That’s Bill Calvin, whose brain is worthy of study in its own right. Technically, he’s a theoretical neurophysiologist and affiliate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington. But he’s also known as a scientist with a wide-ranging intellect and a prolific (and accessible) writer who constantly offers remarkable insights about the world around him. As I sat down to interview Calvin in his book-lined Seattle home last Fall, I recalled the comments of someone who (...) had come to GBN to hear Calvin speak. He said that he didn’t know—or care—what Calvin was going to talk about because everything that Bill Calvin said was not only interesting, but worth learning about. After more than three hours of conversation with Calvin, I couldn’t agree more. (shrink)
Psychology's fascination with memory and its imperfections dates back further than we can remember. The first careful experimental studies of memory were published in 1885 by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, and tens of thousands of memory studies have been conducted since. What has been learned, and what might the future of memory be?
Sketching a new portrait of the human self in this thought-provoking book, leading American philosopher Calvin O. Schrag challenges bleak deconstructionist and postmodernist views of the self as something ceaselessly changing, without origin or purpose. Discussing the self in new vocabulary, he depicts an action-oriented self defined by the ways in which it communicates. The self, says Schrag, is open to understanding through its discourse, its actions, its being with other selves, and its experience of transcendence. In his discussion, (...) Schrag responds critically to both modernists and postmodernists, avoiding what he calls the modernists' overdetermination of unity and identity and the postmodernists' self-enervating pluralism. He agrees with postmodernist attacks on both the classical theory of the self as a metaphysical substance and the modern epistemological construal of the self as transparent mind, yet he maintains that jettisoning the self as understood in these terms does not mean jettisoning it altogether. The self as subject is not dead, nor are the constitutive features of self-formation and self-understanding. In addressing the role of culture in the dynamics of self-formation, the author offers a critique of Max Weber's and Jürgen Habermas's view of modernity as a radical differentiation of three cultural spheres: science, morality, and art; he adds religion as a legitimate fourth cultural sphere. The overview of Schrag's philosophy that _The Self after Postmodernity_ provides will appeal to readers with an interest in literary criticism and religion as well as philosophy. (shrink)
Patrick O'Brian, the Aubrey-Maturin Series of twenty novels (Norton, 1970-1999). My appreciation written for WIRED magazine: "I re-read this extraordinary series of novels because of the depth of portrayal of the major and minor characters, but also because they teach me so much about what science and technology were like two centuries ago. O'Brian shows you the world-that-was through the eyes of a Tory naval captain (Jack Aubrey), at sea since the age of 12, working his way up to admiral, (...) dealing with the height of 18th-century technology (sailing ships and celestial navigation). I identify more strongly with his liberally-educated, physician-scientist friend (Stephen Maturin), who went to medical school in Paris during the French Revolution. You see natural history turning into a biological science, bleeding-and-purging medicine starting to learn some physiology -- and, because Maturin is also an intelligence agent for the Admiralty, you see statecraft at work during the Napoleonic Wars. These books strongly remind you about what scientific ignorance and social conventions can do to your mindset, and how the future will likely judge us as well." -- William H. Calvin You can get them all at once, so you can: The Complete Aubrey/Maturin Series (20 volumes). Depending on amazon.com's current discount, this works out to US$15-20 each (and in hardcover). (shrink)
Calvin Blanchard (1808–1868) was a prolific, albeit repetitive, author, publisher, and printer who was identified by L. L. and Jessie Bernard as an early American sociologist who helped introduce Americans to Auguste Comte. The Bernards also said that Blanchard was mentally ill.1 The Bernards’ discussion of Blanchard is the only recognition of Blanchard that predates the reprinting of one of his novels, The Art of Real Pleasure (1864), in Arthur O. Lewis’s 1971 American Utopian Literature set of forty-two volumes. (...) The Bernards’ discussion is also unusual in that it includes works in addition to The Art of Real Pleasure, and it is one of two that, while disparaging him, take him somewhat seriously. The other work .. (shrink)
. This work will be useful to all who wonder what to do about the largely negative results of postmodern thought.Ó ÑJoseph C. Flay The Resources of Rationality addresses the postmodernist assault on the claim of reason and develops a ...
Speaking as one of the founders of American Continental philosophy, Calvin O. Schrag offers an exceptionally clear, balanced, and informative discussion of a complex questions vexing postmodern currents of philosophical and theological reflection: Does the "death" of the god conceived as a "highest being" in Western, and especially modern, traditions open a new space within which to rethink God in terms of a "gift" or "giving" that would stand beyond the usual spate of metaphysical categories? Schrag draws with grace, (...) ease, and precision upon the history of Western metaphysics, from Plato and Aristotle through Nietzsche and Heidegger. Most important to his central question of God as "otherwise than Being," however, are such influential post-Heideggerian thinkers as Jean-Luc Marion, Jacques Derrida, and Emmanuel Levinas. Schrag's inquiry engages these thinkers at a serious level and also expands recent discussions by relating them to the work of figures hitherto overlooked or underplayed, most notably Paul Tillich. (shrink)
Insight, by F. H. Parker.--Why be uncritical about the life-world? By H. B. Veatch.--Homage to Saint Anselm, by R. Jordan.--Art and philosophy, by J. M. Anderson.--The phenomenon of world, by R. R. Ehman.--The life-world and its historical horizon, by C. O. Schrag.--The Lebenswelt as ground and as Leib in Husserl: somatology, psychology, sociology, by E. Paci.--Life-world and structures, by C. A. van Peursen.--The miser, by E. W. Straus.--Monetary value and personal value, by G. Schrader.--Individualisms, by W. L. McBride.--Sartre the individualist, (...) by W. Desan.--The nature of social man, by M. Natanson.--The problem of the will and philosophical discourse, by P. Ricoeur.--Structuralism and humanism, by M. Dufrenne.--The illusion of monolinear time, by N. Lawrence.--Can grammar be thought? By J. M. Edie.--The existentialist critique of objectivity, by S. J. Todes and H. L. Dreyfus.--Bibliography (p. 391-400). (shrink)
An ecumenical effort, sensitive to both the scriptural and dogmatic issues, and directed at laying open the often overlooked, historical and doctrinal affinities underlying Protestant and Catholic Marian theology. As O'Meara correctly points out, while Luther and Calvin did indeed remove Mary from some aspects of the Church, it was some of their later followers who removed her entirely from any essential involvement with the mystery of Christ and the Church. But as in all ecumenical discussions worthy of that (...) name, genuine difficulties are not glossed over. In particular O'Meara questions the prevailing, either/or tendency in Protestant theology not to admit the possibility of a middle range of worship, i.e., hyperdulia, as falling between latria and dulia. While the treatment is for the most part scrupulously fair, O'Meara's defense of the traditional Catholic exegesis of the "I know not man" passage, which is crucial for the Catholic teaching on the virginity of Mary, seems to place an unfair burden of proof on the Protestant interpretation, which is prima facie the more obvious one.—J. J. O. (shrink)
This is a book about the human sciences. However, it is not a treatise on scientific methodology nor is it a proposal for a unification of the human sciences through an integration of their findings within a general conceptual scheme.
Many societies have norms of equity – that those who make symmetric social contributions deserve symmetric rewards. Despite this, there are widespread patterns of social inequity, especially along gender and racial lines. It is often the case that members of certain social groups receive greater rewards per contribution than others. In this article, we draw on evolutionary game theory to show that the emergence of this sort of convention is far from surprising. In simple cultural evolutionary models, inequity is much (...) more likely to emerge than equity, despite the presence of stable, equitable outcomes that groups might instead learn. As we outline, social groups provide a way to break symmetry between actors in determining both contribution and reward in joint projects. (shrink)