Flew strongly defends a compatibilist thesis in the free will debate before going on to totally object to theistic libertarianism. His objections basically rely on his compatibilism embracing the notion of agent causation, which is not very common in compatibilist theses. Since he is a strong proponent of ordinary language philosophy, he also holds that linguistic analyses can certainly solve the free will problem as well as many other problems of philosophy. In doing so, he first uses the paradigm cases (...) based on our common sense experience and then assumes the verity of principle of alternative possibilities. This study attempts to show, on the one hand, that there are some serious difficulties in both his justification of compatibilism and his objections to theistic libertarianism, and on the other hand, that he cannot easily defend both at the same time. (shrink)
Collingwood wrote at a time when positivism was the dominant philosophical influence in British philosophy. Central to Collingwood's philosophical project was the task of rehabilitation of metaphysics against the backdrop of the positivistic deconstruction of metaphysics. Collingwood's defence of metaphysics is much nuanced in the sense that while Collingwood does not sympathize with the grandiose conception of metaphysics associated with traditional metaphysics he is nonetheless keen to argue for the possibility of metaphysics in some form by reconceptualising metaphysics as a (...) science of absolute presuppositions. Thus his reform of metaphysics is an answer to positivism at the same time an attempt to tone down the claims of metaphysics such as to bring it in accord with scientific rationality. Yet it remains to be seen whether Collingwood's rehabilitation of metaphysics is successful, so far as the so-called absolute presuppositions do not have any ontological bearing with the domain of reality as it is in-itself but are exclusively grounded as structural features of human rationality, writ large. In this sense, Collingwood's initiative appears to suffer from similar difficulties that bedevil its Kantian predecessor in reforming metaphysics in terms of the claims of his Copernican revolution in epistemology. (shrink)
Although the Cambridge Professor of Mental Philosophy and Logic James Ward was once one of Britain's most highly regarded Psychologists and Philosophers, today his work is unjustly neglected. This is because his philosophy is frequently misrepresented as a reactionary anti-naturalistic idealist theism. In this article, I argue, first, that this reading is false, and that by viewing Ward through the lens of pragmatism we obtain a fresh interpretation of his work that highlights the scientific nature of his philosophy and his (...) original and promising theory of ‘evolutionary Kantianism’, with its applications to the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaphysics. Second, I show that reading Ward as a pragmatist provides us with (1) a more complex history of the reception of pragmatism at Cambridge at the turn of the twentieth century than the straightforwardly hostile one traditionally told; and (2) a more detailed understanding of the wide range of philosophical problems to which pragmatism was deemed at this time to have an appropriate application. (shrink)
This investigation is a historical review of twentieth-century analytical philosophy in England. In seven chapters, the intellectual development of its most prominent representatives - Moore, Russell, Wittgenstein, Ryle, Austin, Strawson, Dummett - is traced. The book does not however aim to tell a story. Instead, it offers synopses of the main philosophical texts of these seven philosophers. The chief reason for adopting this approach was the wish to first of all cover as many of the problems discussed by them as (...) possible, and secondly to view these problems in juxtaposition. The study was thus conceived as a comprehensive and most objective review of the history of analytical philosophy as practised in England. The hope is that it will serve as a reference book covering all the central problems discussed by these seven authors. (shrink)
As described elsewhere in this issue of BJHS, preliminary steps towards founding a society for the history of science in Britain were taken in 1946. A meeting was held at the Science Museum, London, on 22 November 1946, chaired by Herbert Dingle, at which Gavin de Beer formally proposed the foundation of a history of science society, seconded by Michael Roberts. A provisional committee was appointed to draw up rules and a constitution.