Our scientific concepts generally are in the melting-pot. They are all infected by relativity. This is as true in psychology and philosophy as in the physical sciences. In each case we must be willing to reconstruct our concepts on the basis of new evidence. Psychology has too long been hampered by a false tradition, and incidentally it has dragged philosophy with it into the slough of subjectivism. Brilliant discoveries in the realms of physiology and pathology throw new light on many (...) of the fundamental concepts of psychology, spite of the fact that the investigators themselves have sometimes been misled by the old tradition. We are here concerned with their data, not with their theories. The evidence, as I interpret it, gives the death-blow to the old subjectivistic psychology. As regards sensations, the evidence shows, on the one hand, that their character is independent of consciousness; but, on the other hand, it equally disproves the assumption that the sense-qualities exist in the physical world just as we know them and independently of the organism. The evidence further shows that the centers of the central nervous system constitute a hierarchy of energy patterns, not storehouses or factories of content, sensational or imaginal. The content is due to lines of motion, connecting those energy patterns with the sense-organs. The processes of selection. (shrink)
It is a momentous venture to attempt to frame an hypothesis of the universe. But if we reflect upon the meaning of life, we are forced to make such an effort. The only way we can escape the responsibility is to be guilty of the great refusal—the refusal to think. If we frame an hypothesis, it should be such as to assign the proper significance to all the facts of human experience—not merely the physical facts, but the biological and mental (...) as well; not merely our scientific interests, but our æsthetic, ethical, and religious interests as well. And it should do so in the simplest possible way. It would be futile and impossible to examine all possible solutions. Henri Poincaré proved long ago that if there is one explanation of a class of phenomena, there are an infinite number of explanations. (shrink)
Este trabalho discute a formação da mentalidade individual, por meio de uma reflexão comparativa entre Democracia e educação, de John Dewey, e Admirável mundo novo, de Aldous Huxley. O texto literário permite um diálogo e uma leitura em face do texto filosófico, que o caracteriza como campo para a realização de um experimento de pensamento. Esse experimento é a discussão do valor atribuído por Dewey ao crescimento individual e ao social, em contraposição ao valor encontrado na narrativa de Huxley, (...) da estabilidade. Confrontando as leituras dessas duas obras, se pode compreender mais profundamente e, em uma perspectiva diferenciada, a relevância das condições do crescimento na formação plena da mentalidade individual. (shrink)
John E. Smith has contributed to contemporary philosophy in primarily four distinct capacities; first, as a philosopher of religion and God; second, as an indefatigable defender of philosophical reflection in its classical sense ( a sense inclusive of, but not limited to, metaphysics); third, as a participant in the reconstruction of experience and reason so boldly inaugurated by Hegel then redically transformed by the classical American pragmatists, and significantly augmented by such thinkers as Josiah Royce, william Earnest Hocking, and (...) Alfred North Whitehead; fourth, as an interpreter of philosophical texts and traditions (Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche no less than Charles Peirce, WIlliam James and John Dewey; German idealism as well as American; the Augustinian tradition no less than the pragmatic). Reason, Experience, and God provides an important and comprehensive look at the work of John E. Smith by collected essays which each address aspects of his life-long work. A response by John E. Smith himself draws a line of continuity between the pieces. (shrink)
If one is an egalitarian, what should one want to equalize? Opportunities or outcomes? Resources or welfare? These positions are usually conceived to be very different. I argue in this paper that the distinction is misconceived: the only coherent conception of resource equality implies welfare equality, in an appropriately abstract description of the problem. In this section, I motivate the program which the rest of the paper carries out.
Imagine a society of fisherfolk, who, in the state of nature, fish on a lake of finite size. Fishing on the lake is characterized by decreasing returns to scale in labor, because the lake's finite size imply that each successive hour of fishing labor is less effective than the previous one, as the remaining fish become less dense in the lake. In the state of nature, the lake is commonly owned: each fishes as much as he pleases, and, we might (...) suppose, calculates his fishing plan by taking the labor of the others as given, as he sees it. Each knows that the distribution of fish will be proportional to labor expended among the fisherfolk: if I fish twice as long as you, I will end up with twice as much fish as you. This is not due to some kind of concern with equity among the fisherfolk; it is a technological fact, implied by the assumption that fishing labor is homogeneous, and all are equally likely to catch a fish in a unit of time. An equilibrium under common ownership can be thought of as a Nash equilibrium of the game where each computes his optimal fishing plan, given the labor of the others and knowing what the consequent distribution of fish would be. (shrink)