Based on a survey of some popularintroductory anthologies and texts, I arguefrom my experience as a philosopher oftechnology that environmental philosophy mightbe conceived by some researchers in the fieldin terms of an overly narrow theoreticalfoundation. Many of the key figures in thefield take as a basic assumption that theenvironmental crisis is fundamentally bestexplained in terms of some failing in themetaphysical outlooks of most people. However,philosophers of technology typically present atleast two additional types of generalexplanation of the crisis. Environmentalethicists might benefit (...) from consideration ofthese alternative ways of explaining the rootcauses of the ecological crisis. (shrink)
Goodman’s book is neither a survey, nor a comprehensive history of American philosophy before pragmatism emerged in the late nineteenth century in the works of Charles S. Peirce and William James, nor does it explore undiscovered depths of American thought possibly overlooked or lost to time. Rather, Goodman’s treatment of five men—-Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau—attempts to follow James’s understanding of what philosophies are and to “convey each writer’s feel for (...) the ‘whole push’ of things”. In that regard, Goodman succeeds and gives the reader a sense of each man’s motivations. Each is given his own chapter, including an interlude and an... (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.
The traditional vision of the role science should play in policy making is of a two stage process of scientists first finding out the facts, and then policy makers making a decision about what to do about them. We argue that this two stage process is a fiction and that a distinction must be drawn between pure science and science in the service of public policy. When science is transferred into the policy realm, its claims to truth get undermined because (...) we must abandon the open-ended nature of scientific inquiry. When we move from the sphere of science to the sphere of policy, we pick an arbitrary point in the open-ended scientific process, and ask our experts to give us the answer. The choice of the endpoint, however, must always be arbitrary and determined by non-scientific factors. Thus, the two stages in the model of first finding the facts, and then making a decision about what to do, cannot be clearly separated. The second stage clearly affects the first. This conclusion will have implications about existing scientific policy institutions. For example, we advocate that the environmental assessment process be radically overhauled, or perhaps even let go. It will be our position that ultimately a better model for the involvement of scientists in public policy debates is that of being participants in particular interest groups, rather than as supposedly unbiased consultants to decision-makers. (shrink)
This study examines the self-reported ethics of both current and future advertising practitioners, and compares their responses to four scenarios and 17 statements on advertising ethics. Stepwise discriminant analysis was used to determine the extent to which both groups applied the classical ethical theory of deontology to the scenarios and statements. Results indicate significant differences between both groups. For example, current advertising practitioners are significantly less likely than future practitioners to apply deontology to decision making. The implications of these results (...) are discussed and suggestions for future research are outlined. (shrink)
Entrapment is defined and distinguished from related law enforcement practices. The subjective test of entrapment formulated by the Supreme Court and the objective test proposed by critics are discussed and evaluated. The argument is advanced that entrapment is a morally unjustifiable practice which is inconsistent with the rights of citizens in a democratic society. Guidelines are proposed for governing police conduct in potential entrapment situations and suggestions made regarding ways these guidelines might be implemented.
James B. Ashbrook's "new natural theology in an empirical mode" pursued an integrated understanding of the spiritual, psychological, and neurological dimensions of spiritual life. Knowledge of neuroscience and personality theory was central to his quest, and his understandings were necessarily revised and amplified as scientific findings emerged. As a result, Ashbrook's legacy may serve as a case example of how to do religion-and-science in a milieu of scientific change. The constant in the quest was Ashbrook's core belief in the (...) basic holism of brain, mind, personality, the nature of reality, and the underlying reality of God. (shrink)
I examine the influence of James B. Conant on the writing of Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. By clarifying Conant’s influence on Kuhn, I also clarify the influence that others had on Kuhn’s thinking. And by identifying the various influences that Conant had on Kuhn’s view of science, I identify Kuhn’s most original contributions in Structure. On the one hand, I argue that much of the framework and many of the concepts that figure in Structure were part of Conant’s (...) picture of science, a picture that figured prominently in the general education natural science courses that Conant taught at Harvard. On the other hand, I show that Kuhn’s Structure contains important contributions that do not figure in Conant’s picture of science. I argue that the following three themes in Structure do not originate with Conant: (1) the concept of “normal science”; (2) “the problem of scientific revolutions,” that is, the apparent threat posed by radical changes of theory in science; and (3) Kuhn’s emphasis on the social dimensions of science, specifically the social structure of research communities. (shrink)
This paper examines James Conant’s pragmatic theory of science – a theory that has been neglected by most commentators on the history of 20th-century philosophy of science – and it argues that this theory occupied an important place in Conant’s strategic thinking about the Cold War. Conant drew upon his wartime science policy work, the history of science, and Quine’s epistemological holism to argue that there is no strict distinction between science and technology, that there is no such thing (...) as “the scientific method,” and that theories are better interpreted as policies rather than creeds. An important consequence that he drew from these arguments is that science is both a thoroughly value-laden, and an intrinsically social, enterprise. These results led him to develop novel proposals for reorganizing scientific and technological research – proposals that he believed could help to win the Cold War. Interestingly, the Cold War had a different impact upon Conant’s thinking than it did upon many other theorists of science in postwar America. Instead of leading him to “the icy slopes of logic,” it led him to develop a socially- and politically-engaged theory that was explicitly in the service of the American Cold War effort. (shrink)
In an illuminating new essay ‘Die Einheit des Erkenntnisvermögens bei Kant’ (Conant 2016/2017), James Conant critically addresses what he argues is a widespread assumption in modern philosophy, namely, the assumption that our rational capacity to know is a capacity that is somehow “added” or tacked on to the capacity that we humans share with other animals, that is, our receptive capacity for sensations, our sensibility. This is the so-called “additive” theory of cognition, more specifically of the relation between sensibility (...) and the understanding. He addresses this assumption by looking at the main argument of Kant’s Transcendental Deduction. I quite agree with the general tenor of Conant’s paper, namely that the Deduction should not be read as if the two stems of knowledge, sensibility and understanding, were connected in the way suggested by what he aptly calls the “layer-cake conception of human mindedness” (2016:78/2017a:232), whereby concepts are somehow “added” or tacked on to pre-given manifolds of representations to constitute acts of cognition. This is not to say though that I agree with all of the arguments he presents in support of this critical view, or even with the main argument he mounts in support of undermining the layer-cake conception of human mindedness. I think Conant oversells his rightful critique of the layer-cake conception by underestimating the modal nature of Kant’s reasoning in the Deduction and the compatibility between it and a minimally or relatively nonconceptual interpretation. Conant thinks that a rejection of the layer-cake conception of human mindedness entails an unqualified rejection of nonconceptualism of any sort. I think there is a third possible route, which likewise rejects the layer-cake conception of human mindedness, but is still compatible with a kind of minimal nonconceptualism about the relation between sensibility and the understanding, which also avoids the problems of Conant’s own positive reading (which I come to in the course of this discussion). To put it succinctly, I think Conant’s reading of the Deduction is too strongly conceptualist, and unnecessarily so. In this notice, I shall address some of the main points on which I diverge from Conant’s reading. (shrink)
In 1941 Father Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish friar from Warsaw was arrested for publishing anti-Nazi pamphlets and sentenced to Auschwitz. There he was beaten, kicked by shiny leather boots, and whipped by his prison guards. After one prisoner successfully escaped, the prescribed punishment was to select ten other prisoners who were to die by starvation. As ten prisoners were pulled out of line one by one, Fr. Kolbe broke out from the ranks, pleading with he Commandant to be allowed to (...) take the place of one of the prisoners, a Polish worker with a wife and children dependent upon him. "I'm an old man, sir, and good for nothing. My life will serve no purpose," the 45 year old priest pleaded. He was taken, thrown down the stairs into a dank dark basement with the other nine prisoners and left to starve. Usually, prisoners punished like this spent their last days howling, attacking each other and clawing the walls in a frenzy of despair. (shrink)