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)
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).
Being morally responsible means being blameworthy and deserving of punishment if we do wrong and praiseworthy and deserving reward if we do right. In what follows I shall argue that in all likelihood we're not morally responsible. None of us. Ever.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
(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)
In their important book, Causation in the Law, H. L. A. Hart and Tony Honore argue that causation in the law is based on causation outside the law, that the causal principles the courts rely on to determine legal responsibility are based on distinctions exercised in ordinary causal judgments. A distinction that particularly concerns them is one that divides factors that are necessary or sine qua non for an effect into those that count as causes for purposes of legal responsibility (...) and those that do not. Hart and Honore claim that this distinction is often one of fact rather than of legal policy, and that the factual basis is to be found in the ordinary distinction we draw between causes and 'mere conditions'. If this claim is correct, we may hope to illuminate the legal distinction by articulating the principles behind the ordinary one. This is a challenging task since, as in the case of most cognitive skills, we are far better at making particular judgments than we are at stating the general principles that underlie them. Hart and Honore devote the first part of their book to this difficult task. We have, then, two large projects. One is to articulate our ordinary notion of causation, especially the distinction between cause and mere condition. This is the project of constructing an 'ordinary model'. The other is to argue for what we may call the 'shared concept claim', the claim that the concept of legal cause is based on the ordinary notion of causation, that 'causal judgments, though the law may have to systematize them, are not specifically legal. They appeal to a notion which is part of everyday life' (1985, p. lv; all references to follow are from this edition). This essay will focus on Hart and Honore's ordinary model, rather than on their shared concept claim. In my judgment, Hart and Honore's case for some version of the shared concept claim is strong, so they are right to maintain that a better understanding of our ordinary notion of.. (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.
[Introduction]: Curiosity is now widely regarded, with some justification, as a vital ingredient of the inquiring mind and, more particularly, as a crucial virtue for the practitioner of the pure sciences. We have become accustomed to associate curiosity with innocence and, in its more mature manifestations, with the pursuit of truth for its own sake. It was not always so. The sentiments expressed in Sir John Davies's poem, published on the eve of the seventeenth century, paint a somewhat different picture. (...) To seek knowledge with no particular end in mind was to indulge in "fruitlesse curiositie," while the "desire to know" was associated with those catastrophic events that took place at the dawn of history in the Garden of Eden and with the ensuing curse that fell upon succeeding generations. Davies's poem neatly sets out two of the chief impediments to the advancement of learning in seventeenth-century England: the fact that the Genesis narrative attributes the Fall of the human race to the desire for knowledge, and the moral disapprobation associated with the vice of curiosity. In short, the traditional classification of curiosity amongst the vices and its complicity in the commission of the first sin represented a major obstacle to early modern projects to enlarge human learning. This essay will explore the changing fortunes of curiosity, from its construction as an intellectual vice in the patristic era to its subsequent transformation, over the course of the seventeenth century, to a virtue. Particular attention will be paid to the way in which Francis Bacon dealt with prevailing conceptions of curiosity and forbidden knowledge and how he modified an existing view of the moral legitimacy of knowledge of nature in order to provide rhetorical justification for his proposed instauration of learning. This change in the status of knowledge of nature, initiated by Bacon and promoted by his successors, highlights the morally charged character of early modem debates over the status of natural philosophy and the particular virtues required of its practitioners. As we shall see, the rehabilitation of curiosity was a crucial element in the objectification of scientific knowledge and led to a shift of focus away from the moral qualities of investigators and the propriety of particular objects of knowledge to specific disciplines, procedures, and methods. (shrink)
The article proposes that the hypothetical framework of Kierkegaard's "Philosophical Fragments" is determined by the question 'How is it possible for one to become a disciple?' An account of this framework is provided by employing an original interpretation of the concept 'the Moment'. This enables an understanding of 'the condition' by means of a contrast between 'Universalist' and 'Particularist' perspectives. Moreover, it is only when the insights offered by both perspectives are combined that the answer to the determining question of (...) the Fragments becomes apparent. (shrink)
In our increasingly multicultural society there is an urgent need for a theory that is capable of making sense of the various philosophical difficulties presented by ethical and religious diversity—difficulties that, at first sight, seem to be remarkably similar. Given this similarity, a theory that successfully accounted for the difficulties raised by one form of plurality might also be of help in addressing those raised by the other, especially as ethical belief systems are often inextricably linked with religious belief systems. (...) This article adumbrates a theory that is suitably sensitive to the challenge posed by cultural diversity, and that is respectful of ethical and religious differences. The theory, called “internalist pluralism,” provides a philosophical account of the widely differing claims made by religious believers resulting from the tremendous diversity of belief systems, while simultaneously yielding a novel perspective on ethical plurality. Internalist pluralism is based on Hilary Putnam’s theory of internal realism. This article is not concerned to defend internal realism against its critics, although such defense is clearly required if the theory is to be adopted. Its more modest aim is to show that internal realism has a distinctive voice to add to the current debate about how best to understand religious and ethical diversity. (shrink)
Many electronic texts are available in the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Here you’ll find works from people as diverse as St. John of the Cross and Billy Graham, all indexed by author. The address is: http://ccel.org..
There is an argument that government cannot be good for individuals because it causes them to act through fear of punishment, hence for nonmoral reasons. The obvious responses of accepting the conclusion (anarchism) and denying the premiss about moral motivation (utilitarianism) are first considered. Then the strategy of accepting the premiss but denying the conclusion is pursued at greater length. Some arguments of T. H. Green and B. Bosanquet which attempt to do this are considered before an independent resolution is (...) proposed. (shrink)
Swedish naturalist Carl von Linné (1707–1778) became known during his lifetime as a "second Adam" because of his taxonomic endeavors. The significance of this epithet was that in Genesis Adam was reported to have named the beasts—an episode that was usually interpreted to mean that Adam possessed a scientific knowledge of nature and a perfect taxonomy. Linnaeus's soubriquet exemplifies the way in which the Genesis narratives of creation were used in the early modern period to give religious legitimacy to scientific (...) activities and to taxonomy in particular. Allusions to Adam's work in the Garden of Eden thus became a way of investing the vocation of the naturalist with religious significance. (shrink)
This paper considers some of the ways in which ‘postmodernism’ is construed, before turning to several important representative examples of religious postmodern thought. It highlights some common features possessed by prominent examples of religious postmodern thought within Judaism and Christianity. Much postmodern religious thought is characterised by the separation of religious belief from religious experience, and is marked by the tendency to emphasise the latter at the expense of the former. This paper argues that, despite this tendency, the work of (...) certain key postmodern religious thinkersparticularly those associated with open-traditionalism and radical orthodoxy—does not conform to this characterisation and needs to be understood in a broader cultural and theological context. (shrink)
Each of the essays included in this volume illuminates an aspect of law, reflecting an unorthodox perception of jurisprudence which combines interests in philosophy, legal theory, criminology, legal history, political and constitutional theory and the history of ideas. This work will broaden the jurisprudential scope of practitioners' professional concerns, but help academics enhance their knowledge of the wealth of information for their own studies.
In this article, after reviewing traditional arguments from design, I consider some more recent versions: the so-called ‘new design arguments’ for the existence of God. These arguments enjoy an apparent advantage over the traditional arguments from design by avoiding some of Hume’s famous criticisms. However, in seeking to render religion and science compatible, it seems that they require a modification not only of our scientific understanding but also of the traditional conception of God. Moreover, there is a key problem with (...) arguments from design that Mill raised to which the new arguments seem no less vulnerable than the older versions. The view that science and religion are complementary has at least one significant advantage over other positions, such as the view that they are in an antagonistic relationship or the view that they are so incommensurable that they are neither complementary nor antagonistic. The advantage is that it aspires to provide a unified worldview that is sensitive to the claims of both science and religion. And surely, such a worldview, if available, would seem to be superior to one in which, say, scientific and religious claims were held despite their obvious contradictions. Given this, it should come as no surprise that many religious thinkers have been attracted to the view that science and religion are complementary. Here, I wish to consider a cluster of arguments exemplifying this position: namely, ‘new design arguments’ for the existence of God. These arguments rely directly on developments in late twentieth-century natural science in attempting to establish their conclusions. One question that will need to be addressed is: To what extent are they susceptible to the criticism that they only succeed by distorting the religious beliefs they claim to champion? But before we examine new design arguments, it would be wise to consider first of 1 all the traditional arguments from design, and note some of the problems they have faced.. (shrink)
Psychologists can learn from the procedural conventions of experimental economics. But the rationale for those conventions must be examined and understood lest they become constraints. Field referents and the choice of heuristic, matter for behavior. This theme unites the fields of experimental psychology and experimental economics by the simple fact that the object of study in both cases is the same.
Short-term performance increases that are sometimes observed after CEO successions may be evidence of self-interested behavior. New CEOs may cut allocations to long-term investment areas such as research and development (R&D), capital equipment and pension funds in an effort to drive up short-term profits and secure their positions. However, such actions have unfavorable consequences for some stakeholders. This study provides evidence that both R&D and pension funding are reduced subsequent to a succession, even after accounting for industry trends. The expected (...) short-term profitability increases are also observed.A major implication of these results is that boards of directors and other interested parties should carefully monitor the actions of new CEOs with regard to their treatment of R&D and pension funding if they would like to prevent such actions from occurring. This study also highlights the need to investigate other potential self-interested behaviors of new CEOs. (shrink)
At a time in which probability theory is exerting an unprecedented influence on epistemology and philosophy of science, promising to deliver an exact and unified foundation for the philosophy of rational inference and decision-making, it is worth remembering that the philosophy of religion has long proven to be an extremely fertile ground for the application of probabilistic thinking to traditional epistemological debates. This volume brings together original contributions from twelve contemporary researchers, both established and emerging, to offer a representative sample (...) of the work currently being carried out in this potentially rich field of inquiry. Grouped into five sections, the chapters span a broad range of traditional issues in religious epistemology. The first three sections discuss the evidential impact of various considerations that have often been brought to bear on the question of the existence of God. These include witness reports of the occurrence of miraculous events, the existence of complex biological adaptations, the apparent ‘fine-tuning’ for life of various physical constants and the existence of seemingly unnecessary evil. The fourth section addresses a number of issues raised by Pascal’s famous pragmatic argument for theistic belief. A final section offers probabilistic perspectives on the rationality of faith and the epistemic significance of religious disagreement. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the feast days of the Orthodox Church from the point of view of St. Gregory of Nazianzus. Liturgical scholars raise questions about the relationships between past and future, anamnesis and mimesis, the sanctification of time and longing for the eschaton. Investigation of Gregory’s liturgical theology, which has had unparalleled influence in the Byzantine rite churches, shows that all of these are false dichotomies. Gregory’s two homilies onPascha and his homilies on Christmas, Theophany, and Pentecost were preached throughout (...) his public life. They show, in the feast days, anamnesis, in which the sacred events in Christ’s life are made present, and mimesis, the repetition of past events so as to arrive at the same future in God’s eternal kingdom. Patristics and liturgical scholars, however, have understood “mimesis” in different ways. (shrink)