Guthrie contends that religion can best be understood as systematic anthropomorphism - the attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman things and events. Religion, he says, consists of seeing the world as human like. He offers a fascinating array of examples to show how this strategy pervades secular life and how it characterizes religious experience.
Religion is universal human culture. No phenomenon is more widely shared or more intensely studied, yet there is no agreement on what religion is. Now, in Faces in the Clouds, anthropologist StewartGuthrie provides a provocative definition of religion in a bold and persuasive new theory. Guthrie says religion can best be understood as systematic anthropomorphism--that is, the attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman things and events. Many writers see anthropomorphism as common or even universal in religion, (...) but few think it is central. To Guthrie, however, it is fundamental. Religion, he writes, consists of seeing the world as humanlike. As Guthrie shows, people find a wide range of humanlike beings plausible: Gods, spirits, abominable snowmen, HAL the computer, Chiquita Banana. We find messages in random events such as earthquakes, weather, and traffic accidents. We say a fire "rages," a storm "wreaks vengeance," and waters "lie still." Guthrie says that our tendency to find human characteristics in the nonhuman world stems from a deep-seated perceptual strategy: in the face of pervasive uncertainty about what we see, we bet on the most meaningful interpretation we can. If we are in the woods and see a dark shape that might be a bear or a boulder, for example, it is good policy to think it is a bear. If we are mistaken, we lose little, and if we are right, we gain much. So, Guthrie writes, in scanning the world we always look for what most concerns us--livings things, and especially, human ones. Even animals watch for human attributes, as when birds avoid scarecrows. In short, we all follow the principle--better safe than sorry. Marshalling a wealth of evidence from anthropology, cognitive science, philosophy, theology, advertising, literature, art, and animal behavior, Guthrie offers a fascinating array of examples to show how this perceptual strategy pervades secular life and how it characterizes religious experience. Challenging the very foundations of religion, Faces in the Clouds forces us to take a new look at this fundamental element of human life. (shrink)
Houston Stewart Chamberlain, the „Evangelist of Racism“, had a major influence on German Emperor Wilhelm II, especially in forming his nationalistic and anti-Semitic views. The monarch and the author developed a mutual understanding and appreciation that lasted over 25 years. This article illuminates the circumstances of their initial acquaintance through the edition and analysis of two documents which were two hitherto unpublished documents: Chamberlain's diary for the dates 28.–31. 10. 1901 and a letter to his aunt Anne Guthrie (...) of 11. 11. 1901. Both documents are compared to other known reports of this meeting. Chamberlain accepted Wilhelm's invitation to Germany where they met in Liebenberg in 1901 in a circle of select members of the German aristocracy. Their first contact is reconstructed here showing the extent to which Wilhelm's thoughts coincided with those of Chamberlain. The author concludes that the meeting with Chamberlain in 1901 was most decisive in the development of Wilhelm's own thinking and had serious consequences for the later course of historical events. In addition, this first meeting is particularly interesting because of the participation of Adolf Harnack who was at that time very close to the Emperor and also corresponded with Chamberlain. The differences in character and views between Chamberlain, Wilhelm and Harnack also surfaced during this memorable meeting. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine the relationship between social cognition and religious cognition. Many cognitive theories of religion claim that these two forms are somehow related, but the details are usually left unexplored and insights from theories of social cognition are not taken on board. I discuss the three main (groups of) theories of social cognition, namely the theory-theory, the simulation theory and enactivist theories. Secondly, I explore how these theories can help to enrich a number of cognitive theories of (...) religion. The theories I discuss are StewartGuthrie’s anthropomorphism, Justin Barrett’s hyperactive agency detection device, Jesse Bering’s existential theory of mind, Pascal Boyer’s minds with full strategic access and Tanya Luhrmann’s porous theory of mind. Finally, I look at how enrichment with insights from social cognition can help to combine different existing theories of religious cognition into a unified framework. (shrink)
After a brief account of the problem of higher-order vagueness, and its seeming intractability, I explore what comes of the issue on a linguistic, contextualist account of vagueness. On the view in question, predicates like ‘borderline red’ and ‘determinately red’ are, or at least can be, vague, but they are different in kind from ‘red’. In particular, ‘borderline red’ and ‘determinately red’ are not colours. These predicates have linguistic components, and invoke notions like ‘competent user of the language’. On my (...) view, so-called ‘higher-order vagueness’ is actually ordinary, ﬁrst-order vagueness in different predicates. I explore the possibility that, nevertheless, a pernicious regress ensues. (shrink)
My argument will be that our understanding of human beings, which is what I take the Christian doctrine of man to be concerned with, will benefit considerably from an examination of two different but related clusters of human attitudes which can be found respectively under the headings ‘optimism’ and ‘pessimism’. There are many pitfalls in the way of such an enterprise, and occasionally some prejudices to be overcome. For example L. E. Loemker in the relevant articles in the Encyclopedia of (...) Philosophy concludes a fairly lengthy discussion with the rather terminal judgement. (shrink)
In the last ten years or so there has been some lively discussion of the questions of immortality and resurrection. Within the Christian tradition there has been debate at theological and exegetical level over the relative merits of belief in the immortality of the soul, and belief in the resurrection of the dead as an account of life after death. Further to this, however, there has been the suggestion that there may be good philosophical reasons for preferring the latter to (...) the former. It is just this contention which I propose to discuss. (shrink)
The title of this paper proclaims its central interest—the relationship which holds between the concept of integrity and the concept of the identity of the self, or, for short, self-identity. Unreflective speech often suggests a close relationship between the two, but in the latter half of this century, notwithstanding one or two notable exceptions, they have been discussed with minimum cross-reference as if they belonged to two rather different philosophical menus which tended not to be available at the same restaurant (...) on the same night. My intention is to argue that our account of the one carried implications for the other and that this relationship is reflexive. My argument will proceed by stating and criticizing a common account of the relationship between each of these concepts which tends to offer mutual support for the implied account of each. Thereafter an alternative account will be outlined. (shrink)
In this article I shall concern myself with the question ‘Is some type of justification required in order for belief in God to be rational?’ Many philosophers and theologians in the past would have responded affirmatively to this question. However, in our own day, there are those who maintain that natural theology in any form is not necessary. This is because of the rise of a different understanding of the nature of religious belief. Unlike what most people in the past (...) thought, religious belief is not in any sense arrived at or inferred on the basis of other known propositions. On the contrary, belief in God is taken to be as basic as a person's belief in the existence of himself, of the chair in which he is sitting, or the past. The old view that there must be a justification of religious belief, whether known or unknown, is held to be mistaken. One of the most outspoken advocates of this view is Alvin Plantinga. According to Plantinga the mature theist ought not to accept belief in God as a conclusion from other things he believes. Rather, he should accept it as basic, as a part of the bedrock of his noetic structure. ‘The mature theist commits himself to belief in God; this means that he accepts belief in God as basic.’. (shrink)
Do numbers, sets, and so forth, exist? What do mathematical statements mean? Are they literally true or false, or do they lack truth values altogether? Addressing questions that have attracted lively debate in recent years, Stewart Shapiro contends that standard realist and antirealist accounts of mathematics are both problematic. As Benacerraf first noted, we are confronted with the following powerful dilemma. The desired continuity between mathematical and, say, scientific language suggests realism, but realism in this context suggests seemingly intractable (...) epistemic problems. As a way out of this dilemma, Shapiro articulates a structuralist approach. On this view, the subject matter of arithmetic, for example, is not a fixed domain of numbers independent of each other, but rather is the natural number structure, the pattern common to any system of objects that has an initial object and successor relation satisfying the induction principle. Using this framework, realism in mathematics can be preserved without troublesome epistemic consequences. Shapiro concludes by showing how a structuralist approach can be applied to wider philosophical questions such as the nature of an "object" and the Quinean nature of ontological commitment. Clear, compelling, and tautly argued, Shapiro's work, noteworthy both in its attempt to develop a full-length structuralist approach to mathematics and to trace its emergence in the history of mathematics, will be of deep interest to both philosophers and mathematicians. (shrink)
Logical pluralism is the view that different logics are equally appropriate, or equally correct. Logical relativism is a pluralism according to which validity and logical consequence are relative to something. Stewart Shapiro explores various such views. He argues that the question of meaning shift is itself context-sensitive and interest-relative.
It was, I believe, Thomas Arnold who wrote: ‘Educate men without religion and all you make of them is clever devils’. Thus the Headmaster of one famous school summarized pithily the view of the relationship between religion and ethics which informed educational theory and practice in this country for at least a further century. There is a confusion of two different assumptions usually to be found in this context. The first is that religious belief can provide an intellectual foundation for (...) moral belief; the second is that the effect of religious teaching is to improve behaviour according to the norms of some particular set of moral beliefs. (shrink)
It is of course true that the articulation of religious and theological views depends upon and often masks philosophical presuppositions. For example, those who quote with approval Anselm's ‘credo ut intelligam’, ‘I believe so that I may understand’, seldom follow the good example set by Anselm, and make explicit, as Anselm does in the following sentence, the fact that this principle rests upon a further principle: ‘For I believe this also, that “unless I believe, I shall not understand”’ . This (...) paper is an attempt to track down and expose one very pervasive set of views about the nature of experience which is implicit in a wide range of religious and theological claims. (shrink)
I argue that epistemologists’ use of the term ‘epistemic’ has led to serious confusion in the discussion of epistemological issues. The source of the problem is that ‘epistemic’ functions largely as an undefined technical term. I show how this confusion has infected discussions of the nature of epistemic justification, epistemic norms for evidence gathering, and knowledge norms for assertion and belief.
Stewart Shapiro's ambition in Vagueness in Context is to develop a comprehensive account of the meaning, function, and logic of vague terms in an idealized version of a natural language like English. It is a commonplace that the extensions of vague terms vary according to their context: a person can be tall with respect to male accountants and not tall (even short) with respect to professional basketball players. The key feature of Shapiro's account is that the extensions of vague (...) terms also vary in the course of conversations and that, in some cases, a competent speaker can go either way without sinning against the meaning of the words or the non-linguistic facts. As Shapiro sees it, vagueness is a linguistic phenomenon, due to the kinds of languages that humans speak; but vagueness is also due to the world we find ourselves in, as we try to communicate features of it to each other. (shrink)
This unique book by Stewart Shapiro looks at a range of philosophical issues and positions concerning mathematics in four comprehensive sections. Part I describes questions and issues about mathematics that have motivated philosophers since the beginning of intellectual history. Part II is an historical survey, discussing the role of mathematics in the thought of such philosophers as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Mill. Part III covers the three major positions held throughout the twentieth century: the idea that mathematics is logic (...) (logicism), the view that the essence of mathematics is the rule-governed manipulation of characters (formalism), and a revisionist philosophy that focuses on the mental activity of mathematics (intuitionism). Finally, Part IV brings the reader up-to-date with a look at contemporary developments within the discipline. This sweeping introductory guide to the philosophy of mathematics makes these fascinating concepts accessible to those with little background in either mathematics or philosophy. (shrink)
The dominant response to this problem of the criterion focuses on the alleged requirement that we need to know a belief source is reliable in order for us to acquire knowledge by that source. Let us call this requirement, “The KR principle”.
Stewart Shapiro's aim in Vagueness in Context is to develop both a philosophical and a formal, model-theoretic account of the meaning, function, and logic of vague terms in an idealized version of a natural language like English. It is a commonplace that the extensions of vague terms vary with such contextual factors as the comparison class and paradigm cases. A person can be tall with respect to male accountants and not tall with respect to professional basketball players. The main (...) feature of Shapiro's account is that the extensions of vague terms also vary in the course of a conversation, even after the external contextual features, such as the comparison class, are fixed. A central thesis is that in some cases, a competent speaker of the language can go either way in the borderline area of a vague predicate without sinning against the meaning of the words and the non-linguistic facts. Shapiro calls this open texture, borrowing the term from Friedrich Waismann.The formal model theory has a similar structure to the supervaluationist approach, employing the notion of a sharpening of a base interpretation. In line with the philosophical account, however, the notion of super-truth does not play a central role in the development of validity. The ultimate goal of the technical aspects of the work is to delimit a plausible notion of logical consequence, and to explore what happens with the sorites paradox.Later chapters deal with what passes for higher-order vagueness - vagueness in the notions of 'determinacy' and 'borderline' - and with vague singular terms, or objects. In each case, the philosophical picture is developed by extending and modifying the original account. This is followed with modifications to the model theory and the central meta-theorems.As Shapiro sees it, vagueness is a linguistic phenomenon, due to the kinds of languages that humans speak. But vagueness is also due to the world we find ourselves in, as we try to communicate features of it to each other. Vagueness is also due to the kinds of beings we are. There is no need to blame the phenomenon on any one of those aspects. (shrink)
The central contention of this book is that second-order logic has a central role to play in laying the foundations of mathematics. In order to develop the argument fully, the author presents a detailed description of higher-order logic, including a comprehensive discussion of its semantics. He goes on to demonstrate the prevalence of second-order concepts in mathematics and the extent to which mathematical ideas can be formulated in higher-order logic. He also shows how first-order languages are often insufficient to codify (...) many concepts in contemporary mathematics, and thus that both first- and higher-order logics are needed to fully reflect current work. Throughout, the emphasis is on discussing the associated philosophical and historical issues and the implications they have for foundational studies. For the most part, the author assumes little more than a familiarity with logic comparable to that provided in a beginning graduate course which includes the incompleteness of arithmetic and the Lowenheim-Skolem theorems. All those concerned with the foundations of mathematics will find this a thought-provoking discussion of some of the central issues in the field today. (shrink)
All volumes of Professor Guthrie's great history of Greek philosophy have won their due acclaim. The most striking merits of Guthrie's work are his mastery of a tremendous range of ancient literature and modern scholarship, his fairness and balance of judgement and the lucidity and precision of his English prose. He has achieved clarity and comprehensiveness.
In the early twentieth century an apparently obscure philosophical debate took place between F. H. Bradley and Bertrand Russell. The historical outcome was momentous: the demise of the movement known as British Idealism, and its eventual replacement by the various forms of analytic philosophy. Since then, a conception of this debate and its rights and wrongs has become entrenched in English-language philosophy. Stewart Candlish examines afresh the events of this formative period in twentieth-century thought and comes to some surprising (...) conclusions. (shrink)
We are logical pluralists who hold that the right logic is dependent on the domain of investigation; different logics for different mathematical theories. The purpose of this article is to explore the ramifications for our pluralism concerning normativity. Is there any normative role for logic, once we give up its universality? We discuss Florian Steingerger’s “Frege and Carnap on the Normativity of Logic” as a source for possible types of normativity, and then turn to our own proposal, which postulates that (...) various logics are constitutive for thought within particular practices, but none are constitutive for thought as such. (shrink)
Philosophers have devoted much attention to a series of issues grouped under the heading ‘the problem of personal identity’. In most of these discussions the focus has been the question of identity over time and the issues confronted have been basically logical or metaphysical. Students enrolled in philosophy classes dealing with such topics often express a sense of disappointment or frustration, for, of course, they belong to a culture in which the jargon of ‘self’ or ‘personal’ identity belongs to a (...) rather different intellectual context heavy with the overtones of existentialism or with the suggestion of psychoanalysis. Anglo-Saxon philosophers have tended to bypass these ways of construing questions of personal identity; sometimes for good reason, sometimes not. (shrink)
Recent writing on the idea of a form of life has tended to be critical of the use made of this notion by writers such as Peter Winch, D. Z. Phillips and Norman Malcolm. Rightly or wrongly these writers have been regarded as meaning by ‘a form of life’, something like ‘a way or style of life’, and recent explicatory work on the notion has largely tended to discount this as a plausible interpretation of what Wittgenstein meant in his use (...) of the expression. The intention of this paper is not that of direct intervention in this particular dispute, though the conclusions drawn, if correct, would have some bearing on it. The intention is rather to develop, in order to make use of it, the idea of a form of life within the context of a number of philosophical difficulties. I should certainly claim to be drawing upon the remarks made by Wittgenstein in his own use of the expression: but I should not claim to be expounding Wittgenstein. Hence I do not wish to enter into the disputes referred to above about what precisely Wittgenstein meant by the expression, though again, what I say, if not wholly misguided, should have some bearing on these disputes. (shrink)
The dominant response to this problem of the criterion focuses on the alleged requirement that we need to know a belief source is reliable in order for us to acquire knowledge by that source. Let us call this requirement, “The KR principle”.
Timothy Williamson has fruitfully exploited formal resources to shed considerable light on the nature of knowledge. In the paper under examination, Williamson turns his attention to Gettier cases, showing how they can be motivated formally. At the same time, he disparages the kind of justification he thinks gives rise to these cases. He favors instead his own notion of justification for which Gettier cases cannot arise. We take issue both with his disparagement of the kind of justification that figures in (...) Gettier cases and the specifics of the formal motivation. (shrink)
The problem of easy knowledge arises for theories that have what I call a "basic knowledge structure". S has basic knowledge of P just in case S knows P prior to knowing that the cognitive source of S's knowing P is reliable. Our knowledge has a basic knowledge structure just in case we have basic knowledge and we come to know our faculties are reliable on the basis of our basic knowledge. The problem I raised in "Basic Knowledge and the (...) Problem of Easy Knowledge" is that once we allow for basic knowledge, we can come to know our faculties are reliable in ways that intuitively are too easy. This raises a serious doubt about whether we had the basic knowledge in the first place. (shrink)
Many countries have regulations that require firms to engage in minimum levels of corporate social activities in areas such as the environment and social welfare. In this paper, we argue that changes in a firm’s compliance with CS regulations are reflected in its reputation for corporate social responsibility, which affects the firm’s performance. The performance impacts depend on whether the firm’s CSR reputation in the current and prior periods is positive, neutral, or negative. Our theoretical framework draws on the reputation (...) literature and on the concepts of recency bias, which weights the present more heavily than the past, and negativity bias, which weights negative assessments more heavily than neutral or positive assessments. We test our hypotheses on a sample of 7317 banks over 1992–2007 where we compare a bank’s return on assets with its current and prior compliance ratings under the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act. We find that changes in CSR reputation have predictable, asymmetric, and sizeable impacts on firm performance. For example, for an average bank with $1 billion in assets, gaining a positive CSR reputation translates into a rise in profits of 4.04%; gaining a negative CSR reputation results in a drop in profits of − 7.8%. (shrink)