•  43
    The use of useless knowledge: Bergson against the pragmatists
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (1): 37-59. 2013.
    Henri Bergson and William James were great admirers of each other, and James seemed to think he got valuable ideas from Bergson. But early critics were right to see in Bergson the antithesis of pragmatism. Unfolding this antithesis is a convenient way to study important concepts and innovations in Bergson's philosophy. I concentrate on his ideas of duration and intuition, and show how they prove the necessity of going beyond pragmatism. The reason is because knowledge itself goes beyond the util…Read more
  •  7
    Indian Epistemology and Metaphysics (review)
    Review of Metaphysics 71 (4). 2017.
    The book collects seventeen new research papers on themes in Indian philosophy, contributed by contemporary scholars from around the world. The principal themes are knowledge and logic, consciousness, existence, and the self. The editor explains that the studies discuss Indian sources in their own context, rather than trying to be comparative or make connections to other traditions. This unfortunate directive is fortunately ignored by the strongest papers. Claus Oetke shows that despite their i…Read more
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  •  29
    Nietzsche’s Genealogy: Nihilism and the Will to Knowledge (review)
    International Studies in Philosophy 31 (2): 140-141. 1999.
  •  77
    Feminist Interpretations of Michel Foucault (review)
    Dialogue 38 (1): 221-222. 1999.
    This is a book in the series Re-Reading the Canon from the Pennsylvania State University Press. The general editor explains that the series offers "feminist interpretations of the writings of major figures in the Western philosophical tradition," with attention to the ways in which philosophers' assumptions about gender figure in their work. Volumes have already appeared on Plato, Hegel, Wollstonecraft, De Beauvoir, and Arendt. Feminist Interpretations of Michel Foucault collects twelve articles…Read more
  •  22
    Seeing Double: Shared Identities in Physics, Philosophy, and Literature (review)
    Common Knowledge 11 (3): 501-501. 2005.
    Pesic writes a nontechnical, agreeably philosophical introduction to the strange world of Quantum Mechanics. He uses the idea of individuality to explain the perplexing difference between the world of experience and what physics sees. Individuals are known by their difference from others. A world without variation is a world without individuality. The living world is never like that. The whole evolution of life from earliest times depends entirely on small differences distinguishing one organism…Read more
  •  8
    Confucius is finally rehabilitated. Party dignitaries kneel at his ancestral shrine. The benevolent Confucian is a new image of China for the outside, and for Chinese dealing with the collapse of ideology and the moral fabric of their society. The word tianxia is usually translated “all under Heaven.” It has a complicated history and a complicated contemporary appropriation in a desperate ideology-cum-PR campaign. The tianxia-idea is that China has for millennia been a government of all under he…Read more
  •  26
    Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy (review)
    Common Knowledge 8 (2): 422-422. 2002.
    In theory, sovereignty makes a state. In practice, few states possess all its attributes, and little is governed by its norms. That's no recent development, but as old as the idea of the "sovereign state." Nor is it surprising. The politics of sovereignty is an exercise in organized hypocrisy: Espouse its norms, generously disburse its recognition, and violate it all when convenient. Hypocrisy is the norm because unlike a game of chess, international politics has no constitutive rules — rules yo…Read more
  •  24
    The Order of Evils: Toward an Ontology of Morals (review)
    Common Knowledge 14 (3): 505-505. 2008.
    In Ophir’s account, evil is not an absence, nor a diabolic supernatural intervention. It is instead a regular part of the world. We produce evil somewhat as we produce smog, as a byproduct of our economy. Reversing business as usual in moral theory, Ophir recognizes evil as a more important moral category than the Good. It is more important, morally, to prevent or limit superfluous evils—preventable suffering or loss—than to worry about the Right and the Good. Justice, fairness, equality, and au…Read more
  •  38
    Realism with a Human Face (review)
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 24 (4): 665-688. 1994.
  •  65
    A history without the history (review)
    History and Theory 45 (1). 2006.
  •  3
    The Dawn of Human Culture (review)
    Common Knowledge 9 (2): 353-353. 2003.
    Juxtaposing two dates in human evolution poses a mystery. Anatomically modern people (with our bodies, brains, and genes) apparently first appear in Africa 100,000 years ago. Yet there is no evidence of them behaving like us — no evidence of modern human culture — until 50,000 years ago. For the first 50,000 years of our existence we were archaeologically indistinct from Neanderthal or erectus. Then everything quickly changed, forever. Why this gap? What were we waiting for? Klein, a leading Ame…Read more
  •  66
    The Philosopher As Man of Letters: A memoir of Richard Rorty
    Philosophy Today 61 (2): 315-318. 2017.
    A memoir of Richard Rorty as a teacher, a philosopher, an intellectual, and a man of letters, by a former student.
  •  27
    Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins (review)
    Common Knowledge 19 (3): 561-561. 2013.
    Ian Tattersall is curator emeritus of the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins at the American Museum of Natural History, and an authoritative voice on the subject of human origins. The book offers anyone a chance to catch up on the current state of the art. One thing we learn is that the comparison with apes is misleading. None of our ancestors were much like an ape. Hominid forebears have been evolving rapidly and dramatically away from apes for more than two million years. Hunting is another red her…Read more
  •  58
    Knowledge and Civilization
    Westview Press. 2003.
    Knowledge and Civilization advances detailed criticism of philosophy's usual approach to knowledge and describes a redirection, away from textbook problems of epistemology, toward an ecological philosophy of technology and civilization. Rejecting theories that confine knowledge to language or discourse, Allen situates knowledge in the greater field of artifacts, technical performance, and human evolution. His wide ranging considerations draw on ideas from evolutionary biology, archaeology, anthr…Read more
  •  26
    The Historical Discourse of Philosophy
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23 (sup1): 127-158. 1993.
  •  110
    Truth in Philosophy
    Harvard University Press. 1993.
    " Barry Allen shows what truth has come to mean in the philosophical tradition, what is wrong with many of the ways of conceiving truth, and why philosophers ...
  •  3
    Putnam und Rorty über Objektivität und Wahrheit
    Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 42 (6): 989-1006. 1994.
  •  31
    The Lessons of Solipsism
    Idealistic Studies 21 (2/3): 151-154. 1991.
    Solipsism is the strangest creature in philosophy’s menagerie. It seems just that its defense should be so simple and reasonable. As similarity or difference in the length of things presuppose their commensurability in respect of spatial extension, so similarity and difference between conscious subjects presuppose the commensurability of their experience. But comparing what I feel with what I fail to feel seems worse than inconvenient. Like location and duration or color and quantity, these seem…Read more
  •  11
    Philosophy the Day after Tomorrow (review)
    Common Knowledge 14 (3): 501-502. 2008.
    Cavell reads Nietzsche’s reference to Übermorgan, the day after tomorrow (the day after the crisis of nihilism), on the model of Übermensch, as a surpassing dawn, elucidated with examples from Emerson and Thoreau. These philosophers may not be Dionysian pessimists on the other side of Western nihilism, but they are as untimely as a midday dawn. In Cavell’s Emersonian terms, they are perfectionists, assuming “the right to seek a step toward an unattained possibility of the self, to want a world c…Read more
  •  26
    Is Locke’s Semiotic Inconsistent?
    American Journal of Semiotics 11 (3/4): 23-31. 1994.
  •  142
    Knowledge and adaptation
    Biology and Philosophy 12 (2): 233-241. 1997.
  •  34
    Government in Foucault
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 21 (4): 421-439. 1991.
    The forms and specific situations of the government of men by one another in a given society are multiple; they are superimposed, they cross, impose their own limits, sometimes cancel one another out, sometimes reinforce one another. According to a commonplace in the critical discussion of Foucault's later work, he is supposed to have decided to take up Nietzsche's interpretation of power as Wille zur Macht, ‘will to power.’ For instance, Habermas believes he has criticized Foucault when he says…Read more
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    Jürgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity Reviewed by (review)
    Philosophy in Review 8 (10): 402-405. 1988.