There is no such thing as the cosmological argument. Rather, there are several arguments that all proceed from facts or alleged facts concerning causation, change, motion, contingency, or Hnitude in respect of the universe as a whole or processes within it. From them, and from general principles said to govern them, one is led to deduce or infer as highly probable the existence of a cause of the universe (as opposed, say, to a designer or a source of value). Such (...) arguments have a venerable history. A cosmological argument from heavenly motion to a ‘world soul’ is found in Plato’s Laws, bk. l0. This kind of argument is given extended elaboration and defense by Aristotle, both in the Physics (bks. 7-8) and the Metaphysics (hk. 12/lambda), where he argues for an ‘unmoved mover` from the existence of motion within the cosmos (again, primarily astronomical). Cosmological arguments abound in medieval Arabic philosophy. There are arguments to the existence of a necessary cause of the universe from the existence of contingent beings (due to the falsafa (‘philosophy’) scholars, a school heavily influenced by Greek thought) and arguments to the existence of a iirst cause of the universe from the temporal frnitude of the universe (due to the lcalarri (‘discourse’) scholars, a rival school of more traditional Qufanic theology) (Craig 1980: ch. 3). Defenders of the contingency argument include al-Farabi/Abu Nast (c.870—950), ibn Sina/Avicenna (980—lO3Y), and [bn Rushcl/Averroes (1i26e98). Supporters of what is now known as the kalam cosmological argument include al·lshrink)
Abstract The idea of disembodied communication has received widespread discussion in the context of the various kinds of online interaction. Electronic mail is probably the purest form of text-based communication where interlocutors are present in mind rather than body. I argue that this online model provides a way of understanding and defending the possibility of a certain kind of public religious experience, contra the many critics of the very coherence of genuine religious experience. I introduce the concept of ‘telic possibility’, (...) a specific kind of modality, applying it to e-mail. I argue that we can reasonably move from the telic possibility of disembodied communication in mundane e-mail exchanges to the epistemic possibility of communication from a divine being in cases where the content of the messages is sufficiently extraordinary. Content Type Journal Article Category Special Issue Pages 1-17 DOI 10.1007/s13347-011-0051-6 Authors David S. Oderberg, Department of Philosophy, University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6AA UK Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433. (shrink)
The distinction between the essence of an object and its properties has been obscured in contemporary discussion of essentialism. Locke held that the properties of an object are exclusively those features that ‘flow’ from its essence. Here he follows the Aristotelian theory, leaving aside Locke’s own scepticism about the knowability of essence. I defend the need to distinguish sharply between essence and properties, arguing that essence must be given by form and that properties flow from form. I give a precise (...) definition of what the term of art ‘flow’ amounts to, and apply the distinction to various kinds of taxonomic issues. (shrink)
Few moral theorists would disagree that the fundamental principle of morality – perhaps of practical rationality itself – is “ Do good and avoid evil. ” Yet along with such an uncontroversial principle comes a major question: Can you fulfi l both halves satisfactorily across your life as a moral agent? We all have opportunities to perform acts that do good with no accompanying evil, but these are not as common as we might think. We can avoid evil by doing (...) nothing, but doing nothing implies doing no good either. Clearly the fundamental principle does not require that you go about your life doing good on any and every possible occasion any more than that you sit on your hands and abstain from action out of fear of doing evil. The principle tells us to avoid evil, not to refrain from ever causing it. And the simple fact is that the complexities of life make it inevitable that, much of the time when we go about doing good, we will also be doing evil. Further, they are such that sometimes we can avoid evil only at the cost of not performing a good act which reasonable people would regard as at least permissible, if not sometimes obligatory. So how, as rational, morally responsible agents, are we to satisfy the fundamental principle in an adequate, harmonious fashion, given life ’ s exigencies? This is where the so - called ‘ doctrine of double effect ’ comes into play. Some call it a doctrine, infl uenced by the fact that Catholic ethicists and moral theologians have, since the Middle Ages, codifi ed and ratifi ed it as something akin to a doctrine of Catholic moral philosophy. Others call it the ‘ principle of double effect, ’ though it breaks down into a set of principles unifi ed by a common idea. Yet other writers see it simply as a kind of reasoning about certain types of hard case in ethics. Whatever the preferred nomenclature, the DDE, as I will call it here, is – for all its critics and the diffi culties it faces – a keystone of sound moral thinking, without which the fundamental principle would remain nothing but a high ideal with little consistent applicability. So consider a simple example.. (shrink)
To the extent that dualism is even taken to be a serious option in contemporary discussions of personal identity and the philosophy of mind, it is almost exclusively either Cartesian dualism or property dualism that is considered. The more traditional dualism defended by Aristotelians and Thomists, what I call hylemorphic dualism, has only received scattered attention. In this essay I set out the main lines of the hylemorphic dualist position, with particular reference to personal identity. (...) First I argue that overemphasis of the problem of consciousness has had an unhealthy effect on recent debate, claiming instead that we should emphasize the concept of form. Then I bring in the concept of identity by means of the notion of substantial form. I continue by analyzing the relation between form and matter, defending the traditional theses of prime matter and of the unicity of substantial form. I then argue for the immateriality of the substantial form of the human person, viz. the soul, from an account of the human intellect. From this follows the soul's essential independence of matter. Finally, although the soul is the immaterial bearer of personal identity, that identity is still the identity of an essentially embodied being. I explain how these ideas are to be reconciled. Footnotesa I am grateful to Stephen Braude, John Cottingham, John Haldane, David Jehle, Joel Katzav, Eduardo Ortiz, and Fred Sommers for helpful comments and discussion of a draft of this essay. I would also like to thank Ellen Paul, whose suggestions have helped greatly to improve the essay's style and content. (shrink)
Central to recent debate over the Kalam Cosmological Argument, and over the origin of the universe in general, has been the issue of whether the universe began to exist and, if so, how this is to be understood. Adolf Grünbaum has used two cosmological models as a basis for arguing that the universe did not begin to exist according to either of them. Concentrating in this paper on the second (“open interval”) model, I argue that he is wrong on both (...) counts. I give metaphysical considerations for rejecting Grünbaum’s interpretation of the second model and offer a definition of the beginning of existence of an object that improves on prior formulations and that is adequate to show how the universe can indeed be seen to have begun to exist. I conclude with a more general metaphysical discussion of the beginning of the universe and of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. (shrink)
In an important and widely discussed series of papers, John Cottingham has defended a ‘partialist’ ethic against supporters of ‘impartialism’.1 The main theme of these papers is that what have come to be called particularistic obligations and permissions based on special relationships are the ineradicable and justified core of morality. These special relationships are said to begin with one’s relationship to oneself – self-love, or philautia to use the Aristotelian term employed by Cottingham.2 They then radiate outwards, to family, friends, (...) and other social and communal groupings such as associations of various kinds (professional, recreational, and the like), geographical and political communities (civic bodies, one’s country), and ultimately to all of humanity.3 This basic structure of moral preferences is, in my view, fundamentally correct, at least insofar as relationships among humans are concerned.4 It has been a signal contribution to ethics by Cottingham to have underlined its importance, sought to give it a theoretical justification, clarified common misconceptions concerning what the structure entails, and refuted some of the most important objections to it coming from the camp of those who, following the current terminology, support a broadly impartialistic ethic. The terminology of ‘partialist’ and ‘impartialist’ is itself somewhat misleading though (as others have pointed out5), and I hope to dispel some of the confusions in the following discussion. On the more substantive questions – the nature, scope, and justification of partialistic preferences – there are, side by side with Cottingham’s many correct points, a number of crucial positions he espouses with which a partialist ought to disagree, and others where expansion and clarification are called for. I will explore this in what follows, though a.. (shrink)
1. Consider a circle. It has both a radius and a circumference. There is obviously a real distinction between the properties having a radius and having a circumference. This is not because, when confining ourselves to circles,1 having a radius can ever exist apart from having a circumference. A real distinction does not depend on that. Descartes thought that a real distinction between x and y meant that x could exist without y or vice versa, if only by the power (...) of God. But Descartes was wrong. Separable existence is a sufficient but not necessary condition of there being a real distinction. The difference between a real and a conceptual distinction derives from medieval philosophy. Aquinas, for one, held that things can be really distinct even though not separable (the form and matter of a material substance or its essence and existence, for example).2 For a merely conceptual distinction between x and y to exist, it is necessary for the distinction to exist in thought only. There is only a conceptual distinction between an upward slope and a downward slope, or between a glass’s being half empty and half full. Not only are the members of such pairs inseparable (whether by God or in any other way), but there is no real distinction between them. There is no numerical distinctness between the entities or qualities between which there is only a conceptual distinction. To this extent alone is Galen Strawson (2008) correct.3 But when it comes to.. (shrink)
There can be no doubt that the public face of contemporary philosophy is the professional who goes by the name of “bioethicist.” Since the bioethics industry—which is what it is—sprang up in the 1970s, large numbers of professional philosophers have found it a congenial and remunerative way in which to make a reputation for themselves. A few general observations can be made about bioethicists. Some of them are well-meaning. For example, they are dedicated to the laudable notion that philosophy should (...) be heard in the public square and have an influence on the making of policy. Or they believe, rightly, that the bioethical problems of our day are of such grave moment that philosophers should try to grapple with them, at least, and provide solutions if possible. It is not only that the welfare of society depends on such solutions, but that if philosophers, who are supposed to be trained in rigorous thinking, do not do the hard conceptual work that needs to be done, the void will be filled by the looser and fuzzier moral thinking of others—especially lawyers, politicians, and economists. Some are simply committed to the idea, again admirable, that bioethics is a serious intellectual discipline that demands equally serious analytical application. Some find bioethics just interesting and worthy of philosophical pursuit in its own right. Again, this is true. On the other hand, it is all too evident that very many, perhaps the majority, of bioethicists are, to put it frankly, less than competent. I believe that this is a view a good number of philosophers share. The bioethics industry is, unfortunately, populated by many individuals whom one might even call second-rate philosophers. They have found themselves unable to grapple with the more technical or abstract areas of philosophy—or at least to make a name for themselves in such areas—but have found that it is relatively easy to forge a name for oneself in the bioethics business. For one, there is an insatiable demand by the media for comment upon the latest developments in biotechnology, medicine, genetics, and so on, or for comment upon someone else’s comment upon such developments.. (shrink)
I have not been able to locate any critique of Hume on substance by a Schoolman, at least in English, dating from Hume's period or shortly thereafter. I have, therefore, constructed my own critique as an exercise in ‘post facto history’. This is what a late eighteenth-century/early nineteenth-century Scholastic could, would, and should have said in response to Hume's attack on substance should they have been minded to do so. That no one did is somewhat mysterious. My critique is precisely (...) in the language of the period, using solely the conceptual resources available to a Schoolman at that time. The arguments, however, are as sound now as they were then, and in this sense the paper performs a dual role—contributing to the defence of substance contra Hume, and filling, albeit two hundred years or so too late, a gap in the historical record. (shrink)
There is a famous saying, whose origin is uncertain, that no good deed goes unpunished. Although not cited by him, this was no doubt the thought that inspired George Mavrodes’s (1986) well-known article “Religion and the Queerness of Morality.” In it he argued that although not logically incoherent, a certain sort of world in which moral obligations existed would be “absurd . . . a crazy world” (Mavrodes 1986, 581). The world he had in mind was what he called “Russellian,” (...) after a notorious passage in Bertrand Russell’s essay “The Free Man’s Worship” (Russell 1903). There, Russell portrayed us as living in a wholly materialistic universe governed by impersonal forces and “accidental collocations of atoms,” with no objective purpose or meaning to existence. The greatest of human achievements would ultimately be buried “beneath the debris of a universe in ruins.” We could only, concluded Russell, safely build the “soul’s habitation” [sic] on a “ﬁrm foundation of unyielding despair” (Russell 1903, 32). In such a world, according to Mavrodes, the performance of moral obligations does, at least sometimes, lead to no net Russellian beneﬁt, that is, any beneﬁt to the agent that is possible within a Russellian world. Indeed, such actions sometimes confer a net Russellian loss. “We have,” he says, “moral obligations whose fulﬁllment will result in a net loss of good to the one who fulﬁls them” (Mavrodes 1986, 581). That such a world would be “queer,” “crazy” and “absurd,” according to Mavrodes, should only strike those who believe that moral obligations are wholly objective and run deep in the fabric of reality. He does not purport to address the sceptic, the subjectivist, the expressivist, the nihilist or the existentialist. His aim is at those who believe in a rational moral.. (shrink)
Nicholas Shackel (2011) has proposed a number of arguments to save the Dipert–Bird model of physical reality from the sorts of unpalatable consequence I identified in Oderberg 2011. Some consequences, he thinks, are only apparent; others are real but palatable. In neither case does he seem to me to have deflected the concerns I raised, leaving graph structuralism on Dipert–Bird lines as problematic as ever.
The world of science was stunned, and the hopes of many people dashed, when Professor Hwang Woo Suk of Seoul National University was recently found guilty of massive scientific fraud. Until January 2006 he was considered one of the world’s leading experts in cloning and stem cell research. Yet he was found by his own university to have fabricated all of the cell lines he claimed, in articles published in Science in 2004 and 2005, to have derived from cloned human (...) embryos. By the time he was exposed, Hwang had been given the title of leading scientist in Korea by his government. A postage stamp had been issued in his honour, showing a paralysed man leaping out of a wheelchair to embrace his lady love. Schoolchildren read specially produced stories of the indefatigable scientist who supposedly worked 365 days a year for the sake of saving humanity from disease and disability. When I spoke on the ethical wrongness of human embryonic stem cell research at a major conference in San Francisco in 2005, I overheard scientists — professors of high repute and excited graduate students alike — speaking in awed tones of the incredible technical skill that Hwang and his team were thought to have displayed. He told N din re Medicine that his dexterity was a cultural inheritance: "This work can be done much better in Oriental hands. We can pick up very slippery corn or rice with steel chopsticks.'. (shrink)
I rejoinder to Ingmar Persson’s reply to my paper ‘The Metaphysical Status of the Embryo: Some Arguments Revisited’. I argue that Persson, having conceded a large part of my case, has still misunderstood or not fully appreciated the force of that case when he claims the arguments I criticize still make it reasonable to think that a human being does not come into existence at fertilization. In addition, his appeal to the totipotency argument as remaining unscathed by my critique does (...) not succeed. (shrink)
What follows axe the provisional conclusions reached in my thoughts about a frequently encountered, established argument for perceptual relativism. Rather than attempting the misleading task of dcfming in a sentence this doctrine - for it is so widely espoused by philosophers and Iaymcn alike that it deserves to bc called a doctrine — I shall instead elucidate it by thc common argu— ment for it that I wish to deal with, which Ishall call thc argument from differing perceptual apparatus, or (...) ADP. Most people, myself included, encounter ADP in popular form, with the opening gambit: "Supposc a fly flew into the room objccts would appear to it totally different from the way they appear to us . . . "; or else: "Saiicnce is a function of 0nc’s environment — insects perceive sounds and colour-shades we would never pcrccivc, because they nccd this to suivivc." Generally, differences in environment and therefore in salicncc, manifest themselves in different or more or less finely-tuned sense organs. Some animals have sense organs quite different in type or rcccptivity from the traditional human "fivc SBl’1S6S”. (Other senses, such as the kinesthctic sense have, of course, been determined and added to thc traditional fivc.) The premise that can be distilled from these points is the basic empirical premise 0f ADP: different species have different perceptual apparatus, with the consequence that different classes of.. (shrink)
In "personal and impersonal identity" ("mind", 1988) timothy sprigge discusses reasons for a general suspicion of trans-temporal identity, and rejects what he says are the usual grounds given against the suspicion, providing instead his own reasons for rejecting it. he concludes that trans-temporal identity, including personal identity, is as genuine a case of identity as what he considers to be the paradigmatic case of identity. in this brief note i take issue with some of the basic elements of sprigge's argument.
You might be wondering what an article 0n animal rights is doing in a journal devoted to the defence of human life. It turns out that the connections are closer than you may think. Grasping them is crucial to a proper understanding of just why innocent human life must be defended, of why the killing of even the tiniest, youngest member of the human species is an unspeakable crime. For it is by analysing the issue of whether animals have rights (...) that we come to see the core differences between humans and other animals1—-the differences in the nature of humans and animals that mean.. (shrink)
Contemporary essentialism and real essentialism -- Against modalism -- Reductionism : the illusory search for inner constitution -- Why real essentialism? -- Some varieties of anti-essentialism -- Empiricist anti-essentialism -- Quinean animadversions -- Popper : avoiding what-is questions -- Wittgenstein : the shadow of grammar -- The reality and knowability of essence -- Why essences are real -- The problem of the universal accidental -- An empirical test for essence? -- Coming to know essence -- Paradigms, stereotypes, and classification -- (...) The structure of essence -- Hylemorphism : act and potency -- Substantial form -- Prime matter -- Substance -- The immanence of essence -- Essence and identity -- Real definition and the true law of identity -- The porphyrian tree -- The analogy of being -- Individuation -- Identity over time -- Essence and existence -- The real distinction in contingent beings -- Everything is contingentalmost -- Powers -- Laws of nature -- Aspects of essence -- Kinds of accident -- The nature of properties -- Knowledge of essence via properties -- Artefacts -- Origin and constitution -- Life -- The essence of life -- Kinds of organism -- Against emergence -- Species, biological and metaphysical -- Is biological essentialism dead? -- Against the cladistic species concept -- Vagueness -- A plea for morphology -- The person -- The essence of personhood -- Hylemorphic dualism -- Consciousness, psychology, and the person -- Form, body, and soul -- Soul, intellect, and immateriality -- Soul, identity, and material dependence. (shrink)
This paper re-examines some well-known and commonly accepted arguments for the non-individuality of the embryo, due mainly to the work of John Harris. The first concerns the alleged non-differentiation of the embryoblast from the trophoblast. The second concerns monozygotic twinning and the relevance of the primitive streak. The third concerns the totipotency of the cells of the early embryo. I argue that on a proper analysis of both the empirical facts of embryological development, and the metaphysical importance or otherwise of (...) those facts, all three arguments are found wanting. None of them establishes that the embryo is not an individual human being from the moment of conception. (shrink)
This is an introductory talk on why I am not a consequentialist. I am not going to go into the details of consequentialist theory, or to compare and contrast different versions of consequentialism. Nor am I going to present all the reasons I am not a consequentialist, let alone all the reasons why you should not be one. All I want to do is focus on some key problems that in my view, and the view of many others, make consequentialism (...) a totally unacceptable moral theory – a theory about what is right, what is good, or obligatory, or forbidden, or permissible, or praiseworthy. So let me begin by giving a basic definition of consequentialism, one all supporters of the view can agree on. Consequentialism is the theory that the fundamental aim of morality is to maximize value. Now I was tempted to say ‘sole aim’, but some consequentialists will disagree with that. They might hold, for instance, that one of the aims of morality is to abide by certain rules, or to cultivate certain virtues. But for them, what gives obedience to a rule or the cultivation of a virtue its point is that, ultimately, such behaviour maximizes value. So although maximizing value might not be the sole aim of morality – the sole answer to the question ‘What should I do to be good?’ and similar questions – still it is the fundamental aim of morality, and all other kinds of decision, action, and so on, derive their justification by reference to it. For my purposes, then, the difference between ‘sole’ and ‘fundamental’ is merely terminological. Now the first thing that might occur to someone is a pair of simple questions. Why should anyone believe that the fundamental aim of morality is to maximize value? What intuitive force does the idea even have in the first place? These are good questions. I was a consequentialist once, and I don’t think I ever posed them to myself. I just took it as understood that since so many philosophers were consequentialists, and since so many of my fellow students were as well, then even if it were ultimately shown not to be true, the maximization thought (as I will call it) was at least the obvious place to start when one did ethics.. (shrink)
mix of the concrete and the abstract (if we include universals, laws, propositions and the like), but whichever of these is the case, the world is not purely abstract, as a formal structure is. One might claim, however, that the world is a structure1 in the sense that it instantiates a structure and is nothing else. In other words, all there is to the..
Things change. If anything counts as a datum of metaphysics, that does. Change occurs in many ways: it can be accidental or substantial; essential or non-essential; intrinsic or extrinsic; subjective (a change in the knower) or objective (a change in the known). Changes can be physical, spatial, quantitative, qualitative, natural, artefactual, conceptual, linguistic. Events are arguably best defined as changes in an object or objects. All change is from something and into something, and hence is at least a two-term relation, (...) involving a term from which and a term to which. (shrink)
In this essay, I ﬁrst set out the principles of change, paying particular attention to the need for a support for all changes and to the need for prime matter. I then discuss the nature of time, arguing that time is not actually composed of durationless instants but that instants can be understood as limits to an inﬁnite process of potential division. I then give a deﬁnition of instants in terms of intervals and propose a way of modeling them. In (...) the next section I bring together the two previous sections by explaining change as an instantaneous process that does not involve actual instants. In the ﬁnal section I draw out a larger metaphysical moral that emphasizes the role of potentiality and sees the potentiality in change and the potentiality in time as but different aspects of the same radical potentiality in nature. (shrink)
This paper is a detailed study of what are traditionally called the cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude. I defend what I call the Cardinality Thesis, that the traditional four and no others are cardinal. I define cardinality in terms of three sub-theses, the first being that the cardinal virtues are jointly necessary for the possession of every other virtue, the second that each of the other virtues is a species of one of the four cardinals, and the third (...) that many of the other virtues are also auxiliaries of one or more cardinals. I provide abstract arguments for each sub-thesis, followed by illustration from concrete cases. I then use these results to shed light on the two fundamental problems of the acquisition of the virtues and their unity, proving some further theses in the latter case. (shrink)
This article challenges the view most recently expounded by Emily Jackson that ‘decisional privacy’ ought to be respected in the realm of artificial reproduction (AR). On this view, it is considered an unjust infringement of individual liberty for the state to interfere with individual or group freedom artificially to produce a child. It is our contention that a proper evaluation of AR and of the relevance of welfare will be sensitive not only to the rights of ‘commissioning parties’ to AR (...) but also to public policy considerations. We argue that AR has implications for the common good, by involving matters of human reproduction, kinship, race, parenthood and identity. In this paper we challenge presuppositions concerning decisional privacy. We examine the essential commodification of human life implicit in AR and the systematicity that makes this possible. We address the objection that it is an ethically neutral way of having children and consider the problem of ‘existential debt’. After examining objections to the thesis that AR is illegitimate for reasons of public policy and the common good, we return to the issue of decisional privacy in the light of considerations concerning the legitimate role of the state in matters affecting human reproduction. (shrink)
abstract This paper re-examines some well-known and commonly accepted arguments for the non-individuality of the embryo, due mainly to the work of John Harris. The first concerns the alleged non-differentiation of the embryoblast from the trophoblast. The second concerns monozygotic twinning and the relevance of the primitive streak. The third concerns the totipotency of the cells of the early embryo. I argue that on a proper analysis of both the empirical facts of embryological development, and the metaphysical importance or otherwise (...) of those facts, all three arguments are found wanting. None of them establishes that the embryo is not an individual human being from the moment of conception. (shrink)
Natural law theory says that humans can only live well if they recognise the goods that are natural for humans, and understand how those goods generate the system of practical guidance that we call morality. Natural law is a long-established and flourishing ethical tradition, with roots in Aristotle and Aquinas, which is increasingly recognised as a worthy competitor to Kantianism, utilitarianism and virtue ethics. The new essays in this collection represent the latest thinking - both constructive and critical - of (...) some of the most important thinkers in the field. And they reflect the growing influence, sophistication, and importance of natural law theory within contemporary ethical debate. (shrink)
Freedom of belief is one of the entrenched values in modern society. Interpreted as the right not to be coerced into believing something, it is surely correct. But most people take it to mean that there is a right to false belief, a right to be wrong. People think that freedom of thought is a good thing, and this must include the freedom to make mistakes. It is also often thought that making mistakes is a life-enhancing and essential part of (...) personal development. I argue that these ideas are false. Beginning with an examination of the basic good of truth, and making comparisons with other goods like health and friendship, I argue that there is a duty to believe only the truth, which thus logically excludes the right also to believe falsehood. I distinguish between the strict wrongness of false belief and the fact that, because of our epistemic limitations, we are not always to be blamed for our false beliefs. Even in the case of those beliefs which are involuntary, there is no right to have them if they are false, even though we are not to be blamed for having them. The right to be wrong, I conclude, is a modern myth. (shrink)
l. ln `“Time, Successive Addition. and Kn/uni Cosmological Arguments," Graham Oppy accuses supporters ofthe KCA of being committed to a strict Hnitist metaphysics. lfthis is supposed to mean that we deny continua in nature, that is quite wrong. All it means is that we deny the existence of actual intinities. ln fact, Oppy protesses not to be tackling that question but throughout his paper he suggests or implies that the KCA falls down on this score.
As an undergraduate at the University of Melbourne in the 1980s, I recall a story that used to circulate to the effect that Australian philosophers were realists (the term prefixed by the obligatory adjective "hard-headed") because we lived in a harsh, sunlit environment where no misty meadow or morning fog obscured the objective reality of a mind-independent physical universe.
A common argumentative strategy employed by anti-reductionists involves claiming that one kind of entity cannot be identified with or reduced to a second because what can intelligibly be predicated of one cannot be predicated intelligibly of the other. For instance, it might be argued that mind and brain are not identical because it makes sense to say that minds are rational but it does not make sense to say that brains are rational. The scope and power of this kind of (...) argument â if valid â are obvious; but if it turns out that âIt makes sense to say that...â creates an opaque context, such arguments will fail. I analyze a possible counterexample to validity and show that it is not conclusive, as it depends on what syntactical construction is given to the premises. This leads to the general observation that the argument form under consideration works for some constructions but not others, and thus to the conclusion that further analysis of intelligibility is called for before it can be known whether the argumentative strategy is open to the anti-reductionist or not. (shrink)
[About the book] Natural law theory says that humans can only live well if they recognise the goods that are natural for humans, and understand how those goods generate the system of practical guidance that we call morality. Natural law is a long-established and flourishing ethical tradition, with roots in Aristotle and Aquinas, which is increasingly recognised as a worthy competitor to Kantianism, utilitarianism and virtue ethics. The new essays in this collection represent the latest thinking - both constructive and (...) critical - of some of the most important thinkers in the field. And they reflect the growing influence, sophistication, and importance of natural law theory within contemporary ethical debate. (shrink)