A school of idealism: meditatio laici, by J. Cappon.--Beati possidentes, by R. M. Wenley.--Moral validity: a study in Platonism, by R. C. Lodge.--Plato and the poet's eidōla, by A. S. Ferguson.--Some reflections on Aristotle's theory of tragedy, by G. S. Brett.--The function of the phantasm in St. Thomas Aquinas, by H. Carr.--The development of the psychology of Maine de Biran, by N. J. Symons.--A plea for eclecticism, by H. W. Wright.--Some present-day tendencies in philosophy, by J. M. MacEachran.--Evolution and personality, (...) J. G. Hume.--Emergent realism, by J. Muirhead.--Bibliography of publications by Dr. John Watson (p. 343-346). (shrink)
Since the 1970s Gary Watson has published a series of brilliant and highly influential essays on human action, examining such questions as: in what ways are we free and not free, rational and irrational, responsible or not for what we do? Moral philosophers and philosophers of action will welcome this collection, representing one of the most important bodies of work in the field.
: This essay considers whether liberal political theory has tools with which to count gender, and so gender relations, as political. Can liberal political theory count subordination among the harms of sex inequality that the state ought to correct? Watson defends a version of deliberative democracy—liberalism—as able to place issues of social inequality in the form of hierarchical social identities at the center of its normative commitments, and so at the center of securing justice.
The Architectonics of Meaning is a lucid demonstration of the purposes, methods, and implications of philosophical semantics that both supports and builds on Richard McKeon's and other noted pluralists' convictions that multiple philosophical approaches are viable. Watson ingeniously explores ways to systematize these approaches, and the result is a well-structured instrument for understanding texts. This book exemplifies both general and particular aspects of systematic pluralism, reorienting our understanding of the realms of knowing, doing, and making.
Are experience and stimulus necessarily alike? Wertheimer spoke of this as an “insidious and insistent belief”. By contrast, Watson devotes an entire book to the defense of the thesis that representation necessarily requires resemblance. I argue that this bold and important thesis is ambiguous between a historical and a systematic reading, and that in either one of these readings the thesis, for different reasons, will be found wanting. Second, a proper evaluation of it in either one of its possible (...) interpretations requires a careful analysis of the notion of resemblance. I proceed to supply some necessary distinctions and argue that, given such an analysis, Watson's thesis may be historically applicable only to ancient and medieval philosophy, while its systematic import is untenable. (shrink)
In the subsequent pages, I want to develop a distinction between wanting and valuing which will enable the familiar view of freedom to make sense of the notion of an unfree action. The contention will be that, in the case of actions that are unfree, the agent is unable to get what he most wants, or values, and this inability is due to his own "motivational system." In this case the obstruction to the action that he most wants to do (...) is his own will. It is in this respect that the action is unfree: the agent is obstructed in and by the very performance of the action. (shrink)
My concern in this paper will be to explore and develop a version of nonsocratic skepticism about weakness of will. In my view, socratism is incorrect, but like Socrates, I think that the common understanding of weakness of will raises serious problems. Contrary to socratism, it is possible for a person knowingly to act contrary to his or her better judgment. But this description does not exhaust the common view of weakness. Also implicit in this view is the belief that (...) actions which are contrary to one's better judgment are free in the sense that the agent could have done otherwise. To take seriously the possibility of acting contrary to one's better judgment is at the same time to raise problems about the distinction between weakness and compulsion. I argue that the common view, according to which the differentiating feature is that the weak are able to conform their behavior to their practical judgments, is unjustified. Instead, I have proposed that weakness of will involves the failure to develop certain normal capacities of self-control, whereas compulsion involves desires which even the possession of such capacities would not enable one to resist. (shrink)
This article provides an overview of the key philosophical themes and debates in discussions of pornography. In particular, I consider the major positions on how pornography ought to be defined, when (and if ) it should be regulated, whether it is best understood as speech (or action), whether there is evidence that is it harmful. I argue in favor of what is known as the civil rights approach to pornography, as reflected in the work of Catharine MacKinnon.
Ame Naess, John Rodman, George Sessions, and others, designated herein as ecosophers, propose an egalitarian anti-anthropocentric biocentrism as a basis for a new environmental ethic. I outline their “hands-off-nature” position and show it to be based on setting man apart. The ecosophic position is thus neither egalitarian nor fully biocentric. A fully egalitarian biocentric ethic would place no more restrictions on the behavior of human beings than on the behavior of any other animals. Uncontrolled human behavior might lead to the (...) destruction ofthe environment and thus to the extinction of human beings. I thus conclude that human interest in survival is the best ground on which to argue for an ecological balance which is good both for human beings and for the whole biological community. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss two kinds of attempts to qualify incompatibilist and compatibilist conceptions of freedom to avoid what have been thought to be incredible commitments of these rival accounts. One attempt -- which I call soft libertarianism -- is represented by Robert Kane''s work. It hopes to defend an incompatibilist conception of freedom without the apparently difficult metaphysical costs traditionally incurred by these views. On the other hand, in response to what I call the robot objection (that if (...) compatibilism is true, human beings could be the products of design), some compatibilists are tempted to soften their position by placing restrictions on the origins of agency. I argue that both of these attempts are misguided. Hard libertarianism and hard compatibilism are the only theoretical options. (shrink)
The idea of public reason is central to political liberalism's aim to provide an account of the possibility of a just and stable democratic society comprised of free and equal citizens who nonetheless are deeply divided over fundamental values. This commitment to the idea of public reason reflects the normative core of political liberalism which is rooted in the principle of democratic legitimacy and the idea of reciprocity among citizens. Yet both critics and defenders of political liberalism disagree over whether (...) or not the idea of public reason permits citizens to appeal to their comprehensive conceptions of the good in public deliberation over matters of basic justice. Our aim in this paper is to provide a defense of an exclusive idea of public reason, and at the same time we aim to dispel the underlying concerns of two prominent criticisms of the idea of public reason—the concern of alienation from the political process, as expressed by religiously oriented critics, and the concern over women's equality, as expressed by feminist critics. We argue that inclusive accounts of the idea of public reason are not consistent with political liberalism's core commitments. Further, we claim, inclusive accounts of the idea of public reason deepen feminist concerns. We think that, properly understood, an exclusive account of the idea of public reason can address feminist concerns about political liberalism and avoid alienating (reasonable) religious persons in an unacceptable way. Thus, we conclude that an exclusive account of the idea of public reason is our best hope for reconciliation. (shrink)
Paul Klee's art found broad impact upon philosophers of varying commitments, including Hans-Georg Gadamer. Moreover, Klee himself was not only one of the most important artists of aesthetic modernism but one of its leading theoreticians, and much in his work, as in Gadamer's, originated in post-Kantian literary theory's explications of symbol and allegory. Indeed at one point in Truth and Method, Gadamer associates his project for a general "theory of hermeneutic experience" not only with Goethe's metaphysical account of the symbolic (...) but equally with a "rehabilitation" of allegory. In this paper, I examine this position and Gadamer's own use of it in his analysis of Klee's work, contrasting it with that of Walter Benjamin's account of allegory, equally indebted to Goethe and this archive. Finally, I contrast the resulting interpretations of Klee, discussing the implications that evolve for understanding both Gadamer and Benjamin— but equally for understanding Klee's work and, provisionally, the work of art, thus construed, for philosophy. (shrink)
The Aim of this series is to bring together important recent writings in major areas of philosophical inquiry, selected from a variety of sources, mostly periodicals, which may not be conveniently available to the university students or the general reader.