Ted Honderich's ‘Causes and If p, even if x, still q ’ contains many good points I shall not discuss. My discussion is restricted to some of the points Honderich makes about causal priority in the final two sections of his paper. He considers several proposals, new and old, for accounting for causal priority before he presents a tentativeproposal of his own. He thinks that some of these proposals, besides having difficulties peculiar to themselves, share the deficiency of lacking the (...) proper character. When we look for the difference between causal circumstances and causes, on the one hand, and their effects, on the other, he says, We are not pursuing any difference between these things. We arepursuing a difference of a certain character. What we are after has to do with what we say: that causes and causal circumstances make their effects happen , and not the other way on, and that causes and causal circumstances explain their effects , and not the other way on. (shrink)
I shall venture to affirm, as a general proposition which admits of no exception, that the knowledge of this relation is not, in any instance, attained by reasonings a priori, but arises entirely from experience, when we find that any particular objects are constantly conjoined with each other.
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)
In several works on modality, G. H. von Wright presents tree structures to explain possible worlds. Worlds that might have developed from an earlier world are possible relative to it. Actually possible worlds are possible relative to the world as it actually was at some point. Many logically consistent worlds are not actually possible. Transitions from node to node in a tree structure are probabilistic. Probabilities are often more useful than similarities between worlds in treating counterfactual conditionals.
This article answers John Biro's "Knowability, Believability, and Begging the Question: a Reply to Sanford" in "Metaphilosophy" 15 (1984). Biro and I agree that of two argument instances with the same form and content, one but not the other can beg the question, depending on other factors. These factors include actual beliefs, or so I maintain (against Biro) with the help of some analysed examples. Brief selections from Archbishop Whatley and J S Mill suggest that they also regard reference (...) to actual beliefs as essential to explaining begging the question. (shrink)
This is a useful addition to the metaphysical library. It is written from the optimistic view that metaphysics stands on the verge of a new age of creativity, made possible by the "resituation of reason" in modern metaphysics, by the rethinking of the nature of man and subjectivity, and by the new methodologies for the study of man suggested by linguistic analysis and phenomenology. The history focuses on what Strawson calls "descriptive" metaphysics. It presents a useful summary of metaphysical thought (...) from the pre-Socratics through to the modern age, the groupings being the pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, Medieval Metaphysics, Post-Medieval, and finally Contemporary Metaphysics. The only philosopher short-treated in the presentation is Spinoza, who gets only one paragraph sandwiched between fourteen pages on Descartes and six on Leibniz. The final chapter on Contemporary Metaphysics is by far the liveliest and most controversial. It is given over to an examination of the metaphysical contributions of pragmatists like James, phenomenologists like Husserl and Heidegger, and logical and linguistic analysts like Russell and Strawson. Regrettably, Whitehead receives no mention at all. Yet it is hard to see how any account of contemporary metaphysics--particularly a renaissance of metaphysics--can be considered complete without some reference to Whitehead's metaphysical scheme. In relation to the present work, his phenomenology and his approach to language would seem to be particularly pertinent.--H. B. (shrink)
The central text of this article is Thomas Reid’s response to Berkeley’s argument for distinguishing tangible from visual shape. Reid is right to hold that shape words do not have different visual and tangible meanings. We might also perceive shape, moreover, with senses other than touch and sight. As Reid also suggests, the visual perception of shape does not require perception of hue or brightness. Contrary to treatments of the Molyneux problem by H. P. Grice and Judith Jarvis Thomson, I (...) argue that breakdowns of a certain kind between tangible and visible shape are conceivable. (shrink)
This is the saga of J. Loewenberg. Although an autobiography, it is written in the third person about one Leo Berg. It follows his life from Russia, through his active retirement, to the present. In between we see the steerage trip from Europe to Harvard, the student days with interesting anecdotes about Royce and other prominent academic figures, early teaching assignments, a return visit to Europe, the move to Berkeley, and various visiting professorships. Building on James's image, the three (...) births are Loewenberg's emergence from the womb, his emergence at Harvard, and his emergence at Berkeley. Although the author insists that the latter two are demarcations of great changes in his life and character, the underlying and perhaps more convincing theme of the book is that of continuity. The book is less a history of the author's intellectual development than a home-movie account of the key events of living and reminiscences on the friendships and associations of learning. The book would be of more interest to Loewenberg's students and friends than to the general philosophical reader.--S. O. H. (shrink)
With a few exceptions all the essays in this issue of Daedalus are biographies of world intellectual and political leaders. Erik Erikson's "psycho-historical" examination of Gandhi is followed by sketches of Nkrumah, Ataturk, de Gaulle, Bismarck, Andrew Johnson, Newton, James Mill, and William James. There are three exceptions to the biographical motif: 1) an essay on charisma which, although it does not go much beyond Weber, does offer a concise anatomy of the various dimensions of this slippery category (...) which is an underlying theme throughout many of the biographies; 2) a short essay proposing that obstacles to change in underdeveloped countries are connected with obstacles to the perception of change; and 3) an essay which examines the relation of the American intellectual-academic community to government during the first half of this century. Dankwart Rustow's introductory essay consists of "scattered remarks" on various methodologies for the exploration of the anatomy of leadership. His organizing themes are leadership as communication, leadership as learning process, and leadership as sense of timing.--S. O. H. (shrink)
A statement q is a conclusion intermediate between p and h if and only if (1) p justifies h, (2) p justifies q, and (3) (p and not-q) justifies h to a significantly lesser degree than p justifies h. I contend that Gettier-type counterexamples to definitions of factual knowledge violate the following principle: if one knows that h on the basis of p, then all the conclusions intermediate between p and h are true. This principle does not refer to anyone's (...) beliefs that intermediate conclusions are true. I test my contention against several examples which have been discussed in the literature. (shrink)
As suggested in the subtitle, A New Philosophical Reading, the editor aspires in his Introduction and his notes to “facilitate a deeper understanding and a critical evaluation (...) of this crucial and difficult philosophical work” (p. ix). This was the last important book which James published during his lifetime. With it James aims at a critical evaluation of Hegelian monism and an exploration of the philosophical and theological alternatives. “Our world of some one hundred years on”—the editor says (...) (p. ix)—“is much the better for James’ contribution, and understanding William James on pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding.”. (shrink)
Perhaps no technological innovation has so dominated the second half of the twentieth century as has the introduction of the programmable computer. It is quite difficult if not impossible to imagine how contemporary affairs—in business and science, communications and transportation, governmental and military activities, for example—could be conducted without the use of computing machines, whose principal contribution has been to relieve us of the necessity for certain kinds of mental exertion. The computer revolution has reduced our mental labors by means (...) of these machines, just as the Industrial Revolution reduced our physical labor by means of other machines. (shrink)
A Pluralistic Universe is America's favourite philosopher's last complete work before he died in 1910. Nevertheless, it has been somewhat neglected as a final self-reckoning. Indeed the term "pragmatism" occurs pretty rarely in it, while "experience" and "pluralism" abound. As introduced and annotated by H.G. Callaway, the Cambridge Scholars edition offers some valuable background on James and the text itself, particularly for the nonspecialist reader. Besides retaining James's notes, Callaway has also provided his own glosses on important philosophical (...) terms, translations of the foreign phrases James so often fell back on, and an expanded index and new bibliography to the text. It is, as Callaway says, a "reading and study edition" (ix). (shrink)
We entered upon the work of last session under the heavy cloud occasioned by the loss of Mr. F. H. Bradley, who died only a few days before its opening at the age of seventy-eight; and, in the midst of that session, on March 4th, Professor James Ward passed away at the ripe age of eighty-two years. Thus the two foremost English philosophers of our time have been removed from our midst; and it seems fitting that, in commencing the (...) duties of this new session, I should say something about their contributions to our common pursuit, and try to indicate what we owe to them who have been for so long the leaders of philosophical research in this country. (shrink)
My study aims to offer a Schopenhauerian reading of Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady and D. H. Lawrence's The White Peacock. Throughout the dissertation, I am driven by two goals. First, I aim to examine the selected novels by considering Schopenhauer's philosophy. Secondly, I shall investigate why characters, especially the heroines, having recognised that their marriage was basically a mistake, still remained in their tormented relationships. Why it is important to answer this question and what makes this (...) a unique concern, especially in James's novel, is the possibility that previous studies and many other critiques have questioned the destiny of these heroines in regard to the novelists' anti-feminist tendencies or their social and personal concerns, while I believe that by using Schopenhauer's philosophy I can provide a deeper conceptualisation of the novels' ending. In so doing, in the second chapter I will describe the reception of Schopenhauer's philosophy in England, and the direct and indirect presence of his philosophy in Lawrence's and James's Works. In the third chapter, I concentrate on Schopenhauer's concept of freedom, morality and the will in James's novel. My fourth chapter considers Lawrence's philosophy of love and reveals how his philosophy differs from Schopenhauer's. Furthermore, it draws his readers' attention to the Schopenhauerian notion of the will-to-live, acknowledged in Lawrence's novel. (shrink)