In her final fragmentary novel Sanditon, Jane Austen develops a theme that pervades her work from her juvenilia onward: illness, and in particular, illness imagined, invented, or self-inflicted. While the “invention of odd complaints” is characteristically a token of folly or weakness throughout her writing, in this last work imagined illness is also both a symbol and a cause of how selves and societies degenerate. In the shifting world of Sanditon, hypochondria is the lubricant for a society bent on (...) turning health into a commodity. As a result, people’s rationality and their moral character come under attack. Catherine Belling’s recent subtle study, A Condition of Doubt: The Meanings of Hypochondria, unveils hypochondria’s discursive and cultural character. Running sharply against the tenor of Austen’s treatment, however, she argues in defense of the rationality of hypochondriacs; the notion that the condition may involve morally significant defects is not entertained; any connection to the commercialization of health care is muted. Here, I contrast Austen’s morally and epistemically negative rendering of her hypochondriacal characters in Sanditon with Belling’s efforts to create a sympathetic understanding of people with hypochondria. I will argue that, despite time gaps and genre differences, joint consideration of these texts can help bioethicists better appreciate how medicine can intensify, pathologize, and exploit anxieties about illness and death, thus adding to the challenges of living well in the face of mortality and morbidity. (shrink)
The problem of reference is central to the fields of linguistics, cognitive science, and epistemology yet it remains largely unresolved. Naming and Reference explains the reference of lexical terms, with particular emphasis placed on proper names, demonstrative pronouns and personal pronouns. It examines such specific issues as: how to account for the reference of names that are empty or speculative, which abound in science and philosophy, and how to account for intentional reference as in "he took Mary to be (...) class='Hi'>Jane." Naming and Reference begins with a survey of the history of the subject within a philosophical and critical setting, from Locke, Brentano, Peirce, Frege, Russell, Strawson, Tarski, Carnap and Quine up to Kripke and Fodor. The rest of the book is devoted to an algorithmic theory of reference derived from Peirce's idea that signification is a three-way relationship involving a term, an object and an interpretant. The theory rounds out the causal notion of reference, while at the same time preserving Frege's distinction between sense and reference, and making a place for indexical terms. Through the use of various computer models, R. J. Nelson explores the meaning and reference of words to objects and the relationship of these phenomena to perception, belief and truth. The models used are parallel, connectionist computational models rather than the sequential models of mid-century artificial intelligence. The aim, in opposition to nativist and mental representation theories, is to account for the genesis of semantically interpretable symbols, not to assume them. (shrink)
The logical Law of Non-contradiction – that a proposition cannot be both true and false – enjoys a special, perhaps uniquely privileged, status in philosophy. Most philosophers think that finding a contradiction – the assertion of both P and not-P – in one's reasoning is the best possible evidence that something has gone wrong, the ultimate refutation of a position. But why should this be so? What reason do we have to believe it?
Let me first explain what I am not attacking in this paper. I am not attacking, for instance, the right of free speech or any of the other specific rights listed in the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights or the United Nations' Charter. I am, rather, attacking any specific right's being called a ‘human right’. I mean to show that any such designation is not only fraudulent but, in case anyone might want to say that there can be noble lies, (...) grossly wicked, amounting indeed to genocide. (shrink)
In his recent work, The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism , Barry Stroud proposes to carry out an in-depth critique of the attempt by philosophers to invalidate all knowledge of an external world on the basis of Descartes' dream argument. His more particular aims in this endeavour are to uncover significant features of any such scepticism and to disclose in the process fundamental aspects of ‘human knowledge’ itself. Thus, among other features of knowledge that his study discloses, he thinks, is, echoing (...) Kant, the idea ‘that a completely general distinction between everything we get through the senses, on the one hand, and what is true or not true of the external world, on the other, would cut us off forever from knowledge of the world around us.’ And a significant feature of Cartesian dream scepticism he believes to have uncovered is that its ‘effectiveness’ rests upon the philosopher's traditional assumption of an objectively existent world that is understandable ‘from a detached “external” viewpoint.’. (shrink)
Russell said that physics drove him to a position not unlike that of Berkeley —by which he meant subjectivism or solipsism. ‘As regards metaphysics’, he tells us in his Autobiography , ‘when, under the influence of Moore, I first threw off the belief in German idealism, I experienced the delight of believing that the sensible world is real. Bit by bit, chiefly under the influence of physics, this delight has faded, and I have been driven to a position not unlike (...) that of Berkeley, without his God and his Anglican complacency’. (shrink)
This article is not intended to state what I positively believe to be true, but to make a suggestion which I think it well-worth working out. The suggestion is not altogether unfamiliar, but it has certain implications that seem to have been so far overlooked, or at any rate have never been developed. I do not think that it is the duty of a philosopher to confine himself in his publications to working out theories of the truth of which he (...) is convinced.… It is a part of a philosopher's work, as it is of a scientist's, to try out tentative hypotheses and examine their advantages and disadvantages. (shrink)
In the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights a quite large number of things are said to be ‘human rights’ and though in that Declaration the term ‘inalienable’ is not used to describe the rights in question it has been so used by commentators—at least with respect to some of the rights enumerated. I shall forgo asking the prior question as to whether any such thing as a human right exists and ask simply whether any such thing as an (...) inalienable right exists. My intention will be to show that it does not. (shrink)
The Clarke/Rowe version of the Cosmological Argument is sound only if the Principle of Sufficient Reason is true, but many philosophers, including Rowe, think that there is not adequate evidence for the principle of sufficient reason. I argue that there may be indirect evidence for PSR on the grounds that if we do not accept it, we lose our best justification for an important principle of metaethics, namely, the Principle of Universalizability. To show this, I argue that all the other (...) justifications of the Principle of Universalizability on offer, including Richard Hare's, are inadequate. (shrink)
An article by Luigino Bruni and Robert Sugden published in this journal argues that market relations contain elements of what they call ‘fraternity’. This Response demonstrates that my own views on interpersonal relations and markets – which originated in the feminist analysis of caring labour – are far closer to Bruni and Sugden's than they acknowledge in their article, and goes on to discuss additional important dimensions of sociality that they neglect.
Various proponents of animal rights—for example, H. J. McCloskey— maintain that while brute animals cannot have; moral rights they can have legal rights. Indeed, McCloskey himself goes so far as to maintain that even inanimate objects are able to have legal rights. 1 And why should not inanimate objects be able to? After f all, for there to be a legal right is anything more required than that whatever agency is empowered to issue legal rights simply legislate or proclaim that (...) so-and-so has that legal right? (shrink)
Let me make it clear from the outset that my main point is not either of the following: one, that there should be more women economists and research on “women's issues”, or two, that women as a class do, or should do, economics in a manner different from men. My argument is different and has to do with trying to gain an understanding of how a certain way of thinking about gender and a certain way of thinking about economics have (...) become intertwined through metaphor – with detrimental results – and how a richer conception of human understanding and human identity could broaden and improve the field of economics for both female and male practitioners. (shrink)
Pre-analytically at least some of our inductions seem to be possessed of rational justification. This comment would apply, for instance, to my present induction, ‘If that climber high on the Flatirons falls he will be killed,’ not to mention such more momentous inductions as, ‘If a full-scale nuclear war breaks out there will be greater destruction than in World War II.’ Notoriously, however, a few Humean reflections seem to strip even the most plausible of our inductions of all possible rational (...) justification, leaving them mere bare psychological faits accomplis : in effect, section V of the Enquiry's ‘Sceptical Solution of these Doubts.’. (shrink)
Naturwissenschaften, Mathematik und Logik waren für Nelson von zentraler Bedeutung. Er pflegte bereits als Jugendlicher intensive Kontakte zu Naturwissenschaftlern und Mathematikern. Dadurch erhielt er Anregungen, die von Anfang an seine philosophischen Ansätze beeinflussten. Inspiriert von der Kant-Fries’schen Philosophie und der Axiomatik der Mathematik, konzipierte Nelson seine Philosophie als exakte Wissenschaft. Wie Kant und Fries betrachtete Nelson die Suche nach den allgemeinen Prinzipien der Naturwissenschaften als Hauptaufgabe der Naturphilosophie. Ergebnis dieser kritischen Analyse ist ein System von metaphysischen Grundsätzen (...) der Naturwissenschaft. Nelson übernimmt Kants Lehre von den Grundsätzen des reinen Verstandes. Keine empirisch gefundene Gesetzmäßigkeit könne diesen Grundsätzen widersprechen. Für die Gesetze der Newton’schen Mechanik hätten, so meint Nelson, Kant und Fries diesen Nachweis erbracht. Deshalb formulierte Nelson das sogenannte Postulat der Mechanistik, gemäß dem alle Naturerscheinungen auf mechanische Vorgänge zurückgeführt werden können. Das starre Festhalten an diesem Postulat veranlasste ihn zur Ablehnung bedeutsamer physikalischer Konzeptionen (z. B. des auf der Elektrodynamik basierenden Relativitätsprinzips, des Nahwirkungskonzepts und des Atommodells). Das „Relativitätsprinzip der Elektrodynamik“ lehnte er mit dem Argument ab, es verhindere die Anwendung der dritten Analogie der Erfahrung, da es den Verzicht auf den Begriff der Gleichzeitigkeit von Naturerscheinungen erzwinge. Eine kritische Nelson-Rezeption muss der Historizität etlicher Thesen Nelsons Rechnung tragen, aber zugleich die Bedeutsamkeit von Kernaussagen Nelson’scher Naturphilosophie im Hinblick auf die modernen Naturwissenschaften untersuchen. Das ist auch die Zielrichtung des vorliegenden Beitrages. Der erste Teil beleuchtet Nelsons wissenschaftliches Umfeld. Einerseits wird untersucht, welche Wissenschaftler Nelson beeinflussten, andererseits soll dargestellt werden, welcher Personenkreis an der Fortentwicklung der Nelson’schen Naturphilosophie beteiligt war. Beispielhaft sollen daran anschließend zwei Themenbereiche aus seinem reichhaltigen Werk disktiert werden, denen besonders im Hinblick auf aktuelle philosophische Diskussionsschwerpunkte Bedeutsamkeit zukommt. Im zweiten Teil werden nämlich Nelsons Betrachtungen zum Verhältnis von Freiheit und Naturnotwendigkeit sowie seine Unterscheidung zwischen wissenschaftlicher und ästhetischer Naturbetrachtung besprochen. Der Beitrag beansprucht nicht, die Rezeptionssgeschichte und den Inhalt von Nelsons Naturphilosophie sowie die aktuelle Bedeutsamkeit seiner Thesen im Detail darzustellen aufzuarbeiten. Vielmehr geht es darum, Ansätze für eine zeitgemäße Interpretation Rezeption aufzuzeigen und anhand von Beispielen zu erörtern. (shrink)
This paper argues that communitarian philosophy can be an important philosophic resource for feminist thinkers, particularly when considered in the light of Jane Addams's (1860-1935) feminist-pragmatism. Addams's communitarianism requires progressive change as well as a moral duty to seek out diverse voices. Contrary to some contemporary communitarians, Addams extends her concept of community to include interdependent global communities, such as the global community of women peace workers.
This paper deals with what I take to be one woman’s literary response to a philosophical problem. The woman is Jane Austen, the problem is the rationality of Hume’s ‘sensible knave’, and Austen’s response is to deepen the problem. Despite his enthusiasm for virtue, Hume reluctantly concedes in the EPM that injustice can be a rational strategy for ‘sensible knaves’, intelligent but selfish agents who feel no aversion towards thoughts of villainy or baseness. Austen agrees, but adds that ABSENT (...) CONSIDERATIONS OF A FUTURE STATE, other vices besides injustice can be rationally indulged with tolerable prospects of worldly happiness. Austen’s creation Mr Elliot in Persuasion is just such an agent – sensible and knavish but not technically ‘unjust’. Despite and partly because of his vices – ingratitude, avarice and duplicity – he manages to be both successful and reasonably happy. There are plenty of other reasonably happy knaves in Jane Austen, some of whom are not particularly sensible. This is not to say that either Austen or Hume is in favor of knavery It is just that they both think that only those with the right sensibility can be argued out of it. (shrink)
Karl Popper has often been cast as one of the most solitary figures of twentieth-century philosophy. The received image is of a thinker who developed his scientific philosophy virtually alone and in opposition to a crowd of brilliant members of the Vienna Circle. This paper challenges the received view and undertakes to correctly situate on the map of the history of philosophy Popper’s contribution, in particular, his renowned fallibilist theory of knowledge. The motive for doing so is the conviction that (...) the mainstream perspective on Popper’s philosophy makes him more difficult to understand than might otherwise be the case. The thinker who figures most significantly in the account of Popper developed in these pages is Leonard Nelson. Both a neo-Friesian and neo-Kantian, this philosopher deeply influenced Popper through his student Julius Kraft, who met with Popper on numerous occasions in the mid 1920s. It is in the light of this influence that we understand Popper’s recollection that when he criticized the Vienna Circle in the early 1930s, he looked upon himself “as an unorthodox Kantian”. (shrink)
This short paper grew out of an observation—made in the course of a larger research project—of a surprising convergence between, on the one hand, certain themes in the work of Mary Hesse and Nelson Goodman in the 1950/60s and, on the other hand, recent work on the representational resources of science, in particular regarding model-based representation. The convergence between these more recent accounts of representation in science and the earlier proposals by Hesse and Goodman consists in the recognition that, (...) in order to secure successful representation in science, collective representational resources must be available. Such resources may take the form of (amongst others) mathematical formalisms, diagrammatic methods, notational rules, or—in the case of material models—conventions regarding the use and manipulation of the constituent parts. More often than not, an abstract characterization of such resources tells only half the story, as they are constituted equally by the pattern of (practical and theoretical) activities—such as instances of manipulation or inference—of the researchers who deploy them. In other words, representational resources need to be sustained by a social practice; this is what renders them collective representational resources in the first place. (shrink)
In this paper I attempt to capture the essence of Nelson Pike’s contribution to the philosophy of religion. My summary of his insights will revolve around three general topics: omniscience (and in particular its relation to human freedom), omnipotence (and in particular its relation to the existence of human suffering), and mysticism (with a focus on the question of whether and in what sense mystic visions can be sources of knowledge). Although the details vary in interesting ways, his work (...) on these topics largely consists of recognizing an important challenge to the viability of the relevant doctrine or framework, sharpening that challenge by presenting it in a more forceful way, and then offering and assessing potential responses. Pike’s writings are characterized by exemplary rigor and relentless clarity, and together they constitute a rich (and under-appreciated) source of insight. (shrink)
This comprehensive encyclopedia entry discusses the life and works of Jane Addams (1860-1935) who influenced contemporaries John Dewey, William James, and George Herbert Mead. Although not traditionally categorized as a philosopher, Addams was a prolific writer who developed a social philosophy of attentiveness and sympathetic knowledge that prefigures contemporary feminist care ethics.