‘I understand that the world was nothing, a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understand that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly—as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back. I create the whole universe, blink by blink. —An ugly god pitifully dying in a tree.’.
Hermann Grassmann's ideas on the nature and foundations of mathematics were published as an integral part of his mathematical treatise, the Ausdehnungslehre, in 1844. In spite of its notoriously obscure style we can better understand the work if we view it as an expression of the dialectical philosophy of his mentor, the theologian F. Schleiermacher. The relation to Schleiermacher is presented here through an analysis of the principal ideas of the Ausdehnungslehre.
It is notorious that great philosophers are apt to be misunderstood. Controversy rages about their work, and sometimes they are credited with completely contradictory views. Consider the sharply contrasted opinions of Plato's political thought by Sir Karl Popper, on the one hand, and G. C. Field and H. B. Acton on the other.
Realism and metaphysics.--Ultimates and a way of looking.--Religion and the paranormal.--Quinton, A., Lewis, H. D., Williams, B. Life after death.--Lewis, H. D., Flew, A. Survival.--Shoemaker, S., Lewis, H. D. Immortality and dualism.--The belief in life after death.--The person of Christ.
Editor's Note: This paper was found in galley proof form from the journal Mind in the C.I. Lewis Archives in the Special Collections Department of the Stanford University Libraries, call number M174, Box 18, Folder 1. There are two copies of the proofs in this folder, one includes Lewis's corrections. The version that appears here incorporates all of Lewis's corrections. Where these corrections are substantive, the original wording is give in a footnote. The paperwas withdrawn from publication (...) by Lewis early in 1935. The proofs were found with Lewis's other papers in his house in Menlo Park after his death in 1964. (shrink)
If I were asked to put forward an ethical principle which I considered to be especially certain, it would be that no one can be responsible, in the properly ethical sense, for the conduct of another. Responsibility belongs essentially to the individual. The implications of this principle are much more far-reaching than is evident at first, and reflection upon them may lead many to withdraw the assent which they might otherwise be very ready to accord to this view of responsibility. (...) But if the difficulties do appear to be insurmountable, and that, very certainly, does not seem to me to be the case, then the proper procedure will be, not to revert to the barbarous notion of collective or group responsibility, but to give up altogether the view that we are accountable in any distinctively moral sense. (shrink)
The article is a discussion of plato and aristotle's conceptions of the good and greek ethics in general. The author compares this view with our own. He points out that "our freedom is also conformity to law" and moral evil is "guilt" for violating the law, whereas the greeks saw it as an imperfection or shortcoming of the individual to live up to his or her potential for good. The author concludes that if we "think of moral wickedness as violation (...) of a law or imperative, we must not content ourselves with the freedom which matters most on a greek view of ethics." (staff). (shrink)
A review of a work in which a systematic and general theory of the nature of the conventions governing the semantics of a natural language is developed, with the object of offering a conceptual framework within which semantic phenomena can be understood in relation to syntax and to the communicative and social aspects of language. The empiricist theory of language is criticized for not supplying an adequate framework for the explanation of language learning. Taxonomy is a solution to the problems (...) caused by the limited application of general names. General concepts are not mastered individually, but rather as systems of the arbitrary division of ranges. Linguistic devices are systems of rules showing how human beings communicate with each other in order to forward specific human purposes. One such device can incorporate another and a natural language is merely a system of such systems. An attempt is made to put Wittgenstein's idea of "meaning as use" to work in the context of a general theory of language. A discussion follows on the relationship of Harrison's views to Chomsky's work in grammar and to recent studies in child language learning. R. Gaskill. (shrink)
Not so long ago I attended a conference of philosophers and politicians. I was introduced to one rather opinionated politician as one of the philosophers. He promptly asked me, “What sort of philosopher?” I turned the edge of this by replying rather tartly in turn, “Quite a good one, it is generally thought.” This may seem a little naughty, but there are some uses for prevarication, and few of us care to attach a too explicit label to ourselves. When we (...) do so we often find ourselves keeping the wrong company. There are still some isms around, but we have weeded out most of them from our syllabuses. There is more important and rewarding work to do than fighting pitched philosophical battles between closely regimented troops. (shrink)