Renowed historian E.P. Thompson single-handedly changed the marxist understanding of class and class consciousness in his pivotal book The Making of the English Working Class. Thompson not only took issue with the economic and technological determinism that plagued marxist theory, he also took issue with philosophers — Althusser, Foucault, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, etc. — who variously described history as a process without a subject. Thompson was wary of philosophers. He nonetheless approvingly quotes Maurice Merleau-Ponty in his polemical essay The Poverty (...) of Theory. This surprising reference went unnoticed to this day. Following Thompson’s original reference to Merleau-Ponty’s The Structure of Behavior leads one to a number of observations that the french philosopher made to history, social classes and class counsciousness in works such as Phenomenology of Perception, Sense and Non-Sense and the Adventures of the Dialectic. Those various observations show that Thompson and Merleau-Ponty shared the same phenomenological understanding of class consciousness. (shrink)
Fried provides a conventional exposition of deontological ethics. The accentuated polemical tone directed against consequentialism fills the reader with expectations of imminently coming upon a novel line of argumentation advancing the cause of deontology—but he is only to be disappointed.
This book, first published in 1987, examines the notion of truth and then discusses knowledge and the way in which much of our knowledge revises or rejects the common-sense we start from. The author argues that our knowledge is not as secure as some would like to think and that there are important limits to the possibility for explanation. He shows how values permeate our ordinary thinking and argues against the objectivity of these values, showing the practical consequences of this (...) argument for teaching in schools. This stimulating approach to a fundamental educational issue does not require previous experience of formal philosophy and will be useful to both education students and teachers in schools. (shrink)
Michael Williams has frequently considered and rejected approaches to "our knowledge of the external world" that see it as the best explanation for certain features of experience. This paper examines the salience of his position to approaches such as Mackie’s that do not deny the presentational directness of ordinary experience but do permit a gap between how things appear and how they are that allows for sceptical doubts. Williams’ main argument is that, to do justice to its place in a (...) foundationalist strategy, the external world as hypothesis must offer an explicandum that does not invoke concepts of objects but is rather purely experiential. He next claims that no coherent regularities are available at such a level so there is nothing to be explained. Coherence only comes with objects, not as something objects could explain. Confronting this with Mackie’s Lockean theory of perception, we find that Mackie decisively rejects the first claim about the nature of the explicandum, since he sees ordinary perception as involving intentional objects which are distinct from the persisting objects they present. He is also committed to rejecting Williams’ line on purely experiential regularities, though this plays a subordinate role in his general position. The crucial issue then becomes the tenability of Mackie’s intentional object analysis and the extent to which it might yet tilt the argument in favour of realism against a global sceptic. In formulating his own epistemological strategies Williams might appear to countenance a version of Mackie’s view divorced from foundationalism. But while Williams’ contextualism in its minimal version might do so, in practice it retains the lessons derived from his skirmishes with scepticism and thus disallows certain types of enquiry. I conclude by contrasting Mackie’s response to scepticism with that of Williams in his diagnostic vein. (shrink)
This lengthy and handsomely documented study will be foundational for all who are concerned with the relationship of philosophical hermeneutics to the issues and problems of New Testament interpretation. Based on a dissertation which B. F. Torrance in a laudatory foreword calls "one of the most competent I have ever read," The Two Horizons offers not only about a hundred and fifty pages of general introduction to hermeneutical issues, including chapters on "Hermeneutics and History: The Issue of Historical Distance," "Hermeneutics (...) and Theology: The Legitimacy and Necessity of Hermeneutics," and "Hermeneutics and Language," but also major expository chapters on three of the most important figures in twentieth century philosophical hermeneutics. Two chapters are devoted to early Heidegger, a chapter to "Gadamer's Philosophical Hermeneutics and Its Implications for New Testament Interpretation," a chapter to "The Later Heidegger, Gadamer, and the New Hermeneutic," three chapters to Bultmann's hermeneutics, and finally two chapters to Wittgenstein and New Testament interpretation. Wittgenstein is not ordinarily associated with "philosophical hermeneutics," but Thiselton makes an excellent case for doing so. On the other hand, the work of Paul Ricoeur, which has figured importantly not only in philosophical hermeneutics as such but in the interstice between it and New Testament interpretation, receives no substantial consideration. The list of works cited is well over four hundred and could serve as a valuable checklist on theological hermeneutics in the seventies. (shrink)