Michael Berry, Professor of Physics at Bristol University, discusses the philosophical ideas underlying his research to the theories of catastrophes and chaotic systems. He is one of England's leading scientists, and has been instrumental in the growth of interest in qualitative phenomena.
Strangers to Nature brings together many of the leading scholars who are working to redefine and expand the discourse on animal ethics. This volume will engage both scholars and lay-people by revealing the breadth of theorizing about the human/non-human animal relationship that is currently taking place.
I propose a theory of domination derived from republican political theory that is in contrast to the neo-republican theory of domination as arbitrary interference and domination as dependence. I suggest that, drawing on of the writings of Machiavelli and Rousseau, we can see two faces of domination that come together to inform social relations. One type of domination is extractive dominance where agents are able to derive surplus benefit from another individual, group, or collective resource, natural or human. Another is (...) what I call constitutive domination where the norms, institutions, and values of the community shape the rationality of subjects to accept forms of power and social relations and collective goals as legitimate forms of authority. Each of these make up two faces of a broader theory of social domination that is more concrete and politically compelling than that put forth by contemporary neo-republican theory. I argue that this understanding of domination should be seen as a kind of ‘radical... (shrink)
I provide a critique of Axel Honneth’s theory of recognition by calling into question the extent to which recognitive relations are immune to the effects of social and economic power and their ability to shape consciousness and moral cognition. I maintain that as a theory of socialization, Honneth’s theory is inadequate to deal with the strong structural-functional forces that hold administrative-capitalist societies together. This has the effect of constituting subjectivity in particular ways, and this problem of the constitution of the (...) personality and consciousness of individuals vitiates the descriptive and normative claims of the theory of recognition. I end by considering an alternative way to view recognition and its role in promoting a form of critical subjectivity. (shrink)
Rousseau’s project in his Social Contract was to construct a conception of human subjectivity and political institutions that would transcend what he saw to be the limits of liberal political theory of his time. I take this as a starting point to put forward an interpretation of his theory of the general will as a kind of social cognition that is able to preserve individual autonomy and freedom alongside concerns with the collective welfare of the community. But whereas many have (...) seen Rousseau’s ideas as a prelude to communitarianism or authoritarianism, we should instead see his project as articulating an alternative model of moral-cognitivist reasoning. In order to provide a framework for this interpretation, I propose reading his conception of the general will through the theory of collective intentionality and social ontology. I end with a consideration of how this interpretation of the general will can provide a more satisfying understanding of political and practical rationality contemporary debates over republicanism and liberalism. (shrink)
I present a theory of alienation that accounts for the cognitive processes involved with moral thinking and political behavior in modern societies. On my account, alienation can be understood as a particular kind of atrophy of moral concepts and moral thinking that affect the ways individuals cognize and legitimate the social world and their place within it. Central to my argument is the thesis that modern forms of social integration—shaped by highly institutionalized, rationalized and hierarchical forms of social life—serve to (...) constrain the moral- cognitive powers of subjects leading to a condition of alienation as moral atrophy. This state results from the withering of the subject's internal powers of moral reflection and an overriding predisposition to rely on external value schemas to make sense of moral and political problems. I then present an analysis of alienated moral consciousness and its implications for modern social theory. (shrink)
The Politics of the Soul: Eric Voegelin on Religious Experience includes eight essays examining one of the most profound studies of religious experience to appear in the last century: that of the political philosopher Eric Voegelin. Voegelin is increasingly recognized as a political theorist of exceptional scope and erudition and the most important philosopher of his time since Toynbee, and his treatment of religious experience is a crucial part of his overall analysis of existence and history. This collection of essays (...) by prominenet Voegelin scholars is the first book to explore the relevance of that analysis to the contemporary understanding of political theory, theology, history, and philosophy of consciousness, and as such it constitutes a significant contribution not only to Voegelin scholarship but to the current quest for theoretical foundations. (shrink)
This paper considers the roots of the dissonance between political modernity and Islamic societies. It argues that primacy has to be given to the analysis of different paradigms of 'ethical life' which are ways in which ethical-political categories are organized within society. A distinction is made between 'nomocentric' and 'rights-based' paradigms of ethical life, the former associated with a system of moral duties and the latter with a system of political and ethical rights accorded to the individual. I argue that (...) the emphasis on a nomocentric paradigm of ethical life has the effect of suppressing the development of a rights-based ethical and political discourse in large enough segments of the society to limit a progressive change toward political modernity. I further analyze the ways in which forces of social and economic modernisation play a role in antagonizing the relation between modernity and the more traditional forms of ethical life which predominate in Islamic society and political/ethical thought. (shrink)
I propose and outline an ethical theory of waste not as refuse or garbage, but rather as a property of activities and practices. On my account, waste results when resources are utilized in society in such a way that the maximum number of individuals within the community are unable to benefit from the collective resources and efforts of social activities. I point to three ethical “dimensions” of waste: socially unproductive activity, under-utilization of resources, and the mis-utilization or mis-direction of resources. (...) Each of these dimensions accounts for different kinds of practices and activities as well as institutional arrangements within any society. As I see it, waste emerges when those resources are employed and utilized in ways that do not maximize their potential benefits for what I term socially valid ends. In this sense, waste can be seen to adhere to practices, activities, and systems of production and consumption that do not benefit the largest possible share of the society. I end by considering the relevance of this ethical concept of waste for a broader theory of social justice. (shrink)
The renaissance in Hegel scholarship over the past two decades has largely ignored or marginalized the metaphysical dimension of his thought, perhaps most vigorously when considering his social and political philosophy. Many scholars have consistently maintained that Hegel’s political philosophy must be reconstructed without the metaphysical structure that Hegel saw as his crowning philosophical achievement. This book brings together twelve original essays that explore the relation between Hegel’s metaphysics and his political, social, and practical philosophy. The essays seek to explore (...) what normative insights and positions can be obtained from examining Hegel’s distinctive view of the metaphysical dimensions of political philosophy. His ideas about the good, the universal, freedom, rationality, objectivity, self-determination, and self-development can be seen in a new context and with renewed understanding once their relation to his metaphysical project is considered. _Hegel’s Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Politics_ will be of great interest to scholars of Hegelian philosophy, German Idealism, nineteenth-century philosophy, political philosophy, and political theory. (shrink)
A critique of contemporary critical theory that traces transformative shifts in the discipline during the twentieth century and argues for a reformulation of critical theory in order to ensure the legacy of its political project.
In his new book, "The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe," Robert J. Richards argues that Charles Darwin's true evolutionary roots lie in the German Romantic biology that flourished around the beginning of the nineteenth century. It is argued that Richards is quite wrong in this claim and that Darwin's roots are in the British society within which he was born, educated, and lived.
Preface Leadership, Spirituality and the Common Good East and West Approaches Henri-Claude de Bettignies & Mike J. Thompson For many, to bring together “ leadership”, “spirituality” and “the Common Good” will be seen more as a ...
Abstract In this paper, I examine the plausibility of Embodied Accounts of Social Cognition by finding fault with the most detailed and convincing version of such an account, as articulated by Daniel Hutto ( 2008 ). I argue that this account fails to offer a plausible ontogeny for folk psychological abilities due to its inability to address recent evidence from implicit false belief tasks that suggest a radically different timeline for the development of these abilities. Content Type Journal Article Pages (...) 1-18 DOI 10.1007/s11097-011-9213-3 Authors J. Robert Thompson, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Mississippi State University, P.O. Box JS, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA Journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences Online ISSN 1572-8676 Print ISSN 1568-7759. (shrink)
Michael and MacLeod’s paper on theories of reference for intentional concepts addresses neglected connections between theories of reference and Theory of Mind debates. Unfortunately, their paper neither shows the negative effects of descriptivism on theories of reference for intentional concepts nor provides an adequate picture of how the sort of theory they advocate might explain either the reference of intentional concepts or the puzzles of development on which they focus. In this article, I give reasons to think that the (...) prospects are dim for applying causal approaches to the major topics raised by Michael and MacLeod. (shrink)
Interest in philosophy of management continues to grow. Growth of the philosophy of management might result from the consideration of man's potential as viewed by two different men, an industrialist and a philosopher. James Finney Lincoln was president and board chairman of The Lincoln Electric Company for 37 years. During that time, and for 14 previous years when he was the firm's general manager, he developed a philosophy basic to a practice of business management that gained national and international attention. (...) Wilhelm von Humboldt was a very gifted person with many accomplishments including those as a Prussian statesman, a humanist, and a linguistics scholar. A comparison of both men's philosophies reveals the following: In each view man's potentiality was approached by the dynamic, on-going process of developing his latent abilities or powers. Both views stressed freedom as being critical to the development of man's latent abilities or powers. For Lincoln the individual must gain satisfaction from the recognition of developing his latent abilities. For Humboldt the individual must enjoy the 'freedom of developing himself.' Lincoln warned against custom as being a barrier to development since it places man in situations which are without variation, forcing him merely to follow precedent. Humboldt, in addition to freedom, stated that "a variety of situations" is essential for development. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
It is with great sadness that I record the death of Francisco Varela, who passed away at his home in Paris, on May 28, 2001. With his passing, the science of consciousness has lost one of its most brilliant, original, creative, and compas- sionate thinkers.