In a recent editorial, Raymond Spier expresses skepticism over claims that climate change is driven by human actions and that humanity should act to avoid climate change. This paper responds to this skepticism as part of a broader review of the science and ethics of climate change. While much remains uncertain about the climate, research indicates that observed temperature increases are human-driven. Although opinions vary regarding what should be done, prominent arguments against action are based on dubious factual and ethical (...) positions. Thus, the skepticisms in the recent editorial are unwarranted. This does not diminish the general merits of skeptical intellectual inquiry. (shrink)
In 'Literature Suspends Death: Sacrifice and Storytelling in Kierkegaard, Kafka and Blanchot' Chris Danta takes Genesis 22 as the starting point for an investigation of the role of literary imagination. His aim is to read the Genesis story from a literary-theoretical perspective in order to show how it can ‘illuminate the secular situation of the literary writer.’ To do this, Danta stages a fruitful confrontation between Søren Kierkegaard as defender of religion and inwardness and Franz Kafka and Maurice Blanchot (...) as defenders of literature. In this review, three important points in this confrontation are highlighted. 1. The problem of identification. 2. The moment of substitution. 3. The spectrality of the writer. (shrink)
I thought the paper by Kai-yee Wong and Chris Fraser was fascinating and insightful. Two things I especially appreciated are the clarity with which they summarize my views. I think they are quite fair and accurate. Second, I appreciate their suggestion that the way to deal with the practical problem of weakness of will has much to do with the role of the Background in shaping our actions. I think they are especially on the right track when they say (...) that the improvement of Background skills may actually narrow the range of real options for action, (p. 21) nonetheless, they do not decrease freedom. As they say, “It is a process of strengthening the self, and the agent is likely to experience the concomitant restriction of ‘live’ options not as a limitation but as strength of character.” (p. 21). That seems to me very much on the right track. What they are suggesting, and it is a powerful addition to my own writings, is that we should not just think of the Background as facilitating languages, games and social practices generally, but for morality as well (p. 23). (shrink)
The Philosopher Queen: Feminist Essays on War, Love, and Knowledge. By Chris Cuomo. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003. The Philosopher Queen is a powerful illustration of what Cherríe Moraga calls a "theory in the flesh." That is, theorizing from a place where "physical realities of our lives—our skin color, the land or concrete we grow up on, our sexual longings—all fuse to create a politic [and, I would add, an ethics, spirituality, and epistemology] born out of (...) necessity" (Moraga 21). Cuomo's theory in the flesh combines standard philosophical essays with personal narratives and invites us to do philosophy from this joyful and witty place. Readers are invited to reframe and reexamine war, science, gender, sexuality, race, ecology, knowledge, and politics in a voice that is fearless, funny, faithful, and feminist—one that disrupts common understandings of how philosophy ought to be done. Instead philosophy should help us to "negotiate a wild, wicked world, and to provide some understanding of being and existence. The best philosophy aims to promote good and to produce knowledge, and therefore enable flourishing" (xi). Accepted philosophical approaches alone are inadequate. Life's challenges resist formulaic solutions. Knowledge is not always produced through neat deductions: truths are partial, power divides, stomachs growl, hearts are broken, and emotions influence... (shrink)
Why would anyone want there to be natural foundations for the social sciences? In a provocative essay exploring precisely that question, historian Chris Renwick uses an interwar debate featuring William Beveridge, Lancelot Hogben, and Friedrich Hayek to begin to imagine what might have been had such a program calling for biological knowledge to form the natural bases of the social sciences been realized at the London School of Economics. Yet perhaps Renwick grants too much attention to differences and “what-ifs” (...) and not enough to the historical question of “what happened” afterward. “Chickens and Eggs” offers an alternative view of this rather vexed question—one grounded in what happened, which suggests that Renwick’s concerns may be somewhat misplaced. (shrink)
Chris Dragos has recently presented two objections to criticisms I've published against Peter van Inwagen's No-Minimum argument. He also suggests that the best way to criticize the No-Minimum argument is via the concept of divine satisficing. In this article I argue that both of Dragos's objections fail, and I question whether satisficing is relevant to the viability of the No-Minimum argument.
Sciabarra replies to the seven respondents to his Fall 2002 essay on Rand, Rush, and progressive rock music. He defends the view that Rand's dialectical orientation underlies a fundamentally radical perspective. Rand shared with the counterculture—especially its libertarian progressive rock representatives—a repudiation of authoritarianism, while embracing the "unknown ideal" of capitalism. Her ability to trace the interrelationships among personal, cultural, and structural factors in social analysis and her repudiation of false alternatives is at the heart of that ideal vision, which (...) transcends left and right. (shrink)
We review Potts’ influential book on the semantics of conventional implicature (CI), offering an explication of his technical apparatus and drawing out the proposal’s implications, focusing on the class of CIs he calls supplements. While we applaud many facets of this work, we argue that careful considerations of the pragmatics of CIs will be required in order to yield an empirically and explanatorily adequate account.
David Liggins and Chris Daly have argued against a recent trend in which some philosophical debate or other is said to be settled by claims from a discipline other than philosophy, because claims from that discipline entail a position on the debate and any claims from that discipline have greater authority than any philosophical claims when the aim is to extend our knowledge. They label this trend deferentialism. This paper presents a dilemma for their argument.
Ethics in Early China: An Anthology is a major contribution to the philosophical study of early Chinese ethics and comparative ethics by a collection of some of the most distinguished scholars in these fields. This anthology honors Professor Chad Hansen's many and important contributions to the study of Chinese philosophy, but the work is not a festschrift per se. Instead of discussing the honoree's oeuvre in a collection of essays, these new, innovative, and outstanding writings engage, bear upon, develop, and (...) contend with important themes in Hansen's work, including, for example, Hansen's provocative interpretations of the meanings of dao 道 and de 德 in early Chinese sources, his analysis of the action-guiding .. (shrink)
In this comment on Firestone and Jacobs’s book, In Defense of Kant’s Religion, I take issue with (1) the authors’ strategy in demonstrating that it is possibleto positively incorporate religion and theology into Kant’s critical corpus, and (2) their intention to focus on the coherence of Kant’s theory without necessarily recommending it for Christianity. Regarding (1), I argue that in pursuing their strategy the authors ignore the fact that Kant has transposed what appear to be traditional religious doctrines to a (...) completely different level of reflection, in effect turning them into imaginary tropes intended to mask otherwise irreducible contradictions in his view of human agency. As for (2), I claim that the authors’ intention runs the risk of being disingenuous, since Kant presented his religion as the true religion, opposing it to historical Christianity (unless the latter, of course, is re-interpreted according to his own precepts). (shrink)