Is the world just a cultural construct where people create their own realities? In this illuminating and wide-ranging philosophical treatise, Brian Morris critiques broad swathes of recent theory as he seeks to reclaim anthropology as a historical social science. He achieves this by grounding it within a metaphysic of “dialectical naturalism” or “evolutionary realism”—a tradition long ignored by academic philosophy.
After reviewing the anthropological background of this worldview—the Greeks and the Enlightenment—Morris explores two essential themes. First, he critically assesses the main forms of dialectical naturalism, including Darwin’s evolutionary theory, Marx’s historical materialism, and the hylorealism of the philosopher-scientist Mario Bunge. Second, he offers a strong plea to retain the dual heritage of anthropology as a historical science that combines both humanism and naturalism. A powerful philosophical manifesto, the book cogently upholds dialectical naturalism as the most grounding philosophy for anthropology and the social sciences.
Provides an important examination of Charles Chesnutt as a practitioner of realism
Although Chesnutt is typically acknowledged as the most prominent African American writer of the realist period, scholars have paid little attention to the central question of this study: what does it mean to call Chesnutt a realist? As a writer whose career was restricted by the dismal racial politics of his era, Chesnutt refused to conform to literary conventions for depicting race. Nor did he use his imaginative skills to evade the realities he and other African Americans faced. Rather, he experimented with ways of portraying reality that could elicit an appropriate, proportionate response to it, as Ryan Simmons demonstrates in extended readings of each of Chesnutt’s novels, including important unpublished works overlooked by previous critics.
In addition, Chesnutt and Realism addresses a curiously neglected subject in American literary studies—the relationship between American literary realism and race. By taking Chesnutt seriously as a contributor to realism, this book articulates the strategies by which one African American intellectual helped to de?ne the discourses that in?uenced his fate.
According to the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, current global changes in climate are 90-95% likely to have been caused, at least in part, by human activity. This challenging analysis of the current global climate struggle suggests three courses of necessary action for solving the climate problem and demonstrates their viability: adaptation to the changed climate, selection of worldwide strategies for mitigation until 2050, and an internationally coordinated effort to implement these policies. A highly readable and accessible addition to climate strategy and policy, this volume provides a refreshingly innovative look at current global climate initiatives.
Examines the prehistory of the American struggle to address cultural difference.
"Culture" is a term we commonly use to explain the differences in our ways of living. In this book Michael A. Elliott returns to the moment this usage was first articulated, tracing the concept of culture to the writings-folktales, dialect literature, local color sketches, and ethnographies-that provided its intellectual underpinnings in turn-of-the-century America.
The Culture Concept explains how this now-familiar definition of "culture" emerged during the late nineteenth century through the intersection of two separate endeavors that shared a commitment to recording group-based difference-American literary realism and scientific ethnography. Elliott looks at early works of cultural studies as diverse as the conjure tales of Charles Chesnutt, the Ghost Dance ethnography of James Mooney, and the prose narrative of the Omaha anthropologist-turned-author Francis La Flesche. His reading of these works-which struggle to find appropriate theoretical and textual tools for articulating a less chauvinistic understanding of human difference-is at once a recovery of a lost connection between American literary realism and ethnography and a productive inquiry into the usefulness of the culture concept as a critical tool in our time and times to come.
Michael A. Elliott is assistant professor of English at Emory University.
Popular Hindi films offer varied cinematic representations ranging from realistic portraits of patriotic heroes to complex fantasies that go beyond escapism. In Dream Machine, Samir Dayal provides a history of Hindi cinema starting with films made after India’s independence in 1947. He constructs a decade-by-decade consideration of Hindi cinema’s role as a site for the construction of “Indianness.”
Dayal suggests that Hindi cinema functions as both mirror and lamp, reflecting and illuminating new and possible representations of national and personal identity, beginning with early postcolonial films including Awaara and Mother India, a classic of the Golden Age. More recent films address critical social issues, such as My Name is Khan and Fire, which concern terrorism and sexuality, respectively. Dayalalso chronicles changes in the industry and in audience reception, and the influence of globalization, considering such films as Slumdog Millionaire.
Dream Machine analyzes the social and aesthetic realism of these films concerning poverty and work, the emergence of the middle class, crime, violence, and the law while arguing for their sustained and critical attention to forms of fantasy.
"This volume presents an attempt to construct a unified cognitive theory of science in relatively short compass. It confronts the strong program in sociology of science and the positions of various postpositivist philosophers of science, developing significant alternatives to each in a reeadily comprehensible sytle. It draws loosely on recent developments in cognitive science, without burdening the argument with detailed results from that source. . . . The book is thus a provocative one. Perhaps that is a measure of its value: it will lead scholars and serious student from a number of science studies disciplines into continued and sharpened debate over fundamental questions."—Richard Burian, Isis
"The writing is delightfully clear and accessible. On balance, few books advance our subject as well."—Paul Teller, Philosophy of Science
Many feminists love a utopia—the idea of restarting humanity from scratch or transforming human nature in order to achieve a prescribed future based on feminist visions. Some scholars argue that feminist utopian fiction can be used as a template for creating such a future. However, Sally L. Kitch argues that associating feminist thought with utopianism is a mistake.
Drawing on the history of utopian thought, as well as on her own research on utopian communities, Kitch defines utopian thinking, explores the pitfalls of pursuing social change based on utopian ideas, and argues for a "higher ground" —a contrasting approach she calls realism. Replacing utopianism with realism helps to eliminate self-defeating notions in feminist theory, such as false generalization, idealization, and unnecessary dichotomies. Realistic thought, however, allows feminist theory to respond to changing circumstances, acknowledge sameness as well as difference, value the past and the present, and respect ideological give-and-take.
An important critique of feminist thought, Kitch concludes with a clear, exciting vision for a feminist future without utopia.
"Churchland and Hooker have collected ten papers by prominent philosophers of science which challenge van Fraassen's thesis from a variety of realist perspectives. Together with van Fraassen's extensive reply . . . these articles provide a comprehensive picture of the current debate in philosophy of science between realists and anti-realists."—Jeffrey Bub and David MacCallum, Foundations of Physics Letters
The surviving work of Flemish painter Jan van Eyck (c. 1395–1441) consists of a series of painstakingly detailed oil paintings of astonishing verisimilitude. Most explanations of the meanings behind these paintings have been grounded in a disguised religious symbolism that critics have insisted is foremost. But in Jan van Eyck, Craig Harbison sets aside these explanations and turns instead to the neglected human dimension he finds clearly present in these works. Harbison investigates the personal histories of the true models and participants who sat for such masterpieces as the Virgin and Child and the Arnolfini Double Portrait.
This revised and expanded edition includes many illustrations and reveals how van Eyck presented his contemporaries with a more subtle and complex view of the value of appearances as a route to understanding the meaning of life.
John Dewey's Essays in Experimental Logic
John Dewey. Edited by D. Micah Hester, and Robert B. Talisse. Introduction by Southern Illinois University Press, 2007 Library of Congress BC50.D42 2007 | Dewey Decimal 160
Offering a new edition of Dewey’s 1916 collection of essays
This critical edition of John Dewey’s 1916 collection of writings on logic, Essays in Experimental Logic—in which Dewey presents his concept of logic as the theory of inquiry and his unique and innovative development of the relationship of inquiry to experience—is the first scholarly reprint of the work in one volume since 1954. Essays in Experimental Logic, edited by D. Micah Hester and Robert B. Talisse, uses the authoritative texts from the Collected Works of John Dewey, 1882–1953 (published by Southern Illinois University Press) and includes as well articles from leading journals representing various contemporary schools of philosophy that criticized Dewey’s experimentalism.
Culling materials from six volumes of the chronologically arranged Collected Works, this single-volume edition of Essays marks a crucial point in Dewey’s intellectual development: one in which Dewey critically engages idealistic and intuitionist theorists and lays the groundwork for his mature theory of inquiry. The text includes a new introduction by renowned Dewey scholar Tom Burke that places Essays in philosophical and historical context. In addition to the original essays, Essays in Experimental Logic also features five critical essays by Dewey’s contemporaries, including Bertrand Russell, Wendell T. Bush, R. F. Alfred Hoernlé, H. T. Costello, and C. S. Peirce.
Both newspaper and magazine journalism in the nineteenth century fully participated in the development and emergence of American Realism in the arts, which attempted to accurately portray everyday life, especially in fiction. Magazines and newspapers provided the raw material for American Realism, but were also its early and vocal advocates. This symbiotic relationship reached its peak from 1890 to 1910, when writers who might be called the first literary journalists (or, much later, “new journalists”) closed the circle by more fully adopting the fiction writer’s style of attempting to “show the reader real life,” as their literary progeny Tom Wolfe would put it many years later. Journalism and Realism fills a much-needed gap in the scholarship of American Realism.
In The Logic of Being, Paul Livingston examines the relationship of truth and time from a perspective that draws on Martin Heidegger’s thought and twentieth-century analytic philosophy. In his influential earlier work The Politics of Logic, Livingston elaborated an innovative “formal” or “metaformal" realism. Here he extends this concept into a “temporal realism” that accounts for the reality of temporal change and becoming while also preserving realism about logic and truth.
Livingston's formal and phenomenological analysis articulates and defends a realist position about being, time, and their relationship that understands that all of these are structured and constituted in a way that does not depend on the human mind, consciousness, or subjectivity. This approach provides a basis for new logically and phenomenologically based accounts of the structure of linguistic truth in relation to the appearance of objects and of the formal structure of time as given.
Livingston draws on philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Davidson and Heidegger in this exploration. In it, readers and scholars will discover innovative connections between continental and analytic philosophy.
Meeting the Universe Halfway is an ambitious book with far-reaching implications for numerous fields in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. In this volume, Karen Barad, theoretical physicist and feminist theorist, elaborates her theory of agential realism. Offering an account of the world as a whole rather than as composed of separate natural and social realms, agential realism is at once a new epistemology, ontology, and ethics. The starting point for Barad’s analysis is the philosophical framework of quantum physicist Niels Bohr. Barad extends and partially revises Bohr’s philosophical views in light of current scholarship in physics, science studies, and the philosophy of science as well as feminist, poststructuralist, and other critical social theories. In the process, she significantly reworks understandings of space, time, matter, causality, agency, subjectivity, and objectivity.
In an agential realist account, the world is made of entanglements of “social” and “natural” agencies, where the distinction between the two emerges out of specific intra-actions. Intra-activity is an inexhaustible dynamism that configures and reconfigures relations of space-time-matter. In explaining intra-activity, Barad reveals questions about how nature and culture interact and change over time to be fundamentally misguided. And she reframes understanding of the nature of scientific and political practices and their “interrelationship.” Thus she pays particular attention to the responsible practice of science, and she emphasizes changes in the understanding of political practices, critically reworking Judith Butler’s influential theory of performativity. Finally, Barad uses agential realism to produce a new interpretation of quantum physics, demonstrating that agential realism is more than a means of reflecting on science; it can be used to actually do science.
A spidery network of mobile online media has supposedly changed people, places, time, and their meanings. A prime case is the news. Digital webs seem to have trapped "legacy media," killing off newspapers and journalists' jobs. Did news businesses and careers fall prey to the digital "Spider"?
To solve the mystery, Kevin Barnhurst spent thirty years studying news going back to the realism of the 1800s. The usual suspects--technology, business competition, and the pursuit of scoops--are only partly to blame for the fate of news. The main culprit is modernism from the "Mister Pulitzer" era, which transformed news into an ideology called "journalism." News is no longer what audiences or experts imagine. Stories have grown much longer over the past century and now include fewer events, locations, and human beings. Background and context rule instead.
News producers adopted modernism to explain the world without recognizing how modernist ideas influence the knowledge they produce. When webs of networked connectivity sparked a resurgence in realist stories, legacy news stuck to big-picture analysis that can alienate audience members accustomed to digital briefs.
Hilary Putnam’s writings have shaped fields from epistemology to ethics, metaphysics to the philosophy of physics, the philosophy of mathematics to the philosophy of mind. This volume reflects his latest thinking on how to articulate a theory of naturalism which acknowledges that normative phenomena form an ineluctable part of human experience.
In literary studies today, debates about the purpose of literary criticism and about the place of formalism within it continue to simmer across periods and approaches. Anna Kornbluh contributes to—and substantially shifts—that conversation in The Order of Forms by offering an exciting new category, political formalism, which she articulates through the co-emergence of aesthetic and mathematical formalisms in the nineteenth century. Within this framework, criticism can be understood as more affirmative and constructive, articulating commitments to aesthetic expression and social collectivity.
Kornbluh offers a powerful argument that political formalism, by valuing forms of sociability like the city and the state in and of themselves, provides a better understanding of literary form and its political possibilities than approaches that view form as a constraint. To make this argument, she takes up the case of literary realism, showing how novels by Dickens, Brontë, Hardy, and Carroll engage mathematical formalism as part of their political imagining. Realism, she shows, is best understood as an exercise in social modeling—more like formalist mathematics than social documentation. By modeling society, the realist novel focuses on what it considers the most elementary features of social relations and generates unique political insights. Proposing both this new theory of realism and the idea of political formalism, this inspired, eye-opening book will have far-reaching implications in literary studies.
Hilary Putnam has at last paused from philosophizing to collect his papers for publication—his first volume in almost two decades. Contributing to a broad range of philosophical inquiry, Putnam has been said to represent a “history of recent philosophy in outline.” In this volume he suggests philosophy’s possible future, as well.
The end of the Cold War encourages new perspectives on international relations. Beer and Hariman provide a comprehensive set of essays that challenge and reinterpret the tradition of realism which has dominated the thinking of academics and foreign policy makers. Post-Realism: The Rhetorical Turn in International Relations systematically discusses the major realist writers of the Post-War era, the foundational concepts of international politics, and representative case studies of foreign policy discourse.
These essays demonstrate how realism operates rhetorically and point the way toward a richer understanding of world politics.
In this original study, Jonathan Jacobs provides a new account of ethical realism that combines both abstract meta-ethical issues defining the debate on realism and concrete topics in moral psychology. Jacobs argues that practical reasoners can both understand the ethical significance of facts and be motivated to act by that understanding. In that sense, objective considerations are prescriptive. In his discussion of the theory of practical realism, he extends themes and claims originating in Aristotelian ethics while engaging with the most important contemporary literature.
Arguing that desire and reason can agree on what is good, Jacobs explains how good action is naturally pleasing to the agent. In acting well, the agent affirms certain values and enjoys doing so. Jacobs grounds his explanation of ethical value in detailed explorations of the moral psychology of self-love, friendship, and respect. Students and scholars of philosophy will be intrigued by this integrated account of meta-ethics, practical reason, and moral psychology.
Realism and Institutionalism in International Studies represents a unique collection of original essays by foremost scholars in the field of International Studies. Six essays advocate, critique, or revise Realism, the theoretical paradigm that explains international politics by emphasizing security competition and war among states. The remaining four essays address Institutionalism, the paradigm that offers explanations for the formation, maintenance, variation, and significance of international institutions.
The authors reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches and suggest research agendas for the future. Together, this volume provides an accessible and wide-ranging survey of the issues concerning two major paradigms in International Studies. This volume will be of interest to scholars and students alike and will undoubtedly determine the shape of future research.
See table of contents and excerpts.
Frank P. Harvey is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies at Dalhousie University.
Michael Brecher is the R.B. Angus Professor of Political Science at McGill University and past president of the International Studies Association.
Millennial Reflections on International Studies
This volume is part of the Millennial Reflections on International Studies project in which forty-five prominent scholars engage in self-critical, state-of-the-art reflection on international studies to stimulate debates about successes and failures and to address the larger questions of progress in the discipline.
Other paperbacks from this project:
Conflict, Security, Foreign Policy, and International Political Economy: Past Paths and Future Directions in International Studies
Critical Perspectives in International Studies
The full collection of essays is available in the handbook Millennial Reflections on International Studies.
The 1966 edition of this book has become a standard work. In this new, revised edition, Pizer has dropped three chapters and has refined and extended the work by adding six: “American Literary Naturalism: An Approach Through Form,” “American Literary Naturalism: The Example of Dreiser,” “The Problem of Philosophy in the Naturalistic Novel,” “Hamlin Garland’s 1891 Main-Travelled Roads: Local Color as Art,” “Jack London: The Problem of Form,” and “Dreiser’s ‘Nigger Jeff’: The Development of an Aesthetic.”
The book contains definitions of realism and naturalism based on representative novels of the period ranging from Howells’ Rise of Silas Lapham to Crane’s Red Badge of Courage; analyses of the literary criticism of the age, stressing that of Howells, Garland, and Norris; and close readings of specific works by major figures of the period.
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.
Any review of 20th-century American theatre invariably leads to the term realism. Yet despite the strong tradition of theatrical realism on the American stage, the term is frequently misidentified, and the practices to which it refers are often attacked as monolithically tyrannical, restricting the potential of the American national theatre.
This book reconsiders realism on the American stage by addressing the great variety and richness of the plays that form the American theatre canon. By reconsidering the form and revisiting many of the plays that contributed to the realist tradition, the authors provide the opportunity to apprise strengths often overlooked by previous critics. The volume traces the development of American dramatic realism from James A. Herne, the "American Ibsen," to currently active contemporaries such as Sam Shepard, David Mamet, and Marsha Norman. This frank assessment, in sixteen original essays, reopens a critical dialog too long closed.
American Dramatic Realisms, Viable Frames of Thought
The Struggle for the Real--Interpretive Con§ict, Dramatic Method, and the Paradox of Realism
The Legacy of James A. Herne: American Realities and Realisms
Whose Realism? Rachel Crothers's Power Struggle in the American Theatre
The Provincetown Players' Experiments with Realism
Servant of Three Masters: Realism, Idealism, and "Hokum" in American High Comedy
Realism for the 21st Century is a collection of thirty essays from John Deely—a major figure in contemporary semiotics and an authority on scholastic realism and the works of Charles Sanders Peirce. The volume tracks Deely’s development as a pragmatic realist, featuring his early essays on our relation to the world after Darwinism; crucial articles on logic, semiotics, and objectivity; overviews of philosophy after modernity; and a new essay on “purely objective reality.”
"Two world wars, concentration camps, the obliteration of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, and continued preparations for nuclear war illustrate the modern
world's propensity for mass destruction. . . . Yet there have been
important signs of resistance to this trend. These have included not only
the emergence of mass-based peace and disarmament movements but activist
intellectuals grappling with the growing problem posed by mass violence
among nation-states. . . . Bess examines the lives and ideas of four of
these intellectuals: Leo Szilard of Hungary and (later) the United States,
E. P. Thompson of England, Danilo Dolci of Italy, and Louise Weiss of
France. . . . Realism, Utopia, and the Mushroom Cloud is a powerful,
important scholarly work, casting new light upon some of the great issues
of modern times. Readers will learn much from it."—Lawrence S.
Wittner, Peace and Change
"Bess seeks to understand the way in which the creation of the atomic bomb
has changed the social and political situation of humankind. Are we to be
held hostage by military forces or can we transform our situation? He
describes the lives of four very different activists, each with different
views on what causes conflict and how best to address conflict. . . .
Overall, this book offers an interesting perspective on life after the
atomic bomb. . . . In asking ourselves what the possibilities of our future
are, we can turn to these lives for some guidance. . . . This book is
informative, provocative, and encourages one to consider carefully how s/he
chooses to live."—Erin McKenna, Utopian Studies
"These four lives, researched and skillfully presented by historian Michael
Bess, make fascinating stories in themselves. They also serve as useful
vehicles for examining major cross-currents of Cold War resistance. . . .
From Weiss the cynical pragmatist to Szilard the high-level fixer to
hompson the social reformer to Dolce the spiritual street organizer,
Michael Bess has woven an illuminating tapestry of human efforts to cope
with life under the mushroom cloud."—Samuel H. Day Jr., The Progressive
"A highly original and gripping account of the works of Eakins and Crane. That remarkable combination of close reading and close viewing which Fried uniquely commands is brought to bear on the problematic nature of the making of images, of texts, and of the self in nineteenth-century America."—Svetlana Alpers, University of California, Berkeley
"An extraordinary achievement of scholarship and critical analysis. It is a book distinguished not only for its brilliance but for its courage, its grace and wit, its readiness to test its arguments in tough-minded ways, and its capacity to meet the challenge superbly. . . . This is a landmark in American cultural and intellectual studies."—Sacvan Bercovitch, Harvard University
In virtually every aspect of human behavior, ritual, language, and art, perceptions are organized through the act of framing. In the writing of Benito Perez Galdós, Spain's most prolific and innovative nineteenth-century novelist, Hazel Gold finds this principle insistently at work. By exploring Galdós's methods of structuring and evaluating literary and historical experience, Gold illuminates the novelist's art and uncovers the far-reaching narratological, social, and epistemological implications of his framing strategies. A close look at Galdós's novels reveals the artist at pains to contain and interpret what he perceived to be the distinctive and often disheartening experience of bourgeois liberalism of his day. At the same time, he can be seen here undermining or negating the accepted conventions of realist fiction. Looking beyond text to context, Gold examines the ways in which Galdós's work itself has been framed by readers and critics in accordance with changing allegiances to contemporary literary theory and the canon. The highly ambiguous status of the frame in Galdós's fictions confirms the author's own signal position as a writer poised at the limits between realism and modernity. Gold's work will command the interest of students of Spanish and comparative literature, narrative theory, and the novel, as well as all those for whom realism and representation are at issue.
Both a history and a metahistory, Representing Electrons focuses on the development of various theoretical representations of electrons from the late 1890s to 1925 and the methodological problems associated with writing about unobservable scientific entities.
Using the electron—or rather its representation—as a historical actor, Theodore Arabatzis illustrates the emergence and gradual consolidation of its representation in physics, its career throughout old quantum theory, and its appropriation and reinterpretation by chemists. As Arabatzis develops this novel biographical approach, he portrays scientific representations as partly autonomous agents with lives of their own. Furthermore, he argues that the considerable variance in the representation of the electron does not undermine its stable identity or existence.
Raising philosophical issues of contentious debate in the history and philosophy of science—namely, scientific realism and meaning change—Arabatzis addresses the history of the electron across disciplines, integrating historical narrative with philosophical analysis in a book that will be a touchstone for historians and philosophers of science and scientists alike.
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.
Perspective determines how we, as viewers, perceive painting. We can convince ourselves that a painting of a bowl of fruit or a man in a room appears to be real by the way these objects are rendered. Likewise, the trick of perspective can prevent us from being absorbed in a scene. Connecting contemporary critical theory with close readings of seventeenth-century Dutch visual culture, The Rhetoric of Perspective puts forth the claim that painting is a form of thinking and that perspective functions as the language of the image.
Aided by a stunning full-color gallery, Hanneke Grootenboer proposes a new theory of perspective based on the phenomenological aspects of non-narrative still-life, trompe l'oeil, and anamorphic imagery. Drawing on playful and mesmerizing baroque images, Grootenboer characterizes what she calls their "sophisticated deceit," asserting that painting is more about visual representation than about its supposed objects.
Offering an original theory of perspective's impact on pictorial representation, the act of looking, and the understanding of truth in painting, Grootenboer shows how these paintings both question the status of representation and explore the limits and credibility of perception.
“An elegant and honourable synthesis.”—Keith Miller, Times Literary Supplement
Richard Ford and the Ends of Realism examines the work of award-winning American novelist and short story writer Richard Ford, and places it firmly in the context of contemporary debates about the role and meaning of literary realism in a postmodern environment. In this fresh study of Ford’s oeuvre, Ian McGuire argues that Ford’s work is best understood as a form of pragmatic realism and thus positions him as part of a deeply rooted and ongoing American debate about the nature of realism and pragmatism. This debate, which reaches back to transcendentalist thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and continues on to today, questions the meaning of independence and the relationship between the self and history. In this context, McGuire explores Ford’s deep engagement with American literary and philosophical traditions and repositions his work in its appropriate intellectual and literary context.
McGuire also uses this idea of pragmatic realism to mount a larger defense of contemporary realist writing and uses Ford’s example to argue that realism itself remains a useful and necessary critical category. Contemporary realism, rather than being merely conventional or reactionary, as some of its critics have called it, can offer its proponents an aesthetically and philosophically sophisticated way of engaging with and contesting the particularities of contemporary, even postmodern, experience.
In offering this new reading of Richard Ford’s fiction, as well as a fresh understanding of the realist impulse in contemporary American fiction, both become richer, more resonant, and more immediate—reaching both backward into the past and forward to involve themselves in important contemporary debates about history, postmodernity, and moral relativism.
Rites of Realism shifts the discussion of cinematic realism away from the usual focus on verisimilitude and faithfulness of record toward a notion of "performative realism," a realism that does not simply represent a given reality but enacts actual social tensions. These essays by a range of film scholars propose stimulating new approaches to the critical evaluation of modern realist films and such referential genres as reenactment, historical film, adaptation, portrait film, and documentary. By providing close readings of classic and contemporary works, Rites of Realism signals the need to return to a focus on films as the main innovators of realist representation. The collection is inspired by André Bazin's theories on film's inherent heterogeneity and unique ability to register contingency (the singular, one-time event). This volume features two new translations: of Bazin's seminal essay "Death Every Afternoon" and Serge Daney's essay reinterpreting Bazin's defense of the long shot as a way to set the stage for a clash or risky confrontation between man and animal. These pieces evince key concerns—particularly the link between cinematic realism and contingency—that the other essays explore further. Among the topics addressed are the provocative mimesis of Luis Buñuel's Land Without Bread; the adaptation of trial documents in Carl Dreyer's Passion of Joan of Arc; the use of the tableaux vivant by Wim Wenders and Peter Greenaway; and Pier Paolo Pasolini's strategies of analogy in his transposition of The Gospel According to St. Matthew from Palestine to southern Italy. Essays consider the work of filmmakers including Michelangelo Antonioni, Maya Deren, Mike Leigh, Cesare Zavattini, Zhang Yuan, and Abbas Kiarostami.
Contributors: Paul Arthur, André Bazin, Mark A. Cohen, Serge Daney, Mary Ann Doane, James F. Lastra, Ivone Margulies, Abé Mark Normes, Brigitte Peucker, Richard Porton, Philip Rosen, Catherine Russell, James Schamus, Noa Steimatsky, Xiaobing Tang
Through detailed and trenchant criticism of standard interpretations of some of the key arguments in analytical philosophy over the last sixty years, this book arrives at a new conception of the proper starting point and task of the philosophy of language.
To understand central topics in the philosophy of language and mind, Gary Ebbs contends, we must investigate them from our perspective as participants in shared linguistic practices; but our efforts at adopting this participant perspective are limited by our lingering loyalties to metaphysical realism (the view that we can make objective assertions only if we can grasp metaphysically independent truth conditions) and scientific naturalism (the view that it is only within science that reality can be identified and described). In Rule-Following and Realism, Ebbs works to loosen the hold of these views by exposing their roots and developing a different way of looking at our linguistic practices.
Reexamining and extending influential arguments by Saul Kripke, W. V. Quine, Rudolf Carnap, Hilary Putnam, and Tyler Burge, Ebbs presents systematic redescriptions of our linguistic practices that transform our understanding of such central topics as rule-following, the analytic-synthetic distinction, realism, anti-individualism, the division of linguistic labor, self-knowledge, and skepticism.
Science without Laws
Ronald N. Giere University of Chicago Press, 1999 Library of Congress Q175.G48898 1999 | Dewey Decimal 501
Debate over the nature of science has recently moved from the halls of academia into the public sphere, where it has taken shape as the "science wars." At issue is the question of whether scientific knowledge is objective and universal or socially mediated, whether scientific truths are independent of human values and beliefs. Ronald Giere is a philosopher of science who has been at the forefront of this debate from its inception, and Science without Laws offers a much-needed mediating perspective on an increasingly volatile line of inquiry.
Giere does not question the major findings of modern science: for example, that the universe is expanding or that inheritance is carried by DNA molecules with a double helical structure. But like many critics of modern science, he rejects the widespread notion of science—deriving ultimately from the Enlightenment—as a uniquely rational activity leading to the discovery of universal truths underlying all natural phenomena. In these highly readable essays, Giere argues that it is better to understand scientists as merely constructing more or less abstract models of limited aspects of the world. Such an understanding makes possible a resolution of the issues at stake in the science wars. The critics of science are seen to be correct in rejecting the Enlightenment idea of science, and its defenders are seen to be correct in insisting that science does produce genuine knowledge of the natural world.
Giere is utterly persuasive in arguing that to criticize the Enlightenment ideal is not to criticize science itself, and that to defend science one need not defend the Enlightenment ideal. Science without Laws thus stakes out a middle ground in these debates by showing us how science can be better conceived in other ways.
"An authoritative account of
the semantic conception of theories by one of its chief developers. Suppe has
always seen the semantic conception as providing a way of moving beyond empiricist
philosophies of science. This book provides the definitive account of his views
not only on the issue of realism, but also on a variety of other issues central
to the philosophy of science."
-- Ronald N. Giere, author of Explaining Science: A Cognitive Approach
The Shaky Game
Arthur Fine University of Chicago Press, 1996 Library of Congress QC6.F54 1996 | Dewey Decimal 530.1201
In this new edition, Arthur Fine looks at Einstein's philosophy of science and develops his own views on realism. A new Afterword discusses the reaction to Fine's own theory.
"What really led Einstein . . . to renounce the new quantum order? For those interested in this question, this book is compulsory reading."—Harvey R. Brown, American Journal of Physics
"Fine has successfully combined a historical account of Einstein's philosophical views on quantum mechanics and a discussion of some of the philosophical problems associated with the interpretation of quantum theory with a discussion of some of the contemporary questions concerning realism and antirealism. . . . Clear, thoughtful, [and] well-written."—Allan Franklin, Annals of Science
"Attempts, from Einstein's published works and unpublished correspondence, to piece together a coherent picture of 'Einstein realism.' Especially illuminating are the letters between Einstein and fellow realist Schrödinger, as the latter was composing his famous 'Schrödinger-Cat' paper."—Nick Herbert, New Scientist
"Beautifully clear. . . . Fine's analysis is penetrating, his own results original and important. . . . The book is a splendid combination of new ways to think about quantum mechanics, about realism, and about Einstein's views of both."—Nancy Cartwright, Isis
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.
Broadening our understanding of what constitutes "realism," Nicolas Witschi artfully demonstrates the linkage of American literary realism to the texts, myths, and resources of the American West.
From Gold Rush romances to cowboy Westerns, from hard-boiled detective thrillers to nature writing, the American West has long been known mainly through hackneyed representations in popular genres. But a close look at the literary history of the West reveals a number of writers who claim that their works represent the "real" West. As Nicolas Witschi shows, writers as varied as Bret Harte, John Muir, Frank Norris, Mary Austin, and Raymond Chandler have used claims of textual realism to engage, replicate, or challenge commonly held assumptions about the West, while historically acknowledged realists like William Dean Howells and Mark Twain have often relied on genre-derived impressions about the region.
The familiar association of the West with nature and the "great outdoors" implies that life in the West affords an unambiguous relationship with an unalloyed, non-human, real nature. But through a combination of textual scholarship, genre criticism, and materialist cultural studies, Witschi complicates this notion of wide open spaces and unfettered opportunity. The West has been the primary source of raw materials for American industrial and economic expansion, especially between the California Gold Rush and World War II, and Witschi argues that the writers he examines exist within the intersections of cultural and material modes of production. Realistic depictions of Western nature, he concludes, must rely on the representation of the extraction of material resources like minerals, water, and oil.
With its forays into ecocriticism and cultural studies, Traces of Gold will appeal to students and scholars of American literature, American studies, and western history.
From the rediscovery of Alfred North Whitehead’s work to the rise of new materialist thought, including object-oriented ontology, there has been a rapid turn toward speculation in philosophy as a way of moving beyond solely human perceptions of nature and existence. Now Steven Shaviro maps this quickly emerging speculative realism, which is already dramatically influencing how we interpret reality and our place in a universe in which humans are not the measure of all things.
The Universe of Things explores the common insistence of speculative realism on a noncorrelationist thought: that things or objects exist apart from how our own human minds relate to and comprehend them. Shaviro focuses on how Whitehead both anticipates and offers challenges to prevailing speculative realist thought, moving between Whitehead’s own panpsychism, Harman’s object-oriented ontology, and the reductionist eliminativism of Quentin Meillassoux and Ray Brassier.
The stakes of this recent speculative realist thought—of the effort to develop new ways of grasping the world—are enormous as it becomes clear that our inherited assumptions are no longer adequate to describe, much less understand, the reality we experience around us. As Shaviro acknowledges, speculative realist thought has its dangers, but it also, like the best speculative fiction, holds the potential to liberate us from confining views of what is outside ourselves and, he believes, to reclaim aesthetics and beauty as a principle of life itself.
Bringing together a wide array of contemporary thought, and evenhandedly assessing its current debates, The Universe of Things is an invaluable guide to the evolution of speculative realism and the provocation of Alfred North Whitehead’s pathbreaking work.
Sandra Laugier has long been a key liaison between American and European philosophical thought, responsible for bringing American philosophers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Stanley Cavell to French readers—but until now her books have never been published in English. Why We Need Ordinary Language Philosophy rights that wrong with a topic perfect for English-language readers: the idea of analytic philosophy.
Focused on clarity and logical argument, analytic philosophy has dominated the discipline in the United States, Australia, and Britain over the past one hundred years, and it is often seen as a unified, coherent, and inevitable advancement. Laugier questions this assumption, rethinking the very grounds that drove analytic philosophy to develop and uncovering its inherent tensions and confusions. Drawing on J. L. Austin and the later works of Ludwig Wittgenstein, she argues for the solution provided by ordinary language philosophy—a philosophy that trusts and utilizes the everyday use of language and the clarity of meaning it provides—and in doing so offers a major contribution to the philosophy of language and twentieth- and twenty-first-century philosophy as a whole.