This article aims to resolve the apparent contradiction in Rousseau's oeuvre concerning the origin of man's evil. In the Second Discourse a naturalistic explanation for the development of evil is given, whereas in Emile the Savoyard Vicar propounds a deontological account. The two can be reconciled, however, through a precise understanding of the nature and bearing of Rousseau's conception of free will. The analysis challenges O'Hagan's interpretation and suggests that the irreducible tensions within Rousseau's thought can be resolved (...) if the Kantian reading of self-mastery is abandoned. The article highlights Rousseau's metaphysical scepticism and concludes with some reflections on the relationship between faith and philosophy. (shrink)
This article addresses issues in the philosophy of fiction from the perspective of a relevance theoretic approach to communication: first, how should we understand the notion of ‘voice’ as it is used in the analysis of free indirect style narratives; and, second, in what sense can the person responsible for free indirect representations of fictional characters' thoughts be regarded as a communicator? The background to these questions is the debate about the roles of pretence and attribution in (...) class='Hi'>free indirect style. I argue that the role of expressives in sustaining the illusion that fictional characters speak their inner thoughts suggests that ‘voice’ should be understood in two distinct ways. On the one hand, there are cases in which the use of expressive devices leads to the formation of thoughts which are understood to resemble other (attributed) thoughts. On the other hand, there are other cases in which expressives are used as a means of simulating a fictional character's behaviour or style. At the same time, I argue that in order to accommodate free indirect thought representation in a relevance theoretic model of communication, the responsibility for ensuring that the effort of processing the text will be rewarded by optimal relevance must be decoupled from the point of view that is being represented. While the (constructed) author is responsible for orchestrating our interpretation of free indirect thought representations so that the effort of processing will result in optimal relevance, the reader does not necessarily assume this function is being performed by someone who intends to communicate their own thoughts: the relevance of the act of narration may instead lie in the sense of mutuality achieved between reader and character. (shrink)
Much of chapters 2 to 6 is in agreement with publications from the last twenty years (including those of the reviewer); so for example Frede’s points that neither Aristotle nor the Stoics had a notion of free-will; that in Epictetus (for the first time) the notions of freedom and will were combined; that an indeterminist notion of free-will occurs first in Alexander. The achievement of these chapters lies in the way Frede carefully joins them together and uses them (...) as a basis for some substantive criticism and rewriting of the history of free-will regarding late antique Pagan and Christian authors, in particular Plotinus, Origen and Augustine. (shrink)
John Stuart Mill is the philosopher of liberalism. Or so some people think. Others disagree; they may give that status to Locke, or (perhaps) to Kant. Or they may think the question frivolous and insist – boringly but, I cannot deny, sensibly – that no one thinker is the philosopher of liberalism.
Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise (1670) is one of the most important philosophical works of the early modern period. In it Spinoza discusses at length the historical circumstances of the composition and transmission of the Bible, demonstrating the fallibility of both its authors and its interpreters. He argues that free enquiry is not only consistent with the security and prosperity of a state but actually essential to them, and that such freedom flourishes best in a democratic and republican state in which (...) individuals are left free while religious organizations are subordinated to the secular power. His Treatise has profoundly influenced the subsequent history of political thought, Enlightenment 'clandestine' or radical philosophy, Bible hermeneutics, and textual criticism more generally. It is presented here in a new translation of great clarity and accuracy by Michael Silverthorne and Jonathan Israel, with a substantial historical and philosophical introduction by Jonathan Israel. (shrink)
Two important works by one of philosophy's most original and penetrating thinkers appear in this volume. Spinoza's "A Theologico-Political Treatise" presents an eloquent plea for religious liberty, demonstrating that true religion consists of the practice of simple piety, independent of philosophical speculation. He examines the Bible at length to show that freedom of thought and speech are consistent with the religious life. In the unfinished "A Political Treatise," the author develops a theory of government founded on common consent.
Machine generated contents note: List of contributors; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Introduction Yitzhak Y. Melamed and Michael Rosenthal; Spinoza's exchange with Albert Burgh Edwin Curley; The text of Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus Piet Steenbakkers; Spinoza on Ibn Ezra's Secret of the Twelve Warren Zev Harvey; Reflections of the medieval Jewish-Christian debate in the Theological-Political Treatise and the Epistles Daniel J. Lasker; The early Dutch and German reaction to the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus: foreshadowing the Enlightenment's more general Spinoza reception? Jonathan Israel; G. W. (...) Leibniz's two readings of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus Mogens Laerke; The metaphysics of the Theological-Political Treatise Yitzhak Y. Melamed; Spinoza's conception of law: metaphysics and ethics Donald Rutherford; Getting his hands dirty: Spinoza's criticism of the rebel Michael Della Rocca; 'Promising' ideas: Hobbes and contract in Spinoza's political philosophy Don Garrett; Spinoza's curious defense of toleration Justin Steinberg; Miracles, wonder, and the state in Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise Michael A. Rosenthal; Narrative as the means to freedom: Spinoza on the uses of imagination Susan James; Bibliography. (shrink)
This essay suggests that common themes in recent feminist ethical thought can dislodge the guiding assumptions of traditional theories of free agency and thereby foster an account of freedom which might be more fruitful for feminist discussion of moral and political agency. The essay proposes constructing that account around a condition of normative-competence. It argues that this view permits insight into why women's labor of reclaiming and augmenting their agency is both difficult and possible in a sexist society.