I am honoured and pleased to address you this evening on the life and work of an extraordinary American thinker, Charles Sanders Peirce. Although Peirce is perhaps most often remembered as the father of the philosophical movement known as pragmatism, I would like to impress upon you that he was also, and perhaps, especially, a logician, a working scientist and a mathematician. During his life time Peirce most often referred to himself, and was referred to by his colleagues, as a (...) logician. Furthermore, Peirce spent thirty years actively engaged in scientific research for the US Coast Survey. The National Archives in Washington, DC, holds some five thousand pages of Peirce's reports on this work. Finally, the four volumes of Peirce's mathematical papers edited by Professor Carolyn Eisele eloquently testify to his contributions to that field as well. (shrink)
Michael Potter presents a comprehensive new philosophical introduction to set theory. Anyone wishing to work on the logical foundations of mathematics must understand set theory, which lies at its heart. Potter offers a thorough account of cardinal and ordinal arithmetic, and the various axiom candidates. He discusses in detail the project of set-theoretic reduction, which aims to interpret the rest of mathematics in terms of set theory. The key question here is how to deal with the paradoxes that (...) bedevil set theory. Potter offers a strikingly simple version of the most widely accepted response to the paradoxes, which classifies sets by means of a hierarchy of levels. What makes the book unique is that it interweaves a careful presentation of the technical material with a penetrating philosophical critique. Potter does not merely expound the theory dogmatically but at every stage discusses in detail the reasons that can be offered for believing it to be true. Set Theory and its Philosophy is a key text for philosophy, mathematical logic, and computer science. (shrink)
How is reality really manufactured? The idea of social construction has become a commonplace part of much social research, yet precisely what is constructed, how it is constructed, and what constructionism means are often left unclear or taken for granted. In this major work, Jonathan Potter explores the central themes raised by these questions. Representing Reality explores the different traditions in constructivist thought--including sociology of scientific knowledge; conversation analysis and ethnomethodology; and semiotics, poststructuralism, and postmodernism--to provide a lucid introduction (...) to several key strands of work that have overturned the way we think about facts and descriptions. Potter illustrates his points throughout with varied and engaging examples taken from newspaper stories, relationship counseling sessions, accounts of paranormal events, social workers' assessments of violent parents, informal talk between program organizers, political arguments, and everyday conversations. Representing Reality offers the student and scholar in social psychology, rhetoric and discourse, and related fields a critical introduction to constructivism. (shrink)
This is a critical examination of the astonishing progress made in the philosophical study of the properties of the natural numbers from the 1880s to the 1930s. Reassessing the brilliant innovations of Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, and others, which transformed philosophy as well as our understanding of mathematics, Michael Potter places arithmetic at the interface between experience, language, thought, and the world.
This work examines the concept of trust in the light of virtue theory, and takes our responsibility to be trustworthy as central. Rather than thinking of trust as risk-taking, Potter views it as equally a matter of responsibility-taking. Her work illustrates that relations of trust are never independent from considerations of power, and that asking ourselves what we can do to be trustworthy allows us to move beyond adversarial trust relationships and toward a more democratic, just, and peaceful society.
[Michael Potter] If arithmetic is not analytic in Kant's sense, what is its subject matter? Answers to this question can be classified into four sorts according as they posit logic, experience, thought or the world as the source, but in each case we need to appeal to some further process if we are to generate a structure rich enough to represent arithmetic as standardly practised. I speculate that this further process is our reflection on the subject matter already obtained. (...) This suggestion seems problematic, however, since it seems to rest on a confusion between the empirical and the metaphysical self. /// [Bob Hale] Michael Potter considers several versions of the view that the truths of arithmetic are analytic and finds difficulties with all of them. There is, I think, no gainsaying his claim that arithmetic cannot be analytic in Kant's sense. However, his pessimistic assessment of the view that what is now widely called Hume's principle can serve as an analytic foundation for arithmetic seems to me unjustified. I consider and offer some answers to the objections he brings against it. (shrink)
In recent years, Charles Sanders Peirce has emerged, in the eyes of philosophers both in America and abroad, as one of America’s major philosophical thinkers. His work has forced us back to philosophical reflection about those basic issues that inevitably confront us as human beings, especially in an age of science. Peirce’s concern for experience, for what is actually encountered, means that his philosophy, even in its most technical aspects, forms a reflective commentary on actual life and on the world (...) in which it is lived. In Charles S. Peirce: On Norms and Ideals, Potter argues that Peirce’s doctrine of the normative sciences is essential to his pragmatism. No part of Peirce’s philosophy is bolder than his attempt to establish esthetics, ethics, and logic as the three normative sciences and to argue for the priority of esthetics among the trio. Logic, Potter cites, is normative because it governs thought and aims at truth; ethics is normative because it analyzes the ends to which thought should be directed; esthetics is normative and fundamental because it considers what it means to be an end of something good in itself. This study shows that pierce took seriously the trinity of normative sciences and demonstrates that these categories apply both to the conduct of man and to the workings of the cosmos. Professor Potter combines sympathetic and informed exposition with straightforward criticism and he deals in a sensible manner with the gaps and inconsistencies in Peirce’s thought. His study shows that Peirce was above all a cosmological and ontological thinker, one who combined science both as a method and as result with a conception of reasonable actions to form a comprehensive theory of reality. Peirce’s pragmatism, although it has to do with "action and the achievement of results, is not a glorification of action but rather a theory of the dynamic nature of things in which the "ideal" dimension of reality – laws, nature of things, tendencies, and ends – has genuine power for directing the cosmic order, including man, toward reasonable goals. (shrink)
Feminist perspectives have been increasingly influential on philosophy of science. Feminism and Philosophy of Science is designed to introduce the newcomer to the central themes, issues and arguments of this burgeoning area of study. Elizabeth Potter engages in a rigorous and well-organized study that takes in the views of key feminist theorists - Nelson, Wylie, Anderson, Longino and Harding - whose arguments exemplify contemporary feminist philosophy of science. The book is divided into six chapters looking at important themes: naturalized (...) feminist empiricism feminist value theory feminist conceptual empiricism standpoint epistemologies of science value-free science Arranged thematically, F eminism and Philosophy of Science looks at the spectrum of views that have arisen in the debate, and unpicks the arguments on key topics such as value-free science, values, objectivity, point of view and relativism. It assumes no previous knowledge of the subject, and is written in an accessible, student-friendly style. It will be an important read for students of philosophy, philosophy of science, gender studies and feminist studies. (shrink)
A companion volume to On Understanding Understanding, this second edition incorporates corrections to the previous text and includes new readings. The works collected in this volume are mainly from the British Empiricists. The breadth of the selection is not so diverse that the pieces cannot be readily understood by a newcomer to Epistemology, they have a logical progression of development (from Locke to Berkeley to Hume), and all of the philosophers whose work is represented have had great influence on contemporary (...) Anglo-American philosophy. In the Introduction, Potter sets the selections in their historical context and urges the readers to form their own viewpoint in terms of the period’s contribution to the advancement of culture, politics, and society. He gives a concise summary of the Enlightenment period, demonstrating how and why Rationalism and Empiricism came about, and challenges the reader not to simply note the points of disparity between the two schools, but to notice the similarities of their common assumptions – both substantive and methodological. Readings in Epistemology, Second Edition is an excellent classroom tool. A biographical note on the philosopher, and list of suggested books for further study, heads each of the readings. Study Questions which stimulate discussion, are at the end of each piece. (shrink)
Although hailing from cognate analytical schools, the contributors to Hedwig te Molder and Jonathan Potter's edited volume Conversation and Cognition hold a remarkable diversity of views on the nature of "mental states" and their import for the purposes of analyzing naturally occurring interaction. I offer a critical analysis of some of the contributors' discussions of cognition in social interaction in an effort to clarify some obstinate issues with respect to the meanings of words in our cognitive vocabulary and their (...) identification in analyses of conversation. (shrink)
In the early 1980s, a new category of crime appeared in the criminal law lexicon. In response to concerted advocacy-group lobbying, Congress and many state legislatures passed a wave of "hate crime" laws requiring the collection of statistics on, and enhancing the punishment for, crimes motivated by certain prejudices. This book places the evolution of the hate crime concept in socio-legal perspective. James B. Jacobs and Kimberly Potter adopt a skeptical if not critical stance, maintaining that legal definitions of (...) hate crime are riddled with ambiguity and subjectivity. No matter how hate crime is defined, and despite an apparent media consensus to the contrary, the authors find no evidence to support the claim that the United States is experiencing a hate crime epidemic--instead, they cast doubt on whether the number of hate crimes is even increasing. The authors further assert that, while the federal effort to establish a reliable hate crime accounting system has failed, data collected for this purpose have led to widespread misinterpretation of the state of intergroup relations in this country. The book contends that hate crime as a socio-legal category represents the elaboration of an identity politics now manifesting itself in many areas of the law. But the attempt to apply the anti-discrimination paradigm to criminal law generates problems and anomalies. For one thing, members of minority groups are frequently hate crime perpetrators. Moreover, the underlying conduct prohibited by hate crime law is already subject to criminal punishment. Jacobs and Potter question whether hate crimes are worse or more serious than similar crimes attributable to other anti-social motivations. They also argue that the effort to single out hate crime for greater punishment is, in effect, an effort to punish some offenders more seriously simply because of their beliefs, opinions, or values, thus implicating the First Amendment. Advancing a provocative argument in clear and persuasive terms, Jacobs and Potter show how the recriminalization of hate crime has little value with respect to law enforcement or criminal justice. Indeed, enforcement of such laws may exacerbate intergroup tensions rather than eradicate prejudice. (shrink)
Early in the 1980s, a new category of crime appeared in the criminal law lexicon. In response to what was said to be an epidemic of prejudice-motivated violence, Congress and many state legislatures passed a wave of 'hate crime' laws that required the collection of statistics and enhanced the punishment of crimes motivated by certain prejudices. This book places in socio-legal perspective both the hate crime problem and society's response to it. From the outset, Jacobs and Potter adopt a (...) skeptical if not critical stance. They argue that hate crime is a hopelessly muddled concept and that legal definitions of the term are riddled with ambiguity and subjectivity. Moreover, no matter how hate crime is defined, the authors find no evidence to support the claim that the US is experiencing a hate crime epidemic—nor that the number or rate of hate crimes is at an historic zenith. (shrink)
This collection of thirteen essays, when viewed together, offers a unique perspective on the history of American philosophy. It illuminates for the first time in book form, how thirteen major American philosophical thinkers viewed a problem of special interest in the American philosophical tradition: the relationship between experience and reflection. Written by well-known authorities on the figure about which he or she writes, the essays are arranged chronologically to highlight the changes and developments in thought from Puritanism to Pragmatism to (...) Process Philosophy. While Doctrine and Experience will be of particular interest to specialists in American Philosophy, there is also much to offer anyone interested in the intellectual and cultural history of the United States. In order of appearance, the essays are: "Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening" by John E. Smith "Heart and Head: The Mind of Thomas Jefferson" by Andrew J. Reck"Emerson and the American Future" by Robert C. Pollock"Chauncey Wright and the Pragmatists" by Edward Madden"Charles S. Peirce: Action Through Thought – The Ethics of Experience" by Vincent G. Potter"Life Is in the Transitions’: Radical Empiricism and Contemporary Concerns" by John J. McDermott"John Dewey and the Metaphysics of American Democracy" by Ralph W. Sleeper"Individualization and Unification in Sartre and Dewey" by Thelma Z. Levine"Josiah Royce: Anticipator of European Existentialism and Phenomenology" by Jacqueline Ann K. Kegley"The Transcendence of Materialism and Idealism in American Thought" by John Lachs"C. I. Lewis and the Pragmatic Tradition in American Philosophy" by Sandra Rosenthal"The Social Philosophy of George Herbert Mead" by David Miller"Existence as Transaction: A Whiteheadian Study of Causality" by Elizabeth Kraus. (shrink)
In this book, Michael Potter offers a fresh and compelling portrait of the birth and first several decades of analytic philosophy, one of the most important periods in philosophy’s long history. He focuses on the period between the publication of Gottlob Frege’s _Begriffsschrift _in 1879 and Frank Ramsey’s death in 1930. Potter--one of the most influential writers on late 19 th and early 20 th century philosophy--presents a deep but accessible account of the break with Absolute Idealism and (...) Neo-Kantianism, specifically, and more generally with many of the metaphysical preoccupations of philosophy’s preceding history. Potter’s focus is on philosophical logic and philosophy of mathematics, but he also relies heavily on important issues in metaphysics and meta-ethics to complete his story. The book provides an essential starting point for any student or philosopher attempting to understand Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, and Ramsey as well as their interactions and their intellectual milieux. It will also be of interest to a great many philosophers today who want to illuminate the problems they work on by better knowing their origins. KEY FEATURES: 1. Discusses the interconnections of Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein—founding thinkers in the history of analytic philosophy—and also brings the neglected Frank Ramsey into this conversation, providing a unique focus and depth to an introductory text 2. Increases the general awareness of the importance of the history of analytic philosophy for today’s non-historical debates, giving the book appeal in all areas of analytic philosophy 3. Written by one of the most influential philosophers of logic and writers in the history of analytic philosophy 4. Written for upper-level undergraduates, guaranteeing widespread accessibility 5. Includes coverage of topics and issues neglected in competing publications, including Russell’s _Principles_, solipsism in the _Tractatus_, and the contributions of Frank Ramsey 6. Emphasizes the chronological development of authors’ views so as to provide a better understanding of their motivation. (shrink)
You Are Here is a dazzling exploration of the universe and our relationship to it, as seen through the lens of today's most cutting-edge scientific thinking. Christopher Potter brilliantly parses the meaning of what we call the universe. He tells the story of how something evolved from nothing and how something became everything. What does a material description of everything and nothing look like? What is it that science does when it describes a reality that is made out of (...) something? In between nothing and everything is where we live. Here, for the first time in a single span, is the life of the universe, from quarks to galaxy superclusters and from slime to Homo sapiens. The universe was once a moment of perfect symmetry and is now 13.7 billion years of history. Clouds of gas were woven into whatever complexity we find in the universe today: the hierarchies of stars or the brains of mammals. Potter writes entertainingly about the history and philosophy of science, and he shows that science advances by continually removing humankind from a position of primacy in the universe, but the universe responds by placing us back there again. With wisdom and wonder, Potter traverses the cosmos from its conception to its eventual end—while exploring everything in between. (shrink)
Jeffrey Alexander argues that despite Bourdieu’s considerable achievements ultimately his work is reductionist and determinist. He further argues that though Bourdieu is a middle range theorist he is implicitly realist in his meta-theoretical assumptions. This article accepts these conclusions but argues that Bourdieu’s meta-theoretical realism is a virtue rather than a vice and that the manner in which he is a reductionist and determinist necessitate a re-thinking of what is meant by these notions. Alexander uses Bourdieu’s concept of habitus to (...) demon-strate a fundamental contradiction in Bourdieu’s theorising. According to him habitus presents us with the oxymoron of unconscious strategisation. This article uses a discussion of habitus in order to demonstrate that in its relationship with the concept of field it instead produces a practical resolution of long standing theoretical problems concerning structural determination and human agency. It is also argued that these problems are resolved at the meta-theoretical level in the form of critical realist ontology and that it is Alexander’s misunderstandings on this level which cause him to fail to appreciate the significance of Bourdieu’s achievements. (shrink)
Many so-called “cognitivist” theories of the emotions account for the meaningfulness of emotions in terms of beliefs or judgments that are associated or identified with these emotions. In recent years, a number of analytic philosophers have argued against these theories by pointing out that the objects of emotions are sometimes meaningfully experienced before one can take a reflective stance toward them. Peter Goldie defends this point of view in his book The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration. Goldie argues that emotions are (...) meaningful in a way that is different from the meaningfulness of beliefs. He describes this meaningfulness in terms of “feeling towards,” which he identifies as a unique type of intentionality characteristic of emotions. The independence of feeling-towards from acts like believing is most clearly brought out by cases in which there is not enough time to form a belief but in which a person experiencing feelings towards an object responds emotionally in a way that is meaningful to them. Employing a similar type of argument, the phenomenologist Max Scheler argues that certain types of acts of feeling are phenomenologically prior to presentative acts of perception, representation, or imagination. Scheler supports his claim about the phenomenological priority of such acts of feeling by referring to cases in which the presented contents of an object are hidden or obscured but where the object of feeling, value, remains adequately given. I endeavor to show how Scheler draws support for his position from these cases and the great significance of his interpretation of these cases for his philosophical outlook as a whole. I close by considering some questions about his interpretation and use of these cases. (shrink)
This paper comments on some of the different senses of the notion of discourse in the various relevant literatures and then overviews the basic features of a coherent discourse analytic programme in Psychology. Parker's approach is criticised for (a) its tendency to reify discourses as objects; (b) its undeveloped notion of analytic practice; (c) its vulnerability to common sense assumptions. It ends by exploring the virtues of 'interpretative repertoires' over 'discourses' as an analytic/theoretical notion.
A brief account of karma and transmigration is followed by an introduction to Indian ways of assessing arguments. The body of the work canvasses the systems of Nyaya Vaisesika, Buddhism, Jainism, Samkhya and Advaita Vedanta.
Psyche and Soma is a multi-disciplinary exploration of the history of understanding of the human mind or soul and its relationship to the body, through the course of more than two thousand years. Thirteen specially commissioned chapters, each written by a recognized expert, discuss such figures as the doctors Hippocrates and Galen, the theologians St Paul, Augustine, and Aquinas, and philosophers from Plato to Leibniz.
Crispin Wright and Bob Hale have defended the strategy of defining the natural numbers contextually against the objection which led Frege himself to reject it, namely the so-called ‘Julius Caesar problem’. To do this they have formulated principles (called sortal inclusion principles) designed to ensure that numbers are distinct from any objects, such as persons, a proper grasp of which could not be afforded by the contextual definition. We discuss whether either Hale or Wright has provided independent motivation for a (...) defensible version of the sortal inclusion principle and whether they have succeeded in showing that numbers are just what the contextual definition says they are. (shrink)
The German philosopher and intellectual historian Karl Löwith is known and discussed mainly in the English language via his major work on secularization – Meaning in History, first written and published in English – and the more recently translated essays that criticize Martin Heidegger. However, Löwith’s body of work is rarely considered for the original contribution that it offers to the discourse on the questions of modernity and modern life. This oversight is due much to the way in which Hans (...) Blumenberg and Jürgen Habermas have each ‘dealt’ with Löwith’s position; Löwith in each case becomes a flagstone in the path to their own theories. This article reappraises Löwith’s thought through an exploration of his major works, and discovers that the concepts and motivations behind the critical force of his intellectual histories suggest a more sensitive reading of the modern condition than his critics allow. His notions of nature, cosmos and eternity, and his steadfast skepticism, reveal Löwith to be a theorist of the limits of human finitude, and set him apart from his contemporaries and his former teacher Heidegger. It is these aspects of his work that will continue to be provocative for both defenders of freedom and defenders of nature. (shrink)
This chapter sets out several views of empathy that draw not only on psychology's literature but on philosophical and psychiatric writings. Empathy is a set of complex concepts involving perception, emotion, attitudinal orientation, and other cognitive processes as well as an activity that expresses character traits and, hence, one of the virtues. In other words, an examination of the philosophical and clinical literature reveals empathy to be not one unified concept but instead a set of related characteristics and qualities needed (...) to be an ethical and therapeutically effective clinician. To this end, the chapter offers reasons as to why empathy is important to clinical work: empathy is both epistemically and ethically necessary to good social relations and, in particular, clinical relations. It then distinguishes empathy from a related concept called "world"-traveling and situates its relevance to therapeutic relations. Finally it brings these ideas together by highlighting Iris Murdoch's ideas of "just vision" and "loving attention.". (shrink)
Feminists have a number of distinct interests in, and perspectives on, science. The tools of science have been a crucial resource for understanding the nature, impact, and prospects for changing gender-based forms of oppression; in this spirit, feminists actively draw on, and contribute to, the research programs of a wide range of sciences. At the same time, feminists have identified the sciences as a source as well as a locus of gender inequalities: the institutions of science have a long tradition (...) of excluding women as practitioners; feminist critics of science find that women and gender (or, more broadly, issues of concern to women and sex/gender minorities) are routinely marginalized as subjects of scientific inquiry, or are treated in ways that reproduce gender-normative stereotypes; and, closing the circle, scientific authority has frequently served to rationalize the kinds of social roles and institutions that feminists call into question. -/- Feminist perspectives on science therefore reflect a broad spectrum of epistemic attitudes toward and appraisals of science. Some urge the reform of gender inequities in the institutions of science and call for attention to neglected questions with the aim of improving the sciences in their own terms; they do not challenge the standards and practices of the sciences they engage. Others pursue jointly critical and constructive programs of research that, to varying degrees, aim at transforming the methodologies, substantive content, framework assumptions, and epistemic ideals that animate the sciences. The content of these perspectives, and the degree to which they generate transformative critique, depends not only on the types of philosophical and political commitments that inform them but also on the nature of the sciences and subject domains on which they bear. Feminist perspectives have had greatest impact on sciences that deal with inherently gendered subjects—the social and human sciences—and, secondarily, on sciences that study subjects characterized in gendered terms, metaphorically or by analogy (projectively gendered subjects), chiefly the biological and life sciences. Feminist perspectives are relevant to sciences that deal with non-gendered subject matters, but perspectives vary substantially in content and in critical import depending on the sciences and the particular research programs they engage. (shrink)
Philosophers of religion have taken the assumption for granted that the various religious traditions of the world have incompatible beliefs. In this paper, I will argue that this assumption is more problematic than has been generally recognized. To make this argument, I will discuss the implications of internal religious disagreement, an aspect of this issue that has been too often ignored in the contemporary debate. I will also briefly examine some implications of my argument for how one might respond to (...) the existence of religious diversity. (shrink)
This article critically examines Louis Charland’s claim that personality disorders are moral rather than medical kinds by exploring the relationship between personality disorders and virtue ethics. We propose that the conceptual resources of virtue theory can inform psychiatry’s thinking about personality disorders, but also that virtue theory as understood by Aristotle cannot be reduced to the narrow domain of ‘the moral’ in the modern sense of the term. Some overlap between the moral domain’s notion of character-based ethics and the medical (...) domain’s notion of character-based disorders is unavoidable. We also apply a modified version of John Sadler’s “moral wrongfulness test” to borderline and narcissistic personality disorders. With respect to both diagnoses, we argue that they involve negative moral evaluations, but may also have indispensable nonmoral features and, therefore, classify legitimate psychiatric disorders. (shrink)
del's appeal to mathematical intuition to ground our grasp of the axioms of set theory, is notorious. I extract from his writings an account of this form of intuition which distinguishes it from the metaphorical platonism of which Gödel is sometimes accused and brings out the similarities between Gödel's views and Dummett's.