Although Darwinian concepts have largely been banned from the social sciences of the last century, they have recently seen a revival in several disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, or economics. Most of the current proponents of evolutionary theorizing in the social sciences avoid references to the older literature on social evolution. On that background, this article presents a contribution to Darwinist thinking in early American sociology that has mainly been overlooked in the literature. As the leading figure of the Human (...) Ecology Approach, which was established during the 1920s and 1930s, Robert Ezra Park drew heavily on evolutionary concepts to explain human evolution. A systematic presentation of these concepts in the light of the modern discussion on sociocultural evolution is given, followed by a conclusion about what can be learned from Park today. (shrink)
From uttering a prayer before boarding a plane, to exploring past lives through hypnosis, has superstition become pervasive in contemporary culture? RobertPark, the best-selling author of Voodoo Science, argues that it has. In Superstition, Park asks why people persist in superstitious convictions long after science has shown them to be ill-founded. He takes on supernatural beliefs from religion and the afterlife to New Age spiritualism and faith-based medical claims. He examines recent controversies and concludes that science (...) is the only way we have of understanding the world. Park sides with the forces of reason in a world of continuing and, he fears, increasing superstition. Chapter by chapter, he explains how people too easily mistake pseudoscience for science. He discusses parapsychology, homeopathy, and acupuncture; he questions the existence of souls, the foundations of intelligent design, and the power of prayer; he asks for evidence of reincarnation and astral projections; and he challenges the idea of heaven. Throughout, he demonstrates how people's blind faith, and their confidence in suspect phenomena and remedies, are manipulated for political ends. Park shows that science prevails when people stop fooling themselves. Compelling and precise, Superstition takes no hostages in its quest to provoke. In shedding light on some very sensitive--and Park would say scientifically dubious--issues, the book is sure to spark discussion and controversy. (shrink)
The world is increasingly full of junk science. Pseudo-scientific claims are rife, and the public is regularly misled. Here, the physicist RobertPark points out seven warning signs of pseudo-science. Does parapsychology exhibit any of these warning signs? Read on to find out….
Fourteen essays by former pupils of Calhoun, including G. A. Lindbeck, W. A. Christian, N. C. Nielsen, Jr., R. P. Ramsey, and A. C. Outler. The depth of scholarship that these former students have achieved as well as the generally high calibre of all the essays are ample evidence of Calhoun's pedagogical prowess. Most of the contributions are of theological import, and most are historically oriented as the title of the book suggests. Lindbeck's essay, however, "The A Priori in St. (...) Thomas' Theory of Knowledge," has direct philosophical relevance for those concerned over the "Transcendental" interpretation of Thomas' epistemology and metaphysics. Nothing is advanced over the arguments of Maréchal, Lonergan, and Rahner in favor of this interpretation, but this additional support in a new context lends strength to the thesis.—E. A. R. (shrink)
The intent of ethics is to establish a set of standards that will provide a framework to modify, regulate, and possibly enhance moral behaviour. Eleven focus groups were conducted with physicians from six culturally distinct countries to explore their perception of formalized, written ethical guidelines (i.e., codes of ethics, credos, value and mission statements) that attempt to direct their ethical practice. Six themes emerged from the data: lack of awareness, no impact, marginal impact, other codes or value statements supersede, personal (...) codes or values dictate, and ethical guidelines are useful. Overall, codes were valued only when they were congruent with existing personal morality. The findings suggest the need to re-evaluate the purpose, content, and delivery of codes for them to improve their function in promoting ethical conduct. (shrink)
Process philosophy is said by some to be the future of American philosophy. This collection of essays, ranging from studies of Whitehead to Camus and Sir Muhammad Iqbal, extends the discussion far beyond the boundaries of North America. Several of the essays are of a more systematic character. Donald Hanks analyzes the category of process as a pre-conceptual principle used to organize experience into an intelligible pattern. Andrew Reck provides an analysis of the meaning and justification of what he considers (...) to be the ten ideas or categories requisite for a system of process philosophy. Charles Schmidtke argues that process philosophy faces a fundamental decision regarding whether the character of reality as process is given as an ultimate datum or whether process philosophy structures reality in accordance with the characteristic of creative becoming. Other essays in the volume are concerned with the concept of process in the work of a variety of philosophers, some of whom are less directly in the process tradition. Ramona Cormier analyzes the relationship of the process of experience to its unchanging aspect in connection with Camus’ concern for the meaningfulness of life and the limitations of rational inquiry. Bertrand P. Helm provides a study of James’ concept of time and Patrick S. Madigan a study of the concept of space in Leibniz and Whitehead. Whitehead’s understanding of the interaction of things provides the basis for R. Kirby Godsey’s study of the categories of substance and relation in Whitehead, and Robert C. Whittemore provides an introduction to the process philosophy of Sir Muhammad Iqbal, the little known poet-philosopher and sometime student of James Ward. James Leroy Smith’s article on Whitehead and Marx is a critical comparison of their political philosophies.—E.T.L. (shrink)
This book introduces Robert Corrington’s “ecstatic naturalism,” a new perspective in understanding “sacred” nature and naturalism, and explores what can be done with this philosophical thought. This is an excellent resource for scholars of Continental philosophy, philosophy of religion, and American pragmatism.
A plea has been made for replacing the perspective of “symbolic interactionism” with a new interactionist's perspective—“radical interactionism.” Unlike in symbolic interactionism, where Mead's and Blumer's ideas play the most prominent roles, in radical interactionism's, Park's ideas play a more prominent role than either Mead's or Blumer's ideas. On the one hand, according to Mead, the general principle behind the organization of human group life was once dominance, but it is now “sociality.” On the other hand, according to (...) class='Hi'>Park, this general principle is now and has always been dominance. Blumer takes a position much closer to Mead's than Park's arguing that the general principle underlying the organization of human group life is sociality. Under certain special conditions, however, it can become dominance. Although like radical interactionism, symbolic interactionism is rooted in pragmatism, unlike in radical interactionism, symbolic interactionism is still plagued with strains of utopian thought, among which the notion of sociality is the most virulent. Sociality may be the principle on which human group life is organized in heaven, but, down here on earth, it remains organized on the basis of domination. Thus, radical interactionism provides a much-needed antidote to the idealistic overtones still found in symbolic interactionism. (shrink)
This is a review of the book Cultivating Original Enlightenment: Wŏnhyo's Exposition of the Vajrasamādhi-Sūtra, by Robert E. Buswell, Jr., published by the Univeristy of Hawaii Press. This volume, the first to be published in the Collected Works of Wŏnhyo series, contains the translation of a single text by Wŏnhyo, the Kŭmgang Sammaegyŏng Non.
The precise application of the term ‘heroic measures’ in the discourse of medicine and medical ethics is somewhat uncertain. What counts and what does not is, at the margins, a perpetually contentious issue. Basically, though, we can say that the term refers to the deployment of unusual technologies or treatment regimes, or of ordinary technologies or treatment regimes beyond their usual limits.
This article sympathetically explores the phenomenological pragmatism of Robert E. Innis in Consciousness and the Play of Forms and Pragmatism and the Forms of Sense. Disputing both the realistic view that perception underlies semiosis and deconstructionist reversals of this, Innis claims they are inextricably interwoven. He forges an alliance between pragmatists Peirce and Dewey, and Continental phenomenologists Polanyi, Bühler, and Cassirer, a "polyphony" that also yields a richly aesthetic critique of technology. By restricting his analysis to a methodological "frame," (...) Innis overlooks a metaphysical tension between Polanyi's realism and Cassirer's idealism, though potentially resolvable in Dewey's transactional philosophy. (shrink)
Elsewhere I have defended utilitarianism as a philosophy peculiarly well suited to the conduct of public affairs, on grounds of the peculiar tasks and instruments confronting public officials. Here I add another plank to that defence of ‘utilitarianism as a public philosophy’, focusing on the peculiar role responsibilities of people serving in public capacities. Such ‘public service utilitarianism’ is incumbent not only upon public officials but also upon individuals in their capacities as citizens and voters. I close with reflections on (...) how best to evoke appreciation of these utilitarian role responsibilities from officials and electors alike. (shrink)
Maximizing want-satisfaction per se is a relatively unattractive aspiration, for it seems to assume that wants are somehow disembodied entities with independent moral claims all of their own. Actually, of course, they are possessed by particular people. What preference-utilitarians should be concerned with is how people's lives go—the fulfilment of their projects and the satisfaction of their desires. In an old-fashioned way of talking, it is happy people rather than happiness per se that utilitarians should be striving to produce.
O presente artigo procura mostrar a crítica conservadora inglesa do século XVII às noções de liberdade natural e contrato originário, ao deslocar a origem do poder político para as relações afetivas estabelecidas pelos laços sentimentais de família que mantêm pais e filhos unidos. Mais exatamente, a legitimação política do poder teria como fundamento uma autoridade natural semelhante à relação verificada entre pais e filhos. Segundo essa teoria, cujo mais importante representante foi Robert Filmer, o fundamento da autoridade política não (...) é fruto de uma instituição arbitrária dos homens, mas uma necessidade introduzida por Deus, com o propósito de justificar as monarquias absolutistas. (shrink)
Robert Innis has performed an immensely valuable service for scholars in the fields of American philosophy, aesthetics, and semiotics. Not only does his comprehensive view of Susanne K. Langer’s opus show us its development, but this is the only book in English devoted solely to Langer. I hope it may help retrieve her considerable philosophical achievement from the penumbral, fading status it has today. Not only does Innis give us a close discussion of Langer’s philosophy, but he also presents (...) a running argument that she should be embraced as an “American philosopher” and semiotician who shares themes with Dewey and Peirce. This is significant insofar as Langer held herself aloof from the work of both Dewey and . (shrink)
Explaining Norms is a work in philosophy of social science aspiring to provide an account of norms, their general character, their kinds ðformal, legal, moral, and socialÞ, what they can explain, and what explains their dynamic ðemergence, persistence, and unravelingÞ. The authors engage with various positions in ethics, political philosophy, and ðto some extentÞ the philosophy of law. The discussion is rewarding and inventive—it provides distinctive and intriguing views on several topics ðe.g., on the distinction between moral and social normsÞ. (...) There are a lot of ideas here. Perhaps this is predictable, given that the work is a product of four capable minds. What is surprising is the range of ideas and arguments on which the authors manage to agree and out of which they construct one reasonably cohesive account. Given the wide range of literatures discussed, readers are likely to find much of interest. Not surprisingly, some related literatures do seem to be underplayed—treated in a few footnotes and somewhat by the way, with little development of systematic connections. There are thriving literatures in comparative psychology/ ethology, moral psychology, and cultural anthropology that are devoted to how we humans manage to cooperate and coordinate as we do. While there are footnotes to some of this literature ðsee the index for, e.g., Boyd, Bowles, Camerer, Gintis, and HenrichÞ, many readers would have benefited from a discussion that more fully related the position developed in Explaining Norms to that work in experimental economics and anthropology. Discussing the relationships with work in moral psychology and ethology would also have been appreciated ðHaidt, de Waal, and Tomasello are not mentionedÞ. Still, there is very much to like about what is treated here. The authors seek conceptually individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for being a norm. On the account provided, norms are something on the order of normative principles accepted in some group ð3–4Þ. Thus, norms involve some normative principle, possessing “a certain generality of scope and application.” These principles need not be objectively correct or fitting, and they may be objectively “simply awful” ð3Þ. The central questions have to do with what is involved in some group accepting these normative principles. The authors locate their position in two dimensions. (shrink)
A review of Personhood, Ethics, and Animal Cognition: Situating Animals in Hare’s Two-Level Utilitarianism, by Gary E. Varner. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2012. Pp. xv + 336. H/b £40.23. and The Philosophy of Animal Minds, edited by Robert W. Lurz. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Pp. 320. P/b £20.21.