I come to praise contemporary French philosophy not to bury it. My aim is not to hail the appearance in France of a native brand of analytic philosophy—in itself an important event in the last decade—but to describe the indirect and selective importation of certain Anglo-Saxon concepts by French philosophers whose practice is far from analytic; and also to describe the resultant misunderstanding. In this paper I shall analyse the use of pragmatic concepts—and of the concept ‘pragmatics’—in the recent work (...) by Deleuze and Guattari, Mille Plateaux , and I shall try to show that these concepts are the object of a creative misunderstanding, of a misprision. (shrink)
It is a pleasure for me to give this opening address to the Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference on ‘Explanation’ for two reasons. The first is that it is succeeded by exciting symposia and other papers concerned with various special aspects of the topic of explanation. The second is that the conference is being held in my old alma mater , the University of Glasgow, where I did my first degree. Especially due to C. A. Campbell and George Brown there (...) was in the Logic Department a big emphasis on absolute idealism, especially F. H. Bradley. My inclinations were to oppose this line of thought and to espouse the empiricism and realism of Russell, Broad and the like. Empiricism was represented in the department by D. R. Cousin, a modest man who published relatively little, but who was of quite extraordinary philosophical acumen and lucidity, and by Miss M. J. Levett, whose translation of Plato's Theaetetus formed an important part of the philosophy syllabus. (shrink)
It is characteristic of realists to separate ontology from epistemology and of idealists to mix the two things up. By ‘idealists’ here I am mainly referring to the British neo-Hegelians but the charge of mixing up ontology and epistemology can be made against at least one ‘subjective idealist’, namely Bishop Berkeley, as his wellknown dictum ‘esse ispercipi’ testifies. The objective idealists rejected the correspondence theory of truth and on the whole accepted a coherence theory. The qualification is needed here because (...) H. H. Joachim, in The Nature of Truth, found the coherence theory unable to deal with the problem of error. (shrink)
There are five main claims that may be made about life after death: We are reincarnated in the self-same body we had in life. We are reincarnated in another body. We are revived, or continue to live in a disembodied form.
It has frequently been lamented that while the human species has made immense progress in science it is nevertheless ethically backward. This ethical backwardness is all the more dangerous because the advanced state of scientific knowledge has made available a technology with which we are able to destroy ourselves—indeed a technology which may have got so much out of hand that we may not even have the capacity to prevent it from destroying us.
In this essay I propose to offer some observations in due course on how Christian thought and practice in general might profit from a central theme in the theology of Rāmānuja, a Tamil Vaisnava Brahmin whose traditional date straddles the eleventh and twelfth centuries of the Christian era. The central theme I have in mind is expressed in Rāmānuja's view that the ‘world’ is the ‘body’ of Brahman or God. We shall go on to explain what this means, but let (...) me state first that my overall aim is to further inter-religious understanding, especially between Christian and Hindu points of view. In professing a concern for inter-religious dialogue I know that I reflect a longstanding interest of Professor H. D. Lewis. I shall seek to show that the Christian religion can profit both from the content and the method of Rāmānuja's body-of-God theology. To this end this essay is divided into two sections. Section I is the longer: it contains an analysis of what Rāmānuja did mean by his body-of-God theme – doubtless unfamiliar ground for most of the readers of this essay – and serves as a propaedeutic for what follows in section 2. In section 2 I shall attempt to ‘extrapolate’ Rāmānuja's thinking into a Christian context, with dialogue in mind. Section 2 cannot be appreciated for the promise I hope it holds out without the detail of the first section. (shrink)
This paper is partly to get rid of some irritation which I have felt at the quite common tendency of philosophers to elucidate ‘is red’ in terms of ‘looks red’. For a relatively recent example see, for example, Frank Jackson and Robert Pargetter, ‘An Objectivist′s Guide to Subjectivism about Colour’. However rather than try to make a long list of references, I would rather say ‘No names, no pack drill’. I have even been disturbed to find the use of the (...) words ‘looks red’ that I am opposing ascribed to me by Keith Campbell in his useful article ‘David Armstrong and Realism about Colour’. I am not saying that such talk is necessarily wrong. Talk of ‘looks red’ may be a way of harmlessly referring to the behavioural discriminations with respect to colour of a human percipient. Where it is dangerous, at least to those of us who wish to argue for a broadly physicalist account of the mind, is that it may have concealed overtones of reference to epiphenomenal and irreducibly psychic properties of experiences. Moreover even if it does not do so it may be fence sitting on this issue and liable to misinterpretation. (shrink)
Two essays on utilitarianism, written from opposite points of view, by J. J. C. Smart and Bernard Williams. In the first part of the book Professor Smart advocates a modern and sophisticated version of classical utilitarianism; he tries to formulate a consistent and persuasive elaboration of the doctrine that the rightness and wrongness of actions is determined solely by their consequences, and in particular their consequences for the sum total of human happiness. In Part II Bernard Williams offers a sustained (...) and vigorous critique of utilitarian assumptions, arguments and ideals. He finds inadequate the theory of action implied by utilitarianism, and he argues that utilitarianism fails to engage at a serious level with the real problems of moral and political philosophy, and fails to make sense of notions such as integrity, or even human happiness itself. This book should be of interest to welfare economists, political scientists and decision-theorists. (shrink)
J.S. Mill's plural voting proposal in Considerations on Representative Government presents political theorists with a puzzle: the elitist proposal that some individuals deserve a greater voice than others seems at odds with Mill's repeated arguments for the value of full participation in government. This essay looks at Mill's arguments for plural voting, arguing that, far from being motivated solely by elitism, Mill's account is actually driven by a commitment to both competence and participation. It goes on to argue that, for (...) Mill, much of the value of political participation lies in its unique ability to educate the participants. That ability to educate is not, however, a product of participation alone; rather, for Mill, the true educative benefits of participation obtain only when competence and participation work together in the political sphere. Plural voting, then, is a mechanism for allowing Mill to take advantage of the educative benefits that arise from the intersection of competence and participation. (shrink)
I propose, in this paper, to offer a simple, even perhaps a simplified, version of Spinoza's metaphysical views, and to show how these views sometimes affected his epistemological views. When they did affect his epistemological views the effect was always a bad one, since Spinoza's metaphysical system is quite unworkable. It is helpful, and sometimes even inspiring, but it is wrong. In the end, with the epistemology as with the metaphysics, nothing of substance will be salvageable, but Spinoza's new and (...) even radical perspective is worth observing for its own sake, and there are points of detail along the way, ranging from inspired falsehoods to cloudy truths, that still deserve the effort to untangle them. (shrink)
In his concept of an anthropological physiology, F.J.J. Buytendijk has tried to lay down the theoretical and scientific foundations for an anthropologically-oriented medicine. The aim of anthropological physiology is to demonstrate, empirically, what being specifically human is in the most elementary physiological functions. This article contains a sketch of Buytendijk''s life and work, an overview of his philosophical-anthropological presuppositions, an outline of his idea of an anthropological physiology and medicine, and a discussion of some episternological and methodological problems. It is (...) demonstrated that Buytendijk''s design of an anthropological physiology is fragmentary and programmatic and that his methodology offers few points of contact for specific anthropological experimental research.Notwithstanding, it is argued that Buytendijk''s description of the subjective, animated body forms a pre-eminent point of reference for all research in physiology and psychology in which the specific human aspect is not ignored beforehand. (shrink)
In ‘Belief-In and Belief in God’ , J. N. Williams suggests that belief in God cannot be rational unless one has rational beliefs that God exists. While agreeing with his conclusion , I disagree at almost every step with his method of arriving at it. In particular I suggest that Williams goes astray concerning the dual aspect of belief in , the nature of performatives, the arousal of belief states, and the correct account of belief in God.
In this article I try to refute the so-called "libertarian" theory of free will, and to examine how our conclusion ought to modify our common attitudes of praise and blame. In attacking the libertarian view, I shall try to show that it cannot be consistently stated. That is, my dscussion will be an "analytic-philosophic" one. I shall neglect what I think is in practice an equally powerful method of attack on the libertarian: a challenge to state his theory in such (...) a way that it will fit in the modern biology and psychology, which are becoming increasingly physicalistic. (shrink)
We can contrast rationalising explanations of the form S φs because p with those of the form S φs because S believes that p. According the Common Kind View, the two sorts of explanation are the same. The Disjunctive View denies this. This paper sets out to elucidate the sense in which the Common Kind Theorist asserts, but the Disjunctivist denies, that the two explanations are the same. I suggest that, in the light of the distinction between kinds of explanation (...) and particular explanations, the relevant sameness thesis is ambiguous, thus giving us two distinct versions of the Common Kind View. I then argue that the only direct arguments for Disjunctivism available in the literature fail because they only succeed in undermining one version of the Common Kind View. I finish, however, by providing a fresh argument for the Disjunctive View which aims to undermine both versions of its competitor. (shrink)
I want to consider in this paper a question that is looming large in the theology of most world religions, not least in the Christian tradition. The following discussion will be confined to the Christian standpoint, though I hope mutatis mutandis the main points will be seen to apply to other religious perspectives as well. Specifically then, this question can be ex–pressed in two ways. We may ask, in the context of the contemporary dialogue situation, how is the committed Christian (...) to regard the adherents of non–Christian religions? and what status do these alien belief–systems have with respect to the Christian faith–response? Both forms of the issue are often discussed it seems to me without due attention being given to an important distinction between them. So, at the outset, it will be useful to make one or two observations about this. First of all, it is inevitable, I think, that an evaluational factor is implied by both formulations. We are pondering a basically Christian assessment of religious traditions that are non–Christian, and any solution suggested which eventually eliminates a one-sided overall perspective will apparently put us in a dilemma. For, on the one hand, a Christian theology of religions will be expected to produce a Christian result; on the other hand, a finally nonevaluational solution seems unable to be called a Christian view of things at all. In the event of such a ‘neutral theology’ as the latter resulting , is the dilemma that becomes apparent a genuine one, or can it be resolved by a more stringent analysis of the relevant issues? (shrink)
In Religious Studies xxvi Harold W. Noonan and Charles B. Daniels severally take issue with my ‘Reincarnation and Relativized Identity’. Both make valuable points but both, I think, have somewhat missed the point of my original article. In that paper I singled out five different views on the possibility of life after death: that we are reincarnated in the self-same body we had in our pre-mortem state; that we are reincarnated in another — in a different — body; that we (...) continue to exist in a disembodied form, which may or may not culminate in re-embodiment; that pre-mortem life is a dream from which postmortem life is the awakening; that none of the above holds: there is no life after death. (shrink)
Délire is the disorderly side of language, a no man’s land between reason and gibberish. In this study, originally published in 1985, the author provides a history of _délire_, tracing its influence on philosophy, linguistics, literature and psychoanalysis. The author argues that _délire _provides a new approach to the classic philosophical problem of sense and nonsense.
Thomas J.J. Altizer is one of the most important theologians of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and all radical theology must pass through and be conversant with his work and the historical significance of his earlier contributions. This chapter presents Altizer’s essential ideas in a straightforward and accessible manner and provides a guide for the beginning reader.
The West has long had an ambivalent attitude toward the philosophical traditions of the East. Voltaire claimed that the East is the civilization "to which the West owes everything", yet C.S. Peirce was contemptuous of the "monstrous mysticism of the East". And despite the current trend toward globalizations, there is still a reluctance to take seriously the intellectual inheritance of South and East Asia. Oriental Enlightenment challenges this Eurocentric prejudice. J. J. Clarke examines the role played by the ideas of (...) Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism in the intellectual life of the West and how these ideas, far more than exotic distractions, or even instruments of colonial domination, have been the means towards serious self-questioning and self-renewal, used to dispute and even to undermine Western orthodoxies. (shrink)
In this review essay J.J. Chambliss assesses the current state of the field of philosophy of education through analysis of four recent edited compilations: Randall Curren’s A Companion to Philosophy of Education; Nigel Blake, Paul Smeyers, Richard Smith, and Paul Standish’s The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Education; Wilfred Carr’s The RoutledgeFalmer Reader in Philosophy of Education; and Randall Curren’s Philosophy of Education: An Anthology. He considers how these books address the question of what constitutes philosophy of education, with specific (...) reference to the approach each takes to two topics: feminism and practical reason. Then, taking as a starting point Carr’s insight that a revised history of the philosophy of education could help us better understand the discipline, Chambliss traces the evolution of philosophy of education in the United States from the discipline’s origins, dominated by a tension between Empiricism and Idealism; to the “schools of philosophy” approach — that is, applying a set of beliefs derived from a particular philosophical school to education — that prevailed through the mid‐twentieth century; to the wide‐ranging contemporary work in the field that draws from newer methodologies and philosophical research programs. (shrink)
Neuroethics, as a domain of inquiry, was made necessary by this interdisciplinary march of technology that has been much documented and the resulting synergism, which resulted in the development of neuroimaging, deep brain stimulation, and advanced neuropharmaceutics. Closing the loop from discovery of basic mechanisms of illness to knowledge of structure and function en route to restorative therapeutics is a long way from earlier efforts to use electrical stimulation to address human maladies. The most challenging aspect about neuroethics is that (...) the technology used by neuroscientists needs to be understood in order to offer responsible neuroethical critique. The technocentricity of neuroscience makes it especially vulnerable to broader market forces and the sway of political economy, all of which might be exacerbated by the recent fiscal melt down and recent trends in healthcare reform. These challenges are illustrated by investigational work exploring the use of deep brain stimulation in the minimally conscious state. (shrink)