Humanities2015, 4(1), 17-34; doi:10.3390/h4010017 - published 14 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This essay is an engagement with a series of propositions about literacy and reading in the United States: that large numbers of people struggle with what one might call narrative complexity; that they resolve such struggles by falling back onto narrative simplicities which, through a series of cultural preferences, congeal to produce much of the stuff of popular culture; that this condition and process is essentially what the varied critics—from left and right—of the culture of modernity were actually identifying, though from a largely normative, not empirical, standpoint; that what was being critiqued was essentially a condition formed by cognitive underdevelopment; and that we can actually explain this empirically by mining decades’ worth of research in reading and literacy studies, particularly in the context of childhood and social class. In short, this paper is an admittedly tentative step in an effort to build a bridge between two knowledge silos that have in part remained determinably apart—reading/literacy studies and cultural/critical theory. The essay also suggests that, in order to understand reading and literacy, it is important to begin to engage research in neuroscience, particularly that which suggests that the brain is actually not designed—in evolutionary terms—to read.
Humanities2015, 4(1), 3-16; doi:10.3390/h4010003 - published 13 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this essay I contest the prevailing view that Nietzsche almost exclusively criticizes Socrates, by a careful consideration of his encounter with Socrates in the Birth of Tragedy and Twilight of the Idols. By showing that in Nietzsche’s own sense he “loved” Socrates, I am able to raise a number of important issues for further consideration.
Humanities2014, 3(4), 740-765; doi:10.3390/h3040740 - published 22 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The behavior/structure methodological dichotomy as locus of scientific inquiry is closely related to the issue of modeling and theory change in scientific explanation. Given that the traditional tension between structure and behavior in scientific modeling is likely here to stay, considering the relevant precedents in the history of ideas could help us better understand this theoretical struggle. This better understanding might open up unforeseen possibilities and new instantiations, particularly in what concerns the proposed technological modification of the human condition. The sequential structure of this paper is twofold. The contribution of three philosophers better known in the humanities than in the study of science proper are laid out. The key theoretical notions interweaving the whole narrative are those of mechanization, constructability and simulation. They shall provide the conceptual bridge between these classical thinkers and the following section. Here, a panoramic view of three significant experimental approaches in contemporary scientific research is displayed, suggesting that their undisclosed ontological premises have deep roots in the Western tradition of the humanities. This ontological lock between core humanist ideals and late research in biology and nanoscience is ultimately suggested as responsible for pervasively altering what is canonically understood as “human”.
Humanities2014, 3(4), 711-739; doi:10.3390/h3040711 - published 17 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article analyses the cultural state of mind characteristic of historical periods at some kind of endpoint: the end of a world or even of the world or, most hypothetically, of the universe. This is the idea of Last Days. In order to contextualize it, it is necessary to consider varying conceptions of temporality: a hunter-gatherer model, models of cyclical time and of linear time. At least in the West, this last may be understood as a product of Judaeo-Christian thinking, of which the article gives an account focussed on the motifs of eschatology, apocalypse and messianism. Finally the article proposes that the present moment in history, characterized as “Post-Modernity”, may readily be read as a time of endings, perhaps even of a conclusive end.
Humanities2014, 3(4), 699-710; doi:10.3390/h3040699 - published 1 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The essay argues that the perceived waning of the influence of the Humanities (Literature, Continental Philosophy, Art, and Religion) and their irrelevance to contemporary problems of globalization and environmental issues is due to a limited exploration of the notion of interdisciplinarity. The essay suggests that, insofar as contemporary power relations pose a problem for our conception of human-being, the resources offered by the humanities acquire a renewed value and power for thinking through the era of the anthropocene.