"The studies collected in this book are all concerned with aspects of the Platonic tradition, either in its own internal development in the Hellenistic age and the period of the Roman Empire, or with the influence of Platonism, in one or other of its forms, on other spiritual traditions, especially that of Christianity." [Book jacket].
Umerez’s analysis made me aware of the fundamental differences in the culture of physics and molecular biology and the culture of semiotics from which the new field of biosemiotics arose. These cultures also view histories differently. Considering the evolutionary span and the many hierarchical levels of organization that their models must cover, models at different levels will require different observables and different meanings for common words, like symbol, interpretation, and language. These models as well as their histories should be viewed (...) as complementary rather than competitive. The relation of genetic language and human language is the central issue. They are separated by 4 billion years and require entirely different models. Nevertheless, these languages have in common a unique unlimited expressive power that allows open-ended evolution and creative thought. Understanding the nature of this expressive power and how it arises remains a basic unsolved problem of biosemiotics. (shrink)
This is a collection of the most important writings of Oxford philosopher H.H. Price on the topics of psychical research and survival of death, collected from a wide variety of sources unavailable to most interested readers. Included are discussions of telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, precognition, hauntings and apparitions, the impact of psychical research on western philosophy and science, and what afterlife is probably like. Few twentieth century English-speaking philosophers have written much on these topics. Of those who did so and whose (...) writings have not been collected and published in a single source, H.H. Price was the most important. (shrink)
Liberalism is commonly believed, especially by its exponents, to be opposed to interference by way of enforcing value judgments or concerning itself with the individual's morality. My concern is to show that this is not so and that liberalism is all the better for this. Many elements have contributed to liberal thought as we know it today, the major elements being the liberalism of which Locke is the most celebrated exponent, which is based upon a belief in natural, human rights; (...) the liberalism of which Kant is the best known exponent, which is based on respect for persons as ends in themselves; and the liberalism of Bentham and the Mills, which is based upon utilitarian ethical theories and most especially with concern for pleasure and the reduction of pain. These different elements of liberalism have led to different emphases and different political and social arrangements, but all have involved a concern to safeguard values and to use force to that end. Today they constitute strands of thought which go to make up liberal thought as we now know it, hence it is not simply a historical fact about liberalism, but a fact about its philosophical basis, that liberalism is firmly involved in certain value and moral commitments. In the remainder of this paper I shall seek to bring this out. (shrink)
The revised edition contains a new chapter which provides an elegant description of the semantics. The various classes of lambda calculus models are described in a uniform manner. Some didactical improvements have been made to this edition. An example of a simple model is given and then the general theory (of categorical models) is developed. Indications are given of those parts of the book which can be used to form a coherent course.
This book is a translation of W.V. Quine's Kant Lectures, given as a series at Stanford University in 1980. It provide a short and useful summary of Quine's philosophy. There are four lectures altogether: I. Prolegomena: Mind and its Place in Nature; II. Endolegomena: From Ostension to Quantification; III. Endolegomena loipa: The forked animal; and IV. Epilegomena: What's It all About? The Kant Lectures have been published to date only in Italian and German translation. The present book is filled out (...) with the translator's critical Introduction, "The esoteric Quine?" a bibliography based on Quine's sources, and an Index for the volume. (shrink)
J. H. Hexter, an American historian of early seventeenth-century history, terms himself whiggish and claims whiggishness is returning after the misguided popularity of Marxism. The distinction "whiggish" is more elusive than his claim suggests, and the accuracy of its application to Hexter's claim is unclear. Three characteristics commonly assigned to whig interpretation by its critics can be seen as reflections of broader, unresolved historical issues. These are: attention to political and constitutional issues; a tendency to refer to the present in (...) interpreting the past; and a belief in inevitability. It is difficult to ascertain whether Hexter's attention to political matters is a result of his view of them as intrinsically important to historical inquiry or as particularly relevant to historical accounts of Stuart England. The charge of presentism cannot confidently be made against him, as he is not guilty of anything as crude as anachronism, and subtle presentism is neither avoidable nor necessarily reprehensible. Inevitabilism is not only difficult to define, it is not displayed by Hexter. If he displays the weaknesses of whiggishness it is only through implication, in the body of ideas underlying his text. (shrink)
Karlheinz Lüdeking appartient à ce courant de la philosophie allemande qui a pris pour objet l’esthétique analytique, et qui est encore largement méconnu en France en dépit de sa productivité conceptuelle. Dans cet ouvrage, l’auteur s’est efforcé d’établir un bilan critique de la première philosophie analytique de l’art – celle des années 50-60 –, c’est-à-dire des travaux qui ont précédé les théories de Goodman et de Danto. L’approche analytique de Lüdeking, volontiers caustique, peut être dévastatrice. Elle apporte néanmoins une (...) lumière nouvelle sur un problème central, jamais véritablement résolu, celui de la définition de l’art et du concept d’art. L’une des qualités dominantes de cette analyse est d’être parvenue à réaliser une jonction exceptionnellement rigoureuse entre la réflexion logique et l’investigation proprement esthétique. (shrink)
Entities of many kinds, not just material things, have been credited with parts. Armstrong, for example, has taken propositions and properties to be parts of their conjunctions, sets to be parts of sets that include them, and geographical regions and events to be parts of regions and events that contain them. The justification for bringing all these diverse relations under a single ‘part–whole’ concept is that they share all or most of the formal features articulated in mereology. But the concept (...) has also prompted an ontological thesis that has been expressed in various ways: that wholes are ‘no ontological addition’ to their parts ; that to list both a whole and its parts is ‘double counting’; and that there is ‘no more’ to a whole than its parts: for example, that there is no more to a conjunction than the conjuncts that are its parts, and whose truth or falsity determines whether it is true or false. For brevity, I shall express the thesis in the last of these ways, as the claim that entities with parts are ‘nothing but’ those parts. (shrink)
Miss G. E. M. Anscombe has said that, in order for progress to be made in ethics, we must have some determinate idea of ‘human flourishing.’ I want to cite in what follows the work of a number of writers in the psychiatric field who seem to me to throw light on just what it is for a human individual to flourish, for a human community to flourish, and for a human individual to flourish in relation to or in spite (...) of his community. (shrink)
This is a collection of essays on themes of legal philosophy which have all been generated or affected by Hart's work. The topics covered include legal theory, responsibility, and enforcement of morals, with contributions from Ronald Dworkin, Rolf Sartorius, Neil MacCormach, David Lyons, Kent Greenawalt, Michael Moore, Joseph Raz, and C.L. Ten, among others.
Epistemologists have not usually had much to say about believing ‘in’, though ever since Plato's time they have been interested in believing ‘that’. Students of religion, on the other hand, have been greatly concerned with belief ‘in’, and many of them, I think, would maintain that it is something quite different from belief ‘that’. Surely belief ‘in’ is an attitude to a person, whether human or divine, while belief ‘that’ is just an attitude to a proposition? Could any difference be (...) more obvious than this? And if we over-look it, shall we not be led into a quite mistaken analysis of religious belief, at any rate if it is religious belief of the theistic sort? On this view belief ‘in’ is not a propositional attitude at all. (shrink)
The modern corpuscular theory of radiation was born in 1905 when Einstein advanced his light quantum hypothesis; and the steps by which Einstein's hypothesis, after years of profound scepticism, was finally and fully vindicated by Arthur Compton's 1922 scattering experiments constitutes one of the most stimulating chapters in the history of recent physics. To begin to appreciate the complexity of this chapter, however, it is only necessary to emphasize an elementary but very significant point, namely, that while Einstein based his (...) arguments for quanta largely on the behaviour of high-frequency black body radiation or ultra-violet light, Compton experimented with X-rays. A modern physicist accustomed to picturing ultra-violet light and X-radiation as simply two adjacent regions in the electromagnetic spectrum might regard this distinction as hair-splitting. But who in 1905 was sure that X-rays and γ-rays are far more closely related to ultra-violet light than to α-particles, for example ? This only became evident after years of painstaking research, so that moving without elaboration from Einstein's hypothesis to Compton's experiments automatically eliminates from consideration an important segment of history—a segment in which a major role was played by William Henry Bragg. (shrink)
Human nature is enigmatic. Are we cruel, selfish creatures or good merciful Samaritans? This book takes you on a journey into the complexities of human mind and kind, from altruism, sharing, and large-scale cooperation, to cheating, distrust, and warfare. What are the building blocks of morality and sociality? Featuring contributions from leading researchers, such as Christophe Boesch, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, Azar Gat, Dennis Krebs, Ara Norenzayan, and Frans B. M. de Waal, this fascinating interdisciplinary reader draws on evolutionary (...) and comparative perspectives, and is essential reading for any students interested in the unique characteristics that define humanity and society. (shrink)
Written nearly fifty years ago, at a time when the world was still wrestling with the concepts of Marx and Lenin, 'The Illusion of the Epoch' is the perfect resource for understanding the roots of Marxism-Leninism and its implications for philosophy, modern political thought, economics, and history. As Professor Tim Fuller has written, this "is not an intemperate book, but rather an effort at a sustained, scholarly argument against Marxian views." Far from demonising his subject, Acton scrupulously notes where Marx's (...) account of historical and economic events and processes is essentially accurate. However, Acton also points out that Marx is generally right about things that were already widely known and accepted in his own time and indeed had been long understood in the nineteenth century. On the other hand, Acton shows that in many cases Marx either is simply wrong or has stated his views so as to render his theories immune to disproof. Acton also explains why the embodiment of Marxist-Leninist theory in an actual social order would require coercive support if it were not, sooner or later, to collapse of its own contradictions. (shrink)
Everything we do relies on causation. We eat and drink because this causes us to stay alive. Courts tell us who causes crimes, criminology tell us what causes people to commit them. D.H. Mellor shows us that to understand the world and our lives we must understand causation. _The Facts of Causation_, now available in paperback, is essential reading for students and for anyone interested in reading one of the ground-breaking theories in metaphysics. We cannot understand the world and our (...) place in it without understanding causation. Yet a complete account of the nature and implications of causation does not exist. D.H Mellor's new book is that account. (shrink)
Once God is no longer recognized as the ground and the enforcer of morality, the character and force of morality undergoes a significant change, a point made by G.E.M. Anscombe in her observation that without God the significance of morality is changed, as the word criminal would be changed if there were no criminal law and criminal courts. There is no longer in principle a God's-eye perspective from which one can envisage setting moral pluralism aside. In addition, it becomes impossible (...) to show that morality should always trump concerns of prudence, concerns for one's own non-moral interests and the interests of those to whom one is close. Immanuel Kant's attempt to maintain the unity of morality and the force of moral obligation by invoking the idea of God and the postulates of pure practical reason are explored and assessed. Hegel's reconstruction of the status of moral obligation is also examined, given his attempt to eschew Kant's thing-in-itself, as well as Kant's at least possible transcendent God. Severed from any metaphysical anchor, morality gains a contingent content from socio-historical context and its enforcement from the state. Hegel's disengagement from a transcendent God marks a watershed in the place of God in philosophical reflections regarding the status of moral obligations on the European continent. Anscombe is vindicated. Absent the presence of God, there is an important change in the force of moral obligation. (shrink)
[D. H. Mellor] Kant's claim that our knowledge of time is transcendental in his sense, while false of time itself, is true of tenses, i.e. of the locations of events and other temporal entities in McTaggart's A series. This fact can easily, and I think only, be explained by taking time itself to be real but tenseless. /// [J. R. Lucas] Mellor's argument from Kant fails. The difficulties in his first Antinomy are due to topological confusions, not the tensed nature (...) of time. Nor are McTaggart' s difficulties due to the tensed nature of time. The ego-centricity of tensed discourse is an essential feature of communication between selves, each of whom refers himself as 'I', and is required for talking about time as well as experience and agency. Arguments based on the Special Theory are misconceived. Some rest on a confused notion of 'topological simultaneity'. In the General Theory a cosmic time is defined, as also in quantum mechanics, where a natural present is defined by a unique hyperplane of collapse into eigen-ness. (shrink)
The following brief memoir of Wittgenstein needs a few preliminary words of explanation. Among those who attended his lectures and discussions in the years it covers was D. G. James, who later became Professor of English at Bristol University and then Vice-Chancellor of Southampton University. I met him both in Bristol and Southampton, and on one occasion suggested to him that some of us who had known Wittgenstein, but who had not become professional philosophers, might write down our recollections of (...) him, and that he and I should start. What prompted the suggestion was, I think, the publication of Norman Malcolm's book, and a feeling that the non-professionals might have something to contribute to the assessment of Wittgenstein, particularly as a person. I wrote a preliminary draft and sent it to James; but he never responded, there was much else to do, I let the matter rest, and now James is dead. I wrote in about the year 1960 on holiday and away from any books of reference and from my own notes of Wittgenstein's lectures and conversations. I have shown the typescript to a few interested people, but because of its preliminary and unfinished nature have not previously thought of publication. It has recently been suggested to me that it might be of more general interest, and I publish it now as it was written, with one or two trifling alterations. I am well aware of its limitations. It was intended to give an impression of Wittgenstein as a person rather than as a philosopher, and the rather miscellaneous collection of remarks in section 3 have that in view rather than any more strictly ‘philosophical’ intention. Others may well question some of the detail and disagree with some of the opinions expressed. And there are some things which I might put rather differently today. But if the memoir has any interest it is best left as it was written. (shrink)
Interdisciplinarity and the Development of Knowledge. The author is engaged in the question how to explain the development of scientific meanings of facts which does not coincide with producing them rather with processes of the scientists' public communication. So long as the facts are adjustable to the conventional theories of those discipline which the researcher belongs to this connection does not reveal perfectly clear. More instructive is a consideration of so-called 'anomalies'. The author demonstrates with an example of the history (...) of science that researchers in case of new phenomena use to borrow concepts from other disciplines for resolving the interpretative problems. It emerges a loose net-work of concepts. In this way the researchers are producing a disciplinary mixed public at the same time. This process is seen as an important phase of the development of new theories and, complementary, new disciplines. (shrink)
May I first say, Mr Chairman, that I regard it as a great honour to have been invited to take part in this Conference? I speak to you as a philosopher who happens to be interested both in religion and in psychical research. But I am afraid I am going to discuss some questions which it is ‘not done’ to talk about.
In the present essay we attempt to reconstruct Newtonian mechanics under the guidance of logical principles and of a constructive approach related to the genetic epistemology of Piaget and García. Instead of addressing Newton’s equations as a set of axioms, ultimately given by the revelation of a prodigious mind, we search for the fundamental knowledge, beliefs and provisional assumptions that can produce classical mechanics. We start by developing our main tool: the no arbitrariness principle, that we present in a form (...) that is apt for a mathematical theory as classical mechanics. Subsequently, we introduce the presence of the observer, analysing then the relation objective–subjective and seeking objectivity going across subjectivity. We take special care of establishing the precedence among all contributions to mechanics, something that can be better appreciated by considering the consequences of removing them: the consequence of renouncing logic and the laws of understanding is not being able to understand the world, renouncing the early elaborations of primary concepts such as time and space leads to a dissociation between everyday life and physics, the latter becoming entirely pragmatic and justified a-posteriori, changing our temporary beliefs has no real cost other than effort. Finally, we exemplify the present approach by reconsidering the constancy of the velocity of light. It is shown that it is a result of Newtonian mechanics, rather than being in contradiction with it. We also indicate the hidden assumption that leads to the contradiction. (shrink)
What role does the wild duck play in Ibsen's famous drama? I argue that, besides mirroring the fate of the human cast members, the duck is acting as animal subject in a quasi-experiment, conducted in a private setting. Analysed from this perspective, the play allows us to discern the epistemological and ethical dimensions of the new scientific animal practice emerging precesely at that time. Ibsen's play stages the clash between a scientific and a romantic understanding of animals that still constitutes (...) the backdrop of most contemporary debates over animals in research. Whereas the scientific understanding reduces the animal's behaviour, as well as its environment, to discrete and modifiable elements, the romantic view regards animals as being at one with their natural surroundings. (shrink)
_Probability: A Philosophical Introduction_ introduces and explains the principal concepts and applications of probability. It is intended for philosophers and others who want to understand probability as we all apply it in our working and everyday lives. The book is not a course in mathematical probability, of which it uses only the simplest results, and avoids all needless technicality. The role of probability in modern theories of knowledge, inference, induction, causation, laws of nature, action and decision-making makes an understanding of (...) it especially important to philosophers and students of philosophy, to whom this book will be invaluable both as a textbook and a work of reference. In this book D. H. Mellor discusses the three basic kinds of probability – physical, epistemic, and subjective – and introduces and assesses the main theories and interpretations of them. The topics and concepts covered include: * chance * frequency * possibility * propensity * credence * confirmation * Bayesianism. _Probability: A Philosophical Introduction_ is essential reading for all philosophy students and others who encounter or need to apply ideas of probability. (shrink)
How does the study of society relate to the study of the people it comprises? This longstanding question is partly one of method, but mainly one of fact, of how independent the objects of these two studies, societies and people, are. It is commonly put as a question of reduction, and I shall tackle it in that form: does sociology reduce in principle to individual psychology? I follow custom in calling the claim that it does ‘individualism’ and its denial ‘holism’.
My title has been taken from the following passage in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations : Describe the aroma of coffee—why can't it be done? Do we lack the words? And for what are words lacking?—But how do we get the idea that such a description must after all be possible? Have you ever felt the lack of such a description? Have you tried to describe the aroma and not succeeded?
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