Griffiths (2001) make a number of comments about James Mark Baldwin's motivations and character at the time that he was developing what later became known as the "Baldwin effect." Some of these comments I found to be misleading. I attempt to correct the historical record concerning the origins of the "Baldwin effect.".
Recovering Reason: Essays in Honor of Thomas L. Pangle is a collection of essays composed by students and friends of Thomas L. Pangle to honor his seminal work and outstanding guidance in the study of political philosophy. These essays examine both Socrates' and modern political philosophers' attempts to answer the question of the right life for human beings, as those attempts are introduced and elaborated in the work of thinkers from Homer and Thucydides to Nietzsche and Charles Taylor.
This book offers a fresh perspective on Richard Rorty by situating his work in the arena of political theory. Reinterpreting Rorty's much-maligned antirepresentationalism as a Romantic affirmation of the power of imaginative writing, Voparil firmly grounds Rorty in an American tradition that includes not only James and Dewey, but Emerson, Whitman, and James Baldwin, and initiates an overdue reassessment of this important thinker's value to the political discourse of the 21st century.
New Atheists and Anti-Theists (such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hutchins) affirm that there is a strong connection between being a traditional theist and being a religious fundamentalist who advocates violence, terrorism, and war. They are especially critical of Islam. On the contrary, I argue that, when correctly understood, religious dogmatic belief, present in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, is progressive and open to internal and external criticism and revision. Moreover, acknowledging that human knowledge is finite and (...) that humans are fallible and have much to learn, dogmatic religious believers accept that they ought to value and seek to acquire moral and intellectual virtues, including the virtues of temperance and reasonability. (shrink)
Featuring essays from leading philosophical scholars, __12 Modern Philosophers__ explores the works, origins, and influences of twelve of the most important late 20th Century philosophers working in the analytic tradition. Draws on essays from well-known scholars, including Thomas Baldwin, Catherine Wilson, Adrian Moore and Lori Gruen Locates the authors and their oeuvre within the context of the discipline as a whole Considers how contemporary philosophy both draws from, and contributes to, the broader intellectual and cultural milieu.
Kant's claim that modality is a 'category' provides an approach to modality to be contrasted with Lewis's reductive analysis. Lewis's position is unsatisfactory, since it depends on an inherently modal conception of a world. This suggests that modality is 'primitive'; and the Kantian position is a prima facie plausible position of this kind, which is filled out by considering the relationship between modality and inference. This provides a context for comparing the Kantian position with Wright's non-cognitivist 'conventionalism'. Wright's position is (...) vulnerable to the type of argument used against ethical non-cognitivism, and the Kantian position is further confirmed by Blackburn's acknowledgment that modality is 'antinaturalistic to its core'. The position is further elaborated to show that it can accommodate the famous Kripkean categories of the empirically necessary and the contingent a priori, and finally defended against the criticisms used by Quine against Carnap. (shrink)
Moore much disliked the names ‘George Edward’ which his parents had bestowed upon him. Hence he was always known just as ‘Moore’ in his professional life, although at home there seems to have been a profusion of names—in his Commonplace Book he writes1: ‘I used to be called “Jumbo’, and used to be called “Tommy”; & also “Georgie”, & am still called by my brothers and sisters “George”; by Dorothy & others I am called “Bill”…‘.
This volume brings together some of the most well-known and highly respected commentators on the work of Jacques Derrida from Britain and America in a series of essays written to commemorate the life and come to terms with the death of one of the most important intellectual presences of our time. Derrida’s thought reached into nearly every corner of contemporary intellectual culture and the difference he has made is incalculable. He was indeed controversial but the astonishing originality of his work, (...) always marked by the care, precision and respect with which he read the work of others, leaves us with a philosophical, ethical and political legacy that will be both lasting and decisive. The sometimes personal, always insightful essays reflect on the multiple ways in which Derrida’s work has marked intellectual culture in general and the literary and philosophical culture of Britain and America in particular. The outstanding contributors offer an interdisciplinary view, investigating areas such as deconstruction, ethics, time, irony, technology, location and truth. This book provides a rich and faithful context for thinking about the significance of Derrida’s own work as an event that arrived and perhaps still remains to arrive in our time. Contributors: Derek Attridge, Thomas Baldwin, Geoffrey Bennington, Rachel Bowlby, Alex Callinicos, David E. Cooper, Simon Critchley, Robert Eaglestone, Simon Glendinning, Marian Hobson, Christopher Johnson, Peggy Kamuf, Michael Naas, Nicholas Royle. (shrink)
Ad hominem arguments are generally dismissed on the grounds that they are not attempts to engage in rational discourse, but are rather aimed at undermining argument by diverting attention from claims made to assessments of character of persons making claims. The manner of this dismissal however is based upon an unlikely paradigm of rationality: it is based upon the presumption that our intellectual capacities are not as limited as in fact they are, and do not vary as much as they (...) do between rational people. When we understand rationality in terms of intellectual virtues, however, which recognize these limitations and provide for the complexity of our thinking, ad hominem considerations can sometimes be relevant to assessing arguments. (shrink)
Christopher Peacocke’s A Study of Concepts is a dense and rewarding work. Each chapter raises many issues for discussion. I know three different people who are writing reviews of the volume. It testifies to the depth of Peacocke’s book that each reviewer is focusing on a quite different set of topics.
The Neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism of Philippa Foot and Rosalind Hursthouse purports to establish a naturalistic criterion for the virtues. Specifically, by developing a parallel between the natural ends of nonhuman animals and the natural ends of human beings, they argue that character traits are justified as virtues by the extent to which they promote and do not inhibit natural ends such as self-preservation, reproduction, and the well-being of one’s social group. I argue that the approach of Foot and Hursthouse cannot (...) provide a basis for moral universalism, the widely-accepted idea that each human being has moral worth and thus deserves significant moral consideration. Foot and Hursthouse both depict a virtuous agent as implicitly acting in accord with moral universalism. However, with respect to charity, a virtue they both emphasize, their naturalistic criterion at best provides a warrant for a restricted form of charity that extends only to a limited number of persons. There is nothing in the natural ends of human beings, as Foot and Hursthouse understand these, that gives us a reason for having any concern for the well-being of human beings as such. (shrink)
With the goal of understanding how Christopher Southgate communicates his in-depth knowledge of both science and theology, we investigated the many roles he assumes as a teacher. We settled upon wide-ranging topics that all intertwine: (1) his roles as author and coordinating editor of a premier textbook on science and theology, now in its third edition; (2) his oral presentations worldwide, including plenaries, workshops, and short courses; and (3) the team teaching approach itself, which is often needed by others (...) because the knowledge of science and theology do not always reside in the same person. Southgate provides, whenever possible, teaching contexts that involve students in experiential learning, where they actively participate with other students.We conclude that Southgate’s ultimate goal is to teach students how to reconcile science and theology in their values and beliefs, so that they can take advantage of both forms of rational thinking in their own personal and professional lives. The co-authors consider several examples of models that have been successfully used by people in various fields to integrate science and religion. (shrink)
Sartre presented ‘Existentialism and Humanism’ to a popular audience in Paris late in 1945. As he implies in the discussion which is appended to the text of the lecture, he was here simplifying his views so as to make them intelligible to a wide audience. In this he succeeded only too well; the lecture has become exceedingly well known and has been regarded as a definitive presentation not only of Sartre's philosophy at the time, but also of ‘existentialism’. One thing (...) I hope to show in this essay is that this is not a sensible view to take; Sartre's text requires a good deal of interpretation and qualification in the light of his other writings of the period, and what emerges is a position which is uniquely his own. One way in which this can be seen is by considering Heidegger's ‘Letter on Humanism’ of 1947 which is a response to Sartre's lecture and is, indeed, Heidegger's only direct response to Sartre's work. In the lecture Sartre had associated Heidegger with himself as an ‘existential atheist’, but in his letter Heidegger emphatically dissociates himself both from atheism and from existentialism as characterized by Sartre, and goes on to criticize the position advanced by Sartre in the lecture. Yet despite the popular exaggeration of the significance of Sartre's lecture, it is certainly worth studying; for not only is it short and accessible, though in some respects misleading, it is also one of Sartre's few indications of the positive ethical theory which so many of his writings require but do not supply. (shrink)
Contractualism is a normative theory which characterizes principles of right in terms of the idea of mutual respect. In this theory, mutual respect is regarded as having deliberative priority over other values. This essay aims to examine how contractualists can provide a satisfactory justification for prioritizing mutual respect. I will argue that the ‘value of mutual respect argument,’ which is a justification commonly adopted by contractualists, is inadequate because an unconditional priority of mutual respect cannot be grounded on the desirability (...) of a relationship of mutual respect. Then I will suggest that a ‘consistency argument’ can provide a better justification of why the idea of mutual respect should have priority. Mutual respect is of special importance, not because it is highly desirable, but rather because it is required by an a priori guiding principle of consistency. Individuals become inconsistent if they ask others to respect them as reason-assessing individuals, while at the same time refusing to respect others in the same way. (shrink)
One of the most noteworthy features of David Gauthier's rational choice, contractarian theory of morality is its appeal to self-interested rationality. This appeal, however, will undoubtedly be the source of much controversy and criticism. For while self-interestedness is characteristic of much human behavior, it is not characteristic of all such behavior, much less of that which is most admirable. Yet contractarian ethics appears to assume that humans are entirely self-interested. It is not usually thought a virtue of a theory that (...) its assumptions are literally false. What may be said on behalf of the contractarian? (shrink)
Clayton and Stevens argue that political liberals should engage with the religiously unreasonable by offering religious responses and showing that their religious views are mistaken, instead of refusing to engage with them. Yet they recognize that political liberals will face a dilemma due to such religious responses: either their responses will alienate certain reasonable citizens, or their engagements will appear disingenuous. Thus, there should be a division of justificatory labour. The duty of engagement should be delegated to religious citizens. In (...) this comment, I will argue that the division of justificatory labour is indefensible. This dilemma can be avoided if politicians and political philosophers correctly use conjecture, a form of discourse that involves non-public reason. As a conditional response, conjecture avoids alienating any reasonable citizens. Also, if conjecture is given in a sincere and open-minded manner, then the problem of disingenuousness can be overcome. My comment concludes that while the engagement of politicians and political philosophers does not necessarily jeopardize overlapping consensus, they should be permitted, or perhaps even required, to engage with the religiously unreasonable due to the natural duty of justice. (shrink)
In this interview, Christopher Norris discusses a wide range of issues having to do with postmodernism, deconstruction and other controversial topics of debate within present-day philosophy and critical theory. More specifically he challenges the view of deconstruction as just another offshoot of the broader postmodernist trend in cultural studies and the social sciences. Norris puts the case for deconstruction as continuing the 'unfinished project of modernity' and—in particular—for Derrida's work as sustaining the values of enlightened critical reason in various (...) spheres of thought from epistemology to ethics, sociology and politics. Along the way he addresses a number of questions that have lately been raised with particular urgency for teachers and educationalists, among them the revival of creationist doctrine and the idea of scientific knowledge as a social, cultural, or discursive construct. In this context he addresses the 'science wars' or the debate between those who uphold t. (shrink)
Maurice Merleau-Ponty's _Phenomenology of Perception_ is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important contributions to philosophy of the twentieth century. In this volume, leading philosophers from Europe and North America examine the nature and extent of Merleau-Ponty's achievement and consider its importance to contemporary philosophy. The chapters, most of which were specially commissioned for this volume, cover the central aspects of Merleau-Ponty's influential work. These include: Merleau-Ponty’s debt to Husserl Merleau-Ponty’s conception of philosophy perception, action and the role (...) of the body consciousness and self-consciousness naturalism and language social rules and freedom. Contributors: David Smith, Sean Kelly, Komarine Romdenh-Romluc, Hubert Dreyfus, Mark Wrathall, Thomas Baldwin, Simon Glendinning, Naomi Eilan, Eran Dorfman, Francoise Dastur. (shrink)
The sovereignty of the people, it is widely said, is the foundation of modern democracy. The truth of this claim depends on the plausibility of attributing sovereignty to “the people” in the first place, and I shall express skepticism about this possibility. I shall suggest as well that the notion of popular sovereignty is complex, and that appeals to the notion may be best understood as expressing several different ideas and ideals. This essay distinguishes many of these and suggests that (...) greater clarity at least would be obtained by focusing directly on these notions and ideals and eschewing that of sovereignty. My claim, however, will not merely be that the notion is multifaceted and complex. I shall argue as well that the doctrine that the people are, or ought to be, sovereign is misleading in potentially dangerous ways, and is conducive to a misunderstanding of the nature of politics, governance, and social order. It would be well to do without the doctrine, but it may be equally important to understand its errors. Our understandings and justifications of democracy, certainly, should dispense with popular sovereignty. (shrink)
Hrushovski originated the study of “flat” stable structures in constructing a new strongly minimal set and a stable 0-categorical pseudoplane. We exhibit a set of axioms which for collections of finite structure with dimension function δ give rise to stable generic models. In addition to the Hrushovski examples, this formalization includes Baldwin's almost strongly minimal non-Desarguesian projective plane and several others. We develop the new case where finite sets may have infinite closures with respect to the dimension function δ. (...) In particular, the generic structure need not be ω-saturated and so the argument for stability is significantly more complicated. We further show that these structures are “flat” and do not interpret a group. (shrink)
Political liberals usually assume the coercion account, which argues that state actions should be publicly justified because they coerce citizens. Recently some critics object this account for it overlooks that some policies are non-coercive but still require public justification. My article argues that, instead of understanding coercion as particular laws or policies, it should be understood as the exercise of collective political power that shapes the basic structure. This revised coercion account explains why those ostensibly non-coercive policies are in fact (...) coercive. Moreover, I argue that the alternative accounts suggested by critics fail, unless they assume the revised coercion account. (shrink)
Russell famously propounded scepticism about memory in The Analysis of Mind. As he there acknowledged, one way to counter this sceptical position is to hold that memory involves direct acquaintance with past, and this is in fact a thesis Russell had advanced in The Problems of Philosophy. Indeed he had there used the case of memory to develop a sophisticated falibilist, non-sceptical, epistemology. By 1921, however, Russell had rejected the early conception of memory as incompatible with the neutral monism he (...) now affirmed. In its place he argued that memory involves a distinctive type of belief whose content is given by imagery. Russell's language here is off-putting but without much distortion his later position can be interpreted as an early formulation of a functionalist theory of mind based on a causal theory of mental representation. Thus interpreted it provides the basis for a different response to Russell's sceptical thesis. (shrink)
In 1991, I included a brief discussion of the Baldwin effect in my account of the evolution of human consciousness, thinking I was introducing to non-specialist readers a little-appreciated, but no longer controversial, wrinkle in orthodox neo-Darwinism. I had thought that Hinton and Nowlan (1987) and Maynard Smith (1987) had shown clearly and succinctly how and why it worked, and restored the neglected concept to grace. Here is how I put it then.