The word yoga conjures up in the minds of many Westerners images of people performing exercises and adopting unusual, sometimes contortive postures. Such exercises and postures do have a place within the practice of yoga, but it is much more than that. Indeed, the early literature on yoga describes and defines it as a form of mental rather than physical discipline. Yoga is also associated with the Indian subcontinent and the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. This (...) book therefore concentrates on the evolution of yoga in the context of Indian culture, though the final chapters also explore some of its links with non-Indian mystical traditions and some of its developments outside of India during the modern period. The book is aimed at both university students taking courses in Comparative Religion and Philosophy and practitioners of yoga who seek to go beyond the activity and explore its spiritual dimensions. Hence, it presents yoga in the context of its historical evolution in India and seeks to explain the nature of its associations with various metaphysical doctrines. The work also draws upon a number of conceptual schemes designed to facilitate comparative study. Some of these are employed throughout the book so as to link the material from each chapter together within a common framework. (shrink)
Innovation of Yoga in vedic saṁhitās -- Elaboration of yogic thought and practices in Brāhmaṇas, Āraṇyakas and Upaniṣads -- Continuation of the tradition in the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata -- Deviation from the vedic tradition in Jainism and Buddhism -- Systematization of Yoga in Patañjali and Haṭha-yoga -- Yoga of Vedāntic ācāryas and yoga-vāsiṣṭha -- Bhakti-yoga of medieval saints -- Yogic sādhanā in Tantra, Śaivism and Sufism -- Revival of the spirit of Yoga (...) in modern India -- Yogic capability in the estimation of logic. (shrink)
For serious yoga practitioners curious to know the ancient origins of the art, Stephen Phillips, a professional philosopher and sanskritist with a long-standing personal practice, lays out the philosophies of action, knowledge, and devotion as well as the processes of meditation, reasoning, and self-analysis that formed the basis of yoga in ancient and classical India and continue to shape it today. In discussing yoga's fundamental commitments, Phillips explores traditional teachings of hatha yoga, karma yoga, _bhakti_ (...)yoga, and tantra, and shows how such core concepts as self-monitoring consciousness, karma, nonharmfulness, reincarnation, and the powers of consciousness relate to modern practice. He outlines values implicit in _bhakti_ yoga and the tantric yoga of beauty and art and explains the occult psychologies of _koshas_, _skandhas_, and _chakras_. His book incorporates original translations from the early Upanishads, the _Bhagavad Gita_, the _Yoga Sutra_, the _Hatha Yoga Pradipika_, and seminal tantric writings of the tenth-century Kashmiri Shaivite, Abhinava Gupta. A glossary defining more than three hundred technical terms and an extensive bibliography offer further help to nonscholars. A remarkable exploration of yoga's conceptual legacy, _Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth_ crystallizes ideas about self and reality that unite the many incarnations of yoga. (shrink)
Last year, more than seven million Americans participated in yoga or tai chi classes.Yet despite its popularity the real nature of yoga remains shrouded in mystery. A diverse range of practitioners range from white-bearded Indian mystics to celebrities like Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. Positioning Yoga provides an overview of the development of yoga, from its introduction to Western audiences by the Indian Swami Vivekananda at the 1893 Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago to forms of (...) modern practice. What makes yoga practitioners affiliated with Swami Sivananda's Divine Life Society of Rishikesh, India unique--whether they hail from Indian, North America, or Europe? What values around the world have supported the surging popularity of yoga over the past century? This absorbing book considers how lifestyle values have made yoga a global industry and shows how this popular "lifestyle" is produced and disseminated across boundaries. (shrink)
Preface -- Prologue: A man in love with beauty -- First son of a first son -- Kali Mudra -- Tantrik nights -- Downfall and disgrace -- What is this man? -- Yoga at large -- Partners -- Expansion -- For love & money -- The Promised Land -- Welcome to Nyack -- Interrogation -- Body and mind -- Enter Sir Paul -- Bach, baseball & Buddha -- The Vanderbilt knot -- The show goes on -- Blue skies, big (...) plans -- A leap of faith -- Good times, bad times -- Citizen oom -- The message gets out -- Change in the air -- Running out of tricks -- The cosmic punch -- A Nazi in Nyack -- Family man -- Final days -- Epilogue: Genius or fraud? (shrink)
Yoga is thousands of years old, but because of its current popularity, some people wrongly dismiss it as just another exercise fad made fashionable by celebrities. In fact, as author Kathy Phillips demonstrates in this large, beautifully illustrated book, yoga is a gentle but powerful means of achieving strength, flexibility, serenity, and a healthy balance between body and mind. Originating on the Indian subcontinent at the dawn of civilization, yoga is now accepted worldwide as an effective way (...) to deal with physical and emotional stress. The Spirit of Yoga is a sensible introduction for beginners, and a source of inspiration for current practitioners who would like to learn more. It explains differences among the various yoga disciplines, enabling readers to make a considered choice that best fits their needs. The author uses her experience as a yoga teacher to describe exercises and postures-also shown in color photos-that can promote physical health and body flexibility while inducing emotional tranquility. Yoga positions are suggested as effective remedies for physical ailments and for discomforts produced by everyday stress. The author's witty approach to her subject demystifies today's yoga hype while offering readers sound guidance and emphasizing the entirely real benefits they can derive from this honorable discipline. The book's foreword is by the international fashion model Christy Turlington. Hundreds of color photos and illustrations. (shrink)
The history of yoga -- Yoga prior to Patañjali -- The Vdic period -- Yoga in the Upanisads -- Yoga in the Mahabharata -- Yoga and Sankhya -- Patañjali's yoga -- Patañjali and the six schools of Indian philosophy -- The Yoga sutras as a text -- The commentaries on the Yoga sutras -- The subject matter of the Yoga sutras -- The dualism of yoga -- The Sankhya metaphysics (...) of the text -- The goals of yoga -- The eight limbs of yoga -- The present translation and commentary -- Meditative absorption -- Practice -- Mystic powers -- Absolute independence. (shrink)
Yoga has come to be an icon of Indian culture and civilization, and it is widely regarded as being timeless and unchanging. Based on extensive ethnographic research and an analysis of both ancient and modern texts, Yoga in Modern India challenges this popular view by examining the history of yoga, focusing on its emergence in modern India and its dramatically changing form and significance in the twentieth century. Joseph Alter argues that yoga's transformation into a (...) popular activity idolized for its health value is based on modern ideas about science and medicine. Alter centers his analysis on an interpretation of the seminal work of Swami Kuvalayananda, one of the chief architects of the Yoga Renaissance in the early twentieth century. From this point of orientation he explores current interpretations of yoga and considers how practitioners of yogic medicine and fitness combine the ideas of biology, physiology, and anatomy with those of metaphysics, transcendence, and magical power. The first serious ethnographic history of modern yoga in India, this fluently written book is must reading not only for students and scholars but also practitioners who seek a deeper understanding of how yoga developed over time into the exceedingly popular phenomenon it is today. (shrink)
Patañjali’s Yoga Sutra (second century CE) is the basic text of one of the nine canonical schools of Indian philosophy. In it the legendary author lays down the blueprint for success in yoga, now practiced the world over. Patañjali draws upon many ideas of his time, and the result is a unique work of Indian moral philosophy that has been the foundational text for the practice of yoga since. The Yoga Sutra sets out a sophisticated theory (...) of moral psychology and perhaps the oldest theory of psychoanalysis. For Patañjali, present mental maladies are a function of subconscious tendencies formed in reaction to past experiences. He argues that people are not powerless against such forces and that they can radically alter their lives through yoga—a process of moral transformation and perfection, which brings the body and mind of a person in line with their personhood. Accompanying this translation is an extended introduction that explains the challenges of accurately translating Indian philosophical texts, locates the historical antecedents of Patañjali’s text and situates Patanjali’s philosophy within the history of scholastic Indian philosophy. This is explicitly a philosophical translation of the text. (shrink)
Ethics and the History of Indian Philosophy (Motilal Banarsidass 2007). Regretfully, it is not an uncommon view in orthodox Indology that Indian philosophers were not interested in ethics. This claim belies the fact that Indian philosophical schools were generally interested in the practical consequences of beliefs and actions. The most popular symptom of this concern is the doctrine of karma, according to which the consequences of actions have an evaluative valence. Ethics and the History of Indian Philosophy argues (...) that the orthodox view in Indology concerning Indian ethics is false. The first half the book deals with theoretical issues in studying ethics: defining moral terms, understanding the subject matter of ethics so as to transcend culturally specific substantive commitments and touches upon issues of cross-cultural hermeneutics and translation. The second half consists of a systematic explication of the moral philosophical aspects of nine major Indian philosophical schools. I argue that “dharma” in its various uses in Indian philosophy is always rationally treated as a moral term—even in so called “ontological” employments of the term as seen in Buddhism and Jainism. In understanding “dharma” in this manner, the Indian philosophical tradition is replete with different versions of moral realism that fit tidily with other philosophical commitments of Indian philosophers. Pains are taken to show the breath of moral philosophical disagreement in this tradition. On a comparative note, some Indian moral philosophy resembles realist approaches of the Western tradition (such as the Non-natural realism of Neo-Platonism, or the Naturalism of Utilitarianism). Out of the major Indian philosophical schools, a slim minority are shown to be committed to moral irrealism while some are shown to regard their entire philosophical orientation as firmly planted within moral philosophy (such as Jainism, Buddhism, Purva Mimamsa and Yoga). In response to those who would argue that what Indian philosophers meant by “dharma” is very different from what moral philosophers in the West have meant by “ethical” or “good,” I argue that this is as vacuous as noting that Utilitarians have a different conception of the good from Deontologists. If philosophy is concerned with theoretical debate, as I argue it is, philosophical terms function to articulate such disagreements. The various seemingly desperate uses of “dharma” in the Indian tradition are no longer confusing or disorderly when we understand the theoretico-philosophical function of this term in Indian philosophical disputes. -/- The second edition contains an additional chapter that addresses the colonial and political context of the study of Indian Ethics. (shrink)
A popular and critical success when it first appeared in France, _Yoga and the Hindu Tradition_ has freed Yoga from the common misconceptions of the recent Yoga vogue. Jean Varenne, the distinguished French Orientalist, presents the theory of classical Yoga, in all its richness, as a method—a concrete way to reach the Absolute through spiritual exercises—which makes possible the transition from existence to essence. This excellent translation, including line drawings and charts, a glossary of technical terms, and (...) a complete translation of the _Yoga Darshana Upanishad_, begins with a brief description of the metaphysical and religious history on which Yoga is based. Varenne discusses the theoretical conception of Yoga as the search for liberating knowledge, concluding with a brief indication of the physical practices and extra Yogic themes such as Kundalini and Tantrism. It is the author's hope that "those who read [this book] will come to realize that it is in fact dishonest to reduce Yoga to some sort of physical training, or to just an occult doctrine; it is a 'world view' a _Weltanschauung_ that comprehends reality in its totality." "The straightforward, well-organized presentation makes the book itself a microcosm of what Varenne singles out as a dominant feature of classical Hindu thought—a bringing of the complex and multitudinous into a unity."—Judith Guttman, _Yoga Journal _. (shrink)
Some postcolonial theorists argue that the idea of a single system of belief known as "Hinduism" is a creation of nineteenth-century British imperialists. Andrew J. Nicholson introduces another perspective: although a unified Hindu identity is not as ancient as some Hindus claim, it has its roots in innovations within South Asian philosophy from the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries. During this time, thinkers treated the philosophies of Vedanta, Samkhya, and Yoga, along with the worshippers of Visnu, Siva, and Sakti, as (...) belonging to a single system of belief and practice. Instead of seeing such groups as separate and contradictory, they re-envisioned them as separate rivers leading to the ocean of Brahman, the ultimate reality. -/- Drawing on the writings of philosophers from late medieval and early modern traditions, including Vijnanabhiksu, Madhava, and Madhusudana Sarasvati, Nicholson shows how influential thinkers portrayed Vedanta philosophy as the ultimate unifier of diverse belief systems. This project paved the way for the work of later Hindu reformers, such as Vivekananda, Radhakrishnan, and Gandhi, whose teachings promoted the notion that all world religions belong to a single spiritual unity. In his study, Nicholson also critiques the way in which Eurocentric concepts—like monism and dualism, idealism and realism, theism and atheism, and orthodoxy and heterodoxy—have come to dominate modern discourses on Indian philosophy. (shrink)
v. 1. The philosophy of the Veda and of the epic.--The Buddha and the Jina.--The Sāmkhya and the classical Yoga-system.--v. 2. The Nature-philosophical schools and the Vaiśeṣika system.--The system of the Jaina.--The materialism.
Put briefly: perhaps the entire evolution of the spirit is a question of the body; it is the history of the development of a higher body that emerges into our sensibility. The organic is rising to yet higher levels. Our lust for knowledge of nature is a means through which the body desires to perfect itself. Or rather: hundreds of thousands of experiments are made to change the nourishment, the mode of living and of dwelling in the body; consciousness (...) and evaluations in the body, all kinds of pleasure and displeasure, are signs of these changes and experiments. In the long run, it is not a question of man at all: he is to be overcome (Nietzsche 1967: 358). (shrink)
Disc 1. Life's great questions: Asian perspectives ; The Vedas and Upanishads: the beginning -- Disc 2. Mahavira and Jainism: extreme nonviolence ; The Buddha: the middle way -- Disc 3. The Bhagavad Gita: the way of action ; Confucius: in praise of sage-kings -- Disc 4. Laozi and Daoism: the way of nature ; The Hundred Schools of preimperial China -- Disc 5. Mencius and Xunzi: Confucius's successors ; Sunzi and Han Feizi: strategy and legalism -- Disc 6. Zarathustra (...) and Mani: dualistic religion ; Kautilya and Ashoka: Buddhism and empire -- Disc 7. Ishvarakrishna and Patanjali: Yoga ; Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu: Buddhist theories -- Disc 8. Sima Qian and Ban Zhao: history and women ; Dong Zhongshu and Ge Hong: eclecticism -- Disc 9. Xuanzang and Chinese Buddhism ; Prince Shotoku, Lady Murasaki, Sei Shonagon -- Disc 10. Saicho to Nichiren: Japanese Buddhism ; Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva: Hindu Vedanta -- Disc 11. Al-Biruni: Islam in India ; Nanak and Sirhindi: Sikhism and Sufism -- Disc 12. Han Yu to Zhu Xi: Neo-Confucianism ; Wang Yangming: The study of heart-mind -- Disc 13. Dogen and Hakuin: Zen Buddhism ; Zeami and Sen no Rikyu: Japanese aesthetics -- Disc 14. Wonhyo to King Sejong: Korean philosophy ; Padmasambhava to Tsongkhapa: Tibetan ideas -- Disc 15. Science and technology in premodern Asia ; Muhammad Iqbal and Rabindranath Tagore -- Disc 16. Mohandas Gandhi: Satyagraha, or soul-force ; Fukuzawa Yukichi and Han Yongun -- Disc 17. Kang Youwei and Hu Shi ; Sun Yat-sen and Mao Zedong -- Disc 18. Modern legacies ; East and West. (shrink)
Some postcolonial theorists argue that the idea of a single system of belief known as "Hinduism" is a creation of nineteenth-century British imperialists. Andrew J. Nicholson introduces another perspective: although a unified Hindu identity is not as ancient as some Hindus claim, it has its roots in innovations within South Asian philosophy from the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries. During this time, thinkers treated the philosophies of Vedanta, Samkhya, and Yoga, along with the worshippers of Visnu, Siva, and Sakti, as (...) belonging to a single system of belief and practice. Instead of seeing such groups as separate and contradictory, they re-envisioned them as separate rivers leading to the ocean of Brahman, the ultimate reality. Drawing on the writings of philosophers from late medieval and early modern traditions, including Vijnanabhiksu, Madhava, and Madhusudana Sarasvati, Nicholson shows how influential thinkers portrayed Vedanta philosophy as the ultimate unifier of diverse belief systems. This project paved the way for the work of later Hindu reformers, such as Vivekananda, Radhakrishnan, and Gandhi, whose teachings promoted the notion that all world religions belong to a single spiritual unity. In his study, Nicholson also critiques the way in which Eurocentric conceptslike monism and dualism, idealism and realism, theism and atheism, and orthodoxy and heterodoxyhave come to dominate modern discourses on Indian philosophy. (shrink)
Training and inspiration in primitive religion.--Religion as method. Yoga.--Religion as psychology. Jinism and Hinayana.--Religion as devotion. Bhakti.--Religion with a salvation fact. Mahayana. Bhakti in Buddhism.--Religion as fight against evil. Zarathustra.--Socrates. The religion of good conscience.--Religion as revelation in history.--The religion of incarnation.--Continued revelation.
Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama's prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The End of History and the Last Man is a modern classic.
This paper advances the view that the history of philosophy is both a kind of history and a kind of philosophy. Through a discussion of some examples from epistemology, metaphysics, and the historiography of philosophy, it explores the benefit to philosophy of a deep and broad engagement with its history. It comes to the conclusion that doing history of philosophy is a way to think outside the box of the current philosophical orthodoxies. Somewhat paradoxically, far from (...) imprisoning its students in outdated and crystallized views, the history of philosophy trains the mind to think differently and alternatively about the fundamental problems of philosophy. It keeps us alert to the fact that latest is not always best, and that a genuinely new perspective often means embracing and developing an old insight. The upshot is that the study of the history of philosophy has an innovative and subversive potential, and that philosophy has a great deal to gain from a long, broad, and deep conversation with its history. (shrink)
In this paper, I show how the phenomenological and hermeneutic traditions and method converge on their treatment of the historical subject. Thinkers from both traditions claim that subjectivity is shaped by a historical worldview. Each tradition provides an account of how these worldviews are shaped, and thus how essentially historical subjective experience is molded. I argue that both traditions, although offering helpful ways of understanding the way history shapes subjectivity, go too far in their epistemic claims for the superiority (...) of subjective over positivist or academic history I propose that although the phenomenological/ hermeneutic approach to historical subjectivity is valuable for understanding both history and human nature, it cannot and ought not replace academic or what I will call ‘critical’ history. By showing the importance of historicity, and the force of historical consciousness on our actions, philosophers of history in these traditions expose the epistemic and perhaps even ethical requirement to engage in a rigorous critical history, one that recognizes the importance of historical consciousness. Such critical history is necessary to move beyond the subjective horizon of history as experienced to understand how events shaped this historical horizon. (shrink)
‘Type’ in biology is a polysemous term. In a landmark article, Paul Farber (Journal of the History of Biology 9(1): 93–119, 1976) argued that this deceptively plain term had acquired three different meanings in early nineteenth century natural history alone. ‘Type’ was used in relation to three distinct type concepts, each of them associated with a different set of practices. Important as Farber’s analysis has been for the historiography of natural history, his account conceals an important dimension (...) of early nineteenth century ‘type talk.’ Farber’s taxonomy of type concepts passes over the fact that certain uses of ‘type’ began to take on a new meaning in this period. At the closing of the eighteenth century, terms like ‘type specimen,’ ‘type species,’ and ‘type genus’ were universally recognized as referring to typical, model members of their encompassing taxa. But in the course of the nineteenth century, the same terms were co-opted for a different purpose. As part of an effort to drive out nomenclatural synonymy – the confusing state of a taxon being known to different people by different names – these terms started to signify the fixed and potentially atypical name-bearing elements of taxa. A new type concept was born: the nomenclatural type. In this article, I retrace this perplexing nineteenth century shift in meaning of ‘type.’ I uncover the nomenclatural disorder that the new nomenclatural type concept dissolved, and expose the conceptual confusion it left in its tracks. What emerges is an account of how synonymy was suppressed through the coinage of a homonym. (shrink)
The chapter begins with an initial survey of ups and downs of contextualist history of philosophy during the twentieth century in Britain and America, which finds that historically serious history of philosophy has been on the rise. It then considers ways in which the study of past philosophy has been used and is used in philosophy, and makes a case for the philosophical value and necessity of a contextually oriented approach. It examines some uses of past texts and (...) of history that reveal limits to noncontextual history, including Strawson's Kant, Rorty's grand diagnosis of the Western tradition, and Friedman on Kant's philosophy of mathematics. It then considers ways in which the history of philosophy may become philosophically deeper by becoming more historical, and instances in which history of philosophy of various stripes has or may deliver a philosophical payoff. Along the way, it urges historians of philosophy to attend not only to individual philosophers and their problems and projects, but also to the larger shape of the history of philosophy and its narrative themes. (shrink)
The history of emotions is a burgeoning field—so much so, that some are invoking an “emotional turn.” As a way of charting this development, I have interviewed three of the leading practitioners of the history of emotions: William Reddy, Barbara Rosenwein, and Peter Stearns. The interviews retrace each historian’s intellectual-biographical path to the history of emotions, recapitulate key concepts, and critically discuss the limitations of the available analytical tools. In doing so, they touch on Reddy’s concepts of (...) “emotive,” “emotional regime,” and “emotional navigation,” as well as on Rosenwein’s “emotional community” and on Stearns’s “emotionology” and offer glimpses of each historian’s ongoing research. The interviews address the challenges presented to historians by research in the neurosciences and the like, highlighting the distinctive contributions offered by a historical approach. In closing, the interviewees appear to reach a consensus, envisioning the history of emotions not as a specialized field but as a means of integrating the category of emotion into social, cultural, and political history, emulating the rise of gender as an analytical category since its early beginnings as “women’s history” in the 1970s. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 441 - 456 Several kinds of historical alternatives are distinguished. Different kinds of historical alternatives are valuable to the practice of history for different reasons. Important uses for historical alternatives include representing different sides of historical disputes; distributing chances of different outcomes over alternatives; and offering explanations of why various alternatives did _not_ in fact happen. Consideration of counterfactuals about what would have happened had things been different in particular ways plays particularly (...) useful roles in reasoning about historical analogues of current conditions; reasoning about causal claims; and in evaluating historical explanations. When evaluating the role of alternative histories in historical thinking, we should keep in mind the uses of historical alternatives that go well beyond the long-term and specific scenarios that are the focus of so-called “counterfactual history”. (shrink)
Although history is the pre-eminent part of the gallant sciences, philosophers advise against it from fear that it might completely destroy the kingdom of darkness—that is, scholastic philosophy—which previously has been wrongly held to be a necessary instrument of theology.
William Whewell raised a series of objections concerning John Stuart Mill’s philosophy of science which suggested that Mill’s views were not properly informed by the history of science or by adequate reflection on scientific practices. The aim of this paper is to revisit and evaluate this incisive Whewellian criticism of Mill’s views by assessing Mill’s account of Michael Faraday’s discovery of electrical induction. The historical evidence demonstrates that Mill’s reconstruction is an inadequate reconstruction of this historical episode and the (...) scientific practices Faraday employed. But a study of Faraday’s research also raises some questions about Whewell’s characterization of this discovery. Thus, this example provides an opportunity to reconsider the debate between Whewell and Mill concerning the role of the sciences in the development of an adequate philosophy of scientific methodology.Keywords: Inductivism; Experiment; Theory; Methodology; Electromagnetism. (shrink)
I examine the consistency of Kant's notion of moral progress as found in his philosophy of history. To many commentators, Kant's very idea of moral development has seemed inconsistent with basic tenets of his critical philosophy. This idea has seemed incompatible with his claims that the moral law is unconditionally and universally valid, that moral agency is noumenal and atemporal, and that all humans are equally free. Against these charges, I argue not only that Kant's notion of moral development (...) is consistent, but also that the assumption of the possibility of moral progress is indispensible for Kant's moral theory. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 211 - 234 This article has three main interconnected aims. First, I illustrate the historiographical conceptions of three early analytic philosophers: Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein. Second, I consider some of the historiographical debates that have been generated by the recent historical turn in analytic philosophy, looking at the work of Scott Soames and Hans-Johann Glock, in particular. Third, I discuss Arthur Danto’s _Analytic Philosophy of History_, published 50 years ago, and argue for a (...) reinvigorated analytic philosophy of history. (shrink)
Despite the centrality of the idea of history to Dewey's overall philosophical outlook, his brief treatment of philosophical issues in history has never attracted much attention, partly because of the dearth of the available material. Nonetheless, as argued in this essay, what we do have provides for the outlines of a comprehensive pragmatist view of history distinguished by an emphasis on methodological pluralism and a principled opposition to thinking of historical knowledge in correspondence terms. The key conceptions (...) of Dewey's philosophy of history outlined in this paper -- i.e. historical constitution of human nature, constructivist ontology of historical events, as well as the belief that the proper form of historical judgments is underwritten by the category of continual change -- are discussed with a view to the current challenges in philosophy of history, e.g. the contest between naturalism and rationalism, objectivity and relativism, questions surrounding the function of narrative in history, and the relationship of history to the problems of identity and self-knowledge. The intended upshot of the essay is to suggest that Dewey's brief yet substantial analysis may be capable of supplying the guiding principles for articulating a viable and promising pragmatist (and naturalist) conception of historical knowledge. (shrink)
Analytic philosophers are often said to be indifferent or even hostile to the history of philosophy – that is, not to the idea of history of philosophy as such, but regarded as a species of the genus philosophy rather than the genus history. Here it is argued that such an attitude is actually inconsistent with approaches within the philosophies of mind that are typical within analytic philosophy. It is suggested that the common “argument rather than pedigree” claim (...) – that is, that claim that philosophical ideas should be evaluated only in the context of the reasons for or against them, and not in terms of historical conditions that brought them about – presupposes an early modern “egological” conception of the mind as normatively autonomous, and that such a view is in contradiction with the deeply held naturalistic predispositions of most contemporary philosophers of mind. Using the example of Wilfrid Sellars, who attempted to combine “naturalist” and “normative” considerations in his philosophy of mind, it is argued that only by treating the mind as having an artifactual dimension can these opposing considerations be accommodated. And, if the mind is at least partly understood as artifactual, then, to that extent, like all artifacts, it is to be understood via a narrative about the particular human activities in which those artifacts are produced and in which they function. (shrink)