Presented here is the German translation of Jan Patočka’s fragment Nitro a svět which was written in the 1940s and belongs to the so called „Strahov Papers“. The fragment reflects Patočka’s early attempts towards a thinking of subjectivity and the world. Thereby Patočka’s approach is phenomenological, but also integrates motives of German Idealism. The critical impact of the fragment lies in its orientation against the scientific biologism of its times.
The subject of this essay is political, and therefore social, philosophy; and therefore, ethics. We want to know whether the right thing for a society to do is to incorporate in its structure requirements that we bring about equality, or liberty, or both if they are compatible, and if incompatible then which if either, or what sort of mix if they can to some degree be mixed. But this fairly succinct statement of the issue before us requires considerable clarification, even (...) as a statment of the issue. For it is widely, and in my view correctly, held that some sort of equality is utterly fundamental in these matters. We seek a principle, or principles, that apply to all, are the same for all. In that sense, certainly, equality is fundamental and inescapable. But this is a very thin sort of “equality.” It will almost equally widely be agreed that the principles in question should in some more interesting sense “treat” people equally, e.g., by allotting to all the same set of rights, and moreover, rights that are – again we have to say “in some sense” – nonarbitrary, so that whatever they are, persons of all races, sexes, and so on will have the same fundamental rights assigned to them. Taking this to be, again, essentially uncontroversial, though not without potentially worrisome points of unclarity, it needs, now, to be pointed out that this characterization does not settle the issue that this essay is concerned with. That issue is about economic matters in particular. (shrink)
This paper describes the work of the Polish logician Jan Kalicki (1922?1953). After a biographical introduction, his work on logical matrices and equational logic is appraised. A bibliography of his papers and reviews is also included.
Jan Sprenger and Stephan Hartmann offer a fresh approach to central topics in philosophy of science, including causation, explanation, evidence, and scientific models. Their Bayesian approach uses the concept of degrees of belief to explain and to elucidate manifold aspects of scientific reasoning.
A unifying framework of probabilistic reasoning Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9573-x Authors Jan Sprenger, Tilburg Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Tilburg University, P.O. Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
To get distracted, to enclose and to give oneself. The Gesture of Transcendence in Jan Patočka The problem of transcendence can be traced throughout the whole work of Jan Patočka. The appeal to transcend our bonds to mere objectivity is a constant issue of his thought. It finds a new substantiation in the 1960s in his studies focusing on the meaning of the other as human being. The relation to the other person offers a special "occasion" or "place" of transcendence (...) and poses the challenge to transcend one's own particular setting. While in the mid-1960s Patočka maintains his earlier dramatic vocabulary to describe the process of transcendence, in the late 1960s his idiom becomes less vehement. Yet, it is precisely within this more "sober" framework that he symbolizes the process of transcendence with an emphatic turn to a "myth of the divine man" and its key metaphor of resurrection. To transcend means, for Patočka, always to liberate oneself from a state of self-distraction between things. However, in his late lectures, he briefly refers to a deeper layer, suggesting that this self-distraction has its "roots" in a self-enclosure or self-isolation, in the exclusive concentration on our own interests and in the illusion of our self-sufficiency. Transcendence, then, means to overcome this self-enclosure by means of a self-forgetting love. Are these rarely mentioned "roots" perhaps implicitly present in all Patočka's accounts of transcendence? (shrink)
Nagarjuna's Vigrahavyavartani is one of the most important Madhyamaka Buddhist philosophical texts. Jan Westerhoff offers a new translation, reflecting the best current philological research and all available editions, and adds his own philosophical commentary on the text. His nuanced, philosophically sophisticated commentary explains Nagarjuna's arguments in a way that is both grounded in historical and textual scholarship and connected explicitly to contemporary philosophical concerns.
The Indian philosopher Acarya Nagarjuna (c. 150-250 CE) was the founder of the Madhyamaka (Middle Path) school of Mahayana Buddhism and arguably the most influential Buddhist thinker after Buddha himself. Indeed, in the Tibetan and East Asian traditions, Nagarjuna is often referred to as the "second Buddha." This book presents a survey of the whole of Nagarjuna's philosophy based on his key philosophical writings. His primary contribution to Buddhist thought lies in the further development of the concept of sunyata or (...) "emptiness." For Nagarjuna, all phenomena are without any svabhava, literally "own-nature" or "self-nature," and thus without any underlying substance. Particular emphasis is put on discussing Nagarjuna's thinking as philosophy. The present discussion shows how his thoughts on metaphysics, epistemology, the self, language, and truth present a unified theory of reality with considerable systematic appeal. The book offers a systematic account of Nagarjuna's philosophical position. It reads Nagarjuna in his own philosophical context, but also shows that the issues of Indian and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy have at least family resemblances to issues in European philosophy. (shrink)
The concept of an ontological category is central to metaphysics. Metaphysicians argue about which category of existence an object should be assigned to, whether one category can be reduced to another one, or whether there might be different equally adequate systems of categorization. Answers to these questions presuppose a clear understanding of what precisely an ontological category is, and Jan Westerhoff now provides the first in-depth analysis. After examining a variety of attempted definitions, he proceeds to argue for a new (...) understanding of ontological categories, according to which they are systematizations of our knowledge of the world rather than essential characteristics of the world itself. Metaphysicians will find his work highly stimulating. (shrink)
This text addresses a problem that is not sufficiently dealt with in most of the recent literature on emotion and feeling. The problem is a general underestimation of the extent to which affective intentionality is essentially bodily. Affective intentionality is the sui generis type of world-directedness that most affective states – most clearly the emotions – display. Many theorists of emotion overlook the extent to which intentional feelings are essentially bodily feelings. The important but quite often overlooked fact is that (...) the bodily feelings in question are not the regularly treated, non-intentional bodily sensations (known from Jamesian accounts of emotion), but rather crucial carriers of world-directed intentionality. Consequently, most theories of human emotions and feelings recently advocated are deficient in terms of phenomenological adequacy. This text tries to make up for this deficit and develops a catalogue of five central features of intentional bodily feelings. In addition, Jesse Prinz’s embodied appraisal theory is criticized as an exemplary case of the misconstrual of the bodily nature of affective experience in naturalistic philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Aggregation in moral philosophy calls for the summing or averaging of values or utilities as a guide to individual behavior. But morality, it is argued, needs to be individualistic, in view of the evident separateness of persons, especially given the great disparities among individuals who nevertheless interact with each other in social life. The most plausible general moral program is the classical liberal one calling for mutual noninterference rather than treating others as equal to oneself in point of demands on (...) our action. Why, then, would we ever aggregate? The reason is that we are affected by behavior that has general effects, especially unintended side effects, on all sorts of people among whom we ourselves are often to be found. When we are randomly situated among such groups—as we sometimes are and often are not—minimizing aggregate harm is the plausible strategy, and sometimes promoting aggregate benefit as well. (shrink)
The Czech philosopher Jan Patocka (1907-1977), who studied with Husserl and Heidegger, is widely recognized as the most influential thinker to come from postwar Eastern Europe. Refusing to join the Communist party after World War II, he was banned from academia and publication for the rest of his life, except for a brief time following the liberalizations of the Prague spring of 1968. Joining Vaclav Havel and Jiri Hajek as a spokesman for the Chart 77 human-rights declaration of 1977, Patocka (...) was harassed by authorities, arrested, and finally died of a heart attack during prolonged interrogation. Plato and Europe, arguably Patocka’s most important book, consists of a series of lectures delivered in the homes of friends after his last banishment from the academy just three years before his death. Here, he presents his most mature ideas about the history of Western philosophy, arguing that the idea of the care of the soul is fundamental to the philosophical tradition beginning with the Greeks. Explaining how the care of the soul is elaborated as the problem of how human beings may make their world one of truth and justice, Patocka develops this thesis through a treatment of Plato, Democritus, and Aristotle, showing how considerations about the soul are of central importance in their writings. He demonstrates in vivid fashion how this idea forms the spiritual heritage of Europe. (shrink)
Evaluation of clinical ethics support services (CESS) has attracted considerable interest in recent decades. However, few evaluation studies are explicit about normative presuppositions which underlie the goals and the research design of CESS evaluation. In this paper, we provide an account of normative premises of different approaches to CESS evaluation and argue that normativity should be a focus of considerations when designing and conducting evaluation research of CESS. In a first step, we present three different approaches to CESS evaluation from (...) published literature. Next to a brief sketch of the well-established approaches of ‘descriptive evaluation’ and ‘evaluation of outcomes’, we will give a more detailed description of a third approach to evaluation—‘reconstructing quality norms of CESS’—which is explicit about the normative presuppositions of its research (design). In the subsequent section, we will analyse the normative premises of each of the three approaches to CESS evaluation. We will conclude with a brief argument for more sensitivity towards the normativity of CESS and its evaluation research. (shrink)
Respecting Persons in Theory and Practice is a collection of essays of the moral and political philosophy of Jan Narveson. The essays in this collection share a consistent theme running through much of Narveson's moral and political philosophy, namely that politics and morals stem from the interests of individual people, and have no antecedent authority over us. The essays in this collection, in various ways and as applied to various aspects of the scene, argue that the ultimate and true point (...) of politics and morals is to enable us to make our lives better, according to our varied senses of what that might mean. (shrink)
Jan Westerhoff unfolds the story of one of the richest episodes in the history of Indian thought, the development of Buddhist philosophy during the first millennium CE. He aims to offer the reader a systematic grasp of key Buddhist concepts such as non-self, suffering, reincarnation, karma, and nirvana.
This paper concerns exchangeable analogical predictions based on similarity relations between predicates, and deals with a restricted class of such relations. It describes a system of Carnapian λγ rules on underlying predicate families to model the analogical predictions for this restricted class. Instead of the usual axiomatic definition, the system is characterized with a Bayesian model that employs certain statistical hypotheses. Finally the paper argues that the Bayesian model can be generalized to cover cases outside the restricted class of similarity (...) relations. (shrink)