This paper explores, analyzes, and investigates how the political ideologies of American citizens and their elected representatives interact with views put forth by corporate media to help shape various ideologies about environmental issues in contemporary America. I specifically enter into this area of exploration by focusing on one variable, the variable of religion. Therefore, in this paper I seek to help elucidate broad patterns and understandings of environmental issues in America as they have developed since the beginning of the modern (...) environmental movement, focusing especially on the role religion has and is playing in this process. The paper is driven by identifying two major groups in American society, Liberal/nurturant parent, and Conservative/strict father, and how the core values of each group influence their ideological approaches to religion, environmentalism, and politics. The investigation is undertaken in the larger context of worsening climate change, suggesting that the interplay of religious, political, and environmentalist ideology of the past few decades presages further ideological shifts in the coming decades about our changing biosphere. (shrink)
In their effort to emphasize the positive role of nature in our lives, environmental thinkers have tended to downplay or even to ignore the negative aspects of our experience with nature and, even when acknowledging them, have had little to offer by way of psychologically and spiritually productive ways of dealing with them. The idea that the experience of value begins with the experience of existential shame—arising from awareness of the limitations that define the self—needs to be explored. The primary (...) purpose of the “technologies of the imagination”—myth, symbol, ritual and the arts—is to provide a passage through this shame to the experience of values such as community, meaning, beauty, and the sacred and, through these experiences, to inscribe them into conscience. The implications of this idea for environmental thinking and practice can be explored in two areas involving strong engagement with nature: ecological restoration and the production and eating of food. An environmentalism that fails to provide productive ways of dealing with existential shame may well prove inadequate to the task of providing means for achieving a healthy, sustainable relationship between humans and the rest of nature. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel, Beloved, and F. W. J. Schelling’s 1813 draft of Ages of the World. It shows that Die Weltalter, contrary to much recent scholarship, which often stresses the many ways Schelling anticipated the antimetaphysical trends of post-Hegelian thought, should be first approached as a genuine attempt tobe faithful to the event of first creation and time’s “indivisible remainders”. The paper will show that Schelling’s “indivisible remainders”, the forgotten and “disremembered” of history, (...) force his thought to the limits of Romantic and idealist reflection and toward the traumatic encounters of Beloved. Morrison’s depiction of the irrepressible longing for life and recognition amid the pain and ugliness of American slavery parallels Schelling’s efforts to understand the tremendous need for life and fellowship that first urged god toward creation, when primordial longing was overcome in a child and a god entered time. (shrink)
This article seeks to provide a fuller account of the philosophy of religion of the Marburg Neo-Kantian, Paul Natorp, than has hitherto been available. It does so by describing important changes in Natorp’s thinking about religion between the publication of his early book, Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der Humanität, and later writings in which he espouses a version of logos-mysticism strikingly at odds with the concept of a “religion of reason” put forward by his long-time Marburg colleague, Hermann Cohen. These (...) differences are analyzed in relation to these two thinkers’ divergent views on philosophical systematics, and their respective experiences of the First World War. (shrink)
I answer Alvin Plantinga's challenge to provide a ‘proper’ de jure objection to religious belief. What I call the ‘sophisticates’ evidential objection' concludes that sophisticated Christians lack epistemic justification for believing central Christian propositions. The SEO utilizes a theory of epistemic justification in the spirit of the evidentialism of Richard Feldman and Earl Conee. I defend philosophical interest in the SEO against objections from Reformed epistemology, by addressing Plantinga's criteria for a proper de jure objection, his anti-evidentialist arguments, and the (...) relevance of ‘impulsional evidence’. I argue that no result from Plantinga-style Reformed epistemology precludes the reasons I offer in favour of giving the SEO its due philosophical attention. (shrink)
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1799 edition. Excerpt:... chapter viii. discipline' of the heart. One of the first steps to be taken, if you would have a character that will stand by you in prosperity and in adversity, in life and death, is to fortify your mind, with fixed principles. There is no period of life in (...) which the heart is so much inclined to scepticism and infidelity as in youth. Not that young men are infidels, but the mind is tossed from doubt to doubt, like a light boat leaping from wave to wave. There is no positive settling down into deism or infidelity, but the heart is full of doubting, so that the mind has no position, in morals or religion, fortified. If the restraints of education are so far thrown off as to allow you to indulge in sin, Which is in any way disgraceful if known, you will then easily become an infidel. "The nurse of infidelity is sensuality. The young are sensual. The Bible stands in their way. It prohibits the indulgence of ' the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.' But the young mind loves these things, and therefore it hates the Bible, which prohibits them. It is prepared to say, ' If any man will bring me arguments against the Bible, I will thank him; if not, I will invent them.' As to infidel arguments, there is no weight in them. They are jejune and refuted. Infidela are not themselves convinced by them. What sort of men are infidels? They are loose, fierce, overbearing men. There is nothing in them like sober and serious inquiry. They are the wildest fanatics on earth. Nor have they agreed among themselves on any scheme of truth and felicity. Look at the needs and necessities of man. 'Every pang of grief tells a man he needs a helper; but infidelity provides none. And what can its schemes do for you in death?' Examine your... (shrink)
Conceptual engineers have recently turned to the notion of conceptual functions to do a variety of explanatory work. Functions are supposed to explain what speakers are debating about in metalinguistic negotiations, to capture when two concepts are about the same thing, and to help guide our normative inquiries into which concepts we should use. In this paper, I argue that this recent “functional turn” should be deflated. Contra most interpreters, we should not try to use a substantive notion of conceptual (...) functions to handle various problems for conceptual engineering. The primary accounts of function appealed to by conceptual engineers, namely etiological and system functions, are not suited to handle many of the problems functions are supposed to handle, and it’s dubious whether any other account of function would do better. Instead of trying to use substantive functions to solve theoretical problems, we should deflate those problems themselves by focusing only on what matters to us, as speakers or theorists, in a given inquiry. (shrink)
Around the world and throughout history, in cultures as diverse as ancient Mesopotamia and modern America, human beings have been compelled by belief in gods and developed complex religions around them. But why? What makes belief in supernatural beings so widespread? And why are the gods of so many different people so similar in nature? This provocative book explains the origins and persistence of religious ideas by looking through the lens of science at the common structures and functions of human (...) thought. The first general introduction to the "cognitive science of religion," Minds and Gods presents the major themes, theories, and thinkers involved in this revolutionary new approach to human religiosity. Arguing that we cannot understand what we think until we first understand how we think, the book sets out to study the evolutionary forces that modeled the modern human mind and continue to shape our ideas and actions today. Todd Tremlin details many of the adapted features of the brain -- illustrating their operation with examples of everyday human behavior -- and shows how mental endowments inherited from our ancestral past lead many people to naturally entertain religious ideas. In short, belief in gods and the social formation of religion have their genesis in biology, in powerful cognitive processes that all humans share. In the course of illuminating the nature of religion, this book also sheds light on human nature: why we think we do the things we do and how the reasons for these things are so often hidden from view. This discussion ranges broadly across recent scientific findings in areas such as paleoanthropology, primate studies, evolutionary psychology, early brain development, and cultural transmission. While these subjects are complex, the story is told here in a conversational style that is engaging, jargon free, and accessible to all readers. With Minds and Gods, Tremlin offers a roadmap to a fascinating and growing field of study, one that is sure to generate interest and debate and provide readers with a better understanding of themselves and their beliefs. (shrink)
Conceptual engineers sometimes say they want to change what our words mean. If a certain kind of externalism is true, it might be nearly impossible to do that. For some of the external factors that determine meaning, like metaphysical naturalness or past usage, are not within our power to change. And if we can’t change what determines meaning, then we can’t change meaning. I argue that, if this sort of externalism is true, then conceptual engineers didn’t want to change what (...) our words mean anyway. And if they did, they could always engineer externalism out of the language, or engineer a new sense of ‘meaning’ which could be changed. So the truth of externalism does not pose a threat to the possibility of conceptual engineering. (shrink)
"The tragedy of the left is that, having achieved an unprecedented victory in helping stop an appalling war, it then proceeded to commit suicide." So writes Todd Gitlin about the aftermath of the Vietnam War in this collection of writings that calls upon intellectuals on the left to once again engage American public life and resist the trappings of knee-jerk negativism, intellectual fads, and political orthodoxy. Gitlin argues for a renewed sense of patriotism based on the ideals of sacrifice, (...) tough-minded criticism, and a willingness to look anew at the global role of the United States in the aftermath of 9/11. Merely criticizing and resisting the Bush administration will not do--the left must also imagine and propose an America reformed. Where then can the left turn? Gitlin celebrates the work of three prominent postwar intellectuals: David Riesman, C. Wright Mills, and Irving Howe. Their ambitious, assertive, and clearly written works serve as models for an intellectual engagement that forcefully addresses social issues and remains affirmative and comprehensive. Sharing many of the qualities of these thinkers' works, Todd Gitlin's blunt, frank analysis of the current state of the left and his willingness to challenge orthodoxies pave the way for a revival in leftist thought and a new liberal patriotism. (shrink)
Putting feelings into words, or “affect labeling,” can attenuate our emotional experiences. However, unlike explicit emotion regulation techniques, affect labeling may not even feel like a regulatory process as it occurs. Nevertheless, research investigating affect labeling has found it produces a pattern of effects like those seen during explicit emotion regulation, suggesting affect labeling is a form of implicit emotion regulation. In this review, we will outline research on affect labeling, comparing it to reappraisal, a form of explicit emotion regulation, (...) along four major domains of effects—experiential, autonomic, neural, and behavioral—that establish it as a form of implicit emotion regulation. This review will then speculate on possible mechanisms driving affect labeling effects and other remaining unanswered questions. (shrink)
What is the source of logical and mathematical truth? This book revitalizes conventionalism as an answer to this question. Conventionalism takes logical and mathematical truth to have their source in linguistic conventions. This was an extremely popular view in the early 20th century, but it was never worked out in detail and is now almost universally rejected in mainstream philosophical circles. Shadows of Syntax is the first book-length treatment and defense of a combined conventionalist theory of logic and mathematics. It (...) argues that our conventions, in the form of syntactic rules of language use, are perfectly suited to explain the truth, necessity, and a priority of logical and mathematical claims, as well as our logical and mathematical knowledge. (shrink)
Søren Kierkegaard is well-known as an original philosophical thinker, but less known is his reliance upon and development of the Christian tradition of the Seven Deadly Sins, in particular the vice of acedia, or sloth. As acedia has enjoyed renewed interest in the past century or so, commentators have attempted to pin down one or another Kierkegaardian concept (e.g., despair, heavy-mindedness, boredom, etc.) as the embodiment of the vice, but these attempts have yet to achieve any consensus. In our estimation, (...) the complicated reality is that, in using slightly different but related concepts, Kierkegaard is providing a unique look at acedia as it manifests differently at different stages on life’s way. Thus, on this “perspectival account”, acedia will manifest differently according to whether an individual inhabits the aesthetic, ethical, or religious sphere. We propose two axes for this perspectival account. Such descriptions of how acedia manifests make up the first, phenomenal axis, while the second, evaluative axis, accounts for the various bits of advice and wisdom we read in the diagnoses of acedia from one Kierkegaardian pseudonym to another. Our aim is to show that Kierkegaard was not only familiar with the concept of acedia, but his contributions helped to develop and extend the tradition. (shrink)
Network Democracy uses the contemporary tools of ecology and network thinking to unearth the ancient, intellectual ruins of traditional conservative thought. Questioning the West’s veneration of freedom, equality, contractual citizenship, economic progress, cosmopolitanism, secular institutionalism, and reason, Jared Giesbrecht illuminates how these ideals fuel violence and insecurity in our high-speed lives. While the modern age witnesses the rise of a violent conservatism in the form of revolutionary movements enacting terror and vengeance for the interventions of the liberal West, this (...) study reveals a different kind of conservatism - one that has emerged in direct conversation with liberal thought. Giesbrecht highlights the need for intermediate institutions and civil enterprises that form relations and traditions independent of the state in order to develop resistance to the insecurity of the liberal age. This book offers not only a poignant critique, but a constructive and peaceable alternative to the violence of both liberalism and reactionary anti-liberalism. Attuned to the new realities of globalization, advanced technology, and social acceleration, Network Democracy is a masterful hybrid of ancient and cutting-edge political philosophy that casts a new light on the values underlying western civilization. (shrink)
Friedrich Nietzsche thought that philosophers were deeply mistaken about the nature and sources of philosophical activity. Where others took themselves to be motivated by a desire to know the truth, Nietzsche charged that his fellow philosophers, motivated by a pathological set of psychological and physiological characteristics, did little more than sublimate and rationalize their own prejudices. In this thesis, I sketch out in further detail and defend the plausibility and significance of this Nietzschean diagnosis of philosophers. I argue that since (...) Nietzsche’s view of philosophers both offers a compelling explanation of some phenomena in contemporary philosophical practice and, were it true, would have significant upshot for how and even whether philosophy should be practiced, we philosophers ought to begin taking it seriously. (shrink)
Inferences are familiar movements of thought, but despite important recent work on the topic, we do not yet have a fully satisfying theory of inference. Here I provide a functionalist theory of inference. I argue that the functionalist framework allows us the flexibility to meet various demands on a theory of inference that have been proposed (such as that it must explain inferential Moorean phenomena and epistemological ‘taking’). While also allowing us to compare, contrast, adapt, and combine features of extant (...) theories of inference into one unified theory. In fleshing out the inference role, I also criticize the common assumption that inference requires rule-following. (shrink)
“Violence” and “nonviolence” are, increasingly, misleading translations for the Sanskrit words hiṃsā and ahiṃsā—used by Gandhi as the basis for his philosophy of satyāgraha. I argue for rereading hiṃsā as “maleficence” and ahiṃsā as “beneficence.” These two more mind-referring English words capture the primacy of intention implied by Gandhi’s core principles. Reflecting a political turn in moral accountability detectable through linguistic data, both the scope and the usage of the word “violence” have expanded dramatically, making it harder to convincingly characterize (...) people and actions as “nonviolent.” New terminology could clarify the distinction between hiṃsā and ahiṃsā, and, thereby, prevent misunderstandings of Gandhi. Training in beneficence would reflect Gandhi’s psychological path to reducing avoidable harm: ego-detachment, universal love, and seeking truth by experiment. -/- NOTE: An extended, unpublished version, with additional arguments and evidence, is also available on PhilPapers as "The Primacy of Intention and the Duty to Truth: A Gandhi-Inspired Argument for Retranslating Hiṃsā and Ahiṃsā, with Connections to History, Ethics, and Civil Resistance". (shrink)
In the present commentary, I argue that Foster has attacked an uncharitable reconstruction of Etchemendy's argument against Tarski's account of the logical properties. I provide an alternative, more charitable reconstruction of that argument that withstands Foster's objections.
Here I defend dispositionalism about meaning and rule-following from Kripkenstein's infamous anti-dispositionalist arguments. The problems of finitude, error, and normativity are all addressed. The general lesson I draw is that Kripkenstein's arguments trade on an overly simplistic version of dispositionalism.
Although the global community has achieved some success in endeavors such as eradicating smallpox, efforts to coordinate nations' actions in others--such as the reduction of drug trafficking--have not been sufficient. Identifying the factors that promote, or inhibit, successful collective action for an ever-growing set of challenges associated with globalization, Todd Sandler applies them to promoting global health, providing foreign assistance, controlling rogue nations, limiting transnational terrorism, and intervening in civil wars.
Unrestricted inferentialism holds both that any collection of inference rules can determine a meaning for an expression and meaning constituting rules are automatically valid. Prior's infamous tonk connective refuted unrestricted inferentialism, or so it is universally thought. This paper argues against this consensus. I start by formulating the metasemantic theses of inferentialism with more care than they have hitherto received; I then consider a tonk language — Tonklish — and argue that the unrestricted inferentialist's treatment of this language is only (...) problematic if it is mistakenly assumed that Tonklish can be homophonically translated into English. Next, I discuss the proper, non-homophonic, translation of Tonklish into English, rebut various objections, and consider several variants of Tonklish. The paper closes by highlighting the philosophical advantages that unrestricted inferentialism has over its competitors once the terrors of tonk have been tamed. (shrink)
In his magnum opus, the _Historical and Critical Dictionary_, Pierre Bayle offered a series of brilliant criticisms of the major philosophical and theological systems of the 17 th Century. Although officially skeptical concerning the attempt to provide a definitive account of the truths of metaphysics, there is reason to see Bayle as a reluctant skeptic. In particular, Todd Ryan contends that Bayle harbored deep sympathy for the attempt by Descartes and his most innovative successor, Nicolas Malebranche, to establish a (...) metaphysical system that would provide a foundation for the new mechanistic natural philosophy while helping to secure the fundamental tenets of rational theology. Through a careful analysis of Bayle’s critical engagement with such philosophers as Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke and Newton, it is argued that, despite his reputation as a skeptic, Bayle was not without philosophical commitments of his own. Drawing on the full range of Bayle’s writings, from his early philosophical lectures to his final controversial writings, Ryan offers detailed studies of Bayle’s treatment of such pivotal issues as mind-body dualism, causation and God’s relation to the world. (shrink)
This paper formulates a general epistemological argument against what I call non-causal realism, generalizing domain specific arguments by Benacerraf, Field, and others. First I lay out the background to the argument, making a number of distinctions that are sometimes missed in discussions of epistemological arguments against realism. Then I define the target of the argument—non-causal realism—and argue that any non-causal realist theory, no matter the subject matter, cannot be given a reasonable epistemology and so should be rejected. Finally I discuss (...) and respond to several possible responses to the argument. In addition to clearing up and avoiding numerous misunderstandings of arguments of this kind that are quite common in the literature, this paper aims to present and endorse a rigorous and fully general epistemological argument against realism. (shrink)
Distinguishing “business” concerns from “ethical” values is not only an unfruitful and meaningless task, it is also an impossible endeavor. Nevertheless, fruitless attempts to separate facts from values produce detrimental second-order effects, both for theory and practice, and should therefore be abandoned. We highlight examples of exemplary research that integrate economic and moral considerations, and point the way to a business ethics discipline that breaks new groundby putting ideas and narratives about business together with ideas and narratives about ethics.
This paper investigates the determinacy of mathematics. We begin by clarifying how we are understanding the notion of determinacy before turning to the questions of whether and how famous independence results bear on issues of determinacy in mathematics. From there, we pose a metasemantic challenge for those who believe that mathematical language is determinate, motivate two important constraints on attempts to meet our challenge, and then use these constraints to develop an argument against determinacy and discuss a particularly popular approach (...) to resolving indeterminacy, before offering some brief closing reflections. We believe our discussion poses a serious challenge for most philosophical theories of mathematics, since it puts considerable pressure on all views that accept a non-trivial amount of determinacy for even basic arithmetic. (shrink)