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Contemporary philosopher John Searle has characterized Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) as “the most intelligent human being who has ever lived.” The German philosopher, mathematician, and logician invented calculus (independently of Sir Isaac Newton), topology, determinants, binary arithmetic, symbolic logic, rational mechanics, and much more. His metaphysics bequeathed a set of problems and approaches that have influenced the course of Western philosophy from Kant in the eighteenth century until the present day. On Leibniz examines many aspects of Leibniz’s work and life. This expanded edition adds new chapters that explore Leibniz’s revolutionary deciphering machine; his theoretical interest in cryptography and its ties to algebra; his thoughts on eternal recurrence theory; his rebuttal of the thesis of improvability in the world and cosmos; and an overview of American scholarship on Leibniz. Other chapters reveal Leibniz as a substantial contributor to theories of knowledge. Discussions of his epistemology and methodology, its relationship to John Maynard Keynes and Talmudic scholarship, broaden the traditional view of Leibniz. Rescher also views Leibniz’s scholarly development and professional career in historical context. As a “philosopher courtier” to the Hanoverian court, Leibniz was associated with the leading intellectuals and politicians of his era, including Spinoza, Huygens, Newton, Queen Sophie Charlotte, and Tsar Peter the Great. Rescher extrapolates the fundamentals of Leibniz’s ontology: the theory of possible worlds, the world’s contingency, space-time frameworks, and intermonadic relationships. In conclusion, Rescher positions Leibniz as a philosophical role model for today’s scholars. He argues that many current problems can be effectively addressed with principles of process philosophy inspired by Leibniz’s system of monadology.
Challenging the Traditional Way of Thinking Life
The traditional way of understanding life, as a self-appropriating and self-organizing process of not ceasing to exist, of taking care of one's own hunger, is challenged by today's unprecedented proliferation of discourses and techniques concerning the living being. This challenge entails questioning the fundamental concepts of metaphysical thinking, namely, time, finality, and, above all, being. Garrido argues that today we are in a position to repeat Nietzsche's assertion that there is no other representation of "being" than that of "living." But in order to carry out this deconstruction of ontology, we need to find new ways of asking "What is life?" In this study, Garrido establishes the basic elements of the question concerning life through readings of Aristotle, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Derrida; through the discussion of scientific breakthroughs in thermodynamics and evolutionary and developmental biology; and through the reexamination of the notion of hunger in both its metaphysical and its political implications.
A Moral Analysis of DNA Patenting
DNA patenting has emerged as a hot topic in science policy and bioethics as private companies and government agencies spend billions of dollars on genetic research and development in a race to identify, sequence, and analyze DNA from human, animal, and plant species. David B. Resnik’s Owning the Genome explores the ethical, social, philosophical, theological, and policy issues surrounding DNA patenting and develops a comprehensive approach to the topic. Resnik considers arguments for and against DNA patenting and concludes that only a patent on a whole human genome would be inherently immoral, while the morality of other DNA patents depends on their consequences for science, medicine, agriculture, industry, and society. He also stresses the importance of government regulations and policies in order to minimize the harmful effects of patenting while promoting the beneficial ones.
Spinoza and Young Wittgenstein Converse on Immanence and Its Logic
More than 250 years separate the publication of Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. In Peeling Potatoes or Grinding Lenses, Aristides Baltas contends that these works bear a striking similarity based on the idea of “radical immanence.” He analyzes the structure and content of each treatise, the authors’ intentions, the limitations and possibilities afforded by scientific discovery in their respective eras, their radical opposition to prevailing philosophical views, and draws out the particulars, as well as the implications, of the arresting match between the two.
Vol. 6 (1998) through current issue
Perspectives on Science publishes science studies that integrate historical, philosophical, and sociological perspectives. Its interdisciplinary approach is intended to foster a more comprehensive understanding of the sciences and the contexts in which they develop. Each issue is comprised of theoretical essays, case studies and review essays.
Quantum, Process, and Experience
Featuring discussions and dialogue by prominent scientists and philosophers, this book explores the rich interface of contemporary physics and Whitehead-inspired process thought. The contributors share the conviction that quantum physics not only corroborates many of Whitehead’s philosophical theses, but is also illuminated by them. Thus, though differing in perspective or emphasis, the contributions by Geoffrey Chew, David Finkelstein, Henry Stapp and other scientists conceptually dovetail with those of Philip Clayton, Jorge Nobo, Yutaka Tanaka and other process philosophers.
Narrative and Systems
From Dr. Moreau's Beast People to David Cronenberg's Brundlefly, Stanislaw Lem's robot constructors in the Cyberiad to Octavia Butler's human/alien constructs in the Xenogenesis trilogy, Posthuman Metamorphosis examines modern and postmodern stories of corporeal transformation through interlocking frames of posthumanism, narratology, and second-order systems theory. New media generate new metamorphs.New stories have emerged from cybernetic displacements of life, sensation, or intelligence from human beings to machines. But beyond the vogue for the cyborg and the cybernetic mash-up of the organic and the mechanical, Posthuman Metamorphosis develops neocybernetic systems theories illuminating alternative narratives that elicit autopoietic and symbiotic visions of the posthuman.Systems theory also transforms our modes of narrative cognition. Regarding narrative in the light of the autopoietic systems it brings into play, neocybernetics brings narrative theory into constructive relation with the systemic operations of observation, communication, and paradox.Posthuman Metamorphosis draws on Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway, Niklas Luhmann, Cary Wolfe, Mieke Bal, Katherine Hayles, Friedrich Kittler, and Lynn Margulis to read narratives of bodily metamorphosis as allegories of the contingencies of systems. Tracing the posthuman intuitions of both pre- and post-cybernetic metamorphs, it demonstrates the viability of second-order systems theories for narrative theory, media theory, cultural science studies, and literary criticism.
Experiments, Patents, Inventions
Albert Einstein may be best known as the wire-haired whacky physicist who gave us the theory of relativity, but that’s just one facet of this genius’s contribution to human knowledge and modern science. As József Illy expertly shows in this book, Einstein had an eminently practical side as well. As a youth, Einstein was an inveterate tinkerer in the electrical supply factory his father and uncle owned and operated. His first paid job was as a patent examiner. Later in life, Einstein contributed to many inventions, including refrigerators, microphones, and instruments for aviation. In published papers, Einstein often provided ways to test his theories and fundamental problems of the scientific community of his times. He delved deeply into a variety of technological innovations, most notably the gyrocompass, and consulted for industry in patent cases and on other legal matters. Einstein also provided explanations for common and mundane phenomena, such as the meandering of rivers. In these and other hands-on examples culled from the Einstein Papers, Illy demonstrates how Einstein enjoyed leaving the abstract world of theories to wrestle with the problems of everyday life. While we may like the idea of Einstein as a genius besotted by extra dimensions and too out-of-this world to wear socks, The Practical Einstein gives ample evidence that not only is this characterization incomplete, it is also an unfair representation of a man who sought to explore the intricacies of nature, whether in theory or practice.
Mediaeval Continuation, Volume 9)
This text, the Questions concerning Aristotle's On Animals [Quaestiones super de animalibus], recovered only at the beginning of the twentieth century and never before translated in its entirety, represents Conrad of Austria's report on a series of disputed questions that Albert the Great addressed in Cologne ca. 1258.