Should we explicate truth in terms of meaning, or meaning in terms of truth? Ramsey, Prior and Strawson all favoured the former approach: a statement is true if and only if things are as the speaker, in making the statement, states them to be; similarly, a belief is true if and only if things are as a thinker with that belief thereby believes them to be. I defend this explication of truth against a range of objections.Ramsey formalized this account of (...) truth as follows: B is true =df ∃P; in §i, I defend this formula against the late Peter Geach's objection that its right‐hand side is ill‐formed. Davidson held that Ramsey and co. had the whole matter back to front: on his view, we should explicate meaning in terms of truth, not vice versa. In §ii, I argue that Ramsey's approach opens the way to a more promising approach to semantic theorizing than Davidson's. Ramsey presents his formula as a definition of truth, apparently contradicting Tarski's theorem that truth is indefinable. In §iii, I show that the contradiction is only apparent: Tarski assumes that the Liar‐like inscription he uses to prove his theorem has a content, but Ramsey can and should reject that assumption. As I explain in §iv, versions of the Liar Paradox may be generated without making any assumptions about truth: paradox arises when the impredicativity that is found when a statement's content depends on the contents of a collection of statements to which it belongs turns pathological. Since they do not succeed in saying anything, such pathological utterances or inscriptions pose no threat to the laws of logic, when these are understood as universal principles about the ways things may be said or thought to be. There is, though, a call for rules by following which we can be sure that any conclusion deduced from true premisses is true, and hence says something. Such rules cannot be purely formal, but in §v I propose a system of them: this opens the way to the construction of deductive theories even in circumstances where producing a well‐formed formula is no guarantee of saying anything. (shrink)
Was there an Enlightenment in Ireland? Was there even a distinctively Irish Enlightenment? Few scholars have bothered even to pose this question. Historians of Ireland during the era of Protestant Ascendancy have tended to be all-rounders rather than specialists; their traditional preoccupations are constitutional clashes between London and Dublin, religious conflict, agrarian unrest and popular politicization. With few exceptions there has been no tradition of intellectual history, and little interest in the methodological debates associated with the rise of the “Cambridge (...) school”. Most advances in our understanding of Irish philosophical writing have consequently originated outside Ireland's history departments. One by-product of recent work on the Scottish Enlightenment has been the rediscovery of the “Molesworth Circle” by two scholars engaged in a painstaking reconstruction of Francis Hutcheson's early career in Dublin. At the other end of the century, meanwhile, some of the most exciting and ambitious attempts to conceptualize the republicanism of the United Irishmen have come from a leading historian of revolutionary France, James Livesey. His previous research on the “commercial republicanism” of Montesquieu, Adam Ferguson and Brissot has suggested a new framework for understanding Irish radicals such as Wolfe Tone, Thomas Addis Emmet and, in particular, Arthur O'Connor. (shrink)
The problem at the heart of the faith/reason relationship can be set out as follows. Faith implies total commitment whilst reason requires a certain detachment. One cannot be totally committed yet rationally detached at the same time. Therefore faith and reason are two mutually exclusive approaches to religion. Alasdair MacIntyre in Whose Justice? Which Rationality? has offered a very interesting perspective on this problem. He has argued, albeit indirectly, that this faith/reason question is a modern problem generated by a certain (...) set of liberal and relativist presuppositions. This paper will summarize Maclntyre's contribution to the discussion, and then point to some of the inadequacies of his account. I will be arguing that commitment to a tradition is largely justified by internal explanations for disagreement. Faith seems to need an intolerant explanation for different traditions. Therefore, MacIntyre is, in fact, handling liberalized forms of the traditions. By tackling MacIntyre's work from the faith/reason angle, I hope to show certain more fundamental problems with his work. (shrink)
In the first part of chapter 2 of book II of the Physics Aristotle addresses the issue of the difference between mathematics and physics. In the course of his discussion he says some things about astronomy and the ‘ ‘ more physical branches of mathematics”. In this paper I discuss historical issues concerning the text, translation, and interpretation of the passage, focusing on two cruxes, the first reference to astronomy at 193b25–26 and the reference to the more physical branches at 194a7–8. In (...) section I, I criticize Ross’s interpretation of the passage and point out that his alteration of has no warrant in the Greek manuscripts. In the next three sections I treat three other interpretations, all of which depart from Ross's: in section II that of Simplicius, which I commend; in section III that of Thomas Aquinas, which is importantly influenced by a mistranslation of, and in section IV that of Ibn Rushd, which is based on an Arabic text corresponding to that printed by Ross. In the concluding section of the paper I describe the modern history of the Greek text of our passage and translations of it from the early twelfth century until the appearance of Ross's text in 1936. (shrink)
Often we feel there is something odd about death, and especially about our own. This latter at least we often feel beyond our ken. Well, I think in a sense it may be; but in another, clearly is not. Among those who have felt this strangeness is Ramchandra Gandhi who, in an excellent recent work, The Availability of Religious Ideas , maintained – There is no difficulty in seeing that I cannot intelligibly conceive of my own death – the ceasing (...) to be, for good, of myself, my consciousness. I can conceive of temporary lapses into unconsciousness, always overcome by a return to consciousness. The difficulty is this: in asking myself the question 'What will it be like to be irreversibly unconscious?' , I want both to remain self-conscious and visualize actual loss of capacity for self-consciousness. This cannot be done. (shrink)
Ian Fraser assesses the human qualities of the three saints who are celebrated for their contribution to Christianity in Britain. He also examines some contemporary issues related to their struggle to live faith fully.
Ian Little offers a new defence of utilitarianism as a basis for assessing the role of the State. Lucidly and elegantly he explains how the three disciplines of philosophy, economics, and politics can be integrated to provide guidance on issues of public policy. Anyone interested in public affairs will be enlightened by Little's crisp analysis and any student taking an interdisciplinary course in social science will find a clear framework for thinking about the subject.
Why save endangered species without clear aesthetic, economic, or ecosystemic value? This book takes on this challenging question through an account of the intrinsic goods of species. Ian A. Smith argues that a species’ intrinsic value stems from its ability to flourish—its organisms continuing to reproduce successfully and it avoiding extinction—which helps to demonstrate a further claim, that humans ought to preserve species that we have endangered. He shows our need to exercise humility in our relations with endangered species through (...) the preservation of their intrinsic goods, which in turn rectifies our degradation of their importance. Unique in its appeal to virtue ethics and to species concepts, _The Intrinsic Value of Endangered Species_ is an important resource for scholars working in environmental ethics and the philosophy of biology. (shrink)
Infinity is an intriguing topic, with connections to religion, philosophy, metaphysics, logic, and physics as well as mathematics. Its history goes back to ancient times, with especially important contributions from Euclid, Aristotle, Eudoxus, and Archimedes. The infinitely large is intimately related to the infinitely small. Cosmologists consider sweeping questions about whether space and time are infinite. Philosophers and mathematicians ranging from Zeno to Russell have posed numerous paradoxes about infinity and infinitesimals. Many vital areas of mathematics rest upon some version (...) of infinity. The most obvious, and the first context in which major new techniques depended on formulating infinite processes, is calculus. But there are many others, for example Fourier analysis and fractals.In this Very Short Introduction, Ian Stewart discusses infinity in mathematics while also drawing in the various other aspects of infinity and explaining some of the major problems and insights arising from this concept. He argues that working with infinity is not just an abstract, intellectual exercise but that it is instead a concept with important practical everyday applications, and considers how mathematicians use infinity and infinitesimals to answer questions or supply techniques that do not appear to involve the infinite.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable. (shrink)
Ian Hacking (born in 1936, Vancouver, British Columbia) is most well-known for his work in the philosophy of the natural and social sciences, but his contributions to philosophy are broad, spanning many areas and traditions. In his detailed case studies of the development of probabilistic and statistical reasoning, Hacking pioneered the naturalistic approach in the philosophy of science. Hacking’s research on social constructionism, transient mental illnesses, and the looping effect of the human kinds make use of historical materials to shed (...) light on how developments in the social, medical, and behavioural sciences have shaped our contemporary conceptions of identity and agency. Hacking’s other contributions to philosophy include his work on the philosophy of mathematics (Hacking, 2014), philosophy of statistics, philosophy of logic, inductive logic (Hacking, 1965, 1979, 2001) and natural kinds (Hacking, 1991, 2007a). (shrink)
The idea of elegance in science is not necessarily a familiar one, but it is an important one. The use of the term is perhaps most clear-cut in mathematics - the elegant proof - and this is where Ian Glynn begins his exploration. Scientists often share a sense of admiration and excitement on hearing of an elegant solution to a problem, an elegant theory, or an elegant experiment. The idea of elegance may seem strange in a field of endeavour that (...) prides itself in its objectivity, but only if science is regarded as a dull, dry activity of counting and measuring. It is, of course, far more than that, and elegance is a fundamental aspect of the beauty and imagination involved in scientific activity. Ian Glynn, a distinguished scientist, selects historical examples from a range of sciences to draw out the principles of science, including Kepler's Laws, the experiments that demonstrated the nature of heat, and the action of nerves, and of course the several extraordinary episodes that led to Watson and Crick's discovery of the structure of DNA. With a highly readable selection of inspiring episodes highlighting the role of beauty and simplicity in the sciences, the book also relates to important philosophical issues of inference, and Glynn ends by warning us not to rely on beauty and simplicity alone - even the most elegant explanation can be wrong. (shrink)
Love, fear, hope, calculus, and game shows-how do all these spring from a few delicate pounds of meat? Neurophysiologist Ian Glynn lays the foundation for answering this question in his expansive An Anatomy of Thought, but stops short of committing to one particular theory. The book is a pleasant challenge, presenting the reader with the latest research and thinking about neuroscience and how it relates to various models of consciousness. Combining the aim of a textbook with the style of a (...) popularization, it provides all the lay reader needs to know to participate in the philosophical debate that is redefining our attitudes about our minds. Drawing on the rich history of neurological case studies, Glynn picks through the building blocks of our nervous system, examines our visual and linguistic systems, and probes deeply into our higher thought processes. The stories of great scientists, like Ramon y Cajal, and famous patients, like Sperry's split-brained epileptics, illuminate the scientific issues Glynn selects as essential for understanding consciousness. Some might argue that his lengthy explorations of natural selection overemphasize evolutionary explanations of psychological phenomena, but they must also agree that evolutionary psychology has distanced itself mightily from social Darwinism in recent years and merits a reappraisal. The great consciousness debate may form the core of the 21st-century Zeitgeist; get ready for it with An Anatomy of Thought. -Rob Lightner From Publishers Weekly How do we know? What do we think? How could a philosophical problem-'the mind-body problem,' say-induce a headache? What can evolutionary theory, molecular biology, the history of medicine and experimental psychology tell us about the features of human consciousness, and (once again) how do we know? Glynn, a physician and Cambridge University professor, meticulously attempts to answer these questions and more, setting forth the results of all sorts of research relevant to our brains-from 19th-century dissections to Oliver Sacks-like case studies, work with monkeys and supercomputers, and the enduring puzzles of philosophy, which he rightly saves for near the end. After explaining evolution by natural selection and 'clearing away much dross,' Glynn lays out the experiments and theories that have shown 'how nerve cells can carry information about the body, how they can interact' and how sense organs work; demonstrates the 'mixture of parallel and hierarchical organization' in our brains and 'the striking localization of function within it'; considers where neuroscience is likely to go; and admits that, among the many fields of exciting research just ahead, 'we can be least confident of progress toward a complete, scientific explanation of our sensations and thoughts and feelings.' Other recent explaining-the-brain books have sometimes advanced simplistic, or implausibly grand, claims about the nature and features of consciousness in general. Instead, Glynn offers a patient, informative, well-laid-out researcher's-eye view of what we have learned, how we figured it out and what we still don't know about neurons, senses, feelings, brains and minds. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal The nature of consciousness, which perennially troubles the minds of scientists and philosophers, is the subject of an ever-growing body of literature. Two of the latest entries approach the topic from different perspectives. Glynn, a professor of physiology and head of the Physiological Laboratory at Cambridge, offers a comprehensive summary of what we know about the brain-both its evolution and its mechanisms. Among the topics he covers are natural selection, molecular evolution, nerves and the nervous system, sensory perception, and the specific structures responsible for our intellect. Using the mechanisms involved in vision and speech as models, Glynn skillfully describes various neurological deficiencies that can lead to 'disordered seeing' and problems with the use of language. He carefully distinguishes what we know through experimental evidence from what we know through the observation of patients with neurological damage. He also describes some of the major theories that attempt to explain why these structures arose. While his book concentrates on the structures that make up the mind, Glynn is well aware that some physical events appear explicable only in terms of conscious mental events-a situation that conflicts with the laws of modern physics. Only briefly, however, does he consider the various approaches that have been taken to deal with the issues of mind/body and free will. In contrast, this is the primary focus of The Physics of Consciousness. After reviewing the fundamentals of classic physics, Walker (who has a Ph.D. in physics) summarizes elements of the new physics in which our knowledge of space, time, matter, and energy are all dependent on the moment of observation. Walker explores the meaning of consciousness as a characteristic of the observer. In this context both the observer and the act of measurement are critical. In essence, Walker leads his reader on a journey through his concept of a 'quantum mind,' which can both affect matter (including other minds) and can be affected by other distant matter/minds. To break up what would otherwise be an extremely dense text, Walker also relates the very touching story of the loss of his high-school sweetheart to leukemia. Indeed, it is his memory of their relationship that drives Walker to seek an understanding of ultimate reality. At times, he has a tendency to be dogmatic-as when he concludes, 'our consciousness, our mind, and the will of God are the same mind.' While An Anatomy of Thought is appropriate for most academic libraries, the Physics of Consciousness will be most accessible to readers with some knowledge of advanced physics. -Laurie Bartolini, Illinois State Lib., Springfield Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Booklist The codiscoverers of natural selection-Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace-disagreed over the possibility of finding an evolutionary explanation for the human mind. Glynn here argues Darwin's side of the debate, tracing an eons-long path of development starting from simple amino acids floating in primal seas and extending through the erect hominids in which the powers of a massive brain first manifest themselves. Patiently adducing evidence of an evolutionary origin for the underlying molecular machinery, Glynn dissects the nerve centers that make possible speech and hearing, sight, and reading. Pressing deeper, he lays bare the cortical foundations of personality. But those who deal with the mind must attend also to the arguments advanced by philosophers. And it is when he turns from dendrites to syllogisms (especially the vexing mind-body paradox) that Glynn's empirical reasoning fails him. In the end, he concedes his perplexity in trying to conceive of an evolutionary origin for human consciousness. This concession may set the shade of Alfred Wallace to chortling, but it will draw readers into an honest confrontation with a profound enigma. Bryce Christensen. (shrink)
Cognitive Iconology is a new theory of the relation of psychology to art. Instead of being an application of psychological principles, it is a methodologically aware account of psychology, art and the nature of explanation. Rather than fight over biology or culture, it shows how they must fit together. The term “cognitive iconology” is meant to mirror other disciplines like cognitive poetics and musicology but the fear that images must be somehow transparent to understanding is calmed by the stratified approach (...) to explanation that is outlined. In the book, cognitive iconology is a theory of cognitive tendencies that contribute to but are not determinative of an artistic meaning. At the center of the book are three case studies: images depicted within images, basic corrections to architectural renderings in images, and murals and paintings seen from the side. In all cases, there is a primitive perceptual pull that contribute to but do not override larger cultural meaning. The book then moves beyond the confines of the image to behavior around the image, and then ends with the concluding question of why some images are harder to understand than others. Cognitive Iconology promises to be important because it moves beyond the turf battles typically fought in image studies. It argues for a sustainable practice of interpretation that can live with other disciplines. Ian Verstegen is an art writer and historian living in Philadelphia. He is the author of Arnheim, Gestalt and Art (2005) and A Realist Theory of Art History (2012). (shrink)
Why are some people more mentally able than others? In an authoritative, critical and intergrated series of review essays Professor Ian Deary inquires after the cognitive and biological foundations of human mental ability differences. Many accounts of intelligence have examined the structure and number of human mental ability differences and whether they can predict sucess in education,work and social life. Few books have taken psychometric intelligence differences as a starting point and brought together the reductionistic attempts to explain them.New to (...) the highly acclaimed Oxford Psychology Series, Looking Down on Human Intelligence appraises the search for the origins of psychometric intelligence differences in terms of brain function parameters. The book provides an original and thought provoking guide to ancient and modern research on one of the most compelling questions in human psychology. (shrink)
Is there such a thing as philosophical nonsense? For the best part of a century now philosophers have been accusing each other of talking nonsense. This practice presupposes that people can be wrong in thinking they mean anything by what they say, that there can be an illusion of meaning. But the assumption that illusions of meaning are possible has not, the author believes, been seriously examined; nor has the problem of how such illusions could be diagnosed been satisfactorily answered. (...) This book extends the work of a number of recent writers on Wittgenstein who have advocated an 'austere' view of nonsense, but in a more sceptical direction than they have taken. It argues that nonsensicalism is radically misguided and should be abandoned. The possibility that illusions of meaning occur outside philosophy - in dreams, in certain hoaxes, in madness or under the influence of drugs - is also examined. IAN DEARDEN read philosophy at Downing College, Cambridge, and Bedford College, London. He taught philosophy at Bedford College, the City University, the Polytechnic of North London and the University of Essex, and also for the London University Department of Extra-Mural Studies. (shrink)
In A Photographer’s Guide to Ohio Ian Adams, Ohio’s leading landscape photographer, guides readers to some of the most photogenic sites in the Buckeye State. Natural beauty and historic architecture are prime subjects for photographers, and in a state that boasts 3,600 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to the world’s largest Amish communities, the photographic subjects seem endless. With nearly one hundred color photographs, Adams demonstrates through his own work how to capture the beauty (...) of the seasons when photographing Ohio’s covered bridges, numerous public gardens, state parks, and nature preserves. Each entry includes clear directions, related websites, and historical facts about the area, as well as Adams’s suggestions for capturing the best image. Both amateur and experienced photographers will find expert guidance in Adams’s clear instructions on digital photography and will be inspired to create their own stunning close-ups and scenic panoramas. (shrink)
Ian T. Ramsey was former Bishop of Durham, County Durham, England, and also served as Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion at Oxford University, He was also the author of Religious Language, Models for Divine Activity, and Words About God.
In Ethics, Economics, and Politics Ian Little returns to offer a new defence of a rule-based utilitarianism as a basis for assessing the role of the State. Lucidly and elegantly he explains how the three disiplines of philosophy, economics and politics can be integrated to provide guidance on issues of public policy.
The tenth or eleventh century group of the Brethren of Purity (Ikhwan al Safa) are as well known in the Arab world as Darwin, Marx and Freud in the west. Designed as an introduction to their ideas, this book concentrates on the Brethren's writings, analyzing the impact on them of thinkers such as Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle and the Neoplatonists. Ian Netton traces the influences of Judaism and Christianity, and controversially this book argues that the Brethren of Purity did not belong (...) to the Ismaili branch of Islam as is generally believed. (shrink)
Al-Farabi and His School examines one of the most exciting and dynamic periods in the development of medieval Islam: the period which ran from the late ninth century to the early eleventh century AD. This age is examined through the thought of five of its principal thinkers and named after the first and greatest of these as the "Age of Farabism." Ian Richard Netton demonstrates that the great Islamic philosopher al-Farabi (870-950), called "the Second Master" after Aristotle, produced a recognizable (...) school of thought. This school of thought, which Netton refers to as the "School of al-Farabi," was influenced by the thought of Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus. Yet, it was much more than a mere clone of Greek thought. The originality and independence of thought expressed by such adherents as Yahya b. Adi, Abu Sulayman al-Sijistani, al-Amiri and Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi is described, appreciated, and critically assessed in this volume, with an emphasis given to the fundamentals of epistemology. Al-Farabi and His School is unique in its examination of the intellectual continuity that was maintained in an age of flux, and its particular emphasis on the ethical dimensions of knowledge. (shrink)
Bryce, Ian As part of the CAHS Convention in May this year, I organised a Panel discussion entitled 'Ethics Education Initiatives in Australia'. It was to take advantage of the presence in Sydney of Humanist Society delegates from interstate, and acquaint them with the success story of the NSW Primary Ethics program.
Bryce, Ian The following are my personal observations based on several visits to public hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. I've also included media reports, and what I've learnt from contacts with interest groups. I recommend others sit in a public hearing for a day, to see the system in action.
Bryce, Ian There has been vigorous discussion between State Humanist societies, about whether ethics should be taught by volunteers, and in the Religious Instruction timeslot, if that is the only option.
Bryce, Ian At a World Humanism Day seminar held at Parliament House, Sydney, the theme was the role of the Enlightenment in the development of humanist thought. My new role as President of HSNSW has led me to reflect further on the journeys many made from the physical sciences to the social sciences.
Lowe, Ian The late Donald Horne was a truly important Australian intellectual. His 1964 book The Lucky Country caused a sensation and was a runaway bestseller. As the cover of the sixth edition published in 2008 says, 'the book was a wake-up call to an unimaginative nation, an indictment of a country mired in mediocrity and manacled to its past'. The title came from the introduction to the book's final chapter. It described Australia as 'a lucky country run mainly by (...) second-rate people who share its luck'. The phrase 'the lucky country' quickly became part of the language, though its message was often misrepresented by people who had not even read the book, or had not grasped its ironic meaning. While he acknowledged that 1964 Australia was possibly 'the most evenly prosperous society in the world', Horne argued that we were living on other people's ideas and held back by leaders he called 'empty-minded public wafflers'. (shrink)
Lowe, Ian The evidence is overwhelming: unlimited growth is neither possible nor desirable. The 2013 Fenner Conference reviewed what we know about population growth, resource use and environmental damage. The volume that resulted shows clearly that we are near limits in some cases, already beyond them in others.
Maddocks, Ian This is an edited record of the presentation given by 2013 Senior Australian of the Year Professor Ian Maddocks at the Centre's conference held on palliative care on 3 October 2013. Professor Maddocks reflects on the challenges which ageing brings - challenges which we face as individuals, as health professionals, and as a society. There is wisdom which comes only from generous commitment and long experience. Many people recognised that wisdom in this presentation.
Classical logic has been attacked by adherents of rival, anti-realist logical systems: Ian Rumfitt comes to its defence. He considers the nature of logic, and how to arbitrate between different logics. He argues that classical logic may dispense with the principle of bivalence, and may thus be liberated from the dead hand of classical semantics.
Concerned with criticizing representational theories of knowledge by developing alternative concepts of knowing and communicating, Ian Angus and Lenore Langsdorf bring together eight essays that are united by a common theme: the convergence of philosophy and rhetoric. In the first chapter, Angus and Langsdorf illustrate the centrality of critical reasoning to the nature of questioning itself, arguing that human inquiry has entered a "new situation" where "the convictions and orientations that have traditionally marked the separation of rhetoric and philosophy—the concern (...) for truth and the focus on persuasion—have begun to converge on a new space that can be defined through the central term _discourse._"_ _In these essays, this convergence of rhetoric and philosophy is addressed as it presents itself to a variety of interests that transcend the traditional boundaries of these fields. The two editors, Raymie E. McKerrow, Michael J. Hyde and Craig R. Smith, James W. Hikins and Kenneth S. Zagacki, Calvin O. Schrag and David James Miller, and Richard L. Lanigan map this new space, recognizing that such mapping "simultaneously _constitutes _the territory mapped.". (shrink)
This concise overview of the perception of Islam in eight of the most important German thinkers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries allows a new and fascinating investigation of how these thinkers, within their own bodies of work, often espoused contradicting ideas about Islam and their nearest Muslim neighbors. Exploring a variety of 'neat compartmentalizations' at work in the representations of Islam, as well as distinct vocabularies employed by these key intellectuals, Ian Almond parses these vocabularies to examine the importance (...) of Islam in the very history of German thought. Almond further demonstrates the ways in which German philosophers such as Hegel, Kant, and Marx repeatedly ignored information about the Muslim world that did not harmonize with the particular landscapes they were trying to paint – a fact which in turn makes us reflect on what it means when a society possesses 'knowledge' of a foreign culture. (shrink)