•  29
    Nietzsche’s Genealogy: Nihilism and the Will to Knowledge (review)
    International Studies in Philosophy 31 (2): 140-141. 1999.
  •  29
    Vanishing into Things
    with Bernard Faure, Jacob Raz, Glenn Alexander Magee, N. Verbin, Dalia Ofer, Elaine Pryce, and Amy M. King
    Common Knowledge 16 (3): 417-423. 2010.
    Introducing the sixth and final installment of the Common Knowledge symposium “Apology for Quietism,” Allen looks at the symposium retrospectively and concludes that it has mainly concerned “sage knowledge,” defined as foresight into the development of situations. The sagacious knower sees the disposition of things in an early, incipient form and knows how to intervene with nearly effortless and undetectable (quiet) effectiveness. Whatever the circumstance, the sage handles it with finesse, neve…Read more
  •  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
  •  26
    Is Locke’s Semiotic Inconsistent?
    American Journal of Semiotics 11 (3/4): 23-31. 1994.
  •  26
    The Historical Discourse of Philosophy
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 23 (sup1): 127-158. 1993.
  •  26
    Foucault's theory of knowledge
    In Timothy O'Leary & Christopher Falzon (eds.), Foucault and Philosophy, Wiley-blackwell. pp. 143--162. 2010.
  •  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
  •  24
    Without Criteria: Kant, Whitehead, Deleuze, and Aesthetics (review)
    Common Knowledge 17 (1): 198-199. 2011.
    Gilles Deleuze has a growing readership in English philosophy, where for long he was eclipsed by brilliant contemporaries like Derrida and Foucault. It is good that we are coming to appreciate his highly original and fascinatingly intricate philosophy. He worked with integrity and genius to do something different in philosophy from everything he was hearing in contemporaries. None of the familiar labels—structuralism, poststructuralism, deconstruction, phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics…Read more
  •  23
    Out of Athens: The New Ancient Greeks (review)
    Common Knowledge 18 (2): 356-356. 2012.
    The field of study we call Classics is an ideological construction. It assumes that the Greece and Rome of antiquity belong to the modern West in some singular, privileged way, as our antiquity, their works our classics, and that these civilizations were largely self-invented. In this antiquity there are no diaspora, no hybrids, no minorities, often no women or slaves. Democratic, philosophical Athens is the antitype of a cosmopolis: hermetic, autochthonous, owing nothing to the civilizations of…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
  •  19
    Modes of Margin in Philosophy
    Common Knowledge 24 (2): 181-189. 2018.
  •  19
    What is Knowledge? (review)
    Common Knowledge 10 (2): 365-365. 2004.
    José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955) is the most original philosophical voice in modern Spanish history. This posthumous work comprises lectures and seminars held in Madrid, 1929-1934. While Ortega was meeting with students, Spain was in turmoil. In 1931 the King was deposed; within a year of the last lecture, Spain had descended into civil war. Ortega made his classroom a refuge where philosophy would continue to be taught despite the barbarism swelling around them. Throughout his argument there ar…Read more
  •  19
    Thinking and Being by Irad Kimhi (review)
    Common Knowledge 27 (1): 108-108. 2021.
    A negative judgment (“S is not p”) says what is not the case, but since what is not the case is nothing and does not exist, a negative judgment says nothing, and is not a judgement at all. Wittgenstein called this “the mystery of negation.” By negation I can be right in what I say even though I say nothing at all. No less fastidious a logician than Rudolf Carnap sneered at philosophers who take such trifles seriously. Parmenides, the first of many who did, drew the conclusion that one simply can…Read more
  •  18
    Truth and Predication (review) (review)
    Common Knowledge 14 (1): 158-159. 2008.
  •  18
    Barry Allen explores the concept of knowledge in Chinese thought over two millennia and compares the different philosophical imperatives that have driven Chinese and Western thought. Challenging the hyperspecialized epistemology of modern Western philosophy, he urges his readers toward an ethical appreciation of why knowledge is worth pursuing.
  •  18
    Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto by Bryan W. Van Norden (review)
    Common Knowledge 26 (2): 354-355. 2020.
    This book tries to do two things that do not have much to do with each other. One is to excoriate the White Privilege that dominates academic philosophy in leading US university departments, and disallows the study of non-canonical philosophy, works from Chinese, Indian, Indigenous, or African traditions. “It is not real philosophy,” they say, with no apprehension about exposing blank ignorance of material they dismiss as unfit for their curricula. The other thing the book does is answer the blo…Read more
  •  17
    Episteme (doi:10.1017/epi.2021.37). forthcoming.
    Indigenous cultures of North America confronted a problem of knowledge different from that of canonical European philosophy. The European problem is to identify and overcome obstacles to the perfection of knowledge as science, while the Indigenous problem is to conserve a legacy of practice fused with a territory. Complicating the difference is that one of these traditions violently colonized the other, and with colonization the Indigenous problem changes. The old problem of inter-generational s…Read more
  •  16
    The cloud of knowing blurring the difference with china
    Common Knowledge 17 (3): 450-532. 2011.
    In this monograph-length article, which inaugurates a multipart symposium titled “Fuzzy Studies,” the significance and virtues of blur are investigated through the whole history of Chinese intellectual tradition. In the Western tradition, the blur of becoming seems to disqualify an object for knowledge; nothing can be an object of knowledge until the blur is resolved and clarity attained. Chinese tradition offers suggestive examples of the thought that blur, so far from being incompatible with k…Read more
  •  16
    In this sweeping volume of comparative philosophy and intellectual history, Barry Allen reassesses the values of experience and experiment in European and world traditions. His work traces the history of empirical philosophy from its birth in Greek medicine to its emergence as a philosophy of modern science. He surveys medical empiricism, Aristotlean and Epicurean empiricism, the empiricism of Gassendi and Locke, logical empiricism, radical empiricism, transcendental empiricism, and varieties of…Read more
  •  15
    Common Knowledge? An Ethnography of Wikipedia (review)
    Common Knowledge 23 (1): 104-104. 2017.
    Wikipedia currently exists in 270 languages, with more than 20 million articles. The English-language Wikipedia has 2.5 billion words, sixty times the size of Britannica. It may be the largest collaborative initiative in history, and influences what people the world over know or think they know. Wikipedia’s distinctive feature is the non-expert, non-professional, non-certified, non-formal production of knowledge with credible content. Academics like to sneer at that, even as more of us acknowled…Read more
  •  14
    The Philosophical Challenge from China (review)
    Common Knowledge 22 (1): 133-133. 2016.
    The premise of this volume, which collects the work of thirteen contributors, is that Chinese philosophy has plenty to say to the problems that occupy current philosophers. Turns out that means plenty to say in their terms and by their standards. For many—not all—of the contributors, the only “challenge” Chinese thought poses is assimilation, how same can they make it. Part of the problem is that the philosophy asked to receive this challenge is our insipid, directionless, imaginatively exhauste…Read more
  •  13
  •  13
    To Really See the Little Things: Sage Knowledge in Action
    Journal of Chinese Philosophy 42 (3-4): 359-370. 2015.
    Sage knowledge knows the evolution of circumstances from an early point, when tendencies may be inconspicuously, “effortlessly” diverted. This knowledge is expressed, not “represented,” being an intensive quality of action rather than of belief, proposition, or theory, and its effortlessness is not a matter of effort versus no effort, but of the intensity with which effort tends to vanish. The value of such knowledge and the explanation of its accomplishment in terms of perceiving incipience or …Read more
  •  12
    This work by an accomplished and respected comparative philosopher criticizes the Western ideology of individualism from the perspective of a Confucian morality of the family. Individualism is a name for the Enlightenment era ideology of the autonomous individual. The philosophical pillars of this ideology are Locke and especially Kant, and it runs through practically all modern moral philosophy. It is the moral psychology of classical liberalism, no less than of its libertarian and communitaria…Read more
  •  12
    A singularity of the famous Art of War《孫子兵法》 attributed to Sunzi is the way this work conceives of knowledge as a resource for the military strategist. The idea is new in Chinese tradition, and new in the worldwide context of thinking about strategy, where Sunzi’s ideas about the value of knowledge are far in advance of the thinking of Western theorists like Machiavelli or especially Clausewitz. In this paper I analyze the role of knowledge in the Sunzi theory of strategy, and show the consisten…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
  •  9
    Experiments In Democracy
    Contemporary Pragmatism 9 (2): 75-92. 2012.
  •  9
    Dewey and the Art of Experience
    Pragmatism Today 7 (1): 93-99. 2016.
    Instead of following the behaviorists and abandoning the concept of experience, Dewey wanted to reconstruct it. Dewey was an ardent Darwinist, so whatever experience is, it has to be an evolved, presumably adaptive power. “Experience” became for him one word for the multiplex relation between the evolved, adapted organism and its environment. Human environments include groups and social relations mediated by language. But “experience” is not centered there, or restricted to the use of language. …Read more