Two books have been particularly influential in contemporary philosophy of science: Karl R. Popper's Logic of Scientific Discovery, and Thomas S. Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Both agree upon the importance of revolutions in science, but differ about the role of criticism in science's revolutionary growth. This volume arose out of a symposium on Kuhn's work, with Popper in the chair, at an international colloquium held in London in 1965. The book begins with Kuhn's statement of his position followed (...) by seven essays offering criticism and analysis, and finally by Kuhn's reply. The book will interest senior undergraduates and graduate students of the philosophy and history of science, as well as professional philosophers, philosophically inclined scientists, and some psychologists and sociologists. (shrink)
Most recent discussions of reasons in art criticism focus on reasons that justify beliefs about the value of artworks. Reviving a long-neglected suggestion from Paul Ziff, I argue that we should focus instead on art-critical reasons that justify actions—namely, particular ways of engaging with artworks. I argue that a focus on practical rather than theoretical reasons yields an understanding of criticism that better fits with our intuitions about the value of reading art criticism, and which makes room (...) for a nuanced distinction between criticism that aims at universality and criticism that is resolutely personal. (shrink)
In this paper, we develop a general normative framework for criticisability, blamelessness and blameworthiness in action. We then turn to the debate on norms of assertion. We show that an application of this framework enables champions of the so-called knowledge rule of assertion to offer a theoretically motivated response to a number of putative counterexamples in terms of blamelessness. Finally, we argue that, on closer inspection, the putative counterexamples serve to confirm the knowledge rule and disconfirm rival views.
Moral agency is limited, imperfect, and structurally constrained. This is evident in the many ways we all unwittingly participate in widespread injustice through our everyday actions, which I call ‘structural wrongs’. To do justice to these facts, I argue that we should distinguish between summative and formative moral criticism. While summative criticism functions to conclusively assess an agent's performance relative to some benchmark, formative criticism aims only to improve performance in an ongoing way. I show that the (...) negative sanctions associated with summative responses are only justifiably imposed under certain conditions when persons exercise their agency wrongly — conditions that do not always hold for structural wrongs. Yet even in such cases we can still use formative responses, which are warranted whenever agents fall short of moral ideals. Expanding our repertoire of moral criticism to include both summative and formative responses enables us to better appreciate both the powers and limitations of our agency, and the complexity of moral life. (shrink)
In the scientific communities most criticisms are constructive, while they are destructive in the humanistic circles. Indeed, scientists circulate their drafts among colleagues and students, hoping to elicit their comments and suggestions before submitting their work to publication. In contrast, philosophers and political thinkers attack their rivals, without sparing arguments ad hominem or even insults. The reason for this difference is that scientists are after the truth, whereas most humanists fight for more or less noble causes, from swelling their own (...) curricula to joining crusades for or against rationality, realism, justice, or what have you. (shrink)
The paper focuses on conflicts about an already negotiated compromise, taking as its example a debate in Dutch parliament about the approval of the Paris Agreement on climate change of 2015. It deals with a variety of worries that opponents of approval may advance and the arguments in its defense thus invited. It concludes with a profile of dialogue providing reasonable options for those involved in such a conflict.
This paper proposes a critical analysis of that interpretation of the Nāgārjunian doctrine of the two truths as summarized—by both Mark Siderits and Jay L. Garfield—in the formula: “the ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth”. This ‘semantic reading’ of Nāgārjuna’s theory, despite its importance as a criticism of the ‘metaphysical interpretations’, would in itself be defective and improbable. Indeed, firstly, semantic interpretation presents a formal defect: it fails to clearly and explicitly express that which it contains (...) logically; the previously mentioned formula must necessarily be completed by: “the conventional truth is that nothing is conventional truth”. Secondly, after having recognized what Siderits’ and Garfield’s analyses contain implicitly, other logical and philological defects in their position emerge: the existence of the ‘conventional’ would appear—despite the efforts of semantic interpreters to demonstrate quite the contrary—definitively inconceivable without the presupposition of something ‘real’; moreover, the number of verses in Nāgārjuna that are in opposition to the semantic interpretation (even if we grant semantic interpreters that these verses do not justify a metaphysical reconstruction of Nagarjuna’s doctrine) would seem too great and significant to be ignored. (shrink)
Reply to John Lewis: Note on "The critique of the personality cult". Remark on the category "Process without a subject or goal(s)"--Elements of self-criticism: On the evolution of the young Marx.--Is it simple to be a Marxist in philosophy? "Something new".
Until very recently, feminist criticism has not had a theoretical basis; it has been an empirical orphan in the theoretical storm. In 1975, I was persuaded that no theoretical manifesto could adequately account for the varied methodologies and ideologies which called themselves feminist reading or writing.1 By the next year, Annette Kolodny had added her observation that feminist literary criticism appeared "more like a set of interchangeable strategies than any coherent school or shared goal orientation."2 Since then, the (...) expressed goals have not been notably unified. Black critics protest the "massive silence" of feminist criticism about black and Third-World women writers and call for a black feminist aesthetic that would deal with both racial and sexual politics. Marxist feminists wish to focus on class along with gender as a crucial determinant of literary production. Literary historians want to uncover a lost tradition. Critics trained in deconstructionist methodologies with to "synthesize a literary criticism that is both textual and feminist." Freudian and Lacanian critics want to theorize about women's relationship to language and signification.· 1. See my "Literary Criticism," Signs 1 : 435-60.· 2. Annette Kolodny, "Literary Criticism," Signs 2 : 420.Elaine Showalter is professor of English at Rutgers University. The author of A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing, she is currently completing The English Malady, a study of madness, literature, and society in England. (shrink)
“Ethical criticism” is an approach to literary studies that holds that reading certain carefully selected novels can make us ethically better people, e.g., by stimulating our sympathetic imagination (Nussbaum). I try to show that this nonargumentative approach cheapens the persuasive force of novels and that its inherent bias and censorship undercuts what is perhaps the principal value and defense of the novel—that reading novels can be critical to one’s learning how to think.
I tackle the definition of the relation between first and second nature while examining some problems with McDowell's conception. This, in the first place, will bring out the need to extend the notion of second nature to the social dimension, understanding it not just as `inner' second nature — individual mind — but also as `outer' second nature — objective spirit. In the second place the dialectical connection between these two notions of second nature will point the way to a (...) critical use of the concept itself, which will link up with a theory of reification. Furthermore, I shall endeavor to fit my reflection into the problematic constellation of critical theory: my analysis in fact rests on the question whether, within a critical theory, the philosophy of nature can be recaptured today, in such a way as to give meaning to the very notion of socio-philosophical criticism of reality. (shrink)
It furthers the dialectic when the opponent is clear about what motivates and underlies her critical stance, even if she does not adopt an opposite standpoint, but merely doubts the proponent’s opinion. Thus, there is some kind of burden of criticism. In some situations, there should an obligation for the opponent to offer explanatory counterconsiderations, if requested, whereas in others, there is no real dialectical obligation, but a mere responsibility for the opponent to cooperate by providing her motivations for (...) being critical. In this paper, it will be shown how a set of dialogue rules may encourage an opponent, in this latter type of situation, to provide her counterconsiderations, and to do so at an appropriate level of specificity. Special attention will be paid to the desired level of specificity. For example, the critic may challenge a thesis by saying “Why? Says who?,” without conveying whether she could be convinced by an argument from expert opinion, or from position to know, or from popular opinion. What are fair dialogue rules for dealing with less than fully specific criticism? (shrink)
The goal of this paper is methodological. It offers a comprehensive mapping of the theoretical positions on the ethical criticism of art, correcting omissions and inadequacies in the conceptual framework adopted in the current debate. Three principles are recommended as general guidelines: ethical amenability, basic value pluralism, and relativity to ethical dimension. Hence a taxonomy distinguishing between different versions of autonomism, moralism, and immoralism is established, by reference to criteria that are different from what emerging in the current literature. (...) The mapping is then proved capable of (1) locating the various theories that have been proposed so far and clarifying such theories’ real commitments, (2) having the correct relationship with actual art making and art criticism practices, and (3) showing the real weight of the alleged counter-example to a moralist position of a work that succeeds artistically because of its immorality. (shrink)
In this paper I develop and defend a form of argumentative normativity that is not based on fundamental principles. I first argue that research agendas that aim to discover fundamental principles of ‘good’ argumentative discourse share one crucial weak spot, viz. circularity. I then argue that this weak spot can be avoided in a pancritical view of normativity.
The founding text of modern hermeneutics. Written by the philosopher and theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher as a method for the interpretation and textual criticism of the New Testament, it develops ideas about language and the interpretation of texts that are in many respects still unsurpassed and are becoming current in the contemporary philosophy of language. Contrary to the traditional view of Schleiermacher as a theorist of empathetic interpretation, in this text he offers a view of understanding that acknowledges both the (...) structurally and historically determined aspects of language and the need to take account of the activity of the individual subject in the constitution of meaning. This volume offers the text in a new translation by Andrew Bowie, together with related writings on secular hermeneutics and on language, and an introduction that places the texts in the context of Schleiermacher's philosophy as a whole. (shrink)
According to the received view crimes like torture, rape, enslavement or enforced prostitution are domestic crimes if they are committed as isolated or sporadic events, but become crimes against humanity when they are committed as part of a âwidespread or systematic attackâ against a civilian population. Only in the latter case can these crimes be prosecuted by the international community. One of the most influential accounts of this idea is Larry Mayâs International Harm Principle, which states that crimes against humanity (...) are those that somehow âharm humanity.â I argue that this principle is unable to provide an adequate account of crimes against humanity. Moreover, I argue that the principle fails to account for the idea that crimes against humanity are necessarily group based. I conclude by suggesting that the problem with Mayâs account is that it relies on a harm-based conception of crime which is very popular, but ultimately mistaken. I submit that in order to develop an adequate theory of crimes against humanity we need to abandon the harm-based model and replace it with an alternative conception of crime and criminal law, one based on the notion of accountability. (shrink)
A characteristic hallmark of medieval astronomy is the replacement of Ptolemy’s linear precession with so-called models of trepidation, which were deemed necessary to account for divergences between parameters and data transmitted by Ptolemy and those found by later astronomers. Trepidation is commonly thought to have dominated European astronomy from the twelfth century to the Copernican Revolution, meeting its demise only in the last quarter of the sixteenth century thanks to the observational work of Tycho Brahe. The present article seeks to (...) challenge this picture by surveying the extent to which Latin astronomers of the late Middle Ages expressed criticisms of trepidation models or rejected their validity in favour of linear precession. It argues that a readiness to abandon trepidation was more widespread prior to Brahe than hitherto realized and that it frequently came as the result of empirical considerations. This critical attitude towards trepidation reached an early culmination point with the work of Agostino Ricci, who demonstrated the theory’s redundancy with a penetrating analysis of the role of observational error in Ptolemy’s Almagest. (shrink)
In this work, Collingridge offers a general philosophy of criticism. Many philosophers influenced by the ideas of Karl Popper have hoped to see an expansion from his view of the operation of criticism within science to a more general account of criticism, and, until now, moves in this direction have had only limited success. This book extends Popper's account of the role of criticism in science to many other areas of inquiry.
In this paper, making reference to Robert Brandom's philosophical proposal - and against the background of Brandom's debate with Jürgen Habermas - I shall endeavor, first, to define the relation between recognition and normativity and then between recognition and criticism; in the final part of the paper I shall suggest a perspective that approaches recognition in terms of capacities. On this basis I attempt to see the critical attitude as something that is founded more on individual potentials than on (...) formal criteria and that is essentially connected with a power of redescription: a dialectical anthropology of recognition is thus the most promising base to account for that which substantiates our critical powers. (shrink)
In online communication, writers incorporate into fictional representation imaginaries that arise from the interaction between various artistic manifestations. This paper explores the work of two spanish authors, Patricia Esteban Erlés and Albert Soloviev in order to study the social impact and ethical aspects of hypermedial short stories in the virtual space, since their works function as vehicles for social criticism. At the same time, the paper addresses fundamental questions associated with the understanding and interpretation of hybrid narrative microtexts.
Like other fundamental experiences, the phenomenal qualities of pain seem to defy description. But, unlike these experiences, it is difficult to define pain in terms of a consistent relationship with the extra-mental world. The IASP's solution is to qualify an imprecise characterization of pain's phenomenal qualities through an association with tissue damage and an ability to recognize pain sensation. In this paper I will argue that the IASP's definition lacks the clarity and coherence necessary to provide an adequate definition of (...) pain. I begin by setting out the difficulties of defining pain. I then describe the IASP's solution and provide a detailed criticism of their approach. I also discuss inconsistencies evident in their wider taxonomy. In the final section I argue that pain can be objectively grounded by reference to pain's evolutionary role and suggest an alternative definition. (shrink)
I defend the ethical fittingness theory (EFT), the thesis that whenever it is legitimate ethically to evaluate a representational artwork for the perspective it embodies, such evaluation systematically bears on the work's artistic value. EFT is a form of radical moralism, claiming that the systematic relationship between the selected type of ethical evaluation and artistic evaluation always obtains, for works of any kind. The argument for EFT spells out the implications of ethically judging an artwork for its perspective, where such (...) an ethical evaluation is understood as an assessment of how well the work's ethical perspective fits extra-fictional reality—how appropriate, correct, or true the perspective is. The argument shows that the ethical legitimacy of judging a work for its perspective ipso facto proves the judgment's art-critical relevance. Hence, the argument effectively amounts to a reductio ad absurdum of theories that admit the legitimacy of ethically judging artworks this way, but deny or qualify the judgment's relevance to artistic merit. Since EFT is stated conditionally, the argument need not indicate how often artworks are subject to this type of ethical evaluation. Nonetheless, I make a case for the relevance of EFT to actual art criticism and contemporary philosophical debate. (shrink)
Logical Criticism of Buddhist Doctrines is a ‘thematic compilation’ by Avi Sion. It collects in one volume the essays that he has written on this subject over a period of some 15 years after the publication of his first book on Buddhism, Buddhist Illogic. It comprises expositions and empirical and logical critiques of many (though not all) Buddhist doctrines, such as impermanence, interdependence, emptiness, the denial of self or soul. It includes his most recent essay, regarding the five skandhas (...) doctrine. (shrink)
A long debate in aesthetics concerns the reasoned nature of criticism. The main questions in the debate are whether criticism is based on (normative) reasons, whether critics communicate reasons for their audience’s responses, and if so, how to understand these critical reasons. I argue that a great obstacle to making any progress in this debate is the deeply engrained assumption, shared by all sides of the debate, that reasons can only be either theoretical reasons (i.e., those that explain (...) what to believe or what propositions are true) or practical reasons (i.e., those that explain what is to be done or what actions are good/required/called for/otherwise worthy of doing). My aims are (1) to put pressure on this assumption that, if there are critical reasons, they must be either theoretical or practical (the EITHER/OR assumption), and (2) to suggest that, if there are critical reasons, the most central among them are neither theoretical nor practical (NEITHER/NOR). (shrink)
Some critical reactions hardly give clues to the arguer as to how to respond to them convincingly. Other critical reactions convey some or even all of the considerations that make the critic critical of the arguer’s position and direct the arguer to defuse or to at least contend with them. First, an explication of the notion of a critical reaction will be provided, zooming in on the degree of “directiveness” that a critical reaction displays. Second, it will be examined whether (...) there are normative requirements that enhance the directiveness of criticism. Does the opponent have in circumstances a dialectical obligation to provide clarifications, explanations, or even arguments? In this paper, it is hypothesized that the competitiveness inherent in critical discussion must be mitigated by making the opponent responsible for providing her counterconsiderations, if available, thus assisting the proponent in developing an argumentative strategy that defuses them. (shrink)
The contextual approach is a prominent framework for thinking about group selection. Here, I highlight ambiguity about what the contextual approach is. Then, I discuss problematic entailments the contextual approach has for what processes count as group selection—entailments more troublesome than typically noted. However, Sober and Wilson’s version of the Price approach, which is the main alternative to the contextual approach, is problematic too: it leads to an underappreciated paradox called the vanishing selection problem and thereby generates the wrong qualitative (...) account of whether group selection is occurring in a certain family of cases. In response, I develop an account of group selection that can deal with the counterexamples to both the contextual approach and the Price approach. I then discuss the role that contextual analysis can continue to play in the discussion of individual fitness and metapopulation evolution. (shrink)
Taking as a test case biblical texts in which the God of Israel commands the destruction other nations, the present paper defends the legitimacy and the necessity of ethical criticism of the Bible. It takes issue with the suggestions of several contemporary Christian philosophers who have recently defended the view that (in Israel’s early history) God had good and morally sufficient reasons for commanding genocide.
As Axel Honneth has recently noted, the critical concerns of social philosophers during the past three decades have been focused primarily on questions of justice, with ethical issues about the human good being largely excluded. In the first section I briefly explore this exclusion in both ‘Anglo-American’ political philosophy and ‘German’ critical theory. I then argue, in the main sections, that despite this commitment to their exclusion, distinctively ethical concepts and ideals can be identified both in Rawls’s Theory of Justice (...) and in Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action, taking these as exemplary, representative texts for each theoretical school. These ethical elements, and their implications for the critical evaluation of economic institutions, have gone largely unnoticed. In the final section I indicate the kinds of debates that might be generated, were these to be given the attention they arguably deserve. I focus especially on the significance of empirical issues, and hence on the role of social science in social criticism. (shrink)
This commentary identifies a range of flaws and contradictions in Parker’s critical realist position and his critique of relativism. In particular we highlight: (1) a range of basic errors in formulating the nature of relativism; (2) contradictions in the understanding and use of rhetoric; (3) problematic recruitment of the oppressed to support his argument; (4) tensions arising from the distinction between working in and against psychology. We conclude that critical realism is used to avoid doing empirical work, on the one (...) hand, and to avoid scholarly interdisciplinary engagement, on the other. (shrink)
Can subjective taste regulate social norms or political practices? This book argues that from the late seventeenth century to the present national cultures have sought to regulate the democratic subject through the academic form of arguments about the proper relations of aesthetics to ethics and politics. In so doing it offers a radical reconsideration of the history of modernity, tracing the emergence of criticism as a socio-cultural practice across all the major European nations, and drawing on an extensive range (...) of European literature and philosophy. (shrink)