The year 1666, on Newton’s own testimony, was the "wonderful year" wherein, at the tender age of 24, he developed the fundamental principles of the integral calculus, verified the composite nature of sunlight, and satisfied himself by calculation that the earth’s gravitation holds the moon in its orbit. Fittingly to commemorate the third centenary of that year, and at the same time to bring together the considerable results of recent Newtonian scholarship, Robert Palter organized a symposium at the University (...) of Texas in Austin on November 10-12, 1966. The proceedings of that symposium, including sixteen major papers by scholars of international reputation and the comments they elicited from learned colleagues, first appeared in The Texas Quarterly, Vol. 10, no. 3 ; they are now made available to a larger reading public in this book, many in revised and expanded form. Not all of the contributions will interest the philosopher, but the attention of those specializing in the philosophy of science is directed particularly to R. S. Westfall’s and I. B. Cohen’s scholarly articles on Newton’s optical theories and on his force concept respectively, both of which contain considerable material for philosophical analysis. Of more general significance are Palter’s own treatment of Newton’s inductive method, Howard Stein’s analysis of Newtonian space-time, and J. H. Randall’s reflection on the religious consequences of Newton’s thought. One of the most stimulating articles is Dudley Shapere’s evaluation of the philosophical significance of Newton’s science, made in the context of his on-going debate with T. S. Kuhn and P. K. Feyerabend, which sheds yet further light on the problems of meaning invariance and scientific change.—W. A. W. (shrink)
The title of this work is a somewhat saucy overstatement of its thesis—that perceivers seek in works of art experiences of "discontinuity" and "disorientation," as a kind of "rehearsal" for "real life" situations in which they must negotiate intellectual tensions, resulting from a disparity between what they expect and what actually happens. Art-perceiving, the author asserts, is a "biological, adaptive" mechanism characteristic of the human organism. Peckham, like most thoughtful readers of art history, is irritated by the preposterous assertions (...) that man's perceptions are a mad, disorderly blizzard of phenomena, and the artist alone can bring "order" to the mess. Of course, it is obvious that neither of these notions is very sensible, but the unfortunate truth about the lay psychology of most criticism is that Dr. Peckham's assertions in this connection will probably be regarded as controversial in many departments of literature and fine arts. The author is at his best when barbedly [[sic]] criticizing his colleagues; he is at less than his best, however, when he assumes the mantle of philosophical psychology in order to bring authority to his arguments. Intent upon finding confirmation in both the fashionable and passe schools of behavioral science and philosophy, he masses gluts of aphorisms from Gestalt psychology, Husserl, Heidegger, Susanne Langer, and Paul Ziff (the last pair being very indiscreetly aligned to form notions which are no less intuitive than those of the various art-historians he is admonishing. In the area of psychology, Peckham ignores all of the current approaches, and in the area of philosophy he refers to linguistic analysis or philosophy of science as though each were substantively and methodologically unified, and possessed clear-cut views about the universe. Peckham's central thesis, moreover, leaves one unable to distinguish a work of creative physics from a novel.—E. H. W. (shrink)
A significant feature of John Stuart Mill's moral theory is the introduction of qualitative differences as relevant to the comparative value of pleasures. Despite its significance, Mill presents his doctrine of qualities of pleasures in only a few paragraphs in the second chapter of Utilitarianism, where he begins the brief discussion by saying: utilitarian writers in general have placed the superiority of mental over bodily pleasures chiefly … in their circumstantial advantages rather than in their intrinsic nature.… [B]ut they might (...) have taken the … higher ground with entire consistency. It is quite compatible with the principle of utility to recognize the fact, that some kinds of pleasure are more desirable and more valuable than others. It would be absurd that while, in estimating all other things, quality is considered as well as quantity, the estimation of pleasures should be supposed to depend on quantity alone. (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.
In 1935, as the Nazis’ state-of-the art eugenics exhibition from the Deutsches Hygiene Museum was concluding its American tour, a decision had to be made about whether to return the displays to Germany or to house them in an American museum. After the American Academy of Medicine decided against the display because of its political implications, the director of the Buffalo Museum of Science, Carlos Cummings, himself a physician, offered his institution as the exhibition's permanent home. “What is the astounding (...) eugenics program upon which Chancellor Hitler has launched the German people?” Cummings wondered aloud. “As a matter of public interest, without endorsement,” he added, “the Museum will display in the Central Hall throughout this final quarter of 1935, a set of fifty-one posters and charts. . . which gives Americans a graphic explanation of Germany's campaign to rear in posterity ‘a new race nobility.’” Seven years later, with war raging, the museum received permission from the company that had insured the exhibition, to dismantle it from its permanent home in the museum's Hall of Heredity. An exhibition about eugenics, Nazi eugenics no less, that had been enthusiastically received as it had traveled the United States in the mid-1930s, had seemingly fallen victim to the war against eugenics launched by cultural anthropologists and geneticists. In light of the broad scholarship on eugenics, this certainly would be a plausible reading of the deinstallation of the Nazi eugenics exhibition. But the three books under review here suggest a more complex reading, one that suggests that eugenics and racism, considered as ideological systems, were less easily dislodged from American culture than from Buffalo's Museum of Science. (shrink)
Here are ten essays written by a happily balanced mixture of younger and of more senior Quine scholars commenting on the philosophy of Willard Van Orman Quine, and collected in honor of his seventieth birthday, June 1978.
A translation based on the Latin text of the Leonine edition. The Quaestiones Disputatae de Veritate constitutes Aquinas's most extended treatment of any single topic. Volume I discusses the nature of truth and divine and angelic intellects. Volume II deals with truth and human intellect. Volume III investigates the operation of the will.
In this volume Donald Walker brings together Robert Clower's influential essays on monetary economics, grouping them so as to bring out clearly the development of Clower's thought. Among Clower's contributions are an important reinterpretation of Keynes' work, a fresh treatment of the nature of money, the formulation of a microeconomic approach to the understanding of monetary behaviour, and distinct insights on money supply-and-demand and inflation. The essays constitute a well-rounded treatment of the major problems in monetary economics, and the (...) volume as a whole demonstrates how the study of monetary economics may extend knowledge of short-run economic fluctuations and prove useful in developing policy options to ameliorate them. (shrink)