The paper deals with the interrelations between the philosophy, sociology and historiography of science in Thomas Kuhn’s theory of scientific development. First, the historiography of science provides the basis for both the philosophy and sociology of science in the sense that the fundamental questions of both disciplines depend on the principles of the form of historiography employed. Second, the fusion of the sociology and philosophy of science, as advocated by Kuhn, is discussed. This fusion consists essentially in (...) a replacement of methodological rules by cognitive values that influence the decisions of scientific communities. As a consequence, the question of the rationality of theory choice arises, both with respect to the actual decisions and to the possible justification of cognitive values and their change. (shrink)
First published in 1946, History of Western Philosophy went on to become the best-selling philosophy book of the twentieth century. A dazzlingly ambitious project, it remains unchallenged to this day as the ultimate introduction to Western philosophy. Providing a sophisticated overview of the ideas that have perplexed people from time immemorial, it is 'long on wit, intelligence and curmudgeonly scepticism', as the New York Times noted, and it is this, coupled with the sheer brilliance of its (...) scholarship, that has made Russell's History of Western Philosophy one of the most important philosophical works of all time. (shrink)
Philosophy, History, and Myth is a collection of essays that were originally delivered as academic lectures. The essays are relatively informal explorations of topics in the history of philosophy, logic and its philosophical relevance, materialism in the philosophy of mind, the Hegelian end of history, the role of humanism in the contemporary world, and relations between philosophy and myth, broadly and also more specifically with reference to themes in early Greek literature.
In the 1980s, philosophical, historical and social studies of science underwent a change which later evolved into a turn to practice. Analysts of science were asked to pay attention to scientific practices in meticulous detail and along multiple dimensions, including the material, social and psychological. Following this turn, the interest in scientific practices continued to increase and had an indelible influence in the various fields of science studies. No doubt, the practice turn changed our conceptions and approaches of science, but (...) what did it really teach us? What does it mean to study scientific practices? What are the general lessons, implications, and new challenges? This volume explores questions about the practice turn using both case studies and theoretical analysis. The case studies examine empirical and mathematical sciences, including the engineering sciences. The volume promotes interactions between acknowledged experts from different, often thought of as conflicting, orientations. It presents contributions in conjunction with critical commentaries that put the theses and assumptions of the former in perspective. Overall, the book offers a unique and diverse range of perspectives on the meanings, methods, lessons, and challenges associated with the practice turn. (shrink)
Post-modernism believes in nothing, not even unbelief. Hence it is a genial version of nihilism, and the flip side of despair. Like skepticism , it is healthy insofar as it rejects all dogmas; but unhealthy insofar as it substitutes its own, while eating its own essence. This book diagnoses this disease, and offers irony as its cure. What failure of nerve did to Hellenism, strength of character must do for the decline of the best. Humor, laughter, and detachment are the (...) gifts of historical art, and of Socratic science. As we take refuge in the myth of truth, we must realize that there is no truth in myth, and no comfort in illusion, except the lie of immortality. (shrink)
The concept that peope have of themselves as a 'person' is one of the most intimate notions that they hold. Yet the way in which the category of the person is conceived varies over time and space. In this volume, anthropologists, philosophers, and historians examine the notion of the person in different cultures, past and present. Taking as their starting point a lecture on the person as a category of the human mind, given by Marcel Mauss in 1938, the contributors (...) critically assess Mauss's speculation that ntions of the person, rather than being primarily philosophical or psychological, have a complex social and ideological origin. Discussing societies ranging from ancient Greece, India, and China to modern Africa and Papua New Guinea, they provide fascinating descriptions of how these different cultures define the person. But they also raise deeper theoretical issues: What is universally constant and what is culturally variable in people's thinking about the person? How can these variations be explained? Has there been a general progressive development toward the modern Western view of the person? What is distinctive about this? How do one's notions of the person inform one's ability to comprehend alternative formulations? These questions are of compelling interest for a wide range of anthropologists, philosophers, historians, psychologists, sociologists, orientalists, and classicists. The book will appeal to any reader concerned with understanding one of the most fundamental aspects of human existence. (shrink)
The sixteen essays in this volume confront the current debate about the relationship between philosophy and its history. On the one hand intellectual historians commonly accuse philosophers of writing bad - anachronistic - history of philosophy, and on the other, philosophers have accused intellectual historians of writing bad - antiquarian - history of philosophy. The essays here address this controversy and ask what purpose the history of philosophy should serve. Part I contains (...) more purely theoretical and methodological discussion, of such questions as whether there are 'timeless' philosophical problems, whether the issues of one epoch are commensurable with those of another, and what style is appropriate to the historiography of the subject. The essays in Part II consider a number of case-histories. They present important revisionist scholarship and original contributions on topics drawn from ancient, early modern and more recent philosophy. All the essays have been specially commissioned, and the contributors include many of the leading figures in the field. The volume as a whole will be of vital interest to everyone concerned with the study of philosophy and of its history. (shrink)
Philosophy has long become a key term in the study of Buddhism, defining the moral and rational essence of the Buddha’s teaching, emblematic of its Indian origins. In this essay, I suggest that the relation of Buddhism and philosophy, which prior to the mid-nineteenth century was framed as the relation of the Religion of Fo to the cult of voidness, was reformulated in the self-styled language of science in the wake of the study of Buddhism from Sanskrit sources. (...) Specifically, I suggest that the philosophical dimension of Eugène Burnouf’s reading of the Divyāvadāna and his idea of “simple sūtra” played a crucial role in defining Buddhism as a philosophy for the late nineteenth and into the twentieth century. The idea of a “simple moral philosophy” emerged in Burnouf’s particular reading of the story of the Buddha’s last days in the Divyāvadāna and the Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta, as the play of magic and death unfolds in the theme of the master’s denial of the will to live. Burnouf’s philosophical reading rests on the purification, in the theme of the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa, of the foundations of magical power that articulate knowledge of this world and beyond in the Buddha’s discourses. In the conclusion, I reformulate Burnouf’s question about the Buddha’s moral philosophy in his study of the simple sūtras vis-à-vis the historically self-conscious question about the Buddha’s ability to defer death by magic that traces back to the early debate of Buddhist exegetical traditions. (shrink)
All volumes of Professor Guthrie's great history of Greek philosophy have won their due acclaim. The most striking merits of Guthrie's work are his mastery of a tremendous range of ancient literature and modern scholarship, his fairness and balance of judgement and the lucidity and precision of his English prose. He has achieved clarity and comprehensiveness.
Philosophy written in English is overwhelmingly analytic philosophy, and the techniques and predilections of analytic philosophy are not only unhistorical but anti-historical, and hostile to textual commentary. Analytic usually aspires to a very high degree of clarity and precision of formulation and argument, and it often seeks to be informed by, and consistent with, current natural science. In an earlier era, analytic philosophy aimed at agreement with ordinary linguistic intuitions or common sense beliefs, or both. All (...) of these aspects of the subject sit uneasily with the use of historical texts for philosophical illumination. In this book, ten distinguished philosophers explore the tensions between, and the possibilities of reconciling, analytic philosophy and history of philosophy. Contributors: M. R. Ayers, John Cottingham, Daniel Garber, Gary Hatfield, Anthony Kenny, Steven Nadler, G. A. J. Rogers, Tom Sorell, Catherine Wilson, Yves Charles Zarka. (shrink)
_''Philosophy' is a word which has been used in many ways, some wider, some narrower. I propose to use it in a very wide sense, which I will now try to explain.'_ - _ Bertrand Russell Nearly forty years since its first publication, History of Western Philosophy_ remains unchallenged as the ultimate introduction to its subject, while claiming classic status in its own right. It is the bestselling philosophy book of the twentieth century and one of the (...) most important philosophical works of all time. This compact and affordable paperback edition makes this comprehensive and brilliantly-written text readily available for a new generation of readers. As part of our commitment to Russell publishing, the delux version of this bestselling title will continue to be available. 1961: 848pp: Pb: 0-145-07854-7: £16.99. (shrink)
Is life different from the non-living? If so, how? And how, in that case, does biology as the study of living things differ from other sciences? These questions are traced through an exploration of episodes in the history of biology and philosophy. The book begins with Aristotle, then moves on to Descartes, comparing his position with that of Harvey. In the eighteenth century the authors consider Buffon and Kant. In the nineteenth century the authors examine the Cuvier-Geoffroy debate, (...) pre-Darwinian geology and natural theology, Darwin and the transition from Darwin to the revival of Mendelism. Two chapters deal with the evolutionary synthesis and such questions as the species problem, the reducibility or otherwise of biology to physics and chemistry, and the problem of biological explanation in terms of function and teleology. The final chapters reflect on the implications of the philosophy of biology for philosophy of science in general. (shrink)
This paper develops Bernard Williams’s suggestion that for philosophy to ignore its history is for it to assume that its history is vindicatory. The paper aims to offer a fruitful line of inquiry into the question whether philosophy has a vindicatory history by providing a map of possible answers to it. It first distinguishes three types of history: the history of discovery, the history of progress, and the history of change. It (...) then suggests that much of philosophy lacks a vindicatory history, for reasons that reflect philosophy’s character as a humanistic discipline. On this basis, the paper reconstructs Williams’s conception of what it means for philosophy to engage with its own history. The paper concludes that it is a mistake to think that a vindicatory history is what we would really like to have, and that in fact, the resulting picture gives philosophy several reasons to engage with its own history. (shrink)
History and philosophy complement and overlap each other in subject matter, but the two disciplines exhibit conflict over methodology. Since Hempel's challenge to historians that they should adopt the covering law model of explanation, the methodological conflict has revolved around the respective roles of the general and the particular in each discipline. In recent years, the revival of narrativism in history, coupled with the trend in philosophy of science to rely upon case studies, joins the methodological (...) conflict anew. So long as contemporary philosophy of science relies upon history's methodology to construct its case studies, it subjects itself to a paradoxical situation: the better the history, the worse the philosophy. An example of the methodological conflict is presented in the case of Antoine Lavoisier. This example also serves our ultimateconclusion, which is that distinctively philosophical methods of case-study design promise enhanced prescriptive powers for philosophy of science. (shrink)