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Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Perspectives

The last decade saw the arrival of a new player in the creation/evolution debate—the intelligent design creationism (IDC) movement, whose strategy is to act as "the wedge" to overturn Darwinism and scientific naturalism. This anthology of writings by prominent creationists and their critics focuses on what is novel about the new movement. It serves as a companion to Robert Pennock's Tower of Babel, in which he criticizes the wedge movement, as well as other new varieties of creationism.

The book contains articles previously published in specialized, hard-to-find journals, as well as new contributions. Each section contains introductory background information, articles by influential creationists and their critics, and in some cases responses by the creationists. The discussions cover IDC as a political movement, IDC's philosophical attack on evolution, the theological debate over the apparent conflict between evolution and the Bible, IDC's scientific claims, and philosopher Alvin Plantinga's critique of naturalism and evolution. The book concludes with Pennock's "Why Creationism Should Not Be Taught in the Public Schools."

Classic and Contemporary Perspectives

"What is truth?" has long been the philosophical question par excellence. The Nature of Truth collects in one volume the twentieth century's most influential philosophical work on the subject. The coverage strikes a balance between classic works and the leading edge of current philosophical research.

The essays center around two questions: Does truth have an underlying nature? And if so, what sort of nature does it have? Thus the book discusses both traditional and deflationary theories of truth, as well as phenomenological, postmodern, and pluralist approaches to the problem. The essays are organized by theory. Each of the seven sections opens with a detailed introduction that not only discusses the essays in that section but relates them to other relevant essays in the book. Eleven of the essays are previously unpublished or substantially revised. The book also includes suggestions for further reading.

Contributors:
Linda Martín Alcoff, William P. Alston, J. L. Austin, Brand Blanshard, Marian David, Donald Davidson, Michael Devitt, Michael Dummett, Hartry Field, Michel Foucault, Dorothy Grover, Anil Gupta, Martin Heidegger, Terence Horgan, Jennifer Hornsby, Paul Horwich, William James, Michael P. Lynch, Charles Sanders Pierce, Hilary Putnam, W. V. O. Quine, F. P. Ramsey, Richard Rorty, Bertrand Russell, Scott Soames, Ernest Sosa, P. F. Strawson, Alfred Tarski, Ralph C. Walker, Crispin Wright.

Ancient Themes in Contemporary Issues

In recent years, bioethicists have worked on government commissions, on ethics committees in hospitals and nursing homes, and as bedside consultants. Because ethical knowledge is based on experience within the field rather than on universal theoretical propositions, it is open to criticism for its lack of theoretical foundation. Once in the clinic, however, ethicists noted the extent to which medical practice itself combined the certitudes of science with craft forms of knowledge. In an effort to forge a middle path between pure science and applied medical and ethical knowledge, bioethicists turned to the work of classical philosophy, especially the theme of a practical wisdom that entails a variable knowledge of particulars.

In this book contemporary bioethicists and scholars of ancient philosophy explore the import of classical ethics on such pressing bioethical concerns as managed care, euthanasia, suicide, and abortion. Although the contributors write within the limits of their own disciplines, through cross references and counterarguments they engage in fruitful dialogue.

An Introduction to Minimalist Syntax

This unusual book takes the form of a dialogue between a linguist and another scientist. The dialogue takes place over six days, with each day devoted to a particular topic—and the ensuing digressions. The role of the linguist is to present the fundamentals of the minimalist program of contemporary generative grammar. Although the linguist serves essentially as a voice for Noam Chomsky's ideas, he is not intended to be a portrait of Chomsky himself. The other scientist functions as a kind of devil's advocate, making the arguments that linguists tend to face from those in the "harder" sciences.

The author does far more than simply present the minimalist program. He conducts a running argument over the status of theoretical linguistics as a natural science. He raises the general issues of how we conceive words, phrases, and transformations, and what these processes tell us about the human mind. He also attempts to reconcile generative grammar with the punctuated equilibrium version of evolutionary theory.

In his foreword, Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini says, "The vast number of readers who have been enthralled by Goedel, Escher, Bach may well like also this syntactic companion, a sort of 'Chomsky, Fibonacci, Bach.'".

A Philosophical Introduction

This is the only contemporary text to cover both epistemology and philosophy of mind at an introductory level. It also serves as a general introduction to philosophy: it discusses the nature and methods of philosophy as well as basic logical tools of the trade.

The book is divided into three parts. The first focuses on knowledge, in particular, skepticism and knowledge of the external world, and knowledge of language. The second focuses on mind, including the metaphysics of mind and freedom of will. The third brings together knowledge and mind, discussing knowledge of mind (other minds and our own) and naturalism and how epistemology and philosophy of mind come together in contemporary cognitive science. Throughout, the authors take into account the needs of the beginning philosophy student. They have made very effort to ensure accessibility while preserving accuracy.

The Evidence against the New Creationism

In Tower of Babel, philosopher Robert Pennock compares the views of the new creationists with those of the old and reveals the insubstantiality of their arguments. One of Pennock's major innovations is to turn from biological evolution to the less-charged subject of linguistic evolution, which has strong theoretical parallels with biological evolution both in content and in the sort of evidence scientists use to draw conclusions about origins.

Several chapters deal with the work of Phillip Johnson, a highly influential leader of the new creationists. Pennock explains how science uses naturalism and discusses the relationship between factual and moral issues in the creationism-evolution controversy. The book also includes a discussion of Darwin's own shift from creationist to evolutionist and an extended argument for keeping private religious beliefs separate from public scientific knowledge.

In this introductory-level linguistics text, Steven E. Weisler and Slavko Milekic develop a theoretically motivated analysis of language with an emphasis on grammar construction and argumentation. They introduce the theory of language, sounds, words, sentences, and meaning, as well as language and the brain.The text is available either in hard-copy form or as a CD-ROM. The CD-ROM presents the text in a dynamic digital learning environment, engaging the user in simulations, demonstrations, hypothesis testing, and theory construction while providing a systematic introduction to linguistic theory. The electronic edition also incorporates the Tree Builder tool for construction and evaluation of phonological, metrical, and syntactic analysis of trees, as well as a word processor, various annotation mechanisms (for example, the ability to create and exchange voice and text memos), import/export capabilities that allow the exchange of different types of information, and an extensive series of interviews with such prominent figures as David Caplan, Noam Chomsky, Lyn Frazier, John Rickford, Tom Roeper, Ivan Sag, and Tom Wasow.

Philosophical Essays

A great deal of interest and excitement surround the interface between the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of psychology, yet the area is neither well defined nor well represented in mainstream philosophical publications. This book is perhaps the first to open a dialogue between the two disciplines. Its aim is to broaden the traditional subject matter of the philosophy of biology while informing the philosophy of psychology of relevant biological constraints and insights.

The book is organized around six themes: functions and teleology, evolutionary psychology, innateness, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and parallels between philosophy of biology and philosophy of mind. Throughout, one finds overlapping areas of study, larger philosophical implications, and even larger conceptual ties. Woven through these connections are shared concerns about the status of semantics, scientific law, evolution and adaptation, and cognition in general.

Contributors:
André Ariew, Mark A. Bedau, David J. Buller, Paul Sheldon Davies, Stephen M. Downes, Charbel Niño El-Hani, Owen Flanagan, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Todd Grantham, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Gary Hatfield, Daniel W. McShea, Karen Neander, Shaun Nichols, Antonio Marcos Pereira, Tom Polger, Lawrence A. Shapiro, Kim Sterelny, Robert A. Wilson, William C. Wimsatt.

The Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology

The authors of this book, a philosopher and a cognitive ethologist, approach their work from the perspective that many animals have minds and rich cognitive lives. They also believe that arguments about evolutionary continuity are as applicable to the study of animal minds and brains as they are to comparative studies of kidneys, stomachs, and hearts. Cognitive ethologists study the comparative, evolutionary, and ecological aspects of the mental phenomena of animals. Philosophy can provide cognitive ethology with an analytical basis for the attribution and assessment of cognition to nonhuman animals. Cognitive ethology can help philosophy to explain mentality in naturalistic terms by providing data on the evolution of cognition.

The heart of the book is this reciprocal relationship between philosophical theories of mind and empirical studies of animal cognition. All theoretical discussion is carefully tied to case studies, particularly in the areas of antipredator vigilance and social play, where there are many points of contact with philosophical discussions of intentionality and representation. The authors make specific suggestions about how to use philosophical theories of intentionality as starting points for empirical investigation of animal minds. They also discuss cognitive ethology's relevance to questions of ethics, as our beliefs about the mental lives of animals strongly affect our attitudes toward their moral status.

Core Readings

Concepts: Core Readings traces the develoment of one of the most active areas of investigation in cognitive science. This comprehensive volume brings together the essential background readings from philosophy, psychology, and linguistics, while providing a broad sampling of contemporary research. The first part of the book centers around the fall of the Classical Theory of Concepts in the face of attacks by W. V. O. Quine, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Eleanor Rosch, and others, emphasizing the emergence and development of the Prototype Theory and the controversies it spurred. The second part surveys a broad range of contemporary theories—Neoclassical Theories, the Prototype Theory, the Theory-Theory, and Conceptual Atomism.

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