The Unity of Linguistic Meaning by John Collins (University of Oxford Press) The problem of the unity of the proposition is almost as old as philosophy itself, and was one of the central themes of early analytical philosophy, greatly exercising the minds of Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, and Ramsey. The problem is how propositions or meanings can be simultaneously unities (single things) and complexes, made up of parts that are autonomous of the positions they happen to fill in any given proposition. The problem has been associated with numerous paradoxes and has motivated general theories of thought and meaning, but has eluded any consensual resolution; indeed, the problem is sometimes thought to be wholly erroneous, a result of atomistic assumptions we should reject. In short, the problem has been thought to be of merely historical interest. Collins argues that the problem is very real and poses a challenge to any theory of linguistic meaning. He seeks to resolve the problem by laying down some minimal desiderata on a solution and presenting a uniquely satisfying account. The first part of the book surveys and rejects extant 'solutions' and dismissals of the problem from (especially) Frege and Russell, and a host of more contemporary thinkers, including Davidson and Dummett. The book's second part offers a novel solution based upon the properties of a basic syntactic principle called 'Merge', which may be said to create objects inside objects, thus showing how unities can be both single things but also made up of proper parts. The solution is defended from both philosophical and linguistic perspectives. The overarching ambition of the book, therefore, is to strengthen the ties between current linguistics and contemporary philosophy of language in a way that is genuinely sensitive to the history of both fields. More
Kant's Dog: On Borges, Philosophy, and the Time of Translation by David E. Johnson (SUNY Series in Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture Series: SUNY Press) Kant's Dog provides fresh insight into Borges's preoccupation with the contradiction of the time that passes and the identity that endures. By developing the implicit logic of the Borgesian archive, which is most often figured as the universal demand for and necessary impossibility of translation, Kant's Dog is able to spell out Borges's responses to the philosophical problems that most concerned him, those of the constitution of time, eternity, and identity; the determination of original and copy; the legitimacy of authority; experience; the nature of language and the possibility of a decision; and the name of God. Kant's Dog offers original interpretations of several of Borges's best known and most important stories and of the works of key figures in the history of philosophy, including Aristotle, Saint Paul, Maimonides, Hume, Locke, Kant, Heidegger, and Derrida. This study outlines Borges's curious relationship to literature and philosophy and, through a reconsideration of the relation between necessity and accident, opens the question of the constitution of philosophy and literature. The afterword develops the logic of translation toward the secret at the heart of every culture in order to posit a Borgesian challenge to anthropology and cultural studies. More
Schiller on Pragmatism and Humanism: Selected Writings, 1891-1939
by F. C. S. Schiller and H. P. McDonald (Contemporary Studies in
Philosophy and the Human Sciences: Humanity Books) In his prolific seventy-three-year lifetime, F. C. S. Schiller
was a well-known philosopher of the highest repute, considered
synonymous with humanist philosophy. Up until his death in 1937, he
carried the torch of pragmatism and self-titled humanism into the
twentieth century, nearly single-handedly energizing European
debates over pragmatic approaches to logic, science, truth, and
reality. He retained humanism as the foundation for his entire
philosophy, stressing that the environment, knowledge, and values
must always be the creation of human choices and activities.
The study of Schiller's most important contributions to the philosophical traditions of humanism and pragmatism continues to be of great significance for contemporary scholars. The forty-two pieces that appear in this volume, carefully selected from his .books, journal articles, and essay contributions published between 1891 and 1939, represent Schiller's finest writings. They range across a broad spectrum of specific topics: logic and scientific method, meaning and truth, pluralism and monism, personalism and idealism, metaphysics and values, evolution and religion, and ethics and politics. The collection also includes an introduction to Schiller's life and career, introductory essays, and a bibliography of his momentous work, With reverential enthusiasm, Shook and McDonald have here awakened the intelligent and passionate voice of humanism's alltoo-neglected driving force. More
Plants As Persons: A Philosophical Botany by Matthew Hall and Harold Coward (SUNY Series on Religion and the Environment: State University of New York, SUNY) Plants are people too? Not exactly, but in this work of philosophical botany Matthew Hall challenges readers to reconsider the moral standing of plants, arguing that they are other-than-human persons. Plants constitute the bulk of our visible biomass, underpin all natural ecosystems, and make life on Earth possible. Yet plants are considered passive and insensitive beings rightly placed outside moral consideration. As the human assault on nature continues, more ethical behavior toward plants is needed. Hall surveys Western, Eastern, Pagan, and Indigenous thought, as well as modern science and botanical history, for attitudes toward plants, noting the particular resources for plant personhood and those modes of thought which most exclude plants. The most hierarchical systems typically put plants at the bottom, but Hall finds much to support a more positive view of plants. Indeed, some Indigenous animisms actually recognize plants as relational, intelligent beings who are the appropriate recipients of care and respect. New scientific findings encourage this perspective, revealing that plants possess many of the capacities of sentience and mentality traditionally denied them. More
The Unconcept: The Freudian Uncanny in Late-Twentieth-Century Theory by Anneleen Masschelein (SUNY Series, Insinuations: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, Literature: SUNY, State University of New York Press) The Unconcept is the first genealogy of the concept of the Freudian uncanny. It traces the development, paradoxes, and movements of this negative concept through various fields and disciplines from psychoanalysis, literary theory, and philosophy to film studies, genre studies, sociology, religion, architecture theory, and contemporary art. Anneleen Masschelein explores the vagaries of this "unconcept" in the twentieth century, beginning with Freud's seminal essay "The Uncanny," through a period of conceptual latency, leading to the first real conceptualizations in the 1970s and then on to the present dissemination of the uncanny to exotic fields such as hauntology, the study of ghosts, robotics, and artificial intelligence. She unearths new material on the uncanny from the English, French, and German traditions, and sheds light on the status of the concept in contemporary theory and practice in the humanities. In this essential reference book for researchers and students of the uncanny, the familiar contours of the intellectual history of the twentieth century appear in a new and exciting light. More
Spinoza's Ethics: A Collective Commentary edited by Michael Hampe, Ursula Renz and Robert Schnepf (Brill's Studies in Intellectual History: Brill Academic) Against the background of religious wars and in full knowledge of the relevance of the new exact sciences of the seventeenth-century, Spinoza developed one of the most ambitious projects in the history of philosophy: his Ethics written in geometrical style. It is a book that deals with ontology, epistemology, human emotions, as well as with the freedom and bondage of individuals and societies, in one continuous line of argumentation. At the same time, the book combines the highest standards of conceptual and argumentative clarity with a wisdom that is saturated with the experience of life. Even today it sets a standard for enlightened theoretical and practical reasoning. This collective commentary discusses each of the five parts of Spinoza's Ethics. In the introduction, historical consequences of the Ethics are elucidated, as well as its continued philosophical relevance. More
The Sage Learning of Liu Zhi: Islamic Thought in Confucian Terms
William C. Chittick, Weiming Tu and Seyyed Hossein Nasr
(Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph: Harvard University Asian
Center) Liu Zhi (ca. 1670-1724) was one of the most important scholars of
Islam in traditional China. His Tianfang xingli (Nature and
principle in Islam), the Chinese-language text translated here,
focuses on the roots or principles of Islam. It was heavily influenced by several
classic texts in the Sufi tradition. Liu's approach, however, is
distinguished from that of other Muslim scholars in that he
addressed the basic articles of Islamic thought with Neo-Confucian
terminology and categories. Besides its innate metaphysical and
philosophical value, the text is invaluable for understanding how
the masters of Chinese Islam straddled religious and civilizational
frontiers and created harmony between two different intellectual
The introductory chapters explore both the Chinese and the Islamic intellectual traditions behind Liu's work and locate the arguments of Tianfang xingli within those systems of thought. The copious annotations to the translation explain Liu's text and draw attention to parallels, as well as differences, in Chinese-, Arabic-, and Persian-language works.
Sachiko Murata and William C. Chittick are Professors in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies at SUNY Stony Brook. Tu Weiming is Harvard-Yenching Professor of Chinese History and Philosophy and of Confucian Studies at Harvard University. Seyyed Hossein Nasr is University Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University. More
The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity 2 Volume Set by Lloyd P. Gerson (Cambridge University Press) The Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity comprises over forty specially commissioned essays by experts on the philosophy of the period 200–800 CE. Designed as a successor to The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy (ed. A. H. Armstrong), it takes into account some forty years of scholarship since the publication of that volume. The contributors examine philosophy as it entered literature, science and religion, and offer new and extensive assessments of philosophers who until recently have been mostly ignored. The volume also includes a complete digest of all philosophical works known to have been written during this period. It will be an invaluable resource for all those interested in this rich and still emerging field. More
Plato's Parmenides and Its' Heritage: History and Interpretation
from the Old Academy to Later Platonism and Gnosticism by
John D. Turner and Kevin Corrigan (Writings from the Greco-Roman
World Supplements, 2: Brill Academic)
Plato's Parmenides and Its' Heritage: Its Reception in Neoplatonic, Jewish, and Christian Texts by John D. Turner and Kevin Corrigan (Writings from the Greco-Roman World Supplements, 3: Brill Academic) Paper
'Plato’s Parmenides and Its Heritage' presents in two volumes ground-breaking results in the history of interpretation of Plato’s Parmenides, the culmination of six years of international collaboration by the SBL Annual Meeting seminar, “Rethinking Plato’s Parmenides and Its Platonic, Gnostic and Patristic Reception” (2001–2007).
The theme of Volume 1 is the dissolution of firm boundaries for thinking about the tradition of Parmenides interpretation from the Old Academy through Middle Platonism and Gnosticism. The volume suggests a radically different interpretation of the history of thought from Plato to Proclus than is customary by arguing against Proclus’s generally accepted view that there was no metaphysical interpretation of the Parmenides before Plotinus in the third century C.E. Instead, this volume traces such metaphysical interpretations, first, to Speusippus and the early Platonic Academy; second, to the Platonism of the first and second centuries C.E. in figures like Moderatus and Numenius; third, to the emergence of an exegetical tradition that read Aristotle’s categories in relation to the Parmenides; and, fourth, to important Middle Platonic figures and texts. The contributors to Volume 1 are Kevin Corrigan, Gerald Bechtle, Luc Brisson, John Dillon, Thomas Szlezák, Zlatko Pleše, Noel Hubler, John D. Turner, Johanna Brankaer, Volker Henning Drecoll, and Alain Lernould.
Volume 2 examines and establishes for the first time evidence for a significant knowledge of the Parmenides in Philo, Clement, and patristic sources. It offers an extensive and balanced analysis of the case for and against the various possible attributions of date and authorship of the Anonymous Commentary in relation to Gnosticism, Middle Platonism, and Neoplatonism and argues that on balance the case for a pre-Plotinian authorship is warranted. It also undertakes for the first time in this form an examination of the Parmenides in relation to Jewish and Christian thought, moving from Philo and Clement through Origen and the Cappadocians to Pseudo-Dionysius. The contributors to Volume 2 are Matthias Vorwerk, Kevin Corrigan, Luc Brisson, Volker Henning Drecoll, Tuomas Rasimus, John F. Finamore, John M. Dillon, Sara Ahbel-Rappe, Gerald Bechtle, David T. Runia, Mark Edwards, Jean Reynard, and Andrew Radde-Gallwitz. More
Cultural Ways of Worldmaking: Media and Narratives edited by Vera Nünning, Ansgar Nünning, and Birgit Neumann (Concepts for the Study of Culture: De Gruyter) Taking as its point of departure Nelson Goodman's theory of symbol systems as delineated in his seminal book Ways of Worldmaking, this volume gauges the possibilities and perspectives offered by the worldmaking approach as a model for the study of culture. Its main objectives are to explore the usefulness and scope of the approach for the study of culture and to supplement Goodman's philosophy of worldmaking with a number of complementary disciplinary perspectives, literary and cultural approaches, and new questions and applications. It focuses on three key issues or concepts which illuminate ways of worldmaking and their interdisciplinary relevance and ramifications, viz. (1) theoretical approaches to ways of worldmaking, (2) the impact of media on ways of worldmaking, and (3) narratives as ways of worldmaking. The volume serves to demonstrate how specific media and narratives affect the worlds that are created, and shows how these worlds are established as socially relevant. It also illustrates the extent to which ways of worldmaking are imbued with cultural values, and thus inevitably implicated in power relations. More
On the Daimonion of Socrates: Human Liberation, Divine Guidance & Philosophy by Heinz-Gunther Nesselrath (Scripta Antiquitatis Posterioris Ad Ethicam Religionemque Pertinentia: Mohr Siebeck) Most modern scholarship has been disconcerted by the combination of exciting historical romance and serious philosophical and religious discussion. Many attempts have therefore been made to identify themes and connections which might be held to unify the whole: Liberation (as the soul is freed with difficulty from the ills of the body, so Thebes is freed from the Spartan occupation); divine guidance (Epaminondas, like Socrates, is under a special tutelary daimon); or a general concern with signs and portents. It is doubtful whether any of these ideas is a guide to Plutarch's intentions.1 These should be sought rather in his educational concerns. In the preface to De audiendis poetis (14E) he observes that young students, not yet ready for the formal study of philosophy, nevertheless take pleasure in works like Heraclides' Abaris and Ariston's Lycon, in which philosophy and fabulous narrative are combined. If we consider De genio in this light, it is clear that it fills the bill very well. There is the exciting patriotic story of the liberation of Thebes; there is also the speculation about divination and the fate of the soul after death; there is even a miniature Socratic dialogue on doing good (584B-585D) and a suggestion that it is a good thing to study mathematics (579A—D). We should also recall that the narrator, Caphisias, Epaminondas' younger brother, is young, and emphasises his youth (he has lovers, he spends time in the gymnasia), and that the bravery of Charon's fifteen year old son is given special prominence (595B—D). It would be foolish to suggest that Plutarch is primarily targeting an adolescent readership (or his own pupils) but he certainly has one in mind, as he does also in his Banquet of the Seven Wise Men and in Gryllus. And it is a Boeotian audience: he makes the visionary who relates the myth a native of his own city Chaeronea, and he gives us a great deal of antiquarian detail about the religions and political practices of Boeotia in classical times. More
God-Beyond Me: From the I's Absolute Ground in Hölderlin and Schelling to a Contemporary Model of a Personal God by Cia Van Woezik (Critical Studies in German Idealism: Brill Academic Publishing) German idealism has attempted to think an absolute ground to self-conscious I-hood. As a result it has been theologically disqualified as pantheistic or even atheistic since many maintain that such a ground cannot be reconciled with a personal God. In the early writings of Friedrich Schelling (1775-1854), it is clear that he and his contemporaries were aware of this difficulty. His Tübinger fellow student, Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843), was convinced of the ultimate inadequacy of any philosophical system to grasp the unitary ground of all that is and turned to poetry. The metaphysical insights expressed in his poetry have been largely neglected in both philosophical and theological scholarship. Drawing on the 20th century metaphysics of Dieter Henrich and Karl Rahner, this book elaborates on Hölderlin's poetry. This results in a novel concept of God as both unitary and personal ground of I-hood. Unlike many academic titles, Woezik writes clear, direct prose. Her ideas are exceptionally well expressed. Highly recommended. More
Inquiring about God: Volume 1, Selected Essays
by Nicholas Wolterstorff and Terence Cuneo
(Cambridge University Press) This volume collects Nicholas
Wolterstorff's essays on the philosophy of religion written over the
last thirty-five years. Of interest to both philosophers and
theologians, Inquiring about God offers a lively sense of the
creative and powerful work done in contemporary philosophical
theology by one of its foremost practitioners.
Inquiring about God is the first of two volumes of Nicholas Wolterstorff's collected papers. This volume collects Wolterstorff's essays on the philosophy of religion written over the last thirty-five years. The essays, which span a range of topics including Kant's philosophy of religion, the medieval (or classical) conception of God, and the problem of evil, are unified by the conviction that some of the central claims made by the classical theistic tradition, such as the claims that God is timeless, simple, and impassible, should be rejected. Still, Wolterstorff contends, rejecting the classical conception of God does not imply that theists should accept the Kantian view according to which God cannot be known. Of interest to both philosophers and theologians, Inquiring about God should give the reader a lively sense of the creative and powerful work done in contemporary philosophical theology by one of its foremost practitioners. More
Practices of Belief: Volume 2, Selected Essays by Nicholas
Wolterstorff(Cambridge University Press) The second volume of
Nicholas Wolterstorff's collected papers brings together his essays
on epistemology from 1983 to 2008. Of interest to epistemologists,
philosophers of religion, and theologians, it will appeal to those
interested in the topic of whether religious belief can be
responsibly formed and maintained in the contemporary world.
Practices of Belief, the second volume of Nicholas Wolterstorff's collected papers, brings together his essays on epistemology from 1983 to 2008. It includes not only the essays which first presented 'Reformed epistemology' to the philosophical world, but also Wolterstorff's latest work on the topic of entitled (or responsible) belief and its intersection with religious belief. The volume presents five new essays and a retrospective essay that chronicles the changes in the course of philosophy over the last fifty years. Of interest to epistemologists, philosophers of religion, and theologians, Practices of Belief should engage a wide audience of those interested in the topic of whether religious belief can be responsibly formed and maintained in the contemporary world. More
The Tao of Wu by The RZA (Riverside) The RZA is hip-hop's resident genius and philosopher king, a singular artist who refuses to be defined only by the genre of music that he himself revolutionized, both musically and commercially. The Tao of Wu , his second book, tells the story of his rise from the projects of Staten Island to hip-hop megastar, and offers up the wisdom he built up along the way. In an entertaining and elucidating blend of hip-hop lyrics, parables, meditations, and urban experiences, the book spells out a spiritual code that draws from Buddhism, the Bible, Bruce Lee, and Krishna, all refracted through his unique life experiences. Presented as a series of lessons, The Tao of Wu is a spiritual memoir such as the world has never seen before, and will surely never see again—and one that is all the more inspiring for its genuine and abiding wisdom. More
The Moral Wager: Evolution and Contract by Malcolm Murray (Philosophical Studies Series: Springer) illuminates and sharpens moral theory, by analyzing the evolutionary dynamics of interpersonal relations as analyzed in a variety of games. We discover that successful players in evolutionary games operate as if following this piece of normative advice: Don't do unto others without their consent.
From this advice, some significant implications for moral theory follow. First, we cannot view morality as a categorical imperative. Secondly, we cannot hope to offer rational justification for adopting moral advice. This is where Glaucon and Adeimantus went astray: they wanted a proof of the benefits of morality in every single case. That is not possible. Moral constraint is a bad bet taken in and of itself. But there is some good news: moral constraint is a good bet when examined statistically. Murray’s game-theory ethics offers some practical calculus for a more nuanced use of contract theory in the development of moral norms. His theory is less compelling when he attempts to account for altruism within this evolutionary nexus. It is hoped that Murray’s analysis of relativism become widely known as he avoids both extremes of unnecessary subjective nihilism and moral objectivism. More
The Concealed Art of the Soul: Theories of the Self and Practices of Truth in Indian Ethics and Epistemology by Jonardon Ganeri (Oxford University Press) presents a variety of perspectives on the nature of the self as seen by major schools of classical Indian philosophy. For Indian thinkers, a philosophical treatise about the self should not only reveal the truth about the nature of the soul, but should also engage the reader in a process of study and contemplation that will eventually lead to self-transformation. By combining careful attention to philosophical content and sensitivity to literary form, Ganeri deepens our understanding of some of the greatest works in Indian literary history. His magisterial survey includes the Upanisads, the Buddha's discourses, the epic Mahabharata, and the writings of Candrakirti, whose work was later to provide the foundation for Tibetan Buddhism. Ganeri argues that many Western theories of selfhood are not only present in, but are developed to high degree of sophistication in these writings, and that there are other ideas about the self found in the work of classical Indian thinkers which present-day analytic philosophers have not yet begun to explore. Scholars and students of philosophy and religious studies, particularly those with an interest in Indian and Western conceptions of the self, will find this book fascinating reading. More
The Character of the Self in Ancient India: Priests, Kings, and Women in the Early Upanisads by Brian Black (SUNY Series in Hindu Studies: State University of New York Press) Explores the narratives and dialogues of the Upanisads and shows that these literary elements are central to an understanding of Upanishadic philosophy.
This groundbreaking book is an elegant exploration of the
Upanisads, often considered the fountainhead of the rich, varied
philosophical tradition in India. The Upanisads, in addition to
their philosophical content, have a number of sections that contain
narratives and dialogues--a literary dimension largely ignored by
the Indian philosophical tradition, as well as by modern scholars.
Brian Black draws attention to these literary elements and
demonstrates that they are fundamental to understanding the
philosophical claims of the text.
Focusing on the Upanishadic notion of the self (atman), the book is organized into four main sections that feature a lesson taught by a brahmin teacher to a brahmin student, debates between brahmins, discussions between brahmins and kings, and conversations between brahmins and women. These dialogical situations feature dramatic elements that bring attention to both the participants and the social contexts of Upanishadic philosophy, characterizing philosophy as something achieved through discussion and debate. In addition to making a number of innovative arguments, the author also guides the reader through these profound and engaging texts, offering ways of reading the Upanisads that make them more understandable and accessible. More
Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals: Critical Essays edited by Christa Davis Acampora (Critical Essays on the Classics: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.) This astonishingly rich volume collects the work of an international group of scholars, including some of the best known in academia. Experts in ethics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, political theory, aesthetics, history, critical theory, and hermeneutics bring to light the best philosophical scholarship on what is arguably Friedrich Nietzsche's most challenging text. Including essays that were commissioned specifically for the volume as well as essays revised and edited by their authors this collection showcases definitive works that have shaped Nietzsche studies alongside new work: of interest to students and experts alike. Sections are devoted to the topic of genealogy generally, the numerous essays on specific passages, the applications of genealogy in later thinkers, and the import of Nietzsche's Genealogy in contemporary politics, ethics, and aesthetics. A lengthy introduction, annotated bibliography, and comprehensive index make this an extremely useful guide for the classroom and advanced research. More
Arabic Theology, Arabic Philosophy: From the Many to the One: Essays
in Celebration of Richard M. Frank edited by James E.
Montgomery (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta: Peeters)
The final sentence of the last scholarly work by Professor
Richard M. Frank to have been published runs:
Ontology and logic are not separable the one from the other.
This remarkable statement concludes an incisive and authoritative exposition of the term hukm, plural ahkäm, in the writings of the classical Ash`arite masters, the architects of the formal theological system posterior to the eponym's death in 324/935 and prior to the floruit of al-Ghazali. It forms one panel of a triptych of remarkable surveys of Ash`arite ontology, stemming from the final stages of Professor Frank's professional career, the others being The As'arite Ontology: I. Primary Entities, and The Non-Existent and the Possible in Classical Ash'arite Teaching. These works are characterized by scrupulosity in the recording of source references, subtlety and ingenuity in the exposition of ideas, and an astonishing sensitivity to the systematic implications and supple delimitations of Classical Arabic as a formal language for the speculative exploration of existence. Taken together they represent one of the most sustained endeavours to-date by any scholar to penetrate the formidable formalism of this system, predicated upon a reluctance to establish philosophical reasoning as an autonomous principle of theological speculation, a reluctance inherited from al-Ash'ari's refusal to commit himself on a number of questions or to subject the godhead to an over-reductive analysis.
Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Science by Christopher Hitchcock (Contemporary Debates in Philosophy: Blackwell) Teachers: Has this ever happened to you? You arc teaching a philosophy class that covers a number of different topics. You want to spend a week or so on, let's say, scientific realism. Naturally, you want to provide the students with some accessible readings on the subject. Moreover, you want to choose readings from both realists and anti-realists, partly so that the students will see both sides of the issue, and partly to give the students a glimpse of philosophers engaging in debate with one another. What you end up with, however, are readings that end up talking past one another: no two authors agree on what scientific realism is, so the realists are defending views that the anti-realists are not attacking. The students come away confused, and without any sense of the constructive value of debate. More
The Parallax View by Slavoj Zizek (Short Circuits: The MIT Press) is his most substantial theoretical work to appear in many years; Zizek himself describes it as his magnum opus. Parallax can be defined as the apparent displacement of an object, caused by a change in observational position. Zizek is interested in the "parallax gap" separating two points between which no synthesis or mediation is possible, linked by an "impossible short circuit" of levels that can never meet. From this consideration of parallax, Zizek begins a rehabilitation of dialectical materialism. More
Five Metaphysical Paradoxes by Howard P. Kainz (Aquinas Lecture: Marquette University Press) Excerpt: In the Oxford English Dictionary, the first meaning of "paradox" is given as "a statement or tenet contrary to received opinion or belief:' But this is paradox in the widest possible sense—similar to the way we use and overuse the word, "oxymoron," to indicate things or states of affairs that we simply consider contradictory. For example, a Democrat might say that compassionate conservative" is an oxymoron, a Republican might say the same thing about a "pro-life liberal"—in both cases with the meaning that such phrases are obviously self-contradictory. But strictly speaking, an oxymoron is something that sounds contradictory but is true—as, for example, the familiar literary expressions,"a deafening silence: "living death", "lonely crowd," or the descriptions by Shakespeare's Romeo of romantic passion as "cold fire," "feather of lead" and "sick health." More
The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory edited by John S. Dryzek, Bonnie Honig, Anne Philips (Oxford Handbooks of Political Science: Oxford University Press) The Oxford Handbooks of Political Science is a ten-volume set of reference books offering authoritative and engaging critical overviews of the state of political science. This volume, The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory, provides comprehensive and critical coverage of the lively and contested field of political theory, and will help set the agenda for the field for years to come. Long recognized as one of the main branches of political science, political theory has in recent years burgeoned in many different directions. Forty-five chapters by distinguished political theorists look at the state of the field, where it has been in the recent past, and where it is likely to go in future. They examine political theory's edges as well as its core, the globalizing context of the field, and the challenges presented by social, economic, and technological changes. More
All the Power in the World by Peter Unger (Oxford University Press) This bold and original work of philosophy presents an exciting new picture of concrete reality. Peter Unger provocatively breaks with what he terms the conservatism of present-day philosophy, and returns to central themes from Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Russell. Wiping the slate clean, Unger works, from the ground up, to formulate a new metaphysic capable of accommodating our distinctly human perspective. He proposes a world with inherently powerful particulars of two basic sorts: one mental but not physical, the other physical but not mental. More
Philosophical Papers: Volume One; Philosophical Papers: Volume Two by Peter Unger (Oxford University Press) While well-known for his book-length work, philosopher Peter Unger's articles have been less widely accessible. These two volumes of Unger's Philosophical Papers include articles spanning more than 35 years of Unger's long and fruitful career. Dividing the articles thematically, this first volume collects work in epistemology and ethics, among other topics, while the second volume focuses on metaphysics. More
Humanism and Creativity in the Renaissance: Essays in Honor of Ronald G. Witt edited by Christopher S. Celenza, Kenneth Gouwens (Brill's Studies in Intellectual History: Brill Academic Publishers) comprises original contributions from 17 scholars whose work and careers Ronald Witt has touched in myriad ways. Intellectual, social, and political historians, a historian of philosophy and an art historian: specialists in various temporal and geographical regions of the Renaissance world here address specific topics reflecting some of the major themes that have woven their way through Ronald Witt’s intellectual cursus. While some essays offer fresh readings of canonical texts and explore previously unnoticed lines of filiation among them, others present "discoveries," including a hitherto "lost" text and overlooked manuscripts that are here edited for the first time. Engagement with little-known material reflects another of Witt's distinguishing characteristics: a passion for original sources. The essays are gathered under three rubrics: (1) "Politics and the Revival of Antiquity"; (2) "Humanism, Religion, and Moral Philosophy"; and (3) "Erudition and Innovation." More
Being and Event by Alain Badiou, translated by Oliver Feltham (Continuum International Publishing Group) Being and Event is the greatest work of Alain Badiou, France's most important living philosopher. Long-awaited in translation, Being and Event makes available to an English-speaking readership Badiou's groundbreaking work on set theory - the cornerstone of his whole philosophy. The book makes the scope and aim of Badiou's whole philosophical project clear, enabling full comprehension of Badiou's significance for contemporary philosophy. Badiou draws upon and is fully engaged with the European philosophical tradition from Plato onwards; Being and Event deals with such key figures as Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hegel, Rousseau, Heidegger and Lacan.
This wide-ranging book is organized in a careful, precise and novel manner, reflecting the philosophical rigor of Badiou's thought. Unlike many contemporary Continental philosophers, Badiou -- who is also a novelist and dramatist - writes lucidly and cogently, making his work far more accessible and engaging than much philosophy, and actually a pleasure to read. This English language edition includes a new preface, written by Badiou himself, especially for this translation. More
Religion and the Origins of the German Enlightenment: Faith and the Reform of Learning in the Thought of Christian Thomasius by Thomas Ahnert (Rochester Studies in Philosophy: University of Rochester Press) the pietistic origins of the thought of Christian Thomasiusis well attested but not so much the covenantal nature of his theology and vision for social and religious renewal. Thomasius held that philosophy should be practical and needs to concentrate on the human condition. He was opposed to Aristotelian scholasticism of orthodox Lutheranism because of its abstractions and speculative complexities were useless in a living the good life. A strong political and pragmatic sense guided Thomasius’ thought. Ahnert’s study emphasizes the Calvinist dimensions of Thomasius’ political and church reform. This study will perhaps cause to be appreciated the transitional importance of Christian Thomasius program of reform, not only in Pietist religion and in early enlightenment academic philosophy in Germany, but also in its practical applications for living the good life and the application of law and covenantal theology to social reform and politics. See
Hegel's Epistemology: A Philosophical Introduction to the Phenomenology of Spirit by Kenneth R. Westphal (Hackett Publishing Company) I Hegel's Phenomenology is notoriously challenging, in form and structure as well as in content. His apparent ambitions in the Phenomenology and his highly unusual presentation have often made it difficult to relate it to more familiar philosophical views and issues. Hegel demands much of his readers. At the beginning of a chapter or subsection, for example, Hegel states a philosophical view often to argue (by indirect proof or reductio ad absurdum) against that view, though sometimes only to argue against a defective account or justification of that view. Precisely what view he criticizes can at times be difficult to determine, often because he states some essential points of an historical philosopher's view without mentioning whose view it is. Hegel unfortunately tends to refer to passages from the history of philosophy the way Medieval philosophers referred to Aristotle. They would write "the philosopher says ... ," expecting, and knowing they could expect. the reader to know exactly which passage from which work of Aristotle's was being quoted or paraphrased. Hegel, however, only rarely mentions his frequent paraphrasing or quotation—though his use of such references should not have misfired nearly so often as it has. More
Descartes And the Metaphysics of Human Nature by Justin Skirry (Continuum Studies in Philosophy: Continuum International Publishing) The traditional account of mind/body union attributed to Descartes supposes that the immaterial, thinking mind and the material, non-thinking body interact by means of efficient causation. But this gives rise to a notorious philosophical problem: how can this causal interaction occur between the spiritual mind and the physical body since they have absolutely nothing in common and cannot come into contact with one another? Justin Skirry's book shows how Descartes in fact avoids this enormous problem. Skirry argues, through a critical re-examination of Cartesian metaphysics, that the union of mind and body is not, as most scholars have always maintained, constituted by efficient causal interaction for Descartes, because this would result not in one, complete human nature but in an aggregate of two numerically distinct natures. More
The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy by Frank Jackson, Michael Smith (Oxford Handbooks: Oxford University Press) is the definitive guide to what's going on in this lively and fascinating subject. Jackson and Smith, themselves two of the world's most eminent philosophers, have assembled more than thirty distinguished scholars to contribute incisive and up-to-date critical surveys of the principal areas of research. The coverage is broad, with sections devoted to moral philosophy, social and political philosophy, philosophy of mind and action, philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of the sciences. This Handbook will be a rich source of insight and stimulation for philosophers, students of philosophy, and for people working in other disciplines of the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, who are interested in the state of philosophy today More
A Companion to Analytic Philosophy (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy) edited by A. P. Martinich, David Sosa (Blackwell Publishers) (Paperback) is a comprehensive guide to over 40 of the significant analytic philosophers from the last hundred years. The entries in this Companion are contributed by contemporary philosophers, including some of the most distinguished now living, such as Michael Dummett, Frank Jackson, P. M. S. Hacker, Israel Scheffler, John Searle, Ernest Sosa, and Robert Stalnaker. They discuss the arguments of influential figures in the history of analytic philosophy, among them Frege, Russell, Moore, Wittgenstein, and Quine. The articles on each philosopher provide clear and extensive analysis of profound and widely encountered concepts such as meaning, truth, knowledge, goodness, and the mind. This volume is a vital resource for anyone interested in analytic philosophy. More
Analytic Philosophy: An Anthology edited by A. P. Martinich, David Sosa (Blackwell Philosophy Anthologies: Blackwell Publishers) This substantial anthology comprises the most comprehensive and authoritative collection of readings in analytic philosophy of the twentieth century. It provides a survey and analysis of the key issues, figures and concepts. The volume is divided into seven sections: philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, free will and personal identity, ethics, and methodology. It includes the most familiar texts of the analytic tradition, as well as several others that are less often anthologized. Several articles are logically related to each other. For example, Moore's Four Forms of Skepticism, appears together with selections from Wittgenstein's On Certainty; Langford's discussion of the paradox of analysis and Moore's reply are both included; and Quine's Two Dogmas of Empiricism is paired with Grice and Strawson's In Defense of a Dogma. More
Uncorrected Papers: Diverse Philosophical Dissents by Wallace Matson (Humanity Books) These incisive, witty, and completely accessible essays on a wide range of topics by historian of philosophy Wallace Matson admirably demonstrate that philosophy can still be based on careful reasoning and presented with clarity of expression. Against fashionable contemporary views, Matson asserts that philosophy is "the most important subject in the college curriculum," because it is the investigation into what rationality is. Getting the answer wrong to the question "What does it mean to be reasonable?" is the most catastrophic of errors. The motivation for most of the essays in this collection is his perception that this error is being widely committed and that received opinion on many topics is dead wrong. More
Critique of Everyday Life, Volume III: From Modernity to Modernism by Henri Lefebvre, translated by Michel Trebitsch (Towards a Metaphilosophy of Daily Life: Verso) Critique of Everyday Life, Volume II by Henri Lefebvre, Translated by John Moore (Verso) The more needs a human being has, the more he exists," quips Lefebvre in a savage critique of consumerist society, first published in 1947. The French philosopher, historian and Marxist sociologist, who died this summer at age 90, meditates on the dehumanization and ugliness smuggled into daily life under cover of purity, utility, beauty. He deconstructs leisure as a form of social control, spanks surrealism for its turning away from reality, and attempts to get past the "mystification" inherent in bourgeois life by analyzing Chaplin's films, Brecht's epic theater, peasant festivals, daydreams, Rimbaud and the rhythms of work and relaxation. Rejecting the inauthentic, which he perceives in a church service or in rote work from which one is alienated, Lefebvre nevertheless seeks to unearth the human potential that may be inherent in such rituals. More
Return Of The Baroque In Modern Culture: Art, Theory and Culture in the Modern Age by Gregg Lambert (Continuum International Publishing Group) explores the re-invention of the early European Baroque within the philosophical, cultural and literary thought of postmodernism in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America. Lambert argues that the "return of the Baroque" expresses a principle often hidden behind the cultural logic of postmodernism in its various national and cultural incarnations, a principal often in variance with Anglo-American modernism. Writers and theorists examined include Walter Benjamin, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Octavio Paz and Cuban novelists Alejo Carpentier and Severo Sarduy. A highly original and compelling reinterpretation of modernity, Return of the Baroque answers Raymond Williams' charge to create alternative national and international accounts of aesthetic and cultural history in order to challenge the centrality of Anglo-American modernism. More
Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View by Richard Tarnas (Viking) With The Passion of the Western Mind, Richard Tarnas gave the world what many scholars, from Joseph Campbell to Huston Smith, regard as one of the finest histories of the Western mind and spirit ever written. Now, Cosmos and Psyche challenges the basic assumptions of the modern world view with an extraordinary new body of evidence that points towards a profound new perspective on the human role in the cosmos.
Based on thirty years of research, Cosmos and Psyche is the first book by a widely respected scholar to demonstrate the existence of a consistent correspondence between planetary movements and the archetypal patterns of human experience. This volume examines such famous epochs of cultural rebellion as the 1960s and the French Revolution, as well as periods of historical crisis such as the world wars and September 11th. Cosmos and Psyche also explores comparable patterns and planetary correlations in the lives of many individuals, from Darwin, Nietzsche, and Freud to Martin Luther King, Betty Friedan, and John Lennon. More
Weimar in Exile: The Antifascist Emigration in Europe and America
by Jean-Michel Palmier, translated by David Fernbach (Verso) In 1933
thousands of intellectuals, artists, writers, militants and other
opponents of the Nazi regime fled Germany. They were, in the words
of Heinrich Mann, "the best of Germany," refusing to remain citizens
in this new state that legalized terror and brutality. One of the
many sobering lessons of the Third Reich was the failure of
Germany's intellectual elite to stop the rise of Hitler. Starting in
1933, with Hitler's assumption of power, German poets, philosophers,
playwrights, artists and scientists—including Bertolt Brecht, Thomas
Mann, Walter Benjamin, Stefan Zweig and thousands of others—seeing
the writing on the wall, packed up and found new homes.
They emigrated to Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Oslo, Vienna, New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Mexico, Jerusalem, Moscow. Throughout their exile they strove to give expression to the fight against Nazism through their work, in prose, poetry and painting, architecture, film and theater. Weimar in Exile follows these lives, from the rise of national socialism to the return to their ruined homeland, retracing their stories, struggles, setbacks and rare victories.
This absorbing history covers the lives of Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Döblin, Hans Eisler, Heinrich Mann, Thomas Mann, Anna Seghers, Ernst Toller, Stefan Zweig and many others, whose dignity in exile is a moving counterpoint to the story of Germany under the Nazis. More
Reflections on America: Tocoqueville, Weber and Adorno in the United States by Claus Offe, translated by Gareth Schott, John Thompson (Polity Press) At a time when so many cracks have emerged within the imagined community of 'the West', this important new book, by one of the leading social scientists in Europe, examines the intellectual history of comparing Europe and the United States. Claus Offe considers the perspectives adopted by three of Europe's greatest social scientists — Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber and Theodor W Adorno — in their comparative writings on Europe. More
Western Philosophy: An Illustrated Guide by David Papineau (Oxford University Press) brings key concepts of philosophy to life and shows their vital relevance to all our lives. What does it mean for someone to exist? What is truth? Art we free to choose to think or act? What is consciousness? Is human cloning justifiable? These are just some of the questions philosophers have attempted to answer, striking right at the heart of what it means to be human. This important new books shows that philosophy need not be dry or intimidating. Its highly original treatment, combining philosophical analysis, historical and biographical background and thought-provoking illustrations, simultaneously informs and stimulates the reader. Western Philosophy: An Illustrated Guide is structured thematically, in terms of major issues, with chapters on World, Mind and Body, Knowledge, Faith, Ethics and Aesthetics, and Society. Cutting across this organization by theme is a parallel organization that focuses on the great thinkers and their influence, as well as the schools or "-isms" to which they subscribed. A highly accessible introduction to the subject, founded upon impeccable academic scholarship, Western Philosophy: An Illustrated Guide offers life-changing perspectives on what really matters. More
Voices of Wisdom: A Multicultural Philosophy Reader, 6th edition edited by Gary E. Kessler (Wadsworth Publishing) (Hardcover) First published in 1992 this anthology quickly became the standard for multicultural introductions to philosophy. Composed of a group of culturally diverse readings addressing a selection of seminal philosophical questions in ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics, VOICES OF WISDOM introduces students to the traditional terrain of philosophy as developed in the European tradition, yet in a manner that embraces significant philosophical insights borne out of different cultural legacies. More
A Companion To Heidegger edited by Hubert L. Dreyfus, Mark A.
Wrathall (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy: Blackwell Publishers)
A Companion to Heidegger is a complete guide to the work and thought
of Martin Heidegger, one of the most influential philosophers of the
twentieth century. The 31 essays in this volume make an important,
illuminating contribution to explaining the complexity of
The volume opens by focusing on the most important elements of Heidegger’s intellectual biography, including his notorious involvement with National Socialism. The book then goes on to provide a systematic and comprehensive exploration of Heidegger’s work. The contributions proceed chronologically, starting with discussions of his magnum opus Being and Time, moving on to the period of his ‘Kehre’ or ‘turn’, and concluding with his neglected later work. A final section contains key critical responses to Heidegger’s philosophy, including consideration of his relation to pragmatism, religion, and ecology. Contributors include many of the leading interpreters of, and commentators on, the work of Heidegger.
Martin Heidegger is one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. His work has been appropriated by scholars in fields as diverse as philosophy, classics, psychology, literature, history, sociology, anthropology, political science, religious studies, and cultural studies. More
Pragmatism, Old And New: Selected Writings edited by Susan Haack, Robert Lane (Prometheus Books) Morris R. Cohen once described Pragmatism as "a philosophy for people who cannot think"; and Bertrand Russell feared that Pragmatism would lead philosophy into "cosmic impiety." Nothing could be further from the truth. Pragmatism was one of the most fruitful philosophical movements of the late nineteenth century, and has continued to be a significant influence on some of the major figures in philosophy—F. P. Ramsey, W. V. Quine, Sidney Hook, Nelson Goodman, Hilary Putnam, and many others. Today some even speak of a remarkable renaissance of Pragmatism. Very often, though, what they have in mind is not the rich heritage of the classical Pragmatist tradition, but a radical self-styled neo-Pragmatism that has of late transmuted the reformist aspirations of classical Pragmatism into a kind of revolutionary anti-intellectualism—a radical neo-Pragmatism that seems to confirm Russell’s worst fears. More
Memory, History, Forgetting by Paul Ricoeur, translated by Kathleen Blamey, David Pellauer (University of Chicago Press) The French philosopher Paul Ricoeur’s monumental effort to wed "poetics" (here understood as having wide-ranging application to all creative acts, including those of knowledge) to the structures of intentional consciousness has preoccupied him for approximately forty years. His voyage from eidetics through empirics to the hermeneutics of text and discourse has been variously documented. The shift from static epistemological categories to a participatory ontological mode of consciousness and action is inherent in this development. Though Ricoeur's struggle to define the workings of the imagination as representation hardly a yet fully articulated, the theme has given rise to his more recent reflections upon narrative knowledges and ethics and has permeated his work virtually from its inception.
Originally, one could say that Ricoeur sought, within the bounds of a self-confessed post-Hegelian Kantian framework, to locate the seat of human knowing and imagination in those structures of intentional consciousness that allow symbolic forms to be incorporated within a traditional epistemological framework.
Ricoeur’s explorations of symbolic material, showed him that hermeneutics, as traditionally understood in its role of interpretation, was at a methodological impasse between the approaches of explanation and understanding and that the process itself could be reductive in its application. From this latter perspective, hermeneutics did not automatically encourage an undistorted interpretation of human experience and its resultant modes of expression (be they words or symbols) but rather could reinforce the viewpoint of the inquirer. In response, Ricoeur undertook an optimistic search for a hermeneutical method that would be both heuristic and corrective and would acknowledge a more humane knowledge and imagination.
As he came to appreciate the dynamic qualities of imaginative productivity and the flexibility of his appreciation of the hermeneutical circle and the phenomenological epoche, Ricoeur moved away from an explicit Kantian treatment of the productive imagination, particularly the conservative reworking of the topic in the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason. This inadequacy prompted Ricoeur to search for a more congenial epistemology that celebrates the more explicitly autonomous, innate dimensions of creative knowing and imagination.
In The Rule of Metaphor and in various articles, Ricoeur mapped out a proposed agenda for his own solutions to limitation of the Kantian understanding of reason and imagination and the self-reification of uncritical hermeneutical inquiry. This reframing of epistemological, ethical and imaginal issues has been at the core of his later writings.
The groundwork in these writings for a creative imagination that finds its most efficacious idiom in a dynamic hermeneutics.
Ricoeur's revision of the role of imagination entails a reconstitution of the hermeneutical task. To arrive at this revised understanding of human knowing and imagination, Ricoeur adroitly weaves together several strands of thought that permit him to focus on metaphor and by extension narrative as paradigmatic for exemplifying the creative dynamics of of human knowing and imagination. This vision of hermeneutics as part of a wider spectrum of creative acts of knowledge by which we understand ourselves in the active realm of Being within a spectrum of a "poetics of experience." This imaginative experience has the power not only to generate meaning but ultimately to change the world—that is, the world of experience, as we live and understand it. Ricoeur's method is not without a hermeneutic of suspicion that strives to eliminate historical and personal distortions of symbols that have resulted in misguided theological declarations, as a closure to the open-endedness of historical reflection.
In Memory, History, Forgetting we have Ricoeur seeking the reciprocal relationship between remembering and forgetting, that shows how it affects both the perception of historical experience and the production of historical narrative. Such practical questions as why major historical events as the Holocaust come to occupy the forefront of the collective consciousness, while other profound moments such as the Armenian genocide, the McCarthy era, and France's role in North Africa stand distantly and dimly behind? Is it possible that history "overly remembers" some events at the expense of others? Memory, History, Forgetting is divided into three major sections. Ricoeur first takes a phenomenological approach to memory and mnemonic devices, extending his work on the imagination. The underlying question here is how a memory of present can be of something absent, the past. The second section addresses recent work of historians by reopening the question of the nature and truth of historical knowledge. Ricoeur explores whether historians, who can write a history of memory, can truly break with all dependence on memory, including memories that resist representation. Here Ricoeur opens up his epistemology as developed in his three volume Time and Narrative to offer a cultural and social extension to imaginative human knowledge. The third and final section, Ricoeur invokes a creative vision of the human limits to experience and knowing in a thoughtful consideration of the inevitability of forgetting as a provision for the prospect of remembering, and whether there can be something like happy forgetting as comparable to happy memory. This current work provides a deeper picture how Ricoeur constructs the self as having a catalytic effect, and provoking the depiction and aiding, through imaginative representations, the appropriation of new ways of being in the world. It is in cultural dialectic of memory and forgetfulness that renewed ways of being in and of the world is brought to our attention and becomes the substance of out acting as moral agents. This world, for Ricoeur, is grounded ultimately within a Christian vista of promise and hope. So it is that imagination can deepen our appreciation of the mysteries of faith. Ironically, imagination is, in some form, the agent of revelation. But while Ricoeur's interdependent model allows imagination free play in the fields of ontological exploration, it does not give imagination the last word. For Ricoeur, any augmentation in knowledge results from an interaction of the imagination with reflective and critical modes of knowing, prior to any final incorporation into our present worldview.
Throughout Memory, History, Forgetting there are vigilant and solid appraisals, reinventions almost of key passages in Aristotle and Plato, Descartes and Kant, and in extensive discussions of such recent contemporary sociology of Maurice Halbwachs and the philosophical history of Pierre Nora.
Identifying Selfhood: Imagination, Narrative, and Hermeneutics in the Thought of Paul Ricoeur by Henry Isaac Venema (McGill Studies in the History of Religions: State University of New York Press) provides the first sustained treatment of the development of Paul Ricoeur's decentered formulation of selfhood from his earliest works to his most recent. For Henry Venema, Ricoeur's affirmation that consciousness is always rooted in the signs, symbols, and texts that precede the hermeneutical project of self-recovery and discovery provides the thread that links all of Ricoeur's philosophical inquiries together. However, as Venema argues, Ricoeur's hermeneutic is caught up in the semantics of identity to such an extent that selfhood is confused and often equated with the textuality of the reflective process and is never dealt with on the intimate level of the reflexive structure of selfhood in relation to otherness. In the end, Ricoeur's formulation of alterity identifies the other within the circle of the self-same.
Ricoeur As Another: The Ethics of Subjectivity edited by Richard A. Cohen, James L. Marsh (SUNY Series in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences: State University of New York Press) This collection of essays by internationally known Paul Ricoeur experts explores the noted philosopher's book, Oneself as Another. Ricoeur's book represents the completion of a decades-long inquiry into the self as he links his earlier studies of symbolism, hermeneutics, phenomenology, the philosophy of language, action theory, and theory of narrative to his most recent concern for ethics and the social constitution of ethical subjectivity. Cohen and Marsh's volume is divided into two parts, the first primarily involving Ricoeur's thought itself, and the second involving the relation of his thought to that of others, such as Levinas, Rawls, Habermas, Apel, Taylor, and MacIntyre. The contributors also offer detailed examinations of Ricoeur's ethical theory and its ontological implications.
Norms, Naturalism and Epistemology: The Case for Science Without Norms by Jonathan Knowles (Palgrave MacMillan) Jonathan Knowles argues against theories that seek to provide specific norms for the formation of belief on the basis of empirical sources: the project of naturalized epistemology. He argues that such norms are either not genuinely normative for belief, or are not required for optimal belief formation. An exhaustive classification of such theories is motivated and each variety is discussed in turn. He distinguishes naturalized epistemology from the less committal idea of naturalism, which provides a sense in which we can achieve epistemic normativity without norms.
Scientists draw conclusions, based on experimentation and on reasoning about and within particular scientific theories, and in doing so they are following certain practices. It has to be said that these practices constitute a normative component of science, if only because one broad and obvious sense of “norm” applies whenever practices of any sort provide any sort of guidance. More
The Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law edited by Jules Coleman, Scott J. Shapiro (Oxford University Press) (paperback) brings together specially commissioned essays by twenty-seven of the foremost legal theorists currently writing, to provide a state of the art overview of jurisprudential scholarship. Each author presents an account of the contending views and scholarly debates animating their field of enquiry as well as setting the agenda for further study. This landmark publication will be essential reading for anyone working in legal theory and of interest to legal scholars generally, philosophers and legal theorists looking for a way in to understand current jurisprudential thinking. More
The Oxford Handbook of Free Will by Robert Kane (Editor) (Oxford University Press) The problem of free will arguably remains the most voluminously debated of all philosophical problems. Indeed, debates about free will and necessity (or determinism) expanded to an all-time height in the twentieth century. Yet this growth has made it difficult for philosophers and students of philosophy to keep abreast of the latest research and developments. More
The Oxford Handbook of Rationality edited by Alfred R. Mele, Piers Rawling (Oxford University Press) In its primary sense, rationality is a normative concept that philosophers have generally tried to characterize in such a way that, for any action, belief, or desire, if it is rational we ought to choose it. No such positive characterization has achieved anything close to universal assent because, often, several competing actions, beliefs, or desires count as rational. Equating what is rational with what is rationally required eliminates the category of what is rationally allowed. Irrationality seems to be the more fundamental normative category; for although there are conflicting substantive accounts of irrationality, all agree that to say of an action, belief, or desire that it is irrational is to claim that it should always be avoided. More
The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology edited by Paul K. Moser (Oxford University Press) contains 19 previously unpublished chapters by today's leading figures in the field. These chapters function not only as a survey of key areas, but as original scholarship on a range of vital topics. Written accessibly for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and professional philosophers, the Handbook explains the main ideas and problems of contemporary epistemology while avoiding overly technical detail. More
The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics edited by Jerrold Levinson (Oxford University Press) brings the authority, liveliness, and multi-disciplinary scope of the Handbook series to a fascinating theme in philosophy and the arts. Jerrold Levinson has assembled a hugely impressive range of talent to contribute 48 brand-new essays, making this the most comprehensive guide available to the theory, application, history, and future of the field. This Handbook will be invaluable to academics and students across philosophy and all branches of the arts, both as the reference work of choice and as a stimulus to new research and creativity. More
The Oxford Handbook of Practical Ethics edited by Hugh Lafollette (Oxford University Press) Each title in this series offers an authoritative and up-to-date survey of research in a particular subject area. Specially commissioned essays from leading figures in the discipline give critical examinations of the progress and direction of debates. The series provides scholars and graduate students with compelling new perspectives upon a wide range of subjects in the humanities and social sciences. This is a guide to current thought on ethical issues in all areas of human activity - personal, medical, sexual, social, political, judicial, and international, from the natural world to the world of business. Twenty-eight topics are covered in specially written surveys by leading figures in their fields: each gives an authoritative map of the ethical terrain, explaining how the debate has developed in recent years, engaging critically with the most notable work in the area, and pointing directions for future work. More
The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics edited by Michael J. Loux, Dean W. Zimmerman ( Oxford University Press) ITS detractors often characterize analytical philosophy as anti-metaphysical. After all, we are told, it was born at the hands of Moore and Russell, who were reacting against the metaphysical systems of idealists like Bosanquet and Bradley; and subsequent movements in the analytic tradition—logical positivism and ordinary language philosophy—made the elimination of metaphysics the cornerstone of their respective philosophical agendas. The characterization is not, however, completely accurate. For one thing, the earliest movement in the tradition—the logical atomism of Russell and the early Wittgenstein—was thoroughly metaphysical in its orientation. To be sure, the metaphysics at work there was conservative, lacking the speculative excesses and obscurantist jargon of the idealists; but no less than the idealists, the logical atomists were concerned to provide a comprehensive account of the ontological structure of reality. For another, while card-carrying positivists and ordinary language philosophers were officially committed to the view that the claims of the traditional metaphysician are somehow problematic (perhaps meaningless; perhaps, just confused), the fact is that philosophers from both movements continued to deal with the problems confronting traditional metaphysics. Of course, they were anxious to conceal this fact, parading their work as talk about logical syntax or as conceptual analysis; but no one was fooled; and in any case, their attacks on metaphysics were themselves anchored in theses (typically theses expressing a radical form of anti-realism) that were no less metaphysical than the views they sought to undermine. More
An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind by K. T. Maslin (Polity) contains a number of features which are designed to help introduce students to the basic questions and arguments in the philosophy of mind. It is a good primer that helps to create a quick grasp and sound and thorough understanding of what the subject is about.
There is a brief survey of the contents of each chapter by providing a list of objectives at the start of the chapter. These objectives specify the main ideas in the chapter. Next, exercises are designed to enable thinking about various topics are integrated into the text throughout the book. They are designed as discussion question that works well in dyads or small groups. Maslin provides a discussion of each topic as a check to the groups discussion.
There is a selection of questions typical of those asked by examiners at A‑level and degree level are to be found at chapter ends, together with details of further reading for those keen to take the topics forward for themselves. Clearly, teachers could set these essays for students. Alternativelyl students might try planning or writing these essays for themselves. The discussions are for the most part are non-technical but a useful glossary and a short select bibliography is available
Deduction: Introductory Symbolic Logic, 2nd Edition by Daniel Bonevac (Blackwell) Near the end of the eighteenth century, Immanuel Kant wrote that logic was a closed and completed subject, to which nothing significant had been contributed since the time of Aristotle and to which nothing significant remained to be contributed. Many logic students today receive a similar impression from their introductory logic courses, except that Russell and Whitehead have assumed the venerated position that Aristotle held in Kant's time. More
Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation by Donald Davidson (Oxford University Press) The eighteen essays in this collection address the question of what it is for words to mean what they do. Davidson covers such topics as the relation between theories of truth and theories of meaning, translation, quotation, belief, radical interpretation, reference, metaphor, and communication. Excellent book. A must read for anyone interested in philosophy of language. This book contains all of Davidson's important articles concerning philosophy of language. A classic in analytical argument. More
The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, and Consciousness by Virginia Postrel (HarperCollins) Celebrated trend-spotter, social critic, and New York Times columnist Virginia Postrel turns her razor-sharp eye toward a major new trend this fall: the triumph of style in American life in The Substance of Style. Postrel persuasively argues that aesthetics - the look and feel of people, places, and things - is increasingly essential as a source of value, both economic and cultural. Citing examples that invade nearly every aspect of our lives-from fashion to real estate, and design to economics---Postrel proves that in order to remain competitive in any forum, be it business or pleasure, we have to make the right decisions based upon our sensory experiences. More
Humanism and the Humanities in the Twenty-First Century by William S. Haney and Peter Malekin (Bucknell University Press) The purpose of the book is to raise questions about the underlying paradigms of contemporary learning and social thinking, including the nature of consciousness and the mind, the purpose and conduct of education, the role of science and scientific methodologies, the place of art and literature, our relationship to the environment, our concepts of spirituality, our attitudes to the past and also what we are doing to our own future. It therefore deliberately breaks with established discourses and undermines current notions of the expert and the specialist. More
Twentieth-Century Western Philosophy of Religion 1900-2000 by Eugene Thomas Long (Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy of Religion, Volume 1: Kluwer Academic) provides in one volume a map of one hundred years of twentieth-century western philosophy of religion. Divided into four divisions approximating four chronological periods, the book begins at the turn of the twentieth-century with Absolute Idealism, Personal Idealism, Neo-Kantianism, Positivism and the Science of Religion. The period between the two world wars includes discussions of Neo-Realism, Phenomenology, American Pragmatism, Personalism and the Philosophy of History. The primary strands of philosophy of religion after mid-century are Philosophical Analysis, Existential Philosophy, Neo-Thomism and Process Philosophy. More
The Liar's Tale: A History of Falsehood by Jeremy Campbell (W.W.
Norton) A bold new exploration of ethics and philosophy,
The Liar's Tale extols the benefits of falsehood. Fireflies find
mates by duping rivals with patterns of deceptive flashes.
Politicians win elections by distorting statistics and telling
half-truths. The devices of falsehood, whether simple exaggeration,
pretense, or barefaced lies; are hard to resist and easy to employ.
Now, in a provocative work that turns Sissela Bok's Lying on its
head, Jeremy Campbell presents a daring inquiry into the nature of
deception. With insight into rhetoric, language, and the sciences,
Campbell launches his discussion with Darwin and evolutionary
biology, and from there builds a foundation of philosophical
evidence that is both counterintuitive and highly engaging. We
encounter the purism of the ancients and their battles with the
Sophists, the many faces of falsehood decried by Montaigne, the dark
ethos of Kant and Nietzsche, and the reckless shift made by Derrida
and the postmodernists favoring "meaning" at the expense of truth.
Unsettling and highly original,
The Liar's Tale is sure to provoke a new debate about truth and
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