The article argues that religious fundamentalism, understood, roughly, as the view that people must obey God's commands unconditionally, is conceptually incoherent because such religious fundamentalists inevitably must substitute human judgement for God's judgement. The article argues, first, that fundamentalism, founded upon the normal sort of indirect communications from God, is indefensible. Second, the article considers the crucial case in which God is said to communicate directly to human beings, and argues that the fundamentalist interpretation of such communications is also incoherent, (...) and, on this basis, argues that religious fundamentalism is actually an extreme form of irreligiousness. Finally, the article considers Kierkegaard's prima facie defence of unconditional religious faith, and argues that, despite some similarity with the fundamentalists, Kierkegaard's appreciation of human finitude leads him to a profoundly anti-fundamentalist stance. (shrink)
Wittgenstein’s remark to Drury that he looks at philosophical problems from a religious point of view has greatly puzzled commentators. The paper argues that the readings given by commentators Malcolm, Winch and Lebron are illuminating, but inadequate. Second, using Wittgenstein’s “use-conception of meaning” as an example, the paper proposes a more adequate reading that emphasizes Wittgenstein’s view that “nothing is hidden”. In this connection, the paper examines Fodor’s critique of Wittgenstein’s “use-conception” and shows how Fodor only refutes a “misuse-conception meaning” (...) because he presupposes a kind of linguistic meaning, the kind that Wittgenstein emphasizes, that is “already before his eyes”. Wittgenstein’s view that the truth is already before one’s eyes is further explained by employing an ethical analogy with Raskolnikov’s enlightenment in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Finally, the paper addresses the difficult question whether Wittgenstein is, despite his own denials, “a religious man”, and argues that there is a non-trivial religious dimension in Wittgenstein’s life but that there are several important senses in which Wittgenstein is correct that he is not a religious person. (shrink)
The Argument of the "Tractatus" presents a single unified interpretation of the Tractatus based on Wittgenstein's own view that the philosophy of logic is the real foundation of his philosophical system.
Most scholars understand para. 608 of Zettel to suggest that language and thought might arise from chaos at the neural centre. However, this contradicts Wittgenstein’s signature view that the philosopher must not advance theories. The paper proposes an alternative model of Z608 based on the Austrian Gestalt-movement that influenced Wittgenstein. Z608 does not suggest that language and thought might arise from chaos in the brain but that they may arise in a different non-causal sense from the “chaos” of activities in (...) forms of human life on analogy with the way a Gestalt-image “arises” from a “chaos” of perceptions. The concepts of chaos and the centre in Z608 are not neurophysiological concepts but refer to aspects of forms of human life. The Gestalt-interpretation also clarifies why Wittgenstein’s later philosophy is quite different from “ordinary language philosophy.” Finally, the Gestalt-interpretation clarifies why Wittgenstein is not, as is often believed, making an attack on legitimate empirical psychological investigations. (shrink)
Heidegger claims that it is the ultimate job of philosophy to preserve the force of the “elemental words” in which human beings express themselves. Many of these elemental words are found in the various cosmogonies that have informed cultural ideologies around the world. Two of these “elemental words,” which shape the ideologies are the animal-model of the cosmos in Plato’s Timaeus and the mechanical models developed in the 17th-18th centuries in Europe. The paper argues that Daoism employs a third, and (...) neglected, plant-model of cosmogony and of human life that provides an illuminating contrast to the other more well-known models. First, Plato’s animal-model of the cosmos and, second, the alternative Daoist plant-model of the cosmos are discussed. Third, the paper replies to the objection that the organic model in general and the plant-model in particular cannot accommodate human freedom. Fourth, it is shown how the Daoist plant-model supports a novel account of the central Daoist notion of wu-wei. Fifth, the paper rebuts the objection that the Daoist plant-model of the cosmos and human life is fatally nihilistic. Sixth, the paper argues that the Daoist account of the origin of human religion, art and historical feeling cannot be properly understood apart from its plant-model of the cosmos and human life. (shrink)
No supposition seems to me more natural than that there is no process in the brain correlated with associating or with thinking; so that it would be impossible to read off thought processes from brain processes. I mean this: if I talk or write, there is, I assume, a system of impulses going out from my brain and correlated with my spoken or written thoughts. But why should the system continue further in the direction of the center? Why should this (...) order not proceed, so to speak, out of chaos? The case would be like the following—certain kinds of plants multiply by seed, so that a seed always produces a plant of the same kind as that from which it was produced—but nothing in the seed corresponds to the plant which.. (shrink)
It is worth noting that Wittgenstein provides an argument against analyticity that Quine allows. For Wittgenstein holds that even explicit conventions cannot determine "how one is to go on". I do not mean that Wittgenstein objects to analyticity. But this means he accounts for it in precisely the sorts of ways that Quine mentions but fails to pursue.
The paper argues that Wittgenstein's "doctrine of silence", the view that one cannot "say" philosophical propositions (and certain other things), does not, as usually believed, mean that one cannot, in the ordinary sense, engage in philosophical discourse about these things. The paper argues that in a certain sense on can "say" these things (as Wittgenstein himself does in the Tractatus). As a consequence, Wittgenstein is not, as some believe, committed to the inconsistent attempt to say what cannot be said.
The charge of hypocrisy has been made in connection with several recent events—namely, the pair of "sex scandals" involving, respectively, Rep. Mark Foley and Sen. Larry Craig, the former, a Republican member of the House from Florida and the latter a Republican senator from Idaho. Foley was accused of sending sexually suggestive messages to teenage boys who had been or who were at the time congressional pages, and Craig was arrested for lewd conduct in a men's bathroom and pleaded guilty (...) to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct. Both Foley and Craig faced immediate calls for resignation by their critics on the other side of the aisle. Both were also criticized by members of their own party. For simplicity, the Democratic critics of Foley and Craig are called "progressives" while their Republican critics are called "conservatives." There are, however, significant logical differences between the criticisms of Foley and Craig by progressives and the similar criticisms of them by conservatives. Since conservatives are generally more critical of sexual indiscretion, their criticisms of Foley and Craig are generally consistent with their own values. Since, however, progressives are generally more tolerant of sexual indiscretions, their criticisms of these men are often inconsistent. Specifically, some progressives find Foley and Craig blameworthy for hypocrisy over acts which, had they been committed by progressives, they would not see as blameworthy. This is why progressives shift the criticism to a different level—namely, that these men are hypocritical. Since Foley and Craig had been champions of "family values," progressives cannot consistently criticize them for their sexual indiscretions. The criticism has to be that, since these men had violated their own conservative standards of morality, they are hypocritical. (shrink)
A central aim of the contemporary reductive scientistic project is the task, inherited from the French Enlightenment, of producing a machine model of man. Cognitive science is the attempt at that most difficult part of this project, namely, to do for mind what Newton had already allegedly done for corporeal nature. Kant has recently been claimed as a precursor of this French project. The most detailed picture of a cognitive-scientistic Kant is defended by Kitcher. Contra Strawson, she claims that in (...) his transcendental psychology Kant is “offering hypotheses about the mechanisms that carry out [cognitive] tasks.”. (shrink)
The paper argues that a philosopher who describes his main works as "critiques" of reason cannot be the simple defender of rational science that he is sometimes taken to be. Rather, as Heidegger argues, Kant's program is much deeper and more problematic.
Richard M. Gale Richard Gale was an American philosopher known for defending the A-theory of time against the B-theory. The A-theory implies, for example, that tensed predicates are not reducible to tenseless predicates. Gale also argued against the claim that negative truths are reducible to positive ones. He created a new modal version of … Continue reading Gale, Richard M. →.
The present paper argues that Burnyeat's view is fundamentally correct, but approaches the issues from a somewhat different angle. The claim that forAristotle the form and the matter are non-contingently related is an allusion to Aristotle's difficult doctrine of the unity of substances. The functionalist interpretation underestimates Aristotle's doctrine of the unity of substance. Irwin thinks that Aristotle's view is a version of functionalism but acknowledges that his claims go beyond what is normally associated with functionalism. But Irwin too fails (...) to take sufficient account of his own acknowledgement of the importance of the unity of substance doctrine. The proper appraisal of the functionalist interpretation cannot, therefore, avoid the "abyss" of the Metaphysics. (shrink)
Many influential philosophers have argued that in pgh. 608 of Zettel (hereafter Z608) Wittgenstein appears to say that language and thought might emerge out of physical chaos at the neural “centre”. By contrast, the present paper argues that these scholars are, in a fashion that would be readily understandable by Thomas Kuhn, assuming the very Anglo-American paradigm that Wittgenstein is actually critiquing in Z608 when they interpret his remarks. In opposition to this, the paper argues that Wittgenstein’s notion of emergence, (...) chaos and the center in Z608 (and elsewhere in his works) is better understood in terms of the universal cross-cultural archetypes, emphasized by Carl Jung and Mircea Eliade of emergence, chaos and the center found in numerous religious and cosmological traditions around the world. The paper also points out that Wittgenstein also uses many other cross-cultural symbols also emphasized by Jung and Eliade, including the Shadow (which, in Jung, represents the opposite of the ego), the Trickster (or Devil), the mandala, the labyrinth, the microcosm, the crystal, the abyss, darkness, circular movement and creation (genesis), in order to illustrate his view. Perhaps the most fascinating of these concerns the archetypal cosmological symbolism in Wittgenstein’s self-reported but largely ignored“ alchemical” dream, including the Indian mandala symbolism in that dream. The paper concludes that Wittgenstein that is not restricted by Anglo-American “analytical” philosophy or the associated “scientistic” paradigms but is informed by a way of looking at things implicit in a fundamental archetypal symbolism found in very different cosmologies, religion and cultures all around the globe. (shrink)
The paper gives a spirited defence of freedom of speech as the best means for attaining truth in a society and argues that the remedy for bad or false speech is not to curtail free speech but more free speech.