An international line-up of fourteen distinguished philosophers presents new essays in honor of JamesGriffin, White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University. The essays take up topics relating to well-being and morality, prominent themes in contemporary ethics and particularly in Griffin's work. Griffin himself provides replies to these essays, offering a fascinating development of his own thinking on these topics.
This volume in honor of Miriam Griffin brings together seventeen international specialists. Their essays range from Socrates to late antiquity, with a particular focus on Cicero. Subjects covered include the Stoics and Cynics, Roman law, the formulation of imperial power, Jews and Christians, "performance philosophy," Augustine, late Platonism, and women philosophers.
JamesGriffin asks how, and how much, we can improve our ethical standards not lift our behaviour closer to our standards but refine the standards themselves. To give an answer to this question it is necessary to answer most of the questions of ethics. So Value Judgement includes discussion of what a good life is like, where the boundaries of the `natural world' come, how values relate to that world, how great human capacitiesthe ones important to ethicsare, and (...) where moral norms come from. -/- Throughout the book the question of what philosophy can contribute to ethics repeatedly arises. Philosophical traditions, such as most forms of utilitarianism and deontology and virtue ethics, are, Griffin contends, too ambitious. Ethics cannot be what philosophers in those traditions expect it to be because agents cannot be what their philosophies need them to be. -/- This clear, compelling, and original account of ethics will be of interest to anyone concerned with thinking about values: not only philosophers but legal, political, and economic theorists as well. L. (shrink)
"Well-being," "welfare," "utility," and "quality of life," all closely related concepts, are at the center of morality, politics, law, and economics. Griffin's book, while primarily a volume of moral philosophy, is relevant to all of these subjects. Griffin offers answers to three central questions about well-being: what is the best way to understand it, can it be measured, and where should it fit in moral and political thought. With its breadth of investigation and depth of insight, this work (...) holds significance for philosophers as well as for those interested in political and economic theory and jurisprudence. (shrink)
For this Clarendon Paperback, Dr Griffin has written a new Postscript to bring the original book fully up to date. She discusses further important and controversial questions of fact or interpretation in the light of the scholarship of the intervening years and provides additional argument where necessary. -/- The connection between Seneca's prose works and his career as a first-century Roman statesman is problematic. Although he writes in the first person, he tells us little of his external life or (...) of the people and events that formed its setting. Miriam Griffin addresses the problem by first reconstructing Seneca's career using only outside sources and his de Clementia and Apocolocyntosis, whose political purposes are undisputed. In the second part of the book she studies Seneca's treatment of subjects of political significance, including his views on slavery, provincial policy, wealth, and suicide. On the whole, the word of the philosopher is found to illuminate the work of the statesman, but notable exceptions emerge, and the links that are revealed vary from theme to theme and rarely accord with traditional autobiographical interpretations of Seneca's works. (shrink)
The article tries to qualify the contentious issue of whetherthere is a human right to welfare. Our notion of human rightsis practically without criteria for distinguishing between whenit is used correctly and when incorrectly. The first step inany satisfactory resolution of the issue about welfare rightsis to supply duly determinate criteria. I then consider thechief reasons for doubting that there is a human right towelfare, in the light of what seem to be, all things considered,the best criteria to attach to (...) the notion of a human right. (shrink)
The best philosophical account of human rights regards them as protections of the values we attach to human agency. The international law of human rights is embodied in a large number of declarations, conventions, covenants, charters, and judicial decisions. There are many discrepancies between the lists of human rights that emerge from these two authoritative sources. This lecture explores the significance of these discrepancies.
This review of Bolton & Hill's (B&H) Mind, Meaning, & Mental Disorder examines their non-reductionist yet realist position on mental content. Their arguments are compared to the writings of Dennett and Millikan, where determining function is central to determining information-processing capabilities. The normative nature of function (malfunction) is considered as is its relation to mental states more broadly. Their Wittgensteinian view of meaning as action is accepted as insightful and useful, though some questions remain about their theory of meaning and (...) its applicability to psychological phenomena. (shrink)
The mutual interaction of philosophy and Roman political and cultural life has aroused more and more interest in recent years among students of classical literature, Roman history, and ancient philosophy. In this volume, which gathers together some of the papers originally delivered at a series of seminars in the University of Oxford, scholars from all three disciplines explore the role of Platonism and Aristotelianism in Roman intellectual, cultural, and political life from the second century BC to the third century AD.
Three impo r tant tasks in the f i eld of human rights w e re achi e v ed in the Enlightenment: the secularization of ancient natural rights, d r a wing up a list of rights and co n v e r ting them into an inst r ument of political demands. Since then there has been no fu r ther theoretical d e v elopment of the idea. In our d a ys, the concept of human rights (...) is much more indete r minate than in the eighteenth centu r y because w e lack consensus about the e xamples that ma k e that abstract idea specific. In our time the task in the f ield of human rights m a y w ell be that of correcting that indete r mina c y , so completing the labour of the Enlightenment. (shrink)
In recent years, the mutual interaction between philosophy and Roman political and cultural life has aroused much interest. In this collection of papers, originally delivered at the seminar on Philosophy and Roman Society at the University of Oxford, scholars from several disciplines investigate this interaction in the late Republic and early Empire, with particular emphasis on the formative period of the first century B.C. The book presents chapters on key digures such as Posidonius, Antiochus of Ascalon, Philodemus, Lucretius, Cicero, and (...) Plutarch, as well as general essays on "Philosophy, Politics, and Politicians at Rome", and "Roman Rulers and the Philosophic Adviser," with contributions from Julia Annas, P.A. Brunt, David Sedley, and others. (shrink)