•  7
    Ben Sira and Demotic Wisdom
    with Miriam Lichtheim
    Journal of the American Oriental Society 104 (4): 768. 1984.
  •  61
    On ‘cuteness’
    British Journal of Aesthetics 31 (4): 162-165. 1991.
    John Morreall argues that “ . . . cuteness was probably essential in human evolution” because “ . . . our emotional and behavioral response . . . to cute things . . . has had survival value for the human race.” Cuteness, for Morreall, is an abstract general attribute of infants that causes adults to want to care for them (or which is the reason, or at least an important reason, for such solicitousness). I try to show that this is, if not an altogether fallacious way of explaining the matter, at …Read more
  •  91
    Pragmatists, as I understand them, have their own view of what truth and progress are. William James, quite famously, offered a straightforward pragmatic definition of truth. In rejecting in general the idea of truth, Richard Rorty indicates thereby a rejection of this part of the pragmatic tradition. Perhaps Professor Rorty can clarify, in his response, what stops a pragmatist -- armed with the pragmatic definition of truth -- from saying that progress toward the truth was made (for example) th…Read more
  •  115
    Stan bezpanstwowosci. Apologia anarchizmu filozoficznego
    In Tadeusz Buksinski (ed.), Idee Filozoficzne w Polityce, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Instytutu Filozofii. 1998.
    Ksiazka Roberta Paula Wolfa Apologia anarchizmu, ktora ukazala sie w roku 1970, stala sie niezwyklym wydarzeniem w rozwoju dwudziestowiecznej filozofii zachodniej: oto bowiem szacowny filozof, reprezentujacy (mniej wiecej) glowny nurt swej dziedziny, przedstawial argumenty zyczliwe wobec anarchizmu.
  •  26
    Soul and Form (edited book)
    with Lukács György and Katie Terezakis
    Columbia University Press. 2010.
    György Lukács first published the original Hungarian language version of Soul and Form in 1910. It included eight of the ten essays later to be published in subsequent German, Italian, and English editions. This current centennial edition adds to the mix one additional Lukács essay, "On Poverty of Spirit", written at roughly the same time as the others and bearing a vital relationship to them. Finally, in this edition we have added to the Lukács material an important introductory essay by Judit…Read more
  •  848
    Merleau-ponty, Gibson and the materiality of meaning
    Man and World 26 (3): 287-302. 1993.
    While there are numerous differences between the approaches taken by Maurice Merleau-Ponty and James J. Gibson, the basic motivation of the two thinkers, as well as the internal logic of their respective views, is extraordinarily close. Both were guided throughout their lives by an attempt to overcome the dualism of subject and object, and both devoted considerable attention to their "Gestaltist" predecessors. There can be no doubt but that it is largely because of this common cause that the sub…Read more
  •  232
    Progress in the last few decades in what is widely known as “Chaos Theory” has plainly advanced understanding in the several sciences it has been applied to. But the manner in which such progress has been achieved raises important questions about scientific method and, indeed, about the very objectives and character of science. In this presentation, I hope to engage my audience in a discussion of several of these important new topics.
  •  343
    Translation of "Von der Armut am Geiste; ein Dialog des jungen Lukács," by Ágnes Heller. This translation originally appeared in The Philosophical Forum, Spring-Summer 1972.
  •  327
    Knowledge and Description: Bohr's Epistemology
    In Jan Such & Malgorzata Szczesniak (eds.), Z epistemologii wiedzy naukowej, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Instytutu Filozofii. 1998.
    In this paper, I try to explain the philosophical problems that Niels Bohr felt had been exposed by the discovery of the "quantum of action," and by the emergence of the quantum theory that arose in large part as a result of his efforts. I won't have space to make the case adequately here, but my own view is that we have not yet fully digested the message brought to us by Bohr's "Copenhagen Interpretation" of Quantum Mechanics, and I suspect that it will finally prove to be every bit as revoluti…Read more
  •  339
    The State of Statelessness
    In John T. Sanders & Jan Narveson (eds.), For and Against the State: New Philosophical Readings, Rowman & Littlefield. 1996.
    My objective in this paper is to address a handful of issues that typically get raised in discussions of philosophical anarchism. Some of these issues arise in discussions among partisans of anarchism, and some are more likely to be raised in efforts to defend the state against its opponents. My hope is to focus the argument in such a way as to make clearer the main issues that are at stake from the point of view of at least one version of philosophical anarchism.
  •  227
    Benjamin Franklin and the League of the Haudenosaunee
    In St Petersburg Center for the History of Ideas (ed.), The Philosophical Age, Almanac 32: Benjamin Franklin and Russia, to the Tercentenary of His Birth, St. Petersburg Center For the History of Ideas. 2006.
    Benjamin Franklin's social and political thought was shaped by contacts with and knowledge of ancient aboriginal traditions. Indeed, a strong case can be made that key features of the social structure eventually outlined in the United States Constitution arose not from European sources, and not full-grown from the foreheads of European-American "founding fathers", but from aboriginal sources, communicated to the authors of the Constitution to a significant extent through Franklin. A brief sketch…Read more
  •  83
    Risk and value
    A.S.V.I. News 1996 (Spring): 4-5. 1996.
    Which risks are bad? This is not an easy question to answer in any non-circular way. Not only are risks sought out for various reasons, but risks are plainly discounted in many situations. What may seem "risky" when examined all by itself, may not seem risky when encountered in a real lived situation. Thus risks that are imposed by others, in particular, might seem horrendous when considered in abstraction, but quite acceptable when encountered in life. What we need to do, among other things, is…Read more
  •  73
    While I strongly agree with Patrick Grim that abstract relationships are real, and that it is possible to get them right, the danger that we will get them wrong is just as real. The use of visual representation of abstract phenomena, precisely because of our predilection to see patterns in everything and because we don't have to think so hard about visible representations generally, may lead us to see things that aren't there.
  •  145
    Assessing Responsibility: Fixing Blame versus Fixing Problems
    Business and Professional Ethics Journal 12 (4): 73-86. 1993.
    In the midst of even the most tragic circumstances attending the aftermath of disaster, and co-existing with a host of complex emotions, arises a practical consideration: how might similar tragedies be prevented in the future? The complexity of such situations must not be neglected. More than mere prevention must usually be taken into consideration. But the practical question is of considerable importance. In what follows, I will offer some reasons for being concerned that efforts to fix the pro…Read more
  •  180
    I examine the claim that the underlying importance given to freedom within a society's scheme of values varies with historical circumstance and social context (I shall sometimes call this the "relativist claim"). The point of the examination will be to attempt to determine the manner in which, and the extent to which, this claim really endangers the liberal argument, which seems to suggest that freedom is valuable everywhere and always. It will be seen that several apparent challenges may be dis…Read more
  •  168
    In response to Professor Rorty’s reaction to Professor Habermas’s paper in this symposium, I confess that I am still not sure I understand Rorty’s hostility to ideals such as the ideal of truth. Such ideals as the ideal of truth -- and ideals like those of reason and morality surely stand and fall with the ideal of truth -- seem plainly to have an enormous pragmatic value. They lure us out of our too-constrained, too-limited ethnocentric or idiosyncratic frames of reference. It is always possibl…Read more
  •  319
    Stanislaw Leśniewski's Logical Systems
    Axiomathes 7 (3): 407-415. 1996.
    Stanislaw Lesniewski’s interests were, for the most part, more philosophical than mathematical. Prior to taking his doctorate at Jan Kazimierz University in Lvov, Lesniewski had spent time at several continental universities, apparently becoming relatively attached to the philosophy of one of his teachers, Hans Comelius, to the chapters of John Stuart Mill’s System of Logic that dealt specifically with semantics, and, in general, to studies of general grammar and philosophy of language. In these…Read more
  •  313
    The Myths of Academia: Open Inquiry and Funded Research
    Journal of College and University Law 19 (3): 227-50. 1993.
    Both professors and institutions of higher education benefit from a vision of academic life that is grounded more firmly in myth than in history. According to the myth created by that traditional vision, scholars pursue research wherever their drive to knowledge takes them, and colleges and universities transmit the fruits of that research to contemporary and future generations as the accumulated wisdom of the ages. Yet the economic and social forces operating on colleges and universities as ins…Read more
  •  380
    On ‘cuteness’
    British Journal of Aesthetics 32 (2): 162-165. 1992.
    For John Morreall, cuteness is an abstract general attribute of infants that causes adults to want to care for them (or which is the reason, or at least important reason, for such solicitousness). I shall try to show, in what follows, that this is, if not an altogether fallacious way of explaining the matter, at least an extremely misleading one. As it stands, in particular, it is too easy to infer from Morreall's line of reasoning 1) that infants in general might conceivably never have develope…Read more
  •  391
    Experience, memory and intelligence
    The Monist 68 (4): 507-521. 1985.
    What characterizes most technical or theoretical accounts of memory is their reliance upon an internal storage model. Psychologists and neurophysiologists have suggested neural traces (either dynamic or static) as the mechanism for this storage, and designers of artificial intelligence have relied upon the same general model, instantiated magnetically or electronically instead of neurally, to do the same job. Both psychology and artificial intelligence design have heretofore relied, without mu…Read more
  •  28
    This book consists of the edited proceedings of a debate among Jurgen Habermas, Richard Rorty, and Leszek Kolakowski that was held in Warsaw in May of 1995. It includes also commentary from those in attendance, including extensive remarks by Ernest Gellner. The debate marked the fortieth anniversary of the foundation of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and focussed primarily on topics related to historicism and cultural relativism.
  •  77
    Freedom is generated in at least two distinct ways: as the ability to avoid perceived dangers and pursue perceived goods, and even to pursue complicated plans in those directions, freedom evolves. But as a social and political matter, freedom seems more subject to human will. The best social institutions -- the kind that serve to encourage or constrain freedom of choice -- also appear to be evolutionary products in some sense. Can there be too much freedom? Of course there can. No constraint at …Read more
  •  913
    Why the numbers should sometimes count
    Philosophy and Public Affairs 17 (1): 3-14. 1988.
    John Taurek has argued that, where choices must be made between alternatives that affect different numbers of people, the numbers are not, by themselves, morally relevant. This is because we "must" take "losses-to" the persons into account (and these don't sum), but "must not" consider "losses-of" persons (because we must not treat persons like objects). I argue that the numbers are always ethically relevant, and that they may sometimes be the decisive consideration.
  •  201
    This is a more detailed version of my "On 'Cuteness'", which appeared in the British Journal of Aesthetics in April 1992. For John Morreall, cuteness is an abstract general attribute of infants that causes adults to want to care for them (or which is the reason, or at least important reason, for such solicitousness). I shall try to show, in what follows, that this is, if not an altogether fallacious way of explaining the matter, at least an extremely misleading one. As it stands, in particular, …Read more
  •  230
    Retinae don't see
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6): 890-891. 2004.
    Sensation should be understood globally: some infant behaviors do not make sense on the model of separate senses; neonates of all species lack time to learn about the world by triangulating among different senses. Considerations of natural selection favor a global understanding; and the global interpretation is not as opposed to traditional work on sensation as might seem.
  •  2
    Honor Among Thieves: Some Reflections on Professional Codes of Ethics
    Professional Ethics, a Multidisciplinary Journal 2 (3/4): 83-103. 1993.
  •  109
    The Attractiveness of Risk
    American Society for Value Inquiry Newsletter 1994 (Fall). 1994.
    Risk is not always nasty. Risk can be the cost of opportunity, of course; but sometimes risk is regarded not as a cost at all, but as a close attendant of pleasure. Many things that people invest considerable time and resources in would not be pursued at all if not for the attendant risk. Attempting to offer clarification of the role that risk plays in human affairs is thus itself a risky business. People largely want to avoid unnecessary risk except when they deliberately seek it out. One might…Read more
  •  179
    How Ethical Is Investigative Testing?
    Employment Testing Law and Policy Reporter 3 (2). 1994.
    Analyzing three key cases that arose in 1993, I argue that the practice of sending in "testers" -- persons posing as job applicants -- to ferret out workplace discrimination is easier to defend from an ethical standpoint in an agency's investigation stems from an actual complaint. By contrast, defendants may rightfully challenge the legitimacy of the procedures used for "test" subjects when an investigation is based solely on the general goals of an antidiscrimination agency.