The Battle for the American Mind brings together religion, politics, economics, science, and literature to present a compelling history of the American people. In this brief and entertaining book, noted historian Carl J. Richard argues that there have been three worldviews that have dominated American thought—theism, humanism, and skepticism. By clearly explaining what Americans believed, exploring why they did so, and showing how that impacted the nation's development, Richard presents a unique portrait of the United States—past and present.
In this paper we give a positive answer to Julia Robinson's question whether the definability of + and · from S and ∣ that she proved in the case of positive integers is extendible to arbitrary integers (cf. [JR, p. 102]).
An outgrowth of Ryle’s three week visit at Rice in the spring of 1972, this collection of critical essays bears some resemblance to the collection edited by Oscar P. Wood and George Pitcher in the Anchor series. The principle differences are: 1) the range of topics treated here and the detail of treatment is considerably less extensive than in the Wood collection, and 2) this volume contains two new essays by Ryle himself: "Thinking and Self-Teaching" and "Thinking and Saying." Four (...) papers by members of the philosophy staff at Rice form a group. Each of them discusses Ryle’s contribution to a problem in which the author is interested, carefully delineating Ryle’s analysis and treatment of the problem. Generally Ryle is regarded as having said some important things about the topic, having said some things which are questionable, and having at least advanced the topic in an important way. Subjects dealt with in roughly this fashion are "Reference and Existence" by Lyle Angene, "Sensations, Feelings, and Expression" by Richard J. Sclafani, "Dispositions and Hypotheticals" by Robert W. Burch, and "Why Virtue Cannot be Taught" by Thomas McElvain. As surveys of Ryle’s position and as assessments of his views, the essays are consistently good. (shrink)
This rewarding volume consists of twelve essays, comments on each essay, and the contributor's response to the comments. The essays range from an examination of concrete value experience to the explication of axiological concepts and the elaboration of formal schemes. Richard Brandt sharply criticizes attitude theories; Charles Stevenson replies. Charles Morris describes an empirical study of the signification of appraisive signs, involving the correlation of somatotype and the preference for certain types of painting. And Jan McGreal contributes a sparkling (...) dialogue dramatizing the analytic procedure. The symposium form at its best.--J.R. (shrink)
This collection of essays in moral philosophy has as its intended mark of distinction the fact that moral problems of the moment are the themes of the essays. The chapter headings indicate this contemporary concern: Abortion, Sex, Human Rights and Civil Disobedience, Criminal Punishment, Violence and Pacifism, War and Suicide and Death. There are essays by: Paul Ramsey, Philippa Foot, Jonathan Bennett, Thomas Nagel, Sara Ruddick, Richard Wassenstrom, [[sic]] John Rawls, R. M. Dworkin, William Kneale, H. L. A. Hart, (...) J. R. Lucas, Newton Carver, Jan Narveson, G. E. M. Anscombe, R. M. Hare, R. F. Holland, Mary Mothersill. One might well be inclined to agree with the editor's opposition to such philosophizing about morality which abstracts from the moral problems of one's own life. A purely theoretical approach to the study of morality would almost appear contradictory. However, it is necessary to express grave reservations about such a collection of essays as this. While the arguments of the essays are thoughtful and somewhat uncommon, the conclusions of the essays, as a rule, do not differ from "advanced" liberal opinions. In other words, the essays do not challenge students' opinions. The reading of these essays will but confirm the young in their prejudices. The problems the essays are concerned with are real problems; and it is a defect of the book that with the single exception of the chapter on Abortion no real opposing arguments are presented.--J. W. S. (shrink)
One can only agree with Editor John R. Silber's observation on this little volume that it is "the finest introduction to Jaspers' own comprehensive philosophy...." Overshadowed in this country by the great attention currently given to Heidegger, the importance and power of Jaspers' thought has not yet been appreciated by English-speaking philosophers. Far from being opposed to the natural sciences, Jaspers-who began his intellectual life as a psychiatrist--says that without a grasp of science the philosopher is "like a blind man." (...) The properly philosophical subject matter, however, is the realm that inevitably eludes and "transcends" the scientific approach to man and natural objects. This he calls the "encompassing." The three lectures which compose The Philosophy of Existence, which was written after the publication of the three volumes of Philosophie and the composition of most of Von der Wahrheit, range over the whole of Jaspers' philosophical work. The first lecture concerns "The Being of the Encompassing"; the second, "Truth," which like the Encompassing is a continually receding ideal and so incapable of definitive articulation. The last deals with "reality," an ultimate which is grasped only in "ciphers" or symbols which are always able to be replaced by more adequate symbols. The Introduction and translation by Richard Gradau are marvelously done. The lectures themselves, delivered in 1937, were Jaspers' last public appearance, made shortly after his dismissal from his post at Heidelberg by the National Socialists.--J. D. C. (shrink)
This volume consists of seven contributions to a symposium held in 1970 to commemorate the centennial of Saint John's University. Carlo Giacon and Bernard Cohen explicate the relationship of philosophy and modern science. Joseph Owens and John E. Smith treat the question of God as it is posed in philosophy today. Richard McKeon interrelates humanism, civility, and culture; while Vernon Bourke evaluates humanism as a possible basis for moral philosophy. Finally, Paul Ramsey offers some pithy comments on the present (...) trend which abhors man's irreverence for the non-human environment but waxes enthusiastic over the prospect of man's limitless self-modification. Though these papers are brief, for the most part they are extensively footnoted; and thus they provide a handy survey of current thinking on the indicated issues.--J. M. V. (shrink)
J. L. Austin, in "Ifs and Cans," proclaimed the common hope that we soon "may see the birth, through the joint labors of philosophers, grammarians, and numerous other students of language, of a true and comprehensive science of language." The problem has always been with the "joint labors" part. Philosophers have always been willing to issue linguists dictums and linguists have been happy to teach philosophers "plain facts." Austin’s general view of language, and his particular notion of performative utterance, can (...) be found in the writing of J. R. Firth, the most commanding British linguist of Austin’s generation, but Austin never refers to Firth. In the present volume, however, we find clear and exciting evidence of genuinely joint labors on the part of philosophers and linguists. They stem from a summer conference in 1969 rounded out with contributions from notables. To two thick issues of Synthese the editors have added a dazzling piece by Saul Kripke, two substantial pieces by James McCawley and J. R. Ross, a short paper by Paul Ziff, and a reprint of P. F. Strawson’s "Grammar and Philosophy." This is an invaluable book and the best book among the many now available concerning the interaction of linguistics and philosophy: worth the cost, which the contributors attempted to reduce through foregoing royalties. The philosophers in this volume hold, or hold intriguing, the view that the semantics of a natural language can and must, in effect, be a theory of truth for a language in much the manner that Tarski suggested, and provided, for artificial language: the recursive specification of biconditionals in which the left hand gives the structural description of an object language sentence and the right hand, the truth conditions in the metalanguage. In "homophonic" translation this requirement can be trivially satisfied simply by mentioning the sentence on the left that one uses on the right: one makes the requirement non-trivial by forcing enough into the recursive specification so that one captures the native speaker’s implicit semantic competence. In this volume, the "orthodox" Davidsonian program, which takes the syntax of the metalanguage to be standard predicate logic, is ably argued by John Wallace ; Richard Montague, David Lewis, and Jaakko Hintikka would want an intensional logic covering modality and propositional attitudes. The linguists who find this philosophical climate most appealing are called "generative semanticists": McCawley, Ross, George Lakoff and others argue that any proposed semantic rule will eventually prove necessary to syntax too and that, hence, the deepest level of syntactical form will be equivalent to semantic form. Whatever the ultimate fate of this joint program, it leads here to much exciting interaction between linguists and philosophers: linguists who welcome the machinery and conceptual standards of modern logic, and philosophers who try to grasp the specifics of crucial issues in recent linguistic theory. Even if Quine’s doubts, here sketched, and Chomsky’s currently unpublished more technical objections should be well-founded, nonetheless the joint labor will have been very much worthwhile. Aside from this general debate about semantics, there are several papers covering more specific issues. The papers of J. A. Fodor, Terence Parsons, and Ross concern adverbs and the logical form of action sentences; several papers, particularly B. H. Partee’s, examine "Opacity, Coreference, and Pronouns." In all these papers one notes the fulfillment of Austin’s hope that philosophic and linguistic arguments should become intermixed, if not at times properly indistinguishable. Perhaps the most enjoyable and exciting paper stands aside from linguistics: Saul Kripke’s "Naming and Necessity." Kripke here argues quite informally for the separation of analytic, a priori, and necessary that is required for a Kripke style, S5, modal logic with de re modalities. "Gold is a yellow metal," for example, turns out to be contingent, while "Heat is the motion of particles" is necessary but a posteriori ; and that philosopher’s stone of stones, "The morning star is the evening star," is discovered to be necessary but a posteriori.—J. L. (shrink)
This collection, with an agreeable proportion of new material and a sensible selection of old, is worth the money and ought to be on the shelf of anyone interested in recent work on language by philosophers, psychologists, and linguists. The section by linguists proper is the longer and more up to date but this seems quite in order: today neither work in philosophy nor psychology can provide a plausible center-of-attention that will take in the other and linguistics as flanking material. (...) For better and worse linguistics is the centerpiece: and the debate between "interpretive" and "generative" semanticists, here respectively represented by Chomsky and George Lakoff, is the center, most likely, of the centerpiece. The generative semanticists suggest that the base and semantic components ultimately come to the same: the distinction between syntactic rules and semantic rules is presumed as in the Chomskian position but it is thought that the algorithm of wellformedness will turn out to provide all the rules needed for semantic interpretation. The interpretive semantic alternative, here argued by Chomsky in a paper otherwise difficult to obtain except in mimeo, distinguishes semantic from base component by insisting, particularly in matters respecting reference and quantification, that transformations are not meaning-invariant, and that, hence, the semantic component is fed by both the base and surface structures independently. To put the interpretive view in terms of Tarski-cum-Davidsonian biconditionals, we would no longer have on the left side of the biconditional one ’structural-descriptive’ string but rather two separate strings, one surface and the other deep, that would jointly and independently determine meaning. The generative semanticists, following James McCawley, stress that their argument against autonomous deep syntax follows in form Morris Halle’s well-known argument against a phonemic level of description supposed intermediate between superficial surface syntax and systematic phonetics. The basic question one raises against this argument is whether logico-semantic form constitutes itself for linguistic science as one level of description and as an essentially linguistic level of description. One can see an obvious place for philosophers in these arguments, though one finds in this volume very little suggestion of philosophical-semantic work, in the Frege-Carnap tradition, that Donald Davidson, Richard Montague, John Wallace, etc., have been carrying on lately. There is a previously unpublished paper by David Wiggins in this vein, but though Wiggins is his usual brilliant and playfully convoluted self, this is too idiosyncratic and occasional a piece to represent what is by way of a movement. Indeed, aside from the Wiggins-Alston material, the philosopher’s section is solid but familiar material: H. P. Grice’s famous paper on meaning and Paul Ziff’s criticism of Grice’s theory; Gilbert Harman’s "Three Levels of Meaning"; late-1960s papers by Donnellan, Linsky, Quine, Strawson, Vendler, and Searle on reference. But this aside this volume vividly makes the point that philosophy and linguistics have never been more entangled with each other in a genuine working relationship. Chomsky’s arguments come in part from recent philosopher’s work. There is evident concern by linguists with presuppositions and performatives. "Fact," an important and not easily available paper by Paul and Carol Kilparski, sparks the philosophic imagination—as do new pieces on lexical entries, semantic features, and categories by Charles Fillmore, Manfried Bierwisch, and others. Almost enough to justify J. L. Austin’s hopes for a joint endeavor of linguists, philosophers, and psychologists: one sees in the footnotes and bibliographies, in the issue and vocabulary, that disciplines are joining and reflecting upon each other in day-to-day work. The psychology section also contains one large new piece: a splendidly energetic defense of linguistic behaviorism by Charles Osgood. One finds balance for this in Jerry Fodor’s "Could meaning be an rm?" And some good, current, and often not easily available material by George Miller, Eric Lennberg, and others. The "overviews" for the various sections are quite distinguished themselves: but this is only in keeping with general character of this reader.—J. L. (shrink)
Edited by the author of The Lonely Labyrinth, this anthology is a superb collection of Kierkegaard studies. It begins with two general statements of Kierkegaard’s thought: Louis Mackey’s previously published and tightly packed essay "The Poetry of Inwardness," and a chapter from Prof. Thompson’s newest book on Kierkegaard entitled "The Master of Irony." There is also Sartre’s essay "The Singular Universal" from Kierkegaard Vivant and an interesting historical essay by Richard Popkin which situates Kierkegaard in the history of modern (...) skepticism and shows his affinities with Hume. If there is a common theme to this collection it is the notion that Kierkegaard has persistently separated himself from the statements of his pseudonymous authors and that what has come to be known as "Kierkegaard’s philosophy" is really the product of Kierkegaard’s irony. Otherwise Kierkegaard’s entire literary effort becomes self-contradictory. The essays by Thompson, Crites and Allison are especially relevant in this regard. Editor Thompson has also done us the splendid service of updating the 1962 Kierkegaard Bibliografi with a supplement which includes all the literature in English for the years 1956-70. There is also a most helpful index locurum of the works of Kierkegaard cited in this anthology.—J.D.C. (shrink)
What is the good for human persons? If I am trying to lead the best possible life I could lead, not the morally best life, but the life that is best for me, what exactly am I seeking? This phrasing of the question I will be pursuing may sound tendentious, so some explanation is needed. What is good for one person, we ordinarily suppose, can conflict with what is good for other persons and with what is required by morality. A (...) prudent person seeks her own good efficiently; she selects the best available means to her good. If we call the value that a person seeks when she is being prudent “prudential value,” then an alternative rendering of the question to be addressed in this essay is “What is prudential value?” We can also say that an individual flourishes or has a life high in well-being when her life is high in prudential value. Of course, these common-sense appearances that the good for an individual, the good for other persons, and the requirements of morality often are in conflict might be deceiving. For all that I have said here, the correct theory of individual good might yield the result that sacrificing oneself for the sake of other people or for the sake of a morally worthy cause can never occur, because helping others and being moral always maximize one's own good. But this would be the surprising result of a theory, not something we should presuppose at the start of inquiry. When a friend has a baby and I express a conventional wish that the child have a good life, I mean a life that is good for the child, not a life that merely helps others or merely respects the constraints of morality. After all, a life that is altruistic and perfectly moral, we suppose, could be a life that is pure hell for the person who lives it—a succession of horrible headaches marked by no achievements or attainments of anything worthwhile and ending in agonizing death at a young age. So the question remains, what constitutes a life that is good for the person who is living it? (shrink)
Left-libertarianism is a version of Lockean libertarianism that combines the idea that each person is the full rightful owner of herself and the idea that each person should have the right to own a roughly equal amount of the world's resources. This essay argues against left-libertarianism. The specific target is an interesting form of left-libertarianism proposed by Michael Otsuka that is especially stringent in its equal world ownership claim. One criticism advanced is that there is more tension than Otsuka acknowledges (...) between private ownership of self and equal ownership of the world. This emerges once one notices that self-ownership should not be conceived merely in a thin, formal way but also as a thicker substantive insistence on wide individual freedom. A second criticism is that in other respects the formal idea of self-ownership that Otsuka and other left-libertarians embrace is an extreme doctrine that merits rejection. (shrink)
In their celebrated essay “The Right to Privacy,” legal scholars Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis identified as the generic privacy value “the right to be let alone.” This same phrase occurs in Justice Brandeis's dissent in Olmstead v. U.S.. This characterization of privacy has been found objectionable by philosophers acting as conceptual police. For example, moral philosopher William Parent asserts that one can wrongfully fail to let another person alone in all sorts of ways—such as assault—that intuitively do not qualify (...) as violations of privacy and thus cannot be violations of the right to privacy. (shrink)
_Confines of Democracy_ is a collection of critical assessments and interpretations of Richard J. Bernstein’s extensive and illuminating work on pragmatism, epistemology, hermeneutics, and social and political theory, including Bernstein’s replies to the contributors.
One way to think about capitalism-versus-socialism is to examine the extent to which capitalist economic institutions are compatible with the fulfillment of socialist ideals. The late G. A. Cohen has urged that the two are strongly incompatible. He imagines how it would make sense for friends to organize a camping trip, distills the socialist moral principles that he sees fulfilled in the camping trip model, and observes that these principles conflict with a capitalist organization of the economy. He adds that (...) these principles are ethically attractive, so if it is feasible to organize the economy on the camping trip model, we ought to do so. This essay argues to the contrary that for all that has been said, capitalist economic arrangements might be in the set of institutional arrangements that overall would best fulfill the camping trip principles, and anyway, the principles themselves ought to be rejected, so the question whether or not a capitalist set-up might satisfy these principles should not interest us. The grounds for rejecting the camping trip principles support a form of welfarist consequentialism that denies that equality of distribution of any sort is per se ethically desirable and also denies that liberal freedoms to live as one chooses are per se morally desirable. Equality and freedom should rather be regarded as in the light of possible means to advancing good for people, fairly distributed. (shrink)
In contemporary market societies, the laws do not place individuals under enforceable obligations to aid others. Perhaps the most striking exception to this broad generalization is the practice of conscription of able-bodied males into military service, particularly in time of war. Another notable exception is the legal enforcement in some contemporary societies of “Good Samaritan” obligations — obligations to provide temporary aid to victims of emergencies, such as car accident victims. The obligation applies to those who are in the immediate (...) vicinity of the emergency and who can supply aid of great value to the victim at small risk and tolerable cost to themselves. The fact that not all contemporary societies have enacted such Good Samaritan laws underscores the point that the general rule is that individuals are under no legal obligation to help others. According to some moral views, this legal situation approximately accords with the moral fact that persons who have not voluntarily incurred obligations to aid others should not be coerced into tendering such aid. Moreover, it is worth noting that these two prominent exceptions to the tendency of legal systems to eschew enforcement of positive obligations to aid others are plausibly in everyone's ex ante interest and not notably redistributive in intent. (shrink)
Are socialists best regarded as those who are most truly and consistently committed to democracy, under modern industrial conditions? Is the underlying issue that divides liberals from socialists the degree of their wholeheartedness in affirming the ideal of a democratic society? On the liberal side, Friedrich Hayek has remarked: “It is possible for a dictator to govern in a liberal way. And it is also possible that a democracy governs with a total lack of liberalism. My personal preference is for (...) a liberal dictator and not for a democratic government lacking in liberalism.” No doubt many socialists would wish to quibble with Hayek's free-market oriented conception of liberalism. But I am wondering whether the conceptual map implicit in Hayek's remark is apt. Hayek appears to assume that there are two independent lines of division, one marking greater and lesser commitment to liberal values, the other marking greater and lesser commitment to democratic procedures. According to the conception of socialism as democracy that I wish to examine, a better picture of the political landscape would show one line of division with gradations indicating greater and lesser commitment to democracy. On this continuum, socialists are located at the extreme pro-democratic end, those who favor autocracy at the other end, and liberals somewhere in the middle. The analyst who finds this latter conceptual picture the more illuminating of the two will say that Hayek reveals his rejection of socialism by being less than wholehearted in his support of democracy. (shrink)
The question ‘How does a person make an ethical decision?’ becomes all the more compelling and problematic when trying to behave ethically during, as A ́ gnes Heller puts it, ‘the total breakdown of ‘‘normal’’ ethical worlds’. In her philosophical work Heller pieces together a moral compass internal to individual subjectivity to employ during such times. Kierkegaard’s model of existential choice has played a formative role in Heller’s solution to the problem. In my article I describe Heller’s Kierkegaardian framework of (...) choosing oneself as an ethical being and consider a recent critique of Heller’s Kierke- gaardian ethics of personality by Richard J. Bernstein, continuing the substantively pro- ductive tension between the irrational and rational forces that determine our ethical actions. In the process, I show common ground between Bernstein and Heller through an appropriation of Arendtian judgment. I turn to Heller’s most recent work in The Concept of the Beautiful in order to make this common ground tangible. (shrink)
The work of Richard J. Bernstein has achieved a groundbreaking synthesis of the analytical and continental modes of thought. Countering the highly technical metaphysical and epistemological puzzles of analytic philosophy in the early 1960s, Bernstein offered a model of philosophy in a democratic society as the work of the engaged public intellectual. Working within the tradition of American pragmatism, he also changed that tradition by opening it to the international intellectual currents of phenomenology, deconstructionism, and critical theory. These essays (...) by leading philosophers and social thinkers pay tribute to Bernstein and reflect the themes that have engaged him throughout his career.Pragmatism, Critique, Judgment opens with a group of essays that examine the place of philosophy in a democratic society; included in this section are Richard Rorty's exploration of the legacy of American pragmatism and Jürgen Habermas's reconsideration of ethics in philosophy. The essays in the second section examine postpositivist social critique and include Jacques Derrida's consideration of the philosophical paradoxes of the death penalty. The third group of essays considers the theme of radical evil, and includes discussions of Bernstein's nuanced reading of Hannah Arendt. The book ends with a biographical essay based in part on a series of conversations with Bernstein himself. (shrink)
Over many decades, Richard Bernstein has interpreted contemporary philosophy’s three traditions, roughly distinguished as analytic, pragmatic, and Continental, emphasizing their mutual affinities. Despite this reference to the continent of Europe, it would be wrong to identify any of these traditions geographically or linguistically; even to call them ‘traditions’ is stretching a point. Pragmatism originated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but it has spread from there, transmogrifying in the process and claiming surprising allies, such as Heidegger; the label ‘pragmatist’ has even been (...) affixed to Hegel! That its day has come is the theme of this, Bernstein’s latest book. Its title is a play on Richard Rorty’s famous .. (shrink)
Richard Bernstein has, for several decades, been one of the most prominent thinkers in the tradition of American pragmatism, but he has never narrowly confined his work to pragmatism or American philosophy. His intellectual profile manifests a remarkable pluralism—which, of course, is something that is inherent in the pragmatist tradition itself. The collection of essays honoring Bernstein's legacy edited by Megan Craig and Marcia Morgan is aptly subtitled: "Thinking the Plural". In their various ways, the contributors to this anthology—all (...) of whom have at some point been Bernstein's students in a number of "generations"—not only examine but also exemplify their mentor's deep commitment to... (shrink)
Amartya Sen is a renowned economist who has also made important contributions to philosophical thinking about distributive justice. These contributions tend to take the form of criticism of inadequate positions and insistence on making distinctions that will promote clear thinking about the topic. Sen is not shy about making substantive normative claims, but thus far he has avoided commitment to a theory of justice, in the sense of a set of principles that specifies what facts are relevant for policy choice (...) and determines, given a full characterization of any situation in terms of these relevant facts, what ought to be done in that situation. Moreover, Sen has expressed skepticism about the existence of a fully adequate theory in this sense. According to Sen there is a plurality of moral considerations that bear on choice of action and policy and no particular reason to think that weights can be attached nonarbitrarily to each consideration to yield a theory. (shrink)
Dr. Davidson is a William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology and has been at Wisconsin since 1984.