Like the dominant moral philosophers in the Western tradition, Mahatma Gandhi reaches moral conclusions that emphasize universality, impartiality, and detachment. This is in apparent contrast to feminist philosophers who have put forth a scheme for reaching moral conclusions that gives centrality to feeling, experience, and interdependence. In the following, I show that Gandhi shares significant agreement with feminists in spite of the kinds of moral conclusions he reaches. The crucial difference between Gandhi and the feminist critics lies in how the (...) distinctiveness of the other is understood. For Gandhi, I show, that the distinctiveness of others which evokes our affection is significant only in so far as it is a starting point that aides us in reaching the highest form of moral concern—a kind of agape (unselfish love for all). (shrink)
Abstract Many in both developed and developing countries fear global economic integration. But developing?country fears of volatile capital flows are unfounded, as are developed?country fears of pauper wages due to low?cost imports. Demands for ?ethical trading? are as misplaced as the fears of Third?World cultural nationalists that globalization will destroy their valued ways of life.
Soil is fragile and nonrenewable but the most basic of natural resources. It has a capacity to tolerate continuous use but only with proper management. Improper soil management and indiscriminate use of chemicals have contributed to some severe global environmental issues, e.g., volatilization losses and contamination of natural waters by sediments and agricultural fertilizers and pesticides. The increasing substitution of energy for labor and other cultural inputs in agriculture is another issue. Fertilizers and chemicals account for about 25% of the (...) production energy investment in agriculture. An additional 60% is accounted for by machinery, gasoline, electricity, and power-related inputs. Fertilizer additions to cropland are not utilized fully and significant amounts, depending on conditions, are either lost in surface runoff or leached into the ground water. The annual discharge of dissolved solids from agricultural lands to the waterways in the USA is substantial. The increasing use of herbicides in agriculture is a threat to the quality of surface and ground water, although this threat is dependent upon both the chemistry of the compound and the ecosystem in which it is used. Especially within the Third World, development of an environmental ethic and environmental laws have not kept pace with the increase in pesticide use. Above all is the severe and global problem of soil degradation currently occurring at the rate of five to seven million hectares per year. The policy and moral aspects of these issues are discussed. (shrink)
Though the resurgence of Hindu nationalism as a political phenomenon is well-understood, Meera Nanda is correct in suggesting that the ascendancy of Hindutva has other dimensions, such as the avent placed by cultural nationalist on 'Vedic science'. However, apart from this rudimentary insight, Nanda's contribution, far from being a resounding demonstration of potmodernism's complicity in the projects of Hindu nationalism, is a striking testament to her own commitment to a rigidly positivist, ferociously intolerant, and intellectually sterile conception of modern science (...) and the Enlightenment rationality which she views as the pinnacle of human achievement. Nanda displays an impoverished understanding of the scholarly contributions of the last three decades and is unable to countenance the idea of a plurality of sciences; at the same time, in veiw of her deliberate conflation of Hindutva with Hinduism, and her attempts to equate Hinduism as such with Nazism, it is clear that Hinduism itself stands condemned, and not merely resurgent Hindu nationalism. Nanda's book is an indiscriminate and uninteresting assault upon the innumerable enemies of reason, and it is, ironically, likely to have the result of further eroding confidence in self-proclaimed champions of rationality such as herself and the modern science of which she claims herself to be a true and peerless inheritor. (shrink)
Although recognized as one of the principal sources of inspiration for the Indian environmental movement, Gandhi would have been profoundly uneasy with many of the most radical strands of ecology in the West, such as social ecology, ecofeminism, and even deep ecology. He was in every respect an ecological thinker, indeed an ecological being: the brevity of his enormous writings, his everyday bodily practices, his observance of silence, his abhorrence of waste, and his cultivation of the small as much as (...) the big all equally point to an extraordinarily expansive notion of ecological awareness. (shrink)
I argue against interpretations of Mencius by Liu Xiusheng and Eric Hutton that attempt to make sense of a Mencian account of moral judgment and deliberation in light of the moral particularism of John McDowell. These interpretations read Mencius’s account as relying on a faculty of moral perception, which generates moral judgments by directly perceiving moral facts that are immediately intuited with the help of rudimentary and innate moral inclinations. However, I argue that it is a mistake to identify innate (...) moral inclinations as the foundational source of moral judgments and knowledge. Instead, if we understand that for Mencius an individual’s natural dispositions (xing 性) have a relational element, then the normativity of moral judgments can be seen as stemming from the relationships that constitute the dispositions of each individual. Finally, this essay elaborates on John Dewey's account of moral deliberation as moral imagination, an account which also takes the relational quality of natural dispositions as its starting point, in order to suggest the vital role of imagination for Mencius’s own account of moral deliberation. (shrink)
Recent studies showing that pontine burst cells carry a monocular code for rapid eye movements raise questions about the organisation of signals at more central levels. Evidence that the superior colliculus may also be involved in the coding of movements in depth is reviewed. Recent work showing that the global effect is a property of refixations in 3-D space is another indication that the oculomotor systems for direction and depth are centrally coupled.
A symmetric monoidal category naturally arises as the mathematical structure that organizes physical systems, processes, and composition thereof, both sequentially and in parallel. This structure admits a purely graphical calculus. This paper is concerned with the encoding of a fixed causal structure within a symmetric monoidal category: causal dependencies will correspond to topological connectedness in the graphical language. We show that correlations, either classical or quantum, force terminality of the tensor unit. We also show that well-definedness of the concept of (...) a global state forces the monoidal product to be only partially defined, which in turn results in a relativistic covariance theorem. Except for these assumptions, at no stage do we assume anything more than purely compositional symmetric-monoidal categorical structure. We cast these two structural results in terms of a mathematical entity, which we call a causal category . We provide methods of constructing causal categories, and we study the consequences of these methods for the general framework of categorical quantum mechanics. (shrink)
In this article I reply to comments made by Agustin Vicente and Giridhari Lal Pandit on Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom (McHenry 2009 ). I criticize analytic philosophy, go on to expound the argument for the need for a revolution in academic inquiry so that the basic aim becomes wisdom and not just knowledge, defend aim-oriented empiricism, outline my solution to the human world/physical universe problem, and defend the thesis that free will is compatible with physicalism.
Focusing on Nicholas Maxwell’s thesis that “science, properly understood, provides us the methodological key to the salvation of humanity”, the article discusses Maxwell’s aim oriented empiricism and his conception of Wisdom Inquiry as advocated in Maxwell’s ( 2009b , pp.1–56) essay entitled “How Can Life of Value Best Flourish in the Real World?” (in Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom: Studies in the Philosophy of Nicholas Maxwell 2009, edited by Leemon McHenry) and in Maxwell ( 2004 & 2009a ).
Vinay Lal raises doubts about Gandhi’s status as an environmentalist but argues that Gandhi had “a profoundly ecological view of life.” I take issue with Lal’s claims and, to set the record straight, describe Gandhi’s contributions to environmental though and action. When we look at the aims of contemporary environmental spokespersons and activists, Gandhian themes are dominant. Gandhian biocentrism and Gandhi’s recommendation not to harm even nonsentient life unnecessarily are familiar in contemporary environmental thinking. Gandhian non-violence is both a technique (...) of environmental activists and, for some, one of the constituents of the world for which they struggle. Gandhi emphasized simple living, an important theme for many who are concerned about looming ecological crises. Taking a broader perspective, Gandhi criticized what we today call globalization and encouraged, in its place, the decentralization of economic activities. Gandhi’s emphasis on decentralization and local economic self-reliance led to the Chipko movement in India. Gandhi’s emphasis on small-scale economies, on self-reliant communities, and on appropriate technology paved the way for the “small is beautiful” approach. Gandhi’s recommendation that we live in self-reliant rural communities, if implemented, would significantly decrease that consumption which is causing climate change and straining the capacity of the planet. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss some challenges to the discourse of universal human rights made by those who insist that the existence of pluralism and cultural diversity count against it. I focus on arguments made in a recent article by Vinay Lal but also address several other criticisms of universal human rights-arguments hinted at, but not elaborated, by Lal. I maintain that these challenges frequently fail to distinguish the discourse of human rights from its adoption by certain states to advance (...) foreign policy objectives, and suggest that, even when these criticisms appear plausible, closer inspection reveals that they are either inconsistent or simply do not succeed. I conclude that the notion of universal human rights still has an important place in a culturally diverse and pluralist world. (shrink)