Europe and England in the seventeenth century -- John Locke : his life -- Essay concerning human understanding and other works -- Influences on Locke -- The meaning of Locke's philosophy -- The influence and importance of Locke's work and ideas.
[Michael Friedman] This paper considers the extent to which Kant's vision of a distinctively 'transcendental' task for philosophy is essentially tied to his views on the foundations of the mathematical and physical sciences. Contemporary philosophers with broadly Kantian sympathies have attempted to reinterpret his project so as to isolate a more general philosophical core not so closely tied to the details of now outmoded mathematical-physical theories (Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics). I consider two such attempts, those of Strawson and McDowell, (...) and argue that they fundamentally distort the original Kantian impulse. I then consider Buchdahl's attempt to preserve the link between Kantian philosophy and the sciences while simultaneously generalizing Kant's doctrines in light of later scientific developments. I argue that Buchdahl's view, while not adequate as in interpretation of Kant in his own eighteenth century context, is nonetheless suggestive of an historicized and relativized revision of Kantianism that can do justice to both Kant's original philosophical impulse and the radical changes in the sciences that have occurred since Kant's day. /// [Graham Bird] Michael Friedman criticises some recent accounts of Kant which 'detach' his transcendental principles from the sciences, and do so in order to evade naturalism. I argue that Friedman's rejection of that 'detachment' is ambiguous. In its strong form, which I claim Kant rejects, the principles of Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics are represented as transcendental principles. In its weak form, which I believe Kant accepts, it treats those latter principles as higher order conditions of the possibility of both science and ordinary experience. I argue also that the appeal to naturalism is unhelpful because that doctrine is seriously unclear, and because the accounts Friedman criticises are open to objections independent of any appeal to naturalism. (shrink)
The context for these interviews was a seminar [Peter Gratton] conducted on speculative realism in the Spring 2010. There has been great interest in speculative realism and one reason Gratton surmise[s] is not just the arguments offered, though [Gratton doesn't] want to take away from them; each of these scholars are vivid writers and great pedagogues, many of whom are in constant contact with their readers via their weblogs. Thus these interviews provided an opportunity to forward student questions about their (...) respective works. Though each were conducted on different occasions, the interviews stand as a collected work, tying together the most classical questions about “realism” to ancillary movements about the non-human in politics, ecology, aesthetics, and video gaming—all to point to future movements in this philosophical area. (shrink)
Most academic efforts to understand morality and ideology come from theorists who limit the domain of morality to issues related to harm and fairness. For such theorists, conservative beliefs are puzzles requiring non-moral explanations. In contrast, we present moral foundations theory, which broadens the moral domain to match the anthropological literature on morality. We extend the theory by integrating it with a review of the sociological constructs of community, authority, and sacredness, as formulated by Emile Durkheim and others. We present (...) data supporting the theory, which also shows that liberals misunderstand the explicit moral concerns of conservatives more than conservatives misunderstand liberals. We suggest that what liberals see as a non-moral motivation for system justification may be better described as a moral motivation to protect society, groups, and the structures and constraints that are often (though not always) beneficial for individuals. Finally, we outline the possible benefits of a moral foundations perspective for System Justification Theory, including better understandings of 1) why the system-justifying motive is palliative despite some harmful effects, 2) possible evolutionary origins of the motive, and 3) the values and worldviews of conservatives in general. (shrink)
The prominence of David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion in contemporary philosophy of religion has led it to overshadow his other short work, The Natural History of Religion, and thus obscure the fact that the social psychology of religion was in many ways of greater interest and more widely debated among the philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment than philosophical theology. This paper examines and compares the social psychology of religion advanced by Hume and Adam Smith. It argues that Hume's account (...) of the psychological sources and social significance of religion is less satisfactory than Smith's. (shrink)
My discussion in this paper is divided into three parts. In section I, I discuss some fairly familiar lines of approach to the question how moral considerations may be shown to have rational appeal. In section II, I suggest how our existence as constituents in collective entities might also influence our practical thinking. In section III, I entertain the idea that identification with collectives might displace moral thinking to some degree, and I offer Marx's class theory as a sample of (...) collective identification for the purposes of practical deliberation. (shrink)
The heart of this book is a dramatic love poem, the Rasa Lila, which is the ultimate focal point of one of the most treasured Sanskrit texts of India, the Bhagavata Purana. Judged a literary masterpiece by Indian and Western scholars alike, this work of poetic genius and soaring religious vision is one of the world's greatest sacred love stories and, as Graham Schweig clearly demonstrates, should be regarded as India's Song of Songs. The story presents the supreme deity (...) as the youthful and amorous cowherd, Krishna, who joins his beloved maidens in an enchanting and celebratory "dance of divine love." Schweig introduces this work of exquisite poetry and profound theology to the Western world in the form of a luminous translation and erudite scholarly treatment. His book explores the historical context and literary genre of the work and elucidates the aesthetic and emotional richness of the composition, highlighting poignant details of this drama of divine love. Schweig illuminates the religious dimensions and ethical nuances of the drama, drawing widely from the commentaries and esoteric vision of masters of the Caitanya school of Vaishnavism, a prominent devotional Hindu tradition. Themes such as transcendence of death through love, the yoga of devotion, the contrast between worldly love and passionate love for God, and the dialectical tension between ethical boundaries and boundless love are presented. The final event of the Rasa dance, the author concludes, presents a dynamic symbol of supreme love that provides the basis for a theological vision of genuine religious pluralism. (shrink)