This paper develops Bernard Williams’s suggestion that for philosophy to ignore its history is for it to assume that its history is vindicatory. The paper aims to offer a fruitful line of inquiry into the question whether philosophy has a vindicatory history by providing a map of possible answers to it. It first distinguishes three types of history: the history of discovery, the history of progress, and the history of change. It then suggests that much of philosophy lacks a (...) vindicatory history, for reasons that reflect philosophy’s character as a humanistic discipline. On this basis, the paper reconstructs Williams’s conception of what it means for philosophy to engage with its own history. The paper concludes that it is a mistake to think that a vindicatory history is what we would really like to have, and that in fact, the resulting picture gives philosophy several reasons to engage with its own history. (shrink)
A common and enduring early modern intuition is that materialists reduce organisms in general and human beings in particular to automata. Wasn’t a famous book of the time entitled L’Homme-Machine? In fact, the machine is employed as an analogy, and there was a specifically materialist form of embodiment, in which the body is not reduced to an inanimate machine, but is conceived as an affective, flesh-and-blood entity. We discuss how mechanist and vitalist models of organism exist in a more complementary (...) relation than hitherto imagined, with conceptions of embodiment resulting from experimental physiology. From La Mettrie to Bernard, mechanism, body and embodiment are constantly overlapping, modifying and overdetermining one another; embodiment came to be scientifically addressed under the successive figures of vie organique and then milieu intérieur, thereby overcoming the often lamented divide between scientific image and living experience. (shrink)
When Bernard Williams died in 2003, the Times newspaper hailed him ‘as the greatest moral philosopher of his generation’. This outstanding collection of specially commissioned new essays on Williams's work is essential reading for anyone interested in Williams, ethics and moral philosophy and philosophy in general. _Reading Bernard Williams_ examines the astonishing scope of his philosophy from metaphysics and philosophy of mind to ethics, political philosophy and the history of philosophy. An international line up of outstanding contributors discuss, (...) amongst others, the following central aspects of Williams's work: Williams's challenge to contemporary moral philosophy and his criticisms of 'absolute' theories of morality reason and rationality the good life the emotions Williams and the phenomenological tradition philosophical and political agency moral and political luck ethical relativism Contributors : Simon Blackburn; John Cottingham; Frances Ferguson; Joshua Gert; Peter Goldie; Charles Guignon; Sharon Krause; Christopher Kutz; Daniel Markovits; Elijah Millgram; Martha Nussbaum; Carol Rovane. (shrink)
As a response to what I see as the challenge posed by constructivist and narrative pedagogies, this paper seeks to sympathetically reconstruct Bernard Williams’ Absolute Conception from the scattered texts in which he briefly sketched it While ultimately defending the Absolute Conception or something close enough to it, the paper criticizes and distances itself from some aspects of Williams’ version, notably his conception of philosophy as insurmountably perspectival. Williams’ understanding of perspectival knowledge as contrasted to absolute knowledge is illustrated (...) with the concrete, if fictional case of the Dr Manhattan character from Zack Snyder’s Watchmen (2009). Adrian Moore’s reading, and Hilary Putnam’s criticisms of Williams’ Absolute Conception are amongst the positions engaged with. (shrink)
In December 1924 when Simone de Beauvoir almost certainly wrote her essay analyzing Claude Bernard's "Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine," a classic text in the philosophy of science, she was a 16 yr old student in a senior-level philosophy class at a private Catholic girls' school. Given the popular conception of existentialism as anti science, Beauvoir's early interest in science, reflected in her baccalaureate successes as well as her paper on Bernard, may be surprising. But her (...) enthusiasm for Bernard is unmistakable. We have identified three themes in Beauvoir's essay that reappear in her later work, including the valuing of philosophical doubt. (shrink)
Like Bernard Mandeville, Archibald Campbell develops a profoundly egoistic conception of human psychology. However, Campbell attacks numerous points in Mandeville’s moral philosophy, in particular Mandeville’s treatment of self-love, the desire for esteem, and human nature in general as corrupt. He also criticises Mandeville’s corresponding insistence on self-denial and his rigorist conception of luxury. Campbell himself is subsequently attacked by Scottish orthodox Calvinists - not for his egoism, but for his optimism regarding postlapsarian human nature and self-love. This episode demonstrates (...) that the debates on egoism in Mandeville should be seen in the context of the debates on postlapsarian human nature. (shrink)
An important shift occurs in Martin Heidegger’s thinking one year after the publication of Being and Time , in the Appendix to the Metaphysical Foundations of Logic . The shift is from his project of fundamental ontology—which provides an existential analysis of human existence on an ontological level—to metontology . Metontology is a neologism that refers to the ontic sphere of human experience and to the regional ontologies that were excluded from Being and Time. It is within metontology, Heidegger states, (...) that “the question of ethics may be raised for the first time.” This paper makes explicit both Heidegger’s argument for metontology , and the relation between metontology and ethics. In examining what he means by “the art of existing,” the paper argues that there is an ethical dimension to Heidegger’s thinking that corresponds to a moderate form of moral particularism. In order to justify this position, a comparative analysis is made between Heidegger, Aristotle, and Bernard Williams. (shrink)
Research in modern biology has largely been developed according to two main ways of inquiry, as they were outlined by Charles Darwin and Claude Bernard. Each stands for a specific approach to the living corresponding to two different methodological rules: the principle of natural selection and the principle of causation.
The reduplication argument advanced by Bernard Williams in 1956 has greatly stimulated the contemporary debate on personal identity. The argument relies on a famous thought experiment that, although not new in the history of philosophy, has engaged some of the most influential contemporary philosophers on the topic. I propose here an interpretation of the argument and a reconstruction of the early reception that Williams’ paper had in the 6 years immediately after its publication. The works discussed include papers by (...) C. B. Martin, G. C. Nerlich, R. Coburn, and J. M. Shorter. (shrink)
This work will examine the concept of soul developed in mysticism of abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). For this, I will analyze extracts of five writings namely the Third Series of Sentences, three of his Liturgical Sermons, and the parabola The Three Children of the King.
Este artigo busca expor as críticas de Bernardo de Claraval às superfluidades humanas no texto da Apologia, especialmente aquelas referentes à arte arquitetural. Em segundo lugar, procura analisar as implicações estéticas do ascetismo cisterciense e bernardiano. As críticas de Bernardo exercem uma influência decisiva na ornamentação e fazem nascer uma nova arquitetura. This paper is to expose the criticism of human superfluities at Bernard of Clairvaux in the text of the Apology, especially those related to architectural art. Secondly, analyzes (...) the aesthetic implications of cistercian and bernardian asceticism. Criticism of Bernard exercise a decisive influence on ornamentation and give birth to a new architecture. (shrink)
The paper reviews links between Bernard Lonergan's theory of innovative economic growth and cycles, and the ideas of Friedrich Hayek, John Maynard Keynes, and Joseph Schumpeter. They were contemporary economists, who remain influential today. For Lonergan, although markets define what is bought and sold in an exchange economy, production decisions are more fundamental. These decisions are choices about the direction of development, the standard of living, and variations in the distribution of wealth in a modern society. The paper shows (...) how Lonergan's pure cycle theory extends mainstream theory to include a broader view of human behaviour and choice. (shrink)
The concept of the Formalesque preoccupied Bernard Smith during the last decades of his life. First propounded in Modernism's History (1998), the Formalesque is a proposed period style describing the art of the 20th century. Yet, despite his ambitions for the Formalesque as a new classification for modern art, the idea failed to appeal to academic art history. This paper does not attempt to salvage the Formalesque from art-historical obscurity. But it does argue Smith's work on this topic is (...) relevant by virtue of the contribution it makes to debates about modernism and art history. Although Smith's thesis emphasizes the necessity of period styles and the perennial development of art history, paradoxically, the Formalesque also highlights the limitations of art history. If the Formalesque has a place in art historiography, it belongs to a speculative discourse describing the end of the history of art. (shrink)
This article is a discussion of Bernard Bosanquet's paper 'The Reality of the General Will', in which its main arguments and motivations are explained. His position is compared to Rousseau's on the general will.
Este artículo analiza las fuentes que Bernard Manin recupera de la filosofía antigua y sobre las que sustenta los argumentos de una parte de su teoría política, contenida fundamentalmente en su obra: _Los principios del gobierno representativo_. Tanto en sus reflexiones como en el diálogo con otros, Manin volverá en ocasiones, casi siempre de forma poco explícita, a lecturas de la democracia ateniense sobre las que surgen controversias por el sentido de su trabajo, manteniendo de ese modo su vigencia (...) para la comprensión del presente. En este artículo se mostrará que tanto el autor como su obra están atravesados por una tensión intelectual de un marcado carácter filosófico y político y que, entre dicha tensión y las disputas por una definición de qué es una buena democracia, se dibuja un espacio que arroja luz sobre tales controversias. Las controversias, concluiremos, no son resultado de malos entendidos; o si lo son, cobran sentido en el propio texto de Bernard Manin. (shrink)
This essay deals with a set of distinctive themes in the thought of Bernard Williams, and focuses on two aspects they all have in common. These are, on the one hand, the idea that the philosophical enterprise is intrinsically reflective in nature, and, on the other, a preoccupation with human beings singly regarded as individuals. By bringing these two constants to the fore, individually and in their interrelations, the essay formulates the general lines of an alternative reading of Williams, (...) revealing a more unitary understanding of his philosophy than has hitherto been allowed. (shrink)
Following Mr. Bixby and some other 19th century scientist-philosophers such as Claude Bernard, relevant scientific actions should, as a matter of primary importance, be explained with reference to the competence and not to the intentions of those involved. The background is a reliabilist virtue approach - a widespread tendency in 19th century epistemology and philosophy of science. Bixby's approach includes a critique of some constructivist arguments and establishes a mutually supportive connection to conceptions of scientific progress.
Bernard Gert claims that the project of justifying morality is “the primary task” of his major work, Morality: Its Nature and Justification. However, the arguments for and the point of his justification are not entirely clear. Unfortunately, critical work on Gert’s theory of morality has not included detailed attention to his attempt to justify morality. Part I of this two-part essay offers a systematic examination and assessment of Gert’s justification. It is argued that Gert’s justification is successful, but limited (...) in its scope. (shrink)
The paper links a debate in the history of medical science between statistics and the experimental method with contemporary diabetes educational practices. An empirical example of a tension between neglect and concern in diabetes self-regulation frames the subsequent theoretical discussion between first, Claude Bernard and statistics and afterwards, Georges Canguilhem as a correlative to Bernard. Through these philosophers of medical science a connection between the experimental method and education is demonstrated. Finally, a case description of an experimental approach (...) to alcohol and experimentation frames and highlights the educational aspect of the methodological discussion. (shrink)
This paper analyses the place of sortition in the political philosophy of Jacques Rancière. The idea of sortition is linked to a philosophical reflection on arithmetic equality and geometric equality. Thus, starting from an important work of Cornelius Castoriadis in this sense, we will analyze below the relationship of Rancière’s political philosophy with equality. Finally we will analyze the sortition and the place it occupies in his work. Bernard Manin’s work on ancient democracies and systems of representative government will (...) help us contextualize Rancière’s proposals on the use of random selection in politics. (shrink)
Guides for the Journey is an introduction to the lives and thoughts of three significant thinkers: John Macmurray, Bernard Lonergan, and James Fowler. The book shows how their work is helpful in interpreting our lives and the world in which we live. Written for the introductory student or reader, this book makes Macmurray, Lonergan, and Fowler's work more accessible and is the first book to actually compare the thought of the three. Throughout the book, quotations from their writings help (...) the reader to absorb and appreciate the texture and meaning of their work. Readers are not presumed to be familiar with philosophy or the meaning of technical terms used. An index and a glossary of names and key terms provide easy reference tools. Endnotes and a bibliography will stimulate further reading on the subject. Guides for the Journey is highly appropriate for university courses in religion as well as religious workshops and lectures. Contents: List of Tables; Preface; Acknowledgments; Introduction; Endnotes; John Macmurray ; Endnotes; Macmurray's Characterization of the Personal Life; Endnotes; Bernard Lonergan; Endnotes; Lonergan's Understanding of Understanding; Endnotes; James Fowler ; Endnotes; Fowler's Faith Development Theory; Endnotes; A Summing Up; Endnotes; Glossary; Bibliography; Index. (shrink)
I explore what BernardWilliams means by regarding one’s action ‘purely externally, as one might regard anyone else’s action’, and how it links to regret and agent-regret. I suggest some ways that we might understand the external view: as a failure to recognize what one has done, in terms of Williams’s distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic luck, and as akin to Thomas Nagel’s distinction between an internal and external view. I argue that none of these captures what Williams was getting at (...) because they do not allow one to take a view on one’s action. I offer two alternative accounts. One turns around what we identify with, the other concerns what we care about. Both accounts capture how I might regret, rather than agent-regret, my own action. I demonstrate that these accounts can explain the relationship between an insurance payout and the external view, and they can explain the agent-relativity of agent-regret. (shrink)
This collection is a festschrift prepared for Williams on his retirement from the White’s Professorship of Moral Philosophy at Oxford. The topics covered include equality, consistency, comparison between science and ethics, integrity, moral reasons, the moral system, and moral knowledge. Most of the chapters combine exegetical and critical ambitions. With contributions by J. E. J. Altham, Jon Elster, Nicholas Jardine, Ross Harrison, Christopher Hookway, John McDowell, Martin Hollis, Martha Nussbaum, Amartya Sen, and Charles Taylor, and replies by Bernard Williams.
Professeur Finkelstein avait posée la question, pourquoi, bien que leurs réalisations scientifiques et leur scientifique approche soient similaires, Bernard était beaucoup plus connu dans son pays, France, et à son époque, que Bois-Reymond en Allemagne? Une question similaire a été posée au sujet du pourquoi Darwin est connu pour la théorie de l'évolution, tandis que Wallace a été remis en arrière-fond dans leur temps et dans l'histoire. Selon Finkelstein, la cause de la differences entre Bois-Reymond et Bernard, peut (...) être trouvée dans la culture et la place de la science dans l'œil public en France contre les memes choses en Allemagne. C'est-à-dire, la rhétorique de la science a été plus respectée en France qu'en Allemagne, ce que Finkelstein a soutenu avec persuasion et éloquence. (shrink)