In this major study of the foundations of modern political theory the eminent political philosopher T. R. Harrison explains, analyzes, and criticizes the work of Hobbes, Locke, and their contemporaries. He provides a full account of the turbulent historical background that shaped the political, intellectual, and religious content of this philosophy. The book explores such questions as the limits of political authority and the relation of the legitimacy of government to the will of its people in non-technical, accessible prose (...) that will appeal to students of philosophy, politics, theology and history. (shrink)
This book is a response to the literary pleasures and scholarly problems of reading the texts of Apuleius, most famous for his novel Metamorphoses or Golden Ass. Living in second-century North Africa, Apuleius was more than an author of fiction; he was a consummate orator and professional intellectual, Platonist philosopher, extraordinary stylist, relentless self-promoter, and versatile author of a remarkably diverse body of work, much of which is lost to us. This book is written for those able to read Apuleius (...) in Latin, and Apuleian works are accordingly quoted without translation (although where they exist suitable translations have been indicated). In this book Dr Harrison has provided a literary handbook to all the works of Apuleius as well as the Metamorphoses, and has set his works against their intellectual background: not only Apuleius' career as a performing intellectual, a sophist, in second-century Roman North Africa, but also the larger contemporary framework of the Greek Second Sophistic. While focusing primarily on the texts as literature and literary-historical, the book also deals with Apuleius' works of didactic philosophy and his consequent connection with Middle Platonism. (shrink)
Harrison, Helen Adelaide's first bishop, Francis Murphy, was baptised in Navan, County Meath, Ireland, on 24 May 1795. His parents were Arthur Murphy and Bridget nee Flood. Baptismal records suggest his siblings included John Joseph (baptised 1797), Arthur (1801), Catherine (1805), John Joseph Michael (1806) and Christopher (1807). It is unlikely that all of these survived for long because by the time Francis Murphy was Bishop of Adelaide, he was writing to 'my sister' (Catherine, d 1856) and 'my brother' (...) (Patrick Joseph, born c 1808, a physician and surgeon who joined Francis in Liverpool from 1835 then later married and settled in London). (shrink)
A comprehensive reference work for everyone concerned with the complicated moral issues of this world, this unique volume clearly communicates what Scripture teaches about the ethical dilemmas facing our society. Biological warfare, corporate responsibility, human rights, computer ethics, and much more are discussed by over fifty scholars who explain the moral guidelines in the Bible and historic Christian teachings. R.K. Harrison, author and editor of over thirty books on biblical studies, has brought together a valuable A to B treasury (...) of thought for every believer searching for guidance. (shrink)
Most people take it for granted that it's morally permissible to have children. They may raise questions about the number of children it's responsible to have or whether it's permissible to reproduce when there's a strong risk of serious disability. But in general, having children is considered a good thing to do, something that's morally permissible in most cases (perhaps even obligatory).
Benatar’s central argument for antinatalism develops an asymmetry between the pain and pleasure in a potential life. I am going to present an alternative route to the antinatalist conclusion. I argue that duties require victims and that as a result there is no duty to create the pleasures contained within a prospective life but a duty not to create any of its sufferings. My argument can supplement Benatar’s, but it also enjoys some advantages: it achieves a better fit with our (...) intuitions; it does not require us to acknowledge that life is a harm, or that a world devoid of life is a good thing; and it is easy to see why it does not have any pro-mortalist implications. (shrink)
This essay endorses the argument of Donald Lopez's Buddhism and Science and shows how the general thesis of the book is consonant with other historical work on the “discovery” of Buddhism and on the emergence of Western conceptions of religion. It asks whether one of the key claims of Buddhism and Science—that Buddhism pays a price for its flirtation with the modern sciences—might be applicable to science-and-religion discussions more generally.
Virtually everyone takes the moral supervenience thesis to be a basic conceptual truth about morality. As a result, if a metaethical theory has difficulties respecting or adequately explaining the supervenience relationship it is deemed to be in big trouble. However, the moral supervenience thesis is a not a conceptual truth (though it may be true) and as such it is not a problem if a metaethical theory cannot respect or explain it.
The following was meant to be a 'fun paper', which the author's honesty and natural seriousness of mind prevented from coming off well. Its main theme is that it is not wrong to eat meat provided the animals eaten are painlessly killed or – usually in the case of human animals – already dead. In the course of his remarks the author touches on: the bearing of affluence on vegetarianism; animal rights; child eating; treating animals as ends and with due (...) Kantian respect; the inadequacy of the word 'duty'; aesthetics and morals; the distinction between private behaviour – say driving on the left hand side of the road – and public duty – say advocating or legislating for driving on the right hand side of the road; our duties to vegetables, snakes, flying ants and Martians; and the desirability of irrationality in matters of duty; stealing and eating as much meat as possible as a way of bringing the meat industry to its knees; the contribution that animals should make to animal welfare, viz. allowing themselves to be eaten. He ends by emphasising the likeness of non-human animals to human animals.1. (shrink)
Did Descartes deny that animals can feel? While it has generally been assumed that he did, there has been some confusion over the fact that Descartes concedes to animals both sensations and passions'. John Cottingham, for example, has argued that while Descartes did insist that animals were automata, denying them thought and "self"-consciousness, none of these assertions entail the conclusion that animals do not feel. This paper examines both Cottingham's arguments and the relevant sections of Descartes' writings, concluding that Descartes (...) does indeed deny that animals are capable of feeling, but that for various reasons, this is not the brutal' and monstrous' view it is commonly assumed to be. (shrink)
Is it possible to talk about God without either misrepresentation or failing to assert anything of significance? The article begins by reviewing how, in attempting to answer this question, traditional theories of religious language have failed to sidestep both potential pitfalls adequately. After arguing that recently developed theories of metaphor seem better able to shed light on the nature of religious language, it considers the claim that huge areas of our language and, consequently, of our experience are shaped by metaphors. (...) Finally, it considers some of the more significant implications of this claim for our understanding of both religious language and religious experience. (shrink)
Bernard Williams is one of the most influential figures in recent ethical theory, where he has set a considerable part of the current agenda. In this collection, a distinguished international team of philosophers who have been stimulated by Williams' work give new responses to it. The topics covered include equality, consistency, comparisons between science and ethics, integrity, moral reasons, the moral system, and moral knowledge. Williams himself then provides a substantial reply, which in turn shows both the current directions of (...) his own thought and also his present view of his earlier work (such as that on utilitarianism). (shrink)
The gist of these objections to the possible world account of necessity is that, for it to be true, ‘possible’ would have to be a name for an attribute. But to say that something is possible is not to describe it, but to say that there could be such a thing. And possibilities are not classes of entities. Possible worlds have been described as ways, but a way of getting to London from Cambridge is not an entity, and that there (...) is a way is entailed by facts such as that if you travel south along the M3, you will get there. (shrink)
This paper examines a variety of intellectual responses to the religious and philosophical issues raised by religious plurality. While the specific questions raised by religious plurality differ across traditions, the more general problem that faces all religious intellectuals is how to provide a compelling theoretical account of the relationship between the various religions of the world. The paper briefly reviews religious exclusivism and inclusivism, before focusing upon theories of religious pluralism. After clarifying the distinction between religious pluralism and relativism about (...) religion, and comparing and assessing various forms of pluralism, the paper concludes that how compelling any particular theory of religious diversity proves to be will be dependent upon how convincing one finds the underlying understanding of religion. This implies that the real priority for scholars concerned with rival theories of religious plurality is to strive towards a common understanding of the nature of religion. (shrink)
Cases involving certain kinds of manipulation seem to challenge compatibilism about responsibility-grounding free will. To deal with such cases many compatibilists give what has become known as a âsoft lineâ reply. In this paper I present a challenge to the soft line reply. I argue that any relevant case involving manipulationâand to which a compatibilist might wish to give a soft line replyâcan be transformed into one supporting a degree of moral responsibility through the addition of libertarian elements (such as (...) alternative possibilities of a kind unavailable under determinism and executive control of the sort commonly associated with agent-causation). From a compatibilistâs perspective the subtraction of libertarian elements should make no difference to any assessment of the agentâs responsibility. The compatibilist should therefore judge the agent morally responsible after the removal of the libertarian elements. Yet removal of the libertarian elements returns the case to its original form and thus what started out as a soft line has now collapsed into a hard line reply. Various ways of resisting my argument are considered, but each is shown to carry important burdens. (shrink)
It has been argued that a successful counterexample to the principle of alternative possibilities must rule out any possibility of the agent making an alternative decision right up to the moment of choice. This paper challenges that assumption. Distinguishing between an ability and an opportunity, this paper presents a Frankfurt-style case in which there is an alternative possibility, but one it is highly improbable that the agent will access. In such a case the agent has only the opportunity, not the (...) ability to do otherwise. (shrink)
Cases involving clandestine manipulation pose a significant challenge to compatibilist conceptions of free will. But compatibilists often argue that they are not alone and that modest libertarian conceptions of free will are also susceptible to the problem. I take issue with this claim. I argue that agent-causal libertarian views are not susceptible to the problem. I then argue that the compatibilist cannot cite a relevant difference between agent-causal libertarian views and modest libertarian views. Therefore from a compatibilist's perspective modest libertarian (...) views are impervious to the problem of clandestine manipulation. (shrink)
Understanding more about how the brain functions should help us understand economic behaviour. But some would have us believe that it has done this already, and that insights from neuroscience have already provided insights in economics that we would not otherwise have. Much of this is just academic marketing hype, and to get down to substantive issues we need to identify that fluff for what it is. After we clear away the distractions, what is left? The answer is that a (...) lot is left, but it is still all potential. That is not a bad thing, or a reason to stop the effort, but it does point to the need for a serious reconsideration of what neuroeconomics is and what passes for explanation in this literature. I argue that neuroeconomics can be a valuable field, but not the way it is being developed and now. The same is true more generally of behavioural economics, which shares many of the methodological flaws of neuroeconomics. (shrink)
Until recently philosophy of religion has been almost exclusively focused upon the analysis of western religious ideas. The central concern of the discipline has been the concept God , as that concept has been understood within Judaeo-Christianity. However, this narrow remit threatens to render philosophy of religion irrelevant today. To avoid this philosophy of religion should become a genuinely multicultural discipline. But how, if at all, can philosophy of religion rise to this challenge? The paper considers fictionalism about religious discourse (...) as a possible methodological standpoint from which to practice a tradition-neutral form of philosophy of religion. However, after examining some of the problems incurred by fictionalism, the paper concludes that fictionalism and religious diversity are uneasy bedfellows; which implies that fictionalism is unlikely to be the best theory to shape the practice of philosophy of religion in a multicultural context. (shrink)
In this paper the author considers a number of objections to the views he expressed in "kant's examples of the first formulation of the categorical imperative" ("the philosophical quarterly", Volume 7, Number 26, January, 1973) by professor kemp in "kant's examples of the categorical imperative" ("the philosophical quarterly", Volume 8, Number 30, January, 1957) and does what he can to reply to them.
Internalist pluralism is an attractive and elegant theory. However, there are two apparently powerful objections to this approach that prevent its widespread adoption. According to the first objection, the resulting analysis of religious belief systems is intrinsically atheistic; while according to the second objection, the analysis is unsatisfactory because it allows religious objects simply to be defined into existence. In this article, I demonstrate that an adherent of internalist pluralism can deflect both of these objections, and in the course of (...) so arguing, I deploy a distinction between “conceptual-scheme targetability” and “successful conceptual-scheme targeting”. (shrink)
(i) It is propositions, not sentences, that are true or false. It is true ‘Dogs bark’ does not make sense. It is true that dogs bark does. (ii) and (iii) Davidson wrong about ‘that’. (iv) The difference between ‘implies’ and ‘if ... then ...’. (v), (vi), (vii) and (viii) Russell, not Quine, right about the subject matter of logic. (ix) The objectual and substitutional interpretations of quantifiers compatible. (x), (xi), (xii), (xiii), (xiv), (xv) and (xvi) Implications for well-known theories of (...) truth; truth correspondence. (xvii), (xviii) and (xix) and (xx) Implications for the principle of bivalence, the law of excluded middle, and the principle of non-contradiction. (xxi) Recapitulation. (xxii) ‘That’ and entailment. (xxiii) Propositions not entities, subsistent or otherwise. Footnotes1 This article was stimulated by some remarks by J. J. C. Smart in criticism of a piece of work (God, Freedom and Immortality, Ashgate, 1999) that he was kind enough to read for me. I am greatly indebted to my friend David Rees for correcting the manuscript, and making some valuable suggestions concerning its content. (shrink)
This article applies Hilary Putnam’s theory of internal realism to the issue of religious plurality. The result of this application – ‘internalist pluralism’ – constitutes a paradigm shift within the Philosophy of Religion. Moreover, internalist pluralism succeeds in avoiding the major difficulties faced by John Hick’s famous theory of religious pluralism, which views God, or ‘the Real,’ as the noumenon lying behind diverse religious phenomena. In side-stepping the difficulties besetting Hick’s revolutionary Kantian approach, without succumbing to William Alston’s critique of (...) conceptual-scheme dependence, internalist pluralism provides a solution to significant theoretical problems, while doing so in a manner that is respectful of cultural diversity and religious sensitivities. (shrink)
We explore the better known paradoxes of Zeno including modern variants based on infinite processes, from the point of view of standard, classical analysis, from which there is still much to learn (especially concerning the paradox of division), and then from the viewpoints of non-standard and non-classical analysis (the logic of the latter being intuitionist).The standard, classical or Cantorian notion of the continuum, modeled on the real number line, is well known, as is the definition of motion as the time (...) derivative of distance (we are not concerned with position and motion in more than one dimension, since Zeno wasn't). The real number line consists of its points, the distance between distinct points being positive and finite. The standard, classical derivative relies on the classical notion of limit, which does not use infinitesimals. (shrink)