The Victorian period in Britain was an “age of reform.” It is therefore not surprising that two of the era’s most eminent intellects described themselves as reformers. Both William Whewell and John Stuart Mill believed that by reforming philosophy—including the philosophy of science—they could effect social and political change. But their divergent visions of this societal transformation led to a sustained and spirited controversy that covered morality, politics, science, and economics. Situating their debate within the larger context of Victorian society (...) and its concerns, _Reforming Philosophy_ shows how two very different men captured the intellectual spirit of the day and engaged the attention of other scientists and philosophers, including the young Charles Darwin. Mill—philosopher, political economist, and Parliamentarian—remains a canonical author of Anglo-American philosophy, while Whewell—Anglican cleric, scientist, and educator—is now often overlooked, though in his day he was renowned as an authority on science. Placing their teachings in their proper intellectual, cultural, and argumentative spheres, Laura Snyder revises the standard views of these two important Victorian figures, showing that both men’s concerns remain relevant today. A philosophically and historically sensitive account of the engagement of the major protagonists of Victorian British philosophy, _Reforming Philosophy_ is the first book-length examination of the dispute between Mill and Whewell in its entirety. A rich and nuanced understanding of the intellectual spirit of Victorian Britain, it will be welcomed by philosophers and historians of science, scholars of Victorian studies, and students of the history of philosophy and political economy. (shrink)
A philosophically and historically sensitive account of the engagement of the major protagonists of Victorian British philosophy, Reforming Philosophy considers the controversies between William Whewell and John Stuart Mill on the topics of science, morality, politics, and economics. By situating their debate within the larger context of Victorian society and its concerns, Laura Snyder shows how two very different men—Whewell, an educator, Anglican priest, and critic of science; and Mill, a philosopher, political economist, and parliamentarian—reacted to the challenges of (...) their times, each seeking to reform science as a means of reforming society as a whole. The first book-length examination of the dispute between Mill and Whewell in its entirety, Reforming Philosophy provides a rich and nuanced understanding of the intellectual spirit of Victorian Britain and will be welcomed by philosophers and historians of science, scholars of Victorian studies, and students of the history of philosophy and political economy. (shrink)
Is there anything peculiarly "photographic" about photography—something which sets it apart from all other ways of making pictures? If there is, how important is it to our understanding of photographs? Are photographs so unlike other sorts of pictures as to require unique methods of interpretation and standards of evaluation? These questions may sound artificial, made up especially for the purpose of theorizing. But they have in fact been asked and answered not only by critics and photographers but by laymen. Furthermore, (...) for most of this century the majority of critics and laymen alike have tended to answer these questions in the same way: that photographs and paintings differ in an important way and require different methods in interpretation precisely because photographs and paintings come into being in different ways. These answers are interesting because, even within the rather restricted classes of critics, photographers, and theorists, they are held in common by a wide variety of people who otherwise disagree strongly with each other—by people who think that photographs are inferior to paintings and people who believe they are superior; by people who think that photographs ought to be "objective" and those who believe they should be "subjective"; by those who believe that it is impossible for photographers to "create" anything and by those who believe that they should at least try. Joel Snyder teaches criticism and history of photography at the University of Chicago and is presently compiling a book of his own photographs. His contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Picturing Vision" and "Reflexions on Las Meninas: Paradox Lost", written with Ted Cohen in the Winter 1980 issue. Neil Walsh Allen produces educational audio-visual materials and has designed eight permanent exhibits on the history and applications of photography for the Smithsonian Institution. (shrink)
In the nineteenth century, William Whewell claimed that his confirmation criterion of consilience was a truth-guarantor: we could, he believed, be certain that a consilient theory was true. Since that time Whewell has been much ridiculed for this claim by critics such as J. S. Mill and Bas van Fraassen. I have argued elsewhere that, while Whewell's claim that consilience can guarantee the truth of a theory is clearly wrong, consilience is indeed quite useful as a confirmation criterion (Snyder (...) 2005). Here I will show that, even when consilience gives evidence for a theory that turns out to be false, there is an important sense in which consilience shows that the theory has captured something correct about the natural-kind structure of the physical world. Whewell was therefore correct to claim that consilience provides a "criterion of reality" (Whewell  1967, vol. 2, 68). Consilience provides this by giving justification for the claim that we have really `cut nature at its causal joints', to adapt Plato's famous phrase. Because of this, consilience can play a role in an argument for scientific realism. (shrink)
I find it more than merely suggestive that we call many different kinds of pictures "realistic." As a category label, "realistic" is remarkably elastic. We cheerfully place into the category pictures that are made in strict accordance with the rules of linear perspective, pictures that are at slight variance with those rules but that nonetheless look perfectly "correct" , and pictures made in flagrant contravention of perspective geometry . We accept as realistic pictures that are made in strict accordance with (...) the rules of perspective construction that we could never judge as being similar to anything we might or could ever see . We accept as realistic pictures that are in sharp disagreement with what we now take to be the facts of vision . . . There is something charming and yet nasty about the belief in the special relation of picture to world. It is charming because it allows us to "enter" with ease into pictures and allows them to "extend" into our world. It allows us to think of pictures as "true to life," to use [Ernst] Gombrich's beguiling term, to look at a picture and ask questions of it, as if we were looking at the world through a window. It allows us to treat pictures as substitutes for the objects they represent and so, for example, to buy clothing from an illustrated catalogue, or to analyze architectural styles from pictures of buildings. In brief, it allows us to feel proximity to what is depicted and urges us to conclude that in certain important respects looking at a picture is equivalent to looking at what is pictured. Joel Snyder, associate professor of humanities and of art and design at the University of Chicago, teaches aesthetics, and theory and history of photography. A practicing photographer, he is currently completing a monograph on the photographer Timothy H. O'Sullivan. His contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Photography, Vision, and Representation" and "Reflexions on Las Meninas: Paradox Lost", written with Ted Cohen in the Winter 1980 issue. (shrink)
The belief that the spirits of the dead can return to haunt the living exists either as a tenet or as a marginal conviction in all civilizations, whether ancient or modern. More often than not, the dead do not return to reunite the living with their loved ones but rather to lead them into some dreadful snare, entrapping them with disastrous consequences. To be sure, all the departed may return, but some are predestined to haunt: the dead who have been (...) shamed during their lifetime or those who took unspeakable secrets to the grave. From the brucolacs, the errant sprits of outcasts in ancient Greece, to the ghost of Hamlet’s vengeful father, and on down to the rapping spirits of modern times, the theme of the dead—who, having suffered repression by their family or society, cannot enjoy, even in death, a state of authenticity—appears to be omnipresent on the fringes of religions and, failing that, in rational systems. It is a fact that the “phantom,” whatever its form, is nothing but an invention of the living. Yes, an invention in the sense that the phantom is meant to objectify, even if under the guise of individual or collective hallucinations, the gap that the concealment of some part of a loved one’s life produced in us. The phantom is, therefore, also a metapsychological fact. Consequently, what haunts are not the dead, but the gaps left within us by the secrets of others.Because the phantom is not related to the loss of a loved one, it cannot be considered the effect of unsuccessful mourning, as is the case of melancholics or of all those who carry a tomb within themselves. It is the children’s or descendants’ lot to objectify these buried tombs through diverse species of ghosts. What comes back to haunt are the tombs of others. The phantoms of folklore merely objectify a metaphor active within the unconscious: the burial of an unspeakable fact within the loved one.Here we are in the midst of clinical psychoanalysis and still shrouded in obscurity, an obscurity, however, that the nocturnal being of phantoms can, paradoxically, be called upon to clarify. The most recently published book of essays by Nicolas Abraham is Rythmes de l’oeuvre, de la traduction et de la psychanalyse . “Notes on the Phantom” is the preliminary statement of his theory of transgenerational haunting. Nicholas Rand, assistant professor of French at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, is the English-language editor of Abraham’s works. (shrink)
In our recent book (Abraham and Roy 2010) we have repurposed a mathematical model for the quantum vacuum as a model of consciousness. In this model, discrete space and time are derived from a discrete cellular dynamical network. As our model is essentially atomistic, we included in our book a short support chapter on atomism. In this aticle we expand on the few pages of that chapter devoted to the history of atomism, to place the current revival of atomism (...) in a larger context. (shrink)
Surely [John R.] Searle must rely on a stable, formal conception of the point of view. He sets Las Meninas on a par with the antimony of the liar and the paradoxes of set theory. But nothing is an antimony or a paradox just because it seems so or just because it is confusing or difficult, even if it seems so to everyone. To deserve such a description, a thing must be, so to speak, intrinsically intractable, not merely resistant when (...) looked at in a particular way. If a man says "I do not believe I am alive," that would be odd, and it would be hard to understand just what he means, and it may even be hard or impossible to believe that he is telling the truth; but there is no antimony. If a man says "I am lying," then we have a primitive version of the antimony of the liar. Given the meaning of this utterance—and nothing else—there is no way to get a grip on it. If what the man says is true, then it's false; if what he says is false, then it's true. Joel Snyder, a practicing photographer, is associate professor of humanities and of art and design at the University of Chicago. His contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Photography, Vision, and Representation," written with Neil Walsh Allen , and "Picturing Vision" . Ted Cohen, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago, has written on language, aesthetics, and taste. His previous contribution to Critical Inquiry, "Metaphor and the Cultivation of Intimacy," appeared in the Autumn 1978 issue. (shrink)
It is ironic that, with few exceptions, the now vast body of critical literature about Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas fails to link knowledge to understanding—fails to relate the encyclopedic knowledge we have acquired of its numerous details to a convincing understanding of the painting as a whole. Las Meninas is imposing and monumental; yet a large portion of the literature devoted to it considers only its elements: aspects of its nominal subjects, their biographies, and their roles in the household of (...) the queen or the king. Niceties of court etiquette; concerns about clothing, and shoes , and the small cup of water offered to the Infanta Margarita .This increasingly intimate discussion of the painting’s details is not altogether beside the point; some of this information deserves to be integrated into descriptions of the painting as a whole. But a reader of these descriptive accounts soon begins to suspect they are offered in the hope that some new details might provoke an understanding of the entire painting, might prove to be the key to our comprehension of it. In fact, Las Meninas invites such analysis. Some nineteenth-century critics called it “photographic” in its naturalism , in the profusion of its detail, and in the alleged “snapshot” quality of its composition.1 The underlying motive of this understanding ought not to be dismissed, even thought the photography analogy is clearly grotesque, in terms both of history and visual sensibility. Although we know a great deal about the contention, in seventeenth-century Spanish art theory, that a major function of art is the perfecting of nature according to ideal standards, Las Meninas nonetheless is most commonly taken to be a pure spectacle memorializing an incidental moment, seemingly explicable solely in terms of what is apparent in it. 1. Gustav Waagen, paraphrased in Carl Justi, Diego Velazquez and His Times , p. 419; William Stirling-Maxwell, quoted in ibid. Joel Snyder is associate professor of humanities and of art and design and is chairman of the Committee on General Studies in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. He is currently working on a book about the foundations of perspective. His previous contributions to Critical Inquiry are “Photography, Vision, and Representation,” written with Neil Walsh Allen , “Picturing Vision” , and “Reflexions on Las Meninas: Paradox Lost,” written with Ted Cohen. (shrink)
'This is an unusually ambitious book... a considerable achievement. It raises important issues, and affords many valuable insights in the course of its historical reflections.' -Maurice Wiles, Journal of Theological Studies 'Every issue and thinker is expounded clearly and concisely, with attention always drawn to strengths as well as weaknesses. To this non-specialist the argument was always accessible and regularly persuasive.' -The Expository TimesCanon and Criterion in Christian Theology provides an original and important narrative on the significance of canon in (...) the Christian tradition. Abraham shows that the move to treat canon as a criterion of truth has had unsuspecting consequences for the history of theology and philosophy, from the Fathers to modern feminist theology. (shrink)
Mabel Cooper and Gloria Ferris lived in St Lawrence's Hospital one of the large learning disability institutions which were built round the edges of London. In this paper, Mabel and Gloria share their memories of three nurses at St Lawrence's, supported by Jane Abraham and in this process reveal a number of ethical issues that remain relevant today.
The authors co-organized (Snyder and Crooks) and gave a keynote presentation at (Turner) a conference on ethical issues in medical tourism. Medical tourism involves travel across international borders with the intention of receiving medical care. This care is typically paid for out-of-pocket and is motivated by an interest in cost savings and/or avoiding wait times for care in the patient’s home country. This practice raises numerous ethical concerns, including potentially exacerbating health inequities in destination and source countries and disrupting (...) continuity of care for patients. In this report, we synthesize conference presentations and present three lessons from the conference: 1) Medical tourism research has the potential for cross- or inter-disciplinarity but must bridge the gap between researchers trained in ethical theory and scholars unfamiliar with normative frameworks; 2) Medical tourism research must engage with empirical research from a variety of disciplines; and 3) Ethical analyses of medical tourism must incorporate both individual and population-level perspectives. While these lessons are presented in the context of research on medical tourism, we argue that they are applicable in other areas of research where global practices, such as human subject research and health worker migration, are occurring in the face of limited regulatory oversight. (shrink)
Objections arise to the concept of artistic intention based upon the psychology of a period. Here too we experience trends or volitions which can only be explained by precisely those artistic creations which in their own turn demand an explanation on the basis of these trends and volitions. Thus "Gothic" man or the "primitive" from whose alleged existence we wish to explain a particular artistic product is in truth the hypostatized impression which has been culled from the works of art (...) themselves. Or it is a question of intentions and evaluations which have become conscious as they find their formulation in the contemporary theory of art or in contemporary art criticism. Thus these formulations, just like the individual theoretical statements of the artists themselves, can once more only be phenomena parallel to the artistic products of the epoch; they cannot already contain their interpretation. Here again this parallel phenomenon would, in its entirety, represent an extraordinarily interesting object of humanistic investigation, but it would be incapable of defining in detail a methodologically comprehensible volition. So, too, the view of art which accompanies a period's artistic output can express the artistic volition of the period in itself but cannot put a name to it for us. This view can be of eminent significance when we are seeking a logical explanation for the perception of tendencies dominating at a given time and thus also for the judgment of artistic volition at that time, which must also be interpreted.Erwin Panofsky, the renowned art historian, was professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University, until his death in 1968. Among his many books and articles are Meaning in the Visual Arts, Early Netherlandish Painting, and Renaissance and Renascenes in Western Art. Kenneth Northcott is professor of German and comparative literature at the University of Chicago and the translator of Arnold Hauser's Sociology of Art . Joel Snyder is chairman of the committee on general studies in the humanities at the University of Chicago. (shrink)
In this book, Abraham argues that a theological imagination can expand the contours of postcolonial theory through a reexamination of notions of subjectivity, gender, and violence in a dialogical model with Karl Rahner. She raises the question of whether postcolonial theory, with its disavowal of religious agency, can provide an invigorating occasion for Catholic theology.
Teachers and Texts in the Ancient World presents a comprehensive and accessible survey of religious and philosophical teaching and classroom practices in the ancient world. Snyder synthesizes a wide range of ancient evidence and modern scholarship to address such questions as how the literary practices of Jews and Christians compared to the literary practices of the philosophical schools and whether Christians were particularly noteworthy for their attachment to scripture.
In this response, I reiterate my argument that price gouging undercuts the goal of equity in access to essential goods whereas Zwolinski emphasizes the importance of the efficient provision of essential goods above all other goals. I agree that the efficient provision of essential goods is important as I argue for the goal of equitable access to sufficient of the goods essential to living a minimally flourishing human life. However, efficiency is a means to this goal rather than the end (...) itself. Finally, I offer additional arguments against the non-worseness claim. (shrink)
Many nations in the developing world invest scarce funding into training health workers. When these workers migrate to richer countries, particularly when this migration occurs before the source community can recoup the costs of training, the destination community realizes a net gain in resources by obtaining the workers' skills without having to pay for their training. This effect of health worker migration has frequently been condemned as 'poaching' or a case of theft. I assess the charge that the rich nations (...) of the world poach the resources of the developing world through the active recruitment of migrants. I argue that the charge of poaching is misguided in these cases. The misuse of the term poaching is particularly troubling as it distracts attention away from the many actual moral wrongs taking place through the process of health worker migration and objectifies health workers. (shrink)
Corroborating Testimony, Probability and Surprise’, Erik J. Olsson ascribes to L. Jonathan Cohen the claims that if two witnesses provide us with the same information, then the less probable the information is, the more confident we may be that the information is true (C), and the stronger the information is corroborated (C*). We question whether Cohen intends anything like claims (C) and (C*). Furthermore, he discusses the concurrence of witness reports within a context of independent witnesses, whereas the witnesses in (...) Olsson's model are not independent in the standard sense. We argue that there is much more than, in Olsson's words, ‘a grain of truth’ to claim (C), both on his own characterization as well as on Cohen's characterization of the witnesses. We present an analysis for independent witnesses in the contexts of decision-making under risk and decision-making under uncertainty and generalize the model for n witnesses. As to claim (C*), Olsson's argument is contingent on the choice of a particular measure of corroboration and is not robust in the face of alternative measures. Finally, we delimit the set of cases to which Olsson's model is applicable. 1 Claim (C) examined for Olsson's characterization of the relationship between the witnesses 2 Claim (C) examined for two or more independent witnesses 3 Robustness and multiple measures of corroboration 4 Discussion. (shrink)
Judgment aggregation problems are language dependent in that they may be framed in different yet equivalent ways. We formalize this dependence via the notion of translation invariance, adopted from the philosophy of science, and we argue for the normative desirability of translation invariance. We characterize the class of translation invariant aggregation functions in the canonical judgment aggregation model, which requires collective judgments to be complete. Since there are reasonable translation invariant aggregation functions, our result can be viewed as a possibility (...) theorem. At the same time, we show that translation invariance does have certain normatively undesirable consequences (e.g. failure of anonymity). We present a way of circumventing them by moving to a more general model of judgment aggregation, one that allows for incomplete collective judgments. (shrink)
Many people in desperate need of an organ will die on waiting lists for transplantation or face increased morbidity because of their wait. This circumstance is particularly troubling since many viable organs for transplantation go unused when individuals fail to participate in their local organ donation system. In this paper, I consider whether participating in organ transplantation should be considered a form of a rescue of others from the great harms caused by a shortage in transplantable organs. Specifically, I consider (...) whether cadaver organ transplantation is a case of an easy rescue. If so, participation in cadaver organ transplantation will be a duty rather than a supererogatory act.1 This question is important in illuminating individual duties to participate in organ transplantation. Moreover, as I will argue, it has repercussions for community-wide policies for enrolling individuals in transplantation schemes. -/- In the first section of this paper, I tie cadaver organ transplantation to the duty to rescue others from great harm when it is easy to do so. Given the number of persons who will die or be greatly harmed without transplanted organs, the transfer of organs upon death is seemingly similar to other, classical cases of easy rescue. In the second section, I consider objections to this proposal on the ground that cadaver organ transplantation is structurally dissimilar to classical rescue cases, especially given uncertainty over when and to whom organs will be transplanted, if they are transplanted at all. In the third section, I consider the objection that cadaver organ transplantation is a demanding, rather than easy, rescue. While I grant that cadaver organ transplantation will be demanding for some persons, I argue that there remain many cases where it will be an easy rescue. In the final section, I consider the policy implications of my argument. In particular, I argue that understanding cadaver organ transplantation as a duty should shift the debate over opt-out, opt-in, and mandatory choice procedures for participating in organ transplantation upon death. While different systems will be appropriate for different communities, understanding transplantation as a duty in some cases helps to justify an opt-out system. (shrink)
Philosophers have in the past had difficulty in determining how to define ethical terms. here they are defined as open-context terms with a loosely limited range of substitution instances, in conformity with actual language usage. ethical terms are in themselves meaningless. it is a misuse to say, "x is wrong in itself." ethical terms then reduce to empirical terms concerning wants, likes, knowledge of cause and effect and consequences, knowledge of how ethical terms themselves work. ethical commands reduce to if-then (...) statements. blame may possibly never make sense. (shrink)
Recent literature on the role of pictorial representation in the life sciences has focused on the relationship between detailed representations of empirical data and more abstract, formal representations of theory. The standard argument is that in both a historical and epistemic sense, this relationship is a directional one: beginning with raw, unmediated images and moving towards diagrams that are more interpreted and more theoretically rich. Using the neural network diagrams of Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts as a case study, I (...) argue that while in the empirical sciences, pictorial representation tends to move from data to theory, in areas of the life sciences that are predominantly theoretical, when abstraction occurs at the outset, the relationship between detail and abstraction in pictorial representations can be of a different character. (shrink)
In this paper I demonstrate that, contrary to the standard interpretations, William Whewell's view of scientific method is neither that of the hypothetico-deductivist nor that of the retroductivist. Rather, he offers a unique inductive methodology, which he calls "discoverers' induction." After explicating this methodology, I show that Kepler's discovery of his first law of planetary motion conforms to it, as Whewell claims it does. In explaining Whewell's famous phrase about "happy guesses" in science, I suggest that Whewell intended a distinction (...) between "inductions," which can be empirically verified, and "mere hypotheses"--or guesses--which cannot. Finally, I argue that Whewell's discoverers' induction is a view worthy of our attention today, because it avoids a number of problems faced by prominent alternative methodologies. (shrink)
Any model of ZFC + GCH has a generic extension (made with a poset of size ℵ 2 ) in which the following hold: MA + 2 ℵ 0 = ℵ 2 +there exists a Δ 2 1 -well ordering of the reals. The proof consists in iterating posets designed to change at will the guessing properties of ladder systems on ω 1 . Therefore, the study of such ladders is a main concern of this article.
This volume of newly commissioned essays provides comprehensive coverage of African philosophy, ranging across disciplines and throughout the ages. Offers a distinctive historical treatment of African philosophy. Covers all the main branches of philosophy as addressed in the African tradition. Includes accounts of pre-colonial African philosophy and contemporary political thought.
: Dr. Smith is an internist in private practice who works at an inner city clinic affiliated with a university hospital. He is also a member of the university faculty. Many of Dr. Smith’s patients have type 2 diabetes mellitus and struggle with health care and other costs. Thinking about opportunities to better serve his patients and advance his career, Dr. Smith considers conducting clinical research in his office. ACME is a respected pharmaceutical company that for decades has engaged in (...) research, development, and production of widely used drugs. Several of ACME’s oral agents for type 2 diabetes will soon go off patent. In an effort to retain its market share in this class of drugs, ACME wants to complete clinical trials expeditiously and obtain approval for its new oral hypoglycemic medicine. The company approaches Dr. Smith to be a coinvestigator in its multicenter clinical trial. (shrink)
I would like to thank all of the respondents to my article both for their expansions on the theme of health worker migration and for their criticisms of my argument against the use of the term ’poaching’ in the context of international health worker migration. In this response, I will clarify my argument in light of the worries raised primarily by Tache and Schillinger and Ari Zivotofsky and Naomi Zivotofsky.
The individual soul is an ageless idea, attested in prehistoric times by the oral traditions of all cultures. But as far as we know, it enters history in ancient Egypt. I will begin with the individual soul in ancient Egypt, then recount the birth of the world soul in the Pythagorean community of ancient Greece, and trace it through the Western Esoteric Tradition until its demise in Kepler's writings, along with the rise of modern science, around 1600 CE. Then I (...) tell of the rebirth of the world soul recently, in new branches of mathematics. (shrink)
This paper is an examination of the theory of materia prima of the fifteenth century Platonist Marsilio Ficino. It limits its discussion of Ficino's theory to the ontological and epistemic status of prime matter in his Platonic Theology. Ficino holds a "robust" theory of prime matter that makes two fundamental assertions: First, prime matter exists independent of form, and second, it is, at least in principle, intelligible. Ficino's theory of prime matter is framed in this paper with a discussion of (...) the divergence among Scholastic philosophers over the nature of prime matter. (shrink)