Recently there has been a renewed interest in moral inquiry among American scholars in a variety of disciplines. This collection of accessible essays by scholars in philosophy, political theory, psychology, history, literary studies, sociology, religious studies, anthropology, and legal studies affords a view of the current state of moral inquiry in the American academy, and it offers fresh departures for ethically informed, interdisciplinary scholarship. Seeking neither to reduce values to facts nor facts to values, these essays aim to foster discussion (...) about inquiry and moral judgment, and demonstrate that moral inquiry need not be either dispassionate and value-free or moralistic and preachy. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Martin Hackl and I identified a variety of circumstances where scalar implicatures, questions, definite descriptions, and sentences with the focus particle only are absent or unacceptable (Fox and Hackl 2006, henceforth F&H). We argued that the relevant effect is one of maximization failure (MF): an application of a maximization operator to a set that cannot have the required maximal member. We derived MF from our hypothesis that the set of degrees relevant for the semantics of degree (...) constructions is always dense (the Universal Density of Measurement, UDM). The goal of this paper is to present an apparent shortcoming of F&H and to argue that it is overcome once certain consequences of the proposal are shown to follow from more general properties of MF. Specifically, the apparent problem comes from evidence that the core generalizations argued for in F&H extend to areas for which an account in terms of density is unavailable. Nevertheless, I will argue that the account could still be right. Certain dense sets contain "too many alternatives" for there to be a maximal member, thus leading to MF. But, there are other sets that lead to the same predicament. My goal will be to characterize a general signature of MF in the hope that it could be used to determine the identity of alternatives in areas where their identity is not clear on independent grounds. (shrink)
Rory Fox challenges the traditional understanding that Thomas Aquinas believed that God exists totally outside of time. His study investigates the work of several mid-thirteenth-century writers, including Albert the Great and Bonaventure as well as Aquinas, examining their understanding of the topological and metrical properties of time. Fox thus provides access to a wealth of material on medieval concepts of time and eternity, while using the conceptual tools of modern analytic philosophy to express his conclusions.
Michael W. Fox, the respected Vice President of the Humane Society of the United States, here looks at the biogenetic controversy and draws some troubling conclusions. Biogenetic research is capable of producing new life forms whose effects may alter the intricate balance of Nature in ways no one can foretell. "Superpigs" that grow larger than any pig before, cows that breed on an accelerated cycle, "new" vegetables, tomatoes that won't freeze - such new life forms can now be patented, making (...) them potential sources of enormous profits for biotech companies. And the record of government, academia, and industry is spotty at best at protecting the earth - yet these same forces are in control of the biogenetic future. Superpigs and Wondercorn is at once an eye-opening survey of a dramatic, sometimes frightening new technology and an impassioned plea to use these new tools in the long-term interests of the global ecosystem. (shrink)
Religion has become a vital resource for attempts to rethink the meaning of the political. This article rehearses the efforts of two recent figures, René Girard and Giorgio Agamben, to transform the political by renewing its connection to religion. Both thinkers struggle to escape politics as defined by Carl Schmitt's friend/enemy distinction. Girard and Agamben do clash ideologically, but their inquiries into sacrifice and messianism take similar courses. Regarding origins, Girard argues for the sacrificial crisis as the common parent to (...) religion and politics. Conversely, for Agamben, the Roman figure of homo sacer distinguishes politics from religion. With respect to the future, Girard's messianism installs Christian belief as the only way to move beyond violence. By contrast, Agamben steers Pauline messianism toward the efforts to displace sovereignty and reopen the political. I conclude that Agamben breaks with Schmitt while Girard reinscribes his politics at a higher level. Key Words: Giorgio Agamben Rey Chow Christianity René Girard homo sacer messianism politics sacred sacrifice Carl Schmitt. (shrink)
This essay considers principles of distributive justice for access to reproductive biotechnologies which make it is possible to enhance the traits of human offspring. I provide prima facie reason to think that redistributive principles apply to genetic goods and proceed to evaluate the way in which four distributive patterns - egalitarianism, luck egalitarianism, prioritarianism, and sufficientarianism - would implement a just distribution of genetic goods. I argue that the currency of genetic redistribution consists in natural primary goods like health, vision, (...) and rationality as these goods contribute to the biological component of basic capabilities, like being healthy, seeing properly, and being able to reason. I develop a mixed sufficiency/priority approach to genetic enhancement, and defend this approach against objections. (shrink)
In his book "Walden", Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) describes an experiment intended to determine what is essential in life. His analysis includes a critique of the excesses of material culture, concluding that the most important concerns for human beings revolve around the retention of what he calls "heat." I suggest that there are a number of interesting parallels between this analysis and a cluster of ideas generally describable as "protodaoist" and often attributed to the legendary and obscure figure known as (...) Yang Zhu or Yangzi. In particular, both of these models can be seen to relate one's efficient preservation of life force to the accomplishment of what I am calling one's "natural destiny," and both include a concomitant critique of material culture. In this essay I will define the concept of natural destiny and articulate and compare the two models' common concern with achieving it through properly economizing one's resources in the face of the diversion provoked by material attachments. (shrink)
Points of criticism of the target include: the extreme violence of females in defence of young despite high potential cost, the reality of female dominance striving, differences in male and female ritualization of aggression, the real existence of institutionalized female instrumental aggression, and the uselessness of “patriarchy” as defined as a category for differential analysis. It is concluded that it may in fact be the decline of patriarchy in the strict sense that leads to the female use of exculpatory explanations (...) for aggression, thus reversing Campbell's proposed causal sequence. (shrink)
This paper examines the relationship between North American beef consumption and deforestation in South and Central America. Some writers have argued that consumption of hamburgers in North America, particularly hamburgers consumed in fast food restaurants, contributes to the depletion of the rainforest in South and Central America. We survey the published policy literature on the causes of rainforest depletion in the region. We also review the published estimates of the rate and extent of clearing of rainforest that has occurred in (...) South and Central America since 1970. Finally, we review the data on beef imports and consumption in Canada and the United States in a effort to assess the importance of South and Central America as suppliers of beef to the North American market. We conclude that the relationship between beef consumption in North America should not be considered an important cause of forest depletion in South and Central America. Domestic policies and market forces in the countries where rainforests are located are the leading causes of rainforest depletion in this region. This lesson seems to have been lost on some popular and even some textbook writers on this subject. (shrink)
: Puritanism and Confucianism have little in common in terms of their substantive teachings, but they do share an emphasis on bounded, authoritative, localized human arrangements, and this profoundly challenges the dominant presumptions of contemporary globalization. It is not enough to say that these worldviews are ‘‘communitarian’’ alternatives to globalism, for that defines away what needs to be explained. This article compares the ontology of certain elements of the Puritan and Confucian worldviews, and, by focusing on the role of both (...) authority and activity in these systems, assesses (with the assistance of Max Weber) the theories of harmony that each invoke. It concludes by identifying the distinct options that these two modes of human existence suggest for those who wish to defend the relevance of boundedness and authority, and thus the very possibility of a human-scaled politics, in today’s world. (shrink)
The likeness of sound between rhyming words is arbitrary, but words have meanings. Thus rhyme schemes carry an implicit meaning over against the explicit meaning of the lines in which they occur. The use of "death" and "breath" and other rhymes in Swinburne illustrates this duality, especially in his great sonnet addressed to Death. This prompts a discussion of the role of meter and rhyme in the physiology of dreams and memory, the human propensity to make rules, translations of Dante, (...) the comic rhymes of Noel Coward, and the real meaning of Seinfeld. (shrink)
Using testosterone alone as a measure of dominance presents problems, especially when dominance is loosely defined to include a range of behaviors that may arise from multiple causes. Testosterone should be examined in relation to other hormonal and neurotransmitter factors, such as serotonin. Various hypotheses about the relationship between high and low levels of testosterone with serotonin and with impulse control are suggested for future study.
This paper details a three-credit-hour undergraduate ethics course that was delivered using traditional, distance, and compressed formats. OLS 263: Ethical Decisions in Leadership is a 200-level course offered by the Department of Organizational Leadership and Supervision in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Students in engineering, technology, business, nursing, and other majors take the course. In an effort to determine student perceptions of course and instructor effectiveness, end-of-course student survey data were compared (...) using data from traditional, distance, and compressed sections of the course. In addition, learning outcomes from the final course project were evaluated using a standardized assessment rubric and scores on the course project. (shrink)
I critique the oppressive society in which Michael A. Fox’s Deep Vegetarianism was written and which Fox too attempts to criticize and change. Fox proves himself to be among a handful of Western philosophers open-minded enough to acknowledge and attempt to learn from North American indigenous values and world views. For this reason, he should be commended. In defending his thesis that a vegetarian life style is morally preferable, he draws upon indigenous thought, feminist philosophy, and antidomination theories, arguing that (...) speciesism, racism, and sexism can all be traced back to the same mind-set of oppression, domination and exploitation. Unfortunately, identifying the oppressive mind-set is not ipso facto escaping it. I show that Fox in his explication and use of indigenous thought actually perpetuates the very oppression and exploitation he argues against. (shrink)
Both Richard Sylvan’s trenchant critique of Deep Ecology and Warwick Fox’s illuminating reinterpretation and defence are presented and appraised. Besides throwing light on the nature and the prospects of the defence of Deep Ecology and of its diverse axiological, epistemological and metaphysical strands, the appraisal discloses the range of normative positions open to those who reject anthropocentrism, of which Deep Ecology is no more than one (and, if Fox’s account of its nature is right, may not be one at all). (...) A position intermediate between Deep Ecology and anthropocentrism is advocated, which has been called by Wayne Sumner "middle-depth environmentalism – a kind of continental shelf between the shallow and deep extremes". (shrink)
The dormancy of American pragmatism is over. At least, this is what numerous articles and books have unequivocally stated in the decades since Richard Rorty gave up his belief in orthodox analytical epistemology and settled into his own brand of John Dewey's antifoundational epistemology. Even though Rorty's interpretation and manipulation of Dewey have been controversial, we are all the better for the revival of discourse around what pragmatism was, is, and will be. Robert Westbrook's Democratic Hope: Pragmatism and the (...) Politics of Truth (2005), a recent contribution to this revival, clearly demonstrates the value of a vibrant and robust tradition of pragmatism to American intellectual and public life. The depth of knowledge and passion for the subject matter that made Westbrook's magnum opus, John Dewey and American Democracy (1991), a landmark study are on display in this text as well. In both works, what makes... (shrink)
The Snake and the Fox offers students a new and exciting way to look at and understand logic. Mary Haight uses graphics to tell the story of how logic works, and why it works the way it does. This introductory text uses easy to understand language for the student who has no prior understanding of logic or philosophy. The author includes some discussion on the philosophical theory underlying the logic: not just how to do it, but why it takes the (...) form it does. The Snake and the Fox is user-friendly, interactive, uses questions with answers, and has graphics which will easily guide any student coming to logic for the first time. (shrink)
Perhaps Archilochus simply meant that the hedgehog’s single defense defeats the fox’s many tricks. Yet, the hedgehog and the fox were turned into metaphors for two types of thinkers and writers by the historian philosopher Isaiah Berlin. All the thinking and actions of the hedgehog revolve around a single vision and are structured by a single set of principles that the hedgehog holds to be universal. Foxes lack such central vision and universal principles; they seize many experiences and pursuit many (...) ends, always holding concrete particulars to be paramount. Each way of thinking has its strength and weakness; neither is superior to the other. Berlin cited Plato, Dante, and Dostoevsky as hedgehogs; Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Pushkin foxes. Tolstoy was diagnosed as a fox who imagined himself a hedgehog. (shrink)
The consummate Soto Zen master, Dogen (1200?1253), expressed himself in creative ways that reflected fundamental insights of Chan/Zen Buddhism while responding to the needs of his time and place, i.e., Kamakura era Japan. His early training in Tendai and Rinzai Zen lent rigor and force to his Soto Zen experiences and expressions. This paper explores Dogen's new light on causality and morality purity, vis-à-vis Song dynasty Chan approaches by examining (1) his comments, early (1244) and late (ca. 1252), on the (...) Fox Koan, and (2) his discussions about Dream and ?veridical? experience. By showing the inexorability of causality, Dogen revealed the need for moral purity in achieving enlightenment qua freedom. Even in the vertigo of emptiness, the purified Soto Zen Buddhist adept discerns and effects equilibrium and, by extension, fairness, in experience, practice and affairs, as ongoing endeavors, as skilful means to impact and transform, not just Buddhist adepts, but one's world. (shrink)
In this paper, I undertake an exploration of the similarities I find between the epistemological projects of John Dewey and Evelyn Fox Keller. These similarities, I suggest, warrant considering Dewey and Keller to share membership in an epistemological tradition, a tradition I label the "Coresponsible Option." In my examination, I focus on Dewey's and Keller's ontological assertion that we live in a world that is an inextricable mixture of certainty and chance, and on their resultant conception of inquiry as a (...) communal relationship. (shrink)
Robyn Eckersley claims erroneously that I believe humanity is currently equipped to take over the “helm” of natural evolution. In addition, she provides a misleading treatment of my discussion of the relationship of first nature (biological evolution) and second nature (social evolution). I argue that her positivistic methodology is inappropriate in dealing with my processual approach and that her Manichaean contrast between biocentrism and anthropocentrism virtually excludes any human intervention in the natural world. With regard to Warwick Fox’s treatment of (...) my writings, I argue that he deals with my views on society’s relationship to nature in a simplistic, narrowly deterministic, and ahistorical manner. I fault both of my deep ecology critics for little or no knowledge of my writings. I conclude with an outline of a dialectical naturalism that treats nature as an evolutionary process-not simply as a scenic view-and places human and sodal evolution in a graded relationship with natural evolution. I emphasize that society and humanity can no longer be separated from natural evolution and that the kind of society we achieve will either foster the development of first nature or damage the planet beyond repair. (shrink)
This paper is a philosophical reconstruction of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese's thinking about women and feminism, and an inquiry into whether there is a conservative form of feminism. The paper argues that Fox-Genovese's endorsement of conventional social forms (like traditional marriage, motherhood, and sexual morality) contrasts strongly with feminism's criticism of these forms, and feminism's claim that they should be transformed. The paper concludes, however, that one need not call Fox-Genovese's thought "feminist" to recognize it as serious advocacy on behalf of women (...) and to include it in discussions about what is good for women. (shrink)
This memorial tribute reflects on the personal and intellectual qualities of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese (1941–2007), who was the author's teacher. Higginbotham says that her first impressions of Fox-Genovese, formed in a graduate seminar in European history at the University of Rochester in the mid-1970s, have been lasting impressions. The seminar introduced patterns of thought and behavior that proved consistent over the years, despite Fox-Genovese's several shifts in the past three decades—from Marxist to non-Marxist, historian of France to historian of antebellum Southern (...) women, feminist to nonfeminist, and religious agnostic to devout Catholic. Higginbotham discusses political theorist C. B. McPherson's idea of “possessive individualism” and its influence on Fox-Genovese's steadfast belief that individual rights derive from society (rather than innate nature) and that the concept of individualism maintains a contradictory and fraught relationship between individual and community. Her analysis and political positions often distanced her from her colleagues. But in this meditation on a brilliant mind and complex life, Higginbotham observes that Fox-Genovese never abandoned the tendency to speak openly and candidly, and thus to present herself vulnerable to the criticism of onlookers. (shrink)
This article treats the figure of the fox that appears as one of the members of the embassy sent by the animals to Zeus in Callimachus' second Iamb. By exploring previous appearances of the fox in the poetic repertoire, I identify a series of Archaic and early Classical works that Callimachus uses by way of , and argue that the Hellenistic author draws on the animal's place within the interconnected iambic and fable traditions that inform his poem. Already visible in (...) these earlier texts, and anticipating Callimachus, is a concern with literary as well as ethical polemics. (shrink)
The parallels between Machiavelli's The Prince and Cicero's -- De Officiis have been frequently noted but seldom studied. An examination of the parallels suggests that Machiavelli intended The Prince to offer an improvement on Cicero's defence of the active life. He thus completes Cicero's intention in De Officiis to treat political life on its own terms, independent of philosophy. In so doing, he uncovers inconsistencies and tensions in the Ciceronian account of the �intermediate� virtues of the statesman, tensions that are (...) the product of the classical framework within which Cicero is working. The statesman's activity secures the good of the polity, but to achieve the good one must know what is good. Ultimately for Cicero the statesman must depend on knowledge of the good that is the province of philosophy. In The Prince, Machiavelli shows how these tensions may be resolved. (shrink)
Emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) has been available from pharmacies in the UK without prescription for 11 years. In the Republic of Ireland this service was made available in 2011. In both jurisdictions the respective regulators have included ‘conscience clauses’, which allow pharmacists to opt out of providing EHC on religious or moral grounds providing certain criteria are met. In effect, conscientious objectors must refer patients to other providers who are willing to supply these medicines. Inclusion of such clauses leads to (...) a cycle of cognitive dissonance on behalf of both parties. Objectors convince themselves of the existence of a moral difference between supply of EHC and referral to another supplier, while the regulators must feign satisfaction that a form of regulation lacking universality will not lead to adverse consequences in the long term. We contend that whichever of these two parties truly believes in that which they purport to must act to end this unsatisfactory status quo. Either the regulators must compel all pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception to all suitable patients who request it, or a pharmacist must refuse either to supply EHC or to refer the patient to an alternative supplier and challenge any subsequent sanctions imposed by their regulator. (shrink)
The paper focuses on Herodotus' authorial self-representation, and on the problem of the intellectual tradition and genre(s) behind the Histories. The main assumption is that the opening sections of the work are a natural place to present its subject and principles to the public. Despite and beyond the notoriously loose grammatical structure of the first sentence, this paper offers a formal analysis of the whole 'extended preface' (incipit through 1.5.4), a carefully organized large-scale 'pedimental composition'. A detailed examination of this (...) structure yields the following results: (1) the stories about the abductions of women form an ironic attack against a peculiar model of causality of some contemporary Greek poets and writers, whose pragmatic outlook deprives the world of its ethico-religious dimension. (2) Conversely, Herodotus himself propounds a symbolic view of the world and seeks a monistic principle encompassing the past and the whole range of human experience. He ultimately finds it in the idea of the 'cycle of human affairs'. This idea is the carefully stated subject of the Histories. (3) Although he belongs to the agonistic and display-oriented intellectual world of the sophistic era, Herodotus poses as a 'sage' capable of penetrating the whole variety of 'all things'. Thus, he refers his reader to the tradition of wisdom literature. (4) Not unlike Thucydides, Herodotus' research into the greatest military conflict thus far forms in his view the best possible paradigmatic diagnosis of the human condition - much better than that of his fellow wise men (poets, philosophers, etc.) because based on the firm ground of verifiable historical data. (5) Although Herodotus is intent upon seeing the world from the standpoint of a single organizing principle, one of the most salient features of the Histories is the notion of the 'marvellous' (thômaston), which clearly elicits the pragmatic or factual attitude of the thinkers he dislikes. Many problems we experience when interpreting this author are due to the tension between the two attitudes. (6) This inherent breach in Herodotus' mind should be seen as a result not of a development or evolution of his work and thought, but of the contemporary debate between two diametrically opposed types of knowledge, viz. between the exponents of polymathiê, or Vielwisserei, and those of sophiê, or 'wisdom'. Herodotus' contemporaries active in the field of arkhaiologia (including mythography, genealogy, etc.) and periegesis (geography, ethnography, etc.) were widely considered 'polymaths'. Herodotus' ambition to apply the monistic (and symbolic) bent of wisdom literature to the subject-matter dominated thus far by the 'pluralistic' (and pragmatic) way of thinking was at least partly responsible for this discontinuity in his thought, but also accounts for the originality of the Histories. (shrink)
ALONG the far wall of the spacious, newly renovated bookstore at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, stands a shrine to Richard Feynman, the university's celebrity scientist. Reaching from floor to ceiling, shelf upon shelf is loaded with multiple copies of more than fifty Feynman hits -- books, CDs, cassettes, and videotapes capturing the outpouring of words written about or uttered by the man many consider to be the greatest physicist of the second half..
Many of the philosophical doctrines purveyed by postmodernists have been roundly refuted, yet people continue to be taken in by the dishonest devices used in proselytizing for postmodernism. I exhibit, name, and analyse five favourite rhetorical manoeuvres: Troll's Truisms, Motte and Bailey Doctrines, Equivocating Fulcra, the Postmodernist Fox Trot, and Rankly Relativising Fields. Anyone familiar with postmodernist writing will recognise their pervasive hold on the dialectic of postmodernism and come to judge that dialectic as it ought to be judged.