Can art, religion, or philosophy afford ineffable insights? If so, what are they? The idea of ineffability has puzzled philosophers from Laozi to Wittgenstein. In Ineffability and its Metaphysics: The Unspeakable in Art, Religion and Philosophy, SilviaJonas examines different ways of thinking about what ineffable insights might involve metaphysically, and shows which of these are in fact incoherent. Jonas discusses the concepts of ineffable properties and objects, ineffable propositions, ineffable content, and ineffable knowledge, examining the metaphysical (...) pitfalls involved in these concepts. Ultimately, she defends the idea that ineffable insights as found in aesthetic, religious, and philosophical contexts are best understood in terms of self-acquaintance, a particular kind of non-propositional knowledge. Ineffability as a philosophical topic is as old as the history of philosophy itself, but contributions to the exploration of ineffability have been sparse. The theory developed by Jonas makes the concept tangible and usable in many different philosophical contexts. (shrink)
I argue that recent attempts to deflect Access Problems for realism about a priori domains such as mathematics, logic, morality, and modality using arguments from evolution result in two kinds of explanatory overkill: (1) the Access Problem is eliminated for contentious domains, and (2) realist belief becomes viciously immune to arguments from dispensability, and to non-rebutting counter-arguments more generally.
This essay provides an overview of the ways in which contemporary philosophers have tried to make sense of ineffability as encountered in aesthetic contexts. Section 1 sets up the problem of aesthetic ineffability by putting it into historical perspective. Section 2 specifies the kinds of questions that may be raised with regard to aesthetic ineffability, as well as the kinds of answer each one of those questions would require. Section 3 investigates arguments that seek to locate aesthetic ineffability within the (...) object of aesthetic experiences, i.e. within aesthetic content. Section 4 discusses arguments that seek to locate aesthetic ineffability within the subject of aesthetic experience. (shrink)
I argue that recent attempts to deflect Access Problems for realism about a priori domains such as mathematics, logic, morality, and modality using arguments from evolution result in two kinds of explanatory overkill: the Access Problem is eliminated for contentious domains, and realist belief becomes viciously immune to arguments from dispensability, and to non-rebutting counter-arguments more generally.
Drawing an analogy between modal structuralism about mathematics and theism, I o er a structuralist account that implicitly de nes theism in terms of three basic relations: logical and metaphysical priority, and epis- temic superiority. On this view, statements like `God is omniscient' have a hypothetical and a categorical component. The hypothetical component provides a translation pattern according to which statements in theistic language are converted into statements of second-order modal logic. The categorical component asserts the logical possibility of the (...) theism struc- ture on the basis of uncontroversial facts about the physical world. This structuralist reading of theism preserves objective truth-values for theistic statements while remaining neutral on the question of ontology. Thus, it o ers a way of understanding theism to which a naturalist cannot object, and it accommodates the fact that religious belief, for many theists, is an essentially relational matter. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that religious belief is epistemically equivalent to mathematical belief. Abstract beliefs don't fall under ‘naive’, evidence-based analyses of rationality. Rather, their epistemic permissibility depends, I suggest, on four criteria: predictability, applicability, consistency, and immediate acceptability of the fundamental axioms. The paper examines to what extent mathematics meets these criteria, juxtaposing the results with the case of religion. My argument is directed against a widespread view according to which belief in mathematics is clearly rationally acceptable whereas (...) belief in religion is not. The paper also aims to make some of the implications of contemporary mathematics available to philosophers working in different fields. (shrink)
Adorno’s metaphysics as developed in his Negative Dialectics revolves around what he calls the ‘Non-identical’. The Non-identical is essentially ineffable and can only be understood negatively, through Adorno’s method of ‘negative dialectics’. Negative dialectics is Adorno’s answer to Hegelian metaphysics, which he criticises for its ‘consistent resolution of non-identity into pure identity’. While Adorno endorses Hegel’s critique of Kant’s distinction between the realm of noumena and the realm of phenomena, he argues that Hegel is wrong in believing that a speculative (...) identity between thought and being can be achieved in a positive fashion. Human reason, Adorno argues, imposes unity and identity on objects in the world, thus suppressing their uniqueness and making equivalent what is essentially non-equivalent. The way Adorno sees it, ‘dialectics means to break the compulsion to achieve identity’. This paper aims (1) to explain Adorno’s answer to Hegelian metaphysics, (2) to elucidate Adorno’s idea of the Non-identical as ineffable, and (3) to highlight the importance of acknowledging the ineffable in contemporary philosophy. The paper thus expounds Adorno’s answer to Hegelian metaphysics, according to which philosophy must be prepared to bear not only contradiction, but also the ultimate impossibility of resolving non-identity into identity. (shrink)
Qual è il valore pratico della filosofia? La tradizione tramanda un verdetto duplice. Da una parte, il sapiente è colui che sa vivere, poiché conosce cosa è bene e come realizzarlo; dall’altra, il filosofo è inesperto del mondo ed esibisce in prima persona l’inutilità del suo sapere. Ma come si misura l’utilità del sapere filosofico? In questi scritti inediti risalenti agli anni canadesi (1949-1956), tradotti per la prima volta, Hans Jonas si interroga sul significato vitale e umano dell’esperienza filosofica, (...) intrecciando un vivace dialogo con gli autori antichi e lasciando emergere, nel confronto con essi, i lineamenti della sua filosofia dell’organico. (shrink)
Aproximaciones a la escuela francesa de epistemología Los problemas que dominan a la epistemología pueden contextualizarse históricamente como una forma de racionalidad filosófica. La filosofía se ha presentado a lo largo de la historia como un discurso en el que sus diversos componentes (metafísica, ontología, gnoseología, ética, lógica, etc.) se mostraron unidos en el molde de la ?unidad del saber?. En este marco unitario alguna de las formas del saber filosófico detenta usualmente una posición dominante. El énfasis colocado en la (...) unidad del saber filosófico, o en ?la unidad del pensamiento humano?, es una herencia que el pensamiento filosófico recibe de sus raíces mítico-teológicas. Dicha visión se vio sometida, en la historia de la filosofía, a un proceso de secularización por el cual la instancia dominante pasó de la teología a la metafísica y de ésta a la teoría del conocimiento. Entre los siglos XIX y XX, este proceso atestiguó un cambio ulterior, colocando a la epistemología como instancia dominante de la racionalidad filosófica. La sucesión debe verse como una consecuencia de la funcionalización social de los dispositivos de creencias (ideología), lo que provoca que los mismos se conviertan, en determinado momento, en un obstáculo para la producción de nuevos conocimientos. De esta manera, los nuevos conocimientos, para desarrollarse, se ven forzados a provocar reestructuraciones en el campo filosófico, ya sea mediante el reemplazo de la instancia dominante, la incorporación o creación de nuevas formas de saber filosófico -tal el caso de la epistemología-, o de la marginalización relativa de otras. Se trata de en un proceso complejo (que no es ni lineal, ni biunívoco), en el que cabe no obstante discernir un esquema de la sucesión temporal de las formas filosóficas que dominan la pretendida ?unidad del pensamiento humano? (filosofía). El que acabamos de describir es un proceso lento de sustitución y reemplazo en el tipo de garantías que se le exige elaborar a la filosofía. Algunos momentos, como el ocaso de las garantías de la fe, acaecido con el surgimiento de la filosofía moderna, podrían parecer a primera vista contrajemplos para esta concepción de la evolución del saber filosófico. Podría creerse, en efecto, que con la constitución de esferas autónomas de discurso (teología, ciencia, filosofía), del discurso filosófico se desgajó en un discurso de una naturaleza diferente: la ciencia. Sin embargo, una mirada más atenta revela un paisaje diferente, puesto que esta transformación estuvo acompañada, primero, por la aparición de una nueva instancia dominante de la unificación del conocimiento filosófico. Se trata de la búsqueda de una nueva clase de garantías, las del origen y el fundamento del conocimiento, es decir, las de la gnoseología o teoría del conocimiento, en el interior de la cual se verificó finalmente un nuevo desplazamiento, con la constitución, a fines del siglo XIX y principios del siglo XX, de la ?filosofía de la ciencia? o epistemología. Este modelo para la conceptualización del desarrollo del discurso filosófico tiene la ventaja de permitirnos pensar la relación que la epistemología guarda con la instancia de saber filosófico dominante en el seno de la cual se desarrolla: la de la gnoseología. A partir de las relaciones que la epistemología guarda con la temática de las garantías del conocimiento podemos apresar, en un esquema heurístico que será complejizado de diversos modos en este libro, la diferencia entre las tesis características de la epistemología anglosajona y de la epistemología francesa. De acuerdo con en este esquema heurístico, el rasgo más característico de la epistemología anglosajona es su sujeción, en la mayor parte de su desarrollo, a la teoría del conocimiento, lo que se revela en la persistencia de algunos aspectos de la filosofía de la representación y en la reproducción de la oposición idealista entre sujeto y objeto como dos polos cuya armonía debería establecerse, filosóficamente, en términos de la verdad. En su lugar, la epistemología francesa se propuso el estudio de los mecanismos de producción de los conocimientos. La epistemología, desde esta perspectiva, ya no fue vista primordialmente como el estudio de los fundamentos del conocimiento científico, sino como la teoría de las condiciones y las formas de la práctica científica y la historia de esta práctica, tal como aparece en las distintas ciencias concretas. Expresado de otra manera, el contraste se podría establecer mediante la observación de que mientras los anglosajones hacen filosofía de la ciencia como una extensión de la lógica, los franceses la hacen como una extensión de la historia de la ciencia, es decir, encontrando en la historia el laboratorio del epistemólogo. Ahora bien, según veremos, el campo de la epistemología francesa ha cobijado una buena cantidad de debates que tienen que ver primordialmente con dos tendencias en tensión: la que enfatiza la autonomía de lo epistemológico y aquella que destaca la determinación social del pensamiento. Los trabajos de este libro esperan problematizar este y otros ejes, explorando las perspectivas de los ?clásicos? de la escuela francesa en epistemología (Bachelard, Canguilhem, Althusser, Foucault, etc.), las relaciones entre los mismos y los diálogos que cabe establecer entre estos y otras corrientes de pensamiento. ÍNDICE: La ruptura epistemológica, de Bachelard a Balibar y Pêcheux, Pedro Karczmarczyk La ruptura epistemológica según Bachelard, Althusser y Badiou, Carlos Gassmann Visitaciones Derrideanas, Jazmín Anahí Acosta Epistemología sin sujeto cognoscente. Superación, disolución o sujeción de la subjetividad en Popper, Wittgenstein y Foucault, Silvia Rivera; La torsión política del concepto de verdad en Michel Foucault, Manuel Cuervo Sola Canguilhem y Foucault. De la norma biológica a la norma política, Andrea Torrano Psicología e ideología: Foucault, Canguilhem y Althusser, Matías Abeijón . (shrink)
In this essay, Mark Jonas argues that there are three broadly held misconceptions of Plato's philosophy that work against his relevance for contemporary moral education. The first is that he is an intellectualist who is concerned only with the cognitive aspect of moral development and does not sufficiently emphasize the affective and conative aspects; the second is that he is an elitist who believes that only philosopher-kings can attain true knowledge of virtue and it is they who should govern (...) society; the third is that he affirms the realm of the Forms as a literal metaphysical reality and believes that for individuals to attain virtue they must access this realm through contemplation. The goal of this essay is to correct these misconceptions. The rehabilitation of Plato's reputation may enable future researchers in moral education to discover in his philosophy new avenues for exploring how best to cultivate virtues in students. (shrink)
A classic of phenomenology and existentialism and arguably Jonas's greatest work, The Phenomenon of Life sets forth a systematic and comprehensive philosophy -- an existential interpretation of biological facts laid out in support of Jonas ...
This book explores the ways in which humor can enhance the learning environment. Drawing upon empirical research and brain-based concepts, Jonas presents a theoretical model of humor, along with practical examples for enhancing learning in schools and classrooms.
From the late eighteenth through the end of the nineteenth century, educational philosophers and practitioners debated the benefits and shortcomings of the use of emulation in schools. During this period, “emulation” referred to a pedagogy that leveraged comparisons between students as a tool to motivate them to higher achievement. Many educationists praised emulation as a necessary and effective motivator. Other educationists condemned it for its tendency to foster invidious competition between students and to devalue learning. Ultimately, by the late nineteenth (...) century emulation as a specific pedagogical practice had disappeared in American educational culture. In this article, Mark Jonas and Drew Chambers ask whether the disappearance of emulation is something to be celebrated or lamented. To answer this question they examine the historical concept of educational emulation and analyze the bases on which proponents and opponents argued. Parties on both sides of the debate framed their arguments in close relation to the way emulation was being used at that time, which prioritized actual competitions and prizes. In that context, the opponents made a better case, which presumably contributed to emulation's disappearance in schools afterwards. However, as earlier proponents of emulation argued, emulation need not be restricted to competitions and prizes. Instead, these proponents offered a philosophically and psychologically rich defense of emulation, but these were not carried through to an appropriate degree. The authors conclude that, construed appropriately, emulation not only had tremendous educational potential then, but still does today. With intentional effort on the part of teachers, emulation can greatly enrich students' lives and act as a powerful learning motivator. (shrink)
While a great deal has been written on Plato's Lysis in philosophy and philology journals over the last thirty years, nothing has been published on Lysis in the major Anglo-American philosophy of education journals during that time. Nevertheless, this dialogue deserves attention from educators. In this essay, Mark Jonas argues that Lysis can serve as a model for educators who want to move their students beyond mere aporia, but also do not want to dictate answers to students. Although the (...) dialogue ends in Socrates's affirmation of aporia, his affirmation is actually meant to persuade his interlocutors to reflect on an epiphany they had previously experienced. In what follows, Jonas offers a close reading of relevant passages of Lysis, demonstrating the way that Socrates leads his interlocutors to an epiphany without forcing his answers upon them. (shrink)
O texto apresentado a seguir é uma traduçáo da conferência intitulada “The Burden and Blessing of Mortality” ( The Hastings Center Report , 22, n. 1, jan-fev. 1992, p. 34-40), que foi apresentada à Fundaçáo do Palácio Real [The Royal Palace Foundation], em Amsterdam, no dia 19 de março de 1991. Esta conferência foi traduzida para o alemáo por Reinhard Löw e revisada pelo próprio Jonas, aparecendo com o título “Last und Segen der Sterblichkeit” em Scheidewege 21, 1991/92, p. (...) 26-40, e mais tarde em um livro do próprio Jonas: Philosophische Untersuchungen und metaphysische Vermutungen [Investigações Filosóficas e Suposições Metafísicas] . Frankfurt am Main: Insel Verlag, 1992, p. 81-100. Por sua vez, o texto original, em inglês, veio ainda a fazer parte de uma coletânea de ensaios de Jonas, editada por Lawrence Vogel ( Mortality and Morality : a search for good after Auschwits. Ed. Lawrence Vogel. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1996, p. 87-97). (shrink)
De tous les livres de Hans Jonas, ce sont les Essais philosophiques qui ont le caractère le plus multidisciplinaire : ils portent sur l’éthique, la philosophie de la nature, de l’esprit, de l’histoire et la philosophie de la religion… Mais ce recueil n’est pas pour autant éclectique. Car au-delà de la diversité de ses objets, il constitue une remarquable illustration du chemin de pensée que s’est frayé le philosophe à travers des champs d’investigation multiples et apparemment hétérogènes. C’est ainsi (...) qu’au fil de textes qui furent publiés entre Le Phénomène de la vie et Le principe responsabilité, on retrouve ici la dette du philosophe à l’égard de Heidegger, l’inspiration spinoziste de sa philosophie de la nature, les racines de son éthique de la responsabilité et un commun dénominateur de toutes ses recherches philosophiques : les concepts apparentés de liberté, de volonté et de valeur qui animent sa pensée comme autant de facteurs de résistance à la menace du réductionnisme. (shrink)
Technology and responsibility: reflections on the new tasks of ethics.--Jewish and Christian elements in philosophy: their share in the emergence of the modern mind.--Seventeenth century and after: the meaning of the scientific and technological revolution.--Socio-economic knowledge and ignorance of goals.--Philosophical reflections on experimenting with human subjects.--Against the stream: comments on the definition and redefinition of death.--Biological engineering--a preview--Contemporary problems in ethics from a Jewish perspective.--Biological foundations of individuality.--Spinoza and the theory of organism.--Sight and thought: a review of "visual thinking."--Change and (...) permanence: on the possibility of understanding history.--The gnostic syndrome: typology of its thought, imagination, and mood.--The hymn of the pearl: case study of a symbol, and the claims for a Jewish origin of gnosticism.--Myth and mysticism: a study of objectification and interiorization in religious thought.--Origen's metaphysics of free will, fall, and salvation: a "divine comedy" of the universe.--The soul in gnosticism and Plotinus.--The abyss of the will: philosophical meditations on the seventh chapter of Paul's epistle to the Romans. (shrink)
In two studies, we explored the frequency and phenomenology of musical imagery. Study 1 used retrospective reports of musical imagery to assess the contribution of individual differences to imagery characteristics. Study 2 used an experience sampling design to assess the phenomenology of musical imagery over the course of one week in a sample of musicians and non-musicians. Both studies found episodes of musical imagery to be common and positive: people rarely wanted such experiences to end and often heard music that (...) was personally meaningful. Several variables predicted musical imagery, including personality, musical preferences, and positive mood. Musicians tended to hear musical imagery more often, but they reported less frequent episodes of deliberately-generated imagery. Taken together, the present research provides new insights into individual differences in musical imagery, and it supports the emerging view that such experiences are common, positive, and more voluntary than previously recognized. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of self-overcoming has been largely misinterpreted in the philosophy of education journals. The misinterpretation partially stems from a misconstruction of Nietzsche’s perspectivism, and leads to a conception of self-overcoming that is inconsistent with Nietzsche’s educational ideals. To show this, I examine some of the prominent features of the so-called “debate” of the 1980s surrounding Nietzsche’s conception of self-overcoming. I then offer an alternative conception that is more consistent with Nietzsche’s thought, and (...) provides a more nuanced understanding of Nietzsche’s “anti-democratic” pedagogy. Ultimately, I argue that while Nietzsche’s educational philosophy is not egalitarian, it can be effectively utilized in “democratic” classrooms, assuming his concept of self-overcoming is properly construed. (shrink)
Many teachers in teacher education programs are cursorily introduced to Dewey's ‘epochmaking’ ideas on interest and effort through discussions based on the need for child-centered pedagogies that utilize students' interests. Unfortunately, this strategy often tacitly encourages teachers to over-rely on students' interests. In this paper, I recommend a way of introducing Dewey's conception of interest that avoids the common pitfall of over-reliance on students' interests. I argue that if we focus on the changes Dewey made to the expression of his (...) philosophy during a seventeen-year period, we can help illuminate the force of his theory while protecting against unfortunate misinterpretations. (shrink)
This article considers how legislators should respond to evidence that identifies a common and widely accepted parental practice as a potential source of harm to children, using domestic exposure to environmental tobacco smoke as a test case. It is claimed that children are parties to the Harm Principle, and that the State has an obligation to protect children from exposure to harm. Parental prerogative is limited by the need to avoid harming children. That said, there is considerable uncertainty about what (...) is harmful to children. Several sources of uncertainty, both empirical and conceptual, are explored, in order to demonstrate the complexity of the task legislators face. Seven considerations that are relevant to decisions about legislation of harmful parental practices are outlined, and these considerations are then employed to assess the case in favour of legislating to prohibit the exposure of children to environmental tobacco smoke in domestic settings. (shrink)
The recent MB case involved a dispute between an infant’s parents and his medical team about the appropriateness of continued life support. The dispute reflected uncertainty about two key factors that inform medical decision making for seriously ill infants: both the amount of pain MB experiences and the extent of his cognitive capacities are uncertain. Uncertainty of this order makes decision making in accordance with the best-interests principle very problematic. This article addresses two of the problems that cases such as (...) that of MB pose for those charged with making medical decisions for infants. First, the question of the moral significance of the interest in avoiding pain is considered. It is claimed that this interest can be outweighed by higher-order interests such as those related to autonomy but that where such higher-order interests do not exist, the interest in avoiding pain should be prioritised. Second, the question of how to proceed in cases in which the level of pain or the extent of an infant’s higher-order interests cannot be decisively established is considered. It is suggested that when genuine uncertainty over the interests of an infant exists, parental views about treatment should prevail.The English family courts recently adjudicated on another case involving conflict between parents and a medical team over the provision of life-prolonging medical treatment for an infant. At the time of the ruling, MB was an 18-month-old boy with type I spinal muscular atrophy. His life expectancy was very short , he was almost completely paralysed and he required constant ventilation. MB’s parents wanted a tracheotomy to be performed to facilitate long-term ventilation and allow for some independence from the hospital ward, but the …. (shrink)
In his 2001 article 'Teaching to Lie and Obey: Nietzsche on Education', Stefan Ramaekers defends Nietzsche's concept of perspectivism against the charge that it is relativistic. He argues that perspectivism is not relativistic because it denies the dichotomy between the 'true' world and the 'seeming' world, a dichotomy central to claims to relativism. While Ramaekers' article is correct in denying relativistic interpretations of perspectivism it does not go far enough in this direction. In fact, the way Ramaekers makes his case (...) may actually encourage the charge of relativism, especially when it comes to his appropriation of perspectivism for education. This article proposes to pick up where Ramaekers left off. It will argue that Nietzsche's denial of the opposition between the 'true' world and the 'seeming' world opens up the possibility for the reestablishment of truth, albeit in a modified form. After examining Nietzsche's modified 'realist' epistemology, the paper will explore the implications of it for his philosophy of education. It will be argued that Nietzsche's educational philosophy is founded on his concept of perspectivism in so far as he demands that students be rigorously inculcated into a pedagogical framework that teaches students to discriminate between 'true' and 'false' perspectives. This framework is essential for the development of an intellectually robust and life-affirming culture. (shrink)
Background: Waiving parent permission can be an option in some epidemiological and social research with adolescents. However, exemptions have not been uniformly considered or applied. Our aim is to critically assess the different factors that could be taken into account when making decisions about waiving active parental permission in observational research with adolescents.DiscussionIn some cases alternatives to parental permission could be applied to protect the rights of both adolescents and parents and also to assure the benefits to adolescents as a (...) group that can come from appropriately conducted studies. However, the criteria of ensuring minimal risk can be difficult to define and apply and a distinction between harm and discomfort is reviewed. Waiving active parental permission could be acceptable when the risk of harm is minimal; when the research questions are related to an activity for which adolescents are not legally considered to be children; when the risk of harm or discomfort may increase if parental permission is required; and when risk of discomfort is low because the questionnaire is not potentially offensive for some adolescents and/or for some parents.SummaryStringent rules concerning parental permission in some studies could be detrimental to adolescents. A framework and a decision tree guide are proposed to help researchers and Research Ethics Committees in their decisions on whether active parental permission must be obtained. (shrink)
I argue that recent interpretations of Nietzsche's political theory that make him out to be a Machiavellian elitist are misguided. While Nietzsche's philosophy advocates a return to an order of rank among individuals, it does not entail the domination of the few over the many. Rather, it is meant to benefit all individuals, whatever their rank. To this end, I examine several Machiavellian interpretations and demonstrate the inadequacy of their exegetical evidence. I then turn to Nietzsche's educational theory and show (...) the ways it supports and expands his political vision for the flourishing of the few and the many. (shrink)
This comment proposes that Bullot & Reber's (B&R's) emphasis on historical and intentional knowledge expands the range of emotions that can be properly viewed as aesthetic states. Many feelings, such as anger, contempt, shame, confusion, and pride, come about through complex aesthetic meanings, which integrate conceptual knowledge, beliefs about the work and the artist's intentions, and the perceiver's goals and values.
Patricia White (Stud Philos Educ 18:43–52, 1999) argues that the virtue gratitude is essential to a flourishing democracy because it helps foster universal and reciprocal amity between citizens. Citizens who participate in this reciprocal relationship ought to be encouraged to recognize that “much that people do does in fact help to make communal civic life less brutish, pleasanter and more flourishing.” This is the case even when the majority of citizens do not intentionally seek to make civic life better for (...) others. Were citizens to recognize the appropriateness of gratitude in these situations, the bonds of our democratic communities would be strengthened. In this paper, I examine White’s argument more carefully, arguing that it fails to address adequately the difficulties that arise when we attempt to encourage the virtue of gratitude in our students. To address these difficulties, I turn to an unlikely source for democratic inspiration: Friedrich Nietzsche. In spite of his well-known anti-democratic sentiments, Nietzsche offers democratic citizens insights into the social value of gratitude. I argue that Nietzsche’s ideas resolve the educational difficulties in White’s argument and viably establish gratitude as an important democratic virtue that ought to be cultivated. (shrink)