In our recent book (Abraham and Roy 2010) we have repurposed a mathematical model for the quantum vacuum as a model of consciousness. In this model, discrete space and time are derived from a discrete cellular dynamical network. As our model is essentially atomistic, we included in our book a short support chapter on atomism. In this aticle we expand on the few pages of that chapter devoted to the history of atomism, to place the current revival of atomism (...) in a larger context. (shrink)
In this book, Abraham argues that a theological imagination can expand the contours of postcolonial theory through a reexamination of notions of subjectivity, gender, and violence in a dialogical model with Karl Rahner. She raises the question of whether postcolonial theory, with its disavowal of religious agency, can provide an invigorating occasion for Catholic theology.
Recent literature on the role of pictorial representation in the life sciences has focused on the relationship between detailed representations of empirical data and more abstract, formal representations of theory. The standard argument is that in both a historical and epistemic sense, this relationship is a directional one: beginning with raw, unmediated images and moving towards diagrams that are more interpreted and more theoretically rich. Using the neural network diagrams of Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts as a case study, I (...) argue that while in the empirical sciences, pictorial representation tends to move from data to theory, in areas of the life sciences that are predominantly theoretical, when abstraction occurs at the outset, the relationship between detail and abstraction in pictorial representations can be of a different character. (shrink)
Usury is a concept often associated more with religiously based financial ethics, whether Christian or Islamic, than with the secular world of contemporary finance. The problem is compounded by a tendency to interpret riba, prohibited within Islam, as both usury and interest, without adequately distinguishing these concepts. This paper argues that in Christian tradition usury has always evoked the notion of money demanded in excess of what is owed on a loan, disrupting a relationship of equality between people, whereas interest (...) was seen as referring to just compensation to the lender. Although it is often claimed that hostility towards ‘usury’ has been in retreat in the West since the protestant Reformation, we would argue that the crucial break came not with Calvin, but with Jeremy Bentham, whose critique of the arguments of Adam Smith, upholding the reasonableness of the laws against usury, led to the abolition of the usury laws in England in 1854. There has to be a role for law, whether Islamic or secular, in regulating financial relationships. We argue that by retrieving the necessary distinction between demanding usury as illegitimate predatory lending and interest as legitimate compensation, we can discover common ground behind the driving principles of financial ethics within both Islamic and Christian tradition that may still be of relevance today. By re-examining past ethical discussions of the distinction between usury and just compensation, we argue that the world’s religious traditions can make significant contributions to contemporary debate. (shrink)
The individual soul is an ageless idea, attested in prehistoric times by the oral traditions of all cultures. But as far as we know, it enters history in ancient Egypt. I will begin with the individual soul in ancient Egypt, then recount the birth of the world soul in the Pythagorean community of ancient Greece, and trace it through the Western Esoteric Tradition until its demise in Kepler's writings, along with the rise of modern science, around 1600 CE. Then I (...) tell of the rebirth of the world soul recently, in new branches of mathematics. (shrink)
Any model of ZFC + GCH has a generic extension (made with a poset of size ℵ 2 ) in which the following hold: MA + 2 ℵ 0 = ℵ 2 +there exists a Δ 2 1 -well ordering of the reals. The proof consists in iterating posets designed to change at will the guessing properties of ladder systems on ω 1 . Therefore, the study of such ladders is a main concern of this article.
Both male ornamentation and male combat result in increased male mortality. Because population sizes are limited by a carrying capacity, increased age-specific adult male mortality will result in decreased age-specific adult female mortality, as well as decreased juvenile mortality. As intersexual competition is one form of intraspecific competition, through choosing to mate with ornamented and/or combative males, females in polygamous systems reduce intraspecific competition. Because average male fitness must exactly equal average female fitness, male fitness will paradoxically rise with increasing (...) male mortality. This theory also offers new perspectives on peripheral problems to sexual theory, such as mate location, resource guarding, leks, harems, and others. (shrink)
Despite close scrutiny in recent years, the traditional properties of LTP are holding up remarkably well, and they remain a credible influence on the belief that LTP has something to do with learning and information storage.
Why do we admire Abraham1 so much? The standard answer is that Abraham’s faith in God is very great. Now in the context of Genesis, “faith in God” does not mean “belief in God’s existence.” Polytheism, not atheism, is the adversary in Genesis. Nor does “faith in God” mean “believing in order that we may come to understand God”2 or “believing because we cannot fully understand God”3 or “believing despite what we understand about God.”4 To minimize anachronism and controversy (...) I shall work with a minimalist reading of “faith in God,” a meaning shared by all interpretations. On every plausible conception of faith, if Abraham has faith in God, then he trusts God’s word. In Genesis “faith in God” means at least, “trusting that God will keep His promises.”5 But Abraham does not display this sort of faith. I shall argue that Abraham actually displays a lack of trust in God throughout his whole life. To show this I shall review the events of Abraham’s life, assessing his level of faith in God at each point. (shrink)
I would like to thank the editors of Philosophy East and West for courteously asking me if I would like to respond to Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips' very thoughtful remarks about the review I wrote of Phillips' translation and commentary on the pratyakṣa chapter of Gaṅgeśa's Tattvacintāmaṇi, prepared in collaboration with N. S. Ramanuja Tatacharya (Phillips and Tatacharya 2004). Let me begin by reaffirming what I said at the beginning of my review, that the book is "a monumental (...) and momentous achievement, one whose importance cannot be understated." I have indeed enormous admiration for the magnitude of their achievement and respect for the contribution they have made through this translation to the field of .. (shrink)
All of the ingredients for what has become known as Anselmian perfect being theology were present already in the thought of St. Augustine. This paper develops that thesis by calling attention to various claims Augustine makes. It then asks whether there are principled reasons for determining which properties the greatest possible being has and whether an account of what contributes to greatness can settle the question whether the greatest possible being is the same as the God of Abraham, Isaac, (...) and Jacob. The paper develops Augustine’s answer to the first question by extracting several principles he endorses that generate a hierarchy of greatness. It addresses the second question by discussing the requirements of worship and of creation. (shrink)
The explicit topic of Fear and Trembling's third Problema (the longest single section, accounting for a third of the book's total length), the theme of Abraham's silence stands not far in the background in every other section, and its importance is flagged by the pseudonym—Johannes de silentio—under which Kierkegaard had the book published. Here I aim to defend an interpretation of the meaning of the third Problema's central claim—that Abraham cannot explain himself, 'cannot speak'—and to argue on its (...) basis for an interpretation of the work as a whole. (shrink)
Philosophy for Children arose in the 1970s in the US as an educational programme. This programme, initiated by Matthew Lipman, was devoted to exploring the relationship between the notions ‘philosophy’ and ‘childhood’, with the implicit practical goal of establishing philosophy as a full-fledged ‘content area’ in public schools. Over 40 years, the programme has spread worldwide, and the theory and practice of doing philosophy for or with children and young people appears to be of growing interest in the field (...) of education and, by implication, in society as a whole. This article focuses on this growing interest by offering a survey of the main arguments and ideas that have given shape to the idea of philosophy for children in recent decades. This aim is twofold: first, to make more familiar an actual educational practice that is not at all well known in the field of academic philosophy itself; and second, to invite a re-thinking of the relationship between philosophy and the child ‘after Lipman’. (shrink)
Confirmation of a hypothesis by evidence can be measured by one of the so far known incremental measures of confirmation. As we show, incremental measures can be formally defined as the measures of confirmation satisfying a certain small set of basic conditions. Moreover, several kinds of incremental measure may be characterized on the basis of appropriate structural properties. In particular, we focus on the so-called Matthew properties: we introduce a family of six Matthew properties including the reverse (...) class='Hi'>Matthew effect; we further prove that incremental measures endowed with reverse Matthew effect are possible; finally, we shortly consider the problem of the plausibility of Matthew properties. (shrink)
A significant challenge faces any ethic that endorses the view that divine commands are sufficient to impose moral obligations; in this paper, I focus on Kierkegaard's ethic, in particular. The challenge to be addressed is the “modernized” problem of Abraham, popularized especially by Fear and Trembling: the dilemma that an agent faces when a being claiming to be God issues a command to the agent that, by the agent's own lights, seems not to be the kind of command that (...) a loving God would issue. Against a solution to this problem proposed by C. Stephen Evans in Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love, I argue that Kierkegaard regards this scenario as never actually resulting in a fully responsible agent's performance of some horrendous action on account of her non-culpable misinterpretation of God's will and/or failure to discern correctly whether a perceived moral imperative truly is divine in origin. (shrink)
This cogently argued and richly illustrated book rejects the dichotomy between the God of Abraham and the God of the philosophers to argue that the two are one. In God of Abraham, one of our leading philosophers of religion shows how human values can illuminate our idea of God and how the monotheistic idea of God in turn illuminates our moral, social, cultural, aesthetic, and even ritual understanding. Throughout Goodman draws on a wealth of traditional, philosophical, historical, and (...) anthropological materials, and particularly on a wide range of Jewish sources. He demonstrates how an adequate understanding of the interplay of values with monotheism dissolves many of the longstanding problems of natural theology and ethics and guides us toward a genuinely humanistic moral and social philosophy. (shrink)
Through an argumentation analysis can one show how it is feasible to view a narrative religious text such as the Gospel of Matthew as a literary argument. The Gospel is not just good news but an elaborate argument for the standpoint that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah. It is shown why an argumentation analysis needs to be supplemented with a pragmatic literary analysis in order to describe how the evangelist presents his story so as to reach (...) his argumentative objective. The analysis also shows why in the case of historical religious literary texts, certain demands are put on the analyst that are not normally present. (shrink)
Archetypal psychology suggests the possibility of a leadership archetype representing the unconscious preferences of human beings as a species about the appropriate relationships between leaders and followers. Mythological analysis compared God’s leadership in the Abraham myth with modern visionary, ethical and situational leadership to find similarities reflecting continuities in human thinking about leadership over as long as 3600 years. God’s leadership behavior is very modern except that God is generally more relationship oriented. The leadership archetype that emerges is of (...) a leader that develops his/her follower by reliably maintaining a vision, behaving according to firm ethical values even when it weakens the leader’s authority, accepting suffering when the follower is unreliable, and always forgiving even when the follower behaves with hubris in an attempt to overthrow the leader. If God’s leadership principles were mandatory in management, many dysfunctional leaders would be disqualified and many of the negative consequences of poor leadership might be averted. (shrink)
Robert Merton observed that better-known scientists tend to get more credit than less well-known scientists for the same achievements; he called this the Matthew effect. Scientists themselves, even those eminent researchers who enjoy its benefits, regard the effect as a pathology: it results, they believe, in a misallocation of credit. If so, why do scientists continue to bestow credit in the manner described by the effect? This paper advocates an explanation of the effect on which it turns out to (...) allocate credit fairly after all, while at the same time making sense of scientists' opinions to the contrary. (shrink)
This paper recasts the normative shape of "Fear and Trembling" by presenting an 'ethical reading' based on an ethic of care. It will be argued that Abraham's response represents a commitment to sustain and deepen his fundamental relationship with God, to make absolute his relation to the Absolute. Since most readers tend to focus myopically on 'the trial' itself, apart from the context and history of the God-relationship, the proffered interpretations tend inevitably to distort the nature and significance of (...)Abraham's form of life. By remembering the pattern of attachment between God and Abraham, I think that a different normative picture will emerge, one which can be expressed in the grammar of care. (shrink)
Would the Jewish tradition agree with Søren Kierkegaard's claim that the biblical episode of Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac represents a fearful "teleological suspension of the ethical"? After surveying a variety of classical Jewish sources, the author concludes that Kierkegaard's interpretation has almost no resonance within the Jewish tradition. Rather than involving a suspension of the ethical, this episode is viewed by Jewish writers as involving a moment of supreme moral responsibility on the part of both God and man. This (...) treatment of the biblical episode points up a central fact about the Jewish tradition: although Judaism is unquestionably an ethical tradition based on the divine command, it is also a tradition of human autonomy and reason. If Jews have regarded God's commands as absolute, they have also found it unthinkable that these commands should ultimately defy our human sense of right and wrong. (shrink)
This paper recasts the normative shape of Fear and Trembling by presenting an ‘ethical reading’ based on an ethic of care. It will be argued that Abraham's response represents a commitment to sustain and deepen his fundamental relationship with God, to make absolute his relation to the Absolute. Since most readers tend to focus myopically on ‘the trial’ itself, apart from the context and history of the God-relationship, the proffered interpretations tend inevitably to distort the nature and significance of (...)Abraham's form of life. By remembering the pattern of attachment between God and Abraham, I think that a different normative picture will emerge, one which can be expressed in the grammar of care. (shrink)
A century after his landmark report Medical Education in the United States and Canada (1910), Abraham Flexner remains an icon in the history of American medical education. Working for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, he visited each of the 155 medical schools then in existence in the United States and Canada, after which he published a blistering, muckraking report. This report helped bring about the destruction of the proprietary medical school, put forth the Johns Hopkins School (...) of Medicine as the ideal of what a medical school should look like, and established Flexner as the unchallenged arbiter of educational reform in American medicine. Two years after the report, he became assistant .. (shrink)
In Practice in Christianity, Søren Kierkegaard's pseudonym, Anti-Climacus enters into an extended engagement with Matthew 11.6, ‘Blessed is he who takes no offense at me’. In so doing, he comes to an understanding that ‘the possibility of offense’ characterises the ‘crossroad’ at which one either comes to faith in Christ's revelation or rejects it. Such a choice, as he is well aware, cannot be made from a neutral standpoint, and so he is led to propose that it is ‘the (...) thoughts of the heart’ (i.e. a person's disposition) that constitute the pivotal factor in determining whether or not God will reconcile a person into the Christian faith. In this paper, I discuss Anti-Climacus' interpretation of Mt. 11.6 and consider his reasons for interpreting a person's predisposition as being so decisive for faith. (shrink)
Kenney, Mark Review(s) of: A source critical edition of the gospels of Matthew and Luke in Greek and English, 2 vols., Christopher J. Monaghan, C.P., Rome: Gregorian and Biblical Press, 2010, pp.378, 45.00.
The Matthew Effect refers to the hypothesis that a scientific contribution will receive disproportionate peer recognition whenever there are sharp and distinct differences in prestige within the academic stratification system. This paper empirically examines whether there is an institutional Matthew Effect in economics: does the prestige of an author's economics department influence the visibility or allocation of peer recognition of a scientific contribution? After controlling for author quality, journal quality and article?specific characteristics, the empirical results showed nineteen universities (...) classified as elite have a statistically and numerically positive impact on the level of peer recognition of a scientific contribution. However, further analysis found that the positive institutional Matthew Effect of these elite universities was due solely to the differential peer recognition of scientific contributions by economists affiliated with the economics departments of Harvard University and the University of Chicago. (shrink)
Is the good news of Jesus Christ bad news for the Jewish neighbor? -- Kierkegaard and Hegel on Abraham : the openness and complexity of the modern context -- The problem, part I : the "perfect storm" of Christological interpretive imperialism -- The problem, part II : the good news of the Gospel and the bad news for the children of Abraham -- The remedy, part I : dispersing the "perfect storm" -- The remedy, part II : the (...) debt to modernity : interpretive imperialism in a higher key -- The remedy, part III : Abraham must die -- Postmodern discernment and the limits of the ethical : the way of justice -- The problem as remedy : an interpretive imperialism "without weapons"? -- Conclusion : faith seeking the ethical. (shrink)
This paper presents an interpretation of the paradoxical decision of Abraham done by Søren A. Kierkegaard in his work Fear and Trembling as an ethics of silence. The main idea is to understand ethics not as moral standards or specific duties, but as the responsibility of becoming a single individual in time; singularity as the intimate and personal relationship with the calling of love. In such a way, that silence is the experience of the encounter with the paradox that (...) being human means to be singular in conditions that claim an universal and general transparent manifestation dependent of the dominant rational discourse.Then, silence becomes the fundamental ethical claim to become a human person, as spirit in time, where it becomes a time of trial and examination, a temporality, where the trial is the fidelity to love’s calling, the listening of the possibilities that are presented by the anxiety of the decision. These possibilities are not immanent to the world or to history, they call for a personal choice, always containing a space of revelation; therefore of listening to the interiority of the personal choice that for Kierkegaard is the passion of faith, communicated and lived in silence. Concluding that an ethics of silence by the image of Abraham implies to re-think the role of philosophy in relationship to faith, hope and love in time, as a silent thought. (shrink)
Matthew’s account of the journey of the magi to Jesus has been employed in historical theology to articulate the relation between reason and faith in four different ways: i) reason and faith forming a unity; ii) reason cooperating with faith; iii) reason being the tool of faith; iv) reason being superseded by faith. The paper considers each of these categories in turn, and thus progressively separates the two terms. It demonstrates that “faith” and “reason” are equivocal concepts, and that (...) their relationship is itself a key determinant of their nature. A plurality of forms of reasoning enables the journey to be completed, with each form providing a distinct contribution to a shared faith. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: ForewordAcknowledgments: How I was spared from having to take the BlackIntroduction: So What if Winter Is Coming?Part One. "You Win or You Die"1. Maester Hobbes Goes to King's Landing Greg Littmann2. It is a Great Crime to Lie to a King Don Fallis3. Playing the Game of Thrones: Some Lessons from Machiavelli Marcus Schulzke4. The War in Westeros and Just War Theory Richard H. CorriganPart Two. "The Things I Do for Love"5. Winter is Coming! The Bleak (...) Quest for Happiness in Westeros Eric Silverman6. The Death of Lord Stark: The Perils of Idealism David Hahn7. Lord Eddard Stark, Queen Cersei Lannister: Moral Judgments from Different Perspectives Albert J. J. Angleberger and Alexander Hieke8. It Would Be a Mercy: Choosing Life or Death in Westeros and Beyond Matthew TedescoPart Three. "Winter is Coming"9. Wargs, Wights, and Wolves that are Dire: Mind and Metaphysics, Westeros Style Henry Jacoby10. Magic, Science, and Metaphysics in A Game of Thrones Edward Cox11. "You know nothing, Jon Snow": Epistemic Humility Beyond the Wall Abraham P. Schwab12. "Why is the world so full of injustice?" Gods and the Problem of Evil Jaron Daniel SchoonePart Four. "The Man Who Passes the Sentence Should Swing the Sword"13. Why Should Joffrey Be Moral If He's Already Won the Game of Thrones? Daniel Haas14. The Moral Luck of Tyrion Lannister Christopher Robichaud15. Dany's Encounter with the Wild: Cultural Relativism in Games of Thrones Katherine Tullman16. "There Are No True Knights": The Injustice o Chivalry Stacey GoguenPart Five. "Stick Them with the Pointy End"17. Fate, Freedom, and authenticity in A Game of Thrones Michael J. Sigrist18. No One Dances the Water Dance Henry Jacoby19. The Things I Do For Love: Sex, Lies, and Game Theory R. Shannon Duval20. Stop the Madness! Knowledge, Power, and Insanity in A Song of Ice and Fire Chad William TimmContributors: The Learned Lords and Ladies from Beyond the Seven KingdomsIndex . (shrink)
A convincing defense of a divine command theory of the nature of obligation must address our darkest fear about God's commands--the fear that God may command something evil. Certainly some of the things that God has been thought to require have been evil. Rivers of blood have been shed in obedience to supposed divine commands. Can we accept a divine command theory without assuming a potential obligation to perform such horrible deeds?
In this paper I criticize arguments by Pauline Phemister and Matthew Stuart that John Locke's position in his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding allows for natural kinds based on similarities among real essences. On my reading of Locke, not only are similarities among real essences irrelevant to species, but natural kind theories based on them are unintelligible.
In my reply to Boyle, Rosenthal, and Tumulty, I revisit my view of avowals’ security as a matter of a special immunity to error, their character as intentional expressive acts that employ self-ascriptive vehicles (without being grounded in self-beliefs), Moore’s paradox, the idea of expressing as contrasting with reporting and its connection to showing one’s mental state, and the ‘performance equivalence’ between avowals and other expressive acts.
A Martian reading contemporary work on perception might be forgiven for thinking that humans had only one sense: vision. Witness the title of one popular recent collection: Vision and mind: selected readings in the philosophy of perception. Our obsession with sight is stifling. It leads to distorted vision-based models of the other senses, and it means that the distinctive puzzles raised by non-visual modalities are routinely neglected. With this pioneering and long-overdue collection of essays on auditory perception, Nudds and O’Callaghan (...) aim to start correcting this state of affairs. They deserve much praise, not least for their own substantial contributions and splendid introduction. (shrink)
This book consists of an introduction by the editor, eleven of Plantinga’s previously published pieces, and an index. The previously published works are presented in the following chronological order: “De Re et De Dicto” (1969); “World and Essence” (1970); “Transworld Identity or Worldbound Individuals?” (1973); Chapter VIII of The Nature of Necessity (1974); “Actualism and Possible Worlds” (1976); “The Boethian Compromise” (1978); “De Essentia” (1979); “On Existentialism” (1983); “Reply to John L. Pollock” (1985); “Two Concepts of Modality: Modal Realism and (...) Modal Reductionism” (1987); and “Why Propositions Cannot Be Concrete” (1993). (shrink)
Can it be better or worse for a person to be than not to be, that is, can it be better or worse to exist than not to exist at all? This old 'existential question' has been raised anew in contemporary moral philosophy. There are roughly two reasons for this renewed interest. Firstly, traditional so-called “impersonal” ethical theories, such as utilitarianism, have counter-intuitive implications in regard to questions concerning procreation and our moral duties to future, not yet existing people. Secondly, (...) it has seemed evident to many that an outcome can only be better than another if it is better for someone, and that only moral theories that are in this sense “person affecting” can be correct. The implications of this Person Affecting Restriction will differ radically, however, depending on which answer one gives to the existential question. Melinda Roberts (2003) and Matthew Adler (2009) have defended an affirmative answer to the existential question using an assumption that one can asribe a zero level of wellbeing to a person in a world in which that person doesn't exist. Contrariwise, Derek Parfit (1984), John Broome (1999), and others have worried that if we take a person’s life to be better for her than non-existence, then we would have to conclude that it would have been worse for her if she did not exist, which is absurd: Nothing would have been worse or better for a person if she had not existed. The paper suggests that an affirmative answer to the existential question can avoid such absurdities: One can claim that, say, it is better for a person to exist than not to exist, without implying that it would have been worse for a person if she had not existed or that her level of wellbeing would then have been lower. (shrink)
In this chapter we shall examine the characteristic properties of a construction wide-spread in the world’s languages, the passive. In section 1 below we discuss defining characteristics of passives, contrasting them with other foregrounding and backgrounding constructions. In section 2 we present the common syntactic and semantic properties of the most wide-spread types of passives, and in section 3 we consider passives which differ in one or more ways from these. In section 4, we survey a variety of constructions that (...) resemble passive constructions in one way or another. In section 5, we briefly consider differences between languages with regard to the roles passives play in their grammars. Specifically, we show that passives are a more essential part of the grammars of some languages than of others. (shrink)
Though there are significant points of overlap between Michelle Kosch's reading of Fear and Trembling and my own, this paper focuses primarily on a significant difference: the legitimacy or otherwise of looking to paradigmatic exemplars of faith in order to understand faith. I argue that Kosch's reading threatens to underplay the importance of exemplarity in Kierkegaard's thought, and that there is good reason to resist her use of Philosophical Fragments as the key to interpreting the 'hidden message' of Fear and (...) Trembling. Key to both claims is the Concluding Unscientific Postscript. I also briefly sketch an alternative reading of the 'hidden message', one in which Kierkegaard's Christian commitments play a notably different role. (shrink)