, Lawrie Reznek argues that disease is not a natural kind term. I raise objections to Reznek's two central arguments for establishing that disease is not a natural kind. In criticizing his a priori, conceptual argument against naturalism, I argue that his conclusion rests on a weaker argument that appeals to the empirical diversity in the symptoms and manifestations of disease. I also raise questions about the account of natural kinds which Reznek utilizes and his point that conventions for classification (...) are excluded by there being natural kinds. Keywords: Disease, natural kind, value judgement CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This writer who has warned us of the “ideological” function of both the oeuvre and the author as unquestioned forms of discursive organization has gone quite far in constituting for both these “fictitious unities” the name (with all the problems of such a designation) Michel Foucault. One text under review, La Volonté de Savoir, is the methodological introduction of a projected five-volume history of sexuality. It will apparently circle back over that material which seems to have a special fascination for (...) Foucault: the gradual emergence of medicine as an institution, the birth of political economy, demography and linguistics as “human sciences,” the invention of incarceration and confinement for the control of the “other” in society (the mad, the libertine, the criminal) and that special violence that lurks beneath the power to control discourse. (shrink)
Contemporary Continental Philosophy steps back from current debates comparing Continental and analytic philosophy and carefully, yet critically outlines the tradition’s main philosophical views on epistemology and ontology. Forgoing obscure paraphrases, D’Amico provides a detailed, clear account and assessment of the tradition from its founding by Husserl and Heidegger to its challenge by Derrida and Foucault. Though intended as a survey of this tradition throughout the twentieth century, this study’s focus is on the philosophical problems which gave it birth and even (...) now continue to shape it.The book reexamines Husserl as an early critic of epistemological naturalism whose grasp of the philosophical importance of the theory of meaning was largely ignored. Heidegger’s contrasting effort to revive ontology is examined in terms of his distinction between ontic and ontological questions. In contrast with many earlier studies, the author outlines confusions engendered by the misappropriation of the distinct philosophical agendas of Husserl and Heidegger by such famous figures as Sartre and Merleau-Ponty. The book is also original in its emphasis on how social externalism in epistemology, inspired by Karl Mannheim, influenced this tradition’s structuralist and Marxist phases. The philosophical defenses of a theory of interpretation by Gadamer and Habermas are closely examined and assessed and the study concludes with a a probing yet balanced account of Foucault and Derrida as critics of philosophical autonomy. The book concludes by reassessing this century-long divide between the analytic and Continental traditions and its implication for the future of philosophy. (shrink)
My review of Cornelius Castoriadis' book Crossroads in the Labyrinth ended with the apt reference, I now see, to the emperor being naked. In Joel Whitebook's second review, largely irrelevant to my criticisms of Castoriadis, he fears, though he doesn't know me personally, that only the lack of psychological counseling can explain my uncontrolled anger against Castoriadis. Let me dignify his long distance psychoanalysis by passing over it in silence. Silence is also the best remedy for Whitebook's transcendental deduction that (...) I have a “pluralistic, localistic, discontinuous ontology.” Even if I knew what that was I find it amazing that he located it in a 10 page review. Perhaps Whitebook just “feels” the presence of this ontology along with evidence of my mental problems. (shrink)
When, in Telos #55, we sought to evaluate the meaning and impact of French socialism in power, the verdict turned out to be peculiarly disappointing. The rhetorical question in the Introduction: “Beyond Reform or Revolution?” had already been effectively answered. As early as 1982 French socialism had revealed itself to be a “Gaullism with a Human Face” which did not have much to do either widi reform or revolution, and could provide nothing more -above and beyond the usual cliches—than a (...) continuation of the same berated but unsurpassed technocratic management of the given. Socialism had turned out to be a bad idea whose time had past. (shrink)
From 1969 through the 70's Mitchell Franklin was Emeritus Professor of Law and Philosophy at SUNY Buffalo. Over this period his teaching gradually shifted to philosophy where he gave a series of lectures on Hegel, Marx and Neo-Hegelianism, which attracted and influenced a new group of students. These philosophy students were rediscovering the Continental tradition and turning to phenomenology, Western Marxism and German Idealism against die positivist and analytic traditions which had a dying but tenacious hold on philosophy. The following (...) essays are in memory of Franklin's influence and theoretical work. Hopefully these essays can begin to make him part of an on going discussion and overcome die obstacles of his style and hard to locate publications. (shrink)
Title: Discipline and PunishPublisher: Pantheon booksISBN: 978-0394499420Author: Michel FoucaultTitle: Language, Counter-Memory, PracticePublisher: Wiley-BlackwellISBN: 978-0631182405Author: Michel FoucaultTitle: La Volonte de SavoirPublisher: GallimardAuthor: Michel FoucaultTitle: Oublier FoucaultPublisher: Editions GalileeISBN: 978-2718600604Author: Jean Baudrillard.
At the end of World War II Karl Popper, at the time a little known philosopher of science, published The Open Society and Its Enemies. He dedicated the book to the victims of both Hitler's and Stalin's camps and called it his “war effort.” The book had an enormous impact and spawned both imitators, such as Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism, and a great deal of debate. Whatever else it accomplished Popper's work politicized the history of ideas. Against the (...) devastation of the war Popper refused to grant either innocence or quietude to the history of philosophy. He argued that ways of thinking and talking had terrible consequences; that philosophers legitimated terrible damage in their seemingly abstract inquiry. (shrink)
Foucault has spoken recently of the profound disruption in the domain of knowledge at every level of contemporary theory. “From the beginning of this century psychoanalytic, linguistic and ethnographic research has ousted the subject from the laws of his desires, from the forms of his speech, from the rules of his actions and from the systems of his mythical discourses.” It has become increasingly more important to deal with the thrust of these developments at the level of theory, not under (...) the rubric of some “structuralist” ideology, but as to their true content and meaning. The obstruction until now has been its lack of a “history”. (shrink)
In a political version of the old biological cliché “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” Cornelius Castoriadis seems to embody in his personal evolution fetal stages in the labor pains of the left since World War II. According to Dick Howard in the The Marxian Legacy Castoriadis was a youthful member of the Greek Communist Party where opposition to Stalinism lead him to Trotsky. After the war and the resistance he emerges in Paris studying philosophy and cuts his political teeth on the splits (...) and schisms within the political fantasy world of the IV International. He founds Socialisme ou Barbarie, abandons Trotskyism, moves through the Western Marxist tradition and after more splits and more journals he ends up, after May 68, a practicing psychoanalyst. (shrink)
As far as I know, this is the first book-length study of Ernst Tugendhat in English. That is a bit of a surprise since Tugendhat is the last of Heidegger's students who went on to develop a significantly distinct philosophical approach, and it was one closer to the practice of philosophy in the United States and England than in Germany. The fact that this book is the author's expanded translation from the Italian probably indicates that this lack of attention to (...) Tugendhat remains in the English-speaking philosophical community. But we have to start somewhere, and this book is a useful…. (shrink)
Title: The Common Mind: An Essay on Psychology, Society, and PoliticsPublisher: Oxford University PressISBN: 0195106458Author: Philip PettitTitle: Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and GovernmentPublisher: Oxford University PressISBN: 0198296428Author: Philip Pettit.
Before commenting on the “Introduction” to Telos 108 by Piccone, Berman and Ulmen, I want to cite two distinctions relevant to my discussion of it. First, federalism and populism are separate concepts, whatever it turns out is the proper meaning of populism and whether or not the intent of the Introduction was to argue for both. Federalism concerns a type of social organization held to be preferable for relatively complex commercial societies; the kind of societies that presently dominate the first (...) world. It consists of relatively autonomous units united under a mutually agreed upon constitutional framework assigning strictly limited responsibilities and duties to a central state authority. (shrink)
This volume contains an essay by Martha Nussbaum in defense of world citizenship or “cosmopolitanism,” as opposed to patriotism, which she defines as any view treating “national boundaries as morally salient,” together with a series of brief supportive (Anthony Appiah and Amartya Sen) and critical (Benjamin Barber, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Hilary Putnam, Immanuel Wallerstein, and Michael Walzer, et al.) comments. The essay originally appeared in The Boston Review in 1994 and led to bringing together the “usual suspects” for a bit of (...) popular edification and policy-making. Such posturing by what passes today for public intellectuals is rarely successful and not always…. (shrink)
The argument from ignorance is an informal fallacy that holds either that a statement not known to be true or proven true is false, or a statement not known to be false or proven false is true. For example, some creationists hold that since the theory of evolution has not been proven to be true, it is false. There is, however, a subtlety to this fallacy that is exploited in Richard H. Gaskins's far-ranging study of rhetoric and persuasion in modern (...) legal, philosophical, and scientific communities. The argument can assert that no evidence to support a claim entails that the claim is false if all the relevant supporting or refuting evidence has been collected. Thus, if a creationist claims that the earth was created some five thousand years ago, a critic could reply that abundant evidence refutes the claim. This additional claim in the argument, however, involves controversies about appropriate and adequate evidence, as well as questions of what Gaskins calls "finality and legitimacy." How long should one proceed with the search for evidence and how should one justify the procedures? (shrink)
This article concerns the metaphysics of disease. Is disease a fixed feature of the world or a social value or preference? I argue that disease is not a value-laden concept and thus debates concerning it differ fundamentally from debates concerning health, harm, or suffering where evaluative judgements are central. I show how the so-called social constructionist view of disease has been motivated both by ethical concerns with medical practices and general theoretical doubts about scientific naturalism. If I can show that (...) ethical concerns about medical treatment can be answered without adopting social constructionism, that leaves only the broader theoretical question of naturalism. I cannot completely answer those theoretical doubts, but I show that the theoretical motivation is less convincing when it is separated from the moral challenge often accompanying it. I conclude that a convincing defense of the non-naturalistic conception of disease is rarely attempted and proves more difficult and counter-intuitive than its proponents assume. (shrink)
A critical account of the case for historicism from Popper to Foucault, this volume, originally published in 1989, shows the viability of an historicist account of knowledge by replying to traditional objections and the need for defenses of realism and reference at the heart of most alternatives to historicism. The book provides insights to those in philosophy as well as literary criticism, intellectual history, history of science, and cultural criticism.