The eighteenth century was a time of brilliant philosophical innovation in Britain. In Of Liberty and Necessity James A. Harris presents the first comprehensive account of the period's discussion of what remains a central problem of philosophy, the question of the freedom of the will. He offers new interpretations of contributions to the free will debate made by canonical figures such as Locke, Hume, Edwards, and Reid, and also discusses in detail the arguments of some less familiar writers. (...)Harris puts the eighteenth-century debate about the will and its freedom in the context of the period's concern with applying what Hume calls the "experimental method of reasoning" to the human mind. His book will be of substantial interest to historians of philosophy and anyone concerned with the free will problem. (shrink)
In Reason's Grief, George Harris takes W. B. Yeats's comment that we begin to live only when we have conceived life as tragedy as a call for a tragic ethics, something the modern West has yet to produce. He argues that we must turn away from religious understandings of tragedy and the human condition and realize that our species will occupy a very brief period of history, at some point to disappear without a trace. We must accept an ethical (...) perspective that avoids pernicious fantasies about ultimate redemption but that sees tragic loss as a permanent and pervasive aspect of our daily lives, yet finds a way to think, feel, and act with both passion and hope. Reason's Grief takes us back through the history of our thinking about value to find our way. The call is for nothing less than a paradigm shift for understanding both tragedy and ethics. (shrink)
This book comprises essays in law and legal theory celebrating the life and work of Jim Harris. The topics addressed reflect the wide range of Harris's work, and the depth of his influence on legal studies. They include the nature of law and legal reasoning, rival theories of property rights and their impact on practical questions before the courts; the nature of precedent in legal argument; and the evolving concept of human rights and its place in legal discourse.
Abstract: William James argued that we ordinarily think of the objects that we can observe—things that belong to 'the world of sense'—as having an unquestioned reality. However, young children also assert the existence of entities that they cannot ordinarily observe. For example, they assert the existence of germs and souls. The belief in the existence of such unobservable entities is likely to be based on children's broader trust in other people's testimony about objects and situations that they cannot directly (...) observe for themselves. (shrink)
It is shown that belief in providence and a future state are key components of Hutcheson’s account of moral virtue. Though Hutcheson holds that human beings are naturally virtuous, religion is necessary to give virtuous dispositions support and stability. The aspects of Hutcheson’s moral psychology which lead him to this conclusion are spelled out in detail. It is argued that religion and virtue are connected in this way in both the Dublin writings (the Inquiry and the Essay ) and the (...) later pedagogical texts, and that, therefore, there are reasons to question claims made by James Moore to the effect that Hutcheson had two distinct philosophical “systems.”. (shrink)
Two dogmas of empiricism, by W. V. Quine.--In defense of a dogma, by H. P. Grice and P. F. Strawson.--The analytic and the synthetic: an untenable dualism, by M. G. White.--Synonymity, by B. Mates.--The meaning of a word, by J. L. Austin.--Meaning and synonymy in natural languages, by R. Carnap.--Analytic-synthetic, by J. Bennett.--On "analytic," by R. M. Martin.--Selected bibliography (p. -196).
When philosophers put forward claims for or against 'property', it is often unclear whether they are talking about the same thing that lawyers mean by 'property'. Likewise, when lawyers appeal to 'justice' in interpreting or criticizing legal rules we do not know if they have in mind something that philosophers would recognize as 'justice'. -/- Bridging the gulf between juristic writing on property and speculations about it appearing in the tradition of western political philosophy, Professor Harris has built from (...) entirely new foundations an analytical framework for understanding the nature of property and its connection with justice. Property and Justice ranges over natural property rights; property as a prerequisite of freedom; incentives and markets; demands for equality of resources; property as domination; property and basic needs; and the question of whether property should be extended to information and human bodily parts. It maintains that property institutions deal both with the use of things and the allocation of wealth, and that everyone has a 'right' that society should provide such an institution. (shrink)
In this paper I consider the context and significance of the first instalment of Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature , Books One and Two, on the understanding and on the passions, published in 1739 without Book Three. I argue that Books One and Two taken together should be read as addressing the question of the relation between reason and passion, and place Hume's discussion in the context of a large early modern philosophical literature on the topic. Hume's goal is (...) to show that the passions do not require government by reason, and to illustrate various ways in which the passions of social beings regulate themselves. The underlying theme of the first Treatise is thus a new theory of sociability: sympathetic sociability. (shrink)
Our understanding of the philosophers of the past is not always assisted by the attempt to fit them under one or other of the categories that we currently use to map the philosophical landscape. We have grown used to the idea that there are three principal kinds of moral theory—deontological and broadly Kantian, consequentialist and broadly Millian, virtue-theoretic and broadly Aristotelian—and so historical approaches to moral philosophy tend to orientate themselves by assuming that each and every object of study must (...) count as one or other of these kinds of moralist. This is unfortunate. It is particularly unfortunate in respect of the moral philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Philosophers .. (shrink)
There are gaps in the Social and Ethical issues literature regarding the structure of individual ethical reasoning and the process through which personal ethical standards erode or decline. Social Penetration Theory may be used to view ethical issues of low, moderate, or high salience. It also produces a model of the process by which an individual turns to less desirable ethical reasoning and behavior.
This study examines the ethical values of respondents by level in the organizational hierarchy of a single firm. It also explores the possible impacts of gender, education and years of experience on respondents' values as well as their perceptions of how the organization and professional associations influence their personal values. Results showed that, although there were differences in individuals' ethical values by hierarchical level, significantly more differences were observed by the length of tenure with the organization. While respondents, as a (...) whole, were rather ambivalent in their perception of the organization's and professional associations' influence on their values, sales/service persons frequently felt pressured to modify their values in order to achieve company goals. (shrink)
The problem of pessimism is the secular analogue to the evidential problem of evil facing traditional theism. The traditional theist must argue two things: that the evidence shows that this is on balance a good world and that it is the best possible world. Though the secular optimist who advocates any form of secular moral theory need not argue that the current and future world will likely be the best possible world, she nonetheless must argue that were there a clean (...) solution to the problem of current and future suffering in which all sentient life could be instantly and painlessly eliminated, we would have reasons not to employ the clean solution because the future promises to bring on balance a good world in which the evil of human and animal suffering is outweighed by whatever is good in the world. Pessimism is the view that the evidence argues against secular optimism. It is argued here that it is anything but clear that secular optimism is warranted when viewed from an impersonal point of view. The problem is then evaluated from the personal point of view in which a form of personal optimism is defended even in the face of impersonal pessimism. (shrink)
Using a nationwide survey, this study compared the ethical values and decision processes ofFortune executives and MBA students. Statistically significant differences in ethical values were found by class of respondent, gender, and professed decision approach. MBAs were also found to process ethical decisions differently than business professionals.