Cover of The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy
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Displaying: 101-120 of 276 documents


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101. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Dale Jacquette The Deconstruction Debacle in Theory and Practice
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The implications of deconstruction theory go disastrously beyond its usefulness in practice as a method of challenging privileged concepts. I consider three objections to deconstruction theory: (1) The theory is unintelligible because it presupposes semantic resources that it makes unavailable. (2) The displacement of opposites in deconstruction commits it to an impossible diversity of undecidable concepts; moreover, despite assertions that deconstruction is a rigorous dialectical method, it provides no determinate procedure for discovering undecidables. (3) When taken to its logical extreme, deconstruction undermines the objectivity of any distinction among any concepts, thus compromising the meaningfulness of all thought and language. However, the practice of deconstruction as textual analysis can be preserved without theoretical absurdities if conventional analysis is used to overturn entrenched conceptual preferences on a case-by-case basis without accepting theoretical claims about the displaceability of any distinction.
102. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
John R. Silber Paideia: Philosophy Educating Humanity
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Modern philosophy—perhaps better described as post-Enlightenment philosophy—began to emerge in the later half of the nineteenth century and continued to gain strength in its opposition to the Enlightenment’s insistence on the central role of reason and rational discourse in philosophy. The recent attacks on reason in the name of this or that ideology or “ism” do not strengthen but rather weaken the foundations of equality for women and minorities established through the use of reason. Philosophers—male and female of all races—may take justifiable pride in having been by rational argument, agents of liberation for women and minorities. This achievement should not be jeopardized by the rejection of rational argument and evidence in the name of any currently fashionable movement.
103. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Daniel C. Dennett Postmodernism and Truth
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The relativism spawned by postmodern ideals has had devastating practical consequences in numerous areas of the world. In dialogue with Richard Rorty, whose work I believe has contributed to these problems, I argue for and outline the foundations and sources for a mild, uncontroversial, or “vegetarian” conception of truth that acknowledges the importance of the gap between appearance and reality.
104. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Steve Fuller The Truth about Science in the Postmodern Condition: An Answer to Dennett’s Postmodernism and Truth
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Everyone agrees that the Enlightenment hasn’t succeeded—in that the critical rationality associated with modern natural science has not been extended to society at large (and may even have retreated from science itself). Should we be relieved or disappointed that the Enlightenment has failed? I am disappointed but not discouraged by what is called the postmodern condition. But to move forward, we cannot simply deny the presence of the condition, as if it were the collective hallucination of weak minds. This is what Dennett does. I fear that he is in denial rather than disappointment. Only when we are clear about the ideals that we want to promote can we see our way through the postmodern condition.
105. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Hans Lenk Outline of Systematic Schema Interpretation
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Any sort of cognition, perception, and action is necessarily shaped by (re)activation of “schemata.” Any interpretation is schema (re)activation. Schemata are epistemologically speaking “structural” activation patterns which are psychologically and neurologically speaking accommodated, adapted, “learned” by co- and re-activating neuronal assemblies. Six levels of interpretative schema activations (schema interpretations) are outlined from invariable primary “interpretations” through conventional, classificatory, and justificatory, as well as meta-interpretations. Constitutive schema interpretations are unavoidable. Many philosophical problems will have to be reformulated or reinterpreted along these lines, e.g., a sort of moderated pragmatic (interpretational) realism in epistemology.
106. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Raymond Martin Narration, Objectivity, and Methodological Truth
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In this essay, I argue that scientists and historians employ different strategies to overcome a common problem: subjectivity. The difference in their strategies is symptomatic of a fundamental difference between science and the humanities. It is that whereas physical scientists, in trying to be objective, aspire to the view from nowhere, humanistic historians, in trying to be objective, aspire to the views from everywhere.
107. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
C. Behan McCullagh The Structure and Objectivity of Historical Narratives
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Hayden White suggested that narratives achieve coherence through literary types of emplotment. Generally, this is not the case. I contrast simple narratives, whose coherence lies in their subject and chronological structure; reflective narratives, which give an account of a trend; and genetic narratives, designed to explain and outcome. Some narratives do more than one of these things. Each kind of narrative is constrained by its function, but this constraint seldom if ever ensures its complete objectivity.
108. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Alan M. Olson Epochal Consciousness and the Philosophy of History
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Does the philosophy of history have a future? In 1949 Karl Jaspers, echoing Hegel, still identified history as the “great question” in philosophy; but in 1966 Karl Löwith observed that the philosophy of history had been reduced to little more than “epochal consciousness.” During the 1970s analytical philosophers endorsed the critical-speculative distinction of C. D. Broad and the question of universal history was effectively bracketed. Post-structuralists and feminists during the 70s and 80s endorsed the observation of Michel Foucault that history is “the Western myth” and, more recently in 1989, Francis Fukuyama proclaimed the “end of history.” In this essay I explore some of the developments contributing to the marginalization of the philosophy of history during the latter half of the twentieth century. Following this, I offer some comments regarding the persistence of the question of universal history.
109. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Tom Rockmore Recent Analytical Philosophy and Idealism
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The link between empiricism and realism is crucially important in analytic philosophy. Empiricism is roughly the claim that knowledge must arise out of experience; it cannot, as Descartes thought, be innate. Realism is roughly the associated claim that whatever thought refers to is real, in a word, exists, independently of the mind. However, idealism (or idealism as understood by analytic philosophers) not only violates the rigorous philosophical standards that analytical philosophy has always claimed to exemplify, but undermines empiricism (which in turn depends on realism) as well. For this reason, analytic philosophers particularly view idealism as the official enemy. This paper will consider the place of idealism in recent analytic debate.
110. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Rodolphe Gasché Specters of Nietzsche
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Attempts made by philosophical hermeneutics to come to grips with deconstruction as well as criticisms leveled by the Gadamerian perspective both operate on the assumption that deconstruction is of Nietzschean inspiration. Why does German hermeneutics choose an approach to Derridean thought that inevitably results in misinterpretation and thus thwarts the dialogue that it ostensibly seeks? I explore the philosophical presuppositions of hermeneutics that cause it to view deconstruction as an extension of Nietzschean thought. I also turn to Derrida’s Spurs: Nietzsche’s Styles in order to argue that Derrida is critical of Nietzsche and, thus, deconstruction is not a specifically Nietzschean operation.
111. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Stephen Watson ‘Post-Structuralism’ and the Dispensation of the Good: A Reinterpretation of Levinas
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The extent to which discourses surrounding the Good, the sacred, and (more problematically) the beautiful have preoccupied thinkers in continental philosophy and in poststructuralism is striking. What is equally striking, however, is the decisively ‘non-theological’ theoretical cast of this account of the Good. Attempts to “disengage” the account of trancendence at stake remain complicated. What is in question is an understanding that is profoundly ethical—and, I want to argue, against the fabric of theoretical modernity, profoundly historical in ways doubtless that motivate much of ‘poststructuralist’ thought in this area. In what follows, I want to show how Emmanuel Levinas distinguishes the “divergence” of the Good within philosophy, and how Levinas’s philosophy betrays the effect of modernity and the detraditionalization of the ethical even in appealing to certain traditions for the intelligibility—if you will, the figure—of the ethical.
112. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
James Campbell Dewey’s Foundations
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Contemporary philosophers seldom make their fundamental beliefs explicit. They prefer, rather, to deal with more narrow, topical questions. Still, their fundamental beliefs remain operative in their work. On a number of occasions over the course of his life, John Dewey gave detailed expositions of the beliefs about experience, education, community, individualism, etc., that he saw underlying his philosophical thought. An exposition and critical examination of some of these beliefs should serve as a useful means for exploring the philosophical meaning of Dewey’s work.
113. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Larry A. Hickman What Was Dewey’s “Magic Number?”
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Abraham Kaplan once suggested that Dewey’s “magic number” was two. His observation seems to be supported by the titles Dewey gave to his books, such as Experience and Nature. But in making this observation, Kaplan hedged a bit. Perhaps it would be better, he added, to say that Dewey had two magic numbers: he seemed to look for twos in order to turn them into ones. Looking back over the notes I have pencilled in the margins of Dewey’s Collected Works over the years, I am struck with the number of times “1, 2, 3” appears. In some cases these passages are reminiscent of Peirce’s categories. In other cases, they recall Hegel’s dialectic. Dewey’s “magic numbers” are tools that can help us understand the structure and content of his work.
114. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Helmut Pape The Unity of Classical Pragmatism: Its Scope and Its Limits
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It has been argued that pragmatism as a philosophical movement lacks unity. However, contrasts and similarities are always relative to a level of generality on which they can be distinguished. And, although Peirce, James, and Dewey disagree on a number of important issues, they have quite a number of assumptions and theses in common. The most general and important of these theses is the belief that how our beliefs relate to reality depends on our actions, and that the semantical independence of our actions plays a crucial role in the development of our theoretical beliefs. Although there are other beliefs and assumptions common to the three classical pragmatists, even this property is enough to distinguish the classical pragmatists from one of their contemporary followers, Richard Rorty.
115. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Sandra B. Rosenthal Pragmatism: What’s in a Name?
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Pragmatism is a philosophy still in the making, one that has taken (and will take) novel twists and turns as the general spirit of its paradigmatic novelty moves forward. However, when creative appropriation of pragmatic themes begins to destroy this philosophic spirit and paradigmatic vision, such novelty is no longer a further development of pragmatism but, rather, a move to a different position, one that must be clearly distinguished from the pragmatic movement in American philosophy.
116. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Marjorie Grene What Have We Learned from Philosophy in the Twentieth Century?
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In general, philosophy does not progress as the sciences do. Philosophers seem largely to follow fashions. Of course there are fashions in the sciences, too, but in philosophy they appear to predominate. So, when I look back at the two-thirds or more of the century that I remember, I see a succession of such fashions replacing one another. At the same time, I see something resembling progress in a couple of fields that I was involved in. Finally, I find us, at the close of the twentieth century, still burdened with one long-dominant attitude that many thinkers, in different ways, have tried (in vain) to overcome—an attitude reflected recently, in fact, in a particularly vocal fashion. Let me follow briefly each of these three lines of reflection.
117. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Paul Weiss Philosophy as an Adventure: Reflections on the Twentieth Century
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Philosophy in the twentieth century, by and large, has not been interested in comprehensive accounts. This development can be attributed in large part to the breaking of philosophy into schools and the rise of professionalism, both of which have led to the reduction of philosophy as a subject. The task of the philosopher cannot justifiably be so confined. He must attempt to understand all the pivotal realities, what they do, and how they are related. Philosophy is an exploration and adventure. I want to engage in it in order to understand reality, to pay attention to pivotal features, and to the ways in which they are interlocked. Philosophy is a discipline in a constant process of adventurous discovery.
118. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
P. F. Strawson What Have We Learned from Philosophy in the Twentieth Century?
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Philosophy differs from most other disciplines in that one of the questions with which its practitioners are professionally concerned is its own nature. There is nothing surprising about this since, having no special subject-matter of its own, it is free—and perhaps obliged—to enquire into the special nature of every discipline. But, such an obligation presumes that we know what in general we are—or should be—up to in philosophy. What is, in fact, our objective? To establish how we should live, the nature of the good life? To determine the scope and limits of human knowledge? To achieve self-understanding? If properly understood, I think the last suggestion is correct. I do not mean that we should turn into psychologists or social scientists. Rather, I mean that our essential, if not our only, business is to get a clear view of our most general working concepts or types of concept and of their place in our lives. We should aim at general human conceptual self-understanding.
119. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 8
Georg Henrik von Wright Philosophy—A Guide for the Perplexed?
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This paper surveys the relation between philosophy and science in the perspective of developments after 1900. Two main lines of thought are distinguished—one stemming from Russell, another from Wittgenstein. The Russellian view holds that science seeks knowledge of truth, while Wittgenstein emphasizes the philosophical understanding of meaning (significance). Knowledge and understanding are the two basic dimensions of the cognitive life of man. In the course of time knowledge has, nourished by scientific progress, hypertrophied at the expense of understanding. A “scientific” spirit has invaded philosophy and created a climate of opinion more akin to Russell’s than Wittgenstein’s view of things.
series introduction
120. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 7
Jaakko Hintikka, Robert Cummings Neville, Ernest Sosa, Alan M. Olson, Stephen Dawson Series Introduction
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