially through Eric Santner's explication of the concept. It considers the films from three aspects (...) of Santner's creaturely life: natural history, the state of exception, and undeadness. These qualities of the creaturely as an analysis of the human condition help to encompass some of the strangeness of Reed's apparently conventional film narratives. The films' characters can be seen as overtly modelling a kind of Benjaminian natural history, the history of the brutal twentieth century, in which the vulnerable, mortal, dying human beings at the centre of these tales stumble around in rea... (shrink)
In recent years, a convergence has occurred between the disciples of Leo Strauss and those of Eric Voegelin. Spurred in part by the publication of the Strauss-Voegelin correspondence, and in part by a shared sense of persecution at the hands of the "politically correct," this convergence has taken place almost exclusively on Straussian terms. While few, if any, Straussians speak of "compactness," "differentiation," or "the ground of being," more and more Voegelinians are using Straussian catchwords and phrases like "the (...) conflict between Jerusalem and Athens," "historicism," and "natural right.". (shrink)
Eric Nelson has written a very comprehensive study of the reception of Chinese and EasternBuddhist philosophy in Western thought, with a special focus on the German thinkers of theearly twentieth century. Nelson shows great erudition in bringing together a wide variety ofthinkers from both East and West, including importantly some lesser known, but very relevantthinkers from both the Western tradition and Eastern philosophy. Although Nelson focusesmostly on the encounters and interactions between German philosophers and Chinese thinkers,his aim with this (...) commendable book is wider. Nelson employs the encountersbetween German and Chinese thinkers in the wider context of comparative and/or interculturalphilosophy, and his aim is therefore stated as being an attempt to consider ‘whether amore nuanced and historically appropriate conception of philosophy can emerge through criticallyengaging and reflecting on the modern encounter between Western and non-Westernphilosophy, and articulating its intercultural and intertextual dynamics’. (shrink)
David Silver has argued that there is an illegitimate circularity in Plantinga's account of how a Christian theist can defend herself against the potential defeater presented by Paul Draper's formulation of the problem of evil. The way out of the circle for the theist, thinks Silver, would be by adopting a kind of evidentialism: she needs to make an appeal to evidence that is independent of the reasons she has for holding theistic belief in the first place. I shall argue (...) that Silver's argument is unsuccessful, mainly because he does not get Plantinga's thought right. Silver's confusion is in taking causes of belief as reasons for belief, and in failing to account for the impact of belief holism and our web of beliefs on the very hope for independent reasons. (shrink)
My goal in this essay is to say something helpful about the philosophical foundations of deontic restraints, i.e., moral restraints on actions that are, roughly speaking, grounded in the wrongful character of the actions themselves and not merely in the disvalue of their results. An account of deontic restraints will be formulated and offered against the backdrop of three related, but broader, contrasts or puzzles within moral theory. The plausibility of this account of deontic restraints rests in part on how (...) well this account resolves the puzzles or illuminates the contrasts which make up this theoretical backdrop. (shrink)
This article is partly an exercise in academic autobiography, seeking to make sense of the different ways in which I have applied semiotics to secular law on the one hand, Jewish law on the other. The very fact that it can be applied to both shows that its claims are methodological. But it also indicates a possible reformulation of the semiotic issues in philosophical terms: we may view the relationship between the semantic and pragmatic levels in terms of the relationship/balance (...) between certainty/truth (the semantic level) on the one hand and trust (the pragmatic level) on the other. What may distinguish the secular and religious systems is the manner in the issue of trust is be ideologically concealed. (shrink)
Eric Davidson had a deep and abiding interest in the role developmental mechanisms played in generating evolutionary patterns documented in deep time, from the origin of the euechinoids to the processes responsible for the morphological architectures of major animal clades. Although not an evolutionary biologist, Davidson’s interests long preceded the current excitement over comparative evolutionary developmental biology. Here I discuss three aspects at the intersection between his research and evolutionary patterns in deep time: First, understanding the mechanisms of body (...) plan formation, particularly those associated with the early diversification of major metazoan clades. Second, a critique of early claims about ancestral metazoans based on the discoveries of highly conserved genes across bilaterian animals. Third, Davidson’s own involvement in paleontology through a collaborative study of the fossil embryos from the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation in south China. (shrink)
The Britten–Davidson model of genetic regulation was well received by American molecular biologists and embryologists, but not by the members of the French School of molecular biology. In particular, François Jacob considered it too abstract and too removed from experiments. I re-examine the contrast between the Britten–Davidson model and the operon model by Jacob and Monod, the different scientific contexts in which they were produced and the different roles they played. I also describe my recent encounters with Eric Davidson, (...) and how I discovered the extraordinary continuity of his work on the development of the sea urchin, as well as his rich personality. (shrink)