B opens his discussion of the problem of universals, in his second commentary on Porphyry’s Isagoge, with a destructive dilemma: genera and species either exist or are concepts; but they can neither exist nor be soundly conceived; therefore the enquiry into them should be abandoned (In Isag. maior . ). Boethius’ strategy to get around this dilemma is well known. He follows the lead of Alexander of Aphrodisias, distinguishing several ways in which genera and species (...) can be conceived, and he argues that at least one way involves no falsity. Hence it is possible to conceive genera and species soundly, and Porphyry’s enquiry into them is therefore not futile after all (. ). Boethius thus resolves the second horn of his opening dilemma. Yet he allows the ﬁrst horn of the dilemma, the claim that genera and species cannot exist, to stand. The implication is that he takes his arguments for this claim to be sound. If so, this would be a philosophically exciting and signiﬁcant result, well worth exploring in its own right. Yet there is no consensus, either medieval or modern, on precisely what Boethius’ arguments are, or even how many arguments he oﬀers, much less on their soundness. One reason for the lack.. (shrink)
For more than thirty-ﬁve years, the Beatles have credited their musical success to the long hours they spent playing in Hamburg, before they were discovered by Brian Epstein and then the rest of the world. Now it’s the oﬃcial story: The Beatles Anthology (367 pp. Chronicle Books $60), the group’s collective ‘autobiography’ published October 5th, describes how their musical apprenticeship served on the Reeperbahn produced the sound that deﬁned the 1960s and, arguably, popular music ever since. Told through the words (...) of surviving band members Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, supplemented by extensive culling of old interviews with John Lennon, the history of the band is recounted from its beginnings as the Quarrymen in 1957 to the ﬁnal acrimonious breakup in 1970. Like the television series and CD-sets to which it is a companion, Anthology is meant to be a picture of their life as a band from the inside—what it was like “in the eye of the hurricane,” as McCartney puts it. To hear the Beatles tell it, the seven-hour sets in Hamburg under pressure to “make a show” and bring in customers transformed their music, so much so that when they returned to England after their ﬁrst stint in Hamburg, the world had its ﬁrst taste of Beatlemania. Billed as “The Beatles—Direct from Hamburg!”, when they began playing in the Litherland Town Hall in Liverpool (27 December 1960), for the ﬁrst time the crowd spontaneously rushed the stage in the frenzy that would become familiar in the succeeding years. (shrink)
A referendum on abortion in the Republic of Ireland a while ago was strongly influenced by a curious case that aroused great controversy. You probably remember it, but I'll briefly recap the main points. A (very) young rape victim wanted an abortion (or her parents wanted it for her -- I'm not really sure, but it doesn't matter here). She was not only denied it, abortion being illegal in the Republic, but was prevented by a court ruling from going to (...) get one in a country where abortion is allowed. Now, I'm not concerned here with the moral question of abortion itself; what interests me is the confusion evinced (but apparently not felt) by most of those whose comments on the case were reported -- a confusion that afflicted those on both sides of the debate. The results of the recent referendum have reflected the confusion perfectly, with the Irish people offering their collective opinion that a woman shouldn't be allowed an abortion even if her life is endangered, but that women should be allowed free access to information about abortion and to travel to countries where abortion is legal. This would still have denied an abortion to the young rape victim, but would have allowed her to come to England for one. The confusion, it seems to me, is a symptom of two dangerous tendencies of thought concerning other people's moral beliefs -- tendencies which are often linked. (shrink)
Susan James, in her recent work Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon 1997), prefaces her investigation of emotions in the seventeenth century with a series of remarks about the earlier career of the emotions, in particular their treatment in the Middle Ages. In brief, she takes the ‘new’ analyses of the passions put forward in the seventeenth century to be a philosophical sideshow to the main event: the dethronement of Aristotelian natural philosophy and metaphysics (22). She (...) describes the consequences for psychology as follows.. (shrink)
Augustine and Anselm, Abelard was not concerned to explore the theological dimension of the mental Word. Instead, Abelard crafted a ‘language of thought’ to provide the semantics for ordinary languages, based on the idea that thoughts (intellectus) have linguistic character. His is the most sophisticated account of Mental Language until the efforts of Burleigh, Ockham, Buridan, and others at the start of the fourteenth century. Yet unlike these later versions, Abelard’s theory of Mental Language has not received the attention it (...) deserves.1 Most commentators have touched on only three aspects of Abelard’s theory of Mental Language, and that typically as an adjunct to his discussion of the problem of universals: the mechanics of acquiring understandings, the nature of mental content, and the production of one understanding from another (e. g. by abstraction).2 Important as these are for Abelard’s philosophy of mind, they are only a small part of the story for his account of Mental Language. Here I shall concentrate instead on Abelard’s insight that thoughts have linguistic character. To clarify this insight we first have to describe Abelard’s semantic framework (§1), connecting language and thought. According to Abelard, Mental Language generally obeys a principle of compositionality, so that the meaning of a whole is a function of the meaning of its parts — an idea that Abelard applies to words and expressions3 by describing the psychological realities underlying the semantics (§2). Once.. (shrink)
Augustine and Anselm form a common tradition in mediæval thought about angelic sin, a tradition rooted in patristic thought and centred on their attempts to give a philosophically coherent account of moral choice. Augustine concentrates on the reasons and causes of angelic sin, especially in reference to free will; Anselm adopts Augustine’s analysis and extends it to issues about the rationality of sinful choice. Each takes Lucifer’s primal sin to be the paradigm case. Lucifer, undistracted by bodily desires and unencumbered (...) by history, committed the first moral misdeed in an entirely good universe newly created by an entirely good God. The challenge is to give a philosophical account that permits us to understand how the best and brightest of all angels nevertheless made a sinful choice in such uniformly positive circumstances. (shrink)
I was born in Boston, Lincolnshire (actually in Wyberton West Hospital, which no longer exists), educated (if that's the word) first at St Mary's Primary School (run by nuns at the time, which probably explains a lot about my later career if you're a Freudian, which I'm not. Its new incarnation is here), then at Boston Grammar School . At the latter I successfully navigated 'O'-levels, but nearly half-way through my 'A'-levels I developed a number of extra-curricular interests which distracted (...) me from my studies. More importantly, I began to think rather more broadly than some of my teachers (and especially my appalling headmaster) cared for. This led to an almost total cessation of interest in my 'A'-levels. It did, however, involve a number of stage rôles at Blackfriars Theatre and elsewhere, and a good deal of time spent in the theatre bar. (shrink)
He began his negative case by attacking platonist theories, that is, theories identifying the universal as a separated form really distinct from the individuals it characterizes.3 His next target was so-called moderate realist theories, which identify the universal as a form that is really distinct but not separate from the individuals it characterizes.4 Finally, he turns to Scotist theories, which identify the universal as a form that is only formally distinct from the individuals it characterizes, neither really distinct nor separable (...) from them.5 Buridan’s discussion therefore follows a pattern similar to that found in William of Ockham, where the arguments against.. (shrink)
cause other than the very individual itself, and thus there is no ‘metaphysical’ problem of individuation at all—individuality, unlike generality, is primitive and needs no explanation. He supports this view in two ways. First, he argues that there are no nonindividual entities, whether existing in their own right or as metaphysical constituents either of things or in things, and hence that no real principle or cause of individuality (other than the individual itself) is required. Second, he oﬀers a ‘semantic’ interpretation (...) of what appear to be metaphysical diﬃculties about individuality by recasting the issues in the formal mode, as issues within semantics, such as how a referring expression can pick out a single individual. Yet although there is no ‘metaphysical’ problem of individuation, Buridan discusses two associated problems at some length: the identity of individuals over time and the discernibility of individuals. (shrink)
Over the last few years, events in countries like Algeria, whose free democratic elections were cancelled by army officers to prevent a probable Islamic fundamentalist victory, have drawn attention to a number of issues that are in urgent need of consideration. Apart from the fact that the political reverberations of the Algerian incident are still being felt throughout the region, the fact that it happened helped to focus attention on a thorny problem for democrats everywhere. Many people have found themselves (...) plunged into a dreadful dilemma -- torn between their liberal democratic principles on the one hand, and the immediate and practical threats of oppression and the withholding of human rights on the other. To add to their anguish, the Algerian incident has been taken by certain Islamic fundamentalists to provide justification for their claim that democracy is little more than a tool of cynical Western capitalists. (shrink)
In the ﬁrst volume of Capital, Marx introduces a labor theory of value. The theory is supposed to form the basis of his “laying bare” the “inner workings” of capitalism. The theory rests on two claims, and at the outset Marx uses it to explain four features of capitalist production. Yet by the end of the ﬁnal volume of Capital, he abandons both claims and oﬀers alternative accounts of all four features of capitalism. We hold that Marx’s introduction of the (...) labor theory of value is not the presentation of an alternative economic theory, but serves to introduce his analysis of the class structure of capitalism. (shrink)
Socrates, for example, has an essence that includes more than his human nature, which is his specific essence; he has an essence proper to himself alone, an essence that cannot be had by anyone else. Although Socrates does have singular (individualized) forms, his singular essence is not a form—there is no form Socrateity for the singular essence parallelling the form humanity for the specific essence. Instead, Socrates has his singular essence in consequence of being an individual, that is, in consequence (...) of having an ‘individual differentia’. Scotus further rejects the distinction between identity and individuality, maintaining that what it is for Socrates to be Socrates is the same as what it is for him to be an individual. Socrates, in the end, is his singular essence. (shrink)
No single theory of the emotions dominates the whole of the Middle Ages. Instead, there are several competing accounts, and differences of opinion — sometimes quite dramatic — within each account. Yet there is consensus on the scope and nature of a theory of the emotions, as well as on its place in affective psychology generally. For most medieval thinkers, emotions are at once cognitively penetrable and somatic, which is to say that emotions are influenced by and vary with changes (...) in thought and belief, and that they are also bound up, perhaps essentially, with their physiological manifestations. This ‘mixed’ conception of emotions was broad enough to anchor medieval disagreements over details, yet rich enough to distinguish it from other parts of psychology and medicine. In particular, two kinds of phenomena, thought to be purely physiological, were not considered emotions even on this broad conception. First, what we now classify as drives or urges, for instance hunger and sexual arousal, were thought in the Middle Ages to be at best ‘pre-emotions’ fpropayyioney): mere biological motivations for action, not having any intrinsic cognitive object. Second, moods were likewise thought to be non-objectual somatic states, completely explicable as an imbalance of the bodily humours. Depression fmelancholia), for example, is the pathological condition of having an excess of black bile. Medieval theories of emotions, therefore, concentrate on paradigm cases that fall under the broad conception: delight, anger, distress, fear, and the like. The enterprise of constructing an adequate philosophical theory of the emotions in the Middle Ages had its counterpart in a large body of practical know-how. The medical literature on the emotions, for instance, was extensive, covering such subjects as the causal role of emotions in disease and recovery, the nerves as connecting the brain to the organs involved in the physiological manifestations of the emotions, and the effect of diet and nutrition on emotional responses.. (shrink)
In his response to my article `Against Tolerance', Jonathan Gorman misses my main point by an astonishingly wide margin, and throws in a number of herrings of a most vivid redness. I'll look briefly at the first of these flushed fish before going on to tackle his main misunderstanding.
[14.18] But if there were to be a contract in which neither of the contractors is obliged to perform immediately, but rather at a deﬁnite future date, that covenant in the pure condition of nature (i. e. in war) is invalid if any suspicion about performance should intervene: in the commonwealth, not likewise. For he who performs ﬁrst is, in the ﬁrst case, uncertain whether the other will perform; in the commonwealth he is certain, since there is [something] to compel (...) [performance]. Thus, unless there be some common coercive power, the one who performs ﬁrst betrays himself to an enemy— beyond the natural right of defending himself and his [stuﬀ]. (shrink)
Augustine’s early works Against the Academicians (386) and The Teacher (389) belong together. In the former, which is directed at Cicero’s Academica, he defends the possibility of knowledge against the skeptical arguments of the New Academy;1 in the latter, directed at Plato’s Meno, he oﬀers his theory of illumination to explain how knowledge is acquired. As a pair, they present Augustine’s alternative to the pose of ironical detachment fashionable among late Roman intellectuals.
Wilfrid Sellars, in his essay “Being and Being Known,”1 sets out to explore “the profound truth contained in the Thomistic thesis that the senses in their way and the intellect in its way are informed by the natures of external objects and events” [§1]. Profound truth there may be, but Sellars also finds a profound error in the mediæval treatment of the intentionality of sensing on a par with the intentionality of thinking: There are many reasons for the plausibility of (...) the idea that sense belongs to the intentional order. . . It is primarily due, however, to the fact that sensations have what I shall call a pseudo-intentionality which is easily mistaken for the genuine intentionality of the cognitive order. [§18] Sellars argues that thought is genuinely intentional, for it is (in good linguistic fashion) about the world, whereas sense merely seems to be about the world but in fact is not, although it is systematically correlated with the world—the ‘pseudo-intentionality’ he alludes to here. On Sellars’s reading, the ‘Thomistic’ view gets certain things right that the later Cartesian view gets wrong, such as distinguishing mental acts intrinsically rather than by their ‘content’, but it also gets some things wrong in its own right, notably in its claim that sensing has “genuine intentionality” the way thinking does, and so to take sensing as properly belonging to “the cognitive order” (i. e. to qualify as a kind of knowledge strictly speaking). Sellars is out to right the Thomistic wrongs, beginning with intentionality, where the mistake is easily made. For Sellars has his eye not only on intentionality, but on the consequent claim that episodes of (intentional) sensing play a foundationalist epistemological role, a view he elsewhere famously calls ‘The Myth of the Given’.2 There is no question that Sellars wants to make room for his own brand of social epistemology; his agenda is not historical but systematic. Yet in “Being and Being Known,” Sellars puts his case in historical rather than systematic terms.. (shrink)
(A sunny town square somewhere in the Peloponnese. Anna Kalypsas and Mel Etitis are standing, holding open books; Kathy Merinos is watching and listening to them, also with an open book in front of her. Theo Logos appears and spots them. He stops to listen.).
Hypatia was born in Alexandria in the fourth century CE (there's disagreement about her age at death, so that different scholars put her year of birth at either about 370 or about 355CE). The daughter of the mathematician and philosopher, Theon, who taught at the university of Alexandria, attached to the world-famous library, and who seems to have been responsible for Hypatia's education, though she might also have been taught by Plutarch the Younger in Athens. She helped her father with (...) his books on mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy, and became a teacher at his school, eventually becoming its head. (shrink)
Some years ago I reviewed a collection of papers called African Philosophy: The Essential Readings , edited by Serequeberhan. My last comment in that review was the expression of the hope for collections of papers that would give an insight into what's going on in African philosophy, rather than into the debate over the existence and nature of African philosophy. My concern is echoed by the last line of a letter printed in the present volume of readings: "Hitherto most of (...) us have been talking about African philosophy, instead of doing African philosophy." (p.xlii) So when I received this book for review, I naturally hoped that it was what I'd been waiting for. I'm afraid that it isn't. (shrink)
phers] to be a demonstration of the fact that the human species (and in every case the species of all generable and corruptible individuals) began to exist at a time when previously it had not existed at all, a question is raised: whether, following the Philosopher’s method, the human species (and in every case any given species of generable and corruptible [individuals]) began to exist at a time when previously it had not existed at all.
stance, Scotus adopts Anselm’s notion of a ‘(pure) perfection’ and elevates it to a fundamental principle of his metaphysics. Again, he distills Anselm’s Ontological Argument into something like its original Monologion components, and then treats each component part of the argument with a rigor and attention to detail far beyond anything Anselm suggested. In the case of Anselm’s so-called ‘two-wills’ theory, however, Scotus’s revisions are so extensive that they amount to a rejection of Anselm’s account, even though Scotus retains some (...) of Anselm’s terminology. I’ll begin by looking at Anselm’s initial presentation of the two-wills theory in his De casu diaboli (§1), and his later refinements of that account in his De concordia (§2). I’ll then look at Scotus’s deployment, revision, and rejection of Anselm’s theory in his three discussions of angelic sin: Lect. 2 d. 6 q. 2 (§3), Ord. 2 d. 6 q. 2 (§4), and Rep. 2 d. 6 q. 2 (§5). This will be followed by a brief look at whether Scotus’s theory of the self-regulating will is an adequate replacement for Anselm’s account (§6). (shrink)
In one corner Socrates; in the other, on the mat, his cat Felix. Socrates, of course, thinks (correctly) that Felix the Cat is on the mat. But there’s the rub. For Socrates to think that Felix is on the mat, he has to be able to think about Felix, that is, he has to have some sort of cognitive grasp of an individual — and not just any individual, but Felix himself. How is that possible? What is going on when (...) we think about things? (shrink)
 In twelve quite demanding chapters, outstanding scholars provide an overall view of the key issues of Scotus’s philosophical thought. To this a very concise introduction is added, concerning the life and works of John Duns (very good, especially the survey of works and the information on critical editions etc.). Throughout the book, I find the information clear and the difficult topics well explained. Moreover, the volume gives a quick entrance to the vast literature. Among the topics discussed are: ‘Metaphysics’ (...) (Peter King), ‘Universals and Individuation’ (Timothy Noone), ‘Modal Theory’ (Calvin Normore), ‘Natural Theology’ (James Ross & Todd Bates), ‘Philosophy of Mind’ (Richard Cross), ‘Cognition’ (Robert Pasnau), ‘Moral Dispositions’ (Bonnie Kent). What strikes the eye is the absence of important theological subjects: Trinity, Christology, sin and grace, to name a few. Since the cover text promises that ‘the essays in this volume systematically survey the full range of Scotus’ thought’, this omission is remarkable. It stems, I guess, from the strict philosophical scope of the series of the Cambridge Companions, but such a limitation should have been recognised explicitly: this companion provides, in fact, an introduction to John Duns’s philosophy—i.e., philosophy in our modern sense. Of course, this separation of philosophical from theological thought is not from Scotus. Most of his innovative ‘philosophical’ ideas are developed in a profoundly theological context! (shrink)
There is a dangerous notion replicating itself around the world like a virus, reproducing without regard for its hosts' political views, and generally unnoticed except as a limited and purely local phenomenon. We've seen its effects in South Africa, where the brandishing of spears and shields in the streets has been defended on the grounds that such weapons are..
Children therefore, whether they be brought up and preserved by the father, or by the mother, or by whomsoever, are in most absolute subjection to him or her, that so bringeth them up, or preserveth them. And they may alienate them, that is, assign his or her dominion, by selling, or giving them, in adoption or servitude to others; or may pawn them for hostages, kill them for rebellion, or sacriﬁce them for peace, by the law of nature, when he (...) or she, in his or her conscience, think it to be necessary. —The Elements of Law 23.8.. (shrink)
Aristotle was the first thinker to devise a logical system. He drew upon the emphasis on universal definition found in Socrates, the use of reductio ad absurdum in Zeno of Elea, claims about propositional structure and negation in Parmenides and Plato, and the body of argumentative techniques found in legal reasoning and geometrical proof. Yet the theory presented in Aristotle’s five treatises known as the Organon—the Categories, the De interpretatione, the Prior Analytics, the Posterior Analytics, and the Sophistical Refutations—goes far (...) beyond any of these. (shrink)
Novelists and other producers of fiction can make many mistakes (including becoming novelists and other producers of fiction), but there are three kinds of mistake that stem from the writer's ignorance. First, there's the purely external mistake, which occurs in the..
I take "philosophy" to be an English word referring to a certain kind of thinking, a certain kind of approach to a certain kind of problem. To explain those "certain kind of"s would take a book; perhaps the best I can do here is gesture at what it is that English-language philosophers do.
That it is: According to the Commentator, Met. 7 com. 11 ([Iuntina 8 fol. 76r]): The deﬁnition is the same as the substance of the thing. Hence it is in some way outside the soul, and consequently all its parts are in some way outside the soul. But the deﬁnition is composed of universals. Hence [the universal is outside the soul].
Mox de generibus et speciebus illud quidem siue subsistant siue in solis nudis purisque intellectibus posita sint siue ipsa subsistentia sint corporalia an incorporalia, et utrum separata an in sensibilibus et circa ea constantia, dicere recusabo. As regards genera and species, for the present I shall refuse to say whether they subsist or are postulated in understandings that are alone and bare and pure; or whether, if they subsist, they are corporeal or incorporeal; and whether they are separated from sensibles (...) or are postulated in sensibles and things going along with them. Abelard acknowledges the tradition but wants no part of it. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy of mind is much concerned with issues pertaining to ‘mental architecture’ — describing how mental processes are organized, typically by identifying sub-personal functional mechanisms which causally interact, often through the intermediary of a mental representation, thereby giving rise to psychological phenomena. Such internal mental mechanisms can be quite low-level and operate with a degree of relative independence; if so, they may be considered ‘modules’ or minimal centres of mental activity. A module or a set of modules may be (...) speciﬁc to a given domain of phenomena, e. g. only processing visual data. The way in which a set of mental modules is arrayed makes up the architecture of the mind, oﬀering structure to ‘inner space’. The detailed structural articulation of the mind offers psychological theories some traction on the slippery realm of the mental. (shrink)
Peter Abelard (1079 – 21 April 1142) [‘Abailard’ or ‘Abaelard’ or ‘Habalaarz’ and so on] was the pre-eminent philosopher and theologian of the twelfth century. The teacher of his generation, he was also famous as a poet and a musician. Prior to the recovery of Aristotle, he brought the native Latin tradition in philosophy to its highest pitch. His genius was evident in all he did. He is, arguably, the greatest logician of the Middle Ages and is equally famous as (...) the first great nominalist philosopher. He championed the use of reason in matters of faith (he was the first to use ‘theology’ in its modern sense), and his systematic treatment of religious doctrines are as remarkable for their philosophical penetration and subtlety as they are for their audacity. Abelard seemed larger than life to his contemporaries: his quick wit, sharp tongue, perfect memory, and boundless arrogance made him unbeatable in debate — he was said by supporter and detractor alike never to have lost an argument — and the force of his personality impressed itself vividly on all with whom he came into contact. His luckless affair with Héloïse made him a tragic figure of romance, and his conflict with Bernard of Clairvaux over reason and religion made him the hero of the Enlightenment. For all his colourful life, though, his philosophical achievements are the cornerstone of his fame. (shrink)
Mediaeval psychological theory was a “faculty psychology”: a confederation of semiautonomous sub-personal agents, the interaction of which constitutes our psychological experience. One such faculty was intellective appetite, that is, the will. On what grounds was the will taken to be a distinct faculty? After a brief survey of Aristotle's criteria for identifying and distinguishing mental faculties, I look in some detail at the mainstream mediaeval view, given clear expression by Thomas Aquinas, and then at the dissenting views of John Duns (...) Scotus and William of Ockham. I conclude with some reflections on why the mainstream mediaeval view was discarded by Descartes. (shrink)
Academic discussion of pornography is generally restricted to issues arising from the depiction of adults. I argue that child-pornography is a more complex matter, and that generally accepted moral judgements concerning pornography in general have to be revised when children are involved. I look at the question of harm to the children involved, the consumers, and society in general, at the question of blame, and at the possibility of a morally acceptable form of child-pornography. My approach involves an objectivist meta-ethics (...) and a utilitarian view of practical ethics, and I bring out the advantages of these theories to the consideration of moral issues such as this one. (shrink)
I argue that Abelard was the author of the first theory of mental language in the Middle Ages, devising a “language of thought” to provide the semanticsfor ordinary languages, based on the idea that thoughts have linguistic character. I examine Abelard’s semantic framework with special attention to his principleof compositionality (the meaning of a whole is a function of the meanings of the parts); the results are then applied to Abelard’s distinction between complete andincomplete expressions, as well as the distinction (...) between sentences and the statements which the sentences are used to make. Abelard’s theory of mental language is shown to be subtle and sophisticated, the forerunner of the great theories of the fourteenth century. (shrink)
The Doctrine of Original Sin seems to require that human nature has literally undergone a change from its prelapsarian to its postlapsarian condition.It is not clear that this claim makes sense. How can human nature, the feature(s) in virtue of which human beings are what they are, change in time? (Think of the parallel claim about √2.) I consider three medieval attempts to resolve this problem: (1) Augustine’s two theories about shared human nature; (2) Anselm’s proposal that original sin is (...) an individual deficiency; (3) the “biological” proposal suggested by Odo of Cambrai and developed by Pseudo-Joscelin. (shrink)
Augustine’s early works Against the Academicians (386) and The Teacher (389) belong together. In the former, which is directed at Cicero’s Academica, he defends the possibility of knowledge against the skeptical arguments of the New Academy;1 in the latter, directed at Plato’s Meno, he oﬀers his theory of illumination to explain how knowledge is acquired. As a pair, they present Augustine’s alternative to the pose of ironical detachment fashionable among late Roman intellectuals.
One answer: Because medieval philosophy is just the continuation of ancient philosophy by other means—the Latin language and the Catholic Church— and, as Wallace Matson pointed out some time ago, the mind-body problem isn’t ancient.
Ida B. Wells (1862?1931) was a considerable figure in her day. But she has not been accorded posthumous acclaim in parallel. This oversight is either just, or an unprecedented historical falsification ? enabled largely through unhappy, gendered misperception. African?American thought for long turned round dispute between accommodation (Washington) and protest (Du Bois) as forms of leadership. Yet this contrast may mislead. First, Washington was more white placeman than black leader. Second, Du Bois, more than anyone, helped diminish, even extinguish, the (...) Wellsian intellectual legacy. If Wells?s arguments (on violence) have critical significance, and Washington?s are insubstantial and time?serving, then the important struggle within African?American leadership may come to be relocated within the protest tradition ? as between Du Bois (romantic Pan?Africanist) and Wells (universal defender of human rights), both recovered by the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Wells possibly more fittingly. (shrink)
This essay supplies an historical review of black thought (from the Civil War forward) in the American South. Its emphasis is upon the biography of figures born in the region, whether resident or exile, concentrating on three foundational actors: Booker Washington, Frederick Douglass and Ida Wells. Significant strands of later thought are seen as largely derived from the latter two. The thematic anchor of this review is ?resistance and nonviolence?, involving (1) a primary focus on equal rights, (2) a derivative (...) focus on emancipation and desegregation, (3) exploration of nonviolence as a mode of resistance to oppression, (4) exploration of liberative violence, and (5) a larger concern with the appropriate type and degree of integration/separation implicit in or consistent with an equal rights regime. Douglass and Wells are cast as attending to sub?themes (1) and (2). This essay is designed to fit within the larger framework of the collection, in which the religious leaders Howard Thurman and Martin King are allocated to sub?theme (3), the novelist Richard Wright to (4), and the lawyers Thurgood Marshall, Barbara Jordan and Fred Gray to (5). The future challenge to black thought is assumed to lie in deeper reflection on (5), with a view to locating an ever more perfect balance between ?nation? (the ethnic community of Afro?America) and ?state? (the US federal government). (shrink)
We report on the deliberations of an interdisciplinary group of experts in science, law, and philosophy who convened to discuss novel ethical and policy challenges in stem cell research. In this report we discuss the ethical and policy implications of safety concerns in the transition from basic laboratory research to clinical applications of cell-based therapies derived from stem cells. Although many features of this transition from lab to clinic are common to other therapies, three aspects of stem cell biology pose (...) unique challenges. First, tension regarding the use of human embryos may complicate the scientific development of safe and effective cell lines. Second, because human stem cells were not developed in the laboratory until 1998, few safety questions relating to human applications have been addressed in animal research. Third, preclinical and clinical testing of biologic agents, particularly those as inherently complex as mammalian cells, present formidable challenges, such as the need to develop suitable standardized assays and the difficulty of selecting appropriate patient populations for early phase trials. We recommend that scientists, policy makers, and the public discuss these issues responsibly, and further, that a national advisory committee to oversee human trials of cell therapies be established. **NB we did not reccommend a NAC, we think it might be appropriate**. (shrink)
If stem cell-based therapies are developed, we will likely confront a difficult problem of justice: for biological reasons alone, the new therapies might benefit only a limited range of patients. In fact, they might benefit primarily white Americans, thereby exacerbating long-standing differences in health and health care.
possible, your investigation is unlikely ever to get off the ground), there’s no such excuse for philosophers. The philosopher should be unrestricted by fashions in thought, including the unquestioning acceptance of whatever scientific theories are currently dominant. The fact is, however, that in this field and in the philosophy of mind, many.
Martin Hollis (d.1998) was arguably the most incisive, eloquent and witty philosopher of the social sciences of his time. His work is appreciated and contested here by some of the most eminent of contemporary social theorists. Hollis's philosophy of social action, routinely distinguished between understanding (rational) and explanation (causal). He argued that the aptest account of human interaction was to be made in terms of the first. Thus he focused upon the human reasons, for, rather than upon the natural causes (...) of, action. This volume, for the first time, brings together important essays on the work of Hollis, from many different perspectives. These include politics, sociology and economics in general; international relations, rational choice theory, constitutionalism and the rule of law as well as current concerns with relativism, Rousseauist contractarianism, "dirty hands" and "buck-passing". (shrink)
This article reviews 172 studies that used the Defining Issues Test to investigate the moral development of undergraduate college students and provides an organisational framework for analysing educational contexts in higher education. These studies addressed collegiate outcomes related to character or civic outcomes, selected aspects of students' collegiate experiences related to moral judgement development and changes in moral reasoning during the college years as they related to changes in other domains of development. Findings suggest that dramatic gains in moral judgement (...) are associated with collegiate participation, even after controlling for age and entering level of moral judgement. Although many studies used gross indicators of collegiate context (e.g. institutional type or academic discipline), studies that examine specific collegiate characteristics and educational experiences are better suited to identifying factors that contribute directly or indirectly to changes in moral judgement during the college years. Implications for student development practice and future research are discussed. (shrink)
?Negative? and ?positive? liberty are not distinct types of freedom. They represent distinct points of stress within the one logical matrix. The abstract logical formula for liberty is taken to be ?A is free from x to do y?, where ?from x? is taken to implicate ?to do y?, and vice versa. By contrast, concrete cases of freedom ('rights'), such as ?from hunger? or ?to speak?, are taken always to contradict other concrete cases, such as property rights or defences against (...) libel, slander, or ?hate speech? more generally. As all rights are expressions of liberty, however mutually contradictory, we cannot appeal to liberty per se as a principle enabling us to mediate between them. Liberty pre?eminent, or indeed alone, seems too brittle to contain the alienation or anomie of modernity. It may now be necessary, philosophically, to decoct the glue of empathy, of friendship and, by extension, equality. (shrink)
The SRL (speciate re-entrant logic) of King (1989) is a sound, complete and decidable logic designed specifically to support formalisms for the HPSG (head-driven phrase structure grammar) of Pollard and Sag (1994). The SRL notion of modellability in a signature is particularly important for HPSG, and the present paper modifies an elegant method due to Blackburn and Spaan (1993) in order to prove that – modellability in each computable signature is 1 0 – modellability in some finite signature is (...) 1 0 -hard (hence not decidable), and – modellability in some finite signature is decidable. (shrink)
This essay presents a construct of constitutionalism. This is to do with more than a ?constitution?, or a ?corporate organisation?, or ?majority rule?. Constitutionalism is marked by a particular type of corporate rule, featuring a persistent (continuing) popular sovereignty, in which all who are governed are members, have a duty of mutual respect, enjoy an equal share in the vote, and are equally subject to the law. Under constitutionalism, the sovereign is perceived as bound by rules (in law) which that (...) sovereign cannot rise above. Constitutionalism underscores a procedure of non?exclusion, public rationality, and transparency. It is assumed to supply the most suitable philosophical and legal framework for most ?multiculturalist? theses. The essay extracts from British constitutional practice what it locates as the ?despatch?box? regime, and argues for this as a key principle in the management of all constitutionalist entities, including the European Union. (shrink)
Liberty is viewed as the reigning paradigm of our age, but it is a paradigm in crisis. It is conventionally divided into two types, positive and negative. The argument here is that both types can be seen to presuppose some capacity, which may extend to power. Liberty, however, is normally accorded a higher moral value than power. But if liberty is taken itself to reflect a commitment to power, then the disvalue ostensibly placed upon the latter is unreliable. Furthermore, if (...) liberty in effect reflects a (veiled) celebration of power, then it may not be in order to accord it the precedence which is customary. We may well be entitled to look beyond liberty to other values, such as tolerance and friendship, which are not necessarily expressions of liberty, but which may prove quite as worthy. (shrink)
Power consists in the capacity of A to command B, even against B's wishes, whether directly or indirectly. Questions to do with who possesses it and in what degree are obscured by inflationary shifts of definition (as where power encompasses action as such, or right action, or co?operation). These misjudged moves are generally marked by the assumption that democracy displaces power. But if democracy ultimately persists as a voting procedure, its object is to create power?holders. Democracy may endorse three electoral (...) principles: (a) majority rule, or (b) enhanced majority rule, or (c) unanimity. Its commonest electoral device is (a), but its strongest moral defence for (a) implicitly is (c), which legitimates forms of (d) veto and forms of minority rule. If (d) is fair, this need not follow from (a). Nor is (a) right in virtue of superior power. Democracy is commonly a combination of (a) plus (e) defence of individual and corporate rights. But this combination, while apt and convenient, is not incontestably coherent. Despite growing support for deliberation over election, if democracy must be impelled by (a), thus far does it sustain, not topple, power. If power persists more stably under democracies than elsewhere, sustained caution in regard to its supposed ?circularization? is fully warranted. (shrink)
The paradigm case of power as ?power over? (not ?power to') betrays a concern (1) more with the capacity to dominate others than with the unqualified capacity to act as such; (2) more with the fact, than with the morality, of dominance ? underscoring the key analytical distinction between ?power? and ?authority'; and (3) more with compulsion than co?operation. The three moves to combine (1) ?power over? with ?power to?, (2) ?power? with ?authority?, and (3) ?power? with ?co?operation?, are all (...) seen as inflationary, diminishing the value of the paradigm case, and assisting in rendering power, in its actual operations, both more obscure and insidious. Tumbling down this slope, there is a further argument, to the same effect, but secured by deflating, rather than inflating, the paradigm case. This deflationary argument (4) views luck as an alternative to power. In a world of dizzying technological innovation, marked by a deepening gap between rich and poor in the cities, between advanced and dependent states, we confront an inclination in many quarters both to expand and to contract power, so that it is everything and everywhere, thus nothing and nowhere. In attempts to substitute luck for power, it becomes difficult to assign to power responsibility, as heretofore. This paper is the first of two parts, taking a critical look at the overwhelming of power by inflation. The second part of this paper will be published in a subsequent issue, and it critically inspects the argument for deflation. (shrink)
In his commentary on Aristotle’s Peri hermeneias,1 Abelard distinguishes the form of an expression2 (oratio) from what it says, that is, its content. The content of an expression is its understanding (intellectus). This distinction is surely the most well-known and central idea in Abelard’s commentary. It provides him with the opportunity to distinguish statements (enuntiationes) from other kinds of expressions without implying a diference in their content, since the ability of a statement to signify something true or false (verum vel (...) falsum)3 cannot be found in its content. More precisely, Abelard distinguishes statements both from complete expressions (orationes perfectae) that are not statements but rather questions, requests, commands, etc. and from incomplete expressions, that is, mere word strings (orationes imperfectae), such as homo albus. These kinds of expressions, according to Abelard, do not differ in the understanding they present but in the way they present it. (shrink)
Political Freedom By George G. Brenkert Routledge, 1991. Pp. 278. ISBN 0?415?03372?1. £35 hbk. Wittgenstein: A Bibliographical Guide By Guido Frongia and Brian McGuinness Basil Blackwell, 1990. Pp. x + 438. ISBN 00631?13765?3. £60.00. Metaphysics By Peter van Inwagen Oxford University Press, 1993. Pp. xiii + 222. ISBN 0?19?8751400. £11.95 pbk. The Nature of Moral Thinking By Francis Snare Routledge, 1992. Pp. 187. ISBN 0?415?04709?9. £9.99 pbk. Filosofía analitica hoy: Encuentro de tradiciones Edited by Mercedes Torrevejano Servicio de Publications Universidade (...) de Santiago de Compostela, 1991. Pp. 284. ISBN 84?7191?722?X. $15.5 pbk. The Puzzle of Experience By J.J. Valberg Clarendon Press, 1992. Pp. 227. ISBN 0?19?824291?3. £25. Religion and Philosophy Edited by Martin Warner Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement: 31 Cambridge University Press, 1992. Pp. vi + 155. ISBN 0?521?42951?X. £10.95 pbk. The Uses of Philosophy By Mary Warnock Blackwell, 1992. Pp. 256. ISBN 0?631?18038?9. £35.00 hbk. £11.95 pbk. The Disappearance of Time: Kurt Godel and the Idealistic Tradition in Philosophy By Palle Yourgrau Cambridge University Press, 1991. Pp. x + 182. ISBN 0?521?41012?6. £27.50. (shrink)
I frequently have trouble with words that other people use with what seems to be blithe understanding (friends tell me that the problem is that I think too much about words, but I find that not thinking doesn't really seem to help). In the case of `tolerance', though, I have no trouble at all - it's a wishy-washy weasel, a mealy-mouthed mink of a word. I suppose I don't want to claim that it has no decent place in the language (...) at all. I'm not particularly worried, for example, about our tolerating bad dramatic or musical performances by friends, close relatives, or children, nor about our tolerating the short tempers of those under great stress, and so on. What concerns me is the notion of tolerance that is so often to be found floating in the nebulous rhetoric of morality, both public and private. (shrink)
In his 1988 review of On the Plurality of Worlds (Lycan ), William Lycan argued that what he called Lewis's 'mad-dog modal realism' (also 'rape-and-loot modal realism' and 'nuclear-holocaust modal realism' - I suspect that some reference to the supposed extremity of Lewis's position is intended) rested upon an unanalysed modal notion. Lycan accepted that actualists all seemed to be stuck with such unanalysed notions (adding that his own was the notion of compatibility as applied to pairs of properties), but (...) argued that Lewis's notion of worlds was also a modal primitive: 'World' for him has to mean 'possible world', since the very flesh-and-bloodiness [which relieves him of the sort of abstraction indulged in by actualists] prevents him from admitting impossibilia. (Lycan , p.46) Lycan's main concerns in this review go back to his earlier paper 'The Trouble with Possible Worlds' (Lycan ), and are taken up again in his PAS paper: The ruling out of impossible worlds is a serious liability [...] For semantics needs impossible worlds. Though standard modal logics may trade just in possible states of affairs, the semantics of conditionals must deal with inconsistent beliefs. (Lycan , p.224) He goes on to claim that the actualist has no problem with impossible worlds. An impossible world is just - e.g. - a set of propositions (one of which happens to be inconsistent). (loc.cit.) Whatever the truth of this in principle, most actualists have either explicitly or implicitly excluded possible worlds from their theories.* It is true, nevertheless, that Lewis has a clear problem with the very idea of worlds at which logically incompatible propositions are true. Lycan attempts to exploit this as follows. (shrink)
Thomas Hobbes is arguably the greatest of all English philosophers. In the second half of the twentieth century, he has been the subject of sustained critical attention. Hobbes was capable of powerful argument on virtually any level, whether logical, scriptural or historical. And he has attracted attention in all these areas and more questions of historical method, language and linguistics, metaphysics, ethics, law, politics, science and religion. Hobbes has been examined from a great variety of perspectives as an ethical positivist (...) and a deontologist, as a bourgeois advocate and a supporter of the aristocracy, as an absolutist and a proponent of parliamentary government, as a "conservative" and a "modern," as an atheist and a believer. The periodical literature on Hobbes is accordingly very rich, but it is also difficult to access. The four volumes of these critical assessments assemble an important array of material which will be invaluable to all students of Hobbes. (shrink)
introduced the concept of effective demand in the nascent science of economics; his discussions of astronomy were acute enough to raise Duhem’s interest. Neither are Buridan’s credentials as a nominalist in doubt, although investigation into his precise relation to William of Ockham continues: he rejected all abstract entities, whether universals, common natures, the complexe significabile, or types above and beyond tokens; for Buridan, every thing which exists is a concrete individual. His anti-realism included an epistemological component as well, for Buridan (...) maintained that the source of all knowledge is experience. (shrink)
each associate, and be means of which each unites himself to all, obeying only himself and still remaining as free as before. [The Solution]: Each of us puts in common his person and his entire power under the supreme direction of the general will (la..