In the Grundlagen , Frege offers eight main arguments, together with a series of more minor supporting arguments, against Mill’s view that numbers are “properties of external things”. This paper reviews all eight of these arguments, arguing that none are conclusive.
Crucial in Pierre Hadot’s account of ancient philosophy as a way of life is the phenomenon of conversion. Well before he encountered some of the decisive influences upon his understanding of philosophy, Hadot already understood ancient philosophy and its long legacy in later thinkers of the West as much more than a formal discourse. Philosophy is an experience, or at least the exploration and articulation of a potential for experience. The energy of this potential originates in a polar tension between (...) epistrophe and metanoia. The two poles, which are grounded in primal experiences of the living organism, motivate and model the conversion which must be lived by the philosopher. The genius of Western philosophical experience lies in the effort to synthesize return and rebirth, and thereby recover the self as an ontological point of identification with and origin of the cosmos. (shrink)
It is an exciting time to pursue philosophy of religion, not least because of an earnest and widening conversation about what philosophers of religion should be doing in the future. This conversation is driven by factors including the growing presence of philosophers who do not presume as normative the subject position of so-called western traditions of thought, the relentless historicization—especially along Foucaultian lines—of the modern study of religion by critics working across the range of implicated disciplines, and by newly energized (...) emphases in existing methods of the study of religion upon embodiment and upon materiality more generally.Kevin Schilbrack’s Philosophy and the Study of Religions: a Manifesto enters the conversation with an exhibition of clarity and wit, logical strength, and breadth of ambition. Schilbrack argues for expanding the work of philosophy of religion from its traditional task—the examination of theism—to a more inclusive self-understan .. (shrink)
Enrique Dussel has developed a sweeping philosophical critique of the eurocentricity of Western habits of thought and action, with the aim of articulating an ‘ethics of liberation’ that takes the part distinctively of ‘the victims’ of the world system. The heart of Dussel’s effort is an ostensibly new method, ‘analectic’ or ‘anadialectic,’ which comes about through the ‘revelation’ of the other, and goes beyond the self-enclosure that, Dussel asserts, typifies dialectic in Western ontology. Thus, he takes his position to have (...) gone beyond ontology: it is a trans-ontology, a genuine meta-physics. I question whether analectic does go beyond Western thinking of being, and propose an ontological critique that is classically Western or, as I would prefer to say, historically Western yet (along with its analogues in other philosophical traditions) classically relevant even in our ‘age of globalization and exclusion.’. (shrink)
U.S. Latino/a theologians share much with Latin American liberation theologians, but they have also explicitly differentiated themselves from their southern partners. One prominent focus in this effort is U.S. Latino/a attention to popular religion, in contrast to a Latin American stress on political, structural change. On this interpretation, U.S. Latino/as’ practice of everyday life is a form of “aesthetic resistance” to, and freedom from, WASP hegemony—quite a different situation and response from the south. However, the question has been raised whether, (...) in turning to the aesthetic dimensions of lo cotidiano, U.S. Latino/a theologians had not abandoned a critical, ethical edge essential for any.. (shrink)
The author, editor of Russell and Analytic Philosophy and Bertrand Russell: Critical Assessments, is also a long-time member of Russellians Anonymous, an international charitable organization founded to help combat the debilitating effects of Russellianism. For the record, it's true that while at the Munich conference a speaker did begin his comments with the first two sentences quoted below. No doubt historians will continue to debate exactly what followed afterwards.
The idea of enlightenment entails liberty, equality, rationalism, secularism, and the connection between knowledge and human well being. In spite of the setbacks of revolutionary violence, political mass murder, and two world wars, the spread of enlightenment values has become the yardstick by which moral, political, and even scientific advances are measured. Indeed, most critiques of the enlightenment ideal point to failure in implementation rather than principle. By contrast, David Stove, in On Enlightenment, attacks the intellectual roots of enlightenment thought, (...) to define the limitations of its successes and the areas of its likely failures. Stove is not insensitive to the many valuable aspects of enlightenment thought. He champions the use of reason and rationality, and recognizes the falsity of religious claims as well as the importance of individual liberty. What he rejects is the enlightenment's uncritical optimism regarding social progress and its willingness to embrace revolutionary change. What evidence is there that the elimination of superstition will lead to happiness? Or that it is possible to accept Darwinism without Social Darwinism? Or that the enlightenment's liberal, rationalistic outlook will ever lead to the kind of social progress envisioned by its advocates. Despite their best intentions, social reformers who attempt to improve the world as a whole inevitably make things worse. He advocates a conservative "go slow" approach to change, pointing out that today's social structures are so large and complex that any widespread social reform will have innumerable unforeseen consequences. For example, the welfare state may diminish individual initiative, the use of pesticides may increase the food supply while polluting the water supply, the popularizing of university education may lead to a decline in academic standards. Since government has a virtual monopoly on large-scale change, it follows, in Stove's view, that its powers must be limited in order to prevent large-scale damage. Instead, he argues that reforms, when they are to be made at all, must be realistic, local, necessary and never coercive. Writing in the conservative tradition of Edmund Burke with the same passion for clarity and intellectual honesty as George Orwell, David Stove was one of the most precise, articulate, and insightful philosophers of his day. "Never just an academic, Stove was also a prominent, often crotchety, public intellectual of a conservative and, all too often, reactionary bent, many of whose views were extremist on any account, and his targets were many.... For Stove the important question about a belief is not whether it is extreme or mainstream, but whether it is true, or probable, or has sound evidentiary and/or rational credentials. In this he was surely right." -D. D. Todd, Philosophy in Review David Stove taught philosophy at the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney. He is the author of Against the Idols of the Age and Scientific Irrationalism, both available from Transaction. Andrew Irvine is professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Roger Kimball is managing editor of the New Criterion. (shrink)
Absorbing—being absorbed in—the vision of Robert Neville's Philosophical Theology recalled to me a lowly cartoon by much-beloved Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig.1 A small man carries a big briefcase on a smudgy street. With a look of—relief? regret? foreboding? anticipation?—the man beholds a sign on a wall that reads: "If you see anything mysterious or unusual just enjoy it while you can." Neville's vision is unusual, and the contemplation of mystery sounds as a basso continuo through each and all three opera (...) of his Philosophical Theology. I want to say: enjoy it while you can. For who can say whether its beauty is that of things ephemeral or something more perennial?It seems we might be coming to an end of... (shrink)
Kevin Schilbrack’s recent book sets out a series of well-considered, well-wrought arguments promoting a lively future for philosophy of religion. In the following comments on selected chapters, I seek to raise questions that require further elaboration of Schilbrack’s constructive vision and/or distinction from alternative visions with which he disagrees.Chapter 1: ‘The Full Task of Philosophy of Religion’Schilbrack begins this chapter characterizing ‘traditional philosophy of religion’ in terms of the task that the discipline sets for itself: to evaluate the rationality of (...) theism. In an illuminating decision tree, Schilbrack analyzes and organizes the variety within TPR, including counter-traditions in Continental and feminist philosophy. More importantly, this procedure helps substantiate the author’s overall critique of TPR as inadequate to the ‘full task’ of philosophy of religion because it is narrow, intellectualistic, and insular. Schilbrack identifies three subordinate ta .. (shrink)
One aim of this essay is to understand why white evangelical Christians, more than any other religious adherents in the United States, are deeply invested in denying the emergency of anthropogenic climate change and in obstructing action to address anthropogenic climate change. Michael S. Hogue, in his recent book, American Immanence, blames a religious imaginary he names the “redeemer symbolic.” This symbolic complex inspires the devotion of the politically powerful white evangelical Christian and nationalist movement in the United States at (...) the present time. A second aim of the essay is to analyze the redeemer symbolic. Through a reading of Maurice Sendak’s much-loved illustrated children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, the essay suggests that U.S. white evangelical devotees of the redeemer symbolic share a kind of inability to come to terms with a vital and ineliminable wildness in persons and cultures; further, that this inability correlates with a political-theological failure, even refusal, to grasp the emergency of anthropogenic climate change. The essay first explicates the redeemer symbolic, with a particular focus on its implication in the legitimation of climate skepticism. Then, with the aid of key concepts from the psychoanalytic theory of D.W. Winnicott, it interprets the story of Max, the protagonist in Where the Wild Things Are, as a fable of healthy development of what Winnicott calls “transitional space” and a related “capacity to be alone.” Unsuccessful development of those resources, it is suggested, contributes to an account of why adherents of the redeemer symbolic typically refuse wildness and thus may be prone to climate negligence. More importantly, though, recognizing the cultural-psychological importance of “wild things” may help fire imaginative ways around the obstructiveness of the redeemer symbolic, to more effectively address climate change in particular, and human well-being in nature in general. (shrink)
In Politics III.10 and IV.4, Aristotle discusses the difference between governments that are regulated by the rule of law and those that are not. Although he concludes that the rule of law helps guard against arbitrary and injudicious government action, Aristotle is also sensitive to the fact that in a democracy it is essential for the people to remain sovereign over the law. His discussion is helpful for understanding, not only the tension between the 'rule of law' and the 'rule (...) of men', but also the complex role the rule of law plays in any modern democracy. (shrink)
Approaching comparison through attention to stories of gods rather than through explicit doctrines, and in particular to stories of gods in their infancy and childhood, is an arresting proposal in comparative theology. It was this unusual character which first drew my attention to Kristin Johnston Largen’s Baby Krishna, Infant Christ. Largen’s prose is fluid and clear, and the structure of the argument is also readily apparent. And thus the work held my attention and convinced me that it is deserving of (...) review here.An introduction and first chapter offer a description of and an apology for comparative theology. Part I, comprising chapters two and three, is focused on ‘Baby Krishna,’ first recounting some of the main stories of Krishna from the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, before reflecting on the significance of those stories from the perspective of understanding how salvation is conceived and experienced in those Hindu traditions for which Krishna bhakti is crucial.The fourth and fifth chapters, .. (shrink)
Existence, the middle volume of Neville’s Philosophical Theology, offers a theological anthropology, and so deals with “religious dimensions of human nature, its conditions, and processes”. As such it contrasts with the mainly metaphysical concerns of the volume that precedes it, Ultimates, and the social scientific interests of the volume that follows, Religion. After a preface and introduction, the volume is arranged in four parts, each of four chapters. The parts deal respectively with “ultimate boundary conditions” of human existence set by (...) the metaphysics of determinateness developed in volume 1; “predicaments and deliverances” of... (shrink)