By comparing objects of science, such as the brain, the galaxy, the amoeba, and the quark, with objects of humanistic inquiry, such as the poem, the photograph, the belief, and the philosophical concept, Volney Gay reestablishes a ...
_A renowned scholar’s reflections on the romantic period, its disparate participants, and our unacknowledged debt to them_ With his usual wit and élan, esteemed historian Peter Gay enters the contentious, long-standing debates over the romantic period. Here, in this concise and inviting volume, he reformulates the definition of romanticism and provides a fresh account of the immense achievements of romantic writers and artists in all media. Gay’s scope is wide, his insights sharp. He takes on the recurring questions about how (...) to interpret romantic figures and their works. Who qualifies to be a romantic? What ties together romantic figures who practice in different countries, employ different media, even live in different centuries? How is modernism indebted to romanticism, if at all? Guiding readers through the history of the romantic movement across Britain, France, Germany, and Switzerland, Gay argues that the best way to conceptualize romanticism is to accept its complicated nature and acknowledge that there is no “single basket” to contain it. Gay conceives of romantics in “families,” whose individual members share fundamental values but retain unique qualities. He concludes by demonstrating that romanticism extends well into the twentieth century, where its deep and lasting impact may be measured in the work of writers such as T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf. (shrink)
What is it to "value" something, in the semi-technical sense of the term that Gary Watson establishes? I argue that valuing something consists in caring about it. Caring involves not only emotional dispositions of the sort that Agnieszka Jaworska has elaborated, but also a distinctive cognitive disposition – namely, a (defeasible) disposition to believe the object cared about to be a source of agent-relative reasons for action and for emotion. Understood in this way, an agent's carings have a stronger claim (...) to "speak for" her as her values than do other attitudes that have been proposed for this role. In particular, an agent's carings establish more robust psychological continuities and cross-temporal connections than do self-governing policies of the sort that Michael Bratman has described; and they forge diachronic coherence not just in her deliberation and action, as self-governing policies do, but also in her cognitive and emotional life. An agent's carings thus help to constitute her identity as a temporally persisting subject . Self-governing policies are at best ersatz -values, which an agent may choose to adopt when she finds that her proper values – her cares – leave her course underdetermined. (shrink)
This essay seeks to explain a morally important class of psychological incapacity—the class of what Bernard Williams has called “incapacities of character.” I argue for two main claims: (1) Caring is the underlying psychological disposition that gives rise to incapacities of character. (2) In competent, rational adults, caring is, in part, a cognitive and deliberative disposition. Caring is a mental state which disposes an agent to believe certain considerations to be good reasons for deliberation and action. And caring is a (...) mental state which structures an agent’s practical deliberation, by establishing presumptive boundaries on the landscape of possibilities over which her deliberative imagination ranges. Incapacities of character are a consequence of the structure which these presumptive boundaries give to an agent’s deliberation. (shrink)
Caring is a complex attitude. At first look, it appears very complex: it seems to involve a wide range of emotional and other dispositions, all focused on the object cared about. What ties these dispositions together, so that they jointly comprise a single attitude? I offer a theory of caring, the Attentional Theory, that answers this question. According to the Attentional Theory, caring consists of just two, logically distinct dispositions: a disposition to attend to an object and hence to considerations (...) pertaining to it, and a disposition to respond to the real or apparent reasons those considerations provide. The emotional and other attitudes involved in caring are instantiations of these two, more general dispositions; and these apparently diverse emotional and other dispositions are connected because the real or apparent reasons to which they are dispositions to respond are connected, in structured “packages.” The fact that the reasons to which a caring agent responds are connected in this way provides the basis for an error theory, explaining why it appears as if the emotions involved in caring are governed by rational coherence requirements. (shrink)
John McDowell argues that for virtuous agents the requirements of virtue do not outweigh competing considerations, but 'silence' them. He explains this claim in two different ways: a virtuous agent (a) will not be tempted to act in a way which is incompatible with virtue ('motivational silencing'), or (b) will not believe that he has any reason to act in a way which is incompatible with virtue ('rational silencing'). I identify a small class of cases in which alone McDowell's claims (...) about rational silencing are true. He draws his claims from Aristotle's assertion that a life of virtue is 'self-sufficient'. I offer an alternative reading of Aristotle's assertion, which does not imply the truth of McDowell's. But McDowell's claims about motivational silencing are true. (shrink)
When a reasonable agent deliberates about what to do, she entertains only a limited range of possible courses of action. A theory of practical reasoning must therefore include an account of deliberative attention: an account that both explains the patterns of deliberative attention that reasonable agents typically display and allows us to see why these patterns of deliberative attention are reasonable. I offer such an account, built around two, central claims. A reasonable agent who cares about some end is disposed (...) to exclude courses of action which she believes to be incompatible with that end from the range of possibilities that she will entertain as options in practical deliberation. As I shall put it, an agent’s cares establish deliberative boundaries for her practical thought. The stability of a deliberative boundary varies with the depth of the care that explains it. These two claims motivate the Boundary-Driven Model of the path that a reasonable agent’s deliberative attention will take in temporally extended deliberation. If we locate the model within a maximizing conception of practical rationality, then boundary-driven deliberation, of the sort that the model describes, can be understood and justified instrumentally, as a heuristic device. But if we suppose that there is no single index of value that successful practical choice maximizes, then boundary-driven deliberation is partly constitutive of reasonableness in practical thought. It allows an agent facing plural and incommensurable values to frame her deliberative problems narrowly enough that, in conjunction with deliberative devices which are not part of the model but which are compatible with it, she may be able to reach a non-arbitrary decision – and so give a determinate, verdictive sense to the phrase “the best course of action available to me” in cases in which a determinate meaning for this phrase would otherwise be lacking. (shrink)
Attention is necessary for the conscious perception of any object. Objects not attended to are not seen. What is it that captures attention when we are engaged in some attention-absorbing task? Earlier research has shown that there are only a very few stimuli which have this power and therefore are reliably detected under these conditions . The two most reliable are the observer’s own name and a happy face icon which seem to capture attention by virtue of their meaning. Three (...) experiments are described which explore whether these stimuli are detected under conditions, heretofore unexamined, which either cause inattentional blindness or are associated with a perceptual failure associated with the limits of attention. The evidence obtained indicates that these stimuli have a unique capacity to capture and extend the limits of attention under conditions in which this has been deemed highly unlikely. (shrink)
_Between Past Orthodoxies and the Future of Globalization_ provides essays in English by leading thinkers in Russia in philosophy, political theory, and related fields. Their essays articulate Russian perspectives on the key global issues being faced internationally and in Russia.
Christine Korsgaard claims that an agent is less than fully rational if she allows some attitude to inform her deliberation even though she cannot justify doing so. I argue that there is a middle way, which Korsgaard misses, between the claim that our attitudes neither need nor admit of rational assessment, on the one hand, and Korsgaard's claim that the attitudes which inform our deliberation always require justification, on the other: an agent needs reasons to opt out of her concerns (...) – not reasons to opt into them or to stay in. As long as an agent has no good reason to abandon some concern of hers, she is reasonable to harbour it, and to allow it to inform her view of what reasons she has. A rational agent must therefore have the capacity to form higher-order attitudes toward her concerns; but rationality only requires that she exercise that capacity when she has some good reason to do so. (shrink)
Hannah Arendt says that "violence is nothing more than the most flagrant manifestation of power." Given this definition, one might expect that violence takes many forms. Numerous writers have, in fact, applied violence to more than direct bodily harm. Within philosophy, Newton Garver, for example, has developed a typology of violence that includes overt and covert forms, as well as personal..
Summary Many people were involved in producing the seven volumes that make up the fourth series of the Royal Society catalogue of scientific papers. Included were about two hundred volunteers and about one hundred people working either on short-term contracts or carrying out piece work. At the Royal Society there was a small, largely female, secretariat working full-time. It included both clerical and bibliographic staff. Coordinating all the work was the chemist Herbert McLeod, appointed director of the catalogue in 1901. (...) As is discussed, the position of director was created especially for him after his forced retirement from the Royal Indian Engineering College. The paper shows the complexity of the work involved in producing the catalogue, as well as something of the office culture at the Royal Society in the early twentieth century. The working conditions of the women employees, and prevailing attitudes toward the largely female clerical and bibliographic staff, are briefly discussed. (shrink)
arguments concerning whether such changes are creative.  Less frequently addressed are questions about how to assess the perceptual implications of these linguistic innovations.  Using insights of Ricoeur and, to a lesser extent, M. Merleau Ponty and V. N. Volosinov, I will provide a model for evaluating a certain class of linguistic innovations, namely, new uses of language which rely upon distortion of typical perceptual associations. (Excluded from such new linguistic uses are, for example, analogical innovations, as presented by (...) Saussure.) As my title suggests, I will relate two superficially dissimilar products of language, i.e., metaphor and ideology. I will argue that metaphor and ideology need to be considered jointly (comparatively) to understand linguistic creativity, because -despite their differences -they mutually rely (at their inception) on atypical, even excessive, distortion of the way words shape perception of and reflection on ‘reality.’ My basic thesis is that, in language, the processes of creativity and distortion are interrelated. However, the conclusion I will reach is one which proposes a distinction between and criterion for ‘positive’ changes (which I term ‘creative distortions’) and ‘negative’ changes (which I term ‘distortive creations’). Nevertheless, I do not associate ‘creative distortions’ exclusively with metaphors and ‘distortive creations’ exclusively with ideologies. For metaphor and ideology, I relate ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ to how practical activity is facilitated, using a criterion of expansion or enrichment versus contraction or impoverishment of the semiotic perceptual field. Hence, throughout, even when I make distinctions, I will stress how metaphor and ideology are similar, not how they are different. Textually, the model I will present results from my effort to relate Ricoeur’s views on.. (shrink)
I stumbled into my interpretation of Wittgenstein as an advocate of what is now termed applied philosophy. In doing research for an essay on linguistic violence,  I decided to read more by and about Ferrucio Rossi Landi because I had already made use of his work on linguistic alienation.  One source, in particular, caught my attention because of its clever, though sexist, subtitle. In 1991, Ranjit Chatterjee published an essay titled "Rossi Landi's Wittgenstein: 'A philosopher's meaning is his (...) use in the.. (shrink)
Raphael Meldola FRS was professor of chemistry at the City and Guilds Technical College in Finsbury. He was a colleague and close friend of Silvanus Phillips Thompson FRS , the college principal and professor of physics. This paper follows an earlier one on Thompson and the making of his career. It is intended to illustrate further the ways in which scientists of Meldola and Thompson's generation gained advancement within the scientific community. Meldola had interests beyond chemistry, including a serious interest (...) in field entomology. In this he had several well-known mentors including Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin. The paper, which includes much new information derived from archival work, is presented as six thematic narratives related, among other things, to chemical and technical education, dye chemistry, the Royal Society solar eclipse expedition of 1875, natural history and Darwinism, field clubs, learned societies, and the honouring of scientists. Together these narratives illustrate a generalist/voluntarist career pattern that came to an end with the First World War. (shrink)