A paradigmatic case of rigidity for singular terms is that of proper names. And it would seem that a paradigmatic case of rigidity for general terms is that of natural kind terms. However, many philosophers think that rigidity cannot be extended from singular terms to general terms. The reason for this is that rigidity appears to become trivial when such terms are considered: natural kind terms come out as rigid, but so do all other general terms, and in (...) particular all descriptive general terms. This paper offers an account of rigidity for natural kind terms which does not trivialise in this way. On this account, natural kind terms are de jure obstinately rigid designators and other general terms, such as descriptive general terms, are not. (shrink)
Essentialism about natural kinds has three tenets. The first tenet is that all and only members of a natural kind has some essential properties. The second tenet is that these essential properties play a causal role. The third tenet is that they are explanatorily relevant. I examine the prospects of questioning these tenets and point out that arguing against the first and the second tenets of kind-essentialism would involve taking parts in some of the grand debates of philosophy. (...) But, at least if we restrict the scope of the discussion to the biological domain, the third tenet of kind-essentialism could be questioned more successfully. (shrink)
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 this article, I argue that - despite the absence of any clear influence of one theory on the other - the legal theories of Dworkin and Hegel share several similar and, at times, unique positions that join them together within a distinctive school of legal theory, sharing a middle position between natural law and legal positivism. In addition, each theory can help the other in addressing certain internal difficulties. By recognizing both Hegel and Dworkin as proponents of a (...) position lying in between natural law and legal positivist jurisprudence, we can gain clarity in why their general legal theories seem to fit uncomfortably, if indeed they can be said to fit at all, within so many different camps - while fitting comfortably in no particular camp - as well as highlight what has been overlooked. (shrink)
David Lewis advised essentialists to judge his counterpart theory a false friend. He also argued that counterpart theory needs natural properties. This essay argues that natural properties are all essentialists need to find a true friend in counterpart theory. Section one explains why Lewis takes counterpart theory to be anti-essentialist and why he thinks it needs natural properties. Section two establishes the connection between the natural properties counterpart theory needs and the essentialist consequences Lewis disavows. Section (...) three answers two objections: the first attempts to block the consequences of adding natural properties to counterpart theory; the second grants the consequences, but denies that they amount to essentialism. –Correspondence to: Todd_Buras@baylor.edu. (shrink)
The vision of natural kinds that is most common in the modern philosophy of biology, particularly with respect to the question whether species and other taxa are natural kinds, is based on a revision of the notion by Mill in A System of Logic. However, there was another conception that Whewell had previously captured well, which taxonomists have always employed, of kinds as being types that need not have necessary and sufficient characters and properties, or essences. These competing (...) views employ different approaches to scientific methodologies: Mill’s class-kinds are not formed by induction but by deduction, while Whewell’s type-kinds are inductive. More recently, phylogenetic kinds (clades, or monophyletic-kinds) are inductively projectible, and escape Mill’s strictures. Mill’s version represents a shift in the notions of kinds from the biological to the physical sciences. (shrink)
Natural law is a perennial though poorly represented and understood issue in political philosophy and the philosophy of law. Mark C. Murphy argues that the central thesis of natural law jurisprudence--that law is backed by decisive reasons for compliance--sets the agenda for natural law political philosophy, which demonstrates how law gains its binding force by way of the common good of the political community. Murphy's work ranges over the central questions of natural law jurisprudence and political (...) philosophy, including the formulation and defense of the natural law jurisprudential thesis, the nature of the common good, the connection between the promotion of the common good and requirement of obedience to law, and the justification of punishment. (shrink)
We have been accustomed at least since Kant and mainstream history of philosophy to distinguish between the ‘mechanical’ and the ‘teleological’; between a fully mechanistic, quantitative science of Nature exemplified by Newton (or Galileo, or Descartes) and a teleological, qualitative approach to living beings ultimately expressed in the concept of ‘organism’ – a purposive entity, or at least an entity possessed of functions. The beauty of this distinction is that it seems to make intuitive sense and to map onto historical (...) and conceptual constellations in medicine, physiology and the related natural-philosophical discussions on the status of the body versus that of the machine. In this presentation I argue that the distinction between mechanism and teleology is imprecise and flawed, on the basis of a series of examples: the presence of ‘functional’ or ‘purposive’ features even in Cartesian physiology; work such as that of Richard Lower’s on animal respiration; the fact that the model of the ‘body-machine’ is not at all a mechanistic reduction of organismic properties to basic physical properties but on the contrary a way of emphasizing the uniqueness of organic life; and the concept of ‘animal economy’ in vitalist medical theory, which I present as a kind of ‘teleo-mechanistic’ concept of organism (borrowing a term of Timothy Lenoir’s which he used to discuss 19th-century embryology) – neither mechanical nor teleological. (shrink)
How do fitness and natural selection relate to other evolutionary factors like architectural constraint, mode of reproduction, and drift? In one way of thinking, drawn from Newtonian dynamics, fitness is one force driving evolutionary change and added to other factors. In another, drawn from statistical thermodynamics, it is a statistical trend that manifests itself in natural selection histories. It is argued that the first model is incoherent, the second appropriate; a hierarchical realization model is proposed as a basis (...) for a statistical treatment. It emerges that natural selection does not cause evolution; it just is evolution. The theory incorporates relations of statistical correlation, but not the kind of causation found in fundamental physical processes. (shrink)
Introduction -- Contending for moral first things : Christian social ethics and postconsensus culture -- Natural law and the Christian tradition -- Natural law and the Protestant prejudice -- Moral law, Christian belief, and social ethics -- Contending for moral first things in ethical and bioethical debates : critical categories, part 1 -- Contending for moral first things in ethical and bioethical debates : critical categories, part 2 -- Ethics, bioethics, and the natural law, a (...) test case : euthanasia yesterday and today -- The natural law and public morality : second thoughts on what is at stake. (shrink)
Traditional debate on the metaphysics of gender has been a contrast of essentialist and social-constructionist positions. The standard reaction to this opposition is that neither position alone has the theoretical resources required to satisfy an equitable politics. This has caused a number of theorists to suggest ways in which gender is unified on the basis of social rather than biological characteristics but is “real” or “objective” nonetheless – a position I term social objectivism. This essay begins by making explicit the (...) motivations for, and central assumptions of, social objectivism. I then propose that gender is better understood as a real kind with a historical essence, analogous to the biologist’s claim that species are historical entities. I argue that this proposal achieves a better solution to the problems that motivate social objectivism. Moreover, the account is consistent with a post-positivist understanding of the classificatory practices employed within the natural and social sciences. (shrink)
This paper discusses whether it can be known a priori that a particular term, such as water, is a natural kind term, and how this problem relates to Putnams claim that natural kind terms require an externalist semantics. Two conceptions of natural kind terms are contrasted: The first holds that whether water is a natural kind term depends on its a priori knowable semantic features. The second.
This paper considers the problem of assigning meanings to empty natural kind terms. It does so in the context of the Twin-Earth externalist-internalist debate about whether the meanings of natural kind terms are individuated by the external physical environment of the speakers using these terms. The paper clarifies and outlines the different ways in which meanings could be assigned to empty natural kind terms. And it argues that externalists do not have the semantic resources to assign them (...) meanings. The paper ends on a sceptical note concerning the fruitfulness of using the Twin-Earth setting in debates about the semantics of empty natural kind terms. (shrink)
Kripke and Putnam have convinced most philosophers that we cannot do metaphysics of nature by analysing the senses of natural kind terms -- simply because natural kind terms do not have senses. Neo-descriptivists, especially Frank Jackson and David Chalmers, believe that this view is mistaken. Merging classical descriptivism with a Kaplan-inspired two-dimensional framework, neo-descriptivists devise a semantics for natural kind terms that assigns natural kind terms so-called 'primary intensions'. Since primary intensions are senses by other names, (...) Jackson and Chalmers conclude that we can and should do metaphysics of nature by analysing the natural kind concepts competent speakers possess. I argue that neo-descriptivism does not provide a suitable basis for doing this kind of metaphysics. I first of all give a detailed account of the neo-descriptivist semantics and deflate the intuitive support neo-descriptivists try to draw from their case of the XYZ-world. I then present three arguments -- the Argument from Ignorance, the Argument from Conceptual Analysis, and the Argument from Laziness. Taken together, these arguments undermine the neo-descriptivist analysis of natural kind terms. I conclude that natural kind terms do not have senses, that we cannot do metaphysics of nature by analysing the senses of our kind terms, and that the Kripke-Putnam account still provides the best semantics for natural kind terms we have. (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.
In this book, Buckle provides a historical perspective on the political philosophies of Locke and Hume, arguing that there are continuities in the development of seventeenth and eighteenth-century political theory which have often gone unrecognized. He begins with a detailed exposition of Grotius's and Pufendorf's modern natural law theory, focussing on their accounts of the nature of natural law, human sociability, the development of forms of property, and the question of slavery. He then shows that Locke's political theory (...) takes up and develops these basic themes of natural law. The author argues further that, rather than being a departure from this tradition, the moral sense theory of Hutcheson and Hume represents a not entirely successful attempt to underpin the natural law theory with an adequate moral psychology. (shrink)
Fodor claims that cognitive modules can be thought of as constituting a psychological natural kind in virtue of their possession of most or all of nine specified properties. The challenge to this considered here comes from synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is a type of cross-modal association: input to one sensory modality reliably generates an additional sensory output that is usually generated by the input to a distinct sensory modality. The most common form of synaesthesia manifests Fodor's nine specified properties of modularity, (...) and hence, according to Segal (1997), it should be understood as involving an extra module. Many psychologists believe that synaesthesia involves a breakdown in modularity. After outlining how both theories can explain the manifestation of the nine alleged properties of modularity in synaesthesia, I discuss the two concepts of function which initially motivate the respective theories. I argue that only a teleological concept of function is properly able to adjudicate between the two theories. The upshot is a further application of so-called externalist considerations to mental phenomena. (shrink)
Fundamentalist forms of religion today claim authority everywhere, including the debates over the politics and constitutional law of liberal democracies. This book examines this general question through its critical evaluation of a recent school of thought: that of the new natural lawyers. The new natural lawyers are the lawyers of the current Vatical hierarchy, polemically concerned to defend its retrograde views on matters of sexuality and gender in terms of arguments that, in fact, notably lack the philosophical rigor (...) of the historical Thomism they claim to honor. The book critiques forms of fundamentalism and offers an original argument both for how they arose and why they are unreasonable in contemporary circumstances. (shrink)
What are biological species? Aristotelians and Lockeans agree that they are natural kinds; but, evolutionary theory shows that neither traditional philosophical approach is truly adequate. Recently, Michael Ghiselin and David Hull have argued that species are individuals. This claim is shown to be against the spirit of much modern biology. It is concluded that species are natural kinds of a sort, and that any 'objectivity' they possess comes from their being at the focus of a consilience of inductions.
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.
The tradition of natural law is one of the foundations of Western civilization. At its heart is the conviction that there is an objective and universal justice which transcends humanity’s particular expressions of justice. It asserts that there are certain ways of behaving which are appropriate to humanity simply by virtue of the fact that we are all human beings. Recent political debates indicate that it is not a tradition that has gone unchallenged: in fact, the opposition is as (...) old as the tradition itself. By distinguishing between philosophy and ideology, by recalling the historical adventures of natural law, and by reviewing the theoretical problems involved in the doctrine, Simon clarifies much of the confusion surrounding this perennial debate. He tackles the questions raised by the application of natural law with skill and honesty as he faces the difficulties of the subject. Simon warns against undue optimism in a revival of interest in natural law and insists that the study of natural law beings with the analysis of “the law of the land.” He writes not as a polemicist but as a philosopher, and he writes of natural law with the same force, conciseness, lucidity and simplicity which have distinguished all his other works. (shrink)
Building on the work of Peter Hinst and Geo Siegwart, we develop a pragmatised natural deduction calculus, i.e. a natural deduction calculus that incorporates illocutionary operators at the formal level, and prove its adequacy. In contrast to other linear calculi of natural deduction, derivations in this calculus are sequences of object-language sentences which do not require graphical or other means of commentary in order to keep track of assumptions or to indicate subproofs. (Translation of our German paper (...) "Ein Redehandlungskalkül. Ein pragmatisierter Kalkül des natürlichen Schließens nebst Metatheorie"; online available at http://philpapers.org/rec/CORERE.). (shrink)
The existence of natural laws, whether deterministic or indeterministic, and whether exceptionless or ceteris paribus, seems puzzling because it implies that mindless bits of matter behave in a consistent and co-ordinated way. I explain this puzzle by showing that a number of attempted solutions fail. The puzzle could be resolved if it were assumed that natural laws are a manifestation of God’s activity. This argument from natural law to God’s existence differs from its traditional counterparts in that, (...) whereas the latter seek to explain the fact of natural laws, the former seeks to explain their possibility . The customary objections to the traditional arguments cannot be successfully adapted to counter this new argument, with one exception which has only limited effect. I rebut four claims that the theistic solution to the puzzle about natural laws is paradoxical, though I concede that one of these claims has merit. I consider four objections to the new argument but find three of them more or less unsatisfactory. The fourth, if successful, would undermine our claims to know the truth about the world. (shrink)
David Hume is one of the most provocative philosophers to have written in English. His Dialogues ask if a belief in God can be inferred from what is known of the universe, or whether such a belief is even consistent with such knowledge. The Natural History of Religion investigates the origins of belief, and follows its development from polytheism to dogmatic monotheism. Together, these works constitute the most formidable attack upon religious belief ever mounted by a philosopher. This new (...) edition includes Section XI of The Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and a letter by Hume in which he discusses Dialogues. (shrink)
This book shows how political argument in terms of rights and natural rights began in medieval Europe, and how the theory of natural rights was developed in the seventeenth century after a period of neglect in the Renaissance. Dr Tuck provides a new understanding of the importance of Jean Gerson in the formation of the theories, and of Hugo Grotius in their development; he also restores the Englishman John Selden's ideas to the prominence they once enjoyed, and shows (...) how Thomas Hobbes's political theory can best be understood against this background. In general, the book enables us to understand more fully the characteristics of the natural rights theories available to the men of the Enlightenment, and thereby to appreciate the complexity and equivocal nature of modern right theories. (shrink)
This chapter defends the positive thesis which constitutes its title. It argues first, that the mind has been shaped by natural selection; and second, that the result of that shaping process is a modular mental architecture. The arguments presented are all broadly empirical in character, drawing on evidence provided by biologists, neuroscientists and psychologists (evolutionary, cognitive, and developmental), as well as by researchers in artificial intelligence. Yet the conclusion is at odds with the manifest image of ourselves provided both (...) by introspection and by common-sense psychology. The chapter concludes by sketching how a modular architecture might be developed to account for the patently unconstrained character of human thought, which has served as an assumption in a number of recent philosophical attacks on mental modularity. (shrink)
In earlier work I have claimed that emotion and some emotions are not `natural kinds'. Here I clarify what I mean by `natural kind', suggest a new and more accurate term, and discuss the objection that emotion and emotions are not descriptive categories at all, but fundamentally normative categories.
It has been argued recently that some basic emotions should be considered natural kinds. This is different from the question whether as a class emotions form a natural kind; that is, whether emotion is a natural kind. The consensus on that issue appears to be negative. I argue that this pessimism is unwarranted and that there are in fact good reasons for entertaining the hypothesis that emotion is a natural kind. I interpret this to mean that (...) there exists a distinct natural class of organisms whose behavior and development are governed by emotion. These are emoters. Two arguments for the natural kind status of emotion are considered. Both converge on the existence of emotion as a distinct natural domain governed by its own laws and regularities. There are then some reasons for being optimistic about the prospects for consilience in emotion theory. 1 The mantra 2 Griffiths on emotions as natural kinds 3 Panksepp on emotions as natural kinds 4 Emotion as a neurobiological kind 5 Emotion as a psychological kind 6 Response to the mantra 7 Unification or fragmentation? 8 Concluding remarks. (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)
This major addition to Ideas in Context examines the development of natural law theories in the early stages of the Enlightenment in Germany and France. T. J. Hochstrasser investigates the influence exercised by theories of natural law from Grotius to Kant, with a comparative analysis of the important intellectual innovations in ethics and political philosophy of the time. Hochstrasser includes the writings of Samuel Pufendorf and his followers who evolved a natural law theory based on human sociability (...) and reason, fostering a new methodology in German philosophy. This book assesses the first histories of political thought since ancient times, giving insights into the nature and influence of debate within eighteenth-century natural jurisprudence. Ambitious in range and conceptually sophisticated, Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment will be of great interest to scholars in history, political thought, law and philosophy. Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment has been selected as the winner of the annual Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the best book in intellectual history published in 2000. (shrink)
Temporal externalism (TE) is the thesis (defended by Jackman (1999)) that the contents of some of an individual’s thoughts and utterances at time t may be determined by linguistic developments subsequent to t. TE has received little discussion so far, Brown 2000 and Stoneham 2002 being exceptions. I defend TE by arguing that it solves several related problems concerning the extension of natural kind terms in scientifically ignorant communities. Gary Ebbs (2000) argues that no theory can reconcile our ordinary, (...) practical judgments of sameness of extension over time with the claim that linguistic usage determines word extensions. I argue that Ebbs shows at most that no theory other than TE can effect this reconciliation. Furthermore, while Ebbs’ argument undermines Jessica Brown’s solutions to two closely related problems about natural kind term extensions (Brown 1998), TE can solve both problems without difficulty. Some criticisms of TE are briefly addressed as well. (shrink)
The explanatory role of natural selection is one of the long-term debates in evolutionary biology. Nevertheless, the consensus has been slippery because conceptual confusions and the absence of a unified, formal causal model that integrates different explanatory scopes of natural selection. In this study we attempt to examine two questions: (i) What can the theory of natural selection explain? and (ii) Is there a causal or explanatory model that integrates all natural selection explananda? For the first (...) question, we argue that five explananda have been assigned to the theory of natural selection and that four of them may be actually considered explananda of natural selection. For the second question, we claim that a probabilistic conception of causality and the statistical relevance concept of explanation are both good models for understanding the explanatory role of natural selection. We review the biological and philosophical disputes about the explanatory role of natural selection and formalize some explananda in probabilistic terms using classical results from population genetics. Most of these explananda have been discussed in philosophical terms but some of them have been mixed up and confused. We analyze and set the limits of these problems. (shrink)
In this paper, using a multilevel approach, we defend the positive role of natural selection in the generation of organismal form. Despite the currently widespread opinion that natural selection only plays a negative role in the evolution of form, we argue, in contrast, that the Darwinian factor is a crucial (but not exclusive) factor in morphological organization. Analyzing some classic arguments, we propose incorporating the notion of ‘downward causation’ into the concept of ‘natural selection.’ In our opinion, (...) this kind of causation is fundamental to the operation of selection as a creative evolutionary process. (shrink)
These essays address some of the most intriguing questions raised by natural law theory and its implications for law, morality, and public policy. some of the essays explore the implications that natural law theory has for jurisprudence, asking what natural law suggests about the use of legal devices such as constitutions and precedents. Other essays examine the connections between natural law and various political concepts, such as citizens' rights and the obligation of citizens to obey their (...) government. (shrink)
An influential argument due to Elliott Sober, subsequently strengthened by Denis Walsh and Joel Pust, moves from plausible premises to the bold conclusion that natural selection cannot explain the traits of individual organisms. If the argument were sound, the explanatory scope of selection would depend, surprisingly, on metaphysical considerations concerning origin essentialism. I show that the Sober-Walsh-Pust argument rests on a flawed counterfactual criterion for explanatory relevance. I further show that a more defensible criterion for explanatory relevance recently proposed (...) by Michael Strevens lends support to the view that natural selection can be relevant to the explanation of individual traits. (shrink)
In lecture III of Naming and Necessity, Kripke extends his claim that names are non-descriptive to natural kind terms, and in so doing includes a brief supporting discussion of terms for natural phenomena, in particular the terms ‘light’ and ‘heat’. Whilst natural kind terms continue to feature centrally in the recent literature, natural phenomenon terms have barely figured. The purpose of the present paper is to show how the apparent similarities between natural kind terms and (...) the natural phenomenon terms on which Kripke focuses are outweighed by more significant differences. Thus, rather than providing additional support for non-descriptivism, natural phenomenon terms turn out to challenge that thesis. (shrink)
The study of natural law theories is presently one of the most fruitful areas of research in the studies of early modern intellectual history, and moral and political theory. Likewise the historical significance of the Enlightenment for the development of `modernisation' in many different forms continues to be the subject of controversy. This collection therefore offers a timely opportunity to re-examine both the coherence of the concept of an `early Enlightenment', and the specific contribution of natural law theories (...) to its formation. The works of major thinkers such as Grotius, Hobbes, Locke, Malebranche, Pufendorf and Thomasius are reassessed, and the appeal and importance of the discourse of natural jurisprudence both to those working inside conventional educational and political structures and to those outside - such as in the Huguenot diaspora - is evaluated. This volume will therefore be of importance to all those readers concerned to study the character of the debates in the period 1650-1750 surrounding moral and political agency, sovereignty and obligation, and the legitimation of religious toleration in the divergent states and patriotic contexts of Europe. (shrink)
It is not clear, on the face of it, whether Thomas Hobbes's legal philosophy should be considered to be an early example of legal positivism or continuous with the natural-law tradition. On the one hand, Hobbes's command theory of law seems characteristically positivistic. On the other hand, his conception of the "law of nature," as binding on both sovereign and subject, seems to point more naturally toward a natural-law reading of his philosophy. Yet despite this seeming ambiguity, Hobbes (...) scholars, for the most part, have placed him within the legal-positivist tradition. Indeed, Hobbes is usually regarded as the father of legal positivism. Recently, however, a growing number of commentators has begun to question this traditional classification. Although it is clear that Hobbes is not a natural lawyer of the same mold as Thomas Aquinas, it is, nevertheless, increasingly becoming evident that the traditional characterization of Hobbes as a positivist in the same vein as Jeremy Bentham or John Austin is also incorrect. There are important naturallaw aspects of Hobbes's view that one ignores only at the cost of a proper understanding of his theory of law. (shrink)
Philosophers have not taken the evolution of human beings seriously enough. If they did, argues Peter Munz, many long-standing philosophical problems would be resolved. One of the philosophical consequences of biology is that all the knowledge produced in evolution is a priori established hypothetically by chance mutation and selective retention rather than by observation and intelligent induction. For organisms as embodied theories, selection is natural. For theories as disembodied organisms, it is artificial. Following Karl Popper, the growth of knowledge (...) is seen to be continuous from "the amoeba to Einstein." Philosophical Darwinism brings perspective to contemporary debates. It has far-reaching implications for cognitive science and artificial intelligence, and questions attempts from the field of biology to reduce mental events to neural processes. Most importantly, it provides a rational postmodern alternative to what the author views as the unreasonable postmodern theories of Kuhn, Lyotard, and Rorty. (shrink)
David Hume's Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, first published in 1779, is one of the most influential works in the philosophy of religion and the most artful instance of philosophical dialogue since the dialogues of Plato. It presents a fictional conversation between a sceptic, an orthodox Christian, and a Newtonian theist concerning evidence for the existence of an intelligent cause of nature based on observable features of the world. This new edition presents it together with several of Hume's other, shorter (...) writings about religion, and with brief selections from the work of Pierre Bayle, who influenced both Hume's views on religion and the dialectical style of the Dialogues. The volume is completed by an introduction which sets the Dialogues in its philosophical and historical contexts. (shrink)
Natural selection is an extremely powerful process – so powerful, in fact, that it is often tempting to deploy it in explaining phenomena as wide-ranging as the persistence of blue eyes, the origins or persistence of religious belief, or, the history of science. One long-standing debate among both critics and advocates of Darwin’s concerns the scope of Darwinian explanations, and how we are to draw the line. Peter Godfrey-Smith’s Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection is a detailed examination of (...) this question. The book explores the criteria for what may count as a “Darwinian population,” by which Godfrey-Smith means, which collections of entities have the capacity to undergo evolution via natural selection (p. 6). Drawing upon his answer to this question, Godfrey-Smith examines and provides his own solution to the following long-standing debates in philosophy of biology: (a) the twin problems of reproduction and individuation of biological entities, (b) the persistent “gene’s eye view,” (c) the levels and units of selection problem, and (d) the evolution of cultural artifacts and behaviors. (shrink)
State of nature or Eden? -- Hobbes' state of nature as an account of the fall? -- Hobbes' own belief or unbelief -- The contemporary reaction to Leviathan -- Hobbes and commentaries on Genesis -- A note on method and chapter order -- Good and evil -- Hobbes on good and evil -- The 'seditious doctrines' of the schoolmen -- The contemporary reaction -- The scriptural account -- The state of nature as an account of the fall? -- Equality and (...) unsociability -- Hobbes and natural equality -- The contemporary reaction -- The scriptural account -- Hobbes on natural unsociability -- The contemporary reaction -- The scriptural account -- State of nature as Eden? -- The war of all against all -- Hobbes' war of all against all -- The contemporary reaction -- The scriptural account -- State of nature as fallen condition? -- The right and law of nature -- Hobbes and natural right -- The contemporary reaction -- Hobbes and natural law -- The contemporary reaction -- The scriptural account -- Hobbes as reformed theologian? -- The creation of society -- Hobbes on the escape from the state of nature -- The contemporary reaction : Hobbes versus divine right -- The scriptural account of Cain building a city -- Hobbes on the creation of the commonwealth -- The contemporary reaction : Hobbes versus the patriarchalists -- The scriptural account of the relationship between Adam and Eve -- State of nature as Eden, the process of the fall, and the fallen condition? -- Reading Hobbes' state of nature -- Anti-aristotelianism -- Hobbes' Protestantism. (shrink)
Some naturalistic theories of consciousness give an essential role to teleology.1 This teleology is said to arise due to natural selection. Thus it is claimed that only certain states, namely, those that have been selected for by evolutionary pro- cesses because they contribute to (or once contributed to) an organism’s fitness, are conscious states. These theories look as if they are assigning a creative role to natural selection. If a state is conscious only if it has been selected (...) for, then selec- tion appears to be able to create a new feature of states, namely, their conscious nature. Yet, intuitively, natural selection cannot create anything. Natural selec- tion chooses certain features that already exist and makes them more (or less) prevalent in a population, but it cannot bring features into existence itself. Natu- ral selection can select for conscious states, but it cannot create them. This con- clusion has recently been argued for by Steven Horst (1999). If it is right, then teleological theories of conscious states should be rejected. A state cannot become a conscious experience in virtue of having been selected for by evolu- tionary process. (shrink)
This paper offers an evolutionary account of chronic pain. Chronic pain is a maladaptive by-product of pain mechanisms and neural plasticity, both of which are highly adaptive. This account shows how evolutionary psychology can be integrated with Flanagan's natural method, and in a way that avoids the usual charges of panglossian adaptationism and an uncritical commitment to a modular picture of the mind. Evolutionary psychology is most promising when it adopts a bottom-up research strategy that focuses on basic affective (...) and motivational systems (as opposed to higher cognitive functions) that are phylogenetically deep. (shrink)
It is a commonplace that one of the primary tasks of natural science is to discover the laws of nature. Those who don’t think that nature has laws will of course disagree; but of those who do, most will be in accord with Armstrong when he writes that natural science, having discovered the kinds and properties of things, should “state the laws” which those things “obey” (Armstrong What is a law 3). No Scholastic philosopher would have included the (...) discovery of the laws of nature among the aims of natural philosophy. Regularities there may be in an Aristotelian world, but the focus of inquiry is elsewhere —on natural kinds, powers, qualities, temperaments. There must have been a change of view at some point. The obvious period in which to look for that change is that period in which the notion of law came to the fore in natural philosophy: the seventeenth century. Though there has been occasional dissension, that notion has been with us ever since. Scientists are quite happy to talk about all sorts of laws, from the basic laws of conservation to “phenomenological” and statistical laws. Philosophers, on the other hand, have found them puzzling. The character attributed to laws seems to be in need of explanation, and yet no convincing explanation is at hand; indeed, as I have mentioned, some philosophers think that natural science has no laws, or at least that it doesn’t need to appeal to them to accomplish its ends. My suggestion will be that the configuration of features characteristic.. (shrink)
Natural selection [Darwin 1859] is perhaps the most important component of evolutionary theory, since it is the only known process that can bring about the adaptation of living organisms to their environments [Gould 2002]. And yet, its study is conceptually and methodologically complex, and much attention needs to be paid to a variety of phenomena that can limit the efficacy of selection [Antonovics 1976; Pigliucci and Kaplan 2000]. In this essay, I will use examples of recent work carried out (...) in my laboratory to illustrate basic research on natural selection as conducted using a variety of approaches, including field work, laboratory experiments, and molecular genetics. I also discuss the application of this array of tools to questions pertinent to conservation biology, and in particular to the all-important problem of what makes invasive species so good at creating the sort of problems they are infamous for [Lee 2002]. (shrink)
The interpretation of Lewis?s doctrine of natural properties is difficult and controversial, especially when it comes to the bearers of natural properties. According to the prevailing reading ? the minimalist view ? perfectly natural properties pertain to the micro-physical realm and are instantiated by entities without proper parts or point-like. This paper argues that there are reasons internal to a broadly Lewisian kind of metaphysics to think that the minimalist view is fundamentally flawed and that a liberal (...) view, according to which natural properties are instantiated at several or even at all levels of reality, should be preferred. Our argument proceeds by reviewing those core principles of Lewis?s metaphysics that are most likely to constrain the size of the bearers of natural properties: the principle of Humean supervenience, the principle of recombination in modal realism, the hypothesis of gunk, and the thesis of composition as identity. (shrink)
This collection of essays is dedicated to the memory of the late Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick, who died in 2002. The publication of Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974 revived serious interest in natural rights liberalism, which, beginning in the latter half of the eighteenth century, had been eclipsed by a succession of antithetical political theories including utilitarianism, progressivism, and various egalitarian and collectivist ideologies. Some of our contributors critique Nozick's political philosophy. Other contributors examine earlier figures in (...) the liberal tradition, most notably John Locke, whose Second Treatise of Government, published in the late seventeenth century, profoundly influenced the American founders. The remaining authors analyze natural rights liberalism's central doctrines. (shrink)
Karl Barth and the displacement of natural law in contemporary Protestant theology -- Development of the natural-law tradition through the high Middle Ages -- John Calvin and the natural knowledge of God the Creator -- Peter Martyr Vermigli and the natural knowledge of God the Creator -- Natural law in the thought of Johannes Althusius -- Francis Turretin and the natural knowledge of God the Creator.
No natural rights theory justifies strong intellectual property rights. More specifically, no theory within the entire domain of natural rights thinking – encompassing classical liberalism, libertarianism and left-libertarianism, in all their innumerable variants – coherently supports strengthening current intellectual property rights. Despite their many important differences, all these natural rights theories endorse some set of members of a common family of basic ethical precepts. These commitments include non-interference, fairness, non-worsening, consistency, universalisability, prior consent, self-ownership, self-governance, and the (...) establishment of zones of autonomy. Such commitments have clear applications pertaining to the use and ownership of created ideas. I argue that each of these commitments require intellectual property rights to be substantially limited in scope, strength and duration. In this way the core mechanisms of natural rights thinking ensure a robust public domain and categorically rule out strong intellectual property rights. (shrink)
In this article I examine some of the issues involved in taking psychiatric disorders as natural kinds. I begin by introducing a permissive model of natural kind-hood that at least prima facie seems to allow psychiatric disorders to be natural kinds. The model, however, hinges on there in principle being some grounding that is shared by all members of a kind, which explain all or most of the additional shared projectible properties. This leads us to the following (...) question: what grounding do psychiatric disorders qua natural kinds have? My principal method for examining the issue is a case study of a particular psychiatric disorder: the so-called “apathetic children.” I argue that there appear to be at least two competing models that both appeal to non-organic a grounding of the disorder. However, for other psychiatric disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, the evidence points toward an organic explanation of the disorder. I contend that what unites psychiatric disorders is not a distinctive type of grounding that all psychiatric disorders share, but the distinctive set of determinable properties that is shared by all psychiatric disorders. (shrink)
A tempting argument for human rationality goes like this: it is more conducive to survival to have true beliefs than false beliefs, so it is more conducive to survival to use reliable belief-forming strategies than unreliable ones. But reliable strategies are rational strategies, so there is a selective advantage to using rational strategies. Since we have evolved, we must use rational strategies. In this paper I argue that some criticisms of this argument offered by Stephen Stich fail because they rely (...) on unsubstantiated interpretations of some results from experimental psychology. I raise two objections to the argument: (i) even if it is advantageous to use rational strategies, it does not follow that we actually use them; and (ii) natural selection need not favor only or even primarily reliable belief-forming strategies. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. The postmodern challenge: from modernity to postmodernity; 2. Traditional natural law: differences in Aristotle and Aquinas; 3. Patterns in historical thinking about the good; 4. The challenge of modernity: religious wars and the need for universal law; 5. The challenges of naturalism: legal realism or natural law; 6. Objectivity without a metaphysical foundation; 7. Contemporary natural law: practical rationality and legal opinions; 8. Natural law as a theory with metaphysical baggage: postmodern (...) law; 9. Natural law as the moral law; 10. Natural moral law in a postmodern world. (shrink)
This work brings together leading defenders of Natural Law and Liberalism for a series of frank and lively exchanges touching upon critical issues of contemporary moral and political theory. The book is an outstanding example of the fruitful engagement of traditions of thought about fundamental matters of ethics and justice.
Combining the methods of the modern philosopher with those of the historian of ideas, Knud Haakonssen presents an interpretation of the philosophy of law which Adam Smith developed out of - and partly in response to - David Hume's theory of justice. While acknowledging that the influences on Smith were many and various, Dr Haakonssen suggests that the decisive philosophical one was Hume's analysis of justice in A Treatise of Human Nature and the second Enquiry. He therefore begins with a (...) thorough investigation of Hume, from which he goes on to show the philosophical originality of Smith's new form of natural jurisprudence. At the same time, he provides an over all reading of Smith's social and political thought, demonstrating clearly the exact links between the moral theory of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, the Lectures on Jurisprudence, and the sociohistorical theory of The Wealth of Nations. This is the first full analysis of Adam Smith's jurisprudence; it emphasizes its normative and critical function, and relates this to the psychological, sociological, and histroical aspects which hitherto have attracted most attention. Dr Haakonssen is critical of both purely descriptivist and utilitarian interpretations of Smith's moral and political philosophy, and demonstrates the implausibility of regarding Smith's view of history as pseudo-economic or 'materialist'. (shrink)
This is a review of Peter Anstey's John Locke and Natural Philosophy, which is a masterful and well-argued study of Locke's philosophy of science that shall become both the standard and starting place, for scholars and students alike, for decades to come. Anstey's meticulous and thorough research, combined with his comprehensive knowledge of the history of natural philosophy, make this work a must-read for all who are interested in Locke, early modern philosophy, the history of the philosophy of (...) science, or early modern philosophy of science. His characteristically rigorous analysis and argumentation coupled with his easy and clear prose make this a highly readable and accessible work of scholarship. (shrink)
It has been suggested that the theory of reference advanced by Kripke and Putnam implies, or presupposes, an aristotelian vision of natural kinds and essences. I argue that what is in fact established is that there are degrees of naturalness among kinds. A parallel argument shows that there are degrees of naturalness among individuals. A subsidiary theme of the paper is that the definition of "natural kind term" as "rigid designator of a natural kind" is mistaken. Names (...) and natural kind terms are defined by ostension to a spatiotemporal part of what they ostend. This helps us understand why 'Hesperus' and 'Phosphorus' are cognitively non-equivalent. (shrink)
In the history of philosophy, Fichte's thought marks a crucial transitional stage between Kant and post-Kantian philosophy. Fichte radicalized Kant's thought by arguing that human freedom, not external reality, must be the starting point of all systematic philosophy, and in Foundations of Natural Right, thought by many to be his most important work of political philosophy, he applies his ideas to fundamental issues in political and legal philosophy, covering such topics as civic freedom, rights, private property, contracts, family relations, (...) and the foundations of modern political organization. This volume offers the first complete translation of the work into English, by Michael Baur, together with an introduction by Frederick Neuhouser that sets it in its philosophical and historical context. (shrink)
This major contribution to the history of philosophy provides the most comprehensive guide to modern natural law theory available, sets out the full background to liberal ideas of rights and contractarianism, and offers an extensive study of the Scottish Enlightenment. The time span covered is considerable: from the natural law theories of Grotius and Suarez in the early seventeenth century to the American Revolution and the beginnings of utilitarianism. After a detailed survey of modern natural law theory, (...) the book focuses on the Scottish Enlightenment and its European and American connections. Knud Haakonssen explains the relationship between natural law and civic humanist republicanism, and he shows the relevance of these ideas for the understanding of David Hume and Adam Smith. The result is a completely revised background to modern ideas of liberalism and communitarianism. (shrink)
Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species is unquestionably one of the chief landmarks in biology. The Origin (as it is widely known) was literally only an abstract of the manuscript Darwin had originally intended to complete and publish as the formal presentation of his views on evolution. Compared with the Origin, his original long manuscript work on Natural Selection, which is presented here and made available for the first time in printed form, has more abundant examples and illustrations (...) of Darwin's argument, plus an extensive citation of sources. (shrink)
Paul Boghossian has argued that Externalism is incompatible with privileged self-knowledge because (i) the Externalist can cite no property to be the reference of an empty natural kind concept such as the ether; (ii) without reference there is no content; hence (iii) either we do know on the basis of introspection alone whether an apparent natural kind thought has content or not, in which case we can infer from self-knowledge and a priori knowledge of Externalism alone to the (...) existence in our environment of water, gold etc.; (iv) or we do not know, without empirical investigation, whether an apparent natural kind thought has content. An Externalist not wanting to accept either (iii) or (iv) can deny (i). All empty natural kind concepts refer to the necessarily uninstantiated property of being identical to nothing. Since they have different senses and self-knowledge is only held to extend to the existence and identity of sense, this is compatible with privileged self-knowledge, and Externalism is still true of the concepts. (shrink)
Accounts of natural law moral philosophy and theology sought principles and precepts for morality, law, and other forms of social authority, whose prescriptive force was not dependent for validity on human decision, social influence, past tradition, or cultural convention, but through natural reason itself. This volume critically explores and assesses our contemporary culture wars in terms of: the possibility of natural law moral philosophy and theology to provide a unique, content-full, canonical morality; the character and nature of (...) moral pluralism; the limits of justifiable national and international policy seeking to produce and preserve human happiness, social justice, and the common good; the ways in which morality, moral epistemology, and social political reform must be set within the broader context of an appropriately philosophically and theologically anchored anthropology. This work will be of interest to philosophers, theologians, bioethicists, ethicists and political scientists. (shrink)
This paper is about the reconstruction of the Darwinian Theory of Natural Selection. My aim here is to outline the fundamental law of this theory in an informal way from its applications in The Origin of Species and to make explicit its fundamental concepts. I will introduce the theory-nets of special laws that arise from the specialization of the fundamental law. I will assume the metatheoretical structuralist frame. I will also point out many consequences that my proposal has about (...) a few metatheoretical discussions around the theory and, finally, I will relate my propose to other reconstructions available. (shrink)
The paper sketches an ontological solution to an epistemological problem in the philosophy of science. Taking the work of Hilary Kornblith and Brian Ellis as a point of departure, it presents a realist solution to the Humean problem of induction, which is based on a scientific essentialist interpretation of the principle of the uniformity of nature. More specifically, it is argued that use of inductive inference in science is rationally justified because of the existence of real, natural kinds of (...) things, which are characterized as such by the essential properties which all members of a kind necessarily possess in common. The proposed response to inductive scepticism combines the insights of epistemic naturalism with a metaphysical outlook that is due to scientific realism. (shrink)
In this paper I link two hitherto disconnected sets of results in the philosophy of emotions and explore their implications for the computational theory of mind. The argument of the paper is that, for just the same reasons that some computationalists have thought that cognition may be a natural kind, so the same can plausibly be argued of emotion. The core of the argument is that emotions are a representation-governed phenomenon and that the explanation of how they figure in (...) behaviour must as such be undertaken in those terms. I conclude with some interdisciplinary reflections in defence of the hypothesis that emotions might be more fundamental in the organization of behaviour than cognition; that, in effect, we may be emoters before we are cognizers . The aim of the paper is: (1) to introduce a number of promising results in philosophical and empirical emotion theory to a wider audience; and (2) to begin the task of organizing those results into a computational theoretical framework. (shrink)
Modern science began as natural philosophy. In the time of Newton, what we call science and philosophy today – the disparate endeavours – formed one mutually interacting, integrated endeavour of natural philosophy: to improve our knowledge and understanding of the universe, and to improve our understanding of ourselves as a part of it. Profound, indeed unprecedented discoveries were made. But then natural philosophy died. It split into science on the one hand, and philosophy on the other. This (...) happened during the 18th and 19th centuries, and the split is now built into our intellectual landscape. But the two fragments, science and philosophy, are defective shadows of the glorious unified endeavour of natural philosophy. Rigour, sheer intellectual good sense and decisive argument demand that we put the two together again, and rediscover the immense merits of the integrated enterprise of natural philosophy. This requires an intellectual revolution, with dramatic implications for how we understand our world, how we understand and do science, and how we understand and do philosophy. There are dramatic implications, too, for education, and for the entire academic endeavour, and its capacity to help us discover how to tackle more successfully our immense global problems. (shrink)
This book breaks new ground in the study of Judaism, in philosophy, and in comparative ethics. It demonstrates that the assumption that Judaism has no natural law theory to speak of, held by the vast majority of scholars, is simply wrong. The book shows how natural law theory, using a variety of different terms for itself throughout the ages, has been a constant element in Jewish thought. The book sorts out the varieties of Jewish natural law theory, (...) illuminating their strengths and weaknesses. It also presents a case for utilising natural law theory in order to deal with current theological and philosophical questions in Judaism's ongoing reflection on its own meaning and its meaning for the wider world. David Novak combines great erudition in the Jewish tradition, the history of philosophy and law, and the imagination to argue for Judaism in the context of current debates, both theoretical and practical. (shrink)
The “New Natural Law” Theory (NNL) of Germain Grisez, John Finnis, Joseph Boyle, and their collaborators offers a distinctive account of intentional action, which underlies a moral theory that aims to justify many aspects of traditional morality and Catholic doctrine. -/- In fact, we show that the NNL is committed to premises that entail the permissibility of many actions that are irreconcilable with traditional morality and Catholic doctrine, such as elective abortions. These consequences follow principally from two aspects of (...) the NNL. The first aspect is its distinctive version of the planning theory of intention, in which adopting the 'first-person perspective' of an agent is a sufficient, and not merely necessary, condition for determining the nature of his intentional action; this planning theory rests upon an implicitly Cartesian conception of human behavior, in which behavior chosen by an agent has no intrinsic “intentionalness” apart from what he confers upon it as part of his plan. The second aspect is the NNL's distinctive account of basic human goods' incommensurability, according to which there is no common factor shared by basic human goods that allows them to be comparatively ranked in any way that directs practical deliberation. -/- The entailments of these two aspects of the NNL, we argue, amount to a reductio ad absurdum. Pace the proponents of the NNL account, we sketch an alternative hylomorphic conception of intentional action that avoids untoward moral implications by grounding human agency in the exercise of basic powers that are either (a) essential constituents of human nature or (b) acquired through participation in social practices. This conception of intentional action provides a stronger foundation for natural law theory. (shrink)
Perhaps the most readable and accessible of the great works of scientific imagination, The Origin of Species sold out on the day it was published in 1859. Theologians quickly labeled Charles Darwin the most dangerous man in England, and, as the Saturday Review noted, the uproar over the book quickly "passed beyond the bounds of the study and lecture-room into the drawing-room and the public street." Yet, after reading it, Darwin's friend and colleague T. H. Huxley had a different reaction: (...) "How extremely stupid not to have thought of that." Based largely on Darwin's experience as a naturalist while on a five-year voyage aboard H.M.S. Beagle, The Origin of Species set forth a theory of evolution and natural selection that challenged contemporary beliefs about divine providence and the immutability of species. A landmark contribution to philosophical and scientific thought, this edition also includes an introductory historical sketch and a glossary Darwin later added to the original text. Charles Darwin grew up considered, by his own account, "a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard of intellect." A quirk of fate kept him from the career his father had deemed appropriate--that of a country parson--when a botanist recommended Darwin for an appointment as a naturalist aboard H.M.S. Beagle from 1831 to 1836. Darwin is also the author of the five-volume work Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle (1839) and The Descent of Man (1871). (shrink)
Language suggestive of natural law ethics, similar to the Catholic understanding of ethical foundations, is prevalent in a number of disciplines. But it does not always issue in a full-blooded commitment to objective ethics, being undermined by relativist ethical currents. In law and politics, there is a robust conception of "human rights", but it has become somewhat detached from both the worth of persons in themselves and from duties. In education, talk of "values" imports ethical considerations but hints at (...) a subjectivist view of them. In the psychology and sociology of drug use, ethically thin concepts of "harm minimisation" and "selfimage" dominate discussion and distract attention from the virtue of temperance and the training of character. A more forceful assertion of an ethics based on the worth of persons in these cases would be most desirable. Arguments against objectivity in the fundamentals may be replied to by examining the parallel between ethics and the discipline whose objectivity has been least challenged by relativist arguments, mathematics. (shrink)
New natural lawyers--notably Grisez, Finnis, and George--have written much on civil marriage's moral boundaries and grounds, but with slight influence. The peripheral place of the new natural law theory (NNLT) results from the marital grounds they suggest and the exclusionary moral conclusions they draw from them. However, I argue a more authentic and attractive NNLT account of marriage is recoverable through overlooked resources within the theory itself: friendship and moral self-constitution. This reconstructed account allows us to identify the (...) relation between marriage and human flourishing and the morality of same-sex marriage without making marriage infinitely plastic. (shrink)
I call anti-resemblism the thesis that independently of any contextual specification there is no determinate fact of the matter about the comparative overall similarity of things. Anti-resemblism plays crucial roles in the philosophy of David Lewis. For instance, Lewis has argued that his counterpart theory is anti-essentialist on the grounds that counterpart relations are relations of comparative overall similarity and that anti-resemblism is true. After Lewis committed himself to a form of realism about natural properties he maintained that anti-resemblism (...) is true about the relations of overall similarity that enter his counterpart theory and his analysis of counterfactuals. However, in this article I argue that Lewis’s account of degrees of naturalness for properties combined with his modal realism entails that anti-resemblism is false. The Lewisian must amend Lewis’s system if she aims to benefit from the alleged virtues of anti-resemblism. I consider two ways of amending it, neither of which is a free lunch. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that depression and suicide are natural kinds insofar as they are classes of abnormal behavior underwritten by sets of stable biological mechanisms. In particular, depression and suicide are neurobiological kinds characterized by disturbances in serotonin functioning that affect various brain areas (i.e., the amygdala, anterior cingulate, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus). The significance of this argument is that the natural (biological) basis of depression and suicide allows for reliable projectable inferences (i.e., predictions) to be (...) made about individual members of a kind. In the context of assisted suicide, inferences about the decision-making capacity of depressed individuals seeking physician-assisted suicide are of special interest. I examine evidence that depression can hamper the decision-making capacity of individuals seeking assisted suicide and discuss some implications. (shrink)
This paper addresses recent literature on rigid designation and natural kind terms that draws on the inferentialist approaches of Sellars and Brandom, among others. Much of the orthodox literature on rigidity may be seen as appealing, more or less explicitly, to a semantic form of “the given” in Sellars’s terms. However, the important insights of that literature may be reconstructed and articulated in terms more congenial to the Pittsburgh school of normative functionalism.
Fisher’s ‘fundamental theorem of natural selection’ is notoriously abstract, and, no less notoriously, many take it to be false. In this paper, I explicate the theorem, examine the role that it played in Fisher’s general project for biology, and analyze why it was so very fundamental for Fisher. I defend Ewens (1989) and Lessard (1997) in the view that the theorem is in fact a true theorem if, as Fisher claimed, ‘the terms employed’ are ‘used strictly as defined’ (1930, (...) p. 38). Finally, I explain the role that projects such as Fisher’s play in the progress of scientific inquiry. (shrink)
While philosophers tend to consider a single type of causal history, biologists distinguish between two kinds of causal history: evolutionary history and developmental history. This essay studies the peculiarity of development as a criterion for the individuation of biological traits and its relation to form, function, and evolution. By focusing on examples involving serial homologies and genetic reprogramming, we argue that morphology (form) and function, even when supplemented with evolutionary history, are sometimes insufficient to individuate traits. Developmental mechanisms bring in (...) a novel aspect to the business of classification—identity of process-type—according to which entities are type-identical across individuals and natural kinds in virtue of the fact that they form and develop through similar processes. These considerations bear important metaphysical implications and have potential applications in several areas of philosophy. (shrink)
The Natural Law Tradition has been at the very heart of western ethical, political and jurisprudential development. The purpose of the present volume is to collect together a representative and wide-ranging series of readings which fall within the auspices of the oldest and historically most authoritative of these and takes the discussion into the modern world with readings in metaphysics, jurisprudence, politics and ethics. This project, drawing upon the metaphysical and ethical categories most famously stated and developed by Aristotle (...) and Aquinas, has at its core a vision of human nature, both as individual and social, material and immaterial. An exciting foray into the foundations of Western civilisation, the readings offer the reader a focal point for discussion surrounding the natural law tradition. (shrink)
The ethics of Wolfhart Pannenberg has a nomological dimension at its center. Based on the history of the natural law tradition, Pannenberg maintains the possibility of the natural law theory on the following five grounds. -/- The theological ground is his understanding of the Decalogue, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Pauline interpretation of the law. For its historical ground, Pannenberg articulates the natural law theories of Patristic theology and the theologies of Troeltsch and Brunner. The (...) ontological ground is the order of the world, which God established in the process of history. The anthropological ground is the mutuality of human society. The latter two dimensions are related to the epistemological ground, which is based on the hermeneutics of universal history. -/- Pannenberg attempts to combine the law, the gospel, and love in relation to the Kingdom of God. Thus, Pannenberg’s Kingdom ethics is nomological as well as eschatological. (shrink)
Naturalists who conceive of knowledge as a natural kind are led to treat ‘knowledge’ as a natural kind term. ‘Knowledge,’ then, must behave semantically in the ways that seem to support a direct reference theory for other natural kind terms. A direct reference theory for ‘knowledge,’ however, appears to leave open too many possibilities about the identity of knowledge. Intuitively, states of belief count as knowledge only if they meet epistemic criteria, not merely if they bear a (...) causal/historical relation to the term. I will develop this objection and show that it is grounded in modal considerations central to Kripke’s work on reference. I will also argue that a more plausible externalist semantics for natural kind terms disarms the objection. (shrink)
The semantic rules governing natural language quantifiers (e.g. "all," "some," "most") neither coincide with nor resemble the semantic rules governing the analogues of those expressions that occur in the artificial languages used by semanticists. Some semanticists, e.g. Peter Strawson, have put forth data-consistent hypotheses as to the identities of the semantic rules governing some natural-language quantifiers. But, despite their obvious merits, those hypotheses have been universally rejected. In this paper, it is shown that those hypotheses are indeed correct. (...) Moreover, data-consistent hypotheses are put forth as to the identities of the semantic rules governing the words "most" and "many," the semantic rules governing which semanticists have thus far been unable to identify. The points made in this paper are anticipated in a paper, published in the same issue of the Journal of Pragmatics, by Andrzej Boguslawski. (shrink)
The Monist’s call for papers for this issue ended: “if formalism is true, then it must be possible in principle to mechanize meaning in a conscious thinking and language-using machine; if intentionalism is true, no such project is intelligible”. We use the Grelling-Nelson paradox to show that natural language is indefinitely extensible, which has two important consequences: it cannot be formalized and model theoretic semantics, standard for formal languages, is not suitable for it. We also point out that object-object (...) mapping theories of semantics, the usual account for the possibility of non intentional semantics, doesn’t seem able to account for the indefinitely extensible productivity of natural language. (shrink)
Introduction -- Saint Thomas : putting nature into natural law -- Maritain and the love for the natural law -- The new natural law and evolutionary natural law -- International human rights, natural law, and Locke -- Conclusion : evil and the limits of the natural law.
Natural law as fact, theory, and sign of contradiction -- The second tablet project -- The mystery of what? -- The natural, the connatural, and the unnatural -- Accept no imitations: natural law vs. naturalism -- Thou shalt not kill . . . whom? the meaning of the person -- Capital punishment: the case for justice -- Constitution vs. constitutionalism -- Constitutional metaphysics -- The liberal, illiberal religion.
Contemporary social theory and natural law : Jurgen Habermas -- A natural-law critique of modern social theory : Karl Lowith, Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin -- Natural law and the question of universalism -- Modern natural law I : Hobbes and Rousseau on the state of nature and social life -- Modern natural law II : Kant and Hegel on proceduralism and ethical life -- Classical social theory I : Marx, Tonnies and Durkheim on alienation, (...) community and society -- Classical social theory II : Simmel and Weber on the universality of sociability and reasonableness -- Social theory as the natural law of 'artificial' social relations. (shrink)
The present text seeks to discuss the sense of sacredness and cruelty in natural right and in the political scene of Hobbes and Agamben. It relates Hobbes’ concept of state of nature to the figures in ancient Roman right of homo lupus (wolf man) and homo sacer (sacred man) in its dual process of inclusion/exclusion of naked life (zoé) in the political life (bíos). It goes into the limits of human nature and condition in order to understand the fluctuations (...) of meaning involved in the situation of abandonment that brings a malefactor or band close to the community, with its exposure to death or social disappearance outside the forms sanctioned by the law. It stresses the permanent border between animal and human, a paradoxical and insurmountable limit situated between politeness and nakedness, cruelty and sacredness, good and evil. (shrink)
Introduction to the Sketch of 1842 and the Essay of 1844, by F. Darwin (1909)--Sketch of 1842, by C. Darwin.--Essay of 1844, by C. Darwin.--On the tendency of species to form varieties; and on the perpetuation of varieties and species by natural means of selection, by C. Darwin and A. Wallace.
Conscience in Thomas's understanding of natural law -- The objections of the ancient philosophers -- The objections of the Calvinist christians -- On the possibility of revising Thomas's teaching on conscience -- Those who deny the existence of human nature -- Those who deny the moral relevancy of human nature -- Those who deny the ancient understanding of human nature.