We revisit the analogy suggested by Madelung between a non-relativistic time-dependent quantum particle, to a fluid system which is pseudo-barotropic, irrotational and inviscid. We first discuss the hydrodynamical properties of the Madelung description in general, and extract a pressure like term from the Bohm potential. We show that the existence of a pressure gradient force in the fluid description, does not violate Ehrenfest’s theorem since its expectation value is zero. We also point out that incompressibility of the fluid implies conservation (...) of density along a fluid parcel trajectory and in 1D this immediately results in the non-spreading property of wave packets, as the sum of Bohm potential and an exterior potential must be either constant or linear in space. Next we relate to the hydrodynamic description a thermodynamic counterpart, taking the classical behavior of an adiabatic barotopric flow as a reference. We show that while the Bohm potential is not a positive definite quantity, as is expected from internal energy, its expectation value is proportional to the Fisher information whose integrand is positive definite. Moreover, this integrand is exactly equal to half of the square of the imaginary part of the momentum, as the integrand of the kinetic energy is equal to half of the square of the real part of the momentum. This suggests a relation between the Fisher information and the thermodynamic like internal energy of the Madelung fluid. Furthermore, it provides a physical linkage between the inverse of the Fisher information and the measure of disorder in quantum systems—in spontaneous adiabatic gas expansion the amount of disorder increases while the internal energy decreases. (shrink)
The Madelung equations map the non-relativistic time-dependent Schrödinger equation into hydrodynamic equations of a virtual fluid. While the von Neumann entropy remains constant, we demonstrate that an increase of the Shannon entropy, associated with this Madelung fluid, is proportional to the expectation value of its velocity divergence. Hence, the Shannon entropy may grow due to an expansion of the Madelung fluid. These effects result from the interference between solutions of the Schrödinger equation. Growth of the Shannon entropy due to expansion (...) is common in diffusive processes. However, in the latter the process is irreversible while the processes in the Madelung fluid are always reversible. The relations between interference, compressibility and variation of the Shannon entropy are then examined in several simple examples. Furthermore, we demonstrate that for classical diffusive processes, the “force” accelerating diffusion has the form of the positive gradient of the quantum Bohm potential. Expressing then the diffusion coefficient in terms of the Planck constant reveals the lower bound given by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in terms of the product between the gas mean free path and the Brownian momentum. (shrink)
G.A. Cohen argues that Rawlsian constructivism mistakenly conflates principles of justice with optimal rules of regulation, a confusion that arises out of how Rawls has us think about justice. I use the concepts/conceptions distinction to argue that while citizens may reasonably disagree about the substance and demands of justice, some principled convergence may be possible: we can agree upon regulative principles consistent with justice, as each of us understands it. Rawlian constructivism helps us find that principled convergence, and this (...) too is a conception of justice. (shrink)
The late Jerry Cohen struggled to reconcile his egalitarian political principles with his personal style of life. His efforts were inconclusive, but instructive. This comment locates the core of Cohen’s discomfort in an abstract principle that connects what we morally ought to be compelled to do and what we have a duty to do anyway. The connection the principle states is more general and much tighter than Cohen and others, e.g. Thomas Nagel, have seen. Our principles of (...) justice always put our personal integrity to the test, unless those principles are designed not to. But to craft principles with an view to avoiding that test is, as Cohen argued, itself to undermine both justice and our integrity. (shrink)
Rawls argues that ‘Parties in the original position would wish to avoid at almost any cost the social conditions that undermine self-respect’. But what are these social conditions that we should so urgently avoid? One evident candidate might be conditions of material inequality. Yet Rawls seems confident that his account of justice can endorse such inequalities without jeopardising citizens’ self-respect. In this article I argue that this confidence is misplaced. Unequalising incentives, I claim, jeopardise the self-respect of those least advantaged—at (...) least under a Rawlsian schema—by undermining the very processes by which Rawls hopes to make distributional inequalities and self-respect compatible. I begin by setting out Rawls’s distinct account of self-respect before moving to describe how Rawls expects the difference principle to support citizens’ in this regard. I then draw upon GA Cohen’s distinction between ‘strict’ and ‘lax’ interpretations of the difference principle to argue that the presence of unequalising incentives undermines both the direct and indirect support that the difference principle can offer to citizens’ self-respect. As such, I claim that Rawls must either weaken his endorsement of unequalising incentives, or risk violating his ‘prior commitment’ to avoiding social conditions harmful to citizens’ self-respect. (shrink)
According to the trilemma claim, we cannot have all three of equality, Pareto, and freedom of occupational choice. In response to the trilemma, John Rawls famously sacrificed equality by introducing incentives. In contrast, GA Cohen and others argued that we can, in fact, have all three provided that individuals are properly motivated by an egalitarian ethos. The incentives debate, then, concerns the plausibility of the ethos solution versus the plausibility of the incentives solution. Considerable ink has been spilled on (...) both sides of the debate. Yet, in this essay, I argue that we cannot have this debate until we clarify the terms. Once we clarify the terms, however, we might discover that there is no debate to be had. This is because, depending on how equality, Pareto, and freedom of occupational choice are interpreted, there might not be a trilemma in the first place. Specifically, I use a small but crucial distinction in how equality, the egalitarian ethos, and Pareto are assessed – what I call the internal/external distinction – to disentangle the various paths each solution – the ethos or incentives – could take. I conclude that both solutions have gained illicit plausibility by virtue of not keeping the distinction straight. (shrink)
In Why Not Socialism?, GA Cohen defines socialism as the combined application of two moral principles: the egalitarian principle and the principle of community. The desirability of a social order organized around these two principles is illustrated by the ‘camping trip’ example. After describing the fundamental features of the camping trip scenario at reasonable length, Cohen argues that the desirability of such a social model is nearly self-explanatory, concluding therefore that the most significant challenges to socialism lie in (...) its feasibility. This article argues that the desirability of the camping trip model as an appropriate ideal for society is less obvious than Cohen acknowledges. To argue my point, I shall compare the camping trip with another social practice that is equally small sized and characterized by strong emotional ties among its members, but in which the conditions of what I shall call ‘goal-monism’ and discontinuity in time do not hold, namely, the family. (shrink)
What does it mean to say that the demands of justice are institutional rather than individual? Justice is often thought to be directly concerned only with governmental institutions rather than individuals’ everyday, legally permissible actions. This approach has been criticized for ignoring the relevance to justice of informal social norms. This paper defends the idea that justice is distinctively institutional but rejects the primacy of governmental institutions. I argue that the ‘pervasive structure of society’ is the site of justice and (...) injustice. It includes all widely enforced social rules and norms, governmental and otherwise, such as informal norms of gender, language and class, and provides a revisionary foundation for the theoretical elucidation and practical pursuit of justice. It provides a framework for evaluating the ways in which people can and should promote justice in their everyday lives. (shrink)
Hermann Cohen (1842-1918) was among the most accomplished Jewish philosophers of modern times. This newly translated collection of his writings illuminates his achievements for student readers and rectifies lapses in his intellectual reception by prior generations.
In three volumes, a distinguished group of scholars from a variety of disciplines in the natural and social sciences, the humanities and the arts contribute essays in honor of Robert S. Cohen, on the occasion of his 70th birthday. The range of the essays, as well as their originality, and their critical and historical depth, pay tribute to the extraordinary scope of Professor Cohen's intellectual interests, as a scientist-philosopher and a humanist, and also to his engagement in the (...) world of social and political practice. In Science, Politics and Social Practice,, an international group of scholars -- philosophers, sociologists, historians, and political scientists -- discuss issues at the cutting edge of contemporary social and political thought, and its bearing on science. Several essays discuss the relations of Marxism to science, and specifically, to the philosophies of science of Carnap and Popper, as well as Soviet Marxism, and the effects of Stalinism on Soviet science. There are also essays on the philosophy and methodology of the social sciences, on questions of method and aim in historical narrative, on the issue of cultural relativism, and more. (shrink)
I am very grateful to Kluwer Academic Publishers for the opportunity to republish these articles about knowledge and language. The Introduction to the volume has been written by James Logue, and I need to pay a very sincerely intended tribute to the care and professionalism which he has devoted to every feature of its production. My thanks are also due to Matthew MeG rattan for his technical as sistance in scanning the articles onto disk and formatting them. 1. Jonathan (...) class='Hi'>Cohen vii Publisher's Note Thanks are due to the following publishers for permission to reproduce the articles in this volume. On the project of a universal character. Oxford University Press. Paper 1 On a concept of a degree of grammaticalness. Logique et Analyse. Paper 2 Paper 3 The semantics of metaphor. Cambridge University Press. Paper 4 Can the logic of indirect discourse be formalised? The Association for Symbolic Logic. Paper 5 Some remarks on Grice's views about the logical particles of natural language. Kluwer Academic Publishers. Paper 6 Can the conversationalist hypothesis be defended? Kluwer Academic Publishers. Paper 7 How is conceptual innovation possible? Kluwer Academic Publishers. Should natural language definitions be insulated from, or interactive Paper 8 with, one another in sentence composition? Kluwer Academic Publish ers. Paper 9 A problem about truth-functional semantics. Basil Blackwell Publisher Ltd. Paper 10 The individuation of proper names. Oxford University Press. Paper 11 Some comments on third world epistemology. Oxford University Press. Paper 12 Guessing. The Aristotelian Society. (shrink)
North by Northwest -- Metaphor and the cultivation of intimacy -- Notes on metaphor -- What's special about photography? -- Sports and art -- Clay for contemplation -- There are no ties at first base -- A driving examination -- Objects of appreciation -- And what if they don't laugh? -- Liking what's good: why should we? -- Language games -- Ethics class -- Kings and salesmen -- One way to think about popular art -- Caring -- The idea of (...) absolute gin -- Playing by the rules -- Freedom from rules. (shrink)
"Hermann Cohen war ein herausragender deutscher Philosoph und jüdischer Denker. In nahezu allen Bereichen seiner verzweigten Tätigkeit beeinflusste er das akademische, politische und religiöse Leben seiner Zeit. Aus Anlass des hundertsten Todestages Cohens am 4. April 2018 widmet sich der vorliegende Band Kontexten und Netzwerken, in die Cohen zeit seines Lebens eingebunden war"--.
The German text of Cohen’s Spinoza on State & Religion, Judaism & Christianity (Spinoza über Staat und Religion, Judentum und Christentum) first appeared in 1915 in the Jahrbuch für jüdische Geschichte und Literatur. Two years before, in the winter of 1913, Cohen taught a class and a seminar on Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums. This was Cohen’s first semester at the Hochschule, after retiring from more than thirty years of teaching at (...) the University of Marburg. Cohen’s fame at the time was at its zenith, and his move to the Hochschule was a cause for celebration and excitement. According to the testimony of some students who attended the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus seminar, Cohen left no place for any expression of dissent (regrettably, the academy frequently encourages such authoritarian behavior). The text of Spinoza on State, which was the product of this seminar, still bears the marks of this “didactic” attitude. It is bombastic and feebly argued. Thus, in one moment of emotional crescendo in the text, we can literally hear Cohen shout: When Spinoza, with merciless severity, makes his own nation the object of contempt – at the time that Rembrandt lived on the same street and immortalized the ideal type of the Jew - no voices rises in protest against this humanly incomprehensible betrayal. Such patriotic rhetoric is quite typical of Cohen’s Spinoza on State, as the work reads more like a series of rants against the devil incarnated (“the demonic spirit of Spinoza”) in the figure of the traitor from Amsterdam than like a sustained and serious philosophical polemic. From time to time, one can observe hints of critical arguments, but hardly any are fleshed out. The text is also replete with rudimentary factual and interpretative errors. Thus, when Cohen argues that Spinoza traces his pantheism to Jewish sources, Cohen erroneously cites Spinoza’s reference in E2p7s to “some of the Hebrews [quidam Hebraeorum]” who argued for the identity of Sekhel, Maskil, and Muskal (the Intellect, the Intellecting Subject, and the Intellected Object) – a Maimonidean doctrine that has nothing to do with pantheism – while the text Cohen clearly had in mind was Spinoza’s claim, in Letter 73, that the traditions (traditionibus) of the “ancient Hebrews [antiquis Hebraeis]” agree with Spinoza’s claim that “all things are in God.” Similarly, and on the very same page, Cohen ascribes to Spinoza the claim that “the God of the Old Testament is only a body,” a claim which is nowhere to be found in Spinoza’s works, and which can be inferred from Spinoza’s text only through a patent fallacy. If I may add one last example, consider the following passage from Cohen’s Spinoza on State: [For Spinoza] divine law is grounded in our mind. Yet this does not mean that our mind bears responsibility for producing and obeying the law. Instead, it means that, by definition, the human mind and God are identical, inasmuch as He exists in the human mind. Hardly any claim in this brief passage is correct. Yet, what is most striking is Cohen’s derivation of the identity of God and the human mind from the claim that God exists in the human mind. If I exist in North America, this obviously does not imply that I am identical to North America (there are, for example, a couple of North American porcupines and alligators that are distinct from me). What rule of inference Cohen sought to employ in this argument, and how this impressive inference of the identity of God and the human mind is supposed to square with Cohen’s view of Spinoza as a pantheist – i.e., as considering the physical nature to be divine – is beyond my grasp. Instead of tracking down the dozens of crude errors and fallacies in Cohen’s text, I would like to concentrate here on one crucial issue: Cohen’s critique of Spinoza’s pantheism. By doing this, I will have to pass silently over a couple of surprising agreements between the two figures, such as the (false) claim that all of the prophets of the Hebrew Bible taught the same universal and simple morality. My discussion of pantheism will be divided into two sections. In the first, I will examine Cohen’s understanding of Spinoza’s pantheism. In the second, I will briefly examine the historical validity of Cohen’s claim that pantheism is a Christian doctrine, diametrically opposed to Judaism. (shrink)
This article discusses the phenomena of Cyberevenge, sexbullying, and sextortion, especially among young people. The discussion, based on extensive review of books, research reports, newspapers, journal articles and pertinent websites, analyzes these challenges. The article suggests some remedies to counter these online social ills which pertain to promoting responsibility of netcitizens, schools, governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and social networking sites.
Some ways of defending inequality against the charge that it is unjust require premises that egalitarians find easy to dismiss—statements, for example, about the contrasting deserts and/or entitlements of unequally placed people. But a defense of inequality suggested by John Rawls and elaborated by Brian Barry has often proved irresistible even to people of egalitarian outlook. The persuasive power of this defense of inequality has helped to drive authentic egalitarianism, of an old-fashioned, uncompromising kind, out of contemporary political philosophy. The (...) present essay is part of an attempt to bring it back in. (shrink)
1. The present paper is a continuation of my “Self-Ownership, World Ownership, and Equality,” which began with a description of the political philosophy of Robert Nozick. I contended in that essay that the foundational claim of Nozick's philosophy is the thesis of self-ownership, which says that each person is the morally rightful owner of his own person and powers, and, consequently, that each is free to use those powers as he wishes, provided that he does not deploy them aggressively against (...) others. To be sure, he may not harm others, and he may, if necessary, be forced not to harm them, but he should never be forced to help them, as people are in fact forced to help others, according to Nozick, by redistributive taxation. (shrink)
As any fan of Leonard Cohen will tell you, many of his songs are deeply “philosophical,” in the sense that they deal reflectively and intelligently with the many of the basic issues of everyday human life, such as death, sex, love, God, and the meaning of life. It may surprise these same listeners to discover that much of academic philosophy (both past and present) has relatively little in common with this sort of introspective reflection, but is instead highly abstract, (...) methodologically complex, and filled with technical terminology that can make it inaccessible to anyone except specialists. This is not true of all philosophy, however, and Cohen’s focus on the immediate problems facing ordinary humans has much in common with the theories and ideas proposed by the Hellenistic philosophers who dominated the intellectual life of Greek- and Roman-influenced Europe for almost a thousand years. In this essay, I’ll use Cohen’s songs to examine the three major branches of Hellenistic thought: Stoicism (That’s No Way to Say Goodbye, If It Be Your Will), Epicureanism (Everybody Knows, Closing Time), and Skepticism (Famous Blue Raincoat, Different Sides). (shrink)