This article investigates the history of the relation between idealism and pragmatism by examining the importance of the French idealist Charles Renouvier for the development of William James's ‘Will to Believe’. By focusing on French idealism, we obtain a broader understanding of the kinds of idealism on offer in the nineteenth century. First, I show that Renouvier's unique methodological idealism led to distinctively pragmatist doctrines and that his theory of certitude and its connection to freedom is worthy of reconsideration. (...) Second, I argue that the technical vocabulary and main structure of the argument from the ‘Will to Believe’ depend upon Renouvier's idealist theory of knowledge and psychology of belief, and that taking account of this line of influence is of crucial importance for establishing the correct interpretation of James's work. (shrink)
is it possible to have a first-person experience of our own agency? In nineteenth-century France, this question was subject to intense philosophical debate. The two figures primarily associated with each side of the debate were Maine de Biran and Charles Renouvier. Biran developed powerful objections to Hume's arguments that purported to prove the impossibility of the experience of one's inner causal force. These objections were the match that lit this philosophical fire, and formed the foundation of the philosophy of the (...) French spiritualist school; a school that included Félix Ravaisson, Jules Lachelier, Émile Boutroux, and Henri Bergson.1... (shrink)
Although the Cambridge Professor of Mental Philosophy and Logic James Ward was once one of Britain's most highly regarded Psychologists and Philosophers, today his work is unjustly neglected. This is because his philosophy is frequently misrepresented as a reactionary anti-naturalistic idealist theism. In this article, I argue, first, that this reading is false, and that by viewing Ward through the lens of pragmatism we obtain a fresh interpretation of his work that highlights the scientific nature of his philosophy and his (...) original and promising theory of ‘evolutionary Kantianism’, with its applications to the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaphysics. Second, I show that reading Ward as a pragmatist provides us with (1) a more complex history of the reception of pragmatism at Cambridge at the turn of the twentieth century than the straightforwardly hostile one traditionally told; and (2) a more detailed understanding of the wide range of philosophical problems to which pragmatism was deemed at this time to have an appropriate application. (shrink)
v. 1. William and Henry, 1861-1884 -- v. 2. William and Henry, 1885-1896 -- v. 3. William and Henry, 1897-1910 -- v. 4. 1856-1877 -- v. 5. 1878-1884 -- v. 6. 1885-1889 -- v. 7. 1890-1894 -- v. 8. 1895-June 1899 -- v. 9. July 1899-1901 -- v. 10. 1902-March 1905 -- v. 11. April 1905-March 1908 -- v. 12. April 1908-August 1910.
This collection is a festschrift prepared for Williams on his retirement from the White’s Professorship of Moral Philosophy at Oxford. The topics covered include equality, consistency, comparison between science and ethics, integrity, moral reasons, the moral system, and moral knowledge. Most of the chapters combine exegetical and critical ambitions. With contributions by J. E. J. Altham, Jon Elster, Nicholas Jardine, Ross Harrison, Christopher Hookway, John McDowell, Martin Hollis, Martha Nussbaum, Amartya Sen, and Charles Taylor, and replies by Bernard Williams.
Academic debate on the strategic importance of women corporate directors is widely recognized and still open. However, most corporate boards have only one woman director or a small minority of women directors. Therefore they can still be considered as tokens. This article addresses the following question: does an increased number of women corporate boards result in a build up of critical mass that substantially contributes to firm innovation? The aim is to test if ‘at least three women’ could constitute the (...) desired critical mass by identifying different minorities of women directors (one woman, two women and at least three women). Tests are conducted on a sample of 317 Norwegian firms. The results suggest that attaining critical mass – going from one or two women (a few tokens) to at least three women (consistent minority) – makes it possible to enhance the level of firm innovation. Moreover, the results show that the relationship between the critical mass of women directors and the level of firm innovation is mediated by board strategic tasks. Implications for both theory and practice, and future research directions are discussed. (shrink)
In his introduction to this collection, John representative. McDermott presents James's thinking in all its manifestations, stressing the importance of radical empiricism and placing into perspective the doctrines of pragmatism and the will to believe. The critical periods of James's life are highlighted to illuminate the development of his philosophical and psychological thought. The anthology features representive selections from The Principles of Psychology, The Will to Believe , and The Variety of Religious Experience in addition to the complete Essays in (...) Radical Empiricism and A Pluralistic Universe . The original 1907 edition of Pragmatism is included, as well as classic selections from all of James's other major works. Of particular significance for James scholarship is the supplemented version of Ralph Barton Perry's Annotated Bibliography of the Writings of William James , with additions bringing it up to 1976. (shrink)
Beliefs are freely attributed to God nowadays in Anglo–American philosophical theology. This practice undoubtedly reflects the twentieth–century popularity of the view that knowledge consists of true justified belief . The connection is frequently made explicit. If knowledge is true justified belief then whatever God knows He believes. It would seem that much recent talk of divine beliefs stems from Nelson Pike's widely discussed article, ‘Divine Omniscience and Voluntary Action’. In this essay Pike develops a version of the classic argument for (...) the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and free will in terms of divine forebelief. He introduces this shift by premising that ‘ A knows X ’ entails ‘A believes X ’. As a result of all this, philosophers have increasingly been using the concept of belief in defining ‘omniscience’. (shrink)
That law is coercive is something we all more or less take for granted. It is an assumption so rooted in our ways of thinking that it is taken as a given of social reality, an uncontroversial datum. Because it is so regarded, it is infrequently stated, and when it is, it is stated without any hint of possible complications or qualifications. I will call this the “prereflective view,” and I want to examine it with the care it deserves.
We present results from a study about women and employee-elected board members, and fill some of the gaps in the literature about their contribution to board effectiveness. The empirical data are from a unique data set of Norwegian firms. Board effectiveness is evaluated in relation to board control tasks, including board corporate social responsibility (CSR) involvement. We found that the contributions of women and employee-elected board members varied depending on the board tasks studied. In the article we also explored the (...) effects of the esteem of the women and employee-elected board members, and we used creative discussions in the boardroom as a mediating variable. Previous board research, including research about women and employee-elected directors, questions if the board members contribute to board effectiveness. The main message from this study is that it may be more important to ask how, rather than if, women and employee-elected board members contribute, and we need to open the black box of actual board behavior to explore how they may contribute. (shrink)
Scott Williams’s Latin Social model of the Trinity holds that the trinitarian persons have between them a single set of divine mental powers and a single set of divine mental acts. He claims, nevertheless, that on his view the persons are able to use indexical pronouns such as “I.” This claim is examined and is found to be mistaken.
Recently, the work of philosopher-psychologist William James has undergone something of a renaissance. In this contribution to the trend, William Gavin argues that James's plea for the "reinstatement of the vague" to its proper place in our experience should be regarded as a seminal metaphor for his thought in general. The concept of vagueness applies to areas of human experience not captured by facts that can be scientifically determined nor by ideas that can be formulated in words. In (...) areas as seemingly diverse as psychology, religion, language, and metaphysics, James continually highlights the importance of the ambiguous, the contextual, the pluralistic, or the uncertain over the foundational. Indeed, observes the author, only in a vague unfinished world can the human self, fragile as it is, have the possibility of making a difference or exercising the will to believe. Taking James's plea seriously, Gavin traces the idea of the vague beyond the philosopher's own texts. In "conversations" with other philosophers--including Peirce, Marx, Dewey, and, to a lesser extent, Rorty and Derrida--the author shows that a version of James's position is central to their thought. Finally, Gavin looks for the pragmatic upshot of James's plea, reaffirming the importance of the vague in two concrete areas: the doctor-patient relationship in medicine and the creation and experiencing of modern art. In conclusion, Gavin argues that James's work is itself vague, in a positive sense, and that as such it functions as a "spur" to the reader. (shrink)
It is perhaps no exaggeration to suggest that all of what is intrinsically human experience is grounded in its shared nature. Joint attention to objects and events in the world provides the initial means whereby infants can start to share experiences with others and negotiate shared meanings. It provides a context for the development of both knowledge about the world and about others as experiencers. It plays a central role in the development of the young child's understanding of both the (...) social and nonsocial worlds and in the development of the communicative interplay between child and adult. The first devoted to this important topic, this volume explores how joint attention first arises, its developmental course, its role in communication and social understanding, and the ways in which disruptions in joint attention may be implicated in a variety of forms of abnormal development including autism. (from Amazon). (shrink)
In The City of God , XI, 10, St Augustine claims that the divine nature is simple because ‘it is what it has’ . We may take this as a slogan for the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity , a doctrine which finds its way into orthodox medieval Christian theological speculation. Like the doctrine of God's timeless eternality, the DDS has seemed obvious and pious to many, and incoherent, misguided, and repugnant to others. Unlike the doctrine of God's timeless eternality, the (...) DDS has received very little critical attention. The DDS did not originate with Augustine, but I am not primarily concerned with its pedigree. Nor am I concerned to ask how the doctrine interacts with trinitarian speculation. I will have my hands full as it is. In Section I of this paper I shall provide a rough characterization of the DDS, indicate its complexity, and focus on a particular aspect of the doctrine which will exercise us in the remainder of the paper, namely, the thesis that the divine attributes are all identical with each other and with God. In section n I shall discuss Alvin Plantinga's recent objections to Aquinas' version of the DDS. I shall then offer a more detailed presentation of what I take to be Aquinas' version , and recast it in terms of a theory of attributes which is significantly different from Plantinga's . Although the recasting of the doctrine will enable me to rebut Plantinga's objections , it by no means solves all the problems of the DDS. In section vi I shall discuss the chief lingering problem facing a defender of the DDS. (shrink)
During the past few decades a growing interest in what is often called the ‘Kyoto School’ of philosophy has evidenced itself here and there in the West, especially in discussions of comparative religious thought and in the pages of journals which are sensitive, in the post-colonial world, to the value of giving attention to contemporary thought that originates outside the Anglo-American and continental contexts. What has made the so-called Kyoto School especially interesting is the fact that those thinkers identified with (...) it obviously possess a wide acquaintance with Western thought but also have a programme of clarifying points at which they, as Japanese philosophers, find Western philosophy either in sum or in its parts inadequate or objectionable. Moreover, inasmuch as the philosophers of the Kyoto School have deliberately reached back into the Mahayana Buddhist component in Japanese civilization in order to find terms, perspectives, and even foundations for their own analyses and constructions, Western students of comparative religion and comparative thought have in the study of this school a unique aperture for observing how a group of thinkers, while sharing modernity and its problems with us, reates both of these to a religious tradition which is in many ways strikingly different from that of the West. (shrink)
In this paper I propose to examine the cognitive status of mystical experience. There are, I think, three distinct but overlapping sorts of religious experience. In the first place, there are two kinds of mystical experience. The extrovertive or nature mystic identifies himself with a world which is both transfigured and one. The introvertive mystic withdraws from the world and, after stripping the mind of concepts and images, experiences union with something which can be described as an undifferentiated unity. Introvertive (...) mysticism is a more important phenomenon than extrovertive mysticism. Numinous experiences are complex experiences involving dread, awe, wonder, and fascination. One finds oneself confronted with something which is radically unlike ordinary objects. Before its overwhelming majesty and power, one is nothing but dust and ashes. In contrasting oneself with its uncanny beauty and goodness, one experiences one's own uncleanness and ugliness. The experiences bound up with the devotional life of the ordinary believer are also religious in character. Nevertheless these more ordinary experiences should, I think, be distinguished both from numinous experiences and from mystical experiences, for they do not appear to involve the sense of immediate presence which characterises the latter. (shrink)
One of the most influential analytic philosophers of the late twentieth century, William P. Alston is a leading light in epistemology, philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of language. In this volume, twelve leading philosophers critically discuss the central topics of his work in these areas, including perception, epistemic circularity, justification, the problem of religious diversity, and truth.
Donald Davidson notoriously rejected ‘metaphorical meaning’ and denied the existence of linguistic mechanisms by which metaphorical significance is conveyed. He contended that the meanings metaphorical sentences have are just their literal meanings, though metaphorical utterances may brute-causally have important cognitive effects. Contrastingly, John Searle offers a Gricean account of metaphor as an elaborated kind of implicature, and defends metaphorical meaning as speaker-meaning. Each of those positions is subject to very telling objections from the other's point of view. This paper proposes (...) a synthesis that combines the respective virtues of Davidson's and Searle's accounts and avoids all the objections to each. (shrink)
This essay focuses on what I shall call “cosmopolitan altruism”—the motivationally effective desire to assist needy or endangered strangers. Section I describes recent research that confirms the existence of this phenomenon. Section II places it within interlocking sets of moral typologies that distinguish among forms of altruism along dimensions of scope, interests risked, motivational source, and baseline of moral judgment. Section III explores some of the relationships between altruism—a concept rooted in modern moral philosophy and Christianity—and the understanding of virtue (...) and friendship characteristic of Aristotelian ethical analysis. Finally, Section IV argues that cosmopolitan altruism does not represent moral progress simpliciter over other, less inclusive views, and that the widening of moral sympathy to encompass endangered strangers entails significant moral costs. (shrink)
The Essential William James covers the primary topics for which James is still closely studied: the nature of experience, the functions of the mind, the criteria for knowledge, the definition of “truth,” the ethical life, and the religious life. His notable terms, still resonating in their respective fields, are all covered here, from “stream of consciousness” and “pure experience” to the “will to believe,” the “cash-value of truth,” and the distinction between the religiously “healthy soul” and the “sick soul.” (...) This volume’s eighteen selections receive the bulk of the attention and citation from scholars, provide excellent coverage of core topics, and have a broad appeal across many academic disciplines. (shrink)