This paper offers a new interpretation of the propensity to evil and its relation to Kant's claim that the human race is universally evil. Unlike most of its competitors, the interpretation presented here neither trivializes Kant's claims about the universal evil of humanity nor attributes a position to him that is incompatible with his repeated insistence that we are blameworthy for actions only when we could have acted differently. This interpretation also accounts for a number of otherwise bewildering claims in (...) the Religion and makes sense of the analogy Kant draws between the propensity to evil and addiction. (shrink)
I argue that Hobbes isn't really a materialist in the early 1640s (in, e.g., the Third Objections to Descartes's Meditations). That is, he doesn't assert that bodies are the only substances. However, he does think that bodies are the only substances we can think about using imagistic ideas.
Hobbes denies in Leviathan that we have an idea of God. He does think, though, that God exists, and does not even deny that we can think about God, even though he says we have no idea of God. There is, Hobbes thinks, another cognitive mechanism by means of which we can think about God. That mechanism allows us only to think a few things about God though. This constrains what Hobbes can say about our knowledge of God, and grounds (...) his belief in a fairly strong version of the thesis that God is incomprehensible. (shrink)
In the early years of the eighteenth century Leibniz had several interactions with John Toland. These included, from 1702 to 1704, discussions of materialism. Those discussions culminated with the consideration of Toland's 1704 Letters to Serena, where Toland argued that matter is necessarily active. In this paper I argue for two main theses about this exchange and its consequences for our wider understanding. The first is that, despite many claims that Toland was at the time of Letters to Serena a (...) Spinozist, we can make better sense of him as a sort of Hobbesian materialist. The second main point concerns reasons for materialism, and in particular a story Locke tells in the Essay about materialists' motives. Toland defends his materialism by arguing that matter is active, and argues that matter is active by using a conceivability argument. But this is not the crude conceivability argument that Locke suggests motivates materialists. This (together with reflecting on some of Hobbes's arguments) suggests that we might well tell a Lockean story about reasons for early modern materialism, but not Locke's story. (shrink)
In all likelihood, the Bush Administration’s aim is to continue abusive interrogation methods that on any reasonable definition amount to torture (methods such as waterboarding,” for example, in which a detainee is laid on his back and choked with water until he believes he is drowning). This new law, however, is both foolish and immoral: foolish, because torture won’t make Americans safer; and immoral, because torture is the grossest of affronts to human dignity.
In the last two decades there have been many critics of western biomedicine's poor integration of social and psychological factors in questions of human health. Such critiques frequently begin with a rejection of Descartes' mind-body dualism, viewing this as the decisive philosophical moment, radically separating the two realms in both theory and practice. It is argued here, however, that many such readings of Descartes have been selective and misleading. Contrary to the assumptions of many recent authors, Descartes' dualism does attempt (...) to explain the union of psyche and soma - with more depth than is often appreciated. Pain plays a key role in Cartesian as well as contemporary thinking about the problem of dualism. Theories of the psychological origins of pain symptoms persisted throughout the history of modern medicine and were not necessarily discouraged by Cartesian mental philosophy. Moreover, the recently developed biopsychosocial model of pain may have more in common with Cartesian dualism than it purports to have. This article presents a rereading of Descartes' mental philosophy and his views on pain. The intention is not to defend his theories, but to re-evaluate them and to ask in what respect contemporary theories represent any significant advance in philosophical terms. (shrink)
Alan Hájek has recently argued that certain assignments of vague probability defeat Pascals Wager. In particular, he argues that skeptical agnostics – those whose probability for God''s existence is vague over an interval containing zero – have nothing to fear from Pascal. In this paper, I make two arguments against Hájek: (1) that skeptical agnosticism is a form of dogmatism, and as such should be rejected; (2) that in any case, choice situations with vague probability assignments ought to be treated (...) as second-order cases of choice under uncertainty, with the result that belief in God is the favored option in a very wide range of cases. (shrink)
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), whose current reputation rests largely on his political philosophy, was a thinker with wide ranging interests. In philosophy, he defended a range of materialist, nominalist, and empiricist views against Cartesian and Aristotelian alternatives. In physics, his work was influential on Leibniz, and lead him into disputes with Boyle and the experimentalists of the early Royal Society. In history, he translated Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War into English, and later wrote his own history of the Long Parliament. (...) In mathematics he was less successful, and is best remembered for his repeated unsuccessful attempts to square the circle. But despite that, Hobbes was a serious and prominent participant in the intellectual life of his time. (shrink)
Exploring the idea of knowledge as embodied, engendered and embedded in place and space, gender and sexuality are re-examined through the methodological and conceptual lenses of cartography, fieldwork, resistance, transgression and the divisions between local/global and public/private space. BodySpace brings together some of the best known geographers writing on gender and sexuality today to explore the role of space and place in the performance of gender and sexuality. The book takes a broad perspective on feminism as a theoretical critique, and (...) aims to reassess notions of sexuality, citizenship, work, violence, "race" and disability in their geographical contexts. (shrink)
In this article, I situate and reconstruct Sartre's rejections of subjective and objective idealism in order both to sketch his realism-all-the-way-down and to contrast it with Richard Rorty's pragmatic, anti-essentialist contextualism. The contrast with Rorty is important because his contextualism is one of the most prominent approaches within the relatively recent proliferation of antiessentialist views mobilized under the banners of pragmatism, hermeneutics, postmodernism, constructivism, etc. Although Rorty's contextualism is both compelling and comparable to Sartre's realism-all-the-way-down, I shall argue that the (...) latter does not throw out the baby that the former throws out with the bathwater. Realism-all-the-way-down is not compelled to throw out realism along with subjective and objective idealism, whereas contextualism must throw out the whole lot. If compelling intuitions recommend realism to us, and if Rorty's rejection of realism is unconvincing, there are good reasons to prefer Sartre's realism-all-the-way-down. (shrink)
Many bilingual speakers believe they engage in different forms of thinking when they shift languages. This experience of entering different thought worlds can be explained with the hypothesis that languages induce different forms of `thinking-for-speaking'-- thinking generated, as Slobin (1987) says, because of the requirements of a linguistic code. "`Thinking for speaking' involves picking those characteristics that (a) fit some conceptualization of the event, and (b) are readily encodable in the language" (p. 435). That languages differ in their thinking-for-speaking demands (...) is a version of the linguistic relativity hypothesis, the proposition that language influences thought and that different languages influence thought in different ways. (shrink)
In the pages of philosophy journals debate rages these days between "political" and "comprehensive liberals," a debate inaugurated by John Rawls’s seminal 1985 paper entitled "Justice as Fairness: Political not Metaphysical," from which the above quotation is drawn. As the quotation suggests, a political liberal is someone who believes that liberal justice should be defined and defended in terms that are independent of "comprehensive" philosophical and religious doctrines, that is, independent of doctrines that purport to describe, in some comprehensive way, (...) the sources of meaning, purpose, and worth in human life. A comprehensive liberal, by contrast, is someone who believes some such comprehensive doctrine must be invoked in defense of liberal justice. In this debate it is perhaps fair to say that political liberals have the more prestigious roll call, for in addition to Rawls, prominent political liberals include Thomas Nagel, Brian Barry, Ronald Dworkin, Charles Larmore, and Bruce Ackerman. (shrink)
In Kant's Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science are found a dynamist reduction of matter and an account of the communication of motion by impact. One would expect to find an analysis of the causal mechanism involved in the communication of motion between bodies given in terms of the fundamental dynamical nature of bodies. However, Kant's analysis, as given in the discussion of his third law of mechanics (an action-reaction law) is purely kinematical, invoking no causal mechanisms at all, let alone (...) dynamist mechanisms, in the explanation. It is argued that the reason for the non-incorporation of Kant's theory of matter in the account of impact is his overriding desire to provide a mathematical framework to explain the communication of motion, a provision which Kant felt to be impossible in the context of a metaphysical dynamism. (shrink)
In October 1924, The Physical Review, a relatively minor journal at the time, published a remarkable two-part paper by John H. Van Vleck, working in virtual isolation at the University of Minnesota. Van Vleck used Bohr's correspondence principle and Einstein's quantum theory of radiation to find quantum formulae for the emission, absorption, and dispersion of radiation. The paper is similar but in many ways superior to the well-known paper by Kramers and Heisenberg published the following year that is widely credited (...) to have led directly to Heisenberg's Umdeutung paper. As such, it clearly shows how strongly the discovery of matrix mechanics depended on earlier work on the application of the correspondence principle to the interaction of matter and radiation. (shrink)
Inconsistency of attitudes and behavior is due to the probabilistic connection between responses or actions and the (not directly observable) dispositions on which they depend. Latent variable models provide criteria for recognizing when attitude and behavior depend on the same disposition. Statistical tests of such models and techniques of parameter estimation are described. The viewpoint proposed here and illustrated with empirical examples contrasts with the prevalent reliance on correlational models and methods.
In a recent article Martha Nussbaum identified three problems with the Stoic doctrine of respect for dignity: its exclusive focus on specifically human dignity, its indifference to the need for external goods, and its ineffectiveness as a moral motive. This article formulates a non-Stoic doctrine of respect for dignity that avoids these problems. I argue that this doctrine helps us to understand such moral phenomena as the dignity of nonhuman animals as well as the core human values of life, freedom, (...) and equality. I end by arguing that Nussbaum underestimates the mutual support between motives of respect and other moral motives such as compassion. (shrink)
Over the past decade, umbilical cord blood (UCB) has routinely been used as a source of haematopoietic stem cells for allogeneic stem cell transplants in the treatment of a range of malignant and non-malignant conditions affecting children and adults. UCB banks are a necessary part of the UCB transplant program, but their establishment has raised a number of important scientific, ethical and political issues. This paper examines the scientific and clinical evidence that has provided the basis for the establishment of (...) UCB banks. We also discuss the major ethical issues that UCB banks raise, including ownership of cord blood, processes for obtaining consent for its collection and storage, and confidentiality. Finally, we review other concerns about commercial non-altruistic banking, including concerns about social justice, equity of access and equity of care. (shrink)
This paper deals with four ethical issues in the development and application of business and management knowledge. The issues examined are: (1) failure to adopt or disclose knowledge with proven value that could benefit individuals, organizations, and society; (2) inappropriate implementation or incomplete disclosure of knowledge with proven potential; (3) use of knowledge for the exclusive benefit of a selected interest group even if harm is done to others; and (4) intentional falsification or misrepresentation of knowledge as something other than (...) what it is known to be. Each of these issues are illustrated with actual case histories and are examined using frequently accepted ethical concepts. (shrink)
Did protolanguage users use discrete words that referred to objects, actions, locations, etc., and then, at some point, combine them; or on the contrary did they have words that globally indexed whole semantic complexes, and then come to divide them? Our answer is: early humans were forming language units consisting of global and discrete dimensions of semiosis in dynamic opposition. These units of thinking-for-speaking, or ‘growth points’ (GPs) were, jointly, analog imagery (visuo-spatio-motoric) and categorically-contrastive (-emic) linguistic encodings. This discrete-global duality (...) was a new mode of embodied cognition that enabled thinking and acting in new ways: the dawn of protolanguage. Where did this mode of cognition come from? We have some suggestions based on the hypothesis that gestures gained the power to orchestrate actions, manual and vocal, with significances other than those of the actions themselves, giving rise to cognition framed in the proposed dual terms. Note, however, our proposal is not one of the ‘gesture-first’ theories of language origins. Such theories predict what did not evolve: a language of pantomime; rather than what did evolve: an integrated system of synchronized gestures and spoken forms. GP theory is an account of the cognition underlying such an integrated system. A scenario for the evolutionary selection of this cognitive mode is ‘Mead’s Loop’, a model in which one’s cognition is enriched by one’s own gestures, insofar as they are objects in social interactions. (shrink)
In the fall of 1998 Trent Lott used his power as Senate Majority Leader to prevent the confirmation of James C. Hormel, an openly gay San Francisco philanthropist who was then President Clinton’s nominee for Ambassador to Luxembourg. Mr. Lott made it clear that his opposition to Hormel was based on his opposition to homosexuality in general. Asked by a television interviewer during the controversy whether homosexuality is a sin, Mr. Lott answered "Yes, it is"; he went on to compare (...) gay people to alcoholics, sex addicts, and kleptomaniacs. Shortly thereafter, Dick Armey, the House Majority Leader, seconded Lott’s view, adding that “[t]he Bible is very clear on this…Both myself and Senator Lott believe very strongly in the Bible.”. (shrink)
Norris, McQueen & Cutler claim that Merge is an autonomous model, superior to the interactive TRACE model and the autonomous Race model. Merge is actually an interactive model, despite claims to the contrary. The presentation of the literature seriously distorts many findings, in order to advocate autonomy. It is Merge's interactivity that allows it to simulate findings in the literature.
The standard foil for recent theories of hope is the belief-desire analysis advocated by Hobbes, Day, Downie, and others. According to this analysis, to hope for S is no more and no less than to desire S while believing S is possible but not certain. Opponents of the belief-desire analysis argue that it fails to capture one or another distinctive feature or function of hope: that hope helps one resist the temptation to despair;2 that hope engages the sophisticated capacities of (...) human agency, such as planning;3 or that hope involves the imagination in ways desire need not.4 Here, I focus on the role of imagination in hope, and discuss its implications for hope’s relation to practical commitment or end-setting. (shrink)
This work presents the basic arguments and fundamental themes of the political and moral thought of the seventeenth-century philosopher, Samuel Pufendorf--one of the most widely read natural lawyers of the pre-Kantian era. Selections from the texts of Pufendorf's two major works, Elements of Universal Jurisprudence and The Law of Nature and of Nations, have been brought together to make Pufendorf's moral and political thought more accessible. The selections included have received a new English translation, the first for both works (...) in roughly sixty years. The editor, a political scientist, and the translator, a philosopher, have developed a volume that is comprehensive and representative of Pufendorf's thought without being repetitive, fragmented, or obscure. (shrink)
Samuel Alexander was one of the foremost philosophical figures of his day and has been argued by John Passmore to be one of ‘fathers’ of Australian philosophy as well as a novel kind of physicalist. Yet Alexander is now relatively neglected, his role in the genesis of Australian philosophy if far from widely accepted and the standard interpretation takes him to be an anti-physicalist. In this paper, I carefully examine these issues and show that Alexander has been badly, although (...) understandably, misjudged by most of his contemporary critics and interpreters. Most importantly, I show that Alexander offers an ingenious, and highly original, version of physicalism at the heart of which is a strikingly different view of the nature of the microphysical properties and associated view of emergent properties. My final conclusion will be that Passmore is correct in his claims both that Alexander is significant as one of the grandfather’s of Australian philosophy and that he provides a novel physicalist position. I will also suggest that Alexander’s emergentism is important for addressing the so-called ‘problem of mental causation’ presently dogging contemporary non-reductive physicalists. (shrink)
It is argued that the arguments put forward by Bernard Williams and Thomas Nagel in their widely influential exchange on the problem of moral luck are marred by a failure to (i) present a coherent understanding of what is involved in the notion of luck, and (ii) adequately distinguish between the problem of moral luck and the analogue problem of epistemic luck, especially that version of the problem that is traditionally presented by the epistemological sceptic. It is further claimed that (...) once one offers a more developed notion of luck and disambiguates the problem of moral luck from the problem of epistemic luck (especially in its sceptical guise), neither of these papers is able to offer unambiguous grounds for thinking that there is a problem of moral luck. Indeed, it is shown that insofar as these papers succeed in making a prima facie case for the existence of epistemic luck, it is only the familiar sceptical variant of this problem that they identify. (shrink)
This paper features a detailed philosophical classification of the four types of deists that Samuel Clarke presents in the second series of the Boyle Lectures for promoting Christianity (1705). In the course of this paper I determine, for each type of deist, the truth values of twelve important propositions, and I show that these four types of deists may be categorized as (1) ‘no-providence’, (2) ‘physical-laws-providence’, (3) ‘moral-but-no-afterlife’, and (4) ‘moral-and-afterlife’. Using an accompanying table of propositions as a visualization (...) tool, I also show that Clarke's account of these four types of deists may be thought of as ‘progressively Christian’: for each type of deist, from lower-number deists to higher-number deists, there is an increasing number of truth values that are Christian-like. (shrink)
An epistemological how-possible question asks how knowledge, or knowledge of some specific kind, is possible. The main contention of Duncan Pritchard‟s stimulating comments is that what I call „explanatory minimalism‟ appears to offer us just what we are seeking when we ask such a question. This looks like a problem for me given that I defend a version of explanatory anti-minimalism. Pritchard outlines a version of minimalism inspired by the writings of John McDowell and does not find it obvious (...) that this position is lacking in any relevant respect. Nor do I. My minimalism is moderate rather than extreme but Pritchard‟s objections to anti-minimalism are objections to extreme anti-minimalism. Indeed, his comments do not seem to me to have any direct bearing on what I take to be the fundamental disagreement between minimalism and anti-minimalism. (shrink)
In the past 250 years, David Hume probably had a greater impact on the field of philosophy of religion than any other single philosopher. He relentlessly attacked the standard proofs for God's existence, traditional notions of God's nature and divine governance, the connection between morality and religion, and the rationality of belief in miracles. He also advanced radical theories of the origin of religious ideas, grounding such notions in human psychology rather than in divine reality. In the last decade of (...) his life Hume wrote 'I cou'd cover the Floor of a large Room with Books and Pamphlets wrote against me'. Indeed, most of these targeted his writings on religion. This, the third part of the Early Responses to Hume series, and perhaps the most eagerly awaited, collects responses to Hume's writings on religion published during his life, namely, 'Of Miracles', 'Of a Particular Providence and a Future State', The Natural History of Religion , and the posthumously published works Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion , 'Of Suicide' and 'Of the Immortality of the Soul'. The set covers a wide range of the replies Hume's writings provoked, including contributions by Philip Skelton, William Adams, Thomas Rutherforth, William Warburton, Anthony Ellys, John Douglas, John Leland, Thomas Stona, Voltaire, George Campbell, Herman Andrew Pistorius, Duncan Shaw, William Samuel Powell, Thomas Hayter, Joseph Milner, William Paley, Charles Moore, Richard Joseph Sulivan, John Hey, Samuel Vince, Lord Brougham and Thomas De Quincey. (shrink)
The essay analyses the chief meanings of the idea of equality both in the natural law theory and in the theological thought of Samuel Pufendorf, as well as his criticism to the Hobbesian conception of equality, utilitaristically founded. In his natural law Theory Pufendorf, unlike Hobbes, conceives equality not as equality in capacity, but as juridical equality ( aequalitas juris ). Equality, the second of the three duties to one another, prescribes to every man to treat every other as (...) his equal by nature, respecting his dignity as he is an equally rational and free human being. Equality is also interpreted by Pufendorf both as the equal right and power to self-preservation and as men's equal subjection to the natural law. In his main theological work Pufendorf, on the contrary, takes his idea of equality from the Lutheran thesis of the universal priesthood of all the faithful. (shrink)
This essay begins by considering Samuel Fuller's 1963 film Shock Corridor as a model of schizo-violence – a disorganised violence that eludes the Oedipal, moralising binary of action and reaction, and instead opens up the violent action to multiple becomings outside Oedipal and nationalistic framings. Through the de-Oedipalisation of the violent events punctuating American history, Shock Corridor performs a schizoanalytic model of desire capable of giving free rein to the force of traumatic affections. The latter part of the discussion (...) situates Fuller's film and the contemporary US military machine as diametrically opposed in their approaches to what we might call ‘the affective politics of war’. Several contemporary scenarios revolving around both actual war violence and Kathryn Bigelow's film The Hurt Locker (2008) serve to show how the schizophrenising operations of the brain itself constitute the greatest obstacle in the military's efforts to contain or repress the traumatic affections generated by violence and war. (shrink)
In this article, I discuss how Samuel Stanhope Smith advanced Reidian themes in his moral philosophy and examine their reception by Presbyterian revivalists Ashbel Green, Samuel Miller, and Archibald Alexander. Smith, seventh president and moral philosophy professor of the College of New Jersey (1779–1812), has received marginal scholarly attention regarding his moral philosophy and rational theology, in comparison to his predecessor John Witherspoon. As an early American philosopher who drew on the ideals of the Scottish Enlightenment including Common (...) Sense philosophy, Smith faced heightened scrutiny from American revivalists regarding the danger his epistemology presented to the institution of religion. The Scottish School of Common Sense was widely praised and applied in nineteenth-century American moral philosophy, but before the more general American acceptance of Common Sense, Smith already appealed to Reidian themes in his methodology and treatment of external sensations, internal sensations, intellectual powers, and active powers of the human mind. In this paper, I argue that Smith's use of Reidian themes for grooming his student's morality conflicted with the educational expectations from revivalists on Princeton's board of trustees who demanded more attention on orthodox theology. I identify Smith's notions of causation, liberty, and the moral faculty as primary reasons for this tension over Princeton's educational purpose during the first decade of the nineteenth century. (shrink)
Published within weeks of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, Isabelle Duncan's Pre-Adamite Man (1860) is the first full-length treatment of preadamism by an evangelical. Intended as a reconciliation of Genesis and geology, Duncan's work gained immediacy when it was published shortly after the September 1859 revelations that men had walked among the mammoths. Written in the tradition of evangelical 'Christian philosophy', Pre-Adamite Man deploys innovative biblical hermeneutics and recent trends in geology to set out both a biblical preadamite (...) theory, and an unorthodox angelology. Duncan responded to contemporary secular interpretations of geology by pushing evangelical concordist strategies to new frontiers, filling out an acceptance of an ancient earth with new biblically informed catastrophist proposals and extensions of salvation history, while simultaneously retaining a firm commitment to plenary inspiration. The product is a highly readable book that operates both as an accessible treatment of geology and a theological discourse. Running through six printings between 1860 and 1866, the book was reviewed by many of the period's leading journals and created a minor controversy among evangelicals. This study both brings to life this previously neglected episode in scriptural geology, and adds to recent work on Victorian popular science writing. (shrink)
Drawing on new manuscript sources, this volume offers seven contributions on Hermann Samuel Reimarus, the most significant biblical critic in eighteenth-century Germany, as well as an eminent Enlightenment philosopher, a renowned classicist ...
Although there are many books on Samuel Johnson's moral and religious thought, none have managed to provide a complete analysis of his relationship to the ethics and theology of the eighteenth-century. This major new study examines the background to Johnson's views on a wide range of issues that were debated by the philosophers and divines of the age, emphasizing the ambivalence and contradiction inherent in his orthodoxy, while challenging the assumption that his religious beliefs were unstable and filled with (...) anxiety. (shrink)
The Philistines.—Hebrew monotheism.—Administration of Samuel.—Early Hebrew psalmody.—Exterior marks of the Prophet.—Modes of divination.—Foreigndangers of Israel.—Appointment of Saul.—Romantic Philistine campaign.—Ammonite inroad.—Enmity with Amalek.—Massacre of the Amalekites.—David, anointed by Samuel.—David, Saul’s armour-bearer.—David, Saul’s son-in-law. —David, a freebooter.—David with Achish of Gath.—David reinforced from Israel.—David’s return to Ziklag.—Battle of Mount Gilboa.
A philosophical exploration of the ideal of intellectual integrity drawing on Samuel Butler's semi-autobiographical Bildungsroaman, The Way of All Flesh; and relating this to C.S. Peirce's idea of the scientific attitude and Percy Bridgman's reflections on the conditions needed for this ideal to flourish.