History of Philosophy (Descartes to Kant)

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Experimental philosophy and the history of philosophy

Experimental philosophy and the history of philosophy

have the intuitions that they do. By studying these processes, experimental philosophers take themselves to be getting at certain fundamental issues about the way people ordinarily understand their world… Perhaps the claim [from analytic philosophers] is that research on the most fundamental concepts people use to understand themselves and their world doesn’t really count as “philosophy.” But this claim seems a bit hopeless and bizarre. It is not as though experimental philosophers are involved in some sort of radical departure from the traditional problems of philosophy. In fact the chronology is just the opposite. For most of the history of philosophy, questions about human nature and the nature of cognition were absolutely central. Then, for a comparatively brief period, many philosophers forsook these problems in favor of problems that had a more technical character. Experimental philosophy now seeks a return to the traditional problems of philosophy, the problems that played such a prominent role in the work of Plato, Aristotle and so many of their successors. (Knobe 2007, 89-91)
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From Kant to Sade : a fragment of the history of philosophy in the dialectic of enlightenment

From Kant to Sade : a fragment of the history of philosophy in the dialectic of enlightenment

Horkheimer and Adorno’s account of how certain ideas and principles found in Sade’s novels make explicit the practical implications of key aspects of Kant’s philosophy has, not surprisingly, been challenged. It has been argued that although Sade should indeed be granted a place in the history of philosophy, this history of philosophy cannot seriously be regarded as one that proceeds from Kant’s philosophy to the novels of Sade, with the transition in question being explained in terms of a common obsession with purely formal structures. It is here pointed out that in the case of Kant the claim that a concern with formal structures means that reason has no substantial goals of its own is obviously mistaken, because ‘[o]nly the hastiest reading of Kant’s work could miss his attack on instrumental conceptions of reason’, whereas for him ‘the real task of reason is precisely to set ends’ (Neiman, Evil in Modern Thought, 193). This criticism will be shown partly to miss its target, however, by equating a purely formal conception of reason with instrumental reason. Moreover, even if Kant does seek to explain how pure practical reason is capable of setting its own unconditionally valid ends in the form of moral duties, and how reason is not, therefore, purely instrumental in character, Horkheimer and Adorno are primarily concerned with his account of theoretical reason. They in fact dismiss Kant’s moral theory as an example of bourgeois bad conscience, as ‘a horror of relapsing into barbarism’ (DA, 108; DE, 67). Therefore, if we are to judge the intelligibility of Horkheimer and Adorno’s account of the relation between Kant’s philosophy and the novels of Sade, we must begin with Kant’s account of theoretical reason. Thus, even if aspects of Kant’s moral philosophy do feature in the Second Excursus, any references to them must first be traced back to his theoretical philosophy. It is in Sade’s novels that for Horkheimer and Adorno the practical implications of key elements of Kant’s theoretical philosophy become explicit, whereas they regard Kant’s moral philosophy not only as a case of bourgeois bad conscience, but also as something that lacks any essential relation to the theoretical conception of reason encountered in the Critique of Pure Reason. Hence Horkheimer and Adorno’s statement that Kant’s ‘attempt to derive the duty of mutual respect from a law of reason, although more cautious than any other such undertaking in Western philosophy, has no support within the Critique’ (DA, 108; DE, 67). 5
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Continental Philosophy Commons Esthetics Commons History of Philosophy Commons Metaphysics Commons Philosophy of Language Commons , and the Philosophy of Mind Commons

Continental Philosophy Commons Esthetics Commons History of Philosophy Commons Metaphysics Commons Philosophy of Language Commons , and the Philosophy of Mind Commons

Deleuze's foremost concern in his early work is to establish a transcendental field adequate to real experience (transcendental empiricism). Given this, when confronted with the metaphysical impasses involved in language's relation to both bodies and ideas, Deleuze finds in the dimension of expression (or sense) a third term capable of reconnecting the two great lost worlds of the history of philosophy, but without, for all that, producing a higher term, capable of unifying supposed opposites. The surface—the geographical avatar of the metaphysics of sense—inheres both to the body and to the Idea, but remains irreducible to each. It connects one to the other, and language to each. For Deleuze, thought's consistency, a way of thinking has an orientation before having an object; “...[tracing] dimensions before constructing systems.” (LoS, 127). The dimension of expression (sense) in language (which is at the same time, not merely linguistic, but is also the logical attribute of the body or state of affairs), presupposes a metaphysics of surface, an orientation on this surface. This metaphysics in turn presupposes a distinction between its philosophically traditional rivals, and the terms which correspond and are proper to them, since the surface does not exist independently of a depth and a height (or a body and a proposition). Thus, a brief elaboration of metaphysical depth, surface, and height will provide us with the necessary context for the common theme of sense in Wittgenstein and Deleuze.
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The history of philosophy – an obituary?

The history of philosophy – an obituary?

Nevertheless, I’m not so sure that Kenny, the Wittgenstein sympathiser, has actually let himself down in refusing to pass over that of which he cannot speak into silence. After all, he offers his history of philosophy to his readers with the explicit caveat that in many cases he will ‘write of necessity as an amateur rather than an expert’ (xvi). It will be a cold day in hell before Anthony Kenny claims to be a Derrida expert, of course, so perhaps the lack of respect with which he treats Derrida’s work, as well as his lack of any acknowledgment he pays to Adorno, Bergson, Foucault, Deleuze and Rorty, to mention only five of the more obvious omissions, can perhaps be excused as the inevitable shortcomings of a history of philosophy written in an age of intellectual fragmentation and specialisation– an age he has diagnosed. In as much as one reviewer might take issue with the way in which Kenny has engaged with Derrida, so too another reviewer might well challenge the account of Plantinga with which he closes. Perhaps, in the end, it is asking too much of any single person, however much they have read and however carefully, to give an authoritative account of the history of philosophy. What Randall Collins and W.K.C. Guthrie said of their histories of philosophy, Anthony Kenny has no doubt also thought of his own: ‘it seemed better to finish the work in my own lifetime’ (Collins, 1998: xix).
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The Problematic Status of Gender-Neutral Language in the History of Philosophy: The Case of Kant.

The Problematic Status of Gender-Neutral Language in the History of Philosophy: The Case of Kant.

In order to avoid distortions and ambiguities in representing Kant's thought, authors who discuss his moral or political philosophy need to make explicit the tension that exists between [r]

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Bochenski and Balance: System and History in Analytic Philosophy

Bochenski and Balance: System and History in Analytic Philosophy

So if the point of cognitive philosophy is systematic, rather than therapeutic or merely analytic, what is the role of the history of philosophy? Do we not just have scientism back again, with a grandiose cosmological twist? No we do not, because unlike the optimists of early analytic philosophy from Frege and Russell to Carnap and Neurath, or early phenomenology from Brentano to Husserl, we do not pretend to have a magic key or formula, whether it be the logic of Principia, the Verification Principle, or the phenomenology of intentionality, which will unlock the mysteries of the universe, or more modestly, solve the ancient and recalcitrant problems of philosophy. Analytical systematics has to be modest and fallibilist through and through, while pushing away at those problems. Philosophical problems, known and unknown, remain hard for several reasons. One is our general intellectual limitation. Another is that unlike the case of science, where teamwork and massive funding helps a “can-do” mentality, philosophy is largely carried on by individuals in the time they can spare after university teaching and administration. The “arts and letters” status of philosophy, accompanied by the prejudice that the best philosophers are isolated geniuses and that cooperation and teamwork are somehow cheating, is a more considerable barrier to progress than even most professionals realise. Finally, there is the point that philosophical problems remain unsolved or unresolved in part because they are hard – not technically or combinatorially hard, like problems in mathematics, nor hard because they require outré and expensive experiments, but conceptually hard, because they typically revolve around just those deeply and complexly embedded concepts which make up the crooked backbone of our thinking. Such concepts cannot be isolated and treated separately like a virus in a test-tube. If you pull at one, lots of them move together.
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The Decisive Role Played by Leibniz in the History of Both Science and Philosophy of Knowledge

The Decisive Role Played by Leibniz in the History of Both Science and Philosophy of Knowledge

The crucial problem of Western philosophy of knowledge was to recognize its foundations. By comparing past mathematical and physical theories I have ob- tained a new conception of the foundations of science. In the above a dichotomy regarding the two main kinds of logic was exemplified in a crucial case-study of the history of philosophy. In addition, in Mathematics some decades ago a long and obscure work achieved a new formalization of calculus and more in general of the whole of Mathematics; this constructive mathematics is new to the extent that it avoids (almost all) idealistic notions (Markov, 1962; Bishop, 1967). At present, although its premises are incompatible with those of classical mathe- matics, it is considered by mathematicians to be on a par with classical mathe- matics. I conclude that the foundations of science include two basic dichotomies, one in mathematics and the other in logic (Drago, 1987; Drago, 1996).
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A Redescriptive History of Humanism and Hermeneutics in African Philosophy

A Redescriptive History of Humanism and Hermeneutics in African Philosophy

Nonetheless, these concepts above are presented as rede- scriptive alternatives in the history of philosophy. None of them offers any epistemic Archimedean point from which we can say that one description is more appropriate or adequate than an- other. In other words, our conceptual descriptions are contin- gent upon one another. This posit does not deny that some self- descriptions are more influential than others, it claims, however, that the influence of one self-description over another is due to the power relations available at the time it makes its appearance and not because of its epistemic superiority over others. An example will suffice; the Hegelian self-description of Africa as a “dark continent” has been rebutted but this does not imply that it has stopped being influential as a concept in the history of philosophy. The criterion of truth does not imply here; since in the case of the history of philosophy, truth can be sought from any sources of knowledge and relevance can be sought from what is interesting and significant;
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Integrating History and Philosophy of Science

Integrating History and Philosophy of Science

From these figures alone one might conclude that the call for work that would integrate the history and philosophy of science in a meaningful way has gone, if not unheard, at least only faintly heard, since Feigl called for a change in attitude almost forty years ago. But there is one further place to look. 1996 saw the first meeting of a new international grouping, HOPOS, whose concern is with the history of the philosophy of science. Its growth since that first meeting at Virginia Tech has been truly meteoric. Meeting every two years, alternately in North America and Europe, it appears to have built up an academic constituency faster than its founders could ever have thought possible. At its last meeting, held in Paris in 2006, there were 68 sessions spread over five days, five sessions in parallel in most of the time periods. In all, a stunning 257 papers were presented. Though the US was well represented, as one would expect, what was most significant about this meeting was that the majority of the papers were presented by European scholars. It is clear that the historical dimension of the philosophy-of-science enterprise evokes an impressive degree of scholarly interest on both sides of the Atlantic. Its future in the academy seems secure. Learning philosophy through study of the history of philosophy has always been a favored route. It is all the more appropriate a way to proceed when one takes into account the historical nature of the sciences themselves and thus of the philosophical reflections that they have inspired over the ages. In at least one of the HPS doctoral programs in the US, a two-semester sequence in the history of the philosophy of science is a required part of the graduate program. HOPOS is well on its way.
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Kierkegaard's contribution to the philosophy of history

Kierkegaard's contribution to the philosophy of history

In order to give a specific example of the above mentioned difficulty I adduce a rather long fragment of William Desmond‘s essay ‗Thinking on the Double: The Equivocities of Dialectic.‘: ‗The first opposition or doublet is: On the one hand, Hegel has been with Goethe against Newton, and for resorting to a priori reasoning accused of ‗panlogism,‘ and on the other hand, of being the progenitor of ‗irrationalism‘ in his successors. One views Hegel as marked by an excess of logic, the other by an excess of illogic, masquerading as logic…On the one hand, Hegel is excessively religious, to the point of ‗mystifying‘ the processes of reality; on the other hand, he is an insidious ‗atheist,‘ equivocally masking his godlessness in a categorial system that seems to sing a hymn to God.…Here Hegel is seen, on the one hand, as supremely a foundationalist, insofar as all of being and thought seem to be reducible to one absolute principle, named the idea or Geist, or simply the absolute. On the other hand, Hegel is said to be an essentially historicist thinker who deconstructs the metaphysical appeal to eternal foundations. Hegel as foundationalist is the philosopher of absolute identity, Hegel as historicist/deconstructionist is the first philosopher of difference, as the high priest of deconstruction, Derrida himself, put it. Hegel is Hegel, but he is also other than Hegel; Hegel is the first post-Hegelian philosopher…In the first case, Hegel is accused of being an enemy of science, for criticizing empirical and mathematical science, siding in his philosophy of nature. Hegelian ‗science‘ is only metaphoric imagination. In the second case, he is accused of lacking metaphoric imagination, of not being sensitive enough to art, proclaiming its end, of making excessive claims for his science of philosophy as putatively subordinating art and religious to its own absolute comprehension. He seems to be either too scientific or not scientific enough, too metaphorical or not metaphorical enough. He is too much of one or the other, or too little, or perhaps even not one or the other. What strange figure is this?‘ The International Library of Critical Essays in the History of Philosophy, HEGEL, vol.II, edited by David Lamb, ‗Thinking on the Double: The Equivocities of Dialectic‘ by William Desmond, pp.225-226, (London: Darmouth Publishing Company Limited, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 1998).
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History of Substance in Philosophy

History of Substance in Philosophy

A lot of words investigated by philosophers get their inception for conventional or extra-philosophical dialect. Yet the idea of substance is basically a philosophical term of art. Its employments in normal dialect tend to derive, often in a twisted way, dif- ferent from its philosophical usage. Despite this, the idea of substance differs from philosophers, reliant upon the school of thought in which it is been expressed. There is an ordinary concept in play when philosophers discuss “substance”, and this is seen in the concept of object, or thing when this is contrasted with properties, attributes or events. There is also a difference in view when in the sense that while the realists would develop a materialistic theory of substance, the idealist would de- velop a metaphysical theory of substance. The problem surrounding substance spans through the history of philosophy. The queries have often been what is substance of? And can there be substance without its attributes? This paper tends to expose the historical problems surrounding substance. This paper criticizes the thinking which presupposes that there could be a substance without its attributes or substance exist- ing alone. This paper adopts complimentary ontology principles which state that for anything to exist, it must serve as a missing connection to reality. This suggests that everything interconnects to each other and substance cannot exist in isolation.
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A Non-Linear History of the Sitar: Applied Philosophy and the Ethnographic Gaze

A Non-Linear History of the Sitar: Applied Philosophy and the Ethnographic Gaze

contradictions as well as occasional points of congruity between these but I believe that the new acceptance of realist and materialist stances require a through assessing of pathways out of the dislocated and disembodied post- modern ideologies. This non-linear history of the sitar will foreground issues of causality, ontological categories, the nature of agency, history, temporality, and be applied to historical, cultural, linguistic, and musical issues. The sitar, as object, is situated in a body of cultural practices that must be understood on their own terms, which, according to Turner “[Practices,] it would appear, are the vanishing point of twentieth-century philosophy” (1994: 1). While “practice” per se does not form the substance of this discourse, it points to a pernicious problem in some contemporary philosophies, stemming from the denial of essence and Being.
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2015 Mark Sacks Lecture Williams, History, and ‘the Impurity of Philosophy’

2015 Mark Sacks Lecture Williams, History, and ‘the Impurity of Philosophy’

There are two ways of objecting to the letter of what Collingwood says here, but which I think his broader point survives. It may be objected that the sharp distinction he draws between History and Nature neglects the fact that purely natural phenomena have histories as well, and that even the traditional history of states and empires depends on the vicissitudes of the natural world within which wars, empires, and elections take place. For the moment, let’s assume there is a rough, workable distinction between such things as the natural history of species, on the one hand, and the history of human affairs and institutions as it has traditionally been represented in history departments, on the other. (The current evolution of
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Between history and philosophy: Isaiah Berlin on political theory and hermeneutics

Between history and philosophy: Isaiah Berlin on political theory and hermeneutics

they respond to universal truths which, once accessed, will provide us with ultimate answers about human morality (as Kant expected to be the case). One thing is certain, however, namely ‘the fact that there do exist sharp and profound differences between statements of personal taste or inclination and statements about the ends of life and the rights and duties of individuals’. 54 Ethical knowledge constitutes a kind of knowledge of its own, and trying to address it using philosophical or scientific tools that do not recognise its particular epistemological status in the first place is bogus. Ethical knowledge ‘begins by surveying the data and then constructs (sic) a view of the whole from a synthesis of the unique and discrete, preferring the atypical to the typical’. 55 The ‘data’ to which Hanley refers here is a combination of our present experience of the world, as well as of our memories and historical knowledge. It is worth insisting on the fact that Berlin’s use of history is not by any means ‘scientific’, in the Marxist sense, given Berlin’s aversion to determinism: history teaches us in fact how necessary causal relations are not applicable to the actions and reactions of human beings and societies. Whenever we ‘explain’ the behaviour of others we do so by running the sort of interpretative analysis that is only possible amongst human beings. It is in aspects like these where Collingwood’s influence over Berlin and his general hermeneutic approach becomes clearly visible. Berlin’s use of history and his insistence on the possibility of ethical knowledge, even if sui generis, rests upon the assumption of the absolute presuppositions as outlined by Collingwood that maintain the stable contexts to which all human beings of a given society can refer. This, chapter six will explain, is the same reasoning behind Bernard Williams’ definition of liberalism as contingently attached to modernity.
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Killing in a posthuman world: the philosophy and practice of critical military history

Killing in a posthuman world: the philosophy and practice of critical military history

BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online Bourke, Joanna 2014 Killing in a posthuman world: the philosophy and practice of critical military history.. and Ven der Tuin, I.[r]

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Nature and history : towards a hermeneutic philosophy of historiography of science

Nature and history : towards a hermeneutic philosophy of historiography of science

This is still a kind of constructivism, and one that I should perhaps at the outset confess to be unsympathetic to. I believe, for instance, that there was an external world already before the history of science, and that it is possible, both in theory and in practice, to distinguish between those aspects of the world with which humans have had something to do, and those aspects that exist independently of what humans have done. However, while being able to retreat to these fortresses of common sense may give me (and my fellow intuitive realists) some comfort, it is not so obvious that Latour needs to conquer these fortresses. He might just be able to march around them, in which case we will need to confront him on more interesting and challenging grounds, and can only hope to succeed in extending the safety of our fortress to those outside fields – much like Latour’s laboratory scientists do with their favorite places.
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A Retrieval of Historicism: Frank Ankersmit's Philosophy of History and Politics

A Retrieval of Historicism: Frank Ankersmit's Philosophy of History and Politics

tation” and “experience,” Ankersmit’s autobiographical account obscures the parallels or analogies that existed between his neohistoricism and his philosophy of historical experience. Perhaps the most important of these analogies is that both were attempts at reformulating an early twentieth-century idea in late twen- tieth-century categories. Whereas Narrative Logic sought to revive Meinecke- style historicism, De historische ervaring (1993) aimed at a retrieval of what Johan Huizinga in 1920 had called the “historical sensation.” This phrase r e- ferred to an experience of “direct contact with the past,” typically evoked by relatively trivial relics such as a drawing or a notarial charter. In all their sim- plicity, such relics are capable of bringing about an effet de réel: they seem to reveal the “the essence of things,” or disclose what the past really looked like. 63
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Eugenics. The History, Philosophy and Sociology Of a Complex and Persistent Movement

Eugenics. The History, Philosophy and Sociology Of a Complex and Persistent Movement

Political Intersections Supersidiarism “Big Brother knows best.” Eugenics Movements Environmentalism “Genetic Diversity” “Sustainability” Population Control Movement.. Philosophy and S[r]

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HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF ADULT EDUCATION HRD FALL, 2007

HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF ADULT EDUCATION HRD FALL, 2007

Validating practices - Students will demonstrate best practices in adult education by way of writing (e.g., journal summaries and final course essay), participating in group discussi[r]

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Nature or Providence? On the Theoretical and Moral Importance of Kant's Philosophy of History

Nature or Providence? On the Theoretical and Moral Importance of Kant's Philosophy of History

Thus, Kant's preference for "Providence" stems not simply from the fact that the issue of progress is approached from the perspective of the moral agent, but rather, from the fac[r]

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