In the wake of both the semiotic and the psychoanalytic revolutions, how is it possible to describe the object of religious worship in realist terms? Semioticians argue that each object is known only insofar as it gives birth to a series of signs and interpretants. From the psychoanalytic side, religious beliefs are seen to belong to transference energies and projections that contaminate the religious object with all-too-human complexes. In Nature's Religion, distinguished theologian and philosopher Robert S. Corrington weaves together (...) the concept of infinite semiosis with that of the transference to show that the self does have access to something in nature that is intrinsically religious. Corrington argues that signs and our various transference fields can and do connect us with fully natural religious powers that are not of our own making, thereby opening up a path past the Western monotheisms to a capacious religion of nature. With a foreword by Robert C. Neville, Nature's Religion is essential reading for philosophers of religion, scholars of the psychology of religion, and theologians. (shrink)
The drama of the unfolding of the spirit, Corrington argues, is one of the most powerful struggles within the human process. The spirit is in and of nature and can never lift the self outside of nature. For Corrington's ecstatic naturalism, there is no realm of the supernatural, only dimensions and orders within nature.
Scholars have long debated the relationship between Kant’s doctrine of right and his doctrine of virtue (including his moral religion or ethico-theology), which are the two branches of his moral philosophy. This article will examine the intimate connection in his practical philosophy between perpetual peace and the highest good, between political and ethico-religious communities, and between the types of transparency peculiar to each. It will show how domestic and international right provides a framework for the development of ethical communities, including (...) a kingdom of ends and even the noumenal ethical community of an afterlife, and how the transparency and trust achieved in these communities is anticipated in rightful political society by publicity and the mutual confidence among citizens that it engenders. Finally, it will explore the implications of this synthesis of Kant’s political and religious philosophies for contemporary Kantian political theories, especially those of Jürgen Habermas and John Rawls. (shrink)
Wit, it can be said, is the compact expression of wisdom. Robert S. Hartman wrote with both wit and wisdom. Many times, though, his wit gets buried in demanding and lengthy prose. In this book, we have extracted the wit from the wisdom of a selection of Hartman's writing so that more of the world can learn from this man's genius. It's a quote book. It consists entirely of Hartman's own words. But, in small doses. We have pulled vital (...) ideas, thoughtful considerations, and clever remarks from six of Hartman's published pieces plus two heretofore unpublished manuscripts that are soon to be published by the Hartman Institute. We present these quotes in an order that, we believe, best tells the story of formal axiology. (shrink)
This title was first published in 2000: Robert S. Summers is a distinguished legal theorist whose work has had significant influence in Europe as well as the United States. The study of form and substance in law, the theme of this collection, marks many of his most distinctive contributions to law and legal philosophy over four decades.
Against several recent interpretations, I argue in this paper that Immanuel Kant's support for enlightened absolutism was a permanent feature of his political thought that fit comfortably within his larger philosophy, though he saw such rule as part of a transition to democratic self-government initiated by the absolute monarch himself. I support these contentions with (1) a detailed exegesis of Kant’s essay "What is Enlightenment?" (2) an argument that Kantian republicanism requires not merely a separation of powers but also a (...) representative democratic legislature, and (3) a demonstration that each stage of a democratic transition can potentially be in an absolute monarch’s short-run self-interest. I conclude the paper by defending Kant's theory of democratization against charges of consequentialism and paternalism and by pointing out its similarity to other accounts of democratic transitions (for example, those of Samuel Huntington and Guillermo O'Donnell), suggesting a previously unnoticed opportunity for cross-fertilization between political philosophy and comparative politics. (shrink)
Against several recent interpretations, I argue in this chapter that Immanuel Kant's support for enlightened absolutism was a permanent feature of his political thought that fit comfortably within his larger philosophy, though he saw such rule as part of a transition to democratic self-government initiated by the absolute monarch himself. I support these contentions with (1) a detailed exegesis of Kant’s essay "What is Enlightenment?" (2) an argument that Kantian republicanism requires not merely a separation of powers but also a (...) representative democratic legislature, and (3) a demonstration that each stage of a democratic transition can potentially be in an absolute monarch’s short-run self-interest. (shrink)
This essay offers an exegesis and critique of the moment of community formation in Agamben’s Homo Sacer Project. In The Sacrament of Language, Agamben searches for the site of a non-sovereign community founded upon the oath [horkos, sacramentum]: an ancient institution of language that produces and guarantees the connection between speech and the order of things by calling the god as a witness to the speaker’s fidelity. I argue that Agamben’s account ultimately falls short of subverting sovereignty, however, because the (...) sacramentum derives its power, at a fundamental level, from the ‘monothetic’ structure of truth—what Agamben calls ‘the name of God’ [il nome di Dio]. I propose we may yet salvage the oath as a means of subverting sovereignty, however, if we reconsider it in the context of polytheism, where the names of the gods [i nomi degli dei] can be many, while remaining powerful. First, through a reading of Aeschylus’ Eumenides, I argue that the Greeks understood the oath to function even where truth and falsity were inherently undecidable. Second, I argue that if we separate the truth and power functions interwoven in the sacramentum, we find a second formula, the decisory oath, which can be taken in order to produce a community even in the absence of one sovereign truth. As a kind of magical speech, the decisory oath provides the limit conditions for the possibility of distinguishing true from false in the sacramentum, and thus founds it. (shrink)
Nature’s Sublime provides a radical new vision of infinite nature and its deepest aesthetic dimensions as they are encountered by finite human sign users. Rather than looking to religion for healing and salvation, Nature’s Sublime argues that the arts provide a deeper relationship to the vast depths of nature.
Philosophical understandings of Nature and Human Nature. Classical Greek and modern West, Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, by 14 authors, including Robert Neville, Stanley Rosen, David Eckel, Livia Kohn, Tienyu Cao, Abner Shimoney, Alfred Tauber, Krzysztof Michalski, Lawrence Cahoone, Stephen Scully, Alan Olson and Alfred Ferrarin. Dedicated to the phenomenological ecology of Erazim Kohák, with 10 of his essays and a full bibliography. Overall theme: on the question of the moral sense of nature.
In three volumes, a distinguished group of scholars from a variety of disciplines in the natural and social sciences, the humanities and the arts contribute essays in honor of Robert S. Cohen, on the occasion of his 70th birthday. The range of the essays, as well as their originality, and their critical and historical depth, pay tribute to the extraordinary scope of Professor Cohen's intellectual interests, as a scientist-philosopher and a humanist, and also to his engagement in the world (...) of social and political practice. In Science, Politics and Social Practice,, an international group of scholars -- philosophers, sociologists, historians, and political scientists -- discuss issues at the cutting edge of contemporary social and political thought, and its bearing on science. Several essays discuss the relations of Marxism to science, and specifically, to the philosophies of science of Carnap and Popper, as well as Soviet Marxism, and the effects of Stalinism on Soviet science. There are also essays on the philosophy and methodology of the social sciences, on questions of method and aim in historical narrative, on the issue of cultural relativism, and more. (shrink)
The Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy of Science began 2S years ago as an interdisciplinary, interuniversity collaboration of friends and colleagues in philosophy, logic, the natural sciences and the social sciences, psychology, religious studies, arts and literature, and often the celebrated man-in-the street. Boston University came to be the home base. Within a few years, pro ceedings were seen to be candidates for publication, first suggested by Gerald Holton for the journal Synthese within the Synthese Library, both from the D. (...) Reidel Publishing Company of Dordrecht, then and now in Boston and Lancaster too. Our colloquium was inheritor of the Institute for the Unity of Science, itself the American transplant of the Vienna Circle, and we were repeatedly honored by encouragement and participation of the Institute's central figure, Philipp Frank. The proceedings were selected, edited, revised in the light of the discussions at our colloquia, and then other volumes were added which were derived from other symposia, in Boston or elsewhere. A friendly autonomy, in dependent of the Synthese Library proper, existed for more than a decade and then the Boston Studies became fully separate. We were grateful to Jaakko Hintikka for his continued encouragement within that Library. The series Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science was conceived in the broadest framework of interdisciplinary and international concerns. Natural scientists, mathematicians, social scientists and philosophers have contributed to the series, as have historians and sociologists of science, linguists, psychologists, physicians, and literary critics. (shrink)
There is no agreement at all, however, among translators, editors, and scholars, as to what is the number of problems that Aristotle proposes, nor what are the relations of importance among them. The list is given sometimes as fourteen or fifteen, sometimes as six, as nine, as twelve, as eight, and various other numbers. To a reader remembering the meticulous detail with which Aristotle told his students just how to construct topical notebooks and outlines, it seems quite unthinkable that he (...) could have poured this maze of problems over his audience like a bath-attendant, and left them to shift for themselves in discovering its intended organization. A priori, therefore, we would expect some indication within Aristotle's text of the coordination and subordination of his set of problems. (shrink)
But though the illumination cast on the text by this approach may be only a narrow band of light, it is nevertheless a brilliant one. The hypotheses do in fact, it is shown, lend themselves to treatment as a constructive "metaphysics of unity" in which each stage of the argument explores some further aspect of any entity which is one. This is a topic of genuine concern to all philosophy. Whether we are atomists or Hegelian idealists, our thinking involves decisions (...) as to what constitutes an entity--a "real" unit of being. And once we establish certain conditions as necessary for the existence of anything that is to be some one thing, we find we have made a far reaching and systematic philosophic decision or discovery. The thesis here advanced, that Plato's eight successive discussions of "the one" constructively develop necessary aspects of any unit that can exist, thus relates a problem of Platonic scholarship to philosophy more generally. (shrink)
The work conceives individuals as being engaged in ongoing dramas in which they are both actors and spectators. It is a contribution to a social psychology that emphasizes a processual approach to the construction of the self and identity.
The various cosmological proposals by Einsteinian relativists seek to show the structure of the world as a consequence of the basic notions of relativity. In particular, the irrelevance of the state of motion of an observer to his description of the fundamental laws of nature is to be maintained. Furthermore, gravity is understood as being a description of the fact that particles move along certain minimal paths in non-Euclidean space. In this theory, the effect of one material particle on another (...) particle in the old-fashioned sense of gravitational attraction becomes indirect; that is, a particle moves on a minimal path in a space having a degree of curvature dependent on the material entities which exist in it, rather than having its path bent by the attraction between it and other material bodies, all of them existing in an absolute or receptacle-like space. (shrink)
Through an analysis of key themes in Heidegger's work, the book challenges the traditional theological appropriation of Heidegger and the usual characterizations of religious thinking in terms of faith or belief in, or experience of, some ultimate reality. Heidegger, it is argued, offers a unique approach to a variety of issues and problems in contemporary religious thought and philosophy of religion that results in understanding religious thinking as a resolute openness to the holiness and meaningfulness of the world.
Contemporary republicanism is characterized by three main ideas: free persons, who are not subject to the arbitrary power of others; free states, which try to protect their citizens from such power without exercising it themselves; and vigilant citizenship, as a means to limit states to their protective role. This book advances an economic model of such republicanism that is ideologically centre-left. It demands an exit-oriented state interventionism, one that would require an activist government to enhance competition and resource exit from (...) dominating relationships within markets of all types, be they marital, labour, or residential. The substantial intervention and redistribution necessitated by such an approach make it leftist, while its tendency to work with rather than against the grain of markets makes it centrist. It is, in short, a contribution to progressive republican political thought, but one that is less social-democratic than market-democratic in character. (shrink)
Commercial republicanism is the idea that a properly-structured commercial society can serve the republican end of minimizing the domination of citizens by states (imperium) and of citizens by other citizens (dominium). Much has been written about this idea in the last half-century, including analyses of individual commercial republicans (e.g., Adam Smith and Immanuel Kant) as well as discussions of national traditions of the same (e.g., in America, Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Italy). In this chapter, I review five kinds of (...) arguments that have been historically offered for how commercial society so understood advances the republican ideal of non-domination: first, by simply realizing non-dominating relationships in the marketplace itself (Instantiation); second, by encouraging the growth of a wide middle class that can offer a counterweight to other, dominating classes (Internal Check-and-Balance); third, by increasing the wealth and power of republics vis-à-vis other, dominating states in the international arena (External Check-and-Balance); fourth, by helpfully nurturing bourgeois-civic virtues in republican citizens (Cultivating Virtue); and finally, by transforming dangerous passions into more readily regulable, even socially beneficial material interests (Sublimating Vice). I end the chapter by briefly considering commercial republicanism’s prospects as a continuing research program. (shrink)
With the publication of A Theory of Justice in 1971, John Rawls not only rejuvenated contemporary political philosophy but also defended a Kantian form of Enlightenment liberalism called “justice as fairness.” Enlightenment liberalism stresses the development and exercise of our capacity for autonomy, while Reformation liberalism emphasizes diversity and the toleration that encourages it. These two strands of liberalism are often mutually supporting, but they conflict in a surprising number of cases, whether over the accommodation of group difference, the design (...) of civic education, or the promotion of liberal values internationally. During the 1980’s, however, Rawls began to jettison key Kantian characteristics of his theory, a process culminating in the 1993 release of Political Liberalism and completing the transformation of justice as fairness into a Reformation liberalism. -/- Reconstructing Rawls argues that this transformation was a tragic mistake because it jeopardized the most important features of his theory, viz. the lexical priorities of right, liberty, and fair equality of opportunity as well as the difference principle. Controversially, this book contends that Rawls’s so-called “political turn,” motivated by a newfound interest in diversity and the accommodation of difference, has been unhealthy for autonomy-based liberalism and has pushed liberalism more broadly towards cultural relativism, be it in the guise of liberal multiculturalism or critiques of cosmopolitan distributive-justice theories. The book then demonstrates that the central elements of justice as fairness can only be defended within the context of a Kantian Enlightenment liberalism and that Rawls’s hope for a more pluralistic grounding for his theory, endorsed by a wide variety of belief systems present in modern democratic societies, is illusory. -/- Reconstructing Rawls is the first book to systematically compare Rawls’s and Kant’s theories and the first to offer an internal critique and reconstruction of justice as fairness, reconceiving it as a comprehensive, universalistic Kantian liberalism. By doing so, it gives us both the vision of a liberal world order—“a republicanism of all states, together and separately,” as Kant put it—and a mode of justification addressed to all men and women, not as members of particular nations, races, and faiths, but as human beings, as citizens of the world. In short, it reclaims Rawls for the Enlightenment. (shrink)
In Giorgio Agamben's Homo Sacer project, he gives an archaeology of Western political power from ancient Rome up through Carl Schmitt's model of "exceptional sovereignty," where the sovereign is "he who decides on the exception."1 Agamben takes Schmitt's thesis further, arguing that, in modern biopolitics, the "sovereign is he who decides on the value or the nonvalue of life as such," and therefore, on life and death in the state.2 Although this model also appears in Foucault's work, Penelope Deutscher argues (...) that Agamben's use of it includes "the particularly lethal variant seen in the capacity to cancel the status of what is put to death."3 "Homo sacer" is the name that Agamben gives to the form of political... (shrink)
The directions for constructing the figure are to take a line cut into two unequal parts, and cut each part in the same ratio. The proportions of the lengths of segments to one another will then represent the "relative clarity" of each of four kinds of knowledge, and Book vi. closes with a summary of these proportions. If we letter the four segments from top to bottom a, b, c, and d, their relation is a:b :: c:d. From the context, (...) it is quite clear that these four segments are unequal. However, if any line is cut in a ratio m/n, and its segments subdivided in that same ratio, two of the resulting segments will be equal, and their ratio 1:1. However, this is the construction explicitly given in the directions. (shrink)
Aristotle contends that in perception the sense organ is “made like” its object, but only “in a certain way.” Much controversy has surrounded these remarks, primarily about how to understand being “made like.” One camp has understood this to require literal exemplification, such that the sense organs manifest the sensible qualities of their objects. Others have understood likeness to require no physical alteration at all in the sense organs.I accept as a starting point in this paper that understanding perceptual likeness (...) in terms of exemplification is a non-starter. By doing so, however, I also reject the easiest and most direct understanding of what it means for the sense organs to be “made like” their objects. Others who have shared this assumption have suggested that likeness consists in “isomorphism.” Unfortunately, they have not adequately explicated how this notion is to be understood, with the result that Aristotle’s theory of perception remains crucially underdeveloped. I argue that the key is to understand the form of isomorphism at work in Aristotle’s account of thinking. (shrink)
I myself became interested in textual work when I began checking the logical rigor of Plato’s Parmenides hypotheses. To my great surprise, the proof patterns were not simply valid, but as woodenly uniform and rigorous as Euclid’s Elements. Such rigor was exactly what a Neo-Platonist like Proclus would have expected, admired, and possibly imposed; it is not paralleled anywhere else in Plato. At that time, it was believed that the three primary manuscripts containing this dialogue—Oxford B, Venice T, and Vienna (...) W—came from a common archetype of a date as late as the fifth century, and that the only other records of the text of any extent—the lemmata in Proclus’ Commentary and the quoted passages in Damascius’ Problems—were, or at least could be, equally late. Only some evidence that the text as the ninth century manuscripts have it had been in this rigid form before the fifth century could finally settle the question of whether it was Plato’s own or that plus stringent re-styling. I thought that if there were traces of independent descent from some earlier archetype or archetypes, a dragnet technique applied to a collection of all the reported variant readings ought to catch them. (shrink)