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Journal of Philosophical Research

Philosophy as Inquiry and Way of Life

Volume 40, Issue Supplement, 2015
Selected Papers from the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

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Displaying: 1-20 of 47 documents

1. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Konstantine Boudouris Preface to Selected Papers from the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy
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2. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
William L. McBride Foreword to Selected Papers from the XXIII World Congress Of Philosophy
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philosophical method
3. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Evandro Agazzi The Methodological Turn in Philosophy
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Controversies have always characterized philosophy as expression of its typical critical attitude that depends on the complexity of the fundamental philosophical issues. Traditionally these discrepancies regarded the answers given to certain questions and, therefore, the content of the opposite doctrines, as all legitimately belonging to philosophy. With modernity the determination of the correct method of thinking becomes the necessary precondition for philosophizing and represents the core of the philosophical activity itself. As a consequence people adopting a certain method of thinking often qualify as non-philosophical the discourse of those who do not belong to their methodological school, independently of the content of the doctrine they defend. This dominance of the methodological concern, on the contrary, has produced the discovery and deepening of several “thinking methods,” whose plurality must be considered a wealth and not a reason for skepticism, since it can offer to philosophy the tools for better coping with the increasing complexity of its fundamental issues.
4. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Souleymane Bachir Diagne La Traduction Comme Methode
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According to Maurice Merleau-Ponty, in the pluralistic world in which we now live, there cannot be an overarching and vertical universal (universel de surplomb) anymore: we have now to find paths, methods, towards what he called, by contrast, a “lateral universality” (universalité latérale). When we consider the human tongues in their de facto plurality, none of them being by essence the language of the universal, that of philosophy and logos, we can see that one meaning of what is called “lateral universal” is translation. It could be said then, somehow, that, “translation is the language of languages” as the Kenyan writer Ngugi Wa Thiong’o wrote. The significance of translation as a method or path towards the “lateral universal” is the notion to be explored in this contribution.
5. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Dagfinn Føllesdal The Role of Arguments in Philosophy
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Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle have been studied, commented upon and praised for more than 2000 years. What made their work so excellent? And what has made the philosophy produced by so many great philosophers after them insightful, inspiring and well worth studying? Their arguments. Arguments give insights, they help us see how “all weaves into one whole” to speak with Goethe, they “give unity to what was previously dispersed.” It is this “weaving together of what was dispersed” which is the core of arguments.This leads to a very inclusive notion of philosophy, where some of the finest works of art are philosophical. However, this openness to a wide variety of approaches to philosophy does not make all philosophy good philosophy. There are numerous kinds of weaknesses. Three examples are given, that illustrate the following three rules for good scholarship: (1) give proper credit, (2) familiarize yourself with fields outside philosophy that are pertinent to the problems you work on, (3) pay attention to work that has been done by others, especially when this work points to difficulties that you have not considered. These are trivial weaknesses, which should be spotted by editors and referees. Once they have been eliminated, we can concentrate on the arguments. It is the quality of arguments that distinguishes good philosophy from bad, and arguments come in many forms. We philosophers have a special responsibility for developing in ourselves and in others an ability to construct good arguments and to distinguish good arguments from bad ones. This is what Plato and Aristotle did, and it is a special challenge in our time when opinions more and more are shaped by mass media and not by arguments. We must teach good argumentation, and we must practice what we teach in our own philosophical work.
6. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
John McDowell Philosophical Method: Remarks For a Symposium on Philosophical Method at the World Congress of Philosophy
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I do not believe that it is in general a good thing for philosophers to concern themselves with philosophical method. But in these remarks I discuss an exception, which arises in the interpretation of Wittgenstein. What Wittgenstein does in his Philosophical Investigations cannot be properly understood except in the context of appreciating his explicitly methodological remarks, in which he in effect disclaims any intention to say anything that might be open to dispute. I try to explain how that can be consistent with helpfulness in dealing with philosophical puzzlements.
philosophy and the sciences
7. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Alberto Cordero On Scientific Realism and Naturalism
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This paper looks at the current realism/antirealism debate in philosophy of science as a dispute between two objectivist interpretations of modern empirical success: Scientific realism and scientific antirealism. The paper traces the debate to a split in responses to the historicist relativism that gained force in the 1960s; it concentrates on the discussions that led to selectivism, a promising realist strategy that focuses on theory-parts rather than whole theories. The paper examines the merits and difficulties of selectivism and argues for a naturalist approach to its present deficiencies, particularly regarding the need for a more precise identification of theory—parts worthy of realist interpretation.
8. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Maria Carla Galavotti From the Philosophy of Science to the Philosophy of the Sciences
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The philosophy of science took shape as an autonomous discipline in the first decades of the Twentieth Century in connection with the movement known as logical positivism or logical empiricism. According to logical empiricists philosophy of science ought to perform a “rational reconstruction” aimed at exhibiting the logical structure of scientific theories and inferential processes involved in the acquisition of scientific knowledge. While focusing on the syntactical and semantical aspects of scientific language, logical empiricists left out of the realm of the philosophy of science the sociological and psychological aspects of theory formation, as well as all methodological aspects belonging to experimentation. Starting from the early Sixties this conception gradually changed, and philosophy of science underwent a radical transformation, leading to a significant broadening of its scope. New issues and problems were addressed, belonging to fields neglected by the traditional approach. This paper sketches the main features of the discipline as it is understood today as opposed to its traditional outlook, and suggests that the term “philosophy of the sciences” is better suited than “philosophy of science” to describe its present state.
9. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Keiichi Noe Philosophy and Science after the East Japan Disaster
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The severe accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant caused by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 was a typical disaster in the age of “trans-science,” which means the situation that science and politics are closely connected and inseparable. The stage of trans-science requires a philosophy of trans-science instead of a philosophy of science such as logical positivism. I would like to characterize norms for techno-scientists in the risk society as RISK, which includes Regulatory deliberation, Intergenerational ethics, Social accountability and Knowledge-product liability.
philosophy as practical wisdom
10. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Juliana González The Socratic Phronesis Today
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One can say that the historical Socrates cannot be interpreted as an “intellectualist” and an “enemy of life.” On the contrary: Socrates’s actuality lies precisely in the fact that wisdom implies knowledge of one’s own ignorance, the self-birthing and the daily improvement of myself using all the rational and irrational potentialities of life.This conception of the ethical soul in Socrates can be compared today with the moral brain of neuroscience, which is understood in its integral unity as the locus of the body-soul in its complex unity: reason-emotion-instinct. However, in spite of the analogies, there is a clear opposition between the Socratic encephalon and the moral brain of neurobiology. The Socratic one is free, internal, personal. The neuronal can be induced and manipulated through technology. The Socratic lesson is that virtue cannot be taught—and even less artificially provoked—from the outside. Nevertheless, in today’s world, we cannot think about ethics without both: Socrates as well as the advances in neuroethics.
11. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Chen Lai Practical Wisdom in Confucian Philosophy
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Confucianism, since the time of Confucius, emphasizes “practical wisdom” as the realization of philosophy. This approach accentuates the practical aspects of wisdom rather than the analytical rationale of the intellect. Emphasis on practical wisdom persistently reinforces a moral foundation that is not differentiated from personal virtue. At the same time, practical wisdom in Confucianism stresses self-cultivation, or the complete transformation of the self, derived from the internal state of the heart/mind (xin 心). Finally, Confucian insists that practical wisdom must be transformed into practical action.
12. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Alexander Nehamas Is Living an Art that Can be Taught?
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Along with our inordinate emphasis on managing our lives on the basis of impartial principles and rules, we have lost the sense that some of the greatest human achievements are accomplished precisely by going beyond anything that existing rules and principles allow. Along with our fixation on the values of morality and politics, which apply to everyone on the basis of our similarities to one another, we have lost the sense that there are also values that depend on our differences and distinguish us from the rest of the world. Philosophical Individualism is a theory that considers the values of difference and distinction to be of crucial importance to life, and models successful lives on successful works of art. That is what is meant by “the art of living.” But such an art is manifested in the abilities of successful leaders in any field: leadership always requires going at least one step beyond wherever what has been already codified can take them.
philosophy and public life
13. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Abdusalam A. Guseynov Philosophy as an Ethical Project
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Philosophy is often understood in terms of public benefit as being synonymous with its application to other domains of public life such as politics, economics, education etc. The question I would like to raise is of an altogether different nature—namely, it is the question of whether philosophy can be seen as having any public or social value per se, before there is any further thought of application or usage. In particular, it is the question of whether it contains anything universally significant, something that could make it of interest to anyone as seen in the context of one’s personal evolution. And in order to answer that question, first we have to find out what philosophy is to the philosophers themselves and how it benefits them.
14. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Hans Lenk The Public: Its Concept and New Effects in the Internet and Multimedia Societies
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This paper begins with an overview of the origins and development of ancient direct participatory “democracy” and a related concept of the “public.” Through the Roman “res publica” and the “homo publicus” and much later the Magna Carta and the English tradition of participatory rights, as well as the French “division of powers” and the French Revolution and Kant’s “public usage of reason,” a rather modern concept of the “public” in representative modern democracies developed in the Enlightenment and materialized in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In social and political philosophy there was a noticeable impact of “the public” and “public life” in debates, formal constitutions and their philosophical and pragmatic foundations. Dewey’s lectures on “The Public and its Problems” already emphasized the impact and the growth of communication technologies for “the public,” publicity, political and social life. Habermas diagnosed a “Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere” from a pragmatic social philosophical point of view, although he did not really take up Dewey’s diagnoses and predictions of the role of media and communication technologies. The same is true for Gerhardt’s study The Public: The Political Form of Consciousness (2012). With the pervasive impact of digital communication and media technologies there has occurred another structural transformation of the public sphere and the concept of the public. Instant global multimedia communication certainly has largely positive effects, fostering social as well as individal freedom and even revolutionary changes. But there are also the widespread experiences of individual and group mobbing, “shitstorms,” cyber-crimes, electronic spying and data-mining, etc. The structure (the concept and reality) of the public has lately been and is currently rapidly changing again—due to the electronic information revolution.
the relevance of ancient greek philosophy today
15. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Enrico Berti The Relevance of Aristotle’s Philosophy Today
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The relevance of Aristotle’s philosophy today is the survival of many Aristotelian concepts, definitions, distinctions, in the culture of many countries. In some cases, e. g. in the fields of logic and of metaphysics, the Aristotelian concepts survive as useful instruments for reasoning, like the concepts of category, contrariety, contradiction, or the distinctions between matter and form and between potency and act. But in other fields, like biology and psychology, some Aristotelian doctrines serve equally as examples of conceptual innovations, as was recognised by the biologist Max Delbrück about the discovery of DNA and by Anthony Kenny about the discussion of the “Mind-Body Problem.” Even in the fields of ethics and of politics, the revival of the practical philosophy of Aristotle has been an occasion for developing new models of social life and organisation of society, as is shown by philosophers like Alasdair MacIntyre and Martha C. Nussbaum, and by economists like Amartya Sen.
16. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Dorothea Frede Aristotle on the Importance of Rules, Laws, and Institutions in Ethics
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In recent years rule-scepticism has been dominant among experts concerning Aristotle’s ethics. The present paper addresses three points that speak for this sceptical attitude: (i) Aristotle’s caveat against precision in ethics; (ii) the emphasis on the particular conditions of actions and on experience; (iii) the fact that moral education relies on habituation rather than teaching. At a closer look it emerges that all these considerations presuppose universal rules, laws, and institutions rather than exclude them, for they concern the adjustment of universal principles to particular cases. Knowledge of these principles may not be necessary in routine cases, but the emphasis on a master-science that provides the laws necessary for every well-functioning community and the appropriate education of the citizens shows that these principles are the indispensable foundation of both ethics and politics. It is Aristotle’s aim to provide the groundwork of such a master science that is the common concern of his ethics and politics.
17. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Kostas Kalimtzis Aristotle on Scholê and Nous as a Way of Life
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My paper is an inquiry into the political significance of Aristotle’s concept of scholê, a word usually translated as ‘leisure.’ The words ‘school’ and ‘scholar’ are derived from scholê, which indicates a richness of meanings that go far beyond anything suggested by the word “leisure.”Perhaps taking up the subject as a political issue seems untimely during this troubled period of economic crisis. And yet, if seen from the perspective in which it was first raised, that is as a response to the question put forth by Socrates—‘what type of life is worth living?’—then inquiry into its nature may help us entertain the possibility that our economic and social ills have arisen from wrong answers that we have given to the Socratic question.Before examining Aristotle’s thoughts on leisure, I will first briefly turn to Plato’s concept of scholê so as to economically bring to the fore the difficulties involved when leisure is projected unto an entire republic as an overarching aim of public life.
18. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Noburu Notomi The Platonic Idea of Ideal and its Reception in East Asia
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In the history of philosophy, Plato’s theory of Forms has enchanted many philosophers, but it has faced more adversaries than proponents. Although it is unusual for contemporary philosophers to believe in the Platonic Forms, I confront Plato seriously and try to defend his thought by reflecting on its reception in modern Japan. For this purpose, the Japanese word “risō” (理想), which was originally a translation of the Platonic “Idea” or “Form,” will give us valuable hints.I discuss Aristotle, Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Popper, each of whom raised fundamental questions about the Forms as transcendent entities. First, Aristotle ignores one fundamental factor of the Forms, i.e., Eros: we aspire for the perfect or ideal state in our life with reference to the Forms. Next, Popper misses the important difference between the Form and the Ideal: i.e., the ultimate reality and its expressed form in words. Aspiring for the latter does not necessarily lead us to totalitarianism. Then, I argue that Nietzsche shares the same framework with Plato in considering the notion of “ideal.” We have to face his radical question of whether we should hold an “ideal” in everyday life.Finally, I introduce a brief history of how philosophers confronted reality by learning Plato in modern Japan. Michitaro Tanaka, in particular, cast critical eyes on the pre- and post-war society by studying Plato’s philosophy. To consider and discuss the Forms changes views and meanings of the world and of life. Plato thereby invites us to this common search through his dialogues, and leads us to the ideal (risō).
19. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Simon Critchley Philosophical Eros
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This paper, originally read on the site of Plato’s dialogue Phaedrus, attempts to show how the two seemingly distinct themes of this dialogue, eros and rhetoric, are really one. Socrates there employs rhetoric, in which his decent but somewhat dull interlocutor, Phaedrus, takes great pleasure, in order to persuade the latter to assume philosophical eros, inclining his soul to truth. This aim contrasts vividly with the nihilistic one pursued by the greatest of the Sophist rhetoricians, Gorgias. Ultimately, philosophical eros conduces to intimations of immortality. This could be demonstrated, if more time were available, by exploring certain works of contemporary literature and philosophy; for example, in his Totality and Infinity, Emmanuel Levinas cites the Phaedrus more frequently than any other text.
20. Journal of Philosophical Research: Volume > 40 > Issue: Supplement
Myrto Dragona-Monachou Eros: An Unexpected God of the Stoic Cosmopolis
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In this paper, I discuss the Stoic views on eros in general and “Eros as a god of the Stoic cosmopolis” in particular. In the first part I present the works on Eros written by the Early Stoics; I discuss the fragmentary evidence about their views focusing on Zeno, the founder of the Stoic School. I point out how puzzling most Stoic views appeared to the opposing schools whose members did not hesitate to ascribe many scandalous and shameful views to them, though the Stoic view on eros is not very different from the pedagogical one defended by Socrates as presented in the works of Plato, Xenophon, Aeschines of Sphettus and others. In the second part I focus on a single piece of information attested by Athenaeus, according to which Zeno in his Republic, a work written as an answer to Plato’s Republic, took “Eros who brings about friendship, freedom, and concord, to be the god of the city” (SVF I 263). This statement has been interpreted in various ways by eminent scholars, some of whose views I present in brief. In the third and last part, based on the testimony that the Stoics wanted to be called “Socratics,” I argue that Zeno proved himself a genuine Socratic, taking into account not only the Platonic Socrates’s view of eros, but also that of Xenophon, to whom Zeno’s philosophical education can be traced back. I also tend to believe that Zeno’s Republic is not a case of a conventional city, but that of the famous Stoic cosmopolis governed by the law of nature in a spirit of friendship, concord and freedom.