Theism and its cousins, atheism and agnosticism, are seldom taken to task for logical-epistemological incoherence. This paper provides a condensed proof that not only theism, but atheism and agnosticism as well, are all of them conceptually self-undermining, and for the same reason: All attempt to make use of the concept of “transcendent reality,” which here is shown not only to lack meaning, but to preclude the very possibility of meaning. In doing this, the incoherence of theism, atheism, and agnosticism is (...) secondary to the more general incoherence of any attempts to refer to so-called “transcendent realities.” -/- A recognition of the conceptually fundamental incoherence of theism, atheism, and agnosticism compels our rational assent to a position the author names “paratheism.”. (shrink)
The monograph’s twofold purpose is to recognize epistemological intelligence as a distinguishable variety of human intelligence, one that is especially important to philosophers, and to understand the challenges posed by the psychological profile of philosophers that can impede the development and cultivation of the skills associated with epistemological intelligence.
THE CASE FOR GOVERNMENT BY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Tired of election madness? The rhetoric of politicians? Their unreliable promises? And less than good government? -/- Until recently, it hasn’t been hard for people to give up control to computers. Not very many people miss the effort and time required to do calculations by hand, to keep track of their finances, or to complete their tax returns manually. But relinquishing direct human control to self-driving cars is expected to be more of a (...) challenge, despite the predicted decrease in vehicle accidents thanks to artificial intelligence that isn’t subject to human distractions and errors of judgment. -/- If turning vehicle control over to artificial intelligence is a challenge, it is a very mild one compared with the idea that we might one day recognize and want to implement the advantages of human government by AI. But, like autonomous vehicle control, government by AI is likely to offer decided benefits. -/- In other publications, the author has studied a variety of widespread human limitations that, throughout human history, have led to much human suffering as well as ecological destruction. For the first time, these psychological and cognitive human shortcomings are taken into account in an essay that makes the case for government by artificial intelligence. (shrink)
For more than fifty years, taxonomists have proposed numerous alternative definitions of species while they searched for a unique, comprehensive, and persuasive definition. This monograph shows that these efforts have been unnecessary, and indeed have provably been a pursuit of a will o’ the wisp because they have failed to recognize the theoretical impossibility of what they seek to accomplish. A clear and rigorous understanding of the logic underlying species definition leads both to a recognition of the inescapable ambiguity that (...) affects the definition of species, and to a framework-relative approach to species definition that is logically compelling, i.e., cannot not be accepted without inconsistency. An appendix reflects upon the conclusions reached, applying them in an intellectually whimsical taxonomic thought experiment that conjectures the possibility of an emerging new human species. (shrink)
A short paper presented before the Fellows of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions during the academic year 1969-70, with an Introductory Note written nearly 50 years later. The paper describes the author's enduring personal philosophical precept; it is also an implicit encomium to individuals whose psychology establishes a dependable bridge between their rational convictions and their conduct.
A combined psychological-epistemological study of the blocks that stand in the way of the human recognition of the sentience and legal rights of non-human animals. Originally published in the Lewis and Clark law journal, Animal Law, and subsequently translated into German and into Portuguese.
When taken as a serious and dispassionate object of study from the standpoint of the science of pathology, the human species is easily recognized as a global pathogen. Incontrovertible evidence on all sides tells us this, and yet we have steadfastly avoided an honest look in the mirror. We so often choose—willfully and with strong convictions sustained by homocentric prejudice—to hide the facts from ourselves, and to proceed with untroubled ignorance to overlook the worldwide human and natural devastation for which (...) our species is responsible. (shrink)
Hundreds of evaluative studies of psychotherapy still leave the issue of its effectiveness unsettled. The author argues that such studies have ignored the major determinant of therapeutic effectiveness, the role of a patient’s belief in the successful outcome in therapy. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, one of the foremost critics of psychiatry, wrote of this paper: "It is one of the best, if not the best, that I have read on this subject.” It makes little sense to claim that a certain therapy (...) is effective or ineffective in itself; rather, there is a relation of mutual interaction among three terms: a patient’s ability to learn in a psychological context, a therapist’s ability to teach, and the capacity of an approach to therapy to engender in the patient the necessary belief in its effectiveness. -/- The paper is followed by a 4-page 2014 Afterword. (shrink)
The paper begins by acknowledging that weakened systematic precision in phenomenology has made its application in philosophy of science obscure and ineffective. The defining aspirations of early transcendental phenomenology are, however, believed to be important ones. A path is therefore explored that attempts to show how certain recent developments in the logic of self-reference fulfill in a clear and more rigorous fashion in the context of philosophy of science certain of the early hopes of phenomenologists. The resulting dual approach is (...) applied to several problems in the philosophy of science: on the one hand, to proposed rejections of scientific objectivity, to the doctrine of radical meaning variance, and to the Quine-Duhem thesis, and or. the other, to an analysis of hidden variable theory in quantum mechanics. (shrink)
This is one of several papers by the author that seek to throw light on the psychology of philosophers. In this paper, certain of the defining properties of clinical narcissism are discussed in their application to the ideological position-taking character of many philosophers and the philosophies they propound.
This paper sought to state in a concise and comparatively informal, unsystematic, and more accessible form the more technical approach the author developed during a research fellowship in 1974-75 at the Max-Planck-Institut in Starnberg, Germany. The ideas presented in this paper are more fully developed in later publications by the author which are listed in the two-page addendum to this paper.
From the Editor’s Introduction: -/- THE INTERNAL LIMITATIONS OF HUMAN UNDERSTANDING -/- We carry, unavoidably, the limits of our understanding with us. We are perpetually confined within the horizons of our conceptual structure. When this structure grows or expands, the breadth of our comprehensions enlarges, but we are forever barred from the wished-for glimpse beyond its boundaries, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much credence we invest in the substance of our learning and mist of speculation. -/- (...) The limitations in view here are not due to the mere finitude of our understanding of ourselves and of the world in which we live. They are limitations that come automatically and necessarily with any form of understanding. They are, as we shall see, part and parcel of any organization or ordering of data that we call information. -/- The consequences of these limitations are varied: As a result of them, hermeneutics cannot help but be hermetic; scientific theories of necessity are circumscribed by the boundaries of the ideas that define them; formal systems must choose between consistency and comprehensiveness; philosophical study, because it includes itself within its own proper subject matter, is forced to be reflexive in its self-enclosure. The fundamental dynamic shared by all forms of understanding testifies to an internal limitative keystone. (shrink)
This paper describes a logically compelling criterion of meaning — that is, a necessary condition of meaning, one which is non-arbitrary and compelling. One cannot _not_ accept the proposed criterion without self-referential inconsistency. This “metalogical” variety of self-referential inconsistency is new, opening a third category beyond semantical and pragmatical forms of self-referential inconsistency. -/- It is argued that such a criterion of meaning can serve as an instrument of internal criticism for any theoretical framework that permits reference to a class (...) of objects. The paper combines the concern of the logical empiricists to formulate a rigorous meaning criterion, with the analytical interest in identifying and eliminating self-defeating statements through an analysis of the referential structure of theories. -/- The paper is followed by a list of other publications by the author that further develop and extend the ideas presented here. (shrink)
From the Editor’s Introduction: "The Internal Limitations of Human Understanding." We carry, unavoidably, the limits of our understanding with us. We are perpetually confined within the horizons of our conceptual structure. When this structure grows or expands, the breadth of our comprehensions enlarges, but we are forever barred from the wished-for glimpse beyond its boundaries, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much credence we invest in the substance of our learning and mist of speculation. -/- The limitations (...) in view here are not due to the mere finitude of our understanding of ourselves and of the world in which we live. They are limitations that come automatically and necessarily with any form of understanding. They are, as we shall see, part and parcel of any organization or ordering of data that we call information. -/- The consequences of these limitations are varied: As a result of them, hermeneutics cannot help but be hermetic; scientific theories of necessity are circumscribed by the boundaries of the ideas that define them; formal systems must choose between consistency and comprehensiveness; philosophical study, because it includes itself within its own proper subject matter, is forced to be reflexive in its self-enclosure. The fundamental dynamic shared by all forms of understanding testifies to an internal limitative keystone. (shrink)
A combined psychological-epistemological study of the human blocks that stand in the way of the recognition of the sentience and legal rights of non-human animals. This is a German translation of the original paper, "Roots of Human Resistance to Animal Rights: Psychological and Conceptual Blocks," published by the Lewis and Clark law journal, Animal Rights, in 2002.
A combined psychological-epistemological study of the human blocks that stand in the way of the recognition of non-human animal sentience and legal rights. This is a Portuguese translation of the author's paper, "Roots of Human Resistance to Animal Rights: Psychological and Conceptual Blcoks," originally published in the Lewis and Clark law review, Animal Righs, in 2002. The Portuguese version was presented in conjunction with the International Congress on Animal Rights, Salvador, Brazil, Oct. 8-11, 2008, and published in the Revista Brasileira (...) de Direito Animal. (shrink)
[A Polish translation of Steven James Bartlett, “Phenomenology of the Implicit,” Dialectica: Revue international de philosophie de la connaissance, Vol. 29, Nos. 2-3, 1975, pp. 173-188.] -/- This paper marks a juncture between the author’s studies in phenomenology and the transition he made to a study of what he has called a “metalogic of reference.” Published in 1974 in Polish translation, followed by its publication in English in 1975, “Phenomenology of the Implicit” describes the author’s “translation schema” that permits certain (...) of the central goals of Husserlian transcendental philosophy to be transposed to a framework that studies the preconditions of valid reference. The result of this translation was the development of the author’s “de-projective” approach to phenomenology, which he later dissociated from phenomenology in the form of a pure metalogic of reference. (shrink)
A RELATIVISTIC THEORY OF PHENOMENOLOCICAL CONSTITUTION: A SELF-REFERENTIAL, TRANSCENDENTAL APPROACH TO CONCEPTUAL PATHOLOGY. (Vol. I: French; Vol. II: English) -/- Steven James Bartlett -/- Doctoral dissertation director: Paul Ricoeur, Université de Paris Other doctoral committee members: Jean Ladrière and Alphonse de Waehlens, Université Catholique de Louvain Defended publically at the Université Catholique de Louvain, January, 1971. -/- Universite de Paris X (France), 1971. 797pp. -/- The principal objective of the work is to construct an analytically precise methodology which can serve (...) to identify, eliminate, and avoid a certain widespread _conceptual fault_ or _misconstruction_, called a "projective misconstruction" or "projection" by the author. It is argued that this variety of error in our thinking (i) infects a great number of our everyday, scientific, and philosophical concepts, claims, and theories, (ii) has largely been undetected, and (iii), when remedied, leads to a less controversial and more rigorous elucidation of the transcendental preconditions of human knowledge than has traditionally been possible. The dissertation identifies, perhaps for the first time, a _projective_ variety of self-referential inconsistency, and proposes an innovative, self-reflexive approach to transcendental argument in a logical and phenomenological context. The strength of the approach lies, it is claimed, in the fact that a rejection of the approach is possible only on pain of self-referential inconsistency. The argument is developed in the following stages: A general introduction identifies the central theme of the work, defines the scope of applicability of the results reached, and sketches the direction of the studies that follow. The preliminary discussion culminates in a recognition of the need for a _critique of impure reason_. The body of the work is divided into two parts: Section I seeks to develop a methodology, on a purely formal basis, which is, on the one hand, capable of being used to study the transcendental foundations of the special sciences, including its own proper transcendental foundation. On the other hand, the methodology proposed is intended as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool for dealing with _projective_ uses of concepts. The approach initiates an analysis of concepts from a perspective which views _knowledge as coordination_. Section I describes formal structures that possess the status of preconditions in such a coordinative account of knowledge. Special attention is given to the preconditions of _identifying reference_ to logical particulars. The first section attempts, then, to provide a self-referential, transcendental methodology which is essentially revisionary in that it is motivated by a concern for conceptual error-elimination. Phenomenology, considered in its unique capacity as a self-referential, transcendental discipline, is of special relevance to the study. Section II accordingly examines a group of concepts which come into question in connection with the central theme of _phenomenological constitution_. The "_de-projective methodology_" developed in Section I is applied to these concepts that have a foundational importance in transcendental phenomenology. A translation is, in effect, proposed from the language of consciousness to a language in which preconditions of referring are investigated. The result achieved is the elimination of self-defeating, projective concepts from a rigorous, phenomenological study of the constitutive foundations of science. The dissertation was presented in a two volume, double-language format for the convenience of French and English researchers. Each volume contains an analytical index. (shrink)
This paper marks a juncture between the author’s studies in phenomenology and the transition he made to a study of what he has called a “metalogic of reference.” Published in 1974 in Polish translation, followed by its publication in English in 1975, “Phenomenology of the Implicit” describes the author’s “translation schema” that permits certain of the central goals of Husserlian transcendental philosophy to be transposed to a framework that studies the preconditions of valid reference. The result of this translation was (...) the development of the author’s “de-projective” approach to phenomenology, which he later dissociated from phenomenology in the form of a pure metalogic of reference. -/- The paper examines the phenomenological understanding of pre‐reflective awareness, of reflection, and of their interrelation. To this end, attention is paid to preconditions of reference that are entailed by the phenomenological distinction between implicit experience and explicit reflection. (shrink)