[David Charles] Aristotle, it appears, sometimes identifies well-being (eudaimonia) with one activity (intellectual contemplation), sometimes with several, including ethical virtue. I argue that this appearance is misleading. In the Nicomachean Ethics, intellectual contemplation is the central case of human well-being, but is not identical with it. Ethically virtuous activity is included in human well-being because it is an analogue of intellectual contemplation. This structure allows Aristotle to hold that while ethically virtuous activity is valuable in its own right, the (...) best life available for humans is centred around, but not wholly constituted by, intellectual contemplation. /// [Dominic Scott] In Nicomachean Ethics X 7-8, Aristotle distinguishes two kinds of eudaimonia, primary and secondary. The first corresponds to contemplation, the second to activity in accordance with moral virtue and practical reason. My task in this paper is to elucidate this distinction. Like Charles, I interpret it as one between paradigm and derivative cases; unlike him, I explain it in terms of similarity, not analogy. Furthermore, once the underlying nature of the distinction is understood, we can reconcile the claim that paradigm eudaimonia consists just in contemplation with a passage in the first book requiring eudaimonia to involve all intrinsic goods. (shrink)
Charles Sanders Peirce , the most important and influential of the classical American philosophers, is credited as the inventor of the philosophical school of pragmatism. The scope and significance of his work have had a lasting effect not only in several fields of philosophy but also in mathematics, the history and philosophy of science, and the theory of signs, as well as in literary and cultural studies. Largely obscure until after his death, Peirce's life has long been a subject (...) of interest and dispute. Unfortunately, previous biographies often confuse as much as they clarify crucial matters in Peirce's story. Ketner's new biographical project is remarkable not only for its entertaining aspects but also for its illuminating insights into Peirce's life, his thought, and the intellectual milieu in which he worked. (shrink)
In this chapter I discuss Charles Taylor's and Paul Ricoeur's theories of narrative identity and narratives as a central form of self-interpretation. Both Taylor and Ricoeur think that self-identity is a matter of culturally and socially mediated self-definitions, which are practically relevant for one's orientation in life. First, I will go through various characterisations that Ricoeur gives of his theory, and try to show to what extent they also apply to Taylor's theory. Then, I will analyse more closely (...) class='Hi'>Charles Taylor's, and in section three, Paul Ricoeur's views on narrative identity. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that moral realism does not, pace Charles Taylor, need “moral sources” or “constitutive goods”, and adding these concepts distorts the basic insights of what can be called “cultural” moral realism.1 Yet the ideas of “moral topography” or “moral space” as well as the idea of “ontological background pictures” are valid, if separated from those notions. What does Taylor mean by these notions?
In the introduction to his Philosophical Papers 1&2 Charles Taylor assures us that his work, while encompassing a range of issues, follows a single, tightly knit agenda. He claims that the central questions concern "philosophical anthropology". Taylor's work on these questions has been presented piecemeal, in the form of articles and papers, and the student has had to imagine what a systematic monograph by Taylor on philosophical anthropology would look like. Neither Hegel, Sources of the Self, Ethics of Authenticity, (...) Catholic Modernity nor Varieties of Religion Today, nor Taylor's forthcoming books on secularization and modern social imaginaries are such treatises on the ontology of the human being. Nicholas H. Smith's monograph Charles Taylor: Meaning, Morals and Modernity (Polity, 2002) puts forward a clear and well-argued assessment of Taylor's entire project, with details on his intellectual biography and political engagement. For the purposes of thinking through Taylor's work so far, this book is probably the best one around. It is divided into eight chapters: "Linguistic Philosophy and Phenomenology", "Science, Action and the Mind", "The Romantic Legacy", "The Self and the Good", "Interpretation and the Social Sciences", "Individual and Community", "Politics and Social Criticism", and "Modernity, Art and Religion". The chapters are thematically ordered, but the order of presentation follows roughly the temporal order of Taylor's career. In this review article, I will begin with what Smith identifies as Taylor's organizing idea, and then focus on Smith's presentation of Taylor's transcendental argumentation concerning 'human constants'. As exemplars, I will discuss two of the.. (shrink)
The Philosophy Now series promises to combine rigorous analysis with authoritative expositions. Ruth Abbey’s book lives up to this demand by being a clear, reliable and more than up-to-date introduction to Charles Taylor ’s philosophy. Although it is an introductory book, the amount of footnotes and references ought to please those who want to study the original texts more closely. Abbey’s book is structured thematically: morality, selfhood, politics and epistemology get 50 pages each. The focus is on the internal (...) coherence of Taylor ’s work, not in its critique of or defence against other positions. The chapters are self-containing, but together they give a good total picture of Taylor ’s position. The concluding chapter is a highly interesting preview of Taylor ’s unpublished work-in-progress on secularity, which according to Abbey is comparable in magnitude to Sources of the Self. (shrink)
In this systematic introduction to the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce, the author focuses on four of Peirce's fundamental conceptions: pragmatism and Peirce's development of it into what he called 'pragmaticism'; his theory of signs; his phenomenology; and his theory that continuity is of prime importance for philosophy. He argues that at the centre of Peirce's philosophical project is a unique form of metaphysical realism, whereby continuity and evolutionary change are both necessary for our understanding of experience. In his (...) final chapter Professor Hausman applies this version of realism to contemporary controversies between anti-realists and anti-idealists. Peirce's views are compared to those of such contemporary figures as Davidson, Putnam, and Rorty. The book will be of particular interest to philosophers concerned with American philosophy and current debates on realism as well as linguists working in semiotics. (shrink)
Charles Sanders Peirce was born in September 1839 and died five months before the guns of August 1914. He is perhaps the most important mind the United States has ever produced. He made significant contributions throughout his life as a mathematician, astronomer, chemist, geodesist, surveyor, cartographer, metrologist, engineer, and inventor. He was a psychologist, a philologist, a lexicographer, a historian of science, a lifelong student of medicine, and, above all, a philosopher, whose special fields were logic and semiotics. He (...) is widely credited with being the founder of pragmatism. In terms of his importance as a philosopher and a scientist, he has been compared to Plato and Aristotle. He himself intended "to make a philosophy like that of Aristotle." Peirce was also a tormented and in many ways tragic figure. He suffered throughout his life from various ailments, including a painful facial neuralgia, and had wide swings of mood which frequently left him depressed to the state of inertia, and other times found him explosively violent. Despite his consistent belief that ideas could find meaning only if they "worked" in the world, he himself found it almost impossible to make satisfactory economic and social arrangements for himself. This brilliant scientist, this great philosopher, this astounding polymath was never able, throughout his long life, to find an academic post that would allow him to pursue his major interest, the study of logic, and thus also fulfill his destiny as America's greatest philosopher. Much of his work remained unpublished in his own time, and is only now finding publication in a coherent, chronologically organized edition. Even more astounding is that,despite many monographic studies, there has been no biography until now, almost eighty years after his death. Brent has studied the Peirce papers in detail and enriches his account with numerous quotations from letters by Peirce and by his friends. This is a fascinating account of a p. (shrink)
This work runs counter to the traditional interpretations of Peirce's philosophy by eliciting an inherent strand of pragmatic pluralism that is embedded in the very core of his thought and that weaves his various doctrines into a systematic ...
This paper compares the idea of embodied reasoning by Confucian Tu Wei-Ming and Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor. They have similar concerns about the problems of secular modernity, that is, the domination of instrumental reason and disembodied rationality. Both of them suggest that we have to explore a kind of embodied moral reasoning. I show that their theories of embodiment have many similarities: the body is an instrument for our moral knowledge and self-understanding; such knowledge is inevitably a kind of (...) bodily knowledge. I will also demonstrate how the differences between their theories can be mutually enriched. While Taylor has provided a philosophical account of the foundation of moral epistemology, Tu’s emphasis of ritual practice and the integration of knowing, doing and being seems to offer a more fully embodied understanding of the moral self. (shrink)
In this paper the relations between the almost unknown Spanish mathematician Ventura Reyes Prósper (1863-1922) with Charles S. Peirce and Christine Ladd-Franklin are described. Two brief papers from Reyes Prósper published in El Progreso Matemático 12 (20 December 1891), pp. 297-300, and 18 (15 June 1892) pp. 170-173 on Ladd-Franklin, and on Peirce and Mitchell, respectively, are translated for first time into English and included at the end of the paper.
[Note: Picture of Peirce available] Charles S. Peirce’s Philosophy of Signs Essays in Comparative Semiotics Gérard Deledalle Peirce’s semiotics and metaphysics compared to the thought of other leading philosophers. "This is essential reading for anyone who wants to find common ground between the best of American semiotics and better-known European theories. Deledalle has done more than anyone else to introduce Peirce to European audiences, and now he sends Peirce home with some new flare."—Nathan Houser, Director, Peirce Edition Project (...) class='Hi'>Charles S. Peirce’s Philosophy of Signs examines Peirce’s philosophy and semiotic thought from a European perspective, comparing the American’s unique views with a wide variety of work by thinkers from the ancients to moderns. Parts I and II deal with the philosophical paradigms which are at the root of Peirce’s new theory of signs, pragmatic and social. The main concepts analyzed are those of "sign" and "semiosis" and their respective trichotomies; formally in the case of "sign," in time in the case of semiosis. Part III is devoted to comparing Peirce’s theory of semiotics as a form of logic to the work of other philosophers, including Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstein, Frege, Philodemus, Lady Welby, Saussure, Morris, Jakobson, and Marshall McLuhan. Part IV compares Peirce’s "scientific metaphysics" with European metaphysics. Gérard Deledalle holds the Doctorate in Philosophy from the Sorbonne. A research scholar at Columbia University and Attaché at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, he has also been Professor of Philosophy and Head of the Philosophy Department of the universities of Tunis, Perpignan, and Libreville. In 1990 he received the Herbert W. Schneider Award "for distinguished contributions to the understanding and development of American philosophy. In 2001, he was appointed vice-president of the Charles S. Peirce Society. Contents Introduction—Peirce Compared: Directions for Use Part I—Semeiotic as Philosophy Peirce’s New Philosophical Paradigms Peirce’s Philosophy of Semeiotic Peirce’s First Pragmatic Papers The Postscriptum of 1893 Part II—Semeiotic as Semiotics Sign: Semiosis and Representamen—Semiosis and Time Sign: The Concept and Its Use—Reading as Translation Part III—Comparative Semiotics Semiotics and Logic: A Reply to Jerzy Pelc Semeiotic and Greek Logic: Peirce and Philodemus Semeiotic and Significs: Peirce and Lady Welby Semeiotic and Semiology: Peirce and Saussure Semeiotic and Semiotics: Peirce and Morris Semeiotic and Linguistics: Peirce and Jakobson Semeiotic and Communication: Peirce and McLuhan Semeiotic and Epistemology: Peirce, Frege, and Wittgenstein Part IV—Comparative Metaphysics Gnoseology—Perceiving and Knowing: Peirce, Wittgenstein, and Gestalttheorie Ontology—Transcendentals "of" or "without" Being: Peirce versus Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas Cosmology—Chaos and Chance within Order and Continuity: Peirce between Plato and Darwin Theology—The Reality of God: Peirce’s Triune God and the Church’s Trinity Conclusion—Peirce: A Lateral View. (shrink)
IN 1903, commenting on an article he had written more than thirty years before, Charles Peirce said that he had changed his mind on many issues at least a half-dozen times but had "never been able to think differently on that question of nominalism and realism" (1.20). For anyone acquainted with Peirce's writings, this remark alone could justify a study of "that question.".
In this essay I discuss the historical adequacy of Charles Taylor's philosophical history of secularization, as presented in his A Secular Age . I do so by situating it in relation to the contextual historiography of secularization in early modern Europe, with a particular focus on developments in the German Empire. Considering how profoundly conceptions of secularization have been bound to competing religious and political programmes, we must begin our discussion by entertaining the possibility that modern philosophical and historiographic (...) conceptions of secularization might themselves be outcrops of this unfinished competition. Peter Gordon has rightly observed that Taylor's philosophical history of secularization is a Catholic one, and that this is bound up with a specific view of secularization as a theological and ecclesiological “disembedding” of rational subjectivity from its prior embodiment in a sacral body, community , and cosmos. Taylor delivers this history in his “reform master narrative”: that certain fundamental religious and cultural reforms or changes in early modern Europe wrought the secularization responsible for a modern epoch of “unbelief”. (shrink)
People discussing science and religion usually frame their conversations in terms of essentialist assumptions about science, assumptions requiring the existence (but not the specification) of criteria according to which science can be distinguished from other forms of inquiry. However, criteria functioning at a level of generality appropriate to such discussions may not exist at all. Essentialist assumptions may be avoided if science is understood within a broader context of human practices. In a philosophy of practices, to label a practice as (...) “scientific” is to make a practically motivated provision for a way of speaking. Charles Taylor and Joseph Rouse have produced complementary philosophies of practice that promote this kind of understanding. In this essay I review the work of Taylor and Rouse, identify apparent residues of essentialism that each seems to harbor, and offer a resolution to some of their disagreements. I also criticize a form of essentialism commonly employed in Christian circles and outline an anti-essentialist view of science that may be helpful in science-and-religion discussions. (shrink)
Abstract In this paper I analyze and critique Charles Griswold’s work Forgiveness: A Philosophical Exploration. Griswold’s theory of forgiveness is structured around the notion that human frailty, imperfection, and susceptibility to unfortunate circumstances are cornerstones of the human experience. While Griswold’s paradigm of forgiveness is compelling on the whole, I argue that this “human frailty thesis” creates unintentional and problematic consequences that undermine major goals of his paradigm. In particular, the human frailty thesis undermines Griswold’s requirement that forgiveness hold (...) an offender accountable for wrongdoing. After identifying and discussing the consequences of the human frailty thesis, I will propose revisions to Griswold’s paradigm that redeem it from the problems I have identified. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s11406-011-9327-4 Authors Hailey Huget, 430 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215, USA Journal Philosophia Online ISSN 1574-9274 Print ISSN 0048-3893. (shrink)
In this critical response to Charles Ess’ ‚Ethical Pluralism and Global Information Ethics’ presented in this Special Issue of Ethics and Information Technology, it is firstly argued that his account of pros hen pluralism can be more accurately reformulated as a three layered doctrine by separating one acceptance of diversity at a cultural level and another at an ethical theoretic level. Following this clarificatory section, the next section considers Ess’ political and sociological reasons for the necessity and desirability of (...) pros hen pluralism, criticising the former reasons as social scientifically problematic, while elaborating on the latter as more persuasive. In the last section, I discuss how pros hen pluralism may be realised, making three arguments in particular. First, Ess’ requirement for sensitivity to cultural diversity is to be interpreted as differentiated and extended sensitivity. Second, his discussion of shared responses to central ethical problems is ambiguous and needs further elaboration and clarification. Third, his focus on dialogue and Socratic education is persuasive, although excessive optimism is not reasonable. (shrink)
The nineteenth century theologian, author and poet Charles Kingsley was a notable populariser of Darwinian evolution. He championed Darwin’s cause and that of honesty in science for more than a decade from 1859 to 1871. Kingsley’s interpretation of evolution shaped his theology, his politics and his views on race. The relationship between men and apes set the context for Kingsley’s consideration of these issues. Having defended Darwin for a decade in 1871 Kingsley was dismayed to read Darwin’s account of (...) the evolution of morals in Descent of Man. He subsequently distanced himself from Darwin’s conclusions even though he remained an ardent evolutionist until his death in 1875. (shrink)
Charles Taylor is one of the most influential and prolific philosophers in the English-speaking world today. The breadth of his writings is unique, ranging from reflections on artificial intelligence to analyses of contemporary multicultural societies. This thought-provoking introduction to Taylor's work outlines his ideas in a coherent and accessible way without reducing their richness and depth. His contribution to many of the enduring debates within Western philosophy is examined and the arguments of his critics assessed. Taylor's reflections on the (...) topics of moral theory, selfhood, political theory and epistemology form the core chapters within the book. Ruth Abbey engages with the secondary literature on Taylor's work and suggests that some criticisms by contemporaries have been based on misinterpretations and suggests ways in which a better understanding of Taylor's work leads to different criticisms of it. The book serves as an ideal companion to Taylor's ideas for students of philosophy and political theory, and will be welcomed by the non-specialist looking for an authoritative guide to Taylor's large and challenging body of work. (shrink)
Charles Travis’s new collection on perception brings together eleven of his previously published essays on this topic, some of which are substantially revised, plus one new essay. The intentionally ambiguous subtitle hints at the author’s endorsement of Fregean anti-psychologism, though influences from Wittgenstein and Austin are equally apparent. The work centres around two major questions in the philosophy of mind and perception. First, Travis argues against the view that perceptual experience, as distinct from perceptual judgement or belief, is representational, (...) and so belongs to what Travis calls ‘the conceptual’. This is contrasted with the ‘non-conceptual’, or ‘historical’; that is, environmental particulars which lack the generality of representational thought. The second is what Travis calls ‘the fundamental question of perception’; namely, how can perceptual experience make the world bear (rationally) upon what we are to think and do? The answer, he argues, cannot be found in terms of relations between thoughts—a purely conceptual affair—but in the way that thought is itself grounded in the particularity of experience. For perceptual experience to bear rationally upon thought at all—or, in more familiar Fregean terms, to bring ‘objects’ under ‘concepts’—perception must first make environmental particulars available to cognition. Thus, Travis argues, experience cannot itself be ‘conceptual’, or representational, on pain of undermining the very thing that grants us a recognisable, and so thinkable, world at all. (shrink)
Charles Taylor has written three big books on the self-understandings of modern age andmodern individuals. -/- Hegel -/- (1975) focused on one towering figure, and held that Hegel -/- ’ -/- saspirations to overcome modern dualisms are still ours, but Hegelian philosophicalspeculation is not the way to do it. -/- Sources of the Self -/- (1989) ran the intellectual historyfrom peak to peak, stressing the continuous presence of modern tensions and cross- pressures between Enlightenment and Romanticism. -/- A Secular (...) Age -/- (2007) aims to cover the valleys as well, trying to explain how certain -/- “ -/- secular -/- ” -/- understandings have come toexistence and have managed to spread themselves from the elites into the prevailing taken-for-granted background imaginaries.Taylor begins by distinguishing three senses of secularity. The first can be called -/- “ -/- political -/- ” -/- , focusing on the separation of state and church, while the second one is -/- “ -/- sociological -/- ” -/- , focusing on the statistics of religious belief and practice. The third one can perhaps be called -/- “ -/- existential -/- ” -/- and it seems to be harder to define. It concerns what Taylor calls broad background conditions of belief and spiritual searching: something like thegeneral assumptions implicit in one -/- ’ -/- s lived experience, social and cosmic imaginary, whichmake a difference to what form (if any) one -/- ’ -/- s religious aspirations take. Taylor focuses onthis third sense and asks what has changed in that respect between 1500 when lack of belief in God was unimaginable, and 2000, when belief is one option among many. (shrink)
This article investigates the history of the relation between idealism and pragmatism by examining the importance of the French idealist Charles Renouvier for the development of William James's ‘Will to Believe’. By focusing on French idealism, we obtain a broader understanding of the kinds of idealism on offer in the nineteenth century. First, I show that Renouvier's unique methodological idealism led to distinctively pragmatist doctrines and that his theory of certitude and its connection to freedom is worthy of reconsideration. (...) Second, I argue that the technical vocabulary and main structure of the argument from the ‘Will to Believe’ depend upon Renouvier's idealist theory of knowledge and psychology of belief, and that taking account of this line of influence is of crucial importance for establishing the correct interpretation of James's work. (shrink)
HR/AL: Professor Taylor, what are you working on these days? CT: Well, several things. One of the things I am working on is something I was lecturing this fall at the New School University, and that I have called ‘modern social imaginaries’. It is an attempt to understand western modernity in terms of the different ways in which people imagine their social existence. These imaginaries are a condition for new kinds of practices that are characteristic of modernity. This research is (...) an internal part of a larger project to understand modern secular civilization, the modern west as a secular civilization. What does that notion exactly mean? What does it amount to? How did it happen? (shrink)
This review article outlines some of the major contributions made to political theory by Charles Taylor. It focuses on his relationship to liberalism, his contribution to the understanding of democracy and his analysis of the politics of recognition. Several lines of critique of Taylor's thought on these issues are also explored. Some reflections on Taylor's style of theorising about politics are offered, and the question of whether he is a conservative or critical theorist is examined.
This paper investigates the relationship between the eminent 19th-century naturalists Charles Darwin and Carl Vogt. On two separate occasions, Vogt asked Darwin for permission to translate some of the latter’s books into German, and in both cases Darwin refused. It has generally been assumed that Darwin turned down Vogt as a translator because of the latter’s reputation as a radical libertine who was extremely outspoken in his defence of scientific materialism and atheism. However, this explanation does not fit the (...) facts, since, on closer investigation, Darwin not only gave serious consideration to engaging Vogt as the German translator of two of his books, albeit ultimately rejecting him, but he also collaborated with Vogt on the French editions of his works. In this paper we argue that this was not because Darwin was unaware of Vogt’s personality and blunt writing style; rather, Darwin seems to have decided that the benefits he would gain from their association would clearly outweigh the risk of offending some of his readers: in working with Vogt, who was not only a knowledgeable scientist but also an avowed adherent of Darwinism, Darwin could be assured of the scientific quality of the translation and of an edition that would not distort his central concepts – both of which were by no means matters of course in 19th-century translations of scientific works. (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.
This paper identifies and analyzes the problem of historicism in Charles Taylor's work overall, but with particular emphasis on his most recent publication, A Secular Age. I circumscribe the problem of historicism through reference to the nineteenth-century German philosophical tradition in which it developed, in particular in the thought of Wilhelm Dilthey. I then trace the structural similarities between the notions of history to be found in the thought of Taylor and Dilthey and how these structural similarities raise worries (...) associated with the problem of historicism. I argue that the structural aporia of historicism evident in Taylor's work brings to light a live philosophical problem that is basic to theoretical debates in the study religion. (shrink)
Hermeneutics, also referred to as interpretive phenomenology, has led to important contributions to nursing research. The philosophy of Charles Taylor has been a major source in the development of contemporary hermeneutics, through his ontological and epistemological articulations of the human sciences. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that Taylor's ideas can further enrich hermeneutic inquiry in nursing research, particularly for investigations of ethical concerns. The paper begins with an outline of Taylor's hermeneutical framework, followed by a review (...) of his key ideas relevant for ethics research. The paper ends with a discussion of my empirical research with critically ill children in Canada and France in relation to Taylor's ideas, chiefly Social Imaginaries. I argue that Taylor's hermeneutics provides a substantive moral framework as well as a methodology for examining ethical concerns. (shrink)
Didier Zúñiga | : Le présent article examine la façon dont Charles Taylor a entrepris de poser le problème politique de la sécularisation. Plus spécifiquement, nous voudrions montrer que, si son effort pour articuler une théorie de l’aménagement de la diversité morale et religieuse a certes contribué à critiquer les régimes rigides de la laïcité, Taylor accorde une prééminence incontestable à la liberté de conscience. Or, notre analyse entend démontrer que, selon cette vue, il n’y a pas de place (...) pour l’autonomie religieuse. Notre hypothèse est qu’en présentant les conflits moraux et religieux comme des enjeux de justice, Taylor néglige l’important clivage existant entre, d’une part, les questions de reconnaissance reliées à la différence culturelle et, d’autre part, les revendications d’autorité exprimées par des groupes — et pas simplement des membres individuels — au sein de la sphère publique. | : This paper aims to challenge the assumption that Charles Taylor’s conception of political secularism is pluralist. The article argues that, although Taylor’s work provides the basis for an important critique of the most rigid forms of secularism, his theory places a strong focus on individual conscience. Yet Taylor’s almost exclusive concern for individual conscience excludes the pluralist claim to religious institutional autonomy. In addition, this article argues that Taylor presents moral and religious conflicts as questions of justice, which can be resolved with a correct interpretation of freedom of conscience. Against Taylor’s conception of “laïcité,” the article attempts to show that these problems are best grasped as conflicts between the authority of different groups—not just individuals—and that of the state. (shrink)
Dans cet article, nous développons une réflexion sur le conflit en démocratie en nous appuyant sur une étude du parcours et des travaux de Charles Wright Mills. Comme celle de Pierre Bourdieu qui lui fait écho sur de nombreux points et avec laquelle nous l’entrecroisons, la démarche de Mills fournit les bases d’une réflexion sur les conditions sociales d’une authentique conflictualité démocratique, orientée vers une déconstruction de certaines formes de domination. Tout d’abord, le travail de Mills intègre un questionnement (...) sur l’impact des formes de stratification sociale sur le développement des luttes sociales. Mills contribue ainsi à mettre en relief, dans le contexte américain, une interaction permanente des luttes de classe et des luttes statutaires et une certaine neutralisation des premières par les secondes. La mise en relief par Bourdieu de la prégnance, au sein des divers champs sociaux, des luttes de classement va dans le même sens. Ensuite, un retour sur la notion de « société de masse » chez Mills permet de mettre en relief la façon dont ce dernier voit dans le déclin de l’autonomie des ordres institutionnels un facteur d’étouffement de la conflictualité démocratique. Enfin, nous comparons la façon dont Mills et Bourdieu défendent, chacun à sa manière, une « politique de vérité ». L’analyse de la portée et des limites d’une telle politique nous amène à souligner en quoi l’autonomie des ordres institutionnels ou des champs sociaux est une condition et un enjeu à la fois structurant et foncièrement ambivalent de la conflictualité démocratique. (shrink)
Spreading the universal monarchy myth in the early 16th century was closely linked to the magnitude of the territories controlled by Charles V. For the imperial chancellor Mercurino Gattinara, universal and messianic ideas, which were integrated into the symbolism of the Empire, were to legitimate a policy that aimed at giving a more rational structure to Charles’ territories and at securing a prominent influence for the Habsburg family in the whole of Europe. Gattinara imagined a kind of supranational (...) monarchy, organised in accordance with the mythical model of the Roman Empire, which would be able to guarantee peace under the aegis of Christianity. (shrink)
Charles Taylor’s latest collection of essays, Dilemmas and Connections, is the most recent installment in his development of a grand history of the rise of a modern, secular age. In this review, I show how the historical narrative that defines Taylor’s late work is in continuity with his earlier hermeneutic commitments, while also allowing him to advance new inquiries into areas as diverse as secularism, religion, nationalism, and human rights discourse. I do this by not only providing a succinct (...) summary of Taylor’s master narrative, but also by arguing that it resolves a number of philosophical dilemmas. (shrink)
The reputations of scientists among their contemporaries depend not only on accomplishment, but also on interactions affected by influence and personality. The historical lore of most fields of scientific endeavor preserve these reputations, often through the identification of founders, innovators, and prolific workers whose contributions are considered fundamental to progress in the field. Historians frequently rely on the historical lore of scientists to guide their studies of the development of ideas, exhibiting justifiable caution in reassessing reputations in the light of (...) current knowledge. However, the transmission of historical lore can obscure the relative importance of accomplishment, influence and personality in shaping contemporary reputations, leaving the historian to either accept reputations at face value or attempt to reconstruct the context in which they were created. The science of taxonomy, because of its rules of priority, leaves a relatively accurate record of historical accomplishment through the persistence of taxa in catalogues and faunal guides. These records allow the modern historian an unbiased means to assess the relative accomplishments of historical figures and therefore a means to critically reassess reputations independent of personality and influence. In the historical lore of North American ichthyology, Louis Agassiz at Harvard and Spencer Baird at the Smithsonian emerge as central figures in the early development of the field during the mid-1800s, contributing not only through the quality and quantity of their science, but also through their roles as institutional leaders and mentors to workers who followed. Charles Girard, originally a student of Agassiz's and later a coworker with Baird, receives little notice in the history of ichthyology, and his reputation is that of a minor player in the initial description of the North American fish fauna, and one whose work appears to have been flawed or even careless when compared to his contemporaries. However, a review of both contemporary and modern taxonomic works reveals that Girard's productivity far exceeded that of either Agassiz or Baird. Furthermore, an examination of the tendency of Girard and his contemporaries to introduce synonymous names into the literature, which might reflect careless or uncritical work, suggests that Girard was among the more accomplished workers of his era, including Agassiz and Baird. Girard's low ranking in the folklore of North American ichthyology, therefore, can not be attributed to discernible shortcomings in his scientific work, but rather to a public and private campaign of criticism waged by Agassiz after Girard's departure from Harvard. While Agassiz's dispute with Girard stemmed from their personal interactions, he expressed them as criticisms of Girard's work, and thus helped shape Girard's scientific reputation as it has been transmitted through the lore of ichthyology. This case study reveals how scientific reputation may not always rest on accomplishment, but can be influenced by personal interactions obscured by time but nonetheless important to history. (shrink)