There is a section in Samuel Delany’s magnificent autobiographical meditation, The Motion of Light in Water, that dramatically raises the problem of writing the history of difference, the history, that is, of the designation of “other,” of the attribution of characteristics that distinguish categories of people from some presumed norm.1 Delany recounts his reaction to his first visit to the St. Marks bathhouse in 1963. He remembers standing on the threshold of a “gym-sized room” dimly lit by blue bulbs. The (...) room was full of people, some standing, the rest an undulating mass of naked, male bodies, spread wall to wall. My first response was a kind of heart-thudding astonishment very close to fear. I have written of a space at certain libidinal saturation before. That was not what frightened me. It was rather that the saturation was not only kinesthetic but visible.2Watching the scene establishes for Delany a “fact that flew in the face” of the prevailing representation of homosexuals in the 1950s as “isolated perverts,” as subjects “gone awry.” The “apprehension of massed bodies” gave him a “sense of political power”:what this experience said was that there was a population—not of individual homosexuals … not of hundreds, not of thousands, but rather of millions of gay men, and that history had, actively and already, created for us whole galleries of institutions, good and bad, to accommodate our sex. [M, p. 174] 2. Samuel R. Delany, The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village, 1957-1965 , p. 173; hereafter abbreviated M. Joan W. Scott is professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She is the author, most recently, of Gender and the Politics of History and is currently at work on a history of feminist claims for political rights in France during the period 1789-1945 as a way of exploring arguments about equality and difference. (shrink)
The essays which comprise this collection made their first appearance in 1948 to celebrate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the British science journal, The Philosophical Magazine, which initially published many monographs in which distinguished scientific discoveries were announced. The present edition is a reprint of the supplement to the regular issue of 1948 and is now put out in book form to be more available for students of the history of science. The "natural philosophy" in (...) the title reflects the way in which the meaning of the term "philosophy" has changed over the past two centuries, for all the essays are devoted to science as we now know it, even as The Philosophical Magazine has itself become a journal now devoted mainly to solid-state physics. Thus a succession of chapters details the history of astronomy, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and engineering through the eighteenth century; other topics include the history of The Philosophical Magazine and histories of scientific periodicals generally, of scientific instruments, and of scientific societies throughout the same era. The concluding essay, by F. Sherwood Taylor, is entitled "The Teaching of the Physical Sciences at the End of the Eighteenth Century"; this is a well documented study of syllabi for courses taught in the universities, as well as an account of the educations received by men who figured prominently in eighteenth-century science. The essays, whose authors include such notables as Sir H. Spencer-Jones, Herbert Dingle, J. R. Partington, J. F. Scott, and Douglas McKie, are uniformly good. They will interest mainly historians of science for their detailed coverage of both internalist and externalist aspects of eighteenth-century thought. They will also appeal to philosophers, however, if only to remind them how their own discipline gave birth to the "new science," and indeed gave it a unity in its early stages that it would do well to recover in the present day.—W.A.W. (shrink)
--The energy of the new world, By E. E. Slosson.--The new energies and the new man, by W. D. Scott.--The future of our economic system, by F S. Deibler.--Business in the new era, by W. B. Hotchkiss.--Consumers in the modern world, by Stuart Chase.
In this international and interdisciplinary collection of critical essays, distinguished contributors examine a crucial premise of traditional readings of Plato's dialogues: that Plato's own doctrines and arguments can be read off the statements made in the dialogues by Socrates and other leading characters. The authors argue in general and with reference to specific dialogues, that no character should be taken to be Plato's mouthpiece. This is essential reading for students and scholars of Plato.
Natalie Davis is a quintessential storyteller in the way theorized by Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, and Michel de Certeau. Her work decenters history not simply because it grants agency and so historical visibility to those who have been hidden from history or left on its margins, but also because her stories reveal the complexities of human experience and so challenge the received categories with which we are accustomed to thinking about the world.
Historically, academic freedom is a concept aimed at resolving conflicts about the relationship between power and knowledge, politics and truth, action and thought by positing a sharp distinction between them, a distinction that has been difficult to maintain. This paper analyzes those tensions by looking at early statements of the founders of the American Association of University Professors , by exploring the paradoxes of disciplinary authority which at once guarantees and limits professorial autonomy, and by examining several cases in which (...) the question of the meaning of academic responsibility was in dispute. It argues that because the tensions are not susceptible to final resolution, the principle of academic freedom must be preserved in order to mediate them. (shrink)
Discussions on the distinction between philosophy and science are apt to seem rather futile and academic. They would quickly lose that character if they were thought to have any bearing on the question of social survival or decay. That they have such a bearing follows if the following considerations are true, and I think that they are: first, that amongst the conditions of a society’s survival an indispensable one is the prevalence within it of a certain vision of it; secondly, (...) that in its type this vision is akin to philosophy and not to science; and thirdly, that the due cultivation of it necessitates our being careful not to mistake its affiliations. (shrink)