This volume has two primary aims: to trace the traditions and changes in methods, concepts, and ideas that brought forth the logical empiricists’ philosophy of physics and to present and analyze the logical empiricists’ various and occasionally contrary ideas about the physical sciences and their philosophical relevance. These original chapters discuss these developments in their original contexts and social and institutional environments, thus showing the various fruitful conceptions and philosophies behind the history of 20th-century philosophy of science. Logical Empiricism and (...) the Natural Sciences is divided into three thematic sections. Part I surveys the influences on logical empiricism’s philosophy of science and physics. It features chapters on Maxwell’s role in the worldview of logical empiricism, on Reichenbach’s account of objectivity, on the impact of Poincaré on Neurath’s early views on scientific method, Frank’s exchanges with Einstein about philosophy of physics, and on the forgotten role of Kurt Grelling. Part II focuses on specific physical theories, including Carnap’s and Reichenbach’s positions on Einstein’s theory of general relativity, Reichenbach’s critique of unified field theory, and the logical empiricists’ reactions to quantum mechanics. The third and final group of chapters widens the scope to philosophy of science and physics in general. It includes contributions on von Mises’ frequentism; Frank’s account of concept formation and confirmation; and the interrelations between Nagel’s, Feigl’s, and Hempel’s versions of logical empiricism. (shrink)
John Henry Newman (1801–1890) was deeply influenced by the British empiricist school of the eighteenth century, particularly by the philosophy of David Hume(1711–1776). Though frequently disputing Hume’s conclusions, Newman nevertheless worked to develop a theistic form of empiricism that integrated the developing scientific worldview with traditional Christian philosophy. In light of recently renewed interest in Hume, this essay first explores Newman’s empiricist leanings and then proposes that his distinctive philosophy can contribute to modern discussions about the relationship of (...) science and religion. (shrink)
In his 1980 book Against Empiricism: On Education, Epistemology and Value, British philosopher R. F. Holland exposes the inadequacies of a philosophy of education originating from an empiricist worldview. By following Plato’s view that the issue of what qualifies as knowledge has to be understood with reference to whether it is teachable, Holland’s critique of empiricism highlights the social and communal dimensions of education. The primary objective of this paper is to offer a reassessment of Holland’s thoughts on education (...) and value. To do so, I first discuss Holland’s use of Plato’s ideas in his article ‘Epistemology and Education’ to demonstrate that Holland’s position can offer us a fruitful way to diagnose common, prevalent educational practices. I then turn to look at Holland’s views on value and morality. To illustrate how his thoughts on education can be seen to be relevant to the contemporary world, I explore and criticize some implicit presuppositions on knowledge in the 20... (shrink)
This groundbreaking volume casts light on the long shadow of naturalistic monism in modern thought and culture. When monism's philosophical proposition - the unity of all matter and thought in a single, universal substance - fused with scientific empiricism and Darwinism in the mid-nineteenth century, it led to the formation of a powerful worldview articulated in the work of figures such as Ernst Haeckel. The compelling essays collected here, written by leading international scholars, investigate the articulation of monism in science, (...) philosophy, and religion and its impact on a range of social movements, from socialism and early feminism to imperialism and eugenics. The result is a broad and comprehensive chronological, disciplinary, and geographic map of a century of monism, as well as a bellwether for innovative new directions in the interdisciplinary study of science, religion, philosophy, and culture. (shrink)
. Based on a reconstruction of the development of Rudolf Carnap’s views from the Aufbau until the 1960s, this paper provides an account of the philosopher’s understanding of non-cognitivism, which is here seen as in line with the so-called scientific world-conception of left-wing logical empiricism. The starting point of Carnap’s conception is the claim that every human decision depends on certain attitudes that cannot be justified at a cognitive level, that are neither based on empirical facts nor logical reasoning. The (...) key features of Carnap’s non-cognitivism, however, go beyond this general basis and involve several fundamentally moral commitments, such as a commitment toward science, and the embracing of moral attitudes as the result of a long-term process of rational discourse. I argue that these commitments contained in Carnap’s non-cognitivism/scientific world-conception establish a genuinely political worldview that is characteristic of left-wing logical empiricism and converges with socialism and democracy. (shrink)
There is a growing understanding that addressing the global crisis facing humanity will require new methods for knowing, understanding, and valuing the world. Narrow, disciplinary, and reductionist perceptions of reality are proving inadequate for addressing the complex, interconnected problems of the current age. The pervasive Cartesian worldview, which is based on the metaphor of the universe as a machine, promotes fragmentation in our thinking and our perception of the cosmos. This divisive, compartmentalized thinking fosters alienation and self-focused behavior. I aim (...) to show in this essay that healing the fragmentation that is at the root of the current world crises requires an integrated epistemology that embraces both the rational knowledge of scientific empiricism and the inner knowledge of spiritual experience. This “deep science‘ transcends the illusion of separateness to discern the unity, the unbroken wholeness, that underlies the diverse forms of the universe. Our perception of connectedness, of our integral place in the web of life, emerges as an attribute of our connection with the eternal, beatific source of all existence. This awakened spiritual vision “widens our circle of understanding and compassion, to embrace all living creatures in the whole of nature‘ (Einstein, quoted in Goldstein  1987). Our behavior, as it emerges naturally out of our perception of the sacredness of the natural world, will naturally embody love and respect for all life forms. This vision promotes the healing of our long-standing alienation from the natural world and offers hope for renewal in the midst of widespread cultural deterioration and environmental destruction. (shrink)
William James’s pluralism, when combined with his pragmatism and radical empiricism, is a complete and coherent philosophy of life. James provides an antidote to the excesses of both the extreme realist/objectivist and the extreme constructivist/relativist camps. In this paper, we demonstrate how this is so in a discussion of epistemology and ontology including several extended examples. These examples demonstrate the inescapability of context and background assumptions and the advantages of a pluralist worldview.
When did modern science begin? -- Science and the medieval university -- The condemnation of 1277, God's absolute power, and physical thought in the late Middle Ages -- God, science, and natural philosophy in the late Middle Ages -- Medieval departures from Aristotelian natural philosophy -- God and the medieval cosmos -- Scientific imagination in the Middle Ages -- Medieval natural philosophy : empiricism without observation -- Science and theology in the Middle Ages -- The fate of ancient Greek natural (...) philosophy in the Middle Ages : Islam and western Christianity -- What was natural philosophy in the Middle Ages? -- Aristotelianism and the longevity of the medieval worldview. (shrink)
Abstract If asked about the Darwinian influence on William James, some might mention his pragmatic position that ideas are “mental modes of adaptation,” and that our stock of ideas evolves to meet our changing needs. However, while this is not obviously wrong, it fails to capture what James deems most important about Darwinian theory: the notion that there are independent cycles of causation in nature. Versions of this idea undergird everything from his campaign against empiricist psychologies to his theories (...) of mind and knowledge to his pluralistic worldview; and all of this together undergirds his attempts to challenge determinism and defend freewill. I begin this paper by arguing that James uses Darwinian thinking to bridge empiricism and rationalism, and that this merger undermines environmental determinism. I then discuss how Darwinism informs his concept of pluralism; how his concept challenges visions of a causally welded “block universe”; and how it also casts doubt on the project of reducing all reality to physical reality, and therewith the wisdom of dismissing consciousness as an inert by-product of physiology. I conclude by considering how Darwinism helps him justify the pragmatic grounds upon which he defends freewill. (shrink)
Note: Sections at a more advanced level are indicated by ∞. Preface ix Acknowledgments x Introduction 1 I Nicolaus Copernicus: The Loss of Centrality 3 1 Ptolemy and Copernicus 3 2 A Clash of Two Worldviews 4 2.1 The geocentric worldview 5 2.2 Aristotle’s cosmology 5 2.3 Ptolemy’s geocentrism 9 2.4 A philosophical aside: Outlook 14 2.5 Shaking the presuppositions: Some medieval developments 17 3 The Heliocentric Worldview 20 3.1 Nicolaus Copernicus 21 3.2 The explanation of the seasons 25 (...) 3.3 Copernicus and the Copernican turn 28 3.3.1 A philosophical aside: From empirical adequacy to theoretical validity 32 3.4 Copernicus consolidated: Kepler and Galileo 32 4 Copernicus was not a Scientifi c Revolutionary 37 4.1 The Copernican method 39 4.2 The relativity of motion 42 5 The Transition to Newton 43 5.1 On hypotheses 45 6 Some Philosophical Lessons 47 6.1 The loss of centrality 48 6.2 Was Copernicus a realist? 51 6.2.1 Lessons for instrumentalism and realism 52 6.3 Modern realism 55 6.4 The underdetermination of theories by evidence 58 6.4.1 The Duhem--Quine thesis 59 ∞ 6.4.2 The power of constraints 61 ∞ 6.5 Theories, models, and laws 64 ∞ 6.5.1 Theories and models 64 ∞ 6.5.2 Laws of nature, laws of science 68 ∞ 6.5.3 Philosophical views of laws 69 ∞ 184.108.40.206 The inference view 69 ∞ 220.127.116.11 The regularity view 70 ∞ 18.104.22.168 The necessitarian view 73 ∞ 22.214.171.124 The structural view 75 7 Copernicus and Scientifi c Revolutions 77 8 The Anthropic Principle: A Reversal of the Copernican Turn? 83 Reading List 87 Essay Questions 91 II Charles Darwin: The Loss of Rational Design 93 1 Darwin and Copernicus 93 2 Views of Organic Life 94 2.1 Teleology 94 2.1.1 The Great Chain of Being 97 2.1.2 Design arguments 99 2.1.3 Jean Baptiste Lamarck 104 3 Fossil Discoveries 106 3.1 Of bones and skeletons 108 3.2 The antiquity of man 110 4 Darwin’s Revolution 112 4.1 The Darwinian view of life 114 4.1.1 Principles of evolution 116 4.2 The descent of man 119 5 Philosophical Matters 124 5.1 Philosophical presuppositions: Mechanical worldview, determinism, materialism 125 5.2 From biology to the philosophy of mind 129 5.2.1 Empiricism 129 5.2.2 Philosophy of mind 132 5.2.3 Emergent minds 134 5.3 The loss of rational design 136 5.4 Intelligent design 139 6 A Question of Method 143 6.1 Darwinian inferences 143 6.2 Philosophical empiricism 147 6.3 Some principles of elimination 149 ∞ 6.4 Essential features of eliminative induction 150 6.5 Falsifi ability or testability? 155 6.6 Explanation and prediction 157 ∞ 6.7 Some models of scientifi c explanation 159 ∞ 6.7.1 Hempel’s models 160 ∞ 6.7.2 Functional models 161 ∞ 6.7.3 Causal models 163 126.96.36.199 A counterfactual-interventionist account 163 188.8.131.52 A conditional model of causation 165 ∞ 6.7.4 Structural explanations 169 6.8 A brief return to realism 172 6.9 Darwin and scientifi c revolutions 174 6.9.1 Philosophical consequences 176 Reading List 177 Essay Questions 183 III Sigmund Freud: The Loss of Transparency 185 1 Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud 185 2 Some Views of Humankind 187 2.1 Enlightenment views of human nature 188 2.2 Nietzsche’s view of human nature 190 3 Scientism and the Freudian Model of Personality 191 3.1 Freud’s model of the mind 192 3.1.1 A summary of psychoanalytic theory 192 3.1.2 Analogy with physics 195 3.1.3 Freud as an Enlightenment thinker 200 3.1.4 The scientifi c status of the Freudian model 202 184.108.40.206 Freud’s methods 202 ∞ 220.127.116.11 The method of eliminative induction, again 205 3.1.5 Freud stands between the empirical and the hermeneutic models 208 3.1.6 The role of mind in the social world 209 4 The Social Sciences beyond Freud 210 4.1 Two standard models of the social sciences -- some history 210 4.1.1 The naturalistic model 211 4.1.2 The hermeneutic model 213 4.2 Essential features of social science models 218 4.2.1 Essential features of the naturalistic model 218 4.2.2 Essential features of the hermeneutic model 221 4.3 Questions of methodology 224 ∞ 4.3.1 What is Verstehen? 225 ∞ 4.3.2 Weber’s methodology of ideal types 229 ∞ 4.3.3 Verstehen and objectivity 234 ∞ 4.4 Causation in the social sciences 236 ∞ 4.4.1 Weber on causation 236 ∞ 4.4.2 On the existence of social laws 239 4.4.3 Explanation and prediction in the social sciences 242 4.4.4 Underdetermination 243 4.4.5 Realism and relativism 244 ∞ 4.4.6 Reductionism and functionalism 248 5 Evolution and the Social Sciences 253 5.1 Sociobiology -- the fourth revolution? 254 5.2 Evolutionary psychology 257 6 Freud and Revolutions in Thought 261 6.1 Revolutions in thought vs. revolutions in science 263 Reading List 263 Essay Questions 269 Name Index 271 Subject Index 274. (shrink)
Socio-spatial diversity of environmental ethics and regional-ethnic identity in northern Brazil is examined with the aim of presenting a culturally complex account of Amazonian worldviews in the making. These worldviews involve the variable merging of Amerindian, riverine peasant and new settler beliefs. Interpretative and empiricist textual strategies are juxtaposed in order to explore both broad human-environmental relations, as seen through the prism of enchanted and disenchanted worldviews, as well as the subtlety of belief and disbelief in (...) specific elements of worldview, which reflect the different social backgrounds of individuals. The first part deals with the cultural significance of what is believed while the second part treats the socio-environmental implications of who believes and why. (shrink)
This volume is dedicated to the life and work of Ernest Nagel counted among the influential twentieth-century philosophers of science. Forgotten by the history of philosophy of science community in recent years, this volume introduces Nagel’s philosophy to a new generation of readers and highlights the merits and originality of his works. Best known in the history of philosophy as a major American representative of logical empiricism with some pragmatist and naturalist leanings, Nagel’s interests and activities went beyond these limits. (...) His career was marked with a strong and determined intention of harmonizing the European scientific worldview of logical empiricism and American naturalism/pragmatism. His most famous and systematic treatise on, The Structure of Science, appeared just one year before Thomas Kuhn’s even more renowned, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. As a reflection of Nagel’s interdisciplinary work, the contributing authors’ articles are connected both historically and systematically. The volume will appeal to students mainly at the graduate level and academic scholars. Since the volume treats historical, philosophical, physical, social and general scientific questions, it will be of interest to historians and philosophers of science, epistemologists, social scientists, and anyone interested in the history of analytic philosophy and twentieth-century intellectual history. (shrink)
I submit that epistemic progress in key areas of contemporary academic philosophy has been compromised by politically correct ideology. First, guided by an evolutionary account of ideology, results from social and cognitive psychology and formal philosophical methods, I expose evidence for political bias in contemporary Western academia and sketch a formalization for the contents of beliefs from the PC worldview taken to be of core importance, the theory of social oppression and the thesis of anthropological mental egalitarianism. Then, aided by (...) discussions from contemporary epistemology on epistemic values, I model the problem of epistemic appraisal using the frameworks of multi-objective optimization theory and multi-criteria decision analysis and apply it to politically correct philosophy. I conclude that philosophy guided by politically correct values is bound to produce constructs that are less truth-conducive and that spurious values which are ideologically motivated should be abandoned. Objections to my framework stemming from contextual empiricism, the feminine voice in ethics and political philosophy are considered. I conclude by prescribing the epistemic value of empirical adequacy, the contextual value of political diversity and the moral virtue of moral courage to reverse unwarranted trends in academic philosophy due to PC ideology. (shrink)
This paper explores the ‘delicate empiricism’ proposed by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe’s scientific work provided an alternative epistemology to that of conventional science.The author discusses the Goethean way of knowing. Particular emphasis is given to the changed understanding of process, form and participation that results from employing the epistemology expressed by Goethe. A methodology for Goethean science is introduced and its applications and their implications are explored. Goethe’s “zarte Empirie” – his delicate empiricism - legitimises and organizes the role (...) of imagination, intuition and inspiration in science. It may contribute significantly to the emerging participatory and holistic worldview, and to providing knowledge that is in tune with nature. This paper explores how and why. (shrink)
PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore a particular philosophical underpinning for Information Systems research – critical systemic thinking. Drawing upon previous work, the authors highlight the principal features of CST within the tradition of critical research and attempt to relate it to trends in the Italian school of IS research in recent years, as exemplified by the work of Claudio Ciborra but also evident in work by, e.g. Resca, Jacucci and D'Atri.Design/methodology/approachThis is a conceptual paper which explores CST, (...) characterised by a focus on individual uniqueness, and socially‐constructed, individual worldviews as generators of human knowing.FindingsThe paper draws on work by Heinz Klein in which he elaborated three constitutive stages in critical research: interpretive, genealogical and constructive. The authors introduce a fourth, reflective stage and discuss five categories of critical research, reflecting different perspectives on emancipation, culminating in emergent expressionism, associated with Ciborra and the Italian school more generally.Research limitations/implicationsThis paper discusses approaches to CST and how they might have practical implications in IS development. The distinction between approaches founded in logical empiricism and those founded in hermeneutic dialectics are considered and the development of critical and systems strands are discussed.Practical implicationsThe paper addresses CST as an approach to development of information systems. Such approaches enable users to explore their individually unique understandings and create a constructive dialogue with one another, which emancipates and empowers users to own and control their own development processes and hence build more productive and usable systems.Social implicationsA focus on research which is oriented towards emancipation in the tradition of critical social theory.Originality/valueThe paper draws on extensive theoretical research carried out by the authors over a period of more than ten years in CST and synthesises the practical implications. (shrink)
Between 1899 and 1906, Alexander Bogdanov developed a scientific philosophy intended to substantiate the basic principle of historical materialism—the idea that existence determines consciousness—in terms of the most advanced science and empiricist epistemology/ontology of his day. At the same time, however, he strove ‘to answer the broad needs of our workers for an overall worldview’, and in the process of doing so he elaborated a complete philosophical system and a holistic worldview. Although his intention was to serve the proletariat (...) and advance socialist revolution, Bogdanov also provided the sort of integral vision of the interconnectedness of the individual, society, and the cosmos that the Russian intelligentsia had traditionally pursued. Bogdanov adopted a number of the principles of nineteenth-century German and Russian idealism, including the concept of the unity of the subject and the object and the ideas that the laws of thought are the same as the laws of being, that there is no qualitative difference between humans and nature, and that humanity is central in the progressive development of the cosmos. Bogdanov, however, provided a materialist mirror image of the idealist worldview. While Russian idealists celebrated spirituality, individual personhood, freedom, and religion, Bogdanov advocated materialism, collectivism, determinism, and naturalism. (shrink)
Economics is often believed to be a `value-free' discipline, and even an `a-moral' one. My aim is to demonstrate that homo œconomicus can recover his ethical nature if the philosophical roots of contemporary economics are laid bare. This, however, requires us to look for an alternative foundation for the idea of `social order,' a foundation which economics is ill-equipped to provide because of its exclusive focus on calculative rationality. But a new ethical perspective on homo œconomicus and on the manner (...) in which he chooses his actions is possible. My aim here is to make this new perspective explicit.Two claims lie at the heart of this paper. The first claim is that economics as practised nowadays — that is, as a discipline concerned with the analysis of the interactions between individual decisions and the collective effects of these interactions — is a particular form of metaphysics, based on a particular articulation between self-centredness and other-centredness. The second claim is that, unbeknownst to the vast majority of economists, the basic principle of individual optimization contains the seed of a radical reformulation of what the emergence of `social order' is all about. More specifically, economics will be claimed to be a specific metaphysical discipline based on the monadological worldview inherited from Leibniz and re-arranged to fit the empiricist bias of 18th-century thinkers, and the principle of individual optimization will be claimed to be compatible with a very different metaphysical view of the human subject, a view which `turns subjectivity inside out', so to speak, and treats optimizing calculation as a response rather than as an initiative.The first claim is rather general, and not completely new — it has been hinted at, for example, by Jon Elster in an early book written in French, but it has received precious little attention among economists so far, with the result that economics has become increasingly blind to the philosophical roots of its most fundamental views on individual decision and on social order. The second claim applies to economics and homo œconomicus a general suggestion coming from Alain Renaut, that we ought to make good use of the accusations of incoherence voiced against the monadological scheme in order to re-think the way in which human subjectivity works. Renaut, however, remains at the level of the history of the philosophical concept of subjectivity. Although he does, in passing, make some mention of possible implications for the social sciences, he never goes into the full analysis of what the critique of monadological metaphysics implies for modern theories of society, and for economics in particular. One of my main goals here is to fill this gap.Let me now be more specific about the steps of my analysis. Defending my two claims will require, first of all, a rigorous understanding of the basic methodological stance adopted by economics, namely the idea that social order `emanates' from a bunch of self-centred subjectivities making separate optimizing decisions. Accordingly, in Section 2, I will trace out the analogy that exists between Leibnizian monadology and modern-day economics. The aim there will be to show that economics, unwittingly but for nevertheless deep ethical reasons, has remained `stuck' in a very specific metaphysical position which virtually no contemporary philosophy of subjectivity any longer acknowledges. Section 3, then, will show how the combination of monadology and empiricism which still prevails in contemporary economics can be overcome by entering an altogether distinct philosophical domain characterized by the primacy of Other over Self.While this alternative philosophical stance has experienced a surge of interest in recent decades, it has left the social sciences, and particularly economics, completely untouched. The reason is, I will claim, that this strand of philosophy adopts a form of methodological altruism which stands in contrast both to the methodological individualism of economics and to the methodological holism of various strands of post-Durkheimian sociology. In Section 4, then, I analyze some of the far-reaching consequences for economics which would flow from taking into account `non-I' motives which are not `We' motives, i.e., motives for action which are neither mere holist pastings onto individualism nor mere individualist mitigations of holism.The principle of choice of action through individual optimization will appear as the `hinge' between two worlds: although initially anchored within a worldview where social coexistence is a by-product of individual calculations, the idea of optimization will be seen to be compatible with a very different, and indeed almost reversed worldview, one where individual calculations emerge as by-products of social coexistence — the term `social' being itself radically re-thought in a non-holistic direction.The aim of my analysis, ultimately, is to formulate a challenge for contemporary economics and its implicit view of the interaction between individual and society: Can the combination of monadological and empiricist thinking so strongly ingrained in economics be overcome in the direction of a radically `other-oriented' view of the human subject? Many economists will doubtless believe it cannot; however, they will now, at least, have to explain why they hold to the older view and hence they will have to uncover their often hidden ethical and metaphysical presuppositions. I view this not as an undue disturbance or as mere conceptual hair-splitting, but as a timely opportunity to clarify some deep philosophical issues which haunt economics. (shrink)
The review highlights how Habermas reconstructs the historically constitutive function of religious thought regarding essential categories through which to appropriate our practical freedom. It articulates the three essential bifurcations taken along the way: to opt for Judeo-Christian dialogism versus other axial age world religions; for a Lutheran Kantianism of an unconditional normativity versus an empiricist naturalism; and for the hermeneutic discovery of a validity-oriented communicative agency versus a Hegelian metaphysics. Recognizing our normative indebtedness to religious roots in modernity is (...) to enable the renewal of an unabashed commitment to 'rational freedom,' thus serving as a bulwark against currently fashionable scientistic worldviews. Such a hermeneutic genealogy may also provide one promising resource to reconstruct shared normative ideals in a cross-cultural dialogue. (shrink)
In this article, I aim to reconstruct Otto Neurath’s naturalistic program for practical philosophy. This program, which he calls “felicitology,” was intended as a version of ethics suitable for the “scientific worldview” of the logical empiricists. I begin by situating Neurath’s ethical concerns in the context of the debate between his fellow Austro-Marxists and the Marburg neo-Kantians. I then show why, contrary to many logical empiricists, Neurath thought that ethical considerations had an important role to play in scientific inquiry. I (...) argue that this conclusion follows from his contribution to the protocol-sentence debate of the early 1930s. Finally, I show how Neurath’s advocacy of unified science, democratic socialism, a world economy, and his method of visual learning all relate to his program for felicitology. (shrink)
This reply aims both to respond to Gregory and to move forward the debate about God’s place in historiography. The first section is devoted to the nature of science and God. Whereas Gregory thinks science is based on metaphysical naturalism with a methodological corollary of critical-realist empiricism, I see critical, empiricist methodology as basic, and naturalism as a consequence. Gregory’s exposition of his apophatic theology, in which univocity is eschewed, illustrates the fissure between religious and scientific worldviews—no matter (...) which basic scientific theory one subscribes to. The second section is allotted to miracles. As I do, Gregory thinks no miracle occurred on Fox Lakes in 1652, but he restricts himself to understanding the actors and explaining change over time, and refuses to explain past or contemporary actions and events. Marc Bloch, in his book The Royal Touch: Sacred Monarchy and Scrofula in England and France, is willing to go much further than Gregory. Using his superior medical knowledge to substitute his own explanation of the phenomenon for that of the actors, Bloch dismisses the actors’ beliefs that they or others had been miraculously cured, and explains that they believed they saw miraculous healing because they were expecting to see it. In the third section, on historical explanation, I rephrase the question whether historians can accommodate both believers in God and naturalist scientists, asking whether God, acting miraculously or not, can be part of the ideal explanatory text. I reply in the negative, and explicate how the concept of a plural subject suggests how scientists can also be believers. This approach may be compatible with two options presented by Peter Lipton for resolving the tension between religion and science. The first is to see the truth claims of religious texts as untranslatable into scientific language ; the other is to immerse oneself in religious texts by accepting them as a guide but not believing in their truth claims when these contradict science. (shrink)
Kant's Worldview offers a new interpretation of Immanuel Kant's theory of judgment to clarify how the German philosopher increasingly expands the role of judgment from its logical task to its reflective capacity to evaluate objects and contextualize them in worldly terms.
Two lines of evolution in modern philosophy, empiricism and rationalism, are illustrated with ideas from the film, The matrix. The essay concludes with Kant’s defence of the idea that we do indeed live in a “matrix,” but it’s one of our own constructions. Awareness of this fact sets us free to create a better world.
Since Hegel's analysis of weltanschauung the concept of 'worldview' has received a variety of implementations relating to a shared and encompassing cultural comprehension of and by a community in a given period and society. Worldviews can best be described as the various ways in which people imagine or represent their (social) existence, how they fit together with others, how things in the world go on. They are (meta)physical systems of dispositions that function as principles that generate and organize representations (...) and practices. Implicitly and explicitly, worldviews give meaning to our everyday relation with the world and the other. With regards to people's most important beliefs and faiths, worldviews enter the domain of lifestances: what really drives people, what grounds their being and what is the main-spring of their attack in life? From a religious and ideological point of view, such questions can be answered rather unambiguously and straightforwardly. However, due to (post)modern evolutions in science and its accompanying secularization of society, the foundation and legitimation of such grand narratives are increasingly and extensively discredited. Furthermore, the expanding globalization of the world entails a far-reaching diversification of and confrontation between various belief systems. Indeed, if anything, contemporary society can no longer claim an exclusive and univocal kosmotheoros, a single theory about the world. This alleged decline of general and common frames of reference for the guidance of our daily actions seems a non sequitur however: while from a philosophical and scholarly stance, the use of a world-picture or a worldview as the absolute foundation of everyday praxis is discredited, in global socio-cultural contexts these frames of reference easily gather power for groups with ideological inspiration (religious, political, ...). In a global setting, due to an increasing globalized interconnectedness and its unprecedented degree of people with different religious and lifestance backgrounds, the tangibility of this strange non sequitur is evermore present: the idea that the finite reach of such worldviews and lifestances is sociologically and philosophically acknowledged contrasts strongly with the way in which these frames of reference all too easily seem to gather terrific power in local contexts. Every day our world witnesses the further rise of religious, political and economic radicalism, unfortunately often with dramatic scenes and results. A 'clash of civilizations' seems to be practically on our doorstep. (shrink)
"Nietzsche is infuriatingly difficult to comprehend as he sets to tearing down every scaffold left from the old world. Beyond Good and Evil represents Nietzsche in his maturity, being written later in life. It is also some of his clearest writing since it is intentionally polemical. None of his writing is known particularly for its moderation, but Beyond Good and Evil is written as an assault on half-hearted philosophers who are still playing about with the old world. But he is (...) a particularly infuriating read for those who see the world as made and ruled by God. He is difficult to understand since he seeks to remove everything that makes such a world comprehensible. But to say this is simply to describe our age, and for this reason Nietzsche is valuable. But be warned, he will not be trifled with. Sit with him and listen as he seeks to remove every vestige of God from the world." The Worldview Guides from the Canon Classics Literature Series provide an aesthetic and thematic Christian perspective on the most definitive and daunting works of Western Literature. Each Worldview Guide presents the big picture (both the good and the bad) without neglecting the details. Each Worldview Guide is a friendly literary coach--and a treasure map, and a compass, and a key--to help teachers, parents, and students appreciate, critique, and begin to master the classics. The bite-size WGs are divided into these ten sections (with some variation due to genre): Introduction, The World Around, About the Author, What Other Notables Said, Structure and Audience, Worldview Analysis, Quotables, 21 Significant Questions & Answers, and Further Discussion & Review. (shrink)
Examining key white evangelical voices from the last century, Jacob Cook deconstructs the concept of "worldviews" based on current conversations in psychology, sociology, critical race studies, and theology. He engages Dietrich Bonhoeffer's theology of relationality for a constructive alternative to imperial ways of knowing and ordering the world.
Among the many tensions and oppositions in play in the early twentieth century, one—the divide between classical and modern physics—has retrospectively overshadowed our understandings of the period. This paper investigates when and why physicists first started using the term ‘classical’ to describe their discipline. Beginning with Boltzmann and ending with the 1911 Solvay Congress, on a broad scale this story constitutes a powerful instance of the circulation of a rich cultural image. First deployed in understandings of literature, music, art and (...) schooling, the concept of the classical within the physics community came to be invested with a highly specific meaning, which in turn formed the basis for the widespread popularization of a new physical worldview after World War I. But on a finer scale, displaying the diverse, contrasting and controversial concepts of classical theory invoked by different physicists around 1900, and charting the emergence of our present understanding with the rise of relativity and quantum theory, reveals significant tussles over the meaning and value of different intellectual approaches. Here I use these tensions to investigate the interrelations between research programs and the broader, framing concepts with which physicists describe their experience of disciplinary change.Keywords: Energetics; Statistical mechanics; Relativity; Quantum theory; Classical physics; Ludwig Boltzmann. (shrink)
An invited High Table Address given before the students and faculty of Raymond College, University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, December 10, 1969. An impressionistic and idealistic paper from the author’s youth suggesting how his _de-projective approach to phenomenology_ could lead to an actual, lived, worldview.
Constructive empiricism is not just a view regarding the aim of science; it is also a view regarding the epistemological framework in which one should debate the aim of science. This is the focus of this book -- not with scientific truth, but with how one should argue about scientific truth.
Science has always engaged with the worldviews of societies and cultures. The theme is of particular importance at the present time as many national and provincial education authorities are requiring that students learn about the nature of science (NOS) as well as learning science content knowledge and process skills. NOS topics are being written into national and provincial curricula. Such NOS matters give rise to at least the following questions about science, science teaching and worldviews: -/- What is (...) a worldview? -/- Does science have a worldview? -/- Are there specific ontological, epistemological and ethical prerequisites for the conduct of science? -/- Does science lack a worldview but nevertheless have implications for worldviews? -/- How can scientific worldviews and practice be reconciled with seemingly discordant religious and cultural worldviews? -/- In which ways do the worldviews of students impact on their interest and learning of science? -/- Should science teachers engage with the worldviews of students? -/- In addition to the NOS curricular impetus for refining understanding of science and worldviews, there are also pressing cultural and social forces that give prominence to questions about science, worldviews and education. There is something of an avalanche of popular literature on the subject that teachers and students are variously engaged by. Additionally the modernisation and science-based industrialisation of huge non-Western populations whose traditional religions and beliefs are different from those that have been associated with orthodox science make very pressing the questions of whether, and how, science is committed to and hence promotes particular worldviews and contradicts others. Hopefully this chapter, and others in the section, will contribute to a more informed understanding of the relationship between science, worldviews and education and provide assistance to teachers who are routinely engaged with the subject. (shrink)
Empiricism is the doctrine that all knowledge has a strictly observational basis. Rationalism is the doctrine that least some knowledge has non-observational, purely conceptual basis. In the present work, empiricism is carefully considered and found to have four dire shortcomings: -/- (1) Empiricism cannot account for our knowledge of what doesn't exist, let alone what cannot exist. -/- (2) Empiricism cannot account for our knowledge of dependence-relations, given (1), coupled with the fact that 'P depends on Q' is equivalent with (...) 'not-Q either necessitates or is dispositive of not-P.' -/- (3) Empiricism cannot account for our knowledge of the past, the future, or the possible, given (2), coupled with the fact knowledge of any of these domains requires knowledge of conditional truths (truths of the form "if P, then Q") and therefore of dependence-relations. -/- (4) Empiricism cannot by itself apprise us of any truths, given (3), coupled with the fact that knowledge of conditional truths is necessary to recognize the truths implicit in any body of sensory data. -/- The arguments of key empiricists are closely examined. Special attention is paid to George Berkeley's arguments for idealism ('to be is to be perceive/conceived'). It is shown that, although Berkeley's arguments fail, profound insights are embedded in the very sophisms that vitiate those same arguments, the three most important ones being: -/- (i) That data-modelling and truth-identification at least sometimes coalesce, -/- (ii) That scientific theories are at least sometimes capable of being represented as interpreted formal calculi, and -/- (iii) That when theoretical terms are defined contextually, as opposed to directly, otherwise unintelligible assertions acquire scientific significance. -/- Further, it is shown that, even though Berkeley's arguments for idealism fall through, he himself deserves credit for identifying the principle in terms of which the fallacies in those arguments are to be understood, namely: -/- (*) It is not sensory experience alone that yields awareness of the outside world, but sensory experience coupled with awareness on the subject's part of relational invariances holding among the objects of those awareness. -/- Thus, perceptual knowledge is knowledge of invariances. And, to make a point hinted at in Berkeley's work, knowledge of laws is meta-perceptual knowledge, given that laws of nature are invariances holding among the invariances holding among the objects of perception. (shrink)
When worldviews clash, the world reverberates. Now a distinguished scholar who has written widely on thinkers ranging from Samuel Beckett to Eric Voegelin inquires into the sources of religious conflict—and into ways of being religious that might diminish that conflict. _Worldview and Mind_ covers a wide range of thinkers and movements to explore the relation between religion and modernity in all its complexity. Eugene Webb invokes a number of topical issues, including religious terrorism, as he unfolds the phenomenon of (...) religion in all its complications, from the difference between faith and belief to the diversities among—and within—religions. Building on Karl Jaspers’s psychology of worldviews and Jean Piaget’s developmental psychology, Webb looks at a broad spectrum of religions—especially the history of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in their various forms—to explore the subjective factors that sometimes render religions conflictual and aggressive and to consider conditions that might foster more helpful and reconciling forms of religiousness. He explores what psychological analysis reveals about the relationship between stages of psychological development and ways of being religious—ways that range from closed-minded literalism to open-minded tolerance. He also identifies unconscious and developmental obstacles to religious maturity and depicts the mature person as one who participates in the mystery of self-transcending love. Webb argues that authentic religion need not succumb to dogmatism, or support fanaticism, or be consigned to the stages of immature culture. Responding to critics of religion, from Sigmund Freud to Daniel Dennett, he demonstrates that religious traditions have more spiritual depth than these critics have granted and a greater potential for development than they believe, along lines they might even favor. His insightful book proposes that, if religious people can step back from their traditions and consider them as partial ways of relating to transcendent ultimacy, the world’s religions might manage to develop a way of living together with mutual appreciation and respect. (shrink)
Constructive empiricism implies that if van Fraassen does not believe that scientific theories and his positive philosophical theories, including his contextual theory of explanation, are empirically adequate, he cannot accept them, and hence he cannot use them for scientific and philosophical purposes. Moreover, his epistemic colleagues, who embrace epistemic reciprocalism, would not believe that his positive philosophical theories are empirically adequate. This epistemic disadvantage comes with practical disadvantages in a social world.
This issue of Bucknell Review provides an overview of the various traditional and contemporary worldviews as resources for thinking about ecology. It is increasingly clear that the environmental crisis is one of vast scale and complexity. It is also evident that the urgency of the problem is being raised by many individuals in a variety of disciplines. It is the thesis of this volume that a new global environmental ethics will be needed to solve some of the critical issues (...) that face us in the late twentieth century: as many have noted, "we will not preserve what we do not respect." It is the editors' contention that various religious and cultural worldviews have helped shape traditional attitudes toward nature. Indeed, as Larry Rasmussen observes, from a worldview there emerges a method for action, from a cosmology there arises an ethic. These are inextricably linked. By presenting various worldviews, the editors hope that a broadened context for a new ecological ethics will be created. Without such a comprehensive context of restraint and respect, the exploitation of nature and its resources will continue unchecked. The first part of this volume begins to fulfill the charge of Tu Wei-ming that we must examine the resources of the world's great spiritual traditions in finding our way beyond the Enlightenment mentality. The religions of Native American, Asian, and Mediterranean peoples are explored for the textual, ritual, and experiential evidence they offer for an understanding of human-earth relationships. A range of positions is evident: from the biocentric position of Native Americans, to the anthropocentric positions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Baha'i, to the more ecocentric positions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Janism, as well as the anthropocosmic position of Taoism and Confucianism. In each case, the role of the human in relation to the cosmos is reexamined from the lens of traditional religions. In the second part of the volume, a range of contemporary ecological perspectives is discussed. The comparative survey by Ralph Metzner sets the tone for this section: Metzner describes the paradigm shift in perceptions and values that is taking place in many areas in the transition from the industrial to the ecozoic age. The essays by Charlene Spretnak on ecofeminism, David Ray Griffin on process philosophy, and George Sessions on deep ecology testify to this paradigm shift already occurring. The last two pieces by Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry point toward the need for a radical rethinking of the story of the universe - its emergence and evolution - and toward a new understanding of our role in this dynamic, unfolding process. Worldviews and Ecology, then, is but a beginning in charting the territory of traditional and contemporary worldviews that are being rediscovered or articulated for the first time in response to the current environmental crisis. It is an invitation for further creative commentaries and worldviews to emerge. (shrink)
Worldview Religious Studies brings the study of religion, spirituality, secularism, and other mixed attitudes of life under the overarching scheme of worldview studies. This book introduces and defines worldviews more generally before establishing a framework specific to religious studies. The drive for meaning-making is explored through ritual-symbolic activities, ideas of 'play', and the power of emotions to transform simple ideas into values and beliefs that frame identity and signpost destiny. Identity and its sacralisation are discussed alongside gift/reciprocity theory in (...) their relation to ideas of merit, karma, and salvation in Eastern and Western traditions. This theoretical background is used to introduce a new classification of worldviews - natural, scientific, ancestral, karmic, prophetic-sectarian, mystical, and ideological. Organised thematically by chapter, this book brings together familiar and unfamiliar authors, theories, and sources to challenge students and teachers of Religious Studies, Theology, and Ethics. It introduces worldview religious studies as a framework through which to re-think human endeavours to identify, cope and even transcend life's flaws and perils. (shrink)
Beginning with a group of essays on education, the author shows the constricting and limiting effects of empirical assumptions. In his essays on values, he makes it clear that the ethics of empiricism so pervade modern moral philosophy that it can find no place for the notion of absolute value.
This volume includes the major works of the British Empiricists, philosophers who sought to derive all knowledge from experience. All essays are complete except that of Locke, which Professor Richard Taylor of Brown University has skillfully abridged.
This essay argues that there is no alethic basis for adopting one ontology of jazz music rather than another. Any ontology of jazz that is consistent with the available empirical evidence may be adopted, though pragmatic reasons may exist for favouring one ontology of jazz over another. There are empirical differences between jazz and much of classical music, but one may adopt the same ontology for jazz that one adopts for works classical music.
Introduction: The empiricists and their context -- Empiricism and the empiricists -- The intellectual background to the early modern empiricists -- Martin Luther and the Reformation -- Aristotelian cosmology and the scientific revolution -- Aristotelian/scholastic hylomorphism and the rise of mechanism -- The Royal Society of London -- Francis Bacon (1561-1626) -- The natural realm : the idols of the mind -- Idols of the tribe -- Idols of the cave -- Idols of the marketplace -- Idols of the theatre (...) -- Knowledge and experience : induction introduced -- Aristotelian/scholastic syllogisms : deductions dismissed -- Baconian empiricism : induction introduced -- Conclusion: Bacon the empiricist -- Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) -- The natural realm : Hobbes's materialistic mechanism -- The importance of motion -- Sensation and the mind -- Knowledge and experience : definitions and the euclidean method -- Two kinds of knowledge and proper ratiocination -- The method of analysis and the method of synthesis -- Conclusion: Hobbes, the empiricist -- Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655) -- The natural realm : Gassendi's atomism -- The basic principles of Gassendi's atomism -- Atomistic sensation -- Knowledge and experience : the middle way to knowledge -- The sceptics are partly correct -- Knowledge regained? -- Conclusion: Gassendi. the empiricist -- Robert Boyle (1627-1691) -- The natural realm : Boyle's mechanism (corpuscularianism) -- The basic principles of Boyle's mechanism (or corpscularianism) -- Sensation and the mind -- Knowledge and experience : mechanism and the cautious experimenter -- The excellency of mechanism -- Experimentation and the status of mechanism -- Conclusion: Boyle, the empiricist -- John Locke (1632-1704) -- The natural realm : Locke's mechanism -- Against innatism -- Ideas and the tabula rasa -- Primary and secondary qualities, and our confused idea of substance -- Locke on power -- Knowledge and experience : Locke's epistemology -- Indirect realism, or the representational theory of perception -- The certainty of knowledge -- The origin of knowledge -- The extent of knowledge -- Conclusion: Locke, the empiricist -- Isaac Newton (1642-1727) -- The natural realm : Newton's principia -- A world of forces : universal gravitation -- What kind of quality is gravity? -- Mechanism and action at a distance -- Knowledge and experience : rules for the study of natural philosophy -- The four rules -- Whither natural philosophy -- Conclusion: Newton, the empiricist -- George Berkeley (1685-1753) -- The natural realm : Berkeley's idealism -- The world contains only souls and ideas -- Esse est percipi : two arguments for idealism/immaterialism -- Against the primary/secondary quality distinction -- Knowledge and experience : Berkeley's common sense epistemology -- Against the representational theory of perception -- Defeating the skeptic, and returning to common sense -- Mechanism, newtonianism, and instrumentalism : Berkeley on the new science -- Responses to popular objections -- Conclusion: Berkeley, the empiricist -- David Hume (1711-1776) -- The natural realm : Hume's psychological approach -- Ideas and impressions -- The principles of association -- Knowledge and experience : Hume's semi-scepticism -- Relations of ideas vs. matters of fact -- From matters of fact to cause and effect : Hume's first question -- Knowledge of cause and effect : Hume's second question -- The problem of induction : Hume's third question -- Hume's positive account of causation : induction regained -- Conclusion: Hume, the empiricist -- Empiricism and the empiricists : summary and conclusion. (shrink)
Leading philosophers from both sides of the Atlantic present essays on Wilfrid Sellars's Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind, one of the crowning achievements of 20th-century analytic philosophy. They discuss empiricism, perception, epistemology, realism, and normativity, showing how vibrant Sellarsian philosophy remains in the 21st century.
It is argued that, contrary to prevailing opinion, Bas van Fraassen nowhere uses the argument from underdetermination in his argument for constructive empiricism. It is explained that van Fraassen’s use of the notion of empirical equivalence in The Scientific Image has been widely misunderstood. A reconstruction of the main arguments for constructive empiricism is offered, showing how the passages that have been taken to be part of an appeal to the argument from underdetermination should actually be interpreted.
In this paper, we examine how increasing understanding and explicit awareness of social consciousness can develop through transformations in worldview. Based on a model that emerged from a series of qualitative and quantitative studies on worldview transformation, we identify five developmental levels of social consciousness: embedded, self-reflexive, engaged, collaborative, and resonant. As a person's worldview transforms, awareness can expand to include each of these levels, leading to enhanced prosocial experiences and behaviours. Increased social consciousness can in turn stimulate further transformations (...) in worldview. We then consider an educational curriculum to facilitate the understanding of worldview and the cultivation of social consciousness as core capacities for twenty-first century students and global citizens. (shrink)
This book offers a novel account of the relationship of experience to knowledge. The account builds on the intuitive idea that our ordinary perceptual judgments are not autonomous, that an interdependence obtains between our view of the world and our perceptual judgments. Anil Gupta shows in this important study that this interdependence is the key to a satisfactory account of experience. He uses tools from logic and the philosophy of language to argue that his account of experience makes available an (...) attractive and feasible empiricism. (shrink)