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Questioning Nineteenth-Century Assumptions about Knowledge, I


Richard E. Lee, Immanuel Wallerstein

Publication Year: 2010

A provocative survey of interdisciplinary challenges to the concept of determinism. During the last few decades, the fundamental premises of the modern view of knowledge have been increasingly called into question. Questioning Nineteenth-Century Assumptions about Knowledge I: Determinism provides an in-depth look at the debates surrounding the status of “determinism” in the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities in detailed and wide-ranging discussions among experts from across the disciplines. A concern for the future, and how to approach it, is evident throughout. Indeed, the sense that there exists a reciprocal relationship between the structures of knowledge and human systems, including ecosystems, suggests that thinking about the possible rather than the necessary, may be a more winning strategy for our times. Weaving together in-depth articles and invigorating follow up discussions, this volume showcases debates over the status and validity of determinism. Of special interest are the impact of determinism on the perception and writing about the past; the relationship between chance and necessity in philosophy and grand opera; and the affect of determinism in mathematical modeling and economics.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: Fernand Braudel Center Studies in Historical Social Science


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

KEITH BAKER—History, Stanford University, Stanford, CA AVIV BERGMAN—Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY DAVID BYRNE—Sociology and Social Policy, Durham University, Durham, UK JOÃO CARAÇA—Director of Science, Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal JOHN CASTI—Institute for Monetary Economics, Technical University of...


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p. ix

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pp. xi-xii

This volume is one of three in a series devoted to the theme: “Questioning Nineteenth-Century Assumptions about Know ledge.” The project was organized by Jean-Pierre Dupuy (a philosopher of science affiliated with the Centre de Recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée, Paris), Aviv Bergman (an evolutionary biologist who directs the Aviv Bergman Laboratory at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, New York), and Immanuel Wallerstein...

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pp. 1-4

The first of the three symposia on “Questioning Nineteenth-Century Assumptions about Knowledge” underwritten by the Gulbenkian Foundation was convened at Stanford University, 20–21 November 2004, to examine the contemporary debates relating to the status of “determinism” in the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Participants were invited from a wide range of disciplines...

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Session I: Freedom and Determinism in the Twenty-first Century: Prolegomena to the Rewriting of History [Discussion Included]

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pp. 5-65

There is a strong but seriously misleading tendency to suppose that determinism is opposed to freedom. On the contrary, some kind of determinism is presupposed by most accounts of freedom. My aim here is to outline the case for a still stronger position—that the sphere of rational action is composed by placing freedom and determinism in some normatively appropriate, empirically informed relationship...

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Session II: Mobile Order: Between Chance and Necessity [Discussion Included]

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pp. 67-114

To go back to the beginning: such is, after all, the charge given to the philosopher. I will thus attempt to clarify the network of meanings covered by the terms “chance” and “necessity.” These concepts were already opposed in early Greek thinking, and Aristotle, who will serve as my constant reference in this paper, thematized this opposition. It may indeed seem strange to place this discussion...

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Session III: Determinism and Mathematical Modeling [Includes Discussion]

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pp. 115-161

Rien ne se perd, rien ne se cr

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Session IV: Organizers’ Opening Remarks [Includes: Jean-Pierre Dupuy: Does Determinism Entail Necessitarianism? and Discussion]

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pp. 163-184

We know, or think we know, that our ancestors living, say, 20,000 years ago were in search of explanations of what happened in the world—what happened with great frequency to be sure, but also of what happened rarely (say, a great flood). They came up with explanations, so we are told, that we would call in the language of today “magical explanations.” X happened because the gods...

Index [Includes Back Cover]

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pp. 185-196

E-ISBN-13: 9781438433929
E-ISBN-10: 1438433921
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438433912
Print-ISBN-10: 1438433913

Page Count: 208
Illustrations: 4 tables
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1
Series Title: Fernand Braudel Center Studies in Historical Social Science
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OCLC Number: 697840734
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Questioning Nineteenth-Century Assumptions about Knowledge, I

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Subject Headings

  • Dualism -- Congresses.
  • Philosophy, Modern -- 19th century -- Congresses.
  • Rationalism -- Congresses.
  • Knowledge, Theory of -- Congresses.
  • Determinism (Philosophy) -- Congresses.
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