•  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
  • The principal difference between Rorty’s pragmatism and that of Peirce, James, and Dewey is his commitment to the nominalism that Peirce identified as the Achilles heel of modern empiricism. In their different ways, Peirce, James, and Dewey sought to eliminate nominalism from empiricism. That is their “radical empiricism.” Rorty, by contrast, is impressed by the nominalism and anti-empiricism of post-war analytic philosophy, especially the work of Wilfrid Sellars, Donald Davidson, and Robert Bra…Read more
  • “Pragmatism and Confucian Empiricism"
    In Confucianism and Deweyan Pragmatism. pp. 40-48. 2021.
    Dewey was a pragmatist, and pragmatism is an empiricism. I think Dewey would insist that his empirical orientation in the theory of knowledge is not independent of his democratic orientation in social philosophy. My contribution to the discussions of this volume pursues three questions. One is how Dewey saw the connection between empiricism and democracy. Another is whether there is a comparable empiricism in Chinese tradition. A third is whether ideas of knowledge and ideas of government are re…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
  •  4
    Living data
    Human Affairs 30 (4): 512-517. 2020.
    We see new technologies changing how we live, and seemingly set to do so at a rising pace. How should we describe these changes, and what exactly is changing? I discuss the theory of technical change in Simondon, On the Modes of Existence of the Technical Object. Once we understand precisely what sort of change qualifies as “technical,” we see that the changes in question today have little to do with technology as such, more with a new infrastructure for its deployment.
  •  7
    Dewey for a New Age of Fascism: Teaching Democratic Habits by Nathan Crick (review)
    Common Knowledge 26 (3): 434-434. 2020.
    Dewey watched the rise and fall of European fascism, writing about it many times in several contexts and venues. He analyzed its motives and its means, and was not sanguine that such a thing would never happen in the United States. Instead, he seemed to think the conditions were favorable, but also that there was still time for precautionary action. Dewey was enough of a Jeffersonian to think that democracy begins in neighborly communities. A democratic public has to be recreated each generation…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
  •  3
    Pragmatism and Hermeneutics
    In Babette Babich (ed.), Hermeneutic Philosophies of Social Science: Introduction, De Gruyter. pp. 287-294. 2017.
  •  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
  •  7
    Truth and Predication by Donald Davidson (review)
    Common Knowledge 25 (1-3): 423-423. 2019.
    The ideas of the late Donald Davidson are beginning to be appreciated beyond their origin in Analytic philosophy of language. Davidson doesn’t make appropriation easy. He was an Analytic philosopher’s philosopher, intricately technical, indifferent to questions outside a narrow specialization. As prose, Davidson is elegant, spare, subtle, and indirect. A great deal is left unsaid. If Quine were H. L. Mencken, Davidson would be Henry James. To follow the argument carefully, you need a course in l…Read more
  •  5
    The Book of Beginnings (review)
    Common Knowledge 22 (3): 500-500. 2016.
    What is it to enter a way of thought? No way of thought can be summarized. Translation is unreliable. Following a historical development is exhausting and remains external to the vitality of the thought. For Jullien, a way of thought can be entered effectively only by beginning to work with it, which for him means passing through it in order to learn how to question something beyond doubt. What we cannot imagine doubting may suddenly alter under the oblique effect of another way of thought that …Read more
  •  65
  •  18
    Truth and Predication (review) (review)
    Common Knowledge 14 (1): 158-159. 2008.
  •  53
    Nietzsche's Question, "What Good Is Truth?"
    History of Philosophy Quarterly 9 (2). 1992.
  •  4
    The Art of War
    In Vanishing Into Things: Knowledge in Chinese Tradition, Harvard University Press. pp. 121-139. 2015.
  •  4
    The Soul of Knowledge
    History and Theory 36 (1): 63-82. 1997.
  • Review (review)
    History and Theory 36 63-82. 1997.
  •  35
    Dirk R. Johnson, Nietzsche’s Anti-Darwinism (review)
    New Nietzsche Studies 8 (3/4): 165-170. 2011.
  •  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
  •  4
    Foundations of transcendental philosophy Nova Methodo (review)
    History of European Ideas 18 (5): 820-821. 1994.
  •  2
    Another New Nietzsche (review)
    History and Theory 42 (3): 363-377. 2003.
  •  9
    Experiments In Democracy
    Contemporary Pragmatism 9 (2): 75-92. 2012.
  •  30
    Architect and Engineer: A Study in Sibling Rivalry (review)
    Common Knowledge 16 (1): 157-157. 2010.
    Andrew Saint is General Editor of the Survey of London. His book is a study of relations between these two professions since their modern emergence in Europe and the US. Relations between the two professions are complex and varied. Sometimes it is the Renaissance fantasy, where the architect designs a masterpiece, then hands it to the engineer to figure out how to make it. Sometimes engineers are part of the design process, working closely with architects from the beginning. Other times, enginee…Read more
  •  84
    Aristotle on the Nature of Truth (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 50 (1): 135-136. 2012.
    The drive of this book, without ever quite saying so, is to recommend Aristotle’s teaching on truth for contemporary thought. The book is more about concepts and arguments around truth than about truth per se. The explanation of the famous definition of truth, as saying of what is that it is, occupies a few pages. The rest of the book elucidates the vast subtext of this limpid passage. What must intellect be, what must speech be, what must beings be, for this saying of what is? The “corresponden…Read more
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    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