Martin Luther King’s primary emphasis was upon ‘beloved community,’ a phrase he borrowed from Royce, but an idea that he shared with St. Augustine. Theories of the state tend to focus upon division, in which one stratum dominates another or others. King’s context is the US in the segregated South—a region whose internal divisions sharply instantiate the idea of the state as an unequal hierarchy of dominance. King’s appeal was less to end black subjugation than to end (...) subjugation as such. Hence King was called by some a ‘dreamer,’ given his background commitment to equality and community, ideals taking marginal precedence over his foreground commitment to liberty and autonomy. This article explores the notion of ‘beloved community’ broadly and then specifically in Martin Luther King along with related notions in Howard Thurman and in Josiah Royce. (shrink)
My interest here is in the way Leo Strauss and his followers, the Straussians, have dealt with race and rights, race and slavery in the history of the United States. I want, first, to assess Leo Strauss's rather ambivalent attitude toward America and explore the various ways that his followers have in turn analyzed the Lockean underpinnings of the American “regime,” sometimes in contradistinction to Strauss's views on the topic. With that established, I turn to the account, particularly that offered (...) by Harry Jaffa, of how slavery and race comported—or did not—with the Straussian account of the political foundations of the new nation and how latter-day followers of Strauss have dealt with the persisting topic of race and racism in America. Overall, I want to make two large points. First, the Straussian commitment to superhistorical standards provides the Straussians with a moral perspective on slavery, race, and racism. Second, though race and slavery have been less than central among the concerns of most followers of Strauss, the contributions of Jaffa and others have significantly shaped the present American conservative position on race, including the idea of color-blindness. (shrink)
It is tempting to think that we have heard just about all we want or need to know about race. As the above quotes indicate, modern notions of race have always revolved around the faculty of vision, with supplementary contributions from other senses such as hearing, as Arendt notes in a tacit allusion to one mark of Jewish difference—the way they sounded when concentrated in urban settings. Yet two very recent works—Mark M. Smith's How Race Is Made and Anne C. (...) Rose's Psychology and Selfhood in the Segregated South —have much to teach us about how race has “worked”, particularly in the twentieth-century South but also, by implication, in the United States in general. Both works assume that, historically, race is no mere add-on to the self, a kind of externality that, once detected, can be relatively easily excised. Rather, it stands right at the heart of personal and group identity in a nation where race and ethnicity continue to assume surprising new shapes and forms. (shrink)
The linguistic expression of religious experience is problematic for both the experiencer and the philospher. For instance: is the religious experience nonverbal, i.e. does it utterly transcend all words, concepts, and thought? Or is it ineffable – not amenable to verbal expression? In either case, what can one make of all the talk and writings of those who do report religious experiences? The frequent references to ineffability, transcendence of thought and the like, lead one to wonder if the experiencers themselves (...) are not dis-satisfied with these expressions. If this is indeed the case, what is it about these expressions that produces this dissatisfaction? Are some expressions better suited to the experience than others? (shrink)
In the continuing dialogue between Western philosophy and the Christian religion, the central issue has generally been the existence of God. There has however been a discernible shift in the focus of the discussion in recent years. Rather than the existence of God, the issue now seems to be the concept of God. It is increasingly argued by philosophers critical of religion that the concept of God is basically incoherent, and that therefore the question of God's existence or non-existence does (...) not even arise. What cannot be conceived is not even a possible object of faith. (shrink)
The event that King Kuai of Yan demised the crown to his premier Zizhi, is a tentative way of political power transmission happened in the social transforming Warring States Period, which was influenced by the popular theory of Yao and Shun’s demise of that time. However, this tentative was obviously a failure, coming under attacks from all Confucian, Taoist and Legalist scholars. We may understand the development of the thinking concerning the issue of political legitimacy during the Warring States (...) Period by analyzing the different commentaries by different schools on this unusual event, and get some beneficial inspirations. (shrink)
William King's De Origine Mali contains an interesting, sophisticated, and original account of free will. King finds 'necessitarian' theories of freedom, such as those advocated by Hobbes and Locke, inadequate, but argues that standard versions of libertarianism commit one to the claim that free will is a faculty for going wrong. On such views, free will is something we would be better off without. King argues that both problems can be avoided by holding that we confer value (...) on objects by valuing them. Such a view secures sourcehood and alternative possibilities while denying that free will is simply a capacity to choose contrary to our best judgment. This theory escapes all of the objections levelled against it by Leibniz and also has interesting consequences for ethics: although constructed within a eudaimonist framework, King's theory gives rise to a very strong moral requirement of respect for individual self-determination. (shrink)
This article presents the political theology of Martin Luther King. I analyze the notion of political theology, King's argumentation in favour of non-violence strategy in politics and reconstruct a standard model of non-violence action. Finally, I discuss some philosophical and political controversies arising around passive resistance.
The aim of this paper is to defend a famous quotation from Martin Luther King, stating that “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The quotation is inscribed on the King Memorial in Washington, D.C. and President Obama had it woven into a rug for the Oval Office in the White House. The quotation has become something of a contemporary proverb, and is certainly worthy of our close attention. In order to evaluate (...) the dictum, questions concerning its meaning will first be addressed and clarified, and various possible misinterpretations will be set aside. It will be argued that the appeal, and an effective defense of this moral claim, depend upon the pre-existing values of the people to whom the claim is addressed. The dictum is clearly intended to support hopes of social change and to encourage support for ideals of racial equality, but we want to know whether it is true or false and exactly what it means. King’s dictum can easily be taken as involving a doctrine of “divine Providence” or “historical inevitability.” But many are skeptical of these ideas and hold that we cannot be sure that the future will eventuate in desired moral outcomes. But, if so, what would it possibly mean to claim that the “moral universe” or the human world “bends toward justice”? On the other hand, holding that the moral universe “bends toward justice” claims more than saying that we can now act or organize to support justice; instead, it tells us that there is some pre-existing support for our related activities. What, then, is this pre-existing bend of the moral universe? (shrink)
Using the 1991 police beating of Rodney King as case study, this paper draws on Husserlian phenomenology to establish a coherentist account of knowledge as situated with respect to its concrete circumstances of production (e.g., social, cultural, historical, political). I take as my point of departure Gail Weiss's phenomenological investigation into the jury's assessment of evidence in the "Rodney King incident," and in particular, her interest in Husserl's conception of the "horizon" as a structure of consciousness that mediates (...) what is present in perceptual awareness. Making use of Anthony Steinbock's work on Husserlian phenomenological method — drawn from his extensive study of Husserl's unpublished manuscripts — I develop an epistemological framework that treats knowledge claims as inextricably bound to the horizons of meaning from which they arise, and provides standards of epistemic responsibility pertaining to an agent's "framing" of evidence. (shrink)
Helen Dean King's scientific work focused on inbreeding using experimental data collected from standardized laboratory rats to elucidate problems in human heredity. The meticulous care with which she carried on her inbreeding experiments assured that her results were dependable and her theoretical explanations credible. By using her nearly homozygous rats as desired commodities, she also was granted access to venues and people otherwise unavailable to her as a woman. King's scientific career was made possible through her life experiences. (...) She earned a doctorate from Bryn Mawr College under Thomas Hunt Morgan and spent a productive career at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology in Philadelphia where she had access to the experimental subjects which made her career possible. In this paper I examine King's work on inbreeding, her participation in the debates over eugenics, her position at the Wistar Institute, her status as a woman working with mostly male scientists, and her involvement with popular science. (shrink)
Martin Luther King, Jr., has been widely studied as a preacher, an activist, and an orator, but rarely as an intellectual. This groundbreaking book situates King as one of the most important social and political philosophers of our time, arguing that King's systematic logic of nonviolence is at the same time radically new and deeply rooted in African American intellectual history. Presenting a comprehensive genealogy of King's thought, Moses traces the influence of key African American thinkers (...) and shows how King's concepts of equality, structure, direct action, love, and justice can be seen as strands of a coherent philosophical whole. [As of Feb. 2014 the author has secured reversion of copyright from the publisher.]. (shrink)
Contrary to common belief, Martin Luther King, Jr. does not refute the right to violence. Yet in situations where a right to violence would obtain, King chooses nonviolence. While King's renunciation is often articulated in terms of ideal obligations to transcendent principles, this study makes the case that nonviolence may be preferred for material effects. In fact, King often articulated the case for nonviolence in two modes: the better known transcendental mode and the lesser studied material (...) mode, what is here termed his pacifist materialism. (shrink)
Stephen Yablo has argued for metaontological antirealism: he believes that the sentences claiming or denying the existence of numbers (or other abstract entities or mereological sums) are inapt for truth valuation, because the reference failure of a numerical singular term (or a singular term for an abstract entity or a mereological sum) would not produce a truth value gap in any sentence containing that term. At the same time, Yablo believes that nothing similar applies to singular terms that aim to (...) refer to an entity whose existence or non-existence is a factual matter, e.g. ‘the king of France’: the failure of the presupposition that there is a unique French king makes some sentences with the term ‘the king of France’, in particular “The king of France is bald”, gappy. In this paper I will show that the sentence “The king of France is bald” must be false, and not gappy, according to Yablo’s own criteria and that, furthermore, the presupposition that the term ‘the king of France’ refers presents a fail-safe mechanism in the same way Yablo thinks abstract presuppositions do—this undermines his argument for metaontological antirealism. (shrink)
A modified version of Michael Gorman's comments on Peter King’s paper at the 2004 Henle Conference. Above all, an account of Augustine’s purposes in discussing Neoplatonism in Confessions VII, showing why Augustine does not tell us certain things we wish he would. In my commentary I will address the following topics: (i) what it means to speak of the philosophically interesting points in Augustine; (ii) whether Confessions VII is really about the Trinity; (iii) Augustine‘s intentions in Confessions VII; (iv) (...)King‘s hypostatic interpretation‖;(v) Christology. (shrink)
Why do minority groups tend to be discriminated against when it comes to situations of bargaining and resource division? In this paper, I explore an explanation for this disadvantage that appeals solely to the dynamics of social interaction between minority and majority groups---the cultural Red King effect. As I show, in agent-based models of bargaining between groups, the minority group will tend to get less as a direct result of the fact that they frequently interact with majority group members, (...) while majority group members meet them only rarely. This effect is strengthened by certain psychological phenomenon---risk aversion and in-group preference---is robust on network models, and is strengthened in cases where pre-existing norms are discriminatory. I will also discuss how this effect unifies previous results on the impacts of institutional memory on bargaining between groups. (shrink)
The Nature and Structure of Content is a lucid, stimulating and occasionally frustrating book about the metaphysics of propositions. King is a realist about propositions, and he assumes throughout that a viable theory must individuate them more finely than sets of possible worlds. His aim in the first three chapters is to motivate an account in which propositions have constituent structure, akin to and dependent on the structure of the sentences that express them. The following chapters defend the use (...) of propositions in semantics against a variety of objections, and in the seventh and final chapter King presents a new solution to the old paradox of analysis. With little exception, the arguments in these later chapters are rigorous and compelling, but being largely independent of the account developed in the preceding chapters, the book feels somewhat disjointed. Here I pass over these provocative vignettes to deal with the main action, the account of propositions.According to tradition, propositions are things expressed by declarative sentences, bearers of alethic and modal properties, and objects of belief and other psychological attitudes. The idea that propositions have constituent structure, mirroring somehow the sentences that express them, comes down to us from Frege . More recently, the idea has been adopted by Kaplan and figures prominently in ‘Russellian’ semantic theories of Salmon , Soames and others. The big debate in recent philosophy of language focuses on the identity of propositional constituents: are they senses, as in Frege? Or the things linguistic expressions designate, as in Russellian theories? Though his sympathies plainly lie with the Russellians, King remains officially neutral on this dispute, focusing instead on the question of structure itself.Structured propositions are often represented as …. (shrink)
Solomon, the legend goes, had a magic ring which enabled him to speak to the animals in their own language. Konrad Lorenz was gifted with a similar power of understanding the animal world. He was that rare beast, a brilliant scientist who could write beautifully. He did more than any other person to establish and popularize the study of how animals behave, receiving a Nobel Prize for his work. King Solomon's Ring , the book which brought him worldwide recognition, (...) is a delightful treasury of observations and insights into the lives of all sorts of creatures, from jackdaws and water-shrews to dogs, cats and even wolves. Charmingly illustrated by Lorenz himself, this book is a wonderfully written introduction to the world of our furred and feathered friends, a world which often provides an uncanny resemblance to our own. A must for any animal-lover! (shrink)
Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita contains two sharply argumented critiques of the non-Buddhists’ self: one against Arāḍa Kālāma’s (proto-)Sāṅkhya version of the ātman in Canto 12, and one of a more general import in Canto 16. Close scrutiny of the latter?s narrative environment reveals Aśvaghoṣa’s indebtedness, in both contents and wording, to either a Mahāsāṅghika(/Lokottaravādin) or—much more plausibly—a (Mūla)sarvāstivāda account of the events that saw the Buddha preach selflessness to King Bimbasāra and his Magadhan subjects. Besides hinting at this genetic relationship, the (...) present essay aims at exhibiting the structure and contents of Aśvaghoṣa’s arguments against the self, some of which can pride themselves of a long posterity in the controversy over the self. (shrink)
In this response to essays by Barbara J. King, Gregory R. Peterson, Wesley J. Wildman, and Nancy R. Howell, I present arguments to counter some of the exciting and challenging questions from my colleagues. I take the opportunity to restate my argument for an interdisciplinary public theology, and by further developing the notion of transversality I argue for the specificity of the emerging theological dialogue with paleoanthropology and primatology. By arguing for a hermeneutics of the body, I respond to (...) criticism of my notion of human uniqueness and argue for strong evolutionary continuities, as well as significant discontinuities, between primates, humans, and other hominids. In addition, I answer critical questions about theological methodology and argue how the notion of human uniqueness, theologically restated as the image of God, is enriched by transversally appropriating scientific notions of species specificity and embodied personhood. (shrink)
In “Moral Disagreement and Moral Expertise”, I offer an argument for the conclusion that our controversial moral beliefs do not amount to knowledge. In this paper, I defend that argument against the criticisms put forth by Nathan King in his “McGrath on Moral Knowledge.”.
Much attention has been devoted in recent years to the personal idealism of Martin Luther King, Jr. Among the major contributors to the scholarship in this area is Rufus Burrow, Jr., who places King firmly in the tradition of personal idealism, or personalism, while also uncovering the intellectual unease that made King both a deep and creative thinker and a committed and effective social activist.1 Clearly, Burrow's own sense of his role as a personalist informs his approach (...) to the life and thought of King. Although philosophical personalism figures prominently in Burrow's treatment of King in his writings, ethical and social personalism provides the primary theoretical framework for both Burrow's exploration of .. (shrink)
One could accuse me here of making a big deal and a whole history out of words and gestures that remain very clear. When Madame de Mainternon says that the King takes her time, it is because she is glad to give it to him and takes pleasure from it: the King takes nothing from her and gives her as much as he takes. And when she says, “I give the rest to Saint-Cyr, to whom I would like (...) to give all,” she is confiding in her correspondent about a daily economy concerning the leisures and charities, the works and days of a “grande dame” somewhat overwhelmed by her obligations. None of the words she writes has the sense of the unthinkable and the impossible toward which my reading would have pulled them, in the direction of giving-taking, of time and the rest. She did not mean to say that, you will say.What if … yes she did [Et si].And if what she wrote meant to say that, then what would that suppose? How, where, on the basis of what and when can we read this letter fragment as I have done? How could we even hijack it as I have done, while still respecting its literality and its language? End of the epigraph. Jacques Derrida is Directeur d’Études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and professor of French, University of California, Irvine. In the past year, he has published Le Problème de la genèse chez Husserl , Mémoires d’aveugle, l’autoportrait et autres ruines , L’Autre Cap , and Circonfession in Jacques Derrida, with Geoffrey Bennington . Peggy Kamuf is professor of French at the University of Southern California and Directeur de Programme, Collège International de Philosophie in Paris. She is the author of Signature Pieces: On the Institution of Authorship and most recently has edited A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds. (shrink)
Although the influence of Royce on King’s conception of the beloved community is contested, scholars readily concede that Royce’s ideas exerted, as Rufus Burrow puts it, “at least an indirect influence on King’s socioethical thought.” The African American experience altered significantly if not decisively the socioethical trajectory of this trope – namely, “the beloved community” – within the history of philosophy and theology in America. Admittedly, Royce’s philosophical speculations on “the beloved community” and “loyalty to loyalty” can sometimes (...) seem quite remote from, e.g., Thurman’s work with the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco or King’s activist-advocacy work with the civil rights... (shrink)
Hobbes in Leviathan, chapter xv, 4, makes the startling claim: “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘there is no such thing as justice,’” paraphrasing Psalm 52:1: “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God.” These are charges of which Hobbes himself could stand accused. His parable of the fool is about the exchange of obedience for protection, the backslider, regime change, and the tyrant; but given that Hobbes was himself likely an oath-breaker, it is also self-reflexive (...) and self-justificatory. For, Hobbes’s fool is not a windbag, or one of the dumb mob, led astray by priests. He is, in the terminology of Psalm 52, an insipiens, a madman or raving lunatic, whose rebellion against God the King is his own destruction and that of his people. A long iconographic tradition portraying the fool as insipiens, Antichrist, heretical impostor and tyrant king, was at Hobbes’s disposal. (shrink)
In the Mengzi there is a hypothetical situation relating how the ancient sage-king Shun 舜 would respond if his father had committed murder. This has recently become a source of debate among Chinese philosophers. Here we will apply arguments made by Johannes de silentio (Kierkegaard's pseudonym) about the “teleological suspension of the ethical” related to the action of the biblical Abraham, and link them up to alternative interpretations of the actions of Shun. This challenges the current and traditional interpretations (...) of his actions, suggesting how this new approach can overcome ethical quandaries related to the Mengzian account of Shun's behavior. (shrink)
s argument for the claim that social relations have to be conceived of as primary and main ontological category for an adequate analysis of the social realm. The author shows that King ’s arguments do not succeed in fully replacing the categories of agency and structure that are pervasive in contemporary social theory. At most, King succeeds in delineating a neglected area of social theory, something that should be taken into account in addition to structure and agency. Key (...) Words: social ontology • rules • agency • structure • hermeneutics. (shrink)
In a recent number of this journal there appeared an article by Niall Shanks and John King-Farlow on the theory of radical interpretation as developed by Donald Davidson. In that paper Davidson was presented as an opponent of “metaphysical openness in general [and] … idealism in particular” and as a philosopher who has “sought to silence all philosophically challenging talk both about the ordinary speaker’s systematic errors and about the claims of revisionary metaphysicians such as phenomenalists or absolute idealists.” (...) I suspect that Davidson would be somewhat surprised by this description of himself. He might also wonder just what it means to be an “opponent of metaphysical openness in general.” Like any other philosopher, Davidson has his own views on matters philosophical; and, like other philosophers, he criticizes what he sees as false or mistaken in the views of others. One cannot help but suspect that what Davidson’s opposition to “metaphysical openness” really comes down to is his criticism of views associated with idealism. (shrink)
In the Republic Plato holds that the philosopher must frequently glance in two directions: at ideal justice and at that justice which he can help to reproduce in this world. Philosophers have traditionally had trouble moving from the former to the latter glance; men of action have traditionally neglected the former glance altogether. King was by no means a great philosopher; nonetheless his enormous success at making our world a more just place—because of his vision of ideal justice—reminds us (...) of Plato’s description. Further, this vision depended just as heavily, we are told, on philosophy as theology. (shrink)
In this article, I explicate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s account of emancipatory history and activism by examining the influence of G. W. F. Hegel’s account of world-historical individuals on his thought. Both thinkers, I argue, affirm that history’s spiritual destiny works through individuals who are driven by the contingencies of their subjective character and given situation to undertake particular actions, and yet who nevertheless freely and decisively break the new from the old by forsaking subjective satisfaction to spur events (...) forward to a more rational state of affairs. This synthetic unity of abstract freedom and concrete embodiment reflects the ‘civil war’ between the universal and infinite essence, and particular and finite passions, that King and Hegel identify as equally constitutive of human will. Through an examination of King’s account of Rosa Parks’ pivotal arrest, I develop the consequences of this ‘Hegelian’ view for our understanding of political action and historical progress. (shrink)
Dark comedies invite us to laugh at something which is, at least ostensibly, not funny at all. They take an act or event that would, under most descriptions or presentations, invite pity or anger, and give it characteristics that invite amusement. It is essential to the humour of the kidnapping in The King of Comedy that it is a kidnapping. The immorality of this event is crucial to its humour.
This essay studies an argumentative practice in eighteenth-century France by exploring the persuasiveness of some petitions to obtain printer licences. Those who wanted to enter the printing business in eighteenth-century France had to obtain licences from the King to do so. The French government had established limits to the number of printers it would permit to operate in the realm; hence, there was competition for any vacancy that became open. Thus, the context is that of trained printers in provincial (...) towns, most of them with their own printing equipment, applying to the government in Paris for the highly valued licences to run printing businesses. We examine a small number of the original petitions and give an account of their persuasive capacity by (a) noticing the narrative character of the letters and (b) distinguishing between propositional and affective attitudes. Our view is that a reconstruction of the petitions as reasonable persuasive discourse is possible when it is noticed how the two kinds of attitudes can be combined to promote the same end. (shrink)
James K. A. Smith’s book Awaiting the King interrogates the religious nature of contemporary politics and the political nature of Christian practice, and in doing so draws Augustine out of the ivory tower to which many have confined him, putting the late-antique theologian into a conversation with a host of contemporary voices.
King assumed that exodus is an archetypal experience; it supplied him with the metaphorical language for interpreting the black experience in America—but always with agape informing his interpretation at every point along the way.
I remember the first time that I heard James Cone's voice. A well-established, white scholar had just given what I thought to be a solid presentation on Martin Luther King Jr.'s notion of the "beloved community." When he had finished, Cone was one of the first to speak in the question and answer period. His strong tenor was piercing: "You can't talk about the dream, if you're not going to talk about the nightmare." He went on to clarify his (...) worry that the heart of King's message was too often lost when white scholars failed to put his thought in the context of the history and reality of the oppression of and violence against blacks in America. I have become afraid that my own thinking and writing about King's... (shrink)
"This is a strong and sophisticated treatment of Martin Luther King, Jr., that makes an important contribution. It reflects Burrow's immense knowledge of personalist philosophy and the thought of King." —Gary Dorrien, Reinhold Niebuhr Chair of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary "This scholarly, courageous, insightful work, which fuses so successfully King's academic career with his heritage from the Black Church, is a much needed addition to Martin Luther King studies and breaks new ground for all of (...) us who pursue truth of the 'whole' King. No book more clearly illustrates how pervasive an influence the philosophy of personalism was on King's life and thought. It is an obligatory read." —Ira G. Zepp, Jr., Professor Emeritus, McDaniel College Although countless books have been devoted to the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., few, if any, have focused on King's appropriation of, and contribution to, the intellectual tradition of personalism. Burrow argues that King's adoption of personalism represented the fusion of his black Christian faith and his commitment not only to the social gospel of Walter Rauschenbusch, but most especially to the social gospel practiced by his grandfather, his father, and black preacher-scholars at Morehouse College. Burrow devotes much-needed attention both to King's conviction that the universe is value-infused and to the implications of this ideology for King's views on human dignity and his concept of the "Beloved Community." Burrow also sheds light on King’s doctrine of God. He contends that King's view of God has been uncritically and erroneously relegated by black liberation theologians to the general category of "theistic absolutism" and he offers corrections to what he believes are misinterpretations of this and other aspects of King’s thought. He concludes with an application of King’s personalism to present-day social problems, particularly as they pertain to violence in the black community. (shrink)
While concluding my research for Martin Luther King: The Making of a Mind, I learned that King had stated in a January 19, 1956 interview with The Montgomery Advertiser that Hegel was his favorite philosopher. This was especially significant for me because my dissertation was on Kierkegaard’s critique of Hegel - with emphasis on how Hegelian Kierkegaard had become.
This essay looks at how various characters in King Lear view Lear’s authority after he divides the kingdom. The author argues that some characters, including Goneril, Regan, and Oswald, view Lear’s kingly authority as “defeasible” – that is, they believe it is something he can lose or give away. Other characters, particularly Kent, view Lear as a person who has an indefeasible, inalienable authority. The author makes a connection between “indefeasible authority” and the concept of divine right of kings (...) and presents a detailed analysis of Oswald, Kent, and the Fool using these concepts. (shrink)
The question of the relation of my work to that of Martin Luther King Jr. cannot be resolved with the theoretical tools Christopher Beem brings to the task. Stanley Fish has written that "those who detach King's words from the history that produced them erase the fact of that history from the slate, and they do so, paradoxically, in order to prevent that history from being truly and deeply altered." The vice of liberalism is not selfishness so much (...) as a forgetfulness that spreads like a blight from the habit of abstraction. Martin Luther King Jr. remembered his people, his savior, and his church, and he called the rest of us to share those memories. Therein lay his strength. (shrink)
Recent scholarship holds that unfulfilled definite descriptions do not play a role in motivating Russellâs theory of descriptions. In this paper, I make use of Gustav Bergmannâs ideal language method to develop an interpretation that restores the puzzle raised by âthe King of Franceâ to the central place it once occupied in discussions of the theory of descriptions. In restoring âthe King of Franceâ, I show that Russellâs discussion of the problem it raises provides a decisive argument against (...) Fregean senses, a claim that also runs counter to most recent work on the theory of descriptions. (shrink)