In this thorough compendium, nineteen accomplished scholars explore, in some manner the values they find inherent in the world, their nature, and revelence through the thought of Frederick Ferré. These essays, informed by the insights of Ferré and coming from manifold perspectives—ethics, philosophy, theology, and environmental studies, advance an ambitious challenge to current intellectual and scholarly fashions.
In this thorough compendium, nineteen accomplished scholars explore, in some manner the values they find inherent in the world, their nature, and revelence through the thought of Frederick FerrZ. These essays, informed by the insights of FerrZ and coming from manifold perspectives—ethics, philosophy, theology, and environmental studies, advance an ambitious challenge to current intellectual and scholarly fashions.
From Hegel to Engels, Sartre and Ruyer (Ruyer, 1933), to name only a few, materialism is viewed as a necropolis, or the metaphysics befitting such an abode; many speak of matter’s crudeness, bruteness, coldness or stupidity. Science or scientism, on this view, reduces the living world to ‘dead matter’, ‘brutish’, ‘mechanical, lifeless matter’, thereby also stripping it of its freedom (Crocker, 1959). Materialism is often wrongly presented as ‘mechanistic materialism’ – with ‘Death of Nature’ echoes of de-humanization and hostility to (...) the Scientific Revolution (which knew nothing of materialism!), also a powerful Christian theme in Cudworth, Clarke and beyond (Overhoff, 2000). Here I challenge this view, building on some aspects of Israel’s Radical Enlightenment concept (Israel, 2001), which has been controversial but for my purposes is a useful claim about the dissemination of a home-grown Spinozism, sometimes reformulated as an ontology of the life sciences, an aspect Israel does not address (compare Secrétan et al., eds., 2007; Citton, 2006). First, I examine some ‘moments’ of radical Enlightenment materialism such as La Mettrie and Diderot (including his Encyclopédie entry “Spinosiste”), but also anonymous, clandestine texts such as L’Âme Matérielle, to emphasize their distinctive focus on the specific existence of organic beings. Second, I show how this ‘embodied’, non-mechanistic character of Enlightenment ‘vital materialism’ makes it different from other episodes, and perhaps more of an ethics than is usually thought (also via the figure of the materialist as ‘laughing philosopher’). Third, I reflect on what this implies for our image of the Enlightenment – no longer a Frankfurt School and/or Foucaldian vision of ‘discipline’, regimentation and order (as in Mayr, 1986) – but ‘vital’, without, conversely, being a kind of holist vitalism “at odds with the universalizing discourse of Encyclopedist materialism, with its insistence on the uniformity of nature and the universality of physical laws” (Williams, 2003): vital materialism is still materialism. Its ethics tends towards hedonism, but its most radical proponents (Diderot, La Mettrie and later Sade) disagree as to what this means. (shrink)
The common thread running through the logicism of Frege, Dedekind, and Russell is their opposition to the Kantian thesis that our knowledge of arithmetic rests on spatio-temporal intuition. Our critical exposition of the view proceeds by tracing its answers to three fundamental questions: What is the basis for our knowledge of the infinity of the numbers? How is arithmetic applicable to reality? Why is reasoning by induction justified?
Summary This article re-examines the political thought of the neglected Fabian essayist and radical journalist William Clarke. Historians have differed over the relative importance of socialism and liberalism in Clarke's political thought. The argument is made here that the key to Clarke's thought lies in his moralised conception of democracy, rooted in his monist ontology. The further deepening of democracy was threatened for Clarke by developments in monopolistic capitalism and the related emergence of a new imperialism. Clarke's understanding of (...) democracy, rather than more overtly economic considerations, lies at the heart of his political religion, and links his views on domestic and foreign affairs. As befits a philosophical monist, his political thought reveals the limitations of established dichotomies for grasping the character of progressivism in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain. (shrink)
In this paper, I contest increasingly common "realist" interpretations of Hegel's theory of "the concept" (der Begriff), offering instead a "isomorphic" conception of the relation of concepts and the world. The isomorphism recommended, however, is metaphysically deflationary, for I show how Hegel's conception of conceptual form creates a conceptually internal standard for the adequacy of concepts. No "sideways-on" theory of the concept-world relationship is envisioned. This standard of conceptual adequacy is also "graduated" in that it allows for a lack of (...) fit between concept and world. The possibility for a "maximally isomorphic" fit between concept and world obtains through the teleological realization of concepts, which marks especially the "artificial" world of human culture (law, art, religion, etc.). Some of the most seemingly exaggerated claims Hegel makes about the concept, I contend, can be understood when we consider the significance Hegel ascribes to human making, which is provided for in his conceptual theory. But my framework provides an interpretive key for the way Hegel sees concepts imperfectly realized in the natural world as well. (shrink)
It is worthwhile to search for forms of coding, processing, and learning common to various cortical regions and cognitive functions. Local cortical processors may coordinate their activity by maximizing the transmission of information coherently related to the context in which it occurs, thus forming synchronized population codes. This coordination involves contextual field (CF) connections that link processors within and between cortical regions. The effects of CF connections are distinguished from those mediating receptive field (RF) input; it is shown how CFs (...) can guide both learning and processing without becoming confused with the transmission of RF information. Simulations explore the capabilities of networks built from local processors with both RF and CF connections. Physiological evidence for synchronization, CFs, and plasticity of the RF and CF connections is described. Coordination via CFs is related to perceptual grouping, the effects of context on contrast sensitivity, amblyopia, implicit influences of color in achromotopsia, object and word perception, and the discovery of distal environmental variables and their interactions through self-organization. Cortical computation could thus involve the flexible evaluation of relations between input signals by locally specialized but adaptive processors whose activity is dynamically associated and coordinated within and between regions through specialized contextual connections. Key Words: cell assemblies; cerebral cortex; context; coordination; dynamic binding; epistemology; functional specialization; learning; neural coding; neural computation; neuropsychology; object recognition; perception; reading; self-organization; synaptic plasticity; synchronization. (shrink)
This essay clarifies Edmund Husserl's view of “pure” concepts, with a view to its contemporary metaphilosophical significance. It is argued that Husserl's conception of pure concepts is unique in that he allows overlap between pure and empirical concepts. This overlap leads to a potential for confusion between pure and empirical concepts which I label “amphiboly,” following Kant's use of the term. The essay begins by clarifying Husserl's view of the divergence in concept formation between empirical and pure concepts, and then (...) articulates the specific properties of pure concepts that allow an empirical overlap. These properties include the modality and range of the extension of the concepts, the ordering of objects under the concept, and the mental faculty required to identify an object under the concept. Once we see the source of amphiboly in Husserl's view, it can be observed that many concepts of interest to philosophy, even outside phenomenology proper, are potentially subject to amphibolous uses. Thus, Husserl's view can be a general hermeneutical resource for clarifying the nature of philosophical concepts. (shrink)
In the past, experts have disagreed about whether Samuel Clarke accepted the idea that gravity is a power superadded to matter by God. Most scholars now agree that Clarke did not support superaddition. But the argumentation employed by Clarke to reject superaddition has not been studied before in detail. In this paper, I explicate Clarke's argumentation by relating it to an important discussion about the possibility of superadded gravity in the Clarke-Collins correspondence. I examine Clarke's responses to Collins and draw (...) on his other works to reconstruct Clarke's reasons for rejecting superadded gravity. (shrink)
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has proposed substantial changes to the current regulatory system governing human subjects research in its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, entitled “Human Subjects Research Protections: Enhancing Protections for Research Subjects and Reducing Burden, Delay, and Ambiguity for Investigators.” Some of the most significant proposed changes concern the use of biospecimens in research. Because research involving biological materials begins with an initial interaction with an individual, such research falls squarely within the human subjects (...) research regulatory framework known as the “Common Rule,” which applies to research conducted or funded by the HHS and the other signatory agencies and departments. However, as described in detail below, much biospecimen research may fall within exemptions and exceptions under the Common Rule and, thus, may be conducted without consent. The ANPRM proposes requiring written consent for research use of biospecimens, even if the biospecimens were initially collected for a purpose other than research or have been stripped of identifiers. (shrink)
In 2002, Hugh Laddie lamented the “blind adherence to dogma” that had led to an apparent impasse in philosophical and practical discussions of intellectual property : “On the one side, the developed world side, there exists a lobby of those who believe that all IPRs [intellectual property rights] are good for business, benefit the public at large, and act as catalysts for technical progress. They believe and argue that, if IPRs are good, more IPRs must be better.”1 But “on the (...) other side”, he continued: “there exists a vociferous lobby of those who believe that IPRs are likely to cripple the development of local industry and technology, will harm the local population, and benefit none but the developed world. They believe and argue that, if IPRs are bad, the fewer the better.” Laddie recommended reforms designed to ensure that IPR development and enforcement would better serve the interests of developing countries. He hoped these reforms would provide an effective response to those who regard IPRs as “food for the rich countries and poison for the poor”.2. (shrink)
Answering important public health questions often requires collection of sensitive information about individuals. For example, our understanding of how HIV is transmitted and how to prevent it only came about with people's willingness to share information about their sexual and drug-using behaviors. Given the scientific need for sensitive, personal information, researchers have a corresponding ethical and legal obligation to maintain the confidentiality of data they collect and typically promise in consent forms to restrict access to it and not to publish (...) identifying data.The interests of others, however, can threaten researchers' promises of confidentiality when legal demands are made to access research data. In some cases, the subject of the litigation is tightly connected to the research questions, and litigants' interest in the data is not surprising. Researchers conducting studies on tobacco or occupational or other chemical exposures, for example, are relatively frequent targets of subpoenas. (shrink)
In this unique volume, some of today's most eminent political philosophers examine the thought of John Rawls, focusing in particular on his most recent work. These original essays explore diverse issues, including the problem of pluralism, the relationship between constitutive commitment and liberal institutions, just treatment of dissident minorities, the constitutional implications of liberalism, international relations, and the structure of international law. The first comprehensive study of Rawls's recent work, The Idea of Political Liberalism will be indispensable for political philosophers (...) and theorists interested in contemporary political thought. (shrink)
In this paper we provide a psychological account of the nature and development of explanation. We propose that an explanation is an account that provides a conceptual framework for a phenomenon that leads to a feeling of understanding in the reader/hearer. The explanatory conceptual framework goes beyond the original phenomenon, integrates diverse aspects of the world, and shows how the original phenomenon follows from the framework. We propose that explanations in everyday life are judged on the criteria of empirical accuracy, (...) scope, consistency, simplicity, and plausibility. We conclude that explanations in science are evaluated by the same criteria, plus those of precision, formalisms, and fruitfulness. We discuss several types of explanation that are used in everyday life – causal/mechanical, functional, and intentional. We present evidence to show that young children produce explanations that have the same essential form as those used by adults. We also provide evidence that children use the same evaluation criteria as adults, but may not apply those additional criteria for the evaluation of explanations that are used by scientists. (shrink)
This volume brings historians of science and social historians together to consider the role of "little tools"--such as tables, reports, questionnaires, dossiers, index cards--in establishing academic and bureaucratic claims to authority and objectivity. From at least the eighteenth century onward, our science and society have been planned, surveyed, examined, and judged according to particular techniques of collecting and storing knowledge. Recently, the seemingly self-evident nature of these mundane epistemic and administrative tools, as well as the prose in which they are (...) cast, has demanded historical examination. The essays gathered here, arranged in chronological order by subject from the late seventeenth to the late twentieth century, involve close readings of primary texts and analyses of academic and bureaucratic practices as parts of material culture. The first few essays, on the early modern period, largely point to the existence of a "juridico-theological" framework for establishing authority. Later essays demonstrate the eclipse of the role of authority per se in the modern period and the emergence of the notion of "objectivity." Most of the essays here concern the German cultural space as among the best exemplars of the academic and bureaucratic practices described above. The introduction to the volume, however, is framed at a general level the closing essays also extend the analyses beyond Germany to broader considerations on authority and objectivity in historical practice. The volume will interest scholars of European history and German studies as well as historians of science. Peter Becker is Professor of Central European History, European University Institute. WilliamClark is Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University. (shrink)
Large-scale sequencing tests, including whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing, are rapidly moving into clinical use. Sequencing is already being used clinically to identify therapeutic opportunities for cancer patients who have run out of conventional treatment options, to help diagnose children with puzzling neurodevelopmental conditions, and to clarify appropriate drug choices and dosing in individuals. To evaluate and support clinical applications of these technologies, the National Human Genome Research Institute and National Cancer Institute have funded studies on clinical and research sequencing under (...) the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research program as well as studies on return of results. Most of these studies use sequencing in real-world clinical settings and collect data on both the application of sequencing and the impact of receiving genomic findings on study participants. They are occurring in the context of controversy over how to obtain consent for exome and genome sequencing. (shrink)
The relationship between corporate executives and shareholders has riveted the attention of business ethicists since the inception of the field. Most ethicists agree that corporate executives owe their investors the duties of loyalty, candor, and care. These fiduciary duties undergird the promises made to shareholders at the time of incorporation, placing on executives moral obligations to engage in fair dealing and to avoid conflicts of interest.We concur that executives owe all of their existing shareholders both promise-keeping and fiduciary duties and (...) argue that some corporateexecutives violate these responsibilities by attempting to withhold information from or limit information to some shareholders while courting others. We analyze the ethical implications of six techniques and tools that executives use to attract certain types of shareholders while deterring others. We conclude with recommended structural and behavioral changes to these current managerial and investor practices. (shrink)