In April 1939, G. E. Moore read a paper to the Cambridge University Moral Science Club entitled ‘Certainty’. In it, amongst other things, Moore made the claims that: the phrase ‘it is certain’ could be used with sense-experience-statements, such as ‘I have a pain’, to make statements such as ‘It is certain that I have a pain’; and that sense-experience-statements can be said to be certain in the same sense as some material-thing-statements can be — namely in the sense that (...) they can be safely counted on. When Moore later read his paper to Wittgenstein, Wittgenstein took violent exception to it, and the two entered into a heated exchange. The only known notes of this exchange are a previously unpublished verbatim record of part of it, taken by Norman Malcolm. This paper is an edition of Malcolm’s notes. These notes are valuable for both philosophical and scholarly reasons. They give us a glimpse of a sustained exchange between Wittgenstein and a real-life interlocutor; they contain a defence by Wittgenstein of the idea that a word’s use can illuminate its meaning; and they provide evidence of Wittgenstein’s philosophical engagement with the topic of certainty, and with Moore’s thought on it, long before he began to write the notes which make up On Certainty, in 1949. (shrink)
Recently some philosophers have proposed that the later philosophy of Wittgenstein tends towards idealism, or even solipsism. The solipsism is said to be of a peculiar kind. It is characterized as a ‘collective’ or ‘aggregative’ solipsism. The solipsism or idealism is also said to be ‘transcendental’. In the first part of this paper I will be examining a recent essay by Professor Bernard Williams, in which he presents what he takes to be the grounds for such an interpretation of Wittgenstein. (...) After that I will try to offer convincing evidence that no tendency towards any form of idealism is to be found in Wittgenstein's later philosophy. (shrink)
The philosophy of memory has been largely dominated by what could be called ‘the representative theory of memory’. In trying to give an account of ‘what goes on in one's mind’ when one remembers something, or of what ‘the mental content of remembering’ consists, philosophers have usually insisted that there must be some sort of mental image, picture, or copy of what is remembered. Aristotle said that there must be ‘something like a picture or impression’; William James thought that there (...) must be in the mind 'an image or copy’ of the original event; Russell said that ‘Memory demands an image’. In addition to the image or copy a variety of other mental phenomena have been thought to be necessary. In order for a memory image to be distinguished from an expectation image, the former must be accompanied by ‘a feeling of pastness’. One has confidence that the image is of something that actually occurred because the image is attended by ‘a feeling of familiarity’. And in order that you may be sure that the past event not merely occurred but that you witnessed it, your image of the event must be presented to you with a feeling of ‘warmth and intimacy’. When all the required phenomena are put together, the mental content of remembering turns out to be, as William James says, ‘a very complex representation’. (shrink)
Wittgenstein was one of the most powerful influences on contemporary philosophy, yet he shunned publicity and was essentially a private man. This remarkable, vivid, personal memoir is written by one of his friends, the eminent philosopher Norman Malcolm. Reissued in paperback, this edition includes the complete text of fifty-seven letters which Wittgenstein wrote to Malcolm over a period of eleven years. Also included is a concise biographical sketch by another of Wittgenstein's philosopher friends, Georg Henrik von Wright. 'A (...) reader does not need to care about philosophy to be excited by Mr Malcolm's book; it is about Wittgenstein as a man, and its interest is human interest'. (shrink)
In this book, Malcolm presents a new and radical interpretation of Plato's earlier dialogues. He argues that the few cases of self-predication contained therein are acceptable simply as statements concerning universals, and that therefore Plato is not vulnerable in these cases to the Third Man Argument. In considering the middle dialogues, Malcolm takes a conservative stance, rejecting influential current doctrines which portray the Forms as being not self-predicative. He shows that the middle dialogues do indeed take Forms to (...) be both universals and paradigms, and thus to exemplify themselves. The author goes on to consider why Plato should have been unsuccessful in avoiding self-predication. He shows that Plato's concern to explain how the truths of mathematics can indeed be true played an important role in his postulation of the Form as an Ideal Individual. The author concludes with the claim that reflection on the ambiguity of the notion of the "Standard Yard" may help us to appreciate why Plato failed to distinguish Forms as universals from Forms as paradigm cases. (shrink)
Acclaimed writer and historian Noel Malcolm presents his sensational discovery of a new work by Thomas Hobbes : a propaganda pamphlet on behalf of the Habsburg side in the Thirty Years' War, translated by Hobbes from a Latin original. Malcolm's book explores a fascinating episode in seventeenth-century history, illuminating both the practice of early modern propaganda and the theory of "reason of state".
These essays are the fruit of many years' research by one of the world's leading Hobbes scholars. Noel Malcolm offers not only succinct introductions to Hobbes 's life and thought, but also path-breaking studies of many different aspects of his political philosophy, his scientific and religious theories, his relations with his contemporaries, the sources of his ideas, the printing history of his works, and his influence on European thought.
Noel Malcolm, one of the world's leading experts on Thomas Hobbes, presents a set of extended essays on a wide variety of aspects of the life and work of this giant of early modern thought. Malcolm offers a succinct introduction to Hobbes's life and thought, as a foundation for his discussion of such topics as his political philosophy, his theory of international relations, the development of his mechanistic world-view, and his subversive Biblical criticism. Several of the essays pay (...) special attention to the European dimensions of Hobbes's life, his sources and his influence; the longest surveys the entire European reception of his work from the 1640s to the 1750s. All the essays are based on a deep knowledge of primary sources, and many present striking new discoveries about Hobbes's life, his manuscripts, and the printing history of his works. Aspects of Hobbes will be essential reading not only for Hobbes specialists, but also for all those interested in seventeenth-century intellectual history more generally, both British and European. (shrink)
Michel Seymour | : Dans ce texte, j’examine sur un mode programmatique la relation qui existe entre les peuples et les territoires. Les frontières des peuples souverains sont-elles sacrées, naturelles et absolues, voire irréfragables ? Le territoire a-t-il une importance identitaire ? Si oui, cette relation identitaire repose-t-elle sur l’attachement sentimental des citoyens ou sur une préférence rationnelle ? Doit-on plutôt l’expliquer par un rapport historique ? Le territoire est-il un élément constitutif de l’identité d’un peuple ? Le principe (...) de l’intégrité du territoire a-t-il une priorité absolue sur le principe affirmant le droit à l’autodétermination des peuples ? Tel est l’éventail de questions qui peuvent être posées en ce qui concerne la relation entre les peuples et leurs territoires. Je veux présenter une perspective qui me semble être originale. Dans la perspective du libéralisme politique, je pars d’une conception institutionnelle du peuple. Je me propose d’indiquer ensuite comment cette approche permet d’envisager des réponses à ces questions. | : In this paper, I examine in a programmatic fashion the relationship between peoples and territories. Are the borders of sovereign peoples sacred, natural and absolute, or even irrebuttable ? Does territory plays an important role for identity ? If so, is this relationship based on the sentimental attachment of citizens or on a rational preference ? Should it be explained instead by a historical relationship ? Is territory even constitutive of the identity of a people ? Does the principle of territorial integrity have priority over the principle asserting the right to self-determination of peoples ? Such are the issues that can be raised concerning the relationship between peoples and their territories. I want to present an account that I take to be original. In accordance with political liberalism, I start from an institutional conception of peoples. I then indicate how this approach allows to consider answers to some of these questions. (shrink)
To ensnare the sophist of the Sophist in a definition disclosing him as a purveyor of images and falsehoods Plato must block the sophistical defence that image and falsehood are self-contradictory in concept, for they both embody the proposition proscribed by Parmenides — ‘What is not, is’. It has been assumed that Plato regards this defence as depending on a reading of ‘what is not’ in its very strongest sense, where it is equivalent to ‘what is not in any way’ (...) or ‘nothing’. Likewise, the initial paradoxes of not-being are seen as requiring that to mē on be understood in this way, that later designated by Plato as the opposite of to on or ‘being’. On this interpretation, Plato's counter-strategy is to recognise a use of to mē on which is not opposed in this strict sense to being, but is indeed a part of it and is ‘being other than’. In a stimulating article, R. W. Jordan challenges this account. I shall briefly attempt to show that his objections are not decisive and that his own interpretation is open to question. Jordan makes the interesting suggestion that a distinction between two senses of not-being, where one is equivalent to nothing and one is not, dates from the middle dialogues — particularly from Republic V, where objects of agnoia are mēdamē onta and objects of doxa are both onta and mē onta. He concludes , ‘Malcolm's view, then, seems to amount to this: that Plato is now extending the moral he draws about objects of belief in the Republic to cover forms. Forms too now are seen to be both being and notbeing.’. (shrink)
To ensnare the sophist of the Sophist in a definition disclosing him as a purveyor of images and falsehoods Plato must block the sophistical defence that image and falsehood are self-contradictory in concept, for they both embody the proposition proscribed by Parmenides — ‘What is not, is’. It has been assumed that Plato regards this defence as depending on a reading of ‘what is not’ in its very strongest sense, where it is equivalent to ‘what is not in any way’ (...) or ‘nothing’. Likewise, the initial paradoxes of not-being are seen as requiring that to mē on be understood in this way, that later designated by Plato as the opposite of to on or ‘being’. On this interpretation, Plato's counter-strategy is to recognise a use of to mē on which is not opposed in this strict sense to being, but is indeed a part of it and is ‘being other than’. In a stimulating article, R. W. Jordan challenges this account. I shall briefly attempt to show that his objections are not decisive and that his own interpretation is open to question. Jordan makes the interesting suggestion that a distinction between two senses of not-being, where one is equivalent to nothing and one is not, dates from the middle dialogues — particularly from Republic V, where objects of agnoia are mēdamē onta and objects of doxa are both onta and mē onta. He concludes, ‘Malcolm's view, then, seems to amount to this: that Plato is now extending the moral he draws about objects of belief in the Republic to cover forms. Forms too now are seen to be both being and notbeing.’. (shrink)
Noel Malcolm presents his long-awaited critical edition of one of the most important philosophical works ever written. Hobbes's Leviathan (1651) is a classic of political theory and of English prose, studied at every university in the world. The English and Latin versions of the text are fully annotated, with a book-length introduction.
Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan is one of the most important philosophical texts in the English language, and one of the most influential works of political philosophy ever written. This Introduction accompanies Noel Malcolm's long-awaited critical edition, and gives a path-breaking account of the work's context, sources, and textual history.
This is the first critical edition of Hobbes's Leviathan based on a full study of the manuscript and printing history, and the first to place the English text alongside Hobbes's later Latin version of it. Both texts are fully annotated with explanatory notes. Noel Malcolm's definitive edition sets the study of Hobbes's masterwork on a new basis.
Most states are multination states, and most peoples are stateless peoples. Just as collectives can behave as sovereign states only if they are recognized by the international community, liberal multination states must recognize stateless peoples in order to determine their political status within that state. There is, however, no agreement on the kind of principles that should be considered, especially under classical liberalism, which gives individuals preeminence over groups. Liberal theories that attempt to accommodate collective rights are often based on (...) a comprehensive version of liberalism that subscribes to moral individualism. Within such a framework, they develop a watered-down concept of collective rights. In A Liberal Theory of Collective Rights Michel Seymour explores the theoretical resources of John Rawls’s political liberalism and shows that this particular approach can accommodate genuine collective rights. By Rawls’s account, Seymour explains, peoples are moral agents and sources of valid moral claims and are therefore entitled to collective rights. These kinds of rights translate, in the constitution of the multination state, to a true political recognition for stateless peoples. Ultimately, A Liberal Theory of Collective Rights answers three important questions: Who is the subject of collective rights? What is the object of collective rights? And can they be institutionalized in real politics? (shrink)
An attempt is made to answer the question why wittgenstein might have found the analogy between speaking and playing games philosophically exciting. It is argued that on the face of it the two are strikingly disanalogous, But that on reflecting further one can find various features of games (9 are distinguished in all) which are also features of some speech episodes, And the awareness of which could be philosophically significant.
Descartes' proof that his essence is thinking.--Thoughtless brutes.--Descartes' proof that he is essentially a non-material thing.--Behaviorism as a philosophy of psychology.--The privacy of experience.--Wittgenstein on the nature of mind.--The myth of cognitive processes and structures.--Moore and Wittgenstein on the sense of "I know."--The groundlessness of belief.
In his book The View from Nowhere , Thomas Nagel says that ‘the subjectivity of consciousness is an irreducible feature of reality’ . He speaks of ‘the essential subjectivity of the mental’ , and of ‘the mind's irreducibly subjective character’ . ‘Mental concepts’, he says, refer to ‘subjective points of view and their modifications’ : The subjective features of conscious mental processes—as opposed to their physical causes and effects—cannot be captured by the purified form of thought suitable for dealing with (...) the physical world that underlines the appearances. Not only raw feels but also intentional mental states—however objective their content—must be capable of manifesting themselves in subjective form to be in the mind at all. (shrink)
Most contemporary philosophers who defend the compatibility of hell with the divine goodness do so by arguing that the damned freely choose hell. Thomas Talbott denies that such a choice is possible, on the grounds that God in his goodness would remove any 'ignorance, deception, or bondage to desire' which would motivate a person to choose eternal misery. My strategy is to turn the tables on Talbott and ask why God would not remove the motives we have for any sin (...) whatsoever. I argue that two plausible answers to this question also show why God would not remove our motives for choosing hell. (shrink)