This work is an essential introduction to the vast body of writing about history, from classical Greece and Rome to the contemporary world. M.C. Lemon maps out key debates and central concepts of philosophy of history placing principal thinkers in the context of their times and schools of thought. Lemon explains the crucial differences between speculative philosophy as an n enquiry into the course and meaning of history and analytic philosophy of history as relating to the nature and (...) methods of history as a discipline. After providing a guide to the principal thinkers from pre-historical times to the present, the book goes on to present a critical summary of the leading issues raised by critical theorists of history, incorporating topics such as objectivity, ideology, historical explanation and narrative. (shrink)
If the a priori is the proper subject matter of transcendental philosophy, then the problems of the a priori are also problems for transcendental philosophy. the idea that defines transcendental philosophy is the idea that there are stable general structures which are discernible in experience, provide the foundations of our knowledge of it, and collectively constitute an a priori which transcends experience and informs it. the a priori is traditionally conceived as a nexus of relations which is held to be (...) logically/temporally prior to experience and responsible for its organization. in this essay, i challenge this traditional (kantian) understanding of the a priori and set forth an alternative to it based on the writings of maurice merleau-ponty. the intent is to provide a new conception of transcendental philosophy. (shrink)
This essay traces the ontological and political limits of Bruno Latour’s conceptualization of the ‘common world’. Latour formulates this concept in explicating how modernist scientific and political institutions require a metaphysical foundation that is anti-democratic in rigidly partitioning nature from society. In the stead of nature/society, Latour proposes a ‘cosmopolitics’ in which we recognize our embroilment in systems comprised of heterogeneous human and nonhuman actors, and seek to innovate appropriate procedures for governing such systems and composing a more peaceful common (...) world. However, feminist and postcolonialist science studies scholars have argued that Latour’s project fails to apprehend the experiences of subjects marginalized by scientific and political structures of representation. Thus, science studies scholars seem to be faced with a problem; to avoid ontological dissonance and contradiction in integrating Latour’s program with feminist and postcolonialist critiques we must defer his claims that the cosmopolitical program entirely supersedes contemporary social movements and oppositional politics. I offer an alternative. Namely, I argue that Latour’s formulations of cosmopolitics’ procedures and the common world’s boundaries actually require an incipient model of the limits of democratic representation. I modify Latour’s proposed system of representation by reading it against Dipesh Chakrabarty’s concept of ‘subaltern pasts’, which are unassimilable to academic historical narratives . This reading emphasizes how Latour does not adequately theorize and politicize the partially autonomous reality of those excluded from the common world and thus fails to attend to how this externalization replicates the violence of modernist representational institutions. (shrink)
The twentieth-century composer Igor Stravinsky’s setting of the psalms can resonate with faithful communities today that find themselves in complex and often confusing relationships with God. In the Symphony of Psalms, Stravinsky’s use of Scripture shapes the listener’s sense of the Psalter as a whole and can lead worshipers in an honest, bold alleluia.
This critical interpretation shows Derridian thought to be permeated by a semiology that reduces all meaning to the signification of signs thus challenging the philosophy of deconstruction at its roots.
This article argues that the turn to the animal is a return to mythology. By reading multispecies scholarship as narrativization of contemporary mythology, I claim that the field voices anxieties about human futures through figures of animal others. Multispecies ethnography implicitly grapples with an apocalyptic mythos prevailing in the wake of modernity’s seemingly abandoned dreams. I reconsider the cultural function of multispecies research through two moves. First, I read Thom van Dooren’s Theory, Culture & Society article on ‘Authentic Crows’ as (...) such a quasi-allegorical account. Second, I develop how animal anthropology captures the contemporary mythos in an ‘affirmationist’ register that counters the pessimistic affect of late industrialism. Ultimately, the critical politics of such research may be redeemed through efforts to work closely with scientists and to render explicit the accounts’ situatedness within late-industrial mythology. (shrink)
A new human life comes into being not when there is mere cellular life in a human embryo, but when the newly developing body organs and systems begin to function as a whole, the author argues. This is symmetrical with the dealth of an existing human life, which occurs when its organs and systems have permanently ceased to function as a whole. Thus a new human life cannot begin until the development of a functioning brain which has begun to co-ordinate (...) and organise the activities of the body as a whole. (shrink)
Because of cultural differences between East and West, any attempt at outright adaptation of Western ideas in Asia will undoubtly encounter problems, if not rejection. Transferring an idea from one place to another is just like transplanting an organ from a donor to a recipient—rejection is to be expected. Human cultures respond to new ideas from different value systems in very much the same way.Recently, biomedical ethics has received much attention in Asia. Fundamental advances in medicine have motivated medical scientists (...) to look at the ethical issues arising from this progress. Will the principles upheld by the bioethicists in the West meet the challenge in Asia? This article argues that Asian bioethicists must develop a bioethics responding to their own cultural contexts. If Western principles are adopted, then they must be re-interpreted and even modified, if necessary, in light of Asian beliefs. (shrink)
This article argues that the early Christian ?order of widows? provides a fruitful model for Christian ethicists struggling to address the medical and social problems of elderly women today. After outlining the precarious state of the ?almanah? - or widow - in biblical times, it describes the emergence of the order of widows in the early Church. Turning to the contemporary situation, it argues that demographics both in the United States and around the globe suggest that meeting the needs of (...) elderly women will become an enormous challenge in the years to come. The order of widows illustrates a three-fold conception of solidarity that has immediate implications today. That conception of solidarity encourages us: 1) to identify the unique medical needs of elderly women (e.g., osteoporosis); 2) to find ways of overcoming their societal isolation, which can increase their risk of medical and psychological problems; and 3) to develop strategies for enabling them to remain contributing members of the community for as long as possible. This essay is a slightly revised version of a keynote address given by the author at a conference on ?Women?s Health and Human Rights? held in Rome, Italy in February 1998 and sponsored by the Vatican, Georgetown University, and the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. The proceedings of that conference were published in Italy by the Società Editrice Universo-Roma in a volume entitled Women?s Health Issues, edited by Spagnolo and Gambino (2003). (shrink)
The lore is that standard information theory provides an analysis of information quantity, but not of information content. I argue this lore is incorrect, and there is an adequate informational semantics latent in standard theory. The roots of this notion of content can be traced to the secret parallel development of an information theory equivalent to Shannon’s by Turing at Bletchley Park, and it has been suggested independently in recent work by Skyrms and Bullinaria and Levy. This paper explicitly articulates (...) the semantics latent in information theory and defends it as an adequate theory of information content, or natural meaning. I argue that this theory suggests a new perspective on the classic misrepresentation worry for correlation-based semantics. (shrink)
This paper considers the Bayesian form of the fine-tuning argument as advanced by Richard Swinburne. An expository section aims to identify the precise character of the argument, and three lines of objection are then advanced. The first of these holds that there is an inconsistency in Swinburne's procedure, the second that his argument has an unacceptable dependence on an objectivist theory of value, the third that his method is powerless to single out traditional theism from a vast number of competitors. (...) In the final section of the paper the fine-tuning argument is considered, not now as self-standing, but as one of a number of theistic arguments taken together and applied in the manner of the final chapter of Swinburne's The Existence of God. It is argued that points already made also block the way for this line of thought. (shrink)
Physicians have an ethical responsibility to their patients to offer the best available medical care. This responsibility conflicts with their role as gatekeepers of the limited health care resources available for all patients collectively. It is ethically untenable to expect doctors to face this trade-off during each patient encounter; the physician cannot be expected to compromise the wellbeing of the patient in the office in favour of anonymous patients elsewhere. Hence, as in other domains of public policy where individual and (...) collective interests conflict, some form of collective solution is required. Collective solutions may take the form of placing explicit resource constraints on resources available to physicians, or clinical practice guidelines that recognise cost-effective care as acceptable. Such solutions will be politically and ethically sustainable only if patients as citizens of the larger population accept the need for rationing of limited resources in health care. (shrink)
The effects of school inspections on school improvement have been investigated only to a limited degree. The investigation reported on in this article is meant to expand our knowledge base regarding the impact of school inspections on school improvement. The theoretical framework for this research is partly based on the policy theory behind the Dutch Educational School Supervision Act (the latter includes assumptions about how school inspections lead to school improvement). Interviews and a survey with school inspectors gave insight into (...) how school inspectors implement the Supervision Act and how they assess schools, and stimulate schools to improve. The results of ten case studies showed that all schools started to improve after a school visit. The innovation capacity of the school and the school environment do not seem to contribute to school improvement after school inspections. No effects were found on school-improvement processes of the number of insufficient scores that schools received from inspectors, the extent of feedback and suggestions for improvement, and the number of agreements. The provision of feedback about weaknesses, the assessment of these weak points as unsatisfactory, and the agreements between an inspector and the school regarding improvement activities do appear to make a difference in promoting school improvement. (shrink)
The requirement of gauge invariance for the Schwinger-DeWitt equations, interpreted as a manifestly covariant quantum theory for the evolution of a system in spacetime, implies the existence of a five-dimensional pre-Maxwell field on the manifold of spacetime and “proper time” τ. The Maxwell theory is contained in this theory; integration of the field equations over τ restores the Maxwell equations with the usual interpretation of the sources. Following Schwinger's techniques, we study the Green's functions for the five-dimensional hyperbolic field equations (...) for both signatures ± [corresponding to O(4, 1) or O(3, 2) symmetry of the field equations] of the proper time derivative. The classification of the Green's functions follows that of the four-dimensional theory for “massive” fields, for which the “mass” squared may be positive or negative, respectively. The Green's functions for the five-dimensional field are then given by the Fourier transform over the “mass” parameter. We derive the Green's functions corresponding to the principal part ΔP and the homogeneous function Δ 1 ; all of the Green's functions can be expressed in terms of these, as for the usual field equations with definite mass. In the O(3, 2) case, the principal part function has support for x2⩾τ2, corresponding to spacelike propagation, as well as along the light cone x2=0 (for τ=0). There can be no transmission ofinformation in spacelike directions, with this propagator, since the Maxwell field, obtained by integration over τ, does not contain this component of the support. Measurements are characterized by such an integration. The spacelike field therefore can dynamically establish spacelike correlations. (shrink)
According to the standard account, to hope for an outcome is to desire it and to believe that its realization is possible, though not inevitable. This account, however, faces certain difficulties: It cannot explain how people can display differing strengths in hope; it cannot distinguish hope from despair; and it cannot explain substantial hopes. This paper proposes an account of hope that can meet these deficiencies. Briefly, it argues that in addition to possessing the relevant belief–desire structure as allowed in (...) the standard account, a hopeful person must also be able to see a way in which the desired outcome can come about and to see such a way to the outcome as a genuine possibility. (shrink)
It is shown that there is no satisfactory first-order characterization of those subsets of ω 2 that have closed unbounded subsets in ω 1 , ω 2 and GCH preserving outer models. These “anticharacterization” results generalize to subsets of successors of uncountable regular cardinals. Similar results are proved for trees of height and cardinality κ + and for partitions of [ κ + ] 2 , when κ is an infinite cardinal.
It is proved (Theorem 1) that if 0♯ exists, then any constructible forcing property which over L adds no reals, over V collapses an uncountable L-cardinal to cardinality ω. This improves a theorem of Foreman, Magidor, and Shelah. Also, a method for approximating this phenomenon generically is found (Theorem 2). The strategy is first to reduce the problem of `disabling' forcing properties to that of specializing certain trees in a weak sense.
A frequent objection to the fine-tuning argument has been that although certain necessary conditions for life were admittedly exceedingly improbable, still, the many possible alternative sets of conditions were all equally improbable, so that no special significance is to be attached to the realization of the conditions of life. Some authors, however, have rejected this objection as fallacious. The object of this paper is to state the objection to the fine-tuning argument in a more telling form than has been done (...) hitherto, and to meet the charge of fallacy. (shrink)
In this paper we will show that Hempel's covering law model can't deal very well with explanations that are based on incomplete knowledge. In particular the symmetry thesis, which is an important aspect of the covering law model, turns out to be problematic for these explanations. We will discuss an example of an electric circuit, which clearly indicates that the symmetry of explanation and prediction does not always hold. It will be argued that an alternative logic for causal explanation is (...) needed. And we will investigate to what extent non-monotonic epistemic logic can provide such an alternative logical framework. Finally we will show that our non-monotonic logical analysis of explanation is not only suitable for simple cases such as the electric circuit, but that it also sheds new light on more controversial causal explanations such as Milton Friedman's explanation of the business cycle. (shrink)
Open-mindedness is an under-explored topic in virtue epistemology, despite its assumed importance for the field. Questions about it abound and need to be answered. For example, what sort of intellectual activities are central to it? Can one be open-minded about one's firmly held beliefs? Why should we strive to be open-minded? This paper aims to shed light on these and other pertinent issues. In particular, it proposes a view that construes open-mindedness as engagement, that is, a willingness to entertain novel (...) ideas in one's cognitive space and to accord them serious consideration. (shrink)
The first part of this paper examines the practice of informed treatment decisions in the protective medical system in China today. The second part examines how health care professionals in China perceive and carry out their responsibilities when relaying information to vulnerable patients, based on the findings of an empirical study that I had undertaken to examine the moral experience of nurses in practice situations. In the Chinese medical ethics tradition, refinement [jing] in skills and sincerity [cheng] in relating to (...) patients are two cardinal virtues that health care professionals are required to possess. This notion of absolute sincerity carries a strong sense of parental protectiveness. The empirical findings reveal that most nurses are ambivalent about telling the truth to patients. Truth-telling would become an insincere act if a patient were to lose hope and confidence in life after learning of his or her disease. In this system of protective medical care, it is arguable as to whose interests are being protected: the patient, the family or the hospital. I would suggest that the interests of the hospital and the family members who legitimately represent the patient's interests are being honoured, but at the expense of the patient's right to know. (shrink)
We give an example of a countable theory $T$ such that for every cardinal $\lambda \geq \aleph_2$ there is a fully indiscernible set $A$ of power $\lambda$ such that the principal types are dense over $A$, yet there is no atomic model of $T$ over $A$. In particular, $T$ is a theory of size $\lambda$ where the principal types are dense, yet $T$ has no atomic model.
The claim that similarity plays a role in representation has been philosophically discredited. Psychologists, however, routinely analyse the success of mental representations for guiding behaviour in terms of a similarity between representation and the world. I provide a foundation for this practice by developing a philosophically responsible account of the relationship between similarity and representation in natural systems. I analyse similarity in terms of the existence of a suitable homomorphism between two structures. The key insight is that by restricting attention (...) to only those homomorphisms induced by causal processes, we can solve two philosophical problems with a single assumption. First, causal structure provides an adequate source for the bias required to ensure the similarity relation is non-trivial; second, it provides an adequate source for the directionality required to move from similarity to representation. I defend this account against objections by Goodman and van Fraassen and demonstrate that it is indeed the account of similarity’s role in representation assumed by psychological practice. (shrink)