This article argues that, in order to understand Peter Winch's view of philosophy, it is profitable to read him together with R. G. Collingwood's philosophy of history. Collingwood was both an important source for Winch and a thinker engaged in a closely parallel philosophical pursuit. Collingwood and Winch shared the view that philosophy is an effort to understand the various ways in which human beings make reality intelligible. For both, this called for rapprochement between philosophy and the humanities. Like Collingwood, (...) Winch wanted to reformulate philosophy as a form of human science. Both thinkers advanced a conception of logic where the validity of judgements, propositions, and thought are dependent on their function as instruments in human dialogue. In their treatments of logic, Winch and Collingwood were fleshing out their idea that questions concerning human meaningful behaviour also tie back to the question of what philosophical analysis is about. There is a deep connection between two main issues in both Collingwood's and Winch's writings: on the one hand, the need for ‘internal’ understanding of how human beings relate to reality, and on the other hand, their critique of the idea of logic as a self-sufficient system, external to historically embedded forms of life. At the core of their shared vision there was a comprehensive critique of metaphysical realism. (shrink)
On 18 October 1708, Giambattista Vico (1668–1744) gave his seventh inaugural oration, De nostri temporis studiorum ratione (De ratione) at the University of Naples. There, he used the term conspirare to propose collaboration among the sciences. An initial study of the historical context, specifically the scholar’s involvement with the Conspiracy of the Prince of Macchia (1701) and the debates on university reform, makes it possible to formulate a hypothesis regarding Vico’s intent and word choice that enriches our understanding of the (...) preserved text. On a personal level, the Neapolitan professor was looking for a modicum of protection from the new authorities, especially the recently named viceroy in audience that day, Cardinal Vicenzo Grimani. On the political plane, along with a surreptitious argument against tyranny, Vico sought to dissuade the new governors from subscribing to the divisive approach embodied in the university policy of the Cartesian and Bourbonic reformers. Direct analysis of the text of De ratione enabled theoretical scrutiny of the frame from which Vico called for more than mere encyclopaedic knowledge. He was setting forth a vision for a conspiratorial project among the sciences based on a broad understanding of rhetoric. His original proposal for inter- and trans-disciplinarity can inform current debates on the same topic. (shrink)
In the wake of their heightened role in addressing the emotional challenges of United States soldiers during World War II, American psychiatrists increasingly argued that their knowledge of human nature, based on interpretation of unconscious processes, was a powerful tool in effecting changes in society. As they turned to training an adequate supply of psychiatrists to meet expanding demand, educators in psychiatry residency programs faced questions about whom to entrust with the power of psychiatric interpretation, how educators’ knowledge about trainees’ (...) own unconscious processes should be harnessed, and how much to adhere to strict psychoanalytic doctrine in training. During the 1970s, social and cultural upheavals outside and inside psychiatry began to dismantle the grand claims of the postwar generation of psychiatrists, while shifts in the 1980s led educators to focus more on seemingly objective educational measures. Trainees’ and critics’ serious questioning of authority and structures in American society, and within psychiatry training programs, was perhaps as much of a factor – if not more – in the shift away from an emphasis on the interpretive power of psychoanalysis in favor of more eclectic and ultimately biological approaches in academic psychiatry. (shrink)
We may well be witnessing a decisive event in the history of knowledge as diversity is becoming one of the premier values of late modern societies. We seek to preserve and foster biodiversity, neurodiversity, racial diversity, ethnic diversity, gender diversity, linguistic diversity, cultural diversity, and perspectival diversity. Perspectival diversity has become the passage point through which other forms of diversity must pass to become epistemically consequential. This article examines how two of its varieties, viewpoint diversity and educational diversity, have come (...) to transform the moral economy of science. Both aim at multiplying perspectives on a given subject, but their political subtexts differ markedly. The valorization of educational diversity followed a US Supreme Court decision in 1978 that enabled universities to advance social justice, if they justified race-conscious admissions in terms of the pedagogic benefits of a more diverse student body for all. By contrast, the proponents of viewpoint diversity aim at the reform of scientific knowledge production and distribution rather than the reallocation of status and power among different social groups. We examine the political epistemology of viewpoint diversity by analyzing a controversy between social psychologists who, amid the American culture wars of the 2010s, debated how to rein in their political biases in a scientific field supposedly lacking political diversity. Out of this scientific controversy grew Heterodox Academy, an activist organization promoting viewpoint diversity in higher education. By relating and comparing viewpoint and educational diversity, we clarify what is at stake epistemically in the US-centric moral economy of diversity. (shrink)
Corrado Gini was a key intellectual in the Fascist establishment. His scientific programme included statistics, demography, eugenics, economics, and sociology, as well as occasional forays into political thought and anthropology. Historians have focused on his statistics and eugenics, in connection with his spell as head of the Italian bureau of statistics. This article, integrating economics with the other threads of Gini’s programme, takes economic anthropology as a standpoint to reassess the inspiration behind his whole oeuvre. That anthropology consisted of two (...) parts: the criticism of economists’ ‘economic man’ and the attempt to replace it with an instinctual economic agent, inspired by the nationalist rhetoric of ‘young peoples’ bound to conquer the world. Once the perspective is enlarged, the usual definition of Gini as a technocrat proves insufficient, for his science incorporated essential pieces of Fascism’s political ideology and cultural legitimacy. (shrink)
This article examines the influence of Emile Durkheim's sociology on Richard Titmuss, founder of the academic field of social policy. While operating in different environments and historical eras, they shared concerns about modernity's impact on contemporary societies, heightened by their experiences of living in periods of considerable political and socio-economic upheaval. Their social thought embraced crucial complementarities, and understanding these adds a previously under-explored dimension to Titmuss's influential analyses of Britain's post-war ‘welfare state’.