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.
Andrews argues for a pluralistic folk psychology that employs different kinds of practices and different kinds of cognitive tools (including personality trait attribution, stereotype activation, inductive reasoning about past behavior, and ...
In this extraordinary introduction to the study of the philosophy of technology, Andrew Feenberg argues that techonological design is central to the social and political structure of modern societies. Environmentalism, information technology, and medical advances testify to technology's crucial importance. In his lucid and engaging style, Feenberg shows that technology is the medium of daily life. Every major technical changes reverberates at countless levels: economic, political, and cultural. If we continue to see the social and technical domains as being (...) seperate, then we are essentially denying an integral part of our existence, and our place in a democratic society. Questioning Tecchnology convinces us that it is vital that we learn more about technology the better to live with it and to manage it. (shrink)
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)
The study of animal cognition raises profound questions about the minds of animals and philosophy of mind itself. Aristotle argued that humans are the only animal to laugh, but in recent experiments rats have also been shown to laugh. In other experiments, dogs have been shown to respond appropriately to over two hundred words in human language. In this introduction to the philosophy of animal minds Kristin Andrews introduces and assesses the essential topics, problems and debates as they cut across (...) animal cognition and philosophy of mind. She addresses the following key topics: what is cognition, and what is it to have a mind? What questions should we ask to determine whether behaviour has a cognitive basis? the science of animal minds explained: ethology, behaviourist psychology, and cognitive ethology rationality in animals animal consciousness: what does research into pain and the emotions reveal? What can empirical evidence about animal behaviour tell us about philosophical theories of consciousness? does animal cognition involve belief and concepts; do animals have a ‘Language of Thought’? animal communication other minds: do animals attribute ‘mindedness’ to other creatures? moral reasoning and ethical behaviour in animals animal cognition and memory. Extensive use of empirical examples and case studies is made throughout the book. These include Cheney and Seyfarth’s ververt monkey research, Thorndike’s cat puzzle boxes, Jensen’s research into humans and chimpanzees and the ultimatum game, Pankseep and Burgdorf’s research on rat laughter, and Clayton and Emery’s research on memory in scrub-jays. Additional features such as chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary make this an indispensable introduction to those teaching philosophy of mind, animal cognition. It will also be an excellent resource for those in fields such as ethology, biology and psychology. (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)
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)
Individuals play a prominent role in many metaphysical theories. According to an individualistic metaphysics, reality is determined by the pattern of properties and relations that hold between individuals. A number of philosophers have recently brought to attention alternative views in which individuals do not play such a prominent role; in this paper I will investigate one of these alternatives.
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.
It is now over twenty years since Premack and Woodruff posed the question, ‘Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?’—‘by which we meant’, explained Premack in a later reappraisal, ‘does the ape do what humans do: attribute states of mind to the other one, and use these states to predict and explain the behaviour of the other one? For example, does the ape wonder, while looking quizzically at another individual, What does he really want? What does he believe? What (...) are his intentions? '. (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)
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)
_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)
Between World War I and World War II, the students of Columbia University's John Dewey and Frederick J. E. Woodbridge built up a school of philosophical naturalism sharply critical of claims to value-neutrality. In the 1930s and 1940s, the second-generation Columbia naturalists and their students who later joined the department reacted with dismay to the arrival on American shores of logical empiricism and other analytic modes of philosophy. These figures undermined their colleague Ernest Nagel's attempt to build an alliance with (...) the logical empiricists, accusing them of ignoring the scholar's primary role as a public critic. After the war, the prestige of analytic approaches and a tendency to label philosophies either???analytic??? or???Continental??? eclipsed the Columbia philosophers??? normatively inflected naturalism. Yet in their efforts to resist logical empiricism, the Columbia naturalists helped to construct a sturdy, canonical portrait of???American philosophy??? that proponents still hold up as a third way between analytic and Continental approaches. (shrink)
The technologies, markets, and administrations of today's knowledge society are in crisis. We face recurring disasters in every domain: climate change, energy shortages, economic meltdown. The system is broken, despite everything the technocrats claim to know about science, technology, and economics. These problems are exacerbated by the fact that today powerful technologies have unforeseen effects that disrupt everyday life; the new masters of technology are not restrained by the lessons of experience, and accelerate change to the point where society is (...) in constant turmoil. In Between Reason and Experience, leading philosopher of technology Andrew Feenberg makes a case for the interdependence of reason--scientific knowledge, technical rationality--and experience. Feenberg examines different aspects of the tangled relationship between technology and society from the perspective of critical theory of technology, an approach he has pioneered over the past twenty years. Feenberg points to two examples of democratic interventions into technology: the Internet and the environmental movement. He examines methodological applications of critical theory of technology to the case of the French Minitel computing network and to the relationship between national culture and technology in Japan. Finally, Feenberg considers the philosophies of technology of Heidegger, Habermas, Latour, and Marcuse. The gradual extension of democracy into the technical sphere, Feenberg argues, is one of the great political transformations of our time. (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)
The subject of this essay is propria and their relation to essence. Propria, roughly characterized, are those real properties of a thing which are natural but nonessential to it, and which are said to “flow from” the thing’s essence, where this “flows from” relation is understood to designate a kind of explanatory relation. For example, it is said that Socrates’s risibility flows from his essential humanity; and it is said that salt’s solubility in water flows from the essential natures of (...) both salt and water. The question I raise and attempt to answer in this essay is: In what sense do propria “flow from” essences? What kind of explanatory relation is this exactly? Some suggest that it is a relation of logical consequence (e.g., Kit Fine); others, of grounding (e.g., Michael Gorman); and still others, of formal causation (e.g., David Oderberg). In this essay, I reintroduce and defend a view suggested by the late scholastic Spanish philosopher and theologian Francisco Suárez, who in 1597 wrote that effluence is best understood as a very special kind of efficient causation, which we can call the relation of emanation. The thesis of this essay, then, is that propria emanate from essences. Along the way, this paper offers a new taxonomy of types of propria; it explains the significance of propria for the metaphysics and epistemology of essences; it discusses at length varieties of efficient causation (and emanation in particular); and then it offers an extensive abductive argument in favor of Suárez’s account, whereby the former accounts of effluence are critiqued, each in turn, and Suárez’s view is motivated and ultimately shown to be superior to its competitors. (shrink)
In 1872 Nietzsche shocked the European philological community with the publication of the Birth of Tragedy. In this fervid first book Nietzsche looked to ancient Greek culture in the hope of finding the path to a revitalization of modern German culture. Cultural health was at this point unquestionably his paramount concern. Yet postwar Nietzsche scholarship has typically held that after his Untimely Meditations which followed soon after, Nietzsche’s philosophy took a sharply individualist turn—an interpretation largely due to Walter Kaufmann’s noble (...) and influential effort to counter the Nazi appropriation of Nietzsche by stressing Nietzsche’s anti-political individualism and downplaying his seemingly more noxious Kulturphilosophie. But even after Nietzsche gave up on the idea of German culture as something blessed with inner truth and greatness and Nietzsche gave up on the idea of German culture as something blessed with inner truth and greatness and pregnant with the potential for renewed splendor–heaping scorn instead on the Germans and their newly-founded Reich–he still, I argue, continued to take culture, as a collective social achievement, to be something of prime importance. Indeed, it is for this reason that he took the flourishing of great individuals–especially artists and intellectuals–to be vital. Their singularity and their excellence redeems the decadent cultural landscape from the bovine blight of the “last man” and the self-satis!ed, uncreative, and barren mediocrity he represents. My dissertation uses Nietzsche’s perfectionistic ideal of a flourishing culture as a point of departure for investigating many of the central themes in his work: his criticism of the ideals enshrined in conventional morality; his attack on Christianity; his celebration of individual human excellence and cultural accomplishment; his lamentations about cultural decline; his troubling remarks about the need for slavery (“in some sense or other”) if a society is to flourish; and his grand ambitions for a “revaluation of all values.”. (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)
In his essay On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany, of 1834, Heinrich Heine suggested to his French audience that the German propensity for ‘metaphysical abstractions’ had led many people to condemn philosophy for its failure to have a practical effect, Germany having only had its revolution in thought, while France had its in reality. Heine, albeit somewhat ironically, refuses to join those who condemn philosophy: ‘German philosophy is an important matter, which concerns the whole of humanity, and (...) only the last grandchildren will be able to judge whether we should be blamed or praised for working out our philosophy before our revolution.’ He then makes the following prognosis: the German revolution will not be more mild and more gentle because it was preceded by Kantian critique, Fichtean transcendental idealism and even philosophy of nature. Revolutionary forces have developed via these doctrines which are just waiting for the day when they can break out and fill the world with horror and admiration. … Don't smile at my advice, the advice of a dreamer who warns you about Kantians, Fichteans and philosophers of nature. Don't smile at the fantast who expects the same revolution in the realm of appearance as took place in the realm of spirit. … A play will be performed in Germany in comparison with which the French Revolution could appear just as a harmless idyll. (shrink)
Twenty years ago, Richard Boyd suggested that physicalism could be formulated by appeal to a notion of realization, with no appeal to the identity of the non-physical with the physical. In (Melnyk 2003), I developed this suggestion at length, on the basis of one particular account of realization. I now ask what happens if you try to formulate physicalism on the basis of other accounts of realization, accounts due to LePore and Loewer and to Shoemaker. Having explored two new formulations (...) of physicalism, I conclude that my 2003 formulation remains the most promising. (shrink)
In this engaging and comprehensive introduction to the topic of toleration, Andrew Jason Cohen seeks to answer fundamental questions, such as: What is toleration? What should be tolerated? Why is toleration important? Beginning with some key insights into what we mean by toleration, Cohen goes on to investigate what should be tolerated and why. We should not be free to do everythingÑmurder, rape, and theft, for clear examples, should not be tolerated. But should we be free to take drugs, (...) hire a prostitute, or kill ourselves? Should our governments outlaw such activities or tolerate them? Should they tolerate “outsourcing” of jobs or importing of goods or put embargos on other countries? Cohen examines these difficult questions, among others, and argues that we should look to principles of toleration to guide our answers. These principles tell us when limiting freedom is acceptableÑthat is, they indicate the proper limits of toleration. Cohen deftly explains the main principles on offer and indicates why one of these stands out from the rest. This wide-ranging new book on an important topic will be essential reading for students taking courses in philosophy, political science and religious studies. (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)
The concept of dependence is central both to the study of modern republicanism and to the study of systemic corruption. Recently, Lawrence Lessig has described American politics as suffering from “dependency corruption,” a type of institutional corruption about which eighteenth-century republican writers were extremely worried. This article examines the use of the concept “dependence” in the current “neo-roman” republican theory stemming from Quentin Skinner, Maurizio Viroli, and particularly Philip Pettit. The article argues that the term dependence has two essentially distinct (...) inflections, one relating to outright domination (subjection to arbitrary power) and the other relating to a condition of material subordinacy (dependency corruption). If liberty is the “the absence of dependence on the will of others,” it is extremely important to determine just what independence entails. This article suggests that dependency corruption was a dominant concern of the modern republican tradition, but it is a concern that is largely ignored in today’s new republicanism. By way of a foray into the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century sources employed by the new republicans, the article attempts to revive a manner of thinking about corruption that risks being lost to view. (shrink)