The scholars who defend or dispute moral relativism, the idea that a moral principle cannot be applied to people whose culture does not accept it, have concerned themselves with either the philosophical or anthropological aspects of relativism. This study, shows that in order to arrive at a definitive appraisal of moral relativism, it is necessary to understand and investigate both its anthropological and philosophical aspects. Carefully examining the arguments for and against moral relativism, Cook exposes not only that anthropologists (...) have failed in their attempt to support relativism with evidence of cultural differences, but that moral absolutists have been equally unsuccessful in their attempts to refute it. He argues that these conflicting positions are both guilty of an artificial and unrealistic view of morality and proposes a more subtle and complex account of morality. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's Metaphysics offers a radical new interpretation of the fundamental ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein. It takes issue with the conventional view that after 1930 Wittgenstein rejected the philosophy of the Tractatus and developed a wholly new conception of philosophy. By tracing the evolution of Wittgenstein's ideas Cook shows that they are neither as original nor as difficult as is often supposed. Wittgenstein was essentially an empiricist, and the difference between his early views (as set forth in the Tractatus) and (...) the later views (as expounded in the Philosophical Investigations) lies chiefly in the fact that after 1930 he replaced his version of reductionism with something subtler. Nevertheless, he ended where he began, as an empiricist armed with a theory of meaning. (shrink)
What kind of duty do we have to try to stop other people doing wrong? The question is intelligible in just about any culture, but few of them seek to answer it in a rigorous fashion. The most striking exception is found in the Islamic tradition, where 'commanding right' and 'forbidding wrong' is a central moral tenet already mentioned in the Koran. As an historian of Islam whose research has ranged widely over space and time, Michael Cook is well (...) placed to interpret this complex subject. His book represents the first sustained attempt to map the history of Islamic reflection on this obligation. It covers the origins of Muslim thinking about 'forbidding wrong', the relevant doctrinal developments over the centuries, and its significance in Sunni and Shi'ite thought today. In this way the book contributes to the understanding of Islamic thought, its relevance to contemporary Islamic politics and ideology, and raises fundamental questions for the comparative study of ethics. (shrink)
A co-authored article with Roy T. Cook forthcoming in a special edition on the Caesar Problem of the journal Dialectica. We argue against the appeal to equivalence classes in resolving the Caesar Problem.
This provocative study exposes the ways in which Wittgenstein's philosophical views have been misunderstood, including the failure to recognize the reductionist character of Wittgenstein's work. Author John Cook provides well-documented proof that Wittgenstein did not hold views commonly attributed to him, arguing that Wittgenstein's later work was mistakenly seen as a development of G. E. Moore's philosophy--which Wittgenstein in fact vigorously attacked. He also points to an underestimation of Russell's influence on Wittgenstein's thinking. Cook goes on to show (...) how these misunderstandings have had grave consequences for philosophy at large, and proposes that a more subtle appreciation of linguistic philosophy can yield valuable results. (shrink)
Wittgenstein made numerous pronouncements about philosophical method. But did he practice what he preached? Cook addresses this question by studying Wittgenstein’s treatment of the problem of other minds, tracing a line of argument that runs through his writings and lectures from the early 1930s to the 1950s. Cook finds that there is an inconsistency between Wittgenstein’s methodological advice and his actual practice. Instead of bringing words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use, he allows himself to use (...) uncritically words whose provenance is clearly metaphysical. (Published Online September 19 2006). (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Foreword (Warren Ellis).Introduction (Roy T. Cook and Aaron Meskin).PART I: The Nature and Kinds of Comics.1. Redefining Comics (John Holbo).2. The Ontology of Comics (Aaron Meskin).3. Comics and Collective Authorship (Christy Mag Uidhir).4. Comics and Genre (Catharine Abell).PART 2: Comics and Representation.5. Wordy Pictures: Theorizing the Relationship between Image and Text in Comics (Thomas E. Wartenberg).6. What's So Funny? Comic Content in Depiction (Patrick Maynard).7. The Language of Comics (Darren Hudson Hick).PART 3: Comics and the (...) Other Arts.8. Making Comics Into Film (Henry John Pratt).9. Why Comics Are Not Films: Metacomics and Medium-Specific Conventions (Roy T. Cook).10. Proust's In Search of Lost Time: The Comics Version (David Carrier). (shrink)
Michael Cook's classic study, Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought (Cambridge, 2001), reflected upon the Islamic injunction to forbid wrongdoing. This book is a short, accessible survey of the same material. Using Islamic history to illustrate his argument, Cook unravels the complexities of the subject by demonstrating how the past informs the present. At the book's core is an important message about the values of Islamic traditions and their relevance in the modern world.
The concept of reproductive health promises to play a crucial role in improving women's health and rights around the world. It was internationally endorsed by a United Nations conference in 1994, but remains controversial because of the challenge it presents to conservative agencies: it challenges policies of suppressing public discussion on human sexuality and regulating its private expressions. Reproductive Health and Human Rights is designed to equip healthcare providers and administrators to integrate ethical, legal, and human rights principles in protection (...) and promotion of reproductive health, and to inform lawyers and women's health advocates about aspects of medicine and healthcare systems that affect reproduction. Rebecca Cook, Bernard Dickens, and Mahmoud Fathalla, leading international authorities on reproductive medicine, human rights, medical law, and bioethics, integrate their disciplines to provide an accessible but comprehensive introduction to reproductive and sexual health. They analyse fifteen case-studies of recurrent problems, focusing particularly on resource-poor settings. Approaches to resolution are considered at clinical and health system levels. They also consider kinds of social change that would relieve the underlying conditions of reproductive health dilemmas. Supporting the explanatory chapters and case-studies are extensive resources of epidemiological data, human rights documents, and research materials and websites on reproductive and sexual health. In explaining ethics, law, and human rights to healthcare providers and administrators, and reproductive health to lawyers and women's health advocates, the authors explore and illustrate limitations and dysfunctions of prevailing health systems and their legal regulation, but also propose opportunities for reform. They draw on the values and principles of ethics and human rights recognized in national and international legal systems, to guide healthcare providers and administrators, lawyers, governments, and national and international agencies and legal tribunals. Reproductive Health and Human Rights will be an invaluable resource for all those working to improve services and legal protection for women around the world. -/- Updates to this book, and information on translations to French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese and Arabic are now available at www.law.utoronto.ca/faculty/cook/ReproductiveHealth.html. (shrink)
Logical pluralism is the view that there is more than one correct logic. In this article, I explore what logical pluralism is, and what it entails, by: (i) distinguishing clearly between relativism about a particular domain and pluralism about that domain; (ii) distinguishing between a number of forms logical pluralism might take; (iii) attempting to distinguish between those versions of pluralism that are clearly true and those that are might be controversial; and (iv) surveying three prominent attempts to argue for (...) logical pluralism and evaluating them along the criteria provided by (ii) and (iii). (shrink)
In his recent collection of essays, Language, Truth and History (2005), Donald Davidson appears to endorse a philosophy of language which gives primary importance to the notion of the speaker’s communicative intentions, a perspective on language not too dissimilar from that of Paul Grice. If that is right, then this would mark a major shift from the formal semanticist approach articulated and defended by Davidson in his Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (1984). In this paper, I argue that although there (...) are many similarities between these two thinkers, Davidson has not abandoned his earlier views on language. (shrink)
Truth values are, properly understood, merely proxies for the various relations that can hold between language and the world. Once truth values are understood in this way, consideration of the Liar paradox and the revenge problem shows that our language is indefinitely extensible, as is the class of truth values that statements of our language can take – in short, there is a proper class of such truth values. As a result, important and unexpected connections emerge between the semantic paradoxes (...) and the set-theoretic paradoxes. (shrink)
This paper reviews some of the arguments put forward by some psychologists in which they come to the conclusion that autistic individuals suffer from mindblindness, and also looks at one particular implication these sorts of individuals pose for Donald Davidson’s theory of radical interpretation. It has been claimed that a particular manifestation of mindblindness in autistic people serves as a counter example to claims Davidson has made about the relation between belief and intention in linguistic competence.
The article explores the character of Adornos materialism while fleshing out his Marxist-inspired idea of natural history. Adorno offers a non-reductionist and non-dualistic account of the relationship between matter and mind, human history and natural history. Emerging from nature and remaining tied to it, the human mind is nonetheless qualitatively distinct from nature owing to its limited independence from it. Yet, just as human history is always also natural history, because human beings can never completely dissociate themselves from the natural (...) world, nature is inextricably entwined with human history. Owing to the entwinement of mind and matter, humanity and nature, a version of dialectical materialism can be found in Adornos work. Key Words: body dialectics Hegel history idealism Marx materialism mind nature Timpanaro. (shrink)
Throughout his work, Adorno contrasted liberal ideology to the newer and more pernicious form of ideology found in positivism. The paper explores the philosophical basis for Adorno's contrast between liberal and positivist ideology. In Negative Dialectics, Adorno describes all ideology as identity-thinking. However, on his view, liberal ideology represents a more rational form of identity-thinking. Fearing that positivism might obliterate our capacity to distinguish between what is and what ought to be, Adorno sought a more secure foundation for his critique (...) of existing conditions. He found this basis in liberal discourse. In the concept of freedom, for example, Adorno located ideas or ideals that negate and transcend the given. One of the conditions for the possibility of critical thought lies in such ideas; critical thinking consists in wielding the more emphatic content of concepts against the pathic rationality of existing conditions. Far from prescribing mimesis as the antidote to a damaged social, political and economic reality, then, Adorno advocates a more dialectically inflected use of concepts as the basis for social criticism. Key Words: Adorno Critique Identity Ideology Liberalism Positivism. (shrink)
Theodor W. Adorno and Jürgen Habermas both champion the goal of a rational society. However, they differ significantly about what this society should look like and how best to achieve it. Exploring the premises shared by both critical theorists, along with their profound disagreements about social conditions today, this book defends Adorno against Habermas' influential criticisms of his account of Western society and prospects for achieving reasonable conditions of human life. The book begins with an overview of these critical theories (...) of Western society. Both Adorno and Habermas follow Georg Lukács when they argue that domination consists in the reifying extension of a calculating, rationalizing form of thought to all areas of human life. Their views about reification are discussed in the second chapter. In chapter three the author explores their conflicting accounts of the historical emergence and development of the type of rationality now prevalent in the West. Since Adorno and Habermas claim to have a critical purchase on reified social life, the critical leverage of their theories is assessed in chapter four. The final chapter deals with their opposing views about what a rational society would look like, as well as their claims about the prospects for establishing such a society. Adorno, Habermas and the Search for a Rational Society will be essential reading for students and researchers of critical theory, political theory and the work of Adorno and Habermas. (shrink)
During Leibniz's lifetime, interest in the interpretation of the Bible and biblical prophecy became central to the theological and political concerns of Protestant Europe. Leibniz's treatment of this phenomenon will be examined in the light of his views on the nature of revelation and its role in his defence of Christianity. It will be argued that Leibniz's defence of the miracle of revelation (and its vehicle, biblical prophecy) – unlike his arguments on behalf of the core Christian mysteries of the (...) Trinity and Incarnation – is demonstrable by purely natural and scientific means, especially the verification of history. (shrink)
Spinoza shared with his contemporaries the conviction that the passions are, on the whole, unruly and destructive. A life of virtue requires that the passions be controlled, if not entirely vanquished, and the preferred means of imposing this control over the passions is via the power of reason. But there was little agreement in the seventeenth century about just what gives reason its strength and how its power can be brought to bear upon the wayward passions.
It is argued that Wittgenstein was a greatly misunderstood philosopher, both as regards his own philosophical views and his ideas about philosophical method. O. K. Bouwsma's interpretation of Wittgenstein is used to illustrate the most common misunderstandings.
In “The Runabout Inference Ticket” AN Prior (1960) examines the idea that logical connectives can be given a meaning solely in virtue of the stip- ulation of a set of rules governing them, and thus that logical truth/conse- quence.
A difficulty for alethic pluralism has been the idea that semantic evaluation of conjunctions whose conjuncts come from discourses with distinct truth properties requires a third notion of truth which applies to both of the original discourses. But this line of reasoning does not entail that there exists a single generic truth property that applies to all statements and all discourses, unless it is supplemented with additional, controversial, premises. So the problem of mixed conjunctions, while highlighting other aspects of alethic (...) pluralism worth investigating further, does not constitute an effective objection to it. (shrink)
Roger Crisp has inspired two important criticisms of Scanlon's buck-passing account of value. I defend buck-passing from the wrong kind of reasons criticism, and the reasons and the good objection. I support Rabinowicz and Rønnow-Rasmussen's dual role of reasons in refuting the wrong kind of reasons criticism, even where its authors claim it fails. Crisp's reasons and the good objection contends that the property of goodness is buck-passing in virtue of its formality. I argue that Crisp conflates general and formal (...) properties, and that Scanlon is ambiguous about whether the formal property of a reason can stop the buck. Drawing from Wallace, I respond to Crisp's reasons and the good objection by developing an augmented buck-passing account of reasons and value, where the buck is passed consistently from the formal properties of both to the substantive properties of considerations and evaluative attitudes. I end by describing two unresolved problems for buck-passers. (shrink)
Doris Olin's Paradox is a very helpful book for those who want to be introduced to the philosophical treatment of paradoxes, or for those who already have knowledge of the general area and would like to have a helpful resource book.
Wittgenstein has often been criticized, and even dismissed, for being a patron of ordinary language, a champion of the vernacular, a defender of the status quo. One critic has written: 'When Wittgenstein set up the actual use of language as a standard, that was equivalent to accepting a certain set up of culture and belief as a standard ... It is lucky no such philosophy was thought of until recently or we should still be under the sway of witch doctors (...) ...' In what follows I want to show just how wide of the mark criticisms of this sort are. (shrink)
Language, Truth, and History is an excellent volume of essays coming from one of the most important philosophers in the last fifty years. It would be of interest to anyone interested in the ways Davidson's philosophy evolved after the publication of the first two volumes, and it is essential reading for anyone working in philosophy of language or philosophy of mind.
In his biography of Spinoza, Colerus recounts the following exchange: It happened one day that his landlady asked him whether he believed that she could be saved in the religion she professed: He answered,"Your Religion is a good one, you need not look for any other, nor doubt that you may be saved in it, provided, whilst you apply yourself to Piety, you live at the same time a peaceable and quiet life." (Colerus 1906: 41) As biographical tales go, this (...) one is pretty reliable. The biographer, Johannes Colerus, was a German Lutheran minister who took over pastoral duties at the local Lutheran church in the Hague some sixteen years after Spinoza's death. The Van der Spycks, Spinoza's landlord and landlady for the last six years of his life, were members of Colerus' congregation, and the pastor seems to have been intrigued by the contrast between the stories that they told of their quiet, pleasant, upright tenant and the execrable blasphemies and impieties that the preacher found in Spinoza's writings. In writing the biography, Colerus used those of his parishioners who had known Spinoza personally as sources for a number of details, and we can be quite sure that he got the report of the above exchange straight from mevrouw Van der Spyck herself. (shrink)
The No-No Paradox consists of a pair of statements, each of which ?says? the other is false. Roy Sorensen claims that the No-No Paradox provides an example of a true statement that has no truthmaker: Given the relevant instances of the T-schema, one of the two statements comprising the ?paradox? must be true (and the other false), but symmetry constraints prevent us from determining which, and thus prevent there being a truthmaker grounding the relevant assignment of truth values. Sorensen's view (...) is mistaken: situated within an appropriate background theory of truth, the statements comprising the No-No Paradox are genuinely paradoxical in the same sense as is the Liar (and thus, on Sorensen's view, must fail to have truth values). This result has consequences beyond Sorensen's semantic framework. In particular, the No-No Paradox, properly understood, is not only a new paradox, but also provides us with a new type of paradox, one which depends upon a general background theory of the truth predicate in a way that the Liar Paradox and similar constructions do not. (shrink)
One of the main reasons for providing formal semantics for languages is that the mathematical precision afforded by such semantics allows us to study and manipulate the formalization much more easily than if we were to study the relevant natural languages directly. Michael Tye and R. M. Sainsbury have argued that traditional set-theoretic semantics for vague languages are all but useless, however, since this mathematical precision eliminates the very phenomenon (vagueness) that we are trying to capture. Here we meet this (...) objection by viewing formalization as a process of building models, not providing descriptions. When we are constructing models, as opposed to accurate descriptions, we often include in the model extra ‘machinery’ of some sort in order to facilitate our manipulation of the model. In other words, while some parts of a model accurately represent actual aspects of the phenomenon being modelled, other parts might be merely artefacts of the particular model. With this distinction in place, the criticisms of Sainsbury and Tye are easily dealt with—the precision of the semantics is artefactual and does not represent any real precision in vague discourse. Although this solution to this problem is independent of any particular semantics a detailed account of how we would distinguish between representor and artefact within Dorothy Edgington's degree-theoretic semantics is presented. (shrink)
A number of formal constraints on acceptable abstraction principles have been proposed, including conservativeness and irenicity. Hume’s Principle, of course, satisfies these constraints. Here, variants of Hume’s Principle that allow us to count concepts instead of objects are examined. It is argued that, prima facie, these principles ought to be no more problematic than HP itself. But, as is shown here, these principles only enjoy the formal properties that have been suggested as indicative of acceptability if certain constraints on the (...) size of the continuum hold. As a result, whether or not these higher-order versions of Hume’s Principle are acceptable seems to be independent of standard (ZFC) set theory. This places the abstractionist in an uncomfortable dilemma: Either there is some inherent difference between counting objects and counting concepts, or new criteria for acceptability will need to be found. It is argued that neither horn looks promising. (shrink)
Stewart Shapiro and Alan Weir have argued that a crucial part of the demonstration of Frege's Theorem (specifically, that Hume's Principle implies that there are infinitely many objects) fails if the Neo-logicist cannot assume the existence of the empty property, i.e., is restricted to so-called Aristotelian Logic. Nevertheless, even in the context of Aristotelian Logic, Hume's Principle implies much of the content of Peano Arithmetic. In addition, their results do not constitute an objection to Neo-logicism so much as a clarification (...) regarding the view of logic that the Neo-logicist must take. (shrink)