[lit-ideas] Re: Stuart Hampshire

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 20 Jun 2004 16:44:20 EDT

R. Paul forwards from 

Professor Sir Stuart Hampshire (Filed: 15/06/2004) 
Sir Stuart  Hampshire, the philosopher who died on Sunday [June 13  2004] 
aged 89,  was one of the
anti-rationalist Oxford thinkers, others being Isaiah Berlin  and Bernard
Williams, who gave a new direction to moral and political  thought in the
post-war era.
---- Isn't it "anti-rationalist" thinker a bit too much for someone who  
tried to conceptualise things like "intentions" -- and 'reasons' behind one's  
actions and expressions?

Inspired  by his study of the philosophy of Spinoza, Hampshire developed  a
description of the conditions necessary for human action, suggesting that  
freedom can best be understood by examining the distinction between  the
declaration of what one intends to do and a prediction of what one is  likely 
do given one's genetic and social  conditioning.

---- That is, the idea,
          "I will go"  --->  "prediction"
          "I shall go" --->  intention.
Unfortunately, the will/shall distinction is lost in some idiolects.

In his  Ethics, Spinoza had argued that the individual could not be  
"free" if he was motivated only by causes of which he remained  unaware. 
freedom, Spinoza suggested, comes only when we learn  self-consciously to
recognise the influence of our baser passions over our  natures. Only then 
can we
strive for the peace of mind that comes through  an impartial attachment to
---- So if you smoke a cigarette, you only understand what you are doing if  
you KNOW what physiological process tobacco has in your organism -- and in the 
 case of an addiction, what it has _badly_ done with it.

Stuart  Newton Hampshire was born on October 1 1914 
--- [in Lincolnshire, England  -- not sure what town. Or was the city  of 
Lincoln itself?]

and was  educated at Repton
and at Balliol College, Oxford, ... In 1963 he went to  Princeton University 
and in 1964 became chairman of the
philosophy  department. In 1970 he was elected Warden of Wadham College,  
succeeding Sir Maurice Bowra, and from 1984 to 1990 was professor  of 
at Stanford University.
--- where he met Nancy Cartwright? -- and married her?
Hampshire used to dine with Grice at least once a week while they were  
colleagues at Oxford. An interesting point is that they would both attend J. L. 
Austin's 'saturday mornings' -- Hamphire not so frequently -- but an EARLIER  
group instituted by Berlin -- that would meet at All Souls on Thursdays, along  
with Austin, Hare, and a few others. This "Thursday evening group" can be  
regarded as the antecedent of the more famous 'saturday mornings' one.

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