Can torture be morally justified? I shall criticise arguments that have been adduced against torture and demonstrate that torture can be justified more easily than most philosophers dealing with the question are prepared to admit. It can be justified not only in ticking nuclear bomb cases but also in less spectacular ticking bomb cases and even in the socalled Dirty Harry cases. There is no morally relevant difference between self-defensive killing. of a culpable aggressor and torturing someone who is (...) culpable of a deadly threat that can be averted only by torturing him. Nevertheless, I shall argue that torture should not be institutionalised, for example by torture warrants. (shrink)
In his article 'The Evil of Death' (henceforth: ED) Harry Silverstein argues that a proper refutation of the Epicurean view that death is not an evil requires the adoption of a particular revisionary ontology, which Silverstein, following Quine, calls 'four-dimensionalism'.1 In 'The Evil of Death Revisited' (henceforth: EDR) Silverstein reaffirms his earlier position and responds to several criticisms, including some targeted at his ontology. There remain, however, serious problems with Silverstein's argument, and I shall highlight five major ones below. (...) I conclude that Silverstein has not shown that an appeal to four-dimensionalism facilitates a refutation of Epicurus, although a consideration of some of Silverstein's points helps to indicate the limited scope of the Epicurean thesis. (shrink)
Souls play a huge part in the Harry Potter story. Voldemort creates six Horcruxes, thereby dividing his own soul into seven parts, and Harry must destroy all of the Horcruxes before Voldemort can die. At different points in the books, several main characters (Harry, Sirius, and Dudley) narrowly avoid having their souls sucked out of them by a dementor; Barty Crouch, Jr., does not escape this fate. So what is the soul? In Harry Potter’s world, it (...) is clear that people have souls, and that these souls generally survive bodily death. But it is not entirely obvious how souls work and what their nature is. Over the centuries, philosophers and theologians have proposed various different accounts of the soul, and have argued about which is an accurate picture. In this chapter, I will survey some of the major philosophical accounts of the soul before turning to the question of how souls work in Rowling’s books and whether her picture of the soul is plausible. (shrink)
In his writings on school choice and educational justice, Harry Brighouse presents normative evaluations of various choice systems. This paper responds to Brighouse's claim that it is inadequate to criticise these evaluations with reference to empirical data concerning the effects of school choice.
. Michael Polanyi saw his epistemology as restoring the capacity of a scientific age to believe again in the reality of God known through religion. This central feature of Polanyi’s thought, discussed in my book The Way of Discovery, is disputed by Harry Prosch, co-author with Polanyi of Meaning. Prosch’s argument is that while in Polanyi’s view science deals with an independent reality, religion and theology do not and are only works of our imagination. This article answers Prosch with (...) a review of Polanyi’s Christian affiliations, his conceptions of the common ground of science and religion, the levels of reality to which both science and religion provide access, and his expressed aim to liberate faith from scientific dogmatism. (shrink)
With respect to the ethical debate about the treatment of animals in biomedical and behavioral research, Harry F. Harlow represents a paradox. On the one hand, his work on monkey cognition and social development fostered a view of the animals as having rich subjective lives filled with intention and emotion. On the other, he has been criticized for the conduct of research that seemed to ignore the ethical implications of his own discoveries. The basis of this contradiction is discussed (...) and propositions for current research practice are presented. (shrink)
by Alonzo L Hamby Noam Chomsky The Guardian, March 8, 1996 Harry Truman is a marvellous subject for a serious biography and after decades of 'scholarly engagement' with the subject, Alonzo Hamby is well qualified to write one. As he says, Truman was a 'man of the people,' whose life 'exemplifies' many aspects of 'the American experience'. In April 1945, 'knowing little more about diplomatic arrangements and military progress than what one would read in a good newspaper, he suddenly (...) found himself responsible for overseeing the end of the war and the establishment of a new global order'. 'You, more than any other man, have saved western civilisation,' Churchill informed him. It was a 'nearvisionary achievement,' in Hamby's judgment. (shrink)
The literature on the life and work of American psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan is used to provide a critique of Jacques Derrida’s Archive Fever. Derrida’s concept of archival violence relies on psychoanalysis both for its epistemology and for its exemplar of archival violence. The Sullivan literature shows how these positions become antagonistic when Derrida’s work is used to think about Freud’s critics. The published literature on Sullivan is described as a queer archive that has been strongly shaped by historical (...) shifts in discourses about homosexuality, but that continues to stimulate and frustrate attempts to know the essential truth about Sullivan. Sullivan scholars have been quick to read his personality theory as autobiography, belittling the importance of friendship in Sullivan’s developmental theory, which differentiates it from the heteronormative Oedipal narrative. It is argued that Derrida’s mode of critique would entrench rather than unearth such heteronormative historiographical moves. Scholars are invited to put Sullivan’s biographies and published works to a broader range of uses in the human sciences. (shrink)
Harry Frankfurt's conception of care and love has largely been considered a seductive theory of personality, but an untenable and irresponsible theory of moral normativity. Contrary to that interpretation, this article aims at showing that it is possible to remain faithful to Frankfurt's metaphysical premises while not falling into some moral relativism. First, by comparing Frankfurt's and Heidegger's conceptions of care, I show that Frankfurt's subordination of ethics to carology apparently commits him to a neutral foundationalism. In the next (...) step, I argue that his calling into question of the relation between rationality and morality does indeed subject moral normativity to some subjective and contingent limits. And finally, I show that the objections raised against such a conclusion can be answered by shifting Frankfurt's frontier between contingency and necessity and by exploiting his concept of wholeheartedness. (shrink)
Harry Harlow is credited with the discovery of learning set, a process whereby problem solving becomes essentially complete in a single trial of training. Harlow described that process as one that freed his primates from arduous trial-and-error learning. The capacity of the learner to acquire learning sets was in positive association with the complexity and maturation of their brains. It is here argued that Harlow's successful conveyance of learning-set phenomena is of historic significance to the philosophy of psychology. Learning (...) set is said to reflect the affirmation or rejection of hypotheses. Hypotheses are generated by the learner's brain, not its muscles. Thus, learning-set research served to advance the perspective that even nonhuman primates think and that their thinking reflects the active processing of information accrued from efforts to solve problems. Their learning processes are not simply the strengthening of some motor responses over others. Hence, learning-set research served to advance studies of animals as rational agents. This trend is serving to supplant the radical-behavioristic models, formulated earlier this century, with models predicated on rational processes for animals' complex learning and behavior. (shrink)
This essay traces the history of Harry Prosch’s work with Michael Polanyi. It analyzes the Prosch-Polanyi archival correspondence as well as other correspondence records in an effort to make clear the scope and nature of Prosch’s work in their collaboration on Meaning, a book published under both names at a late stage of Polanyi’s life when his mental capacities were diminished.
Summary Harry Alpert (1912?1977), the US sociologist, is best-known for his directorship of the National Science Foundation's social science programme in the 1950s. This study extends our understanding of Alpert in two main ways: first, by examining the earlier development of his views and career. Beginning with his 1939 biography of Emile Durkheim, we explore the early development of Alpert's views about foundational questions concerning the scientific status of sociology and social science more generally, proper social science methodology, the (...) practical value of social science, the academic institutionalisation of sociology, and the unity-of-science viewpoint. Second, this paper illuminates Alpert's complex involvement with certain tensions in mid-century US social science that were themselves linked to major transformations in national science policy, public patronage, and unequal relations between the social and natural sciences. We show that Alpert's views about the intellectual foundations, practical relevance, and institutional standing of the social sciences were, in some important respects, at odds with his NSF policy work. Although remembered as a quantitative evangelist and advocate for the unity-of-science viewpoint, Alpert was in fact an urbane critic of natural-science envy, social scientific certainty, and what he saw as excessive devotion to quantitative methods. (shrink)
Is choice necessary for moral responsibility? And does choice imply alternative possibilities of some significant sort? This paper will relate these questions to the argument initiated by Harry Frankfurt that alternative possibilities are not required for moral responsibility, and to John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza's extension of that argument in terms of guidance control in a causally determined world. I argue that attending to Frankfurt's core conceptual distinction between the circumstances that make an action unavoidable and those that (...) bring it about that the action is performed – a distinction emphasised in his recent restatement – provides a new route into an analysis of Frankfurt's argument by showing how it depends on a person's ‘decision to act’ involving the exercise of choice. The implicit reliance of Frankfurt's argument on this notion of choice, however, undermines his claim that the example of the counterfactual intervener strengthens the compatibilist case by providing a counter-example to the principle of alternative possibilities. I also argue that Frankfurt's reliance on the exercise of choice for moral responsibility is also evident in the Fischer/Ravizza argument, and that a close analysis of both arguments shows that such exercise of choice is not available if causal determinism is true. (shrink)
In his classic paper, The Principle of Alternate Possibilities, Harry Frankfurt presented counterexamples to the principle named in his title: A person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise. He went on to argue that the falsity of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP) implied that the debate between the compatibilists and the incompatibilists (as regards determinism and the ability to do otherwise) did not have the significance that both parties had (...) attributed to it -- since moral responsibility could exist even if no one was able to do otherwise. I have argued that even if PAP is false, there are other principles that imply that moral responsibility entails the ability to do otherwise, and that these principles are immune to Frankfurt-style counterexamples. Frankfurt has attempted to show that my arguments for this conclusion fail. This paper is a rejoinder to that reply; I argue that he has failed to show this. (shrink)
This enviable piece of philosophy has been as successful as any other in the past three decades of the determinism and freedom debate. It has given rise to a continuing controversy. At its centre is what seems to be a refutation of what seems to be the cast-iron principle that in order for someone to be morally responsible for an action, it must be possible that he or she could have done otherwise. The principle has been assumed by philosophers persuaded (...) that determinism is incompatible with freedom and also by philosophers persuaded that determinism is compatible with freedom. However, Frankfurt's article has mainly been read as lending support to the Compatibilist idea. (shrink)
This paper argues that ability to do otherwise (in the compatibilist sense) at the moment of initiation of action is a necessary condition of being able to act at all. If the argument is correct, it shows that Harry Frankfurt never provided a genuine counterexample to the 'principles of alternative possibilities' in his 1969 paper ‘Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility’. The paper was written without knowledge of Frankfurt's paper.
I argue against two of the most influential contemporary theories of moral responsibility: those of Harry Frankfurt and John Martin Fischer. Both propose conditions which are supposed to be sufficient for direct moral responsibility for actions. (By the term direct moral responsibility, I mean moral responsibility which is not traced from an earlier action.) Frankfurt proposes a condition of 'identification'; Fischer, writing with Mark Ravizza, proposes conditions for 'guidance control'. I argue, using counterexamples, that neither is sufficient for direct (...) moral responsibility. -/- My counterexample cases are based on recent research in psychology which reveals many surprising causes of our actions. Some of this research comes from the field of situationist social psychology; some from experiments which reveal the influence of automatic processes in our actions. Broadly, I call such causes 'subverting' when the agent would not identify with her action, if she knew all the causes of the action. When an action has subverting causes, the agent is not directly morally responsible for it, even though she may meet the conditions specified by Frankfurt and Fischer. -/- I also criticise the theories of Eddy Nahmias and John Doris, who have both engaged specifically with the threats posed to moral responsibility by situationist research. Against Doris and Nahmias, I argue that their conditions are neither necessary nor sufficient for direct moral responsibility. -/- My final objective is to argue that there are many everyday actions for which we mistakenly hold agents morally responsible. I review evidence that there are many everyday actions which have subverting causes. Many of those are actions for which we currently hold agents morally responsible. But I argue that, in many of those same actions, the agents are not in fact morally responsible – they bear neither direct nor traced moral responsibility. (shrink)
It has been argued - most prominently in Harry Frankfurt's recent work - that the normative authority of personal commitments derives not from their intrinsic worth but from the way in which one's will is invested in what one cares about. In this essay, I argue that even if this approach is construed broadly and supplemented in various ways, its intrasubjective character leaves it ill-prepared to explain the normative grip of commitments in cases of purported self-betrayal. As an alternative, (...) I sketch a view that focuses on intersubjective constraints of intelligibility built into social practices and on the pragmatics of how those norms are contested in an ongoing fashion. (shrink)
Manipulation arguments for incompatibilism all build upon some example or other in which an agent is covertly manipulated into acquiring a psychic structure on the basis of which she performs an action. The featured agent, it is alleged, is manipulated into satisfying conditions compatibilists would take to be sufficient for acting freely. Such an example used in the context of an argument for incompatibilism is meant to elicit the intuition that, due to the pervasiveness of the manipulation, the agent does (...) not act freely and is not morally responsible for what she does. It is then claimed that any agent's coming to be in the same psychic state through a deterministic process is no different in any relevant respect from the pertinent manner of manipulation. Hence, it is concluded that compatibilists' proposed sufficient conditions for free will and moral responsibility are inadequate, and that free will and moral responsibility are incompatible with determinism. One way for compatibilists to resist certain manipulation arguments is by appealing to historical requirements that, they contend, relevant manipulated agents lack. While a growing number of compatibilists advance an historical thesis, in this paper, I redouble my efforts to show, in defense of nonhistorical compatibilists like Harry Frankfurt, that there is still life left in a nonhistorical view. The historical compatibilists, I contend, have fallen shy of discrediting their nonhistorical compatibilist rivals. (shrink)
Taking Ourselves Seriously and Getting It Right is written in a manner that is accessible to all. Frankfurt’s arguments are, as usual, clear and persuasive. Korsgaard’s, Bratman’s, and Dan-Cohen’s comments are thought provoking. There are, however, two main areas in which Frankfurt’s arguments need clarification (the notion of wholehearted identification, and the concept of ambivalence), and there are misunderstandings of Frankfurt at work in Korsgaard’s (relationship between the self and the will, and concept of the will for Frankfurt) and Bratman’s (...) (meaning of "necessity" for Frankfurt) comments. (shrink)
In this paper I give an overview of my “framework for moral responsibility,” and I offer some reasons that commend it. I contrast my approach with indeterministic models of moral responsibility and also other compatibilist strategies, including those of Harry Frankfurt and Gary Watson.