In this book, Roslyn Weiss contends that, contrary to prevailing notions, Plato's Crito does not show an allegiance between Socrates and the state that condemned him. Denying that the speech of the Laws represents the views of Socrates, Weiss deftly brings to light numerous indications that Socrates provides to the attentive reader that he and the Laws are not partners but antagonists in the argument and that he is singularly unimpressed by the case against escaping prison presented by (...) the Laws. Weiss's greatest innovation is her contention that the Laws are very much like the judges who preside at Socrates' trail--interested not in justice and truth but in being shown deference and submission. If Weiss's argument is correct, then the standard conception of the history of political thought is in error--political philosophy begins not with the primacy of the state over the citizen but with the affirmation of the individual's duty to act in accordance with his own careful determination of what justice demands. (shrink)
In this radical new interpretation of Plato's Meno, Roslyn Weiss exposes the farcical nature of the slave-boy-demonstration and challenges the widely held assumption that the Meno introduces "Platonic" metaphysical and epistemological innovations into an otherwise "Socratic" dialogue. She shows that the Meno is intended as a defense not of all inquiry but of moral inquiry alone, and that it locates the validity of Socratic method in its ability to arrive not at moral knowledge but at the far (...) more modest moral true belief. Virtue in the Cave will appeal not only to students of ancient philosophy and the classics, but also to anyone who is interested in how to live right in a world of moral uncertainty. (shrink)
Traditional scientific views of rationality are couched in economic terms; choosing an option that does not maximize expectancy is irrational. The construct has been extended metaphorically so that the term “irrational” now describes any decision deemed foolish by the evaluator. For everyday decisions that do not involve money, a decision maker’s utilities are generally not known to an onlooker. Therefore, the pejorative label may be applied inappropriately because the evaluation is distorted by incorrect assessment of the decision maker’s goals. We (...) tie this linguistic confusion to the predominance of gambling studies within decision making research. For noneconomic decisions, we propose an alternative definition, one inspired by a theory of everyday decisions. We label a decision irrational if is inconsistent with a policy previously established by the decision maker. The hierarchical structure of everyday decisions, along with the descriptive multiattribute utility model, are core elements in the theory presented by Weiss et al. (2010 Theory and Decision, 68, 101–114). The theory holds that fast changing considerations are a crucial element in the evaluation of decision options. The momentary salience attached to a consequence can change with current, often fleeting circumstances. An option that would usually be rejected can quickly become too tempting to resist. Most people exhibit this kind of irrationality, violating a personal policy, some of the time—and they are not necessarily foolish to do so. (shrink)
In this book Raymond L. Weiss examines how a seminal Jewish thinker negotiates the philosophical conflict between Athens and Jerusalem in the crucial area of ethics. Maimonides, a master of both the classical and the biblical-rabbinic traditions, reconciled their differing views of morality primarily in the context of Jewish jurisprudence. Taking into consideration the entire corpus of Maimonides' writings, Weiss focuses on the ethical sections of the Commentary on the Mishnah and the Mishneh Torah , but also discusses (...) the Guide of the Perplexed , the letters of Maimonides, and his medical works. The gulf between classical philosophy and the Torah made the task of Maimonides extraordinarily difficult. Weiss shows that Maimonides subtly preserves the tension between those traditions while producing a practical accommodation between them. To explain how Maimonides was able to accomplish this twofold goal, Weiss takes seriously the multilevel character of Maimonides' works. Weiss interrupts Maimonides as a heterodox thinker who, with utter integrity, faces the Law's encounter with philosophy and gives both the Torah and philosophy their due. (shrink)
Defining an "emphatic" as an intrusion that alters the import of what it intrudes on, Paul Weiss sets the stage for an exquisitely systematic, speculative study of the major themes confronting modern metaphysics. Weiss analyzes emphatics in etiquette, social status, nature, art, conventional behavior, encyclopedias, psychiatry, and religion.
An internationally renowned philosopher propounds a way to advance beyond appearance to ultimate realities and a final ideal. “One of philosophy’s main functions is to arouse thought, to awaken and redirect. It asks others to think through, to assess, and at the same time to be flexible and steady. Author and reader must, despite the printed page, despite differences in age and experience, training and knowledge, philosophize together,” writes Paul Weiss in his brilliant new book. And this is exactly (...) what the reader will find himself doing as the eminent speculative philosopher directs his attention to that which is beyond appearance—beyond daily living and, ultimately, beyond life itself. In this perhaps richest and finest of Mr. Weiss’s books, the average reader who daily confronts the various aspects of our complicated lives will find an enlivening answer to persisting fundamental questions. Mr. Weiss’s searching analysis of matter and his thought-provoking answers to questions raised provide a thoroughly enlightened examination of the realities of man’s inalienable rights, his identity over the course of a changing career, and his possible immortality. (shrink)
Since its disc overy by Fitch, the paradox of knowability has been a thorn in the anti-realist's side. Recently both Dummett and Tennant have sought to relieve the anti-realist by restricting the applicability of the knowability principle -- the principle that all truths are knowable -- which has been viewed as both a cardinal doctrine of anti-realism and the assumption for reductio of Fitch's argument. In this paper it is argued that the paradox of knowability is a peculiarly acute manifestation (...) of a syndrome affecting anti-realism, against which Dummett's and Tennant's manoeuvres are not finally efficacious. The anti-realist can only cope with the syndrome by being much clearer about her notion of knowability. In fact, she'll have to offer an account which relativises the notion of knowability both to the world at which knowability is assessed and to the content of the proposition to which it is applied. This is not, however, merely an ad hoc manoeuvre to counter the problematic syndrome; rather it is just what we should expect from the anti-realist's intuitive use of the notion. A preliminary investigation indicates that there is no way of providing a general, systematic explanation of such a notion of knowability and thus an inherent restriction on the principle of knowability -- but one differing from those offered by either Dummett or Tennant -- is developed. (shrink)
Certain anti-realisms about mathematics are distinguished by their taking proof rather than truth as the central concept in the account of the meaning of mathematical statements. This notion of proof which is meaning determining or canonical must be distinguished from a notion of demonstration as more generally conceived. This paper raises a set of objections to Dummett's characterisation of the notion via the notion of a normalised natural deduction proof. The main complaint is that Dummett's use of normalised natural deduction (...) proofs relies on formalisation playing a role for which it is unfit. Instead I offer an alternative account which does not rely on formalisation and go on to examine the relation of proof to canonical proof, arguing that rather than requiring an explicit characterisation of canonical proofs we need to be more aware of the complexities of that relation. (shrink)
The paper is sympathetic to the idea that speakers have implicit knowledge of the semantics of sub-sentential elements of language, loosely, of words. Implicit knowledge is knowledge which the subject need not be capable of articulating yet which is a genuine propositional attitude and it is to be contrasted with tacit knowledge which refers to an information-bearing state which, however, is not a genuine propositional attitude. I begin by defending the implicit knowledge conception of speakers' knowledge of the meanings of (...) words from a challenge articulated by Evans and then go on the offensive against positions which attempt to replace the notion of implicit knowledge in semantic theory by that of tacit knowledge. (shrink)
Antirealism about the past is apparently in conflict with our acceptance of a set of systematic linkages between the truth-values of differently tensed sentences made at different times. Arguments based on acceptance of these so-called truth-value links seem to show that fully accounting for our use of the past and future tenses will involve use of a notion of truth which is not epistemically constrained and is thus antirealistically unacceptable. I elaborate these difficulties through an examination of work by Dummett (...) and Wright. I agree with Wright's rejection of Dummett's proposal but go on to argue that Wright's account fares no better. Building on what I take to be the failure of Wright's account, I offer a solution for the antirealist which diagnoses the problem as stemming from an equivocation in the meanings assigned to the tensed truth predicates. I close by raising a different problem for antirealist accounts of the past, one which is, however, related to more general difficulties for antirealist theories of meaning. (shrink)
In Guide 2.32 Maimonides notes that just as there are three opinions concerning prophecy (as discussed earlier in 2:13), so are there three opinions concerning cosmogony. Scholars have tended to assume that Maimonides, despite what he says, must have seen some more important correspondence between the two sets of opinions than their number. I argue that although for Maimonides what the two sets of opinions have in common is indeed their number, what he wishes to direct the careful reader's attention (...) to is that the number of opinions in both cases is actually two rather than three. (shrink)
: Writing in the seventeenth century, Mary Astell offers some splendid models of what it can mean to include women in determining the purposes of politics, in marking the boundaries of issues on the political agenda, and in analyzing particular political concepts. A contending voice in early modern philosophy, Astell's contributions to political thought are made more visible here by contrast with Thomas Hobbes, with whom she was familiar and somewhat sympathetic.
Subset Spaces were introduced by L. Moss and R. Parikh in . These spaces model the reasoning about knowledge of changing states.In  a kind of subset space called intersection space was considered and the question about the existence of a set of axioms that is complete for the logic of intersection spaces was addressed. In  the first author introduced the class of directed spaces and proved that any set of axioms for directed frames also characterizes intersection spaces.
The author considers maimonides' ethics in the context of the following problem: how can concepts be transmitted from one language to a radically different language? he examines how maimonides conveyed as well as transformed key greek moral concepts within rabbinic hebrew, Which has no words to translate literally such terms as 'virtue,' 'passion,' 'happiness,' or even 'ethics.' the one word found to be indispensable is that for 'ethics' in the original greek sense, I.E., 'character traits.' the author discusses in some (...) detail the significance of the term 'de'ah' (character trait) developed by maimonides to refer to "ethics." the point is made that just as a word for "nature" is necessary before there can be natural science, A word for "character traits" is necessary before there can be ethics. (edited). (shrink)
Technology has provided state and federal governments with huge collections of DNA samples and identifying profiles stored in databanks. That information can be used to solve crimes by matching samples from convicted felons to unsolved crimes, and has aided law enforcement in investigating and convicting suspects, and exonerating innocent felons, even after lengthy incarceration. Rights surrounding the provision of DNA samples, however, remain unclear in light of the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures and privacy concerns. The courts have (...) just begun to consider this issue, and have provided little guidance. It is unclear whether the laws governing protected health information are applicable to the instant situation, and if so, the degree to which they apply. DNA databanks are not uniformly regulated, and it is possible that DNA samples contained in them may be used for purposes unintended by donors of the samples. As people live their lives, they leave bits of their DNA behind. They cannot be assured that these tiny specimens will not be taken or used against their will or without their knowledge for activities such as profiling to measure tendencies such as thrill-seeking, aggressiveness, or crimes with threatening behavior. Existing racial or ethnic discrimination and profiling may also encompass genetic discrimination and profiling, creating societal class distinctions. This article will explore the constitutionality of collecting genetic materials, the ethics of such activities, and balance the social good in solving crime and deterrence against the individual's security, liberty, and privacy. (shrink)