(2001). Against a third dogma of logical empiricism: Otto Neurath and 'unpredictability in principle' International Studies in the Philosophy of Science: Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 199-209. doi: 10.1080/02698590120059068.
This intriguing and ground-breaking book is the first in-depth study of the development of philosophy of science in the United States during the Cold War. It documents the political vitality of logical empiricism and Otto Neurath's Unity of Science Movement when these projects emigrated to the US in the 1930s and follows their de-politicization by a convergence of intellectual, cultural and political forces in the 1950s. Students of logical empiricism and the Vienna Circle treat these as strictly intellectual non-political projects. (...) In fact, the refugee philosophers of science were highly active politically and debated questions about values inside and outside science, as a result of which their philosophy of science was scrutinized politically both from within and without the profession, by such institutions as J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. It will prove absorbing reading to philosophers and historians of science, intellectual historians, and scholars of Cold War studies. (shrink)
In the spring of 1937, the University of Chicago Press mailed hundreds of subscription forms for its latest enterprise – a projected series of twenty short monographs by various philosophers and scientists. Together the monographs were to form the first section of the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science. Included in each mailing was an introductory prospectus which began:Recent years have witnessed a striking growth of interest in the scientific enterprise as a whole and especially in the unity of science. The (...) concern throughout the world for the logic of science, the history of science, and the sociology of science reveals a comprehensive international movement interested in considering science as a whole in terms of the scientific temper itself. A science of science is appearing. The extreme specialization within science demands as its corrective an interest in the scientific edifice in its entirety. This is especially necessary if science is to satisfy its inherent urge for the systematization of its results and methods and if science is to perform adequately its educational role in the modern world. Science is gradually rousing itself for the performance of its total task. (shrink)
I criticize conceptual pluralism, as endorsed recently by John Dupre and Philip Kitcher, for failing to supply strategies for demarcating science from non-science. Using creation-science as a test case, I argue that pluralism blocks arguments that keep creation-science in check and that metaphysical pluralism offers it positive, metaphysical support. Logical empiricism, however, still provides useful resources to reconfigure and manage the problem of creation-science in those practical and political contexts where pluralism will fail.
Hempel's proposal of covering laws which explain historical events has a certain plausibility, but can never be actually realized due to the chaotic nature of history. The natural laws that would govern both individual lives and greater history would be nonlinear; consequently, in the terminology of chaos theory, the final states of both are extremely sensitive to initial conditions. Initial conditions would need to be exactly known in order to account correctly for historic phenomena, especially for causes and effects which (...) span long, historically interesting, lengths of time. Covering-law history therefore fails because the details of initial conditions are generally unknowable. Since this constraint diminishes as the time over which covering laws operate is divided into smaller consecutive intervals of scenes, covering-law explanations resolve into those having a narrative temporal structure. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, Brian Alters argued that, given the many ways in which the nature of science is described and poor student responses to NOS instruments such as Nature of Scientific Knowledge Scale, Nature of Science Scale, Test on Understanding Science, and others, it is time for science educators to reconsider the standard lists of tenets for the NOS. Alters suggested that philosophers of science are authorities on the NOS and that consequently, it would be wise (...) to investigate their views of current NOS tenets. To that end, he conducted a survey of members of the Philosophy of Science Association, and, via various statistical techniques, made claims about the nature and extent of variation among philosophers of science regarding basic beliefs about the NOS. As three philosophers of science, we laud Alters’ attempt to understand philosophers of science’ view on the NOS. We believe, however, that his techniques for investigating this question are inappropriate and that consequently, several of his conclusions are unwarranted. In this comment, we will substantiate these criticisms. In addition, we will address some of the important questions that motivate Alters’ research and attempt to unravel the “byzantine complexity” of philosophical views about the NOS. We begin with our concerns regarding Alters’ research. We then provide a taxonomy of philosophic issues; and finally, we suggest some roles for philosophy of science in science teaching and the education of science teachers. (shrink)
This paper examines selected writings of the American science writer Waldemar Kaempffert, Science Editor for the New York Times, in public support of Otto Neurath, his Isotype projects, and his Unity of Science Movement. Attention is focused first on Kaempffert’s writings in the 1930s, when some intellectuals, the American public, and their elected leaders were relatively sympathetic with Neurath’s quest to unify the sciences in ways that would advance and direct scientific research toward practical goals. Attention then turns to the (...) 1940s to examine the debate over the nature, scope, and limits of wartime research and Vannevar Bush’s call for a national institution to support research. Against Bush, James Bryant Conant, and others, Kaempffert argued vigorously for a foundation that would adopt values and methods of the Unity of Science Movement, but he lost that argument as the National Science Foundation finally took shape. To suggest that this public debate influenced not only the decline of Neurath’s Unity of Science Movement but the scholarly development of history and philosophy of science after the war, the paper considers early writings and events in the life of Conant’s protégé Thomas Kuhn, whose Structure of Scientific Revolutions helped shape that development. (shrink)
In response to Roth and Ryckman, I explain in more detail why narratives fashioned with ideal, quantitative covering laws cannot be combined into large-scale covering-law explanations and specify further reasons for supposing that history can be conceived as dynamically nonlinear. I also appeal to an episode in the history of science to examine the idea that dynamical complexity is local in historical space and time and to suggest that such complexity does not pose a unique problem for historical narration. Finally, (...) I suggest that Roth and Ryckman's critique of the use of nonlinear dynamical concepts in historical explanation must extend to explanations employing concepts from linear science. I conclude that their warning against the incoherence of scientism is not convincing. (shrink)
In the light of two unpublished letters from Carnap to Kuhn, this essay examines the relationship between Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and Carnap's philosophical views. Contrary to the common wisdom that Kuhn's book refuted logical empiricism, it argues that Carnap's views of revolutionary scientific change are rather similar to those detailed by Kuhn. This serves both to explain Carnap's appreciation of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and to suggest that logical empiricism, insofar as that program rested on Carnap's (...) shoulders, was not substantially upstaged by Kuhn's book. (shrink)
In this follow-up to the highly successful _Ethnography Unbound,_ Michael Burawoy and nine colleagues break the bounds of conventional sociology, to explore the mutual shaping of local struggles and global forces. In contrast to the lofty debates between radical theorists, these nine studies excavate the dynamics and histories of globalization by extending out from the concrete, everyday world. The authors were participant observers in diverse struggles over extending citizenship, medicalizing breast cancer, dumping toxic waste, privatizing nursing homes, the degradation of (...) work, the withdrawal of welfare rights, and the elaboration of body politics. From their insider vantage points, they show how groups negotiate, circumvent, challenge, and even re-create the complex global web that entangles them. Traversing continents and extending over three years, this collaborative research developed its own distinctive method of "grounded globalization" to grasp the evaporation of traditional workplaces, the dissolution of enclaved communities, and the fluidity of identities. Forged between the local and global, these compelling essays make a powerful case for ethnography's insight into global dynamics. (shrink)
Ludwig Wittgenstein has a recognizable approach that he regularly pursues in his philosophical investigations. There is a problem that he often presses, a form of criticism that he often develops, against traditional pursuits of philosophy. It is surprisingly difficult to say clearly what this problem is. But it is worthwhile to try, for this criticism is not only a hallmark of his thought but is also closely connected to other central features of it, for instance, to his conceptions of language (...) and of the nature of philosophical investigation. These features can be properly understood only in concert with a correct view of his terms of criticism of traditional philosophy. In this essay, Alexander George articulates a problem Wittgenstein sees with philosophy, shows how it illuminates otherwise peculiar features of Wittgenstein’s investigations, and finally considers an interesting situation in which Wittgenstein’s goals might be thwarted. (shrink)
This volume is a direct result of a conference held at Princeton University to honor George A. Miller, an extraordinary psychologist. A distinguished panel of speakers from various disciplines -- psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and artificial intelligence -- were challenged to respond to Dr. Miller's query: "What has happened to cognition? In other words, what has the past 30 years contributed to our understanding of the mind? Do we really know anything that wasn't already clear to William James?" Each participant (...) tried to stand back a little from his or her most recent work, but to address the general question from his or her particular standpoint. The chapters in the present volume derive from that occasion. (shrink)
The article analyzes Henri Bergson’s understanding of human life in the light of his metaphor of life as “insinuation.” Comparing his ideas with the ideas of another original thinker of the age, George Santayana, allows shedding light on Bergson’s ontological strategy of making matter– as a threat to life –subject to mediation. Memory and imagination use matter to play out the past in the guise of the present–for the sake of life. The text also focuses on the formulas of (...) freedom arising out of both thinkers’ conceptions of conscious life – that of Bergson, for whom the horizon and the fulfillment can be found in the beginning, or the primary vital impulse, and that of Santayana, who sees fulfillment in the forms of finitude assumed by each particular life. Looking at humanity in terms of a spiritual challenge links both conceptions. The whole discussion responds to the need to return to such fundamental but sidestepped terms as “humanity” and “spirituality”. (shrink)
George A. Olah, Alain Goeppert and G. K. Surya Prakash (eds): Beyond oil and gas: the methanol economy, 2nd updated and enlarged edition Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10698-011-9141-x Authors George B. Kauffman, Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034, USA Journal Foundations of Chemistry Online ISSN 1572-8463 Print ISSN 1386-4238.
Author: Waloszczyk Konrad Title: THE RELIGION AS THE POETRY. ABOUT PHILOSOPHY OF THE RELIGION OF GEORGE SANTAYANA (Religia jako poezja? O filozofi i religii George’a Santayany) Source: Filo-Sofija year: 2010, vol:.11, number: 2010/2, pages: 93-106 Keywords: RELIGIOUS DOGMA, METAPHOR, “COPERNICAN REVOLUTION” IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION AND THEOLOGY Discipline: PHILOSOPHY Language: POLISH Document type: ARTICLE Publication order reference (Primary author’s office address): E-mail: www:George Santayana (1863–1952) has contended that religion should be seen as a kind of poetry (...) and not as a literal truth. To him “religion, when seen to be poetry, ceases to be deceptive and therefore odious, and becomes humanly more significant than it seemed before”. I shall (1) expose reasons which have him conduced to this view, (2) compare it with the opposite doctrine of the Catholic Church and (3) conclude, that Santayana’s philosophy of religion seems to be in the age of globalization and religious pluralism of particular relevance. (shrink)
This paper considers George A. Reisch’s account of the role of Cold War political forces in shaping the apolitical stance that came to dominate philosophy of science in the late 1940s and 1950s. It argues that at least as early as the 1930s, Logical Empiricists such as Rudolf Carnap already held that philosophy of science could not properly have political aims, and further suggests that political forces alone cannot explain this view’s rise to dominance during the Cold War, (...) since political forces cannot explain why a philosophy of science with liberal democratic, anti-communist aims did not flourish. The paper then argues that if professionalization is understood in the right way, it might point toward an explanation of the apolitical stance of Cold War philosophy of science. (shrink)
A confluence of increasing interest in popular culture as a source for religious inspiration and the growing interest, both popular and scholarly, in zombie-fiction bring together several possibilities for scholarship in the context of religious studies. This paper will present one aspect of the zombie-craze in the light of Buddhist philosophy. The Buddha taught that the illusion of self-ish-ness, and resulting attachments, are the greatest hurdles to achieving nibbana. Through meditating on the decomposing corpse, Buddhists may come to realize the (...) Ten Impurities of the Body, and so come to grips with the impermanence of the self. I will illustrate how George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, recognized as the watershed film of the modern zombie sub-genre, unintentionally conveys the Buddhist teachings of dukkha (suffering by attachments), anatta (no-self), and anicca (impermanence). (shrink)
George H. Mead and Alfred Schutz proposed foundations for an interpretative sociology from opposite standpoints. Mead accepted the objective meaning structure a priori. His problem became therefore the explanation of the individuality and creativity of human actors in his social behavioristic approach. In contrast, Schutz started from the subjective consciousness of an isolated actor as a result of a phenomenological reduction. He was concerned with the problem of explaining the possibility of this isolated actor’s perceiving other actors in their (...) existence, their concreteness, and the motives for their behavior. I treat these two approaches and their associated problems as equally relevant. My evaluation is based on their success in solving their specific problems. The aim is to decide which of the two approaches provides the more adequate foundation for an interpretative sociology. (shrink)
Existe já uma grande quantidade de literatura dedicada à presença na filosofia inicial de Berkeley de alguns assuntos tipicamente platônicos (arquétipos, o problema da mente de Deus, a relaçáo entre ideias e coisas, etc.). Baseados em alguns desses escritos, nas próprias palavras de Berkeley, assim como no exame de alguns elementos da tradiçáo platônica num amplo sentido, sugiro que, longe de serem apenas tópicos isolados, livremente espalhados nos primeiros escritos de Berkeley, eles formam uma perfeita rede de aspectos, atitudes e (...) modos de pensar platônicos, e que, por mais alusivos ou ambíguos que esses elementos platônicos possam parecer, eles constituem um todo coerente e complexo, desempenhando um papel importante na formaçáo da própria essência do pensamento de Berkeley. Em outras palavras, sugiro que, dadas algumas das ideias apresentadas em suas primeiras obras, foi de certo modo inevitável para George Berkeley, em virtude da lógica interna do desenvolvimento de seu pensamento, chegar a uma obra táo abertamente platônica e especulativa como Siris (1744). (shrink)
This article focuses on George Herbert Mead's life and his philosophy of the act. Mead divides the act into four stages: impulse, perception, manipulation, and consummation. The impulse sets the organism in motion, whereas consummation marks the satisfaction of the desire that initiated the act. Hence, consummation brings the act to a close. This should not be taken as a linear chain of responses to neatly self-contained problematic situations. Organisms often multitask, and problematic situations are typically nested, as when (...) an animal in its search for food is being attacked by a predator. (shrink)
This paper discusses George John Romanes’ (1848-1894) contributions to evolution theory. In his early evolutionary work, Romanes could be regarded as a mere disciple and collaborator of Darwin. Strictly speaking, a follower of Darwin would only attempt to develop and to diffuse Darwin’s ideas, to apply them to new cases, to obtain new evidence for this theory and to answer to problems and objections against Darwin’s theory. However, after working for some time under Darwin’s guidance (for instance, trying to (...) provide an experimental foundation for the hypothesis of pangenesis), Romanes adopted another strategy. As several other so-called Darwinians of the late 19th century, he endeavored to correct and to complement Darwin’s theory, with the introduction of new concepts and hypotheses (especially his “physiological selection”). Romanes’ new attitude might be regarded as an effort to step out of Darwin’s shadow and to exhibit his own brightness. Besides that, Romanes strove to undermine the work of other Darwinians that aimed at similar goals. (shrink)
In a series of papers read to the Cambridge Philosophical Society through the 1820s, the Cambridge mathematician George Peacock laid the foundation for a natural history of arithmetic that would tell a story of human progress from counting to modern arithmetic. The trajectory of that history, Peacock argued, established algebraic analysis as a form of universal reasoning that used empirically warranted operations of mind to think with symbols on paper. The science of counting would suggest arithmetic, arithmetic would suggest (...) arithmetical algebra, and, finally, arithmetical algebra would suggest symbolic algebra. This philosophy of suggestion provided the foundation for Peacock's “principle of equivalent forms,” which justified the practice of nineteenth-century English symbolic algebra. Peacock's philosophy of suggestion owed a considerable debt to the early Cambridge Philosophical Society culture of natural history. The aim of this essay is to show how that culture of natural history was constitutively significant to the practice of nineteenth-century English algebra. (shrink)
In his The Everlasting Check: Hume on Miracles, Alexander George claims to provide readers with a single unified interpretation of Hume’s ‘Of Miracles’ that demonstrates Hume’s actual argument is philosophically rich and far more robust than is generally thought. This response argues that George is unsuccessful, ignoring crucial passages and misinterpreting others.
The qualities of medical professionalism have been questioned in the last few years. George Eliot’s 19th century novel Middlemarch illustrates some of the truths that should underlie the physician-patient relationship, and depicts prophetically some of the developments that were to occur in reality in the medicine of the 20th and 21st century. Her insight into the problems facing a medical researcher and the fictional conflicts between vocation and marriage are real issues of medical professionalism even today.
The reality of revelation was one of the fundamental questions that\noccupied George Tyrrell as a writer until he died on 15 July 1909. The\ncentenary of his death is an opportune time to engage this English\nModernist in a dialogue with Karl Rahner on the subject of revelation.\nTyrrell insists on the primacy of the interior experience of revelation.\nAn exaggerated emphasis on inner religious experience, however, led him\ninevitably to a separation of the interior dimension of revelation from\nits verbal expressions and doctrinal formulations.\nRahner (...) also affirms the primacy of the originating inner experience of\nGod but stresses at the same time the intrinsic unity between this\ntranscendental revelation and its categorical, historical dimension.\nRevelation corresponds to the symbolic nature of the addressee. The\nMystery of the Incarnation is the point of reference for understanding\nGod's self-communication. The fullness of revelation has been realized\nin the indissoluble and irreversible unity of the Divine Logos with the\nMan Jesus. (shrink)
George Berkeley notoriously claimed that his immaterialist metaphysics was not only consistent with common sense but that it was also integral to its defense. Roberts argues that understanding the basic connection between Berkeley's philosophy and common sense requires that we develop a better understanding of the four principle components of Berkeley's positive metaphysics: The nature of being, the divine language thesis, the active/passive distinction, and the nature of spirits. Roberts begins by focusing on Berkeley's view of the nature of (...) being. He elucidates Berkeley's view on Locke and the Cartesians and by examining Berkeley's views about related concepts such as unity and simplicity. From there he moves on to Berkeley's philosophy of language arguing that scrutiny of the famous "Introduction" to the Principles of Human Knowledge reveals that Berkeley identified the ideational theory of meaning and understanding as the root cause of some of the worst of man's intellectual errors, not "abstract ideas." Abstract ideas are, rather, the most debilitating symptom of this underlying ailment. In place of the ideational theory, Berkeley defends a rudimentary "use theory" of meaning. This understanding of Berkeley's approach to semantics is then applied to the divine language thesis and is shown to have important consequences for Berkeley's pragmatic approach to the ontology of natural objects and for his approach to our knowledge of, and relation to other minds, including God's. Turning next to Berkeley's much aligned account of spirits, the author defends the coherence of Berkeley's view of spirits by way of providing an interpretation of the active/passive distinction as marking a normative distinction and by focusing on the role that divine language plays in letting Berkeley identify the soul with the will. With these four principles of Berkeley's philosophy in hand, he then returns to the topic of common sense and offers a defense of Berkeley's philosophy as built upon and expressive of the deepest metaphysical commitments of mainstream Christianity. Roberts' reappraisal of this important figure should appeal to all historians of philosophy as well as scholars in metaphysics and philosophy of language. (shrink)