Drawing on Aristotle’s notion of “ultimate responsibility,” Robert Kane argues that to be exercising a free will an agent must have taken some character forming decisions for which there were no sufficient conditions or decisive reasons.1 That is, an agent whose will is free not only had the ability to develop other dispositions, but could have exercised that ability without being irrational. To say it again, a person has a free will just in case her character is the product (...) of decisions that she could have rationally avoided making. That one’s character is the product of such decisions entails ultimate responsibility for its manifestations, engendering a free will. (shrink)
The Principle of Robust Alternatives (PRA) states that an agent is responsible for doing something only if he/she could have performed a robust alternative: another action having a different moral or practical value. Defenders of PRA maintain that it is not refuted by a Frankfurt case, given that its agent can be seen as having had such an alternative provided that we properly qualify that for which she is responsible . I argue here against two versions of this defense. First, (...) I show that those who maintain that a Frankfurt agent is responsible for voluntarily performing his/her action must attach moral significance to his/her luck. I proceed to discuss Carl Ginet's strategy of temporally qualifying ascriptions of responsibility, arguing that his counterexample to the principle that If an agent is responsible for doing A @ t, then he/she is responsible for doing A simpliciter is disanalogous to a Frankfurt case. (shrink)
Positions taken in the current debate over free will can be seen as responses to the following conditional: If every action is caused solely by another event and a cause necessitates its effect, then there is no action to which there is an alternative. The Libertarian, who believes that alternatives are a requirement of free will, responds by denying the right conjunct of C’s antecedent, maintaining that some actions are caused, either mediately or immediately, by events whose effects could be (...) different, even if they were to recur under identical circumstances. We have here a denial of Laplacian Determinism (LD), according to which the condition of the world at any instant makes only one state possible at any other instant.<sup>1</sup> One prominent defender of this view, Robert Kane, holds that unless an agent’s neural mechanisms operated indeterministicly in forming her character she is not responsible for its manifestations.<sup>2</sup> This requirement is entailed by the principle of “ultimate responsibility” (UR) according to which an act is freely willed only if (a) its agent is personally responsible for its performance in the sense of having caused it to occur by voluntarily doing something that was avoidable and (b). (shrink)
It's often been said that Chomsky is to linguistics what Einstein is to physics. His 1957 treatise, Syntactic Structures, initiated the so-called Chomskyan Revolution; in that book, Chomsky proposed a new linguistic theory which defined language as an innate human faculty hard-wired into our brains. Consequently, in Chomsky's view, there is a kind of "universal grammar" underlying all languages. Imagine that an alien came to Earth and observed the way we humans communicate with each other. According to Chomsky, this alien (...) would perceive all languages on Earth as pretty much the same, with only superficial variations distinguishing, for example, English from Chinese. (shrink)
A material object is constituted by a sum of parts all of which are essential to the sum but some of which seem inessential to the object itself. Such object/sum of parts pairs include my body/its torso and appendages and my desk/its top, drawers, and legs. In these instances, we are dealing with objects and their components. But, fundamentally, we may also speak, as Locke does, of an object and its constitutive matter—a “mass of particles”—or even of that aggregate and (...) the sum of subatomic particles ‘making it up’. The “problem of material constitution” (henceforth, PMC) is generated by assuming inter alia that the members of any such pair are numerically identical, that is, that the constituted and the constituting are one and the same thing. (shrink)
Noel Hendrickson believes that free will is separable from the “evaluative intuitions” with which it has been traditionally associated. But what are these intuitions? Answer: principles such as PAP, Β, and UR (6). The thesis that free will is separable from these principles, however, is hardly unique, as they are also eschewed by compatibilists who are unwilling to abdicate altogether evaluative intuitions. We are told in addition that there are “metaphysical senses” of free will that are not “relevant to responsibility” (...) (4). Yet Hendrickson’s rejection of the above principles depends upon them being less certain than his “intuitions of responsibility” (6). Moreover, he later speculates about the relationship between free will’s “metaphysical (and) responsibility securing roles” (8-10). Our evaluative intuitions are finally said to “concern when a person should be evaluated as responsible (and so blameworthy and praiseworthy)” (3). If these intuitions are not “evidence of the set of the conditions for responsibility,” as Hendrickson supposes, then those conditions entail neither blameworthiness (BW) nor praiseworthiness (PW). Thus, I shall take Hendrickson’s 1 thesis (A) to be that responsibility entailing either BW or PW (BW/PW) can be separated from free will (but not responsibility per se). Symbolically. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine Emest Sosa’s defense of Conceptual Relativism: the view that what exists is a function of human thought. My examination reveals that his defense entails an ontology that is indistinguishable from that of the altemative he labels less “sensible,” viz., Absolutism: the view that reality exists independently of our thinking. I conclude by defending Absolutism against Sosa’s objections.
Numerous grounds have been offered for the view that healthcare workers have a duty to treat, including expressed consent, implied consent, special training, reciprocity (also called the social contract view), and professional oaths and codes. Quite often, however, these grounds are simply asserted without being adequately defended or without the defenses being critically evaluated. This essay aims to help remedy that problem by providing a critical examination of the strengths and weaknesses of each of these five grounds for asserting that (...) healthcare workers have a duty to treat, especially as that duty would arise in the context of an infectious disease pandemic. Ultimately, it argues that none of the defenses is currently sufficient to ground the kind of duty that would be needed in a pandemic. It concludes by sketching some practical recommendations in that regard. (shrink)
Two cars are moving towards an intersection, one traveling east the other going north. The driver of the eastbound car runs the red light; his car and the northbound one collide at precisely noon. Call the ensuing accident High Noon. Had the driver of one of the cars braked a second earlier, their collision would have occurred later than it did (if it occurred at all). Would that slightly postdated collision, however, have been the start of High Noon?
The following is a now popular argument for free will skepticism:1. If free will exists, then people make themselves.2. People do not make themselves.3. Thus, free will does not exist.It would make no sense to hold someone responsible, either for what he’s like or what he’s done, unless he has made himself. But no one makes himself. A person’s character is imposed upon him by Nature and others. To rebut, I intend to lean on common usage, according to which 2 (...) is false: the vernacular provides a clear sense in which we do make ourselves. It is the sense in which we speak of a cake being made from ingredients or a statue out of clay.Self-formation sufficient for a free will occurs along these lines. I shall discuss a Compatibilist and a Libertarian version of this project. (shrink)
An historical approach to free agency states that an agent acts freely iff she would reflectively accept the process by which her motive was formed. Its adherents eschew the notion that the content of an agent's motive determines whether or not she acts freely, believing instead that any belief, desire, cause, etc., no matter how self-destructive or bizarre it seems, may be an impetus to free action just as long as its genesis would be positively appraised upon reflection. Such a (...) view of free agency may, thus, be termed “content neutral.”1.. (shrink)
In this paper, we approach the idea of group cognition from the perspective of the “extended mind” thesis, as a special case of the more general claim that systems larger than the individual human, but containing that human, are capable of cognition (Clark, 2008; Clark & Chalmers, 1998). Instead of deliberating about “the mark of the cognitive” (Adams & Aizawa, 2008), our discussion of group cognition is tied to particular cognitive capacities. We review recent studies of group problem-solving and group (...) memory which reveal that specific cognitive capacities that are commonly ascribed to individuals are also aptly ascribed at the level of groups. These case studies show how dense interactions among people within a group lead to both similarity-inducing and differentiating dynamics that affect the group's ability to solve problems. This supports our claim that groups have organization-dependent cognitive capacities that go beyond the simple aggregation of the cognitive capacities of individuals. Group cognition is thus an emergent phenomenon in the sense of Wimsatt (1986). We further argue that anybody who rejects our strategy for showing that cognitive properties can be instantiated at multiple levels in the organizational hierarchy on a priori grounds is a “demergentist,” and thus incurs the burden of proof for explaining why cognitive properties are “stuck” at a certain level of organizational structure. Finally, we show that our analysis of group cognition escapes the “coupling-constitution” charge that has been leveled against the extended mind thesis (Adams & Aizawa, 2008). (shrink)
FrancisAllen, The Borderland of Criminal Justice: Essays in Law and Criminology Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1964 FrancisAllen, The Crimes of Politics: Political Dimensions of Criminal Justice Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974 FrancisAllen, Law, Intellect, and Education Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1979 FrancisAllen, The Decline of the Rehabilitative Ideal: Penal Policy and Social Purpose New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.
Why did the Lord Justices make strong representation against Berkeley? According to Joseph Stock, Berkeley's first biographer "Lord Galway [a Lord Justice in 1716] having heard of those sermons, published in 1712 as Passive Obedience represented Berkeley as a Jacobite, and hence unworthy of the living of St. Paul's. From the beginning, Passive Obedience was rumored to be politically heterodox...
In this paper I argue that Robert Kane’s defense of event-causal libertarianism, as presented in Responsibility, Luck, and Chance: Reflections on Free Will and Indeterminism, fails because his event-causal reconstruction is incoherent. I focus on the notions of efforts and self-forming actions essential to his defense.
Shriver and Allen (this volume, this journal; hereafter S&A) make three unconnected criticisms of my views concerning phenomenal consciousness and the question of animal consciousness. First, they claim that my dispositional higher-order thought theory of consciousness has much greater significance for ethics than I recognize. Second, they claim that, in the course of attempting to motivate that theory, I have presented inadequate criticisms of first-order theories (according to which phenomenal consciousness may well be rampant in the animal world). And (...) third, they claim that my argument that the question of animal consciousness might not matter a great deal for comparative psychology may prove too much, showing that such consciousness is genuinely epiphenomenal in ourselves, and undermining some of my own evolutionary arguments in support of higher-order theories. I shall focus mostly on the second and third criticisms. But I begin with a few remarks about the first. (shrink)
For the last several decades, philosophers have wrestled with the proper place of religion in liberal societies. Usually, the debates among these philosophers have started with the articulation of various conceptions of liberalism and then proceeded to locate religion in the context of these conceptions. In the process, however, too little attention has been paid to the way religion is conceived. Drawing on the work of Robert Audi and Nicholas Wolterstorff, two scholars who are often read as holding opposing (...) views on these issues, I argue that, for the purposes of their argument about liberalism, both have implicitly accepted a concept of religion that has come under severe attack in recent work on the subject. Namely, they have accepted a concept of religion that identifies religion primarily with belief, ritual practice, and ecclesial institutions. Following recent scholarship, I suggest that religion is better conceived as a kind of culture. To conclude the essay, I gesture toward what the beginnings of a re-visioned debate about religion and liberal society might look like if one started from this revised conception of religion. (shrink)
Robert Adams’s Finite and Infinite Goods is one of the most important and innovative contributions to theistic ethics in recent memory. This article identifies two major flaws at the heart of Adams’s theory: his notion of intrinsic value and his claim that ‘excellence’ or finite goodness is constituted by resemblance to God. I first elucidate Adams’s complex, frequently misunderstood claims concerning intrinsic value and Godlikeness. I then contend that Adams’s notion of intrinsic value cannot explain what it could mean (...) for countless finite goods to be intrinsically valuable. Next, I articulate a criticism of his Godlikeness thesis altogether unlike those he has previously addressed: I show that, on Adams’s own account of Godlikeness, a diverse myriad of excellences could not possibly count as resembling God. His theory thus fails to account for a whole world of finite goods. I defend my two criticisms against objections and briefly sketch a more Aristotelian and Christian way forward. (shrink)
Spike Lee’s film 25 th Hour begins with an act of violence that it does not show: instead, the viewer hears the sounds of a dog being beaten. The dog’s menacing growl is then transformed into the growling image of Montgomery ‘Monty’ Brogan’s car speeding through New York. Monty spots the dog, and stops. It is only then that the viewer witnesses the results of the film’s ‘foundational’ act of violence: the bloody body of a dog beaten to pulp. When (...) Monty approaches the dog, it turns out the animal ‘still has some bite left in him’. Perhaps because the dog is a fighter, Monty decides to save him. Although the dog resists, he ultimately manages to get the dog in the trunk of his car. But Monty does not emerge from the rescue operation unscathed: blood is trickling from a cut in his neck. This scene can be read as a pre-figuration of a stomach-turning scene towards the end of the film, in which Monty’s friend Francis ‘Frank’ Slaughtery will beat up Monty’s face beyond recognition so that Monty will not be raped on his first night in jail. Monty’s face recalls the dog at the beginning of the film. It is through the bloody mess of their bodies that Monty and the dog begin to communicate, to enter into communion. This essay explores how this communion, this communication between Monty and the dog, comes about. I am interested, specifically, in what the significance of such an exploration might be for contemporary conceptions of community. The essay initially approaches this topic against the background of Emmanuel Levinas’ work on ethics, in which the notion of the face has played a crucial role. But its aim is really to situate the film, through the references to the work of Francis Bacon that it includes, in a more contemporary, post-Levinasian debate on an ethics of defacement. I am particularly interested in exploring the significance of such an ethics in the post-September 11 era, which is explicitly evoked at the beginning of Lee’s film. My argument is that Monty and the dog begin to communicate, to enter into a communion, and thus to form a community, through a process of defacement that simultaneously strips them from their ways of life and propels them into a shared ethical and political becoming. (shrink)
Hegel’s aesthetic ideal is the perfect integration of form and content within a work of art. This ideal is incompatible with the predominant 20th-century principle of formalist criticism, that form is the sole important factor in a work of art. Although the formalist dichotomy between form and content has been criticized on philosophical grounds, that does not suffice to justify Hegel’s ideal. Justifying Hegel’s ideal requires detailed art criticism that shows how form and content are, and why they should be, (...) integrated in good works of art. This essay provides some of this criticism. By focusing on the work of the contemporary artist, Robert Turner, this criticism further suggests that Hegel’s aesthetic ideal is still relevant. Moreover, the nature of Turner’s work suggests that art is still relevant in our day in ways Hegel did not expect. (shrink)
Over the past three decades, I have been developing a distinctive view of free will motivated by a desire to reconcile a non-determinist (incompatibilistor libertarian) view of free will with modern science as well as with recent developments in philosophy. A view of free will of the kind I defend (called a “causalindeterminist” or “event-causal” view in the current literature) did not exist in a developed form before the 1980s, but is now discussed in the philosophical literature as one of (...) three chief options an incompatibilist or libertarian view of free will might take. As such, this view has been the subject of much recent discussion. In this paper, I explain and defend my view of free will, and answer recent criticisms of it. Some of these criticisms are made by RobertAllen in his paper “Self-forming Actions,” a contribution to the seminar of which the present paper is a part. I also respond to Katherin Rogers’ contribution to this seminar “Libertarianism in Kane and Anselm.” Her book, Anselm on Freedom (forthcoming from Oxford), argues that Anselm defended a unique libertarian view of free will, avoiding both Pelagianism and Augustine’s later compatibilism, a view that she argues has affinities to my view of free will. I also discuss these affinities to Anselm in my paper and their theological and well as philosophical implications. (shrink)
[Allen W. Wood] Kant's moral philosophy is grounded on the dignity of humanity as its sole fundamental value, and involves the claim that human beings are to be regarded as the ultimate end of nature. It might be thought that a theory of this kind would be incapable of grounding any conception of our relation to other living things or to the natural world which would value nonhuman creatures or respect humanity's natural environment. This paper criticizes Kant's argumentative strategy (...) for dealing with our duties in regard to animals, but defends both his theory and most of his conclusions on these topics. /// [Onora O'Neill] Kant's ethics, like others, has unavoidable anthropocentric starting points: only humans, or other 'rational natures', can hold obligations. Seemingly this should not make speciesist conclusions unavoidable: might not rational natures have obligations to the non-rational? However, Kant's argument for the unconditional value of rational natures cannot readily be extended to show that all non-human animals have unconditional value, or rights. Nevertheless Kant's speciesism is not thoroughgoing. He does not view non-rational animals as mere items for use. He allows for indirect duties 'with regard to' them which afford welfare but not rights, and can allow for indirect duties 'with regard to' abstract and dispersed aspects of nature, such as biodiversity, species and habitats. (shrink)
In this book review, I assess the merits of the book as a whole (it's good!) while focusing in particular on chapters by Claudia Card, Patrick Frierson, Robert Louden, Pablo Muchnik, Jeanine Grenberg, and Allen Wood.
Kane's ambitious and bold book presents a sustained argument for an ethical theory that gives an account of right action and the good life. The general structure of the main argument is presented and specific points are critically discussed.
This Article is a short response to Anders Tolland's "Iterated Non-Refutation: Robert Lockie on Relativism", International Journal of Philosophical Studies Vol. 14, no. 2, 245-254, 2006. Tolland's article was itself a response to Lockie, R (2003) "Relativism and Reflexivity", International Journal of Philosophical Studies Vol. 11, no. 3, 319-339.
This volume, honoring the renowned historian of science, Allen G Debus, explores ideas of science - `experiences of nature' - from within a historiographical tradition that Debus has done much to define. As his work shows, the sciences do not develop exclusively as a result of a progressive and inexorable logic of discovery. A wide variety of extra-scientific factors, deriving from changing intellectual contexts and differing social millieus, play crucial roles in the overall development of scientific thought. These essays (...) represent case studies in a broad range of scientific settings - from sixteenth-century astronomy and medicine, through nineteenth-century biology and mathematics, to the social sciences in the twentieth-century - that show the impact of both social settings and the cross-fertilization of ideas on the formation of science. Aimed at a general audience interested in the history of science, this book closes with Debus's personal perspective on the development of the field. Audience: This book will appeal especially to historians of science, of chemistry, and of medicine. (shrink)
Thomas Henry Huxley recalled that after he had read Darwin’s Origin of Species, he had exclaimed to himself: “How extremely stupid not to have thought of that!” (Huxley,1900, 1: 183). It is a famous but puzzling remark. In his contribution to Francis Darwin’s Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Huxley rehearsed the history of his engagement with the idea of transmutation of species. He mentioned the views of Robert Grant, an advocate of Lamarck, and Robert Chambers, who (...) anonymously published Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844), which advanced a crude idea of transmutation. He also recounted his rejection of Agassiz’s belief that species were progressively replaced by the divine hand. He neglected altogether his friend Herbert Spencer’s early Lamarckian ideas about species development, which were also part of the long history of his encounters with the theory of descent. None of these sources moved him to adopt any version of the transmutation hypothesis. (shrink)
Nietzsche's New Seas makes available for the first time in English a representative sample of the best recent Nietzsche scholarship from Germany, France, and the United States. Michael Allen Gillespie and Tracy B. Strong have brought together scholars from a variety of disciplines--philosophy, history, literary criticism, and musicology--and from schools of thought that differ both methodologically and ideologically. The contributors--Karsten Harries, Robert Pippin, Eugen Fink, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Kurt Paul Janz, Sarah Kofman, Jean-Michel Rey, and the editors themselves--take a (...) new approach to Nietzsche, one that begins with the claim that his enigmatic utterances can best be understood by examining the style or structure of his thought. (shrink)
Critics’ praise of Woody Allen as an artist is increasing. No other comedian includes within his humour so many references to God. Philosophers interested in contemporary culture should take Allen’s comedy seriously. Accepting Albert Camus’s vision of reality, Allen has been artistically handling the absurdity of reality by use of humour. Through comedies, Allen’s films deal with important questions. His finest film may contain an argument for God.
This authoritative edition was originally published in the acclaimed Oxford Authors series under the general editorship of Frank Kermode. It brings together an extensive collection of Bacon's writing - the major prose in full, together with sixteen other pieces not otherwise available - to give the essence of his work and thinking. -/- Although he had a distinguished career as a lawyer and statesman, Francis Bacon's lifelong goal was to improve and extend human knowledge. In The Advancement of Learning (...) (1605) he made a brilliant critique of the deficiencies of previous systems of thought and proposed improvements to knowledge in every area of human life. He conceived the Essays (1597, much enlarged in 1625) as a study of the formative influences on human behaviour, psychological and social. In The New Atlantis (1626) he outlined his plan for a scientific research institute in the form of a Utopian fable. In addition to these major English works this edition includes 'Of Tribute', an important early work here printed complete for the first time, and a revealing selection of his legal and political writings, together with his poetry. -/- A special feature of the edition is its extensive annotation which identifies Bacon's sources and allusions, and glosses his vocabulary. (shrink)
When the New Organon appeared in 1620, part of a six-part programme of scientific inquiry entitled 'The Great Renewal of Learning', Francis Bacon was at the high point of his political career, and his ambitious work was groundbreaking in its attempt to give formal philosophical shape to a new and rapidly emerging experimentally-based science. Bacon combines theoretical scientific epistemology with examples from applied science, examining phenomena as various as magnetism, gravity, and the ebb and flow of the tides, and (...) anticipating later experimental work by Robert Boyle and others. His work challenges the entire edifice of the philosophy and learning of his time, and has left its mark on all subsequent philosophical discussions of scientific method. This volume presents a new translation of the text into modern English by Michael Silverthorne, and an introduction by Lisa Jardine that sets the work in the context of Bacon's scientific and philosophical activities. (shrink)
This volume belongs to the first new critical edition of the works of Francis Bacon (1561-1626) to have been produced since the nineteenth century. The edition presents the works in broadly chronological order and according to the best principles of modern textual scholarship. The seven works in the present volume belong to the final completed stages (Parts III-V) of Bacon's hugely ambitious six-part sequence of philosophical works, collectively entitled Instauratio magna (1620-6). All are presented in the original Latin with (...) new facing-page translations. Three of the seven texts (substantial works in two cases, and all sharing a startlingly improbable textual history) are published and translated here for the first time: these are an early version of the Historia densi, the 'lost' Abecedarium, and the Historia de animato & inanimato. Another - the Prodromi sive anticipationes philosophiae secundae - has likewise never been translated before. Together with their commentaries and the introduction they open the way to important new understandings of Bacon's mature philosophical thought. (shrink)
This is the first critical edition since the nineteenth century of Bacon's principal philosophical work in English, The Twoo Bookes of Francis Bacon. Of the proficience and advancement of Learning, divine and humane - traditionally known as The Advancement of Learning.
This volume inaugurates a new critical edition of the writings of the great English philosopher and sage Francis Bacon (1561-1626) - the first such complete edition for more than a hundred years. It contains six of Bacon's Latin scientific works, each accompanied by entirely new facing-page translations which, together with the extensive introduction and commentaries, offer fresh insights into one of the great minds of the early seventeenth century.
Plato and the trial of Socrates -- What is philosophy? -- Euthyphro : defining philosophical terms -- The apology, Phaedo, and Crito : the trial, immortality, and death of Socrates -- Philosophy of religion -- Can we prove that God exists? -- St. Anselm : the ontological argument -- St. Thomas Aquinas : the cosmological argument -- William Paley : the teleological argument -- Blaisepascal : it is better to believe in God's existence than to deny it -- William James (...) : free choice is the basis of belief -- Does the idea of a good God exclude evil? -- Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz : God can allow some evil -- David Hume : a good God would exclude evil -- Ethics -- Are ethics relative? -- Ruth Benedict : ethics are relative -- W.T. Stace : ethics are not relative -- Are humans always selfish? -- Humans are always selfish : Glaucon's challenge to Socrates -- James Rachels : humans are not always selfish -- Which is basic in ethics : happiness or obligation? -- Aristotle : happiness is living virtuously -- Jeremy Bentham : happiness is seeking the greatest pleasure for the greatest number of people -- Immanuel Kant : duty is prior to happiness -- Friedrich Nietzsche : happiness is having power -- Jean-Paul Sartre : existentialist ethics -- Rosemarie Tong : feminist ethics are different -- Contemporary moral problems : abortion, homosexuality, animal rights -- Jane English : are most abortions moral? -- Peter Singer : do animals have rights? -- Knowledge -- What is knowledge? -- Plato : knowledge is warranted, true belief -- What method is best for acquiring knowledge? -- Charles Sanders Peirce : four approaches to philosophy -- How do we acquire knowledge? -- René Descartes : knowledge is not ultimately sense knowledge -- John Locke : knowledge is ultimately sensed -- Immanuel Kant : knowledge is both rational and empirical -- How is truth established? -- Bertrand Russell : truth is established by correspondence -- Francis H. Bradley : truth is established by coherence -- William James : truth is established on pragmatic grounds -- Can we know the nature of causal relations? -- David Hume : cause means regular association -- David Hume : there are no possible grounds for induction -- Metaphysics -- Why is there something rather than nothing? -- Parmenides : being is uncaused -- Lao-Tzu : non-being is the source of being -- Is reality general or particular? -- Plato : universals are real -- David Hume : particulars are real -- Of what does reality consist? -- René Descartes : reality consists of mind and matter -- Paul Churchland : reality consists of matter -- George Berkeley : reality consists of ideas -- John Dewey : reality consists of mental and physical qualities -- Are humans free? -- Holbach : humans are determined -- Robert Kane : humans are free -- Social and political philosophy -- What is liberty? -- Fyodor Dostoevski : liberty and authority -- John Stuart Mill : liberty is independence from the majority's tyranny -- Martin Luther King, Jr. : liberty and racial prejudice -- Which government is best? -- Thomas Hobbes : monarchy is best -- John Locke : democracy is best -- Karl Marx : communism and nonalienated labor is best -- Alexis de Tocqueville : democracy can have serious problems -- Karl Popper : utopias lead to violence -- Aesthetics -- What constitutes the experience of beauty? -- Plotinus : beauty, sensuous, and ideal -- What is the function of art? -- Aristotle : the nature of tragedy -- Henri Bergson : the nature of comedy -- Philosophy and the good life -- Classic views of the good life -- Epicurus : Epicurus and the pleasant life -- Epictetus : Epictetus and the life of self-control -- What gives life meaning? -- Leo Tolstoy : faith provides life's meaning -- Albert Camus : each person determines his or her life's meaning -- What is the value of philosophy? -- Bertrand Russell : the value of philosophy. (shrink)
Robert Owen was one of the most extraordinary Englishmen who ever lived and a great man. In a way his history is the history of the establishment of modern industrial Britain, reflected in the mind and activities of a very intelligent, capable and responsible industrialist, alive to the best social thought of his time. The organisation of industrial labour, factory legislation, education, trade unionism, co-operation, rationalism: he was passionately and ably engaged in all of them. His community at New (...) Lanark was the nearest thing to an industrial heaven in the Britain of dark satanic mills; he tried to found a rational co-operative community in the USA. In everything he contemplated, he saw education as a key. This selection of his writings on education illustrates his rationalist concept of the formation of character and its implications for education and society; also his growing utopian concern with social reorganisation; and third, his impact on social movements. Silver's introduction shows Owen's relationship to particular educational traditions and activities and his long-term influence on attitudes to education. (shrink)
Louis Pojman and Robert Westmorland have compiled the best material on the subject of equality, ranging from classical works by Aristotle, Hobbes and Rousseau to contemporary works by John Rawls, Thomas Nagel, Michael Walzer, Harry Frankfurt, Bernard Williams and Robert Nozick; and including such topics as: the concept of equality; equal opportunity; Welfare egalitarianism; resources; equal human rights and complex equality. -/- CONTENTS: Introduction: The Nature and Value of Equality I. Classical Readings: 1. Aristotle: Justice and Equality 2. (...) Thomas Hobbes: Equality in the State of Nature 3. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: On the Origins of Inequality 4. David Hume: On Justice and Equality 5. Francis-Noel Babeuf and Sylvain Marechal: The Manifesto of Equality II. On the concept of Equality Itself 6. Felix E. Oppenheim: Egalitarianism as a Descriptive Concept 7. Dennis McKerlie: Equality and Time 8. Larry Temkin: Inequality III. General Considerations 9. Immanuel Kant: Groundwork for a Metaphysic of Morals 10. Robert Nozick: Justice Does Not Imply Equality 11. J.R. Lucas: Against Equality 12. Stanley I. Benn: Egalitarianism and the Equal Consideration of Interests 13. Gregory Vlastos: Justice and Equality IV. Equal Opportunity 14. John Schaar: Equality of Opportunity and Beyond 15. James Fishkin: Liberty versus Equal Opportunity 16. Peter Westen: the concept of Equal Opportunity 17. Robert Nozick: Life is not a Race 18. William Galston: A Liberal Defense of Equal Opportunity V. The Contemporary Debate on the Nature and Value of Equality 19. John Rawls: Equality and Desert 20. Wallace Matson: Justice: A Funeral Oration 21. Kai Nielson: Radical Welfare Egalitarianism 22. R.M. Hare: A Utilitarian Defense of Equality 23. Richard Arneson: Equality and Equal Opportunity for Welfare 24. Eric Rakowski: A Critique of Welfare Egalitarianism 25. Thomas Nagel: Equality and Partiality 26. Harry Frankfurt: Equality as a Moral Ideal 27. Eric Rakowski: A Defense of Resource Equality 28. Louis Pojman: On Equal Human Worth: A Critique of Contemporary Egalitarianism 29. Michael Walzer: Complex Equality Appendix 30. Kurt Vonnegut: Harrison Bergeron Bibliography. (shrink)
This book collects essays considering the full range of Robert Sokolowski's philosophical works: his vew of philosophy; his phenomenology of language and his account of the relation between language and being; his phenomenology of moral action; and his phenomenological theology of disclosure.
The major aim of this article consists in ascertaining the reasons which drove Bacon to compose what he called Instauratio Magna: a great institution of the future science in terms of an broad restoration of the past of science. It brings an exposition of his project (of what he meant to do) in contradistinction to what he effectively accomplished. Cconsidering that Kant dedicated to Bacon his Critique of Pure Reason, it is also an imperative concern of this article to search (...) for the reasons of this dedication. (shrink)
Whilst some philosophical progress has been made on the ethical evaluation of playing video games, the exact subject matter of this enquiry remains surprisingly opaque. ‘Virtual murder’, simulation, representation and more are found in a literature yet to settle into a tested and cohesive terminology. Querying the language of the virtual in particular, I suggest that it is at once inexplicit and laden with presuppositions potentially liable to hinder anyone aiming to construct general philosophical claims about an ethics of gameplay, (...) for whom assumptions about the existence of ‘virtual’ counterparts to morally salient phenomena may prove untrustworthy. Ambiguously straddling the pictorial and the performative aspects of video gaming, the virtual leaves obscure the ways in which we become involved in gameplay, and particularly the natures of our intentions and attitudes whilst grappling with a game; furthermore, it remains unclear how we are to generalise across encounters with the virtual. I conclude by briefly noting one potential avenue of further enquiry into our modes of participation in games: into the differences which a moral examination of playfulness might make to ethical evaluation. (shrink)
In Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press, 2007) Francis Beckwith argues that fetuses are such that, from conception, they are prima facie wrong to kill. He thinks abortion is almost never permissible beyond rare cases where, unless the fetus is killed, both the pregnant woman and the fetus will die. He defends his view not from religiously-justified premises but by appealing to “a particular metaphysics of the human person” that he calls “The (...) Substance View.” I will argue that such metaphysics is irrelevant to the morality of abortion. Beckwith’s metaphysics thereby neither supports, nor detracts from, his abortion ethic. Moral, not metaphysical, assumptions drive the argument, and Beckwith inadequately defends these assumptions. Indeed, they are often false, and his main argument is unsound. (130 words). (shrink)
Three puzzles about self-deception make this mental phenomenon an intriguing explanatory target. The first relates to how to define it without paradox; the second is about how to make sense of self-deception in light of the interpretive view of the mental that has become widespread in philosophy; and the third concerns why it exists at all. In this paper I address the first and third puzzles. First, I define self-deception. Second, I criticize Robert Trivers' attempt to use adaptionist evolutionary (...) psychology to solve the third puzzle (existence). Third, I sketch a theory to replace that of Trivers. Self-deception is not an adaptation, but a spandrel in the sense that Gould and Lewontin give the term: a byproduct of other features of human (cognitive) architecture. Self-deception is so undeniable a fact of human life that if anyone tried to deny its existence, the proper response would be to accuse this person of it. (Allen Wood, 1988). (shrink)
Existence in Black is the first collective statement on the subject of Africana Philosophy of Existence. Drawing upon resources in Africana philosophy and literature, the contributors explore some of the central themes of Existentialism as posed by the context of what Frantz Fanon has identified as "the lived-experience of the black." Among questions posed and explored in the volume are: What is to be done in a world of near universal sense of superiority to, if not universal hatred of, black (...) folk?; What is black suffering?; What is the meaning (if any) of black existence? The introduction argues that a response to these questions requires a journey through the resources of identity questions in critical race theory and the teleological dimensions of liberation theory. The contributors address these questions through an analysis of nearly every dimension of Africana phiosophy. In the first half of the book, they address Black Philosophies of Existence in terms of Traditional African Philosophy, the Harlem Renaissance, Du Boisian Double-Consciousness, and Fanonian and Sartrean Philosophies of Existence. In the second half of the book, contributors consider racial identity through examinations of such concepts as equality, death, mimesis, property, embodiment, technology, disappointment, and dread. Part II is an exploration of postmodern challenges to "black existence" through discussions of postmodern conservatism, Nietzsche's thoughts on blacks, Richard Wright and fragmented consciousness, and feminist critiques of race. And Part IV is an examination of problems of historical responsibility and constructing black liberation theories. Contributors are: Ernest Allen, Jr., Robert Birt, Bernard Boxill, George Carew, Bobby Dixon, G.M. James Gonzales, Lewis R. Gordon, Leonard Harris, Floyd Hayes, III, Paget Henry, Patricia Huntington, Joy Ann James, Clarence Shole Johnson, Bill E. Lawson, Howard McGary, Roy D. Morrison, William Preston, Jean-Paul Sartre, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Gary Schwartz, Robert Westley, and Naomi Zack. (shrink)
Here I review Robert Trivers' 2011 book _The Folly of Fools_, in which he advocates the evolutionary theory of deceit and self-deception that he pioneered in his famous preface to Richard Dawkins' _Selfish Gene_. Although the book contains a wealth of interesting discussion on topics ranging from warfare to immunology, I find it lacking on two major fronts. First, it fails to give a proper argument for its central thesis--namely, that self-deception evolved to facilitate deception of others. Second, the (...) book lacks conceptual clarity with respect to the focal term "self-deception.". (shrink)
Robert Audi’s The Good in the Right undertakes the magisterial work of reviving the intuitionism of W.D. Ross, rescuing Ross from the overlapping shadows of Henry Sidgwick, G. E. Moore, and, to a lesser extent, H. A. Prichard, marrying Ross to Kant, and so working to produce "a full-scale moral philosophy providing both an account of moral principles and judgments—a metaethical account—and a set of basic moral standards" that might be employed in moral reasoning. The book is magnificent in (...) ambition and impressive in detail. (shrink)
Robert Rupert is well-known as an vigorous opponent of the hypothesis of extended cognition (HEC). His Cognitive Systems and the Extended Mind is a first-rate development of his “systems-based” approach to demarcating the mind. The results are impressive. Rupert’s account brings much-needed clarity to the often-frustrating debate over HEC: much more than just an attack on HEC, he gives a compelling picture of why the debate matters.
One of the most dominant approaches to semantics for relevant (and many paraconsistent) logics is the Routley–Meyer semantics involving a ternary relation on points. To some (many?), this ternary relation has seemed like a technical trick devoid of an intuitively appealing philosophical story that connects it up with conditionality in general. In this paper, we respond to this worry by providing three different philosophical accounts of the ternary relation that correspond to three conceptions of conditionality. We close by briefly discussing (...) a general conception of conditionality that may unify the three given conceptions. (shrink)
Critical notice of Robert Audi's The Good in the Right in which doubts are raised about the epistemological and ethical doctrines it defends. It doubts that an appeal to Kant is a profitable way to defend Rossian normative intuitionism.
An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense (1728), jointly with Francis Hutcheson’s earlier work Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725), presents one of the most original and wide-ranging moral philosophies of the eighteenth century. These two works, each comprising two semi-autonomous treatises, were widely translated and vastly influential throughout the eighteenth century in England, continental Europe, and America. -/- The two works had (...) their greatest impact in Scotland and influenced many well-known Scottish philosophers, particularly those writing after the last Jacobite upheaval, in 1745. This can be seen in the concern of the post-1745 generation with analyzing human nature as the foundation of moral theory, with the “moral sense” and moral epistemology more generally, with the impartial spectator and the calm passions, and with the independence of benevolence from self-interest. In addition to the influence of his writings, Hutcheson was also a famed teacher whose Glasgow students, notably Adam Smith, held sway over generations of Scottish moral philosophers. -/- Despite their impact on Scottish letters, the four treatises were in fact written in Dublin, and the philosophers to whom Hutcheson responded and with whom he debated were in the main not Scottish but English, Irish, French, Roman, and Greek. Consequently, part of Hutcheson’s legacy was a cosmopolitan outlook among enlightened Scots, who learned to turn their eyes far from home. (shrink)
For thousands of years, people have used nature to justify their political, moral, and social judgments. Such appeals to the moral authority of nature are still very much with us today, as heated debates over genetically modified organisms and human cloning testify. The Moral Authority of Nature offers a wide-ranging account of how people have used nature to think about what counts as good, beautiful, just, or valuable. The eighteen essays cover a diverse array of topics, including the connection of (...) cosmic and human orders in ancient Greece, medieval notions of sexual disorder, early modern contexts for categorizing individuals and judging acts as "against nature," race and the origin of humans, ecological economics, and radical feminism. The essays also range widely in time and place, from archaic Greece to early twentieth-century China, medieval Europe to contemporary America. Scholars from a wide variety of fields will welcome The Moral Authority of Nature , which provides the first sustained historical survey of its topic. Contributors: Danielle Allen, Joan Cadden, Lorraine Daston, Fa-ti Fan, Eckhardt Fuchs, Valentin Groebner, Abigail J. Lustig, Gregg Mitman, Michelle Murphy, Katharine Park, Matt Price, Robert N. Proctor, Helmut Puff, Robert J. Richards, Londa Schiebinger, Laura Slatkin, Julia Adeney Thomas, Fernando Vidal. (shrink)
In Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (2007) and an earlier article in this journal, "Defending Abortion Philosophically"(2006), Francis Beckwith argues that fetuses are, from conception, prima facie wrong to kill. His arguments are based on what he calls a "metaphysics of the human person" known as "The Substance View." I argue that Beckwith’s metaphysics does not support his abortion ethic: Moral, not metaphysical, claims that are part of this Substance View are the foundation of (...) the argument, and Beckwith inadequately defends these moral claims. Thus, Beckwith’s arguments do not provide strong support for what he calls the "pro-life" view of abortion. (shrink)
Francis Bacon (15611626) wrote that good scientists are not like ants (mindlessly gathering data) or spiders (spinning empty theories). Instead, they are like bees, transforming nature into a nourishing product. This essay examines Bacon's "middle way" by elucidating the means he proposes to turn experience and insight into understanding. The human intellect relies on "machines" to extend perceptual limits, check impulsive imaginations, and reveal nature's latent causal structure, or "forms." This constructivist interpretation is not intended to supplant inductivist or (...) experimentalist interpretations, but is designed to explicate Bacon's account of science as a collaborative project with several interdependent methodological goals. (shrink)
David Hume's relatively short essay 'Of the Standard of Taste' deals with some of the most difficult issues in aesthetic theory. Apart from giving a few pregnant remarks, near the end of his discussion, on the role of morality in aesthetic evaluation, Hume tries to reconcile the idea that tastes are subjective (in the sense of not being answerable to the facts) with the idea that some objects of taste are better than others. 'Tastes', in this context, are the pleasures (...) or displeasures that a person can take in the beauties of poems, paintings, and other artistic compositions (though Hume also wants to stress the continuities between tastes, so understood, and the bodily sense of taste). The position at which Hume arrives in the essay (despite some dialectical unclarity) is that some people – the 'true judges'– determine by their 'joint verdict' which works are meritorious. This solution continues to exercise a fascination, as does Hume's complicated route to it. Author Recommends: Paul Guyer, 'The Standard of Taste and the "Most Ardent Desire of Society" ', Values of Beauty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 37–76. This paper places 'Of the Standard of Taste' in an especially rich context, and asks why Hume concentrates on true judges instead of the improvement of one's own taste. Mary Mothersill, 'Hume: "Of the Standard of Taste" ', Beauty Restored (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), 177–208. This chapter, embedded in an exposition of Mothersill's 'First Thesis' (the denial that there are principles of taste) and 'Second Thesis' (the affirmation that some judgments of taste are genuine judgments), gives a detailed running commentary on Hume's essay. A shorter self-contained version of the chapter appeared as 'Hume and the Paradox of Taste' in Aesthetics: A Critical Anthology , 2nd ed., eds. George Dickie, Richard Sclafani, and Ronald Roblin (New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1989, 269–86). Jerrold Levinson, 'Hume's Standard of Taste: The Real Problem', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (2002): 227–38. An importance recent article, Levinson's piece argues that the 'real' difficulty with Hume's essay has gone unnoticed: why should I care about what Hume's true judges think? Christopher Williams, 'Some Questions in Hume's Aesthetics', Philosophy Compass 2/2 (2007). This article provides a brief overview of the topics discussed under weeks 3–5 in the sample syllabus below. It is intended to provide a roadmap for the particular set of readings listed there. David Wiggins, 'A Sensible Subjectivism?', Needs, Values, and Truth , 3rd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 185–214. This is a stimulating paper in moral philosophy that treats Hume's essay on taste as a model for a serious subjectivism. Wiggins then presents his own brand of subjectivism as an alternative to Hume's. Online Materials: Hume's Aesthetics (Ted Gracyk): http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hume-aesthetics/ Sample Syllabus: Recommended background reading on Hume's historical context: Peter Kivy, The Seventh Sense: Francis Hutcheson and Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetics , 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), especially Part III. Recommended background reading on the general topic of taste: David A. Whewell, 'Taste', Blackwell Companion to Aesthetics (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), 415–18. Dabney Townsend and Carolyn Korsmeyer, 'Taste', Encyclopedia of Aesthetics , ed. Michael Kelly (New York, NY and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 4:355–62. Ted Cohen, 'The Philosophy of Taste: Thoughts on the Idea', Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics , ed. Peter Kivy (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), 167–73. Week 1: Hume on beauty, art, and aesthetic judgment in the Treatise of Human Nature and the Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals The following references are usable for any complete edition of the Treatise or Enquiry Treatise , 2.1.8 ('Of Beauty and Deformity') Treatise , 2.2.5 ('Of Our Esteem for the Rich and Powerful') Treatise , 2.2.8 ('Of Malice and Envy'), final three paragraphs Treatise , 2.2.11 ('Of the Amorous Passion, or Love Betwixt the Sexes') Treatise , 3.1.2 ('Moral Distinctions Deriv'd from a Moral Sense') Treatise , 3.3.1 ('Of the Origin of the Natural Virtues') Treatise , 3.3.5 ('Some Farther Reflexions Concerning the Natural Virtues') Enquiry , Appendix 1 ('Of moral sentiment') Week 2: Hume's essays Essays Moral, Political, and Literary , ed. Eugene Miller (Indianapolis, IN: LibertyClassics, 1985) is the most commonly used edition today. 'Of the Delicacy of Taste and Passion' 'Of Eloquence' 'Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences' 'Of Simplicity and Refinement in Writing' 'Of Tragedy' 'Of the Standard of Taste' Week 3: Circularity–Virtuous or Vicious? Peter Kivy, 'Hume's Standard of Taste: Breaking the Circle', British Journal of Aesthetics (1967): 57–66. David Wiggins, 'A Sensible Subjectivism?', Needs, Values, and Truth , 3rd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 185–214. Week 4: Rules of Art Mary Mothersill, 'Hume: "Of the Standard of Taste" ', Beauty Restored (Oxford: Clarendon, 1984), 177–208. James Shelley, 'Hume's Double Standard of Taste', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (1994): 437–45. Nick Zangwill, 'Hume, Taste, and Teleology', The Metaphysics of Beauty (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001), 149–65. Week 5: The True Judge Malcolm Budd, 'Hume and Kant', 'Hume's Standard of Taste', 'Hume and Human Nature', Values of Art (London: Allen Lane, 1995), 16–24 . Paul Guyer, 'The Standard of Taste and the "Most Ardent Desire of Society" ', Values of Beauty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 37–76. Jerrold Levinson, 'Hume's Standard of Taste: The Real Problem', Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (2002): 227–38. Week 6: Moralism in Aesthetic Judgment: Hume and Beyond Kendall Walton, 'Morals in Fiction and Fictional Morality', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (1994): 27–50. Richard Moran, 'The Expression of Feeling in Imagination', Philosophical Review (1994): 75–106. Tamar Szabo-Gendler, 'The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance', Journal of Philosophy (2000): 55–81. Focus Questions 1. How does Hume distinguish between matters of 'fact' and 'sentiment'? 2. What is a 'rule of art', and are there any rules? 3. Can a bad critic be 'silenced'? 4. What are the characteristics of good critics? 5. Should we expect good critics to agree on the merits of a work, and should I care about becoming a good critic myself? 6. Is it possible to distinguish variations in taste for which we should expect a standard and variations for which it is 'vain' to have such an expectation? 7. How is the excellence of a work related to the exercise of taste? 8. If a work of literature has a moral outlook that differs from our own, should we consider the work defective on literary grounds? (shrink)
Insieme a John McDowell, Robert Brandom è uno dei filosofi emergenti della reazione al naturalismo filosofico; seguace Wilfrid Sellars, è l'autore americano che più si avvicina al dialogo con la filosofia continentale e propone una rivalutazione di Kant e Hegel nella filosofia analitica. Già allievo di Richard Rorty, Brandom è diventuo famoso con la pubblicazione di Making it Explicit. Questo ponderoso volume di 900 pagine non ha avuto però ancora una sufficiente attenzione nel dibattito filosofico italiano (a parte alcuni (...) inteventi pubblicati su Iride). Forse questo dipende in parte dalla peculiarità e difficoltà del suo approccio, in parte dalla mole stessa del citato volume. Anche per questo motivo Brandom ha presentato una serie di lezioni2 ove riprende i temi del libro maggiore e ne approfondisce alcune parti. In quanto segue si presentano i temi fondamentale di Making it Explicit, arricchiti con elementi presi dal nuovo approfondimento. (shrink)
The two main challenges of the theory of conceptual content presented by Robert Brandom in Making It Explicit are to account for a referential dimension of conceptual content and to account for the objectivity of conceptual norms. Brandom tries to meet both these challenges in chapter 8 of his book. I argue that the accounts presented there can only be understood if seen against the background of Brandom's theory of communication developed in chapter 7. This theory is motivated by (...) the well-known problem that semantic holism threatens the possibility of communication because it has the consequence that words mean different things in different mouths. Brandom offers a solution to this problem in terms of what he calls recurrence commitments. I show that chapter 8 of Making It Explicit should be understood as arguing that a practice that includes acknowledging interpersonal recurrence commitments institutes both conceptual contents with a referential dimension and objective conceptual norms. I close by raising the objection that Brandom's argument can only show that conceptual norms are communally shared and not that they are objective. I propose an emendation of this argument, having recourse to a practice Brandom refers to as rational rectification in his new book Between Saying and Doing. (shrink)
This article discusses the theories of perception of Robert Kilwardby and Peter of John Olivi. Our aim is to show how in challenging certain assumptions of medieval Aristotelian theories of perception they drew on Augustine and argued for the active nature of the soul in sense perception. For both Kilwardby and Olivi, the soul is not passive with respect to perceived objects; rather, it causes its own cognitive acts with respect to external objects and thus allows the subject to (...) perceive them. We also show that Kilwardby and Olivi differ substantially regarding where the activity of the soul is directed to and the role of the sensible species in the process, and we demonstrate that there are similarities between their ideas of intentionality and the attention of the soul towards the corporeal world. (shrink)