Throughout the biological and biomedical sciences there is a growing need for, prescriptive ‘minimum information’ (MI) checklists specifying the key information to include when reporting experimental results are beginning to find favor with experimentalists, analysts, publishers and funders alike. Such checklists aim to ensure that methods, data, analyses and results are described to a level sufficient to support the unambiguous interpretation, sophisticated search, reanalysis and experimental corroboration and reuse of data sets, facilitating the extraction of maximum value from data sets (...) them. However, such ‘minimum information’ MI checklists are usually developed independently by groups working within representatives of particular biologically- or technologically-delineated domains. Consequently, an overview of the full range of checklists can be difficult to establish without intensive searching, and even tracking thetheir individual evolution of single checklists may be a non-trivial exercise. Checklists are also inevitably partially redundant when measured one against another, and where they overlap is far from straightforward. Furthermore, conflicts in scope and arbitrary decisions on wording and sub-structuring make integration difficult. This presents inhibit their use in combination. Overall, these issues present significant difficulties for the users of checklists, especially those in areas such as systems biology, who routinely combine information from multiple biological domains and technology platforms. To address all of the above, we present MIBBI (Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations); a web-based communal resource for such checklists, designed to act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for those exploring the range of extant checklist projects, and to foster collaborative, integrative development and ultimately promote gradual integration of checklists. (shrink)
Deutsch and Hayden have proposed an alternative formulation of quantum mechanics which is completely local. We argue that their proposal must be understood as having a form of ‘gauge freedom’ according to which mathematically distinct states are physically equivalent. Once this gauge freedom is taken into account, their formulation is no longer local.
Deutsch and Hayden claim to have provided an account of quantum mechanics which is particularly local, and which clarifies the nature of information transmission in entangled quantum systems. In this paper, a perspicuous description of their formalism is offered and their claim assessed. It proves essential to distinguish, as Deutsch and Hayden do not, between two ways of interpreting the formalism. On the first, conservative, interpretation, no benefits with respect to locality accrue that are not already available on (...) either an Everettian or a statistical interpretation; and the conclusions regarding information flow are equivocal. The second, ontological, interpretation, offers a framework with the novel feature that global properties of quantum systems are reduced to local ones; but no conclusions follow concerning information flow in more standard quantum mechanics. (shrink)
Este artigo quer mostrar que Kant descobriu, segundo Eric Weil, o problema do sentido. Entretanto, Eric Weil observa que Kant não encontrou uma linguagem apropriada para falar do sentido. A linguagem de Kant era ainda uma linguagem ontológica. Malgrado isso, Kant conseguiu fechar, na terceira Crítica, o abismo que separava natureza e liberdade.
The present contribution aims at defining the relation between cybernetics and social theory from the perspective of society as order. After an historical framework of the cybernetic movement, a careful reading of the works of Norbert Wiener, in which he introduced the concept of feed-back and the idea of information society, has revealed a keen awareness about the social effects of technological innovation. Among the social scientists who had made use of cybernetic concepts, it has been considered the work of (...) Karl Deutsch, which was one of the first completely cybernetic perspective for the study of political and social phenomena. The main conclusion is that cybernetics, as a meeting point between different disciplines, has produced an image of self-regulated society in line with the image of society as order. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 236 - 255 In this article I compare some elements of Eric Gans’s thought with a few aspects of the philosophy of Hermann Cohen—first and foremost, Gans’s concept of the origin and Cohen’s concept of Ursprung—while revealing the deep affinity between these two lines of thinking.
Eric Voegelin believed that a morally acceptable and in the long run successful political order (which meant for the emigrant Voegelin primarily an order that is resistant to totalitarianism) can only be built on the foundation of a healthy religiosity of the citizens and the political leaders. The question of what a healthy religiosity is was examined by Voegelin by recurring to intellectual history and to the philosophy of consciousness. In my book I offer a detailed criticism Voegelin's philosophy (...) of consciousness and of his concept of political order. (shrink)
Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin were political theorists of the first rank whose impact on the study of political science in North America has been profound. A study of their writings is one of the most expeditious ways to explore the core of political science; comparing and contrasting the positions both theorists have taken in assessing that core provides a comprehensive appreciation of the main options of the Western tradition. In fifty-three recently discovered letters, Strauss and Voegelin explore the (...) nature of their similarities and differences, offering trenchant observations about one another's work, about the state of the discipline, and about the influences working on them. The correspondence fleshes out many assumptions made in their published writings, often with a frankness and directness that removes all vestiges of ambiguity. Included with the correspondence are four pivotal re-published essays—"Jerusalem and Athens: Some Preliminary Reflections", "The Gospel and Culture", "Immortality: Experience and Symbol", and "The Mutual Influence of Theology and Philosophy" —and commentaries by James L. Wiser, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Stanley Rosen, Thomas J. J. Altizer, Timothy Fuller, Ellis Sandoz, Thomas L. Pangle, and David Walsh. (shrink)
Consciousness is at once the most obvious and mysterious feature of the human mind. Kenneth Keulman seeks a better understanding of its many dimensions through interpretations of the ideas of the twentieth-century philosopher Eric Voegelin, who viewed the complexity of modern consciousness as the result of a distinctive form of evolution combining genetic change with cultural history. Voegelin's unique contribution to political theory, Keulman shows, comes from his development of an approach to history rooted in a study of the (...) symbolisms of the history of order. It is because the problems of order in society arise from the order of consciousness that the theory of consciousness can be placed at the center of political theory. Keulman's interpretation encompasses not only Voegelin's published writings but also a substantial body of unpublished material to which Voegelin gave him access before his death in 1985, including portions of what was to become Volume V of _Order and History_. (shrink)
फेसबुक आणि ब्लॉगच्या जमान्यात तत्त्वज्ञानाची चर्चा केवळ पुस्तकांपुरती किंवा विद्यापीठीय चर्चासत्रांपुरती मर्यादित राहू नये, असे मानणारा एक चळवळय़ा प्राध्यापक, पुस्तकांच्या मानीव वर्चस्वामुळे तत्त्वज्ञान क्षेत्राचे काय नुकसान झाले, याबद्दलही बोलतो आहे आणि ही चर्चा पुस्तकांच्या बाहेरही झाली पाहिजे.. ती लोकाभिमुख झाली पाहिजे, असे सांगतो आहे..
My purpose is to analyze the peculiar thinking of Weil, according to the categories of reasoning, as a choice to avoid violence. In his definition of man, Weil recovers the notion of realization, with which man is redefined in terms of what he must be and not merely for what he is. There-to, man is ..
Difficulties over probability have often been considered fatal to the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. Here I argue that the Everettian can have everything she needs from `probability' without recourse to indeterminism, ignorance, primitive identity over time or subjective uncertainty: all she needs is a particular *rationality principle*. The decision-theoretic approach recently developed by Deutsch and Wallace claims to provide just such a principle. But, according to Wallace, decision theory is itself applicable only if the correct attitude to a (...) future Everettian measurement outcome is subjective uncertainty. I argue that subjective uncertainty is not to be had, but I offer an alternative interpretation that enables the Everettian to live without uncertainty: we can justify Everettian decision theory on the basis that an Everettian should *care about* all her future branches. The probabilities appearing in the decision-theoretic representation theorem can then be interpreted as the degrees to which the rational agent cares about each future branch. This reinterpretation, however, reduces the intuitive plausibility of one of the Deutsch -Wallace axioms. (shrink)
I present a proof of the quantum probability rule from decision-theoretic assumptions, in the context of the Everett interpretation. The basic ideas behind the proof are those presented in Deutsch's recent proof of the probability rule, but the proof is simpler and proceeds from weaker decision-theoretic assumptions. This makes it easier to discuss the conceptual ideas involved in the proof, and to show that they are defensible.
An analysis is made of Deutsch's recent claim to have derived the Born rule from decision-theoretic assumptions. It is argued that Deutsch's proof must be understood in the explicit context of the Everett interpretation, and that in this context, it essentially succeeds. Some comments are made about the criticism of Deutsch's proof by Barnum, Caves, Finkelstein, Fuchs, and Schack; it is argued that the flaw which they point out in the proof does not apply if the Everett (...) interpretation is assumed. (shrink)
I argue that Deutsch’s model for the behavior of systems traveling around closed timelike curves relies implicitly on a substantive metaphysical assumption. Deutsch is employing a version of quantum theory with a significantly supplemented ontology of parallel existent worlds, which differ in kind from the many worlds of the Everett interpretation. Standard Everett does not support the existence of multiple identical copies of the world, which the D-CTC model requires. This has been obscured because he often refers to (...) the branching structure of Everett as a “multiverse”, and describes quantum interference by reference to parallel interacting definite worlds. But he admits that this is only an approximation to Everett. The D-CTC model, however, relies crucially on the existence of a multiverse of parallel interacting worlds. Since his model is supplemented by structures that go significantly beyond quantum theory, and play an ineliminable role in its predictions and explanations, it does not represent a quantum solution to the paradoxes of time travel. (shrink)
A major problem facing no-collapse interpretations of quantum mechanics in the tradition of Everett is how to understand the probabilistic axiom of quantum mechanics (the Born rule) in the context of a deterministic theory in which every outcome of a measurement occurs. Deutsch claims to derive a decision-theoretic analogue of the Born rule from the non-probabilistic part of quantum mechanics and some non-probabilistic axioms of classical decision theory, and hence concludes that no probabilistic axiom is needed. I argue that (...)Deutsch’s derivation begs the question. (shrink)
Eric Davidson had a deep and abiding interest in the role developmental mechanisms played in generating evolutionary patterns documented in deep time, from the origin of the euechinoids to the processes responsible for the morphological architectures of major animal clades. Although not an evolutionary biologist, Davidson’s interests long preceded the current excitement over comparative evolutionary developmental biology. Here I discuss three aspects at the intersection between his research and evolutionary patterns in deep time: First, understanding the mechanisms of body (...) plan formation, particularly those associated with the early diversification of major metazoan clades. Second, a critique of early claims about ancestral metazoans based on the discoveries of highly conserved genes across bilaterian animals. Third, Davidson’s own involvement in paleontology through a collaborative study of the fossil embryos from the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation in south China. (shrink)
I am grateful to Eric Schliesser for his gracious response, and to Philosophy East and West and Roger Ames for hosting this discussion. The challenges currently facing the profession regarding exclusionary practices are many, and Schliesser's work at both NewAPPS and his newer blog, Digressions&Impressions, is sensitive both to how many and how complex these challenges are. Schliesser is correct that my discussion of the profession's conversational patterns is both a bit ungenerous and more than a little ambitious, asking (...) for "revolution" in how the discipline not only talks, but operates. Likewise, Schliesser is right to point out that there are now many, and more than ever before, seeking to probe critically the... (shrink)
The Britten–Davidson model of genetic regulation was well received by American molecular biologists and embryologists, but not by the members of the French School of molecular biology. In particular, François Jacob considered it too abstract and too removed from experiments. I re-examine the contrast between the Britten–Davidson model and the operon model by Jacob and Monod, the different scientific contexts in which they were produced and the different roles they played. I also describe my recent encounters with Eric Davidson, (...) and how I discovered the extraordinary continuity of his work on the development of the sea urchin, as well as his rich personality. (shrink)
En este trabajo presento un estudio sobre el estado del arte de la llamada ‘epistemología de las simulaciones computacionales’. En particular, me centro en los varios trabajos de Eric Winsberg quién es uno de los filósofos más fructíferos y sistemáticos en este tema. Además de analizar la obra de Winsberg, y basándome en sus trabajos y en el de otros filósofos, mostraré que hay buenas razones para pensar que la epistemología tradicional de la ciencia no es suficiente para el (...) análisis de las simulaciones computacionales. (shrink)
The subjective Everettian approach to quantum mechanics presented by Deutsch and Wallace fails to constitute an empirically viable theory of quantum phenomena. The decision theoretic implementation of the Born rule realized in this approach provides no basis for rejecting Everettian quantum mechanics in the face of empirical data that contradicts the Born rule. The approach of Greaves and Myrvold, which provides a subjective implementation of the Born rule as well but derives it from empirical data rather than decision theoretic (...) arguments, avoids the problem faced by Deutsch and Wallace and is empirically viable. However, there is good reason to cast doubts on its scientific value. (shrink)
Between November 30th and December 2nd, 2015, the Jacques Loeb Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva held its Eighth International Workshop under the title “From Genome to Gene: Causality, Synthesis and Evolution”. Eric Davidson, the founder of the concept of developmental Gene Regulatory Networks, had regularly attended the previous meetings, and his participation in this one was expected, but he suddenly passed away 3 months before. In (...) this paper, we provide an introduction and overview on five papers that were presented at the workshop and examine the importance of genomes and gene regulatory networks in extant biology, developmental biology, evolutionary biology and medicine, as well as a collection of remembrances of Eric Davidson, of his personality as well as of his scientific contributions. Historical perspectives are provided, and the ethical issues raised by the new tools developed to modify the genome are also discussed. (shrink)
In this essay I propose to explicate and defend a new and improved version of a Lockean proviso—the self-ownership proviso . I shall presume here that individuals possess robust rights of self-ownership. I shall take it that each individual has strong moral claims over the elements which constitute her person, e.g., her body parts, her talents, and her energies. However, in the course of the essay, I shall be challenging what I take to be the standard conception of self-ownership and (...) proposing an enrichment of that conception. The SOP is presented and in part justified as an implication of the right of self-ownership as it is more richly conceived—hence its designation as the self-ownership proviso. As an implication of the right of self-ownership which is also compatible, in theory and practice, with extensive and robust private property rights, the SOP is offered as an integral element of classical-liberal political theory. (shrink)
Eric Davidson, a passionate molecular developmental biologist and intellectual, believed that conceptual advances in the sciences should be based on knowledge of conceptual history. Convinced of the superiority of a causal-analytical approach over other methods, he succeeded in successfully applying this approach to the complex feature of organismal development by introducing the far-reaching concept of developmental Gene Regulatory Networks. This essay reviews Davidson’s philosophy, his support for the history of science, and some aspects of his scientific personality.
In the Second Meditation, Descartes famously asks at one point, ‘But what then am I?’ – to which his immediate answer is ‘A thing that thinks.’ It is this question, or rather the plural version of it, that Eric Olson examines in this excellent book. He thinks that it is – today, at least – a rather neglected question. He points out that it is wrong to confuse the question with the much more frequently examined question of what personal (...) identity consists in. In fact, he thinks that possible answers to the two questions, even if not entirely independent of one other, constrain each other only to a rather limited extent. It is important to appreciate that Olson is not inquiring into what persons in general are, but only into what we human persons are. Olson explores all the major, and some of the less well-known, answers that have been offered to this question. He begins with the answer that he himself has defended in an earlier book, The Human Animal – the answer that we are human animals, that is, biological organisms of a certain kind. Indeed, Olson is, along with Peter van Inwagen, one of the best known ‘animalists’ – although he admits to being a little more tentative in his endorsement of this position now, for reasons that we shall come to later. The other views that he considers are these: that we are entities that are ‘constituted’ by, but not identical with, human animals (the view of Lynne Rudder …. (shrink)
This article is partly an exercise in academic autobiography, seeking to make sense of the different ways in which I have applied semiotics to secular law on the one hand, Jewish law on the other. The very fact that it can be applied to both shows that its claims are methodological. But it also indicates a possible reformulation of the semiotic issues in philosophical terms: we may view the relationship between the semantic and pragmatic levels in terms of the relationship/balance (...) between certainty/truth (the semantic level) on the one hand and trust (the pragmatic level) on the other. What may distinguish the secular and religious systems is the manner in the issue of trust is be ideologically concealed. (shrink)
Following its determination of a finding of scientific misconduct the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) will seek redress for any injury sustained. Several remedies both administrative and statutory may be available depending on the strength of the evidentiary findings of the misconduct investigation. Pursuant to federal regulations administrative remedies are primarily remedial in nature and designed to protect the integrity of the affected research program, whereas statutory remedies including civil fines and criminal penalties are designed to deter and punish wrongdoers. (...) This commentary discusses the available administrative and statutory remedies in the context of a specific case, that of former University of Vermont nutrition researcher Eric Poehlman, and supplies a possible rationale for the legal result. (shrink)
In the years following the end of the Second World War Carol Reed directed three films, Odd Man Out, The Third Man, and The Man Between, that all dealt with individuals somehow cast alone into post-war urban environments that shared certain characteristics of division and violence. This article argues that they can be usefully analysed through the lens of Walter Benjamin's notion of the creaturely, especially through Eric Santner's explication of the concept. It considers the films from three aspects (...) of Santner's creaturely life: natural history, the state of exception, and undeadness. These qualities of the creaturely as an analysis of the human condition help to encompass some of the strangeness of Reed's apparently conventional film narratives. The films' characters can be seen as overtly modelling a kind of Benjaminian natural history, the history of the brutal twentieth century, in which the vulnerable, mortal, dying human beings at the centre of these tales stumble around in rea... (shrink)
In this paper I offer three main challenges to James (2011). All three turn on the nature of philosophy and secure knowledge in Spinoza. First, I criticize James's account of the epistemic role that experience plays in securing adequate ideas for Spinoza. In doing so I criticize her treatment of what is known as the ‘conatus doctrine’ in Spinoza in order to challenge her picture of the relationship between true religion and philosophy. Second, this leads me into a criticism of (...) her account of the nature of philosophy in Spinoza. I argue it is less piecemeal and less akin to what we would recognize as ‘science’ than she suggests. Third, I argue against James's core commitment that Spinoza's three kinds of knowledge differ in degree; I claim they differ in kind. My argument will offer a new interpretation of Spinoza's conception of ‘common notions’. Moreover, I argue that Spinozistic adequate knowledge involves something akin to angelic disembodiment. (shrink)
In Rawls, Dewey and Constructivism Eric Thomas Weber focuses on the epistemological basis of John Rawls’ political philosophy and discusses such basis through two different lenses. Firstly, relying on Tom Rockmore’s recent interpretation of Kant, Weber qualifies Rawls’ work against the background of Kant’s epistemology and its tensions between constructivism and representationalism. While the term “constructivism” here applies broadly to epistemological positions holding ‘the objects of knowledge to be affected or conditioned by the knower’, “representationalism” covers any epistemological approach (...) taken as ‘requiring an analysis of the relation of a representation to an independent object … as it... (shrink)
In their paper “Vagueness, Ignorance, and Margins for Error” Kenton Machina and Harry Deutsch criticize the epistemic theory of vagueness. This paper answers their objections. The main issues discussed are: the relation between meaning and use; the principle of bivalence; the ontology of vaguely specified classes; the proper form of margin for error principles; iterations of epistemic operators and semantic compositionality; the relation or lack of it between quantum mechanics and theories of vagueness.
This essay examines the relationship between Eric Voegelin and Leo Strauss in order to show the central themes necessary to elucidate their philosophical positions. The essay reveals the centrality of the figure of Plato as a point of departure to understand the agreement and the disagreement concerning fundamental questions (such as the way of reading ancient texts, the importance of the historical perspective or the importance of the study of the past in order to orient the modern science) which (...) revolves around the issue of the relation between revelation and philosophy. The work concludes with an identification of the common core of both thinkers that allows us to understand their differences (homogeneity or heterogeneity of reality and the human) and, moreover, identifies both perspectives with a «foundational» (Voegelin) or «negative» (Strauss) interpretation of Plato’s thought. (shrink)
The Politics of the Soul: Eric Voegelin on Religious Experience includes eight essays examining one of the most profound studies of religious experience to appear in the last century: that of the political philosopher Eric Voegelin. Voegelin is increasingly recognized as a political theorist of exceptional scope and erudition and the most important philosopher of his time since Toynbee, and his treatment of religious experience is a crucial part of his overall analysis of existence and history. This collection (...) of essays by prominenet Voegelin scholars is the first book to explore the relevance of that analysis to the contemporary understanding of political theory, theology, history, and philosophy of consciousness, and as such it constitutes a significant contribution not only to Voegelin scholarship but to the current quest for theoretical foundations. (shrink)
En este artículo se propone una lectura de las obras de Giambattista Vico y Eric Voegelin, cuyo objetivo es evidenciar importantes puntos de contacto entre ellas, en particular en lo que se refiere a su acercamiento al tema del fundacionalismo. Para ambos autores la trascendencia del significado últ..
Eric Voegelin and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy provide an interesting and important contrast in their Augustinian diagnoses of modernity and the role of revolution and faith in salvation in history. For Eric Voegelin the desolation of modern humanity springs from its unreal elevation of the self – its Gnostic inheritance – and its immanentization of God and the eschaton into history and progress. In keeping with this is the moderns’ failure to appreciate that the symbolic order required for a fulfilling (...) human community and experience relies upon the necessity of maintaining God as a beyond in relation to society, man and world. Rosenstock-Huessy is also concerned that the failure of the moderns to understand the sign and significance of God is disastrous. And like Voegelin he is deeply opposed to modern Gnosticism and the pathologies that emerge from it, but Rosenstock-Huessy is also interested in something that is not Voegelin’s primary concern – mainly the role of providence in history. (shrink)
Leo Strauss»s Natural Right and History and Eric Voegelin»s New Science of Politics represented both a continuation of the Weimar conversation and a projection into the American context of the issues that defined that conversation. They each chose Max Weber as the pivotal figure in their animadversions regarding historicism, relativism, and the condition of social science, but, as in the case of Weber himself, the underlying issue, which animated the emigres across the ideological spectrum, was the relationship between theory (...) and practice or philosophy and politics. (shrink)
Le but de cet article est une critique de la philosophie politique de M. Eric Weil. Par opposition à M. Weil, l'auteur définit la „politique" ici comme l'art du réalisable, à préciser comme : l'art d'arriver à court terme à une organisation de la société qu'on estime meilleure, et cela en employant tous les moyens permis. L'homme politique n'est pas, ainsi que l'affirme M. Weil, un „saint de Vtmiversel”, qui, en ce qui concerne l'emploi de la violence, se trouve (...) au-dessus de la loi. Ce „politicien-éducateur” est en vérité l'appui des régimes totalitaires et est d'ailleurs inconcevable en dehors de ceux-ci. En outre la théorie de M. Weil contient un certain nombre de contradictions internes et, si on la mesure à la pratique, elle se trouve être déficiente à beaucoup d'égards. Contre la conception platonicienne de M. Weil l'auteur défend la thèse que la politique n'est pas une infraction, regrettable mais inévitable, à „la morale”. C'est la tâche de l'homme politique de supprimer toutes les absurdités, inconséquences et injustices qui entachent les structures de la société. Ce qui, concrètement, est absurde, inconséquent ou injuste n'est pas déterminé par „la morale”, mais par la conscience du droit et par le sentiment moral d'une époque donnée. Les „certitudes” d'où part l'homme politique ne sont pas des Idées platoniciennes, mais des hypothèses de travail, qui dérivent leur contenu non pas de la contemplation des Idées, mais d'une notion de ce qui est juste et désirable, notion qui est déterminée par les conditions matérielles et spirituelles et qui se trouve dans un changement continuel. (shrink)
Was sind wir? Wie immer man sich zu dieser Frage stellt, eines scheint offenkundig: Wir sind Tiere, genauer gesagt: menschliche Tiere, Mitglieder der Art Homo sapiens. Dabei mag es überraschen, daß viele Philosophen diese vermeintlich banale Tatsache abstreiten. Plato, Augustinus, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant und Hegel, um nur einige herausragende zu nennen, waren alle der Meinung, wir seien keine Tiere. Es mag zwar sein, daß unsere Körper Tiere sind. Doch sind wir nicht mit unseren Körpern gleichzusetzen. Wir sind etwas (...) anderes als Tiere. Kaum anderer Meinung sind Denker nicht-westlicher Traditionen. Und rund neun von zehn Philosophen, die heutzutage über Probleme der personalen Identität nachdenken, vertreten Ansichten, die ausschließen, daß wir Tiere sind. (shrink)
In 1952, Waldemar Gurian, founding editor of The Review of Politics, commissioned Eric Voegelin, then a professor of political science at Louisiana State University, to review Hannah Arendt’s recently published The Origins of Totalitarianism . She was given the right to reply; Voegelin would furnish a concluding note. Preceding this dialogue, Voegelin wrote a letter to Arendt anticipating aspects of his review; she responded in kind. Arendt’s letter to Voegelin on totalitarianism, written in German, has never appeared in print (...) before. She wrote two drafts of it, the first and longest being the more interesting. It contained an early reference to her thinking about the relationship among plurality, politics, and philosophy. It also invoked her notion of the compelling “logic” of totalitarian ideology. But this was not the letter Voegelin received. Because of this, he misunderstood significant parts of her argument. Below, the two versions of Arendt’s letter are translated. They are prefaced by a translation of Voegelin’s initial message to Arendt. An introduction compares Arendt’s letters, offers context, and provides a snapshot of Arendt’s and Voegelin’s perceptions of each other. Their views of political religion and human nature are also highlighted. Keyed to Arendt and Voegelin’s letters are pertinent aspects of the debate in The Review of Politics that followed their epistolary exchange. (shrink)
The title of this article evokes the problem in the pursuit of which Eric Voegelin, one of the foremost political philosophers in the twentieth century, produced his work. To inquire into what is called here “the movement unto knowing between reality and consciousness,” Voegelin progressively differentiated his language concerning “reality” and “consciousness.” In fact, language itself became for him a central theme. In his late essay The Beginning of the Beginning he added to the notions of reality and consciousness (...) that of “language,” in one and the same “complex”” It is through language, he maintained, that reality becomes present to consciousness. To know reality means to enter into the “story” that reality is. In his quest for a theory of consciousness, the acme of his theory of politics, Voegelin found himself compelled to develop a theory of language. (shrink)
Eric Williams's Capitalism and Slavery is a classic in the sense that it irreversyibly altered our most basic way of looking at an historical event. Writing the book in 1944, Williams broke with the century of histories portraying the British abolition of slavery as a humanist event, a moral victory. His account of slavery in the British colonies was innovative in introducing the notion that economic, rather than moral, factors were decisive in the motivation and success of the abolitionists. (...) The two farthest-reaching claims of Capitalism and Slavery are that British colonial slave production and the slave trade enabled the industrial revolution to take place in Britain, and that the abolition movement resulted solely from changes in the British imperial economy. Though few historians since Williams have agreed with him on the centrality of industrialization in the slave colonies and abolition, his work has resulted in the inclusion of economic factors in all recent accounts of slavery and its abolition. By writing a simplistic history with a global context, Williams made it impossible for subsequent historians to write about abolition as an isolated moral act of the British Empire. (shrink)
This paper discusses Eric Wolf’s (1923–1999) analysis of power in his last monograph, Anthropology (Wolf 1964) and last book Envisioning Power (Wolf 1999). In Anthropology, Wolf (1964: 96) wrote that the “anthropological point of vantage is that of a world culture, struggling to be born.” What is worth studying is human experience in all its variability and complexity. His aim was to set the framework bridging the humanities with anthropology. He never gave up this quest, only expanding it. In (...) the new introduction to his 1964 monograph, thirty years later, he commented that such a synthesis had not occurred. Rather there were growing schisms in the field. In the preface to Envisioning Power, he held that human sciences were unable or unwilling to come to grips with how cultural configurationsintertwine with considerations of power. In 1990 he had addressed the American Anthropological Society, holding that anthropologists favored a view of culture without power, while other social sciences have advanced a concept of ideology without culture. He wrote that his aim in his last book was to explore the connection of ideas and power observed in streams of behavior and recorded texts. Since minds interpose a selective screen between the organism and environment, ideas have content and functions that help bring people together or divide them. While ideas compose the entire range of mental constructs, Wolf understands ideology as configurations or unified schemes to underwrite or manifest power. Power is, according to Wolf, an aspect of all relations among people. Within this framework Wolf analyzes three cases, the Kwakiutl, the Aztecs, and Nazi Germany. The comparisons are very revealing, both the wide differences and similarities in power configurations and in the role of imagination. (shrink)