In his Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit argues from the possibility of cases of fission and/or fusion of persons that one must reject identity as what matters for personal survival. Instead Parfit concludes that what matters is “psychological connectedness and/or continuity with the right kind of cause,” or what he calls an R-relation. In this paper, I argue that, if one accepts Parfit’s conclusion, one must accept that R-relations are what matter for moral responsibility as well. Unfortunately, it seems that (...) accepting that the R-relation is what matters for both survival and moral responsibility leads to a contradiction. My goal, however, is not merely to point out a problem in Parfit’s account. Instead, I believe that once we understand the basic intuitions which lead to this contradiction, it is clear that there is no fully satisfactory way to account for what matters with respect to survival and moral responsibility. (shrink)
In chapter 9 of De Interpretatione, Aristotle offers a defense of free will against the threat of fatalism. According to the traditional interpretation, Aristotle concedes the validity of the fatalist's arguments and then proceeds to reject the Principle of Bivalence in order to avoid the fatalist's conclusion. Assuming that the traditional interpretation is right on this point, it remains to be seen why Aristotle felt compelled to reject such an intuitive semantic principle rather than challenge the fatalist's inference from truth (...) to necessity. The answer, I contend, lies in Aristotle's theory of truth and truthmakers. (shrink)
Traditionally, incompatibilism has rested on two theses. First, the familiar Principle of Alternative Possibilities says that we cannot be morally responsible for what we do unless we could have done otherwise. Accepting this principle, incompatibilists have then argued that there is no room for such alternative possibilities in a deterministic world. Recently, however, a number of philosophers have argued that incompatibilism about moral responsibility can be defended independently of these traditional theses (Ginet 2005: 604-8; McKenna 2001; Stump 1999: 322-4, 2000 (...) and 2002; van Inwagen 1983: 182-8; and Zagzebski 2000). Incompatibilists of this stripe are generally motivated by the concern that, if determinism .. (shrink)
Frankfurt-type examples seem to show that agents can be morally responsible for their actions and omissions even if they could not have done otherwise. Fischer and Ravizza's influential account of moral responsibility is largely based on such examples. I examine a problem with their account of responsibility in cases where we fail to act. The solution to this problem has a surprising and far reaching implication concerning the construction of successful Frankfurt-type examples. I argue that the role of the counterfactual (...) intervener in such examples can only be filled by a rational agent. (shrink)
It is generally assumed that, during his early pre-critical phase, Kant accepted a Leibnizian account of freedom according to which we are free to do otherwise than we do even though our actions are determined. This assumption is false. Far from endorsing such an account, Kant explicitly argues in the "New Elucidation of the First Principle of Metaphysical Cognition" (1755) that there is no relevant sense in which we can do otherwise than we do. Nevertheless, he is equally convinced that (...) we are free and responsible for our actions. And so he concludes that we can be responsible for what we do even if we could not have done otherwise. Little attention, however, has been paid to this argument. This is unfortunate, since a better understanding of this stage in Kant’s theory of freedom would surely help us in understanding the later critical developments. (shrink)
I argue that, by the time of his essay "Concerning the Ultimate Ground of the Differentiation of Directions in Space" (1768), Kant had come to question the status of the Principle of Sufficient Reason as a result, at least in part, of his recognition of the existence of incongruent counterparts. Though Kant's argument against absolute space based on the existence of incongruent counterparts has been much discussed in recent years, its importance as a useful benchmark by which to judge the (...) direction of Kant’s thinking during this period has gone unnoticed. This paper is a modest attempt to remedy this deficiency. (shrink)
Traditionally, incompatibilists about moral responsibility and determinism claim that we cannot be morally responsible unless we could have done otherwise and that we cannot do otherwise if we are determined. The Direct Argument for incompatibilism supposedly offers its defenders a dialectical advantage over this traditional approach insofar as it does not appear to rely on either of these controversial claims. Recently, though, David Widerker has argued against this supposition and urged that it is time to say farewell to the Direct (...) Argument. I examine two of Widerker’s criticisms and argue that, while they are not compelling, a revised version of one does show that supporters of the Direct Argument will very likely need to deny that an agent could do otherwise if determinism is true. I conclude that, nevertheless, the Direct Argument may still have considerable dialectical appeal and that neither of Widerker’s criticisms should lead us to say goodbye to it just yet. (shrink)
This paper examines Young’s conception of power, arguing that it is incomplete, in at least two ways. First, Young tends to equate the term power with the narrower notions of ‘oppression’ and ‘domination’. Thus, Young lacks a satisfactory analysis of individual and collective empowerment. Second, as Young herself admits, it is not obvious that her analysis of power can be useful in the context of thinking about transnational justice. Allen concludes by considering one way in which Young’s analysis of (...) power needs to be extended or perhaps modified in order to do justice to questions of transnational justice. (shrink)
Projecting Illusion offers a systematic analysis of the impression of reality in the cinema and the pleasure it gives to the film spectator. Film provides a compelling experience that can be considered as a form of illusion akin to the experience of day-dream and dream. Examining the concept of illusion and its relationship to fantasy in the experience of visual representation, Richard Allen situates his explanation within the context of an analytical criticism of contemporary film and critical theory. He (...) argues that many contemporary film theorists correctly identify the significance of the impression of reality, although their explanation of it is incorrect because of an invalid philosophical understanding of the relationship between the mind, representation and reality. Offering a clear presentation and critique of the central arguments of contemporary film and critical theory, Allen also touches on fundamental issues in current discourses of philosophy, art history and feminist theory. (shrink)
Knowledge and Civilization advances detailed criticism of philosophy's usual approach to knowledge and describes a redirection, away from textbook problems of epistemology, toward an ecological philosophy of technology and civilization. Rejecting theories that confine knowledge to language or discourse, Allen situates knowledge in the greater field of artifacts, technical performance, and human evolution. His wide ranging considerations draw on ideas from evolutionary biology, archaeology, anthropology, and the history of cities, art, and technology.
Power is clearly a crucial concept for feminist theory. Insofar as feminists are interested in analyzing power, it is because they have an interest in understanding, critiquing, and ultimately challenging the multiple array of unjust power relations affecting women in contemporary Western societies, including sexism, racism, heterosexism, and class oppression.In The Power of Feminist Theory, Amy Allen diagnoses the inadequacies of previous feminist conceptions of power, and draws on the work of a diverse group of theorists of power, including (...) Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Hannah Arendt, in order to construct a new feminist conception of power. The conception of power developed in this book enables readers to theorize domination, resistance, and solidarity, and, perhaps more importantly, to do so in a way that illuminates the interrelatedness of these three modalities of power. (shrink)
Shriver and Allen (this volume, this journal; hereafter S&A) make three unconnected criticisms of my views concerning phenomenal consciousness and the question of animal consciousness. First, they claim that my dispositional higher-order thought theory of consciousness has much greater significance for ethics than I recognize. Second, they claim that, in the course of attempting to motivate that theory, I have presented inadequate criticisms of first-order theories (according to which phenomenal consciousness may well be rampant in the animal world). And (...) third, they claim that my argument that the question of animal consciousness might not matter a great deal for comparative psychology may prove too much, showing that such consciousness is genuinely epiphenomenal in ourselves, and undermining some of my own evolutionary arguments in support of higher-order theories. I shall focus mostly on the second and third criticisms. But I begin with a few remarks about the first. (shrink)
En el marco ambiental del XIX se produce la penetración de Jeremy Bentham en el horizonte intelectual salmantino. Bentham el filósofo-legislador se avenía perfectamente con el espíritu de renovación jurídico y política que se respiraba en los círculos más inquietos de la Universidad de Salamanca a comienzos del siglo XIX. El método utilitarista de Bentham propiciaba una vía nueva para fundamentar una ética jurídica y política a posteriori; en vista de los resultados dolorosos y placenteros del acto humano y (...) de sus repercusiones prósperas o nocivas en el plano social. De ahí, que la minoría intelectual que en la Universidad de Salamanca aspiraba a una profunda revisión de los esquemas didácticos vigentes eligiera la doctrina de Bentham como la más adecuada y eficaz para el logro de sus propósitos. (shrink)
[Allen W. Wood] Kant's moral philosophy is grounded on the dignity of humanity as its sole fundamental value, and involves the claim that human beings are to be regarded as the ultimate end of nature. It might be thought that a theory of this kind would be incapable of grounding any conception of our relation to other living things or to the natural world which would value nonhuman creatures or respect humanity's natural environment. This paper criticizes Kant's argumentative strategy (...) for dealing with our duties in regard to animals, but defends both his theory and most of his conclusions on these topics. /// [Onora O'Neill] Kant's ethics, like others, has unavoidable anthropocentric starting points: only humans, or other 'rational natures', can hold obligations. Seemingly this should not make speciesist conclusions unavoidable: might not rational natures have obligations to the non-rational? However, Kant's argument for the unconditional value of rational natures cannot readily be extended to show that all non-human animals have unconditional value, or rights. Nevertheless Kant's speciesism is not thoroughgoing. He does not view non-rational animals as mere items for use. He allows for indirect duties 'with regard to' them which afford welfare but not rights, and can allow for indirect duties 'with regard to' abstract and dispersed aspects of nature, such as biodiversity, species and habitats. (shrink)
This volume, honoring the renowned historian of science, Allen G Debus, explores ideas of science - `experiences of nature' - from within a historiographical tradition that Debus has done much to define. As his work shows, the sciences do not develop exclusively as a result of a progressive and inexorable logic of discovery. A wide variety of extra-scientific factors, deriving from changing intellectual contexts and differing social millieus, play crucial roles in the overall development of scientific thought. These essays (...) represent case studies in a broad range of scientific settings - from sixteenth-century astronomy and medicine, through nineteenth-century biology and mathematics, to the social sciences in the twentieth-century - that show the impact of both social settings and the cross-fertilization of ideas on the formation of science. Aimed at a general audience interested in the history of science, this book closes with Debus's personal perspective on the development of the field. Audience: This book will appeal especially to historians of science, of chemistry, and of medicine. (shrink)
This is the tenth volume of the Correspondence produced in the new edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham. The great majority of the letters have never before been published. They illustrate the composition, editing, publication, and reception of several of his works. The volume reveals Bentham's attempts to influence developments in France, the USA, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and South America. -/- Despite Bentham's importance as jurist, philosopher, and social scientist, and leader of the Utilitarian reformers, the only (...) previous edition of his works was a poorly edited and incomplete one brought out within a decade or so of his death. This new critical edition of his works and correspondence is being prepared by the Bentham Committee of University College London. (shrink)
The new critical edition of the works and correspondence of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) is being prepared and published under the supervision of the Bentham Committee of University College London. In spite of his importance as jurist, philosopher, and social scientist, and leader of the Utilitarian reformers, the only previous edition of his works was a poorly edited and incomplete one brought out within a decade or so of his death. Eight volumes of the new Collected Works, five of correspondence, (...) and three of writings on jurisprudence, appeared between 1968 and 1981, published by the Athlone Press. Further volumes in the series since then are published by Oxford University Press. The overall plan and principles of the edition are set out in the General Preface to The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 1, which was the first volume of the Collected Works to be published. -/- An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Jeremy Bentham's best-known work, is a classic text in modern philosophy and jurisprudence. First published in 1789, it contains the important statement of the foundations of utilitarian philosophy and a pioneering study of crime and punishment, both of which remain at the heart of contemporary debates in moral and political philosophy, economics, and legal theory. Printed here in full is the definitive edition, edited by the distinguished scholars J. H. Burns and H. L. A. Hart. An introductory essay by Hart, first published in 1982 and a widely acknowledged classic in its own right, is reprinted here. It contains an important analysis of Bentham's principle of utility, theory of action, and an account of the relationship between law and morality. -/- A new introduction by the leading Bentham scholar F. Rosen, specially written for this Clarendon Paperback edition, provides students with a helpful survey of Bentham's main ideas and an extensive bibliographical study of recent critical work on Bentham. Professor Rosen's essay also contains a new analysis of the principle of utility in Bentham's philosophy which is compared with its use in Hume and J. S. Mill. (shrink)
The writings collected in this volume make an important addition to The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham. They lend credence to Bentham's claim that his ideas were appropriate `for the use of all nations and all governments professing liberal opinions'. The essays, dating mainly from late 1822 and early 1823, are based exclusively on manuscripts, many of which have not been previously published. -/- Turning his attention towards the Mediterranean basin, Bentham here attempts to legislate for one Islamic state, (...) and offers advice to another in the process of throwing off Islamic rule. The Writings for Tripoli include the famous `Securities against Misrule', in which Bentham draws up a constitutional charter with an accompanying explanation of its provisions. He also discusses the social, political, and religious institutions of the country, and proposes a scheme for the introduction of constitutional reform both there and in the other Barbary states. The Writings for Greece include a rare commentary on the first Greek constitution of 1822, and advice and warnings to the Greek legislators against the temptation of `sinister appetites'. The main theme in both groups of writings is the efficacy of representative institutions and the publicity of official actions in preventing the abuse of government power. (shrink)
Hart identified a utilitarian tradition in jurisprudence, which he associated with Jeremy Bentham and John Austin. This tradition consisted in three doctrines: the separation of law and morals; the analysis of legal concepts; and the imperative theory of law. I argue, contrary to Hart, that Bentham did not adopt a 'positivist' conception of law whether understood in terms of the separation of legal theory and morality or in terms of the separation of law and morals. Misinterpreting Bentham's approach to (...) the analysis of language, Hart was wrong to assume that Bentham's jurisprudential project was a precursor to his own attempt to provide a morally neutral description of a legal system. It was this assumption that led to mistakes in Hart's editing of Of Laws in General. Bentham's utilitarian theory of law should be recognised as a distinct alternative to Common Law and Natural Law theories. (shrink)
Jeremy Waldron’s Law and Disagreement1 is an extremely important and influential book. Not only is it probably the best known recent text presenting the case against judicial review, but it is also rich in details and arguments regarding related but distinct issues such as the history of political philosophy, the relevance of metaethics to political philosophy, the desirable structure of legislative bodies, the justification of democracy and majoritarianism, Rawls’ political philosophy, and much more. In commenting on such rich work, (...) then, the difficulty is not to find things to disagree (or indeed agree) with, but rather to pick and choose among the many topics one can discuss. Below I focus on what seem to me like central difficulties in the more general political philosophy Waldron seems to endorse, and in its application to the topic of judicial review. (shrink)
Mill, J. S. Bentham.--Whewell, W. Bentham.--Watson, J. Bentham.--Hart, H. L. A. Bentham.--Parekh, B. Bentham's justification of the principle of utility.--Peardon, T. Bentham's ideal republic.--Hart, H. L. A. Bentham on sovereignty.--Burns, J. H. Bentham's critique of political fallacies.--Mitchell, W. C. Bentham's felicific calculus.--Roberts, D. Jeremy Bentham and the Victorian administrative state.
This article challenges Jeremy Waldron's arguments in favour of participatory majoritarianism, and against constitutional judicial review. First, I consider and critique Waldron's arguments against instrumentalist justifications of political authority. My central claim is that although the right to democratic participation is intrinsically valuable, it does not displace the central importance of the `instrumental condition of good government': political decision-making mechanisms should be chosen (primarily) on the basis of their conduciveness to good results. I then turn to an examination of (...) Waldron's claim that individuals are entitled to participate in decisions which affect their lives. Furthermore, I respond to his claim that justifications of constitutional judicial review rely on an objectionable distrust of democratic politics, and is inconsistent with a view of the person as a morally responsible, autonomous agent. Finally, I seek to show that judicial review can itself become a valuable channel of political participation, especially for those who are marginalized and disempowered in the normal political process. (shrink)
When Bob Brandom, six years after publishing his opus magnum Making it explicit (hereafter MIE)1, produced his slender Articulating reasons2, many people expected that finally they would have a concise introduction to his philosophical views. Their expectations, however, were to be dashed: Articulating reasons is a heterogeneous collection of texts elaborating on some of the topics of MIE and hardly digestible without the background of MIE3. As yet, Brandom has produced nothing that could be taken as introductory. His subsequent books (...) are either collections of essays addressing topics contained in or connected with MIE (Tales of the mighty dead4, Reason in Philosophy5 or the not yet published Perspectives on Pragmatism6), or engaged with Brandom's new philosophical doctrine, viz. analytic pragmatism, which is the case of Between Saying and Doing7. The last one, of course, is not unrelated to MIE, but it emphasizes different aspects of the enterprise; hence it is unlikely to pave the way to MIE for a perplexed reader. Until recently I was convinced that no readable introduction to Brandom's views therefore existed. Now I see I was mistaken. Though I knew that there was a book devoted to Brandom, by Jeremy Wanderer, I suspected it was more of a scientific biography than an introduction to the inferentialism of MIE; but in fact it is precisely the book I was missing: a congenial and comprehensible introduction to the ideas of Brandom's MIE. Hurrah!, a book my students, desperately wrestling with MIE, can be referred to! (shrink)
Jeremy Bentham provided a comprehensive list of the sources of pleasure and pain, rather in the manner of modern researchers into human well-being. He explicitly used the term well-being and made both qualitative and quantitative proposals for its measurement. Bentham insisted that the measurement of well-being should be firmly based on the concerns and subjective valuations of those directly concerned, in the context of a liberal society. Those who wished to superimpose other judgements were dismissed as "ipsedixitists." He also (...) addressed, though of course could not solve, some of the measurement problems more recently tackled by "neo-Benthamites." The paper concludes that many of Benthams observations about the measurement of well-being are still relevant to issues in current research. Key Words: utilitarianism Bentham well-being capabilities. (shrink)
Allen Carlson and Sheila Lintott (eds): Nature, Aesthetics, and Environmentalism: From Beauty to Duty Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10806-010-9258-2 Authors Nathaniel Barrett, Institute for the Biocultural Study of Religion 1711 Massachusetts Ave NW #308 Washington DC 20036 USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
The contractarian theory elaborated by John Rawls in A Theory of Justice exploits the difference principle in a great many ways. Rawls argues that, when used as part of a set of guiding principles for structuring the basic institutions of society, it simplifies the problem of interpersonal comparisons (91-4)1, helps compensate for the arbitrariness of natural endowments (101-3), promotes a harmony of interests between citizens (104-5), reintroduces the principle of fraternity to democratic society (105-6), and, what is critical to his (...) contractarian theory, it is an essential part of the principles of justice which would be chosen by free, equal, and rational persons in the original position. (shrink)
Jeremy Bentham's , hitherto known as , has recently appeared in definitive form in The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham. The essay contains what is arguably the most influential critique of natural rights, and by extension human rights, ever written. Bentham's fundamental argument was that natural rights lacked any ontological basis, except to the extent that they reflected the personal desires of those propagating them. Moreover, by purporting to have a basis in nature, the language of natural rights (...) gave a veneer of respectability to what, in the case of the French Revolutionaries at least, were at bottom violent and selfish passions. Yet that having been said, Bentham had no objection to the notion of a right which expressed a moral claim founded on the principle of utility. However, the phrase better captured what was at stake, and avoided all the ambiguities otherwise associated with the word. (shrink)
In my Responses, I take up the various definitional and justificatory challenges that Anita Allen, Anthony Appiah and Bill Lawson raise to my defense of affirmative action and I try to build bridges and remove the apparent disagreements between our views. In the process, I have found a way to replace race-based affirmative action with a non-race-based program which retains all the benefits that a race-based program can provide and secures additional benefits as well.
Peter G. Brown and Jeremy J. Smith (eds): Water Ethics: Foundational Readings for Students and Professionals Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9310-x Authors Neelke Doorn, Department of Technology Policy and Management, Section of Philosophy, 3TU. Centre of Ethics and Technology/Delft University of Technology, PO Box 5015, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Evaluation of the contribution that Allen Carlson’s environmental aesthetics can make to environmental protection shows that Carlson’s positive aesthetics, his focus on the functionality of human environments for their proper aesthetic appreciation, and his integration of ethical concern with aesthetic appreciation all provide fruitful, though not unproblematic, avenues for an aesthetic defense of theenvironment.
Francis Allen, The Borderland of Criminal Justice: Essays in Law and Criminology Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1964 Francis Allen, The Crimes of Politics: Political Dimensions of Criminal Justice Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974 Francis Allen, Law, Intellect, and Education Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1979 Francis Allen, The Decline of the Rehabilitative Ideal: Penal Policy and Social Purpose New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.
This commentary provides a critical examination of a recent article by Allen and Knight in which the authors claim to provide the long-sought explanation for the Madelung, or n + ℓ, n rule for the order of orbital filling in many-electron atoms. It is concluded that the explanation is inadequate for several reasons.
Allen Orr wrote an extended critical review (over 6000 words) of my book No Free Lunch for the Boston Review this summer (http://bostonreview.mit.edu/BR27.3/orr.html). The Boston Review subsequently contacted me and asked for a 1000 word response. I wrote a response of that length focusing on what I took to be the fundamental flaw in Orr's review (and indeed in Darwinian thinking generally, namely, conflating the realistically possible with the merely conceivable). What I didn't know (though I should have expected (...) it) is that Orr would have the last word and that the Boston Review would give him 1000 words to reply to my response (see the exchange in the current issue at http://bostonreview.mit.edu/BR27.5/exchange.html). (shrink)
Allen Orr reviewed my book No Free Lunch in the Summer 2002 issue of the Boston Review . Orr's review is available at http://bostonreview.mit.edu/BR27.3/orr.html. The response below is at the request of the Boston Review and will be appearing in a subsequent issue.
En philosophie du droit, on a coutume d’opposer juspositivisme et jusnaturalisme et de placer Jeremy Bentham dans la première catégorie. Plusieurs auteurs tiennent même Bentham pour le père du juspositivisme. Je prétends pour ma part que cette façon de classer Bentham est inadéquate et nécessite une importante mise au point. S’il est vrai que Bentham était un adversaire des doctrines du droit naturel, il ne s’ensuit pas pour autant qu’il appartient au positivisme juridique; et les raisons qui pourraient justifier (...) le classement de Bentham parmi les juspositivistes militent aussi pour son association au jusnaturalisme. Que faut-il entendre exactement par « positivisme juridique », et en quel sens Bentham y adhère-t-il? C’est à cette double question que le présent article est consacré. (shrink)
I am grateful to Richard Allen, Angela Curran and Trevor Ponech for their interesting objections to and questions about the claims defended in my book. I first discuss Ponech, who raises the most general issue, concerning my account of what cinema is; next, respond to Curran, who examines my basic claim about the importance of medium-specific considerations; and then reply to Allen, who addresses the more specific question of the role of identification in eliciting emotions in cinema.
Critics’ praise of Woody Allen as an artist is increasing. No other comedian includes within his humour so many references to God. Philosophers interested in contemporary culture should take Allen’s comedy seriously. Accepting Albert Camus’s vision of reality, Allen has been artistically handling the absurdity of reality by use of humour. Through comedies, Allen’s films deal with important questions. His finest film may contain an argument for God.