Milton and the Ineffable offers a comprehensive reassessment of Milton's poetic oeuvre in light of the literary and conceptual problem posed by the poet's attempt to put into words that which is unsayable and beyond representation. The struggle with the ineffability of sacred or transcendental subject matter in many ways defines Milton's triumphs as a poet, especially in Paradise Lost, and goes to the heart of the central critical debates to engage his readers over the centuries and decades. Taking an (...) interdisciplinary conceptual approach, this study sheds fresh light on many of these debates by situating his poetics of ineffability in the context of the intellectual cross-currents of Renaissance humanism and Protestant theology. The book plots an ongoing narrative in Milton's poetry about silence and ineffable mystery which forms the intellectual framework within which Milton continually shapes and reshapes his poetic vision of the created universe and the elect man's singular place within it. From the free paraphrase of Psalm 114 to Paradise Regained, the presence of the ineffable insinuates itself into Milton's poetry as both the catalyst and check for his poetic creativity, where the fear of silence and ineffable mystery on the one hand, and the yearning to lose himself and his readers in unspeakable rapture on the other, becomes a struggle for poetic self-determination and finally redemption. (shrink)
[Please note, this paper has been for the most part superseded by 'Unifying the Requirements of Rationality'] In the last decade, it has become commonplace among people who work on reasons (although not uncontroversially so) to distinguish between normativity and rationality. Work by John Broome, Niko Kolodny, Derek Parfit, and Nicholas Shackel has helped to establish the view that rationality is conceptually distinct from reasons. The distinction allows us to make sense of the questions recently addressed by Broome, Kolodny, (...) class='Hi'>Reisner, and Shackel: is rationality normative, and if so, in what way? Kolodny’s ‘Why be Rational?’ answered the first of these questions by claiming that there is no reason to be rational. In order to argue for this conclusion, Kolodny argues for a process account of rationality. Kolodny’s view is that rational requirements govern mental processes. His view is set in direct contrast to Broome’s, who holds that rational requirements are primarily, and perhaps exclusively, concerned with relations among mental states at a time. (shrink)
This follow-up to The Moral Domain carries forward the exploration of new ways of modeling moral behavior. Whereas the first volume emphasized the work of Lawrence Kohlberg and the tradition of cognitive development, The Moral Self presents a paradigm that also incorporates noncognitive structures of selfhood. The concerns of the sixteen essays include the diversity of moral outlooks, the dynamics of creating a moral self, cognitive and noncognitive prerequisites of the psychological-development of autonomy and moral competence, and motivation and moral (...) personality. Gil G. Noam is Director of the Hall-Mercer Laboratory of Developmental Psychology and Developmental Psychopathology at Harvard Medical School. Thomas Wren is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University of Chicago.Contributors: Part I. Conceptual Foundations. Harry Frankfurt. Amelie Oksenberg Rorty. Ernst Tugendhat. Ernest S. Wolf. Thomas Wren. Part II. Building a New Paradigm. Augusto Blasi. Anne Colby and William Damon. Helen Haste. Mordecai Nisan. Gil G. Noam. Larry Nucci and John Lee. Part III. Empirical Investigation. Monika. Keller and Wolfgang Edelstein. Lothar Krappmann. Leo Montada. Gertrud Nunner-Winkler. Ervin Staub. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the enkratic principle in its classic formulation may not be a requirement of rationality. The investigation of whether it is leads to some important methodological insights into the study of rationality. I also consider the possibility that we should consider rational requirements as a subset of a broader category of agential requirements.
An important advance in normativity research over the last decade is an increased understanding of the distinction, and difference, between normativity and rationality. Normativity concerns or picks out a broad set of concepts that have in common that they are, put loosely, guiding. For example, consider two commonly used normative concepts: that of a normative reason and that of ought. To have a normative reason to perform some action is for there to be something that counts in favour of performing (...) that action. Likewise with ought, when there is sufficient evidence for something, one ought to believe it (at least under normal circumstances). Not all guidance need be directed towards a specific state or a specific action. Subject to the requirements of normativity, too, are relations. It is commonly believed, for example, that we ought not to hold contradictory beliefs.1 At least some of the requirements that concern relations amongst an agent’s mental states are, or seem, distinctive. Agents who fail to satisfy these requirements are considered, at least to some degree, irrational. On many current views, being irrational is distinct in some way from not being how one ought to be; rationality is a concept distinct from normativity. Much of the literature on this topic over the last decade stems from attempts to capture the characteristic features of the requirements of rationality. Two influential views in particular did much to set the agenda. The first of these two was put forward John Broome.2 His view, the particulars of which I shall discuss in more detail below, is that the requirements of rationality could be expressed using a normative relation, which he calls a ‘normative requirement’. Normative requirements are conditionals governed by an all-thingsconsidered ought. In the case of rationality, the conditional is made up entirely of mental states.. (shrink)
As Dworkin puts it: moral scepticism is a moral view. This is in contrast to the more popular idea that the real challenge for moral realism is external scepticism, scepticism which arises because of non-moral considerations about the metaphysics of morality. I, too, do not concur with Dworkin’s strongest conclusions about the viability of external scepticism. But, I think his criticism of error scepticism offers a much needed corrective to more traditional metaethical projects. My aim in this paper is to (...) split the difference between Dworkin’s view and more traditional views, concluding that Dworkin’s work in Justice for Hedgehogs contributes to metaethics for everyone. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that the buck-passing analysis (BPA) of final value is not a plausible analysis of value and should be abandoned. While considering the influential wrong kind of reason problem and other more recent technical objections, this paper contends that there are broader reasons for giving up on buck-passing. It is argued that the BPA, even if it can respond to the various technical objections, is not an attractive analysis of final value. It is not attractive (...) for two reasons: the first being that the BPA lacks the features typical of successful conceptual analyses and the second being that it is unable to deliver on the advantages that its proponents claim for it. While not offering a knock-down technical refutation of the BPA, this paper aims to show that there is little reason to think that the BPA is correct, and that it should therefore be given up as an analysis of final value. (shrink)
This paper argues that both a limited doxastic voluntarism and anti-evidentialism are consistent with the views that the aim of belief is truth or knowledge and that this aim plays an important role in norm-setting for beliefs. More cautiously, it argues that limited doxastic voluntarism is (or would be) a useful capacity for agents concerned with truth tracking to possess, and that having it would confer some straightforward benefits of both an epistemic and non-epistemic variety to an agent concerned with (...) truth tracking. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against the stronger of the two views concerning the right and wrong kind of reasons for belief, i.e. the view that the only genuine normative reasons for belief are evidential. The project in this paper is primarily negative, but with an ultimately positive aim. That aim is to leave room for the possibility that there are genuine pragmatic reasons for belief. Work is required to make room for this view, because evidentialism of a strict variety (...) remains the default view in much of the debate concerning normative reasons for belief. Strict versions of evidentialism are inconsistent with the view that there are genuine pragmatic reasons for belief. (shrink)
Philosophers have long been concerned about what we know and how we know it. Increasingly, however, a related question has gained prominence in philosophical discussion: what should we believe and why? This volume brings together twelve new essays that address different aspects of this question. The essays examine foundational questions about reasons for belief, and use new research on reasons for belief to address traditional epistemological concerns such as knowledge, justification and perceptually acquired beliefs. This book will be of interest (...) to philosophers working on epistemology, theoretical reason, rationality, perception and ethics. It will also be of interest to cognitive scientists and psychologists who wish to gain deeper insight into normative questions about belief and knowledge. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that we can give a plausible account of how to compare pragmatic and evidential normative reasons for belief. The account I offer is given in the form of a ‘defeasing function’. This function allows for a sophisticated comparison of the two types of reasons without assigning complex features to the logical structures of either type of reason.
This paper looks at the question of what form the requirements of practical rationality take. One common view is that the requirements of rationality are wide-scope, and another is that they are narrow-scope. I argue that the resolution to the question of wide-scope versus narrow-scope depends to a significant degree on what one expects a theory of rationality to do. In examining these expectations, I consider whether there might be a way to unify requirements of both forms into a single (...) theory of rationality, and what the difficulties involved in doing so can teach us about the foundations of practical rationality. (shrink)
This paper introduces a case, Causal Entanglement (CE), in which there is a valuable state of affairs that it is not fitting to favour, at least for any actual individual. I discuss whether CE is a counterexample to the fitting attitude analysis of final value (FA). I discuss the proponent of FA can account for the value in CE by appealing to attitudes that it is fitting for individuals who are not in the actual world to have towards how things (...) are in the actual word. I show that this approach to accounting for CE brings with it substantial commitments in the metaphysics of modality. I also argue that even if the metaphysics works out favourably, appealing to the fittingness of trans-world attitudes strips FA of much of its interest and substance. (shrink)
One way to approach the question of whether there are non-derivative partial reasons of any kind is to give an account of what partial reasons are, and then to consider whether there are such reasons. If there are, then it is at least possible that there are partial reasons of friendship. It is this approach that will be taken here, and it produces several interesting results. The first is a point about the structure of partial reasons. It is at least (...) a necessary condition of a reason’s being partial that it has an explicit relational component. This component, technically, is a rela- tum in the reason relation that itself is a relation between the person to whom the reason applies and the person whom the action for which there is a reason concerns. The second conclusion of the paper is that this relational component is also required for a number of types of putatively impartial reasons. In order to avoid trivialising the distinction between partial and impartial rea- sons, some further sufficient condition must be applied. Finally, there is some prospect for a way of distinguishing between impartial reasons that contain a relational component and partial rea- sons, but that this approach suggests that the question of whether ethics is partial or impartial will be settled at the level of normative ethical discourse, or at least not at the level of discourse about the nature of reasons for action. (shrink)
We argue that an understanding of the faculty of language requires substantial interdisciplinary cooperation. We suggest how current developments in linguistics can be proﬁtably wedded to work in evolutionary biology, anthropology, psychology, and neuroscience. We submit that a distinction should be made between the faculty of language in the broad sense (FLB)and in the narrow sense (FLN). FLB includes a sensory-motor system, a conceptual-intentional system, and the computational mechanisms for recursion, providing the capacity to generate an inﬁnite range of expressions (...) from a ﬁnite set of elements. We hypothesize that FLN only includes recursion and is the only uniquely human component of the faculty of language. We further argue that FLN may have evolved for reasons other than language, hence comparative studies might look for evidence of such computations outside of the domain of communication (for example, number, navigation, and social relations). (shrink)
There are many uses in English of the word “ought” (see Ought). This essay concerns the normative uses and the concepts or properties denoted thereby. In particular, it concerns two nonfinal oughts commonly used in the philosophical literature: prima facie oughts and pro tanto oughts.
This paper considers the relation between the sources of normativity, reasons, and normative conflicts. It argues that common views about how normative reasons relate to their sources have important consequences for how we can understand putative normative conflicts.
Abstract The growing field of clinical?developmental psychology has been influenced by Lawrence Kohlberg's theory of moral judgement. Too literal a use of structural theory, however, has hindered this field's advancement. This paper argues that a new theory of self is required to apply appropriately developmental theory to clinical practice. The model consists of two related dimensions of self: self?complexity and biographical themes (schemata and themata). A perspective on normal and atypical development given by the interactions between these components is described (...) and implications for practice are discussed. (shrink)
Rambam Medical Center, the only tertiary care center and largest hospital in northern Israel, was subjected to continuous rocket attacks in 2006. This extreme situation posed serious and unprecedented ethical dilemmas to the hospital management. An ambiguous situation arose that required routine patient care in a tertiary modern hospital together with implementation of emergency measures while under direct fire. The physicians responsible for hospital management at that time share some of the moral dilemmas faced, the policy they chose to follow, (...) and offer a retrospective critical reflection in this paper. The hospital’s first priority was defined as delivery of emergency surgical and medical services to the wounded from the battlefields and home front, while concomitantly providing the civilian population with all elective medical and surgical services. The need for acute medical service was even more apparent as the situation of conflict led to closure of many ambulatory clinics, while urgent or planned medical care such as open heart surgery and chemotherapy continued. The hospital management took actions to minimize risks to patients, staff, and visitors during the ongoing attacks. Wards were relocated to unused underground spaces and corridors. However due to the shortage of shielded spaces, not all wards and patients could be relocated to safer areas. Modern warfare will most likely continue to involve civilian populations and institutes, blurring the division between peaceful high-tech medicine and the rough battlefront. Hospitals in high war-risk areas must be prepared to function and deliver treatment while under fire or facing similar threats. (shrink)
All major journalism ethical codes explicitly state that journalists should protect editorial copy from undue influence by outside sources. However, much of the previous research on agricultural information has concentrated on what information various media communicate (gatekeeping studies) or communication's role in increasing innovation adoption (diffusion studies). Few studies have concentrated specifically on organizational and structural constraints that might adversely affect agricultural journalists' ethical standards; those that have, focus largely on farm magazines. A study of newspaper reporters who cover agricultural (...) news found that the most pressing ethical concern is the effect of advertiser (agri-business) pressure on editorial copy, and that their concerns in general parallel those of farm magazine writers and editors. The majority reported being in situations in which they might be exposed to advertiser pressure, including pressures to change or withhold editorial copy. Large minorities suggested that advertising pressures affect the overall environment in which agricultural journalists work, and more than one in ten said they allow advertiser pressures to influence editorial decisions. The newspaper reporters who cover agricultural beats showed slightly more resistance to advertiser pressure than did farm magazine editors in a parallel study. (shrink)
The animal rights movement is a serious challenge to current agricultural practices. Agriculture's response, in part, depends on how successfully it can mobilize its natural constituency, farmers. However, theories of the mainstream press suggest that the mainstream press generally covers events, rarely reports or adopts the perspective of alternative movements, rarely includes mobilizing information, and suggests that routine social structures can, should, and will contain the movement. Hence, current theory indicates that the mainstream press does not act to mobilize the (...) general public. However, very little research has examined how specialized presses, such as the farm press, respond to movements. The study reported here was based on an analysis of 406 articles from ten farm magazines. The findings suggest that the farm press acted more as an advocacy press than does the mainstream press. Collectively, the farm press articles included as many positions pieces and stories explaining animal rights as an issue as they did event stories. The articles reported, and countered, the positions of the animal rights movement; suggested that routine social structures might not contain the animal rights movement; called for agriculture to mobilize; and included specific recommendations concerning how agriculture should mobilize. (shrink)
The agricultural communicator is a key link in transmitting information to farmers. If agricultural communicators' ethics are compromised, the resulting biases in news production could have serious detrimental effects on the quality of information conveyed to farmers. But, to date, agricultural communicators' perceptions of ethical problems they encounter at work has not been examined. This study looks at the dimensions of ethical concerns for topics area (agricultural) journalists as defined by practitioners. To determine these dimensions, we sent open ended questionnaires (...) (50 percent response rate) to members of two professional agricultural journalist associations: the Newspaper Farm Editors of America and the American Agricultural Editors' Association.Agricultural communicators overwhelmingly focus on one specific threat to objectivity—advertising pressure. Both NFEA and AAEA respondents indicated that agricultural journalists' responses to advertising pressure adversely affected the entire profession. The responses indicated that agricultural writers were concerned with the different types of pressures and the effects of advertising pressure on the industry as a whole. NFEA and AAEA respondents mentioned both indirect pressure, “freebies,” conferences, trips and press releases from advertising or public relations sections of agri-business firms, and direct pressures from advertisers, salesmen and publishers. The respondents were clearly more comfortable when newspaper policy protected them from advertising pressure and when they had techniques to reduce this pressure. The editors' and reporters' perceptions of advertising pressure clearly indicates that advertising abuses are a clear and present danger and one worthy of far more attention than it has previously received. (shrink)
Too often, advocates of domain-specific belief systems overlook the implications of their beliefs when choosing communications technologies and strategies, although they rarely overlook the importance of content. This essay argues that both environmentalism and sustainable agriculture, as systems of belief, favor certain strategies of generating and distributing information over others; that is, the essay argues that both the content and form of communications imply certain value preferences, hence both are subject to value-relevant choices. An additional purpose of the essay is (...) to set a context for this special edition of Agriculture and Human Values. Collectively the articles in this edition discuss a wide variety of issues, including but not limited to questions connected to information generation, access to information and information technologies, and the value systems conveyed by communications vehicles, including what is conveyed and different discussions of what should be conveyed. This essay looks at the importance of four sets of domain-specific value systems (environmentalism, sustainable agriculture, and the conventionalism counters to both of these) for two different sets of value systems connected to information generation, and further discusses each of these value sets in connection to choosing asymmetrical or symmetrical communications. It is hoped that this discussion of the flow of information, from generation to distribution, will provide a context for reading the edition as a whole. (shrink)
He is the most frequently quoted person on the planet. Noam Chomsky leads two separate, influential lives: one as a linguist, the other as a human rights activist. In both lives the responses he evokes are uncommonly vehement â€“ it seems he is either god or the devil. Yet Chomsky does not seek followers. He wants everyone to see things for themselves, to think and judge for themselves. On 7 December he turns 75.
Today, thanks to Noam Chomsky and his fellow media analysts, it is almost axiomatic for thousands, possibly millions, of us that public opinion in "free market" democracies is manufactured just like any other mass market product â€” soap, switches, or sliced bread. We know that while, legally and constitutionally, speech may be free, the space in which that freedom can be exercised has been snatched from us and auctioned to the highest bidders. Neoliberal capitalism isn't just about the accumulation (...) of capital (for some). It's also about the accumulation of power (for some), the accumulation of freedom (for some). Conversely, for the rest of the world, the people who are excluded from neoliberalism's governing body, it's about the erosion of capital, the erosion of power, the erosion of freedom. In the "free" market, free speech has become a commodity like everything else â€” â€” justice, human rights, drinking water, clean air. It's available only to those who can afford it. And naturally, those who can afford it use free speech to manufacture the kind of product, confect the kind of public opinion, that best suits their purpose. (News they can use.) Exactly how they do this has been the subject of much of Noam Chomsky's political writing. (shrink)
Professor NoamChomsky is a fierce critic of US wars and foreign policy, and a brilliant analyst of the propaganda and psychological mechanisms through which the liberal-bureaucratic establishment achieves public consent and endorsement of the aggressive actions of the state. For this he is intensely admired in some quarters, and detested and reviled in others. Between the extremes of the uncritical campus adulation and the vicious ad hominem abuse to which he is sometimes subjected, there are genuine (...) critiques to be made and refreshing doses of the unvarnished truth to be found in his voluminous output over the years. (shrink)
Counterpunch, November 23, 2009 In his wild and slanderous "Open Letter to Amnesty International" (signed, fittingly, "Yours, in disgust and despair"), The Guardian - Observer's veteran reporter Ed Vulliamy explains that two "main concerns" motivated him to draft his repudiation of AI's choice of Noam Chomsky to deliver this 2009 Stand Up For Justice lecture: One is that the "pain" individuals such as Chomsky are alleged to cause the "survivors and the bereaved" of the wars in the former Yugoslavia (...) is "immeasurable," and Vulliamy feels some kind of need to help mitigate this pain; the other, apparently, is that the "historical record" as it pertains to these wars is too precious and too fragile to be left in the wrong pair of hands. "For Amnesty International, of all people, to honour this man is to tear up whatever credibility they have estimably and admirably won over the decades, and to reduce all they say hitherto to didactic nonsense," Vulliamy writes. "By inviting Chomsky to give this lecture, Amnesty condemns itself to ridicule at best, hurtful malice at worst -- Amnesty joins the revisionists in spitting on the graves of the dead.". (shrink)
The characteristic focus, intensity and hopefulness of Chomskyâ€™s political writings, however, reflect a set of more fundamental views about human nature, justice and social order that are not simple matters of fact. This article explores these more fundamental ideas, the central elements in Chomskyâ€™s social thought. We begin (section i) by sketching the relevant features of Chomskyâ€™s conception of human nature. We then examine his libertarian social ideals (section ii), and views on social stability and social evolution (section iii), both (...) of which are animated by this conception of our nature. (shrink)
Noam Chomsky’s well-known claim that linguistics is a “branch of cognitive psychology” has generated a great deal of dissent—not from linguists or psychologists, but from philosophers. Jerrold Katz, Scott Soames, Michael Devitt, and Kim Sterelny have presented a number of arguments, intended to show that this Chomskian hypothesis is incorrect. On both sides of this debate, two distinct issues are often conflated: (1) the ontological status of language and (2) the relation between psychology and linguistics. The ontological issue is, (...) I will argue, not the relevant issue in the debate. Even if this Chomskian position on the ontology of language is false, linguistics may still be a subfield of psychology if the relevant methods in linguistic theory construction are psychological. Two options are open to the philosopher who denies Chomskian conceptualism: linguistic nominalism or linguistic platonism. The former position holds that syntactic, semantic, and phonological properties are primarily properties, not of mental representations, but rather of public languagesentence tokens; The latter position holds that the linguistic properties are properties of public language sentence types. I will argue that both of these positions are compatible with Chomsky’s claim that linguistics is a branch of psychology, and the arguments that have been given for nominalism and platonism do not establish that linguistics and psychology are distinct disciplines. (shrink)
CHOMSKY: Any stance we take is based on some conception of what is good for people. This conception will tacitly presuppose a certain belief as to the constitution of human nature -- human needs and human potential. You might as well bring them out as clearly as possible so that they can be discussed.
One very common tactic for enforcing political orthodoxies is to malign the character, "style" and even mental health of those who challenge them. The most extreme version of this was an old Soviet favorite: to declare political dissidents mentally ill and put them in hospitals. In the US, those who take even the tiniest steps outside of political convention are instantly decreed "crazy", as happened to the 2002 anti-war version of Howard Dean and the current iteration of Ron Paul (in (...) most cases, what is actually "crazy" are the political orthodoxies this tactic seeks to shield from challenge). (shrink)