The two books discussed here make important contributions to our understanding of the role of spacetime concepts in physical theories and how that understanding has changed during the evolution of physics. Both emphasize what can be called a ‘dynamical’ account, according to which geometric structures should be understood in terms of their roles in the laws governing matter and force. I explore how the books contribute to such a project; while generally sympathetic, I offer criticisms of some historical claims concerning (...) Newton, and argue that the dynamical account does not undercut ontological issues as the books claim. *Received January 2009; revised March 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, 1423 University Hall MC 267, University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S. Morgan Street, Chicago, IL 60607; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
‘William L. Rowe on Philosophy of Religion’ edited by Nick Trakakis, collects 30 papers of William Rowe's important work in the philosophy of religion. I review this collection, and offer an objection of one of Rowe's arguments.
Reid, Constance. Hilbert (a Biography). Reviewed by Corcoran in Philosophy of Science 39 (1972), 106–08. -/- Constance Reid was an insider of the Berkeley-Stanford logic circle. Her San Francisco home was in Ashbury Heights near the homes of logicians such as Dana Scott and John Corcoran. Her sister Julia Robinson was one of the top mathematical logicians of her generation, as was Julia’s husband Raphael Robinson for whom Robinson Arithmetic was named. Julia was a Tarski PhD and, in recognition (...) of a distinguished career, was elected President of the American Mathematics Society. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Robinson http://www.awm-math.org/noetherbrochure/Robinson82.html. (shrink)
‘William L. Rowe on Philosophy of Religion’ edited by Nick Trakakis, collects 30 papers of William Rowe's important work in the philosophy of religion. I review this collection, and offer an objection of one of Rowe's arguments.
Originally published in 1908, this book contains six essays on various aspects of the Platonic theory of knowledge as expounded in the later dialogues reviewed by Aristotle. The text was written during the author's period as Marion Kennedy Student at Newnham College, Cambridge. Textual notes are also included. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in Plato, Aristotle and classical philosophy.
The book reviewed is a chronological reconstruction of Freud's theory of mind which claims a particular significance for the later theoretical writings as motivated by both prior developments in the body of theory and new materials to explain.
This is a review of the excellent collection by Stephan Blatti and Paul Snowdon which collates essays pertaining to Animalism: the theory that we human persons are identical with the human animals we share our lives with, and thus have the property of being human animals; perhaps essentially and most fundamentally.
Few philosophers have published at the impressively prolific rate that Roger Scruton has. Of the forty-two books by Scruton listed in a special bibliography at the end of Scruton’s Aesthetics, no fewer than nine of them have been devoted to topics in aesthetics. The present volume, edited by Andy Hamilton and Nick Zangwill, arises out of a 2008 conference devoted to Scruton’s seminal work in this field. While sympathetic in tone, the majority of the essays critically engage with Scruton’s (...) views on a number of topics in aesthetics, with particular attention devoted to issues of music and of architecture. Although Scruton’s frequently discussed and sometimes provocative views will be familiar to most readers, the contributions to this volume manage well in reconstructing enough of the background to be intelligible to the reader not already well-versed in Scruton’s wide-ranging body of work. (shrink)
It's not easy getting published, but everyone has to do it. Writing for Peer Reviewed Journals presents an insider's perspective on the secret business of academic publishing, making explicit many of the dilemmas and struggles faced by all writers, but rarely discussed. Its unique approach is theorised and practical. It offers a set of moves for writing a journal article that is structured and doable but also attends to the identity issues that manifest on the page and in the (...) politics of academic life.The book comprehensively assists anyone concerned about getting published; whether they are early in their career or moving from a practice base into higher education, or more experienced but still feeling in need of further information. Avoiding a 'tips and tricks' approach, which tends to oversimplify what is at stake in getting published, the authors emphasise the production, nurture and sustainability of scholarship through writing – a focus on both the scholar and the text or what they call text work/identity work. The chapters are ordered to develop a systematic approach to the process, including such topics as:The writer The reader What's the contribution? Beginning work Refining the argument Engaging with reviewers and editors Writing for Peer Reviewed Journals uses a wide range of multi-disciplinary examples from the writing workshops the authors have run in universities around the world: including the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the United States. This international approach coupled with theoretically grounded strategies to guide the authoring process ensure that people at all stages of their career are addressed. This lively book uses a combination of personal stories, student texts, published journal abstracts and excerpts from interviews with journal editors and publishers. Written in an accessible style, one which does not use the patronising 'you' of advice books, it offers a collegial approach to a task which is difficult for most scholars, regardless of their years of experience. (shrink)
The Cambridge Descartes’ Meditations—A Critical Guide, a recent addition to the numerous companion texts, guidebooks, introductions and commentaries already available, aims to provide novel approaches to important themes of Descartes’ Meditations by combining contextualism and analysis (of arguments). Organized in four parts (Skepticism, Substance and Cause, Sensations, and The Human Being), the volume contains contributions from (mainly) established scholars of Early Modern Philosophy.
This book is the outcome of a series of lectures on art-related topics which Margolis gave in various places, including Finland, Russia, Japan and the USA, from 1995 through 1997. Mainly these lectures vividly distill views which Margolis has developed more fully elsewhere. Also, as his readers know, Margolis has an unusually allencompassing and closely integrated series of views on almost all of the main issues concerning both art and philosophy generally. Thus the task of a reviewer of this book (...) is the difficult one of somehow coming to terms and finding something useful to say (in a brief compass) on the full sweep of Margolis's philosophy as encapsulated by these lectures. (shrink)
Nicola Perullo's Taste as Experience draws on the author's philosophical background and his experience as a professor of aesthetics at a culinary institute. He aims to understand the experience of taste, analyzing it into three 'modes of access': pleasure, knowledge, and indifference. His perspective, influenced by Dewey, illuminates various elements of taste, eating, and drinking.
In this review I present the main claims of McKenna's book Conversation and Responsibility. There McKenna develops a theory of moral responsibility inspired by an analogy with the relationship people bear to each other as part of a conversational exchange. The first half of the book develops the conversational account and considers objections to it. In the second half of the book, McKenna turns to an examination of the kind of normative claim being made when we say that being morally (...) responsible is to be understood in terms of appropriately holding someone morally responsible. I discuss the main themes of the book, how McKenna advances the literature on moral responsibility, and some challenges/limits of the view. (shrink)
This Oxford Handbook examines the radical transformation of worldview taking place in the period from the middle of the 16th century to the early 18th century. The intention of the volume is to cover both well-known and undeservedly less well-known philosophical texts by placing these works in their historical context which includes tight interconnections with other disciplines as well as historical and political events. By proceeding in this manner the editors hope to recover a meaning of “philosophy” that comes closer (...) to the way its early modern proponents would have understood and practiced it. The editors also point to the reader-friendly character of this Handbook: in addition to grouping chapters in five categories, cross-references to chapters or pages dealing with the same issues make it possible for readers to consult the book selectively. (shrink)
The editors cull the works of 11 noted French and German philosophers for their contributions to the debate about what animals are like and how we should relate to them. Each selection gives the gist of the philosopher's view followed by a noted scholar's comments. The result, as Peter Singer notes in his merciless Foreward, is that most of the Continentals have had almost nothing of interest to say on the topic.
This collection of essays addresses the topic of the unity of knowledge by analyzing early modern ways of organizing and systematizing knowledge and by bringing to light the complex interactions between the different traditions which contributed to the making of modernity.
This book advertises itself as an exploration of the world-time parallel, that is, the parallel between the modal dimension, on the one hand, and the temporal dimension, on the other. It is that, and much more. As the authors point out, there is reasonable agreement that we can model times, through temporal logic, in ways that are analogous to those by which we model modality through the logic of possible worlds. But this formal parallel has almost universally been taken to (...) be a merely formal parallel: thus it is held that no metaphysical conclusions ought to be drawn from it. Thus, it is generally thought that one is free to accept an argument for actualism, say, but to reject a parallel argument for presentism. Rini and Cresswell compellingly argue that this is a mistake: the temporal and the modal are more than merely formally analogous. (shrink)
Stanislaw Lem, Philosopher of the Future is a revealing and instructive guide to the philosophical fiction of Stanislaw Lem. Throughout the book, Swirski builds a framework of philosophical and scientific concepts within which Lem’s works should be read, in particular its most significant aspect: Lem’s unyielding concern for knowledge supported by his conviction that literature is an epistemologically valuable tool for exploring reality. Swirski offers a rich background to Lem's litrary career and unravels the depths of Lem’s philosophical fiction.
Writing within and against the set critical practices of psychoanalytic-deconstructive-Foucauldian-feminist cultural theory, Elizabeth Wilson demonstrates, in this provocative and original book, the productivity and the pleasure of direct, complicitous engagement with the contemporary cognitive sciences. Wilson forges an eclectic method in reaction to the 'zealous but disavowed moralism' of those high cultural Theorists whose 'disciplining compulsion' concocts a monolithic picture of science in order to keep their 'sanitizing critical practice' untainted by its sinister reductionism. Her unsettling accounts of texts by, (...) for example, Karl Popper, Judith Butler, Derrida, Turing, Ebbinghaus and Freud will send many readers back to the sources. It is no surprise that such a broad and ambitious project leaves many threads loose, and no criticism at all that it succeeds more in hinting at the promise of a new connectionist politics than in offering up such a hybrid fully-formed. (shrink)
The first collection of critical essays on the film work of the philosopher Jacques Ranciere. Jacques Ranciere rose to prominence as a radical egalitarian philosopher, political theorist and historian. Recently he has intervened into the discourses of film theory and film studies, publishing controversial and challenging works on these topics. This book offers an exciting range of responses to and assessments of his contributions to film studies and includes an afterword response to the essays by Ranciere himself.
In this era when results of empirical scientific research are being appealed to all across philosophy, when we even find moral philosophers invoking the results of brain scans, many profess to practice "naturalized epistemology," or to be "epistemological naturalists." Such phrases derive from the title of a well-known essay by Quine, but Paul Gregory's thesis in the work under review is that there is less connection than is usually assumed between Quine's variety of naturalized epistemology and what is today taken, (...) by opponents and proponents alike, to constitute epistemological naturalism. To put it bluntly, as Gregory does in the opening sentence of his introduction, Quine "has not been well understood." If there is less connection between the Quinian and other epistemological naturalisms than there has often been taken to be, on Gregory's account there is also much more connection between Quine's position on epistemology and his positions on other contentious issues. (shrink)
Holmgren’s position is that the attitudes of forgiveness and compassion, when achieved by requisite moral and emotional work through other feelings, are always appropriate responses to wrongdoing, regardless of any conditions a wrongdoer may meet or fail to meet. In this review I disagree with her arguments for unconditional forgiveness. But one need not agree with her to appreciate Holmgren’s attentive reasoning as she maps the architecture of the field of forgiveness and her place in with lucidity and usually, but (...) not always, accuracy, as I explain. (shrink)
Here I review the essays by McDowell, Dreyfus, and many others edited by Schear for "The McDowell/Dreyfus Debate". Topics include the relation between conceptuality and "non-conceptual content", the role of embodied coping in human life, the extent of continuity and discontinuity between humans and other animals, and the legacies of German Idealism and phenomenology.
Corey W. Dyck presents a new account of Kant's criticism of the rational investigation of the soul in his monumental Critique of Pure Reason, in light of its eighteenth-century German context. When characterizing the rational psychology that is Kant's target in the Paralogisms of Pure Reason chapter of the Critique commentators typically only refer to an approach to, and an account of, the soul found principally in the thought of Descartes and Leibniz. But Dyck argues that to do so is (...) to overlook the distinctive rational psychology developed by Christian Wolff, which emphasized the empirical foundation of any rational cognition of the soul, and which was widely influential among eighteenth-century German philosophers, including Kant. In this book, Dyck reveals how the received conception of the aim and results of Kant's Paralogisms must be revised in light of a proper understanding of the rational psychology that is the most proximate target of Kant's attack. In particular, he contends that Kant's criticism hinges upon exposing the illusory basis of the rational psychologist's claims inasmuch as he falls prey to the appearance of the soul as being given in inner experience. Moreover, Dyck demonstrates that significant light can be shed on Kant's discussion of the soul's substantiality, simplicity, personality, and existence by considering the Paralogisms in this historical context. (shrink)
This work focuses on a narrow Buddhist epistemological tradition that begins with the Abhidharma philosopher Vasubandhu’s analyses of perception and is developed by Dignāga, Dharmakīrti, Kamalaśīla, and Śāntarakṣita. Coseru explains how Buddhist epistemology evolved in dialogue with competing conceptions internal to Buddhism and against orthodox Indian philosophies, particularly Nyāya and Mīmāṃsā. Coseru’s main argument is that although widespread interpretations of Buddhist epistemology are foundationalist, a more useful way to understand it is as a form of phenomenology consistent with enactivism and (...) a naturalism based in descriptive accounts of cognition. Coseru engages his analysis with contemporary Western philosophical concerns in philosophy of mind and language, cognitive science, and enactivism. (shrink)
This ambitious work reclassifies and restructures the history of ideas and the philosophy of culture through a wide-ranging and novel use of the idea of the organon. It does so by radically revising standard interpretations and theories of all branches of philosophy, and by providing an intellectual and philosophical foundation for the new organon of the cultural sciences. The seeded idea that saw its growth in the form of this book is the unshakable conviction that the only way by which (...) a new apparatus of philosophy, an organon, could be created is by harking back to the vast sources of imagination, inspiration and mimesis. This study is based on the notion that metaphysics, insofar as it is concerned with the world in its entirety and with human being's existence and thought, should provide the foundation for the organon of cultural sciences, based on symbolic forms. Given that the colossal amount of information and knowledge of philosophy, arts, humanities, logic, mathematics, social sciences and natural sciences cannot be comprised, analyzed and comprehended per se, it is the organon's objective to extract the main principles, ideas, postulates, theorems and theories of the cultural sciences, and, subsequently, to shape and restructure them as symbolic forms. Since all these principles are grounded on Becoming - which is not a stable or fixed entity such as Being, substance or thing - the symbolic forms preserve and change, elevate and further the organon of the cultural sciences, via a critical-dialectical process. (shrink)
Causality and Mind presents seventeen of Nicholas Jolley's essays on early modern philosophy, which focus on two main themes. One theme is the continuing debate over the nature of causality in the period from Descartes to Hume. Jolley shows that, despite his revolutionary stance, Descartes did no serious re-thinking about causality; it was left to his unorthodox disciple Malebranche to argue that there is no place for natural causality in the new mechanistic picture of the physical world. Several essays explore (...) critical reactions to Malebranche's occasionalism in the writings of Leibniz, Berkeley, and Hume, and show how in their different ways Leibniz and Hume respond to Malebranche by re-instating the traditional view that science is the search for causes. A second theme of the volume is the set of issues posed by Descartes' innovations in the philosophy of mind. It is argued that Malebranche is once again a pivotal figure. In opposition to Descartes Malebranche insists that ideas, the objects of thought, are not psychological but abstract entities; he thus opposes Descartes' 'dustbin theory of the mind'. Malebranche also challenges Descartes' assumption that intentionality is a mark of the mental and his commitment to the superiority of self-knowledge over knowledge of body. Other essays discuss the debate over innate ideas, Locke's polemics against Descartes' theory of mind, and the issue of Leibniz's phenomenalism. A major aim of the volume is to show that philosophers in the period are systematic critics of their contemporaries and predecessors. (shrink)
Nietzsche called his sister “llama,” a nickname which, according to her, derived from a description in a children’s biology book. Such a book in the Nietzsche-Archiv declares that “the llama, as a means of defense, squirts its spittle and half-digested fodder at its opponent.”1 Thus we see Nietzsche, as he does frequently in his writings, drawing on the semantic resources made available by the investigation of animal nature and using them to illuminate human character. The editors of A Nietzschean Bestiary (...) had the superlative idea to advance the progression from zoology to anthropology one step further: starting from Nietzsche’s myriad trope of animality, to construct a philosophical bestiary that illuminates not only the status of human animality but also that of our metaphorical resources in general. The result comprises twenty-five essays from twentythree contributors, most of which are organized around a single creature (albeit no llama). These essays’ execution of the original idea is, on the whole, excellent. I do not think that they establish the two main conceits of the volume. But the volume nevertheless provides a vivid and diverse display of Nietzsche’s animal tropes that engages with broader philosophical concerns. Although it needs no defense, the volume presents a twofold apology. One declared aim of the volume is to show that Nietzsche’s pervasive use of animal imagery.. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant is better known as a philosopher but in the pre-critical period he studied in a very deep way many aspects of the natural sciences and that’s why the new volume of the English edition of Kant’s works is devoted to the publications of Kant’s writings on natural science. This massive volume is edited by Erik Watkins and Kant’s writing are translated by Lewis White Back, Jeffrey B. Edwards, Olaf Reinhardt, Martin Schönfeld and Erik Watkins.
The guidebook is meant to be read alongside the Ethics. It thus follows the order of Spinoza’s text and discusses sets of propositions as the development of various strands of argument. It instructs readers to pause and, for example, read Propositions 1-5 of Part 1 together, before moving on to a different component of his argument for the simplicity of substance. Lord dedicates more elaborate discussion to crucial but problematic propositions, like Proposition 11 of Part 1, Proposition 7 of Part (...) 2, etc. It thus serves as a good map for new readers, who are often bewildered by Spinoza’s geometrical method, in addition to explaining his major teachings. The book includes various study aids, including a glossary, suggestions for further reading, examples of questions students are likely to encounter, and even tips for students writing about Spinoza. (shrink)