1. Causal knowledge is an indispensable element in science. Causal assertions are embedded in both the results and the procedures of scientific investigation. 2. It is therefore worthwhile to investigate the meaning of causal statements and the ways in which we can arrive at causal knowledge.
This collection of John Mackie's papers on topics in epistemology, some of which have not previously been published, deal with such issues as: incorrigible empirical statements; rationalism and empiricism; the philosophy of John Anderson; self-refutation; Plato's theory of idea; ideological explanation; problems of intentionality; Popper's third world;; mind, brain, and causation; Newcomb's Paradox and the direction of causation; induction; causation in concept, knowledge, and reality; absolutism; Locke and representative perception; and anti-realisms.
This collection of John Mackie's papers on personal identity and topics in moral and political philosophy, some of which have not previously been published, deal with such issues as: multiple personality; the transcendental "I"; responsibility and language; aesthetic judgements; Sidgwick's pessimism; act-utiliarianism; right-based moral theories; cooperation, competition, and moral philosophy; universalization; rights, utility, and external costs; norms and dilemmas; Parfit's population paradox; and the combination of partially-ordered preferences.
“BUT if I suppose that someone has a pain, then I am simply supposing that he has just the same as I have so often had.”—That gets us further. It is as if I were to say: “You surely know what ‘It is 5 o'clock here’ means; so you also know what ‘It's 5 o'clock on the sun’ means. It means simply that it is just the same time there as it is here when it 5 o'clock.”—The explanation by means (...) of identity does not work here. For I know well enough that one can call 5 o'clock here and 5 o'clock there “the same time”, but what I do not know is in what cases one is to speak of its being the same time here and there. (shrink)
John Mackie's stimulating book is a complete and clear treatise on moral theory. His writings on normative ethics-the moral principles he recommends-offer a fresh approach on a much neglected subject, and the work as a whole is undoubtedly a major contribution to modern philosophy.The author deals first with the status of ethics, arguing that there are not objective values, that morality cannot be discovered but must be made. He examines next the content of ethics, seeing morality as a functional device, (...) basically the same at all times but changing significantly in response to changes in the human condition. He sketches a practical moral system, criticizing but also borrowing from both utilitarian and absolutist views. Thirdly, the frontiers of ethics, areas of contact with psychology, metaphysics, theology, law and politcs, are explored.Throughout, his aim is to discuss a wide range of questions that are both philosophical and practical, working within a distinctive version of subjectivism-an "error" theory of the apparent objectivity of values. John Mackie has drawn on the contributions of such classic thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant and Sidgwick, and on more recent discussions, to produce a thought-provoking account that will inspire both the general reader and the student of philosophy. (shrink)
The paradoxical view of warnock and hodgson that act-Utilitarianism must have disutility is criticised. Simple examples in game theory style show that it does not defeat the possibility of cooperation and that it allows an approximation to truth-Telling. Promising would indeed have only a limited role in an act-Utilitarian society, But that is because its normal function is to aid compromise between divergent purposes. Also, The efforts of a single act-Utilitarian in a non-Act-Utilitarian society need not frustrate themselves, If he (...) is not too candid. (shrink)