The word "truth" retains, in common use, traces of origins that link it to trust, troth, and truce, connoting ideas of fidelity, loyalty, and authenticity. The word has become, in contemporary philosophy, encased in a web of technicalities, but we know that a true image is a faithful portrait; a true friend a loyal one. In a novel or a poem, too, we have a feel for what is emotionally true, though we are not concerned with the actuality of events (...) and characters depicted. To have emotions is to care about certain things: we can wonder whether those things are really worth caring about. We can wonder whether our passions reflect who we are, and whether they constitute fitting responses to the vicissitudes of life. So there are two aspects to emotional truth: how well an emotion reflects the threats and promises of the world, and how well it reflects our own individual nature. That is the starting point of this book, which looks first at the analogies and disanalogies between strict propositional truth and a looser, "generic" sense of truth. As applied to emotions, generic truth is closer to those original meanings: as in a portrait's fidelity or friend's loyalty. Taken in this sense, the notion of emotional truth opens up large vistas on areas of life essential to our existence as social beings, and to our concerns with beauty, morality, love, death, sex, knowledge, desire, coherence, and happiness. Each of those topics illustrates some facet of the dominant theme of the book: the crucial but often ambivalent role of our emotions in grounding and yet also sometimes undermining our values. Emotions act, in holistic perspective, as ultimate arbiters of values where different and independently justified standards of value compete. (shrink)
Taking literally the concept of emotional truth requires breaking the monopoly on truth of belief-like states. To this end, I look to perceptions for a model of non-propositional states that might be true or false, and to desires for a model of propositional attitudes the norm of which is other than the semantic satisfaction of their propositional object. Those models inspire a conception of generic truth, which can admit of degrees for analogue representations such as emotions; belief-like states, by contrast, (...) are digital representations. I argue that the gravest problem-objectivity-is not insurmountable. /// [Adam Morton] It is accuracy rather than truth itself that is valuable. Emotional truth is a dubious though attractive notion, but emotional accuracy is much easier to make sense of. My approach to accuracy goes via an account of what makes a story accurate. Stories can be accurate but not true, and emotions can be accurate whether or not they are true. The capacity for emotional accuracy, for emotions that fit a person's situation, is an aspect of emotional intelligence, which is as important an aspect of rational human agency as the intelligent formation of beliefs and desires. (shrink)
In the World Library of Educationalists series, international scholars compile career-long selections of what they judge to be among their finest pieces so the world has access to them in a single manageable volume. Readers are able to follow the themes and strands and see how their work contributes to the development of the field. Over more than three decades, Professor Ronald Barnett has acquired a distinctive position as a leading philosopher of the university and higher education, and this (...) volume brings together 15 of his key writings, particularly papers from leading journals. This volume also includes, as his introductory chapter, an intellectual autobiography, in which Professor Barnett recounts the history of his scholarship and writing, traces its development across five stages, and identifies the themes and sources of inspiration that lie within his corpus of work. Ronald Barnett has described his corpus of work as a social philosophy of the university that is at once conceptual, critical, practical and imaginative. His concepts of criticality, critical interdisciplinarity, supercomplexity and the ecological university have been taken up in the literature across the world. Through telling examples, and with an incisive clarity of writing, Ronald Barnett's scholarship has helped to illuminate in fresh ways and reorient practices in the university and in higher education. The chapters in this volume reveal all of these qualities so making this volume a compelling overview of a passionate and yet constructive critic of the university. (shrink)
“Every step and every movement of the multitude, even in what are termed enlightened ages, are made with equal blindness to the future; and nations stumble upon establishments, which are indeed the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design.”—_Adam Ferguson_ During the Scottish Enlightenment, David Hume, Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, and other lesser thinkers described a theory of spontaneously generated social order. Ronald Hamowy discusses their contributions to this significant area of social theory, noting (...) that the revolutionary aspect of these philosophers’ thoughts was “the proposition that social phenomena of a high degree of intricacy are not the product of intentional design.” Hamowy shows that Hume is best known for his application of the theory to justice, developing it most thoroughly in the _Treatise of Human Nature. _Adam Smith’s first treatment of it is in the _Theory of Moral Sentiment, _published before the significant _Wealth of Nations. _There Smith uses it to explain the development of general rules that compose the moral fabric of societies. All of these thinkers used their notion of spontaneously generated social order to explain systems of moral rules and social systems. In addition Adam Ferguson and David Hume applied the theory to language, as well as to economic development. (shrink)
Professor Narveson's comments about my papers on equality are both penetrating and comprehensive. I cannot hope to discuss all the issues he raises in any detail. But there is a special problem: his main question is about what I have not said. He asks how I might defend equality of resources other than simply by describing a version of it, and of course this question will require some extended discussion. But he is right to say that this is his most (...) important question, and I should hate to lose the opportunity of encouraging discussion of it. So I shall begin with some general remarks about the defence of the idea of equality and then take up, in a very hasty and summary way, the other problems he discusses or raises. Please allow me, however, this apology and caution. I know that what I shall say about the defense of equality is at many points dogmatic and at others unmindful of very natural objections and replies. I want to answer Narveson only by showing in a rough and general way how far I think a defense of equality is possible, what kind of defense this can be, and what form it should take. (shrink)
It has long been recognized that Soren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling is a cryptogram. Encoded within a series of reflections and commentaries on Genesis 22 is a deeper message directed at a reader or readers presumably capable of deciphering the hidden meaning. That this is true is suggested by the book's epigraph: ‘What Tarquinius Superbus said in the garden by means of the poppies, the son understood but the messenger did not.’.
This book explores aspects of William H. Poteat's philosophical anthropology, which proposes a post-critical alternative to the prevailing dualistic conception of the person and opens a path to recovery of the pre-reflective ontological ground of the person where our personhood can be recovered and re-appropriated.
This paper has a twofold structure: both parts concern philosophy's understanding of its data—in the area of aesthetics. The first part considers aesthetics as philosophy of art: the second part considers aesthetics as concerned also with the appreciation of nature.
In the second of his three prefaces to On Authority and Revelation , Kierkegaard writes: ‘“My reader”, may I simply beg you to read this book, for it is important for my main effort, wherefore I am minded to recommend it’ The question I will put to myself to begin my reflections on the book is: why should Kierkegaard recommend it so strongly? What is Kierkegaard doing in this book? One notices in his recommendation that it is addressed to his (...) reader who, presumably, is not simply the reader of this book but the reader of his other books as well. The Concluding UnscientUc Postscript was being published about the same time , and so the reader may well have been familiar with most of Kierkegaard's main philosophical works. The recommendation then is set in this context. The book is, on the face of it, so unlike the other works, concerned with certain odd claims to a revelation by a Danish pastor named Adler. Much of the book discusses the details of a deposition of Adler given to the local bishop and some details of later defences which Adler gave of his revelation in several works and sermons. It appears to be a local squabble of no general interest and certainly not the sort of thing that had occupied Kierkegaard's philosophical attention to this point. The book, then, stands in need of a recommendation to Kierkegaard's reader who is not otherwise prepared for this genre. But the recommendation does not say, ‘Try this, though quite different, you may like it.’ It says rather that the reader should read it, and later he adds read it carefully, because it is ‘important for my main effort’. So the book is to be seen as of a piece with the other main works of Kierkegaard. This is what I should like to understand in the following discussion: how is this book important for Kierkegaard's main effort? (shrink)
We read the roots of contemporary ecofeminism through the lens of feminist pragmatism. After indicating the general relation between ecofeminism and feminist pragmatism, we provide a detailed analysis of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s saga Herland and With Her in Ourland to document the strong connection between these two traditions. Gilman’s congruencies with ecofeminism make clear that she was a forerunner and perhaps a foundation for contemporary ecofeminism. However, further analyses are needed to reveal the full import of this link between ecofeminism (...) and “ecofeminist pragmatism,” as well as bridge the gap between ecofeminist pragmatism and ecopragmatism, including environmental pragmatism. (shrink)
This article contends that liberalism in America underwent a fundamental transformation during the Progressive Era. This transformation took place, partly, through the Progressives' reinterpretation of the doctrine of property rights that had served as a foundation for founding-era liberalism. Progressives rejected the eighteenth-century, natural-rights principles which had privileged individual rights to life, liberty, and property as the fundamental aims of any just government, and argued instead that America at the turn of the twentieth century was beset by a tyranny of (...) the minority which was employing property rights to inhibit genuine freedom for the bulk of the population. This article examines the character of founding-era liberalism and points to the connection between the political theory of the Declaration of Independence and John Locke's Second Treatise of Government. It then provides an account of the Progressive critique of this original version of American liberalism. The Progressive critique is shown to take two forms: a rejection of property rights in principle, followed by a rejection of them in practice. (shrink)
Many people assume that the claims of scientists are objective truths. But historians, sociologists, and philosophers of science have long argued that scientific claims reflect the particular historical, cultural, and social context in which those claims were made. The nature of scientific knowledge is not absolute because it is influenced by the practice and perspective of human agents. Scientific Perspectivism argues that the acts of observing and theorizing are both perspectival, and this nature makes scientific knowledge contingent, as Thomas Kuhn (...) theorized forty years ago. Using the example of color vision in humans to illustrate how his theory of “perspectivism” works, Ronald N. Giere argues that colors do not actually exist in objects; rather, color is the result of an interaction between aspects of the world and the human visual system. Giere extends this argument into a general interpretation of human perception and, more controversially, to scientific observation, conjecturing that the output of scientific instruments is perspectival. Furthermore, complex scientific principles—such as Maxwell’s equations describing the behavior of both the electric and magnetic fields—make no claims about the world, but models based on those principles can be used to make claims about specific aspects of the world. Offering a solution to the most contentious debate in the philosophy of science over the past thirty years, Scientific Perspectivism will be of interest to anyone involved in the study of science. (shrink)
In Dangerous Minds, Ronald Beiner traces the deeper philosophical roots of such far-right ideologues as Richard Spencer, Aleksandr Dugin, and Steve Bannon, to the writings of Nietzsche and Heidegger—and specifically to the aspects of their thought that express revulsion for the liberal-democratic view of life.
Baedeker -- Independence. Truth in morals -- External skepticism -- Morals and causes -- Internal skepticism -- Interpretation. Moral responsibility -- Interpretation in general -- Conceptual interpretation -- Ethics. Dignity -- Free will and responsibility -- Morality. From dignity to morality -- Aid -- Harm -- Obligations -- Politics. Political rights and concepts -- Equality -- Liberty -- Democracy -- Law -- Epilogue. Dignity indivisible.
Du sommaire: Ambiguite et comprehension du langage (Paul Bogaards, Johan Rooryck). - Why pluralities don't mean a thing (Crit Cremers). - Aspects of interlingual ambiguity: polyglot punning (Dirk Delabastita). - Les feux de Saint-Antoine (Sjef Houppermans). - The semantics of Dutch moeten 'must, should, have to' from a typological and a relevance-theoretical perspective (Theo Janssen). - L'ambiguite en langue et en discours (Catherine Kerbrat-Orecchioni).".
Debate over the nature of science has recently moved from the halls of academia into the public sphere, where it has taken shape as the "science wars." At issue is the question of whether scientific knowledge is objective and universal or socially mediated, whether scientific truths are independent of human values and beliefs. Ronald Giere is a philosopher of science who has been at the forefront of this debate from its inception, and Science without Laws offers a much-needed mediating (...) perspective on an increasingly volatile line of inquiry. Giere does not question the major findings of modern science: for example, that the universe is expanding or that inheritance is carried by DNA molecules with a double helical structure. But like many critics of modern science, he rejects the widespread notion of science--deriving ultimately from the Enlightenment--as a uniquely rational activity leading to the discovery of universal truths underlying all natural phenomena. In these highly readable essays, Giere argues that it is better to understand scientists as merely constructing more or less abstract models of limited aspects of the world. Such an understanding makes possible a resolution of the issues at stake in the science wars. The critics of science are seen to be correct in rejecting the Enlightenment idea of science, and its defenders are seen to be correct in insisting that science does produce genuine knowledge of the natural world. Giere is utterly persuasive in arguing that to criticize the Enlightenment ideal is not to criticize science itself, and that to defend science one need not defend the Enlightenment ideal. Science without Laws thus stakes out a middle ground in these debates by showing us how science can be better conceived in other ways. (shrink)
In this reprint of Law's Empire,Ronald Dworkin reflects on the nature of the law, its given authority, its application in democracy, the prominent role of interpretation in judgement, and the relations of lawmakers and lawgivers to the community on whose behalf they pronounce. For that community, Law's Empire provides a judicious and coherent introduction to the place of law in our lives.Previously Published by Harper Collins. Reprinted by Hart Publishing.
Aristotle's De Anima is the first systematic philosophical account of the soul, which serves to explain the functioning of all mortal living things. In his commentary, Ronald Polansky argues that the work is far more structured and systematic than previously supposed. He contends that Aristotle seeks a comprehensive understanding of the soul and its faculties. By closely tracing the unfolding of the many-layered argumentation and the way Aristotle fits his inquiry meticulously within his scheme of the sciences, Polansky answers (...) questions relating to the general definition of soul and the treatment of each of the soul's principal capacities: nutrition, sense perception, phantasia, intellect, and locomotion. The commentary sheds light on every section of the De Anima and the work as a unit. It offers a challenge to earlier and current interpretations of the relevance and meaning of Aristotle's highly influential treatise. (shrink)
In 1993, Professor of Jurisprudence, Ronald Dworkin of Oxford University and Professor of Law at New York University, delivered the Georgetown Law Center’s thirteenth Annual Philip A. Hart Memorial Lecture: "Life’s Dominion: An Argument About Abortion and Euthanasia." Dworkin is Professor of Philosophy and Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law at New York University. He received B.A. degrees from both Harvard College and Oxford University, and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School and clerked for Judge Learned Hand. He was (...) associated with a law firm in New York (Sullivan and Cromwell) and was a professor of law at Yale University Law School from 1962-1969. He has been Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford and Fellow of University College since 1969. He has a joint appointment at Oxford and at NYU where he is a professor both in the Law School and the Philosophy Department. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Dworkin is the author of many articles in philosophical and legal journals as well as articles on legal and political topics in the New York Review of Books. He has written Taking Rights Seriously (1977), A Matter of Principle (1985), Law’s Empire (1986), Philosophical Issues in Senile Dementia (1987), A Bill of Rights for Britain (1990), Life’s Dominion (1993), and Freedom’s Law (1996). (shrink)