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Published: 1 January 2016
Abstract:
ExtractNancy Kendrick In September 1728 Berkeley left Greenwich, England and set sail for Newport, Rhode Island to make preparations for the college he intended to found in Bermuda. After four months ‘blundering about the ocean’ (Works viii: 190) , he and his wife, Anne Forster Berkeley, landed in Virginia and made their way north to Newport. Berkeley had spent a good part of the period from 1713 to 1720 travelling in Europe, mostly in Italy, and soon after his return to Ireland wrote to his friend John Percival about a plan to found a college for educating British colonists together with Native Americans (Works viii: 127) . He spent much of the next eight years working toward this plan. Though the Percival letter is the first mention of the scheme, it would be a mistake to think that Berkeley came up with the plan suddenly, or that his was the...
Published: 1 January 2017
Abstract:
ExtractThe social, political, and economic transformations that surfaced in the last decade of the twentieth century contributed to a new wave of public demands for financial and material reparations for the Atlantic slave trade and slavery. With the approach of the fiftieth anniversary of the Second World War, European governments, the Catholic Church, and other institutions gradually acknowledged their collaboration with the Nazi regime, and expressed apologies to its victims and their descendants. As the end of the Cold War favored continuous calls for reparations associated with abuses and human atrocities committed during the Second World War, the dictatorships sustained by the United States and the Soviet Union in Africa and Latin America also witnessed their last days. The fall of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe helped to intensify and solidify the connections among the populations of African descent around the world, favoring the emergence of requests for reparations...
Published: 1 January 2016
Abstract:
ExtractWolfgang Breidert In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the development of mathematics was founded on two important innovations: The first was during the Middle Ages: The interest in infinity caused an enormous increase in theology and, as a consequence, its employment in science and culture was intensely stimulated. This movement initiated the now famous changes in cosmology by the conceptions of infinity in space and time, and in mathematics by the invention of the calculus (Leibniz’s infinitesimals, Newton’s fluxions) . Nicholas of Cusa said ‘mathematical things are finite’, but the enthusiasm for infinity beyond theology increased, as is paradigmatically marked by the Spanish scholar Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz in a sentence in 1670: ‘In every science there are infinite worlds; each of them is infinitely extended. ’ The second movement of mathematical innovation was the increasing importance of signs for mathematical variables and the use of symbols in algebra. Since...
Published: 1 January 2016
Abstract:
ExtractGeorges Dicker Berkeley is sometimes credited with having refuted Locke’s ([1689]1975) theory of perception. There is a standard portrayal of Locke, in no small part due to the Good Bishop himself, that makes this assessment of Berkeley’s critique very seductive. According to this portrayal, Locke holds that we cannot perceive material things; rather, we can perceive only the ideas caused in us when those things affect our senses. Ordinary material objects like rocks and trees and wheels are unperceivable; they lie behind an impenetrable ‘veil of perception’. We can know that they exist only by means of a problematic causal inference from premises about ideas that is supposed to show that the ideas are produced in us by material things and that they resemble those things to a certain extent. In Part I of this chapter, I shall argue that Berkeley’s critique of Locke as standardly portrayed fails when attention...
Published: 1 January 2016
Abstract:
ExtractS. Seth Bordner Berkeley is famous for his immaterialism and for his idealism. Let us define immaterialism as the denial that there is anything answering to the name ‘matter’, and idealism as the view that, fundamentally, everything that exists is either a mind or in a mind. These are somewhat unorthodox definitions, in part because they separate two ideas that are sometimes blended together. A recent book on Berkeley defines immaterialism as ‘the view that only minds and ideas exist; there is no such thing as matter’ (Dicker 2011, 3) . But it is important, I think, to keep these views separate. What counts as an argument that there is no such thing as matter does not show anything with regard to whether everything is a mind (or in a mind) , or even whether anything is a mind (or in a mind) . This distinction is also useful for...
Published: 1 January 2016
Abstract:
ExtractRichard Brook Berkeley’s De Motu [hence DM] was first published in 1721 and republished in 1752. Its full title was De Motu: Sive de motus principio & natura et de causa communicationis motuum (On Motion: Or The Principle and Nature of Motion and the Cause of the Communication of Motions) . The essay was evidently unsuccessfully submitted for a prize offered by The Royal Academy of Paris in 1720. Although dismissed by some, DM offers important accounts of Berkeley’s distinction between religion (metaphysics) and science or natural philosophy (here mainly mechanics, optics and astronomy) , particularly how Berkeley conceived his work in relation to that of Isaac Newton’s discussion in the Principia of scientific explanation, for example, the status of forces in astronomy and mechanics, and the nature of space, and motion (Newton, 1687) . These issues are dealt with in other works, particularly the Philosophical Notebooks, The Principles of...
Published: 1 January 2016
Abstract:
ExtractHoward Robinson Idealism was probably the dominant school in British philosophy from the 1860s until the 1920s, but this was a Hegelian idealism and that makes its relation to Berkeley very ambiguous. Berkeley was an empiricist and hence an experiential atomist, whereas the Hegelians were rationalists and holists. Mander says of these idealists ‘we find a vital point of unity; a common affiliation – not to Berkeley but to Plato, Kant, Hegel’ (2011, 5) . Nevertheless, in A. C. Ewing’s words, ‘repudiate him as the later idealists may, they still use his arguments that to conceive anything is to bring it into relation to mind, that physical things are inseparable from experience, that objects are relative to a subject; and on such arguments the whole character of their philosophy depends’ (1934, 384) . It would be fair to say that they take for granted Berkeley’s major arguments against the possibility...
Published: 1 January 2014
Abstract:
ExtractThe Lingual Creation of a True World Ulf Stolterfoht Sag zum Stück Holz: Du bist holzartig! Das ist gut, doch ist das wirklich schon Holzkritik? Sag zum Stück Holz: Du bist dingartig! Auch das ist gut, doch wohl noch nicht Dingkritik. Sag zum Stück Holz: Du bist wortartig! Das ist richtig gut! Nun fang mit Lyrik an, schau nicht zurück und bau dir das Stück! Das Paßstück — das nämlich ist das Glück! Tell the piece of wood: You’re wood-like! That’s good, but is it a critique of wood? Tell the piece of wood: You’re thing-like! That, too, is good, but it’s not a critique of things, is it? Tell the piece of wood: You’re word-like! That’s really good! Now begin to write poetry, don’t look back and build that piece! The piece that fits — for that’s where happiness lies! One of the most incisive debates in the history of twentieth-century...
Published: 1 January 2016
Abstract:
Extract‘Hints . . . What Is to Be Done in this Critical State of our Affairs’ or Proposals for a Hyperborean Eutopia? Patrick Kelly The Querist, containing several Queries, Proposed to the Consideration of the Public was Berkeley’s major piece of economic writing. It first appeared anonymously in three annual parts, from 1735–37, and was subsequently issued in a single, much abbreviated volume, bearing Berkeley’s name in 1750. Its unusual format of a series of often randomly linked rhetorical questions makes it a work that is hard to view comprehensively, not least because of the wide variety of topics covered. Nonetheless, the book created a considerable stir on its first appearance, and ever since there have been those who have admired it for its theoretical insights, its concern for the plight of Ireland’s impoverished masses, and not least its literary skill. Far from being an isolated production, The Querist was...
Published: 1 January 2017
Abstract:
Chapter 7 proposes transferring the role, as realist truth makers, played in ersatz presentism by abstract past times, to actual works of history, whose content , however, governed by coherentist principles, is not required to correspond with independently existing objects. Annie Thomasson’s claim that fictional works, as “humanly created abstract artefacts”, are ontologically robust enough to be realist truth makers, is extended to historical texts. Objections are answered as to how these texts, describing linear sequences of events, can be sufficiently similar to fiction to count as narrative texts, and yet sufficiently different not to count as (at best) a “sanctioned pretence”. The first answer invokes Roland Barthes, the second dismisses the implicit analogy with Gideon Rosen’s modal fictionalism which he admits is such a “pretence” in seeking to salvage the truth of a modal content which one does not believe exists. It is emphasized that only those who are, like him, realists about content must be held to realist standards of truth.
Published: 1 January 2014
Abstract:
ExtractMetanoia is an Anagram of Anatomie Catherine Malabou The brain is a work, and we do not know it. We are its subjects — authors and products at once — and we do not know it. “Humans make their own history, but they do not know that they make it,” says Marx, intending thereby to awaken a consciousness of historicity. In a certain way, such words apply precisely to our context and object: “Humans make their own brain, but they do not know that they make it. ” Catherine Malabou opens her philosophical critique of the neurosciences with the words used here as our epigraph. They exemplify the global significance we, too, attribute to research in the cognitive sciences. We are particularly interested in the irreducibly dialectical, perhaps even circular, relationship between authorship and its products. We draw on contributions from the cognitive and neurosciences to define additional dimensions of the relationship...
Published: 1 January 2014
Abstract:
ExtractThe Whole Truth and Nothing. But the Truth! Immanuel Kant The human being who is conscious of having character in his way of thinking does not have it by nature; he must always have acquired it. One may also assume that the grounding of character is like a kind of rebirth, a certain solemnity of making a vow to oneself; which makes the resolution and the moment when this transformation took place unforgettable to him, like the beginning of a new epoch. With Deacon’s reflections on the forgetting of indexical semiotic relations in the service of acquiring symbolic semiotic relations we have returned to the beginning of our study. We began our discussions with an analogue forgetting, a forgetting of earlier processes of understanding. Forgetting seems to have a more profound significance for the experience of metanoia. The metanoietic transformation always links up with formulas of astonishment such as “I...
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