A comprehensive biography of the Treatise of the Three Impostors, a controversial nonexistent medieval book.
Like a lot of good stories, this one begins with a rumor: in 1239, Pope Gregory IX accused Frederick II, the Holy Roman Emperor, of heresy. Without disclosing evidence of any kind, Gregory announced that Frederick had written a supremely blasphemous book—De tribus impostoribus, or the Treatise of the Three Impostors—in which Frederick denounced Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad as impostors. Of course, Frederick denied the charge, and over the following centuries the story played out across Europe, with libertines, freethinkers, and other “strong minds” seeking a copy of the scandalous text. The fascination persisted until finally, in the eighteenth century, someone brought the purported work into actual existence—in not one but two versions, Latin and French.
Although historians have debated the origins and influences of this nonexistent book, there has not been a comprehensive biography of the Treatise of the Three Impostors. In The Atheist’s Bible, the eminent historian Georges Minois tracks the course of the book from its origins in 1239 to its most salient episodes in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, introducing readers to the colorful individuals obsessed with possessing the legendary work—and the equally obsessive passion of those who wanted to punish people who sought it. Minois’s compelling account sheds much-needed light on the power of atheism, the threat of blasphemy, and the persistence of free thought during a time when the outspoken risked being burned at the stake.
Blending political, historical, and sociological analysis, Bernard S. Silberman offers a provocative explanation for the bureaucratic development of the modern state. The study of modern state bureaucracy has its origins in Max Weber's analysis of the modes of social domination, which Silberman takes as his starting point.
Whereas Weber contends that the administration of all modern nation-states would eventually converge in one form characterized by rationality and legal authority, Silberman argues that the process of bureaucratic rationalization took, in fact, two courses. One path is characterized by permeable organizational boundaries and the allocation of information by "professionals." The other features well-defined boundaries and the allocation of information by organizational rules. Through case studies of France, Japan, the United States, and Great Britain, Silberman demonstrates that this divergence stems from differences in leadership structure and in levels of uncertainty about leadership succession in the nineteenth century.
Silberman concludes that the rise of bureacratic rationality was primarily a response to political problems rather than social and economic concerns. Cages of Reason demonstrates how rationalization can have occurred over a wide range of cultures at various levels of economic development. It will be of considerable interest to readers in a number of disciplines: political science, sociology, history, and public administration.
"Silberman has produced an invaluable, densely packed work that those with deep knowledge of public administrative development will find extremely rewarding." —David H. Rosenbloom, American Political Science Review
"An erudite, incisive, and vibrant book, the product of intensive study and careful reflection. Given its innovative theoretical framework and the wealth of historical materials contained in it, this study will generate debate and stimulate research in sociology, political science, and organizational theory. It is undoubtedly the best book on the comparative evolution of the modern state published in the last decade."—Mauro F. Guillen, Contemporary Sociology
In the seventeenth century, a vision arose which was to captivate the Western imagination for the next three hundred years: the vision of Cosmopolis, a society as rationally ordered as the Newtonian view of nature. While fueling extraordinary advances in all fields of human endeavor, this vision perpetuated a hidden yet persistent agenda: the delusion that human nature and society could be fitted into precise and manageable rational categories. Stephen Toulmin confronts that agenda—its illusions and its consequences for our present and future world.
"By showing how different the last three centuries would have been if Montaigne, rather than Descartes, had been taken as a starting point, Toulmin helps destroy the illusion that the Cartesian quest for certainty is intrinsic to the nature of science or philosophy."—Richard M. Rorty, University of Virginia
"[Toulmin] has now tackled perhaps his most ambitious theme of all. . . . His aim is nothing less than to lay before us an account of both the origins and the prospects of our distinctively modern world. By charting the evolution of modernity, he hopes to show us what intellectual posture we ought to adopt as we confront the coming millennium."—Quentin Skinner, New York Review of Books
The essays turn about a single theme, the loss of the capacity to deal constructively with ambiguity in the modern era. Levine offers a head-on critique of the modern compulsion to flee ambiguity. He centers his analysis on the question of what responses social scientists should adopt in the face of the inexorably ambiguous character of all natural languages. In the course of his argument, Levine presents a fresh reading of works by the classic figures of modern European and American social theory—Durkheim, Freud, Simmel and Weber, and Park, Parsons, and Merton.
In the United States at the height of the Cold War, roughly between the end of World War II and the early 1980s, a new project of redefining rationality commanded the attention of sharp minds, powerful politicians, wealthy foundations, and top military brass. Its home was the human sciences—psychology, sociology, political science, and economics, among others—and its participants enlisted in an intellectual campaign to figure out what rationality should mean and how it could be deployed.
How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind brings to life the people—Herbert Simon, Oskar Morgenstern, Herman Kahn, Anatol Rapoport, Thomas Schelling, and many others—and places, including the RAND Corporation, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Cowles Commission for Research and Economics, and the Council on Foreign Relations, that played a key role in putting forth a “Cold War rationality.” Decision makers harnessed this picture of rationality—optimizing, formal, algorithmic, and mechanical—in their quest to understand phenomena as diverse as economic transactions, biological evolution, political elections, international relations, and military strategy. The authors chronicle and illuminate what it meant to be rational in the age of nuclear brinkmanship.
This landmark two-volume translation from Russian of The Philosophy of Hegel as a Doctrine of the Concreteness of God and Humanity marks the first appearance in English of any of the works of Russian philosopher Ivan Aleksandrovich Il’in (Ilyin). Originally published in 1918, on the eve of the Russian civil war, Il'in's commentary on Hegel marked both an apogee of Russian Silver Age philosophy and a significant manifestation of the resurgence of interest in Hegel that began in the early twentieth century.
A. F. Losev accurately observed in the same year it appeared: “Neither the study of Hegel nor the study of contemporary Russian philosophical thought is any longer thinkable without this book of I. A. Il’in’s.” Some Hegel scholars may know this work through the abridged translation into German that Il’in produced himself in 1946. However, that edition omitted most of the original volume two. Noted Hegel scholar Philip T. Grier’s edition—with an introduction setting Il’in’s work in its proper historical, cultural, and philosophical contexts and annotation throughout—represents the first opportunity for non-Russian-speaking readers to acquaint themselves with the full scope of Il’in’s still provocative interpretation of Hegel.
Volume 1 is "The Doctrine of God." Volume 2 is "The Doctrine of Humanity."
The publication of volume 2 of Philip T. Grier’s translation of The Philosophy of Hegel as a Doctrine of the Concreteness of God and Humanity completes the first appearance in English of any of the works of Russian philosopher I. A. Il’in (Ilyin).
Most of the contents of volume 2 will be unknown even to those who have read the 1946 German version prepared by Il’in, because in that version he omitted eight of the original ten chapters. These omitted chapters provide an extended reflection on the central categories of Hegel’s moral, legal, and political philosophies, as well as of the philosophy of history. The topics examined are, in order: freedom, humanity, will, right, morality, ethical life, personhood and its virtue, and the state. Contained within these chapters are some notably insightful expositions of core doctrines in Hegel’s philosophy.
Il’in’s colleague A. F. Losev accurately observed in the same year the text first appeared: “Neither the study of Hegel nor the study of contemporary Russian philosophical thought is any longer thinkable without this book of I. A. Il’in’s.”
An ambitious reinterpretation and defense of Plato’s basic enterprise and influence, arguing that the power of his myths was central to the founding of philosophical rationalism.
Plato’s use of myths—the Myth of Metals, the Myth of Er—sits uneasily with his canonical reputation as the inventor of rational philosophy. Since the Enlightenment, interpreters like Hegel have sought to resolve this tension by treating Plato’s myths as mere regrettable embellishments, irrelevant to his main enterprise. Others, such as Karl Popper, have railed against the deceptive power of myth, concluding that a tradition built on Platonic foundations can be neither rational nor desirable.
Tae-Yeoun Keum challenges the premise underlying both of these positions. She argues that myth is neither irrelevant nor inimical to the ideal of rational progress. She tracks the influence of Plato’s dialogues through the early modern period and on to the twentieth century, showing how pivotal figures in the history of political thought—More, Bacon, Leibniz, the German Idealists, Cassirer, and others—have been inspired by Plato’s mythmaking. She finds that Plato’s followers perennially raised the possibility that there is a vital role for myth in rational political thinking.
An enlightening examination of the relationship between poetry and the information technologies increasingly used to read and write it
Many poets and their readers believe poetry helps us escape straightforward, logical ways of thinking. But what happens when poems confront the extraordinarily rational information technologies that are everywhere in the academy, not to mention everyday life?
Examining a broad array of electronics—including the radio, telephone, tape recorder, Cold War–era computers, and modern-day web browsers—Seth Perlow considers how these technologies transform poems that we don’t normally consider “digital.” From fetishistic attachments to digital images of Emily Dickinson’s manuscripts to Jackson Mac Low’s appropriation of a huge book of random numbers originally used to design thermonuclear weapons, these investigations take Perlow through a revealingly eclectic array of work, offering both exciting new voices and reevaluations of poets we thought we knew.
With close readings of Gertrude Stein, Frank O’Hara, Amiri Baraka, and many others, The Poem Electric constructs a distinctive lineage of experimental writers, from the 1860s to today. Ultimately, Perlow mounts an important investigation into how electronic media allows us to distinguish poetic thought from rationalism. Posing a necessary challenge to the privilege of information in the digital humanities, The Poem Electric develops new ways of reading poetry, alongside and against the electronic equipment that is now ubiquitous in our world.
Process thought is the foundation for studies in many areas of contemporary philosophy, theology, political theory, educational theory, and the religion-science dialogue. It is derived from Alfred North Whitehead's philosophy, known as process theology, which lays a groundwork for integrating evolutionary biology, physics, philosophy of mind, theology, environmental ethics, religious pluralism, education, economics, and more.
In Process-Relational Philosophy, C. Robert Mesle breaks down Whitehead's complex writings, providing a simple but accurate introduction to the vision that underlies much of contemporary process philosophy and theology. In doing so, he points to a "way beyond both reductive materialism and the traps of Cartesian dualism by showing reality as a relational process in which minds arise from bodies, in which freedom and creativity are foundational to process, in which the relational power of persuasion is more basic than the unilateral power of coercion."
Because process-relational philosophy addresses the deep intuitions of a relational world basic to environmental and global thinking, it is being incorporated into undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy, educational theory and practice, environmental ethics, and science and values, among others. Process-Relational Philosophy: A Basic Introduction makes Whitehead's creative vision accessible to all students and general readers.
Martin Jay tackles a question as old as Plato and still pressing today: what is reason, and what roles does and should it have in human endeavor? Applying the tools of intellectual history, he examines the overlapping, but not fully compatible, meanings that have accrued to the term "reason" over two millennia, homing in on moments of crisis, critique, and defense of reason.
After surveying Western ideas of reason from the ancient Greeks through Kant, Hegel, and Marx, Jay engages at length with the ways leading theorists of the Frankfurt School—Horkheimer, Marcuse, Adorno, and most extensively Habermas—sought to salvage a viable concept of reason after its apparent eclipse. They despaired, in particular, over the decay in the modern world of reason into mere instrumental rationality. When reason becomes a technical tool of calculation separated from the values and norms central to daily life, then choices become grounded not in careful thought but in emotion and will—a mode of thinking embraced by fascist movements in the twentieth century.
Is there a more robust idea of reason that can be defended as at once a philosophical concept, a ground of critique, and a norm for human emancipation? Jay explores at length the ommunicative rationality advocated by Habermas and considers the range of arguments, both pro and con, that have greeted his work.
Transcendentalism never came to an end in America. It just went underground for a stretch, but is back in full force in Robert Brandom’s new book. Brandom takes up Kant and Hegel and explores their contemporary significance as if little time had expired since intellectuals gathered around Emerson in Concord to discuss reason and idealism, selves, freedom, and community. Brandom’s discussion belongs to a venerable tradition that distinguishes us as rational animals, and philosophy by its concern to understand, articulate, and explain the notion of reason that is thereby cast in that crucial demarcating role.
An emphasis on our capacity to reason, rather than merely to represent, has been growing in philosophy over the last thirty years, and Robert Brandom has been at the center of this development. Reason in Philosophy is the first book that gives a succinct overview of his understanding of the role of reason as the structure at once of our minds and our meanings—what constitutes us as free, responsible agents. The job of philosophy is to introduce concepts and develop expressive tools for expanding our self-consciousness as sapients: explicit awareness of our discursive activity of thinking and acting, in the sciences, politics, and the arts. This is a paradigmatic work of contemporary philosophy.
This concise and accessible introduction to Strauss's thought provides, for wider audience, a bridge to his more complex theoretical work. Editor Pangle has gathered five of Strauss's previously unpublished lectures and five hard-to-find published writings and has arranged them so as to demonstrate the systematic progression of the major themes that underlay Strauss's mature work.
"[These essays] display the incomparable insight and remarkable range of knowledge that set Strauss's works apart from any other twentieth-century philosopher's."—Charles R. Kesler, National Review
Science Reason Rhetoric
Henry Krips University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995 Library of Congress Q175.S4225 1995 | Dewey Decimal 501
This volume marks a unique collaboration by internationally distinguished scholars in the history, rhetoric, philosophy, and sociology of science. Converging on the central issues of rhetoric of science, the essays focus on figures such as Galileo, Harvey, Darwin, von Neumann; and on issues such as the debate over cold fusion or the continental drift controversy. Their vitality attests to the burgeoning interest in the rhetoric of science.
Sex and Reason
Richard A. Posner Harvard University Press, 1992 Library of Congress HQ16.P67 1992 | Dewey Decimal 306.7
Sexual drives are rooted in biology, but we don't act on them blindly. Indeed, as the eminently readable judge and legal scholar Richard Posner shows, we make quite rational choices about sex, based on the costs and benefits perceived.
Drawing on the fields of biology, law, history, religion, and economics, this sweeping study examines societies from ancient Greece to today's Sweden and issues from masturbation, incest taboos, date rape, and gay marriage to Baby M. The first comprehensive approach to sexuality and its social controls, Posner's rational choice theory surprises, explains, predicts, and totally absorbs.
Table of Contents:
Part One: The History of Sexuality
1. Theoretical Sexology The Development of the Field Social Constructionism (with a Glance at Gender Disorders) Other Threads in the Multidisciplinary Tapestry 2. Autres Temps, Autres Moeurs The History of Western Sexual Mores The Sexual Mores of Non-Western Cultures 3. Sexuality and Law
Part Two: A Theory of Sexuality
4. The Biology of Sex The Biological Basis and Character of "Normal" Sex The Biology of "Deviant" Sex Conclusion and Critique 5. Sex and Rationality The Benefits of Sex The Costs of Sex Complementarity of Sexual Practices 6. The History of Sexuality from the Perspective of Economics Greek Love and the Institutionalization of Pederasty Monasticism, Puritanism, and Christian Sex Ethics Swedish Permissiveness Three Stages in the Evolution of Sexual Morality 7. Optimal Regulation of Sexuality The Model of Morally Indifferent Sex Elaborated The Externalities of Sex Incest and Revulsion The Efficacy of Sexual Regulations Designing an Optimal Punishment Scheme for Sex Crimes The Political Economy of Sexual Regulation 8. Moral Theories of Sexuality Are Moral Theories Falsifiable? Christian and Liberal Theories of Sex Sexual Radicals
Part Three: The Regulation of Sexuality
9. Marriage and the Channeling of Sex Restrictions on Marrying Regulating Nonmarital Sex 10. The Control of Pregnancy Contraception Abortion 11. Homosexuality: The Policy Questions The Phenomenon Reconsidered Relations between Consenting Adults: Sodomy Laws and Homosexual Marriage Discrimination against Homosexuals, with Particular Reference to Military Service 12. The Sexual Revolution in the Courts From Griswold v. Connecticut to Roe v. Wade Bowers v. Hardwick and Beyond 13. Erotic Art, Pornography, and Nudity The Economy of Erotic Representation The Social Consequences of Pornography Deciding What-If Anything-to Punish 14. Coercive Sex Sexual Abuse of Adults Sexual Abuse of Children 15. Separating Reproduction from Sex Adoption Artificial Insemination and the Issue of Surrogate Motherhood Eugenics and Population
Conclusion Acknowledgements Index
Reviews of this book: [Posner] is one of the most distinguished and prolific legal thinkers of his generation [and this is an] extraordinary book...Like [George Bernard] Shaw, he combines a passion for exposing humbug and pseudo-profundity with an odd but genuine sort of social compassion, a delight in shocking the self-righteous with a love of human diversity and freedom...We will remember, and profit by, the wit and the courage of his attacks on bigotry, folly, and cruelty. --Martha C. Nussbaum, New Republic
Reviews of this book: An incisive tour through theories of sexuality and legal regulation of such matters as marriage, pregnancy, homosexuality, sexual revolution in the courts, erotic art, pornography and nudity, sexual abuse, and the separation of reproduction from sex...At a time when intellectual shoddiness permeates our highest court, [Posner] is a true philosopher of law. --Carlin Romano, Washington Post Book World