American Philosophical Quarterly: April 2011, Vol. 48, No. 2

The Review of Metaphysics, June 2011 | Go to article overview

American Philosophical Quarterly: April 2011, Vol. 48, No. 2


A Plague on Both Your "Isms," P. M. S. HACKER

"Isms" can be the bane of critical thought, for they provide an array of ready-mades that are often used as substitutes for careful description and analysis. Today's "isms" also have a tendency, as Robert Hughes observed, to become tomorrow's "was-ms." Our characteristic "isms" come in pairs that purport to be exclusive and exhaustive answers to a given question, and we unthinkingly assume that a philosopher must be one corresponding "ist" or the other corresponding "ist"--little thinking that he may reject the question to which the pair of "isms" are severally answers.

Whose Naturalism? Which Wittgenstein? ANTHONY KENNY

Our first task is to clarify in what naturalism consists. One doughty naturalist, Kai Nielsen, more than once defined naturalism in the following way: "Naturalism denies that there are any spiritual or supernatural realities transcendent to the world, or at least that we have sound grounds for believing that there are such realities." Nature is all: there is nothing that exists that is not a part of nature and there is nothing beyond nature. At this point we look for, and fail to get, a clear and consistent account of what is meant by "nature" and "natural." Of course, the natural is contrasted with the supernatural, but that contrast by itself will not give us a noncircular account of nature.

Wittgenstein and the Background, JOHN R. SEARLE

For the past fifty or so years, the author has been engaged in a single philosophical project, and specific topics on which he has worked, such as speech acts, consciousness, intentionality, rationality, and social ontology, are all aspects of that larger project. He had done philosophy professionally for a couple of decades before he fully realized the nature of the overall project and how all the various parts fitted in. As a preliminary formulation we might say that the project is to give an account of the human reality--the reality of such phenomena as language, consciousness, intentionality, free will, rationality, aesthetic experiences, ethics, and society--in a way that is both consistent with, and a natural development from, the basic facts of the universe as described by physics, chemistry, and for our little corner of the universe, evolutionary biology. How, in a world that consists entirely of mindless, meaningless physical particles in fields of force, can there be speech acts, consciousness, intentionality, rationality, free will, ethics, and aesthetics, as well as the human social reality of money, property, government, marriage, and philosophy conferences? The author regards this as the central overriding question in contemporary philosophy, and indeed in contemporary intellectual life. His investigations deal with many traditional philosophical questions, such as those concerning mind and meaning, as well as some that have not been part of mainstream analytic philosophy, such as those concerning social ontology.

Presumptuous Naturalism: A Cautionary Tale, DANIEL D. HUTTO

Naturalism is the word of the day. It is the "ism" that most philosophers embrace (at least in English-speaking climes). Wearers of the badge are a wildly diverse bunch. This is because there are quite different ways of being a naturalist, and of conceiving of the naturalistic project. Some naturalists take a special interest in our everyday or folk commitments. For them, the interesting philosophical project is to determine how much, if any, of what we ordinarily think about various subject matters (for example, mentality, morality, aesthetics) is compatible with our best scientific understanding of what exists. To decide this, special methods have been created for (1) perspicuously representing our folk commitments and (2) examining if these outstrip the commitments of a certain scientific understanding of what nature comprises. By these lights, the naturalist's philosophical task is to determine if the folk are committed to something beyond what is posited by a certain scientific worldview. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

American Philosophical Quarterly: April 2011, Vol. 48, No. 2
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.