Charlotte Perkins Gilman and John Dewey were both pragmatists who recognized the need to restructure the environment to bring about social progress. Gilman was even more of a pragmatist than Dewey, however, because she addressed problems he did not identify-much less confront. Her philosophy is in accord with the spirit of Dewey's work but in important ways, it is more consistent, more comprehensive and more radical than his instrumentalism.
In commenting on Susan Bordo's discussion of gender bias, I both support and build on her contention that women's exclusion from philosophical discourse has been epistemologically and politically significant. But I also explore difficulties associated with applying the concept of gender and I voice concern about how to characterize the perspectives we share as women. Finally, I consider some theoretical and political limitations of utilizing gender as an analytical category.
In 1936 Tarski sketched a rigorous definition of the concept of logical consequence which, he claimed, agreed quite well with common usage-or, as he also said, with the common concept of consequence. Commentators of Tarski's paper have usually been elusive as to what this common concept is. However, being clear on this issue is important to decide whether Tarski's definition failed (as Etchemendy has contended) or succeeded (as most commentators maintain). I argue that the common concept of consequence that Tarski (...) tried to characterize is not some general, all-purpose notion of consequence, but a rather precise one, namely the concept of consequence at play in axiomatics. I identify this concept and show that Tarski's definition is fully adequate to it. (shrink)
There is an apparent tension between the open-ended aspect of the ordinal sequence and the assumption that the set-theoretical universe is fully determinate. This tension is already present in Cantor, who stressed the incompletable character of the transfinite number sequence in Grundlagen and avowed the definiteness of the totality of sets and numbers in subsequent philosophical publications and in correspondence. The tension is particularly discernible in his late distinction between sets and inconsistent multiplicities. I discuss Cantor’s contrasting views, and I (...) conclude that his account of that distinction is only tenable if the definiteness of the set-theoretical universe is rejected. (shrink)
In this paper an attempt is made to present Skolem's argument, for the relativity of some set-theoretical notions as a sensible one. Skolem's critique of set theory is seen as part of a larger argument to the effect that no conclusive evidence has been given for the existence of uncountable sets. Some replies to Skolem are discussed and are shown not to affect Skolem's position, since they all presuppose the existence of uncountable sets. The paper ends with an assessment of (...) the assumptions on which Skolem's argument rests from a present-day perspective. (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 work is a study of Jane Bowles's madness as revealed through several of her literary works and her life story. On a parallel plane, it is an epistemological exploration of the points of intersection between humanistic psychoanalysis and deconstructive literary criticism. Here we consider the schizoid traits in Two Serious Ladies (1943) and in “Camp Cataract” (1949), using the theories developed in this area by the psychiatrist R. D. Laing (1927–1989).
The sublime is an aspect of experience that has attracted a great deal of scholarship, not only for scholarly reasons but because it connotes aspects of experience not exhausted by what Descartes once called clear distinct perception. That is, the sublime is an experience of the world which involves us in orientating ourselves within it, and this orientation, our human orientation, elevates us in comparison to the non-human world according to traditional accounts of the sublime. The sublime tells us something (...) about our relation to the world rather than anything about the world per se. Nonetheless there is an objective sense of the sublime in that the narratives involved are culturally endorsed rather than invented by an individual. This means that objects can be judged worthy or not of evoking experiences of the sublime. In other words, it is not an idiosyncratic matter. Immanuel Kant’s formulation of this involved explaining how such an experience is possible in terms of his system of the mind. Jane Forsey notes that Kant takes the features of the sublime as given and extrapolates from them certain features of the mind as if any concept of the sublime must implicate the mental architecture of his account (2007). Further to this she argues that in fact the concept of the sublime does implicate a particular system of the mind but neither Kant nor anyone else can successfully formulate it because the concept itself frames certain contradictions. According to Forsey, two consequences follow. First she argues that Kant’s system of the mind does not support the features of the sublime; and secondly that no system could as the very concept is incoherent. If Forsey can show that Kant was mistaken in presenting his account as coherent given his commitments, this would be of interest in its own right. However, her stronger claim is that we cannot separate any concept of the sublime out from Kant’s theoretical underpinnings. That the way the features of the mind are meant to operate in experiences of the sublime are contradictory simply points to the fatal flaws in the whole concept. Her conclusion is that there is no coherent account of the sublime available to us. I will argue that Forsey bases her reasoning on the assumption that a foundational empiricist or direct perception holds; and she interprets Kant’s notions of imagination, understanding and reason as though they are grounded in just such an account of perception. This is revealed in her interpretation of Kant’s phrase “beyond cognition”. Once this foundationalism is replaced with an account of perception more aligned with current research on perception, both philosophical and empirical, then an account of the sublime is available. Further to this however, I argue that what constitutes the narrative of the sublime is historically contingent. Before setting out my arguments, I consider Forsey’s argument in more detail. (shrink)
Female specificity in narrative films is a topic as illusive and controversial as it is incredibly rich with potential for analysis and research. Particularly illusive is scholarly research on the female gaze in mainstream filmmaking. Male specificity in the movies is far less illusive and controversial. So pervasive is the male presence in mainstream film form that the term the male gaze1 has become institutionalized in theory and practice. The female gaze, perhaps unavoidably so, eludes institutionalization.2 My paper presents a (...) glimpse into the traces of the female gaze in Jane Campion's historical film, The Piano. Campion's filmic text creates a space in mainstream movies where cinematic enunciation intersects with the linguistic and psychoanalytical innovations of the last half-century. I have chosen The Piano because it presents an overwhelmingly clear demonstration of the female gaze and does so within the limitations of mainstream film conventions. (shrink)
This essay sets out from a reading of two photomontage projects by South African artist Jane Alexander, ?Adventure Centre? (2000) and ?Survey: Cape of Good Hope? (2005?09), one of Alexander's ongoing ?survey? projects, and remarks on the overwhelming impulse on the part of critics and interpreters to anthropomorphize the figures appearing in the photomontage images. It goes on to explore the hypothesis that Alexander's work in fact resists or refuses these attempts at anthropomorphization, and that this resistance is connected (...) with the more openly political aspects of her work, as well as with a more general refusal of anthropomorphism by photography. The second part of the essay frames a possible engagement with Alexander's photomontages through terms offered by Walter Benjamin's ?Little History of Photography,? and looks at Benjamin's peculiar concern with a kind of anti-portraiture: a photographic genre that would feature the human face in an anonymous way, without being concerned with identity. The essay closes with a consideration of the genre of the photographic survey historically, and traces an impulse, evident in the survey, to treat the human as only one of many figural elements composing the crypto-industrial landscape. (shrink)
Simulation theory explains third-person mental state attribution in terms of an attributor's ability to imaginatively mimic other people's mental processes. Jane Heal's version of simulation theory, which she calls a theory of “co-cognition,” maintains that one can know and can predict others’ beliefs primarily by thinking about what their antecedent beliefs imply. I argue that Heal's account of belief attribution elides crucial differences between reasoning and merely discovering relations among propositions.
“Indulging herself in air and exercise” as she wanders down a lane near the great house of Rosings, Elizabeth Bennet is unaware that she is just about to experience one of her most difficult challenges, and that Mr. Darcy is on his way with his letter.1 Just like present-day personality theorists, Jane Austen manifestly directed a great deal of creative and intellectual energy into devising a great variety of tests. But what are such situations designed to test for? What (...) aspects of character or personality, or traits and abilities, are meant to be scrutinized? A likely response from critics interested in Austen’s ethics is that such challenges should reveal which, if any, of the virtues are in good working order. .. (shrink)
Jane Austen’s letters describe a two-year deterioration into bed-ridden exhaustion, with unusual colouring, bilious attacks and rheumatic pains. In 1964, Zachary Cope postulated tubercular Addison’s to explain her symptoms and her relatively pain-free illness. Literary scholars later countered this posthumous diagnosis on grounds that are not well substantiated, while medical authors supported his conclusion. Important symptoms reported by contemporary Addison’s patients—mental confusion, generalised pain and suffering, weight loss and anorexia—are absent from Jane Austen’s letters. Thus, by listening to (...) the patient’s perspective, we can conclude it is unlikely that Addison’s disease caused Jane Austen’s demise. Disseminated bovine tuberculosis would offer a coherent explanation for her symptoms, so that Cope’s original suggestion of infective tuberculosis as the cause of her illness may have been correct. (shrink)
This article is inspired by Jane Sahi’s commentary, ‘Dialogue as Education: Martin Buber’, published under the feature ‘Classics with Commentary’ in the Monsoon 2005 issue of Contemporary Education Dialogue. I seek to further the discussion of the contributions of Martin Buber to the discourse of education through an elaboration and clarification of the ideas, concerns and critiques exposited by Jane Sahi. -/- These concerns can perhaps be understood under the following themes: (i) reflections on educational practice in the (...) light of Buber’s ideas; (ii) the role of language in dialogue; (iii) the idea of learning; (iv) attitudes towards the ‘other’; (v) the teacher–pupil relationship and (vi) the role of the teacher. -/- Although ideas on these themes in the writings on Martin Buber’s have helped me in articulating this response, Jane Sahi’s commentary forms the basis of my reflections. (shrink)
Next SectionJane Austen is typically described as having excellent health until the age of 40 and the onset of a mysterious and fatal illness, initially identified by Sir Zachary Cope in 1964 as Addison’s disease. Her biographers, deceived both by Cassandra Austen’s destruction of letters containing medical detail, and the cheerful high spirits of the existing letters, have seriously underestimated the extent to which illness affected Austen’s life. A medical history reveals that she was particularly susceptible to infection, and suffered (...) unusually severe infective illnesses, as well as a chronic conjunctivitis that impeded her ability to write. There is evidence that Austen was already suffering from an immune deficiency and fatal lymphoma in January 1813, when her second and most popular novel, Pride and Prejudice, was published. Four more novels would follow, written or revised in the shadow of her increasing illness and debility. Whilst it is impossible now to conclusively establish the cause of her death, the existing medical evidence tends to exclude Addison’s disease, and suggests there is a high possibility that Jane Austen’s fatal illness was Hodgkin’s disease, a form of lymphoma. (shrink)
What has Emma Woodhouse to say to a discipline like philosophy? The minutia of daily living on which Jane Austen's Emma concentrates our attention permit a closer look at human emotions and motives. Emma shows how friendships can affect one's ways of dealing with the world, how shame can reconfigure self-understanding. That is, Emma leads us to think philosophically.
Much has been done to establish a body of scholarly work on women pragmatists since Mary Jo Deegan and Charlene Haddock Seigfried first stressed the importance of the contribution of Jane Addams, Florence Kelley, Anna Julia Cooper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and others to the foundations of the pragmatist tradition of thought. Nevertheless, it took decades to fully correct the gender and race bias of the genealogies: that is, to overcome the temptation of reducing pragmatism to the writings of a (...) few white male professional philosophers living in the areas of Boston or Chicago a century ago. The reconstruction of pragmatism might also require a rethinking of the philosophical canon itself, the ways in... (shrink)
Despite her busy life as a social activist, Jane Addams still managed to write ten books and over a hundred articles.2 These often had their origins in the many lectures she gave as the primary spokesperson for the Hull House settlement and indefatigable public speaker for social reform. When she organized these lectures for publication, often adding new material or rearranging old content, her prefaces and introductions allowed her to explain to the reader her intentions in doing so and (...) to focus their attention on the issues she thought were most important. By isolating them from their texts and reading them in chronological order, her basic commitments and methodology stand out more clearly. From first to last .. (shrink)
Aristotle wrote his Nicomachean Ethics as a rational guide to virtuous activity for those people who have been well brought up and are interested in improving themselves.1 For the rest of us, Aristotle suggests that beating is the only solution. In this essay, I shall first use Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, supplemented by Plato's Gorgias, to provide a defense of beating as a way to intrude concerns of character conversion upon the attention of people impervious to argument. Closer analysis, though, shows (...) that beating is not enough. The person beaten makes no choices in the beating and is presented with no alternative options for future actions. We... (shrink)
In this paper, I address the theme of harmony by investigating that harmony of person necessary for obtaining wisdom. Central to achievement of that harmony is the removal of the unstable, unharmonious presence of self-deception within one’s moral character.
In The Art Instinct, Denis Dutton promoted a theoretical framework that “has more validity, more power, and more possibilities than the hermetic discourse that deadens so much of the humanities.”1 This framework is Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural and sexual selection. Dutton proposed to seek “human universals that underlie the vast cacophony of cultural differences and across the globe” (AI, p. 39), based on a shared, evolved human nature.This contrasts with the relativistic presumptions of those falling under the (...) shadow of Margaret Mead and Clifford Geertz, or “the dogmas of Freud, the speculations of Jung, the sterile formulations of behaviorism, all variously empty or misleading” (p. 37). Also .. (shrink)
Among those speaking in the name of materialism, whether speculative, dialectical, or "new," it is commonplace to dismiss with a single gesture a vast field of theoretical and philosophical endeavor, indicated as the last 50 or 250 years of theory and philosophy. Self-styled "speculative" writers who would surpass all philosophy since Kant, and various New Materialists who sequester decades of thought under the heading of "constructivism," manufacture the avant-garde status of their own work by claiming to delineate a simple break (...) with the past. We would be at a loss, and perhaps at risk of missing the point, if we sought to uncover the common essence underlying this "new" work, either by looking for an agreement... (shrink)