There is evidence for increase, followed by decline, in synaptic numbers during development. Dendrites do not function in isolation. A constructive neuronal process may underpin a selectionist cognitive process. The environment shapes both ontogeny and phylogeny. Phylogenetic natural selection and neural selection are compatible. Natural selection can yield both constructivist and selectionist solution to adaptuive problems.
In this paper, I present a parallel between Schopenhauer, who argues that a purely rational being would see life as meaningless suffering and therefore refuse to inflict existence on a new generation of humans, and economist Lester Thurow, who argues that it is irrational to care about what happens to the world after one's own death, even if this means the extinction of the human species. I show first how these attitudes stem from an orientation that judges life in terms (...) of pleasure and pain. Then, with reference to an article by Amien Kacou, I seek to refute this orientation, showing how a conscious being that actually saw pleasure as its highest good would likely become miserable - or, conversely, that the only way for such a being to actually experience pleasure would be for it to see justice as more important than its own individual satisfaction. I conclude with some reflections on what this means in terms of Nietzsche's statement "God is dead," and what ramifications it has on the current ecological crisis. (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.
Do liberal states have a moral duty to admit immigrants? According to what has been called the “conventional view”, this question is to be answered in the negative. One of the most prominent critics of the conventional view is Joseph Carens. In the past 30 years Carens’ contributions to the open borders debate have gradually taken on a different complexion. This is explained by the varying “ideality” of his approaches. Sometimes Carens attempts to figure out what states would be (...) obliged to do under otherwise perfectly just conditions (i.e., he attempts to establish an ideal). At other times, he is more interested in what to do, given the (not fully just) world that we actually live in. In my view, the relevance of the ideal/non-ideal theory debate to the open borders debate (and the ethics of migration more generally) has not yet received sufficient attention. My aim in this paper therefore is to show in detail how Carens’ varying approaches affect his critique of the conventional view. To this effect I analyze three of his papers: “Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders” (1987), “Realistic and Idealistic Approaches to the Ethics of Migration” (1996), and “Who Should get in? The Ethics of Immigration Admissions” (2003). (shrink)
In The Ethics of Immigration, Joseph Carens’ builds a sophisticated account of justice in immigration based on an interpretation of liberal states’ democratic principles and practices. I dispute Carens’ contention that his hermeneutic methodology supports a broadly liberal egalitarian consensus; instead, the consensus he detects on principles and practices appears because his interpretation presupposes liberal egalitarianism. Carens’ methodology would benefit by engaging with a “hermeneutics of suspicion” that explores the ideological and exclusionary facets of liberal egalitarian principles when applied (...) to immigration. This would contribute to an account of the ethics of immigration that gives more attention to power and interest, mediated through structures of gender, race, and class. (shrink)
Joseph Raz has argued that the problem of the amoralist is misconceived. In this paper, I present three interpretations of what his argument is. None of these interpretations yields an argument that we are in a position to accept.
Accounts of the relation between theories and models in biology concentrate on mathematical models. In this paper I consider the dual role of models as representations of natural systems and as a material basis for theorizing. In order to explicate the dual role, I develop the concept of a remnant model, a material entity made from parts of the natural system(s) under study. I present a case study of an important but neglected naturalist, Joseph Grinnell, to illustrate the extent (...) to which mundane practices in a museum setting constitute theorizing. I speculate that historical and sociological analyses of institutions can play a specific role in the philosophical analysis of model-building strategies. (shrink)
During the 1840s and the 1850s botanist Joseph Hooker developed distinct notions about the proper characteristics of a professional man of science. While he never articulated these ideas publicly as a coherent agenda, he did share his opinions openly in letters to family and colleagues; this private communication gives essential insight into his and his X-Club colleagues' public activities. The core aspiration of Hooker's professionalization was to consolidate men of science into a dutiful and centralized community dedicated to national (...) well-being. The nation in turn owed the scientific community for its ministration. When the government bestowed funds and status on men of science it was rewarding science -- not purchasing it. His proposed reforms were piecemeal, immediate, and above all practical. He harbored no taste for vast millenarian transformation, and rested his conception of scientific professionalism upon a respectable High Victorian foundation of patronage and pillars of duty, reciprocity, intimacy, and inequality. The process of professionalization he envisioned was as much shrewd compromise between existing interests as a vindication of principle. His power and prestige from the mid-1850s onward gave him considerable ability to carry out his reform program, although his general success did occasion some undesired consequences for the status of natural-history pursuits. (shrink)
Joseph Morton Ransdell left a record of experimentation with the communicational process of philosophy from 1992 to his passing in 2010. This record includes the Arisbe website and the peirce-l e-forum and its archives, of which the earliest are not on the Internet, but may yet be recovered and made available. Philosophy’s communication process, and the possibility of creating and developing a telecommunity, as Ransdell called it, were among his chief theoretical and practical interests. Such interests were focused in (...) terms of the ideas of Charles S. Peirce, including fallibilism, pragmaticism, and semiotic, in particular the sign’s determination by the represented object, and iconicity in relation especially to .. (shrink)
Joseph Hooker first learned that Charles Darwin believed in the transmutation of species in 1844. For the next 14 years, Hooker remained a "nonconsenter" to Darwin's views, resolving to keep the question of species origin "subservient to Botany instead of Botany to it, as must be the true relation." Hooker placed particular emphasis on the need for any theory of species origin to support the broad taxonomic delimitation of species, a highly contentious issue. His always provisional support for special (...) creation waned during the 1850s as he lost faith in its expediency for coordinating the study of plant geography, systematics and physiology. In 1858, Hooker embraced Darwin's "considerable revolution in natural history," but only after Darwin had carefully molded his transmutationism to meet Hooker's exacting specifications. (shrink)
Joseph Ransdell (1931–2010), who received his Ph.D in philosophy from Columbia University in 1966, where he was advised by Sidney Morgenbesser, and spent most of his career at Texas Tech University, offered an original and focused challenge to academic philosophy at the end of the Second Millennium. His guiding philosophical passion was understanding how communication might best encourage and support truth seeking. This introduction to a special edition of the Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society which is devoted (...) to Joe's legacy presents his philosophical interests, and the distinctive and valuable role he played in establishing the "Peirce Telecommunity", which has nurtured a range of Peirce scholars outside of the normal institutional frameworks for philosophical research and discussion. (shrink)
Nineteenth-century British entomologist William Kirby is best known for his generic division of bees based on tongues and his vigorous defence of natural theology. Focusing on these aspects of Kirby's work has lead many current scholars to characterise Kirby as an "essentialist." As a result of this characterisation, many important aspects of his work, Monographia Apum Angliœ (1802) have been over-looked or misunderstood. Kirby's religious devotion, for example, have lead some scholars to assume Kirby used (...) the term "type" for connecting an ontological assumption about essences with a creationist assumption about species fixity, which I argue conceals a variety of ways Kirby employed the term. Also, Kirby frequently cautioned against organising a classification system exclusively by what he called "analytic reasoning," a style of reasoning 20th century scholars often associate with Aristotelian logic of division. I argue that Kirby's critique of analytic reasoning brought the virtues of his own methodological agenda into sharp relief. Kirby used familiar metaphors in the natural history literature-Ariadne's thread, the Eleusinian mysteries, and Bacon's bee and spider metaphors-to emphasise the virtues of building tradition and cooperation in the goals and methodological practices of 19th century British naturalists. (shrink)
Este trabajo se propone indagar la relación entre la obra del filósofo Walter Benjamin y parte de la producción del artista conceptual Joseph Kosuth, partiendo de la hipótesis de que ambos representan un desplazamiento de sus disciplinas hacia un lugar de encuentro entre el arte y la filosofía. En efecto, mientras en Benjamin la filosofía va más allá del concepto para alcanzar la imagen, en Kosuth el arte se apropia de las palabras y evita toda representación visual del mundo.
People discussing science and religion usually frame their conversations in terms of essentialist assumptions about science, assumptions requiring the existence (but not the specification) of criteria according to which science can be distinguished from other forms of inquiry. However, criteria functioning at a level of generality appropriate to such discussions may not exist at all. Essentialist assumptions may be avoided if science is understood within a broader context of human practices. In a philosophy of practices, to label a practice as (...) “scientific” is to make a practically motivated provision for a way of speaking. Charles Taylor and Joseph Rouse have produced complementary philosophies of practice that promote this kind of understanding. In this essay I review the work of Taylor and Rouse, identify apparent residues of essentialism that each seems to harbor, and offer a resolution to some of their disagreements. I also criticize a form of essentialism commonly employed in Christian circles and outline an anti-essentialist view of science that may be helpful in science-and-religion discussions. (shrink)
Catholic modernist John Augustine Zahm is best known for his attempt to reconcile the theory of evolution with the Christian scriptures. However, Zahm's theological method—the underlying principles and procedures in his effort to reconcile faith and science—remains largely unexamined. In this article, I analyze Zahm's theological method and submit that it is an attempt to harmonize scientific knowledge and Christian scripture through a “scientific allegory” of the bible, which takes into account the human and divine meanings of scripture, the exegesis (...) of the church fathers, and the dogmatic constitutions of the Catholic church. I compare Zahm's method with that of pioneering Catholic bible critic Marie-Joseph Lagrange, and his conception of biblical inspiration and the supra-literal sense of scripture. Through this historical investigation, I hope to contribute to the question of the relationship between modern science and Christian hermeneutics. (shrink)
El problema de la teodicea ha sido una de las grandes preocupaciones del pensamiento religioso en Occidente: si Dios es absolutamente bueno y omnipotente, ¿cómo puede existir el mal en el mundo?, y ¿por qué sufren los virtuosos y gozan los impíos? En la Antigüedad, el Libro de Job intentó ofrecer una respuesta que perduró hasta tiempos modernos. En el siglo XVII, Leibniz ofreció una respuesta mucho más racionalizada, propia de los tiempos modernos. Joseph de Maistre, un contrarrevolucionario del (...) siglo XIX, hizo de la teodicea uno de sus temas centrales. El siguiente artículo es un estudio de la forma en que De Maistre aborda este tema. (shrink)
Professor Sir Joseph Rotblat was one of the most distinguished scientists and peace campaigners of the post second world war period. He made significant contributions to nuclear physics and worked on the development of the atomic bomb. He then became one of the world’s leading researchers into the biological effects of radiation. His life from the early 1950s until his death in August 2005 was devoted to the abolition of nuclear weapons and peace. For this he was awarded the (...) Nobel Peace Prize, together with Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (that he helped found) in 1995. His work in this area ranked with that of Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell and this article is an attempt to summarise his life, achievements, but in particular outline his views on the moral responsibilities of the scientist. He is a towering intellectual figure and his contributions to mankind should be better known and more widely understood. (shrink)
The life of Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) provides an invaluable lens through which to view mid-Victorian science. A biographical approach makes it clear that some well-established narratives about this period need revising. For example, Hooker's career cannot be considered an example of the professionalisation of the sciences, given the doubtful respectability of being paid to do science and his reliance on unpaid collectors with pretensions to equal scientific and/or social status. Nor was Hooker's response to Darwin's theories either straightforward (...) or contradictory; it only makes sense as carefully crafted equivocation when seen in the context of his life and career. However, the importance of Hooker's life is ultimately its typicality; what was true of Hooker was true of many other Victorian men of science. (shrink)
Josiah Tucker, who was the Anglican dean of Gloucester from 1758 until his death in 1799, is best known today as a controversialist, a political economist and a lesser contemporary of Adam Smith. Little attention has been paid, however, to the important relationship between his religious writings and his wider economic thought. This article addresses this lack of attention in two ways: first by demonstrating the link between Tucker's conception of civil and religious liberty and his “science” of political economy, (...) and second by drawing sustained attention to his economic adaptation and reformulation of the moral philosophy of Bishop Joseph Butler, Tucker's ecclesiastical mentor from 1739 to 1752. Emphasizing Butler and Tucker's views on the traditional Christian virtue of charity, and the moral duty of the rich towards the poor, the article suggests that both clergymen were proponents of a sociability-based, neo-Stoic conception of human nature, which was not only compatible with, but also dependent upon, the established Anglican Church and state and the predominantly Whig commercial order. In consequence, Tucker's political economy was premised on the unavoidability of social subordination and economic inequality as necessary hallmarks of modern commercial society. Accordingly, the article closes with a brief discussion of Tucker's “Butlerian” assessment and rejection of the “anti-social” doctrine of individual natural rights, associated with the popular radicalism of the American and French Revolutions in the latter half of the eighteenth century. (shrink)
El cristianismo es analizado en los días de hoy como un argumento de que pertenece al campo mitológico. Joseph Ratzinger contesta a esto análisis una tesis de Agustín que clasifica el cristianismo como parte de la teología natural, de acuerdo con la clasificación de las tres teologías de Marcus Terentius Varro. La tesis de Agustín confiere al cristianismo la base natural y no mítica, de acuerdo con las otras religiones de la Antigüedad. Esta es una de las razones por (...) las cuales aún hoy se puede tener certeza de que el cristianismo es esencial para la humanidad. (shrink)
When censorship was reformed during the era of Joseph II publishing and the book trade underwent a liberalisation. Enlightenment conceptions helped create the image of the ideal reader—someone who reads to acquire knowledge or to improve his spiritual life. During the reign of Joseph II reading spread to all social strata, but readers’ preferences did not follow a reading ideal. This is demonstrated by significant urban-rural disparities. The publishing projects of the Protestant elite met with failure in the (...) distribution phase and with the indifference country people displayed towards spiritual literature. This relates to several other social phenomena such as literacy and living conditions. Archival sources, which are relevant to lending library research, indicate the reading preferences of the urban classes. An uncontrollable reading mania targeted literature and short political and anticlerical writing, which triggered public discussions on the dangers of uncontrolled reading. The print medium helped shape a “reading public“, whose reading activities occupied an area between mainstream cultural consumption and the dissemination of political news. (shrink)
Professor Sir Joseph Rotblat made significant contributions to nuclear physics and worked on the development of the atomic bomb. He walked out of the Manhattan Project after working there for less than a year, the only scientist to do so. Rotblat gave a comprehensive account of his time at Los Alamos. His Archive is now becoming available and papers contained therein are inconsistent with some aspects of his account. The reasons as to how such anomalies and contradictions could occur (...) are considered. (shrink)
This essay considers eighteenth-century Anglican thinker Joseph Butler's view of the role of natural emotions in moral reasoning and action. Emotions such as compassion and resentment are shown to play a positive role in the moral life by motivating action and by directing agents toward certain good objects—for example, relief of misery and justice. For Butler, moral virtue is present when these natural affections are kept in proper proportion by the "superior" principles of the moral life—conscience, self-love, and benevolence—which (...) involve the capacity for reasonable reflection. For contemporary thinkers, Butler's approach suggests that natural emotion should not be viewed as the enemy of moral reasoning; in fact, it challenges ethicists to pay attention to and account for the significant role of the emotions in the moral life. (shrink)
This book is the outcome of a series of lectures on art-related topics which Margolis gave in various places, including Finland, Russia, Japan and the USA, from 1995 through 1997. Mainly these lectures vividly distill views which Margolis has developed more fully elsewhere. Also, as his readers know, Margolis has an unusually allencompassing and closely integrated series of views on almost all of the main issues concerning both art and philosophy generally. Thus the task of a reviewer of this book (...) is the difficult one of somehow coming to terms and finding something useful to say (in a brief compass) on the full sweep of Margolis's philosophy as encapsulated by these lectures. (shrink)
To confront the Modernist challenge to traditional Catholic theology, a number of neoscholastic thinkers proposed various schemes for the grounding of metaphysics and the defense of the analogy of being. The specific tack Joseph Maréchal chose was epistemological: justification of the cognitive grounds for the science of metaphysics and for the analogous knowledge of God emphasized by Thomistic theology.
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)
Lam, Joseph The reception of Augustine's theology and thoughts in Thomas Aquinas's works has never been a point of serious disagreement among scholars. What divides scholars is rather the question of how to assess the weight of Aristotelian influence and Thomas's Augustinian heritage. According to Gilson, the answer is evident in itself. While acknowledging in the works of the Dominican friar a close familiarity with Augustine's theology, the French philosopher nevertheless argued for a distinct Aristotelian colour in Thomas's philosophical (...) approach to the question of natural truths. To the question of how human reasoning arrives at the truth, Gilson wrote: 'What is it to know truth? It is intellectually to grasp the essences of things such as they are and to associate them in our minds, by means of judgements, in the same way they are associated in reality'. Knowledge, therefore, is not the result of a subjective mind, but rather an outcome of a conscious judgement that concords with the objective intellection of the given objects. In this Gilson observed a basic difference between Augustine and Thomas: Both St. Thomas's philosophy and St. Augustine's philosophy are philosophies of the concrete, but their attitude toward the concrete is not the same. St. Augustine always seeks notions comprehensive enough to embrace the concrete in its complexity. Thomas always seeks notions precise enough to define the elements that constitute the concrete. In a word, the former expresses the concrete, the latter analyses it. (shrink)
The son of a shopkeeper, Joseph Lancaster received little formal education himself. In 1798 he set up a school in Southwark, waiving fees for poor children. Originally published in 1803, this work sets out in detail the philosophy and practice of Lancaster's system of education, which relied on peer tutoring. He was always concerned with the education of the underprivileged in industrial cities, lamenting that 'poor children be deprived of even an initiatory share of education, and of almost any (...) attention to their morals'. The early decades of the nineteenth century saw the peak of the popularity of Lancaster's system as his ideas spread and inspired the establishment of schools around the world. His book is still significant in the history of educational methods. This reissue of the revised third edition of 1805 incorporates a brief 1840 biography of Lancaster. (shrink)
While Charles Griswold's interpretation of Bishop Butler's theory of forgiveness is an improvement over the standard reading, it leaves Butler unable to distinguish between forgiveness and justice. The emotions and actions that are offered as definitive of forgiveness instead merely show that the agent is not unjust. However, if we refocus our interpretation of Butler, we can see how he might disentangle forgiveness and justice.