There is a thriving debate over what aspects of our capacity to produce and understand language are special. My concern here is a key part of this wider debate: Is speech special? In particular, my focus is on speech perception, and whether it is special. This isn’t just one but a number of different questions. Too frequently, these very different questions are not clearly distinguished and kept apart. I discuss a framework for distinguishing various versions of the question, Is speech (...) perceptually special? Focusing on a particular class of questions, I make a proposal about the sense in which speech is perceptually special. According to this account, the capacity to perceive speech is an acquired perceptual skill, and involves learning to hear language-specific types of biologically-significant sounds. This account illuminates the significance of interlocution in understanding what makes the perception of speech distinctive. (shrink)
In The Impossibility of Perfection, Michael Slote tries to show that the traditional Aristotelian doctrine of the unity of the virtues is mistaken. His argumentative strategy is to provide counterexamples to this doctrine, by showing that there are what he calls “partial virtues”—pairs of virtues that conflict with one another but both of which are ethically indispensible. Slote offers two lines of argument for the existence of partial virtues. The first is an argument for the partiality of a particular pair (...) of virtues: frankness and tact. The second is a kind of feminist critique. I argue that both of these lines of argument fail. In both cases, Slote fails to ask whether the apparent conflict between putatively partial virtues has arisen from a misunderstanding of the demands of those virtues. From this error I suggest we can learn an important lesson: whether in our studies thinking about the virtues or in our everyday lives trying to practice them, it is a serious mistake to focus on the relationships among virtues without considering precisely what each of these virtues demands. (shrink)
In certain respects, contemporary thought treats the politics of revenge with disdain while celebrating and employing a politics that is decidedly nostalgic. And yet, following Nietzsche’s work regarding the inherent vengefulness of nostalgic political programs, one is led to an impasse. This article attempts to make plain for politics what is at stake in Nietzsche’s account of revenge, and how political and social action might navigate the distance between revenge and nostalgia. The article brings the thought of Nietzsche and Heidegger (...) together in a new way by asking whether and how Heidegger’s thought could suffer from a hidden vengefulness by adopting a nostalgic pose, one that haunts Nietzsche’s own drive for overcoming. Through an elucidation of the difference between nostalgia and revenge, the article gestures towards the nostalgic and vengeful possibilities that politics holds. (shrink)
This paper shows how business ethics as a concept may be approached from a cognitive viewpoint. Following F. A. Hayek''s cognitive theory, I argue that moral behavior evolves and changes because of individual perception and action. Individual moral behavior becomes a moral rule when prominently displayed by members of a certain society in a specific situation. A set of moral rules eventually forms the ethical code of a society, of which business ethics codes are only a part. By focusing on (...) the concept of "limited" or "dispersed knowledge" that underlies the cognitive approach, I show that universal ethical norms that should lead to defined outcomes cannot exist. This approach moreover shows the limits of deliberate rule-setting. Attempts to deliberately impose universal ethical rules on societies may turn out to be harmful for societal development and lead to an abuse of governmental power. (shrink)
The Greek word eoikos can be translated in various ways. It can be used to describe similarity, plausibility or even suitability. This book explores the philosophical exploitation of its multiple meanings by three philosophers, Xenophanes, Parmenides and Plato. It offers new interpretations of the way that each employs the term to describe the status of their philosophy, tracing the development of this philosophical use of eoikos from the fallibilism of Xenophanes through the deceptive cosmology of Parmenides to Plato's Timaeus. The (...) central premise of the book is that, in reflecting on the eoikos status of their accounts, Xenophanes, Parmenides and Plato are manipulating the contexts and connotations of the term as it has been used by their predecessors. By focusing on this continuity in the development of the philosophical use of eoikos, the book serves to enhance our understanding of the epistemology and methodology of Xenophanes, Parmenides and Plato's Timaeus. (shrink)
F.A. Hayekâs theory of cultural evolution has often been regarded as incompatible with his earlier works. Since it lacks an elaborated theory of individual learning, we try to back his arguments by starting with his thoughts on individual perception described in hisTheory of Mind. With a focus on the current discussion concerning biological and cultural selection theories, we argue hisTheory of Mind leads to two different stages of societal evolution with well-defined learning processes, respectively. The first learning process describes his (...) Morality of Small Groups, in which Hayekâs thoughts coincide with learning theories that do not allow for the perception of behavior from outside the group. His second stage of cultural evolution, the Open Society, involves a different kind of learning behavior. We connect this notion with a model of local interaction in which the cultural learning aspect is addressed by a distinction between interaction and learning neighborhoods. This results in a situation in which individuals change their strategy and âdepending on the radius of interaction and learning neighborhoodâeventually may adopt new strategies that lead to higher payoffs. (shrink)
Problems posed by HIV/AIDS differ from those ofpast epidemics by virtue of unique propertiesof the causative agent, dramatic societalchanges of the late 20th century, and thetransition of medical practice from aprofessional ethic to a technology-dependentbusiness ethic. HIV/AIDS struck during thecoming-of-age of molecular biology and also ofbioethics, and the epidemic stimulated thegrowth of both disciplines. The number ofarticles published about AIDS and ethics (asidentified by a MEDLINE search) peaked in 1990,just before the peak incidence of AIDS in theUnited States. The character (...) of ethicaldialogue has now shifted from familiar moralquandaries such as civil liberty versus publicwelfare to concerns about vaccine trials andpublic policy toward the developing world.Physicians and other health care workers whowere involved from the onset endured somethingof an emotional roller coaster. Theircompassion-based work ethic was to a largeextent replaced by a competence-based workethic after the introduction in 1996 of highlyactive antiretroviral therapy. The abundantrecent literature on ``professionalism'' inmedicine makes scant mention of AIDS/HIV. Thedisruptive effect of AIDS/HIV on society wouldhave been substantially greater had relevanttechnology such as the ability to isolateretroviruses and potent therapy againsttuberculosis not been in place. This soberingconsideration, along with such recent events asthe use of bioterrorism against civilianpopulations, suggests new relevance forPotter's definition of ``bioethics'' as a scienceof survival in which the biology of ecosystemsmust be taken into account. (shrink)
This article compares and contrasts Hans Kelsen's concept of normative imputation, in the Lecture Course of 1926, with the concepts of peripheral and central imputation, in The Pure Theory of Law of 1934. In this process, a wider and more significant distinction is revealed within the development of Hans Kelsen's theory of positive law. This distinction represents a shift in Kelsen's philosophical allegiance from the Neo-Kantianism of Windelband to that of Cohen. This, in turn, reflects a broader disengagement of The (...) Pure Theory of Law from the more direct connection with a political project of a civitas maxima envisaged by the Lecture Course. (shrink)
When I reflect on reading Bryan Warnick's Imitation and Education, I am appreciative that I was given the opportunity not only to read it but also to think about its issues as thoroughly as I have in the process of writing this essay. I share Warnick's surprise that, prior to his book, no one had attempted to explore the relationship between imitation and education in a philosophically meaningful manner. Before reading his book, I did not realize that imitation was (...) such a philosophically rich topic, especially once you consider its educational implications. In particular, I was oblivious to the connection between various conceptions of the self and imitation. I had no idea that different interpretations of the .. (shrink)
Bryan S. Turner: Can We Live Forever? A Social and Moral Inquiry Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 301-303 DOI 10.1007/s12376-009-0024-6 Authors Thomas R. Cole, University of Texas-Houston School of Medicine McGovern Center for Health, Humanities, and the Human Spirit Houston TX 77030 USA Journal Medicine Studies Online ISSN 1876-4541 Print ISSN 1876-4533 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 3.
Many recent critical discussions of anthropocentrism have focused on Bryan Nortonʼs ʻconvergence hypothesisʼ: the claim that both anthropocentric and nonanthropocentric ethics will recommend the same environmentally responsible behaviours and policies. I argue that even if we grant the truth of Nortonʼs convergence hypothesis, there are still good reasons to worry about anthropocentric ethics. Ethics legitimately raises questions about how to feel, not just about which actions to take or which policies to adopt. From the point of view of norms (...) for feeling, anthropocentrism has very different practical implications from nonanthropocentrism; it undermines some of the common attitudes – love, respect, awe – that people think it appropriate to take toward the natural world. (shrink)
Beginning with the death of Socrates in 399 BC, and following the strand of philosophical inquiry through the centuries to recent figures such as Bertrand Russell and Wittgenstein, Bryan Magee's conversations with fifteen contemporary writers and philosophers provide an accessible and exciting account of Western philosophy and its greatest thinkers. With contributions from A. J. Ayer, Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Singer, and John Searle, the book is not only an introduction to the philosophers of the past, but gives (...) an invaluable insight into the view and personalities of some of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. (shrink)
In this book, Bryan W. Van Norden examines early Confucianism as a form of virtue ethics and Mohism, an anti-Confucian movement, as a version of consequentialism. The philosophical methodology is analytic, in that the emphasis is on clear exegesis of the texts and a critical examination of the philosophical arguments proposed by each side. Van Norden shows that Confucianism, while similar to Aristotelianism in being a form of virtue ethics, offers different conceptions of “the good life,” the virtues, human (...) nature, and ethical cultivation. (shrink)
This is a revised and enlarged version of Bryan Magee's widely praised study of Schopenhauer, the most comprehensive book on this great philosopher. It contains a brief biography of Schopenhauer, a systematic exposition of his thought, and a critical discussion of the problems to which it gives rise and of its influence on a wide range of thinkers and artists. For this new edition Magee has added three new chapters and made many minor revisions and corrections throughout. This new (...) edition will consolidate the book's standing as the definitive study of Schopenhauer. (shrink)
If we are to posit, as do many liberal theorists, that autonomy is an educational goal that the state should endorse across cultural difference, key questions remain: What type of autonomy should we strive for, exactly, and how should this goal be achieved? Many liberal philosophers of education have argued that autonomy should enable cultural choice and that the development of autonomy requires students to be exposed to different beliefs and traditions. Shelley Burtt has challenged this dominant position, however, insisting (...) that autonomy (properly understood) can be developed within a “comprehensive education” that does not seek to sympathetically expose students to cultural difference. In this essay, Bryan Warnick responds that Burtt's arguments are inconsistent and lack cultural imagination, and that her underlying concept of autonomy is inadequate, primarily because it lacks a compelling picture of cultural self-criticism. There is a lack of appreciation, he argues, for how frameworks of cultural comparison are necessary in the development of this self-criticism. At the same time, Warnick argues that there is much to be learned from Burtt's analysis about the tough choices that need to be made as liberals seek to champion autonomy as an educational end across cultural difference. (shrink)
In this essay Bryan Warnick explores how rights to religious expression should be understood for students in public schools. Warnick frames student religious rights as a debate between the conflicting values associated with the Free Exercise Clause and the values associated with the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. He then asks how the special characteristics of the school environment should guide us in prioritizing those values. The overall weight of the considerations, particularly concerns about civic education, leads (...) to a two-pronged approach to religious rights. The first prong involves a robust protection of student religious exercise; the second involves an equally robust regime of school disassociation from student religious exercises. (shrink)
This book consists of fifteen dialogues between Bryan Magee and some of the outstanding thinkers of the twentieth century. It is based on a highly successful BBC television series which had enormous impact. The informality and clarity of the conversational form makes even the most difficult ideas accessible to the general reader. -/- Isaiah Berlin opens by considering the fundamental question 'What is philosophy?' Subsequent conversations examine such widely different schools as Marxism and existentialism. Chomsky, Quine, Marcuse, and others (...) discuss their own work; A. J. Ayer reviews logical positivism; Iris Murdoch talks about the relation between philosophy and literature. Moral philosophy, political philosophy, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of science are all treated in depth by the thinkers whose work has shaped the fields. (shrink)
Barteld Kooi and Bryan Renne (2011). Generalized Arrow Update Logic. In K.R. Apt (editor). Theoretical Aspects of Rationality and Knowledge, Proceedings of the Thirteenth Conference (TARK 2011), pp. 205-211.
In a spontaneously wide-ranging conversation one winter evening in Japan, sociologist of religion Bryan Wilson and Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda recognized the importance of explaining and learning about their respective worldviews. Human Values in a Changing World is the record of their further exchanges on how they see the religious response to the human condition. Their contrasting approaches - one, as an academic, and the other, as a lay Buddhist - allow for a constructive critique of preconceptions otherwise unexamined (...) in their own cultural contexts. "There is an intimate connection between faith and the fruits of commitment," Wilson says at one point. To which Ikeda responds that while the benefits of faith to momentary happiness are perhaps not the core value of a religion, they can inspire and lead people to become aware of that core value or fundamental truth. The two men's observations on the origins of religious sensibilities move from the spiritual and the moral to the politics of private and public life. Although published some years ago, Human Values in a Changing World addresses topics and issues which are of perennial importance to human flourishing, including: sexual morality, the limits of tolerance and religious freedom, the future of the family, the belief in an afterlife, and the idea of sin. (shrink)
NOTES: Based on the book Socrates on trial written by Andrew Irvine and published by the University of Toronto Press. Performed at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, May 31-June 7, 2008. CONTENTS: Trailer, Who was Socrates?, Selected scenes, The production, Credits. UBC Library Catalogue Permanent URL: http://resolve.library.ubc.ca/cgi-bin/catsearch?bid=3956307.
If you retain your belief upon learning that a large number and percentage of your recognized epistemic superiors disagree with you, then what happens to the epistemic status of your belief? I investigate that theoretical question as well has the applied case of philosophical disagreement—especially disagreement regarding purely philosophical error theories, theories that do not have much empirical support and that reject large swaths of our most commonsensical beliefs. I argue that even if all those error theories are false, either (...) (a) the average philosopher’s true commonsensical beliefs are epistemically impoverished, or (b) a good portion of philosophy is bunk and philosophers should give up most of their error theories despite the fact that their supporting arguments are generally as good as or even better than other philosophical arguments. (shrink)
Abstract Suppose you know that someone is your epistemic peer regarding some topic. You admit that you cannot think of any relevant epistemic advantage you have over her when it comes to that topic; you admit that she is just as likely as you to get P?s truth-value right. Alternatively, you might know that she is your epistemic superior regarding the topic. And then after learning this about her you find out that she disagrees with you about P. In those (...) situations it appears that the confidence with which one holds one?s belief should be significantly reduced. My primary goal in this essay is to present and reflect upon a set of cases of disagreement that have not been discussed in the literature but are vital to consider. I argue that in the new cases one is reasonable in not lowering one?s confidence in the belief. Then I articulate and defend an ambitious principle, the Disagreement Principle, meant to answer the question ?Under what conditions am I epistemically blameworthy in retaining my belief with the same level of confidence after I have discovered recognized peers or superiors who disagree with me?? (shrink)
Philosophers often find themselves in disagreement with contemporary philosophers they know full well to be their epistemic superiors on the topics relevant tothe disagreement. This looks epistemically irresponsible. I offer a detailed investigation of this problem of the reflective epistemic renegade. I argue that although in some cases the renegade is not epistemically blameworthy, and the renegade situation is significantly less common than most would think, in a troublesome number of cases in which the situation arises the renegade is blameworthy (...) in her disagreement with recognized epistemic superiors. I also offer some thoughts on what it would mean for philosophical practice for us to refrain from being renegades. Finally, I show how a new kind of radical skepticism emerges from modest theses regarding the renegade. (shrink)
This is a book primarily for students on the problem of gratuitous evil. It assumes no philosophical background but examines the problem thoroughly. It introduces the problem, presents the five main theistic responses to the problem, offers evaluations of those responses, and makes some tentative conclusions.
On occasion, someone will ask you why you’re a philosopher and not a scientist or some other, more obviously respectable, intellectual. Or a high and mighty philosopher will dismiss all of philosophy with the exception of the history of philosophy. Others will restrict philosophy’s importance to applied philosophy or philosophy with obvious interdisciplinary features. Or someone from a different discipline might be respectful of the philosophical profession but in need of an explanation of why research in philosophy that is not (...) applied, is not interdisciplinary, and does not fall under the heading of the history of philosophy is thought to be important. A university dean or other university official or professor might have just that question. In fact, your cousin might have that question. (shrink)
We all can identify many contemporary philosophy professors we know to be theists of some type or other. We also know that often enough their nontheistic beliefs are as epistemically upstanding as the non-theistic beliefs of philosophy professors who aren’t theists. In fact, the epistemic-andnon-theistic lives of philosophers who are theists are just as epistemically upstanding as the epistemic-and-non-theistic lives of philosophers who aren’t theists. Given these and other, similar, facts, there is good reason to think that the pro-theistic beliefs (...) of theistic philosophers are frequently epistemically upstanding. Given their impeccable epistemic credentials on non-theistic matters, the amount of careful thought that lies behind their theism, the large size of the community of philosophical theists, as well as other, similar facts, it would be surprising if all or even most of their pro-theistic beliefs were epistemically blameworthy in some or other signicant sense tied to charges such as ‘He should know better than to believe that’ (so mere false belief need not be blameworthy in this sense; the use of ‘blameworthy’ will be claried below). Of course some of the pro-theistic beliefs of some theistic philosophers are epistemically blameworthy; the mere large numbers of fallible theistic philosophers almost guarantees it. My point here is that it would be unexpected if most of the pro-theistic beliefs of theistic philosophers were epistemically blameworthy. (shrink)
This paper examines the impact of the level of economic development, income inequality, and five cultural variables on the rate of software piracy at the country level. The study finds that software piracy is significantly correlated to GNP per capita, income inequality, and individualism. Implications for anti-piracy programs and suggestions for future research are developed.
I say that it’s philosophically inexpensive because I think it is more convincing than any other Twin-Earth thought experiment in that it sidesteps many of the standard objections to the usual thought experiments. I also briefly discuss narrow contents and give an analysis of Putnam’s original argument.
The epistemological consequences of paradox are paradoxical. They can be usefully generated by telling a series of once-upon-a-time stories that make various philosophical points, starting out innocent and ending up, well, paradoxical.
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction Seyla Benhabib; Part I. Freedom, Equality, and Responsibility: 2. Arendt on the foundations of equality Jeremy Waldron; 3. Arendt's Augustine Roy T. Tsao; 4. The rule of the people: Arendt, archê, and democracy Patchen Markell; 5. Genealogies of catastrophe: Arendt on the logic and legacy of imperialism Karuna Mantena; 6. On race and culture: Hannah Arendt and her contemporaries Richard H. King; Part II. Sovereignty, the Nation-State and the Rule of Law: 7. Banishing the (...) sovereign? Internal and external sovereignty in Arendt Andrew Arato and Jean Cohen; 8. The decline of order: Hannah Arendt and the paradoxes of the nation-state Christian Volk; 9. The Eichmann trial and the legacy of jurisdiction Leora Bilsky; 10. International law and human plurality in the shadow of totalitarianism: Hannah Arendt and Raphael Lemkin Seyla Benhabib; Part III. Politics in Dark Times: 11. In search of a miracle: Hannah Arendt and the atomic bomb Jonathan Schell; 12. Hannah Arendt between Europe and America: optimism in dark times Benjamin R. Barber; 13. Keeping the republic: reading Arendt's On Revolution after the fall of the Berlin Wall Dick Howard; Part IV. Judging Evil: 14. Are Arendt's reflections on evil still relevant? Richard Bernstein; 15. Banality reconsidered Susan Neiman; 16. The elusiveness of Arendtian judgment Bryan Garsten; 17. Existential values in Arendt's treatment of evil and morality George Kateb. (shrink)
Those of us who take skepticism seriously typically have two relevant beliefs: (a) it’s plausible (even if false) that in order to know that I have hands I have to be able to epistemically neutralize, to some significant degree, some skeptical hypotheses, such as the brain-in-a-vat (BIV) one; and (b) it’s also plausible (even if false) that I can’t so neutralize those hypotheses. There is no reason for us to also think (c) that the BIV hypothesis, for instance, is plausible (...) or probably true. In order to take skepticism seriously it’s sufficient to hold (a) and (b); one need not hold (c). Indeed, philosophers who accept (a) and (b) never endorse (c). Show me a philosopher who suspects that he is a brain in a vat and I’ll show you someone who is deranged! That’s one thing that bothers undergraduates in philosophy. They object: why on earth do some philosophers take the BIV hypothesis to pose any threat at all to our beliefs given that those very same philosophers think that there’s no real chance that the BIV hypothesis is true? Sure, the BIV hypothesis is formally inconsistent with my belief that I have hands, so if the former is true then my belief is false. But so what? Why should that bare inconsistency matter so much? Is this strange attitude amongst philosophers the result of some logic fetish infecting the philosophical community? It is sometimes said that the skeptical hypotheses are not only inconsistent with our beliefs but are explanatory of our experiences, which is supposed to make them more of a threat. But students aren’t fooled: although the skeptical hypotheses may attempt to explain why our experience is as it is, it’s the kind of attempt appropriate for science fiction movies that are all special effects and virtually no plot. No one with any sense of reality will take the evil demon hypothesis to be even tenuously explanatory. (shrink)
The assumption that environmental ethics must be nonanthropocentric in order to be adequate is mistaken. There are two forms of anthropocentrism, weak and strong, and weak anthropocentrism is adequate to support an environmental ethic. Environmental ethics is, however, distinctive vis-a-vis standard British and American ethical systems because, in order to be adequate, it must be nonindividualistic.Environmental ethics involves decisions on two levels, one kind of which differs from usual decisions affecting individual fairness while the other does not. The latter, called (...) allocational decisions, are not reducible to the former and govern the use of resources across extended time. Weak anthropocentrism provides a basis for criticizing individual, consumptive needs and can provide the basis for adjudicatingbetween these levels, thereby providing an adequate basis for environmental ethics without the questionable ontological commitments made by nonanthropocentrists in attributing intrinsie value to nature. (shrink)