Here we discuss the challenge posed by self-organization to the Darwinian conception of evolution. As we point out, natural selection can only be the major creative agency in evolution if all or most of the adaptive complexity manifest in living organisms is built up over many generations by the cumulative selection of naturally occurring small, random mutations or variants, i.e., additive, incremental steps over an extended period of time. Biological self-organization—witnessed classically in the folding of a protein, or in the (...) formation of the cell membrane—is a fundamentally different means of generating complexity. We agree that self-organizing systems may be fine-tuned by selection and that self-organization may be therefore considered a complementary mechanism to natural selection as a causal agency in the evolution of life. But we argue that if self-organization proves to be a common mechanism for the generation of adaptive order from the molecular to the organismic level, then this will greatly undermine the Darwinian claim that natural selection is the major creative agency in evolution. We also point out that although complex self-organizing systems are easy to create in the electronic realm of cellular automata, to date translating in silico simulations into real material structures that self-organize into complex forms from local interactions between their constituents has not proved easy. This suggests that self-organizing systems analogous to those utilized by biological systems are at least rare and may indeed represent, as pre-Darwinists believed, a unique ascending hierarchy of natural forms. Such a unique adaptive hierarchy would pose another major challenge to the current Darwinian view of evolution, as it would mean the basic forms of life are necessary features of the order of nature and that the major pathways of evolution are determined by physical law, or more specifically by the self-organizing properties of biomatter, rather than natural selection. (shrink)
Einheit der Kirche und Einheit der Menschheit, by W. Pannenberg.--Die Menschheit, Israel und die Nationen in hebräischer Überlieferung, by M. Greenberg.--Die Einheit der Menschheit in biblischer Sicht, by C. Maurer.--Einheit und Entfremdung im Islam, by H. Askari.--Die Entdeckung Amerikas und das europäische Menschenbild, by L. González Rodríguez.--Der Einfluss des Kolonialismus auf das asiatische Verständnis vom Menschen, by J. G. Arapura.--Religiöser Pluralismus und die Suche nach menschlicher Gemeinschaft, by S. J. Samartha.--Vom konfuzianischen Edelmann zum neuen chinesischen "politischen Menschen", by D. (...) A. Robinson.--Die Revolution der Wissenschaft und die Einheit der Menschheit, by B. Towers.--Sprache und Kommunikation, by E. A. Nida.--Die Theologie der Tradition als Grundlage der Einheit, by N. A. Nissiotis. (shrink)
In the paper I offer a brief sketch of one of the sources of utilitarianism. Our biological ancestry is a matter of fact that is not altered by the way we describe ourselves. With philosophical theories it is otherwise. Utilitarianism can be described in ways that make it look as if it is as old as moral philosophy – as J. S. Mill thought it was. For my historical purposes, it is more useful to have an account that brings out (...) what is specific about Benthamism and its descendants. Let us try to make do with the following. First, utilitarianism asserts that the fundamental requirement of morality is that we are to maximize good, for everyone and not just for the agent. This basic principle presupposes that it makes sense to think of aggregating goods to make a total, and of comparing amounts of good thus aggregated. Second, the good to be brought about is located in feelings of pleasure, and the evil to be avoided in feelings of pain. These feelings have inherent value or disvalue regardless of how they are caused to exist and regardless of their own consequences. Third, all moral principles can be derived from the requirement that good be maximized. The principles involved in evaluating agents as well as in giving moral direction to action are nothing but applications of the basic principle. (shrink)
Theory. Moral knowledge and moral principles -- Victorian Matters. First principles and common-sense morality in Sidgwick's ethics ; Moral problems and moral philosophy in the Victorian Period -- On the historiography of moral philosophy. Moral crisis and the history of ethics ; Modern moral philosophy : from beginning to end? : No discipline, no history : the case of moral philosophy ; Teaching the history of moral philosophy -- Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century moral philosophy. The divine corporation and the history of (...) ethics ; Natural law ; The misfortunes of virtue ; Voluntarism and the foundations of ethics ; Hume and the religious significance of moral rationalism -- On Kant. Why study Kant's Groundwork ; Autonomy, obligation, and virtue : an overview of Kant's moral philosophy ; Kant and Stoic ethics ; Toward enlightenment : Kant and the sources of darkness ; Kantian unsocial sociability : good out of evil -- Moral psychology. The active powers -- Afterword. Sixty years of philosophy in a life. (shrink)
J. B. Schneewind's "The Invention of Autonomy" has been hailed as a major interpretation of modern moral thought. Schneewind's narrative, however, elides several serious interpretive issues, particularly in the transition from late medieval to early modern thought. This results in potentially distorted accounts of Thomas Aquinas, Hugo Grotius, and G. W. Leibniz. Since these thinkers play a crucial role in Schneewind's argument, uncertainty over their work calls into question at least some of Schneewind's larger agenda for the history of ethics.
This is an extremely well-edited collection of articles dealing with Austin. A number of articles help to present general biographical information and to provide an overview of the man and his philosophic style. Three sections of this anthology are divided so as to include papers that deal with issues raised in Austin's Philosophical Papers, Sense and Sensibilia, and How to Do Thing with Words. Papers are included by those who are sympathetic and admire Austin's work as well as those who (...) have been very critical of his work. Altogether this symposium includes a judicious selection of some of the best articles dealing with Austin. There are papers by Warnock, Urmson, Hampshire, Pears, Cavell, Quine, Chisholm, Ayer, Searle, etc. There is a bibliography of Austin's writings as well as writings about Austin.--R. J. B. (shrink)
Among young liberal Catholic intellectuals, Lonergan is held in extremely high esteem. His philosophic treatise, Insight, is considered to be the important philosophic book where Thomism genuinely encounters contemporary secular philosophy. But outside this circle of Catholic intellectuals Lonergan's thought is barely known. This collection of articles does reflect the comprehensiveness and depth of his thought. Papers range over intricate theological discussions of the Assumption, Christ, marriage, the role of a Catholic university in the modern world, and technical philosophic issues (...) such as the form of inference and geometric possibility. Because the papers are short and have been written for a variety of audiences, it is difficult to discern any overreaching continuity and perspective. Many of the discussions demand a more thorough and critical analysis than is exhibited here. The introduction by Crowe is helpful for reconstructing Lonergan's intellectual development and supplying a broader context for appreciating the papers, although the tone is more reverential than critical.—R. J. B. (shrink)
Reasoning under uncertainty, that is, making judgements with only partial knowledge, is a major theme in artificial intelligence. Professor Paris provides here an introduction to the mathematical foundations of the subject. It is suited for readers with some knowledge of undergraduate mathematics but is otherwise self-contained, collecting together the key results on the subject, and formalising within a unified framework the main contemporary approaches and assumptions. The author has concentrated on giving clear mathematical formulations, analyses, justifications and consequences of the (...) main theories about uncertain reasoning, so the book can serve as a textbook for beginners or as a starting point for further basic research into the subject. It will be welcomed by graduate students and research workers in logic, philosophy, and computer science as a textbook for beginners, a starting point for further basic research into the subject, and not least, an account of how mathematics and artificial intelligence can complement and enrich each other. (shrink)
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Although this book consists of a number of essays, some of which have been published, there is a remarkable unity of perspective and metaphysical orientation. Mrs. De Laguna writes with clarity and vigor and tackles some of the toughest philosophical problems and positions. Beginning with a discussion of science and teleology, she argues that recent science requires the recognition of "teleonomy" in nature. In her analysis of existence and potentiality, the thesis that whatever exists contains potentialities is defended. This enables (...) her to turn to an analysis of "the individual," which is a basic metaphysical category applicable to all of nature. Moving up the evolutionary "scale," we have forceful and provocative discussions of the person and culture. In the course of her positive exposition there are acute critical discussions of Heidegger, Sartre and Kant. What emerges is a comprehensive orientation for understanding man in society and the universe. Considering the revival of interest in natural teleology and intentionality, the book is timely. Informed with a knowledge and appreciation of developments in science and philosophy, this adventure in metaphysics is urbane, lucid, and illuminating.—R. J. B. (shrink)
Ever since Plato's Republic, a persistent problem and dilemma in Western thought has been the relation of the love of wisdom and political power, especially the role that the intellectual does or ought to play in the world of action. This volume includes both theoretical studies and case studies of modern intellectuals. Most of the articles have been published before but several, including T. Parson's "'The Intellectual': A Social Role Category" and J. Netl's "Ideas, Intellectuals, and Structures of Dissent" were (...) written for this volume. Other contributors are Shils, Dahrendorf, Berlin, Bushnell, Samuels, Comte, Nisbet, and Rieff. The most eloquent and moving essay is Isaiah Berlin's sympathetic study of Moses Hess. Through the great diversity of approaches and issues discussed, a common theme emerges--the fragility of the role of the intellectual, who is frequently duped, sometimes subtly corrupted or persecuted, but who, on occasion can shape and humanize the vision of his fellowmen, even though he may appear as the "fool" to his contemporaries. One striking lack here is a "case study" of any representative intellectual of the "New Left," but the total effect of this intelligently chosen collection is to provide us with a needed perspective for assessing the possibilities and dangers open to intellectuals in our time.--R. J. B. (shrink)
Cavell is one of the most gifted and sensitive philosophers who has been influenced by Wittgenstein and Austin. He is no slavish disciple but an intelligent and perceptive interpreter of the contemporary sensibility. Six of the ten essays have already appeared in print and some have already become intellectual gems. In "The Availability of Wittgenstein's Later Philosophy," Cavell better than most has managed to capture and convey the spirit and the intensity of the later Wittgenstein. The title essay is the (...) most articulate defense of what ordinary language philosophy can be at its best. But Cavell is also an incisive commentator on Beckett and Kierkegaard. He illuminates a range of aesthetic issues. Cavell's forte is that of an essayist who manages to create in each of his essays a "form of life" within which one can participate and share his insight.--R. J. B. (shrink)
The demand for a synoptic philosophic overview is a perennial one. If contemporary professional philosophers are reluctant to satisfy such a demand, others will attempt it. In this brief sketch, Phenix argues that there are three perspectives for understanding the complexity of human nature. The natural sciences disclose the universal aspects of human nature, the social sciences describe those aspects shared with some but not all other persons, and the humanities show man in his uniqueness. Throughout his discussion Phenix is (...) concerned to show the relevance of these ideas to education and to clarify and justify the meaning of liberal learning.—R. J. B. (shrink)
A lively introduction to metaphysical problems, including the relation of mind and body, freedom and determinism, time and becoming, and God. Starting with common sense beliefs, Taylor uses a natural dialectic to show how metaphysical problems arise. The clarity and forcefulness of his discussions and arguments invite the reader to join issue.--R. J. B.
This book was originally written for the French series, Philosophes de tous les temps. It follows the format of this series with an introductory essay and series of brief selections from James. Although Reck states that he "sought to see James as the French see him," he does not limit himself to a single perspective but presents a judicious, balanced interpretation of James. There is little exploitation of the recent "discovery" of James by phenomenologically oriented philosophers. In his introductory essay, (...) Reck has attempted to be comprehensive. The essay succeeds admirably in presenting a fine introduction to James.—R. J. B. (shrink)
Considering the renewed interest in Marx and Marxism, this book is especially timely. For Marxism as an appealing political outlook frequently seems most alive for those countries that have suffered the effects of colonization. And for western Marxists, the crucial test of their views is to be found in their attitudes toward colonialism and neocolonialism. But paradoxically, in the search for a viable view of "underdeveloped" countries, most professed Marxists have built upon the teachings of Lenin rather Marx. Avineri has (...) compiled an excellent collection of Marx's writings on the non-European world, most of them written in English by Marx himself. Writings on China, India, Mexico, the Middle East, and North Africa are included. There is an excellent introduction outlining the problems that non-European societies posed for Marx's own studies of western history. One sees how unsentimental Marx really was and how consistent he was with his own deepest insights about the need for the full development of capitalism before a true socialism could be achieved. Just as the focus on the early writings of Marx has helped to correct the view of Marx inherited from "orthodox" communism, so this compilation of writings helps to place Marx's investigations of western nineteenth-century capitalism in proper perspective. Avineri, who is now one of the finest commentators on Marx, has again helped to save Marx from both his detractors and disciples.--R. J. B. (shrink)
This book consists of five essays written at three different times, 1946, 1955, and 1964. Aron characterizes these essays as "a dialogue between existentialists and the Marxists as interpreted by a third speaker, namely the author of the book." Aron is primarily concerned with the existentialism of Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, especially their attempts to reconcile existentialism and Marxism. While Aron tries to present a fair statement of their philosophic positions and Marxism, he is deeply skeptical of a successful synthesis of (...) existentialism and Marxism. He is also critical of the French intellectuals' flirtation with communism as it is practiced in the Soviet Union. Aron writes as a friendly critic, for he has been shaped by the same intellectual trends that shaped Sartre and Merleau-Ponty. For those unacquainted with the debates about the nature and status of Marxism by French intellectuals, these essays will be helpful in setting the scene. One wishes, however, that Aron might have explored key tensions with greater depth and rigor.--R. J. B. (shrink)
These lectures, translated for the first time in English, provide the best English source for Feuerbach's mature position. The style of these lectures is informal and clear. Feuerbach escapes the excesses of polemic that are characteristic of many of his earlier works. Feuerbach no longer restricts himself to Christianity but extends his analysis to nature religions, arguing that all religions are grounded in man and nature. The projection theory of God, the claim that the foundation of religion is a feeling (...) of dependency, and the pointing toward an activist solution to the problem of religion, are themes that are clearly delineated here. He concludes by summarizing his task of transforming "friends of God into friends of man, believers into thinkers, devotees of prayer into devotees of work...." While the translation is excellent, the book lacks a badly needed introduction. There is no index.—R. J. B. (shrink)
When the original version of this book appeared in 1953, MacIntyre was one of a very few Anglo-Saxon philosophers who exhibited any depth understanding of Marx and Marxism. The course of scholarship since that time both vindicates and supersedes many of the points that MacIntyre makes. He not only shows how Marx secularized the world view ingredient in Christianity, but how Marx moved from the critique of religion to the critique of philosophy. And he nicely sketches for us the move (...) from philosophy to practice. We now have many detailed studies that fill in the gaps of this movement, but MacIntyre's essay still excels as a brief overview. From a contemporary point of view, his final chapter is the most interesting and challenging. Too many thinkers sympathetic with Marx have lost themselves in Marx scholarship or in sloganizing. While MacIntyre sees Marx as bringing down to earth the metaphysical themes of alienation ingredient in Christianity, he also sees Marx as laying himself open to the very reification and false consciousness in his own theorizing that he so bitterly opposed in others. The only way of showing that it is possible to rescue Marxism from its own errors, is to carry out for our own times the sort of critique that Marx himself carried out for nineteenth-century liberal bourgeois society. The essay still stands as a helpful introduction both to Marx and to the problems posed for contemporaries who desire to take Marxism seriously.--R. J. B. (shrink)