PHILOSOPHY PATHWAYS ISSN 2043-0728
Issue No. 222 28th April 2018
Edited by Martin Jenkins
I. 'The Carpenter as a Philosopher Artist: a Critique of Plato's Theory of Mimesis' by Ilemobayo John Omogunwa
II. 'Towards Richard Rorty's Critique on Transcendental Grounding of Human Rights' by Dr P.S. Sreevidya
III. 'Thought is Being or Thought and Being? Feuerbach's Criticism of Hegel's Absolute Idealism' by Martin Jenkins
From the List Manager
IV. Call for review(s): Ethics for A-Level by Mark Dimmock and Anthony Fisher
V. Books by Geoffrey Klempner online
VI. 'Head hunted for literary success? Not...' by Geoffrey Klempner
Although the following papers differ significantly in respect of their particular content, they can be seen as linked by a common theme. Whilst in no respect are they a visit to the tenets of Post-Modernism, they demonstrate the internal 'deconstruction' of self-proclaimed universalist, monolithic, self-reflexive Philosophies of Platonism, Hegelian Absolute Idealism and Natural Right Theory.
Ilemobayo John Omogunwa plays on ambiguities in Plato's tripartite division of the Soul and Polis. This permits the radical possibility that a member of the Hoi Polloi can also qualify as a Philosopher King, a possibility which would contradict the very thrust of Plato's Philosophy.
Foundationalist Theories of Natural Rights are questioned by Dr P.S. Sreevidya in his citing of the neo-Pragmatism of Richard Rorty. Here, 'rights' are viewed as symptomatic of human rights culture which is symptomatic and expressive of a society and culture. They are not founded on an indifferent, universalism borne of transcendental foundations.
Finally, the paper by the Editor provides an overview of Ludwig Feuerbach's criticisms of G.W.F. Hegel's Absolute Idealism. The latter, it is maintained, remains fixed within abstraction and as such, must be negated by sensuous materialism in order to allow a truly universal naturalist humanism to ensue.
(c) Martin Jenkins 2018
About the editor: https:---
I. 'THE CARPENTER AS A PHILOSOPHER-ARTIST: A CRITIQUE OF PLATO'S THEORY OF MIMESIS' BY ILEMOBAYO JOHN OMOGUNWA
This article seeks to expose the absurdity and ambiguity in Plato's theory of forms and his foundational position on mimesis by arguing that the grounds provided for the rejection of imitative art are not sufficient when they are critically subjected to his own analogy. This article evaluates and establishes the position of the carpenter as an imitator, thereby showing his necessity and participation in Art as a philosopher-artist. [...]
(c) Ilemobayo John Omogunwa 2018
II. 'TOWARDS RICHARD RORTY'S CRITIQUE ON TRANSCENDENTAL GROUNDING OF HUMAN RIGHTS' BY DR P.S. SREEVIDYA
Anti-foundationalism is one of the main tenets of Rorty's critique on epistemic and metaphysical foundations of human rights. In the concern for human rights, epistemic foundationalism runs through the conception of truth as representation, and human rights also derives from an unhistorical vision of truth. By the denial of epistemic foundationalism, Rorty asserts that... in the field of human rights there is no natural law and rights are always historical and cultural [...]
(c) Dr. P.S. Sreevidya 2018
III. 'THOUGHT IS BEING OR THOUGHT AND BEING? FEUERBACH'S CRITICISM OF HEGEL'S ABSOLUTE IDEALISM' BY MARTIN JENKINS
Although he was once an ardent follower of the Philosophy of GWF Hegel, Ludwig Feuerbach became highly critical of it and sought to supersede Absolute Idealism and Idealism in general, with his own 'New Philosophy'. As Zawar Hanfi notes, Feuerbach is invariably placed as a 'chapter in the book that is called Karl Marx'; that as Frederick Engels wrote upon the upon reading The Essence of Christianity 'we all became Feuerbachians'. The subject matter of my paper... is Feuerbach's criticism's of German Idealism, most notably the Absolute Idealism of Hegel, which indeed, did influence the early thinking of Marx [...]
(c) Martin Jenkins 2018
IV. CALL FOR REVIEW(S): ETHICS FOR A-LEVEL BY MARK DIMMOCK AND ANTHONY FISHER
A few days ago, I received an email from Molly Byrne of Open Book Publishers: 'I see on your website that you review philosophical books and I wondered if you might consider reviewing our Open Access textbook Ethics for A-Level by Mark Dimmock and Andrew Fisher. This may not fit with your typical reviews but, if you think the book is useful, perhaps you could share the resource on your site?'
In my reply, I explained that I don't commission reviews, but we have a page, the Pathways introductory book list https:--- where members of Pathways and the ISFP can review books of interest to our students. Every new Pathways student is invited to submit a review of a book they have liked, and a few have done so.
Following the link in Molly's email, I was surprised to see that the book is free to view online or download as PDF. The book is also available in ePub or mobi formats at a relatively low cost, or at a higher cost in paperback for students who like scribbling in the margins (as I used to do copiously) or hardback for libraries.
Reading through the first few pages, I came upon this, on the topic of 'Thought-Experiments':
You will also be aware, especially in reading this book, of
the philosophical device known as a 'thought experiment'.
These are hypothetical, sometimes fanciful, examples that
are designed to aid our thinking about an issue.
For example, imagine that you could travel back in time.
You are pointing a gun at your grandfather when he was a
child. Would it be possible for you to pull the trigger?
Or, imagine that there is a tram running down a track. You
could stop it, thereby saving five people, by throwing a
fat man under the tracks. Is this the morally right thing
The details here are unimportant. What is important, is
that it is inadequate to respond: 'yes, but that could
never happen!' Thought experiments are devices to help us
to think about certain issues. Whether they are possible in
real life does not stop us doing that thinking. Indeed, it
is not just philosophy that uses thought experiments. When
Einstein asked what would happen if he looked at his watch
near a black hole, this was a thought experiment. In fact,
most other subjects use thought experiments. It is just
that philosophy uses them more frequently, and they are
often a bit more bizarre.
Mark Dimmock and Anthony Fisher Ethics for A-Level
Open Book Publishers Introduction, Section 7
I wish more authors would realize just how important it is to get this point about thought experiments across as soon as possible before getting down to the serious business of weird and wonderful imaginary possibilities that show our conceptual scheme hard at work. It would save a lot of confusion and anxiety.
So, would anyone care to review this book? The review should be short, following the example of other reviews in our introductory book list. Here is the page where you can view or download the PDF:
(c) Geoffrey Klempner 2018
V. BOOKS BY GEOFFREY KLEMPNER ONLINE
Readers of Philosophy Pathways will know that I have some of my own philosophy writings on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.
After receiving the email from Open Book Publishers mentioned in the previous item, and visiting their site, it occurred to me what an excellent idea it is to give visitors the option of reading a book before choosing whether or not to purchase a copy.
So I have made full HTML versions of my books which can be accessed free from the Pathways introductory book list section 4, or from my short CV page https:---.
It is true that many view the Internet as a vast repository of 'free stuff', but that fact is never going to change. I do that too, but I am also willing to pay up if the price is right. The success of commerce on the Internet shows how well that revenue model works.
Here are the books available free online on the Pathways to Philosophy web site, as well as the links to Amazon UK for those who need them. (For US Amazon change the 'co.uk' to 'com'.)
The Metaphysics of Meaning
Naive Metaphysics: a theory of subjective and objective worlds
Philosophy Q and A
Ethical Dilemmas: a primer for decision makers
As these are new uploads, it is possible that there may be some glitches or errors. Do let me know if you find any problems.
-- Enjoy your reading!
(c) Geoffrey Klempner 2018
VI. 'HEAD HUNTED FOR LITERARY SUCCESS. NOT...' BY GEOFFREY KLEMPNER
And now to publishing of a rather different kind. A number of contributors to Pathways have recently received emails from a so-called 'Editor' of a publishing company with a prestigious sounding name that I will not mention here.
In the email, the Editor says that they have been 'looking for authors in the field you have researched' and 'your work has caught our interest'. Mention is made of an 'international audience'. You think, 'There are thousands, tens of thousands of authors or would-be authors in my field. There must be something really special about my effort to have captured the interest of a major publisher!'
Except that, that never happens. Getting work published is a hard slog, and you are the one who has to do the slogging. Publishers head hunt when they are looking to make an offer to a well-known author coming to the end of his or her publishing contract with another publisher. And that's the one and only time.
And if the appeal to your vanity works and you sign up with this seemingly prestigious publisher, what happens next? You send your work off and it is accepted. No ifs, ands or buts. Now, that would immediately raise my suspicions. Isn't there someone at the other end to vet the stuff that comes in? No, editing is up to the author to arrange. And if you find that you have made errors in your manuscript, small or large, that's when you discover that you have to pay -- rather a lot --- to have the manuscript updated.
But it gets worse: Your work is now 'published', but no-one is ever going to find it. No advertisements in publishing trade journals, no review copies sent out. You are just an entry in a catalogue of thousands, or tens or hundreds of thousands of books.
Finally, surprise surprise, you are invited to purchase copies of your own book (no copies for free) for yourself or your friends or colleagues. And that's how your book 'sells'. That, and the charges for updating manuscripts, is this publisher's main source of revenue.
As mentioned previously, I have some of my books on Amazon in a print version. Amazon have a vetting process for Kindle and print books, but it doesn't pretend to be an editorial service. A computer checks your spelling, typography and layout, and also (I suspect) investigates possible plagiarism or rights infringement. Human beings are on hand to check that the process runs smoothly. However, if you decide to make changes to your manuscript, all you need to do is upload a new version. It is usually online within 24 hours and there is nothing to pay.
As with the un-named publisher, this is what is known as 'print on demand' or POD, but done properly, as you would expect. There are several perfectly respectable alternatives to Amazon if you Google.
Ignore the siren calls to your vanity. It's not worth the agony.
(c) Geoffrey Klempner 2018