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Almost a decade ago, Alvin Plantinga articulated his bold and controversial "evolutionary argument against naturalism." This intriguing line of argument raises issues of importance to epistemologists and to philosophers of mind, of religion, and of science. In this, the first book to address the ongoing debate, Plantinga presents his influential thesis and responds to critiques by distinguished philosophers from a variety of subfields.
Plantinga's argument is aimed at metaphysical naturalism, or roughly, the view that no supernatural beings exist. Naturalism is typically conjoined with evolution as an explanation of the existence and diversity of life. Plantinga's claim is that one who holds to the truth of both naturalism and evolution is irrational in doing so. More specifically, because the probability that unguided evolution would have produced reliable cognitive faculties is either low or inscrutable, one who holds both naturalism and evolution acquires a "defeater" for every belief he/she holds, including the beliefs associated with naturalism and evolution.
Following Plantinga's brief summary of his thesis are eleven original pieces by his critics. The book concludes with a new essay by Plantinga in which he defends and extends his view that metaphysical naturalism is self-defeating.
The Possibility of Culture: Pleasure and Moral Development in Kant's Aesthetics presents an in-depth exploration and deconstruction of Kant's depiction of the ways in which aesthetic pursuits can promote personal moral development. Presents an in-depth exploration of the connection between Kant's aesthetics and his views on moral development Reveals the links between Kant's aesthetics and his anthropology and moral psychology Explores Kant's notion of genius and his views on the connections between the social aspects of taste and moral development Addresses aspects of Kant's ethical theory that will interest scholars working in ethics and moral psychology
The life and work of Sigmund Freud continue to fascinate general and professional readers alike. Joel Whitebook here presents the first major biography of Freud since the last century, taking into account recent developments in psychoanalytic theory and practice, gender studies, philosophy, cultural theory, and more. Offering a radically new portrait of the creator of psychoanalysis, this book explores the man in all his complexity alongside an interpretation of his theories that cuts through the stereotypes that surround him. The development of Freud's thinking is addressed not only in the context of his personal life, but also in that of society and culture at large, while the impact of his thinking on subsequent issues of psychoanalysis, philosophy, and social theory is fully examined. Whitebook demonstrates that declarations of Freud's obsolescence are premature, and, with his clear and engaging style, brings this vivid figure to life in compelling and readable fashion.
Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy is a volume of original articles on all aspects of ancient philosophy. The articles may be of substantial length, and include critical notices of major books. OSAP is now published twice yearly, in both hardback and paperback. 'The serial Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy (OSAP) is fairly regarded as the leading venue for publication in ancient philosophy. It is where one looks to find the state-of-the-art. That the serial, which presents itself more as an anthology than as a journal, has traditionally allowed space for lengthier studies, has tended only to add to its prestige; it is as if OSAP thus declares that, since it allows as much space as the merits of the subject require, it can be more entirely devoted to the best and most serious scholarship.' Michael Pakaluk, Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Impossible Modernism reads the writings of German philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) and Anglo-American poet and critic T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) to examine the relationship between literary and historical form during the modernist period. It focuses particularly on how they both resisted the forms of narration established by nineteenth-century academic historians and turned instead to traditional literary devices-lyric, satire, anecdote, and allegory-to reimagine the forms that historical representation might take. Tracing the fraught relationship between poetry and history back to Aristotle's Poetics and forward to Nietzsche's Untimely Meditations, Robert S. Lehman establishes the coordinates of the intellectual-historical problem that Eliot and Benjamin inherited and offers an analysis of how they grappled with this legacy in their major works.
Meaning Diminished examines the complex relationship between semantic analysis and metaphysical inquiry. Kenneth A. Taylor argues that we should expect linguistic and conceptual analysis of natural language to yield far less metaphysical insight into what there is - and the nature of what there is - than many philosophers have imagined. Taking a strong stand against the so-called linguistic turn in philosophy, Taylor contends that philosophers as diverse as Kant, with his Transcendental Idealism, Frege, with his aspirational Platonism, Carnap with his distinction between internal and external questions, and Strawson, with his descriptive metaphysics, have placed too much confidence in the ability of linguistic and conceptual analysis to achieve deep insight into matters of ultimate metaphysics. He urges philosophers who seek such insight to turn away from the interrogation of language and concepts and back to the more direct interrogation of reality itself. In doing so, he maps out the way forward toward a metaphysically modest semantics, in which semantics carries less weighty metaphysical burdens, and toward a revisionary and naturalistic metaphysics, untethered to the a priori analysis of ordinary language.
Ethics was a central preoccupation of medieval philosophers, and medieval ethical thought is rich, diverse, and inventive. Yet standard histories of ethics often skip quickly over the medievals, and histories of medieval philosophy often fail to do justice to the centrality of ethical concerns in medieval thought. This volume presents the full range of medieval ethics in Christian, Islamic, and Jewish philosophy in a way that is accessible to a non-specialist and reveals the liveliness and sophistication of medieval ethical thought. In Part I there is a series of historical chapters presenting developmental and contextual accounts of Christian, Islamic, and Jewish ethics. Part II offers topical chapters on such central themes as happiness, virtue, law, and freedom, as well as on less-studied aspects of medieval ethics such as economic ethics, the ethical dimensions of mysticism, and sin and grace. This will be an important volume for students of ethics and medieval philosophy.
An engaging account of the titan of political philosophy and the development of his most important work, A Theory of Justice, coming at a moment when its ideas are sorely needed. It is hard to overestimate the influence of John Rawls on political philosophy and theory over the last half-century. His books have sold millions of copies worldwide, and he is one of the few philosophers whose work is known in the corridors of power as well as in the halls of academe. Rawls is most famous for the development of his view of "justice as fairness," articulated most forcefully in his best-known work, A Theory of Justice. In it he develops a liberalism focused on improving the fate of the least advantaged, and attempts to demonstrate that, despite our differences, agreement on basic political institutions is both possible and achievable. Critics have maintained that Rawls's view is unrealistic and ultimately undemocratic. In this incisive new intellectual biography, Andrius Galisanka argues that in misunderstanding the origins and development of Rawls's central argument, previous narratives fail to explain the novelty of his philosophical approach and so misunderstand the political vision he made prevalent. Galisanka draws on newly available archives of Rawls's unpublished essays and personal papers to clarify the justifications Rawls offered for his assumption of basic moral agreement. Galisanka's intellectual-historical approach reveals a philosopher struggling toward humbler claims than critics allege. To engage with Rawls's search for agreement is particularly valuable at this political juncture. By providing insight into the origins, aims, and arguments of A Theory of Justice, Galisanka's John Rawls will allow us to consider the philosopher's most important and influential work with fresh eyes.
Max Stirner's The Unique and Its Property (1844) is the first ruthless critique of modern society. In All Things are Nothing to Me, Jacob Blumenfeld reconstructs the unique philosophy of Max Stirner (1806-1856), a figure that strongly influenced-for better or worse-Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Emma Goldman as well as numerous anarchists, feminists, surrealists, illegalists, existentialists, fascists, libertarians, dadaists, situationists, insurrectionists and nihilists of the last two centuries. Misunderstood, dismissed, and defamed, Stirner's work is considered by some to be the worst book ever written. It combines the worst elements of philosophy, politics, history, psychology, and morality, and ties it all together with simple tautologies, fancy rhetoric, and militant declarations. That is the glory of Max Stirner's unique footprint in the history of philosophy. Jacob Blumenfeld wanted to exhume this dead tome along with its dead philosopher, but discovered instead that, rather than deceased, their spirits are alive and quite well, floating in our presence. All Things are Nothing to Me is a forensic investigation into how Stirner has stayed alive throughout time.
The Birth of Tragedy is one of the seminal philosophical works of the modern period. The theories developed in this relatively short text have had a profound influence on the philosophy, literature, music and politics of the twentieth century. This edition presents a new translation by Ronald Speirs and an introduction by Raymond Geuss that sets the work in its historical and philosophical context. The volume also includes two essays on related topics that Nietzsche wrote during the same period.
For more than forty years, Gianni Vattimo, one of Europe's most important and influential philosophers, has been a leading participant in the postwar turn that has brought Nietzsche back to the center of philosophical enquiry. In this collection of his essays on the subject, which is a dialogue both with Nietzsche and with the Nietzschean tradition, Vattimo explores the German philosopher's most important works and discusses his views on the Ubermensch, time, history, truth, hermeneutics, ethics, and aesthetics. He also presents a different, more "Italian" Nietzsche, one that diverges from German and French characterizations. Many contemporary French and poststructuralist philosophers offer literary or aesthetic readings of Nietzsche's work that downplay its political import. Shaped by the revolutionary tradition of 1968, Vattimo's interpretations take Nietzsche seriously as a political philosopher and argue for and defend his relevance to projects for social and political change. He emphasizes the hermeneutic aspect of Nietzsche's philosophy, characterizing the Nietzschean project as a political hermeneutics. Vattimo also grapples with Heidegger, a philosopher who has had a profound influence on the interpretation and understanding of Nietzsche. Vattimo examines Heidegger's philosophy through its complex relationship to Nietzsche's, and he produces a Heideggerian understanding of Nietzsche that paradoxically goes against Heidegger's own readings of Nietzsche's work. Heidegger believed Nietzsche was the ultimate metaphysician; Vattimo sees him as the founder of postmetaphysical philosophy. Throughout these essays, Vattimo draws on and quotes extensively from fragments in Nietzsche's notebooks, many of which have never before been translated into English. His writing is clear, elegant, and accessible, and, for the first time, Vattimo's own intellectual developments, shifts, and continuities can be clearly discerned. The loyal testimony and unique perspective in Dialogue with Nietzsche makes a convincing case for another orientation in Nietzsche scholarship.
The Oxford Translation of Aristotle was originally published in 12 volumes between 1912 and 1954. It is universally recognized as the standard English version of Aristotle. This revised edition contains the substance of the original Translation, slightly emended in light of recent scholarship; three of the original versions have been replaced by new translations; and a new and enlarged selection of Fragments has been added. The aim of the translation remains the same: to make the surviving works of Aristotle readily accessible to English speaking readers.
"The "Meditations" of Marcus Aurelius" are treasured today--as they have been over the centuries--as an inexhaustible source of wisdom. And as one of the three most important expressions of Stoicism, this is an essential text for everyone interested in ancient religion and philosophy. Yet the clarity and ease of the work's style are deceptive. Pierre Hadot, eminent historian of ancient thought, uncovers new levels of meaning and expands our understanding of its underlying philosophy.
Written by the Roman emperor for his own private guidance and self-admonition, the "Meditations" set forth principles for living a good and just life. Hadot probes Marcus Aurelius's guidelines and convictions and discerns the hitherto unperceived conceptual system that grounds them. Abundantly quoting the "Meditations" to illustrate his analysis, the author allows Marcus Aurelius to speak directly to the reader. And Hadot unfolds for us the philosophical context of the "Meditations," commenting on the philosophers Marcus Aurelius read and giving special attention to the teachings of Epictetus, whose disciple he was.
The soul, the guiding principle within us, is in Marcus Aurelius's Stoic philosophy an inviolable stronghold of freedom, the "inner citadel." This spirited and engaging study of his thought offers a fresh picture of the fascinating philosopher-emperor, a fuller understanding of the tradition and doctrines of Stoicism, and rich insight on the culture of the Roman empire in the second century. Pierre Hadot has been working on Marcus Aurelius for more than twenty years; in this book he distills his analysis and conclusions with extraordinary lucidity for the general reader.
During the 1975-76 academic year, Jacques Derrida delivered a seminar, La vie la mort (Life Death), at the Ecole normale superieure, in Paris. Based on archival translations of this untapped but soon-to-be-published seminar, The Reproduction of Life Death offers an unprecedented study of Derrida's engagement with molecular biology and genetics, particularly the work of the biologist Francois Jacob. Structured as an itinerary of "three rings," each departing from and coming back to Nietzsche, Derrida's seminar ties Jacob's logocentric account of reproduction to the reproductive program of teaching that characterizes the academic institution, challenging this mode of teaching as auto-reproduction along with the concept of "academic freedom" on which it is based. McCance also brings Derrida's critique of Jacob's theory of auto-reproduction together with his reading of reproductivity, the tendency to repeat-reproduce, that is theorized and enacted in Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle. The book further shows how Derrida's account of life death relates to his writings on autobiography and the signature and to such later concerns as the question of the animal. McCance brings extensive archival research together with a deep knowledge of Derrida's work a background in genetics to offer a fascinating new account of an encounter between philosophy and the hard sciences that will be of interest to theorists in a wide range of disciplines concerned with the question of life.
"An extremely fascinating study, packed with insights and illumination and astute observation. It is first-rate philosophy clearheaded, imaginative, sophisticated, and resourceful. And in its historical and technological dimensions, it connects with the 'real world' in ways that are rare in philosophical studies." Kendall Walton, University of Michigan"For Patrick Maynard photography is in the first instance a technology for marking surfaces, and from this insight flows the most original sustained analysis and argument yet produced in the history of thinking about the camera and its work. At once analytical and historical, scientific and aesthetic, as lucid and witty as it is learned, The Engine of Visualization spells out the simplest general principles necessary for a clear understanding of what photography also technology, image, and art is and does. This is a signal achievement, and a simply lovely book." Alan Trachtenberg, Yale UniversityIn the first philosophical book wholly about photography, Patrick Maynard dispels some basic, persistent confusions by treating photography as a technology a way to enhance and filter human power. Once photography is understood as a kind of technology, Maynard argues, insights about technology may be applied to provide the general perspective on photography that has been missing."
What am I referring to when I say "I"? This little word is so easy to use in daily life, yet it has become the focus of intense theoretical debate. Where does my sense of self come from? Does it arise spontaneously or is it created by the media or society?
This concern with the self, with our subjectivity, is now our main point of reference in Western societies. How has it come to be so important, and what are the different ways in which we can approach an understanding of the self? Nick Mansfield explores how our notions of subjectivity have developed over the past century. Analyzing the work of key modern and postmodern theorists such as Freud, Foucault, Nietzsche, Lacan, Kristeva, Deleuze and Guattari, and Haraway, he shows how subjectivity is central to debates in contemporary culture, including gender, sexuality, ethnicity, postmodernism, and technology.
Hospitality, in particular hospitality to strangers, was promoted in the eighteenth century as a universal human virtue, but writing of the period reveals many telling examples of its abuse. Through analysis of encounters across cultural and sexual divides, Judith Still revisits the current debate about the social, moral and political values of the Enlightenment. Focussing on (in)hospitality in relation to two kinds of exotic Other, Judith Still examines representations of indigenous peoples of the New World, both as hosts and as cannibals, and of the Moslem `Oriental' in Persia and Turkey, associated with both the caravanserai (where travellers rest) and the harem. She also explores very different examples of Europeans as hosts and the practice of `adoption', particularly that of young girls. The position of women in hospitality, hitherto neglected in favour of questions of cultural difference, is central to these analyses, and Still considers the work of women writers alongside more canonical male-authored texts. In this thought-provoking study, Judith Still uncovers how the Enlightenment rhetoric of openness and hospitality is compromised by self-interest; the questions it raises about attitudes to difference and freedom are equally relevant today.
When it first appeared in 1979, "Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature" hit the philosophical world like a bombshell. In it, Richard Rorty argued that, beginning in the seventeenth century, philosophers developed an unhealthy obsession with the notion of representation: comparing the mind to a mirror that reflects reality. Rorty's book is a powerful critique of this imagery and the tradition of thought that it spawned.
Thirty years later, the book remains a must-read and stands as a classic of twentieth-century philosophy. Its influence on the academy, both within philosophy and across a wide array of disciplines, continues unabated. This edition includes new essays by philosopher Michael Williams and literary scholar David Bromwich, as well as Rorty's previously unpublished essay "The Philosopher as Expert."
Although Joseph de Maistre has long been regarded as characterising the Counter-Enlightenment, his intellectual relationship to eighteenth-century philosophy remains unexplored. In this first comprehensive assessment of Joseph de Maistre's response to the Enlightenment, a team of renowned scholars uncover a writer who was both the foe and heir of the philosophes. While Maistre was deeply indebted to thinkers who helped to fashion the Enlightenment - Rousseau, the Cambridge Platonists - he also agreed with philosophers such as Schopenhauer who adopted an overtly critical stance. His idea of genius, his critique of America and his historical theory all used `enlightened' language to contradict Enlightenment principles. Most intriguingly, and completely unsuspected until now, Maistre used the writings of the early Christian theologian Origen to develop a new, late, religious form of Enlightenment that shattered the logic of philosophie. The Joseph de Maistre revealed in this book calls into question any simple opposition of Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment, and offers particular lessons for our own time, when religion is at the forefront of public debate and a powerful political tool.
Carnap, Quine, and Putnam held that in our pursuit of truth we can do no better than to start in the middle, relying on already-established beliefs and inferences and applying our best methods for re-evaluating particular beliefs and inferences and arriving at new ones. In this collection of essays, Gary Ebbs interprets these thinkers' methodological views in the light of their own philosophical commitments, and in the process refutes some widespread misunderstandings of their views, reveals the real strengths of their arguments, and exposes a number of problems that they face. To solve these problems, in many of the essays Ebbs also develops new philosophical approaches, including new theories of logical truth, language use, reference and truth, truth by convention, realism, trans-theoretical terms, agreement and disagreement, radical belief revision, and contextually a priori statements. His essays will be valuable for a wide range of readers in analytic philosophy.
16 chapters by new and established Deleuze scholars each explore one key figure in Deleuze's philosophical heritage From Lucretius to Schelling to Foucault, this book looks at 16 philosophers, writers and artists whose work influenced the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. Each chapter introduces the thinker in question, explains the context in which Deleuze draws their work and discusses how it contributed to the development of Deleuze's own ideas. Deleuze's Philosophical Lineage II complements the original Deleuze's Philosophical Lineage volume by adding new voices to the discussion: looking at thinkers not covered by the first volume, intruducing well-known French philosophers to English-language Deleuze studies and reflecting the latest Deleuze scholarship.
With the aim of widening the scope of Marxist theory, Henri Lefebvre finished Dialectical Materialism just before the beginning of World War II and the Resistance movement against the Vichy regime. As the culmination of Lefebvre's interwar activities, the book highlights the tension-fraught relationship between Lefebvre and the French Communist Party (PCF). For Lefebvre, unlike for the PCF, Marxism was above all a dynamic movement of theory and practice. Dialectical Materialism is an implicit response to Joseph Stalin's Dialectical and Historical Materialism and an attempt to show that the Stalinist understanding of the concept was dogmatic and oversimplified. This edition contains a new introduction by Stefan Kipfer, explaining the book's contemporary ramifications in the ever-expanding reach of the urban in the twentieth-century Western world.
`IB was one of the great affirmers of our time.' John Banville, New York Review of Books The title of this final volume of Isaiah Berlin's letters is echoed by John Banville's verdict in his review of its predecessor, Building: Letters 1960-75, which saw Berlin publish some of his most important work, and create, in Oxford's Wolfson College, an institutional and architectural legacy. In the period covered by this new volume (1975-97) he consolidates his intellectual legacy with a series of essay collections. These generate many requests for clarification from his readers, and stimulate him to reaffirm and sometimes refine his ideas, throwing substantive new light on his thought as he grapples with human issues of enduring importance. Berlin's comments on world affairs, especially the continuing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and the collapse of Communism, are characteristically acute. This is also the era of the Northern Ireland Troubles, the Iranian revolution, the rise of Solidarity in Poland, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, and wars in the Falkland Islands, the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. Berlin scrutinises the leading politicians of the day, including Reagan, Thatcher and Gorbachev, and draws illuminating sketches of public figures, notably contrasting the personas of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Andrey Sakharov. He declines a peerage, is awarded the Agnelli Prize for ethics, campaigns against philistine architecture in London and Jerusalem, helps run the National Gallery and Covent Garden, and talks at length to his biographer. He reflects on the ideas for which he is famous - especially liberty and pluralism - and there is a generous leavening of the conversational brilliance for which he is also renowned, as he corresponds with friends about politics, the academic world, music and musicians, art and artists, and writers and their work, always displaying a Shakespearean fascination with the variety of humankind. Affirming is the crowning achievement both of Berlin's epistolary life and of the widely acclaimed edition of his letters whose first volume appeared in 2004.
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