In a paper published in this journal we proposed a method for resolving disputed land claims between two parties (Steiner and Wolff: 2003). In essence the proposal is to hold an auction between the disputants in which the land is given to the higher bidder, but the receipts of the auction to the under-bidder. We claimed that under such circumstances both parties can walk away happy: the higher bidder happy to pay the price bid for the land; the under-bidder (...) happier to have the receipts of the auction when the alternative is to pay for the land at a higher price. (shrink)
A basic model of hierarchical structure, expressed by simple, linear differential equations, shows that the pattern of population growth is essentially determined by conditions of redundancy in the sub-structure of individuals. There does not exist any possible combination between growth rate and accident rate that could balance population numbers and/or the level of redundancy within the population; all possible combinations either lead to extinction or to positive population growth with a decline of the fraction of individuals with redundant substructure. Declining (...) populations, however, can be held fluctuating between certain limits by periodic phases of sub-unit repair. These results are particularly pertinent to the population dynamics of diploid (polyploid) organisms. (shrink)
Dr Hillel Steiner in this reply to Elizabeth Telfer takes each of her arguments for different arrangements of a health service and examines them--'four positions which can be located on a linear ideological spectrum'--and adds a fifth which could have the effect of 'turning the alleged linear spectrum into a circle'. Underlying both Elizabeth Telfer's article and Dr Steiner's reply, the base is inescapably a 'political' one, but cannot be abandoned in favour of purely philosophical concepts. Whatever the (...) attitude of mind of the reader of these two papers to the provision of a health service, the stimulus to more careful assessments of our own National Health Service and its problems can only be good. (shrink)
Over the past few decades, there has been increasing interest in left-libertarianism, which holds (roughly) that agents fully own themselves and that natural resources (land, minerals, air, etc.) belong to everyone in some egalitarian sense. Left-libertarianism agrees with the more familiar right-libertarianism about self-ownership, but radically disagrees with it about the power to acquire ownership of natural resources. Merely being the first person to claim, discover, or mix labor with an unappropriated natural resource does not—left-libertarianism insists—generate a full private property (...) right in that natural resource. (shrink)
In a recent review essay of a two volume anthology on left-libertarianism (edited by two of us), Barbara Fried has insightfully laid out most of the core issues that confront left-libertarianism. We are each left-libertarians, and we would like to take this opportunity to address some of the general issues that she raises. We shall focus, as Fried does much of the time, on the question of whether left-libertarianism is a well-defined and distinct alternative to existing forms of liberal egalitarianism. (...) More specifically, we shall address the following fundamental issues raised by Fried (and others): (1) Does the notion self-ownership have any determinate content? (2) What is the relation between self-ownership and world ownership? (3) How is left-libertarianism different from other forms of liberal egalitarianism (e.g., those of Rawls and Dworkin)? (shrink)
Edited by leading contributors to the literature, Freedom: An Anthology is the most complete anthology on social, political and economic freedom ever compiled. Offers a broad guide to the vast literature on social, political and economic freedom. Contains selections from the best scholarship of recent decades as well as classic writings from Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Kant among others. General and sectional introductions help to orient the reader. Compiled and edited by three important contributors to the field.
The Global Fund is a mechanism for the global application of the Left Libertarian conception of distributive justice. As a form of luck egalitarianism, this conception confers upon each person an entitlement to an equal share of all natural resource values, since natural resources - broadly, geographical sites - are objects for the production of which no person is responsible. Owners of these sites, i.e. states, are liable to a 100% Global Fund tax on their unimproved value: that is, their (...) gross market value minus the value of the improvements added to them by human effort. It is argued that the revenue yielded by this tax would be correspondingly reduced by a further tax on the use of natural resources. (shrink)
Volterra's (1926) equations for competition and predator-prey interactions are modified by introduction of root terms. A critical comparison with the original equations shows that the dynamic properties of the systems remain essentially alike, while the modification allows for explicit solution of the differential equations. Detailed solutions and numerical examples are given.
Professor Steiner addresses the debate between deconstructionism - the 'anarchic' tendency to suppose that 'there are no rational or falsifiable decision-procedures as between a multitude of differing interpretations' of literature - and the established tradition of liberal criticism, which interprets by consensus, by common sense, and by 'a robust and fertile pragmatism'. He argues that if the acts of reading and of aesthetic judgement are to become responsible again to the vital mystery of literature and the arts they must (...) transcend the merely linguistic and pragmatic, and that the first move in this process is one towards the ethical, towards a 'courtesy of heart, not decorous or civil, but inward and moral'. The second, and radical, move is one towards the theological implications of the concepts of meaning and of understanding; it is these, Professor Steiner maintains, which much of modern aesthetics and epistemology have sought to conceal. (shrink)
The prevailing normative model of contemporary journalism, drawn primarily from a liberal enlightenment tradition emphasizing universal notions of rights, contributes to what many perceive as a crisis in contemporary journalism; at the least, Kantian models are too "thin" to provide an adequate ethical standard. We consider the extent to which an ethic of care, reconceived to address weaknesses identified in recent scholarly critiques, provides journalists with an alternative framework for moral decision making. We use the concept of unequal ethical pull (...) to rework caring and to promote caring for distant others because caring that remains at the personal level is inadequate as a moral value. We conclude by noting that public journalism and our retooled ethic of care share several important ideals. We suggest a program of mutually beneficial exploration, one that might help today's journalists cultivate the virtue of care as they work toward justice. (shrink)
In order to account for how organisms can apprehend the contents of the external representations they manipulate in cognizing, the endorsement of representationalism fosters a situation of what I call cognitive overdetermination. I argue that this situation is problematic for the inclusion of these external representations in cognitive processing, as the hypothesis of extended cognition would like to have it. Since that situation arises from a commitment to representationalism (even minimal), it only affects the viability of representationalist versions of extended (...) cognition. (shrink)
Surveying a wide range of cultural controversies, from the Mapplethorpe affair to Salman Rushdie's death sentence, from canon-revision in the academy to the scandals that have surrounded Anthony Blunt, Martin Heidegger, and Paul de Man, Wendy Steiner shows that the fear and outrage they inspired are the result of dangerous misunderstanding about the relationship between art and life. "Stimulating. . . . A splendid rebuttal of those on the left and right who think that the pleasures induced by art (...) are trivial or dangerous. . . . One of the most powerful defenses of the potentiality of art."--Andrew Delbanco, New York Times Book Review "A concise and . . . readable account of recent contretemps that have galvanized the debate over the role and purposes of art. . . . [Steiner] writes passionately about what she believes in."--Michiko Kakutani, New York Times "This is one of the few works of cultural criticism that is actually intelligible to the nonspecialist reader. . . . Steiner's perspective is fresh and her perceptions invariably shrewd, far-ranging, and reasonable. A welcome association of sense and sensibility."-- Kirkus Reviews, starred review "Steiner has succeeded so well in [the] task she has undertaken. The Scandal of Pleasure is itself characterized by many of the qualities Steiner demans of art, among them, complexity, tolerance and the pleasures of unfettered thought."--Eleanor Heartly, Art in America "Steiner . . . provides the best and clearest short presentation of each of [the] debates."--Alexander Nehamas, Boston Book Review "Steiner has done a fine job as a historian/reporter and as a writer of sophisticated, very clear, cultural criticism. Her reportage alone would be enough to make this a distinguished book."--Mark Edmundson, Lingua Franca. (shrink)
With characteristic lucidity and style, Steiner makes Heidegger's immensely difficult body of work accessible to the general reader. In a new introduction, Steiner addresses language and philosophy and the rise of Nazism. "It would be hard to imagine a better introduction to the work of philosopher Martin Heidegger."--George Kateb, The New Republic.
This paper postulates that the proper function of tort law is to provide protection from, and redress of, non-consensual invasions of individual rights of person and property. It then proceeds to analyze and criticize, in that context, several theories of the law of unintentional torts including traditional English negligence law and the models of Posner, Fletcher and Epstein. That analysis proceeds in terms of the answers of each theory to a uniform set of questions which must be answered by any (...) theory of the law of unintentional harms. The paper concludes that none of the theories examined is rights-based or, indeed, consistent with the existence of individual rights of person and property.The paper goes on to elucidate a theory of liability which is rights-based. That theory turns out to be variant of traditional English negligence law in which reasonable foreseeability of harm to legally recognized rights or interests is the sole criterion of liability, the burden of precautions on the agent of the harm being explicitly excluded from consideration. (shrink)
This memorandum was prepared by Daniel Steiner, General Counsel to Harvard University on behalf of the President's Office and distributed to the faculty in October, 1980. It reviews recent Harvard policy with regard to patents and technology transfer. Spurred by recombinant DNA research, at Harvard and elsewhere, benefits and pitfalls of the University's participation as a minor shareholder in a company engaged in research and development are identified. The author notes that “The memorandum has benefited from numerous discussions with (...) members of the faculty and administration and in particular from the comments of President (Derek) Bok and Dean (Henry) Rosovsky.”. (shrink)
Some important recent articles, including one in this journal, have sought to devise theories of rights that can transcend the longstanding debate between the Interest Theory and the Will Theory. The present essay argues that those efforts fail and that the Interest Theory and the Will Theory withstand the criticisms that have been levelled against them. To be sure, the criticisms have been valuable in that they have prompted the amplification and clarification of the two dominant theories of rights; but (...) their upshot has been to reveal the need for the improvement, rather than the abandonment, of those theories. (shrink)
Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics, Wittgenstein, despite his official 'mathematical nonrevisionism', slips into attempting to refute Gödel's theorem. Actually, Wittgenstein could have used Gödel's theorem to good effect, to support his view that proof, and even truth, are 'family resemblance' concepts. The reason that Wittgenstein did not see all this is that Gödel's theorem had become an icon of mathematical realism, and he was blinded by his own ideology. The essay is a reply to Juliet Floyd's work on Gödel: (...) what she says Wittgenstein said, I say he should have said, but didn't (couldn't). (shrink)
I shall formulate and motivate a left-libertarian theory of justice. Like the more familiar rightlibertarianism, it holds that agents initially fully own themselves. Unlike right-libertarianism, it holds that natural resources belong to everyone in some egalitarian manner. Left-libertarianism is, I claim, a plausible version of liberal egalitarianism because it is suitably sensitive to considerations of liberty, security, and equality.
Justice and Libertarianism The term ‘justice’ is commonly used in several different ways. Sometimes it designates the moral permissibility of political structures (such as legal systems). Sometimes it designates moral fairness (as opposed to efficiency or other considerations that are relevant to moral permissibility). Sometimes it designates legitimacy in the sense of it being morally impermissible for others to interfere forcibly with the act or omission (e.g., my failing to go to dinner with my mother may be wrong but nonetheless (...) legitimate). Finally, sometimes it designates what we owe each other in the sense of respecting everyone’s rights. Of course, these notions are closely related. What we owe each other may, but need not, be partly based on issues of fairness. Legitimacy and permissibility of political structures are largely, but perhaps not entirely, determined by what rights of non-interference individuals have. Nonetheless, these are distinct notions and we shall focus only on what we owe each other. Justice as what we owe each other is not concerned with impersonal duties (duties owed to no one, i.e., that do not correspond to anyone’s rights). If there are impersonal duties, then something can be just but nonetheless morally impermissible. For brevity, we shall often write of actions being permissible or agents having a moral liberty, but this should always be understood in the interpersonal sense of violating no one’s rights. Libertarianism is sometimes advocated as a derivative set of rules (e.g., derived from rule utilitarian or contractarian doctrines). Here, however, we reserve the term for the natural rights doctrine that agents initially fully own themselves. Agents are full self-owners just in case they own themselves in precisely the same way that they can fully own inanimate objects. Stated slightly differently, full self-owners own themselves in the same way that a full chattel-slaveowner owns a slave. Throughout, we are concerned with moral ownership and not legal ownership.. (shrink)
During the course of about ten years, Wittgenstein revised some of his most basic views in philosophy of mathematics, for example that a mathematical theorem can have only one proof. This essay argues that these changes are rooted in his growing belief that mathematical theorems are ‘internally’ connected to their canonical applications, i.e. , that mathematical theorems are ‘hardened’ empirical regularities, upon which the former are supervenient. The central role Wittgenstein increasingly assigns to empirical regularities had profound implications for all (...) of his later philosophy; some of these implications (particularly to rule following) are addressed in the essay. (shrink)
The first part of the essay describes how mathematics, in particular mathematical concepts, are applicable to nature. mathematical constructs have turned out to correspond to physical reality. this correlation between the world and mathematical concepts, it is argued, is a true phenomenon. the second part of this essay argues that the applicability of mathematics to nature is mysterious, in that not only is there no known explanation for the correlation between mathematics and physical reality, but there is a good reason (...) to except no such correlation. it is argued that there is a subjective element in the decision as to what constitutes a mathematical concept. a number of purported solutions to the mystery of the applicability of mathematics to nature are discarded, until we are left with eugene wigner's thesis that we are here confronted with a "miracle that we neither understand nor deserve.". (shrink)
The term “social cognition” can be construed in different ways. On the one hand, it can refer to the cognitive faculties involved in social activities, defined simply as situations where two or more individuals interact. On this view, social systems would consist of interactions between autonomous individuals; these interactions form higher-level autonomous domains not reducible to individual actions. A contrasting, alternative view is based on a much stronger theoretical definition of a truly social domain, which is always defined by a (...) set of structural norms; moreover, these social structures are not only a set of constraints, but actually constitute the possibility of enacting worlds that would just not exist without them. This view emphasises the heteronomy of individuals who abide by norms that are impersonal, culturally inherited and to a large extent independent of the individuals. Human beings are socialised through and through; consequently, all human cognition is social cognition. The article argues for this second position. Finally, it appears that fully blown autonomy actually requires heteronomy. It is the acceptance of the constraints of social structures that enables individuals to enter new realms of common meaningfulness. The emergence of social life marks a crucial step in the evolution of cognition; so that at some evolutionary point human cognition cannot but be social cognition. (shrink)