An intricate, long, and occasionally heated debate surrounds Boltzmann’s H-theorem (1872) and his combinatorial interpretation of the second law (1877). After almost a century of devoted and knowledgeable scholarship, there is still no agreement as to whether Boltzmann changed his view of the second law after Loschmidt’s 1876 reversibility argument or whether he had already been holding a probabilistic conception for some years at that point. In this paper, I argue that there was no abrupt statistical turn. In the first (...) part, I discuss the development of Boltzmann’s research from 1868 to the formulation of the H-theorem. This reconstruction shows that Boltzmann adopted a pluralistic strategy based on the interplay between a kinetic and a combinatorial approach. Moreover, it shows that the extensive use of asymptotic conditions allowed Boltzmann to bracket the problem of exceptions. In the second part I suggest that both Loschmidt’s challenge and Boltzmann’s response to it did not concern the H-theorem. The close relation between the theorem and the reversibility argument is a consequence of later investigations on the subject. (shrink)
George H. Mead and Alfred Schutz proposed foundations for an interpretative sociology from opposite standpoints. Mead accepted the objective meaning structure a priori. His problem became therefore the explanation of the individuality and creativity of human actors in his social behavioristic approach. In contrast, Schutz started from the subjective consciousness of an isolated actor as a result of a phenomenological reduction. He was concerned with the problem of explaining the possibility of this isolated actor’s perceiving other actors in their existence, (...) their concreteness, and the motives for their behavior. I treat these two approaches and their associated problems as equally relevant. My evaluation is based on their success in solving their specific problems. The aim is to decide which of the two approaches provides the more adequate foundation for an interpretative sociology. (shrink)
Ernst H. Gombrich criticized abstract painting with several remarks scattered around his wide oeuvre. I argue that his view of abstract paintings is coherent with the account of pictorial representation he put forward in Art and Illusion, show some limits of such view, and maintain that, although several of Gombrich’s criticisms of abstract painting should be rejected, some of his remarks are insightful and worth of consideration.
From 2012 to 2015 I was the first Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking at Rochester Institute of Technology, in Rochester, NY. To the best of my knowledge it is the only such endowed position devoted solely to this at a major North American university. It was made possible by a generous 3 million dollar gift from an anonymous alumnus who wished to honor a retired faculty member who had taught for 51 years. The honoree was revered for (...) his devotion to Bloom’s taxonomy and his academic rigor, which infused case studies and the Socratic method. A primary motivation for the chair was a belief that an alarming number of college graduates lack the necessary critical thinking skills in order to advance successfully in their careers. My responsibilities included collaborative leadership, advocacy and oversight for critical thinking across the entire campus. It provided a unique opportunity to reflect on the current state of critical thinking instruction–very broadly construed, as well as to examine its specific role at RIT, an institution with its own unique history, mission, and character. (shrink)
This article is an investigation of parallel themes in Heinrich Hertz's philosophy science and Kant's theory of schemata, symbols and regulative ideas. It is argued that Hertz's "pictures" bears close similarities to Kantian "schemata", that is, they are rules linking concepts to intuitions and provide them with their meaning. Kant's distinction between symbols and schemata is discussed and related to Hertz's three pictures of mechanics. It is argued that Hertz considered his own picture of mechanics (the "hidden mass" picture) as (...) symbolic in a different way than the force and energy pictures. In the final part of the article it is described how Harald Høffding soon after the publication of Hertz's Principles of Mechanics developed a general theory of analogical reasoning, relying on the ideas of Hertz and Kant. (shrink)
W. H. Auden and Hannah Arendt belonged to a generation that experienced the catastrophic events of the mid-twentieth century, and they both sought to respond to the enormity of the novel phenomena they witnessed.
T. H. Morgan (1866–1945), the founder of the Drosophila research group in genetics that established the chromosome theory of Mendelian inheritance, has been described as a radical empiricist in the historical literature. His empiricism, furthermore, is supposed to have prejudiced him against certain scientific conclusions. This paper aims to show two things: first, that the sense in which the term empiricism has been used by scholars is too weak to be illuminating. It is necessary to distinguish between empiricism as an (...) epistemological position and the so-called methodological empiricism. I will argue that the way the latter has been presented cannot distinguish an empiricist methodology from a non-empiricist one. Second, I will show that T. H. Morgan was not an epistemological empiricist as this term is usually defined in philosophy. The reason is that he believed in the existence of genes as material entities when they were unobservable entities when they were unobservable entities introduced to account for the phenotypic ratios found in breeding experiments. These two points, of course, are interrelated. If we were to water down the meaning of empiricis, perhaps we could call Morgan an empiricist. But then we would also fail to distinguish empiricism from realism. (shrink)
J. H. Lambert proved important results of what we now think of as non-Euclidean geometries, and gave examples of surfaces satisfying their theorems. I use his philosophical views to explain why he did not think the certainty of Euclidean geometry was threatened by the development of what we regard as alternatives to it. Lambert holds that theories other than Euclid’s fall prey to skeptical doubt. So despite their satisfiability, for him these theories are not equal to Euclid’s in justification. Contrary (...) to recent interpretations, then, Lambert does not conceive of mathematical justification as semantic. According to Lambert, Euclid overcomes doubt by means of postulates. Euclid’s theory thus owes its justification not to the existence of the surfaces that satisfy it, but to the postulates according to which these “models” are constructed. To understand Lambert’s view of postulates and the doubt they answer, I examine his criticism of Christian Wolff’s views. I argue that Lambert’s view reflects insight into traditional mathematical practice and has value as a foil for contemporary, model-theoretic, views of justification. (shrink)
Let h : ℕ → ℚ be a computable function. A real number x is called h-monotonically computable if there is a computable sequence of rational numbers which converges to x h-monotonically in the sense that h|x – xn| ≥ |x – xm| for all n andm > n. In this paper we investigate classes h-MC of h-mc real numbers for different computable functions h. Especially, for computable functions h : ℕ → ℚ, we show that the class h-MC coincides (...) with the classes of computable and semi-computable real numbers if and only if Σi∈ℕ) = ∞and the sum Σi∈ℕ) is a computable real number, respectively. On the other hand, if h ≥ 1 and h converges to 1, then h-MC = SC no matter how fast h converges to 1. Furthermore, for any constant c > 1, if h is increasing and converges to c, then h-MC = c-MC. Finally, if h is monotone and unbounded, then h-MC contains all ω-mc real numbers which are g-mc for some computable function g. (shrink)
New Waves in Philosophy, a book collection that stands out for giving a snapshot of research in all areas of philosophy is a successful editorial project addressed by Vincent F. Hendricks and Duncan Pritchard. New Waves in Philosophy of Action is one of its last titles, edited by Jesús H. Aguilar, Andrei A. Buckareff and Keith Frankish. -/- The book is aimed at the researchers of all fields and readers in general interested in this sub-discipline of philosophy very difficult to (...) localize (is it part of a sub-discipline such as metaphysics or maybe part of the philosophy of mind?). What is and how can we know the nature of intentions and its role in action? (shrink)
During the British socialist revival of the 1880s competing theories of evolution were central to disagreements about strategy for social change. In News from Nowhere (1891), William Morris had portrayed socialism as the result of Lamarckian processes, and imagined a non-Malthusian future. H.G. Wells, an enthusiastic admirer of Morris in the early days of the movement, became disillusioned as a result of the Malthusianism he learnt from Huxley and his subsequent rejection of Lamarckism in light of Weismann's experiments on mice. (...) This brought him into conflict with his fellow Fabian, George Bernard Shaw, who rejected neo-Darwinism in favour of a Lamarckian conception of change he called "creative evolution.". (shrink)
La obra del filósofo estadounidense David H. Finkelstein, Expression and the Inner, publicada originariamente en 2003 por Harvard University Press (2ª ed. 2008) puede ahora leerse en la versión española de Lino San Juan, editada por la ovetense KRK Ediciones con el título: La expresión y lo interno. Finkelstein propone en La expresión y lo interno un análisis expresivista del autoconocimiento. Podría parecer cuando menos sorprendente y aún más admirable que con tan sólo dos capítulos (“Detectivismo y constitutivismo” y “Expresión”) (...) y un Epílogo (“Deliberación y transparencia”), Finkelstein haya conseguido presentar en esta obra un planteamiento calificado por muchos como una auténtica renovación de la discusión analítica en torno al tema del autoconocimiento, o sea, acerca del problema de qué clase de autoridad quepa atribuir a las expresiones sobre nuestros propios estados de ánimo y/o nuestros estados mentales sin más. (shrink)
This article traces Kurt H. Wolff’s involvement with Italy, from his first sojourn in the 1930s as a German Jewish intellectual in exile to the end of his life. Wolff developed profound ties with the country that hosted him, and that he was forced to abandon once racial laws were introduced there on the eve of World War II. Nonetheless, throughout his life he regarded Italy as an elective homeland of sorts. Wolff’s Italian experience is revisited through a detailed examination (...) of the places where he resided, his activities as a student, teacher, and scholar, and the many individuals with whom he associated, many of whom became his lifelong friends and collaborators. The documentary evidence collected here includes unpublished conversations with some of Wolff’s Italian connections and serves for a consideration of how his ties to Italy had an impact on the development of his sociological and esthetic theories. (shrink)
In this essay, I reconstruct H. Richard Niebuhr's interpretation of George Herbert Mead's account of the social constitution of the self. Specifically, I correct Niebuhr's interpretation, because it mischaracterizes Mead's understanding of social constitution as more dialogical than ecological. I also argue that Niebuhr's interpretation needs completing because it fails to engage one of Mead's more significant notions, the I/me distinction within the self. By reconstructing Niebuhr's account of faith and responsibility as theologically self-constitutive through Mead's I/me distinction, I demonstrate (...) Niebuhr's deep yet unacknowledged agreement with Mead: the self is constituted by its participation in multiple communities, but responds to them creatively by enduring the moral perplexity of competing communal claims. I conclude by initiating a constructive account of conscience that follows from this agreement. Conscience is more ecological than dialogical because it regards our creative participation in multiple ecologies of social roles oriented by patterns of responsive relations. (shrink)
T. S. Eliot left Harvard during his third year of study in the department of philosophy and went to England. Forty-six years later he authorized the publication of his doctoral dissertation. Here we have a reprint of his sympathetic but not entirely uncritical study of the English idealist philosopher F. H. Bradley.
Since the first volume appeared in 2005, the collection Controversies has brought together pieces of work related to the field of argumentation, giving particular attention to those that are concerned with theoretical and practical problems connected with discursive controversy and confrontation. Authors such as P. Barrotta, M. Dascal, S. Frogel, H. Chang and D. Walton had already either edited or written previous editions to the present volume (volume six) of the collection. F. H. van Eemeren and B. Garssen (the former (...) has already, with P. Houtlosser, edited the second volume of this collection) are responsible for compiling and editing this collection. In this volume Van Eemeren and Garssen edit works they conceive as being akin to those elements which, in argumentation discourse, serve to resolve – or often to present – differences of opinion. However, it should be added that this is not a mere editing job, but rather the result of an intellectual collaboration between two international research groups dedicated to a common field – consisting, on the one hand, of controversies and, on the other, of argumentation. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationships between Christianity, Englishness, and ideas about the southern English landscape in the writings of the 1930s and 1940s rural commentator, H.J. Massingham. The paper begins by looking in general terms at the conjunction of religious and national identities in the context of national landscapes before moving on to consider in more detail one particular instance of this in the writing of H.J. Massingham. Massingham's understanding of a divine natural order, his construction of a kind of (...) 'divine Englishness' and the way in which he relates this to particular English landscapes is explored. In particular, the paper investigates the natural, social and political power relationships which are embedded in Massingham's work, and suggests that his writing provides an interesting example of one way in which theological reasoning can reflect and reinforce concepts of a naturally ordered national identity. (shrink)
After more than a decade teaching ancient Greek history and philosophy at University College, Oxford, British philosopher and political theorist Bernard Bosanquet resigned from his post to spend more time writing. He was particularly interested in contemporary social theory, and was involved with the Charity Organisation Society and the London Ethical Society. He wrote numerous articles before beginning this book, which was his first and was published in 1885 as a response to the Principles of Logic, published in 1883, by (...) his contemporary F. H. Bradley . Bosanquet, who was deeply influenced by the German philosopher Hegel , argues that there are 'signs of a philosophical movement in this country which may assimilate what is really great in European philosophy, without forfeiting the distinctive merits of English thought'. With this as the framework, the book examines the relationship of judgment and logic to knowledge. (shrink)
After more than a decade teaching ancient Greek history and philosophy at University College, Oxford, British philosopher and political theorist Bernard Bosanquet resigned from his post to spend more time writing. He was particularly interested in contemporary social theory, and was involved with the Charity Organisation Society and the London Ethical Society. He wrote numerous articles before beginning this book, which was his first and was published in 1885 as a response to the Principles of Logic, published in 1883, by (...) his contemporary F. H. Bradley. Bosanquet, who was deeply influenced by the German philosopher Hegel, argues that there are 'signs of a philosophical movement in this country which may assimilate what is really great in European philosophy, without forfeiting the distinctive merits of English thought'. With this as the framework, the book examines the relationship of judgment and logic to knowledge. (shrink)
This article is an investigation of parallel themes in Heinrich Hertz's philosophy science and Kant's theory of schemata, symbols and regulative ideas. It is argued that Hertz's "pictures" bears close similarities to Kantian "schemata", that is, they are rules linking concepts to intuitions and provide them with their meaning. Kant's distinction between symbols and schemata is discussed and related to Hertz's three pictures of mechanics. It is argued that Hertz considered his own picture of mechanics as symbolic in a different (...) way than the force and energy pictures. In the final part of the article it is described how Harald Høffding soon after the publication of Hertz's Principles of Mechanics developed a general theory of analogical reasoning, relying on the ideas of Hertz and Kant. (shrink)
H. Richard Nieburh's major work, which he did not live to complete, was to be on theological ethics. Based on the published and unpublished writings that Niebuhr completed during the last decade of his life, Roots of Relational Ethics demonstrates that Niebuhr's conception of responsibility was the culmination of his thought about self, God, Christ, the church, ethics and decision-making, and social evil. R. Melvin Keiser examines the limitations and potential of Niebuhr's use of responsibility in comparison with relevant themes (...) in liberation and feminist theological ethics. He suggests that Niebuhr's mature work can contribute to the alleviation of environmental exploitation, sexism, anti-Judaism, war, racism, and classism. (shrink)
The National Library of Finland and the Von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Helsinki keep the collected correspondence of Georg Henrik von Wright, Wittgenstein’s friend and successor at Cambridge and one of the three literary executors of Wittgenstein’s Nachlass. Among von Wright’s correspondence partners, Elizabeth Anscombe and Rush Rhees are of special interest to Wittgenstein scholars as the two other trustees of the Wittgenstein papers. Thus, von Wright’s collections held in Finland promise to shed light on the (...) context of decades of editorial work that made Wittgenstein’s later philosophy available to all interested readers. In this text, we present the letters which von Wright received from Anscombe and Rhees during the first nine months after Wittgenstein’s death. This correspondence provides a vivid picture of the literary executors as persons and of their developing relationships. The presented letters are beautiful examples of what the correspondence as a whole has to offer; it depicts – besides facts of editing – the story of three philosophers, whose conversing voices unfold the human aspects of inheriting Wittgenstein’s Nachlass. Their story does not only deal with editing the papers of an eminent philosopher, but with the attempt to do justice to the man they knew, to his philosophy and to his wishes for publication. (shrink)
This article presents a critical reevaluation of the thesis – closely associated with H.L.A. Hart, and central to the views of most recent legal philosophers – that the idea of state coercion is not logically essential to the definition of law. The author argues that even laws governing contracts must ultimately be understood as “commands of the sovereign, backed by force”. This follows in part from recognition that the “ sovereign ”, defined rigorously, at the highest level of abstraction, is (...) that person or entity identified by reference to game theory and the philosophical idea of “convention” as the source of signals to which the subject population has become effectively locked, as a group, into conformity. (shrink)
We find before us an excellent edition of the book which the influential American thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-82) published in December of 1860, four months before the outbreak of the American Civil War. The central question which Emerson poses in this volume concerns the conduct of life, that is, of how to live. The titles of the nine essays, which compose the book, illustrate the themes tackled: “Fate,” “Power,” “Wealth”, “Culture,” “Behavior,” “Worship”, “Considerations by the Way,” “Beauty” and “Illusions.” (...) As Callaway suggests, Emerson’s is not a philosophy in the sense of contemporary technicalities, “the basic tendency of his thought is a metaphysical idealism in which the soul and intuition or inspiration are central.” (p. xvi). As an essentially religious thinker, profoundly preoccupied with the human soul and with the development of human potentialities, he has always firmly opposed to slavery: one cannot refuse to others human beings the development of their distinctively human potentialities (p. xxvii). (shrink)
Henry Charlton Bastian's support for spontaneous generation is shown to have developed from his commitment to the new evolutionary science of Darwin, Spencer, Huxley and Tyndall. Tracing Bastian's early career development shows that he was one of the most talented rising young stars among the Darwinians in the 1860s. His argument for a logically necessary link between evolution and spontaneous generation was widely believed among those sympathetic to Darwin's ideas. Spontaneous generation implied materialism to many, however, and it had associations (...) in Britain with radical politics and amateur science. Huxley and the X Club were trying to create a public posture of Darwinism that kept it at arm's length from those negative associations. Thus, the conflict that developed when Huxley and the X Club opposed Bastian was at least as much about factional in-fighting among the Darwinians as it was about the experiments under dispute. Huxley's strategy to defeat Bastian and define his position as "non-Darwinian" contributed significantly to the shaping of Huxley's famous address "Biogenesis and Abiogenesis." Rhetorically separating Darwinism from Bastian was thus responsible for Huxley's first clear public statement that a naturalistic origin of life was compatible with Darwin's ideas, but only in the earth's distant past. The final separation of the discourse on the meaning of Brownian movement and "active molecules" from any possible link with spontaneous generation also grew out of Huxley's strategy to defeat Bastian. Clashes between Bastian and the X Club are described at the BAAS, the Royal Society, and in the pages of "Nature" and other journals. (shrink)
A complete reconstruction of Lehmer’s ENIAC set-up for computing the exponents of p modulo two is given. This program served as an early test program for the ENIAC (1946). The reconstruction illustrates the difficulties of early programmers to find a way between a man operated and a machine operated computation. These difficulties concern both the content level (the algorithm) and the formal level (the logic of sequencing operations).