: In this essay, I examine the arguments against physician - assisted suicide Susan Wolf offers in her essay, "Gender, Feminism, and Death : Physician - Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia." I argue that Wolf's analysis of PAS, while timely and instructive in many ways, does not require that feminists reject policy approaches that might permit PAS. The essay concludes with reflections on the relationship between feminism and questions of agency, especially women's agency.
Corballis seems to have not considered two points: (1) the importance of direct selection pressures for the evolution of handedness; and (2) the evolutionary significance of the polymorphism of handedness. We provide arguments for the need to explain handedness in terms of adaptation and natural selection.
Can political theory be action-guiding without relying on pre-political normative commitments? I answer that question affirmatively by unpacking two related tenets of Raymond Geuss’ political realism: the view that political philosophy should not be a branch of ethics, and the ensuing empirically-informed conception of legitimacy. I argue that the former idea can be made sense of by reference to Hobbes’ account of authorization, and that realist legitimacy can be normatively salient in so far as it stands in the correct (...) relation to a theory of justice and problematizes its sources of value through what Geuss terms ‘political imagination’. (shrink)
This is a critical notice/review essay on *L'embryogenèse du monde et le Dieu silencieux*, a manuscript completed by Raymond Ruyer in the early 1980s. It came out as a monograph in November 2013, with the Éditions Klincksieck in Paris. It offers a presentation in an organized fashion of many aspects of his thought. Ruyer considered that a book about God could only be churned into a series of chapters on the unachievable character of our knowledge in different domains of (...) human inquiry. The nature of this final solution on God's relationship to the world and to natural forms is here assessed critically. (shrink)
There is an analogy between a scientific approach to medicine in which the patient ultimately becomes an object of study rather than a whole person, and a post/modern aesthetic in literature in which the subject has little or no agency in a chaotic linguistic universe. Raymond Carver died of cancer in 1988, and in both his pre- and post-diagnostic poetry there is humanistic lyricism that contributes to re-establishing empathic bonds between readers and characters, and to re-humanizing the patient as (...) a whole person in the context of contemporary health institutions. Close readings of poems with descriptions of the autopsy room and of patient-doctor relations bring out the medical humanism in Carver's verse. (shrink)
This edited collection of essays brings to light the rare virtues and uncommon merits of Raymond Aron, the main figure of French twentieth-century liberalism. The Companion to Raymond Aron is an essential supplement to Aron's autobiography Mémoires (1984) and main works, exploring the substance of his political, sociological, and philosophical thought.
Description courte (Électre, 2019) : Une étude d'un des principaux axes de réflexion du philosophe des sciences et de la nature Raymond Ruyer (1902-1987). À la lumière des découvertes de l'embryogenèse et en s'appuyant par ailleurs sur la théorie de l'information, il proposa une interprétation des concepts unificateurs de la cybernétique mécaniste. -/- Short Descriptor (Electre 2019): A study of one of the main axes of reflection of the French philosopher of science and of nature Raymond Ruyer (1902-1987). (...) Relying on the discoveries about embryogenesis, and also with the use of information theory, Ruyer proposed an interpretation of the main unifying concepts of mechanistic cybernetics. -/- Cet ouvrage propose une étude fouillée d'un des principaux axes de réflexion du philosophe des sciences et de la nature français Raymond Ruyer (1902–1987) : la cybernétique. Après avoir proposé une philosophie structuraliste, Ruyer la modifia à la lumière des découvertes de l'embryogenèse, puis il proposa une interprétation des concepts unificateurs de la cybernétique mécaniste. Réfléchissant sur cette dernière et sur la théorie de l'information, en particulier sur l'origine de l'information, il défendit que cette cybernétique n'était qu'une lecture inversée de la vraie cybernétique, qui nous donnerait de lire dans l'expérience même les traces du pouvoir morphogénétique, appréhendé comme un champ axiologique. Dans un texte résumant son propre parcours, Ruyer affirma finalement que la critique de la théorie de l'information « peut donner […] l'espoir d'aboutir à quelque chose comme une nouvelle théologie. » Les idées directrices de Ruyer sont tout particulièrement contextualisées ici à partir de la question du développement des formes en biologie, et de celles de la génétique, de la genèse stochastique de l'ordre, et de l'identification mentale ou physique de l'information. Il se termine en départageant ce qui est théologique et axiologique dans ce projet de métaphysique qui, bien que resté inachevé, n'en représente pas moins le plus impressionnant conçu en France au siècle dernier. – This book offers an in-depth study of one of the main axes in the reflection of French philosopher of science and nature Raymond Ruyer. In a text summarising his own development, Ruyer stated about the philosophical critique of information theory that it "is what can give the most long-lasting hope of getting to something like a new theology." After propounding a structuralist philosophy, and distinguishing between form and structure, to then modify it in the light of discoveries in embryogenesis, Ruyer offered a re-evaluation of the unifying concepts of mechanistic cybernetics. Thinking about it and about information theory, he defended the idea that this cybernetics was in reality an inverted reading of the real one, which would allow us to read in experience itself traces of the morphogenetic power, apprehended as the axiological field. On some transversal points, the development of forms in biology and genetics, the stochastic genesis of order, the identification of information with either psychological and mental, or physical reality, behaviour, and the access to meaning, this work exposes the main ideas of Ruyer while situating them in the context of the breadth of others' contributions. It ends by determining what is theological and axiological in this project for a metaphysics which, although unfinished, is nevertheless the most impressive effort done in France in the last century. – Available on i6doc dot com (ISBN 978-2-930517-56-8 ; pdf 978-2-930517-57-5). (shrink)
This is the outline: Introduction : le praticien d’une science-philosophie; Épiphénoménisme retourné et subjectivité délocalisée; Dieu est-il jamais inféré par la science ?; La question du panthéisme; Le pilotage axiologique et la parabole mécaniste; L'unité domaniale comme ce qui reste en dehors de la science.
This is the outline: Introduction — La question de la cybernétique et de l'information — Une « pensée du milieu » — Cybernétique et homologie — Une théorie de l'apprentissage — L'information vue de l'autre côté — Champ et domaine unitaire — La thèse des « autres-je » — Le passage par l'axiologie — La rétroaction vraie — L'ontologie de Ruyer — Le bruissement de l'être même.
In this review I try and show the ways in which Geuss’ new work may advance the (radical) realist programme. The main contribution in the new essays, as I see it, is the emphasis on the counterintuitively transformative potential of a realist approach, as opposed to the false promise of highly moralised approaches. I also highlight some open questions about Geuss’ realism, primarily to do with his contextualism and with the role of feasibility constraints.
The Raymond Tallis Reader provides a comprehensive survey of the work of this passionate, perceptive, and often controversial thinker. Key selections from Tallis's major works are supplemented by Michael Grant's detailed introduction and linking commentary. From nihilism to Theorrhoea, from literary theory to the role of the unconscious, The Raymond Tallis Reader guides us through the panoptic sweep of Tallis's critical insights and reveals a way of thinking for the 21st century.
Raymond Geuss has been viewed as one of the figureheads of the recent debates about realism in political theory. This interpretation, however, depends on a truncated understanding of his work of the past 30 years. I will offer the first sustained engagement with this work which allows understanding his realism as a project for reorienting political theory, particularly the relationship between political theory and politics. I interpret this reorientation as a radicalization of realism in political theory through the combination (...) of the emphasis on the critical purpose of political theory and the provision of practical, contextual orientation. Their compatibility depends on Geuss’ understanding of criticism as negative, of power as ‘detoxified’ and of the critical purchase of political theory as based on the diagnostic engagement with its context. This radicalization particularly challenges the understanding of how political theory relates to its political context. (shrink)
In Philosophy and Real Politics, Raymond Geuss outlines the program of a realistic investigation of politics and develops a critique of the normativistic approach that defines the mainstream of contemporary analytic political philosophy. The paper discusses the question of how these two elements, realism and critique, are related in Geuss. Drawing on some of Geuss′ considerations in Outside Ethics the paper argues that the very existence of real politics depends on the critique of those normativistic forms of thinking that (...) threaten to dissolve the reality of politics. The critique of ideology and the disclosure of reality are internally related. (shrink)
Under the pretense of defending an obscure treatise by a Catalan theologian, Sebond, Montaigne attacks the philosophers who attempt rational explanations of the universe and argues for a skeptical Christianity based squarely on faith rather than reason. The result is the _Apology for Raymond Sebond_, a classic of Counter-Reformation thought and a masterpiece of Renaissance literature. This new translation by Roger Ariew and Marjorie Grene achieves both accuracy and fluency, conveying at once the nuances of Montaigne’s arguments and his (...) distinctive literary style. (shrink)
The article studies the influence of the ideological heritage of the Prussian war theorist Carl von Clausewitz on the works, worldview, and political views of the French researcher Raymond Aron. For a long time, in France the value and relevance of Clausewitz’s theory of war was acknowledged only in the light of specialized military issues. Aron was one of the first in the country to recognize the value and methodological potential of Clausewitz’s political philosophy of war for the understanding (...) of the preparation and usage of military force, maintenance of national and international security, and Aron made efforts to popularize the Prussian theorist’s doctrine. The analysis of Aron’s works, in which he appeals to Clausewitz and the theory of war, has revealed the evolution that occurred in attitude towards the ideological heritage of the Prussian philosopher. Clausewitz’s works, which were primarily a source of citation for Aron at first, turned into the methodological framework for a philosophical conceptualization of war and international relations, in particular in the nuclear era. Based on the results of a thorough study of Clausewitz’s works and a deep reflection on his legacy, Aron in his later years wrote a two-volume work about him, seeing the Prussian thinker primarily as a political philosopher of war. An important reason for the interest of the French scholar was the personality and biography of Clausewitz himself: his character, relations with authorities, political position, acceptance by contemporaries, and the fate of his doctrine. In this regard, Aron’s understanding of Clausewitz is emotionally loaded, and the book about him significantly differs from Aron’s other works by the author’s personal attitude. The comprehension of Clausewitz and his ideological heritage encouraged Aron’s self-reflection and change of self-identification, a better understanding of the military culture of Germany and France. The article concludes on the importance of further conceptualization and development of the scientific legacy of Clausewitz and Aron. (shrink)
Raymond Boisvert and Lisa Heldke begin Philosophers at Table with a simile. Following Mary Midgley, they suggest that philosophy is like plumbing. We post-industrial urbanites and suburbanites rely on plumbing to bring us water and dispose of our waste. We rely on it daily, but we rarely think reflectively about it. In like fashion, we all rely on philosophy; ideas, concepts, values, and guiding principles structure and organize the way we perceive and experience the world. Philosophy lies undetected, out (...) of sight, tucked neatly in the walls and under the floorboards. We typically suffer its dripping faucets, its low water pressure, its slow drain as long as we can because these almost always involve unwieldy... (shrink)
La conception épistémologique dualiste de Raymond Ruyer, où l'information n'est signifiante que par l'exercice d'une conscience relevant d'une autre dimension, a permis à l'auteur d'échapper à un dogme erroné dans ce domaine : celui qui voulait identifier information, ordre et néguentropie. Même si les conceptions philosophiques des scientifiques d'aujourd'hui, généralement matérialistes et monistes, sont différentes, leurs conséquences rejoignent les positions épistémologiques de Ruyer où information, structure, forme ou évolution des espèces ne peuvent être conçues selon un réductionnisme simpliste. (...) class='Hi'>Raymond Ruyer's dualistic epistemological conception, in which information is significant only by the exercise of a consciousness that belongs to another dimension, allowed the author to escape an erroneous dogma: the temptation to conflate information, order and neguentropy. Even if the philosophical conceptions of contemporary scientists, most often materialistic and monistic, are different, their consequences coincide with the epistemological positions of Ruyer's, in which information, structure, form or the evolution of species cannot be conceived in the terms of a simplistic reductionism. (shrink)
Does anyone ever survive his or her bodily death ? Could anyone? No speculative questions are older than these, or have been answered more frequently or more variously. None have been laid to rest more often, or — in our times — with more claimed decisiveness. Jay Rosenberg, for instance, no doubt speaks for many contemporary philosophers when he claims, in his recent book, to have ‘ demonstrated ’ that ‘ we cannot [even] make coherent sense of the supposed possibility (...) that a person's history might continue beyond that person's [bodily] death’. (shrink)
Summary This article approaches post-war debates about the relationship between normative political theory and empirical political science from a French perspective. It does so by examining Raymond Aron's commentaries on a series of articles commissioned by him for a special issue of the Revue française de science politique on this theme as well as through an analysis of his wartime dialogue with the neo-Thomist philosopher, Jacques Maritain. Following a consideration of Aron's critique of contemporary approaches to this issue in (...) France, we discuss his own distinctive attempt to draw normative theory and empirical science into the same orbit by tracing the interaction of these two elements in his work from the late 1930s to the mid-1960s. (shrink)
Montaigne faz um ataque pirrônico ao conceito acadêmico de verossimilhança ou probabilidade na Apologia de Raymond Sebond. O ataque é paradoxal porque Montaigne parece seguir o verossímil na própria Apologia e em diversos outros ensaios. Para resolver este problema exegético proponho uma dupla restrição do escopo do ataque à verossimilhança. Por um lado, mostro que o ataque visa mais a leitura epistêmica da verossimilhança proposta por Filo de Larissa do que ao conceito original de ordem exclusivamente prática de Carnéades. (...) Por outro, situo-o em um contexto político-religioso bem específico. O ataque pirrônico à verossimilhança é a estratégia oferecida por Montaigne à rainha católica de Navarra e irmã do rei da França, Marguerite de Valois, para eventual uso nas polêmicas religiosas em sua corte majoritariamente protestante de Nérac. Esta contextualização soluciona também outros problemas exegéticos da Apologia, como o da defesa paradoxal de Sebond, a inconsistência aparente entre as respostas de Montaigne às duas objeções feitas ao livro de Sebond, e o problema do fideísmo. In the Apology for Raymond Sebond, Montaigne launches a Pyrrhonian attack on Academic probability. However, Montaigne does follow probability in the Apology and other essays. In order to solve this exegetical problem I propose a double restriction of the attack. On the one hand, I show that it aims at Philo of Larissa's epistemic interpretation of the doctrine rather than at Carneades' original practical conception. On the other hand, I place the attack on a very specific historical context. Montaigne's Pyrrhonian attack on probability is a polemical strategy offered to Marguerite de Valois, the sister of the catholic king of France and wife of the protestant leader Henri de Navarre, to be used in the religious controversies in her predominant protestant court at Nérac. This context also solves other exegetical problems of the Apology such as Montaigne's paradoxical defense of Sebond, the apparent contradiction between the replies to the two objections to Sebond's book addressed by Montaigne, and the problem of fideism. (shrink)
Raymond Aron (1905–1983) assumed many guises over a long and fruitful career: journalist, polemicist, philosopher of history, counselor to political leaders and officials, theorist of nuclear deterrence and international relations. He was also France’s most notable sociologist. While Aron had especially close ties with Britain, a result of his days in active exile there during the Second World War, he was widely appreciated in the United States too. His book Main Currents in Sociological Thought was hailed a masterpiece; more (...) generally, Aron’s books were extensively reviewed in the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review (in earlier days, it hosted a review section), Contemporary Sociology, and Social Forces. And he was admired and cited by sociologists of the stature of Daniel Bell, Edward Shils, and David Riesman. Yet despite appearing well poised to become a major force in international sociology, analogous to his younger collaborator, Pierre Bourdieu, Aron has almost vanished from the sociological landscape. This article explains why, offering in the process some observations on the conditions—conceptual and motivational—of reputational longevity in sociological theory and showing how Aron failed to meet them. Special attention is devoted to a confusing equivocation in Aron’s description of sociology and to the cultural basis of his ambivalence toward the discipline. (shrink)
This review of Janice Raymond's A Passion for Friends focuses on her strong sense of the individual and of individuality. However, and this is the central contention of my paper, her perspective is quite distinct from liberal individualism. It is also a complex variation on the feminist concern with selves in relationships.
French surrealist author Raymond Roussel’s novel Locus solus depicted a brain-in-a-vat apparatus in which the head of the revolutionary orator Georges Danton was reanimated and made to speak. This scene of mechanically-produced language echoes Roussel’s own method of quasi-mechanical literary production as presented in How I wrote certain of my books. Roussel’s work participates in a wider fascination in modern French thought with the fragile connection, or violent disjuncture, between the body and mind. This paper discusses a number of (...) instances in which bodiless and reanimated heads played a central role in reflections on knowledge, art, and individuality. Roussel’s works offer a sidelong commentary on the notion of explanation in the sciences and the cult of reason in a technocratic society. (shrink)
Especially in recent works, Raymond Geuss has expressed an unabashedly bleak view of the practice of philosophy and what we can expect to gain from it. In his latest collection of essays, A World Without Why, Geuss continues to write in this vein. Although he characteristically addresses an impressive variety of topics, the book is held together by a general engagement with the question of authority and by Geuss’s ongoing effort to philosophize outside the bounds of contemporary philosophy. Indeed, (...) one of the forms of authority with which he most takes issue is that of philosophy itself. Nonetheless, Geuss has a favorite cast of philosophers who he frequently enlists in his unique brand of philosophically informed... (shrink)
This short article is an introduction to a collection of essays written to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Raymond Aron in 1983. Having briefly examined the recent controversy associated with the publication of Daniel Lindenberg's Le Rappel à l'ordre, it discusses the development of political thinking in France over the last 20 years and the place occupied by the revival of interest in liberalism. It concludes by suggesting that the dominance sometimes attributed to liberalism in contemporary (...) France might be misplaced, citing in particular the manner in which the radical left has been able to transform itself and maintain the rhetoric of anti-capitalism. It cites recent opposition to the war in Iraq as an example of patterns of ideological continuity. To that extent, Aron might well have again found himself in the minority. (shrink)
The apparent liberalism of Raymond Aron's thought can be understood only in the context of the questions asked by the "continental" philosophical tradition. Aron contends that the strong neo-Kantian and existentialist trends which came together in Weber's work serve to split man off from meaningful intercourse with the social world. Aron intends to re-establish that intercourse. He attempts to show precisely what the consequences and responsibilities of making choices are for a man "thrown" into the world. Politics becomes focused (...) around the choice of values in a world delineated only in negative terms. Aron's program yields a low number of generalizable empirical conclusions and policy recommendations, and this is instructive to those who wish to practice "good" social science. (shrink)
The infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke pose in an acute form the question of the historical value of the Gospels. Raymond Brown suggests that redaction criticism can bypass this question by spelling out the theological message intended by the evangelists. But his own exegesis suggests this is to misunderstand the genre of this literature. Brown’s indifference to historicity would be justified only if the evangelists were writing something resembling allegory, a form of narrative in which the literal sense (...) of the story is the clothing of a spiritual message. But Brown’s exegesis suggests that the evangelists do not regard the literal sense of these stories as dispensable; they regard their theological message as resting on a foundation of historical fact. It follows that if interpreters focus on the intention of the evangelists, they cannot avoid addressing the question of historicity. (shrink)