McDowell recently renounced the assumption that the content of any knowledgeable, perceptual judgement must be included in the content of the knowledge grounding experience. We argue that McDowell’s introduction of a new category of non-inferential, perceptual knowledge is incompatible with the main line of argument in favour of conceptualism as presented in Mind and World [McDowell, John. 1996. Mind and World. 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press]. We reconstruct the original line of argument and show that it rests on (...) the assumption that a specific model of justification, the Comparison Model, must apply to all cases of non-inferential, perceptual knowledge. We then show that the Comparison Model cannot be applied to McDowell’s new category of non-inferential, perceptual knowledge. As a consequence, McDowell is in need of an alternative model of justification and an alternative argument for conceptualism. We propose such an alternative model of justification based on McDowell’s reading of Sellars, but argue that the model only serves to make the need for an alternative motivation for conceptualism more urgent. (shrink)
This book reassesses Gadamer's hermeneutics by bringing it into a dialogue with John McDowell's minimal empiricism. It employs the resources of McDowell's minimal empiricism to address the transcendental and ontological presuppositions for objective experience and understanding, while retaining Gadamer's emphasis on the historicity of understanding. By means of the dialogue with McDowell, the book develops a hermeneutical conception of objectivity and perceptual experience, which also entails reinterpretations of Gadamer's notions of tradition, practical wisdom and meaning. The book explores the philosophical (...) space beyond the analytic-Continental divide and demonstrates that hermeneutics is not limited to a reflection on understanding as it is practiced in the human sciences, but can be revived as a distinct and cogent philosophical approach with a transcendental and ontological dimension. Thaning's book is a richly detailed, well-argued and coherent presentation of a defensible, and potentially very important, philosophical position. It demonstrates an impressively deep understanding of the literature both from the phenomenological tradition and from the part of the analytical tradition, inspired by Wilfred Sellars, to which John McDowell belongs. Being a substantial philosophical achievement in its own right, the book raises far-reaching questions that will be of interest to a wide audience. Dr. Steven Crowell, Rice University, Houston (USA) Morten Thaning's book is an important contribution to the discourse of philosophical hermeneutics. Thaning extensively discusses a topic, which recent debates have touched upon, but which up to now has not been the subject matter of concentrated scholarly work: the relation between Gadamer's hermeneutics and McDowell's empiricism. With Thaning's interpretation Gadamer' work can be read anew as concerning the problem of hermeneutical objectivity. Prof. Dr. Günter Figal, University of Freiburg (Germany). (shrink)
How does perception provide reasons for our empirical judgements? This volume offers a set of new essays which in different ways address this fundamental question, and investigate the implications for our understanding of perceptual experience.
Günter Figal's conception of epochē expresses a fundamental divergence from dominant interpretations of Husserlian phenomenology. The hermeneutical notion of objectivity employed by Figal is different from the notion as it is employed in generic forms of epistemology. He assumes that the questions which shape epistemology about the legitimate constraints on our understanding can be clarified though phenomenological descriptions of how we acknowledge the objectivity of the subject matter. Insofar as the objects of fine art already in Objectivity were conceived as (...) expressing a distinct kind of objectivity, Figal's aesthetics is developed in direct continuation of his hermeneutical philosophy. An audacious feature of Figal's aesthetic is the attempt to reinvigorate the classical discussion about how to distinguish between fundamental forms of art. Figal claims it is an indispensable task for a philosophical aesthetic to clarify why our always already practiced habit of categorizing works of art mirrors not just arbitrary conventions. (shrink)
Carleton B. Christensen, Self and World: From Analytic Philosophy to Phenomenology Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10743-010-9078-2 Authors Morten S. Thaning, Department of Philosophy, Politics, and Management, Copenhagen Business School, Solbjerg Plads 3, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark Journal Husserl Studies Online ISSN 1572-8501 Print ISSN 0167-9848 Journal Volume Volume 26 Journal Issue Volume 26, Number 3.
In the final volume of his Homo Sacer series, The use of bodies, Agamben claims that for Foucault ethics never escapes the horizon of governmentality and therefore his conception of ethics is ‘strategic.’ In light of this criticism, motivated by Agamben’s Pauline conception of ‘use,’ we reassess the status and function of ethics in Foucault’s late lectures. We investigate how Foucault’s approach to ethics develops from his treatment of liberal governmentality and also how its methodological foundation is developed in an (...) interpretation of truth-telling in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. Our interpretation emphasizes the ambiguous status of ethics in Foucault’s late work: on the one hand, Agamben is right that Foucault assigns an irreducible strategic function to ethics thereby connecting it intrinsically to governmentality. On the other hand, Agamben overlooks how Foucault’s interpretation of Sophocles implies a conception of governmentality which emphasizes how ethical practices cannot be captured solely in strategic terms. Foucault’s ‘anarcheological’ approach thus articulates a dimension of ethics that remains, using Agamben’s own terms, ‘ungovernable’ and therefore also genuinely creative. Even so, Foucault’s approach to ethics remains in Agamben’s perspective on the deepest level faced with an antinomy that Agamben seeks to mediate with his Pauline conception of ‘inoperativity.’. (shrink)