AndrewsReath presents a selection of his best essays on various features of Kant's moral psychology and moral theory, with particular emphasis on his conception of rational agency and his conception of autonomy. Together the essays articulate Reath's original approach to Kant's views about human autonomy, which explains Kant's belief that objective moral requirements are based on principles we choose for ourselves. With two new papers, and revised versions of several others, the volume will be of great (...) interest to all students and scholars of Kant and of moral philosophy. (shrink)
In this era when results of empirical scientific research are being appealed to all across philosophy, when we even find moral philosophers invoking the results of brain scans, many profess to practice "naturalized epistemology," or to be "epistemological naturalists." Such phrases derive from the title of a well-known essay by Quine, but Paul Gregory's thesis in the work under review is that there is less connection than is usually assumed between Quine's variety of naturalized epistemology and what is today taken, (...) by opponents and proponents alike, to constitute epistemological naturalism. To put it bluntly, as Gregory does in the opening sentence of his introduction, Quine "has not been well understood." If there is less connection between the Quinian and other epistemological naturalisms than there has often been taken to be, on Gregory's account there is also much more connection between Quine's position on epistemology and his positions on other contentious issues. (shrink)
CHRISTOPHER PINCOCK, Department of Philosophy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA The volume under review contains ﬁfteen new essays by some of the most inﬂuential scholars of the history of early analytic philosophy. The focus of the essays is, as the editor says in the preface, ‘the work of Gottlob Frege and of Ludwig Wittgenstein (mostly the early Wittgenstein), as well as various ties between them’ (p. x). The essays are divided into four parts. The ﬁrst part, ‘Background and (...) General Themes’, contains essays by E. Reck, G. Gabriel and S. Gerrard. The second part on Frege has contributions by H. Sluga, S. Shieh, M. Ruﬃno and J. Weiner. Essays on the relation between Frege and the early Wittgenstein by W. Goldfarb, D. Macbeth, T. Ricketts and C. Diamond comprise the third part. The volume concludes with essays by I. Proops, J. Floyd, M. Ostrow and J. Conant on the early Wittgenstein. This volume is an important contribution to our understanding of Frege and the early Wittgenstein and should prove a help to specialists in the history of analytic philosophy. I have chosen to brieﬂy discuss seven of these essays with an emphasis on topics in the history and philosophy of logic. Reck’s opening essay, ‘Wittgenstein’s “Great Debt” to Frege: Biographical Traces and Philosophical Themes’, gives a helpful overview of our current knowledge of the contacts between Frege and Wittgenstein. Reck argues quite persuasively for the conclusion that Wittgenstein engaged with Frege’s work throughout his philosophical career. The depth of this engagement is in-. (shrink)
Literature and philosophy have a sometimes prickly relationship. And let's be blunt: it is all philosophy's fault. Specifically, it is all Plato's fault. In The Republic, he laid out the rationalist's basic suspicions of literary practice. Literature, he argued, corrupts reason by appealing to the emotions. It trades in appearances and not reality, fiction rather than truth. Not only does it fail to encourage good behaviour, it glamorises bad behaviour, making immorality appealing to the young and impressionable. Until poets could (...) be trusted to promote virtue through their works, Plato banished them from his republic. (shrink)
Nietzsche called his sister “llama,” a nickname which, according to her, derived from a description in a children’s biology book. Such a book in the Nietzsche-Archiv declares that “the llama, as a means of defense, squirts its spittle and half-digested fodder at its opponent.”1 Thus we see Nietzsche, as he does frequently in his writings, drawing on the semantic resources made available by the investigation of animal nature and using them to illuminate human character. The editors of A Nietzschean Bestiary (...) had the superlative idea to advance the progression from zoology to anthropology one step further: starting from Nietzsche’s myriad trope of animality, to construct a philosophical bestiary that illuminates not only the status of human animality but also that of our metaphorical resources in general. The result comprises twenty-five essays from twentythree contributors, most of which are organized around a single creature (albeit no llama). These essays’ execution of the original idea is, on the whole, excellent. I do not think that they establish the two main conceits of the volume. But the volume nevertheless provides a vivid and diverse display of Nietzsche’s animal tropes that engages with broader philosophical concerns. Although it needs no defense, the volume presents a twofold apology. One declared aim of the volume is to show that Nietzsche’s pervasive use of animal imagery.. (shrink)
This book is devoted to showing that with the single exception of patents on people's whole genomes, DNA patents are morally permissible. Resnik begins with three useful background chapters: one on recent controversies over DNA patents in the United States and abroad; another on the basic science of DNA, as well as research and product development related to DNA; and another, especially useful, chapter on the legal nature of patents and intellectual property. The focus of moral evaluation is patents as (...) they are set out in American law. These give their holders a right to exclude others from producing, using, or commercializing the patented item for twenty years. Items that can be patented include products, processes, and improvements thereof. However, a patentable item must issue from human ingenuity (as opposed to nature); this rules out laws of nature, natural phenomena, and naturally occurring living things and chemical compounds. Of course, in its natural form, DNA is not a product of human nature and therefore not a candidate for patenting. However, since 1980 American law has deemed it patentable in isolated and purified form (in this form, Resnik reports, up to 95% of the sequences in the artificial sequence are in the natural sequence). Turning to ethical issues, Resnik argues for the permissibility of both the general practice of patents, as well as patents on DNA. The general practice is morally defensible because patents produce public benefits, protect private rights of ownership, and strike a reasonable balance in doing so. The public benefits include, in the near term, scientific, medical and agricultural discoveries and innovations; the central long-term benefit is the lower prices that come after the patent has expired and the patented item is publicly disclosed for others to market. Patents help to bring about all of these benefits by providing a legally protected twenty-year monopoly, thus functioning as powerful economic incentives. They thereby also protect private rights of ownership; but even here the public good is not overlooked, since patent-based monopolies are constrained in various ways to protect the public good (e.g.. (shrink)
Christopher Pincock, Department of Philosophy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA This volume presents seventeen essays (not eleven, as the publisher inexplicably claims) by a diverse group of philosophers that arose out of a conference in Florence in 1999. As its title indicates, the focus of the conference was the contemporary signiﬁcance of the topics, methods and innovations of the logical empiricists. This has led to a nicely balanced collection that combines careful historical study with an eye on current (...) debates in the philosophy of science and mind. (shrink)
George W. Bush is not only America’s president, but also its most prominent moralist. No other president in living memory has spoken so often about good and evil, right and wrong. […] But in what moral truths does the president believe? Considering how much the president says about ethics, it is surprising how little serious discussion there has been of the moral philosophy of George W. Bush.
Ian Hacking is one of the most original and influential thinkers alive today. His Taming of Chance (Cambridge UP, 1990) was named to The Modern Library’s list of the 100 most important non-fiction books written in English since 1900. In 2001, he was the first Anglophone ever to be elected to a permanent chair at the Collège de France. Though he started in highly technical fields such as logic, statistical theory and formal philosophy of science, he soon moved on to (...) other domains, eventually making important contributions to the philosophy of language, Wittgenstein scholarship, the philosophical study of mental illness, the history of philosophy and more. This recent collection of Hacking’s work provides further confirmation of both the breadth and depth of his thought. (shrink)
Since their Puritan origins in the 17th century, American politicians have tended to speak in the language of divinely given morality. George W. Bush is not unique in his frequent references to the language of good and evil, just as he is not the first US politician to mangle the language.
The first two sections of this paper are devoted respectively to the criticisms of my views raised by Stephen Engstrom and AndrewsReath at a symposium on Kant's Theory of Freedom held in Washington D.C. on 28 December 1992 under the auspices of the North American Kant Society. The third section contains my response to the remarks of Marcia Baron at a second symposium in Chicago on 24 April 1993 at the APA Western Division meetings. The fourth section (...) deals with some general criticisms of my treatment of Kant's theory of freedom and its connection with transcendental idealism that have been raised by Karl Ameriks, who was also a participant in the second symposium, in an earlier piece published in Inquiry and by Paul Guyer in a review. The paper as a whole is thus an attempt to reformulate and clarify some of the central claims of my book in light of the initial critical reaction. (shrink)