This article shows that the various regimes of “real socialism” uniformly failed to transcend the horizon of capitalism. They have remained class societies based on wage labour, commodity production, a money economy and welfare systems fed by redistribution. At the same time, they present peculiar features that are different from other versions of “state capitalism.” Traditional elites were annihilated, private property of capital in the hands of individuals or autonomous groups was prohibited, and the advantages accruing to leading positions were (...) not inherited, although equality in income was very modest. The main political invention of “real socialism” was the Party, a unique institution unlike any other, grounded in theory, but an institution of the state, over the executive, which had unprecedented powers of mobilisation and cultural influence. It had to be intellectual in character, as the system was steered through the Plan which was, in the final analysis, a text. The changes of 1989 took place partly mediated by the Party, partly against its rule. The successor regimes are conspicuously political owing to the nature of the adversary. (shrink)
The shift of interest from community to individuality and freedom brought by modernity challenged the central place once occupied by religion, pushing it to the outskirts of human life. All these led to an increased indifference towards any transcendental guarantor that could act in a neutral reason-governed space. In the case of Islam, such a situation is impossible to tolerate, because it would mean God’s desecration by reducing the Qur’an to the statute of a simple book like many others that (...) offer an opinion on a Supreme Being who does not decide the destiny of humanity any more, but becomes a simple matter of opinion. While Western Christianity adjusted to modernity reaching even to justify the developments which led to a dissolution of sacred, stating that they were consistent with its essence, Islam accepted modernity only to the extent of this one’s capacity to verify the realities stated by the Qur’an. (shrink)
Tamas Demeter presents a clear and compelling new perspective of Hume’s methodology and conceptual structure in David Hume and the Culture of Scottish Newtonianism. Hume, he argues, is a Newtonian of the Scottish tradition, but not the mechanical kind that is modeled after the Principia. Instead, Hume should be understood as a kind of European Enlightenment “vitalist.” As a result, his work reflects the more organic methodology that defines Newton’s Opticks.
Up till this day one cannot find much scholarship which situates Hume in the context of early modern natural philosophy. Tamás Demeter's new book, David Hume and the Culture of Scottish Newtonianism, does a spectacular job in filling this gap. His monograph is the most comprehensive pursuit to understand Hume's place in the Newtonian tradition of natural philosophy. Demeter specifies Hume's place both in the context of Newtonian moral philosophy and Newtonian chemistry and physiology.
Michael P. Levine, Tamas Pataki. the case of racism. If one understands racism to be rooted in some underlying psychological structure, then while what is ordinarily called racist behavior may well be indicative of such an underlying structure, ...
I argue that there is a distinction to be drawn between two kinds of mental realism, and I draw some lessons for the realism-antirealism debate. Although it is already at hand, the distinction has not yet been drawn clearly. The difference to be shown consists in what realism is about: it may be either about the interpretation of folk psychology, or the ontology of mental entities. I specify the commitment to the fact-stating character of the discourse as the central component (...) of realism about folk psychology, and from this I separate realism about mental entities as an ontological commitment towards them. I point out that the two views are mutually independent, which provides the possibility of considering folk psychology as not being in cognitive competition with scientific psychology. At the end I make a tentative suggestion as to how to interpret the former in order to avoid this conflict. (shrink)
The textbook-like history of analytic philosophy is a history of myths, re-ceived views and dogmas. Though mainly the last few years have witnessed a huge amount of historical work that aimed to reconsider our narratives of the history of ana-lytic philosophy there is still a lot to do. The present study is meant to present such a micro story which is still quite untouched by historians. According to the received view Kripke has defeated all the arguments of Quine against quantified (...) modal logic and thus it became a respectful tool for philosophers. If we accept the historical interpreta-tion of the network between Quine, Kripke and modal logic, which is to be presented here, we have to conclude that Quine’s real philosophical animadversions against the modalities are still on the table: though Kripke has provided some important (formal-logical) answers, Quine’s animadversions are still viable and worthy of further consideration. (shrink)
In this essay we argue for the Janus-faced nature of hope. We show that attempts to sanitise the concept of hope either by separating it conceptually from other phenomena such as wishful thinking, or, more generally, by seeking to minimise the negative aspects of hope, do not help us to understand the nature of hope and its functions as regards religion. Drawing on functional accounts of religion from Clifford Geertz and Tamas Pataki, who both—in their different ways—see the function of (...) religion in terms of its capacity to satisfy deep psychological needs, we demonstrate that religion uniquely positions itself with regard to hope’s two faces, simultaneously exploiting positive and negative aspects of hope. (shrink)
In this article I attempt to reconstruct David Hume's use of the label ?experimental? to characterise his method in the Treatise. Although its meaning may strike the present-day reader as unusual, such a reconstruction is possible from the background of eighteenth-century practices and concepts of natural inquiry. As I argue, Hume's inquiries into human nature are experimental not primarily because of the way the empirical data he uses are produced, but because of the way those data are theoretically processed. He (...) seems to follow a method of analysis and synthesis quite similar to the one advertised in Newton's Opticks, which profoundly influenced eighteenth-century natural and moral philosophy. This method brings him much closer to the methods of qualitative, chemical investigations than to mechanical approaches to both nature and human nature. (shrink)
Current philosophical reflections on science have departed from mainstream history of science with respect to both methodology and conclusions. The article investigates how different approaches to reconstructing commitments can explain these differences and facilitate a mutual understanding and communication of these two perspectives on science. Translating the differences into problems pertaining to principles of charity, the paper offers a platform for clarification and resolution of the differences between the two perspectives. The outlined contextual approach occupies a middle ground between mainstream (...) history and sociology of science, bracketing questions of rationality, and individual coherence-maximizing, rationality-centered approaches. It can satisfy those, who believe that science is an epistemically privileged endeavor, and its epistemic content should not be neglected when reconstructing the scientists’ positions. It can also satisfy those who hold that it is naive to believe that the immediate context, e.g. the challenges to a theory, the expectations of the author about his audience, etc., does not affect the position a scientist takes. Its theoretical considerations are exemplified with a close study of the debate following the 1672 publication of Newton's theory of light and colours, also offering a novel reading of the development of his methodological views concerning the demonstrativity of the famous crucial experiment. Although we only show the capacity of the framework to analyze a direct controversy, given that it is hard to think about any scientific text as detached from an argumentative context, this approach has the potential to be a general guide for interpretation. (shrink)
It is essential for social robots to fit in the human society. In order to facilitate this process we propose to use the family dog’s social behaviour shown towards humans as an inspiration. In this study we explored dogs’ low level social monitoring in dog-human interactions and extracted individually consistent and context dependent behaviours in simple everyday social scenarios. We found that proximity seeking and tail wagging were most individually distinctive in dogs, while activity, orientation towards the owner, and exploration (...) were dependent on the context and/or the activity of the owner. The functional analogues of these dog behaviours can be implemented in social robots of different embodiments in order to make them acceptable and more believable for humans. Keywords: dog-owner interaction; social robotics; low-level social monitoring; greeting behaviour; individually distinctive behaviours. (shrink)
Here I challenge the philosophical consensus that we use folk psychology for the purposes of metarepresentation. The paper intends to show that folk psychology should not be conceived on par with fact-stating discourses in spite of what its surface semantics may suggest. I argue that folk-psychological discourse is organised in a way and has conceptual characteristics such that it cannot fulfill a fact-stating function. To support this claim I develop an open question argument for psychological interpretations, and I draw attention (...) to the central role of rationality, the conceptual connections, and the essential evaluative content inherent in folk psychological ascriptions. As a conclusion I propose that a fictionalist account of the discourse would fit its characteristics better than a factualist-realist interpretation. (shrink)