This Week’s Special: Jerry Fodor’s “Special Sciences (Or: the Disunity of Science as a Working Hypothesis)”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://fitelson.org/woodward/fodor.pdf On tap this week is one of the most influential essays in the philosophy of science, since the Second World War:  Jerry Fodor’s “Special Sciences,” which appeared in the journal Synthese, in 1974. The paper did two very important things.  First, it struck a crippling blow against a certain kind of positivist view of the […]

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This Week’s Special: Judith Jarvis Thomson’s “A Defense of Abortion”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://myweb.facstaff.wwu.edu/nmarkos/Zola/Thomson.Abortion.pdf It is rare that one will find near universal agreement as to the most important paper written on a particular subject, but that is exactly what we find with Judith Jarvis Thomson’s 1971 paper, “A Defense of Abortion,” whose impact on the discussion on the morality of abortion cannot be overstated. One enormous service that […]

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This Week’s Special: Henry Kamen’s “The Decline of Spain: A Historical Myth?”

by Michael Boyle http://www.romanistik.uni-freiburg.de/raible/Lehre/2006_07/Materialien/1978_Kamen_Decline.pdf The story that is usually told about early-modern Spain involves depicting it as one of the great powers of Europe. Whether recounting tales of the voyages of exploration, the contributions of Velasquez, El Greco, and Cervantes, or the military power of Spain in Europe itself, Spain is seen as a major player in a number of […]

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This Week’s Special: David Hume’s “Of the Standard of Taste”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://www.econlib.org/library/LFBooks/Hume/hmMPL23.html One of the central topics in Aesthetics is the justification of our evaluative judgments of works of art. Questions regarding the warrant for our valuations are always challenging, because of the quite common  intuition that values and valuation are inherently subjective. The trouble lies in the fact that there is an equally common intuition that […]

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This Week’s Special: Charles Tilly’s “War Making and State Making as Organized Crime”

Michael Boyle Tony Soprano and the Nation State: Charles Tilly’s “War Making and State Making as Organized Crime” http://www.scribd.com/doc/280094995/Tilly-War-Making-and-State-Making-as-Organized-Crime One of the most significant sociologists of the 20th Century, Charles Tilly (1929-2008) is best known for his linkage of war and war-making with the appearance of the nation-state in Europe, especially in his 1990 book, Coercion, Capital, and European States, […]

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This Week’s Special: Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://employees.csbsju.edu/dbeach/beautytruth/Sontag-Against%20Interpretation.pdf On tap this week is Susan Sontag’s influential attack on a certain kind of intellectualist approach to art, in “Against Interpretation” (1964), reprinted in the collection Against Interpretation (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1966). The kind of interpretation that Sontag is against is not the common, largely unconscious variety that is always going on, […]

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This Week’s Special: Quine’s “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://www.ditext.com/quine/quine.html On tap this week is one of the most influential philosophy papers of the last century, Willard Van Orman Quine’s “Two Dogmas of Empiricism,” which initially appeared in the Philosophical Review in 1951 and was later reprinted in his book, From a Logical Point of View, first published in 1953. The paper is widely believed […]

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