Introduction to complexity and complex systems -- Introduction to large linear systems -- Introduction to biochemical oscillators and nonlinear biochemical systems -- Modularity, redundancy, degeneracy, pleiotropy and robustness in complex biological systems -- The evolution of biological complexity; invertebrate immune systems -- Irreducible and specified complexity in living systems -- The complex adaptive and innate human immune systems -- Complexity in quasispecies : microRNAs -- Introduction to complexity in economic systems -- Complexity in quasispecies : micrornas -- Dealing with complexity.
Among moral attributes true virtue alone is sublime. … [I]t is only by means of this idea [of virtue] that any judgment as to moral worth or its opposite is possible. … Everything good that is not based on a morally good disposition … is nothing but pretence and glittering misery. 1.
This is the first book-length study in any language to examine in detail and critically assess the second part of Kant's ethics- -an empirical, impure part, which determines how best to apply pure principles to the human situation. Drawing attention to Kant's under-explored impure ethics, this revealing investigation refutes the common and long-standing misperception that Kants ethics advocates empty formalism. Making detailed use of a variety of Kantian texts never before translated into English, author Robert B. Louden reassesses the (...) strengths and weaknesses of Kantian ethics as a whole, once the second part is re-admitted to its rightful place within Kant's practical philosophy. (shrink)
In Overdoing Democracy, Robert B. Talisse turns the popular adage "the cure for democracy's ills is more democracy" on its head. Indeed, he argues, the widely recognized, crisis-level polarization within contemporary democracy stems from the tendency among citizens to overdo democracy. When we make everything--even where we shop, the teams we cheer for, and the coffee we drink--about our politics, we weaken our bonds to one another, and work against the fundamental goals of democracy. Talisse advocates civic friendship built (...) around shared endeavors that we must undertake with fellow citizens who do not necessarily share our political affinities as the best way we can obtain a healthier, more sustainable democracy. (shrink)
In a new retelling of the romantic rationalist adventure of ideas that is Hegel's classic The Phenomenology of Spirit, Robert Brandom argues that when our self-conscious recognitive attitudes take Hegel's radical form of magnanimity and trust, we can overcome a troubled modernity and enter a new age of spirit.
With the rise of review sites and social media, films today, as soon as they are shown, immediately become the topic of debates on their merits not only as entertainment, but also as serious forms of artistic expression. Philosopher Robert B. Pippin, however, wants us to consider a more radical proposition: film as thought, as a reflective form. Pippin explores this idea through a series of perceptive analyses of cinematic masterpieces, revealing how films can illuminate, in a concrete manner, (...) core features and problems of shared human life. Filmed Thought examines questions of morality in Almodóvar’s Talk to Her, goodness and naïveté in Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, love and fantasy in Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows, politics and society in Polanski’s Chinatown and Malick’s The Thin Red Line, and self-understanding and understanding others in Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place and in the Dardennes brothers' oeuvre. In each reading, Pippin pays close attention to what makes these films exceptional as technical works of art and as intellectual and philosophical achievements. Throughout, he shows how films offer a view of basic problems of human agency from the inside and allow viewers to think with and through them. Captivating and insightful, Filmed Thought shows us what it means to take cinema seriously not just as art, but as thought, and how this medium provides a singular form of reflection on what it is to be human. (shrink)
This fresh and original book argues that the central questions in Hegel's practical philosophy are the central questions in modern accounts of freedom: What is freedom, or what would it be to act freely? Is it possible so to act? And how important is leading a free life? Robert Pippin argues that the core of Hegel's answers is a social theory of agency, the view that agency is not exclusively a matter of the self-relation and self-determination of an individual (...) but requires the right sort of engagement with and recognition by others. Using a detailed analysis of key Hegelian texts, he develops this interpretation to reveal the bearing of Hegel's claims on many contemporary issues, including much-discussed core problems in the liberal democratic tradition. His important study will be valuable for all readers who are interested in Hegel's philosophy and in the modern problems of agency and freedom. (shrink)
Hegel frequently claimed that the heart of his entire system was a book widely regarded as among the most difficult in the history of philosophy, The Science of Logic. This is the book that presents his metaphysics, an enterprise that he insists can only be properly understood as a “logic,” or a “science of pure thinking.” Since he also wrote that the proper object of any such logic is pure thinking itself, it has always been unclear in just what sense (...) such a science could be a “metaphysics.” -/- Robert B. Pippin offers here a bold, original interpretation of Hegel’s claim that only now, after Kant’s critical breakthrough in philosophy, can we understand how logic can be a metaphysics. Pippin addresses Hegel’s deep, constant reliance on Aristotle’s conception of metaphysics, the difference between Hegel’s project and modern rationalist metaphysics, and the links between the “logic as metaphysics” claim and modern developments in the philosophy of logic. Pippin goes on to explore many other facets of Hegel’s thought, including the significance for a philosophical logic of the self-conscious character of thought, the dynamism of reason in Kant and Hegel, life as a logical category, and what Hegel might mean by the unity of the idea of the true and the idea of the good in the “Absolute Idea.” The culmination of Pippin’s work on Hegel and German idealism, no Hegel scholar or historian of philosophy will want to miss this book. (shrink)
Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the most elusive thinkers in the philosophical tradition. His highly unusual style and insistence on what remains hidden or unsaid in his writing make pinning him to a particular position tricky. Nonetheless, certain readings of his work have become standard and influential. In this major new interpretation of Nietzsche’s work, Robert B. Pippin challenges various traditional views of Nietzsche, taking him at his word when he says that his writing can best be understood as (...) a kind of psychology. Pippin traces this idea of Nietzsche as a psychologist to his admiration for the French moralists: La Rochefoucauld, Pascal, Stendhal, and especially Montaigne. In distinction from philosophers, Pippin shows, these writers avoided grand metaphysical theories in favor of reflections on life as lived and experienced. Aligning himself with this project, Nietzsche sought to make psychology “the queen of the sciences” and the “path to the fundamental problems.” Pippin contends that Nietzsche’s singular prose was an essential part of this goal, and so he organizes the book around four of Nietzsche’s most important images and metaphors: that truth could be a woman, that a science could be gay, that God could have died, and that an agent is as much one with his act as lightning is with its flash. Expanded from a series of lectures Pippin delivered at the Collège de France, _Nietzsche, Psychology, and First Philosophy_ offers a brilliant, novel, and accessible reading of this seminal thinker. (shrink)
Why democracy? Most often this question is met with an appeal to some decidedly moral value, such as equality, liberty, dignity or even peace. But in contemporary democratic societies, there is deep disagreement and conflict about the precise nature and relative worth of these values. And when democracy votes, some of those who lose will see the prevailing outcome as not merely disappointing, but morally intolerable. How should citizens react when confronted with a democratic result that they regard as intolerable? (...) Should they revolt, or instead pursue democratic means of social change? In this book, Robert Talisse argues that each of us has reasons to uphold democracy - even when it makes serious moral errors - and that these reasons are rooted in our most fundamental epistemic commitments. His original and compelling study will be of interest to a wide range of readers in political philosophy and political theory. (shrink)
This is the most important book on Hegel to have appeared in the past ten years. The author offers a completely new interpretation of Hegel's idealism that focuses on Hegel's appropriation and development of Kant's theoretical project. Hegel is presented neither as a pre-critical metaphysician nor as a social theorist, but as a critical philosopher whose disagreements with Kant, especially on the issue of intuitions, enrich the idealist arguments against empiricism, realism, and naturalism. In the face of the dismissal of (...) absolute idealism as either unintelligible or implausible, Pippin explains and defends an original account of the philosophical basis for Hegel's claims about the historical and social nature of self-consciousness and of knowledge itself. (shrink)
Over a career spanning American history from the 1880s to the 1950s, John Dewey sought not only to forge a persuasive argument for his conviction that "democracy is freedom" but also to realize his democratic ideals through political activism. Widely considered modern America's most important philosopher, Dewey made his views known both through his writings and through such controversial episodes as his leadership of educational reform at the turn of the century; his support of American intervention in World War I (...) and his leading role in the Outlawry of War movement after the war; and his participation in both radical and anti-communist politics in the 1930s and 40s. Robert B. Westbrook reconstructs the evolution of Dewey's thought and practice in this masterful intellectual biography, combining readings of his major works with an engaging account of key chapters in his activism. Westbrook pays particular attention to the impact upon Dewey of conversations and debates with contemporaries from William James and Reinhold Niebuhr to Jane Addams and Leon Trotsky. Countering prevailing interpretations of Dewey's contribution to the ideology of American liberalism, he discovers a more unorthodox Dewey—a deviant within the liberal community who was steadily radicalized by his profound faith in participatory democracy. Anyone concerned with the nature of democracy and the future of liberalism in America—including educators, moral and social philosophers, social scientists, political theorists, and intellectual and cultural historians—will find John Dewey and American Democracy indispensable reading. (shrink)
Important features of the self-concept can be located outside of the individual and inside close or related others. The authors use this insight to reinterpret data previously said to support the empathy-altruism model of helping, which asserts that empathic concern for another results in selflessness and true altruism. That is, they argue that the conditions that lead to empathic concern also lead to a greater sense of self-other overlap, raising the possibility that helping under these conditions is not selfless but (...) is also directed toward the self. In 3 studies, the impact of empathic concern on willingness to help was eliminated when oneness--a measure of perceived self-other overlap--was considered. Path analyses revealed further that empathic concern increased helping only through its relation to perceived oneness, thereby throwing the empathy-altruism model into question. The authors suggest that empathic concern affects helping primarily as an emotional signal of oneness. (shrink)
At some time around 200 A.D., the Stoic philosopher and teacher Cleomedes delivered a set of lectures on elementary astronomy as part of a complete introduction to Stoicism for his students. The result was _The Heavens, _the only work by a professional Stoic teacher to survive intact from the first two centuries A.D., and a rare example of the interaction between science and philosophy in late antiquity. This volume contains a clear and idiomatic English translation—the first ever—of _The Heavens, _along (...) with an informative introduction, detailed notes, and technical diagrams. This important work will now be accessible to specialists in both ancient philosophy and science and to readers interested in the history of astronomy and cosmology but with no knowledge of ancient Greek. (shrink)
In this latest book, renowned philosopher and scholar Robert B. Pippin offers the thought-provoking argument that the study of historical figures is not only an interpretation and explication of their views, but can be understood as a form of philosophy itself. In doing so, he reconceives philosophical scholarship as a kind of network of philosophical interanimations, one in which major positions in the history of philosophy, when they are themselves properly understood within their own historical context, form philosophy’s lingua (...) franca. Examining a number of philosophers to explore the nature of this interanimation, he presents an illuminating assortment of especially thoughtful examples of historical commentary that powerfully enact philosophy. After opening up his territory with an initial discussion of contemporary revisionist readings of Kant’s moral theory, Pippin sets his sights on his main objects of interest: Hegel and Nietzsche. Through them, however, he offers what few others could: an astonishing synthesis of an immense and diverse set of thinkers and traditions. Deploying an almost dialogical, conversational approach, he pursues patterns of thought that both shape and, importantly, connect the major traditions: neo-Aristotelian, analytic, continental, and postmodern, bringing the likes of Heidegger, Honneth, MacIntyre, McDowell, Brandom, Strauss, Williams, and Žižek—not to mention Hegel and Nietzsche— into the same philosophical conversation. By means of these case studies, Pippin mounts an impressive argument about a relatively under discussed issue in professional philosophy—the bearing of work in the history of philosophy on philosophy itself—and thereby he argues for the controversial thesis that no strict separation between the domains is defensible. (shrink)
'Modernity' has come to refer both to a contested historical category and to an even more contested philosophical and civilisational ideal. In this important collection of essays Robert Pippin takes issue with some prominent assessments of what is or is not philosophically at stake in the idea of a modern revolution in Western civilisation, and presents an alternative view. Professor Pippin disputes many traditional characterisations of the distinctiveness of modern philosophy. In their place he defends claims about agency, freedom, (...) ethical life and modernity itself, all of which are central to the German idealist philosophical tradition, and in particular, to the writings of Hegel. Having considered the Hegelian version of these issues the author explores other accounts as found in Habermas, Strauss, Blumenberg, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophers have grown increasingly skeptical toward both morality and moral theory. Some argue that moral theory is a radically misguided enterprise that does not illuminate moral practice, while others simply deny the value of morality in human life. In this important new book, Louden responds to the arguments of both "anti-morality" and "anti-theory" skeptics. In Part One, he develops and defends an alternative conception of morality, which, he argues, captures more of the central features of both Aristotelian and Kantian (...) ethics than do other contemporary models, and enables the central importance of morality to be convincingly reaffirmed. In Louden's model, morality is primarily a matter of what one does to oneself, rather than what one does or does not do to others. This model eliminates the gulf that many anti-morality critics say exists between morality's demands and the personal point of view. Louden further argues that morality's primary focus should be on agents and their lives, rather than on right actions, and that it is always better to be morally better--i.e. it is impossible to be "too moral." Part Two presents Louden's alternative conception of moral theory. Here again he draws on the work of Aristotle and Kant, showing that their moral theories have far more in common than is usually thought, and that those features that they share can be the basis for a viable moral theory that is immune to the standard anti-theory objections. Louden reaffirms the necessity and importance of moral theory in human life, and shows that moral theories fulfill a variety of genuine and indispensable human needs. (shrink)
Pragmatism's ambiguous legacy -- Can democracy be a way of life? -- Peirce, inquiry, and politics -- Pluralism and the Peircean view -- Posner's pragmatic realism -- The case of Sidney Hook -- Epilogue : the eclipse narrative revisited.
In the most influential chapter of his most important philosophical work, the Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel makes the central and disarming assertions that "self-consciousness is desire itself" and that it attains its "satisfaction" only in another self-consciousness. Hegel on Self-Consciousness presents a groundbreaking new interpretation of these revolutionary claims, tracing their roots to Kant's philosophy and demonstrating their continued relevance for contemporary thought. As Robert Pippin shows, Hegel argues that we must understand Kant's account of the self-conscious nature of (...) consciousness as a claim in practical philosophy, and that therefore we need radically different views of human sentience, the conditions of our knowledge of the world, and the social nature of subjectivity and normativity. Pippin explains why this chapter of Hegel's Phenomenology should be seen as the basis of much later continental philosophy and the Marxist, neo-Marxist, and critical-theory traditions. He also contrasts his own interpretation of Hegel's assertions with influential interpretations of the chapter put forward by philosophers John McDowell and Robert Brandom. (shrink)
Some Pragmatist Themes in Hegel’s Idealism:Negotiation and Administration in Hegel’sAccount of the Structure and Content ofConceptual NormsRobert B. BrandomThis paper could equally well have been titled ‘Some Idealist Themes in Hegel’sPragmatism’. Both idealism and pragmatism are capacious concepts, encompassingmany distinguishable theses. I will focus on one pragmatist thesis and one ideal-ist thesis (though we will come within sight of some others). The pragmatistthesis (what I will call ‘the semantic pragmatist thesis’) is that the use of conceptsdetermines their content, that is, (...) that concepts can have no content apart from thatconferred on them by their use. The idealist thesis is that the structure and unityof the concept is the same as the structure and unity of the self. The semantic prag-matist thesis is a commonplace of our Wittgensteinean philosophical world. Theidealist thesis is, to say the least, not. I don’t believe there is any serious contem-porary semantic thinker who is pursuing the thought that concepts might best beunderstood by modelling them on selves. Indeed, from the point of view ofcontemporary semantics it is hard to know even what one could mean by such athought: what relatively unproblematic features of selves are supposed to illumi-nate what relatively problematic features of concepts? Why should we think thatunderstanding something about, say, personal identity would help us under-stand issues concerning the identity and individuation of concepts? From acontemporary point of view, the idealist semantic thesis is bound to appearinitially as something between unpromising and crazy.My interpretive claim here will be that the idealist thesis is Hegel’s way of makingthe pragmatist thesis workable, in the context of several other commitments andinsights. My philosophical claim here will be that we actually have a lot to learn fromthis strategy about contemporary semantic issues that we by no means see our wayto the bottom of otherwise. In the space of this essay, I cannot properly justify thefirst claim textually, nor the second argumentatively. I will confine myself of neces-sity to sketching the outlines and motivations for the complex, sophisticated, andinteresting view on the topic I find Hegel putting forward. (shrink)
Democracy is not only a form of government. It is also the moral aspiration for a society of self-governing political equals who disagree about politics. Citizens are called on to be active democratic participants, but they must also acknowledge one another's political equality. Democracy thus involves an ethic of civility among opposed citizens. Upholding this ethic is more difficult than it may look. When the political stakes are high, the opposition seems to us tobe advocating injustice. Sustaining Democracy poses the (...) question: why should we uphold democratic relations with those whose politics we despise? (shrink)