Written for the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Paul Edwards, this article provides a survey of Phenomenology, beginning with the work of Edmund Husserl and going on to discuss the very different approaches to phenomenology of Heidegger in the period of Sein und Zeit and the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
The transcendental phenomenological reduction is described as the transition from thinking to reflection, Which involves a change of attitude. Schmitt elaborates what it means to "bracket the objective world" and to suspend judgement. The traditional distinction between thinking and reflection, Based on the distinction between what is inside and what is outside the mind, Is shown to be inadequate. Reflection really involves critical detachment, A neutral attitude and disinterestedness; it must describe the new facts rather than explain them. Hence, The (...) reduction is the transition from a nonreflective to a reflective attitude. (staff). (shrink)
Socialism is meant to be democratic. Socialist democracy demands solidarity but it remains unclear what solidarity consists of. Theorists provide a range of different characterizations of solidarity which are adequate in their contexts but will not suffice as the basis for socialist democracy. This paper shows how we should not understand that needed solidarity; it is not merely a solidarity based on commonalities that overlooks difference. On the contrary, it needs to be a kind of solidarity that establishes close but (...) complex relations between various groups through their commitment to taking their differences seriously. There are many different ways of taking differences seriously. At the end, this paper makes some suggestions for further research to clarify the concept of solidarity in spite of difference. (shrink)
The paper reflects on the methods democratic systems use for arriving at decisions. The most popular ones are elections where the majority rules and deliberative democracy. I argue that both of these do not measure up to the demands of democracy. Whether we use voting with majority rule or deliberative methods, only a portion of the citizenry is allowed to rule itself; minorities are always excluded. Instead of voting with majority ruler or deliberative methods, I suggest that we employ mediation (...) to reach agreement in democratic publics. (shrink)
Drawing from existentialism, feminism, the thought of Karl Marx and novelists like Dostoevsky, Richard Schmitt looks at modern capitalist societies to understand what it is that might be wrong for individuals. His concern focuses specifically on those who are alienated-- those persons who have difficulty finding meaning in their lives, who lack confidence in themselves and trust in others and, finally, who are constantly distracted by consumer society. He explores how and why alienation occurs. From friendship, love, and work, Alienation (...) and Freedom touches on issues meaningful to us all. (shrink)
Anglophone political theorists regard democracy as an electoral system. The moral character of citizens in a democracy is of no interest to them. But electoral systems that disregard the virtue of citizens yield racist governmental systems and major injustices. Democracy requires citizens distinguished by virtues.
This paper examines the merits of the Socratic maxim that the unexamined life is not worth living. First, the maxim is considered in its purely subjective sense, viz., that a particular individual’s life is not worth living due to factors like intense pain or illness. Second, two objective interpretations of the maxim are considered: a “strongly objective sense” where failure to examine one’s life means that one is wasting it and a “moderately objective sense” where it is reasonable to recommend (...) that examining one’s life goals comes will come with a greater understanding of appreciation of said goals . After delineating the different senses in which the maxim can be understood, the author distinguishes two different varieties of self-examination and considers in what sense the Socratic maxim rings true and in what sense it exaggerates. (shrink)
Recent writers on economics have conceded that capitalism suffers from serious shortcomings. But they argue that, in spite of that, preference should be given to capitalism over alternative systems, because it alone gives free rein to the universal, human desire for private gain and is therefore best adapted to human nature. I argue against this psychological defense of capitalism that the desire for private gain is not a universal trait of human beings. On the contrary, it is a defining trait (...) of capitalist society that in it persons are first and foremost motivated by that desire. My argument rests on reflections about the way in which we identify motives. We identify motives not by introspection but by reference to lists of actions that persons, who act from a given motive, may be expected to perform in suitable circumstances. To function in a capitalist society I must perform the sorts of actions by reference to which we identify the desire for private gain as a active. (shrink)
The socialist project is burdened by a history of brutal failures. The authors of the papers collected in this volume are convinced that a democratic and humane socialism is both desirable and possible. They lay out their view of different aspects of this new socialism in this book. Anatole Anton and Richard Schmitt are both the editors and contributors to this book. -/- Select chapters translated into Spanish have appeared in a volume in Barcelona, Spain.
Capitalism is in crisis. Is a better world possible and what would it look like? Taking Socialism Seriously breaks important new paths for significant social change by examining detailed questions seriously that had previously been neglected.
This book steers a middle path between those who argue that the theories of Marx and Engels have been rendered obsolete by historical events and those who reply that these theories emerge untouched from the political changes of the last ten years.Marxism has been a theory of historical change that claimed to be able to predict with considerable acc.
This article extends Moleski’s discussion (in “Polanyi vs. Kuhn: Worlds Apart”) of the worldviews of Kuhn and Polanyi in two ways: by considering an evolutionary view of science as proposed by Kuhn, and byevaluating Kuhn’s notion of “paradigm change” compared to Polanyi’s work on scientific practice.
Calls for a rapprochement between analytic philosophy and phenomenology have lately been issued in England and America. It is not altogether clear what such calls intend. No one, I suspect asks for an attempt to restate, say, Austin’s views on language in Heideggerian jargon. More likely the unspoken hope is that, on the contrary, someone would enable analytic philosophers to understand what Husserl and Heidegger and some of the other phenomenologists have to say. This requires nothing less than a translation (...) of these thinkers’ statements not only into a different natural language but into a different philosophical vocabulary. Translating German philosophical works into English is difficult. Translating Husserl’s or Heidegger’s views into a vocabulary acceptable to analytic philosophers is considerably more laborious. However arduous the task, translations from the vocabulary of Husserl or Heidegger into analytic jargon are possible. The present paper shows that they are, by discussing Heidegger’s distinction between ’vorhanden sein’ and ’zuhanden sein’ in reasonably plain English. (shrink)
Many socialists agree that socialism must be democratic, in the political as well as in the economic arena. But socialist democracy is very different from democracy in a capitalist country. Socialist democracy, it is widely believed, will be participatory: everyone will be a full participant in all decisions affecting his or her life. In this paper I argue that this conception of socialist democracy needs a lot more work. Not all decisions can be made by everybody affected by a decision. (...) Many decisions that affect large numbers of persons must be made by representatives. But representation is subject to several serious weaknesses which are not products of capitalism. They will be obstacles to democracy also under socialism. Today we do not know what a socialist democracy would look like. (shrink)
The final two parts of the book survey the state of phenomenology in different parts of the globe today and attempt to characterize the main steps of the phenomenological method. In the back of the book there are two historical charts, a glossary, and an index of terms, as well as an index of names.
This extension of the critique is intimately connected with the problems raised by Structure. Toward the end of that book it appeared that, since materialism is false, nature, considered as a system of physical objects connected causally, in some sense, exists only "for us." But it is immediately obvious that we use "for us" in an unfamiliar sense, when we say that. It is not being claimed that nature exists only for us in the sense in which, for instance, philosophers (...) have said that secondary qualities exist only for us. The problem which Structure raised was precisely what new sense we could possibly give to "for us" and its correlative "in itself" so that we could make sense of the result of that earlier argument. Objectivism, as it is being attacked by Merleau-Ponty says that "for us" and "in itself" are only to be used in the familiar senses in which we say that events and objects exist in nature in themselves, independently of any human awareness and are, as such, described by true statements in science. This is an ontological thesis, for something is being asserted about what it means to exist. The objectivist maintains that the only sense in which anything may be said to exist is that of existing whether anyone is aware of that or not. True statements about existence in nature are said, by the objectivist, to be independent of any statements about the mental states of human beings. This dogma is extended to human beings when they are made the object of scientific study. The mental states of human beings, let alone their physical states, are truly described if the statements about them are true independently of statements about any other mental states of the same subject except those which are either causally or logically connected to the mental states under discussion. Similarly, statements about persons are true or false independently of statements about the observer's mental states. Persons and bodies are regarded as impersonal series of events, as "processus en troisième personne". (shrink)
Alienation is the name of the deformations of human personality produced by capitalism and, specifically, by wage labor. The alienated are powerless. That inhibits their self-esteem, and takes from them the direction of their own lives and the choice of their life values. They become passive bystanders to existence, distrustful of their fellows and motivated by the desire for gain. The alienated tend to be timid, morally indifferent, and ready to support great evil. Appearances are all that matters to them. (...) They are resentful, conservative. Alienation itself becomes invisible. It unfits those who work for a wage from being active in the movements for social change from capitalism to socialism. The transition to socialism appears to become well-nigh impossible. The force of this argument ismoderated by the fact that the conditions of wage labor are not uniform and alienation, and therefore are more severe for some workers than for others. (shrink)
I shall call the sense in which we know about galaxies and about the past "theoretical knowledge" and the corresponding beliefs, "theoretical beliefs." It is widely accepted now that not all knowing is theoretical knowing, but what the distinction between theoretical and non-theoretical knowing consists in is not equally clear. It is not even clear that there are not different kinds of non-theoretical knowing. In this paper I shall clarify the distinction between theoretical knowing and at least one kind of (...) nontheoretical knowing, namely, knowing how to use tools. I shall use "knowing how to hammer" for my example. (shrink)
The theme is socialist solidarity. Schmitt notes that efforts towards solidarity fail because we do not know how to put our ideals in practice. The example is taken from the early kibbutzim. The founders were clear about their socialist principles but did not know how to put those in practice in such simple situations as the distribution of clothing. Schmitt concludes from that example that efforts to build socialist solidarity are often impeded by our ignorance of concrete techniques and arrangements (...) needed for a solidary socialist society. (shrink)
A central challenge common to democratic processes is the inability of citizens to reach agreement on any given matter. Most frequently these disagreements are settled by vote, victory going to the majority. But majority rule is a fairly recent technique. Traditionally decisions were made by some form of non-opposition. This paper describes several versions of that decision-making technique and then shows how mediation methods, also known as “ADR”, can replicate these traditional ways of overcoming disagreement. The paper argues that these (...) techniques are frequently superior to electoral methods of reaching agreement. (shrink)