Kierkegaard is a fascinating author. Living shortly after the dawn of modernity in the Enlightenment, he restates classical Christianity in dynamic fashion. His Lutheran heritage is vital here as he places 'faith' over against 'reason'. Yet Kierkegaard also holds decidedly pre-modern epistemological presuppositions that are supportive of his endeavour.After an initial chapter on Kierkegaard's intellectual milieu, the book expounds with reference to their philosophical and historical context seven of his major texts, ranging over theological, ethical, social, and political questions. A (...) final chapter considers Kierkegaard as a person and concludes with an evaluation of the authorship.The book does not however simply depict Kierkegaard. In the 'Critique' with which each chapter concludes Hampson carries on a lively debate with Kierkegaard. Questions range from his indifference to biblical historical criticism, to his lack of recognition of causality and the regularity of nature, and his a-political outlook.Whatever one's theological judgement, Kierkegaard has insights that are abiding; into the nature of the self, the importance of the category of the individual, and the need to accord dignity to each. Quoted extensively in this book, Kierkegaard, a writer of distinction, enthrals the reader with his flair, wit, and never failing perspicacity.A provocative and original book, while accessible to those approaching these texts for the first time, it should also be of interest to the seasoned Kierkegaard scholar, illuminating as has no previous work the importance of comprehending the structure of Lutheran faith for grasping Kierkegaard's thought. (shrink)
Hampson expounds seven major Kierkegaard texts, setting them in their philosophical, theological and historical context, drawing attention in particular to the Lutheran setting of Kierkegaard's work that is frequently overlooked. Taking the works sequentially, she provides a time line through Kierkegaard's work and life, presenting an engaging portrait of the thinker. She then engages in a lively debate with Kierkegaard, interfacing his thought with that of others of his time and posing vital questions from a twenty-first century perspective, making (...) evident Kierkegaard's considerable significance for the present. An original and far-ranging book, it will prove invaluable to students, of considerable interest to the community of Kierkegaard scholars for the pertinence of the issues it raises, and provide an enlightening and accessible cross-disciplinary study for a wider intellectual readership. (shrink)
A clear introduction to the major works of Kierkegaard that highlights the Lutheran framework of his thought, the book combines exposition of the texts within their philosophical, theological, and historical context with an engaging critical dialogue that brings Kierkegaard into debate with twenty-first century thought.
This article engages the conversation between Sarah Coakley, DaphneHampson, and Aristotle Papanikolaou on the appropriateness of kenosis as a theological trope for women and deeply oppressed and vulnerable others. It affirms Coakley's and Papanikolaou's stance, which maintains that kenosis is a necessary or at least distinctively valuable category in Christian theology for understanding the transformation and redemption of all persons. The paper expands on Papanikolaou's analysis of the kenosis involved in the healing and recovery of personhood, arguing (...) that the “emptying of fear” reaches the fullness of self‐giving love in the scandalous act of forgiveness. (shrink)
Between 1653 and 1655 Margaret Cavendish makes a radical transition in her theory of matter, rejecting her earlier atomism in favour of an infinitely-extended and infinitely-divisible material plenum, with matter being ubiquitously self-moving, sensing, and rational. It is unclear, however, if Cavendish can actually dispense of atomism. One of her arguments against atomism, for example, depends upon the created world being harmonious and orderly, a premise Cavendish herself repeatedly undermines by noting nature’s many disorders. I argue that her supposed (...) difficulties with atomism expose a deeper tension in her work between two fundamental metaphysical commitments each of which has substantial philosophical support: her monist theory of the material world (which maintains that there exists just one natural substance which is the single principal cause) and her occasional theory of causation (which requires multiple finite principal causes in nature -- causes that might be considered individual substances). Her monism undermines atomism while her theory of occasional cause seems to rest on a conception of nature that would be especially friendly to atomism. I argue further that we can solve this tension within a Cavendishian framework in such a way as to preserve her theory of causation and her monism, but that this solution depends upon our taking her monism in a particular (and weak) form. I finally note that we can best make sense of her unique and interesting form of monism by acknowledging her social-political motivations in addition to her motivations in natural philosophy. (shrink)
It has often been noted that Margaret Cavendish discusses God in her writings on natural philosophy far more than one might think she ought to given her explicit claim that a study of God belongs to theology which is to be kept strictly separate from studies in natural philosophy. In this article, I examine one way in which God enters substantially into her natural philosophy, namely the role he plays in her particular version of teleology. I conclude that, while (...) Cavendish has some resources with which to partially alleviate this tension, she is nonetheless left with a significant difficulty. (shrink)
Review of: Margaret A. Boden, Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science, 2 vols, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006, xlvii+1631, cloth $225, ISBN 0-19-924144-9. - Mind as Machine is Margaret Boden’s opus magnum. For one thing, it comes in two massive volumes of nearly 1700 pages, ... But it is not just the opus magnum in simple terms of size, but also a truly crowning achievement of half a century’s career in cognitive science.
Throughout the 1980s Margaret Thatcher dominated British and global politics. At the same time she maintained an active Christian faith, which she understood as shaping and informing her political choices and policies. In this article I argue that we can construct from Thatcher's key speeches, her memoirs, and her book on public policy a cultural "theo-political" identity which guided her political decisions. Thatcher's identity was as an Anglo-Saxon Nonconformist. This consisted of her belief in values such as thrift and (...) hard work, care for the family and local neighbor, and charitable generosity; her belief in the renewal of the national British Christian spirit; and her notion of morality as the opportunity for free choice. Without a recognition of the centrality of her theo-political identity, it is difficult to understand the values and beliefs which were central to her political life. The methodological issues raised by the construction of this theo-political identity are examined in this article. The aim of the proposed methodology is to develop theological insights into a political phenomenon like Thatcher rather than make policy judgments or recommendations. (shrink)
This essay examines Meera Margaret Singh’s exhibition Nightingale in the time and place of the liminal space we call “hotel.” In intertexual dialogue with Wayne Koestenbaum’s Hotel Theory, the author not only reviews Singh’s intimate photographs of her mother, she reads the images with and against the architecture in which they are exhibited. The Gladstone as exhibition space redoubles Singh’s emphasis on the tense connectivity of apparent binaries: youth and age, public and private, artist and model, object and spectator, (...) living and dying. The quotidian activities of hotel living—guests’ arrivals, departures, and returns—become inextricable pieces of Singh’s site-specific installation. The author theorizes what Freud calls the “foretaste of mourning” in this work, grappling with what will be but is not yet the death of the mother. Singh’s Nightingale proposes that we do not “work through” mourning: mourning is a perpetual way of being in the present. (shrink)
In The City of Ladies and Bell in Campo, Christine de Pizan and Margaret Cavendish imagine women’s participation to war as a metaphor of the sexual conflict that they must fight in order to conquer their visibility in history. While Pizan rewrites history from women’s stand point and acknowledges the universal value of sexual difference for the plan of salvation, Cavendish moves within a modern frame and thinks history as the result of human action. In both cases, the tale (...) of women’s participation to war allows criticizing the moral and normative implications of «nature». (shrink)
This paper provides a systematic reconstruction of Cavendish's general epistemology and a characterization of the fundamental role of that theory in her natural philosophy. After reviewing the outlines of her natural philosophy, I describe her treatment of 'exterior knowledge', i.e. of perception in general and of sense perception in particular. I then describe her treatment of 'interior knowledge', i.e. of self-knowledge and 'conception'. I conclude by drawing out some implications of this reconstruction for our developing understanding of Cavendish's natural philosophy.
In this paper, I argue that Margaret Cavendish’s account of freedom, and the role of education in freedom, is better able to account for the specifics of women’s lives than are Thomas Hobbes’ accounts of these topics. The differences between the two is grounded in their differing conceptions of the metaphysics of human nature, though the full richness of Cavendish’s approach to women, their minds and their freedom can be appreciated only if we take account of her plays, accepting (...) them as philosophical texts alongside her more standard philosophical treatises. (shrink)
According to Margaret Cavendish the entire natural world is essentially rational such that everything thinks in some way or another. In this paper, I examine why Cavendish would believe that the natural world is ubiquitously rational, arguing against the usual account, which holds that she does so in order to account for the orderly production of very complex phenomena (e.g. living beings) given the limits of the mechanical philosophy. Rather, I argue, she attributes ubiquitous rationality to the natural world (...) in order to ground a theory of the ubiquitous freedom of nature, which in turn accounts for both the world's orderly and disorderly behavior. (shrink)
Some scholars have argued that Margaret Cavendish was ambivalent about women's roles and capabilities, for she seems sometimes to hold that women are naturally inferior to men, but sometimes that this inferiority is due to inferior education. I argue that attention to Cavendish's natural philosophy can illuminate her views on gender. In section II I consider the implications of Cavendish's natural philosophy for her views on male and female nature, arguing that Cavendish thought that such natures were not fixed. (...) However, I argue that although Cavendish thought women needed to be better educated, and could change if they had such an education, she also thought their education should reinforce the feminine virtues. Section III examines Cavendish's notorious “Preface to the Reader” (from The Worlds Olio), where Cavendish claims that women are naturally inferior in strength and intelligence to men. Section IV addresses another notorious Cavendish text, “Female Orations,” arguing that its message is similar to that of the “Preface to the Reader.” Nonetheless, although Cavendish held conventional views about male and female nature and appropriate gender roles, she also recognized how social institutions could limit women's freedom; section V explores the complexities of Cavendish's critique of one such institution, patriarchal marriage. (shrink)
This paper considers Margaret Cavendish's distinctive anti-mechanist materialism, focusing on her 1664 Philosophical Letters, in which she discusses the views of Hobbes, Descartes, and More, among others. The paper examines Cavendish's views about natural, material souls: the soul of nature, the souls of finite individuals, and the relation between them. After briefly digressing to look at Cavendish's views about divine, supernatural souls, the paper then turns to the reasons for Cavendish's disagreement with mechanist accounts. There are disagreements over the (...) explanation of particular phenomena, but also a broader disagreement over what to take as one's most basic causal model. (shrink)
This essay examines the connections between ignorance and abjection. Chanter relates Julia Kristeva's notion of abjection to the mechanisms of division found in feminist theory, race theory, film theory, and cultural theory. The neglect of the co-constitutive relationships among such categories as gender, race, and class produces abjection. If those categories are treated as separate parts of a person's identity that merely interlock or intermesh, they are rendered invisible and unknowable even in the very discourses about them. Race thus becomes (...) gender's unthought other, just as gender becomes the excluded other of race. Via an exploration of Margaret's Museum and Casablanca, the author shows why the various sexual, racial, and nationalist dynamics of the two films cannot be reduced to class or commodity fetishism, following Karl Marx, or psychoanalytic fetishism, following Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan. Whether they are crystallized in Marxist or Lacanian terms, fetishistic currencies of exchange are haunted by an imaginary populated by unthought, abject figures. Ejected from the systems of exchange consecrated as symbolic, fragmented, dislocated, diseased body parts inform and constitute meaning. (shrink)
Collecting, comparing, and computing molecular sequences are among the most prevalent practices in contemporary biological research. They represent a specific way of producing knowledge. This paper explores the historical development of these practices, focusing on the work of Margaret O. Dayhoff, Richard V. Eck, and Robert S. Ledley, who produced the first computer-based collection of protein sequences, published in book format in 1965 as the Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure. While these practices are generally associated with the rise (...) of molecular evolution in the 1960s, this paper shows that they grew out of research agendas from the previous decade, including the biochemical investigation of the relations between the structures and function of proteins and the theoretical attempt to decipher the genetic code. It also shows how computers became essential for the handling and analysis of sequence data. Finally, this paper reflects on the relationships between experimenting and collecting as two distinct "ways of knowing" that were essential for the transformation of the life sciences in the twentieth century. (shrink)
Reviews : Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism ; Margaret Rose, The Post-Modern and the Post-Industrial ; Alex Callinicos, Against Postmodernism: A Marxist Critique.
Naturalized moral epistemology eschews practices of assuming to know a priori the nature of situations and experiences that require moral deliberation. Thus it promises to close a gap between formal ethical theories and circumstances where people need guidelines for action. Yet according experience so central a place in inquiry risks "naturalizing" it, treating it as incontestable, separating its moral and political dimensions. This essay discusses these issues with reference to Margaret Walker's Moral understandings.
Margaret Archer has recently provided a persuasive account of the importance of the internal conversation to reflexivity. This raises questions about the shaping of such conversations by involuntary agential positioning. The work of Bourdieu and Bernstein is reviewed to suggest that structural influences can operate by condi-tioning the resources available for the conducting of the internal conversation. Particular emphasis is placed on the transfer of taken for granted ideas from one domain of practice to another.
Margaret Atwood and David Suzuki are two of the most prominent Canadian public intellectuals involved in the global warming debate. They both argue that anthropogenic global warming is occurring, warn against its grave consequences, and urge governments and the public to take immediate, decisive, extensive, and profound measures to prevent it. They differ, however, in the reasons and evidence they provide in support of their position. While Suzuki stresses the scientific evidence in favour of the global warming theory and (...) the scientific consensus around it, Atwood is suspicious of the objectivity of science, and draws on an idiosyncratic neo-Malthusian theory of human development. Their implicit views about the cognitive authority of science may be identified with Critical Contextual Empiricism and Feminist Standpoint Epistemology, respectively, both of which face difficulties with providing solid grounds for the position they advocate. . (shrink)
This article explores the pedagogical significance of non-static and hybrid utopian readings and writings by focusing on Margaret Cavendish's educationally-philosophically neglected female utopia The Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World. It questions the exaggerated, inflated and exclusivist emphasis on the pedagogical benefits of homologous spatial signifiers of entry into utopia and return to home and draws examples of utopian passages across genres, texts, minds and worlds from the writing of Cavendish. Such passages can be read as (...) performative ways of hybridising and reinventing both the utopian topos and the traveller's identity. New space is thus opened for learning as imitation and re-writing rather than as a return to, or manifestation of, an original self. Finally, new performative means for fashioning pedagogical authorship, nurturing the other's learning, and fashioning intellectual growth are promoted. Such means comprise mutuality of pedagogical initiatives, improvisation through imitation and supplementarity of cooperative writing. (shrink)
Many scholars point to the close association between early modern science and the rise of rational arguments in favour of the existence of witches. For some commentators, it is a poor reflection on science that its methods so easily lent themselves to the unjust persecution of innocent men and women. In this paper, I examine a debate about witches between a woman philosopher, Margaret Cavendish , and a fellow of the Royal Society, Joseph Glanvill . I argue that Cavendish (...) is the voice of reason in this exchange—not because she supports the modern-day view that witches do not exist, but because she shows that Glanvill’s arguments about witches betray his own scientific principles. Cavendish’s responses to Glanvill suggest that, when applied consistently, the principles of early modern science could in fact promote a healthy scepticism toward the existence of witches.Keywords: Margaret Cavendish; Joseph Glanvill; Witches; Inference to the best explanation; Anti-dogmatism; Religion. (shrink)
A recent paper in this journal by Hardcastle et al. in 2005 argued that Anthony Giddens’s Structuration Theory might usefully inform sociological nursing research. In response, a critique of ST based upon the Realist Social Theory of Margaret Archer is presented. Archer maintains that ST is fatally flawed and, in consequence, it has little to offer nursing research. Following an analysis of the concepts epiphenomenalism and elisionism, it is suggested that emergentist Realist Social Theory captures or describes a more (...) coherent explanatory vision of social reality than other perspectives and nurse researchers are advised to consider its potential. (shrink)
As media reports have made widely known, in November 2009, the ethics committee of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, permitted the abortion of an eleven-week-old fetus in order to save the life of its mother. This woman was suffering from acute pulmonary hypertension, which her doctors judged would prove fatal for both her and her previable child. The ethics committee believed abortion to be permitted in this case under the so-called principle of double effect, but Thomas J. Olmsted, the (...) bishop of Phoenix, disagreed with the committee and pronounced its chair, Sister Margaret McBride, excommunicated latae sententiae, “by the very commission of the act.” In this article, I take the much discussed Phoenix case as an occasion to subject the principle of double effect to another round of philosophical scrutiny. In particular, I examine the third condition of the principle in its textbook formulation, namely, that the evil effect in question may not be the means to the good effect. My argument, in brief, is that the textbook formulation of the principle does not withstand philosophical scrutiny. Nevertheless, in the end, I do not claim that we should then “do away” with the principle altogether. Instead, we do well to understand it within the context of casuistry, the tradition of moral reasoning from which it issued. (shrink)
The empress of Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World dismisses pure mathematicians as a waste of her time, and declares of the applied mathematicians that “there [is] neither Truth nor Justice in their Profession”. In Cavendish’s theoretical work, she defends the Empress’ judgments. In this paper, I discuss Cavendish’s arguments against pure and applied mathematics. In Sect. 3, I develop an interpretation of some relevant parts of Cavendish’s metaphysics and epistemology, focusing on her anti-abstractionism and what I call her ’assimilation’ (...) view of knowledge. In Sects. 4 and 5, I use this to develop Cavendish’s critiques of pure and applied mathematics, respectively. These critiques center on the claims that mathematics purports to describe non-beings, that nature is infinitely and irreducibly complex, and, perhaps most originally, that mathematical thinking deforms the subject of representation, not just the object. (shrink)
ABSTRACTIn this paper, I explore Margaret Cavendish’s engagement with mid-seventeenth-century debates on spirits and spiritual activity in the world, especially the problems of incorporeal substance and magnetism. I argue that between 1664 and 1668, Cavendish developed an increasingly robust form of materialism in response to the deficiencies which she identified in alternative philosophical systems – principally mechanical philosophy and vitalism. This was an intriguing direction of travel, given the intensification in attacks on the supposedly atheistic materialism of Hobbes. While (...) some scholars claim that Cavendish’s views were not formed out of extensive engagement with contemporary thinkers, I suggest that, on the contrary, Cavendish engaged very closely with the views of More, Hobbes and others – including the vitalist thinker Johannes Baptista van Helmont and the mechanical philosopher Henry Power – on the subject of spirits and... (shrink)
Scholarly interest in Margaret Cavendish's philosophical views has steadily increased over the past decade, but her epistemology has received little attention, and no consensus has emerged; Cavendish has been characterized as a skeptic, as a rationalist, as presenting an alternative epistemology to both rationalism and empiricism, and even as presenting no clear theory of knowledge at all. This paper concludes that Cavendish was only a modest skeptic, for she believed that humans can achieve knowledge through sensitive and rational perception (...) as well as through self-knowledge and can form probable opinions through reasoning. (shrink)
Margaret Cavendish Margaret Lucas Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle, was a philosopher, poet, playwright and essayist. Her philosophical writings were concerned mostly with issues of metaphysics and natural philosophy, but also extended to social and political concerns. Like Hobbes and Descartes, she rejected what she took to be the occult explanations of the Scholastics. […].
This paper pursues a question about the spatial relations between the three types of matter posited in Margaret Cavendish’s metaphysics. It examines the doctrine of complete blending and a distinctive argument against atomism, looking for grounds on which Cavendish can reject the existence of spatial regions composed of only one or two types of matter. It establishes, through that examination, that Cavendish operates with a causal conception of parts of nature and a dynamic notion of division. While the possibility (...) of unmixed spatial regions is found to be consistent with both the doctrine of complete blending and Cavendish’s anti-atomism by themselves, it is finally ruled out by a consideration of her theory of place. In fact, the geometrical question of the spatial relations between types of matter that drives the paper is ultimately exposed as illicitly mathematical from the perspective of Cavendish’s metaphysics. (shrink)
Margaret Fuller's name today often appears when the Transcendentalists in general are mentioned-we may hear of her in the course of writing on Emerson, or Bronson Alcott-but not nearly enough work about Margaret herself, her thought, and her remarkable childhood has been done in recent times.1 Interestingly enough, her name surfaces in connection with some theorizing done about same-sex relationships, but the great import of Fuller's editing of "The Dial," a periodical of the time, her authoring of Woman (...) in the Nineteenth Century, and her life of adventure and rebellion has seldom been articulated.2A virtual child prodigy, Margaret Fuller was educated at home in a way reminiscent of the sort of education given to .. (shrink)
Is the universe really governed by a small set of unifying fundamental laws, as many thinkers have claimed since ancient times? Philosophers who call themselves naturalists believe that the way to settle such questions is to look carefully at what empirical science tells us. In this book, Margaret Morrison argues that if we really do this, we find that science currently does not give us any reason to believe the common picture of the world in which everything can be (...) reduced to a vanishingly small set of entities and forces. Like Nancy Cartwright and John Dupree, Morrison believes that science reveals a world of numerous different sorts of entities and processes, described by different sorts of explanation. Trying to come up with unified descriptions of phenomena does play an important role in science, says Morrison, but there are different types of unification. The sort in which one set of entities can be reductively identified with another occurs rarely. What we find more often are various ways of subsuming different phenomena under similar mathematical formalisms. An urge to unify, in different guises, is an important research motivator, Morrison argues, but it is not the sort of monolithic engine of science that many make it out to be. (shrink)