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French mathematician and philosopher who envisioned the achievement of universal scientific knowledge. His Discours préliminaire de l'Encyclopédie (Preface to the Encyclopedia) (1751) set the tone for the freethinkers of the French Enlightenment with its commitment to the empiricism of Bacon and Locke. d'Alembert defended strict materialism with respect to the physical world and agnosticism with respect to the existence of a deity. His Lettre à J.-J. Rousseau congratulates the Swiss philosopher on his article about Geneva in the Encyclopedia.
Recommended Reading: Denis Diderot, Entretien Entre d'Alembert et Diderot (French & European, 1990) and Thomas L. Hankins, Jean D'Alembert: Science and the Enlightenment (Gordon & Breach, 1990).
American philosopher and theologian. Author of Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy (1984) and the autobiographical Outercourse: The Be-Dazzling Voyage: Containing Recollections from My Logbook of a Radical Feminist Philosopher (be-ing an account of my time/space travels and ideasthen, again, now, and how) (1992). Reacting against her early training in neo-Thomist theology, Daly's early work, in The Church and the Second Sex (1968) and Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation (1973), noted that the Christian tradition helps to support patriarchal society and explicitly rejected its conception of a supreme male deity.
Daly went on to develop an ethical position that regards woman-centered self-creation as the primary means of escaping male domination, and in Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism (1978) she proposed that the life forces embodied in women can achieve their full effect only in a separate women's culture. In an effort to escape the linguistic embodiment of patriarchy, Daly often expresses herself by using inventive neologisms that are playful in tone but serious in purpose; Webster's First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language (1987) offers a delightful glimpse of the advantages of a "gynomorphic" language.
Recommended Reading: Mary Daly, Quintessence... Realizing the Archaic Future: A Radical Elemental Feminist Manifesto (Beacon, 1999) and Feminist Interpretations of Mary Daly, ed. by Sarah Lucia Hoagland and Marilyn Frye (Penn. State, 2000).
Example: All logicians are philosophers, and some serious scholars are logicians, so some serious scholars are philosophers.
English biologist who recorded his notes from the field in The Voyage of the Beagle (1848). Darwin's Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871) revolutionized modern science by proposing a non-teleological explanation for the survival of otherwise random variations in animal species. Despite opposition from biblical literalists, a Darwinian version of the theory of evolution became widely accepted within a few decades.
Recommended Reading: The Portable Darwin, ed. by Duncan M. Porter and Peter W. Graham (Penguin, 1993); Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life (Touchstone, 1996); Janet Radcliffe Richards, Human Nature After Darwin: A Philosophical Introduction (Routledge, 2001); Adaptationism and Optimality, ed. by Steven Hecht Orzack and Elliot Sober (Cambridge, 2001); The Book of Life: An Illustrated History of the Evolution of Life on Earth, ed. by Stephen Jay Gould and Peter Andrews (Norton, 2001); and Gertrude Himmelfarb, Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution (Dee, 1996).
Recommended Reading: Being and Time: A Translation of Sein and Zeit, tr. by Joan Stambaugh (SUNY, 1997) and Hubert L. Dreyfus, Being-In-The-World: A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Division I (MIT, 1991).
Example: Since all bookstores are places that sell popular novels and some bookstores are coffee shops, it follows that some coffee shops are places that sell popular novels.
American philosopher who, like Quine, applies the methods of logical and linguistic analysis to the study of human nature. On Davidson's view, interpretation of a language should always be governed by a "principle of charity" that maximizes its true statements. Although he regards mental events as irreducibly intentional and denies the possibility of psycho-physical laws, Davidson defends a sophisticated identity theory ("anomalous monism") under which every mental event supervenes upon some physical event, subject to the usual physical laws of nature, even though it cannot be fully described in purely physical terms. Many of Davidson's most influential essays are collected in Essays on Actions and Events (1980) and Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (1984).
Recommended Reading: Simon Evnine, Donald Davidson (Stanford, 1991); The Philosophy of Donald Davidson, ed. by Lewis Edwin Hahn (Open Court, 1999); Interpreting Davidson, ed. by Peter Kotatko, Peter Pagin, and Gabriel Segal (CSLI, 2001); Donald Davidson: Truth, Meaning, and Knowledge, ed. by Urszula M. Zeglen (Routledge, 1999); and Interpretations and Causes: New Perspectives on Donald Davidson's Philosophy, ed. by Mario De Caro (Kluwer, 1999).
American social activist. Day combined communist social concern with Christian convictions in the autobiographical From Union Square to Rome (1938). She founded The Catholic Worker magazine in 1933, established a "hospitality house" in New York City, and supported pacifistic resistance to several wars.
Recommended Reading: Dorothy Day: Selected Writings, ed. by Robert Ellsberg (Orbis, 1992); The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of Dorothy Day, ed. by Daniel Berrigan (Harper, 1997); Voices from the Catholic Worker, ed. by Rosalie Riegle Troester (Temple, 1993); and June E. O'Connor, The Moral Vision of Dorothy Day: A Feminist Perspective (Crossroad, 1991).
Also see EB.