Ludwig Wittgenstein was deeply embedded in Viennese architectural Modernism, culturally as well as personally. His assimilation in recent historiography to existing trends within the local architectural movement—namely Loos—are based on aesthetic and intellectual simplifications. The simplifications eclipse the distinctive contribution Wittgenstein’s Palais Stonborough makes to architecture, to Viennese Modernism, and perhaps to philosophy. The present paper seeks to rectify this constellation by re-situating Wittgenstein as an architect in his own right by re-sensitizing us to the idiosyncrasy of Wittgenstein’s architecture.
Although Auguste Comte is conventionally acknowledged as one of the founders of sociology and as a key representative of positivism, few new editions of his writings have been published in the English language in this century. He has become virtually dissociated from the history of modern positivism and the most recent debates about it. Gertrud Lenzer maintains that the work of Comte is, for better or for worse, essential to an understanding of the modern period of positivism. This collection provides (...) new access to the work of Comte and gives practitioners of various disciplines the possibility of reassessing concepts that were first introduced in Comte's writings. Today much of the ordinary business of academic disciplines is conducted under the assumption that the realm of science is essentially separate from the realms of politics and science. A close reading of Comte will reveal how deeply such current ideas and theories were originally embedded in a particular political context. One of his central methodological principles was that the theory of society had to be removed from the arena of political practice precisely in order to control that practice by means of these same sciences. It is in Comte's work that the reader will be able to observe how the forces of social and political reaction began to be powerfully organized to combat the critical forces in its own and later eras. Auguste Comte and Positivism will be of importance to the work of philosophers, sociologists, political theorists, and historians. (shrink)
A detailed chronology is offered for the writing of Frege's central philosophical essays from the early 1890s. Particular attention is given to (the distinction between) Sinn and Bedeutung. Suggestions are made as to the origin of the examples concerning the Morning Star/Evening Star and August Bebel's views on the return of Alsace-Lorraine. Likely sources are offered for Frege's use of the terms Bestimmungsweise, Art des Gegebenseins and Sinn und Bedeutung.
August Weismann is famous for having argued against the inheritance of acquired characters. However, an analysis of his work indicates that Weismann always held that changes in external conditions, acting during development, were the necessary causes of variation in the hereditary material. For much of his career he held that acquired germ-plasm variation was inherited. An irony, which is in tension with much of the standard twentieth-century history of biology, thus exists – Weismann was not a Weismannian. I distinguish (...) three claims regarding the germ-plasm: (1) its continuity, (2) its morphological sequestration, and (3) its variational sequestration. With respect to changes in Weismann’s views on the cause of variation, I divide his career into four stages. For each stage I analyze his beliefs on the relative importance of changes in external conditions and sexual reproduction as causes of variation in the hereditary material. Weismann believed, and Weismannism denies, that variation, heredity, and development were deeply intertwined processes. This article is part of a larger project comparing commitments regarding variation during the latter half of the nineteenth century. (shrink)
In early August 2011, disturbances broke out in a number of English cities. What happened was broadcast globally, and all of a sudden it seemed as if all of the country was about to burst into flames. This short paper is offered by way of a ‘letter’ from England. It was written in late August 2011 and is an initial attempt to develop an understanding of why the disturbances broke out, what motivated the people who were involved and, (...) indeed, why things were confined to England. Cities elsewhere in Britain experienced nothing. The paper identifies a crisis in the English social imaginary. The disturbances are understood as a conjunctural response to this crisis, a response highlighting the interregnum in the English social imaginary. (shrink)
In this chapter I argue that choosing to live forever comes with the threat of an especially pernicious kind of boredom. However, it may be theoretically possible to circumvent it by finding ways to pursue an infinite number of projects consistent with one’s personality, taking on endlessly pursuable endlessly interesting projects, or by rekindling old projects once you’ve forgotten about them. However, each of these possibilities is contingent upon having certain traits that you are likely not currently in a good (...) position to assess. I therefore argue that no one is in a good position to be confident about her prospects for living forever. (shrink)
Reissued in its revised 1866 second edition, this work by John Stuart Mill discusses the positivist views of the French philosopher and social scientist Auguste Comte. Comte is regarded as the founder of positivism, the doctrine that all knowledge must derive from sensory experience. The two-part text was originally printed as two articles in the Westminster Review in 1865. Part 1 offers an analysis of Comte's earlier works on positivism in the natural and social sciences, while Part 2 considers its (...) application in areas such as religion and ethics. Mill states that Comte is the first philosopher who has attempted to extend positivism 'to all objects of human knowledge'. Despite being critical of a number of Comte's views, such as the exclusion of psychology from positivist science, Mill acknowledges his fellow philosopher's influence in the face of common negative perceptions of the positivist movement. (shrink)
Auguste Comte (1798–1857) is the founder of positivism, a philosophical and political movement which enjoyed a very wide diffusion in the second half of the nineteenth century. It sank into an almost complete oblivion during the twentieth, when it was eclipsed by neopositivism. However, Comte's decision to develop successively a philosophy of mathematics, a philosophy of physics, a philosophy of chemistry and a philosophy of biology, makes him the first philosopher of science in the modern sense, and his constant attention (...) to the social dimension of science resonates in many respects with current points of view. His political philosophy, on the other hand, is even less known, because it differs substantially from the classical political philosophy we have inherited. -/- Comte's most important works are (1) the Course on Positive Philosophy (1830-1842, six volumes, translated and condensed by Harriet Martineau as The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte); (2) the System of Positive Polity, or Treatise on Sociology, Instituting the Religion of Humanity, (1851-1854, four volumes); and (3) the Early Writings (1820-1829), where one can see the influence of Saint-Simon, for whom Comte served as secretary from 1817 to 1824. The Early Writings are still the best introduction to Comte's thought. In the Course, Comte said, science was transformed into philosophy; in the System, philosophy was transformed into religion. The second transformation met with strong opposition; as a result, it has become customary to distinguish, with Mill, between a “good Comte” (the author of the Course) and a “bad Comte” (the author of the System). Today's common conception of positivism corresponds mainly to what can be found in the Course. (shrink)
This book offers an exciting re-interpretation of Auguste Comte, the founder of French sociology. Following the development of his philosophy of positivism, Comte later focused on the importance of the emotions in his philosophy resulting in the creation of a new religious system, the Religion of Humanity. Andrew Wernick provides the first in-depth critique of Comte's concept of religion and its place in his thinking on politics, sociology and philosophy of science. He places Comte's ideas in the context of post-1789 (...) French political and intellectual history, and of modern philosophy, especially postmodernism. Wernick relates Comte to Marx and Nietzsche as seminal figures of modernity and examines key features of modern and postmodern French social theory, tracing the inherent flaws and disintegration of Comte's system. Wernick offers original and fascinating insights in this rich study which will attract a wide audience from sociologists and philosophers to cultural theorists and historians. (shrink)
This paper examines the contents and institutional context of August Weismann's long essay on Amphimixis (1891). Therein he presented detailed discussions of his on-going studies of reduction division and parthenogenesis, but more to the point, he included an elaborate examination of Émile Maupas's two major publications in protozoology. To understand the relevance of this part to the other two, the author briefly reviews highpoints in earlier nineteenth century protozoology and concludes that only in the mid-1870s and 1880s did protozoa (...) add an important dimension to heredity theory. Otto Bütschli and then Maupas provided Weismann with a deeper understanding of how conjugation and fertilization were related but not identical processes. This allowed him to integrate the two into a fuller understanding of evolution by natural selection. (shrink)
Drawing on a detailed analysis of their correspondence, this books offers a new intepretation of the relation between Auguste Comte and John Stuart Mill, which focuses on their controvery over sexual equality.
This paper advances a new agentially undemanding account of the conditions of attributability, the Minimal Approval account, and argues that it has a number of advantages over traditional Deep Self theories, including the way in which it handles agents with conditions like addiction, Tourette syndrome, and misophonia. It is argued that in order for an agent to be attributionally responsible, the mental process that leads to her action must dispose her to be such that she would, upon reflec-tion, approve to (...) some minimal degree of being moved to action by the motive on which she in fact acts. (shrink)
How do groups of people persist through time? Groups can change their members, locations, and structure. In this paper, I present puzzles of persistence applied to social groups. I first argue that four-dimensional theories better explain the context sensitivity of how groups persist. I then exploit two unique features of the social to argue for the stage theory of group persistence in particular. First, fusion and fission cases actually happen to social groups, and so cannot be marginalized as “pathological.” Second, (...) it is implausible that groups spatially coincide pre-fission. This means that theories that depend on pre-fission spatial coincidence, such as some endurance theories and the worm theory, cannot explain fission cases. All things considered, the stage theory offers the best explanation of how groups persist. (shrink)
I have argued elsewhere that scientific realism is most significantly challenged neither by traditional arguments from underdetermination of theories by the evidence, nor by the traditional pessimistic induction, but by a rather different historical pattern: our repeated failure to conceive of alternatives to extant scientific theories, even when those alternatives were both (1) well-confirmed by the evidence available at the time and (2) sufficiently scientifically serious as to be later embraced by actual scientific communities. Here I use August Weismann's (...) defense of his influential germ-plasm theory of inheritance to support my claim that this pattern characterizes the history of theoretical scientific investigation generally. Weismann believed that the germ-plasm must become disintegrated into its constituent elements over the course of development, I argue, only because he failed to conceive of any possible alternative mechanism of ontogenetic differentiation. This and other features of the germ-plasm theory, I suggest, reflect a still more fundamental failure to imagine that the germ-plasm might be a productive rather than expendable resource for the cell. Weismann's case provides impressive support for the problem of unconceived alternatives while rendering its challenge to scientific realism deeper and sharper in a number of important ways. (shrink)
This paper brings together two erstwhile distinct strands of philosophical inquiry: the extended mind hypothesis and the situationist challenge to virtue theory. According to proponents of the extended mind hypothesis, the vehicles of at least some mental states (beliefs, desires, emotions) are not located solely within the confines of the nervous system (central or peripheral) or even the skin of the agent whose states they are. When external props, tools, and other systems are suitably integrated into the functional apparatus of (...) the agent, they are partial bearers of her cognitions, motivations, memories, and so on. According to proponents of the situationist challenge to virtue theory, dispositions located solely within the confines of the nervous system (central or peripheral) or even the skin of the agent to whom they are attributed typically do not meet the normative standards associated with either virtue or vice (moral, epistemic, or otherwise) because they are too susceptible to moderating external variables, such as mood modulators, ambient sensibilia, and social expectation signaling. We here draw on both of these literatures to formulate two novel views – the embedded and extended character hypotheses – according to which the vehicles of not just mental states but longer-lasting, wider-ranging, and normatively-evaluable agentic dispositions are sometimes located partially beyond the confines of the agent’s skin. (shrink)
A keen student of theology, August Friedrich Gfrörer became professor of history at the University of Freiburg and also sat as a representative in the Frankfurt parliament, agitating for the reunification of Protestantism and Catholicism. His academic work marked the modern period in the Christian study of Judaism, making full use of primary sources without pursuing an obvious apologetic or polemical agenda. This two-volume work, published in 1831, is a critical study of early Christianity and the influence that Judaism (...) had on the New Testament. Volume 1 provides a thorough exposition of Philo of Alexandria's philosophy and theology. Gfrörer also offers a biographical sketch of Philo and gives an informative overview of his writings and his time. (shrink)
We argue that the interaction of biased media coverage and widespread employment of the recognition heuristic can produce epistemic injustices. First, we explain the recognition heuristic as studied by Gerd Gigerenzer and colleagues, highlighting how some of its components are largely external to, and outside the control of, the cognitive agent. We then connect the recognition heuristic with recent work on the hypotheses of embedded, extended, and scaffolded cognition, arguing that the recognition heuristic is best understood as an instance of (...) scaffolded cognition. In section three, we consider the double-edged sword of cognitive scaffolding. On the one hand, scaffolds can reduce the internal processing demands on cognitive agents while increasing their access to information. On the other hand, the use of scaffolding leaves cognitive agents increasingly vulnerable to forming false beliefs or failing to form beliefs at all about particular topics. With respect to the recognition heuristic, agents rely on third parties (such as the media) to report not just what’s true but also what’s important or valuable. This makes cognitive agents relying on these third parties vulnerable to two erroneous influences: 1) because they don’t recognize something, it isn’t important or valuable, and 2) because they do recognize something, it is important or valuable. Call the latter the Kardashian Inference and the former the Darfur Inference. In section four, we use Fricker’s (2007) concept of epistemic injustice to characterize the nature and harm of these false inferences, with special emphasis on the Darfur Inference. In section five, we use data-mining and an empirical study to show how Gigerenzer’s population estimation task is liable to produce Darfur Inferences. We conclude with some speculative remarks on more important Darfur Inferences, and how to avoid them by scaffolding better. One primary way to accomplish this it to shift the burden of embodying the virtue of epistemic justice from the hearer or consumer of media to the media themselves. (shrink)
Background: Recent literature on addiction and judgments about the characteristics of agents has focused on the implications of adopting a ‘brain disease’ versus ‘moral weakness’ model of addiction. Typically, such judgments have to do with what capacities an agent has (e.g., the ability to abstain from substance use). Much less work, however, has been conducted on the relationship between addiction and judgments about an agent’s identity, including whether or to what extent an individual is seen as the same person after (...) becoming addicted. Methods: We conducted a series of vignette-based experiments (total N = 3,620) to assess lay attitudes concerning addiction and identity persistence, systematically manipulating key characteristics of agents and their drug of addiction. Conclusions: In Study 1, we found that US participants judged an agent who became addicted to drugs as being closer to ‘a completely different person’ than ‘completely the same person’ as the agent who existed prior to the addiction. In Studies 2-6, we investigated the intuitive basis for this result, finding that lay judgments of altered identity as a consequence of drug use and addiction are driven primarily by perceived negative changes in the moral character of drug users, who are seen as having deviated from their good true selves. (shrink)
This paper aims to expand the range of empirical work relevant to the extended cognition debates. First, I trace the historical development of the person-situation debate in social and personality psychology and the extended cognition debate in the philosophy of mind. Next, I highlight some instructive similarities between the two and consider possible objections to my comparison. I then argue that the resolution of the person-situation debate in terms of interactionism lends support for an analogously interactionist conception of extended cognition. (...) I argue that this interactionism might necessitate a shift away from the dominant agent-artifact paradigm toward an agent–agent paradigm. If this is right, then social and personality psychology—the discipline(s) that developed from the person-situation debate—opens a whole new range of empirical considerations for extended cognition theorists which align with Clark & Chalmers original vision of agents themselves as spread into the world. (shrink)
Case reports about patients undergoing Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for various motor and psychiatric disorders - including Parkinson’s Disease, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Treatment Resistant Depression - have sparked a vast literature in neuroethics. Questions about whether and how DBS changes the self have been at the fore. The present chapter brings these neuroethical debates into conversation with recent research in moral psychology. We begin in Section 1 by reviewing the recent clinical literature on DBS. In Section 2, we consider (...) whether DBS poses a threat to personal identity. In Section 3 we argue for engagement with recent empirical work examining judgements of when identity changes. We conclude in Section 4 by highlighting a range of ethical issues raised by DBS, including various cross-cultural considerations. (shrink)
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