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All Topic Reviews
A Theory of Feelings Anger and Forgiveness Philosophizing Madness from Nietzsche to Derrida"My Madness Saved Me"10 Good Questions about Life and Death12 Modern Philosophers50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a GodA Cabinet of Philosophical CuriositiesA Case for IronyA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to Buddhist PhilosophyA Companion to FoucaultA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to HumeA Companion to KantA Companion to Phenomenology and ExistentialismA Companion to PragmatismA Companion to the Philosophy of ActionA Companion to the Philosophy of BiologyA Companion to the Philosophy of LiteratureA Conceptual History of PsychologyA Critical Overview of Biological FunctionsA Critique of Naturalistic Philosophies of MindA Cursing Brain?A Decent LifeA Delicate BalanceA Farewell to AlmsA Fragile LifeA Frightening LoveA Future for PresentismA Guide to the Good LifeA History of PsychiatryA History of the MindA Life Worth LivingA Manual of Experimental PhilosophyA Map of the MindA Metaphysics of PsychopathologyA Mind So RareA Minimal LibertarianismA Natural History of Human MoralityA Natural History of Human ThinkingA Natural History of VisionA Parliament of MindsA Philosopher Looks at The Sense of HumorA Philosophical DiseaseA Philosophy for the Science of Well-BeingA Philosophy of BoredomA Philosophy of Cinematic ArtA Philosophy of CultureA Philosophy of EmptinessA Philosophy of FearA Philosophy of PainA Physicalist ManifestoA Place for ConsciousnessA Question of TrustA Research Agenda for DSM-VA Revolution of the MindA Sentimentalist Theory of the MindA Stroll With William JamesA Tapestry of ValuesA Tear is an Intellectual ThingA Theory of FreedomA Theory of Jerks and Other Philosophical MisadventuresA Thousand MachinesA Universe of ConsciousnessA Very Bad WizardA Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the CurtainA Virtue EpistemologyA World Full of GodsA World Without ValuesAbout FaceAbout the Beginning of the Hermeneutics of the SelfAction and ResponsibilityAction in ContextAction Theory, Rationality and CompulsionAction, Contemplation, and HappinessAction, Emotion and WillAdam SmithAdaptive DynamicsAddictionAddictionAddiction and ResponsibilityAddiction and Self-ControlAddiction Is a ChoiceAdvances in Identity Theory and ResearchAftermathAfterwarAgainst AdaptationAgainst AutonomyAgainst BioethicsAgainst HappinessAgainst HealthAgainst MarriageAgency and ActionAgency and AnswerabilityAgency and EmbodimentAgency and ResponsibilityAgency, Freedom, and Moral ResponsibilityAl-JununAlain BadiouAlain BadiouAlasdair MacIntyreAlien Landscapes?Altered EgosAmbivalenceAmbivalenceAn Anthology of Psychiatric EthicsAn Ethics for TodayAn Intellectual History of CannibalismAn Interpretation of DesireAn Introduction to EthicsAn Introduction to Kant's Moral Philosophy An Introduction to Philosophy of EducationAn Introduction to the Philosophy of MindAn Introduction to the Philosophy of MindAn Introduction to the Philosophy of PsychologyAn Introductory Philosophy of MedicineAn Odd Kind of FameAnalytic FreudAnalytic Philosophy in AmericaAncient AngerAncient Models of MindAncient Philosophy of the SelfAngerAnimal LessonsAnimal MindsAnimals Like UsAnnihilationAnother PlanetAnswers for AristotleAnti-ExternalismAnti-Individualism and KnowledgeAntigone’s ClaimAntipsychiatryAre We Hardwired?Are Women Human?Arguing about DisabilityArguing About Human NatureAristotle and the Philosophy of FriendshipAristotle on Practical WisdomAristotle's ChildrenAristotle's Ethics and Moral ResponsibilityAristotle's WayAristotle, Emotions, and EducationArt & MoralityArt After Conceptual ArtArt in Three DimensionsArt, Self and KnowledgeArtificial ConsciousnessArtificial HappinessAspects of PsychologismAsylum to ActionAt the Existentialist CaféAtonement and ForgivenessAttention is Cognitive UnisonAutobiography as PhilosophyAutonomyAutonomy and Mental DisorderAutonomy and the Challenges to LiberalismBabies by DesignBackslidingBadiouBadiou's DeleuzeBadiou, Balibar, Ranciere: Rethinking EmancipationBare Facts And Naked TruthsBasic Desert, Reactive Attitudes and Free WillBattlestar Galactica and PhilosophyBe Like the FoxBeautyBecoming a SubjectBecoming HumanBefore ConsciousnessBehavingBehavioral Genetics in the Postgenomic EraBeing AmoralBeing HumanBeing Mentally Ill: A Sociological Theory Being No OneBeing Realistic about ReasonsBeing ReducedBeing YourselfBelief's Own EthicsBending Over BackwardsBerlin Childhood around 1900Bernard WilliamsBertrand RussellBest ExplanationsBetter than BothBetter Than WellBetween Two WorldsBeyond HealthBeyond Hegel and NietzscheBeyond KuhnBeyond LossBeyond MelancholyBeyond Moral JudgmentBeyond PostmodernismBeyond ReductionBeyond SchizophreniaBeyond the DSM StoryBioethicsBioethics and the BrainBioethics in the ClinicBiological Complexity and Integrative PluralismBiology Is TechnologyBiosBipolar ExpeditionsBlackwell Companion to the Philosophy of EducationBlindsight & The Nature of ConsciousnessBlues - Philosophy for EveryoneBlushBob Dylan and PhilosophyBody ConsciousnessBody Image And Body SchemaBody ImagesBody LanguageBody MattersBody WorkBody-Subjects and Disordered MindsBoundBoundaries of the MindBoyleBrain Evolution and CognitionBrain FictionBrain, Mind, and Human Behavior in Contemporary Cognitive ScienceBrain-WiseBrainchildrenBrains, Buddhas, and BelievingBrainstormingBrave New WorldsBreakdown of WillBrief Child Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and FaithBrief Therapy Homework PlannerBritain on the CouchBritish Idealism and the Concept of the SelfBrute RationalityBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBut Is It Art?Camus and SartreCan Animals Be Persons?Cartesian LinguisticsCartographies of the MindCarving Nature at Its JointsCase Studies in Biomedical Research EthicsCassandra's DaughterCategories We Live ByCato's TearsCausation and CounterfactualsCauses, Laws, and Free WillChanging Conceptions of the Child from the Renaissance to Post-ModernityChanging the SubjectChaosophyCharacter and Moral Psychology Character as Moral FictionCharles DarwinCharles S. Peirce's PhenomenologyCherishmentChildhood and the Philosophy of EducationChildrenChildren, Families, and Health Care Decision MakingChoices and ConflictChoosing Not to ChooseChristmas - Philosophy for EveryoneCinema, Philosophy, BergmanCinematic MythmakingCity and Soul in Plato's RepublicClassifying MadnessClear and Queer ThinkingClinical EthicsClinical Psychiatry in Imperial GermanyCodependent ForevermoreCoffee - Philosophy for EveryoneCognition and the BrainCognition of Value in Aristotle's EthicsCognition Through Understanding: Self-Knowledge, Interlocution, Reasoning, ReflectionCognitive BiologyCognitive FictionsCognitive Neuroscience of EmotionCognitive Systems and the Extended MindCognitive Systems and the Extended Mind Cognitive Theories of Mental IllnessCoherence in Thought and ActionCollected Papers, Volume 1Collected Papers, Volume 2College SexComedy IncarnateCommitmentCommunicative Action and Rational ChoiceCompassionate Moral RealismCompetence, Condemnation, and CommitmentConcealment And ExposureConcepts and Causes in the Philosophy of DiseaseConceptual Analysis and Philosophical NaturalismConceptual Art and PaintingConceptual Issues in Evolutionary BiologyConfessionsConfucianismConnected, or What It Means to Live in the Network SocietyConquest of AbundanceConscience and ConvenienceConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousness ConsciousnessConsciousness and Fundamental RealityConsciousness and Its Place in NatureConsciousness and LanguageConsciousness and Mental LifeConsciousness and MindConsciousness and the NovelConsciousness and the SelfConsciousness EmergingConsciousness EvolvingConsciousness ExplainedConsciousness in ActionConsciousness RecoveredConsciousness RevisitedConsciousness, Color, and ContentConsole and ClassifyConstructing the WorldConstructive AnalysisContemporary Debates In Applied EthicsContemporary Debates in Moral TheoryContemporary Debates in Philosophy of BiologyContemporary Debates in Philosophy of MindContemporary Debates in Political PhilosophyContemporary Debates in Social PhilosophyContemporary Perspectives on Natural LawContested Knowledge: Social Theory TodayContesting PsychiatryContext and the AttitudesContinental Philosophy of ScienceControlControlling Our DestiniesConversations About Psychology and Sexual OrientationCopernicus, Darwin and FreudCrazy for YouCreating a Life of Meaning and CompassionCreating ConsilienceCreating HysteriaCreating Mental IllnessCreating Scientific ConceptsCreating the American JunkieCreation, Rationality and AutonomyCreatures Like Us?Crime and CulpabilityCrime, Punishment, and Mental IllnessCrimes of ReasonCritical New Perspectives on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderCritical PsychiatryCritical PsychologyCritical ResistanceCritical Thinking About PsychologyCritical VisionsCross and KhoraCruel CompassionCTRL [SPACE]Cultural Psychology of the SelfCultural Theory: An IntroductionCulture and Psychiatric DiagnosisCulture and Subjective Well-BeingCulture of DeathCultures of NeurastheniaCurious EmotionsCurrent Controversies in Experimental PhilosophyCurrent Controversies in Values and ScienceCustom and Reason in HumeCustomers and Patrons of the Mad-TradeCutting God in Half - And Putting the Pieces Together AgainCylons in AmericaDamaged IdentitiesDamasio's Error and Descartes' TruthDangerous EmotionsDaniel DennettDaniel DennettDark AgesDarwin and DesignDarwin's Dangerous IdeaDarwin's LegacyDarwin, God and the Meaning of LifeDarwinian PsychiatryDarwinian ReductionismDarwinizing CultureDating: Philosophy for EveryoneDeathDeathDeath and CharacterDeath and CompassionDeath and the AfterlifeDebating DesignDebating HumanismDecision Making, Personhood and DementiaDecomposing the WillDeconstructing PsychotherapyDeconstruction and DemocracyDeeper Than DarwinDeeper than ReasonDefending Science - within ReasonDefining Psychopathology in the 21st CenturyDegrees of BeliefDeleuze and the Concepts of CinemaDelusion and Self-DeceptionDelusions and BeliefsDelusions and Other Irrational BeliefsDelusions and the Madness of the MassesDementiaDemons, Dreamers, and MadmenDennett and Ricoeur on the Narrative SelfDennett’s PhilosophyDepression Is a ChoiceDepression, Emotion and the SelfDepthDerrida, Deleuze, PsychoanalysisDescartesDescartes and the Passionate MindDescartes' CogitoDescartes's Changing MindDescartes's Concept of MindDescribing Inner Experience?Descriptions and PrescriptionsDesembodied Spirits and Deanimated Bodies Desert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Desire and AffectDesire, Love, and IdentityDesire, Practical Reason, and the GoodDeveloping the VirtuesDiagnosing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersDialectics of the SelfDid My Neurons Make Me Do It?Difference and IdentityDigital SoulDimensional Models of Personality DisordersDisability, Difference, DiscriminationDisjunctivismDisorders of VolitionDisorientation and Moral LifeDispatches from the Freud WarsDisrupted LivesDistractionDisturbed ConsciousnessDivided Minds and Successive SelvesDo Apes Read Minds?Do Fish Feel Pain?Do We Still Need Doctors?Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?Does the Woman Exist?Doing PhilosophyDoing without ConceptsDon't be FooledDon't Believe Everything You ThinkDonald DavidsonDonald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the MentalDoubting Darwin?Down GirlDreaming and Other Involuntary MentationDSM-IV SourcebookDSM-IV SourcebookDSM-IV-TR CasebookDworkin and His CriticsDying to KnowDynamics in ActionDysthymia and the Spectrum of Chronic DepressionsEccentricsEducational MetamorphosesEffective IntentionsElbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth WantingEmbodied Minds in ActionEmbodied RhetoricsEmbodied Selves and Divided MindsEmbryos under the MicroscopeEmergencies in Mental Health PracticeEmerging Conceptual, Ethical and Policy Issues in BionanotechnologyEmotionEmotion and ConsciousnessEmotion and PsycheEmotion ExperienceEmotion RegulationEmotion, Evolution, And RationalityEmotional IntelligenceEmotional ReasonEmotional ReasonEmotional TruthEmotions in Humans and ArtifactsEmotions in the Moral LifeEmotions in the Moral LifeEmotions, Value, and AgencyEmpathyEmpathy and AgencyEmpathy and Moral DevelopmentEmpathy and MoralityEmpathy in the Context of PhilosophyEmpirical Ethics in PsychiatryEnactivist InterventionsEnchanted LoomsEngaging BuddhismEngineering the Human GermlineEnjoymentEnvyEpicureanismEpistemic LuckEpistemologyEpistemology and EmotionsEpistemology and the Psychology of Human JudgmentEros and the GoodErotic MoralityEssays in Social NeuroscienceEssays in the Metaphysics of Mind Essays on Derek Parfit's On What MattersEssays on Free Will and Moral ResponsibilityEssays on Nonconceptual ContentEssays on Philosophical CounselingEssays on Reference, Language, and MindEssays on the Concept of Mind in Early-Modern PhilosophyEssential Sources in the Scientific Study of ConsciousnessEsssential Philosophy of PsychiatryEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindEthical Conflicts in PsychologyEthical Issues in Forensic Mental Health ResearchEthical Issues in Human CloningEthical TheoryEthicsEthicsEthics and the A PrioriEthics and the Metaphysics of MedicineEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics Beyond the LimitsEthics Done RightEthics ExpertiseEthics in Plain EnglishEthics in PracticeEthics in Psychiatric ResearchEthics of PsychiatryEthics without OntologyEuropean Review of Philosophy. Vol. 5Everyday IrrationalityEvil in Modern ThoughtEvolutionEvolution and the Human MindEvolution's RainbowEvolutionary Origins of MoralityEvolutionary PsychologyExamined LifeExamined LivesExistential AmericaExistentialismExistentialism and Romantic LoveExperimental PhilosophyExperimental PhilosophyExperimental PhilosophyExperimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and NaturalismExperiments in EthicsExplaining ConsciousnessExplaining the BrainExplaining the Computational MindExplanatory PluralismExploding the Gene MythExploring HappinessExploring the SelfExpression and the InnerExpressions of JudgmentExtraordinary Science and PsychiatryFaces of IntentionFact and ValueFact and Value in EmotionFacts and ValuesFacts, Values, and NormsFads and Fallacies in the Social SciencesFaith and Wisdom in ScienceFatherhoodFear of KnowledgeFearless SpeechFeeling Pain and Being in PainFeelings and EmotionsFeelings of BeingFellow CreaturesFellow-Feeling and the Moral LifeFeminism and Its DiscontentsFeminism and Philosophy of ScienceFeminist Ethics and Social and Political PhilosophyFeminist Interpretations of Rene DescartesFeminist TheoryField Notes from ElsewhereFinding Consciousness in the BrainFingerprints of GodFlesh in the Age of ReasonFolk Psychological NarrativesFolk Psychology Re-AssessedForces of HabitForgivenessForgiveness and LoveForgiveness and RetributionFoucault 2.0Foucault and PhilosophyFoucault NowFoucault, Psychology and the Analytics of PowerFoundational Issues in Human Brain MappingFoundations of Ethical Practice, Research, and Teaching in PsychologyFour Views on Free WillFrank Ramsey (1903-1930)Free WillFree WillFree WillFree WillFree Will and Action ExplanationFree Will and LuckFree Will And Moral ResponsibilityFree Will as an Open Scientific ProblemFree Will, Agency, and Meaning in LifeFree: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free WillFreedomFreedom and DeterminismFreedom And NeurobiologyFreedom and ResponsibiltyFreedom and ValueFreedom EvolvesFreedom RegainedFreedom vs. InterventionFreedom, Fame, Lying, and BetrayalFreudFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFreud As PhilosopherFreud's AnswerFreud, the Reluctant PhilosopherFriedrich NietzscheFrom Chance to ChoiceFrom Clinic to ClassroomFrom Complexity to LifeFrom Enlightenment to ReceptivityFrom Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution for Science and the HumanitiesFrom Morality to Mental HealthFrom Passions to EmotionsFrom Philosophy to PsychotherapyFrom Valuing to ValueFrontiers of ConsciousnessFrontiers of JusticeFurnishing the MindGalileo in PittsburghGenderGender and Mental HealthGender in the MirrorGender TroubleGenesGenes, Women, EqualityGenetic Nature/CultureGenetic ProspectsGenetic ProspectsGenetic SecretsGenocide's AftermathGenomes and What to Make of ThemGerman Idealism and the JewGerman PhilosophyGetting HookedGilles DeleuzeGlobal PhilosophyGluttonyGod and Phenomenal ConsciousnessGoffman's LegacyGoing Amiss in Experimental ResearchGoodness & AdviceGrassroots SpiritualityGrave MattersGrave MattersGreedGreek Models of Mind and SelfGut ReactionsHabilitation, Health, and AgencyHabits of MindHallucinationHandbook of BioethicsHandbook of EmotionsHappinessHappinessHappinessHappinessHappiness and EducationHappiness and the Good LifeHappiness Is OverratedHappiness, Death, and the Remainder of LifeHard LuckHarmful ThoughtsHaving the World in ViewHealing PsychiatryHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHealth, Illness and DiseaseHealth, Science, and Ordinary LanguageHegelHeidegger and a Metaphysics of FeelingHeidegger, Metaphysics and the Univocity of BeingHellenistic PhilosophyHermann von Helmholtz's MechanismHermeneutics As PoliticsHeterophobiaHeterosyncraciesHeuristics and BiasesHeuristics and the LawHidden ResourcesHidden SelvesHiding from HumanityHigh Art LiteHistorical OntologyHistory of Psychiatry and Medical PsychologyHistory, Historicity And ScienceHobbesHomosexualitiesHope and Dread in PsychoanalysisHot ThoughtHow Can I Be Trusted?How Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe?How Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow Could Conscious Experiences Affect Brains?How Do We Know Who We Are?How Emotions WorkHow Emotions WorkHow History Made the MindHow Images ThinkHow is Nature Possible?How Propaganda WorksHow Science WorksHow Scientific Practices MatterHow Scientists Explain DiseaseHow The Body Shapes The MindHow the Body Shapes the Way We ThinkHow the Mind Explains BehaviorHow the Mind Uses the BrainHow to Be a StoicHow to Make Opportunity EqualHow to Solve the Mind-Body Problemhow to stop timeHow to Think More About SexHow We HopeHow We ReasonHuman CloningHuman Development, Language and the Future of MankindHuman EnhancementHuman Evolution, Reproduction, and MoralityHuman GoodnessHuman Identity and BioethicsHuman NatureHuman NatureHuman Nature and the Limits of ScienceHuman-Built WorldHumanismHumanism, What's That?HumanityHumans, Animals, MachinesHumeHumeHumeHume on Motivation and VirtueHume's True ScepticismHume’s Moral Philosophy and Contemporary PsychologyHusserlHystoriesI Am Dynamite!I of the VortexI Was WrongIdeas that MatterIdentifying the MindIdentity and Agency in Cultural WorldsIgnorance and ImaginationIllnessIllnessImagination and Its PathologiesImagination and the Meaningful BrainImagining NumbersImmortal RemainsImproving Nature?In Defense of an Evolutionary Concept of HealthIn Defense of SentimentalityIn Love With LifeIn Praise of Athletic BeautyIn Praise of DesireIn Praise of Natural PhilosophyIn Praise of the WhipIn Pursuit of HappinessIn Search of HappinessIn the Name of GodIn the Name of IdentityIn the Space of ReasonsIn the SwarmIn Two MindsInclusive EthicsIncompatibilism's AllureIndividual Differences in Conscious ExperienceInfinity and PerspectiveInformation ArtsInformed Consent in Medical ResearchIngmar Bergman, Cinematic PhilosopherInhuman ThoughtsInner PresenceInsanityIntegrating Psychotherapy and PharmacotherapyIntegrity and the Fragile SelfIntelligent VirtueIntentionIntentionality, Deliberation and AutonomyIntentions and IntentionalityIntentions and IntentionalityInterpreting MindsInterpreting NietzscheIntroducing Greek PhilosophyIntrospection and ConsciousnessIntrospection VindicatedIntuition, Imagination, and Philosophical MethodologyIntuitionismInvestigating the Psychological WorldIrrationalityIrrationalityIs Academic Feminism Dead?Is It Me or My Meds?Is Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Is Oedipus Online?Is Science Neurotic?Is Science Value Free?Is the Visual World a Grand Illusion?Is There a Duty to Die?Issues in Philosophical CounselingJacques LacanJacques RancièreJacques RanciereJean-Paul SartreJohn McDowellJohn SearleJohn Searle's Ideas About Social RealityJohn Stuart MillJohn Stuart Mill and the Writing of CharacterJoint AttentionJokesJonathan EdwardsJudging and UnderstandingJustice for ChildrenJustice in RobesJustice, Luck, and KnowledgeKantKant and MiltonKant and the Fate of AutonomyKant and the Limits of AutonomyKant and the Role of Pleasure in Moral ActionKant on Freedom, Law, and HappinessKant on Moral AutonomyKant's Anatomy of EvilKant's Anatomy of the Intelligent MindKant's Theory of VirtueKarl JaspersKarl PopperKarl Popper, Science and EnlightenmentKey Concepts in PhilosophyKierkegaardKierkegaard as PhenomenologistKierkegaard's Concept of DespairKierkegaard's MuseKinds of MindsKinds, Things, and StuffKnowing EmotionsKnowing, Knowledge and BeliefsKnowledge MonopoliesKnowledge, Belief, and CharacterKnowledge, Possibility, and ConsciousnessLacanLack of CharacterLack of CharacterLanguageLanguage in ContextLanguage, Consciousness, CultureLanguage, Culture, and MindLanguage, Vision, and MusicLaw and the BrainLaw, Liberty, and PsychiatryLaws, Mind, and Free WillLeaving YouLectures on the History of Political PhilosophyLevelling the Playing FieldLiberal Education in a Knowledge SocietyLiberatory PsychiatryLife and ActionLife at the Texas State Lunatic Asylum, 1857-1997Life Is Not a Game of PerfectLife of the MindLife's FormLife's ValuesLife, Death, & MeaningLife, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of UtilityLife, Sex, and IdeasLight in the Dark RoomLike a Splinter in Your MindLiving and Dying WellLiving NarrativeLiving Outside Mental IllnessLiving with DarwinLiving With One’s PastLockeLocke LockeLogic and the Art of Memory Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and LiteratureLooking for SpinozaLooking for The StrangerLost in DialogueLost SoulsLOT 2LoveLoveLove's ConfusionsLove's VisionLove, Friendship, and the SelfLove, Sex & TragedyLuckyLudwig WittgensteinLustLyingMachine ConsciousnessMad for FoucaultMad TravelersMade with WordsMadness And Death In PhilosophyMadness and DemocracyMadness at HomeMadness Is CivilizationMaking Natural KnowledgeMaking Sense of EvolutionMaking Sense of Freedom and ResponsibilityMaking the DSM-5Making the Social WorldMaking TruthMale Female EmailMan, Beast, and ZombieMandated Reporting of Suspected Child AbuseManiaManic Depression and CreativityMapping the Edges and the In-betweenMapping the Future of BiologyMarcus AureliusMaster PassionsMatters of the MindMe++Meaning and Moral OrderMeaning and Value in a Secular AgeMeaning in LifeMeaning in Life and Why It MattersMeaning, Basic Self-Knowledge, and MindMeanings of ArtMeasuring HappinessMeasuring PsychopathologyMedia MadnessMedical Enhancement and PosthumanityMedical NihilismMedical ReasoningMedicine and Philosophy in Classical AntiquityMedicine of the PersonMedicine, Mental Health, Religion, Science and Well-BeingMeditations on Self-Discipline and FailureMelancholy And the Care of the SoulMelancholy and the Otherness of GodMementoMemory and NarrativeMental ActionsMental CausationMental Causation and OntologyMental HealthMental Health At The CrossroadsMental Health Policy in BritainMerit, Meaning, and Human BondageMerleau-PontyMerleau-Ponty and the Possibilities of PhilosophyMetacognition and Theory of MindMetacreationMetaethical SubjectivismMetaethicsMetal and FleshMetaphors of MemoryMetapoliticsMethods in MindMichel FoucaultMidlifeMill's UtilitarianismMindMindMindMind and ConsciousnessMind and CosmosMind and MechanismMind GamesMind in a Physical WorldMind in Everyday Life and Cognitive ScienceMind in LifeMind the BodyMind TimeMind's LandscapeMind, Brain and the Elusive SoulMind, Brain, and Free WillMind, Reason and ImaginationMinding MindsMindreadersMindreading AnimalsMinds and PersonsMinds, Brains, and LawMinds, Ethics, and ConditionalsMindshapingMindsightMindworldsMirror, MirrorMixed FeelingsMockingbird YearsModels of the SelfModern Social ImaginariesModern Theories of JusticeModernity and SubjectivityModernity and TechnologyMoody Minds DistemperedMoral BrainsMoral DimensionsMoral FailureMoral ImaginationMoral LiteracyMoral MachinesMoral ParticularismMoral PsychologyMoral Psychology and Human AgencyMoral Psychology, Volume 1Moral Psychology, Volume 2Moral Psychology, Volume 3Moral Psychology: Volume IVMoral RepairMoral Responsibility and Alternative PossibilitiesMoral TribesMoral Value and Human DiversityMorality and Self-InterestMorality in a Natural WorldMorality, Moral Luck and ResponsibilityMotherhoodMotive and RightnessMoving Beyond Prozac, DSM, and the New PsychiatryMultiple Analogies in Science and PhilosophyMultiple Identities & False MemoriesMusic, Madness, and the Unworking of LanguageMy Brain Made Me Do ItMy Double UnveiledMy WayNarrativeNarrative and IdentityNarrative MedicineNarrative PsychiatryNarrative Theory and the Cognitive SciencesNatural Ethical FactsNatural Kinds and Conceptual ChangeNatural MindsNatural-Born CybogsNaturalism and the First-Person PerspectiveNaturalism and the Human ConditionNaturalism in the Philosophy of HealthNaturalism in the Philosophy of HealthNaturalized BioethicsNaturalizing the MindNatureNature and NarrativeNear Death ExperienceNeither Bad nor MadNeither Victim nor SurvivorNeuro-Philosophy and the Healthy MindNeuroethicsNeuroethicsNeuroexistentialismNeurological Foundations of Cognitive Neuroscience Neurophilosophy at WorkNeurophilosophy of Free WillNeuropoliticsNeuropsychoanalysis in PracticeNeuroscience and PhilosophyNew Essays on the Explanation of ActionNew Philosophy for a New MediaNew Versions of VictimsNew Waves in Philosophy of ActionNietzscheNietzsche and Buddhist PhilosophyNietzsche and PsychotherapyNietzsche and Suffered Social HistoriesNietzsche on Ethics and PoliticsNietzsche's TherapyNietzsche, Culture and EducationNietzsche: The Man and His PhilosophyNihil UnboundNihilismNoir AnxietyNormative EthicsNormativityNorms of NatureNotebooks 1951-1959Notes Toward a Performative Theory of AssemblyNothing So AbsurdOblivionOn AnxietyOn ApologyOn Being AuthenticOn Being AuthenticOn BeliefOn BetrayalOn BullshitOn DelusionOn DesireOn EmotionsOn HashishOn Human NatureOn Human RightsOn Loving Our EnemiesOn Nature and LanguageOn PersonalityOn ReflectionOn Romantic LoveOn the EmotionsOn the Freud WatchOn the Government of the LivingOn the Human ConditionOn the InternetOn the Meaning of LifeOn the Philosophy of LawOn the Pragmatics of CommunicationOn the Punitive SocietyOn TruthOn Virtue EthicsOn What MattersOn What We Owe to Each OtherOne Hundred DaysOnflowOnly a Promise of HappinessOntology of ConsciousnessOpen MindedOpen Your EyesOrgans without BodiesOther MindsOur Last Great IllusionOur Own MindsOur Posthuman FutureOur StoriesOut of Its MindOut of Our HeadsOxford Guide to the MindOxford Handbook of Psychiatric EthicsOxford Studies in Experimental PhilosophyOxford Studies in Normative EthicsOxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 7Oxford Textbook of Philosophy of PsychiatryPanic DisorderPanpsychismPanpsychism in the WestPartialityPassionate EnginesPassionate EnginesPathologies of BeliefPathologies of ReasonPatient Autonomy and the Ethics of ResponsibilityPC, M.D.Perceiving the WorldPerception & CognitionPerception and Basic BeliefsPerception, Hallucination, and IllusionPerceptual ExperiencePerfecting VirtuePerplexities of ConsciousnessPersistencePersonal AutonomyPersonal Autonomy in SocietyPersonal IdentityPersonal Identity and EthicsPersonal Identity and Fractured SelvesPersonhood and Health CarePersonsPersons and BodiesPersons, Humanity, and the Definition of DeathPersons, Souls and DeathPerspectives on ImitationPerspectives on PragmatismPessimismPhenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal KnowledgePhenomenal ConsciousnessPhenomenal IntentionalityPhenomenologyPhenomenology and ExistentialismPhenomenology and Philosophy of MindPhenomenology of IllnessPhilosophersPhilosophers on MusicPhilosophers without GodsPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPhilosophical DevicesPhilosophical Foundations of NeurosciencePhilosophical History and the Problem of ConsciousnessPhilosophical Issues in PharmaceuticsPhilosophical Issues in PsychiatryPhilosophical Issues in PsychiatryPhilosophical Issues in Psychiatry IIPhilosophical MethodologyPhilosophical MidwiferyPhilosophical Myths of the FallPhilosophical Perspectives on DepictionPhilosophical Perspectives on Technology and PsychiatryPhilosophical PracticePhilosophical Reflections on DisabilityPhilosophizing About Sex Philosophizing the EverydayPhilosophy and HappinessPhilosophy and LivingPhilosophy and PsychiatryPhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy and Science FictionPhilosophy and the EmotionsPhilosophy and the EmotionsPhilosophy and the Interpretation of Pop CulturePhilosophy and the Moving ImagePhilosophy and the NeurosciencesPhilosophy and This Actual WorldPhilosophy As FictionPhilosophy BitesPhilosophy Bites BackPhilosophy for Counselling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for LifePhilosophy in a New CenturyPhilosophy in an Age of SciencePhilosophy in Children's LiteraturePhilosophy in the Roman EmpirePhilosophy of ActionPhilosophy of ActionPhilosophy of Action from Suarez to AnscombePhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of BodyPhilosophy of Film and Motion PicturesPhilosophy of LovePhilosophy of Love, Sex, and MarriagePhilosophy of Love, Sex, and Marriage: An IntroductionPhilosophy of MedicinePhilosophy of MindPhilosophy of Mind and CognitionPhilosophy of Personal Identity and Multiple PersonalityPhilosophy of PsychologyPhilosophy of Public HealthPhilosophy of SciencePhilosophy of SciencePhilosophy of Sex and LovePhilosophy of Technology: The Technological ConditionPhilosophy of the Social SciencesPhilosophy on TapPhilosophy PracticePhilosophy the Day after TomorrowPhilosophy Within Its Proper BoundsPhilosophy's Role in Counseling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy, Neuroscience and ConsciousnessPhilosophy, Politics, DemocracyPhotography and PhilosophyPhysical RealizationPhysicalism and Its DiscontentsPhysicalism and Mental CausationPhysicalism, or Something Near EnoughPhysician-Assisted DyingPillar of SaltPin-up GrrrlsPlanning, Time, and Self-GovernancePlant MindsPlatoPlatoPlato, Not Prozac!Platonic Ethics, Old and NewPleasurePluralistic CasuistryPolarities of ExperiencesPolitical EmotionsPopper, Objectivity and the Growth of KnowledgePornPorn StudiesPornographyPornography, Sex, and FeminismPortrait of the Psychiatrist as a Young ManPositive NihilismPost-TruthPostcolonial DisordersPostpsychiatryPosttraumatic Stress DisorderPower and the SelfPower SplitPractical Autonomy and BioethicsPractical ConflictsPractical Identity and Narrative AgencyPractical PhilosophyPractical RulesPractical Tortoise RaisingPractically ProfoundPracticing Feminist Ethics in PsychologyPragmatic BioethicsPragmatismPragmatism, Old And NewPraise and BlamePredicative MindsPreferences and Well-BeingPrescriptions for the MindPresocraticsPrimary and Secondary QualitiesPrimates and PhilosophersPrimitive ColorsPrivacyPrivileged AccessProblems in MindProblems of RationalityProzac As a Way of LifeProzac BacklashProzac on the CouchPsyche and EthosPsyche and SomaPsychiatric Aspects of Justification, Excuse and Mitigation in Anglo-American Criminal Law Psychiatric Cultures ComparedPsychiatric Diagnosis and ClassificationPsychiatric EthicsPsychiatric HegemonyPsychiatric PowerPsychiatric SlaveryPsychiatry and Philosophy of SciencePsychiatry and ReligionPsychiatry as a Human SciencePsychiatry as Cognitive NeurosciencePsychiatry in SocietyPsychiatry in the New MilleniumPsychiatry in the Scientific ImagePsychiatry, Psychoanalysis, And The New Biology Of MindPsycho-Physical Dualism TodayPsychoanalysis and Narrative MedicinePsychoanalysis and the Philosophy of SciencePsychological Concepts and Biological PsychiatryPsychology and PhilosophyPsychology and the Question of AgencyPsychology's Interpretive TurnPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychotherapy and ConfidentialityPsychotherapy As PraxisPublic PhilosophyPunishmentPure ImmanencePurple HazePursuing MeaningQuality of Life and Human DifferenceQueer PhilosophyQuestions for FreudQuestions for FreudQuine and Davidson on Language, Thought and RealityRaceRace in Contemporary MedicineRadiant CoolRadical AlterityRadical ExternalismRadical HopeRational and Social AgencyRational CausationRational Choice in an Uncertain WorldRationality + Consciousness = Free WillRationality and FreedomRationality and the Reflective MindRationality in ActionRawls, Dewey, and ConstructivismRe-creating MedicineRe-EmergenceRe-Engineering Philosophy for Limited BeingsReading AutobiographyReading Bernard WilliamsReading SartreReadings in the Philosophy of TechnologyReal MaterialismReal Natures and Familiar ObjectsReal ScienceRealism in ActionReason & EmancipationReason in ActionReason in PhilosophyReason's GriefReasonably ViciousReasoning About Rational AgentsReasoning in Biological DiscoveriesReasons from WithinReasons without RationalismReclaiming CognitionReclaiming the SoulReconceiving SchizophreniaReconstructing Reason and RepresentationReconstructing the Cognitive WorldRecreative MindsRediscovering EmotionRediscovering EmpathyReference and ExistenceReference and the Rational MindReflections on Ethics and ResponsibilityReflections On How We LiveReframing Disease ContextuallyRefusing CareRegard for Reason in the Moral MindRegulating SexReinventing the SoulRelativism and Human RightsRelativism and the Foundations of PhilosophyRelativism and the Foundations of PhilosophyReliable ReasoningReligion without GodRelying on OthersRemembering HomeResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility and PunishmentResponsibility from the MarginsResponsible BrainsRestraining RageRethinking ExpertiseRethinking IntrospectionRethinking Mental Health and DisorderRethinking RapeRethinking the DSMRethinking the Sociology of Mental HealthRethinking the Western Understanding of the SelfReturn to ReasonRevolt, She SaidRichard RortyRichard RortyRichard RortyRichard RortyRichard RortyRichard Rorty's New PragmatismRightsRights, Democracy, and Fulfillment in the Era of Identity PoliticsRise And 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A Philosophy of CultureReview - A Philosophy of Culture
The Scope of Holistic Pragmatism
by Morton White
Princeton University Press, 2002
Review by Nader N. Chokr, Ph.D.
Jun 13th 2006 (Volume 10, Issue 24)

What Kind of Philosophy is Philosophy Enough?

Writing in the early 50's, Morton White had observed that "although there were many mansions in philosophy, the more splendid ones housed metaphysics, logic, epistemology, and ethics, which lived on a commanding hilltop, while somewhere downtown were the two-family dwellings for political philosophy and jurisprudence, the small apartments for aesthetics, and the boardinghouses for philosophers of the special sciences" (xi).  Disturbed however by this 'invidious ordering of the philosophical disciplines," he came to think that "a more democratic division of housing should be devised, one that provided better quarters for the deprived disciplines" (xi).    

 In the present book (2002), and a half century later, White articulates within the context of the Anglo-American Analytic tradition, in the language and within the preoccupations proper to that tradition (and of which he has been a prominent and eloquent proponent) the reasons why he has come to disagree with some of its main tenets or articles of belief.  In particular, he explains why he has come to disagree with, and reject Quine's view that "philosophy of science is philosophy enough" (x-xi, 5, 59-60, 108). And so, this work relates in part White's own relatively early 'conversion' or change of mind. But its central philosophical aim is to demonstrate why philosophers, who wish to "avoid the blind alleys of full-fledged classical rationalism and half-fledged neo-rationalism" (4. 187) should accept instead that "philosophy of culture is philosophy enough" (5, 187). His main argument is that any philosopher who adopts and applies the doctrine of 'holistic pragmatism' (properly understood) consistently and thoroughly must come to this 'salutary' conclusion.

 Interestingly though,  he adopts for his purpose the formulation of this doctrine as stated explicitly and perhaps most perspicuously by Quine himself --in his well-known and influential 1951 paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" (1, 67). But as he points out, contrary to what is commonly believed, it was actually laid out most defensibly by Tarski in a 1944 personal letter to him (67). He then turns it systematically against Quine, whose 'democratic credentials' vis-à-vis the philosophical disciplines were arguably not broad or consistent enough --though they were admittedly broader than those of the logical positivists against whom he had mounted his own rather successful attack. He also turns it as well against other early Pragmatic and Analytic philosophers who, he argues, had not gone far enough in their rejection of rationalism, or been consistent and thoroughgoing enough in their holism or their pragmatism. Finally, he argues that his holistic pragmatism can also serve to indict a number of other philosophers in the history of modern philosophy --from Descartes onward, and in fact, up until the early part of the 20th century, including those that he calls "part-time rationalists" or "half-hearted anti-rationalists" (xii, 4)--providing however judicious qualifications and exemptions in specific cases, as warranted.

Though he recognizes both William James and John Dewey as the pragmatists whose holism makes them unquestionably "the progenitors of more recent efforts to broaden the scope of philosophy from an examination of logic and physics to an empirical examination of other elements of civilization or culture" (6), White meticulously endeavors to pointedly bring out their "occasional lapses into rationalism." He does so on the basis of some original textual analyses worthy of our attention.

His main strategy in each and all cases consists in bringing out and undermining tacit or explicit conceptual dualisms, sharp theoretical distinctions and strict disciplinary divisions underlying the philosophical views of these thinkers, and that, he argues quite rightly, are untenable upon closer scrutiny. Some of the most well-known dualisms and distinctions include: pure reason vs. sensory experience, rational vs. empirical, a priori vs. a posteriori, coercions of the ideal order vs. coercions of the sensible order, relations of ideas vs. matters of fact, analytic vs. synthetic statements, necessary truths vs. contingent truths, eternal truths vs. sensible truths, truths of logic and mathematics vs. truths of natural science, observation sentences vs. moral judgments, cognitive vs. emotional or moral, etc. Needless to say, these typically served to underwrite and justify the traditional divisions,   boundaries and hierarchies commonly drawn not only between various areas of philosophy (metaphysics, ontology, epistemology, logic, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of art, philosophy of religion, etc) but between different disciplines as well (science, mathematics, philosophy, psychology, art, theology, history, law, politics, etc).    

For the sake of terminological clarification, it should be said that White uses the term "culture" interchangeably with "civilization" to denote a whole range of human endeavors and their corresponding institutional practices, and not in the sense in which some anthropologists or cultural studies theorists use it (xiii, 1).[1]

When, by his own account, White first realized that metaphysics and epistemology were in fact empirical disciplines, he subsequently came to see more clearly than he had before that the so-called privileged parts of philosophy could not defend their conclusions by a priori methods, as they presumed to do. Hence, he became even more convinced of the necessity of a more democratic reapportionment of the many "houses of philosophy," and making an explicit acknowledgement of the diverse and equally valuable practices housed and carried out therein.

That is why he now believes that (natural) science is merely one cultural institution among many others, whose practices and workings philosophers may and of course should study and examine --preferably from a holistically pragmatic point of view [as Duhem, Tarski and Quine for example had done (see relevant discussions in chapters IV, V and VI)]. Similarly however, he believes that philosophers may and in fact should study and examine the practices and workings of other institutions --as well from the same point of view as long as it is done consistently. Thus they may study and examine, for example:  psychology and religion [as William James for example has done in rather ground breaking ways, though not always consistently with his own holistic pragmatism (see chapter II)], art [as John Dewey and Goodman have done, each in their own way and more or less successfully, with occasional lapses into dualism and rationalism (see chapters III and VIII)], history [as White himself has done, and other empiricists before and after him had also done (see chapter VII)], law [as Oliver Wendell Holmes has done, and as his old boyhood-friend James also suggested we do later on (see chapter IX)], and most importantly, at least for White's overarching argument, morality and politics as well  [as John Rawls has done in notable and commendable ways (see chapter X)]. The key point of his overarching argument --also his main point of contention with Quine over whether a strict and firm distinction can be drawn justifiably between science and ethics-- is first introduced and substantiated further in chapters I and X-XI respectively. 

Consistently then with his holistic, empirical and pragmatic stance, White argues that what distinguishes the different disciplines associated with various elements of culture is their different vocabularies and substantive statements, and not the fact that we use fundamentally different methods in supporting these statements.      

As already suggested above, White's book, comprising 11 chapters, weaves together two main threads: one that is historical and another that is, properly speaking, more argumentative.  It is clearly written, carefully argued, and full of noteworthy details from a scholarly point of view. In each chapter, White takes great care in sorting out judiciously and fairly the valid and positive points from the objectionable and untenable contributions of the philosophers he discusses.

In order to convey more than a superficial appreciation of the main thrust of his view, I will focus on his characterization of holistic pragmatism, and examine how he uses it in his defense against Quine's arguments. My main concern, however, is to take some critical measure of the way in which White 'cashes in' his central claim, namely, that "philosophy of culture is philosophy enough," and the fruitfulness that an analysis such as his can be brought to bear in the context of contemporary philosophy and discussions of culture.  

(I) The Rationalistic Tradition or the "Fruitless Quest for Certainty"

Since the primary target of his holistic pragmatism is rationalism in its various forms --overt or covert, half-hearted or full-fledged, partial or full-blown - it might help motivate his discussion of the former to take a brief historical perspective.

White believes quite rightly, I think, that much of the history of philosophy has been, in the words of Dewey, a fruitless "quest for certainty" (x, 5, 52), and that Dewey himself, like many other philosophers before and after, and well into the 20th century, have in fact contributed to that quest deliberately or unwittingly.

White shows that this was certainly the case in earlier centuries with Descartes (3-4, 7, 24, 66, 70), Locke (22, 156-7), Hume (63-6), Kant (72-3, 174, 182), even Hegel (78, 87-8) and J. S. Mill (72-3). Although White argues extensively and in an original way which may in fact qualify as a revisionist reading that the case against Hume (contrary to what commentators assume) may not be as straightforward as is commonly assumed (see White, 2000 for details). In some sense, one could say nevertheless that both Hume and Mill, to single them out, did not go far enough in their rejection of rationalism. But these philosophers were not the only ones who succumbed to "the siren song" of rationalism --half or full-fledged. Others, who are not typically associated with rationalism given their radically different approaches and avowed interest in various aspects of culture, followed suit. These include: Feuerbach, Nietzsche, and Friedrich Engels, to mention a few. (88).  

  In addition to these figures from earlier centuries, there were a number of empirically- minded philosophers in the early 20th century who were, as White puts it, "part-time rationalists." Pierre Duhem, for example, an early advocate of holism in the philosophy of physics, whose name became subsequently associated with the so-called "Duhemian conjunction (of hypotheses),."[2] maintained nevertheless a sharp epistemic distinction between physical and mathematical truth, and so, his philosophy retained vestiges of rationalism (54-6). William James, once characterized approvingly by Russell (56-8), as a proponent of holistic pragmatism, also maintained inconsistently with his general stance a sharp distinction between truths "coerced by the ideal order" as opposed to those "coerced by the sensible order" (153-4). Bertrand Russell himself who was once an advocate of holistic pragmatism would later on abandon it (57). As for John Dewey, he was arguably the most anti-dualist philosopher of culture of the 20th century. He dealt not only with art, but with history, education, religion, law, politics, and many other subjects. And though much of his thinking on these and other matters was dominated by his antipathy for the rationalism and mind-body dualism of Descartes, he did not fully escape from the influence of classical rationalism, and occasionally lapsed into the mind-body dualism that he elsewhere deplored (24) --as White shows in another demonstration of his remarkable scholarship. In the end, Dewey also seemed to uphold a distinction between two kinds of truth (ideational vs. existential) that smacked of a rationalist residue (39-40, 53-4).          

What is ironic, as White remarks, is that many of the "half-fledged rationalists" or "half-hearted anti-rationalists" were also social scientists, psychologists, historians, economists, or more generally humanists, who should have in fact rejected rationalism root and branch --or might have been expected to do so. Most of them were empirically-minded thinkers working under the varied banners of romanticism, positivism, materialism, and pragmatism, yet they somehow remained under the grip of a pure, non-empirical reason.

So why then, one may ask, did it take so long for 20th century philosophers to escape this grip and stop being seduced by the "siren song" of rationalism? And what impeded "the emergence of a thoroughgoing holistic pragmatism"? According to Morton White, one factor was certainly the wide (explicit or tacit) acceptance of Cartesian rationalism and half-rationalism, and yet another one was the predominance of views on a priori knowledge held by analytic philosophers such as Bertrand Russell, G.E. Moore, C.I. Lewis, and Rudolf Carnap. We should not forget that all of these distinguished and very influential philosophers accepted some version or other of the analytic-synthetic distinction -- though admittedly, as White points out, Moore expressed doubts about its clarity toward the end of his life" (5).

What about Wittgenstein? How should we assess his impact in this regard? If one could characterize two major errors from which White had to recover, so to speak, in order to apprehend clearly the viability of holistic pragmatism and its implications for a broadly construed philosophy of culture, they are: 'Error #1' Wittgenstein's view in the Tractatus, according to which "psychology is no more closely related to philosophy than any other natural science" and that "the statements of philosophy are (in fact) senseless" (xi, 70). And 'Error #2': Quine's view that "philosophy of science is philosophy enough." As for the late Wittgenstein of the Philosophical Investigations, White seems to have an overall positive assessment despite a critical qualification. According to his understanding of Wittgenstein's later views, it would seem that he "encouraged an expansive view of philosophy as the philosophy of culture as well as holistic pragmatism." But then "he also seemed to hold that some statements are factual whereas others are accepted merely on the basis of grammar." Did Wittgenstein actually accept a sharp dichotomy between analytic and synthetic truth? If he did, then, White would have to conclude that his philosophy contained a vestige of rationalism. But, in the final analysis, he prefers to think that "he was more of an ally of holistic pragmatism than he is often made out to be," especially, he adds, because "he encouraged philosophers to describe the many uses of language" in various areas of culture (63).         

(II) Holistic Pragmatism --Or, How Quine Got Hoisted with His Own Petard?

It is befitting at this stage to engage the discussion of the doctrine of holistic pragmatism --as an attempt to radically put in question the analytic-synthetic distinction which was so central to the logical positivists' program (60).

Holistic pragmatism basically rejects the Cartesian conception of philosophy and objects fundamentally to the view that no mathematical or logical principles can be abandoned in the face of "a recalcitrant experience," to use Quine's expression. Furthermore, it holds that if a statement reporting an experience is rejected, the whole conjunction that logically implies it may be rejected; if a prediction of experience turns out to be false, at least one of the components of the whole conjunction that implies it may be rejected, and that component may even be a logical statement --unless that logical statement is itself involved in using the holistic pragmatic method of testing. [More on this in section IV].[3]       

Let's consider now Quine's formulation of the doctrine as it is laid out in his 1951 paper. He writes: "Each man is given a scientific heritage plus a continuing barrage of sensory stimulation; and the considerations which guide him in warping his scientific heritage to fit his continuing sensory promptings are, where rational, pragmatic." (1, 1953: 46). According to White, this formulation, though concise is in fact "pregnant with meaning." It is significant for the following four reasons: (i) Being about the behavior of human beings and their heritage, it is about a cultural phenomenon. (ii) Since a scientific heritage is regarded as a conjunction of many beliefs rather than as one (singular and non-conjunctive) belief, it is underwritten by a holistic view. (iii) Its reference to a barrage of sensory stimulation or a flux of experiences makes it an empiricist statement. And finally, (iv) its reference to a pragmatic warping of a scientific heritage to fit sensory promptings shows that it is obviously situated within the tradition of pragmatism (67).

Holistic pragmatism stipulates that the warpings that scientists or any other inquirers (in any other field) engage in must be done with great concern for the elegance and simplicity of the theory they ultimately adopt, and with the intention of warping the heritage conservatively, or by engaging in minimum modification (James) or mutilation (Quine) of it (22). It is here useful, I believe, to take stock of the brand of holism characteristic of James' pragmatism which has unquestionably influenced Quine's thinking on this subject.[4] It comes out clearly when he considers the question of how we test our beliefs, or as Quine would put it, how the configuration and reconfiguration of our "web of beliefs' take place.[5] 

Holistic pragmatism must then be viewed, as we have already established above, in direct opposition to rationalism, in that the latter holds that we (can) have knowledge that is not tested by experience, This opposition is illustrated in the attack that Tarksi, Quine, Goodman and White himself had mounted in the 50s and 60s on the logical positivists' distinction between analytic and synthetic statements. The latter, as we may recall, claimed that all truths of logic are analytic because they are true by virtue of the meanings of their terms and therefore not tested by experience. In contrast, holistic philosophers argue that because a scientific theory is a conjunction of logical statements and statements of natural science, a scientist's sensory experience may lead her to reject even a logical component of that conjunction in an effort to make the scientific theory fit those sensory promptings. For this reason, among others, holistic pragmatists reject the analytic-synthetic distinction as unclear, obscure and untenable.  Finally, they argue that statements of metaphysics or ontology are also conjuncts of a holistically conceived scientific theory that is pragmatically warped to fit sensory experience.

White makes it clear that he agrees with most of Quine's characterization of the way in which natural scientists warp their heritage, but he points out that it is his restrictive and selective focus that he finds problematic and objectionable. In particular, he disagrees with Quine's arguments to keep science and the philosophy of science on a pedestal and separate from other human endeavors, and thereby blocking the path toward a broadly and more democratically construed approach to culture and the philosophy of culture.  He writes: "What separates Quine and me on this issue is not his behaviorism but his selective behaviorism, which is motivated by his initial philosophical inclination to regard knowledge more narrowly than I do and which impels him to build epistemic walls between science and ethics that I decline to build or buttress" (167). And he adds, quite significantly and decisively, I believe, that it has sometimes occurred to him that if Quine were to discover that a proposed criterion for being cognitive did in fact apply to ethical statements, he might count that as an argument against the criterion itself. Whereas he would be inclined to say that a criterion for being cognitive which leads to the conclusion that ethical statements are not cognitive is defective for that very reason.  After all, he points out, most of us say that we believe, and some of us say that we know, that ethical statements are true. This is one of the reasons, he claims, why he has argued that they should be accepted as elements of a Duhemian conjunction (of beliefs) which is anchored in sensory experience and emotional experience, and that in ethics, we use a Duhemian conjunction to work out a manageable structure into the flux of sensations and feelings of moral obligations, whereas in science, we use a Duhemian conjunction to work out a manageable structure into the flux of sensory experiences. (6, 76, 168).           

In order to make his case, White often turns Quine's own arguments against him --in an effort, so to speak, to hoist him with his own petard. Thus, though he adopts Quine's holism, he argues in contrast for a non-reductive holism (157). While Quine has questioned against the positivists the epistemic separation between science and ontology, White takes a similar path, but this time, in order to undermine Quine's separation of science from ethics. He does not share his inclination to distinguish between the cognitive and the moral.

He calls into question two of Quine's claims: (1) We can judge the morality of an act only on the basis of our moral principles themselves. (2) A coherence theory of truth is the lot of ethics --while, of course, the correspondence theory of truth is naturally the lot of natural science. White rejects (1), because, in his mind, it lends support to the view that our ethical principles are somehow self-evident guarantors of singular moral judgments with no anchor in our feelings. He prefers to anchor a conjunction of moral and descriptive beliefs in a combination of sentences with varying degrees of observationality. He rejects (2) because, in his view, experience includes feelings of moral obligation as well as sensory experiences.  For White, our heritage contains not only beliefs of logic and natural science, but moral beliefs as well --since, as he puts it, "a moral judge tries to organize a flux consisting of feelings of moral obligation as well as of sensory experiences" (3, 76). In addition to "observation-sentences" (with varying degrees of observationality), White wishes to countenance "feeling-sentences" (with varying degrees of normativity). This in effect serves indirectly to underwrite his thoroughgoing "radical empiricism," while at the same time avoiding the "scientism" of Quine's view. 

The distinction that Quine wanted to establish and maintain between science and ethics is in White's view untenable. The kind of warping of our scientific heritage that a scientist engages in can also take place in ethics as well as in other areas. As a "methodological monist," as he occasionally calls himself, and a consistent proponent of holistic pragmatism, White believes that we test both our physical and moral beliefs by checking our so-called "Duhemian conjunctions" against a pool of experiences --to be sure, differently constituted kinds of experiences, but experiences nevertheless: in the former case a pool consisting wholly of sensory experiences, and in the latter case a pool composed of both sensory experiences and feelings of obligations (169). Though we may treat some beliefs with great respect or conservatively, and we often do, this is no guarantee that we will always respect them or kindred beliefs, when trouble arises in a system or web in which they play a part. The detailed arguments that he articulates and levels rigorously against Quine are, in my view, correct and rather convincing (155-170).  In the final analysis, White gives us good reasons to reject the restrictive position that Quine defends, namely, once again, that "philosophy of science is philosophy enough." This is arguably, as he puts it, a remnant of the logical positivism against which Quine reacted --but apparently insufficiently (3).

(III) Can Holistic Pragmatism be Justified? --Without Self-Serving Loopholes

One final set of questions must be addressed before drawing this discussion to a close. How can holistic pragmatism be ultimately justified?  Is it just an empirical description (with a certain degree of generality) of what scientists, moralists or any other inquirers engage in, or is it a rule with a certain prescriptive and normative power?  In either case, is it such that one can be prompted to revise or reject it on the basis of a required warping of our heritage to fit with our continuing sensory promptings, to accommodate new facts, new realizations, new moral or scientific beliefs, or is it such that we must seek to preserve it at all costs, and should not discard it lightly? And last but not least, isn't holistic pragmatism ultimately compelled to assume a questionable distinction of the kind that White sought to undermine throughout his discussion?  E.g. a priori vs. a posteriori, or analytic vs. synthetic?  To his credit, White takes up these questions and attempts in a final chapter to answer them. 

White argues, in reply, that holistic pragmatist can and should say that "some logical principles are immune to rejection by experience --namely, those involved in his hypothetico-deductive method of testing--and that the doctrine of holistic pragmatism is also immune to quick and easy rejection by experience because he resolves to hold on to it (179; see section II). What this implies under White's analysis is this: the Duhemian conjunction or scientific heritage of each scientist or empirically-minded inquirer contains two kinds of statements, those that they resolve to immunize against easy refutation by experience and those that they do not immunize in such a manner. For White, as we have seen earlier, the heritage of a holistic pragmatist is rather heterogeneous in composition; it may include logical, epistemological, physical or even moral statements. A holistic pragmatist may begin (as a descriptive epistemologist) by making an empirical statement about the behavior of scientists, in which case he is merely describing the actual practices by which they support and test their beliefs, but he may later on (as a normative epistemologist) issue a rule, according to which no experience may constitute sufficient ground for rejecting holistic pragmatism itself. And in so doing, he would take on a different role, akin in some sense to that of the legislator who transforms a customary practice into law. By thus transforming his description of how scientists do support and test their beliefs into a prescription (a rule or convention) of how they should do so, White argues, a holistic pragmatist may protect his doctrine from refutation by a skeptic or critic who considers it merely as an empirical, descriptive hypothesis.

The advantage gained from regarding holistic pragmatism as a rule is that it enables us to make sense of epistemology as a normative discipline, in addition to being a descriptive endeavor. But to say so however, and White stresses this crucial point, does not entail that it is immutable. In fact, consistently with the central tenets of holistic pragmatism, it must now be clear that nothing is in fact considered to be immutable, and nothing is immune or immunized once and for all and absolutely from possible revision or rejection. All beliefs are subject to possible revisions and eventual rejection. However some beliefs may be more immunized than others, relatively speaking. Some may even be pinned down, while others are unpinned. And so, to say that holistic pragmatism is a rule suggests that it is for the time being pinned down for all practical and theoretical purposes, and that, as such, it is not to be cast off lightly or discarded easily. As White puts it: "...the principle of holistic pragmatism is one that a holistic pragmatist does not lightly surrender" (181-2). Elsewhere, he also states: "In my view, the principle of holistic pragmatism resists change in the highest degree, and that is why we resolve to hold on to it" (183; see also section II).  White goes on to stress again and again, in so many different ways, that resolving to accepting and holding on to holistic pragmatism does not mean that it can never be altered or surrendered. For, "what is once pinned down does not have to be always pinned down." It means however that in order to warrant and effectuate either of those changes a very powerful argument is required. 

By thus distinguishing between an empirical description and a rule, as White does, isn't he in the end committing in turn the cardinal "sin of epistemic dualism" that he has so vehemently sought to expiate from the work of other philosophers? Isn't such a distinction itself as problematic and objectionable as the analytic-synthetic distinction, or the a priori-a posteriori distinction? In response, White writes: "Of this sin I believe I am not guilty for a reason that I repeat: a rule, like a legal statute is not immutable, since changes in the institution of scientific thinking requires its rules to change as changes in customs requires the laws of a country to change. Therefore, the rule of holistic pragmatism differs from the analytic, a priori, necessary, and self-evident truth that classical rationalists such as Descartes and half-rationalists such as Hume accept. And so long as this rule is regarded as mutable, it is not separated from empirical beliefs by the epistemic chasm that rationalism creates" (186).

(IV) A Few Thoughts in Guise of a Final Evaluation

Philosophers seeking a distinctive role for philosophy should not feel uneasy for being relieved of a 'first job' they thought they had (i.e., analyzing attributes, meanings, essences in a priori manner), and that they have for the most part performed poorly or even miserably. They have always had all along a 'second job', which they have performed rather well and at times admirably, though not always consistently enough (i.e., describing and evaluating the ways in which we form beliefs, support and test them) and which could well substitute for the first one. They should not fear that the tasks that they must now perform to fulfill their new job requirements --those of the descriptive and normative epistemologist--make them look like (or in any case, not essentially different from) many other inquirers in various areas who espouse and exemplify holistic pragmatism in various ways in their respective work. It is only when philosophers are willing and ready to take up the pair of tasks described above that they will be able to "avoid the blind alleys of rationalism" and come to accept fully that "philosophy of culture is philosophy enough" (187).

When we finally take the proper and full measure of White's project, and when all is added up, it becomes apparent, as I have mentioned at the outset, that in order to redefine the proper and only viable kind of philosophy, in accord with the doctrine of holistic pragmatism, White must do away with a number of dualisms, distinctions and divisions which have saddled Western philosophy for much of its history --esp., modern and up to the better part of the 20th century. It also becomes apparent that the philosophy of culture that he advocates must be anti-metaphysical, anti-foundationalist, anti-rationalist, anti-skepticism, anti-reductionist holism, anti-reductive naturalism, and arguably, anti-scientism -- not to mention several other oppositions that may well be applicable. The (descriptive and normative) epistemology that he favors must be empirical, holistic, pragmatic, but one could also assume, naturalized, yet socialized and historicized as well.        

Perhaps the single, most overriding merit of White's enterprise is that he seeks to do so from the perspective of a rehabilitated and more consistently construed pragmatism, that is firmly anchored in a "radical empiricism" of the kind that James was not able to carry through consistently, and which may be akin to what has in more recent years been characterized as 'superior empiricism,"[6] taking its cue from a statement to that effect by F.W.J. von Schelling. 

 In some sense, one might very plausibly say that White has in effect undertaken (to use a term that may well be anathema in this context) the 'deconstruction' of dualistic or binary systems of thought along with the traditional assumptions and pretensions which have characteristically dominated most, if not all, of the history of Western philosophy. To this extent, he may thus be joining those philosophers, in the so-called Continental tradition, who have also endeavored to do just that for the past 40-50 years or so.[7] But this naturally compels us to ask whether White is therefore merely "breaking down an already broken and widely open door."

This however may not be fair in view of the fact that about half a century ago, in his Age of Analysis (1955), he said that "nothing could be more important than applying the techniques of analytic philosophy to subjects in the philosophy of culture." But little did he expect, he goes on to say, that by the end of the 20th century, his hope would be "realized in the work of several philosophers trained in analytic, linguistic, and pragmatic traditions, who managed to free themselves from the vestiges of rationalism in logical positivism." And he adds: "I think this ironic development in the history of philosophy bodes well for its future, since it opens up new avenues for humanistic inquiry. It also shows that study of the many aspects of culture is not the exclusive preserve of muddle-heads, philosophasters, and charlatans" (xiii; emphasis added).         

One may wonder in this last regard who exactly does White have in mind when using  these words? Could this be in reference to philosophers more squarely anchored in the so-called "Continental tradition"? What would White say for example about the well-known comments made by Moore and Carnap about the work of Santayana and Heidegger respectively? It is well-known that G.E. Moore dismissed Santayana's study The Life of Reason (1905-6) --a five-volume work in the philosophy of culture that dealt with art, religion, morals and science--by saying: "This book is so wanting in clearness of thought that I doubt whether it can be of much use to anyone."[8] Similarly, it is well-known that Carnap also dismissed Heidegger's Being and Time (1927) as consisting essentially of pseudo-statements and even outright nonsense.[9]      

If White intended somehow, wittingly or unwittingly, to revive or perpetuate the divide between traditions, then one may have to conclude that his book is in the end merely of historical interest, still caught up in a rear-guard outlook and perspective, rather than truly advancing the philosophical debate about philosophy or philosophy of culture, or for that matter, the contemporary debate raging today in cultural politics. It seems to me that such a debate has already moved in many ways beyond the traditional concerns of Analytic philosophy or even those of the Continental philosophy toward what we may more properly characterize as "post-Analytic and meta-Continental philosophy" --of the kind that John McCumber, for example, to his credit, has been urging and defending in his latest book, Reshaping Reason: Toward a New Philosophy (2005),[10] and in which he argues for a broadly construed philosophy (of culture) in time, in its time, or rather, a philosophy that enable us to inhabit more fully our time in its various dimensions, as temporal and relational beings that we are, by rationally constructing situations, or situating us --in so many different ways, and in diverse areas of human activities.




Chokr, Nader N. "Philosophy in Time, or, How to Inhabit Time?--A Critique of Temporal Reason." A Critical Review of John McCumber. Reshaping Reason: Toward a New Philosophy. In Philosophy in Review/Comptes Rendus Philosophiques. Vol. 26, No. 3, June 2006; 222-25.

-------------. On the Uses and Abuses of 'Culture' in Contemporary Philosophy. New York- Amsterdam: Rodopi, forthcoming in 2007.

Deleuze, Gilles. Difference and Repetition. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.

Heidegger, M. Being and Time. (1927). Translated. by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. London: SCM Press, 1962.

James, William. Pragmatism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1975.

McCumber, John. Reshaping Reason: Toward a New Philosophy. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2005.

Moore, G.E. "A Review of Santayana's The Life of Reason." International Journal of Ethics 17 (1906-07): 248.  

Quine, W.V. "Two Dogmas of Empiricism." In From a Logical Point of View: Nine Logico-Philosophical Essays. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953, pp. 20-46. Originally published in Philosophical Review 60 (1951).

Santayana, G. The Life of Reason. Or, The Phases of Human Progress. Vol. 1-5. New York: Scribner's; London: Constable. 1905-06.

Schelling, F. W. J. von. On the History of Modern Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

White, Morton. "A Philosophical Letter of Alfred Tarski." Journal of Philosophy 84 (1987): 28-32. 

--------------. "The Psychologism of Hume and Quine Compared." In Proceedings of the 20th World Congress of Philosophy. Ed. M.D. Gedney. Philosophy Documentation Center. (Bowling Green: KY: 2000), 7: 151-59. 

--------------. The Age of Analysis: Twentieth Century Philosohers. Boston: 1955.


[1] Or, for that matter, in the sense in which it is, for example, put into play in my own recent work. See Nader N. Chokr, On the Uses and Abuses of 'Culture' in Contemporary Philosophy. (Forthcoming publication by Rodopi, 2007). I am here talking about the concept of 'culture' contrasted with of 'civilization,' or rather the various conceptions of 'culture' commonly implicated in contemporary debates on cultural politics. 

[2] Duhem declared that "an experiment () can never condemn an isolated hypothesis but only a whole theoretical group" (54)." In his view, "the only thing the experiment teaches us is that among the propositions used to predict the phenomenon and to establish whether it would be produced, there is at least one error; but where this error lies is just what it does not tell us." And he added that when a whole theory or conjunction faces a "recalcitrant experience," the physicist has no absolute principle that tells him how to repair the conjunction. For this reason, he was later on credited by both Russell and Quine for defending a most perspicuous formulation of the holism which was already present in James --albeit in a fledgling manner (56).

[3] The significance of this point will be become clear when we turn to the question of whether holistic pragmatism can ultimately be justified --without self-serving loopholes.

[4] Rather than testing an isolated belief or one belief at a time, we are in fact always implicitly evaluating what he called "a stock of opinions" that is variously composed and subject simultaneously to tests of logical consistency, experience, and emotion. James clearly describes the process by which an individual settles into new opinions by saying that "the individual has a stock of old opinions already, but he meets a new experience that puts them to a strain. Somebody contradicts them; or in a reflective moment he discovers that they contradict each other; or he hears of facts with which they are incompatible; or desires arise in him which they cease to satisfy. The result is an inward trouble to which his mind till then had been a stranger, and from which he seeks to escape by modifying his previous mass of opinions. He saves as much of it as he can, for in this matter of belief we are all extreme conservatives. So he tries to change first this opinion, then that (for they resist change very variously), until at last some new idea comes up which he can graft upon the ancient stock with a minimum of disturbance of the latter, some idea that mediates between the stock and the new experience and runs them into one another most felicitously and expediently. This new idea is then adopted as the true one. It preserves the older stock of truths with a minimum modification, stretching them just enough to make them admit the novelty, but conceiving that in ways as familiar as the case leaves possible" (21-2). In James' view, "the most violent revolutions in an individual's beliefs leave most of his old order standing" (183). [Pragmatism (1975: 34-5)].

[5] This point will also prove significant when we turn finally to the epistemological justification of holistic pragmatism itself as a rule with normative power, rather than simply looking at it as an empirical description of the activities of scientists, philosophers, historians, political and legal theorists, etc --which may or may not be valid or fruitful.

[6] Schelling wrote: "If we has a choice between empiricism and the all-oppressing necessity of thought of rationalism which had been driven to the highest point, no free spirit would be able to object to deciding in favor of empiricism" (On the History of Modern Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, 1994). In Difference and Repetition (Columbia University Press, 1995), Gilles Deleuze writes along a similar line: "The intense world of differences, in which qualities find their reason, and the sensible its being is precisely the object of a superior empiricism." It should be noted that despite the failure of the empiricist project within the Anglo-American tradition, there remains a vibrant and fertile work being pursued in other trajectories of thought. Empiricism has been variously understood as a theory of experience, of knowledge, of events, of the formation of a human nature, and of relations (thinking with 'and', instead of thinking 'is', or for 'is''; empiricism, it is said, has never had another secret). It may actually be worthwhile exploring and rendering a bit more explicit this alternative form of empiricism which seems to inform the thought and/or work of a disparate group of philosophers, including, Lucretius, Spinoza, Schelling, James, Nietzsche, Bergson, Levinas, Merleau-Ponty, and Deleuze, and the kind of 'radical empiricism' underlying White's holistic pragmatism.           

[7] It is a testament to the sad state of affairs which has prevailed for most of the 20th century and still does unfortunately today, in the academic philosophical world that the Anglo-American Analytic tradition and the Continental tradition have remained for the most part incommunicado and unable to fruitfully interact and meaningfully cross-fertilize each other. This may explain in part at least why so many philosophers have simply been spinning their wheels without much traction or simply "re-inventing the wheel" over and over. As John McCumber quite aptly argued in his latest book, philosophers today find themselves trapped in a doubly 'aporetic' situation: either they remain within the old way of trying to establish truths by way of arguments alone, in which case they restrict themselves to a self-enclosed 'island' of fantastic reifications (analytic philosophers), or they hopelessly struggle to free themselves without much success and therefore go nowhere quickly (continental philosophers). As a result, the former find it increasingly difficult to explain themselves to non-philosophers since that would require them to deal with realities that are not to be found on their fantasy island, while the latter find that they can explain nothing at all to anyone, so they become permanently subversive strugglers. (Reshaping Reason: Toward a New Philosophy. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2005, p.7)  

[8] G. E. Moore. International Journal of Ethics 17 (1906-07): 248.

[9] It is also well-known that A.J. Ayer was even more dismissive of the philosophical value of Heidegger's work than Carnap. But then, how do (and should) we evaluate such statements in light of the incontrovertible impact--historical as well as philosophical--that his work has unquestionably had on contemporary philosophy. The work of many influential and consequential contemporary philosophers in their own right is simply unimaginable without acknowledging the huge debt they owe to Heidegger --no matter how difficult and at times impenetrable his discourse has been. 

[10] For details, see Nader N. Chokr's discussion in Philosophy in Review/Comptes Rendus Philosophiques, Vol. 26, No. 3, June 2006; 222-25.

© 2006 Nader N. Chokr


Nader N. Chokr, Professor of Philosophy & Social Sciences, Shandong University, Jinan, China


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