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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Anaximander
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
George Berkeley
Isaiah Berlin
Richard J. Bernstein
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Heraclitus
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
Parmenides
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Protagoras
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
Isabelle Stengers
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
Richard J. Bernstein

Richard J. Bernstein is a moral and political philosopher with a deep interest in the sources of values.

His 1986 collection of essays Philosophical Profiles, published in the heyday of postmodernism and deconstruction, was a wide-ranging comparative review of the work of several philosophers, including Richard Rorty, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Martin Heidegger, from Bernstein's perspective as an Americal pragmatist in the tradition of Charles Sanders Peirce and John Dewey.

Bernstein lamented the loss of interest in American pragmatism.

But by 1948, Dewey’s voice was barely heard by professional philosophers in America; the brutal truth is that despite Dewey’s enormous influence in the first quarter of the twentieth century, he was no longer taken seriously as a philosopher. He was viewed as a fuzzy-minded thinker who might have had his heart in the right placed but not his head. Academic professionalism in philosophy had triumphed, and with this triumph not only Dewey but the philosophers associated with the “golden age” of philosophy in America including Peirce, James, Mead, Santayana, Royce, and Whitehead were marginalized.

Philosophy in America was already in the process of being transformed during the late 1930s, due to the growing influence of the emigre philosophers forced to leave Europe. Reichenbach, Carnap, Tarski, Feigl, Hempel (and many others associated with logical positivism and the “new” logic) were setting the agenda for philosophy. Logical positivism in the militant form of the Vienna Circle or in the more polemical form advocated by A. J. Ayer did not take deep root in America. But a positivistic temper, and the legacy of logical empiricism in the disciplines of the philosophy of the natural sciences and logic, did flourish. In the period following the Second World War, w'hen there was an enormous growth of academic institutions, there was almost a scurrying to refashion graduate schools in America so that they would become respectable analytic departments. This was a time of great confidence among professional philosophers. It was felt that philosophy had to give up its pretensions to grand systems and syntheses; it must be much more modest in its scope and claims. But there was a collective sense among the analytic community that philosophers had “finally” discovered the techniques and conceptual tools to achieve high standards of clarity and logical rigor - and consequently were able to make genuine progress in solving and dissolving problems. This was also a time when the Anglo-American/Continental split in philosophy became an almost unbridgeable chasm. What was going on in European “philosophy” was taken to be pretentious, obscure, and muddled. By the new standards of what constituted “doing philosophy,” Continental philosophy” no longer counted as serious philosophy. Of course, there were pockets of resistance to the new analytic style of doing philosophy. There were those who still defended and practiced speculative philosophy in the style of Whitehead; there were those who saw greater promise in phenomenology and existentialism; there were those who sought to carry on ohilosophy in the pragmatic tradition. But philosophers who had not taken “the linguistic turn” were clearly on the defensive. Richard Rorty captures the mood of this time when he writes [in Consequences of Pragmatism, p.215]

In 1951, a graduate student who (like myself) was in the process of learning about, or being converted to, analytic philosophy, could still believe that there were a finite number of distinct specifiable problems to be resolved - problems which any serious analytic philosopher would agree to be the outstanding problems. For example, there was the problem of the counter- factual conditional, the problem of whether an “emotive” analysis of ethical terms was satisfactory, Quine’s problem about the nature of analyticity, and a few more. These were problems which fitted nicely into the vocabularly of the positivists. They could easily be seen as the final, proper formulation of problems which had been seen, as in a glass darkly, by Leibniz, Hume and Kant. Further there was agreement on what a solution to a philosophical problem looked like, - e.g., Russell on definite descriptions, Frege on meaning and reference, Tarski on truth. In those days, when my generation was young, all of the conditions for a Kuhnian “normal,” problem-solving discipline were fulfilled.
There were other influences shaping the character of analytic philosophy at the time. In the post-war period, there was also a receptivity to the type of “ordinary language philosophy” 0r “conceptual analysis” that was so fashionable at Oxford. Ryle, Austin, and the later Wittgenstein (as filtered and domesticated through Anglo-American spectacles) rivaled the more formalistic methods favored by logical empiricists. But whether one’s allegiances were to the more formal or informal methods ol analysis, there was a shared conviction that philosophers could now make genuine progress in solving and dissolving well- formulated problems. Soon, a new generation of philosophers was trained in America who not only mastered analytic techniques, but whose contributions surpassed the work of their teachers. Quine was a new hero, for he represented a transitional figure who had assimilated what was taken to be most enduring in the pragmatic tradition but whose style of argumentation and logical finesse owed more to Carnap and Tarski than to Peirce, James, or Dewey. Davidson, Kripke, and Putnam soon became the philosophers to be taken seriously. With the increased sophistication of analytic philosophy, there was also a growing complexity. Whereas, with an earlier generation of logical positivists and empiricists, the ramifications of their claims for other fields of inquiry could be clearly discerned - even if they were controversial and provocative —' it was difficult for many outsiders (or even insiders to philosophy who were not tuned into the latest controversies in the professional journals) to figure out the significance of the problems that analytic philosophers took to be so central. It looked as if philosophers were perfecting a jargon that was barely intelligible to others. But for insiders this is what was to be properly expected as philosophy became more sophisticated - just as in any other specialized discipline.

Bernstein singled out Rorty and MacIntyre as confronting the loss of traditional values in moral philosophy. Macintyre said the enlightenment project was a failure. Rorty said analytic philosophy could not make a ratioaal argument for values, though he called values "as real as your shirt."

As an undergraduate in physics at Brown University in the 1950's, I attended a required course in the philosophy department that claimed science can have nothing foundational to say about ethics. I also took a course in existentialism, where I read Friedrich Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre's argument that we are condemned to freedom, but that our freedom is absurd because there are no universal criteria for values or morality to help us choose our actions

But Arthur Stanley Eddington had said in his Nature of the Physical World (required reading in our foundation of physics course with Bruce Lindsay) that the second law of thermodynamics might imply something about good and evil. I decided to follow that idea.

That led me to read Rorty, Bernstein, and especially Jacques Derrida. Rorty was reacting to deconstruction and postmodernisn. He left philosophy to become a literary critic, claiming that moral values could and should be imparted through literature and the humanities.

The nineteenth-century hermeneutics of Friedrich Schleiermacher and Wilhelm Dilthey were being imported to America, along with arguments for Praxis and Action by Frankfurt School philosophers, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and Jurgen Habermas.

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Notes

1.

Bibliography

Chapter 1.4 - The Philosophy Chapter 1.6 - The Scientists
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