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John H. Zammito

Abstract

Has the emergence of post-positivism in philosophy of science changed the terms of the “is/ought” dichotomy? If it has demonstrated convincingly that there are no “facts” apart from the theoretical frames and evaluative standards constructing them, can such a cordon sanitaire really be upheld between “facts” and values? The point I wish to stress is that philosophy of science has had a central role in constituting and imposing the fact/value dichotomy and a revolution in the philosophy of science should not leave the dichotomy unaffected. The connection between post-positivism and naturalism will be my guiding thread in considering this “last dogma of positivism.” First this essay will specify the sense of naturalism that it will take to be essential to the post-positivist philosophy of science: the deflation of the notion of the “purity” of scientific knowledge. Then it will turn to the question of the implications that follow for the “autonomy” of ethics, including the danger posed by a new form of scientistic reductionism.

John H. Zammito

Abstract

Robert Doran claims that the sublime is all about transcendence transferred from the religious to the aesthetic domain of experience. Taken in this philosophical rather than stylistic sense, it proved crucial for the development of modern subjectivity. Doran traces the issue from Longinus through the decisive reception of Nicolas Boileau, who first distinguished le sublime from le style sublime, on to an extended engagement with Immanuel Kant. In all this he seeks its place in the rise of the modern bourgeois subject. The social-historical connections tend to be a bit overstated, first, with regard to Boileau and the idea of the honnête homme, and especially with the claim that “Burke treats aesthetic concepts as proxies for sociopolitical categories.” It is not fruitful for an understanding of Kant, either. This weakens his powerful argument for the philosophical significance of the sublime in modern thought.