State University of New York Press

SUNY Series in Philosophy (discontinued)

Robert Cummings Neville

Published by: State University of New York Press

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Epistemology

An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge

Guided by the founding ideas of American pragmatism, Epistemology provides a clear example of the basic concepts involved in knowledge acquisition and explains the principles at work in the development of rational inquiry. It examines how these principles analyze the course of scientific progress and how the development of scientific inquiry inevitably encounters certain natural disasters. At the center of the book’s deliberations there lies not only the potential for scientific progress but also the limit of science as well. This comprehensive introduction to the theory of knowledge addresses a myriad of topics, including the critique of skepticism, the nature of rationality, the possibility of science for extraterrestrial intelligences, and the prospect of insoluble issues in science.

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Face to Face with Levinas

Face to Face with Levinas makes available to American readers the best of recent thought on Emmanuel Levinas. The contributors to this volume are some of the most significant and best-known Levinas scholars in the United States and Europe—Maurice Blanchot, Luce Trigaray, Theodore De Boer, Adriaan Peperzak, Jan de Greef, Alphonso Lingis. Most notably, it features an interview with Levinas by Richard Kearney. This elaborate interview provides a succinct introduction to the themes developed within the book and allows Levinas to restate his philosophy in light of the criticisms that follow.

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Kant and the Culture of Enlightenment

Katerina Deligiorgi interprets Kant’s conception of enlightenment within the broader philosophical project of his critique of reason. Analyzing a broad range of Kant’s works, including his Critique of Pure Reason, the Critique of Judgment, his lectures on anthropology and logic, as well as his shorter essays, she identifies the theoretical and practical commitments that show the achievement of rational autonomy as an ongoing project for the realization of a culture of enlightenment. Deligiorgi also considers Kant’s ideas in relation to the work of Diderot, Rousseau, Mendelssohn, Reinhold, Hamann, Schiller, and Herder. The perspective opened by this historical dialogue challenges twentieth-century revisionist interpretations of the Enlightenment to show that the “culture of enlightenment” is not simply a fragment of our intellectual history but rather a live project.

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Kant on Causation

On the Fivefold Routes to the Principle of Causation

Kant famously confessed that Hume’s treatment of cause and effect woke him from his dogmatic slumber. According to Hume, the concept of cause does not arise through reason, but through force of habit. Kant believes this can be avoided through the development of a revolutionary new cognitive framework as presented in the Critique of Pure Reason. Focusing on the Second Analogy and other important texts from the first Critique, as well as texts from the Critique of Judgment, the author discusses the nature of Kant’s causal principle, the nature of his proof for this principle, and the status of his intended proof. Bayne argues that the key to understanding Kant’s proof is his discussion of objects of representations, and that it is his investigation into the requirements for an event’s being an object of representations that enables him to develop his proof of the causal principle.

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Mutuality

The Vision of Martin Buber

This is an elegant book. By skillfully blending meticulous scholarship with points of genuine human interest, Donald Berry gives fresh insight into Martin Buber’s vision of mutuality. Berry focuses on Buber’s I and Thou to illuminate three facets of Buber’s thought that have been largely neglected. In chapters titled “The Tree,” “The Helper,” and “The Brother,” Berry shows how Buber’s underlying vision of mutuality can expand our care for the things and beings of the natural world; investigates Buber’s claim that those human relationships which are defined by a task to be performed are prevented from achieving full mutuality; and examines Buber’s attempt to recover the figure of the Jewish Jesus. In the chapter on Jesus as brother, Berry discusses all of Buber’s treatments of Jesus and identifies a new dimension to the contemporary Jewish-Christian dialogue. The concluding chapter, “The Vision,” relates the three themes discussed.

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Oppenheimer's Choice

Reflections from Moral Philosophy

In 1942, J. Robert Oppenheimer accepted the leadership of the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory, which produced the first atomic bomb three years later. This book examines the ethics of Oppenheimer’s choice to take that job and our judgment of his acceptance, leading to the larger question of the meaning of moral judgment itself. Through an analysis of Oppenheimer’s choice, Richard Mason explores questions of responsibility, the justification for the pursuit of scientific curiosity, the purity of research, and many other topics of interest in scientific ethics. This unique look at one man’s choice brings out the necessary step from personal detail to abstract reflection—it may be easy to praise or condemn Oppenheimer’s choice, but less easy to justify our praise or condemnation. Oppenheimer’s Choice establishes the possibility of this kind of moral philosophy—neither “applied” nor “practical” ethics, but instead a sustained concentration on a single choice, and what it means.

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Order and Might

This is a systematic philosophy of politics and the state. As few contemporary books do, Order and Might provides a general theory, exploring the structure of socio-political experience. It not only addresses such issues as the nature of freedom, justice, sovereignty, and the relation between rights and obligations, but also defines the systematic connections between them.

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Philosopher's Voice, The

Philosophy, Politics, and Language in the Nineteenth Century

This analysis of the relationship between philosophy and politics recognizes that political philosophers must continually struggle to distinguish their voices from others that clamor within political life. Author Andrew Fiala asks whether it is possible to maintain a distinction between philosophical speech and other political and poetic language. His answer is that philosophy’s methodological self-consciousness is what distinguishes its voice from the voice of politics. By focusing on the different ways in which this methodological norm was enacted in the lives and work of Kant, Fichte, Hegel, and Marx, the author puts the problem in a larger context and considers the roles that these thinkers played in the political history of the nineteenth century.

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Social Authority of Reason, The

Kant's Critique, Radical Evil, and the Destiny of Humankind

In The Social Authority of Reason, Philip J. Rossi, SJ argues that the current cultural milieu of globalization is strikingly reflective of the human condition appraised by Kant, in which mutual social interaction for human good is hamstrung by our contentious “unsociable sociability.” He situates the paradoxical nature of contemporary society—its opportunities for deepening the bonds of our common human mutuality along with its potential for enlarging the fissures that arise from our human differences—in the context of Kant’s notion of radical evil. As a corrective, Rossi proposes that we draw upon the social character of Kant’s critique of reason, which offers a communal trajectory for human moral effort and action. This trajectory still has power to open the path to what Kant called “the highest political good”—lasting peace among nations.

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Spinoza and Moral Freedom

Spinoza and Moral Freedom guides the reader through Spinoza’s principal ideas and powerful lines of reasoning, clearing up obscurities along the way, while acknowledging the genuine difficulties and gaps. At the same time, it neither intrudes the author’s own beliefs and personality upon the reader nor gives instructions on what the reader’s own final judgment should be. What Kashap offers is pure Spinoza, rather than a Spinoza reformed in light of another person’s wishes or preoccupations. In this respect, Kashap’s approach is refreshingly new and unique. The style is graceful and lucid, and in no way obscured by philosophical jargon.

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