This essay considers the relationship between the Bhagavad Gita as a transnational text and its changing role in Indian political thought. Indian liberals used it to mark out the boundaries between the public sphere they desired and a reformed Hinduism. Indian intellectuals also used the image of Krishna to construct an all-wise founder figure for the new India. Meanwhile, in the transnational sphere of debate, the Gita came to represent India itself in the works of theosophists, spiritual relativists and a (...) variety of intellectual radicals, who approved of the text's ambivalent view of the relationship between political action and the World Spirit. After the First World War, Indian liberals, notably Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, philosopher and later India's second president, used Krishna's words to urge a new and humane international politics infused with the ideal of “detached action”. (shrink)
Mark David Webster ABSTRACT: Using qualitative methods, the author sought to better understand how philosophical assumptions about technology affect the thinking, and influence the decision making, of educational technology leaders in their professional practice. One of the research questions focused on examining whether assumptions of technological determinism were present in thinking and influenced the decisions that leaders make. The core category that emerged from data analysis, Keep up with technology (or be left behind), was interpreted to be a manifestation (...) of the technological imperative, an assumption associated with the philosophical perspective of technological determinism. The article presents a literature review and critique of philosophical issues surrounding technological determinism. Data analysis led to the conclusion that technology leaders working in K-12 education place weighted priority on the technological imperative, and there is philosophical tension between Keep up with technology (or be left behind), and a concurrently held perspective based on the logic of the instrumental view of technology. The findings suggest that different accounts of technological determinism, including Bimber’s three accounts of normative, nomological, and unintended consequences, are significant in the thinking of participants. School technology leaders placed priority on embracing technological change, sometimes adopting technology for its own sake. (shrink)
David Webster explores the notion of desire as found in the Buddhist Pali Canon. Beginning by addressing the idea of a 'paradox of desire', whereby we must desire to end desire, the varieties of desire that are articulated in the Pali texts are examined. A range of views of desire, as found in Western thought are presented as well as Hindu and Jain approaches. An exploration of the concept of ditthi (view or opinion) is also provided, exploring the way (...) in which 'holding views' can be seen as analogous to the process of desiring. Other subjects investigated include the mind-body relationship, the range of Pali terms for desire, and desire's positive spiritual value. A comparative exploration of the various approaches completes the work. (shrink)
John Webster provides a major scholarly analysis, the first in any language, of the final sections of the Church Dogmatics. He focuses on the theme of human agency in Barth's late ethics and doctrine of baptism, placing the discussion in the context of an interpretation of the Dogmatics as an intrinsically ethical dogmatics. The first two chapters survey the themes of agency, covenant and human reality in the Dogmatics as a whole; later chapters give a thorough analysis of Church (...) Dogmatics IV/4 and the posthumously published text The Christian Life. A final chapter examines the significance of Barth's work for contemporary accounts of moral selfhood. The book is important not only for a detailed analysis of a neglected part of Barth's oeuvre, but also because it casts into question much of what has hitherto been written about Barth's ethical dogmatics. (shrink)
May we speak, in the present age, of holy scripture? And what validation of that claim can be offered, robust enough to hold good for both religious practice and intellectual enquiry? John Webster argues that while any understanding of scripture must subject it to proper textual and historical interrogation, it is necessary at the same time to acknowledge the special character of scriptural writing. His 2003 book is an exercise in Christian dogmatics, a loud reaffirmation of the triune God (...) at the heart of a scripture-based Christianity. But it is written with intellectual rigour by a theologian who understands the currents of modern secular thought and is able to work from them towards a constructive position on biblical authority. It will resonate with anyone who has wondered or worried about the grounds on which we may validly regard the Bible as God's direct communication with humanity. (shrink)
Thomas Bertram Lonsdale Webster. the Persians decided on the best form of government in 520 B.C., but it is far more likely that the discussion reflects political theorising at Athens where he was writing during the contest for power between ...
: This paper responds to the sense of "crisis" or "trouble" that dominates contemporary feminist debate about the categories of sex and gender. It argues that this perception of crisis has emerged from a fundamental confusion of theoretical and political issues concerning the implications of the sex/gender debate for political representation and agency. It explores the sense in which this confusion is manifest in a debate between Seyla Benhabib and Judith Butler.
Based on the technique of pressure blinding of the eye, two types of after-image were identified. A physicalist or mind/brain identity explanation was established for a negative a AI produced by moderately intense stimuli. These AI's were shown to be located in the neurons of the retina. An illusory AI of double a grating's spatial frequency was also produced in the same structure and was both prevented from being established and abolished after establishment by pressure blinding, thus showing that the (...) location was not more central. The illusory AI was predicted from the known non-linearity in the retina and this is the first case of a clear cut type-type identity of a sensation and a neural process. Some implications for the concepts of the explanatory gap between neurology and consciousness and multiple neural realizations of conscious states and topic neutrality are discussed. (shrink)
Russell and others have argued that the real nature of colour is transparentto us in colour vision. It's nature is fully revealed to us and no further knowledgeis theoretically possible. This is the doctrine of revelation. Two-dimensionalFourier analyses of coloured checkerboards have shown that apparently simple,monadic, colours can be based on quite different physical mechanisms. Experimentswith the McCollough effect on different types of checkerboards have shown thatidentical colours can have energy at the quite different orientations of Fourierharmonic components but no (...) energy at the edges of the checkerboards, thusrefuting revelation. It is concluded that this effect is not explained by a superveniencedispositional account of colour as proposed by McGinn . It was argued that theMcCollough effect in checkerboards was an example of a local mind/body reduction, by which the different characteristics of identical colours falsifies revelation. This reduction being based on both physical and neurological mechanisms led to a clear explanation of the perceive phenomenal effects and thus laid a small bridge over the explanatory gap. (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.
An important part of making philosophy as a discipline gender equal is to ensure that female authors are not simply wiped out of the history of philosophy. This has implications for teaching as well as research. In this context, I reflect on my experience of teaching a text by medieval philosopher Christine de Pizan as part of an introductory history of philosophy course taught to Turkish students in law, political science, and international relations. I describe the challenges I encountered, (...) the ways in which I dealt with them, and draw some conclusions based on my observations and feedback obtained at the end of the course. (shrink)
Neste artigo, argumento que a abordagem de Amy Allen a respeito da questão de gênero em The Politics of Our Selves é precária e parcial na medida em que é focada em uma análise da sujeição que visa explicar “como indivíduos subordinados se tornam psiquicamente atados à sua própria subordinação”. Embora este seja um aspecto inegável da subordinação de gênero, não expressa a complexidade das suas causas materiais e simbólicas. A minha tese central é a de que Allen não oferece (...) o melhor modelo para a Teoria Crítica feminista à luz das complexidades das sociedades capitalistas, muito menos, ouso dizer, para as lutas feministas no Sul Global, profundamente marcado pela pobreza, pela desigualdade social, pelo racismo e outros tipos de violência contra a mulher. (shrink)
In The City of Ladies and Bell in Campo, Christine de Pizan and Margaret Cavendish imagine women’s participation to war as a metaphor of the sexual conflict that they must fight in order to conquer their visibility in history. While Pizan rewrites history from women’s stand point and acknowledges the universal value of sexual difference for the plan of salvation, Cavendish moves within a modern frame and thinks history as the result of human action. In both cases, the tale (...) of women’s participation to war allows criticizing the moral and normative implications of «nature». (shrink)
I review Amy Allen's Book: The End of Progress: Decolonizing the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory (2016) as part of a Review Symposium: -/- In her latest book, The End of Progress, Amy Allen embarks on an ambitious and much needed project: to decolonize contemporary Frankfurt School critical theory. As with all of her books, this is an exceptionally well-written and well-argued book. Allen strives to avoid making assertions without backing them up via close and careful textual reading of the (...) thinkers she engages with. In what follows I will state why this book makes a central contribution to contemporary critical theory (in the wider sense), after which I pose a few questions. These questions are not meant to prove that there are any serious problems with her argumentation. Rather, they are meant in the spirit of dialogue and to allow her to further elaborate her work for the audience... (shrink)
To understand the human capacity for psychological altruism, one requires a proper understanding of how people actually think and feel. This paper addresses the possible relevance of recent findings in experimental economics and neuroeconomics to the philosophical controversy over altruism and egoism. After briefly sketching and contextualizing the controversy, we survey and discuss the results of various studies on behaviourally altruistic helping and punishing behaviour, which provide stimulating clues for the debate over psychological altruism. On closer analysis, these studies prove (...) less relevant than originally expected because the data obtained admit competing interpretations – such as people seeking fairness versus people seeking revenge. However, this mitigated conclusion does not preclude the possibility of more fruitful research in the area in the future. Throughout our analysis, we provide hints for the direction of future research on the question. (shrink)
In her Why Have Children?, Christine Overall takes issue with my anti-natalist arguments that it is better never to come into existence. She provides three criticisms of my arguments and then, in a fourth criticism, suggests that my conclusions are bad for women. I respond to her criticisms, arguing that they fail.
Many forms of virtue ethics, like certain forms of utilitarianism, suffer from the problem of indirection. In those forms, the criterion for status of a trait as a virtue is not the same as the criterion for the status of an act as right. Furthermore, if the virtues for example are meant to promote the nourishing of the agent, the virtuous agent is not standardly supposed to be motivated by concern for her own flourishing in her activity. In this paper, (...) I propose a virtue ethics which does not suffer from the problem. Traits are not virtues because their cultivation and manifestation promote a value such as agent flourishing. They are virtues in so far as they are habits of appropriate response to various relevant values. This means that there is a direct connection between the rationale of a virtue and what makes an action virtuous or right. (shrink)
In a celebrated passage in ‘Of the Standard of Taste’, Hume tells us that those readers who prefer Bunyan's writings to Addison's are merely ‘pretended critics’ whose judgment is ‘absurd and ridiculous’; this is ‘no less an extravagance, than if he had maintained a mole-hill to be as high as TENERIFFE, or a pond as extensive as the ocean’. Hume shows a decisiveness and vehemence in his judgment against Bunyan that has greater significance than that of being a mere reflection (...) of his aesthetic principles. Hume does, after all, wish to make ‘durable admiration’ the foundation of his standard of taste, and both the number of eighteenth-century reprints of The Pilgrim's Progress and Johnson's comment that this work has as ‘the best evidence of its merit, the general and continued approbation of mankind’ testify to the lasting popularity of Bunyan's work. Hume's critical judgment on Bunyan is not merely a consequence of a mechanical application of his standard of taste, but is rather a reflection of what I will term Hume's ‘epistemology of ease’. (shrink)
In this paper I question Amy Allen’s reliance on a Habermasian model of critique and normativity, beyond which her own work points. I emphasize those places in Allen’s book, The Power of Our Selves, where she could set out on a different path, more consistent with the implications of her critique of Habermas, and more congenial with my own reformulation of the project of critical theory.
A full third of the book is devoted to "Buddhist themes," and although I am unfortunately unqualified to comment on its exegetical and interpretative quality, I can report that I found the discussion fascinating and enlightening. Priest gives us clear, precise, technical, and philosophically sophisticated theorizing based around these thinkers, giving the lie to the not-uncommon trope among analytic philosophers that so-called "continental" and Eastern thought are inherently wooly, without rigor.1At the start of her insightful and disconcerting essay, Amy Olberding (...) mentions that "while responsibility for the conversational practices" that "exclude" and are forms of boundary policing "are... (shrink)
Christine Korsgaard’s 1996 book, The Sources of Normativity, attracted a great deal of attention. And rightly so. It is a highly engaging attempt to answer what she calls the normative question, which is the question of what could justify morality’s demands. Korsgaard’s latest book, Self-Constitution, develops and defends the broadly Kantian account of action and agency that hovers in the background of Sources, drawing out its implications for the normative question. In this review, we present the main lines of (...) argument in Self-Constitution, raising objections to both Korsgaard’s account of action and agency and her most recent attempt to address the normative question. (shrink)
Une œuvre majeure de Christine de Pizan vient de faire l'objet d'une édition : Le Livre de l'Advision Christine dont Liliane Dulac et Christine Reno ont établi le texte, précédé d'une longue et précieuse introduction. Événement éditorial de premier ordre, l'édition antérieure (en 1932) ne pouvant satisfaire aux exigences des médiévistes et plus largement de ceux qui s'intéressent à la voix des femmes au Moyen Âge. Dans le parcours de l'écrivaine, l'Advision, œuvre de maturité, associe ..
ABSTRACTThis paper is a critical response to Amy Allen’s The End of Progress: Decolonising the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory. We take up her book’s call for a “problematizing” history which challenges “taken-for-granted” preconceptions in order to contest Allen’s own representation of the thought of the enlightenment. Allen accepts that all the enlighteners agreed upon a stadial, progressive account of history, which she critiques epistemically and normatively. But we show in Part 2, drawing on the work of Henri Vyverberg and (...) other historians of eighteenth century ideas, that a cyclical, rise and fall account of historical succession was more prominent than the progressive narrative in leading enlighteners such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, D’Alembert, Condillac, Jancourt, Grimm, and Raynal, all of whom Allen does not mention. In Part 3, we show that not all thinkers of the enlightenment were pro-colonial or pro-imperialist, as Allen also presupposes in The End of Progress. By examining Abbé Raynal’s History of The Two Indies in Part 3, and notably its Diderotian interpolations, we show that many enlighteners propounded fierce criticisms of European colonialism and the slave trade, even calling directly for armed resistance against European infractions. In critical theorists’ search for chastened normative foundations, our concluding remarks contend, there is a need to develop more accurate, balanced, post-postmodern reckonings of the enlightenment. (shrink)
In this paper, I juxtapose the work of two contemporary feminist philosophers: Christine Battersby and Adriana Cavarero – both working within the Continental tradition – to show how they go well beyond feminist critique to produce different images of self-identity and conceptions of the political. Both reject traditional positions on selfhood but also stress the materiality of bodies and provide alternatives to the work of post-structuralists, such as Judith Butler. My aim is to draw out some of the politico-legal (...) implications of their differing images of selfhood. In the final section I then apply both their approaches to the concept of self to ask how their respective arguments can inform contemporary political questions regarding privacy and dissensus. (shrink)
Georges Bataille agrees with numerous Christian mystics that there is ethical and religious value in meditating upon, and having ecstatic episodes in response to, imagery of violent death. For Christians, the crucified Christ is the focus of contemplative efforts. Bataille employs photographic imagery of a more-recent victim of torture and execution. In this essay, while engaging with Amy Hollywood's interpretation of Bataille in Sensible Ecstasy, I show that, unlike the Christian mystics who influence him, Bataille strives to divorce himself from (...) any moral authority external to the ecstatic episode itself. I argue that in his attempt to remove external authority he abandons the only resources that could possibly protect his mystical contemplation from engendering sadistic attitudes. (shrink)