The philosophical enterprise -- The mind-body problem -- Free will and determinism -- The problem of personal identity -- The problem of relativism and morality -- The problem of evil and the existence of god -- The problem of skepticism and knowledge.
In his book Frederic Schick develops his challenge to standard decision theory. He argues that talk of the beliefs and desires of an agent is not sufficient to explain choices. To account for a given choice we need to take into consideration how the agent understands the problem, how he sees in a selective way the options open to him. The author applies his new logic to a host of common human predicaments. Why do people in choice experiments act (...) so often against expectations? Why do people cooperate in situations where textbook logic predicts that they won't? What exactly is weakness of will? What are people reporting when they say their lives have no meaning for them? This book questions the foundations of technical and philosophical decision theory and will appeal to all those who work in that field, be they philosophers, economists or psychologists. (shrink)
This is an important new book about human motivation, about the reasons people have for their actions. What is distinctively new about it is its focus on how people see or understand their situations, options, and prospects. By taking account of people's understandings (along with their beliefs and desires), Professor Schick is able to expand the current theory of decision and action. The author provides a perspective on the topic by outlining its history. He defends his new theory against (...) criticism, considers its formal structure, and shows at length how it resolves many currently debated problems: the problems of conflict and weakness of will, Allais' problem, Kahneman and Tversky's problems, Newcomb's problem, and others. The book will be of special interest to philosophers, psychologists, and economists. (shrink)
This book is a unique introductory overview of decision theory. It is completely non-technical, without a single formula in the book. Written in a crisp and clear style it succinctly covers the full range of philosophical issues of rationality and decision theory, including game theory, social choice theory, prisoner's dilemma and much else. The book aims to expand the scope and enrich the foundations of decision theory. By addressing such issues as ambivalence, inner conflict, and the constraints imposed upon us (...) by our attachments to others, Frederic Schick reveals that our thinking is often more subtle than standard theories of rationality allow. Only a theory that respects that subtlety can illumine what is otherwise puzzling. The book contains many examples drawn from history and literature dealing with subjects such as love, war, friendship, and crime. (shrink)
In two studies, we used the Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ) to investigate the relationship between individual differences in moral philosophy, involvement in the animal rights movement, and attitudes toward the treatment of animals. In the first, 600 animal rights activists attending a national demonstration and 266 nonactivist college students were given the EPQ. Analysis of the returns from 157 activists and 198 students indicated that the activists were more likely than the students to hold an "absolutist" moral orientation (high idealism, (...) low relativism). In the second study, 169 students were given the EPQ with a scale designed to measure attitudes toward the treatment of animals. Multiple regression showed that gender and the EPQ dimension of idealism were related to attitudes toward animal use. (shrink)
According to TheodoreSchick, Jr., Eugenie C. Scott’s endorsement of methodological naturalism---roughly, the view that science is limited by its methodology to be neutral vis-à-vis the supernatural---is misguided. He offers three arguments; I contend that none is successful.
Some believe that evidence for the big bang is evidence for the existence of god. Who else, they ask, could have caused such a thing? In this paper, I evaluate the big bang argument, compare it with the traditional first-cause argument, and consider the relative plausibility of various natural explanations of the big bang.
According to Eugenie Scott, methodological materialism---the view that science attempts to explain the world using material processes---does not imply philosophical materialism---the view that all that exists are material processes. Thus one can consistently be both a scientist and a theist. According to Phillip Johnson, however, methodological materialism presupposes philosophical materialism. Consequently, scientists are unable to see the cogency of supernatural explanations, like creationism. I argue that both Scott and Johnson are wrong: scientists are not limited to explaining tbe world using (...) material processes and science does not presuppose materialism. Thus scientists’ rejection of creationism is not irrational. (shrink)
This paper explores the special problems encountered by the biographer of a living scientific subject. In particular, it explores the complex of problems that emerges from the intense interpersonal dynamic involving issues of distance, privacy and trust. It also explores methodological problems having to do with oral history interviews and other supporting documentation. It draws on the personal experience of the author and the biographical subject of G. Ledyard Stebbins Jr., the botanist, geneticist and evolutionist. It also offers prescriptives and (...) recommendations for future research. (shrink)
Henry Johnstone's philosophical development was guided by a persistent need to reform the concept of validity -either by reinterpreting it or by finding a substitute for it. This project lead Johnstone into interesting confrontations with the concept of rhetoric and especiaUy with the work of Chaim Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca. The project culminated in a failed attempt to develop a formal ethics of rhetoric and argumentation, but this attempt was itself not consistent with some of Johnstone's other characterizations ofan ethics of (...) argument ation. A virtue ethics would be truer to the Johnstonian philosophical project than a formal ethics of argument. Resume. (shrink)
Given the pragmatic tum recently taken by argumentation studies, we owe renewed attention to Henry Johnstone's views on the primacy of process over product. In particular, Johnstone's decidedly non-cooperative model is a refreshing alternative to the current dialogic theories of arguing, one which opens the way for specifically rhetorical lines of inquiry.
In virtue of its form [‘I am here’] must be true on any occasion on which [it is] asserted, and yet the proposition it expresses on each occasion [is] contingent. (Richmond H. Thomason, ‘Necessity, Quotation, and Truth: an Indexical Theory’, Language in Focus: Foundations, Methods and Systems, ed. by Asa Kasher, D. Reidel Publishing Co., 1976, p. 121) Intuitively, [‘I am here now’] is deeply, and in some sense universally, true. One need only understand the meaning of [it] to know (...) that it cannot be uttered falsely. (David Kaplan, ‘On the Logic of Demonstratives’, Contemporary Perspectives in the Philosophy of Language, ed. by Peter French, Theodore Uehling Jr. & Howard Wettstein, University of Minnesota Press, 1979, p. 402) The sentence ‘I am here’ has the peculiar property that whenever I utter it, it is bound to be true. Even if I am lost and do not know where I am, I can bravely say ‘I am here’, and know that I am expressing a truth. (Simon Blackburn, Spreading the Word, Oxford University Press, 1984, p. 334). (shrink)
The early twentieth century witnessed a shift in the way philosophers of science thought about traditional 'problems of induction'. Keynes championed the idea that Hume's Problem was not a problem about causation (which had been the traditional reading of Hume) but rather a problem about induction. Moreover, Keynes (and later Nicod) viewed such problems as having both logical and epistemological components. Hempel picked up where Keynes and Nicod left off, by formulating a rigorous formal theory of inductive logic. This spawned (...) a new branch of philosophy of science called confirmation theory. Hempel's theory of confirmation was based on a few very simple (and seemingly plausible) assumptions about (instantial) 'inductive-logical support'. However, as Hempel himself was keenly aware, even such simple and seemingly plausible assumptions give rise to various puzzles and paradoxes. The two most famous paradoxes of confirmation were discovered by Hempel and Goodman. This article discusses Hempel's paradox (which is known as 'the' paradox of confirmation, since it was discovered first). However, many of the historical developments surrounding Hempel's paradox (also known as the 'raven paradox') are also crucial for understanding Goodman's later ('grue') paradox. Author Recommends: Branden Fitelson, 'The Paradox of Confirmation', Philosophy Compass 1/1 (2006): 95–113, doi: [DOI link]. In this article, I explain how the inconsistency between Hempel's intuitive resolution and his official theory of confirmation affects the historical dialectic about the paradox and how it illuminates the nature of confirmation. After the survey, I argue that Hempel's intuitions about the paradox of confirmation were basically correct, and that it is his theory that should be rejected, in favor of a (broadly) Bayesian account of confirmation. C. G. Hempel, 'Studies in the Logic of Confirmation' (I and II), Mind 54 (1945): 1–26, 97–121, dois: [DOI link]; [DOI link]. This is the locus classicus of traditional (instantial) confirmation theory. It is here that original motivations for, traditional approaches to, and paradoxes of confirmation are discussed in depth for the first time, under the rubric 'confirmation theory'. Hempel's discussion (which picks up where Keynes and Nicod left off) is chock full of crucial historical, logical, and epistemological insights. J. M. Keynes, A Treatise on Probability (London: Macmillan, 1921). Keynes does not get enough credit in this context. But, basically, chapters 18 to 23 of this classic book planted the seeds for almost all of modern confirmation theory. Nicod and Hempel (as well as Hosiasson-Lindenbaum, Carnap, and others) were, basically, just picking-up where Keynes left off. J. Nicod, The Logical Problem of Induction (1923), reprinted in Foundations of Geometry and Induction (London: Routledge, 2000). Nicod's essay expands upon Keynes's work. Nicod is the first to use the term 'confirmation', in connection with a relation of 'inductive-logical support'. Nicod endorses several key confirmation-theoretic principles (which were already advanced by Keynes). In the hands of Hempel, Nicod's work later becomes an important historical foil. J. Hosiasson–Lindenbaum, 'On Confirmation', Journal of Symbolic Logic 5 (1940): 133–48. This essay contains most (if not all) of the basic ingredients of the 'Bayesian' approaches to the paradox of confirmation that appeared later. It also sheds much light on an important dispute between Keynes and Nicod concerning one of the claims Keynes makes (in his Treatise) about 'long-run convergence' in certain (instantial) confirmation-theoretic problems. This paper also contains one of the earliest rigorous axiomatizations of conditional (subjective or logical) probability. R. Carnap, Logical Foundations of Probability (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, 1950). This is Carnap's encyclopaedic work on inductive logic and probability. There is a tremendous amount of wisdom in here. For present purposes, the sections on Hempel's theory of confirmation (in contrast to probabilistic approaches to confirmation, such as Hosiasson–Lindenbaum's and Carnap's) are probably most important and salient (see §§87–8). I. J. Good, 'The Paradox of Confirmation', British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 11 (1960): 145–9. C. Chihara, 'Quine and the Confirmational Paradoxes', in Midwest Studies in Philosophy. Vol. 6: The Foundations of Analytic Philosophy, eds. Peter A. French, Theodore E. Uehling, Jr., and Howard K. Wettstein (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1981), 425–52. J. Earman, Bayes or Bust: A Critical Examination of Bayesian Confirmation Theory (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992), specifically: pp. 63–73. R. M. Royall, Statistical Evidence: A Likelihood Paradigm (New York, NY: Chapman & Hall, 1997), specifically: the Appendix on 'The Paradox of the Ravens'. C. McKenzie and L. Mikkelsen, 'The Psychological Side of Hempel's Paradox of Confirmation', Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 7 (2000): 360–6. P. Maher, 'Probability Captures the Logic of Scientific Confirmation', in Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Science, ed. Christopher Hitchcock (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), 69–93. P. Vranas, 'Hempel's Raven Paradox: A Lacuna in the Standard Bayesian Solution', British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2004): 545–60. This is a list of seven of my favourite papers on the paradox of confirmation, since 1950 (listed in chronological order). Most of these are coming from a broadly 'Bayesian' perspective. In particular, I recommend Vranas as a good starting point here. Online Materials: http://fitelson.org/probability/ Probability & Induction (PHIL 148, UC-Berkeley, Spring 2008) This is the Web site for an undergraduate course on probability and induction that I taught at UC-Berkeley in Spring 2008. Much of the course focuses on confirmation theory (including the paradoxes of confirmation). There are many links there to lecture notes, papers, books and other salient online resources. http://fitelson.org/confirmation/ Confirmation (graduate seminar, UC-Berkeley, Fall 2007) This is the Web site for a graduate seminar on confirmation that I taught at UC-Berkeley in Fall 2007. This seminar is a historical trace of induction/confirmation, from Aristotle to Goodman (mostly, focusing on the 20th century and the paradoxes of confirmation). Sample Syllabus: See the online syllabi for Confirmation and/or Probability & Induction (above). Note: those online syllabi contain electronic copies of many of the salient readings. (shrink)
Theodore Levitt criticizes John Kenneth Galbraith's view of advertising as artificial want creation, contending that its selling focus on the product fails to appreciate the marketing focus on the consumer. But Levitt himself not only ends up endorsing selling; he fails to confront the fact that the marketing to our most pervasive needs that he advocates really represents a sophisticated form of selling. He avoids facing this by the fiction that marketing is concerned only with the material level of (...) existence, and absolves marketing of serious involvement in the level of meaning through the relativization of all meanings as personal preferences. The irony is that this itself reflects a particular view of meaning, a modern commercial one, so that it is this vision of life that LevittÕs marketing is really SELLING. (shrink)
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935) is, arguably, the most important American jurist of the 20th century, and his essay The Path of the Law, first published in 1898, is the seminal work in American legal theory. In it, Holmes detailed his radical break with legal formalism and created the foundation for the leading contemporary schools of American legal thought. He was the dominant source of inspiration for the school of legal realism, and his insistence on a practical approach to law (...) and legal analysis laid the basis for the realists' later concentration upon the pragmatic and empirical aspects of law and legal procedures. This volume brings together some of the most distinguished legal scholars from the United States and Canada to examine competing understandings of The Path of the Law and its implications for contemporary American jurisprudence. For the reader's convenience, the essay is republished in an Appendix. (shrink)
This essay focuses on one aspect of the social thought of Martin Luther King, Jr.: his social ethics. Specifically, it poses the question whether, in what sense, and from what time it is correct to consider King a democratic socialist. The essay argues that King was in fact a democratic socialist and, contrary to the implications of some recent interpreters who have focused on transformation and radicalization in King's thought, that King's democratic socialism was rooted in his formative experience (...) of the black religious tradition and was manifested from his student days at Crozer Theological Seminary forward. The change that may be discerned in King's later years was only a refinement, not a transformation, of his basic orientation. (shrink)
Much attention has been devoted in recent years to the personal idealism of Martin Luther King, Jr. Among the major contributors to the scholarship in this area is Rufus Burrow, Jr., who places King firmly in the tradition of personal idealism, or personalism, while also uncovering the intellectual unease that made King both a deep and creative thinker and a committed and effective social activist.1 Clearly, Burrow's own sense of his role as a personalist informs his approach to the life (...) and thought of King. Although philosophical personalism figures prominently in Burrow's treatment of King in his writings, ethical and social personalism provides the primary theoretical framework for both Burrow's exploration of .. (shrink)
This is a review of the book Cultivating Original Enlightenment: Wŏnhyo's Exposition of the Vajrasamādhi-Sūtra , by Robert E. Buswell, Jr., published by the Univeristy of Hawaii Press (2008). This volume, the first to be published in the Collected Works of Wŏnhyo series, contains the translation of a single text by Wŏnhyo, the Kŭmgang Sammaegyŏng Non.
(2005). George R. Lucas, Jr. & W. Rick Rubel's (Eds) Ethics and the Military Profession: The Moral Foundations of Leadership and Case Studies in Military Ethics. Journal of Military Ethics: Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 214-219. doi: 10.1080/15027570500197453.
This article describes the racial integration of Emory University and the subsequent creation of Pre-Start, an affirmative action program at Emory Law School from 1966 to 1972. It focuses on the initiative of the Dean of Emory Law School at the time, Ben F. Johnson, Jr. (1914-2006). Johnson played a number of leadership roles throughout his life, including successfully arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court while he was an Assistant Attorney General of Georgia, promoting legislation to create (...)Atlanta's subway system as a state senator, and representing Emory in its lawsuit to strike down the state statute that would have rescinded its tax exemption if it admitted African American students (Emory v. Nash, 218 Ga. 317 (Ga. 1962)). This account supplements my related article on Pre-Start, "'A Bulwark against Anarchy': Affirmative Action, Emory Law School, and Southern Self-Help" (SSRN abstract 1007006), providing more information about historical context generally, and particularly about Emory v. Nash. Johnson was ambitious for Emory as a whole, and particularly for the Law School, and he saw in segregation the single largest impediment to making Emory a nationally prominent research university. The story of Emory's integration, and Johnson's leadership, requires revision of the prevailing story of integration generally, and especially of universities. Integration at Emory came about because of the pressure that African Americans and their supporters created through the civil rights movement, but Emory administrators responded to such pressure more constructively than most (e.g., Universities of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Vanderbilt). Their actions provide an interesting case study in effective leadership during a period of significant moral and political conflict. (shrink)
The question of the relation of my work to that of Martin Luther King Jr. cannot be resolved with the theoretical tools Christopher Beem brings to the task. Stanley Fish has written that "those who detach King's words from the history that produced them erase the fact of that history from the slate, and they do so, paradoxically, in order to prevent that history from being truly and deeply altered." The vice of liberalism is not selfishness so much as (...) a forgetfulness that spreads like a blight from the habit of abstraction. Martin Luther King Jr. remembered his people, his savior, and his church, and he called the rest of us to share those memories. Therein lay his strength. (shrink)
This review essay examines H. TristramEngelhardt, Jr.'s The Foundations of Bioethics, a contemporary nonfeminist text in mainstream biomedical ethics. It focuses upon a central concept, Engelhardt's idea of the moral community and argues that the most serious problem in the book is its failure to take account of the political and social structures of moral communities, structures which deeply affect issues in biomedical ethics.
Dans un fragment de son commentaire perdu sur les Catégories d’Aristote, adressé à Gédalios et transmis par Simplicius dans son propre Commentaire surles Catégories, Porphyre évoque la distinction, à première vue énigmatique, entre les termes techniques grecs huparxis et hupostasis. On avance dans laprésente contribution que des passages tirés d’une source inattendue – le De Incarnatione du moine Théodore de Raithu (VIᵉ-VIIᵉ siècle) – peuvent illuminerle sens de ce texte porphyrien. Ce résultat fournit l’occasion de quelques réflexions sur l’influence de (...) Porphyre sur la pensée patristique. (shrink)
As a die-hard supernaturalist, someone "at two with nature" (Woody Allen) who would be at one with God, the author has mixed feelings about Theodore Nunez's defense of "naturalism." Unlike neopragmatists, the author is not troubled by Nunez's general realism about value; he takes exception not to Nunez's theoretical account of truth, but to his specific axiology. He does not share Nunez's confidence that "projective nature" can provide reliable moral inspiration, suggesting instead that such inspiration can arise only from (...) trust in the holiness of God. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that despite the philosophical, theological and cultural challenges, it is still possible to maintain, in a legitimate and critical way, a worldview that is coherent, unified, comprehensive and meaningful. I believe that the philosophical theology of KarlRahner offers just such a perspective. Hence, this paper explored the extent to which Karl Rahner’s understanding of the unity of matterand spirit, expressed in his integration of theology and evolution, can serve as the foundation for a more comprehensive (...) and integratedunderstanding of reality. I endeavored to provide a preliminary assessment of the adequacy of this integration by evaluating its abilityto respond to some of the important challenges to Christian theism raised by the American philosopher Daniel Dennett. By showingthat Rahner’s integration of theology and evolution can respond adequately to these challenges, the paper provides a promising firststep toward a more comprehensive investigation. (shrink)
The relation between the concepts of the subject of apperception, the phenomenal self, and the noumenal self has long puzzled commentators on Kant’s theoretical account of the self. This paper argues that many of the puzzles surrounding Kant’s account can be resolved by treating the subject of apperception and other transcendental predicates of thinking as a dimension of the noumenal self. Yet this interpretation requires a clarification of how the transcendental predicates of thinking can be attributed to the noumenal self (...) without violating the thesis of noumenal ignorance. The clarification is achieved through a careful analysis of the meaning of the latter thesis. The paper’s interpretation is then shown to be consistent with Kant’s rejection of traditional ontology and with the dual-aspect view. The paper’s final section argues that transcendental predicates are properly construed as logical predicates but must be distinguished from ordinary examples of the latter. (shrink)
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s cosmopolitanism -- Communal-political ethics I : vision and norms -- Communal-political ethics II : virtues and practice -- Martin Luther King, Jr., and glocality -- Constructive Kingian global ethics -- Kingian global ethics and world religions -- Kingian global ethics and neoliberal capitalism -- Kingian global ethics and the United States -- Conclusion: March toard the great world house.
Edited by Marthe Chandler and Ronnie Littlejohn, this work is a collection of expository and critical essays on the work of Henry Rosemont, Jr., a prominent and influential contemporary philosopher, activist, translator, and educator in the field of Asian and Comparative Philosophy. The essays in this collection take up three major themes in Rosemont's work: his work in Chinese linguistics, his contribution to the theory of human rights, and his interest in East Asian religion. Contributions include works by the leading (...) scholars in Chinese philosophy in the Western world and Rosemont's close associates: Roger T. Ames, Bao Zhiming, Mary Bockover, Marthe Chandler, Ewing Y. Chinn, Erin M. Cline, Fred Dallmayr, Jeffrey Dippmann, Herbert Fingarette, Harrison Huang, Eric Hutton, Philip J. Ivanhoe, David Jones, William La Fleur, Ronnie Littlejohn, Ni Peimin, Michael Nylan, Harold Roth, Sumner Twiss, Tu Weiming, David Wong, with responses from Henry Rosemont, Jr. and a brief Reminiscence by Noam Chomsky. (shrink)
Faith, Reason, and Revelation in the Thought of Theodore Beza investigates the direction of religious epistemology under a chief architect of Calvinism (1519-1605). Mallinson contends that Beza consolidated his tradition by balancing the subjective and objective aspects of faith and knowledge. Making use of new editions of Beza's class notes and correspondence, and examining the theological ideas found in Beza's long-neglected New Testament annotations, this study clarifies the thought of Calvin's successor. The nature of Protestant scholasticism and the relationship (...) between faith and philosophy are observed in context, rather than from the anachronistic perspectives of modern schools that seek to establish their own continuity with Calvinism. (shrink)
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