The assurance of corporate sustainability reporting has long been a controversial field. Corporate management and assurance providers are routinely accused of 'capturing' what should be an exercise in public accountability. This article responds to recent calls for an analysis of the process by which Capture' takes place. Integrating elements of neo-institutional theory and the arena concept, the article sets out a fresh conceptual framework for investigating the dynamics of the interactions between the various bodies active in the assurance field in (...) the UK. (shrink)
Despite the frivolous note implied in the popular expression, ‘The Greeks had a word for it’, the literal truth is that they did! Time and again we find reflected in the terminology developed by these ancient seekers after wisdom, an attention to important distinctions and a faithfulness to the details of actual experience which are truly remarkable. The Greek thinkers had, as every classical scholar and student of Greek philosophy knows, a finely developed philosophical language, one sensitive no less to (...) the unusual, pregnant experience than to the familiar details of ordinary life. (shrink)
In these previously uncollected essays, Smith argues that American philosophers like Peirce, James, Royce, and Dewey have forged a unique philosophical tradition—one that is rich and complex enough to represent a genuine alternative to the analytic, phenomenological, and hermeneutical traditions which have originated in Britain or Europe. "In my judgment, John Smith has no equal today in combining two scholarly qualities: the analysis of philosophical texts with penetration and rigor, and the discernment of what it is in these texts that (...) matters. These qualities are in evidence throughout the essays in _America's Philosophical Vision._ Whether he is evaluating Rorty's view of Dewey; the pragmatic theory of experience and truth; theories of freedom, creativity, and the self; Royce's conception of community; or synoptic philosophic visions, Smith always succeeds in uniting a comprehensive understanding of philosophic writings with a sure grasp of their import for human culture and aspiration. It is a great benefit to students of American thought that these papers have now been collected into one volume."—James Gouinlock, Emory University. (shrink)
A modern philosopher described religion as “that region in which all the enigmas of the world are solved.” Smith argues in Experience and God that religion itself has become an enigma for modern man. In the book, smith attempts to reunite philosophy with religion. He argues that in recent decades the prevailing attitude has been chiefly one of indifference. This indifference, leading to the failure of understanding can be overcome only through radical reflection and self-criticism: a re-consideration of the nature (...) of religion, its place in the total structure of human life, and its relations to the secular culture in which the faith of man must live. The task Smith lays out must be of a largely philosophical nature, not only because of the necessity to understand religion in relation to a comprehensive scheme of things, but also because the idea of religion is intimately connected with the issues of metaphysics. Smith’s purpose is to bridge the gap between the ontological approach to God as represented by Augustine, Anselm, and Bonaventure, and the cosmological approach represented by Thomas Aquinas and Albert the Great. Smith shows that, although the two approaches significantly differ, they can be interpreted as ways of leading the meditating mind to the Presence of God, through the soul and through the world. (shrink)
Smith traces a major line in the history of theology and the philosophy of religion down the "slippery slope" of secularization—from Luther and Erasmus, through Idealism, to Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, Habermas, Vattimo, and Asad.
Purpose in American philosophy.--Radical empiricism.--Three types and two dogmas of empiricism.--William James as philosophical psychologist.--Charles S. Peirce: community and reality.--The contemporary significance of Royce's theory of the self.--The course of American philosophy.--The philosophy of religion in America.
IN A PREVIOUS study entitled, "Time, Times and the 'Right Time': Chronos and Kairos," I explored the distinction between these two aspects of time and their relations to each other. I wish to return to the topic in this paper, building on my previous discussion but bringing in some new dimensions that were unknown to me earlier on. I did not know, for example, that kairos, although it has metaphysical, historical, ethical and esthetic applications, is a concept whose original home, (...) so to speak, was in the ancient rhetorical traditions. A recent study is aimed at recovering this important idea in the present situation. It is not insignificant that, while kairos has important philosophical implications, students of rhetoric have not been alone in neglecting it as can be seen from the fact that it is not listed in the four volume Dictionary of the History of Ideas, edited by Philip Wiener, nor is it to be found in The Great Ideas: A Syntopicon, edited by Mortimer Adler. One reason for the omission is no doubt the absence of any cognate word in English for kairos whereas its partner, chronos, appears in a host of forms throughout any English dictionary. The only exception that occurs to me is the quite rare word 'Kairotic' which is listed only in the most complete dictionaries. The loss of the concept of kairos is doubly unfortunate for, on the one hand, the idea has been of enormous significance in the past figuring essentially, for instance, in the religious traditions of the West, and, on the other hand, it expresses a most important feature of temporal process which, despite exceptions here and there, is not expressed in the concept of chronos. It is with these facts in mind that I am attempting to rehabilitate, as it were, the kairos aspect of time and to show its philosophical importance. (shrink)
Qualitative Complexity offers a critique of the humanist paradigm in contemporary social theory. Drawing from sources in sociology, philosophy, complexity theory, 'fuzzy logic', systems theory, cognitive science and evolutionary biology, the authors present a new series of interdisciplinary perspectives on the sociology of complex, self-organizing structures.
My interest in gathering together a collection of this sort was generated by a fortuitous combination of historical studies under Professor Keith Lehrer and studies in cognitive science under Professor R. Michael Harnish at the University of Arizona. Work on the volume began there while I was an instructor in the Department of Linguistics and was greatly encouraged by participants in the Faculty Seminar on Cognitive Science chaired by Professor Lance J. Rips. I wish to express my appreciation to all (...) of these and to many other individuals with whom I discussed the possibility of contribution to this work. I am especially grateful to the authors of the essays included here, as they showed more patience than I could have hoped for in seeing me through a number of uncertain stages in development of the project. My thanks are also due to my colleague Charles Reid for assistance in reviewing submissions, to Tim McFadden for computer resources, and again, to Keith Lehrer for continuing advice in arrangements for publication. Financial support for manuscript preparation was provided in part under University Research Grant No. 617 from the University Research Council, Youngstown State University. (shrink)
In this book, John H. Smith investigates the influences of classical and humanistic rhetoric on Hegel's theory and practice of philosophical representation. Smith focuses on Hegel's concept of Bildung (roughly, education, development, or formation) which occupies a central position in his philosophy.
This revised edition of John E. Smith’s classic details the phenomenal growth in American philosophy in the years since the book first appeared. Through the addition of a new chapter and the readdressing of earlier material, Smith advances his reflections on the present decade. The book also considers the impact of British linguistic philosophy and other currents of thought abroad on classical American philosophy.
Reid defended common sense against scepticism by appeal to the claim that our faculties should be considered trustworthy until some argument proves them to be untrustworthy. He believed, of course, that no such argument would be forthcoming. In this paper, we shall investigate Reid's defense of the faculty of perception and the evidence of the senses by analogy with the faculty of language and the evidence of testimony. Reid argued that the evidence of testimony should be trusted unless there is (...) reason to think it untrustworthy and by analogy, that the evidence of the senses should be trusted unless there is reason to think it untrustworthy. He admitted the fallibility of such evidence but contended that such fallibility is characteristic of all our faculties. Moreover, and perhaps most important, Reid developed a psychological theory of the faculties of perception and language that showed the analogy between these two faculties to be very exact indeed. (shrink)
Language is an imperfect and coarse means of communicating information about a complex and nuanced world. We report on an experiment designed to capture this feature of communication. The messages available to the sender imperfectly describe the state of the world; however, the sender can improve communication, at a cost, by increasing the complexity or elaborateness of the message. Here the sender learns the state of the world, then sends a message to the receiver. The receiver observes the message and (...) provides a best guess about the state. The incentives of the players are aligned in the sense that both sender and receiver are paid an amount which is increasing in the accuracy of the receiver’s guess. We find that the size of the language endogenously emerges as a function of the costs of communication. Specifically, we find that higher communication costs are associated with a smaller language. Although the equilibrium predictions do not perform well, this divergence occurs in a manner which is consistent with the experimental communication literature: overcommunication. We find that the sender’s payoffs, relative to equilibrium payoffs, are decreasing in the cost of communication. We also find that the receiver’s payoffs, relative to equilibrium payoffs, are increasing in the cost of communication. Finally, we find imperfections in coordination on the basis of the experimental labels. (shrink)
We model an interaction between an informed sender and an uninformed receiver. As in the classic cheap talk setup, the informed player sends a message to an uninformed receiver who is to take an action which affects the payoffs of both players. However, in our model, the sender can communicate only through the use of discrete messages which are ordered by the cost incurred by the sender. We characterize the resulting equilibria without refining out-of-equilibrium beliefs. Subsequently, we apply an adapted (...) version of the no incentive to separate condition to our model. We show that if the sender and receiver have aligned preferences regarding the action of the receiver, then NITS only admits the equilibrium with the largest possible number of induced actions. When the preferences between players are not aligned, we show that NITS does not guarantee uniqueness, and we provide an example where an increase in communication costs can improve communication. As we show, this improvement can occur to such an extent that the equilibrium outperforms the Goltsman et al. upper bound for receiver’s payoffs in mediated communication. (shrink)
One of the important philosophical advantages stemming from study of the historical development of philosophical movements and traditions is the insight that comes from observing the logical out-working of a set of ideas over a period of time that far exceeds the lifetime of any individual thinker. An Aristotle or a Hegel may develop a philosophical mode of thought in an almost unbelievably comprehensive way, but no individual can grasp all the implications and ramifications of his philosophical vision, no matter (...) how monumental his powers may be. Many individuals, however, working over many years within the same framework of ideas can accomplish what no one of them alone could achieve. It is often said that philosophy is not an experimental science, and, in an obvious sense, this is true. But it is not entirely true. We can view the history of a tradition like Platonism, for example, or Augustinianism, as a vast experiment made by many thinkers with a set of ideas in which each thinker, building on what has gone before, seeks to develop further the basic premises of the position, proposing new logical alternatives, correcting errors, meeting objections, discovering further implications, and consolidating the results. In the case of a profound tradition, nothing less than this extended historical dialectic of ideas suffices to make plain what the basic position implies. Moreover, since climates of opinion change, the proponents of a given view will find that, in the course of time, new opponents appear, raising questions and posing problems that could not easily have been envisaged by the thinker who started the tradition. Sometimes these objections prove fatal and the tradition comes to an end; sometimes the objections are successfully overcome and the position finds new life and a more viable form of expression. The history of a tradition, therefore, is an indispensable resource for philosophical understanding. (shrink)
John E. Smith has contributed to contemporary philosophy in primarily four distinct capacities; first, as a philosopher of religion and God; second, as an indefatigable defender of philosophical reflection in its classical sense ( a sense inclusive of, but not limited to, metaphysics); third, as a participant in the reconstruction of experience and reason so boldly inaugurated by Hegel then redically transformed by the classical American pragmatists, and significantly augmented by such thinkers as Josiah Royce, william Earnest Hocking, and Alfred (...) North Whitehead; fourth, as an interpreter of philosophical texts and traditions (Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche no less than Charles Peirce, WIlliam James and John Dewey; German idealism as well as American; the Augustinian tradition no less than the pragmatic). Reason, Experience, and God provides an important and comprehensive look at the work of John E. Smith by collected essays which each address aspects of his life-long work. A response by John E. Smith himself draws a line of continuity between the pieces. (shrink)
This work locates the historical and conceptual foundations of cognitive science in the "commonsense" psychology of the philosopher Thomas Reid. I begin with Reid's attack on his rationalist and empiricist competitors of the 17th and 18th centuries. I then present his positive theory as a sophisticated faculty psychology appealing to innateness of mental structure. Reidian psychological faculties are equally trustworthy, causally independent mental powers, and I argue that they share nine distinct properties. This distinguishes Reidian 'intentionalism' from idealist 'representationalism,' which (...) derive cognitive content either from the inherited structure of faculties of from the occurrent structure of sensory activity. ;Next, I turn to consciousness and reflection for a contemporary Reidian response to traditional phenomenology. Unlike reflection, faculties of reason and remembrance are not causally mediated by consciousness. My interpretation of Reid is that 'Humean causation' of individual faculty structure accounts only for 'natural intentionality,' while 'efficient causation' of faculty interrelations accounts for cognitive 'personal intentionality.' ;I then proceed by adopting a form of computational description for reconstructing this view as a computational theory of mind. I contrast functional analyses in explanations of some capacities with computational and componential analyses in explanations of other, intentional capacities, in which some processes must be taken to semantically encode and govern the roles of others. This step reconstructs the Reidian notion of intentional operations as requiring an explanation of component faculties and their representation-governed interactions. I argue that properties of faculties delimiting these interactions under Reid's theory parallel those in Fodor's essay on the "modularity of mind," although the reasons given for individual criteria are often very different. Fodor also proposes a trichotomous mental structure, but I find that a third level of "central systems" is a myth engendered by causal information theory. Such an analysis cannot capture generalizations over the internal representation of semantic roles that determines the character of faculty relations. This requirement for any computational account of cognition is precisely the motivation for the reconstructed Reidian theory. Thus, it comports more favorably with the explanatory program constitutive of a computational cognitive science. (shrink)
Emotions, Embodied Cognition and the Adaptive Unconscious argues for the need to consider many other factors, drawn from disciplines such as socio-biology, evolutionary psychology, the study of the emotions, the adaptive unconscious, the senses and conscious deliberation in analysing the complex topography of social action and the making of things. These factors are taken as ecological conditions that shape the contemporary expression of complex societies, not as constraints on human plasticity Without 'foundations', complex society cannot exist nor less evolve. This (...) is the familiar pairing from complexity theory: path dependency and dynamic emergence. Inter-disciplinary and complexity perspectives need to be incorporated into the social sciences. Routinely, sociologists think of social phenomena as a distinct field, expressed in the term: the 'social construction of' without apparent need to refer to other material, biological, psychological, material or ecological conditions or agents. This book shows how the familiar sociological dynamics of identity, solidarity, differentiation and communication are shaped through the persistent interaction of unconscious and affective processing with conscious deliberation in newly emergent contexts. It is this re-expression, not the surpassing, of human characteristics in contemporary social action that needs to re-inform a complex, ecological approach to the theory and methodologies of the social sciences. The book is intended for a postgraduate/research audience and doctoral students to introduce and synthesise inter-disciplinary contributions to research into complexity theory in the social sciences. (shrink)
An original sociology of art and artistic practice, based on the theories of Emile Durkheim and contemporary models of complex social systems. The book offers a critique of current history, philosophy and sociology of art and stands in a constructive and informative relation to much contemporary art historical theory.