This book unpicks the conceptual, ideological, and metaphysical tangles that get in the way of understanding romantic love. -/- Written for a general audience, What Love Is And What It Could Be explores different disciplinary perspectives on love, in search of the bigger picture. It presents a "dual-nature" theory: romantic love is simultaneously both a biological phenomenon and a social construct. The key philosophical insight comes in explaining why this a coherent—and indeed a necessary—position to take. -/- The deep motivation (...) behind this work is that we have a collective responsibility to figure out romantic love. It is a formidable and potentially dangerous force, its power underwritten by its twin footholds in our biological natures and in our most treasured social practices. Often we pretend that it is incomprehensible and out of control, but this is a way of abdicating our responsibility to understand love and fix it when it's broken. -/- What Love Is And What It Could Be explains that romantic love is currently broken in multiple interlocking ways, but also that we can change this status quo. Once we understand what love is, we will be able to take control of what it could be. (shrink)
CarrieJenkins presents a new account of arithmetical knowledge, which manages to respect three key intuitions: a priorism, mind-independence realism, and empiricism. Jenkins argues that arithmetic can be known through the examination of empirically grounded concepts, non-accidentally accurate representations of the mind-independent world.
Michael Devitt has been developing an influential two-pronged attack on the a priori for over thirteen years. This attack does not attempt to undermine the coherence or significance of the distinction between the a priori and the a posteriori, but rather to answer the question: 'What Can We Know A Priori?' with: 'Nothing'. In this paper I explain why I am dissatisfied with key extant responses to Devitt's attack, and then take my own steps towards resisting the attack as it (...) appears in two recent incarnations. Devitt aims firstly to undermine the motivation for believing in any a priori knowledge, and secondly to provide reasons directly against believing in any. I argue that he misidentifies the motivations available to the a priorist, and that his reasons against believing in the a priori do not take account of all the options. I also argue that his attempt to combine the two prongs of the attack into an abductive argument for his anti-a priorist position does not succeed. (shrink)
Elizabeth Barnes and Robert Williams have developed a theory of metaphysical indeterminacy, via which they defend the theoretical legitimacy of vague objects. In this paper, we argue that while the Barnes–Williams theory supplies a viable account of genuine metaphysical vagueness, it cannot underwrite an account of genuinely vague objects. First we clarify the distinction between these two key theses. Then we argue that the Barnes–Williams theory of metaphysical vagueness not only fails to deliver genuinely vague objects, it in fact provides (...) grounds for rejecting them. (shrink)
There is a New Idea in epistemology. It goes by the name of ‘knowledge first,’ and it is particularly associated with Timothy Williamson’s book Knowledge and Its Limits. In slogan form, to put knowledge first is to treat knowledge as basic or fundamental, and to explain other states—belief, justification, maybe even content itself—in terms of knowledge, instead of vice versa. The idea has proven enormously interesting, and equally controversial. But deep foundational questions about its actual content remain relatively unexplored. We (...) think that a wide variety of views travel under the banner of ‘knowledge first’ (and that the slogan doesn’t help much with differentiating them). Furthermore, we think it is far from straightforward to draw connections between certain of these views; they are more independent than they are often assumed to be. Our project here is exploratory and clarificatory. We mean to tease apart various ‘knowledge first’ claims, and explore what connections they do or do not have with one another. Our taxonomy is offered in §2, and connections are explored in §3. The result, we hope, will be a clearer understanding of just what the knowledge first theses are. We conclude, in §4, with some brief suggestions as to how we think the various theses might be evaluated. (shrink)
Philosophers readily talk about merely verbal disputes, usually without much or any explicit reflection on what these are, and a good deal of methodological significance is attached to discovering whether a dispute is merely verbal or not. Currently, metaphilosophical advances are being made towards a clearer understanding of what exactly it takes for something to be a merely verbal dispute. This paper engages with this growing literature, pointing out some problems with existing approaches, and develops a new proposal which builds (...) on their strengths. (shrink)
Friends of Wright-entitlement cannot appeal to direct epistemic consequentialism (believe or accept what maximizes expected epistemic value) in order to account for the epistemic rationality of accepting Wright-entitled propositions. The tenability of direct consequentialism is undermined by the “Truth Fairy”: a powerful being who offers you great epistemic reward (in terms of true beliefs) if you accept a proposition p for which you have evidence neither for nor against. However, this chapter argues that a form of indirect epistemic consequentialism seems (...) promising as a way to deal with the Truth Fairy problem. The relevant form of indirect consequentialism accommodates evidentialism but allows for exceptions in the case of anti-sceptical hypotheses. Since these are the kind of propositions to which Wright-entitlement is supposed to apply—i.e. cornerstone propositions—indirect consequentialism is entitlement-friendly. (shrink)
I argue that “consent” language presupposes that the contemplated action is or would be at someone else’s behest. When one does something for another reason—for example, when one elects independently to do something, or when one accepts an invitation to do something—it is linguistically inappropriate to describe the actor as “consenting” to it; but it is also inappropriate to describe them as “not consenting” to it. A consequence of this idea is that “consent” is poorly suited to play its canonical (...) central role in contemporary sexual ethics. But this does not mean that nonconsensual sex can be morally permissible. Consent language, I’ll suggest, carries the conventional presupposition that that which is or might be consented to is at someone else’s behest. One implication will be a new kind of support for feminist critiques of consent theory in sexual ethics. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore the traditional conception of a prioricity as epistemic independence of evidence from sense experience. We investigate the fortunes of the traditional conception in the light of recent challenges by Timothy Williamson. We contend that Williamson’s arguments can be resisted in various ways. En route, we argue that Williamson’s views are not as distant from tradition as they might seem at first glance.
This chapter attempts to put structure on some of the different philosophical uses of ‘intuition’. It argues that ‘intuition’-hood is associated with four bundles of symptoms: a commonsensicality bundle; an a prioricity and immediacy bundle, and a metaphilosophical bundle. Tentatively suggesting that the word ‘intuition’ as used by philosophers is best regarded as ambiguous, the chapter offers a much simpler view concerning the meaning of ‘intuition’ in philosophy. With some of the attacks on ‘intuition’ as an epistemic source explored, the (...) chapter concludes that one significant kind of philosophical ‘intuition’, related to a prioricity and conceptual truth, can be defended against a range of typical epistemological challenges. (shrink)
This paper builds on some important recent work by Amie Thomasson, wherein she argues that recent disputes about the existence of ordinary objects have arisen due to eliminiativist metaphysicians’ misunderstandings. Some, she argues, are mistaken about how the language of quantification works, while others neglect the existence and significance of certain analytic entailments. Thomasson claims that once these misunderstandings are cleared away, it is trivially easy to answer existence questions about ordinary objects using everyday empirical methods of investigation. She reveals (...) how two conflicting metaontologies can lead to different positions in the first-order debate. In this paper, I bring a third metaontological perspective to the table: one that enables us to maintain that ontological disputes about ordinary objects are not trivially easy to settle, even if we agree with Thomasson that they are merely verbal. These are serious verbal disputes. (shrink)
David Lewis is associated with the controversial thesis that some properties are more eligible than others to be the referents of our predicates solely in virtue of those properties’ being more natural; independently, that is, of anything to do with our patterns of usage of the relevant predicates. On such a view, the natural properties act as ‘reference magnets’. In this paper I explore (though I do not endorse) a related thesis in epistemology: that some propositions are ‘justification magnets’. According (...) to the doctrine of justification magnetism, we have better justification for some propositions than for others solely in virtue of certain features of those propositions; independently, that is, of anything to do with evidential support or cognitive accomplishment. In the course of discussing an objection to justification magnetism I describe (though I do not endorse) a novel approach to epistemology akin to interpretationism in the theory of reference. (shrink)
ABSTRACT:The paper begins by surveying a range of possible views on the metaphysics of romantic love, organizing them as responses to a single question. It then outlines a position, constructionist functionalism, according to which romantic love is characterized by a functional role that is at least partly constituted by social matters, although this role may be realized by states that are not socially constructed.
Earp et al. offer a very interesting summary of, and ethical commentary on, recent multidisciplinary research suggesting that at least some cases of what we call ‘romantic love’ involve phenomena that physically and/or psychologically resemble cases of what we call ‘addiction.’ They draw a conceptual distinction between what they call ‘narrow’ and ‘broad’ concepts of addiction. On the narrow conception, only extreme, harmful, or abnormal cases of love would count as addiction. On the broad conception, even ordinary or normal cases (...) of love could qualify.After distinguishing the two conceptions over the course of the first half of their paper, the authors argue that for labelling and treatment purposes it does... (shrink)
Table of Contents -/- 1. Introduction and Overview: Two Entitlement Projects, Peter J. Graham, Nikolaj J.L.L. Pedersen, Zachary Bachman, and Luis Rosa -/- Part I. Engaging Burge's Project -/- 2. Entitlement: The Basis of Empirical Warrant, Tyler Burge 3. Perceptual Entitlement and Scepticism, Anthony Brueckner and Jon Altschul 4. Epistemic Entitlement Its Scope and Limits, Mikkel Gerken 5. Why Should Warrant Persist in Demon Worlds?, Peter J. Graham -/- Part II. Extending the Externalist Project -/- 6. Epistemic Entitlement and Epistemic (...) Competence, Ernest Sosa 7. Extended Entitlement, Adam Carter and Duncan Pritchard 8. Moorean Pragmatics, Social Comparisons and Common Knowledge, Allan Hazlett 9. Internalism and Entitlement to Rules and Methods, Joshua Schecter -/- Part III. Engaging Wright's Project -/- 10. Full Bloodied Entitlement, Martin Smith 11. Pluralist Consequentialist Anti-Scepticism, Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen 12. Against (Neo-Wittensteinian) Entitlements, Annalisa Coliva 13. The Truth Fairy and the Indirect Consequentialist, Daniel Elstein and Carrie S. I. Jenkins 14. Knowledge for Nothing, Patrick Greenough . (shrink)
Abstract This paper examines the kind of epistemic circularity which, according to Ernest Sosa, is unavoidably entailed whenever one has what he calls ?reflective? knowledge (that is, knowledge that p such that the knower reflectively endorses the reliability of the epistemic sources by which she came to her belief that p). I begin by describing the relevant kind of circularity and its role in Sosa's epistemology, en route presenting and resisting Sosa's arguments that this kind of circularity is not vicious. (...) Then I consider the somewhat complex relationship between Sosa's views on epistemic circularity and his response to the Problem of Easy Knowledge, arguing that (on one interpretation of Sosa, at least) a complete solution to that problem cannot be extracted from Sosa's work unless the aforementioned epistemic circularity can be proved non-vicious. (shrink)
continent. 1.1 (2011): 60-67. At the beginning of Martin Heidegger’s lecture “Time and Being,” presented to the University of Freiburg in 1962, he cautions against, it would seem, the requirement that philosophy make sense, or be necessarily responsible (Stambaugh, 1972). At that time Heidegger's project focused on thinking as thinking and in order to elucidate his ideas he drew comparisons between his project and two paintings by Paul Klee as well with a poem by Georg Trakl. In front of Klee's (...) Saints from the Window and Death of Fire —though we wouldn’t absolutely understand what we were seeing—he writes, “we should want to stand…a long while.” In a similar manner, of Trakl’s poem “Septet of Death”—although it is likely we are unsure in what we hear—Heidegger states that, “we should want to hear…[it] often.” Heidegger further states that in appreciating these, “we “should abandon any claim that [they] be immediately intelligible” (1). So also we must we approach, Heidegger continues, the realm of theoretical physics, in which the difficult work of Werner Heisenberg, be listened to “without protest” and without “any claim that he be immediately understood.” These works, like his own project, merit the time they take to be originally (mis)understood. But this is not necessarily true for philosophy, Heidegger advises, because, “That thinking is supposed to offer ‘worldly wisdom’ and perhaps even a ‘way to a blessed life’” (1). Philosophy is in the unique position of being both abstract (what do we talk about when we talk?) and at the same moment, useful. There are demands that it make sense, that it be, grounded, immediate, and most importantly, rational. Heidegger draws these comparisons between the works of Klee and Trakl and Heisenberg not to claim that philosophy is totally irresponsible. He does not claim that the poet, the painter, nor the physicist have acted irresponsibly. Rather, he would say, they are rising to the highest levels of intelligibility, though it is perhaps an intelligibility that is commonly unavailable to us. In Trakl’s case, as we shall see, mastery is the end result of difficult words. Instead, Heidegger seems be making pleas: for a period of uninterrupted unintelligibility (pure unintelligibility); and that there is a time (that time is now) when, “thinking is…placed in a position which demands of it reflections that are far removed from any useful, practical wisdom” (1-2). Heidegger argues that philosophy requires a period of time in which, instead of focusing on the practical—or even on the worldly—the discipline draw its “determination” instead from the place of painting and poetry and physics. In doing so, “we should have to abandon any claims to immediate intelligibility” (2). But Heidegger doesn’t offer this as a way out. We still have to turn up, we “still have to listen, because we must think what is inevitable, but preliminary” (2). The point for Heidegger, is not to listen to a series of propositions, but instead to “follow the movement of showing” (2). I. … Maybe we're here only to say: house, bridge, well, gate, jug, olive tree, window— at most: pillar, tower … but to say them, remember, oh, to say them in a way that the things themselves never dreamed of existing so intensely.… Rainer Maria Rilke, “The Ninth Elegy” There is little more fundamental, preliminary, in the world than language. We use language, in the form of speech, constantly, whether we are saying anything or not. “Man speaks,” Heidegger writes, and goes on to describe in his essay “Language” (2001) the constant speaking that we do. “We are always speaking, even when we do not utter a single word aloud, but merely listen or read, and even when we are not particularly speaking or listening but are attending to some work or taking a rest” (187). Speaking is expression, an utterance of something internal. It is a recognition of a world. It is a way of communicating thought and it is an activity that we all do, inevitably. Speaking separates the human from the animal world, and despite advances in primatology that seek to give ‘voice’ to primates and other non-human animals, it can safely be said that our form of communication—what we call speech and know as language—is the most advanced, the most complicated. We use it to present and represent the world around us; through actual utterances (vocalization) or through the written word or through ‘unvoiced thoughts’ and dreams. We use language, but more specifically speech—naming—to transmit moods, thoughts, desires, aversions, and feelings. These expressions, mere utterances, nearly always find a source in words, whether spoken or not. Heidegger writes that this common view of language means “that only speech enables man to be the living being he is as man. It is as the one who speaks that man is—man” (187). Speaking then—utterance—surrounds us constantly, whether in the form of careful thought—in the form of an academic paper, say—or in the half mutterings and forgotten thoughts of a nearly remembered dream. Like scaffolding, the apparatus of speech sustains and explains the world, making, in a sense, the world rational, making it apparent. When we speak, we describe, and in doing so, name the world. We use words, through this process of naming, to interpret and sustain the world we see, and the world we imagine. Like Rilke’s naming of jug, and bridge, and window, and stream, we describe—and inscribe upon—the world through an activity of naming. Are we here, perhaps, to name? Is it possible not to name? Is it possible to regard and to view and to look around without naming what we see? Is it possible to feel—to experience—world without giving utterance to that feeling, that process? Sadness, grief, joy, ecstasy, hunger, thirst. Desk, light, room, pen, book, world. White, black, tomorrow, today. Each of these words is a name given to a thing I see in front of me, or a concept that I imagine (in the case of tomorrow or world). What arises in my mind has already existed. If I imagine it, it is named. The word for ‘tomorrow’ and ‘desk’ and ‘light’ precedes me, and precedes my concept of it. The idea of it is already pre-informed, and I must, in a certain sense, bend my ideas to it. When I imagine a table, I imagine my own table (or I imagine an idea of table) but that imagining must follow certain general rules; while, perhaps, it might not always require four legs and a horizontal surface, it must, at least not be, say, a pool of water, or a pile of excrement. It must have some tableness to it to be a table. It must, with Heidegger, table. Otherwise, speech is reduced to gibberish. For Heidegger however, the discussion of language points to something deeper than its “scientific and analytic” study as a communicative device. Indeed, Heidegger seeks to understand language not in reference to man or woman, not as an utterance of humanity, but in reference to itself. In doing so he abandons the conversation—that is, he casts away the traditional arguments surrounding philosophy of language; that it is a means of expression; that it is a human activity; and that it is somehow a representation of something that is—in order to seek to understand language as language, on its own terms. Heidegger is not a philosopher of language, but a philosopher of world, of being. Despite these “correct ideas” holding sway “over the whole field of the varied scientific perspectives on language…they ignore completely the oldest natural cast of language” (191). What is this “oldest natural cast of language? It is the act of language itself. Language is language and language speaks. “Most often,” Heidegger writes, “and too often, we encounter what is spoken only as the residue of a speaking long past” (195). Speech, as we normally encounter it, is like Echo herself calling out to Narcissus, doomed to repeat what has already been said, a mere remnant of what was once language, a trace left behind in the gathering silence of becoming. In both the essay “Language” and in his three lecture course “The Nature of Language” (1982), Heidegger attempts to unpack the seeming tautology of language as language. In each, he focuses on poetry as a way out, or into, a true discussion of the oldest natural cast of language. Poetry is pure speech. In poetry, language is brought to language and language speaks ( Die Sprach spricht ). In the act of poetry, the act of pure speech, the poet names (on the surface not different from how I name this table, this computer) but in the poet naming, the naming does not “hand out titles,” “apply terms,” but rather the naming is a call, a calling forth of entities that bring them into their own, allow them to take their place purely, without compromise. This calling, Heidegger (2001) states, “here calls into a nearness. But even so the call does not wrest what it calls away from the remoteness, in which it is kept by the calling there. The calling calls into itself and therefor always here and there—here into presence, there into absence” (196). II. Window with falling snow is arrayed, Long tolls the vesper bell, The house is provided well, The table is for many laid. Wandering ones, more than a few, Come to the door on darksome courses. Golden blooms the tree of graces Drawing up the earth’s cool dew. Wanderer quietly steps within; Pain has turned the threshold to stone. There lie, in limpid brightness shown, Upon the table bread and wine. Georg Trakl “A Winter Evening” Heidegger is often given short shrift as an abysmally difficult writer, as one that makes no sense and is needlessly difficult. In doing this though, we forget sometimes his eloquence, his simple beauty in writing. Of the above opening stanza, “Window with falling snow is arrayed/ Long tolls the vesper bell.” he writes (2001), This speaking names the snow that soundlessly strikes the window late in the waning day, while the vesper bell rings. In such a snowfall, everything lasts longer. Therefore the vesper bell, which daily rings for a strictly fixed time, tolls long. The speaking names the winter evening time (197). The speaking names the winter evening time. It is almost impossible to comment on that one line by Heidegger. It is as though it must exist on its own completely, without elucidation—as though in front of it we must stand as we do in front of a painting by Klee, that is, we must abandon any claim . Silent and devoted. The speaking of the poem here is not clearly different from common speech ( rede ) yet there is, via Heidegger, an invitation to experience that auracular quality of light and stillness that a gentle, dusk tinged snowfall gives; words evoking a quality so clear, so poignant that, in a sense, Heidegger’s work, at this moment, has been done. But what does this naming accomplish? What does the call call? Remember, it is not the poet that calls, but the naming which calls. The poet has only brought the words forward; it is now the words— snow, vesper bell, window— that take new life in the pure language of the poem. Entities are called forth into presence, like the speaking that names the winter evening time. Not to be present amongst us now, however; naming ‘table’ in the poem does not place it in front of us in this room. Rather, the naming places entities into a gathering which is also a sheltering. The naming brings them to be. In an act of appropriation, things come to be purely as their own, unimpeded by a predetermined expectation. They are called to themselves into an arrival. In Being and Time (1962), Heidegger famously describes the movement between present-at-hand and ready-to-hand in his analysis of the hammer, and of equipment in general. This analysis is already known, if not always clear, to most readers of Heidegger. Briefly, a hammer is ordinarily zuhanden or ready-to-hand; it is part of the background of the world, equipment used and never thought about, like this desk, this sheet of paper, this room. Our interaction with it is temporary and it is historically different for each entity and each relation. We need a hammer, we use a hammer. If all goes according to plan, the hammer remains ready-to-hand; it remains, in a sense, undisclosed and certainly unobtrusive. Our world is undisturbed by the hammer. Only when the hammer or the car or the computer is broken (or sometimes unused or unrecognized or missing) does it intrude into our world, become conspicuous as an object present-at-hand, or vorhanden . In this case, we reach for the hammer, it is broken and we suddenly notice it’s being, broken though it is. The thing which was always ready to hand—handy—is suddenly abstract, something to be examined, if only in its absence or disfunction. This can be exhibited for all entities, and it is important to note that in this analysis the zuhanden / vorhanden split is not restricted to a specific form of constructed material; zuhanden does not refer to the car, and vorhanden the sunset. No entity is ever exclusively ready-to-hand or present-at-hand; they are instead, interpenetrated with each others mode of being, one informing the other in a way that both brings things forth into the world—discloses is the word Heidegger chooses—and at the same time conceals them. As one mode is coming to be so another mode is withdrawing. This flux and movement between modes is precisely what brings the world forward, and what makes it manifest. It exists beyond where we tread and before man took dubious control of the world. We go to find a book or turn on the computer and it is missing or broken and we become aware of the object, as though for the first time. We walk to the water to glimpse the sunset and miss it, or it is less than stellar; in the sunset’s grayness, we become aware of it’s being sunset. The thing is disclosed in its withdrawal. Echoing Heraclitus, we can say that as something is coming to be, it is already becoming something other. Of similar importance to the fact that things are never all of one, or all of the other, they are also never alone. The hammer is never a single object, but is in relation always to the whole. Heidegger (1962) states, Equipment—in accordance with its equipmentality—always is in terms of its belonging to other equipment: ink-stand, pen, ink, paper, blotting pad, table, lamp, furniture, windows, doors, room. These ‘Things’ never show themselves proximally as they are for themselves…What we encounter as closest to us…is the room; and we encounter it not as something ‘between four walls’ in a geometrical, spatial sense, but as equipment for residing…it is in this that any ‘individual’ item of equipment shows itself. Before its does so, a totality of equipment has already been discovered (97). Equipment resides—dwells—in its relations, in its proximal being to other beings. Within the structure of totality, a series of relations is always occurring. The hammer is on the workbench in the carpenter’s hand in the workshop in the village under the sky and under the sun. It doesn’t stop there. Equipment surrounds us and the focus is not on what it does, or what one does with it—the carpenter with the hammer, the writer with laptop—but with the fact that it is. Equipment occurs in relation and is always occurring around us overhead, underfoot, by the stream and in the city. There is a constant exchange of relations happening, and as this occurs, so the world occurs, so the world both discloses and withdraws, into and out of itself. In a very real sense, language is also equipment. It is the thing that we use most often without thought, it is ready-to-hand (except when it’s not.) As we re- cognize the world around us, as we offer names for things and make lists, we are using language much like we might use a hammer, that is, bluntly. Most of the time it is invisible and we draw on it without wondering how we are going to say something. When language does intrude, it does so in an awkward moment, that moment when we can’t remember the right word, when we forget a phrase. At that second, it “speaks itself as language,” it reveals itself as malfunctioning equipment, and we “undergo” an experience with language, in Heidegger’s famous formulation. Language is not a tool anymore that we use to bludgeon an object, but something instead that we submit to, that we experience. In “The Nature of Language,” Heidegger (1982) writes, But when does language speak to us as language? Curiously enough, when we cannot find the right word for something that concerns us, carries us away, oppresses or encourages us. Then we leave unspoken what we have in mind and, without rightly giving it a thought, undergo moments in which language itself has distantly and fleetingly touched us with its essential being (59). The poet’s words become themselves, become appropriate, only when they no longer function in the prosaic world; they instead intrude as they come to be. Language itself brings itself to language. Names, like the entities they indicate, are always becoming something else. As noted above, language, through the poet, has brought forth entities from words previously “known.” I thought that I knew snow, but through Trakl’s re- presentation of the word, language calls forth a new image of snow, indeed calls forth snow itself. The vesper bell tolls longer, the table is for many laid. In bringing forth things , language has brought the world to presence. In everyday naming, word occludes world, preventing, in its everydayness, its coming forth, its disclosing. But what is this world that word has been brought forth into? In the same way that language speaks, world worlds. World, left alone, un-interfered with, comes into itself. It worlds. Again, this sounds like a tautology, but it is essential to Heidegger’s thought (and in my mind is more of a “god killer” than Nietzsche.) One of the most overlooked (and under-appreciated) aspects of Heidegger is his later examination and enthusiasm for the “fourfold,” or the system through which things come to be, through which things thing in a world worlding. The fourfold is the interaction of earth and sky, mortals and gods. Things come to be in the interstices and gathering of the fourfold. The fourfold provides both a place of being, and a sheltering, a place to dwell. Heidegger writes that “the things that were named, thus called, gather to themselves sky and earth, mortals and divinities. The four are united primally in being toward one another, a fourfold.” The poet has called, through the act of pure naming, things to come forth. In the purity of the fourfold—that is, when that is all that there is, when there are no other distractions, definitions, things—entities themselves can come to be. It is important to note that Heidegger is not saying that there are four formal things in the world, autonomous entities unto themselves. He is not evoking a pre-Socratic formula as to what makes up the world; instead, the four mirror each other constantly. (Heidegger calls this the ‘mirror-play.’) They interpenetrate in the same way that the modes of being of things interpenetrate themselves. There is no discrete exclusivity in being or the fourfold. What makes up things is not a precise recipe of the four main components; what makes up things is the action of the fourfold coming together, the movement of the fourfold which is a becoming. Heidegger (2001) writes that “this gathering, assembling, letting stay is the thinging of things.” And he later adds that “thinging, things are things. Thinging, they gesture—gestate—world” (197). Language brings the world to be. It works not again as a recipe added to things, but instead it is a bridge, or more precisely, a relation. Language relates world to thing, brings world to thing. In a sense, it does not say anything; rather it allows, or calls in its movement. Heidegger (2001) writes that, The intimacy of world and thing is not a fusion. Intimacy obtains only where the intimate—world and thing—divides itself cleanly and remains separated. In the midst of the two, in the between of world and thing, in their inter, division prevails: a dif-ference (199). It is in this inter that language prevails. Language is difference, it is the differential aspect between world and thing that brings world to thing. In the final stanza of Trakl’s poem “The Winter Evening,” Trakl evokes this difference in the second line when he writes, “Pain has turned the threshold to stone.” Christopher Fynsk, in his essay “Noise at the Threshold,” draws attention to this point when he writes “it is the figure of the threshold that is language itself, inasmuch as language is defined as the articulation of difference by which difference comes about” (25). Language, as used in the pure language of the poem, draws together world and thing, bridging relation between entity and world. The calling of language calls world to thing, world to being. Heidegger (2001) describes this difference as unique; “of itself, it holds apart the middle in and through which world and things are at one with each other” (200). III. Neither reading nor writing, nor speaking—and yet it is by those paths that we escape what has been said already, and knowledge, and reciprocity, and enter the unknown space, the space of distress where what is given is perhaps not received by anyone (99). Maurice Blanchot The Writing of Disaster So far, we have allowed Heidegger to put forward what language does, how it functions as a relation and how it operates as a threshold, as a bridge. What interests me is what happens beyond language, beyond the relation. What happens to the thing without the naming, without the poet, or even without the everyday chatter—Fynsk calls this ‘noise’—intruding on being? If language allows things to become by bringing thing to world, what happens when we remove this bringing, this threshold turned to pain? In “The Nature of Language,” Heidegger examines the work of the poet Stefan George, specifically “The Word”: Wonder or dream from distant land I carried to my county’s strand And waited till the twilight norn Had found the name within her bourn— Then I could grasp it close and strong It blooms and shines now the front along… Once I returned from happy sail, I had a prize so rich and frail, She sought for long and tidings told: “No like of these depths unfold.” And straight it vanished from my hand, The treasure never graced my land… So I renounced and sadly see: Where word breaks off no thing may be. That final line, “Where word breaks off no thing may be” is evoked on nearly every page of Heidegger’s essay. It is the line to which he returns over and over and bears repeating. Where word breaks off no thing may be. Where naming ends, no thing. We can interpret this in two ways (at least.) Where word—naming—breaks off, then there is nothing . Or, as I choose to read it, where word breaks off no thing may be. In this I see a hint forward, a marker left behind by Heidegger. What could this look like? What does no thing look like? Like a zen koan ( there is no mirror ) it is as thrilling and horrifying as contemplating what preceded the Big Bang. Because language as naming wasn’t always here; we weren’t always here. One or maybe two aspects of the fourfold (depending on your view of gods) were not always here, and there is no guarantee that we will always be around. What then? Heidegger (1982) describes the landscape that the poet finds, “It names the realm into which the renunciation must enter: it names the call to enter into that relation between thing and word which has now been experienced” (65). The poet, in renouncing, allows for the “may be” of “where word breaks off no thing may be.” This “may be” becomes “a kind of imperative, a command which the poet follows, to keep it from then on.” No thing is lacking. Where word breaks off, there may be, a totality, a completion. If we place the emphasis on may be , we make it affirmative, make it positive. One allows it. No thing is where the word, that is the name, is lacking. If we remove then (if we can remove) the word, the name, than that is where no thing is, that is where no thing may blossom, enrich, belong, become. What is no thing? Heidegger writes that “thing is anything that in any way is.” And just after this he writes that the “world alone gives being to the thing.” But what happens if there is no word? Word, in this formulation can be seen as an enframing, a challenging of language. By naming, by drawing a perimeter around an object, we hold it, by its definition (that is a brick) to an ordered future. If we borrow from Heidegger’s essay “The Question Concerning Technology” (1993) the idea of this standing-reserve of an ordered future, we see that “everywhere everything is ordered to stand by, to be immediately on hand, indeed to stand there just so that it may be on call for a further ordering” (322). What happens if there is no naming of the thing? Silence perhaps. Stillness. We can name—and do name—that which we know. We equate knowledge with knowing the name of something. A brick is a brick, a hammer is a hammer, the universe is the universe. By naming a thing, we create, and draw its parameters, the parameters of the thing, not as thing thinging in the fourfold, but as blunt object apparent. In the four dimensions relatively available to us, we observe (and name) that the brick takes up possibly six by four by two inches and is, in the sense that it currently occupies this time slot. It fulfills its destiny, its being, its brickness, it bricks . But what happens when we remove the name for this brick. We no longer know what to call this no-thing (if indeed we can even arrive at the point of uncalled calling.) In fact the it (this brick) is no longer a thing in the sense that by not naming—by removing the name—it still occupies the same dimension but is indiscernible from the world. It simply is , un-reliant, un- needed by me. By removing the subject (me) from it (the brick) do I not then also remove the object—or at least the duality objectifying it? Why is this important? Why does this matter? I have not really removed anything. I have not changed any thing , per se . The brick still occupies the same space in geographic and temporal dimensions. I have literally not even touched the brick sitting on my desk. But what I have done is removed the name, removed the word (the bridge, according to Heidegger) and in this (again, if this is even possible) there is something vertiginously liberating, not only for me (and my way of thinking) but also for the brick itself. Like the poet who calls the thing forward, by refusing to name, by avoiding any thing that demands me to name it, I release the thing into the fourfold. I am no longer challenging the thing to be there for me ; I do not en frame it through language. Rather I, in an act of extreme responsibility, am refusing the challenge. By refusing the name (refusing to name) one allows, (or no one allows no thing) the brick to be all things , to manifest its manifold being, to incorporate all things into its thinging . It becomes, quite literally, every thing . Because, in its infinite manifestness, it incorporates everything; the mud that gave it its current being, the water that formed the mud, the sun, the stars, the universe and it also allows it to become mud again, to become landfill, to become again, water and sun and stars and universe in an endless, infinite cycle of coming to be some thing (else). Perhaps this is what Heidegger is suggesting when he talks about the stillness at the end of his essay, “Language” (2001): The dif-ference stills particularly in two ways: it stills the things in thinging and the world in worlding. Thus stilled, thing and world never escape from the dif-ference. Rather, they rescue it in the stilling, where the dif-ference is itself the stillness (206). It is in this stillness that I can imagine a gellasenheit (here I mean both “releasement in the Heideggarean sense, as well as Meister Eckhart’s use of the term meaning “letting the world go and giving oneself to God”) of thing and world, a releasing into the stillness and silence of no thing beyond where word breaks off. It is here where I may no longer be, and yet no thing is, but may be. (shrink)
The article is devoted to the history of development of Russian entrepreneurship in the second half of the 19th century. Sergei Ivanovich Maltsov was a well-known Russian industrialist. In the territory of the Kaluga region in the second half of the 19th century, S. I. Maltsov created a large industrial zone. The factories of the Maltsov industrial region produced railways, steam engines, steamships, locomotives, wagons, agricultural machines. In the town Dyatkovo, Maltsov’s plant produced unique crystal goods. In 1871 Maltsov built (...) the first personal telegraph line in Russia. In two years a narrow-gauge railroad with a length of more than 300 km was constructed, which connected all the factories of the Maltsovsky industrial region. All the Maltsov’s products and machines were of excellent quality. At the Moscow Polytechnic Fair in 1872, S. I. Maltsov was awarded a gold medal and a certificate of the first degree for demonstrating the process of manufacturing a locomotive. In the 1870s, Maltsov carried out a large order from the Ministry of Railways of the Russian Empire. He produced 150 locomotives and about 3 thousands wagons. However, the new minister did not pay for the order. The government of the Russian Empire turned out to be an unreliable trading partner. Bureaucratic arbitrariness led to the collapse of Maltsov’s enterprise. In 1893 S. I. Maltsov died. Many of his machines and industrial products were unique and some of them were made for the first time in Russia. Therefore, we call S. I. Maltsov a pioneer of Russian industry. (shrink)
Through staged photographs in which she herself is often the lead actor or through appropriation of historical photographs, contemporary African American artist Carrie Mae Weems deconstructs the shaming of the black female body in American visual culture and offers counter-hegemonic images of black female beauty. The mirror has been foundational in Western theories of subjectivity and discussions of beauty. In the artworks I analyze in this article, Weems tactically employs the mirror to engage the topos of shame in order (...) to reject it as a way of seeing the self and to offer a new way of lovingly seeing the self. I use the work of Kelly Oliver, Helen Block Lewis, and bell hooks to articulate the relationships among the mirror, shame, and black female subjectivity in Weems's work. Weems's subjects often reckon with what Oliver calls “social melancholy” as they experience shame while standing before the mirror. However, Weems also shows that by looking again—a critical strategy I explain using Oliver's model of “the loving eye”—her subjects can use the mirror as a corrective to the social shaming gaze and make it a stage for establishing black female subjectivity, a gaze of self-love, and beauty. (shrink)
"A runaway trolley is speeding down a track" So begins what is perhaps the most fecund thought experiment of the past several decades since its invention by Philippa Foot. Since then, moral philosophers have applied the "trolley problem" as a thought experiment to study many different ethical conflicts - and chief among them is the programming of autonomous vehicles. Nowadays, however, very few philosophers accept that the trolley problem is a perfect analogy for driverless cars or that the situations autonomous (...) vehicles face will resemble the forced choice of the unlucky bystander in the original thought experiment. This book represents a substantial and purposeful effort to move the academic discussion beyond the trolley problem to the broader ethical, legal, and social implications that autonomous vehicles present. There are still urgent questions waiting to be addressed, for example: how AVs might interact with human drivers in mixed or "hybrid" traffic environments; how AVs might reshape our urban landscapes; what unique security or privacy concerns are raised by AVs as connected devices in the "Internet of Things"; how the benefits and burdens of this new technology, including mobility, traffic congestion, and pollution, will be distributed throughout society; and more. An attempt to map the landscape of these next-generation questions and to suggest preliminary answers, this volume draws on the disciplines of philosophy, sociology, economics, urban planning and transportation engineering, business ethics and more, and represents a global range of perspectives. (shrink)
This paper takes the form of a critical discussion of Crispin Wright’s notion of entitlement of cognitive project. I examine various strategies for defending the claim that entitlement can make acceptance of a proposition epistemically rational, including one which appeals to epistemic consequentialism. Ultimately, I argue, none of these strategies is successful, but the attempt to isolate points of disagreement with Wright issues in some positive proposals as to how an epistemic consequentialist should characterize epistemic rationality.
A skeptic will from time to time make such claims as ‘We know nothing.’ Call this the skeptical use of the word ‘know.’ In apparent contradiction of the skeptic's claims, almost all of us firmly ascribe knowledge to ourselves and others. We use the word ‘know’ and its cognates frequently and fluently in largely untroubled communication with our fellows. We make judgments ascribing knowledge to ourselves and others. Furthermore, faced with the same situation and needing to make a judgment about (...) whether to ascribe knowledge or not, we agree on the whole with each other's ascriptions. For the sake of a term, and being careful to neglect any stray connotations it may carry, let us call this the cognitivist use of ‘know.’. (shrink)
Plato's Symposium depicts a group of men giving a series of speeches about the nature of love, with themes ranging from religion and metaphysics to medicine and pregnancy. The lone woman in the room, a "flute girl," is sent away as the discussion turns to serious matters; at the same time, the wisest of the men attributes his theories to a woman, the possibly fictional Diotima. Despite their absence from this important intellectual exchange, women are part of Symposium. What can (...) contemporary feminist readers do with this troubling yet immeasurably influential work? In Uninvited historian Carla Nappi and philosopher CarrieJenkins talk back to Plato in poetry, inspired by the voices of women characters who were not previously permitted to speak. Images and ideas from Symposium are refracted through multiple lenses to reveal a tumult of mystical, intellectual, pedagogical, and sexual ideologies. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes horrific, these poems dance within and between the lines of Symposium, carving space for new kinds of conversations about love, with themes ranging from gender and voice to power and violence. Designed to be read with or without prior knowledge of Plato, this book invites the uninvited to join a strange, amorphous, and unending conversation on the nature of love and desire - and on the possibilities intellectual and creative activity can offer. (shrink)
We discuss explanation of an earlier event by a later event, and argue that prima facie cases of backwards event explanation are ubiquitous. Some examples: (1) I am tidying my flat because my brother is coming to visit tomorrow. (2) The scarlet pimpernels are closing because it is about to rain. (3) The volcano is smoking because it is going to erupt soon. We then look at various ways people might attempt to explain away these prima facie cases by arguing (...) that in each case the 'real' explanation is something else. We argue that none of the explaining-away strategies are successful, and so any plausible account of explanation should either make room for backwards explanation, or have a good story to tell about why it doesn't have to. (shrink)
Boghossian claims that we can acquire a priori knowledge by means of a certain form of argument, our grasp of whose premises relies on the existence of implicit definitions. I discuss an objection to his ‘analytic theory of the a priori’. The worry is that in order to employ this kind of argument we must already know its conclusion. Boghossian has responded to this type of objection in recent work, but I argue that his responses are unconvincing. Along the way, (...) I resist Ebert’s reasons for thinking that Boghossian’s argument fails to transmit warrant from its premises to its conclusion. (shrink)
I argue that mind-independence realism should be characterised in terms of what I call 'essential', rather than 'modal', independence from our mental lives. I explore the connections between the two kinds of independence, and argue that characterizations in terms of essence respect more intuitions about what realism is, harmonize better with standard characterizations of anti-realism, and avert the threat of subversion from Blackburn's quasi-realist.
This book offers a revisionary account of key epistemological concepts and doctrines of St Thomas Aquinas, particularly his concept of scientia, and proposes an interpretation of the purpose and composition of Aquinas's most mature and influential work, the Summa theologiae, which presents the scientia of sacred doctrine, i.e. Christian theology. Contrary to the standard interpretation of it as a work for neophytes in theology, Jenkins argues that it is in fact a pedagogical work intended as the culmination of philosophical (...) and theological studies of very gifted students. Jenkins considers our knowledge of the principles of a science. He argues that rational assent to the principles of sacred doctrine, the articles of faith, is due to the influence of grace on one's cognitive powers, because of which one is able immediately to apprehend these propositions as divinely revealed. His study will be of interest to readers in philosophy, theology and medieval studies. (shrink)
Work on the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction is often motivated by its use in other areas, such as intrinsic value, real vs. Cambridge change, supervenience and other topics. With the exception of Figdor 2008, philosophers have sought to articulate a global distinction -- a distinction between kinds of properties, rather than ways in which individuals have properties. I argue that global I/E distinctions are unable to do the work that allegedly motivates them, focusing on the case of intrinsic value.
In recent work Timothy Williamson argues that the epistemology of metaphysical modality is a special case of the epistemology of counterfactuals. I argue that Williamson has not provided an adequate argument for this controversial claim, and that it is not obvious how what he says should be supplemented in order to derive such an argument. But I suggest that an important moral of his discussion survives this point. The moral is that experience could play an epistemic role which is more (...) epistemically significant than a mere 'enabling' role but not equivalent to an evidential role. (shrink)
Craig casts doubt upon the project of trying to give the traditional sort of necessary and sufficient conditions for A knows that p. He interprets the inadequacy of existing analyses of knowledge as evidence that our concept of knowledge is complex and diffuse, and concludes that we should aim to understand it by thinking about the rôle the concept plays in our lives, rather than by trying to find necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of knowledge ascriptions.There is surely (...) something right about Craig's view: we are unlikely to succeed in any attempt to analyse away the intricacies in our concept of knowledge. We cannot realistically hope to uncover a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for A knows that p which are in all cases either clearly satisfied or clearly not satisfied. Nor, I suspect, is it possible to offer necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge which are widely accepted as being more securely understood than knowledge itself. (shrink)
Robert Mayhew’s Aristotle’s Criticism of Plato’s Republic focuses on Aristotle’s main objections to Plato’s political philosophy: the degree of unity envisioned by Plato is impossible/undesirable; too much unity undermines self-sufficiency; community of women and children and community of property have numerous adverse effects on society. Mayhew claims that the objections have been largely ignored on the ground that they are facile or unfair. But the purpose of the book is not to show that Aristotle’s thought has been unjustifiably vilified, though (...) Mayhew says that “we shall see in passing that in most cases Aristotle’s criticisms of the Republic are well-founded”. The book’s purpose is to see how the objections illuminate the rest of Aristotle’s political thought. I do not think that Mayhew succeeds in showing either that the arguments are well founded or that they provide interesting illumination. I discuss unity and community of women and property. (shrink)
The goal of the research programme I describe in this article is a realist epistemology for arithmetic which respects arithmetic's special epistemic status (the status usually described as a prioricity) yet accommodates naturalistic concerns by remaining fundamentally empiricist. I argue that the central claims which would allow us to develop such an epistemology are (i) that arithmetical truths are known through an examination of our arithmetical concepts; (ii) that (at least our basic) arithmetical concepts are accurate mental representations of elements (...) of the arithmetical structure of the independent world; (iii) that (ii) obtains in virtue of the normal functioning of our sensory apparatus. The first of these claims protects arithmetic's special epistemic status relative, for example, to the laws of physics, the second preserves the independence of arithmetical truth, and the third ensures that we remain empiricists. Preliminaries Justifying and grounding concepts Cameras and filters An epistemology for arithmetic Concluding remarks. (shrink)
Hegel’s assertion that self-consciousness is desire in general stands at a critical point in the Phenomenology , but the concept of desire employed in this identification is obscure. I examine three ways in which Hegel’s concept of desire might be understood and conclude that this concept is closely related to Fichte’s notions of drive and longing. So understood, the concept plays an essential role in Hegel’s non-foundational, non-genetic account of the awareness that individual rational subjects have of themselves. This account, (...) I argue, is part of a larger concern with demonstrating the relation between theoretical and practical capacities of the subject. I also argue that my reading explains Hegel’s emphasis on the figure of the bondsman in “Lordship and Bondage.” The bondsman’s experience of itself and its world instantiates Hegel’s views on the integration of subjective capacities and the reality of objects of experience. (shrink)
By a will to truth Nietzsche understands an overriding commitment, unlimited in scope, to believing in accordance with evidence and argument. I show that the critique of this commitment found in Nietzsche’s later works uncovers the psychological grounds of our modern will to truth and establishes its affinity with distinctively moral commitments. I argue that Nietzsche’s critique nevertheless provides no answer to his question concerning the value of a will to truth in general. Nietzsche’s examination of the will to truth (...) aims instead to establish that we presently lack any standard for determining its value. (shrink)
Few sectors are more affected by COVID-19 than higher education. There is growing recognition that reopening the densely populated communities of higher education will require surveillance technologies, but many of these technologies pose threats to the privacy of the very students, faculty, and staff they are meant to protect. The authors have a history of working with our institution’s governing bodies to provide ethical guidance on the use of technologies, especially including those with significant implications for privacy. Here, we draw (...) on that experience to provide guidelines for using surveillance technologies to reopen college campuses safely and responsibly, even under the specter of covid. We aim to generalize our recommendations, so they are sensitive to the practical realities and constraints that universities face. (shrink)
This is a big-picture book, 2 written with a breadth of focus which I find admirable. It exhibits what's come to be known as the ‘intersubdiscplinary’ approach to philosophy, which is not restricted by traditional boundaries within the discipline but rather proceeds with an eye to all sorts of areas of philosophy where relevant arguments, results, analogies and strategies might be lurking. I approve of this way of doing philosophy; it seems to me that all too often that wheels are (...) reinvented, or crucial points missed, because of a lack of this sort of intersubdisciplinarity.To help guide us through such a broad landscape, this book needed to be well-signposted and clearly written, and it is. It cannot be denied, however, that the ambitious scale of The Nature of Normativity won't be to every taste. For one thing, not everyone likes big pictures. For another, this is a deep, dense and in many ways difficult book, which can only really be appreciated by sitting down with it for hours on end. It will not repay the casual skim-reader, nor is it likely to appeal to those who prefer dipping into philosophy books over reading them wholesale.The book is also long . The view under construction has a great many interlocking elements, including non-reductive normative naturalism, normative realism, a priorist intuitionism, normative internalism, the normativity of intentionality, conceptual-role semantics, contextualism, possible-worlds semantics, and certain ideas about ‘planning’ derived from the recent work of Allan Gibbard. It will be a tough read for specialists who do not share Wedgwood's familiarity with a wide range of subdisciplines, who will either have to content themselves with a superficial reading of many passages or else hunt down the necessary background material to …. (shrink)
This note concerns a puzzle about probability which has recently caught the attention of a number of philosophers. According to the current philosophical consensus, the solution to the puzzle reveals that one can acquire new information, sufficient to change one's credences in certain events, just by having a certain experience, even though one knew all along that one would have an experience which felt exactly like this. I argue that the philosophical consensus is mistaken.
I argue that Fitch’s ‘paradox of knowability’ presents no special problem for the epistemic anti-realist who believes that reality is epistemically accessible to us. For the claim which is the target of the argument (If p then it is possible to know p) is not a commitment of anti-realism. The epistemic anti-realist’s commitment is (or should be) to the recognizability of the states of affairs which render true propositions true, not to the knowability of the propositions themselves. A formal apparatus (...) for discussing the recognizability of states of affairs is offered, and other prima facie similar approaches to the paradox argument are reviewed. (shrink)
A deep, unbiased study of I. Kant's intellectual legacy, which would decisively renounce the cliches and stereotypes we have formed, is today one of the most important tasks in the development of Russian philosophical culture. This is not merely because Kant is one of the key figures in world philosophy and, as Ia.E. Golosovker said, "regardless of whence and where a thinker was traveling on the road of philosophy, he would have to have crossed the bridge called Kant." To master (...) the experience of Kant's thought, not merely the letter of the doctrine but first of all his spirit, is particularly urgent for us in the present quite dramatic situation, in which the initial premises and foundations of philosophical knowledge are being reevaluated and new paths and prospects are being sought. Kant, first of all, is a determined enemy of any kind of dogmatism in theoretical thought who carries critical reflection to its original presuppositions and exposes the root problems in the interrelation between thought and being, the possibilities and main difficulties of a rational-cognitive study of "certain foundations" of man's relation to the world. In this context, at a time, it should be emphasized, which is not the happiest period for our philosophy and for the history of philosophy, the publication of a new work on Kant's theory of knowledge by two well-known and productive representatives of the older generation of our philosophers cannot but arouse interest. (shrink)
Feminist analyses of gender concepts must avoid the inclusion problem, the fault of marginalizing or excluding some prima facie women. Sally Haslanger’s ‘ameliorative’ analysis of gender concepts seeks to do so by defining woman by reference to subordination. I argue that Haslanger’s analysis problematically marginalizes trans women, thereby failing to avoid the inclusion problem. I propose an improved ameliorative analysis that ensures the inclusion of trans women. This analysis yields ‘twin’ target concepts of woman, one concerning gender as class and (...) the other concerning gender as identity, both of which I hold to be equally necessary for feminist aims. (shrink)
This article provides a conversation analytic description of a two-part structure, ‘I don’t want X, I want/just want Y’. Drawing on a corpus of recordings of family mealtimes and television documentary data, I show how speakers use the structure in two recurrent environments. First, speakers may use the structure to reject a proposal regarding their actions made by an interlocutor. Second, speakers may deliver the structure following a co-interactant’s formulation of their actions or motivations. Both uses decrease the likelihood of (...) challenge in third-turn position. When responding to multi-unit turns speakers routinely deal with the last item first. The value of ‘I want Y’ is to formulate an alternative sense of agency which undermines the preceding turn and shifts the trajectory of the ongoing sequence. The article contributes to work in discursive psychology as I show how speakers may formulate their ‘wants’ in the service of sequentially unfolding social interaction. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This article examines Nietzsche's notion of monumental history in “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life” and considers its importance for Nietzsche's later work. In the first section, I examine the connections between monumental history and the work of Polybius, Thucydides, and Livy. Here I argue that Nietzsche takes his notion of monumental history directly from the practice of history in the ancient world. In the second section, I demonstrate that Nietzsche regards the production of illusions as (...) the principal benefit of monumental history, while he criticizes its mendacious and conservative tendencies. Finally, I argue in the third section that the collection of characters we encounter in Nietzsche's later works—including the free spirits and the figure of Zarathustra—ought to be understood through Nietzsche's account of the uses and disadvantages of monumental history. These exemplary figures neither falsify nor glorify the past, but they remain illusions in the service of life. (shrink)
This book is written so as to be ‘accessible to philosophers without a mathematical background’. The reviewer can assure the reader that this aim is achieved, even if only by focusing throughout on just one example of an arithmetical truth, namely ‘7+5=12’. This example’s familiarity will be reassuring; but its loneliness in this regard will not. Quantified propositions — even propositions of Goldbach type — are below the author’s radar.The author offers ‘a new kind of arithmetical epistemology’, one which ‘respects (...) certain important intuitions’ 1 : apriorism, realism, and empiricism. The book contains some clarification of these ‘isms’, and some thoughtful critiques of major positions regarding them, as espoused by such representative figures as Boghossian, Bealer, Peacocke, Field, Bostock, Maddy, Locke, Kant, C.I. Lewis, Ayer, Quine, Fodor, and McDowell. The philosophical reader will find some interest and value in these wider-ranging discussions. Our concern in this review, however, is to examine closely the original positive proposal on offer.Arithmetical truths, the author maintains, are conceptual truths. Knowing truths like 7+5=12 involves no ‘epistemic reliance on any empirical evidence’; but that, she says, is not to claim ‘epistemic independence of the senses altogether’. She wants to show that "experience grounds our concepts … and then mere conceptual examination enables us to learn arithmetical truths ." Concepts that are ‘appropriately sensitive’ to ‘the nature of [an independent] reality’ she calls grounded. Because of the role of grounded concepts, ‘arithmetical truths explain our arithmetical beliefs in the right sort of way for those beliefs to count as knowledge’ .In the context of her concentration on the special nature of arithmetical knowledge, the author offers what could strike some bystanders as an unnecessarily over-ambitious account of knowledge tout court. Knowledge, for the author, is "true belief which … ". (shrink)