Hans Reichenbach, a philosopher of science who was one of five students in Einstein's first seminar on the general theory of relativity, became Einstein's bulldog, defending the theory against criticism from philosophers, physicists, and popular commentators. This book chronicles the development of Reichenbach's reconstruction of Einstein's theory in a way that clearly sets out all of its philosophical commitments and its physical predictions as well as the battles that Reichenbach fought on its behalf, in both the academic and popular (...) press. The essays include reviews and responses to philosophical colleagues, such as Moritz Schlick and Hugo Dingler; polemical discussions with physicists Max Born and D. C. Miller; as well as popular articles meant to clarify aspects of Einstein's theories and set out their philosophical ramifications for the layperson. At a time when physics and philosophy were both undergoing revolutionary changes in content and method, this book is a window into the development of scientific philosophy and the role of the philosopher. (shrink)
The debate about concepts has always been shaped by a contrast between subjectivism, which treats them as phenomena in the mind or head of individuals, and objectivism, which insists that they exist independently of individual minds. The most prominent contemporary version of subjectivism is Fodor's RTM. The Fregean charge against subjectivism is that it cannot do justice to the fact that different individuals can share the same concepts. Proponents of RTM have accepted shareability as a ‘non-negotiable constraint’. At the same (...) time they insist that by distinguishing between sign-types and – tokens the Fregean objection cannot just be circumvented but revealed to be fallacious. My paper rehabilitates the Fregean argument against subjectivism. The RTM response rests either on an equivocation of ‘concept’—between types which satisfy the non-negotiable constraint and tokens which are mental particulars in line with RTM doctrine—or on the untenable idea that one and the same entity can be both a shareable type and hence abstract and a concrete particular in the head. Furthermore, subjectivism cannot be rescued by adopting unorthodox metaphysical theories about the type/token and universal/particular contrasts. The final section argues that concepts are not representations or signs, but something represented by signs. Even if RTM is right to explain conceptual thinking by reference to the occurrence of mental representations, concepts themselves cannot be identical with such representations. (shrink)
Egoism and altruism are unequal contenders in the explanation of human behaviour. While egoism tends to be viewed as natural and unproblematic, altruism has always been treated with suspicion, and it has often been argued that apparent cases of altruistic behaviour might really just be some special form of egoism. The reason for this is that egoism fits into our usual theoretical views of human behaviour in a way that altruism does not. This is true on the biological level, where (...) an evolutionary account seems to favour egoism, as well as on the psychological level, where an account of self-interested motivation is deeply rooted in folk psychology and in the economic model of human behaviour. While altruism has started to receive increasing support in both biological and psychological debates over the last decades, this paper focuses on yet another level, where egoism is still widely taken for granted. Philosophical egoism is the view that, on the ultimate level of intentional explanation, all action is motivated by one of the agent's desires. This view is supported by the standard notion that for a complex of behaviour to be an action, there has to be a way to account for that behaviour in terms of the agent's own pro-attitudes. Psychological altruists, it is claimed, are philosophical egoists in that they are motivated by desires that have the other's benefit rather than the agent's own for its ultimate object. This paper casts doubt on this thesis, arguing that empathetic agents act on other people's pro-attitudes in very much the same way as agents usually act on their own, and that while other-directed desires do play an important role in many cases of psychologically altruistic action, they are not necessary in explanations of some of the most basic and most pervasive types of human altruistic behaviour. The paper concludes with the claim that philosophical egoism is really a cultural value rather than a conceptual feature of action. (shrink)
The Hans Reichenbach Papers comprise published and unpublished manuscripts, lectures, correspondence, photographs, drawings, and related materials from his early student days until his death. The correspondence contains about 9000 pages to and from Reichenbach; it ranges over his entire career. Those with whom Reichenbach maintained lifelong contact include Rudolf Carnap, Ernst Cassirer, Herbert Feigl, Philip Frank, Carl Hempel, Sidney Hook, Paul Oppenheim and Wolfgang Pauli. In addition, there is significant correspondence with von Astor, Bergmann, Bertalanffy, Dingler, Dubislav, Einstein, Fraenkel, (...) Frank, Freundlich, Grelling, Grünbaum, Paul Hertz, Hutten, Jordan, Landé, von Laue, Lewin, C.I. Lewis, Charles Morris, Nagel, Neurath, Northrop, Planck, Quine, Regener, Rougier, Salmon, Schillp, Schlick, Scholz, Schrödinger, Martin Strauss, Tarski, Vaihinger, Weiss, Williams, Zawarski, and Zilsel. The correspondence provides a valuable source of information about Reichenbach’s personal and philosophical development. It also provides primary source material for research into one of the 20th century most influential philosophical movements. Reichenbach’s manuscripts include many of his own notes as a student. Some go as far back as his university days in science and mathematics. Some of the most significant of these notes are those taken by him as a student of Albert Einstein on the special and general theories of relativity. There are four such notebooks dating from 1918. In addition there are his student notes on astronomy, Planck and electricity, Hilbert’s “Statistical Mechanics” and “Problems and Principles.” He also kept many of his lecture notes from Germany, Turkey, and the United States. The number of lectures runs to over 100 and provides a glimpse into the problems of philosophy and how he presented them to his students. Many of his lectures discussed principles of radio and issues in philosophy and modern science, often in form of popularizations of questions in relativity and quantum theory delivered on radio programs for a wider audiences. In addition to this there are an abundance of notes, calculations, and diagrams used to draft both published and unpublished papers. (shrink)
In the late 1830s and early 1840s Hans. L. Martensen helped to introduce the thought of G.W.F. Hegel to the intellectual world of Copenhagen. Between Hegel and Kierkegaard offers the first English translations of three important early writings of Martensen in the philsophy of religion. These treatises evidence an original and critical interpretation of Hegel's thought from a speculative theological point of view. The heart of Martensen's philosophy of religion is the idea of freedom or personality grounded in its (...) relation to the divine. These writings exercised an important and formative influence on the young Kierkegaard, Martensen's student, even though Kierkegaard later became a formidable opponent and critic of Martensen. (shrink)
Although at present analytic philosophy is practiced mainly in the English-speaking world, it is to a considerable part the invention of German speakers. Its emergence owes much to Russell, Moore, and American Pragmatism, but even more to Frege, Wittgenstein, and the logical positivists of the Vienna Circle. No one would think of analytic philosophy as a specifically Anglophone phenomenon, if the Nazis had not driven many of its pioneers out of central Europe.
We publish here the letters between Gadamer and Ricoeur, as they are found in the Archives of the two philosophers. Starting from February 1964 and ending on October 2000, the thirty-five letters reproduced here cannot give a complete picture of their much richer correspondence and relations, because it seems that neither Ricoeur, nor Gadamer kept all the letters they received from one another. But altogether, they document their common concerns, their mutual respect, even their intellectual solidarity and finally the particular (...) context that brought them to write to one another, i.e. Ricoeur’s intention to publish a translation of Gadamer’s book, Truth and Method, in a new series he edited for the Seuil Publisher. This publishing and translation project will mark their entire correspondence. (shrink)
The essay “Was ist der Mensch?” appeared for the first time in December 1944 in the German magazine with a hundred years of tradition edited by the publisher J. J. Weber Illustrierte Zeitung Leipzig [Illustrated Magazine Leipzig]. This special cultural edition, entitled Der europäische Mensch [The European Man], which was distributed exclusively abroad, was to be the last volume of the magazine after its final regular issue in September 1994 (No. 5041). Only in 1947, the text was republished, with the (...) same pagination, in a compilation made by J. J. Weber, Vom Wahren, Schönen, Guten. Aus dem Schatz europäischer Kunst und Kultur [On the True, the Beautiful, the Good. From the Treasury of European Art and Culture]. The publisher was expropriated in 1948, and three years later the company was finally removed from the German commercial registry. “Was ist der Mensch?” has never been released in any of Gadamer’s books or separately published in a journal; it also does not appear within the 10 volumes of his Gesammelte Werke [Collected Works]—the only exception is an Italian translation included in a volume devoted to Gadamer’s views on education and the notion of Bildung (cf. Gadamer 2012). The aim of this translation is to make accessible this Gadamer’s quest for the occidental interpretations of human self-consciousness, which has until now been almost unknown and in which, for the first time, Gadamer shows, from a theoretical standpoint, not only his early—although implicit—keen interest in Max Scheler’s anthropology (particularly Scheler’s considerations on the basic historical types of the occidental man’s self-perception in accordance with the basic and underlying concept of human history that still have powerful effectiveness in modern times), but also—at the historical threshold of the imminent ending of World War II—his own concern regarding possible philosophical answers to the question: “What is man?” Cf. especially Scheler 1926 (GW 9, 120–144); 1928 (GW 9, 7–71); 1929 (GW 9, 145–170). All commenting annotations to Gadamer’s text are authored by the editor and translator. (shrink)
This paper presents Hans Ulrich's account of Christian ethics as an ethics of `vocation'. It is interested in how Ulrich's account of vocational ethics is developed as a critique of professional ethics. Professional ethics is seen as reflecting the structures of ethical deliberation of the social order that produces it, thereby failing to move beyond the realm of `works'. In contrast, the distinguishing characteristic of Ulrich's vocational ethics is shown to be that it is a response to the Word (...) `from outside'. Consequently, a Christian account of professional ethics needs to show how it can retain a `theological difference' that enables it to respond to the Word that `breaks in' to start something new. The paper discusses the transformation of professionalism in a neo-liberal service economy in order to find out how this `breaking in' actually proceeds. Its test case is providing services to people with intellectual disabilities. (shrink)
For nearly a century and a half after his death, Jonathan Edwards remained America's greatest philosopher. His rigorous, systematic vision coupled with a synthetic, creative imagination were unrivalled until the appearance of that great triumvirate of pragmatic philosophers—C. S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey—at the close of the nineteenth century.
Hans Joas is one of the foremost social theorists in Germany today. Based on Joas’s celebrated study of George Herbert Mead, this work reevaluates the contribution of American pragmatism and European philosophical anthropology to theories of action in the social sciences. Joas also establishes direct ties between Mead’s work and approaches drawn from German traditions of philosophical anthropology. Joas argues for adding a third model of action to the two predominant models of rational and normative action—one that emphasizes the (...) creative character of human action. This model encompasses the other two, allowing for a more comprehensive theory of action. Joas elaborates some implications of his model for theories of social movements and social change and for the status of action theory in sociology in the face of competition from theories advanced by Luhmann and Habermas. The problem of action is of crucial importance in both sociology and philosophy, and this book—already widely debated in Germany—will add fresh impetus to the lively discussions current in the English-speaking world. (shrink)