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From the world-renowned physicist and bestselling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, a captivating exploration of deep time and humanity's search for purpose In both time and space, the cosmos is astoundingly vast, and yet is governed by simple, elegant, universal mathematical laws. On this cosmic timeline, our human era is spectacular but fleeting. Someday, we know, we will all die. And, we know, so too will the universe itself. Until the End of Time is Brian Greene's breathtaking new exploration of the cosmos and our quest to understand it. Greene takes us on a journey across time, from our most refined understanding of the universe's beginning, to the closest science can take us to the very end. He explores how life and mind emerged from the initial chaos, and how our minds, in coming to understand their own impermanence, seek in different ways to give meaning to experience: in story, myth, religion, creative expression, science, the quest for truth, and our longing for the timeless, or eternal. Through a series of nested stories that explain distinct but interwoven layers of reality-from the quantum mechanics to consciousness to black holes-Greene provides us with a clearer sense of how we came to be, a finer picture of where we are now, and a firmer understanding of where we are headed. Yet all this understanding, which arose with the emergence of life, will dissolve with its conclusion. Which leaves us with one realization: during our brief moment in the sun, we are tasked with the charge of finding our own meaning. Let us embark.
"Identity and Difference" consists of English translations and the original German versions of two little-known lectures given in 1957 by Martin Heidegger: "The Principle of Identity" and "The Onto-theo-logical Constitution of Metaphysics," both discussions of the problem of identity in the history of metaphysics. A helpful introduction and a list of references are also provided by translator Joan Stambaugh.
There are a bewildering variety of ways the terms "realism" and "anti-realism" have been used in philosophy and furthermore the different uses of these terms are only loosely connected with one another. Rather than give a piecemeal map of this very diverse landscape, the authors focus on what they see as the core concept: realism about a particular domain is the view that there are facts or entities distinctive of that domain, and their existence and nature is in some important sense objective and mind-independent. The authors carefully set out and explain the different realist and anti-realist positions and arguments that occur in five key domains: science, ethics, mathematics, modality and fictional objects. For each area the authors examine the various styles of argument in support of and against realism and anti-realism, show how these different positions and arguments arise in very different domains, evaluate their success within these fields, and draw general conclusions about these assorted strategies. Error theory, fictionalism, non-cognitivism, relativism and response-dependence are taken as the most important positions in opposition to the realist and these are explored in depth. Suitable for advanced level undergraduates, the book offers readers a clear introduction to a subject central to much contemporary work in metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of language.
There is no alternative to postmetaphysical thinking : this statement, made by Jurgen Habermas in 1988, has lost none of its relevance. Postmetaphysical thinking is, in the first place, the historical answer to the crisis of metaphysics following Hegel, when the central metaphysical figures of thought began to totter under the pressure exerted by social developments and by developments within science. As a result, philosophy s epistemological privilege was shaken to its core, its basic concepts were de-transcendentalized, and the primacy of theory over practice was opened to question. For good reasons, philosophy lost its extraordinary status , but as a result it also courted new problems. In Postmetaphysical Thinking II, the sequel to the 1988 volume that bears the same title (English translation, Polity 1992), Habermas addresses some of these problems. The first section of the book deals with the shift in perspective from metaphysical worldviews to the lifeworld, the unarticulated meanings and assumptions that accompany everyday thought and action in the mode of background knowledge . Habermas analyses the lifeworld as a space of reasons even where language is not (yet) involved, such as, for example, in gestural communication and rituals. In the second section, the uneasy relationship between religion and postmetaphysical thinking takes centre stage. Habermas picks up where he left off in 1988, when he made the far-sighted observation that philosophy, even in its postmetaphysical form, will be able neither to replace nor to repress religion , and explores philosophy s new-found interest in religion, among other topics. The final section includes essays on the role of religion in the political context of a post-secular, liberal society. This volume will be of great interest to students and scholars in philosophy, religion and the social sciences and humanities generally.
This introduction to one of the liveliest and most popular fields in philosophy is written specifically for a beginning readership with no background in philosophy or science. Step-by-step analyses of the key arguments are provided and the philosophical heart of the issues is revealed without recourse to jargon, maths, or logical formulas. The book introduces Einstein's revolutionary ideas in a clear and simple way, along with the concepts and arguments of philosophers, both ancient and modern that have proved of lasting value. Specifically, the theories of the ancient Greek philosophers, Zeno, Euclid and Parmenides are considered alongside the ideas of Newton, Leibniz and Kant as well as the giants of twentieth-century physics, Einstein and Lorentz. The problems at the heart of the philosophy of space and time, such as change, motion, infinity, shape, and inflation, are examined and the seismic impact made by relativity theory and quantum theory is assessed in the light of the latest research. The writing is lucid and entertaining, allowing a beginning readership to grasp some difficult concepts while offering the more experienced reader a succinct and illuminating presentation of the state of the debate. "Space, Time and Einstein" shows the reader the excitement of scientific discovery and the beauty of theory in the search for answers to these fundamental questions.
The organizations and institutions that, in a traditional civilization and society, would have allowed an individual to realize himself completely, to defend the principal values he recognizes as his own, and to structure his life in a clear and unambiguous way, no longer exist in the contemporary world. Everything that has come to predominate in the modern world is the direct antithesis of the world of Tradition, in which a society is ruled by principles that transcend the merely human and transitory. Ride the Tigerpresents an implacable criticism of the idols, structures, theories, and illusions of our dissolute age examined in the light of the inner teachings of indestructible Tradition. Evola identifies the type of human capable of "riding the tiger," who may transform destructive processes into inner liberation. He offers hope for those who wish to reembrace Tradition.
Target success in AQA A-level Philosophy with this proven formula for effective, structured revision; key content coverage is combined with exam-style tasks and practical tips to create a revision guide that you can rely on to review, strengthen and test students' knowledge. With My Revision Notes, every student can: - Plan and manage a successful revision programme using the topic-by-topic planner - Consolidate subject knowledge by working through clear and focused content coverage - Test understanding and identify areas for improvement with regular 'Now Test Yourself' tasks and answers - Improve exam technique through practice questions, expert tips and examples of typical mistakes to avoid
The "formidably brilliant" Zizek considers sexuality, ontology, subjectivity, and Marxian critiques of political economy by way of Lacanian psychoanalysis. If the most interesting theoretical interventions emerge today from the interspaces between fields, then the foremost interspaceman is Slavoj Zizek. In Incontinence of the Void (the title is inspired by a sentence in Samuel Beckett's late masterpiece Ill Seen Ill Said), Zizek explores the empty spaces between philosophy, psychoanalysis, and the critique of political economy. He proceeds from the universal dimension of philosophy to the particular dimension of sexuality to the singular dimension of the critique of political economy. The passage from one dimension to another is immanent: the ontological void is accessible only through the impasses of sexuation and the ongoing prospect of the abolition of sexuality, which is itself opened up by the technoscientific progress of global capitalism, in turn leading to the critique of political economy. Responding to his colleague and fellow Short Circuits author Alenka Zupancic's What Is Sex?, Zizek examines the notion of an excessive element in ontology that gives body to radical negativity, which becomes the antagonism of sexual difference. From the economico-philosophical perspective, Zizek extrapolates from ontological excess to Marxian surplus value to Lacan's surplus enjoyment. In true Zizekian fashion, Incontinence of the Void focuses on eternal topics while detouring freely into contemporary issuesfrom the Internet of Things to Danish TV series.
In his philosophical reflections on the art of lingering, acclaimed cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han argues that the value we attach today to the vita activa is producing a crisis in our sense of time. Our attachment to the vita activa creates an imperative to work which degrades the human being into a labouring animal, an animal laborans. At the same time, the hyperactivity which characterizes our daily routines robs human beings of the capacity to linger and the faculty of contemplation. It therefore becomes impossible to experience time as fulfilling. Drawing on a range of thinkers including Heidegger, Nietzsche and Arendt, Han argues that we can overcome this temporal crisis only by revitalizing the vita contemplativa and relearning the art of lingering. For what distinguishes humans from other animals is the capacity for reflection and contemplation, and when life regains this capacity, this art of lingering, it gains in time and space, in duration and vastness. With his hallmark ability to bring the resources of philosophy and cultural theory to bear on the conditions of modern life, Byung-Chul Han's meditation on time will interest a wide readership in cultural theory, philosophy and beyond.
An illuminating celebration of more than 80 of the world's most important thinkers, this book explores the fascinating stories of their lives, their loves, and their pioneering ideas. Introduced with a stunning portrait of each featured philosopher, entries trace the ideas and beliefs, and the relationships and rivalries that inspired the great thinkers and influenced their work, providing revealing insights into what drove them to question the meaning of life and come up with new ways of understanding the world. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and paintings of philosophers, their homes, friends, studies, and their personal belongings, together with pages from original manuscripts, first editions, and correspondence, this book introduces the key ideas, themes, and working methods of each featured individual, setting their ideas within a wider historical and cultural context. Charting the development of ideas across the centuries in both the East and West, from ancient Chinese philosophy to the work of contemporary thinkers, Philosophers provides a compelling glimpse into the personal lives, loves, and influences of the great philosophers as they probed into life's "big ideas".
Our economy is neither overwhelmingly capitalist, as Marxist political economists argue, nor overwhelmingly a market economy, as mainstream economists assume. Both approaches ignore vast swathes of the economy, including the gift, collaborative and hybrid forms that coexist with more conventional capitalism in the new digital economy. Drawing on economic sociology, anthropology of the gift and heterodox economics, this book proposes a groundbreaking framework for analysing diverse economic systems: a political economy of practices. The framework is used to analyse Apple, Wikipedia, Google, YouTube and Facebook, showing how different complexes of appropriative practices bring about radically different economic outcomes. Innovative and topical, Profit and Gift in the Digital Economy focusses on an area of rapid social change while developing a theoretically and politically radical framework that will be of continuing long-term relevance. It will appeal to students, activists and academics in the social sciences.
What objects exist in the social world and how should we understand them? Is a specific Pizza Hut restaurant as real as the employees, tables, napkins and pizzas of which it is composed, and as real as the Pizza Hut corporation with its headquarters in Wichita, the United States, the planet Earth and the social and economic impact of the restaurant on the lives of its employees and customers? In this book the founder of object-oriented philosophy develops his approach in order to shed light on the nature and status of objects in social life. While it is often assumed that an interest in objects amounts to a form of materialism, Harman rejects this view and develops instead an immaterialist method. By examining the work of leading contemporary thinkers such as Bruno Latour and Levi Bryant, he develops a forceful critique of actor-network theory . In an extended discussion of Leibniz s famous example of the Dutch East India Company, Harman argues that this company qualifies for objecthood neither through what it is or what it does , but through its irreducibility to either of these forms. The phases of its life, argues Harman, are not demarcated primarily by dramatic incidents but by moments of symbiosis, a term he draws from the biologist Lynn Margulis. This book provides a key counterpoint to the now ubiquitous social theories of constant change, holistic networks, performative identities, and the construction of things by human practice. It will appeal to anyone interested in cutting-edge debates in philosophy and social and cultural theory.
Ontological arguments are one of the main classes of arguments for the existence of God, and have been influential from the Middle Ages right up until the present time. This accessible volume offers a comprehensive survey and assessment of them, starting with a sequence of chapters charting their history - from Anselm and Aquinas, via Descartes, Leibniz, Kant and Hegel, to Goedel, Plantinga, Lewis and Tichy. This is followed by chapters on the most important topics to have emerged in the discussion of ontological arguments: the relationship between conceivability and possibility, the charge that ontological arguments beg the question, and the nature of existence. The volume as a whole shows clearly how these arguments emerged and developed, how we should think about them, and why they remain important today.
One of the greatest challenges in fundamental physics is to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity in a theory of quantum gravity. A successful theory would have profound consequences for our understanding of space, time, and matter. This collection of essays written by eminent physicists and philosophers discusses these consequences and examines the most important conceptual questions among philosophers and physicists in their search for a quantum theory of gravity. Comprising three parts, the book explores the emergence of classical spacetime, the nature of time, and important questions of the interpretation, metaphysics, and epistemology of quantum gravity. These essays will appeal to both physicists and philosophers of science working on problems in foundational physics, specifically that of quantum gravity.
Few philosophers held greater fascination for Jacques Derrida than Martin Heidegger, and in this book we get an extended look at Derrida's first real encounters with him. Delivered over nine sessions in 1964 and 1965 at the cole Normale Sup rieure, these lectures offer a glimpse of the young Derrida first coming to terms with the German philosopher and his magnum opus, Being and Time. They provide not only crucial insight into the gestation of some of Derrida's primary conceptual concerns--indeed, it is here that he first uses, with some hesitation, the word "deconstruction"--but an analysis of Being and Time that is of extraordinary value to readers of Heidegger or anyone interested in modern philosophy. Derrida performs an almost surgical reading of the notoriously difficult text, marrying pedagogical clarity with patient rigor and acting as a lucid guide through the thickets of Heidegger's prose. At this time in intellectual history, Heidegger was still somewhat unfamiliar to French readers, and Being and Time had only been partially translated into French. Here Derrida mostly uses his own translations, giving his own reading of Heidegger that directly challenges the French existential reception initiated earlier by Sartre. He focuses especially on Heidegger's Destruktion (which Derrida would translate both into "solicitation" and "deconstruction") of the history of ontology, and indeed of ontology as such, concentrating on passages that call for a rethinking of the place of history in the question of being, and developing a radical account of the place of metaphoricity in Heidegger's thinking. This is a rare window onto Derrida's formative years, and in it we can already see the philosopher we've come to recognize--one characterized by a bravura of exegesis and an inventiveness of thought that are particularly and singularly his.
What is reality, really? Are humans more special or important than the non-human objects we perceive? How does this change the way we understand the world? We humans tend to believe that things are only real in as much as we perceive them, an idea reinforced by modern philosophy, which privileges us as special, radically different in kind from all other objects. But as Graham Harman, one of the theory's leading exponents, shows, Object-Oriented Ontology rejects the idea of human specialness: the world, he states, is clearly not the world as manifest to humans. At the heart of this philosophy is the idea that objects - whether real, fictional, natural, artificial, human or non-human - are mutually autonomous. In this brilliant new introduction, Graham Harman lays out the history, ideas and impact of Object-Oriented Ontology, taking in everything from art and literature, politics and natural science along the way. Graham Harman is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at SCI-Arc, Los Angeles. A key figure in the contemporary speculative realism movement in philosophy and for his development of the field of object-oriented ontology, he was named by Art Review magazine as one of the 100 most influential figures in international art.
A systematic historical survey of Chinese thought is followed by an investigation of the historical-metaphysical questions of modern technology, asking how Chinese thought might contribute to a renewed questioning of globalized technics. Heidegger's critique of modern technology and its relation to metaphysics has been widely accepted in the East. Yet the conception that there is only one-originally Greek-type of technics has been an obstacle to any original critical thinking of technology in modern Chinese thought. Yuk Hui argues for the urgency of imagining a specifically Chinese philosophy of technology capable of responding to Heidegger's challenge, while problematizing the affirmation of technics and technologies as anthropologically universal. This investigation of the historical-metaphysical question of technology, drawing on Lyotard, Simondon, and Stiegler, and introducing a history of modern Eastern philosophical thinking largely unknown to Western readers, including philosophers such as Feng Youlan, Mou Zongsan, and Keiji Nishitani, sheds new light on the obscurity of the question of technology in China. Why was technics never thematized in Chinese thought? Why has time never been a real question for Chinese philosophy? How was the traditional concept of Qi transformed in its relation to Dao as China welcomed technological modernity and westernization? In The Question Concerning Technology in China, a systematic historical survey of the major concepts of traditional Chinese thinking is followed by a startlingly original investigation of these questions, in order to ask how Chinese thought might today contribute to a renewed, cosmotechnical questioning of globalized technics.
Actuality and potentiality, substantial form and prime matter, efficient causality and teleology are among the fundamental concepts of Aristotelian philosophy of nature. Aristotles Revenge argues that these concepts are not only compatible with modern science, but are implicitly presupposed by modern science. Among the many topics covered are the metaphysical presuppositions of scientific method; the status of scientific realism; the metaphysics of space and time; the metaphysics of quantum mechanics; reductionism in chemistry and biology; the metaphysics of evolution; and neuroscientific reductionism. The book interacts heavily with the literature on these issues in contemporary analytic metaphysics and philosophy of science, so as to bring contemporary philosophy and science into dialogue with the Aristotelian tradition.
In order to perfectly describe the world, it is not enough to speak truly. In this ambitious and ground-breaking book, Theodore Sider argues that for a representation to be fully successful, truth is not enough; the representation must also use the right concepts-concepts that 'carve at the joints'-so that its conceptual structure matches reality's structure. There is an objectively correct way to 'write the book of the world'. According to Sider, metaphysics is primarily about fundamentality rather than necessity, conceptual analysis, or ontology. Fundamentality is understood in terms of structure: the fundamental truths are those truths that involve structural (joint-carving) concepts. Sider argues that part of the theory of structure is an account of how structure connects to other concepts. For example, structure can be used to illuminate laws of nature, explanation, reference, induction, physical geometry, substantivity, conventionality, objectivity, and metametaphysics. Another part is an account of how structure behaves. Since structure is a way of thinking about fundamentality, Sider's account implies distinctive answers to questions about the nature of fundamentality. These answers distinguish his theory of structure from other recent theories of fundamentality, including Kit Fine's theory of ground and reality, the theory of truthmaking, and Jonathan Schaffer's theory of ontological dependence.
Georges Dicker here provides a commentary on John Locke's masterwork, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding-the foundational work of classical Empiricism. Dicker's commentary is an accessible guide for students who are reading Locke for the first time; a useful research tool for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students; and a contribution to Locke scholarship for professional scholars. It is designed to be read alongside the Essay, but does not presuppose familiarity with it. Dicker expounds and critically discusses the main theses and arguments of each of the Essay's four books, on the innatism that Locke opposes, the origin and classification of ideas, language and meaning, and knowledge, respectively. He analyses Locke's influential explorations of related topics, including primary and secondary qualities, substance, identity, personal identity, free will, nominal and real essences, perception, and external-world skepticism, among others. Written in an analytical style that strives for clarity, the book offers careful textual analyses as well as step-by-step reconstructions of Locke's arguments, and it references and engages with relevant work of other major philosophers and Locke commentators.
The Seventeenth-Century philosopher, scientist, poet, playwright, and novelist Margaret Cavendish went to battle with the great thinkers of her time, and arguably got the better of them in many cases. She took a creative and systematic stand on the major questions of philosophy of mind, epistemology, metaphysics, and political philosophy. She argued that human beings and all other members of the created universe are purely material creatures, and she held that there are many other ways in which creatures are alike as well: for example, human beings, non-human animals, spiders, cells, and all other beings exhibit skill, wisdom, and activity, and so the universe of matter is not the largely dead and unimpressive region that most of her contemporaries thought it to be. Creatures instead are sophisticated and display a wide spectrum of intelligent activity, ranging from the highly conscious mentality that Descartes posited to be part and parcel of human thought, to embodied forms of cognition that is more common in non-human creatures but that guide a significant portion of human behavior as well. Cavendish then used her fictional work to further illustrate her views and arguments, and also to craft alternative fictional worlds in which the climate for women was very different than on Seventeenth-Century earth - a climate in which women could be taken seriously in the role of philosopher, writer, scientist, military general, and other roles. This is the first volume to provide a cross-section of Cavendish's writings, views and arguments, along with introductory material. It excerpts the key portions of all her texts including annotated notes highlighting the interconnections between them. Including a general introduction by Cunning, the book will allow students to work toward a systematic picture of Cavendish's metaphysics, epistemology, and political philosophy (and including some of her non-philosophical work as well) and to see her in dialogue with philosophers who are part of the traditional canon.
This masterful work on Kant's Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason explores Kant's treatment of the Idea of God, his views concerning evil, and the moral grounds for faith in God. Kant and Religion works to deepen our understanding of religion's place and meaning within the history of human culture, touching on Kant's philosophical stance regarding theoretical, moral, political, and religious matters. Wood's breadth of knowledge of Kant's corpus, philosophical sharpness, and depth of reflection sheds light not only on Kant, but also on the fate of religion and its relation to philosophy in the modern world.
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