A little over a year ago Oxford Studies vol. XIII was reviewed in this journal, and the general character of the series does not need to be reiterated. This year's volume is just a bit longer (up from 296 pages) and a bit more expensive (up from $65.00). But there are only ten contributions, rather than twelve, permitting the editor to include three unusually long articles with no loss in the variety or range of periods covered. Alas, there is still (...) nothing on the Presocratics; one can only hope that this is not an indication that the field has gone moribund. (shrink)
Incompatibilism, the view that free will and determinism are incompatible, subsists on two widely accepted, but deeply confused, theses concerning possibility and causation: (1) in a deterministic universe, one can never truthfully utter the sentence “I could have done otherwise,” and (2) in such universes, one can never really receive credit or blame for having caused an event, since in fact all events have been predetermined by conditions during the universe’s birth. Throughout the free will literature one finds variations on (...) these two themes, often intermixed in various ways. When Robert Nozick2 describes our longing for “originative value” he apparently has thesis (2) in mind, and thesis (1) may underlie his assertion that “we want it to be true that in that very same situation we could have done (significantly) otherwise.” John Austin, in a famous footnote, flirts with thesis (1). (shrink)
Incompatibilism, the view that free will and determinism are incompatible, subsists on two widely accepted, but deeply confused, theses concerning possibility and causation: (1) in a deterministic universe, one can never truthfully utter the sentence "I could have done otherwise," and (2) in such universes, one can never really take credit for having caused an event, since in fact all events have been predetermined by conditions during the universe's birth. Throughout the free will literature one finds variations on these two (...) themes, often intermixed in various ways. When Robert Nozick(1) describes our longing for "originative value" he apparently has thesis (2) in mind, and thesis (1) may underlie his assertion that "we want it to be true that in that very same situation we could have done (significantly) otherwise." John Austin, in a famous footnote, flirts with thesis (1). (shrink)
There is no doctrine about determinism and freedom that has proved to be as resilient over the past century as that of Compatibilism. It is, of course, the doctrine that we can be both free and also subject to a real determinism. If it goes back at least to Hobbes and Hume, it was strengthened and refurbished throughout the 1900's. Part of its strength has been the extent to which it has satisfied theses that in fact seem to be the (...) very substance of the doctrine opposed to it. This is Incompatibilism. What follows here is the most recent and the very best attempt to steal what has appeared to be the thunder of Incompatibilism. Professors Taylor and Dennett make use of a certain amount of technicality in giving sense, on the assumption of determinism, to the ideas that we can nevertheless do otherwise than we actually do and we can also really take credit for things. It is not my own view, but it is one that must be reckoned with by all who struggle with the problem. Put in some effort with the formalism if you have to, find out a little about possible worlds. It is certainly worth the effort. (shrink)
Michel Foucault is well known as a theorist of power who provided forceful critiques of institutions of confinement such as the psychiatric asylum and the prison. Although the invention of factory farms and industrial slaughterhouses, like prisons and psychiatric hospitals, can be considered emblematic moments in a history of modernity, and although the modern farm is an institution of confinement comparable to the prison, Foucault never addressed these institutions, the politics of animal agriculture, or power relationships between humans and other (...) animals more generally. The few times that Foucault discussed animality or human–animal relations, animals and animality remained metaphors for humans and human experiences. Despite Foucault's failure to analyze human–nonhuman animal relations, a significant body of Critical Animal Studies literature has mobilized Foucault's work over the last decade. In particular, a number of scholars have taken up Foucault's writings to consider how relations between humans and nonhuman animals in agriculture might be conceptualized as instances of sovereign power, biopower, disciplinary power, and pastoral power, as well as why we may not think that these are power relations at all. This essay provides an overview of Foucault's accounts of power and of the Foucauldian scholarship that applies these accounts to human–nonhuman animal relations in animal agriculture. (shrink)
This interview with Charles Taylor explores a central concern throughout his work, viz., his concern to confront the challenges presented by the process of ‘disenchantment’ in the modern world. It focuses especially on what is involved in seeking a kind of ‘re-enchantment.' A key issue that is discussed is the relationship of Taylor’s theism to his effort of seeking re-enchantment. Some other related issues that are explored pertain to questions surrounding Taylor’s argument against the standard secularization thesis that views secularization (...) as a process involving the ineluctable fading away of religion. Additionally, the relationship between Taylor’s religious views and his philosophical work is discussed. (shrink)
This essay discusses the difference between the concepts of multiculturalism and interculturalism, both concepts which are current on the Canadian scene. It argues that the difference between the two is not so much a matter of the concrete policies, but concerns rather the story that we tell about where we are coming from and where we are going. In some ways, we could argue that interculturalism is more suitable for certain European countries.
This paper provides an overview of Michel Foucault's continually changing observations on familial power, as well as the feminist-Foucauldian literature on the family. It suggests that these accounts offer fragments of a genealogy of the family that undermine any all-encompassing or transhistorical account of the institution. Approaching the family genealogically, rather than seeking a single model of power that can explain it, shows that far from this institution being a quasi-natural formation or a bedrock of unassailable values, it is in (...) fact a continually contested fiction that masks its own histories of becoming. (shrink)
In his influential paper 'The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn', Jonathan Bennett suggests that Huck's failure to turn in the runaway slave Jim as his conscience — a conscience distorted by racism — tells him he ought to is not merely right but also praiseworthy. James Montmarquet however argues against what he sees here as Bennett's 'anti-intellectualism' in moral psychology that insofar as Huck lacks and so fails to act on the moral belief that he should help Jim his action is (...) not praiseworthy. In this paper I suggest that we should reject Montmarquet's claim here; that the case of Huck Finn indicates rather how many of our everyday moral responses to others do not and need not depend on any particular moral beliefs we hold about them or their situation. (shrink)
This paper reports on an ongoing ARC Discovery Project that is conducting design research into learning in collaborative virtual worlds (CVW).The paper will describe three design components of the project: (a) pedagogical design, (b)technical and graphics design, and (c) learning research design. The perspectives of each design team will be discussed and how the three teams worked together to produce the CVW. The development of productive failure learning activities for the CVW will be discussed and there will be an interactive (...) demonstration of the project's CVW. (shrink)
There are two connected illusions which have become very common today. The first consists in marking a very sharp distinction between reason and faith—even to the point of defining faith as believing without good reason! The second is to take as a model of rationality what we might call “disengaged” reason. One illusion exaggerates the capacities of “reason alone” (allusion to Kant intended); the second sees reason as essentially “dispassionate.” Moreover, the two are closely linked. This paper argues against both, (...) while exploring the link. (shrink)
This paper tries to examine what is at stake in the various projects to ?re-enchant the world?, which have arisen in the face of modernity. It sees the ambition to ?save the sacred? in this context. It poses a number of problems which arise for such projects, and in particular examines the notion of ?polytheism? which is central to the recent book of Sean Kelly and Hubert Dreyfus, All Things Shining.
Drawing on Michel Foucault's writings as well as the writings of feminist scholars bell hooks and Jane Gallop, this paper examines faculty–student sexual relations and the discourses and policies that surround them. It argues that the dominant discourses on professor–student sex and the policies that follow from them misunderstand the form of power that is at work within pedagogical institutions, and it examines some of the consequences that result from this misunderstanding. In Foucault's terms, we tend to theorize faculty–student relations (...) using a model of sovereign power in which people have or lack power and in which power operates in a static, stable, and exclusively top-down manner. We should, however, recognize the ways in which individuals in pedagogical institutions are situated within disciplinary and thus dynamic, reciprocal, and complex networks of power, as well as the ways in which the pedagogical relation may be a technique of the self and not only of domination. If we reconsider these relations in terms of Foucault's accounts of discipline and technologies of the self, we can recognize that prohibitions on faculty—student sexual relations within institutions such as the university are productive rather than repressive of desire, and that such relations can be opportunities for development and not only for abuse. Moreover, this paper suggests that the dominant discourses on professor—student relations today contribute to a construction of professors as dangerous and students as vulnerable, which denies the agency of (mostly female) students and obscures the multiplicity of forms of sexual abuse that occur within the university context. (shrink)
This article follows Deleuze in investigating the ways in which the symptom as a form of representation can be collapsed into immanence. Exploring the symptoms of schizophrenia and autism, it examines what implications such a collapse may have for the production of the symptom in its double articulation as representation and immanent production. The argument follows Deleuze and Guattari in asserting that symptoms hold an implicit limit for the social forms that deploy them. Arguing that schizophrenia, as one such limit, (...) has been successfully appropriated and deferred by postmodern capitalism, it is proposed that the proliferating symptom cluster of autism may indicate a new form of limit and that ‘‘becoming autistic’’ thus may have potential as revolutionary practice. (shrink)
While a number of philosophers have argued recently that it is through our emotional response to certain literary works that we might achieve particular moral understanding, what has not been discussed in detail in this connection are works which generate conflicting responses in the reader; which is to say literary works in which there is significant element of ambiguity. Consider Joseph Conrad's novel Lord Jim. I argue that in making sense of our potentially conflicting responses to this novel, and specifically (...) to its central character Jim, we may gain a richer sense of the ways in which literature may contribute to moral understanding — in this case by contributing to an understanding of our own character, its blind spots and its limitations. (shrink)
Iris Murdoch and moral philosophy -- Understanding the other: a Gadamerian view on conceptual schemes -- Language not mysterious? -- Celan and the recovery of language -- Nationalism and modernity -- Conditions of an unforced consensus on human rights -- Democratic exclusion (and its remedies?) -- Religious mobilizations -- Themes from a secular age -- The immanent counter-enlightenment -- Notes on the sources of violence: perennial and modern -- The future of the religious past -- Disenchantment-re-enchantment -- What does secularism (...) mean? -- Die blosse Vernunft ("reason alone") -- Perils of moralism -- What was the Axial revolution? (shrink)
In a 1983 interview, Michel Foucault contrasts our contemporary interest in sexual identity with the ancient Greek preoccupation with diet, arguing that sex has replaced food as the privileged medium of self-constitution in the modern West. In the same interview, Foucault argues that modern liberation movements should return to the ancient model of ethics, of which diet was a prime example, as aesthetics or self-transformative practice. In this paper I take up Foucault's argument with respect to the Animal Liberation Movement (...) and the dietetics of ethical vegetarianism. Contra Foucault, I suggest that diet has not been replaced by sexuality in the modern West, and that food choices, along with and intertwined with sexuality, continue to function as practices of self-constitution in both disciplinary and aesthetic fashions. I then consider the implications of this argument for the Animal Liberation Movement, exploring ways in which it might (and to some degree already does) take on aesthetic rather than moral strategies in order to pursue what Foucault once described as “an ethics of acts and their pleasures which would be able to take into account the pleasure of the other.”. (shrink)
The binding energies, geometries, charges and electronic structures of a series of impurity atoms [H?Ar] interacting with the α-U lattice in various configurations were assessed by means of density functional theory calculations. Periodic trends governing the binding energy were highlighted and related to the electronic properties of the impurity atoms, with some consideration given to the band-structure of α-U. The strongest bound impurity atoms include [C, N, O] and [Si, P, S]. The general trends in the binding energy can be (...) reproduced by a simple parameterisation in terms of the electronegativity (charge-transfer) and covalent radius (elasticity theory) of the impurity atom. The strongest bound atoms deviate from this model, due to their ability to bind with an optimum mixture of covalency and ionicity. This last point is evidenced by the partial overlap of the impurity atom p-band with the hybrid d?/f-band of α-U. It is expected that the trends and general behaviour reported in this work can be extended to the interactions of impurity atoms with other metallic systems. (shrink)
In 1977 Michel Foucault contemplated the idea of punishing rape only as a crime of violence, while in 1978 he argued that non-coercive sex between adults and minors should be decriminalized entirely. Feminists have consistently criticized these suggestions by Foucault. This paper argues that these feminist responses have failed to sufficiently understand the theoretical motivations behind Foucault's statements on sex-crime legislation reform, and will offer a new feminist appraisal of Foucault's suggestions.
In the first volume of the History of Sexuality , Michel Foucault states in passing that prostitution and pornography, like the sexual sciences of medicine and psychiatry, are involved in the proliferation of sexualities and the perverse implantation. Against an influential misinterpretation of this passage on the part of film studies scholar Linda Williams, this paper takes up Foucault’s claim and attempts to explain the mechanism through which the sex industry, and pornography in particular, functions analogously to the sexual sciences (...) in terms of the normalizing form of power that Foucault describes. Whereas Williams sets the question of prostitution aside, and argues that pornography must be a confessional discourse for Foucault, this paper argues that consumption rather than confession is the mechanism through which both prostitution and pornography deploy sexualities within a disciplinary system of power. (shrink)
Mrs. Digby told me that when she lived in London with her sister, Mrs. Brooke, they were every now and then honoured by the visits of Dr. Johnson. He called on them one day soon after the publication of his immortal dictionary. The two ladies paid him due compliments on the occasion. Amongst other topics of praise they very much commended the omission of all naughty words. 'What! my dears! then you have been looking for them?' said the moralist. The (...) ladies, confused at being thus caught, dropped the subject of the dictionary. (shrink)
BackgroundReports suggest that some health care personnel fear retaliation from seeking ethics consultation. We therefore examined the prevalence and determinants of fear of retaliation and determined whether this fear is associated with diminished likelihood of consulting an ethics committee.MethodsWe surveyed registered nurses (RNs) and social workers (SWs) in four US states to identify ethical problems they encounter. We developed a retaliation index (1–7 point range) with higher scores indicating a higher perceived likelihood of retaliation. Linear regression analysis was performed to (...) identify socio-demographic and job characteristics associated with fear of retaliation. Logistic regression analysis was performed to determine whether fear of retaliation was associated with less likelihood of seeking consultation. Results Our sample (N = 1215) was primarily female (85%) and Caucasian (83%) with a mean age of 46 years and 17 years of practice. Among the sample, 293 (48.7%) RNs and 309 (51.3%) SWs reported access to an ethics consultation service. Amongst those with access, 2.8% (n = 17) personally experienced retaliation, 9.1% (n = 55) observed colleagues experience retaliation, 30.2% (n = 182) reported no experience with retaliation but considered it a realistic fear, and 50.8% (n = 305) did not perceive retaliation to be a problem. In logistic regression modeling, fear of retaliation was not associated with the likelihood (OR = 0.64; 95% CI = 0.22–1.89) or frequency of requesting ethics consultation (OR = 0.81; 95% CI = 0.27–2.38). Conclusion Fear of retaliation from seeking ethics consultation is common among nurses and social workers, nonetheless this fear is not associated with reduced requests for ethics consultation. (shrink)
Purpose/methods: This study investigated the relationship between ethics education and training, and the use and usefulness of ethics resources, confidence in moral decisions, and moral action/activism through a survey of practicing nurses and social workers from four United States (US) census regions. Findings: The sample (n = 1215) was primarily Caucasian (83%), female (85%), well educated (57% with a master's degree). no ethics education at all was reported by 14% of study participants (8% of social workers had no ethics education, (...) versus 23% of nurses), and only 57% of participants had ethics education in their professional educational program. Those with both professional ethics education and in-service or continuing education were more confident in their moral judgments and more likely to use ethics resources and to take moral action. Social workers had more overall education, more ethics education, and higher confidence and moral action scores, and were more likely to use ethics resources than nurses. Conclusion: Ethics education has a significant positive influence on moral confidence, moral action, and use of ethics resources by nurses and social workers. (shrink)