We present an extensive literature review exploring the relationships between food insecurity and rapid biodiversity loss, and the competing methods proposed to address each of these serious problems. Given a large and growing human population, the persistence of widespread malnutrition, and the direct and significant threats the expanding agricultural system poses to biodiversity, the goals of providing universal food security and protecting biodiversity seem incompatible. Examining the literature shows that the current agricultural system already provides sufficient food on a worldwide (...) basis, but in doing so methodically undermines the capacity of agroecosystems to preserve biodiversity. However, the available evidence emphasizes the interdependence of biodiversity and agriculture, and the important role each plays in the maintenance of the other. Thus, our review supports the claim that the solutions to the problems of widespread food insecurity and biodiversity loss need not be mutually exclusive, and that it may be possible to address both using appropriate alternative agricultural practices. (shrink)
I talk about the relation between the direct encounters with values that I take to be a key part of ordinary moral phenomenology, and the well-worn topic of demandingness. I suggest that an ethical philosophy based on (inter alia) such encounters sheds interesting light on some familiar problems.
In this book philosophers, scholars of religion, and activists address the theme of responsibility. Barbara Darling-Smith brings together an enlightening collection of essays that analyze the ethics of responsibility, its relational nature, and its global struggle.
Tim the terrorist: We have Tim the terrorist in custody, and we know that he knows where the bomb is that his group have secretly planted somewhere in central London, and we know that if we torture him hard enough he will reliably tell us where it is in time for us to defuse it, and we know that there is no other way of getting him to tell us, and we know that if we don't defuse it the bomb (...) will kill thousands of innocent people. So: what to do? (shrink)
Can there be a moral philosophy which combines Christianity and consequentialism? John Stuart Mill himself claimed that these positions were, at the least, not mutually exclusive, and quite possibly even congenial to one another; and some recent work by Christian philosophers in America has resurrected this claim. But there is a simple argument to show that consequentialism and orthodox Christianity are not so much as jointly assertible.
Ontology was never Hume's main interest, but he certainly had opinions as to what there is, and he often expressed these in his philosophical works. Indeed it seems clear that Hume changed his ontological views while writing the Treatise , and that not just one but two different ontologies are to be found there. The ontology of Parts I, II, and III of Book I is more or less Lockean. There are minds and their operations and qualities. There are physical (...) entities, bodily actions and qualities if not bodies over and above these. And there are further entities, called ideas by Locke and perceptions by Hume, that represent things other than themselves, both physical and mental, while existing in and being dependent upon minds. In Part IV of Book I, however, and especially in Sections 2 and 6, a new ontology appears, one that differs not only from the doctrine of the earlier sections of the Treatise but also from any that previous philosophers had held. According to this new ontology, there are only perceptions: all other sorts of things are absorbed by or reduced to these, or else simply eliminated. Berkeley had indeed assimilated bodies and the properties of bodies to perceptions, but he had kept minds as a distinct category of entity. Hume went the whole way, making everything perceptions. We might characterise this new ontology as trans-Berkeleyan, or call it, on account of its similarity to later doctrines so named, phenomenalism or neutral monism. (shrink)
This paper deals with Ludwik Fleck’s theory of thought styles and Michael Polanyi’s theory of tacit knowledge. Though both concepts have been very influential for science studies in general, and both have been subject to numerous interpretations, their accounts have, somewhat surprisingly, hardly been comparatively analyzed. Both Fleck and Polanyi relied on the physiology and psychology of the senses in order to show that scientific knowledge follows less the path of logical principles than the path of accepting or rejecting (...) specific conventions, where these may be psychologically or sociologically grounded. It is my aim to show that similarities and differences between Fleck and Polanyi are to be seen in the specific historical and political context in which they worked. Both authors, I shall argue, emphasized the relevance of perception in close connection to their respective understanding of science, freedom, and democracy. (shrink)
Suppose a fire broke out in a fertility clinic. One had time to save either a young girl, or a tray of ten human embryos. Would it be wrong to save the girl? According to Michael Sandel, the moral intuition is to save the girl; what is more, one ought to do so, and this demonstrates that human embryos do not possess full personhood, and hence deserve only limited respect and may be killed for medical research. We will argue, (...) however, that no relevant ethical implications can be drawn from the thought experiment. It demonstrates neither that one always ought to let the embryos die, nor does it allow for any general conclusion concerning the moral status of human embryos. (shrink)
This article presents a critical analysis of two influential readings of Kant’s Second Analogy, namely, Gerd Buchdahl’s “modest reading” and Michael Friedman’s “strong reading.” After pointing out the textual and philosophical problems with each, I advance an alternative reading of the Second Analogy argument. On my reading, the Second Analogy argument proves the existence of necessary and strictly universal causal laws. This, however, does not guarantee that Kant has a solution for the problem of induction. After I explain why (...) the empirical lawfulness of nature does not guarantee the empirical uniformity of nature, I examine the modal status of empirical laws in Kant and argue contra Buchdahl and Friedman that empirical laws express two different kinds of necessity that are not reducible to each other. -/- . (shrink)
Michael Sandel’s latest book is not a scholarly work but is clearly intended as a work of public philosophy—a contribution to public rather than academic discourse. The book makes two moves. The first, which takes up most of it, is to demonstrate by means of a great many examples, mostly culled from newspaper stories, that markets and money corrupt—degrade—the goods they are used to allocate. The second follows from the first as Sandel’s proposed solution: we as a society should (...) deliberate together about the proper meaning and purpose of various goods, relationships, and activities (such as baseball and education) and how they should be valued. -/- Public philosophy is a different genre from academic philosophy, but that does not mean that it cannot be held to high standards. In my view, while this book does provide food for thought and food for conversation, it nevertheless has significant failings as a work of public philosophy rather than journalistic social activism on the model of Naomi Klein’s No logo (1999). (shrink)
To combat the ecological crisis, fundamental change is required in how humans perceive nature. This paper proposes that the human-nature bifurcation, a metaphysical mental model that is deeply entrenched and may be environmentally unsound, stems from embodied and tacitly-held substance-biased belief systems. Process philosophy can aid us, among other things, in providing an alternative framework for reinterpreting this bifurcation by drawing an ontological bridge between humans and nature, thus providing a coherent philosophical basis for sustainable dwelling and policy-making. Michael (...) Polanyi's epistemology can further help us understand these environmentally-oriented tacit processes of knowing, and also provide a basis for the political and educational implementation of process-philosophical insights, particularly via the nudging of mental models. (shrink)
The eminent historian and philosopher of biology, Michael Ruse, has written several books that explore the relationship of evolutionary theory to its larger scientific and cultural setting. Among the questions he has investigated are: Is evolution progressive? What is its epistemological status? Most recently, in "Darwin and Design: Does Evolution have a Purpose?," Ruse has provided a history of the concept of teleology in biological thinking, especially in evolutionary theorizing. In his book, he moves quickly from Plato and Aristotle (...) to Kant and such British thinkers as Paley and Whewell. His main focus, though, is on Darwin's theory and its subsequent fate. Ruse rests his history on some shaky historical and philosophic assumptions, particularly the unexamined notion that evolutionary theory is an abstract entity that is unproblematically realized in different historical periods. He also assumes that Darwin conceived nature as if it were a Manchester spinning loom -- a clanking, dispassionate machine. A more subtle analysis, which Ruse eschews, might discover that Darwin's conception of nature owed a strong debt to German Romanticism and that he contrived to infuse nature with moral and aesthetic values, not to suck them from nature. Ruse proves he is a thinker to contend with, and this essay is quite contentious. (shrink)
Book synopsis: The first full and sustained discussion of Parfit's views on objectivity in ethics Leading philosophers respond to Parfit's criticisms and advance our understanding of the arguments An essential companion volume to Parfit's On What Matters, Volume Three In the first two volumes of On What Matters Derek Parfit argues that there are objective moral truths, and other normative truths about what we have reasons to believe, and to want, and to do. He thus challenges a view of the (...) role of reason in action that can be traced back to David Hume, and is widely assumed to be correct, not only by philosophers but also by economists. In defending his view, Parfit argues that if there are no objective normative truths, nihilism follows, and nothing matters. He criticizes, often forcefully, many leading contemporary philosophers working on the nature of ethics, including Simon Blackburn, Stephen Darwall, Allen Gibbard, Frank Jackson, Peter Railton, Mark Schroeder, Michael Smith, and Sharon Street. Does Anything Really Matter? gives these philosophers an opportunity to respond to Parfit's criticisms, and includes essays on Parfit's views by Richard Chappell, Andrew Huddleston, Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer, Bruce Russell, and Larry Temkin. A third volume of On What Matters, in which Parfit engages with his critics and breaks new ground in finding significant agreement between his own views and theirs, is appearing as a separate companion volume. (shrink)
Michael McKenna’s Conversation and Responsibility is an ambitious and impressive statement of a new theory of moral responsibility. McKenna’s approach builds upon the strategy advanced in P.F. Strawson’s enormously influential “Freedom and Resentment” (which was published in 1962). The account advanced aims to provide Strawson’s theory with the sort of detail that is required to fill significant gaps and respond to a wide range of criticisms and objections that have been directed against it. ....Conversation and Responsibility belongs on the (...) top shelf of any set of readings devoted to the contemporary discussion of moral responsibility. All readers, whatever their philosophical orientation may be, will find it both challenging and rewarding. Whether in the end one endorses the conversational model or not, there can be no doubt that this is a contribution that significantly advances our overall understanding of these important and complex matters. (shrink)
Michael Dummett's approach to the metaphysical issue of realism through the philosophy of language, his challenge to realism, and his philosophy of language itself are central topics in contemporary analytic philosophy and have influenced the work of other major figures such as Quine, Putnam, and Davidson. This book offers an accessible and systematic presentation of the main elements of Dummett's philosophy. This book's overarching theme is Dummett's discussion of realism: his characterization of realism, his attack on realism, and his (...) invention and exploration of the anti-realist position. This book begins by examining Dummett's views on language. Only against that setting can one fully appreciate his conception of the realism issue. With this in place, Weiss returns to Dummett's views on the nature of meaning and understanding to unfold his challenge to realism. Weiss devotes the remainder of the book to examining the anti-realist position. He discusses anti-realist theories of meaning and then investigates anti-realism's revisionary consequences. Finally, he engages with Dummett's discussion of two difficult challenges for the anti-realist: the past and mathematics. (shrink)
This is a review of Michael Devitt's collection of previously published articles entitled Putting Metaphysics First: Essays on Metaphysics and Epistemology. The review also suggests a new way of formulation the realism/anti-realism contrast on the basis of Devitt's work. This contrast is understood in terms explanatory priority: should we in a given domain begin our theorizing from metaphysics (realism) or semantics (anti-realism)?
On the 27th of October, 1949, the Department of Philosophy at the University of Manchester organized a symposium "Mind and Machine", as Michael Polanyi noted in his Personal Knowledge (1974, p. 261). This event is known, especially among scholars of Alan Turing, but it is scarcely documented. Wolfe Mays (2000) reported about the debate, which he personally had attended, and paraphrased a mimeographed document that is preserved at the Manchester University archive. He forwarded a copy to Andrew Hodges and (...) B. Jack Copeland, who in then published it on their respective websites. The basis of this interpretation here is the copy preserved in the Regenstein Library of the University of Chicago, Special Collections, Polanyi Collection (abbreviated RPC, box 22, folder 19). The same collection holds the mimeographed statement that Polanyi prepared for this symposium: "Can the mind be represented by a machine?" This text has not been studied by Polanyi scholars. (shrink)
How could a state have the moral authority to promulgate and enforce laws that citizens are thereby obliged to obey? That is the problem of political authority. The Consequentialist Explanation of Political Authority contends that great social benefits depend upon there being a state with political authority. In his book, The Problem of Political Authority, Michael Huemer considers different types of explanation of political authority and he rejects them all. I show that the objections he raises to consequentialist accounts (...) are confused and that they fail to connect with the Consequentialist Explanation of Political Authority. Huemer argues that anarchy of a particular kind would be better than the states that exist in current Western societies. I explain why that argument, if it were successful, would be an effective objection to the Consequentialist Explanation of Political Authority. (shrink)
: Michael Gazzaniga, a prominent cognitive neuroscientist, has argued against reductionist accounts of cognition. Instead, Gazzaniga defends a form of non-reductive physicalism: epistemological neuro-cognitive non-reductionism and ontological monist physicalism. His position is motivated by the theses that: cognitive phenomena can be realized by multiple neural systems; many outcomes of these systems are unpredictable; and multi-level explanations are required. Epistemological neuro-cognitive non-reductionism is presented as the most appropriate stance to account for the way in which phenomena should be explained in (...) cognitive neuroscience. In this paper, I argue, however, that a recent form of neuro-cognitive reductionism, namely neo-mechanistic reductionism accounts for the arguments presented by Gazzaniga. Thus, the theory offers a more consistent and well-articulated view of the relationship between cognitive and neural phenomena that is specifically compatible with the explanatory strategies and aims of contemporary cognitive neuroscience. Keywords: Neo-mechanistic Philosophy; Michael Gazzaniga; Non-reductionism; Reductionism; Philosophy of Cognitive Neuroscience L’antiriduzionismo neurocognitivo di Michael Gazzaniga e la sfida della riduzione neomeccanicista Riassunto: Uno dei più importanti neuroscienziati dei nostri tempi, Michael Gazzaniga, si è schierato contro una concezione riduzionista della cognizione. Al contrario Gazzaniga difende una forma di fisicalismo non-riduzionistico che risulta dalla combinazione, sul piano epistemologico, di un anti-riduzionismo cognitivo e, sul piano ontologico, di un monismo fisicalista. La sua posizione è motivata dalla tesi per cui i fenomeni cognitivi possono essere realizzati da molteplici sistemi neurali; molti esiti di tali sistemi non si possono prevedere; e sono pertanto necessarie spiegazioni a livelli plurimi. La concezione presentata come più adeguata per dare conto sul piano epistemologico di come i fenomeni dovrebbero essere spiegati all’interno delle neuroscienze cognitive è una forma di anti-riduzionismo neuro-cognitivo. In questo articolo si sostiene tuttavia che una recente forma di riduzionismo neuro-cognitivo può dare conto degli argomenti presentati da Gazzaniga. Si tratta di una teoria che offre una interpretazione maggiormente coerente ed articolata della relazione fra fenomeni cognitivi e neurali e che offre un modello di spiegazione compatibile con gli scopi esplicativi delle neuroscienze cognitive contemporanee. Parole chiave: Filosofia neomeccanicista; Michael Gazzaniga; Nonriduzionismo; Riduzionismo; Filosofia della neuroscienza cognitiva. (shrink)
In his recent writings, Sir Michael Dummett has reflected twice on the Catholic position on the morality of contraception, focusing his attention especially on Humanae Vitae’s prohibition of the contraceptive use of the birth control pill. On examination, Dummett finds this prohibition ‘incoherent’, arguing that its promulgation ‘greatly damaged the respect of the faithful for the Catholic Church’s moral teaching in general’, as well as ‘the integrity of Catholic moral theology’. Given Dummett’s earlier defense of Paul VI’s reaffirmation of (...) the Church’s traditional position on contraception in Humanae Vitae, as well as his forceful criticisms of certain liberalizing tendencies among Catholic theologians and biblical scholars, these arguments deserve to be taken seriously, and regarded as coming from a spirit of serious philosophical reflection rather than casual dissent. Nevertheless, this paper argues that they are based on a misapprehension of what is really behind the position Dummett means to be criticizing, and that when the essentials of that position are clarified the rationale behind it is safe from his objections. (shrink)
Qur'an 3:104 speaks of "commanding right and forbidding wrong" as a constitutive feature of the Muslim community. Michael Cook's careful and comprehensive study provides a wealth of information about the ways Muslims in various contexts have understood this notion. Cook also makes a number of comparative observations, and suggests that "commanding" appears to be a uniquely Muslim practice. Scholars of religious ethics should read Cook's study with great appreciation. They will also have a number of questions about his comparative (...) comments. In this article, I suggest that scholars of comparative ethics should think less about the "uniqueness" of the materials examined by Cook, and more about the ways groups of human beings discipline their members, thereby constituting and maintaining themselves as communities of virtue. (shrink)
After Heitler and London published their pioneering work on the application of quantum mechanics to chemistry in 1927, it became an almost unquestioned dogma that chemistry would soon disappear as a discipline of its own rights. Reductionism felt victorious in the hope of analytically describing the chemical bond and the structure of molecules. The old quantum theory has already produced a widely applied model for the structure of atoms and the explanation of the periodic system. This paper will show two (...) examples of the entry of quantum physics into more classical fields of chemistry: inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry. Due to their professional networking, George Hevesy and Michael Polanyi found their ways to Niels Bohr and Fritz London, respectively, to cooperate in solving together some problems of classical chemistry. Their works on rare earth elements and adsorption theory throws light to the application of quantum physics outside the reductionist areas. They support the heuristic and persuasive value of quantum thinking in the 1920–1930s. Looking at Polanyi’s later oeuvre, his experience with adsorption theory could be a starting point of his non-justificationist philosophy. (shrink)
This paper is a study of the place of luminosity in the films of Michael Mann and the way in which luminosity is not a tool of illumination but a radiance that signals the bodying forth of appearances. The event of luminosity in Mann's films is an attempt to re-imagine the conventional value structures that create a link between film and indexicality, as if his admiration for the photoreal effects of film belies an insistence that the advenience of an (...) appearance is what eventuates when objects ingress between reference and expression, between realism and dream. By using the most advanced high definition digital cameras to film his nightscapes - and his movies more generally - Mann defeats the illuminatory and transcriptual demands of a filmic iconography that rely on the power of light to tether a representation to a thing in the world. In doing so, however, he neither refuses nor rejects the power of representation as such. His picturing of luminous nightscapes in cities, for instance, transubstantiates the objecthood of urban spaces so that the iridescence of the lights makes the city feel at once vivid and unlike any object that might exist in the world. I conclude that Mann's commitment to filming luminosity presents a problem to the dominant methodologies for the analysis of aesthetics and politics that offer a moral theory of the image. Michael Mann's films, finally, offer an alternative to the moral theory of the image: a politics of appearances rooted in the experience of advenience. (shrink)
Imagine putting together a jigsaw puzzle that works like the board game in the movie “Jumanji”: When you finish, whatever the puzzle portrays becomes real. The children playing “Jumanji” learn to prepare for the reality that emerges from the next throw of the dice. But how would this work for the puzzle of scientific research? How do you prepare for unlocking the secrets of the atom, or assembling from the bottom-up nanotechnologies with unforeseen properties – especially when completion of such (...) puzzles lies decades after the first scattered pieces are tentatively assembled? In the inaugural issue of this journal, Michael Polanyi argued that because the progress of science is unpredictable, society must only move forward with solving the puzzle until the picture completes itself. Decades earlier, Frederick Soddy argued that once the potential for danger reveals itself, one must reorient the whole of one’s work to avoid it. While both scientists stake out extreme positions, Soddy’s approach – together with the action taken by the like-minded Leo Szilard – provides a foundation for the anticipatory governance of emerging technologies. This paper narrates the intertwining stories of Polanyi, Soddy and Szilard, revealing how anticipation influenced governance in the case of atomic weapons and how Polanyi’s claim in “The Republic of Science” of an unpredictable and hence ungovernable science is faulty on multiple levels. (shrink)
Neste artigo pretendo apresentar a crítica de Michael Sandel à concepção de pessoa na filosofia política de John Rawls. Para tanto, é preciso descrever, em linhas gerais, a descrição rawlsiana das partes na posição original. Esta descrição, segundo Sandel, pressupõe uma concepção metafísica de pessoa na medida em que apresenta o “eu anterior a seus fins”, ou seja, um “eu distinto dos fins que possui”, mas que detém a posse de tais fins. Sandel argumenta que o “eu”, pensado desta (...) forma, constitui-se como um “eu radicalmente desprovido de corpo”, pois não está inserido em sua situação. E, como solução, Sandel sugere que o eu seja um entendido enquanto “eu situado” nas práticas sociais existentes e, por isso, constituído de seus fins e não, simplesmente, distinto deles. Sandel argumenta a favor da noção de “autoconhecimento” como elemento de reconhecimento dos vínculos constitutivos do “eu” dentro da comunidade. Com base nestas criticas, Rawls responde que a sua abordagem está restrita á concepção política de pessoa e, não necessariamente, possui implicação metafísica. Ele sugere que a sua justificação para a concepção política de pessoa encontra-se fundamentada na cultura pública democrática que enfatiza o pluralismo razoável como um fato da vida moderna, mas, ainda assim, Rawls terá que responder aos questionamentos de Sandel quanto à explicação que ele dá como justificação pública para as instituições democráticas, dentro das quais, as concepções políticas de pessoa e de justiça se desenvolvem. Summary: This paper deals with Michael Sandel’s criticism to the conception of person in John Rawls’ political philosophy. I will make a presentation of Rawls’ position initial and then to analyse the reply of Sandel by focusing on the question concerning the metaphysical conception of person. Then I will present Rawls’ answer to the question as a political conception of person and the limits of such proposal concerning the public justification of democratic institutions. Keywords : Michael Sandel. John Rawls. Justiça. Person. Community. (shrink)
This essay presents an integrated account of Michael Wyschogrod's Zionism as a function of his broader theological anthropology, eschatology, and carnal interpretation of Israel's election. Against Leora Batnitzky, I show that Wyschogrod's Zionism, while definitively messianic, is decidedly not fanatical or fundamentalist. Against Meir Soloveichik, I show that Wyschogrod has maintained this non-fanatical messianism consistently throughout his career, and so his pacific political prescriptions are organically at one with his vigorous calls for Jewish sovereignty over the land.
For more than 100 years, anthropologists have collected ethnographic research among communities who assert that the spirits, animal allies, and other entities of the unseen world are “really real,” yet we have historically contextualized this information under the umbrella of cultural relativism rather than taking the veracity of these claims seriously. In the last decade, some anthropologists claim that our discipline has finally undergone an ontological turn, which opens a door for anthropologists to finally take claims of nonhuman sentience seriously (...) under the umbrella of ontological, rather than cultural, relativism. This paper takes issue with ontological relativism as just one more frame for explaining away the stories of other-than-human consciousness that ethnographers report and suggests that there is an urgent need to consider the relevance, rather than the relativism, of other-than-human consciousness. It looks to Michael Harner's work as a welcome alternative to ontological relativism and encourages opening our minds to a reconsideration of what is “really real.”. (shrink)
This paper discusses how Wittgenstein’s thinking informs recent conversations about art and aesthetic practice by examining his influence on the work of the noted modernist art critic, Michael Fried. Fried considers an excerpt from Wittgenstein’s Culture and Value, with a puzzling thought experiment, to help us see more clearly the Canadian artist Jeff Wall’s photographic vision and aesthetic. I consider Fried’s account of the photographic practice of Jeff Wall, especially his photograph Morning Cleaning, Mies van der Rohe Foundation (1999).
Ever since the publication of 'Truth' in 1959 Sir Michael Dummett has been acknowledged as one of the most profoundly creative and influential of contemporary philosophers. His contributions to the philosophy of thought and language, logic, the philosophy of mathematics, and metaphysics have set the terms of some of most fruitful discussions in philosophy. His work on Frege stands unparalleled, both as landmark in the history of philosophy and as a deep reflection on the defining commitments of the analytic (...) school.This volume of specially composed essays on Dummett's philosophy presents a new perspective on his achievements, and provides a focus for further research fully informed by the Dummett's most recent publications. Collectively the essays in philosophy of mathematics provide the most sustained discussion to date of the role of Dummett's diagnosis of the root of the logico-mathematical paradoxes in his case for an intuitionist revision of classical mathematics. The themes of other essays include a fundamental challenge to Dummett's Fregean understanding of predication, and a criticism of his case for logical revision outside of mathematics. (shrink)
Although a fascination with language is a familiar feature of 20th-century empiricism, its origins reach back at least to the early modern period empiricists. John Locke offers a detailed (if sometimes puzzling) treatment of language and uses it to illuminate key regions of the philosophical topography, particularly natural kinds and essences. Locke's main conceptual tool for dealing with language is 'signification'. Locke's central linguistic thesis is this: words signify nothing but ideas. This on its face seems absurd. Don't we need (...) words to signify things as well? But its very absurdity – our inclination to dismiss Locke as a 'linguistic idealist'– should signal to us that we have not yet understood Locke. Doing so must begin with an analysis of signification. Each of the three main interpretations on offer allows Locke to escape the charge of linguistic idealism, although they do so in very different ways. Locke's text also offers an influential account of linguistic particles, words like 'is', 'and' and 'if'. These signify, not ideas, but acts of the mind. These acts can either take place within a proposition, uniting its constituent ideas into a thought that admits of a truth-value, or they can take propositions as their objects, in which case they express attitudes like doubt, assertion and so on. Even this seemingly innocuous sketch of Locke's view is controversial, and many writers, from J.S. Mill onwards, have argued that Locke cannot make sense of propositional attitudes. Apart from the intrinsic interest of these questions, understanding how Locke thinks language works is a prerequisite for understanding his arguments against scholastic essentialism. It also illuminates later discussions of language in Berkeley, Hume and Mill. Author Recommends: 1. Losonsky, Michael. 'Language, Meaning, and Mind in Locke's Essay. ' The Cambridge Companion to Locke's Essay . Ed. Lex Newman. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. 286–313. In addition to making some original points, Losonsky provides an excellent overview of the three main competing positions on Lockean signification: the Fregean reading, the Scholastic reading and the Indicator theory (see entries 2–5 in the following). 2. Kretzmann, Norman. 'The Main Thesis of Locke's Semantic Theory.' Locke on Human Understanding . Ed. I. C. Tipton. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1975. 123–40. Kretzmann's influential paper offers a broadly Fregean analysis, according to which primary signification is sense and secondary, reference. Locke can then avoid the charge of linguistic idealism, as it is not the case that words signify only ideas. 3. Ashworth, E. J. 'Do Words Signify Ideas or Things?' Journal of the History of Philosophy 19 (1981): 299–326. Ashworth rejects Kretzmann's view, partly on the grounds of anachronism, and sets Locke in his historical context. As she reads Locke, he holds a scholastic position, according to which signification amounts to 'making known' or 'expressing'. This preserves the portmanteau analysis of Kretzmann: words can primarily signify or express ideas, while secondarily signifying things. 4. Lowe, E. J. 'Language and Meaning,' chapter 4. Locke . London: Routledge, 2005. This is a spirited defense of Locke's claim that words signify ideas against contemporary prejudices. Like Ian Hacking (see entry 7 in the following), Lowe argues that Locke is not offering a semantic theory in anything like the contemporary sense; rather, he is concerned with explaining human communication. 5. Ott, Walter. Locke's Philosophy of Language . Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004. On the interpretation offered in chapter 1, Lockean signification is indication: words signify ideas in the same sense in which clouds signify rain. If this view is correct, Locke is departing from the particular scholastic tradition Ashworth focuses on, and embracing instead a tradition running from the Stoics through Thomas Hobbes. http://www.springerlink.com/content/xv362655719101n3/ 6. Winkler, Kenneth. 'Signification, Intention, Projection.' Forthcoming, Philosophia . http://www.springerlink.com/content/xv362655719101n3 Although previous commentators acknowledge the role of intentions in Locke's view (see especially Kretzmann's argument from the uses of words), Winkler claims that they are far more central to Locke's view than has been supposed. In particular, Winkler uses these considerations to criticize the indicator interpretation. 7. Hacking, Ian. Why Does Language Matter to Philosophy? Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1975. Much broader in focus than these other works, Hacking's classic text has much to say about early modern views on language. Hacking argues that Hobbes and Locke do not, properly speaking, even have theories of meaning. Online Materials The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's entry on Locke, by William Uzgalis: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke/ > The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy's entry on Locke, author unknown: http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/l/locke.htm > Sample Syllabus Weeks 1–2: What is Locke's linguistic thesis? Is it a semantic thesis at all? Ashworth, E. J. 'Do Words Signify Ideas or Things?' Journal of the History of Philosophy 19 (1981): 299–326. Kretzmann, Norman. 'The Main Thesis of Locke's Semantic Theory.' Locke on Human Understanding . Ed. I. C. Tipton. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1975. 123–40. Locke, Essay III. i–iii. Lowe, E. J. 'Language and Meaning,' chapter 4. Locke . London: Routledge, 2005. Week 3: Propositions and attitudes Locke, Essay III. vii. Ott, Walter. 'Propositional Attitudes in Modern Philosophy.' Dialogue 41 (2002): 1–18. Owen, David. 'Locke on Judgment.' The Cambridge Companion to Locke's Essay . Ed. Lex Newman. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. 406–35. If one wanted to explore whether and how Locke applies his semiotic theory in his anti-essentialist argument, one might add (or perhaps replace Week 3 with): Week 4: Applications Bolton, Martha. 'The Relevance of Locke's Theory of Ideas to his Doctrine of Nominal Essence and Anti-Essentialist Semantic Theory.' Locke . Ed. Vere Chappell. Oxford: OUP, 1998. pp. 214–225 Locke, Essay III. vi; III.xi. 4–22. Ott, Walter. 'Locke's Argument from Signification.' Locke Studies 2 (2002): 145–76. Focus Questions 1. What is a semantic theory? What do we want out of such a theory, and does Locke even purport to provide one? 2. What are the differences among the three main competing readings of Locke? What is at stake here? What, if anything, turns on which of them accurately captures Locke's view? 3. How does Locke think his linguistic thesis tells against competing views, such as those of the scholastics? 4. What is the difference between a proposition and a list? Can Locke account for this difference? 5. There is clearly a difference between merely thinking that the cat is on the mat and asserting that it is. Can Locke account for this difference? (shrink)
El sentido que la educación liberal posee para Michael Oakeshott se concentra en que ésta consiste en un aprendizaje de las disciplinas humanísticas y científicas. Dichas disciplinas se muestran valiosas ya que tienen la virtud de desarrollar el intelecto y la sensibilidad humanas y porque aportan, además, una comprensión operativa de lo que son nuestro yo, la sociedad, la naturaleza y la cultura. No obstante, como también es sabido, los fines que la educación liberal se propone pecan un tanto (...) de idealistas, de manera especial cuando se insiste, como muchos han hecho desde los antiguos griegos, en que dicha educación es un fin en sí misma. En parte, lo demuestra la presencia permanente en nuestra cultura occidental de unos espacios de aprendizaje (‘schola’) que se conciben como si estuvieran separados del aquí y ahora en que transcurre la vida cotidiana. (shrink)
Michael Tye argues for two crucial theses: (1) that experiences of pain have representational content (essentially); (2) that the representational content can be specified in terms of something like damage in parts of the body. (Different types of pain are connected with different types of damage.) I reject both of these theses. In my view experiences of pain carry nonconceptual content, but do not represent essentially. Rather they are apt to represent when the subject attends to them. The experiences (...) carry nonconceptual content not only about tissue damage, but about many other qualities as well, including dispositional qualities. (shrink)