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13. Measurements of Gravity at Initial Stations in America and Europe

Peirce, Charles S. Indiana University Press PDF

Gravity at Initial Stations, 1879


squares will fail to detect. Such errors are, however, slight in comparison with those which may affect absolute determinations of gravity, into which the constant errors enter to their full amount. A source of error affecting all modern determinations was lately pointed out by the writer of this paper, which had produced errors in the accepted results amounting to one four or five thousandth part of the quantity measured, and in some cases even to more.

The value of gravity-determinations depends upon their being bound together, each with all the others which have been made anywhere upon the earth. In considering how the necessary connections should be made for our work, it seemed to you, sir, and to Prof.

Benjamin Peirce, the consulting geometer, as it did to the writer, that to trust to absolute determinations and to the transportation of metres would be more than hazardous, notwithstanding that such had been the recent practice in continental Europe. Your instructions were accordingly issued for the oscillation of the same pendulum at those fundamental stations of Europe where the chief absolute determinations had been made and whence pendulumexpeditions had set out, and at a station in America which would become the initial one for this continent. Similar action followed on the part of the European surveys; for at the meeting of the International Geodetic Congress in Paris, in 1875, it was resolved, at the suggestion of the writer, that the different states should carry their pendulums to Berlin and swing them in the Eichungsamt there. This has already been done by Switzerland and Austria, and will be done hereafter by every survey which is not willing to sacrifice the solution of a great problem to forms of action based on national exclusiveness.

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CHAPTER 10 The Ecolegal Revolution

Capra, Fritjof Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The Scientific Revolution introduced the concept of nature as a machine and human reason as superior to natural processes. The subsequent Industrial Revolution produced great “progress” in terms of technological development and efficient production, and the institutional transformation of some commons into concentrated capital served a real social need to overcome a brutal subsistence way of life. Concentrated capital meant industry, scientific and artistic development, better medicine, and eventually more hygienic conditions for many.

However, capital concentration also required the “commodification” of land. Toward that end, the landed class allied with government institutions to defeat the resistance of people who were living communally with subsistence agriculture and limited specialization. Their traditional productive processes were transformed into modern capitalist food production and manufacturing. This effort was aided by a theory of unlimited property rights, based on an ideology of freedom, improvement, and productive labor, which John Locke provided, and by a theory of unlimited state sovereignty, offered by Thomas Hobbes.1

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1 Meaning in the Context of Accomplishing Oneself and Accomplishing Things

Yang Guorong Indiana University Press ePub

ACCOMPLISHING ONESELF and accomplishing things is a concrete historical process of knowing the world and knowing oneself and reforming the world and refining oneself, which simultaneously generates meaning and produces a world of meaning. The world in-itself cannot pose for itself the question of meaning, which is to say that there is no way to dissociate meaning from one’s own being. Humans question the meaning of the world and the meaning of their own being; therefore, the genesis of meaning owes its origin to the “being” of humans. As the introduction to this book has already demonstrated, from the perspective of one’s own being and its relation to the world, the intension of meaning or “the meaning of meaning” implicates within itself several questions: “What is it?” “What does it mean?” and “What should it become?” The question “What is it?” specifically refers to which things exist and how they exist (in what form do things exist?), which involves the connection between the presentation of things and the human being’s intentional activity. The question “What does it mean?” refers to the value or worth that a being may have.1 With regard to objects, such a question asks whether or not something accords with the needs and ideals of human beings and to what extent; such needs and ideals concern not only life as a process of survival on the material level, but also cognition and practice in spiritual life and the social sphere. With regard to the human being, “What does it mean?” is directed at the very meaning of one’s own being: Why, or for what, in the end, does one exist? The meaning of one’s own being or the confirmation of the meaning of human life is always grounded in the ends and ideals that human beings value. When the process of one’s own being is consistent with the specific ends or ideals one finds worthy, life appears to be richly fulfilled with meaning; and vise versa, when one is either lacking or distantly separated from a valued goal, human life then inevitably strikes one with a sense of meaninglessness.

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Chapter 1 - Unfolding the Question: An Excentric History

Dennis J. Schmidt Indiana University Press ePub

As soon as one begins to speak about an image, one is entangled in complications. This is the case no matter how one approaches the image: critically, theoretically, appraisingly, admiringly, confusedly—it does not matter, since the problem is rooted in the difference between words and images. Philosophy is no exception and does not escape these complications. Quite the contrary, philosophy seems to have a special difficulty in confronting the image, since philosophy lives in and is oriented to and by the logos, by words, and since it tends to take the legitimacy of this orientation as self-evident. The authority of the logos defines the very idea of philosophy and, since it is invariably assumed that the logos cannot be grasped by an image, the superiority of the logos over the image also belongs to this definition of philosophy. The logos is understood, but never seen. Even if there is a sort of “seeing” involved in philosophy, this “look” to what we call the “idea” is not the same as the look to the image. Consequently, if one is self-conscious, if one is honest, then one must hesitate before this difference between the image and the word so that once one raises the question of the image from the perspective of philosophy, the peculiar presuppositions that govern and define the project of philosophy themselves come into question. The question of the image recoils back upon philosophy and its own presumptions. Once this happens, one learns that one needs to be careful about presuming that words and images translate into one another so that one can indeed speak of images and still do justice to them such that the nature of the image shines through the words. Despite this need for hesitation and self-reflection that should emerge right from the outset of any philosophical engagement with the question of the image, what is striking is just how easily the differences between words and images are effaced, how readily we are persuaded of the gifts of language and the power of language to articulate something true in what is said. This means that the first task of any effort to speak of images is to turn language back upon itself such that its own character begins to become a question. In order to begin, it is necessary to understand that the question of the image is not simply a question for philosophy but rather a question that goes straight to the heart of the very possibility and idea of philosophy. And yet, the “blindness” of language before itself remains its first and foremost trait: language is always poorest at speaking and articulating itself. This “blindness” of language, this poverty of its own nature, is what the encounter with the image can bring to light.

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7. Problematization plus Reconstruction: Genealogy, Pragmatism & Critical Theory

Colin Koopman Indiana University Press ePub


Problematization plus Reconstruction

Genealogy, Pragmatism & Critical Theory

Reconciling Problematizers and Reconstructors

Throughout this book I have been working toward a conception of critical inquiry that brings together the methodological orientations of problematization and reconstruction. It is time to more tightly tie together these two elements of my proposed form of critical inquiry. In this concluding chapter I detail how what I have been calling problematization and reconstruction fit together quite naturally to form a broad-based conception of critique, in the capacious Kantian sense of critique I outlined in the introduction. Kant initiated a project in modern philosophical practice that remains of ineliminable value for the traditions of genealogy, pragmatism, and critical theory. I am not referring to Kant’s projects of an architectonic of reason and a legislation of the moral will. That in Kant which lasts for us today is his project of critique—the severe work by which we inquire into second-order conditions of possibility of our first-order practical doings. In placing genealogy, pragmatism, and critical theory in the lineage of Kant, I aim to call attention to Kant’s best achievements for us moderns. These achievements may not be dependent upon more textbook stories we are too often taught about Kant. Indeed, I can freely admit that Kant may not recognize himself in the critical methodologies I am discussing. But that is not my point. Rather my claim is that we can recognize enough of Kant in ourselves. What I seek, then, are connections on their own terms between Foucault’s Kantian project of problematization on the one hand and the Kantian projects of reconstruction featured in the work of pragmatism and critical theory on the other.

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