In this paper I propose to examine the cognitive status of mystical experience. There are, I think, three distinct but overlapping sorts of religious experience. In the first place, there are two kinds of mystical experience. The extrovertive or nature mystic identifies himself with a world which is both transfigured and one. The introvertive mystic withdraws from the world and, after stripping the mind of concepts and images, experiences union with something which can be described as an undifferentiated unity. Introvertive (...) mysticism is a more important phenomenon than extrovertive mysticism. Numinous experiences are complex experiences involving dread, awe, wonder, and fascination. One finds oneself confronted with something which is radically unlike ordinary objects. Before its overwhelming majesty and power, one is nothing but dust and ashes. In contrasting oneself with its uncanny beauty and goodness, one experiences one's own uncleanness and ugliness. The experiences bound up with the devotional life of the ordinary believer are also religious in character. Nevertheless these more ordinary experiences should, I think, be distinguished both from numinous experiences and from mystical experiences, for they do not appear to involve the sense of immediate presence which characterises the latter. (shrink)
"This book, one of the most frequently cited works on Martin Heidegger in any language, belongs on any short list of classic studies of Continental philosophy. William J. Richardson explores the famous turn in Heidegger's thought after Being in Time and demonstrates how this transformation was radical without amounting to a simple contradiction of his earlier views." "In a full account of the evolution of Heidegger's work as a whole, Richardson provides a detailed, systematic, and illuminating account of both (...) divergences and fundamental continuities in Heidegger's philosophy, especially in light of recently published works. He demonstrates that the "thinking" of Being for the later Heidegger has exactly the same configuration as the radical phenomenology of the early Heidegger, once he has passed through the "turning" of his way." Including as a preface the letter that Heidegger wrote to Richardson and a new writer's preface and epilogue, the new edition of this valuable guide will be an essential resource for students and scholars for many years to come. (shrink)
Between the opposing claims of reason and religious subjectivity may be a middle ground, William J. Wainwright argues. His book is a philosophical reflection on the role of emotion in guiding reason. There is evidence, he contends, that reason functions properly only when informed by a rightly disposed heart. The idea of passional reason, so rarely discussed today, once dominated religious reflection, and Wainwright pursues it through the writings of three of its past proponents: Jonathan Edwards, John Henry Newman, (...) and William James. He focuses on Edwards, whose work typifies the Christian perspective on religious reasoning and the heart. Then, in his discussion of Newman and James, Wainwright shows how the emotions participate in non-religious reasoning. Finally he takes up the challenges most often posed to notions of passional reason: that such views justify irrationality and wishful thinking, that they can't be defended without circularity, and that they lead to relativism. His response to these charges culminates in an eloquent and persuasive defense of the claim that reason functions best when influenced by the appropriate emotions, feelings, and intuitions. (shrink)
In a series of important and influential books, Wilfred Cantwell Smith has convincingly argued that religious traditions are misunderstood if one does not grasp the faith which they express, that these traditions are not static but fluid, and that as a result of greater knowledge and increased contact between members of different traditions, we have entered a period in which it is no longer possible for the traditions to develop in relative isolation. This paper is devoted to an important aspect (...) of Smith's thought – his distinction between faith and propositional belief. (shrink)
As identity and authenticity discourses increasingly saturate everyday life, so too have these concepts spread across the humanities and social sciences literatures. Many scholars may be interested in identity and authenticity, but lack knowledge of paradigmatic or disciplinary approaches to these concepts. This volume offers readers insight into social constructionist approaches to identity and authenticity. It focuses on the processes of identification and authentication, rather than on subjective experiences of selfhood. There are no attempts to settle what authentic identities are. (...) On the contrary, contributors demonstrate that neither identities nor their authenticity have a single or fixed meaning. Chapters provide exemplars of contemporary research on identity and authenticity, with significant diversity among them in terms of the identities, cultural milieu, geographic settings, disciplinary traditions, and methodological approaches considered. Contributors introduce readers to a number of established and emerging identity groups from sites around the world, from yogis and punks to fire dancers and social media influencers. Their conceptual work stretches from the micro-analytic to the ethno-national as authors employ a variety of qualitative methods including ethnographic fieldwork, interviewing, and the collection and analysis of naturally-occurring interactions. Several of the chapters look directly at identification and authentication, while others focus on the social and cultural backdrops that structure these practices-what unites them is the adoption of social constructionist sensibilities. This book will appeal to anyone interested in understanding identity and authenticity. (shrink)
The falsifiability of theistic assertions no longer appears to be the burning issue it once was, and perhaps this is all to the good. For one thing, it was never entirely clear just what demand was being made of the theist. In this paper I shall not discuss the nature or legitimacy of the falsification requirement as applied to theistic assertions. Instead I shall argue that some of the reasons which have been offered to show that these assertions are not (...) falsifiable are by no means conclusive. Since the most plausible bit of anti-theistic evidence is the existence of evil, it would seem to be legitimate for us to devote our attention to arguments which are designed to show that the theist does not allow the presence of evil to count against his claims. (shrink)
The philosophy of religion as a distinct discipline is an innovation of the last two hundred years, but its central topics--the existence and nature of the divine, humankind's relation to it, the nature of religion and its place in human life--have been with us since the inception of philosophy. Philosophers have long critically examined the truth of (and rational justification for) religious claims, and have explored such philosophically interesting phenomena as faith, religious experience and the distinctive features of religious discourse. (...) The second half of the twentieth-century has been an especially fruitful period, with philosophers using new developments in logic and epistemology to mount both sophisticated defenses of, and attacks on, religious claims. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion contains newly commissioned chapters by 21 prominent experts who cover the field in a comprehensive but accessible manner. Each chapter is expository, critical, and representative of a distinctive viewpoint. The Handbook is divided into two sections. The first, "Problems," covers the most frequently discussed topics, among them arguments for God's existence, the problem of evil, and religious epistemology. The second is called "Approaches" and contains four essays assessing the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of practicing philosophy of religion. The Handbook offers contributors of high stature who present substantive and in-depth treatment of the most central topics. It is a must-have reference for anyone with an interest in philosophy and religion. (shrink)
A critical survey of some attempts to define ‘computer’, beginning with some informal ones, then critically evaluating those of three philosophers, and concluding with an examination of whether the brain and the universe are computers.
The past forty years or so have witnessed a renaissance in the philosophy of religion. New tools (modal logic, probability theory, and so on) and new historical research have prompted many thinkers to take a fresh look at old topics (God’s existence, the problem of evil, faith and reason, and the like). Moreover, sophisticated examinations of contentious new issues, such as the problem of religious diversity or the role of emotions and other non-evidential factors in shaping rationally held religious beliefs, (...) have also emerged. Addressing the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of this rapidly growing and ever more complex corpus of scholarly literature, Philosophy of Religion is a new title in the Routledge Major Works series, Critical Concepts in Philosophy. Edited by a leading scholar, it is a four-volume collection which brings together key examples of the most important recent work, together with carefully selected historical pieces needed to understand them. Volume I focuses on concepts of the divine while Volume II explores arguments for and against the existence of a divine reality, with special attention to the problem of evil, the problem of divine hiddenness, and the case for naturalism. Volume III and the first part of Volume IV are devoted to broadly epistemic issues: the cognitive value of religious experience; the proper role of evidence in the formation of religious belief; the nature of justified religious belief; and pragmatic arguments for religious belief. The remainder of Volume IV introduces some of the best recent work on religious diversity, tolerance, and the public role of religion in a pluralistic society. The Philosophy of Religion is fully indexed and has a comprehensive introduction, newly written by the editor, which places the material in its historical and intellectual context. It is an essential work of reference and is destined to be valued by scholars and students as a vital one-stop research resource. Available now at a special introductory price. This price is applicable until 3 months after publication. For more information, please contact us ( [email protected] ). (shrink)
Originally published in 1990. Examining epistemic justification, truth and logic, this book works towards a holistic theory of knowledge. It discusses evidence, belief, reliability and many philosophical theories surrounding the nature of true knowledge. A thorough Preface updates the main work from when it was written in 1976 to include theories ascendant in the ‘80s.
The late Hector-Neri Castañeda, the Mahlon Powell Professor of Philosophy at Indiana University, and founding editor of Noûs, has deeply influenced current analytic philosophy with diverse contributions, including guise theory, the theory of indicators and quasi-indicators, and the proposition/practition theory. This volume collects 15 papers--for the most part previously unpublished--in ontology, philosophy of language, cognitive science, and related areas by ex-students of Professor Castañeda, most of whom are now well-known researchers or even distinguished scholars. The authors share the conviction that (...) Castañeda's work must continue to be explored and that his philosophical methodology must continue to be applied in an effort to further illuminate all the issues that he so deeply investigated. The topics covered by the contributions include intensional contexts, possible worlds, quasi-indicators, guise theory, property theory, Russell's substitutional theory of propositions, event theory, the adverbial theory of mental attitudes, existentialist ontology, and Plato's, Leibniz's, Kant's, and Peirce's ontologies. An introduction by the editors relates all these themes to Castañeda's philosophical interests and methodology. (shrink)
How do thought and language manage to be 'about' aspects of the world? J. Robert G. Williams investigates how representation arises out of a fundamentally non-representational world, showing the explanatory relations between the representational properties of language, of thought, and of perception and intention.
This paper seeks to explore the significance of a specific kind of religious experience for the rationality of religious belief. The context for this is a gap between what is often allowed as rational and what is embraced as certain in the life of faith. The claim to certainty at issue is related to the work and experience of the Holy Spirit; this experience has a structure which is explored phenomenologically. Thereafter various ways of cashing in the epistemic value of (...) the purported claim to certainty are examined. (shrink)
Although william james wrote no complete philosophy of science, nonetheless there exist in his writings several references to scientific procedure. furthermore, these are anti-positivistic in tone. these references include: 1) a rejection of the old baconian model for science; 2) an assertion that competing conceptual models of experience exist, each one of which can account for the empirical data in question; 3) nonetheless, a refusal either to reduce different conceptual theories to one conceptual outlook, or to reduce conceptual models (...) as a whole to sensory experience; and 4) an assertion that the scientist is an active transformer of his environment. in this paper i discuss these issues. (shrink)
This essay considers what it means to understand natural language and whether a computer running an artificial-intelligence program designed to understand natural language does in fact do so. It is argued that a certain kind of semantics is needed to understand natural language, that this kind of semantics is mere symbol manipulation (i.e., syntax), and that, hence, it is available to AI systems. Recent arguments by Searle and Dretske to the effect that computers cannot understand natural language are discussed, and (...) a prototype natural-language-understanding system is presented as an illustration. (shrink)
William james is often thought of as a philosopher who rejected language as incapable of dealing with the unfinished character of the universe. Actually, There are two different complementary uses of language in james' texts. Sometimes he does reject language as inadequate; but at other times he presents a surprisingly "modern" view of language. Specifically, James recognized that meanings vary from context to context; that some words have an "intentional" aspect, And that language cannot be viewed as consisting of (...) substantive words strung together by neutral logical connectives. In this paper, I try to "unpack" these two different natures of uses language found in james' works. (shrink)
Martin Heidegger wrote one and only one preface for a scholarly work on his thinking, and it was for William J. Richardson’s study Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought, first published in 1963. Ever since, both Heidegger’s Preface and Richardson’s groundbreaking book have played an important role in Heidegger scholarship. Much has been discussed about these texts over the decades, but what has not been available to students and scholars up to this point is Richardson’s original comments and questions to (...) Heidegger that led to the famous Preface. These are published here for the first time both in the German original and in our English translation. In our commentary we 1) discuss how Heidegger’s Preface came about, 2) explain the source and status of the materials published here, and 3) pair selected passages from Richardson’s text with Heidegger’s reply in his Preface to highlight the consonance of their thinking. (shrink)
The american philosopher william james has been accused of being both a positivist and a romantic intuitionist. in the present paper, i wish to defend james from both charges. first, an analysis of the james texts will indicate that: 1) he refuses to distinguish clearly sensation, percept and concept; 2) he recognizes the ontological status of concepts; and, 3) he uses the word "perceptual" in two different ways. this two-fold use of the word has been the source of much (...) difficulty and forces us to deal, secondly, with the issue of james' opinion of language. he is often thought of as a romanticist, as someone who believed that life was beyond all language. we shall try to show that this view also is wrong, and that there exist two different views of language in his texts. (shrink)
In this reply to James H. Fetzer’s “Minds and Machines: Limits to Simulations of Thought and Action”, I argue that computationalism should not be the view that (human) cognition is computation, but that it should be the view that cognition (simpliciter) is computable. It follows that computationalism can be true even if (human) cognition is not the result of computations in the brain. I also argue that, if semiotic systems are systems that interpret signs, then both humans and computers are (...) semiotic systems. Finally, I suggest that minds can be considered as virtual machines implemented in certain semiotic systems, primarily the brain, but also AI computers. In doing so, I take issue with Fetzer’s arguments to the contrary. (shrink)
Decisions are made under uncertainty when there are distinct outcomes of a given action, and one is uncertain to which the act will lead. Decisions are made under indeterminacy when there are distinct outcomes of a given action, and it is indeterminate to which the act will lead. This paper develops a theory of (synchronic and diachronic) decision-making under indeterminacy that portrays the rational response to such situations as inconstant. Rational agents have to capriciously and randomly choose how to resolve (...) the indeterminacy relevant to a given choice-situation, but such capricious choices once made constrain how they will choose in the future. The account is illustrated by the case of self-interested action in situations where it is indeterminate whether you yourself will survive to benefit or suffer the consequences. The conclusion emphasizes some distinctive anti-hedging predictions of the account. (shrink)
Philosophy has been characterized (e.g., by Benson Mates) as a field whose problems are unsolvable. This has often been taken to mean that there can be no progress in philosophy as there is in mathematics or science. The nature of problems and solutions is considered, and it is argued that solutions are always parts of theories, hence that acceptance of a solution requires commitment to a theory (as suggested by William Perry's scheme of cognitive development). Progress can be had (...) in philosophy in the same way as in mathematics and science by knowing what commitments are needed for solutions. Similar views of Rescher and Castañeda are discussed. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: James's Personal Life ‐ Vagueness and Commitment Vagueness in the Principles of Psychology The Religious Experience as Vague James's Metaphysics: “The Really Real” as Opaque The Pragmatic Upshot Conclusion.