There are certain ideals that can never be realised yet play an important role in our thinking, our morality, and our politics: they include the final comprehensive Truth, the General Will, the absolute Good, and certain religious ideals. Our attempts to get closer to them profoundly influence what we do, and our concern for them informs our criticism of what we reject. In politics, in particular, too many idealists are under the illusion that these ideals can be realised and if (...) disillusioned about this they too easily turn to cynicism - which is equally mistaken. This book looks at the role of such ideals in our intellectual and moral lives and in our politics by taking Kant's concept of the Regulative Ideal, and in so doing develops the concept itself further. Other thinkers whose ideas are considered in relation to this range from Plato to Iris Murdoch. (shrink)
A critical essay on St. Augustine's social and political thought. In describing Augustine, the author captures the essence of the man in these words: "Genius he had in full measure... he is the master of the phrase or the sentence that embodies a penetrating insight, a flash of lightning that illuminates the entire sky; he is the rhetorician, the epigrammist, the polemicist, but not the patient, logical systematic philosopher.".
"Cassirer employs his remarkable gift of lucidity to explain the major ideas and intellectual issues that emerged in the course of nineteenth century scientific and historical thinking. The translators have done an excellent job in reproducing his clarity in English. There is no better place for an intelligent reader to find out, with a minimum of technical language, what was really happening during the great intellectual movement between the age of Newton and our own."—_New York Times._.
Concept and theory formation in the social sciences, by A. Schutz.--Is it a science? by S. Morgenbesser.--Knowledge and interest, by J. Habermas.--Sociological explanation, by T. Burns.--Methodological individualism reconsidered, by S. Lukes.--The problem of rationality in the social world, by A. Schutz.--Concepts and society, by E. Gellner.--Symbols in Ndembu ritual, by V. Turner.--Telstar and the Aborigines or La pensée sauvage, by E. Leach.--Groote Eylandt totemism and Le totémisme aujourd'hui, by P. Worsley.--Bibliography (p. 225-228).
The Effectiveness of Causes presents a strong view of causation seen as an operation between participants in events, and not as a relation holding between events themselves. In it, Emmet proposes that other philosophical views of cause and effect provide only a world of events, each of which is presented as an unchanging unit. Such a world, she contends, is a “Zeno universe,” since transitions and movement are lost. Emmet offers a more complex interpretation of the various forms of causal (...) dependence. She sees “immanent” causation in the mere persistence of things, where effects are not temporarily separable from causes, and she considers the operation of “efficacious grace.” This is a new approach to the traditional problem and provides stimulating implications for the other metaphysical questions and for the philosophy of science. (shrink)
It is a sobering experience to be giving my first Sir Samuel Hall Oration in the line of succession of Samuel Alexander. Some of his Sir Samuel Hall Orations have been published in his book on Beauty and the Other Forms of Value and the Philosophical and Literary Pieces , and they must indeed have been a joy to his audiences. I think it is fitting that I should devote this first lecture to Samuel Alexander, taking one of the central (...) ideas of his philosophy and considering it. If some of what I have to say is critical, I think he would have thought that was all in order. “Pitch into me,” he used to say. After all, the best tribute one can pay to a philosopher is to try to go on with one's own thinking helped by the stimulus of his ideas, and often not least helped by finding oneself impelled to criticize them. (shrink)
Alfred North Whitehead is rightly considered a Cambridge philosopher. His intellectual life falls into three periods, of which the first was in Cambridge, the second in London, and the third in Cambridge, Mass. But he always saw himself as a Cambridge person, and was a Life Fellow of Trinity College. Moreover, though each of these periods is associated with a different kind of philosophy, some ideas and concerns from the Cambridge period carry right through.
In this chapter, Alexander’s biographical career and life is elaborated from the perspective of a good friend. The main aspects of Alexander’s philosophy are outlined such as his theory of space-time, emergentism and theory of perception, with various criticisms that identify various limitations to his metaphysics.