Arguably, the most promising and compelling route to demonstrating the significance of Hegel’s thought to contemporary philosophy has been the series of recent readings that construe Hegel as continuing and completing Kant’s Copernican turn. Paul Redding explicitly locates his interpretation within this program, seeing the hermeneutic dimension of Hegel’s thought as providing for the possibility of continuing the Kantian project. Kant’s Copernican turn can be loosely stated as the procedure of reflectively uncovering unexperienced conditions of experience that contribute to the (...) nature of experience in ways that require its further re-determination and re-description. What a hemeneutic take on this reflective procedure adds is that foremost among those conditions are contexts of intersubjective or dialogical relations—structures of recognition. While perhaps disappointing to anyone interested in the problem of textual interpretation, there is finally nothing more to Redding’s account of Hegel’s “hermeneutics” than the establishing of recognitive structures as forming the ultimate horizon of human experience. I take Redding’s relentless tracking of the problem of recognition to be one of his book’s virtues. (shrink)
It is the persistence of social suffering in a world in which it could be eliminated that for Adorno is the source of the need for critical reflection, for philosophy. Philosophy continues and gains its cultural place because an as yet unbridgeable abyss separates the social potential for the relief of unnecessary human suffering and its emphatic continuance. Philosophy now is the culturally bound repository for the systematic acknowledgement and articulation of the meaning of the expanse of human suffering within (...) technologically advanced societies that are already committed to liberal ideals of freedom and equality. (shrink)
Arguably, there is no gesture more typical to philosophy than its repudiation, the sense that philosophical endeavor is a symptom of the pathologies or dislocations of everyday life it seeks to remedy. Throughout the nineteenth century—in the writings of the German Romantics, Young Hegelians, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche—the repudiation of philosophy is a constant. Sometimes this repudiation takes a reflective form in which traditional philosophical claims are translated into another vocabulary, or are deflated ; sometimes alternative methods are adopted that (...) attempt to undermine, explain away, what is thought of as uniquely philosophical; sometimes rhetorical strategies are adopted that aim to bring about a “conversion” in the reader away from philosophy and toward a more fully immanent or existential self-understanding; and sometimes that more everyday self-understanding that is to be the antidote to philosophical reflection is construed as not yet available but would come to be in an ideal or utopian future if particular radical transformations of current practices were accomplished. Apart from Kierkegaard, these attempts typically construe themselves as continuous with the critique of religion, as if philosophy were nothing but religious excess in rational dress, and thus continuous with modernity’s drive toward secularity. Because the stakes of repudiation are inevitably normative—the protest against philosophy for the sake of a more “realistic,” more truly natural or historical, conception of what is rational or good—the critique of philosophy becomes, despite itself, philosophical, burdened with presuppositions it can neither sustain nor forgo. In brief, this is the lesson of Daniel Brudney’s meticulous and patient excavation of the writings of the young Marx. (shrink)
Many years ago we often witnessed a testy insistence, on the part of some purist, that some very familiar philosophical ‘ism’ be defined before being discussed; when most people either thought that had been done already or were happy to wait for the discussion itself to identify the ‘ism’. The old new style, that featured those unexpected demands for definition, ended by trying people's patience in its turn. Today there is a widespread assumption that we know, well enough, what is (...) meant in philosophy by Scepticism. Perhaps the majority view is something like this: The philosophical term Scepticism admittedly covers a number of different stances. The one that a given philosopher wants to discuss may or may not be the most like that of the original ancient Skeptics. Still the context normally makes it clear enough what is meant, and there is more point in discussing whatever thing is meant than in quarrelling about the name. As for the way, or ways, in which the word scepticism with a small s is used when people are not referring to any traditional philosophical position—we can safely disregard colloquial usage in this context. As a rule the main point is to see how, if at all, the Scepticism in question is best combated or refuted. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to reconstruct Bocheński’s method of philosophical analysis as well as to clarify the purpose of that method and its basic elements. In the second part of the paper I will compare Bocheński’s method with the methods of modern applied ontology.
Theodor W. Adorno is best known for his contributions to aesthetics and social theory. Critics have always complained about the lack of a practical, political or ethical dimension to Adorno's philosophy. In this highly original contribution to the literature on Adorno, J. M. Bernstein offers the first attempt in any language to provide an account of the ethical theory latent in Adorno's writings. Bernstein relates Adorno's ethics to major trends in contemporary moral philosophy. He analyses the full range of Adorno's (...) major works, with a special focus on Dialectic of Enlightenment, Minima Moralia and Negative Dialectics. In developing his account Bernstein lays particular stress on Adorno's contention that the event of Auschwitz demands a new categorical imperative. This book will be widely acknowledged as the standard work on Adorno's ethics and as such will interest professionals and students of philosophy, political theory, sociology, history of ideas, art history and music. (shrink)
In this 1976 volume, Professor Ziman paints a broad picture of science, and of its relations to the world in general. He sets the scene by the historical development of scientific research as a profession, the growth of scientific technologies out of the useful arts, the sources of invention and technical innovation, and the advent of Big Science. He then discusses the economics of research and development, the connections between science and war, the nature of science policy and the moral (...) dilemmas of social responsibility in science. Each topic is introduced by reference to easily understandable particular examples, with a large number of illustrations chosen to bring out the concreteness and reality of science as a human activity. Professor Ziman gives a chapter-by-chapter list of suggested topics for oral and written discussion, intended to provoke critical, sceptical attitudes to simplified solutions to real issues, and comments briefly on relevant books and other sources. (shrink)
BLWith new text and full apparatus criticus The Eudemian Ethics was one of two ethical treatises which Aristotle wrote on the subject of ethica or `matters to do with character'. Although the two works cover much the same ground, the Nicomachean Ethics is better known; the poor manuscript tradition of the Eudemian Ethics has made correct translation and interpretation of the text extremely difficult. The subject of the work is the choice of a certain means of conduct, made by a (...) `man of practical wisdom', between two extremes of behaviour: asceticism and yielding to uncontrolled impulses. Aristotle also stresses the notion of moral intention and the importance of virtue of character. This new Oxford Classical Text of the Eudemian Ethics is the result of many years of work. After Sir David Ross's death, his original text was substantially reworked and revised by his friend and colleague R. R. Walzer, who was aided in the revision by his former pupil Mrs Jean Mingay, who continued his work after his death in 1974. Mrs Mingay was fortunate in being able to make use of previously unpublished contributions from D. J. Allan after his death in the late seventies, and more recently has been helped in her work by the suggestions of Professor D. A. Russell, David Robinson, and Christopher Rowe. (shrink)
This is the collection of essays presented to Bochenski on his 60th birthday, and it contains, as a mirror of Bochenski's own work, a broad spectrum of studies ranging from formal logic and history of logic, to the philosophy of logic and language, and to the methodology of explanation in Greek philosophy. Of the seventeen articles, these are some of the more important to the reviewer: "Betrachtungen zum Sequenzen Kalkül" by Paul Bernays, which is an extensive study of Gentzen-type formulations (...) of logic; "Remarks on Formal Deduction," H. B. Curry, a further discussion of sequenzen-logics; "Marginalia on Gentzen's Sequenzen Kalkül" by Hughes Leblanc; "Method and Logic in Presocratic Explanation," Jerry Stannard; "On the Logic of Preference and Choice," H. S. Houthakker, a suggestive presentation of decision and utility theory in logical form; "Leibniz's Law in Belief Contexts," Chisholm; "On Ontology and the Province of Logic," R. M. Martin; and "N. A. Vasilev and the Development of Many-valued Logics," G. L. Kline, an important addition to the history of logic. Other contributors are: Storrs McCall, Albert Menne, E. W. Beth, Benson Mates, Ivo Thomas, J. F. Staal, F. R. Barbò, A.-T. Tymieniecka, and N. M. Luyten. There is a bibliography of Bochenski's writings through 1962.—P. J. M. (shrink)
Scientists and 'anti-scientists' alike need a more realistic image of science. The traditional mode of research, academic science, is not just a 'method': it is a distinctive culture, whose members win esteem and employment by making public their findings. Fierce competition for credibility is strictly regulated by established practices such as peer review. Highly specialized international communities of independent experts form spontaneously and generate the type of knowledge we call 'scientific' - systematic, theoretical, empirically-tested, quantitative, and so on. Ziman shows (...) that these familiar 'philosophical' features of scientific knowledge are inseparable from the ordinary cognitive capabilities and peculiar social relationships of its producers. This wide-angled close-up of the natural and human sciences recognizes their unique value, whilst revealing the limits of their rationality, reliability, and universal applicability. It also shows how, for better or worse, the new 'post-academic' research culture of teamwork, accountability, etc. is changing these supposedly eternal philosophical characteristics. (shrink)
In this unflinching look at the experience of suffering and one of its greatest manifestations—torture—J.M. Bernstein critiques the repressions of traditional moral theory, showing that our morals are not immutable ideals but fragile constructions that depend on our experience of suffering itself. Morals, Bernstein argues, not only guide our conduct but also express the depth of mutual dependence that we share as vulnerable and injurable individuals. Beginning with the attempts to abolish torture in the eighteenth century, and then sensitively examining (...) what is suffered in torture and related transgressions, such as rape, Bernstein elaborates a powerful new conception of moral injury. Crucially, he shows, moral injury always involves an injury to the status of an individual as a person—it is a violent assault against his or her dignity. Elaborating on this critical element of moral injury, he demonstrates that the mutual recognitions of trust form the invisible substance of our moral lives, that dignity is a fragile social possession, and that the perspective of ourselves as potential victims is an ineliminable feature of everyday moral experience. (shrink)
Malthus did not leave us with a systematic treatment of colonization, but from remarks scattered throughout his publications and correspondence it is possible to assemble a fairly coherent account of his views on the advantages and disadvantages of colonies, and on the reasons why some have failed and others succeeded. Included in these scattered remarks are some comparisons between his own views on colonies and those of Adam Smith. The question of the relationship between Malthus and Adam Smith is a (...) rather complex and subtle one, and cannot be given the full consideration it deserves in one short paper. But, as a general summary, it can be said that Malthus had a high regard for Smith and considered himself a follower and disciple of Smith, by contrast with Ricardo, James Mill, and McCulloch etc., whom he considered as exponents of a ‘New System of Political Economy”. His own Principles of Political Economy was conceived as a collection of ‘tracts or essays”, not as a new systematic treatise replacing the Wealth of Nations, Joseph Gamier in his article ‘Malthus” in the Dictionnaire de l'Economie Politique, 1852, saw that the title of the Principles was in fact a misnomer: ‘Malgré son titre, le livre sur les Principes n'est point un traité complet, mais seulement une collection de dissertations.” In what was probably intended as a criticism of Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, 1817, Malthus stated that the ‘present period … seems to be unpropitious to the publication of a new systematic treatise on political economy”, and, referring to Smith's work, stated that ‘the treatise which we already possess is still of the very highest value”. Nevertheless, despite professing his affiliation, Malthus did not hesitate to criticize Smith when he disagreed with him. He recognized that the Wealth of Nations contained ‘controverted points” and that it would require some ‘additions … which the more advanced stage of the science has rendered necessary”. (shrink)
Aesthetic alienation may be described as the paradoxical relationship whereby art and truth have come to be divorced from one another while nonetheless remaining entwined. J. M. Bernstein not only finds the separation of art and truth problematic, but also contends that we continue to experience art as sensuous and particular, thus complicating and challenging the cultural self-understanding of modernity. Bernstein focuses on the work of four key philosophers—Kant, Heidegger, Derrida, and Adorno—and provides powerful new interpretations of their views. Bernstein (...) shows how each of the three post-Kantian aesthetics to construct a philosophical language that can criticize and displace the categorical assumption of modernity. He also examines in detail their responses to questions concerning the relations among art, philosophy, and politics in modern societies. (shrink)
Subtitled "Studies in Ethical Analysis," this collection of eleven essays, most of which have previously appeared in journals, deals with a number of problems central to modern ethical theory: the emotive interpretation of ethical language, persuasive definitions and their role in ethical reasoning, the cognitive versus emotive conceptions of ethics: many of these problems were first raised and examined by Stevenson in his earlier book Ethics and Language. Other essays are of a less retrospective nature: studies on Moore and Dewey, (...) naturalism and relativism in ethics, and a general discussion of the relations of linguistic analysis to philosophy as a whole. Stevenson is mainly concerned with analytical, as opposed to descriptive, ethics; and he completely avoids the topics of normative ethics except for a brief survey. The approach to ethics is therefore restricted, but there is enough here to interest the philosopher whose main area lies outside of ethics; although it presupposes no acquaintance with the author's previous work, some of the questions on emotivism and persuasive language are more motivated when seen in the context of that work.—P. J. M. (shrink)
Someone who has more sympathy with traditional empiricism than with much of present-day philosophy may ask himself: 'How do my experiences give rise to my beliefs about an external world, and to what extent do they justify them?' He wants to refer, among other things, to unremarkable experiences, of a sort which he cannot help believing to be so extremely common that it would be ridiculous to call them common experiences. He mainly has in mind sense-experiences, and he thinks of (...) them in a particular way. His way of thinking of them, roughly speaking as something 'inner', is one on which recent logico-linguistic philosophy has thrown a good deal of light. The relevant special notion of an experience contrasts, among other things, with a certain more general biographical notion of an experience, which some dictionaries indicate by the definition, 'an event of which one is the subject'. This book explores the concept of experiences, focusing on the disjunctions between perception and illusion. (shrink)
This paper gives an account of the debate between F.A. Hayek and J.M. Keynes in the 1930s written for the general public. The purpose of this is twofold. First, to provide the general reader with a narrative of what happened, … More ›.
Jurgen Habermas' construction of a critical social theory of society grounded in communicative reason is one of the very few real philosophical inventions of recent times that demands and repays extended engagement. In this elaborate and sympathetic study which places Habermas' project in the context of critical theory as a whole past and future, J. M. Bernstein argues that despite its undoubted achievements, it contributes to the very problems of ethical dislocation and meaninglessness it aims to diagnose and remedy. Bernstein (...) further argues that the precise character of the failures of Habermas' program demonstrate the necessity for a return to the first generation critical theory of Adorno. Reading across nearly the whole range of Habermas' corpus, Recovering Ethical Life traces the development of the theory of communicative reason from its inception in Knowledge and Human Interests through its elaboration in The Theory of Communicative Action and into its defense against postmodernism in The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity . In separate chapters Habermas' readings of Freud, Durkheim amd Mead, Adorno and Foucault, Castoriadis and Taylor are critically examined. The focus of Bernstein's analyses, however, is always problem centered and thematic rather than textual psychoanalytic theory as an account of self knowledge, the competing claims of ethical identity and moral reason, the place of judgment in practical reason, and the debate between philosophies of language based communities versus those oriented towards world-disclosure. Critical theory is unique among current philosophies in engaging with the problems of social injustice and nihilism by siding with an abstract moral reason that forfeits the processes of intersubjective recognition it intended to salvage. Even in the fine grain of Habermas' account of performative contradictions and the theory of discourses of application, Bernstein perceives a squandering of the resources of an ethical life in need of transfiguration. (shrink)
John and Mary have fully consensual sex, but they do not want to have a child, so they use contraception with the intention of avoiding pregnancy. Unfortunately, although they used the contraception in the way in which it is supposed to be used, Mary has become pregnant. The couple decides to have the baby, whom they name ‘Ernie’. Now we fill in the story a bit. The universe is causally deterministic, and 30 years later Ernie performs some action A and (...) thereby brings about event E. We also stipulate that Ernie meets plausible compatibilist conditions for acting freely . That is, we suppose that there are no uncontroversially freedom- and responsibility-undermining conditions present in the context in which Ernie performs A, and, further, that Ernie meets plausible compatibilist conditions for acting freely. Let us say, for example, that one adopts the theory according to which the freedom-relevant condition on moral responsibility is that the agent exhibits ‘guidance control’ of his action and . On this approach, one acts freely in so far as one acts from one's own, suitably reasons-responsive mechanism. We can then simply stipulate that, in the relevant context, Ernie acts from his own, suitably reasons-responsive mechanism . If one prefers a different set of compatiblist-friendly conditions for acting freely, one can simply stipulate that Ernie meets them; indeed, the plausible compatibilist-friendly conditions seem to be compatible with each other, and thus Ernie could presumably meet all of them in the relevant context. In such a case, and given that the epistemic condition on acting freely and moral responsibility is met, I am inclined to say that Ernie …. (shrink)
Many writers have paid tribute to its power: Shakespeare urged his audiences to use it to create a setting; Hobbes asserted that "imagination and memory are but one thing; " for Wordsworth it was "the mightiest leveler known to moral world; " and to Baudelaire it represented "the queen of truth. " Imagination as artistic, poetic, and cultural predicate remains one of the most influential ideas in the history of Western thought. It has been simultaneously feared as a dangerous, uncontrollable (...) force, and revered as the supreme visionary power. The questions of its origins, nature, function, and effects have absorbed writers, theologians, and philosophers alike. J. M. Cocking's Imagination shows how these questions have recurred, through the ages and in various cultures. Exploring this theme, from antiquity to the Renaissance, it opens with a discussion of the treatment of imagination in the writings of Aristotle and Plato. Tracing its development in the Middle Ages, Cocking pays particular attention to the parallel tradition in Islamic thought of the period. The book pursues the concept through the theories of Dante and the neo-Platonists, concluding with the High Renaissance. (shrink)
According to Kant, if an agent acts according to his/her conscience, then s/he has done all that s/he ought as far as morality is concerned. But Kant thinks that agents can be mistaken in their subjective determinations of their duties. That is, Kant thinks it is possible for an agent to believe that some action X is right even though it is an objective truth that X is not right; according to Kant, agents do not have infallible knowledge of right (...) and wrong. In this paper, I explore this doctrine in order to determine whether it is defensible. In particular, I confront the blameworthiness of acting contrary to fallible knowledge and the blamelessness of acting according to fallible judgment. (shrink)
Neurocognitive enhancement, or cosmetic neurology, offers the prospect of improving the learning, memory and attention skills of healthy individuals well beyond the normal human range. Much has been written about the ethics of such enhancement, but policy-makers in the USA, the UK and Europe have been reluctant to legislate in this rapidly developing field. However, the possibility of discrimination by employers and insurers against individuals who choose not to engage in such enhancement is a serious threat worthy of legislative intervention. (...) While lawmakers should not prevent individuals from freely pursuing neurocognitive enhancement, they should act to ensure that such enhancement is not coerced. This paper offers one model for such legislation, based upon a proposed US law, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, to address precisely this particular pitfall of the impending neuroscience revolution. (shrink)
SummaryIt is shown that the concept of understanding cannot be reduced to a combination of knowing that, knowing how, and knowledge by acquaintence. First, it is shown that understanding and knowledge have different objects. Then “understanding what” is analyzed along Aristotelian lines. In the central part of the paper it is shown that understanding objects defined by constitutive rules involves a non‐propositional component. This notion of “understanding” is shown to cut across the humanist‐scientist dichotomy.