The idea of absolute goodness and the idea of an absolute requitement tend nowadays to be viewed with suspicion in the world of English-speaking philosophy. The tendency is well rooted and has not just arisen by osmosis from the temper of the times. There are various lines of thought, all of them attractive, by which a recent or contemporary academic practitioner of the subject could have been induced into scepticism about an ethics of absolute conceptions.
In this volume comprised of sixteen essays and rebuttals, author and professor of philosophy Susan Haack responds to her fellow philosophers and her critics on a wide range of topics that involve much more than the esoteric nature of contemporary philosophy. Instead, as is Haack's forte, she asserts her views on important current issues such as how scientists conduct their work, the ethics of affirmative action and the pitfalls of preferential hiring, and how the distorted reality the postmodern thinkers (...) have presented has corrupted legal thinking. Her charge is to bring clarity, precision, integrity, and most of all, practicality to her field of study. (shrink)
According to welfarism about value, something is good simpliciter just in case it is good for some being or beings. In her recent Presidential Address to the American Philosophical Association, “Good-For-Nothings”, Susan Wolf argues against welfarism by appeal to great works of art, literature, music, and philosophy. Wolf provides three main arguments against this view, which I call The Superfluity Argument, The Explanation of Benefit Argument, and The Welfarist’s Mistake. In this paper, I reconstruct these arguments and explain where, (...) in my view, each goes wrong. (shrink)
Abstract: Faced with the thesis of the exhaustion of analytic philosophy, the work of Susan Haack shows a process of deep transformation within analytical philosophy. Instead of considering the analytic tradition as an abrupt breakdown with classical pragmatism, the resurgence of pragmatism in the last decades endorses, on the contrary, the continuity between both movements. In this process Susan Haack's work has a decisive role. This paper around the pragmatism of Susan Haack is organized into three sections: (...) 1) The pragmatist development in Haack's biography; 2) the two rival versions of pragmatism; and 3) the future of pragmatism. -/- Frente a la tesis del agotamiento de la filosofía analítica, el trabajo de Susan Haack muestra un proceso de profunda transformación en el seno de la filosofía analítica. En lugar de considerar la tradición analítica como una abrupta ruptura con el pragmatismo clásico, el resurgimiento del pragmatismo de las últimas décadas avala, por el contrario, la continuidad entre ambos movimientos. En este proceso el trabajo de Susan Haack tiene un papel decisivo. Esta colaboración en torno al pragmatismo de Susan Haack está organizada en tres secciones: 1) El desarrollo pragmatista en la biografía de Haack; 2) las dos versiones rivales del pragmatismo; y 3) el futuro del pragmatismo. (shrink)
Reviewing "The Ethics of Gender, Feminism and Christian Ethics," and "The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Theology," the author suggests that Susan Parsons responds to questions postmodernism has posed to both feminism and Christian ethics by using insights gained from various accounts of the moral subject found in feminist philosophy, ethics, and theology. Hesitant to embrace postmodernism's critique of the possibility of ethics, Parsons redefines ethics by establishing a moral point of view within discursive communities. Yet in her brief treatment (...) of Emmanuel Levinas, Parsons does not explore the postmodern option he offers feminists: an understanding of moral responsibility that can be critical of ethics. Parsons also ignores some feminist perspectives in the physical and natural sciences, thereby missing valuable insights of feminists who insist upon the materiality of the body. (shrink)
An essay on the article "Reason and Feeling in Thinking about Justice," by Susan Moller Okin is presented. It offers a history of the original position in philosophical reasoning for explaining a sense of justice and examines feminist criticisms against such thinking for failure to appreciate differences and otherness while focused on universality and impartiality. The author relates the choice feminist theories on ethic of sympathy or care for others in place of an ethic of justice in general.
Efforts to introduce particular-focused and emotionally engaged storytelling into historiography have sparked intense debate. Stone-Mediatore argues that women and other under-represented groups have a particular interest in defending the epistemic value of storytelling, but that we can do so meaningfully -- not by endorsing all storytelling -- but only by articulating a metahistory that challenges the division between history and story as well as makes explicit the interrelated epistemic and ethical goals of historical inquiry. The author draws on Hannah Arendt (...) and Susan Griffin to begin to articulate such a feminist metahistory. She argues that such a metahistory throws light on the potential value of creative and engaged storytelling, not only for understanding historical events but also for building less violent worlds. (shrink)
[ Susan Hurley] I argue that the aim to neutralize the influence of luck on distribution cannot provide a basis for egalitarianism: it can neither specify nor justify an egalitarian distribution. Luck and responsibility can play a role in determining what justice requires to be redistributed, but from this we cannot derive how to distribute: we cannot derive a pattern of distribution from the 'currency' of distributive justice. I argue that the contrary view faces a dilemma, according to whether (...) it understands luck in interpersonal or counterfactual terms. /// [Richard J. Arneson] Does it make sense to hold that, if it is bad that some people are worse off than others, it is worse if those who are worse off come to be so through sheer bad luck that it is beyond their power to control? In her contribution to this symposium, Susan Hurley cautions against a closely related fallacy: from the fact that people have come to an unequal condition through unchosen bad luck, it does not follow that, if we aim to undo the influence of unchosen luck, we ought to institute equality of condition. Forswearing the fallacy that Hurley analyses is compatible with answering the question affirmatively, and more generally with holding that principles of distributive justice should be sensitive to the distinction between chosen and unchosen bad luck. This essay explores how this might be done. (shrink)
In this paper I lay out what I take to be the crucial insights in Susan Bordo's "Feminist Skepticism and the 'Maleness' of Philosophy" and point out some additional difficulties with the skeptical position. I call attention to an ambiguity in the nature or content of the "maleness" of philosophy that Bordo identifies. Finally, I point out that, unlike some feminist skeptics, Bordo never loses sight in her work of women's lived experiences.
Does Spinoza present philosophy as the preserve of an elite, while condemning the uneducated to a false though palliative form of ‘true religion’? Some commentators have thought so, but this contribution aims to show that they are mistaken. The form of religious life that Spinoza recommends creates the political and epistemological conditions for a gradual transition to philosophical understanding, so that true religion and philosophy are in practice inseparable.
While finding no fault with Darwinism as a scientific theory, this paper argues that there are serious problems for the scientistic construal of Darwinism that interprets the universe as nothing but a purely random and contingent flow of events. Life in a godless impersonal universe is beset by contingency, alienation, despair, failure and fragility. Notwithstanding Alan Holland's claim that we can evade these problems though self-affirmation, I argue that human beings can achieve meaningful lives only by acknowledging our dependency (...) and accepting the authority of values we did not create. (shrink)
Susan Stebbing’s work on incomplete symbols and analysis was instrumental in clarifying, sharpening, and improving the project of logical constructions which was pivotal to early analytic philosophy. She dispelled use-mention confusions by restricting the term ‘incomplete symbol’ to expressions eliminable through analysis, rather than those expressions’ purported referents, and distinguished linguistic analysis from analysis of facts. In this paper I explore Stebbing’s role in analytic philosophy’s development from anti-holism, presupposing that analysis terminates in simples, to the more holist or (...) foundherentist analytic philosophy of the later 20th century. I read Stebbing as a transitional figure who made room for more holist analytic movements, e.g., applications of incomplete symbol theory to Quinean ontological commitment. Stebbing, I argue, is part of a historical narrative which starts with the holism of Bradley, an early influence on her, to which Moore and Russell’s logical analysis was a response. They countered Bradley’s holist reservations about facts with the view that the world is built up out of individually knowable simples. Stebbing, a more subtle and sympathetic reader of the British idealists, defends analysis, but with important refinements and caveats which prepared the way for a return to foundherentism and holism within analytic philosophy. (shrink)
Susan Stebbing’s paper “Logical Positivism and Analysis” (March 1933) was unusually critical of Wittgenstein. It put up a sharp opposition between Cambridge analytic philosophy of Moore and Russell and the positivist philosophy of the Vienna Circle to which she included Wittgenstein from 1929–32. Above all, positivists were interested in analyzing language, analytic philosophers in analyzing facts. Moreover, whereas analytic philosophers were engaged in directional analysis which seeks to illuminate the multiplicity of the analyzed facts, positivists aimed at final analysis (...) which “proves” that there are simples. Stebbing’s paper urged Wittgenstein to recast his philosophy and 1933 abandon those components of it that linked him to the Vienna Circle. (shrink)
Review of: "Computation, Information, Cognition: The Nexus and the Liminal", Ed. Susan Stuart & Gordana Dodig Crnkovic, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, September 2007, xxiv+340pp, ISBN: 9781847180902, Hardback: £39.99, $79.99 ---- Are you a computer? Is your cat a computer? A single biological cell in your stomach, perhaps? And your desk? You do not think so? Well, the authors of this book suggest that you think again. They propose a computational turn, a turn towards computational explanation and towards the explanation (...) of computation itself. The explanation of computation is the core of the present volume, but the computational turn to regard a wide variety of systems as computational is a potentially very wide-ranging project. (shrink)
Although Cottingham and Holland make a persuasive case for the claim that it is difficult to situate a meaningful life within a Darwinian naturalistic cosmology, this paper argues that their case should be modified in response to the apparent fact that certain persons seem genuinely not to experience the ‘bleakness’ that they describe. Although certain of these cases will reflect an incomplete appreciation of the existential implications of Darwinian naturalism, at least some of those cases may be genuine. The (...) resulting possibility that certain persons can embrace Darwinian naturalism and live meaningful lives in apparent immunity to the ‘bleakness charge’ therefore poses new puzzles for Cottingham and Holland, and for wider questions about the meaningfulness of human life. I consider that possibility in light of the work of David E. Cooper and Paul Feyerabend and offer a set of three suggestions for further developing these debates. (shrink)
Event synopsis: Professor Susan James inverses Leo Strauss’ reading of Spinoza. Whereas Strauss emphasized the hidden subtext of Spinoza’s arguments, James revives the explicit debates of his time within which Spinoza's Theologico-Political Treatise was situated. But this is not a simple historical reconstruction. James’ close reading of the Treatise offers a radically new perspective on Spinoza’s revolutionary book – a reading that presents startling new perspective on the political, metaphysical and theological implications of the book. Given the importance of (...) Spinoza’s political writings in contemporary radical democratic approaches to the state, James intervention has the potential to reshape the way we think of a Spinozan politics. (shrink)
“Sucks and stones will break my bones,” Justice Scalia pronounced from the bench in oral arguments in Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network, “but words can never hurt me. That's the First Amendment,” he added. Jay Alan Sekulow, the lawyer for the petitioners, anti-abortion protesters who had been enjoined from moving closer than fifteen feet away from those entering an abortion facility, was obviously pleased by this characterization of the right to free speech, replying, “That's certainly our position on it, and that (...) is exactly correct …”. (shrink)
There are differences between human beings, and some of these differences are, for many, a matter of identity. Some people are men, and some are white. Some people are poor, others are wealthy. These identity-constituting differences are deeply connected with different kinds of injustices. Susan Hekman's main contention in The Future of Differences is that a new epistemology is required if we are to acknowledge all these differences and, consequently, address these injustices.
In a way that is rarely even attempted, and even more rarely actually pulled off, Susan Hurley, in her book Consciousness in Action, brings scientific ideas into contact with mainstream philosophy. It is not at all unusual for empirical results from cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience to be raised in discussion of issues in philosophy of science and philosophy of mind--Dennett and the Churchlands, for example, have been doing so for years. But Hurley attempts to draw empirical results even (...) closer to the center of philosophy, using them to make points about metaphysics and epistemology more broadly, especially PutnamÂ’s Twin Earth cases. We are very fond of Hurley's book, and we agree with nearly all of her conclusions. We do think, though, that there are two important cases where Hurley has misunderstood scientific work. First, we think she misunderstand dynamical systems theory; second, we think her criticism of ecological psychology is misplaced. In neither case do these misunderstandings derail HurleyÂ’s overall project--indeed, the former of them makes her conclusions all the more plausible. We consider them in order. (shrink)
ABSTRACTWe trace Susan Moller Okin’s reception of Mary Wollstonecraft with respect to the relationship between religion and feminist liberalism, by way of manuscripts housed at Somerville College, Oxford and Harvard University. These unpublished documents – dated from 1967 to 1998 – include her Somerville advising file, with papers dated from 1967 to 1979; her 1970 Oxford B.Phil. thesis on the feminist political theory of Wollstonecraft, William Thompson, and J.S. Mill; her teaching notes on Wollstonecraft originating in 1978, for her (...) course ‘Gender and Political Theory’ held at Brandeis and Stanford in the 1980s and 1990s; and her correspondence with John Rawls, dated from 1985 to 1998. A consistently secular feminist liberal, Okin had a blind spot with regard to religion, which led her to misinterpret Wollstonecraft’s theology as contradictory to her consequentialist arguments for women’s rights. Wollstonecraft virtually disappeared from Okin’s published corpus, overshadowed by the secular utilitarian feminist liberal J.S. Mill. Wollstonecraft nevertheless remained a deep philosophical source for both the method and the principle behind Okin’s distinctive brand of feminist liberalism. Okin’s reception of Wollstonecraft suggests that the fissures caused by religious conflict in modern politics have not only generated multiple liberalisms, as Rawls argued, but also multiple feminist liberalisms. (shrink)
It is sometimes taken for granted that Grotius included a short restatement of his doctrine of the free sea in his famous Introduction to the Jurisprudence of Holland . This impression is incorrect, since Grotius merely restates a dictum of the Roman lawyer Marcianus and, in doing so, only deals with the condition of the sea according to private law. In Mare liberum, however, he employs Marcian's idea of the sea as a res communis in a different fashion. This (...) article is concentrating on the use of arguments taken from private law in a debate on issues of public law in the light of the exceptions to Marcian's doctrine as formulated by medieval lawyers, which have culminated in the doctrine that states can indeed exercise authority over the sea. It is contended that Grotius had to argue along the same line by using arguments from private law in order to effectively refute that doctrine. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis is a response to Dominic Holland’s critique of Roy Bhaskar’s posthumous Enlightened Common Sense, which I edited. Holland claims that his critique is immanent, but I argue that it is not, on two interrelated counts: it fails to achieve hermeneutic adequacy; and criticizes Bhaskar’s arguments and positions using mainly transcendent, not immanent, criteria.
Consider Susan Hurley's depiction of mainstream views of the mind: "The mind is a kind of sandwich, and cognition is the filling" (p. 401). This particular sandwich (with perception as the bottom loaf and action as the top loaf) tastes foul to Hurley, who devotes most of "Consciousness in Action" to a systematic and sometimes extraordinarily detailed critique of what has otherwise been dubbed "classical" models of the mind. This critique then provides the basis for her alternative proposal, in (...) which perception, action and environment are deeply intertwined. (shrink)
In a provocative article published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies, Susan Pockett argues for the plausibility of considering consciousness as an epiphenomenon of neural activity. This means that consciousness, though caused by the brain, would not in its turn have any role in the causation of neural activity and, consequently, of behaviour. Critical for her argument is the distinction she makes between 'consciousness per se' and 'the neural processing that accompanies it' . In her discussion, though, the author (...) begs the question concerning whether there really is such 'consciousness itself, as distinct from the neural processing that goes with it' . If consciousness as it exists happens not to be distinct from some sort of neural processing, then Pockett's 'consciousness per se' has no causal effect simply because it does not exist. (shrink)
The sudden resurgence of interest in the emotions that has recently overtaken analytical philosophy has raised a range of questions about the place of the passions in established explanatory schemes. How, for example, do the emotions fit into theories of action organized around beliefs and desires? How can they be included in analyses of the mind developed to account for other mental states and capacities? Questions of this general form also arise within political philosophy, and the wish to acknowledge their (...) importance and find a space for them has led to some fruitful developments. Among these are a new sensitivity to ways in which attributions of emotion can create and sustain unequal power relations, an interest in the underlying emotional capacities that make politics possible, a concern with the kinds of emotional suffering that politics should aim to abolish, and analyses of the emotional traits it should foster. While these and comparable explorations have enormously enriched contemporary political philosophy, a great deal of mainstream work continues to ignore or marginalize the emotions, so that their place remains uncertain and obscure. There is no consensus as to what kind of attention should be paid to them, or indeed whether they deserve any systematic attention at all. This is a curious state of affairs, because it was until quite recently taken for granted that political philosophy and psychology are intimately connected, and that political philosophy needs to be grounded on an understanding of human passion. In this essay I shall first consider why political philosophers ever rejected this set of assumptions. I shall then return to the pressing issue of how we might take account of the emotions in our own political theorizing. (shrink)
Susan Wolf, Meaning in Life and Why it Matters Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10677-011-9321-8 Authors Simon Derpmann, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Philosophisches Seminar, Domplatz 23, 48143 Münster, Germany Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820.
In Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her, Susan Griffin's embedding of language and culture within the natural world implicitly offers a critique of widespread assumptions, shared by many feminists, that language belongs only to the powerful and that it is inherently violent. Griffin's depiction of the process through which women come to speech is illuminated by V. N. Vološinov's work on the multiaccentuality of language and by Trinh Minh-ha's characterizations of oral traditions. Both authors stress the constant re-creation (...) of language by speakers and listeners. (shrink)
SummaryIn the present article it is argued that Pieter de la Court's Political Maxims of the State of Holland presented a remarkably consistent grand strategy for Holland in relation to its Dutch allies and the European powers. I present an outline of this strategy, which was built around the accomplishment and defence of commercial goals; I sketch a historical context that takes into account the general historical shift from tribute-taking agrarian societies towards commercial wealth-generating polities, and also the (...) violent contemporary military and ideological background against which De la Court's strategy stands out; I argue that his strategy can be understood by his use of three basic game theoretic concepts ; and I stress the distinctive character of De la Court's work, by comparing the practical and strategic use of these concepts in the Maxims with the function of the same concepts in the philosophical contract theories of Thomas Hobbes and Benedict de Spinoza. (shrink)
In his 1980 book Against Empiricism: On Education, Epistemology and Value, British philosopher R. F. Holland exposes the inadequacies of a philosophy of education originating from an empiricist worldview. By following Plato’s view that the issue of what qualifies as knowledge has to be understood with reference to whether it is teachable, Holland’s critique of empiricism highlights the social and communal dimensions of education. The primary objective of this paper is to offer a reassessment of Holland’s thoughts (...) on education and value. To do so, I first discuss Holland’s use of Plato’s ideas in his article ‘Epistemology and Education’ to demonstrate that Holland’s position can offer us a fruitful way to diagnose common, prevalent educational practices. I then turn to look at Holland’s views on value and morality. To illustrate how his thoughts on education can be seen to be relevant to the contemporary world, I explore and criticize some implicit presuppositions on knowledge in the 20... (shrink)
Lewis, according to Kuklick, was ‘a private person’, of ‘unsparing honesty and … utter dedication to the rational pursuit of truth’. He was, Kuklick continues, ‘equally uncompromising in what he expected of his readers, and as a result wrote for and lectured to a tiny group of scholars’. I hope that—since I occasionally find myself borrowing from him and frequently find myself arguing with him—I may count myself as one of the ‘tiny group of scholars’ for whom Lewis wrote. And (...) perhaps, by arguing with him again here, I may persuade some of you of the enduring interest of his work. (shrink)
The caesura of tragedy, more precisely tragedy as the scene of a caesura upon which an interruption occurs in the relation between divine grounds and human will, stands at the center of Susan Taubes's confrontation with tragedy. Moving beyond an explication of generic history, she analyzed the “Nature of Tragedy” (1953) as a phenomenon emerging from a cultural-historical threshold situation, illuminating tragedy's origins in the framework of her approach to ritual, religion, and philosophy. In respect to the history of (...) theory, these reflections are located at a transition point between religious and cultural history. Her argument that tragedy maintains a…. (shrink)
Susan Haack presents a striking and appealing figure in contemporary Anglo-American philosophy. In spite of British birth and education, she appears to bridge the gap between analytic philosophy and American pragmatism, with its more diverse influences and sources. Well known for her writings in the philosophy of logic and epistemology, she fuses something of the hard-headed debunking style of a Bertrand Russell with a lively interest in Peirce, James and Dewey.
In her film, Desperately Seeking Susan, Susan Seidelman continues her inquiry into the relations between the “center” and the “margin” in contemporary culture. The ideology of the film represents the center — the status quo — as the site for mature negotiations of communal values, whereas it constructs the margin — the locus of opposition — as an instance of self-indulgence, transgression, and extremity. This is the same theme in her first film, Smithereens. This fascination with the tension (...) between the center and the margin is interesting in that it enacts the “politics of reluctance” of fairly successful upper bourgeois who in their youth learned a political language and a set of attitudes now being tested in their middle years by new political “realities.”. (shrink)
For many of us, our relationship with the College Art Association (CAA) centers around the organization's annual meeting, that cacophonous yearly ritual that sees job applicants, panelists, and old friends and colleagues descend upon a convention hotel for one long weekend in February. The recent publication The Eye, the Hand, the Mind: 100 Years of the College Art Association, edited by former CAA executive director Susan Ball, attempts to historicize not only this event but the entire range of the (...) association's activities over its long life. Additionally, it serves as a reminder to all of us that the organization has long engaged in a wide range of pursuits that extend well beyond planning its annual conference. .. (shrink)