We consider the implications of trends in the number of U.S. farmers and food imports on the question of what role U.S. farmers have in an increasingly global agrifood system. Our discussion stems from the argument some scholars have made that American consumers can import their food more cheaply from other countries than it can produce it. We consider the distinction between U.S. farmers and agriculture and the effect of the U.S. food footprint on developing nations to argue there might (...) be an important role for U.S. farmers, even if it appears Americans don’t need them. For instance, we may need to protect U.S. farmland and, by implication, U.S. farmers, for future food security needs both domestic and international. We also explore the role of U.S. farmers by considering the question of whether food is a privilege or a right. Although Americans seem to accept that food is a privilege, many scholars and commentators argue that, at least on a global scale, food is a right, particularly for the world’s poor and hungry. If this is the case, then U.S. farmers might have a role in meeting the associated obligation to ensure that the poor of the world have enough food to eat. We look at the consequences of determining that food is a right versus a privilege and the implications of that decision for agricultural subsidies as well as U.S. agriculture and nutrition policies. (shrink)
Teaching economics has been shown to encourage students to defect in a prisoner's dilemma game. However, can ethics training reverse that effect and promote cooperation? We conducted an experiment to answer this question. We found that students who had the ethics module had higher rates of cooperation than students without the ethics module, even after controlling for communication and other factors expected to affect cooperation. We conclude that the teaching of ethics can mitigate the possible adverse incentives of the prisoner's (...) dilemma, and, by implication, the adverse effects of economics and business training. (shrink)
Our aim in this article, after providing the general framework of the reception of William James in Spain, is to trace the reception of The Varieties of Religious Experience through Unamuno’s reading of this book.
: William James's "The Will to Believe" has been criticized for offering untenable arguments in support of belief in unvalidated hypotheses. Although James is no longer accused of suggesting we can create belief ex nihilo, critics continue to charge that James's defense of belief in what he called the "religious hypothesis" confuses belief with hypothesis adoption and endorses willful persistence in unvalidated beliefs—not, as he claimed, in pursuit of truth, but merely to avoid the emotional stress of (...) abandoning them. I argue that James's position in "The Will to Believe" can be defended provided we give up thinking of it as ethics of belief and think of it instead as an ethics of self-experimentation. Subjective data (including wants, needs, and desires) are relevant to rational consent to participation in research. (shrink)
: It is part of the conventional wisdom about the James family that the elder Henry James (1811–82) had a large influence on his son, William James (1842–1910), in the direction of religious interests. But William neither adopted his father's spirituality nor did he regard it as a foil to his own secularity. Instead, after first rejecting the elder James's idiosyncratic faith, he became increasingly intrigued with his insights into the natural world, which were in turn (...) shaped by the Swedenborgian philosophy of correspondences and use, which depict worldly facts as vessels of the spirit. The young science student drew upon this approach to nature as a resource for finding the operation of immaterial aspects within the world. The influence of the father emerges in William's emphasis on the will in human psychology, his eagerness to punctuate the striving of "the will to believe" with sessions of comforting conviction, his readiness to find "'piecemeal' supernaturalism" in subliminal psychology, his incorporation of idealism into his radical empiricism, and his openness to psychical experience. Without accepting the particulars of Henry James's faith, William James shared with his father a conviction that providential action in the universe, usually understood as the work of transcendental forces, was embedded within the natural world and within humankind. (shrink)
William James is notorious for the large number of inconsistencies and at least apparent contradictions in his writings. Many readers conclude that he should be appreciated more for his profound but erratic insights than for any coherent philosophical perspective. Ellen Kappy Suckiel disagrees. She argues that James is far more careful and systematic than many readers realize. Her work on James is guided by the attempt to lay bare his coherent philosophical vision and the consistent philosophical methodology (...) underlying it. As a result of this approach, Suckiel's work on James is both sympathetic to his philosophical insights and carefully argued. In her first book, The Pragmatic Philosophy of William James (1982), Suckiel applies this approach to James's philosophy as a whole. The result is a work of remarkable clarity and insight that serves as a wonderful introduction to James's thought. In her more recent book, Suckiel applies this approach specifically to James's philosophy of religion, with similar felicitous results. Heaven's... (shrink)
Neutral monist, panpsychist, naturalist, and phenomenological interpretations of James's theory of mind are canvassed. Culling the true tenets from each, I make a case for a reconciling view on the basis of a distinction between mental and proto-mental properties. The resulting interpretation is compared to two forms of panpsychism identified by T Nagel in his essay of that name.
ABSTRACT. Associationist psychologists of the late 19th-century premised their research on a fundamentally Humean picture of the mind. So the very idea of mental science was called into question when T. H. Green, a founder of British idealism, wrote an influential attack on Hume’s Treatise. I first analyze Green’s interpretation and criticism of Hume, situating his reading with respect to more recent Hume scholarship. I focus on Green’s argument that Hume cannot consistently admit real ideas of spatial relations. I then (...) argue that William James’s early work on spatial perception attempted to vindicate the new science of mind by showing how to avoid the problems Green had exposed in Hume’s empiricism. James’s solution involved rejecting a basic Humean assumption—that perceptual experience is fundamentally composed of so-called minima sensibilia, or psychological atoms. The claim that there are no psychological atoms is interesting because James supported it with experimental data rather than (as commentators typically suppose) with introspective description or a priori argument. James claimed to be the real descendant of British empiricism on grounds that his anti-atomistic model of perception fortified what Green had perhaps most wanted to demolish—the prospect of using empirical, scientific methods in the study of mind. (shrink)
William James has been characterized as “the major whipping boy of the later Wittgenstein,” and the currency of this impression of the relation between James and Wittgenstein is understandable. Reading Wittgenstein and his commentators can leave one with the impression that James was a badly muddled “exponent of the tradition in the philosophy of mind that [Wittgenstein] was opposing.” There have been recent attempts to resist this trend, but even these tend to focus on the affinities between (...) the two philosophers, still accepting the prevailing view that Wittgenstein was often critical of James, and that in such cases Wittgenstein was always right and James was always wrong. By contrast, by focusing on Wittgenstein’s discussion of James’s “if-feeling”, it will be argued that Wittgenstein’s criticisms of James are often not as damaging, or even as extensive, as has often been assumed. (shrink)
Many readers have viewed William James's "The Will to Believe" as his most distinctive and resonating lecture. Yet for all the scholarly attention it has received, the complexities of the "pragmatic defence," and the issues it raises concerning evidential and pragmatic reasoning are still often misunderstood. In this paper I explicate a neglected "core" argument tied closely to James's thesis statement, and provide charts and other tools useful in presenting James' lecture in the philosophy classroom. This argument, (...) based on the Ought-Implies-Can principle, is useful for highlighting differences between James's pragmatist and Clifford's evidentialist perspective. I first reconstruct this implicit Ought-Implies-Can argument in modus tollens form, and follow this with a Chart intended to clarify various steps James takes in support of the crucial second premise. My purpose is primarily to explicate this neglected argument in a reconstructed, "bare-bones" fashion for classroom study and evaluation. (shrink)
ABSTRACT. May scientists rely on substantive, a priori presuppositions? Quinean naturalists say "no," but Michael Friedman and others claim that such a view cannot be squared with the actual history of science. To make his case, Friedman offers Newton's universal law of gravitation and Einstein's theory of relativity as examples of admired theories that both employ presuppositions (usually of a mathematical nature), presuppositions that do not face empirical evidence directly. In fact, Friedman claims that the use of such presuppositions is (...) a hallmark of "science as we know it." But what should we say about the special sciences, which typically do not rely on the abstruse formalisms one finds in the exact sciences? I identify a type of a priori presupposition that plays an especially striking role in the development of empirical psychology. These are ontological presuppositions about the type of object a given science purports to study. I show how such presuppositions can be both a priori and rational by investigating their role in an early flap over psychology's contested status as a natural science. The flap focused on one of the field's earliest textbooks, William James's Principles of Psychology. The work was attacked precisely for its reliance on a priori presuppositions about what James had called the "mental state," psychology's (alleged) proper object. I argue that the specific presuppositions James packed into his definition of the "mental state" were not directly responsible to empirical evidence, and so in that sense were a priori; but the presuppositions were rational in that they were crafted to help overcome philosophical objections (championed by neo-Hegelians) to the very idea that there can be a genuine science of mind. Thus, my case study gives an example of substantive, a priori presuppositions being put to use—to rational use—in the special sciences. In addition to evaluating James's use of presuppositions, my paper also offers historical reflections on two different strands of pragmatist philosophy of science. One strand, tracing back through Quine to C. S. Peirce, is more naturalistic, eschewing the use of a priori elements in science. The other strand, tracing back through Kuhn and C. I. Lewis to James, is more friendly to such presuppositions, and to that extent bears affinity with the positivist tradition Friedman occupies. (shrink)
How are the states of consciousness intrinsically so that they all qualify as ?feelings? in William James?s generic sense? Only a small, propaedeutic part of what is required to address the intrinsic nature of such states can be accomplished here. I restrict my topic mainly to a certain characteristic that belongs to each of those pulses of mentality that successively make up James?s stream of consciousness. Certain statements of James?s are intended to pick out the variable ?width? (...) belonging to a stream of consciousness as it flows. Attention to this proposed property brings me to a discussion of (a) the unitary character of each of the states of consciousness however complex they may frequently be and (b) how to conceive of their complexity without recourse to a misleading spatial metaphor. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to establish—and explore—James Baldwin's significance for educational theory. Through a close reading of ‘Everybody's Protest Novel’, I show that Baldwin's thinking is an important (if unrecognized) precursor to the work of Stanley Cavell and Cora Diamond, and is relevant to a number of problems that are educationally significant, in particular problems of race and racism.
"Space," William James confessed, "is [both] a direfully difficult subject [and the] driest of subjects.'" Nonetheless, convinced that most previous accounts of space were either incoherent or mythological, he set out to describe space as it is actually experienced. His first effort, "The Spatial Quale," appeared in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy in 1879. 2 This article is historically important; as Ralph Barton Perry notes, "his peculiar view of the amplitude and eonnectedness of experience seems to have begun with (...) the application to space. ''3 But, despite this fact, it is seldom read today. It was not reprinted in James's Collected Essays and Reviews because the editor found "no important difference" between the content of this article and that of the chapter in The Principles of Psychology dealing with the same topic. 4 And it has not been included in more recent anthologies of James's writings. James would undoubtedly have concurred with the reasoning behind these editorial decisions. In the preface to the Psychology he wrote: Chapter 20, on Space-perception, is a terrible thing, which, unless written with all that detail, could not be fairly treated at all. An abridgment of it, called The Spatial Quale' ... may be found by some persons a useful substitute for the entire chapter? In fact, however, there is a significant philosophical difference between... (shrink)
This commentary was suggested to me in part by a colleague's remark that it would be nice if we could make William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience "respectable." The implication was that though there was something redeemable about the book, it somehow wasn't philosophically or scientifically proper. The remark awakened me to—or at least reminded me of—the fact that this has been a traditional take on James's text. As Julius Bixler points out, ridicule began soon after the (...) book was published: "The Varieties of Religious Experience, appearing at about the same time as Ernest Thompson Seton's book of animal stories, was soon nicknamed 'Wild Religions I Have Known'" (1926, 1). My awakening to this attitude—a prevalent if not a pervasive one among contemporary intellectuals—led me to consider that it would be better, and crucially important to James himself, to keep James "unrespectable." James may have been a renegade and... (shrink)
Every scholar and reader of William James is aware of his frequent uses of "energy," especially in his discussions of ethics and most notably in his 1906 Presidential Address to the American Philosophical Association, "The Energies of Men". But while other interpretations treat James's use of "energy" as merely one of his several folksy metaphors, The Ethics of Energy: William James's Moral Philosophy in Focus is the first monograph, as its author, Sergio Franzese, rightly claims, to focus (...) upon "energy" as a central concept in James's ethics. Ethics, for James, is not about values, goods, or principles but about the organization of energy, especially into habits, in the service of personal, aesthetic ideals. As such this book is an original and valuable addition to the literature on James, and it does much to bring James into closer dialogue with other recent efforts to rethink ethics without appeal to some rule of reason, whether it be in the form of an utilitarian calculus or a categorical imperative. Such efforts include those of Friedrich Nietzsche, whom Franzese discusses extensively, Max Scheler, whom he mentions only briefly (51-52), and especially Michel Foucault, whom he does not mention at all. (shrink)
In 1905 William James wrote an essay in McClure's Magazine recalling the importance to his own work of the Scottish-born philosopher Thomas Davidson. In the essay, James states that Davidson was "essentially a teacher." What is interesting when one looks at Davidson's life and work is that, for Davidson, teaching does seem to be an essential feature of what it means to be a philosopher. Here, I develop how Davidson construes this linking of philosophy and teaching with a (...) concluding emphasis on the two schools he established: Glenmore, a summer philosophy program in the Adirondacks and the "Breadwinners' College," an open school he began for working persons in New York City. I offer this as a discussion paper so that James's recollection of Davidson's importance to his own work may provoke us to consider how we presently understand the linking of teaching and philosophy. This seems especially appropriate for an academic culture such as ours in which much of our time is spent teaching and in which we are often primarily evaluated by a separate category of professional "research." The American tradition has "lost" any number of its important... (shrink)
...Witherspoon's Course in Political Theory, as Taken by James Madison Dennis F. Thompson Princeton University [523...Witherspoon's Course in Political Theory, as Taken by James Madison. James Madison was an unusually wen-prepared student when, at eighteen...
American pragmatism was, in the beginning of the twentieth century, a major movement not only in its home country but also in other parts of the globe as well, largely (but not exclusively) thanks to William James’s (1842–1910) international activity. In Europe, Italian and French philosophers, in particular, established their own pragmatist “schools,” and pragmatism also spread to the northern parts of the continent, including Germany and the Scandinavian countries. Even in the relatively remote Finland, Jamesian pragmatism rapidly became (...) well known. James’s ideas were discussed in meetings and publications by a number of philosophers and other scholars, and several Finnish translations of James’s works appeared .. (shrink)
Social conditions of race and class continue to combine in ways that raise systemic questions about the adequacy and legitimacy of liberal, capitalist democracy in America. More radical alternatives, however, are still generally held to be irrelevant in the American context. The following is an effort to correct this widespread misrepresentation of socialism’s relevance to America generally, and to matters of race in particular. I consider the work of C.L.R. James who, fifty years ago, developed a class-oriented, explicitly Marxist (...) theory in which the aspirations and struggles of African-Americans were given a central place, both analytically and politically. (shrink)
James's most original and important contribution was his moralizing of epistemology, in particular belief-acceptance and truth. We are always to believe in a way that maximizes desire-satisfaction, with a proposition counting as true when a belief in it maximizes desire-satisfaction. The theory of truth that falls out of James's pragmatic theory of meaning must be downgraded to a theory of when a proposition is epistemology warranted, thus the reason for the scare-quotation marks around "Truth" in the title of (...) the paper. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to present a more thoroughgoing account of what James means by the fringes of perceptual objects. The first section presents James's account of fringes of objects of consciousness within the context of his celebrated analogy of the stream of the fringe phenomenon for perception. It concludes by proposing a preliminary "working" definition of the concept "fringe": fringes are active bridges of associations (logical, psychological, etc.) from what is perceptually immediate but ambiguous to (...) what the perceptual process "analyzes" and make definite. (shrink)
The object of james's theory of truth is knowledge, not truth "qua" correctness. to designate the object of his theory, james avoids using traditional english terminology for correctness but often uses diction typically reserved for knowledge. furthermore, the object of james's theory (as he describes it) cannot be distinguished from knowledge on philosophical grounds.
When William James spoke about belief to the philosophy clubs of Yale and Brown in 1896, he forewarned his audience of the nature of his comments by describing them as a “sermon on justification by faith” (James 13), titling the talk “The Will to Believe.” Although there is disagreement about the substance of James’s remarks, it is fairly innocuous to assert that James thought they were appropriate because of the prevalence of the “logical spirit” of many (...) of those who practiced academic philosophy that led them to the conclusion that religious faith was untenable. Aware of his audience, James presents his view on the permissibility of religious faith on the terms and grounds familiar to professional philosophers. .. (shrink)
James's ethical thought could frequently be consequentialist, but it could also on occasion show a deontological side, or "streak," as I contended in "William James on the Courage to Believe". This shows up when he speaks of the "strenuous" as against the "easy-going" moral mood, in "The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life," and it preserves the precursive intervention of our "passional natures" in "The Will to Believe" from lapsing into "wishful thinking." Toned down slightly, perhaps, in "Varieties (...) of Religious Experience", it reasserts itself in "Pragmatism", and, it could be shown, in James's succeeding works as well. (shrink)
Abstract: Suppose we want to know whether the ethics of persons with one characteristic differ from the ethics of persons having another characteristic. Self-selection bias occurs if people have control over that characteristic. When there is self-selection bias, we cannot be sure observed differences in ethics are correlated with the characteristic or are the result of individual self-selection. Self-selection bias is germane to many important business ethics questions. In this paper I explain what self-selection bias is, how it relates to (...) business ethics research, and how to correct for it. I also illustrate the correction process in an empirical analysis of the effect of organizational rank on worker ethics. Using data from the European Values Survey, I find that being a supervisor is positively correlated with worker ethics. However, I also find a negative self-selection effect. Workers with relatively lower ethics are selected into supervisory roles. (shrink)
A distinction should be made betweentwo types of ethical problems. A Type I ethicalproblem is one in which there is no consensusas to what is ethical. A Type II ethicalproblem is one in which there is a consensus asto what is ethical, but incentives exist forindividuals to behave unethically. Type Iethical problems are resolved by making,challenging, and reasoning through moralarguments. Type II ethical problems areresolved by changing the institutionalenvironment so that people do not haveincentives to behave unethically. Type Isolutions, however, (...) will not be effective insolving Type II problems. Examples inagriculture and elsewhere show howdistinguishing between Type I and Type IIethical problems will help in theidentification of solutions to ethical issuesin agriculture. (shrink)
There are two competing approaches to sustainability in agriculture. One stresses a strict economic approach in which market forces should guide the activities of agricultural producers. The other advocates the need to balance economic with environmental and social objectives, even to the point of reducing profitability. The writings of the eighteenth century moral philosopher Adam Smith could bridge the debate. Smith certainly promoted profit-seeking, private property, and free market exchange consistent with the strict economic perspective. However, his writings are also (...) consistent with many aspects of sustainable agriculture. For example, Smith argued that people ought to exercise restraint in their pursuit of self-interest, and he believed in balancing economic with environmental and social considerations. If both sides of the debate more fully regard the work of Adam Smith, then proponents of the strict economic perspective might be more appreciative of the concerns raised within the sustainable agriculture community, while advocates of sustainability might be more effective in achieving the objective of a sustainable agriculture. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss William J. Clifford's principle, "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence" and an objection to it based on William James's contention that "Our passional nature not only lawfully may, but must, decide an option between propositions, whenever it is a genuine option that cannot by its nature be decided on intellectual grounds." I argue that on one central way of understanding the key terms, there are no genuine (...) options that cannot be decided on intellectual grounds. I also argue that there is another way to understand the terms so that there are cases of the sort James describes, but then, as an objection to Clifford, the argument is needlessly complex, invoking concepts such as genuine options and intellectual undecidability, that play no crucial role. (shrink)
The original 1907 text of James' Pragmatism is accompanied with a series of critical essays from scholars including Moore and Russell. In the introduction Olin evaluates the strength of the criticisms made against James.
Conservative critics have united in attacking James Cameron’s newest blockbuster Avatar for its “liberal” political message. But underneath all of the manifest liberalism of Avatar there is also a latent message. In his valorization of the organic, primal, interconnectedness of Na’vi culture and his denigration of the mechanical, modern, disconnectedness of human culture, Cameron runs very close to advocating a form of fascism. -/- In this paper I describe the overarching philosophical perspective of fascism, and then I draw on (...) the work of Jay Y. Gonen, who, in his book The Roots of Nazi Psychology, has distilled Hitler’s foundational ideological values to nine basic principles. I demonstrate how greatly these principles overlap with the ideals that Cameron attributes to the culture of the Na’vi in his film Avatar. (shrink)
James Shelley argues that the perception of beauty, as Hutcheson characterizes it, in the first of the two treatises that comprise the Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue, that is, the Inquiry Concerning Beauty, Order, Harmony, Design, is not what I called in The Seventh Sense, ‘non-epistemic’ perception but, rather, ‘epistemic’ perception through and through. Having studied Shelley's arguments with care, and consulted the relevant primary sources yet again, I am still convinced (...) that the best reading of Hutcheson's second Inquiry, in the first edition of 1725, has Hutcheson espousing a non-epistemic account of our perception of what he calls ‘absolute beauty’. And so I argue in the present paper. (shrink)
This article is about a sidebar in James Gibson's last book, The ecological approach to visual perception. In this sidebar, Gibson, the founder of the ecological perspective of perception and action, argued that to perceive an affordance is not to classify an object. Although this sidebar has received scant attention, it is of great significance both historically and for recent discussions about specificity, direct perception, and the functions of the dorsal and ventral streams. It is argued that Gibson's acknowledgment (...) of Wittgenstein's ideas of classification suggests a limited scope of his theory of direct perception?it cannot account for the classification of objects. The implications for both the specification debate and theorizing about the brain's dorsal and ventral pathways are explored. Based on a recent ecological conception of information and direct perception, we ultimately argue that both affordance perception and classification are direct. (shrink)
In this paper I offer three main challenges to James (2011). All three turn on the nature of philosophy and secure knowledge in Spinoza. First, I criticize James's account of the epistemic role that experience plays in securing adequate ideas for Spinoza. In doing so I criticize her treatment of what is known as the ‘conatus doctrine’ in Spinoza in order to challenge her picture of the relationship between true religion and philosophy. Second, this leads me into a (...) criticism of her account of the nature of philosophy in Spinoza. I argue it is less piecemeal and less akin to what we would recognize as ‘science’ than she suggests. Third, I argue against James's core commitment that Spinoza's three kinds of knowledge differ in degree; I claim they differ in kind. My argument will offer a new interpretation of Spinoza's conception of ‘common notions’. Moreover, I argue that Spinozistic adequate knowledge involves something akin to angelic disembodiment. (shrink)
Rather than to focus upon a particular ‘right to life’, we should consider what rights there are pertaining to our lives and to our living. There are different sorts. There are, for instance, rights that constitute absences of particular duties and rights that correspond to the duties of other agents or agencies. There are also natural and non-natural rights and duties. Different people in different contexts can have different moral duties and different moral rights including rights to life. The question (...) of the moral rights there are to and pertaining to life is considered with reference to James Griffin’s account of human rights. Also considered is the question of who or what can be a bearer of them. (shrink)
James Stacy Taylor advances a thorough argument for the legalization of markets in current (live) human kidneys. The market is seemly the most abhorrent type of market, a market where the least well-off sell part of their body to the most well off. Though rigorously defended overall, his arguments concerning exploitation are thin. I examine a number of prominent bioethicists’ account of exploitation: most importantly, Ruth Sample’s exploitation as degradation. I do so in the context of Taylor’s argument, with (...) the aim of buttressing Taylor’s position that a regulated kidney market is morally allowable. I argue that Sample fails to provide normative grounds consistent with her claim that exploitation is wrong. I then reformulate her account for consistency and plausibility. Still, this seemingly more plausible view does not show that Taylor’s regulated kidney market is prohibitively exploitative of impoverished persons. I tack into place one more piece of support for Taylor’s conclusion. (shrink)
James Keller recently argued that miracles in the sense of divine intervention are immoral because in such acts God would unfairly choose to help the beneficiary of the miracle over others who may be equally in need and just as deserving. I respond generally by arguing that his analysis overlooks the possibility that those who do not receive the miraculous intervention may receive other benefits of equal or greater value and that there may be purposes for miraculous intervention which (...) transcend individual benefit. More specifically, I argue that Keller's understanding of miracles does not accommodate the Christian doctrine of grace, that he does not come to grips with the evangelical purpose of miracles depicted in Christian apologetics, that his view of the context in which miracles occur is abstract and sterile in light of charismatic experience, and finally that his argument leads to the counterintuitive conclusion that the Resurrection of Christ is somehow immoral. In the light of these considerations, I argue that miracles are not immoral. (shrink)