Author Meets Critics Panel: Paul B. Thompson’s (2010) The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9340-4 Authors Raymond Anthony, Department of Philosophy, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Abstract I consider Paul Thompson’s Agrarian Vision from the perspective of the philosophy of technology, especially as it relates to certain questions about public engagement and deliberative democracy around food issues. Is it able to promote an attitudinal shift or reorientation in values to overcome the view of “food as device” so that conscientious engagement in the food system by consumers can become more the norm? Next, I consider briefly, some questions to which it must face up in order to (...) move closer in dismantling the barriers that inhibit the capacity for virtuous caretaking of the food system at various levels. Lastly, and more deeply, how successful might agrarianism be in inculcating citizenship values (ones that go beyond food ethics as a private affair), for the democratization of agricultural technologies? Might the Jeffersonian foundation to which the agrarianism (a la) Thompson appeals need something like a contemporary theory of justice in order to facilitate the reconstitution of our politico-moral selves? How can it help guide appropriate ruminations on the intra and intergenerational question, “What do we want the shape of our current and future social and political institutions to look like in relation to food?” Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-10 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9339-x Authors Raymond Anthony, Department of Philosophy, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
This paper offers some suggestions on, and encouragement for, how to be better at risk communication in times of agricultural crisis. During the foot and mouth epizootic, the British public, having no precedent to deal with such a rapid and widespread epizootic, no existing rules or conventions, and no social or political consensus, was forced to confront the facts of a perceived "economic disease. Foot and mouth appeared as an economic disease because the major push to eradicate it was motivated (...) exclusively by trade and economic reasons and not because of threats it posed to the lives of human beings and livestock. The British public deferred responsibility to their elected officials for a speedy end to this non-life threatening viral epizootic. The latter, however, did not have a contingency plan in place to tackle such an extensive outbreak. The appeal to an existing policy, i.e., mass eradication, as the exclusive strategy of containment was a difficult pill for the public to swallow well before the end of the 226-day ordeal. Public outcry reflected (in part) serious misgivings about the lack of effective communication of risk-informed decisions between government agents and all concerned. The government''s handling of the matter underestimated concerns and values about animal welfare, public trust, and the plight of farmers and rural communities. A general loss of trust by some segments of the public was exacerbated by perceived mismanagement and early fumbles by government agents.Public moral uneasiness during the crisis, while perhaps symbolic of growing discontent with an already fractured relationship with farmed animals and the state of animal farming today, arguably, also reflected deep disappointment in government agents to recognize inherently and conditionally normative assumptions in their argument as well as recognize their narrow conception of risk. Furthermore, broader stakeholder participation was clearly missing from the outset, especially with respect to the issue of vaccination. A greater appreciation for two-way risk communication is suggested for science-based public policy in agriculture, followed by suggestions on how to be more vigilant in the future. (shrink)
Agricultural technologies are non-neutral and ethical challenges are posed by these technologies themselves. The technologies we use or endorse are embedded with values and norms and reflect the shape of our moral character. They can literally make us better or worse consumers and/or people. Looking back, when the world’s developed nations welcomed and steadily embraced industrialization as the dominant paradigm for agriculture a half century or so ago, they inadvertently championed a philosophy of technology that promotes an insular human-centricism, despite (...) its laudable intent to ensure food security and advance human flourishing. The dominant philosophy of technology has also seeded particular ethical consequences that plague the well-being of human beings, the planet, and farmed animals. After revisiting some fundamental questions regarding the complex ways in which technology as agent shapes our lives and choices and relegates food and farmed constituents into technological artifacts or commodities, I argue that we should accord an environmental virtue ethic of care—understood as caretaking—a central place in developing a more conscientious philosophy of technology that aims at sustainability, fairness, and humaneness in animal agriculture. While technology shapes society, it also is socially shaped and an environmental virtue ethic of care (EVEC) as an alternative design philosophy has the tools to help us take a much overdue inventory of ourselves and our relationships with the nonhuman world. It can help us to expose the ways in which technology hinders critical reflection of its capacity to alter communities and values, to come to terms with why we may be, in general, disengaged from critical ethical analysis of contemporary agriculture and to consider the moral shape and trajectory and the sustainability of our food production systems going into the future. I end by outlining particular virtues associated with the ethic of care discussed here and consider some likely implications for consumers and industry technocrats as they relate to farming animals. (shrink)
In this article, I demonstrate fundamental weaknesses in the ability of critical understandings of race to produce reliable knowledge of how social actors use social comparisons as a way to align self with ingroup. I trace these weaknesses to two sources: The first is relying on social status as an explanation for race-based assessments, ingroup motivations, and social constructions of otherness. This is opposed to leaning on assessments grounded in social psychological research that links properties of human cognition to the (...) development and maintenance of social identities. The second weakness is an open support for activist research that is often situated in radical multiculturalism. Because critical race scholars openly side with racial minorities’ interests, they tend to establish incomplete assessments of social behaviors and social constructs linked to racial identities in order to maintain their stated political allegiances. To demonstrate these and other weaknesses, I draw upon the theoretical insights of social identity theory which is used to reassess Bell and Hartmann's (2007) critical race analysis of diversity dialogue in American society. (shrink)
Pragmatic philosophy and discourse ethics are offered as an alternative way to respond to and understand the concerns of philosophical animal ethics and animal welfare science, especially as they relate to ethical decision-making and democratic participation in today's technical animal agriculture. The two major challenges facing philosophical animal ethics and animal welfare are: the acceptability of alienating individual animals from their genetic and social identities through practices that seek to alter their genome or which fail to provide for their respective (...) natures, and the extent to which the former concern will contribute to further deterioration of already fractured human-farm-animal and consumer-producer relationships. This paper considers how we might ethically and strategically rise to the challenge of reshaping conventional animal farming practices in liberal democracies, especially as it applies to making improvements in animal welfare standards and promoting public trust and confidence in science, the production sector and government. I suggest some ways to empower consumers and farmers to realize this end. (shrink)
In 2012, the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean melted to 4.10 million square kilometers, the smallest level to date. 2012 has also been marked by extreme weather, intense storms, drought, heat waves, warming oceans and intense precipitation events in many regions of the world. While climate scientists consider the relationship between climate change and large storms like Hurricane Sandy or the 2010 drought in Russia, many still continue to hum and haw over the extent to which human-induced climate change (...) is responsible for the planet’s recent drastic weather patterns. What naysayers and climate change exponents can agree on is just how vulnerable we are to natural disasters. The need for balanced and informed discourses .. (shrink)
Fodor and LePore's reconstruction of the semantic holism debate in terms of "atomism" and "anatomism" is inadequate: it fails to highlight the important issue of how intentional contents are individuated, and excludes or obscures several possible positions on the metaphysics of content. One such position, "weak sociabilism" is important because it addresses concerns of Fodor and LePore's molecularist critics about conditions for possession of concepts, without abandoning atomism about content individuation. Properties like DEMOCRACY may be "theoretical" in the following sense: (...) only devices capable of inference can come to be selectively sensitive to such properties. Thus, such concepts cannot be punctate, although their contents are individuated, as atomism requires, independently of their conceptual connections. (shrink)
What is the impact of science on philosophy? In “Experiments in Ethics”, Kwame Anthony Appiah addresses this question for morality and ethics. Appiah suggests that scientific results may undermine moral intuitions by undermining our confidence in the actual sources of our intuitions, or by invalidating our factual assumptions about the causes of human behavior. Appiah worries that scientific results showing situational causes on human behavior force us to abandon the intuition, formalized in virtue ethics, that what matters is “who (...) you are on the inside”. In this review, we agree with Appiah that scientific results at once force and do not force us to abandon this intuition. We also propose that Appiah’s worry is due in part to an over-simplified conception of “internal causes”, shared widely among scientists and philosophers. By re-introducing the true richness of internal causes invoked in moral judgments, we hope to relax the tension between scientific results and moral intuitions. Ultimately, we propose that science can undermine and constrain but cannot affirm our commitment to specific moral intuitions. (shrink)
way on the information available in the contexts in which they are used, it’s not surprising that there is a minor but growing industry of work in semantics and the philosophy of language concerned with the precise nature of the context-dependency of epistemically modalized sentences. Take, for instance, an epistemic might-claim like..
s argument for the claim that social relations have to be conceived of as primary and main ontological category for an adequate analysis of the social realm. The author shows that Kings arguments do not succeed in fully replacing the categories of agency and structure that are pervasive in contemporary social theory. At most, King succeeds in delineating a neglected area of social theory, something that should be taken into account in addition to structure and agency. Key Words: (...) social ontology rules agency structure hermeneutics. (shrink)
Judeo-Christian and Anglo-Saxon forms of marriage have injected patrilineal values and companionate expectations into the Akan matrilineal family structure. As Anthony Appiah demonstrates, these infusions have generated severe strains in the matrikin social structures and, in extreme cases, resulted in the break up of families. In this essay, I investigate the ideological politics at play in this patrilinealization of Asante society.
STILLWATER, MINNESOTA—Two men sit at a long table, oblivious to the breakfast-time commotion. One moves a coffee cup from one side of a water glass to the other. “If I look here and don’t see the cup,” he says to the other, “then I know it must be there.” It sounds like a “deep” exchange between swotty young philosophy majors. But the fellow moving the cup has gray hair— and a Nobel Prize in physics. Sliding the porcelain, Anthony Leggett (...) of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, explains how scientists might try to see past the strictures of quantum mechanics, the bizarre theory that governs the behavior of tiny objects and clashes with our everyday notions of reality. “None of the existing interpretations of quantum mechanics as a theory of the entire world is satisfactory,” Leggett says to John Preskill, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Leggett, Preskill, and 22 other physicists, philosophers, and historians have gathered here for the Seven Pines Symposium.* Packed into a slightly ramshackle lodge in a wooded state park, the scholars—all of them men—will share their insights, suites of rooms without telephones, and meals of roast quail and pheasant at a long communal table. Perhaps not since the famous Solvay Conferences of the early 20th century, at which Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein debated the meaning of quantum theory in their free time, has physics seemed so genteel. Each year, the symposium tackles another of physics’ enduring puzzles: the nature of the vacuum, the concept of a f ield, the meaning of time. The aim is not to resolve the mysteries but to seed new lines of inquiry, says Roger Stuewer, a historian at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and chair of the symposium’s advisory board. “When we get the best people together,” he says, “ideas are planted that in some intangible way will influence what they do in the future.” Those germinating ideas are watered with a mellow Zinfandel and nourished with succulent steak. This year, attendees spent 5 days grappling with the implications of quantum mechanics, which have perplexed physi.. (shrink)
Moore's paradox pits our intuitions about semantic oddnessagainst the concept of truth-functional consistency. Most solutions tothe problem proceed by explaining away our intuitions. But``consistency'' is a theory-laden concept, having different contours indifferent semantic theories. Truth-functional consistency is appropriateonly if the semantic theory we are using identifies meaning withtruth-conditions. I argue that such a framework is not appropriate whenit comes to analzying epistemic modality. I show that a theory whichaccounts for a wide variety of semantic data about epistemic modals(Update Semantics) buys (...) us a solution to Moore's paradox as a corollary.It turns out that Moorean propositions, when looked at through the lenseof an appropriate semantic theory, are inconsistent after all. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction Rick Anthony Furtak; 1. The 'Socratic secret': the postscript to the Philosophical Crumbs M. Jamie Ferreira; 2. Kierkegaard's Socratic pseudonym: a profile of Johannes Climacus Paul Muench; 3. Johannes Climacus' revocation Alastair Hannay; 4. From the garden of the dead: Johannes Climacus on religious and irreligious inwardness Edward F. Mooney; 5. The Kierkegaardian ideal of 'essential knowing' and the scandal of modern philosophy Rick Anthony Furtak; 6. Lessing and Socrates in Kierkegaard's Postscript Jacob (...) Howland; 7. Climacus on subjectivity and the system Merold Westphal; 8. Humor and irony in the Postscript John Lippitt; 9. Climacus on the task of becoming a Christian Clare Carlisle; 10. The epistemology of the Postscript M. G. Piety; 11. Faith and reason in Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript C. Stephen Evans; 12. Making Christianity difficult: the 'existentialist theology' of Kierkegaard's Postscript David R. Law; Bibliography; Index. (shrink)
In Book II, chapter xxi of the Essay Concerning Human Understanding, on ‘Power’, Locke presents a radical critique of free will. This is the longest chapter in the Essay, and it is a difficult one, not least since Locke revised it four times without always taking care to ensure that every part cohered with the rest. My interest is to work out a coherent statement of what would today be termed ‘compatibilism’ from this text – namely, a doctrine which seeks (...) to render free will and determinism compatible. By emphasizing the hedonistic dimension of his argument, according to which we are determined by “the most pressing uneasiness” we feel, I show how a deterministic reading is possible. This was seen by Locke’s favorite and also most radical disciple, the deist Anthony Collins, whose treatise A Philosophical Inquiry Concerning Human Liberty (1717) is both a critique of Essay II.xxi and a radicalization of its contents. I argue that Collins articulated a form of determinism which recognizes the specificity of action, thanks in large part to the uniquely ‘volitional’ determinism suggested by Locke. (shrink)
In his Philosophical Inquiry concerning Human Liberty (1717), the English deist Anthony Collins proposed a complete determinist account of the human mind and action, partly inspired by his mentor Locke, but also by elements from Bayle, Leibniz and other Continental sources. It is a determinism which does not neglect the question of the specific status of the mind but rather seeks to provide a causal account of mental activity and volition in particular; it is a ‘volitional determinism’. Some decades (...) later, Diderot articulates a very similar determinism, which seeks to recognize the existence of “causes proper to man” (as he says in the Réfutation d’Helvétius). The difference with Collins is that now biological factors are being taken into account. Obviously both the ‘volitional’ and the ‘biological’ forms of determinism are noteworthy inasmuch as they change our picture of the nature of determinism itself, but my interest here is to compare these two determinist arguments, both of which are broadly Spinozist in nature – and as such belong to what Jonathan Israel called in his recent book “the radical Enlightenment,” i.e. a kind of underground Enlightenment constituted by Spinozism – and to see how Collins’ specifically psychological vision and Diderot’s specifically biological vision correspond to their two separate national contexts: determinism in France in the mid-1750s was a much more medico-biological affair than English determinism, which appears to be on a ‘path’ leading to Mill and associationist psychology. (shrink)
Descartes’s First Meditation employs a series of arguments designed to generate the worry that the senses might not provide sufficient evidence to justify one’staking as certain one’s beliefs about the way the world is. As the meditator considers what principle describes the conditions under which it is possible to attain certain knowledge, one after another doubt-generating device is ushered in, until at last he finds himself like someone caught in a whirlpool, able neither to stand firm nor to swim out. (...) In this paper, I examine one of those devices, namely, what is often referred to as the Madness Argument. In particular, I want to discuss its relation to the Dream Argument and its function in the Meditations as a whole. My position stands in contrast to the interpretations of Anthony Kenny, Margaret Wilson, Michael Williams, and, more recently, Janet Broughton and Catherine Wilson. (shrink)
The correspondence between Samuel Clarke and Anthony Collins of 1706–8, while not well known, is a spectacularly good debate between a dualist and a materialist over the possibility of giving a materialist account of consciousness and personal identity. This article puts the Clarke Collins Correspondence in a broader context in which it can be better appreciated, noting that it is really a debate between John Locke and Anthony Collins on one hand, and Samuel Clarke and Joseph Butler on (...) the other. Anthony Collins argues on behalf of John Locke's claim that it would be as easy for God to superadd the power of thinking to matter as for him to connect a soul to a body. Locke did not believe that matter could naturally produce thought or consciousness, but it was in God's power to make matter think. To defend Locke's claim Collins must defend the claim that there are emergent properties in the world – properties of a whole that are not possessed by the parts. Collins also defends a materialist version of Locke's account of personal identity against a variety of charges. Because the topics of debate in the correspondence are of such great interest to us, it deserves to be rescued from the neglect into which it fell and from which intellectual historians and philosophers have only recently and partially removed it. (shrink)
Specification of an appropriate relationship, or division of labor, between sociology and philosophy, remains a sensitive issue. Anthony Giddens offers a distinctive variant in his concern, in structuration theory, to develop an ontology of the social without participating in epistemological debate and without articulating and justifying a normative theory (whether a philosophical anthropology or a political philosophy). Both omissions impair the wider reception of structuration theory. The second is the more serious, however, insofar as the postempiricist community of inquirers (...) may make a virtue of the ethical and political factors that inform social science, but it does not yet have any settled means of assessing different, and contesting, values; even if it did, it could not invent Giddens's position for him. There are signs that Giddens now recognizes the need to formulate and justify models of the good society and of the actualized self. (shrink)
In the past 250 years, David Hume probably had a greater impact on the field of philosophy of religion than any other single philosopher. He relentlessly attacked the standard proofs for God's existence, traditional notions of God's nature and divine governance, the connection between morality and religion, and the rationality of belief in miracles. He also advanced radical theories of the origin of religious ideas, grounding such notions in human psychology rather than in divine reality. In the last decade of (...) his life Hume wrote 'I cou'd cover the Floor of a large Room with Books and Pamphlets wrote against me'. Indeed, most of these targeted his writings on religion. This, the third part of the Early Responses to Hume series, and perhaps the most eagerly awaited, collects responses to Hume's writings on religion published during his life, namely, 'Of Miracles', 'Of a Particular Providence and a Future State', The Natural History of Religion , and the posthumously published works Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion , 'Of Suicide' and 'Of the Immortality of the Soul'. The set covers a wide range of the replies Hume's writings provoked, including contributions by Philip Skelton, William Adams, Thomas Rutherforth, William Warburton, Anthony Ellys, John Douglas, John Leland, Thomas Stona, Voltaire, George Campbell, Herman Andrew Pistorius, Duncan Shaw, William Samuel Powell, Thomas Hayter, Joseph Milner, William Paley, Charles Moore, Richard Joseph Sulivan, John Hey, Samuel Vince, Lord Brougham and Thomas De Quincey. (shrink)
Interpreters of Aquinas’s theory of natural law have occasionally argued that the theory has no need for God. Some, such as Anthony Lisska, wish to avoid an interpretation that construes the theory as an instance of theological definism. Instead Lisska sees Aquinas’s ontology of natural kinds as central to the theory. In his zeal to eliminate God from Aquinas’s theory of natural law, Lisska has overlooked two important features of the theory. First, Aquinas states that the desire for God (...) is a primary precept of the natural law and thus constitutes a critical aspect of his ontology. Secondly, Aquinas’s theory of natural law must be seen in the larger context of his theory of participation since he says, “The natural law is the rational creature’s participation in the eternal law.”. (shrink)
Abstract Kwame Anthony Appiah has devoted much scholarly work to exploring the problems surrounding racial and cultural identities in the USA. He defends the position that such identities need not be centrally significant in the psyche of the subject, and that black demands for blacks to be recognised having a black (race) identity, is symptomatic of black racism. Like other racisms, black racism has a tendency to ?go imperial?, affecting the autonomy of the individual to decide which identity constructs (...) she is willing to endorse as her own. Appiah believes that free association, as the locus of social solidarities and the formation of individual and social identities, should be upheld as a counterweight to the imperialism of racisms in the USA. He believes, furthermore, that the cosmopolitan state best caters for free associations of this kind. In this article I offer a comprehensive view of Appiah's support for cosmopolitanism as the best answer to the problems of identity which race and culture generate in multicultural USA. (shrink)
The present article is an edition of the Pathologia (1706), a Latin manuscript on the passions by Anthony Ashley Cooper, the third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713). There are two parts, i) an introduction with commentary (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01916599.2012.679795), and ii) an edition of the Latin text with an English translation (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01916599.2012.679796) . The Pathologia treats of a series of topics concerning moral psychology, ethics and philology, presenting a reconstruction of the Stoic theory of the emotions that is closely modelled on Cicero (...) and Diogenes Lærtius. It contains a most detailed typology of the passions and affections as well as an analysis of a series of psychological connections, for example between admiration and pride. On the basis of his reconstruction of Stoic moral psychology and ethics, Shaftesbury argues that in one of his phases, Horace should be interpreted as a Stoic rather than as an Epicurean. The translation and the commentary draw attention to the relations between the Pathologia and Shaftesbury's English writings, most importantly Miscellaneous Reflections and the Inquiry Concerning Virtue, or Merit, which sheds light on several features of Shaftesbury's relation to Stoicism. (shrink)
Anthony Kenny's book is one of the best of its genre, exemplifying the kind of introduction into (some field of) Aquinas's thought that endeavors to make his ideas accessible to the philosophically interested contemporary reader in terms of such philosophical, scientific and everyday concepts with which the reader can safely be assumed to be familiar. Indeed, Kenny's book provides us with such a good example of this genre that it brings into sharp focus the problems of the genre itself. (...) Therefore, while duly acknowledging the book's virtues of clarity of presentation, and its highly readable, almost conversational style, let me concentrate in this brief review on this problematic aspect of Kenny's book, as someone who is just as much concerned with making Aquinas accessible to a contemporary audience as the author is. (shrink)
In assessing the veridicality of utterances, we normally seem to assess the satisfaction of conditions that the speaker had been concerned to get right in making the utterance. However, the debate about assessor-relativism about epistemic modals, predicates of taste, gradable adjectives and conditionals has been largely driven by cases in which seemingly felicitous assessments of utterances are insensitive to aspects of the context of utterance that were highly relevant to the speaker’s choice of words. In this paper, we offer an (...) explanation of why certain locutions invite insensitive assessments, focusing primarily on ’tasty’ and ’might’. We spell out some reasons why felicitous insensitive assessments are puzzling and argue briefly that recent attempts to accommodate such assessments (including attempts by John MacFarlane, Kai von Fintel and Anthony Gillies) all fail to provide more than hints at a solution to the puzzle. In the main part of the paper, we develop an account of felicitous insensitive assessments by identifying a number of pragmatic factors that influence the felicity of assessments. Before closing, we argue that the role of these factors extend beyond cases considered in the debate about assessor-relativism and fit comfortably with standard contextualist analyses of the relevant locutions. (shrink)
Chalmers' anti-materialist arguments are an interesting twist on a well-known argument form, and his naturalistic dualism is exciting to contemplate. Nevertheless, we think we can save materialism from the Chalmerian attack. This is what we do in the present paper.
After stressing the shortcomings of Darwinian accounts of self-consciousness and knowledge - i.e. in terms of their survival value - Anthony O'Hear presents Peirce's metaphysical hypotheses on cosmic evolution as an alternative approach that avoids those shortcomings. Although O'Hear does not straightforwardly defend Peirce's views, his argument suggests that only some teleological account of self-consciousness and knowledge is reasonable. The argument, though correct, is not enough to establish the metaphysical point O'Hear defends. Before developing his metaphysical ideas, Peirce's rejection (...) of natural selection as an explanation for every phenomenon brought him to consider the more appropriate question of how natural selection could give rise to a different kind of evolution. This involved outlining an evolutionary account of the origin of self-consciousness and of the mechanisms of belief fixation. The point is not one about Peirce, of course, but about the relationship between, on the one hand, biological and, on the other, psychological and cultural phenomena. (shrink)
In their historical overview of cognitive science, Bechtel, Abraham- son and Graham (1999) describe the ﬁeld as expanding in focus be- ginning in the mid-1980s. The ﬁeld had spent the previous 25 years on internalist, high-level GOFAI (“good old fashioned artiﬁcial intelli- gence” [Haugeland 1985]), and was ﬁnally moving “outwards into the environment and downards into the brain” (Bechtel et al, 1999, p.75). One important force behind the downward movement was Patricia Churchland’s Neurophilosophy (1986). This book began a movement bearing (...) its name, one that truly came of age in 1999 when Kath- leen Akins won a million-dollar fellowship to begin the McDonnell Project in Philosophy and the Neurosciences. The McDonnell Project put neurophilosophy at the forefront of philosophy of mind and cogni- tive science, yielding proliferating articles, conferences, special journal issues and books. In two major new books, neurophilosophers Patricia Churchland (2002) and John Bickle (2003) clearly feel this newfound prominence: Churchland mocks those who do not apply ﬁndings in neuroscience to philosophical problems as “no-brainers”; Bickle mocks anyone with traditional philosophical concerns, including “naturalistic philosophers of mind” and other neurophilosophers. (shrink)
This illustrated edition of Sir Anthony Kenny’s acclaimed survey of Western philosophy offers the most concise and compelling story of the complete development of philosophy available. Spanning 2,500 years of thought, An Illustrated Brief History of Western Philosophy provides essential coverage of the most influential philosophers of the Western world, among them Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Jesus, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Mill, Nietzsche, Darwin, Freud, Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein. Replete with over 60 (...) illustrations - ranging from Dufresnoy’s The Death of Socrates, through to the title page of Thomas More’s Utopia, portraits of Hobbes and Rousseau, photographs of Charles Darwin and Bertrand Russell, Freud’s own sketch of the Ego and the Id, and Wittgenstein’s Austrian military identity card - this lucid and masterful work is ideal for anyone with an interest in Western thought. (shrink)
Through the critical examination of Baudrillard's concept of hyperreality, this article seeks to make a wider contribution to contempor ary debates about postmodernism. It draws on a post-Cartesian, Heideg gerian philosophy to demonstrate the weakness of the concept of hyperreality and reveal its foundation in a Cartesian epistemology. The article goes on to claim that this same Heideggerian tradition suggests a way in which the concept of hyperreality and nihilistic postmodern sociologies more generally might be dialectically superseded. Instead of these (...) theories being seen as saying anything insightful about recent social transformations, the epistemological void in which they position themselves should be inter preted as the intellectual expression of the wider cultural and postmodern trend of transgression. Key Words: Baudrillard Cartesianism Heidegger hyperreality postmodernism. (shrink)
This revised edition of Sir Anthony Kenny’s classic work on Wittgenstein contains a new introduction which covers developments in Wittgenstein scholarship since the book was first published. Widely praised for providing a lucid and historically informed account of Wittgenstein’s core philosophical concerns. Demonstrates the continuity between Wittgenstein’s early and later writings. Provides a persuasive argument for the unity of Wittgenstein’s thought. Kenny also assesses Wittgenstein’s influence in the latter part of the twentieth century.
What we want to be true about ordinary indicative conditionals seems to be more than we can possibly get: there just seems to be no good way to assign truth-conditions to ordinary indicative conditionals. Some take this argument as reason to make our wantings more modest. Others take it to show that indicative conditionals don't have truth-conditions in the first place. But we have overlooked two possibilities for assigning truth-conditions to indicatives. What's more, those possibilities deliver what we want and (...) turn out to be equivalent. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us Digg Reddit Technorati What's this? (shrink)
In this essay I defend the view that Henry Sidgwick’s moral epistemology is a form of intuitionist foundationalism that grants common-sense morality no evidentiary role. In §1, I outline both the problematic of The Methods of Ethics and the main elements of its argument for utilitarianism. In §§2-4 I provide my interpretation of Sidgwick’s moral epistemology. In §§ 5-8 I refute rival interpretations, including the Rawlsian view that Sidgwick endorses some version of reflective equilibrium and the view that he is (...) committed to some kind of pluralistic epistemology. In§ 9 I contend with some remaining objections to my view. (shrink)
In ‘Sidgwick’s Epistemology’, John Deigh argues that Henry Sidgwick’s The Methods of Ethics ‘was not perceived during his lifetime as a major and lasting contribution to British moral philosophy’ and that interest in it declined considerably after Sidgwick’s death because the epistemology on which it relied ‘increasingly became suspect in analytic philosophy and eventually [it was] discarded as obsolete’. In this article I dispute these claims.
Against its prominent compatiblist and libertarian opponents, I defend Galen Strawsonâ€™s Basic Argument for the impossibility of moral responsibility. Against John Martin Fischer, I argue that the Basic Argument does not rely on the premise that an agent can be responsible for an action only if he is responsible for every factor contributing to that action. Against Alfred Mele and Randolph Clarke, I argue that it is absurd to believe that an agent can be responsible for an action when no (...) factor contributing to that action is up to that agent. Against Derk Pereboom and Clarke, I argue that the versions of agent-causal libertarianism they claim can immunize the agent to the Basic Argument actually fail to do so. Against Robert Kane, I argue that the Basic Argument does not rely on the premise that simply the presence of indeterministic factors in the process of bringing an action about is itself what rules out the agentâ€™s chance for being responsible for that action. (shrink)
Frege famously argued that truth is not a property or relation. In the “Notes on Logic” Wittgenstein emphasised the bi-polarity of propositions which he called their sense. He argued that “propositions by virtue of sense cannot have predicates or relations.” This led to his fundamental thought that the logical constants do not represent predicates or relations. The idea, however, has wider ramifications than that. It is not just that propositions cannot have relations to other propositions but also that they cannot (...) have relations to anything at all. The paper explores the consequences of this insight for the way in which we should read the Tractatus. In the “Notes on Logic” the insight led to Wittgenstein's emphasis on “facts” in any attempt to understand the nature of symbolism. This emphasis is continued in the Tractatus. It is central to his view that propositions are facts which picture facts which prevent us from construing such picturing as a relation between what pictures and what is pictured. It illuminates the importance of context principle with regard to the distinction between showing and saying to which Wittgenstein attached so much importance and it underlies the non-relational view of psychological propositions which he advocates. Finally, if propositions by virtue of sense cannot have predicates or relations the paradox at the end of a work which consist largely of propositions about propositions becomes intelligible. (shrink)
William Uttal's The new phrenology is a broad attack on localization in cognitive neuroscience. He argues that even though the brain is a highly differentiated organ, "high level cognitive functions" should not be localized in specific brain regions. First, he argues that psychological processes are not well-defined. Second, he criticizes the methods used to localize psychological processes, including imaging technology: he argues that variation among individuals compromises localization, and that the statistical methods used to construct activation maps are flawed. Neither (...) criticism is compelling. First, as we illustrate, there are behavioral measures which offer at least weak constraints on psychological attribution. Second, though imaging does face methodological difficulties associated with variation among individuals, these are broadly acknowledged; moreover, his specific criticisms of the imaging work, and in particular of fMRI, misrepresent the methodology. In concluding, we suggest a way of framing the issues that might allow us to resolve differences between localizationist models and more distributed models empirically. (shrink)
Friedrich Waismann, a little-known mathematician and onetime student of Wittgenstein's, provides answers to problems that vexed Wittgenstein in his attempt to explicate the foundations of mathematics through an analysis of its practice. Waismann argues in favor of mathematical intuition and the reality of infinity with a Wittgensteinian twist. Waismann's arguments lead toward an approach to the foundation of mathematics that takes into consideration the language and practice of experts.
The following paper argues that J.G. Fichte, despite his apparent philosophical neglect of art and aesthetics, does develop a strong, original, and coherent account of art, which not only allows the theorization of modern, non-representative art forms, but indeed anticipates Nietzsche and Heidegger in conceiving of truth in terms of art rather than scientific rationality. While the basis of Fichte’s philosophy of art is presented in the essay “On Spirit and Letter in Philosophy,” it is not developed systematically either in (...) this text or anywhere else in his writings, but must be reconstructed through a broad consideration of all his works, including, above all, his political and economic writings. For Fichte, the art-work does not exist as an object possessing “aesthetic value” and which can, in turn, be possessed, consumed, and enjoyed through the subjective act of aesthetic experience. Rather, it involves a mode of praxis which, grounded in a radical and original power of imagination, creatively discloses possibilities for future forms of existence, experience, and political community that cannot be theoretically anticipated. While Fichte cannot himself theorize specific forms of art, since the art that concerns him belongs to the future, we can, however, retrospectively try to understand non-representational painting and non-mimetic dance as concrete realizations of Fichte’s art-work of the future. In this way, Fichte’s philosophy of art ultimately suggests an alternative to Heidegger’s understanding of the work of art as a projective institution of truth. Fichte suggests that the human body, rather than human language, is the fundamental medium of art. (shrink)
Sidgwick famously claimed that an argument in favour of utilitarianism might be provided by demonstrating that a set of defensible philosophical intuitions undergird it. This paper focuses on those philosophical intuitions. It aims to show which specific intuitions Sidgwick endorsed, and to shed light on their mutual connections. It argues against many rival interpretations that Sidgwick maintained that six philosophical intuitions constitute the self-evident grounds for utilitarianism, and that those intuitions appear to be specifications of a negative principle of universalization (...) (according to which differential treatments must be based on reasonable grounds alone). In addition, this paper attempts to show how the intuitions function in the overall argument for utilitarianism. The suggestion is that the intuitions are the main positive part of the argument for the view, which includes Sidgwick's rejection of common-sense morality and its philosophical counterpart, dogmatic intuitionism. The paper concludes by arguing that some of Sidgwick's intuitions fail to meet the conditions for self-evidence which Sidgwick himself established and applied to the rules of common-sense morality. (shrink)
Sly Pete and Mr. Stone are playing poker on a Mississippi riverboat. It is now up to Pete to call or fold. My henchman Zack sees Stone’s hand, which is quite good, and signals its content to Pete. My henchman Jack sees both hands, and sees that Pete’s hand is rather low, so that Stone’s is the winning hand. At this point, the room is cleared. A few minutes later, Zack slips me a note which says “If Pete called, he (...) won,” and Jack slips me a note which says “If Pete called, he lost”. (shrink)
Here is the concluding volume of Sir Anthony Kenny's monumental four-volume history of philosophy, the first major single-author narrative history to appear for several decades. In this volume, Kenny tells the fascinating story of the development of philosophy in the modern world, from the early nineteenth century to the end of the millennium. Alongside (and intertwined with) extraordinary scientific advances, cultural changes, and political upheavals, the last two centuries have seen some of the most intriguing and original developments in (...) philosophical thinking, which have transformed our understanding of ourselves and our world. In the first part of the book, Kenny offers a lively narrative introducing the major thinkers in their historical context. Among those we meet are the great figures of continental European philosophy, from Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche to Heidegger, Sartre, and Derrida; the Pragmatists such as C.S. Pierce and William James, who first developed a distinctively American philosophical tradition; Marx, Darwin, and Freud, the non-philosophers whose influence on philosophy was immense; and Wittgenstein and Russell, friends and colleagues who set the agenda for analytic philosophy in the twentieth century. Kenny then proceeds to guide the reader lucidly through the nine main areas of philosophical work in the period, offering a serious engagement with ideas and arguments about logic, language, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, politics, and the existence of God. Graced with many beautiful illustrations, Philosophy in the Modern World concludes Kenny's stimulating history of the intellectual development of Western civilization, allowing readers to trace the birth and growth of philosophy from antiquity to the present day. (shrink)
Keith DeRose discusses 'third-person cases', which appear to raise problems for John Hawthorne's invariantist approach to knowledge-attributions. I argue that there is a prima facie problem for invariantism stemming from third-person cases that is even worse than DeRose's. Then I show that in the end, contrary to appearances, third-person cases do not threaten invariantism.
Sir Anthony Kenny's engaging new multi-volume history of Western philosophy now advances into the modern era. The Rise of Modern Philosophy captures the fascinating story of the emergence, from the early sixteenth to the early nineteenth century, of the great ideas and intellectual systems that shaped modern thought. Kenny introduces us to some of the world's most original and influential thinkers and helps us gain an understanding of their famous works. The great minds we meet include Rene Descartes, traditionally (...) seen as the founder of modern philosophy; the great British philosophers Hobbes, Locke, and Hume; continental thinkers such as Spinoza, Liebniz, and Hegel; and the towering figure of Immanuel Kant, who perhaps more than any other made philosophy what it is today. Kenny first tells the story of modern philosophy chronologically: his lively, accessible narrative brings the philosophers to life and fills in the historical and intellectual background to their work. It is ideal as the first thing to read for someone new to this wonderfully creative period. Kenny then backtracks to look closely at each of the main areas of philosophical exploration in this period: knowledge and understanding; the nature of the physical universe; metaphysics (the most fundamental questions there are about existence); mind and soul; the nature and content of morality; political philosophy; and God. The book also features many intriguing and beautiful illustrations which evoke the human and social side of philosophy. Anyone who is interested in the evolution of modern thought will find this a book a treasure. (shrink)
Dennett's "Consciousness Explained" (1991) is an inspiring but also a highly frustrating book. The line of the argument seems to be clear, but then at second sight it fades away. It turns out that Dennett uses six of the seven strategies which I discuss in my 'The Seven Strategies of the Sophisticated Pseudo-Scientist: A Look into Freud's Rhetorical Tool Box' (J. Gen. Phil. Sci., 2001) Discussing important examples of these strategies I show why "Consciousness Explained" is such a frustrating book. (...) As the examples used do not reflect minor problems but go to the heart of the matter and concern the book's main areas of contention, it turns out that, in spite of the valuable and insightful details, Dennett's materialistic view of consciousness is supported mainly by rhetorical sleights of hand. (shrink)
Noah Feldman’s elegant essay contains many attractive suggestions, especially in its final compelling discussions of various conceptions of Cosmopolitan Law. Less importantly for your purposes, dear Reader, than for mine, it also provides a fair and clear account of some of my own discussions of cosmopolitanism (in the course of which I have made a few suggestions that may be of relevance for the law). In this brief response, I should like to focus on clarifying one of the conceptual distinctions (...) that I have made: the distinction between the rational and the reasonable. In marking that distinction, I was returning to a contrast I had made many years ago, in In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture. Reading Feldman’s response, I realize that I had been a good deal too economical in explaining what I had in mind. Clarifying my view will also help to reinforce an important distinction, which Feldman both accepts and rightly finds stressed in my own work, between the context of our cosmopolitan obligations, on the one hand, and our political obligations, on the other. That is a central theme of his essay, of course; and in clarifying my view, I hope to clarify, as well, how my “reined-in” account of cosmopolitanism might relate to some of the legal and political exigencies he explores. What distinction do I mark by using the two words “rational” and “reasonable,” words that many people would treat as synonyms? I should say, first, that I take both terms to apply both to ways of thinking about what to believe—epistemic reasoning—and to ways of thinking about what to do—practical reasoning. (I think that feelings can be reasonable and unreasonable, too, but this is a complication I shall ignore here.) At a first pass, the distinction I have in mind is between epistemic and practical procedures that are likely to be successful, given the way the world is (which I call “rational”); and procedures that a normal human being has no reason to doubt will be effective, whether or not, in fact, they are (which I call “reasonable”).. (shrink)
The significance of Machiavelli's political thinking for the development of modern republicanism is a matter of great controversy. This reassessment examines the character of Machiavelli's own republicanism by charting his influence on Marchamont Nedham, James Harrington, John Locke, Algernon Sidney, John Trenchard, Thomas Gordon, David Hume, the baron de Montesquieu, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton. Concluding that although Machiavelli himself was not liberal, Paul Rahe argues that he did, nonetheless, set the stage (...) for the emergence of liberal republicanism in England. (shrink)
In Beckett and Poststructuralism, Anthony Uhlmann offers a reading of Beckett in relation to recent French philosophy, particularly the work of Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Levinas, and Derrida. Uhlmann offers a work of literary criticism that is also a piece of intellectual history, emphasising how Beckett develops a kind of critical thinking which differs from yet is just as powerful as that of philosophers who, along with Beckett, found themselves faced with sets of ethical problems which were thrown into (...) sharp relief in post-war France. Uhlmann explores the links between ethics and physical existence in Beckett, Foucault and Deleuze and Guattari, and between ethics and language in Beckett, Derrida, and Levinas, showing how post-war French philosophy was powerfully affected by Beckett's work. Literature is not reduced to philosophy or vice versa; rather Uhlmann considers how they interrelate and overlap, informing and deforming one another, and how both encounter history. (shrink)
Sidgwickian Ethics provides a highly compelling treatment of the main meta-ethical and normative ethical doctrines found in Henry Sidgwick’s The Methods of Ethics. In this note, I dwell on three of its theses. In §I, I question Phillips’s account of Sidgwick’s moral epistemology. In §II, I argue in favour of a specific solution to the puzzle that he finds in this epistemology. In §III, I try to defend Sidgwick against the charge that his argument against dogmatic intuitionism is unfair to (...) its advocates. (shrink)
Kurt Gödel’s version of the ontological argument was shown by J. Howard Sobel to be defective, but some plausible modifications in the argument result in a version which is immune to Sobel’s objection. A definition is suggested which permits the proof of some of Godel’s axioms.
Anthony Kenny offers a critical examination of Thomas Aquinas's influential account of being, arguing that it suffers from systematic confusion. Because of the centrality of the doctrine, this has implications for other parts of Aquinas's philosophical system. Kenny's clear and incisive study dispels the confusion and offers philosophers and theologians a guide through the labyrinth of Aquinas's ontology.
way on the information available in the contexts in which they are used, it’s not surprising that there is a minor but growing industry of work in semantics and the philosophy of language concerned with the precise nature of the context-dependency of epistemically modalized sentences. Take, for instance, an epistemic might-claim like..
This article is about a sidebar in James Gibson's last book, The ecological approach to visual perception. In this sidebar, Gibson, the founder of the ecological perspective of perception and action, argued that to perceive an affordance is not to classify an object. Although this sidebar has received scant attention, it is of great significance both historically and for recent discussions about specificity, direct perception, and the functions of the dorsal and ventral streams. It is argued that Gibson's acknowledgment of (...) Wittgenstein's ideas of classification suggests a limited scope of his theory of direct perception?it cannot account for the classification of objects. The implications for both the specification debate and theorizing about the brain's dorsal and ventral pathways are explored. Based on a recent ecological conception of information and direct perception, we ultimately argue that both affordance perception and classification are direct. (shrink)
Henry Sidgwick's Practical Ethics offers a novel approach to practical moral issues. In this article, I defend Sidgwick's approach against recent objections advanced by Sissela Bok, Karen Hanson, Michael S. Pritchard, and Michael Davis. In the first section, I provide some context within which to situate Sidgwick's view. In the second, I outline the main features of Sidgwick's methodology and the powerful rationale that lies behind it. I emphasize elements of the view that help to defend it, noting some affinities (...) it has with those of the later Rawls. In the third section, I indicate how it promises to help alleviate some difficulties facing modern practical ethics. In the fourth, I respond to Bok's objections. I argue that her own work on practical ethics has some similarities to Sidgwick's which should make them friends, not enemies. In the fifth section, I respond to Hanson, Pritchard and Davis. (shrink)
Abstract In his discourses on ‘the lily of the field and the bird of the air,’ Kierkegaard presents faith as the best possible response to our precarious and uncertain condition, and as the ideal way to cope with the insecurities and concerns that his readers will recognize as common features of human existence. Reading these discourses together, we are introduced to the portrait of a potential believer who, like the ‘divinely appointed teachers’—the lily and the bird—succeeds in leading a life (...) that is full of care, but free of worry. Such a portrait, we claim, echoes Kierkegaard’s portrait of the knight of faith in Fear and Trembling . In this essay we suggest that faith, as characterized in the ‘lily and bird’ discourses, is a kind of existential trust that would allow us to overcome worry, while remaining wholeheartedly engaged in the finite realm of our cares and concerns. We claim that Kierkegaard’s goal in these discourses is not to belittle our earthly cares, but to invite us to develop a modified attitude toward all that we are susceptible to worry about. Content Type Journal Article Category Article Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s11153-011-9322-5 Authors Sharon Krishek, Department of Philosophy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel Rick Anthony Furtak, Department of Philosophy, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047. (shrink)
Written by a team of distinguished scholars, this is an authoritative and comprehensive history of Western philosophy from its earliest beginnings to the present day. Illustrated with over 150 color and black-and-white pictures, chosen to illuminate and complement the text, this lively and readable work is an ideal introduction to philosophy for anyone interested in the history of ideas. From Plato's Republic and St. Augustine's Confessions through Marx's Capital and Sartre's Being and Nothingness, the extraordinary philosophical dialogue between great Western (...) minds has flourished unabated through the ages. Dazzling in its genius and breadth, the long line of European and American intellectual discourse tells a remarkable story--a quest for truth and wisdom that continues to shape our most basic ideas about human nature and the world around us. That quest is brilliantly brought to life in The Oxford History of Western Philosophy. With spectacular illustrations--including sixteen pages of full-color plates--this splendidly written volume takes the reader on a magnificient chronological tour through the revolutions of thought that have forged the Western philosophical tradition from ancient times to the present. Throughout, the six contributors--an internationally renowned team of philosophers including Roger Scruton, Anthony Quinton, and Anthony Kenny--bring the astonishingly diverse, wide-ranging landscape of intellectual history into sharp focus, emphasizing how notions seen today as part of an inevitable march of ideas were in their own time often considered radical, if not revolutionary. Thus we are treated, for example, to lively accounts of how Plato's "theory of forms" and Aristotle's pioneering exercises in logic broke with the past to irrevocably alter the course of Western thought. The authors also reveal the relationships between landmark thinkers, and the ways they drew on their intellectual heritage. They show, for instance, how St. Augustine and Aquinas, though advancing the cause of Christian doctrine, picked up where their pagan Greek forebears had left off. We witness how, during the Renaissance, the profound empiricist ideas underlying Descarte's famous utterance--"I think, therefore I exist"--lived in a tense but complementary relationship with Locke's rationalist theories. Moving into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the book explores how Hume greatly influenced Kant's conception of the "transcendental aesthetic," and how Hegel drew upon the lesser known (but groundbreaking) work of Fichte and Schelling. The authors bring the story up to our own time, vividly recounting the existential trend from Nietzsche ("God is dead") to Sartre, along with other increasingly fractious schools of thought. Along the way, we not only encounter the vast intellectual riches of the Western mind, but we also meet the personalities behind the great thoughts, from the saintly Hume (described by Adam Smith as having "come as near to perfection as anybody could") to the ill-mannered outcast Fichte. And the hundreds of maps and striking illustrations (including full-color reproductions of art ranging from medieval manuscripts to the works of Raphael, Ingres, and Magritte) form an integral part of the book, revealing the interweaving of art and ideas through the ages, as artists have striven to give visual immediacy to philosophical concepts. The Oxford History of Western Philosophy is the most authoritative single-volume account ever written for the general reader. Engagingly written and astonishingly far-reaching, it provides the consummate introduction to the intellectual bedrock upon which Western civilization is built. (shrink)
Aristotle has arguably been the most influential of all philosophers. This selection of works by Aristotle, along with essays by Aristotle scholar Anthony Kenny, traces the philosopher's profound influence throughout the ages. It covers in-depth his ethics and philosophy of mind and shows how they provided the framework for fruitful developments in the Middle Ages as well as in the present day. It also includes various contributions to the most recent form of Aristotelian scholarship: computer-assisted stylometry. Anyone who has (...) ever been fascinated by Aristotle's brilliant insight and intellectual legacy will be delighted with this engaging collection. (shrink)
The concept of structure is central to Giddens's structuration theory because it apparently accounts for the reproduction of the social system without derogating the lay actor in functionalist or structuralist fashion. In fact, the concept of structure involves the very derogation of the lay actor which Giddens highlights as the principal error of these objectivist social theories and which he wishes to avoid. However, although Giddens fails to recognize it, the concept of "practical consciousness" which Giddens also regards as central (...) to structuration theory avoids this relapse into objectivism and offers a route to a sustainable social theory which highlights the agency of social actors. Key Words: structuration theory practical consciousness structure hermeneutics. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to advance the theory of argument or inference schemes by suggesting answers to questions raised by Walton's Argumentation Schemes for Presumptive Reasoning (1996), specifically on: the relation between argument and reasoning; distinguishing deductive from presumptive schemes, the origin of schemes and the probative force of their use; and the motivation and justification for their associated critical questions.
This article examines Václav Havel's unconventional route to democracy. At the core of the enquiry is an analysis of the role his Absurdism played in the development of his thought and activism. The essay illustrates how a typically literary, non-democratic intellectual orientation sustained Havel in his struggle for democratic political change against the abuses of really existing socialism. Yet, Havel's thought did not stop there; he eyed Western liberalism critically as well. Springing from his Absurdist sensibility was a vision of (...) democracy that was neither wholly liberal nor socialist, yet quite practical. By making a case for reconsidering ideas that typically fall outside the purview of democratic theory, this article also suggests the possibility of critically rethinking democracy itself. (shrink)
Locke considers miracles to be crucial in establishing the credibility and reasonableness of Christian faith and revelation. The performance of miracles, he argues, is vital in establishing the “credit of the proposer” who makes any claim to providing a divine revelation. He accords reason a pivotal role in distinguishing spurious from genuine claims to divine revelation, including miracles. According to Locke, genuine miracles contain the hallmark of the divine such that pretend revelations become intuitively obvious. This paper argues that serious (...) tensions exist in Locke’s position regarding miracles, which impact on the reasonableness of the assent to Christianity which he presumes they provide. (shrink)
Bart Schultz’s Henry Sidgwick: Eye of the Universe is a welcome addition to the growing literature on Sidgwick. In this article, I direct my attention for the most part to one aspect of what Schultz says about Sidgwick’s masterpiece, The Methods of Ethics, as well as to what he does not say about Sidgwick’s illuminating but neglected work Practical Ethics. This article is divided into three sections. In the first, I argue that there is a problem with Schultz’s endorsement of (...) the view that Sidgwick’smoral epistemology combines elements of both coherentism and foundationalism. In the second, I argue that Schultz has failed to do justice to Sidgwick’s mature views in Practical Ethics. In the final section, I briefly say something about Schultz’s suggestion that Sidgwick succumbed to both racism and dishonesty. (shrink)
The question of modernity has provoked a vigorous debate in the work of thinkers from Hegel to Habermas. Our own self-styled postmodern age has seen no end to this debate, which now receives a major and wide-ranging intervention from the theorist and critic Anthony J. Cascardi. Offering an historical account of the origins and transformations of the rational subject or self as it is represented in Descartes, Cervantes, Pascal, Hobbes and the Don Juan myth, he carries his argument across (...) the fields of epistemology, literature, political science, religion and psychology. The modern subject proves to be positioned within conflicting discourses, in a culture characterised by its 'detotalised totality'. Max Weber's concept of 'world disenchantment' enables Cascardi to make a searching critique of modernity's sense of its absoluteness, divorced from an archaic, 'enchanted' world. He advocates in its place a more fruitful relationship between historical analysis and theoretical speculation, offering constructive new alternatives to current orthodoxy regarding subjectivity and modernity. (shrink)
Introduction -- Descartes : purging the mind of childish ways -- Locke and Leibniz : understanding children -- Locke : children's language and the fate of changelings -- Leibniz : against infant damnation -- Wolff : the inferiority of childhood -- Baumgarten : childhood and the analogue of reason.
This book is a discussion of some of Kierkegaard's central ideas, showing their relevance to contemporary debates in epistemology, ethics, and the philosophy of religion. Anthony Rudd's aim is not simply to expound Kierkegaard's ideas but to draw on them creatively in order to illuminate questions about the foundations of morality and the nature of personal identity, as discussed by analytical philosophers such as MacIntyre, Parfit, Williams, and Foot. Rudd seeks a way forward from the sterile conflict between the (...) view that morality and religion are based on objective reasoning and the view that they are merely expressions of subjective emotions. He argues that morality and religion must be understood in terms of the individual's search for a sense of meaning in his or her own life, but emphasizes that this does not imply that values are arbitrary or merely subjective. (shrink)
This paper aims to reexamine Nietzsche’s early interpretation of Heraclitus in an attempt to resolve some longstanding scholarly misconceptions. Rather than articulate similarities or delineate the lines of influence, this study engages Nietzsche’s interpretation itself in its historical setting, for the first time acknowledging the contextual framework in which he was working. This framework necessarily combines Nietzsche’s reading in philology, post-Kantian scientific naturalism, and of the romantic worldviews of Schopenhauer and Wagner. What emerges is not the acceptance of the metaphysical-flux (...) doctrine so much as a natal form of his physiognomic theory ofperspectivism, a naturalistic and anti-teleological conception of flux, and a theory of justice as cosmodicy. (shrink)