This article discusses the ‘nature’ of our contemporary fascination with wildness, in light of the popular documentary “Grizzly Man.”Taking as its central point of departure the film’s central protagonist Timothy Treadwell’s fascination with wild grizzlies and director Werner Herzog’s condemnation of it as gross anthropomorphism, this paper will explore the context and basis of our contemporary fascination with wildness in terms of the current debate raging within environmental philosophy between the social constructivist or postmodern position as exemplified by Martin Drenthen (...) and the feral humanist position as articulated by Paul Shepard.The former argues that this fascination with wildness is reflective of certain historical and cultural trends within contemporary western society, while the latter argues that it is reflective of our primordial human heritage. (shrink)
Various attempts have been made in recent years to present Christianity in such a way that no use is made of the traditional dichotomy between the ‘natural’ and the ‘supernatural’. Braithwaite, Hare, and van Buren, for instance, appear to have no use for the dichotomy; and I think that, without too much distortion, one can say the same of Bultmann, Tillich, and Robinson. I am not, however, concerned in this paper with the work of any one thinker as such, but (...) rather with a general climate of opinion. What I want to do is to examine the grounds on which it might be argued that belief in the supernatural is discredited. The issue seems to me of special importance at the present time, since, if these grounds are inadequate, programmes of reform under the general heading ‘Christianity without the supernatural’lose much of their point; if, on the other hand, the grounds are compelling, then reform of some kind is forced upon us whatever the accompanying difficulties. (shrink)
Martin Heidegger's explication of Pindar's assertion that ‘to glorify was the essence of poetry’ puts it quite well. He tells us that for Pindar the word does not derive its force from what is already complete in itself. For then man would be glorifying what is already glorious, that which already has the power to impress men. At best the word then would denote an acknowledgment or a confession of being impressed. Instead, he insists, the word denotes the power of (...) making to appear, or to extol a place. 1. (shrink)
The key points in Meynell's argument seem to me to be as follows: It is logically absurd to say of an action or of a state of affairs that it is good unless at least some or other of the qualities w, x, y, z, etc. are present. Similarly it is logically absurd to talk of human flourishing unless some or other specifiable features are present in a person's life. The Heimler questionnaire shows us the sorts of ways in which (...) the notion of human flourishing might be ‘unpacked’, viz, in terms of satisfaction through friendship, etc. I am in full agreement with him over and I shall simply add some further comments on the notion of ‘evaluating’; but as far as is concerned I shall voice some doubts and reservations. (shrink)
In this paper I shall examine a variety of situations in which human agents make use of force. Section I will be concerned with the use of force in medical contexts, Section Ii with the use of force in defence of property, and Section in with the use of force in resolving international disputes. I shall argue that the boundary between what is and is not morally permissible needs to be, drawn more stringently than is commonly supposed. While agreeing that (...) in some medical contexts and in some situations where defence of property is involved the use of force may be necessary and even morally required, I shall suggest that in the absence of any suitably constituted world court the use of force in attempting to resolve international disputes creates a morally different situation. (shrink)
This paper outlines, from a sociological and social psychological perspective, a theoretical framework with which to define and analyse consciousness, emphasizing the importance of language, collective representations, conceptions of self, and self-reflectivity in understanding human consciousness. It argues that the shape and feel of consciousness is heavily social, and this is no less true of our experience of collective consciousness than it is of our experience of individual consciousness. The paper is divided into two parts. Part One argues that the (...) problem of consciousness can be approached fruitfully by beginning with human group and collective phenomena: community, language, language-based communication, institutional and cultural arrangements, collective representations, self-conceptions, and self-referentiality. A collective is understood as a group or population of individuals that possesses or develops collective representations of itself: its values and goals, its structure and modes of operating, its strategies, developments, strengths and weaknesses, etc. Collective reflectivity emerges as a function of an organization or group producing and making use of collective representations of the self in its discussions, critical reflections, and planning. A collective monitors its activities, achievements and failures, and reflects on itself as a defined and on-going collective being. In this perspective, human consciousness is understood as a type of reflective activity: observing, monitoring, judging and re-orienting and re-organizing self; considering what characterizes the self, what self perceives, judges, could do, should do. The reflectivity is encoded in language and developed in conversations about collective selves. Part Two of the paper applies the framework to analysing the individual experience of consciousness, self-representation, self-reference, self-reflectivity and self-development. (shrink)
We argue that abduction does not work in isolation from other inference mechanisms and illustrate this through an inference scheme designed to evaluate multiple hypotheses. We use game theory to relate the abductive system to actions that produce new information. To enable evaluation of the implications of this approach we have implemented the procedures used to calculate the impact of new information in a computer model. Experiments with this model display a number of features of collective belief-revision leading to consensus-formation, (...) such as the influence of bias and prejudice. The scheme of inferential calculations invokes a Peircian concept of ‘belief’ as the propensity to choose a particular course of action. (shrink)
The Religion of Humanity, first expounded by the founder of Positivism, Auguste Comte, focused the minds of a wide range of prominent Victorians on the possibility of replacing Christianity with an alternative religion based on scientific principles and humanist values. This new book traces the impact of Comte's 'religion' on Victorian Britain, showing how its ideas were championed by John Stuart Mill and George Henry Lewes before being institutionalised by Richard Congreve and Frederic Harrison, the leaders of the two main (...) centres of Positivist worship. Widely discussed by scientists, philosophers, and theologians, it also attracted the attention of numerous literary figures, including Matthew Arnold, Walter Pater, and Leslie Stephen, achieving its widest circulation through the works of George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, and George Gissing. A wide-ranging and interdisciplinary contribution to the history of ideas, this book sheds new light on a significant but hitherto neglected strand of Victorian thought. (shrink)
The Sovereignty of Law presents Trevor Allan's most recent and fully elaborated defence of common law constitutionalism - an account of the unwritten or non-codified constitution as a complex articulation of legal and moral principles, defining what in the British context are the requirements of the rule of law. The British constitution is conceived as a coherent set of fundamental principles of the rule of law, legislative supremacy, and separation of powers. These principles.
The lively debate over the constitutional foundations of judicial review has been marred by a formalism which obscures its point and value.ed from genuine issues of substance, the rival positions offer inadequate accounts of the legitimacy of judicial review; constitutional theory must regain its connection with questions of political principle and moral value. Although the critics of ultra vires have rightly emphasized the foundational role of the common law, they have misconceived its nature and implications. On the one hand, they (...) have invited the charge of judicial supremacism by marginalizing the role of legislative intent; on the other, their affirmation of absolute parliamentary sovereignty (within the context of this debate) undermines the critique of ultra vires. In substance, therefore, the rival camps occupy essentially the same ground, equally trapped by a formalism that entrenches a stark confrontation between parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law. A conception of shared sovereignty, or interdependent sovereignties, provides a better foundation for judicial review. (shrink)
We are now in a position to examine the claim that Pavlovian physiology and Marxist-Leninist philosophy form two complementary systems.There is certainly a similarity between the Leninist theory of reflection and Pavlov's theory of higher nervous activity. Both present so-called psychic phenomena as a reaction of the organism to the stimuli of the outer world and both insist that this reflection is not a passive reception of impressions but is an active response on the part of the organism.Again both systems (...) are monist; they are united in excluding the possibility of having recourse to a non-material substance as the basis for psychic phenomena. But for Pavlov this exclusion is a scientific axiom while for Marxism-Leninism it is founded on philosophical materialism. However, the most important difference between Pavlov's theories and Marxism-Leninism on this point is that Pavlov's approach to psychic is fundamentally mechanistic and reductionist whereas that of Marxism-Leninism is dialectical and consequently anti-reductionist and anti-mechanist. Soviet psychology is, in consequence, founded partly on a mechanist system which is not materialist in the full sense of the word, and partly on a materialist system which is definitely not mechanist. From this point of view there is a definite discrepancy between the two traditions on which Soviet psychology is founded and which goes a long way towards explaining many of the inconsistencies in Soviet psychological theory. (shrink)
Syntactic and structural models specify relationships between their constituents but cannot show what outcomes their interaction would produce over time in the world. Simulation consists in iterating the states of a model, so as to produce behaviour over a period of simulated time. Iteration enables us to trace the implications and outcomes of inference rules and other assumptions implemented in the models that make up a theory. We apply this method to experiments which we treat as models of the particular (...) aspects of reality they are designed to investigate. Scientific experiments are constantly designed and re-designed in the context of implementation and use. They mediate between theoretical understanding and the practicalities of engaging with the empirical and social world. In order to model experiments we need to identify and represent features that all experiments have in common. We treat these features as parameters of a general model of experiment so that by varying these parameters different types of experiment can be modelled. (shrink)
Postmodern understandings of the god concept, based upon sociological and anthropological insights, support the ontological reality of the god concept. AII such god constructs can be understood as real but human products which come out of a situated Drama of the Holy. The reality quotient of any god concept can be seen as a function of solidarity activities within a society. Social justice concerns are, thus, the best indicators of that reality quotient while divisive, exploitative and oppressive practices in the (...) world tend to desanctify both society and nature thus justify Death of God analyses. Two interrelated solidarity activities are discussed for their efficacy in sanctification of nature and society: 1) situated Dramas of the Holy and, 2) social policies in the political economy. A variety of grand narratives are mentioned, each with differing foundational concepts, with which to institute social justice as we move into the 21st century. (shrink)
SummaryThe traditional account of micro‐reductive explanations, in terms of bridge‐law derivations and attribute‐identities, is subjected to critical analysis. Formal expositions of this approach especially those of R. L. Causey, are shown to have oversimplified certain relations between micro‐parts and wholes, and between identities and explanations, and to have neglected a key difference between homogeneous and heterogeneous micro‐explanatory contexts. An alternative treatment of part‐explanation adequacy is outlined and illustrated.
It is shown that the logical truth of instances of the T-schema is incompatible with the formal nature of logical truth. In particular, since the formality of logical truth entails that the set of logical truths is closed under substitution, the logical truth of T-schema instances entails that all sentences are logical truths.