Leitch speaks of his procedure with my work as employing an "abrupt asyndetic format" and as being "a metonymic montage in which themes and citations are playfully and copiously combined." One form of this playfulness is the panoply of figures he uses to describe me and my criticism. The need to use figures for this is interesting, as is their incoherence, though the figures can be shown to fall into a rough antithetical pattern. At one moment the deconstructive critic is (...) a fairy godmother able to turn the pumpkin of the Western tradition into a phantasmal coach. He is a magician or wizard who shows that things are not what they have seemed with the great texts of our tradition or who turns them into something other than what they have seemed solidly to be, pragmatic pumpkins, unequivocally there. At the next moment the deconstructer is a disco dancer, moving sideways in the "lateral dance of interpretation" . The more or less benign fairy godmother and dancer then turns into a "nihilistic magician - who dances demonically upon the broken and scattered fragments of the Western tradition." He becomes a ferocious shaman, "Ravening, raging, and uprooting that he may come/Into the desolation of reality" . He is "a bull-deconstructer loose in the china shop of Western tradition" . In the next moment the bull metamorphoses into a lamb, as Leitch realizes the conservative aspects of deconstruction, the way it claims to be rescuing and preserving aspects of our culture which have always been there, both in literary and philosophical works and in the techniques of interpreting them. The same point is made more sharply and critically by William E. Cain in another recent essay on my work . In the final paragraph of his essay, Leitch has fun inventing permutations of an image of sand in the salad from one of my essays. Will deconstruction sandblast the whole shebang, or will the alien grain of sand turn into a pearl of price? J. Hillis Miller is Frederick W. Hilles Professor of English at Yale. His previous contributions to Critical Inquiry are "Ariadne's Thread: Repetition and the Narrative Line" and "The Critic as Host". (shrink)
Reasoning es una obra monumental de más de mil páginas editada en estrecha colaboración por el filósofo Jonathan E. Adler y el psicólogo Lance J. Rips para esclarecer el intrincado campo de investigación relacionado con los fundamentos de la inferencia y, en general, del razonamiento humano. En la actualidad, en pocos casos va unido el trabajo de compilar y editar textos científicos con el afán enciclopédico: un proyecto editorial que sobrepasa con razón los objetivos de la mayor parte de los (...) libros editados para la recopilación de artículos en torno a un mismo tema de investigación. Reasoning supone un empeño de características enciclopédicas: ha conseguido convertirse en una referencia obligada desde que saliera a la luz en 2008 para ofrecer al lector especialista artículos científicos de las más reputadas y consolidadas voces en aquellos campos de conocimiento presentes ya en los proyectos enciclopédicos europeos del siglo de las luces, a saber: el significado del racionalismo, los límites imputables a la naturaleza del conocimiento humano, las paradojas presentes en la inducción, etc. (shrink)
The "tree of life" iconography, representing the history of life, dates from at least the latter half of the 18th century, but evolution as the mechanism providing this bifurcating history of life did not appear until the early 19th century. There was also a shift from the straight line, scala naturae view of change in nature to a more bifurcating or tree-like view. Throughout the 19th century authors presented tree-like diagrams, some regarding the Deity as the mechanism of change while (...) others argued for evolution. Straight-line or anagenetic evolution and bifurcating or cladogenetic evolution are known in biology today, but are often misrepresented in popular culture, especially with anagenesis being confounded with scala naturae. Although well known in the mid 19th century, the geologist Edward Hitchcock has been forgotten as an early, if not the first author to publish a paleontologically based "tree of life" beginning in 1840 in the first edition of his popular general geology text Elementary Geology. At least 31 editions were published and those between 1840 and 1859 had this "paleontological chart" showing two trees, one for fossil and living plants and another for animals set within a context of geological time. Although the chart did not vary in later editions, the text explaining the chart did change to reflect newer ideas in paleontology and geology. Whereas Lamarck, Chambers, Bronn, Darwin, and Haeckel saw some form of transmutation as the mechanism that created their "trees of life," Hitchcock, like his contemporaries Agassiz and Miller, who also produced "trees of life," saw a deity as the agent of change. Through each edition of his book Hitchcock denounced the newer transmutationist hypotheses of Lamarck, then Chambers, and finally Darwin in an 1860 edition that no longer presented his tree-like "paleontological chart.". (shrink)
Theophrasti Characteres recensuit Hermannus Diels. Oxford Classical Texts. 1909. 3s. 6d. net. Pp. xxviii + .Θεοφρστου Xαρακτxs22EFρες. The Characters of Theophrastus. An English Translation from a Revised Text. With Introduction and Notes by R. C. Jebb, M.A. A new edition. Edited by J. E. Sandys, Litt.D. Macmillan. 1909. 7s. 6d. net. c. 23×14½. Pp. xvi+229.
My critical comments on Part I of P. J. E. Kail's Projection and Realism in Hume's Philosophy are divided into two parts. First, I challenge the exegetical details of Kail's take on Hume's important distinction between natural and philosophical relations. I show that Kail misreads Hume in a subtle fashion. If I am right, then much of the machinery that Kail puts into place for his main argument does different work in Hume than Kail thinks. Second, I offer a brief (...) criticism of Kail's argument for reading Hume "as a realist about the external world". The two parts are tied together because it turns out that Kail and I disagree about how Hume thinks of philosophers' activity generally.One caveat:. (shrink)
In his recent article ‘Notes Towards a Critique of Buddhist Karmic Theory’ Paul J. Griffiths makes four criticisms of Buddhist karmic theory: it is empirically false, it is incoherent, it is morally repugnant, and it is vacuous. After listing these four criticisms, Griffiths concludes that ‘all these mean that Buddhist karmic theory as expounded in the major theoretical works devoted to it must be false’.
(2001). J.E. Malpas's Place and Experience: A Philosophical Topography (Cambridge University Press, 1999) Converging and diverging in/on place. Philosophy & Geography: Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 225-230. doi: 10.1080/10903770123141.
Montaigne said it in the sixteenth century, and Plato's Ion said it long before: we are but interpreters of interpretations. Jorge J. E. Gracia's Painting Borges: Philosophy Interpreting Art Interpreting Literature rests upon the assumption that this somewhat plaintive verdict on the inescapability of interpretation is in fact an occasion for celebration. For various reasons—some of which I will discuss below—Painting Borges is a welcome addition to the field of interpretation theory and will be of interest not only to philosophers (...) and hermeneuts, but also to scholars of Latin American art and literature.The book's central theme, announced in the subtitle, is the philosophical interpretation of the artistic .. (shrink)
Although Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, Alvin Plantinga has developed a theodicy that is fundamentally Arminian rather than Calvinistic. Anthony Flew, although the son of an Arminian Christian minister, regards the Arminian view of ‘free will’ to be both unacceptable on its own terms and incompatible with classical Christian theism. In this paper I hope to disentangle some of the involved controversy regarding theodicy which has developed between Plantinga and Flew, and between Flew and myself. The major portion of (...) this paper is devoted to showing that Plantinga's theodicy contains some serious flaws and undesirable implications. (shrink)
The philosopher Jorge J. E. Gracia engages fifteen prominent scholars on race, ethnicity, nationality, and Hispanic/Latino identity in the United States. Their discussion joins two distinct traditions: the philosophy of race begun by African Americans in the nineteenth century, and the search for an understanding of identity initiated by Latin American philosophers in the sixteenth century. Participants include Linda M. Alcoff, K. Anthony Appiah, Richard J. Bernstein, Lawrence Blum, Robert Gooding-Williams, Eduardo Mendieta, and Lucius T. Outlaw Jr., and their dialogue (...) reflects the analytic, Aristotelian, Continental, literary, Marxist, and pragmatic schools of thought. These intellectuals start with the philosophy of Hispanics/Latinos in the United States and then move to the philosophy of African Americans and Anglo Americans in the United States and the philosophy of Latin Americans in Latin America. Gracia and his interlocutors debate the nature of race and ethnicity and their relation to nationality, linguistic rights, matters of identity, and Affirmative Action, binding the concepts of race and ethnicity together in ways that open new paths of inquiry. Gracia's Familial-Historical View of ethnic and Hispanic/Latino identity operates at the center of each of these discussions, providing vivid access to the philosopher's provocative arguments while adding unique depth to issues that each of us struggles to understand. (shrink)
Traditionally Hume is seen as offering an ‘empiricist’ critique of ‘rationalism’. This view is often illustrated – or rejected – by comparing Hume's views with those of Descartes'. However the textual evidence shows that Hume's most sustained engagement with a canonical ‘rationalist’ is with Nicolas Malebranche. The author shows that the fundamental differences between the two on the self and causal power do indeed rest on a principled distinction between ‘rationalism’ and ‘empiricism’, and that there is some truth in the (...) traditional story. This, however, is very far from saying that Hume's general orientation is an attack on something called ‘rationalism’. (shrink)
While it is generally accepted that we need to use our intelligence in order to get what we want, it is thought to be a cardinal error to imagine that by reasoning we can discover what we ought to want. Reason can in no way constrain the choice of ends, it can only constrain the choice of means once an end has been adopted. In Plato's philosophy we find a view strongly opposed to this attitude towards reason. It is widely (...) held, however, that to arrive at a position which is plainly opposed to common sense, Plato must have grossly confused reasoning about means with reasoning about ends. Evidence of this confusion is found in Plato's use of analogies between statecraft and navigation, and between virtue and skill. But the diagnosis of confusion rests on a misunderstanding of how Plato wanted to use the word translated ‘skill’, i.e. ‘ technē ’, and this misunderstanding is shared even by those who see Plato as rejecting the virtue/skill analogy. (shrink)
How could the self be a substance? There are various ways in which it could be, some familiar from the history of philosophy. I shall be rejecting these more familiar substantivalist approaches, but also the non-substantival theories traditionally opposed to them. I believe that the self is indeed a substance—in fact, that it is a simple or noncomposite substance—and, perhaps more remarkably still, that selves are, in a sense, self-creating substances. Of course, if one thinks of the notion of substance (...) as an outmoded relic of prescientific metaphysics—as the notion of some kind of basic and perhaps ineffable stuff —then the suggestion that the self is a substance may appear derisory. Even what we ordinarily call ‘stuffs’—gold and water and butter and the like—are, it seems, more properly conceived of as aggregates of molecules or atoms, while the latter are not appropriately to be thought of as being ‘made’ of any kind of ‘stuff’ at all. But this only goes to show that we need to think in terms of a more sophisticated notion of substance—one which may ultimately be traced back to Aristotle's conception of a ‘primary substance’ in the Categories , and whose heir in modern times is W. E. Johnson's notion of the ‘continuant’. It is the notion, that is, of a concrete individual capable of persisting identically through qualitative change, a subject of alterable predicates that is not itself predicable of any further subject. (shrink)
D. Compaeetti, Leggi antiche delta città di Gortyna, Firenze, 1885 F. Bücheler and E. Zitelmann, Rheinisches Museum N. F. Bd. 40 J. and T. Baunack, Die Inschrift von Gortyn, Stuttgart, 1886H. Lewy, Stadtrecht von Gortyn, Berlin, 1885Museo Italiano di Antickità classiche, edited by D. Comparetti, Florence, 1885 sqq. Vols. i, ii.
In a famous passage in her book, Intention , Professor G. E. M. Anscombe argues that we can only render intelligible the idea of someone wanting a thing if we know under what aspect the person sees the thing as desirable. The wanted thing must be characterized by the wanter as desirable in some respect. ‘[What] is required for our concept of “wanting”’, she says, ‘is that a man should see what he wants under the aspect of some good’ . (...) And furthermore, ‘the good conceived by the agent to characterize the thing must really be one of the many forms of good’ . Thus, while the object of desire need only be conceived as good by the wanter, and need not be really good, this can only be because the object does not have the desirable character the wanter believes it to have, not because the character supposed to be desirable is not really so. Desire cannot but be for one of the real forms of good. (shrink)