In her valuable book Hiding from humanity: Disgust, shame and the law, Nussbaum says that she reaches many of the same practical conclusions as Mill. But she argues that Mill’s conceptions of liberty, justice, and respect for rival ideas of the good and for religious belief, are defective, and further that they do not provide as adequate a basis for the form of political liberalism she recommends. Actually, the alleged defects in Mill rest largely on misrepresentations, but more importantly, once (...) one understands the central role of Mill’s account of justice in shaping his view of liberty and morality, it becomes clear that he offers a better response to cultural pluralism. His way of relating the morality and the aesthetics of conduct embodies a kind of respect for diversity both deeper and more realistic than that claimed for political liberalism. Mill brings a heritage from the Enlightenment in the light of which political liberalism looks like a failure of nerve. (shrink)
Part 1. Introduction -- Introduction: Navigating the Perfect Moral Storm in Light of a Thirty-Five Year Debate -- Thirty-Five Year Climate Change Policy Debate -- Part 2. Priority Ethical Issues -- Ethical Problems with Cost Arguments -- Ethics and Scientific Uncertainty Arguments -- Atmospheric Targets -- Allocating National Emissions Targets -- Climate Change Damages and Adaptation Costs -- Obligations of Sub-national Governments, Organizations, Businesses, and Individuals -- Independent Responsibility to Act -- Part 3. The Crucial Role of Ethics in Climate (...) Change Policy Making -- Why Has Ethics Failed to Achieve Traction? -- Conclusion: Navigating the Perfect Moral Storm. (shrink)
In her valuable book Hiding from humanity: Disgust, shame and the law, Nussbaum says that she reaches many of the same practical conclusions as Mill. But she argues that Mill’s conceptions of liberty, justice, and respect for rival ideas of the good and for religious belief, are defective, and further that they do not provide as adequate a basis for the form of political liberalism she recommends. Actually, the alleged defects in Mill rest largely on misrepresentations, but more importantly, once (...) one understands the central role of Mill’s account of justice in shaping his view of liberty and morality, it becomes clear that he offers a better response to cultural pluralism. His way of relating the morality and the aesthetics of conduct embodies a kind of respect for diversity both deeper and more realistic than that claimed for political liberalism. Mill brings a heritage from the Enlightenment in the light of which political liberalism looks like a failure of nerve. (shrink) -/- John Stuart Mill in 19th Century Philosophy Justice, Misc in Social and Political Philosophy. (shrink)
Despite eschewing the utility of ends or purposes in natural philosophy, Descartes frequently engages in functional explanation, which many have assumed is an essentially teleological form of explanation. This article considers the consistency of Descartes's appeal to natural functions, advancing the idea that he is utilizing a non-normative, non-teleological form of functional explanation. It will be argued that Cartesian functional analysis resembles modern causal functional analysis, and yet, by emphasizing the interdependency of parts of biological systems, is able to avoid (...) many of the problems attendant upon modern causal theories. It is for this reason, if no other, that the study of Descartes's natural philosophy should be of interest to contemporary theorists of functional analysis. (shrink)
Preliminary elements of a practical strategy are described to achieve greater traction for ethical principles to guide international efforts to achieve a just global climate change solution. This paper begins with an ethical review of the major elements of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties 17 outcomes in Durban, South Africa that will be further considered at Conference of Parties 18 in Qatar, December 2012. This analysis then draws conclusions about how to generate greater consideration (...) of the ethical issues that need to be faced if international climate change negotiations have any hope of creating a just global solution to climate change. It will then be argued that the key to obtaining greater traction of ethical principles in climate policy formation is to create greater global awareness of the unjust or ethically unsupportable positions of participants in climate change negotiations, rather than focusing on abstract arguments about what ethics and justice requires. (shrink)
The new millennium has witnessed a growing concern over the impact of multinational enterprises (MNEs) on human rights. Hence, this article explores (1) how wide-spread corporate policies on human rights are amongst large corporations, specifically the FTSE 100 constituent firms, (2) whether any sectors are particularly active in designing human rights policies and (3) where corporations have adopted such policies what their content is. In terms of adoption rates of human rights policies, evidence of exemplary approaches in individual companies contrasts (...) with a less satisfactory engagement pattern across the sample, as 42.8% of firms do not seem to address human rights at all. With regard to the content of corporate human rights policies, the study found shallow commitments to dominate, where companies focus on a narrow range of negative rights, i.e. on respecting human rights, rather than positive ones, i.e. initiatives to protect or fulfil human rights. (shrink)
Peer review is a widely accepted instrument for raising the quality of science. Peer review limits the enormous unstructured influx of information and the sheer amount of dubious data, which in its absence would plunge science into chaos. In particular, peer review offers the benefit of eliminating papers that suffer from poor craftsmanship or methodological shortcomings, especially in the experimental sciences. However, we believe that peer review is not always appropriate for the evaluation of controversial hypothetical science. We argue that (...) the process of peer review can be prone to bias towards ideas that affirm the prior convictions of reviewers and against innovation and radical new ideas. Innovative hypotheses are thus highly vulnerable to being “filtered out” or made to accord with conventional wisdom by the peer review process. Consequently, having introduced peer review, the Elsevier journal Medical Hypotheses may be unable to continue its tradition as a radical journal allowing discussion of improbable or unconventional ideas. Hence we conclude by asking the publisher to consider re-introducing the system of editorial review to Medical Hypotheses. (shrink)
The present study examined nonprofessionals' perceptions of culturally based and noncultural ethical violations. One hundred seventy-four undergraduates students read 12 vignettes depicting situations in which a clinician committed either a culturally based violation (e.g., sexist or ageist behavior) or a noncultural violation (e.g., breeching confidentiality or multiple relationship). Results indicated that participants were more likely to have unfavorable views of clinicians who had committed culturally based violations. In addition, results suggested that participants would be more likely to report a clinician (...) who had committed a culturally based violation to a supervisor or ethics board. (shrink)
Abstract This introductory article argues that world public order continues to be challenged by the emergence of the doctrines of anticipatory self-defense and humanitarian intervention. These challenges may be better understood, and reconciled, by application of the just war tradition.
Abstract The article criticizes the trend of reformulating the traditional just-war criterion of Proper Authority, which was designed to de-legitimize force by non-state actors, into a requirement that decisions to resort to force be multilateral. The article illustrates several shortcomings of the judgment processes of the UN Security Council and General Assembly, the World Court, and states? populations, and argues among other things that reformulating Proper Authority would render other criteria meaningless, especially Just Cause. Finally, the article rebuts the strongest (...) objection to a system in which states judge their own causes for war: the problem of invincible ignorance. (shrink)
Abstract This article lays a theoretical foundation the perspective of international law for applying the principle of proportionality of cause in modern just war theory. It proposes an analytical framework for measuring proportionality based on general tort law, filtered through the international law of state responsibility. It proposes assessing the use of force as a proportionate (or disproportionate) remediation for an injury (present or future) caused by another state that is in breach of its legal obligations. The article then applies (...) this approach to the problems of anticipatory self-defense and humanitarian intervention. (shrink)
Este ensayo analiza –desde unas lentes éticas- las dos conclusiones posibles sobre los resultados de Cancún. Explicará que, aunque todavía queda alguna esperanza de encontrar soluciones globales al cambio climático debido a las decisiones adoptadas en Cancún, uno debe ver Cancún en el contexto de un error de veinte años en el intento de prevenir un cambio climático peligroso.
Revisionist interpretation of Mill needs to be extended to deal with a residue of puzzles about his moral theory and its connection with his theory of liberty. The upshot shows his reinterpretation of his Benthamite tradition as a form of ‘philosophical utilitarianism’; his definition of the art of morality as collective self-defence; his ignoring of maximization in favour of ad hoc dealing in utilities; the central role of his account of the justice of punishment; the marginal role of the internal (...) sanction in his criterion of moral wrong; his deep respect for common-sense morality; and his restriction of the scope of morality so as to claim for the utilitarian tradition the whole realm of the aesthetics of conduct as part of a general theory of practical reason. (shrink)
HOME . ABOUT US . CONTACT US HELP . PUBLISH WITH US . LIBRARIANS Search in or Explore Browse Publications A-Z Browse Subjects A-Z Advanced Search University of Cambridge SIGN IN Register | Why Register? | Sign Out | Got a Voucher? prev abstract next Two Approaches to Reading the Historical Descartes A Devout Catholic? Knowledge of The Mental Thought and Language Descartes as A Natural Philosopher Substance Dualism Notes Two Approaches to Reading the Historical Descartes Author: Desmond M. Clarke (...) DOI: 10.1080/09608780902986680 Publication Frequency: 5 issues per year Published in: British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Volume 17, Issue 3 June 2009 , pages 601 - 616 John Cottingham: Cartesian Reflections: Essays on Descartes's Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) 40.00 (hb.). ISBN 978-0-19-922697-9 John Cottingham, in a new collection of essays, asks the question: 'what exactly did Descartes himself chiefly take himself to be doing?' (254). 1 While the question is relatively clear, and while it acknowledges implicitly that Descartes was probably doing a range of different things, the answer that is apparently proposed here emerges only on reading the whole collection. Cottingham distinguishes in Chapter 1 - which is a new, synoptic overview of what is discussed in the other chapters, all of which were previously published - between two approaches to reading Descartes. One is to see him as 'a dummy on which to drape various suspect doctrines (such as “Cartesian dualism”)' (3), which contemporary analytic philosophers have shown to be radically mistaken. Another approach is adopted by historians of ideas 'who make it their life's work to pay meticulous scholarly attention to the philosophical works of past ages' (3). Cottingham does not explicitly criticize either of these approaches, but he hints at situating his own as some kind of Aristotelian middle course between the two. Since the two reference points are dangerously close to straw men or what Cottingham calls 'extreme positions', the proposed middle way may simply combine elements of two approaches, each of which is entirely legitimate. I return to this question at the conclusion. In fact, many of these essays were intended to show (rightly!) that Descartes never held the philosophical positions that are often attributed to him. The interpretation of Karol Wojtyla, later Pope John Paul II, provides a good example of how mistaken one can be: The Cogito ergo sum radically changed the way of doing philosophy … After Descartes, philosophy became a science of pure thought: all that is being- the created world, and even the Creator, is situated within the ambit of the Cogito, as contents of human consciousness. Philosophy is concerned with beings as contained in consciousness, and not as existing independently of it. (257) The only way to address such a caricature is to refer back to what Descartes actually wrote. Cottingham does precisely that, often quoting the original Latin or French texts. However, having shown successfully, by a close reading of the texts, that Descartes did not hold many of the views that are attributed to him, it still remains to say what Descartes did hold or teach about various philosophical problems that retain their perennial interest for us. This is how the question arises, intermittently, about what Descartes thought he was 'chiefly' doing, or what was his primary objective, in the course of an intellectual career that spanned three decades. However, the apparently legitimate desire to bring Descartes' intellectual endeavours into sharp focus may be frustrated by the evidence. His life and work manifestly lack the coherence or unity of purpose that one finds, for example, among many of his French or Dutch contemporaries. It is comparatively easy to 'read' the life of Gisbertus Voetius as that of an unwavering Calvinist theologian, to see Antoine Arnauld as a staunch and consistent theological defender of Port Royal, and even to interpret the obviously fragmentary contents of Pascal's unpublished notebooks (subsequently, the Penses) as an extended search for authentic religious faith, in opposition to what he perceived as the corruption of ecclesial structures. In contrast, Descartes' life reveals features that are difficult to integrate into a coherent pattern. He lived and published during a critical juncture in the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century. Although baptized into the Catholic Church soon after his birth in the Loire district of France, he chose to live most of his life in the aggressively Calvinist United Provinces, in which other religious practices were officially (though often ineffectively) banned. Descartes may have adopted the motto from Ovid, at least early in his career: 'bene vixit qui bene latuit' (he lives well who conceals himself well), and he seems genuinely to have wished to avoid theological controversies. However, he engaged in very public controversies with so many of his contemporaries - including Hobbes, Gassendi, the French Jesuits (collectively) and Father Dinet (in particular), Voetius and the University of Utrecht, Regius, Fermat, Roberval, Revius and other theologians at Leiden - that one might conclude that his claimed preference for a quiet life was a disingenuous mask. 2 Descartes published four books during his lifetime, and wrote at least one other that he had intended to publish. The latter was his first major composition, Le Monde, which he suppressed when he heard about Galileo's condemnation by Rome in 1633. This was followed, in 1637, by Descartes' first book (also written in French), which he tried to publish anonymously by withholding his name from the title page: the Discours de la methode pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la verit dans les sciences. Plus la dioptrique, les meteors, et la geometrie, qui sont des essais de cete methode. Four years later Descartes published the first edition (in Latin) of Meditationes de prima philosophia, in quibus Dei existentia et animae immortalitas demonstrator, which also included six sets of objections and replies. The Principia philosophiae appeared (in Latin) in Amsterdam in 1644, and was followed five years later by Les Passions de l'Ame (in French). 3 In parallel with these publications, Descartes carried on a very extensive correspondence over a thirty-year period (in both Latin and French), and preserved copies or drafts of his letters with a view to future publication. Given the range and variety of his interests, and the sheer volume of writings, published or otherwise, that have survived from his pen, one may be tempted to engage in a comparative evaluation, as Cottingham does, by selecting one of Descartes' books as his primary contribution to philosophy. Cottingham claims that the Meditations was Descartes''masterpiece' (44), 'the definitive statement of Descartes's philosophy' (45) and the 'definitive statement of his metaphysics' (68). He also describes the Meditations more narrowly as 'his metaphysical masterpiece' (259, 303) and, more broadly, as 'his philosophical masterpiece' (289), and he lists it with the Discours as one of Descartes' two 'masterworks' (280). The Principia offers some competition in this comparative judgement when it is described as 'the canonical presentation of his metaphysical views' (114), while 'the construction of a moral system … was the crowning aim of his philosophy' (231). Having pitched repeatedly for the Meditations as Descartes' primary text, Cottingham claims that its author was 'a devout Catholic' (215), that he was 'a devoutly religious philosopher' (256), and that he could not free himself 'from the influence of the long years of theological study he had dutifully completed at La Flche' (62). Accordingly, the Meditations should be read as 'in essence a work of theodicy' (220); 'what has pride of place in the construction of his philosophical system is … an appeal to God … the nature and existence of the Deity is something that lies at the very heart of his entire philosophical system' (255). Without quite saying so, there are hints here that Descartes was a devout Christian whose primary intellectual contribution was to write a work of metaphysics, in which God is central and in the course of which the author alternates between proving God's existence and contemplating God - the latter a seventeenth-century version of Bonaventure's Journey of the Soul to God. 'Descartes's attraction to a contemplative mode of philosophizing' (305) is reflected, in the Meditations, in 'the language of the soul's coming to rest in adoring contemplation of the light' (306). Cottingham also accepts the overwhelming evidence from Descartes' correspondence that he 'devoted most of his career not to metaphysics but to science' (108), although he quibbles elsewhere with those who adopt the shorthand term 'science' to describe part of what was called 'natural philosophy' in the seventeenth century (282). He also refers to the '(notoriously lame) argument for the essential incorporeality of the thinking self' in one of Descartes' masterworks (60), and he describes the 'strange, seemingly isolated world of his metaphysical meditations' (139), with its 'creaking ontology' (147), when read in isolation from the rest of his work as a natural philosopher. How should we read him, then, in the twenty-first century? A Devout Catholic? That Descartes was a devout Catholic is possible, unlikely and undecidable. He seems not to have studied theology at all while at school at La Flche, although he completed the pre-theology college cycle in the company of Jesuit students who then continued their studies in theology. Descartes consistently attempted to avoid public entanglement with religious and theological controversies, and said so frequently. 4 Given the alignments that prevailed at the time, both in France. (shrink)
Intentionalism debates seek to uncover the relationship between the qualitative aspects of experience—phenomenal character—and the intentionality of the mind. They have been at or near center stage in the philosophy of mind for more than two decades, and in my view need to be reexamined. There are two core distinct intentionalism debates that are rarely distinguished (Sect. 1). Additionally, the characterization of spectrum inversion as involving inverted qualities and constant intentional content is mistaken (Sect. 3). These confusions can be witnessed (...) from an often-ignored and lonely perspective, that of the sense-datum theorist, and in particular of the projectivist (Sect. 2). In my view we have been so wary of sense-datum theory in recent years that we have failed to see that, even if false, it may permit perspectives on intentionalism issues difficult to occupy from other views. (shrink)
After briefly sketching an historical account of criminal law that emphasizes its longstanding reach into social, commercial and personal life outside the core areas of criminal offenses, this paper explores why criminal law theory has never succeeded in limiting the content of criminal codes to offenses that fit the criteria of dominant theories, particularly versions of the harm principle. Early American writers on criminal law endorsed no such limiting principles to criminal law, and early American criminal law consequently was substantively (...) broad. But even with the rise of theories in the mid-nineteenth century that sought to limit criminal lawâs reach, codified offenses continued to widely and deeply regulate social life and exceed the limits of those normative arguments. This essay suggests that this practical failure of criminal law theory occurred because it was never adopted by an institutional actor that could limit offense definitions in accord with normative commitments. Legislatures are institutionally unsuited to having their policy actions limited by principled arguments, and courts passed on the opportunity to incorporate a limiting principle for criminal law once they began, in the Lochner era, actively regulating legislative decisions through Constitutional law. The one avenue through which criminal law theory has had some success in affecting criminal codes is through the influence of specialized bodies that influence legislation, especially the American Law Institute advocacy of the Model Penal Code. But the institutional structure of American criminal law policymaking permits an unusually small role for such specialized bodies, and without such an institutional mechanism, criminal law theory is likely to continue to have little effect on actual criminal codes. (shrink)
I defend indirect perceptual realism against two recent and related charges to it offered by A. D. Smith and P. Snowdon, both stemming from demonstrative reference involving indirect perception. The needed aspects of the theory of demonstratives are not terribly new, but their connection to these objections has not been discussed. The groundwork for my solution emerges from considering normal cases of indirect perception (e.g., seeing something depicted on a television) and examining the role this indirectness plays in demonstrative assertions. (...) I argue that indirectness routinely if not typically plays a justificatory role in such judgements, and not a semantic one, and that the same can be said of such judgements when considered within the indirect realist framework. The denial of this, on my analysis, is essential to the criticisms of Snowdon and Smith. The discussion is extended to include scenarios involving the sorts of misconceptions Smith employs. (shrink)
Emergent properties (EPs) are not causally reducible to the properties of a complex system’s elements. If a system’s properties cannot be reduced to those of any of its components, then that system is effectively a singular entity (SE). EPs are thus not properties of known complexes, but of SEs. A precise description of the parameters necessary to observe a physical system as an SE is thus necessary to establish under what conditions properties are understood as emergent. That description is provided (...) in terms of the temporal dynamics of systems and their internal/external interactions. (shrink)
In this paper we examine a puzzle recently posed by Aaron Preston for the traditional realist assay of property (quality) instances. Consider Socrates (a red round spot) and red1—Socrates’ redness. For the traditional realist, both of these entities are concrete particulars. Further, both involve redness being `tied to’ the same bare individuator. But then it appears that red1 is duplicated in its ‘thicker’ particular (Socrates), so that it can’t be predicated of Socrates without redundancy. According to Preston, this suggests that (...) a concrete particular and its property instances aren’t genuinely related. We argue that Preston’s proffered solution here—to treat property instances as “mental constructs”—is fraught with difficulty. We then go on to show how, by fine-tuning the nature of bare particulars, treating them as abstract modes of things rather than concrete particulars, the traditional realist can neatly evade Preston’s puzzle. (shrink)
Finding inspiration in Heidegger's lament, "In what soil do the roots of (Descartes's) tree of philosophy find their support?" (and not allowing that the tree might be hydroponic), Steiner proceeds to ground the "concrete content and absolute authority" of Descartes's moral principles in his Christian faith (13). Caught between the two, Descartes's thinking is pulled in opposing directions, towards the "earthly ethos" and its twin ideals of technological mastery over nature and the autonomy of reason, and the "angelic ideal"-a transcendent (...) ideal according to which truth and goodness are conceived sub specie aeternitatis as a gift from God. (shrink)
Indirect realists maintain that our perceptions of the external world are mediated by our 'perceptions' of subjective intermediaries such as sensations. Multiple reference occurs when a word or an instance of it has more than one reference. I argue that, because indirect realists hold that speakers typically and unknowingly directly perceive something subjective and indirectly perceive something objective, the phenomenon of multiple reference is an important resource for their view. In particular, a challenge that A. D. Smith has recently put (...) forward for indirect realists can be overcome by appreciating how multiple reference is likely to arise when a projectivist variety of indirect realism is interpreted by speakers adhering to a naïve direct realism. (shrink)
J. Angelo Corlett’s response to Leigh Turner defends the current practice of anonymous refereeing in scholarly journals. In reply to him: a slightly refined proposal for signed referees’ reports, with temporarily blind refereeing, would restore to the process of publication, in philosophy at least, the sense of responsibility for rational debate, cooperation, mutual criticism, and simple courtesy which is expected among colleagues in public academic relations, and would also allow more credit for the difficult task for refereeing. Personal observation of (...) the quality of referees’ reports suggests that a gathering of anecdotal evidence would show the need for reform. (shrink)
Brown reviews Ayn Rand Answers, a volume edited by Robert Mayhew, which collects many of Rand's off-the-cuff responses to the questions that followed her public talks. After surveying the book's generous sampling on topics ranging from politics to aesthetics, Brown suggests that some of Mayhew's editorial choices impair the reader's ability to fairly assess both Rand's public temperament and some of her opinions.