Wittgenstein wrote ‘While thinking philosophically we see problems in places where there are none. It is for philosophy to show that there are no problems’. He meant that the ‘problems’ philosophers grapple with are of their own making. In a related remark he said: ‘This is the essence of a philosophical problem. The question itself is the result of a muddle. And when the question is removed, this is not by answering it’. Even more explicitly he said: ‘All that philosophy (...) can do is to destroy idols’. As he understood his job, it was not to produce or construct something; his job was entirely destructive. This is how Wittgenstein thought of philosophy when he thought about it in the abstract, and I share this view of philosophy. I believe that when we see how to dispose of all philosophical categories, our job is finished. For example, in epistemology our job is not to argue that it is possible to know such-and-such because so-and-so ; rather, we undermine all those ideas that make it seem as though we could not know such-and-such. Undermining philosophical ideas takes the form: When we philosophise, we are tempted to think so-and-so, but if we consider that idea, and do so while remaining free of all philosophical jargon, we find that we cannot make sense of it. (shrink)
I find myself in profound disagreement with Wittgenstein's philosophy of religion and hence in disagreement also with those philosophers who have undertaken to elaborate and defend Wittgenstein's position. My principal objection is to the idea that religion is a language-game and that because of the kind of language-game it is, religious believers are not to be thought of as necessarily harbouring beliefs about the world over and above their secular beliefs. I reject this position, not because I think that there (...) are language-games and that religion happens not to be one, but because I find the very idea of a language-game to be indefensible. Put another way, I find myself out of sympathy with the recent idea that in philosophy of religion we ought to be discussing something called ‘religious language’ or ‘the kind of language involved in religious beliefs’. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a tendency in some quarters to see an affinity between the views of Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein on the subject of religious belief. It seems to me that this is a mistake, that Kierkegaard's views were fundamentally at odds with Wittgenstein's. That this fact is not generally recognized is, I suspect, owing to the obscurity of Kierkegaard's most fundamental assumptions. My aim here is to make those assumptions explicit and to show how they differ from (...) Wittgenstein's. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 193 - 207 Julian, in a Syriac fragment of his _Contra Galilaeos_, attacked the resurrection narratives in Matthew and Mark, because they were inconsistent with each other concerning the time of the arrival of the women to the tomb, the nature of the being they met in the tomb, and the women’s subsequent actions. Other texts in Syriac and Latin indicate the probability that Julian took over the substance of his argument from Porphyry.
This provocative study exposes the ways in which Wittgenstein's philosophical views have been misunderstood, including the failure to recognize the reductionist character of Wittgenstein's work. Author JohnCook provides well-documented proof that Wittgenstein did not hold views commonly attributed to him, arguing that Wittgenstein's later work was mistakenly seen as a development of G. E. Moore's philosophy--which Wittgenstein in fact vigorously attacked. He also points to an underestimation of Russell's influence on Wittgenstein's thinking. Cook goes on to (...) show how these misunderstandings have had grave consequences for philosophy at large, and proposes that a more subtle appreciation of linguistic philosophy can yield valuable results. (shrink)
John Dewey was not a philosopher of education in the now-traditional sense of a doctor of philosophy who examines educational ends, means, and controversies through the disciplinary lenses of epistemology, ethics, and political theory, or of agenda-driven schools such as existentialism, feminism, and critical theory. Rather, Dewey was both an educator and a philosopher, and he saw in each discipline reconstructive possibilities for the other, famously characterizing "philosophy . . . as the general theory of education" (1985, p. 338). (...) Dewey wanted each discipline to overcome its tendency to alienate knowledge and theory from experience and reconstruct itself as an enterprise aimed at personal and collective .. (shrink)
This book explores the writings of philosopher and educator John Dewey in order to develop an expansive vision of aesthetic education and everyday poetics of living. Robert Pirsig's best-selling book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, provides concrete examples of this compelling yet unconventional vision.
The medical career of Sir John Colbatch illuminates some of the ways in which experimental philosophy, social change, and medical entrepreneurialism together helped bring about the end of the old medical regime in England. Colbatch's career in Augustan England depended very much on a growing public culture in which the well-to-do decided matters of intellectual importance for themselves, becoming increasingly free not only from the clerics but from the physicians. In this new world, debates about the fundamental principles of (...) the new science took place increasingly in public, and in the English language, without the learned men of the university being able to enforce their authority. It gave people like Colbatch a new opportunity to make their way into the medical establishment. (shrink)
Due to its considerable length, this article is being published in two parts. This first part briefly discusses the intriguing relationship between John Dewey and Albert Barnes, as well as the circumstances behind the creation of the Barnes Foundation and its innovative art-education programs. This is followed by examination of the prominent roles of aesthetic formalism and organic unity in Barnes's writings about the arts and their less technical, more contextual positioning in Dewey's aesthetics. To end Part 1 of (...) the article, a similar dynamic is revealed in Barnes's and Dewey's ultimately disparate understandings of the relationship between form and content in the arts.In its heyday during the first part of the... (shrink)
Due to its considerable length, this article has been published in two parts. Part 1, which appeared in the previous issue of the journal, discussed the intriguing relationship between John Dewey and Albert Barnes, as well as the circumstances behind the creation of the Barnes Foundation and its art education programs. Following this, it established both areas of convergence and divergence in Barnes’s and Dewey’s understandings of aesthetic formalism, organic unity, and form and content in the arts. Part 2 (...) now builds on these findings to explore important differences in their respective treatments of the significant sociocultural context of art. After returning briefly to the question of aesthetic formalism in... (shrink)
The scholars who defend or dispute moral relativism, the idea that a moral principle cannot be applied to people whose culture does not accept it, have concerned themselves with either the philosophical or anthropological aspects of relativism. This study, shows that in order to arrive at a definitive appraisal of moral relativism, it is necessary to understand and investigate both its anthropological and philosophical aspects. Carefully examining the arguments for and against moral relativism, Cook exposes not only that anthropologists (...) have failed in their attempt to support relativism with evidence of cultural differences, but that moral absolutists have been equally unsuccessful in their attempts to refute it. He argues that these conflicting positions are both guilty of an artificial and unrealistic view of morality and proposes a more subtle and complex account of morality. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's Metaphysics offers a radical new interpretation of the fundamental ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein. It takes issue with the conventional view that after 1930 Wittgenstein rejected the philosophy of the Tractatus and developed a wholly new conception of philosophy. By tracing the evolution of Wittgenstein's ideas Cook shows that they are neither as original nor as difficult as is often supposed. Wittgenstein was essentially an empiricist, and the difference between his early views (as set forth in the Tractatus) and (...) the later views (as expounded in the Philosophical Investigations) lies chiefly in the fact that after 1930 he replaced his version of reductionism with something subtler. Nevertheless, he ended where he began, as an empiricist armed with a theory of meaning. (shrink)
Wittgenstein made numerous pronouncements about philosophical method. But did he practice what he preached? Cook addresses this question by studying Wittgenstein’s treatment of the problem of other minds, tracing a line of argument that runs through his writings and lectures from the early 1930s to the 1950s. Cook finds that there is an inconsistency between Wittgenstein’s methodological advice and his actual practice. Instead of bringing words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use, he allows himself to use (...) uncritically words whose provenance is clearly metaphysical. (Published Online September 19 2006). (shrink)
Boston Monday Lectures: Biology, a book of popular essays by the American orator Joseph Cook first published in 1879, was derived from a successful lecture series at Boston's Tremont Temple in 1878 that expertly synthesised the scientific scholarship of the day for public consumption and attempted to show that science was in harmony with religion and the Bible. Writing with clarity and conveying excitement to the lay audiences who flocked to hear him, Cook's lectures became extremely popular around (...) the world. Biology focuses on evolution, immortality and materialism. In 13 lectures, Cook discusses topics including T. H. Huxley and John Tyndall's ideas on evolution, Rudolf Hermann Lotze's thoughts on theism, and microscopy. Cook's lectures on immortality all begin with 'Does Death End All?' before probing further into a philosophical aspect of immortality. Cook interjects short essays, which he calls 'preludes', on subjects as diverse as political patronage and Daniel Webster's death. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: In his recent collection of essays, Language, Truth and History, Donald Davidson appears to endorse a philosophy of language which gives primary importance to the notion of the speaker’s communicative intentions, a perspective on language not too dissimilar from that of Paul Grice. If that is right, then this would mark a major shift from the formal semanticist approach articulated and defended by Davidson in his Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation. In this paper, I argue that although there are (...) many similarities between these two thinkers, Davidson has not abandoned his earlier views on languageRÉSUMÉ : Dans son récent recueil d’articles Language, Truth and History, Donald Davidson semble pencher en faveur d’une philosophie du langage mettant l’accent sur la notion de l’intention communicative du sujet parlant; en quoi il se rapproche du point de vue de Paul Grice. Si cela est juste, la pensée de Davidson se serait dégagée de l’approche sémantique formelle qu’il soutenait dans ses Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation. Dans cet article, je soutiens que, bien qu’il y ait beaucoup de similitudes entre ces deux penseurs, Davidson n’a pas abandonné ses précédentes vues sur le langage. (shrink)
Belief polarization is said to occur when two people respond to the same evidence by updating their beliefs in opposite directions. This response is considered to be “irrational” because it involves contrary updating, a form of belief updating that appears to violate normatively optimal responding, as for example dictated by Bayes' theorem. In light of much evidence that people are capable of normatively optimal behavior, belief polarization presents a puzzling exception. We show that Bayesian networks, or Bayes nets, can simulate (...) rational belief updating. When fit to experimental data, Bayes nets can help identify the factors that contribute to polarization. We present a study into belief updating concerning the reality of climate change in response to information about the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming. The study used representative samples of Australian and U.S. participants. Among Australians, consensus information partially neutralized the influence of worldview, with free-market supporters showing a greater increase in acceptance of human-caused global warming relative to free-market opponents. In contrast, while consensus information overall had a positive effect on perceived consensus among U.S. participants, there was a reduction in perceived consensus and acceptance of human-caused global warming for strong supporters of unregulated free markets. Fitting a Bayes net model to the data indicated that under a Bayesian framework, free-market support is a significant driver of beliefs about climate change and trust in climate scientists. Further, active distrust of climate scientists among a small number of U.S. conservatives drives contrary updating in response to consensus information among this particular group. (shrink)