The year is 1901. Two minor celebrities from opposite corners of the globe share an evening meal in Chicago. Both are politically left-leaning, both are evolutionists of a sort, both are concerned with the plight of the poor in the face of the escalation of the Industrial Revolution. The Russian man has been giving a series of lectures to the people of Chicago; he is staying at the American woman's settlement house-Hull House. They are Jane Addams, Chicago's activist social worker (...) and Petr Kropotkin, Russian nobleman by birth, anarchist in politics, and naturalist by inclination. Each awaits publication of their first full-length book concerning politics and moral development: Democracy and Social Ethics (1902) on .. (shrink)
Intellectual historian Andrew Jewett sets an enormous task for himself: to trace the history and context of science and values relations over the course of some hundred-odd years of U.S. history. He does this to further an argument that science was once explicitly connected to the study of human values, and that the story that explains how science became value neutral is a contingent one. It could have happened differently, he argues, and it should have. Furthermore, because that history is (...) contingent, we are free to still change our academic habits and to allow the social sciences to be sciences alongside the natural and physical sciences. The reason this would be worth doing, according to Jewett, is.. (shrink)
This article examines literature from cultural anthropology for insights into ethics. It particularly addresses the moral issue of justly understanding those people different from oneself. Clifford Geertz, pragmatist as well as anthropologist, draws upon the rhetorical theory of Kenneth Burke in his 1988 book Works and Lives. Just this sort of cross-disciplinary borrowing offers resources for understanding what were once religiously-based ethics in a humanistic context. The rhetorical style of various cultural anthropologists serves to inform the rhetorical forms of appeal (...) of theistic and non- theistic ethics. (shrink)
This book details a pragmatic approach to the ethical and religious implications of a Darwinian perspective, drawing on the work of thinkers both secular and religious. The approach taken by James, Santayana, Addams, and Dewey should be of interest to scholars of religious naturalism and humanistic ethics.
The fact that Dewey was born the same year in which Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published is one of the historical coincidences most commonly mentioned by those interested in American philosophy. Such lack of originality—mine included—is perfectly justified by the fact that pragmatism would not exist, at least not as we know it, without Darwin. The intersection between philosophy and evolutionary theories has been amply explored. In this book, Beth L. Eddy offers us an additional (...) examination, focused, this time, on the contribution of Darwinism and pragmatism to ethics.Eddy begins by examining the context in which Darwinism emerged and the two contrasting ethical standpoints derived from it, namely... (shrink)
Thank God someone wrote this book. This reviewer has often wondered why there hasn't been more scholarship on the relationship between evolutionary theory, particularly Charles Darwin, and the early pragmatists. Since thinkers like John Dewey and Jane Addams often use the language of evolutionary theory in suggestive ways when discussing social-ethical matters, without explicating precisely where they hew to and depart from the theory itself, it's incumbent on their readers to articulate these relations. Eddy proves an excellent guide through (...) the diversity of evolutionary theory itself, and the diversity of responses to it, which serve as compelling intellectual groundwork for highlighting Dewey's and Addams's... (shrink)
This short book is a history of what might be called the Chicago school of pragmatist evolutionary ethics. It places John Dewey and Jane Addams in their late-nineteenth-century intellectual context, emphasizing in particular how they drew on the work of Herbert Spencer, Thomas Henry Huxley, and Peter Kropotkin. Eddy suggests in her introduction that because today’s “social climate” is similar in many respects to that of the United States circa 1900, pragmatism may offer “significant insights for our situation now” (...) (p. xi). Her overall thesis is that although the ethical approach of Dewey and Addams was sometimes marred by a commitment to “teleological progress” (p. 38), at its best it defended a “melioristic hope” (p. 119): we try to make the world better, but there are no guarantees. Although the book provides some helpful context for the ethical work of the Chicago pragmatists, Eddy does not convincingly show that Addams and Dewey ever saw progress as “teleological,” in the sense of inevitable movement toward a specific end. (shrink)
While much has been written on the cultural and intellectual antecedents that gave rise to Carolus Linnaeus?s herbarium and his Systema Naturae, the tools that he used to transform his raw observations into nomenclatural terms and categories have been neglected. Focusing on the Philosophia Botanica, the popular classification handbook that he published in 1751, it can be shown that Linnaeus cleverly ordered and reordered the work by employing commonplacing techniques that had been part of print culture since the Renaissance. Indeed, (...) the functional adaptability of commonplace heads allowed him to split and combine the book?s chapters and tables and played a notable conceptual role in the way in which he spatialized words and, to a certain extent, specimens. (shrink)
The fact that welfare rights – rights to food, shelter and medical care – will conflict with one another is often taken to be good reason to exclude welfare rights from the catalogue of genuine rights. Rather than respond to this objection by pointing out that all rights conflict, welfare rights proponents need to take the conflicts objection seriously. The existence of potentially conflicting and more weighty normative considerations counts against a claim’s status as a genuine right. To think otherwise (...) would be to threaten the peremptory force – and hence the analytical integrity – of rights. The conflicts objection is made more pressing once we have conceded that welfare rights give people entitlements to what are potentially scarce goods. I argue that welfare rights can survive the conflicts objection if, and only if, we take scarcity into account in the framing of a given welfare right. (shrink)
The karma-rebirth doctrine is one of the core doctrines of the Buddhist worldview. Some forms of Western Buddhism emphasize doctrinal study and meditation practice over traditional Buddhist elements that have their foundation in the karma-rebirth doctrine, such as merit-making practices and other forms of ritual. Conversely, the worldwide Gelugpa Tibetan Buddhist Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition encourages its affiliates to perform traditional ritual such as chanting and pujas to make merit for oneself and others, in addition to (...) attending teachings and developing a regular meditation practice. During their exploration of the FPMT's activities, participants undergo a process of experimental validation of the teachings and practices, in which they come to accept doctrinal notions in one of two ways: the notion's capacity to validate and give meaning to personal experience, or to lend conceptual support to the newly acquired framework of ideas. Utilizing data obtained from fieldwork undertaken between 2003 and 2006 at Vajrayana Institute, an FPMT centre in Sydney, Australia, I illustrate the way in which the karma-rebirth doctrine supports those aspects of the belief-system more capable of experiential validation through their capacity to frame and give meaning to personal experience. The acceptance of notions such as karma, rebirth and merit-making involves an interpretive shift from previously held notions about cause and effect and the nature of this-worldly existence, toward a Buddhist appreciation of these concepts. (shrink)
Another striking deviation with regard to philosophical tradition consists in the fact that contemporary schools in the philosophy of mathematics, with the exception again of Brouwer's intuitionism, hardly ever refer to mathematical thought.
This essay addresses mineral water as a medical, experimental and economic material. It focuses on the career of the Reverend Dr William Laing , a physician and cleric who wrote two pamphlets about the water of provincial spa located in Peterhead, a town on the north-east coast of Scotland. I begin by outlining his education and I then reconstruct the medical theory that guided his efforts to identify tonics in the well’s water. Next, I explain why Laing and several other (...) local inhabitants thought themselves to be authorities on the palliative power of the water and I close by showing how such effects were commodified by local entrepreneurs. Although I concentrate primarily upon Peterhead Spa, this study touches upon several issues relevant to the types of medical theory and chemical experimentation that were being used in provincial Scotland during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. (shrink)
Considering the role of space and place in Integral Ecology is presented as the concept of Integral Geography. First, an ecological AQAL model is proposed to situate the diverse scientific disciplines used in geography, giving equal consideration for their respective contributions in knowledge and understanding of the world. Second, a model for incorporating perspectives provided in the arts and humanities is proposed in situating scientific understanding in relation to aesthetic and cultural aspects of "being and becoming." Third, a Geographical Information (...) System (GIS) based map model illustrates how biophysical and social realities can be viewed and analyzed from a geographical perspective as "Integral places.". (shrink)
In a recent spate of reflective writings on the concept of human rights, philosophers have been concerned to firm up the analytical boundaries of human rights discourse, without excluding welfare rights from the catalogue. The article considers three of these recent attempts to `revalue the currency' of human rights: the agency conception, the pluralist conception, and the negative duties conception. It ultimately defends a `dignity-based' account of human rights, in which any number of human interests and values may ground a (...) right, but in which the failure to respect the right must constitute a threat to human dignity (one's sense of self-worth as a person) in order for it to count as a genuine human right. It further argues that a `dignity-based' account of human rights justifies a focus on the state as the agent against which human rights are held, and gives us reason to doubt that the state could adequately fulfil the human-rights-based duties it owes its citizens by simple forbearance. On the account offered here, the state may be said to violate the rights of its members, and to threaten their human dignity, when it fails to provide them with the means to realize their basic needs. Key Words: human dignity civil and political rights welfare rights social rights. (shrink)
In the nineteenth century, natural theology was ‘natural’ because the evidence was taken from direct observation of the natural world, or from observations made in the increasingly specialised settings of science. It was ‘theological’ because such evidence was interpreted in light of the attributes of God laid out in the Bible and in Christian doctrine. However, the extent to which the evidence of revelation was augmented or superseded by the facts provided by reason varied between authors. This chapter discusses how (...) different authors structured their design arguments, and shows that design arguments were increasingly recalibrated to incorporate new scientific evidence. But the basic premise of a theistically designed world also remained widely accepted by scientists and the reading public alike at the dawn of the twentieth century. (shrink)