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The Quantum of Explanation advances a bold new theory of how explanation ought to be understood in philosophical and cosmological inquiries. Using a complete interpretation of Alfred North Whitehead's philosophical and mathematical writings and an interpretive structure that is essentially new, Auxier and Herstein argue that Whitehead has never been properly understood, nor has the depth and breadth of his contribution to the human search for knowledge been assimilated by his successors. This important book effectively applies Whitehead's philosophy to problems in the interpretation of science, empirical knowledge, and nature. It develops a new account of philosophical naturalism that will contribute to the current naturalism debate in both Analytic and Continental philosophy. Auxier and Herstein also draw attention to some of the most important differences between the process theology tradition and Whitehead's thought, arguing in favor of a Whiteheadian naturalism that is more or less independent of theological concerns. This book offers a clear and comprehensive introduction to Whitehead's philosophy and is an essential resource for students and scholars interested in American philosophy, the philosophy of mathematics and physics, and issues associated with naturalism, explanation and radical empiricism.
Heidegger's Shadow is an important contribution to the understanding of Heidegger's ambivalent relation to transcendental philosophy. Its contention is that Heidegger recognizes the importance of transcendental philosophy as the necessary point of entry to his thought, but he nonetheless comes to regard it as something that he must strive to overcome even though he knows such an attempt can never succeed. Engelland thoroughly engages with major texts such as Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, Being and Time, and Contributions and traces the progression of Heidegger's readings of Kant and Husserl to show that Heidegger cannot abandon his own earlier breakthrough work in transcendental philosophy. This book will be of interest to those working on phenomenology, continental philosophy, and transcendental philosophy.
The English version of Dissemination [is] an able translation by Barbara Johnson . . . . Derrida's central contention is that language is haunted by dispersal, absence, loss, the risk of unmeaning, a risk which is starkly embodied in all writing. The distinction between philosophy and literature therefore becomes of secondary importance. Philosophy vainly attempts to control the irrecoverable dissemination of its own meaning, it strives--against the grain of language--to offer a sober revelation of truth. Literature--on the other hand--flaunts its own meretriciousness, abandons itself to the Dionysiac play of language. In Dissemination--more than any previous work--Derrida joins in the revelry, weaving a complex pattern of puns, verbal echoes and allusions, intended to 'deconstruct' both the pretension of criticism to tell the truth about literature, and the pretension of philosophy to the literature of truth.--Peter Dews, New Statesman
This volume brings together Gramsci's writings on religion, education, science, philosophy and economic theory. The theme that links these writings is the investigation of ideology at its different levels, and the structures which embody and reproduce it. Concepts such as subalternity and corporate consciousness, hegemony and the building of a counter-hegemony necessary for the formation of a new historical bloc, thus recur throughout the book. They complement some of the more overtly political writing published in the 1971 selection from the "Notebooks".
McTaggart's argument for the unreality of time, first published in 1908, set the agenda for 20th-century philosophy of time. Yet there is very little agreement on what it actually says-nobody agrees with the conclusion, but still everybody finds something important in it. This book presents the first critical overview of the last century of debate on what is popularly called "McTaggart's Paradox". Scholars have long assumed that McTaggart's argument stands alone and does not rely on any contentious ontological principles. The author demonstrates that these assumptions are incorrect-McTaggart himself explicitly claimed his argument to be dependent on the ontological principles that form the basis of his idealist metaphysics. The result is that scholars have proceeded to understand the argument on the basis of their own metaphysical assumptions, duly arriving at very different interpretations. This book offers an alternative reading of McTaggart's argument, and at the same time explains why other commentators arrive at their mutually incompatible interpretations. It will be of interest to students and scholars with an interest in the philosophy of time and other areas of contemporary metaphysics.
This collection of essays on Jacques Derrida, first published in 2004, spans nearly thirty years of critical thinking about Derrida's work. The articles selected here have never previously been collected, yet they are significant contributions that illuminate difficult and important aspects of Derrida's writings. While not seeking to be comprehensive, the volume ranges over the entirety of Derrida's published output and addresses a number of crucial topics, including literature, iterability, the signature, time, alterity, Judaism, metaphor and death. Reprinted here in chronological order of first publication, the essays are complemented by an introduction by Ian MacIachlan which discusses the significance of Derrida's work for our critical thinking.
The Intellectual Origins of Modernity explores the long and winding road of modernity from Rousseau to Foucault and its roots, which are not to be found in a desire for enlightenment or in the idea of progress but in the Promethean passion of Western humankind. Modernity is the Promethean passion, the passion of humans to be their own master, to use their insight to make a world different from the one that they found, and to liberate themselves from their immemorial chains. This passion created the political ideologies of the nineteenth century and made its imprint on the totalitarian regimes that arose in their wake in the twentieth. Underlying the Promethean passion there was modernity-humankind's project of self-creation-and enlightenment, the existence of a constant tension between the actual and the desirable, between reality and the ideal. Beneath the weariness, the exhaustion and the skepticism of post-modernist criticism is a refusal to take Promethean horizons into account. This book attests the importance of reason, which remains a powerful critical weapon of humankind against the idols that have come out of modernity: totalitarianism, fundamentalism, the golem of technology, genetic engineering and a boundless will to power. Without it, the new Prometheus is liable to return the fire to the gods.
This book provides the first comprehensive introduction to Simone
de Beauvoir's philosophical thought. Beauvoir has long been
recognized as the twentieth century's leading feminist writer, but
the full extent of her significance as a philosopher is just coming
into focus. This study examines the history of Beauvoir's
development into one of the most original and influential thinkers
of her era.
'Imaginative, illuminating and innovative' The New York Times Book Review The grisly spectacle of public executions and torture of centuries ago has been replaced by the penal system in western society - but has anything really changed? In his revolutionary work on control and power relations in our public institutions, Michel Foucault argues that the development of prisons, police organizations and legal hierarchies has merely changed the focus of domination from our bodies to our souls. Even schools, factories, barracks and hospitals, in which an individual's time is controlled hour by hour, are part of a disciplinary society. 'Foucault's genius is called forth into the eloquent clarity of his passions ... his best book' Washington Post
Stella Gaon provides the first fully philosophical account of the critical nature of deconstruction, and she does so by turning in an original way to psychoanalysis. Drawing on close readings of Freud and Laplanche, Gaon argues that Derridean deconstruction is driven by a normative investment in reason's psychological force. Indeed, deconstruction is more faithful to the principle of reason than the various forms of critical theory prevalent today. For if one pursues the classical demand for rational grounds vigilantly, one finds that claims to ethical or political legitimacy cannot be rationally justified, because they are undone by logical undecidability. Gaon's argument is borne out in the cases of Kantian deontology, Deweyan pragmatism, progressive pedagogy, Habermasian moral theory, Levinasian ethics and others. What emerges is the groundbreaking demonstration that deconstruction is impelled by a quasi-ethical critical drive, and that to read deconstructively is to radicalize the emancipatory practice of reason as self-critique. This important volume will be of great value to critical theorists as well as to Derrida scholars and researchers in social and political thought.
This volume addresses the issue of freedom in the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari. This is all the more challenging in that Deleuze-Guattari almost never use the term freedom, preferring instead, the concept of the refrain. The essays collected in the volume show that freedom has been understood in a remarkably narrow sense and that in fact freedom operates as the refrain in every realm of thought and creation. The motivating approach in these essays is Deleuze-Guattari's emphasis on the irreality of media and capitalistic sign regimes, which they perceive to have taken over even the practices of philosophy, the arts, and science. By offering a clear and engaging treatment of the underexplored issue of freedom, this volume moves the discussion of Deleuze-Guattari's philosophy forward in ways that will appeal to researchers in Continental philosophy and a wide range of other disciplines.
A Biography of Ordinary Man is a foundational text for our understanding of Francois Laruelle, one of France s leading thinkers, whose ideas have emerged as an important touchstone for contemporary theoretical discussions across multiple disciplines. One of Laruelle s earliest systematic elaborations of his ethical and "non-philosophical" thought, this critical dialogue with some of the dominant voices of continental philosophy, including Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Deleuze, and Derrida, offers a rigorous science of individuals as minorities or as separated from the World, History, and Philosophy. Through novel theorizations of finitude and determination in the last instance, Laruelle develops a thought "of the One" as a "minoritarian" paradigm that resists those paradigms that foreground difference as the conceptual matrix for understanding the status of the minority. The critique of the "unitary illusion" of philosophy developed here stands at the foundation of Laruelle s approach to "uni-lateralizing" the power of philosophy and the universals with which it has always thought, and thereby acts as a basis for his subsequent investigations of victims, mysticism, and Gnosticism. This book will appeal to the many students and scholars interested in Continental Philosophy and in the development of Laruelle s thought, as well as to students and scholars in the philosophy of religion, ethics, aesthetics and cultural theory.
At present, 'naturalism' is arguably the dominant trend in both Anglo-American and European philosophy. Owing to the influence of the works of W.V.O. Quine, Wilfred Sellars, and Hillary Putnam, among others, naturalism both as a methodological and ontological position has become one of the mainstays of contemporary analytic approaches to knowledge, mind and ethics. From the early 1990s onward, European philosophy in the English-speaking world has been witnessing a turn from the philosophies of the subjects of phenomenology, hermeneutics and existentialism and a revival of a certain kind of vitalism, whether Bergsonian or Nietzschean, and also of a certain kind of materialism that is close in spirit to Spinoza's Ethics and to the naturalism and monism of the early Ionian thinkers. This book comprises essays written by experts in both the European and the Anglo-American traditions such as John Sallis, David Papineau, David Cerbone, Dan Zahavi, Paul Patton, Bernhard Weiss, Jack Reynolds and Benedict Smith, who explore the limit of naturalism and the debate between naturalism and phenomenology. This book also considers the relation between Deleuze's philosophy and naturalism as well as the critique of phenomenology by speculative realism. This book was originally published as a special issue of the International Journal of Philosophical Studies.
Fraternity is a feeling, and a moral virtue, but fraternity is also a political concept. The French Revolution proclaimed an ethical and political ideal with its three principles: liberty, equality and fraternity. Since then, western political philosophy has gone to great lengths to analyse the liberty and equality, but has ignored, and even disdained, the third part of the revolutionary triad: fraternity. Forgetting or underestimating fraternity as a political category is unjustifiable. Political fraternity can help us to overcome some of the main problems with liberal egalitarianism and theories of liberty in current social and political thought, and it contributes to a better understanding of the real significance of justice and democracy. In this book, Angel Puyol examines the theoretical and normative challenges of the political idea of fraternity, its history and meanings, its role in current political philosophy, its distinction regarding related concepts - such as relational equality, solidarity or civic friendship - the place that political fraternity should occupy in feminist criticism, and its relationship to social justice, global justice and democracy in modern-day politics.
This volume consists of a selection of scholarly essays from literature, philosophy and history on the conception of reality as understood by Rabindranath Tagore and Albert Einstein. The nature of reality has been a long-debated issue among scientists and philosophers. Tagore (1861-1941) met Einstein (1879-1955) at the latter's house in Kaputh, Germany on 14 July 1930 and had a long conversation on this issue. This conversation has been widely quoted and discussed by scientists, philosophers and scholars from the literary world. The important question that Tagore and Einstein discussed was whether the world is a unity dependent on humanity, or the world is a reality independent of the human factor. Einstein believed that reality is independent of the mind and the human factor. On the other hand, Tagore adopted the opposite view. Nevertheless, both Einstein and Tagore claimed to be realists - their conceptions of reality were obviously fundamentally different. Where does the difference lie? Can it be harmonized at a deeper level? This volume brings together for the first time a gamut of views on this subject from eminent scholars. It presents some key reflections on reality, language, poetry, truth, science, personality, human sciences, virtue ethics, intelligibility and creativity. It will be useful to scholars and researchers of philosophy, literature, history and political studies, as also to those interested in Tagore.
This volume analyses Virginia Woolf's novels through a philosophical lens, providing an interpretive overview of her works through Hans-Georg Gadamer's hermeneutic ontology. The text argues that interpretation itself is the central subject matter of Woolf's novels: in order to understand these novels in all of their complexity and depth, it is both useful and helpful to comprehend the interpretive pillars that inform these narratives. Indeed, interpretation became a central theme during the Modernist movement, and Woolf's novels took part in this conversation. For his part, Gadamer was in important voice in these discussions, dedicating his life's work to the concept of interpretation. Gadamer focused on the universality of interpretation, arguing that it is inescapable and irrevocably bound up with existence. In many ways, Woolf's novels represent an enactment of Gadamer's philosophy, as they emphasize the radical questionability of the world-what this interpretive imperative requires of its participants and the potential yield that may result. On the other end, Gadamer's philosophy acquires a concrete praxis when applied to Woolf's novels. His philosophy hinges on the universality of interpretation as it manifests itself in daily existence; the literary text and its interpretation participate in this universality and is shaped by it.
A critical anthology that re-examines Jacques Derrida's thought by way of theory and praxis, this volume reflects on his striking legacy and the future of theory. Among contemporary thinkers, Derrida challenges not only our ways of thinking but also hitherto methods of inquiry. This book captures how Derrida renovates and re-energises philosophy by questioning the fundamental assumptions of Western philosophical thought. By doing so, he exposes the intricate lie behind binaries, such as speech/writing, nature/culture, male/female, black/white, literature/criticism, etc., which have continued to shape our worldview, where a hegemonic centre is always already in place dominating or marginalising the 'other'. A significant contribution to literary theory, this book explores not only the status of Derrida's contribution as a critical thinker but also the status of critical theory as such in the contemporary milieu. The central question that it asks is whether we should dismiss Derrida as a thinker who espoused an extreme form of relativism, bordering on nihilism, or has he something fundamental to contribute to the future of theory. Could it be that deconstruction is not destruction but a possibility that casts doubts on whether the present can have faith in future? This second edition includes a new Postscript and addresses some important concerns of our times, such as religious practice, art and aesthetics, translation, sociology of philosophy, and democracy. Scholars and researchers of English literature, philosophy, sociology and cultural studies will find this work particularly interesting.
This book offers a comprehensive sociological study of the nature and dynamics of the modern world, through the use of a series of anthropological concepts, including the trickster, schismogenesis, imitation and liminality. Developing the view that with the theatre playing a central role, the modern world is conditioned as much by cultural processes as it is by economic, technological or scientific ones, the author contends the world is, to a considerable extent, theatrical - a phenomenon experienced as inauthenticity or a loss of direction and meaning. As such the novel is revealed as a means for studying our theatricalised reality, not simply because novels can be understood to be likening the world to theatre, but because they effectively capture and present the reality of a world that has been thoroughly 'theatricalised' - and they do so more effectively than the main instruments usually employed to analyse reality: philosophy and sociology. With analyses of some of the most important novelists and novels of modern culture, including Rilke, Hofmannsthal, Kafka, Mann, Blixen, Broch and Bulgakov, and focusing on fin-de-siecle Vienna as a crucial 'threshold' chronotope of modernity, Permanent Liminality and Modernity demonstrates that all seek to investigate and unmask the theatricalisation of modern life, with its progressive loss of meaning and our deteriorating capacity to distinguish between what is meaningful and what is artificial. Drawing on the work of Nietzsche, Bakhtin and Girard to examine the ways in which novels explore the reduction of human existence to a state of permanent liminality, in the form of a sacrificial carnival, this book will appeal to scholars of social, anthropological and literary theory.
Why, since the financial crisis of 2008, has neoliberal capitalism remained seemingly impregnable? Why, when it is shown as no longer capable of delivering on its economic promises does its logic pervade all facets of contemporary life? How has it seduced us? This book examines the seductive appeal of neoliberalism by understanding it as a fundamentally counter-cultural logic. Unlike earlier modes of capitalism, neoliberalism is infused by spirit of rebellion and self-creation, with the idealised neoliberal subject overturning traditional morality whilst creating new modes of being based on risk and excess. Tracing the development of the logic of neoliberalism from its beginnings in the thought of Friedrich Hayek in the wake of the post-war period, through the work of neoconservative writers overcoming and moving beyond what they perceived as the nihilism of both the counter-culture and capitalism of the 1960s and 70s, to its establishment as a new moral order underpinning the economic system from the 1980s onwards, the author argues that it is only through a clear understanding of the seduction of neoliberalism that it can be overcome by reimagining our relationships to work and society.
This book offers a detailed account and discussion of Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics. In Part I, the stage is set with a brief presentation of Frege's logicist attempt to provide arithmetic with a foundation and Wittgenstein's criticisms of it, followed by sketches of Wittgenstein's early views of mathematics, in the Tractatus and in the early 1930s. Then (in Part II), Wittgenstein's mature philosophy of mathematics (1937-44) is carefully presented and examined. Schroeder explains that it is based on two key ideas: the calculus view and the grammar view. On the one hand, mathematics is seen as a human activity - calculation - rather than a theory. On the other hand, the results of mathematical calculations serve as grammatical norms. The following chapters (on mathematics as grammar; rule-following; conventionalism; the empirical basis of mathematics; the role of proof) explore the tension between those two key ideas and suggest a way in which it can be resolved. Finally, there are chapters analysing and defending Wittgenstein's provocative views on Hilbert's Formalism and the quest for consistency proofs and on Goedel's incompleteness theorems.
That a science of human conduct is possible, that what any man may do even in moments of the most sober and careful reflection can be understood and explained, has seemed to many a philosopher to cast doubt upon our common view that any human action can ever be said to be truly free. This book, first published in 1961, looks into crucially important issues that are often ignored in the familiar arguments for and against the possibility of free action. These issues are brought to light and examined in some detail.
Perhaps everyone who can think has the concept of possibility, but no one understands it. The metaphysical theory of Determinism is a symptom of this lack of understanding, and the inconclusiveness of its opponents' arguments indicates that the lack is universal. In this book, first published in 1968, the author shows that there are a number of different kinds on non-logical possibility, subtly interrelated, each requiring separate explanation. An original contribution to the subject, it is essential reading for all students of philosophy.
The aim of this book is to address the relevance of Wilfrid Sellars' philosophy to understanding topics in Buddhist philosophy. While contemporary scholars of Buddhism often take Sellars as a touchstone for philosophical analysis, and while many take Sellars' corpus as their entree into current philosophical discourse, fewer contemporary philosophers have crossed the bridge in the other direction, using Sellarsian ideas as a way of entering into Buddhist philosophy. The essays in this volume, written by both philosophers and Buddhist Studies scholars, are divided into two sections organized around two of Sellars' essays that have been particularly influential in Buddhist Studies: "Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man" and "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind." The chapters in Part I generally address questions concerning the two truths, while those in Part II concern issues in epistemology and philosophy of mind. The volume will be of interest to Sellars scholars, to scholars interested in the contemporary interaction of Buddhist philosophy and Western philosophy and to scholars of Buddhist Studies.
Robert Brandom is one of the most renowned American philosophers today, discussed widely in analytic as well as continental philosophical communities on both sides of the Atlantic. His innovative neo-pragmatist approach to linguistic communication combines major contributions to the philosophies of language and mind, epistemology, metaphysics, and logic with intriguing interpretations of historical philosophers such as Kant, Hegel, and Wittgenstein. Yet, due to its boldly unorthodox and highly technical nature, Brandom's theory can also be found daunting. In this accessible introduction, Ronald Loeffler provides a critical and clear-headed guide through the maze of Brandom's philosophy to date. He conveys the pioneering nature of Brandom's approach to language and communication with its unabashed appropriation of the German Idealistic tradition, and offers focused, sure-footed introductions to all major aspects of Brandom's thought, including Brandom's normative pragmatics and inferential role semantics and his theories of empirical knowledge, logical discourse, linguistic representation, and objectivity. This book will be essential reading for students of philosophy, as well as those in related fields with interests in language, communication, and the nature of norm-governed social interaction.
What are the implications of philosophical pragmatism for international relations theory and foreign policy practice? According to John Ryder, "a foreign policy built on pragmatist principles is neither naive nor dangerous. In fact, it is very much what both the U.S. and the world are currently in need of." Close observers of Barack Obama's foreign policy statements have also raised the possibility of a distinctly pragmatist approach to international relations. Absent from the three dominant theoretical perspectives in the field-realism, idealism and constructivism-is any mention of pragmatism, except in the very limited, instrumentalist sense of choosing appropriate foreign policy tools to achieve proposed policy objectives. The key commitments of any international relations approach in the pragmatist tradition could include a flexible approach to crafting policy ends, theory integrally related to practice, a concern for both the normative and explanatory dimensions of international relations research, and policy means treated as hypotheses for experimental testing. Following the example of classic pragmatists such as John Dewey and neo-pragmatists like Richard Rorty, international relations scholars and foreign policy practitioners would have to forgo grand theories, instead embracing a situationally-specific approach to understanding and addressing emerging global problems. Unfortunately, commentary on the relationship between philosophical pragmatism and international relations has been limited. The authors in Philosophical Pragmatism and International Relations remedies this lacuna by exploring ways in which philosophical pragmatism, both classic and contemporary, can inform international relations theory and foreign policy practice today.
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