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1. Rationalism, Platonism and God:
2. Process-Relational Philosophy:
3. A Companion to Rationalism (Blackwell
4. The Renaissance and 17th Century
5. Reason in Philosophy: Animating
6. Greek Tragedy and Political Philosophy:
7. Between Rationalism and Empiricism:
8. A Philosophers Apprentice: In
9. The Cultural Space of the Arts
10. Origins of Logical Empiricism
11. Understanding Rationalism (Understanding
12. Reading Bayle (Toronto Studies
13. Rationalism in Greek Philosophy
14. Criticism and the History of Science:
15. Poppers Critical Rationalism:
16. The Republic of Science: the Emergence
17. Socratic Rationalism and Political
18. The Minds of the Moderns: Rationalism,
19. Rationality and Feminist Philosophy
20. The Rise of Western Rationalism:

1. Rationalism, Platonism and God: A Symposium on Early Modern Philosophy (Proceedings of the British Academy)
Hardcover: 160 Pages (2008-04-15)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$40.78
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Asin: 0197264204
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Rationalism, Platonism and Godcomprises three main papers on Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz, with extensive responses. It provides a significant contribution to the exploration of the common ground of the great early-modern Rationalist theories, and an examination of the ways in which the mainstream Platonic tradition permeates these theories.

John Cottingham identifies characteristically Platonic themes in Descartes's cosmology and metaphysics, finding them associated with two distinct, even opposed attitudes to nature and the human condition, one ancient and "contemplative", the other modern and "controlling". He finds the same tension in Descartes's moral theory, and believes that it remains unresolved in present-day ethics.

Was Spinoza a Neoplatonist theist, critical Cartesian, or naturalistic materialist? Michael Ayers argues that he was all of these. Analysis of his system reveals how Spinoza employed Neoplatonist monism against Descartes's Platonist pluralism. Yet the terminology - like the physics - is Cartesian. And within this Platonic-Cartesian shell Spinoza developed a rigorously naturalistic metaphysics and even, Ayers claims, an effectually empiricist epistemology.

Robert Merrihew Adams focuses on the Rationalists' arguments for the Platonist, anti-Empiricist principle of "the priority of the perfect", i.e. the principle that finite attributes are to be understood through corresponding perfections of God, rather than the reverse. He finds the given arguments unsatisfactory but stimulating, and offers a development of one of Leibniz's for consideration.

These papers receive informed and constructive criticism and development at the hands of, respectively, Douglas Hedley, Sarah Hutton and Maria Rosa Antognazza. ... Read more

2. Process-Relational Philosophy: An Introduction to Alfred North Whitehead
by C. Robert Mesle
Paperback: 136 Pages (2008-03-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$10.09
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Asin: 1599471329
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars wow!
This author is tremendous. He has a visionary perspective to offer the field of process thought.

5-0 out of 5 stars BUY IT!
My first introduction to process theology was a podcast interview on [...] back in June 2008 with Robert Mesle. I immediately connected to this theology/philosophy - it made total sense. At this time, my mother was dying from Alzheimer's and I just could not understand a God that would "allow" this to happen - why did he "heal" some people and not others? The "omnipotent God" I grew up with just did not make sense in the world around me. Since that time I have read anything I could find on process theology. Much of the material seemed to be over my head, but Mesle's books are written in a way that makes them accessible to "lay folk". His first book, Process Theology: A Basic Introduction, was a great intro, and his latest book goes a little deeper. BUY THIS BOOK! And I also suggest checking out his podcast interviews on the above link (do search on the page). He has an interview on this latest book as well!

5-0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life
Funny how perception constitutes a prominent factor...

The previous opinion critics the fact that the author infiltrates too much of his God oriented vision of reality....

On my side, this book left me for the first time in my lifewith a certain "comfort" facing the possibility of no sort ofGod on the driving seat of this reality.

Why?Maybe because the "relationnal" aspect of the process is so well discussed,it feels less coldsince...
The word "alone" doesn't mean anymore the same (or anything at all, in fact...)...

Beside, this book contribues to heal the endemic dichotomy between body and soul, it encourages incarnation.

Responding to the previous critic again, I'm allergic to pop psychology's books, and it is not because this one is accessible, that hedeserves this pop title according to me.

1-0 out of 5 stars Only one chapter is worth reading: the Appendix
Contrary to the earlier reviewer, I found Mesle's book to be a light and insufficient account of Whitehead's philosophy. Mesle seems to work from a god-believer's point of view and it saturates his account of Whitehead. This is more of a pop psychologist's reading of Process and Reality, and the only helpful chapter is at the very end, the appendix. The book could have been a pamphlet had Mesle stuck to the word "process" rather than using the term "process-relational" to repetitively describe every single thing on every single page when the simpler, traditional "process" would have sufficed. We get it. But just in case you don't think he uses it enough, here's a one page sample (90):

process-relational thought
process-relational conferences (on process thought)
process-relational theology
process-relational thinking
process-relational thinking
process-relational thinking
process-relational vision
process-relational thinking
process-relational compassion

and I didn't list that the author uses every single form of the word "relational." It's sophomoric writing to say the least. Mesle -- just as Whitehead himself does -- correctly asks the reader to suspend common notions of ordinary words like experience, but then doesn't take his own advice with regard to his own use of "relational." The Appendix describes a portion of Whitehead's technical terms in plain English, but since it's only a start, it and the rest of the book turn out to be deeply disappointing. Stick with John Cobb and David Ray Griffin.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unparalleled Introduction to Whitehead's Process Philosophy
Prof. Mesle has accomplished an amazing feat by making one of the most important 20th Century philosophers (Alfred North Whitehead) accessible, relevant, and lively.Followers of Whitehead often have found it difficult to interpret process philosophy to those outside the field. With a minimum of technical language, Dr. Mesle has overcome this barrier.

Whitehead's cosmology is the only one that does not separate the universe into separate realms of matter, mentality, and spirituality.Instead, he provides a way to bring together the material view of reality with the non-material view of reality.

Because of this, Whitehead's ideas matter profoundly as scientists, religious practioners, political leaders, mental health specialists, and many others look for solutions to our divided, anxious and potentially deadly world.Dr. Mesle's work will help many more people gain access to these important ideas.(For more information on process philosophy, see [...].)

May 22, 2010: One addendum to respond to Mr. Riding:It is noteworthy that Prof. Mesle actually is not a theist (unlike many process thinkers). He makes this clear in his previous book, Process Theology: A Basic Introduction.He considers himself to be a process naturalist and leaves it to theologian John B. Cobb Jr to explain process theism (all of this is in the last section of the book on process theology). ... Read more

3. A Companion to Rationalism (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy)
Hardcover: 512 Pages (2006-01-02)
list price: US$124.95 -- used & new: US$57.30
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Asin: 1405109092
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The rationalist impulse has guided western philosophical thought from its beginnings in ancient Greece to the present day. In this Companion, a cast of established and rising stars in philosophy lays out the historical roots, the celebrated expressions, the controversies, and the contemporary determinations of rationalist thought.

The volume opens with essays examining the nature of the rationalist impulse to philosophize, and the distinction between rationalism and empiricism. The focus of the remainder of the volume is on the "golden age" of rationalism in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. However, this is set in the context of its historical development and the appearance of rationalist themes in recent thought. The material is organized chronologically, and various philosophical methods and viewpoints are represented throughout. ... Read more

4. The Renaissance and 17th Century Rationalism: Routledge History of Philosophy Volume 4
Paperback: 480 Pages (2003-05-01)
list price: US$41.95 -- used & new: US$33.75
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Asin: 0415308763
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This volume covers a period of three hundred and fifty years, from the middle of the fourteenth century to the early years of the eighteenth century: the birth of modern philosophy. ... Read more

5. Reason in Philosophy: Animating Ideas
by Robert B. Brandom
Hardcover: 248 Pages (2009-10-01)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$23.96
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Asin: 067403449X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Transcendentalism never came to an end in America. It just went underground for a stretch, but is back in full force in Robert Brandom’s new book. Brandom takes up Kant and Hegel and explores their contemporary significance as if little time had expired since intellectuals gathered around Emerson in Concord to discuss reason and idealism, selves, freedom, and community. Brandom’s discussion belongs to a venerable tradition that distinguishes us as rational animals, and philosophy by its concern to understand, articulate, and explain the notion of reason that is thereby cast in that crucial demarcating role.

An emphasis on our capacity to reason, rather than merely to represent, has been growing in philosophy over the last thirty years, and Robert Brandom has been at the center of this development. Reason in Philosophy is the first book that gives a succinct overview of his understanding of the role of reason as the structure at once of our minds and our meanings—what constitutes us as free, responsible agents. The job of philosophy is to introduce concepts and develop expressive tools for expanding our self-consciousness as sapients: explicit awareness of our discursive activity of thinking and acting, in the sciences, politics, and the arts. This is a paradigmatic work of contemporary philosophy.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Brandom's most accessible and philosophically inspiring book, Reason in Philosophy explicates the implications of his earlier work for social, political, and other domains of philosophy in a way that is far more accessible than anything he has written to date.Of even greater interest, this book includes essays on philosophy itself ... what it means, its political relevance, etc., that are inspiring must reads for everyone engaged in philosophical inquiry. ... Read more

6. Greek Tragedy and Political Philosophy: Rationalism and Religion in Sophocles' Theban Plays
by Peter J. Ahrensdorf
Hardcover: 204 Pages (2009-04-06)
list price: US$80.00 -- used & new: US$64.00
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Asin: 0521515866
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In this book, Peter Ahrensdorf examines Sophocles' powerful analysis of a central question of political philosophy and a perennial question of political life: Should citizens and leaders govern political society by the light of unaided human reason or religious faith? Through a fresh examination of Sophocles' timeless masterpieces - Oedipus the Tyrant, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone - Ahrensdorf offers a sustained challenge to the prevailing view, championed by Nietzsche in his attack on Socratic rationalism, that Sophocles is an opponent of rationalism. Ahrensdorf argues that Sophocles is a genuinely philosophical thinker and a rationalist, albeit one who advocates a cautious political rationalism. Such rationalism constitutes a middle way between an immoderate political rationalism that dismisses religion - exemplified in Oedipus the Tyrant - and a piety that rejects reason - exemplified by Oedipus at Colonus. Ahrensdorf concludes with an incisive analysis of Nietzsche, Socrates, and Aristotle on tragedy and philosophy. He argues, against Nietzsche, that the rationalism of Socrates and Aristotle incorporates a profound awareness of the tragic dimension of human existence and therefore resembles in fundamental ways the somber and humane rationalism of Sophocles. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars A Reconsideration of Sophocles' Theban Plays
Peter Ahrensdorf does it again with this study.Like his study on the death of Socrates, he carefully reads Oedipus the Tyrant, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone and other thinkers to reconsider Sophocles.He is concerned whether our views of Sophocles as a thinker may be overshadowed by Nietzsche's interpretation of his Greek tragedies.

It is clear that Professor Ahrensdorf is familiar with the texts and the literary criticism.What makes this work exceptional is that he weighs the words and deeds (the action) judiciously in coming to his conclusions that Sophocles is closer to Socrates as a seeker of wisdom.

I look forward to other studies by Professor Ahrensdorf.He enlivens texts, a rare feat, especially when he is concerned with the transhistorical questions. ... Read more

7. Between Rationalism and Empiricism: Selected Papers in the Philosophy of Physics
by Erhard Scheibe
Hardcover: 850 Pages (2002-12-06)
list price: US$139.00 -- used & new: US$19.99
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Asin: 0387985204
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Scheibe is one of the most important philosophers of science in Germany. Since little of his work has been translated into English, he is not yet well known internationally. This translation of some 40 of his papers is intended to remedy that lack. Scheibe has written extensively on all the problems that confront the philosophy of physics: rationalism vs. empiricism; reductionism; the foundations of quantum mechanics; space-time, and so forth. ... Read more

8. A Philosophers Apprentice: In Karl Poppers Workshop. (Series in the Philosophy of Karl R. Popper and Critical Rationalism)
by Joseph Agassi
Hardcover: 404 Pages (2008-11-22)
list price: US$124.00 -- used & new: US$123.94
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Asin: 9042024348
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Both a Popper biography and an autobiography, Agassi's A Philosopher's Apprentice tells the riveting story of his intellectual formation in 1950s London, a young brilliant philosopher struggling with an intellectual giant - father, mentor, and rival, all at the same time. His subsequent rebellion and declaration of independence leads to a painful break, never to be completely healed.No other writer has Agassi's psychological insight into Popper, and no other book captures like this one the intellectual excitement around the Popper circle in the 1950s and the struggles of the 1960s and 1970s -personal, academic, political, all important philosophically. Agassi's Popper- whether one agrees with it or not - is an enormous contribution to scholarship.This second revised edition includes also Popper's and Agassi's last correspondence and, in a postscript it shows Agassi leafing through Popper's archives, reaching a sort of reconciliation, an appropriate ending to the drama.A must read. Malachi Hacohen, Duke University ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars A courageous account of Agassi's studies with Popper
Joseph Agassi, The Philosopher's Apprentice:In Karl Popper's Workshop.Series in the Philosophy of Karl R. Popper, Volume V.Edited by Kurt Salamun.Editions Rodopi, Amsterdam and Atlanta GA, 1993. xx + 252 pp. -- Agassi describes himself as "the foremost exponent and leading critic"(p. ix) of his teacher, Sir Karl Popper, who, he claims, is "the greatest philosopher of the mid-century" (p. xiv).Thisaccount of his studies under Popper applies the idea that criticism is an expression of respect, so forcefully preached by Popper, and notes Popper's tragic failure both as teacher and as a leader.Agassi does not hold much back, not even the charges of treason voiced by insiders provoked by the circulation of earlier drafts of this work. To discourage those who might dismiss this work as mere gossip, we may observe the rule proposed herein:discuss a book's importance before considering whether its message is true (p. 182). Agassi succeeds in applying the idea, so forcefully preached by Popper, that criticism expresses respect.And we learn here of Popper's failure to practice his own teachings, of Agassi's loss due to a repeated failure to communicate, and the public's loss of Popper's intellectual leadership.The importance of this work is in the unblinking courage with which it presents this record of failures. In addition to the "melancholy" (p. ix) story, the "wild" (p. xi) narrative structure of this book, which is sometimes chronological, sometimes thematic and always open to an interesting digression, makes it hard to summarize or characterize.It opens thus:Popper's (Einsteinian) view of science dispenses with the authority of science and with the demand to defend views.Why then do scientists and philosophers -- including Popper -- continue this defense?The problem receives its face from embarrassingly detailed descriptions of the tensions between Popper and his associates, the harshness of their personal dealings, their defensiveness and their intrigues.As the story unfolds we see Popper's unbecoming sides, his cult of hard work, his maudlin Christianity and his anti-semitism(p. 25), and his resentment of willful distortions and dishonest dismissals.The estrangement between Agassi and Popper haunts this book. Gratitude, admiration and discipleship do not overwhelm his autonomy, nor do they mute his criticism.He views Popper's thought as the best expression of the morality of critical autonomy.Yet his efforts to secure his autonomy create the rift never to be mended.Indeed the most crucial source of the rift is Popper's refusal to discuss ethics.Agassi criticizes Popper's retreat from traditional positivism as "not sufficiently open" and as concealed under his constant (and just) disavowal of "logical" positivism (p. 173).This conduct is at variance with his own strong condemnation of "surreptitious" changes of opinion (p. 174). When Agassi criticized Popper's theory of corroboration,he generously conceded in a footnote that here Agassi may be right, as he may have correctly detected in Popper a "whiff of inductivism" (p. 6). This, he suggested, should satisfy Agassi's desire for recognition and silence his further criticism.Agassi, on his part, rejects the acknowledgment as far too generous (p. 7). How could Popper, the philosopher of critical rationalism, be so apparently closed to criticism? Agassi' s answer is the central lesson here: "... no one can judge how open to criticism one is and no one can declare adequate one's acceptance of a criticism and one's subsequent alteration of an opinion" (p. 69).One can never be one's own judge.Popper's personal failures should be seen as a shortcoming not of the critical standards he espoused but of the view of oneself as able to judge oneself in one's sincere efforts to be severe with oneself. Popper's life in the intellectual community, his reputation there and its sources are discussed in a series of vignettes that concern some of themost important figures in mid-century philosophy:Wittgenstein, Ayer, Carnap, Isaiah Berlin, Bar-Hillel, Bartley, Lakatos and more.Carnap and Lakatos emerge as villains.The latter was an ambitious and treacherous schemer who, appealing to Popper's vanity and defensiveness, isolated and manipulated him.Carnap's distorted version of Popper's views became canonic for a generation and blocked their public exposure.His Testability and Meaning(1936) identifies Popper's view as concerning not science but its language.The difference is this:the negation of a scientific theory is not scientific, yet the negation of a sentence is a sentence.So while science does not include the negation of the theories that it includes, any language does.Confusing the two leads to confusing refutation with verification:the refutation of a theory is confused with the verification of its negation.Thus verifiabilityand refutability, Carnap's view of science and Popper's, would appear symmetrical.The novelty and significance of Popper's vision are thus lost. In the final chapter we find an insightful critique of Popper's theory of leadership and a discussion of Popper's mistreatment at the hands of the philosophical leadership(p. 235).The epilogue is a call for the "grass root revolution in philosophy" (p. 246) implicit in Popper's views.This explains the resistance to them:leaders tend to be conservative.Yet "the present global crises which threaten our very survival" (p. 244) and the inability of philosophy to "join the action" (ibid. )make the revolution imperative.Agassi suggests that discussion of the issues raised in this volume, particularly among students, is a contribution to this revolution.Being myself a former student of his, I wishedto test his suggestion.I did, and I agree.I hope this important book is widely read and discussed, and that we begin an open debate onthe criteria of what is serious philosophy.This would indeed be the start of a philosophical revolution. -- Michael Chiariello, St. Bonaventure University. ... Read more

9. The Cultural Space of the Arts and the Infelicities of Reductionism (Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts)
by Joseph Margolis
Hardcover: 232 Pages (2010-04-22)
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Asin: 0231147287
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Joseph Margolis, known for his considerable contributions to the philosophy of art and aesthetics, pragmatism, and American philosophy, has focused primarily on the troublesome concepts of culture, history, language, agency, art, interpretation, and the human person or self. For Margolis, the signal problem has always been the same: how can we distinguish between physical nature and human culture? How do these realms relate?

The Cultural Space of the Arts and the Infelicities of Reductionism identifies a conceptual tendency that can be drawn from the work of the twentieth century's best-known analytic philosophers of art: Arthur Danto, Richard Wollheim, Kendall Walton, Nelson Goodman, Monroe Beardsley, Noël Carroll, and Jerrold Levinson, among others. This trend threatens to impoverish our grasp and appreciation of the arts by failing to do justice to the culturally informed nature of the arts themselves. Through his analysis, Margolis sets out to retrieve an adequate picture of the essential differences between physical nature and human culture& mdash;particularly through language, history, meaning, significance, the emergence of the human self or person, and the essential features of human life& mdash;all to explain how such difference bears on our perception of paintings and literature. Clearly argued and provocatively engaging, Margolis's work reestablishes what is essential to a productive encounter with art.

... Read more

10. Origins of Logical Empiricism (Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science)
Hardcover: 392 Pages (1996-10)
list price: US$60.00 -- used & new: US$55.99
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Asin: 0816628343
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars Collections of articles
This book is a collection of articles on logical positivism. You should consider the authors and table of content if you finnd it interesting. Mainly for specialists on logical positivism. ... Read more

11. Understanding Rationalism (Understanding Movements in Modern Thought)
by Charlie Huenemann
Paperback: 166 Pages (2008-07-30)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$17.45
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Asin: 1844651134
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The three great historical philosophers most often associated with rationalism - Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz - opened up ingenious and breathtaking vistas upon the world. Yet their works are so difficult that readers often find themselves stymied. "Understanding Rationalism" offers a guide for anyone approaching these thinkers for the first time.With clear explanations, elegant examples and insightful summaries, "Understanding Rationalism" unlocks their intricate metaphysical systems, which are by turns surprising, compelling and sometimes bizarre. It also lays out their controversial stances on moral, political and religious problems. The study is framed by an opening discussion of the broad themes and attitudes common to these three philosophers and a closing analysis of the legacy they left for the rest of philosophy. ... Read more

12. Reading Bayle (Toronto Studies in Philosophy)
by Thomas M. Lennon
Paperback: 240 Pages (1999-08-07)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$4.53
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Asin: 0802082661
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) has been described by Richard Popkin as the key intellectual figure at the outset of the eighteenth century. Examinations of libraries from the period show him to have been by far the most successful author of the century, and his Historical and Critical Dictionary is in fact the philosophy best-seller of all time. The concepts, distinctions, and arguments found in his work were so widely adopted by later authors that Bayle came to be known as the 'Arsenal of the Enlightenment'.Despite his universally acknowledged importance, however, there has been from his own time to the present much disagreement about how Bayle is to be interpreted.

The title of this work is deliberately ambiguous, reflecting the multiple levels on which its argument is conducted. One aim is to indicate how a reading of Bayle might be made possible-how the initial impenetrability of his writings and their world might be overcome. On another level, the book offers an interpretation of Bayle's writings. Finally, it is a record of the author's own thoughts upon reading Bayle-what he finds himself thinking about as he looks at Bayle and his world.

This work is a critical but sympathetic treatment of this neglected thinker. It will engage anyone interested in the history of modern philosophy, the history of ideas, literary criticism, and the history of seventeenth-century French culture. ... Read more

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2-0 out of 5 stars Now I'm even more confused...
I bought this book because I found Bayle's works confusing and difficult to approach.This book - with its very promissing title - is just as confusing and unapproachable.It certainly was of no help to me. ... Read more

13. Rationalism in Greek Philosophy
by Professor George Boas
Hardcover: 514 Pages (1961-11-01)
list price: US$27.50
Isbn: 080180079X
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14. Criticism and the History of Science: Kuhn'S, Lakatos's and Feyerabend's Criticisms of Critical Rationalism (Philosophy of History and Culture)
by Gunnar Andersson
Hardcover: 161 Pages (1994-07)
list price: US$123.00 -- used & new: US$118.97
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Asin: 9004100504
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Criticism and the History of Science deals with Thomas Kuhn's, ImreLakatos's and Paul Feyerabend's criticism of Karl Popper's falsificationistconception of science. It argues that this criticism is based on two importantmethodological problems: the problem that observations and tests statementsare fallible and impregnated with theory, and the problem of how to testcomplex theoretical systems. In order to solve these problems it shows howproblematic test statements can be criticised and whole theoretical systemsfalsified. In this way the falsificationist conception of science is developedand defended in a way making a deeper understanding of science and its historypossible. ... Read more

15. Poppers Critical Rationalism: A Philosophical Investigation (Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Science)
by Darrell Rowbottom
 Hardcover: 200 Pages (2010-12-03)
list price: US$105.00 -- used & new: US$97.49
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Asin: 0415992443
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Popper’s Critical Rationalism presents Popper’s views on science, knowledge, and inquiry, and examines the significance and tenability of these in light of recent developments in philosophy of science, philosophy of probability, and epistemology. It develops a fresh and novel philosophical position on science, which employs key insights from Popper while rejecting other elements of his philosophy.

Central theses include:

    • Crucial questions about scientific method arise at the level of the group, rather than that of the individual.
    • Although criticism is vital for science, dogmatism is important too.
    • Belief in scientific theories is permissible even in the absence of evidence in their favour.
    • The aim of science is to eliminate false theories.
    • Critical rationalism can be understood as a form of virtue epistemology
... Read more

16. The Republic of Science: the Emergence of Popper's Social View of Science (Series in the Philosophy of Karl R.: Popper and Critical Rationalism) (Series ... of Karl R.Popper & Critical Rationalism)
by Ian Jarvie
 Paperback: 263 Pages (2001-07-06)
list price: US$72.00 -- used & new: US$72.00
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Asin: 9042015152
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars The rules of the game of science
This book should put an end to the view that Popper's philosophy of science can usefully be summed up by the label "falsificationism", a view that has been perpetuated even by commentators as well informed and sympathetic as Alan Chalmers in What is this thing called Science? Popper expounded a critical method, with five forms of criticism.

1. The check on the problem. Does the theory solve the problem?
2. The check of logic. Is the theory internally consistent?
3. The check of consistency with other well-tested theories.
4. The check of evidence, falsifiability (if this is appropriate).
5. The check on the metaphysics.

The focus in this book by Jarvie is check 4, the use of evidence, although this is just the point of departure and the destination is much more interesting.

Jarvie argues strenuously that Popper's first major work in early 1930s can be interpreted to anticipate the social turn in the philosophy of science. This may be called the strong version of his thesis, by analogy with the strong program in the sociology of science. A weaker version of Jarvie?fs thesis, which is equally fruitful but possibly less controversial, is that Popper should be regarded as a conventionalist in scientific methodology (not to be confused with conventionalism as a theory of truth). Jarvie has argued convincingly that the decisive achievement of Logik der Forschung was to show the indispensable function of methodological conventions as rules of the game in science. This mirrors Popper?fs approach to political philosophy; as the function of the philosophy of science is to formulate and criticize the rules of the game of science, so the function of moral and political philosophy is to do the same for the rules of the game of social and political life. These rules may be unwritten conventions, mores and folkways, traditions, laws of the land and institutions of all kinds.

The Introduction to the book, Science as an Institution, sets out the major issues in the complex relationship between science and society that Jarvie hopes to illuminate. The word science of course has many different uses and discussion can easily be confused by conflating two or more of the meanings. Science may refer to a body of public knowledge; a set of beliefs about the world; the whole range of activities performed by scientists; some subset of those activities that are supposed to be special to science; the social and political institutions that influence the activities of scientists. Jacques Barzun wrote a particularly valuable book with the title Science: The Glorious Entertainment. Jarvie is clearly aware of the nuances of the topic and he surveys various approaches to it, including the positivist and falsificationist demarcation principles and Merton's sociological account of the distinguishing features of scientific knowledge.

Chapter 1 unpacks the hidden elements of the social turn in Popper's early philosophy of science. The key concept here is the need for rules of the game in science and these constitute what Jarvie calls the proto-constitution of science. This is the foundation of his project and he spells out this constitution in some detail, drawing from The Logic of Scientific Discovery (originally Logik der Forschung, 1935). In the following chapters he works through the evolution of Popper's thoughts over the decade from 1935 to 1945 to show how his views on science and society developed to the point they reached in The Poverty of Historicism and The Open Society and its Enemies.

The second chapter of Jarvie's book is called Popper's 1935 Proto-Constitution for the Republic of Science. This contains a list with Popper's supreme or meta-rule (SR) and 14 subsidiary rules (R1 to R14), which constitute the rudimentary scaffolding for Popper's republic of science.

SR: The other rules of scientific procedure must be designed in such a way that they do not protect any statement in science against falsification.

R1: The game of science is, in principle, without end. He who decides one day that scientific statements do not call for any further test, and that they can be regarded as finally verified, retires from the game.

R2: Once a hypothesis has been proposed and tested, and has proved its mettle, it may not be allowed to drop out without 'good reason'.

The "supreme rule" and the first two subsidiary rules were proposed by Popper, then Jarvie has identified additional rules that can be found scattered in the text of Popper's book.

R3: We are not to abandon the search for universal laws and for a coherent theoretical system, nor ever give up our attempts to explain causally any kind of event we can describe.

R5: Only those auxiliary hypotheses are acceptable whose introduction does not diminish the degree of falsifiability or testability of the system in question but, on the contrary, increases it.

R9: After having produced some criticism of a rival theory, we should always make a serious attempt to apply this criticism to our own theory.

And so on.

Jarvie's commentary on the constitution begins with the reminder that it is very incomplete. He notes also that it is very abstract, as thought the whole of science is a kind of debating society, leaving out of account a great deal of gritty reality, such as the question of leadership in the decision-making that is inevitably required, including decisions about adding to the constitution or revising it.

One of the implications of the social turn described by Jarvie is that the nature of objectivity is radically shifted. It ceases to be a problem for individual scientists, requiring that they be unbiased, rational and free from preconceptions. It becomes a situational or institutional problem, calling for such things as theoretical pluralism, clear formulation of the problems that the theories are supposed to solve, the design of critical experiments, the existence of journals, seminars and conferences to facilitate critical discussion. Some of these requirements need to be provided by individual scientists, especially new ideas and imaginative criticism; others call for institutions, including political institutions, to protect the autonomy of the journals and the research institutes. ... Read more

17. Socratic Rationalism and Political Philosophy: An Interpretation of Plato's Phaedo
by Paul Stern
Paperback: 262 Pages (1993-08-20)
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Asin: 0791415740
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18. The Minds of the Moderns: Rationalism, Empiricism, and Philosophy of Mind
by Janice, Ph.D. Thomas
Paperback: 293 Pages (2009-09)
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Asin: 0773536388
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19. Rationality and Feminist Philosophy (Continuum Studies in Philosophy)
by Deborah K. Heikes
Hardcover: 192 Pages (2010-06-29)
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Exploring the history of the concept of 'rationality', Deborah K. Hakes argues that feminism should seek to develop a virtue theory of rationality. "Rationality and Feminist Philosophy" argues that the Enlightenment conception of rationality that feminists are fond of attacking is no longer a live concept. Deborah K. Heikes shows how contemporary theories of rationality are consonant with many feminist concerns and proposes that feminists need a substantive theory of rationality, which she argues should be a virtue theory of rationality. Within both feminist and non-feminist philosophical circles, our understanding of rationality depends upon the concept's history. Heikes traces the development of theories of rationality from Descartes through to the present day, examining the work of representative philosophers of the Enlightenment and twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She discusses feminist concerns with rationality as understood by each philosopher discussed and also focuses on the deeper problems that lie outside specifically feminist issues.She goes on to consider how each conception of rationality serves to ground the broadly conceived feminist philosophical goals of asserting the reality and injustice of oppression. She ultimately concludes that a virtue rationality may serve feminist needs well, without the accompanying baggage of Enlightenment rationality. "Continuum Studies in Philosophy" presents cutting-edge scholarship in all the major areas of research and study. The wholly original arguments, perspectives and research findings in titles in this series make it an important and stimulating resource for students and academics from a range of disciplines across the humanities and social sciences. ... Read more

20. The Rise of Western Rationalism: Max Weber's Developmental History
by Wolfgang Schluchter
Paperback: 300 Pages (1985-11-07)
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Asin: 0520054644
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Western rationalism-nature, of course, and genesis-was Max Weber's dominant historical interest. It was the grand theme of his two world historical studies, Economy and Society and The Economic Ethics of the World Religions. His studies of the relationships among economy, polity, law, and religion are lasting scholarly achievements. In this book Wolfgang Schluchter presents the most systematic analysis and elaboration ever attempted of Weber's sociology as a developmental history of the West. ... Read more

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