At present liberal education is generally understood and justified as the acquisition of critical thinking skills and individual autonomy. Traditionally, however, the ultimate purpose of liberal education has been leisure. Freedom, it was thought, was not simply the result of critical thinking but also required the cultivation of leisure that involved a vigilant receptivity — a stillness from the busy world of work and the restive probing of a discursive mind. In this essay, Kevin Gary argues that the cultivation (...) of leisure has been and ought to be an essential part of what constitutes a liberal education. Focused on interior freedom, leisure offers a valuable way of learning that ushers in an authentic freedom that a critical approach to learning and liberal education does not. Accordingly, it offers a valuable defense against the hegemonic world of work that defines and appraises one’s value exclusively in terms of one’s doing. (shrink)
In examining Ennead VI 4, we find Plotinus in conflict with modern, i.e., Cartesian or Kantian, assumptions about the relation of soul and body and the identification of the self with the subject. Curiously, his images and exposition are more in tune with Twentieth Century notions such as wave and field. With these as keys, we are in a position to unlock the subtlety of Plotinus' analysis of the way soul and body are present together, with sensation structured through the (...) body and judgment coming from the soul. The problem of the self concerns not only the unity of the self in terms of body and soul, but also how the self is constituted in relation to other selves, both keeping its individuality and sharing its experiences at the same time. (shrink)
Complex systems can be characterized by classes of equivalency of their elements defined according to system specific rules. We propose a generalized preferential attachment model to describe the class size distribution. The model postulates preferential growth of the existing classes and the steady influx of new classes. According to the model, the distribution changes from a pure exponential form for zero influx of new classes to a power law with an exponential cut-off form when the influx of new classes is (...) substantial. Predictions of the model are tested through the analysis of a unique industrial database, which covers both elementary units (products) and classes (markets, firms) in a given industry (pharmaceuticals), covering the entire size distribution. The model's predictions are in good agreement with the data. The paper sheds light on the emergence of the exponent tau approximately 2 observed as a universal feature of many biological, social and economic problems. (shrink)
L’Autrice si propone di tracciare la genealogia della posizione neoliberale, partendo soprattutto dai testi di Gary Becker. Il pensiero economico neoliberale è posto in relazione con la rivoluzione scientifica e l’operazione di matematizzazione della natura che da essa scaturisce. Questo percorso porterà poi a Jeremy Bentham, il cui sistema è spesso visto come antesignano degli studiosi neoliberali. Secondo la tesi sostenuta dall’Autrice, il neoliberalismo presenta il proprio sguardo come una neutra e scientifica descrizione del reale, sennonché in tale mossa (...) si annida pur sempre una tendenza normativa. È così che gli economisti neoliberali elaborano un sistema che è altresì prescrittivo, proponendo un modello che si pone sul piano politico; modello il quale viene qui designato con il nome di «utopia economica». (shrink)
With his 1998 book, In Nature’s Interests? Gary Varner proved to be one of our most original and trenchant of environmental ethicists. Here, in the first of a promised two volume set, he makes his mark on another field, animal ethics, leaving an even deeper imprint. Thoroughly grounded in the relevant philosophical and scientific literatures, Varner is as precise in analysis as he is wide-ranging in scope. His writing is clear and rigorous, and he explains philosophical nuances with extraordinary (...) economy of expression. Never one to add an unnecessary clause to a sentence, Varner nonetheless constructs a formidable edifice while always dealing fairly with the authors he criticizes. His explication of the properties and moral status of what he calls near-persons is a crucial addition to the discussion of personhood initiated by Parfit in Reasons and Persons and subsequently applied to animals by McMahan in The Ethics of Killing. The comparison to McMahan is intentional for, to my mind, Varner vies with him as the most important animal ethicist since Singer and Regan. (shrink)
Although Foucault’s 1979 lectures on The Birth of Biopolitics promised to treat the theme of biopolitics, the course deals at length with neoliberalism while mentioning biopolitics hardly at all. Some scholars account for this elision by claiming that Foucault sympathized with neoliberalism; I argue on the contrary that Foucault develops a penetrating critique of the neoliberal claim to preserve individual liberty. Following Foucault, I show that the Chicago economist Gary Becker exemplifies what Foucault describes elsewhere as biopolitics: a form (...) of power applied to the behavior of a population through the normalizing use of statistics. Although Becker’s preference for indirect intervention might seem to preserve the independence of individuals, under biopolitics individual liberty is itself the means by which populations are governed indirectly. In my view, by describing the history and ambivalence of neoliberal biopolitics, Foucault fosters a critical vigilance that is the precondition for creative political resistance. (shrink)
In A Million Years of Music, Gary Tomlinson develops an extensive evolutionary narrative that emphasises several important components of human musicality and proposes a theory of the coalescence of these components. In this essay I tie some of Tomlinson’s ideas to five constraints on theories of music’s evolution. This provides the framework for organising my reconstruction of his model. Thereafter I focus on Tomlinson’s description of ‘entraining’ Acheulean toolmakers and offer several criticisms. I close with some tentative proposals for (...) further theorising. (shrink)
Gary Marcus has written a very interesting book about mental development from a nativist perspective. For the general readership at which the book is largely aimed, it will be interesting because of its many informative examples of the development of cognitive structures and because of its illuminating explanations of ways in which genes can contribute to these developmental processes. However, the book is also interesting from a theoretical point of view. Marcus tries to make nativism compatible with the central (...) arguments that anti-nativists use to attack nativism and with many recent discoveries about genetic activity and brain development. In so doing, he reconfigures the nativist position to a considerable extent. (shrink)
A review of Personhood, Ethics, and Animal Cognition: Situating Animals in Hare’s Two-Level Utilitarianism, by Gary E. Varner. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2012. Pp. xv + 336. H/b £40.23. and The Philosophy of Animal Minds, edited by Robert W. Lurz. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Pp. 320. P/b £20.21.
In this short essay I respond to Kevin Gary’s generous review of my book Reclaiming Goodness by considering his two main concerns, that I tend to conflate spirituality and morality and that I am not sufficiently sensitive to tensions between spirituality and critical thinking. I respond by noting that Gary has not taken adequate account of the distinction between deontological morality and aretaic ethics in the first instance and between the Aristotelian notions of Sophia and Phronesis, or pure (...) reason and practical wisdom, in the second. (shrink)
Mainstream economics evaluates capitalism primarily from the perspective of efficiency. Social philosophy typically applies other or additional normative criteria, such as equality, democracy, and community. This essay examines the implications of these contrasting sets of criteria in the evaluation of capitalism. Its first two sections consider the criteria themselves, assuming that a trade-off exists between them. The last three sections question whether such a trade-off necessarily occurs, and explore the claim that improvements in nonefficiency dimensions of capitalist society may enhance, (...) rather than conflict with, efficiency. (shrink)
Gary S. Slater's C. S. Peirce & Nested Continua Model of Religious Interpretation comes to readers in the Oxford University Press series Oxford Theology and Religion Monographs. Before I say more about Slater's complex book, a story: Much philosophical scholarship on C. S. Peirce tends either to neglect the religious dimensions of his work or to secularize, demystify, and detheologize it. These secularized interpretations alienate those who read Peirce within the Christian and Jewish theological traditions and estrange the Transcendentalists (...) within American Philosophy who rely on religious language to talk and think about the natural world and personhood.There are significant divisions among Peirce scholars: the... (shrink)
In Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, a central teaching calls on humanity to be "true to the earth," to affirm "the meaning [Sinn] of the earth." Scholars commonly read this as a call to embrace natural life, countering any transcendent or life-denying doctrine in the tradition. While certainly an apt reading, Gary Shapiro's remarkable new book draws attention to and articulates the many ways in which Nietzsche celebrates the actual earthen characteristics of human habitats: the concrete places, locales, climates, and (...) environments that sustain our dwelling on earth. Here, geology and geography are brought to bear and expanded into an enriched, meaning-laden "geo-philosophy." Shapiro interprets Nietzsche's... (shrink)
Law Professor Gary Chartier, of La Sierra University, has joined the journal’s Editorial Board. Professor Chartier, author of the forthcoming The Conscience of an Anarchist, was recently awarded the La Sierra University Faculty Senate’s once-every-three-years Distinguished Scholarship Award. We are honored to have his participation.
In this essay I hope to make some new contributions to the philosophical opening occasioned by John Sallis’ articulation of an “elementology” more broadly and by his turn to Guo Xi’s exquisite Song Dynasty shan-shui scroll painting, Early Spring more particularly. I do so by bringing the remarkable writings by the American poet and thinker Gary Snyder, especially in relationship to his reading of the great Kamakura Zen Master Eihei Dōgen, directly into the fray of contemporary Continental discourses on (...) the elemental and the ecological. At the heart of this project is Snyder’s development of Dōgen’s elemental discourse of “mountains, rivers, and the great earth.” Like Sallis’ own efforts to recast language into a more elemental discourse, this essay will also focus on the manners of speaking specific to the philosophical and poetic self-presentation of the elements, including the relationship between the philosophical and the artistic as such. (shrink)
In his recent article Should Trees Have Standing? Revisited" Christopher D. Stone has effectively withdrawn his proposal that natural objects be granted legal rights, in response to criticism from the Feinberg/McCloskey camp. Stone now favors a weaker proposal that natural objects be granted what he calls legal "considerateness". I argue that Stone's retreat is both unnecessary and undesirable. I develop the notion of a "de facto" legal right and argue that species already have de facto legal rights as statutory beneficiaries (...) of the "Endangered Species Act of 1973." I conclude that granting certain nonhuman natural entities legal rights is both more important and less costly that Stone and his critics have realized, and that it is not Stone's original proposal which needs rethinking, but the concept of interests at work in the Feinberg/McCloskey position. (shrink)
The defence of the market and economic freedom have been the main objectives of the investigations by liberal thinkers such as Milton Friedman, Gary Becker, F Hayek and L Von Mises. Bearing in mind that the first two economists are the maximum exponents of the Chicago School and the last two of the Austrian School, it is often concluded that the theories of both schools are similar. This book demonstrates that in reality, there is no convergence or complementariness to (...) be found between both schools of thought. The anthropological categories, contributed by Mises, allow us to understand all human phenomena from the view of the man who acts. In this view, economics is part of a philosophical system whose core is the creative capacity of people. Becker’s work, on the other hand, is concentrated on the generalization of the _homo economicus_ as the basis for explaining all human behaviour. He generalizes the maximizing principle to explain all human reality, and extends the scope of the application of a so-called scientific and technical view of the world. In this key volume, an important read for those in the fields of economic theory and political economy, Javier Aranzadi argues, in essence, that the tradition of Hayek and Mises encourages a humanistic liberalism, whereas the Chicago School proposes only a technical humanism. (shrink)
No one has written more insightfully on the promises and perils of human agency than Gary Watson, who has spent a career thinking about issues such as moral responsibility, blame, free will, addiction, and psychopathy. This special edition of OSAR pays tribute to Watson's work by taking up and extending themes from his pioneering essays.