We present a theory of conversation comprehension in which a line of the conversation is “understood” by relating it to one of seven possible “points”. We define these points, and present examples where it seems plausible that the failure to “get the point” would indeed constitute a failure to understand the conversation. We argue that the recognition of such points must proceed in both a top down and bottom up fashion, and thus is likely to be quite complicated. Finally, we (...) see the processing of information in the conversation to be dependent upon which point classification the user decides upon. (shrink)
Although it is widely acknowledged that Foucault’s accounts of the concept of heterotopia remain briefly sketched and somewhat confusing, the notion has provoked many interpretations and applications across a range of disciplines. In particular, it has been coupled with different stages or processes of modernity and persistently linked to forms of resistance. This article re-examines Foucault’s concept through a close textual analysis. It contrasts heterotopia with Lefebvre’s conceptualization of heterotopy and wider formulations of utopia. Drawing on Foucault’s study of the (...) spaces of literature of Borges, and particularly Blanchot, the article argues that heterotopia refers to varied spatial and temporal disruptions that imaginatively interrogate and undermine certain formulations of utopia. It concludes by outlining how heterotopia contests the space in which we live. (shrink)
Frames of Deceit is a philosophical investigation of the nature of trust in public and private life. It examines how trust originates, how it is challenged, and how it is recovered when moral and political imperfections collide. In politics, rulers may be called upon to act badly for the sake of a political good, and in private life intimate attachments are formed in which the costs of betrayal are high. This book asks how trust is tested by human goods, moral (...) character and power relations. It explores whether an individual's experience of betrayal differs totally from that of a community when it loses and then seeks to recover a vital public trust. Although this is a work of political philosophy it is distinctive in examining three literary texts - Sophocles' Philoctetes, Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, and Zola's Thérése Raquin - in order to deepen our understanding of the place of trust in morality and politics. (shrink)
The aim of this book is to provide a realist account of the constants in physics as an alternative to the prevailing conventionalist perspective of many philosophers. To do so the author first focuses on the discussion of the most primitive categories of physical constants which underlie modern science. Subsequently, the conventionalist case is examined in depth and, while held to be coherent, is shown to provide an incomplete account of how constants and related concepts of dimensions function in science. (...) Having repudiated the conventionalist challenge, the positive case for a realist account is then considered and is found to be comfortably accommodated by modest realist accounts such as the natural ontological attitude (NOA). (shrink)
In The Philosophy of Manners Peter Johnson makes a compelling case for manners as a subject for investigation by modern moral philosophy. He examines manners as 'little virtues', explaining their distinctive conceptual characteristics and charting their intricate detail and relationships with each other. In demonstrating why manners are important to our mutual expectations, Johnson reveals a terrain which modern moral philosophy has left largely unmapped. Through a critical examination of the ethics of John Rawls and Alasdair MacIntyre, Johnson shows how (...) the nature of manners constitutes a philosophical problem both for liberalism and its critics. Taking the recent revival of virtue ethics as its broad starting point, The Philosophy of Manners discusses the 'little virtues' as they are treated in the Aristotelian and Kantian traditions of writing on ethics. Original features of the book include discussions of nameless virtues, the logical intricacy of the 'little virtues' which compose manners, and the nature of their orchestration by the more substantial virtues and moral concerns. The aim throughout is to give manners a philosophically defensible place in the moral life - a place which neither inflates nor understates their importance. --an examination of why manners are essential to moral literacy and an ethical society --the first work of its kind - no other ethical investigation concentrates on manners --relevant to the recent revival of interest in virtue ethics and any course in contemporary ethics --will provoke argument and disagreement. (shrink)
With some justification, Michel Serres claimed that he was one of the first to make ecology a central question for philosophy. Many of his books explore the ecological emergency and spell out the need to include the more-than-human in any ethical and political response. Yet Serres’ thought has been generally neglected in scholarly debate outside France. To highlight the importance of Serres’ philosophy, I contrast aspects of his work with Latour’s sustained search for a political ecology. I contend that Serres’ (...) thought overlaps with but also challenges Latour’s approach that has increasingly turned for inspiration to the theory of Gaia proposed by Lovelock and Margulis. I argue that drawing from science, history, fables, the humanities and his own experience, Serres brings together a narrative of the commonality of all living and non-living things that exposes a contractable obligation and formulates the grounding for a new politics. (shrink)
The central theme of this book is the relationship between the reflections about and the realization of a musical composition. In his essay "Words about Music, or Analysis versus Performance," Nicholas Cook states that words and music can never be aligned exactly with one another. He embarks on a quest for models of the relationship between analytical conception and performance that are more challenging than those in general currency. Peter Johnson's essay, "Performance and the Listening Experience: Bach's 'Erbarme dich'" shows (...) that a performance is an element within the intentionality of the work itself. He looks for scientific methods capable of proving the artisticity of a performance. And the composer Hans Zender, in his "A Road Map for Orpheus?," states that a composer must be capable of questioning obvious basic principles (such as equal temperament) and finding creative solutions. (shrink)
As one of the few philosophers to subject civilisation and barbarism to close analysis, Collingwood was acutely aware of the interrelationship between philosophy and history. This book combines historical, biographical and philosophical discussion in order to illuminate Collingwood's thinking and create the first in-depth analysis of Collingwood's responses to the Second World War.
The authors present an approach to conceptualising and predicting environmental conflicts in which conflicts are analysed as a continuum of disagreement over values and options. They also operationalise this approach using an online values-centred survey tool, the ‘public-to-public decision support system’ (P2P-DSS). The authors put values and conflict in environmental management into perspective. Next, they review how values are defined in scholarship and operationalised for decision support. The relevance of values research to conflict management is presented. With reference to a (...) real-world aggregate-mining conflict, the authors demonstrate how P2P-DSS can be used to collect data and categorise conflicts to enhance environmental management decision-making. The authors argue that P2P-DSS has potential to support values-sensitive thinking for environmental conflict management. They then set out research priorities to investigate the theoretical and practical implications of this approach. This work contributes to advancing values research in environmental conflict management and expanding values-based decision-making. (shrink)
ABSTRACTCollingwood's The New Leviathan is a difficult text. It comprises philosophy, political theory, political opinion and history in what is sometimes an uneasy amalgam. Despite its being the culmination of thirty years of work in ethics and political theory, the final text was clearly affected by the adverse circumstances under which it was written, these largely being Collingwood's illness which increasingly affected his ability to work as the writing of The New Leviathan progressed. This paper seeks to disentangle the composition (...) of the book thereby shedding light on its distinctive character as the last substantial piece of philosophical work published in Collingwood's lifetime. (shrink)
This article examines the arguments used by Robert Watts, a contemporary of John Stuart Mill, in his criticism of Mill's Utilitarianism. The pamphlet in which Watts expresses his views is a scarce and neglected work. Pioneering studies by J.C. Rees and J.B. Schneewind emphasize the importance of Mill's early critics for historians of nineteenth-century ethics and politial thought. Rees, however, confines his study to the responses to Mill's On Liberty. Schneewind's work is more comprehensive and does mention Watts, but without (...) examining in detail the actual arguments that Watts uses. Further, while Watts criticizes Mill's ethical views from a theological standpoint the arguments he uses are philosophical in character. Watts should not be thought of as a major philosophical critic of Mill, but his relative neglect leaves a gap in the study of the reception of Mill's thought which this article is intended to fill. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine Oakeshott's account of civility by drawing on the porcupine metaphor that Oakeshott borrows from Schopenhauer. I explain why Oakeshott thinks that civility is best understood as a moral practice, one which has a special significance for politics. I outline the conceptual differences between civility understood as a small virtue and as an attribute of the civil condition. Three major difficulties in Oakeshott's treatment are raised. The first concerns his view that 'civil' is an adverbial qualifier; (...) the second concerns the relation between civility in its moral and its political senses, and the third is about the relation between civility and justice. While recognizing what is distinctive about Oakeshott's account, I indicate reservations about his discussion through a series of comparisons with Schopenhauer, and I conclude that, on their own terms, neither philosopher is able to solve the problem the porcupines set for them. (shrink)
The argument of this article is that the Albert Memorial acted as a catalyst for some of Collingwood's most well known ideas in the philosophy of history and aesthetics. It was not, however, the exclusive source of those ideas, and indeed they had philosophical expression elsewhere. One may view his contemplations, then, as work in progress. For example, the logic of question and answer promoted by the Memorial was also prompted by Collingwood's reading of Bacon and Descartes. This was a (...) reflection of his determination to depart from the realism of his philosophical teachers. Similarly, the Memorial directs Collingwood's thought forward. The Memorial acts as a facilitator of his thought on history, which in the course of its formulation undergoes many transformations. The logic of question and answer also finds a place in Collingwood's early thinking about art, but even here it is in the process of constant transition. Collingwood's reaction to the Memorial helps us to conclude that there is nothing ironic about the fact that Collingwood loathed the structure that was also the instigator of one of his most influential philosophical doctrines. (shrink)
Books reviewed: Cressida J. Heyes (ed.), The Grammar of Politics, Wittgenstein and Political Philosophy, Cornell University Press, 2003, xii + 259, no price. Reviewed by Peter Johnson, University of Southampton Department of Philosophy University of Southampton Highfield Southampton UK.
Frames of Deceit is a philosophical investigation of the nature of trust in public and private life. It examines how trust originates, how it is challenged, and how it is recovered when moral and political imperfections collide. In politics, rulers may be called upon to act badly for the sake of a political good, and in private life intimate attachments are formed in which the costs of betrayal are high. This book asks how trust is tested by human goods, moral (...) character, and power relations. It explores whether an individual's experience of betrayal differs totally from that of a community when it loses and then seeks to recover a vital public trust. Although this is a work of political philosophy it is distinctive in examining three literary texts--Sophocles' Philoctetes, Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, and Zola's The;rèse Raquin--in order to deepen our understanding of the place of trust in morality and politics. (shrink)
Why should modern philosophers read the works of R. G. Collingwood? His ideas are often thought difficult to locate in the main lines of development taken by twentieth-century philosophy. Some have read Collingwood as anticipating the later Wittgenstein, others have concentrated exclusively on the internal coherence of his thought. This work aims to introduce Collingwood to contemporary students of philosophy through direct engagement with his arguments. It is a conversation with Collingwood that takes as its subject matter the topics that (...) interested him 'philosophy and method, philosophy of mind, language and logic, the historical imagination, art and expression, action, metaphysics and life' and which still preoccupy us today. --the first introductory book on this major modern philosopher --includes critical investigation of his thought --there is no similar work available. (shrink)