Bertrand Russell, the recipient of the 1950 Nobel Prize for Literature, was one of the most distinguished, influential, and prolific philosophers of the twentieth century. Acquaintance, Knowledge, and Logic brings together ten new essays on Russell’s best-known work, The Problems of Philosophy. These essays, by some of the foremost scholars of his life and works, reexamine Russell’s famous distinction between “knowledge by acquaintance” and “knowledge by description,” his developing views about our knowledge of physical reality, and his views about our knowledge of logic, mathematics, and other abstract matters. In addition, this volume includes an editors’ introduction, which summarizes Russell’s influential book, presents new biographical details about how and why Russell wrote it, and highlights its continued significance for contemporary philosophy.
The scientists affiliated with the early Royal Society of London have long been regarded as forerunners of modern empiricism, rejecting the symbolic and moral goals of Renaissance natural history in favor of plainly representing the world as it really was. In Aesthetic Science, Alexander Wragge-Morley challenges this interpretation by arguing that key figures such as John Ray, Robert Boyle, Nehemiah Grew, Robert Hooke, and Thomas Willis saw the study of nature as an aesthetic project.
To show how early modern naturalists conceived of the interplay between sensory experience and the production of knowledge, Aesthetic Science explores natural-historical and anatomical works of the Royal Society through the lens of the aesthetic. By underscoring the importance of subjective experience to the communication of knowledge about nature, Wragge-Morley offers a groundbreaking reconsideration of scientific representation in the early modern period and brings to light the hitherto overlooked role of aesthetic experience in the history of the empirical sciences.
edited by Tom Rockmore and Beth J. Singer Temple University Press, 1991 Library of Congress BD181.A57 1992 | Dewey Decimal 121
"[The book] illuminate[s] the philosophical urge to attain certainty and system, and especially system that is based on certain and indubitable ground. The historical approach works well.... This collection makes no pretensions, yet manages to deliver important contributions to the continuing inquiry."
--John Lachs, Vanderbilt University
The debate over foundationalism, the viewpoint that there exists some secure foundation upon which to build a system of knowledge, appears to have been resolved and the antifoundationalists have at least temporarily prevailed. From a firmly historical approach, the book traces the foundationalism/antifoundationalism controversy in the work of many important figures--Animaxander, Aristotle and Plato, Augustine, Descartes, Hegel and Nietzsche, Habermas and Chisholm, and others--throughout the history of philosophy. The contributors, Joseph Margolis, Ronald Polansky, Gary Calore, Fred and Emily Michael, William Wurzer, Charlene Haddock Siegfried, Sandra B. Rosenthal, Kathleen Wallace, and the editors present well the diversity, interest, and roots of antifoundationalism.
"As a distinctive philosophy, religious humanism emphasizes man's place in an unfathomed universe, reason as an instrument for discovering the truth, free inquiry as a condition for discerning meaning and purpose, and happiness as a fundamental value.
"Man's uniqueness emerges partly from homo sapiens' capacity to employ symbols effectively. For this reason, Willard's provocative book is not a celebration of controversy but a sophisticated study exploring the grounds of man's knowledge. Drawing upon phenomenologists such as Alfred Schultz, psychologists such as George Kelley, and argumentation philosophers such as Stephen Toulmin, Willard makes a genuine contribution to intellectual inquiry by extending essential consideration about human knowledge. The [author] demonstrates how 'secular sources' provide a fundamental resource in developing religious understanding from argumentative interactions.
"Highly insightful and intellectually refreshing . . . Argumentation and the Social Grounds of Knowledge provides thought-provoking reading for humanists concerned with rational inquiry, communication theory, religious philosophy, and liberal education." --Religious Humanism
The Being of the Beautiful collects Plato’s three dialogues, the Theaetetus, Sophist, and Statesmen, in which Socrates formulates his conception of philosophy while preparing for trial. Renowned classicist Seth Benardete’s careful translations clearly illuminate the dramatic and philosophical unity of these dialogues and highlight Plato’s subtle interplay of language and structure. Extensive notes and commentaries, furthermore, underscore the trilogy’s motifs and relationships.
“The translations are masterpieces of literalness. . . . They are honest, accurate, and give the reader a wonderful sense of the Greek.”—Drew A. Hyland, Review of Metaphysics
Why does an object or phenomenon become the subject of scientific inquiry? Why do some of these objects remain provocative, while others fade from center stage? And why do objects sometimes return as the focus of research long after they were once abandoned?
Addressing such questions, Biographies of Scientific Objects is about how whole domains of phenomena—dreams, atoms, monsters, culture, society, mortality, centers of gravity, value, cytoplasmic particles, the self, tuberculosis—come into being and sometimes pass away as objects of scientific study. With examples drawn from both the natural and social sciences, and ranging from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, this book explores the ways in which scientific objects are both real and historical. Whether discovered or invented, these objects of inquiry broaden and deepen in meaning—growing more "real"—as they become entangled in webs of cultural significance, material practices, and theoretical derivations. Thus their biographies will matter to anyone concerned with the formation of scientific knowledge.
Contributors are Jed Z. Buchwald, Lorraine Daston, Rivka Feldhay, Jan Goldstein, Gerard Jorland, Doris Kauffman, Bruno Latour, Theodore M. Porter, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Marshall Sahlins, and Peter Wagner.
The Black Box Society
Frank Pasquale Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress HN49.P6.P375 2015 | Dewey Decimal 303.3
Every day, corporations are connecting the dots about our personal behavior—silently scrutinizing clues left behind by our work habits and Internet use. But who connects the dots about what firms are doing with all this information? Frank Pasquale exposes how powerful interests abuse secrecy for profit and explains ways to rein them in.
Cost, expected benefits, and risks are paramount in grant agencies' decisions to fund scientific research. In Cognitive Economy, Nicholas Rescher outlines a general theory for the cost-effective use of intellectual resources, amplifying the theories of Charles Sanders Pierce, who stressed an “economy of research.” Rescher discusses the requirements of cooperation, communication, cognitive importance, cognitive economy, as well as the economic factors bearing on induction and simplicity. He then applies his model to several case studies and to clarifying the limits imposed on science by economic considerations.
This novel approach to epistemological discourse explains the complex but crucial role that systematization plays-not just for the organization of what we know, but also for its validation. Cognitive Harmony argues for a new conception of the process philosophers generally call induction.
Relying on the root definition of harmony, a coherent unification of component parts (systemic integrity) in such a way that the final object can successfully accomplish what it was meant to do (evaluative positivity), Rescher discusses the role of harmony in cognitive contexts, the history of cognitive harmony, and the various features it has in producing human knowledge. The book ends on the issue of philosophy and the sort of harmony required of philosophical systems.
Nicholas Rescher tackles the major questions of philosophical inquiry, pondering the nature of truth and existence. In the authoritative voice and calculated manner that we’ve come to expect from this distinguished philosopher, Rescher argues that the development of knowledge is a practice, pursued by humans because we have a need for its products. This pragmatic approach satisfies our innate urge as humans to make sense of our surroundings.
Taking his discussion down to the level of particular details, and addressing such topics as inductive validation, hypostatization fallacies, and counterfactual reasoning, Rescher abandons abstract generalities in favor of concrete specifics. For example, philosophers usually insist that to reason logically from a counterfactual, we must imagine a possible world in which the statement is fact. But Rescher argues that there’s no need to attempt to accept the facts of a world outside our cognition in order to reason from them. He shows us how we can use our own natural system of prioritizing, our own understanding of the fundamental, to resolve the inconsistencies in such statements as, “If the Eiffel Tower were in Manhattan, then it would be in New York State.”
In using dozens of real-world examples such as these, and in arguing in his characteristically succinct style, Rescher casts light on a wide variety of concrete issues in the classical theory of knowledge, and reassures us along the way that the inherent limitations on our knowledge are no cause for distress. In pragmatic theory and inquiry, we must accept that the best we can do is good enough, because we only have a certain (albeit large) set of tools and conceptualizations available to us.
A unique synthesis, this endeavor into pragmatic epistemology will be of interest to scholars and students of philosophy and cognitive science.
In this provocative work, John McCumber asks us to understand Hegel's system as a new approach to linguistic communication. Hegel, he argues, is concerned with building community and mutual comprehension rather than with completing metaphysics or developing historical critique. According to McCumber's radial interpretation, Hegel constructs a complex ideal of how we should use certain words. This ideal philosophical vocabulary is flexible and open to revision, and is constructed according to principles available at all time and all places; it is responsive to, but not dictated by, the shared language of cultured discourse whose concepts it attempts to refine and universalize.
Alexandre Kojève (1902–1968) is most widely known in America for his provocative assertion that history is at its end, that is, its completion. In the “practical” sense, this means that the process of historical development can at last be seen (if from a distance) as the realization of the Marxist “universal and homogeneous state.” However, Kojève claimed as well that the history of philosophical thinking had also reached its goal in the transformation of philosophy, as the “love of wisdom” (or the unsatisfied quest for comprehensive knowledge), into that very Wisdom itself and had done so in the most essential respects in the philosophy of Hegel.
The Concept, Time, and Discourse is the first volume of Kojève’s magnum opus, which was to have given an exposition of the (Hegelian) System of Knowledge and of which five volumes were written before his death. It contains, along with a preliminary discussion of the need for an updating of the Hegelian system, the first two of three introductions to the exposition of that system: a First Introduction of the Concept (the integrated totality of what is comprehensible, which is the final object of philosophic inquiry) and a Second Introduction concerning Time, both introductions leading to the (Hegelian) identification of the Concept with Time, an identification which alone takes adequate account of the fact that Philosophy is necessarily discursive (that it must actualize the requirements and essential structure of Discourse).
The present volume offers Kojève’s fullest statement of his Ontology. It includes a critical discussion of the traditional oppositions of the “general” to the “particular” and of the “abstract” to the “concrete” and an analysis of the act of “generalizing abstraction,” which detaches Essence from the Existence of Things. Kojève then discusses the three great figures in the three-stage development of philosophy into wisdom: Parmenides, Plato, and Hegel. Parmenides’ monadic account of Being (= Eternity) rendered it ineffable, thereby reducing philosophy to (non-philosophic) silence; Plato’s dyadic account of Being (as eternal) was intended to make Being a possible subject of discourse but failed to reflect adequately the triadic (and temporally developing) structure which Plato himself discerned in Discourse. Finally, Hegel’s triadic account of Being as itself “dialectical” achieved the final identification of the Concept with Time.
This is a first-time, meticulous translation of Kojève’s late, unfinished magnum opus, the “updating” of the Hegelian System of Knowledge, meaning its modification so as to make it comprehensible to the author himself and to his contemporaries. It is, however, much more than an exposition of its central terms, The Concept and Time and their identity. It is an acute, original review of the major themes of the West’s philosophical tradition; it is, in fact, a philosophical education in itself. Robert Williamson has done this tradition a great service by making Kojève’s work accessible to Americans. – Eva Brann, Dean Emerita and Senior Faculty, St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland
We now recognize Alexandre Kojève as one of the central figures of 20th century European philosophy. A translation of his The Concept, Time, and Discourse will enable English speaking readers to have a fuller understanding of his remarkably ambitious intellectual project. – Michael S. Roth, President, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut.
Robert B. Williamson is Tutor Emeritus at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, where he continues to teach. He is co-author, with Alfred Mollin, of An Introduction to Ancient Greek (University Press of America) and the author of articles on Plato’s philosophy and Einstein’s early work on relativity theory.
James H. Nichols, Jr. is Professor of Government and Dr. Jules L. Whitehill Professor of Humanism and Ethics at Claremont McKenna College, where he teaches political philosophy. Among his publications are Epicurean Political Philosophy: The De rerum natura ofLucretius, translations with interpretations of Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus, and most recently Alexandre Kojève: Wisdom at the End ofHistory.
The philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand (1905–1982) is a cultural phenomenon. Her books have sold more than twenty-eight million copies, and countless individuals speak of her writings as having significantly influenced their lives. Despite her popularity, Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism has received little serious attention from academic philosophers.
Concepts and Their Role in Knowledge offers scholarly analysis of key elements of Ayn Rand’s radically new approach to epistemology. The four essays, by contributors intimately familiar with this area of her work, discuss Rand’s theory of concepts—including its new account of abstraction and essence—and its central role in her epistemology; how that view leads to a distinctive conception of the justification of knowledge; her realist account of perceptual awareness and its role in the acquisition of knowledge; and finally, the implications of that theory for understanding the growth of scientific knowledge. The volume concludes with critical commentary on the essays by distinguished philosophers with differing philosophical viewpoints and the author’s responses to those commentaries.
This is the second book published in Ayn Rand Society Philosophical Studies, which was developed in conjunction with the Ayn Rand Society to offer a fuller scholarly understanding of this highly original and influential thinker. The Ayn Rand Society, an affiliated group of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, seeks to foster scholarly study by philosophers of the philosophical thought and writings of Ayn Rand.
The contributors to Constructing the Pluriverse critique the hegemony of the postcolonial Western tradition and its claims to universality by offering a set of “pluriversal” approaches to understanding the coexisting epistemologies and practices of the different worlds and problems we inhabit and encounter. Moving beyond critiques of colonialism, the contributors rethink the relationship between knowledge and power, offering new perspectives on development, democracy, and ideology while providing diverse methodologies for non-Western thought and practice that range from feminist approaches to scientific research to ways of knowing expressed through West African oral traditions. In combination, these wide-ranging approaches and understandings form a new analytical toolbox for those seeking creative solutions for dismantling Westernization throughout the world.
Contributors. Zaid Ahmad, Manuela Boatcă, Hans-Jürgen Burchardt, Raewyn Connell, Arturo Escobar, Sandra Harding, Ehsan Kashfi, Venu Mehta, Walter D. Mignolo, Ulrich Oslender, Issiaka Ouattara, Bernd Reiter, Manu Samnotra, Catherine E. Walsh, Aram Ziai
"What is most impressive about this book is its intelligence, its sophistication, and its charm. . . . This book presents Piaget's work and his person better than anything else that I know about."—David Elkind, Tufts University
"The tone is one of constant movement from the most ordinary to the most abstruse. There are 14 conversations with 'le Patron,' some in 1969, some in 1975, and several more with co-workers in various fields. . . . In Mr. Bringuier's book, in a pleasant informal way, we see a sophisticated non-scientist exploring Piaget's domain with the master. Some of Piaget's best-known findings about children as explained along the way, but Mr. Bringuier has ways of bringing out the relation of this psychological work to the whole of Piaget's enterprise, and we get a good sense of the man and his work."—Howard E. Gruber, New York Times Book Review
Anthropologist Dr Ad Borsboom, chair of Pacific Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen, devoted his academic career from 1972 onwards to the transmission of cultural knowledge. Borsboom handed the insights he acquired during many years of fieldwork among Australian Aborigines on to other academics, students and the general public. This collection of essays by his colleagues, specializing in cultures from across the globe, focuses on knowledge transmission. The contributions deal with local forms of education or pedagogics, the learning experiences of fieldwork and the nexus of status and education. Whereas some essays are reflexive, others are personal in nature. But all of the authors are fascinated by the divergent ways in which people handle ‘knowledge’. The volume provides readers with respectful representations of other cultures and their distinct epistemologies.
Culture and Enchantment
Mark A. Schneider University of Chicago Press, 1993 Library of Congress GN357.S36 1993 | Dewey Decimal 306.01
Max Weber viewed modern life as disenchanted, an arena from which scientific inquiry had banished magic. In contrast, Mark Schneider argues intriguingly that enchantment—the sense that we are confronted by inexplicable phenomena—persists in the world today, although it has shifted from the natural to the cultural arena. Culture and Enchantment shows that students of culture today operate in social and intellectual circumstances similar to those of seventeenth-century natural philosophers. Just as Newton was drawn to alchemy, scholars today are fascinated by ghostly and mercurial agents thought to account for the meanings of cultural entities.
For interpretive disciplines, Schneider suggests, meaning often behaves behaves as mysteriously as the apparitions pursued by centuries ago by natural philosophers. He demonstrates this using two case studies from anthropology: Clifford Geertz's description of Balinese cockfights and Yoruba statuary, and Claude Levi-Strauss's analyses of myths. These provide a basis for actively engaging disputes over the meaning and interpretation of culture.
Culture and Enchantment will appeal to an interdisciplinary audience in anthropology, sociology, history, history and sociology of science, culture studies, and literary theory. Schneider's provocative arguments will make this book a fulcrum in the continuing debate over the nature and prospects of cultural inquiry.
Is it in our nature to be altruistic, or evil, to make art, use tools, or create language? Is it in our nature to think in any particular way? For Daniel L. Everett, the answer is a resounding no: it isn’t in our nature to do any of these things because human nature does not exist—at least not as we usually think of it. Flying in the face of major trends in Evolutionary Psychology and related fields, he offers a provocative and compelling argument in this book that the only thing humans are hardwired for is freedom: freedom from evolutionary instinct and freedom to adapt to a variety of environmental and cultural contexts.
Everett sketches a blank-slate picture of human cognition that focuses not on what is in the mind but, rather, what the mind is in—namely, culture. He draws on years of field research among the Amazonian people of the Pirahã in order to carefully scrutinize various theories of cognitive instinct, including Noam Chomsky’s foundational concept of universal grammar, Freud’s notions of unconscious forces, Adolf Bastian’s psychic unity of mankind, and works on massive modularity by evolutionary psychologists such as Leda Cosmides, John Tooby, Jerry Fodor, and Steven Pinker. Illuminating unique characteristics of the Pirahã language, he demonstrates just how differently various cultures can make us think and how vital culture is to our cognitive flexibility. Outlining the ways culture and individual psychology operate symbiotically, he posits a Buddhist-like conception of the cultural self as a set of experiences united by various apperceptions, episodic memories, ranked values, knowledge structures, and social roles—and not, in any shape or form, biological instinct.
The result is fascinating portrait of the “dark matter of the mind,” one that shows that our greatest evolutionary adaptation is adaptability itself.
In recent decades, there has been a major shift in the way researchers process and understand scientific data. Digital access to data has revolutionized ways of doing science in the biological and biomedical fields, leading to a data-intensive approach to research that uses innovative methods to produce, store, distribute, and interpret huge amounts of data. In Data-Centric Biology, Sabina Leonelli probes the implications of these advancements and confronts the questions they pose. Are we witnessing the rise of an entirely new scientific epistemology? If so, how does that alter the way we study and understand life—including ourselves?
Leonelli is the first scholar to use a study of contemporary data-intensive science to provide a philosophical analysis of the epistemology of data. In analyzing the rise, internal dynamics, and potential impact of data-centric biology, she draws on scholarship across diverse fields of science and the humanities—as well as her own original empirical material—to pinpoint the conditions under which digitally available data can further our understanding of life. Bridging the divide between historians, sociologists, and philosophers of science, Data-Centric Biology offers a nuanced account of an issue that is of fundamental importance to our understanding of contemporary scientific practices.
Epistemology is the study of how “knowledge” is formed. Standard epistemology isolates the “known” from the “knowers,” thereby defining “knowledge” as objectively constant. Multiple epistemologies suggest that individuals learn in different ways shaped by life factors such as education, family, ethnicity, history, and regional beliefs. In this groundbreaking volume, editors Peter V. Paul and Donald F. Moores call on ten other noted scholars and researchers to join them in examining the many ways that deaf people see and acquire deaf knowledge.
This collection considers three major groups of deaf knowledge perspectives: sociological and anthropological, historical/psychological and literary, and educational and philosophical. The first explores the adoption of a naturalized, critical epistemological stance in evaluating research; the epistemology of a positive deaf identity; how personal epistemologies can help form deaf education policies; and valuing deaf indigenous knowledge in research. The next part considers dueling epistemologies in educating deaf learners; reforms in deaf education; the role of deaf children of hearing parents in creating Deaf epistemologies; and the benefit of reading literature with deaf characters for all students. The final part explores the application of the Qualitative-Similarity Hypothesis to deaf students’ acquisition of knowledge; a metaparadigm for literacy instruction in bilingual-bicultural education; collaborative knowledge-building to access academia; and examination of the benefits and disadvantages of being deaf.
What is the relationship between religious belief and the study of nature, between theology and science? This is the fundamental preoccupation of the three different studies brought together in Einstein, Polanyi, and the Laws of Nature.
By exploring the highly original yet little known thought of Michael Polanyi, Jaeger highlights the inherent personal investment in any quest for knowledge, including the scientific enterprise, thus raising the question of the objectivity of human knowledge. Considered to be the greatest mind of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein saw scientific research as the fruit of the “cosmic religion.” His response to the question of the relationship between faith and science also receives the close analysis it deserves. Finally, Jaeger is interested in science’s propensity to use the concept of laws of nature, a concept also found in the Bible. By examining the similarities and differences, she paves the way for interdisciplinary dialogue.
The synthesis of these three complimentary studies brings out the complicity between belief and knowledge, thus establishing a bridge between two noble human activities: faith and scientific research. It will be of interest to all serious followers of the ongoing science and religion dialogue.
Epistemic logic is the branch of philosophical thought that seeks to formalize the discourse about knowledge. Its object is to articulate and clarify the general principles of reasoning about claims to and attributions of knowledge. This comprehensive survey of the topic offers the first systematic account of the subject as it has developed in the journal literature over recent decades.
Rescher gives an overview of the discipline by setting out the general principles for reasoning about such matters as propositional knowledge and interrogative knowledge. Aimed at graduate students and specialists, Epistemic Logic elucidates both Rescher's pragmatic view of knowledge and the field in general.
Arguing for an oral theory of Reader Response Criticism, Steven B. Katz conducts a philosophical investigation into the possibility and desirability of teaching reading and writing as rhetorical music.
In the course of this investigation, Katz deals with New Physics, the sophists, Cicero, orality, epistemology, voice, writing, temporality, and sound. He demonstrates that Reader Response Criticism—as part of a new sophistic that has entered the mainstream of pedagogy and practice in our culture—parallels the philosophy of science engendered by the Copenhagen school of New Physics, which theoretically holds that knowledge of subatomic phenomena is probable, relative, contingent, and uncertain, thus requiring more nonformalistic, nonrationalistic methods in understanding and reconstructing it; Katz shows how the same methods are required in the study of affect in reading and writing. Katz also demonstrates that, like New Physics, Reader Response Criticism, in its commitment to interpretation as the primary function and goal of writing about literature, must remain somewhat committed to the formalistic, rationalistic epistemology it seeks to redress.
Basing his oral theory of Reader Response Criticism on notions of language as physical, sensuous, and musical and understanding reception as participatory performance rather that interpretation, Katz suggests a way to reconceptualize Reader Response Criticism. He accounts for "voice," "felt sense," "dissonance," and aesthetic response generally as it is created by the temporal, musical patterns of language, noting that the physical, musical dimension of language has been relatively neglected in contemporary movements in rhetoric, composition, and literature.
Thus, set against the relationship between literature and science, especially between Reader Response Criticism and the philosophy of science engendered by New Physics, Katz examines the sophistic and Ciceronian conceptions of rhetoric. He reinterprets Cicero’s rhetorical theory in light of recent revisionist scholarship on the sophists and reevaluates his assigned position in rhetorical history as neo-Aristotelian by focusing on his oral notions of style as epistemic music. In so doing, Katz offers a new interpretation of Cicero within the sophistic tradition.
Discussing the relationship between sophistic and Ciceronian conceptions of style as an oral, physical, nonrational, indirect form of knowledge and viewing philosophical conceptions of language as sensuous, temporal gestalten or "shapes" in consciousness, Katz suggests that response to and performance of the epistemic music of language can supplement analysis and interpretation in the teaching of reading and writing and can provide less formalistic, less rationalistic foundation for a reader response criticism as a new sophistic.
Epistemology and Inference
Henry E. Kyburg, Jr. University of Minnesota Press, 1983 Library of Congress BD161.K9 1983 | Dewey Decimal 121
Epistemology and Inference was first published in 1983. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Henry Kyburg has developed an original and important perspective on probabilistic and statistical inference. Unlike much contemporary writing by philosophers on these topics, Kyburg's work is informed by issues that have arisen in statistical theory and practice as well as issues familiar to professional philosophers. In two major books and many articles, Kyberg has elaborated his technical proposals and explained their ramifications for epistemology, decision-making, and scientific inquiry. In this collection of published and unpublished essays, Kyburg presents his novel ideas and their applications in a manner that makes them accessible to philosophers and provides specialists in probability and induction with a concise exposition of his system.
An Epistemology of the Concrete brings together case studies and theoretical reflections on the history and epistemology of the life sciences by Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, one of the world’s foremost philosophers of science. In these essays, he examines the history of experiments, concepts, model organisms, instruments, and the gamut of epistemological, institutional, political, and social factors that determine the actual course of the development of knowledge. Building on ideas from his influential book Toward a History of Epistemic Things, Rheinberger first considers ways of historicizing scientific knowledge, and then explores different configurations of genetic experimentation in the first half of the twentieth century and the interaction between apparatuses, experiments, and concept formation in molecular biology in the second half of the twentieth century. He delves into fundamental epistemological issues bearing on the relationship between instruments and objects of knowledge, laboratory preparations as a special class of epistemic objects, and the note-taking and write-up techniques used in research labs. He takes up topics ranging from the French “historical epistemologists” Gaston Bachelard and Georges Canguilhem to the liquid scintillation counter, a radioactivity measuring device that became a crucial tool for molecular biology and biomedicine in the 1960s and 1970s. Throughout An Epistemology of the Concrete, Rheinberger shows how assemblages—historical conjunctures—set the conditions for the emergence of epistemic novelty, and he conveys the fascination of scientific things: those organisms, spaces, apparatuses, and techniques that are transformed by research and that transform research in turn.
Everything we know about what goes on in the world comes to us through reports, information transmitted through human communication. We rely on reports, which can take any number of forms, to convey useful information, and we derive knowledge from that information. It's no surprise, then, that reporting has many philosophical dimensions. Because it plays such a major role in knowledge management, as Nicholas Rescher argues, the epistemology of reporting not only deserves our attention but also sheds important light on how we understand the theory of knowledge. This book offers a clear, accessible introduction to the theory of reporting, with a special emphasis on national security, particularly military and diplomatic reporting, drawing on examples from historical accounts of espionage and statecraft from the Second World War. Rescher explores the various issues and problems related to the production and reception of reports—including reporter expertise and trustworthiness, transmission modalities, confidentiality, cognitive importance, and the interpretation, evaluation, and utilization of reports—providing readers with a distinctive and well organized philosophical clarification of some central features of the theory of reporting.
Eternal Possibilities: A Neutral Ground for Meaning and Existence builds on David Weissman's earlier Dispositional Properties and makes a signal contribution to the study of metaphysics. Here, broadening and enriching the point of view adopted in his earlier work, Weissman cites and criticizes a large number of theories proposed by authors from Plato to Wittgenstein and others exploring language theory and metaphysics.
Students of Wittgenstein will be especially interested in Mr. Weissman's critical examination of Wittgenstein's claim in the Tractatus that possibilities are the facts for logic. Weissman proposes a modal theory of properties: they exist in the first instance as possibilities. He argues that a sentence is meaningful if it signifies a property or complex of properties existing as a possible, and true if that possible is instantiated. The status of possibilities and their relation to actual states of affairs are considered in detail.
Available in English for the first time, this much-anticipated translation of Enrique Dussel's Ethics of Liberation marks a milestone in ethical discourse. Dussel is one of the world's foremost philosophers. This treatise, originally published in 1998, is his masterwork and a cornerstone of the philosophy of liberation, which he helped to found and develop.
Throughout his career, Dussel has sought to open a space for articulating new possibilities for humanity out of, and in light of, the suffering, dignity, and creative drive of those who have been excluded from Western Modernity and neoliberal rationalism. Grounded in engagement with the oppressed, his thinking has figured prominently in philosophy, political theory, and liberation movements around the world.
In Ethics of Liberation, Dussel provides a comprehensive world history of ethics, demonstrating that our most fundamental moral and ethical traditions did not emerge in ancient Greece and develop through modern European and North American thought. The obscured and ignored origins of Modernity lie outside the Western tradition. Ethics of Liberation is a monumental rethinking of the history, origins, and aims of ethics. It is a critical reorientation of ethical theory.
In this wide-ranging consideration of intellectual diasporas, historian Peter Burke questions what distinctive contribution to knowledge exiles and expatriates have made. The answer may be summed up in one word: deprovincialization. Historically, the encounter between scholars from different cultures was an education for both parties, exposing them to research opportunities and alternative ways of thinking. Deprovincialization was in part the result of mediation, as many émigrés informed people in their “hostland” about the culture of the native land, and vice versa. The detachment of the exiles, who sometimes viewed both homeland and hostland through foreign eyes, allowed them to notice what scholars in both countries had missed. Yet at the same time, the engagement between two styles of thought, one associated with the exiles and the other with their hosts, sometimes resulted in creative hybridization, for example, between German theory and Anglo-American empiricism. This timely appraisal is brimming with anecdotes and fascinating findings about the intellectual assets that exiles and immigrants bring to their new country, even in the shadow of personal loss.
While the notion of the mind as information-processor—a kind of computational system—is widely accepted, many scientists and philosophers have assumed that this account of cognition shows that the mind's operations are characterizable independent of their relationship to the external world. Existential Cognition challenges the internalist view of mind, arguing that intelligence, thought, and action cannot be understood in isolation, but only in interaction with the outside world.
Arguing that the mind is essentially embedded in the external world, Ron McClamrock provides a schema that allows cognitive scientists to address such long-standing problems in artificial intelligence as the "frame" problem and the issue of "bounded" rationality. Extending this schema to cover progress in other studies of behavior, including language, vision, and action, McClamrock reinterprets the importance of the organism/environment distinction. McClamrock also considers the broader philosophical question of the place of mind in the world, particularly with regard to questions of intentionality, subjectivity, and phenomenology.
With implications for philosophy, cognitive and computer science, AI, and psychology, this book synthesizes state-of-the-art work in philosophy and cognitive science on how the mind interacts with the world to produce thoughts, ideas, and actions.
The essays in this interdisciplinary collection share the conviction that modern western paradigms of knowledge and reality are gender-biased. Some contributors challenge and revise western conceptions of the body as the domain of the biological and 'natural, ' the enemy of reason, typically associated with women.
In the past thirty years, historians have broadened the scope of their discipline to include many previously neglected topics and perspectives. They have chronicled language, madness, gender, and sexuality and have experimented with new forms of presentation. They have turned to the histories of non-Western peoples and to the troubled relations between “the West” and the rest. Allan Megill welcomes these developments, but he also suggests that there is now confusion among historians about what counts as a justified account of the past.
In Historical Knowledge, Historical Error, Megill dispels some of the confusion. Here, he discusses issues of narrative, objectivity, and memory. He attacks what he sees as irresponsible uses of evidence while accepting the art of speculation, which incomplete evidence forces upon historians. Along the way, he offers succinct accounts of the epistemological road historians have traveled from Herodotus and Thucydides through Leopold von Ranke and Alexis de Tocqueville, and on to Hayden White, Natalie Zemon Davis, and Lynn Hunt.
Historically, there has been great deliberation about the limits of human knowledge. Isaac Newton, recognizing his own shortcomings, once described himself as “a boy standing on the seashore . . . whilst the great ocean of truth lay all underscored before me.”
In Ignorance, Nicholas Rescher presents a broad-ranging study that examines the manifestations, consequences, and occasional benefits of ignorance in areas of philosophy, scientific endeavor, and ordinary life. Citing philosophers, theologians, and scientists from Socrates to Steven Hawking, Rescher seeks to uncover the factors that hinder our cognition.
Rescher categorizes ignorance as ontologically grounded (rooted in acts of nature-erasure, chaos, and chance-that prevent fact determination), or epistemically grounded (the inadequacy of our information-securing resources). He then defines the basis of ignorance: inaccessible data; statistical fogs; secreted information; past data that have left no trace; future discoveries; future contingencies; vagrant predicates; and superior intelligences. Such impediments set limits to inquiry and mean that while we can always extend our existing knowledge-variability here is infinite-there are things that we will never know.
Cognitive finitude also hinders our ability to assimilate more than a certain number of facts. We may acquire additional information, but lack the facility to interpret it. More information does not always increase knowledge; it may point us further down the path toward an erroneous conclusion. In light of these deficiencies, Rescher looks to the role of computers in solving problems and expanding our knowledge base, but finds limits to their reasoning capacity.
As Rescher's comprehensive study concludes, ignorance itself is a fertile topic for knowledge, and recognizing the boundaries of our comprehension is where wisdom begins.
Immanuel Kant: The Very Idea of a Critique of Pure Reason is a study of the background, development, exposition, and justification of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Instead of examining Kant's arguments for the transcendental ideality of space and time, his deduction of the pure concepts of the understanding, or his account of the dialectic of human reason, J. Colin McQuillan focuses on Kant's conception of critique. By surveying the different ways the concept of critique was used during the eighteenth century, the relationship between Kant's critique and his pre-critical experiments with different approaches to metaphysics, the varying definitions of a critique of pure reason Kant offers in the prefaces and introductions to the first Critique, and the way Kant responds to objections, McQuillan is able to highlight an aspect of Kant's critical philosophy that is too often overlooked—the reason that philosophy is critical.
This provocative volume, one of the most important interpretive works on the philosophical thought of the Renaissance, has long been regarded as a classic in its field. Ernst Cassirer here examines the changes brewing in the early stages of the Renaissance, tracing the interdependence of philosophy, language, art, and science; the newfound recognition of individual consciousness; and the great thinkers of the period—from da Vinci and Galileo to Pico della Mirandola and Giordano Bruno. The Individual and the Cosmos in Renaissance Philosophy discusses the importance of fifteenth-century philosopher Nicholas Cusanus, the concepts of freedom and necessity, and the subject-object problem in Renaissance thought.
“This fluent translation of a scholarly and penetrating original leaves little impression of an attempt to show that a ‘spirit of the age’ or ‘spiritual essence of the time’ unifies and expresses itself in all aspects of society or culture.”—Philosophy
For the past fifty years anxiety over naturalism has driven debates in social theory. One side sees social science as another kind of natural science, while the other rejects the possibility of objective and explanatory knowledge. Interpretation and Social Knowledge suggests a different route, offering a way forward for an antinaturalist sociology that overcomes the opposition between interpretation and explanation and uses theory to build concrete, historically specific causal explanations of social phenomena.
This comprehensive study of Husserl's phenomenology concentrates on Husserl's emphasis on the theory of knowledge. The authors develop a synthetic overview of phenomenology and its relation to logic, mathematics, the natural and human sciences, and philosophy. The result is an example of philology at its best, avoiding technical language and making Husserl's thought accessible to a variety of readers.
Kant and Phenomenology
Tom Rockmore University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress BD161.R594 2011 | Dewey Decimal 121
Phenomenology, together with Marxism, pragmatism, and analytic philosophy, dominated philosophy in the twentieth century—and Edmund Husserl is usually thought to have been the first to develop the concept. His views influenced a variety of important later thinkers, such as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, who eventually turned phenomenology away from questions of knowledge. But in this significant new work, Tom Rockmore argues for a return to phenomenology’s origins in epistemology and does so by locating its roots in the work of Immanuel Kant.
Kant and Phenomenology traces the formulation of Kant’s phenomenological approach back to the second edition of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. In response to various criticisms of the first edition, Kant more forcefully put forth a constructivist theory of knowledge. This shift in Kant’s thinking challenged the representational approach to epistemology, and it is this turn, Rockmore contends, that makes Kant the first great phenomenologist. He then follows this phenomenological line through the work of Kant’s idealist successors, Fichte and Hegel. Steeped in the sources and literature it examines, Kant and Phenomenology persuasively reshapes our conception of both of its main subjects.
Is all knowledge the product of thought? Or can the physical interactions of the body with the world produce reliable knowledge? In late-nineteenth-century Europe, scientists, artists, and other intellectuals theorized the latter as a new way of knowing, which Zeynep Çelik Alexander here dubs “kinaesthetic knowing.”
In this book, Alexander offers the first major intellectual history of kinaesthetic knowing and its influence on the formation of modern art and architecture and especially modern design education. Focusing in particular on Germany and tracing the story up to the start of World War II, Alexander reveals the tension between intellectual meditation and immediate experience to be at the heart of the modern discourse of aesthetics, playing a major part in the artistic and teaching practices of numerous key figures of the period, including Heinrich Wölfflin, Hermann Obrist, August Endell, László Moholy-Nagy, and many others. Ultimately, she shows, kinaesthetic knowing did not become the foundation of the human sciences, as some of its advocates had hoped, but it did lay the groundwork—at such institutions as the Bauhaus—for modern art and architecture in the twentieth century.
Knowing and Being
Michael Polanyi University of Chicago Press, 1973 Library of Congress BD161.P719 1969b | Dewey Decimal 121.08
Because of the difficulty posed by the contrast between the search for truth and truth itself, Michael Polanyi believes that we must alter the foundation of epistemology to include as essential to the very nature of mind, the kind of groping that constitutes the recognition of a problem.
This collection of essays, assembled by Marjorie Grene, exemplifies the development of Polanyi's theory of knowledge which was first presented in Science, Faith, and Society and later systematized in Personal Knowledge.
Polanyi believes that the dilemma of the modern mind arises from the peculiar relation between the positivist claim for total objectivity in scientific knowledge and the unprecedented moral dynamism characterizing the social and political aspirations of the last century. The first part of Knowing and Being deals with this theme. Part two develops Polanyi's idea that centralization is incompatible with the life of science as well as his views on the role of tradition and authority in science. The essays on tacit knowing in Part Three proceed directly from his preoccupation with the nature of scientific discovery and reveal a pervasive substructure of all intelligent behavior. Polanyi believes that all knowing involves movement from internal clues to external evidence. Therefore, to explain the process of knowing, we must develop a theory of the nature of living things in general, including an account of that aspect of living things we call "mind." Part Four elaborates upon this theme.
Knowledge and Representation
Albert Newen, Andreas Bartels, and Eva-Maria Jung CSLI, 2011 Library of Congress BF311.K6387 2011 | Dewey Decimal 153
This compilation of cutting-edge philosophical and scientific research comprises a survey of recent neuroscientific research on representational systems in animals and humans. Representational systems provide their owners with useful information about their environment and are shaped by the special informational needs of the organism with respect to its environment. In this volume, the authors address the long-standing dispute about the usefulness of the notion of representation in the study of behavior systems and offer a fresh perspective on representational systems that combines philosophical insights and experimental experience.
An attempt to develop a theory of knowledge and philosophy of mind using ideas derived from the mathematical theory of communication developed by Claude Shannon. Information is seen as an objective commodity defined by the dependency relations between distinct events. Knowledge is then analyzed as information caused belief. Perception is the delivery of information caused belief. Perception is the delivery of information in analog form (experience) for conceptual utilization by cognitive mechanisms. The final chapters attempt to develop a theory of meaning (or belief content) by viewing meaning as a certain kind of information-carrying role.
For generations, schools have aimed to introduce students to a broad range of topics through curriculum that ensure that they will at least have some acquaintance with most areas of human knowledge by the time they graduate. Yet such broad knowledge can’t help but be somewhat superficial—and, as Kieran Egan argues, it omits a crucial aspect of true education: deep knowledge.
Real education, Egan explains, consists of both general knowledge and detailed understanding, and in Learning in Depth he outlines an ambitious yet practical plan to incorporate deep knowledge into basic education. Under Egan’s program, students will follow the usual curriculum, but with one crucial addition: beginning with their first days of school and continuing until graduation, they will eachalso study one topic—such as apples, birds, sacred buildings, mollusks,circuses, or stars—in depth. Over the years, with the help and guidance of their supervising teacher, students will expand their understanding of their one topic and build portfolios of knowledge that grow and change along with them. By the time they graduate each student will know as much about his or her topic as almost anyone on earth—and in the process will have learned important, even life-changing lessons about the meaning of expertise, the value of dedication, and the delight of knowing something in depth.
Though Egan’s program may be radical in its effects, it is strikingly simple to implement—as a number of schools have already discovered—and with Learning in Depth as a blueprint, parents, educators, and administrators can instantly begin taking the first steps toward transforming our schools and fundamentally deepening their students’ minds.
This volume brings historians of science and social historians together to consider the role of "little tools"--such as tables, reports, questionnaires, dossiers, index cards--in establishing academic and bureaucratic claims to authority and objectivity.
From at least the eighteenth century onward, our science and society have been planned, surveyed, examined, and judged according to particular techniques of collecting and storing knowledge. Recently, the seemingly self-evident nature of these mundane epistemic and administrative tools, as well as the prose in which they are cast, has demanded historical examination.
The essays gathered here, arranged in chronological order by subject from the late seventeenth to the late twentieth century, involve close readings of primary texts and analyses of academic and bureaucratic practices as parts of material culture. The first few essays, on the early modern period, largely point to the existence of a "juridico-theological" framework for establishing authority. Later essays demonstrate the eclipse of the role of authority per se in the modern period and the emergence of the notion of "objectivity."
Most of the essays here concern the German cultural space as among the best exemplars of the academic and bureaucratic practices described above. The introduction to the volume, however, is framed at a general level; the closing essays also extend the analyses beyond Germany to broader considerations on authority and objectivity in historical practice.
The volume will interest scholars of European history and German studies as well as historians of science.
Peter Becker is Professor of Central European History, European University Institute. William Clark is Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University.
The fruits of knowledge—such as books, data, and ideas—tend to generate far more attention than the ways in which knowledge is produced and acquired. Correcting this imbalance, Making Knowledge in Early Modern Europe brings together a wide-ranging yet tightly integrated series of essays that explore how knowledge was obtained and demonstrated in Europe during an intellectually explosive four centuries, when standard methods of inquiry took shape across several fields of intellectual pursuit.
Composed by scholars in disciplines ranging from the history of science to art history to religious studies, the pieces collected here look at the production and consumption of knowledge as a social process within many different communities. They focus, in particular, on how the methods employed by scientists and intellectuals came to interact with the practices of craftspeople and practitioners to create new ways of knowing. Examining the role of texts, reading habits, painting methods, and countless other forms of knowledge making, this volume brilliantly illuminates the myriad ways these processes affected and were affected by the period’s monumental shifts in culture and learning.
Forthright and wryly humorous, philosopher Susan Haack deploys her penetrating analytic skills on some of the most highly charged cultural and social debates of recent years. Relativism, multiculturalism, feminism, affirmative action, pragmatisms old and new, science, literature, the future of the academy and of philosophy itself—all come under her keen scrutiny in Manifesto of a Passionate Moderate.
"The virtue of Haack's book, and I mean virtue in the ethical sense, is that it embodies the attitude that it exalts. . . Haack's voice is urbane, sensible, passionate—the voice of philosophy that matters. How good to hear it again."—Jonathan Rauch, Reason
"A tough mind, confident of its power, making an art of logic . . . a cool mastery."—Paul R. Gross, Wilson Quarterly
"Few people are better able to defend the notion of truth, and in strong, clear prose, than Susan Haack . . . a philosopher of great distinction."—Hugh Lloyd-Jones, National Review
"If you relish acute observation and straight talk, this is a book to read."—Key Reporter (Phi Beta Kappa)
"Everywhere in this book there is the refreshing breeze of common sense, patiently but inexorably blowing."—Roger Kimball, Times Literary Supplement
"A refreshing alternative to the extremism that characterizes so much rhetoric today."—Kirkus Reviews
It is often assumed that natural philosophy was the forerunner of early modern natural sciences. But where did these sciences’ systematic observation and experimentation get their starts? In Materials and Expertise in Early Modern Europe, the laboratories, workshops, and marketplaces emerge as arenas where hands-on experience united with higher learning. In an age when chemistry, mineralogy, geology, and botany intersected with mining, metallurgy, pharmacy, and gardening, materials were objects that crossed disciplines.
Here, the contributors tell the stories of metals, clay, gunpowder, pigments, and foods, and thereby demonstrate the innovative practices of technical experts, the development of the consumer market, and the formation of the observational and experimental sciences in the early modern period. Materials and Expertise in Early Modern Europe showcases a broad variety of forms of knowledge, from ineffable bodily skills and technical competence to articulated know-how and connoisseurship, from methods of measuring, data gathering, and classification to analytical and theoretical knowledge. By exploring the hybrid expertise involved in the making, consumption, and promotion of various materials, and the fluid boundaries they traversed, the book offers an original perspective on important issues in the history of science, medicine, and technology.
Few writers' unfinished works are considered among their most important, but such is the case with Merleau-Ponty's The Visible and the Invisible. What exists of it is a mere beginning, yet it bridged modernism and postmodernism in philosophy. Low uses material from some of Merleau-Ponty's later works as the basis for completion. Working from this material and the philosopher's own outline, Low presents how this important work would have looked had Merleau-Ponty lived to complete it.
What is the nature of the social sciences? What kinds of knowledge can they—and should they—hope to create? Are objective viewpoints possible and can universal laws be discovered? Questions like these have been asked with increasing urgency in recent years, as some philosophers and researchers have perceived a "crisis" in the social sciences. Metatheory in Social Science offers many provocative arguments and analyses of basic conceptual frameworks for the study of human behavior. These are offered primarily by practicing researchers and are related to problems in disciplines as diverse as sociology, psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, and philosophy of science.
While various points of view are expressed in these nineteen essays, they have in common several themes, including the comparison of social and natural science, the role of knowledge in meeting the demands of society and its pressing problems, and the nature and role of subjectivity in science. Some authors hold that subjectivity cannot be studied scientifically; others argue that it can and must be if progress in knowledge is to be made. The essays demonstrate the philosophical pluralism they discuss and give a wide range of alternative positions on the future of the social and behavioral sciences in a postpositivist intellectual world.
The polymath Michael Polanyi first made his mark as a physical chemist, but his interests gradually shifted to economics, politics, and philosophy, in which field he would ultimately propose a revolutionary theory of knowledge that grew out of his firsthand experience with both the scientific method and political totalitarianism. In this sixth entry in ISI Books’ Library of Modern Thinkers’ series, Mark T. Mitchell reveals how Polanyi came to recognize that the roots of the modern political and spiritual crisis lay in an errant conception of knowledge that served to foreclose any possibility of making meaningful statements about truth, goodness, or beauty. Polanyi’s theory of knowledge as ineluctably personal but also grounded in reality is not merely of historical interest, writes Mitchell, for it proposes an attractive alternative for anyone who would reject both the hubris of modern rationalism and the ultimately nihilistic implications of academic postmodernism.
Modern philosophy finds it difficult to give a satisfactory picture of the place of minds in the world. In Mind and World, one of the most distinguished philosophers writing today offers his diagnosis of this difficulty and points to a cure.
Kurt Mosser argues that reading Kant's Critique of Pure Reason as an argument for such a logic of experience makes more defensible many of Kant's most controversial claims, and makes more accessible Kant's notoriously difficult text.
Jean-Luc Marion University of Chicago Press, 2015 Library of Congress B2430.M283C4713 2015 | Dewey Decimal 121.63
In Negative Certainties, renowned philosopher Jean-Luc Marion challenges some of the most fundamental assumptions we have developed about knowledge: that it is categorical, predicative, and positive. Following Descartes, Kant, and Heidegger, he looks toward our finitude and the limits of our reason. He asks an astonishingly simple—but profoundly provocative—question in order to open up an entirely new way of thinking about knowledge: Isn’t our uncertainty, our finitude and rational limitations, one of the few things we can be certain about?
Marion shows how the assumption of knowledge as positive demands a reductive epistemology that disregards immeasurable or disorderly phenomena. He shows that we have experiences every day that have no identifiable causes or predictable reasons, and that these constitute a very real knowledge—a knowledge of the limits of what can be known. Establishing this “negative certainty,” Marion applies it to four aporias, or issues of certain uncertainty: the definition of man; the nature of God; the unconditionality of the gift; and the unpredictability of events. Translated for the first time into English, Negative Certainties is an invigorating work of epistemological inquiry that will take a central place in Marion’s oeuvre.
This newest annual edition of Osiris brings together a variety of scholars to consider a topic of increasing interest in the history of science: expertise. Focusing specifically on the role expertise has played in the support, legitimation, and growth of the state since early modern times, Expertise and the Early Modern State reveals how scientific expertise and practical knowledge were crucial to the construction of early modern empires and economies. The state, on the other hand, performed a similar function for scientists, giving them much of the status and resources they needed to further their work. A penetrating, multifaceted investigation, Osiris 25 will be required reading for historians of science and early modern political development.
In this interpretive commentary on Theaetetus, Gregory Kirk makes a major contribution to scholarship on Plato by emphasizing the relevance of the interpersonal dynamics between the interlocutors for the interpretation of the dialogue’s central arguments about knowledge. Kirk attends closely to the personalities of the participants in the dialogue, focusing especially on the unique demands faced by a student—in this case, Theaetetus—and the ways in which one can embrace or deflect the responsibilities of learning. Kirk’s approach gives equal consideration to the dual demands of dramatic interpretation and philosophical argument that constitute the unique character of the Platonic text, and he develops an original interpretation of the Theaetetus, concluding that the uncertainty that characterizes wisdom supersedes the certainty of knowledge.
Perceptual Acquaintance was first published in 1984. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Philosophers, wrote Thomas Reid in 1785, "all suppose that we perceive not external objects immediately, and that the immediate objects of perception are only certain shadows of the external objects." To Reid, a founding father of the common-sense school of philosophy, John Locke's "way of ideas" threatened to supplant, in human knowledge, the world of physical objects and events—and to point down the dreaded path to scepticism.
John Yolton finds Reid at least partly responsible for this standard (and by now stereotypic) account of Locke and his eighteenth-century British successors on the subject of perception. By carefully examining the writings of Descartes and the Cartesians, and Locke and his successors, Yolton is able to suggest an alternative to this interpretation of their views. He goes back to a wide range of original texts—those of the period's major philosophers, to Descartes' scholastic precursors, to obscure pamphleteers, and to writers on religion, natural philosophy, medicine, and optics—all in an effort to help us understand the issues without the interference of modern labels and categories. The subtle changes over time reveal an important transformation in the understanding of perception, yet one that is prefigured in earlier work, contrary to Reid's view of the past. Included in Yolton's reevaluation is a full account of the role of Berkeley and Hume in the study of perceptual acquaintance, and of the connection between their work.
The publication of Personal Knowledge in 1958 shook the science world, as Michael Polanyi took aim at the long-standing ideals of rigid empiricism and rule-bound logic. Today, Personal Knowledge remains one of the most significant philosophy of science books of the twentieth century, bringing the crucial concepts of “tacit knowledge” and “personal knowledge” to the forefront of inquiry.
In this remarkable treatise, Polanyi attests that our personal experiences and ways of sharing knowledge have a profound effect on scientific discovery. He argues against the idea of the wholly dispassionate researcher, pointing out that even in the strictest of sciences, knowing is still an art, and that personal commitment and passion are logically necessary parts of research. In our technological age where fact is split from value and science from humanity, Polanyi’s work continues to advocate for the innate curiosity and scientific leaps of faith that drive our most dazzling ingenuity.
For this expanded edition, Polyani scholar Mary Jo Nye set the philosopher-scientist’s work into contemporary context, offering fresh insights and providing a helpful guide to critical terms in the work. Used in fields as diverse as religious studies, chemistry, economics, and anthropology, Polanyi’s view of knowledge creation is just as relevant to intellectual endeavors today as when it first made waves more than fifty years ago.
Theaetetus, the Sophist, and the Statesman are a trilogy of Platonic dialogues that show Socrates formulating his conception of philosophy as he prepares the defense for his trial. Originally published together as The Being of the Beautiful, these translations can be read separately or as a trilogy. Each includes an introduction, extensive notes, and comprehensive commentary that examines the trilogy's motifs and relationships.
"Seth Benardete is one of the very few contemporary classicists who combine the highest philological competence with a subtlety and taste that approximate that of the ancients. At the same time, he as set himself the entirely modern hermeneutical task of uncovering what the ancients preferred to keep veiled, of making explicit what they indicated, and hence...of showing the naked ugliness of artificial beauty."—Stanley Rose, Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal
Seth Benardete (1930-2001) was professor of classics at New York University. He was the author or translator of many books, most recently The Argument of the Action, Plato's "Laws," and Plato's "Symposium," all published by the University of Chicago Press.
Postures of the Mind was first published in 1985. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Annette Baier develops, in these essays, a posture in philosophy of mind and in ethics that grows out of her reading of Hume and the later Wittgenstein, and that challenges several Kantian or analytic articles of faith. She questions the assumption that intellect has authority over all human feelings and traditions; that to recognize order we must recognize universal laws—descriptive or prescriptive; that the essential mental activity is representing; and that mental acts can be analyzed into discrete basic elements, combined according to statable rules of synthesis.
In the first group of essays—"Varieties of Mental Postures"—Baier evaluates the positions taken by philosophers ranging from Descartes to Dennett and Davidson. Among her topics are remembering, intending, realizing, caring, representing, changing one's mind, justifying one's actions and feelings, and having conflicting reasons for them. The second group of essays—"Varieties of Moral Postures" - explores the sort of morality we get when all of these capacities become reflective and self-corrective. Some deal with particular moral issues—our treatment of animals, our policies regarding risk to human life, our contractual obligations; others, with more general questions on the role of moral philosophers and the place of moral theory. These essays respond to the theories of Hobbes, Kant, Rawls, and MacIntyre, but Baier's most positive reaction is to David Hume; Postures of the Mind affirms and cultivates his version of a moral reflection that employs feeling and tradition as well as reason.
Drawing on diverse intellectual traditions, including those rooted in economics, psychology, sociology, and political science, Kuran provides a unified theory of how preference falsification shapes collective decisions, orients structural change, sustains social stability, distorts human knowledge, and conceals political possibilities.
A Process Model
Eugene T. Gendlin; Foreword by Robert A. Parker Northwestern University Press, 2018 Library of Congress BD214.5.G46 2018 | Dewey Decimal 121.34
Eugene T. Gendlin (1926–2017) is increasingly recognized as one of the seminal thinkers of our era. Carrying forward the projects of American pragmatism and continental philosophy, Gendlin created an original form of philosophical psychology that brings new understandings of human experience and the life-world, including the “hard problem of consciousness.” A Process Model, Gendlin’s magnum opus, offers no less than a new alternative to the dualism of mind and body. Beginning with living process, the body’s simultaneous interaction and identity with its environment, Gendlin systematically derives nonreductive concepts that offer novel and rigorous ways to think from within lived precision. In this way terms such as body, environment, time, space, behavior, language, culture, situation, and more can be understood with both great force and great subtlety.
Gendlin’s project is relevant to discussions not only in philosophy but in other fields in which life process is central—including biology, environmental management, environmental humanities, and ecopsychology. It provides a genuinely new philosophical approach to complex societal challenges and environmental issues.
An examination of philosophical realism from the standpoint of pragmatic epistemology, this book addresses the core idea of Rescher's work in epistemology: that functional and pragmatic concerns exert a controlling influence on the conduct of rational inquiry and on the ways in which we can and should regard its products.
Pragmatism is widely regarded as a philosophical approach that stands at odds with realism, but Rescher takes a very different approach. He views pragmatism as a realistic position that can be developed from a pragmatic point of view, and utilizes a number of case studies to augment his position. Throughout, he shows how the pragmatic and purposive setting of our putative knowledge of the real world proves to be crucial for the constituting and also for the constitution of our knowledge.
Hubert Dreyfus Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress BD161.D74 2015 | Dewey Decimal 121
For Descartes, knowledge exists as ideas in the mind that represent the world. In a radical critique, Hubert Dreyfus and Charles Taylor argue that knowledge consists of much more than the representations we formulate in our minds. They affirm our direct contact with reality—both the physical and the social world—and our shared understanding of it.
The first collection of Eugene T. Gendlin’s groundbreaking essays in philosophical psychology, Saying What We Mean casts familiar areas of human experience, such as language and feeling, in a radically different light. Instead of the familiar scientific emphasis on what is conceptually explicit, Gendlin shows that the implicit also comprises a structure that can be made available for recognition and analysis.
Developing the traditions of phenomenology, existentialism, and pragmatism, Gendlin forges a new path that synthesizes contemporary evolutionary theory, cognitive psychology, and philosophical linguistics.
Throughout the recent culture and science “wars,” the radically new conceptions of knowledge and science emerging from such fields as the history and sociology of science have been denounced by various journalists, scientists, and academics as irresponsible attacks on science, absurd denials of objective reality, or a cynical abandonment of truth itself. In Scandalous Knowledge, Barbara Herrnstein Smith explores and illuminates the intellectual contexts of these crude denunciations. A preeminent scholar, theorist, and analyst of intellectual history, Smith begins by looking closely at the epistemological developments at issue. She presents a clear, historically informed, and philosophically sophisticated overview of important twentieth-century critiques of traditional—rationalist, realist, positivist—accounts of human knowledge and scientific truth, and discusses in detail the alternative accounts produced by Ludwik Fleck, Thomas Kuhn, Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour, and others.
With keen wit, Smith demonstrates that the familiar charges involved in these scandals—including the recurrent invocation of “postmodern relativism”—protect intellectual orthodoxy by falsely associating important intellectual developments with logically absurd and morally or politically disabling positions. She goes on to offer bold, original, and insightful perspectives on the currently strained relations between the natural sciences and the humanities; on the grandiose but dubious claims of evolutionary psychology to explain human behavior, cognition, and culture; and on contemporary controversies over the psychology, biology, and ethics of animal-human relations. Scandalous Knowledge is a provocative and compelling intervention into controversies that continue to roil through journalism, pulpits, laboratories, and classrooms throughout the United States and Europe.
Science as Practice and Culture explores one of the newest and most controversial developments within the rapidly changing field of science studies: the move toward studying scientific practice—the work of doing science—and the associated move toward studying scientific culture, understood as the field of resources that practice operates in and on.
Andrew Pickering has invited leading historians, philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists of science to prepare original essays for this volume. The essays range over the physical and biological sciences and mathematics, and are divided into two parts. In part I, the contributors map out a coherent set of perspectives on scientific practice and culture, and relate their analyses to central topics in the philosophy of science such as realism, relativism, and incommensurability. The essays in part II seek to delineate the study of science as practice in arguments across its borders with the sociology of scientific knowledge, social epistemology, and reflexive ethnography.
Computer simulation was first pioneered as a scientific tool in meteorology and nuclear physics in the period following World War II, but it has grown rapidly to become indispensible in a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including astrophysics, high-energy physics, climate science, engineering, ecology, and economics. Digital computer simulation helps study phenomena of great complexity, but how much do we know about the limits and possibilities of this new scientific practice? How do simulations compare to traditional experiments? And are they reliable? Eric Winsberg seeks to answer these questions in Science in the Age of Computer Simulation.
Scrutinizing these issue with a philosophical lens, Winsberg explores the impact of simulation on such issues as the nature of scientific evidence; the role of values in science; the nature and role of fictions in science; and the relationship between simulation and experiment, theories and data, and theories at different levels of description. Science in the Age of Computer Simulation will transform many of the core issues in philosophy of science, as well as our basic understanding of the role of the digital computer in the sciences.
Can we expect our scientific theories to make up a unified structure, or do they form a kind of “patchwork” whose pieces remain independent from each other? Does the proliferation of sometimes-incompatible representations of the same phenomenon compromise the ability of science to deliver reliable knowledge? Is there a single correct way to classify things that science should try to discover, or is taxonomic pluralism here to stay? These questions are at the heart of philosophical debate on the unity or plurality of science, one of the most central issues in philosophy of science today. This book offers a critical overview and a new structure of this debate. It focuses on the methodological, epistemic, and metaphysical commitments of various philosophical attitudes surrounding monism and pluralism, and offers novel perspectives and pluralist theses on scientific methods and objects, reductionism, plurality of representations, natural kinds, and scientific classifications.
Shapes Of Culture
Thomas Mcfarland University of Iowa Press, 1987 Library of Congress HM101.M34 1987 | Dewey Decimal 306
Benson Mates University of Chicago Press, 1981 Library of Congress BD201.M34 | Dewey Decimal 149.73
"In philosophy," the author writes in his preface, "we have learned to get our satisfaction from showing that the other fellow is mistaken rather than from establishing the truth of our own positive tenets." The impeccably professional work of a mature and distinguished logician and scholar, Skeptical Essays propounds the view that the principal traditional problems of philosophy are genuine intellectual knots; they are intelligible enough, but at the same time the are absolutely insoluble.
The problems Mates discusses are: the Liar paradox and Russell's Antinomy of the class of all nonself-membered classes; the problem of determinism and moral responsibility; and the existence of the external world. Clearly written and effectively organized, the book will be an excellent text for advanced students.
Sources of Knowledge
Andrea Kern Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress BD181.K3913 2017 | Dewey Decimal 121.3
How can human beings, who are liable to error, possess knowledge, since the grounds on which we believe do not rule out that we are wrong? Andrea Kern argues that we can disarm this skeptical doubt by conceiving knowledge as an act of a rational capacity. In this book, she develops a metaphysics of the mind as existing through knowledge of itself.
Gregory Bateson was a philosopher, anthropologist, photographer, naturalist, and poet, as well as the husband and collaborator of Margaret Mead. With a new foreword by his daughter Mary Katherine Bateson, this classic anthology of his major work will continue to delight and inform generations of readers.
"This collection amounts to a retrospective exhibition of a working life. . . . Bateson has come to this position during a career that carried him not only into anthropology, for which he was first trained, but into psychiatry, genetics, and communication theory. . . . He . . . examines the nature of the mind, seeing it not as a nebulous something, somehow lodged somewhere in the body of each man, but as a network of interactions relating the individual with his society and his species and with the universe at large."—D. W. Harding, New York Review of Books
"[Bateson's] view of the world, of science, of culture, and of man is vast and challenging. His efforts at synthesis are tantalizingly and cryptically suggestive. . . .This is a book we should all read and ponder."—Roger Keesing, American Anthropologist
Studies in Epistemology
Peter A. French, Theodore E. Uehling Jr., and Howard K. Wettstein, Editors University of Minnesota Press, 1980 Library of Congress BD161.S717 | Dewey Decimal 121
Studies in Epistemology was first published in 1980. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
This is Volume V in the series Midwest Studies in Philosophy
In 1979 the University of Minnesota Press assumed publication of the annual Midwest Studies in Philosophy, previously published by the University of Minnesota, Morris. At that time, the young series had already received acclaim from philosophers. Alan Donagan called the Studies "a significant and up-to-date forum of discussion on topics that matter to all serious philosophers," and, according to W. V. Quine, the Studies have maintained "an unusually high standard."
The term “subalternity” refers to a condition of subordination brought about by colonization or other forms of economic, social, racial, linguistic, and/or cultural dominance. Subaltern studies is, therefore, a study of power. Who has it and who does not. Who is gaining it and who is losing it. Power is intimately related to questions of representation—to which representations have cognitive authority and can secure hegemony and which do not and cannot. In this book John Beverley examines the relationship between subalternity and representation by analyzing the ways in which that relationship has been played out in the domain of Latin American studies.
Dismissed by some as simply another new fashion in the critique of culture and by others as a postmarxist heresy, subaltern studies began with the work of Ranajit Guha and the South Asian Subaltern Studies collective in the 1980s. Beverley’s focus on Latin America, however, is evidence of the growing province of this field. In assessing subaltern studies’ purposes and methods, the potential dangers it presents, and its interactions with deconstruction, poststructuralism, cultural studies, Marxism, and political theory, Beverley builds his discussion around a single, provocative question: How can academic knowledge seek to represent the subaltern when that knowledge is itself implicated in the practices that construct the subaltern as such? In his search for answers, he grapples with a number of issues, notably the 1998 debate between David Stoll and Rigoberta Menchú over her award-winning testimonial narrative, I, Rigoberta Menchú. Other topics explored include the concept of civil society, Florencia Mallon’s influential Peasant and Nation, the relationship between the Latin American “lettered city” and the Túpac Amaru rebellion of 1780–1783, the ideas of transculturation and hybridity in postcolonial studies and Latin American cultural studies, multiculturalism, and the relationship between populism, popular culture, and the “national-popular” in conditions of globalization.
This critique and defense of subaltern studies offers a compendium of insights into a new form of knowledge and knowledge production. It will interest those studying postcolonialism, political science, cultural studies, and Latin American culture, history, and literature.
Much of what humans know we cannot say. And much of what we do we cannot describe. For example, how do we know how to ride a bike when we can’t explain how we do it? Abilities like this were called “tacit knowledge” by physical chemist and philosopher Michael Polanyi, but here Harry Collins analyzes the term, and the behavior, in much greater detail, often departing from Polanyi’s treatment.
In Tacit and Explicit Knowledge, Collins develops a common conceptual language to bridge the concept’s disparate domains by explaining explicit knowledge and classifying tacit knowledge. Collins then teases apart the three very different meanings, which, until now, all fell under the umbrella of Polanyi’s term: relational tacit knowledge (things we could describe in principle if someone put effort into describing them), somatic tacit knowledge (things our bodies can do but we cannot describe how, like balancing on a bike), and collective tacit knowledge (knowledge we draw that is the property of society, such as the rules for language). Thus, bicycle riding consists of some somatic tacit knowledge and some collective tacit knowledge, such as the knowledge that allows us to navigate in traffic. The intermixing of the three kinds of tacit knowledge has led to confusion in the past; Collins’s book will at last unravel the complexities of the idea.
Tacit knowledge drives everything from language, science, education, and management to sport, bicycle riding, art, and our interaction with technology. In Collins’s able hands, it also functions at last as a framework for understanding human behavior in a range of disciplines.
The Tacit Dimension
Michael Polanyi University of Chicago Press, 2009 Library of Congress BD161.P724 2009 | Dewey Decimal 121
“I shall reconsider human knowledge by starting from the fact that we can know more than we can tell,” writes Michael Polanyi, whose work paved the way for the likes of Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper. The Tacit Dimension argues that tacit knowledge—tradition, inherited practices, implied values, and prejudgments—is a crucial part of scientific knowledge. Back in print for a new generation of students and scholars, this volume challenges the assumption that skepticism, rather than established belief, lies at the heart of scientific discovery.
“Polanyi’s work deserves serious attention. . . . [This is a] compact presentation of some of the essentials of his thought.”—Review of Metaphysics
“Polanyi’s work is still relevant today and a closer examination of this theory that all knowledge has personal and tacit elements . . . can be used to support and refute a variety of widely held approaches to knowledge management.”—Electronic Journal of Knowledge
"The reissuing of this remarkable book give us a new opportunity to see how far-reaching—and foundational—Michael Polanyi's ideas are, on some of the age-old questions in philosophy."—Amartya Sen, from the new Foreword
At a time when the analytic/continental split dominates contemporary philosophy, this ambitious work offers a careful and clear-minded way to bridge that divide. Combining conceptual rigor and clarity of prose with historical erudition, A Thing of This World shows how one of the standard issues of analytic philosophy--realism and anti-realism--has also been at the heart of continental philosophy.
Using a framework derived from prominent analytic thinkers, Lee Braver traces the roots of anti-realism to Kant's idea that the mind actively organizes experience. He then shows in depth and in detail how this idea evolves through the works of Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida. This narrative presents an illuminating account of the
history of continental philosophy by explaining how these thinkers build on each other's attempts to develop new concepts of reality and truth in the wake of the rejection of realism. Braver demonstrates that the analytic and continental traditions have been discussing the same issues, albeit with different vocabularies, interests, and approaches.
By developing a commensurate vocabulary, his book promotes a dialogue between the two branches of philosophy in which each can begin to learn from the other.
In a bold and boundary defining work, Angus Fletcher clears a space for an intellectual encounter with the shape of human imagining. Joining literature and topology—a branch of mathematics—he maps the ways the imagination’s contours are formed by the spherical earth’s patterns and cycles, and shows how the world we inhabit also inhabits us.
Current rhetorical and critical theory for the most part separates writing from consciousness and presumes relative truth to be the only possible expressive goal for rhetoric. These presumptions are reflected in our tradition of persuasive rhetoric, which values writing that successfully argues one person’s belief at the expense of another’s. Barbara Couture presents a case for a phenomenological rhetoric, one that values and respects consciousness and selfhood and that restores to rhetoric the possibility of seeking an all-embracing truth through pacific and cooperative interaction.
Couture discusses the premises on which current interpretive theory has supported relative truth as the philosophical grounding for rhetoric, premises, she argues, that have led to constraints on our notion of truth that divorce it from human experience. She then shows how phenomenological philosophy might guide the theory and practice of rhetoric, reanimating its role in the human enterprise of seeking a shared truth. She proposes profession and altruism as two guiding metaphors for the phenomenological activity of "truth-seeking through interaction."
Among the contemporary rhetoricians and philosophers who influence Couture are Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Martin Buber, Charles Altieri, Charles Taylor, Alasdair Maclntyre, and Jürgen Habermas.
Truth and Existence
Jean-Paul Sartre University of Chicago Press, 1992 Library of Congress B2430.S33V4713 1992 | Dewey Decimal 121
Truth and Existence, written in response to Martin Heidegger's Essence of Truth, is a product of the years when Sartre was reaching full stature as a philosopher, novelist, playwright, essayist, and political activist. This concise and engaging text not only presents Sartre's ontology of truth but also addresses the key moral questions of freedom, action, and bad faith.
Truth and Existence is introduced by an extended biographical, historical, and analytical essay by Ronald Aronson.
"Truth and Existence is another important element in the recently published links between Sartre's existentialist ontology and his later ethical, political, and literary concerns. . . . The excellent introduction by Aronson will help readers not experienced in reading Sartre."—Choice
"Accompanied by an excellent introduction, this dense, lucidly translated treatise reveals Sartre as a characteristically 20th-century figure."—Publishers Weekly
Jean-Paul Sartre (1906-1980) was offered, but declined, the Nobel Prize for literature in 1964. His many works of fiction, drama, and philosophy include the monumental study of Flaubert, The Family Idiot, and The Freud Scenario, both published in translation by the University of Chicago Press.
Nick Sousanis Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress BF241.S645 2015 | Dewey Decimal 153.7
The primacy of words over images has deep roots in Western culture. But what if the two are inextricably linked in meaning-making? In this experiment in visual thinking, drawn in comics, Nick Sousanis defies conventional discourse to offer readers a stunning work of graphic art and a serious inquiry into the ways humans construct knowledge.
Vanishing into Things
Barry Allen Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress BD168.C5A45 2015 | Dewey Decimal 121.0951
Barry Allen explores the concept of knowledge in Chinese thought over two millennia and compares the different philosophical imperatives that have driven Chinese and Western thought. Challenging the hyperspecialized epistemology of modern Western philosophy, he urges his readers toward an ethical appreciation of why knowledge is worth pursuing.
One of the articles of faith of twentieth-century intellectual history is that the theory of relativity in physics sprang in its essentials from the unaided genius of Albert Einstein; another is that scientific relativity is unconnected to ethical, cultural, or epistemological relativisms. Victorian Relativity challenges these assumptions, unearthing a forgotten tradition of avant-garde speculation that took as its guiding principle "the negation of the absolute" and set itself under the militant banner of "relativity."
Christopher Herbert shows that the idea of relativity produced revolutionary changes in one field after another in the nineteenth century. Surveying a long line of thinkers including Herbert Spencer, Charles Darwin, Alexander Bain, W. K. Clifford, W. S. Jevons, Karl Pearson, James Frazer, and Einstein himself, Victorian Relativity argues that the early relativity movement was bound closely to motives of political and cultural reform and, in particular, to radical critiques of the ideology of authoritarianism. Recuperating relativity from those who treat it as synonymous with nihilism, Herbert portrays it as the basis of some of our crucial intellectual and ethical traditions.
Following on the arguments adumbrated in his previous works, Piotr Hoffman here argues that the notion of and concern with violence are not limited to political philosophy but in fact form the essential component of philosophy in general. The acute awareness of the ever-present possibility of violence, Hoffman claims, filters into and informs ontology and epistemology in ways that require careful analysis.
In his previous book, Doubt, Time, Violence, Hoffman explored the theme of violence in relation to Descartes' problematic of doubt and Heidegger's work on temporality. The pivotal notion deriving from that investigation is the notion of the other as the ultimate limit of one's powers. In effect, Hoffman argues, our practical mastery of the natural environment still leaves intact the limitation of human agents by each other. In a violent environment, the other emerges as an insurmountable obstacle to one's aims and purposes or as an inescapable danger which one is powerless to hold at bay. The other is thus the focus of an ultimate resistance to one's powers.
The special status of the other, as Hoffman articulates it, is at the root of several key notions around which modern philosophy has built its problematic. Arguing here that when the theme of violence is taken into account many conceptual tensions and puzzles receive satisfying solutions, Hoffman traces the theme through the issue of things versus properties; through Kant's treatment of causality, necessity, and freedom in the Critique of Pure Reason; and through the early parts of Hegel's Logic. The result is a complete reorientation and reinterpretation of these important texts.
Violence in Modern Philosophy offers patient and careful textual clarification in light of Hoffman's central thesis regarding the other as ultimate limit. With a high level of originality, he shows that the theme of violence is the hidden impulse behind much of modern philosophy. Hoffman's unique stress on the constitutive importance of violence also offers a challenge to the dominant "compatibilist" tradition in moral and political theory. Of great interest to all philosophers, this work will also provide fresh insights to anthropologists and all those in the social sciences and humanities who occupy themselves with the general theory of culture.
Ways of Making and Knowing
Pamela H. Smith, Amy R. W. Meyers, and Harold J. Cook, editors University of Michigan Press, 2014 Library of Congress AZ101.W39 2014 | Dewey Decimal 001
“Making” and “knowing” have generally been viewed as belonging to different types and orders of knowledge. “Craft” and “making” have been associated with how-to information, oriented to a particular situation or product, often informal and tacit, while “knowing” has been related to theoretical, propositional, and abstract knowledge including natural science. Although craftspeople and artists have worked with natural materials and sometimes have been viewed as experts in the behavior of matter, the notion that making art can constitute a means of knowing nature is a novel one. This volume, with contributions from historians of science, medicine, art, and material culture, shows that the histories of science and art are not simply histories of concepts or styles, or at least not that alone, but histories of the making and using of objects to understand the world. The common view of craftspeople more or less mindlessly following a collection of recipes or rules—which are said to be fundamentally different from “science” and “art”—has greatly distorted our understanding of the growth of natural knowledge in the early modern period. More intensive examination of material practices makes it clear that the methods of the artisan represent a process of knowledge-making that involved extensive experimentation and observation, in addition to generalizations about matter and nature. As increasing numbers of people came to be immersed in such activities, whether as craftspeople, medical practitioners, merchants, nobles, magistrates, reformers, collectors, or even scholars, the attributes of “nature” were not only articulated in a variety of ways, and not only seen as a resource for human use, but came to be identified with a variety of “goods.” Knowing nature could of course lead to material betterment but for many, living according to nature’s dictates also led to the development of personal ethics and the public good. As natural knowledge became increasingly important in society in these various ways, it forged new connections among groups, helped create new identities, brought about new kinds of claims to authority and intellectual legitimacy, and gave rise to new ways of thinking about the senses, certainty, and epistemology. None of this could have happened without the conversations and controversies that enabled the assessment of objects in novel ways.
When Maps Become the World
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther University of Chicago Press, 2020 Library of Congress GA102.3.W56 2020 | Dewey Decimal 526.01
Map making and, ultimately, map thinking is ubiquitous across literature, cosmology, mathematics, psychology, and genetics. We partition, summarize, organize, and clarify our world via spatialized representations. Our maps and, more generally, our representations seduce and persuade; they build and destroy. They are the ultimate record of empires and of our evolving comprehension of our world.
This book is about the promises and perils of map thinking. Maps are purpose-driven abstractions, discarding detail to highlight only particular features of a territory. By preserving certain features at the expense of others, they can be used to reinforce a privileged position.
When Maps Become the World shows us how the scientific theories, models, and concepts we use to intervene in the world function as maps, and explores the consequences of this, both good and bad. We increasingly understand the world around us in terms of models, to the extent that we often take the models for reality. Winther explains how in time, our historical representations in science, in cartography, and in our stories about ourselves replace individual memories and become dominant social narratives—they become reality, and they can remake the world.
Working with Paper builds on a growing interest in the materials of science by exploring the gendered uses and meanings of paper tools and technologies, considering how notions of gender impacted paper practices and in turn how paper may have structured knowledge about gender. Through a series of dynamic investigations covering Europe and North America and spanning the early modern period to the twentieth century, this volume breaks new ground by examining material histories of paper and the gendered worlds that made them. Contributors explore diverse uses of paper—from healing to phrenological analysis to model making to data processing—which often occurred in highly gendered, yet seemingly divergent spaces, such as laboratories and kitchens, court rooms and boutiques, ladies’ chambers and artisanal workshops, foundling houses and colonial hospitals, and college gymnasiums and state office buildings. Together, they reveal how notions of masculinity and femininity became embedded in and expressed through the materials of daily life. Working with Paper uncovers the intricate negotiations of power and difference underlying epistemic practices, forging a material history of knowledge in which quotidian and scholarly practices are intimately linked.