An increasingly common complaint about philosophy of religion—especially, though not exclusively, as it is pursued in the “analytic tradition”—is that its preoccupation with questions of rationality and justification in relation to “theism” has deflected attention from the diversity of forms that religious life takes. Among measures proposed for ameliorating this condition has been the deployment of “thick description” that facilitates more richly contextualized understandings of religious phenomena. Endorsing and elaborating this proposal, I provide an overview of different but related (...) notions of thick description before turning to two specific examples, which illustrate the potential for engagement with ethnography to contribute to an expanded conception of philosophy of religion. (shrink)
Niels Bohr, founding father of modern atomic physics and quantum theory, was as original a philosopher as he was a physicist. This study explores several dimensions of Bohr's vision: the formulation of quantum theory and the problems associated with its interpretation, the notions of complementarity and correspondence, the debates with Einstein about objectivity and realism, and his sense of the infinite harmony of nature. Honner focuses on Bohr's epistemological lesson, the conviction that all our description of nature is dependent (...) on the words we use and the ways we can unambiguously use them. (shrink)
A defense of Yogacara Buddhism in light of contemporary trends in Western philosophy and theology, this paper begins with an historical survey and proceeds with a comparative analysis. Yogacara was successful in addressing the same problems 1600 years ago that many in the West have failed to address, or even recognize today. With its metaphysical and epistemological implications, Yogacara may also be employed in the resolution of, or continuing investigation into, long-standing problems within Christian theology over and against the Greek (...) metaphysics of presence. (shrink)
In the paper I consider how empirical material, from either history or sociology, features in Kuhn’s account of science in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and argue that the study of scientific practice did not offer him data to be used as evidence for defending hypotheses but rather cultivated a sensitivity for detail and difference which helped him undermine an idealized conception of science. Recent attempts in the science studies literature, appealing to Wittgenstein’s philosophy, have aimed at reducing philosophy to (...) multifaceted empirical research in relation to science. I discuss how this turn which is at odds with Wittgenstein’s philosophy, cannot be a continuation of Kuhn’s project which bears similarities to Wittgenstein’s. (shrink)
This paper examines critically the current state of affairs in philosophy of science. It focuses on the well-Known puzzle about the relationship between the normative prescriptive methodology of science and positive descriptive history of science. This puzzle has dogged philosophers of science for over a generation and is still controversial. My conclusion is that there is really no escape from it. The best way to characterize it is as follows: "philosophy of science without history of science is empty; history of (...) science without philosophy of science is blind.". (shrink)
Avrum Stroll accepts the ancient tradition that one of the tasks of philosophy is to give an accurate account of the world's features, both animate and inanimate. But, he contends, because these features are inexhaustibly complex, no single theory or conceptual model can provide a complete account. Stroll's approach is piecemeal and example-oriented. In stressing the importance of examples, his work runs counter to one of the most powerful and seductive ways of thinking about the world--the Platonic tradition, which denigrates (...) examples in the search for qualities or essences. Stroll favors pluralism, on the ground that this is how the world is.The "landscapes" of the title refers to various conceptual landscapes. Using the methodological approach he calls philosophy by example, the author discusses seven major problems of epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of language: skepticism, direct reference theories and natural kinds, the relationship between the microscopic and macroscopic, the logic of examples, direct reference and fiction, holistic theories of meaning, and direct versus indirect realism in perception. It is the author's method that binds together the different topics, but the method is not the message. What matters are the substantive results. His unique analyses reveal new understandings of some difficult problems. (shrink)
In this essay, we argue that there exist obvious parallels between questions that inform philosophy of chemistry and the so-called hard problem of consciousness in philosophy of mind. These include questions regarding the emergence of higher-level phenomena from lower-level physical states, the reduction of higher-level phenomena to lower-level physical states, and 'downward causation'. We, therefore, propose that the 'hard problem' of consciousness should be approached in a manner similar to that used to address parallel problems in philosophy of chemistry. Thus, (...) our contribution begins by scrutinizing the ways chemists and quantum chemists think about and use different levels of organization and chemical relations and relata and then investigates the problem of 'downward causation' as it relates to the question of emergence. We demonstrate that the science of the transformation of 'substances', namely chemistry, enables us to go beyond substantialism and to develop, instead, a non-substantialist account of levels of reality. Similarly, the 'hard problem' of consciousness will require that we transcend traditional emergentism and its substantialist conception of mind. As with chemical phenomena, mental phenomena must be examined in terms of the relationality of wholes and parts, and this will require the development of a mereology that explains how parts and wholes may co-define each other. Like the non-classical and non-transitive mereology that has been proposed for quantum chemistry, an extended mereology for philosophy of mind must be one that entangles the whole, its parts, and the environment, thus rendering 'downward causation' into a relational concept. This proposal is neither a reductionist analysis that only needs the parts to define the whole, nor a merely holistic description within which the whole is necessary to define the parts. Rather, we propose that the parts, the whole, and the environment co-define each other so that our understanding of parts, wholes, and environment as independent concepts must itself be altered. (shrink)
This chapter summarizes Russell’s The Problems of Philosophy, presents new biographical details about how and why Russell wrote it, and highlights its continued significance for contemporary philosophy. It also surveys Russell’s famous distinction between “knowledge by acquaintance” and “knowledge by description,” his developing views about our knowledge of physical reality, and his views about our knowledge of logic, mathematics, and other abstract objects.
An overview of the German philosophy of science community is given for the years 1992–2012, based on a survey in which 159 philosophers of science in Germany participated. To this end, the institutional background of the German philosophy of science community is examined in terms of journals, centers, and associations. Furthermore, a qualitative description and a quantitative analysis of our survey results are presented. Quantitative estimates are given for: (a) academic positions, (b) research foci, (c) philosophers’ of science most (...) important publications, and (d) externally funded projects, where for (c) all survey participants had indicated their five most important publications in philosophy of science. In addition, the survey results for (a)–(c) are also qualitatively described, as they are interesting in their own right. With respect to (a), we estimated the gender distribution among academic positions. Concerning (c), we quantified philosophers’ of science preference for (i) journals and publishers, (ii) publication format, (iii) language, and (iv) coauthorship for their most important publications. With regard to research projects, we determined their (i) prevalence, (ii) length, and (iii) trend (an increase in number?) as well as their most frequent (iv) research foci and (v) funding organizations. We also distinguished between German-based and non-German-based journals, publishers, and funding institutions, making it thereby possible to evaluate the involvement of the German philosophy of science community in the international research landscape. Finally, we discuss some implications of our findings. (shrink)
The following article by Grete Hermann arguably occupies an important place in the history of the philosophical interpretation of of quantum mechanics. The purpose of Hermann's writing on natural philosophy is to examine the revision of the law of causality which quantum mechanics seems to require at a fundamental level of theoretical description in physics. It is Hermann's declared intention to show that quantum mechanics does not disprove the concept of causality, "yet has clarified [it] and has removed from (...) it other principles which are not necessarily connected to it." She attempts to show that this most "obvious" counter-example to the aprioricity of causality, quantum theory, is in fact not a counter-example at all. (shrink)
In order to theorize about the nature and scope of the philosophical reflection, philosophers have used a wide array of metaphors and analogies, from Plato's cave to Wittgenstein “family resemblances”. This paper reviews some of those metaphors and discusses what they show about the nature of philosophy, and most important, about the teaching of philosophy. It is not enough to be in favour of the presence of philosophical dialogue or to demand a specific philosophical subject matter in the curriculum of (...) formal or compulsory schooling. We need to offer a more precise description of the kind of philosophical learning we are proposing, and which educational goals we think that students can achieve if they are exposed to philosophical reflection all along their school life. Philosophical metaphors can help us to present the style of philosophical dialogue we want to implement in our class rooms in order to philosophy empower children in such a way the can think for themselves in a critical, creative and cooperative way. (shrink)
Can we help philosophy students become employable without offending those who say that such a task is not the job of an academic? Can we do this by using the insights from the literature that suggest the most effective way to teach employability is a close link to employers? We are happy to report that the answer is ‘yes.’ In this paper we share what we achieved and why we believe it was effective. We briefly discuss the background and genesis (...) of ‘Communicating Philosophy,’ our employability course. We provide a detailed description of the objectives and content of the lectures and seminars and reflect on how the course was received by students. We then, using the notion of ‘transfer’ and ‘boundary-crossing,’ reflect on why our approach has been successful. We end by discussing some limitations of our course and about how the course might be developed in the future. (shrink)
I offer you some theories of intellectual obligations and rights (virtue Ethics): initially, RBT (a Right to Believe Truth, if something is true it follows one has a right to believe it), and, NDSM (one has no right to believe a contradiction, i.e., No right to commit Doxastic Self-Mutilation). Evidence for both below. Anthropology, Psychology, computer software, Sociology, and the neurosciences prove things about human beliefs, and History, Economics, and comparative law can provide evidence of value about theories of rights. (...) However, insofar as we have methods within Philosophy to help us formulate precise concepts of 'belief' and 'rights', methods that also help us to prove links (or absence thereof) amongst families of concepts of rights and belief, our discipline is in and of itself capable of sound reasoning about issues as puzzling as the following. Suppose a Jane who does not believe in God yet who believes she ought to so believe: Jane is undergoing doxastic moral regret (moral regret for lack of faith). We have all known such Janes and perhaps at one time or another even been one. Paradox: given RBT and NDSM, Jane as described not only does not exist, Jane cannot exist. Thus, to enrich the ways in which Philosophy need not get all its evidence from other academic disciplines, I present a brief introduction to what I call Neutral Universal Frames (NUFs). NUFs solve hard puzzles about interactions among modal concepts of belief and rights, concepts that occur in RBT, NDSM and the description of our Janes. NUFs for theories precisely articulated via any two or more modal concepts are a powerful and immensely general set of tools enabling us to define rich theories of truth ("models on frames") to test philosophical theories for internal consistency and to prove the existence of connections (or absence thereof) amongst alternative articulations of philosophical theories. NUFs thereby add to the constructive knowledge producing way Logics intersect with Philosophy of Religion. And we will soon see why Jane, be she named 'Jane' or known simply as you: cannot exist. Read on at your own risk. (shrink)
This collection explores, in Adorno's description, `philosophy directed against philosophy'. The essays cover all aspects of Benjamin's writings, from his early work in the philosophy of art and language, through to the concept of history. The experience of time and the destruction of false continuity are identified as the key themes in Benjamin's understanding of history.
The article examines the need to increase an education toward the development of complex thinking in urban areas where there is a considerable amount of social unrest. The school often fails to bridge the gap between educator/education and learner and this happens in particular when it comes to kids ‘disadvantaged’. The P4C is a pedagogical method that can heal this divide, inter alia, through its dialogic practice. The practice of philosophy can became a way to bridge the sense of fragmentation (...) that the learner feels during his school track when he is having to do with a series of parceled knowledge, because it facilitate the cognitive access to them. The risk to which the student meets with the traditional education, as Freire says, is to undermine the faculty to make aware and to problematize his learning process. To built complex thinking opens the possibility of a 360-degree access to the real and increases the development of critical, creative and caring cognitive spheres. The P4C methodology application should be widespread in many school settings possible, but not only. The article continues with a brief description of some non-formal educational services offered to minors in situations of social disadvantage in Naples, focusing in particular on the Territorial Educational Laboratories. In one of these, L’Officina dei Sogni, an organization working in the territory of the 1st Municipality of the city, I carried out from October 2010 to June 2011 a P4C laboratory with children between 8 and 12 years old, driven by the reflection that this educational methodology can improve on cognitive skills in children and adolescents who are living in situations of high social problems and difficulties at school, in order to reduce for them the risk of social exclusion. The success encountered by the laboratory has had a positive effect also on the other daily Territorial Educational Laboratories activities. The aim of this article is to demonstrate that the use of this philosophical practice is not only possible but necessary in the educational fields that attend in urban areas where there is a strong presence of social problems. (shrink)
History of philosophy is embedded into the theory of history. Two different philosophies, but we still have similar basic connections between different parts of each philosophy and a closer similarity of these two relativist thinkers. Gadamer, as a disciple of Heidegger, worked out the philosophical hermeneutics (Truth and Method, 1960) established by Heidegger in the early 20s. He embedded his approach of the history of philosophy in his hermeneutics, particularly in his description of history grasped as a chain of (...) historically effected events. Rorty, as a neopragmatist thinker, classified first the philosophers as systematic and edifying in his Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), but later, in his Contingency, Irony and Solidarity (1989), he already speeks about history of philosophy as the history of metaphors. Despite their differences, it may be proved, on the one hand, that some part of their philosophies is primus inter pares; on the other hand, they both are relativists in some sense, and claim that we can have only narratives about the history of philosophy. (shrink)
Simone de Beauvoir’s early enthusiasm for the philosophy of Henri Bergson (1859-1941)—denied in her 1958 autobiography, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter—is a surprising discovery in her 1927 handwritten student diary, as I reported in 1999 and explored at more length in 2003 (Simons 1999; Simons 2003). Discovered by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir after Beauvoir’s death in 1986 and now housed in the Bibliothèque nationale, Beauvoir’s student diary first appeared in print in the 2006 volume, Diary of a Philosophy Student: (...) 1926-27, followed in 2008 by the French publication, Cahiers de jeunesse: 1926-1930. Since my 1999 analysis of the 1927 diary, the publication of the 1926 diary and other posthumously discovered texts has deepened and complicated the evidence of Bergson’s influence.1 In this chapter, I propose to take up and expand upon my earlier analyses in the light of this new evidence, arguing that Beauvoir’s methodological turn to the description of immediate experience, especially her method of writing philosophy in literature and her lifelong interest in describing the subjective experience of time, drew upon Bergson’s philosophy before her first encounter with Husserl’s phenomenology which may have come as early as 1927; that her concept of bad faith and interest in exposing distortions in perception and thinking, as in the chapters in The Second Sex on myths about women, drew upon Bergson’s philosophy long before she had read Marx; and that her earliest formulation of the problem of the Other drew upon Bergson’s distinction between the “social self and the deep self,” two years before she met Jean-Paul Sartre and two decades before she first read Hegel’s Phenomenology. (shrink)
The market seems to have substituted politics as a coordination model in modern societies. While philosophy's complementarity to politics is well-acknowledged, its importance for economic markets can be questioned. Economics deals with optimization, but as markets are constituted by real persons with individual beliefs and normative values the economic tool box is not sufficient to describe market behavior. This is especially true whenever technologicalinnovations challenge established market rules. Philosophy supplies analytical instruments for a better, more complete description of markets (...) including theirnormative aspects. For this complementary function philosophy should be placed at the core of any theory of markets. (shrink)
While sympathetic to Tilley’s call for a practical philosophy of religion, I raise three questions: Does Tilley think that one can do philosophy of religion from a position other than that of a committed believer? Does Tilley’s description of the ordinary believer disburden most people from doubt and answerability? Does Tilley’s description of the role of the theologian place too much trust in the theologian? I suggest that some insights from contemporary phenomenology and hermeneutics would lead to a (...) clearer understanding of the role that philosophy of religion can play in the development of a practical philosophy of religion. (shrink)
The purpose of the work is to show that two recent philosophers whose views are in many respects divergent, R g collingwood and ludwig wittgenstein, Are in basic agreement with respect to the primary task of philosophy, Which is to search for liberating vision through accurate description of the multiple forms of life and experience and their relations. Detailed comparison is made of their views of experience, Language, Metaphysics, And religion. The underlying understanding of the task of philosophy which (...) they share is commended as relevant to current discussion. (shrink)
"Philosophy of Language" introduces the student to the main issues and theories in twentieth-century philosophy of language. Topics are structured in three parts in the book. Part I, Reference and Referring Expressions, includes topics such as Russell's Theory of Desciptions, Donnellan's distinction, problems of anaphora, the description theory of proper names, Searle's cluster theory, and the causal-historical theory. Part II, Theories of Meaning, surveys the competing theories of linguistic meaning and compares their various advantages and liabilities. Part III, Pragmatics (...) and Speech Acts, introduces the basic concepts of linguistic pragmatics, includes a detailed discussion of the problem of indirect force and surveys approaches to metaphor. Unique features of the text: * chapter overviews and summaries * clear supportive examples * study questions * annotated further reading * glossary. (shrink)
Science and philosophy have a very long history, dating back at least to the 16th and 17th centuries, when the first scientist-philosophers, such as Bacon, Galilei, and Newton, were beginning the process of turning natural philosophy into science. Contemporary relationships between the two fields are still to some extent marked by the distrust that maintains the divide between the so-called “two cultures.” An increasing number of philosophers, however, are making conceptual contributions to sciences ranging from quantum mechanics to evolutionary biology, (...) and a few scientists are conducting research relevant to classically philosophical fields of inquiry, such as consciousness and moral decision-making. This article will introduce readers to the borderlands between science and philosophy, beginning with a brief description of what philosophy of science is about, and including a discussion of how the two disciplines can fruitfully interact not only at the level of scholarship, but also when it comes to controversies surrounding public understanding of science. (shrink)
Abstract: The core aim of this special issue is to present the philosophy of information as a way of doing philosophy, to focus on the contributions of Luciano Floridi to that area, and most important, to stimulate the debate on the most distinctive and controversial views he has defended in that context. This introduction contains a description of the philosophy of information, a discussion of two common misconceptions about the scope and the ambition of the philosophy of information, and (...) a brief overview of the essays in the issue. (shrink)
Professor Von Wright is a prominent analytical philosopher who has written about the very notion of analytical philosophy. Other analytical philosophers are present here and they have their ideas on this notion. As for me, I believe that it is not at all an obvious notion. Sometimes it seemed to me that analytical philosophy does not exist, or at least that there is no single common feature shared by all so-called analytical philosophers and only by them, though there are many (...) family resemblances. Therefore I thought I might take the opportunity of this meeting in honour of Professor Von Wright and propose as one of our themes for discussion, precisely the question: “what is analytical philosophy?”. The natural start is Professor Von Wright’s description of analytical philosophy. (shrink)
https://www.academia.edu/32163851/Philosophical_study_of_the_FEELING_accompanying_male_ejaculation_E xperimental_Philosophy_Part_1_SURVEY_ ABSTRACT This is merely a short, preliminary study of the FEELING accompanying male ejaculation. -/- It consists of 10 questions and one unstructured expression and/or personal description by the respondent of the subjective experience of the ‘feeling’ undergone, experienced or ‘felt’ during or accompanying male orgasm and ejaculation..
This book is a critical introduction to the philosophy of social science. While most social scientists maintain that the social sciences should stand free of politics, this book argues that they should be politically partisan. Root offers a clear description and provocative criticism of many of the methods and ideals that guide research and teaching in the social sciences.
1. Reference and modality by W. V. O. Quine.--2. Modality and description by A. F. Smullyan.--3. Extensionality by R. B. Marcus.--4. Quantification into causal contexts by D. Føllesdal.--5. Semantical considerations on modal logic by S. A. Kripke.--6. Essentialism and quantified modal logic by T. Parsons.--7. Reference, essentialism, and modality by L. Linsky.--8. Quantifiers and propositional attitudes by W. V. O. Quine.--9. Quantifying in by D. Kaplan.--10. Semantics for propositional attitudes by J. Hintikka.--11. On Carnap's analysis of statements of assertion (...) and belief by A. Church.--Bibliography (p. -175). (shrink)
We seek to elucidate the philosophical context in which the so-called revolution of rigor in inifinitesimal calculus and mathematical analysis took place. Some of the protagonists of the said revolution were Cauchy, Cantor, Dedekind, and Weierstrass. The dominant current of philosophy in Germany at that time was neo-Kantianism. Among its various currents, the Marburg school (Cohen, Natorp, Cassirer, and others) was the one most interested in matters scientific and mathematical. Our main thesis is that Marburg Neo-Kantian philosophy formulated a sophisticated (...) position towards the problems raised by the concepts of limits and infinitesimals. The Marburg school neither clung to the traditional approach of logically and metaphysically dubious infinitesimals, nor whiggishly subscribed to the new orthodoxy of the "great triumvirate" of Cantor, Dedekind, and Weierstrass. Expressed in terms of modern mathematics, the Marburg philosophers saw the introduction of both infinitesimals and limits as completions whose prototype was Dedekind's of the rational number system resulting in the real numbers. At least partially,, this idea of "completions" can be captured in terms of a category-theoretical description of the conceptual development of modern mathematics. The feasibility of such a modern reformuation may be taken as evidence that the philosophical resources of Marburg neo-Kantianism may be of interest even for contemporary philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
Semantic externalism is the view that the meanings of referring terms, and the contents of beliefs that are expressed by those terms, are not fully determined by factors internal to the speaker but are instead bound up with the environment. The debate about semantic externalism is one of the most important but difficult topics in philosophy of mind and language, and has consequences for our understanding of the role of social institutions and the physical environment in constituting language and the (...) mind. In this long-needed book, Jesper Kallestrup provides an invaluable map of the problem. Beginning with a thorough introduction to the theories of descriptivism and referentialism and the work of Frege and Kripke, Kallestrup moves on to analyse Putnam’s Twin Earth argument, Burge’s arthritis argument and Davidson’s Swampman argument. He also discusses how semantic externalism is at the heart of important topics such as indexical thoughts, epistemological skepticism, self-knowledge, and mental causation. Including chapter summaries, a glossary of terms, and an annotated guide to further reading, _Semantic Externalism_ an ideal guide for students studying philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell was one of the greatest logicians since Aristotle, and one of the most important philosophers of the past two hundred years. As we approach the 125th anniversary of the Nobel laureate's birth, his works continue to spark debate, resounding with unmatched timeliness and power. The Problems of Philosophy, one of the most popular works in Russell's prolific collection of writings, has become core reading in philosophy. Clear and accessible, this little book is an intelligible and stimulating guide to (...) those problems of philosophy which often mistakenly lead to its status as too lofty and abstruse for the lay mind. Focusing on problems he believes will provoke positive and constructive discussion, Russell concentrates on knowledge rather than metaphysics, steering the reader through his famous 1910 distinction between "knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description," and introducing important theories of Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Hume, Locke, Plato, and others to lay the foundation for philosophical inquiry by general readers and scholars alike.With a new introduction by John Perry, this valuable work is a perfect introduction to the field and will continue to stimulate philosophical discussion as it has done for nearly forty years. (shrink)