Ideal interpretation is understanding a text in the best possible way. It is usually used when the text has a canonical status, such as the Bible or the U.S. Constitution. We argue that Zhu Xi's view about interpreting the Four Books and Ronald Dworkin's view about constitutional interpretation are examples of ideal interpretation and that their basic principles are similar. Each holds, roughly, that their target text contains moral truth; that the author's mind requires the mediation of learning; that the (...) purpose of interpretation is not only to lead the reader to the moral truth but to become a better person; that all propositions are about the same moral truth or about political justice; that the interpretation ultimately must come from oneself, purged of prejudices; and that the only correct interpretation is one that captures the original meaning. (shrink)
Bernard Gert’s distinctive interpretation of the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes in his recent book may be questioned in at least three areas: (1) Even if Hobbes is not a psychological egoist, he seems to be a desire egoist, which has the consequence, as he understands it, that a person acts at least for his own good in every action. (2) Although there are several senses of reason, it seems that Hobbes uses the idea that reason is calculation of means to (...) ends; while such calculation sets intermediate goals, reason itself does not set ultimate ends. (3) Hobbes’s political theory is best understood as a form of social contract theory because subjects covenant among themselves to authorize the sovereign to protect them; authorization has the consequence that subjects give some of the their rights to the sovereign; but this gifting of rights is not the essence of the origin of the civil state. (shrink)
Lloyd's book, Morality in the Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes , correctly stresses the deductive element in Hobbes's proofs of the laws of nature. She believes that “the principle of reciprocity” is the key to these proofs. This principle is effective in getting ego-centric people to recognize moral laws and their moral obligations. However, it is not, I argue, the basic principle Hobbes uses to derive the laws of nature, from definitions. The principle of reason, which dictates that all similar cases (...) be treated similarly, is. It is important not to diminish the centrality of reason for Hobbes because it is essential to understanding his reply to “the fool” and understanding why the state of nature cannot be a continuum. (shrink)
Two recent articles described two ways of writing the history of philosophy, one analytic, the other historical, as if the history of philosophy cannot be both analytically sharp and contextually informed at the same time. I recommend the practice of "philosophical history of philosophy," which combines the advantages of the analytic and historical methods.
THE MAJOR PREMISE OF DUNS SCOTUS'S IMPRESSIVE PROOF FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD HAS BEEN NEGLECTED. THAT PREMISE, "THE MOST PERFECT BEING IS INFINITE," IS ESTABLISHED IN TWO WAYS. THE KEY PREMISE IN EACH WAY IS THE PROPOSITION, "POSSIBLY, SOME BEING IS INFINITE." THIS PROPOSITION CANNOT BE PROVEN TO BE TRUE, NOT BECAUSE IT IS IN ANY WAY DUBIOUS OR LACKING IN EVIDENCE, BUT BECAUSE ITS TERMS ARE SIMPLE AND NOT SUBJECT TO PROOF OR FURTHER ANALYSIS. BEING IS THE SIMPLEST (...) AND MOST IMMEDIATE OF CONCEPTS; AND BEING INFINITE IS SIMPLY THE NEGATION OF BEING FINITE. INSTEAD OF PROOF, SCOTUS PRESENTS "PERSUASIONES", SKETCHES OF LANGUAGE-GAMES TO SHOW THAT THE PROPOSITION IS TRUE. (shrink)
This article defends my claim, first presented in "identity and trinity," "journal of religion" (1978), that the doctrine of the trinity is consistent. drawing upon tertullian's defense of the doctrine in "adversus praxean", i argue that the logic of the trinity is similar to the logic of emperorship. at various times, two persons, for example, diocletian and maximian, were the same emperor of the roman empire, just as three persons are the same god.