Activity and Participation in Late Antique and Early Christian Thought is an investigation into two basic concepts of ancient pagan and Christian thought. The study examines how activity in Christian thought is connected with the topic of participation: for the lower levels of being to participate in the higher means to receive the divine activity into their own ontological constitution. TorsteinTheodorTollefsen sets a detailed discussion of the work of church fathers Gregory of Nyssa, Dionysius the (...) Areopagite, Maximus the Confessor, and Gregory Palamas in the context of earlier trends in Aristotelian and Neoplatonist philosophy. His concern is to highlight how the Church Fathers thought energeia (i.e. activity or energy) is manifested as divine activity in the eternal constitution of the Trinity, the creation of the cosmos, the Incarnation of Christ, and in salvation understood as deification. (shrink)
St. Maximus the Confessor (580-662), was a major Byzantine thinker, a theologian and philosopher. He developed a philosophical theology in which the doctrine of God, creation, the cosmic order, and salvation is integrated in a unified conception of reality. Christ, the divine Logos, is the centre of the principles (the logoi ) according to which the cosmos is created, and in accordance with which it shall convert to its divine source. -/- TorsteinTollefsen treats Maximus' thought from a (...) philosophical point of view, and discusses similar thought patterns in pagan Neoplatonism. The study focuses on Maximus' doctrine of creation, in which he denies the possibility of eternal coexistence of uncreated divinity and created and limited being. Tollefsen shows that by the logoi God institutes an ordered cosmos in which separate entities of different species are ontologically interrelated, with man as the centre of the created world. The book also investigates Maximus' teaching of God's activities or energies, and shows how participation in these energies is conceived according to the divine principles of the logoi. An extensive discussion of the complex topic of participation is provided. (shrink)
In “Group Testimony” (2007) I argued that the testimony of a group cannot be understood (or at least cannot always be understood) in a summative fashion; as the testimony of some or all of the group members. In some cases, it is the group itself that testifies. I also argued that one could extend standard reductionist accounts of the justification of testimonial belief to the case of testimonial belief formed on the basis of group testimony. In this paper, I explore (...) the issue of group testimony in greater detail by focusing on one putative source of testimony, that of Wikipedia. My aim is to the answer the following questions: Is Wikipedia a source of testimony? And if so, what is the nature of that source? Are we to understand Wikipedia entries as a collection of testimonial statements made by individuals, some subset of individuals, or is Wikipedia itself (the organization or the Wikipedia community) the entity that testifies? If Wikipedia itself is a source of testimony, what resources do we have for assessing the trustworthiness of such an unusual epistemic source? In answering these questions I hope to further elucidate the nature of collective epistemic agency (Tollefsen 2006), of which group testimony is a paradigm example. When a mans Discourse begineth…at some saying of another, of whose ability to know the truth, and of whose honesty in not deceiving, he doubteth not; and then the Discourse is not so much concerning the Thing, as the Person; and the Resolution is called Beleefe, and Faith: Faith in the man. (1651/1991, Ch. 7; p. 48). (shrink)
As Alan Wood has recently pointed out, there is "a long and strong philosophical traditionthat parcels out cognitive tasks to human faculties in such a way that belief is assigned to the will".1 Such an approach lends itself to addressing the ethics of belief as an extension of practical ethics. It also lends itself to a treatment of reasons for belief that is an extension of its treatment of reasons for action, for our awareness of reasons for action provides the (...) framework within which we make reasonable, and hence morally acceptable, choices. One who holds that agents can make reasonable (and unreasonable) choices in relation to our "cognitive tasks" should, then, also expect that those choices occur in a framework established by our apprehension of reasons for belief. This paper seeks to articulate what an extension of an account of reasons for actions to an account of reasons for belief would look like. I also make some suggestions as to how the ethics of belief might parallel practical ethics. (shrink)
The debate surrounding the issue of collective moral responsibility is often steeped in metaphysical issues of agency and personhood. I suggest that we can approach the metaphysical problems surrounding the issue of collective responsibility in a roundabout manner. My approach is reminiscent of that taken by P.F. Strawson in "Freedom and Resentment" (1968). Strawson argues that the participant reactive attitudes - attitudes like resentment, gratitude, forgiveness and so on - provide the justification for holding individuals morally responsible. I argue that (...) the framework of the reactive attitudes extends to collectives and provides the justification for holding collectives morally responsible. (shrink)
In everyday discourse and in the context of social scientific research we often attribute intentional states to groups. Contemporary approaches to group intentionality have either dismissed these attributions as metaphorical or provided an analysis of our attributions in terms of the intentional states of individuals in the group.Insection1, the author argues that these approaches are problematic. In sections 2 and 3, the author defends the view that certain groups are literally intentional agents. In section 4, the author argues that there (...) are significant reasons for social scientists and philosophers of social science to acknowledge the adequacy of macro-level explanations that involve the attribution of intentional states to groups. In section 5, the author considers and responds to some criticisms of the thesis she defends. (shrink)
The fact that much of our knowledge is gained through the testimony of others challenges a certain form of epistemic individualism. We are clearly not autonomous knowers. But the discussion surrounding testimony has maintained a commitment to what I have elsewhere called epistemic agent individualism. Both the reductionist and the anti-reductionist have focused their attention on the testimony of individuals. But groups, too, are sources of testimony - or so I shall argue. If groups can be testifiers, a natural question (...) to ask is whether our beliefs based on the testimony of groups are ever justified and whether such a justification is to be conferred inferentially or non-inferentially. I consider and dismiss the possibility of extending an anti-reductionist account of justification to our group testimonial beliefs. I also argue against a version of reductionism that would have our group testimonial beliefs justified only in so far as we were able to monitor the trustworthiness of members of the group. However, there are forms of reductionism that can be extended to make sense of the justification of our group testimonial beliefs. There are mechanisms for monitoring the trustworthiness and competency of a group (rather than its members) and, further, a variety of background beliefs allow us to assess the testimony of a group for reliability. (shrink)
According to many, joint intentional action must be understood in terms of joint intentions. Most accounts of joint intention appeal to a set of sophisticated individual intentional states. The author argues that standard accounts of joint intention exclude the possibility of joint action in young children because they presuppose that the participants have a robust theory of mind, something young children lack. But young children do engage in joint action. The author offers a revision of Michael Bratmans analysis of joint (...) intention that reflects the socio-cognitive abilities young children do have. This revision makes sense of joint action among young children and equally well explains simple joint actions involving adults. Key Words: collective intentionality joint action childs theory of mind joint attention. (shrink)
: This paper focuses on Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia's philosophical views as exhibited in her early correspondence with René Descartes. Elisabeth's criticisms of Descartes's interactionism as well as her solution to the problem of mind-body interaction are examined in detail. The aim here is to develop a richer picture of Elisabeth as a philosophical thinker and to dispel the myth that she is simply a Cartesian muse.
Biomedical Research and Beyond: Expanding the Ethics of Inquiry investigates the ethics of biomedical and scientific inquiry, including embryonic research, animal research, genetic enhancement, and fairness in research in the developing world. Core concerns of biomedical and scientific research ethics are then shown also to be key in humanistic areas of inquiry. Biomedical Research and Beyond concludes with a discussion of the virtues that all inquirers, scientific, medical, and humanistic, should possess.
There are two perspectives available from which to understand an agent's intention in acting. The first is the perspective of the acting agent: what did she take to be her end, and the means necessary to achieve that end? The other is a third person perspective that is attentive to causal or conceptual relations: was some causal outcome of the agent's action sufficiently close, or so conceptually related, to what the agent did that it should be considered part of her (...) intention? Recent goods based views in ethics are divided as to whether only the first person perspective, or a mix of both perspectives, are necessary to understand intention and action. But resolution of the issue is necessary if goods based views are to be able to deploy to principle of double effect; for that principle requires an account of how to distinguish what is genuinely a matter of intention in human action from what is not. I argue that the pure first person account is better than the mixed account. (shrink)
Recent discussions of rational deliberation in science present us with two extremes: unbounded optimism and sober pessimism. Helen Longino (1990) sees rational deliberation as the foundation of scientific objectivity. Miriam Solomon (1991) thinks it is overrated. Indeed, she has recently argued (2006) that group deliberation is detrimental to empirical success because it often involves groupthink and the suppression of dissent. But we need not embrace either extreme. To determine the value of rational deliberation we need to look more closely at (...) the practice and practitioners of science. I offer a closer look here by exploring the joint agency of small research teams. Although there are factors that contribute to the suppression of dissent in group contexts, a closer look at the literature on group dynamics suggests that there are ways to mitigate the effects of groupthink. Thus, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic about the value of rational deliberation within certain scientific contexts. (shrink)
Introduction: Setting the scene -- The soul, Dharma, and liberation -- The supreme person's descent -- The path of enlightened action -- The path of classical yoga -- The vision of the supreme, I -- Quitting the body, the ephemeral, and eternal worlds -- The vision of the supreme, II -- Seeing the supreme in this world -- The revelation -- Stages of devotion -- The vision of the supreme in the heart -- The three Gusas -- The journey from (...) bondage to liberation -- The divine and the demonic -- The manifestation of the three Gusas in human life -- Summary and conclusion: Surrender to Kusa alone. (shrink)
“Incarnate reason” names, in Peter Dabrock's essay, both the task of utilizing natural reason in ethical and political discourse, and an answer to the ontological question about human persons, “What are we?” In this essay, I investigate the significance of this construal for questions about the metaphysical, moral, and political status of the human embryo.
In this essay, I defend three Simple Views concerning human beings. First, that the human embryo is, from the one-cell stage onwards, a single unitary organism. Second, that when an embryo twins, it ceases to exist and two new embryos come into existence. And third, that you and I are essentially human organisms. This cluster of views shows that it is not necessary to rely on co-location, or other obscure claims, in understanding human embryogenesis.
In John McDowell's recent Woodbridge Lectures at Columbia University, he characterizes Wilfrid Sellars's master thought, in Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind, as drawing a line between two types of characterizations of states that occur in people's mental lives: Above the line are placings in the logical space of reasons, and below it are characterizations that do not do that (McDowell, 1998, p. 433). In this essay, I ask what would be required for ethics to be above the line. More (...) precisely, what would be necessary to characterize episodes as actions, and persons as agents, so as for them to be answerable to moral criticism in light of rationally relevant considerations. The requirements are twofold: that practical reason motivate in virtue of the content of its deliverances; and that there be a will which is sensitive to those deliverances, and which chooses freely. A widespread procedural account of practical reason is examined and found insufficient to place ethics above the line; and a suspicion is raised that McDowell himself, and Jonathan Dancy, do not have a robust enough conception of will to avoid the below the line ethics they accuse their opponents of defending. (shrink)
Recent work done at the intersection of classical American pragmatism and bioethics promises much: a clarified self-understanding for bioethics, a modus vivendi for progress, and liberation from misguided and misguiding theories and principles. The revival of pragmatism outside bioethics in the past twenty years, however, has been of a distinctly anti-realist orientation. Richard Rorty, for example, has urged that there is no objective truth or good for philosophy to be concerned with. I ask whether the work in Pragmatic Bioethics follows (...) this perilous Rortyan trend. It will move towards anti-realism if its account of the good abandons any notion of truth or objectivity, and if, in its discussion of specific problems, it divides these problems into public and the private, urging consensus as the goal of the one, and an unconstrained notion of happiness as the goal of the other. In a final section, I suggest that bioethics done in the spirit of Royce's Philosophy of Loyalty might have much to offer to those dissatisfied with anti-realism. (shrink)
Generic chaplaincy is the result of a devaluing of religious worship and belief to the merely instrumental and experiential. It is an expectable consequence of non-belief in the unique object that would render religious worship intrinsically meaningful and valuable. Generic chaplaincy has no place because all desire God, yet not all have found Him in the fullness with which He has revealed Himself to us, or even in the fullness with which we may be aware of Him through natural reason. (...) In consequence, not all are equally aware of God. A chaplaincy that challenges patients respectfully, and encourages spiritual growth and awareness, including the overcoming of sin and error, is appropriate. (shrink)
This paper critically explores the path of some of the controversies over public reason and religion through four distinct steps. The first part of this article considers the engagement of John Finnis and Robert P. George with John Rawls over the nature of public reason. The second part moves to the question of religion by looking at the engagement of Nicholas Wolterstorff with Rawls, Robert Audi, and others. Here the question turns specifically to religious reasons, and their permissible use by (...) citizens in public debate and discourse. The third part engages Jürgen Habermas's argument that while citizens must be free to make religious arguments, still, there is an obligation of translation, and a motivational constraint on lawmakers. The final section argues that even though Habermas's proposal fails, nevertheless he recognizes a key difficulty for religious citizens in contemporary liberal polities. Restoration of a full role for religiously grounded justificatory reasons in public debate is one part of an adequate solution to this problem, but a second plank must be added to the solution: recognition that religious reasons can enter into public deliberation not just as first-order justifications of particular policies, but as second-order reasons, to be considered by any polity that respects its religious citizens and, more broadly, the good of religion. (shrink)
I discuss three topics. First, there is a philosophical connecting thread between several recent trends in the abortion discussion, namely, the issue of our animal nature, and physical embodiment. The philosophical name given to the position that you and I are essentially human animals is “animalism.” In Section II of this paper, I argue that animalism provides a unifying theme to recent discussions of abortion. In Section III, I discuss what we do not find among recent trends in the abortion (...) discussion, namely “the right to privacy.” I suggest some reasons why the right to privacy is conspicuous by its absence. Finally, I address Patrick Lee's claim that the evil of abortion involves “the moral deterioration that the act brings to those who are complicit in it, and to the culture that fosters it.”. (shrink)
Richard McCormick justified his move to proportionalism in part because of the perceived inadequacy of the Grisez-Finnis approach to morality to answer the following question: “What is to count for turning against a basic good, and why?” In this paper, I provide the beginnings of an account of what it means to intend damage to a good; I then show that the account is readily exportable to judgments regarding killing and lying defended by Grisez and others. I then indicate that (...) the account comports well with some of what Grisez says about sexual morality and suggest areas in which further clarification is necessary. In thus proceeding, I hope to inoculate the Grisez view from McCormick's reservations. (shrink)
The author focuses on the potential for many healthcare institutions currently called ‘Catholic’ to lose their genuine Roman Catholic identity, and he offers suggestions for the future of the Catholic identity of Catholic healthcare institutions. The author then considers one particular task of the Catholic hospital, that of showing a preferential option for the poor. Some of the threats to this task are highlighted. The author concludes with some suggestions for the renewal of Catholic identity in Catholic healthcare institutions.
This paper offers a literary and ideological deconstruction of the Bhāgavata Purāa; it traces the Purāa's formation through the convergence of the Vedāntin, the Aesthetic and the Vaiava traditions, and argues that it is the doctrine of Pariāma which underlies the treatise. I first examine the Bhāgavata Purāa's literary components; the roots of these are traced back historically to the Vedānta and Ālvār traditions, and the Bhāgavata Purāa's nature as an opus universale, representing an all Indian cultural 'melting pot', is (...) highlighted. The paper then looks at the relations of Vaiavism and dramaturgy, both historically as well as theologically, and argues that the Bhāgavata Purāa was traditionally read as a drama. It proceeds to decipher the aesthetic theory underlying the Bhāgavata Purāa, and argues that it is Bharata's dramaturgical rasa theory. Within the rasa tradition, Abhinavagupta's and Bhoja's positions are highlighted and compared through three seminal points and it becomes apparent that the Bhāgavata Purāa's underlying aesthetic theory is close to the Pariāma doctrine of Bhoja where gāra is considered to be the supreme rasa. As Bhoja's date is no doubt later than the Bhāgavata Purāa's it is assumed that the Bhāgavata Purāa was influenced by one of Bhoja's predecessors. The paper ends by reinforcing this analysis by highlighting a later tradition which had actually accepted this point of view and that is the Gauiya Vaiava tradition. (shrink)
Numerous philosophical theories of joint agency and its intentional structure have been developed in the past few decades. These theories have offered accounts of joint agency that appeal to higher-level states (such as goals, commitments, and intentions) that are ?shared? in some way. These accounts have enhanced our understanding of joint agency, yet there are a number of lower-level cognitive phenomena involved in joint action that philosophers rarely acknowledge. In particular, empirical research in cognitive science has revealed that when individuals (...) engage in a joint activity such as conversation or joint problem solving, they become aligned at multiple levels (e.g., behaviors, or cognitive states). We argue that this phenomenon of alignment is crucial to understanding joint actions and should be integrated with philosophical approaches. In this paper, we sketch a possible integration, and draw out its implications for understanding of joint agency and collective intentionality. The result is a process-based, dynamic account of joint action that integrates both low-level and high-level states, and seeks to capture the separate processes of how a joint action is initiated and sustained. (shrink)
Recent events concerning the guerilla journalism group Live Action created controversy over the morality of lying for a good cause. In that controversy, I defended the absolutist view about lying, the view that lying, understood as assertion contrary to one’s belief, is always wrong. In this essay, I step back from the specifics of the Live Action case to look more closely at what St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas, had to say in defense of the absolute view. Their approaches, (...) while rather different, are nevertheless, I believe, complementary, and cast light on both practical and principled reasons for thinking that lying is wrong, even for agood cause. In the final section of the paper, I discuss some of the challenges that a further defense of the absolute view would need to meet. (shrink)