Through examining the respective roles of "pride" and "sympathy" in Hume's natural sublime experience and through comparing that analysis with the roles played by those concepts in his discussion of "heroic virtue," I demonstrate both that there is an element of the moral in natural sublimity and that Hume evokes a conception of sublimity as sometimes _distinctly moral. Moral sublime experience entails the _un-comfortably _un-Humean possibility of sublimity inhering in the uniquely human object which makes that experience "moral." I detail (...) how this radical claim is so and demonstrate how Hume's moral sublime deepens the pre-Kantian strain in his aesthetics. (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)
The following is a transcript of the interview I (Yasuko Kitano) conducted with Neil Levy (The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, CAPPE) on the 23rd in July 2009, while he was in Tokyo to give a series of lectures on neuroethics at The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy. I edited his words for publication with his approval.
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)
In his response to my essay “Out of Control,” Neil Levy contests my claims that (1) we are often responsible for acts that we do not consciously choose to perform, and that (2) despite the absence of conscious choice, there remains a relevant sense in which these actions are within our control. In this reply to Levy, I concede that claim (2) is linguistically awkward but defend the thought that it expresses, and I clarify my defense of claim (1) (...) by distinguishing my position from attributionism. (shrink)
Natural law theory is enjoying a revival of interest in a variety of scholarly disciplines including law, philosophy, political science, and theology and religious studies. This volume presents twelve original essays by leading natural law theorists and their critics. The contributors discuss natural law theories of morality, law and legal reasoning, politics, and the rule of law. Readers get a clear sense of the wide diversity of viewpoints represented among contemporary theorists, and an opportunity to evaluate the arguments and counterarguments (...) exchanged in the current debates between natural law theorists and their critics. Contributors include Hadley Arkes, Joseph M. Boyle, Jr., John Finnis, Robert P. George, Russell Hittinger, Neil MacCormick, Michael Moore, Jeffrey Stout, Joseph Raz, Jeremy Waldron, Lloyd Weinreb, and Ernest Weinrib. (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)
In a paper in this journal, Neil Levy challenges Nicholas Agar’s argument for the irrationality of mind-uploading. Mind-uploading is a futuristic process that involves scanning brains and recording relevant information which is then transferred into a computer. Its advocates suppose that mind-uploading transfers both human minds and identities from biological brains into computers. According to Agar’s original argument, mind-uploading is prudentially irrational. Success relies on the soundness of the program of Strong AI—the view that it may someday be possible (...) to build a computer that is capable of thought. Strong AI may in fact be false, an eventuality with dire consequences for mind-uploading. Levy argues that Agar’s argument relies on mistakes about the probability of failed mind-uploading and underestimates what is to be gained from successfully mind-uploading. This paper clarifies Agar’s original claims about the likelihood of mind-uploading failure and offers further defense of a pessimistic evaluation of success. (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)
Brian Leiter and Neil Sinhababu (eds), Nietzsche and Morality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10677-008-9134-6 Authors Rainer Kattel, Tallinn University of Technology Ehitajate tee 5 19086 Tallinn Estonia Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820.
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)
Neil MacCormick says that his "version of institutional theory" about the law 'is "non positivist", or, if you wish, "post-positivist"'. He is aware, however, that his work could be perfectly labelled, from the point of view of the history of legal and moral thought, as a form of natural law theory, at least by those who adhere to some version of natural law. It is an important merit of MacCormick that, rising above the label walls and wars, his theory (...) of law has taken into account the main insights of the great authors belonging to both traditions, such as Hans Kelsen and Herbert Hart, on the so-called "positivist" side, and some authors in the Thomistic tradition, particularly John Finnis, as well as "the writings of seventeenth and eighteenth century jurists concerning natural jurisprudence and the law of nature", on the so-called "natural law" side. Writing with such openness to all sources and insights, Neil MacCormick, one of the most eminent legal philosophers of our time, does not surprise us when he chooses to end his lifetime's work with an attempt to dig into the ethical foundations of all that he has written on law and politics. Practical Reason in Law and Morality is, in a way, his most significant book. He tackles here the deeper issues that he himself realised were left open and uncertain in his salient works on legal theory. He considered this book as the last one in a quartet on "Law, State, and Practical Reason". The quartet itself has become the culmination of a life devoted to the common good, in academia and in politics, among many other endeavours. Notwithstanding its flaws, I am convinced that Neil MacCormick's last book can be illuminating for all those students, and even professors, who go about doing legal philosophy without ever reading anything antedating Hart's Concept of Law. They tend to be confused by sophisticated forms of scepticism, luxurious discussions on law and morality and metaethics, and all sorts of distrust of truth in practical matters. Hence they will surely benefit from reading how a great legal philosopher of our time, once equally confused but always honestly open to rational deliberation and fair discussion, freed himself of at least half of his misunderstandings, and learned a lot by reading some natural law theorists old and new. (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)
Neil Smith has worked across the full range of the discipline of linguistics and explored its interfaces with other disciplines. In all this work he has maintained a commitment to a mentalist approach to the study of language and communication. The aim of this Special Issue is to honour his work and commitment with a collection of papers which brings together work by phonologists, syntacticians, psycholinguists, and pragmatists who share this interest in language as a central component of the (...) human mind and who have worked with Neil, whether as colleagues, collaborators, or students. Neil’s career can be viewed in relation to three main developments in modern linguistics. First, it reflects the development of generativism, in both syntax and phonology. For Neil, this has meant working within, and exploring the ramifications of, the groundbreaking theoretical framework for linguistics initiated and developed by Noam Chomsky. Neil has given full expression to this intellectual debt in two book-length studies of Chomsky’s ideas and principles (Smith and Wilson 1979, Smith 1999) and in many papers and commentaries. Notwithstanding his unswerving Chomskyan allegiance, Neil has been open to, and has encouraged, the exploration of alternative approaches to both syntax and phonology, including optimality theory, GPSG, word grammar, and categorial grammar. The second development reflected in Neil’s work is the trend towards placing research in linguistics in the context of research in cognitive psychology and philosophy of mind and language - in other words, the development of linguistics as one of the cognitive sciences, again very much a Chomskyan initiative. This ‘cognitive turn’ can be seen as, at least in part, a consequence of a commitment to generativism and to linguistic theories that aim to go beyond detailed description of data to achieve explanatory adequacy. In the field of phonology, this search for explanatory adequacy led to Neil’s work on the acquisition of.... (shrink)
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.
Quarrels between philosophers are never entirely disconnected from larger quarrels. There was a hidden agenda behind the split between old-fashioned “humanistic” philosophy (of the Dewey-Whitehead sort) and the positivists, and a similar agenda lies behind the current split between devotees of “analytic” and “Continental” philosophy. The heavy breathing on both sides about the immorality and stupidity of the opposition signals passions which academic power struggles cannot fully explain. Neil Gross’s monograph study on the American philosopher Richard Rorty (1931–2007) is (...) a multi-layered tapestral offering that deftly weaves together informative strands of cultural history with the binding threads of .. (shrink)
In Chapter 7 of The Taming of the True, Neil Tennant provides a new argument from Michael Dummett's ``manifestation requirement'' to the incorrectness of classical logic and the correctness of intuitionistic logic. I show that Tennant's new argument is only valid if one interprets crucial existence claims occurring in the proof in the manner of intuitionists. If one interprets the existence claims as a classical logician would, then one can accept Tennant's premises while rejecting his conclusion of logical revision. (...) Thus, Tennant has provided no evidence that should convince anyone who is not already an intuitionist. Since his proof is a proof for the correctness of intuitionism, it begs the question. (shrink)
Writing about the intellectual development of a philosopher is a delicate business. My own endeavor to reinterpret the influence of Hegel on Dewey troubles some scholars because, they believe, I make Dewey seem less original.1 But if, like Dewey, we overcome Cartesian dualism, placing the development of the self firmly within a complex matrix of social processes, we are forced to reexamine, without necessarily surrendering, the notion of individual originality, or what Neil Gross calls “discourse[s] of creative genius.”2 To (...) use a mundane example, I can recall several conversations with Dewey scholars about his dislike for his home state of Vermont, all of which revolved around personal reasons he may .. (shrink)
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)
The poor might always be with us but neither in ways that we imagine them nor in circumstances of their own choosing. Poverty (and its subject class, the poor) has been a persistent presence in the modern social sciences - both as ethical shadow and methodological stimulus. Throughout his self-described career as `professional storyteller of the contemporary human condition', Bauman's hermeneutical, dialectical and anthropological foci and modus operandi are impressively consistent, none more so than in his reflections on the problem (...) of poverty. An important stimulant to Bauman's ruminations on the new poor has been the work of Jeremy Seabrook and not only because Seabrook's primary foci have been the symbiotic and dialectical relationships in the production of poverty and wealth in his chronicles of the poor in contemporary capitalism, in Europe and Asia. Indeed, it is arguable that Seabrook's own vocation as freelance journalist is emblematic of the kind of sociology Bauman exhorts the salaried members of the academy to embrace for now. This article traces the lineaments of the biographical parallels, intellectual resonances and methodological (or at least epistemological) affinities shared between Seabrook and Bauman so as to tease out what a sociology of the new poor looks like in the hands of Bauman after Seabrook. (shrink)
Neil Tennant (Tennant, 2005) has offered an important observation about the AGM theory of belief revision (G¨ardenfors, 1988). We attempt to restate and demonstrate his result in a slightly different way. Fix a formal language L that embeds sentential logic. Given K ⊆ L and ϕ ∈ L, K ⊥ ϕ denotes the class of maximally consistent subsets of K that do not imply ϕ. That is, A ∈ K ⊥ ϕ iff A ⊆ K, A |= ϕ, and (...) there is no B ⊆ K such that B ⊃ A and.. (shrink)
Jeremy Bentham's career as a writer spanned almost seventy years, from the Seven Years' War to the early 1830s, a period contemporaries called an age of revolutions and more recent historians have seen as a world crisis. This article traces Bentham's developing universalism in the context of international conflict across his lifetime and in relation to his attempts to create a 'Universal Jurisprudence'. That ambition went unachieved and his successors turned his conception of international law in a more particularist (...) direction. Going back behind Bentham's legacies to his own writings, both published and unpublished, reveals a thinker responsive to specific events but also committed to a universalist vision that helped to make him a precociously global figure in the history of political thought. (shrink)
v. 1. 1752-76.--v. 2. 1777-80.--v. 3. January 1781 to October 1788.--v. 4. 1788-1793.--v. 5. 1794-1797.--v. 6. January 1798 to December 1801.--v. 7. January 1802 to December 1808.--v. 8. January 1809 to December 1816.--v. 9. January 1817 to June 1820.-- v. 10. July 1820 to December 1821.--v. 11. January 1822 to June 1824.--v. 12. July 1824-June 1828.
These letters - the vast majority of which have never been published before - illustrate many aspects of Bentham's public and private life. The composition, editing, printing, publishing, and reception of several of his writings are discussed, while the correspondence with his secretary and protégé John Herbert Koe gives a unique insight into Bentham's working methods. The proposed Chrestomathic School is the subject of many of the letters of 1820, though even in that year Bentham's involvement in the world of (...) radical politics emerges clearly. The volume also testifies to his burgeoning international reputation, and to his interest in reform in North and South America, Russia, Spain, France, and Geneva. (shrink)
A critical edition of three of Bentham's works, Deontology and The Article on Utilitarianism previously unpublished. Together with his An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, they provide a comprehensive picture of Bentham's psychological and ethical views. This edition, based entirely on manuscripts written by Bentham of by his amanuenses, is equipped with a full introduction linking the three works. Each work is accompanied by detailed critical and explanatory notes.
The essays which Bentham collected together for publication in 1830 under the title of Official Aptitude Maximized; Expense Minimized, written at various times between 1810 and 1830, deal with the means of achieving efficient and economical government. In considering a wide range of themes in the fields of constitutional law, public finance, and legal reform, Bentham places the problem of official corruption at the centre of his analysis. He contrasts his own recommendations for good administration, which he had fully developed (...) in his magisterial Constitutional Code, with the severe deficiencies he saw in English practice. The core of the volume consists of four major essays directed against the principles and policies of four leading statesmen: Edmund Burke, George Rose, Robert Peel, and Lord Chancellor Eldon. Of particular concern to Bentham were the abuses sanctioned by the judges and their officials in the Westminster Hall courts, which, he argues, resulted in the denial of justice to the majority of the population. In this volume, Bentham not only displays the precise logical reasoning for which he is well known, but also his considerable skills as a rhetorician of reform. (shrink)
continent. 1.4 (2011): 310—311. Writing Death . Jeremy Fernando, foreword by Avital Ronell. Den Haag: Uitgeverij. 2011 ISBN: 978-90-817091-0-1 Rite and ceremony as well as legend bound the living and the dead in a common partnership. They were esthetic but they were more than esthetic. The rites of mourning expressed more than grief; the war and harvest dance were more than a gathering of energy for tasks to be performed; magic was more than a way of commanding forces of (...) nature to do the bidding of man; feasts were more than a satisfaction of hunger. Each of these communal modes of activity united the practical, the social, and the educative in an integrated whole having esthetic form.(1) Jeremy Fernando’s Writing Death is a sensitive attempt at exploring the depths and heights to which the processes of mourning can take us. Death, as an absence, renders all gestures (for what is mourning but a gesture with many faces) surrounding it at once as a possibility and an impossibility. Fernando poses questions that often elude the mourner and the mourned—the same, and different—by raising the specter of subject and object; by compelling the examination of what it actually means to mourn; and most crucially, by considering the very status of possibility itself that the act of mourning foregrounds. Mourning, he reminds us, is premised upon memory (remembrance, recollection), the shadow of forgetting upon which is perpetually cast—the inextricability between memory and forgetting haunts the living more than it does the dead. And if grief has anything to do with it, mourning can quite easily be mistaken for an attempt to remember in order to forget; an attempt, in other words, to deny death, deny the one thing that confirms mortality. As if living has anything to do with it. What, then, of writing death? It becomes an unceasing process of locating—and addressing—possibility itself: the passing as possibility; loss as possibility; impossibility as, and of, naming this possibility. In confronting the passing on, it is possible, nay inevitable, to move on, move away from the site of loss, of grief. All the while, we forget, Fernando reminds us, that mourning has little to do with the dead, and a whole lot to do with the living, the mourning self. Here, he echoes Dewey’s consolidation of rituals and ceremonies, of the dead and of the living, all as parts of a larger unity, of a social, public gesture meant to sate a private need: In trying to “get over it,” are we trying to get over ourselves? Or more than that: are we trying to get over the fact that we can never quite get over ourselves? (Fernando, 77) As if guilt has anything to do with it. And “it” continues to be the point that he is driving at, driving towards. “It” is the possibility and impossibility, death and life, memory and forgetting, lost and cherished. “It” is what eludes mourning, eludes attempts to overcome grief. Nonetheless, move on, he must. And Fernando does this in fewer moves than a 12-step program—hardly therapeutic, but intellectually satisfying. Writing Death attends to some of the pertinent aspects of the act of mourning—both as gesture and as meditation: eulogy, distress (call), tears, and the question of how (beyond ritual, beyond sentimentality) to mourn. And what’s love got to do with it? Everything and nothing. Mourning, after all, is an articulation of love, but it is also one that forces the mourner to be selective, as with myth-making, in the recollection: Remembering only ever occurs in exception to memory—quite possibly in betrayal of a memory. In this way, each remembrance is a naming of that memory, a naming of something as memory, bringing with it an act of violence. (40) Mourning is thus not only an act of fictionalizing, it is also an act of reading, to continually be compelled to respond to another, all the while keeping vigil against a reconceptualization of the dead, without, therefore, misreading the dead. This can only be done, Fernando argues, by all the while “maintaining the otherness of the other. After all, one must try not to forget that one cannot be too close—space is needed—to touch.” (82) There is also tacit acknowledgement that doing so foregrounds the fact that the selectivity of memory becomes exclusive, and concretizes into a singularity, thus negating the multi-dimensionality of a life lived – and thus killing the already dead. Writing Death is framed by two eulogies—or the approximations of eulogies; approximation because both foreground and call into question the eulogy as a genre. The first is Avital Ronell’s foreword to the book, remembering Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe; the second is Fernando’s own response to the passing of a mentor, Jean Baudrillard. Both are not merely attempts to philosophize their way out of the act of mourning. Both are in fact deeply moving pieces that remind us of the emotional possibilities that may reside within any intellectual undertaking, that the latter need not be cold and devoid of feelings. And whereas Writing Death does not attempt to make any philosophical claim for humanism, the underlying wistfulness of both pieces does suggest that there is a proper place for deep-seated human response to death. We can (and the book does) intellectualize and problematize the acts of mourning and grieving, but these do not diminish the fact that we mourn and grieve. And, framing Writing Death as the two eulogies do, Jeremy Fernando perhaps finally, and inadvertently, names “It”—it is, above everything else, Human. August, 2011 Singapore NOTES (1) Dewey, John. Art as Experience . New York: Perigee, 1934. (shrink)
Jeremy Bentham was an ardent secularist convinced that society could be sustained without the support of religious institutions or beliefs. This is writ large in the commonly neglected books on religion he wrote and published during the last twenty-five years of his life. However his earliest writings on the subject date from the 1770s, when as a young man he first embarked on his calling as a legal theorist and social reformer. From that time on, religion was never far (...) from the centre of his thoughts. -/- In Secular Utilitarianism, James Crimmins illustrates the nature, extent, and depth of Jeremy Bentham's concern with religion, from his Oxford days of first doubts to the middle years of quiet unbelief, and finally, the zealous atheism and secularism of his later life. Dr Crimmins provides an interpretation of Bentham's thought in which his religious views, hitherto of little interest to Bentham scholars, are shown to be integral: on the one hand intimately associated with the metaphysical, epistemological, and psychological principles which gave shape to his system as a whole, and on the other central to the development of his entirely secular view of society. (shrink)
This paper pr o vides an o v e r vi e w of the themes presented in Bentha m ' s w ork Scotch Reform -a n e w w ork being prepared for pu b lication from Bentha m ' s manuscripts b y Oxford Un i v ersity Press as pa r t of the Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham. Attention is focused on the relationship bet w een the system of l e g al procedure (...) proposed and the under l ying principle of utili t y . T w o issues are highlighte d , the nature of Bentha m ' s anti-nomian thesis for c i vil cou r ts and the parad o x of requiring restraint on the judicial control of c i vil procedure, w hilst simultaneous l y rem o ving all r ules of action and all o wing increased judicial discretion. (shrink)
Jeremy Bentham is a philosopher who deserves a prominent position in the history of democratic ideas. He not only thought popular rule as a vehicle for materializing his vision of utilitarian society, but also gave us a detailed picture of the basic institutions of the form of democratic governance he envisaged. It is also noteworthy that in hisradical system the people, who are the ultimate and undisputable source of all power, are protected from the authoritarian tendencies of state authorities (...) not by a bill of constitutional rights but by a set of enhanced democratic powers that enable them to exercise strict control over their elected representatives. In this essay we present an outline of his ?unusuallyliberal? theory of democracy based on recently published texts and studies as well as a brief assessment of its strong and weak points. (shrink)
In his article on poetry in health care education, Neil Pickering puts forward an argument of radical unpredictability: as we can never know in advance how a poem will be interpreted, it can be of no external use.1 It is, however, exactly this potential to give rise to multiple interpretations that makes the poem valuable. We hold that the poem should be read and discussed with no other intention than to discover and reflect on its possible meanings. Exactly this (...) process, preferably in dialogue with other readers, may very well serve as one of the ends of the poem, and the results of it hence constitute its external use. (shrink)
Utility and Democracy is the first comprehensive historical account of the political thought of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), the philosopher and reformer. Philip Schofield draws on his extensive knowledge of Bentham's unpublished manuscripts and original printed texts, and on the new, authoritative edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham . A compelling narrative charts the way in which Bentham applied his utilitarian philosophy to the rapidly changing circumstances of his age. -/- Schofield begins with a lucid account of (...) Bentham's insights in the fields of logic and language, and in particular his theory of real and fictitious entities, which lie at the foundation of his thought. He proceeds to show how these insights brought Bentham to the principle of utility, which led him in turn to produce the first systematic defence of democracy from a utilitarian perspective. In contrast to previous scholarship, which claims that Bentham's 'conversion' or 'transition' to political radicalism took place either at the time of the French Revolution or following his meeting with James Mill in 1808 or 1809, Professor Schofield shows that the process began in or around 1804 when the notion of sinister interest emerged in Bentham's thought. Bentham appreciated that rulers, rather than being motivated by a desire to promote the greatest happiness of those subject to them, aimed to promote their own happiness, whatever the overall cost to the community. -/- In his constitutional writings of the 1820s, which he addressed to 'all nations professing liberal opinions', Bentham argued that the proper end of constitutional design was to maximize official aptitude and minimize government expense, and that the publicity of official actions, within the context of a republican system of government where sovereignty lay in the people, was the means to achieve it. Bentham's commitment to radical reform led him to advocate the abolition of the British monarchy and House of Lords, the replacement of the Common Law with a codified system of law, and the 'euthanasia' of the Anglican Church. (shrink)