This paper brings Karl Rahner’s understanding of human ex-sistence (L. ex ‘out, forth’ and sistere ‘to stand’)—that is, human ‘standing forth’—to bear upon the phenomenon of black rage in the United States. The reason for this application is the emancipatory potential of Rahner’s transcendental realism, which basically understands human life as a dynamism at once rooted ‘in the world’ and yet called, in obediential potency, to the qualitative ‘more’. Rahner’s anthropological understanding allows for an investigation of the existential struc ture (...) and possibilities of black rage which may benefit black ex-sistence by showing how the dynamism of human life accounts for and justifies this rage as well as what liberating possibilities open up for the enraged. (shrink)
In teaching courses on Karl Rahner to undergraduates, I have come to appreciate the importance of finding a starting point with which students readily connect. After much thought, I begin these courses with an extended consideration of the human person. This starting point has the advantage not only of being Rahner’s but also of being one which seems attractive to students. I have found little evidence that students have to be convinced about the importance of self-concern. I am careful to (...) emphasize, however, that in Rahner’s understanding of the dynamism of conversio and reditio this starting point never allows for any form of narcissistic subjectivism. Starting with the concreteness of our lives naturally leads to other considerations which also seem attractive to students: the burden of self-responsibility, the sense of awe and wonder, the need for hope. These are among some of the concerns which I try to address when teaching Rahner. (shrink)
In the aftermath of the racial disturbances that rocked the United States during the summer of 1967, the official government commission formed to investigate its causes noted: “…certain fundamental matters are clear. Of these, the most fundamental is the racial attitude and behavior of white Americans toward black Americans. Race prejudice has shaped our history decisively; it now threatens to affect our future”. Given the indisputable influence of racism and the ideology of white supremacy upon our national character, Carmichael (...)Peters has done the theological guild a great service in bringing the insights of Karl Rahner to bear upon one of the manifestations of this tragic legacy: the existence of “black rage.” In doing so, Peters seeks to demonstrate the relevance of Rahner’s thought—specifically, what he calls “the emancipatory potential of Rahner’s transcendental realism”—to one of the most neuralgic issues of U.S. public life. This response to Peter’s paper will further this discussion by examining four questions: What is “black rage?” What does Rahner add to our understanding and/or assessment of black rage? What does black rage offer to our understanding of Rahner? What does the phenomenon of black rage tell us regarding the adequacy of the Rahnerian project? (shrink)
The special composition question is the question, ‘When do some things compose something?’ The answers to this question in the literature have largely been at odds with common sense, either by allowing that any two things compose something, or by denying the existence of most ordinary composite objects. I propose a new ‘series-style’ answer to the special composition question that accords much more closely with common sense, and I defend this answer from van Inwagen's objections. Specifically, I will argue that (...) the proposed answer entails the transitivity of parthood, that it is non-circular, and that it casts some light on the ancient puzzle about the Ship of Theseus. (shrink)
According to the traditional bundle theory, particulars are bundles of compresent universals. I think we should reject the bundle theory for a variety of reasons. But I will argue for the thesis at the core of the bundle theory: that all the facts about particulars are grounded in facts about universals. I begin by showing how to meet the main objection to this thesis (which is also the main objection to the bundle theory): that it is inconsistent with the possibility (...) of distinct qualitative indiscernibles. Here, the key idea appeals to a non-standard theory of haecceities as non-well-founded properties of a certain sort. I will then defend this theory from a number of objections, and finally argue that we should accept it on the basis of considerations of parsimony about the fundamental. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that there are universals. I begin (Sect. 1) by proposing a sufficient condition for a thing’s being a universal. I then argue (Sect. 2) that some truths exist necessarily. Finally, I argue (Sects. 3 and 4) that these truths are structured entities having constituents that meet the proposed sufficient condition for being universals.
David Lewis (1986) criticizes moderate views of composition on the grounds that a restriction on composition must be vague, and vague composition leads, via a precisificational theory of vagueness, to an absurd vagueness of existence. I show how to resist this argument. Unlike the usual resistance, however, I do not jettison precisificational views of vagueness. Instead, I blur the connection between composition and existence that Lewis assumes. On the resulting view, in troublesome cases of vague composition, there is an object, (...) which definitely exists, about which it is vague whether the relevant borderline parts compose it. (shrink)
First published in 1966, this book was written to serve as an introductory textbook in the philosophy of education, focusing on ethics and social philosophy. It presents a distinctive point of view both about education and ethical theory and arrived at a time when education was a matter of great public concern. It looks at questions such as ‘What do we actually mean by education?’ and provides a proper ethical foundation for education in a democratic society. The book will appeal (...) to both teachers and students of philosophy as well as education. (shrink)
The ancient puzzle of Dion and Theon has given rise to a surprising array of apparently implausible views. For example, in order to solve the puzzle, several philosophers have been led to deny the existence of their own feet, others have denied that objects can gain and lose parts, and large numbers of philosophers have embraced the thesis that distinct objects can occupy the same space, having all their material parts in common. In this paper, I argue for an alternative (...) approach: I claim that human beings have ordinary parts—hands, heads, feet, and so on—but no extraordinary parts, such as ‘foot-complements’, the existence of which is essential to the puzzle. I rebut three objections to this approach: an objection that it is unacceptably metaphysically arbitrary, an objection that the view is incompatible with versions of the puzzle involving decapitation, and an objection concerning masses of matter. If we can believe that there are such things as hands and feet without involving ourselves in paradox, and without accepting large numbers of co-located material objects that share all their material parts, then that is what we should do. My view is the only known alternative which allows this. (shrink)
Quantification is a topic which brings together linguistics, logic, and philosophy. Quantifiers are the essential tools with which, in language or logic, we refer to quantity of things or amount of stuff. In English they include such expressions as no, some, all, both, many. Peters and Westerstahl present the definitive interdisciplinary exploration of how they work - their syntax, semantics, and inferential role.
Rose and Schaffer (forthcoming) argue that teleological thinking has a substantial influence on folk intuitions about composition. They take this to show (i) that we should not rely on folk intuitions about composition and (ii) that we therefore should not reject theories of composition on the basis of intuitions about composition. We cast doubt on the teleological interpretation of folk judgments about composition; we show how their debunking argument can be resisted, even on the assumption that folk intuitions have a (...) teleological source; and we argue that, even if folk intuitions about composition carry no weight, theories of composition can still be rejected on the basis of the intuitions of metaphysicians. (shrink)
This essay builds on the literatures on ‘biocapitalism’ and ‘informationalism’ (or ‘informational capitalism’) to develop the concept of ‘bio-informational capitalism’ in order to articulate an emergent form of capitalism that is self-renewing in the sense that it can change and renew the material basis for life and capital as well as program itself. Bio-informational capitalism applies and develops aspects of the new biology to informatics to create new organic forms of computing and self-reproducing memory that in turn has become the (...) basis of bioinformatics. The paper begins with a review of the successes of the ‘new biology’, focusing on Craig Venter’s digitizing of biology and, as he remarks, the creation of new life from the digital universe. The paper then provides a brief account of bioinformatics before brokering and discussing the term ‘bioinformational capitalism’. (shrink)
It has been argued that implicit biases are operative in philosophy and lead to significant epistemic costs in the field. Philosophers working on this issue have focussed mainly on implicit gender and race biases. They have overlooked ideological bias, which targets political orientations. Psychologists have found ideological bias in their field and have argued that it has negative epistemic effects on scientific research. I relate this debate to the field of philosophy and argue that if, as some studies suggest, the (...) same bias also exists in philosophy then it will lead to hitherto unrecognised epistemic hazards in the field. Furthermore, the bias is epistemically different from the more familiar biases in respects that are important for epistemology, ethics, and metaphilosophy. (shrink)
When some objects are the parts of another object, they compose that object and that object is composite. This article is intended as an introduction to the central questions about composition and a highly selective overview of various answers to those questions. In §1, we review some formal features of parthood that are important for understanding the nature of composition. In §2, we consider some answers to the question: which pluralities of objects together compose something? As we will see, the (...) dominant answers are all of them and none of them. In §§3-4, we examine one of the main arguments that has driven philosophers to these extreme answers: the argument from vagueness. In §5, we turn to the question of whether composition is unique: is it sometimes the case that some things compose more than one thing? Finally, in §6, we turn from the question of which composites exist to the question of which composites exist fundamentally. (shrink)
A growing interest in and concern about the adequacy and fairness of modern peer-review practices in publication and funding are apparent across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Although questions about reliability, accountability, reviewer bias, and competence have been raised, there has been very little direct research on these variables.
First published in 1974, this book presents a coherent collection of major articles by Richard Stanley Peters. It displays his work on psychology and philosophy, with special attention given to the areas of ethical development and human understanding. The book is split into four parts. The first combines a critique of psychological theories, especially those of Freud, Piaget and the Behaviourists, with some articles on the nature and development of reason and the emotions. The second looks in historical order (...) at ethical development. The third part combines a novel approach to the problem of understanding other people, whilst the fourth part is biographical in an unusual way. The volume can be viewed as a companion to the author’s _Ethics and Education _and will appeal to students and teachers of education, philosophy and psychology, as well as to the interested non-specialist reader. (shrink)
Relative to an ordinary context, an utterance of the sentence ‘Everything is in the car’ communicates a proposition about a restricted domain. But how does this work? One possibility is that quantifier expressions like 'everything' are context sensitive and range over different domains in different contexts. Another possibility is that quantifier expressions are not context sensitive, but have a fixed, absolutely general meaning, and ordinary utterances communicate a restricted content via Gricean mechanisms. I argue that, contrary to received opinion, the (...) latter view has both a number of methodological and also intuitive advantages over the former. I then reply to three objections to the latter view: the binding argument (due to Stanley and Szabo), the availability-based attack (due to Recanati), and an argument based on Recanati’s scope principle. (shrink)
This article reviews claims for creativity in the economy and in education distinguishing two accounts: 'personal anarcho-aesthetics' and 'the design principle'. The first emerges in the psychological literature from sources in the Romantic Movement emphasizing the creative genius and the way in which creativity emerges from deep subconscious processes, involves the imagination, is anchored in the passions, cannot be directed and is beyond the rational control of the individual. This account has a close fit to business as a form of (...) 'brainstorming', 'mind-mapping' or 'strategic planning', and is closely associated with the figure of the risk-taking entrepreneur. By contrast, 'the design principle' is both relational and social and surfaces in related ideas of 'social capital', 'situated learning', and 'P2P' (peer-to-peer) accounts of commons-based peer production. It is seen to be a product of social and networked environments — rich semiotic and intelligent environments in which everything speaks. The article traces the genealogies of these two contrasting accounts of creativity and their significance for educational practice before showing how both notions are strongly connected in accounts of new forms of capitalism that require a rethinking of the notion of creativity and its place in schools and institutions of higher education. The article begins by providing a context in terms of a history of the knowledge economy and the historical tendency toward aesthetic or designer capitalism. (shrink)
Our article relocates the debate about creative labour to the terrain of peer-to-peer interneting as the paradigmatic form of nonmarket – social – production. From Yann Moulier Boutang we take the point that creative labour is immaterial; it is expressed through people connected by the internet. Drawing on two social systems thinkers, Francis Heylighen and Wolfgang Hofkirchner, we transpose this connectedness up to a conception of creative labour as a supra-individual collective intelligence. This intelligence, we argue, is one of the (...) internet’s emergent properties. We then present a model of internet development that flags the potential of digitally-evoked collective intelligence to facilitate what the Marxist philosopher George Caffentzis calls ‘postcapitalist commoning’. Yoking together systems theorizing about the internet and socialist envisioning of social transformation, we identify two sets of internet tools for coordination that can assist with the convivial reconstruction of society along the lines of peer-based production. (shrink)
Richard Peters argued for a general education based largely on the study of truth-seeking subjects for its own sake. His arguments have long been acknowledged as problematic. There are also difficulties with Paul Hirst's arguments for a liberal education, which in part overlap with Peters'. Where justification fails, can historical explanation illuminate? Peters was influenced by the prevailing idea that a secondary education should be based on traditional, largely knowledge-orientated subjects, pursued for intrinsic as well as practical (...) ends. Does history reveal good reasons for this view? The view itself has roots going back to the 16th century and the educational tradition of radical Protestantism. Religious arguments to do with restoring the image of an omniscient God in man made good sense, within their own terms, of an encyclopaedic approach to education. As these faded in prominence after 1800, old curricular patterns persisted in the drive for ‘middle-class schools’, and new, less plausible justifications grew in salience. These were based first on faculty psychology and later on the psychology of individual differences. The essay relates the views of Peters and Hirst to these historical arguments, asking how far their writings show traces of the religious argument mentioned, and how their views on education and the development of mind relate to the psychological arguments. (shrink)
Communication plays a vital and unique role in society-often blamed for problems when it breaks down and at the same time heralded as a panacea for human relations. A sweeping history of communication, _Speaking Into the Air_ illuminates our expectations of communication as both historically specific and a fundamental knot in Western thought. "This is a most interesting and thought-provoking book.... Peters maintains that communication is ultimately unthinkable apart from the task of establishing a kingdom in which people can (...) live together peacefully. Given our condition as mortals, communication remains not primarily a problem of technology, but of power, ethics and art." —Antony Anderson, _New Scientist_ "Guaranteed to alter your thinking about communication.... Original, erudite, and beautifully written, this book is a gem." —_Kirkus Reviews_ "Peters writes to reclaim the notion of authenticity in a media-saturated world. It's this ultimate concern that renders his book a brave, colorful exploration of the hydra-headed problems presented by a rapid-fire popular culture." —_Publishers Weekly_ What we have here is a failure-to-communicate book. Funny thing is, it communicates beautifully.... _Speaking Into the Air_ delivers what superb serious books always do-hours of intellectual challenge as one absorbs the gradually unfolding vision of an erudite, creative author." —Carlin Romano, _Philadelphia Inquirer_. (shrink)
Selective scientific realists disagree on which theoretical posits should be regarded as essential to the empirical success of a scientific theory. A satisfactory account of essentialness will show that the (approximate) truth of the selected posits adequately explains the success of the theory. Therefore, (a) the essential elements must be discernible prospectively; (b) there cannot be a priori criteria regarding which type of posit is essential; and (c) the overall success of a theory, or ‘cluster’ of propositions, not only individual (...) derivations, should be explicable. Given these desiderata, I propose a “unification criterion” for identifying essential elements. (shrink)
Since the original publication of _Playing God?_ in 1996, three developments in genetic technology have moved to the center of the public conversation about the ethics of human bioengineering. Cloning, the completion of the human genome project, and, most recently, the controversy over stem cell research have all sparked lively debates among religious thinkers and the makers of public policy. In this updated edition, Ted Peters illuminates the key issues in these debates and continues to make deft connections between (...) our questions about God and our efforts to manage technological innovations with wisdom. (shrink)
Introduction: education, philosophy and politics -- Writing the self: Wittgenstein, confession and pedagogy -- Nietzsche, nihilism and the critique of modernity: post-Nietzschean philosophy of education -- Heidegger, education and modernity -- Truth-telling as an educational practice of the self: Foucault and the ethics of subjectivity -- Neoliberal governmentality: Foucault on the birth of biopolitics -- Lyotard, nihilism and education -- Gilles Deleuze's 'societies of control': from disciplinary pedagogy to perpetual training -- Geophilosophy, education and the pedagogy of the concept - (...) Humanism, Derrida and the new humanities -- Politics and deconstruction: Derrida, neoliberalism and democracy -- Neopragmatism, ethnocentrism and the politics of the ethnos: Rorty's 'postmodernist bourgeois liberalism' -- Achieving America: postmodernism and Rorty's critique of the cultural left -- Deranging the investigations: Cavell on the philosophy of the child -- White philosophy in/of America. (shrink)
I Once gave a series of talks to a group of psychoanalysts who had trained together and was rather struck by the statement made by one of them that, psychologically speaking, ‘reason’ means saying ‘No’ to oneself. Plato, of course, introduced the concept of ‘reason’ in a similar way in The Republic with the case of the thirsty man who is checked in the satisfaction of his thirst by reflection on the outcome of drinking. But Plato was also so impressed (...) by man's ability to construct mathematical systems by reasoning that he called it the divine element of the soul. And what has this ability to do with that of saying ‘No’ to oneself? And what have either of these abilities to do with the disposition to be impartial which is intimately connected with our notion of a reasonable man, or with what David Hume called a ‘wonderful and unintelligible instinct’ in our souls by means of which men are able to make inferences from past to future? It must readily be admitted that there are few surface similarities between the uses of ‘reason’ in these contexts. No obvious features protrude which might be fastened on as logically necessary conditions for the use of the term ‘reason’. But beneath the surface there may be lurking common notions that are, or can be, of importance in our lives. To make them explicit is to give structure and substance to what is often called ‘the life of reason’ and to show that this is not inconsistent with a life of passion as is often thought. This seems eminently worth attempting at a time when many people seem hostile to reason. For those who demand instant gratification, who adopt some existentialist stance, who cultivate violence or mystical experience, or who merely do what others do, are all, in various ways, resisting the claims of reason on them. And what they are resisting is not just the demand that they should reflect and calculate; it is also the influence of passions and sentiments that underlie a form of life. (shrink)
This article is concerned with developing a philosophical approach to a number of significant changes to academic publishing, and specifically the global journal knowledge system wrought by a range of new digital technologies that herald the third age of the journal as an electronic, interactive and mixed-media form of scientific communication. The paper emerges from an Editors' Collective, a small New Zealand-based organisation comprised of editors and reviewers of academic journals mostly in the fields of education and philosophy. The paper (...) is the result of a collective writing process. (shrink)
This paper reviews two main historical approaches to creativity: the Romanticist approach, based on the culture of the irrational, and the Enlightenment approach, based on the culture of the objective. It defends a paradigm of creativity as a sum of rich semiotic systems that form the basis of distributed knowledge and learning, reviews historical ideas of the university, and identifies two conflicting mainstream models in regards to understanding of the university as a public good: the ‘Public’ University circa 1960–1980, and (...) the ‘post-historical’ university. Based on practical experiences, and on previous works by Peters and Jandrić, it develops the new model of ‘the creative university as digital public university’, and argues that it provides a useful philosophical goal for directing present and future practices of the contemporary university. (shrink)
Martin Heidegger is, perhaps, the most controversial philosopher of the twentieth-century. Little has been written on him or about his work and its significance for educational thought. This unique collection by a group of international scholars reexamines Heidegger's work and its legacy for educational thought.