William F. Lynch, S. J. An Approach to the Metaphysics of Plato through the Parmenides, Georgetown University Press, 1959, 255 pp. $ 6.00 Robert S. Brumbaugh, Plato on the One. The Hypotheses in the Parmenides, Yale University Press, New Haven 1961, 365 pp. $ 6.50.
In the second part of the Phaedrus Plato raises the question how a logos, that is a train of worded thoughts, written or spoken, ought to be composed. "Each logos," Plato here claims, "must be composed like a living being, a ζῷον, with a body of its own, so that it will be neither headless nor footless, but have middle parts and extremities μέσα...καὶ ἔσχατα, which are written in accordance with each other and the whole". In analyzing this "body," we (...) must, he continues, "partition according to the natural articulations," and thus by a constant dichotomizing unfold its two "sides"--its "right" side and its "left" side. In the two "ways" of the simile of the cave--the upward way and the downward way--and in the principle of bisection of the Divided Line, Plato states similar formal rules for all intellectual work and thus for all accomplished logoi included. (shrink)
BackgroundKnowledge about the psychosocial experiences of sick-listed workers in the first months of sick leave is sparse even though early interventions are recommended. The aim of this study was to explore psychosocial experiences of being on sick leave and thoughts about returning to work after 8–12 weeks of sickness absence.MethodsSixteen individuals at 9–13 weeks of sick leave participated in semi-structured individual interviews. Data was analyzed through Giorgi’s descriptive phenomenological method.ResultsThree themes emerged: energy depleted, losing normal life, searching for a solution. (...) A combination of health, work, and family challenges contributed to being drained of energy, which affected both work- and non-work roles. Being on sick leave led to a loss of social arenas and their identity as a contributing member of society. Participants required assistance to find solutions toward returning to work.ConclusionEven in this early stage of long-term sick leave, sick listed workers faced complex challenges in multiple domains. Continuing sick leave was experienced as necessary but may challenge personal identity and social life. Those not finding solutions may benefit from additional early follow-up that examine work-related, social and personal factors that influence return to work. (shrink)
The Hospital for Rehabilitation, Stavern, in Norway has treated patients with physical symptoms with no organic cause, so called conversion disorder patients, for over a decade. For four years research on the treatment has been carried out. Patients with conversion disorder seem not to fit in traditional somatic hospitals because their patienthood depends upon psychiatric diagnosis. Ironically, they appear not to belong in psychiatric hospitals because of their physical symptoms. The treatment offered these patients at hospitals for rehabilitation is adapted (...) physical activity consisting of behaviour elements such as positive reinforcement of normal function and lack of positive reinforcement at dysfunction. The pedagogical approach is seen as crucial in the successful rehabilitation of the patients. The disorder and treatment can be understood by using theories about the ecstatic body, radical behaviourism and phenomenology. When patients have problems in behaviour concerning both body and mind, it would be natural to employ both in the road to recovery. This article describes the various treatments and discusses them from phenomenological, ethical and philosophical perspectives. (shrink)
This paper probes the explanatory value of mentality as a social emergent in general and of the Zeitgeist in particular. Durkheim’s contention that social facts have emergent properties is open to the charge that it implies logically inconsistent “downward causation.” On the basis of an analogy with the brain–mind dilemma and mental emergentism, the first part of the essay discusses and dismisses the notion of social emergent properties that cannot be reduced to the properties of their component parts—individuals—and their internal (...) relations. However, ontological individualism need not compel us to methodological individualism. The second part introduces two challenges to methodological individualism. The most radical is Rajeev Bhargava’s assertion that the meaning of a belief is determined not by the individual holding the belief but by the entire linguistic community. Bhargava’s “contextualism” is closely related to the structural demand that we focus on discourse as a communal entity instead of continuing a delusive quest for the intentions of individual speakers. A more modest alternative is Margaret Gilbert’s plea for using “plural subjects”—social groups in which “participant agents” act jointly or have a jointly accepted view—in the practical syllogisms that are central to rationalizing action explanation. The notion of plural subjects lends credence to, and is reinforced by, “situationist” social psychology, which shows how people conform to peer groups, authorities, and roles. Building on Wesley Salmon’s and Peter Railton’s ecumenical accounts of explanation, the essay argues that both individual rationalizing action explanations and explanations based on plural agents can give explanatory information: we need not choose one or the other. The third part discusses how the Zeitgeist can provide added explanatory value in an analysis of the New Left. This is possible if the “spirit of the sixties” is seen as representing the values and worldviews of the “sixties generation” as a social group in Gilbert’s terms. Radical youth would suspend judgment and pool their wills to conform to what they perceived were the views of the imagined “sixties community” or—rendering more explanatory force—to smaller parts of it in the guise of peer groups and organizations. (shrink)
This reply aims both to respond to Gregory and to move forward the debate about God’s place in historiography. The first section is devoted to the nature of science and God. Whereas Gregory thinks science is based on metaphysical naturalism with a methodological corollary of critical-realist empiricism, I see critical, empiricist methodology as basic, and naturalism as a consequence. Gregory’s exposition of his apophatic theology, in which univocity is eschewed, illustrates the fissure between religious and scientific worldviews—no matter which basic (...) scientific theory one subscribes to. The second section is allotted to miracles. As I do, Gregory thinks no miracle occurred on Fox Lakes in 1652, but he restricts himself to understanding the actors and explaining change over time, and refuses to explain past or contemporary actions and events. Marc Bloch, in his book The Royal Touch: Sacred Monarchy and Scrofula in England and France, is willing to go much further than Gregory. Using his superior medical knowledge to substitute his own explanation of the phenomenon for that of the actors, Bloch dismisses the actors’ beliefs that they or others had been miraculously cured, and explains that they believed they saw miraculous healing because they were expecting to see it. In the third section, on historical explanation, I rephrase the question whether historians can accommodate both believers in God and naturalist scientists, asking whether God, acting miraculously or not, can be part of the ideal explanatory text. I reply in the negative, and explicate how the concept of a plural subject suggests how scientists can also be believers. This approach may be compatible with two options presented by Peter Lipton for resolving the tension between religion and science. The first is to see the truth claims of religious texts as untranslatable into scientific language ; the other is to immerse oneself in religious texts by accepting them as a guide but not believing in their truth claims when these contradict science. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Like many writers after the Renaissance, Hooker was influenced by a number of classical and Neo-Platonic texts, especially by Cicero, Seneca, Hermes Trimegistus, and Pseudo-Dionysius. Hooker’s regular allusions to these thinkers help illuminate his own work but also his place within the broader European context and the history of ideas. This paper addresses in turn the reception of Cicero and Seneca in the early Church through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Hooker’s use of Ciceronian and Senecan ideas, and finally (...) Hooker’s use of Neo-Platonic texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistus and Dionysius the Areopagite. Hooker will be shown to distinguish himself as a sophisticated and learned interpreter who balances distinctive motifs such as Scripture and tradition, faith, reason, experience, and ecclesiology with a complex appeal to pagan and Christian sources and ideas. (shrink)
This article presents Peter Railton’s analysis of scientific explanation and discusses its application in historiography. Although Railton thinks covering laws are basic in explanation, his account is far removed from Hempel. The main feature of Railton’s account is its ecumenism. The “ideal explanatory text,” a central concept in Railton’s analysis, has room for not only causal and intentional, but also structural and functional explanations. The essay shows this by analyzing a number of explanations in history. In Railton’s terminology all information (...) that reduces our insecurity as to what the explanandum is due is explanatory. In the “encyclopedic ideal explanatory text,” different kinds of explanation converge in the explanandum from different starting points. By incorporating pragmatic aspects, Railton’s account is well suited to show how explanations in historiography can be explanatory despite their lack of covering laws or tendency statements. Railton’s account is also dynamic, showing how the explanatory quest is a never-ending search for better illumination of the ideal explanatory text. Railton’s analysis is briefly compared to, and found compatible with, views on explanation presented by David Lewis, C. Behan McCullagh, and R. G. Collingwood. Confronted with Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutics and Donald Davidson’s insistence on the indeterminacy of interpretation, the essay suggests that the objectivity of the ideal explanatory text should be regarded as local, limited to the description under which the action is seen. (shrink)
The study of contemporary esoteric discourse has hitherto been a largely neglected part of the new academic field of Western esotericism. Contemporary Esotericism provides a broad overview and assessment of the complex world of Western esoteric thought today. Combining historiographical analysis with theories and methodologies from the social sciences, the volume explores new problems and offers new possibilities for the study of esoterica. Contemporary Esotericism studies the period since the 1950s but focuses on the last two decades. The wide range (...) of essays are divided into four thematic sections: the intricacies of esoteric appeals to tradition; the role of popular culture, modern communication technologies, and new media in contemporary esotericism; the impact and influence of esotericism on both religious and secular arenas; and the recent 'de-marginalization' of the esoteric in both scholarship and society. (shrink)
God, at least as an active agent, is excluded from today’s scientific worldview -- including the worldview of the humanities. This creates a gulf between a godless science and believers in God’s active presence in the world, a gulf that I argue is unbridgeable. I resist four temptations to take easy ways out of a real dilemma: whether to accept or dismiss this and similar miracle accounts. The first is to explain evidence and refuse to consider the events about which (...) the evidence reports; the second, to deny that reports of miracles represent a problem since biblical actors and authors lacked Hume’s concept of inviolable laws of nature; the third, to become resigned to a putative epistemological gap that renders impossible any dialogue on religion with actors from the early modern period; the fourth, to restrict our studies to asking what the events meant to the historical actors without passing judgment on the truth value of their beliefs. I suggest that when doing historical researc. (shrink)
Herbert A. Simon's reply (Inquiry, Vol. 25, No. 3) to my criticism of his 1954 paper is not to the point. He fails to respond to some of my arguments and misconceives others. One of his misconceptions is that any mathematical deduction from empirical premises which are formulated mathematically will necessarily lead to empirically valid conclusions. This claim is particularly unwarrantable in Simon's case since his mathematical premise, the continuity of the reaction function, is empirically meaningless.
In his well?known paper from 1954, Herbert A. Simon sets out to demonstrate that it is possible, in principle, to make public predictions within the social sciences that will be confirmed by the events. However, Simon's proof by means of the Brouwer fixed?point theorem not only rests on an illegitimate use of continuous variables, it is also founded on the questionable assumption that facts ? even on the level of possibilities ? can be established by purely mathematical means. The ?proof? (...) also appears redundant since we already know from past experience that, for instance, the confirmation of a public election prediction is possible. (shrink)
This essay initiates a fundamental discussion about education’s nature and character, and raises the questions: Is education reliant on other disciplines as, for example, psychology, sociology and philosophy? Or may education be thought of independently, without being reliant on other disciplines? These questions are discussed in the light of Theodor Litt’s educational reading of Hegel’s understanding of dialectics, as it appears in the book Phenomenology of Spirit, in order to support that education has a relational and dialectic nature. In the (...) second part, we connect the concept of ‘Hegelian dialectic structure’ with scientific theory. More specifically, we introduce a theoretically oriented concept, based on semantic theory construction; namely, ‘relational parameter bundles’. This concept clarifies the difference between education and other ‘scientific,’ often more empirically based disciplines, such as psychology, on which education, or rather, educational researchers, traditionally rely. Through our theoretical approach we aim to uncover fundamental differences within different disciplines’ scientific thinking, and their use of theories and models, which then manifest themselves in the discipline’s scientific assessments and practical actions. An uncritical integration of other disciplines in education may destroy the ‘true’ nature of education, and thus pose a danger to education’s character, problem areas and ways of conducting research. That does not mean that education shall be isolated from other disciplines, it is rather a question of when perspectives from other disciplines should be included in educational matters. Not before the educational questions are raised and worked through will it be appropriate to obtain knowledge from other disciplines, if, that is, it is deemed necessary based on educational judgment. (shrink)
Many countries have included agriculture as one of the sectors where they intend to obtain significant greenhouse gas emission reductions. In Norway, the dairy-beef sector, in particular, has been targeted for considerable emission cuts. Despite publicly expressed interest within the agricultural sector for reducing emissions, significant measures have yet to be implemented. In this paper, we draw on qualitative data from Norway when examining the extent the wider agri-food network around farmers promotes or restrains the transition toward low-emission agricultural production. (...) A qualitative analysis based on interviews with key stakeholders from various parts of the agri-food network of dairy-beef indicates that, if it is up to the dairy-beef system itself, it will develop in the direction of continued increased production volumes and increased efficiency in production, combined with moderate measures to reduce emissions. There is an obvious reluctance to stimulate the consumer demand toward other products or meat products with reduced emissions because such a solution would complicate full exploitation of existing agricultural resources and hence could bring considerable negative economic consequences. Another factor limiting the scope and drive towards a low-carbon production is that the effects of various potential climate measures do not appear as unambiguous. Our study indicates that the dairy-beef sector will likely not reach the goal of reduced emissions from its own initiatives. Rather, significant changes would probably require both push and pull support from forces outside the agricultural system. (shrink)
The first aim of the study was to identify when deliberate self-harm behavior ceased in patients with borderline symptoms undergoing dialectical behavioral treatment. The second aim was to compare patients who ceased their self-harm behavior early or late in the course of treatment, with regard to demographics, comorbidity, and symptom severity. The study used a naturalistic design and included 75 treatment completers at an outpatient DBT clinic. Of these 75 patients, 46 presented with self-harming behavior at pre-treatment. These 46 participants (...) where split into two groups, based on median amount of time before ceasing self-harm behavior, termed early and late responders. Treatment duration varied from 16 to 160 weeks. Patients were assessed pre- and post-treatment using measures of depression, hopelessness, personality traits, quality of life, and global assessment of symptoms and functioning. The majority ceased their self-harming within the first year, and the average number of weeks was 15.5. Twenty-five percent of patients ceased their DSH behavior during the first week of treatment. For the remaining patients, the cessation of DSH continued gradually across a 1 year period. We found no differences between early and late responders with respect to demographics, comorbidity, symptom severity, or treatment outcome. None of the patients committed suicide. The findings indicate that self-harming behavior decreases gradually across the first year after starting DBT. (shrink)
Explanatory pluralism has been defended by several philosophers of history and social science, recently, for example, by Tor Egil Førland in this journal. In this article, we provide a better argument for explanatory pluralism, based on the pragmatist idea of epistemic interests. Second, we show that there are three quite different senses in which one can be an explanatory pluralist: one can be a pluralist about questions, a pluralist about answers to questions, and a pluralist about both. We defend (...) the last position. Finally, our third aim is to argue that pluralism should not be equated with “anything goes”: we will argue for non-relativistic explanatory pluralism. This pluralism will be illustrated by examples from history and social science in which different forms of explanation (for example, structural, functional, and intentional explanations) are discussed, and the fruitfulness of our framework for understanding explanatory pluralism is shown. (shrink)