Article Title

Episteme Vol. V


"Hobbes, Locke, and the State of Nature Theories: A Reassessment" by Michael P. Greeson

The classic story told about modern political philosophy paints Hobbes and Locke as contrasting figures who have differing opinions about human psychology. The author of this article rejects such a picture and instead argues that Locke’s state of nature contains features that are strikingly similar to Hobbes’. The author reassesses the supposedly “egoist” Hobbes and the “civil” Locke. It becomes clear that Hobbes’ mechanism and rhetorical bent influence his description of the state of nature—the world without social arrangement. Locke, who is more direct and practical, depicts a state of nature that is actually pre-political and normative. Such differences mask the fact that each philosopher provides a compelling argument for the use of reason in politics—for the practical construction of political bodies. They both advocate a government designed to influence our natural passions and avoid the danger of war.

"Arendt and MacIntyre on the Enlightenment's Failure" by Andrew Janiak

Arendt and MacIntyre, who come from two competing branches of contemporary philosophy, surprisingly both believe that the Enlightenment failed in large part due to the emptiness of the so-called “Rights of Man” and that this failure led the late-20th century to be a “post” era. But their critiques are distinct and beg comparison. The author endeavors to show that Arendt is better able to respond to MacIntyre than he to her, given the political—not philosophical—argument put forth by Arendt. The paper divides into four sections: the two overviews of each’s arguments concerning the Enlightenment, and each of their separate, imagined critiques/replies. Arendt, who supplements her social and political work with more philosophy in books like The Human Condition and On Revolution, can satisfy MacIntyre’s request for more broad philosophical influence. Arendt’s critique is deeper. MacIntyre claims to be a historicist, yet his documented response to Edel’s critique of his approach to history shows us that MacIntyre mistakenly thinks he could improve his account by just adding history to his accounts. What Arendt wants is theorizing informed by social (political, moral) history.

"The Origin of An Inquiry: Evolutionary Epistemology in James' Pragmatism" by J. Ellis Perry IV

Have scholars collectively failed to recognize the important role Darwin plays in James’s 1906-1907 Lowell Institute lectures on pragmatism? The goal of the paper is to elicit a “yes” verdict from the reader, although the author believes his study is insufficient for proving his intuition that Darwin played a central role in James’s thought in these lectures. The contention is that, given the importance of Pragmatism and the continued relevance of Darwinian science, it is worth the effort to read this classic James work in light of Darwin’s influence, in spite of Philip Weiner’s (and practically everyone else’s) lack of treatment when considering the relationship of Darwin and James. The paper presents evidence by analogy, authority, and synonymy, linking Darwin’s biological theory to James’s account of human knowledge presented in the Lowell Institute lectures.

"Revisioning Heidegger: Existentiell Crises and The Question of the Meaning of Being" by Paul Rector

Being and Time may be read as calling the reader to overcome her tendency to avoid recognizing nothingness and our pending death. Most commentators believe that Heidegger prevents an existential crisis from being a possible impetus to the essential confrontation. Contrary to that understanding, the author here posits that it is possible and consistent with Heidegger’s thought to hold that certain existential crises are happenings to our world, not just within our world. Falling in love pulls the ground out from under us and is really something that alters the axis of meaning for our world. The same goes for the experience of losing the beloved other. To the extent that such experiences dismantle our ontological assumptions (i.e. are not repressed), we can encounter nothingness and our not being. Angst is not the only route to take.

"Hartmann, Kolb, Pippin and the Unhappy Consciousness" by Kevin Thomson

The author of this article critiques the exegesis offered in Neo-Kantian interpretations of Hegel coming from Klaus Hartmann, David Kolb, and Robert Pippin. They all suppose a thought/object dualism that Hegel rejects, and they all-too-easily “forgive” Hegel of philosophizing outside the bounds of the interpretation they use to describe his general thought. They offer interpretations of Hegel that answer Kantian transcendentalist questions, not ontological questions, which is in part due to their fixation on rigor, which binds them and limits their understanding. Even though the Logic is the most susceptible to a Kantian reading, the author argues for how such a reading still misses key aspects of the Logic. Importantly, Hegel’s hermeneutical guidance allows us to pick out elements in such misguided interpretations, in terms of alignment and misalignment with Hegel’s thought. If we turn to the Unhappy Consciousness in the Phenomenology of Spirit, we see support for a monist reading of Hegel.