During the British socialist revival of the 1880s competing theories of evolution were central to disagreements about strategy for social change. In News from Nowhere (1891), William Morris had portrayed socialism as the result of Lamarckian processes, and imagined a non-Malthusian future. H.G. Wells, an enthusiastic admirer of Morris in the early days of the movement, became disillusioned as a result of the Malthusianism he learnt from Huxley and his subsequent rejection of Lamarckism in light of Weismann's experiments on mice. (...) This brought him into conflict with his fellow Fabian, George Bernard Shaw, who rejected neo-Darwinism in favour of a Lamarckian conception of change he called "creative evolution.". (shrink)
The National Library of Finland and the Von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Helsinki keep the collected correspondence of Georg Henrik von Wright, Wittgenstein’s friend and successor at Cambridge and one of the three literary executors of Wittgenstein’s Nachlass. Among von Wright’s correspondence partners, Elizabeth Anscombe and Rush Rhees are of special interest to Wittgenstein scholars as the two other trustees of the Wittgenstein papers. Thus, von Wright’s collections held in Finland promise to shed light on the (...) context of decades of editorial work that made Wittgenstein’s later philosophy available to all interested readers. In this text, we present the letters which von Wright received from Anscombe and Rhees during the first nine months after Wittgenstein’s death. This correspondence provides a vivid picture of the literary executors as persons and of their developing relationships. The presented letters are beautiful examples of what the correspondence as a whole has to offer; it depicts – besides facts of editing – the story of three philosophers, whose conversing voices unfold the human aspects of inheriting Wittgenstein’s Nachlass. Their story does not only deal with editing the papers of an eminent philosopher, but with the attempt to do justice to the man they knew, to his philosophy and to his wishes for publication. (shrink)
We find before us an excellent edition of the book which the influential American thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-82) published in December of 1860, four months before the outbreak of the American Civil War. The central question which Emerson poses in this volume concerns the conduct of life, that is, of how to live. The titles of the nine essays, which compose the book, illustrate the themes tackled: “Fate,” “Power,” “Wealth”, “Culture,” “Behavior,” “Worship”, “Considerations by the Way,” “Beauty” and “Illusions.” (...) As Callaway suggests, Emerson’s is not a philosophy in the sense of contemporary technicalities, “the basic tendency of his thought is a metaphysical idealism in which the soul and intuition or inspiration are central.” (p. xvi). As an essentially religious thinker, profoundly preoccupied with the human soul and with the development of human potentialities, he has always firmly opposed to slavery: one cannot refuse to others human beings the development of their distinctively human potentialities (p. xxvii). (shrink)
Howard Callaway's new edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Society and Solitude is an invaluable contribution to both the primary and secondary literature on Emerson. Its contribution to the primary sources is its use of the original 1870 edition of Emerson's text, though with modernized spellings to facilitate the reader's understanding. Its contribution to the secondary literature consists in the scholarly apparatus of page-by-page annotations, an introduction, a chronology, a bibliography, and an index. Callaway's Society and Solitude is a worthy companion (...) to his earlier edition of Emerson's The Conduct of Life. (shrink)
As suggested in the subtitle, A New Philosophical Reading, the editor aspires in his Introduction and his notes to “facilitate a deeper understanding and a critical evaluation (...) of this crucial and difficult philosophical work” (p. ix). This was the last important book which James published during his lifetime. With it James aims at a critical evaluation of Hegelian monism and an exploration of the philosophical and theological alternatives. “Our world of some one hundred years on”—the editor says (p. ix)—“is (...) much the better for James’ contribution, and understanding William James on pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding.”. (shrink)
Context is mainly a critical history of one of the central strands – arguably, the central strand – of the analytic tradition in philosophy, namely, the philosophy of language. Key ﬁgures that put in an appearance include Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap, Ayer, Hempel, Tarski, Quine, Davidson, Putnam, and Dewey, the last being a somewhat odd ﬁgure, given the general tenor of Callaway’s cavalcade of stars. Meaning and analysis are the focus of attention, and true to his title, Callaway doesn’t hesitate (...) to criticize various positions as he makes his way – the book is organized more or less chronologically – from Frege to Davidson and Putnam. More than that, though, he doesn’t content himself with merely negative criticism. Original positions on various issues are argued for and integrated into an approach that’s largely inspired by Quine, but also pays a large tribute to Davidson and Dewey. (shrink)
Quine's Immanuel Kant lectures were delivered in English at Stanford University in 1980 under the title Science and Sensibilia. The English version of the text has never been published. An Italian translation by Michele Leonelli, La Scienza e I Dati di Senso appeared in 1987. These translations fill an important gap. Wissenschaft und Empfindung strikes me as the best presentation of Quine's physicalistic program.
The shift in focus has changed the nature of the Project in a way which we hadn't expected and didn't really notice until this revision. Back in the late 1980s, we started the project as a "work around" for a situation that we found personally frustrating. We believed that widely-held beliefs about Mead's ideas were misinterpretations. But his published statements were often difficult to obtain. It was easier for scholars to rely from the secondary literature about Mead than to consult (...) primary sources. As a result, those frustrating misinterpretations persisted. Our solution: republish as much of Mead as possible in machine-readable form to make distribution, familiarity, and study easier. When the Web was established, we abandon plans for a CD and prepared the documents for the new medium. George's Page was born. (shrink)
Andrew H. Gleeson has written an essay commenting on an exchange between Dewi Z. Phillips and me, arguing that I was mistaken to dismiss Phillips’ criticism of the standard definition of omnipotence as unsuccessful. Furthermore, he charges Swinburne, me, and analytic theists in general, with an excessive anthropomorphism that obliterates the distinction between Creator and creature. In response, I contend that all of Gleeson’s criticisms are unsound.
In his contribution to socialist thought G.D.H. Cole adopted and revised Rousseau’s concept of the general will. During his early guild socialist phase Cole drew on the general will in his scheme for a functional, associational democracy. In the late 1920s Cole began to question whether the socially oriented element of individual will might be expressed in the existing social and economic circumstances. In the 1930s he combined social democratic and Marxist tenets. Nevertheless, his interest in Rousseau persisted. Will was, (...) for him, crucial to socialism. He made a significant, if neglected, contribution to the socialist tradition of Rousseau scholarship. (shrink)
The Eton Latin Grammar, For Use in the Higher Forms. By Francis Hay Rawlins, M.A., and William Ralph Inge. London: Murray, 1888. 6s.The Revised Latin Primer. By Benjamin Hall Kennedy, D.D. Longmans, 1888. 2s. 6d.The New Latin Primer. Edited by J. P. Postgate, M.A., and C. H. Vince, M.A. Cassell, 1888. 2s. 6d.The Shorter Latin Primer, by Dr. Kennedy. Longmans, 1888. 1s.
A Pluralistic Universe is America's favourite philosopher's last complete work before he died in 1910. Nevertheless, it has been somewhat neglected as a final self-reckoning. Indeed the term "pragmatism" occurs pretty rarely in it, while "experience" and "pluralism" abound. As introduced and annotated by H.G. Callaway, the Cambridge Scholars edition offers some valuable background on James and the text itself, particularly for the nonspecialist reader. Besides retaining James's notes, Callaway has also provided his own glosses on important philosophical terms, translations (...) of the foreign phrases James so often fell back on, and an expanded index and new bibliography to the text. It is, as Callaway says, a "reading and study edition" (ix). (shrink)
In several works on modality, G. H. von Wright presents tree structures to explain possible worlds. Worlds that might have developed from an earlier world are possible relative to it. Actually possible worlds are possible relative to the world as it actually was at some point. Many logically consistent worlds are not actually possible. Transitions from node to node in a tree structure are probabilistic. Probabilities are often more useful than similarities between worlds in treating counterfactual conditionals.
The German paleontologist H. G. Bronn is best remembered for his 1860 translation and critique of Darwin's Origin of Species, and for supposedly twisting Darwinian evolution into conformity with German idealistic morphology. This analysis of Bronn's writings shows, however, that far from being mired in an outmoded idealism that confined organic change to predetermined developmental pathways, Bronn had worked throughout the 1840s and 1850s on a new, historical approach to life. He had been moving from the study of plant and (...) animal forms in the abstract towards placing them into geological and biogeographical context, analyzing patterns of progress and adaptation, explaining species diversity and individual variation, and applying biological insights to practical problems such as artificial breeding. Even though Bronn never fully accepted the idea of species transformation, he saw Darwin's theory as a bold new move toward his own goal of establishing a comprehensive, historical science of life, and he presented it as such in his translation and commentary. Thus Darwin's ideas gained a quick and generally favorable hearing in Germany not because of their easy assimilability into an older tradition, but because of their appeal to the innovative Bronn. (shrink)
The present paper uses the theme of dialectic and dialogue to begin unraveling the similarities and differences between the hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur and H.G. Gadamer. Ricoeur is shown to distance himself from Heidegger by insisting on a dimension of explanation and distanciation (which he sometimes identifies with Plato's `descending dialectic') that cannot be reduced to, or absorbed by, understanding and appropriation. This same move, however, leads him to reject Platonic dialogue, with the attendant prioritizing of oral conversation over the (...) written text, as a model for hermeneutics. Ricoeur therefore sees in Gadamer's recourse to such a model a regression to the problematic position of Heidegger. Yet the conception of philosophy as dialectical and dialogical which Gadamer finds in Plato is capable of responding to Ricoeur's objections. Where the fundamental difference between the hermeneutics of Ricoeur and Gadamer emerges is in the question of whether experience is fundamentally dialectical and whether language is inherently dialogical. (shrink)
G. H. Mead developed an alternative "metaphysics" of selfhood and agency that underlies, but is seldom made explicit in discussions of, his social developmental psychology. This is an alternative metaphysics that rejects any pregiven, fixed foundations for being and knowing. It assumes the emergence of social psychological phenomena such as mind, self, and deliberative agency through the activity of human actors and interactors within their biophysical and sociocultural world. Of central importance to the emergence of self-consciousness and deliberative forms of (...) human agency is the ability of developing individuals to take the perspectives of others within their own conduct. However, precisely what is involved in this process, and whether or not it assumes the preexistence of exactly those forms of selfhood and agency, the emergence of which it seeks to explain, have been much disputed. In this essay, recent reinterpretations of Mead's "metaphysics" are used to argue that his overall theoretical program contains resources necessary to overcome charges of ontological and epistemological circularity. In particular, once his interactionism, perspectivism, emergentism, and compatibilism are explicated, it is possible to see that Mead's "taking the perspective of the other" is not primarily a process of internalization that requires a preexisting "internalizer," but a process of participation with others within conventionalized sequences of interactivity. This participatory process enables the development of prereflective forms of perspective taking and self-other differentiation that serve as necessary conditions for the further emergence of more reflective forms of perspective taking, self-consciousness, and deliberative agency. Compatibilist interpretations of deliberative agency, thus understood, also are discussed. (shrink)
AndrewBenjamin’s book Disclosing Spaces (2004) presents a theory of painting. The theory is developed via a meticulous analysis of a series of individual artworks. The pivot of Benjamin’s theory of painting is the idea of relationality. The theory is critically reviewed with reference to the works of Edward Hopper, Gerhard Richter and Jacques-Louis David.
H. G. Wells has long occupied a curious place in the literary history of the early twentieth century, positioned as an extremely popular yet myopic outsider whose seeming miscalculation of the post-1910 literary zeitgeist acted in a directly inverse relation to his uncannily accurate technological predictions of the world to come. Wells’s reputation as a literary innovator in this period sunk in opposite relation to his rising stature as a futurologist, a shift whose repercussions for the author’s legacy are, as (...) both Roger Luckhurst and Steven McLean have recently noted, still largely evident in the ways his work is positioned, studied, and debated in the contemporary academy.1 As Wells’s 1890s scientific romances .. (shrink)
Aristotelis Πολιτία 'Αθνναίων Ediderunt G. Kaibel et U. De Wilamowitz-Moellendorff. Berolini apud Weidmannos. Mk. 1.80.De Republica Atheniensium. Aristotelis qui fertur liber 'Αθνναίων Πολιτία. Post Kenyonem ediderunt H. Van Heeweeden et J. Van Leeuwen J. F. Lugduni Batavorum apud A. W. Sythoff. 6 Mk.Aristote, la République Athénienne, traduite en Français pour la première fois par Théodore Reinach. Fr. 1.50.
In the last few years H.G. Callaway has produced several helpful editions of some important texts by Emerson. Emerson's Conduct of Life was originally published in 1860, and it has appeared in a number of editions since then, but Callaway's edition has several noteworthy features that cause it to stand out from the crowd and make it an important contribution to Emerson studies. This is a rare volume that will serve students, academic philosophers, and causal readers alike: a critical edition (...) of a less-familiar text that is attractive to ordinary readers without sacrificing scholarly rigor. (shrink)
This article offers an original, intellectual portrait of G. H. Mead. My reassessment of Mead’s thinking is founded, in methodological terms, upon a historically minded yet theoretically oriented strategy. Mead’s system of thought is submitted to a historical reconstruction in order to grasp the evolution of his ideas over time, and to a thematic reconstruction organized around three major research areas or pillars: science, social psychology and politics. If one re-examines the entirety of Mead’s published and unpublished writings from the (...) point of view of contemporary social and political theory, one can see that his contributions transcend the field of social psychology. Mead’s innovative insights on the communicative aspects of social life and individual conscience are yet to be fully explored by current social and political theorists. This is partly due to the fact that his was a system in a state of flux, ever escaping the final written form. (shrink)
It is a curious fact that the much maligned ontological argument to prove the existence of God has in recent times enjoyed a revival of interest to which even Karl Barth, the arch-enemy of natural theology has contributed; but since the revival of interest has appared in a wide diversity of intellectual contexts, both philosophical and theological, the revival is itself almost as problematic as the argument itself.
The following analysis demonstrates that G.H. Mead's understanding of human speech is remarkably consistent with today's interdisciplinary field that studies speech as a natural behavior with an evolutionary history. Mead seems to have captured major empirical and theoretical insights more than half a century before the contemporary field began to take shape. In that field the framework known as “Tinbergen's Four Questions,” developed in ecology to study naturally occurring behavior in nonhuman animals, has been an effective organizing framework for research (...) on human speech. It is used in this paper to organize the comparison of Mead with contemporary scholars. The analysis concludes that Mead was, in a sense, “beyond” the Four Questions by recognizing the limitations of reductionist methods in understanding the nature of conscious phenomena, especially language. Mead's socially situated model of the nature of human speech makes him relevant to today's field where some see an undervaluation of the treatment of language as a social process. (shrink)
The concept of freedom is one which Hegel thought of very great importance; indeed, he believed that it is the central concept in human history. ‘Mind is free’, he wrote, ‘and to actualise this, its essence – to achieve this excellence – is the endeavour of the worldmind in world-history’ . Those who already have an interest in Hegel will doubtless be interested in his views on a topic which he thought so important; on the other hand, the many philosophers (...) who are either indifferent to or hostile to Hegel may point out that it does not follow that, because the subject of freedom interested Hegel, his views about this subject are of general interest. It will be the aim of this paper to show that they are of general interest; in the meantime, it may be recalled that Isaiah Berlin has argued that Hegel's concept of freedom is one of a type, called by him the concept of positive freedom, which is ‘at the heart of many of the nationalist, communist, authoritarian and totalitarian creeds of our day’. It will surely be worth while to see to what extent this is true of Hegel, and to what extent Hegel's views about freedom are true. (shrink)
(2000). Scientific utopianism in Francis bacon and H.G. wells: From Salomon's house to the open conspiracy. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy: Vol. 3, The Philosophy of Utopia, pp. 172-188.
In a recent article ‘The Problem of Natural Theology’, Professor N. H. G. Robinson has considered the requirements of a ‘genuinely empirical natural theology’. For the first section of it, a very clear sorting-out of recent debates on the ontological argument, I have nothing but admiration. It ends with the question: ‘Granted that if we think of God we must think of him as necessarily existing, why must we think of God at all?’, followed by the comment: ‘We seem thrown, (...) without any prospect of rest, between apriorism and [Barthian] empiricism’. Robinson is rightly dissatisfied with that situation, and in his second section he raises the question whether there cannot be an approach to God which the debates on the ontological arguments have overlooked and which may be properly called an ‘empirical’ one, free from Barthian presuppositions. He finds what seems to be such an approach in Professor E. L. Mascall's Existence and Analogy but concludes that it is in fact after all a form of ‘rationalism’. In the third section he criticises Professor T. F. Torrance's defence of Barth's position in a way which seems to me most satisfactory, and in the fourth he makes his own positive proposals. With these I am in substantial agreement. It is only his account of Mascall's position, in particular at the end of his second section, which seems to call for critical comment. (shrink)
G.H. Mead and A.N. Whitehead agree that all causation occurs in a present, that the self is social, and that philosophical description of the new physics of relativity and quantum mechanics is a complicated task. I explore this complexity in relation to the knowledge of events unable to be observed here and now, especially past historical events. The integration of the two philosophers’ views is shown in reference to Whitehead’s criteria of respect for facts and coherence. By reference to the (...) work of Palmyre Oomen I show the inconsistency of Whitehead’s treatment of the prehensibility of God’s consequent nature with his claim thatGod is not an exception to the metaphysical principles. The integration of Mead’s and Whitehead’s views permits plausible talk about past, present, and futureconsisent with our scientific knowledge. (shrink)