This article challenges the widespread contention - promoted by the World Health Organization, the U.N. Human Rights Commission, and certain non-governmental organizations - that health care should be regarded as an individual human right. Like other "post-modern" rights, the asserted individual right to health care is a positive claim on the resources of others; it is unlimited by corresponding responsibilities; and it pertains exclusively to the individual. In fact, an individual human right to health, enforceable against either governments or corporations, (...) does not currently exist in law. If established, such a right would portend a dramatic expansion of government control over health care, with negative consequences for efficiency and patient welfare. Voluntary efforts based on partnership, rather than the imposition of legal requirements, are the most productive means of expanding access to health care while preserving incentives for continued development of innovative health technologies. (shrink)
The visual system is persistent, inventive, and sometimes rather perverse in building a world according to its own lights; the supplementation is deft, flexible, and often elaborate. [JL: Our eyes/consciousness could “fill in” things that are not there; they can also delete things that are there].
Of all the philosophers in the West, perhaps the best known by name and less familiar for the actual content of his ideas is the medieval Muslim philosopher, physician, princely minister and naturalist Abu Ali Ibn Sina, known since the days of the scholastics as Avicenna. In this lucidly written and witty book, L. E. Goodman a philosopher long known for his studies of Arabic thought presents a factual, pithy, and engaging account of Avicenna's philosophy. Setting the thinker (...) in the context of his often turbulent times and tracing the roots and influences of Avicenna's ideas, Goodman offers a factual and credible philosophical portrait of one of the world's greatest metaphysicians. The book details Avicenna's account of being as a synthesis between the seemingly irreconcilable extremes of Aristotelian eternalism and the creationism of monotheistic scripture. It examines Avicenna's distinctive theory of knowledge, his ideas on immortality and individuality, including the famous Floating Man argument, his contributions to logic, and his probing thoughts on rhetoric and poetics. Drawing from the very latest scholarship, Avicenna is more than a philosophical appreciation. L. E. Goodman considers the abiding value of Avicenna's contributions, assaying his thought against the responses of his contemporaries and successors but also against our current philosophical understanding. It will have wide appeal among all Arabists and Islamicists, and among students and scholars of philosophy. (shrink)
Professional philosophers have tended either to shrug off American philosophy as negligible or derivative or to date American philosophy from the work of twentieth century analytical positivists such as Quine. Russell Goodman expands on the revisionist position developed by Stanley Cavell, that the most interesting strain of American thought proceeds not from Puritan theology or from empirical science but from a peculiarly American kind of Romanticism. This insight leads Goodman, through Cavell, back to Emerson and Thoreau and thence (...) to William James and John Dewey, as they assimilated to American circumstances and intellectual habits the currents of European thought from Kant to Wittgenstein. (shrink)
Tracing the course of thought, action, and expression in the golden age of Islamic civilization, L. E. Goodman's Islamic Humanism paints a vivid panorama that departs strikingly from the all too familiar image of Islamic dogma, authoritarianism, and militancy. Among the poets and philosophers, scientists and historians, ethicists and mystics of Islam, Goodman finds a warm and vital humanism, committed to the pursuit of knowledge and to the cosmopolitan values of generosity, tolerance, and understanding. Drawing on a wide (...) range of writings, from love poetry to pietism, to satire, to history and metaphysics, and on to hunting, music and the dance, clothing, politics, and the marketplace, Goodman discloses the rich texture of classical Islamic civilization-its distinctive problematics and the space it left for the talents and creativity of the individual. His philosophic openness and easy familiarity place Islamic humanism securely in its larger context, revealing clearly what is of universa and abiding vitality and interest. In place of stereotypes, suspicions, and unease, Goodman sets out concrete and detailed expositions and explorations of Islamic thought and experience as seen through the eyes of the participants themselves. His engaged but sympathetic readings penetrate beneath the surface of the ancient texts to the humanistic values embraced by some of the greatest thinkers of Islam. As a result, Islamic Humanism does much more than remind us how much we owe to the intellectual achievements of Islamic civilization. The work is a significant contribution to Western understanding of Islam and to Islamic self-understanding of the profoundly humanistic dimensions of the Islamic tradition. (shrink)
This book explores Wittgenstein's long engagement with the work of the pragmatist William James. In contrast to previous discussions Russell Goodman argues that James exerted a distinctive and pervasive positive influence on Wittgenstein's thought. For example, the book shows that the two philosophers share commitments to anti-foundationalism, to the description of the concrete details of human experience, to the priority of practice over intellect, and to the importance of religion in understanding human life. Considering in detail what Wittgenstein learnt (...) from his reading of Principles of Psychology and Varieties of Religious Experience the author provides considerable evidence for Wittgenstein's claim that he is saying 'something that sounds like pragmatism'. This provocative account of the convergence in the thinking of two major philosophers usually considered as members of discrete traditions will be eagerly sought by students of Wittgenstein, William James, pragmatism and the history of twentieth-century philosophy. (shrink)
Russell Goodman examines the curious reemergence of pragmatism in a field dominated in the past decades by phenomenology, logic, positivism, and deconstruction. With contributions from major contemporary and classical thinkers such as Cornel West, Richard Rorty, Nancy Fraser, Charles Sanders Peirce, and Ralph Waldo Emerson Russell has gathered an impressive chorus of philosophical voices that reexamine the origins and complexities of neo-pragmatism. The contributors discuss the relationship between pragmatism and literary theory, phenomenology, existentialism, and the work of Ralph Waldo (...) Emerson. They question the meaning of pragmatics, what it is to be practical, and ask provocative questions such as: what is reading? and whether or not democracy is a precondition for the functioning of intelligence. This work places this reemergent and interesting neo-development in its proper context and will provide readers with a strong sense of the movement's foundations, history, and subtlities. (shrink)
This cogently argued and richly illustrated book rejects the dichotomy between the God of Abraham and the God of the philosophers to argue that the two are one. In God of Abraham, one of our leading philosophers of religion shows how human values can illuminate our idea of God and how the monotheistic idea of God in turn illuminates our moral, social, cultural, aesthetic, and even ritual understanding. Throughout Goodman draws on a wealth of traditional, philosophical, historical, and anthropological (...) materials, and particularly on a wide range of Jewish sources. He demonstrates how an adequate understanding of the interplay of values with monotheism dissolves many of the longstanding problems of natural theology and ethics and guides us toward a genuinely humanistic moral and social philosophy. (shrink)
In a series of recent papers, Timothy Williamson has argued for the surprising conclusion that there are cases in which you know a proposition in spite of its being overwhelmingly improbable given what you know that you know it. His argument relies on certain formal models of our imprecise knowledge of the values of perceptible and measurable magnitudes. This paper suggests an alternative class of models that do not predict this sort of improbable knowing. I show that such models (...) are motivated by independently plausible principles in the epistemology of perception, the epistemology of estimation, and concerning the connection between knowledge and justified belief. (shrink)
This paper takes up the challenge which Carnap poses in his Aufbau: to make of it a basis for continued epistemological research. I try to close some gaps in Carnap’s original presentation and to make at least the first few steps of his constructional outline more accessible to the modern reader. Particularly emphasized is Carnap’s implicit recognition that, to be effective, “structural” models of epistemology (using logical symbols) must be complemented with “procedural” models (his “fictitious operations”). The paper shows how (...) a procedural model, a computer program,can “bypass” Nelson Goodman’s counter example to Carnap’s logical construction of “similarity circles”. (shrink)
This work is based on the prestigious Gifford Lectures, which Lenn Goodman was invited to deliver in 2005. Goodman was asked to speak about the commandment to 'love thy neighbour as thyself' from the standpoint of Judaism.
In this important addition to the field of Jewish ethics, Goodman argues forcefully that the Jewish tradition has a significant contribution to make to the general discourse on ethical issues. After refuting the notion that "human rights" is a purely modern notion, Goodman traces the idea of such rights to its key biblical sources. He goes on to consider the works of medieval thinkers like Saadiah Goan and Moses Maimonides and then applies these and other foundational texts to (...) such contemporary social and political issues as capital punishment, suicide, welfare, pornography, abortion, and nationalism. (shrink)
These two short essays are a hebrew translation of an exchange that followed the publication of "verisimilitude, conventions and beliefs" by menachem brinker which contained a criticism of nelson goodman's theory of representation and realism in "languages of art" (1969). (edited).
The Ikhwan al-Safa (Brethren of Purity), the anonymous adepts of a tenth-century esoteric fraternity based in Basra and Baghdad, hold an eminent position in the history of science and philosophy in Islam due to the wide reception and assimilation of their monumental encyclopaedia, the Rasa'il Ikhwan al-Safa (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity). This compendium contains fifty-two epistles offering synoptic accounts of the classical sciences and philosophies of the age; divided into four classificatory parts, it treats themes in mathematics, logic, (...) natural philosophy, psychology, metaphysics, and theology, in addition to didactic fables. The Rasa'il constitutes a paradigmatic legacy in the canonization of philosophy and the sciences in mediaeval Islamic civilization, as well as having shown a permeating influence in Western culture. The present volume is the first of this definitive series consisting of the very first critical edition of the Rasa' il in its original Arabic, with a complete, fully annotated English translation. This epistle, The Case of the Animals versus Man Before the King of the Jinn (Epistle 22), prepared by Professors Lenn E. Goodman and Richard McGregor, is arguably the best known, on account of its prominent ecological fable which casts the exploited and oppressed animals pursuing a case against mankind. Perhaps yet more relevant in modern times, the Ikhwan demonstrate the arrogance of man's claim to superiority, in contrast to the animals' pious understanding of their respective roles within nature. The fable complements and expands upon the short exposition on zoology featured at the beginning of the epistle. (shrink)
This is a new English translation of a classic of medieval Islamic learning, which illuminates the intellectual debates of its age and speaks vividly to the concerns of our own. It is the most famous work of the Brethren of Purity, a tenth-century esoteric fraternity based in Basra and Baghdad. In this rich allegorical fable the exploited and oppressed animals pursue a case against humanity. They are granted the gift of speech and presented as subjects with views and interests of (...) their own. Over the course of the hearing they rebuke and criticise human weakness, deny man's superiority, and make powerful demands for greater justice and respect for animals. This sophisticated moral allegory combines elements of satire with a thought-provoking thesis on animal welfare. Goodman and McGregor accompany their translation with an introduction and annotations that explore the rich historical and cultural context to the work. (shrink)
Creationism is the view that fictional individuals such as Sherlock Holmes are contingently existing abstracta that come about due to the intentional activities of authors. Author-essentialism is the stronger thesis that the author responsible for bringing a fictional individual into existence at a time is essential to the existence of that individual. Takashi Yagisawa has recently attacked this view on the following grounds: author-essentialists rely on an ontological parallelism between fictional individuals and whole works of fiction, but this parallelism fails (...) to obtain. I here argue that Yagisawa’s grounds are weak. (shrink)
: What kinds of comparisons can legitimately be made between Mahāyāna Buddhism and Western ethical theories? Mahāyānists aspire to alleviate the suffering, promote the happiness, and advance the moral perfection of all sentient beings. This aspiration is best understood as expressing a form of universalist consequentialism. Many Indian Mahāyāna texts seem committed to claims about agent-neutrality that imply consequentialism and are not compatible with virtue ethics. Within the Mahāyāna tradition, there is some diversity of views: Asaṅga seems to hold a (...) complex and interesting version of rule consequentialism, whereas Śāntideva is closer to act consequentialism. (shrink)
Three claims wittgenstein makes in the tractatus are explicated via schopenhauer's idealism: 1) ethical reward and punishment lie in the action itself, 2) the good or bad exercise of the will alter the world's limits, So that it waxes or wanes, 3) eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Schopenhauer's theory fills out some of wittgenstein's statements. For example, The happy man's world waxes to the degree that he frees himself from the false perspective of the "principium (...) individuationis". However, The link between schopenhauer's metaphysics and his ethics is tighter than the analogous link in wittgenstein. (shrink)
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems identify and track objects, animals and, in principle, people. The ability to gather information obtained by tracking consumer goods, government documents, monetary transactions and human beings raises a number of interesting and important privacy issues. Moreover, RFID systems pose an ensemble of other ethical challenges related to appropriate uses and users of such systems. This paper reviews a number of RFID applications with the intention of identifying the technology’s benefits and possible misuses. We offer an (...) overview and discussion of the most important ethical issues concerning RFID, and describes and examine some methods of protecting privacy. (shrink)
News media accounts of issues in bioethics gain significance to the extent that the media influence public policy and inform personal decision making. The increasingly frequent appearance of bioethics in the news thus imposes responsibilities on journalists and their sources. These responsibilities are identified and discussed, as is (i) the concept of "newsworthiness" as applied to bioethics, (ii) the variable quality of bioethics reportage and (iii) journalists' reliance on ethicists to pass judgment. Because of the potential social and other benefits (...) of high quality reporting on ethical issues, it is argued that journalists and their bioethics sources should explore and accommodate more productive relationships. An optimal journalism-ethics relationship will be one characterized by "para-ethics," in which journalistic constraints are noted but also in which issues and arguments are presented without oversimplification and credible disagreement is given appropriate attention. (shrink)