J. Angelo Corlett: The errors of atheism Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s11153-010-9285-y Authors C. Robert Mesle, Graceland University, 1 University Ave., Lamoni, IA 50140, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047.
This paper explores the aporetic nature of social and historical being as it emerges from a juxtaposition of the philosophies of Castoriadis and Heidegger with specific emphasis on their meditations on history, individuality and collective being. It is argued that any current attempts to grasp the problems posed by historical time should not overlook the conceptual space opened up by contrasting Castoriadis' theorisation of social-historical praxis as the enactment of autonomy expressed through the emergence of the `radically new' with Heidegger's (...) treatment of authentic historicity as fate and repetition. The attempt of both thinkers to break with the philosophical tradition of the West is examined from the perspective of their conceptions on time and history, while their opposing accounts serve to revaluate the traditional dichotomy between allegedly `linear' and `cyclical' conceptions of time. Additionally, it is argued that instead of treating Phenomenological-Hermeneutic and Marxist accounts as adverse and incompatible, our reflections on history and society are enriched by their juxtaposition. Castoriadis and Heidegger present us with the most promising individual cases of thinkers representing these philosophical schools mainly due to their emphasis on the historical dimension of human life and to their overall groundbreaking philosophical elaborations that resist labelling and defy confinement to specific philosophical or epistemic traditions. (shrink)
This paper explicates and challenges John Rawl's argument concerning a rule-utilitarian theory of punishment. In so doing, it argues in favour of a retributivist theory of punishment, one that seeks to justify, not only particular forms of punishment, but the institution of punishment itself. Some crucial objections to retributivism are then considered: one regarding the adverse effects of punishment on the innocent, another concerning proportional punishment, a third pertaining to vengeance and retribution, a Marxian concern with retributive punishment, and a (...) concern with the concept of desert. Each objection is deflected in order to ward-off what seem to be the most serious criticisms of a retributivist view of punishment and to clarify the depth of the retributivist position. (shrink)
Given the hundreds of articles and books that have been written in epistemology over the span of just the past few decades, relatively little has been written specifically on epistemic responsibility. What has been written rarely considers the nature of epistemic responsibility and its possible role in epistemic justification or knowledge. Instead, such work concerns philosophical analyses and arguments about related concepts such as epistemic virtues or duties, rather than epistemic praiseworthiness and blameworthiness.2 It is epistemic responsibility in the blameworthiness (...) and praiseworthiness senses that is the primary concern of this paper, though the duty sense of epistemic responsibility is explored in terms of its pertinence to epistemic virtue. What is epistemic responsibility? And what, if anything, is its relationship to justification and knowledge? (shrink)
A philosophical assessment of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, exposing some errors of reasoning that undermine part of the foundation of his atheism. Distinctions between theism, atheism and agnosticism are also provided and explored for their significance to Dawkins' argument.
This paper is an elaboration of my previous paper published in Philosophy, ‘Making Sense of retributivism,’ which was a criticism of John Rawls' attempt in ‘Two Concepts of Rules’ to develop a rule utilitarian theory of punishment wherein utilitarianism is best construed as a justificatory basis for the institution of punishment and retributivism is best construed as serving as a justificatory basis for particular forms of punishment. I challenge this claim, arguing that retributivism must and can provide a justification both (...) for the institution of punishment and for particular forms of punishment. In the end, I develop an analysis of the nature of desert as responsibility and proportionality. This notion of desert makes the best sense of retributivism. (shrink)
At the end of a chapter in his book Race, Racism and Reparations, Angelo Corlett notes that “[t]here remain other queries about racism [than those he addressed in his chapter], which need philosophical exploration. … Perhaps most important, how might racism be unlearned?” (2003, 93). We agree with Corlett’s assessment of its importance, but find that philosophers have not been very keen to directly engage with the issue of how to best deal with, and ultimately do away with, racism. Rather, (...) they have tended to make cursory remarks about the issue at the end of papers devoted to defining “racism” or attempting to capture the essence of racism itself. In this article, we put the issue of how to best deal with racism front and center. We need not start from scratch, however. Despite not being central to many philosophical discussions about race, a number of different strategies for dealing with racism have been suggested. To that end, we have identified three of the most concrete proposals made by philosophers and social theorists, each of which seeks to mitigate racism by inducing psychological changes in individuals.2 For each, we formulate the.. (shrink)
The purpose of this essay is to critically appraise J. Angelo Corlett's recent interpretation of Kant's theory of punishment as well as his rejection of Hegel's penology. In taking Kant to be a retributivist at a primary level and a proponent of deterrence at a secondary level, I believe Corlett has inappropriately wed together Kant's distinction between moral and positive law. Moreover, his support of Kant on these grounds is misguided as it is instead Hegel who holds such a distinction. (...) Finally, I attempt to refute the almost timeless retributivist rejection of deterrence-based theories of punishment on the grounds that the latter somehow would condone in some cases the punishment of innocent persons. These individuals almost always demand that no innocent person be punished as a rule of the highest order. (shrink)
In some languages, such as French and Austrian German, the perfect construction is the standard tense/aspect form used to report past-time events. In many other languages, including English, the perfect construction alternates with other past tense forms, such as the preterit past (English) or the imperfect (French and many other languages), and there is considerable crosslinguistic variation on the precise usage conditions and semantics associated with each type of past tense form. Many of these languages exhibit the have/be alternation in (...) the formation of the perfect, using have with transitive and unergative verbs, and be with unaccusative verbs. Many other languages, including English, use have uniformly. In this article I will seek to identify the syntactic source of the past tense meaning associated with the perfect construction. Because of the problem posed by the cross-linguistic variation in perfect semantics mentioned above, it is perhaps foolhardy to seek a single answer to this question for all languages, and a comprehensive treatment would require a dissertationlength study. For this reason I will focus on the English perfect construction, though I will occasionally rely on comparative evidence, especially with regard to the have/be alternation, and I will suggest the possibility of parametric variation. Even by focusing on the English perfect, we cannot fully avoid the problem of semantic variation, since the perfect construction does not have a uniform semantics in all its uses; according to many accounts, there are at least two, and perhaps as many as five, different uses of the perfect, each with a different tense semantics. For example, Brugger and D’Angelo (1994) have argued that the so-called universal perfect does not convey past tense; this claim is based on a particular set of syntactic/semantic diagnostics for past that they use, and is supported by the fact that many other languages convey the semantics of the universal perfect by means of the present tense.. (shrink)
This paper contains a philosophical explication of some of the essentials of a Marxist approach to business ethics. A Marxist approach is construed as a moral critique of capitalism. This paper hopes to lay the groundwork for a more detailed analysis of Karl Marx's critique of capitalist economies.
Starting from a recent paper by S. Kaufmann, we introduce a notion of conjunction of two conditional events and then we analyze it in the setting of coherence. We give a representation of the conjoined conditional and we show that this new object is a conditional random quantity, whose set of possible values normally contains the probabilities assessed for the two conditional events. We examine some cases of logical dependencies, where the conjunction is a conditional event; moreover, we give the (...) lower and upper bounds on the conjunction. We also examine an apparent paradox concerning stochastic independence which can actually be explained in terms of uncorrelation. We briefly introduce the notions of disjunction and iterated conditioning and we show that the usual probabilistic properties still hold. (shrink)
This paper is offered as a tribute to Joel Feinberg. The first section of the paper applies Feinberg’s analysis of freedom of expression to a contemporary case of academic freedom. The second section engages Feinberg’s work on rights and punishment. The paper ends with numerous quotations from Feinberg’s vast array of writings, words that express his ideas on a number of important problems that occupied his mind throughout his fruitful and influential career.
Abstract. I argue that pessimistic meta-induction (PMI) seems to point an ontological priority of the relations over the objects of the scientific theories of the kind suggested by French and Ladyman (French and Ladyman 2003). My strategy will involve a critical examination of epistemic structural realism (ESR) and historical case-study: the prediction of Zeeman’s effect in Lorentz’s theory of electron.
The purpose of this paper is to argue against a certain view of what terrorism is. In particular, I wish to dispute the definition of terrorism used by philosophers Andrew Vails and Angelo Corlett who separately put forward arguments defending the possibility of morally legitimate acts of terrorism. In support of this conclusion, they each employ a broad definition of terrorism that makes room for highly discriminate, i.e., precisely targeted, acts of political violence to count as terrorism. Defending a broad (...) definition of terrorism requires the inclusion of such cases. I argue in defense of a more narrow definition of terrorism, one that associates terrorism with more indiscriminate acts of violence. I believe that this definition better accords with common usage and commonsense. (shrink)
This paper seeks to provide a philosophical analysis of the features of an excellent professor, but a well-balanced one, professionally speaking. What makes for excellence in research, teaching and service is explored in some detail, with attention paid to the contexts of four-year colleges and comprehensive universities in the united states.
The beautiful is something on which we can fix our attention…. The attitude of looking and waiting is the attitude which corresponds with the beautiful.Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer.At the end of the Phaedrus, Socrates suggests to his friend Phaedrus that they should offer a prayer to the gods before they returned to the city from the country, where they had gone to discuss the notion of love.1 To which suggestion Phaedrus replies: "By (...) all means." Socrates then proceeds to offer a prayer of inner beauty and of inner wholeness, asking: "Beloved Pan … give me beauty in the inward soul; and may the outward and the inward man be at one…. Anything more? The prayer, I think, is .. (shrink)
In a recent paper in this journal Charles B. Saunders et al. argue that corporations have no social responsibility regarding alienation in the workplace in that there is no significant degree of alienation in the workplace, at least in white collar and management level positions in corporate America.Contrary to Saunders et al., this paper defines the concept of alienation. Having done that, it proceeds to show that the argument Saunders et al. make flounders on logical grounds. I conclude that Saunders (...) et al. provide no evidence for the claim that alienation is lacking (in any degree) in corporate America. (shrink)
Well-written undergraduate-level introduction begins with symbolic logic and set theory, followed by presentation of statement calculus and predicate calculus. First-order theories are discussed in some detail, with special emphasis on number theory. After a discussion of truth and models, the completeness theorem is proved. "...an excellent text."—Mathematical Reviews. Exercises. Bibliography.
Limited health literacy is a pervasive and independent risk factor for poor health outcomes. Despite decades of reports exhibiting that the healthcare system is overly complex, unneeded complexity remains commonplace and endangers the lives of patients, especially those with limited health literacy. In this article, we define health literacy and describe the empirical evidence associating health literacy and poor health outcomes. We recast the issue of poor health literacy from within the ethical perspective of the least well-off and argue that (...) poor health outcomes deriving from limited health literacy ought to be understood as a fundamental injustice of the healthcare system. We offer three proposals that attempt to rectify this injustice, including: universal precautions that presume limited health literacy for all healthcare users; expanded use of technology supported communication; and clinical incentives that account for limited health literacy. (shrink)
Scholars studying the origins and evolution of language are also interested in the general issue of the evolution of cognition. Language is not an isolated capability of the individual, but has intrinsic relationships with many other behavioral, cognitive, and social abilities. By understanding the mechanisms underlying the evolution of linguistic abilities, it is possible to understand the evolution of cognitive abilities. Cognitivism, one of the current approaches in psychology and cognitive science, proposes that symbol systems capture mental phenomena, and attributes (...) cognitive validity to them. Therefore, in the same way that language is considered the prototype of cognitive abilities, a symbol system has become the prototype for studying language and cognitive systems. Symbol systems are advantageous as they are easily studied through computer simulation (a computer program is a symbol system itself), and this is why language is often studied using computational models. (shrink)
Herbert Fingarette  argues that alcoholism is not a disease and that the alleged alcoholic under certain circumstances has the power to control his or her drinking disorders. I shall analyze Fingarette's argument and show that his position rests on some logical and conceptual confusions.In analyzing Fingarette's argument for the self-control theory of drinking disorders I conclude that it is problematic for the following reasons: (1) his argument assumes that the identification of a single cause of alcoholism is a necessary (...) condition of its being a disease; (2) unless it is already assumed (a priori) that persons with drinking disorders possess freedom and self-control to the extent that Fingarette assumes they do, then such persons are likely to suffer from apathy or defeatism regarding their condition; (3) even if Fingarette is correct in his criticism of certain health care programs for those with drinking disorders, it does not follow from this that certain theories about the possible causes of such disorders are false; (4) Fingarette's claim that those with drinking disorders are morally responsible for their actions that result from their disorders is problematic, that is, unless it can be shown that such persons act freely; and (5) Fingarette attempts to support the self-control theory of alcoholism by refuting a straw man conception of the disease model of alcoholism. (shrink)
In this paper I shall discuss various philosophical theories of collective punishment: marxian annihilism, metaphysical collectivism and methodological individualism. After refuting metaphysical collectivism and its modified version, I defend a modification of methodological individualism.
This paper examines some of the essential features of Samuel Scheffler's hybrid theory of ethics. Scheffler posits and defends a moral theory which is intended to be neither act-consequentialist nor fully agent-centered. Instead, it provides an agent-centered analysis of moral thinking: one that, unlike consequentialist theories, respects the personal integrity of the moral agent. In this paper I shall do the following: (1) Sketch some of the general points of Scheffler's proposal; (2) Apply Scheffler's ethical theory to the matter of (...) corporate social responsibility; and (3) Raise some objections to this Schefflerian corporate social responsibility theory, along with some modifications of this hybrid theory of corporate social responsibility which are intended to evade such criticisms.The significance of this paper is that it shows that Scheffler's quite innovative ethical theory is problematic as a foundation for a theory of corporate social responsibility. (shrink)
In recent years, there has been a great deal of philosophical discussion about the alleged moral right to die. If there is such a moral right, then it would seem to imply a moral duty on others to not interfere with the exercise of the right. And this might have important implications for public policy insofar as public policy ought to track what is morally right.
The power, depth, and humanity of the work and life of Josiah Royce gains in richness by following his reflections on the problems of philosophical pedagogy. While engaged as a professor of philosophy, author, advisor, and administrator, Royce developed and refined guidelines for the philosophy of education, and the art of philosophical pedagogy. Except for a few personal recollections from his students and colleagues, an article by Frank M. Oppenheim that appeared thirty-five years ago, and the annotated bibliography to his (...) writings, Royce's works on pedagogy have not been collected, nor have they received critical attention. The scope of this study is to follow Royce's pedagogical reflections from 1883 to 1913, providing contextual support and critical receptions so that the student of the philosophy of Royce may profit from his studies on the embodiment of ideals as the philosophical engagement of the art of education. (shrink)
This essay tries to demonstrate two distinct but complementary visions to a central theme of Christian faith: humanity’s redemption in the crucified Christ. It will attempt to show how the poetics of Simone Weil (1909–1943) and the poetic art of Georges Rouault (1871–1943) embody different understandings of Christian faith. Considering faith from a philosophical approach, Weil detaches the sufferings of Christ from the totality of salvific history. Viewing faith from the artistic approach, Rouault places the crucified Christ in the context (...) of the history of salvation, including Mary and the Church. Though different from one another, these two visions reveal to us a light in the midst of our dark or suffering existence that makes audible or perceptible the silence of God’s love in Christ that is its source. (shrink)
Mouthpiece interpreters of Plato such as Richard Kraut and Julia Annas believe that Plato had philosophical beliefs, doctrines, and theories that he intended to convey in his dialogues. We argue that some of their primary arguments for this approach to Plato are problematic and that there is a more promising approach to Plato’s dialogues than the mouthpiece interpretation, all things considered.
While philosophers have, for centuries, pondered upon the relation between mind and brain, neuroscientists have only recently been able to explore the connection analytically — to peer inside the black box. This ability stems from recent advances in technology and emerging neuroimaging modalities. It is now possible not only to produce remarkably detailed images of the brain’s structure (i.e. anatomical imaging) but also to capture images of the physiology associated with mental processes (i.e. functional imaging). We are able to see (...) how speciﬁc regions of the brain ‘light up’ when activities such as reading this book are performed, and how our neurons and their elaborate cast of supporting cells organize and coordinate their tasks. As demonstrated in the other chapters of this book, the mapping of the human mind (mostly by measuring regional changes in blood ﬂow, initially by positron emission tomography (PET) and recently by functional magnetic resonance imaging or (fMRI)) has provided insight into the functional neuroanatomy of neuropsychiatric diseases. Amazingly, the idea that regional cerebral blood ﬂow (rCBF) is related intimately to brain function goes back more than a century. As is often the case in science, this idea was initially the result of unexpected observations. The Italian physiologist Angelo Mosso ﬁrst expressed the idea while studying pulsations of the living human brain that keep pace with the heartbeat (Mosso, 1881). These brain pulsations can be observed on the surface of the fontanelles in newborn children. Mosso believed that they reﬂected blood ﬂow to the brain. He observed similar pulsations in an adult with a post-traumatic skull defect over the frontal lobes. While studying this subject, a peasant named Bertino, Mosso observed a sudden increase in the magnitude of the ‘brain’s heart-beats’ when the church bells signalled 12 o’clock, the time for a required prayer. The changes in brain pulsations occurred independently of any change in pulsations in the forearm.. (shrink)
Between 1903 and 1913, Royce was recovering from the intensity of having written The World and the Individual. He had experienced family tragedies and an intense lecture schedule, speaking at a variety of American universities as well as at venues abroad. In this period Royce dedicated fewer pieces to the philosophy of pedagogy. These pieces, taken together, closely circumscribe his later works on religion, logic, and ethics. After dedicating lectures and pieces on the psychological underpinnings of pedagogy, and following the (...) publication of Outlines of Psychology (1903), written to help teachers understand the process of learning, Royce again turned to working out his earlier reflections on religious .. (shrink)
The article attempts to clarify the appeal to the Benedictine ideal that Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) makes in The Aims of Education and Other Essays as a way to renew the life of the spirit in education. In particular, the essay will consider St. Benedict's three central themes of Whitehead's philosophy: freedom and discipline, the teacher as artist and the art of life, and universities as workshops or homes of creative energy. The aim is to bring about a harmony of (...) thought and action, the mind to the feelings of the heart, to subordinate scientific or critical pedagogy to aesthetic-spiritual instruction. This deserves our attention because today's educational theories and practices emphasize the technical, the critical, and the social sides to the neglect of the aesthetic-spiritual side. On both its practical and theoretical side, the educational theory of Whitehead falls within the Benedictine tradition of ora (meditative reading) and labora (work). (shrink)
In some recent articles, Dr. Leigh Turner [Doffing the Mask: Why Manuscript Reviewers Ought to Be Identifiable,” Journal of Academic Ethics, 1 (2003), pp. 41–48; “Promoting F.A.I.T.H. in Peer Review: Five Core Attributes in Effective Peer Review,” Journal of Academic Ethics, 1 (2003), pp. 181–188.] makes some rather critical observations regarding the processes of peer-review in academic journals. I shall note them in turn, note wherein I concur and wherein I disagree, and discuss some of Turner's suggestions to resolve such (...) difficulties. It is hoped that my comments on Turner's much-appreciated points will engage readers of this august and well-edited journal to take more seriously Turner's arguments for the sake of the betterment of academic research. (shrink)
Computational approaches based on autonomous agents share with new ape language research the same principles of dynamical system paradigms. A recent model for the evolution of symbolization and language in autonomous agents is briefly described in order to highlight the similarities between these two methodologies. The additional benefits of autonomous agent modeling in the field of language origin research are highlighted.
Introduction : approaching Plato's dialogues -- The mouthpiece interpretation -- The anti-mouthpiece interpretation -- A Socratic interpretation of the concept of art as mimesis -- Conclusion : appreciating Plato's dialogues.