Europeans and Americans tend to hold the opinion that democracy is a uniquely Western inheritance, but in _The Common Cause_, Leela Gandhi recovers stories of an alternate version, describing a transnational history of democracy in the first half of the twentieth century through the lens of ethics in the broad sense of disciplined self-fashioning. Gandhi identifies a shared culture of perfectionism across imperialism, fascism, and liberalism—an ethic that excluded the ordinary and unexceptional. But, she also illuminates an ethic (...) of moral imperfectionism, a set of anticolonial, antifascist practices devoted to ordinariness and abnegation that ranged from doomed mutinies in the Indian military to Mahatma Gandhi’s spiritual discipline. Reframing the way we think about some of the most consequential political events of the era, Gandhi presents moral imperfectionism as the lost tradition of global democratic thought and offers it to us as a key to democracy’s future. In doing so, she defends democracy as a shared art of living on the other side of perfection and mounts a postcolonial appeal for an ethics of becoming common. (shrink)
'those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means' Mahatma Gandhi was a profound and original thinker as well as one of the most influential figures in the history of the twentieth century. A religious and social reformer, he became a notable leader in the Indian nationalist movement, made famous for his advocacy of non-violent civil resistance. His many and varied writings are essentially responses to the specific challenges he faced, and (...) they show his maturing ideas and political will, as well as his spirituality and humanity, over several decades. This new selection demonstrates how his thinking was truly radical, dealing with problems from the roots upwards: in the lives of individuals, of societies, and of political structures. It underlines the supreme importance of non-violence, and Gandhi's unique and unrealized vision of a new India after the departure of the British. (shrink)
Hypnosis is associated with profound changes in conscious experience and is increasingly used as a cognitive tool to explore neuropsychological processes. Studies of this sort typically employ suggestions following a hypnotic induction to produce changes in perceptual experience and motor control. It is not clear, however, to what extent the induction procedure serves to facilitate suggested phenomena. This study investigated the effect on suggestibility of a hypnotic induction and labelling that procedure ‘hypnosis.’ Suggestibility of participants was tested before and after (...) an adapted hypnotic procedure, which was either labelled as ‘hypnosis’ or as ‘relaxation.’ The hypnotic procedure produced a modest increase in suggestibility when it was called ‘relaxation,’ but a very significant increase if it was labelled ‘hypnosis.’ The results are important for both clinical and experimental applications and indicate that labelling an induction procedure ‘hypnosis’ is an important determinant of subsequent responses to suggestion. (shrink)
This essay on the social history of logic discusses arguments in the programmatic writings of Carnap/Neurath, but especially in the widely read book by Lillian Lieber, Mits, Wits and Logic (1947), where Mits is the man in the street and Wits the woman in the street. It was seriously argued that the intense study of formal logic would create a more rational frame of mind and have many beneficial effects upon the social and political life. This arose from the conviction (...) that most metaphysical conundrums, religious and political problems and even fanaticism had their root in the irrationality of ordinary discourse, which had to be replaced by the more logical “ideal language” of Principia Mathematica. The enthusiastic promotion of formal logic occurred at a time when it was widely thought that minds could be “made over”, “reprogrammed” by proper intervention. J.B. Watson, (who claimed that he taught the American woman to smoke) wrote that “[S]ome day we shall have hospitals devoted to helping us change our personality, because we can change the personality as easily as we can change the shape or our nose... I wish I could picture for you what a rich and wonderful individual we should make of every healthy child”. Thesecond part of the essay deals, not with the history of logic as a formal science, but with the social role it was thought to play from Francis Bacon on, during the Enlightenment, in Kant and in the 19th century. (shrink)
Over time our understanding of the 'political' has been progressively shaped by the secular rational calculations of modern European political thought. This paper aims to critique these 'calculations' with reference to crucial moments of departure and flight within western philosophy itself. It concludes by reclaiming fin de siècle radicalism/philosophy as a forgotten instance of empirical-metaphysical hybridity: a form of politics or ethics capable of housing the imperatives of both desire and prayer.
This essay on the social history of logic instruction considers the programmatic writings of Carnap/Neurath, but especially in the widely read book by Lillian Lieber, Mits, Wits and Logic, where Mits is the man in the street and Wits the woman in the street. In the ‘pre-Toulmin’ days it was seriously argued that the intense study of formal logic would create a more rational frame of mind and have many beneficial effects upon the social and political life. It arose from (...) the conviction that most metaphysical conundrums, religious and political problems and even fanaticism had their root in the irrationality of ordinary discourse, which had to be replaced by the more logical ‘ideal language’ of Principia Mathematica. The enthusiastic promotion of formal logic occurred at a time when it was widely thought that minds could be ‘made over’, ‘reprogrammed’ by proper intervention. This stands in stark contrast to the motivation for teaching informal logic and critical thinking, as it becomes apparent in a 1981 exchange between Ralph Johnson and Gerald Massey in Teaching Philosophy. Most of this essay focuses on Lillian Lieber, an earnest and enthusiastic advocate of the cause of formal logic, and on the reasons for the widespread conviction that, for the sake of peace and social harmony, formal logic should, if possible, be taught to every man, woman and child. (shrink)
THIS BOOK HAS TWO GENERAL THEMES. ONE IS THE AVAILABILITY OF RELIGIOUS IDEAS. IT IS ARGUED THAT A WHOLE RANGE OF RELIGIOUS IDEAS ARE AVAILABLE TO HUMAN BEINGS OUTSIDE A CONTEXT OF ACTUAL RELIGIOUS OR THEISTIC BELIEF. ADMISSION OF THESE IDEAS INTO ONE’S CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK DOES NOT COMMIT ONE TO RELIGIOUS BELIEF, BUT IT DOES EXPOSE THE UNINTELLIGIBILITY OF WHAT MIGHT BE CALLED THE ’IMMANENTIST’ VIEW OF THE WORLD. THE OTHER THEME OF THE BOOK IS THAT OF MORALITY. THE AUTHOR (...) ATTEMPTS TO SHOW THAT AN ADEQUATE ANALYSIS OF THE STRUCTURE OF HUMAN SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS REVEALS UNIVERSALLY APPLICABLE PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY. IN THIS SENSE MORALITY DOES NOT STAND IN NEED OF ’TRANSCENDENTAL’ SUPPORT. (EDITED). (shrink)