In this paper we discuss the epistemological positions of evolution theories. A sharp distinction is made between the theory that species evolved from common ancestors along specified lines of descent (here called the theory of common descent), and the theories intended as causal explanations of evolution (e.g. Lamarck's and Darwin's theory). The theory of common descent permits a large number of predictions of new results that would be improbable without evolution. For instance, (a) phylogenetic trees have been validated now; (b) (...) the observed order in fossils of new species discovered since Darwin's time could be predicted from the theory of common descent; (c) owing to the theory of common descent, the degrees of similarity and difference in newly discovered properties of more or less related species could be predicted. Such observations can be regarded as attempts to falsify the theory of common descent. We conclude that the theory of common descent is an easily-falsifiable & often-tested & still-not-falsified theory, which is the strongest predicate a theory in an empirical science can obtain. Theories intended as causal explanations of evolution can be falsified essentially, and Lamarck's theory has been falsified actually. Several elements of Darwin's theory have been modified or falsified: new versions of a theory of evolution by natural selection are now the leading scientific theories on evolution. We have argued that the theory of common descent and Darwinism are ordinary, falsifiable scientific theories. (shrink)
This paper aims to present a critique of naturalistic theories of violence. The context of this critique concerns the naturalization of violence, which induces the assimilation power as a form of violence. Therefore, we resumed the theses of Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault on power and violence. The goal is not to list the differences between these authors on the subject, which are explicit in the development of the test, but show their concordance regarding the critique of power as something (...) synonymous with violence. (shrink)
When M. H. Abrams published a defense, in 1972, of "theorizing about the arts,"1 some of his critics accused him, of falling into subjectivism. He had made his case so forcefully against "the confrontation model of aesthetic criticism," and so effectively argued against "simplified" and "invariable" models of the art work and of "the function of criticism," that some readers thought he had thrown overboard the very possibility of a rational criticism tested by objective criteria. In his recent reply to (...) these critics,2 Abrams concentrates almost entirely on whether his critical pluralism is finally a skeptical relativism. He does not even mention his great historical works, The Mirror and the Lamp and Natural Supernaturalism, and he has nothing to say about how his pluralistic theories would be applied to the writing of history. But then, surprising as it seems once we think about it, neither of the two histories has much about his method either. What is the true achievement of these aggressive raids into our past, and how does Abrams see them in relation to other possible histories of the same subjects? Knowing in advance that he has agreed to reply to my nudging, I should like both to propose that everyone has—with Abrams' own encouragement—understated the importance of what he has done and to ask: What kind of pluralist is he? · 1. "What's the Use of Theorizing about the Arts," In Search of Literary Theory, ed. Morton Bloomfield , pp. 3-54. · 2. "A Note on Wittgenstein and Literary Criticism," ELH 41 : 541-54. Wayne C. Booth's other contributions to Critical Inquiry include "Kenneth Burke's Way of Knowing" , "Irony and Pity Once Again: Thais Revisited" , >"Preserving the Exemplar: Or, How Not to Dig our Own Graves" , "Notes and Exchanges" , "Metaphor as Rhetoric: The Problem of Evaluation" ,"Ten Literal 'Theses" , with Wright Morris: "The Writing of Organic Fiction: A Conversation" , and with Robert E. Streeter, W.J.T. Mitchell: “Sheldon Sacks 1930-1979”. (shrink)
Nomina Sacra : Versuch einer Geschichte der christlichen Kürzung. Von Ludwig Traube, o. ö. Professor der Philologie an der Universitat, München. . Munich: C. H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung. 1907. Pp. x + 295. M. 15.Vorlesungen und Abhandlungen. Von Ludwig Traube. Herausgegeben von Franz Boll. Erster Band. Zur Paläographie und Handschriftenkunde. Herausgegeben von Paul Lehmann. Mit biographischer Einleitung von Franz Boll. Munich: C. H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung. 1909. Pp. lxxv+263.
The Eton Latin Grammar, For Use in the Higher Forms. By Francis Hay Rawlins, M.A., and William Ralph Inge. London: Murray, 1888. 6s.The Revised Latin Primer. By Benjamin Hall Kennedy, D.D. Longmans, 1888. 2s. 6d.The New Latin Primer. Edited by J. P. Postgate, M.A., and C. H. Vince, M.A. Cassell, 1888. 2s. 6d.The Shorter Latin Primer, by Dr. Kennedy. Longmans, 1888. 1s.
In this retrospective for Ethics, I discuss H.M. Oliver’s “Established Expectations and American Economic Policies.” This article, by a then-modestly-famous economist, has been ignored (no citations) since its 1940 publication. Yet it bears directly on a normative problem at the intersection of ethics and economics that challenges today’s policymakers but has received comparatively little philosophical attention: how should we balance potentially desirable institutional change against the disruption of established expectations? -/- Oliver details how the principle of fulfilling established expectations cuts (...) across political lines. Conservatives, he observes, criticized inflation for disrupting expectations, and demanded the protection of established corporations. New Deal progressives achieved “the safeguarding of the economic positions of certain important sections of the American people” (104) via statutes designed to protect income and homeownership status. And labor leaders lobbied for the preservation of occupational status. Oliver criticizes these demands on two grounds. First, they are noncompossible: they can’t simultaneously be fulfilled. Second, they are economically inefficient. He concludes that “in a modern dynamic economy, the preservation of status is not and cannot be a feasible criterion of economic justice” (107). -/- I argue that Oliver accurately recognizes both the wide endorsement and the moral ill-foundedness of fulfilling expectations. However, I criticize Oliver’s belief in the noncompossibility of expectations. The established expectations of the wealthy, middle-class homeowners and retirees, and current workers can all be maintained, but at the price of constricting the opportunities of new graduates, immigrants, and the poor—all groups yet to develop settled expectations. This insight renders the protection of expectations not merely inefficient but also unjust. (shrink)
H.B.D. Kettlewell is best known for his pioneering work on the phenomenon of industrial melanism, which began shortly after his appointment in 1951 as a Nuffield Foundation research worker in E.B. Ford's newly formed sub-department of genetics at the University of Oxford. In the years since, a legend has formed around these investigations, one that portrays them as a success story of the 'Oxford School of Ecological Genetics', emphasizes Ford's intellectual contribution, and minimizes reference to assistance provided by others. The (...) following essay reviews the important influence Ford, E.A. Cockayne, and P.M. Sheppard played in Kettlewell's research, leading up to his most famous experiments in 1953. It documents several reasons for doubting that Ford was as intellectually involved in the design of these investigations as he has previously been portrayed. It clarifies Kettlewell's intellectual contribution to the investigations for which he is famous, as well as the pivotal roles Cockayne and Sheppard played in the design, execution and interpretation of these investigations. (shrink)
This transcription of notes made by Charles Darwin during the voyage of H. M. S. Beagle records his observations of the animals and plants that he encountered, and provides a valuable insight into the intellectual development of one of our most influential scientists. Darwin drew on many of these notes for his well known Journal of Researches (1839), but the majority of them have remained unpublished. This volume provides numerous examples of his unimpeachable accuracy in describing the wide range of (...) animals seen in the course of his travels, and of his closely analytical approach towards every one of his observations. Only at the very end of the voyage were his first doubts about the immutability of species expressed consciously, but here are to be found the initial seeds of his theory of evolution, and of the fields of behavioural and ecological study of which he was one of the founding fathers. (shrink)
w a y s h a v e b e e n . W e a l l r e m e m b e r M a r x ' s p o l e m i c a g a i n s t P r o u d h o n , t h e Manifesto's critique of "historical action [yielding] to personal inventive action, historically created conditions of emancipation to fantastic ones, and the gradual spontaneous class (...) organizations of the proletariat to an organization of society specially contrived by these inventors" (Marx and Engels, 1986, 64), and the numerous other occasions when the fathers of "scientific socialism" went a f t e r t h e " u t o p i a n s . " I n general this Marxian aversion to drawing up blueprints has been healthy, fueled at least in part by a respect for the concrete specificity of the revolutionary situation and for the agents engaged in revolutionary activity: it is not the business of Marxist intellectuals to tell the agents of revolution how they are to construct their postrevolutionary economy. (shrink)
M. Merleau-Ponty and F. H. Jacobi’s Revelation against Kantian IntellectualismThe goal of this article is to shed light on the neglected connection between Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (1743-1819) and Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961). It will be shown through certain themes –I) being in the world, II) description, III) reflexion, IV) revelation and the V) primacy of perception – how Merleau-Ponty echoes Jacobi’s criticism of German Idealism during the Pantheist Quarrel, particularly towards Immanuel Kant’s intellectualist stance, two centuries prior to the Phénoménologie de (...) la perception. Through a historical and philological lens, this article aims to specifically demonstrate how Merleau-Ponty and Jacobi share a common ontology against Kantian intellectualism.La rivelazione di M. Merleau-Ponty e F. H. Jacobi contro l’intellettualismo kantianoL’obiettivo di questo articolo è chiarire la trascurata relazione tra Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi (1743-1819) e Maurice Merlau-Ponty (1908-1961). Attraverso l’analisi di alcune tematiche – l’essere nel mondo, la descrizione, la riflessione, la rivelazione –, mostreremo come nella filosofia di Merleau-Ponty riecheggi la critica all’idealismo tedesco formulata da Jacobi all’epoca della disputa sul panteismo e diretta, in particolar modo e con due secoli di anticipo rispetto alla Fenomenologia della Percezione, alle posizioni intellettualiste di Kant. Grazie ad una lettura storica e filologica, questo articolo tenta di dimostrare come Merleau-Ponty e Jacobi condividano un’ontologia comune in opposizione all’intellettualismo kantiano. (shrink)
This lecture is divided, roughly, into three parts. First, there is a general and perhaps rather simple-minded discussion of what are the ‘facts’ that social anthropologists study; is there anything special about these ‘facts’ which makes them different from other kinds of facts? It will be useful to start with the common-sense distinction between two kinds or, better, aspects of social facts; first—though neither is analytically prior to the other—and putting it very crudely, ‘what people do’, the aspect of social (...) interaction, and second, ‘what—and how—people think’, the conceptual, classifying, cognitive component of human culture. Now in reality, of course , these two aspects are inextricably intertwined. But it is essential to distinguish them analytically, because each aspect gives rise to quite different kinds of problems of understanding for the social anthropologist. We shall see that the problem of how to be ‘objective’, and so to avoid ethnographic error, arises in both contexts, but in rather different forms in each. (shrink)