Self-Interest before Adam Smith inquires into the foundations of economic theory. It is generally assumed that the birth of modern economic science, marked by the publication of The Wealth of Nations in 1776, was the triumph of the 'selfish hypothesis'. Yet, as a neo-Epicurean idea, this hypothesis had been a matter of controversy for over a century and Smith opposed it from a neo-Stoic point of view. But how can the Epicurean principles of orthodox economic theory be reconciled with the (...) Stoic principles of Adam Smith's philosophy? Pierre Force shows how Smith's theory refutes the 'selfish hypothesis' and integrates it at the same time. He also explains how Smith appropriated Rousseau's 'republican' critique of modern commercial society, and makes the case that the autonomy of economic science is an unintended consequence of Smith's 'republican' principles. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:166 HUME'S INTEREST IN NEWTON AND SCIENCE Many writers have been forced to examine — in their treatments of Hume's knowledge of and acquaintance with scientific theories of his day — the related questions of Hume's knowledge of and acquaintance with Isaac Newton and of the nature and extent of Newtonian influences upon Hume's thinking. Most have concluded that — in some sense — Hume was acquainted with and (...) influenced by Newton's thought in particular and scientific thought in general. The genesis of this paper is the recent point of view put forward by Peter Jones which challenges the many permutations of this almost ritualistic standard line by removing Hume entirely from the Newtonian and the scientific scenes of thought. Jones argues that Hume knew less about Newton and science, and needed to know less about Newton and 2 science, than he believes is required by the above interpretation. Indeed, Jones argues that Hume's fundamental assumptions, which, according to Jones, derive ultimately from a form of Ciceronian humanism, drive a "wedge" between Newton's thought and that of 3 Hume. Even Hume's introductory remarks in the Treatise about his universal "science of man" are, for Jones, a declaration of independence from the materialistic trend (as Jones sees it) of Newtonian 4 science and not, as so many commentators have maintained — however tenuously or strongly evidence for linkage of Hume's project with Newtonian or scientific thought. Jones baldly argues that Hume totally lacked interest in science in general and in Newton and Newtonian science in particular. Following J. H. Burton's observation that Hume's work is surprisingly free from the "opinions" of contemporary scientists, 167 Jones states there is no evidence that Hume ever studied science at the University of Edinburgh or that he "pursued" scientific studies of any formal sort. Regarding Newtonian scientific thought, he emphasizes the paucity of specifically Newtonian scientific textbooks in the early eighteenth century 7 which might have been available for Hume to study and argues that nowhere in Hume's writings is there evidence of precise and detailed knowledge of Newton's science beyond what is available in Q Chamber's Cyclopaedia. Jones acknowledges that, in the Introduction to the Treatise, Hume utilizes a "general version" of Newton's "Regulae Philosophandi" from the beginning of Book III of Newton's Principia. Nevertheless, in Jones' view, Hume's fundamentally humanistic orientation separates him completely from g any Newtonian influence. Finally, according to Jones, Hume does not betray the least bit of knowledge of Newton's mathematics and its role in Newton's experimental methodology. On this evidence Jones grounds his central claim of Hume's "total lack of interest in contemporary science." What references there are to Newton and to science in Hume's works Jones finds "traceable to essentially literary predecessors such as Fontenelle or Montesquieu, or to standard works of theologians ] 2 or free-thinkers." The absence of clearly direct references to what Jones feels are scientific works results both from Hume's "total lack of interest in science" and from his commitment to a form of Ciceronian humanism which is "inimical" to what Jones finds to be the obvious materialistic tendencies of 13 science in the early modern period. Jones' account of the Ciceronian and French contexts of Hume's thought is excellent. But his claim that Hume had no interest whatsoever in science 168 is simply too strong and finally forces us to view science in Hume's day as equivalent to science in our own time, a manifestly anachronistic point of view. Throughout this paper, my argument will be conditioned by my view that Hume's interest in science cannot be separated from his epistemology or his religious scepticism. Hume's interest in science was precisely that of a man of letters of the eighteenth century vitally engaged in determining the proper use of scientific methodology in establishing the limits of the secular science of man once it has 14 been freed from the fetters of theology. Hume's interest in theological and epistemological issues inevitably gave rise to a strong interest on his part in the science of his day and in Newton's contributions... (shrink)
This article revisits what has often been called the of Voltaire's historical work. It looks at the methodological and philosophical reasons for Voltaire's deliberate focus on modern history as opposed to ancient history, his refusal to in judging the past, and his extreme selectiveness in determining the relevance of past events to world history. Voltaire's historical practice is put in the context of the quarrel of the ancients and the moderns, and considered in a tradition of universal history going back (...) to Bossuet and leading up to nineteenth-century German historicism. Paradoxically, Voltaire is a major figure in the history of historiography not in spite of his presentism (as Ernst Cassirer and Peter Gay have argued), but because of it. (shrink)
The French philosopher and intellectual historian Pierre Hadot (1922-2010) is known primarily for his conception of philosophy as spiritual exercise, which was an essential reference for the later Foucault. An aspect of his work that has received less attention is a set of methodological reflections on intellectual history and on the relationship between philosophy and history. Hadot was trained initially as a philosopher and was interested in existentialism as well as in the convergence between philosophy and poetry. Yet he chose (...) to become a historian of philosophy and produced extensive philological work on neo-Platonism and ancient philosophy in general. He found a philosophical rationale for this shift in his encounter with Wittgenstein's philosophy in the mid-1950s (Hadot was one of Wittgenstein's earliest French readers and interpreters). For Hadot, ancient philosophy must be understood as a series of language games, and each language game must be situated within the concrete conditions in which it happened. The reference to Wittgenstein therefore supports a strongly contextualist and historicist stance. It also supports its exact opposite: presentist appropriations of ancient texts are entirely legitimate, and they are the only way ancient philosophy can be existentially meaningful to us. Hadot addresses the contradiction by embracing it fully and claiming that his own practice aims at a coincidence of opposites (a concept borrowed from the Heraclitean tradition). For Hadot the fullest and truest way of doing philosophy is to be a philosopher and a historian at the same time. (shrink)
Professor Margaret Jo Osler of the University of Calgary, an historian of early modern science and philosophy (and a member of the Board of Directors of the Journal of the History of Philosophy since 2002) died on September 15, 2010. Born on November 27, 1942, she proudly proclaimed herself to be a "red diaper baby" and particularly delighted in telling her right-wing friends how her middle name was her parents' homage to Stalin. An energetic scholar with a vibrant and positive (...) personality, Maggie, as everyone who worked with her came to call her, never considered retirement and was actively working right up to her diagnosis with pancreatic cancer in early July, 2010.After graduating from Swarthmore College in .. (shrink)
THE PURPOSE OF THE ARTICLE IS TO SUPPORT KEMP SMITH’S INTERPRETATION THAT PHILO, IN THE "DIALOGUES", SPEAKS FOR HUME "FROM START TO FINISH." THIS INTERPRETATION HAS RECENTLY BEEN QUESTIONED BY PROFESSOR JAMES NOXON WHO BELIEVES THAT PHILO IS A TRUE PYRRHONIAN SCEPTIC AND THEREFORE DOES NOT REPRESENT THE MITIGATED SCEPTICISM OF HUME. I SUPPORT KEMP SMITH’S INTERPRETATION BY SUGGESTING WHY PHILO SEEMS TO REVERSE HIMSELF AT THE END OF THE "DIALOGUES" AND TO ACCEPT THE DESIGN ARGUMENT AS SUPPORT FOR A (...) VAGUE SORT OF THEISM: HUME INTENDS PHILO’S ’REVERSAL’ TO APPEASE NOT THE RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT WHICH HE DESPISES, BUT THE SCIENTIFIC ESTABLISHMENT WHICH HE RESPECTS. (shrink)
III. INTERPRÉTATION ET CONTRARIÉTÉS 1. Contrariétés et apologétique Le Père Garasse justifie l'existence de contradictions dans la Bible en comparant les Ecritures au corpus des textes législatifs, que les juristes ont souvent du mal à ...
A CLOSE READING OF HUME’S ESSAY, "OF MIRACLES", REVEALS THAT HUME SPECIFICALLY AIMS HIS SCEPTICAL ARGUMENT AT THE PROOF OF CHRISTIAN REVELATION VIA FULFILLED PROPHETIC PREDICTIONS AS WELL AS AT MIRACLES. JOHNSON IS UNAWARE OF THIS FACT AND SO I CONCLUDE THAT HE HIMSELF HAD NOT READ THE ESSAY CLOSELY, THAT HE PROBABLY ONLY KNEW THE GENERAL OUTLINES OF THE ARGUMENT AT SECOND HAND THROUGH BOSWELL.