As medical technology advances and severely injured or ill people can be kept alive and functioning long beyond what was previously medically possible, the debate surrounding the ethics of end-of-life care and quality-of-life issues has grown more urgent. In this lucid and vigorous book, Craig Paterson discusses assisted suicide and euthanasia from a fully fledged but non-dogmatic secular natural law perspective. He rehabilitates and revitalises the natural law approach to moral reasoning by developing a pluralistic account of just why (...) we are required by practical rationality to respect and not violate key demands generated by the primary goods of persons, especially human life. Important issues that shape the moral quality of an action are explained and analysed: intention/foresight; action/omission; action/consequences; killing/letting die; innocence/non-innocence; person/non-person. Paterson defends the central normative proposition that ‘it is always a serious moral wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human person, whether self or another, notwithstanding any further appeal to consequences or motive’. (shrink)
In the chapter “A History of Ideas Concerning the Morality of Suicide, Assisted Suicide and Voluntary Euthanasia” author Craig Paterson explores questions concerning the legitimacy of the practices of suicide, assisted suicide, and voluntary euthanasia. The aim of this article is of identifying some of the main historical protagonists, and delineating some of the key arguments that have been used for the acceptance or rejection of these practices.
The article examines from an historical perspective some of the key ideas used in contemporary bioethics debates both for and against the practices of assisted suicide and euthanasia. Key thinkers examined--spanning the Ancient, Medieval and Modern periods--include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Hume, Kant, and Mill. The article concludes with a synthesizing summary of key ideas that oppose or defend assisted suicide and euthanasia.
In this chapter I seek to examine the credibility of Finnis’s basic stance on Aquinas that while many neo-Thomists are meta-ethically naturalistic in their understanding of natural law theory (for example, Heinrich Rommen, Henry Veatch, Ralph McInerny, Russell Hittinger, Benedict Ashley and Anthony Lisska), Aquinas’s own meta-ethical framework avoids the “pitfall” of naturalism. On examination, the short of it is that I find Finnis’s account (while adroit) wanting in the interpretation stakes vis-à-vis other accounts of Aquinas’s meta-ethical foundationalism. I think (...) that the neo-Thomists are basically right to argue that for Aquinas we cannot really understand objective truths about moral standards unless we derive them from our intellective knowledge of natural facts as given to us by the essential human nature that we have. While I find Finnis’s interpretative position on Aquinas wanting, I go on to argue that his own attachment to non-naturalism is justified and should not be jettisoned. Because I think non-naturalism important to the future tenability of a viable natural law ethics (an ethics that is both cognitive and objectivist), I argue that Finnis should, so to speak, “beef up” his “fundamental option” for non-naturalism and more fully avail himself of certain argumentative strategies available in its defense, argumentative strategies that are inspired by the analytical philosophy of G.E. Moore. (shrink)
Chapter one argues for the important contribution that a natural law based framework can make towards an analysis and assessment of key controversies surrounding the practices of suicide, assisted suicide, and voluntary euthanasia. The second chapter considers a number of historical contributions to the debate. The third chapter takes up the modern context of ideas that have increasingly come to the fore in shaping the 'push' for reform. Particular areas focused upon include the value of human life, the value of (...) personal autonomy, and the rejection of double effect reasoning. Chapter four engages in the task of pointing out structural weakness in utilitarianism and deontology. The thesis argues that major systemic weaknesses in both approaches can be overcome by a teleology of basic human goods. John Finnis' work becomes the underpinning of subsequent applied natural law analysis. Chapter five proceeds to argue for the defence of the intrinsic good of human life from direct attack. The thesis holds out for the proposition "that it is always a serious moral wrong to intentionally kill a human person, whether self or another, regardless of a further appeal to consequences or motive." In support of this, it defends the validity of double effect reasoning as an indispensable part of applied moral decision making. Chapter six critically assesses the arguments of anti-perfectionists that it is not the business of the state to enforce deep or substantive conceptions of the 'good life.' The chapter moves on to argue that the natural law conception of the person in society, centred on the common good, provides a solid framework for assessing both the justification for, as well as the limits on, the role of the state to use its power to legally impose certain moral standards. Chapter seven addresses the concrete relationship between natural law and legal policy by exploring the issue of assisted suicide in the constitutional context of the United States.
This overview proceeds by outlining, albeit very briefly, something of the historical growth of Thomism, turning then to a brief account of how analytic philosophy in the twentieth century can be viewed in relation to that history, before finally turning to a further consideration of what the phrase “Analytical Thomism,” can be taken to mean in light of this brief historical account.
The work of Dan Brock and Helga Kuhse is typical of the current stream of thought rejecting the validity of sanctity of life appeals to instill objective inviolable worth in human life regardless of the quality of life of the patient. The context of a person's life is supremely important. In their systems life can have high value, yet the value of life can be outweighed by the force of other disvalues. The notion of quality of life has increasingly come (...) to signify the measurement of the worth of a person's life itself. Having a life equals personal life. Any objectivity to life resides in 'personal', 'biographical', or 'creative' life, not mere biological life. Personal life represents the minimal threshold for any objective worth. In responding to this challenge, John Finnis has argued extensively that life is an intrinsic good – a basic human good. Following from our grasp of human life as a basic incommensurable good, it cannot be practically reasonable both to affirm that (a) 'human life is a basic human good', and (b) that 'human life qua human life can be intentionally acted against to its destruction'. Yet, if the good of human life can be considered self-evident, the self-evidence of the basic human good qua good does not mean that dialectical reasoning cannot be engaged in to indirectly support the practical reasonableness of respecting the good of human life in the deliberative choices that persons make concerning their actions. It is to the use of such dialectical reasoning, supportive of the status of human life as such a basic human good, that the article is primarily concerned to draw out and articulate. (shrink)
This paper is essentially concerned with defending the idea of a universal right to adequate health care coverage. It will argue for the existence of a human right grounded in Catholic social thought. At the outset, a statement of clarification is needed. This paper does not pretend to offer the panacea for all ills relating to health care provision. Rather, it is an inquiry into the kinds of value that should inform decision making relating to health policy. A universal right (...) to adequate health care cannot be established without questioning the underlying values that inform the debate and bring them firmly to the level of deliberative consciousness. It is these value concerns that structure the dynamic of health care provision and the general provision of wider resources in society. (shrink)
Coriolanus, the legendary fifth-century BC general who turned against his native city for banishing him, is painted by Shakespeare as the paragon Stoic warrior. Physically strong and detached, at home in the battlefield, he is the military man par excellence. Fearless, he sheds few tears. But the turning point in Shakespeare's play comes when Coriolanus remembers how to weep. He admits that "It is no small thing to make mine eyes sweat compassion."The absence of compassion in health care is increasingly (...) remarked upon. In 2009, it led to a campaign to broaden New Zealand's Code of Patients' Rights to include the legal right "to have services provided with compassion, including a prompt and humane response to .. (shrink)
All too often in applied ethics debates, there is a danger that a lack of analytical clarity and precision in the use of key terms serves to cloud and confuse the real nature of the debate being undertaken. A particular area of concern in my analysis of the bioethics literature has been the uses to which the key terms "suicide," "assisted suicide," and "euthanasia" are put. The modest aim of this article is to render a contribution to the applied ethics (...) debate on these topics by seeking to delimit the scope and meaning of these terms. The criteria of specificity, non-arbitrariness, consistency (between various terms), and the avoidance of strong pejorative presuppositions, supply the main standards guiding my adoption of usages. (shrink)
Puccetti argues that Dennett's views on split brains are defective. First, we criticise Puccetti's argument. Then we distinguish persons, minds, consciousnesses, selves and personalities. Then we introduce the concepts of part-persons and part-consciousnesses, and apply them to clarifying the situation. Finally, we criticise Dennett for some contribution to the confusion.
In this paper we present a summary review of recent psychological studies which make a contribution to an understanding of how quantifiers are used. Until relatively recently, the contribution which psychology has made has been somewhat restricted. For example, the approach which has enjoyed the greatest popularity in psychology is explaining quantifiers as expressions which have fuzzy or vague projections on to mental scales of amount. Following Moxey & Sanford (1993a), this view is questioned. Experimental work is summarized showing that (...) quantifiers may be differentiated in terms of the patterns of focus which they produce, which we take as a reflection of the patterns of inference which they induce. Other work suggests that when a speaker uses certain quantifiers it is possible for a listener to draw inferences about what the speaker’s prior expectations were, including what the speaker is taken to have believed the listener to expect. These findings are discussed in relation to how quantifiers are selected, and in terms of a possible psychological basis for certain logico-linguistic judgements about quantifiers. 10.1093/jos/11.3.153. (shrink)
The concept of stewardship as resource development and conservation, a shallow environmental ethic, arises out of a domination framework. Stewardship as earthkeeping arises out of a keeping framework and falls somewhere between an intermediate and deep environmental ethic. A notion of agricultural stewardship, based on earthkeeping principles, can be used as a normative standard by whichto judge a range of agricultural economies and practices.
Touch is a sense of communication. It is receptive, expressive, can communicate empathy. It can bring distant objects and people into proximity. It is a carnal world, with its pleasures of feeling and being felt, of tasting and touching the textures of flesh and of food. And equally it is a profound world of philosophical verification, of the communication of presence and empathy with others, of the mutual implication or folding of body, flesh and world.
We like Euclidean geometry because we are men [sic], and have eyes and hands, and need to operate a concept of space that will be independent of orientation, distance and size. Lucas, A Treatise on Time and Space.
This paper argues that Hegel has much to say to modern mathematical philosophy, although the Hegelian perspective needs to be substantially developed to incorporate within it the extensive advances in post-Hegelian mathematics and its logic. Key to that perspective is the self-referential character of the fundamental concepts of philosophy. The Hegelian approach provides a framework for answering the philosophical problems, discussed by Kurt Gödel in his paper on Bertrand Russell, which arise out of the existence in mathematics of self-referential, non-constructive (...) concepts (such as class). (shrink)
Most of the harm in the world is done by good people, and not by accident, lapse, or omission. It is the result of their deliberate actions, long persevered in, which they hold to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends. This is demonstrably true; nor could it occur otherwise. The percentage of positively malignant, vicious, or..
All too often in applied ethics debates, there is a danger that a lack of analytical clarity and precision in the use of key terms serves to cloud and confuse the real nature of the debate being undertaken. A particular area of concern in my analysis of the bioethics literature has been the uses to which the key terms “suicide,” “assisted suicide,” and “euthanasia” are put. The modest aim of this article is to render a contribution to the applied ethics (...) debate on these topics by seeking to delimit the scope and meaning of these terms. The criteria of specificity, non-arbitrariness, consistency (between various terms), and the avoidance of strong pejorative presuppositions, supply the main standards guiding my adoption of usages. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
One night about fifteen years ago, I found myself driving a rental car up and down the main street of a tiny Connecticut town, feverishly hunting for an address. I had gotten lost on my trip into the hinterland, and by the time my car turned hesitantly up the drive of an old house that seemed to match the numbers on my notepad, I was hours late for my appointment. When the thick door creaked open, I started my apologies, but (...) the woman I had come to interview paid no attention. “Come out to the kitchen,” she said. Muriel Hall, former researcher for Time-Life, knew how to treat other researchers. She had kept the food warm and the drinks cold, and before the night was over, I saw her lift the top of an old wooden box and start laying out the treasure I had hoped to find—the papers of Isabel Paterson. (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)
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)
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)
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)
We find two main contemporary arguments for the infinitist theory of epistemic justification ('infinitism' for short): the regress argument (Klein 1999, 2005) and the features argument (Fantl 2003). I've addressed the former elsewhere (Turri 2009a). Here I address the latter.Jeremy Fantl argues that infinitism outshines foundationalism because infinitism alone can explain two of epistemic justification's crucial features, namely, that it comes in degrees and can be complete. This paper demonstrates foundationalism's ample resources for explaining both features.Section II clarifies the (...) debate's key terms. Section III recounts how infinitism explains the two crucial features. Section IV presents Fantl's argument .. (shrink)
Based on a recently published essay by Jeremy Gwiazda, I argue that the possibility that the present state of the universe is the product of an actually infinite series of causally-ordered prior events is impossible in principle, and thus that a major criticism of the Secunda Via of St. Thomas is baseless after all.
Doubts about the origin of Bentham's formula, ‘the greatest happiness of the greatest number’, were resolved by Robert Shackleton thirty years ago. Uncertainty has persisted on at least two points. (1) Why did the phrase largely disappear from Bentham's writing for three or four decades after its appearance in 1776? (2) Is it correct to argue (with David Lyons in 1973) that Bentham's principle is to be differentially interpreted as having sometimes a ‘parochial’ and sometimes a ‘universalist’ bearing? These issues (...) are reopened here with particular reference to textual evidence overlooked in earlier discussions and contextual evidence on the development of Bentham's radicalism in the last two decades of his life. In conclusion some broader issues are raised concerning the character of Bentham's understanding of ‘happiness’ itself. (shrink)