Hannah Arendt, “Reflections on Violence”

It is, I think, a rather sad reflection on the present state of political science that our language does not distinguish between such key terms as power, strength, force, might, authority, and, finally, violence—all of which refer to distinct phenomena. To use them as synonyms not only indicates a certain deafness to linguistic meanings, which would be serious enough, but has resulted in a kind of blindness with respect to the realities they correspond to. Behind the apparent confusion lies a firm conviction that the most crucial political issue is, and always has been, the question of Who rules Whom? Only after one eliminates this disastrous reduction of public affairs to the business of dominion will the original data concerning human affairs appear or rather reappear in their authentic diversity.

Source : The New York Review of Books, February 27, 1969 Issue

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Dorion Cairns, “My Own Life”

Category : Philosophy

I was born July 4th, 1901, in the village of Contoocook, in the town of Hopkinton, New Hampshire. My father, James George Cairns, was the pastor of the Methodist Church in Contoocook, and I was the first child of my parents. During my first three and a half years of life, my father moved from one place to another as pastor of Methodist Churches in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. My brother, Stewart Scott Cairns, currently Professor of Mathematics at the University of Illinois, was born May 8th, 1904.

Source: http://www.dorioncairns.net

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Morris Cohen, “The Dark Side of Religion”

Category : Philosophy, Religion

The advocatus diaboli, as you know, is not a lawyer employed by the Prince of Darkness. He is a faithful member of the Church whose duty it is, when it is proposed to canonize a saint, to search out all the opposing considerations and to state them as cogently as possible. This wise institution compels the advocates of canonization to exert themselves to develop arguments vigorous enough to overcome all objections. In this symposium on religion, I am asked to serve as advocatus diaboli: to state the Dark Side so that those who follow may have definite positions to attack and may thus more fully develop the strength of their case.

Source: The Faith of a Liberal (NY: Henry Holt, 1946)

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John Dewey, The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy

Category : Founding, Philosophy

An elaborate preface to a philosophic work usually impresses one as a last desperate effort on the part of its author to convey what he feels he has not quite managed to say in the body of his book. Nevertheless, a collection of essays on various topics written during a series of years may perhaps find room for an independent word to indicate the kind of unity they seem, to their writer, to possess. Probably every one acquainted with present philosophic thought – found, with some notable exceptions, in periodicals rather than in books – would term it a philosophy of transition and reconstruction. Its various representatives agree in what they oppose – the orthodox British empiricism of two generations ago and the orthodox Neo-Kantian idealism of the last generation – rather than in what they proffer.

Source: NY: Henry Holt, 1910: ch. 1

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Clive Dilnot, “The Science of Uncertainty: The Potential Contribution of Design to Knowledge”

Category : Design, Philosophy

Thought essentially as configuration or as disposition, though in ways that will have to be explored, design is difficult conceptually. As Phillipe Jullien has pointed out with respect to how we understand some similar concepts in Chinese, the term lies stranded between the over-powering distinction between things (“their condition, configuration, and structure”) and forces or effects (the processes that give to things their form and therefore also their efficacy, their implications). The dichotomy in question is, like all dichotomies, abstract and inadequate to understanding. Nonetheless, it operates to ensure that, caught between the realms of forces and consequences on the one side, and that of the facticity of objects on the other, design is consigned to inconsistency. Its location uncertain, it thus remains largely unconceptualized—even though we sense that what is at stake here is everything that really matter (particularly, it must said, in reference to the realm of the artificial, which is of course the realm of design).

Source: Doctoral Education in Design Conference (1998), pp. 1-41  

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Robert Heilbroner, “The Savage Society of Thorsten Veblen,”

Category : Economics, Philosophy

One hundred and twenty-five years had now passed since The Wealth of Nations appeared in 1776, and in that span of time it seemed as if the great economists had left no aspect of the world unexamined: its magnificence or its squalor, its naivete or its sometimes sinister overtones, its grandiose achievements in technology or its often mean shortcomings in human values.

Source: The Worldly Philosophers (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1998)

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Alvin Johnson, “Foreword”

Category : Philosophy

On rare occasions in literary history a new publication appears, not as a result of long, conscious planning, not a product of particularistic ambitions, but a spontaneous generation within a dominant circle of circumstances. Social Research is such a spontaneous growth. Political revolution on the European continent had expelled from their usual orbits of activity scores and hundreds of the ablest scholars, to whom the scientific world had turned for light upon the problems that harass the whole of mankind. These scholars, representing collectively an important fraction of the world’s thinking power, had been divorced from their customary avenues of expression. Magazines published in their countries of origin, if not formally closed to them, were practically closed. Nothing could be more natural than the emergence of a new organ of publication at the New School, where the largest organic grouping of continental scholars abroad has been established as a Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science.

Source: Social Research  1.1/4 (1934): 1-2 

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Hans Jonas, “Toward a Philosophy of Technology” 

Category : Philosophy

Are there philosophical aspects to technology? Of course there are, as there are to all things of importance in human endeavor and destiny. Modern technology touches on almost everything vital to man’s existence-material, mental, and spiritual. Indeed, what of man is not involved? The way he lives his life and looks at objects, his intercourse with the world and with his peers, his powers and modes of action, kinds of goals, states and changes of society, objectives and forms of politics (including warfare no less than welfare), the sense and quality of life, even man’s fate and that of his environment:a ll these are involved in the technological enterprise as it extends in magnitude and depth. The mere enumeration suggests a staggering host of potentially philosophic themes.

Source: The Hastings Center Report  9.1 (Feb 1979): 34-43

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Felix Kaufmann, “Strata of Experience” 

Discussions concerning the relation between science and philosophy are still likely to be carried on in terms of the controversy as to whether all knowledge springs from (or has its source in) experience. Yet it is becoming more and more apparent that the solution of this controversy will depend not on any fact finding but on a thorough analysis of the meaning of the terms “knowledge” and “experience.” Furthermore, it is generally admitted that the definition of these terms should not be arbitrary but in line with their usage among scientists.

Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research  1.3 (Mar 1941): 313-324

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Alezandre Koyre, “The Origins of Modern Science: A New Interpretation” 

Since the heroic age of Pierre Duhem, to whose amazing energy and learning we owe the revelation of medieval science, much work has been devoted to the study of that subject. The publication of the great works of Thorndyke and Sarton, and, in the last decade, of the brilliant studies of Anneliese Maier and Professor Marshall Clagett, not to mention countless other monographs and papers, has tremendously enlarged and enriched our knowledge and understanding of medieval science in its connection with medieval philosophy-toward whose understanding and knowledge even greater progress has been made-and of medieval culture in general.

Source: Diogenes  4.1 (1956)

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Karl Löwith, “My Last Meeting with Heidegger in Rome, 1936” 

In 1936, during my stay in Rome, Heidegger gave a lecture on Holderlin at the German-Italian Ctilture Institute. Afterwords, he
accompanied me to our apartment and was visibly taken aback by the poverty of our furnishings. (…)
The next day, my wife and I made an excursion to Frascati and Tusculum with Heidegger, his wife, and his two small sons, whom I
had often cared for when they were little. It was a radiant afternoon, and I was happy about this final get together, despite undeniable reservations. Even on this occasion, Heidegger did not remove the Party insignia from his lapel. He wore it during his entire stay in Rome, and it had obviously not occurred to him that the swastika was out of place while spending the day with me.

Source: New German Critique  45 (Autumn 1988): 115-116

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Jacques Maritain,“Integral Humanism and the Crisis of Modern Times”

To avoid misunderstanding, I should note at once that my point of view is here not that of the mere logic of ideas and doctrines, but that of the concrete logic of the events of history. From the first point of view, that of the mere logic of ideas and doctrines, it is evident that there are many possible positions other than the “pure” positions which I shall examine. One might ask theoretically and in the abstract, what value these various positions have. That is not what I plan to do. In a word, my point of view is that of the philosophy of culture, and not that of metaphysics.

Source: The Review of Politics 1.1 (Jan 1939): 1-17

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