A careful analysis of the rhetorical thought of René Descartes and of a distinguished group of post-Cartesians. Covering a unique range of authors, including Bernard Lamy and Nicolas Malebranche, Carr attacks the idea, which has become commonplace in contemporary criticism, that the Cartesian system is incompatible with rhetoric. Carr analyzes the writings of Balzac, the Port-Royalists Arnauld and Nicole, Malebranche, and Lamy, exploring the evolution of Descartes’ thought into their different theories of rhetoric. He constructs his arguments, probing (...) each author’s writings on rhetoric, persuasion, and attention, to demonstrate the basis for rhetorical thought present in Descartes’ theory of persuasion when it is combined with his psychophysiology of attention. (shrink)
Descartes has often been called the 'father of modern philosophy'. His attempts to find foundations for knowledge, and to reconcile the existence of the soul with the emerging science of his time, are among the most influential and widely studied in the history of philosophy. This is a classic and challenging introduction to Descartes by one of the most distinguished modern philosophers. Bernard Williams not only analyzes Descartes' project of founding knowledge on certainty, but uncovers the philosophical motives for (...) his search. With acute insight, he demonstrates how Descartes' _Meditations _are not merely a description but the very enactment of philosophical thought and discovery. Williams covers all of the key areas of Descartes' thought, including God, the will, the possibility of knowledge, and the mind and its place in nature. He also makes profound contributions to the theory of knowledge, metaphysics and philosophy generally. With a new foreword by John Cottingham. (shrink)
What was René Girard’s attitude towards philosophy? What philosophers influenced him? What stance did he take in the philosophical debates of his time? What are the philosophical questions raised by René Girard’s anthropology? In this interview, Paul Dumouchel sheds light on these issues.
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)
A common and enduring early modern intuition is that materialists reduce organisms in general and human beings in particular to automata. Wasn’t a famous book of the time entitled L’Homme-Machine? In fact, the machine is employed as an analogy, and there was a specifically materialist form of embodiment, in which the body is not reduced to an inanimate machine, but is conceived as an affective, flesh-and-blood entity. We discuss how mechanist and vitalist models of organism exist in a more complementary (...) relation than hitherto imagined, with conceptions of embodiment resulting from experimental physiology. From La Mettrie to Bernard, mechanism, body and embodiment are constantly overlapping, modifying and overdetermining one another; embodiment came to be scientifically addressed under the successive figures of vie organique and then milieu intérieur, thereby overcoming the often lamented divide between scientific image and living experience. (shrink)
Like many of their contemporaries Bernard Nieuwentijt and Pieter van Musschenbroek were baffled by the heterodox conclusions which Baruch Spinoza drew in the Ethics. As the full title of the Ethics—Ethica ordine geometrico demonstrata—indicates, these conclusions were purportedly demonstrated in a geometrical order, i.e. by means of pure mathematics. First, I highlight how Nieuwentijt tried to immunize Spinoza’s worrisome conclusions by insisting on the distinction between pure and mixed mathematics. Next, I argue that the anti-Spinozist underpinnings of Nieuwentijt’s distinction (...) between pure and mixed mathematics resurfaced in the work of van Musschenbroek. By insisting on the distinction between pure and mixed mathematics, Nieuwentijt and van Musschenbroek argued that Spinoza abused mathematics by making claims about things that exist in rerum natura by relying on a pure mathematical approach. In addition, by insisting that mixed mathematics should be painstakingly based on mathematical ideas that correspond to nature, van Musschenbroek argued that René Descartes’ natural-philosophical project abused mathematics by introducing hypotheses, i.e. ideas, that do not correspond to nature. (shrink)
This essay attempts to describe the neo-Lamarckian atmosphere that was dominant in French biology for more than a century. Firstly, we demonstrate that there were not one but at least two French neo-Lamarckian traditions. This implies, therefore, that it is possible to propose a clear definition of a (neo) Lamarckian conception, and by using it, to distinguish these two traditions. We will see that these two conceptions were not dominant at the same time. The first French neo-Lamarckism (1879-1931) was structured (...) by a very mechanic view of natural processes. The main representatives of this first period were scientists such as Alfred Giard (1846-1908), Gaston Bonnier (1853-1922) and Félix Le Dantec (1869-1917). The second Lamarckism - much more vitalist in its inspiration - started to develop under the supervision of people such as Albert Vandel (1894-1980) and Pierre-Paul Grassé (1895-1985). Secondly, this essay suggests that the philosophical inclinations of these neo-Lamarckisms reactivated a very ancient and strong dichotomy of French thought. One part of this dichotomy is a material, physicalist tradition, which started with René Descartes but developed extensively during the 18th and 19th centuries. The other is a spiritual and vitalist reaction to the first one, which also had a very long history, though it is most closely associated with the work of Henri Bergson. Through Claude Bernard, the first neo-Lamarckians tried to construct a mechanical and determinist form of evolutionary theory which was, in effect, a Cartesian theory. The second wave of neo-Lamarckians wanted to reconsider the autonomy and reactivity of life forms, in contrast to purely physical systems. (shrink)
This essay attempts to describe the neo-Lamarckian atmosphere that was dominant in French biology for more than a century. Firstly, we demonstrate that there were not one but at least two French neo-Lamarckian traditions. This implies, therefore, that it is possible to propose a clear definition of a (neo)Lamarckian conception, and by using it, to distinguish these two traditions. We will see that these two conceptions were not dominant at the same time. The first French neo-Lamarckism (1879–1931) was structured by (...) a very mechanic view of natural processes. The main representatives of this first period were scientists such as Alfred Giard (1846–1908), Gaston Bonnier (1853–1922) and Félix Le Dantec (1869–1917). The second Lamarckism – much more vitalist in its inspiration – started to develop under the supervision of people such as Albert Vandel (1894–1980) and Pierre-Paul Grassé (1895–1985). Secondly, this essay suggests that the philosophical inclinations of these neo-Lamarckisms reactivated a very ancient and strong dichotomy of French thought. One part of this dichotomy is a material, physicalist tradition, which started with René Descartes but developed extensively during the 18th and 19th centuries. The other is a spiritual and vitalist reaction to the first one, which also had a very long history, though it is most closely associated with the work of Henri Bergson. Through Claude Bernard, the first neo-Lamarckians tried to construct a mechanical and determinist form of evolutionary theory which was, in effect, a Cartesian theory. The second wave of neo-Lamarckians wanted to reconsider the autonomy and reactivity of life forms, in contrast to purely physical systems. (shrink)
As a response to what I see as the challenge posed by constructivist and narrative pedagogies, this paper seeks to sympathetically reconstruct Bernard Williams’ Absolute Conception from the scattered texts in which he briefly sketched it While ultimately defending the Absolute Conception or something close enough to it, the paper criticizes and distances itself from some aspects of Williams’ version, notably his conception of philosophy as insurmountably perspectival. Williams’ understanding of perspectival knowledge as contrasted to absolute knowledge is illustrated (...) with the concrete, if fictional case of the Dr Manhattan character from Zack Snyder’s Watchmen (2009). Adrian Moore’s reading, and Hilary Putnam’s criticisms of Williams’ Absolute Conception are amongst the positions engaged with. (shrink)
We trace the genealogy of wisdom to show that its status in epistemological and management discourse has gradually declined since the Scientific Revolution. As the status of wisdom has declined, so the status of rational science has grown. We argue that the effects on the practice of management of the decline of wisdom may impede management practice by clouding judgment, degrading decision making, and compromising ethical standards. We show that wisdom combines transcendent intellection and rational process with ethics to provide (...) a balanced and integrated way of knowing, deciding, and acting for managers in a complex and uncertain business environment. Finally, we discuss the role and value of wisdom across a range of business functions including knowledge management, strategic management, leadership and international business. (shrink)
This anthology brings together many of the more significant contributions to Cartesian scholarship, some of which reach far back as the 1930s. Altogether, there are well over 100 detailed analyses and discussions of salient aspects of Descartes' Promethean legacy. Because Descartes intended his system to embrace not only philosophy but also a complete scientific corpus, this collection covers both philosophical issues and scientific views: Volume 1 is devoted to questions of Cartesian Method and epistemology; Volumes 2 and 3 concentrate on (...) his metaphysics; and Volume 4 discusses Descartes' scientific views and achievements. The lucidity and originality of the essays, a number of which are already classics of Cartesian scholarship, will ensure that this anthology becomes a standard in Cartesian philosophy. An invaluable resource, Rene;e Descartes provides a large variety of introductions, analyses, criticisms, and appraisals of the problems which preoccupied Descartes and the solutions he propounded. (shrink)
Research in modern biology has largely been developed according to two main ways of inquiry, as they were outlined by Charles Darwin and Claude Bernard. Each stands for a specific approach to the living corresponding to two different methodological rules: the principle of natural selection and the principle of causation.
In December 1924 when Simone de Beauvoir almost certainly wrote her essay analyzing Claude Bernard's "Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine," a classic text in the philosophy of science, she was a 16 yr old student in a senior-level philosophy class at a private Catholic girls' school. Given the popular conception of existentialism as anti science, Beauvoir's early interest in science, reflected in her baccalaureate successes as well as her paper on Bernard, may be surprising. But her (...) enthusiasm for Bernard is unmistakable. We have identified three themes in Beauvoir's essay that reappear in her later work, including the valuing of philosophical doubt. (shrink)
Este artículo analiza las fuentes que Bernard Manin recupera de la filosofía antigua y sobre las que sustenta los argumentos de una parte de su teoría política, contenida fundamentalmente en su obra: _Los principios del gobierno representativo_. Tanto en sus reflexiones como en el diálogo con otros, Manin volverá en ocasiones, casi siempre de forma poco explícita, a lecturas de la democracia ateniense sobre las que surgen controversias por el sentido de su trabajo, manteniendo de ese modo su vigencia (...) para la comprensión del presente. En este artículo se mostrará que tanto el autor como su obra están atravesados por una tensión intelectual de un marcado carácter filosófico y político y que, entre dicha tensión y las disputas por una definición de qué es una buena democracia, se dibuja un espacio que arroja luz sobre tales controversias. Las controversias, concluiremos, no son resultado de malos entendidos; o si lo son, cobran sentido en el propio texto de Bernard Manin. (shrink)
An important shift occurs in Martin Heidegger’s thinking one year after the publication of Being and Time , in the Appendix to the Metaphysical Foundations of Logic . The shift is from his project of fundamental ontology—which provides an existential analysis of human existence on an ontological level—to metontology . Metontology is a neologism that refers to the ontic sphere of human experience and to the regional ontologies that were excluded from Being and Time. It is within metontology, Heidegger states, (...) that “the question of ethics may be raised for the first time.” This paper makes explicit both Heidegger’s argument for metontology , and the relation between metontology and ethics. In examining what he means by “the art of existing,” the paper argues that there is an ethical dimension to Heidegger’s thinking that corresponds to a moderate form of moral particularism. In order to justify this position, a comparative analysis is made between Heidegger, Aristotle, and Bernard Williams. (shrink)
New concepts may prove necessary to profit from the avalanche of sequence data on the genome, transcriptome, proteome and interactome and to relate this information to cell physiology. Here, we focus on the concept of large activity-based structures, or hyperstructures, in which a variety of types of molecules are brought together to perform a function. We review the evidence for the existence of hyperstructures responsible for the initiation of DNA replication, the sequestration of newly replicated origins of replication, cell division (...) and for metabolism. The processes responsible for hyperstructure formation include changes in enzyme affinities due to metabolite-induction, lipid-protein affinities, elevated local concentrations of proteins and their binding sites on DNA and RNA, and transertion. Experimental techniques exist that can be used to study hyperstructures and we review some of the ones less familiar to biologists. Finally, we speculate on how a variety of in silico approaches involving cellular automata and multi-agent systems could be combined to develop new concepts in the form of an Integrated cell (I-cell) which would undergo selection for growth and survival in a world of artificial microbiology. (shrink)
During the seventeenth century there were different ways of opposing the new mechanical philosophy and the old Aristotelian philosophy. Remarkably enough, one of this way succeeded in becoming stable beyond the moment of its formulation, one according to which Descartes would be the benchmark by which the works of other natural philosophers of the seventeenth century fall either on the side of the old or the new. I consequently examine the French debate where this representation emerges, a debate that took (...) place along with the development of a Cartesian propaganda in the 1660s and the ensuing official condemnations of the philosophy of Descartes, which was said to constitute a danger for the mystery of Eucharist. But these condemnations pronounced in the name of theology, as numerous and radical as they were, were not considered to be sufficient. They were assisted by numerous polemical works, the audience of which were learned companies of courteous honnêtes gens, and the object of which was to defend a certain way of proceeding in natural philosophy. I consequently concentrate on two correlated questions, the question of what kind of ontological entities are necessary for the establishment of a good physics, and the correlated question of what norms should be adopted in natural philosophy. I show quite systematically that the criticisms of Cartesian philosophers by the Oratorian Jean-Baptiste de La Grange, the bishop Pierre-Daniel Huet, and various Jesuits, Ignace Pardies, Antoine Rochon, Louis Le Valois, Gabriel Daniel, René Rapin, and Honoré Fabri respond to the mockeries of Gérauld de Cordemoy, Jacques Rohault, Louis de La Forge, Bernard Lamy, Nicolas Malebranche or Antoine Arnauld concerning the scholastic entities. Not only do I contrast their philosophical arguments concerning ontological entities and the norms to be respected in physics, but also their ways of defining the philosophical enterprise and its public. (shrink)
This work will examine the concept of soul developed in mysticism of abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). For this, I will analyze extracts of five writings namely the Third Series of Sentences, three of his Liturgical Sermons, and the parabola The Three Children of the King.
Este artigo busca expor as críticas de Bernardo de Claraval às superfluidades humanas no texto da Apologia, especialmente aquelas referentes à arte arquitetural. Em segundo lugar, procura analisar as implicações estéticas do ascetismo cisterciense e bernardiano. As críticas de Bernardo exercem uma influência decisiva na ornamentação e fazem nascer uma nova arquitetura. This paper is to expose the criticism of human superfluities at Bernard of Clairvaux in the text of the Apology, especially those related to architectural art. Secondly, analyzes (...) the aesthetic implications of cistercian and bernardian asceticism. Criticism of Bernard exercise a decisive influence on ornamentation and give birth to a new architecture. (shrink)
The paper reviews links between Bernard Lonergan's theory of innovative economic growth and cycles, and the ideas of Friedrich Hayek, John Maynard Keynes, and Joseph Schumpeter. They were contemporary economists, who remain influential today. For Lonergan, although markets define what is bought and sold in an exchange economy, production decisions are more fundamental. These decisions are choices about the direction of development, the standard of living, and variations in the distribution of wealth in a modern society. The paper shows (...) how Lonergan's pure cycle theory extends mainstream theory to include a broader view of human behaviour and choice. (shrink)
The reduplication argument advanced by Bernard Williams in 1956 has greatly stimulated the contemporary debate on personal identity. The argument relies on a famous thought experiment that, although not new in the history of philosophy, has engaged some of the most influential contemporary philosophers on the topic. I propose here an interpretation of the argument and a reconstruction of the early reception that Williams’ paper had in the 6 years immediately after its publication. The works discussed include papers by (...) C. B. Martin, G. C. Nerlich, R. Coburn, and J. M. Shorter. (shrink)
This paper explores differing accounts of the nature of desire, found in the works of Bernard Lonergan and René Girard, and their implications for our understanding of the origins or socio-cultural order. Using Lonergan's distinction between natural and elicited desires it argues that Girard's account of desire as mimetic may account for elicited desire, but may not account for natural desire, in Lonergan's account, as desire for meaning, truth and goodness. It then considers the implications for this distinction (...) in our understanding of our socio-cultural origins. (shrink)
The concept of the Formalesque preoccupied Bernard Smith during the last decades of his life. First propounded in Modernism's History (1998), the Formalesque is a proposed period style describing the art of the 20th century. Yet, despite his ambitions for the Formalesque as a new classification for modern art, the idea failed to appeal to academic art history. This paper does not attempt to salvage the Formalesque from art-historical obscurity. But it does argue Smith's work on this topic is (...) relevant by virtue of the contribution it makes to debates about modernism and art history. Although Smith's thesis emphasizes the necessity of period styles and the perennial development of art history, paradoxically, the Formalesque also highlights the limitations of art history. If the Formalesque has a place in art historiography, it belongs to a speculative discourse describing the end of the history of art. (shrink)
El término “doble vínculo” fue utilizado por primera vez por el antropólogo Gregory Bateson. René Girard asume esta aportación de la Escuela de Palo Alto para formular su teoría del “deseo mimético”. El presente artículo expone la transformación de esta noción en la antropología contemporánea.
This article is a discussion of Bernard Bosanquet's paper 'The Reality of the General Will', in which its main arguments and motivations are explained. His position is compared to Rousseau's on the general will.
Like Bernard Mandeville, Archibald Campbell develops a profoundly egoistic conception of human psychology. However, Campbell attacks numerous points in Mandeville’s moral philosophy, in particular Mandeville’s treatment of self-love, the desire for esteem, and human nature in general as corrupt. He also criticises Mandeville’s corresponding insistence on self-denial and his rigorist conception of luxury. Campbell himself is subsequently attacked by Scottish orthodox Calvinists - not for his egoism, but for his optimism regarding postlapsarian human nature and self-love. This episode demonstrates (...) that the debates on egoism in Mandeville should be seen in the context of the debates on postlapsarian human nature. (shrink)
This essay deals with a set of distinctive themes in the thought of Bernard Williams, and focuses on two aspects they all have in common. These are, on the one hand, the idea that the philosophical enterprise is intrinsically reflective in nature, and, on the other, a preoccupation with human beings singly regarded as individuals. By bringing these two constants to the fore, individually and in their interrelations, the essay formulates the general lines of an alternative reading of Williams, (...) revealing a more unitary understanding of his philosophy than has hitherto been allowed. (shrink)
La obra de René Girard está salpicada de críticas al humanismo y a los humanistas. En este estudio nos preguntamos en primer lugar qué es el humanismo, haciéndonos cargo de la problemática historiográfica. Presentamos el contraste existente entre los tópicos e ideales humanistas y las ideas que se derivan de la teoría mimética. Estudiamos las críticas explícitas de Girard a los humanistas y, por último, adoptamos una perspectiva que permite calificarlo a él mismo como un humanista.
Following Mr. Bixby and some other 19th century scientist-philosophers such as Claude Bernard, relevant scientific actions should, as a matter of primary importance, be explained with reference to the competence and not to the intentions of those involved. The background is a reliabilist virtue approach - a widespread tendency in 19th century epistemology and philosophy of science. Bixby's approach includes a critique of some constructivist arguments and establishes a mutually supportive connection to conceptions of scientific progress.