An international line-up of fourteen distinguished philosophers presents new essays in honor of James Griffin, White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University. The essays take up topics relating to well-being and morality, prominent themes in contemporary ethics and particularly in Griffin's work. Griffin himself provides replies to these essays, offering a fascinating development of his own thinking on these topics.
This volume in honor of Miriam Griffin brings together seventeen international specialists. Their essays range from Socrates to late antiquity, with a particular focus on Cicero. Subjects covered include the Stoics and Cynics, Roman law, the formulation of imperial power, Jews and Christians, "performance philosophy," Augustine, late Platonism, and women philosophers.
Deliberative democracy, it is claimed, is essential for the legitimisation of public policy and law. It is built upon an assumption that citizens will be capable of constructing and defending reasons for their moral and political beliefs. However, critics of deliberative democracy suggest that citizens’ emotions are not properly considered in this process and, if left unconsidered, present a serious problem for this political framework. In response to this, deliberative theorists have increasingly begun to incorporate the emotions into their accounts. (...) However, these accounts have tended to focus only upon the inclusion of emotions in the external-collective exchange of reason between citizens. Little work has been done on how the individual will actually cope with emotions internally within their own minds. There has been no consideration of the capacities that citizens will need to perceive, understand and regulate emotions as they formulate reasons both by themselves and with others. Moreover, there has been little consideration of how these capacities might be educated in children so that emotionally competent deliberative citizens can be created. In this paper, emotional intelligence is presented as an essential capacity that can fulfil this role for the deliberative citizen and deliberative democracy more generally. The ‘deliberative school’ is suggested as a potential site for this transformation that can progress from generation to generation, cultivating citizens that are increasingly better equipped to handle emotionally-laden deliberative engagement. (shrink)
"Well-being," "welfare," "utility," and "quality of life," all closely related concepts, are at the center of morality, politics, law, and economics. Griffin's book, while primarily a volume of moral philosophy, is relevant to all of these subjects. Griffin offers answers to three central questions about well-being: what is the best way to understand it, can it be measured, and where should it fit in moral and political thought. With its breadth of investigation and depth of insight, this work (...) holds significance for philosophers as well as for those interested in political and economic theory and jurisprudence. (shrink)
For this Clarendon Paperback, Dr Griffin has written a new Postscript to bring the original book fully up to date. She discusses further important and controversial questions of fact or interpretation in the light of the scholarship of the intervening years and provides additional argument where necessary. -/- The connection between Seneca's prose works and his career as a first-century Roman statesman is problematic. Although he writes in the first person, he tells us little of his external life or (...) of the people and events that formed its setting. Miriam Griffin addresses the problem by first reconstructing Seneca's career using only outside sources and his de Clementia and Apocolocyntosis, whose political purposes are undisputed. In the second part of the book she studies Seneca's treatment of subjects of political significance, including his views on slavery, provincial policy, wealth, and suicide. On the whole, the word of the philosopher is found to illuminate the work of the statesman, but notable exceptions emerge, and the links that are revealed vary from theme to theme and rarely accord with traditional autobiographical interpretations of Seneca's works. (shrink)
James Griffin asks how, and how much, we can improve our ethical standards not lift our behaviour closer to our standards but refine the standards themselves. To give an answer to this question it is necessary to answer most of the questions of ethics. So Value Judgement includes discussion of what a good life is like, where the boundaries of the `natural world' come, how values relate to that world, how great human capacitiesthe ones important to ethicsare, and where (...) moral norms come from. -/- Throughout the book the question of what philosophy can contribute to ethics repeatedly arises. Philosophical traditions, such as most forms of utilitarianism and deontology and virtue ethics, are, Griffin contends, too ambitious. Ethics cannot be what philosophers in those traditions expect it to be because agents cannot be what their philosophies need them to be. -/- This clear, compelling, and original account of ethics will be of interest to anyone concerned with thinking about values: not only philosophers but legal, political, and economic theorists as well. L. (shrink)
Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by difficulties in social interaction (APA, 2000). Successful social interaction relies, in part, on determining the thoughts and feelings of others, an ability commonly attributed to our faculty of folk or common-sense psychology. Because the symptoms of autism should be present by around the second birthday, it follows that the study of autism should tell us something about the early emerging mechanisms necessary for the development of an intact faculty of folk psychology. Our aims (...) in this chapter are threefold; (1) to examine the literature on "socialunderstanding" mechanisms in autism, particularly those assumed to develop in the first years of life; (2) to examine the related literature on typically developing infants and toddlers, and (3) to examine the theoretical approaches that attempt to characterize the early stages and development of this impressive skill. In doing so, we hope to help resolve some of the disagreements and sticking points that riddle the topic. In particular we will attempt to shift the focus from whether children have this or that specific mental-state concept (which they use to predict behavior of others) to a more developmentally friendly approach centered around the notion of reasons, recognizing that they may well exist before they are represented, and hence before they can be appreciated, or expressed. The peer commentary in Behavioral and Brain Sciences following Premack and Woodruff (1978) - "Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind'" - not only introduced the "falsebelief' task (Dennett, 1978; Wimmer & Perner, 1983), but addressed a host of issues surrounding the characterization of second-order intentional systems, systems that may (or must) be interpreted as having beliefs about beliefs (or desires or intentions .... (shrink)
The article tries to qualify the contentious issue of whetherthere is a human right to welfare. Our notion of human rightsis practically without criteria for distinguishing between whenit is used correctly and when incorrectly. The first step inany satisfactory resolution of the issue about welfare rightsis to supply duly determinate criteria. I then consider thechief reasons for doubting that there is a human right towelfare, in the light of what seem to be, all things considered,the best criteria to attach to (...) the notion of a human right. (shrink)
The best philosophical account of human rights regards them as protections of the values we attach to human agency. The international law of human rights is embodied in a large number of declarations, conventions, covenants, charters, and judicial decisions. There are many discrepancies between the lists of human rights that emerge from these two authoritative sources. This lecture explores the significance of these discrepancies.
Perhaps the most troubling medical decisionmaking cases facing state courts involve serious health care decisions for persons with severe or profound mental retardation. Existing legal standards such as substituted judgment and best interests limit or skew relevant information. As an alternative, a best respect legal standard would prod decision makers to exhaust additional sources of information before making a surrogate medical decision. Such a legal standard also offers a more complete approach to all surrogate medical decisions.
This article examines the development of Russell's treatment of propositions, in relation to the topic of psychologism. In the first section, we outline the concept of psychologism, and show how it can arise in relation to theories of the nature of propositions. Following this, we note the anti-psychologistic elements of Russell's thought dating back to his idealist roots. From there, we sketch the development of Russell's theory of the proposition through a number of its key transitions. We show that Russell, (...) in responding to a variety of different problems relating to the proposition, chose to resolve these problems in ways that continually made concessions to psychologism. (shrink)
Cognitive developmentalists have had a long-standing interest in neurodevelopmental conditions, such as autism. This is not only out of a desire to understand the causes of such atypical development, in order to advance medical science and develop interventions. It is also because studying the processes that cause atypicality can sometimes throw light on typical development. It is this two-way influence that characterises the field of developmental psychopathology. In this chapter, we focus on autism. We bring out this interaction between what (...) we now understand about autistic cognition, and how this has helped us understand ‘normality’. (shrink)
Critical care as a discipline has become so expensive that some have proposed extensive limitations on the amount of money devoted to it by society. In this paper that issue is examined with respect to pediatric and neonatal intensive care. Initially, a case is presented which includes many of the ethical and economic issues. The neonatal population at present has a tolerable median cost, with a distinctly higher average cost created by many special cases such as the one described with (...) very high costs. The pediatric population is served by an intensive care system costing approximately one billion dollars. This contrasts with the adult costs which are markedly higher and yet do not meet the total preceived need. Different theories of justice would concede differing allocations to individuals and to the problem of critical care as a whole based on their view of the obligations of societal membership. The authors argue that in fact critical care might be analyzed from the view-point of economics more effectively by breaking down the cost allocations for different components for that care, and argue that labor is the major cost in its provision. They then argue that that labor component may be a necessary and affordable cost for a post industrial society. It may be that libertarians, Rawlsians, and utilitarians could accept such an allocation of resources. Further, it is argued that triage is not an appropriate approach to limiting expenses, and that other methodologies such as cost effectiveness are the only appropriate ones to invoke in pediatric critical care. Recognition of the economic realities present in a given case may be the key to clinicians' demonstrated reluctance to participate in the gatekeeper role through the use of triage. (shrink)
Nowhere in the psychological sciences has the philosophy of mind had more influence than on the child development literature generally referred to as children’s ‘theory of mind.’ Developmental journals may seem to be an unlikely place to find Brentano, Frege, and Dennett alongside descriptions of referential opacity and the principle of substitutivity, but it is not at all uncommon in this literature. While the many problems and complexities of the propositional attitude literature are still hotly debated by philosophers, and often (...) ill understood by scientists working in this area, a great deal of empirical progress has already been made. We have Dan Dennett to thank for this extraordinary dialogue between these disciplines. (shrink)
The idea of “bundling” lesser later rewards so they outweigh smaller sooner rewards is compelling, but the sophisticated cognitive activity involved in this bundling is not yet modeled; in particular the role of language is hard to assess.
This review of Bolton & Hill's (B&H) Mind, Meaning, & Mental Disorder examines their non-reductionist yet realist position on mental content. Their arguments are compared to the writings of Dennett and Millikan, where determining function is central to determining information-processing capabilities. The normative nature of function (malfunction) is considered as is its relation to mental states more broadly. Their Wittgensteinian view of meaning as action is accepted as insightful and useful, though some questions remain about their theory of meaning and (...) its applicability to psychological phenomena. (shrink)
Religion, science, and naturalism -- Perception and religious experience -- Panexperientialism, freedom, and the mind-body relation -- Naturalistic, dipolar theism -- Natural theology based on naturalistic theism -- Evolution, evil, and eschatology -- The two ultimates and the religions -- Religion, morality, and civilization -- Religious language and truth -- Religious knowledge and common sense.
Imagine playing a game of chess with such poorly carved pieces that it is well nigh impossible to tell the difference between them. The bishops, knights, pawns, etc., are, by your lights, perceptually indistinguishable. Imagine still that your opponent can see these differences quite clearly, much to your dismay. You might be able to begin the game with a memorized opening, perhaps, but it wouldn’t take long to lose track of the ongoings and your resignation would soon follow. It’s not (...) a fair game, to be.. (shrink)
The ability to determine an infant’s likelihood of developing autism via a relatively simple neurological measure would constitute an important scientific breakthrough. In their recent publication in this journal, Bosl and colleagues claim that a measure of EEG complexity can be used to detect, with very high accuracy, infants at high risk for autism (HRA). On the surface, this appears to be that very scientific breakthrough and as such the paper has received widespread media attention. But a close look at (...) how these high accuracy rates were derived tells a very different story. This stems from a conflation between “high risk” as a population-level property and “high risk” as a property of an individual. We describe the.. (shrink)
Watch a three-year-old play. As she enacts Ariel and Barbie’s judo match over which will marry Prince, or trudges through the living room scolding a pink polka-dotted bunny in a stroller, or explains to you that four-foot-tall Dora is in time out because she’s been hitting the other kids with a hammer—well, you may be laughing, but chances are she’s not. When you’re three, play is a serious, cathartic process aimed at sorting out and bringing under tenuous control the often (...) overwhelming emotional cues thrown at you each day. Children tease out what scares them—say, jealousy, or blame, or violent anger—and nail it down in particular scenarios that allow them to follow a feeling to its natural conclusions .. (shrink)
In animals' natural lives, uncertainty is normal; and certainty, exceptional. Evaluating ambiguous information is essential for survival: Does what is seen, heard, or smelled mean danger? Does that gesture mean aggression or fear? Is he confident or uncertain? If they are conscious of anything, the content of animals' awareness probably includes crucial uncertainties, both their own and those of others.
The neuropsychological and functional characterisation of mental state attribution (‘‘theory of mind’’ (ToM)) has been the focus of several recent studies. The literature contains opposing views on the functional specificity of ToM and on the neuroanatomical structures most relevant to ToM. Studies with brain-lesioned patients have consistently found ToM deficits associated with unilateral right hemisphere damage (RHD). Also, functional imaging performed with non-braininjured adults implicates several specific neural regions, many of which are located in the right hemisphere. The present study (...) examined the separation of ToM impairment from other deficits associated with brain injury. We tested 11 patients with unilateral right hemisphere damage (RHD) and 20 normal controls (NC) on a.. (shrink)