Are ecosystems morally considerable-that is, do we owe it to them to protect their “interests”? Many environmental ethicists, impressed by the way that individual nonsentient organisms such as plants tenaciously pursue their own biological goals, have concluded that we should extend moral considerability far enough to include such organisms. There is a pitfall in the ecosystem-to-organism analogy, however. We must distinguish a system’s genuine goals from the incidental effects, or byproducts, of the behavior of that system’s parts. Goals seem capable (...) of giving rise to interests; byproducts do not. It is hard to see how whole ecosystems can be genuinely goal-directed unless group selection occurs at the community level. Currently, mainstream ecological and evolutionary theory is individualistic. From such a theory it follows that the apparent goals of ecosystems are mere byproducts and, as such, cannot ground moral considerability. (shrink)
In December 1924 when Simone de Beauvoir almost certainly wrote her essay analyzing Claude Bernard's "Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine," a classic text in the philosophy of science, she was a 16 yr old student in a senior-level philosophy class at a private Catholic girls' school. Given the popular conception of existentialism as anti science, Beauvoir's early interest in science, reflected in her baccalaureate successes as well as her paper on Bernard, may be surprising. But her enthusiasm (...) for Bernard is unmistakable. We have identified three themes in Beauvoir's essay that reappear in her later work, including the valuing of philosophical doubt. (shrink)
Research in modern biology has largely been developed according to two main ways of inquiry, as they were outlined by Charles Darwin and Claude Bernard. Each stands for a specific approach to the living corresponding to two different methodological rules: the principle of natural selection and the principle of causation.
El súbito consenso que se ha producido en nuestros días alrededor de la importancia de la noción democracia no se ha acompañado de una reflexión filosófica sobre su sentido moderno. La obra filosófica de Claude Lefort ha contribuido a llenar este vacío teórico. Para Lefort, el sentido de la democracia moderna no puede revelarse, como ha supuesto la ciencia política, a través de la descripción del funcionamiento de sus instituciones, sino puede estudiarse mediante la exploración de su dimensión simbólica. (...) En efecto, la fundación y el destino de la democracia son inseparables de la indeterminación de sus fundamentos y de la infigurabilidad del poder, de la ley y del saber. Origen y destino que bien pueden ser rastreados a la luz del contraste entre la sociedad democrática y la sociedad totalitaria. El presente ensayo se ocupa de contrastar la dimensión simbólica de ambas formas de sociedad. Palabras clave: Democracia; totalitarismo; dimensión simbólica; político; Claude Lefort Democracy and totalitarianism: The Symbolic Dimension of the Political according to Claude LefortThe sudden consensus prevailing nowadays on the importance of the concept of democracy has not been accompanied by a philosophical reflection on its modern sense. Claude Lefort’s philosophical work has helped to fill this theoretical vacuum. According to Lefort, the sense of modern democracy cannot be disclosed, as political science has assumed, just by describing the operation of its institutions. Rather, it may be studied by exploring its symbolic dimension. In fact, democracy’s origin and fate are inseparable from the indeterminacy of its foundation and the non-figurable nature of power, law and knowledge. Such an origin and fate may indeed be tracked in light of the contrast between the democratic society and the totalitarian one. This essay aims to contrast the symbolic dimension of both forms of society. Keywords : Democracy; totalitarianism; symbolic dimension; political; Claude Lefort. (shrink)
Each time patients and their families are asked to make a decision about resuscitation, they are also asked to engage the political, social, and cultural concerns that have shaped its history. That history is exemplified in the career of Claude S. Beck, arguably the most influential researcher and teacher of resuscitation in the twentieth century. Careful review of Beck’s work discloses that the development and popularization of the techniques of resuscitation proceeded through a multiplication of definitions of death. CPR (...) consequently remains unique among medical treatments, because it is indicated precisely when a person dies, depending always on how each event of death becomes defined practically by patients, families, and medical professionals present at the time. It is therefore as an occasion to manage a surplus of definitions of death, and not as an occasion to determine the physiological efficacy of resuscitation, that one should approach analysis of contemporary challenges in decision-making about resuscitation. (shrink)
Taking as a starting point for his quest the teaching received from the Hebrew prophets and transmitted by the people of Israel, Claude Tresmontant identifies in it the specific moment where an entirely new and creative thought is introduced in the history of mankind. Trained in philosophy of science and conscious of the discipline involved in a rigorous experimental method as a key to valid and true knowledge, Claude Tresmontant boldly recreated bridges, long destroyed, between science and philosophy (...) of nature, as well as metaphysics and theology. Following an immense effort, he has found back, stringently and often on his own, a unifying concept capable of integrating the experience and the questions of today's man: "...the central question is that of integrating the teaching of creation and that of revelation in the unity of an intelligible vision of the world, desirable, and verifiable..." as he said himself in the preface to L'histoire de l'univers et le sens de la Création. This immense, powerful and thought-provoking work is here presented by a young philosopher, long time correspondent of Claude Tresmontant, who benefited from decisive moments of encounter with him. (shrink)
This is the first English language volume to offer such a wide-ranging scholarly and intellectual perspective on Claude Lefort. It constitutes the most comprehensive attempt to reconstruct Lefort's engagement with his theoretical interlocutors as well as his influence on today's democratic thought and contemporary continental political philosophy.
This paper will put forward to new audiences the core of Claude Sumner's thesis regarding philosophy in the "broad" and "narrow" senses, the former referring to wisdom and the sapiential tradition. It will look at Sumner's role in popularizing early Ethiopian texts in a project meant to debunk preconceptions that Africa has no written history of philosophy. Nevertheless Sumner does not limit himself to written texts in the Ethiopian tradition, but has branched out into collecting and analyzing the oral (...) traditions as well. He has argued that the written texts of Zera Yacob are examples of "religious rationality" in some ways similar to Descartes' scientific rationality. He argues that proverbs possess "figurative logic," which while different than conceptual logic is still indeed logic. Both written and oral sources of Ethiopian philosophy stretch well beyond the last fifty years, Sumner asserts, and thus African philosophy becomes known as being older than Hountondji, Okolo and others have thought. The paper argues that Sumner's contributions to the growth of the field of African philosophy should not be overlooked. (shrink)
A common and enduring early modern intuition is that materialists reduce organisms in general and human beings in particular to automata. Wasn’t a famous book of the time entitled L’Homme-Machine? In fact, the machine is employed as an analogy, and there was a specifically materialist form of embodiment, in which the body is not reduced to an inanimate machine, but is conceived as an affective, flesh-and-blood entity. We discuss how mechanist and vitalist models of organism exist in a more complementary (...) relation than hitherto imagined, with conceptions of embodiment resulting from experimental physiology. From La Mettrie to Bernard, mechanism, body and embodiment are constantly overlapping, modifying and overdetermining one another; embodiment came to be scientifically addressed under the successive figures of vie organique and then milieu intérieur, thereby overcoming the often lamented divide between scientific image and living experience. (shrink)
What is the event? How the phenomenology of event is possible if the "event" is not the phenomenon in the classical meaning of this word? French philosopher Claude Romano discusses these questions with his Russian colleague Ruslan Loshakov. The interlocutors consider the concept of event in different contexts, paying special attention to the relationships which connect the phenomenology of event with Husserl, Bergson, Heidegger and Levinas' ideas.
This ar ti cle ex tends, from a philo soph i cal and an thro po log i cal point of view, the re cent dis - cus sions as to what is met a phoric. Lan guage phi - los o phers have con trib uted to the un der stand ing of the na ture and func tion of met a phors, but their com ments have been tra ..
In this paper I criticize Claude Romano’s recent characterization of Husserl’s phenomenology as a form of Cartesianism. Contra Romano, Husserl is not committed to the view that since individual things in the world are dubitable, then the world as a whole is dubitable. On the contrary, for Husserl doubt is a merely transitional phenomenon which can only characterize a temporary span of experience. Similarly, illusion is not a mode of experience in its own right but a retrospective way of (...) characterizing a span of experience. Therefore, Husserl cannot be plausibly characterized as either a disjunctivist or a conjunctivist. The common premise of both theories – namely, that perception and illusion are two classes of conscious acts standing on equal footing – is phenomenologically unsound. I propose to call Husserl’s theory a hermeneutical theory of perception, i.e., one that interprets perception as a temporal and self-correcting process. In the last part of the paper I argue that Husserl’s positive appraisal of Cartesian doubt is only pedagogical in nature. Husserl does not take Cartesian doubt to be practicable, but the attempt to doubt universally has the positive effect of revealing transcendental subjectivity as the subject matter of phenomenology. (shrink)
From the beginning the French philosopher Claude Lefort has set himself the task of interpreting the political life of modern society-and over time he has succeeded in elaborating a distinctive conception of modern democracy that is linked to both historical analysis and a novel form of philosophical reflection. This book, the first full-scale study of Lefort to appear in English, offers a clear and compelling account of Lefort's accomplishment-its unique merits, its relation to political philosophy within the Continental tradition, (...) and its great relevance today. Much of what passes for political philosophy in our day is merely politicized philosophical concepts, a distinction author Bernard Flynn underscores as he describes the development of Lefort's truly political philosophy-its ideas formed in response to his own political experience and to the work of certain major figures within the tradition of political thought. Beginning with Lefort's most important single work, his book on Machiavelli, Flynn presents the philosopher's conceptions of politics, modernity, and interpretation in the context within which they took shape. He then draws on a wide variety of Lefort's works to explicate his notions of premodern and modern democracy in which totalitarianism, in Lefort's singular and highly influential theory, is identified as a permanent problem of modernity. A valuable exposition of one of the most important Continental philosophers of the post-World War II period, Flynn's book is itself a noteworthy work of interpretive philosophy, pursuing the ideas and issues addressed by Lefort to a point of unparalleled clarity and depth. (shrink)
In this article I confront Jürgen Habermas' deliberative model of democracy with Claude Lefort's analysis of democracy as a regime in which the locus of power remains an empty place. This confrontation reveals several structural similarities between the two authors and explains how the proceduralization of popular sovereignty provides a discourse-theoretical interpretation of the empty place of power. At the same time, Lefort's insistence on the open-ended nature of the democratic struggle also points towards an unresolved tension at the (...) core of Habermas' model between the cognitive nature of deliberation on the one hand and the freedom of moral and political agents on the other. A proper solution of this tension requires a full appreciation of the ineliminable gap between actual and ideal deliberation. Because actual deliberation can never result in an ideal consensus, the actual exercise of democratic power should be understood as an unavoidable interruption of deliberation. Key Words: consensus deliberation democracy empty place of power Jürgen Habermas Claude Lefort. (shrink)
Claude Bernard, the father of scientific physiology, believed that if medicine was to become truly scientiifc, it would have to be based on rigorous and controlled animal experiments. Bernard instituted a paradigm which has shaped physiological practice for most of the twentieth century. ln this paper we examine how Bernards commitment to hypothetico-deductivism and determinism led to (a) his rejection of the theory of evolution; (b) his minima/ization of the role of clinical medicine and epidemiological studies; and (c) his (...) conclusion that experiments on nonhuman animals were, "entirely conclusive for the toxicology and hygiene of man". We examine some negative consequences of Bernardianism for twentieth century medicine, and argue that physio/ogy's continued adherence to Bernardianism has caused it to diverge from the other biological sciences which have become increasingly infused with evolutionary theory. (shrink)
The issue of the definition and position of archaeology as a discipline is examined in relation to the dispute which took place from 1980 to 2009 between the archaeologist Jean-Claude Gardin and the sociologist Jean-Claude Passeron. This case study enables us to explore the actual conceptual relationships between archaeology and the other sciences (as opposed to those wished for or prescribed). The contrasts between the positions declared by the two researchers and the rooting of their arguments in their (...) disciplines are examined: where the sociologist makes use of his philosophical training, the archaeologist relies mainly on his work on semiology and informatics. Archaeology ultimately plays a minor role in the arguments proposed. This dispute therefore cannot be considered as evidence for the movement of concepts between archaeology and the social sciences. A blind spot in the debate, relating to the ontological specificities of archaeological objects, nevertheless presents itself as a possible way of implementing this movement. (shrink)
Professeur Finkelstein avait posée la question, pourquoi, bien que leurs réalisations scientifiques et leur scientifique approche soient similaires, Bernard était beaucoup plus connu dans son pays, France, et à son époque, que Bois-Reymond en Allemagne? Une question similaire a été posée au sujet du pourquoi Darwin est connu pour la théorie de l'évolution, tandis que Wallace a été remis en arrière-fond dans leur temps et dans l'histoire. Selon Finkelstein, la cause de la differences entre Bois-Reymond et Bernard, peut être trouvée (...) dans la culture et la place de la science dans l'œil public en France contre les memes choses en Allemagne. C'est-à-dire, la rhétorique de la science a été plus respectée en France qu'en Allemagne, ce que Finkelstein a soutenu avec persuasion et éloquence. (shrink)
The article deals with the question of persuasion by comparing two passages taken from a text written by Victor Hugo entitled Claude Gueux The first passage is taken from the first part of the text in which Hugo tells the story of the murder of the director of the Clairvaux prison workshop perpetrated by a prisoner, Claude Gueux, followed by the latter’s trial and execution. The second passage studied is taken from the second part of the text in (...) which Hugo argues against the death penalty. This article begins with an intuitive sense that the styles of these passages are “different”: the second one clearly shows Hugo’s persuasive intention, which is to say his effort to make his position be accepted. That said, does this extract have semantic properties that the descriptive passage does not have? The hypothesis advanced is that the organization of contents is of a similar nature in both passages of Claude Gueux and that it is only in an enunciative way that the passages are distinguishable. This enunciative difference allows the militant passage’s locutor to portray himself in a favorable light and, herewith, to convince the reader to his point of view. It is, hence, but in an indirect manner that Hugo’s persuasive intention appears; as it is without a semantic mark. (shrink)
This article examines Claude Lefort's writings in order to think about the ‘social’, understood as separate from the political, and in its separation, as a strictly modern ‘phenomenon’. Prior to the modern democratic revolution, the collective order was presented through the representation of power, itself identified with both law and knowledge, and referred to a transcendent source. At a first moment, the modern democratic revolution, under the sign of the general will, renders power immanent. At a second moment, it (...) separates power from law and, above all, knowledge, such that three domains emerge, each with its own logic, its own notion of representation, its own divisions. The ‘social’, in a sense, arises between these two moments. At one level, it appears as an event in, and in consequence an object of, knowledge, once knowledge need no longer be, primarily, a knowledge of power or law, that is the enunciation of the principles by which the latter establish the order, coherence and sense of the world. At another level the ‘social’ emerges as a response to the difficulties presented by a strictly political representation of societal order–difficulties in no small part due to the revolutionaries’ inability to countenance the separation between the three domains. In this regard the ‘social’ appears as a presupposition that serves to stabilize an inherently conflictual political order. It is, however, an ‘empty’ presupposition, without determinate content, and therefore also a source of uncertainty. While this emptiness proves a stimulus for the construction of new savoirs, it also accounts for the fragility of all discourses that would speak in its name (social science, social theory, sociology). The article concludes with a few words about the ‘death of the social’. (shrink)
The things themselves, which only the limited brains of men and animals believe fixed and stationary, have no real existence at all. They are the flashing and sparks of drawn swords, the glow of victory in the conflict of opposing qualities. SummaryThe conflicts between the eristentialism of Jean‐Paul Sartre and the structuralism of Claude Lévi‐Strauss present a privileged site for illuminating larger conflicts in the human studies as a whole. The present paper argues that a method for addressing and (...) perhaps resolving thes conflicts can be drawn from the respective logics of existentialism and structuralism. The essay begins by discussing the dialectical social theory of lean‐Paul Sartre and then, after treating Lévi‐Strauss's theory of structure, goes on to argue that dialectical thought generates structures, and that structuralism invites a dialectical method of construction. While an integration of methods along these lines does not constitute an integrated social theory, it can remove an important obstacle to the development of such theory. (shrink)
Claude Buffier was a French Jesuit whose philosophy earned Voltaire's praise. Thomas Reid was the one Scottish philosopher whose response to David Hume is still taken seriously. In this comparative study Professor Marcil-Lacoste not only refutes common assumptions, but also shows that, despite their similar concerns and the unfounded charge that Reid plagiarized from Buffier, a comparison of Reid and Buffier illuminates a range of significant epistemological issues. Further, she demonstrates that common-sense philosophies can be varied, subtle, and original. (...) This book also includes an edited and annotated version of Reid's hitherto unpublished curâ primâ on common sense prepared by David Fate Norton. (shrink)
When Descartes made his scientific work public, he ushered in a worldview based almost entirely on mechanical motion, which brought along a complete rejection of “occult” forces. Thus, the foundation of astrology was equally rejected by many prominent Cartesians. However, the popularity of Descartes’ system lead to its rapid adoption by many subjects, astrology included. Here, I will take a look at the curious case of Claude Gadroys, whose primary work, Discours sur les influences des astres, defends a mechanical (...) account of astrology that accords with Descartes’ principles. Gadroys’ Discours employs a sophisticated strategy to rehabilitate astrology of the 17th century against Pico della Mirandola, among other critics. Gadroys’ theory even incorporates Descartes’ discovery, contra the scholastics, that the sublunary and celestial spheres do not differ in kind. Surprisingly, Gadroys uses Descartes’ discovery to substantiate the stars influencing the Earth, whereas earlier astrologers required such a distinction. Gadroys’ adoption of Cartesian philosophy highlights two major theses. First, the advent of mechanical philosophy in no way necessitated the downfall of astrology; instead, it merely changed the direction of astrological explanation for those that followed current science. Second, it shows the selective nature of Cartesian explanation and hypotheses. (shrink)
El objetivo de este artículo es indagar cómo la interpretación que Claude Lefort hace en el período 1950-1972 de la obra de Maquiavelo influye en sus escritos posteriores a través de un objetivo doble. Por un lado, da cuenta de cómo se da la articulación entre su teoría de la democracia moderna –y la indeterminación que le es consustancial– y la noción maquiaveliana de república; y, por otro lado,da cuenta de cómo se ocluye, en algún punto, la importancia que (...) tienen los liderazgos personales para Maquiavelo para pensar los regímenes políticos. Este objetivo doble está atravesado por la siguiente hipótesis de lectura: Maquiavelo es un insumo fundamental para reflexionar sobre la teoría lefortiana de democracia, tanto por aquello que Lefort recupera de Maquiavelo como por aquello que descarta. (shrink)
Ces deux ouvrages tentent de présenter l'évolution du concept de l'utopie. L'ouvrage de Claude Cohen-Safir voudrait recenser les noms des penseurs européens et américains qu'elle considère comme importants dans la trajectoire des idées utopiques outre Atlantique. On trouve mention, dans ce livre, d'utopistes présents dans l'ouvrage dirigé par Michèle Riot-Sarcey qui s'intéresse davantage aux questions de définition et de méthodologie. Le but de chaque auteur dans ce collectif est aussi..
The following study departs from the lecture, entitled “Creative thinking”, delivered by Claude Shannon in 1952 at the Bell Laboratories. This paper includes an interpretive and critical account of the necessary conditions, as well as the desirable procedures, which must be satisfied in the scientific and technological invention, within the frame of the so-called scientist’s spontaneous philosophy.
« Le temps n’est pas un canevas sur lequel on brode ». C’est dans ces termes lancés comme un avertissement par William Grossin dans les années 90 que pouvait se définir la ligne éditoriale du bulletin des _Temporalistes_. L’argument ne devait pas déplaire à Claude Dubar qui allait transformer ce bulletin de liaison en une véritable revue scientifique et lui donner de nouvelles ambitions. Mais la contribution de Claude Dubar à la recherche sur les temporalités ne s’est pas (...) arrêtée à une offre nouvelle de publication, avec la création de la revue du même nom. Que ce soit dans _Temporalités_ ou ailleurs, on peut constater, dans ses textes et communications sur le sujet, une exigence pour les questions formelles qui l’a conduit au dépassement de la sociographie, sans toutefois y renoncer. Ainsi perçoit-on dans le mouvement même de sa pensée, un élan vers la conceptualisation dont témoignent plus particulièrement ses dernières productions. Cette évolution épistémologique qui s’est nourrie de... (shrink)