The context for these interviews was a seminar [Peter Gratton] conducted on speculative realism in the Spring 2010. There has been great interest in speculative realism and one reason Gratton surmise[s] is not just the arguments offered, though [Gratton doesn't] want to take away from them; each of these scholars are vivid writers and great pedagogues, many of whom are in constant contact with their readers via their weblogs. Thus these interviews provided an opportunity to forward student questions about their (...) respective works. Though each were conducted on different occasions, the interviews stand as a collected work, tying together the most classical questions about “realism” to ancillary movements about the non-human in politics, ecology, aesthetics, and video gaming—all to point to future movements in this philosophical area. (shrink)
In his New Essays on Human Understanding, Leibniz presents an extended critical commentary on Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Leibniz read some of Locke’s work in English and then, a few years later, the whole of it in French, a language in which he was more comfortable. Over a period of about two further years, on and off, he wrote his New Essays, which he finished at about the time Locke died and which was not published until about half a (...) century after Leibniz’s death. (He left them unpublished partly because they had been motivated by a hope of getting Locke to reply, and Locke’s death put an end to that; though his character made it a forlorn hope in any case.) The New Essays has been an important work: for one thing, Kant read it on its first appearance, and scholars say that this was a decisive event in his philosophical development. Anyway, given that this is one of Leibniz’s only two philosophical works of substantial book length, in all the torrent that poured from his pen, and given also that it is focused - critically but with respect and careful attentiveness - on the greatest classic of English philosophy, it is surprising that the New Essays had to wait until 1981 for a usable English translation.1 In 1896 there was published a sort of translation by A. G. Langley;2 but it is inaccurate far beyond the bounds of normal incompetence, as well as being grimly unreadable for stylistic reasons. As Chesterton once said about The Origin of Species, it is surprising how many people think they have read it, but I'll bet that nobody alive has slogged through the Langley version from cover to cover. It is a pity that the work was not decently available in English for nearly three centuries, because even for those who can read the French of, say, Descartes, Leibniz’s French is difficult. He reserved his native German for writings on history and politics, using French and Latin for philosophy and mathematics; presumably French was chosen for the New Essays because Leibniz wanted to respond to a popular work by a popular work.. (shrink)
David Schweickart has challenged a number of claims that are central to my argument that market socialism would probably degenerate into something only nominally distinguishable from capitalism. Chief among these is the claim that competitive pressures would force the workers in a worker-controlled firm to create pay and authority differentials that would make such firms structurally homologous to capitalist firms. Schweickart challenges this on two fronts: He argues that there is no good reason to believe that market forces under market (...) socialism would create the pay and authority differentials characteristic of capitalism. He further argues that certain structural features of market socialism would insure that competition would not be as intense as it is under capitalism. Consequently, even if capitalistically structured firms were more efficient, it would not make much difference, since no sword of Damocles would hang over the heads of those firms whose workers prefer more collectivist methods of control. Let us consider each of these points in turn. (shrink)
Few stage plays have much to do with analytic philosophy: Tom Stoppard has written two of them— Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Jumpers . The contrast between these, especially in how they involve philosophy, could hardly be greater. Rosencrantz does not parade its philosophical content; but the philosophy is there all the same, and it is solid, serious and functional. In contrast with this, the philosophy which is flaunted throughout Jumpers is thin and uninteresting, and it serves the play (...) only in a decorative and marginal way. Its main effect has been to induce timidity in reviewers who could not see the relevance to the play of the large stretches of academic philosophy which it contains. Since the relevance doesn't exist, the timidity was misplaced, and so the kid gloves need not have been used. Without doubting that I would have enjoyed the work as performed on the London stage, aided by the talent of Michael Hordern and the charm of Diana Rigg, I don't doubt either that Jumpers is a poor effort which doesn't deserve its current success. I shan't argue for that, however. I want only to explain why Jumpers is not a significantly philosophical play, before turning to the more important and congenial task of showing that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is one. (shrink)
To the extent that the nature of the relationship between utopian and modernist fiction has preoccupied literary history at all, such reflection has tended to be overshadowed by the devastating irony with which Virginia Woolf treats the fiction of H. G. Wells, among other prominent writers of the so-called Edwardian period. In two interrelated essays originally published between 1923 and 1924—“Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown” and “ Character in Fiction”—Woolf inverts ArnoldBennett’s pejorative estimation of the modernists’ (...) novelistic craft by pointing to the Edwardian’s own failure to live up to their standards, particularly when it comes to the crafting of fictional character. Above all, Woolf would argue, this failure .. (shrink)
"These sixteen essays by Arnold Isenberg "bring wide-ranging connoiseurship, intricate analysis, and epigrammatic literacy to bear on a number of glib and fuzzy oppositions between form and content, description and interpretation, ...
Arguing against the doctrine of double effect, Bennett claims that the terror bomber only intends to make his victims appear dead. An obvious reply is that he intends to make them appear dead by killing them. I argue that the alleged refutations of this reply rest on a mistaken test question to determine what an agent intends, as Bennett's own test question confirms, and that Bennett is misled by confusing metaphorical death and literal death. Moreover, Bennett's (...) argument is half-hearted anyway, and going the whole way would not only undermine the DDE but also Quinn's revision of it. (shrink)
In this paper I outline the main features of Karen Bennett’s (Australasian Journal of Philosophy 1–21, 2011) non-classical mereology, and identify its methodological costs. I argue that Bennett’s mereology cannot account for the composition of structural universals because it cannot explain the mereological difference between isomeric universals, such as being butane and being isobutane. I consider responses, which come at costs to the view.
Karen Bennett has recently argued that the views articulated by Linsky and Zalta (Philos Perspect 8:431–458, 1994) and (Philos Stud 84:283–294, 1996) and Plantinga (The nature of necessity, 1974) are not consistent with the thesis of actualism, according to which everything is actual. We present and critique her arguments. We first investigate the conceptual framework she develops to interpret the target theories. As part of this effort, we question her definition of ‘proxy actualism’. We then discuss her main arguments (...) that the theories carry a commitment to actual entities that do not exist. We end by considering and addressing a worry that might have been the driving force behind Bennett’s claim that Linsky and Zalta’s view is not fully actualistic. (shrink)
Karen Bennett argues that there is no distinct problem with metaphysics, and she proposes a disjunctive conception of the subject matter of metaphysics. This paper critically examines her arguments and positive view. I defend that metaphysics prima facie is distinctly problematic, and I raise some questions about Bennett’s disjunctive conception of the subject matter of metaphysics and the a priori aspect of its methodology.
In this paper, I will critically assess the expressive justification of punishment recently offered by Christopher Bennett in The Apology Ritual and a number of papers. I will first draw a distinction between three conceptions of expression: communicative, motivational, and symbolic. After briefly demonstrating the difficulties of using the first two conceptions of expression to ground punishment and showing that Bennett does not ultimately rely on those two conceptions, I argue that Bennett’s account does not succeed because (...) he fails to establish the following claims: punishment is the only symbolically adequate response to a wrongdoing; and punishment is permissible if it is the only symbolically adequate response to a wrongdoing. (shrink)
Arnold Clapmarius’ ‘Traineeship in politics’. Practical Experience and the Semblance of Practical Experience as a Qualification in the Field of Political Science around the Year 1600. In 1600, Arnold Clapmarius was appointed the first professor for Public Law and Political Science in the Holy Roman Empire by the University of Altdorf. He received this professorship though he had not yet published anything because he was a protégé of Landgrave Maurice the Learned of Hesse-Kassel. Two newly discovered letters which (...) were written by Clapmarius to Maurice show that the young scholar did a traineeship at the Landgrave's court to gather practical experience in politics. This was probably the reason for his appointment in Altdorf. Nevertheless, he hushed up this traineeship because it did not comply to the kind of experience that were expected from a ‘politicus’ at that time, id est military service, educational journeys, foreign languages and regional studies. Thus, this paper fills a gap of Arnold Clapmarius’ biography, and provides a new perspective on the value of practical experience in the field of political science in the Early Modern Period. (shrink)
Foreword by Students' Committee.--Signatures of the Graduate Faculty members.--Faculty foreword.--Introduction: The life and the political philosophy of Arnold Brecht.--Relative and absolute justice.--The rise of relativism in political and legal philosophy.--The search for absolutes in political and legal philosophy.--The myth of is and ought.--The impossible in political and legal philosophy.--The latent place of God in twentieth-century political theory.--Bibliography of books and articles by Arnold Brecht (p. -174)--Biographical summary of Arnold Brecht.
The distinction between action and omission is of interest in both theoretical and practical philosophy. We use this distinction daily in our descriptions of behaviour and appeal to it in moral judgements. However, the very nature of the act/omission distinction is as yet unclear. Jonathan Bennett’s account of the distinction in terms of positive and negative facts is one of the most promising attempts to give an analysis of the ontological distinction between action and omission. According to Bennett’s (...) account, an upshot is the result of an agent’s action if and only if the relevant fact about her conduct is positive. A proposition about an agent’s conduct is positive if and only if most possible movements of the agent would not have made that proposition true. However, Bennett’s account will fail unless it is possible to make sense of claims about ‘most possible movements of the agent’. We need a way of comparing the size of subsets of the behaviour space (the set of possible movements). I argue that Bennett’s own method of comparison is unsatisfactory. I present an alternative method of comparing subsets of the behaviour space. (shrink)
In this long and detailed book Bennett and Hacker set themselves two ambitious tasks. The first is to offer a philosophical critique of, what they argue are, philosophical confusions within contemporary cognitive neuroscience. The second is to present a ‘conceptual reference work for cognitive neuroscientists who wish to check the contour lines of the psychological concept relevant to their investigation’ (p.7). In the process they cover an astonishing amount of material. The first two chapters present a critical history of (...) neuroscience from Aristotle to Sherrington, Eccles and Penfield. Chapter three (to which I shall return), offers the philosophical basis for much of the book. Chapters four to twelve present detailed philosophical criticisms of a wide variety of neuroscientists (and some philosophers) on a large number of topics. These include: Crick, Damasio, Edelman, Marr and Frisby on perception (particularly the primary/secondary quality distinction and the binding problem); Milner, Squire and Kandel on memory; Blakemore and others on mental imagery; LaDoux and Damasio on the emotions; Libet on voluntary movement; and Baars, Crick, Edelman, Damasio, Penrose, Searle, Chalmers, and Nagel on consciousness (with a great deal on qualia and self-consciousness). Chapters thirteen and fourteen, along with the two appendices, contain an elaboration and defence of the book’s methodology and present explicit contrasts with the Churchlands, Dennett and Searle. Bennett and Hacker maintain that whilst neuroscientists have made significant discoveries concerning the workings of the brain, these discoveries have been obscured by their presentation within an incoherent conceptual framework. Their complaints, therefore, are often not with neuroscience itself but with what might be called its philosophical self image. (shrink)
Bennett and Hacker’s _Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience_ (Blackwell, 2003), a collaboration between a philosopher (Hacker) and a neuroscientist (Bennett), is an ambitious attempt to reformulate the research agenda of cognitive neuroscience by demonstrating that cognitive scientists and other theorists, myself among them, have been bewitching each other by misusing language in a systematically “incoherent” and conceptually “confused” way. In both style and substance, the book harks back to Oxford in the early 1960's, when Ordinary Language Philosophy ruled, and (...) Ryle and Wittgenstein were the authorities on the meanings of our everyday mentalistic or psychological terms. I myself am a product of that time and place (as is Searle, for that matter), and I find much to agree with in their goals and presuppositions, and before turning to my criticisms, which will be severe, I want to highlight what I think is exactly right in their approach–the oft-forgotten lessons of Ordinary Language Philosophy. (shrink)
Rebecca Bennett, in a recent paper dismissing Julian Savulescu's principle of procreative beneficence, advances both a negative and a positive thesis. The negative thesis holds that the principle's theoretical foundation – the notion of impersonal harm or non-person-affecting wrong – is indefensible. Therefore, there can be no obligations of the sort that the principle asserts. The positive thesis, on the other hand, attempts to plug an explanatory gap that arises once the principle has been rejected. That is, it holds (...) that the intuitions of those who adhere to the principle are not genuine moral intuitions, but instead simply give voice to mere (non-moral) preferences. This paper, while agreeing that Savulescu's principle does not express a genuine moral obligation, takes issue with both of Bennett's theses. It is suggested that the argument for the negative thesis is either weak or question-begging, while there is insufficient reason to suppose the positive thesis true. (shrink)
“Philosophical Anthropology,” which is reconstructed here, does not deal with anthropology as a philosophical subdiscipline but rather as a particular philosophical approach within twentieth-century German philosophy, connected with thinkers such as Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner and Arnold Gehlen. This paper attempts a more precise description of the core identity of Philosophical Anthropology as a paradigm, observes the differences between the authors within the paradigm, and differentiates the paradigm as a whole from other twentieth-century philosophical approaches, such as transcendental philosophy, (...) evolutionary theory or naturalism, existentialism, and hermeneutic philosophy. In determining the human being as “excentric positionality,” Philosophical Anthropology arrives at unique categorical intertwinings between the biological, social and cultural sciences. (shrink)
Rebecca Bennett, in a recent paper dismissing Julian Savulescu's principle of procreative beneficence, advances both a negative and a positive thesis. The negative thesis holds that the principle's theoretical foundation--the notion of impersonal harm or non-person-affecting wrong--is indefensible. Therefore, there can be no obligations of the sort that the principle asserts. The positive thesis, on the other hand, attempts to plug an explanatory gap that arises once the principle has been rejected. That is, it holds that the intuitions of (...) those who adhere to the principle are not genuine moral intuitions, but instead simply give voice to mere preferences. This paper, while agreeing that Savulescu's principle does not express a genuine moral obligation, takes issue with both of Bennett's theses. It is suggested that the argument for the negative thesis is either weak or question-begging, while there is insufficient reason to suppose the positive thesis true. (shrink)