How do we talk meaningfully about the sacred in contexts where conventional religious expression has so often lost its power? Inspired by the influential work of David Jasper, this important volume builds on his thinking to identify sacrality in a world where the old religious and secular debates have exhausted themselves and theology struggles for a new language in their wake. Distinguished writers explore here the idea of the sacred as one that exists, paradoxically, in a space that is both (...) possible and impossible: profoundly theological on the one hand, but also deeply this-worldly and irreligious on the other. This is a sacredness that is simultaneously 'present' and 'absent': one which encompasses – as Jasper himself characterises it – 'the impossible possibility of an absolute vision'. The book teaches us that the sacred assumes a renewed potency when fully engaged with the creativity that happens across religion, literature, philosophy and the arts. (shrink)
In his paper, ‘A critique of religious fictionalism’, Benjamin Cordry raises a series of objections to a fictionalist form of religious non-realism that I proposed in my earlier paper, ‘Can an atheist believe in God?’. They fall into two main categories: those alleging that an atheist would be unjustified in adopting fictionalism, and those alleging that fictionalism could not be successfully implemented, or practised communally. I argue that these objections can be met.
In this essay I describe how contractarianism might approach interspecies welfare conflicts. I start by discussing a contractarian account of the moral status of nonhuman animals. I argue that contractors can agree to norms that would acknowledge the “moral standing” of some animals. I then discuss how the norms emerging from contractarian agreement might constrain any comparison of welfare between humans and animals. Contractarian agreement is likely to express some partiality to humans in a way that discounts the welfare of (...) some or all animals. While the norms emerging from the contract might be silent or inconsistent in some tragic or catastrophic cases, in most ordinary conflicts of welfare, contractors will agree to norms that produce some determinate resolution. What the agreement says can evolve depending upon how the contractors or the circumstances change. I close with some remarks on contractarian indeterminacy. (shrink)
This paper suffers from a disconcerting generality. I need an excuse for wandering from Wittgenstein's Tractatus to Picasso's drawing of a Weeping Woman, via the philosophy of science and the theory of sense data. The thesis of the paper is that I have such an excuse. These are all areas where the concept of representation either exists in its own right, or has been found to be illuminating by philosophers. An important question is whether it could be the same concept (...) in all these cases. I wish to claim that there is an illuminating common concept, even though to find it may require some fairly drastic modifications of some of the philosophical theses that are involved. (shrink)
By what steps, historically, did morality emerge? Our remote ancestors evolved into social animals. Sociality requires, among other things, restraints on disruptive sexual, hostile, aggressive, vengeful, and acquisitive behavior. Since we are innately social and not social by convention, we can assume the biological evolution of the emotional equipment – numerous predispositions to want, fear, feel anxious or secure – required for social living, just as we can assume cultural evolution of various means to control antisocial behavior and reinforce the (...) prosocial kind. Small clans consisting, say, of several extended families whose members cooperated in hunting, gathering, defense, and child-rearing could not exist without a combination of innate and social restraints on individual behavior. I shall argue for a naturalistic theory of morality, by which I do not mean the definitional claims G.E. Moore sought to refute, but a broader and more complex theory that maintains that a sufficient understanding of human nature, history, and culture can fully explain morality; that nothing is left hanging. A theory that coherently brings together the needed biological, psychological, and cultural facts I shall call a philosophical anthropology; it is a theory that: 1) takes the good for humans – both an ultimate good and other important goods – to depend on human nature; 2) argues that a rudimentary but improving scientific and philosophical theory of human nature now exists, and thus denies that people are “essenceless”; 3) takes this theory to be evolutionary and historical, making the question “How did morality originate?” pivotal for ethical theory, but leaves open the empirical question of the relative importance of biological and cultural evolution; and 4) takes the origin of the moral ideas to be explainable in terms of human nature and history. (shrink)
_Utilitarianism_ is a classic work of ethical theory, arguably the most persuasive and comprehensible presentation of this widely inﬂuential position. Mill argues that it is pleasure and pain that ought to guide our decision-making&and not the pleasure and pain of any one person or group, but the summative experience of all who are affected by our actions. While he didn’t invent utilitarianism, Mill offered its clearest expression and strongest defense, and expanded the theory to account for the variety in quality (...) that we ﬁnd among speciﬁc pleasures and pains. Today, Mill’s version of the “Greatest Happiness Principle” is a standard premise in many moral arguments within the academy and in practical ethical and political deliberation. The complete text of the 1871 edition of _Utilitarianism_ is presented here, with footnote annotations added to clarify unfamiliar references and terminology for the student reader. A detailed introduction by the editor is divided into brief digestible parts discussing the context of the text and offering guidelines on how to read it accurately and critically. This edition has its origin in the acclaimed _Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought_ and adheres to the anthology’s format and high standard of accuracy and accessibility. (shrink)
Ushenko's speculative vision opened on the problem of time and its relation to logic. Profoundly concerned about the theme of time--the theme that intrinsically defines romantic irrationalism--he yet endeavored to vindicate within the bounds of temporality the sovereignty of logic so essential to the continuance of classical philosophy. The dual preoccupation with time and logic urged him into the fields of symbolic logic and relativity physics. From the flux of unrepeatable events he disengaged the laws of logic and the propositions (...) of scientific discourse, while at the same time he sought to keep both orders of entity united without injury to either. He ventured into nature as disclosed by contemporary physics and selected the category of event to supplant substance. He undertook to expound a metaphysics of events, grappled with the problem of the unity not only of nature but of the singular events that make up nature, and fixed upon the overarching structure of the space-time of relativity physics to resolve the problem. But this did not suffice. The metaphysical vision at work in these early books glimpsed at moments a principle beyond time, beyond propositions, beyond events--the principle of power. Power and Events: An Essay on Dynamics in Philosophy focused on the principle of power, integrating the other themes in terms of it. As the mature work of a significant and original thinker, Power and Events posed the principle of power as the central idea for the future course of philosophical investigation. In pursuit of its implications Ushenko embarked upon the philosophy of art in his last book Dynamics of Art and in a consistent yet startling fashion advanced the thesis that the substance of art is in effect a dynamic equilibrium of powers. (shrink)
In An Essay upon Civil Government, Andrew Michael Ramsay mounted a sustained attack upon the development throughout English history of popular government. According to Ramsay, popular involvement in sovereignty had led to the decline of society and the revolutions of the seventeenth century. In his own time, Parliament had become a despotic instrument of government, riven with faction and driven by a multiplicity of laws that manifested a widespread corruption in the state. Ramsay's solution to this degeneracy was the (...) extirpation of Parliament, and its substitution with a monarchy moderated by an aristocratic senate. Ramsay's adoption of certain “Country” elements, including a return to the first principles of the constitution, claimed to reflect the principles of contemporary French aristocratic theory which called for the reform of government through the nobility. In his desire to exclude popular government, and reverse the decline of the state, however, Ramsay utilised the theory with which Bossuet had defended Louis XIV's absolute France. Intriguingly, traces of the natural law system which fortified Ramsay's theory can be found in Viscount Bolingbroke's subsequent attack on Walpole's Whig ministry and the corruption of the state. (shrink)
This important collection of essays by Andrew Feenberg presents his critical theory of technology, an innovative approach to philosophy and sociology of technology based on a synthesis of ideas drawn from STS and Frankfurt School Critical Theory. The volume includes chapters on citizenship, modernity, and Heidegger and Marcuse.
Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: 'objectivity of value', 'objectivity and everyday knowledge', 'objectivity in political (...) economy', 'objectivity and reflexivity', 'objectivity, postmodernism and feminism', 'objectivity and nature'. The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work. (shrink)
In 1929 Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger participated in a momentous debate in Davos, Switzerland, which is widely held to have marked an important division in twentieth-century European thought. Peter E. Gordon’s recent book, Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos, centers on this debate between these two philosophical adversaries. In his book Gordon examines the background of the debate, the issues that distinguished the respective positions of Cassirer and Heidegger, and the legacy of the debate for later decades. Throughout the work, (...) Gordon concisely portrays the source of disagreement between the two adversaries in terms of a difference between Cassirer’s philosophy of spontaneity and Heidegger’s philosophy of receptivity, or of “thrownness” , into a situation that finite human beings can never hope to master. Although it recognizes that this work provides an important contribution to our understanding of the Davos debate and to twentieth-century European thought, this review essay subjects Gordon’s manner of interpreting the distinction between Cassirer and Heidegger to critical scrutiny. Its purpose is to examine the possibility that important aspects of the debate, which do not conform to the grid imposed by Gordon’s interpretation, might have been set aside in the context of his analysis. (shrink)
Ushenko presented his philosophy of logic in vehement opposition to "the postulationist theory." In the endeavor to amputate logic from philosophy and absorb it within mathematics, the postulationists viewed logic as an isolated object-logic to be discussed in meta-logic and construed its symbolic formulas as a game played according to arbitrarily established rules. The objections Ushenko raised are no longer novel, but twenty years ago the entire controversy was new. Above all, he stressed the numerous difficulties entangling the meta-logic. He (...) scored the menace of an infinite regress of meta-logics, and insisted that the consequences of Gödel's work necessarily frustrate the initial great expectations of the postulationists. No purely formal system can be internally proved to be self-consistent and certainly no formal language can ever become as comprehensive as English, though the price of such comprehensiveness is the inevitable occurrence of contradictory sentences. Moreover, he argued that, despite the postulationists' pretense that rules like the principle of non-contradiction were mere conventions for playing the game of logic, these rules proved ubiquitous by trespassing from the object-logic and intruding into the ultimate reaches of the meta-logic. (shrink)
This book focuses on Andrew Arato’s democratic theory and its relevance to contemporary issues such as processes of democratization, civil society, constitution-making, and the modern Executive. Andrew Arato is -both globally and disciplinarily- a prominent thinker in the fields of democratic theory, constitutional law, and comparative politics, influencing several generations of scholars. This is the first volume to systematically address his democratic theory. Including contributions from leading scholars such as Dick Howard, Ulrich Preuss, Hubertus Buchstein, Janos Kis, Uri (...) Ram, Leonardo Avritzer, Carlos de la Torre, and Nicolás Lynch, this book is organized around three major areas of Arato´s influence on contemporary political and social thought. The first section offers a comprehensive view of Arato’s scholarship from his early work on critical theory and Western Marxism to his current research on constitution-making and its application. The second section shifts its focus from the previous, comprehensive approach, to a much more specific one: Arato´s widespread influence on the study of civil society in democratization processes in Latin America. The third section includes a previously unpublished work, ‘A conceptual history of dictatorship (and its rivals,)’ one of the few systematic interrogations on the meaning of a political form of fundamental relevance in the contemporary world. Critical Theory and Democracy will be of interest to critical and social theorists, and all Arato scholars. (shrink)
Modern discussions of natural resources focus on increasing public control over extractive industries proposing measures that range from increasing the public's share of the gain via royalties and taxes to regulating extractive activities to prevent environmental problems to outright expropriation of private investments. This article argues that such efforts are counterproductive because the fundamental economic problem of natural resources is producing the knowledge necessary to locate and extract resource deposits. The public benefit comes from enabling the use of the resources (...) and the increased economic activity their discovery produces rather than from royalties or expropriation. The key question in designing natural resource laws is thus their effects on the incentive to discover and manage resources. Private property rights in natural resources are the best way to provide such incentives. Fortunately, the combination of property rights and tort law principles enables property rights to solve environmental problems related to natural resource extraction as well. (shrink)
This paper looks at the nature of normal-proper functions and the role they play in theories of representational content. More specifically: I lay down two desiderata for a theory which tries to capture what's distinctive of normal-proper functions and discuss two prominent theories which claim to satisfy them. I discuss the advantages of having normal-proper functions ground a theory of representational content. And, I look at both orthodox and heterodox versions of such theories.
Avicenna's Metaphysics (in Arabic: Ilâhiyyât) is the most important and influential metaphysical treatise of classical and medieval times after Aristotle. This volume presents studies on its direct and indirect influence in Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin culture from the time of its composition in the early eleventh century until the sixteenth century. Among the philosophical topics which receive particular attention are the distinction between essence and existence, the theory of universals, the concept of God as the necessary being and the theory (...) of emanation. It is shown how authors such as Averroes, Abraham ibn Daud, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus react to Avicenna's metaphysical theories. The studies also address the philological and historical circumstances of the textual traditionin three different medieval cultures. The studies are written by a distinguished international team of contributors, who convened in 2008 to discuss their research in the Villa Vigoni, Italy. (shrink)
Responding to my claims in ‘Schleiermacher and Otto on religion’, A. D. Smith has argued that there is ‘nothing to distinguish’ Schleiermacher and Otto on the topics of the naturalistic explanation of religion and divine intervention in the natural order. There are respects in which Smith seems not to have understood my arguments, and his most significant challenge to my claims about Schleiermacher rests on a conflation of two different questions at issue in Schleiermacher's discussion of the incarnation. Further, Smith's (...) correct observation that I have misinterpreted Otto on an important matter is itself coupled with a similar misreading on his part. Smith's arguments prompt me to revise my view of Otto, but not to abandon the idea that he and Schleiermacher assumed different positions on the topics at issue. (shrink)
The second edition of Andrew Skinner's essays has been updated to take account of his latest thinking on Adam Smith's system of social and moral science and his experience of teaching Smith to a student audience. The material from the first edition has been extensively rewritten in the light of recent scholarship, and four new essays have been included. Each essay can be read as a self-contained unit, supported by a full bibliography and notes; the book as a whole (...) expounds a single coherent argument which demonstrates how Smith's works are inter-related. (shrink)
This essay focuses upon a single speech by the Ottoman man of religion Shaykh Ahmad Tabbarah. Though short, it allows us to reconsider the ways in which we have framed intellectual production beyond Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For even as scholars have queried the diffusionist sweep of earlier narratives, asserting the intellectual agency of non-Western thinkers, they have continued to lay the emphasis on the ways the latter customized European thought to local exigencies. Tabbarah, however, engaged in (...) two-way translations and transgressions. Arraying French sources into a Khaldunian narrative even as he slotted statistics into conventional rhetorical forms, he imbued the secular with the religious, and the religious with the secular. Resolutely refusing to choose between these various elements, he laced them together into a compound creation, which drew its strength from the confluence of two seemingly incommensurable bodies of thought. (shrink)
This ambitious book by one of the most original and provocative thinkers in science studies offers a sophisticated new understanding of the nature of scientific, mathematical, and engineering practice and the production of scientific knowledge. Andrew Pickering offers a new approach to the unpredictable nature of change in science, taking into account the extraordinary number of factors—social, technological, conceptual, and natural—that interact to affect the creation of scientific knowledge. In his view, machines, instruments, facts, theories, conceptual and mathematical structures, (...) disciplined practices, and human beings are in constantly shifting relationships with one another—"mangled" together in unforeseeable ways that are shaped by the contingencies of culture, time, and place. Situating material as well as human agency in their larger cultural context, Pickering uses case studies to show how this picture of the open, changeable nature of science advances a richer understanding of scientific work both past and present. Pickering examines in detail the building of the bubble chamber in particle physics, the search for the quark, the construction of the quarternion system in mathematics, and the introduction of computer-controlled machine tools in industry. He uses these examples to address the most basic elements of scientific practice—the development of experimental apparatus, the production of facts, the development of theory, and the interrelation of machines and social organization. (shrink)
Book Symposium on Andrew Feenberg’s Between Reason and Experience: Essays in Technology and Modernity Content Type Journal Article Pages 203-226 DOI 10.1007/s13347-011-0017-8 Authors Inmaculada de Melo-Martín, Division of Medical Ethics, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY 10065, USA David B. Ingram, Loyola University Chicago, 6525 North Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60626, USA Sally Wyatt, e-Humanities Group, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) & Maastricht University, Cruquiusweg 31, 1019 AT Amsterdam, The Netherlands Yoko Arisaka, Forschungsinstitut für Philosophie (...) Hannover, Gerberstrasse 26, 30169 Hannover, Germany Andrew Feenberg, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3, Canada Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433 Journal Volume Volume 24 Journal Issue Volume 24, Number 2. (shrink)
Andrew Sayer undertakes a fundamental critique of social science's difficulties in acknowledging that people's relation to the world is one of concern. As sentient beings, capable of flourishing and suffering, and particularly vulnerable to how others treat us, our view of the world is substantially evaluative. Yet modernist ways of thinking encourage the common but extraordinary belief that values are beyond reason, and merely subjective or matters of convention, with little or nothing to do with the kind of beings (...) people are, the quality of their social relations, their material circumstances or well-being. The author shows how social theory and philosophy need to change to reflect the complexity of everyday ethical concerns and the importance people attach to dignity. He argues for a robustly critical social science that explains and evaluates social life from the standpoint of human flourishing. (shrink)
"Equality of opportunity for all" is a fine piece of political rhetoric but the ideal that lies behind it is slippery to say the least. This book defends a particular account of the ideal and its place in a more radical version of what it is to level the playing field.
In the past few years, social and cultural theorists have pointed to the dynamic and performative character of forms of disparagement such as public shaming, humiliation, invective or hate speech. In this paper, I endorse a different route and focus on the distinctive affective and dialectical nature of what might be called the ‘politics of disparagement’. I will do so by elaborating on the affective intentionality of hatred, which can be seen as an affective attitude that paradigmatically encapsulates the dialectical (...) antagonism at play in the politics of disparagement. I argue that the affective intentionality of hatred is distinctive in three interrelated ways: First, it has an overgeneralising, indeterminate affective focus, which typically leads to a certain collectivisation of its target. Secondly, short of a determinate affective focus, haters derive the indeed extreme affective powers of the attitude not in reaction to any specific features or actions of the targets or from some phenomenological properties of the attitude but, rather, from the sheer commitment to the attitude itself. Finally, in sharing this commitment to hate with others, hatred involves a certain negative dialectics and becomes entrenched as a shared habitus. Ultimately, I suggest that we can only counteract the politics of disparagement if we understand how a shared commitment to disparagement and hatred establishes its own normative logic, which not only concerns their victims but also, dialectically, sanctions their enactors. (shrink)