Through most of the history of economics, the most influential commentators on methodology were also eminent practitioners of economics. And even not so long ago, it was so. Milton Friedman, Paul Samuelson, Trygve Haavelmo, and Tjalling Koopmans were awarded Nobel prizes for their substantive contributions to economics, and were each important contributors to methodological thought. But the fashion has changed. Specialization has increased. Not only has methodology become its own field, but many practitioners have come to agree with Frank Hahn's (...) (1992) view that methodology is a distraction to the practitioner, best left to the professional methodologists and philosophers, and of little practical import even when delivered from their pens. John Sutton's lectures, Marshall's Tendencies: What Economists Can Know, is a welcome return to the older fashion, for Sutton is an eminent practitioner of game theory and industrial organization. One of the main themes of these rich and nuanced lectures is the relationship of economic theory to econometric evidence. Sutton's reflections on econometrics appear to arise from the darker recesses of his practitioner's soul. While he affects a sunny disposition and ends on a hopeful note, his analysis articulates the lurking fear that econometrics is a hopeless project and that economics has little to learn from the interaction of theory and econometrics. Sutton's book is like a play in which virtue triumphs, but the villain gets all the good lines. (shrink)
This comprehensive study of Muslim jurist Ibn Taymiyya’s theodicy of perpetual optimism exposits and analyses his writings on God’s justice and wise purpose, divine determination and human agency, the problem of evil, and juristic method in theological doctrine.
Among the general features of modern Western discourse is a marked emphasis on the individual self. The nearly total displacement of the linguistic practice of referring to individuals as 'souls' when speaking philosophically, by the use of the terms 'selves' or 'subjects', is one sign of the modern proclivity for acknowledging the self-conscious and reflexive aspects of human experience. However, the conceptions of self and subject that have been inherited in the past few hundred years of Western philosophical thought have (...) been increasingly called into question. One source of this recent reevaluation of our modern conceptions of the self is associated with post-structuralist critiques, now several decades old, of .. (shrink)
I argue that Patricia Kitcher's Kant-inspired account of self-consciousness overintellectualizes the requirements for rational cognition. Kitcher claims that a person can only believe something on the ground of another belief if she is able to recognize the grounding belief as grounding the first belief and as one of her own. I criticize this claim by arguing that (i) someone can believe something for a certain reason without recognizing this reason as a reason (the possibility of unreflected reasons), and that (...) (ii) she can recognize something as a reason for something else without being able to self-ascribe either her original belief or the belief that grounds it (the possibility of reflected but not self-conscious reasons). (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)
A core thesis of Kitcher's is that thinking about objects requires awareness of necessary connections between one's object-directed representations ‘as such’ and that this is what Kant means by the transcendental unity of apperception. I argue that Kant's main point is the spontaneity or ‘self-made-ness’ of combination rather than the requirement of reflexive awareness of combination, that Kitcher provides no plausible account of how recognition of representations ‘as such’ should be constituted and that in fact Kant himself appears to lack (...) the theoretical resources to clearly distinguish between consciousness and self-consciousness or apperception properly so-called. (shrink)
Are experience and stimulus necessarily alike? Wertheimer spoke of this as an “insidious and insistent belief”. By contrast, Watson devotes an entire book to the defense of the thesis that representation necessarily requires resemblance. I argue that this bold and important thesis is ambiguous between a historical and a systematic reading, and that in either one of these readings the thesis, for different reasons, will be found wanting. Second, a proper evaluation of it in either one of its possible interpretations (...) requires a careful analysis of the notion of resemblance. I proceed to supply some necessary distinctions and argue that, given such an analysis, Watson's thesis may be historically applicable only to ancient and medieval philosophy, while its systematic import is untenable. (shrink)