According to Thomas Nagel, morality's authority is determined by the extent to which its way of balancing agent-neutral and agent-relative values resembles reason's. He himself would like to think that the resemblance is close enough to ensure that it will always be reasonable to act as morality demands. But his attempts to establish this never really get off the ground, in large part because he never makes it very clear how these two perspectives on value are to be characterized. (...) My goal in this paper is to show how we might flesh out Nagel's conception of these matters by construing reason as a kind of self-governance and morality as involving a certain kind of cooperation. The challenge will therefore be to determine what self-governance and cooperation require of people given the assumption that there are objective values and that they take both the agentneutral and the agent-relative forms. What we shall find is that their requirements differ rather more than Nagel allows, but perhaps not enough to prevent morality from being in some significant sense inescapable. (shrink)
Louis Agassiz.--Address at the Emerson Centenary in Concord.--Robert Gould Shaw.--Francis Boott.--Thomas Davidson: a knight-errant of the intellectual life.--Herbert Spencer's autobiography.--Frederick Myers' services to psychology.--Final impressions of a psychical researcher.--On some mental effects of the earthquake.--The energies of men.--The moral equivalent of war.--Remarks at the peace banquet.--The social value of the college-bred.--The university and the individual: The Ph.D. octopus. The true Harvard. Stanford's ideal destiny.--A pluralistic mystic.
This is a review of a book that tries to re-establish mind-body dualism by using (a) empirical research on near-death experiences, placebo effects, creativity, claiming even that parapsychology should become a respected part of science, and (b) Frederic W. H. Myers' (1843-1901) metaphor of the brain as a kind of receiving device that records what the irreducible mind sends as messages. Among other things, we criticize the lack of philosophical clarity about mind-body relation, and question the book's tendency to (...) refer to past and current parapsychological literature as reliable. (shrink)