This paper explores the question of whether all or most explanations in biology are, or ideally should be, ‘mechanistic’. I begin by providing an account of mechanistic explanation, making use of the interventionist ideas about causation I have developed elsewhere. This account emphasizes the way in which mechanistic explanations, at least in the biological sciences, integrate difference‐making and spatio‐temporal information, and exhibit what I call fine‐tunedness of organization. I also emphasize the role played by modularity conditions in mechanistic explanation. I (...) will then argue, in agreement with John Dupré, that, given this account, it is plausible that many biological systems require explanations that are relatively non‐mechanical or depart from expectations one associates with the behaviour of machines. (shrink)
From the $700 billion bailout of the banking industry to president Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package to the highly controversial passage of federal health-care reform, conservatives and concerned citizens alike have grown increasingly fearful of big government. Enter Nobel Prize–winning economist and political theorist F. A. Hayek, whose passionate warning against empowering states with greater economic control, The Road to Serfdom, became an overnight sensation last summer when it was endorsed by Glenn Beck. The book has since sold over (...) 150,000 copies. The latest entry in the University of Chicago Press’s series of newly edited editions of Hayek’s works, The Constitution of Liberty is, like Serfdom, just as relevant to our present moment. The book is considered Hayek’s classic statement on the ideals of freedom and liberty, ideals that he believes have guided—and must continue to guide—the growth of Western civilization. Here Hayek defends the principles of a free society, casting a skeptical eye on the growth of the welfare state and examining the challenges to freedom posed by an ever expanding government—as well as its corrosive effect on the creation, preservation, and utilization of knowledge. In opposition to those who call for the state to play a greater role in society, Hayek puts forward a nuanced argument for prudence. Guided by this quality, he elegantly demonstrates that a free market system in a democratic polity—under the rule of law and with strong constitutional protections of individual rights—represents the best chance for the continuing existence of liberty. Striking a balance between skepticism and hope, Hayek’s profound insights are timelier and more welcome than ever before. This definitive edition of The Constitution of Liberty will give a new generation the opportunity to learn from his enduring wisdom. (shrink)
This is a study of all the recent literature on william james written from a phenomenological perspective with the purpose of showing that william james made fundamental contributions to the phenomenological theory of the intentionality of consciousness, To the phenomenological theory of self-Identity, And to the phenomenological conception of noetic freedom as the basic concept of ethical theory.
James Beattie was appointed professor of moral philosophy and logic at Marischal College, Aberdeen, Scotland at the age of twenty-five. Though more fond of poetry than philosophy, he became part of the Scottish 'Common Sense' school of philosophy that included Thomas Reid and George Campbell. In 1770 Beattie published the work for which he is best known, An Essay on Truth, an abrasive attack on 'modern scepticism' in general, and on David Hume in particular, subsequently and despite Beattie's attack, (...) Scotland's most famous philosopher. The Essay was a great success, earning its author an honorary degree from Oxford and an audience with George III. Samuel Johnson declared in 1772 that 'We all love Beattie'. Hume, on the other hand, described the Essay as 'a horrible large lie in octavo', and dismissed its author as a 'bigotted silly Fellow'. Although Beattie is no match for Hume as a philosopher, the success of the Essay suggests that, unlike Hume, Beattie voices the characteristic assumptions, and anxieties, of his age. The first part of this selection—the first ever made from Beattie's prose writings—includes several key chapters from the Essay on Truth, along with extracts from all of Beattie's other works on moral philosophy. The topics treated include memory, the existence of God, the nature of virtue, and slavery. The second part of the selection is devoted to Beattie's contributions to literary criticism and aesthetics. Beattie's studies of poetry, music, taste, and the sublime are vital to the understanding of the literary culture out of which developed the early Romanticism of Wordsworth and Coleridge. (shrink)
Donald Capps and John Capps's James and Dewey on Belief and Experience juxtaposes the key writings of two philosophical superstars. As fathers of Pragmatism, America's unique contribution to world philosophy, their work has been enormously influential, and remains essential to any understanding of American intellectual history. In these essays, you'll find William James deeply embroiled in debates between religion and science. Combining philosophical charity with logical clarity, he defended the validity of religious experience against crass forms of scientism. (...) Dewey identified the myriad ways in which supernatural concerns distract religious adherents from pressing social concerns, and sought to reconcile the tensions inherent in science's dual embrace of common sense and the aesthetic. James and Dewey on Belief and Experience is divided into two sections: the former showcases James, the latter is devoted to Dewey. Two transitional passages in which each reflects on the work of the other bridge these two main segments. Together, the sections offer a unique perspective on the philosophers' complex relationship of influence and interdependence. An editors' introduction provides biographical information about both men, an overview of their respective philosophical orientations, a discussion of the editorial process, and a brief commentary on each of the selections. Comparing what these foremost pragmatists wrote on both themes illumines their common convictions regarding the nature of philosophical inquiry and simultaneously reveals what made each a distinctive thinker. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Central to both James’s earlier psychology and his later philosophical views was a recurring distinction between percepts and concepts. The distinction evolved and remained fundamental to his thinking throughout his career as he sought to come to grips with its fundamental nature and significance. In this chapter, I focus initially on James’s early attempt to articulate the distinction in his 1885 article “The Function of Cognition.” This will highlight a key problem to which James continued to (...) return throughout his later philosophical work on the nature of our cognition, including in his famous “radical empiricist” metaphysics of “pure experience” around the turn of the century. We shall find that James grappled insightfully but ambivalently with the perceptual and conceptual dimensions of the “knowledge relation” or the “cognitive relation,” as he called it—or what, following Franz Brentano, philosophers would later call our object-directed thought or intentionality more generally. Some philosophers have once again returned to James’s work for crucial insights on this pivotal topic, while others continue to find certain aspects of his account to be problematic. What is beyond dispute is that James’s inquiries in this domain were both innovative and of lasting significance. (shrink)
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work. This work is in the public domain (...) in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant. (shrink)
James Tully: To Think and Act Differently collects classic, contemporary, and previously unpublished examples of public philosophy in action from across James Tully's four decades of scholarship. The book provides readers with a perspicuous representation of public philosophy as an ongoing experiment with reconstructing the practice of political theory as a democratizing and diversifying dialogue between scholars and citizens. This volume offers an overview of this participatory mode of political philosophy and political change by reconstructing the arc of (...) Tully's intellectual trajectory in contexts, illuminating moments of clarification and transformation, and the ways it continues to shed new insights into the challenges of citizenship in the present. Topics discussed include approaches to the history of political though, constitutionalism, democratic theory, comparative political theory, intercultural dialogue and translation; Indigenous political thought; settler colonialism and empire; climate change and sustainability; modernity; nonviolence; and mutual aid. It will be of interest to scholars of political philosophy, political theory, constitutional law, Indigenous studies, intellectual history, and ecological humanities. It will be of interest to scholars of political philosophy, political theory, constitutional law, Indigenous studies, intellectual history, and ecological humanities. (shrink)
The identity and diversity of individual objects may be grounded or ungrounded, and intrinsic or contextual. Intrinsic individuation can be grounded in haecceities, or absolute discernibility. Contextual individuation can be grounded in relations, but this is compatible with absolute, relative or weak discernibility. Contextual individuation is compatible with the denial of haecceitism, and this is more harmonious with science. Structuralism implies contextual individuation. In mathematics contextual individuation is in general primitive. In physics contextual individuation may be grounded in relations via (...) weak discernibility. (shrink)
In his introduction to this collection, John representative. McDermott presents James's thinking in all its manifestations, stressing the importance of radical empiricism and placing into perspective the doctrines of pragmatism and the will to believe. The critical periods of James's life are highlighted to illuminate the development of his philosophical and psychological thought. The anthology features representive selections from The Principles of Psychology, The Will to Believe , and The Variety of Religious Experience in addition to the complete (...) Essays in Radical Empiricism and A Pluralistic Universe . The original 1907 edition of Pragmatism is included, as well as classic selections from all of James's other major works. Of particular significance for James scholarship is the supplemented version of Ralph Barton Perry's Annotated Bibliography of the Writings of William James , with additions bringing it up to 1976. (shrink)
In 1896 William James published an essay entitled The Will to Believe, in which he defended the legitimacy of religious faith against the attacks of such champions of scientific method as W.K. Clifford and Thomas Huxley. James's work quickly became one of the most important writings in the philosophy of religious belief. James Wernham analyses James's arguments, discusses his relation to Pascal and Renouvier, and considers the interpretations, and misinterpretations, of James's major critics. Wernham shows (...) convincingly that James was unaware of many destructive ambiguitities in his own doctrines and arguments, although clear and consistent in his view that our obligation to believe in theism is not a moral but a prudential obligation -- a foolish-not-to-believe doctrine, rather than a not-immoral-to-believe one. Wernham also shows that the doctrine is best read as affirming the wisdom of gambling that God exists, a notion which James failed to distinguish from believing and which, among other things, he explicitly identified with faith. James's pragmatism, a theory concerning the meaning of truth, is shown to be quite distinct from the doctrine of The Will to Believe. In concentrating on a careful analysis of this doctrine of the will-to-believe, Wernham not only makes a major contribution to understanding James's philosophy, but also clarifies issues in the philosophy of religion and in the analysis of belief and faith. (shrink)
This collection of 216 letters offers an accessible, single-volume distillation of the exchange between celebrated brothers William and Henry James. Spanning more than fifty years, their correspondence presents a lively account of the persons, places, and events that affected the Euro-American world from 1861 until the death of William James in August 1910. An engaging introduction by John J. McDermott suggests the significance of the Selected Letters for the study of the entire family.
William James has long been recognized as a central figure in the American philosophic tradition, and his ideas continue to play a significant role in contemporary thinking. Yet there has never been a comprehensive exploration of the thought of this seminal philosopher and psychologist. In Experiencing William James, renowned scholar James Campbell provides the fuller and more complete analysis that James scholarship has long needed. Commentators typically address only pieces of James's thought or aspects of (...) his vision, often in an attempt to make the task of understanding James seem easier than it is or else to dismiss him as a philosophically unprepared if well-meaning amateur. The isolated nature of these examinations, too often divorced from the original contexts, badly hinders and even distorts their conclusions. Focusing on James's own ideas rather than his critiques of others, and drawing from a wealth of scholarship that includes the completed editions of his writings and correspondence, Experiencing William James provides an invaluable, comprehensive view of James as he participates in and advances the pragmatic spirit that is at the core of American philosophy. Taking the whole of the man's thinking into account, this book offers the richest perspective so far on this great but not fully comprehended intellectual. (shrink)
James Harrington (1611-77) was a pioneer in applying the methods of Machiavelli and other civic humanists to English political society and its landed structure. In the century after his death, his ideas were adapted to become an important ingredient in the vocabulary of both English and American political opposition to the methods of Hanoverian parliamentary monarchy. There has been no complete edition of Harrington's writings since 1771, or of Oceana, his best-known work, since 1924. This is a modernised edition, (...) and includes all of his prose works on political subjects. The critical introduction attempts to revalue the evidence concerning Harrington's life and writings, to locate them in the context of Civil War, Commonwealth and Puritan thinking and to trace the development of Harringtonian and neo-Harringtonian ideology during subsequent generations. (shrink)
The Essential William James covers the primary topics for which James is still closely studied: the nature of experience, the functions of the mind, the criteria for knowledge, the definition of “truth,” the ethical life, and the religious life. His notable terms, still resonating in their respective fields, are all covered here, from “stream of consciousness” and “pure experience” to the “will to believe,” the “cash-value of truth,” and the distinction between the religiously “healthy soul” and the “sick (...) soul.” This volume’s eighteen selections receive the bulk of the attention and citation from scholars, provide excellent coverage of core topics, and have a broad appeal across many academic disciplines. (shrink)
It is testimony to both the incompleteness and suggestiveness of James's philosophy that commentators have argued that the "true" James is consummated in, say, Dewey, or in phenomenology, or Whitehead. Although Ford obviously thinks James's philosophy has a complete identity in its own right, he argues for the Whiteheadian interpretation. He asserts not only that this is the correct interpretation of James, but the correct philosophy simpliciter. The central theses in this argument are that James (...) is both a process philosopher and a panpsychist. (shrink)
A selection of seventeen essays from the writings of pioneering American psychologist/philosopher William James that provide insight into his thinking on emotion, war, habit, determinism, religion, and other topics.
Mr Burston's introduction relates the two pieces to Mill's general intellectual and philosophical position, and to the historical context in which he wrote. Notes explain allusions in the text, and there is a bibliography.
This is a big book, conceived on a grand scale. Sprigge does not fight shy of addressing the large central issues. He takes James and Bradley head on and expounds their philosophy without compromise and without assuming that the only way we can appreciate them is by making them more palatable to the modern mind by watering down what they wrote. While he relates their thought to modern philosophical concerns he does not presuppose that modern philosophical concerns as such (...) should act as the arbiter of what counts as philosophical good sense. In other words, we can learn from Bradley and James, whether or not they could also learn from us. (shrink)
William James had the courage to experience the collision of European and American ways of thinking head on, and to emerge from it with a new philosophy - one displaying a remarkable vitality for dealing with the transformative issues at the core of the human condition. This easy to read introduction to his life and work explains why James' work is overwhelmingly valuable to us today in getting to grips with the spiritual dimension of human experience.