In the era of information and communication, issues of misinformation and miscommunication are more pressing than ever. _Epistemic injustice - _one of the most important and ground-breaking subjects to have emerged in philosophy in recent years - refers to those forms of unfair treatment that relate to issues of knowledge, understanding, and participation in communicative practices. The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems and debates in this exciting subject. The first collection (...) of its kind, it comprises over thirty chapters by a team of international contributors, divided into five parts: Core Concepts Liberatory Epistemologies and Axes of Oppression Schools of Thought and Subfields within Epistemology Socio-political, Ethical, and Psychological Dimensions of Knowing Case Studies of Epistemic Injustice. As well as fundamental topics such as testimonial and hermeneutic injustice and epistemic trust, the Handbook includes chapters on important issues such as social and virtue epistemology, objectivity and objectification, implicit bias, and gender and race. Also included are chapters on areas in applied ethics and philosophy, such as law, education, and healthcare. The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice is essential reading for students and researchers in ethics, epistemology, political philosophy, feminist theory, and philosophy of race. It will also be very useful for those in related fields, such as cultural studies, sociology, education and law. (shrink)
In this paper we argue that ill persons are particularly vulnerable to epistemic injustice in the sense articulated by Fricker. Ill persons are vulnerable to testimonial injustice through the presumptive attribution of characteristics like cognitive unreliability and emotional instability that downgrade the credibility of their testimonies. Ill persons are also vulnerable to hermeneutical injustice because many aspects of the experience of illness are difficult to understand and communicate and this often owes to gaps in collective hermeneutical resources. We then argue (...) that epistemic injustice arises in part owing to the epistemic privilege enjoyed by the practitioners and institutions of contemporary healthcare services—the former owing to their training, expertise, and third-person psychology, and the latter owing to their implicit privileging of certain styles of articulating and evidencing testimonies in ways that marginalise ill persons. We suggest that a phenomenological toolkit may be part of an effort to ameliorate epistemic injustice. (shrink)
This article analyses the phenomenon of epistemic injustice within contemporary healthcare. We begin by detailing the persistent complaints patients make about their testimonial frustration and hermeneutical marginalization, and the negative impact this has on their care. We offer an epistemic analysis of this problem using Miranda Fricker's account of epistemic injustice. We detail two types of epistemic injustice, testimonial and hermeneutical, and identify the negative stereotypes and structural features of modern healthcare practices that generate them. We claim that these stereotypes (...) and structural features render ill persons especially vulnerable to these two types of epistemic injustice. We end by proposing five avenues for further work on epistemic injustice in healthcare. (shrink)
I argue that, although education should have positive effects on students’ epistemic character, it is often actually damaging, having bad effects. Rather than cultivating virtues of the mind, certain forms of education lead to the development of the vices of the mind - it is therefore epistemically corrupting. After sketching an account of that concept, I offer three illustrative case studies.
This paper offers an analysis of the structure of epistemic vice-charging, the critical practice of charging other persons with epistemic vice. Several desiderata for a robust vice-charge are offered and two deep obstacles to the practice of epistemic vice-charging are then identified and discussed. The problem of responsibility is that few of us enjoy conditions that are required for effective socialisation as responsible epistemic agents. The problem of consensus is that the efficacy of a vice-charge is contingent upon a degree (...) of consensus between critic and target that is unlikely or impossible where vice-charging is most likely to be provoked. It emerges that a robust critical practice of vice-charging is possible in principle, but very difficult in practice. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the relationship of virtue, argumentation, and philosophical conduct by considering the role of the specific virtue of intellectual humility in the practice of philosophical argumentation. I have three aims: first, to sketch an account of this virtue; second, to argue that it can be cultivated by engaging in argumentation with others; and third, to problematize this claim by drawing upon recent data from social psychology. My claim is that philosophical argumentation can be conducive to the (...) cultivation of virtues, including humility, but only if it is conceived and practiced in appropriately ‘edifying’ ways. (shrink)
Epistemic injustice is a harm done to a person in their capacity as an epistemic subject by undermining her capacity to engage in epistemic practices such as giving knowledge to others or making sense of one’s experiences. It has been argued that those who suffer from medical conditions are more vulnerable to epistemic injustice than the healthy. This paper claims that people with mental disorders are even more vulnerable to epistemic injustice than those with somatic illnesses. Two kinds of contributory (...) factors for epistemic injustice in psychiatric patients are outlined: global and specific. Some suggestions are made to counteract the effects of these contributory factors, for instance we suggest that physicians should participate in groups where the subjective experience of patients is explored, and learn to become more aware of their own unconscious prejudices towards psychiatric patients. (shrink)
We develop a broader, more fine-grained taxonomy of forms of ‘transformative experience’ inspired by the work of L.A. Paul. Our vulnerability to such experiences arises, we argue, due to the vulnerability, dependence, and affliction intrinsic to the human condition. We use this trio to distinguish a variety of positively, negatively, and ambivalently valenced forms of epistemically and/or personally transformative experiences. Moreover, we argue that many transformative experiences can arise gradually and cumulatively, unfolding over the course of longer periods of time.
Some of the most problematic human behaviors involve vices of the mind such as arrogance, closed-mindedness, dogmatism, gullibility, and intellectual cowardice, as well as wishful or conspiratorial thinking. What sorts of things are epistemic vices? How do we detect and mitigate them? How and why do these vices prevent us from acquiring knowledge, and what is their role in sustaining patterns of ignorance? What is their relation to implicit or unconscious bias? How do epistemic vices and systems of social oppression (...) relate to one another? Do we unwittingly absorb such traits from the process of socialization and communities around us? Are epistemic vices traits for which we can blamed? Can there be institutional and collective epistemic vices? This book seeks to answer these important questions about the vices of the mind and their roles in our social and epistemic lives, and is the first collection of its kind. Organized into three parts, chapters by outstanding scholars explore the nature of epistemic vices, specific examples of these vices, and case studies in applied vice epistemology, including education and politics. Alongside these foundational questions, the volume offers sophisticated accounts of vices both new and familiar. These include epistemic arrogance and servility, epistemic injustice, epistemic snobbishness, conspiratorial thinking, procrastination, and forms of closed-mindedness. Vice Epistemology is essential reading for students of ethics, epistemology, and virtue theory, and various areas of applied, feminist, and social philosophy. It will also be of interest to practitioners, scholars, and activists in politics, law, and education. (shrink)
I argue that misanthropy is systematic condemnation of the moral character of humankind as it has come to be. Such condemnation can be expressed affectively and practically in a range of different ways, and the bulk of the paper sketches the four main misanthropic stances evident across the history of philosophy. Two of these, the Enemy and Fugitive stances, were named by Kant, and I call the others the Activist and Quietist. Without exhausting the range of ways of being a (...) philosophical misanthrope, these four suffice to justify my main claim that misanthropy should not be seen specifically in terms of hatred and violence. We should attend to the varieties of philosophical misanthropy, especially since doing so reveals a deeper phenomenon I call the misanthropic predicament. (shrink)
I introduce the concept pathophobia, to capture the range of morally objectionable forms of treatment to which somatically ill persons are subjected. After distinguishing this concept from sanism and ableism, I argue that the moral wrongs of pathophobia are best analysed using a framework of vice ethics. To that end I describe five clusters of pathophobic vices and failings, illustrating each with examples from three influential illness narratives.
Ill persons suffer from a variety of epistemically-inflected harms and wrongs. Many of these are interpretable as specific forms of what we dub pathocentric epistemic injustices, these being ones that target and track ill persons. We sketch the general forms of pathocentric testimonial and hermeneutical injustice, each of which are pervasive within the experiences of ill persons during their encounters in healthcare contexts and the social world. What’s epistemically unjust might not be only agents, communities and institutions, but the theoretical (...) conceptions of health that structure our responses to illness. Thus, we suggest that although such pathocentric epistemic injustices have a variety of interpersonal and structural causes, they are also sustained by a deeper naturalistic conception of the nature of illness. (shrink)
I reject both (a) inevitabilism about the historical development of the sciences and (b) what Ian Hacking calls the "put up or shut up" argument against those who make contingentist claims. Each position is guilty of a lack of humility about our epistemic capacities.
This paper explores the beauty of religious exemplars Ð those special persons whose conduct and comportment marks their life out as one that exemplifies a religious life. Such exemplars are consistently described as beautiful, but it is not clear how or why. I suggest that we can make sense of the aesthetically aspect of religious exemplarity by adopting a Ôvirtue-centricÕ theory of beauty that understands the beautiful in terms of the expression or manifestation of virtues. Religious exemplars are those who (...) have cultivated their virtues to an advanced degree and are beautiful for that reason. Attending to the beauty of religious exemplars can enrich exemplarist virtue theory, the aesthetics of character, and our understanding of the nature of a religious life. (shrink)
In this paper we propose that our understanding of pathocentric epistemic injustices can be enriched if they are theorised in terms of predicaments. These are the wider socially scaffolded structures of epistemic challenges, dangers, needs, and threats experienced by ill persons due to their particular emplacement within material, social, and epistemic structures. In previous work we have described certain aspects of these predicaments - pathocentric epistemic injustices, pathophobia, and so on. We argue that thinking predicamentally helps us integrate the various (...) social, epistemic, and practical obstacles experienced by ill persons and also unify the many concepts available for theorising them (microaggessions, epistemic injustices, and so on). (shrink)
Although critics often argue that the new atheists are arrogant, dogmatic, closed-minded and so on, there is currently no philosophical analysis of this complaint - which I will call 'the vice charge' - and no assessment of whether it is merely a rhetorical aside or a substantive objection in its own right. This Chapter therefore uses the resources of virtue epistemology to articulate this ' vice charge' and to argue that critics are right to imply that new atheism is intrinsically (...) epistemically vicious, and it ends with some remarks about the rationality of allowing such intrinsically vicious doctrines to feature within public debate about important matters concerning science, religion, and politics. (shrink)
Although the discipline of vice epistemology is only a decade old, the broader project of studying epistemic vices and failings is much older. This paper argues that contemporary vice epistemologists ought to engage more closely with these earlier projects. After sketching some general arguments in section one, I then turn to deep epistemic vices: ones whose identity and intelligibility depends on some underlying conception of human nature or the nature of reality. The final section then offers a case study from (...) a vice epistemic tradition that emerged in early modern English natural philosophy. (shrink)
Abstract Havi Carel has recently argued that one can be ill and happy. An ill person can ?positively respond? to illness by cultivating ?adaptability? and ?creativity?. I propose that Carel's claim can be augmented by connecting it with virtue ethics. The positive responses which Carel describes are best understood as the cultivation of virtues, and this adds a significant moral aspect to coping with illness. I then defend this claim against two sets of objections and conclude that interpreting Carel's phenomenology (...) of illness within a virtue-ethical framework enriches our understanding of how illness can be edifying. (shrink)
This Chapter challenges the common claim that vicious forms of argumentative practice, like interpersonal arrogance and discursive polarisation, are caused by martial metaphors, such as ARGUMENT AS WAR. I argue that the problem isn’t the metaphor, but our wider practices of metaphorising and the ways they are deformed by invidious cultural biases and prejudices. Drawing on feminist argumentation theory, I argue that misogynistic cultures distort practices of metaphorising in two ways. First, they spotlight some associations between the martial and argumentative (...) domains while occluding others, resulting in a sort of myopia. Second, those cultures interfere with a phenomenon I label normative isomorphism – the capacity of some structural metaphors to enable (and often encourage) a transfer of normative chracater traits from the source domain to the target domain. Crucially, the normative status of character trait often changes across domains—traits that are virtuous in the martial domain are often vicious in the argumentative domain, and vice versa. Sexist myopia tends to deform practices of metaphorising by interfering with normative isomorphism by privileging the transfer across domains of traits that recapitulate invidious cultural constructions of masculinity in terms of aggression, domination, and violence. Basically, the problem isn’t the metaphors, but the cultures. (shrink)
This chapter offers a virtue epistemological framework for making sense of the common complaint that scientism is arrogant, dogmatic, or otherwise epistemically vicious. After characterising scientism in terms of stances, I argue that their components can include epistemically vicious dispositions, with the consequence that an agent who adopts such stances can be led to manifest epistemic vices. The main focus of the chapter is the vice of closed-mindedness, but I go on to consider the idea that arrogance and dogmatism are (...) ‘cooperative vices’, ones liable to be activated by closed-mindedness. I conclude that determining whether or not any given stance is vicious will require sensitivity to the ontology of that stance and the psychology of the agents who adopt them. This would be contribute to our understanding both of scientism and of epistemic virtuous and vicious characters or psychologies. (shrink)
I offer a way to reflect on and taxonomise the vices of the mind. This is the idea of capital vices, an idea that has, historically, been mainly confined to moral and spiritual character traits, but is able to play a role in vice epistemology—or so I propose.
Since subjection to harm is an intrinsic feature of our social and epistemic lives, there is a perpetual need for individual and collective agents with the virtue of epistemic courage. In this chapter, I survey some of the main issues germane to this virtue, such as the nature of courage and of harm, the range of epistemic activities that can manifest courage, and the status of epistemic courage as a collective and as a professional virtue.
This paper explores the relationship between epistemic integrity, virtue, and authority by offering a virtue epistemological reading of the defences of non-scientific beliefs, practices, and traditions in the writings of Paul Feyerabend. I argue that there was a robust epistemic rationale for those defences and that it can inform contemporary reflection on the epistemic authority of the sciences. Two common explanations of the purpose of those defences are rejected as lacking textual support. A third “pluralist” reading is judged more persuasive, (...) but found to be incomplete, owing to a failure to accommodate Feyerabend’s focus upon the integrity of scientists and the authority of science. I therefore suggest that the defences are more fully understood as defences of the epistemic integrity of scientists that take the form of critical exposures of failures by scientists to act with integrity. An appeal is made to contemporary virtue epistemology that clarifies Feyerabend’s implicit association of epistemic... (shrink)
My aim in this chapter is to reconstruct Feyerabend’s anti-scientism by comparing it with the similar critiques of one of his main philosophical influences – Ludwig Wittgenstein. I argue that they share a common conception of scientism that gathers around a concern that it erodes a sense of wonder or mystery required for a full appreciation of human existence – a sense that Feyerabend, like Wittgenstein, characterised in terms of the ‘mystical’.
Criticism plays an essential role in the growth of scientific knowledge. In some cases, however, criticism can have detrimental effects; for example, it can be used to ‘manufacture doubt’ for the purpose of impeding public policy making on issues such as tobacco consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., Oreskes & Conway 2010). In this paper, we build on previous work by Biddle and Leuschner (2015) who argue that criticism that meets certain conditions can be epistemically detrimental. We extend and refine (...) their account by arguing that such criticism can be epistemically corrupting—it can create social conditions that are conducive to the development of epistemic vice by agents operating within them. (shrink)
What sorts of epistemic virtues are required for effective mathematical practice? Should these be virtues of individual or collective agents? What sorts of corresponding epistemic vices might interfere with mathematical practice? How do these virtues and vices of mathematics relate to the virtue-theoretic terminology used by philosophers? We engage in these foundational questions, and explore how the richness of mathematical practices is enhanced by thinking in terms of virtues and vices, and how the philosophical picture is challenged by the complexity (...) of the case of mathematics. For example, within different social and interpersonal conditions, a trait often classified as a vice might be epistemically productive and vice versa. We illustrate that this occurs in mathematics by discussing Gerovitch’s historical study of the aggressive adversarialism of the Gelfand seminar in post-war Moscow. From this we conclude that virtue epistemologies of mathematics should avoid pre-emptive judgments about the sorts of epistemic character traits that ought to be promoted and criticised. (shrink)
Wittgenstein criticised prevailing attitudes toward the sciences. The target of his criticisms was ‘scientism’: what he described as ‘the overestimation of science’. This collection is the first study of Wittgenstein’s anti-scientism - a theme in his work that is clearly central to his thought yet strikingly neglected by the existing literature. The book explores the philosophical basis of Wittgenstein’s anti-scientism; how this anti-scientism helps us understand Wittgenstein’s philosophical aims; and how this underlies his later conception of philosophy and the kind (...) of philosophy he attacked. An outstanding team of international contributors articulate and critically assess Wittgenstein’s views on scientism and anti-scientism, making Wittgenstein and Scientism essential reading for students and scholars of Wittgenstein’s work, on topics as varied as the philosophy of mind and psychology, philosophical practice, the nature of religious belief, and the place of science in modern culture. (shrink)
David Stump has recently argued that Pierre Duhem can be interpreted as a virtue epistemologist. Stump’s claims have been challenged by Milena Ivanova on the grounds that Duhem’s ‘epistemic aims’ are more modest than those of virtue epistemologists. I challenge Ivanova’s criticism of Stump by arguing that she not distinguish between ‘reliabilist’ and ‘responsibilist’ virtue epistemologies. Once this distinction is drawn, Duhem clearly emerges as a ‘virtue-responsibilist’ in a way that complements Ivanova’s positive proposal that Duhem’s ‘good sense’ reflects a (...) conception of the ‘ideal scientist’. I support my proposal that Duhem is a ‘virtue-responsibilist’ by arguing that his rejection of the possibility of our producing a ‘perfect theory’ reflects the key responsibilist virtue of ‘intellectual humility’.Keywords: David Stump; Good sense; Humility; Milena Ivanova; Pierre Duhem; Virtue epistemology. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue that certain theoretical conceptions of health, particularly those described as ‘biomedical’ or ‘naturalistic’, are viciously epistemically unjust. Drawing on some recent work in vice epistemology, we identity three ways that abstract objects (such as theoretical conceptions, doctrines, or stances) can be legitimately described as epistemically vicious. If this is right, then robust reform of individuals, social systems, and institutions would not be enough to secure epistemic justice: we must reform the deeper conceptions of health that (...) underlie them. (shrink)
One way to think about the philosophical significance of hatred is to consider doctrines that are characterised by feelings of hatred. A good candidate is misanthropy, which is often conceived as an attitude of hatred directed at humankind at large. I start by sketching a working account of misanthropy as a critical verdict or judgment on the contemporary condition of humankind as it has become. The criticism is directed at the array of vices and failings that are ubiquitous and entrenched (...) within the wider structures of human life, rather than those of individual persons. In one of its forms, misanthropy manifests itself in feelings of hatred for those entrenched failings and the patterns of awful behaviour which they motivate and sustain - for instance, the figure that Kant called the "enemy of mankind", or the radical eco-misanthropes who populated much American radical environmentalism of the 1980s, with their calls to 'tear down' the 'whole human world'. I then argue that such hateful 'enemies of mankind' represent only one among a set of modes of misanthropy. These have more peaceable affective and practical profiles that offer us forms of misanthropy without hatred. If so, we can think philosophically about hate in relation to misanthropy and about the potential scope of hatred. Thinking about the entrenched vices and failings constitutive of our life as it has become offers a way of intelligibly hating something as large as 'humanity'. But there are other responses to those vices and failings than hatred. I end by speculating that although hateful misanthropy tends to dominate discussions of misanthropy, historically it is the least common. That, itself, might tell us something about the sustainability of hatred. (shrink)
It is very well known that from the late-1960s onwards Feyerabend began to radically challenge some deeply-held ideas about the history and methodology of the sciences. It is equally well known that, from around the same period, he also began to radically challenge wider claims about the value and place of the sciences within modern societies, for instance by calling for the separation of science and the state and by questioning the idea that the sciences served to liberate and ameliorate (...) human societies. But what is less known is how, if at all, these two sets of challenges were connected, and why Feyerabend felt it important to raise them at all. In this chapter, my aim is to explore these issues by considering why Feyerabend used radical strategies to challenge the authority of science, and what purpose, if any, they were supposed to serve. Why, for instance, did Feyerabend defend alternative medicine, psychical abilities, astrology, magic and witchcraft and why did he argue that ‘Western science’ is complicit in environmental destruction, intellectual imperialism, social oppression, and spiritual destitution. Located in their historical and political context, such defences and arguments seem peculiar, not least because science was recognised not only as a central site of the intellectual and ideological competition between the West and the Soviet Union, but also because Western victory in that site was considered inevitable. What, then, did Feyerabend think he was trying to achieve by raising radical challenges to a central component of the cultural and intellectual prestige of the Western world grounded in appeals to practices and traditions which most would regard as eccentric at best and absurd at worst? My suggestion is that Feyerabend was making a subtler point than one might suppose. For the purpose of these radical challenges was to determine if the members of Western societies would in fact honour the epistemic standards – of tolerance, critical enquiry – which were identified as being characteristic of science and definitive of the social and political values of Western liberal democracy. I suggest that Feyerabend was trying to demonstrate that scientists were, too often, guilty of the same intolerant and dogmatic attitudes which were, according to prevailing propaganda, the property of illiberal totalitarian societies. Science does not reflect the superior epistemic and political values of Western societies but are, in fact, reflective of the same vices ascribed to the Soviet Union. If that is the case, then the sciences are not symbols of our epistemic and political values, but quite the reverse, hence Feyerabend’s talk of the ‘dogmatic’, ‘totalitarian’, ‘ratiofascist’ nature of modern science. But there is a positive upshot to Feyerabend’s challenge. For even if the sciences do not yet reflect the epistemic and political values of liberal democratic Western societies, they might yet be reformed so that they are. And there is a parallel between Feyerabend’s strategy and that of many of the other radicals of the time – student activists, environmentalists, and pacifists – namely to test the commitment to tolerance and deliberative debate of the establishment by asking it to seriously engage with ideas and convictions opposed to its own. For both science and society can become ‘tyrannical’ through the same means: by exempting themselves from critical scrutiny, by promoting self-serving ‘myths’ about themselves, and by derogating and excluding alternatives, including the ‘outsider’ perspectives they offer. The chapter concludes by suggesting that Feyerabend is distinctive in virtue of his willingness to offer radical criticisms of the authority of science such that it can fulfil its legitimate ideological role – namely, of symbolising and instantiating our core epistemic and political values – such that we can offer a sincere and meaningful answer to Feyerabend’s question ‘what’s so great about science?’. (shrink)
This article offers a sympathetic interpretation of Paul Feyerabend's remarks on science and education. I present a formative episode in the development of his educational ideas—the ‘Berkeley experience'—and describe how it affected his views on the place of science within modern education. It emerges that Feyerabend arrived at a conception of education closely related to that of Michael Oakeshott and Martin Heidegger—that of education as ‘releasement’. Each of those three figures argued that the purpose of education was not to induct (...) students into prevailing norms and convictions, but rather to initiate them into the ‘civilized inheritance of mankind’. I conclude that interpreting Feyerabend's educational ideas within this conception of education as releasement lends a new coherence to his remarks on science and education, in a way that renders certain of his political proposals—such as the ‘separation of science and the state'—both more coherent and more compelling. (shrink)
In this chapter we suggest that many experiences of suffering can be further illuminated as forms of transformative experience, using the term coined by L.A. Paul. Such suffering experiences arise from the vulnerability, dependence, and affliction intrinsic to the human condition. Such features can create a variety of positively, negatively, and ambivalently valanced forms of epistemically and personally transformative experiences, as we detail here. We argue that the productive element of suffering experiences can be articulated as transformative, although suffering experiences (...) are not the type mostly discussed in the transformative experience literature. We correct for this here by developing a taxonomy of negatively valenced transformative experiences. We suggest three features that make such experiences ones of suffering, following Michael Brady’s definition: intensity, novelty, and attentional focus. Finally, we suggest that one possible explanation for the edifying capacity of suffering comes from it requiring more transformation than positive experiences. (shrink)
I offer a working analysis of the concept of 'epistemic corruption', then explain how it can help us to understand the relations between epistemic vices and social oppression, and use this to motivate a style of vice epistemology, inspired by the work of Robin Dillon, that I call critical character epistemology.
The aim of this paper is to use Sir William Crookes‘ researches into psychical phenomena as a sustained case study of the role of epistemic virtues within scientific enquiry. Despite growing interest in virtues in science, there are few integrated historical and philosophical studies, and even fewer studies focusing on controversial or ‗fringe‘ sciences where, one might suppose, certain epistemic virtues (like open-mindedness and tolerance) may be subjected to sterner tests. Using the virtue of epistemic courage as my focus, it (...) emerges that Crookes‘ psychical researches were indeed epistemically courageous, but that this judgment must be grounded in sensitivity to the motivational complexity and context-sensitivity of the exercise of epistemic virtues. The paper then considers Crookes‘ remarks on the relationship between epistemic virtuousness and the intellectual integrity and public duties of scientists, thereby placing epistemic virtues in the context of wider debates about the authority of science in late modern societies. I conclude that Crookes‘ researches into psychical phenomena offer instructive lessons for historians of science and virtue epistemologists concerning the complexity and contextuality of epistemic virtues, and the profitable forms that future studies of virtues in science could take. (shrink)
According to some recent critics, philosophy has not progressed over the course of its history because it has not exhibited any substantial increase in the stock of human wisdom. I reject this pessimistic conclusion by arguing that such criticisms employ a conception of progress drawn from the sciences which is inapplicable to a humanistic discipline such as philosophy. Philosophy should not be understood as the accumulation of epistemic goods in a manner analogous to the natural sciences. I argue that the (...) progressiveness of philosophy consists, if anything, in its capacity to provoke and sustain critical reflections upon the ideas and practices which shape and guide human life. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, Steve Clarke and Adrian Walsh propose a normative basis for John Dupré’s criticisms of scientific imperialism, namely, that scientific imperialism can cause a discipline to fail to progress in ways that it otherwise would have. This proposal is based on two presuppositions: one, that scientific disciplines have developmental teleologies, and two, that these teleologies are optimal. I argue that we should reject both of these presuppositions and so conclude that Clarke and Walsh’s proposal (...) is insufficiently warranted for it to provide a normative basis for criticisms of scientific imperialism. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to offer a sympathetic reconstruction of the political thought of Paul Feyerabend. Using a critical discussion of the idea of the ‘free society’ it is suggested that his political thought is best understood in terms of three thematic concerns – liberation, hegemony, and the authority of science – and that the political significance of those claims become clear when they are considered in the context of his educational views. It emerges that Feyerabend is best (...) understood as calling for the grounding of cognitive and cultural authorities – like the sciences – in informed deliberation, rather than the uncritical embrace of prevailing convictions. It therefore emerges that a free society is best understood as one of epistemically responsible citizenship rather than epistemically anarchistic relativism of the ‘anything goes’ – a striking anticipation of current debates about philosophy of science in society. (shrink)
This paper explores the influence of Søren Kierkegaard upon Paul Feyerabend by examining their common criticisms of totalising accounts of human nature. Both complained that philosophical and scientific theories of human nature which were methodologically committed to objectivity and abstraction failed to capture the richness of human experience. Kierkegaard and Feyerabend argued that philosophy and the science were threatening to become obstacles to human development by imposing abstract theories of human nature and reality which denied the complexities of both. In (...) both cases, this took the form of asserting an ‘existential’ criterion for the assessment of philosophical and scientific theories. Kierkegaard also made remarks upon the inappropriateness of applying natural scientific methods to human beings which Feyerabend later expanded and developed in his criticisms of the inability of the ‘scientific worldview’ to accommodate the values necessary to a flourishing human life. I conclude by noting some differences between Kierkegaard and Feyerabend’s positions and by affirming the value of existential criticisms of scientific knowledge.Keywords: Feyerabend; Kierkegaard; Objectivity;ion; Human nature. (shrink)
This volume is devoted to a reappraisal of the philosophy of Paul Feyerabend. It has four aims. The first is to reassess his already well-known work from the 1960s and 1970s in light of contemporary developments in the history and philosophy of science. The second is to explore themes in his neglected later work, including recently published and previously unavailable writings. The third is to assess the contributions that Feyerabend can make to contemporary debate, on topics such as perspectivism, realism, (...) and political philosophy of science. The fourth and final aim is to reconsider Feyerabend's place within the history of philosophy of science in the light of new scholarship. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis article asks whether the philosophy of Paul K. Feyerabend can be reasonably classified as postmodernist, a label applied to him by friends and foes alike. After describing some superficial similarities between the style and content of both Feyerabend’s and postmodernist writings, I offer three more robust characterisations of postmodernism in terms of relativism, ‘incredulity to metanarratives’, and ‘depthlessness’. It emerges that none of these characterisations offers a strong justification for classifying Feyerabend as ‘postmodern’ in any significant sense. Indeed, what (...) does emerge is that Feyerabend’s work was fundamentally informed by a humanitarian vision of the value of science that is, in fact, strikingly modern. (shrink)
Creating and caring for a garden is a long-term project whose success requires commitment and devotion and love and proper performance of a range of activities that involve virtues and sensibilities like attentiveness, carefulness, humility, imaginativeness, and sensitivity to the natures and needs of plants and animals. In this chapter, I elaborate this conception of gardens and explore its relationship to artistic activities, like composing poetry or performing music. My focus are Confucianism and Daosim and their accounts of the relationships (...) between cultured practices, ethics and the arts, and garden-practices. (shrink)
This chapter charts various ways that religious persons and groups can be perpetrators and victims of epistemic injustice. The practices of testifying and interpreting experiences take a range of distinctive forms in religious life, for instance, if the testimonial practices require a special sort of religious accomplishment, such as enlightenment, or if proper understanding of religious experiences is only available to those with authentic faith. But it is also clear that religious communities and traditions have been sources of epistemic injustice, (...) for instance, by conjoining epistemic and spiritual credibility in ways disadvantageous to ‘deviant’ groups. I focus mainly on the major monotheistic religions, culturally dominant in the modern West. (shrink)
This article challenges Philip Kitcher’s recent proposals for an ‘enlightened secularism’. I use William James’s theory of the emotions and his related discussion of ‘temperaments’ to argue that religious and naturalistic commitments are grounded in tacit, inarticulate ways that one finds oneself in a world. This indicates that, in many cases, religiosity and naturalism are grounded not in rational and evidential considerations, but in a tacit and implicit sense of reality which is disclosed through phenomenological enquiry. Once the foundational role (...) of these temperaments is appreciated, it emerges that enlightened secularism relies upon a facile conception of the nature of religious belief – one that lessens its chances for success. The article ends with some positive proposals for incorporating phenomenological insights into debates about science, religion, and secularism. (shrink)
I challenge the 'cosmopolitan secularist' claim that the moral resources of a religion could be both preserved by and employed within a secular society whose members lack emotional commitment to and practical engagement with the religions in question. The moral resources of religion are only fully available to those authentically participate in religious practices and communities - something secularists, no matter how cosmopolitan, can achieve. I conclude that cosmopolitan secularism cannot fulfil its promise to preserve the moral resources of religion (...) in the absence of genuine religious traditions and communities. (shrink)