The prevailing interpretation of Augustine’s theory of divine illumination suggests that illumination provides the human mind with the content of our a priori concepts. While there is strong textual evidence to support this view, I contend it offers an incomplete picture of the work illumination does in Augustine’s epistemology. Based on an analysis of Augustine’s solution to the paradox of language acquisition in De magistro, I argue illumination also supplies the mind with the content of all our empirical concepts. In (...) this text, Augustine calls our attention to the problem that learning the meaning of words by even the simplest of means—through direct acquaintance (i.e., by having an object pointed out to us and labeled with a name)—turns out to require a relatively sophisticated grasp of the word’s usage in the first place, one that depends on illumination to provide the content of all our universal concepts. (shrink)
This article investigates a tension among Aquinas’s basic claims about what constitutes the proper object of the human intellect. Aquinas asserts that the mindhas only one proper object, yet he repeatedly endorses two different candidates for this role: the being of a thing (ens) and a thing’s essence (essentia). One might assume the tension disappears if ens signifies the essence of a thing. Alternatively, the tension seems to dissolve if each operation of the intellect (apprehension and judgment) takes its own (...) object (essence and ens respectively). Although each approach effectively hides the tension from immediate sight, neither genuinely resolves it. This is because neither sufficiently accounts for the features of simplicity and priority Aquinas claims our “first conception of being” must have. Alternatively, I suggest how we might mitigate this tension by treating the intellect itself as having its own proper object (ens) and apprehension as having another (essence). (shrink)
In this paper, the authors have detected a new effect in the area of geomagnetism, related to the behavior of a magnetic dipole freely floating on water surface. An experiment is described in the present paper in which a magnetic dipole fixed upon a float placed on non- magnetized water surface undergoes displacement along with reorientation caused by fine structure of the earth's magnetic field. This fact can probably be explained by secular decrease of the earth's major dipole moment. Further, (...) a detailed study of the phenomenon may create interesting premises for its practical use, particularly for the analysis of fine structure of geomagnetic field and its time-dependent anomalies. A strange behavior of some sea fish species prior to strong earthquakes may be explained if the fish are assumed as 'live magnetic dipoles'. (shrink)
Why do religious people attempt to persuade others of their beliefs? What are the current objections to the religious practice of proselytizing? Is proselytizing an ethically defensible practice? Are there kinds of proselytizing activities that are ethically questionable? Elmer John Thiessen responds to questions like these in an effort to provide a philosophical defense of proselytization, or religious persuasion, as an ethical practice. Thiessen examines and refutes current cultural and academic objections to religious proselytizing and offers a thorough ethics of (...) evangelism. (shrink)
Christ's call for the disciples to be salt and light obliges them to respond to globalization in a theologically consistent way. This paper tries to explore the relation between the Gospel, evangelism, gospelization, social responsibility, and globalization. A key term explored is gospelization. The paper suggests some interpretations in the theology of history.
Through an argumentation analysis can one show how it is feasible to view a narrative religious text such as the Gospel of Matthew as a literary argument. The Gospel is not just good news but an elaborate argument for the standpoint that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah. It is shown why an argumentation analysis needs to be supplemented with a pragmatic literary analysis in order to describe how the evangelist presents his story so as to reach (...) his argumentative objective. The analysis also shows why in the case of historical religious literary texts, certain demands are put on the analyst that are not normally present. (shrink)
Though academic debate over gender-inclusive God-talk seems to have fizzled, the issue is a pressing one within many Christiandenominations today—both within and outside the Church—and for that reason deserves to be briefly revisited. Accordingly, althoughin this essay we approach the issue as professional philosophers, our focus is on the life of the Church—more specifically, those no doubt sizable segments of the Church for which a personal God and Satan exist and evangelism matters. Running an elimination argument, we contend that if (...) a certain sort of feminist concern about traditional God-talk is well-directed, the best response is to speak of not only God but also Satan in both masculine and feminine terms. And in closing, we address the possible worry that this response to the God-talk problem would not be Christian enough. (shrink)
The presbytery pavement of Novara Cathedral in Piedmont, which dates from the early twelfth century, includes the symbols of the four Evangelists on either side of where the altar once stood. The fourteenth-century ordinal for the cathedral indicates that these symbols were used as markers for participants in the prebaptismal ceremony known as the aurium apertio, in particular during the reading of the initial passages of the Gospels . This rare mention of the liturgical use of images in a figurative (...) floor mosaic challenges our preconceptions of what it might have meant to stand on an image and poses the question whether the pavement could have been designed with such a use in mind. However, several factors complicate the matter. Most important is the substantial gap in time between the laying of the floor and the writing of the manuscript, which means that the liturgical custom might equally have responded to the design of the floor. Secondly, there is the position of Novara as a suffragan diocese within the archdiocese of Milan, when the traditio evangeliorum was not part of the Milanese rite. Thirdly, there is the location of the symbols on the presbytery pavement, where they may not have been visible to the laity, although a central aspect of the rite is the explanation of the Evangelist symbols to the baptismal candidates. Taking these points into consideration, this article attempts to elucidate the relationship between pavement and ceremony. It traces the place of the traditio evangeliorum within the history of prebaptismal liturgy and considers the significance of the rite for those who took part in it, before examining the audience and function of both the readings of the Gospel initia and the mosaic symbols themselves. (shrink)
Houston Stewart Chamberlain, the „Evangelist of Racism“, had a major influence on German Emperor Wilhelm II, especially in forming his nationalistic and anti-Semitic views. The monarch and the author developed a mutual understanding and appreciation that lasted over 25 years. This article illuminates the circumstances of their initial acquaintance through the edition and analysis of two documents which were two hitherto unpublished documents: Chamberlain's diary for the dates 28.–31. 10. 1901 and a letter to his aunt Anne Guthrie of (...) 11. 11. 1901. Both documents are compared to other known reports of this meeting. Chamberlain accepted Wilhelm's invitation to Germany where they met in Liebenberg in 1901 in a circle of select members of the German aristocracy. Their first contact is reconstructed here showing the extent to which Wilhelm's thoughts coincided with those of Chamberlain. The author concludes that the meeting with Chamberlain in 1901 was most decisive in the development of Wilhelm's own thinking and had serious consequences for the later course of historical events. In addition, this first meeting is particularly interesting because of the participation of Adolf Harnack who was at that time very close to the Emperor and also corresponded with Chamberlain. The differences in character and views between Chamberlain, Wilhelm and Harnack also surfaced during this memorable meeting. (shrink)
This article aims to make a parallel between the act of Christ, Son of God who is led by the Holy Spirit to face the devil and his temptations in the dry environment of the desert, and the act of the Christian families, who should have the same enthusiasm to let be led by the Spirit that will take them to dense and problematic realities in order to overcome evil. It is also related to the thinking of the evangelist (...) through an exegetical-semantic analysis with the Pope Francis message, present in his two apostolic exhortations: Evangelii Gaudium and Amoris Laetitia in which he emphasizes that the vitality of the Christians, along with their families, must have the effort to evangelize those who are more distant, facing tribulation realities. (shrink)
This book seeks to show how religion is controlled by political ideologies, and how evangelism is moulded and manipulated by the demands of the dominant political order of the day. Out of his experience as a Christian in India, the author challenges churches and congregations to participate in political action as an expression of their commitment to evangelism and to a better society.
While many Christians accept the claim that giving to support the poor and needy is a core moral and religious obligation, most Christian giving is usually not very efficient in EA terms. In this paper, I explore possibilities for productive collaboration between effective altruists and Christian givers. I argue that Christians are obligated from their own perspective to give radically in terms of quantity and scope to alleviate the suffering of the poor and needy. I raise two important potential stumbling (...) blocks for EAChristian collaboration. First, Christians cannot assess outcomes using a straightforward utilitarian calculus of the sort preferred by many EAs, lest they run into a reductio. Second, Christians will want to give to support aims such as worship and evangelism that are not shared by secular EAs and that are not easily commensurable, making the allocation of giving resources more difficult. I conclude with some tentative suggestions about how Christians who are sympathetic to EA might become more effective in their giving. (shrink)
In Ethics in the Sanctuary, Margaret Battin argues that traditional evangelism, directed to promoting religious belief, practice, and affiliation, that is proselytizing, is morally questionable to the extent that it involves unwarranted paternalism in the interests of securing other-worldly benefits for potential converts. I argue that Christian evangelism is justified in order to make the this-worldly benefits of religious belief and practice available to everyone, to bring about an increase in religious affiliation for the purpose of providing a more supportive (...) social environment for Christians, and to promote the survival of the institutional Church, which benefits Christians and nonChristians alike by maintaining church property, providing access to church buildings and doing liturgy visibly and publicly for the sake of all people. (shrink)
Este artigo trata das formas de construção e reelaboração identitárias que ocorrem a partir dos processos de adesões religiosas em curso nos contextos urbanos atuais. Através das narrativas midiáticas e dos depoimentos orais de fiéis que aderiram ao neopentecostalismo, busca-se perceber como ocorrem os trânsitos por entre modalidades religiosas. Neste texto discuto os modos de recepção de uma modalidade de narrativa recorrente nos programas televisivos da Igreja Universal - os testemunhos – destacando a força incorporadora desta modalidade narrativa nas mediações (...) culturais de que se utiliza e os processos de reordenamento simbólico e identitário que esta modalidade narrativa provoca. Noções como identidade-diferença, apropriação e recepção propostas por autores do grupo dos Estudos Culturais são utilizadas para compreender, como, mediante a nova adesão religiosa, fiéis reordenam suas identidades, configurando novos modos de compreensão de si mesmos, dos outros, da divindade e do mundo. A metodologia utilizada decorre das análises propostas pela História Oral sobre narrativas televisivas e os depoimentos orais de fiéis e ex-fiéis neopentecostais. Palavras-chave : Neopentecostalismo; Mídia Evangélica; Narrativas Orais; Identidades.This article deals with the ways of construction and reworking of the identity that occurs from the ongoing religious accession processes on the current urban contexts. Through the media narratives and the oral testimonials of the people who joined the neopentecostalism, the way transits between religious modalities occur has been studied. In this text, I discuss the ways of reception of a recurrent narrative modality on television programs of The Universal Church – the testimonials – highlighting the developing power of this narrative modality on the cultural mediations it makes use of, and the processes of symbolic and identity reordering this modality provokes. Notions as identity-difference, appropriation and reception, proposed by authors of the Cultural Studies group are used to comprehend how, by the new religious accession, people reorder their identities, configuring new ways of comprehension of themselves, of the others, of the divinity and of the world. The methodology that was used comes from analysis proposed by the Oral History about the television narratives and the oral testimonials of people who follow, or do not follow anymore, the neopentecostalism. Keywords : Neo-Pentecostalism; Evangelical Media; Oral Narratives; Identities. (shrink)
This paper reports a literature review on the topic of ethical issues in in-depth interviews. The review returned three types of article: general discussion, issues in particular studies, and studies of interview-based research ethics. Whilst many of the issues discussed in these articles are generic to research ethics, such as confidentiality, they often had particular manifestations in this type of research. For example, privacy was a significant problem as interviews sometimes probe unexpected areas. For similar reasons, it is difficult to (...) give full information of the nature of a particular interview at the outset, hence informed consent is problematic. Where a pair is interviewed (such as carer and cared-for) there are major difficulties in maintaining confidentiality and protecting privacy. The potential for interviews to harm participants emotionally is noted in some papers, although this is often set against potential therapeutic benefit. As well as these generic issues, there are some ethical issues fairly specific to in-depth interviews. The problem of dual role is noted in many papers. It can take many forms: an interviewer might be nurse and researcher, scientist and counsellor, or reporter and evangelist. There are other specific issues such as taking sides in an interview, and protecting vulnerable groups. Little specific study of the ethics of in-depth interviews has taken place. However, that which has shows some important findings. For example, one study shows participants are not averse to discussing painful issues provided they feel the study is worthwhile. Some papers make recommendations for researchers. One such is that they should consider using a model of continuous (or process) consent rather than viewing consent as occurring once, at signature, prior to the interview. However, there is a need for further study of this area, both philosophical and empirical. (shrink)
The ethical climate in Turkey is beset by ethical problems. Bribery, environmental pollution, tax frauds, deceptive advertising, production of unsafe products, and the ethical violations that involved politicians and business professionals are just a few examples. The purpose of this study is to compare and contrast the ethical beliefs of American and Turkish consumers using the Ethical Position Questionnaire (EPQ) of Forsyth (1980), the Machiavellianism scale, and the Consumer Ethical Practices of Muncy and Vitell questionnaire (MVQ). A sample of 376 (...) subjects that consists of American consumers (n = 188) and Turkish consumers (n = 199) was used to compare the ethical beliefs and practices of the two samples. The MANOVA results for the two nationality groups found that five out of six criterion variables differed between the two groups. The implications of this study are intended to assist marketers to develop strategies that suit a particular market and lessen their risk of entry. (shrink)
Controversy continues to attach to the question whether an externalism about mental content is compatible with a traditional doctrine of privileged self-knowledge. By an externalism about mental content, I mean the view that what concepts our thoughts involve may depend not only on facts that are internal to us, but on facts about our environment. It is worth emphasizing, if only because it is still occasionally misperceived, that this thesis is supposed to apply at the level of sense and not (...) merely at that of reference: what concepts we think in terms of -- and not just what they happen to pick out -- is said by the externalist to depend upon environmental facts. By a traditional doctrine of privileged self-knowledge, I mean the view that we are able to know, without the benefit of empirical investigation, what our thoughts are in our own case. Suppose I entertain a thought that I would express with the sentence `Water is wet'. According to the traditional doctrine, I can know without empirical investigation (a) that I am entertaining a thought; (b) that it has a particular conceptual content, and (c) that its content is that water is wet. (shrink)
Objective reasons are given by the facts. Subjective reasons are given by one’s perspective on the facts. Subjective reasons, not objective reasons, determine what it is rational to do. In this paper, I argue against a prominent account of subjective reasons. The problem with that account, I suggest, is that it makes what one has subjective reason to do, and hence what it is rational to do, turn on matters outside or independent of one’s perspective. After explaining and establishing this (...) point, I offer a novel account of subjective reasons which avoids the problem. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for a priori conjectural scientific knowledge about the world. Physics persistently only accepts unified theories, even though endlessly many empirically more successful disunified rivals are always available. This persistent preference for unified theories, against empirical considerations, means that physics makes a substantial, persistent metaphysical assumption, to the effect that the universe has a (more or less) unified dynamic structure. In order to clarify what this assumption amounts to, I solve the problem of what it means (...) to say of a theory that it is unified. There are, I argue, eight different kinds of unity important in theoretical physics, all varieties of one basic idea. This provides us with a precise way of partially ordering physical theories with respect to their degree of unity. It also leads to a hierarchical view of physics, according to which physics makes a number of increasingly insubstantial metaphysical assumptions concerning the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe. Two of these are identified as constituting a priori conjectures. I conclude by arguing that the view developed in the paper resolves the traditional clash between empiricism and rationalism in the philosophy of science, and has important implications for science, and for academic inquiry more generally. (shrink)
This paper proposes a view of time that takes passage to be the most basic temporal notion, instead of the usual A-theoretic and B-theoretic notions, and explores how we should think of a world that exhibits such a genuine temporal passage. It will be argued that an objective passage of time can only be made sense of from an atemporal point of view and only when it is able to constitute a genuine change of objects across time. This requires that (...) passage can flip one fact into a contrary fact, even though neither side of the temporal passage is privileged over the other. We can make sense of this if the world is inherently perspectival. Such an inherently perspectival world is characterized by fragmentalism, a view that has been introduced by Fine in his ‘Tense and Reality’ (2005). Unlike Fine's tense-theoretic fragmentalism though, the proposed view will be a fragmentalist view based in a primitive notion of passage. (shrink)
In this discussion paper, I seek to challenge Hylarie Kochiras’ recent claims on Newton’s attitude towards action at a distance, which will be presented in Section 1. In doing so, I shall include the positions of Andrew Janiak and John Henry in my discussion and present my own tackle on the matter . Additionally, I seek to strengthen Kochiras’ argument that Newton sought to explain the cause of gravity in terms of secondary causation . I also provide some specification on (...) what Kochiras calls ‘Newton’s substance counting problem’ . In conclusion, I suggest a historical correction .Keywords: Isaac Newton ; Action at a distance; Cause of gravity; Fourth letter to Bentley. (shrink)
The Marburg neo-Kantians argue that Hermann von Helmholtz's empiricist account of the a priori does not account for certain knowledge, since it is based on a psychological phenomenon, trust in the regularities of nature. They argue that Helmholtz's account raises the 'problem of validity' (Gueltigkeitsproblem): how to establish a warranted claim that observed regularities are based on actual relations. I reconstruct Heinrich Hertz's and Ludwig Wittgenstein's Bild theoretic answer to the problem of validity: that scientists and philosophers can depict the (...) necessary a priori constraints on states of affairs in a given system, and can establish whether these relations are actual relations in nature. The analysis of necessity within a system is a lasting contribution of the Bild theory. However, Hertz and Wittgenstein argue that the logical and mathematical sentences of a Bild are rules, tools for constructing relations, and the rules themselves are meaningless outside the theory. Carnap revises the argument for validity by attempting to give semantic rules for translation between frameworks. Russell and Quine object that pragmatics better accounts for the role of a priori reasoning in translating between frameworks. The conclusion of the tale, then, is a partial vindication of Helmholtz's original account. (shrink)
In his recent book, The Empirical Stance, Bas van Fraassen forcefully raises the question of what a philosophical position can or should be. He mainly discusses this question with regard to empiricism but his discussion makes it clear that he takes his proposed answer to be generalizable: not only empiricism but philosophical positions in general should be understood as stances rather than dogmata. The first part of this essay is devoted to an examination of van Fraassen’s critique of ‘naïve’ or (...) dogmatic empiricism, which represents an integral part of his argument for ‘stance’ empiricism. It will be argued that, contrary to van Fraassen’s view, not all versions of naïve empiricism run into the problems identified by him. In the second part of the paper the case will be made that, contrary to van Fraassen’s thesis, the stance empiricist is in at least as bad a position as the naïve empiricist with regard to the task of providing a radical critique of metaphysics, which van Fraassen takes to be an essential task that any empiricist should be able to accomplish. The third part of this essay concerns van Fraassen’s general proposal, and examines the question whether a philosophical position can possibly consist in a stance. It will be suggested that this is not the case. With regard to empiricism this has the implication that if one wants to be a philosopher and an empiricist at the same time one needs to subscribe to a form of naïve empiricism. Furthermore, it will be proposed that as a philosopher-empiricist one should want, or, at least, allow some form of metaphysical theorizing to be part of the philosophical enterprise after all. (shrink)
Many expressions intuitively have different epistemic and modal profiles. For example, co-referring proper names are substitutable salva veritate in modal contexts but not in belief-contexts. Two-dimensional semantics, according to which terms have both a so-called primary and a secondary intension, is a framework that promises to accommodate and explain these diverging intuitions. The framework can be applied to indexicals, proper names or predicates. Graeme Forbes argues that the two-dimensional semantics of David Chalmers fails to account for so-called nested contexts. These (...) are linguistic contexts where a sentence is embedded under both epistemic and modal operators. Chalmers and Rabern suggest a two-dimensional solution to the problem. Their semantics solves the nesting-problem, but at the cost of invalidating certain plausible principles. We suggest a solution that is both simpler and avoids this cost. (shrink)
Review of Desmond M. Clarke. Descartes: A Biography. xi + 507 pp., apps., figs., bibl., index. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. $40 (cloth).; Richard Watson, Cogito, Ergo Sum: The Life of René Descartes. viii + 375 pp., figs., bibl., index. Boston: David R. Godine, 2002. $35 (cloth).
There has been a great deal of philosophical discussion about using people, using people intentionally, using people as a means to some end, and using people merely as a means to some end. In this paper, I defend the following claim about using people: NOT ALWAYS WRONG: using people—even merely as a means—is not always morally objectionable. Having defended that claim, I suggest that the following claim is also correct: NO ONE FEATURE: when it is morally objectionable to use people, (...) this is for many different kinds of reasons—there is no one wrong-making feature that every morally objectionable using has in common. After discussing these claims, I use them to present and motivate what I call the “precaution” theory of norms against using people. I conclude by considering a few cases from the criminal law context—cases that are naturally described as using people—to assess the moral appropriateness of this kind of use in these cases, and to demonstrate how the theory applies to the real world. (shrink)
This paper attempts to shed light on three sets of issues that bear directly on our understanding of Locke and Kant. The first is whether Kant believes Locke merely anticipates his distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments or also believes Locke anticipates his notion of synthetic a priori cognition. The second is what should we as readers of Kant and Locke should think about Kant’s view whatever it turns out to be, and the third is the nature of Kant’s justification (...) for the comparison he draws between his philosophy and Locke’s. I argue (1) that Kant believes Locke anticipates both the analytic-synthetic distinction and Kant’s notion of synthetic a priori cognition, (2) that the best justification for Kant’s claim draws on Locke’s distinction between trifling and instructive knowledge, (3) that the arguments against this claim developed by Carson, Allison, and Newman fail to undermine it, and (4) that Kant’s own justification for his claim is quite different from what many commentators have thought it was (or should have been). (shrink)
A. J. Ayer, who died in 1989, was acknowledged as one of Britain's most distinguished philosophers. In this memorial collection of essays leading Western philosophers reflect on Ayer's place in the history of philosophy and explore aspects of his thought and teaching. The volume also includes a posthumous essay by Ayer himself: 'A defence of empiricism'. These essays are undoubtedly a fitting tribute to a major figure, but the collection is not simply retrospective; rather it looks forward to present and (...) future developments in philosophical thought that Ayer's work has stimulated. (shrink)
The concept of evil plays a central role in many of Peter French’s publications. He defines evil as “a human action that jeopardizes another person’s (or group’s) aspirations to live a worthwhile life (or lives) by the willful infliction of undeserved harm on that person(s)” (French 2011, 61, 95). Inspired by Harry Frankfurt’s work on the importance of what we care about, French argues that “the life a person leads is worthwhile if what he or she really gives a damn (...) about satisfies some condition(s) of value” (2011, 189). Through an analysis of the concept of “worthwhile”, I endeavor to show that French’s account of evil is correct although his definition of a worthwhile life is too demanding. Defining an evil act as one that willfully imperils another’s aspirations to live a worthwhile life is a welcome addition to the philosophical literature dedicated to the analysis of evil. Much of this literature identifies evil as severe, intolerable, or excessive harm, but these descriptions remain vague. When is harm precisely severe, intolerable, or excessive? French provides an original and plausible interpretation of these kinds of evil harm by explaining them in terms of an impediment to aspirations to live a worthwhile life. However, French’s definition of a worthwhile life is too strong and hence excludes unmistakable instances of evil. It is quite possible that someone who cares about nonvaluable things, or someone lacking cares altogether, or non-human animals (who might fall into either one of these two categories), could be victims of evil. Therefore, if evil is an act that jeopardizes another’s aspirations to live a worthwhile life, then the necessary condition of a worthwhile life cannot be that one gives a damn about something of value; it must be something far less demanding. In order to retain the central insight in French’s account of evil, I offer an alternative suggestion concerning what makes a life worthwhile. To this end, I distinguish a worthwhile life from a meaningful, valuable, significant, or good life. Focusing on the definition and use of the word “worthwhile”, I find that a worthwhile life is one that is worth the time and effort of the individual whose life it is. Jeopardizing another’s ability to make such a determination about her life lies at the hardened heart of evil. (shrink)
In our contribution we will observe phenomenal architecture of a mind and operational architectonics of the brain and will show their intimate connectedness within a single integrated metastable continuum. The notion of operation of different complexity is the fundamental and central one in bridging the gap between brain and mind: it is precisely by means of this notion that it is possible to identify what at the same time belongs to the phenomenal conscious level and to the neurophysiological level of (...) brain activity organization, and what mediates between them. Implications for linguistic semantics, self-organized distributed computing algorithms, artificial machine consciousness, and diagnosis of dynamic brain diseases will be discussed briefly. (shrink)
It is argued that, based on Kant's descriptive metaphysics, one can prescribe the necessary metaphysical underpinnings for the possibility of conscious experience in an artificial system. This project is developed by giving an account of the a priori concepts of the understanding in such a system. A specification and implementation of the nomological conditions for a conscious system allows one to know a priori that any system possessing this structure will be conscious; thus enabling us to avoid possible false-indicators of (...) consciousness like that offered in a behaviouristic analysis. This is an alternative approach to the bottom-up or top-down approaches adopted by, for example CYC (Lenat and Feigenbaum 1992) and COG (Brooks 1994; Brooks and Stein 1993), neither of which, alone, or in some hybrid form, have proved productive. (shrink)
Purpose: Commenting on the transcript of a lecture. Findings: The document reconstructs the development of the original 1973 lecture by Heinz von Foerster into his best-known paper, On Constructing a Reality. Many aspects of that paper can be identified as being shaped through interaction with the audience. Implications: The lecture documented here was a forerunner of a central paper in constructivism.
Simone de Beauvoir’s early enthusiasm for the philosophy of Henri Bergson (1859-1941)—denied in her 1958 autobiography, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter—is a surprising discovery in her 1927 handwritten student diary, as I reported in 1999 and explored at more length in 2003 (Simons 1999; Simons 2003). Discovered by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir after Beauvoir’s death in 1986 and now housed in the Bibliothèque nationale, Beauvoir’s student diary first appeared in print in the 2006 volume, Diary of a Philosophy Student: (...) 1926-27, followed in 2008 by the French publication, Cahiers de jeunesse: 1926-1930. Since my 1999 analysis of the 1927 diary, the publication of the 1926 diary and other posthumously discovered texts has deepened and complicated the evidence of Bergson’s influence.1 In this chapter, I propose to take up and expand upon my earlier analyses in the light of this new evidence, arguing that Beauvoir’s methodological turn to the description of immediate experience, especially her method of writing philosophy in literature and her lifelong interest in describing the subjective experience of time, drew upon Bergson’s philosophy before her first encounter with Husserl’s phenomenology which may have come as early as 1927; that her concept of bad faith and interest in exposing distortions in perception and thinking, as in the chapters in The Second Sex on myths about women, drew upon Bergson’s philosophy long before she had read Marx; and that her earliest formulation of the problem of the Other drew upon Bergson’s distinction between the “social self and the deep self,” two years before she met Jean-Paul Sartre and two decades before she first read Hegel’s Phenomenology. (shrink)