Starmaking brings together a cluster of work published over the past 35 years by Nelson Goodman and two Harvard colleagues, Hilary Putnam and Israel Scheffler, on the conceptual connections between monism and pluralism, absolutism and relativism, and idealism and different notions of realism -- issues that are central to metaphysics and epistemology. The title alludes to Goodman's famous defense of the claim that because all true representations of stars and other objects are human creations, it follows that in an important (...) sense the stars themselves are made by us. More generally, the argument moves from the fact that our right representations are constructed by us to the claim that the world itself is similarly constructed. Starmaking addresses the question of whether this seeming paradox can be turned into a serious philosophical view. Goodman and Putnam are sympathetic; Scheffler is the critic. Although many others continue to write about pluralism, relativism, and constructionalism, Starmaking brings together the protagonists in the debate since its beginnings and follows closely its still developing form and substance, focusing sharply on Goodman's claim that "we make versions, and right versions make worlds.". (shrink)
One persisting problem in political philosophy today is explaining clearly enough for effective remedies the problematic notion of “the lack of political will.” Failures of political will underestimate a cardinal element in the basically contested notion of so-called political will, namely social egoisms. This is what the founder of Eco-ethics, Tomonobu Imamichi, described by analogy with “egoism” as “nosism.” I try to elaborate here Imamichi’s analogy of individual egoism and social “nosism” in terms of the still elusive fundamental notion not (...) only of human nature itself but of the nature at issue in human nature. My basic claim will be that most political talk today of “the lack of political will” makes insufficient allowance for what we might call tentatively “the nature of human nature.” That is, the nature of human nature, I argue, involves necessarily an always present, and largely negative, major element of social and not just individual egoism. The nature in post-essentialist human nature is neither exclusively physical nor exclusively cultural. Rather, the nature in human nature is a dynamic, interacting mixture of both material and non-material aspects, including very powerful individual and social egoisms. (shrink)
One virtue among the several vices in recent philosophy of art, whether in Anglo-American or continental terms however various, is careful work on the interactions among theory, history, and practice. Thus, philosophers as diverse as Nelson Goodman, Arthur Danto, Richard Wollheim, and Francis Sparshott, on the one hand and Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, Gilles Deleuze, and François Lyotard, on the other, continue to elaborate their sustained reflections on art in the context of repeated and closely detailed case studies within the (...) individual arts of literature, painting, dance, cinema, and so on. My purpose here is not to survey the complex character of this widespread resurgence of interest in a less general and more finely grained approach to recurring problems in the philosophy of art. Rather, I would like to put on exhibit two case studies of this striking new work. And my initial interest is to call attention to its central, repeated, and yet problematic reliance on what I will argue is an insufficiently critical grasp of the seminal notion in modern aesthetics of interpretation. I shall take my examples here from two currents only in contemporary philosophical reflection on the arts, analytic aesthetics in the recent work of Arthur Danto and hermeneutic aesthetics in that of Hans-Georg Gadamer. In each case I will try to suggest briefly without attempting to demonstrate in detail that the interpretive practices of these representative and distinguished contemporary philosophers of art seriously undermine their theoretical views about interpretation. Specifically I will argue that the recurring tension in each account between theory and practice derives largely if not exclusively from very different and yet similarly uncritical accounts of both historical and systematic uses of interpretation. Finally, in my conclusion, with the help of some reflections on aesthetics in the late Heidegger, I will try to confront both Danto’s and Gadamer’s view briefly in order to generate a series of still unresolved issues about interpretation that call for further reflection. (shrink)
This volume presents two works by Gabriel Marcel. The first, _Tragic Wisdom and Beyond,_ a collection of his later writings, shows the impact of his encounter with the later writings of Heidegger. The second, _Conversations between Paul Ricoeur and Gabriel Marcel, _is a series of six conversations between Marcel and his most famous student.
Politics and ethics are closely linked in many ways. One such link is the central but still contentious notion of the person. Take the case of today’s European Union. Most basically, member states disagree on what and who persons are. This EU paradox may be resolved when political debates about sovereignty’s limits expand to include ethical discussions of the nature of persons. The aim of this paper is to point in the direction of an account of the person that will (...) support proper understandings of those ethical, and not just political, values that the Preamble of any eventual European Union constitution will need to entrench tomorrow. (shrink)
This book is the first of two volumes devoted to the implications of hermeneutics for literary study. Because many of the major texts required for both the definition of the term ‘hermeneutics’ and an understanding of its development remain untranslated, Palmer uses most of the present volume for exposition while reserving the task of applications in literary criticism for his second volume. The specific aim here is ‘… to lay the philosophical foundation for exploring the significance of hermeneutics for literary (...) understanding’, to write ‘… a philosophical introduction to hermeneutics which can at the same time serve as the foundation for a second volume discussing hermeneutics in relation to literary theory’. And the thesis reads: ‘In German hermeneutics theory can be found the philosophical foundation for a radically more comprehensive understanding of the problems in literary interpretation’. (shrink)
Ethics has to do basically with what and who acting persons are. Persons however act variously. Some persons are basically individualists. They characteristically act as if they are as wholly independent as possible from other persons. Other persons are collectivists. They act as if they are as much a dependent part of some larger community of persons as possible. - Accordingly, one cardinal issue for any philosophical ethics like eco-ethics is whether almost all persons are, fundamentally, independent entities. That is, (...) are almost all persons independent entities, or are almost all persons dependent ones? - The idea I try to pursue here briefly is that, fundamentally, persons are neither independent nor dependent entities but interdependent ones. They are so in the senses of not being essentially prior to, or ontologically more basic than, or having their ontological identity apart from other persons. (shrink)
How is the ethically unacceptable persistence of the unnecessary suffering of extraordinarily poor street children in extraordinarily rich European Union capital cities to be durably remedied? Perhaps centrally, this philosophical essay argues, by re-articulating current inadequate understandings in the European Union of social injustice not as an absence of solidarity but as the failure to imagine and to act on "mutualities." First presented in 2011 as invited lectures for the Institute of European Studies of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, this (...) extended reflection explores four central elements of the empirical situations of such extreme child poverty amid great affluence in the contexts of a progressively developed case study of destitute street children in Paris. The essay focuses successively on such utterly destitute children's poor health, poor housing, poor food, and poor education. In each case, outstanding contemporary philosophical reflections on violations of social justice - those of J. Rawls, A. Sen, R. Dworkin, and J. Habermas - are found to be deeply suggestive but finally insufficient for understanding such legally and morally intolerable situations. Yet each may be interpreted as contributing substantively to a progressive re-articulation of at least four critical elements of what a renewed idea of social justice in the European Union tomorrow must involve - "mutualizations" of fairness, understanding, respect, and articulacy. (shrink)
First published in 1987. This study is concerned with the problem of political obligation, the normative question of why one should obey the law, and with social contract thought as an answer to this question. It is entitled a critique, but the critique is not of social contract theory as such, but rather of the "orthodox" treatment of contract that yields so readily to the rough handling and easy rejection that is the normal lot of contractarianism in contemporary treatments. In (...) its place will be suggested a reinterpretation of contract that sees it as making different assumptions and requiring different premises, and that is proof against many of the orthodox refutations of social contract theory; the reinterpretation is thus in the nature of a vindication. First, from an examination of the most commonly cited champions of contractarianism will be derive a reinterpretation of contract in the form of a new model or syllogism, the features of which will be brought out by contrasting it first with the contemporary ideas of John Rawls and then with the orthodox model itself. Democratic consent theory, as the heir to the remnants of the orthodox model, will be examined, and the ideas of T. H. Green will be considered as embodying an important feature of contractarianism omitted or ignored by the orthodox model Finally, the new model of contract will be suggested as a potentially useful approach to the problem of political obligation in the modern context. This title will be of interest to student of politics and philosophy. (shrink)
This paper focuses on four brief points only: first, the general character of today’s understandings of globalization; then, one substantive danger that arises from this general understanding of globalization; third, by contrast, the universal character of just one of the most important traditional understandings of cosmopolitanism; and, finally, on what might bring together a certain globalization and a certain cosmopolitanism into something more than either just a so-called European or African “anthropocentric ethics.” The key conceptual resource highlighted is that of (...) friendship. (shrink)
Talk of fictions is usually problematic. One reason is our habitual difficulty in distinguishing clearly between discourse about fiction and fictional discourse. And part of our problem is understanding more clearly what such various discourse refers to. In this paper I would like to examine critically a recent influential account of "fictional discourse" with a view towards offering several proposals for reconstructing that account.
AT the conclusion of his 1962 letter to William Richardson, Heidegger speaks about language and the thinking of Being. ‘In proportion to the intrinsically manifold matter of Being and Time all words which give this matter utterance…are always ambiguous. Only a manifold thought succeeds in uttering the heart of this matter in a way that corresponds with it. This manifold thought requires, however, not a new language but a transformed relationship to the essence of the old one’.
IN a collection of essays devoted to Jean Baufret, Heidegger has published the long awaited text of his 1962 Freiburg lecture, ‘Time and Being’: ‘To think the question of “Being” [“Sein”] properly requires that our reflection follow the direction that makes itself manifest in what allows the presencing of Being [Anwesenlassen]. In what lets Being become present this direction [Weisung] shows evidence for the end of a concealment [Entbergung]. Out of this revelation speaks a granting, an it is granted [Es (...) Gibt]’. (shrink)