The purpose of this paper is to articulate a new perspective on British multi-faith religious education that both complements and, in part, subsumes existing critiques. My argument, while controversial, is straightforward: it is that British religious education has misrepresented the nature of religion in efforts to commend itself as contributing to the social aims of education, as these are typically framed in liberal democratic societies. Contemporary multi-faith religious education is placed in context and its underlying theological and philosophical commitments identified (...) and criticised. It is concluded that current representations of religion in British religious education are limited in their capacity to challenge racism and religious intolerance, chiefly because they are conceptually ill equipped to develop respect for difference. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to articulate a Christian model of social and political engagement and to illustrate its appropriateness and fruitfulness through its application to the post-conflict situation in Northern Ireland. The argument is structured around three propositions, the implications of which are explored in a final fourth section: (1) that political forgiveness is an inappropriate model of Christian social and political engagement; (2) that Christians should seek justice/ righteousness in the public realm; (3) that Christian commitment and (...) practice are contextual, and, consequently, the practice of righteousness in Northern Ireland must take account of and relate to the particular history of Northern Ireland; and finally (4) an account is provided of the form Christian righteousness could take in post-conflict Northern Ireland. (shrink)
Truth, etc. is a wide-ranging study of ancient logic based upon the John Locke lectures given by the eminent philosopher Jonathan Barnes in Oxford. The book presupposes no knowledge of logic and no skill in ancient languages: all ancient texts are cited in English translation; and logical symbols and logical jargon are avoided so far as possible. Anyone interested in ancient philosophy, or in logic and its history, will find much to learn and enjoy here.
This anthology looks at the early sages of Western philosophy and science who paved the way for Plato and Aristotle and their successors. Democritus's atomic theory of matter, Zeno's dazzling "proofs" that motion is impossible, Pythagorean insights into mathematics, Heraclitus's haunting and enigmatic epigrams-all form part of a revolution in human thought that relied on reasoning, forged the first scientific vocabulary, and laid the foundations of Western philosophy. Jonathan Barnes has painstakingly brought together the surviving Presocratic fragments in their (...) original contexts, utilizing the latest research and a major new papyrus of Empedocles. Translated and edited by Jonathan Barnes. (shrink)
In the works of Sextus Empiricus, scepticism is presented in its most elaborate and challenging form. This book investigates - both from an exegetical and from a philosophical point of view - the chief argumentative forms which ancient scepticism developed. Thus the particular focus is on the Agrippan aspect of Sextus' Pyrrhonism. Barnes gives a lucid explanation and analysis of these arguments, both individually and as constituent parts of a sceptical system. For, taken together, these forms amount to a (...) formidable and systematic challenge to any claim to knowledge or rational belief. The challenge had a great influence on the history of philosophy. And it has never been met. This study reflects the growing interest in ancient scepticism. Quotations from the ancient sources are all translated and Greek terms are explained. Notes on the ancient authors give a brief guide to the sources, both familiar and unfamiliar. (shrink)
What is it to deceive someone? And how is it possible to deceive oneself? Does self-deception require that people be taken in by a deceitful strategy that they know is deceitful? The literature is divided between those who argue that self-deception is intentional and those who argue that it is non-intentional. In this study, Annette Barnes offers a challenge to both the standard characterisation of other-deception and current characterizations of self-deception, examining the available explanations and exploring such questions as (...) the self-deceiver's false consciousness, bias, and the irrationality and objectionability of self-deception. She arrives at a non-intentional account of self-deception that is deeper and more complete than alternative non-intentional accounts and avoids the reduction of self-deceptive belief to wishful belief. (shrink)
Barnes focuses and examines Plato’s ideals on life through “Allegory of the Cave”. The nature of selfhood, moral/ political issues, and enlightenment demonstrate in any classroom the alternatives to a dry session on philosophy to young children through an engaging discussion.
Is human freedom and choice exaggerated in recent social theory? Should agency be the central in sociology? In this, penetrating and assured book, one of the leading commentators in the field asks where social theory is going. Barnes argues that social theory has taken the wrong turn in over-stating individual freedom. The result is that social contexts in which all individual actions are situated, is dangerously under-theorized. Barnes calls for a form of social theory that recognizes that sociability (...) is the essential characteristic of human life. It is our capacity to communicate with each other, and plan for each other’s welfare, that makes us truly human. Once this is allowed, notions of “agency”, “freedom”, and “choice” lose their connotation with free-floating individualism. Instead the embedded character of agency is starkly revealed. This is a model of well-informed and balanced analysis. It will be of interest to students of sociology, philosophy and social theory. (shrink)
Philip Kitcher has proposed a theory of explanation based on the notion of unification. Despite the genuine interest and power of the theory, I argue here that the theory suffers from a fatal deficiency: It is intrinsically unable to account for the asymmetric structure of explanation, and thus ultimately falls prey to a problem similar to the one which beset Hempel's D-N model. I conclude that Kitcher is wrong to claim that one can settle the issue of an argument's (...) explanatory force merely on the basis of considerations about the unifying power of the argument pattern the argument instantiates. (shrink)
The influence of Aristotle, the prince of philosophers, on the intellectual history of the West is second to none. In this book, Jonathan Barnes examines Aristotle's scientific researches, his discoveries in logic and his metaphysical theories, his work in psychology and in ethics and politics, and his ideas about art and poetry, placing his teachings in their historical context.
D. Miller's demonstrations of the language dependence of truthlikeness raise a profound problem for the claim that scientific progress is objective. In two recent papers (Barnes 1990, 1991) I argue that the objectivity of progress may be grounded on the claim that the aim of science is not merely truth but knowledge; progress thus construed is objective in an epistemic sense. In this paper I construct a new solution to Miller's problem grounded on the notion of "approximate causal explanation" (...) which allows for linguistically invariant progress outside an epistemic context. I suggest that the notion of "approximate causal explanation" provides the resources for a more robust theory of progress than that provided by the notion of "approximate truth.". (shrink)
The Introduction to philosophy written by Porphyry at the end of the second century AD is the most successful work of its kind ever to have been published. It was translated into most respectable languages, and for a millennium and a half every student of philosophy read it as his first text in the subject. Porphyry's aim was modest: he intended to explain the meaning of five terms, 'genus', 'species', 'difference', 'property', and 'accident' - terms which he took to be (...) important to Aristotelian logic and metaphysics, and hence to philosophy in general. Thus in principle the Introduction is simple and elementary. In fact, there are sometimes difficulties and doubts on the surface of the text - and beneath the surface there are frequent depths or profundities. The work raises, directly or indirectly, a number of perennial philosophical questions. In addition, the Introduction became, in Boethius's Latin translation, the point of reference for one of the longest-lasting of philosophical disputes - the dispute over the status of 'universals'. This book contains a new English translation of the Introduction, preceded by a study of the life and works of Porphyry, the purpose and nature of the Introduction, and the history of the text. It is accompanied by a discursive commentary the primary aim of which is to analyse and assess the philosophical theses and arguments which the Introduction puts forward. (But there are also numerous notes of a more philological or historical turn.) The twentieth century turned away from Aristotelian logic, and the Introduction lost its position on the syllabus. Barnes does not argue that it should be put back in its old place; but his commentary - the first to be published in English, and the fullest to be published for a century - suggests that there is blood in the old man yet. -/- CLARENDON LATER ANCIENT PHILOSOPHERS General Editors: Jonathan Barnes and A. A. Long -/- This series, which is modelled on the familiar Clarendon Aristotle and Clarendon Plato series, is designed to encourage philosophers and students of philosophy to explore the fertile terrain of later ancient philosophy. The texts range in date from the first century BC to the fifth century AD, and will cover all the parts and all the schools of philosophy. Each volume contains a substantial introduction, an English translation, and a critical commentary on the philosophical claims and arguments of the text. The translations aim primarily at accuracy and fidelity; but they are also readable and accompanied by notes on textual problems that affect the philosophical interpretation. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is assumed. (shrink)
The classical view of the relationship between necessity and apriority, defended by Leibniz and Kant, is that all necessary truths are known a priori. The classical view is now almost universally rejected, ever since Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam discovered that there are necessary truths that are known only a posteriori. However, in recent years a new debate has emerged over the epistemology of these necessary a posteriori truths. According to one view – call it the neo-classical view – knowledge (...) of a necessary truth always depends on at least one item of a priori knowledge. According to the rival view – call it the neoempiricist view – our knowledge of necessity is sometimes broadly empirical. In this paper I present and defend an argument against the neo-empiricist view. I argue that knowledge of the necessity of a necessary truth could not be broadly empirical. (shrink)
Augustine has an argument which goes like this: (1) Belief is assent; (2) Assent is up to us: therefore (3) Belief is up to us. The conclusion is-or was thought to be-a doctrine essential to Christian eschatology. The two premisses come from pagan philosophy. Sections I-II set out the argument and its background. Section III is theological. Section IV looks at the conclusion, with the help of Aristotle, while section V and VI look at the premisses. The last three sections (...) of the paper consider some Stoic views pertinent to premiss (2), and the reply to those views offered by Alexander of Aphrodisias. (shrink)
Ancient philosophy is in a bad way. Like all other academic disciplines, it is crushed by the embrace of bureaucracy. Like other parts of philosophy, it is infected by faddishness. And in addition it suffers cruelly from the decline in classical philology. There is no cure for this disease.
Hill and Levine offer alternative explanations of these conceivabilities, concluding that these conceivabilities are thereby defeated as evidence. However, this strategy fails because their explanations generalize to all conceivability judgments concerning phenomenal states. Consequently, one could defend absolutely any theory of phenomenal states against conceivability arguments in just this way. This result conflicts with too many of our common sense beliefs about the evidential value of conceivability with respect to phenomenal states. The general moral is that the application of such (...) principles of explanatory defeat is neither simple nor straightforward. (shrink)
Knowledge can be transmitted by a valid deductive inference. If I know that p, and I know that if p then q, then I can infer that q, and I can thereby come to know that q. What feature of a valid deductive inference enables it to transmit knowledge? In some cases, it is a proof of validity that grounds the transmission of knowledge. If the subject can prove that her inference follows a valid rule, then her inference transmits knowledge. (...) However, this only pushes the question back to the inference that was made in this proof. What feature of that inference enables it to transmit knowledge? A vicious regress looms here. Every proof requires a valid inference, and every valid inference must follow at least one rule of inference. So every proof must follow at least one rule of inference. Therefore not every valid inference that transmits knowledge can acquire this power through a proof, on pain of vicious infinite regress. So it must be possible to transmit knowledge by making an inference that follows an underived rule. A deductive inference that follows an underived rule is what I will call a basic deductive inference. It must be possible to transmit knowledge by making a basic deductive inference. But how is this possible? What feature of a basic deductive inference gives it this power to transmit knowledge? (shrink)
We contend that empathy is best viewed as a kind of analogical thinking of the sort described in the multiconstraint theory of analogy proposed by Keith Holyoak and Paul Thagard (1995). Our account of empathy reveals the Theory-theory/Simulation theory debate to be based on a false assumption and formulated in terms too simple to capture the nature of mental state ascription. Empathy is always simulation, but may simultaneously include theory-application. By properly specifying the analogical processes of empathy and their constraints, (...) we are able to show how the amount of theory needed to empathize is determined. (shrink)
In recent literature on vagueness, writers have noted that more ‘plentiful’ theories of properties – those that postulate genuine properties corresponding to the classically vague predicates like ‘bald’ and ‘heap’ – appear straightforwardly committed to ontic vagueness. In this paper, however, I will argue that worries of ontic vagueness are not specific to ‘plentiful’ accounts of properties. The classically ‘sparse’ theories of properties – Universals and tropes – will, I contend, be subject to similar difficulties.
: "Technoscience" is now most commonly used in academic work to refer to sets of activities wherein science and technology have become inextricably intermingled, or else have hybridized in some sense. What, though, do we understand by "science" and by "technology"? The use of these terms has varied greatly, but their current use presumes a society with extensive institutional and occupational differentiation. Only in that kind of context may science and technology be treated as "other" in relation to "the rest" (...) of the social order; whether as differentiated sets of practices or as specialized institutional forms. References to "technoscience" may then be taken to imply a reversal of earlier processes of cultural and institutional differentiation and/or a recombination of separate bodies of practice and skill. Either way a move back to a less differentiated state is implied, which makes it surprising that we appear to have very few memories of technoscience in periods less culturally and institutionally differentiated than our own and a lower level of technical and intellectual division of labor. However, the elusiveness of our memories of technoscience may be significant mainly for what it suggests about our ways of conceptualizing the past, rather than for any insight it offers into that past "itself." We tend to identify practices and networks of practices in terms of functions. And it may be because, at different times, different functions have been selected as constitutive of practices, that "technoscience" has come to be regarded as something especially characteristic of the present. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in property dualism—the view that some mental properties are neither identical with, nor strongly supervenient on, physical properties. One of the principal objections to this view is that, according to natural science, the physical world is a causally closed system. So if mental properties are really distinct from physical properties, then it would seem that mental properties never really cause anything that happens in the physical world. Thus, dualism threatens to (...) lead inexorably to epiphenomenalism. In this paper, I will argue that the only way for a property dualist to avoid epiphenomenalism is to deny that the human body is strictly identical with the sum of its microphysical parts. I will go on to argue that the only way to sustain such anti-reductionism about the human body is to embrace some sort of substance-hylomorphism. (shrink)
A pluralistic scientific method is one that incorporates a variety of points of view in scientific inquiry. This paper investigates one example of pluralistic method: the use of weighted averaging in probability estimation. I consider two methods of weight determination, one based on disjoint evidence possession and the other on track record. I argue that weighted averaging provides a rational procedure for probability estimation under certain conditions. I consider a strategy for calculating ‘mixed weights’ which incorporate mixed information about agent (...) credibility. I address various objections to the weighted averaging technique and conclude that the technique is a promising one in various respects. (shrink)