On July 14, 1866 Franz Brentano stepped up to the pulpit to defend his thesis that “the true method of philosophy is none other than that of the natural sciences”. This thesis bound his first students to him and became the north star of his school, against the complex background of the progress and specialization of the natural sciences as well as the growth and professionalization of universities. I will discuss the project of the renewal of philosophy as science (...) in the School of Brentano and how this aimed to provide a scientific foundation for the humanities independently from the natural sciences, while preserving the unity of science. Through his well-known re-introduction of the concept of intentionality as criterion to distinguish internal and external perception, Brentano was able to supply an empirical foundation for the Geisteswissenschaften. While philosophy would use the method of natural science, its domain would not be nature, but consciousness: a full-blooded science of the mind that did not require a reduction to the physical in order to be scientific. Brentano’s science of consciousness was empirical, but not experimental, and relied on subjective methods, but was not introspective. Brentano’s students Carl Stumpf, Anton Marty, Alexius Meinong, Christian von Ehrenfels, Edmund Husserl and others came to occupy important chairs in philosophy throughout Europe. While they were certainly not all orthodox followers, they adapted and spread his theories far and wide in the schools and movements they founded and influenced: Gestalt psychology, Prague linguistics, phenomenology, etc.. Moreover, the 19th century idea of scientific research as a collaborative and collective achievement led to a division of labor in Brentano’s school. Each of his students was meant to work out a part of the greater whole: Stumpf, the philosophy of sound and music; Marty, language; Meinong the history of philosophy; Husserl, mathematics; etc. Yet all of them also contributed to the shared project of the renewal of philosophy as science and discussed the (foundational) relation of philosophy to other sciences in programmatic works. Though often forgotten and overlooked due to contingent historical circumstances, the scientific paradigm of the School of Brentano was very fruitful and highly influential in philosophy and the human sciences in general, throughout the second half of the 19th and into the 20th centuries. Yet it is relevant then as now to preserve the independent scientific dignity of the humanities. (shrink)
What Science Offers the Humanities examines some of the deep problems facing the study of culture. It focuses on the excesses of postmodernism, but also acknowledges serious problems with postmodernism's harshest critics. In short, Edward Slingerland argues that in order for the humanities to progress, its scholars need to take seriously contributions from the natural sciences - and particular research on human cognition - which demonstrate that any separation of the mind and the body is entirely untenable. (...) The author provides suggestions for how humanists might begin to utilize these scientific discoveries without conceding that science has the last word on morality, religion, art, and literature. Calling into question such deeply entrenched dogmas as the 'blank slate' theory of nature, strong social constructivism, and the ideal of disembodied reason, What Science Offers the Humanities replaces the human-sciences divide with a more integrated approach to the study of culture. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 29 - 50 This essay discusses progress and directionality, both in nature, in science and in society, treating as its starting-point the reflections, parallelisms and comparisons of Ruse’s essay, ‘A Threefold Parallelism for Our Time? Progressive Development in Society, Science and the Organic World’, but reaching substantially different conclusions. The essay thus ranges over progress and directionality in the world of natural evolution, in the sciences and the humanities, and in (...) history and society. It defends non-relative progress in science and the humanities, criticising here both the approach to these disciplines of the strongly evolutionary epistemology of Hull and the more moderate evolutionary epistemology of Ruse. It further defends the possibility of progress and directionality in history and society, and also, following Rolston, in the course of evolution within the world of nature, where the kind of directionality to be found has multiple directions rather than being unilinear. Subsequently it relates conclusions about these fields to theological reflections about the creation of nature and society by a value-loving intelligence. (shrink)
Whenever we try to make an inventory of humankind’s store of knowledge, we stumble into an ongoing battle between what CP Snow called ‘the two cultures’. On one side are the humanities, on the other are the sciences (natural and physical), with social science and philosophy caught somewhere in the middle. This is more than a turf dispute among academics. It strikes at the core of what we mean by human knowledge.
From Knowledge to Wisdom argues that there is an urgent need, for both intellectual and humanitarian reasons, to bring about a revolution in science and the humanities. The outcome would be a kind of academic inquiry rationally devoted to helping humanity learn how to create a better world. Instead of giving priority to solving problems of knowledge, as at present, academia would devote itself to helping us solve our immense, current global problems – climate change, war, poverty, population (...) growth, pollution... of sea, earth and air, destruction of natural habitats and rapid extinction of species, injustice, tyranny, proliferation of armaments, conventional, chemical, biological and nuclear, depletion of natural resources. The basic intellectual aim of inquiry would be to seek and promote wisdom – wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. This second edition has been revised throughout, has additional material, a new introduction and three new chapters. (shrink)
The book addresses a set of contemporary issues involving knowledge and science from a constructivist-pragmatist perspective often labeled "relativism." As it demonstrates, what that perspective implies are neither absurd claims nor objectionable positions but an ongoing alertness to contingency, complexity, and multiplicity that is both intellectually and ethically valuable. In an extended examination of recent writings by Bruno Latour, I indicate the increasing centrality of theological investments in his work. Discussing computational methods in literary studies and efforts to "integrate" (...) the academic disciplines, I suggest that what distinguishes the humanities and the natural sciences are neither subject areas nor "methods" as such but fundamental epistemic orientations.. Finally, declining calls to reaffirm or rehabilitate philosophical realism in the face of denials of climate change, I suggest that the most illuminating perspectives for conceptualization and practice in the Anthropocene are precisely those labeled, but commonly mischaracterized as, “relativist.” -/- . (shrink)
The National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States, like many other funding agencies all over the globe, has made large investments in interdisciplinary research in the sciences and engineering, arguing that interdisciplinary research is an essential resource for addressing emerging problems, resulting in important social benefits. Using NSF as a case study for problem that might be relevant in other contexts as well, I argue that the NSF itself poses a significant barrier to such research in not sufficiently (...) appreciating the value of the humanities as significant interdisciplinary partners. This essay focuses on the practices of philosophy as a highly valuable but currently under-appreciated partner in achieving the goals of interdisciplinary research. This essay advances a proposal for developing deeper and wider interdisciplinary research in the sciences through coupled ethical-epistemological research. I argue that this more robust model of interdisciplinary practice will lead to better science by providing resources for understanding the types of value decisions that are entrenched in research models and methods, offering resources for identifying the ethical implications of research decisions, and providing a lens for identifying the questions that are ignored, under-examined, and rendered invisible through scientific habit or lack of interest. In this way, we will have better science both in the traditional sense of advancing knowledge by building on and adding to our current knowledge as well as in the broader sense of science for the good of, namely, scientific research that better benefits society. (shrink)
(1993). Managing the future: Science, the Humanities, and the myth of omniscience. World Futures: Vol. 38, Theoretical Achievements and Practical Applications of General Evolutionary Theory, pp. 157-164.
The present essay discusses a notorious rhetoric means familiar to all scholars in the social sciences and humanities including philosophy: name-dropping. Defined as the excessive over-use of authoritative names, I argue that it is a pernicious practice leading to collective disorientation in spoken discourse. First, I discuss name-dropping in terms of informal logic as an ad verecundiam-type fallacy. Insofar this perspective proves to lack contextual sensitivity, name-dropping is portrayed in Goffman’s terms as a more general social practice. By narrowing (...) down the focus to social science and the humanities, the essay emphasizes its function of discursive legitimation. This view, I argue, is incomplete because it overlooks the basic mechanism beneath. Names not only provide legitimation of but also orientation in discourse. Consequently, two tipping points—detour and disorientation—are proposed as benchmarks for it to become problematic. The conclusion re-widens the argument’s scope by suggesting questions for future inquiries. (shrink)
Criteria of the growth of knowledge proposed in modern philosophy of science are considered. It is argued that the model of growth that fits the peculiarities of social sciences&humanities is provided by the methodology of scientific research programmes. Yet one has to correct some drawbacks. The author concludes that the real growth of knowledge consists in the growth of causal explanations and in the corresponding growth of empirical content of the theories from superseeding scientific research programmes. -/- Key (...) words: R.Rorty, M.Weber,N.Cartwright -/- . (shrink)
At present the basic intellectual aim of academic inquiry is to improve knowledge. Much of the structure, the whole character, of academic inquiry, in universities all over the world, is shaped by the adoption of this as the basic intellectual aim. But, judged from the standpoint of making a contribution to human welfare, academic inquiry of this type is damagingly irrational. Three of four of the most elementary rules of rational problem-solving are violated. A revolution in the aims and methods (...) of academic in-quiry is needed so that the basic aim becomes to promote wisdom, conceived of as the capacity to realize what is of value, for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. This urgently needed revolution would affect every branch and aspect of the academic enterprise. (shrink)
This paper examines the often overlooked parallels between the critical theory of the German Frankfurt School and Science and Technology Studies in Britain, as an attempt to articulate a critique of science as a social phenomenon. The cultural aspect of the German and British arguments is in focus, especially the role attributed to the humanities in balancing cultural and techno-scientific values in society. Here, we draw parallels between the German argument and the Two Cultures debate in Britain. (...) The third and final purpose of the paper is to explain why these efforts in support of the humanities would in the end prove fruitless, even somewhat self-defeating. The key factor is the instrumentalist analysis of science adopted in both arguments, which played into the hands of the emergent “entrepreneurial university” with its strengthened emphasis upon the economico-technological aspect of science and consequent neglect of the humanities. (shrink)
Research Ethics Committees or Institutional Review Boards are rapidly becoming indispensable mechanisms in the overall workings of university institutions. In fact, the ethical dimension is an important aspect of research governance processes present in institutions of higher learning. However, it is often deemed that research in the social sciences do not require ethical appraisal or clearance, because of the alleged absence of harm in conducting such research. This is an erroneous and dangerous assumption given that research in social sciences poses (...) various and complex dilemmas related to ethics. The article aims to gauge the importance of ethical appraisal at a particular institution of higher learning’s Faculty of Humanities. This is done by scrutinising its defunct REC, and the views that Heads of Departments of the Faculty have of ethics in research and the need for ethical appraisal by this REC. Finally, some suggestions are made to proceed to review and restructure the current REC with the ultimate objective to make it functional again. It was found that the development and discussion around ethics in research and ethical appraisal are part of a much needed thrust to sensitise the entire Faculty and the institution on the widespread beneficial repercussions of ethical awareness in research and beyond. (shrink)
As the number of medical and health humanities degree programs in the United States rapidly increases, it is especially timely to consider the range of specific disciplinary perspectives that might benefit students enrolled in these programs. This paper discusses the inclusion of one such perspective from the field of Science and Technology Studies The author asserts that STS benefits students in the medical and health humanities in four particular ways, by: challenging the “progress narrative” around the advancement (...) of biomedicine as scientific practice, evaluating the meaning of technology, especially in how technology orients us towards sickness and how health technology is in turn shaped by social and cultural values, assessing the plurality of biomedical epistemologies, rather than assuming biomedicine is one, cohesive body of knowledge that does not differ across contexts, and critiquing bias in biomedical practice and science, especially in the marginalization of women’s voices and in the racial and postcolonial trajectories of contemporary biomedicine. The paper discusses the theoretical importance of these four trajectories to the medical and health humanities, as well as the venues for inclusion of STS within coursework and programming at Case Western Reserve University. The paper also comments on how programming at other institutions might be adapted to incorporate STS scholarship. By drawing on numerous examples of research in the anthropology, sociology, history, and the philosophy of science, this article seeks to open a conversation about the value of science and technology studies to health humanities pedagogy. (shrink)
The relationship between philosophy and the community has become relevant again. It has been the government itself, in the form of public science agencies, which has turned to philosophy and the humanities for help, rather than vice versa. Since 1990, US federal science agencies * agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation * have steadily increased their support of social science and humanities research. This support is all the (...) more striking in that it has happened at a time when federal support for direct humanities research, through the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, has declined. The times demand a corollary to the field of science policy. Just as science policy seeks to offer a systematic evaluation of how science contribute to decision making, humanities policy can methodically investigate how the humanities can better contribute to policy making and how it can help science and technology take better account of societal values. (shrink)
1. A Historical Look at Unity 2. Field Guide to Modern Concepts of Reduction and Unity 3. Kitcher's Revisionist Account of Unification 4. Critics of Unity 5. Integration Instead of Unity 6. Reduction via Mechanisms 7. Case Studies in Reduction and Unification across the Disciplines.
The paideia of modernity is now in crisis. What is needed is a deeper, global understanding of the human being, and a broader determination of its ends and needs. Such a picture of the human being, its life, its real problems and expectations, can be called a paideia, in a sense that is the hard core of the different modulations this concept has received during its long history. It is suggested that this new paideia will be of service to humanity (...) only insofar as it bridges the gap between the sciences and the humanities, between facts and values. (shrink)
Ethical questions posed by emerging technologies call for greater understanding of their societal, economic, and environmental aspects by policymakers, citizens, and the engineers and applied scientists at the heart of their development and application. This article reports on the efforts of one research project that assessed the growth of critical thinking and awareness of these multiple aspects in undergraduate engineering and applied science students, with specific regard to nanotechnology. Students in two required courses, a first-year writing and engineering ethics (...) course and a second-year social science course, went through nanotechnology modules as a part of their regular coursework. In the first-year humanities course, we observed self-reported increases in risk awareness, significant educational impact of the module, and a greater awareness of nanotechnology’s applications and social context. In the second-year social science course, we noted changes in risk/benefit analysis as well as in the character and depth of students’ historical analysis, but no change in comparative awareness of other topics, including labor issues and corporate motivations. (shrink)
Un requisito para demostrar la vigencia de un programa de posgrado es la evaluación de su pertinencia social. El presente trabajo tiene como objetivo describir los resultados de la evaluación de la pertinencia social del programa de maestría Humanidades Médicas. Se muestran sus características esenciales derivadas de los procesos realizados en el Centro para el Desarrollo de las Ciencias Sociales y Humanísticas en Salud; se define la pertinencia social y sus indicadores como conceptos esenciales para la evaluación de los procesos (...) del posgrado; por último, se presenta la metodología y su aplicación en el proceso de evaluación. Se realizó triangulación metodológica de fuentes de datos provenientes de encuestas y entrevistas a profesores, maestrantes de la edición actual y de egresados; además, datos de los informes de autoevaluación y de la comisión técnica en el proceso de evaluación externa para la acreditación acaecida en marzo de 2016. A requisite for demonstrating the validity of a postgraduate program is the assessment of its social relevance. This work aims to describe evaluative results related to the social relevance of the Masters of Science in Medical Humanities degree. The evaluation process was carried out in the Health Humanities and Social Sciences Development Centre of Camaguey. Social relevance and related indicators were defined and considered for this specific master's degree level evaluation. The methodology and its application in the evaluation process are presented. Data triangulation between surveys collected and interviews granted from faculty, current students of the Medical Humanities program, and graduates of the department was utilized. Additionally, data from self-evaluation reports and from the external evaluation technical commission for accreditation in March 2016 were considered in the data triangulation. (shrink)
By comparing objects of science, such as the brain, the galaxy, the amoeba, and the quark, with objects of humanistic inquiry, such as the poem, the photograph, the belief, and the philosophical concept, Volney Gay reestablishes a ...
At present the basic intellectual aim of academic inquiry is to improve knowledge. Much of the structure, the whole character, of academic inquiry, in universities all over the world, is shaped by the adoption of this as the basic intellectual aim. But, judged from the standpoint of making a contribution to human welfare, academic inquiry of this type is damagingly irrational. Three of four of the most elementary rules of rational problem-solving are violated. A revolution in the aims and methods (...) of academic inquiry is needed so that the basic aim becomes to promote wisdom, conceived of as the capacity to realize what is of value, for oneself and others, thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides. This urgently needed revolution would affect every branch and aspect of the academic enterprise. (shrink)
The following discussion considers three aspects of the Sciences-versus-Humanities divide: the historical evolution of disciplines in the modern period through the beginning of the twenty-first century; the epistemology of the sciences versus that of the Humanities as defined and practiced in that same period; and the ways in which the two cultures interact with each other and with religion and faith today. It finds that while it may feel ancient and natural, the historical divide between what are called (...) the Humanities and the Sciences is really quite new and contingent; that no single “scientific” epistemology exists but rather many “epistemic virtues” replace each other over time, often overlapping between the Sciences and Humanities, and that, finally, as the Humanities/sciences divide increasingly weakens or becomes complicated, as is happening today, knowledge and faith are juxtaposed to a greater degree. (shrink)
Philosophy should avoid isolation, and should return to being curious and enthusiastic about explanation: about why- and how possibly-questions. The analytic and continental philosophical cultures should establish a dialogue, where each side brings out the distinctive qualities of its work while widening the scope of its concerns.
In the seventh chapter of his extraordinary book The Objective Eye, John Hyman offers various criticisms of Richard Wollheim’s theory of pictorial depiction.1 My immediate purpose in this short piece is to make the case that these criticisms fail. By no means do I claim that there are not other criticisms to be made against Wollheim’s theory or that Hymans’s book as a whole fails—not in its overarching attempt to rescue the objectivity of art from subjectivist views or, more narrowly, (...) that Hyman’s theory of depiction fails. My claim is merely that Wollheim’s theory emerges relatively unscathed by the criticisms in Hyman’s Chapter 7, even if it is vulnerable on other grounds or incompatible with Hyman’s... (shrink)
Progress and the values it secretes Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9519-8 Authors Hugh Lacey, Department of Philosophy, Swarthmore College, 500 College Ave, Swarthmore, PA 19081, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Commercialization threatens to change the character of the university in ways that limit its freedom, sap its effectiveness, and lower its standing in society. [...] The problems come so gradually and silently that their link to commercialization may not even be perceived. Like individuals who experiment with drugs, therefore, campus officials may believe that they can proceed without serious risk.Derek Bok, Universities in the Marketplace, Princeton 2003.
ABSTRACTCan we imagine a Blue Humanities that takes the non-relation as a starting point for ecological thought? I believe we can. Following Shakespeare and Deleuze, this essay engages in a thought experiment that, if it is not too absurd, might, like the ship of fools of medieval times, unmoor the Blue Humanities from its current safe harbor by putting the thought of ‘our’ world under erasure. This is not a matter of turning thought around, such that, by turning (...) to the sea, we turn thought away from calculation and instrumental reason and rediscover our true nature. Rather, the image of thought I pursue here is narcissistic. Reading Shakespeare and Deleuze in a minor key, we will see that narcissism not only makes our relations doubtful, but also enfolds the non-relation as the very inside/outside of ecological thought. (shrink)
Empirical adequacy is a central notion in van Fraassen's empiricist view of science. I argue that van Fraassen's account of empirical adequacy in terms of a partial isomorphism between certain structures in some model of the theory and certain actual structures in the world, is untenable. The empirical adequacy of a theory can only be tested in the context of an accepted practice of observation. But because the theory itself does not determine the correct practice of observation, its failure (...) to pass the test does not show the failure of an isomorphism between the empirical substructure of some model of the theory and observable structures in nature. Further, because the choice of a practice of observation is a pragmatic one grounded in epistemic goals we seek in observation, van Fraassen's anthropocentric view of observability is epistemically unmotivated. (shrink)