Mysticism and the sciences have traditionally been theoretical enemies, and the closer that philosophy allies itself with the sciences, the greater the philosophical tendency has been to attack mysticism as a possible avenue towards the acquisition of knowledge and/or understanding. Science and modern philosophy generally aim for epistemic disclosure of their contents, and, conversely, mysticism either aims at the restriction of esoteric knowledge, or claims such knowledge to be non-transferable. Thus the mystic is typically seen by analytic philosophers as a (...) variety of 'private language' speaker, although the plausibility of such a position is seemingly foreclosed by Wittgenstein's work in the Philosophical Investigations. Yorke re-examines Wittgenstein's conclusion on the matter of private language, and argues that so-called 'ineffable' mystical experiences, far from being a 'beetle in a box', can play a viable role in our public language-games, via renewed efforts at articulation. (shrink)
This book revives the study of conventional implicatures in natural language semantics. H. Paul Grice first defined the concept. Since then his definition has seen much use and many redefinitions, but it has never enjoyed a stable place in linguistic theory. Christopher Potts returns to the original and uses it as a key into two presently under-studied areas of natural language: supplements and expressives. The account of both depends on a theory in which sentence meanings can be multidimensional. The (...) theory is logically and intuitively compositional, and it minimally extends a familiar kind of intensional logic, thereby providing an adaptable, highly useful tool for semantic analysis. The result is a linguistic theory that is accessible not only to linguists of all stripes, but also philosophers of language, logicians, and computer scientists who have linguistic applications in mind. (shrink)
With the goal of better understanding how science, religion, and poetic art came together in the work of Christopher Southgate, the authors first explore his spiritual poetry. They come away with a better understanding of the author’s commitment to a broad naturalism that contributes, along with his own faith experience, to his prose works in the emerging field of ecotheology. The authors conclude that Southgate’s work is part of the worldwide emergence of a theological rationale that supports environmentalism, the (...) protection of species, and the conservation of biodiversity. The authors find Southgate’s poetry warm, appealing, accessible, and re-readable to good effect, but with a thread of danger and warning throughout. Both features are quite appropriate for the environmental movement in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
In this book, Christopher Evan Franklin develops and defends a novel version of event-causal libertarianism. This view is a combination of libertarianism--the view that humans sometimes act freely and that those actions are the causal upshots of nondeterministic processes--and agency reductionism--the view that the causal role of the agent in exercises of free will is exhausted by the causal role of mental states and events (e.g., desires and beliefs) involving the agent. Franklin boldly counteracts a dominant theory that has (...) similar aims, put forth by well-known philosopher Robert Kane. -/- Many philosophers contend that event-causal libertarians have no advantage over compatibilists when it comes to securing a distinctively valuable kind of freedom and responsibility. To Franklin, this position is mistaken. Assuming agency reductionism is true, event-causal libertarians need only adopt the most plausible compatibilist theory and add indeterminism at the proper juncture in the genesis of human action. The result is minimal event-causal libertarianism: a model of free will with the metaphysical simplicity of compatibilism and the intuitive power of libertarianism. And yet a worry remains: toward the end of the book, Franklin reconsiders his assumption of agency reductionism, arguing that this picture faces a hitherto unsolved problem. This problem, however, has nothing to do with indeterminism or determinism, or even libertarianism or compatibilism, but with how to understand the nature of the self and its role in the genesis of action. Crucially, if this problem proves unsolvable, then not only is event-causal libertarianism untenable, so also is event-causal compatibilism. (shrink)
Aristotle has qualms about the movement of the soul. He contends directly, indeed, that ‘it is impossible that motion should belong to the soul’ (DA 406a2). This is surprising in both large and small ways. Still, when we appreciate the explanatory framework set by his hylomorphic analysis of change, we can see why Aristotle should think of the soul's motion as involving a kind of category mistake-not the putative Rylean mistake, but rather the mistake of treating a change as itself (...) capable of changing. (shrink)
Ad hominem arguments are generally dismissed on the grounds that they are not attempts to engage in rational discourse, but are rather aimed at undermining argument by diverting attention from claims made to assessments of character of persons making claims. The manner of this dismissal however is based upon an unlikely paradigm of rationality: it is based upon the presumption that our intellectual capacities are not as limited as in fact they are, and do not vary as much as they (...) do between rational people. When we understand rationality in terms of intellectual virtues, however, which recognize these limitations and provide for the complexity of our thinking, ad hominem considerations can sometimes be relevant to assessing arguments. (shrink)
This groundbreaking handbook of character strengths and virtues is the first progress report from a prestigious group of researchers who have undertaken the systematic classification and measurement of widely valued positive traits. Character Strengths and Virtues classifies twenty-four specific strengths under six broad virtues that consistently emerge across history and culture. This book demands the attention of anyone interested in psychology and what it can teach about the good life.
We explore the question of whether machines can infer information about our psychological traits or mental states by observing samples of our behaviour gathered from our online activities. Ongoing technical advances across a range of research communities indicate that machines are now able to access this information, but the extent to which this is possible and the consequent implications have not been well explored. We begin by highlighting the urgency of asking this question, and then explore its conceptual underpinnings, in (...) order to help emphasise the relevant issues. To answer the question, we review a large number of empirical studies, in which samples of behaviour are used to automatically infer a range of psychological constructs, including affect and emotions, aptitudes and skills, attitudes and orientations (e.g. values and sexual orientation), personality, and disorders and conditions (e.g. depression and addiction). We also present a general perspective that can bring these disparate studies together and allow us to think clearly about their philosophical and ethical implications, such as issues related to consent, privacy, and the use of persuasive technologies for controlling human behaviour. (shrink)
Christopher G. Timpson provides the first full-length philosophical treatment of quantum information theory and the questions it raises for our understanding of the quantum world. He argues for an ontologically deflationary account of the nature of quantum information, which is grounded in a revisionary analysis of the concepts of information.
The Neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism of Philippa Foot and Rosalind Hursthouse purports to establish a naturalistic criterion for the virtues. Specifically, by developing a parallel between the natural ends of nonhuman animals and the natural ends of human beings, they argue that character traits are justified as virtues by the extent to which they promote and do not inhibit natural ends such as self-preservation, reproduction, and the well-being of one’s social group. I argue that the approach of Foot and Hursthouse cannot (...) provide a basis for moral universalism, the widely-accepted idea that each human being has moral worth and thus deserves significant moral consideration. Foot and Hursthouse both depict a virtuous agent as implicitly acting in accord with moral universalism. However, with respect to charity, a virtue they both emphasize, their naturalistic criterion at best provides a warrant for a restricted form of charity that extends only to a limited number of persons. There is nothing in the natural ends of human beings, as Foot and Hursthouse understand these, that gives us a reason for having any concern for the well-being of human beings as such. (shrink)
One of the most noteworthy features of David Gauthier's rational choice, contractarian theory of morality is its appeal to self-interested rationality. This appeal, however, will undoubtedly be the source of much controversy and criticism. For while self-interestedness is characteristic of much human behavior, it is not characteristic of all such behavior, much less of that which is most admirable. Yet contractarian ethics appears to assume that humans are entirely self-interested. It is not usually thought a virtue of a theory that (...) its assumptions are literally false. What may be said on behalf of the contractarian? (shrink)
Plongé au cœur des nanos, Christophe Vieu souligne la diversité des secteurs touchés par l’approche nano. À l’idée d’une convergence des secteurs scientifiques, il oppose l’image d’une espèce invasive. Il se sent de ce fait investi d’une responsabilité de l’ensemble des technosciences.
With his insightful and wide-ranging theory of recognition, Axel Honneth has decisively reshaped the Frankfurt School tradition of critical social theory. Combining insights from philosophy, sociology, psychology, history, political economy, and cultural critique, Honneth’s work proposes nothing less than an account of the moral infrastructure of human sociality and its relation to the perils and promise of contemporary social life. This book provides an accessible overview of Honneth’s main contributions across a variety of fields, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of (...) his thought. Christopher Zurn clearly explains Honneth’s multi-faceted theory of recognition and its relation to diverse topics: individual identity, morality, activist movements, progress, social pathologies, capitalism, justice, freedom, and critique. In so doing, he places Honneth’s theory in a broad intellectual context, encompassing classic social theorists such as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Dewey, Adorno and Habermas, as well as contemporary trends in social theory and political philosophy. Treating the full range of Honneth’s corpus, including his major new work on social freedom and democratic ethical life, this book is the most up-to-date guide available. _Axel Honneth_ will be invaluable to students and scholars working across the humanities and social sciences, as well as anyone seeking a clear guide to the work of one of the most influential theorists writing today. (shrink)
When recalling events that one personally experienced, sometimes one sees oneself in the remembered scene: from an external, detached 'observer perspective'. In such cases one remembers from-the-outside. Remembering from-the-outside is a common yet curious case of personal memory. This book disentangles the puzzles posed by such memories.
What is the relation between the nature of the things you think about, and the ways you think about them? Christopher Peacocke argues that meaning is never prior to metaphysics - to the nature of the world. He shows that this view holds for a wide range of topics, including magnitudes, time, the self, and abstract objects such as numbers.
Recent work in argumentation theory has emphasized the nature of arguers and arguments along with various theoretical perspectives. Less attention has been given to the third feature of any argumentative situation - the audience. This book fills that gap by studying audience reception to argumentation and the problems that come to light as a result of this shift in focus. Christopher W. Tindale advances the tacit theories of several earlier thinkers by addressing the central problems connected with audience considerations (...) in argumentation, problems that earlier philosophical theories overlook or inadequately accommodate. The main tools employed in exploring the central issues are drawn from contemporary philosophical research on meaning, testimony, emotion and agency. These are then combined with some of the major insights of recent rhetorical work in argumentation to advance our understanding of audiences and suggest avenues for further research. (shrink)
Christopher Peacocke’s A Study of Concepts is a dense and rewarding work. Each chapter raises many issues for discussion. I know three different people who are writing reviews of the volume. It testifies to the depth of Peacocke’s book that each reviewer is focusing on a quite different set of topics.
1915 ist Ernst Troeltsch nach Berlin gezogen, wo er Professor für Philosophie wurde. Sein Wechsel aus der Heidelberger Theologischen Fakultät in die Philosophische Fakultät der Berliner Universität und sein zunehmendes Interesse am Historismus hat ihn nicht daran gehindert, theologische Studien fortzuführen. Ein Ergebnis dieser Studien war eine noch in Heidelberg geschriebene detaillierte Untersuchung über Augustins Theologie und im besonderen über De Civitate Dei. Troeltsch hat diese Studie unternommen, um zum einen eine Lücke in seinen Soziallehren der christlichen Kirchen und Gruppen (...) zu füllen und zum anderen wegen seinem zunehmenden Interesse an Augustins Philosophie. Das Ergebnis dieser Untersuchung ist Troeltschs Buch Augustin, die christliche Antike und das Mittelalter. Dieses Buch ist aus vielen Gründen ein bemerkenswertes Werk, unter anderem, weil es eine objektive und eine prägnante Untersuchung über Ethik und Naturgesetz darstellt. Troeltschs Buch über Augustin ist sehr wichtig zu untersuchen, aber genauso wichtig ist der Prozess, der ihn dazu geführt, es zu schreiben. Dabei handelt es sich um mehrere Rezensionen, die Troeltsch über Bücher zu Augustins Theologie, Ethik und politischer Philosophie geschrieben hat. Indem wir Troeltschs Rezensionen und sein Buch Augustin studieren, lernen wir nicht nur, was in seiner Sicht besonders wertvoll sei in den Schriften des großen Kirchenvaters, sondern wir lernen auch Troeltschs eigenes Denken zu Ethik, Geschichte und sogar Politik besser kennen.By 1915 Ernst Troeltsch had moved to Berlin where he became professor of philosophy. His move from the Faculty of Theology to philosophy and his increasing concern with historicism did not hinder him from continuing with his theological studies. One of the results of these studies was his detailed investigation of Augustine’s theology and he focused specifically on de Civitate Dei. Troeltsch undertook this study partially to rectify an omission in his Soziallehren der christlichen Kirchen und Gruppen and partially because of his increasing interest in Augustine’s philosophy. The result of this study was Troeltsch’s book Augustin, die christliche Antike und das Mittelalter. This is a remarkable work for many reasons, including that it was an objective and appreciative investigations on ethics and natural law – and it was written by a prominent Protestant theologian. However, this book has been mostly neglected which is unfortunate. Troeltsch’s book on Augustine is well-worth exploring but so is the process which led him to write it. That entails consulting the numerous reviews that Troeltsch wrote about a number of books devoted to certain aspects of Augustine’s theology, ethics, and political philosophy. By studying Troeltsch’s book reviews and his Augustin, we not only learn what Troeltsch regarded as so valuable in the writings of this particular Church Father, but we also learn about Troeltsch’s own thinking about ethics, history, and even politics. (shrink)
With the goal of understanding how Christopher Southgate communicates his in-depth knowledge of both science and theology, we investigated the many roles he assumes as a teacher. We settled upon wide-ranging topics that all intertwine: (1) his roles as author and coordinating editor of a premier textbook on science and theology, now in its third edition; (2) his oral presentations worldwide, including plenaries, workshops, and short courses; and (3) the team teaching approach itself, which is often needed by others (...) because the knowledge of science and theology do not always reside in the same person. Southgate provides, whenever possible, teaching contexts that involve students in experiential learning, where they actively participate with other students.We conclude that Southgate’s ultimate goal is to teach students how to reconcile science and theology in their values and beliefs, so that they can take advantage of both forms of rational thinking in their own personal and professional lives. The co-authors consider several examples of models that have been successfully used by people in various fields to integrate science and religion. (shrink)
In this interview, Christopher Norris discusses a wide range of issues having to do with postmodernism, deconstruction and other controversial topics of debate within present-day philosophy and critical theory. More specifically he challenges the view of deconstruction as just another offshoot of the broader postmodernist trend in cultural studies and the social sciences. Norris puts the case for deconstruction as continuing the 'unfinished project of modernity' and—in particular—for Derrida's work as sustaining the values of enlightened critical reason in various (...) spheres of thought from epistemology to ethics, sociology and politics. Along the way he addresses a number of questions that have lately been raised with particular urgency for teachers and educationalists, among them the revival of creationist doctrine and the idea of scientific knowledge as a social, cultural, or discursive construct. In this context he addresses the 'science wars' or the debate between those who uphold t. (shrink)
What role should a citizen's religious convictions play in her political activities? Is she, for example, permitted to decide on the basis of her religious convictions to support laws that criminalize abortion or discourage homosexual relations? Christopher Eberle is deeply at odds with the dominant orthodoxy among political theorists about the relation of religion and politics. His argument is that a citizen may responsibly ground her political commitments on religious beliefs, even if her only reasons for her political commitments (...) are religious in nature. His ideal of citizenship allows citizens to engage in politics without privatizing their religious commitments, and yet does not license mindless and intransigent sectarianism. An inherently controversial book that offers a substantial challenge to political liberalism, it will be read by students and professionals in philosophy, political science, law and religious studies, and general readers seeking insight into the relationship between religious commitments and liberal politics. (shrink)
The sovereignty of the people, it is widely said, is the foundation of modern democracy. The truth of this claim depends on the plausibility of attributing sovereignty to “the people” in the first place, and I shall express skepticism about this possibility. I shall suggest as well that the notion of popular sovereignty is complex, and that appeals to the notion may be best understood as expressing several different ideas and ideals. This essay distinguishes many of these and suggests that (...) greater clarity at least would be obtained by focusing directly on these notions and ideals and eschewing that of sovereignty. My claim, however, will not merely be that the notion is multifaceted and complex. I shall argue as well that the doctrine that the people are, or ought to be, sovereign is misleading in potentially dangerous ways, and is conducive to a misunderstanding of the nature of politics, governance, and social order. It would be well to do without the doctrine, but it may be equally important to understand its errors. Our understandings and justifications of democracy, certainly, should dispense with popular sovereignty. (shrink)
Statements about fictional characters, such as “Gregor Samsa has been changed into a beetle,” pose the problem of how we can say something true (or false) using empty names. I propose an original solution to this problem that construes such utterances as reports of the “prescriptions to imagine” generated by works of fiction. In particular, I argue that we should construe these utterances as specifying, not what we are supposed to imagine—the propositional object of the imagining—but how we are (...) supposed to imagine. Most other theories of thought and discourse about fictional characters either fail to capture the intentionality of our imaginings, or else obscure the differences between imaginings directed toward fictional characters and those directed toward real individuals. I argue that once we have an account of prescriptions to imagine about real individuals, we can adapt the same framework to specify the contents of prescriptions to imagine about fictional characters, and thereby to account for the truth (or falsity) of statements about fictional characters. (shrink)
Die in Band 4 versammelten Briefe zeigen Gottsched auf dem Gipfel seines Ruhmes und seiner Anerkennung als Dichtungstheoretiker, Sprachwissenschaftler, Philosoph, Theaterreformer und Publizist. Wiederkehrende Themen in der Korrespondenz sind neben der Einfuhrung des deutschen Sprachunterrichts an Gymnasien Fragen zur Dichtungstheorie, zur Ubersetzung fremdsprachiger Bucher und zur Drucklegung von Werken Gottscheds und seiner Briefpartner. Zu einem grossen, seine berufliche Existenz gefahrdenden Problem wird fur Gottsched zunehmend die Auseinandersetzung mit Vertretern der lutherischen Orthodoxie, von der die Briefe detailliert Zeugnis ablegen.".
In the years 1738/39, Gottsched was mostly concerned with two events: his departure from the Deutsche Gesellschaft which he had been heading and the resulting developments, and the continuation of his disputes on the philosophy of Christian Wolff which he had been conducting with the Lutheran-Orthodox theologians. Through the support of the influential Imperial Count Ernst von Manteuffel, Gottsched now acquired strong political backing. This is documented by 52 of the total of 204 letters published in this volume, a correspondence (...) in whichMrs Gottsched also soon became involved. The letters of other correspondents also deal with Wolff s rationalist philosophy, as well as other very varied themes such as theater, teaching of the German language in schools, the problems of Leipzig students, newspaper polemics, planned translation projects and the competing editions of the writings of Martin Opitz, the father of German poetry, that were undertaken in Leipzig and Zurich.". (shrink)
Wittgenstein and Dostoevsky both ridicule a hypostasizing and fetishizing picture of interiority: viewing sensations and intentions like discrete material objects. The symbols for this misleading view in their respective works are a beetle and a sachet containing thousand five hundred roubles. The beetle in the box passage in the Philosophical Investigations discredits a Cartesian picture of pain as akin to a thing-like entity. The sachet in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov represents Dmitry’s intention to be honourable. Dostoevsky achieves a (...) perspicuous view of entangled webs of intentions, as opposed to labelling them like object-like entities. I show that Wittgenstein’ account of first-personal thought, including intentions, is not based on the Cartesian dualism of the inner and the outer, the mind and the body. To underscore my argumentation, I refer to The Brothers Karamazov, one of Wittgenstein’s favourite novels. I especially focus on Dmitry’s sachet, which inspired Wittgenstein’s beetle in the box example. I show parallels both in content and in form of Wittgenstein’s and Dostoevsky’s approach to intention as a species of first-personal thought. (shrink)
Suppose you ask yourself whether your father's record collection includes a certain recording of The Trout and venture to find out. At that time, you embark on an inquiry into whether your father owns the relevant recording. Your inquiry is a project with a specific goal: finding out whether your father owns the recording. This fact about your inquiry generalizes: inquiry is a goal-directed enterprise. A specific inquiry can be individuated by the question it aims to answer and by who (...) aims to answer the question. Your inquiry into whether your father owns the recording differs from your inquiry into how many records your father owns because different questions are being asked. Your inquiry into whether your father owns the recording differs from my inquiry into whether he does because different people are inquiring. The goal of inquiry into a given question by an agent, α, can be characterized, neutrally, as α's having the answer to that question. I will here focus only on inquiries into whether questions and characterize the goal of inquiry into whether φ by α as α's having the answer to the question whether φ. (shrink)