This article argues that from a territorial perspective a certain coherence and continuity can be identified in the Estonian cultural-theoretical tradition – a discursive body based on common sources of influence and similar fundamental attitudes. We understand Estonian theory as a local episteme – a territorialized web of epistemological associations and rules for making sense of the world, which favours some premises while discouraging others. The article focuses on the older layers of Estonian theory, discussing the work of Karl Ernst (...) von Baer, Victor Hehn, Gustav Teichmüller, Jakob von Uexküll, Hermann Keyserling, Johannes Gabriel Granö, Juri Lotman a.o. We examine the philosophical foundations of Estonian theory as well as its main epistemic facets. The article concludes that the conceptualization of Estonian theory could contribute to a general transformation of contemporary theory, a redefining of the relations between the centre and the peripheries. (shrink)
This paperback edition reproduces the complete text of the Essay as prepared by professor Nidditch for The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke. The Register of Formal Variants and the Glossary are omitted and Professor Nidditch has written a new foreword.
Reissued here in its corrected second edition of 1864, this essay by John Stuart Mill argues for a utilitarian theory of morality. Originally printed as a series of three articles in Fraser's Magazine in 1861, the work sought to refine the 'greatest happiness' principle that had been championed by Jeremy Bentham, defending it from common criticisms, and offering a justification of its validity. Following Bentham, Mill holds that actions can be judged as right or wrong depending on whether they (...) promote happiness or 'the reverse of happiness'. Although attracted by Bentham's consequentialist framework based on empirical evidence rather than intuition, Mill separates happiness into 'higher' and 'lower' pleasures, arguing for a weighted system of measurement when making and judging decisions. Dissected and debated since its first appearance, the essay is Mill's key discussion on the topic and remains a fundamental text in the study of ethics. (shrink)
Knowledge and Lotteries is organized around an epistemological puzzle: in many cases, we seem consistently inclined to deny that we know a certain class of propositions, while crediting ourselves with knowledge of propositions that imply them. In its starkest form, the puzzle is this: we do not think we know that a given lottery ticket will be a loser, yet we normally count ourselves as knowing all sorts of ordinary things that entail that its holder will not suddenly acquire a (...) large fortune. After providing a number of specific and general characterizations of the puzzle, Hawthorne carefully examines the competing merits of candidate solutions. In so doing, he explores a number of central questions concerning the nature and importance of knowledge, including the relationship of knowledge to assertion and practical reasoning, the status of epistemic closure principles, the merits of various brands of scepticism, the prospects for a contextualist account of knowledge, and the potential for other sorts of salience-sensitive accounts. Along the way, he offers a careful treatment of pertinent issues at the foundations of semantics. His book will be of interest to anyone working in the field of epistemology, as well as to philosophers of language. (shrink)
In recent years the age-old question “what is the human?” has acquired a new acuteness and novel dimensions. In introducing the special issue on “Historical Thinking and the Human”, this article argues that there are two main trends behind the contemporary “crisis of human”: ecological transformations, and technological ones. After discussing the respective anthropocenic and technoscientific redefinitions of the human, the paper theorizes three elements in an emerging new historicity of the human: first, the move from a fixed category to (...) a dynamic and indeterminate concept, considering the human as a lifeform in movement; second, the extent to which the human is conceived of in its relational dependence on various non-human agents, organic and non-organic; and third, the reconceptualization of the human not as one but as many, to comprehend that we cannot speak of human individuality in the classical biological sense. In the final part, the article addresses the consequences of the redefinition of the human for historical thinking. It makes the case for the need to elaborate a new notion of history – captured by the phrase “more-than-human history”, and attuned to an emerging planetary regime of historicity in which historical thinking becomes able to affirm multiple temporalities: digital, technoscientific, sociocultural, human, biological and anthropocenic. The article concludes by recognizing the necessity to venture into a new transdisciplinary knowledge economy, appropriate for making sense of the contemporary constellation of the entangled human, technological and natural worlds. (shrink)
The introductory article proposes to offer a general frame for the special issue, discussing the emergence of semiotics of history as a new discipline or approach in the humanities. It presents an overview on the attempts of joining the history and semiotics in the Western world since the early 1980s, with a special focus on the United States, and examines the contribution of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics to the semiotic study of history, paying the main attention to the work (...) of Juri Lotman and Boris Uspenskij. Finally, a survey of the articles that make up the special issue dedicated to the 80th anniversary of Boris Uspenskij is presented. (shrink)
Mill predicted that "[t]he Liberty is likely to survive longer than anything else that I have written...because the conjunction of [Harriet Taylor’s] mind with mine has rendered it a kind of philosophic text-book of a single truth, which the changes progressively taking place in modern society tend to bring out in ever greater relief." Indeed, On Liberty is one of the most influential books ever written, and remains a foundational document for the understanding of vital political, philosophical and social issues. (...) In addition to its many useful appendices, this new edition includes a chronology, bibliography, and a substantial introduction which outlines Mill’s life and works, and sets this central work of 1859 in the context of both his own intellectual development and of the play of ideas and political forces in Victorian society. (shrink)
"When John Dewey died in 1952, he was memorialized as America's most famous philosopher, revered by liberal educators and deplored by conservatives, but universally acknowledged as his country's intellectual voice. Many things conspired to give Dewey an extraordinary intellectual eminence: He was immensely long-lived and immensely prolific; he died in his ninety-third year, and his intellectual productivity hardly slackened until his eighties." "Professor Alan Ryan offers new insights into Dewey's many achievements, his character, and the era in which his (...) scholarship had a remarkable impact. He investigates the question of what an American audience wanted from a public philosopher - from an intellectual figure whose credentials came from his academic standing as a philosopher, but whose audience was much wider than an academic one." "Ryan argues that Dewey's "religious" outlook illuminates his politics much more vividly than it does the politics of religion as ordinarily conceived. He examines how Dewey fit into the American radical tradition, how he was and was not like his transatlantic contemporaries, why he could for so long practice a form of philosophical inquiry that became unfashionable in England after 1914 at the latest."--BOOK JACKET. (shrink)
This is an interesting addition to the history of philosophy generally and an incredible expansion of the history of Idealistic philosophy in particular. The subject is John Scottus Eriugena, a ninth century philosopher and member of The Carolingian intellectual renewal, who, claims Dermot Moran, developed a form of idealism that owed as much, or more, to the Greek neo-platonic tradition as to St. Augustine. Eriugena’s thought anticipated the priority of the subject in the radical way that most scholars believe (...) originated only a thousand years later in German Idealism. Moran, of St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland, bases these fascinating claims on an analysis of Eriugena’s most important work, The Periphyseon, or the fourfold division of nature, completed around 867 A.D. (shrink)
British philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill is the author of several essays, including Utilitarianism - a defence of Jeremy Bentham's principle applied to the field of ethics - and The Subjection of Women, which advocates legal equality between the sexes. This work, arguably his most famous contribution to political philosophy and theory, was first published in 1859, and remains a major influence upon contemporary liberal political thought. In it, Mill argues for a limitation of the power of government (...) and society over the individual, and defines liberty as an absolute individual right. According to the still much debated 'harm principle', power against the individual can only be exercised to prevent harm to others. Full of contemporary relevance, this essay also defends freedom of speech as a necessary condition of social and intellectual progress. (shrink)
This article criticizes the standard way philosophers pose issues about the core practices of criminal justice institutions. Attempting to get at some of the presuppositions of posing these issues in terms of punishment, I construct a revised version of Rawls's ‘telishment’ case, a revision based on actual features of contemporary criminal justice practices in the USA. In addressing the implications of ‘racialment’, as I call it, some connections are made to current philosophical discussions about race. I conclude with brief remarks (...) about the importance of race to philosophical discussion as such. (shrink)
John Foster addresses the question: what is it to perceive a physical object? He rejects the view that we perceive such objects directly, and argues for a new version of the traditional empiricist account, which locates the immediate objects of perception in the mind. But this account seems to imply that we do not perceive physical objects at all. Foster offers a surprising solution, which involves embracing an idealist view of the physical world.
This study provides a comprehensive reinterpretation of the meaning of Locke's political thought. John Dunn restores Locke's ideas to their exact context, and so stresses the historical question of what Locke in the Two Treatises of Government was intending to claim. By adopting this approach, he reveals the predominantly theological character of all Locke's thinking about politics and provides a convincing analysis of the development of Locke's thought. In a polemical concluding section, John Dunn argues that liberal and (...) Marxist interpretations of Locke's politics have failed to grasp his meaning. Locke emerges as not merely a contributor to the development of English constitutional thought, or as a reflector of socio-economic change in seventeenth-century England, but as essentially a Calvinist natural theologian. (shrink)
By “epistemic modals,” I mean epistemic uses of modal words: adverbs like “necessarily,” “possibly,” and “probably,” adjectives like “necessary,” “possible,” and “probable,” and auxiliaries like “might,” “may,” “must,” and “could.” It is hard to say exactly what makes a word modal, or what makes a use of a modal epistemic, without begging the questions that will be our concern below, but some examples should get the idea across. If I say “Goldbach’s conjecture might be true, and it might be false,” (...) I am not endorsing the Cartesian view that God could have made the truths of arithmetic come out differently. I make the claim not because I believe in the metaphysical contingency of mathematics, but because I know that Goldbach’s conjecture has not yet been proved or refuted. Similarly, if I say “Joe can’t be running,” I am not saying that Joe’s constitution prohibits him from running, or that Joe is essentially a non-runner, or that Joe isn’t allowed to run. My basis for making the claim may be nothing more than that I see Joe’s running shoes hanging on a hook. (shrink)
This launch volume in the Founders of Modern Political and Social Thought series presents a critical examination of Aquinas' thought, combining an accessible, historically-informed account of his work with an assessment of his central ideas and arguments. John Finnis presents a richly-documented critical review of Aquinas's thought on morality, politics, law, and method in social science. Unique in his coverage of Aquinas's primary and secondary texts and his own vigorous argumentation on many themes, the author focuses on the philosophy (...) in Aquinas's texts, and demonstrates how this interconnects with the theological elements. Professor Finnis shows how Aquinas, despite some medieval limitations, makes clear and profound contributions to present debates. (shrink)
Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in the semantics of knowledge-attributing sentences, not just among epistemologists but among philosophers of language seeking a general understanding of linguistic context sensitivity. Despite all this critical attention, however, we are as far from consensus as ever. If we have learned anything, it is that each of the standard views—invariantism, contextualism, and sensitive invariantism—has its Achilles’ heel: a residuum of facts about our use of knowledge attributions that it can explain only with (...) special pleading. This is not surprising if, as I will argue, there is a grain of truth in each of these views. (shrink)
A scholarly edition of The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: Some Thoughts Concerning Education by John W. Yolton and Jean S. Yolton. The edition presents an authoritative text, together with an introduction, commentary notes, and scholarly apparatus.
The defects of any form of government may be either negative or positive. It is negatively defective if it does not concentrate in the hands of the authorities power sufficient to fulfil the necessary offices of a government; or if it does not sufficiently develop by exercise the active capacities and social feelings of the individual citizens. On neither of these points is it necessary that much should be said at this stage of our inquiry.
John Collins presents a new analysis of the problem of the unity of the proposition-how propositions can be both single things and complexes at the same time. He surveys previous investigations of the problem and offers his own novel and uniquely satisfying solution, which is defended from both philosophical and linguistic perspectives.
The Province of Jurisprudence Determined (1832) is a classic of nineteenth-century English jurisprudence, a subject on which Austin had a profound impact. His book is primarily concerned with a meticulous explanation of most of the core concepts of his legal philosophy, including his conception of law, his separation of law and morality, and his theory of sovereignty. Almost a quarter of it consists of an interpretation and defence of the principle of utility. This edition includes the complete and unabridged text (...) of the fifth (1885) and last edition. The comprehensive introduction discusses Austin's life, the main themes of his book, leading criticisms of his ideas, and recent interpretations of his legal philosophy. The edition also includes an up-to-date bibliography and biographical synopses of the principal figures mentioned in the text. (shrink)
Despite heroic efforts, philosophers have found it increasingly difficult to evade discussion of metaphysical topics. Take the philosophy of mind. Take, in particular, the mind-body problem in its latest guise: the problem of causal relevance. If mental properties are not reducible to physical properties, how can we reconcile the role such properties seem to have in producing bodily motions that constitute actions with the apparent fact that the very same motions are entirely explicable on the basis of purely physical properties (...) of purely physical events in the nervous system? Familiar approaches to the problem include appeals to “supervenient causation,” to “higher-level” laws governing putatively higher-level entities and events, and to “realizing” relations that make room in objects for overlapping properties. (shrink)
This is a classic volume in the "library of Living Philosophers" and includes a collection of essays on Dewey's work by his contemporaries at the time of the volume's publication. It also includes a biographical essay on Dewey and his replies to the assembled essays.
Perhaps it is a pity that the Theory of Knowledge and the Theory of Conduct have fallen into separate compartments. (It certainly was not so in Socrates’ time, as his interest in the relation between eidos and technê bears witness.) If we studied them together, perhaps we might have a better understanding of both. H.H. Price, Thinking and Representation..
Some things we can know just by thinking about them: for example, that identity is transitive, that Gettier’s Smith does not know that the man who will get the job has ten coins in his pockets, that the ratio between two and six holds also between one and three, that it is wrong to wantonly torture innocent sentient beings, and various other things that simply strikeus, intuitively, as true when we consider them. The question is how : how can we (...) know things just by thinking about them? (shrink)