In this paper, my central aim is to defend the Powers Theory of causation, according to which causation is the exercise of a power (or manifestation of a disposition). I will do so by, first, presenting a recent version of the Powers Theory, that of Mumford (Forthcoming). Second, I will raise an objection to Mumford’s account. Third, I will offer a revised version that avoids the objection. And, fourth, I will end by briefly comparing the proposed Powers Theory with the (...) Neo-Humean, counterfactual theory. (shrink)
Other than during the Civil War of 19451662), the Spanish (in northern Taiwan, 16261683), the Manchus (16831945), and the Chinese Nationalists (1945independenceunification’. Rather, they should emphasize Taiwan's decolonialization, a process that Taiwan shares with much of the world.
A study of the ways Maimonides and Aquinas both borrow from Aristotle and depart from him, in regard to the issue of forgiveness. The paper explicates moral-psychological issues and normative issues, connecting them to the perfectionism of the philosophical anthropology shared by the three thinkers. The theistic commitments of Maimonides and Aquinas ground important departures from Aristotle regarding the possibility of moral change and regarding moral relations between persons.
This paper argues that in modern (agro)biotechnology, (un)naturalness as an argument contributed to a stalemate in public debate about innovative technologies. Naturalness in this is often placed opposite to human disruption. It also often serves as a label that shapes moral acceptance or rejection of agricultural innovative technologies. The cause of this lies in the use of nature as a closed, static reference to naturalness, while in fact “nature” is an open and dynamic concept with many different meanings. We propose (...) an approach for a dynamic framework that permits an integrative use of naturalness in debate, by connecting three sorts of meaning that return regularly in the arguments brought forward in debate; cultural, technological, and ecological. We present these as aspects of nature that are always present in the argument of naturalness. The approach proposes a dynamic relation between these aspects, formed by gradients of naturalness, which in turn are related to ethical concerns. In this way we come to an overview that makes it possible to give individual arguments a relative place and that does justice to the temporality of the concept of nature and the underlying ethical concerns stakeholders have in respect to innovation in agriculture. (shrink)
A collection of new papers by ten philosophers exploring relations between conceptions of natural law and theism, ranging from Plato to the early modern period. Rather than defending a a specific view of natural law, the papers explicate the complex texture of the relations between the diverse conceptions of natural law and diverse conceptions of theism and its significance for moral and political thought.
Abstract This paper argues that in modern (agro)biotechnology, (un)naturalness as an argument contributed to a stalemate in public debate about innovative technologies. Naturalness in this is often placed opposite to human disruption. It also often serves as a label that shapes moral acceptance or rejection of agricultural innovative technologies. The cause of this lies in the use of nature as a closed, static reference to naturalness, while in fact “nature” is an open and dynamic concept with many different meanings. We (...) propose an approach for a dynamic framework that permits an integrative use of naturalness in debate, by connecting three sorts of meaning that return regularly in the arguments brought forward in debate; cultural, technological, and ecological. We present these as aspects of nature that are always present in the argument of naturalness. The approach proposes a dynamic relation between these aspects, formed by gradients of naturalness, which in turn are related to ethical concerns. In this way we come to an overview that makes it possible to give individual arguments a relative place and that does justice to the temporality of the concept of nature and the underlying ethical concerns stakeholders have in respect to innovation in agriculture. Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9359-6 Authors P. F. Van Haperen, Wageningen University and Research Centre, META, Hollandseweg 1, 6707 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands B. Gremmen, Wageningen University and Research Centre, META, Hollandseweg 1, 6707 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands J. Jacobs, Wageningen University and Research Centre, META, Hollandseweg 1, 6707 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
Introduction: the road ahead -- Pt. I. Envisioning a just place -- 1. Why jewish social justice? -- 2. Place matters -- 3. The ideal city -- Pt. II. Principles and practice of social justice -- 4. Storytelling for social justice -- 5. Creating an integrated Jewish life -- 6. Partnerships and power -- 7. Sacred words: engaging with text and tradition -- Pt. III. Taking action -- 8. Direct service -- 9. Giving and investing money -- 10. Advocacy -- (...) 11. Community organizing -- Conclusion: where justice dwells. (shrink)
There are several reasonable conceptions of liberalism. A liberal polity can survive a measure of disagreement over just what constitutes liberalism. In part, this is because of the way a liberal order makes possible a dynamic, heterogeneous civil society and how that, in turn, can supply participants with reasons to support a liberal political order. Despite the different conceptions of justice associated with different conceptions of liberalism, there are reasons to distinguish the normative focus of criminal justice from other aspects (...) of justice in a liberal polity. Given the fundamental commitments of liberalism?of whatever variant?there are reasons for criminal justice not to be assimilated to wider conceptions of justice overall. Such assimilation risks undermining some of liberalism's distinctive commitments concerning the standing of individuals as voluntary, responsible agents. Criminal justice is not independent of other aspects of justice but has a distinct focus in a liberal polity. (shrink)
A collection of ten new papers by ten authors, exploring respects in which there are Judaic sources for important (and often contested) Western moral and political ideas and ideals. It focuses on distinctively Judaic roots of the so-called 'Judeo-Christian tradition.'.
I explore two accounts of properties within a dispositional essentialist (or causal powers) framework, the pure powers view and the powerful qualities view. I ﬁrst attempt to clarify precisely what the pure powers view is, and then raise objections to it. I then present the powerful qualities view and, in order to avoid a common misconception, oﬀer a restatement of it that I shall call the truthmaker view. I end by brieﬂy defending the truthmaker view against objections.
The risks of novel technologies, such as nano(bio)technology cannot be fully assessed due to the existing uncertainties surrounding their introduction into society. Consequently, the introduction of innovative technologies can be conceptualised as a societal experiment, which is a helpful approach to evaluate moral acceptability. This approach is illustrated with the marketing of sunscreens containing nano-sized titanium dioxide (TiO2) particles. We argue that the marketing of this TiO2 nanomaterial in UV protective cosmetics is ethically undesirable, since it violates four reasonable moral (...) conditions for societal experimentation (absence of alternatives, controllability, limited informed consent, and continuing evaluation). To remedy the current way nano-sized TiO2 containing sunscreens are utilised, we suggest five complementing actions (closing the gap, setup monitoring tools, continuing review, designing for safety, and regulative improvements) so that its marketing can become more acceptable. (shrink)
The medieval Jewish philosophers Saadia Gaon, Bahya ibn Pakuda, and Moses Maimonides made significant contributions to moral philosophy in ways that remain relevant today. -/- Jonathan Jacobs explicates shared, general features of the thought of these thinkers and also highlights their distinctive contributions to understanding moral thought and moral life. The rationalism of these thinkers is a key to their views. They argued that seeking rational understanding of Torah>'s commandments and the created order is crucial to fulfilling the covenant with (...) God, and that intellectual activity and ethical activity form a spiral of mutual reinforcement. In their view, rational comprehension and ethical action jointly constitute a life of holiness. Their insights are important in their own right and are also relevant to enduring issues in moral epistemology and moral psychology, resonating even in the contemporary context. -/- The central concerns of this study include (i) the relations between revelation and rational justification, (ii) the roles of intellectual virtue and ethical virtue in human perfection, (iii) the implications of theistic commitments for topics such as freedom of the will, the acquisition of virtues and vices, repentance, humility, and forgiveness, (iv) contrasts between medieval Jewish moral thought and the practical wisdom approach to moral philosophy and the natural law approach to it, and (v) the universality and objectivity of moral elements of Torah. (shrink)
Discusses the respects in which religiously grounded considerations can have an appropriate---even important--role in the public and political discourse of a liberal polity. Examines the role tradition can have in enabling people to attain a reasoned justification for moral ideas and ideals, i.e., tradition is not always an impediment to universally valid or objective considerations. Also, discusses respects in which modern liberalism owes an important debt to religious ideas.
Possible worlds, concrete or abstract as you like, are irrelevant to the truthmakers for modality—or so I shall argue in this paper. First, I present the neo-Humean picture of modality, and explain why those who accept it deny a common sense view of modality. Second, I present what I take to be the most pressing objection to the neo-Humean account, one that, I argue, applies equally well to any theory that grounds modality in possible worlds. Third, I present an alternative, (...) properties-based theory of modality and explore several specific ways to flesh the general proposal out, including my favored version, the powers theory. And, fourth, I offer a powers semantics for counterfactuals that each version of the properties-based theory of modality can accept, mutatis mutandis. Together with a definition of possibility and necessity in terms of counterfactuals, the powers semantics of counterfactuals generates a semantics for modality that appeals to causal powers and not possible worlds. (shrink)
We present an original emergent individuals view of human persons, on which persons are substantial biological unities that exemplify metaphysically emergent mental states. We argue that this view allows for a coherent model of identity-preserving resurrection from the dead consistent with orthodox Christian doctrine, one that improves upon alternatives accounts recently proposed by a number of authors. Our model is a variant of the “falling elevator” model advanced by Dean Zimmerman that, unlike Zimmerman’s, does not require a closest continuer account (...) of personal identity. We end by raising some remaining theological concerns. (shrink)
We present an original ’emergent individuals’ view of human persons, on which persons are substantial biological unities that exemplify metaphysically emergent mental states. We argue that this view allows for a coherent model of identity-preserving resurrection from the dead consistent with orthodox Christian doctrine, one that improves upon alternatives accounts recently proposed by a number of authors. Our model is a variant of the "falling elevator" model advanced by Dean Zimmerman that, unlike Zimmerman’s, does not require a closest continuer account (...) of personal identity. We end by raising some remaining theological concerns. (shrink)
On Liberty celebrates a collaborative theory of knowing exemplified in the way Harriet and John worked together. They believed fervently in the power of individuals struggling together to grasp the truth – including both the “idealistic” belief that there is truth as opposed to mere subjective opinion, and a deep scepticism about the beliefs accepted by the majority.
Though foreign—and perhaps shocking—to many in the west, the doctrine of theosis is central in the theology and practice of Eastern Orthodoxy. Theosis is “the ultimate goal of human existence”1 and indeed is “a way of summing up the purpose of creation”:2 That God will unite himself to all of creation with humanity at the focal point. What are human persons, that they might be united to God? That is the question I explore in this paper. In particular, I explore (...) an account of human nature inspired by an Eastern Orthodox conception of theosis. In section 1, I present a theological vision of theosis in the Eastern Church. In section 2, I oﬀer an interpretation of what it might mean for human nature to become deformed by the fall and transformed by the Incarnation. Then, in section 3, I present an (admittedly speculative) account of human nature, based on a robustly metaphysical reading of an Orthodox conception of theosis. On that account—to overly simplify things, and postponing important qualiﬁcations—we might say that a human being is the union of soul and body with God. Finally, given that account of human nature, I oﬀer in section 3 some brief reﬂections on the prospects of a scientiﬁc anthropology. (shrink)
This paper presents and evaluates two advanced courses organised in Oxford as part of the European project Nanobio-RAISE and suggests using their format to encourage multidisciplinary engagement between nanoscientists and nanoethicists. Several nanoethicists have recently identified the need for ‘better’ ethics of emerging technologies, arguing that ethical reflection should become part and parcel of the research and development (R&D) process itself. Such new forms of ethical deliberation, it is argued, transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries and require the active engagement and involvement (...) of both nanoethicists and nanoscientists with the broader issues surrounding technological developments. Whereas significant research efforts into multi- and interdisciplinary collaborations during R&D processes are now emerging, opportunities for encouraging multidisciplinary engagement through education have remained relatively underexplored. This paper argues that educational programmes could be a natural extension of ongoing collaborative research efforts ‘in the lab’ and analyses how the Nanobio-RAISE courses could be used as a model for course development. In addition to exploring how the elements that were conducive to multidisciplinary engagement in this course could be preserved in future courses, this paper suggests shifting the emphasis from public communication towards ethical deliberation. Further course work could thus build capacity among both nanoscientists and nanoethicists for doing ‘better’ nanoethics. (shrink)
The notion of justice implies that what is given is owed to the recipient; charity, on the other hand, acknowledges the reality of a free gift that is not owed to the recipient. This difference is obscured in contemporary liberal societies where, because of the absence of transcendent metaphysical commitments, the demandsof social justice replace charity. A Thomistic analysis, however, recognizes a metaphysical order as the basis for justice. This order limits the sphere of justice and so allows for acts (...) of charity motivated by love for God. If we do not recognize this distinction, we reduce all charitable acts to acts of justice and therefore ignore themost important debt of all: the debt humans owe to God that can only be repaid by loving Him and our neighbor. (shrink)
There is a dilemma at the heart of the moral life, in that we often appeal to the Decalogue as being the basis of a common morality, yet it is impossible to justify these precepts as self-evident. I resolve this dilemma in light of Aquinas’s analysis of the relation between the self-evident precepts of the natural law and the Decalogue. The self-evident precepts (that man should live in society and should know and love God) follow directly from human nature. The (...) precepts of the Decalogue indicate how those goods are to be pursued in the context of just social relations. It is this contextualization in terms of just relations that prevents them from being self-evident and, correspondingly, requires their revelation. Since the commandments act as invitations to pursue the good without the defects of injustice, they are the most manifest condition for achieving the end of human happiness. (shrink)