J. L. Schellenberg’s Philosophy of Religion argues for a specific brand of sceptical religion that takes ‘Ultimism’ – the proposition that there is a metaphysically, axiologically, and soteriologically ultimate reality – to be the object to which the sceptical religionist should assent. In this article I shall argue that Ietsism – the proposition that there is merely something transcendental worth committing ourselves to religiously – is a preferable object of assent. This is for two primary reasons. First, Ietsism is far (...) more modest than Ultimism; Ietsism, in fact, is open to the truth of Ultimism, while the converse does not hold. Second, Ietsism can fulfil the same criteria that compel Schellenberg to argue for Ultimism. (shrink)
Summary L. J. M. Daguerre realized it was impossible to capitalize by subscription or to patent his daguerreotype technique. In January 1839 François Arago, both scientist and Republican politician, suggested that financial support for Daguerre should be sought from the state in return for his secret. The idea made no immediate headway because of governmental breakdown. Only after a new cabinet was established in May 1839 could any procedure be set in motion to obtain the agreement of parliament. After discussing (...) attitudes towards patents and pensions during the July Monarchy, the article documents the way the Bill for a pension passed through parliament in June and July 1839. An annotated bibliography of the government Bill and Arago's Report to the Chambre des Députés are provided, as well as Arago's Lecture of 19 August 1839 by which a description of Daguerre's process was released to the world. (shrink)
Rarely have I begun a book with such keen enthusiasm only later to cool to a deep but respectful ambivalence. In this clearly written and thoughtful monograph, Canadian analytic philosopher J. L. Schellenberg spurs readers to think about religion in evolutionary terms analogous to how Darwin and others have taught us to think about nature. As I will outline, I think he has mixed success in this engaging endeavor.Schellenberg’s valuable insight, and the source of my initial enthusiasm, is his emphasis (...) on the full spectrum of what he calls “deep time” (pp. 1–7). Evolutionary thinking has rightly taught us to take the long view, but it is difficult for us to fully grasp the immensity of what this means. “Evolutionary time,” he notes, “is of an extent almost beyond fathoming—that’s why scientists call it ‘deep.”’ Quoting Stephen Jay Gould, he continues: “‘[A]n abstract, intellectual understanding of deep time comes easily enough—I know how many zeroes to place after 10 when I mean billions .. (shrink)
In this volume, Savas L. Tsohatzidis brings together a team of leading experts to provide up-to-date perspectives on the work of J. L. Austin, a major figure in twentieth-century philosophy and an important contributor to theories of language, truth, perception, and knowledge. Focusing on aspects of Austin's writings in these four areas, the volume's ten original essays critically examine central elements of his philosophy, exploring their interrelationships, their historical context, their reception, and their implications for key issues of contemporary philosophical (...) research. The volume deepens our understanding of Austin's philosophy while illustrating its continuing significance, and will appeal to students and scholars of modern philosophy, particularly to those interested in the philosophy of language and epistemology. (shrink)
Alice Crary has recently developed a radical reading of J. L. Austin's philosophy of language. The central contention of Crary's reading is that Austin gives convincing reasons to reject the idea that sentences have context-invariant literal meaning. While I am in sympathy with Crary about the continuing importance of Austin's work, and I think Crary's reading is deep and interesting, I do not think literal sentence meaning is one of Austin's targets, and the arguments that Crary attributes to Austin or (...) finds Austinian in spirit do not provide convincing reasons to reject literal sentence meaning. In this paper, I challenge Crary's reading of Austin and defend the idea of literal sentence meaning. (shrink)
This article aims to disrupt received views about the significance of J. L. Austin's contribution to philosophy of language. Its focus is Austin's 1955 lectures How To Do Things With Words . Commentators on the lectures in both philosophical and literary-theoretical circles, despite conspicuous differences, tend to agree in attributing to Austin an assumption about the relation between literal meaning and truth, which is in fact his central critical target. The goal of the article is to correct this misunderstanding and (...) to show that Austin is deeply critical of a picture of correspondence between language and the world which nearly half a century after he delivered his lectures continues to structure philosophical discussions of language. (shrink)
We present a new English translation of L.E.J. Brouwer's paper ‘De onbetrouwbaarheid der logische principes’ of 1908, together with a philosophical and historical introduction. In this paper Brouwer for the first time objected to the idea that the Principle of the Excluded Middle is valid. We discuss the circumstances under which the manuscript was submitted and accepted, Brouwer's ideas on the principle of the excluded middle, its consistency and partial validity, and his argument against the possibility of absolutely undecidable propositions. (...) We note that principled objections to the general excluded middle similar to Brouwer's had been advanced in print by Jules Molk two years before. Finally, we discuss the influence on George Griss' negationless mathematics. (shrink)
When people speak of ‘the law of the jungle’, they usually mean unions restrained and ruthless competition, with everyone out solely for his own advantage. But the phrase was coined by Rudyard Kipling, in The Second Jungle Book , and he meant something very different. His law of the jungle is a law that wolves in a pack are supposed to obey. His poem says that ‘the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is (...) the Pack’, and it states the basic principles of social co-operation. Its provisions are a judicious mixture of individualism and collectivism, prescribing graduated and qualified rights for fathers of families, mothers with cubs, and young wolves, which constitute an elementary system of welfare services. Of course, Kipling meant his poem to give moral instruction to human children, but he probably thought it was at least roughly correct as a description of the social behaviour of wolves and other wild animals. Was he right, or is the natural world the scene of unrestrained competition, of an individualistic struggle for existence? (shrink)
J. L. Austin (1911-1960) exercised in Post-war Oxford an intellectual authority similar to that of Wittgenstein in Cambridge. Although he completed no books of his own and published only seven papers, Austin became through lectures and talks one of the acknowledged leaders in what is called ‘Oxford philosophy’ or ‘ordinary language philosophy’. Few would dispute that among analytic philosophers Austin stands out as a great and original philosophical genius. Three volumes of his writing, published after his death, have become classics (...) in analytical philosophy: Philosophical Papers ; Sense and Sensibilia ; and How to Do Things with Words . First published in 1969, this book is a collection of critical essays on Austin’s philosophy written by well-known philosophers, many of whom knew Austin personally. A number of essays included were especially written for this volume, but the majority have appeared previously in various journals or books, not all easy to obtain. (shrink)
William Alston's Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience is a most significant contribution to the philosophy of religion. The product of 50 years' reflection on its topic , this work provides a very thorough explication and defence of what Alston calls the ‘mystical perceptual practice’ – the practice of forming beliefs about the Ultimate on the basis of putative ‘direct experiential awareness’ thereof . Alston argues, in particular, for the rationality of engaging in the Christian form of MP . (...) On his view, those who participate in CMP are justified in forming beliefs as they do because their practice is ‘socially established’, has a ‘functioning overrider system’ and a ‘significant degree of self-support’; and because of the ‘lack of sufficient reasons to take the practice as unreliable’. (shrink)
L. Albertazzi, G. J. van Tonder, and D. Vishwanath (eds): Perception Beyond Inference: The Information Content of Visual Processes Content Type Journal Article Pages 53-55 DOI 10.1007/s11023-011-9253-z Authors Lorenzo Magnani, Department of Philosophy and Computational Philosophy Laboratory, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy Journal Minds and Machines Online ISSN 1572-8641 Print ISSN 0924-6495 Journal Volume Volume 22 Journal Issue Volume 22, Number 1.
Relations between J. A. C. Chaptal, pioneer of heavy chemical industry in France, and A. L. Lavoisier, reformer of chemical theory, are examined in the light of unpublished correspondence they exchanged in the period 1784–1790. The letters, together with Chaptal's early publications, allow a reconstruction of his conversion to Lavoisier's antiphlogistic chemistry. They also reveal a series of petitions that Chaptal made to Lavoisier, in the latter's official capacity as a director of the Régie des poudres et salpêtres, for relief (...) from the controlled price of saltpetre for his acid works in Languedoc. Finally, the relationship is explored as a window on the interplay between chemical theory and industrial practice during the period of the Industrial Revolution. (shrink)
If philosophy and poetry are to illuminate each other, we should first understand their tendencies to mutual antipathy. Examining (and, where possible, correcting) mutual misapprehension is part of this task. J. L. Austin's remarks on poetry offer one such point of entry: they are often cited by poets and critics as an example of philosophy's blindness to poetry (I). These remarks are complex and their purpose obscure—more so than those who take exception to them usually allow or admit (II). But (...) it is reasonable to think that, for all his levity at their expense, what Austin offers poets is exemption from forms of commitment. Since such exemption is precisely what poets and critics have sought, this diagnosis is eirenic (III). This exemption has a price, but it may be affordable (IV). (shrink)
The thesis presents a development of J. L. Austin's analysis of truth and its accompanying analysis of sentence structure. This involves a discussion and refinement of Austin's notions of the demonstrative and descriptive conventions of language and of the demonstrative and descriptive devices of sentences. The main point of the thesis is that ordinary language must be treated as an historical phenomenon: one that has evolved its more complex features through a long series of variations upon a small number of (...) rudimentary conventions and locutions. The utility of Austin's analysis is shown to lie in the description that it provides of the functions of these rudimentary conventions and locutions. The analysis is used to illuminate a number of problematic sentences and expressions of ordinary language, including identity sentences, definite descriptions, existential sentences, and conditionals. (shrink)
In these essays, J.L. Mehta, Indian philosopher in whose life and work East and West met profoundly, reflects on the origins and potency of modern hermeneutics and phenomenology, and applies the principles of interpretation to Hindu traditions. These farseeing essays show a hopeful way for non-Western cultures to gain insight into the basic presuppositions of the Western world, and to reclaim their own origins and ways of thinking, and to participate in an emerging planetary thinking.
What if human joy went on endlessly? Suppose, for example, that each human generation were followed by another, or that the Western religions are right when they teach that each human being lives eternally after death. If any such possibility is true in the actual world, then an agent might sometimes be so situated that more than one course of action would produce an infinite amount of utility. Deciding whether to have a child born this year rather than next is (...) a situation wherein an agent may face several alternatives whose effects could well ramify endlessly on such suppositions, for the child born this year would be a different person—one who preferred different things, performed different actions, and had different descendants—from a child born next year. It has recently been suggested that traditional utilitarianism stumbles on such cases of infinite utility. Specifically, utilitarianism seems to require, for its application, that all experience of pleasure and pain cease at some time in the future or asymptotically approach zero.2 If neither of these conditions holds, then the utility produced by each of two alternative actions may turn out to be infinite, and utilitarianism thus loses its ability to discriminate morally between them. (shrink)
(2011). Critical Race Theory Matters: Education and Ideology. By M. Zamudio, C. Russell, M. A. Rios and J. L. Bridgeman. British Journal of Educational Studies: Vol. 59, Research capacity building, pp. 348-350.
In the first chapter of Confucius: The Secular as Sacred, Herbert Fingarette argues that in the Analects Confucius holds the essence of human virtue to be a kind of magic power and this magic can be explained in terms of J. L. Austin’s analysis of the “performative utterance.” This paper attempts to explicate what Fingarette’s claims concerning magic and the “performative” amount to. I will argue that even though there is something to the underlying spirit of Fingarette’s project, he either (...) misused or simply misunderstood Austin and, because of this misuse or misunderstanding, he has possibly misunderstood Confucius as well. (shrink)
A play's text is nearly all talk, and in the performance of a play the physical activity is sparse and exceedingly limited. Used of a play, the term ‘action’ does not mean what it normally means. Its true meaning is illuminated by reference to J. L. Austin and his doctrine of speech-acts. Dramatic action is, for the most part, speech-action. And a skilful manipulation of speech-acts enables the gifted dramatist not only to tell a story but to communicate what is (...) going on below the surface. (shrink)
Mark McCreary has argued that I cannot consistently advance both the hiddenness argument and certain arguments for religious scepticism found in my book The Wisdom to Doubt . This reaction was expected, and in WD I explained its shortsightedness in that context. First, I noted how in Part III of WD , where theism is addressed, my principal aim is not to prove atheism but to show theists that they are not immune from the scepticism defended in Parts I and (...) II. To the success of this aim, McCreary's arguments are not so much as relevant, for a thoroughgoing scepticism embracing even the hiddenness argument is quite compatible with its success. But I also explained how someone convinced that the hiddenness argument does prove atheism escapes the grip of religious scepticism because of that argument's reliance on apparent conceptual truths. McCreary's critique obscures this point but does not defuse it. (shrink)
Jürgen Habermas derives his political theory and discourse ethics from a view of language based upon “universal pragmatics.” Universal pragmatics is identified by Habermas to reveal universal conditions of possible understanding with the belief that not only syntactic and semantic characteristics of language, but also pragmatic characteristics of utterances related to speech should be reconstructed to build an undistorted communication. Nevertheless, the communicative competence, which is supposed to be related to pragmatics of language, is derived from the misinterpretation of J. (...) L. Austin’s theory of performative utterances. Linguistic as well as communicative competences have a universal core in universal pragmatics, which paves the way for the essentialist depiction of language having the Chomskyian overtones. Austin’s theory of performative utterances, on the other hand, does not have a universalistic claim. Because Habermas derives universal pragmatics from the misinterpretation of Austin’s theory of performative utterances, it is important to evaluate Austin and Habermas’s views of language by comparing and contrasting them with one another. The first part of the paper consists of the articulation of universal pragmatics. The second part of the paper focuses on Habermas’s unjustified critique of Austin. (shrink)