Fitch's basic logic is an untyped illative combinatory logic with unrestricted principles of abstraction effecting a type collapse between properties (or concepts) and individual elements of an abstract syntax. Fitch does not work axiomatically and the abstraction operation is not a primitive feature of the inductive clauses defining the logic. Fitch's proof that basic logic has unlimited abstraction is not clear and his proof contains a number of errors that have so far gone undetected. This paper corrects these errors and (...) presents a reasonably intuitive proof that Fitch's system K supports an implicit abstraction operation. Some general remarks on the philosophical significance of basic logic, especially with respect to neo-logicism, are offered, and the paper concludes that basic logic models a highly intensional form of logicism. (shrink)
Charles S. Peirce’s theory of proper names bears helpful insights for how we might think about his understanding of persons. Persons, on his view, are continuities, not static objects. I argue that Peirce’s notion of the legisign, particularly proper names, sheds light on the habitual and conventional elements of what it means to be a person. In this paper, I begin with an account of what philosophers of language have said about proper names in order to distinguish Peirce’s theory of (...) proper names from them. Then, I present Peirce’s semiotic theory of proper names, followed by some ways in which his theory can be applied to practical concerns, such as first impressions, name changing, identity, and temporary insanity. (shrink)
As the international genomic research community moves from the tool-making efforts of the Human Genome Project into biomedical applications of those tools, new metaphors are being suggested as useful to understanding how our genes work – and for understanding who we are as biological organisms. In this essay we focus on the Human Microbiome Project as one such translational initiative. The HMP is a new ‘metagenomic’ research effort to sequence the genomes of human microbiological flora, in order to pursue the (...) interesting hypothesis that our ‘microbiome’ plays a vital and interactive role with our human genome in normal human physiology. Rather than describing the human genome as the ‘blueprint’ for human nature, the promoters of the HMP stress the ways in which our primate lineage DNA is interdependent with the genomes of our microbiological flora. They argue that the human body should be understood as an ecosystem with multiple ecological niches and habitats in which a variety of cellular species collaborate and compete, and that human beings should be understood as ‘superorganisms’ that incorporate multiple symbiotic cell species into a single individual with very blurry boundaries. These metaphors carry interesting philosophical messages, but their inspiration is not entirely ideological. Instead, part of their cachet within genome science stems from the ways in which they are rooted in genomic research techniques, in what philosophers of science have called a ‘tools-to-theory’ heuristic. Their emergence within genome science illustrates the complexity of conceptual change in translational research, by showing how it reflects both aspirational and methodological influences. (shrink)
In Morality, Leadership, and Public Policy, Eric Weber argues for an experimentalist approach to moral theory in addressing practical problems in public policy. The experimentalist approach begins moral inquiry by examining public problems and then makes use of the tools of philosophy and intelligent inquiry to alleviate them. -/- Part I surveys the uses of practical philosophy and answers criticisms - including religious challenges - of the approach, presenting a number of areas in which philosophers' intellectual efforts can prove (...) valuable for resolving public conflicts. -/- Part II presents a new approach to experimentalism in moral theory, based on the insights of John Dewey's pragmatism. Focusing on the elements of good public inquiry and the experimentalist attitude, Weber discusses ways of thinking about the effective construction and reconstruction of particular problems, including practical problems of public policy prioritization. -/- Finally, in Part III the book examines real-world examples in which the experimentalist approach to ethics proves useful, including instances of "bandwidth theft" and the controversies surrounding activist judges in the US Supreme Court. (shrink)
In this paper I compare the roles that the explicit and implicit educational theories of John Dewey and John Rawls play in their political works to show that Rawls’s approach is skeletal and inappropriate for defenders of democracy. I also uphold Dewey’s belief that education is valuable in itself, not only derivatively, contra Rawls. Next, I address worries for any educational theory concerning problems of distributive justice. Finally, I defend Dewey’s commitment to democracy as a consequence of the demands of (...) productive public inquiry and education. (shrink)
In The Principles of Psychology, William James addressed ten justifications for the concept of the unconscious mind, each of which he refuted. Twenty – five years later in The Unconscious, Freud presented many of the same, original arguments to justify the unconscious, without any acknowledgement of James’s refutations. Some scholars in the last few decades have claimed that James was in fact a supporter of a Freudian unconscious, contrary to expectations. In this essay, I first summarize Freud’s justification for the (...) unconscious to highlight the arguments he used in 1915, before then demonstrating how clearly James had undercut these same argument in the Principles, published in 1890. Interpreters of James’s thought should resist the claim that he would or did support Freud’s idea of the unconscious, even if he at times spoke generously about other scholars. We also have reason to wonder about Freud’s inattention to James’s remarkable early work in psychology, especially given James’s critiques of the concept of the unconscious. (shrink)
In this paper I examine John Dewey's correspondence and selected writings to illuminate Dewey's understanding of and possible shaping of William James's work as it pertains to politics and democracy. I suggest a way of seeing a richer connection between the thinkers than has been portrayed and a picture of influence flowing from Dewey to James.
The factors which have brought society to its present pass and impasse contain forces which, when released and constructively utilized, form the positive basis of an educational philosophy and practice that will recover and will develop our original national ideals. The basic principle in that philosophy and practice is that we should use that method of experimental action called natural science to form a disposition which puts a supreme faith in the experimental use of intelligence in all situations of life.In (...) the past, ethical theories have been presented as self-sufficient and holistic. Philosophers have historically been either deontologists, consequentialists, virtue ethicists, divine command theorists, or .. (shrink)
Education is among the forces with which oppressed people can become empowered. Nevertheless, the public policy nonprofit organization Demos has found that the median wealth of white high school dropouts in 2013 was higher than for black college graduates in the United States.1 The harsh realities of prejudice and limits on opportunity for historically disadvantaged communities motivate debates about how best to prepare, educate, and protect young people. The philosophical literature in the liberal political tradition has paid considerable attention to (...) the concept of self-respect, as it is important for deliberative democracy. If a person lacks self-respect, he might feel unworthy to speak up for himself. Or she.. (shrink)
I present a persistent religious moral theory, known as divine command theory, which conflicts with liberal political thought. John Rawls's notion of public reason offers a framework for thinking about this conflict, but it has been criticized for demanding great restrictions on religious considerations in public deliberation. I argue that although Paul Kurtz is critical of organized religion, his epistemological suggestions and ethical theory offer a feasible way to build common moral ground between atheists, secularists, and theists, so long as (...) each maintains the important democratic value of toleration in the form of either fallibilism or skepticism. (shrink)
In this essay, I review the writings of three philosophers whose work converges on the insight that we must attend to and reconstruct culture for the sake of justice. John Rawls, John Dewey, and Richard Rorty help show some of the ways in which culture can enable or undermine the pursuit of justice. They also offer resources for identifying tools for addressing the cultural challenges impeding justice. I reveal insights and challenges in Rawls’s philosophy as well as tools and solutions (...) for building on and addressing them in Dewey’s and Rorty’s philosophy. (shrink)
The present paper is a response to Gerald Gaus, who has argued that philosophers should not apply ethics. After a critical evaluation of Gaus's arguments, I present several ways which Sidney Hook has outlined for philosophers to bring their skills to bear fruitfully on public policy matters. Following Hook's list, I offer three of my own suggestions for further ways in which philosophers can positively contribute to the application of ethics and of philosophy generally. Finally, I propose the venue of (...) consultancy as a way in which philosophers can begin to use the many skills they have to offer for confronting the problems people face outside of the academy. (shrink)
This article argues for a definition of public philosophy inspired by John Dewey’s understanding of the “supreme intellectual obligation.” The first section examines five strong reasons why more public philosophy is needed and why the growing movement in public philosophy should be encouraged. The second section begins with a review of common understandings of public philosophy as well as some initial challenges that call for widening our conception of the practice. Then, it applies Dewey’s argument in “The Supreme Intellectual Obligation” (...) to public philosophy, which must not be seen simply as a one-way street from intellectuals to the masses but, rather, as the task of fostering the scientific attitude and intellectual habits of mind in all citizens. (shrink)
This essay defends the Pragmatist’s call to activism in higher education, understanding it as a necessary development of good democratic inquiry. Some criticisms of activism have merit, but I distinguish crass or uncritical activism from judicious activism. I then argue that judicious activism in higher education and in philosophy is not only defensible, but both called for implicitly in the task of democratic education as well as an aspect of what John Dewey has articulated as the supreme intellectual obligation, namely (...) to ensure that inquiry is put to use for the benefit of life. (shrink)
This article draws on the past and present work of the Society of Philosophers in America, Inc. to consider eight challenges for growing communities of philosophical conversation in ways that pragmatism encourages and calls for, in terms of engaged public philosophy. The essay then proposes ways of addressing the eight challenges with solutions or outlooks for overcoming or diminishing obstacles to engaged, public philosophical and conversational community-building. The author argues that it is vital especially for pragmatists, but also for philosophers (...) in general, not only to appreciate and work to address these challenges, but also to affirmatively support and recognize the publicly conversational and community-building philosophy that is an implication of pragmatist philosophy and scholars’ supreme intellectual obligation. (shrink)
Often times we find ourselves wrestling with the urge to commit a non-rational action. When this happens, we are quite good at adopting quasi-beliefs that, if true, would make the action rational. In other words, rationalization often occurs antecedent to a behavioral choice. A complete account of the evolutionary history of rationalization must include antecedent rationalization.
In Rawls, Dewey and Constructivism EricThomas Weber focuses on the epistemological basis of John Rawls’ political philosophy and discusses such basis through two different lenses. Firstly, relying on Tom Rockmore’s recent interpretation of Kant, Weber qualifies Rawls’ work against the background of Kant’s epistemology and its tensions between constructivism and representationalism. While the term “constructivism” here applies broadly to epistemological positions holding ‘the objects of knowledge to be affected or conditioned by the knower’, “representationalism” covers any epistemological (...) approach taken as ‘requiring an analysis of the relation of a representation to an independent object … as it... (shrink)
Philosophical Pragmatism and International Relations bridges the gap between philosophical pragmatism and international relations, two disciplinary perspectives that together shed light on how to advance the study and conduct of foreign affairs. Authors in this collection discuss a broad range of issues, from policy relevance to peacekeeping operations, with an eye to understanding how this distinctly American philosophy, pragmatism, can improve both international relations research and foreign policy practice.
Kai Wehmeier’s Wittgensteinian Predicate Logic is a formulation of first-order logic under the exclusive interpretation of the quantifiers. W-logic has a distinguished relation constant for co-reference but no sign for objectual identity. Wehmeier denies that objectual identity exists on the grounds that it cannot be a genuine binary relation. Fortunately W-logic is equi-expressive with standard first-order logic with identity and it appears that objectual identity is dispensable across the broader logical enterprise. This paper challenges the latter claim as objectual identity (...) seems to be needed in the exclusive interpretation of quantified modal logic, specifically, for implementing certain kinds of de re quantification. (shrink)
Immunology — though deeply experimental in everyday practice — is also a theoretical discipline. Recent advances in the understanding of innate immunity, how it is triggered and how it shares features that have previously been uniquely ascribed to the adaptive immune system, can contribute to the refinement of the theoretical framework of immunology. In particular, natural killer cells and macrophages are activated by transient modifications, but adapt to long-lasting modifications that occur in the surrounding tissue environment. This process facilitates the (...) maintenance of self-tolerance while permitting efficient immune responses. In this Essay we extend this idea to other components of the immune system and we propose some general principles that lay the foundations for a unifying theory of immunity — the discontinuity theory. According to this theoretical framework, effector immune responses (namely, activated responses that lead to the potential elimination of the target antigen) are induced by an antigenic discontinuity; that is, by the sudden modification of molecular motifs with which immune cells interact. (shrink)
The self allows us to reflect on our own behavior and to imagine what others think of us. Clinical experience suggests that these abilities may be impaired in people with personality disorders. They do not recognize the impact that their behavior has on others, and they have difficulty understanding how they are seen by others. We collected information regarding pathological personality traits—using both self and peer report measures—from groups of people who knew each other well . In previous papers, we (...) have reported that agreement between self-report and peer-report is only modest. In this paper, we address the question: Do people know that others disagree with their own perceptions of themselves? We found that expected peer scores predicted variability in peer report over and above self-report for all 10 diagnostic traits. People do have some incremental knowledge of how they are viewed by others, but they do not tell you about it unless you ask them to do so; the knowledge is not reflected in ordinary self-report data. Among participants who expect their peers to describe them as narcissistic, those who agree with this assessment are viewed as being less narcissistic by their peers than those who deny being narcissistic. It therefore appears that insight into how one is viewed by others can moderate negative impressions fostered by PD traits. (shrink)
Eric Nelson presents the first critical edition of the translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey composed by the great seventeenth-century philosopher and political theorist Thomas Hobbes. Nelson shows that these translations are not only of great literary interest but offer special insights into Hobbes's own thought.
While the extended cognition (EC) thesis has gained more followers in cognitive science and in the philosophy of mind and knowledge, our main goal is to discuss a different area of significance of the EC thesis: its relation to philosophy of science. In this introduction, we outline two major areas: (I) The role of the thesis for issues in the philosophy of cognitive science, such as: How do notions of EC figure in theories or research programs in cognitive science? Which (...) versions of the EC thesis appear, and with which arguments to support them? (II) The potentials and limits of the EC thesis for topics in general philosophy of science, such as: Can naturalism perhaps be further advanced by means of the more recent EC thesis? Can we understand “big science” or laboratory research better by invoking some version of EC? And can the EC thesis help in overcoming the notorious cognitive/social divide in science studies? (shrink)
When proponents of cognitive externalism (CE) turn to empirical studies in cognitive science to put the framework to use and to assess its explanatory success, they typically refer to perception, memory, or motor coordination. In contrast, not much has been said about reasoning. One promising avenue to explore in this respect is the theory of bounded rationality (BR). To clarify the relationship between CE and BR, we criticize Andy Clark's understanding of BR, as well as his claim that BR does (...) not fit his version of CE. We then propose and defend a version of CE—“scaffolded cognition”—that is not committed to constitutive claims about the mind, but still differs from mainstream internalism. Finally, we analyze BR from our own CE perspective, thereby clarifying its vague appeals to the environment, and argue that cognitive internalism cannot explain important aspects of the BR program. (shrink)
Annotation In this collection of essays, which covers the years from 1934 to 1939, we see Eric Voegelin in the role of both scholar and public intellectual in Vienna until he was forced to flee the Nazi terror that descended on Austria in 1938. These essays encompass a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from Austrian politics, Austrian constitutional history, and European racism, to questions of the formation and expression of public opinion, theories of administrative law, and the role of (...) political science in public university education. Several essays serve as useful commentaries on, elaborations of, or synopses of arguments Voegelin made in the four books he had published between 1928 and 1936. These essays will be of interest to a wide range of scholars, including constitutional historians, historians of political science, political theorists, and students of Voegelin's later work. (shrink)
During his distinguished academic career, Eric Voegelin was described as the most important philosopher of history and consciousness since Toynbee; similarly, Voegelin has been interpreted by his critics using virtually every ideological label available: fascist, communist, liberal, conservative, existentialist, fideist, socialist, reactionary, Jew, Catholic, and Protestant. With startling new insights into the theoretical foundations of Voegelin's writings, Heilke's gripping analysis and compelling conclusions demonstrate how his subject was primarily a philosopher in quest of reality, and why no ideological category (...) can grasp the core of such an intellectual journey. (shrink)
This paper looks at the entangled histories of animal-human relationship and modem surgery. It starts with the various different roles animals have in surgery - patients, experimental models and organ providers - and analyses where these seemingly contradictory positions of animals come from historically. The analyses is based on the assumption that both the heterogeneous relationships of humans to animals and modern surgery are the results of fundamentally local, contingent and situated developments and not reducible to large-scale social explanations, such (...) as modernization. This change of perspective opens up a new ways of understanding both phenomena as deeply interwoven with the redrawing of the nature-culture divide. (shrink)
In _The New Order and Last Orientation,_ Eric Voegelin explores two distinctly different yet equally important aspects of modernity. He begins by offering a vivid account of the political situation in seventeenth-century Europe after the decline of the church and the passing of the empire. Voegelin shows how the intellectual and political disorder of the period was met by such seemingly disparate responses as Grotius's theory of natural right, Hobbes's _Leviathan,_ the role of the Fronde in the formation of (...) the French national state, Spinoza's _Tractatus Theologico-Politicus,_ and Locke's _Second Treatise,_ the blueprint of a modern middle-class society. By putting these responses and the thought of Montesquieu, Hume, and others in the context of the birth pains of the national state and the emergence of a new self-understanding of man, Voegelin achieves a brilliant mixture of political history and profound philosophical analysis. Voegelin's verdict of modernity is pronounced most powerfully in the opening part of "Last Orientation," in the chapter entitled "Phenomenalism." His discussion of the intellectual confusion underlying the modern project of scientistic phenomenalism is the most original criticism leveled against modernity to date. It is at the same time the first step toward a recovery of reality through philosophy conceived as a science of substance in the spirit of Giordano Bruno. Voegelin's first example of such an effort at recovering reality is the chapter on Schelling, one of the spiritual realists who has not been affected by the prevailing rationalist or reductionist creeds that are part of the modern disorder. Schelling's indirect yet powerful influence on Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Freud more than justifies Voegelin's interest in his philosophy and character, even though Voegelin would later distance himself from some of Schelling's positions. The volume's concluding chapter, "Nietzsche and Pascal," applies the understanding gained from the study of Schelling to the thought of the most powerful critic of the age, Nietzsche. Nietzsche's self-avowed affinity with Pascal provides the key to an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of his thought and reaffirms the connection that links the beginning of modernity with its most recent crises and the efforts to overcome them. (shrink)