The origins of the evolutionary concept of history have normally been associated with the development of an organicist notion of society. The meaning of this notion, in turn, has been assumed as something perfectly established and clear, almost self-evident. This assumption has prevented any close scrutiny of it. As this article tries to show, the idea of "organism" that underlies the emergence of the evolutionary concept of history, far from being "self-evident," has an intricate history and underwent a number of (...) radical and successive redefinitions from the mid-eighteenth century up to approximately 1830 . More specifically, this paper traces some of these transformations in order to contextualize and shed some new light on Herder's philosophy of history and the complex process of its inception-a process that was not concluded by the end of his intellectual career. As the article shows, Herder did not actually succeed in solving some key problems involved in an evolutionary concept of history. The difficulties he found were analogous to those that emerged at that very moment in the development of a dynamic, ontogenetical theory , and both were ultimately linked to the combination of some uneven developments produced in the natural sciences of that time. Herder's philosophy of history thus appears as a paradoxical case of a system of thought that formulates problems which it is still radically unable to solve, lacking the tools to devise a possible solution for them. (shrink)
Recently, a call for the “return of the subject” has gained increasing influence. The power of this call is intimately linked to the assumption that there is a necessary connection between “the subject” and politics . Without a subject, it is alleged, there can be no agency, and therefore no emancipatory projects—and, thus, no history. This paper discusses the precise epistemological foundations for this claim. It shows that the idea of a necessary link between “the subject” and agency, and therefore (...) between the subject and politics is only one among many different ones that appeared in the course of the four centuries that modernity spans. It has precise historico-intellectual premises, ones that cannot be traced back in time before the end of the nineteenth century. Failing to observe the historicity of the notion of the subject, and projecting it as a kind of universal category, results, as we shall see, in serious incongruence and anachronisms. The essay outlines a definite view of intellectual history aimed at recovering the radically contingent nature of conceptual formations, which, it alleges, is the still-valid core of Foucault’s archeological project. Regardless of the inconsistencies in his own archeological endeavors, his archeological approach intended to establish in intellectual history a principle of temporal irreversibility immanent in it. Following his lead, the essay attempts to discern the different meanings the category of the subject has historically acquired, referring them back to the broader epistemic reconfigurations that have occurred in Western thought. This reveals a richness of meanings in this category that are obliterated under the general label of the “modern subject”; at the same time, it illuminates some of the methodological problems that mar current debates on the topic. (shrink)
As soon as 'modernity' was defined as a particular way of con ceiving of time, the questions of tempo rality came to be situated at the heart of the ongoing debate regarding the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the 'modern age'. This has, in turn, readily led to a no less passionate search for the assessment of modernity's foundations which are thought to rest in its typical sense of experiencing temporality. This polemic instance, however, involves polarized perspectives and the consequent risk, (...) always present in dichotomous approaches, of oversimplifying the concepts at stake and smoothing over the intricacies of their history and meaning. Does there really exist something like a ' time of modernity'? This is the central question that the present article examines. 1 Key Words: evolution • modemity • philosophy of history • time irreversibility. (shrink)
How is it that the nation became an object of scholarly research? As this article intends to show, not until what we call the "genealogical view" eroded away could the nation be subjected to critical scrutiny by historians. The starting point and the premise for studies in the field was the revelation of the blind spot in the genealogical view, that is, the discovery of the "modern" and "constructed" character of nations. Historians' views would thus be intimately tied to the (...) "antigenealogical" perspectives of them. However, this antigenealogical view would eventually reveal its own blind spots. This paper traces the different stages of reflection on the nation, and how the antigenealogical approach would finally be rendered problematic, exposing, in turn, its own internal fissures. (shrink)
Recently, the diffusion of the so-called “new intellectual history” led to the dismissal of the old school of the “history of ideas” on the basis of its ahistorical nature . This formulation is actually misleading, missing the core of the transformation produced in the field. It is not true that the history of ideas simply ignored the fact that the meaning of ideas changes over time. The issue at stake here is really not how ideas changed , but rather why (...) they do. The study of the German tradition of intellectual history serves in this essay as a basis to illustrate the meaning and significance of the recent turn from ideas as its object. In the process of trying to account for the source of contingency of conceptual formations, it will open our horizon to the complex nature of the ways by which we invest the world with meaning. That is, it will disclose the presence of different layers of symbolic reality lying beneath the surface level of “ideas,” and analyze their differential nature and functions. It will also show the reasons for the ultimate failure of the “history of ideas” approach, why discourses can never achieve their vocation to constitute themselves as self-enclosed, rationally integrated systems, thereby expelling contingency from their realm. In sum, it will show why historicity is not merely something that comes to intellectual history from without , as the history of ideas assumed, but is a constitutive dimension of it. (shrink)
The crisis of the belief -nowadays considered native- in the possibility of getting rid of our own concepts, or prejudces, and gaining a more of less immediate access to, achieving a more or less transparent insight in, those cultures alien to us pushed anthropologists ot begin to explore in the very conditions of possibility of the anthropological discuorse itself. Thus, the same series of transformations that undermined many evident, opened also new horizons of enquire paving the way to a process (...) of growing self-reflectiveness of the discipline. This process is particularly noticeable in the United States, where theoretical anthropology has had a vertiginous development in the last two decades in connection with the development of what is known as «postgeertzian anthropology». The present article outlines the different stages through which theoretical anthropology crossed in North America in its attempt to make sense of its own epistemic and institutional conditions of possibility, as well as the diverse problems that in the distinct phases of this development it faced. (shrink)
Mi propósito en este trabajo es reconsiderar una de las lecturas más relevantes y provocativas que se han hecho sobre John Dewey en el mundo de habla hispana. En la primera parte reconstruyo las circunstancias que rodearon la difusión, interpretación y traducción de las obras de Dewey en el México de mediados de los años 1940, y en concreto las razones que llevaron a que la visión sociológica que José Medina Echavarría quiso dar de Dewey fuera finalmente desplazada por la (...) filosófica de José Gaos. En la segunda parte analizo la traducción y lectura que Gaos hizo de Experience and Nature de Dewey, teniendo muy presente sus comparaciones con Sein und Zeit de Heidegger . Finalmente, propongo algunas críticas a la visión que Gaos transmite de Dewey como un pensador carente de un tipo de "soberbia diabólica" propia de la verdadera gran filosofía. The purpose of this work is a reconsideration of one of the most relevant and provocative readings of John Dewey written in the Hispanic World. In the first part I reconstruct the circumstances which surrounded the publicity, interpretation and translation of John Dewey's works in the Mexico of the middle 1940's, particularly the reasons why the sociological reading of Dewey that José Medina Echavarría proposed was finally displaced by the metaphysic perspective of José Gaos. In the second part I reconsider Gaos' own translation and interpretation of Experience and Nature, taking in consideration his comparisons with Heidegger's Sein und Zeit . Finally I analyze critically Gaos' view of Dewey as a thinker whose philosophy lacked the "diabolical arrogance" that true great philosophy would seem to require. (shrink)
We explored the home learning environments of 173 Mexican preschool children in relation to their numeracy performance. Parents indicated the frequency of their formal home numeracy and literacy activities, and their academic expectations for children’s numeracy and literacy performance. Children completed measures of early numeracy skills. Mexican parent–child dyads from families with either high- or low-socioeconomic status participated. Low-SES parents reported higher numeracy expectations than high-SES parents, but similar frequency of home numeracy activities. In contrast, high-SES parents reported higher frequency (...) of literacy activities. Path analyses showed that operational numeracy activities were positively related to children’s numeracy skills in the high- but not in the low-SES group. These findings improve the understanding of the role of the home environment in different contexts and provide some insights into the sources of the variable patterns of relations between home learning activities and children’s numeracy outcomes. They also suggest that SES is a critical factor to consider in research on children’s home numeracy experiences. (shrink)
In the present work, our aim is to emphasize the tensions between the concepts of irony and essay which Lukács uses in The soul and the Forms, and the way in which such concepts were used by Friedrich Schlegel at the end of the 18th. century. With that purpose, we will utilize the categories of "modern episteme" and "episteme of the forms" as they are formulated by Elías Palti. We believe that these categories will allow us to detect certain (...) breaks in the discursive level that remain hidden under the apparent continuity of some topics and make difficult the reading of The soul and the Forms.Nuestro objetivo en el presente trabajo es enfatizar las tensiones que existen entre el uso de los conceptos de ironía y ensayo, que hace Lukács en El Alma y las formas, y el modo en que tales conceptos son empleados por Friedrich Schlegel, a fines del siglo XVIII. A tal efecto nos valdremos de las categorías de episteme moderna y episteme de las formas, tal como son formuladas por Elías Palti. Creemos que es posible, en virtud de ellas, detectar ciertas rupturas a nivel discursivo que permanecen ocultas bajo la aparente continuidad de algunos tópicos y cuyo desconocimiento dificulta la lectura de El alma y las Formas. (shrink)
I attempt a reconstruction of Adam Smith's view of human nature as explicated in The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Smith's view of human conduct is neither functionalist nor reductionist, but interactionist. The moral autonomy of the individual, conscience, is neither made a function of public approval nor reduced to self-contained impulses of altruism and egoism. Smith does not see human conduct as a blend of independently defined impulses. Rather, conduct is unified, by the underpinning sentiment of sympathy.
Elias wrote in both English and German, and in all his work runs to 14 books and around 90 other essays, along with poems and numerous interviews. The 18 volumes of the collected works contain many writings not previously published in English, and a small number never published before. All of the texts have thoroughly checked and revised, by editors who have a deep knowledge of Elia's thinking; they have inserted many clarifications, cross-references and explanatory notes.
The concept of truth arguably plays a central role in many areas of philosophical theorizing. Yet, what seems to be one of the most fundamental principles governing that concept, i.e. the equivalence between P and , is inconsistent in full classical logic, as shown by the semantic paradoxes. I propose a new solution to those paradoxes, based on a principled revision of classical logic. Technically, the key idea consists in the rejection of the unrestricted validity of the structural principle of (...) contraction. I first motivate philosophically this idea with the metaphysical picture of the states-of-affairs expressed by paradoxical sentences as being distinctively . I then proceed to demonstrate that the theory of truth resulting from this metaphysical picture is, in many philosophically interesting respects, surprisingly stronger than most other theories of truth endorsing the equivalence between P and (for example, the theory vindicates the validity of the traditional laws of excluded middle and of non-contradiction, and also vindicates the traditional constraint of truth preservation on logical consequence). I conclude by proving a cutelimination theorem that shows the consistency of the theory. (shrink)
Roughly speaking, classical statistical physics is the branch of theoretical physics that aims to account for the thermal behaviour of macroscopic bodies in terms of a classical mechanical model of their microscopic constituents, with the help of probabilistic assumptions. In the last century and a half, a fair number of approaches have been developed to meet this aim. This study of their foundations assesses their coherence and analyzes the motivations for their basic assumptions, and the interpretations of their central concepts. (...) The most outstanding foundational problems are the explanation of time-asymmetry in thermal behaviour, the relative autonomy of thermal phenomena from their microscopic underpinning, and the meaning of probability. A more or less historic survey is given of the work of Maxwell, Boltzmann and Gibbs in statistical physics, and the problems and objections to which their work gave rise. Next, we review some modern approaches to (i) equilibrium statistical mechanics, such as ergodic theory and the theory of the thermodynamic limit; and to (ii) non-equilibrium statistical mechanics as provided by Lanford's work on the Boltzmann equation, the so-called Bogolyubov-Born-Green-Kirkwood-Yvon approach, and stochastic approaches such as `coarse-graining' and the `open systems' approach. In all cases, we focus on the subtle interplay between probabilistic assumptions, dynamical assumptions, initial conditions and other ingredients used in these approaches. (shrink)
Information theorists often construe new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as leveling mechanisms, regulating power relations at a distance by arming stakeholders with information and enhanced agency. Management theorists have claimed that transparency cultivates stakeholder trust, distinguishes a business from its competition, and attracts new clients, investors, and employees, making it key to future growth and prosperity. Synthesizing these claims, we encounter an increasingly common view: If corporations voluntarily adopted new ICTs in order to foster transparency, trust, and growth, while (...) embracing the redistributions of power they bring about, both corporations and stakeholders would benefit. The common view is short-sighted, however. In order to realize mutual benefit, transparency can not be conceived merely as efficient or economical. The implementation and use of new ICTs will be morally unsatisfactory unless they stably protect stakeholders. Moreover, without such protections, transparency is unlikely to produce lasting trust and growth. More specifically, corporate disclosures ought to be guided by a theory of stakeholder rights to know about threats or risks to stakeholders’ basic interests. Such rights are necessary moral protections for stakeholders in any business environment. Respect for transparency rights is not simply value added to a corporation’s line of goods and services, but a condition of a corporation’s justifiable claim to create value rather than harm, wrong, or injustice in its dealings. (shrink)
This article aims to review the standard objections to dualism and to argue that will either fail to convince someone committed to dualism or are flawed on independent grounds. I begin by presenting the taxonomy of metaphysical positions on concrete particulars as they relate to the dispute between materialists and dualists, and in particular substance dualism is defined. In the first section, several kinds of substance dualism are distinguished and the relevant varieties of this kind of dualism are selected. The (...) remaining sections are analyses of the standard objections to substance dualism : It is uninformative, has troubles accounting for soul individuation, causal pairing and interaction, violates laws of physics, is made implausible by the development of neuroscience and it postulates entities beyond necessity. I conclude that none of these objections is successful. (shrink)
Intellectualism is the doctrine that knowing how to do something consists in knowing that something is the case. Drawing on contemporary linguistic theories of indirect questions, Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson have recently revived intellectualism, proposing to interpret a sentence of the form ‘s knows how to F’ as ascribing to s knowledge of a certain way w of Fing that she can F in w. In order to preserve knowledgehow’s connection to action and thus avoid an overgeneration problem, they (...) add that this knowledge must be had under a “practical” mode of presentation of w. I argue that (i) there can be non-knowledgeable true beliefs under a practical mode of presentation and that (ii) some such beliefs would nevertheless be sufficient to establish knowledge-how’s characteristic connection to action, and thus count as knowledge-how. If so, Stanley & Williamson’s account is faced with a serious undergeneration problem. Moreover, the structural features on which the argument relies make it likely to present a quite general challenge for intellectualist strategies. (shrink)
A notion of truth as applicable to events of assertoric use ( utterances ) of a sentence token is arguably presupposed and required by our evaluative practices of the use of language. The truth of an utterance seems clearly to depend on what the utterance says . This fundamental dependence seems in turn to be captured by the schema that, if an utterance u says that P , then u is true iff P . Such a schema may thus be (...) thought to constitute a suitable basis for an adequate theory of utterance truth, so much so that it seems straightforwardly to avoid the problems arising from context dependence and the semantic paradoxes which notoriously beset theories of utterance truth based on a simple disquotational schema. The paper argues that appearances are deceptive in both cases. On the one hand, the schema cannot allow for plausible if not uncontroversial non-indexical forms of context dependence, arising from the possibility that what an utterance says can be the case or not relative to different situations and that the truth of an utterance u of a sentence φ arguably depends on the truth of φ at the situation "associated" with u . On the other hand, a quantified utterance-truth variation on the liar paradox shows that the schema entails some consequence φ and at the same time the untruth of any utterance of φ; moreover, a resilient quantified propositional variation on the contingent liar paradox is offered, which only relies on resources usually employed by theories of utterance truth based on the schema. (shrink)
What is Sociology? presents in concise and provocative form the major ideas of a seminal thinker whose work--spanning more than four decades--is only now gaining the recognition here it has long had in Germany and France. Unlike other post-war sociologists, Norbert Elias has always held the concept of historical development among his central concerns; his dynamic theories of the evolution of modern man have remedied the historical and epistemological shortcomings of structualism and ethno-methodology. What is Sociology? refines the arguments (...) that were first found in Elias' massive work on the civilizing process, in which he formulated his major assertions about the interdependence of the making of modern man and modern society. It is Elias' contention that changes in personality structure--embodied in phenomena ranging from table manners and hygiene habits to rites of punishment and courtly love--inevitably reflect and mould patterns of control generated by new political and social instututions. Elias' rejection of a dichotomy between individual and society, and his use of psychoanalysis, political theory, and social history, help restore a fullness of resource to sociology. (shrink)
Decision Theory and Rationality offers a challenging new interpretation of a key theoretical tool in the human and social sciences. This accessible book argues, contrary to orthodoxy in politics, economics, and management science, that decision theory cannot provide a theory of rationality.