First published in 1946, History of Western Philosophy went on to become the best-selling philosophy book of the twentieth century. A dazzlingly ambitious project, it remains unchallenged to this day as the ultimate introduction to Western philosophy. Providing a sophisticated overview of the ideas that have perplexed people from time immemorial, it is 'long on wit, intelligence and curmudgeonly scepticism', as the New York Times noted, and it is this, coupled with the sheer brilliance of its scholarship, that has (...) made Russell's History of Western Philosophy one of the most important philosophical works of all time. (shrink)
There is a common tradition in European education going back to the Middle Ages which long played a part in providing the curriculum of schools which catered both for the wealthy and for able sons of less well-to-do families. Originally published in 1974, this volume examines the relationship between education and society in the different countries of Europe from which differences in tradition and practice emerge. The countries discussed include: France, Germany, the former Soviet Union, Poland and Sweden.
This is the third edition of a classic book first published in 1960, which has sold thousands of copies in two paperback edition and has been translated into several foreign languages. Popkin's work ha generated innumerable citations, and remains a valuable stimulus to current historical research. In this updated version, he has revised and expanded throughout, and has added three new chapters, one on Savonarola, one on Henry More and Ralph Cudworth, and one on Pascal. This authoritative treatment of the (...) theme of scepticism and its historical impact will appeal to scholars and students of early modern history now as much as ever. (shrink)
Originally published in 1972, this book is concerned with education as part of a larger social history. Chapters include: The roots of Anglican supremacy in English education The Board schools of London The use of ecclesiastical records for the history of education Topographical resources: private and secondary education from the sixteenth to the twentieth century.
Although Hegel's philosophy of history is recognized as a great intellectual achievement, it is also widely regarded as a complete failure. Taking his cue from the third century Greek historian Polybius, who argued that the rapid domination of the Mediterranean world by Rome had instituted a new phase of world history, Hegel wondered what the rise of European modernity meant for the rest of the world. In his account of the contingent paths of world history, he argued (...) that at work behind it is an eternal human struggle over justice, and that it had led to a new conception of justice in which nobody by nature had authority to rule over anybody else. Moving away from the ancient conception of justice as ordered through a cosmic system, the modern conception is based instead on freedom. This is, so Hegel argues, not an accident of history but part of the necessary development of the institutions and practices through which humans establish and maintain their changing shapes of agency. Behind it is an infinite end, justice, which as infinite is neither something which can ever be finally achieved nor a goal to which we are getting closer but which requires an infinite effort at sustaining.--. (shrink)
Anthropology, History, and Education contains all of Kant's major writings on human nature. Some of these works, which were published over a thirty-nine year period between 1764 and 1803, have never before been translated into English. Kant's question 'What is the human being?' is approached indirectly in his famous works on metaphysics, epistemology, moral and legal philosophy, aesthetics and the philosophy of religion, but it is approached directly in his extensive but less well-known writings on physical and cultural anthropology, (...) the philosophy of history, and education which are gathered in the present volume. Kant repeatedly claimed that the question 'What is the human being?' should be philosophy's most fundamental concern, and Anthropology, History, and Education can be seen as effectively presenting his philosophy as a whole in a popular guise. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that facts about the history or genealogy of concepts (facts about what I call “conceptual history”) can matter for normative inquiry. I argue that normative and evaluative issues about concepts (such as issues about which concepts an agent should use, in a given context) matter for all forms of inquiry (including normative inquiry) and that conceptual history can help us when we engage in thinking about these normative and evaluative issues (which I (...) call issues in “conceptual ethics”). My aim in making this argument is to develop a schematic framework for thinking about the relationship between conceptual history and normative inquiry. The framework puts pressure on those who, often unreflectively or implicitly, dismiss the potential relevance of conceptual history to normative inquiry. At the same time, the framework can be seen as presenting a challenge to those drawn to more radical views about the relationship between conceptual history and normative inquiry. The challenge is this: if one wants a more ambitious model of the relevance of conceptual history to normative inquiry than what I provide in this paper, one needs to explain what justifies such a model. (shrink)
All volumes of Professor Guthrie's great history of Greek philosophy have won their due acclaim. The most striking merits of Guthrie's work are his mastery of a tremendous range of ancient literature and modern scholarship, his fairness and balance of judgement and the lucidity and precision of his English prose. He has achieved clarity and comprehensiveness.
According to the antirealist argument known as the pessimistic induction, the history of science is a graveyard of dead scientific theories and abandoned theoretical posits. Support for this pessimistic picture of the history of science usually comes from a few case histories, such as the demise of the phlogiston theory and the abandonment of caloric as the substance of heat. In this article, I wish to take a new approach to examining the ‘history of science as a (...) graveyard of theories’ picture. Using JSTOR Data for Research and Springer Exemplar, I present new lines of evidence that are at odds with this pessimistic picture of the history of science. When rigorously tested against the historical record of science, I submit, the pessimistic picture of the history of science as a graveyard of dead theories and abandoned posits may turn out to be no more than a philosophers’ myth. (shrink)
_''Philosophy' is a word which has been used in many ways, some wider, some narrower. I propose to use it in a very wide sense, which I will now try to explain.'_ - _ Bertrand Russell Nearly forty years since its first publication, History of Western Philosophy_ remains unchallenged as the ultimate introduction to its subject, while claiming classic status in its own right. It is the bestselling philosophy book of the twentieth century and one of the most important (...) philosophical works of all time. This compact and affordable paperback edition makes this comprehensive and brilliantly-written text readily available for a new generation of readers. As part of our commitment to Russell publishing, the delux version of this bestselling title will continue to be available. 1961: 848pp: Pb: 0-145-07854-7: £16.99. (shrink)
In the advertising discourse of human genetic database projects, of genetic ancestry tracing companies, and in popular books on anthropological genetics, what I refer to as the anthropological gene and genome appear as documents of human history, by far surpassing the written record and oral history in scope and accuracy as archives of our past. How did macromolecules become "documents of human evolutionary history"? Historically, molecular anthropology, a term introduced by Emile Zuckerkandl in 1962 to characterize the (...) study of primate phylogeny and human evolution on the molecular level, asserted its claim to the privilege of interpretation regarding hominoid, hominid, and human phylogeny and evolution vis-à-vis other historical sciences such as evolutionary biology, physical anthropology, and paleoanthropology. This process will be discussed on the basis of three key conferences on primate classification and evolution that brought together exponents of the respective fields and that were held in approximately ten-years intervals between the early 1960s and the 1980s. I show how the anthropological gene and genome gained their status as the most fundamental, clean, and direct records of historical information, and how the prioritizing of these epistemic objects was part of a complex involving the objectivity of numbers, logic, and mathematics, the objectivity of machines and instruments, and the objectivity seen to reside in the epistemic objects themselves. (shrink)
It is often assumed that there is a necessary relationship between historical value and irreplaceability, and that this is an essential feature of historical value’s distinctive character. Contrary to this assumption, I argue that it is a merely contingent fact that some historically valuable things are irreplaceable, and that irreplaceability is not a distinctive feature of historical value at all. Rather, historically significant objects, from heirlooms to artifacts, offer us an otherwise impossible connection with the past, a value that persists (...) even in the face of suitable replacements. (shrink)
I examine the consistency of Kant's notion of moral progress as found in his philosophy of history. To many commentators, Kant's very idea of moral development has seemed inconsistent with basic tenets of his critical philosophy. This idea has seemed incompatible with his claims that the moral law is unconditionally and universally valid, that moral agency is noumenal and atemporal, and that all humans are equally free. Against these charges, I argue not only that Kant's notion of moral development (...) is consistent, but also that the assumption of the possibility of moral progress is indispensible for Kant's moral theory. (shrink)
The history of emotions is a burgeoning field—so much so, that some are invoking an “emotional turn.” As a way of charting this development, I have interviewed three of the leading practitioners of the history of emotions: William Reddy, Barbara Rosenwein, and Peter Stearns. The interviews retrace each historian’s intellectual-biographical path to the history of emotions, recapitulate key concepts, and critically discuss the limitations of the available analytical tools. In doing so, they touch on Reddy’s concepts of (...) “emotive,” “emotional regime,” and “emotional navigation,” as well as on Rosenwein’s “emotional community” and on Stearns’s “emotionology” and offer glimpses of each historian’s ongoing research. The interviews address the challenges presented to historians by research in the neurosciences and the like, highlighting the distinctive contributions offered by a historical approach. In closing, the interviewees appear to reach a consensus, envisioning the history of emotions not as a specialized field but as a means of integrating the category of emotion into social, cultural, and political history, emulating the rise of gender as an analytical category since its early beginnings as “women’s history” in the 1970s. (shrink)
In this brillant meditation on conceptions of history, Le Goff traces the evolution of the historian's craft. Examining real and imagined oppositions between past and present, ancient and modern, oral and written history, _History and Memory_ reveals the strands of continuity that have characterized historiography from ancient Mesopotamia to modern Europe.
One of the most influential ideas of twentieth-century art history and aesthetics is that vision has a history and it is the task of art history to trace how vision has changed. This claim has recently been attacked for both empirical and conceptual reasons. My aim is to argue for a new version of the history of vision claim: if visual attention has a history, then vision also has a history. And we have some (...) reason to think that at least in certain contexts, visual attention does have a history. (shrink)
Are historians storytellers? Is it possible to tell true stories about the past? These are just a couple of the questions raised in this comprehensive collection of texts about philosophy, theory, and methodology of writing history. Drawing together seminal texts from philosophers and historians, this volume presents the great debate over the narrative character of history from the 1960s onwards. The History and Narrative Reader combines theory with practice to offer a unique overview of this debate and (...) illuminates the practical implications of these philosophical debates for the writing of history. The editor's introduction offers a succinct survey of the subject to support the readings, which explore the role of narrative in everything from historical understanding and human action to linguistics and the practice of history. Including the work of F. R. Ankersmit, David Carr, Hayden White, W. H. Dray, and Frederick Olafson; a detailed bibliography; and a glossary of key concepts, this collection will prove an invaluable resource for students of historical theory and methodology. (shrink)
Philosophers of history in the past few decades have been predominantly interested in issues of explanation and narrative discourse. Consequently, they have focused consistently and almost exclusively on the historian’s output, thereby ignoring that historical scholarship is a practice of reading, thinking, discussing, and writing, in which successful performance requires active cultivation of certain skills, attitudes, and virtues. This paper, then, suggests a new agenda for philosophy of history. Inspired by a “performative turn” in the history and (...) philosophy of science, it focuses on the historian’s “doings” and proposes to analyze these performances in terms of epistemic virtue. It argues that historical scholarship is embedded in “practices” or “epistemic cultures,” in which knowledge is created and warranted by means of such virtues as honesty, carefulness, accuracy, and balance. These epistemic virtues, however, are not etched in stone: historians may highlight some of them, exchange one for another, or reinterpret their meaning. On the one hand, this suggests a rich area of research for historians of historiography. To what extent can consensus, conflict, continuity, and change in historical scholarship be explained in terms of epistemic virtue? On the other hand, the proposal outlined in this article raises a couple of philosophical questions. For example, on what grounds can historians choose among epistemic virtues? And what concept of the self comes with the notion of virtue? In addressing these questions, philosophy of history may expand its current scope so as to encompass not only “writings” but also “doings,” that is, the virtuous performances historians recognize as professional conduct. (shrink)
ABSTRACTRheinberger's brief history brings into sharp profile the importance of history of science for a philosophical understanding of historical practice. Rheinberger presents thought about the nature of science by leading scientists and their interpreters over the course of the twentieth century as emphasizing increasingly the local and developmental character of their learning practices, thus making the conception of knowledge dependent upon historical experience, “historicizing epistemology.” Linking his account of thought about science to his own work on “experimental systems,” (...) I draw extensive parallels with other work in the local history of science and consider the epistemological implications both for the relation between history and philosophy of science and between history and theory more broadly. In doing so, I suggest that the long‐standing gap between the natural sciences and history as a “human science” has been significantly bridged by the insistence upon the local, mediated, indeed “historicized epistemology” of actual science. (shrink)
The problem of explaining consciousness remains a problem about the meaning of language: the ordinary language of consciousness in which we define and express our sensations, thoughts, dreams and memories. This book argues that the problem arises from a quest that has taken shape over the twentieth century, and that the analysis of history provides new resources for understanding and resolving it. Paul Livingston traces the development of the characteristic practices of analytic philosophy to problems about the relationship of (...) experience to linguistic meaning, focusing on the theories of such philosophers as Carnap, Schlick, Neurath, Husserl, Ryle, Putnam, Fodor and Wittgenstein. Clearly written and avoiding technicalities, this book will be eagerly sought out by professionals and graduate students in philosophy and cognitive science. (shrink)
This engaging and informative text will hold the attention of students and scholars as they take a journey through time to understand the role that history and philosophy have played in shaping the course of sport and physical education in Western and selected non-Western civilizations. Using appropriate theoretical and interpretive frameworks, students will investigate topics such as the historical relationship between mind and body; what philosophers and intellectuals have said about the body as a source of knowledge; educational philosophy (...) and the value of physical education and/or sport; philosophical positions that have impacted the historical development of sport and physical education; the history of women in sport and physical education; the role and scope of sport and physical education in Ancient Greece and Rome; the Ancient Olympic Games; the relationship between sport and religion in ancient and modern times; the theoretical and professional development of physical education; the rise of sport in modern America; the history and politics of the modern Olympic Games; and the contributions of men, women, and social movements to the development of sport and physical education from ancient times to the modern era. (shrink)
In this article I argue that while an attachment to one's country is both natural and even partially justifiable, cultivating loyal patriotism in schools is untenable insofar as it conflicts with the legitimate aims of education. These aims include the epistemological competence necessary for ascertaining important truths germane to the various disciplines; the cultivation of critical thinking skills ; and developing the capacity for economic self‐reliance. I argue that loyal patriotism may result in a myopic understanding of history, an (...) unhealthy attitude of superiority relative to other cultures, and a coerced sense of attachment to one's homeland. (shrink)
The essays collected here demonstrate that the philosophy of habit is not confined to the work of just a handful of thinkers, but traverses the entire history of Western philosophy and continues to thrive in contemporary theory. A History of Habit: From Aristotle to Bourdieu is the first book to document the richness and diversity of this history. It demonstrates the breadth, flexibility, and explanatory power of the concept of habit as well as its enduring significance. It (...) makes the case for habit’s perennial attraction for philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists. (shrink)
In History After Lacan, Teresa Brennan argues that Jacques Lacan was not an ahistorical post-structuralist. She tells the story of a social psychosis, beginning with a discussion of Lacan's neglected theory of history which argued that we are in the grip of a psychotic's era which began in the seventeenth century and climaxes in the present. By extending and elaborating on Lacan's theory, Brennan develops a general theory of modernity. Contrary to postmodern assumptions, she argues, we need a (...) general historical explanation. An understanding of historical dynamics is essential if we are to make the connections between the outstanding facts of modernity--ethnocentrism, the relation between the sexes, and ecological catastrophe. A challenging feminist, interdisciplinary study, History After Lacan will be essential reading for social, cultural, and political theorists, historians, psychoanalysts, and literary theorists. (shrink)
This volume provides an unequaled introduction to the thought of chief contributors to the Western tradition of political philosophy from classical Greek antiquity to the twentieth century. Written by specialists on the various philosophers, this third edition has been expanded significantly to include both new and revised essays.
Divided into two parts this book examines the train of social theory from the 19th century, through to the `organization of modernity', in relation to ideas of social planning, and as contributors to the `rationalistic revolution' of the `golden age' of capitalism in the 1950s and 60s. Part two examines key concepts in the social sciences. It begins with some of the broadest concepts used by social scientists: choice, decision, action and institution and moves on to examine the `collectivist alternative': (...) the concepts of society, culture and polity, which are often dismissed as untenable by postmodernists today. This is a major contribution to contemporary social theory and provides a host of essential insights into the task of social science today. (shrink)
Cosmology has always been different from other areas of the natural sciences. Although an observationally supported standard model of the universe emerged in the 1960s, more speculative models and conceptions continued to attract attention. During the last decade, ideas of multiple universes based on anthropic reasoning have become very popular among cosmologists and theoretical physicists. This had led to a major debate within the scientific community of the epistemic standards of modern cosmology. Is the multiverse a scientific hypothesis, or is (...) it rather a philosophical speculation disguised as science? This paper offers a review of the recent and still ongoing controversy concerning the multiverse, emphasizing its foundational nature and relation to philosophical issues. It also compares the multiverse controversy to some earlier episodes in the history of twentieth-century cosmology when particular theories and approaches came under attack for betraying the ideals of proper science. (shrink)
This essay surveys the present position of postmodernism with respect to the effect of its ideas upon historiography. For this purpose it looks at a number of writings by historians that have been a response to postmodernism including the recently published collection of articles, The Postmodern History Reader. The essay argues that, in contrast to scholars in the field of literary studies, the American historical profession has been much more resistant to postmodernist doctrines and that the latters' influence upon (...) the thinking and practice of historians is not only fading but increasingly destined to fade. The essay also presents a critical discussion of the current philosophy of postmodernism in its bearing upon historiography, directed chiefly against its claim that the world has undergone an epochal transition from the modern to a postmodern age; its theory of language and linguistic idealism; its opposition to historical realism and denial of the actuality of the past as a possible object of reference; and its theory of historical narrative as unconstrained fictional construction. This discussion includes a consideration of the work of postmodernist thinkers such as J.-F. Lyotard, of the recent books by David Roberts and Robert F. Berkhofer, Jr. which espouse a postmodernist theory of history, and of the narrativist theory of Hayden White. The essay also notes some of the reasons for postmodernism's appeal; and while it does not deny that postmodernist philosophy may have served a useful purpose in provoking historians to be more self-critical and aware of their presuppositions and procedures, it maintains that its skeptical and politicized view of historical inquiry is deeply mistaken, out of accord with the way historians themselves think about their work, and incapable of providing an understanding of historiography as a form of thought engaged in the attainment of knowledge and understanding of the human past. (shrink)
Since psychiatry remains a descriptive discipline, it is essential for its practitioners to understand how the language of psychiatry came to be formed. This important book, written by a psychiatrist-historian, traces the genesis of the descriptive categories of psychopathology and examines their interaction with the psychological and philosophical context within which they arose. The author explores particularly the language and ideas that have characterised descriptive psychopathology from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. He presents a masterful survey of the (...)history of the main psychiatric symptoms, from the metaphysics of classical antiquity to the operational criteria of today. Tracing the evolution of concepts such as memory, consciousness, will and personality, and of symptoms ranging from catalepsy and aboulia to anxiety and self-harm, this book provides fascinating insights into the subjective nature of mental illness, and into the ideas of British, Continental and American authorities who sought to clarify and define it. (shrink)
We undeniably live in an information age—as, indeed, did those who lived before us. After all, as the cultural historian Robert Darnton pointed out: ‘every age was an age of information, each in its own way’ (Darnton 2000: 1). Darnton was referring to the news media, but his insight surely also applies to the sciences. The practices of acquiring, storing, labeling, organizing, retrieving, mobilizing, and integrating data about the natural world has always been an enabling aspect of scientific work. Natural (...)history and its descendant discipline of biological taxonomy are prime examples of sciences dedicated to creating and managing systems of ordering data. In some sense, the idea of biological taxonomy as an information science is commonplace. Perhaps it is because of its self-evidence that the information science perspective on taxonomy has not been a major theme in the history and philosophy of science. The botanist Vernon Heywood once pointed out that historians of biology, in their ‘preoccupation with the development of the sciences of botany and zoology… [have] diverted attention from the role of taxonomy as an information science’ (Heywood 1985: 11). More specifically, he argued that historians had failed to appreciate how principles and practices that can be traced to Linnaeus constituted ‘a change in the nature of taxonomy from a local or limited folk communication system and later a codified folk taxonomy to a formal system of information science [that] marked a watershed in the history of biology’ (ibid.). A similar observation could be made about twentieth-century philosophy of biology, which mostly skipped over practical and epistemic questions about information management in taxonomy. The taxonomic themes that featured in the emerging philosophy of biology literature in the second half of the twentieth century were predominantly metaphysical in orientation. This is illustrated by what has become known as the ‘essentialism story’: an account about the essentialist nature of pre- Darwinian taxonomy that used to be accepted by many historians and philosophers, and which stimulated efforts to document and interpret shifts in the metaphysical understanding of species and (natural) classification (Richards 2010; Winsor 2003; Wilkins 2009). Although contemporary debates in the philosophy of taxonomy have moved on, much discussion continues to focus on conceptual and metaphysical issues surrounding the nature of species and the principles of classification. Discussions centring on whether species are individuals, classes, or kinds have sprung up as predictably as perennials. Raucous debates have arisen even with the aim of accommodating the diversity of views: is monism, pluralism, or eliminativism about the species category the best position to take? In addition to these, our disciplines continue to interrogate what is the nature of these different approaches to classification: are they representational or inferential roles of different approaches to classification (evolutionary taxonomy, phenetics, phylogenetic systematics)? While there is still much to learn from these discussions—in which we both actively participate—our aim with this topical collection has been to seek different entrypoints and address underexposed themes in the history and philosophy of taxonomy. We believe that approaching taxonomy as an information science prompts new questions and can open up new philosophical vistas worth exploring. A twenty-first century information science turn in the history and philosophy of taxonomy is already underway. In scientific practice and in daily life it is hard to escape the imaginaries of Big Data and the constant threats of being ‘flooded with data’. In the life sciences, these developments are often associated with the socalled bioinformatics crisis that can hopefully be contained by a new, interdisciplinary breed of bioinformaticians. These new concepts, narratives, and developments surrounding the centrality of data and information systems in the biological and biomedical sciences have raised important philosophical questions about their challenges and implications. But historical perspectives are just as necessary to judge what makes our information age different from those that preceded us. Indeed, as the British zoologist Charles Godfray has often pointed out, the piles of data that are being generated in contemporary systematic biology have led to a second bioinformatics crisis, the first being the one that confronted Linnaeus in the mid-18th century (Godfray 2007). Although our aim is to clear a path for new discussions of taxonomy from an information science-informed point of view, we continue where others in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science have already trod. We believe that an appreciation of biological taxonomy as an information science raises many questions about the philosophical, theoretical, material, and practical aspects of the use and revision of biological nomenclatures in different local and global communities of scientists and citizen scientists. In particular, conceiving of taxonomy as an information science directs attention to the temporalities of managing an accumulating data about classified entities that are themselves subject to revision, to the means by which revision is accomplished, and to the semantic, material, and collaborative contexts that mediate the execution of revisions. (shrink)
A popular view among autonomy theorists is that facts about the history of a person's desires, and specifically facts about how they were formed or acquired, matter crucially to her autonomy. I argue that while there is an important relationship between a person's autonomy and the history of her desires, a person's autonomy does not depend on how her desires were formed or acquired. I argue that a desire's autonomy lies not in its origins but in whether its (...) bearer has a history of having engaged with it in the right sort of way. I argue that this view has important advantages, and no obvious disadvantages, over its historical and its non-historical rivals. (shrink)
Although history is the pre-eminent part of the gallant sciences, philosophers advise against it from fear that it might completely destroy the kingdom of darkness—that is, scholastic philosophy—which previously has been wrongly held to be a necessary instrument of theology.
Physics, History, and the German Atomic Bomb. This paper examines the German concept of a nuclear weapon during National Socialism and the Second World War. Zusammenfassung: Physik, Geschichte und die deutsche Atombombe. Dieser Aufsatz untersucht die deutsche Vorstellung einer nuklearen Waffe während des Nationalsozialismus und des Zweiten Weltkrieges.
In recent literature, several authors attempt to naturalize epistemic normativity by employing an etiological account of functions. The thought is that epistemic entitlement consists in the normal functioning of our belief-acquisition systems, where the latter acquire the function to reliably deliver true beliefs through a history of biological benefit.
Over 700,000 copies of the original hardcover and paperback editions of this stunningly popular book have been sold. Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical (...) philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume. (shrink)
The history of ideas deals with the elemental unit-ideas which for Lovejoy are components of systems distinguished by their patterns. Special histories explain how a particular form of human history developed. General histories draw on special histories to document or explain social contexts. Since patterns influence philosophers, the history of ideas contributes little to the history of philosophy, a discontinuous strand within a period's continuous intellectual history. By accepting cultural pluralism, denying the monistic position that (...) there always are internal connections among all or some strands of intellectual and cultural history, both continuity and change in philosophy can be best understood. (shrink)
What is enlightenment?--Idea for a universal history from a cosmopolitan point of view.--Reviews of Herder's Ideas for a philosophy of the history and mankind.--Conjectural beginning of human history.--The end of all things.--Perpetual peace.--An old question raised again: Is the human race constantly progressing?
Previous theoretical accounts have predicted that warfare and intergroup conflict are environmental factors that contribute to the emergence of a fast life-history strategy. However, this assumption has never been directly empirically tested. We examined youth who grew up in a territory that experienced violent intergroup conflict and compared them with a control group on various life-history measures: age of first sexual intercourse, mating behavior, desired timing of marriage and first reproduction and desired number of children. We also measured (...) other characteristics to explore the congruence between them and exposure to conflict. Participants from the postconflict society showed indications of faster life-history strategy: greater mating effort, a tendency to marry and have their first child sooner, and a larger desired number of children. Furthermore, interactions between exposure to conflict and participants’ sex were found: females from a postconflict society want to have their child earlier, and males have elevated short-term mating success. Finally, the exposure to violent conflict turned out to have congruent effects with economic poverty but not troublesome family relations. The findings are in accordance with life-history theory and show the adaptiveness of human behavior related to fitness optimization in hostile and dangerous environments. (shrink)
The history of concepts has partly replaced the older style of the `history of ideas' and can be extended to a critique of normative political theory and, thereby, understood as an indirect style of political theorizing. A common feature in Quentin Skinner's and Reinhart Koselleck's writings lies in their critique of the unhistorical and depoliticizing use of concepts. This concerns especially the classical contractarian theories, and both authors remark that this still holds for work by their contemporary heirs, (...) such as Rawls, Habermas and other contemporary normative theorists. Conceptual history offers us a chance to turn the contestability, contingency and historicity of the use of concepts into instruments for conceptualizing politics. The alternative, indirect mode of political theorizing Skinner and Koselleck practise consists of a `Verfremdungseffekt', which helps us to distance ourselves from thinking in terms of contemporary paradigms, unquestioned conventions, given constellations of alternatives or implicit value judgements. In the Skinnerian variant the conceptual changes are made intelligible through analysis of the rhetorical redescriptions among the political agents, whereas Koselleck thematizes the differences in the temporal index of concepts. The subversive aspect in the history of concepts consists of the explication and historical variation of the tacit normative content in the use of concepts. (shrink)