In their development of causal decision theory, Allan Gibbard and William Harper advocate a particular method for calculating the expected utility of an action, a method based upon the probabilities of certain counterfactuals. Gibbard and Harper then employ their method to support a two-box solution to Newcomb’s paradox. This paper argues against some of Gibbard and Harper’s key claims concerning the truth-values and probabilities of counterfactuals involved in expected utility calculations, thereby disputing their analysis of Newcomb’s Paradox. If we are (...) right, then Gibbard and Harper’s method of calculating expected utility does not adequately represent rational choice. (shrink)
Oxford Approaches to Classical Literature (Series Editors: Kathleen Coleman and Richard Rutherford) introduces individual works of Greek and Latin literature to readers who are approaching them for the first time. Each volume sets the work in its literary and historical context, and aims to offer a balanced and engaging assessment of its content, artistry, and purpose. A brief survey of the influence of the work upon subsequent generations is included to demonstrate its enduring relevance and power. All quotations from the (...) original are translated into English. Plato's Symposium tells of a dinner party at a crucial point in Athenian history at which the guests decide that they will each in turn deliver a speech in praise of love. The humorous and brilliant work that follows points the way towards all Western thinking about love. The Symposium is also one of Plato's most sophisticated meditations on the practice of philosophy. This book introduces the literary and historical context of Plato's work, surveys and explains the arguments, and considers why Plato has cast this work in a highly unusual narrative form. A final chapter traces the influence of the Symposium from antiquity to the modern day. (shrink)
Rival Enlightenments is a major reinterpretation of early modern German intellectual history. Ian Hunter treats the civil philosophy of Pufendorf and Thomasius and the metaphysical philosophy of Leibniz and Kant as rival intellectual cultures or paideia, thereby challenging all histories premised on Kant's supposed reconciliation and transcendence of the field. This landmark study argues that the marginalization of civil philosophy in post-Kantian philosophical history may itself illustrate the continuing struggle between the rival enlightenments. Combining careful scholarship with vivid polemic, (...)Hunter presents penetrating insights for philosophers and historians alike. (shrink)
Context -- A Jew in Amsterdam -- Conflicts and communities -- Christian philosophy? -- A Bible gallery -- Religion and politics in the TTP -- Miracles, meaning, and moderation -- Christian pluralism -- Ethics reconsidered -- Providence, obedience, and love -- Spinoza and Christianity.
In this paper I show that Arnauld defends a traditional Roman Catholic position on miracles, though he might have been expected to do otherwise. This oddity is explained by the fact that Arnauld, as spokesman for Port-Royal, was called upon to defend one of the most startling and best-documented miracles in history.
In this paper, I try to make sense of the idea that true knowledge attributions characterize something that is more valuable than true belief and that survives even if, as Contextualism implies, contextual changes make it no longer identifiable by a knowledge attribution. I begin by sketching a familiar, pragmatic picture of assertion that helps us to understand and predict how the words “S knows that P” can be used to draw different epistemic distinctions in different contexts. I then argue (...) that the examples provided by Cohen and DeRose meant to illustrate Contextualism fail to do so, and I construct an example that does. I conclude by considering the response that an objective assessment of skepticism depends, not on what we might use sentences of the form “S knows that P” to say, but on what such sentences themselves say—on their literal, context-invariant meanings. I argue that there is little reason to believe that our words have such context-invariant meanings, and I suggest that the pragmatic picture of assertion can secure a rich enough conception of objectivity to address the skeptic. (shrink)
This paper is about what is distinctive about first-person beliefs. I discuss several sets of puzzling cases of first-person belief. The first focus on the relation between belief and action, while the second focus on the relation of belief to subjectivity. I argue that in the absence of an explanation of the dispositional difference, individuating such beliefs more finely than truth conditions merely marks the difference. I argue that the puzzles reveal a difference in the ways that I am disposed (...) to revise my beliefs about myself. This point develops the insight that Anscombe and others had that those of an agent's beliefs about himself that manifest that special self-consciousness are not based on observation, testimony or inference. The puzzles show that this kind of self-consciousness involves, not a special kind of belief or even a special kind of self-reference, but a special kind of belief revision policy. (shrink)
What I wish to consider here is how understanding something is related to the justiﬁcation of beliefs about what it means. Suppose, for instance, that S understands the name “Clinton” and has a justiﬁed belief that it names Clinton. How is S’s understanding related to that belief’s justiﬁcation? Or suppose that S understands the sentence “Clinton is President”, or Jones’ assertive utterance of it, and has a justiﬁed belief that that sentence expresses the proposition that Clinton is President, or that (...) Jones said that Clinton is President. How is S’s understanding related to the justiﬁcations of these beliefs? (shrink)
Some philosophical proposals seem to die hard. In a recent paper, Jason Stanley has worked to resurrect the description theory of reference, at least as it might apply to natural kind terms like ‘elm’ (Stanley, 1999). The theory’s founding idea is that to understand ‘elm’ one must know a uniquely identifying truth about elms. Famously, Hilary Putnam showed that ordinary users of ‘elm’ may understand it while lacking such knowledge, and may even be unable to distinguish elms from beeches (Putnam, (...) 1975). In response, Stanley claims that linguistic understanding in the case of natural kind terms comes in levels, and that only those at the top level need have the knowledge in question. The description theory, in Stanley’s hands, applies only to those with top level understanding and it is their understanding that ﬁxes the term’s reference. To use the term successfully, those with inferior understanding need only be defer- ential to those at the top. However, Stanley’s appeal to expert knowledge fails to revive the description theory. (shrink)
Coordination problems, problems in which each agent's expected utility depends upon what other agents do, pose a problem for act utilitarianism. When the agents are act utilitarians and know of each other that they are so, they seem unable to achieve optimal outcomes in certain coordination problems. I examine various ways the act utilitarian might attempt to solve this problem, where act utilitarianism is interpreted within the framework of subjective expected utility theory. In particular, a new method for computing expected (...) utility,dynamic deliberation, deserves examination as a possible act utilitarian solution to coordination problems. I argue that even dynamic deliberation fails to give the act utilitarian what he needs in coordination problems, and that the failure of act utilitarianism for such problems suggests the need for an alternative theory of moral choice along rule utilitarian lines. (shrink)
Working retrospectively in an uncertain field of knowledge, physicians are engaged in an interpretive practice that is guided by couterweighted, competing, sometimes paradoxical maxims. When you hear hoofbeats, don't think zebras, is the chief of these, the epitome of medicine's practical wisdom, its hermeneutic rule. The accumulated and contradictory wisdom distilled in clinical maxims arises necessarily from the case-based nature of medical practice and the narrative rationality that good practice requires. That these maxims all have their opposites enforces in students (...) and physicians a practical skepticism that encourages them to question their expectations, interrupt patterns, and adjust to new developments as a case unfolds. Yet medicine resolutely ignores both the maxims and the tension between the practical reasoning they represent and the claim that medicine is a science. Indeed, resolute epistemological naivete is part of medicine's accommodation to uncertainty; counterweighted, competing, apparently paradoxical (but always situational) rules enable physicians simultaneously to express and to ignore the practical reason that characterizes their practice. (shrink)
In this groundbreaking collection of essays the history of philosophy appears in a new light, not as reason's progressive discovery of its universal conditions, but as a series of unreconciled disputes over the proper way to conduct oneself as a philosopher. By shifting focus from the philosopher as proxy for the universal subject of reason to the philosopher as a special persona arising from rival forms of self-cultivation, philosophy is approached in terms of the social office and intellectual deportment of (...) the philosopher, as a personage with a definite moral physiognomy and institutional setting. In so doing, this collection of essays by leading figures in the fields of both philosophy and the history of ideas provides access to key early modern disputes over what it meant to be a philosopher, and to the institutional and larger political and religious contexts in which such disputes took place. (shrink)
The Mind-Body problem is the problem of saying how a person’s mental states and events relate to his bodily ones. How does Oscar’s believing that water is cold relate to the states of his body? Is it itself a bodily state, perhaps a state of his brain or nervous system? If not, does it nonetheless depend on such states? Or is his believing that water is cold independent of his bodily states? And, crucially, what are the notions of dependence and (...) independence at issue here? (shrink)
This paper is about the dispositional difference that demonstrative and indexical beliefs make. More specifically, it is about the dispositional difference between my believing that NN is P (where I am NN) and my believing that I, myself, am P. Identifying a dispositional difference in this kind of case is especially challenging because those beliefs have the very same truth conditions. My question is this: how can a difference in belief that makes no difference to one’s conception of the world (...) nonetheless make a difference to one’s actions and reactions? I will argue that the dispositions associated with indexical beliefs are best of thought of as likebelief revision policies: they make no difference to the content of our conception of the world, but they govern how we canchange and revise that conception, and in so doing contribute to making rational action possible. Seeing all of this will help usto better understand how it is that first-person indexical beliefs manifest self-consciousness. (shrink)
Ruth Millikan and Alvin Plantinga claim, roughly, that knowledge is true belief produced by processes in circumstances for which they are (successfully) designed to yield truth. Neither offers the account as a conceptual analysis of knowledge. Instead, for Plantinga it represents the core concept of knowledge characterizing central cases, and for Millikan an empirically warranted theoretical definition of knowledge as a natural phenomenon. Counterexamples are then dismissed as appropriately called "knowledge" only in some analogically extended sense. I argue instead that (...) a definition of knowledge is better thought of, like an account of justice, as an explication, or a decision about what normative constraints to adopt. It reflects trade-offs in intuitive judgements and pragmatic concerns, and perhaps background theories, for the sake of some overall coherence. However the contentious scientific and historical claims that underwrite their views gives us reason not to accept the design account's norms for knowledge. Further, the controversial character of these claims gives us reason not to rest an interpersonally acceptable account of knowledge on them. (shrink)
forthcoming in Journal of Philosophical Research. This paper argues against David Armstrong’s view that singular beliefs are not dispositions. It also begins to develop the view that self-conscious belief is a matter of belief revision.
Clinical medicine is the application of scientific principles, rules of thumb, and a store of practical wisdom embodied in narratives of individual cases to the care of a person who is ill. Physicians are taught to observe and report the individual case both as a means of fitting nomothetic generalizations to the given circumstances and as a way of refining those generalizations. This narrative construction of illness is a principal way of knowing in medicine. In this view, disease is not (...) so much an entity as an identifiable chronological organization of the events of illness, and medicine, rather than a science, a rational science-using activity in the service of the ill. Keywords: medical epistemology, casuistry, clinical judgment, narrative CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The present paper examines conventional wisdom on the subject of the justification of indigenous peoples' intellectual property rights, and offers an alternative approach. The examination is achieved by a critique of two such conventional approaches in terms of the strength of each argument employed, and in terms of the efficacy of each in the roles allotted to them. The first such argument is Stenson and Gray's application of Kymlicka's individualist theory advocating national minority autonomy. The second argument is the labour (...) entitlement theory of property acquisition, as advanced by Locke and Nozick. These theories only explain how a liberal social contract theorist would construct justifications from the outside. That this is inadequate is shown by reference to a case study involving indigenous claims against Australian law based on indigenous customary law. There, appeals are not made to abstract theory, but to tribal imperative. This observation finds sympathetic support in a reading of Hegel's philosophy of history. Hegel finds spirit in all peoples at all times. To Hegel, non-state peoples are developmentally prior to states; this means that states have developed dialectically from such peoples and cannot therefore deny them without self-contradiction. This places an onus upon a state that has subsumed an indigenous people to accommodate its laws and ways. (shrink)
Most psychometricians believe that the significance test is counterproductive. I have read Chow's book to see whether it addresses or rebuts any of the key facts brought out by the psychometricians. The book is empty on this score; it is entirely irrelevant to the current debate. It presents nothing new and is riddled with errors.
This is a review essay of printed editions of the correspondence of John Flamsteed, Jan Jonston and John Wallis, and of the CD-ROM edition of the Hartlib Papers. It raises various issues concerning the relationship between editions of correspondence and their archival base, and about the criteria used to decide what is appropriate to include as 'correspondence'. It also addresses the rationale of the electronic edition of the Hartlib Papers, particularly the second edition, which extends its remit from the main (...) archive at Sheffield to include a selection of ancillary material from other collections, questioning whether the effort involved would have been better employed in improving the basic resource. It then considers the use of electronic media in editing more generally, using the edition of Galileo's notes on motion to illustrate the potential for intensive editorial intervention in a text, in contrast to the more extensive method used in the Hartlib edition, and thereby drawing attention to some of the attitudes that electronic editing is prone to induce. (shrink)
A prolonged confrontation between Yahoo! Inc. and French activists who demand the removal of Nazi items from auction sites as well as restricted access to neo-Nazis sites is described and analyzed. We present the case up to the decision of Yahoo! Inc. to remove the items from yahoo.com following a French court's verdict against the firm. Using a business ethics approach, we distinguish legal, technical, philosophical and managerial issues involved in the case and their management by Yahoo! We conclude on (...) the difficulty of governing relations with society from corporate and legal affairs departments at the headquarters level, and on the clash of two visions over the regulation of social freedom. (shrink)
In this paper, we develop an argument to show why we expect that multinational companies will ensure that they communicate credibly about their environmental responsibility, across all their subsidiaries. Credible environmental communication helps to increase the firm’s legitimacy and reduce its liability of foreignness on an issue that is globally relevant. We develop a measure to test if there is a standardized level of environmental communication credibility on the country-specific web sites of MNC subsidiaries around the world and find, in (...) fact, that there is considerable variation across countries, among subsidiaries of different firms and among subsidiaries of the same multinational. We discuss the reasons for this and the implications for firm legitimacy. (shrink)
Terence Parsons has recently given a consistent formahzation of Meinong's Theory of Objects. The interest in this theory lies in its postulation of nonexistent objects. An important implication of the theory is that we commonly refer to nonexistent objects. In particular, the theory is committed to taking fictional entities as objects of reference. Yet it is difficult to see how reference to fictional entities can be estabHshed if Parsons' theory is correct. This difficulty diminishes the attractiveness of the theory and (...) also raises questions as to the ability of the theory to give a satisfactory account of intentional attitudes towards fictional entities. (shrink)
This article is a response to Fredric Jameson's criticisms of the author's 'The History of Theory' (Critical Inquiry 32/4, 2006). For Jameson's article, 'How Not to Historicise Theory', see Critical Inquiry, 34, Spring 2008. The author situates Jameson's arguments in the context of the historicisation of theory, treating them as an example of the (Marxist) theoretical program to think the historical determinations of thought. It is argued that this program is an instrument for the formation of the privileged intellectual persona (...) of the theorist. (shrink)
In the preceding article John Hunter attempts to show that my criticisms of his position on freedom and responsibility are defective. Hunter believes that (what he calls) my first criticism is directed against his explanation of why so many people have come to believe in the freedom principle (i.e. the principle that freedom is necessary for moral responsibility). But at no point in my paper do I even consider the merit of that explanation. What Hunter calls my (...) first criticism is in fact merely a preliminary point I make before attacking his arguments against the freedom principle itself. The preliminary point is that in evaluating Hunter's arguments one must bear the following in mind: in some of the examples of unfreedom he provides it is doubtful that the actions are unfree at all; they are at best borderline cases of unfree acts. (shrink)
This article sets out and comments on the arguments of Binmore's Natural Justice , and specifically on the empirical hypotheses that underpin his social contract view of the foundations of justice. It argues that Binmore's dependence on the hypothesis that individuals have purely self-regarding preferences forces him to claim that mutual monitoring of free-riding behavior was sufficiently reliable to enforce cooperation in hunter-gatherer societies, and that this makes it hard to explain why intuitions about justice could have (...) evolved, since in such a society intuitions about justice would have had no adaptive advantage. I argue that it is empirically plausible that human beings display systematic other-regarding preferences (even if these are not always very strong). These could be incorporated into Binmore's general framework in a way that would enrich it and make it more useful for solving practical problems about justice. Key Words: natural justice fairness norms evolution self-regarding preferences Rawls social contract. (shrink)
In this essay I examine the relevance of Hume's skepticism for the debate around his death. I argue that as to the official record of Hume's manner of death, `My Own Life' indirectly points to his skepticism, while Adam Smith's `Letter to Strahan' evades the issue altogether. As for the responses, when they address the problem of Hume's skepticism, they are either hostile or, at best, dismissive of it. I claim that William Cullen's letter to John Hunter constitutes the (...) one relation of Hume's death that positively acknowledges his skeptical principles, and acknowledges, in a Humean fashion, their beneficial moral influence. Along with Cullen, I argue that such influence both delivers one from superstitious disquiet and heightens the enjoyment of common life. It thus plays a central role in Hume's tranquil acceptance of death. (shrink)
The key event at the start of the Sanskrit Ramayana attributed to Valmiki is the death of a bird at the hands of a hunter. In Sanskrit, that bird is termed krauñca. Various identifications have been offered in the past but uncertainty persists. Focusing on the text of the critical edition and drawing on ornithological data regarding the birds commonly suggested, this article establishes beyond doubt that Valmiki's krauñca bird is the Indian Sarus Crane. It then considers a key (...) verse in the southern recension, omitted by the editors of the critical edition, which supports this identification. Finally, the article explores the significance of the Indian Sarus Crane for the epic scene. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Preface; Introduction; Part I. Global Health, Definitions and Descriptions: 1. What is global health? Solly Benatar and Ross Upshur; 2. The state of global health in a radically unequal world: patterns and prospects Ron Labonte and Ted Schrecker; 3. Addressing the societal determinants of health: the key global health ethics imperative of our times Anne-Emmanuelle Birn; 4. Gender and global health: inequality and differences Lesley Doyal and Sarah Payne; 5. Heath systems and health Martin McKee; Part (...) II. Global Health Ethics, Responsibilities and Justice: Some Central Issues: 6. Is there a need for global health ethics? For and against David Hunter and Angus Dawson; 7. Justice, infectious disease and globalisation Michael Selgelid; 8. International health inequalities and global justice: toward a middle ground Norman Daniels; 9. The human right to health Jonathan Wolff; 10. Responsibility for global health? Allen Buchanan and Matt DeCamp; 11. Global health ethics: the rationale for mutual caring Solly Benatar, Abdallah Daar and Peter Singer; Part III. Analyzing Some Reasons for Poor Health: 12. Trade and health: the ethics of global rights, regulation and redistribution Meri Koivusalo; 13. Debt, structural adjustment and health Jeff Rudin and David Sanders; 14. The international arms trade and global health Salahaddin Mahmudi-Azer; 15. Allocating resources in humanitarian medicine Samia Hurst, Nathalie Mezger and Alex Mauron; 16. International aid and global health Anthony Zwi; 17. Climate change and health: risks and inequities Sharon Friel, Colin Butler and Anthony McMichael; 18. Animals, the environment and global health David Benatar; 19. The global crisis and global health Stephen Gill and Isabella Bakker; Part IV. Shaping the Future: 20. Health impact fund: how to make new medicines accessible to all Thomas Pogge; 21. Biotechnology and global health Hassan Masun, Justin Chakma and Abdallah Daar; 22. Food security and global health Lynn McIntyre and Krista Rondeau; 23. International taxation Gillian Brock; 24. Global health research: changing the agenda Tikki Pang; 25. Justice and research in developing countries Alex John London; 26. Values in global health governance Kearsley Stewart, Gerald T. Keusch and Arthur Kleinman; 27. Poverty, distance and two dimensions of ethics Jonathan Glover; 28. Teaching global health ethics James Dwyer; 29. Towards a new common sense: the need for new paradigms of global health Isabella Bakker and Stephen Gill; Index. (shrink)
By synthesizing evolutionary, attachment, and acoustic perspectives, Soltis has provided an innovative model of infant cry acoustics and parental responsiveness. We question some of his hypotheses, however, because of the limited extant data on infant crying among hunter-gatherers. We also question Soltis' distinction between manipulative and honest signaling based upon recent contributions from attachment theory.
Several theories claim that dreaming is a random by-product of REM sleep physiology and that it does not serve any natural function. Phenomenal dream content, however, is not as disorganized as such views imply. The form and content of dreams is not random but organized and selective: during dreaming, the brain constructs a complex model of the world in which certain types of elements, when compared to waking life, are underrepresented whereas others are over represented. Furthermore, dream content is consistently (...) and powerfully modulated by certain types of waking experiences. On the basis of this evidence, I put forward the hypothesis that the biological function of dreaming is to simulate threatening events, and to rehearse threat perception and threat avoidance. To evaluate this hypothesis, we need to consider the original evolutionary context of dreaming and the possible traces it has left in the dream content of the present human population. In the ancestral environment human life was short and full of threats. Any behavioral advantage in dealing with highly dangerous events would have increased the probability of reproductive success. A dream-production mechanism that tends to select threatening waking events and simulate them over and over again in various combinations would have been valuable for the development and maintenance of threat-avoidance skills. Empirical evidence from normative dream content, children's dreams, recurrent dreams, nightmares, post traumatic dreams, and the dreams of hunter-gatherers indicates that our dream-production mechanisms are in fact specialized in the simulation of threatening events, and thus provides support to the threat simulation hypothesis of the function of dreaming. Key Words: dream content; dream function; evolution of consciousness; evolutionary psychology; fear; implicit learning; nightmares; rehearsal; REM; sleep; threat perception. (shrink)
Presentists say that only the present is real.1 Saying that might seem like a pretty good way of accounting for what is special about the present, but it might also seem like a pretty bad way of accounting for anything about the past. To begin with, presentists face an ontological challenge. To say that only the present is real is, in part, to say that only presently existing things exist, that existence is present existence. The ontological challenge is to account (...) for merely past things like Socrates or Hunter S. Thompson, things that were but are no more. This challenge has been widely discussed in the recent literature, where many of the stock characters of late twentieth-century analytic metaphysics—noncommittal paraphrase, property bundles, uninstantiated haecceities, quasi-truth, and so on—have been called upon to play their stock roles in various.. (shrink)
In 1990 Robert Lickliter and Thomas Berry identified the phylogeny fallacy, an empirically untenable dichotomy between proximate and evolutionary causation, which locates proximate causes in the decoding of ‘genetic programs’, and evolutionary causes in the historical events that shaped these programs. More recently, Lickliter and Hunter Honeycutt (Psychol Bull 129:819–835, 2003a) argued that Evolutionary Psychologists commit this fallacy, and they proposed an alternative research program for evolutionary psychology. For these authors the phylogeny fallacy is the proximate/evolutionary distinction itself, which (...) they argue constitutes a misunderstanding of development, and its role in the evolutionary process. In this article I argue that the phylogeny fallacy should be relocated to an error of reasoning that this causal framework sustains: the conflation of proximate and evolutionary explanation. Having identified this empirically neutral form of the phylogeny fallacy, I identify its mirror image, the ontogeny fallacy. Through the lens of these fallacies I attempt to solve several outstanding problems in the debate that ensued from Lickliter and Honeycutt’s provocative article. (shrink)
The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza. Don Garrett (ed.). Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. xiii, 465. ISBN 0-521-39235-7 (hb); ISBN 0-521-39865-7 (pb). 40.00 (hb) 12.95 (pb). Spinoza: The Enduring Questions. Graeme Hunter (ed.). University of Toronto Press, 1994, pp. xviii, 182. ISBN 0-8020-2876-4. 45.00. The Spinozistic Heresy: The Debate on the 'Tractatus Theologico-Politicus'. 1670-77. Paolo Cristofolini (ed.). APA-Holland University Press: Amsterdam and Maarssen, 1995, pp. viii, 260. ISBN 90-302-1502-X. Disguised and Overt Spinozism around 1700. Wiep van Bunge and Wim Klever (...) (eds.). Brill, Leiden, 1996, pp. ix, 378. ISBN 90-04-10307-4. Part of Nature: Self-Knowledge in Spinoza's 'Ethics', by Genevieve Lloyd. Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London, 1994, pp. 182. ISBN 0-8014-2999-4. 24.95. Spinoza and the 'Ethics', by Genevieve Lloyd. Routledge Philosophy Guidebooks, London, 1996, pp. x, 163. ISBN 0-415-10782-2 (pb). 6.99. Spinoza: The Way to Wisdom, by Herman de Dijn. Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, Indiana, 1996, pp. xii, 291. ISBN 1-55753-081-5. (shrink)
What follows is an exercise in hunter-gatherer ontology. More precisely, the region of space and of spatial objects will be adopted as a happy hunting ground for the purposes of Meinongian metaphysics. Meinong, notoriously, struggled against the prejudice in favour of the actual and fought on behalf of the ontological rights of incomplete, impossible, and indeterminate objects. A parallel struggle, as we shall see, can be waged in the domain of spatial objects. Meinong's ideas can in this way be (...) seen to have relevance for studies of the philosophical foundations of the theories of land-surveying and of international law. (shrink)
This essay examines James Davison Hunter's claim that the moral education establishment is responsible for the death of character. I contend that although Hunter's rhetoric about the "death of character" is distracting and his claims against the moral education establishment are overstated, moral educators must grapple with his finding that effective moral education requires a coherent moral culture with a clear conception of public and private good. I attempt to draw out the implications of Hunter's finding by (...) comparing past Soviet and current American forms of moral education. Finally, I conclude that the effectiveness of moral education is threatened not only when character is separated from its nourishing social, historical and cultural moorings, but also when moral autonomy and respect for diversity is undermined. Thus, in the last part of the essay, I discuss three possibilities for how public education can both allow comprehensive approaches to moral education and adhere to liberalism's appreciation for moral autonomy and diversity. (shrink)
Across mammals, when fathers matter, as they did for hunter-gatherers, sex-similar pair-bonding mechanisms evolve. Attachment fertility theory can explain Schmitt's and other findings as resulting from a system of mechanisms affording pair-bonding in which promiscuous seeking is part. Departures from hunter-gatherer environments (e.g., early menarche, delayed marriage) can alter dating trajectories, thereby impacting mating outside of pair-bonds.
Beyond program explanation -- Mental causation on the program model -- Can hunter-gatherers hear color? -- Structural irrationality -- Freedom, coercion, and discursive control -- Conversability and deliberation -- Petit's molecule -- Contestatory citizenship : deliberative denizenship -- Crime, responsibility, and institutional design -- Disenfranchised silence -- Joining the dots.
Imagine a Paleolithic hunter, who has failed to hunt down anything for a couple of days and is hungry. He has an urgent desire, the desire to eat, which he is not able to fulfill – his desire is frustrated by the world. Now imagine our contemporary bank clerk, who went to work forgetting his wallet at home and is hungry too. He too is not able to fulfill his urgent desire to eat because it is frustrated by the (...) world. From the viewpoint of the two individuals the situation is very similar. However, it differs in at least one crucial respect. While the hunter cannot eat because there is no food available to him anywhere near (at least as far as he can find out), the clerk can easily find tons of food - it is enough to visit a nearest supermarket. The reason why he cannot get the food is not that it would be physically impossible, but because taking food from store's shelves without paying is forbidden. This story reminds us that many of the barriers that constrain our lives and make us find our way merely within the space delimited by them are no longer barriers in the literal sense of the word - they are no longer produced by the conspiracy of the causal laws that form our physical niche. Rather they are produced by the conspiracy of attitudes of our fellow humans - they are deliberate rules, rather than inexorable natural laws. In this way evolution is canalized not by the environment relatively independent of it, but rather by the ploy of the organisms it itself has brought into being. I think that realizing the full import of this autocatalyctic situation may lead us, on the one hand, to the appreciation of certain philosophical doctrines, pervasive especially after Kant, regarding normativity as the hallmark of the human, while, on the other hand seeing how they get enlightened by scientific doctrines regarding the development of the human race its continuities/discontinuities with its animal cousins. (shrink)
In a recent article in Analysis, Graeme Hunter and William Seager (1981) attempt to rescue counterpart theory (CT) from some objections of Hazen 1979. They see these objections as arising from ‘uncritical use of the translation scheme originally proposed by Lewis’, and intend to meet them by refraining from use of that scheme. But they do not offer a new scheme; they say ‘…it is no more necessary to have one to capture the sense of modal idiom than it (...) is to capture the sense of quantificational idiom…Appeal to truth value is the single most important criterion of correct translation’ (Hunter and Seager 1981:72). Thus, where the scheme of Lewis (1968) translates a truth by a falsehood or conversely, Hunter and Seager simply produce a sentence which they claim to be a better translation, without articulating any structural principles they employ to arrive at their candidate. A friend of CT should not be happy with this procedure. Let Lm be first-order modal language and Lc be the language of counterpart theory. Sentences of Lc are intended to interpret or elucidate the meanings of Lm-sentences in the strong sense that they should be the outputs of an adequate theory of meaning, which we can formulate as a model theory, for Lm, written in Lc plus set theory. The interest of CT resides in its potential to provide an alternative approach to the model theory of modal logic, and from the clauses of any such alternative model theory we should be able to read off a translation scheme for Lm into Lc, just as we can in the standard case. If CT’s motivation is sound, which Hunter and Seager do not dispute, yet there is no translation scheme and so no counterpart-theoretic model theory, one might suspect some defect in the original language Lm. And in fact, Hunter and Seager find certain Lm-sentences multiply ambiguous with respect to Lc; but if a counterpart-theoretic model theory is possible, to say.. (shrink)
Evolutionary theories of human cognition should refer to specific times in the primate or hominid past. Though alternative accounts of tool manufacture from Wynn's are possible (e.g., frontal lobe function), Wynn demonstrates the power of archaeology to guide cognitive theories. Many cognitive abilities evolved not in the “Pleistocene hunter-gatherer” context, but earlier, in the context of other patterns of social organization and foraging.
The practical superiority of markets over governments has become readily apparent. Only the most dogmatic of state apologists continue to deny this obvious fact—at least with respect to the production of many goods and services. Free-market economists and libertarians go much further, of course. They affirm the market’s superiority in nearly all realms. Yet only a handful of anarchocapitalists, most notably Murray Rothbard, have dared claim that a free market could also do a better job of providing protection from foreign (...) states.1 National defense is generally considered the most essential of all government services. This widely conceded exception to the efficacy of markets seems to have irrefutable empirical confirmation. If private defense is better than government defense, why has government kept winning over the centuries? Indeed, the state’s military prowess has more than seemingly precluded the modern emergence of any anarchocapitalist society. At one time, as far as we know, all humankind lived in stateless bands of hunter-gatherers and had done so since the emergence of modern man some fifty thousand years ago. But beginning around 11,000 B.C., a gradual transition to.. (shrink)
Whilst care imperatives have arisen across the breadth of Western societies, within the education sector they appear both prolific and urgent. This paper explores the deployment of care discourses within education generally and draws upon the case of Australian Health and Physical Education (HPE) more specifically, to undertake a Foucauldian interrogation of care. In so doing I demonstrate the usefulness of Foucault's pastoral power lens and its capacity to provide insight into the moral and ethical work conducted by caring teachers (...) on behalf of the state (Acker, 1995). Following a brief overview of the advocacy, challenges and debates surrounding the issue of caring teaching within education, I draw on the work of Hunter (1994) and three case studies from a genealogical interrogation of HPE that employed Foucualt's ethical fourfold as a heuristic device to reveal the ethical practices and objectives of the good HPE teacher. Drawing on this genealogical work, I argue that HPE teachers and their colleagues have been purposefully incited to constitute themselves as agents of pastoral power. From this Foucauldian perspective, I conclude with an exploration of the unintended and possibly ‘dangerous’ practices of caring teaching that may emerge within the complex and messy nexus of contemporary self-constitution. (shrink)
Charlie Croker, a self-made real estate tycoon, ex-Georgia Tech football star, horseback rider, quail-hunter, snakecatcher, and good old boy from Baker county Georgia, is the protagonist in Tom Wolfeâ€™s latest novel, the deliciously provocative A Man in Full (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1998). Â In this article I examine the evolving conception of manhood in Wolfeâ€™s novel. Â Two different models of manliness will be delineated and compared. The first modelâ€”represented by Charlie Crokerâ€”gradually weakens and is replaced by (...) the second modelâ€”represented by Conrad Hensley. My aim is to show how Stoicism serves to critique the first model and articulate the second. Â Stoicism, I argue, provides the deliverance of both Hensley and his convert Croker, while at the same time transforming the conception of manliness explored in A Man in Full. (shrink)
The debate concerning the approach of the early Christians to the military can be advanced by paying attention to a genre of literature that scholars have largely ignored: the church orders. These documents-the "Apostolic Tradition, Canons of Hippolytus, Testament of Our Lord", and "Apostolic Constitutions" - are illuminating in that they deal with ethics within com- prehensive treatments of worship, catechesis and pastoral life. They also are useful in that they, as variations upon a common original, are means of monitoring (...) change across the third and fourth centuries. This article uses the church orders to assess four elements of a "new consensus" (David Hunter) on Christians in the military. By and large it confirms these, but at times it alters emphases and adds nuances. It argues that: (1) the church orders viewed killing as the big problem for Christians in the legions, not idolatry; (2) the church orders confirm that the pre-Christendom church was divided on Christian participation in the legions; (3) the church or- ders provide evidence for both discontinuity and continuity on the issue across the centuries, although the deepest continuity, based on John the Baptist's "rule" of Luke 3.14, is between the pre-Constantinian laity and later theologians; (4) the church orders confirm a regional variation in attitude and practice. The church orders' authority in practice is never clear. (shrink)
Primatological and archaeological evidence along with anthropological accounts of hunter-gatherer societies indicate that lethal between-group violence may have been sufficiently frequent during our ancestral past to have shaped our evolved behavioral repertoire. Two simulations explore the possibility that heroism (risking one's life fighting for the group) evolved as a specialized form of altruism in response to war. We show that war selects strongly for heroism but only weakly for a domain-general altruistic propensity that promotes both heroism and other privately (...) costly, group-benefiting behaviors. A complementary analytical model shows that domain-specific heroism should evolve more readily when groups are small and mortality in defeated groups is high, features that are plausibly characteristic of our collective ancestral past. (shrink)
Beginning with the familiar -- The difference between families and political communities -- States of nature and social contracts -- Order, but not order alone -- On freedom (and liberty) -- Justice -- A brief attempt at describing good politics -- Focus on the Christian contribution -- Concluding thoughts.