South African Journal of Philosophy 2014-08-25T11:42:43+00:00 Prof. Edwin Etieyibo Open Journal Systems <p><strong>THE JOURNAL IS INACTIVE ON AJOL. </strong></p> <p><strong>RECENT ISSUES ARE AVAILABLE <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">HERE</a>.</strong></p> <p>The aim of the <em>South African Journal of Philosophy</em> (<em>SAJP</em>) is to publish original scholarly contributions in all areas of philosophy at an international standard. Contributions are double-blind peer-reviewed and include articles, discussions of articles previously published, review articles and book reviews. The wide scope of the <em>South African Journal of Philosophy</em> makes it the continent's central vehicle for the publication of general philosophical work.</p> <p>More information on this journal can be viewed <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> The relation between evil and transcendence: new possibilities? 2014-08-25T11:42:34+00:00 Anné H Verhoef Evil has always been a main interest in the field of philosophy and, lately, in the field of ethics – in both continental and analytic traditions – the idea of evil seems to be making a comeback. The propensity in philosophy is to understand evil in radical immanent terms. Lars Svendsen, in<em> A Philosophy of Evil</em>, argues for example that evil is about inter-human relationships, not about a transcendent, supernatural force. Emmanuel Levinas, on the other hand, describes evil as something that cannot be integrated into the world, something that is always on the outside: the radical Other. Furthermore, evil appears to us as something chaotic, defying comprehension. Does this mean evil is something transcendent? In this article I will analyse the concept of evil in terms of the typology of transcendence that was developed by Wessel Stoker. I will argue that there are, within the (post-) modern discourse, and due to new developments in the understanding of transcendence, new nuanced possibilities of thinking about evil and its relation to transcendence – especially to ‘transcendence as alterity’. Traces of this kind of understanding of evil will be indicated in Paul Ricoeur’s view of evil. This notion of evil may enhance our ethical responsibility towards it.<br /><br /><em>South African Journal of Philosophy</em> 2014, 33(3): 259–269 2014-08-25T09:05:04+00:00 Copyright (c) ‘Biologising’ Putnam: saving the realism in internal realism 2014-08-25T11:42:34+00:00 Michael Vlerick Putnam’s internal realism attempts to overcome both radical subjectivism and metaphysical realism. While he agrees with subjectivists that we understand the world through conceptual schemes, Putnam rejects their ‘anything goes’ relativist conclusions, arguing that states and properties of the external world co-determine our understanding of the world, and that some theories are more rational to accept than others. Theories, in other words, while they can’t be expected to correspond ‘absolutely’ to the external world, can nevertheless be objective-for-us. When theorising about rationality, however, Putnam runs into problems, claiming that the criteria of rational acceptability, determining the choice of conceptual schemes, are a set of historically evolving cultural norms. This causes a slide into subjectivism and relativism. In this paper, I argue that the main tenet of internal realism – the possibility of an objectivity-for-us – can be maintained. Taking a naturalistic approach, I defend the view that both the conceptual tools and the epistemic values making up our conceptual schemes are ultimately grounded in our genetically determined cognitive apparatus. The conceptual schemes mediating our understanding of the world, therefore, are not merely contingent cultural products but, to an important extent, necessary biological products. In this regard, although Putnam explicitly rejects any attempts to naturalise reason, I argue that it is precisely such a naturalistic approach that provides his internal realism with the necessary backing.<br /><br /><em>South African Journal of Philosophy</em> 2014, 33(3): 271–283 2014-08-25T09:13:04+00:00 Copyright (c) Textualising beyond Rorty’s textualism 2014-08-25T11:42:35+00:00 Dimitri Ginev While supporting radical anti-essentialism and the primacy of practical choices in delineating objects of inquiry, this paper spells out the constellation ‘beliefspractices-meaning-objects-inquiry-texts-interpretation’ in a manner alternative to that suggested by Rorty’s strong textualism based on the conception of ‘inquiry as recontextualisation’. The perspective of hermeneutic phenomenology on the constitution of meaning is applied in the analysis of that constellation. Scientific inquiry is presented as a process of textualising contextualised in configurations of ‘readable technologies’. The approach to the constitution of contextual units in scientific inquiry by reading theoretical objects forges arguments for the position of hermeneutic realism as opposed to epistemological behaviourism.<br /><br /><em>South African Journal of Philosophy</em> 2014, 33(3): 285–296 2014-08-25T09:16:49+00:00 Copyright (c) Critical hermeneutics and higher education: a perspective on texts, meaning and institutional culture 2014-08-25T11:42:36+00:00 Anthea HM Jacobs This paper is a discussion of critical hermeneutics as a research methodology employed in a conceptual analytic study of the concept ‘institutional culture’ within the context of higher education. The research was undertaken to develop an understanding of the concept and to explore its construction in university policy documents. The aim of this paper is to motivate the choice of critical hermeneutics as a research methodology for the mentioned study. I explore both aspects of critical hermeneutics, namely hermeneutics and critical theory. The interpretive nature of hermeneutics enabled me to expose the hidden meanings of institutional culture, while its context-specific nature was beneficial for pointing out the nature of institutional culture in the university setting. Critical theory, on the other hand, was appropriate because it is a theory that is self-conscious about historicity and the role of the social environment. In combination, the merits of these two aspects of critical hermeneutics facilitated the understanding of the university setting as a social reality. Employing critical hermeneutics as a research methodology furthermore assisted in analysing the construction of institutional culture within university policy documents, taking into account the important role of history in interpretation. In essence, critical hermeneutics facilitated my understanding of the difficult-to-explain concept ‘institutional culture’ in the higher education setting.<br /><br /><em>South African Journal of Philosophy</em> 2014, 33(3): 297–310 2014-08-25T09:37:19+00:00 Copyright (c) On agreed actions without agreed notions 2014-08-25T11:42:37+00:00 Emmanuel Ifeanyi Ani In his plea for consensual democracy in Africa, Kwasi Wiredu recommends unanimity about what is to be done, not what ought to be done, or unanimity on action rather than unanimity of values, beliefs and opinion. I caution the use of this procedural instrument by showing that some issues are so value-laden that a group decision cannot be value-neutral. It may sometimes be more productive to entertain value differences to keep them from going underground and becoming dangerous. However, the ability to locate some common interest or ground seems to be crucial for such value confrontation.<br /><br /><em>South African Journal of Philosophy</em> 2014, 33(3): 311–320 2014-08-25T09:57:59+00:00 Copyright (c) Phenomenology as first philosophy 2014-08-25T11:42:38+00:00 Christopher Allsobrook The paper interprets phenomenology as a mode of inquiry that addresses fundamental questions of first philosophy, beyond the limitation of the practice by its leading theorists to the study of mere appearances. I draw on Adorno’s critique of phenomenology to show that it has typically functioned as a mode of first philosophy, but I part with Adorno to argue that it ought to be practiced as such, to address consciously a sceptical worry about the gap between appearance and reality that Husserl modestly claimed to have bracketed. Noting Husserl’s and Adorno’s shared worries about the project of first philosophy, to know the world beyond appearances, I draw on Nietzsche to argue phenomenology ought nonetheless to address real matters of concern.<br /><br /><em>South African Journal of Philosophy</em> 2014, 33(3): 321–329 2014-08-25T10:24:39+00:00 Copyright (c) Defining ubuntu for business ethics – a deontological approach 2014-08-25T11:42:39+00:00 Douglas FP Taylor The term ‘ubuntu’ defines how people and communities should interact, based on the aphorism that ‘a person is a person through other people’. Adopting a deontological perspective the paper reviews the work of many writers on ubuntu, and examines three possible interpretations of the ubuntu principle before deriving the principle that: ‘An action is right insofar as it promotes cohesion and reciprocal value amongst people. An action is wrong insofar as it damages relationships and devalues any individual or group.’ The various elements of this principle are discussed and some objections considered. A brief case study considers how the principle could be applied.<br /><br /><em>South African Journal of Philosophy</em> 2014, 33(3): 331–345 2014-08-25T10:46:40+00:00 Copyright (c) Facing being: the significance of Thomist ontological epistemology to realism in post-Kantian philosophy 2014-08-25T11:42:40+00:00 Callum D Scott The Kantian ‘Copernican Revolution’ contained in his <em>Prologomena</em> and <em>The Critique of Pure Reason</em> deemed metaphysical statements to be ‘transcendental illusions’, so directing metaphysics to its dearth. As a consequence, no longer could objects be known ‘in-themselves’ by the sensorily-reliant human. This perceived impossibility of metaphysical knowledge in the turn to the subject from Kant through Nietzsche’s rejection of true knowledge has heavily inclined Continental Philosophy to an anti-metaphysical quandary. Analytic Philosophy is no different following the influence of Carnap, Wittgenstein and Rorty upon its own ‘linguistic turn’. An inevitable consequence of things not being knowable in themselves is the philosophical distance from ‘the world’, which Stephen Hawking has argued, makes the philosophical enterprise ‘dead’. In dialogue with this widespread decline in metaphysics, I will attempt to reclaim realist metaphysics through the employment of a Thomist paradigm. If philosophy is to be relevant to the knowledge economy, it is compelled to be in relation with what is. Thus, in my theoretical framework, being will be considered as central to all knowledge systems seeking to correspond to ‘hard’ science. The Thomist realist natural philosophy of ‘<em>scientia</em>’ – wherein truth is conformed with being – will be at the core of the argument. This paper challenges the ignoring of being because extant reality is composed of all that is, continuously faced and never evadable. Consequently, Thomism is recaptured as significant to post-Kantian philosophy as Aquinas articulated a means through which the thinking subject engages with being through sensation and cognition.<br /><br /><em>South African Journal of Philosophy</em> 2014, 33(3): 347–364 2014-08-25T11:11:12+00:00 Copyright (c) Outflanking the vicious circle 2014-08-25T11:42:41+00:00 Timothy Mc Mynne Sir Michael Dummett unfairly criticises Frank Ramsey for advocating full-fledged realism as a way to escape the problem of vicious circularity. Instead Ramsey uses a more moderate approach that only requires a thin commitment to theoretical terms. In ‘Theories’, Ramsey details a method to substitute observational terms for the theoretical terms appearing in a theory, but its early advocates, Rudolf Carnap and Carl Hempel, recognised that the resulting ‘ramsey-sentence’ does not intend to fully remove the theoretical content of the original theory. Through a model-theoretic approach, Jaakko Hintikka clarifies how the ramsey-sentence is embedded in the original theory, and, thereby, retains a commitment to the theoretical content that governs the substituted observable terms. By understanding how ramsey-sentences relate to the original theory, we will see that Ramsey need not assert a full-fledged realism to address vicious circularity. Instead of committing to the existence of all theoretical concepts involved in the original theory, ramseysentences assert the existence of an unspecified object that satisfies the substituted observable terms, and this commitment is sufficient to escape vicious circularity. Through this process of definition, Ramsey sidesteps Dummett’s charge of full-fledged realism, and suggests a more moderate position that is consistent with Dummett’s emphasis on domain specification.<br /><br /><em>South African Journal of Philosophy</em> 2014, 33(3): 365–374 2014-08-25T11:20:43+00:00 Copyright (c) Book Review<br><br>Understanding Ethics, 3rd edition<br>By Torbjörn Tännsjö (2013) 2014-08-25T11:42:42+00:00 Edwin Etieyibo Edinburgh, University of Edinburgh Press,<br />2013, 168 pp., £85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780748682249 / £18.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780748682256<br /><br /><em>South African Journal of Philosophy</em> 2014, 33(3): 375–376 2014-08-25T11:41:02+00:00 Copyright (c)