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Posts Tagged ‘Conferences’

Workshop: Mathematics and methodology from Newton to Euler

Monday, March 3rd, 2014 | No Comments

University of Sydney

20 March, 2014

9:15-5:30

 

Program:

  • 9.15 Katherine Dunlop (Texas): ‘Christian Wolff on Newtonianism and Exact Science’
  • 10.45 Coffee
  • 11.00 Peter Anstey (Sydney): ‘From scientific syllogisms to mathematical certainty’
  • 12.30 Lunch
  • 2.00 Kirsten Walsh (Otago): ‘Newton’s method’
  • 3.30 Stephen Gaukroger (Sydney):  ‘D’Alembert, Euler and mid-18th century rational mechanics: what mechanics does not tell us about the world’
  • 5.00 Wind up

 

Location: Common Room 822, Level 8, Brennan MacCallum Building

Contact:    Prof Peter Anstey

Phone:       61 2 9351 2477

Email:       peter.anstey@sydney.edu.au

RSVP:      Here

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Categories: Events

Workshop in Ghent: “Matter and Nature in Early Modern Philosophy”

Friday, May 18th, 2012 | Comments Off

Thursday, June 7, 2012
Blandijnberg 2, Ghent, room 2.16

13:45-15:00 Marleen Rozemond (Toronto):
Mills can’t think: Leibniz’ approach to the mind-body problem

15:15-16:30 Katherine Dunlop (Brown):
Newton on conservation and the activity of matter

16:45-18:00 Herman De Dijn (Leuven):
Reading the book of nature and reading the Bible

More information is available here.

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Categories: Ideas

CFP: Early Modern Medicine and Natural Philosophy

Thursday, April 12th, 2012 | Comments Off

Center for the Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh
2-4 November 2012

The aim of the conference is to bring to the fore the medical context of the ‘Scientific Revolution’ and to explore the complex connections between medicine and natural philosophy in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe. Medicine and natural philosophy interacted on many levels, from the practical imperative to restore and maintain the health of human bodies to theoretical issues on the nature of living matter and the powers of the soul to methodological concerns about the appropriate way to gain knowledge of natural things. And issues of life, generation, ageing, medicine, and vital activity were important topics of investigation for canonical actors of the Scientific Revolution, from Boyle, Hooke and Locke to Descartes and Leibniz. Recent efforts to recover the medical content and contexts of their projects have already begun to reshape our understanding of these key natural philosophers. Putting medical interests in the foreground also reveals connections with a wide variety of less canonical but historically important scientists, physicians, and philosophers, such as Petrus Severinus, Fabricius ab Aquapendente, Lodovico Settala, William Harvey, Richard Lower, Thomas Willis, Louis de la Forge, and Georg Ernst Stahl. This interdisciplinary conference will bring together scholars of Renaissance and Early Modern science, medicine and philosophy to examine the projects of more and less canonical figures and trace perhaps unexpected interactions between medicine and other approaches to studying and understanding the natural world.

Submission of extended abstracts for individual paper presentations (limit 30 minutes) are invited. More information is available here.

Confirmed speakers include:
Domenico Bertoloni Meli (Indiana University)
Antonio Clericuzio (University of Cassino)
Dennis Des Chene (Washington University)
Patricia Easton (Claremont Graduate University)
Cynthia Klestinec (Miami University, Ohio)
Gideon Manning (Caltech)
Jole Shackelford (University of Minnesota)
Justin E. H. Smith (Concordia University, Montreal)

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Categories: Ideas

Workshop: Letters by Early Modern Philosophers

Thursday, January 5th, 2012 | Comments Off

The workshop is part of the 13th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas which will take place in Cyprus on 2-6 July 2012.

The workshop focuses on letters written in the seventeenth century on themes at the border between art, science, and philosophy. A presentation of the workshop topic can be found here.

Abstracts of up to 500 words should be sent to the workshop organiser, Filip Buyse, at filip.buyse1@telenet.be.

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Categories: Events

Early Modern Philosophy at the AAP

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 | Comments Off

The Annual Conference of the Australasian Association of Philosophy will start in 10 days and the abstracts have just been published. We were very pleased to see that there are plenty of papers on early modern philosophy. We are re-posting the abstracts below.

As you will see, Juan, Kirsten, Peter, and I are presenting papers on early modern x-phi and the origins of empiricism. Come and say hi if you’re attending the conference. If you aren’t, but would like to read our papers, let us know and we’ll be happy to send you a draft. Our email addresses are listed here. We’d love to hear your feedback.

Peter Anstey, The Origins of Early Modern Experimental Philosophy
This paper investigates the origins of the distinction between experimental and speculative philosophy (ESP) in the mid-seventeenth century. It argues that there is a significant prehistory to the distinction in the analogous division between operative and speculative philosophy, which is commonly found in late scholastic philosophy and can be traced back via Aquinas to Aristotle. It is argued, however, the ESP is discontinuous with this operative/speculative distinction in a number of important respects. For example, the latter pertains to philosophy in general and not to natural philosophy in particular. Moreover, in the late Renaissance operative philosophy included ethics, politics and oeconomy and not observation and experiment – the things which came to be considered constitutive of the experimental philosophy. It is also argued that Francis Bacon’s mature division of the sciences, which includes a distinction in natural philosophy between the operative and the speculative, is too dissimilar from the ESP to have been an adumbration of this later distinction. No conclusion is drawn as to when exactly the ESP emerged, but a series of important developments that led to its distinctive character are surveyed.

Russell Blackford, Back to Locke: Freedom of Religion and the Secular State
For Locke, religious persecution was the problem – and a secular state apparatus was the solution. Locke argued that there were independent reasons for the state to confine its attention to “”civil interests”" or interests in “”the things of this world”". If it did so, it would not to motivated to impose a favoured religion or to persecute disfavoured ones. Taken to its logical conclusion, this approach has implications that Locke would have found unpalatable. We, however, need not hesitate to accept them.

Michael Couch, Hume’s Philosophy of Education
Hume has rarely been considered a contributor to the philosophy of education, which is unsurprising as he did not write a dedicated treastise nor make large specific comment, and so educators and philosophers have focused their attention elsewhere. However, I argue that a more careful reading of his works reveals that education is a significant concern, specificially of enriching the minds of particular people. I argue that his educational ideas occupy an important, although not major, place in his writings, and also an important place in the history of ideas as Hume fills a gap after Locke, and provides the framework for the much more educationally influential Bentham and Mill.

Gillian Crozier, Feyerabend on Newton: A defense of Newton’s empiricist method
In “Classical Empiricism,” Paul Feyerabend draws an analogy between Isaac Newton’s empiricist methodology and the Protestant faith’s primary tenet sola scriptura. He argues that the former – which dictates that ‘experience’ or the ‘book of nature’ is the sole justified basis for all knowledge of the external world – and the latter – which dictates that the sole justified basis for all religious understanding is Scripture – are equally vacuous. Feyerabend contends that Newton’s empiricism, which postures that experience is the sole legitimate foundation of scientific beliefs, serves to disguise supplementary background assumptions that are not observer-neutral but are steeped in tradition, dogma, and socio-cultural factors. He focuses on Newton’s treatment of perturbations in the Moon’s orbit, arguing that this typifies how Newton supports his theory by cherry-picking illustrations and pruning them of anomalies through the incorporation of ad hoc assumptions. We defend Newton’s notion of empirical success, arguing that Newton’s treatment of the variational inequality in the lunar orbit significantly adds to the empirical success a rival hypothesis would have to overcome.

Simon Duffy, The ‘Vindication’ of Leibniz’s Account of the Differential. A Response to Somers-Hall
In a recent article in Continental Philosophy Review, entitled ‘Hegel and Deleuze on the metaphysical interpretation of the calculus,’ Henry Somers-Hall claims that ‘the Leibnizian interpretation of the calculus, which relies on infinitely small quantities is rejected by Deleuze’(Somers-Hall 2010, 567). It is important to clarify that this claim does not entail the rejection of Leibniz’s infinitesimal, which Leibniz considered to be a useful fiction, and which continues to play a part in Deleuze’s account of the metaphysics of the calculus. In order to further clarify the terms of this debate, I will take up two further issues with Somers-Hall’s presentation of Deleuze’s account of the calculus. The first is with the way that recent work on Deleuze’s account of the calculus is reduced to what Somers-Hall refers to as ‘modern interpretations of the calculus,’ by which he means set-theoretical accounts. The second is that this reduction by Somers-Hall of ‘modern interpretations of the calculus’ to set-theoretical accounts means that his presentation of Deleuze’s account of the calculus is only partial, and the partial character of his presentation leads him to make a number of unnecessary presumptions about the presentation of Deleuze’s account of the ‘metaphysics of the calculus’.

Sandra Field, Spinoza and Radical Democracy
Antonio Negri’s radical democratic interpretation of Benedictus de Spinoza’s political philosophy has received much attention in recent years. Its central contention is that Spinoza considers the democratic multitude to have an inherent ethical power capable of grounding a just politics. In this paper, I argue to the contrary that such an interpretation gets Spinoza back to front: the ethical power of the multitude is the result of a just and fair political institutional order, not its cause. The consequences of my argument extend beyond Spinoza studies. For Spinoza gives a compelling argument for his rejection of a politics relying on the virtue of a mass subject; for him, such a politics substitutes moral posturing for understanding, and fails to grasp the determinate causes of the pathologies of human social order. Radical democrats hoping to achieve effective change would do well to lay aside a romanticised notion of the multitude and pay attention to the more mundane question of institutional design.

Juan Gomez, Hume’s Four Dissertations: Revisiting the Essay on Taste
Sixteen years ago a number of papers and discussions considering Hume’s essay on taste emerged in various journals. They deal with a number of issues that have been commonly thought to arise from the argument of the essay: some authors take Hume to be proposing two different standards of taste, other think that his argument is circular, and other focus on the role the standard and the critics play in Hume’s theory. I believe that all the issues that have been identified arise from a reading of the essay that takes it out of its context of publication, and mistakes Hume’s purpose in the essay. In this paper I want to propose an interpretation of the essay on taste that takes into account two key aspects: the unity of the dissertations that were published along with the essay on taste in 1757, under the title of Four Dissertations, and Hume’s commitment to the Experimental Philosophy of the early modern period. I believe that these two contextual aspects of the essay provide a reading of the essay on taste that besides solving the identified issues, gives us a good idea of its aim and purposes.

Jack MacIntosh, Models and Methods in the Early Modern Period: 4 case studies
In this paper I consider the various roles of models in early modern natural philosophy by looking at four central cases: Marten on the germ theory of disease. Descartes, Boyle and Hobbes on the spring of the air; The calorific atomists, Digby, Galileo, et al. versus the kinetic theorists such as Boyle on heat and cold; and Descartes, Boyle and Hooke on perception. Did models in the early modern period have explanatory power? Were they taken literally? Did they have a heuristic function? Unsurprisingly, perhaps, consideration of these four cases (along with a brief look at some others) leads to the conclusion that the answer to each of these questions is yes, no, or sometimes, depending on the model, and the modeller, in question. I consider briefly the relations among these different uses of models, and the role that such models played in the methodology of the ‘new philosophy.’ Alan Gabbey has suggested an interesting threefold distinction among explanatory types in the early modern period, and I consider, briefly, the way in which his classification scheme interacts with the one these cases suggest.

Kari Refsdal, Kant on Rational Agency as Free Agency
Kant argued for a close relationship between rational, moral, and free agency. Moral agency is explained in terms of rational and free agency. Many critics have objected that Kant’s view makes it inconceivable how we could freely act against the moral law – i.e., how we could freely act immorally. But of course we can! Henry Allison interprets Kant so as to make his view compatible with our freedom to violate the moral law. In this talk, I shall argue that Allison’s interpretation is anachronistic. Allison’s distinction between freedom as spontaneity and freedom as autonomy superimposes on Kant a contemporary conception of the person. Thus, Allison does not succeed in explaining how an agent can freely act against the moral law within a Kantian framework.

Alberto Vanzo, Rationalism and Empiricism in the Historiography of Early Modern Philosophy
According to standard histories of philosophy, the early modern period was dominated by the struggle between Descartes’, Spinoza’s, and Leibniz’s Continental Rationalism and Locke’s, Berkeley’s, and Hume’s British Empiricism. The paper traces the origins of this account of early modern philosophy and questions the assumptions underlying it.

Kirsten Walsh, Structural Realism, the Law-Constitutive Approach and Newton’s Epistemic Asymmetry
In his famous pronouncement, Hypotheses non fingo, Newton reveals a distinctive feature of his methodology: namely, he has asymmetrical epistemic commitments. He prioritises theories over hypotheses, physical properties over the nature of phenomena, and laws over matter. What do Newton’s epistemic commitments tell us about his ontological commitments? I examine two possible interpretations of Newton’s epistemic asymmetry: Worrall’s Structural Realism and Brading’s Law-Constitutive Approach. I argue that, while both interpretations provide useful insights into Newton’s ontological commitment to theories, physical properties and laws, only Brading’s interpretation sheds light on Newton’s ontological commitment to hypotheses, nature and matter.

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Experimental Philosophy and the Origins of Empiricism: Symposium Abstracts

Monday, March 28th, 2011 | Comments Off

Hello, readers!

Below are the abstracts of the papers that we will discuss at the upcoming symposium on experimental philosophy and the origins of empiricism. The symposium will take place at the University of Otago in Dunedin, NZ, on the 18th and 19th of April and you can find the programme here.

If you would like to attend but have not registered yet, drop an email to Peter. Attendance is free, but we’d like to have an idea of how many people are coming. If you cannot attend, but are interested in some of the papers, let Alberto know. We are happy to circulate them in advance and would love to hear your comments. Also, check this blog in the weeks after the symposium. We will post discussions and commentaries on the papers. We’re looking forward to extend our discussions to the blog. We might also post the video of one of our sessions if we manage to.

Word cloud of our symposium abstracts

Peter Anstey, The Origins of the Experimental-Speculative Distinction
This paper investigates the origins of the distinction between experimental and speculative philosophy (ESP) in the mid-seventeenth century. It argues that there is a significant prehistory to the distinction in the analogous division between operative and speculative philosophy, which is commonly found in late scholastic philosophy and can be traced back via Aquinas to Aristotle. It is argued, however, the ESP is discontinuous with this operative/speculative distinction in a number of important respects. For example, the latter pertains to philosophy in general and not to natural philosophy in particular. Moreover, in the late Renaissance operative philosophy included ethics, politics and oeconomy and not observation and experiment – the things which came to be considered constitutive of the experimental philosophy. It is also argued that Francis Bacon’s mature division of the sciences, which includes a distinction in natural philosophy between the operative and the speculative, is too dissimilar from the ESP to have been an adumbration of this later distinction. No conclusion is drawn as to when exactly the ESP emerged, but a series of important developments that led to its distinctive character are surveyed.

Related posts: Who invented the Experimental Philosophy?

Juan Gomez, The Experimental Method and Moral Philosophy in the Scottish Enlightenment
One of the key aspects, perhaps the most important one, of the enlightenment in Great Britain is the scientifically driven mind set of the intellectuals of the time. This feature, together with the emphasis of the importance of the study of human nature gave rise to the ‘science of man.’ It was characterized by the application of methods used in the study of the whole of nature to inquiries about our own human nature. This view is widely accepted among scholars, who constantly mention that the way of approaching moral philosophy in the eighteenth century was by considering it as much a science as natural philosophy, and therefore the methods of the latter should be applied to the former. Nowhere is this more evident than in the texts on moral philosophy by the Scottish intellectuals. But despite the common acknowledgement of this feature, the specific details and issues of the role of the experimental method within moral philosophy have not been fully explored. In this paper I will explore the salient features of the experimental method that was applied in the Scottish moral philosophy of the enlightenment by examining the texts of a range of intellectuals.

Related posts: Turnbull and the ‘spirit’ of the experimental method; David Fordyce’s advice to students.

Peter Anstey, Jean Le Rond d’Alembert and the Experimental Philosophy
If the experimental/speculative distinction provided the dominant terms of reference for early modern philosophy before Kant, one would expect to find evidence of this in mid-eighteenth-century France amongst the philosophes associated with Diderot’s Encyclopédie project. Jean Le Rond d’Alembert’s ‘Preliminary Discourse’ to the Encyclopedie provides an ideal test case for the status of the ESP in France at this time. This is because it is a methodological work in its own right, and because it sheds light on d’Alembert’s views on experimental philosophy expressed elsewhere as well as the views of others among his contemporaries. By focusing on d’Alembert and his ‘Discourse’ I argue that the ESP was central to the outlook of this philosophe and some of his eminent contemporaries.

Kirsten Walsh, De Gravitatione and Newton’s Mathematical Method
Newton’s manuscript De Gravitatione was first published in 1962, but its date of composition is unknown. Scholars have attempted to date the manuscript, but they have not yet reached a consensus. There have been two main attempts to date De Gravitatione. Hall & Hall (1962) argue for an early date of 1664 to 1668, but no later than 1675. Dobbs (1991) argues for a later date of late-1684 to early-1685. Each side lists handwriting analysis and various conceptual developments as evidence.
In the first part of this paper, I examine the evidence provided by these two attempts. I argue that the evidence presented provides a lower limit of 1668 and an upper limit of 1684. In the second part of this paper, I compare De Gravitatione‘s two-pronged methodology with the mathematical method in Newton’s early optical papers composed between 1672 and 1673. I argue that the two-pronged methodology of De Gravitatione is a more sophisticated version of the mathematical method used in Newton’s early optical papers. Given this new evidence, I conclude that Newton probably composed De Gravitatione after 1673.

Related posts: Newton’s Method in ‘De gravitatione’

Alberto Vanzo, Experimental Philosophy in Eighteenth Century Germany
The history of early modern philosophy is traditionally interpreted in the light of the dichotomy between empiricism and rationalism. Yet this distinction was first developed by Kant and his followers in the late eighteenth century. Many early modern thinkers who are usually categorized as empiricists associated themselves with the research program of experimental philosophy and labelled their opponents speculative philosophers. Did Kant and his followers know the tradition of experimental philosophy and the historical distinction between experimental and speculative philosophy? If so, what prompted them to introduce the historiographical distinction between empiricism and rationalism?
To answer these questions, the first part of the paper focuses on Christian Wolff, the most influential German philosopher of the first half of the eighteenth century. It is argued that Wolff developed his philosophy in a way that was orthogonal to the experimental-speculative distinction. The second part of the paper argues that the distinction experimental-speculative distinction was known and widely used by Kant’s contemporaries from the 1770s to the end of the century. It is concluded that Kant and his followers were well aware of experimental philosophy. Their choice not to focus on the ESD must have been a deliberate one.

Related posts: Experiment and Hypothesis, Theory and Observation: Wolff vs Newton; Tetens on Experimental vs Speculative Philosophy

Alberto Vanzo, Empiricism vs Rationalism: Kant, Reinhold, and Tennemann
Many scholars have criticized histories of early modern philosophy based on the dichotomy of empiricism and rationalism. Among the reasons for their criticism are:

    The epistemological bias: histories of philosophy which give pride of place to the rationalism-empiricism distinction (RED) overestimate the importance of epistemological issues for early modern philosophers.
    The Kantian bias: histories of early modern philosophy that embrace the RED are often biased in favour of Immanuel Kant’s philosophy. They portray Kant as the first author who uncovered the limits of rationalism and empiricism, rejected their mistakes, and incorporated their correct insights within his Critical philosophy.
    The classificatory bias: histories of philosophy based on the RED tend to classify all early modern philosophers prior to Kant into either the empiricist, or the rationalist camps. However, these classifications have proven far from convincing.

After summarizing Kant’s discussions of empiricism and rationalism, the paper argues that Kant did not have the classificatory, Kantian, and epistemological biases. However, he promoted a way of writing histories of philosophy from which those biases would naturally flow. It is argued that those biases can be found in the early Kant-inspired historiography of Karl Leonhard Reinhold and Wilhelm Gottlieb Tennemann.

Related posts: Kant, Empiricism, and Historiographical Biases; Reinhold on Empiricism, Rationalism, and the Philosophy without Nicknames

Thanks to Wordle for the word cloud above.

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Categories: Events

Symposium on Experimental Philosophy and the Origins of Empiricism

Monday, February 7th, 2011 | Comments Off

St Margaret’s College, University of Otago, 18-19 April 2011

Monday 18 April

9.00 Introductory Session (Peter Anstey and Alberto Vanzo)

9.30 Discussion of Peter Anstey, The Origins of the Experimental/Speculative Distinction
Discussant: Gideon Manning
Chair: Alberto Vanzo

11:30 Discussion of Juan Gomez, The Experimental Method and Moral Philosophy in the Scottish Enlightenment
Discussant: Charles Pigden
Chair: Kirsten Walsh

14:30 Discussion of Kirsten Walsh, De Gravitatione and Newton’s Mathematical Method
Discussant: Keith Hutchison
Chair: Philip Catton

20:00 European Panel of Experts (video conference)
Chair: Peter Anstey

Tuesday 19 April

9:30 Discussion of Peter Anstey, Jean Le Rond d’Alembert and the Experimental Philosophy
Discussant: Anik Waldow
Chair: Juan Gomez

11:30 Discussion of Alberto Vanzo, Empiricism vs Rationalism: Kant, Reinhold, and Tennemann
Discussant: Tim Mehigan
Chair: Philip Catton

14:30 Discussion of Alberto Vanzo, Experimental Philosophy in Eighteenth Century Germany
Discussant: Eric Watkins
Chair: Peter Anstey

16:30 Final plenary session, led by Gideon Manning

17:00 Conclusion

Attendance at the symposium is free. However, space is limited, so we advise you to register early. To register and for information, please email peter.anstey@otago.ac.nz.

Abstracts of all papers are available here. If you cannot attend, but would like to read some of the papers, send us an email.

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Categories: Events

Monthly Update

Saturday, November 13th, 2010 | Comments Off

Hello, readers!

In our monthly updates, we look back at what happened on the blog in the past few weeks and we highlight recent posts, conferences, and upcoming deadlines on early modern experimental philosophy.

Since the last monthly update, we wrote on Wolff’s criticism of Newton‘s hypothesis non fingo, on whether Newton actually feigns any hypotheses and on Tetens’ distinction between experimental and speculative philosophy. We also continued our discussion with Eric Schliesser on experimental vs speculative philosophy. Peter responded to Eric’s first review of our project by distinguishing Baconian and non-Baconian forms of experimental philosophy. Eric expanded on his views on the history of experimental philosophy on the New APPS blog. Then Juan and Eric debated on Newtonianism and anti-Newtonianism in early modern moral philosophy. Many thanks to Eric Schliesser for his stimulating inputs and to Zsolt Almási and Gerhard Wiesenfeldt for their comments on the blog. They are much appreciated.

Juan and Kirsten are giving two papers at the upcoming conference of the New Zealand division of the Australasian Association of Philosophy. The conference is hosted this year by the University of Waikato in Hamilton, and it will run from the 5th to the 9th of December. Both Kirsten and Juan will be talking about topics related to their PhD research. Kirsten’s paper investigates Newton’s first optical paper, and Juan will be talking about Turnbull and the theory of association of ideas. Here are the abstracts:

Hypotheses and Newton’s First Optical Papers (by Kirsten Walsh)

Newton’s famous pronouncement, Hypotheses non fingo, is controversial. Some writers, such as Sabre and Dear, argue that Newton is merely ‘paying lip-service’ to the dominant methodological tradition. Others, such as Janiak, argue that Newton’s anti-hypotheticalism is a polemical device, designed specifically to oppose his Cartesian and Leibnizian critics. I argue that we should take Newton’s pronouncement as a genuine account of his methodology.

I take a fresh look at Newton’s anti-hypothetical stance in light of the role of hypotheses in the Baconian-experimental tradition in which Newton’s early research was conducted. I examine Newton’s earliest publications: his first papers on optics. I argue that Newton is working with a rough but genuine distinction between hypothesis and theory. This distinction is consistent with both the Baconian-experimental method and with his later anti-hypothetical pronouncements.

The Association of Ideas in Hobbes, Locke, and Turnbull (by Juan Gomez)

John Locke added a chapter titled ‘Of the Association of Ideas’ to the fourth edition (1700) of his Essay concerning Human Understanding, which most scholars regard as just an afterthought. However, it has been argued that the theory of association explained in this chapter had a remarkable influence on most thinkers of the Scottish enlightenment, including Hutcheson, Hume, and Hartley, just to name a few. In his inquiry into the development of the theory of association in eighteenth-century Britain, Martin Kallich argues that Locke was not the first thinker in the early modern period to come up with such a theory, since Hobbes had already proposed a similar doctrine in Leviathan. Kallich also thinks that Locke’s originality consists in examining the association of ideas as a “hindrance to right thinking.” Hobbes, on the other hand, has a ‘positive’ representation of the theory. If we accept Kallich’s interpretation, George Turnbull’s description of the theory of association stands as an interesting case; he mentions Locke as one of his main sources, but gives a particularly ‘positive’ version of the association of ideas. In this paper I examine the theory of association in Hobbes, Locke and Turnbull, and argue for two claims: 1.) Kallich’s interpretation is not quite accurate, since Hobbes’ version of the theory of association is not as closely related to Locke’s version as he thinks; in fact, it can’t even be regarded as a proper theory of association 2.) Turnbull’s commitment to the experimental method led him to construct a version of the association of ideas that was the opposite of what Locke meant by ’association’. I will support my claims by showing the similarities and differences in the three versions of the theory, focusing on the difference between ‘natural association’, ‘associated ideas’, and ‘trains of thought’.

Early Modern experimental philosophy on the net:

Upcoming deadlines:

That’s it for this time. Have we missed some event, call for paper, or interesting reading? Would you like us to include your writings or events in the next monthly update? Do let us know! Also, you can subscribe to our mailing list or RSS feed if you would like to be notified of new posts. For more frequent updates, follow us on Twitter. You can “like” us on Facebook by pressing the buttons at the bottom of each post and on our Facebook page if you want. But most of all, thanks for reading and feel free to send us your comments, suggestions, and criticisms.

This coming Monday Kirsten will publish a post on Newton’s views on certainty in natural science. Stay tuned!

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Categories: Updates

Monthly Update: Events, CFPs, and Readings

Thursday, October 7th, 2010 | Comments Off

Hello, readers!

Below is a list of upcoming events, call for papers, recent posts and a journal article of some relevance to early modern experimental philosophy.

Upcoming Events:

Calls for Papers with deadlines in October-November:

  • Annual Conference of the New Zealand Division of the Australasian Association of Philosophy. University of Waikato (New Zealand), 5-9 December 2010. Deadline: 29 October.
  • Hume after 300 Years: The 38th International Hume Society Conference. Edinburgh, 18-23 July 2011. Deadline: 1 November.
  • New York City Workshop in Early Modern Philosophy. New York, 25-27 February 2011. Deadline: 15 November.

Readings

Brett Fulkerson-Smith discusses Kant’s “experiment of pure reason” in the last issue of the Kantian Review.

Two reviews relating to the early Royal Society have recently been published: a review of John Gribbin’s book The Fellowship at Some Beans and a review of an exposition on John Aubrey and the roots of the Royal Society in the Times Online.

Here on our blog, we introduced ourselves and our project. We wrote about our research on Newton’s mathematical method and on the experimental method in British moral philosophy, in particular in George Turnbull. We discussed the difference between contemporary and early modern experimental philosophy. We argued that it is better to interpret the history of early modern philosophy in the light of the distinction between experimental vs speculative philosophy, rather than rationalism vs empiricism. In the comments, Neil Rickert, Benny Goldberg and Gary Banham provided valuable suggestions. Thanks!

We did not quite manage to fully convince Eric Schliesser. He discussed our ideas over at It’s Only A Theory.

Have we missed some event, call for paper, or reading? Would you like us to include your writings or events in the next monthly update? Do let us know! Also, you can subscribe to our mailing list or RSS feed if you would like to be notified of new posts. For more frequent updates, follow us on Twitter.

See you next Monday with a post on Christian Wolff vs Isaac Newton on the experimental method.

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Conference: The Rise of Empiricism

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 | Comments Off

Sydney, 6-7 September 2010
Darlington Centre, Institute Building boardroom

From the conference website:

Empiricism is often regarded as the characterising feature of modern scientific method, and, in those approaches to psychology and the social and economic sciences that seek to model themselves on successful scientific practice in the physical and life sciences, it often acts as a model of good practice. Yet what is advocated is a very simplified model in which a rarefied notion of method as value-free inquiry is presented as the essence of empiricism. The failings of such a conception have long been evident, but the motivations behind the various forms of empiricism have remained obscure. The conference will explore new avenues to the original form of empiricism and show how it was able to directly engage questions of value in a novel and revealing way, and how its connection with ‘hard’ sciences was not merely to provide a methodological gloss on these, but went to the core of what scientific explanation consisted in.

Speakers:

  • Peter Anstey (Otago University)
  • Millicent Churcher (Sydney University)
  • Stephen Gaukroger (Sydney University)
  • Peter Kail (Oxford University)
  • Rhodri Lewis (Oxford University)
  • David Macarthur (Sydney University)
  • Liam Semler (Sydney University)
  • Dejan Simko (Sydney University)
  • Alberto Vanzo (Otago University)
  • Anik Waldow (Sydney University)
  • Charles Wolfe (Sydney University)

Organiser:
Dr. Anik Waldow
Lecturer
Department of Philosophy, SOPHI
University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Telephone: +61 2 91141245
Fax: +61 2 9351 3918
Email: anik.waldow[at]sydney.edu.au

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