Davidson approaches the notions of meaning and interpretation with the aim of characterizing semantic competence in the syntactically characterized natural language. The objective is to provide a truth-theory for a language, generating T-sentences expressed in the semantic metalanguage, so that each sentence of the object language receives an appropriate interpretation. Proceeding within the constraints of referential semantics, I will argue for the viability of reconstructing the notion of linguistic meaning within the Tarskian theory of reference. However, the view proposed here (...) involves a revision of Davidson’s con-ception of the object of semantic investigation. Taking (idealized) language-theories as the proper object of semantic characterization, provides solutions to outstanding problems in Davidson’s views, better approximates the practice in standard model-theoretic semantics, and incorporates the elements of semantic competence sought for in tradi¬tional theories of lexical analysis. Sources of evidence beyond those emphasized by Davidson will be invoked in order to allow for the selection of interpre¬tive T-sentences. In the final section, possible Quinean objections will be considered. (shrink)
The modus operandi of this book is contextual—throughout he demonstrates how ideas emerge from or are inspired by particular environments. And the need to put philosophical ideas in their larger historical and cultural context so as to fully understand them is, as will be illustrated below, a facet of his philosophical method. Another of its facets is fallibilism, a deep commitment to subjecting all theories and concepts (in any field) to incessant scrutiny, testing, correction, and clarification. This suggests that a (...) totality of knowledge of the world or the absolute truth about things is a pair of ideals impossible of realization and approachable at best asymptotically. If his method is contextualist and fallilbilist, then his metaphysics is pluralistic. In his view reality is not reducible to just one single substance or principle but instead is constituted irreducibly of many different kinds of thing or principles. He is thus implacably opposed to any form of ontological monism—what James designates a “block-universe”—and Hegelian absolutism. Callaway conceives of the world as a Jamesian multiverse. Contextualism, fallibilism, and pluralism, then, are the themes brought to the fore in his book and which emerge from his travels at home and abroad. (shrink)
This book collects some 75 texts from the history of American thought, starting with the colonial religious background, and arranged into 6 historically oriented chapers. Each chapter has a general introduction and ends with suggestions for further readings; and each of the texts is prefaced by a short explanatory paragraph. Overall, the book provides an historical introduction to central ethical themes of American thought.
HowardCallaway's new edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Society and Solitude is an invaluable contribution to both the primary and secondary literature on Emerson. Its contribution to the primary sources is its use of the original 1870 edition of Emerson's text, though with modernized spellings to facilitate the reader's understanding. Its contribution to the secondary literature consists in the scholarly apparatus of page-by-page annotations, an introduction, a chronology, a bibliography, and an index. Callaway's Society and Solitude is (...) a worthy companion to his earlier edition of Emerson's The Conduct of Life. (shrink)
HowardCallaway’s new edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Society and Solitude is an invaluable contribution to both the primary and secondary literature on Emerson. Its contribution to the primary sources is its use of the original 1870 edition of Emerson’s text, though with modernized spellings to facilitate the reader’s understanding. Its contribution to the secondary literature consists in the scholarly apparatus of page-by-page annotations, an introduction, a chronology, a bibliography, and an index. Callaway’s Society and Solitude is (...) a worthy companion to his earlier edition of Emerson’s The Conduct of Life. (shrink)
This is my review of Howard B. Radest's book on Felix Adler and Ethical Culture. The book involves interesting comparisons of Adler to Emerson and to the pragmatists, and Radest is well qualified to tell the history of Adler's work and its influence.
This book provides a concise overview, with excellent historical and systematic coverage, of the problems of the philosophy of language in the analytic tradition. HowardCallaway explains and explores the relation of language to the philosophy of mind and culture, to the theory of knowledge, and to ontology. He places the question of linguistic meaning at the center of his investigations. The teachings of authors who have become classics in the field, including Frege, Russell, Carnap, Quine, Davidson, and (...) Putnam are critically analyzed. I share completely his conviction that contemporary Anglo-American philosophy follows the spirit of the enlightenment in insisting on intellectual sincerity, clarity, and the willingness to meet scientific doubts or objections openly. --Professor Henri Lauener, Editor of Dialectica. (shrink)
Context is mainly a critical history of one of the central strands – arguably, the central strand – of the analytic tradition in philosophy, namely, the philosophy of language. Key ﬁgures that put in an appearance include Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap, Ayer, Hempel, Tarski, Quine, Davidson, Putnam, and Dewey, the last being a somewhat odd ﬁgure, given the general tenor of Callaway’s cavalcade of stars. Meaning and analysis are the focus of attention, and true to his title, Callaway (...) doesn’t hesitate to criticize various positions as he makes his way – the book is organized more or less chronologically – from Frege to Davidson and Putnam. More than that, though, he doesn’t content himself with merely negative criticism. Original positions on various issues are argued for and integrated into an approach that’s largely inspired by Quine, but also pays a large tribute to Davidson and Dewey. (shrink)
This book is a translation of W.V. Quine's Kant Lectures, given as a series at Stanford University in 1980. It provide a short and useful summary of Quine's philosophy. There are four lectures altogether: I. Prolegomena: Mind and its Place in Nature; II. Endolegomena: From Ostension to Quantification; III. Endolegomena loipa: The forked animal; and IV. Epilegomena: What's It all About? The Kant Lectures have been published to date only in Italian and German translation. The present book is filled out (...) with the translator's critical Introduction, "The esoteric Quine?" a bibliography based on Quine's sources, and an Index for the volume. (shrink)
A Pluralistic Universe is America's favourite philosopher's last complete work before he died in 1910. Nevertheless, it has been somewhat neglected as a final self-reckoning. Indeed the term "pragmatism" occurs pretty rarely in it, while "experience" and "pluralism" abound. As introduced and annotated by H.G. Callaway, the Cambridge Scholars edition offers some valuable background on James and the text itself, particularly for the nonspecialist reader. Besides retaining James's notes, Callaway has also provided his own glosses on important philosophical (...) terms, translations of the foreign phrases James so often fell back on, and an expanded index and new bibliography to the text. It is, as Callaway says, a "reading and study edition" (ix). (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)
As suggested in the subtitle, A New Philosophical Reading, the editor aspires in his Introduction and his notes to “facilitate a deeper understanding and a critical evaluation (...) of this crucial and difficult philosophical work” (p. ix). This was the last important book which James published during his lifetime. With it James aims at a critical evaluation of Hegelian monism and an exploration of the philosophical and theological alternatives. “Our world of some one hundred years on”—the editor says (p. ix)—“is (...) much the better for James’ contribution, and understanding William James on pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding.”. (shrink)
Quine's Immanuel Kant lectures were delivered in English at Stanford University in 1980 under the title Science and Sensibilia. The English version of the text has never been published. An Italian translation by Michele Leonelli, La Scienza e I Dati di Senso appeared in 1987. These translations fill an important gap. Wissenschaft und Empfindung strikes me as the best presentation of Quine's physicalistic program.
In 1907 William James was invited to give the Hibbert Lectures at Manchester College, Oxford. Initially he was reluctant to do so since he feared undertaking them would divert him from developing rigorously and systematically some metaphysical ideas of his own that had preoccupied him for some time. In the end, however, he relented and in the spring of 1908 gave the lectures which were subsequently published as A Pluralistic Universe. As it happened, though, in the course of these lectures (...) James presented some of those metaphysical ideas, though in a popular and informal style appropriate to lecturing. Later on he did get down to working out a systematic metaphysics in proper academic style, but the project was cut short by his untimely death in 1910. The incomplete Some Problems of Philosophy, posthumously published in 1911, recapitulates some major themes of A Pluralistic Universe. (shrink)
In his final work, Donald N. Levine, one of the great late-twentieth-century sociological theorists, brings together diverse social thinkers. Simmel, Weber, Durkheim, Parsons, and Merton are set into a dialogue with philosophers such as Hobbes, Smith, Montesquieu, Comte, Kant, and Hegel and pragmatists such as Peirce, James, Dewey, and McKeon to describe and analyze dialogical social theory. This volume is one of Levine's most important contributions to social theory and a worthy summation of his life's work. Levine demonstrates that approaching (...) social theory with a cooperative, peaceful dialogue is a superior tactic in theorizing about society. He illustrates the advantages of the dialogical model with case studies drawn from the French Philosophes, the Russian Intelligentsia, Freudian psychology, Ushiba's aikido, and Levine's own ethnographic work in Ethiopia. Incorporating themes that run through his lifetime's work, such as conflict resolution, ambiguity, and varying forms of social knowledge, Levine suggests that while dialogue is an important basis for sociological theorizing, it still vies with more combative forms of discourse that lend themselves to controversy rather than cooperation, often giving theory a sense of standing still as the world moves forward. The book was nearly finished when Levine died in April 2015, but it has been brought to thoughtful and thought-provoking completion by his friend and colleague Howard G. Schneiderman. This volume will be of great interest to students and teachers of social theory and philosophy. (shrink)
Chomsky’s conception of semantics must contend with both philosophical skepticism and contrary traditions in linguistics. In “Two Dogmas” Quine argued that “...it is non-sense, and the root of much non-sense, to speak of a linguistic component and a factual component in the truth of any individual statement.” If so, it follows that language as the object of semantic investigation cannot be separated from collateral information. F. R. Palmer pursues a similar contention in his recent survey of issues in semantic theory: (...) “...it is impossible even in theory to draw a clear line between the meaning of a word or sentence and all possible relevant information about it.” In spite of such skepticism, and through a variety of theories, devotion to lexical decomposition and truth dependent on language has not abated. The purpose of this paper is to focus related criticism and briefly put forward an alternative conception of empirical semantics. (shrink)
The Nature of the Physical World is one of a series of semi-popular books, extremely popular and influential in the English-speaking world, that Arthur Eddington wrote between the 1920s and the 1950s. Not only were they masterful scientific expositions, but they included attempts to defend a definite philosophical position: dualism.
This new edition of William James’s 1909 classic, A Pluralistic Universe reproduces the original text, only modernizing the spelling. The books has been annotated throughout to clarify James’s points of reference and discussion. There is a new, fuller index, a brief chronology of James’s life, and a new bibliography—chiefly based on James’s own references. The editor, H.G. Callaway, has included a new Introduction which elucidates the legacy of Jamesian pluralism to survey some related questions of contemporary American society. -/- (...) A Pluralistic Universe was the last major book James published during his life time. It is a substantial philosophical work, devoted to a thorough-going criticism of Hegelian monism and Absolutism—and the exploration of philosophical and social-theological alternatives. Our world of some one hundred years on is much the better for James’s contributions; and understanding James’s pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding. At present, we are more certain that American is, and is best, a pluralistic society, than we are of what particular forms our pluralism should take. Keeping an eye out for social interpretations of Jamesian pluralism, this new philosophical reading casts light on our twenty-first century alternatives by reference to prior American experience and developments. -/- . (shrink)
A chief aim of this paper is to provide common ground for discussion of outstanding issues between defenders of classical logic and contemporary advocates of intuitionistic logic. In this spirit, I draw upon (and reconstruct) here the relationship between dialogue and evidence as emphasized in German constructivist authors. My approach depends upon developments in the methodology of empirical linguistics. As a preliminary to saying how one might decide between these two versions of logic (this issue is most closely approached in (...) Section V. discussing the constructivist approach), it is well worth the effort to look closely at how logic is (or might be) learned and at questions concerning logic in translation, i.e., the question of how we might detect the variety of logic actually employed in a given speech community. (shrink)
Reconciliation of semantic holism with interpretation of individual expressions is advanced here by means of a relativization of sentence meaning to object language theories viewed as idealizations of belief-systems. Fodor's view of the autonomy of the special sciences is emphasized and this is combined with detailed replies to his recent criticisms of meaning holism. The argument is that the need for empirical evidence requires a holistic approach to meaning. Thus, semantic realism requires semantic holism. -/- .
In a series of interesting and influential papers on semantics, Hilary Putnam has developed what he calls a “post-verificationist” theory of meaning. As part of this work, and not I think the most important part, Putnam defends a limited version of the analytic-synthetic distinction. In this paper I will survey and evaluate Putnam’s defense of analyticity and explore its relationship to broader concerns in semantics. Putnam’s defense of analyticity ultimately fails, and I want to show here exactly why it fails. (...) However, I will also argue that this very failure helps open the prospect of a new optimism concerning the theory of meaning, a theory of meaning finally liberated from the dead weight of the notions of analyticity and necessary truth. Putnam’s work, in fact, makes valuable contributions to such a theory. (shrink)
Quine's aim in this slim book is to "update, sum up and clarify variously intersecting views on cognitive meaning, objective referencce, and the grounds of knowledge." Only nine pages had previously appeared as the book came to print. It is based largely on unpublished lectures and informal discussions of the past ten years back to the Immanuel Kant Lectures given at Stanford in 1980. It does not, then duplicate Leonelli's Italian translation of the Kant lectures, La Scienza E I Datti (...) di Senso, which appeared in 1987. (shrink)