Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss
The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss takes on the crucial task of separating what is truly important in the work of Leo Strauss from the ephemeral politics associated with his school. Laurence Lampert focuses on exotericism: the use of artful rhetoric to simultaneously communicate a socially responsible message to the public at large and a more radical message of philosophic truth to a smaller, more intellectually inclined audience. Largely forgotten after the Enlightenment, exotericism, he shows, deeply informed Strauss both as a reader and as a philosophic writer-indeed, Lampert argues, Strauss learned from the finest practitioners of exoteric writing how to become one himself.Examining some of Strauss's most important books and essays through this exoteric lens, Lampert reevaluates not only Strauss but the philosophers-from Plato to Halevi to Nietzsche-with whom Strauss most deeply engaged. Ultimately Lampert shows that Strauss's famous distinction between ancient and modern thinkers is primarily rhetorical, one of the great examples of Strauss's exoteric craft. Celebrating Strauss's achievements while recognizing one main shortcoming-unlike Nietzsche, he failed to appreciate the ramifications of modern natural science for philosophy and its public presentation-Lampert illuminates Strauss as having even greater philosophic importance than we have thought before.?
Radium and the Secret of Life
Before the hydrogen bomb indelibly associated radioactivity with death, many chemists, physicians, botanists, and geneticists believed that radium might hold the secret to life. Physicists and chemists early on described the wondrous new element in lifelike terms such as "e;decay"e; and "e;half-life,"e; and made frequent references to the "e;natural selection"e; and "e;evolution"e; of the elements. Meanwhile, biologists of the period used radium in experiments aimed at elucidating some of the most basic phenomena of life, including metabolism and mutation.From the creation of half-living microbes in the test tube to charting the earliest histories of genetic engineering, Radium and the Secret of Life highlights previously unknown interconnections between the history of the early radioactive sciences and the sciences of heredity. Equating the transmutation of radium with the biological transmutation of living species, biologists saw in metabolism and mutation properties that reminded them of the new element. These initially provocative metaphoric links between radium and life proved remarkably productive and ultimately led to key biological insights into the origin of life, the nature of heredity, and the structure of the gene. Radium and the Secret of Life recovers a forgotten history of the connections between radioactivity and the life sciences that existed long before the dawn of molecular biology.
Powers of Pure Reason
The Critique of Pure Reason-Kant's First Critique-is one of the most studied texts in intellectual history, but as Alfredo Ferrarin points out in this radically original book, most of that study has focused only on very select parts. Likewise, Kant's oeuvre as a whole has been compartmentalized, the three Critiques held in rigid isolation from one another. Working against the standard reading of Kant that such compartmentalization has produced,?The Powers of Pure Reason?explores forgotten parts of the First Critique in order to find an exciting, new, and ultimately central set of concerns by which to read all of Kant's works. ?Ferrarin blows the dust off of two egregiously overlooked sections of the First Critique-the Transcendental Dialectic and the Doctrine of Method. There he discovers what he argues is the Critique's greatest achievement: a conception of the unity of reason and an exploration of the powers it has to reach beyond itself and legislate over the world. With this in mind, Ferrarin dismantles the common vision of Kant as a philosopher writing separately on epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics and natural teleology, showing that the three Critiques are united by this underlying theme: the autonomy and teleology of reason, its power and ends. The result is a refreshing new view of Kant, and of reason itself.
While much attention has been lavished on Friedrich Nietzsche's earlier and later works, those of his so-called middle period have been generally neglected, perhaps because of their aphoristic style or perhaps because they are perceived to be inconsistent with the rest of his thought. With Nietzsche's Enlightenment, Paul Franco gives this crucial section of Nietzsche's oeuvre its due, offering a thoughtful analysis of the three works that make up the philosopher's middle period: Human, All too Human; Daybreak; and The Gay Science.?It is Nietzsche himself who suggests that these works are connected, saying that their "e;common goal is to erect a new image and ideal of the free spirit."e; Franco argues that in their more favorable attitude toward reason, science, and the Enlightenment, these works mark a sharp departure from Nietzsche's earlier, more romantic writings and differ in important ways from his later, more prophetic writings, beginning with Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The Nietzsche these works reveal is radically different from the popular image of him and even from the Nietzsche depicted in much of the secondary literature; they reveal a rational Nietzsche, one who preaches moderation instead of passionate excess and Dionysian frenzy. Franco concludes with a wide-ranging examination of Nietzsche's later works, tracking not only how his outlook changes from the middle period to the later but also how his commitment to reason and intellectual honesty in his middle works continues to inform his final writings.
Das Rheingold, Die Walkre, and Siegfried. Parsifal. Tristan und Isolde. Both revered and reviled, Richard Wagner conceived some of the nineteenth century's most influential operas-and created some of the most indelible characters ever to grace the stage. But over the course of his polarizing career, Wagner also composed volumes of essays and pamphlets, some on topics seemingly quite distant from the opera house. His influential concept of Gesamtkunstwerk-the "e;total work of art"e;-famously and controversially offered a way to unify the different media of an opera into a coherent whole. Less well known, however, are Wagner's strange theories on sexuality-like his ideas about erotic acoustics and the metaphysics of sexual difference. Drawing on the discourses of psychoanalysis, evolutionary biology, and other emerging fields of study that informed Wagner's thinking, Adrian Daub traces the dual influence of Gesamtkunstwerk and eroticism from their classic expressions in Tristan und Isolde into the work of the generation of composers that followed, including Zemlinsky, d'Albert, Schreker, and Strauss. For decades after Wagner's death, Daub writes, these composers continued to grapple with his ideas and with his overwhelming legacy, trying in vain to write their way out from Tristan's shadow.
The Open Mind chronicles the development and promulgation of a scientific vision of the rational, creative, and autonomous self, demonstrating how this self became a defining feature of Cold War culture. Jamie Cohen-Cole illustrates how from 1945 to 1965 policy makers and social critics used the idea of an open-minded human nature to advance centrist politics. They reshaped intellectual culture and instigated nationwide educational reform that promoted more open, and indeed more human, minds. The new field of cognitive science was central to this project, as it used popular support for open-mindedness to overthrow the then-dominant behaviorist view that the mind either could not be studied scientifically or did not exist. Cognitive science also underwrote the political implications of the open mind by treating it as the essential feature of human nature. ?While the open mind unified America in the first two decades after World War II, between 1965 and 1975 battles over the open mind fractured American culture as the ties between political centrism and the scientific account of human nature began to unravel. During the late 1960s, feminists and the New Left repurposed Cold War era psychological tools to redefine open-mindedness as a characteristic of left-wing politics. As a result, once-liberal intellectuals became neoconservative, and in the early 1970s, struggles against open-mindedness gave energy and purpose to the right wing.
Although Martin Heidegger is nearly as notorious as Friedrich Nietzsche for embracing the death of God, the philosopher himself acknowledged that Christianity accompanied him at every stage of his career. In Heidegger's Confessions, Ryan Coyne isolates a crucially important player in this story: Saint Augustine. Uncovering the significance of Saint Augustine in Heidegger's philosophy, he details the complex and conflicted ways in which Heidegger paradoxically sought to define himself against the Christian tradition while at the same time making use of its resources.?Coyne first examines the role of Augustine in Heidegger's early period and the development of his magnum opus, Being and Time. He then goes on to show that Heidegger owed an abiding debt to Augustine even following his own rise as a secular philosopher, tracing his early encounters with theological texts through to his late thoughts and writings. Bringing a fresh and unexpected perspective to bear on Heidegger's profoundly influential critique of modern metaphysics, Coyne traces a larger lineage between religious and theological discourse and continental philosophy.
Virtue Is Knowledge
The relation between virtue and knowledge is at the heart of the Socratic view of human excellence, but it also points to a central puzzle of the Platonic dialogues: Can Socrates be serious in his claims that human excellence is constituted by one virtue, that vice is merely the result of ignorance, and that the correct response to crime is therefore not punishment but educationOr are these assertions mere rhetorical ploys by a notoriously complex thinker?Lorraine Smith Pangle traces the argument for the primacy of virtue and the power of knowledge throughout the five dialogues that feature them most prominently-the Apology, Gorgias, Protagoras, Meno, and Laws-and reveals the truth at the core of these seemingly strange claims. She argues that Socrates was more aware of the complex causes of human action and of the power of irrational passions than a cursory reading might suggest. Pangle's perceptive analyses reveal that many of Socrates's teachings in fact explore the factors that make it difficult for humans to be the rational creatures that he at first seems to claim. Also critical to Pangle's reading is her emphasis on the political dimensions of the dialogues. Underlying many of the paradoxes, she shows, is a distinction between philosophic and civic virtue that is critical to understanding them.Ultimately, Pangle offers a radically unconventional way of reading Socrates's views of human excellence: Virtue is not knowledge in any ordinary sense, but true virtue is nothing other than wisdom.
Victorian Scientific Naturalism
Victorian Scientific Naturalism examines the secular creeds of the generation of intellectuals who, in the wake of The Origin of Species, wrested cultural authority from the old Anglican establishment while installing themselves as a new professional scientific elite. These scientific naturalists-led by biologists, physicists, and mathematicians such as William Kingdon Clifford, Joseph Dalton Hooker, Thomas Henry Huxley, and John Tyndall-sought to persuade both the state and the public that scientists, not theologians, should be granted cultural authority, since their expertise gave them special insight into society, politics, and even ethics.?In Victorian Scientific Naturalism, Gowan Dawson and Bernard Lightman bring together new essays by leading historians of science and literary critics that recall these scientific naturalists, in light of recent scholarship that has tended to sideline them, and that reevaluate their place in the broader landscape of nineteenth-century Britain. Ranging in topic from daring climbing expeditions in the Alps to the maintenance of aristocratic protocols of conduct at Kew Gardens, these essays offer a series of new perspectives on Victorian scientific naturalism-as well as its subsequent incarnations in the early twentieth century-that together provide an innovative understanding of the movement centering on the issues of community, identity, and continuity.
In theory, at least, gravitational waves do exist. We are constantly bathed in gravitational radiation, which is generated when stars explode or collide and a portion of their mass becomes energy that ripples out like a disturbance on the surface of a serene pond. But unfortunately no gravitational wave has ever been directly detected even though the search has lasted more than forty years.As the leading chronicler of the search for gravitational waves, Harry Collins has been right there with the scientists since the start. The result of his unprecedented access to the front lines of physical science is Gravity's Ghost, a thrilling chronicle of high-stakes research and cutting-edge discovery. Here, Collins reveals that scientific discovery and nondiscovery can turn on scientific traditions and rivalries, that ideal statistical analysis rests on impossible procedures and unattainable knowledge, and that fact in one place is baseless assumption in another.?He also argues that sciences like gravitational wave detection, in exemplifying how the intractable is to be handled, can offer scientific leadership a moral beacon for the twenty-first century. In the end, Gravity's Ghost shows that discoveries are the denouements of dramatic scientific mysteries.
Renaissance Rediscovery of Intimacy
In 1345, when Petrarch recovered a lost collection of letters from Cicero to his best friend Atticus, he discovered an intimate Cicero, a man very different from either the well-known orator of the Roman forum or the measured spokesman for the ancient schools of philosophy. It was Petrarch's encounter with this previously unknown Cicero and his letters that Kathy Eden argues fundamentally changed the way Europeans from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries were expected to read and write.The Renaissance Rediscovery of Intimacy explores the way ancient epistolary theory and practice were understood and imitated in the European Renaissance.Eden draws chiefly upon Aristotle, Cicero, and Seneca-but also upon Plato, Demetrius, Quintilian, and many others-to show how the classical genre of the "e;familiar"e; letter emerged centuries later in the intimate styles of Petrarch, Erasmus, and Montaigne. Along the way, she reveals how the complex concept of intimacy in the Renaissance-leveraging the legal, affective, and stylistic dimensions of its prehistory in antiquity-pervades the literary production and reception of the period and sets the course for much that is modern in the literature of subsequent centuries. Eden's important study will interest students and scholars in a number of areas, including classical, Renaissance, and early modern studies; comparative literature; and the history of reading, rhetoric, and writing.
Shape of Life
Rudolf Raff is recognized as a pioneer in evolutionary developmental biology. In their 1983 book, Embryos, Genes, and Evolution, Raff and co-author Thomas Kaufman proposed a synthesis of developmental and evolutionary biology. In The Shape of Life, Raff analyzes the rise of this new experimental discipline and lays out new research questions, hypotheses, and approaches to guide its development.Raff uses the evolution of animal body plans to exemplify the interplay between developmental mechanisms and evolutionary patterns. Animal body plans emerged half a billion years ago. Evolution within these body plans during this span of time has resulted in the tremendous diversity of living animal forms.Raff argues for an integrated approach to the study of the intertwined roles of development and evolution involving phylogenetic, comparative, and functional biology. This new synthesis will interest not only scientists working in these areas, but also paleontologists, zoologists, morphologists, molecular biologists, and geneticists.
The right-to-die debate has gone on for centuries, playing out most recently as a spectacle of protest surrounding figures such as Terry Schiavo. In?Deconstructing Dignity, Scott Cutler Shershow offers a powerful new way of thinking about it philosophically. Focusing on the concepts of human dignity and the sanctity of life, he employs Derridean deconstruction to uncover self-contradictory and damaging assumptions that underlie both sides of the debate.Shershow examines texts from Cicero's?De Officiis?to Kant's?Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals?to court decisions and religious declarations. Through them he reveals how arguments both supporting and denying the right to die undermine their own unconditional concepts of human dignity and the sanctity of life with a hidden conditional logic, one often tied to practical economic concerns and the scarcity or unequal distribution of medical resources. He goes on to examine the exceptional case of self-sacrifice, closing with a vision of a society-one whose conditions we are far from meeting-in which the debate can finally be resolved. A sophisticated analysis of a heated topic,?Deconstructing Dignity?is also a masterful example of deconstructionist methods at work.?
Geographic Mosaic of Coevolution
Coevolution-reciprocal evolutionary change in interacting species driven by natural selection-is one of the most important ecological and genetic processes organizing the earth's biodiversity: most plants and animals require coevolved interactions with other species to survive and reproduce. The Geographic Mosaic of Coevolution analyzes how the biology of species provides the raw material for long-term coevolution, evaluates how local coadaptation forms the basic module of coevolutionary change, and explores how the coevolutionary process reshapes locally coevolving interactions across the earth's constantly changing landscapes.Picking up where his influential The Coevolutionary Process left off, John N. Thompsonsynthesizes the state of a rapidly developing science that integrates approaches from evolutionary ecology, population genetics, phylogeography, systematics, evolutionary biochemistry and physiology, and molecular biology. Using models, data, and hypotheses to develop a complete conceptual framework, Thompson also draws on examples from a wide range of taxa and environments, illustrating the expanding breadth and depth of research in coevolutionary biology.
Why We Need Ordinary Language Philosophy
Sandra Laugier has long been a key liaison between American and European philosophical thought, responsible for bringing American philosophers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Stanley Cavell to French readers-but until now her books have never been published in English. Why We Need Ordinary Language Philosophy rights that wrong with a topic perfect for English-language readers: the idea of analytic philosophy.?Focused on clarity and logical argument, analytic philosophy has dominated the discipline in the United States, Australia, and Britain over the past one hundred years, and it is often seen as a unified, coherent, and inevitable advancement. Laugier questions this assumption, rethinking the very grounds that drove analytic philosophy to develop and uncovering its inherent tensions and confusions. Drawing on J. L. Austin and the later works of Ludwig Wittgenstein, she argues for the solution provided by ordinary language philosophy-a philosophy that trusts and utilizes the everyday use of language and the clarity of meaning it provides-and in doing so offers a major contribution to the philosophy of language and twentieth- and twenty-first-century philosophy as a whole.
From Galileo, who used the hollow stalks of grass to demonstrate the idea that peripherally located construction materials provide most of the resistance to bending forces, to Leonardo da Vinci, whose illustrations of the parachute are alleged to be based on his study of the dandelion's pappus and the maple tree's samara, many of our greatest physicists, mathematicians, and engineers have learned much from studying plants.?A symbiotic relationship between botany and the fields of physics, mathematics, engineering, and chemistry continues today, as is revealed in Plant Physics. The result of a long-term collaboration between plant evolutionary biologist Karl J. Niklas and physicist Hanns-Christof Spatz, Plant Physics presents a detailed account of the principles of classical physics, evolutionary theory, and plant biology in order to explain the complex interrelationships among plant form, function, environment, and evolutionary history. Covering a wide range of topics-from the development and evolution of the basic plant body and the ecology of aquatic unicellular plants to mathematical treatments of light attenuation through tree canopies and the movement of water through plants' roots, stems, and leaves-Plant Physics is destined to inspire students and professionals alike to traverse disciplinary membranes.
Once Out of Nature
Once Out of Nature offers an original interpretation of Augustine's theory of time and embodiment. Andrea Nightingale draws on philosophy, sociology, literary theory, and social history to analyze Augustine's conception of temporality, eternity, and the human and transhuman condition.?In Nightingale's view, the notion of embodiment illuminates a set of problems much larger than the body itself: it captures the human experience of being an embodied soul dwelling on earth. In Augustine's writings, humans live both in and out of nature-exiled from Eden and punished by mortality, they are "e;resident aliens"e; on earth. While the human body is subject to earthly time, the human mind is governed by what Nightingale calls psychic time. For the human psyche always stretches away from the present moment-where the physical body persists-into memories and expectations. As Nightingale explains, while the body is present in the here and now, the psyche cannot experience self-presence. Thus, for Augustine, the human being dwells in two distinct time zones, in earthly time and in psychic time. The human self, then, is a moving target.?Adam, Eve, and the resurrected saints, by contrast, live outside of time and nature: these transhumans dwell in an everlasting present.?Nightingale connects Augustine's views to contemporary debates about transhumans and suggests that Augustine's thought reflects our own ambivalent relationship with our bodies and the earth. Once Out of Nature offers a compelling invitation to ponder the boundaries of the human.
Between 1777 and 1816, botanical expeditions crisscrossed the vast Spanish empire in an ambitious project to survey the flora of much of the Americas, the Caribbean, and the Philippines. While these voyages produced written texts and compiled collections of specimens, they dedicated an overwhelming proportion of their resources and energy to the creation of visual materials. European and American naturalists and artists collaborated to manufacture a staggering total of more than 12,000 botanical illustrations. Yet these images have remained largely overlooked-until now.In this lavishly illustrated volume, Daniela Bleichmar gives this archive its due, finding in these botanical images a window into the worlds of Enlightenment science, visual culture, and empire. Through innovative interdisciplinary scholarship that bridges the histories of science, visual culture, and the Hispanic world, Bleichmar uses these images to trace two related histories: the little-known history of scientific expeditions in the Hispanic Enlightenment and the history of visual evidence in both science and administration in the early modern Spanish empire. As Bleichmar shows, in the Spanish empire visual epistemology operated not only in scientific contexts but also as part of an imperial apparatus that had a long-established tradition of deploying visual evidence for administrative purposes.
Nature of Diversity
All living things on earth-from individual species to entire ecosystems-have evolved through time, and evolution is the acknowledged framework of modern biology. Yet many areas of biology have moved from a focus on evolution to much narrower perspectives.Daniel R. Brooks and Deborah A. McLennan argue that it is impossible to comprehend the nature of life on earth unless evolution-the history of organisms-is restored to a central position in research. They demonstrate how the phylogenetic approach can be integrated with ecological and behavioral studies to produce a richer and more complete picture of evolution. Clearly setting out the conceptual, methodological, and empirical foundations of their research program, Brooks and McLennan show how scientists can use it to unravel the evolutionary history of virtually any characteristic of any living thing, from behaviors to ecosystems. They illustrate and test their approach with examples drawn from a wide variety of species and habitats.The Nature of Diversity provides a powerful new tool for understanding, documenting, and preserving the world's biodiversity. It is an essential book for biologists working in evolution, ecology, behavior, conservation, and systematics. The argument in The Nature of Diversity greatly expands upon and refines the arguments made in the authors' previous book Phylogeny, Ecology, and Behavior.
Sciences of the Soul
The Sciences of the Soul is the first attempt to explain the development of the disciplinary conception of psychology from its appearance in the late sixteenth century to its redefinition at the end of the seventeenth and its emergence as an institutionalized field in the eighteenth. Fernando Vidal traces this development through university courses and textbooks, encyclopedias, and nonacademic books, as well as through various histories of psychology.?Vidal reveals that psychology existed before the eighteenth century essentially as a "e;physics of the soul,"e; and it belonged as much to natural philosophy as to Christian anthropology. It remained so until the eighteenth century, when the "e;science of the soul"e; became the "e;science of the mind."e; Vidal demonstrates that this Enlightenment refashioning took place within a Christian framework, and he explores how the preservation of the Christian idea of the soul was essential to the development of the science. Not only were most psychologists convinced that an empirical science of the soul was compatible with Christian faith; their perception that psychology preserved the soul also helped to elevate its rank as an empirical science. Broad-ranging and impeccably researched, this book will be of wide importance in the history and philosophy of psychology, the history of the human sciences more generally, and in the social and intellectual history of eighteenth-century Europe.
Bones, Clones, and Biomes
As explorers and scientists have known for decades, the Neotropics harbor a fantastic array of our planet's mammalian diversity, from capybaras and capuchins to maned wolves and mouse opossums to sloths and sakis. This biological bounty can be attributed partly to the striking diversity of Neotropical landscapes and climates and partly to a series of continental connections that permitted intermittent faunal exchanges with Africa, Antarctica, Australia, and North America. Thus, to comprehend the development of modern Neotropical mammal faunas requires not only mastery of the Neotropics' substantial diversity, but also knowledge of mammalian lineages and landscapes dating back to the Mesozoic.Bones, Clones, and Biomes offers just that-an exploration of the development and relationships of the modern mammal fauna through a series of studies that encompass the last 100 million years and both Central and South America. This work serves as a complement to more taxonomically driven works, providing for readers the long geologic and biogeographic contexts that undergird the abundance and diversity of Neotropical mammals. Rather than documenting diversity or distribution, this collection traverses the patterns that the distributions and relationships across mammal species convey, bringing together for the first time geology, paleobiology, systematics, mammalogy, and biogeography. Of critical importance is the book's utility for current conservation and management programs, part of a rapidly rising conservation paleobiology initiative.