This provocative but persuasive book is essentially a radical attack upon the Humean conception of causality and the presentation and defense of a counter-theory, closer to everyday experience and pre-Humean traditional views. As formulated by empiricist philosophers, the Humean approach depends on two basic postulates. The philosophical analysis of any non-empirical concept must be a formal explication; any residue elements have to be accounted for in terms of their psychological origins. The world as experienced can be conceived adequately as a (...) logically independent system of things or flux of events, without the unwarranted assumption that individuals persist diachronically. As the grounds for undermining these assumptions, the authors develop a conception of causes as "powerful particulars," i.e., things which have both a nature and powers. So long as the nature remains unchanged the agent in question will continue to behave in this fashion with a natural necessity, stemming from the individual’s nature and specific powers. The opening chapter discusses the problem of conceptual and natural necessity—as distinct from logical necessity which alone is allowed by the Humean empiricists. Natural necessity is the mark of the relationship between real causes and their respective effects, whereas conceptual necessity characterizes the way our statements about such are themselves related. Later the irreducibility of natural necessity is emphasized and its differences from logical entailment spelled out. Chapter two takes up the subject of the "regularity theory and its allies." Characteristic of such are two claims: the empirical content of a causal-relationship statement is exhausted by the actual or hypothetical regularity between independent entities, and the necessity ordinarily attributed to causal production is an illusion, to be accounted for in various ways. Subsequent chapters are devoted to assaulting the pillars of the Humean notion either directly or indirectly through an illuminating and attractive account of their own theory of nature, causal powers, and natural necessity. The final chapter, entitled "Fields of Potential," indulges in speculation about the nature of ultimate entities on the basis of an extended generalization of the notion of the powerful individual, and concludes with a brief account of the historical antecedents of Faraday’s modern field theory and the metaphysical implications of a generalized field theory.—A.B.W. (shrink)
Sixteen articles by fifteen authors, two of which, the ones by Plantinga and Kenny, have never appeared in this form before. Three of the selections have been translated for the first time from French: those by B. A. O. Williams, E. Bréhier, and P. H. J. Hoenen. The latter two selections are the sole representatives of French Cartesian scholarship. This is unfortunate, as Descartes' positive contribution to modern philosophy is better reflected in recent phenomenological and existential philosophy. The dominant tone (...) of this volume is negative and piecemeal, though in terms of this limited approach to Cartesian studies there are many excellent essays in this volume. The balance of the contributors includes Ayer, Moore, Ryle, A. K. Stout, Malcolm, Hintikka, Gewirth, Prichard, Frankfurt, and Alston. The editor has included a very comprehensive bibliography.—E. A. R. (shrink)
H.B.D. Kettlewell is best known for his pioneering work on the phenomenon of industrial melanism, which began shortly after his appointment in 1951 as a Nuffield Foundation research worker in E.B. Ford's newly formed sub-department of genetics at the University of Oxford. In the years since, a legend has formed around these investigations, one that portrays them as a success story of the 'Oxford School of Ecological Genetics', emphasizes Ford's intellectual contribution, and minimizes reference to assistance provided by others. The (...) following essay reviews the important influence Ford, E.A. Cockayne, and P.M. Sheppard played in Kettlewell's research, leading up to his most famous experiments in 1953. It documents several reasons for doubting that Ford was as intellectually involved in the design of these investigations as he has previously been portrayed. It clarifies Kettlewell's intellectual contribution to the investigations for which he is famous, as well as the pivotal roles Cockayne and Sheppard played in the design, execution and interpretation of these investigations. (shrink)
WILLIAM B. EWALD, From Kant to Hubert. A source book in the foundations of mathematics. Oxford:Clarendon Press, 1997. Two volumes, xviii + 1340pp. £175.00. ISBN 0 19 853271 7 DONALD GILLIES, Artificial Intelligence and Scientific Method. Oxford:Oxford University Press, 1996. xiii+176pp. £35.00 /£ 11.99. ISBN 0 19 875158 3/875159 1 N. VASSALLO, La depsicologizzazione délia logica. Un confronto tra Boole e Frege. Milano:Franco Angeli, 1995. 310 pp. 34,000 L G. SCHURZ, The Is-Ought Problem :An Investigation in Philosophical Logic. Dordrecht, Boston (...) and London : Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997. x + 332 pp. $120/£72.00. ISBN 0792344103. (shrink)
Reseña de NIETZSCHE, Friedrich: Obras completas . Volumen I. Escritos de juventud . Edición a cargo de Diego Sánchez Meca. Traducciones de Joan B. Llinares Chover, Diego Sánchez Meca y Luis E. de Santiago Guervós. Madrid: Tecnos, 2011.
Nothing was more important for W. E. B. Du Bois than to promote the upward mobility of African Americans. This essay revisits his “The Conversation of Races” to demonstrate its general philosophical importance. Ultimately, Du Bois’s three motivations for giving the address reveal his view of the nature of philosophical inquiry: to critique earlier phenotypic conceptions of race, to show the essentiality of history, and to promote a reflexive practice. Commentators have been unduly invested in the hermeneutic readings and as (...) a result have misunderstood it as a philosophical text. Du Bois did more than introduce the concept of race into the purview of philosophy, he provided a method for philosophical inquiry into a concept that is notoriously difficult to approach with precision. My goal here is to show why no introduction to philosophy and no discussion about the nature of philosophical inquiry is complete without consideration of “Conservation.” Certainly, it is a text about race, but it is also an important philosophical text in general. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue that Hegel’s model of ethical life is normatively gripping for Du Bois’s critique of Radical Reconstruction. My argument proceeds in three steps. First, I use Du Bois’s insights to explain the nature of progressive political change in historical time, an account Hegel lacks. I reconstruct the normative basis of Du Bois's political critique by articulating the three essential features of public reasoning qua citizenship. Second, I defend the promise of black civic enfranchisement with respect to (...) the institutional conditions of love and labour in the wake of the Civil War. Third, I establish the central role black freedmen played in realizing the ideals of democratic self-governance affirmed in principle but seldom realized in practice in the United States. (shrink)