In this paper I want to propose that we see solipsism as arising from certain problems we have about identifying ourselves as subjects in an objective world. The discussion will centre on Wittgenstein’s treatment of solipsism in his Tractatus Logico- Philosophicus. In that work Wittgenstein can be seen to express an unusually profound understanding of the problems faced in trying to give an account of how we, who are subjects, identify ourselves as objects in the (...) world. We have in his compressed remarks, the kernels of a number of arguments which all come together to form what can be called the problem of self-identification. I want to argue that the solipsism of the Tractatus arises at least in part as a solution to, or – to put it less optimistically – as a symptom or articulation of this problem. In approaching Wittgenstein’s early discussion of solipsism in this way I will obviously be in disagreement with some other interpretations of the work. For example, there are those who think that there is no ‘solipsism of the Tractatus’.1 In fact, the Tractarian arguments presented below as motivating solipsism have been seen as fulfilling the quite opposite function of refuting it. I do not intend in this piece to engage with alternative interpretations. Let me say a little bit about why I have granted myself the licence not to do so. First, the focus of my concern with solipsism is on how it connects with what I have called the problem of self-identification. While it is a concern that emerged in an attempt to make sense of Wittgenstein’s remarks in.. (shrink)
A en croire Platon, Héraclite, à l'encontre d'Empédocle, professait une coïncidence de l'un et du multiple. Pour Aristote, c'est tout le contraire: Héraclite, de même qu'Empédocle, enseignait une alternance de l'un et du multiple. Comment expliquer ce désaccord ? En exposant sa théorie de l'unité des opposés, Heraclite ne s'est pas toujours exprimé de la même façon. Aristote aurait compris de travers des formules où l'unité se range du côté de l'un des opposés. Plato and Aristotle presumably read the same (...) text of Heraclitus, and yet they come up with entirely opposite accounts of its meaning Plato thinks that Heraclitus and Empedocles disagree. Aristotle, that they agree. Scholars have failed to solve this conundrum, because they have failed to recognise in the fragments of Heraclitus the Obscure alternative forms of the law of the unity of opposites. Aristotle (wrongly) took one formulation of the law of the unity of opposites to imply an endless succession of the one and the many, and therefore the agreement of Heraclitus with Empedocles. (shrink)
John Rawls’s political liberalism and its ideal of public reason are tremendously influential in contemporary political philosophy and in constitutional law as well. Many, perhaps even most, liberals are Rawlsians of one stripe or another. This is problematic, because most liberals also support the redefinition of civil marriage to include same-sex unions, and as I show, Rawls’s political liberalism actually prohibits same- sex marriage. Recently in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, however, California’s northern federal district court reinterpreted the traditional rational basis review (...) in terms of liberal neutrality akin to Rawls’s “public reason,” and overturned Proposition 8 and established same-sex marriage. (This reinterpretation was amplified in the 9th Circuit Court’s decision upholding the district court on appeal in Perry v. Brown.) But on its own grounds Perry should have drawn the opposite conclusion. This is because all the available arguments for recognizing same-sex unions as civil marriages stem from controversial comprehensive doctrines about the good, and this violates the ideal of public reason; yet there remains a publicly reasonable argument for traditional marriage, which I sketch here. In the course of my argument I develop Rawls’s politically liberal account of the family by drawing upon work by J. David Velleman and H. L. A. Hart, and discuss the implications of this account for political theory and constitutional law. (shrink)
The ‘no-suicide contract’ is a frequently utilized tool in both the assessment and dispersal of suicidal patients. However, little attention has been given to questioning whether suicidal persons are able to give informed consent to enter such a contract. This article utilizes both the existing literature on no-suicide contracts and the results of recent research into the effects of this tool, to examine whether its use is consistent with the legal and ethical doctrine of informed consent. Particular attention is given (...) to issues of competence, fullness of information, voluntariness and paternalistic intervention when no-suicide contracts are used. This analysis finds the tool to be problematic and suggests that individual patients’ ability to give informed consent about a no-suicide contract needs to be carefully considered by clinicians. (shrink)
The Catholic Church proscribes methods of birth control other than sexual abstinence. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes abstinence as an acceptable method of birth control in research studies, some pharmaceutical companies mandate the use of artificial contraceptive techniques to avoid pregnancy as a condition for participation in their studies. These requirements are unacceptable at Catholic health care institutions, leading to conflicts among institutional review boards, clinical investigators, and sponsors. Subjects may feel coerced by such mandates to (...) adopt contraceptive techniques inconsistent with their personal situation and beliefs; women committed to celibacy or who engage exclusively in non-heterosexual activities are negatively impacted. We propose principles to insure informed consent to safeguard the rights of research subjects at Catholic institutions while mitigating this ethical conflict. At the same time, our proposal respects the interests of pharmaceutical research agencies and Catholic moral precepts, and fully abides by regulatory guidance. (shrink)
Using the linearized Einstein gravitational field equations and the Maxwell field equations it is shown that the plane of polarization of an electromagnetic wave is rotated by the gravitational field created by the electromagnetic radiation of a ring laser. It is further shown that this gravitational Faraday effect shares many of the properties of the standard electromagnetic Faraday effect. An experimental arrangement is then suggested for the observation of this gravitational Faraday effect induced by the ring laser.
Henri J. Renard, S. J.: a sketch, by J. P. Jelinek.--The good as undefinable, by M. Childress.--Gottlieb Söhngen's sacramental doctrine on the mass, by J. F. Clarkson.--Christ's eucharistic action and history, by B. J. Cooke.--Objective reality of human ideas: Descartes and Suarez, by T. J. Cronin.--A medieval commentator on some Aristotelian educational themes, by J. W. Donohue.--God as sole cause of existence, by M. Holloway.--Knowledge, commitment, and the real, by R. O. Johann.--John Locke and sense realism, by H. R. Klocker.--The (...) being of nonbeing in Plato's Sophist, by Q. Lauer.--Ethics and verification, by R. McInerny.--Analogy and the fourth way, by J. J. O'Brien.--Love and being, by W. L. Rossner.--Complexity in human knowledge: its basis in form/matter composition, by E. L. Rousseau.--Toward a more dynamic understanding of substance and relation, by J. M. Somerville.--The origin of participant and of participated perfections in Proclus' Elements of theology, by L. Sweeney. (shrink)
The confusion/non-consequential thinking explanation proposed by Newstead, Girotto, and Legrenzi (1995) for poor performance on Wason's THOG problem (a hypothetico-deductive reasoning task) was examined in three experiments with 300 participants. In general, as the cognitive complexity of the problem and the possibility of non-consequential thinking were reduced, correct performance increased. Significant but weak facilitation (33-40% correct) was found in Experiment 1 for THOG classification instructions that did not include the indeterminate response option. Substantial facilitation (up to 75% correct) was obtained (...) in Experiment 2 with O'Brien et al.'s (1990) one-other-THOG classification instruction. In Experiment 3, a revised version of O'Brien et al.'s pre-test problem format also led to substantial facilitation, even with the use of the standard three-choice THOG classification instruction. These findings are discussed in terms of Newstead et al.'s theoretical proposal and possible attentional factors. (shrink)
This study was concerned with Wason's THOG task, a hypothetico-deductive reasoning problem for which performance is typically very poor ( < 20% correct). Recently, however, Needham and Amado (1995) and Koenig and Griggs (2004) have observed both facilitation and spontaneous analogical transfer effects for the Pythagoras version of this task. Based on their findings, Koenig and Griggs concluded that in addition to the separation of the data (the properties of the designated THOG) from the hypotheses that need to be generated (...) (the possible combinations of properties written down), an explicit request to generate these hypotheses is necessary to obtain significant analogical transfer. In the present study we extended the generalisability of this conclusion in three experiments with 214 undergraduate participants using O'Brien et al.'s (1990) Blackboard version of the task. We discuss the relationship of the results to dual process theories of reasoning and propose that analogical transfer may be a better criterion than task facilitation for judging participants' task understanding. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant’s position on special revelation is a matter of debate. Here I discuss Kant’s position in detail and compare it to that of Richard Swinburne. I examine both philosophers’ views on the assertability of special revelation, its contingency, whether it is necessary, the possibility of error, and appropriate methods of interpretation. I argue that, like Swinburne, Kant finds belief in special revelation to be acceptable, even beneficial, under certain circumstances.
This essay evaluates the recent restatement in O’Brien v Chief Constable of South Wales Police of the law on similar facts in civil proceedings. The two-stage approach propounded in O’Brien contains a number of conceptual problems. Apparent simplicity was achieved by avoiding fundamental issues underlying this area. Prior to the Criminal Justice Act 2003, judges recognized that the common law similar facts rule had a role to play in both civil and criminal trials; but they gave the rule a wider (...) exclusionary scope in criminal than in civil cases. Adoption of a moral perspective helps to explain this state of affairs. The rule, so it will be argued, protects the legitimacy of trial deliberation by forbidding reliance on an assumption that disrespects the moral autonomy of the person whose conduct is being judged. This moral objection can arise in civil cases; but it arises more frequently and usually with greater force in criminal proceedings. Hence, while there is a need to reserve some judicial power to disallow proof of similar incidents in the civil context, there is usually less reason for the exercise of that power in civil cases than at criminal trials. (shrink)