Defending Poetry studies the tradition of poetic defence, or apologia, as it has been pursued and developed by three of the twentieth century's leading poet-critics: Joseph Brodsky, Seamus Heaney, and Geoffrey Hill. It begins with an extended introduction to philosophical debates over the ethical value of literature from Plato to Levinas and continues by situating these three poets as in one sense historically continuous with the defences of Horace, Sidney, Coleridge, and Shelley, but also as drastically other. This otherness is (...) bounded on one side by the example of T. S. Eliot's career-long contemplation of the ideal of poetic 'integrity', and on the other by a collective recognition of the twentieth century's great horrors, which seem to corrode all associations of art and the good. Through close readings of the poems and prose essays of Brodsky, Heaney, and Hill, Defending Poetry makes a timely intervention in current debates about literature's ethics, arguing that any ethics of literature ought to take into account not only poetry, but also the writings of poets on the value of poetry. (shrink)
Patricia Williams made a number of claims concerning the methods and practise of cladistic analysis and classification. Her argument rests upon the distinction of two kinds of hierarchy: a divisional hierarchy depicting evolutionary descent and the Linnean hierarchy describing taxonomic groups in a classification. Williams goes on to outline five problems with cladistics that lead her to the conclusion that systematists should eliminate cladism as a school of biological taxonomy and to replace it either with something that is (...) philosophically coherent or to replace it with pure methodology, untainted by theory (Williams 1992, 151). Williams makes a number of points which she feels collectively add up to insurmountable problems for cladistics. We examine Williams' views concerning the two hierarchies and consider what cladists currently understand about the status of ancestors. We will demonstrate that Williams has seriously misunderstood many modern commentators on this subject and all of her five persistent problems are derivable from this misunderstanding. Some persons believe and argue, on grounds approaching faith it seems to me, that phylogeny comes from our knowledge of evolution. Others have found to their surprise, and sometimes dismay, that phylogeny comes from our knowledge of systematics. Nelson (1989, 67). (shrink)
Japan and the Enemies of Open Political Science argues that Eurocentric blindness is a scientific failing, not a moral one. In a way true of no other political system, Japan's greatness has the potential to enliven and reform almost all the main branches of Western Political Science. David Williams criticizes Western social science, Anglo-American Philosophy and French Theory and explains why mainstream economists, historians of political thought and postculturalists have ignored Japan's modern achievements. Williams demonstrates why the renewal (...) of social science and the nurturing of a "a philosophy of the Pacific Century" requires a sustained act of intellectual demolition. (shrink)
David Williams explores the complex links between Condorcet as visionary ideologist and pragmatic legislator, and between his concept of modernity and the management of change. The Marquis de Condorcet was one of the few Enlightenment thinkers to witness and participate in the French Revolution. Based on an extensive array of printed and original manuscript sources, Williams' analysis of Condorcet's politics will be a major contribution to Enlightenment studies.
David Hume's relatively short essay 'Of the Standard of Taste' deals with some of the most difficult issues in aesthetic theory. Apart from giving a few pregnant remarks, near the end of his discussion, on the role of morality in aesthetic evaluation, Hume tries to reconcile the idea that tastes are subjective (in the sense of not being answerable to the facts) with the idea that some objects of taste are better than others. 'Tastes', in this context, are the pleasures (...) or displeasures that a person can take in the beauties of poems, paintings, and other artistic compositions (though Hume also wants to stress the continuities between tastes, so understood, and the bodily sense of taste). The position at which Hume arrives in the essay (despite some dialectical unclarity) is that some people – the 'true judges'– determine by their 'joint verdict' which works are meritorious. This solution continues to exercise a fascination, as does Hume's complicated route to it. Author Recommends: Paul Guyer, 'The Standard of Taste and the "Most Ardent Desire of Society" ', Values of Beauty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 37–76. This paper places 'Of the Standard of Taste' in an especially rich context, and asks why Hume concentrates on true judges instead of the improvement of one's own taste. Mary Mothersill, 'Hume: "Of the Standard of Taste" ', Beauty Restored (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), 177–208. This chapter, embedded in an exposition of Mothersill's 'First Thesis' (the denial that there are principles of taste) and 'Second Thesis' (the affirmation that some judgments of taste are genuine judgments), gives a detailed running commentary on Hume's essay. A shorter self-contained version of the chapter appeared as 'Hume and the Paradox of Taste' in Aesthetics: A Critical Anthology , 2nd ed., eds. George Dickie, Richard Sclafani, and Ronald Roblin (New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1989, 269–86). Jerrold Levinson, 'Hume's Standard of Taste: The Real Problem', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (2002): 227–38. An importance recent article, Levinson's piece argues that the 'real' difficulty with Hume's essay has gone unnoticed: why should I care about what Hume's true judges think? Christopher Williams, 'Some Questions in Hume's Aesthetics', Philosophy Compass 2/2 (2007). This article provides a brief overview of the topics discussed under weeks 3–5 in the sample syllabus below. It is intended to provide a roadmap for the particular set of readings listed there. David Wiggins, 'A Sensible Subjectivism?', Needs, Values, and Truth , 3rd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 185–214. This is a stimulating paper in moral philosophy that treats Hume's essay on taste as a model for a serious subjectivism. Wiggins then presents his own brand of subjectivism as an alternative to Hume's. Online Materials: Hume's Aesthetics (Ted Gracyk): http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hume-aesthetics/ Sample Syllabus: Recommended background reading on Hume's historical context: Peter Kivy, The Seventh Sense: Francis Hutcheson and Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetics , 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), especially Part III. Recommended background reading on the general topic of taste: David A. Whewell, 'Taste', Blackwell Companion to Aesthetics (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), 415–18. Dabney Townsend and Carolyn Korsmeyer, 'Taste', Encyclopedia of Aesthetics , ed. Michael Kelly (New York, NY and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 4:355–62. Ted Cohen, 'The Philosophy of Taste: Thoughts on the Idea', Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics , ed. Peter Kivy (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), 167–73. Week 1: Hume on beauty, art, and aesthetic judgment in the Treatise of Human Nature and the Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals The following references are usable for any complete edition of the Treatise or Enquiry Treatise , 2.1.8 ('Of Beauty and Deformity') Treatise , 2.2.5 ('Of Our Esteem for the Rich and Powerful') Treatise , 2.2.8 ('Of Malice and Envy'), final three paragraphs Treatise , 2.2.11 ('Of the Amorous Passion, or Love Betwixt the Sexes') Treatise , 3.1.2 ('Moral Distinctions Deriv'd from a Moral Sense') Treatise , 3.3.1 ('Of the Origin of the Natural Virtues') Treatise , 3.3.5 ('Some Farther Reflexions Concerning the Natural Virtues') Enquiry , Appendix 1 ('Of moral sentiment') Week 2: Hume's essays Essays Moral, Political, and Literary , ed. Eugene Miller (Indianapolis, IN: LibertyClassics, 1985) is the most commonly used edition today. 'Of the Delicacy of Taste and Passion' 'Of Eloquence' 'Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences' 'Of Simplicity and Refinement in Writing' 'Of Tragedy' 'Of the Standard of Taste' Week 3: Circularity–Virtuous or Vicious? Peter Kivy, 'Hume's Standard of Taste: Breaking the Circle', British Journal of Aesthetics (1967): 57–66. David Wiggins, 'A Sensible Subjectivism?', Needs, Values, and Truth , 3rd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 185–214. Week 4: Rules of Art Mary Mothersill, 'Hume: "Of the Standard of Taste" ', Beauty Restored (Oxford: Clarendon, 1984), 177–208. James Shelley, 'Hume's Double Standard of Taste', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (1994): 437–45. Nick Zangwill, 'Hume, Taste, and Teleology', The Metaphysics of Beauty (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001), 149–65. Week 5: The True Judge Malcolm Budd, 'Hume and Kant', 'Hume's Standard of Taste', 'Hume and Human Nature', Values of Art (London: Allen Lane, 1995), 16–24 . Paul Guyer, 'The Standard of Taste and the "Most Ardent Desire of Society" ', Values of Beauty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 37–76. Jerrold Levinson, 'Hume's Standard of Taste: The Real Problem', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (2002): 227–38. Week 6: Moralism in Aesthetic Judgment: Hume and Beyond Kendall Walton, 'Morals in Fiction and Fictional Morality', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (1994): 27–50. Richard Moran, 'The Expression of Feeling in Imagination', Philosophical Review (1994): 75–106. Tamar Szabo-Gendler, 'The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance', Journal of Philosophy (2000): 55–81. Focus Questions 1. How does Hume distinguish between matters of 'fact' and 'sentiment'? 2. What is a 'rule of art', and are there any rules? 3. Can a bad critic be 'silenced'? 4. What are the characteristics of good critics? 5. Should we expect good critics to agree on the merits of a work, and should I care about becoming a good critic myself? 6. Is it possible to distinguish variations in taste for which we should expect a standard and variations for which it is 'vain' to have such an expectation? 7. How is the excellence of a work related to the exercise of taste? 8. If a work of literature has a moral outlook that differs from our own, should we consider the work defective on literary grounds? (shrink)
Toleration has a rich tradition in Western political philosophy. It is, after all, one of the defining topics of political philosophy—historically pivotal in the development of modern liberalism, prominent in the writings of such canonical figures as John Locke and John Stuart Mill, and central to our understanding of the idea of a society in which individuals have the right to live their own lives by their own values, left alone by the state so long as they respect the similar (...) interests of others. -/- Toleration and Its Limits, the latest addition to the NOMOS series, explores the philosophical nuances of the concept of toleration and its scope in contemporary liberal democratic societies. Editors Melissa S. Williams and Jeremy Waldron carefully compiled essays that address the tradition's key historical figures; its role in the development and evolution of Western political theory; its relation to morality, liberalism, and identity; and its limits and dangers. -/- Contributors: Lawrence A. Alexander, Kathryn Abrams, Wendy Brown, Ingrid Creppell, Noah Feldman, Rainer Forst, David Heyd, Glyn Morgan, Glen Newey, Michael A. Rosenthal, Andrew Sabl, Steven D. Smith, and Alex Tuckness. (shrink)
Is there a Moore’s paradox in desire? I give a normative explanation of the epistemic irrationality, and hence absurdity, of Moorean belief that builds on Green and Williams’ normative account of absurdity. This explains why Moorean beliefs are normally irrational and thus absurd, while some Moorean beliefs are absurd without being irrational. Then I defend constructing a Moorean desire as the syntactic counterpart of a Moorean belief and distinguish it from a ‘Frankfurt’ conjunction of desires. Next I discuss putative (...) examples of rational and irrational desires, suggesting that there are norms of rational desire. Then I examine David Wall’s groundbreaking argument that Moorean desires are always unreasonable. Next I show against this that there are rational as well as irrational Moorean desires. Those that are irrational are also absurd, although there seem to be absurd desires that are not irrational. I conclude that certain norms of rational desire should be rejected. (shrink)
Williams, Ron As I consider the list of previous AHOY recipients since the inaugural award in 1983, I can only say that this is an immeasurable honour. It means much to me because, for almost ten years now, Humanism has been there for my family. In 2005-2006, when separation of church and state school issues first crept into our lives, the Humanist Society of Queensland was to appear as the only beacon of secularist activism upon the deep northern horizon. (...) So in 2006 Andrea and I joined the HSQ. (shrink)
In 2004, the United States Sentencing Commission amended the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to allow firms that create “effective compliance and ethics programs” to receive better treatment if prosecuted for fraud. Effective compliance and ethics, however, appear to be limited to activities focused on complying with the firms’ internal legal and ethical standards. We explored a potential connection between the firms’ external corporate social responsibility (CSR) behaviors and internal compliance: Is there an organizationally valid relationship between these two firm activities? That (...) is, when organizations demonstrate CSR with behaviors external to the firm, such as employee volunteerism, are their employees more likely to demonstrate uncompromised legal and ethical compliance behavior internally? We collected data from 164 working professionals enrolled in a top-tier MBA program in the southeastern United States regarding their employer-sponsored volunteer activities and their intentions to comply in various organizational compliance vignettes. We found that employer-sponsored volunteerism is associated with uncompromised compliance choices in one of the three vignettes. This finding indicates preliminary support for further inquiry into the relationship within the firm between external CSR behaviors and policies regarding organizational compliance. Post hoc analyses suggest that employer-sponsored volunteerism is strongly associated with a positive organizational identity, but organizational identity is not associated with the significant compliance vignette. This evidence suggests that the underlying mechanism that connects external CSR behaviors and internal compliance intentions is complex and requires future study. (shrink)
In the opening chapter of this book, Timothy Costelloe develops an interpretation of Hume's doctrines in "Of the Standard of Taste" and then proceeds, in the second chapter, by extending (or "applying," in Costelloe's words) that interpretation to Hume's moral philosophy. According to Costelloe, the "real value" of his attempt to clarify Hume's essay is to be found in the broader application (22). But since that value will not be real unless the interpretation of the essay has merit, the first (...) chapter is clearly vital to the enterprise, and so deserves particular attention.Costelloe sides with those who emphasize, on Hume's behalf, the rules of art rather than the joint verdict of true judges, and he wants to .. (shrink)
A morally objectionable outcome can be overdetermined by the actions of multiple individual agents. In such cases, the outcome is the same regardless of what any individual does or does not do. (For a clear example of such a case, imagine the execution of an innocent person by a firing squad.) We argue that, in some of these types of cases, (a) there exists a group agent, a moral agent constituted by individual agents; (b) the group agent is guilty of (...) violating a moral obligation; however, (c) none of the individual agents violate any of their moral obligations. We explicate and defend this view, and consider its applications to problems generated by anthropogenic climate change and electoral politics. (shrink)
This book puts forward a revisionist view of Japanese wartime thinking. It seeks to explore why Japanese intellectuals, historians and philosophers of the time insisted that Japan had to turn its back on the West and attack the United States and the British Empire. Based on a close reading of the texts written by members of the highly influential Kyoto School, and revisiting the dialogue between the Kyoto School and the German philosopher Heidegger, it argues that the work of Kyoto (...) thinkers cannot be dismissed as mere fascist propaganda, and that this work, in which race is a key theme, constitutes a reasoned case for a post-White world. The author also argues that this theme is increasingly relevant at present, as demographic changes are set to transform the political and social landscape of North America and Western Europe over the next fifty years. (shrink)
Various deficits in the cognitive functioning of people with autism have been documented in recent years but these provide only partial explanations for the condition. We focus instead on an imitative disturbance involving difficulties both in copying actions and in inhibiting more stereotyped mimicking, such as echolalia. A candidate for the neural basis of this disturbance may be found in a recently discovered class of neurons in frontal cortex, 'mirror neurons' (MNs). These neurons show activity in relation both to specific (...) actions performed by self and matching actions performed by others, providing a potential bridge between minds. MN systems exist in primates without imitative and ‘theory of mind’ abilities and we suggest that in order for them to have become utilized to perform social cognitive functions, sophisticated cortical neuronal systems have evolved in which MNs function as key elements. Early developmental failures of MN systems are likely to result in a consequent cascade of developmental impairments characterised by the clinical syndrome of autism. (shrink)
We discuss the impact of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) on phylogenetic reconstruction and taxonomy. We review the power of HGT as a creative force in assembling new metabolic pathways, and we discuss the impact that HGT has on phylogenetic reconstruction. On one hand, shared derived characters are created through transferred genes that persist in the recipient lineage, either because they were adaptive in the recipient lineage or because they resulted in a functional replacement. On the other hand, taxonomic patterns in (...) microbial phylogenies might also be created through biased gene transfer. The agreement between different molecular phylogenies has encouraged interpretation of the consensus signal as reflecting organismal history or as the tree of cell divisions; however, to date the extent to which the consensus reflects shared organismal ancestry and to which it reflects highways of gene sharing and biased gene transfer remains an open question. Preferential patterns of gene exchange act as a homogenizing force in creating and maintaining microbial groups, generating taxonomic patterns that are indistinguishable to those created by shared ancestry. To understand the evolution of higher bacterial taxonomic units, concepts usually applied in population genetics need to be applied. (shrink)
In 2004, the United States Sentencing Commission amended the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to allow firms that create "effective compliance and ethics programs" to receive better treatment if prosecuted for fraud. Effective compliance and ethics, however, appear to be limited to activities focused on complying with the firms' internal legal and ethical standards. We explored a potential connection between the firms' external corporate social responsibility (CSR) behaviors and internal compliance: Is there an organizationally valid relationship between these two firm activities? That (...) is, when organizations demonstrate CSR with behaviors external to the firm, such as employee volunteerism, are their employees more likely to demonstrate uncompromised legal and ethical compliance behavior internally? We collected data from 164 working professionals enrolled in a top-tier MBA program in the southeastern United States regarding their employer-sponsored volunteer activities and their intentions to comply in various organizational compliance vignettes. We found that employer-sponsored volunteerism is associated with uncompromised compliance choices in one of the three vignettes. This finding indicates preliminary support for further inquiry into the relationship within the firm between external CSR behaviors and policies regarding organizational compliance. Post hoc analyses suggest that employersponsored volunteerism is strongly associated with a positive organizational identity, but organizational identity is not associated with the significant compliance vignette. This evidence suggests that the underlying mechanism that connects external CSR behaviors and internal compliance intentions is complex and requires future study. (shrink)
This article describes how a unique high school programme, not formally designed to teach moral principles or character lessons, contributed substantially to the character education of its students. Graduates over 20 years old were interviewed ( n =106) and completed a questionnaire ( n =204). Findings suggest the programme teachers helped students develop character attributes by providing a desirable character education environment. A majority of students reported that the programme was personalised, practical and, in many cases, life changing. A majority (...) of the students also indicated that the programme helped them develop an appreciation and respect for others and the environment, while helping them prepare for higher education. We present this programme as a model for character education at the high school level. Details are presented so that the programme can be replicated in other settings. We conclude that the success of this programme can be understood in terms of teachers' willingness to encourage students to take responsibility for their lives, and their learning through modeling of high character values, use of an integrated and experiential curriculum, and employment of a dialogical perspective on active education. (shrink)
Â‘First. That on October 23, in the city of New York, your relator was arrested by divers persons claiming to be acting by authority of the government of the United States, and was by said persons conveyed to the United States immigration station at Ellis island, in the harbor of New York, and is now there imprisoned by the commissioner of immigration of the port of New York.
Pythagoras -- Confucius -- Heracleitus -- Parmenides -- Zeno of Elea -- Socrates -- Democritus -- Plato -- Aristotle -- Mencius -- Zhuangzi -- Pyrrhon of Elis -- Epicurus -- Zeno of Citium -- Philo Judaeus -- Marcus Aurelius -- Nagarjuna -- Plotinus -- Sextus Empiricus -- Saint Augustine -- Hypatia -- Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius -- Śaṅkara -- Yaqūb ibn Ishāq aṣ-Ṣabāḥ al-Kindī -- Al-Fārābī -- Avicenna -- Rāmānuja -- Ibn Gabirol -- Saint Anselm of Canterbury -- al-Ghazālī -- (...) Peter Abelard -- Averroës -- Zhu Xi -- Moses Maimonides -- Ibn al-'Arabī -- Shinran -- Saint Thomas Aquinas -- John Duns Scotus -- William of Ockham -- Niccolò Machiavelli -- Wang Yangming -- Francis Bacon, Viscount Saint Alban (or Albans), Baron of Verulam -- Thomas Hobbes -- René Descartes -- John Locke -- Benedict de Spinoza -- Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz -- Giambattista Vico -- George Berkeley -- Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu -- David Hume -- Jean-Jacques Rousseau -- Immanuel Kant -- Moses Mendelssohn -- Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de Condorcet -- Jeremy Bentham -- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel -- Arthur Schopenhauer -- Auguste Comte -- John Stuart Mill -- Søren Kierkegaard -- Karl Marx -- Herbert Spencer -- Wilhelm Dilthey -- William James -- Friedrich Nietzsche -- Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege -- Edmund Husserl -- Henri Bergson -- John Dewey -- Alfred North Whitehead -- Benedetto Croce -- Nishida Kitarō -- Bertrand Russell -- G.E. Moore -- Martin Buber -- Ludwig Wittgenstein -- Martin Heidegger -- Rudolf Carnap -- Sir Karl Popper -- Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno -- Jean-Paul Sartre -- Hannah Arendt -- Simone de Beauvoir -- Willard Van Orman Quine -- Sir A.J. Ayer -- Wilfrid Sellars -- John Rawls -- Thomas S. Kuhn -- Michel Foucault -- Noam Chomsky -- Jürgeb Gabernas -- Sir Bernard Williams -- Jacques Derrida -- Richard Rorty -- Robert Nozick -- Saul Kripke -- David Kellogg Lewis -- Peter (Albert David) Singer. (shrink)
It is common wisdom in intellectual history that eighteenth-century science of man evolved under the aegis of Newton. It is also frequently suggested that David Hume, one of the most influential practitioners of this kind of inquiry, aspired to be the Newton of the moral sciences. Usually this goes hand in hand with a more or less explicit reading of Hume’s theory of human nature as written in an idiom of particulate inert matter and active forces acting on it, i.e. (...) essentially that of Newton’s Principia. Hume’s outlook on the mental world is thus frequently described in terms of conceptual atoms whose association is compared to interparticulate attractions analogous with Newtonian forces in general, and gravity in particular. In the present paper I argue that Hume’s theory can indeed be understood in Newton’s wake, but not in the context of the Principa’s reception but that of the Opticks, which exerted a more significant influence on natural inquiry in eighteenth-century Scotland. I intend to show that Hume speaks a language and represents an outlook on human matters convergent with “philosophical chemistry” in Scotland at that time, and particularly to his later friend and physician William Cullen. (shrink)
Advance directives are useful ways to express one's wishes about end of life care, but even now most people have not completed one of the documents. David Doukas and William Reichel strongly encourage planning for end of life care. Although Planning for Uncertainty is at times fairly abstract for the general reader, it does provide useful background and practical steps.
In his new paper, “Eligibility and Inscrutability,” J. R. G. Williams presents a surprising new challenge to David Lewis’ theory of interpretation. Although Williams frames this challenge primarily as a response to Lewis’ criticisms of Putnam’s model-theoretic argument, the challenge itself goes to the heart of Lewis’ own account of interpretation. Further, and leaving Lewis’ project aside for a moment, Williams’ argument highlights some important—and some fairly general—points concerning the relationship between model theory and semantic determinacy.
The author begins with an outline of Bernard William's moral philosophy, within which he locates William's notorious doctrine that reflection can destroy ethical knowledge. He then gives a partial defence of this doctrine, exploiting an analogy between ethical judgements and tensed judgements. The basic idea is that what the passage of time does for the latter, reflection can do for the former: namely, prevent the re-adoption of an abandoned point of view (an ethical point of view in the one case, (...) a temporal point of view in the other). In the final section the author says a little about how reflection might do this. Footnotes1 This essay is derived from a lecture entitled ‘Bernard Williams’, delivered at Oxford University in 2000, in the series ‘Oxford Philosophers on Oxford Philosophers’, organized by Peter Hacker and David Wiggins. I am grateful to those who attended the lecture, and to Bernard Williams, for helpful comments. (shrink)
A stellar group of philosophers offer new works on themes from the great philosophy of Wittgenstein, honoring one of his most eminent interpreters David Pears. This collection covers both the early and the later work of Wittgenstein, relating it to current debates in philosophy. Topics discussed include solipsism, ostension, rules, necessity, privacy, and consciousness.
David Lewis's book 'On the Plurality of Worlds' mounts an extended defense of the thesis of modal realism, that the world we inhabit the entire cosmos of which we are a part is but one of a vast plurality of worlds, or cosmoi, all causally and spatiotemporally isolated from one another. The purpose of this article is to provide an accessible summary of the main positions and arguments in Lewis's book.
David Lewis claims that his theory of modality successfully reduces modal items to nonmodal items. This essay will clarify this claim and argue that it is true. This is largely an exercise within ‘Ludovician Polycosmology’: I hope to show that a certain intuitive resistance to the reduction and a set of related objections misunderstand the nature of the Ludovician project. But these results are of broad interest since they show that would-be reductionists have more formidable argumentative resources than is often (...) thought. Lewis’s reduction depends on a set of methodological commitments each of which is fairly plausible or at least currently popular, and none of which is particular to modality. The choice of which of these commitments to reject I leave to the discerning antireductionist. The essay proceeds as follows: §1 discusses reduction generally and one or two relevant puzzles; §2 discusses Lewis’s reduction in particular; the longest section, §3 replies to four objections. (shrink)
My research work title is “A Philosophical Study of the Concept of Mind (with special reference to Rene Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle).” In this study we have discussed three conceptions of mind presented by Rene Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle. All the three thinkers are related to different philosophical traditions known as Rationalism, Empiricism and Analytical Philosophy respectively. Each of these various approaches can be seen as at least partly successful, each provides answers to questions regarded as (...) especially pressing, each apparently solved certain problems. Notoriously, however, each leaves unanswered and unsolved a host of distinct problems as well. (shrink)
The concept of the self is a highly contested topic. Traditionally it belonged to speculative metaphysics. Almost every philosopher, whether Western or Indian, has tried to explore the nature of self. Generally, the self is taken as a substance which has permanent existence, which is eternal and non-specio-temporal. In some traditions, like the Hindu tradition, it is believed to take rebirth as the body perishes. Many Western philosophers also think that it is immortal. The nature of the self also has (...) then ethical implications. The views of David Hume and Gautama Buddha on the self, which I have chosen to discuss here, are similar. Though both belong to different traditions, both are skeptical of any permanent existence of self. This is not to say that one has borrowed from the other. For the nature and purpose of denial of the self in both the philosophers is different. So a comprehensive and comparative study of their views is very interesting. It is the intention of this article to analyze and compare the philosophical positions of Gautama and Hume on the self—a problem which was of central concern to both and which has since exercised a continuing fascination for philosophers, both of the East and the West. (shrink)
Central to discussion of supervaluationist accounts of vagueness is the extent to which they require revisions of classical logic and if so, whether those revisions are objectionable. In an important recent Journal of Philosophy article, J.R.G. Williams presents a powerful challenge to the orthodox view that supervaluationism is objectionably revisionary. Williams argues both that supervaluationism is non-revisionary and that even if it were, those revisions would be unobjectionable. This note shows that his arguments for both claims fail.
When a person gives up an end of crucial importance to her in order to promote a moral aim, we regard her as having made a moral sacrifice. The paper analyzes these sacrifices in light of some of Bernard Williams’ objections to Kantian and Utilitarian accounts of them. Williams argues that an implausible consequence of these theories is that that we are expected to sacrifice projects that make our lives worth living and contribute to our integrity. Williams’ (...) arguments about integrity and meaning are shown to be unconvincing when the content of projects is left open. However, a look at his later arguments suggests a reason to be concerned about defensible ethical projects as understood through what he refers to as “the morality system”. The problem for theories of this type turns out to be not merely conflicts between ethical projects and moral demands but making sense of some of the ethically relevant features of these projects. Accommodations to moral theories that leave room for ethical projects may be insufficient to explain such features, for example in cases where agents demand more of themselves than the theories require. Making the theories more demanding is also problematic. Williams’ view about the role ethics plays in our conception of the life we want to lead provides a better account of these cases. (shrink)
Primary Works -/- Hume, David(1997) An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, from Philosophical Classics from Plato to Nietzsche, Ed. By Forrest E. Baired & Walter Kaufmann, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. -/- ___________ (1978) A Treatise of Human Nature, Edited by L.A. Selby-Bigge Oxford University Press, London. -/- :___________( 2006) The Understanding(Treatise :Book I), Ed. by Bennettt, Jonathan , The, Radical Academy, -/- Link:http;//www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdf/humebig.pdf.Citation:20-10-2006 -/- Flew, Antony(1962) Hume on Human Nature and the Understanding, Edi. ,Collier Books, New York.
This article argues that there is a great divide between semantics and metaphysics. Much of what is called metaphysics today is still stuck in the linguistic turn. This is illustrated by showing how Fraser MacBride misunderstands David Armstrong's theory of modality.
Taking a schizoanalytic approach to audio-visual images, this article explores some of the radical potentia for deterritorialisation found within David Fincher's Fight Club (1999). The film's potential for deterritorialisation is initially located in an exploration of the film's form and content, which appear designed to interrogate and transcend a series of false binaries between mind and body, inside and outside, male and female. Paying attention to the construction of photorealistic digital spaces and composited images, we examine the actual (and possible) (...) ways viewers relate to the film, both during and after screenings. Recognising the film as an affective force performing within our world, we also investigate some of the real-world effects the film catalysed. Finally, we propose that schizoanalysis, when applied to a Hollywood film, suggests that Deleuze underestimated the deterritorialising potential of contemporary, special effects-driven cinema. If schizoanalysis has thus been reterritorialised by mainstream products, we argue that new, ‘post-Deleuzian’ lines of flight are required to disrupt this ‘de-re-territorialisation’. (shrink)
As a response to what I see as the challenge posed by constructivist and narrative pedagogies, this paper seeks to sympathetically reconstruct Bernard Williams' Absolute Conception from the scattered texts in which he briefly sketched it. While ultimately defending the Absolute Conception or something close enough to it, the paper criticizes and distances itself from some aspects of Williams' version, notably his conception of philosophy as insurmountably perspectival. Williams' understanding of perspectival knowledge as contrasted to absolute knowledge (...) is illustrated with the concrete, if fictional case of the Dr Manhattan character from Zack Snyder's Watchmen (2009). Adrian Moore's reading, and Hilary Putnam's criticisms of Williams' Absolute Conception are amongst the positions engaged with. (shrink)
La obra del filósofo estadounidense David H. Finkelstein, Expression and the Inner, publicada originariamente en 2003 por Harvard University Press (2ª ed. 2008) puede ahora leerse en la versión española de Lino San Juan, editada por la ovetense KRK Ediciones con el título: La expresión y lo interno. Finkelstein propone en La expresión y lo interno un análisis expresivista del autoconocimiento. Podría parecer cuando menos sorprendente y aún más admirable que con tan sólo dos capítulos (“Detectivismo y constitutivismo” y “Expresión”) (...) y un Epílogo (“Deliberación y transparencia”), Finkelstein haya conseguido presentar en esta obra un planteamiento calificado por muchos como una auténtica renovación de la discusión analítica en torno al tema del autoconocimiento, o sea, acerca del problema de qué clase de autoridad quepa atribuir a las expresiones sobre nuestros propios estados de ánimo y/o nuestros estados mentales sin más. (shrink)
To enhance the plausibility of naturalistic moral realism, David Copp develops an argument from epistemic defeaters aiming to show that strongly a priori synthetic moral truths do not exist. In making a case for the non-naturalistic position, I locate Copp’s account within the wider literature on peer disagreement; I identify key points of divergence between Copp’s doctrine and conciliatorist doctrines; I introduce the notion of ‘minimal moral competence’; I contend that some plausible benchmarks for minimal moral competence are grounded in (...) substantive moral considerations; and I discuss two forms of spinelessness that Copp’s moral naturalism could result in. (shrink)
Argues that on an interpretation of the Enlightenment which emphasises its radical potential and importance for the development of democracy Catharine Macaulay should be recognised as a more centrally Enlightenment historian than David Hume.
In his most recent book, National Responsibility and Global Justice, David Miller presents an account of human rights grounded on the idea of basic human needs. Miller argues that his account can overcome what he regards as a central problem for human rights theory: the need to provide a ‘non-sectarian’ justification for human rights, one that does not rely on reasons that people from non-liberal societies should find objectionable. The list of human rights that Miller’s account generates is, however, minimal (...) when compared to those found in human rights documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. This article argues that contrary to what Miller claims, his account is ‘sectarian’, since it relies on reasons that some non-liberals should find objectionable given their divergent values. It goes on to question whether ‘sectarianism’, as Miller defines it, is, in any case, a problem for human rights theory. The article concludes that Miller provides us with no reason to abandon commitment to a more extensive list of human rights. (shrink)
1. The Shmagency Challenge to Constitutivism In metaethics – and indeed, meta-normativity – constitutivism is a family of views that hope to ground normativity in norms, or standards, or motives, or aims that are constitutive of action and agency. And mostly because of the influential work of Christine Korsgaard and David Velleman (and, some would say, because of the also-influential work of Kant and Aristotle), constitutivism seems to be gaining grounds in the current literature. The promises of constitutivism are significant. (...) Perhaps chief among them are the hope to provide with some kind of answer to the skeptic about morality or perhaps practical reason, and the hope to secure for practical reason a kind of objectivity that is consistent with its practical, motivationally engaged nature. The former philosophical motivation for constitutivism – most clearly present in much of Korsgaard’s relevant work – relies on the fact that constitutive norms seem to be less mysterious than not-clearly-constitutive norms. There arguably is nothing mysterious about, say, the norms of certain reasonably-well-defined activities, like building a house, or playing chess. And challenges by the relevant skeptic – the one asking "Why should I make sure the house I’m building can shelter people from the weather?" or "Why should I not castle when my king is checked?" – seem very rare, barely intelligible, and anyway remarkably easy to cope with. We should explain to the misguided skeptic that if he doesn’t even try to build something that can protect people from the weather, he’s not in the business of building a house at all; that if she doesn’t even try to play by the rules of chess, she’s not in the business of playing chess at all; and so on. It would be nice, the constitutivist hope seems to go, if we had something equally powerful by way of a response to the skeptic asking "Why be moral?" (and related skeptics). The other main motivation for constitutivism – most clearly present in David Velleman’s relevant work – starts from a commitment to some rather strong kind of existence-internalism about reasons: An agent has a reason to ?, according to such views (commonly associated with Williams’s influential "Internal and External Reasons" (1981)), only if she can come to ?, or at least to be motivated to ?, by sound deliberation starting from her actual motivational set.. (shrink)
By the early 1970s, and continuing through 2001, David Lewis and Saul Kripke had taken over W.V.O. Quine’s leadership in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, and philosophical logic in the English-speaking world. Quine, in turn, had inherited his position in the early 1950s from Rudolf Carnap, who had been the leading logical positivist -- first in Europe, and, after 1935, in America. A renegade positivist himself, Quine eschewed apriority, necessity, and analyticity, while (for a time) adopting a holistic version of (...) verificationism. Like Carnap, he placed philosophical logic and the philosophy of science at the center of philosophy. (shrink)