This commentary was suggested to me in part by a colleague's remark that it would be nice if we could make William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience "respectable." The implication was that though there was something redeemable about the book, it somehow wasn't philosophically or scientifically proper. The remark awakened me to—or at least reminded me of—the fact that this has been a traditional take on James's text. As Julius Bixler points out, ridicule began soon after the (...) book was published: "The Varieties of Religious Experience, appearing at about the same time as Ernest Thompson Seton's book of animal stories, was soon nicknamed 'Wild Religions I Have Known'" (1926, 1). My awakening to this attitude—a prevalent if not a pervasive one among contemporary intellectuals—led me to consider that it would be better, and crucially important to James himself, to keep James "unrespectable." James may have been a renegade and... (shrink)
In 1905 William James wrote an essay in McClure's Magazine recalling the importance to his own work of the Scottish-born philosopher Thomas Davidson. In the essay, James states that Davidson was "essentially a teacher." What is interesting when one looks at Davidson's life and work is that, for Davidson, teaching does seem to be an essential feature of what it means to be a philosopher. Here, I develop how Davidson construes this linking of philosophy and teaching with a (...) concluding emphasis on the two schools he established: Glenmore, a summer philosophy program in the Adirondacks and the "Breadwinners' College," an open school he began for working persons in New York City. I offer this as a discussion paper so that James's recollection of Davidson's importance to his own work may provoke us to consider how we presently understand the linking of teaching and philosophy. This seems especially appropriate for an academic culture such as ours in which much of our time is spent teaching and in which we are often primarily evaluated by a separate category of professional "research." The American tradition has "lost" any number of its important.. (shrink)
Linguistic concepts allow us to break our world into intelligible parts. William James warns, however, that conceptualizing can easily turn into "vicious intellectualism." This happens when words subsume unique particulars under one name, a quality is abstracted from the many particulars, the two are contrasted vis-á-vis, and then the abstraction is declared independent of, temporally prior to, and causally related to the events or processes from which it was derived. Psychology has committed this logical fallacy with concepts such as (...) emotions, personality, and mental illness. To mistake these concepts for "thing like" entities that produce behavior is intellectually forgetful given their linguistic origin. The work of Emmanuel Levinas, Charles Taylor, and C. Terry Warner, among others, will be used to provide an alternative theory. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
In 1958 William L. Langer, in a well-known presidential address to the American Historical Association, declared the informed use of psychoanalytic depth psychology as "the next assignment" for professional historians. _Psychoanalysis and History_, volume 31 of _The Annual of Psychoanalysis_, examines the degree to which Langer's directive has been realized in the intervening 45 years. Section I makes the case for psychobiography in the lives of historical figures and exemplifies this perspective with analytically informed studies of the art of Wassily (...) Kandinsky; the films of Stanley Kubrick; and the anti-Semitism of Adolf Hitler. Section II reviews Freud's own psychohistorical contributions and then considers the relevance to historical inquiry of the more recent perspectives of Winnicott, Kernberg, and Kohut. Section III explores an intriguing tributary of psychobiographical inquiry: the impact of the biographer's own subjectivity on his or her work. Section IV turns to a topic of perennial interest: the psychobiographical study of American presidents. Section V turns to the special challenges of applying psychoanalysis to topics of religious history and includes topical studies of religious figures as disparate as the 15th century Asian Drukpa Kunley and Osama bin Laden. Section VI focuses on the recent extension of psychohistorical inquiry to groups of people and to cultural phenomena more generally: an investigation of the youth movement in pre-Nazi Germany; consideration of how societies, no less than individuals, reenact and work through traumas over time; and an outline of the role of analysis in constructing a depth-psychological "social psychology" of use to historians. These papers, no less than those that precede them, are compelling testimony to the claim with which editors James William Anderson and Jerome A. Winer begin the volume, to wit, that "Psychoanalysis would seem to be a resource indispensable to the study of history.". (shrink)
_Sigmund Freud and His Impact on the Modern World_, volume 29 of The Annual of Psychoanalysis, is a comprehensive reassessment of the influence of Sigmund Freud. Intended as an unofficial companion volume to the Library of Congress's exhibit, "Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture," it ponders Freud's influence in the context of contemporary scientific, psychotherapeutic, and academic landscapes. Beginning with JamesAnderson's biographical remarks, which are geared specifically to the objects on display in the Library of Congress exhibit, and (...) Roy Grinker Jr.'s more personal view of Freud, the volume branches out in various directions in an effort to comprehend the multidimensional and multidisciplinary richness of Freud's contribution. In section II, we find authoritative summaries of Freud's scientific contributions, of his continuing impact as a thinker, of his notion of symbolization in the context of recent neuroscientific findings, and of his status as a "cultural subversive". In section III, contributors hone in on more specific aspects of Freud's legacy, such as an experimental method to review how Freud's idea of childhood sexuality has fared and a look at the women who became analysts in the United States. In the concluding section of the volume, contributors turn to Freud's influence in various humanistic disciplines: literature, drama, religious studies, the human sciences, the visual arts, and cinema. With this scholarly yet highly accessible compilation, the Chicago Institute provides another service to its own community and to the wider reading public. Sure to enhance the experience of all those attending "Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture," _Sigmund Freud and His Impact on the Modern World_ will appeal to anyone desirous of an up-to-date overview of the man whose work shaped the psychological sensibility of the century just past and promises to reverberate throughout the century just born. (shrink)
v. 1. William and Henry, 1861-1884 -- v. 2. William and Henry, 1885-1896 -- v. 3. William and Henry, 1897-1910 -- v. 4. 1856-1877 -- v. 5. 1878-1884 -- v. 6. 1885-1889 -- v. 7. 1890-1894 -- v. 8. 1895-June 1899 -- v. 9. July 1899-1901 -- v. 10. 1902-March 1905 -- v. 11. April 1905-March 1908 -- v. 12. April 1908-August 1910.
In this engaging book, Douglas Anderson begins with the assumption that philosophy—the Greek love of wisdom—is alive and well in American culture. At the same time, professional philosophy remains relatively invisible. Anderson traverses American life to find places in the wider culture where professional philosophy in the distinctively American tradition can strike up a conversation. How might American philosophers talk to us about our religious experience, or political engagement, or literature—or even, popular music? Anderson’s second aim is (...) to find places where philosophy happens in nonprofessional guises—cultural places such as country music, rock’n roll, and Beat literature. He not only enlarges the tradition of American philosophers such as John Dewey and William James by examining lesser-known figures such as Henry Bugbee and Thomas Davidson, but finds the theme and ideas of American philosophy in some unexpected places, such as the music of Hank Williams, Tammy Wynette, and Bruce Springsteen, and the writingsof Jack Kerouac.The idea of “philosophy Americana” trades on the emergent genre of “music Americana,” rooted in traditional themes and styles yet engaging our present experiences. The music is “popular” but not thoroughly driven by economic considerations, and Anderson seeks out an analogous role for philosophical practice, where philosophy and popular culture are co-adventurers in the life of ideas. Philosophy Americana takes seriously Emerson’s quest for the extraordinary in the ordinary and James’s belief that popular philosophy can still be philosophy. (shrink)
Fourteen philosophers share their experience teaching Peirce to undergraduates in a variety of settings and a variety of courses. The latter include introductory philosophy courses as well as upper-level courses in American philosophy, philosophy of religion, logic, philosophy of science, medieval philosophy, semiotics, metaphysics, etc., and even an upper-level course devoted entirely to Peirce. The project originates in a session devoted to teaching Peirce held at the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. The session, (...) organized by James Campbell and Richard Hart, was co-sponsored by the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. (shrink)
In this article we describe our approach to understanding wrongdoing in medical research and practice, which involves the statistical analysis of coded data from a large set of published cases. We focus on understanding the environmental factors that predict the kind and the severity of wrongdoing in medicine. Through review of empirical and theoretical literature, consultation with experts, the application of criminological theory, and ongoing analysis of our first 60 cases, we hypothesize that 10 contextual features of the medical environment (...) (including financial rewards, oversight failures, and patients belonging to vulnerable groups) may contribute to professional wrongdoing. We define each variable, examine data supporting our hypothesis, and present a brief case synopsis from our study that illustrates the potential influence of the variable. Finally, we discuss limitations of the resulting framework and directions for future research. (shrink)
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)
William James had the courage to experience the collision of European and American ways of thinking head on, and to emerge from it with a new philosophy - one displaying a remarkable vitality for dealing with the transformative issues at the core of the human condition. This easy to read introduction to his life and work explains why James' work is overwhelmingly valuable to us today in getting to grips with the spiritual dimension of human experience.
One of the most prominent objections to skeptical theism in recent literature is that the skeptical theist is forced to deny our competency in making judgments about the all-things-considered value of any natural event. Some skeptical theists accept that their view has this implication, but argue that it is not problematic. I think that there is reason to question the implication itself. I begin by explaining the objection to skeptical theism and the standard response to it. I then identify an (...) assumption that is prevalent in much of the literature concerning the problem of evil, and show that it is a factor in motivating commitment to the implication I mean to question. I argue that the assumption is false, and that once it is rejected there is room to endorse the skeptical theist's strategy in responding to some arguments from evil without endorsing the putative implication that objectors find unacceptable. (shrink)
In this paper we offer a new argument for the existence of God. We contend that the laws of logic are metaphysically dependent on the existence of God, understood as a necessarily existent, personal, spiritual being; thus anyone who grants that there are laws of logic should also accept that there is a God. We argue that if our most natural intuitions about them are correct, and if they are to play the role in our intellectual activities that we take (...) them to play, then the laws of logic are best construed as necessarily existent thoughts -- more specifically, as divine thoughts about divine thoughts. We conclude by highlighting some implications for both theistic arguments and antitheistic arguments. (shrink)
This article focuses on mirror self-recognition, the ability to recognize one's own image in a mirror. It presents the result of the first experiment on mirror self-recognition which showed that chimpanzees are able to learn that the chimps they see in the mirror are not other chimps, but themselves, as evidenced by self-directed behaviour. It reviews evidence for neural network for self-recognition and self-other differentiation and cites evidence that frontal cortex and cortical midline structures are implicated in self-recognition tasks. It (...) also suggests that the mirror self-recognition ability correlates to large brain size relative to the animal's body size. (shrink)
Applied a theory of information integration to decision making with probabilistic events. 10 undergraduates judged the subjective worth of duplex bets that included independent gain and lose components. The worth of each component was assumed to be the product of a subjective weight that reflected the probability of winning or losing, and the subjective worth of the money to be won or lost. The total worth of the bet was the sum of the worths of the 2 components. Thus, each (...) judgment required multiplying and adding operations. The multiplying model worked quite well in 4 experimental conditions. The adding model showed more serious discrepancies, though these were small in magnitude. The theory of functional measurement was applied to scale the subjective values of the probability and money stimuli. Subjective and objective values were nonlinearly related both for probability and for money. (shrink)
In a recent article, Dale Tuggy argues that the two most favoured approaches to explicating the doctrine of the Trinity, Social Trinitarianism and Latin Trinitarianism, are unsatisfactory on either logical or biblical grounds. Moreover, he contends that appealing to ‘mystery’ in the face of apparent contradiction is rationally and theologically unacceptable. I raise some critical questions about Tuggy's assessment of the most relevant biblical data, before defending against his objections the rationality of an appeal to mystery in the face of (...) theological paradox. (shrink)
Despite their crucial role in the translation of pre-clinical research into new clinical applications, phase 1 trials involving patients continue to prompt ethical debate. At the heart of the controversy is the question of whether risks of administering experimental drugs are therapeutically justified. We suggest that prior attempts to address this question have been muddled, in part because it cannot be answered adequately without first attending to the way labor is divided in managing risk in clinical trials. In what follows, (...) we approach the question of therapeutic justification for phase 1 trials from the viewpoint of five different stakeholders: the drug regulatory authority, the IRB, the clinical investigator, the referring physician, and the patient. Our analysis shows that the question of therapeutic justification actually raises multiple questions corresponding to the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders involved. By attending to these contextual differences, we provide more coherent guidance for the ethical negotiation of risk in phase 1 trials involving patients. We close by discussing the implications of our argument for various perennial controversies in phase 1 trial practice. (shrink)
Here we describe the five steps of evidence-based practice as applied to research ethics review and apply these steps to three exemplar dilemmas: incentive payments in substance abuse research; informed consent for biobanking; and placebo-controlled trials involving pregnant women in order to demonstrate the potential of empirical data to inform and improve IRB decision-making.
The principle of clinical equipoise requires that, aside from certain exceptional cases, second generation treatments ought to be tested against standard therapy. In violation of this principle, placebo-controlled trials (PCTs) continue to be used extensively in the development and licensure of second-generation treatments. This practice is typically justified by appeal to methodological arguments that purport to demonstrate that active-controlled trials (ACTs) are methodologically flawed. Foremost among these arguments is the so called assay sensitivity argument. In this paper, I take a (...) closer look at this argument. Following Duhem, I argue that all trials, placebo-controlled or not, rely on external information for their meaningful interpretation. Pending non-circular empirical evidence that we can trust the findings of PCTs to a greater degree than the findings of ACTs, I conclude that the assay sensitivity argument fails to demonstrate that placebo-controlled trials are preferable, methodologically or otherwise, to active-controlled trials. Contrary to the intentions of its authors, the fundamental lesson taught by the assay sensitivity argument is Duhemian: the validity of all clinical trials depends on external information. (shrink)
The practice of paying research subjects for participating inclinical trials has yet to receive an adequate moral analysis.Dickert and Grady argue for a wage payment model in whichresearch subjects are paid an hourly wage based on that ofunskilled laborers. If we accept this approach, what follows?Norms for just working conditions emerge from workplacelegislation and political theory. All workers, includingpaid research subjects under Dickert and Grady''s analysis,have a right to at least minimum wage, a standard work week,extra pay for overtime hours, (...) a safe workplace, no faultcompensation for work-related injury, and union organization.If we accept that paid research subjects are wage earners likeany other, then the implications for changes to current practiceare substantial. (shrink)
A relatively new and exciting area of collaboration has begun between philosophy of mind and ethics. This paper attempts to explore aspects of this collaboration and how they bear upon traditional ethics. It is the author's contention that much of Western moral philosophy has been guided by largely unrecognized assumptions regarding reason, knowledge and conceptualization, and that when examined against empirical research in cognitive science, these assumptions turn out to be false -- or at the very least, unrealistic for creatures (...) with our cognitive structures. The fundamental tension between the Western idea of morality (as basically rule-following) and the way in which people actually confront and experience moral dilemmas is a result of our failure to take the insights of cognitive psychology seriously. This failure has had a dramatic impact on not only how we teach ethics, but how we attempt to live out lives. (shrink)
In Paradox in Christian Theology I argued that the Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation are paradoxical—that is, they appear to involve implicit contradictions—yet Christians can still be rational in affirming and believing those doctrines. Dale Tuggy has characterized my theory of theological paradox as a form of “positive mysterianism” and argues that the theory “faces steep epistemic problems, and is at best a temporarily reasonable but ultimately unsustainable stance.” After summarizing my proposed model for the rational affirmation (...) of theological paradox and considering whether my proposal is indeed a form of “positive mysterianism” as Tuggy defines the term, I address the two main criticisms raised in Tuggy’s paper: first, that the doctrine of divine incomprehensibility cannot bear the weight required by my defense of paradox; and second, that my proposed model is afflicted with epistemic instability. I conclude that Tuggy has failed to show that a mysterian stance with respect to paradoxical Christian doctrines is in principle unreasonable, unnatural, or unsustainable. (shrink)