The concept of a relational self has been prominent in feminism, communitarianism, narrative self theories, and social network theories, and has been important to theorizing about practical dimensions of selfhood. However, it has been largely ignored in traditional philosophical theories of personal identity, which have been dominated by psychological and animal theories of the self. This book offers a systematic treatment of the notion of the self as constituted by social, cultural, political, and biological relations. The author's account incorporates practical (...) concerns and addresses how a relational self has agency, autonomy, responsibility, and continuity through time in the face of change and impairments. This cumulative network model of the self incorporates concepts from work in the American pragmatist and naturalist tradition. The ultimate aim of the book is to bridge traditions that are often disconnected from one another--feminism, personal identity theory, and pragmatism--to develop a unified theory of the self. (shrink)
Anonymity is a form of nonidentifiability which I define as noncoordinatability of traits in a given respect. This definition broadens the concept, freeing it from its primary association with naming. I analyze different ways anonymity can be realized. I also discuss some ethical issues, such as privacy, accountability and other values which anonymity may serve or undermine. My theory can also conceptualize anonymity in information systems where, for example, privacy and accountability are at issue.
I suggest that the Kantian categorical imperative can be a basis for an ethical duty to live sustainably. The universalizability formulation of the categorical imperative should be seen as a test of whether the principle underlying a way of life is self-destructive of the system of living and acting which makes the way of life possible. In exploring this interpretation the self should be conceptualized as a socially and system-constituted being, rather than an atomized will. In this sense, a self (...) which lives in a way that is destructive of the system of life, is also in principle willing its own self-destruction. (shrink)
This is an Introduction to the special issue of Metaphilosophy entitled Philosophy as a Way of Life, giving a brief account of the genesis of the project, an overview of the topic, and a summary of the topics covered in the issue.
In the ancient world, philosophy was understood to be a practical guide for living, or even itself a way of life. For philosophers today to ignore this dimension of philosophy is not to ignore an accidental subset of the subject that can be divorced from its essential nature - it is to ignore philosophy itself. The articulation of philosophy as a way of life and its pedagogical implementation advances the love of wisdom; it is not merely an addendum to it. (...) But how might we convey the love of wisdom as not only a body of dogmatic principles and axiomatic truths but also a lived exercise that can be practiced? This volume of essays brings historical views about philosophy as a way of life, coupled with their modern equivalents, more prevalently into the domain of the contemporary scholarly world. (shrink)
A traditional association of judgment with "reason" has drawn upon and reinforced an opposition between reason and emotion. This, in turn, has led to a restricted view of the nature of moral judgment and of the subject as moral agent. The alternative, I suggest, is to abandon the traditional categories and to develop a new theory of judgment. I argue that the theory of judgment developed by Justus Buchler constitutes a robust alternative which does not prejudice the case against emotion. (...) Drawing on this theory I then develop how to conceptualize the ways in which feeling and emotion can be (or be components of) moral judgments. (shrink)
Ecocriticism, a field of study that has expanded dramatically over the past decade, has nevertheless remained--until recently--closely focused on critical analyses of nature writing and literature of wilderness. Karla Armbruster and Kathleen R. Wallace push well beyond that established framework with this groundbreaking collection of essays by respected ecocritics and scholars from the literary and environmental arenas. Together, their work signals a new direction in the field and offers refreshingly original insights into a broad spectrum of texts.
Paper edition (0492-7), $24.95. (RC) An anthology of both original and reprinted essays on the work of philosopher Justus Buchler (b. 1914), intended not as a festschrift but as a study in ordinal metaphysics for philosophers and scholars.
This paper offers an interpretation of Hume's general point of view in morals as a kind of focusing activity that counterbalances situated sentiments and thereby regulates moral sentiment. The general point of view is compared to Hume's treatment of the regulation of belief. This comparison sheds new light on how production of contrariety through the general point of view is regulative in morals. The general point of view does not undermine Hume's sentimentalist thesis in morals. Rather, it is a perspective (...) in which sentiment is properly aroused and directed, and within which justificatory practices take place. The comparison with belief-regulating mechanisms suggests that Hume has a unified or systematic treatment of regulation. (shrink)
In this paper, I outline the cumulative network model of the self. This model articulates the self as relational, recognizing social relations as constitutive of the self. The theory arises out of concerns about the individualistic paradigms of two main frameworks in the analytic philosophical literature on personal identity, namely, the psychological and the animalist approaches to personhood and is explicitly inspired by feminist theories on relational autonomy and self. I argue that “relationality” is not only social, but that the (...) self is relational throughout, psychologically, physically, biologically, culturally, semantically, as well as socially. Hence, the self is a network of relations. The model also aims to recognize that temporality or historicity is constitutive of the self, that the self is a process, not a static three-dimensional thing. Hence, the self is a cumulative network. (shrink)
During the past two decades Metaphysics of Natural Complexes has exerted a strong a growing influence on the continuing development of contemporary philosophy. This new and expanded edition acknowledges this influence and brings together much material. Included are the previously published articles “On the Concept of ‘the World,’” and “Probing the Idea of Nature,” which Buchler wrote subsequent to Metaphysics of Natural Complexes as extensions and completions of the system. Previously unpublished work on the key concept of contour has also (...) been added. In addition there are excerpts from Buchler’s replies to his critics, a set of editors’ notes to facilitate cross-referencing, and an updated index. This work presents a bold and forceful metaphysics and general ontology. It provides a systematic framework for understanding the broadest features of the world and nature, and for locating our understanding of human nature, selfhood, and society as complexes in and of nature. Buchler’s detailed analysis of identity, ordinality, nature, world, and validation advance our understanding of the basic categories to be used in defining and exploring whatever is. Unlike other contemporary philosophers that confine themselves to narrowly defined problems in hermeneutics or theory of knowledge, Buchler is unrelenting in his drive toward a more encompassing perspective, simultaneously combining interpretive precision with sheer breadth of vision. (shrink)
This paper responds to four commentators (Diana Tietjens Meyers, Lawrence Cahoone, Vincent Colapietro, and Scott L. Pratt) on my book The Network Self: Relation, Process, and Personal Identity (2019). Aspects of the book focused on and about which I respond include reflexive communication (Meyers); identity and integrity (Cahoone); embodiment, self‐deception, and autonomy (Colapietro); and social location and power (Pratt). I also clarify my strategy in the book, namely, to shift the ontological framework away from the dualistic mind/body or psychological/animalist distinction (...) and embrace the idea that as relational processes selves are particular kinds of natural complexes (to use a term from Justus Buchler). In doing so, I aim to avoid metaphysically narrow views of human selves or persons, and to provide a framework for conceptualizing selves in both abstract and practical terms. (shrink)
Bernard Gert argues that legitimate moral disagreement calls for tolerance and moral humility; when there is more than one morally acceptable course of action, then intolerance and what Gert calls “moral arrogance” would be objectionable. This article identifies some possible difficulties in distinguishing moral arrogance from moral reform and then examines Gert's treatment of abortion as a contemporary example of moral disagreement that he characterizes as irresolvable.
The principles of ontological parity and ordinality have distinct functions in Buchler's ontology. Ontological parity could be independently subscribed to, whereas ordinality signals the positive conception of the nature of reality as irreducibly complex or indefinitely related, which Buchler's metaphysical system seeks to articulate. Both principles inform Buchler's system, but each has a distinctive function. They are not, I suggest, necessarily at odds with one another, as some critics claim. I do identify several difficulties that follow from (1) the level (...) of generality claimed by Buchler and (2) the claim of irreducible complexity or indefinite relatedness. (shrink)
Provides a systematic framework for understanding the broad features of the world and nature, and for locating the understanding of self and society within nature. Includes Buchler's reply to his critics. No bibliography.
Santayana gives a rich account of the self which is simultaneously bound by material conditions and circumstances and able to transcend those boundaries if not in material fact, at least in the life of spirit. In this essay I pursue the question, whether and how Santayana’s view of "spirit" can be reconciled with his materialism. There is a tension between two of Santayana’s claims about spirit: its inefficacy (required by his materialism) and its role in transforming human life from merely (...) physical organic life to conscious, feeling life. What seems problematic to me is the account of "material" efficacy which Santayana commits himself to, and this problem in turn, I argue, has its origins in a limited notion of relation. (shrink)