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What is the relationship between our perceptions and reality? What is the relationship between the mind and the body? These are questions with which philosophers have grappled for centuries, and they are topics of considerable contemporary debate as well. Hilary Putnam has approached the divisions between perception and reality and between mind and body with great creativity throughout his career. Now, in "The Threefold Cord: Mind, Body, and World, " he expounds upon these issues, elucidating both the strengths and weaknesses of current schools of thought. With his characteristic wit and acuity, Putnam offers refreshing solutions to some of philosophy's most vexing problems.
Putnam first examines the problem of realism: is objective truth possible? He acknowledges the deep impasse between empirical and idealist approaches to this question, critiquing them both, however, by highlighting the false assumption they share, that we cannot perceive the world directly. Drawing on the work of J. L. Austin and William James, Putnam develops a subtle and creative alternative, which he calls "natural realism."
The second part of the book explores the mind-body question: is the mind independent of our interactions with the physical world? Again, Putnam critically assesses two sharply antithetical contemporary approaches and finds them both lacking. "The Threefold Cord" shows the entire mind-body debate to be miscast and draws on the later work of Wittgenstein, once more advancing original views on perception and thought and their relationship with both the body and the external world. Finally, Putnam takes up two related problems -- the role of causality in human behavior and whether or not thoughts and sensations have an "existence" all their own.
With Putnam's lucid prose and insightful examples, "The Threefold Cord" loosens the Gordian knots into which philosophy has bound itself over the issue of epistemology.
One of Soren Kierkegaard's most important writings, Works of Love is a profound examination of the human heart, in which the great philosopher conducts the reader into the inmost secrets of Love. "Deep within every man," Kierkegaard writes, "there lies the dread of being alone in the world, forgotten by God, overlooked among the household of millions upon millions." Love, for Kierkegaard, is one of the central aspects of existence; it saves us from isolation and unites us with one another and with God. This new edition of Works of Love features an original foreword by Kierkegaard scholar George Pattison.
Dignity is humanity's most prized possession. We experience the loss of dignity as a terrible humiliation: when we lose our dignity we feel deprived of something without which life no longer seems worth living. But what exactly is this trait that we value so highly? In this important new book, distinguished philosopher Peter Bieri looks afresh at the notion of human dignity. In contrast to most traditional views, he argues that dignity is not an innate quality of human beings or a right that we possess by virtue of being human. Rather, dignity is a certain way to lead one's life. It is a pattern of thought, experience and action in other words, a way of living. In Bieri's account, there are three key dimensions to dignity as a way of living. The first is the way I am treated by others: they can treat me in a way that leaves my dignity intact or they can destroy my dignity. The second dimension concerns the way that I treat other people: do I treat them in a way that allows me to live a dignified life? The third dimension concerns the view that I have of myself: which ways of seeing and treating myself allow me to maintain a sense of dignity? In the actual flow of day-to-day life these three dimensions of dignity are often interwoven, and this accounts in part for the complexity of the situations and experiences in which our dignity is at stake. So, why did we invent dignity and what role does it play in our lives? As thinking and acting beings, our lives are fragile and constantly under threat. A dignified way of living, argues Bieri, is humanity's way of coping with this threat. In our constantly endangered lives, it is important to stand our ground with confidence. Thus a dignified way of living is not any way of living: it is a particular way of responding to the existential experience of being under threat. It is also a particular way of answering the question: What kind of life do we wish to live? This beautifully written reflection on our most cherished human value will be of interest to a wide readership.
The Roman statesman and philosopher Seneca (4 BCE-65 CE) recorded his moral philosophy and reflections on life as a highly original kind of correspondence. Letters on Ethics includes vivid descriptions of town and country life in Nero's Italy, discussions of poetry and oratory, and philosophical training for Seneca's friend Lucilius. This volume, the first complete English translation in nearly a century, makes the Letters more accessible than ever before. Written as much for a general audience as for Lucilius, these engaging letters offer advice on how to deal with everything from nosy neighbors to sickness, pain, and death. Seneca uses the informal format of the letter to present the central ideas of Stoicism, for centuries the most influential philosophical system in the Mediterranean world. His lively and at times humorous expositions have made the Letters his most popular work and an enduring classic. Including an introduction and explanatory notes by Margaret Graver and A. A. Long, this authoritative edition will captivate a new generation of readers.
Here at last is a coherent, unintimidating introduction to the
challenging and fascinating landscape of Western philosophy.
Written expressly for "anyone who believes there are big questions
out there, but does not know how to
In Being and Reason, Martin Lin offers a new interpretation of Spinoza's core metaphysical doctrines with attention to how and why, in Spinoza, metaphysical notions are entangled with cognitive, logical, and epistemic ones. For example, according to Spinoza, a substance is that which can be conceived through itself and a mode is that which is conceived through another. Thus, metaphysical notions, substance and mode, are defined through a notion that is either cognitive or logical, being conceived through. What are we to make of the intimate connections that Spinoza sees between metaphysical, cognitive, logical, and epistemic notions? Or between being and reason? Lin argues against idealist readings according to which the metaphysical is reducible to or grounded in something epistemic, logical, or psychological. He maintains that Spinoza sees the order of being and the order of reason as two independent structures that mirror one another. In the course of making this argument, he develops new interpretations of Spinoza's notions of attribute and mode, and of Spinoza's claim that all things strive for self-preservation. Lin also argues against prominent idealist readings of Spinoza according to which the Principle of Sufficient Reason is absolutely unrestricted for Spinoza and is the key to his system. He contends, rather, that Spinoza's metaphysical rationalism is a diverse phenomenon and that the Principle of Sufficient Reason is limited to claims about existence and nonexistence which are applied only once by Spinoza to the case of the necessary existence of God.
On April 27, 2007, the first Speculative Realism (SR) workshop was held at Goldsmiths, University of London, featuring four young philosophers whose ideas were loosely allied. Over the ensuing decade, the ideas of SR spread from philosophy to the arts, architecture, and numerous disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. SR has been arguably the most influential new current in continental philosophy since the works of Gilles Deleuze and F lix Guattari found their second wind in the 1990s. But what is SR? This book is the first general overview by one of its original members, focusing on the aesthetic, ethical, ontological, and political themes of greatest importance to the movement. Graham Harman provides a balanced but critical assessment of his original SR colleagues - Ray Brassier, Iain Hamilton Grant, and Quentin Meillassoux - along with a clear summary of his own Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO). A number of central philosophical questions tie the four chapters together: What exactly is "correlationism," the chief enemy of SR? What are the stakes of philosophical realism, and is such realism better served by mathematics and the natural sciences, or by a broader model of cognitive activity that includes aesthetics? This book covers both the historical and conceptual development of the movement, providing a first-rate introduction for students, aided by helpful end-of-chapter study questions chosen by Harman himself. SR, Harman shows, is a vital and fast-developing field in contemporary philosophy.
Sonic Intimacy asks us who-or what-deserves to have a voice, beyond the human. Arguing that our ears are far too narrowly attuned to our own species, the book explores four different types of voices: the cybernetic, the gendered, the creaturely, and the ecological. Through both a conceptual framework and a series of case studies, Dominic Pettman tracks some of the ways in which these voices intersect and interact. He demonstrates how intimacy is forged through the ear, perhaps even more than through any other sense, mode, or medium. The voice, then, is what creates intimacy, both fleeting and lasting, not only between people, but also between animals, machines, and even natural elements: those presumed not to have a voice in the first place. Taken together, the manifold, material, actual voices of the world, whether primarily natural or technological, are a complex cacophony that is desperately trying to tell us something about the rapidly failing health of the planet and its inhabitants. As Pettman cautions, we would do well to listen.
One of the greatest works of philosophy and political theory ever produced, Plato's The Republic has shaped western thought for thousands of years, remaining as relevant today as when it was first written in the Ancient Greece. This Penguin Classics edition is translated by Desmond lee with a new introduction by Melissa Lane. Plato's Republic is widely acknowledged as the cornerstone of Western philosophy. Presented in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and three different interlocutors, it is an enquiry into the notion of a perfect community and the ideal individual within it. During the conversation other questions are raised: what is goodness; what is reality; what is knowledge? The Republic also addresses the purpose of education and the role of both women and men as 'guardians' of the people. With remarkable lucidity and deft use of allegory, Plato arrives at a depiction of a state bound by harmony and ruled by 'philosopher kings'. Desmond Lee's translation of The Republic has come to be regarded as a classic in its own right. His introduction discusses contextual themes such as Plato's disillusionment with Athenian politics and the trial of Socrates. The new introduction by Melissa Lane discusses Plato's aims in writing The Republic, its major arguments and its perspective on politics in ancient Greece, and its significance through the ages and today. Plato (c.427-347 BC) stands with Socrates and Aristotle as one of the shapers of the whole intellectual tradition of the West. He founded in Athens the Academy, the first permanent institution devoted to philosophical research and teaching, and the prototype of all Western universities. If you enjoyed The Republic, you might like Machiavelli's The Prince, also available in Penguin Classics.
In this wide-ranging and authoritative volume, leading scholars engage with the philosophy and writings of Wilhelm Dilthey, a key figure in nineteenth-century thought. Their chapters cover his innovative philosophical strategies and explore how they can be understood in relation to their historical situation, as well as presenting incisive interpretations of Dilthey's arguments, including their development, their content, and their influence on later thought. A key focus is on how Dilthey's work remains relevant to current debates around art and literature, the biographical and autobiographical self, knowledge, language, science, culture, history, society, and psychology and the embodied mind. The volume will be important for researchers in hermeneutics, aesthetics, practical philosophy, and the history of German philosophy, providing a valuable introduction to Dilthey's work as well as detailed critical analysis of its ongoing significance.
Crucial texts, many available in English for the first time, written before and during the Bolshevik Revolution by the radical biopolitical utopianists of Russian Cosmism. Cosmism emerged in Russia before the October Revolution and developed through the 1920s and 1930s; like Marxism and the European avant-garde, two other movements that shared this intellectual moment, Russian Cosmism rejected the contemplative for the transformative, aiming to create not merely new art or philosophy but a new world. Cosmism went the furthest in its visions of transformation, calling for the end of death, the resuscitation of the dead, and free movement in cosmic space. This volume collects crucial texts, many available in English for the first time, by the radical biopolitical utopianists of Russian Cosmism. Cosmism was developed by the Russian philosopher Nikolai Fedorov in the late nineteenth century; he believed that humans had an ethical obligation not only to care for the sick but to cure death using science and technology; outer space was the territory of both immortal life and infinite resources. After the revolution, a new generation pursued Fedorov's vision. Cosmist ideas inspired visual artists, poets, filmmakers, theater directors, novelists (Tolstoy and Dostoevsky read Fedorov's writings), architects, and composers, and influenced Soviet politics and technology. In the 1930s, Stalin quashed Cosmism, jailing or executing many members of the movement. Today, when the philosophical imagination has again become entangled with scientific and technological imagination, the works of the Russian Cosmists seem newly relevant. Contributors Alexander Bogdanov, Alexander Chizhevsky, Nikolai Fedorov, Boris Groys, Valerian Muravyev, Alexander Svyatogor, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Anton Vidokle, Brian Kuan Wood A copublication with e-flux, New York
This book presents an anti-intellectualist view of how the cognitive-mental dimension of human intellect is rooted in and interwoven with our embodied-internal components including emotion, perception, desire, etc., by investigating practical forms of thinking such as deliberation, planning, decision-making, etc. With many thought-provoking statements, the book revises some classical notions of rationality with new interpretation: we are "rational animals", which means we have both rational capabilities, such as calculation, evaluation, justification, etc., and more animal aspects, like desire, emotion, and the senses. According to the traditional position of rationalism, we use well-grounded reason as the fundamental basis of our actions. But this book argues that we simply perform our practical intellect intuitively and spontaneously, just like playing music. By this the author turns the dominant metaphor of "architecture" in understanding of human rationality to that of "music-playing". This book presents a groundbreaking and compelling critique of today's pervasively reflective-intellectual culture, just as Bernard Williams, Charles Taylor and other philosophers diagnose, and makes any detached notion of rationality and formalized understanding of human intellect highly problematic.Methodologically, it not only reconciles the phenomenological-hermeneutic tradition with analytical approaches, but also integrates various theories, such as moral psychology, emotional studies, action theory, decision theory, performativity studies, music philosophy, tacit knowledge, collective epistemology and media theory. Further, its use of everyday cases, metaphors, folk stories and references to movies and literature make the book easy to read and appealing for a broad readership.
Since its publication in 1994, Richard McKirahan's Philosophy Before Socrates has become the standard sourcebook in Presocratic philosophy. It provides a wide survey of Greek science, metaphysics, and moral and political philosophy, from their roots in myth to the philosophers and Sophists of the fifth century. A comprehensive selection of fragments and testimonia, translated by the author, is presented in the context of a thorough and accessible discussion. An introductory chapter deals with the sources of Presocratic and Sophistic texts and the special problems of interpretation they present. In its second edition, this work has been updated and expanded to reflect important new discoveries and the most recent scholarship. Changes and additions have been made throughout, the most significant of which are found in the chapters on the Pythagoreans, Parmenides, Zeno, Anaxagoras, and Empedocles, and the new chapter on Philolaus. The translations of some passages have been revised, as have some interpretations and discussions. A new Appendix provides translations of three Hippocratic writings and the Derveni papyrus.
Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.;The Father of Existentialism, Kierkegaard transformed philosophy with his conviction that we must all create our own nature; in this great work of religious anxiety, he argues that a true understanding of God can only be attained by making a personal leap of faith'.
For philosophers of German idealism and early German Romanticism, the imagination is central to issues ranging from hermeneutics to transcendental logic and from ethics to aesthetics. This volume of new essays brings together, for the first time, comprehensive and critical reflections on the significances of the imagination during this period, with essays on Kant and the imagination, the imagination in post-Kantian German idealism, and the imagination in early German romanticism. The essays explore the many and varied uses of the imagination and discuss whether they form a coherent or shared notion or whether they embody points of philosophical divergence within these traditions. They shed new light on one of the most important and enigmatic aspects of human nature, as understood in the context of a profoundly influential era of western thought.
'The most esteemed philosopher to have produced a general introduction to his discipline since Bertrand Russell' Independent In these essays, one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century writes about communism and socialism, the problem of evil, Erasmus and the reform of the Church, reason and truth, and whether God is happy. Accessible and absorbing, the essays in Is God Happy? deal with some of the eternal problems of philosophy and the most vital questions of our age. Leszek Kolakowski has also written on religion, Spinoza, Bergson, Pascal and seventeenth-century thought. He left communist Poland after his expulsion from Warsaw University for anti-communist activities. From 1970 he was a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. 'His distinctive mix of irony and moral seriousness, religious sensibility and epistemological scepticism, social engagement and political doubt was truly rare ... a true Central European intellectual-perhaps the last' Tony Judt, The New York Times Review of Books
In his celebrated masterpiece, Symposium, Plato imagines a high-society dinner-party in Athens in 416 BC at which the guests - including the comic poet Aristophanes and, of course, Plato's mentor Socrates - each deliver a short speech in praise of love. The sequence of dazzling speeches culminates in Socrates' famous account of the views of Diotima, a prophetess who taught him that love is our means of trying to attain goodness. And then into the party bursts the drunken Alcibiades, the most popular and notorious Athenian of the time, who insists on praising Socrates himself rather than love, and gives us a brilliant sketch of this enigmatic character. The power, humour, and pathos of Plato's creation engages the reader on every page. This new translation is complemented by full explanatory notes and an illuminating introduction. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Here is a highly original synthesis of Platonism, mystic passion, ideas from Greek philosophy, and variants of the Trinity and other central tenets of Christian doctrine by the brilliant thinker who has had an immense influence on mystics and religious writers.
In a focused assessment of one of the founding members of the liberal tradition in philosophy and a self-proclaimed Under-Labourer working to support the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, the author maps the full range of John Locke s highly influential ideas, which even today remain at the heart of debates about the nature of reality and our knowledge of it, as well as our moral and political rights and duties. * Comprehensive introduction to the full range of Locke s ideas, providing an up-to-date account that acknowledges issues raised by recent scholarship over the past decade * A well-rounded perspective on one of the intellectual giants of the western philosophical tradition * Provides detailed coverage of Locke s two key works, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and The Two Treatises of Government. * A sophisticated analysis by a highly respected academic * A vital addition to the Blackwell Great Minds series
In this book Timothy Clarke examines Aristotle's response to Eleatic monism, the theory of Parmenides of Elea and his followers that reality is 'one'. Clarke argues that Aristotle interprets the Eleatics as thoroughgoing monists, for whom the pluralistic, changing world of the senses is a mere illusion. Understood in this way, the Eleatic theory constitutes a radical challenge to the possibility of natural philosophy. Aristotle discusses the Eleatics in several works, including De Caelo, De Generatione et Corruptione, and the Metaphysics. But his most extensive treatment of their monism comes at the beginning of the Physics, where he criticizes them for overlooking the fact that 'being is said in many ways' - in other words, that there are many ways of being. Through a careful analysis of this and other criticisms, Clarke explains how Aristotle's engagement with the Eleatics prepares the ground for his own theory of the principles of nature. Aristotle is commonly thought to be an unreliable interpreter of his Presocratic predecessors; in contrast, this book argues that his critique can shed valuable light on the motivation of the Eleatic theory and its influence on the later philosophical tradition.
A lavishly illustrated publication to present the radical prophet of modernity. For the first time in North America, the exhibition and catalogue also include a comprehensive series of early editions of Nietzsche's most influential books. Around 1900, a small group of influential patrons, critics, writers, and artists turned Weimar into a utopian centre of modern art and thought. Several artists and writers sought to create a 'New Weimar' and position Friedrich Nietzsche at its head, as the radical prophet of modernity. In 1902, two years after the philosopher's death, Max Klinger was commissioned to carve Nietzsche's portrait where his cult was organised. Starting from a heavily reworked death mask, Klinger executed the famous marble herm that still today adorns the reception room of the Nietzsche Archive. Only three monumental bronze versions were cast, one of which is now in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada. With this sculpture in focus, accompanied by a series of paintings, drawings, plaster casts, and small bronzes, Radical Modernism will show how Klinger and his patrons invented the 'official' Nietzsche, transforming a highly expressionist portrait into an idealised classical cult image. The exhibition and this catalogue will also include a comprehensive series of early editions of Nietzsche's most influential books and will bring together work by the other protagonists of the 'New Weimar', in order to shed light on this extraordinary artistic and cultural constellation of modernism for the first time in North America.
Presenting an unparalleled collection of primary texts in two flexible, portable volumes, The Norton Anthology of Western Philosophy also provides the rich editorial apparatus-introductions, headnotes, explanatory annotations, bibliographies-for which Norton Anthologies have been known and trusted by professors and students alike for more than fifty years. A comprehensive history of both the European interpretive tradition in one volume and the Anglo-American analytic tradition in the other, this anthology belongs on every philosopher's bookshelf.
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