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- Is objectivity possible? - Can there be objectivity in matters of morals, or tastes? - What would a truly objective account of the world be like? - Is everything subjective, or relative? - Are moral judgments objective or culturally relative? Objectivity is both an essential and elusive philosophical concept. An account is generally considered to be objective if it attempts to capture the nature of the object studied without judgement of a conscious entity or subject. Objectivity stands in contrast to subjectivity: an objective account is impartial, one which could ideally be accepted by any subject, because it does not draw on any assumptions, prejudices, or values of particular subjects. Stephen Gaukroger shows that it is far from clear that we can resolve moral or aesthetic disputes in this way and it has often been argued that such an approach is not always appropriate for disciplines that deal with human, rather than natural, phenomena. Moreover, even in those cases where we seek to be objective, it may be difficult to judge what a truly objective account would look like, and whether it is achievable. This Very Short Introduction demonstrates that there are a number of common misunderstandings about what objectivity is, and explores the theoretical and practical problems of objectivity by assessing the basic questions raised by it. As well as considering the core philosophical issues, Gaukroger also deals with the way in which particular understandings of objectivity impinge on social research, science, and art. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Exactly four hundred years after the birth of René Descartes (1596-1650), the present volume now makes available, for the first time in a bilingual, philosophical edition prepared especially for English-speaking readers, his Regulae ad directionem ingenii / Rules for the Direction of the Natural Intelligence (1619-1628), the Cartesian treatise on method. This unique edition contains an improved version of the original Latin text, a new English translation intended to be as literal as possible and as liberal as necessary, an interpretive essay contextualizing the text historically, philologically, and philosophically, a com-prehensive index of Latin terms, a key glossary of English equivalents, and an extensive bibliography covering all aspects of Descartes' methodology. Stephen Gaukroger has shown, in his authoritative Descartes: An Intellectual Biography (1995), that one cannot understand Descartes without understanding the early Descartes. But one also cannot understand the early Descartes without understanding the Regulae / Rules. Nor can one understand the Regulae / Rules without understanding a philosophical edition thereof. Therein lies the justification for this project. The edition is intended, not only for students and teachers of philosophy as well as of related disciplines such as literary and cultural criticism, but also for anyone interested in seriously reflecting on the nature, expression, and exercise of human intelligence: What is it? How does it manifest itself? How does it function? How can one make the most of what one has of it? Is it equally distributed in all human beings? What is natural about it, and what, not? In the Regulae / Rules Descartes tries to provide, from a distinctively early modern perspective, answers both to these and to many other questions about what he refers to as ingenium.
Why did science emerge in the West and how did scientific values come to be regarded as the yardstick for all other forms of knowledge? Stephen Gaukroger shows just how bitterly the cognitive and cultural standing of science was contested in its early development. Rejecting the traditional picture of secularization, he argues that science in the seventeenth century emerged not in opposition to religion but rather was in many respects driven by it. Moreover, science did not present a unified picture of nature but was an unstable field of different, often locally successful but just as often incompatible, programmes. To complicate matters, much depended on attempts to reshape the persona of the natural philosopher, and distinctive new notions of objectivity and impartiality were imported into natural philosophy, changing its character radically by redefining the qualities of its practitioners. The West's sense of itself, its relation to its past, and its sense of its future, have been profoundly altered since the seventeenth century, as cognitive values generally have gradually come to be shaped around scientific ones. Science has not merely brought a new set of such values to the task of understanding the world and our place in it, but rather has completely transformed the task, redefining the goals of enquiry. This distinctive feature of the development of a scientific culture in the West marks it out from other scientifically productive cultures. In The Emergence of a Scientific Culture, Stephen Gaukroger offers a detailed and comprehensive account of the formative stages of this development—-and one which challenges the received wisdom that science was seen to be self-evidently the correct path to knowledge and that the benefits of science were immediately obvious to the disinterested observer.
Three captivating volumes reveal how Einstein viewed both the physical universe and the everyday world in which he lived.

A century after his theory of general relativity shook the foundations of the scientific world, Albert Einstein’s name is still synonymous with genius. This collection is an introduction to one of the world’s greatest minds.

Essays in Humanism
Nuclear proliferation, Zionism, and the global economy are just a few of the insightful and surprisingly prescient topics scientist Albert Einstein discusses in this volume of collected essays from between 1931 and 1950. With a clear voice and a thoughtful perspective on the effects of science, economics, and politics in daily life, Einstein’s essays provide an intriguing view inside the mind of a genius as he addresses the philosophical challenges presented during the turbulence of the Great Depression, World War II, and the dawn of the Cold War.

The Theory of Relativity and Other Essays
E=mc2 may be Einstein’s most well-known contribution to modern science. Now, on the one-hundredth anniversary of the theory of general relativity, discover the thought process behind this famous equation. In this collection of his seven most important essays on physics, Einstein guides his reader through the many layers of scientific theory that formed a starting point for his discoveries. By both supporting and refuting the theories and scientific efforts of his predecessors, he reveals the origins and meaning of such significant topics as physics and reality, the fundamentals of theoretical physics, the common language of science, the laws of science and of ethics, and an elementary derivation of the equivalence of mass and energy. This remarkable collection, authorized by the Albert Einstein archives, allows the non-scientist to understand not only the significance of Einstein’s masterpiece, but also the brilliant mind behind it.

The World As I See It
Authorized by the Albert Einstein Archives, this is a fascinating collection of observations about life, religion, nationalism, and a host of personal topics that engaged the intellect of one of the world’s greatest minds. In the aftermath of World War I, Einstein writes about his hopes for the League of Nations, his feelings as a German citizen about the growing anti-Semitism and nationalism of his country, and his opinions about the current affairs of his day. In addition to these political perspectives, The World As I See It reveals the idealistic, spiritual, and witty side of this great intellectual as he approaches topics including “Good and Evil,” “Religion and Science,” “Active Pacifism,” “Christianity and Judaism,” and “Minorities.” Including letters, speeches, articles and essays written before 1935, this collection offers a complete portrait of Einstein as a humanitarian and as a human being trying to make sense of the changing world around him.

This authorized ebook features new introductions by Neil Berger and an illustrated biography of Albert Einstein, which includes rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
From renowned classicist Edith Hall, ARISTOTLE'S WAY is an examination of one of history's greatest philosophers, showing us how to lead happy, fulfilled, and meaningful lives

Aristotle was the first philosopher to inquire into subjective happiness, and he understood its essence better and more clearly than anyone since. According to Aristotle, happiness is not about well-being, but instead a lasting state of contentment, which should be the ultimate goal of human life. We become happy through finding a purpose, realizing our potential, and modifying our behavior to become the best version of ourselves. With these objectives in mind, Aristotle developed a humane program for becoming a happy person, which has stood the test of time, comprising much of what today we associate with the good life: meaning, creativity, and positivity. Most importantly, Aristotle understood happiness as available to the vast majority us, but only, crucially, if we decide to apply ourselves to its creation--and he led by example. As Hall writes, "If you believe that the goal of human life is to maximize happiness, then you are a budding Aristotelian."

In expert yet vibrant modern language, Hall lays out the crux of Aristotle's thinking, mixing affecting autobiographical anecdotes with a deep wealth of classical learning. For Hall, whose own life has been greatly improved by her understanding of Aristotle, this is an intensely personal subject. She distills his ancient wisdom into ten practical and universal lessons to help us confront life's difficult and crucial moments, summarizing a lifetime of the most rarefied and brilliant scholarship.
"To quietly persevere in storing up what is learned, to continue studying without respite, to instruct others without growing weary--is this not me?"
--Confucius

Confucius is recognized as China's first and greatest teacher, and his ideas have been the fertile soil in which the Chinese cultural tradition has flourished. Now, here is a translation of the recorded thoughts and deeds that best remember Confucius--informed for the first time by the manuscript version found at Dingzhou in 1973, a partial text dating to 55 BCE and only made available to the scholarly world in 1997. The earliest Analects yet discovered, this work provides us with a new perspective on the central canonical text that has defined Chinese culture--and clearly illuminates the spirit and values of Confucius.

Confucius (551-479 BCE) was born in the ancient state of Lu into an era of unrelenting, escalating violence as seven of the strongest states in the proto-Chinese world warred for supremacy. The landscape was not only fierce politically but also intellectually. Although Confucius enjoyed great popularity as a teacher, and many of his students found their way into political office, he personally had little influence in Lu. And so he began to travel from state to state as an itinerant philosopher to persuade political leaders that his teachings were a formula for social and political success. Eventually, his philosophies came to dictate the standard of behavior for all of society--including the emperor himself.

Based on the latest research and complete with both Chinese and English texts, this revealing translation serves both as an excellent introduction to Confucian thought and as an authoritative addition to sophisticated debate.
Do What Thou Wilt: An exploration into the life and works of a modern mystic, occultist, poet, mountaineer, and bisexual adventurer known to his contemporaries as "The Great Beast"

Aleister Crowley was a groundbreaking poet and an iconoclastic visionary whose literary and cultural legacy extends far beyond the limits of his notoriety as a practitioner of the occult arts.

Born in 1875 to devout Christian parents, young Aleister's devotion scarcely outlived his father, who died when the boy was twelve. He reached maturity in the boarding schools and brothels of Victorian England, trained to become a world-class mountain climber, and seldom persisted with any endeavor in which he could be bested.

Like many self-styled illuminati of his class and generation, the hedonistic Crowley gravitated toward the occult. An aspiring poet and a pampered wastrel - obsessed with reconciling his quest for spiritual perfection and his inclination do exactly as he liked in the earthly realm - Crowley developed his own school of mysticism. Magick, as he called it, summoned its users to embrace the imagination and to glorify the will. Crowley often explored his spiritual yearnings through drug-saturated vision quests and rampant sexual adventurism, but at other times he embraced Eastern philosophies and sought enlightenment on ascetic sojourns into the wilderness.

This controversial individual, a frightening mixture of egomania and self-loathing, has inspired passionate - but seldom fair - assessments from historians. Lawrence Sutin, by treating Crowley as a cultural phenomenon, and not simply a sorcerer or a charlatan, convinces skeptic readers that the self-styled "Beast" remains a fascinating study in how one man devoted his life to the subversion of the dominant moral and religious values of his time.

We think the way we do because Socrates thought the way he did; in his unwavering commitment to truth and in the example of his own life, he set the standard for all subsequent Western philosophy. And yet, for twenty-five centuries, he has remained an enigma: a man who left no written legacy and about whom everything we know is hearsay, gleaned from the writings of Plato, Xenophon and Aristophanes. Now Bettany Hughes gives us an unprecedented, brilliantly vivid portrait of Socrates and of his homeland, Athens in its Golden Age.

His life spanned “seventy of the busiest, most wonderful and tragic years in Athenian history.” It was a city devastated by war, but, at the same time, transformed by the burgeoning process of democracy, and Hughes re-creates this fifth-century B.C. city, drawing on the latest sources—archaeological, topographical and textual—to illuminate the streets where Socrates walked, to place him there and to show us the world as he experienced it.

She takes us through the great, teeming Agora—the massive marketplace, the heart of ancient Athens—where Socrates engaged in philosophical dialogue and where he would be condemned to death. We visit the battlefields where he fought, the red-light district and gymnasia he frequented and the religious festivals he attended. We meet the men and the few women—including his wife, Xanthippe, and his “inspiration” and confidante, Aspasia—who were central to his life. We travel to where he was born and where he died. And we come to understand the profound influences of time and place in the evolution of his eternally provocative philosophy.

Deeply informed and vibrantly written, combining historical inquiry and storytelling élan, The Hemlock Cup gives us the most substantial, fascinating, humane depiction we have ever had of one of the most influential thinkers of all time.
“When I dance, I dance; when I sleep, I sleep. And when I
am walking alone in a beautiful orchard, if my thoughts
are sometimes preoccupied elsewhere, the rest of the time I
bring them back to the walk, to the orchard, to the sweetness
of this solitude, and to me.”
—Montaigne
 
In the year 1570, at the age of thirty-seven, Michel de Montaigne gave up his job as a magistrate and retired to his château to brood on his own private grief—the deaths of his best friend, his father, his brother, and his firstborn child. On the ceiling of his library he inscribed a phrase from the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius: “There is no new pleasure to be gained by living longer.”
 
But finding his mind agitated rather than settled by this idleness, Montaigne began to write, giving birth to the Essays—short prose explorations of an amazingly wide range of subjects. And gradually, over the course of his writing, Montaigne rejected his stoical pessimism and turned from a philosophy of death to a philosophy of life. He erased Lucretius’s melancholy fatalism and began to embrace the exuberant vitality of living, finding an antidote to death in the most unlikely places—the touch of a hand, the smell of his doublet, the playfulness of his cat, and the flavor of his wine.
 
Saul Frampton offers a celebration of perhaps the most enjoyable and yet profound of all Renaissance writers, whose essays went on to have a huge impact on figures as diverse as Shakespeare, Emerson, and Orson Welles, and whose thoughts, even today, offer a guide and unprecedented insight into the simple matter of being alive.
In this enormously engaging, vibrant, and richly researched biography of Albert Camus, the French writer and journalist Olivier Todd has drawn on personal correspondence, notebooks, and public records never before tapped, as well as interviews with Camus's family, friends, fellow workers, writers, mentors, and lovers.

Todd shows us a Camus who struggled all his life with irreconcilable conflicts--between his loyalty to family and his passionate nature, between the call to political action and the integrity to his art, between his support of the native Algerians and his identification with the forgotten people, the poor whites. A very private man, Camus could be charming and prickly, sincere and theatrical, genuinely humble, yet full of great ambition.

Todd paints a vivid picture of the time and place that shaped Camus--his impoverished childhood in the Algerian city of Belcourt, the sea and the sun and the hot sands that he so loved (he would always feel an exile elsewhere), and the educational system that nurtured him. We see the forces that lured him into communism, and his attraction to the theater and to journalism as outlets for his creativity.

The Paris that Camus was inevitably drawn to is one that Todd knows intimately, and he brings alive the war years, the underground activities that Camus was caught up in during the Occupation and the bitter postwar period, as well as the intrigues of the French literati who embraced Camus after his first novel, L'Etranger, was published. Todd is also keenly attuned to the French intellectual climate, and as he takes Camus's measure as a successful novelist, journalist, playwright and director, literary editor, philosopher, he also reveals the temperament in the writer that increasingly isolated him and crippled his reputation in the years before his death and for a long time after. He shows us the solitary man behind the mask--debilitated by continuing bouts of tuberculosis, constantly drawn to irresistible women, and deeply troubled by his political conflicts with the reigning French intellectuals, particularly by the vitriol of his former friend Sartre over the Algerian conflict.

Filled with sharp observations and sparkling with telling details, here is a wonderfully human portrait of the Nobel Prize-winning writer, who died at the age of forty-six and who remains one of the most influential literary figures of our time.
The publication of the letters of Ayn Rand is a cause for celebration, not only among the countless millions of Ayn Rand admirers the world over, but also among all those interested in the key political, philosophical, and artistic issues of our century. For there is no separation between Ayn Rand the vibrant, creative woman and Ayn Rand the intellectual dynamo, the rational thinker, who was also a passionately committed champion of individual freedom.

These remarkable letters begin in 1926, with a note from the twenty-year-old Ayn Rand, newly arrived in Chicago from Soviet Russia, an impoverished unknown determined to realize the promise of the land of opportunity. They move through her struggles and successes as a screenwriter, a playwright, and a novelist, her sensational triumph as the author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and her eminence as founder and shaper of Objectivism, one of the most challenging philosophies of our time. They are written to such famed contemporaries as Cecil B. DeMille, Frank Lloyd Wright, H.L. Mencken, Alexander Kerensky, Barry Goldwater and Mickey Spillane

There are letters to philosophers, priests, publishers, and political columnists; to her beloved husband, Frank O' Connor; and to her intimate circle of friends and her growing legion of followers. Her letters range in tone from warm affection to icy fury, and in content from telling commentaries on the events of the day to unforgettably eloquent statements of her philosophical ideas. They are presented chronologically, with explanatory notes by Michael S. Berliner, who identifies the recipients of the letters and provides relevant background and context. Here is a chronicle that captures the inspiring drama of a towering literary genius and seminal thinker, and--often day-by-day--her amazing life.

A comprehensive look at the life and continuing influence of 16th-century scientific genius and occultist Dr. John Dee

• Presents an overview of Dee’s scientific achievements, intelligence and spy work, imperial strategizing, and his work developing methods to communicate with angels

• Pieces together Dee’s fragmentary Spirit Diaries and examines Enochian in precise detail and the angels’ plan to establish a New World Order

• Explores Dee’s influence on Sir Francis Bacon, modern science, Rosicrucianism, and 20th-century occultists such as Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowley, and Anton LaVey

Dr. John Dee (1527-1608), Queen Elizabeth I’s court advisor and astrologer, was the foremost scientific genius of the 16th century. Laying the foundation for modern science, he actively promoted mathematics and astronomy as well as made advances in navigation and optics that helped elevate England to the foremost imperial power in the world. Centuries ahead of his time, his theoretical work included the concept of light speed and prototypes for telescopes and solar panels. Dee, the original “007” (his crown-given moniker), even invented the idea of a “British Empire,” envisioning fledgling America as the new Atlantis, himself as Merlin, and Elizabeth as Arthur.

But, as Jason Louv explains, Dee was suppressed from mainstream history because he spent the second half of his career developing a method for contacting angels. After a brilliant ascent from star student at Cambridge to scientific advisor to the Queen, Dee, with the help of a disreputable, criminal psychic named Edward Kelley, devoted ten years to communing with the angels and archangels of God. These spirit communications gave him the keys to Enochian, the language that mankind spoke before the fall from Eden. Piecing together Dee’s fragmentary Spirit Diaries and scrying sessions, the author examines Enochian in precise detail and explains how the angels used Dee and Kelley as agents to establish a New World Order that they hoped would unify all monotheistic religions and eventually dominate the entire globe.

Presenting a comprehensive overview of Dee’s life and work, Louv examines his scientific achievements, intelligence and spy work, imperial strategizing, and Enochian magick, establishing a psychohistory of John Dee as a singular force and fundamental driver of Western history. Exploring Dee’s influence on Sir Francis Bacon, the development of modern science, 17th-century Rosicrucianism, the 19th-century occult revival, and 20th-century occultists such as Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowley, and Anton LaVey, Louv shows how John Dee continues to impact science and the occult to this day.
When Luis de Molina died in Madrid in 1600, he had every reason to believe he was about to be anathametized by Pope Clement VIII. The Protestant Reformation was splitting Europe, tribunals of the Inquisition met regularly in a dozen Spanish cities, and the Pope had launched a commission two years earlier to investigate Molina’s writings.

Molina was eventually vindicated, though the decision came seven years after his death. In the centuries that followed Molina was relegated to relatively minor status in the history of theology until a renaissance of interest in recent years. His doctrine of God’s “middle knowledge,” in particular, has been appropriated by a number of current philosophers and theologians, with apologist William Lane Craig calling it “one of the most fruitful theological ideas ever conceived.”

In Luis de Molina: The Life and Theology of the Founder of Middle Knowledge, author Kirk R. MacGregor outlines the main contours of Molina’s subtle and far-reaching philosophical theology, covering his views on God’s foreknowledge, salvation and predestination, poverty and obedience, and social justice. Drawing on writings of Molina never translated into English, MacGregor also provides insight into the experiences that shaped Molina, recounting the events of a life fully as dramatic as any of the Protestant Reformers.

With implications for topics as wide-ranging as biblical inerrancy, creation and evolution, the relationship between Christianity and world religions, the problem of evil, and quantum indeterminacy, Molina’s thought remains as fresh and relevant as ever. Most significantly, perhaps, it continues to offer the possibility of a rapprochement between Calvinism and Arminianism, a view of salvation that fully upholds both God’s predestination and human free will.

As the first full-length work ever published on Molina, Kirk MacGregor’s Luis de Molina provides an accessible and insightful introduction for scholars, students, and armchair theologians alike.

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