In this paper, I provide an account of epistemic anxiety as an emotional response to epistemic risk: the risk of believing in error. The motivation for this account is threefold. First, it makes epistemic anxiety a species of anxiety, thus rendering psychologically respectable a notion that has heretofore been taken seriously only by epistemologists. Second, it illuminates the relationship between anxiety and risk. It is standard in psychology to conceive of anxiety as a response to risk, but psychologists – very (...) reasonably – have little to say about risk itself, as opposed to risk judgement. In this paper, I specify what risk must be like to be the kind of thing to which anxiety can be a response. Third, my account improves on extant accounts of epistemic anxiety in the literature. It is more fleshed out than Jennifer Nagel’s, which is largely agnostic about the nature of epistemic anxiety, focusing instead on what work it does in our epistemic lives. In offering an account of epistemic anxiety as an emotion, my account explains how it is able to do the epistemological work to which Nagel puts it. My account is also more plausible than Juliette Vazard’s, on which epistemic anxiety is an emotional response to potential threat to one’s practical interests. Vazard’s account cannot distinguish epistemic anxiety from anxiety in general, and also fails to capture all instances of what we want to call epistemic anxiety. My account does better on both counts. (shrink)
This paper evaluates whether and to what extent modal constraints on knowledge or the semantics of ‘knows’, which make essential reference to what goes on in other possible worlds, can be considered non-epistemic factors with epistemic significance. This is best understood as the question whether modal factors are non-truth-relevant factors that make the difference between true belief and knowledge, or to whether a true belief falls under the extension of ‘knowledge’ in a context, where a factor is truth-relevant with respect (...) to S’s belief that P iff it bears on the probability that P is true. To the extent that these factors are non-epistemic, epistemologies that endorse them—modal epistemologies—stand in conflict with intellectualism. I focus on three modal epistemologies: safety, sensitivity, and David Lewis’s epistemic contextualism. I argue that prima facie, safety and sensitivity allow that non-epistemic changes in a context can shift the closeness ordering on worlds, and in so doing make a difference to whether S knows P, while Lewis’s contextualism allows that non-epistemic changes in a context can shift the relevant domain of not-P possibilities that must be eliminated for ‘S knows P’ to be true in that context. Then to make her theory compatible with intellectualism, the modal epistemologist must say much more about the notion of probability at play in the definition of ‘truth-relevant’. I suggest that either accepting or rejecting that modal epistemologies are intellectualist has significance consequences for debates between pragmatists and purists, which radiate into wider contemporary epistemology. (shrink)
Aside from the Principia and occasional appearances of the Opticks , Newton' writings have remained largely inaccessible to students of philosophy, science, and literature as well as to other readers. This book provides a remedy with wide representation of the interests, problems, and diverse philosophic issues that preoccupied the greatest scientific mind of the seventeenth century. Grouped in sections corresponding to methods, principles, and theological considerations, these selections feature explanatory notes and cross-references to related essays.
This paper offers a reinterpretation of the divine as embodied by the Semitic goddess Lilith, she who has been represented and misrepresented in a variety of sacred texts. Working with Lilith as both symbol and archetype, I will analyze texts in which she appears, tracing her historical development and metamorphosis from goddess to demon to symbol of independence and open sexuality. As part of this analysis, I will discuss how Lilith's demonization was designed to keep women alienated (...) from their own 'original sources' of power and spiritual authority. The essay concludes with an appreciation of feminist texts, including the first midrash or reinterpretation of the Alphabet of Ben Sira, and more recent work. I also bring in feminist scholars' reclamation of the Sacred Feminine through poetic/liturgical responses to damaging canonical texts. My paper argues that this literature, too, should be regarded as 'sacred text,' since these women-centered writings have become texts of empowerment for contemporary women as well as part of their spiritual practice. (shrink)
We all think that science is special. Its products—its technological spin-off—dominate our lives which are thereby sometimes enriched and sometimes impoverished but always affected. Even the most outlandish critics of science such as Feyerabend implicitly recognize its success. Feyerabend told us that science was a congame. Scientists had so successfully hood-winked us into adopting its ideology that other equally legitimate forms of activity—alchemy, witchcraft and magic—lost out. He conjured up a vision of much enriched lives if only we could free (...) ourselves from the domination of the ‘one true ideology’ of science just as our ancestors freed us from the domination of the Church. But he told us these things in Switzerland and in California happily commuting between them in that most ubiquitous product of science—the aeroplane. (shrink)
A series of lectures organized in part by the Society for Applied Philosophy and entitled ‘Philosophy and Practice’ is presumably aimed at displaying the practical implications of philosophical doctrines and/or applying philosophical skills to practical questions. The topic of this paper, the role of interests in science, certainly meets the first condition. For as will be argued there are a number of theses concerning the role of interests in science which have considerable implications for how one should see the scientific (...) enterprise in general and in particular for how one assesses the claim that science ought to be accorded its priviliged position in virtue of its results and/or methods And in view of the respect and resources accorded to science what could be of greater practical interest? It remains the case, however, that my interest may seem the inverse of that of the organizers of this series. For in looking at the role of interest in science, one is examining, so to speak, the extent to which the sphere of the practical determines what goes on in science. One is exploring ways in which the non-scientific impinges on the scientific. While my primary focus will be on the physical sciences, it will be argued that there is a significant difference between them and the social sciences; a difference which renders the social sciences intrinsically liable to penetration from outside. As will be seen, some of the particular arguments for this conclusion make pressing the question: what about philosophy? The answer, it will be concluded, is that philosophy is insulated from external influences to a considerable extent. In that lies both its importance and an explanation as to why much of it has little practical application. (shrink)
The article presents the feminist discourse on Lilith and asks why she has returned to the centre of activity and creation? It begins with Lilith’s Integrative Myth – a description of the classic Lilith myths – whilst trying to define her image’s central characteristics. Following, I offer one integrative myth: a complex essence that contains contrasts, and stems from a variety of sources, each contributing to the formation of Lilith’s story’s numerous aspects. Lilith’s Revival is (...) discussed, surveying the different ways in which Lilith appears in today’s feminist spiritual discourse, while presenting some of the ways in which her story is re-interpreted and used towards contemporary feminist needs. A feminist Jungian outlook on Lilith’s Myths is included, deciphering Lilith as a symbol of the life-death-life cycle, which leads to a summary of the Jungian analysis’ implications. (shrink)
In a contribution to a symposium on xenophilia, this essay — a study of Brian Friel’s 1980 play Translations — raises the question of whether all xenophilia is by nature doomed to fail. Set in Ireland in 1833, the drama centers on the tension arising from a young British lieutenant’s falling in love with an Irish-speaker while he is in her country to translate Irish place-names into English for an imperial cartographic survey. While the lieutenant is referred to in the (...) play as a Hibernophile, the essay interprets his love as xenophilic: love for the foreignness rather than the Irishness of what he encounters. The lieutenant’s love of foreign places and their names impedes his effort to systematize Ireland for imperial ends, and his love for an Irish woman brings about his own undoing. Applying Simone de Beauvoir’s view of alterity to the lieutenant’s xenophilia, the essay questions whether the English written over the Irish in this play and the lieutenant’s desire written over the objects of his love obscure enough of the other’s otherness to render his xenophilia no longer viable. (shrink)
The anthology makes an important contribution to the research topic Literature and Knowledge and picks up on the current narratological discussion on literary characters. The key question addressed in this volume is the function of knowledge in the production and reception of literary texts. Literary studies on works from different national literatures and periods are supplemented by insightful contributions from history, linguistics and philosophy, illuminating the discussion for the first time from a multilayered perspective.".
Here we are dealing with the two central figures of the female gender in the Judeo-Christian tradition of Holy Scripture, or at least the texts that apply to the narrative of the first couple. The paper focuses on procreation and its symbolic implications in the Genesis narrative. There is a great difference between Eve and Lilith, the opposite archetypes of the female gender. So examining the forgotten existence of Lilith compared with the creation of Eve is an attempt (...) to understand the schema of reproduction and distinction between the sexes. (shrink)
When Newton articulated the concept of absolute time in his treatise, Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), along with its correlate, absolute space, he did not present it as anything controversial. Whereas his references to attraction are accompanied by the self- protective caveats that typically signal an expectation of censure, the Scholium following Principia’s definitions is free of such remarks, instead elaborating his ideas as clarifications of concepts that, in some manner, we already possess. This is (...) not surprising. The germ of the concept emerged naturally from astronomers’ findings, and variants of it had already been formulated by other seventeenth century thinkers. Thus the novelty of Newton’s absolute time lay mainly in the use to which he put it. (shrink)
Newton’s Regulae philosophandi—the rules for reasoning in natural philosophy—are maxims of causal reasoning and induction. This essay reviews their significance for Newton’s method of inquiry, as well as their application to particular propositions within the Principia. Two main claims emerge. First, the rules are not only interrelated, they defend various facets of the same core idea: that nature is simple and orderly by divine decree, and that, consequently, human beings can be justified in inferring universal causes from limited (...) phenomena, if only fallibly. Second, the rules make substantive ontological assumptions on which Newton’s argument in the Principia relies. (shrink)
Isaac Newton is best known as a mathematician and physicist. He invented the calculus, discovered universal gravitation and made significant advances in theoretical and experimental optics. His master-work on gravitation, the Principia, is often hailed as the crowning achievement of the scientific revolution. His significance for philosophers, however, extends beyond the philosophical implications of his scientific discoveries. Newton was an able and subtle philosopher, working at a time when science was not yet recognized as an activity distinct from (...) philosophy. He engaged with the work of Rene Descartes and G.W. Leibniz, and showed sensitivity to the work of John Locke, Francis Bacon, Pierre Gassendi and Henry More, to name just a few. In his time, Newton was not perceived as a scientific outsider, but as an active and knowledgeable participant in philosophical debates.... (shrink)
It is easy to get the impression that Newton and Leibniz do not see eye to eye on anything. Yet, as is so often the case, a closer look reveals that matters are much more complicated. Despite their disagreements, the two are frequently on the same side of central scientific and philosophical debates. This entry discusses some of the main agreements and disagreements between Newton and Leibniz, starting with their methodologies and then turning to their views on space, (...) motion, and gravitation. (shrink)
This is a preprinted excerpt from: Kochiras, “By ye Divine Arm: God and Substance in De gravitatione”, Religious Studies (Sept. 2013), 49(3): 327-356 (available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/religious-studies/article/by-ye-divine-arm-god-and-substance -in-de-gravitatione/08D21B2C2611624FA11A0D6B115849AD ). In this preprinted excerpt, I explicate the concepts of matter and space that Newton develops in De gravitatione. As I interpret Newton’s account of created substances, bodies are constructed from qualities alone, as configured by God. Although regions of space and then “determined quantities of extension” appear to replace the Aristotelian substrate (...) by functioning as property-bearers, they actually serve only as logical subjects. An implication of the interpretation I develop is that only space is extended by having parts outside parts; material bodies are spatially extended only in a derivative sense, via the presence of their constitutive qualities or powers in space. (shrink)
This is the first volume of original commissioned papers on the subject of Newton and empiricism. The chapters, contributed by a leading team of both established and younger international scholars, explore the nature and extent of Newton's relationship to a variety of empiricisms and empiricists.
Newton’s famous pronouncement, Hypotheses non fingo, first appeared in 1713, but his anti-hypothetical stance was present as early as 1672. For example, in his first paper on optics, Newton claims that his doctrine of light and colours is a theory, not a hypothesis, for three reasons (1) It is certainly true, because it supported by (or deduced from) experiment; (2) It concerns the physical properties of light, rather than the nature of light; and (3) It has testable consequences. (...) Despite his clear anti-hypothetical statements, a corpuscular hypothesis lies beneath Newton’s theory of colours. What are we to make of this? Is Newton guilty of feigning a hypothesis? Some writers, such as Sabre and Dear, argue that Newton’s Hypotheses non fingo is merely ‘lip-service’ to the dominant methodological tradition. Others, such as Janiak, argue that Newton’s anti-hypotheticalism is a polemic device, designed specifically to oppose his Cartesian and Leibnizian critics. I argue that, despite his corpuscular hypothesis, we should take Newton’s pronouncement as a genuine account of his methodology. I take a fresh look at Newton’s first optical papers in light of the role of hypotheses in the Baconian-experimental tradition in which Newton’s early research was conducted. I argue that Newton is working with a rough but genuine distinction between hypothesis and theory. This distinction is consistent with both the Baconian-experimental method and with his later anti-hypothetical pronouncements. I conclude that Newton did not ‘feign’ the corpuscular hypothesis. (shrink)
This essay explores the role of God’s omnipresence in Newton’s natural philosophy, with special emphasis placed on how God is related to space. Unlike Descartes’ conception, which denies the spatiality of God, or Gassendi and Charleton’s view, which regards God as completely whole in every part of space, it is argued that Newton accepts spatial extension as a basic aspect of God’s omnipresence. The historical background to Newton’s spatial ontology assumes a large part of our investigation, but (...) with attention also focused on the details of Newton’s unique approach to these traditional Scholastic conceptions. (shrink)
The Black Panther Party was founded to bridge the radical theorizing that swept college campuses in the mid-1960s and the lumpen proletariat abandoned by the so-called ‘Great Society’. However, shortly thereafter, Newton began to harshly criticize the academic Left in general for their drive to find ‘a set of actions and a set of principles that are easy to identify and are absolute.’ This article reconstructs Newton’s critique of progressive movements grounded primarily in academic debates, as well as (...) his conception of vanguard political theory. Newton’s grasp of revolution as a gradual, open, and above all dialectical process, not only provides a corrective to many dominant academic accounts of the nature of progressive change but, more importantly, it also grounds an emancipatory philosophy that can direct collective struggle, precisely because it remains grounded in the imperfect and internally conflicted lives of those whose freedom is to be won through it. (shrink)
ONE of the most celebrated mathematical physicists, Pierre-Simon Laplace is often remembered as the mathematician who showed that despite appearances, the Solar System does conform to Newton’s theories. Together with distinguished scholars Robert Fox and Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Charles Gillispie gives us a new perspective, showing that Laplace did not merely vindicate Newton’s system, but had a uniquely creative and independent mind.