Giorgio Levi Della Vida (1886-1967) was not only an eminent Islamologist, he was also a man with solid roots in his own time. He taught in Naples and Rome, then for the ten years 1939-1948 at the University of Pennsylvania. He was one of the few university teachers who, when the oath of loyalty to the Italian fascist regime was introduced in October 1931, opted not to accept that act of submission. His memoirs, Fantasmi ritrovati, were published in 1966; the (...) book, now out of print, conjures up a tableau vivant of half a century of intellectual encounters in Italy and Europe between the wars. Among the portraits he paints there is the astounding story of those crucial days in June 1924 when the fascist government became a full-blown regime. This article presents extended extracts from that story. (shrink)
Atlas, S. On the relation between subject and object.--Bamberger, B. Religion and the arts.--Bemporad, J. Man, God, and history.--Braude, W. C. The two lives of Hillel's sandwich.--Chapman, C. B. The health guilds, the public interest and the malpractice dilemma.--Feuer, L. Influence of Abba Hillel Silver on the evolution of Reform Judaism.--Hackerman, N. Ignorance, the motivation for understanding.--Hartshorne, C. Whitehead's metaphysical system.--Ogden, S. M. Prolegomena to a Christian theology of nature.--Sandmel, S. The rationalist denial of Jewish tradition in Philo.--Shakow, D. Educating (...) the mental health researcher for potential development in man.--Turner, D. An Ashendene dozen from the Levi A. Olan collection of fine books.--Olan, L. A. A preliminary summing up. (shrink)
This comprehensive discussion of the problem of rational belief develops the subject on the pattern of Bayesian decision theory. The analogy with decision theory introduces philosophical issues not usually encountered in logical studies and suggests some promising new approaches to old problems."We owe Professor Levi a debt of gratitude for producing a book of such excellence. His own approach to inductive inference is not only original and profound, it also clarifies and transforms the work of his predecessors. In short, the (...) book deserves to become a classic....There is a great deal of interest in the book besides these basic matters [forumlating rules of acceptance]. Some of the most interesting chapters are those that examine the implications of such rules. The discussions of probability, generalization, and various forms of inference are brilliant and enlightening. Indeed, the problems and methods elaborated by Professor Levi in his book serve as a new foundation for the study of inductive inference."--Keith Lehrer, Nous"Levi's book is an extremely interesting report on 'tentative and speculative first steps' toward a decision-theoretic approach to inductive inference....Professor Levi is to be congratulated on his ingenious development and application of this approach...."--Richard C. Jeffrey, The Journal of Philosophy. (shrink)
Neil Levy presents a new theory of freedom and responsibility. He defends a particular account of consciousness--the global workspace view--and argues that consciousness plays an especially important role in action. There are good reasons to think that the naïve assumption, that consciousness is needed for moral responsibility, is in fact true.
ome Remarks on the Crisis of Capitalism What are the causes and consequences of the crisis of capitalism ? What are the plausible scenarios forthe outcome of the crisis ? To what extent is the current crisis comparable to that of 1929, and to whatextent does it differ from the crisis of the 1970s ? To what extent can one speak of a crisis of neoliberalism ? These are some of the questions which the authors of The Crisis of Neoliberalism (...) address here. (shrink)
'At last one of the most famous generalizing works in anthropology by the field's most stimulating and controversial contemporary figure has been translated, beautifully, and with the enlightening preface of the second French edition.
From one end of his philosophical work to the other, Gilles Deleuze consistently described his position as a transcendental empiricism. But just what is transcendental about Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism? And how does his position fit with the traditional empiricism articulated by Hume? In Difference and Givenness , Levi Bryant addresses these long-neglected questions so critical to an understanding of Deleuze’s thinking. Through a close examination of Deleuze’s independent work--focusing especially on Difference and Repetition-- as well as his engagement with thinkers (...) such as Kant, Mai;mon, Bergson, and Simondon, Bryant sets out to unearth Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism and to show how it differs from transcendental idealism, absolute idealism, and traditional empiricism. What emerges from these efforts is a metaphysics that strives to articulate the conditions for real existence, capable of accounting for the individual itself without falling into conceptual or essentialist abstraction. In Bryant’s analysis, Deleuze’s metaphysics articulates an account of being as process or creative individuation based on difference, as well as a challenging critique--and explanation--of essentialist substance ontologies. A clear and powerful discussion of how Deleuze’s project relates to two of the most influential strains in the history of philosophy, this book will prove essential to anyone seeking to understand Deleuze’s thought and its specific contribution to metaphysics and epistemology. (shrink)
The context for these interviews was a seminar [Peter Gratton] conducted on speculative realism in the Spring 2010. There has been great interest in speculative realism and one reason Gratton surmise[s] is not just the arguments offered, though [Gratton doesn't] want to take away from them; each of these scholars are vivid writers and great pedagogues, many of whom are in constant contact with their readers via their weblogs. Thus these interviews provided an opportunity to forward student questions about their (...) respective works. Though each were conducted on different occasions, the interviews stand as a collected work, tying together the most classical questions about “realism” to ancillary movements about the non-human in politics, ecology, aesthetics, and video gaming—all to point to future movements in this philosophical area. (shrink)
Isaac Levi has long criticized causal decisiontheory on the grounds that it requiresdeliberating agents to make predictions abouttheir own actions. A rational agent cannot, heclaims, see herself as free to choose an actwhile simultaneously making a prediction abouther likelihood of performing it. Levi is wrongon both points. First, nothing in causaldecision theory forces agents to makepredictions about their own acts. Second,Levi's arguments for the ``deliberation crowdsout prediction thesis'' rely on a flawed modelof the measurement of belief. Moreover, theability of agents (...) to adopt beliefs about theirown acts during deliberation is essentialto any plausible account of human agency andfreedom. Though these beliefs play no part inthe rationalization of actions, they arerequired to account for the causalgenesis of behavior. To explain the causes ofactions we must recognize that (a) an agentcannot see herself as entirely free in thematter of A unless she believes herdecision to perform A will cause A,and (b) she cannot come to a deliberatedecision about A unless she adoptsbeliefs about her decisions. FollowingElizabeth Anscombe and David Velleman, I arguethat an agent's beliefs about her own decisionsare self-fulfilling, and that this can beused to explain away the seeming paradoxicalfeatures of act probabilities. (shrink)
This paper explores some consequences of Lewis’s (Australas J Philos 74(4):549–567, 1996) understanding of how knowledge is compartmentalized. It argues, first, that he underestimates how badly it impacts his view. When knowledge is compartmentalized, it lacks at least one of two essential features of Lewis’s account: (a) Elusiveness—familiar skeptical possibilities, when relevant, are incompatible with everyday knowledge. (b) Knowledge is a modality—when a thinker knows that p, there is no relevant possibility where p is false. Lewis proposes compartmentalized knowledge to (...) keep treating knowledge as a modality while mitigating one of its unrealistic epistemological implications: In normal modal epistemic logic (and standard possible world semantics), a thinker always counts as knowing the strongest proposition that follows from the set of all the individual propositions that this thinker knows. Lewis’s compartmentalization proposal is that thinkers merely know the conjunctions of propositions that are known in each of, but not across, their compartments. The irony is that in avoiding overblown knowledge the view now allows for thinkers to attend to skeptical error possibilities and yet knowledge is present. The account avoids inflation of knowledge in one sense only to acquire another type of knowledge the view denies subjects can have. This problem motivates an inspection of knowledge accounts whose intra-compartment closure principles are weaker than those that are valid in normal modal-logic. The conclusion is that some formulations of closure can avoid the challenge Lewis’s view faces. Nevertheless, even these closure principles pose a barrier—perhaps an implausible barrier—for knowledge of ignorance. Even when the reasoning supporting the lack of knowledge is sound, a subject cannot always know she doesn’t know. Interestingly, this obstacle is one that knowledge of knowledge doesn’t seem to face. (shrink)
Continental philosophy has entered a new period of ferment. The long deconstructionist era was followed with a period dominated by Deleuze, which has in turn evolved into a new situation still difficult to define. However, one common thread running through the new brand of continental positions is a renewed attention to materialist and realist options in philosophy. Among the leaders of the established generation, this new focus takes numerous forms. It might be hard to find many shared positions in the (...) writings of Badiou, DeLanda, Laruelle, Latour, Stengers, and Žižek, but what is missing from their positions is an obsession with the critique of written texts. All of them elaborate a positive ontology, despite the incompatibility of their results. Meanwhile, the new generation of continental thinkers is pushing these trends still further, as seen in currents ranging from transcendental materialism to the London-based speculative realism movement to new revivals of Derrida. As indicated by the title The Speculative Turn, the new currents of continental philosophy depart from the text-centered hermeneutic models of the past and engage in daring speculations about the nature of reality itself. This anthology assembles authors, of several generations and numerous nationalities, who will be at the centre of debate in continental philosophy for decades to come. (shrink)
The following is a transcript of the interview I (Yasuko Kitano) conducted with Neil Levy (The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, CAPPE) on the 23rd in July 2009, while he was in Tokyo to give a series of lectures on neuroethics at The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy. I edited his words for publication with his approval.
Since Kant, philosophy has been obsessed with epistemological questions pertaining to the relationship between mind and world and human access to objects. In The Democracy of Objects Bryant proposes that we break with this tradition and once again initiate the project of ontology as first philosophy. Drawing on the object-oriented ontology of Graham Harman, as well as the thought Roy Bhaskar, Gilles Deleuze, Niklas Luhman, Aristotle, Jacques Lacan, Bruno Latour and the developmental systems theorists, Bryant develops a realist ontology that (...) he calls “onticology”. This ontology argues that being is composed entirely of objects, properties, and relations such that subjects themselves are a variant of objects. By way of systems theory and cybernetics, Bryant argues that objects are dynamic systems that relate to the world under conditions of operational closure. In this way, he integrates the most vital discoveries of the anti-realists within a realist ontology that does justice to both the material and cultural. Onticology proposes a flat ontology where objects of all sorts and at different scales equally exist without being reducible to other objects and where there are no transcendent entities such as eternal essences outside of dynamic interactions among objects. This work will be of great interest to Continental philosophers, ecologists, cultural theorists, media theorists, and those following recent developments in the thought of speculative realists. (shrink)
Isaac Levi (1980) targets an implicit tension in C.S. Peirce’s epistemology, one that exists between the need to always be open-minded and aware of our propensity to make mistakes so that we do not “block the road of inquiry,” and the need to treat certain beliefs as infallible and to doubt only in a genuine way so that inquiry can proceed in the first place. Attempts at alleviating this tension have typically involved interpreting Peirce as ascribing different normative standards to (...) different areas of inquiry. I argue here that such “double-standard” interpretations face significant problems. I offer instead an interpretation of Peirce on which the differences between different areas of inquiry are descriptive rather than normative. Such a view resolves Levi’s tension while interpreting Peirce as consistently subscribing to one normative standard for all inquiry. (shrink)
Recently, Neil Levy has proposed that an agent can acquire freedom-relevant agential abilities by virtue of the conditions in which she finds herself, and in this way, can be thought of as partially constituted by those conditions. This can be so even if the agent is completely ignorant of the relevant environmental conditions, and even if these conditions play no causal role in what the agent does. Drawing upon these resources, Levy argues that Frankfurt-style examples are not cogent. (...) In this paper, we explain why his argument fails. (shrink)
F. A. Hayek is uniquely responsible for his fellow economists grasping the importance of the decentralization of knowledge: as Hayek shows in his pathbreaking “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” knowledge nowhere exists as a coherent whole and to pretend otherwise is a most serious error. Hayek also shares responsibility for the popularity of a strong form of the methodological individualist research program which asserts that since collectives as such have no impact on the choices of individuals, investigators ought to (...) purge any reliance on collectives from our analysis. (shrink)
In The Enterprise of Knowledge, I proposed a general theory of rational choice which I intended as a characterization of a prescriptive theory of ideal rationality. A cardinal tenet of this theory is that assessments of expected value or expected utility in the Bayesian sense may not be representable by a numerical indicator or indeed induce an ordering of feasible options in a context of deliberation. My reasons for taking this position are related to my commitment to the inquiry-oriented approach (...) to human knowledge and valuation favored by the American pragmatists, Charles Peirce and John Dewey. A feature of any acceptable view of inquiry ought to be that during an inquiry points under dispute ought to be kept in suspense pending resolution through inquiry. (shrink)
This book offers an original account of the history of liberal thought, one grounded in an institutional history of medieval pluralism and the early modern rationalizing state, and explores the deep tensions that liberal political thought rests upon.
Isaac Levi uses C. S. Peirce's fallibilism as a foil for his own "epistemological infallibilism". I argue that Levi's criticisms of Peirce do not hit their target, and that the two pragmatists agree on the fundamental issues concerning background knowledge, certainty, revision of belief, and the aims of inquiry.
The paper's focus is on pragmatic arguments for various ‘rationality constraints’ on a decision maker’s state of mind: on his beliefs or preferences. An argument of this kind purports to show that a violator of a given constraint can be exposed to a decision problem in which he will act to his guaranteed disadvantage. Dramatically put, he can be exploited by a clever bookie who doesn’t know more than the agent himself. Examples of pragmatic arguments of this kind are synchronic (...) Dutch Books, for the standard probability axioms, diachronic Dutch Books, for the more controversial principles of reflection and conditionalization, and Money Pumps, for the transitivity requirement on preferences. The proposed exploitation set-ups share a common feature. If the violator of a given constraint is logically and mathematically competent, he can be exploited only if he is disunified in his decision-making. Exploitation is possible only if the agent makes decisions on various issues he confronts one by one, rather than on all of them together. Unity in decision making may be quite costly and is often inconvenient, especially when it concerns opportunity packages that are spread over time. Therefore, pragmatic arguments should be seen as delivering conditional conclusions: “To afford being disunified as a decision maker, you’d better satisfy these constraints.” Arguments of this kind fail to establish the inherent rationality of the constraints under consideration. Levi’s view of the status of pragmatic arguments (cf. Levi 2002) is diametrally opposed. According to him, only synchronic pragmatic arguments are valid (indeed, categorically valid). The diachronic ones, he argues, lack any validity at all. This line of reasoning is questioned in the paper. (shrink)
The present study investigated the impacts of mobile assisted vocabulary learning via digital flashcards. The data were collected from 44 adult English as Foreign Language learners in three intact classes in a private language teaching institute in Iran, randomly assigned to experimental and control learning conditions. The experimental group used a freely available DF application to learn items from a recently developed corpus-based word list for high-frequency vocabulary in English. The treatment was implemented as out-of-the-classroom learning activities where the EFL (...) learners used DFs to augment their vocabulary knowledge, and their learning gains were compared to the control group that received regular English language education. The participants’ vocabulary knowledge was tested in pre-, post-, and delayed post-tests, and the findings indicated that using DFs for outside the classroom vocabulary learning contributed significantly to short- and long-term improvements in the knowledge of high-frequency words. The study provided empirical evidence for the affordances of mobile assisted vocabulary learning for learning a considerable proportion of core vocabulary and has some implications for addressing the vocabulary learning needs of EFL learners. (shrink)
This enlightening new introduction examines the history and development of moral relativism, considering the arguments for and against, and also covering such key topics as terrorism, and the rights of women in oppressive cultures.
This essay is a meditation on Wittgenstein's injunction to ‘look and see’, especially when it is applied to the debate over theological realism. John Cook thinks that the injunction should be followed in metaphysics and epistemology, something he believes that Wittgenstein himself did not do. I am inclined to think that Cook is right about this, even though I am not persuaded by him that Wittgenstein goes wrong because he was committed to Neutral Monism. Interestingly, Cook thinks that there is (...) no need to adopt the look-and-see approach when it comes to the philosophy of religion, and this paper tries to show why he is wrong to think so. (shrink)