PLEASE NOTE: This is the corrected 2nd eBook edition, 2021.¶¶ _Critique of Impure Reason_ has now also been published in a printed edition. To reduce the otherwise high price of this scholarly, technical book of nearly 900 pages and make it more widely available beyond university libraries to individual readers, the non-profit publisher and the author have agreed to issue the printed edition at cost.¶¶ The printed edition was released on September 1, 2021 and is now available through all booksellers, (...) including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and brick-and-mortar bookstores under ISBN 978-0-578-88646-6.¶¶ -/- In light of the length of this book, readers who would like to have a more detailed description of the book's objectives and method may find it helpful to read the detailed and clearly written Wikipedia entry about this work: From the Wikipedia search page, use the search phrase "Critique of Impure Reason". At least at the time of this writing (11/29/2021), the Wikipedia entry is well-researched and accurate. ¶¶ ¶¶ -/- COMMENDATIONS OF THIS WORK, from the back cover of the published edition: ¶¶ -/- “I admire its range of philosophical vision.” – Nicholas Rescher, Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh, author of more than 100 books. ¶¶ -/- “Bartlett’s _Critique of Impure Reason_ is an impressive, bold, and ambitious work. Careful scholarship is balanced by original analyses that lead the reader to recognize the limits of meaning, knowledge, and conceptual possibility. The work addresses a host of traditional philosophical problems, among them the nature of space, time, causality, consciousness, the self, other minds, ontology, free will and determinism, and others. The book culminates in a fascinating and profound new understanding of relativity physics and quantum theory.” – Gerhard Preyer, Professor of Philosophy, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, author of many books including _Concepts of Meaning_, _Beyond Semantics and Pragmatics_, _Intention and Practical Thought_, and _Contextualism in Philosophy_. ¶¶ -/- “[This work’s] goal is of a unique and difficult species: Dr. Bartlett seeks to develop a formal logical calculus on the basis of transcendental philosophical arguments; in fact, he hopes that this calculus will be the formal expression of the transcendental foundation of knowledge.... I consider Dr. Bartlett’s work soundly conceived and executed with great skill.” – C. F. von Weizsäcker, philosopher and physicist, former Director, Max-Planck-Institute, Starnberg, Germany. ¶¶ -/- “Bartlett has written an American “Prolegomena to All Future Metaphysics.” He aims rigorously to eliminate meaningless assertions, reach bedrock, and place philosophy on a firm foundation that will enable it, like science and mathematics, to produce lasting results that generations to come can build on. This is a great book, the fruit of a lifetime of research and reflection, and it deserves serious attention.” — Martin X. Moleski, former Professor, Canisius College, Buffalo, NY, studies of scientific method, the presuppositions of thought, and the self-referential nature of epistemology. ¶¶ -/- “Bartlett has written a book on what might be called the underpinnings of philosophy. It has fascinating depth and breadth, and is all the more striking due to its unifying perspective based on the concepts of reference and self-reference.” – Don Perlis, Professor of Computer Science, University of Maryland, author of numerous publications on self-adjusting autonomous systems and philosophical issues concerning self-reference, mind, and consciousness. ¶¶ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ The _Critique of Impure Reason: Horizons of Possibility and Meaning_ comprises a major and important contribution to philosophy. Thanks to the generosity of its publisher, this massive 885-page volume has been published as a free open access eBook (3.75MB) as well as an open access printed edition. It inaugurates a revolutionary paradigm shift in philosophical thought by providing compelling and long-sought-for solutions to a wide range of philosophical problems. In the process, the work fundamentally transforms the way in which the concepts of reference, meaning, and possibility are understood. The book includes a Foreword by the celebrated German philosopher and physicist Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker.¶¶ -/- In Kant’s _Critique of Pure Reason_ we find an analysis of the preconditions of experience and of knowledge. In contrast, but yet in parallel, the new _Critique_ focuses upon the ways—unfortunately very widespread and often unselfconsciously habitual—in which many of the concepts that we employ _conflict_ with the very preconditions of meaning and of knowledge.¶¶ -/- This is a book about the boundaries of frameworks and about the unrecognized conceptual confusions in which we become entangled when we attempt to transgress beyond the limits of the possible and meaningful. We tend either not to recognize or not to accept that we all-too-often attempt to trespass beyond the boundaries of the frameworks that make knowledge possible and the world meaningful.¶¶ -/- The _Critique of Impure Reason_ proposes a bold, ground-breaking, and startling thesis: that a great many of the major philosophical problems of the past can be solved through the recognition of a viciously deceptive form of thinking to which philosophers as well as non-philosophers commonly fall victim. For the first time, the book advances and justifies the criticism that a substantial number of the questions that have occupied philosophers fall into the category of “impure reason,” violating the very conditions of their possible meaningfulness.¶¶ -/- The purpose of the study is twofold: first, to enable us to recognize the boundaries of what is referentially forbidden—the limits beyond which reference becomes meaningless—and second, to avoid falling victims to a certain broad class of conceptual confusions that lie at the heart of many major philosophical problems. As a consequence, the boundaries of _possible meaning_ are determined.¶¶ -/- Bartlett, the author or editor of more than 20 books, is responsible for identifying this widespread and delusion-inducing variety of error, _metalogical projection_. It is a previously unrecognized and insidious form of erroneous thinking that undermines its own possibility of meaning. It comes about as a result of the pervasive human compulsion to seek to transcend the limits of possible reference and meaning.¶¶ -/- Based on original research and rigorous analysis combined with extensive scholarship, the _Critique of Impure Reason_ develops a self-validating method that makes it possible to recognize, correct, and eliminate this major and pervasive form of fallacious thinking. In so doing, the book provides at last provable and constructive solutions to a wide range of major philosophical problems.¶¶ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ -/- CONTENTS AT A GLANCE¶ ¶ Preface¶ Foreword by Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker¶ Acknowledgments¶ Avant-propos: A philosopher’s rallying call¶ Introduction¶ A note to the reader¶ A note on conventions¶ ¶ PART I ¶ WHY PHILOSOPHY HAS MADE NO PROGRESS AND HOW IT CAN ¶ 1 Philosophical-psychological prelude¶ 2 Putting belief in its place: Its psychology and a needed polemic¶ 3 Turning away from the linguistic turn: From theory of reference to metalogic of reference¶ 4 The stepladder to maximum theoretical generality¶ ¶ PART II ¶ THE METALOGIC OF REFERENCE ¶ A New Approach to Deductive, Transcendental Philosophy¶ ¶ 5 Reference, identity, and identification¶ 6 Self-referential argument and the metalogic of reference¶ 7 Possibility theory¶ 8 Presupposition logic, reference, and identification¶ 9 Transcendental argumentation and the metalogic of reference¶ 10 Framework relativity¶ 11 The metalogic of meaning¶ 12 The problem of putative meaning and the logic of meaninglessness¶ 13 Projection¶ 14 Horizons¶ 15 De-projection¶ 16 Self-validation¶ 17 Rationality: Rules of admissibility¶ ¶ PART III ¶ PHILOSOPHICAL APPLICATIONS OF THE METALOGIC OF REFERENCE ¶ Major Problems and Questions of Philosophy and the Philosophy of Science ¶ 18 Ontology and the metalogic of reference¶ 19 Discovery or invention in general problem-solving, mathematics, and physics¶ 20 The conceptually unreachable: “The far side”¶ 21 The projections of the external world, things-in-themselves, other minds, realism, and idealism¶ 22 The projections of time, space, and space-time¶ 23 The projections of causality, determinism, and free will¶ 24 Projections of the self and of solipsism¶ 25 Non-relational, agentless reference and referential fields¶ 26 Relativity physics as seen through the lens of the metalogic of reference¶ 27 Quantum theory as seen through the lens of the metalogic of reference¶ 28 Epistemological lessons learned from and applicable to relativity physics and quantum theory ¶¶ PART IV ¶ HORIZONS ¶ 29 Beyond belief¶ 30 _Critique of Impure Reason_: Its results in retrospect¶ ¶ SUPPLEMENT¶ The Formal Structure of the Metalogic of Reference ¶ APPENDIX I¶ The Concept of Horizon in the Work of Other Philosophers ¶ APPENDIX II¶ Epistemological Intelligence ¶ References¶ Index¶ About the author . 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Pre-publication certification through peer review stands in need of philosophical examination. In this paper, philosopher-psychologist StevenJamesBartlett recalls the arguments marshalled four hundred years ago by English poet John Milton against restraint of publication by the "gatekeepers of publication," AKA today's peer reviewers.
A combined psychological-epistemological study of the blocks that stand in the way of the human recognition of the sentience and legal rights of non-human animals. Originally published in the Lewis and Clark law journal, Animal Law, and subsequently translated into German and into Portuguese.
This is the introduction to Self-reference: Reflections on Reflexivity, edited by StevenJamesBartlett and Peter Suber. The introduction identifies and describes a wide range of varieties of self-reference, some which have become important topics of investigation in philosophy, and others which are of significance in other disciplines. /// The anthology is the first published collection of essays to give a sense of depth and breadth of current work on this fascinating and important set of issues. The (...) volume contains 13 essays by well-known authors in this field, written on special invitation for this collection. In addition, the book includes the first general bibliography of works on self-reference, comprising more than 1,200 citations. (shrink)
Theism and its cousins, atheism and agnosticism, are seldom taken to task for logical-epistemological incoherence. This paper provides a condensed proof that not only theism, but atheism and agnosticism as well, are all of them conceptually self-undermining, and for the same reason: All attempt to make use of the concept of “transcendent reality,” which here is shown not only to lack meaning, but to preclude the very possibility of meaning. In doing this, the incoherence of theism, atheism, and agnosticism is (...) secondary to the more general incoherence of any attempts to refer to so-called “transcendent realities.” A recognition of the conceptually fundamental incoherence of theism, atheism, and agnosticism compels our rational assent to a position the author names “paratheism.”. (shrink)
Normality Does Not Equal Mental Health: The Need to Look Elsewhere for Standards of Good Mental Health is the first book to question the equation of psychological normality and mental health. It is also the first book to take contemporary psychiatry and clinical psychology to task for deeply flawed thinking when they accept the diagnostic system propounded by the DSM, which reifies syndromes into alleged “mental disorders.” Where Thomas Szasz argued that “mental disorders” are myths, Bartlett makes the much (...) more damaging charge that reifying mental disorders involves a provable form of fallacious thinking, producing a variety of epistemological nonsense. /// -/- -/- The author weighs the evidence, and with strict logic, compelling evidence, and careful analysis, challenges the current paradigm of mental health theorists and practitioners. Never has the case against the standard of psychological normality and against the non-scientific creation of “mental disorders” been made with such boldness, multidisciplinary knowledge, solid scholarship, and clarity of language. /// -/- -/- Normality Does Not Equal Mental HealthAlthough the need to question psychological normality as a satisfactory standard of good mental health has been staring us in the face for a long time, no one, clinical professional or scholar, has had the courage or the intellectual willingness to face with unflinching honesty the shortcomings and disappointments of psychological normality and to propose that we should look elsewhere for standards of good psychological health. /// -/- -/- Contemporary psychiatry and clinical psychology, on the contrary, base their conception of mental health on the standard of psychological normality. This supposition has come to be accepted uncritically and without question, and yet it has become fundamental to current clinical theory and practice, and forms the core of the psychiatric classification system of the DSM, which has become today’s diagnostic authority. /// -/- -/- While touting today’s scientific gold standard of “evidence-based” research, DSM’s authoritative classification of “mental disorders” is itself hardly “evidence-based,” for it is recognized, but seldom emphasized, that the majority of DSM’s “mental disorders” have no known empirical, organic basis. /// -/- -/- Normality Does Not Equal Mental Health takes DSM to task not only for its failure to adhere to today’s evidence-based standard, but for its failure to rein in its highly speculative diagnostic labeling, in accordance with the modern paradigm of rigorous science, which repudiates metaphorical reifications whose alleged validity rests only on the voting preferences of a professional membership. /// -/- -/- The book is a carefully argued critique of the dominant assumption in current psychiatry and clinical psychology that psychological normality is fundamental to mental health and therefore good. In place of this unsatisfactory presumption, Normality Does Not Equal Mental Health proposes a positive and constructive revision in our understanding of mental health and of our conception of mental disorders. (shrink)
This paper sought to state in a concise and comparatively informal, unsystematic, and more accessible form the more technical approach the author developed during a research fellowship in 1974-75 at the Max-Planck-Institut in Starnberg, Germany. The ideas presented in this paper are more fully developed in later publications by the author which are listed in the two-page addendum to this paper.
For more than fifty years, taxonomists have proposed numerous alternative definitions of species while they searched for a unique, comprehensive, and persuasive definition. This monograph shows that these efforts have been unnecessary, and indeed have provably been a pursuit of a will o’ the wisp because they have failed to recognize the theoretical impossibility of what they seek to accomplish. A clear and rigorous understanding of the logic underlying species definition leads both to a recognition of the inescapable ambiguity that (...) affects the definition of species, and to a framework-relative approach to species definition that is logically compelling, i.e., cannot not be accepted without inconsistency. An appendix reflects upon the conclusions reached, applying them in an intellectually whimsical taxonomic thought experiment that conjectures the possibility of an emerging new human species. (shrink)
This is one of several papers by the author that seek to throw light on the psychology of philosophers. In this paper, certain of the defining properties of clinical narcissism are discussed in their application to the ideological position-taking character of many philosophers and the philosophies they propound.
The Pathology of Man is the first comprehensive study of the psychology and epistemology of human evil, long urged by leading psychiatrists and psychologists, including Freud, Jung, Menninger, Fromm, and Peck. The book breaks new ground by offering a clear, empirically based, and theoretically sound understanding of human evil as a widespread, real, non-metaphorical pathology. With deliberate and thorough scholarship the author proposes a new framework-relative theory of disease and justifies the provocative thesis that human evil should be classified as (...) a pathology which is not a deviation from an accepted norm, but rather is a normal state. This break with tradition provides the necessary psychological foundation for the familiar concept of the banality of human evil, a foundation which in the past it has lacked. (shrink)
A RELATIVISTIC THEORY OF PHENOMENOLOCICAL CONSTITUTION: A SELF-REFERENTIAL, TRANSCENDENTAL APPROACH TO CONCEPTUAL PATHOLOGY. (Vol. I: French; Vol. II: English) -/- StevenJamesBartlett -/- Doctoral dissertation director: Paul Ricoeur, Université de Paris Other doctoral committee members: Jean Ladrière and Alphonse de Waehlens, Université Catholique de Louvain Defended publically at the Université Catholique de Louvain, January, 1971. -/- Universite de Paris X (France), 1971. 797pp. -/- The principal objective of the work is to construct an analytically precise methodology (...) which can serve to identify, eliminate, and avoid a certain widespread _conceptual fault_ or _misconstruction_, called a "projective misconstruction" or "projection" by the author. It is argued that this variety of error in our thinking (i) infects a great number of our everyday, scientific, and philosophical concepts, claims, and theories, (ii) has largely been undetected, and (iii), when remedied, leads to a less controversial and more rigorous elucidation of the transcendental preconditions of human knowledge than has traditionally been possible. The dissertation identifies, perhaps for the first time, a _projective_ variety of self-referential inconsistency, and proposes an innovative, self-reflexive approach to transcendental argument in a logical and phenomenological context. The strength of the approach lies, it is claimed, in the fact that a rejection of the approach is possible only on pain of self-referential inconsistency. The argument is developed in the following stages: A general introduction identifies the central theme of the work, defines the scope of applicability of the results reached, and sketches the direction of the studies that follow. The preliminary discussion culminates in a recognition of the need for a _critique of impure reason_. The body of the work is divided into two parts: Section I seeks to develop a methodology, on a purely formal basis, which is, on the one hand, capable of being used to study the transcendental foundations of the special sciences, including its own proper transcendental foundation. On the other hand, the methodology proposed is intended as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool for dealing with _projective_ uses of concepts. The approach initiates an analysis of concepts from a perspective which views _knowledge as coordination_. Section I describes formal structures that possess the status of preconditions in such a coordinative account of knowledge. Special attention is given to the preconditions of _identifying reference_ to logical particulars. The first section attempts, then, to provide a self-referential, transcendental methodology which is essentially revisionary in that it is motivated by a concern for conceptual error-elimination. Phenomenology, considered in its unique capacity as a self-referential, transcendental discipline, is of special relevance to the study. Section II accordingly examines a group of concepts which come into question in connection with the central theme of _phenomenological constitution_. The "_de-projective methodology_" developed in Section I is applied to these concepts that have a foundational importance in transcendental phenomenology. A translation is, in effect, proposed from the language of consciousness to a language in which preconditions of referring are investigated. The result achieved is the elimination of self-defeating, projective concepts from a rigorous, phenomenological study of the constitutive foundations of science. The dissertation was presented in a two volume, double-language format for the convenience of French and English researchers. Each volume contains an analytical index. (shrink)
From the Editor’s Introduction: -/- THE INTERNAL LIMITATIONS OF HUMAN UNDERSTANDING -/- We carry, unavoidably, the limits of our understanding with us. We are perpetually confined within the horizons of our conceptual structure. When this structure grows or expands, the breadth of our comprehensions enlarges, but we are forever barred from the wished-for glimpse beyond its boundaries, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much credence we invest in the substance of our learning and mist of speculation. -/- (...) The limitations in view here are not due to the mere finitude of our understanding of ourselves and of the world in which we live. They are limitations that come automatically and necessarily with any form of understanding. They are, as we shall see, part and parcel of any organization or ordering of data that we call information. -/- The consequences of these limitations are varied: As a result of them, hermeneutics cannot help but be hermetic; scientific theories of necessity are circumscribed by the boundaries of the ideas that define them; formal systems must choose between consistency and comprehensiveness; philosophical study, because it includes itself within its own proper subject matter, is forced to be reflexive in its self-enclosure. The fundamental dynamic shared by all forms of understanding testifies to an internal limitative keystone. (shrink)
In the past few decades, peer review has come to dominate virtually all professionally respectable academic and scientific publications. However, despite its near-universal acceptance, no code of conduct has been developed to which peer reviewers and their editors are encouraged to adhere. This paper proposes such a code of conduct.
Conceptual therapy seeks to eliminate from our vocabulary of concepts those that are conceptually pathological. The very use of such concepts—which is much of the time—brings about dysfunctional thinking: thought, that is to say, that leads us astray, paving the way for beliefs and claims to knowledge that are fundamentally nonsensical. A therapy for such concepts may be likened to holding a selective sieve and pouring the ideas with which we attempt to make sense of the world through it, allowing (...) the sieve to filter out those that would otherwise infect our thinking with meaninglessness. -/- Conceptual Therapy: An Introduction to Framework-relative Epistemology was written by the author as an introductory text for university classes in applied skills in epistemological analysis. (shrink)
The monograph’s twofold purpose is to recognize epistemological intelligence as a distinguishable variety of human intelligence, one that is especially important to philosophers, and to understand the challenges posed by the psychological profile of philosophers that can impede the development and cultivation of the skills associated with epistemological intelligence.
A study of the psychology of demoralization affecting university faculty in the liberal arts. This form of demoralization is not adequately understood in terms of the concept of career burnout. Instead, demoralization that affects university faculty in the liberal arts requires a broadened understanding of the historical and psychological situation in which these professors find themselves today.
The paper begins by acknowledging that weakened systematic precision in phenomenology has made its application in philosophy of science obscure and ineffective. The defining aspirations of early transcendental phenomenology are, however, believed to be important ones. A path is therefore explored that attempts to show how certain recent developments in the logic of self-reference fulfill in a clear and more rigorous fashion in the context of philosophy of science certain of the early hopes of phenomenologists. The resulting dual approach is (...) applied to several problems in the philosophy of science: on the one hand, to proposed rejections of scientific objectivity, to the doctrine of radical meaning variance, and to the Quine-Duhem thesis, and or. the other, to an analysis of hidden variable theory in quantum mechanics. (shrink)
There has been a general failure among mental health theorists and social psychologists to understand the etiology of work-engendered depression. Yet the condition is increasingly prevalent in highly industrialized societies, where an exclusionary focus upon work, money, and the things that money can buy has displaced values that traditionally exerted a liberating and humanizing influence. Social critics have called the result an impoverishment of the spirit, a state of cultural bankruptcy, and an incapacity for genuine leisure. From a clinical perspective, (...) the condition has been diagnosed as widespread narcissism and obsessive work. -/- Acedia, a concept developed by the Scholastics, throws clarifying light on the origin of this form of depression. (shrink)
A short paper presented before the Fellows of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions during the academic year 1969-70, with an Introductory Note written nearly 50 years later. The paper describes the author's enduring personal philosophical precept; it is also an implicit encomium to individuals whose psychology establishes a dependable bridge between their rational convictions and their conduct.
NOTE TO THE READER - October, 2020¶¶ After a long period of time devoted to research in other areas, the author has returned to the subject of this paper in a book-length study, CRITIQUE OF IMPURE REASON: Horizons of Possibility and Meaning, which has been published as an open access eBook by Studies in Theory and Behavior in August, 2020. In this book (Chapter 11, “The Metalogic of Meaning”), the position developed in the 1982 paper that follows is substantively revised (...) and several important corrections made. ¶¶ The complete volume of CRITIQUE OF IMPURE REASON: Horizons of Possibility and Meaning can now be freely downloaded from a variety of sources including: ¶¶ PhilPapers, PhilSci, Centre pour la Communication Scientifique Directe’s HAL, and CERN’s Zenodo¶¶ __________________________ This paper describes a logically compelling criterion of meaning — that is, a necessary condition of meaning, one which is non-arbitrary and compelling. One cannot _not_ accept the proposed criterion without self-referential inconsistency. This “metalogical” variety of self-referential inconsistency is new, opening a third category beyond semantical and pragmatical forms of self-referential inconsistency. ¶¶ It is argued that such a criterion of meaning can serve as an instrument of internal criticism for any theoretical framework that permits reference to a class of objects. The paper combines the concern of the logical empiricists to formulate a rigorous meaning criterion, with the analytical interest in identifying and eliminating self-defeating statements through an analysis of the referential structure of theories. ¶¶ The paper is followed by a list of other publications by the author that further develop and extend the ideas presented here.¶¶ . (shrink)
This paper examines a largely unrecognized mental disorder that is essentially a disability of values. It is their daily contact with this pathology that leads many university liberal arts faculty to demoralization. The deeply rooted disparity between the world of the traditional liberal arts scholar and today’s college students is not simply a gulf across which communication is difficult, but rather involves a pathological impairment in the majority of students that stems from an exclusionary focus on work, money, and the (...) acquisition of things. It is argued that this state of mind constitutes a self-disabling mental illness, which for a society becomes pathological ideology, and for the individual takes the form of clinical narcissism. (shrink)
Philosophers have not resisted temptation to transgress against the logic of their own conceptual structures. Self-undermining position-taking is an occupational hazard. Philosophy stands in need of conceptual therapy. The author describes three conceptions of philosophy: the narcissistic, disputatious, and therapeutic. (i) Narcissistic philosophy is hermetic, believing itself to contain all evidence that can possibly be relevant to it. Philosophy undertaken in this spirit has led to defensive, monadically isolated positions. (ii) Disputatious philosophies are fundamentally question-begging, animated by assumptions that philosophical (...) adversaries reject. (iii) The intention of therapeutic philosophy is to study philosophical positions from the standpoint of their internal consistency, or lack of it. In particular, its interest is in positions that either compel assent, because they cannot be rejected without self-referential inconsistency, or self-destruct because self-referential inconsistency cannot be avoided. The article's focus is on the latter. Several examples of self-undermining positions are drawn from the history of philosophy, exemplifying two main varieties of self-referential inconsistency: pragmatical and projective. (shrink)
[A Polish translation of StevenJamesBartlett, “Phenomenology of the Implicit,” Dialectica: Revue international de philosophie de la connaissance, Vol. 29, Nos. 2-3, 1975, pp. 173-188.] -/- This paper marks a juncture between the author’s studies in phenomenology and the transition he made to a study of what he has called a “metalogic of reference.” Published in 1974 in Polish translation, followed by its publication in English in 1975, “Phenomenology of the Implicit” describes the author’s “translation schema” (...) that permits certain of the central goals of Husserlian transcendental philosophy to be transposed to a framework that studies the preconditions of valid reference. The result of this translation was the development of the author’s “de-projective” approach to phenomenology, which he later dissociated from phenomenology in the form of a pure metalogic of reference. (shrink)
The Introduction to the collection of papers, _Reflexivity: A Source-book in Self-reference_. The Introduction studies the limits of our understanding that we carry unavoidably with us. We are perpetually confined within the horizons of our conceptual structure. When this structure grows or expands, the breadth of our comprehensions enlarges, but we are forever barred from the wished-for glimpse beyond its boundaries, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much credence we invest in the substance of our learning and (...) mist of speculation. (shrink)
This is a study of the relativity of facts in relation to the frameworks of reference in terms of which those facts are established. In this early paper from 1975, intended for a less technical audience, the author proposes an understanding of facts and their associated frameworks in terms of complementarity. This understanding of facts leads to an integrated yet pluralistic concept of reality. In the Addendum, readers will find a partial listing of related publications by the author that extend (...) the research described in this paper. (shrink)
The paper identifies defining characteristics of the principal models of problem-solving behavior which are useful in developing a general theory of problem-solving. An attempt is made both to make explicit those disagreements between theorists of different persuasions which have served as obstacles to an integrated approach, and to show that these disagreements have arisen from a number of conceptual confusions: The conflict between information processors and behavioral analysts has resulted from a common failure to understand theoretical sufficiency, and hence these (...) theorists have been at a loss to understand one another. Two directions of research in problem-solving, mechanical algorithmic problem-solving and the psychology of invention, have been thought to be divergent, but in fact complement one another once it is clear that problem-solving involves neither discovery nor invention, but rather is a matter of perceptual encoding and processing. Successful problem-solving behavior can be described as adaptive, learning behavior in which organization skills are effectively associated with situationally determined perceptual encoding processes of the individual mechanical or biological problem-solver. (shrink)
From the Editor’s Introduction: "The Internal Limitations of Human Understanding." We carry, unavoidably, the limits of our understanding with us. We are perpetually confined within the horizons of our conceptual structure. When this structure grows or expands, the breadth of our comprehensions enlarges, but we are forever barred from the wished-for glimpse beyond its boundaries, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much credence we invest in the substance of our learning and mist of speculation. -/- The limitations (...) in view here are not due to the mere finitude of our understanding of ourselves and of the world in which we live. They are limitations that come automatically and necessarily with any form of understanding. They are, as we shall see, part and parcel of any organization or ordering of data that we call information. -/- The consequences of these limitations are varied: As a result of them, hermeneutics cannot help but be hermetic; scientific theories of necessity are circumscribed by the boundaries of the ideas that define them; formal systems must choose between consistency and comprehensiveness; philosophical study, because it includes itself within its own proper subject matter, is forced to be reflexive in its self-enclosure. The fundamental dynamic shared by all forms of understanding testifies to an internal limitative keystone. (shrink)
An introductory text describing the author’s approach to epistemology in terms of self-referential argumentation and self-validating proofs. The text emphasizes a skill-based, rather than content-based, approach to the study of epistemology. The book is a simply stated, basic text whose purpose is to introduce students to the technical approach to epistemology developed by the author in other publications.
The elimination of ambiguity and redundancy are unquestioned goals in the exact sciences, and yet, as this paper shows, there are inescapable lower bounds that constrain our wish to eliminate them. The author discusses contributions by Richard Hamming (inventor of the Hamming code) and Satosi Watanabe (originator of the Theorems of the Ugly Duckling). Utilizing certain of their results, the author leads readers to recognize the unavoidable, central roles in effective communication, of redundancy, and of ambiguity of meaning, reference, and (...) identification. (shrink)
The author distinguishes between the “information-oriented” approach of conservative, traditional philosophy, and an approach to philosophy as “conceptual therapy.” The former emphasizes scholarship, textual explication and criticism, and, in general, a knowledge of the views of traditional thinkers. Philosophy as conceptual therapy, on the other hand, seeks an improvement of intellectual skills, and fosters a therapy for concepts and, by inference, a therapy for thinkers. The major concern of the paper is to argue that the traditional information-oriented approach to philosophy (...) does not help its students effectively to develop intellectual skills, and that a conception of philosophy as conceptual therapy can provide a valuable contribution to the teaching and to the subject-matter of philosophy. (shrink)
The first learning game to be developed to help students to develop and hone skills in constructing proofs in both the propositional and first-order predicate calculi. It comprises an autotelic (self-motivating) learning approach to assist students in developing skills and strategies of proof in the propositional and predicate calculus. The text of VALIDITY consists of a general introduction that describes earlier studies made of autotelic learning games, paying particular attention to work done at the Law School of Yale University, called (...) the ALL Project (Accelerated Learning of Logic). Following the introduction, the game of VALIDITY is described, first with reference to the propositional calculus, and then in connection with the first-order predicate calculus with identity. Sections in the text are devoted to discussions of the various rules of derivation employed in both calculi. Three appendices follow the main text; these provide a catalogue of sequents and theorems that have been proved for the propositional calculus and for the predicate calculus, and include suggestions for the classroom use of VALIDITY in university-level courses in mathematical logic. (shrink)
The author shares philosophical and biographical reflections, accompanied by photographs, on the lives of his well-known literary parents, poet Elizabeth Bartlett and writer/artist Paul Alexander Bartlett.
An invited High Table Address given before the students and faculty of Raymond College, University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, December 10, 1969. An impressionistic and idealistic paper from the author’s youth suggesting how his _de-projective approach to phenomenology_ could lead to an actual, lived, worldview.
A book review of _Free Choice: A Self-referential Argument_ by J. M. Boyle, Jr., G. Grisez, and O. Tollefsen. The review concerns the pragmatical self-referential argument employed in the book, and points to the fact that the argument is itself self-referentially inconsistent, but on the level of metalogical self-reference.
This monograph has three purposes. It attempts first to describe in general terms methods of investigation proper to strict phenomenology and to new rhetoric. Second, it describes certain recent developments by the author that lead to a de-projective approach to phenomenology and which are of potential significance in a variety of areas of study, including new rhetoric. Finally, suggestions are made with a view to bringing portions of rigorous phenomenology into close connection with certain of the basic concerns of new (...) rhetoric. (shrink)
When taken as a serious and dispassionate object of study from the standpoint of the science of pathology, the human species is easily recognized as a global pathogen. Incontrovertible evidence on all sides tells us this, and yet we have steadfastly avoided an honest look in the mirror. We so often choose—willfully and with strong convictions sustained by homocentric prejudice—to hide the facts from ourselves, and to proceed with untroubled ignorance to overlook the worldwide human and natural devastation for which (...) our species is responsible. (shrink)
A combined psychological-epistemological study of the human blocks that stand in the way of the recognition of non-human animal sentience and legal rights. This is a Portuguese translation of the author's paper, "Roots of Human Resistance to Animal Rights: Psychological and Conceptual Blcoks," originally published in the Lewis and Clark law review, Animal Righs, in 2002. The Portuguese version was presented in conjunction with the International Congress on Animal Rights, Salvador, Brazil, Oct. 8-11, 2008, and published in the Revista Brasileira (...) de Direito Animal. (shrink)
Hundreds of evaluative studies of psychotherapy still leave the issue of its effectiveness unsettled. The author argues that such studies have ignored the major determinant of therapeutic effectiveness, the role of a patient’s belief in the successful outcome in therapy. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, one of the foremost critics of psychiatry, wrote of this paper: "It is one of the best, if not the best, that I have read on this subject.” It makes little sense to claim that a certain therapy (...) is effective or ineffective in itself; rather, there is a relation of mutual interaction among three terms: a patient’s ability to learn in a psychological context, a therapist’s ability to teach, and the capacity of an approach to therapy to engender in the patient the necessary belief in its effectiveness. -/- The paper is followed by a 4-page 2014 Afterword. (shrink)
A combined psychological-epistemological study of the human blocks that stand in the way of the recognition of the sentience and legal rights of non-human animals. This is a German translation of the original paper, "Roots of Human Resistance to Animal Rights: Psychological and Conceptual Blocks," published by the Lewis and Clark law journal, Animal Rights, in 2002.
An essay that weighs the main factors that lead authors of academic and scientific books to consider conventional publication of their work, with realistic and practical recommendations for these authors so they may avoid the contractual “imprisonment” of their books after the period of initial active sales has passed.
THE CASE FOR GOVERNMENT BY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Tired of election madness? The rhetoric of politicians? Their unreliable promises? And less than good government? -/- Until recently, it hasn’t been hard for people to give up control to computers. Not very many people miss the effort and time required to do calculations by hand, to keep track of their finances, or to complete their tax returns manually. But relinquishing direct human control to self-driving cars is expected to be more of a (...) challenge, despite the predicted decrease in vehicle accidents thanks to artificial intelligence that isn’t subject to human distractions and errors of judgment. -/- If turning vehicle control over to artificial intelligence is a challenge, it is a very mild one compared with the idea that we might one day recognize and want to implement the advantages of human government by AI. But, like autonomous vehicle control, government by AI is likely to offer decided benefits. -/- In other publications, the author has studied a variety of widespread human limitations that, throughout human history, have led to much human suffering as well as ecological destruction. For the first time, these psychological and cognitive human shortcomings are taken into account in an essay that makes the case for government by artificial intelligence. (shrink)
This is Vol. I in French. Vol. II in English is available separately from this website. -/- The principal objective of the work is to construct an analytically precise methodology which can serve to identify, eliminate, and avoid a certain widespread conceptual fault or misconstruction, called a "projective misconstruction" or "projection" by the author. -/- It is argued that this variety of error in our thinking (i) infects a great number of our everyday, scientific, and philosophical concepts, claims, and theories, (...) (ii) has largely been undetected, and (iii), when remedied, leads to a less controversial and more rigorous elucidation of the transcendental preconditions of human knowledge than has traditionally been possible. -/- The dissertation identifies, perhaps for the first time, a projective variety of self-referential inconsistency, and proposes an innovative, self-reflexive approach to transcendental argument in a logical and phenomenological context. The strength of the approach lies, it is claimed, in the fact that a rejection of the approach is possible only on pain of self-referential inconsistency. The argument is developed in the following stages: -/- A general introduction identifies the central theme of the work, defines the scope of applicability of the results reached, and sketches the direction of the studies that follow. The preliminary discussion culminates in a recognition of the need for a critique of impure reason. -/- The body of the work is divided into two parts: Section I seeks to develop a methodology, on a purely formal basis, which is, on the one hand, capable of being used to study the transcendental foundations of the special sciences, including its own proper transcendental foundation. On the other hand, the methodology proposed is intended as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool for dealing with projective uses of concepts. -/- The approach initiates an analysis of concepts from a perspective which views knowledge as coordination. Section I describes formal structures that possess the status of preconditions in such a coordinative account of knowledge. Special attention is given to the preconditions of identifying reference to logical particulars. The first section attempts, then, to provide a self-referential, transcendental methodology which is essentially revisionary in that it is motivated by a concern for conceptual error-elimination. -/- Phenomenology, considered in its unique capacity as a self-referential, transcendental discipline, is of special relevance to the study. Section II accordingly examines a group of concepts which come into question in connection with the central theme of phenomenological constitution. The "de-projective methodology" developed in Section I is applied to these concepts that have a foundational importance in transcendental phenomenology. A translation is, in effect, proposed from the language of consciousness to a language in which preconditions of referring are investigated. The result achieved is the elimination of self-defeating, projective concepts from a rigorous, phenomenological study of the constitutive foundations of science. -/- The dissertation was presented in a two volume, double-language format for the convenience of French and English researchers. Each volume contains an analytical index. (shrink)
Whether truth, morality, and beauty have an objective basis has been a perennial question for philosophy, ethics, and aesthetics, while for a great many relativists and skeptics it poses a problem without a solution. In this essay, the author proposes an innovative approach that shows how cognitive intelligence, moral intelligence, and aesthetic intelligence provide the basis needed for objective judgments about truth, morality, and beauty.
The author considers the model-theoretic character of proofs and disproofs by means of attempted counterexample constructions, distinguishes this proof format from formal derivations, then contrasts two approaches to semantic tableaux proposed by Beth and Lambert-van Fraassen. It is noted that Beth's original approach has not as yet been provided with a precisely formulated rule of closure for detecting tableau sequences terminating in contradiction. To remedy this deficiency, a technique is proposed to clarify tableau operations.
The American system of education makes important and sometimes unjustified assumptions that were questioned and criticized nearly a hundred years ago by author and educational theorist Albert Jay Nock. This essay discusses Nock’s theory of American education and finds that certain of these assumptions stand greatly in need of the support of evidence.