We argue that the set of humanly known mathematical truths (at any given moment in human history) is finite and so recursive. But if so, then given various fundamental results in mathematical logic and the theory of computation (such as Craig’s in J Symb Log 18(1): 30–32(1953) theorem), the set of humanly known mathematical truths is axiomatizable. Furthermore, given Godel’s (Monash Math Phys 38: 173–198, 1931) First Incompleteness Theorem, then (at any given moment in human history) humanly known mathematics must (...) be either inconsistent or incomplete. Moreover, since humanly known mathematics is axiomatizable, it can be the output of a Turing machine. We then argue that any given mathematical claim that we could possibly know could be the output of a Turing machine, at least in principle. So the Lucas-Penrose (Lucas in Philosophy 36:112–127, 1961; Penrose, in The Emperor’s new mind. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1994)) argument cannot be sound. (shrink)
By analyzing descriptions of illusory and nonillusory figures, Richer called into question the common assumption that illusory and nonillusory perceptions were experientially the same and differed only in terms of their accuracy. The present study attempted to replicate Richer's work with a focus on identifying within the subjects' descriptions any orienting attitudes corresponding to these two forms of perception. Nineteen student volunteers were asked to describe two illusory figures and a nonillusory control of similar complexity. The descriptions revealed consistent differences (...) between the two forms. However, the Hering and Zollner figures were not always described in illusory terms, and surprisingly, several subjects described the control as if it were illusory. Further, perceptual accuracy was not guaranteed by nonillusory experience. Subjects described the figures from within one of three different orienting attitudes-atomizing, representational, and geometrical-organizing. The latter attitude appeared necessary for the phenomena of illusory perception and experience. Though the present findings confirmed Richer's distinction between illusory and nonillusory experience, they also indicate the need for further differentiation- illusory perception versus illusory experience. Finally, the findings also supported Luria's and Segall, Campbell, and Herskovits's position on the importance of particular cultural and educational experiences and codes in relation to perceptual illusions. (shrink)
Kasm does not offer any concept of proof which is regulative for all metaphysics, for he is convinced that each metaphysical approach requires its own proper logic and methodology. Within this pluralistic framework he seeks to discern the structure of formal truth as expressed in the concept of proof inherent in various metaphysical approaches.--L. S. F.
_The Undiscovered Dewey_ explores the profound influence of evolution and its corresponding ideas of contingency and uncertainty on John Dewey's philosophy of action, particularly its argument that inquiry proceeds from the uncertainty of human activity. Dewey separated the meaningfulness of inquiry from a larger metaphysical story concerning the certainty of human progress. He then connected this thread to the way in which our reflective capacities aid us in improving our lives. Dewey therefore launched a new understanding of the modern self (...) that encouraged intervention in social and natural environments but which nonetheless demanded courage and humility because of the intimate relationship between action and uncertainty. Melvin L. Rogers explicitly connects Dewey's theory of inquiry to his religious, moral, and political philosophy. He argues that, contrary to common belief, Dewey sought a place for religious commitment within a democratic society sensitive to modern pluralism. Against those who regard Dewey as indifferent to moral conflict, Rogers points to Dewey's appreciation for the incommensurability of our ethical commitments. His deep respect for modern pluralism, argues Rogers, led Dewey to articulate a negotiation between experts and the public so that power did not lapse into domination. Exhibiting an abiding faith in the reflective and contestable character of inquiry, Dewey strongly engaged with the complexity of our religious, moral, and political lives. (shrink)
The revival of interest in pragmatism and its practical relevance for democracy has prompted a reconsideration of John Dewey’s political philosophy. Dewey’s _The Public and Its Problems _ constitutes his richest and most systematic meditation on the future of democracy in an age of mass communication, governmental bureaucracy, social complexity, and pluralism. Drawing on his previous writings and prefiguring his later thinking, Dewey argues for the importance of civic participation and clarifies the meaning and role of the state, the proper (...) relationship between the public and experts, and the source of democracy’s legitimacy. These themes remain as important today as they were when Dewey first engaged them, and this is the work to which scholars consistently turn when assessing Dewey’s conception of democracy and what might be imagined for democracy in our own time. In this carefully annotated edition, Melvin L. Rogers provides an introductory essay that elucidates the philosophical and historical background of _The Public and Its Problems_ while explaining the key ideas of the book. He also provides a biographical outline of Dewey’s life and bibliographical notes to assist student and scholar alike. (shrink)
odel-L¨ ob computability logic. In order to make things relatively self-contained, I sketch the essential ideas of GL, and discuss the signiﬁcance of its ﬁxpoint theorem. Then I give the algorithm embodied in the program in a little more detail. It should be emphasized that nothing new is presented here — all the theory and methodology are due to others. The main interest is, in a sense, psychological. The approach taken here has been declared in the literature, more than once, (...) to be of theoretical interest only, being too unwieldly in practice. Experimentation shows this is not so provided formulas are not too complicated. A copy of the program can be obtained by ftp from venus.gc.cuny.edu. It is in the subdirectory “/pub/ﬁtting,” under the name “glﬁxpt.pro.” Log on as “anonymous” and use your full e-mail address as password. If there are diﬃculties with ftp, send e-mail to the author at mlﬂc@cunyvm.cuny.edu. The Prolog code is standard, and should run under any implementation, though minor modiﬁcations may be necessary for some systems. These modiﬁcations are described in the last section, and also in the program itself. (shrink)
This essay demonstrates that the management and contestability of power is central to Dewey's understanding of democracy and provides a middle ground between two opposite poles within democratic theory: Either the masses become the genuine danger to democratic governance or elites are described as bent on controlling the masses. Yet, the answer to managing the relationship between them and the demos is never forthcoming. I argue that Dewey's response to Lippmann for how we ought to conceive of the relationship between (...) citizens and elites if power is not to become arbitrary is located within a larger framework that avoids the problematic distinction Wolin draws between the demos and representative government. For Dewey, the legitimacy of decision-making, and, indeed, the security of freedom, is determined not merely by our actual involvement, but the extent to which non-participation does not preclude the future contestability of power. (shrink)
With much talk of President Obama’s pragmatism, there is good reason to explore what this means in terms of his commitments and his policies. When we call Obama a pragmatist, is this merely a way of saying he selects policies and makes decisions that work, quite independent and sometimes against principles he may hold? Or, do we mean to point to something more robust—a kind of pragmatism that emphasizes experimentalism as a cooperative venture, that locates principles in and assesses their (...) worth based on background experiential conditions, that eschews epistemic and practical certainty for fallibilism, that is oriented by a chastened hope, and that is committed to public deliberation as essential to democratic .. (shrink)
Dewey's conception of inquiry is often criticized for misdescribing the complexities of life that outstrip the reach of intelligence. This article argues that we can ascertain his subtle account of inquiry if we read it as a transformation of Aristotle's categories of knowledge: episteme, phronesis, and techne. For Dewey, inquiry is the process by which practical as well as theoretical knowledge emerges. He thus extends the contingency Aristotle attributes to ethical and political life to all domains of action. Knowledge claims (...) become experimental, the result of which makes them revisable in the context of experience. As a result, when we say a person (e.g., scientist, craftsman, or citizen) displays practical wisdom we are reading their judgments within a complex horizon, whose success as judgments require alertness and discernment of salient features in response to an uncertain environment. Contrary to his critics, he seeks to make us attuned to the world's inescapable, and sometimes, tragic complexity. (shrink)
In this essay, I maintain that Dewey's 1888 article “The Ethics of Democracy” is the most immediate thematic and conceptual predecessor to The Public and Its Problems. Both texts revolve around a number of key themes at the heart of Dewey's thinking about democracy: the relationship between the individual and society, the legitimacy of majoritarianism, and the significance and meaning of political deliberation. When these themes are taken together we come to understand the anti-elitist core of Dewey's political thinking.
Richard Rorty's irony is an extended form of Leo Strauss's esotericism, which can harm democracy. Esotericism and irony both grow from a confrontation with nihilism. Strauss's vision seeks to guard the democratic community from the necessity of esotericism, but stops short of installing esotericism and its deception as a public virtue. Rorty, however, replaces belief in sincere speech with inauthentic and insincere rhetoric by presenting the Ironist as a model for public imitation. The social reproduction of dissimulation through irony among (...) deliberative agents undercuts the moral resources that make democracy possible. (shrink)
This special section of Contemporary Pragmatism is about John Dewey's book The Public and Its Problems, published in 1927. Scholars consistently turn to this work when assessing Dewey's conception of democracy and what might be imagined for democracy in our own time. This special section contains four articles by James Bohman, Eric MacGilvray, Eddie Glaude, and myself.
Is Honneth's theory sufficiently sensitive to practices of recognition that have historically emerged? This article answers in the negative by revisiting his ground-breaking study The Struggle for Recognition. The first two sections of this article reconstruct the connection he draws between the practices of recognition, the psychological damage experienced in its absence and the motivation for social conflict that results. In doing so, we discover the paradox of recognition: Honneth makes psychological and moral development depend on precisely the `legally' instantiated (...) system that is the source of disrespect in the first instance. Correspondingly, the paradox of recognition denies other alternative ways oppressed groups have achieved and sustained psychological and moral development. The third section offers the contrasting example of how black Americans used their religious imagination to overcome the effects of slavery. In doing so, they developed structures of mutuality to affirm self and community against misrecognition. (shrink)
In Black Bodies, White Gazes, George Yancy investigates how the experiences of blacks both come into view and are simultaneously distorted by the racialized gaze of whites. In the process of distortion by whites, often unbeknownst to themselves, they are continually implicated in the oppression of blacks that reflexively reinvests "whiteness as the transcendental norm" (xxiii). Precisely because whiteness is tied to socially embedded historical power and privilege that functions on multiple levels of social life, undoing its ill effects, to (...) borrow from James Baldwin, is an ongoing process of entering "into battle with the historical creation, Oneself, and attempt[ing] to re[-]create oneself according to a .. (shrink)
David Walker’s famous 1829 Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World expresses a puzzle at the very outset. What are we to make of the use of “Citizens” in the title given the denial of political rights to African Americans? This essay argues that the pamphlet relies on the cultural and linguistic norms associated with the term appeal in order to call into existence the political standing of black folks. Walker’s use of citizen does not need to rely on (...) a recognitive legal relationship precisely because it is the practice of judging that illuminates one’s political, indeed, citizenly standing. Properly understood, the Appeal aspires to transform blacks and whites, and when it informs the prophetic dimension of the text, it tilts the entire pamphlet in a democratic direction. This is the political power of the pamphlet; it exemplifies the call-and-response logic of democratic self-governance. (shrink)