In the Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals' Kant is explicit, sometimes to the point of peevishness, in denying anthropology and psychology any part or place in his moral science. Recognizing that this will strike many as counterintuitive he is unrepentant: ‘We require no skill to make ourselves intelligible to the multitude once we renounce all profundity of thought’. That the doctrine to be defended is not exemplified in daily experience or even in imaginable encounters is necessitated by the very (...) nature of morality which cannot be served worse ‘… than by seeking to derive it from examples’. Thus, the project of the moral philosopher begins with the recognition that the moral realm is not mapped by anthropological data and does not get its content therefrom. Rather, moral philosophy must be ‘completely cleansed’ of everything that is appropriate to anthropology. (shrink)
It is sometimes suggested that the logic of religious language differs from other kinds of language. Or it is said that each ‘language-game’ has its own ‘logic’ and that, whatever usual language-games are played in the context of religion, there is something that could be called the ‘religious language-game’ which does not correspond to any other and, therefore, has its own peculiar logic. In either case, religious people are urged to make clear what this logic is, so that their utterances (...) may be understood and evaluated. (shrink)
It is a curious fact that the much maligned ontological argument to prove the existence of God has in recent times enjoyed a revival of interest to which even Karl Barth, the arch-enemy of natural theology has contributed; but since the revival of interest has appared in a wide diversity of intellectual contexts, both philosophical and theological, the revival is itself almost as problematic as the argument itself.
In recent years the writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein have received much attention from philosophers in general and especially from philosophers interested in religion; and there is no doubt that Wittgenstein's legacy of thought is both highly suggestive and highly problematical. It seems likely, however, that the vogue which Wittgenstein now enjoys owes not a little to his peculiar place in the development of modern philosophy and, in particular, of that empiricist tradition in philosophy which stems from what has been called (...) the revolution in philosophy in the early decades of the present century. (shrink)
In his book on Karl Barth Professor T. F. Torrance spoke at one point of ‘the great watershed of modern theology’. ‘There are,’ he wrote, 1 ‘two basic issues here. On the one hand, it is the very substance of the Christian faith that is at stake, and on the other hand, it is the fundamental nature of scientific method, in its critical and methodological renunciation of prior understanding, that is at stake. This is the great watershed of modern theology: (...) either we take the one way or the other – there is no third alter native… one must go either in the direction taken by Barth or in the direction taken by Bultmann.’. (shrink)
In his article ‘Professor Bartley's Theory of Rationality and Religious Belief’ Mr W. D. Hudson has brought considerable clarification to the rather confused situation occasioned by Professor W. W. Bartley's book The Retreat to Commitment and its subsequent discussion; but the process can, I think, be carried still further.
Determinism is a spectre that has haunted our scientifically-oriented culture from the beginning. I happen to think that it is literally a ‘spectre’, a trick of the vision, an appearance with an internal cause only, and that it is no more than the ghost of our own conceptual determinations projected outward into a world in which it has no place and no proper being. From one point of view it is no more than an alienated fantasy involving a number of (...) incoherent assumptions. Of these, one of the most important, and one of the most deeply eroded by much contemporary work, is the assumption that science and scientific understanding is a potentially completable system. From another point of view, however, the deterministic picture seems an inevitable product of scientific activity. (shrink)
Parmenides of Elea was the most important and influential philosopher before Plato. He rejected as impossible the scientific inquiry practiced by the earlier Presocratic philosophers and held that generation, destruction, and change are unreal and that only one thing exists. In this book, Patricia Curd argues that Parmenides sought to reform rather than to reject scientific inquiry, and she offers a more coherent account of his influence on later philosophers._ _The Legacy of Parmenides_ examines Parmenides' arguments, considering his connection (...) to earlier Greek thought and how his account of what-is could have served as a model for later philosophers. Curd also explores the theories of his successors, including the Pluralists, the Atomists, the later Eleatics, and the later Presocratics. She concludes with a discussion of the importance of Parmenides' work to Plato's _Theory of Forms._ _The Legacy of Parmenides_ challenges traditional views of early Greek philosophy and provides new insights into the work of Parmenides. "_The Legacy of Parmenides_ represents a milestone... of Parmenides' interpretation. It is full of ideas and tells a coherent story about Parmenides and early Greek thought." --_ Alexander Nehamas, Princeton University___ "Professor Curd offers a genuinely original and possibly correct interpretation of the core thesis of the poem of Parmenides in a field so well worked over that saying something both new and true is profoundly difficult, this is a notable achievement." --_ Thomas M. Robinson, University of Toronto___ "This will be a substantial book in the story of early Greek philosophy, and future writers on the tradition from Thales through Plato will not be able to ignore it without missing an important interpretive alternative. It will be of value to students of Presocratic philosophy or the Greek tradition, as well as to students of the scientific revolution, cosmology, the origins of logic, or comparative mysticism." --_ Scott W. Austin, Texas A&M University___ PATRICIA CURD_ is professor at Purdue University where she works primarily in Ancient Philosophy. She is a co-editor of _Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy_, and is the editor of _A Presocratics Reader._. (shrink)
Patricia De Martelaere was a Belgian author, philosopher, and practitioner of shadowboxing. She wrote an inspiring little book on Taoism that stresses the physical, energetic, and martial aspects of its practice. This paper elaborates upon three central ideas from her work, turns them into a direction that she did not envision, and applies them to a critical-historical interpretation of the Taoist texts that she elaborates upon: an active way of non-knowing, the awareness of a shared ground, and the intellectual (...) fertility resulting from this approach. By occasionally putting aside certain assumptions from contemporary research on early Chinese Taoist philosophers - with respect to books, authors, philosophical consistency, schools, etc. - we can offer alternative accounts to the now dominant forms of interpretation. This approach does not take a position in favor of or against the existence or importance of such entities as “books‘, “philosophers‘, or “schools‘ in pre-imperial China. Nor does it promote an alternative for the dominant narratives. It simply allows for a degree of openness with respect to these narratives, thereby allowing for greater nuance that is at risk of being suffocated in the current context of academic philosophy. (shrink)
Critical Race Theory (C.R.T.) has developed out of a deep dissatisfaction that many black legal scholars in the U.S. felt with liberal civil rights discourse, a discourse premised upon the ideals of assimilation, ‘colour-blindness’ and integration. In addition, the emergence of the Critical Legal Studies movement provided Critical Race theorists with an innovative lexicon and practice which allowed them to develop a critique of traditional race analysis and U.S. law. Patricia Williams has played a key role in the formation (...) of the C.R.T. movement and is concerned with many of the C.R.T. themes: the understanding that traditional civil rights law has benefited whites more than blacks, the ‘call to context’, and the critique of liberalism by the assertion that racism is routine and not aberrational. Following the C.R.T. belief that form and substance are connected, Williams has also extended the boundaries of another C.R.T. theme by (largely) eschewing the conventional genre of legal writing in much of her work, including her two books, The Alchemy of Race and Rights and The Rooster's Egg. This was one of the issues Williams discussed in an interview that commenced when she visited Britain in 1997 to deliver the Reith Lectures. (shrink)
Although in modern times and clinical settings, we rarely see the old characteristics of tribal shamanism such as deep trances, out-of-body experiences, and soul retrieval, the archetypal dreams, waking visions and active imagination of modern depth psychology represents a liminal zone where ancient and modern shamanism overlaps with analytical psychology. These essays explore the contributors' excursions as healers and therapists into this zone. The contributors describe the many facets shamanism and depth psychology have in common: animal symbolism; recognition of the (...) reality of the collective unconscious; and healing rituals that put therapist and patient in touch with transpersonal powers. By reintroducing the core of shamanism in contemporary form, these essays shape a powerful means of healing that combines the direct contact with the inner psyche one finds in shamanism with the self-reflection and critical awareness of modern consciousness. The essays draw from the contributors' experiences both inside and outside the consulting room, and with cultures that include the Lakota Sioux, and those of the Peruvian Andes and the Hawaiian Islands. The focus is on those aspects of shamanism most useful and relevant to the modern practice of depth psychology. As a result, these explorations bring the young practice of analytical psychology into perspective as part of a much more ancient heritage of shamanistic healing. Contributors: Margaret Laurel Allen, Norma Churchill, Arthur Colman, Lori Cromer, Patricia Damery, C. Jess Groesbeck, Pansy Hawk Wing, June Kounin, Carol McRae, Pilar Montero, Jeffrey A. Raff, Janet S. Robinson, Meredith Sabini, Dyane N. Sherwood, Sara Spaulding-Phillips, Bradley A. Te Paske and Louis M. Vuksinick. (shrink)
Philosophical critics standardly read behaviorism as a program for defining the concepts of folk psychology in equivalent behavioral terms. This is a misreading. Behaviorism is a program for getting rid of ill-defined mentalistic terms in favor of better defined behavioral idiom. In short, it is a program not for conceptual analysis but for verbal reform. Therefore, criticizing behaviorists for failing to define mentalistic concepts is like criticizing opponents of the Spanish Inquisition for failing to define witchcraft.
This paper examines the affective disorders plaguing many young people and the problem of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in particular. It aims to define the limits of the critique of British educationalist Sir Ken Robinson in terms of his philosophy of ‘creativity’ through a consideration of the ideas of French philosopher Bernard Stiegler, especially the notions of ‘industrial temporal objects’ and stupidity. It makes the case for adopting elements of each distinct research paradigm as a prolegomena to forging a social (...) critique of capitalist-dominated, market-led educational institutions. The former, it will be seen, identifies some of the problems facing teachers in terms of the use and application of technology, the false divide between arts and the humanities, but falls short of explaining the root of the structural and psychic malaise in neo-liberal regimes regarding classroom breakdown in general. The latter, despite the apocalyptic tone of some his pronouncements provides an update and radicalization of Deleuze’s societies of control thesis in terms of what Stiegler designates ‘uncontrollable societies’. Stiegler, it will be seen, presents a critique of technology that is all the more pressing in an age in which the loss of expectation in the lives of young people can lead to a corresponding fall off or destruction in ‘deep attention’. I want to test the hyperbole of Stiegler’s assertion that young people today suffer from a ‘colossal’ attention deficit disorder of unprecedented scale and magnitude. (shrink)
An imperfect duty such as the duty to aid those in need is supposed to leave leeway for choice as to how to satisfy it, but if our reason for a certain way of satisfying it is our strongest, that leeway would seem to be eliminated. This paper defends a conception of practical reasons designed to preserve it, without slighting the binding force of moral requirements, though it allows us to discount certain moral reasons. Only reasons that offer criticism of (...) alternatives can yield requirements, but our reasons for particular ways of satisfying imperfect duties merely count in favor of the acts in question. When the state is authorized to take over charitable obligations, it should not be seen as enforcing fulfillment of our imperfect duties, but rather as forcing us to help fulfill collective duties that may be substantially modified by transfer to the state, replacing imperfect duties with perfect. Besides the cost to us in freedom of choice there is a moral cost to replacing the virtuous motives of charity with those that tend to accompany paying taxes. However, a compensating feature of state involvement is the fact that its more precise demands come with limits. (shrink)
This review of books by Niemoczynski and Robinson considers how semiotic processes of consciousness posited by Pierce yield insights into experiences usually categorized as religious. For Niemoczynski, consciousness experiences iconic representation and then disruptions of it. Conscious responds to such disruptions by means of abduction, and this is the seed of transcendence. Niemoczynski develops these processes with attention to Schelling, Heidegger, Deleuze, Corrington, and Badiou. Turning to Robinson's book, we find a deep inquiry into trinitarian logic that considers (...) early work of Christian philosophers in relation to Peirce's new list of categories: firstness, secondness, and thirdness. While both books appear to seek new frontiers of naturalism, Robinson's work is notable for its engagement with an emerging field of biosemiotics. (shrink)
The ethical ‘eye’ of nursing, that is, the particular moral vision and values inherent in nursing work, is constrained by the preoccupations and practices of the superordinate biomedical structure in which nursing as a practice discipline is embedded. The intimate, situated knowledge of particular persons who construct and attach meaning to their health experience in the presence of and with the active participation of the nurse, is the knowledge that provides the evidence for nurses’ ethical decision making. It is largely (...) invisible to all but other nurses. Two nurse researchers, Joan Liaschenko of the University of Minnesota and Patricia Rodney of the University of Victoria, have investigated the ethical concerns of practising nurses and noted in their separate enquiries the invisible nature of critical aspects of nursing work. Noting the similarities in their respective observations, and with the feminist ethics of Margaret Urban Walker as a theoretical framework, this article examines the concept of ‘invisibility’ as it relates to nursing work and nursing ethics. (shrink)
A close reading of Mary Robinson’s late-eighteenth-century poem “London’s Summer Morning,” which captures all the noises and smells of a busy London street, is not enough to convince the reader that it isn’t all a dream. But whose dream? René Descartes and Wallace Stevens suggest that it may not matter.
Let us recall that Raphael Robinson's Arithmetic Q is an axiom system that differs from Peano Arithmetic essentially by containing no Induction axioms , . We will generalize the semantic-tableaux version of the Second Incompleteness Theorem almost to the level of System Q. We will prove that there exists a single rather long Π 1 sentence, valid in the standard model of the Natural Numbers and denoted as V, such that if α is any finite consistent extension of Q (...) + V then α will be unable to prove its Semantic Tableaux consistency. The same result will also apply to axiom systems α with infinite cardinality when these infinite-sized axiom systems satisfy a minor additional constraint, called the Conventional Encoding Property. Our formalism will also imply that the semantic-tableaux version of the Second Incompleteness Theorem generalizes for the axiom system IΣ 0 , as well as for all its natural extensions. (This answers an open question raised twenty years ago by Paris and Wilkie .). (shrink)
In  John Burgess describes predicative versions of Frege's logic and poses the problem of finding their exact arithmetical strength. I prove here that PV, the simplest such theory, is equivalent to Robinson's arithmetical theory Q.
We prove an institutional version of A. Robinson ’s Consistency Theorem. This result is then appliedto the institution of many-sorted first-order predicate logic and to two of its variations, infinitary and partial, obtaining very general syntactic criteria sufficient for a signature square in order to satisfy the Robinson consistency and Craig interpolation properties.
Qualia Epiphenomenalism is the view that qualitative events lack causal efficacy. A common objection to qualia epiphenomenalism is the so-called Self-Stultifying Objection, which suggests that justified, true belief about qualitative events requires, among other things, the belief to be caused by the qualitative event—the very premise that qualia epiphenomenalism denies. William Robinson provides the most sustained response to the self-stultification objection that is available. In this paper I argue that Robinson's reply does not sufficiently overcome the self-stultification objection.
Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility argues that the normative basis of moral responsibility is anchored in the effects of responsibility practices. Further, the capacities required for moral responsibility are socially scaffolded. This article considers criticisms of this account that have been recently raised by John Doris, Victoria McGeer, and Michael Robinson. Robinson argues against Building Better Beings’s rejection of libertarianism about free will, and the account of desert at stake in the theory. considers methodological questions (...) that arise from the account of desert, providing some additional resources for thinking about these issues within the framework of the account. McGeer objects to the particular mode of justification used to motivate the prescriptive aspect of the account. This article presents replies to each of these lines of response. (shrink)
Writing more than a century apart, William James and Marilynne Robinson are allies in forcefully and eloquently challenging the claims and widespread appeal of scientism or positivism: the belief that scientific knowledge provides a necessary and sufficient worldview and entails the reduction of all reality, including the world of human subjects, to physical processes. Both James and Robinson are particularly concerned with and critical of the efforts of scientistic reductionism to describe the human life-world entirely in terms of (...) the prevailing science. Both distinguish sharply between scientific inquiry, an essential and crucially valuable human activity, and scientism, the promotion of a metaphysical agenda .. (shrink)
Before Abraham Robinson and Kurt Gödel became familiar with Paul Cohen’s Results, both logicians held a naïve Platonic approach to philosophy. In this paper I demonstrate how Cohen’s results influenced both of them. Robinson declared himself a Formalist, while Gödel basically continued to hold onto the old Platonic approach. Why were the reactions of Gödel and Robinson to Cohen’s results so drastically different in spite of the fact that their initial philosophical positions were remarkably similar? I claim (...) that the key to these different responses stems from the meanings that Gödel and Robinson gave to the concept of intuition, as well as to the relationship between epistemology and ontology. I also illustrate that although it might initially appear that Gödel’s and Robinson’s positions after Cohen’s results were quite different, this was not necessarily the case. (shrink)