In the past empiricist philosophy has urged one or other or both of two interconnected, and sometimes interconfused, theses. The first has been a thesis about the causal origins of certain beliefs, the second a thesis about the proper criteria for appraising these beliefs. The causal thesis is that all beliefs about the structure and contents of the natural world are the end-product of a process that originates wholly in individual experiences of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching. The criterial (...) thesis is that all these beliefs are ultimately to be appraised for their truth, soundness or acceptability in terms of the data afforded by such perceptual acts. Of recent years the causal version of empiricism has been much attacked, primarily in regard to its implications about language-learning. The language in terms of which our beliefs are constructed is heavily conditioned, we are told, by certain congenital features of the human brain. But, whenever Chomsky and his followers have assailed the causal version of empiricism, they have always been careful to claim for their doctrines the warrant of empirical evidence. They have never questioned the correctness of the criterial version of empiricism. (shrink)
Sovereignty and the sovereign state are often seen as anachronisms; Globalization and Sovereignty challenges this view. Jean L. Cohen analyzes the new sovereignty regime emergent since the 1990s evidenced by the discourses and practice of human rights, humanitarian intervention, transformative occupation, and the UN targeted sanctions regime that blacklists alleged terrorists. Presenting a systematic theory of sovereignty and its transformation in international law and politics, Cohen argues for the continued importance of sovereign equality. She offers a theory of (...) a dualistic world order comprised of an international society of states, and a global political community in which human rights and global governance institutions affect the law, policies, and political culture of sovereign states. She advocates the constitutionalization of these institutions, within the framework of constitutional pluralism. This book will appeal to students of international political theory and law, political scientists, sociologists, legal historians, and theorists of constitutionalism. (shrink)
Dans son De Principiis, Damascius propose une définition originale de la «connaissance» . Les développements doctrinaux qui y sont exposés semblent rompre avec la conception plotinienne, principalement issue de l’exégèse du De Anima d’Aristote, lequel envisageait la connaissance, du moins dans sa modalité supérieure qu’est l’intellection , comme une «identité» du connaissant et du connu. Cette étude se propose de clarifier la gnoséologie de Damascius et de montrer que la connaissance y est envisagée comme une altérité surmontée sans pour autant (...) être abolie. (shrink)
Crises and social revolts in the historiography of contemporary France Refusing to apprehend the category as a simple empirical fact, the article examine the notion of crisis against the perspective offered by the series of French Revolutions : . This enables the authors to question these « moments of crisis » in relation to the historiographical contribution of successive generations of historians. In opposition to a liberal vision where social revolts are devoid of any political project, such an approach on (...) the part of the historian places the focus on a people, a proletariat, a group which, above all, reveals itself to be a political subject. To be effective, and to avoid stifling the comprehension of a revolutionary phenomenon, the concept of conjunctural crisis is thus combined with the invocation of a longer temporality and with a comprehension of the organic movements of society. The focus placed on the moment of crisis enables the authors to propose a different way of apprehending revolution, to grasp its rootedness in time that is both profound and immediate, organic and circumstantial. (shrink)
Johnathan Cohen's book provides a lucid and penetrating treatment of the fundamental issues of contemporary analytical philosophy. This field now spans a greater variety of topics and divergence of opinion than fifty years ago, and Cohen's book addresses the presuppositions implicit to it and the patterns of reasoning on which it relies.
Two new philosophical problems surrounding the gradation of certainty began to emerge in the 17th century and are still very much alive today. One is concerned with the evaluation of inductive reasoning, whether in science, jurisprudence, or elsewhere; the other with the interpretation of the mathematical calculus of change. This book, aimed at non-specialists, investigates both problems and the extent to which they are connected. Cohen demonstrates the diversity of logical structures that are available for judgements of probability, and (...) explores the rationale for their appropriateness in different contexts of application. Thus his study deals with the complexity of the underlying philosophical issues without simply cataloging alternative conceptions or espousing a particular "favorite" theory. (shrink)
Abe and his friend Sol are out for a walk together in a part of town they haven't been in before. Passing a Christian church, they notice a curious sign in front that says "$1,000 to anyone who will convert." "I wonder what that's about," says Abe. "I think I'll go in and have a look. I'll be back in a minute; just wait for me." Sol sits on the sidewalk bench and waits patiently for nearly half an hour. Finally, (...) Abe reappears. "Well," asks Sol, "what are they up to? Who are they trying to convert? Why do they care? Did you get the $1,000?" Indignantly Abe replies, "Money. That's all you people care about." Ted Cohen thinks that's not a bad joke. But he also doesn't think it's an easy joke. For a listener or reader to laugh at Abe's conversion, a complicated set of conditions must be met. First, a listener has to recognize that Abe and Sol are Jewish names. Second, that listener has to be familiar with the widespread idea that Jews are more interested in money than anything else. And finally, the listener needs to know this information in advance of the joke, and without anyone telling him or her. Jokes, in short, are complicated transactions in which communities are forged, intimacy is offered, and otherwise offensive stereotypes and cliches lose their sting—at least sometimes. _Jokes_ is a book of jokes and a book about them. Cohen loves a good laugh, but as a philosopher, he is also interested in how jokes work, why they work, and when they don't. The delight at the end of a joke is the result of a complex set of conditions and processes, and Cohen takes us through these conditions in a philosophical exploration of humor. He considers questions of audience, selection of joke topics, the ethnic character of jokes, and their morality, all with plenty of examples that will make you either chuckle or wince. _Jokes:_ more humorous than other philosophy books, more philosophical than other humor books. "Befitting its subject, this study of jokes is... light, funny, and thought-provoking.... [T]he method fits the material, allowing the author to pepper the book with a diversity of jokes without flattening their humor as a steamroller theory might. Such a book is only as good as its jokes, and most of his are good.... [E]ntertainment and ideas in one gossamer package."—_Kirkus Reviews_ "One of the many triumphs of Ted Cohen's Jokes-apart from the not incidental fact that the jokes are so good that he doesn't bother to compete with them-is that it never tries to sound more profound than the jokes it tells.... [H]e makes you feel he is doing an unusual kind of philosophy. As though he has managed to turn J. L. Austin into one of the Marx Brothers.... Reading Jokes makes you feel that being genial is the most profound thing we ever do-which is something jokes also make us feel-and that doing philosophy is as natural as being amused."—Adam Phillips, _London Review of Books_ "[A] lucid and jargon-free study of the remarkable fact that we divert each other with stories meant to make us laugh.... An illuminating study, replete with killer jokes."—Kevin McCardle, _The Herald_ "Cohen is an ardent joke-maker, keen to offer us a glimpse of how jokes are crafted and to have us dwell rather longer on their effects."—Barry C. Smith, _Times Literary Supplement_ "Because Ted Cohen loves jokes, we come to appreciate them more, and perhaps think further about the quality of good humor and the appropriateness of laughter in our lives."—Steve Carlson, _Christian Science Monitor_. (shrink)