This paper is concerned with two theories of history—those of Hegel and of Marx. Its primary aim is to clarify. The writings of Hegel are notoriously obscure, and those of Marx have been variously interpreted, so there is room for a paper which tries to ensure that when the theories of history propounded by Marx and Hegel are criticized, what are criticized are views which they actually held. It is no part of this paper's thesis that, in his theory of (...) history, Marx consciously borrowed from Hegel. But it will be argued that there is more of Hegel in Marx than is sometimes supposed, and that if this fact is ignored one seriously distorts Marx. (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)
In "Realism and Reason" Hilary Putnam has offered an apparently strong argument that the position of metaphysical realism provides an incoherent model of the relation of a correct scientific theory to the world. However, although Putnam's attack upon the notion of the "intended" interpretation of a scientific theory is sound, it is shown here that realism may be formulated in such a way that the realist need make no appeal to any "intended" interpretation of such a theory. Consequently, it can (...) be shown that realism is immune to Putnam's criticism and that attempts at reformulating this criticism are not likely to meet with success. (shrink)
There have been many readings of Mead's work, and this paper proposes yet another: Mead, theorist of the social act. It is argued that Mead's core theory of the social act has been neglected, and that without this theory, the concept of taking the attitude of the other is inexplicable and the contemporary relevance of the concept of the significant symbol is obfuscated. The paper traces the development of the social act out of Dewey's theory of the act. According to (...) Mead, Dewey's theory does not sufficiently account for consciousness. Grappling with this problematic leads Mead to several key ideas, which culminate in his theory of the social act. The social act and taking the attitude of the other are then illustrated by the analysis of a game of football. The interpretation presented has two novel aspects: first, symbolisation arises not simply through self taking the attitude of the other, but through the pairing of this attitude with the complementary attitude in self; second, self is able to take the attitude of the other to the extent that self has in actuality or in imagination previously been in the social position of the other. From this standpoint the key issue is how the attitude of self and other become integrated. New directions for empirical research, aimed at advancing this question are outlined. Finally, the paper shows how the social act can contribute to our contemporary concerns about the nature of the symbolic. (shrink)
Professor Parkinson's book on Spinoza's theory of knowledge makes a serious attempt to consider this theme in isolation. The author argues that an understanding of this particular theory is a prerequisite to any understanding of Spinoza's theory of ethics or his metaphysical views. The text also discusses Spinoza's interests, especially the influence of science on the development of his thought, and ultimately provides a critical account of the philosopher's methodology, theory of truth, and theory of differing kinds of knowledge.
At first sight, the philosophy of Spinoza may seem wholly alien to what is now generally regarded as philosophy in the English-speaking world. For some decades, the dominant trend in that philosophy has been linguistic and anti-metaphysical; the philosopher is held to be concerned with the analysis of language, and not with speculative system-building. Spinoza, on the other hand, is very much a system-builder; as to the analysis of language, he says explicitly that this is of no interest to him. (...) ‘It is not my intention’, he says, ‘to explain the meanings of words; it is my intention to explain the nature of things’. However, the paper which follows will attempt to show that Spinoza’s philosophy is not wholly without relevance today. It will try to do this by placing one of Spinoza’s most important doctrines, his theory of human freedom, within the context of recent discussions. (shrink)