In the 17th-19th centuries human society formed the understanding of scientific and technological progress as continuous improvement of society and nature on the basis of the growing capacity of scientific knowledge of the world. This belief in continuous scientific and technological progress, absolutisation of a value-free scientific research, illusion of actual «creatability» of the world on the basis of the obtained knowledge resulted in emergence of a scientific religion, based mostly on the belief in the power of scientific knowledge and (...) the progressive character of technological activity, grounded on this knowledge. There appeared an illusion that if technology has made the Man of an animal, then, combined with science, it could make God of the Man, the Creator of not only artefacts but of the matter, nature and life as well. There is no insuperable barrier, neither in experimental physical science nor in engineering, between the Natural and the Artificial (the "second nature" created by human activity). From the Natural point of view, any natural or technical system is regarded as a self-contained object, an organismdeveloping in accordance with its own internal laws, whereas the Artificial point of view considers it a mechanism designed as a result of human activity. The task of philosophy is to open new possible worlds, new understanding of the world, to make them the people’s outlook and then embody them in reality. This fact inevitably influences philosophy of technology that is due to become not only a philosophic study of scientific and technological progress but also a new philosophy of technological sustainable development in the global world. (shrink)
The present article provides an overview of the key subjects of scholarly research in the areas of epistemology and the philosophy of science and technology conducted in Russia between the 1980s and the present. These disciplines are shown to be deeply rooted in Soviet philosophy and still developed by contemporary Russian philosophers, with both the historical experience of the Russian philosophical thought and foreign conceptions and schools, classical as well as modern, drawn upon. The corollary is that epistemology and the (...) philosophy of science have been the most widely studied philosophical disciplines in Russia over the last couple of decades and retain this status to date. (shrink)
Le Obiezioni contro la Teoria medica di G.E. Stahl, tradotte per la prima volta in italiano, rappresentano un documento di particolare interesse storico-filosofico. Da una parte Georg Ernst Stahl (1659-1734), medico, chimico, fisico, sostenitore di una fisiologia corporea a impronta “vitalista” e dall’altra Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), genio universale della matematica e della filosofia dell’età barocca. Il fulcro della polemica riguarda la possibilità di capire se e in che misura l’organizzazione meccanica di un corpo organico sia di per se sufficiente (...) a spiegare il fenomeno della vita “biologica”, o se invece si debba postulare la presenza di princìpi vitali capaci di integrare le leggi fisiologiche che strutturano la corporeità. A dispetto della lontananza storica, o anzi forse proprio in virtù di tale lontananza, la polemica tra Leibniz e Stahl ci aiuta a decifrare le radici di uno dei refrain più abusati di tanta filosofia contemporanea, il tema cioè della ‘naturalizzazione’ della vita e dello spirito. L’idea di espungere tutti gli elementi “soprannaturali” (l’anima, gli spiriti, etc.) dal novero delle spiegazioni scientifiche non è certo un’idea novecentesca e si confronta in questo caso non solo con la sua tesi opposta, ma soprattutto con una vasta gamma di soluzioni intermedie e di varianti non riduzioniste, di cui proprio la filosofia di Leibniz è uno splendido esempio. Il volume è accompagnato da un saggio di postfazione intitolato Vita e organismo tra filosofia e medicina: le ragioni di una polemica. (shrink)
G.E. Moore, more than either Bertrand Russell or Ludwig Wittgenstein, was chiefly responsible for the rise of the analytic method in twentieth-century philosophy. This selection of his writings shows Moore at his very best. The classic essays are crucial to major philosophical debates that still resonate today. Amongst those included are: * A Defense of Common Sense * Certainty * Sense-Data * External and Internal Relations * Hume's Theory Explained * Is Existence a Predicate? * Proof of an External World (...) In addition, this collection also contains the key early papers in which Moore signals his break with idealism, and three important previously unpublished papers from his later work which illustrate his relationship with Wittgenstein. (shrink)
The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis has been called `the greatest of all medieval chronicles'. Written in Normandy between 1114 and 1141, it is a detailed history of the Norman people and their conquests, full of vivid, often penetrating portraits of the lives and characters of kings and queens, lords and bishops, simple knights, and humble villagers. The chronicle gives a unique, authentic picture of feudal society during a period of rapid change in church and state which saw the emergence (...) of the Anglo-Norman realm, the spread of new forms of monasticism, and the launching of the Crusades. Published in 1968, volume II of Marjorie Chibnall's six-volume edition of the Ecclesiastical History is now available for the first time in paperback. `a superbly edited Latin text and a unique English translation of the work of a major historian' American Historical Review `Mrs Chibnall is giving us... her edition of a classical medieval text which will itself become a classic of medieval scholarship.' Times Literary Supplement. (shrink)
Some ways of defending inequality against the charge that it is unjust require premises that egalitarians find easy to dismiss—statements, for example, about the contrasting deserts and/or entitlements of unequally placed people. But a defense of inequality suggested by John Rawls and elaborated by Brian Barry has often proved irresistible even to people of egalitarian outlook. The persuasive power of this defense of inequality has helped to drive authentic egalitarianism, of an old-fashioned, uncompromising kind, out of contemporary political philosophy. The (...) present essay is part of an attempt to bring it back in. (shrink)
1. The present paper is a continuation of my “Self-Ownership, World Ownership, and Equality,” which began with a description of the political philosophy of Robert Nozick. I contended in that essay that the foundational claim of Nozick's philosophy is the thesis of self-ownership, which says that each person is the morally rightful owner of his own person and powers, and, consequently, that each is free to use those powers as he wishes, provided that he does not deploy them aggressively against (...) others. To be sure, he may not harm others, and he may, if necessary, be forced not to harm them, but he should never be forced to help them, as people are in fact forced to help others, according to Nozick, by redistributive taxation. (shrink)
Abstract G.A. Cohen has produced an influential criticism of libertarian?ism that posits joint ownership of everything in the world other than labor, with each joint owner having a veto right over any potential use of the world. According to Cohen, in that world rationality would require that wealth be divided equally, with no differential accorded to talent, ability, or effort. A closer examination shows that Cohen's argument rests on two central errors of reasoning and does not support his egalitarian conclusions, (...) even granting his assumption of joint ownership. That assumption was rejected by Locke, Pufendorf and other writers on property for reasons that Cohen does not rebut. (shrink)
Reminiscences of Peter, by P. Oppenheim.--Natural kinds, by W. V. Quine.--Inductive independence and the paradoxes of confirmation, by J. Hintikka.--Partial entailment as a basis for inductive logic, by W. C. Salmon.--Are there non-deductive logics?, by W. Sellars.--Statistical explanation vs. statistical inference, by R. C. Jeffre--Newcomb's problem and two principles of choice, by R. Nozick.--The meaning of time, by A. Grünbaum.--Lawfulness as mind-dependent, by N. Rescher.--Events and their descriptions: some considerations, by J. Kim.--The individuation of events, by D. Davidson.--On properties, by (...) H. Putnam.--A method for avoiding the Curry paradox, by F. B. Fitch.--Publications (1934-1969) by Carl G. Hempel (p. -270). (shrink)
Editor James Fetzer presents an analytical and historical introduction and a comprehensive bibliography together with selections of many of Carl G. Hempel's most important studies to give students and scholars an ideal opportunity to appreciate the enduring contributions of one of the most influential philosophers of science of the 20th century.
In this essay, Hegel attempted to show how Fichte’s Science of Knowledge was an advance from the position of Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason, and how Schelling (and incidentally Hegel himself) had made a further advance from the position of Fichte.
In ‘Wittgenstein on Language and Rules’, Professor N. Malcolm took us to task for misinterpreting Wittgenstein's arguments on the relationship between the concept of following a rule and the concept of community agreement on what counts as following a given rule. Not that we denied that there are any grammatical connections between these concepts. On the contrary, we emphasized that a rule and an act in accord with it make contact in language. Moreover we argued that agreement in judgments and (...) in definitions is indeed necessary for a shared language. But we denied that the concept of a language is so tightly interwoven with the concept of a community of speakers as to preclude its applicabilty to someone whose use of signs is not shared by others. Malcolm holds that ‘This is an unwitting reduction of Wittgenstein's originality. That human agreement is necessary for “shared” language is not so striking a thought as that it is essential for language simpliciter.’ Though less striking, we believe that it has the merit of being a true thought. We shall once more try to show both that it is correct, and that it is a correct account of Wittgenstein's arguments. (shrink)
Listening to someone from some distance in a crowded room you may experience the following phenomenon: when looking at them speak, you may both hear and see where the source of the sounds is; but when your eyes are turned elsewhere, you may no longer be able to detect exactly where the voice must be coming from. With your eyes again fixed on the speaker, and the movement of her lips a clear sense of the source of the sound will (...) return. This ‘ventriloquist’ effect reflects the ways in which visual cognition can dominate auditory perception. And this phenomenological observation is one what you can verify or disconfirm in your own case just by the slightest reflection on what it is like for you to listen to someone with or without visual contact with them. (shrink)
In The Varieties of Reference, Gareth Evans argues that the content of perceptual experience is nonconceptual, in a sense I shall explain momentarily. More recently, in his book Mind and World, John McDowell has argued that the reasons Evans gives for this claim are not compelling and, moreover, that Evans’s view is a version of “the Myth of the Given”: More precisely, Evans’s view is alleged to suffer from the same sorts of problems that plague sense-datum theories of perception. In (...) particular, McDowell argues that perceptual experience must be within “the space of reasons,” that perception must be able to give us reasons for, that is, to justify, our beliefs about the world: And, according to him, no state that does not have conceptual content can be a reason for a belief. Now, there are many ways in which Evans’s basic idea, that perceptual content is nonconceptual, might be developed; some of these, I shall argue, would be vulnerable to the objections McDowell brings against him. But I shall also argue that there is a way of developing it that is not vulnerable to these objections. (shrink)
On what grounds will the rational man become a Christian? It is often assumed by many, especially non-Christians, that he will become a Christian if and only if he judges that the evidence available to him shows that it is more likely than not that the Christian theological system is true, that, in mathematical terms, on the evidence available to him, the probability of its truth is greater than half. It is the purpose of this paper to investigate whether or (...) not this is a necessary and sufficient condition for the rational man to adopt Christianity. (shrink)
The ability to feel pain is a property of human beings that seems to be based entirely in our biological natures and to place us squarely within the animal kingdom. Yet the experience of pain is often used as an example of a mental attribute with qualitative properties that defeat attempts to identify mental events with physiological mechanisms. I will argue that neurophysiology and psychology help to explain the interwoven biological and subjective features of pain and recommend a view of (...) pain which differs in important respects from the one most commonly accepted. (shrink)
In discussing Disembodied Persons we need to confront two problems: A. Under what conditions would we consider that a person was present in the absence of the normal bodily cues? B. Could such circumstances arise? The first question may be regarded as epistemic and the second as metaphysical.
This essay is written on the following premises and argues for them. “Enlightenment” is a word or signifier, and not a single or unifiable phenomenon which it consistently signifies. There is no single or unifiable phenomenon describable as “the Enlightenment,” but it is the definite article rather than the noun which is to be avoided. In studying the intellectual history of the late seventeenth century and the eighteenth, we encounter a variety of statements made, and assumptions proposed, to which the (...) term “Enlightenment” may usefully be applied, but the meanings of the term shift as we apply it. The things are connected, but not continuous; they cannot be reduced to a single narrative; and we find ourselves using the word “Enlightenment” in a family of ways and talking about a family of phenomena, resembling and related to one another in a variety of ways that permit of various generalizations about them. We are not, however, committed to a single root meaning of the word “Enlightenment,” and we do not need to reduce the phenomena of which we treat to a single process or entity to be termed “the” Enlightenment. It is a reification that we wish to avoid, but the structure of our language is such that this is difficult, and we will find ourselves talking of “the French” or “the Scottish,” “the Newtonian” or the “the Arminian” Enlightenments, and hoping that by employing qualifying adjectives we may constantly remind ourselves that the keyword “Enlightenment” is ours to use and should not master us. (shrink)
The texts collected in this volume, which was originally published in 1969, contain Herder's most original and stimulating ideas on politics, history and language. They had for the most part not been previously available in English. In his introduction, Professor Barnard analyses the basic premises of Herder's political thought against the background of the Enlightenment. He examines Herder's concepts of language, community and culture, his theory of historical interaction, and his approach to the problem of change and progress. Finally, he (...) provides a brief comparative analysis of traditionalist thought following the French Revolution, showing how substantive writers like Burke differed from Herder despite the close similarity of political vocabulary. (shrink)
Writing in the foreword to Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind and speaking of his upbringing in Chicago between the wars Saul Bellow attests that …as a Midwesterner, the son of immigrant parents, I recognized at an early stage that I was called upon to decide for myself to what extent my Jewish origins, my surroundings [‘the accidental circumstances of Chicago’], my schooling, were to be allowed to determine the course of my life. I did not intend to (...) be wholly dependent upon history and culture. Full dependency must mean that I was done for. The commonest teaching of the civilized world in our time can be stated simply: ‘Tell me where you come from and I'll tell you what you are’. (shrink)
One of the ways of dividing all philosophers into two kinds is by saying of each whether he is an ordinary man's philosopher or a philosophers' philosopher. Thus Plato is a philosophers' philosopher and Aristotle an ordinary man's philosopher. This does not depend on being easy to understand: a lot of Aristotle's Metaphysics is immensely difficult. Nor does being a philosophers' philosopher imply that an ordinary man cannot enjoy the writings, or many of them. Plato invented and exhausted a form: (...) no one else has written such dialogues. So someone with no philosophical bent, or who has left his philosophical curiosity far behind may still enjoy reading some of them. (shrink)
The usual way for new cells to come into being is by division of old cells. So the zygote, which is a—new—single cell formed from two, the sperm and ovum, is an exception. Textbooks of human genetics usually say that this new cell is beginning of a new human individual. What this indicates is that they suddenly forget about identical twins.
In this stimulating work of political philosophy, acclaimed philosopher G. A. Cohen sets out to rescue the egalitarian thesis that in a society in which distributive justice prevails, peopleâes material prospects are roughly equal. Arguing against the Rawlsian version of a just society, Cohen demonstrates that distributive justice does not tolerate deep inequality. In the course of providing a deep and sophisticated critique of Rawlsâes theory of justice, Cohen demonstrates that questions of distributive justice arise not only for the state (...) but also for people in their daily lives. The right rules for the macro scale of public institutions and policies also apply, with suitable adjustments, to the micro level of individual decision-making. Cohen also charges Rawlsâes constructivism with systematically conflating the concept of justice with other concepts. Within the Rawlsian architectonic, justice is not distinguished either from other values or from optimal rules of social regulation. The elimination of those conflations brings justice closer to equality. (shrink)
If I say “we are now living in England” or “grass is green in summer’ or ‘the cat is on the mat’ what I say will normally be true or false—the statements are true if they correctly report how things are, or correspond to the facts; and if they do not do these things, they are false. Such a statement will only fail to have a truth-value if its referring expressions fail to refer ; or if the statement lies on (...) the border between truth and falsity so that it is as true to say that the statement is true as to say that it is false. Are moral judgments normally true or false in the way in which the above statements are true or false? I will term the view that they are objectivism and the view that they are not subjectivism. The objectivist maintains that it is as much a fact about an action that it is right or wrong as that it causes pain or takes a long time to perform. The subjectivist maintains that saying than an action is right or wrong is not stating a fact about it but merely expressing approval of it or commending it or doing some such similar thing. I wish in this paper, first, to show that all arguments for subjectivism manifestly fail, and secondly to produce a strong argument for objectivism. But, to start with, some preliminaries. (shrink)