Language, Duty, and Value Jonathan Dancy, J. M. E. Moravcsik James Opie Urmson, Edited by Jonathan Dancy, J. M. E. Moravcsik, and C. C. W. Taylor. reasons in general. This is freedom in the sense of acting on reasons, yet not those ...
This volume, which is part of the Clarendon Aristotle Series, offers a clear and faithful new translation of Books II to IV of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, accompanied by an analytical commentary focusing on philosophical issues. In Books II to IV, Aristotle gives his account of virtue of character in general and of the principal virtues individually, topics of central interest both to his ethical theory and to modern ethical theorists. Consequently major themes of the commentary are connections on the one (...) hand with other relevant Aristotelian texts and on the other with modern writings, both text-related and thematic. -/- Since the main aim of the volume is to make Aristotle's thought as accessible as possible to readers who do not know Greek, considerable care is taken to elucidate both his technical vocabulary and significant features of his Greek idiom. C. C. W. Taylor also provides systematic comparisons with other translations into English and other languages, and frequent references to other commentaries, ancient, medieval, and modern. These features make the work useful to other scholars in the field as well as to students of philosophy, both undergraduate and graduate. -/- In view of the widespread contemporary interest in the topic of virtue, the volume should appeal to students of ethics (even those hitherto unacquainted with ancient thought) and to any reader who is concerned to see how fundamental questions of life and conduct were approached in a culture significantly different from our own. (shrink)
Studies in Greek Philosophy. Gregory Vlastos. Edited by Daniel W. Graham. Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press, 1995. Volume I The Presocratics pp. xxxiv + 389; Volume II Socrates, Plato, and Their Tradition pp. xxiv + 349. 40 per volume (hb.), ISBN 0-691-03310-2, 0-691-03311-0; 14.50 per volume (pb.), ISBN 0-691-01937-1, 0-691-01938-X.
A study of the political philosophy of Herbert Spencer, this book examines the thought of the man considered by many to be the greatest philosopher of Victorian Britain, and the ideas of the Individualists, a group of political thinkers inspired by him to uphold the policy of laissez-faire during the 1880s and 1890s. Despite their important contribution to nineteenth-century political debate, these thinkers have been neglected by historians, who Taylor argues have concentrated instead on the advocates of an enhanced (...) role for government in economic and social affairs. Offering the first comprehensive view of free-market conservatism in an historical context, Taylor provides an original perspective on Spencer's political philosophy as well as the nature of late Victorian political argument in general. (shrink)
The results of an exploratory study examining the role of trust in stakeholder satisfaction are reported. Customers, stockholders, and employees of financial institutions were surveyed to identify management behaviors that lead to stakeholder satisfaction. The factors critical to satisfaction across stakeholder groups are the timeliness of communication, the honesty and completeness of the information and the empathy and equity of treatment by management.
I present the foundational structure for a life-centered theory of environmental ethics. The structure consists of three interrelated components. First is the adopting of a certain ultimate moral attitude toward nature, which I call “respect for nature.” Second is a belief system that constitutes a way of conceiving of the natural world and of our place in it. This belief system underlies and supports the attitude in a way that makes it an appropriate attitude to take toward the Earth’s natural (...) ecosystems and their life communities. Third is a system of moral rules and standards for guiding our treatment of those ecosystems and life communities, a set of normative principles which give concrete embodiment or expression to the attitude of respect for nature. The theory set forth and defended here is, I hold, structurally symmetrical with a theory of human ethics based on the principle of respect for persons. (shrink)
This essay explores the treatment of the relation between nature (phusis) and norm or convention (nomos) in Democritus and in certain Platonic dialogues. In his physical theory Democritus draws a sharp contrast between the real nature of things and their representation via human conventions, but in his political and ethical theory he maintains that moral conventions are grounded in the reality of human nature. Plato builds on that insight in the account of the nature of morality in the myth in (...) the Protagoras. That provides material for a defense of morality against the attacks by Callicles in the Gorgias and Thrasymachus and Glaucon in the Republic, all of whom seek to use the nature-convention contrast to devalue morality. (shrink)
Gene Spitler has raised certain objections to my views on the biocentric outlook: (1) that a factual error is involved in the assertion that organisms pursue their own good, (2) that there is an inconsistency in the biocentric outlook, (3) that it is impossible for anyone to adopt that outlook, and (4) that the outlook entails unacceptable moral judgments, for example, that killing insects and wildfiowers is as morally reprehensible as killing humans. I reply to each of these points, showing (...) that the biocentric outlook on nature is not only a possible, but also a reasonable world view. (shrink)
The essays in this volume explore current work in central areas of philosophy, work unified by attention to salient questions of human action and human agency. They ask what it is for humans to act knowledgeably, to use language, to be friends, to act heroically, to be mortally fortunate, and to produce as well as to appreciate art. The volume is dedicated to J. O. Urmson, in recognition of his inspirational contributions to these areas. All the essays but one have (...) been specially written for this volume. (shrink)
Philosophy written in Arabic and in the Islamic world represents one of the great traditions of Western philosophy. Inspired by Greek philosophical works and the indigenous ideas of Islamic theology, Arabic philosophers from the ninth century onwards put forward ideas of great philosophical and historical importance. This collection of essays, by some of the leading scholars in Arabic philosophy, provides an introduction to the field by way of chapters devoted to individual thinkers (such as al-Farabi, Avicenna and Averroes) or groups, (...) especially during the 'classical' period from the ninth to the twelfth centuries. It also includes chapters on areas of philosophical inquiry across the tradition, such as ethics and metaphysics. Finally, it includes chapters on later Islamic thought, and on the connections between Arabic philosophy and Greek, Jewish, and Latin philosophy. The volume also includes a useful bibliography and a chronology of the most important Arabic thinkers. (shrink)
Cantor’s proof that the powerset of the set of all natural numbers is uncountable yields a version of Richard’s paradox when restricted to the full definable universe, that is, to the universe containing all objects that can be defined not just in one formal language but by means of the full expressive power of natural language: this universe seems to be countable on one account and uncountable on another. We argue that the claim that definitional contexts impose restrictions on (...) the scope of quantifiers reveals a natural way out. (shrink)
The concepts of (i) being, (ii) change, (iii) causation, (iv) action, and (v) purpose are concepts of decreasing generality, in this sense: (a) each can be understood only in terms of its predecessor on the list, and (b) while the first applies to everything, the others, in order, have an increasingly narrow scope. Much Western philosophy has amounted to an attempt to reduce one or more of these to those that precede them, and thus eliminate them as concepts necessary for (...) philosophical understanding, but all such attempts seem to have failed. Hume did not reduce (iii) to (ii), the numberless attempts to reduce (iv) to (iii) seem clearly to have failed, and, what very few seem as yet to have realized, the attempts to reduce (v) to (iv) are unpromising. Not only is agency necessary for understanding human behavior, it seems also necessary to understanding thought, and the same appears true of the concept of purpose. (shrink)
Louis G. Lombardi’s arguments in support of the claim that humans have greater inherent worth than other living things provide a clear account of how it is possible to conceive of the relation between humans and nonhumans in this way. Upon examining his arguments, however, it seems that he does not succeed in establishing any reason to believe that humans actually do have greater inherent worth than animals and plants.
Recently much interest has been shown in the notion of intelligible species in the thought of Thomas Aquinas. Intelligible species supposedly explain humanknowing of the world and universals. However, in some cases, the historical context and the philosophical sources employed by Aquinas have been sorely neglected. As a result, new interpretations have been set forth which needlessly obscure an already controversial and perhaps even philosophically tenuous doctrine. Using a recent article by Houston Smit as an example of a novel and (...) anachronistic modern interpretation of Aquinas’s abstractionism, this paper shows that Aquinas follows the intentional transference of Averroes who proposes a genuine doctrine of abstraction of intelligibles from experienced sensible particulars. The paper also shows that Aquinas uses the doctrine of primary and secondary causality from the Liber de causis when he asserts that human abstractive powers function only insofar as they are a participation in Divine illumination. (shrink)
Al-Fârâbî’s thought on intellect was known to the Latin West through the translation of his Letter on the Intellect, through the Long Commentary on the De Anima by Averroes and through some other works. Al-Fârâbî identified the active power of intellect in Aristotle’s De Anima 3.5 as the unique and separately existing Agent Intellect, but the role of the Agent Intellect in forming intelligibles in act in the human soul is by no means unequivocally clear. Further, the apprehension of intelligibles (...) by human beings and the intellectual development of the soul, oftentimes described as an activity of abstracting (intaza`a), seems to be a genuineabstraction from experience, yet it somehow involves the emanative power of the Agent Intellect. This paper works to provide a coherent explanation of the natureof abstraction and the role of Agent Intellect in that activity. (shrink)
A little over a year ago Oxford Studies vol. XIII was reviewed in this journal, and the general character of the series does not need to be reiterated. This year's volume is just a bit longer (up from 296 pages) and a bit more expensive (up from $65.00). But there are only ten contributions, rather than twelve, permitting the editor to include three unusually long articles with no loss in the variety or range of periods covered. Alas, there is still (...) nothing on the Presocratics; one can only hope that this is not an indication that the field has gone moribund. (shrink)
Background: This article describes the types of community-wide benefits provided by investigators conducting public health research in South Asia as well as their self-reported reasons for providing such benefits. Methods: We conducted 52 in-depth interviews to explore how public health investigators in low-resource settings make decisions about the delivery of ancillary care to research subjects. In 39 of the interviews respondents described providing benefits to members of the community in which they conducted their study. We returned to our narrative dataset (...) to find answers to two questions: What types of community-wide benefits do researchers provide when conducting public health intervention studies in the community setting, and what reasons do researchers give when asked why they provided community-wide benefits? Findings: The types of community-wide benefits delivered were directed to the health and well-being of the population. The most common types of benefits delivered were the facilitation of access to health care for individuals in acute medical need and emergency response to natural disasters. Respondents' self-reported reasons when asked why they provided such benefits fell into 2 general categories: intrinsic importance and instrumental importance. (shrink)