Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Abstracts: Volume 1 (1994) through Volume 5 (1998)


Volume 1, Number 1, Spring 1994

Time and Space in African (Igbo) Thought
Egbeke Aja

Abstract:This paper is an attempt to articulate an African (Igbo) conception of space and time. Igbo terms and phrases are explained in light of their traditional, non-European cultural and linguistic background. Care is taken to present a distinctively African account, not a neo-colonial one. The African conceptions of space and time account for some African beliefs and practices regarding causality, including such widely misunderstood phenomena as divination, the "medicine man," and "magic."  

Paradise Well Lost: Communitarian Nostalgia and the Lonely Logic of the Liberal Self
Charles W. Harvey

Abstract:"Paradise Well Lost" offers a description and criticism of communitarian claims that in contemporary liberal society the self is in sad shape, that liberal society is out of harmony with the needs of the self, and that such a society makes the good life nearly impossible to achieve. It is argued that communitarian thought is driven by a false and deluded nostalgia for a self-world unity that never was and never can be, that human consciousness prohibits the neatly unified communialization of self and world that seems desired by much communitarian thinking. A final argument claims that there are nontrivial connections between the communitarian desire for self-world unity, and the twentieth-century emergence of totalitarian society--connections about which it is wise to be worried.  

Right Intention and the Oil Factor in the Second Gulf War
Kenneth W. Kemp

Abstract:This essay responds to the argument that US interest in Kuwaiti oil made its war against Iraq fail the just-war criterion of right intention. That argument is based on a misunderstanding of the criterion, namely, that right intention requires not merely the presence of a concern for justice but the absence of any other (especially self-interested) motives. Correction of this misunderstanding is important to application of the just-war theory to the general question of intervention in foreign wars. 

Moral Fanaticism and the Holocaust: A Defense of Kant Against Silber
Lee F. Kerckhove

Abstract: I defend Kant's moral psychology against John R. Silber's argument that Kant cannot account for the radical evil of Hitler. Silber's argument cannot be maintained, I argue, if Kant's account of theological and moral fanaticism, and the personality of the moral fanatic, are taken into account. I contend that Kant's writings support an analogy between the fanatical pursuit of religious and moral ideals and Hitler's fanatical pursuit of an ideal of racial purity. I conclude that Kant's account of moral fanaticism is adequate to account for the actions and moral psychology of Hitler.  

Identity, Social Relations, and Time: The Implications of Mead for Democratic Social Theory.
Ric Caric Northrup

Abstract: This essay analyzes the nature of social relations when individual identity is conceived as both autonomous and socially constructed. Viewing identity as autonomous and socially constructed makes it necessary both to conceive individuals as socially related to others in the present and past, and to incorporate individuals into multiple systems of social relations. I argue that George Herbert Mead's theory of social systems provides a basis for performing these tasks. By adding a concept of "contemporaneous consciousness" to Mead's notion of temporal systems, it is possible to view individuals as autonomous within a multiplicity of temporal systems.  

Death and Pictures in Wittgenstein's 'Tractatus'
Saranindranath Tagore

Abstract: The Picture Theory based on a realist ontology is central to the argument of the Tractatus. Wittgenstein, however, makes idealist claims while discussing the notion of the metaphysical subject. In this paper, I develop an interpretation of this text in which realism and idealism are reconciled. The task is accomplished by focusing on the later remarks of the Tractatus in general and the remarks on death in particular.  

Constitution and By-Laws
Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World

No Abstract

Volume 1, Number 2, Summer 1994  

MacIntyre's Conservatism and Its Cure: The Formal Structure of Traditions.
Matthew Freytag

Abstract: Conservative communitarian Alasdair MacIntyre makes a fundamental claim about the formal conditions for rationality, personhood, and intelligible valuation, and a detachable, less fundamental empirical claim that these formal conditions can be met only in a hierarchically organized social tradition. Having suggested a formal account of narrative tradition which relies on the schematic notion of systematic complexity, MacIntyre retreats to an account in terms of canon and authority. He thus obscures the structures that underlie his own metaphysics of morals, the structures of the practices, narrative unities, and traditions which on his account are both identity-constituting and value-creating. Once these structures are discerned, the possibility of good lives will no longer seem linked to preservation of the forms of the existing polis.  

Multiculturalism and Welfare Reform
John D. Jones

Abstract: Multiculturalism has not yet systematically addressed, much less challenged, dominant approaches to poverty and welfare reform. This lacuna must be rectified since the widespread poverty experienced by people of color poses a substantive threat to the development of a truly inclusive and multicultural society. Present approaches to poverty, defined in the context of welfare reform, are defective for three reasons: First, welfare reform basically aims to reduce welfare "dependency" by moving so-called able-bodied welfare recipients off welfare and into the labor market. This project seems destined to fail given a chronic scarcity of jobs, and especially decent-paying jobs. Second, welfare reform does not provide an adequate framework for the general alleviation of poverty since many poor receive little or no welfare assistance. Third, welfare assistance is based on an invidious, stigmatizing distinction between the able-bodied poor (viewed as unworthy and disreputable) and the disabled poor. Thus, given disproportionate rates of poverty among people of color as well as a general (but mistaken) impression that US poverty is principally a "minority" problem, present policies and attitudes toward the poor insure that many people of color will bear the brunt of economic and symbolic marginalization despite gains which accrue to some people of color as the result of greater racial and cultural inclusiveness.  

Health Maintenance as Responsibility for Self.
Raymond Kolcaba & Katharine Kolcaba

Abstract: Many kinds of health compromising norms, habits, and beliefs are highly resistant to change thereby preventing new knowledge about health maintenance from advancing widespread better health. Persons would be more responsive if they used a health ethic to harmonize personal behavior with health-maintaining practices. We argue that common sense morality includes a portion of a health ethic in the guise of responsibilities to maintain health as well as avoid self destruction. We discuss an example in which its application can retard decline in older age that results from a sedentary lifestyle.  

Philosophy of Liberation in the North American Context: Transforming Oppressor Consciousness.
Kate Lindemann

Abstract: This paper utilizes concepts form the works of Paulo Freire and other Latin American philosophers of liberation to formulate a philosophy of liberation in a North American context. Since many North Americans experience a double consciousness, that is, both oppressor and oppressed consciousness, our liberating task is quite complex. This study offers both a philosophical framework and an example of the process of demythologizing one aspect of North American consciousness, the consciousness of privilege.  

The Methodological Isolation of Religious Belief.
Edward L. Schoen

Abstract: According to Langdon Gilkey, both religion and science are cognitive enterprises, but they are separated methodologically. As a result, science and religion are concerned with different, though related levels of truth. Against these claims, historical examples are used to argue that scientific and religious explanations cannot be so neatly separated. To the contrary, both fields frequently treat overlapping ranges of data in methodologically opportunistic ways.  

The Sociopolitical Implications of Multiculturalism.
Jorge M. Valadez

Abstract: In this essay, I propose a definition of multiculturalism and provide pragmatic and theoretical reasons for accepting the multicultural perspective when it is defined in this manner. In addition, I discuss and defend three sociopolitical principles to which we are committed in adopting the multicultural perspective and discuss some of the concrete social and institutional changes needed for implementing these principles.  

Volume 1, Number 3, Fall 1994  

Democratic Public Judgment: The Role of "Mutual Comprehension".
Michael K. Briand

Abstract: The need to choose between good things in conflict lies at the heart of politics. Only citizens deliberating together can authoritatively form the democratic public judgment necessary to resolve such conflicts. The key step to arriving at a sound widely supported public judgment is getting all members of the public to "comprehend"--to understand and appreciate--the goods in conflict. Mutual comprehension enables us to combine our individual perspectives without loss, thereby providing the basis for collective deliberation. Such comprehension is essential because the mutual respect between citizens upon which democratic politics depends is impossible without it. Mutual comprehension is possible because we share a common human nature that, despite our manifest and irreducible differences is built around a limited and universal set of human needs and dispositions.  

Transforming Stories: The Death of Ivan Ilyich, The Birth of A Reflective Life.
Jeremiah Conway

Abstract: The problem addressed by this paper concerns the responsibility of higher education in the growing thoughtlessness of culture. By "thoughtlessness" is meant not the absence of mental "busyness," but indifference to the self-reflective life. How do we cope with the fact that, for so many, the educative act has little or nothing to do with the cultivation of self-reflection, especially when this indifference is amply represented within higher education as well as the wider culture? The paper unfolds in three sections. First, it explores the factors complicating the search for effective materials by which to instigate and encourage the transformation to a self-reflective life. Second, it argues that stories, particularly what it calls "transforming stories," play an important role in provoking and providing insight into the "turning around of the soul" from unreflective to reflective living. Finally, it illustrates how one such transforming story, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, by Leo Tolstoy, helps accomplish this educational goal.  

Pluralism, Integrity, and the Interpretive Model of Law
Deirdre Golash

Abstract: In Law's Empire, Ronald Dworkin argues that the choice between conflicting interpretations of law is, and should be, influenced by the aspiration to "integrity," that is, the construction of law as a coherent whole, as though it were the product of a single author. I argue that, particularly under conditions where opinion on relevant issues is significantly divided, the search for a single coherent explanation of law may be seriously misleading. The idea of integrity is a principled basis for legal interpretation only where there is an underlying unity, rather than an underlying plurality. Dworkin suggests that there is a basis for striving toward such unity, and for an obligation to obey the law, in our "associative" obligations to fellow members of our political community. I argue that such obligations, to the extent that they exist, are too weak to provide an adequate basis for a moral obligation to obey the law.  

Healing the Ills of Unemployment, Societal Breakdown, and Ecological Degradation: Gandhi's Vision for a Sustainable Way of Life.
Bart Gruzalski

Abstract: In this paper I describe Gandhi's vision for a way of life that would be an essential part of any sustainable solution to world wide problems of unemployment, societal breakdown and ecological degradation. Gandhi's vision included a communitarian lifestyle of simplicity and non-accumulation in which agriculture would be supported by cottage industries using appropriate technologies (e.g., spinning). Assuming obligations to future generations, Gandhi's proposal highlights the degree to which our First-World lifestyle is morally impermissible. One objection to this criticism of our First-World lifestyles is that we can solve the problem of ecological degradation by exporting only appropriate technologies to the Third World and supplementing our use of consumptive technologies with technological cleanups. This suggestion is not only irresponsible and unjust, but also hopeless, for our resource consumptive standards are already the model for development worldwide. To counteract this destructive model we must begin to recreate, in the First World, sustainable lifestyles that others will want to emulate. Part of this task involves the inner work that has been a casualty of the ideologies of modernity, and Gandhi's vision is a blueprint for both the outer and inner work that are essential to recreate a sustainable society.  

Feminism and Vegetarianism: A Critique of Peter Singer.
Erin McKenna

Abstract: Singer's ethics assume an autonomous, impartial, abstract reasoner. Nonhuman animals, like human animals, have an interest in not suffering; so we all agree on an impartial, rational, consistent minimum standard of treatment that we see must extend to nonhuman animals. While I think this kind of argument works well in the "liberal" context of countries based on social contract reasoning, I am not convinced it goes far enough in achieving the desired attitude shift. We are still encouraged to think in terms of the self-interest of an autonomous, impartial, abstract reasoner, and thus there are many instances in which it is perfectly "reasonable" to harm nonhuman animals.
    To challenge Singer I use views of the individual proposed by socialist feminist and radical feminist theories. Both of these theories (in all their variety) propose a substantial revisioning of the individual and thereby shift the focus from rights talk to issues of responsibility and care. While there are clear dangers in these approaches as well, I believe there is a fruitful combination of Singer's argument with these feminist approaches that will help us see the deep nature of our connectedness to nonhuman animals and make us realize that the eating of meat is really a form of cannibalism.
 

Feminism and Vegetarianism: A Response
Peter Singer

Abstract: Erin McKenna is correct to question the relative weight that I give to emotions and reason in Animal Liberation. In 1975 when the first edition was published, emotion played a key role in the campaigns of animal societies, and I wished to make an appeal to reason that would have ethical and political impact. I disagree with McKenna's conclusion that an impartial, objective stance is either impossible or undesirable. I argue that we should not abandon the attempt to reach an impartial position. Admittedly, in some disputes, giving equal weight to all interests will be extraordinarily difficult. But to do so is not impossible, just extraordinarily difficult, and a decision must be make regarding which course is better on the whole. This difficulty gives no reason to abandon impartiality.  

Can Justice as Fairness Accommodate Diversity? An Examination of the Representation of Minorities and Women in A Theory of Justice.
Lara M. Trout

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to expose a problem of application in John Rawls' theory of justice. An examination of his treatment of the application of his principles in A Theory of Justice reveals an insensitivity toward the proper representation of minorities and women. This problem, which is rooted in Rawls' conception of the relevant social position is not properly addressed by him, yet is grounded in inconsistencies which undermine the just practical implementation of his theory. A provisional solution to this problem is to provide the original position with historical information, as well as to place within its jurisdiction the application of the two principles of justice.  

Volume 1, Number 4, Winter 1994  

Is Deep Ecology Too Radical?
William Aiken

Abstract: The theory of Deep Ecology is characterized as having two essential features: the belief that nature is inherently valuable, and the belief that one's self is truly realized by identification with nature. Four common but different meanings of the term "radical" are presented. Whether the theory of Deep Ecology is "too radical" depends upon which of these meanings one is using.  

A Surprising Rediscovery and Partial Review of The Foundations of Belief by James Balfour.
Wallace Gray

Abstract: Well known as the British politician responsible for the Balfour Declaration during World War I, James Balfour was also a philosopher. Long forgotten, his remarkable book The Foundations of Belief (1985) merits contemporary reassessment. Critical of modern compartmentalization, Balfour argues for an integration of religion, philosophy, and science--a position now often identified as postmodern. This article presents some of Balfour's contemporary scholarly significance, and hints at his usefulness in undergraduate teaching.  

Moral Growth in Children's Literature: A Primer with Examples.
Joe Frank Jones, III

Abstract: This essay applies a plausible model for moral growth to examples of secular and religious children's literature. The point is that moral maturation, given this model, requires imaginary worlds on both secular and religious presuppositions. Trying to guide a child's reading toward either religious or secular books rather than toward good literature is shown therefore to miss the mark of good parenting.  

Speaking for Myself in Philosophy.
Laura Duhan Kaplan

Abstract: The conventions of positivism, still the standard model for academic discourse, require philosophers to take knowledge out of the context of personal experience. In this essay, I argue that such a decontextualization impoverished the development of moral and epistemological knowledge. I propose to contextualize such knowledge by using the personal essay as a style of philosophical writing. As literary style shapes what can be thought and said, adoption of a different literary style calls for a reinterpretation of philosophy's understanding of the self, the quest for truth. and the nature of universality.  

Five Arguments for Vegetarianism.
William O. Stephens

Abstract: Five different arguments for vegetarianism are discussed: the system of meat production deprives poor people of food to provide meat for the wealthy. thus violating the principle of distributive justice; the world livestock industry causes great and manifold ecological destruction; meat-eating cultures and societal oppression of women are intimately linked and so feminism and vegetarianism must both be embraced to transform our patriarchal culture; both utilitarian and rights-based reasoning lead to the conclusion that raising and slaughtering animals is immoral, and so we ought to boycott meat; meat consumption causes many serious diseases and lowers life expectancy, and so is unhealthy. Objections to each argument are examined. The conclusion reached is that the cumulative case successfully establishes vegetarianism as a virtuous goal.  

Feminist Revaluation of the Mythical Triad, Lilith, Adam, Eve: A Contribution to Role Model Theory.
Henny Wenkart

Abstract: This essay inquires into the need for and power of role models, and suggests some answers. The example it employs to study the issue is the contemporary Jewish feminist "role model," Lilith, first wife of Adam. Various and opposite forms of the Lilith-and-Adam myth through the ages are given, including new contributions from a Lilith anthology in preparation by the author and others. Those needs of women and men that the mythical "role model" is constructed to satisfy are suggested.  

Volume 2, Number 1, Spring 1995  

Rorty, Ironist Theory, and Socio-Political Control.
Dane Depp

Abstract: In Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, Richard Rorty courageously takes a stand against the public dissemination of ironist philosophical theory, such as that produced by Nietzsche, because he sees it as being socially undermining and irreconcilable in theoretical terms with liberal democratic values. And yet, the intellectuals in his ideal society would, privately, share many of the same views from which Rorty would desire that the general public be protected. Thus Rorty would appear to trade tensions between the individual and the state for tensions between the intellectual and the nonintellectual--a dubious improvement. By redescribing both the motives of the typical ironist theorist and his basic view of large-scale, socio-political structure I will try to reinstate the social value of ironist theory. Throughout the paper I will formulate perspectives and raise questions illustrative of such theory and aimed at trying to maintain as full and open a communication as possible between the individual, whether intellectual or not, and socio-political structures within which he finds himself.  

Crisis and Narrativity
Ron Hirschbein

Abstract: Despite the dramatic changes in international politics it appears that crises--episodes in which decision-makers hazard urgent, perilous choices--will remain a prominent and dangerous feature of international relations. This realization prompts the question that informs this paper: why do American decision-makers define a situation as a crisis in the first place? I argue that prevailing theories do not adequately account for crises: the same situation (or perception of the situation) may be interpreted differently by various decision-makers. Specifically, it may be construed as an endurable problem to be resolved in due course, or an unendurable crisis demanding immediate resolution at considerable risk. I entertain the possibility that crises occur because crisis discourse has become the lingua franca in the halls of power. Taking a semiotic approach, I argue that crisis narratives are read into ambiguous situations to render them meaningful and dramatically self-valorizing.  

Cultural Diversity and the Systems View.
Debora Hammond

Abstract: While systems concepts had a tremendous impact on social thought in the 1950s and 1960s, they are increasingly under attack in the current postmodern climate with its emphasis on particularity and difference. The idea of the system is associated with technocracy, hierarchical forms of social organization, and the suppression of individual difference. However, there is a significant body of work within the systems tradition that fosters an appreciation of diversity through its ecological orientation, and supports more participatory forms of social organization based on its understanding of the self-organizing nature of living systems. While the issue of cultural diversity is often addressed in oppositional terms, I suggest that it might be more effectively served through an appreciation of the global interdependence between all peoples and between humans and nature that can only be sustained on a cooperative and participatory basis.  

Emancipatory Social Science and Genealogy: Habermas on Nietzsche.
Lee Kerckhove

Abstract: I argue that Habermas' critique of Nietzsche overlooks the similarities between his conception of an emancipatory social science and Nietzsche's conception of genealogy. I conclude that it is necessary to disagree with Habermas' contention that with Nietzsche the critique of modernity abandons its emancipatory content.  

No Goddess Was Your Mother: Western Philosophy's Abandonment of Its Multicultural Matrix.
Steven Schroeder

Abstract: This paper begins with three observations: 1) At what is generally believed to be its origin in ancient Greece, "Western" philosophy is not sharply distinguished from poetry, science, or theology; 2) At what is generally believed to be its origin, "Western" philosophy is not Western; it is born in a multicultural matrix consisting of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Southern European influences; 3) As philosophy comes to think of itself as "Western," it separates itself from poetry, science, and the rest of the world--particularly from its roots in Northern Africa.
    In the first three sections, I examine each observation in turn. In the fourth section, I take up the implications of "Western" philosophy's alienation from its roots for the contemporary controversy surrounding multiculturalism. If the roots of "Western" philosophy are multicultural, I propose a "radical" philosophy that reclaims them in our own multicultural context. More specifically, I propose to ask a question posed here in its most brutal (but also most honest) form: does "Western" philosophy depend on the abandonment of its friends and the murder of the indigenous peoples it encounters? If yes, then it is necessary to ask whether (in Virgil's terms) "piety" demands that the West march on in any case. Colonialism and neo-colonialism join Aeneas in answering both questions affirmatively. If no, then it is possible to proceed with the kind of radical reclamation suggested above.
 

Volume 2, Number 2, Summer 1995  

Thoreauvian Patriotism as an Environmental Virtue
Philip Cafaro

Abstract: In Walden Henry David Thoreau argues for and against patriotism. This paper argues that thoughtful environmentalists should do likewise. It explicates Thoreau's accounts of "settling" and farming as efforts to rethink and deepen his connections to the land. These efforts define a patriotism that is local, thoughtful and moral. Thoreau's economic philosophy can be seen as applied patriotism. Like other virtues such as courage or prudence, patriotism is liable to a skewed development and various kinds of misuse. Yet properly developed it is a part of a good human life. Thoreauvian patriotism provides a strong base from which to oppose militarism and xenophobia, which many intellectuals mistakenly equate with patriotism.  

Ted Schoen on "The Methodological Isolation of Religious Belief."
Frederick Ferre

Abstract: In this brief comment on Ted Schoen's paper, I tend to agree more than I disagree. Methodological isolation has been widely and uncritically accepted by thinkers about religion and science, and Schoen's dissipation of the isolationist discourse deserves positive notice. For too long, science has been the bully of the epistemic neighborhood, and religious thinkers have taken refuge in methodological isolation. As Schoen argues, neither religion nor science is isolated; rather, both are interacting in the same comprehensive and value-laden domain, which also includes art, poetry, ethics and metaphysics.  

A Big Bang Cosmological Argument?
Dennis Temple

Abstract: William Lane Craig has defended a modern First Cause argument based on 1) a principle of universal causality and 2) the claim that the universe must have had a beginning. But 1) is susceptible to counter examples from quantum theory. Moreover, Craig's defense of 2) is open to serious question. He claims that an actual infinity (of time) is impossible; he also claims that 2) is in fact supported by big bang theory. I argue that both of these claims are mistaken, and that in consequence we have no particular reason to suppose that 2) is true. I conclude that the First Cause argument fails, but I suggest that a weaker inductive argument might be worth a try.  

Kant and the Land Ethic
Jennifer Welchman

Abstract: Does Leopold's land ethic principle represent a break with traditional Western moral philosophies as some have argued? Or is it instead an extension of traditional Western moral ideas as Leopold believed? I argue that Leopold's principle is compatible with an ecologically-informed Kantianism.  

Philosophical Counselling: Bridging the Narrative Rift
K. A. Zoe

Abstract: Self-understanding is to a great extent defined by narrative: who we are as human beings is determined by the stories we, and others, tell about ourselves. Yet many are unable to compose coherent personal narratives, as their experiences do not fall within the scope of an accepted conceptual framework. Survivors of trauma are particularly apt to fall into this "narrative rift, " where there can be no words to describe, and hence can be no assimilation of, their experiences. Using the example of child sexual abuse, and drawing on the work of Bass, Spence, Schafer, and Guignon, I propose an examination of the nature of narrative fragmentation itself. Philosophical counselling may succeed where psychoanalysis might not: for where the latter has theoretical commitments to specific narratives, the former, through its reluctance to force epistemological or metaphysical assumptions on the narrator, may well facilitate a more comprehensive self-understanding.  

Volume 2, Number 3, Fall 1995  

Human-Centered or Ecocentric Environmental Ethics?
John Howie

Abstract: Are ethical principles that guide human behavior suitable for the array of complex new environmental problems? Justice, nonmaleficence, noninterference, and fidelity seem by extension to apply. Conflicts between the principles of humanistic ethics and environmental ethics may perhaps be resolved, as Paul W. Taylor indicates, through the application of such "priority principles" as "self-defense," "proportionality," "minimum wrong," and "restitutive justice." Taylor suggests that these principles would forbid moral agents from perpetrating harm through direct killing, habitat destruction, environmental contamination, and pollution.  

On The Alleged Uniqueness And Incomprehensibility Of The Holocaust.
B. William Owen

Abstract: A number of philosophers have argued that the Holocaust is incapable of philosophical analysis and explanation. There are two arguments for this view: (1) that it is unique, and thus resists such analysis; and (2) that it is incomprehensible, and thus incapable of being understood. In this article, several versions of both of these arguments are considered and shown not to support the conclusion that the Holocaust resists philosophical explanation. An alternative route to philosophical explanation is then suggested.  

The Kevorkian Challenge
 Anthony Picchioni, Mary Ann Barnhart, & Joe Barnhart

Abstract: The problem of self-determination in the dying process confronts a dilemma regarding clients' desire to know and not to know. Ambivalence and guilt make "free choice" problematic in choosing the way to die. Telling dying clients the "whole truth" about their condition is an art or skill. The question of a meaningful death raises questions that philosophical analysis can help clarify.  

Galileo and the Church: An Untidy Affair
Edward L. Schoen

Abstract: In his recent review of the Galileo affair, Pope John Paul II confidently proclaimed the intellectual autonomy of religion, comfortably affirming that the methods and ideas of religion are cleanly separable from those of the sciences. Unfortunately, a close review of the actual details of the Galilean controversy reveals that the lesson to be learned from that famous case is not one of sanitary intellectual compartmentalization, but one of entangling interdependencies among scientific, religious, and philosophical thought.  

Volume 2, Number 4, Winter 1995  

Between Anthropocentrism and Ecocentrism
Noel E. Boulting

Abstract: Three ways of relating the structures of human existence to the world are offered by ecological holism, moral extensionism, and biotic communitarianism. Leopold's attempt to reconcile these three is examined in the light of Peirce's categories, in order to ascertain how far Leopold's final position is anthropocentric, ecocentric, neither, or both. 

Earthday 25: A Retrospective of Reform Environmental Movements.
Bill Devall

Abstract: Industrial growth and environmental protection have been in perpetual conflict. Reform environmental movements have attempted to address some of the worst abuses of nature by demanding government intervention to restrain pollution. Also, these reform movements have cooperated with corporate elites to obtain some controls on pollution. The 104th Congress attempted to destroy even weak pollution controls. New efforts to mobilize resistance are occurring. The deep, long-range ecology movement inspires resistance by affirming the joy of human participation in nature.  

The Self Well Lost: Psychotherapeutic Interpretation and Nelson Goodman's Irrealism.
Peter J. Mehl

Abstract: In this paper, I consider Goodman's philosophy in relation to psychotherapeutic interpretation. Goodman argues that we should understand our knowledge as a creative symbolic construction, and not as a set of ideas that match reality. The notion of "the world" does no epistemological work. Using an example of psychotherapeutic interpretation found in Erick Erickson's writings, I argue that while Erikson suggests that he discovers in the patient's showings and tellings the patient's message and its meaning, I argue (with Goodman) that Erikson creates a narrative identity for his patient. The self is not found but fashioned, and it is deemed the true self because it coheres with Erikson's general theoretic standpoint and is found to be cognitively and practically helpful for the patient. The conclusion is that selves, like worlds, are largely creative constructs.  

Volume 3, Number 1, Spring 1996  

A Feminist Interpretation of Vulnerability
Nancy J. Annaromao

Abstract: Under patriarchy, the rationally autonomous agent engages in contractual relations in a marketplace society. The contractual model reinforces a negative conception of the vulnerable as weak and as susceptible to injury and exploitation. Recent feminist writing has a positive notion of vulnerability that is in conflict with contractualism. Positive notions of vulnerability, the paper argues, are found in Virginia Held's conception of mothering, Nel Noddings' analysis of teaching, and Annette Baier's development of trust as essential for social relationships.  

The Teaching of Ethics
Mark J. Doorley

Abstract: The most important philosophy course that contemporary undergraduates may take is ethics. Concerned with how to live a human life, ethics becomes ever more urgent as life unfolds. As the teacher, a philosopher likely wonders about the interaction in the classroom. This paper explores that interaction. Taking a cue from Aristotle, it is argued that the teaching of ethics is an invitation to self-reflection and self-responsibility, more so than a passing on of a set of ethical principles or laws.  

Epistemology of Technology Assessment: Collingridge, Forecasting Methodologies, and Technological Control.
Cassandra L. Pinnick

Abstract: This paper criticizes Collingridge's arguments against an epistemology of technological control. Collingridge claims that because prediction mechanisms are inadequate, his "dilemma of control" demonstrates that the sociopolitical impact of new technologies cannot be forecasted, and that, consequently, policy makers must concentrate their control measures on minimizing the costs required to alter entrenched technologies. I argue that Collingridge does not show on either horn that forecasting is impossible, and that his criticisms of forecasting methods are self-defeating for they undercut his positive case for the control of entrenched technologies. Finally, I indicate an empirical base for forecasting risk that may define epistemic principles of technology assessment.  

Sexual Activity, Consent, Mistaken Belief, and Mens Rea.
Peg Tittle

Abstract: The gendered subcultures of our society may have different value systems. Consequently, sexual activity that involves members of these subcultures may be problematic, especially concerning the encoding and decoding of consent. This has serious consequences for labelling the activity as sex or sexual assault. Conceiving consent not as a mental act but as a behavioural act (that is, using a performative standard) would eliminate these problems. However, if we remove the mental element from one aspect, then to be consistent we must remove it from all; and, as a result, the "mistaken belief" defense would be eliminated and mens rea would become insignificant (in other words, if what the woman means is irrelevant, then what the man believes or intends should also be irrelevant). This consequence suggests major changes to our current conceptions of legal justice, which changes, if undesirable, prompt reconsideration of the initial proposal to use a performative standard for consent.  

Volume 3, Number 2, Summer 1996  

Is Naturalized Epistemology Experientially Vacuous?
Michael G. Barnhart

Abstract: By naturalized epistemology, I mean those views expressed by Nozick and Margolis among others who favor an evolutionary account of human rationality as an adaptive mechanism which is unlikely to provide the means of its own legitimization and therefore unlikely to produce a single set of rules or norms which are certifiably rational. Analyzing the likely relativism that stems from such a view, namely that there could be divergent standards of rationality under different historical or environmental conditions, I conclude that evolutionary epistemologies are unable to account for rationality as an experienced capacity on the part of human beings. After giving a few examples of what seem to me to be cases where we do experience a form of reason that appears antinomian, I challenge a naturalized view of mind to embrace and provide some sort of explanatory account of this kind of mental elasticity that it both seems to make room for and is certainly not unfamiliar to other philosophical perspectives such as that of Zen Buddhism.  

Rethinking Wilderness: The Need for a New Idea of Wilderness.
Michael P. Nelson

Abstract: The "received" concept of wilderness as a place apart from and untouched by humans is five-times flawed: it is not universalizable, it is ethnocentric, it is ecologically naive, it separates humans from nature, and its referent is nonexistent. The received view of wilderness leads to dilemmas and unpalatable consequences, including the loss of designated wilderness areas by political and legislative authorities. What is needed is a more flexible notion of wilderness. Suggestions are made for a revised concept of wilderness.

Toward a Feminist Revision of Research Protocols on the Etiology of Homosexuality.
Stephanie S. Turner

Abstract: Examining the language and paradigms of science as rhetorical, that is, arising from the sociocultural forces that shape ideology, reveals androcentric assumptions that tend to thwart democratic public policy as well as effective methodology. This paper applies some recent feminist critiques of the biological sciences to the current research on the possible hormonal and genetic factors contributing to homosexuality, clarifying how this research perpetuates hierarchical binaries and suggesting ways to reconceptualize human sexuality through revised research protocols.  

Incommensurable Differences: Cultural Relativism and Anti-rationalism Concerning Self and Other.
Joseph Wagner

Abstract: This paper is a defense of rationalism and a critique of what I call anti-rationalist themes in postmodernist, feminist and multiculturalist thought. I use the term rationalism in its broad sense to identify an extensive set of philosophic assumptions rooted in the Enlightenment. Rationalism in this sense encompasses the empiricist, materialist and Kantian positions out of which modern analytic philosophy develops. In particular, this paper focuses on criticisms that treat rationality and attendant presumptions of objectivity as a Eurocentric form of ethnocentrism. These anti-rationalist concerns are often expressed in prescriptions for multiculturalism and complaints about Western logocentrism and insensitivity to the importance of difference, diversity, attunement, and other. The paper identifies central themes that reflect this anti-modern and anti-rationalist temper and argues that each embodies a deep irresolvable philosophic confusion. In developing this critique, I try to show that the Enlightenment project, properly understood, provides the best and most comprehensive groundings for declaiming and remedying the faults of ethnocentrism and prejudice.  

Volume 3, Number 3, Fall 1996
 

Born to Affirm the Eternal Recurrence: Nietzsche, Buber, and Springsteen.
Jonathan R. Cohen

Abstract: I argue that the Bruce Springsteen song "Born to Run" needs to be interpreted in light of--and thus gives evidence of a connection between--the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Buber. Along the way I give an in-depth reading of the Nietzschean doctrines of Eternal Recurrence and Overman as they emerge from Also Sprach Zarathustra, as well as a brief overview of Buber's I and Thou.  

Ethics and MIS Education
Matthew K. McGowan & Richard J. McGowan

Abstract: In this paper, we document the need for an education in ethics in management information systems (MIS) curricula, identify the gap in current curricula materials for MIS, and propose material and an organization of material to include in MIS curricula. The paper contributes to the development of material on ethics for MIS curricula, and also advances the discussion between people educated in MIS and people educated in ethics.  

Fragmented Selves and Loss of Community
Erin McKenna & J. Craig Hanks

Abstract: In this paper we try to provide the beginning of an analysis of some of the crises of our time. We do so by arguing that a certain account of the individual blocks our ability to think about solutions at the individual and the social levels. As an example we take the industrialization of housework in the United States and its effects on women's identity and on notions of "home." We suggest that the rise of liberal individualism, the industrialization of public and private life, and the predomination of capitalism are central to the disintegration of the individual/self, and that they limit the possibilities of some to determine the content and direction of self change. We argue that a notion of self as integrated and in process is needed in order to address our rapidly changing world.  

The Theory of Meaning: An Impasse
Abdur Razzaque

Abstract: This paper endeavors to delineate the salient features of the theory of meaning and to show how meaning converges with metaphysics. For the British classical linguistic philosophers, meaning concerns only autonomous propositions, which allegedly in isolation clarify thought and facilitate understanding of language. But for the American philosophers W. V. O. Quine and Donald Davidson, meaning is inextricably related to human life and its problems. According to them, our experiences are interrelated and cannot be separated from one another. A statement cannot be meaningful in isolation; that is to say, it cannot have meaning without holistic connections and metaphysical presumptions.  

Volume 3, Number 4, Winter 1996

The Supreme God in African (Igbo) Religious Thought.
Egbeke Aja

Abstract: From African ontology, religious experiences, myths of creation, and language, I argue that even though Africans (Igbo) conceive of supreme deities, none of the adjudged supreme deities is identifiable with the Supreme God propagated by Christian missionaries and theologians. To translate, therefore, the names of African deities, such as Chukwu or Chineke, to mean the God preached by Christians is to yoke to the Igbo religious thought the concept "creation out of nothing," which is alien to traditional African cosmology. Such a translation will not only distort the architecture of traditional African religion, it will impose on the Igbo the recognition of a deity that would be beyond the reach of their standard reciprocity arrangements with their Gods. Moreover, throughout Igboland, no shrines are dedicated to the worship of an unknown God identifiable with that propagated by Christians.  

I Married an Empiricist: A Phenomenologist Examines Philosophical Personae.
Laura Duhan Kaplan

Abstract: I suggest that philosophical writers should connect epistemological theorizing with life experience in order to explore the complex relationship between the two. The relationship of theory to experience does not fit the neat hierarchical model of a small number of general organizing principles giving form to or receiving form from a large mass of facts. Instead, as the narrative of my honeymoon and my life following it suggests, philosophical theories are one of the many genres of stories philosophers tell themselves in the process of creating and recreating personal identities and personae.  

Liberalism and Consumerism
Roger Paden

Abstract: Communitarians have argued that liberalism somehow causes or leads to a consumer society. Moreover, they have argued that consumer society is somehow morally suspect. Given the connection between liberalism and consumerism, they have argued that the moral problems they have found in consumer society give reason to oppose liberalism. In this paper, after defining "consumerism" and "liberalism," I examine the various communitarian arguments against consumerism, and the various arguments that seek to connect liberalism to consumerism. I argue that only one of these arguments has any hope of establishing this connection.  

Re-claiming Hestia: Goddess of Everyday Life.
Patricia J. Thompson

Abstract: The concepts of "hearth and home" and "keeping the home fire burning" can be traced back to ancient Greece and are associated with the oikos. Such metaphors remain pervasive (if often disregarded) expressions in contemporary life. The goddess Hestia, identified as the "goddess of the hearth," has been maligned in the patriarchal literature and ignored in feminist writing. This paper argues for re-visiting and re-claiming Hestia as a unifying principle in meeting the quotidian demands of everyday life. It suggests a new perspective for further philosophical exploration of the "private sphere" with special relevance for practical reasoning in the ethics and aesthetics involved in contemporary life.  

Volume 4, Numbers 1 & 2, Spring & Summer 1997  

An Incrementalist View of Proposed Uses of Information Technology in Higher Education.
Marvin J. Croy

Abstract: A number of national educational organizations and individual authors have called for the use of information technology to radically reform higher education. Several projections of how this reformation will unfold are presented here. Three different approaches to critically assessing these projections are considered in this article, two briefly and one in more detail. Brief consideration is given to an approach based on educational values and to an approach based on cost/benefit analysis. After some discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches, a third approach deriving from a theory of technology control (incrementalism) is elaborated in more detail and is found to offer helpful criticisms of the called for revolution in higher education. Some recommendations for how these new technologies can be developed in responsible ways are also offered.  

Authority, Autonomy, Authenticity: An Etiological Understanding.
Charles W. Harvey

Abstract: This essay attempts to understand the search for authenticity in terms of the breakdown of authority in the modern world. The sense of autonomy, I argue, emerges from the need to choose the authorities one will accept. The ever-increasing difficulty of choosing from among authorities is internalized and is experienced as a difficulty of choosing, or "finding," oneself. The shattered authorities on the outside become a fragmented self on the inside. The search for the authentic self, then, is the search for an authority on the inside that has been broken and lost on the outside. The prospects for achieving such selfhood are critically evaluated.  

On Cyberspace and Being: Identity, Self, and Hyperreality.
Lucas D. Introna

Abstract: Does it make sense to talk about cyberspace as an alternative social reality? Is cyberspace the new frontier for the realization of the postmodern self? For philosophers Taylor and Saarinen, and the psychologist Turkle, cyberspace is the practical manifestation of a postmodern reality, or rather hyperreality (Baudrillard). In hyperreal cyberspace, they argue, identity becomes plastic, "I can change my self as easily as I change my clothes." I will argue using Martin Heidegger that our being is being-in-the-world. To be-in-the-world means to be involved in the world; to have an involvement whole that is the always already present significance of what I do. Furthermore, that the making or choosing of self is only existentially meaningful in a horizon of significance, and involvement whole. I will argue that identity is tied to community, and community involves accepting some level of already there thrownness. Every cyber-traveler will eventually have to deal with the fact of being, always already, in-the-world.  

Matters of Meaning: Authenticity, Autonomy, and Authority in Kierkegaard.
Peter J. Mehl

Abstract: I argue that at least some of Kierkegaard's authorship is designed to make a rational case for a religious and specifically Christian existence; he is not a total fideist. He argues that anything short of the existential stance of the "strong spiritual/moral evaluator" is despair. To overcome this we are compelled to reach for religious or transcendent sources of meaning; the authentic life is the life of constant ethical and spiritual evaluation grounded in the authority of God. But I ask how does Kierkegaard justify the stance of the strong evaluator in the first place? I argue that he crafts an existential and pragmatic case for it, but that this approach does not have the strength he suggests. Indeed, I argue that because this defense reflects his own Protestant Christian context, his case for Christian existence (as an existence of strong spiritual/moral evaluation) is seriously weakened.  

Consumerism, the Procedural Republic, and the Unencumbered Self.
Roger Paden

Abstract: Communitarians have offered a number of arguments against liberalism that connect liberalism to consumerism. In this paper, I examine an argument to this effect developed by Michael Sandel. I argue that Sandel's argument fails to undermine liberalism, but that it does demonstrate that many contemporary liberals have placed too great an emphasis on the principle of political neutrality. I argue that liberalism, properly understood, requires both limited neutrality and an emphasis on democratic deliberation. If this is the case, than Sandel's argument misses its target. However, it does point out how contemporary liberalism needs to be reformed. By emphasizing more local democratic control over the economy, liberalism would not only become more theoretically consistent, but it would distance itself from consumerism.  

One Oppression Or Many?
Lani Roberts

Abstract: Enquiry into the relationship between kinds of oppression raises several possibilities. Perhaps there are multiple yet distinct oppressions. If this is so, are there philosophical relationships among them? What are the theoretical distinctions between racism and sexism, for example. The question raised here has to do with the philosophical structure of social dominance, rather than the discrete manifestations usually based on distinct target groups. Although the characteristics of peoples who are targets of each of the individual kinds of oppression are different, and even though many people are multiply oppressed, there is good reason to question the underlying assumption that each form of oppression is fundamentally separate and distinct from the others. There are many deep correspondences shared by specifically focused theories of oppression. It is plausible to suggest there is a single phenomenon called oppression. Perhaps there is only one monster with several heads, rather than many monsters hiding in our communal closet.  

Language, Meaning, and Ethics: A Phenomenological Correlation of Morality and Self-Conscious Signification.
James B. Sauer

Abstract: This paper takes up an underdeveloped argument of Charles Taylor that linguisticality is constitutive of moral agency. Taylor's position is part of a set of contemporary arguments that language, especially as dialogue or discourse, is the normative framework which grounds or validates fundamental norms or values. Taylor's contribution to this "dialogical turn" is substantial and innovative, but it is not without weakness. Rather than deal with all the issues involved in this dialogical turn, I argue just that language does ground morality as a distinctively human way of creating meaning, that is, as Taylor argues, constitutive of the self and self-understanding. Self-understanding, or the appropriation of moral self-consciousness, is what is meant by the authenticity and autonomy which constitute moral authority. I argue in essence that language provides a necessary and constitutive link between private and public spheres of meaning in a way that renders moral discourse meaningful and constitutively human.  

Against Cartmill on Hunting: Kinship with Animals and the Midcentric Fallacy.
Forrest Wood, Jr.

Abstract: Three recent books offer alternative views of hunting: Matt Cartmill's A View to A Death in the Morning (Cartmill, 1993), James Swan's In Defense of Hunting (Swan 1995), and Forrest Wood's The Delights and Dilemmas of Hunting (Wood,1997). First, I argue that Cartmill's claim of continuity of kind between animals and persons is both overstated and logically disconnected from the hunting/anti-hunting debate. Second, I argue that Cartmill's claim that the suffering of sentient animals is somehow intrinsically undesirable exhibits an unjustified prejudice toward middle-sized organisms.  

Volume 4, Number 3, Fall 1997  

Wallace Stevens: A Portrait of the Artist as a Phenomenologist.
James A. Clark

Abstract: Confusing modern poetry with philosophy is a common fault of literary criticism. Yet, the work of some poets can benefit critically from philosophical interpretations. Wallace Stevens is a poet who manifested an abiding interest in philosophy. His poems consistently display, in both their syntax and modulation of thought, philosophical parallels. Stevens' dominant mode of thought is phenomenological. This can be shown by analyzing parallels between phenomenological methodology and Stevens' poetry. Particularly three poems--"Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" (1917), "The Snow Man" (1921), and "The Latest Freed Man" (1938)--embody, respectively, the poem as doing phenomenology, the poem as a description of the phenomenological mind, and the poem as a portrait of the phenomenologist.  

Impartialism, Care, and the Self.
M. Carmela Epright

Abstract: In this paper, I discuss the ethics of care as a response to impartialist ethical theories. In section 1, I contrast Gilligan's critique of impartial ethical theories with other objections to impartialism. In section 2, I analyze some of the ways in which impartialists have attempted to understand the ethics of care since the publication of Gilligan's text. In section 3, I argue against proponents of impartialism and show that care constitutes an ethical theory in its own right, not one which is dependent or parasitic upon impartialism. In section 4, I contrast care ethic's conception of the self with that offered by traditional ethical theories, and argue that the most important distinction between the care and impartialist accounts of morality lies in the conception of the moral self which informs each of these approaches.  

Ontological Assumptions: Descartes, Searle, and Edelman.
Gregg E. Franzwa

Abstract: The proposition that there is a purely causal explanation of subjective states of human consciousness is a philosophical one. The affirmation of such a proposition must be a premise to research. And the justification for such a premise will be found in part in the fundamental ontological assumptions of the researcher. By examining the assumptions of Rene Descartes, at the beginning of the scientific age, I hope to show a similar set of assumptions behind the thought of two recent contributors to the debate, John Searle and Gerald Edelman. I will conclude that a crucial question begged by all three.  

The View From Nowhere and the Meaning of Life in Thomas Nagel.
Larry D. Harwood

Abstract: Thomas Nagel contends that the actual philosophical problem in the meaning of life is the independent world we live in, and only requires a self-transcendent being who glimpses and independent world. I argue that Nagel is mistaken to think that self-transcendence evokes the same anxiety for humans living in the world of Dante as Darwin. Nagel's view from nowhere is rather a modern version of the world. Secondly, while I concede that there is a common anxiety felt by self-transcendence in glimpsing an independent objective world, we also view that world through a set of beliefs that conditions how we see that world.  

The Duty of Solidarity: Feminism and Catholic Social Teaching.
Sally J. Scholz

Abstract: Catholic Social Teaching of late has a lot more in common with feminist moral theory than might be evident at first glance, After a brief explanation of Catholic Social Teaching's duty of solidarity, and a look at some of the feminist critiques of this solidarity, I point out some of the significant similarities between feminist ethics and the duty of solidarity. The last section focuses on community and care, the epistemological role of experience and the world view of the other, the centrality of self-determination, and the final goal of both the duty of solidarity and feminist ethics: liberation from oppression.  

Community of Choice and Community of Origin: Insights into Dewey's Theory of Communication.
Roger Ward

Abstract: This essay unearths the meaning of community in John Dewey's Experience andNature, using Marilyn Friedman's terms "community of choice" and "community of origin." The authority of communication as determinative of Dewey's community comes out. In fact, communication seems to be the philosophical point of Dewey's descriptions in that book, which reveals his anticipation of a community wherever communication obtains. Dewey is shown, in conclusion. to call us beyond communities of choice or origin to a community of authority which holds both peculiar promise for, and demands of, individuals.  

Volume 4, Number 4, Winter 1998

APA Central Division Group Session G1-3, May 7, 1998, Chicago, Illinois:
Richard Cohen on Levinas and Rosenzweig.
 

Engaging Transcendence: Can We Think G-d and Philosophy Together?
James B. Sauer

No Abstract

It's (Almost) All Greek To Me: Levinas's "Ethics As First Philosophy" and Analytic Philosophy.
Stiv Fleishman

No Abstract

Responses to Sauer and Fleishman
Richard A. Cohen

No Abstract

Community and Alterity: A Gadamerian Approach.
Donald M. Maier

Abstract: In this paper, I ask how we, as linguistically constituted subjects, form communities that respect difference. Whatever "commonality" we find in our multicultural society cannot be grounded in a narrow concept of reason, a singular method of inquiry, or an a priori logic, but in language. By examining Hans-Georg Gadamer's concept of linguisticality, we see that there can be a universal ground of meaning that will foster the formation of communities without recourse to the traditional foundations of thinking. Gadamer contends that language presents philosophy an infinite task that urges us to consider our fundamental linguisticality, the linguistic experience from which languages develop. By examining Augustine's notion of the "innerword", Gadamer explains our capacity to understand others, even when understanding seems least likely. Gadamer's hermeneutics encourages us to understand the Other's language. I conclude that a Gadamerian community allows us to understand each other without requiring that the Other become like us.  

Multinational Ethics At Work in Nigeria
Eddy Souffrant

Abstract: Cases of intervention in international affairs are often thought justifiable if the intervention is exercised against rogue political leaders and delinquent nation-states. The author offers an argument for the inclusion of an increasingly ubiquitous international agent, the profit generating corporation. This done, the paper argues that a cosmopolitan ethics of responsibility is an attractive mode of evaluation that renders corporations accountable in the international environment. This ethics of responsibility is applied to the particular case of British/Dutch Shell, Inc., in Nigeria to argue the merits of international intervention.  

Reclaiming Hermes: Guardian of the Public Sphere.
Patricia J. Thompson

Abstract: In an earlier paper, Hestia (R. Vesta)--guardian of the family hearthfire and center of household/family ritual activities in the ancient Greek oikos--was re-claimed as a metaphor for philosophical analysis of the private sphere in everyday life (SPCW, 1996). This paper undertakes a comparable project of reclamation for Hermes (R. Mercury), guardian of the public sphere of the ancient Greek polis and its later manifestations. The goal of this project of reclamation is not to introduce unnecessary neologisms or to support "New Age" spirituality. It is, rather, to help philosophers and social theorist to hold in mind two distinctive systems of human action within a single explanatory paradigm. Doing so allows us to compare and contrast in a consistent and coherent manner events, institutions, and actions in each of two systems operating in everyday life without privileging one (usually the polis and the political ) over the other (the oikos and the familial). It is hoped that doing so may promote a dual standpoint theory that can take contemporary feminist theory (which seems to have painted itself into a corner) beyond gender.  

Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1998  

Hegel's Impact on Russian Constitutional Development
Alexander S. Fesenko

Abstract: This essay argues that the thinker whose teaching played a key role in the formation of the Rusian political and legal paradigm was no Marx but Hegel. It analyzes the impact of the Hegelian philosophy on the development of the Russian constitutional tradition and examines its political implications.  

The Irony of Political Philosophy
Andrew Fiala

Abstract: Political philosophy is a paradoxical attempt to bring reason to bear upon a subject matter that is irrational. This problem has been side-stepped by many contemporary political thinkers. Political theorists like Iris Young, Michael Sandel, Jean Elshtain, Robert Bork, and Richard Peterson acknowledge that contemporary political life, with its lack of democratic participation and its undemocratic bureaucratic institutions and is undergoing a legitimization crisis. This approach forgets, however, that there can be no rational resolutions within the political realm. Political philosophy alone cannot resolve the legitimization crisis. This is especially so because the contemporary legitimization crisis arises, in part, from a lack of rationality on the part of both agents and institutions. Yet, we cannot fully give up on the enterprise of political philosophy. To do so would be to acquiesce to irrationality and the lack of legitimization found in contemporary political life. This paper argues that political philosophers, ay their best, must adopt a deliberately ironic disposition; while demanding rational analyses of political life, they must acknowledge that rational analysis may itself be ineffectual in political life.  

Encountering the Face of God: A Levinasian Exploration of Theistic Existentialism
Laura Duhan Kaplan

Abstract: This essay explores the intersection of the ideas of Emmanuel Levinas and theistic existentialism by exploring the metaphor of being confronted by the blank face of God in times of great stress. Levinas criticizes the history of metaphysics for focusing exclusively on the analysis of objects. He aims to redirect philosophy toward the study of relationships, and focuses on the experience eof being confronted by another human face. Jean-Paul Sartre's proof of the nonexistence of God illustrates Levinas' critique. Sartre treats God as an object with determinate properties, and concludes that all who believe in Gid are seeking a false sense of security. Many theistic existentialist, however, speak of God as a partner in relationship, rather than as a thing, and do not expect to be freed from uncertainty or responsibility through a relationship with God. 

Philosophy as Argument/Philosophy as Conversation
Edward G. Lawry

Abstract: This paper criticizes the understanding of philosophy as entirely made up of argument. It gives some characterization of argument as a rhetorical form and conversation as a motivating attitude. It explicates the understanding of this distinction in Book 1 of Plato's Republic, and emphasizes the contemporary relevance of the distinction by appeal to the work of Richard Rorty. While respectful of Rorty's insights, it sides more with the Platonic understanding of philosophical conversation, which does not abandon the pursuit of truth.  

Abortion, Christianity, and Consistency
Richard Schoeing

Abstract: I describe three major areas in which I argue that Christians' belief that abortion is morally wrong is inconsistent with other important abortion-related mainstream Christian beliefs or actions based on those beliefs. The three areas are: (1) abortion and soul-saving; (2) abortion prevention and violence; and (3) abortion and the fate of frozen fertilized human eggs. I make no direct argument about the moral status of abortion itself.  

Between Dogmatism and Relativism: André Comte-Sponville's Cynicism
Sébastien Charles

Abstract: This essay introduces the work of André Comte-Sponville to an English audience by explaining his ethical position. Comte-Sponville calls this position "cynicism," and intends it as a corrective of the excesses of both relativism and dogmatism. The distinction critical for understanding cynicism is that between value and truth, which are here used to explain all three: cynicism, dogmatism, and relativism.  

Volume 5, Numbers 2-3, Summer-Fall 1998  

That is the Happiest Conversation...
James B. Sauer

No Abstract

A Modest Realism
Joe Frank Jones, III

Abstract: This essay argues that essentialism and epistemological foundationalism can be separated, and that a "humble" realism-foundationalism can be described which explains common cultural practices like counseling. A necessary constructionist component survives in this still legitimately 'realist' position, but it is shown not to lead to any crippling skepticism or relativism, as does pure constructionism.  

In Support of a Modest Realism: Applications to Narratives of Self and Philosophical Methodology.
Laura Duhan Kaplan

Abstract: The "modest realism" described by Joe Frank Jones, III offers a sound methodological model for developing both self-understanding and philosophical theories. Claire Chafee's play Why We Have a Body illustrates the pitfalls of living both a thoroughgoing realism and a thoroughgoing idealism and argues for the conception of a life story as a project in which discovery and invention play side by side. Stanley Cavell argues that the shape of a philosophy mirrors the shape of a philosopher's life. Thereby he suggests that Ludwig Wittgenstein saw his own revolutionary philosophical work as a species of modest realism, i.e., continuing to turn in fruitful directions, rather than as a species of anti-idealism, i.e., rejecting an entire tradition of philosophical theorizing.  

A Modest Constructionism: Response to Joe Frank Jones, III.
Charles W. Harvey

Abstract: In this response I argue (a) that Jones' minimalist realism is, also, a minimalist constructionism. And (b) that the silent sphere of evidence that Jones' uses to ground his realism, may not be able to supply even a minimalist, strictly negative ground for epistemic endeavors.  

Dissociation: An Evolutionary Interpretation
Joe Barnhart, Ph.D.

Abstract: My hypothesis is that human personhood has ancient biological roots which make it possible for social reinforcers to contribute to the gradual construction of real persons who are always deeper than the stories about them. Multiple persons do sometimes emerge from one human organism. Rather than try to prove they are real, I explore the consequences of assuming them to be genuine emergents that become social environment to one another. I suggest that the multiple-persons phenomenon has profoundly influenced the development of human ethics and the attainment of personhood through the pursuit of ideals.  

Toward a Hermeneutics of Memory and Multiple Personality.
Randall R. Lyle

Abstract: Barnhardt, in "Dissociation: An Evolutionary Interpretation," makes a case for understanding multiple personality as a "natural" phenomenon resulting from human biological evolution. He also argues that the reason that "multiple personalities" are not encountered more frequently is a result of a social construction encouraging "single" personalities. He concludes that it is from the interaction between the two that ethics derive. In this response I offer an alternative hermeneutic, using memory as the interpretive key, and by introducing Ricoeur's work on narrative, highlight how Barnhardt's argument limits us to a "scientific" understanding of Multiple Personality and thus limits our ability to understand and enact a viable "ethic" of care.  

Insight, Judgment, World: Rethinking the Ontology of Being and Time.
Jerome A. Miller

Abstract: Revisiting Heidegger's interpretation of "world" in Being and Time can help us come to grips with the conflict between the naturalistic and hermeneutical points of view which post-modernism has aggravated rather than resolved. After discussing Heidegger's account of the "hermeneutical circle," and his rejection of the correspondence theory of truth, I argue that , to "save" truth form hermeneutical relativism, Heidegger smuggles naturalism inside the hermeneutical circle. I suggest that, in order to abandon naturalism without abandoning truth, it is necessary to radically rethink the nature of judgment and recognize that it alone completes our ontological access to the world.  

Changing the Metaphors of Foundation
Kenneth L. Buckman

Abstract: The traditional philosophical metaphors of epistemology, which speak of grounds or foundation, produce a conception of knowledge as fixed and absolute. This paper is not an effort to revive traditional epistemological view of foundations and origins. After a preliminary and cursory discussion of how the metaphors of foundation and ground are employed, principally by Descartes and Heidegger, and what is suggested by such an employment, I sketch the postmodern rejection of these metaphors. However, I further indicate how, as valuable as it is, postmodern criticism leaves us with an inadequate account of how we understand ourselves and how it is that we understand in general. I criticize postmodern thinking for ignoring the human elements of feeling and imagination and endorse the more satisfying model suggested by Paul Ricoeur. By understanding the role of feeling and imagination, we can escape the strict sterility of the grapheme. I end with my own suggestion that we gain a better sense of our attachment to and understanding of the world if we change the metaphors of foundations, grounds, and origins and instead employ metaphors of gathering, coalescence, or coagulation.  

Thinking Problematically: Scribbling in the Margins.
K. E. Jensen

Abstract: This essay provides a pastpostmodern phenomenological account of a good idea. It is a short experiment in what Foucault calls, "the unchanging pedagogical origins of dialectics." The 'ostensible' question considered is: What follows in the wake of nihilism? Scribbling in the margins, a metaphor for the classical task of the public intellectual, is one way of nudging the reader into the periphery of writing.  

The Embodied and Transcendental Self: Toward A Synthesis and A Way of Knowing.
Ralph D. Ellis

Abstract: The 'embodied self' is the purposeful dimension of any organism capable of acting toward a unified motivation to maintain a self-organizing structure by appropriating, replacing, and reproducing material components to serve as substrata. We reflect on the 'self ' in this sense when we direct attention away from the objects of experience and toward the way our bodies motivate our experiences in terms of emotional purposes of the organism, by looking, searching, shifting the focus of attention, etc.--actions rather than reactions of our bodies and nervous systems. The 'transcendental self,' by contrast, cannot be identified with any particular embodied state of consciousness, because it is that which unifies all the particular stages and gives them direction. It is argued here that affect and motivation are the keys to understanding and unifying the transcendental and embodied selves, because both reflect the organism's self-organizing tendency; and that we can know ourselves by understanding the way affect and motivation shape the pattern and direction of our stream of consciousness.  

The Self in Aristotle's Ethics
Stephen A Calogero

Abstract: This paper examines Aristotle's treatment of friendship and self-love in Books VIII and IX of the Nicomachean Ethics. The purpose is to explore what Aristotle means by self, and his understanding of why selves become engaged in benevolent relationships with others. Some discussion of Aristotle's influence on Kierkegaard helps to bring out the significance of Aristotle's insights about the self. Aristotle explains how the self's movement toward actuality grounds friendship and benevolence. True friendship and all endeavors to "produce" good, derive from love for one's own being as mediated by one's intelligence or nous. All such authentic endeavors constitute an effort to actualize one's self, to act nobly, to in one's achievement and to participate in the community of being.  

Volume 5, Number 4, Winter 1998  

A General Framework for Philosophical Counseling.
Hakam Al-Shawi

Abstract: This paper presents a general framework for philosophical counseling founded upon the distinction between philosophical discourse and philosophy as a live experience. Clients enter counseling, usually, philosophically unsophisticated, but with a set of perspectives and a predicament. I outline the two general processes of philosophical counseling that address such a reported predicament. The first process-critique-involves a critical examination of the client's philosophical perspectives, as they are related to the reported predicament. Through the use of the Socratic method, the counselor attempts to examine the relation, meaning, implications, etc., of such perspectives. This, I argue, leads to a destabilization of the client, where previously unquestioned beliefs and values become doubtful. As such, a second process-creation-is needed in order to overcome the destabilization of the initial process. For this process to succeed, I argue, philosophical counseling must avoid the problem of suggestion by not relying on any first-order philosophical assumptions.  

Sartre's Existential Consciousness: Implications for Intersubjectivity.
Noel Boulting

Abstract: Sartre's Degrees of Consciousness Theory is developed in order to ascertain what this existential conception implies for an account of human intersubjectivity. Once active involvement in instrumental concerns-first degree consciousness-and reflection, whether of an impure kind characterizing second degree consciousness or a pure consciousness-that of a third degree-are distinguished, attention is focused upon the kinds of social relations typifying each kind of consciousness. A model for social relations is suggested to distinguish it from either the conflict model, with which it is often confused, or the 'we-subject' model necessary for world exploitation so as to offer a way of grounding a morality as promised at the end of Being and Nothingness.  

Unity and Undecidability: The Subject of Kant's First Critique
Stuart Dalton

Abstract: This essay argues that, in the first Critique, the need for unity leads Kant to re-inscribe the subject in a situation of multiplicity and undecidability. The result, however,. is not a relativization that negates the meaning of the subject's existence, but rather a contextualization that makes meaning possible. This reading clarifies some of the connections between Kant and contemporary postmodernism, especially the work of Jacques Derrida.  

What Philosophical Counseling Can't Do.
Lou Marinoff

Abstract: Notwithstanding recent successes of philosophical counseling, which appear to be leading to its legitimization as a professional practice in America and abroad, many forces concert to condition its emergent structure and function. This paper briefly elucidates some of the influences to which philosophical counseling is subject, that lie beyond its unilateral control. These include its portrayal by the media to the public, its scope of practice, its relations with psychology and psychiatry, its foreseeable effects in particular cases, and its perception by (and of) analytical philosophy.  

Why Has God Forsaken Me? Philosophically Counseling a Crisis of Faith.
Peter B. Raabe

Abstract: This essay traces a case in which I was involved. It illustrates that counselors and clients can have very different worldviews, down to and including different views concerning the existence of God, and yet philosophy can do its work in the counseling setting. It also illustrates that straight thinking can be very valuable to both religious and irreligious persons.  

How Many Spaces Does it Take to Get to the Center of a Theory of Human Problem Solving?
David F. Wolf II

Abstract: The diverse number of N-space theories and the unrestrained growth of the number of spaces within the multiple space models has incurred general skepticism about the new search space variants within the search space paradigm of psychology. I argue that any N-space theory is computationally equivalent to a single space model. Nevertheless, the N-space theories may explain the systematic behavior of human problem solving better than the original one search space theory by identifying relationships between the tasks that occur in problem solving. These tasks are independent of the particular process and may not be explicitly represented by the problem solver. N-space theorists seem to overlook their own reason for distinguishing N-space theories from single space models, namely the presupposition that these tasks must have a unified, underlying search space architecture. This assumption is ill-founded and may implement a procedural restraint that could impede psychological research.