In a recent paper on realism and pragmatism published in this journal, Osmo Kivinen and Tero Piiroinen have been pleading for more methodological work in the philosophy of the social sciences—refining the conceptual tools of social scientists—and less philosophically ontological theories. Following this de-ontologizing approach, we scrutinize the debates on social explanation and contribute to the development of a pragmatic social science methodology. Analyzing four classic debates concerning explanation in the social sciences, we propose to shift the debate away from (...) (a) the ontologizing defenses of forms of social explanation, and (b) a winner-takes-all-approach. Instead, we advocate (c) a pragmatic approach towards social explanation, elaborating a rigorous framework for explanatory pluralism detached from the debates on social ontology. (shrink)
An agent may abandon an initiated action plan, although he doesnot acquire new information or encounter unforeseen obstacles.Such dynamic inconsistency can be to the agent'';s guaranteeddisadvantage, and there is a debate on how it should rationallybe avoided. The main contenders are the sophisticated andthe resolute approaches. I argue that this debate is misconceived,since both approaches rely on false assumptions about theperformability of action plans. The debate can be reformulated,so as to avoid these mistaken assumptions. I try to show that sucha (...) reformulation must rely on certain implausible claims. (shrink)
Material kept in the National Library of Finland shows that from 1963 until 1969 Erik Stenius (1911–1990) worked on a book on antinomies , having been invited by the Dutch logician Evert Beth (1908–1964) to contribute a monograph to the North-Holland series Studies in Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics . The book was never published, but the manuscript has been found, and it is the purpose of this note to report on this finding.
In this paper I develop a novel challenge for sceptical theists. I present a line of reasoning that appeals to sceptical theism to support scepticism about divine assertions. I claim that this reasoning is at least as plausible as one popular sceptical theistic strategy for responding to evidential arguments from evil. Thus, I seek to impale sceptical theists on the horns of a dilemma: concede that either sceptical theism implies scepticism about divine assertions, or the sceptical theistic strategy for responding (...) to evidential arguments from evil fails. An implication of is that sceptical theism is at odds with any religious tradition according to which there are certain claims that we can know to be true solely in virtue of the fact that God has told us that they are true. This result will render conceding unattractive to many sceptical theists. (shrink)
Jan Albert van Laar and Erik Krabbe’s paper “Splitting a difference of opinion” studies an important type of dialogue shift, namely that from a deliberation dialogue over action or policy options where critical and persuasive argumentation is exchanged about the rational acceptability of the policy options proposed by various parties, to a negotiation dialogue where agreement is reached by a series of compromises, or trade-offs, on the part of each side in the disagreement.
Erik Wielenberg’s new book Robust Ethics: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Godless Normative Realism aims at defending a non-theistic of ‘robust normative realism’: the metaethical view that normative properties exist, and have four features: (1) objectivity, (2) non-naturalness, (3) irreducibility, and (4) causal inertness. In my review I criticize that Wielenberg does not address semantic issues which are crucial both to defending robust normative realism, and to assessing the empirical claims he makes. Moreover, and relatedly, I suggest that Wielenberg’s (...) main psychological and evolutionary claims may be less well-founded than suggested. Despite these worries, however, Robust Ethics is a highly valuable contribution to metaethics. Wielenberg’s writing is extremely accessible, engaging, witty, and clear, he develops various fascinating novel arguments, and skilfully links analytic reflections with the consideration of empirical data. (shrink)
Erik Banks does several things in this slender yet substantial book on realistic empiricism (aka neutral monism). First, he encapsulates the main ideas of this tradition. While he goes into greater depth on some of these ideas than other introductions do, these pages are still accessible to nonspecialists. Second, he traces the the history of this tradition through the Austrian scientist, Ernst Mach, the American psychologist, William James, the British philosopher, Bertrand Russell, and others. These four chapters are a (...) valuable source for readers seeking to understand neutral monism in depth. Third, he develops his own version of neutral monism to deal with problems in the philosophies of mind and science. Most of my commentary will pertain to his own theory, which has some similar roots to my own. (shrink)
The Dutch Roman Catholic theologian Erik Borgman, who developed a cultural theology, was appointed as a visiting professor at the liberal Protestant theological Mennonite Seminary in Amsterdam. In this article, his progressive Roman Catholic theology is compared to a liberal Protestant approach. The historical backgrounds of these different types of theology are expounded, all the way back to Aquinas and Scotus, in order to clarify their specific character for the sake of a better mutual understanding. Next, the convergence of (...) these two types of theology in the twentieth century is explained with reference to the philosophy of Heidegger. Finally, the difficulties posed by postmodern philosophies to both a progressive Roman Catholic theology and a liberal Protestant theology are shown. It is asserted that both types of theology claim that the insights of their particular tradition can be relevant beyond this tradition to modern and postmodern humans. (shrink)
This comment on Erik Claes values his treatment of in-depth interviews to gain a better understanding of how volunteers make sense of their activities, but it questions the representativeness, meaningfulness and civicness of what is found. Meaning as deep personal commitment to an objective value is probably quite exceptional. The values and goals of Claes’s volunteers are deeply human and wide-ranging, but too ignorant of disagreement, power and politics to be called civic.
In my response to Kevin Carnahan, I explain the concept of religion that I have been working with in my writings on the place of religious reasons in public political discourse. While acknowledging that religion is often privatized, my concern has been with religion as a way of life. It is religion so understood that raises the most serious issues concerning the role of religion in public discourse. In my response to Erik A. Anderson, I go beyond what I (...) have previously said about the role of religious reasons in public discourse. As an alternative to Rawlsian public reason, I argue that the essence of liberal democracy is that every citizen is to have equal political voice. I go on to consider what it is to exercise one’s equal political voice as a moral engagement. (shrink)
An Internet persona known as "Erik" reviewed those aspects of my book No Free Lunch dealing with the Law of Conservation of Information and specificational resources. Erik's review is titled "On Dembski's Law of Conservation of Information" and is available at http://www.talkreason.org/articles/dembski_LCI.pdf. I respond to the review here.
In Shaping Our Selves, Erik Parens offers both a personal history of bioethics and a cleverly clarifying lens to train on disputes in bioethics about emerging technologies. The question for readers is whether this lens, as useful as it is, leaves too much outside our field of vision. Parens, born in 1957, comes from the first wave of bioethics scholars—those of us who still mostly happened into bioethics as a field, before it was sufficiently well-established to be identified as (...) a career pathway. Bioethics enjoys a fascinating diversity of origin stories, and Parens’s is no exception. He began his studies at the University of Chicago’s pan-disciplinary Committee on Social Thought, one of a handful.. (shrink)
Erik Erikson's work in psychosocial developmental theory has made valuable contributions to the field of religious ethics on some very basic issues. This paper makes scattered elements of Erikson's explicit ethical perspective available in concise fashion for critical ethical reflection. It does this in such a way as to highlight the centrally important fact for religious ethics that implicitly operative in Erikson's view is a criterion of "self-transcendence" as definitive of mature personal (fully human, ethical) development.
Erik Schokkaert's note presents a very good summary of the theory of macrojustice and a very good list of the directions of research it points to. This is quite fitting since a research programme defines a paradigm, and he sees this proposal as a paradigm shift. This is also very appropriate since his own qualifications are the best for advancing fast in these research topics. I have only a very small number of qualifications to add to his presentation, but (...) I prefer to begin with emphasizing the most important issues. Two aspects can be seen as the most important: the de facto axiomatic derivation of the solution ELIE and its application on the one hand, and the present state of scholarly studies of the optimum or just distribution of income on the other hand. Let us enter by the second door (as opposed to what is done in the book Macrojustice). This will lead us to conclude with a more synthetic and broader view of the basic logic of the paradigms of justice and of the surprising recent history of their interpretations. (shrink)
The twentieth century has been described as the time of man’s discovery of himself; few have contributed more to this cause than Erik Erikson. _The Clinical Erik Erikson: A psychoanalytic method of engagement and activation_ highlights Erikson’s transforming contributions to the field of psychoanalysis and honors his legacy by providing unpublished clinical case illustrations of his actual psychotherapeutic work. The publication of case material—simple memorable fragments and clinical vignettes— brings the reader into Erikson’s consultation room, providing a portrait (...) of his clinical technique and demonstrating how he actually worked. Stephen Schlein, an authority on Erikson, presents an illuminating account of Erikson’s pioneering work through an exhaustive search of his early monographs on child psychoanalysis, clinical writings, psychotherapeutic case studies, and participation at case conferences at The Austen Riggs Center. Erikson’s writings reveal a psychoanalytic method of extraordinary richness that emphasizes essential ingredients of an interpersonal-relational clinical method and articulates interactional dimensions that have restorative potential. His vision focuses on the relationship, its powerful affects, and a belief that human beings have a potent capacity for real change. This book will be essential reading for psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists. (shrink)
In Radicalizing Enactivism, D. D. Hutto and E. Myin develop a theory of mind they call ‘Radical Enactive (or Embodied) Cognition’ (REC). They argue that extant enactivist and embodied theories of mind are, although pretty radical, not radical enough, because such theories buy into the representationalist doctrine that perceptual experience (along with other forms of ‘basic’ mentality) possesses representational content. REC denies this doctrine. It implies that perceptual experience lacks reference, truth conditions, accuracy conditions, or conditions of satisfaction. In this (...) review I summarise their anti-representationalist argument and show that it has at least three major weaknesses. (shrink)
Upshot: Hutto & Myin’s latest “radical enactive cognition” manifesto is a truly exciting book and – despite its short length – quite thick with argumentation. The word “manifesto” here does not only describe the rousing writing style (filled with witty and resounding expressions), but also the general awed feeling one gets, while reading, of the importance of “RECtifying” the current state of research in enactive cognition. Interestingly for the constructivist community, the hallmark thesis of their book is that there can (...) be intentionally directed cognition and perceptual experience without content. (shrink)