The Institutions of Meaning: A Defense of Anthropological Holism

2014.08.42 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Vincent Descombes, The Institutions of Meaning: A Defense of Anthropological Holism, Stephen Adam Schwartz (tr.), Harvard
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2014.08.42 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Vincent Descombes, The Institutions of Meaning: A Defense of Anthropological Holism, Stephen Adam Schwartz (tr.), Harvard University Press, 2014, xxix + 360 pages, $49.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780674728783. Reviewed by Jocelyn Benoist, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne This is the English translation by Stephen Adam Schwartz of Vincent Descombes’ Les Institutions du Sens (Paris, Editions de Minuit, 1996). It is the sequel to The Mind’s Provisions: A Critique of Cognitivism, also translated into English by Schwartz (Princeton University Press, 2001; French original version: La Denrée Mentale, Paris, Editions de Minuit, 1995). The two books should be considered together as a whole, to which the author himself gave the title of The Disputes of Mind. This impressive work is indeed a major contribution to the philosophy of mind. Perhaps the cognitivist wave is not as powerful today as it was twenty years ago, which. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

John Updike’s trash

In an early poem, John Updike described trash as a “wonderland of discard.” Now we know the wonders contained in his trash…
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In an early poem, John Updike described trash as a “wonderland of discard.” Now we know the wonders contained in his trash… more»

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Weimar

Weimar: Where Goethe and Schiller found a home, Liszt blossomed into a musical genius; Bauhaus became possible, and Nazism took hold…
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Weimar: Where Goethe and Schiller found a home, Liszt blossomed into a musical genius; Bauhaus became possible, and Nazism took hold… more»

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Against “Against [X]”

“Against Transparency,” Against Interpretation, Against Love: Has the popular posture of cranky provocation lost its edge?…
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“Against Transparency,” Against Interpretation, Against Love: Has the popular posture of cranky provocation lost its edge?… more»

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Constructing the World

2014.08.41 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews David J. Chalmers, Constructing the World, Oxford University Press, 2012, xxvi + 494pp., $29.95 (pbk) ISBN 9780199608584.
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2014.08.41 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews David J. Chalmers, Constructing the World, Oxford University Press, 2012, xxvi + 494pp., $29.95 (pbk) ISBN 9780199608584. Reviewed by Tom Donaldson, Stanford University This is a monumental book, in several respects. Most obviously, it’s very long: longer, by my estimate, than the Critique of Pure Reason by a margin of about three and a half Tractatus. It is also vast in scope: Chalmers discusses a huge range of topics in formal and informal epistemology, metaphysics, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of science. There is even some history: Carnap is the ‘hero’ of Constructing the World (p. xvii), and one of Chalmers’ goals is to reassess Carnap’s work — especially the Aufbau. Paper copies of the book contain eight chapters and seventeen short supplemental ‘excursuses’. Chalmers has also made one extra chapter and four additional excursuses available online. The book is. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

Question about Mathematics - Allen Stairs responds

Are positive numbers in some way more basic than negative numbers? Response from: Allen Stairs In more than one way, the answer is yes. It's clear that psychologically, as it were, positive
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Are positive numbers in some way more basic than negative numbers? Response from: Allen Stairs In more than one way, the answer is yes. It's clear that psychologically, as it were, positive numbers are more basic; we learn to count before we learn to subtract, for instances, and even when we learn to subtract, the idea of a negative number takes longer to catch onto. Also, the non-negative numbers were part of mathematics long before the full set of integers were. (In fact, treating zero as a number came later than treating 1, 2, 3... as numbers.Also, we can start with the positive numbers and define the set of all integers. The positive numbers are usually called the natural numbers in mathematics, and N is the usual symbol for the natural numbers. The integers Z are sets of ordered pairs of natural numbers on the usual definition. The integer that "goes with" the natural number 1 is the set of pairs{(1,2), (2,3), (3,4), 4,5)...}(By "goes with" I mean it's the integer that, when. . .

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The Great Unread

What distinguishes a celebrated yet largely unread classic from an enduringly popular classic? The answer hinges on a fraught term: universality…
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What distinguishes a celebrated yet largely unread classic from an enduringly popular classic? The answer hinges on a fraught term: universality… more»

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E.O. Wilson’s vision

At 85, E.O. Wilson is still thinking big. He wants to prevent a mass-extinction crisis. How? By handing over half the planet to other species…
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At 85, E.O. Wilson is still thinking big. He wants to prevent a mass-extinction crisis. How? By handing over half the planet to other species… more»

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Imaginal Politics: Images Beyond Imagination and the Imaginary

2014.08.40 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Chiara Bottici, Imaginal Politics: Images Beyond Imagination and the Imaginary, Columbia University Press, 2014, 258pp., $50.00
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2014.08.40 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Chiara Bottici, Imaginal Politics: Images Beyond Imagination and the Imaginary, Columbia University Press, 2014, 258pp., $50.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780231157780. Reviewed by Laura Hengehold, Case Western Reserve University Situations in which citizens deliberate and act are framed by images as well as words. These images may be perceptual, photographic or moving video; they may be conscious fantasies, and they may involve unconscious expectations or hopes. Arendt suggested that Kant's unwritten political philosophy was contained in passages from the Critique of Judgment dealing with aesthetic judgment's capacity to mobilize an ideal common sense on the world's appearance, regardless of empirical disagreements between observers. But toward the end of her life, Arendt herself became increasingly focused on the role of imagination in judgment, rather than in action. Chiara Bottici takes up Arendt's attempt to rework. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

From Individual to Collective Intentionality: New Essays

2014.08.39 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Sara Rachel Chant, Frank Hindriks, and Gerhard Preyer (eds.), From Individual to Collective Intentionality: New Essays, Oxford
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2014.08.39 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Sara Rachel Chant, Frank Hindriks, and Gerhard Preyer (eds.), From Individual to Collective Intentionality: New Essays, Oxford University Press, 2014, 225pp., $74.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199936502. Reviewed by Jennifer Lackey, Northwestern University We attribute intentions to both individuals and to collective entities. Just as individuals do, groups might intend to break their promises or to honor their agreements or to draft a proposal. Moreover, our holding groups responsible for their actions often turns on our ability to properly attribute intentions to them, so there is a great deal at stake here. But how we understand these phenomena, and their relationship to one another, is far from straightforward. Can groups, for instance, have intentions that no individual member has? Is the rationality of groups wholly determined by the rationality of their members? How can collective entities perform actions when. . .

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News