The idea that intuition plays a basic role in moral knowledge and moral philosophy probably began in the eighteenth century. British philosophers such as Anthony Shaftsbury, Francis Hutcheson, Thomas Reid, and later David Hume talk about a “moral sense” that they place in John Locke’s theory of knowledge in terms of Lockean reflexive perceptions, while Richard Price seeks a faculty by which we obtain our ideas of right and wrong. (...) In the twentieth century intuitionism in moral philosophy was revived by the works of G. E. Moore, H. A. Prichard, and W. D. Ross. These philosophers reject Kantian deontological ethics and utilitarianism insisting that intuition is the only source of moral knowledge. Recently, there is a renewed interest in intuition by philosophers doing meta-philosophy by reflecting on what philosophers do, and why they disagree. In this essay we plan to take some of this recent literature on intuition and apply it to moral philosophy. We will proceed by (1) defining a conception of intuition, (2) answering some skeptical challenges, (3) delimiting its target, and (4) arguing that intuition is often a source of moral knowledge. (shrink)
[From introduction:] A theory of moral responsibility sets out the conditions under which we believe that an individual is a rational candidate for praise and blame on account of his behaviour. Such a theory needs to be supplemented by a further moral theory that specifies which morally responsible agents ought to be praised or blamed for their actions. We will focus here on the first sort of theory only. The theory present here will be similar to theories held by others.
Discussion of the human soul has bulked large in the literature of philosophy and religion. I defend the possibility of disembodied Cartesian minds by examining the criticisms of three philosophers who argue that there are serious difficulties about any attempt to account for the identity of such Cartesian minds through time. I argue that their criticisms of the possibility of disembodied minds are damaging but not fatal. I hold that the central issue behind their criticisms of Cartesian minds is whether (...) any nonphysical mental criterion can be formulated for the identity of such entities. Even though no such criterion can be given, disembodied minds that persist through time remain logical possibilities. (shrink)
According to peter french, A corporation can be construed as a moral person in the same sense that you and I are persons. Whether this view is tenable is an open question. I examine the objections to this view made in the recent literature and find them wanting. I deal with the questions whether corporations can have intentions, Rights, And consciousness.
Although it is unpopular in analytical philosophy nowadays to talk about the Self, I attempt to resurrect the concept by articulating a mode of self-knowledge recently introduced in the literature on perceiving God, and described as nonsensory perception. Contrary to Hume, I point out various aspects of the Self that a subject can perceive in a nonsensory manner. I cite some historical forerunners for such a conception of self-knowledge of the self. I use a thought experiment to indicate, in a (...) phenomenological way, an example of the inner perception of the self as “here.” I briefly discuss the implications of such a mode of self-awareness for the mind-body problem, and for personal identity. (shrink)
Qualitative research occupies a useful and important role in social science inquiry. Nonetheless, when ethical issues surrounding this research are discussed, elements of risk may be neglected. Qualitative research often raises concerns about the protection of the confidentiality of not only the participants but also of 3rd parties mentioned in transcribed narratives. Moreover, we argue that, in some instances, qualitative research has considerable potential of inducing negative psychological states. We conclude by presenting a series of recommendations that can be used (...) to address such ethical concerns. (shrink)
In this paper we critically evaluate an argument put forward by William Lane Craig for the existence of God based on the assumption that if there were no God, there could be no objective morality. Contrary to Craig, we show that there are some necessary moral truths and objective moral reasoning that holds up whether there is a God or not. We go on to argue that religious faith, when taken alone and without reason or evidence, actually risks undermining morality (...) and is an unreliable source of moral truths. We recommend a viewpoint on morality that is based on reason and public consensus, that is compatible with science, and that cuts across the range of religious and nonreligious positions. (shrink)
The paper is a critique of recent criticisms of Sigmund Freud’s theory that religion is based on wishful thinking. The criticisms made by authors such as Alvin Plantinga, John Hick, William P. Alston, William Rowe, and Merol Westphal are critically examined. I defend Freud’s critique of religion as a satisfaction of our deepest desires for a heavenly father showing inductively that those desires render religious belief as unlikely to be true.
In this paper I will take the term “my” in the phrase “my body” to be typically used to refer to the self or person whose body it is. This raises a problem for materialism over how a body can own or have itself. I will articulate some ways in which we are and are not related to our bodies, and try to undo the linquistic knot of a body owning itself.
Several of Thomas Aquinas's proofs for the existence of God rely on the claim that causal series cannot proceed in infinitum. I argue that Aquinas has good reason to hold this claim given his conception of causation. Because he holds that effects are ontologically dependent on their causes, he holds that the relevant causal series are wholly derivative: the later members of such series serve as causes only insofar as they have been caused by and are effects of the (...) earlier members. Because the intermediate causes in such series possess causal powers only by deriving them from all the preceding causes, they need a first and non-derivative cause to serve as the source of their causal powers. (shrink)
Thomas Reid’s epistemological ambitions are decisively at the center of his work. However, if we take such ambitions to be the whole story, we are apt to overlook the theory of mind that Reid develops and deploys against the theory of ideas. Reid’s philosophy of mind is sophisticated and strikingly contemporary, and has, until recently, been lost in the shadow of his other philosophical accomplishments. Here I survey some aspects of Reid’s theory of mind that I find most interesting. (...) I examine whether Reid is a mysterian about the mind, whether Reid has a direct realist theory of perception, and whether Reid has a higher-order, or “inner-sense,” view of consciousness. Along the way I will mention portions of the secondary literature that examine these aspects and point out whether and to what degree I part ways with the interpretations present in the literature. (shrink)
Recently, the Intelligent Design (ID) movement has challenged the claim of many in the scientific establishment that nature gives no empirical signs of having been deliberately designed. In particular, ID arguments in biology dispute the notion that neo-Darwinian evolution is the only viable scientific explanation of the origin of biological novelty, arguing that there are telltale signs of the activity of intelligence which can be recognized and studied empirically. In recent years, a number of Catholic philosophers, theologians, and scientists have (...) expressed opposition to ID. Some of these critics claim that there is a conflict between the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas and that of the ID movement, and even an affinity between Aquinas’s ideas and theistic Darwinism. We consider six such criticisms and find each wanting. (shrink)
At first glance there seem to be many similarities between Thomas S. Kuhn’s and Ludwik Fleck’s accounts of the development of scientific knowledge. Notably, both pay attention to the role played by the scientific community in the development of scientific knowledge. But putting first impressions aside, one can criticise some philosophers for being too hasty in their attempt to find supposed similarities in the works of the two men. Having acknowledged that Fleck anticipated some of Kuhn’s later theses, there (...) seems to be a temptation in more recent research to equate both theories in important respects. Because of this approach, one has to deal with the problem of comparing the most notable technical terms of both philosophers, namely ‘‘thought style’’ and ‘‘paradigm’’. This paper aims at a more thorough comparison between Ludwik Fleck’s concept of thought style and Thomas Kuhn’s concept of paradigm. Although some philosophers suggest that these two concepts are essentially equal in content, a closer examination reveals that this is not the case. This thesis of inequality will be defended in detail, also taking into account some of the alleged similarities which may be responsible for losing sight of the differences between these theories. (shrink)
In the work of both Ludwik Fleck and Thomas Kuhn the scientific literature plays important roles for stability and change of scientific phenomenal worlds. In this article we shall introduce the analyses of scientific literature provided by Fleck and Kuhn, respectively. From this background we shall discuss the problem of how divergent thinking can emerge in a dogmatic atmosphere. We shall argue that in their accounts of the factors inducing changes of scientific phenomenal worlds Fleck and Kuhn offer substantially (...) different approaches, and we shall discuss in which respects their approaches may be compatible. (shrink)
Section 1 of this essay distinguishes between four interpretations of Socratic intellectualism, which are, very roughly: (1) a version in which on any given occasion desire, and then action, is determined by what we think will turn out best for us, that being what we all, always, really desire; (2) a version in which on any given occasion action is determined by what we think will best satisfy our permanent desire for what is really best for us; (3) a version (...) formed by the assimilation of (2) to (1), labelled the ‘standard’ version’ by Thomas C. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith, and treated by them as a single alternative to their own interpretation; and (4) Brickhouse and Smith’s own version. Section 2 considers, in particular, Brickhouse and Smith’s handling of the ‘appetites and passions’, which is the most distinctive feature of interpretation (4). Section 3 discusses Brickhouse and Smith’s defence of ‘Socratic studies’ in its historical context, and assesses the contribution made by their distinctive interpretation of ‘the philosophy of Socrates’. One question raised in this section, and one that is clearly fundamental to the existence of ‘Socratic studies’, is how different Brickhouse and Smith’s Socrates turns out to be from Plato himself, i.e., the Plato of the post-‘Socratic’ dialogues; to which the answer offered is that on Brickhouse and Smith’s interpretation Socratic moral psychology becomes rather less distinguishable from its ‘Platonic’ counterpart—as that is currently understood—than it is on the interpretation(s) they oppose. (shrink)
The notion of “conception” plays a central role in Thomas Reid’s theory of perceptual knowledge, although “conception” might be studied for itself as a source of knowledge. In this study, we attempt to expose systematically the several contexts where Reid deals with the source of knowledge and the kind of mental operation called “conception”. The purpose is to understand a specific aspect of the deliverances of “conception” in Reid’s theory of perception, namely, a direct relationship, not mediated by ideas, (...) between knowing subject and external world. To understand the operation of conceiving, which is intrinsic to and constitutive of perception, is an efficient way to comprehend the nature and content of perceptual knowledge. At this step, reflections on the relationship between mind and external world, that is, mind and material world, have to be made. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas's account of the semantics of names is based on two fundamental distinctions: the distinction between a name's mode of signifying and the signified object, and that between the cause and the goal of a name's signification, i.e. that from which a name was instituted to signify and that which a name actually signifies. Thomas endows names with a two-layer signification: names are introduced into language to designate primarily conceptions of extramental things and secondarily the particular extramental (...) things referred to by such conceptions. On such a `conceptualistic' account of names' signification, Thomas recognizes that a generic acquaintance with external things is a sufficient condition for imposing names to signify things. Following this intuition, Thomas at times dwells on the role that pragmatic factors such as the common usage of names by a linguistic community ( usus loquendi ) and the speakers' intention ( intentio loquentium ) play in explaining both the formation and semantic function of conventional language. This paper will focus on what Thomas had to say about such factors. (shrink)
This article examines two medieval sermons that examine philosophic and halakhic issues: the Passover sermon of Hasdai Crescas, which discusses the laws of Passover, and a sermon of Zerahia Halevi Saladin, a disciple of Crescas, which probes an aspect of the laws of vows ( nedarim ). In the analysis of Zerahia's sermon, a comparison is made between his discussion and Thomas Aquinas's examination of vows in his Summa Theologica . The comparison establishes the dependency of Zerahia on Aquinas (...) regarding this issue. Likewise, Zerahia's sermon is compared with Crescas's, and the relationship between the legal theories of Crescas and Zerahia is investigated. The articles concludes with a brief examination of the significance of the analysis these sermons for understanding of the impact of scholastic sources on Spanish-Jewish philosophy and the relationship between law and philosophy in the writings of Hasdai Crescas and his students. (shrink)
Hobbes's manuscript refutation of Thomas White bears no title. Some modern scholars have proposed, on the basis of references to it by Mersenne, that the work was entitled 'De motu, loco et tempore', and the abbreviated version of this, 'De motu', has become current in modern scholarship. This research note analyses Mersenne's references, and concludes that this apparent title was a descriptive phrase introduced by Mersenne himself. The full description included the term 'philosophia' (thus: Hobbes's 'philosophy concerning motion, place (...) and time'); this suggests a double focus, not only on the manuscript text, but also on Hobbes's 'body' of natural philosophy more generally. (shrink)
The challenge of pursuing sustainability in agriculture is often viewed as mainly or wholly technical in nature, requiring the reform of farming methods and the development and adoption of alternative technologies. Likewise, the purpose of sustainability is frequently cast in utilitarian terms, as a means of protecting a valuable resource (i.e., soil) and of satisfying market demands for healthy, tasty food. Paul B. Thompson has argued that the embrace of these views by many in the consumer/environmental movement enables easy co-optation (...) by agribusiness. It also reflects a critical weakness in this movement: a lack of commitment to philosophical principles that depart from the utilitarian premises of the industrial model of agriculture. This paper draws on the writings of Thomas Berry and Liberty Hyde Bailey to identify the philosophical principles of what we call planetary agrarianism. From the perspective of planetary agrarianism, the pursuit of sustainability is a broad and challenging moral, educational, and political task. Berry helps us see that it is fundamentally a project of worldview transition, which requires a new cultural narrative that must rival, in form and appeal, the mythic power of the utilitarian industrial vision. Liberty Hyde Bailey, author of The Holy Earth (1915) and a leader in the land-grant education and nature-study movements, took up the project of worldview transition in his life work. While in some ways dated and flawed, Bailey’s writings are a valuable source of guidance for developing and pursuing a viable philosophy of agriculture for the 21st century. (shrink)
There are two general routes that Augustine suggests in De Trinitate, XV, 14-16, 23-25, for a psychological account of the Father's intellectual generation of the Word. Thomas Aquinas and Henry of Ghent, in their own ways, follow the first route; John Duns Scotus follows the second. Aquinas, Henry, and Scotus's psychological accounts entail different theological opinions. For example, Aquinas (but neither Henry nor Scotus) thinks that the Father needs the Word to know the divine essence. If we compare the (...) theological views entailed by their psychologies we find a trajectory from Aquinas, through Henry, and ending with Scotus. This theological trajectory falsifies a judgment that every Augustinian psychology of the divine persons amounts to a pre-Nicene functional Trinitarianism. This study makes clear how one's awareness of the theological views entailed by these psychologies enables one to assess more thoroughly psychological accounts of the identity and distinction of the divine persons. (shrink)
In 1905 William James wrote an essay in McClure's Magazine recalling the importance to his own work of the Scottish-born philosopher Thomas Davidson. In the essay, James states that Davidson was "essentially a teacher." What is interesting when one looks at Davidson's life and work is that, for Davidson, teaching does seem to be an essential feature of what it means to be a philosopher. Here, I develop how Davidson construes this linking of philosophy and teaching with a concluding (...) emphasis on the two schools he established: Glenmore, a summer philosophy program in the Adirondacks and the "Breadwinners' College," an open school he began for working persons in New York City. I offer this as a discussion paper so that James's recollection of Davidson's importance to his own work may provoke us to consider how we presently understand the linking of teaching and philosophy. This seems especially appropriate for an academic culture such as ours in which much of our time is spent teaching and in which we are often primarily evaluated by a separate category of professional "research." The American tradition has "lost" any number of its important... (shrink)
'At the beginning, with Thomas More, utopia sets out an agenda for the modern world. Today, five hundred years later, what are the uses of utopia?' (Kumar, 1991, p. 85). This paper provides an answer to this question by examining More's utopian 'method' which, it is suggested, offers a model way of thinking imaginatively and prospectively about the form and content of social reform in general and educational change in particular.
This article discusses different points of view on the possible relations between the various parts of Thomas Hobbes’ philosophical thought. It tries to clarify whether there is a relationship of deductive dependence between ethics and politics and his early philosophy as presented mainly in De Corpore of 1655, on the other hand.
Jesus Christ may be regarded as the chief spirit of agitation and innovation. He himself declared, “I come not to bring peace, but a sword.” One cannot delve seriously into the centuries of activism and scholarship against racism, Jim Crowism, and the terrorism of lynching without encountering the legacies of Timothy Thomas Fortune and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Black scholars from the 19th century to the present have been inspired by the sociological and economic works of Fortune and Wells. Scholars (...) of American philosophy, however, continue to ignore their writings, their theoretical contributions and their ethical aspirations, preferring instead the insipid declarations of white turn of the century .. (shrink)
O objetivo desse artigo é mostrar de que modo um problema no domínio da teoria contemporânea do direito suscita questões que podem encontrar esclarecimentos na filosofia de Thomas Hobbes. Para tanto, será primeiramente analisada uma decisão da Suprema Corte norte-americana que retoma um debate constitucional aberto há já quase vinte anos e que versa sobre os direitos civis1. Nesse contexto, a noção de República em Hobbes será apresentada enquanto fornecendo uma teoria sobre a interpretação jurídica que permite apanhar o (...) bom lado nesse debate. (shrink)
A complete treatment of the Thomas rotation involves algebraic manipulations of overwhelming complexity. In this paper, we show that a choice of convenient vectorial forms for the relativistic addition law of velocities and the successive Lorentz transformations allows us to obtain straightforwardly the Thomas rotation angle by three new methods: (a) direct computation as the angle between the composite vectors of the non-collinear velocities, (b) vectorial approach, and (c) matrix approach. The new expression of the Thomas rotation (...) angle permits us to simply obtain the Thomas precession. Original diagrams are given for the first time. (shrink)
Historically labor has been central to human interactions with the environment, yet environmentalists pay it scant attention. Indeed, they have been critical of those who foreground labor in their politics, socialists in particular. However, environmentalists have found the nineteenth-century socialist William Morris appealing despite the fact that he wrote extensively on labor. This paper considers the place of labor in the relationship between humanity and the natural world in the work of Morris and two of his contemporaries, the eminent scientist (...)Thomas Henry Huxley, and the Fabian socialist Herbert George Wells. I suggest that Morris's conception of labor has much to recommend it to environmentalists who are also interested in issues of social justice. (shrink)
Aristotelian philosophers have been always puzzled by the ambiguous status of essences: it is not clear whether an Aristotelian should admit that an essence, taken in itself, is real, even though essences do not exist over and above particular things, as Platonists posit; furthermore, it is not clear whether an Aristotelian should endorse the view that essences have a certain unity, even if they are taken in themselves, namely, by abstracting from the individuals of which they are essences. I tackle (...)Thomas Cajetan’s analysis of this problem: this analysis is more sophisticated than that developed by Aquinas—whose texts had been commented upon by Cajetan. Cajetan distinguishes two senses of “real” and of “unity,” in order to speak of the reality and of the unity of essences, taken in themselves, though not endorsing a Platonist’s ontology. I suggest that his solution is appealing for the contemporary debate about this problem. (shrink)