Abstract The Joyless Economy focused on the boredom of the idle rich and neglected the boredom of the idle and idled poor. However, their boredom is much more serious than what the book dealt with, because it is chronic and often incurable. It usually begins with the neglect of destitute children who never learn how to concentrate on learning in school, become unruly and often end up unemployable, and have no better way than violence to release their energies.
In recent decades education is increasingly perceived as an instrument for generating economic growth and enhancing production. Unexpectedly, however, many prominent economists, throughout history, have rejected this view of education. This article examines the grounds on which TiborScitovsky, who was one of the leading economists of twentieth century America, objected to the spread of production oriented education. The article begins by an historical overview of the relationship between economic and educational theory. It then explains why Scitovsky (...) held the economic growth achieved in the 20th necessitates an educational reform and presents the outline of this proposed educational reform. It is argued that by distinguishing between creative and defensive forms of consumption and by highlighting the inherent tension between comfort and pleasure, Scitovsky offers an innovative and challenging conception of the desired relationship between economics and education that can serve as an alternative to the one that prevails today and amend its many fallacies. The paper concludes by briefly exploring some of the educational implications that stem from Scitovsky’s thought. It is maintained that Scitovsky’s views provides an original defense for teaching the arts and humanities and a suggestive perspective on consumer education and teaching of high culture. (shrink)
Abstract In The Joyless Economy, TiborScitovsky proposes a model of human behavior that differs substantially from that of standard economic theory. Scitovsky begins with a basic distinction between ?comfort? and ?stimulation.? While stimulation is ultimately more satisfying and creative, we frequently fall for the bewitching attractions of comfort, which leads to impoverished lives. Scitovsky's analysis has far?reaching implications not only for the idea of rationality, but for the concept of utility (by making it plural in (...) nature) and, perhaps most importantly, for the importance of freedom (including the freedom to change our preferences). (shrink)
Abstract Twenty years ago, TiborScitovsky questioned the assumption, embedded in neoclassical economics, that human happiness will be augmented if the level of consumption either rises or becomes more uniform over time. Evidence from the 1990?1993 World Values Survey suggests that his doubts were well?founded: although economic gains apparently make a major contribution to subjective well?being as one moves from societies at the subsistence level to those with moderate levels of economic development, further economic growth seems to have (...) little or no impact on subjective well?being. This transition seems to reflect a basic cultural change that results in the diminishing marginal utility of economic growth. (shrink)
Abstract TiborScitovsky's The Joyless Economy distinguished the pleasure of moving from discomfort to comfort and the pleasure of replacing boredom with stimulation. I have argued that there are also pleasures distinctive to participating in public life. A third form of pleasure berlongs to both the private and the public domain: the common meal leads to individual satiation and, as a result of commensality, has important social and public effects. A good example is the banquet in ancient Greece, (...) closely connected to the lottery?the basic mechanism of Athenian democracy. But the common meal can also lead to the degradation of human relations and political life. (shrink)
Abstract Does the contemporary built environment?the ensemble of our humanly created surroundings?make us happy? This question prompts a consideration of the psychological dimensions of economic value, and of TiborScitovsky's revisions of standard economic theory. With Scitovsky as a starting point, a model of value based on modern complexity theory and a Maslow?like rendition of human needs can account for some of the more important exceptions to the law of diminished marginal utility, including those that may undermine (...) the built environment in a market economy. (shrink)
Frank Bubb and Tibor Machan raise objections to Mack's "Problematic Arguments in Randian Kthics." Bubb argues that a universalization test allows Rand to condemn every parasitic action—even ones that serve the agent's survival. But this universalization test is faulty; it calls upon individuals to act as would be rational if the world were not as it is. Machan argues that Rand can hold that the fundamental choice between life and death is ungrounded without being a subjectivist. But Machan does (...) not successfully differentiate the putatively ungrounded choice between life and death from other choices that he admits are arbitrary. (shrink)
right. Unlike incoherent positive rights , such as the “right” to education or health care, the animal right is, at bottom, a right to be left alone . It does not call for government to tax us in order to provide animals with food, shelter, and veterinary care. It only requires us to stop killing them and making them suffer. I can think of no other issue where the libertarian is arguing for a positive right—his right to make animals submit (...) to any use he sees—and the other side is arguing for a negative right! (shrink)
THERE HAS BEEN FOR MANY years a tension between the anarcho-capitalist or free-market anarchist, and the limited government or minarchist wings of the libertarian movement. This dispute has both enriched debate within such institutions as the Libertarian Party, the International Society of Individual Liberty, the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and the Cato Institute, and magazines such as Liberty and Reason, and has engendered greater insights as to the core of the overall philosophy shared by both.1 While this intralibertarian debate has (...) had its staunch supporters on either side, for many participants it has not been a pressing issue. After all, modern society resembles neither vision, and present governments will have to be radically reduced in scope and orientation before the divisions between these two alternatives will become a matter of practical interest. Thus many have agreed that this debate, except as a matter of intellectual curiosity, will have no practical relevance until that happy day when present governments are reduced to, say, 5 percent of their present size and influence.2 But intellectual curiosity and political philosophy are integral parts of libertarianism. Accordingly, analysis of government can.. (shrink)
David Graham , email: email@example.com>; url: http://reductioblog.com>, is an independent scholar living in Sacramento, California. He graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Sacramento, with degrees in English and philosophy. His writing, which focuses on libertarianism and animal rights, has been published on iFeminists.com and Strike-the-Root.com.
This essay examines the relationship between human choice and Rand's ethical standard for moral goodness and obligation. It shows that the neo-Aristotclian interpretation of Rand's ethics—an interpretation that does not accept the doctrine of "premoral choice" but instead claims that flourishing as a rational animal is the telos of human life and choice—is crucial to the viability of her ethical theory. The defenders of premoral choice confuse the conceptual order with the real and, despite their intentions, make Rand's ethics into (...) a voluntarist ethics, that is, an ethics in which reason is subordinate to will. (shrink)
Tibor R. Machan explores how to present Rand's ethics in an introductory college course on moral philosophy. Despite their inclusion in some textbooks, Rand's ideas often get misrepresented. For example, James Rachels' work treats her as a subjective egoist, ignoring Rand's own focus on human nature and the individual's identity in the formulation of guidelines to personal conduct. In teaching Rand's ethical egoism, Machan examines several metaethical topics, including the nature of ethical knowledge, the challenges to such knowledge posed (...) by Hume's and Moore's arguments, and a comparative analysis with conventionalism, naturalism, intuitionism, subjectivism, and rationalism. (shrink)
The following letters were written by the distinguished British chemist Professor Brian G. Gowenlock in response to Tibor Frank’s article on “Networking, Cohorting, Bonding: Michael Polanyi in Exile,” Tradition and Discovery 23:2 (2001-2002): 5-19. The two letters contribute to the history of the Manchester years of Michael Polanyi with interesting details concerning several of his colleagues and contemporaries. These informative comments by a former student of Michael Polanyi will improve our knowledge of the last years of Polanyi as a (...) physical chemist. (shrink)
TIBOR R. MACHAN argues that David Kelley's Unrugged Individualism: The Selfish Basis of Benevolence, which makes the case for including the benevolent virtues as a prominent feature of the Objectivist ethics, is too brief but filled with poignant observations and some valuable analysis. Machan discusses altruism, in response to much criticism of Rand's rendition of the position, and defends ethical egoism against widespread misrepresentations.
Tibor R. Machan argues that Gregory R. Johnson and David Rasmussen (in "Rand on Abortion: A Critique," Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Spring 2000) are mistaken to claim that Rand should have embraced the pro-life position on the issue of a woman's right to seek an abortion. Rand believed that a fetus is only a potential, not an actual, human being. So Willing a fetus is not homicide, any more than killing a seed would be the killing of a (...) flower. Machan's alternative view of abortion is within the spirit of Rand's position, while escaping Johnson and Rasmussen's criticisms. (shrink)
Tibor R. Machan argues that William Dwyer's review of his book, Initiative: Human Agency and S odety (The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 2001), assumes that compatibilism is coherent. Machan argues that compatibilism is simply hard determinism with some soft edges but as such it is not coherent. In light of this, the agent-causation-based thesis of human initiative (or freedom of the human will) that Machan defends is superior to its alternatives.
The Man Without a Hobby is the memoir of Tibor Machan, a first generation refugee who escaped both a political and a personal tyranny early in his life and embarked upon a search for an understanding of what it means to live freely and ...
Locke's defense of private property rights includes what is called a proviso— "the Lockean proviso"—and some have argued that in terms of it the right to private property can have various exceptions and it may not even be unjust to redistribute wealth that is privately owned. I argue that this cannot be right because it would imply that one's right to life could also have various exceptions, so anyone's life (and labor) could be subject to conscription if some would need (...) it badly enough. Since this could amount to enslavement and involuntary servitude, it would be morally and legally unacceptable. Key Words: rights • John Locke • Lockean proviso • scarcity. (shrink)
Recent work in neurophilosophy has either made reference to the work of John Dewey or independently developed positions similar to it. I review these developments in order first to show that Dewey was indeed doing neurophilosophy well before the Churchlands and others, thereby preceding many other mid-twentieth century European philosophers’ views on cognition to whom many present day philosophers refer (e.g., Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty). I also show that Dewey’s work provides useful tools for evading or overcoming many issues in contemporary neurophilosophy (...) and philosophy of mind. In this introductory review, I distinguish between three waves among neurophilosophers that revolve around the import of evolution and the degree of brain-centrism. Throughout, I emphasize and elaborate upon Dewey’s dynamic view of mind and consciousness. I conclude by introducing the consciousness-as-cooking metaphor as an alternative to both the consciousness-as-digestion and consciousness-as-dancing metaphors. Neurophilosophical pragmatism—or neuropragmatism—recognizes the import of evolutionary and cognitive neurobiology for developing a science of mind and consciousness. However, as the cooking metaphor illustrates, a science of mind and consciousness cannot rely on the brain alone—just as explaining cooking entails more than understanding the gut—and therefore must establish continuity with cultural activities and their respective fields of inquiry. Neuropragmatism advances a new and promising perspective on how to reconcile the scientific and manifest images of humanity as well as how to reconstruct the relationship between science and the humanities. (shrink)
We appreciate John Altick’s response to our review of Tibor Machan’s book, Putting Humans First, and are grateful to The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies for allowing us to respond. The more discussion of these important matters, the better. In hopes that others will join the debate and address issues and arguments that we do not, our reply will be brief. The vast majority of Altick’s discussion restates, in slightly different language, Machan’s argument for the conclusion that animals don’t (...) have any “natural” moral rights. (The questions of what legal rights animals should have and what treatment of animals should be legally actionable are separate issues; our focus is on ethics and moral philosophy, not the law.) This argument is as follows. (shrink)
The existence of predatory animals is a problem in animal ethics that is often not taken as seriously as it should be. We show that it reveals a weakness in Tom Regan's theory of animal rights that also becomes apparent in his treatment of innocent human threats. We show that there are cases in which Regan's justice-prevails-approach to morality implies a duty not to assist the jeopardized, contrary to his own moral beliefs. While a modified account of animal rights that (...) recognizes the moral patient as a kind of entity that can violate moral rights avoids this counterintuitive conclusion, it makes non-human predation a rights issue that morally ought to be subjected to human regulation. Jennifer Everett, Lori Gruen and other animal advocates base their treatment of predation in part on Regan's theory and run into similar problems, demonstrating the need to radically rethink the foundations of the animal rights movement. We suggest to those who, like us, find it less plausible to introduce morality to the wild than to reject the concept of rights that makes this move necessary to read our criticism either as a modus tollens argument and reject non-human animal rights altogether or as motivating a libertarian-ish theory of animal rights. (shrink)
Computer simulations can be useful tools to support philosophers in validating their theories, especially when these theories concern phenomena showing nontrivial dynamics. Such theories are usually informal, whilst for computer simulation a formally described model is needed. In this paper, a methodology is proposed to gradually formalise philosophical theories in terms of logically formalised dynamic properties. One outcome of this process is an executable logic-based temporal specification, which within a dedicated software environment can be used as a simulation model to (...) perform simulations. This specification provides a logical formalisation at the lowest aggregation level of the basic mechanisms underlying a process. In addition, dynamic properties at a higher aggregation level that may emerge from the mechanisms specified by the lower level properties, can be specified. Software tools are available to support specification, and to automatically check such higher level properties against the lower level properties and against generated simulation traces. As an illustration, three case studies are discussed showing successful applications of the approach to formalise and analyse, among others, Clark’s theory on extended mind, Damasio’s theory on core consciousness, and Dennett’s perspective on intertemporal decision making and altruism. (shrink)
Many may benefit from revisiting the natural rights support for the fully free society even though the case is on record in several books and numerous scholarly pieces. Here I provide a sketch of that support, with a plethora of references for those who would like to explore the full [...].
Taxation is a vestige of feudalism and monarchy. It persists because of the mistaken belief that government is somehow entitled to a portion of our labor or assets. This article challenges that belief from a philosophical perspective and offers a different viewpoint.