The Skeptic’s Oakeshott poses the thesis that Michael Oakeshott’s political philosophy is best understood from the vantage point of his skepticism and his intellectual affinity to Hobbes. Margaret Thatcher based much of her political philosophy on Oakeshott’s theories, but Gerencser shows how she widely misinterpreted his work. He argues persuasively against those who understand Oakeshott in terms of the influence of British idealism. Instead, Gerencser argues that Oakeshott adopts and softens Hobbes' idea of consent as the basis of (...) political authority. By insisting that political authority has its source in acknowledgement and recognition, Oakeshott’s philosophy opens the doors to democratic politics. The book ends with persuasive criticisms of Oakeshott. (shrink)
Otávio Bueno* * and Steven French.** ** Applying Mathematics: Immersion, Inference, Interpretation. Oxford University Press, 2018. ISBN: 978-0-19-881504-4 978-0-19-185286-2. doi:10.1093/oso/9780198815044. 001.0001. Pp. xvii + 257.
The political and sociological project -- Knowledge and epistemology -- Agency -- Social structure -- Time, space, and historical sociology -- Modernity -- Rationality and reflexivity -- Politics and the third way -- An alternative sociology.
Kierkegaard’s Concepts is a comprehensive, multi-volume survey of the key concepts and categories that inform Kierkegaard’s writings. Each article is a substantial, original piece of scholarship, which discusses the etymology and lexical meaning of the relevant Danish term, traces the development of the concept over the course of the authorship, and explains how it functions in the wider context of Kierkegaard’s thought. Concepts have been selected on the basis of their importance for Kierkegaard’s contributions to philosophy, theology, the social sciences, (...) literature and aesthetics, thereby making this volume an ideal reference work for students and scholars in a wide range of disciplines. -/- Contents: Envy, Janne Kylliäinen; Epic, Nassim Bravo Jordán; Epigram, David R. Law; Ethics, Azucena Palavicini Sánchez; Evil, Azucena Palavicini Sánchez and William McDonald; Exception/Universal, Geoffrey Dargan; Existence/Existential, Min-Ho Lee; Experience, Jakub Marek; Fairytale, Nathaniel Kramer; Faith, William McDonald; Finitude/Infinity, Erik M. Hanson; Forgiveness, John Lippitt; Freedom, Diego Giordano; Genius, Steven M. Emmanuel; God, Paul Martens and Daniel Marrs; Good, Azucena Palavicini Sánchez; Governance/Providence, Jack Mulder, Jr.; Grace, Derek R. Nelson; Gratitude, Corey Benjamin Tutewiler; Guilt, Erik M. Hanson; Happiness, Benjamin Miguel Olivares Bøgeskov; Hero, Sean Anthony Turchin; History, Sean Anthony Turchin; Holy Spirit, Leo Stan; Hope, William McDonald; Humility, Robert B. Puchniak; Humor, Alejandro González; Hypocrisy, Thomas Martin Fauth Hansen; Identity/Difference, Claudine Davidshofer; Imagination, Frances Maughan-Brown; Imitation, Leo Stan; Immanence/Transcendence, Leo Stan; Immediacy/Reflection, Zizhen Liu; Immortality, Lee C. Barrett; Incognito, Martijn Boven. (shrink)
Humans possess great capacity for behavioral and cultural change, but our ability to manage change is still limited. This article has two major objectives: first, to sketch a basic science of intentional change centered on evolution; second, to provide examples of intentional behavioral and cultural change from the applied behavioral sciences, which are largely unknown to the basic sciences community.All species have evolved mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity that enable them to respond adaptively to their environments. Some mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity (...) count as evolutionary processes in their own right. The human capacity for symbolic thought provides an inheritance system having the same kind of combinatorial diversity as does genetic recombination and antibody formation. Taking these propositions seriously allows an integration of major traditions within the basic behavioral sciences, such as behaviorism, social constructivism, social psychology, cognitive psychology, and evolutionary psychology, which are often isolated and even conceptualized as opposed to one another.The applied behavioral sciences include well-validated examples of successfully managing behavioral and cultural change at scales ranging from individuals to small groups to large populations. However, these examples are largely unknown beyond their disciplinary boundaries, for lack of a unifying theoretical framework. Viewed from an evolutionary perspective, they are examples of managing evolved mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity, including open-ended processes of variation and selection.Once the many branches of the basic and applied behavioral sciences become conceptually unified, we are closer to a science of intentional change than one might think. (shrink)
Philosophy written in English is overwhelmingly analytic philosophy, and the techniques and predilections of analytic philosophy are not only unhistorical but anti-historical, and hostile to textual commentary. Analytic usually aspires to a very high degree of clarity and precision of formulation and argument, and it often seeks to be informed by, and consistent with, current natural science. In an earlier era, analytic philosophy aimed at agreement with ordinary linguistic intuitions or common sense beliefs, or both. All of these aspects of (...) the subject sit uneasily with the use of historical texts for philosophical illumination. In this book, ten distinguished philosophers explore the tensions between, and the possibilities of reconciling, analytic philosophy and history of philosophy. Contributors: M. R. Ayers, John Cottingham, Daniel Garber, Gary Hatfield, Anthony Kenny, Steven Nadler, G. A. J. Rogers, Tom Sorell, Catherine Wilson, Yves Charles Zarka. (shrink)
This paper addresses the question of whether a general method is capable of accommodating the vast array of contexts in which art objects are studied. I propose a framework for such a general method, which is, however, limited to a specific research task: reconstructing the circumstances under which a culturally and/or temporally distant or “exotic” art object becomes interesting (or menacing) to look at. The proposed framework is applied to evaluate Anthony Forge’s essays on the visual art of the (...) Abelam. The essays played a central role in the rekindling of anthropological interest in visual art, but they have also been subject to criticism for forcing on Abelam art Western categories that distort the role art objects play in the Abelam world. Assessing the corpus in terms of the proposed framework allows me to exemplify the main differences between a pragmatic and a semantic approach to gaining access to the efficacy of culturally or temporally distant art. (shrink)
The essays in this book - all of them published here for the first time - provide a long-overdue critical discussion of Jürgen Habermas's cascade of ideas. These are topped off by a freshet of original Habermas: in the final essay, he replies to the criticism developed in the preceding contributions and to other recent assessments of his work, provides an important clarification of his earlier views, and reveals the direction of his current thought.Each essay probes a particular theme in (...) Habermas's work, and each presents both an exposition and a critique. Among the subjects covered are Habermas's theory of knowledge-constitutive interests, his account of language and truth, his "overcoming" of hermeneutics, the concept of universal pragmatics, the orientation of his thought relative to the Marxist tradition, and his project of analyzing the crisis tendencies of capitalism within the context of evolutionary theory.The contributors are philosophers and social theorists of international standing, most of them affiliated with German, English, and American universities. They are Agnes Heller, Rudiger Bubner, Thomas McCarthy, Henning Ottmann, Mary Hesse, Steven Lukes, Anthony Giddens, Michael Schmid, Andrew Arato, and the editors. The editors have also contributed a substantial introduction outlining the central contours of Habermas's work and summarizing the main arguments of the essays.John B. Thompson is a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and David Held is Lecturer in Politics, University of York. (shrink)
Aggressive-sadistic personality disorder (SPD) involves derivation of pleasure from another's physical or emotional suffering, or from control and domination of others. Findings from a head-injured sample indicate that SPD traits are associated with neuropsychological deficits in executive function and language, suggesting difficulties in frontal-lobe-mediated self-regulation of aggressive and emotional impulses. Implications for rehabilitation of aggressive offenders are discussed.
continent. 2.2 (2012): 76–81 Comments on Eugene Thacker’s “Cosmic Pessimism” Nicola Masciandaro Anything you look forward to will destroy you, as it already has. —Vernon Howard In pessimism, the first axiom is a long, low, funereal sigh. The cosmicity of the sigh resides in its profound negative singularity. Moving via endless auto-releasement, it achieves the remote. “ Oltre la spera che piú larga gira / passa ’l sospiro ch’esce del mio core ” [Beyond the sphere that circles widest / penetrates (...) the sigh that issues from my heart]. 1 The axiomatic sigh of the pessimist is in a way the pure word of philosophy, a thought that thinks without you, speaks where you are not. The live pneumatic form of the soul’s eventual exit from the dead body’s mouth, the sigh restores consciousness to the funeral of being, to the passing away that is existence. Pessimism speaks in piercing aphorisms because first it sighs. “Beyond the sphere passeth the arrow of our sigh. Hafiz! Silence.” 2 … pessimism is guilty of that most inexcusable of Occidental crimes—the crime of not pretending it’s for real. To the pessimist, the ‘real’ world—the world on whose behalf we are expected to wake up in the morning—is a ceaseless index of its own unreality. The pessimist’s day is not an illumined space for the advancement of experience and action, but a permanently and inescapably reflective zone, the vast interior of a mirror where each thing is only insofar as it is, at best, a false image of itself. Within this speculative situation, inside the doubleness of the mirror, pessimism splits into two paths, false and true, one that tries to fix pessimism (establish a relation with the mirror) and decides in favor of the apparent real, and another that totally falls for pessimism (enters the mirror) and communes with the greater reality of the unreal. These two paths are distinguished by their relation to pessimism’s guilt vis-à-vis the world’s reality-project. The first form, that which remains pessimism for the world and puts on a smiling face, stays guilty to itself (i.e. unconscious) and thus turns hypocritical, becoming at once the pessimism of the commoner who really just wants things to be better for himself and the pessimism of the elite who wants to critically refashion reality in his own image. The general form of this worldly, hypocritical pessimism is the impulse to ‘make the world a better place’, which is the global mask under which the world is diurnally made worse. The second form, that which follows pessimism away from the world and ceases to put on a smiling face, refuses guiltiness as itself theessential Occidental mode of pretense and turns honest, becoming at once the intelligent pessimism required of all ordinary action and the radical pessimism necessary for self-knowledge: seeing that no one is capable of doing good. The general form of this universal, honest pessimism is the impulse not to worry, to give up and embrace dereliction, which is the only real way the world is actually improved. Where worldly pessimism is the engine productive of interminably warring secular and sacred religions (good-projects), universal pessimism strives hopelessly for the paradise of a supremely instantiated pessimus: things are getting so bad that there is no longer any time for them to get worse; things are so constantly-instantly worst that this is BEST. Cosmic pessimism is the mode of universal pessimism which can yet discourse with the world, which has not chosen silence and can spread the inconceivably BAD NEWS in an orderly form ( kosmos ) that the world can understand (if it wanted to). … the result of a confusion between the world and a statement about the world. That is what the world is (the result of a confusion between the world and a statement about the world). … a generalized misanthropy without the anthropos. Pessimism crystallizes around this futility—it is its amor fati , rendered as musical form. Pessimism’s love of fate is a blind love, a love of the blindness of being human in a cosmos conceived around the human’s eclipse, a heavy levitation in the contradictory space between the inescapability of its having been and the impossibility of its will-be. Pessimism’s song of futility is a sensible way of loving fate, with a minimum of eros, by means of a kind of matrimonial love of the fatal. As music, pessimism stays open to the irreparable and the inexorable without the binding of affirmation, in the apparent absence of the radical, infinitely surplus will that absolute amor fati seems to require. Crying, laughing, sleeping—what other responses are adequate to a life that is so indifferent? “Unless a man aspires to the impossible, the possible that he achieves will scarcely be worth the trouble of his achieving it. We should aspire to the impossible, to absolute and infinite perfection [….] The apocatastasis is more than a mystical dream: it is a norm of action, it is a beacon for high deeds [….] For true charity is a species of invasion [….] It is not charity to rock and lull our fellow men to sleep in the inertia and heaviness of matter, but rather to arouse them to anguish and torment of spirit.” 3 … the impossibility of ever adequately accounting for one’s relationship to thought. “The paroxysm of interior experience leads you to regions where danger is absolute, because life which self-consciously actualizes its roots in experience can only negate itself [….] There are no arguments [….] On the heights of despair, the passion for the absurd is the only thing that can still throw a demonic light on chaos [….] I live because the mountains do not laugh and the worms do not sing .” 4 It took three attempts before she was fully decapitated, all the while she continued, perhaps miraculously, to sing. According to the earliest account of Cecilia’s martyrdom, the beheading turns out worse. After not severing her head in three strokes, “the cruel executioner left her half dead” (seminecem eam cruentus carnifex dereliquit). 5 Cecilia’s effortlessly powerful endurance of the three strokes—a fitting icon for pessimism as an art of dereliction—demonstrates the “passivity and absence of effort [….] in which divine transcendence is dissolved.” 6 There’s a ghost that grows inside of me, damaged in the making, and there’s a hunt sprung from necessity, elliptical and drowned. Where the moving quiet of our insomnia offers up each thought, there’s a luminous field of grey inertia, and obsidian dreams burnt all the way down. Like words from a pre-waking dream. There is no reason to think that they are not. NOTES 1. Dante Alighieri. Vita Nuova . ed. and trans. Dino S. Cervigni and Edward Vasta. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. 1995. 41:10. 2. Hafiz of Shiraz. The Divan . trans. H. Wilberforce Clarke. London: Octagon Press. 1974. 10.9. 3. Miguel de Unamuno. The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and Nations . trans. Anthony Kerrigan. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1972. 305-6. 4. E.M. Cioran. On the Heights of Despair . trans. Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1992. 9-10. 5. Giacomo Laderchi. S. Caeciliae Virg[inis] et Mart[yris] Acta. . . Rome. 1723. 38. 6. Georges Bataille. On Nietzsche . trans. Bruce Boone. London: Continuum. 2004. 135. See Nicola Masciandaro. “ Half Dead: Parsing Cecilia .” A Commentary on Eugene Thacker’s "Cosmic Pessimism" Gary J. Shipley Pessimism is the refusal to seek distraction, the refusal to remodel failure into a platform for further (doomed) possibilities, the refusal of comfort, the acceptance of the sickness of healthy bodies, the cup of life overflowing with cold vomit. If, as Ligotti suggests when discussing Invasion of the Body Snatchers , 1 humans prefer the anxieties of their familiar human lives to the contentment of an alien one, then the pessimist, we could argue, represents some perverted combination of the two, preferring (presuming he has a choice) the defamiliarization of human life to the contentment of its unquestioned mundanity. The quasi-religious state of mind that Wittgenstein would mention on occasion, that of “feeling absolutely safe,” 2 is a state the pessimist could only imagine being approximated by death, or perhaps some annihilative opiate-induced stupor. This Wittgensteinian commingling of certainty and faith looks every bit the futile gesture, a mere rephrasing of collapse or partial collapse. The only certainty open to the pessimist is that of the toxic formula of life itself—a formula known and lacuna-free. Certainty, far from being the gateway to deliverance, becomes the definitive impediment; and the possibility of salvation, as long as it remains, becomes crucially reliant on postulations of ignorance, epistemic gaps, a perennial incompleteness: “the perfect safety of wooed death […] the warm bath of physical dissolution, the universal unknown engulfing the miniscule unknown.” 3 The height of Leibniz’s Panglossian insanity nurtured the idea that our knowing everything—via the universal calculus—could be accurately described a triumph, as opposed to a nightmare in which our every futility is laid bare. Stagnancy and boredom are perhaps two of the greatest ills of Western civilisation, and the most potent pessimism tells you that you’re stuck with both. The most we can hope for, by way of salvation, is to throw open our despair to the unknown. The fact that Schopenhauer’s pessimism stopped short of morality and allowed him to play the flute, as Nietzsche complained, highlights the predicament of a man who despite having adorned nothingness with a smiling face still found himself alive. The demand here is that it be felt: a cross-contamination of intellect and emotion. The safety net of numerous parentheses makes for a failed philosophy, rather than a philosophy of failure. Depressives make bad pessimists, because, unless they choose to die, living will always infect them with necessities of hope, forcing them to find something, anything (all the various “as ifs”) to make existence tolerable. For as Cioran observed, while “[d]epressions pay attention to life, they are the eyes of the devil, poisoned arrows which wound mortally any zest and love of life. Without them we know little, but with them, we cannot live.” 4 And even when cured of our depressions we’ll find ourselves consumed, eaten alive by the hyper-clinical (borderline autistic) mania that replaces them: a predicament captured all too clearly in the microscriptual fictions of Robert Walser, where spectral men and women stifle their depressive madness with protective comas of detail, their failed assimilations buried beneath thick crusts of remote data. Like Beckett’s Malone their stories may have ended, but cruelly their lives have not. Pessimism is an extraneous burden (a purposeless weight) that makes everything else harder to carry, while at the same time scooping it out and making it lighter. If pessimism had a sound it would be the harsh non-noise of tinnitus—the way that every person would hear themselves if they refused their distractions long enough to listen: a lungless scream from the extrasolar nothing of the self. The music of pessimism—if indeed we can imagine such a thing—is the reverberating echo of the world’s last sound, conjectured but never heard, audible only in its being listened for. The one consolation of this hollow paradox of audibility being, that “he will be least afraid of becoming nothing in death who has recognized that he is already nothing now.” 5 The pessimist suffers a derangement of the real, a labyrinthitis at the nucleus of his being: he’s the stumbling ghost relentlessly surprised that others can see him. If Cioran’s refusal is manifested in sleep (when even saying ‘no’ is too much of a commitment), then Pessoa’s resides in the dreams inside that sleep. Pessoa chooses to exploit the fact that he’s being “lived by some murmuring non-entity both shadowy and muddied” 6 by growing more voids to live him. His is a Gnostic breed of sleep, “sleeping as if the universe were a mistake,” 7 a sleep that dreams through Thacker’s cosmic pessimism (“a pessimism of the world-without-us.”, “the unhuman orientation of deep space and deep time” 8 ), through the critical error of there being anything at all when there could be nothing. The metaphysical pessimist is someone who, however well life treats them, still desires to wake from it, as from the poisonous air of a bad dream. Pessimism is a paradox of age, being simultaneously young and old; its youth residing in a refusal to accept the authority of existence (its rich history, its inherent beneficence), a refusal to “get over” the horror of what it sees with its perpetually fresh eyes, and its maturity in the unceremonious disposal of the philosophical playthings (those futile architectures) of adolescence. As Thacker remarks: “Pessimism abjures all pretenses towards system—towards the purity of analysis and the dignity of critique.” 9 A sentiment shared with Pessoa, who duly categorizes those that choose to enact this futile struggle: “The creators of metaphysical systems and of psychological explanations are still in the primary stage of suffering.” 10 If the pessimist has shared a womb with anyone, it’s with the mystic and not the philosopher. As Schopenhauer tells us: “The mystic is opposed to the philosopher by the fact that he begins from within, whereas the philosopher begins from without. […] But nothing of this is communicable except the assertions that we have to accept on his word; consequently he is unable to convince.” 11 The crucial difference between the mystic and the pessimist is not the latter’s impassivity and defeatism, but his unwillingness/inability to contain in any way the spread of his voracious analyticity, his denial of incompleteness, his exhaustive devotion to failure. The truth of our predicament, though heard, is destined to remain unprocessed. Like the revelations of B.S. Johnson’s Haakon (“We rot and there’s nothing that can stop it / Can’t you feel the shaking horror of that?” 12 ) the pessimist’s truths are somehow too obvious to listen to, as if something inside us were saying, “Of course, but haven’t we gotten over that?” Pessimism is simple and ugly, and has no desire to make itself more complex or more attractive. The true moral pessimist knows that the Utilitarian’s accounts will always be in the red. He can see that for all his computational containments, his only honest path is a negative one, and that such a path has but one logical destination: that of wholesale human oblivion. Thacker notes how at the core of pessimism lies the notion of “the worst,” through which death is demoted by the all-pervasive suffering of a life that easily eclipses its threat. And so with doom made preferable to gloom, death begins to glint with promise, “like beauty passing through a nightmare.” 13 But even among pessimists suicide is, for the most part, thought to be an error. Schopenhauer, for instance, regarded suicide a mistake grounded in some fundamentally naïve disappointment or other. Pessoa too thought suicide an onerous escape tactic: “To die is to become completely other. That’s why suicide is a cowardice: it’s to surrender ourselves completely to life.” 14 There is a call here to be accepting of and creative with the puppetry of your being, an insistence that it’s somehow a blunder to attempt to hide in death from the horrors you find inlife. 15 Tied up with this perseverance is the slippery notion of the good death, for maybe, as Blanchot warns, suicide is rarely something we can hope to get right, for the simple reason that “you cannot make of death an object of the will.” 16 “Even in cases where the entire corpus of an author is pessimistic, the project always seems incomplete,” 17 and this is not simply because the project itself belies something yet to be disclosed, but because the project itself is a thing waiting. It waits on a cure it knows will not come, but for which it cannot do anything (as long as it continues to do anything) but wait. NOTES 1. See Thomas Ligotti. The Conspiracy Against the Human Race . New York: Hippocampus Press. 2010. 91. 2. Ludwig Wittgenstein. “A Lecture on Ethics.” Philosophical Review . (74) 1. 1965. 8. 3. Vladimir Nabokov. Pale Fire . New York: Vintage. 1989. 221. 4. E. M. Cioran. The Book of Delusions . trans. Camelia Elias. Hyperion. 5.1. (2010): 75. 5. Arthur Schopenhauer. The World as Will and Representation. vol. 2 . trans. E .F J. Payne. New York: Dover. 1966. 609. 6. Eugene Thacker. “Cosmic Pessimism.” continent. . 2.2 (2012): 67. 7. Fernando Pessoa. The Book of Disquiet . trans. Richard Zenith. London: Penguin. 2002. 35. 8. Eugene Thacker. “Cosmic Pessimism.” continent. . 2.2 (2012): 68. 9. Ibid. 73. 10. Fernando Pessoa. The Book of Disquiet . trans. Richard Zenith. London: Penguin. 2002. 341. 11. Arthur Schopenhauer. The World as Will and Representation. vol. 2 . trans. E .F J. Payne. New York: Dover. 1966. 610-11. 12. B.S Johnson. “You’re Human Like the Rest of Them.” in Jonathan Coe. Like a Fiery Elephant: The Story of B.S. Johnson . London: Picador. 2004. 177. 13. Fernando Pessoa. The Book of Disquiet . trans. Richard Zenith. London: Penguin. 2002. 415. 14. Ibid. 199. 15. “Suicide is, after all, the opposite of the poem.” Anne Sexton. No Evil Star: Selected Essays, Interviews and Prose . ed. Steven Gould Axelrod. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 1985. 92. 16. Maurice Blanchot. The Space of Literature . trans. Ann Smock. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 1989. 105. 17. Eugene Thacker. “Cosmic Pessimism.” continent. . 2.2 (2012): 75. (shrink)
Kwame Anthony Appiah has devoted much scholarly work to exploring the problems surrounding racial and cultural identities in the USA. He defends the position that such identities need not be centrally significant in the psyche of the subject, and that black demands for blacks to be recognised as having a black (race) identity, is symptomatic of black racism. Like other racisms, black racism has a tendency to go imperial, affecting the autonomy of the individual to decide which identity constructs (...) she is willing to endorse as her own. Appiah believes that free association, as the locus of social solidarities and the formation of individual and social identities, should be upheld as a counterweight to the imperialism of racisms in the USA. He believes, furthermore, that the cosmopolitan state best caters for free associations of this kind. In this article I offer a comprehensive view of Appiah's support for cosmopolitanism as the best answer to the problems of identity which race and culture generate in multicultural USA. (shrink)
“This book will certainly prove to be a useful resource and reference point … a good addition to anyone’s bookshelf.” Network "This is a superb collection, expertly presented. The overall conception seems splendid, giving an excellent sense of the issues... The selection and length of the readings is admirably judged, with both the classic texts and the few unpublished pieces making just the right points." William Outhwaite, Professor of Sociology, University of Sussex "... an indispensable book for all of us (...) in philosophy and the social sciences who teach and care about the shape of social knowledge in the future." Steven Seidman, Professor of Sociology, State University of New York Albany "For a comprehensive account of the ways in which world transformations affect claims to social scientific knowledge, one need look no further than Gerard Delanty and Piet Strydom's Philosophies of Social Science . ...this collection captures nicely the increasingly engaged political nature of the philosophy of social science. Debates about pragmatism, feminism and postmodernism are particularly well represented" The Australian What is social science? How does it differ from the other sciences? What is the meaning of method in social science? What is the nature and limits of scientific knowledge? This collection of over sixty extracts from classic works on the philosophy of social science provides an essential textbook and a landmark reference in the field. It highlights the work of some of the most influential authors who have shaped social science. The texts explore the question of truth, the meaning of scientific knowledge, the nature of methodology and the relation of science to society, including edited extracts from both classic and contemporary works by authors such as Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, Max Weber, Alfred Schutz, Max Horkheimer, Jurgen Habermas, Alvin Gouldner, Karl-Otto Apel, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Anthony Giddens, Dorothy Smith, Donna Haraway, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Derrida and Claude Levi-Strauss. The readings are representative of the major schools of thought, including European and American trends in particular as well as approaches that are often excluded from mainstream traditions. From a teaching and learning perspective the volume is strengthened by extensive introductions to each of the six sections, as well as a general introduction to the reader as a whole. These introductions contextualise the readings and offer succinct summaries of them. This volume is the definitive companion to the study of the philosophy of social science, taught within undergraduate or postgraduate courses in sociology and the social sciences. (shrink)
Anthony Collins (1676-1729) maintains that consciousness might be a material process or result from material processes. On the one hand, Collins accepts Locke’s view that from consciousness, i.e., the activity of thinking, we acquire no knowledge about the nature of the thinking substance. On the other, he takes seriously Samuel Clarke’s challenge that the thinking substance must be suitably unified because consciousness is unified. In this paper, I argue that, throughout his correspondence with Clarke, Collins maintains that consciousness signifies (...) actual thinking and does not refer to the capacity of thinking. His main materialist thesis is that the powers of parts of material systems can bring about unified powers and that the power of thinking may be such a power. Collins attempts to satisfy the unity requirement by arguing that a unity correspondence can obtain between consciousness and the power of thinking that is realized in a material composite. (shrink)
It is not without a certain emotion that one opens this book devoted to the memory of a great scholar of medieval thought who worked and lived in the certainty that there cannot be a conflict between the Christian faith and science. In a significant essay, Benedict M. Ashley defends the idea of the philosophy of nature as continuous or identical with natural science. Ashley does allow, however, for so many divergences between philosophy of nature and natural science due to (...) later developments in science that this identification must be qualified. Steven E. Baldner points out some of the contradictions of Hartshorne's atomism: Hartshorne denies change and real causality. Anthony J. Celano recalls that Robert Kilwardby was very much aware that happiness as described by Aristotle is quite different from the beatitude promised by the Christian faith. The order of the divine entitative attributes in the Summa theologiae I, qq. 3-11 has baffled many a commentator. Lawrence Dewan connects it with some texts of Aristotle's Metaphysics. Jeremiah Hackett studies Roger Bacon's Moralis philosophia. Dealing with Luther's attitude toward St. Thomas, Denis R. Tanz accepts Erasmus's verdict that the weight given to Thomas in theology was an important factor in propelling Luther out of the Roman Catholic orbit. This opinion, however, confounds appearances with the real reason for leaving, namely, estrangement from several central positions of Catholic doctrine. It is a tribute to the Catholicity of Thomas that after 1519 Luther came to identify the Pope, the Church and all scholastic doctors with the Thomists and said that the Church had become the synagogue of the papists and the Thomists: Thomas had been made the arbiter of heresy. Mark F. Johnson stresses the sapiential character of the sacra doctrina. Mark D. Jordan wrestles with the question why Thomas wrote his Aristotelian commentaries. Arguing in the line of Owens's interpretation he reduces their importance with regard to Thomas's own positions. Jordan seems to think that Thomas's philosophy cannot be formulated without his theology, an explanation which is hardly satisfactory. Armand Maurer submits some reflections on St. Thomas's notion of presence. The question to what extent Albert the Great contributed to Aquinas's treatises of the morality of human acts and of natural law is examined by Ernest J. McCullough. Walter H. Principe points out how, according to Aquinas, food is assimilated into the veritas humanae naturae. Eric A. Reitan retraces Weisheipl's analysis of Aristotle's Physics and of St. Thomas' Commentary: the axiom, "whatever is moved, is moved by another" can be understood only within the context of the general science of nature. In his Liber de causis et processu universitatis Albert came to hold the same position as Thomas on the demonstrability of creation and of its beginning in time. Two final articles concern the difficulties underlying Aristotle's arguments in Physics 7 and 8, and Aquinas and Newton on causality: William Wallace connects Newton's universal gravitation with the axiom that nothing acts on itself. (shrink)
In the present article I examine the influence of Grotius's works on English republican literature by focusing on the writings of Anthony Ascham. Ascham's interpretation of Grotius is set in the context of the multifaceted uses of the Dutch lawyer's works in the 1640s and in early 1650s, comparing it to Marchamont Nedham's use of Grotius in support of the republican regime. In order to explain the purposes behind Ascham's and Nedham's deployment of Grotian language, I seek to connect (...) them with the politics of propaganda carried on by political groupings within the Parliament between 1648 and 1650. Finally, by pointing to Ascham's use of Grotius, some considerations follow concerning Anglo-Dutch republicanism in mid-seventeenth century. (shrink)
According to Steven Weinberg, it is the goal of elementary particle physics to search for the final laws of physics, i.e. a simple set of principles from which everything we know about physics can be derived. The main criterion that guides the search for such a set of principles is, according to the author, the sense of inevitability of physical theories, which Weinberg conflates with the idea of beauty. The theoretical physicists’ task is, in this sense, to look for (...) constraining principles, such as symmetries and renormalizability, that increase the sense of inevitability of physical laws. It is the goal of this paper to discuss Weinberg’s arguments in favor of reductionism, as well as his conception of final theory and the associated concept of “inevitability.”. (shrink)