It was the general practice until not at all long ago to look at Turner as one of the moderns, if not as one of the founding fathers of modern art. He was a man straddling the fence between two periods, but he was looking forward. In a history of art that marches through time, forever endorsing what is about to be forgotten, wrapping up, as it were, one style to open eagerly the package of the next, such a (...) position is most enviable for, no matter where the times may be going, it is a hallmark of greatness to be ahead of one's time. There were things to be explained, of course, Turner himself, a keen pessimist, did not approved of the future and had little use for the present.1 His love of art was schooled on Reynolds' Discourses, and he remained loyal to them; his poets were Thomson and Pope and, among contemporaries, the rather frigid but delicate Samuel Rogers, a classicist par excellence. Above all, however, Turner looked back to classical antiquity for training and guidance, and for the delectation of his heart. And the poetry of the ancients, such as he could obtain it in translation, was as important to him as their art. What does one do with a declared classicist whom a historicizing hindsight feels compelled to rescue as a man of the future by making him a Romantic? It is a challenge stylistic analysis likes to meet, for it goes beneath what it declares to be the surface of a work of art to find its style, the essence that must conform to the presumed spirit of the age in question. The triumphant result of such studies in depth is a forgone conclusion as much as it is a surprise to the uninitiated. The facade of the Louvre, for example, used to suffice to make it a building in the classical style; it took the acumen of a Wölfflin to prove that it really was "baroque." The more the artist struggled not to be of his time, the more, poor man, he betrayed to the analyst that he was of his time. The Louvre facade stands convicted of being "classicizing-baroque."2 · 1. On Turner's view of the modern art of his time see John Gage, Color in Turner: Poetry and Truth , pp.97-105. On his literary education and taste see the seminal essay by Jerrold Ziff, "Turner on Poetry and Painting, " Studies in Romanticism 3 no. 4 : 193-215. Turner's poetical writings have been edited by Jack Lindsay, The Sunset Ship: The Poems of J.M.W. Turner . For the most recent and also most elegantly practical introduction to the work and life of Turner, see the catalogue of the Turner Exhibition of the Royal Academy and the Tate Gallery, Turner, 1775-1851 . · 2. This is now a commonplace of art historical teaching. See, for example, Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, 6th ed. Horst de la Croix and Richard G. Tansey , p. 632. On the theory behind the application to the particular case, see Heinrich Wölfflin, Principles of Art History, trans. M. D. Hottinger . Philipp Fehl, artist and art historian, is currently preparing a collection of essays, Art and Morality: Studies in the History of the Classical Tradition. He is a professor in the department of art and design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Farewell to Jokes: The Last Capricci of Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo and the Tradition of Irony in Venetian Painting" was published in Summer 1979 in Critical Inquiry. (shrink)
Die Geburt der Tragödie and Weimar classicism -- The formative influence of Weimar classicism in the genesis of Zarathustra -- The aesthetic gospel of Nietzsche's Zarathustra -- From Leucippus to Cassirer : toward a genealogy of "sincere semblance".
This book survives superficial but fails deeper scrutiny. A facile, undiscerning criticism of Lectures in the History of Political Thought (LHPT) is that on Oakeshott’s own account these are lectures on a non-subject: ‘I cannot detect anything which could properly correspond to the expression “the history of political thought”’ (p. 32). This is an entirely typical Oakeshottian swipe – elegant and oblique – at the title of the lecture course he inherited from Harold Laski. If title and quotation (...) sit awkwardly we should remember that Oakeshott never prepared the text for publication – a fortiori he did not prepare it for publication under this title. Moreover, for Oakeshott the compound notion of ‘political thought’ does not denote much either (pp. 33–4). A positive characterization can, however, be made for the notion of ‘political experience’ or ‘intellectual organization’ (p. 42), a particular context-bound agglomeration ‘of sentiments, beliefs, habits of thought, aspirations and ideas’ (pp. 43, 45, 391, 393). This notion, with its enumeration and specification into Greek, Roman, medieval and modern political experience, structures the 32 lectures that comprise the book. Oakeshott’s notion of political experience has deep affinities (at least) with the style of political analysis followed by the Cambridge classicist, F.E. Adcock, in Roman Political Ideas and Practice (1964), a text surely not fortuitously included in the course reading-list for the original lectures. (shrink)
Ziel und Anliegen der Arbeit ist es, einen neuen Blick auf die Kunsttheorie der "Weimarer Klassik" zu werfen, um hinter dem Klischee einer in "edler Einfalt und stiller Größe" versteinerten Kunstlehre eine flexible und dynamische ...
As illustrated in Goethe's famous novel of the same name, elective affinities are powerful relationships that crystallize under changing conditions. In this new book, Lydia Goehr focuses on the history of elective affinities between philosophy and music from German classicism, romanticism, and idealism to the modernist aesthetic theory of Theodor W. Adorno and Arthur C. Danto. Aesthetic theory, she argues, depends on a dynamic philosophy of history centered on tendencies, yearnings, needs, and potentialities. With this in mind, (...) she recasts the theses of Adorno and Danto regarding the death or end of philosophy, art, music, and human experience as arguments for continuation and survival. _Elective Affinities_ tracks the migration of aesthetic and critical theory from Germany to the United States following the catastrophic period of the twentieth century marked by the Second World War. (shrink)
Herder, the German humanist from the end of the 18th century, a representative of Weimar classicism and of the Sturm und Drang movement, man of letters, philosopher of history, defender of popular cultures, advocate of the uniqueness and importance of every civilization. The ways in which one may summarize his legacy extend even further. The present paper will focus on the philosophy of history. We will prove that his writings reveal a complex and solid theory of barbarianism, (...) topical for 21st century Europe. First of all, we aim to clarify the multiple meanings of this concept, identifying both the historical data and the theoretical principles behind it. In this way, the grounds on which Herder executed a radical overthrow of the Enlightenment conception upon the barbarian will be revealed. Subsequently should derive the relativity of the “civilization–barbarism” opposition, as well as the anticipation of Hegel’s idea that history necessarily continues through the barbarian. Finally, we aim to provide reasonably founded answers to the questions generated by this thesis: 1. What are the qualities that confer on the barbarian the possibility of creating history? – in other words, what turns him from supporting actor into a collective agent able to change the course of history? 2. Is there a law of history that decides whether some barbarians are doomed to perish, while others build empires? (shrink)
In the chapter on multiplicity and unity, the affective or anthropological motifs are both more complex and more interesting. Wölfflin’s initial distinction is between “the articulated system of forms of classic art and the flow of the baroque” . Imagery of fluidity pervades the chapter, for water, according to Wölfflin, “was the period’s favourite element” . “Now, and now only,” he says, “the greatness of the sea could find its representation”, and as if to inculcate this affinity he places the (...) reproduction of a baroque seascape by Jan van Goyen at the head of the introduction to the book and a riverscape by Peter Brueghel at the head of this chapter, even though neither painting is discussed where it is reproduced. In fact it is worth observing that Wölfflin does not discuss any water paintings in this chapter, though of course he does so elsewhere. Where fluidity becomes the meaning of his category, it is absent from the contents of the paintings. Wölfflin’s procedure, as I have argued, is both objectively analytical and subjectively interpretive, and in this chapter he seems careful to preserve the distance between the forms he describes and the significances he reveals. Were he to treat water paintings here, he would obscure the fact that his analyses are always the prelude to translations.Though he conceals the fact, Wölfflin has here effected a translation of the baroque into itself, of water painting into fluidity. Baroque art has declared its true meaning, which is to be an art of flux—of time and, throughout this chapter, of momentariness. Suddenly here the baroque comes into its own, with a surprising reversal in Wölfflin’s categories. Until now he has associated the baroque with lawlessness and confusion, and classicism with the unifying force of symmetrical organization around a center. Unity is repose—the equation had been made explicitly in the discussion in Classic Art of Michelangelo’s Medici Madonna —and clearly in Principles of Art History Wölfflin seems to say that the unification achieved in Leonardo’s Last Supper was later lost Tiepolo’s version.21 As Wölfflin says in the first sentence of chapter 4, “The principle of closed form of itself presumes the conception of the picture as a unity.” But as the baroque now comes into its own, it appears that the unity of classicism is an illusory, “multiple unity,” whereas the true or “unified unity” actually pertains to the baroque. It is the usurping baroque, rather than the deposed classic, that now has “a dominating central motive.” And So Wölfflin returns in this chapter to the two Last Suppers in order to rescind his earlier position. He still claims that Leonardo’s painting is unified, but he offers Tiepolo’s version to illustrate the “possibility of surpassing this unity” . In becoming itself, baroque art has overthrown classicism.21. “Tiepolo composed a Last Supper which, while it cannot be compared with Leonardo as a work of art, stylistically presents the absolute opposite. The figures do not unite in the plane, and that decides”. (shrink)
Seen through the quest for a new metaphysics, the visual arts were interpreted in the framework of the particular sense of progress that the generation of György Lukács developed in the first decade of the twentieth century. They saw Impressionism as the veritable symptom of the deficiencies of their age and dreamed of a great, solid, lasting new Hungarian culture which would transcend the fragmentariness, sociological interests, and ethereality of Impressionism. Although exhibitions of contemporary modernist art were organized in Budapest (...) and the Nagybánya artists' colony was in contact with the living French art, the nascent aesthetic theory, first of all that of Lukács, based the appreciation of Post-Impressionism on ideological considerations rather than the artistic particularities of the artists. Central to this aesthetic was the notion of greatness and a sense of metaphysics derived from German idealist philosophy and applied to the art of Cézanne, Gauguin, and the Budapest group The Seekers, all of whom were appreciated for features pointing in the direction of a new Classicism. (shrink)
Bernard Lonergan has attempted to clarify a major theoretical transition from a classicist conception of culture, which was operative for over two millennia,to a contemporary notion of culture which is empirical, historicist, and pluralist. I argue that this transition has significant implications for apprehending boththe difficulty and the possibility of intercultural understanding. While the need for intercultural understanding is timely and obvious, its actual achievement hasproven elusive. One major impediment, I argue, has been the effective persistence of classicist assumptions which (...) undermine our best theoretical understandings of what a culture is. (shrink)
Between 1906 and 1909 the biologist Ronald Ross and the classicist W.H.S. Jones pioneered interdisciplinary research in biology and history in advancing the claim that malaria had been crucial in the decline of golden-age Greece. The idea had originated with Ross, winner of the Nobel Prize for demonstrating the importance of mosquitoes in the spread of the disease. Jones assembled what, today, we would call an interdisciplinary network of collaborators in the sciences and humanities. But early negative reviews of (...) Jones’s Malaria and Greek History by classicists and historians ended the project, despite a positive reception among malariologists. Today, the “Jones hypothesis” is often used to exemplify the naïvete of past scholarship, and few examine Jones’s evidence and reasoning. In this age of renewed interdisciplinarity, a review of what went wrong is timely. Jones and Ross knew they were opening new methodological territory and struggled with the challenges of multiple ways of knowing. Over 100 years later, malaria remains an important site of historical-biological research, yet integration is elusive. After reviewing the Jones-Ross relationship, Jones’s interdisciplinary campaign, and the reception of the hypothesis among classicists/ancient historians and in malariology, we conclude by highlighting some of the specific challenges faced by those exploring the interface of biology and history. (shrink)
An analysis of the exemplary strategy of Pasquier reveals an intriguing shift in the premises, procedures, and goals of his history, arising from the superimposition of an internalized medieval task on a very different humanist, or classicist, task. Machiavelli's classicizing exempla undermine his theory, while Pasquier's medieval exempla make sense of the Machiavellian project, and can be seen to disconnect the reader from the exemplary. Pasquier retains the Machiavellian analysis of efficiency while subverting the duty of heroic imitation. The (...) priority of consensual purpose over individual action which David assigned to the medieval exemplum reinforces the priority of community over citizen in Pasquier's historical politics. Pasquier's exempla impose on the French reader the obligation of assimilating his or her own laws and history. His initiative is felicitous in comparison with modern projects as well; he reaffirms morality as essentially public, shared, and refuses the inconsistency of deriving a public morality from an infinity of personal acts. (shrink)
William Whewell raised a series of objections concerning John Stuart Mill’s philosophy of science which suggested that Mill’s views were not properly informed by the history of science or by adequate reflection on scientific practices. The aim of this paper is to revisit and evaluate this incisive Whewellian criticism of Mill’s views by assessing Mill’s account of Michael Faraday’s discovery of electrical induction. The historical evidence demonstrates that Mill’s reconstruction is an inadequate reconstruction of this historical episode and the (...) scientific practices Faraday employed. But a study of Faraday’s research also raises some questions about Whewell’s characterization of this discovery. Thus, this example provides an opportunity to reconsider the debate between Whewell and Mill concerning the role of the sciences in the development of an adequate philosophy of scientific methodology.Keywords: Inductivism; Experiment; Theory; Methodology; Electromagnetism. (shrink)
This paper advances the view that the history of philosophy is both a kind of history and a kind of philosophy. Through a discussion of some examples from epistemology, metaphysics, and the historiography of philosophy, it explores the benefit to philosophy of a deep and broad engagement with its history. It comes to the conclusion that doing history of philosophy is a way to think outside the box of the current philosophical orthodoxies. Somewhat paradoxically, far from (...) imprisoning its students in outdated and crystallized views, the history of philosophy trains the mind to think differently and alternatively about the fundamental problems of philosophy. It keeps us alert to the fact that latest is not always best, and that a genuinely new perspective often means embracing and developing an old insight. The upshot is that the study of the history of philosophy has an innovative and subversive potential, and that philosophy has a great deal to gain from a long, broad, and deep conversation with its history. (shrink)
Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama's prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The End of History and the Last Man is a modern classic.
_ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 441 - 456 Several kinds of historical alternatives are distinguished. Different kinds of historical alternatives are valuable to the practice of history for different reasons. Important uses for historical alternatives include representing different sides of historical disputes; distributing chances of different outcomes over alternatives; and offering explanations of why various alternatives did _not_ in fact happen. Consideration of counterfactuals about what would have happened had things been different in particular ways plays particularly (...) useful roles in reasoning about historical analogues of current conditions; reasoning about causal claims; and in evaluating historical explanations. When evaluating the role of alternative histories in historical thinking, we should keep in mind the uses of historical alternatives that go well beyond the long-term and specific scenarios that are the focus of so-called “counterfactual history”. (shrink)
Although first published in 1969, the methodological views advanced in Quentin Skinner's “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” remain relevant today. In his article Skinner suggests that it would be inappropriate to even attempt to write the history of any idea or concept. In support of this view, Skinner advances two arguments, one derived from the philosophy of the later Wittgenstein and the other from that of J. L. Austin. In this paper I focus on the (...) first of these arguments. I claim that the conclusion which Skinner draws from this particular argument does not necessarily follow and that an alternative assessment of the methodological significance of Wittgenstein's philosophy for historians of ideas is possible. On this alternative view, far from ruling out conceptual history, an appeal to the view of meaning set out in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations leads to a quite different conclusion, namely that the writing of such a history is arguably a necessary precondition for the elucidation of the meaning of a number of the core concepts in the canon of the history of political thought. Skinner's views have changed somewhat since 1969. Indeed, from the mid 1970s onwards he came to relax the strict opposition to the idea of conceptual history to which he was then committed. The paper concludes by noting that this evolution in Skinner's thinking has made him much more sympathetic than anybody reading “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” would have imagined to the research project of the Begriffgeschichte School of conceptual history. (shrink)
In the advertising discourse of human genetic database projects, of genetic ancestry tracing companies, and in popular books on anthropological genetics, what I refer to as the anthropological gene and genome appear as documents of human history, by far surpassing the written record and oral history in scope and accuracy as archives of our past. How did macromolecules become "documents of human evolutionary history"? Historically, molecular anthropology, a term introduced by Emile Zuckerkandl in 1962 to characterize the (...) study of primate phylogeny and human evolution on the molecular level, asserted its claim to the privilege of interpretation regarding hominoid, hominid, and human phylogeny and evolution vis-à-vis other historical sciences such as evolutionary biology, physical anthropology, and paleoanthropology. This process will be discussed on the basis of three key conferences on primate classification and evolution that brought together exponents of the respective fields and that were held in approximately ten-years intervals between the early 1960s and the 1980s. I show how the anthropological gene and genome gained their status as the most fundamental, clean, and direct records of historical information, and how the prioritizing of these epistemic objects was part of a complex involving the objectivity of numbers, logic, and mathematics, the objectivity of machines and instruments, and the objectivity seen to reside in the epistemic objects themselves. (shrink)
Despite the fact that the history of eugenics in Canada is necessarily part of the larger history of eugenics, there is a special role for oral history to play in the telling of this story, a role that promises to shift us from the muddled middle of the story. Not only has the testimony of eugenics survivors already played perhaps the most important role in revealing much about the practice of eugenics in Canada, but the willingness and (...) ability of survivors to share their own oral histories makes the situation in western Canada almost unique. Conversely, I also discuss the role that oral history plays in “surviving a eugenic past”, trading on the ambiguity of this phrase to reflect both on the survivorship of those who have been viewed as subhuman via some kind of eugenic lens and on the collective legacy with which Canada’s eugenic past presents us. (shrink)
‘Type’ in biology is a polysemous term. In a landmark article, Paul Farber (Journal of the History of Biology 9(1): 93–119, 1976) argued that this deceptively plain term had acquired three different meanings in early nineteenth century natural history alone. ‘Type’ was used in relation to three distinct type concepts, each of them associated with a different set of practices. Important as Farber’s analysis has been for the historiography of natural history, his account conceals an important dimension (...) of early nineteenth century ‘type talk.’ Farber’s taxonomy of type concepts passes over the fact that certain uses of ‘type’ began to take on a new meaning in this period. At the closing of the eighteenth century, terms like ‘type specimen,’ ‘type species,’ and ‘type genus’ were universally recognized as referring to typical, model members of their encompassing taxa. But in the course of the nineteenth century, the same terms were co-opted for a different purpose. As part of an effort to drive out nomenclatural synonymy – the confusing state of a taxon being known to different people by different names – these terms started to signify the fixed and potentially atypical name-bearing elements of taxa. A new type concept was born: the nomenclatural type. In this article, I retrace this perplexing nineteenth century shift in meaning of ‘type.’ I uncover the nomenclatural disorder that the new nomenclatural type concept dissolved, and expose the conceptual confusion it left in its tracks. What emerges is an account of how synonymy was suppressed through the coinage of a homonym. (shrink)
I examine the consistency of Kant's notion of moral progress as found in his philosophy of history. To many commentators, Kant's very idea of moral development has seemed inconsistent with basic tenets of his critical philosophy. This idea has seemed incompatible with his claims that the moral law is unconditionally and universally valid, that moral agency is noumenal and atemporal, and that all humans are equally free. Against these charges, I argue not only that Kant's notion of moral development (...) is consistent, but also that the assumption of the possibility of moral progress is indispensible for Kant's moral theory. (shrink)
The chapter begins with an initial survey of ups and downs of contextualist history of philosophy during the twentieth century in Britain and America, which finds that historically serious history of philosophy has been on the rise. It then considers ways in which the study of past philosophy has been used and is used in philosophy, and makes a case for the philosophical value and necessity of a contextually oriented approach. It examines some uses of past texts and (...) of history that reveal limits to noncontextual history, including Strawson's Kant, Rorty's grand diagnosis of the Western tradition, and Friedman on Kant's philosophy of mathematics. It then considers ways in which the history of philosophy may become philosophically deeper by becoming more historical, and instances in which history of philosophy of various stripes has or may deliver a philosophical payoff. Along the way, it urges historians of philosophy to attend not only to individual philosophers and their problems and projects, but also to the larger shape of the history of philosophy and its narrative themes. (shrink)
Although history is the pre-eminent part of the gallant sciences, philosophers advise against it from fear that it might completely destroy the kingdom of darkness—that is, scholastic philosophy—which previously has been wrongly held to be a necessary instrument of theology.
Investigators of animal behavior since the eighteenth century have sought to make their work integral to the enterprises of natural history and/or the life sciences. In their efforts to do so, they have frequently based their claims of authority on the advantages offered by the special places where they have conducted their research. The zoo, the laboratory, and the field have been major settings for animal behavior studies. The issue of the relative advantages of these different sites has been (...) a persistent one in the history of animal behavior studies up to and including the work of the ethologists of the twentieth century. (shrink)
The history of emotions is a burgeoning field—so much so, that some are invoking an “emotional turn.” As a way of charting this development, I have interviewed three of the leading practitioners of the history of emotions: William Reddy, Barbara Rosenwein, and Peter Stearns. The interviews retrace each historian’s intellectual-biographical path to the history of emotions, recapitulate key concepts, and critically discuss the limitations of the available analytical tools. In doing so, they touch on Reddy’s concepts of (...) “emotive,” “emotional regime,” and “emotional navigation,” as well as on Rosenwein’s “emotional community” and on Stearns’s “emotionology” and offer glimpses of each historian’s ongoing research. The interviews address the challenges presented to historians by research in the neurosciences and the like, highlighting the distinctive contributions offered by a historical approach. In closing, the interviewees appear to reach a consensus, envisioning the history of emotions not as a specialized field but as a means of integrating the category of emotion into social, cultural, and political history, emulating the rise of gender as an analytical category since its early beginnings as “women’s history” in the 1970s. (shrink)
There is no doubt that periodization is a rather effective method of data ordering and analysis, but it deals with exceptionally complex types of processual and temporal phenomena and thus it simplifies historical reality. Many scholars emphasize the great importance of periodization for the study of history. In fact, any periodization suffers from one-sidedness and certain deviations from reality. However, the number and significance of such deviations can be radically diminished as the effectiveness of periodization is directly connected with (...) its author's understanding of the rules and peculiarities of this methodological procedure. In this paper we would like to suggest a model of periodization of history based on our theory of historical process. We shall also demonstrate some possibilities of mathematical modeling for the problems concerning the macroperiodization of the world historical process. This analysis identifies a number of cycles within this process and suggests its generally hyperexponential shape, which makes it possible to propose a number of forecasts concerning the forthcoming decades. (shrink)
In this paper, I show how the phenomenological and hermeneutic traditions and method converge on their treatment of the historical subject. Thinkers from both traditions claim that subjectivity is shaped by a historical worldview. Each tradition provides an account of how these worldviews are shaped, and thus how essentially historical subjective experience is molded. I argue that both traditions, although offering helpful ways of understanding the way history shapes subjectivity, go too far in their epistemic claims for the superiority (...) of subjective over positivist or academic history I propose that although the phenomenological/ hermeneutic approach to historical subjectivity is valuable for understanding both history and human nature, it cannot and ought not replace academic or what I will call ‘critical’ history. By showing the importance of historicity, and the force of historical consciousness on our actions, philosophers of history in these traditions expose the epistemic and perhaps even ethical requirement to engage in a rigorous critical history, one that recognizes the importance of historical consciousness. Such critical history is necessary to move beyond the subjective horizon of history as experienced to understand how events shaped this historical horizon. (shrink)
Despite the centrality of the idea of history to Dewey's overall philosophical outlook, his brief treatment of philosophical issues in history has never attracted much attention, partly because of the dearth of the available material. Nonetheless, as argued in this essay, what we do have provides for the outlines of a comprehensive pragmatist view of history distinguished by an emphasis on methodological pluralism and a principled opposition to thinking of historical knowledge in correspondence terms. The key conceptions (...) of Dewey's philosophy of history outlined in this paper -- i.e. historical constitution of human nature, constructivist ontology of historical events, as well as the belief that the proper form of historical judgments is underwritten by the category of continual change -- are discussed with a view to the current challenges in philosophy of history, e.g. the contest between naturalism and rationalism, objectivity and relativism, questions surrounding the function of narrative in history, and the relationship of history to the problems of identity and self-knowledge. The intended upshot of the essay is to suggest that Dewey's brief yet substantial analysis may be capable of supplying the guiding principles for articulating a viable and promising pragmatist (and naturalist) conception of historical knowledge. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 433 - 440 Historical explanations are a form of counterfactual history. To offer an explanation of what happened, historians have to identify causes, and whenever they identify causes, they immediately conjure up a counterfactual history, a parallel world. No one doubts that there is a great deal of distance between science fiction novelists and the world’s great historians, but along an important dimension, they are playing the same game.
Debates concerning the character, scope, and warrant of abductive inference have been active since Peirce first proposed that there was a third form of inference, distinct from induction and deduction. Abductive reasoning has been dubbed weak, incoherent, and even nonexistent. Part, at least, of the problem of articulating a clear sense of abductive inference is due to difficulty in interpreting Peirce. Part of the fault must lie with his critics, however. While this article will argue that Peirce indeed left a (...) number of puzzles for interpreters, it will also contend that interpreters should be careful to distinguish discussion of the formal and strictly epistemic question of whether and how abduction is a sound form of inference from discussions of the practical goals of abduction, as Peirce understood them. This article will trace a history of critics and defenders of Peirce’s notion of abduction and discuss how Peirce both fueled the confusion and in fact anticipated and responded to several recurring objections. (shrink)
Philosophers of history in the past few decades have been predominantly interested in issues of explanation and narrative discourse. Consequently, they have focused consistently and almost exclusively on the historian’s output, thereby ignoring that historical scholarship is a practice of reading, thinking, discussing, and writing, in which successful performance requires active cultivation of certain skills, attitudes, and virtues. This paper, then, suggests a new agenda for philosophy of history. Inspired by a “performative turn” in the history and (...) philosophy of science, it focuses on the historian’s “doings” and proposes to analyze these performances in terms of epistemic virtue. It argues that historical scholarship is embedded in “practices” or “epistemic cultures,” in which knowledge is created and warranted by means of such virtues as honesty, carefulness, accuracy, and balance. These epistemic virtues, however, are not etched in stone: historians may highlight some of them, exchange one for another, or reinterpret their meaning. On the one hand, this suggests a rich area of research for historians of historiography. To what extent can consensus, conflict, continuity, and change in historical scholarship be explained in terms of epistemic virtue? On the other hand, the proposal outlined in this article raises a couple of philosophical questions. For example, on what grounds can historians choose among epistemic virtues? And what concept of the self comes with the notion of virtue? In addressing these questions, philosophy of history may expand its current scope so as to encompass not only “writings” but also “doings,” that is, the virtuous performances historians recognize as professional conduct. (shrink)
Analytic philosophers are often said to be indifferent or even hostile to the history of philosophy – that is, not to the idea of history of philosophy as such, but regarded as a species of the genus philosophy rather than the genus history. Here it is argued that such an attitude is actually inconsistent with approaches within the philosophies of mind that are typical within analytic philosophy. It is suggested that the common “argument rather than pedigree” claim (...) – that is, that claim that philosophical ideas should be evaluated only in the context of the reasons for or against them, and not in terms of historical conditions that brought them about – presupposes an early modern “egological” conception of the mind as normatively autonomous, and that such a view is in contradiction with the deeply held naturalistic predispositions of most contemporary philosophers of mind. Using the example of Wilfrid Sellars, who attempted to combine “naturalist” and “normative” considerations in his philosophy of mind, it is argued that only by treating the mind as having an artifactual dimension can these opposing considerations be accommodated. And, if the mind is at least partly understood as artifactual, then, to that extent, like all artifacts, it is to be understood via a narrative about the particular human activities in which those artifacts are produced and in which they function. (shrink)
Quentin Skinner’s appropriation of speech act theory for intellectual history has been extremely influential. Even as the model continues to be important for historians, however, philosophers now regard the original speech act theory paradigm as dated. Are there more recent initiatives that might reignite theoretical work in this area? This article argues that the inferentialism of Robert Brandom is one of the most interesting contemporary philosophical projects with historical implications. It shows how Brandom’s work emerged out of the broad (...) shift in the philosophy of language from semantics to pragmatics that also informed speech act theory. The article then goes on to unpack the rich implications of Brandom’s inferentialism for the theory and practice of intellectual history. It contends that inferentialism clarifies, legitimizes, and informs intellectual historical practice, and it concludes with a consideration of the challenges faced by inferentialist intellectual history, together with an argument for the broader implications of Brandom’s work. (shrink)
The philosophical and religious ideas of Simone Weil bear on theory of history and historiography in ways not previously explored. They amount to a view of history as a consequence of the original creation, but they also exclude theodicy. By examining these ideas we see some of the ways in which to develop a theory history centered on a conception of moral understanding that is impartialist and universal. For Weil such understanding is both inside of and outside (...) of history. This leads to an approach to human history that centers on the moral dilemmas and choices of historical actors and that matches the force of compassion with that of power. Under an approach inspired by Weil’s ideas, the historian’s work of understanding can be an experience of moral growth. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 306 - 326 In recent years David Christian and others have promoted “Big History” as an innovative approach to the study of the past. The present paper juxtaposes to Big History an old Big History, namely, the tradition of “universal history” that flourished in Europe from the mid-sixteenth century until well into the nineteenth century. The claim to universality of works in that tradition depended on the assumed truth of (...) Christianity, a fact that was fully acknowledged by the tradition’s adherents. The claim of the new Big History to universality likewise depends on prior assumptions. Simply stated, in its various manifestations the “new” Big History is rooted either in a continuing theology, or in a form of materialism that is assumed to be determinative of human history, or in a somewhat contradictory amalgam of the two. The present paper suggests that “largest-scale history” as exemplified in the old and new Big Histories is less a contribution to historical knowledge than it is a narrativization of one or another worldview. Distinguishing between largest-scale history and history that is “merely” large-scale, the paper also suggests that a better approach to meeting the desire for large scale in historical writing is through more modest endeavors, such as large-scale comparative history, network and exchange history, thematic history, and history of modernization. (shrink)
This article examines E.H. Gombrich’s critical appraisal of Arnold Hauser’s book, The Social History of Art. Hauser’s Social History of Art was published in 1951, a year after Gombrich’s bestseller, The Story of Art. Although written in Britain for an English-speaking public, both books had their origins in the intellectual history of Central Europe: Gombrich was an Austrian art historian and Hauser was Hungarian. Gombrich’s critique, published in The Art Bulletin in 1953, attacked Hauser’s dialectical materialism and (...) his sociological interpretation of art history. Borrowing arguments from Karl Popper’s critique of historicism, Gombrich described Hauser’s work as collectivist and deterministic, tendencies at odds with his own conception of art history. However, in his readiness to label Hauser a proponent of historical materialism, Gombrich failed to recognize Hauser’s own criticism of deterministic theories of art, especially formalism. This article investigates Gombrich’s reasons for rejecting Hauser’s sociology of art. It argues Gombrich used Hauser as an ideological counterpoint to his own version of art history, avowedly liberal and individualist in outlook. (shrink)
Big History has been developing very fast indeed. We are currently observing a ‘Cambrian explosion’ in terms of its popularity and diffusion. Big History courses are taught in the schools and universities of several dozen countries, including China, Korea, the Netherlands, the USA, India, Russia, Japan, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, and many more. The International Big History Association (IBHA) is gaining momentum in its projects and membership. Conferences are beginning to be held regularly (this edited volume has (...) been prepared on the basis of the proceedings of the International Big History Association Inaugural Conference [see below for details]). Hundreds of researchers are involved in studying and teaching Big History. (shrink)
In this article, we put forward a new strategy for teaching the concept of energy. In the first section, we discuss how the concept is currently treated in educational programmes at primary and secondary level (taking the case of France), the learning difficulties that arise as well as the main teaching strategies presented in science education literature. In the second section, we argue that due to the complexity of the concept of energy, rethinking how it is taught should involve teacher (...) training specifically developed for the concept. In our view, Epistemology and the History of Science and Technology (EHST) is the best method for a full understanding of the concept of energy and should thus be included in the teacher training programme. In the third section, we provide a general framework for a teacher training programme on energy, based on the history and epistemology of the concept and structured on the following three questions: ‘What is the origin of the concept of energy?’, ‘What is energy?’ and ‘What purpose does the concept of energy serve?’. (shrink)
Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism is usually considered to be either an early Fichtean-influenced work that gives little insight into Schelling’s philosophy or a text focusing on self-consciousness and aesthetics. I argue that Schelling’s System develops a subtle conception of history which originates in a dialogue with Kant and Hegel and concludes in proximity to an Idealist version of Spinoza. In this way, Schelling develops a philosophy of history which is, simultaneously, a dialectical engagement with the history (...) of philosophy. (shrink)