•  142
    Knowledge and adaptation
    Biology and Philosophy 12 (2): 233-241. 1997.
  •  138
    A dao of technology?
    Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 9 (2): 151-160. 2010.
    Scholars have detected hostility to technology in Daoist thought. But is this a problem with any machine or only some applications of some machines by some people? I show that the problem is not with machines per se but with the people who introduce them, or more exactly with their knowledge. It is not knowledge as such that causes the disorder Laozi and Zhuangzi associate with machines; it is confused, disordered knowledge—superficial, inadequate, unsubtle, and artless. In other words the probl…Read more
  •  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 ...
  •  110
    The book concludes that it is a mistake to think of Art as something subjective, or as an arbitrary social representation, and of Technology as an instrumental ..
  •  109
    The virtual and the vacant—emptiness and knowledge in Chan and daoism
    Journal of Chinese Philosophy 37 (3): 457-471. 2010.
    Similarities between Daoism and Chan (Zen) are often merely verbal, a skillful appropriation by Chan authors of a vocabulary that seems Daoist only to a point, and then departs in a predictable way. What makes the departure predictable is the completely different understanding of emptiness in Chan and Daoism, supporting a no less different understanding of the value of knowledge. Daoism remains optimistic about knowledge in a way Chan is not. Buddhist wisdom exhausts life, extinguishes it, does …Read more
  •  94
    Daoism and Chinese Martial Arts
    Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 13 (2): 251-266. 2014.
    The now-global phenomenon of Asian martial arts traces back to something that began in China. The idea the Chinese communicated was the dual cultivation of the spiritual and the martial, each perfected in the other, with the proof of perfection being an effortless mastery of violence. I look at one phase of the interaction between Asian martial arts and Chinese thought, with a reading of the Zhuangzi 莊子 and the Daodejing 道德經 from a martial arts perspective. I do not claim that the authors knew a…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
  •  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
  •  71
    Review of Neil Gross, Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (10). 2008.
  •  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.
  •  65
  •  65
    A history without the history (review)
    History and Theory 45 (1). 2006.
  •  63
    Forbidding Knowledge
    The Monist 79 (2): 294-310. 1996.
    Are there matters we should exclude from inquiry? Personal privacy apart, it seems difficult to justify. By what higher, better knowledge than the results of inquiry itself could one know what inquiry ought not know? Is such knowledge a metaphysical intuition whose authority cannot be questioned? Isn't that a fairy-tale? But what about ethics? What about ethical limitations on knowledge? Can they not concern more than simply what to do with knowledge we have, concerning instead the very dynamic …Read more
  •  62
    Games of Sport, Works of Art, and the Striking Beauty of Asian Martial Arts
    Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 40 (2). 2013.
    Martial-arts practice is not quite anything else: it is like sport, but is not sport; it constantly refers to and as it were cohabits with violence, but is not violent; it is dance-like but not dance. It shares a common athleticism with sports and dance, yet stands apart from both, especially through its paradoxical commitment to the external value of being an instrument of violence. My discussion seeks to illuminate martial arts practice by systematic contrast to games of sport and works of per…Read more
  •  62
    The so-called linguistic turn in philosophy intensified (rather than overcame) the rationalism that has haunted Western ideas about knowledge since antiquity. Orthodox accounts continue to present knowledge as a linguistic, logical quality, expressed in statements or theories that are well justified by evidence and actually true. Restating themes from the author's Knowledge and Civilization (2004a), I introduce an alternative conception of knowledge designed to overcome these propositional, disc…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
  •  53
    Nietzsche's Question, "What Good Is Truth?"
    History of Philosophy Quarterly 9 (2). 1992.
  •  45
    A Theory of Craft: Function and Aesthetic Expression (review)
    Common Knowledge 15 (3): 517-517. 2009.
    Craft work (for example, ceramics and furniture) poses a dilemma for modern thinking about beauty and the arts. Because of its beauty, craft has more than mere functionality, yet because of its functionality it cannot be fine art. What should craftmakers do? Claim their work to be fine art and forget about functionality? Or remain loyal to functionality (you can eat noodles from the finest ceramic bowl) and face extinction competing with machine-made products of industrial design? Apparently, th…Read more
  •  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
  •  41
    Deconstruction as Analytic Philosophy (review) (review)
    Common Knowledge 8 (1): 208-208. 2002.
    According to Davidson, Quine, by overcoming the distinction between analytic and synthetic truth, made the philosophy of language a serious subject. According to Rorty, Davidson, in concluding that "there is no such thing as a language," attains its most advanced position. How impoverished philosophy has become! It even becomes a kind of accomplishment to show that work which seemed new and different (deconstruction) is really the same old thing. Wheeler's book domesticates deconstruction for An…Read more
  •  41
  •  38
    Realism with a Human Face (review)
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 24 (4): 665-688. 1994.
  •  37
    The Genial Gene: Deconstructing Darwinian Selfishness (review)
    Common Knowledge 16 (3): 559-559. 2010.
    Darwin had a hypothesis about descent with modification, and a Spencerian view of the evolution as selfish conflict. Biology remains marked by the dualism today. Many, inside the discipline and out, suppose that taking an evolutionary perspective just is to seek the secret selfishness that “explains” a successful form of life. Nowhere is this view of evolution more entrenched than in the theory specialists call Sexual Selection, a theory on the evolution of everything that differentiates the sex…Read more
  •  35
    Dirk R. Johnson, Nietzsche’s Anti-Darwinism (review)
    New Nietzsche Studies 8 (3/4): 165-170. 2011.
  •  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
  •  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
  •  31
    A Cool Experiment
    Common Knowledge 24 (1): 1-7. 2018.
  •  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