In his new book, eminent psychologist - Daniel Stern, explores the hitherto neglected topic of 'vitality'. Truly a tour de force from a brilliant clinician and scientist, Forms of Vitality is a profound and absorbing book - one that will be essential reading for psychologists, psychotherapists, and those in the creative arts.
Robert Stern investigates how scepticism can be countered by using transcendental arguments concerning the necessary conditions for the possibility of experience, language, or thought. He shows that the most damaging sceptical questions concern neither the certainty of our beliefs nor the reliability of our belief-forming methods, but rather how we can justify our beliefs.
In many histories of modern ethics, Kant is supposed to have ushered in an anti-realist or constructivist turn by holding that unless we ourselves 'author' or lay down moral norms and values for ourselves, our autonomy as agents will be threatened. In this book, Robert Stern challenges the cogency of this 'argument from autonomy', and claims that Kant never subscribed to it. Rather, it is not value realism but the apparent obligatoriness of morality that really poses a challenge to (...) our autonomy: how can this be accounted for without taking away our freedom? The debate the book focuses on therefore concerns whether this obligatoriness should be located in ourselves, in others or in God. Stern traces the historical dialectic that drove the development of these respective theories, and clearly and sympathetically considers their merits and disadvantages; he concludes by arguing that the choice between them remains open. (shrink)
Drawing on ten years of research on the unpublished Wittgenstein papers, Stern investigates what motivated Wittgenstein's philosophical writing and casts new light on the Tractatus and Philosophical Investigations. The book is an exposition of Wittgenstein's early conception of the nature of representation and how his later revision and criticism of that work led to a radically different way of looking at mind and language. It also explains how the unpublished manuscripts and typescripts were put together and why they often (...) provide better evidence of the development of his ideas than can be found in his published writing. In doing so, the book traces the development of a number of central themes in Wittgenstein's philosophy, including his conception of philosophical method, the picture theory of meaning, the limits of language, the application of language to experience, his treatment of private language, and what he called the "flow of life." Arguing that Wittgenstein's views are often much more simple (and more radical) than we have been led to believe, Wittgenstein on Mind and Language provides an overview of the development of Wittgenstein's philosophy and brings to light aspects of his philosophy that have been almost universally neglected. (shrink)
In this new introduction to a classic philosophical text, David Stern examines Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. He gives particular attention to both the arguments of the Investigations and the way in which the work is written, and especially to the role of dialogue in the book. While he concentrates on helping the reader to arrive at his or her own interpretation of the primary text, he also provides guidance to the unusually wide range of existing interpretations, and to the reasons (...) why the Investigations have inspired such a diversity of readings. Following closely the text of the Investigations and meant to be read alongside it, this survey is accessible to readers with no previous background in philosophy. It is well-suited to university-level courses on Wittgenstein, but can also be read with profit by students in other disciplines. (shrink)
The aim of this article is twofold. First, it is argued that while the principle of ‘ought implies can’ is certainly plausible in some form, it is tempting to misconstrue it, and that this has happened in the way it has been taken up in some of the current literature. Second, Kant's understanding of the principle is considered. Here it is argued that these problematic conceptions put the principle to work in a way that Kant does not, so that there (...) is an important divergence here which can easily be overlooked. (shrink)
Fourteen new essays by a distinguished team of authors offer a broad and stimulating re-examination of transcendental arguments. This is the philosophical method of arguing that what is doubted or denied by the opponent must be the case, as a condition for the possibility of experience, language, or thought.The line-up of contributors features leading figures in the field from both sides of the Atlantic; they discuss the nature of transcendental arguments, and consider their role and value. In particular, they consider (...) how successful such arguments are as a response to sceptical problems. The editor's introduction provides historical context and philosophical orientation for the discussions. This is the first major appraisal of transcendental arguments since the 1970s; they have continued to play a significant role in philosophy, and recent developments in epistemology and metaphysics have raised new questions and challenges for them. Transcendental Arguments will be essential reading for anyone interested in this area of philosophy, and the starting-point for future work. (shrink)
Originally conceived as a forty-page conclusion to Hacker’s twenty years of work on the monumental four-volume Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations, this book “rapidly assumed a life of its own”. A major contribution to the history of analytic philosophy, this substantial volume delivers even more than the title promises. The eight chapters are best approached as a six-chapter book, itself some 220 pages long, on Wittgenstein’s contribution to twentieth-century philosophy, followed by a two-chapter, 120-page epilogue about how and why (...) his influence has waned. The first six chapters provide an encyclopedic summary of the fruits of Hacker’s research on Wittgenstein’s writing, an immensely learned account of British philosophy from the turn of the century to the 1970s, and a detailed account of Wittgenstein’s reception by Oxford, Cambridge, and the Vienna Circle. The book’s closing chapters, “Post-positivism in the United States and Quine’s Apostasy” and “The Decline of Analytic Philosophy,” polemically argue that Quine’s philosophy, and the post-Quinean naturalism prevalent in Anglo-American philosophy today, amount to such a decisive break with the analytic tradition, as Hacker conceives of it, that they should not be counted as “analytic.”. (shrink)
In this volume, the author investigates and argues for, a particular answer to the question: What is the right way to logically analyze modalities from natural language within formal languages? The answer is: by formalizing modal expressions in terms of predicates. But, as in the case of truth, the most intuitive modal principles lead to paradox once the modal notions are conceived as predicates. -/- The book discusses the philosophical interpretation of these modal paradoxes and argues that any satisfactory approach (...) to modality will have to face the paradoxes independently of the grammatical category of the modal notion. By systematizing modal principles with respect to their joint consistency and inconsistency, Stern provides an overview of the options and limitations of the predicate approach to modality that may serve as a useful starting point for future work on predicate approaches to modality. Stern also develops a general strategy for constructing philosophically attractive theories of modal notions conceived as predicates. The idea is to characterize the modal predicate by appeal to its interaction with the truth predicate. This strategy is put to use by developing the modal theories Modal Friedman-Sheard and Modal Kripke-Feferman. (shrink)
Jim Joyce has argued that David Lewis’s formulation of causal decision theory is inadequate because it fails to apply to the “small world” decisions that people face in real life. Meanwhile, several authors have argued that causal decision theory should be developed such that it integrates the interventionist approach to causal modeling because of the expressive power afforded by the language of causal models, but, as of now, there has been little work towards this end. In this paper, I propose (...) a variant of Lewis’s causal decision theory that is intended to meet both of these demands. Specifically, I argue that Lewis’s causal decision theory can be rendered applicable to small world decisions if one analyzes his dependency hypotheses as causal hypotheses that depend on the interventionist causal modeling framework for their semantics. I then argue that this interventionist variant of Lewis’s causal decision theory is preferable to interventionist causal decision theories that purportedly generalize Lewis’s through the use of conditional probabilities. This is because Lewisian interventionist decision theory captures the causal decision theorist’s conviction that any correlation between what the agent does and cannot cause should be irrelevant to the agent’s choice, while purported generalizations do not. (shrink)
[INTRODUCTION] Like the terms 'dialectic', 'Aufhebung' (or 'sublation'), and 'Geist', the term 'concrete universal' has a distinctively Hegelian ring to it. But unlike these others, it is particularly associated with the British strand in Hegel's reception history, as having been brought to prominence by some of the central British Idealists. It is therefore perhaps inevitable that, as their star has waned, so too has any use of the term, while an appreciation of the problematic that lay behind it has seemingly (...) vanished: if the British Idealists get any sort of mention in a contemporary metaphysics book (which is rarely), it will be Bradley's view of relations or truth that is discussed, not their theory of universals, so that the term has a rather antique air, buried in the dusty volumes of Mind from the turn of the nineteenth century. This is not surprising: the episode known as British Idealism can appear to be a period that is lost to us, in its language, points of historical reference (Lotze, Sigwart, Jevons), and central preoccupations (the Absolute). Even while interest in Hegel continues to grow, interest in his Logic has grown more slowly than in the rest of his work, with Book III of the Logic remaining as the daunting peak of that challenging text - while it is here that the British Idealists focussed their attention and claimed to have uncovered that 'exotic' but 'vanished specimen', the concrete universal. Finally, as the trend of reading Hegel pushes ever further in a non-metaphysical direction, it might be thought that the future of the concrete universal is hardly likely to be brighter than its recent past - for it may seem hard to imagine how a conception championed by the British Idealists, who were apparently shameless in their metaphysical commitments, can find favour in these more austere and responsible times. In this paper, however, I want to make a case for holding that there is something enlightening to be found in how some of the British Idealists approached the 'concrete universal', both interpretatively and philosophically. At the interpretative level, I will argue that while not everything these Idealists are taken to mean by the term is properly to be found in Hegel, their work nonetheless relates to a crucial and genuine strand in Hegel's position, so that their discussion of this issue is an important moment in the reception history of his thought. At a philosophical level, I think that the question that concerned Hegel and these British Idealists retains much of its interest, as does their shared approach to it: namely, how far does our thought involve a mere abstraction from reality, and what are the metaphysical and epistemological implications if it turns out it does not? As such, I will suggest, taking seriously what these British Idealists have to say about the concrete universal can help us both in our understanding of Hegel, and in our appreciation of the contribution Hegel's position can make to our thinking on the issues that surround this topic. (shrink)
A modest transcendental argument is one that sets out merely to establish how things need to appear to us or how we need to believe them to be, rather than how things are. Stroud's claim to have established that all transcendental arguments must be modest in this way is criticised and rejected. However, a different case for why we should abandon ambitious transcendental arguments is presented: namely, that when it comes to establishing claims about how things are, there is no (...) reason to prefer transcendental arguments to arguments that rely on the evidence of the senses, making the former redundant in a way that modest transcendental arguments, which have a different kind of sceptical target, are not. (shrink)
This paper examines the place of metaphorical interpretation in the current Contextualist-Literalist controversy over the role of context in the determination of truth-conditions in general. Although there has been considerable discussion of 'non-literal' language by both sides of this dispute, the language analyzed involves either so-called implicit indexicality, loose or loosened use, enriched interpretations, or semantic transfer, not metaphor itself. In the first half of the paper, I critically evaluate Recanati's (2004) recent Contextualist account and show that it cannot account (...) for the metaphorical-literal dependence characteristic of metaphor. I then turn to Carston's (2002), and Bezuidenhout's (2001) Contextualist accounts and show that they place no constraints on metaphorical interpretations. In the second half of the paper I sketch a Literalist theory of metaphor elaborated in Stern (2000) and respond to two kinds of Contextualist criticisms of that account by Camp (2005) and Stanley (2005). (shrink)
The Theaetetus is one of the most widely studied of any of the Platonic dialogues because its dominant theme concerns the significant philosophical question, what is knowledge? In this book Paul Stern provides a full-length treatment of its political character in relationship to this dominant theme. He argues that this approach sheds significant light on the distinctiveness of the Socratic way of life, with respect to both its initial justification and its ultimate character. More specifically, he argues that Socrates' (...) revolutionary decision to subject political life to philosophic reflection, the decision that leads directly to his trial and execution, is based on his awareness of the elusiveness of comprehensive knowledge and the implications of that elusiveness for the validity of philosophic inquiry. This view of Socrates' rationale has important consequences for our understanding of political philosophy and of the validity of the life of reason itself. (shrink)
This paper examines a broad range of ethical perspectives and principles relevant to the analysis of issues raised by the science of climate change and explores their implications. A second and companion paper extends this analysis to the contribution of ethics, economics and politics in understanding policy towards climate change. These tasks must start with the science which tells us that this is a problem of risk management on an immense scale. Risks on this scale take us far outside the (...) familiar policy questions and standard, largely marginal, techniques commonly used by economists; this is a subject that requires the full breadth and depth of what economics has to offer and a much more thoughtful view of ethics than economists usually bring to bear. Different philosophical approaches bring different perspectives on understanding and policy, yet they generally point to the case for strong action to manage climate change. (shrink)
In this article, we discuss some issues concerning magical thinking—forms of thought and association mechanisms characteristic of early stages of mental development. We also examine good reasons for having an ambivalent attitude concerning the later permanence in life of these archaic forms of association, and the coexistence of such intuitive but informal thinking with logical and rigorous reasoning. At the one hand, magical thinking seems to serve the creative mind, working as a natural vehicle for new ideas and innovative insights, (...) and giving form to heuristic arguments. At the other hand, it is inherently difficult to control, lacking effective mechanisms needed for rigorous manipulation. Our discussion is illustrated with many examples from the Hebrew Bible, and some final examples from modern science. (shrink)
ABSTRACT ABSTRACT: Nietzsche, we are often told, had an account of 'self' or 'mind' or a 'philosophical psychology', in which what he calls our 'drives' play a highly significant role. This underpins not merely his understanding of mind, in particular, of consciousness and action. but also his positive ethics, be they understood as authenticity, freedom, knowledge, autonomy, self-creation, or power. But Nietzsche did not have anything like a coherent account of 'the drives' according to which the self, the relationship between (...) thought and action, or consciousness could be explained; consequently, he did not have a stable account of drives on which his positive ethics could rest. By this, I do not mean that his account is incomplete or that it is philosophically indefensible: both would leave open, misleadingly, the possibility of a rational reconstruction of Nietzsche’s views; both would already assume more unity and coherence than we find in his texts. Specifically, as I show through detailed analysis, Nietzsche provides varied and inconsistent accounts of what a 'drive' is, how much we can know about drives, and the relationship between drives and conscious deliberations about action. I conclude by questioning the hunt for a Nietzschean theory: is this the best way to be reading him? (shrink)
Meek and Glymour use the graphical approach to causal modeling to argue that one and the same norm of rational choice can be used to deliver both causal-decision-theoretic verdicts and evidential-decision-theoretic verdicts. Specifically, they argue that if an agent maximizes conditional expected utility, then the agent will follow the causal decision theorist’s advice when she represents herself as intervening, and will follow the evidential decision theorist’s advice when she represents herself as not intervening. Since Meek and Glymour take no stand (...) on whether agents should represent themselves as intervening, they provide more general advice than standard causal decision theorists and evidential decision theorists. But I argue here that even Meek and Glymour’s advice is not sufficiently general. This is because their advice is not sensitive to the distinct ways in which agents can fail to intervene, and there are decision-making contexts in which agents can reasonably have non-extreme confidence that they are intervening. I then show that the most natural extension of Meek and Glymour’s framework fails, but offer a generalization of my “Interventionist Decision Theory” that does not suffer from the same problems. (shrink)
This paper considers the prospects for the current revival of interest in Hegel, and the direction it might take. Looking back to Richard J. Bernstein's paper from 1977, on ‘Why Hegel Now?’, it contrasts his optimistic assessment of a rapprochement between Hegel and analytic philosophy with Sebastian Gardner's more pessimistic view, where Gardner argues that Hegel's idealist account of value makes any such rapprochement impossible. The paper explores Hegel's account of value further, arguing for a middle way between these extremes (...) of optimism and pessimism, proposing an Aristotelian reading which is more metaphysical than Bernstein recognizes, but not as at odds with thinking in current analytic philosophy as Gardner suggests, as it finds a counterpart in the work of Philippa Foot, Michael Thompson, Rosalind Hursthouse and others. (shrink)
In this article, I want to argue that scepticism for Kant must be seen in ancient and not just modern terms, and that if we take this into account we will need to take a different view of Kant's response to Hume from the one that is standardly presented in the literature. This standard view has been put forward recently by Paul Guyer, and it is therefore his view that I want to look at in some detail, and to try (...) to correct. (shrink)
_The Phenomenology of Spirit_ is Hegel's most important and famous work. It is essential to understanding Hegel's philosophical system and why he remains a major figure in Western Philosophy. This _GuideBook_ introduces and assesses: * Hegel's life and the background to the _Phenomenology of Spirit_ * the ideas and the text of the _Phenomenology of Spirit_ * the continuing importance of Hegel's work to philosophy.
Both intertemporal and intratemporal equity are central to the examination of policy towards climate change. However, many discussions of intertemporal issues have been marred by serious analytical errors, particularly in applying standard approaches to discounting; the errors arise, in part, from paying insufficient attention to the magnitude of potential damages, and in part from overlooking problems with market information. Some of the philosophical concepts and principles of Paper 1 are applied to the analytics and ethics of pure-time discounting and infinite-horizon (...) models, providing helpful insights into orderings of welfare streams and obligations towards future generations. Such principles give little support for the idea of discrimination by date of birth. Intratemporal issues are central to problematic and slow-moving international discussions and are the second focus of this paper. A way forward is to cast the policy issues and analyses in a way that keeps equity issues central and embeds them in the challenge of fostering the dynamic transition to the low-carbon economy in both developed and developing countries. This avoids the trap of seeing issues primarily in terms of burden-sharing and zero-sum games – that leads to inaction and the most inequitable outcome of all. (shrink)
McGee argues that it is sometimes reasonable to accept both x and x-> without accepting y->z, and that modus ponens is therefore invalid for natural language indicative conditionals. Here, we examine McGee's counterexamples from a Bayesian perspective. We argue that the counterexamples are genuine insofar as the joint acceptance of x and x-> at time t does not generally imply constraints on the acceptability of y->z at t, but we use the distance-based approach to Bayesian learning to show that applications (...) of modus ponens are nevertheless guaranteed to be successful in an important sense. Roughly, if an agent becomes convinced of the premises of a modus ponens argument, then she should likewise become convinced of the argument's conclusion. Thus we take McGee's counterexamples to disentangle and reveal two distinct ways in which arguments can convince. Any general theory of argumentation must take stock of both. (shrink)
This is an introduction to a special issue of the British Journal for the History of Philosophy, on the relation between idealism and pragmatism. It sets out the way in which the two traditions can be related, and then outlines the papers contained in the special issue.
This paper argues first that, contrary to what one would expect, metaphorical interpretations of utterances pass two of Cappelan and Lepore's Minimalist tests for semantic context-sensitivity. I then propose how, in light of that result, one might analyze metaphors on the model of indexicals and demonstratives, expressions that (even) Minimalists agree are semantically context-dependent. This analysis builds on David Kaplan's semantics for demonstratives and refines an earlier proposal in (Stern, Metaphor in context, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2000). In the course (...) of this argument, I also discuss some new examples of linguistic phenomena that motivate a semantic structure underlying metaphorical interpretation, phenomena I argue that neither Minimalists nor Contextualists can explain. (shrink)
One argument put forward by Christine Korsgaard in favour of her constructivist appeal to the nature of agency, is that it does better than moral realism in answering moral scepticism. However, realists have replied by pressing on her the worry raised by H. A. Prichard, that any attempt to answer the moral sceptic only succeeds in basing moral actions in non-moral ends, and so is self-defeating. I spell out these issues in more detail, and suggest that both sides can learn (...) something by seeing how the sceptical problematic arises in Kant. Doing so, I argue, shows how Korsgaard might raise the issue of scepticism against the realist whilst avoiding the Prichardian response.1. (shrink)
Nietzsche writes a great deal about freedom throughout his work, but never more explicitly than in Twiling of the Idols, a book he described as 'my philosophy in a nutshell'. This paper offers an analysis of Nietzsche's conception freedom and the role it plays within Twilight.
Plotinus’s theory of dual selfhood has ethical norms built into it, all of which derive from the ontological superiority of the higher (or undescended) soul in us overthe body-soul compound. The moral life, as it is presented in the Enneads, is a life of self-perfection, devoted to the care of the higher self. Such a conception of morality is prone to strike modern readers as either ‘egoistic’ or unduly austere. If there is no doubt that Plotinus’s ethics is exceptionally austere, (...) it will be argued below that it is not ‘egoistic.’ To that effect, the following questions will be addressed: Are the virtues, civic as well as purificatory, mere means to Plotinus’s metaphysically conceived ethical goal? To what extent must the lower self abnegate itself so as to enable the higher self to ascend to Intellect and beyond? And if self-perfection lies at the centre of the Plotinian moral life, is there any conceptual room left in it for other-regarding norms of conduct? A close reading of selected passages from Plotinus’s tractate I.2 On Virtues and tractate VI.8 On Free Will and the Will of the One will, it is claimed, bring elements of answer to these questions. (shrink)
The paper maps out and responds to some of the main areas of disagreement over the nature of Wittgenstein’s philosophy: (1) Between defenders of a “two Wittgensteins” reading (which draws a sharp distinction between early and late Wittgenstein) and the opposing “one Wittgenstein” interpretation. (2) Among “two-Wittgensteins” interpreters as to when the later philosophy emerged, and over the central difference between early and late Wittgenstein. (3) Between those who hold that Wittgenstein opposes only past philosophy in order to do philosophy (...) better and those who hold that Wittgenstein aimed to bring an end to philosophy and teach us to get by without a replacement. It is shown that each of these debates depends on some deeply un-Wittgensteinian, and quite mistaken, assumptions. It is concluded that Wittgenstein’s most polished writing, most notably in Philosophical Investigations I §§ 1–425, is best understood as a kind of Pyrrhonism which aims to subvert philosophical theorizing, by means of a polyphonic dialogue. Because this delicate balance between philosophical questions and their dissolution is not achieved in most of his other published and unpublished writings, we should be very cautious when using the theories and methods we find in those other writings as a guide to reading the Philosophical Investigations. (shrink)
In this investigation we explore a general strategy for constructing modal theories where the modal notion is conceived as a predicate. The idea of this strategy is to develop modal theories over axiomatic theories of truth. In this first paper of our two part investigation we develop the general strategy and then apply it to the axiomatic theory of truth Friedman-Sheard. We thereby obtain the theory Modal Friedman-Sheard. The theory Modal Friedman-Sheard is then discussed from three different perspectives. First, we (...) show that Modal Friedman-Sheard preserves theoremhood modulo translation with respect to modal operator logic. Second, we turn to semantic aspects and develop a modal semantics for the newly developed theory. Third, we investigate whether the modal predicate of Modal Friedman-Sheard can be understood along the lines of a proposal of Kripke, namely as a truth predicate modified by a modal operator. (shrink)
ABSTRACTAmor fati—the love of fate—is one of many Nietzschean terms which seem to point towards a positive ethics, but which appear infrequently and are seldom defined. On a traditional understanding, Nietzsche is asking us to love whatever it is that happens to have happened to us—including all sorts of horrible things. My paper analyses amor fati by looking closely at Nietzsche's most sustained discussion of the concept—in book four of The Gay Science—and at closely related passages in that book. I (...) argue that by ignoring the context in which Nietzsche writes about amor fati in The Gay Science, we are liable to ignore several exegetical and philosophical problems with the traditional understanding of the term. I'll argue for a different interpretation which locates Nietzsche's amor fati within the philosophical project of The Gay Science and which copes better with the objections that plague the traditional view. (shrink)