Trailblazing marine biologist, visionary conservationist, deep ecology philosopher, Edward F. Ricketts has reached legendary status in the California mythos. A true polymath and a thinker ahead of his time, Ricketts was a scientist who worked in passionate collaboration with many of his friends—artists, writers, and influential intellectual figures—including, perhaps most famously, John Steinbeck, who once said that Ricketts's mind “had no horizons.” This unprecedented collection, featuring previously unpublished pieces as well as others available for the first time in their (...) original form, reflects the wide scope of Ricketts’s scientific, philosophical, and literary interests during the years he lived and worked on Cannery Row in Monterey, California. These writings, which together illuminate the evolution of Ricketts’s unique, holistic approach to science, include “Verbatim transcription of notes on the Gulf of California trip,” the basic manuscript for Steinbeck’s and Ricketts’s _Log from the Sea of Cortez;_ the essays “The Philosophy of Breaking Through” and “A Spiritual Morphology of Poetry;” several shorter pieces on topics including collecting invertebrates and the impact of modernization on Mexican village life; and more. An engaging critical biography and a number of rare photographs offer a new and richly detailed view of Ricketts’s life. (shrink)
E. J. Lowe, a prominent figure in contemporary metaphysics, sets out and defends his theory of what there is. His four-category ontology is a metaphysical system which recognizes four fundamental categories of beings: substantial and non-substantial particulars and substantial and non-substantial universals. Lowe argues that this system has an explanatory power which is unrivalled by more parsimonious theories and that this counts decisively in its favour. He shows that it provides a powerful explanatory framework for a unified account of causation, (...) dispositions, natural laws, natural necessity and many other related matters, thus constituting a full metaphysical foundation for natural science. (shrink)
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity has a copyright on the body of the work. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and (...) made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been proofread and republished using a format that seamlessly blends the original graphical elements with text in an easy-to-read typeface. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant. (shrink)
In Morals By Agreement, David Gauthier concludes that under certain conditions it is rational for an agent to be disposed to choose in accordance with a fair cooperative scheme rather than to choose the course of action that maximizes his utility. This is only one of a number of important claims advanced in that book. In particular, he also propounds a distinctive view concerning what counts as a fair cooperative arrangement. The thesis concerning the rationality of adopting a cooperative disposition (...) is, however, logically independent of his substantive view of a fair cooperative scheme and is itself central to the project as a whole. Gauthier's concern is to establish that certain moral principles are those that fully rational, self-interested persons would agree to take as regulative of their dealings with one another – that a contractarian approach, in this sense, can provide an adequate basis for a theory of morality. (shrink)
The eminent biologist reflects on his own response to nature and the aesthetic aspects of his exploration of natural systems in an intensely personal essay that examines the essential links between mankind and the rest of the living world.
Butler refused to be satisfied with just one leading principle, or rational basis for human action, but in the end settled for three: self-love, to provide for our ‘own private good’; benevolence, to consider ‘the good of our fellow creatures’ ; and conscience, ‘to preside and govern’ over our lives as a whole . By so doing he hoped to ensure a completeness to our ethical scheme, so that nothing would be omitted from our moral deliberations. Yet by so doing (...) he also exposed himself to severe criticism. For any such appeal to a plurality of principles, as Green remarked, is ‘repugnant both to the philosophic craving for unity, and to that ideal of “singleness of heart” which we have been accustomed to associate with the highest virtue’. More specifically, by appealing to a plurality of principles Butler faced the charges of circularity, where the principles come to define and defend each other; inconsistency, where the principles ‘take turns’ at being primary and hence render each other superfluous; and incompleteness, where the ‘primary principle’ is itself undefined or undefended. As the tale has been told Butler stands accused of all three of these errors. (shrink)
Jonathan Lowe argues that metaphysics should be restored to a central position in philosophy, as the most fundamental form of inquiry, whose findings underpin those of all other disciplines. He portrays metaphysics as charting the possibilities of existence, by identifying the categories of being and the relations between them. He sets out his own original metaphysical system, within which he seeks to answer many of the deepest questions in philosophy. 'a very rich book... deserves to be read carefully by anyone (...) interested in any of the many subjects he discusses.' Katherine Hawley, British Journal of the Philosophy of Science. (shrink)
The Nature of God explores a perennial problem in the philosophy of religion. Drawing upon developments in philosophy, most notably those in philosophical logic, Edward R. Wierenga examines the traditional divine attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, eternity, timelessness, immutability, and goodness. His philosophically defensible formulations of the nature of God are in accord with the views of classical theists. The author provides an account of each of the divine attributes by stating in contemporary terms what such classical theists as Augustine, (...) Anselm, and Aquinas wrote about the nature of God; he then seeks to determine whether one can defend the ascription of traditional divine attributes to God against philosophical objections. Clearly written and comprehensive, The Nature of God contains a wealth of illuminating and original material on a central topic in the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
This article reconsiders Sartre's seminal 1945 talk, “Existentialism is a Humanism,” and the stakes of the humanism debate in France by looking at the immediate political context that has been overlooked in previous discussions of the text. It analyses the political discussion of the term “humanism” during the French national elections of 1945 and the rumbling debate over Sartre's philosophy that culminated in his presentation to the Club Maintenant, just one week after France went to the polls. A consideration of (...) this context helps explain both the rise, and later the decline, of existentialism in France, when, in the changing political climate, humanism lost its centrality, setting the stage for new antihumanist criticisms of Sartre's work. (shrink)
Are humans rational? Various experiments performed over the last several decades have been interpreted as showing that humans are irrational we make significant and consistent errors in logical reasoning, probabilistic reasoning, similarity judgements, and risk-assessment, to name a few areas. But can these experiments establish human irrationality, or is it a conceptual truth that humans must be rational, as various philosophers have argued? In this book, Edward Stein offers a clear critical account of this debate about rationality in philosophy (...) and cognitive science. He discusses concepts of rationality - the pictures of rationality that the debate centres on - and assesses the empirical evidence used to argue that humans are irrational. He concludes that the question of human rationality must be answered not conceptually but empirically, using the full resources of an advanced cognitive science. Furthermore, he extends this conclusion to argue that empirical considerations are also relevant to the theory of knowedge - in other words, that epistemology should be naturalized. from the reviews: 'Stein has done a great service in bringing together all of the important arguments in the human rationality debate and providing a measured critical assessment of them.... This will be an important book and is essential reading for epistemologists, philosophers of mind, and cognitive and evolutionary psychologists.' Choice 'very considerable value... for professionals' Times Higher Education Supplement. (shrink)
Since neither of these two inordinately long responses deals seriously with what I said in “An Ideology of Difference” , both the Boyarins and Griffin are made even more absurd by actual events occurring as they wrote. The Israeli army has by now been in direct and brutal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza for twenty-one years; the intifadah, surely the most impressive and disciplined anticolonial insurrection in this century, is now in its eleventh month. The daily killings (...) of unarmed Palestinians by armed Israelis, soldiers and settlers, numbers several hundred; yesterday two more Palestinians were killed, the day before four were killed. The beatings, expulsions, wholesale collective punishments, the closure of schools and universities, as well as the imprisonment of dozens of thousands in places like Ansar III, a concentration camp, continue. A V sign flashed by a young Palestinian carries with six months in jail; a Palestinian flag can get you up to ten years; you risk burial alive by zealous Israel Defense Forces soldiers; if you are a member of a popular committee you are liable to arrest, and all professional, syndical, or community associations are now illegal. Any Palestinian can be put in jail without charge or trial for up to six months, renewable, for any offense, which needn’t be revealed to him or her. For non-Jews, approximately 1.5 million people on the West Bank and Gaza, there are thus no rights whatever. On the other hand, Jews are protected by Israeli law on the Occupied Territories. In such a state of apartheid—so named by most honest Israelis—the intifadah continues, as does the ideology of difference vainly attempting to repress and willfully misinterpret its significance. Edward W. Said is Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. His most recent contribution to Critical Inquiry is “Representing the Colonized: Anthropology’s Interlocutors”. (shrink)
Is the purpose of political philosophy to articulate the moral values that political regimes would realize in a virtually perfect world and show what that implies for the way we should behave toward one another? That model of political philosophy, driven by an effort to draw a picture of an ideal political society, is familiar from the approach of John Rawls and others. Or is political philosophy more useful if it takes the world as it is, acknowledging the existence of (...) various morally non-ideal political realities, and asks how people can live together nonetheless? The latter approach is advocated by “realist” thinkers in contemporary political philosophy. In Value, Conflict, and Order, Edward Hall builds on the work of Isaiah Berlin, Stuart Hampshire, and Bernard Williams in order to establish a political realist’s theory of politics for the twenty-first century. The realist approach, Hall argues, helps us make sense of the nature of moral and political conflict, the ethics of compromising with adversaries and opponents, and the character of political legitimacy. In an era when democratic political systems all over the world are riven by conflict over values and interests, Hall’s conception is bracing and timely. (shrink)
Mind and Body in Early China critiques Orientalist accounts of early China as a radical "holistic" other, which saw no qualitative difference between mind and body. Drawing on knowledge and techniques from the sciences and digital humanities, Edward Slingerland demonstrates that seeing a difference between mind and body is a psychological universal, and that human sociality would be fundamentally impossible without it. This book has implications for anyone interested in comparative religion, early China, cultural studies, digital humanities, or science-humanities (...) integration. (shrink)
Three of the most venerable objections to anthropomorphic conceptions of the divine are traceable to Xenophanes and his critique of the early Greek gods. Though suitably revised, these ancient criticisms have persisted over the centuries, plaguing various religious communities, particularly those of classical Christian commitment. Xenophanes complained that anthropomorphism leads to unseemly characterizations, noting that both over the ages, the list of unseemly characteristics has expanded somewhat.
Presents an analysis of Jonathan Edwards' theological position. This book includes a study of his life and the intellectual issues in the America of his time, and examines the problem of free will in connection with Leibniz, Locke, and Hume.
Kant is widely acknowledged as the greatest philosopher of modern times. He undertook his famous critical turn to save human freedom and morality from the challenge of determinism and materialism. Intertwined with his metaphysical interests, however, he also had theological commitments, which have received insufficient attention. He believed that man is a fallen creature and in need of ‘redemption’. He intended to provide a fortress protecting religious faith from the failure of rationalist metaphysics, from the atheistic strands of the Enlightenment, (...) from the new mathematical science of nature, and from the dilemmas of Christian theology itself. Kant was an epistemologist, a philosopher of mind, a metaphysician of experience, an ethicist and a philosopher of religion. But all this was sustained by his religious faith. This book aims to recover the focal point and inner contradictions of his thought, the ‘secret thorn’ of his metaphysics. It first locates Kant in the tradition of reflection on the human weakness from Luther to Hume, and then engages in a critical, but charitable, manner with Kant’s entire pre-critical work, including his posthumous fragments. Special attention is given to The Only Possible Ground, one of the most difficult, interesting and underestimated of Kant’s works. The book takes its cue from an older approach to Kant, but also engages with recent Anglophone and continental scholarship, and deploys modern analytical tools to make sense of Kant. What emerges is an innovative and thought-provoking interpretation of Kant’s metaphysics, set against the background of forgotten religious aspects of European philosophy. (shrink)
In this provocative book, Edward Schiappa argues that rhetorical theory did not originate with the Sophists in the fifth century B.C.E, as is commonly believed, but came into being a century later. Schiappa examines closely the terminology of the Sophists—such as Gorgias and Protagoras—and of their reporters and opponents—especially Plato and Aristotle—and contends that the terms and problems that make up what we think of as rhetorical theory had not yet formed in the era of the early Sophists. His (...) revision of rhetoric’s early history enables him to change the way we read both the Sophists and Aristotle and Plato. Schiappa contends, for example, that Plato probably coined the Greek word for rhetoric; that Gorgias is a “prose rhapsode” whose style does not deserve the criticism it has received; that Isocrates deliberately never uses the Greek work for "rhetoric" and that our habit of pitting him versus Plato as “rhetoric versus philosophy” is problematic; and that Aristotle "disciplined" the genre of epideictic in a way that robs the genre of its political importance. His book will be of great interest to students of classics, communications, philosophy, and rhetoric. (shrink)