The topic of this book is a fundamental philosophical question: why should I be moral? Philosophers have long been concerned with the legitimacy of morality's claim on us, especially with morality's ostensible aim to motivate certain actions of all persons unconditionally. While the problem of moral normativity - that is, the justification of the binding force of moral claims - has received extensive treatment analytic moral theory, little attention has been paid to the potential contribution that phenomenology might make to (...) this central debate in metaethics. -/- In The Phenomenology of Moral Normativity, William H. Smith takes up the question of morality's legitimacy anew, drawing contemporary moral philosophers, particularly Christine Korsgaard and Stephen Darwall, into conversation with present-day phenomenologists like John Drummond and the phenomenological philosophy of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, and Emmanuel Levinas. -/- The results of this juxtaposition are surprising: utilizing a two-part account of moral normativity, Smith contends that the ground of morality itself is second-personal, rooted in the ethical demand intrinsic to other persons, while the ground for particular moral-obligations is first-personal, rooted in the subject's avowal or endorsement of certain moral norms within a concrete historical situation. Thus, Smith argues that phenomenological analysis allows us to make sense of an idea that has long held intuitive appeal, but that modern moral philosophy has been unable to render satisfactorily, namely, that the normative source of valid moral claims is simply other persons and what we owe to them. (shrink)
With what right and with what meaning does Heidegger use the term 'truth' to characterize Dasein's disclosedness? This is the question at the focal point of Ernst Tugendhat's long-standing critique of Heidegger's understanding of truth, one to which he finds no answer in Heidegger's treatment of truth in §44 of Being and Time or his later work. To put the question differently: insofar as unconcealment or disclosedness is normally understood as the condition for the possibility of propositional truth rather than (...) truth itself, what does it mean to say - as Heidegger does - that disclosedness is the "primordial phenomenon of truth" and what justifies that claim? The central aim of this paper is to show that Tugendhat's critique remains unanswered. Recent Heidegger scholarship, though it confronts Tugendhat, has not produced a viable answer to his criticism, in part because it overlooks his basic question and therefore misconstrues the thrust of his objections. Ultimately, the paper suggests that what is needed is a re-evaluation of Heidegger's analysis of truth in light of a more accurate understanding of Tugendhat's critique. The paper concludes by sketching the profile of a more satisfactory reply to Tugendhat's critical question, advocating a return to Heidegger's 'existential' analyses in Being and Time in order to locate the normative resources Tugendhat finds lacking in Heidegger's concept of truth. (shrink)
A Review of The Remains of Being: Hermeneutic Ontology after Metaphysics , by Santiago Zabala This essay offers a critical assessment of Santiago Zabala’s recent book, The Remains of Being: Hermeneutic Ontology After Metaphysics, with the intent of bringing to light Zabala’s most provocative claims about hermeneutics, post-Heideggerian ontology, and the future of philosophy in the postmetaphysical epoch. After reflecting on the aims (section II) and structure of Zabala’s book (section III), the essay attempts to make clear certain tensions that (...) emerge from Zabala’s basic terminology—specifically, the “remains” and “remnants” of Being—with respect to the “subjective” interpretation of Being Zabala defends (section IV). The paper concludes (section V) by pressing Zabala for a more thoroughgoing defense of his most ambitious claims about the primacy of hermeneutics in postmetaphysical thought, particularly regarding his reading of Heidegger’s works. (shrink)
Strong Hermeneutics presents a compelling case for the importance of hermeneutics in understanding ethics today. It provides a critical comparison of the enlightenment view of ethics with the postmodern or "weak" view of ethics. The weak view, which Nicholas H. Smith traces back to Nietzsche and identifies in the recent work of Rorty and Lyotard, is skeptical of any universal principles in ethics. The enlightenment view, starting with Kant and taken up in the work of Habermas, casts identity as (...) subject of universal but formal moral constraints. Smith argues that neither of these views can provide a proper framework for ethics. Drawing on the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur and Charles Taylor, he presents a fascinating reworking of key issues in ethics and continental philosophy. (shrink)
John E. Smith has contributed to contemporary philosophy in primarily four distinct capacities; first, as a philosopher of religion and God; second, as an indefatigable defender of philosophical reflection in its classical sense ( a sense inclusive of, but not limited to, metaphysics); third, as a participant in the reconstruction of experience and reason so boldly inaugurated by Hegel then redically transformed by the classical American pragmatists, and significantly augmented by such thinkers as Josiah Royce, william Earnest Hocking, (...) and Alfred North Whitehead; fourth, as an interpreter of philosophical texts and traditions (Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche no less than Charles Peirce, WIlliam James and John Dewey; German idealism as well as American; the Augustinian tradition no less than the pragmatic). Reason, Experience, and God provides an important and comprehensive look at the work of John E. Smith by collected essays which each address aspects of his life-long work. A response by John E. Smith himself draws a line of continuity between the pieces. (shrink)
During fatigue at room temperature the marked elastic anisotropy of beta-brass produces severe stress concentration at the grain boundaries, which causes at the free surface either intercrystalline cracking or the formation of regular arrays of intensified slip bands adjacent to the boundaries. The minimum fatigue stress required for subsequent transcrystalline crack propagation is sensitive to environment and if it is greater than that needed for intercrystalline crack initiation then non-propagating cracks may exist. Crystallographic fatigue crack propagation occurs on (110) planes (...) until the alternating stress on the section remaining intact reaches 0±41 000 p.s.i. when the mode of propagation becomes non-crystallographic. (shrink)
in Abortion and the Status of the Fetus, Volume XIII of the series, “Philosophy of Medicine,” eds. William B. Bondeson, H. Tristram Englehardt, Stuart Spicker, and Daniel H. Winship (Dordrecht, Holland/Boston, Massachusetts: D. Reidel, 1983), pp. 229-245.
Moral philosophy and education, by H. D. Aiken.--The moral sense and contributory values, by C. I. Lewis.--Realms of value, by P. W. Taylor.--The role of value theory in education, by J. D. Butler.--Does ethics make a difference? By K. Price.--Educational value statements, by C. Beck.--Educational values and goals, by W. K. Frankena.--Conflicts in values, by H. S. Broudy.--Levels of valuational discourse in education, by J. F. Perry and P. G. Smith.--Education and some moves toward a value methodology, by A. (...) S. Clayton.--You can't pray a lie, by M. Twain.--Men, machines, and morality, by J. F. Soltis.--Teaching and telling, by I. Scheffler.--Reason and habit, by R. S. Peters.--The two moralists of the child, by J. Piaget.--Causes and morality, by R. S. Peters.--On education and morals, by R. W. Sleeper.--Moral autonomy and reasonableness, by T. D. Perry. (shrink)
It is often presumed that effects of neural tissue transplants are due to release of neurotransmitter. In many cases, however, effects attributed to transplants may be related to phenomena such as trophic effects mediated by glial cells or even tissue reactions to injury. Any conclusion regarding causation of graft effects must be based on the control groups or other comparisons used. In human clinical studies, for example, comparing the same subject before and after transplantation allows for many interpretations of the (...) causes of clinical changes. (shrink)
Previous research suggests that children learning a variety of languages acquire similar early noun vocabularies and do so by similar and universal processes. We report here results from two studies that show differences in the early noun learning of English- and Japanese-speaking children. Experiment 1 examined the relative numbers of animal names and object names in vocabularies of English-speaking and Japanese-speaking children. English-speaking children's vocabularies were heavily lopsided with many more object than animal names whereas Japanese-speaking children's vocabularies were more (...) evenly balanced. Experiment 2 used a novel noun extension task to examine what young children know about the different organizations of animal and artifact categories. The results suggest that early learners of English but not Japanese over-generalize what they know about object categories to animal categories. The role of culture, input and linguistic structure in early noun acquisitions is discussed. (shrink)
This paper develops a theory of civil disobedience informed by a deliberative conception of democracy. In particular, it explores the justification of illegal, public and political acts of protest in constitutional deliberative democracies. Civil disobedience becomes justifiable when processes of public deliberation fail to respect the principles of a deliberative democracy in the following three ways: when deliberation is insufficiently inclusive; when it is manipulated by powerful participants; and when it is insufficiently informed. As a contribution to ongoing processes of (...) public deliberation, civil disobedience should be carried out in a way that respects the principles of deliberative democracy, which entails a commitment to persuasive, non-violent forms of protest. (shrink)
In Voir l'invisible Michel Henry applies his philosophy of autoaffection (which is both inspired by, and critical of, Husserl) to the realm of aesthetics. Henry claims that autoaffection, as non-objective experience, is essential not only to self-experience, but also to the experience of objects and their qualities. Intentionality tempts us to experience objects merely from the 'outside', but aesthetic experience returns us to the inner life of objects as a lived experience. On the basis of an examination of Henry's aesthetic (...) theory in the light of Husserl's analysis of our experience of visible objects, I conclude that revisions are required in both Husserl's and Henry's approaches: Husserl's noema must be considered to be a lived-through experience, and non-objective lived-through experience must be recognized as primordial evidence; Henry's claim that intentionality makes unreal all that it objectifies must be replaced by a recognition of the interdependence between autoaffection and heteroaffection. (shrink)
The paper is a set of reflections on the moral culture of modern biology built around the author’s experience as a participant observer in two university laboratories. I draw parallels between laboratory culture and organized religion and point out practical problems in conducting scientific research. The notion that good biologists must be atheists is questioned and failures of organized religion are noted. The paper concludes with a suggestion that research ethics should be rooted in laboratory practice and must include vigorous (...) principles of honesty and justice. Those are not requirements imposed from outside but internal requirements of the research community. (shrink)
The present volume draws together original and significant essays from a number of leading authorities which identify areas of the modern criminal law where there are significant conceptual difficulties. The project developed from a series of seminars in Cambridge University, in which leading Anglo-American philosophers, criminal lawyers and legal theorists explored subjects such as attempts, intention, justification, excuses, coercion, complicity, drug-dealing and criminal harm.
The consensus in the philosophical literature on joint action is that, sometimes at least, when agents intentionally jointly φ, this is explicable by their intending that they φ, for a period of time prior to their φ-ing. If this be granted, it poses a dilemma. For agents who so intend either severally or jointly intend that they φ. The first option is ruled out by two stipulations that we may consistently make: (i) that at least one of the agents non-akratically (...) believes that, all things considered, the agents ought not to φ, and (ii) that an agent is akratic, if she intends a thing that she believes, all things considered, ought not to be done. But the second option seems to entail the existence of a mental state with multiple subjects, which, in turn, seems to commit us to the existence of a group mind modified by that state: an incautious posit to say the least. I resolve the dilemma by noting that ‘They jointly intend’ is indeterminate between ‘They intend, jointly’, which does indeed entail that some mental state is an intention with multiple subjects, and ‘Jointly, they intend’, which entails a weaker claim, viz. that some mental state or states is an intention with multiple subjects. I then sketch an account of how a plurality of mental states, distributed among subjects, might, collectively, do service as their intention that they φ. It makes novel use of notions of participation and of doing a thing jointly with others. A corollary is that either intentions are not attitudes towards propositions, or propositions are individuated more finely than is often assumed. (shrink)
Biomedical ontologies are emerging as critical tools in genomic and proteomic research where complex data in disparate resources need to be integrated. A number of ontologies exist that describe the properties that can be attributed to proteins; for example, protein functions are described by Gene Ontology, while human diseases are described by Disease Ontology. There is, however, a gap in the current set of ontologies—one that describes the protein entities themselves and their relationships. We have designed a PRotein Ontology (PRO) (...) to facilitate protein annotation and to guide new experiments. The components of PRO extend from the classification of proteins on the basis of evolutionary relationships to the representation of the multiple protein forms of a gene (products generated by genetic variation, alternative splicing, proteolytic cleavage, and other post-translational modification). PRO will allow the specification of relationships between PRO, GO and other OBO Foundry ontologies. Here we describe the initial development of PRO, illustrated using human proteins from the TGF-beta signaling pathway (http://pir.georgetown.edu/pro). (shrink)
The astute manger should be aware that, in organizations, the deck is frequently ‘stacked’ against higher levels of ethical behavior. This deck stacking occurs because of socialization processes, environmental influences, and the organization hierarchy. As a result of bosses using hierarchical leverage to take the ethical dimension of decision-making away from subordinates, the stage is set for a they-made-me-do-it defense of their moral integrity by these subordinates if and when violations of ethical norms come to light. There is also at (...) work, however, an I-made-them-do-it situation in which professionals who prefer to ‘nest’ in the more technical aspects of their work ‘delegate’ — upward — to their bosses ethical decision-making. Understanding these dynamics is crucial in an age which is especially sensitized to the ethical facet of organizational behavior. (shrink)
This article examines Levinas as if he were a participant in what Habermas has called `the philosophical discourse of modernity'. It begins by comparing Levinas' and Habermas' articulations of the philosophical problems of modernity. It then turns to how certain key motifs in Levinas' later work give philosophical expression to the needs of the times as Levinas diagnoses them. In particular it examines how Levinas interweaves a modern, post-ontological conception of `the religious' or `the sacred' into his account of subjectivity. (...) Finally, the article looks at some problems that arise for Levinas once his position in the philosophical discourse on modernity is made explicit. Key Words: Jürgen Habermas Emmanuel Levinas modernity ontology otherness religion social relation. (shrink)
The article considers how Richard Rorty's writings on religion dovetail with his views on the philosophical significance of hope. It begins with a reconstruction of the central features of Rorty's philosophy of religion, including its critique of theism and its attempt to rehabilitate religion within a pragmatist philosophical framework. It then presents some criticisms of Rorty's proposal. It is argued first that Rorty's "redescription" of the fulfilment of the religious impulse is so radical that it is hard to see what (...) remains of its specifically religious content. This casts doubt on Rorty's claim to have made pragmatism and religion compatible. The article then offers an analysis of Rorty's key notion of "unjustifiable hope". Different senses of unjustifiable hope are distinguished, in the course of which a tension between the "romantic" and "utilitarian" aspects of Rorty's pragmatist philosophy of religion comes into view. (shrink)
I adapt an old example of Frank Jackson's, in order to show that it is not only possible that actions with different individual agents are sub-optimal when each is not, but that they are impermissible when each is not, and blameworthy when each is not.
The paper contrasts two approaches to the analysis of hope: one that takes its departure from a view broadly shared by Hobbes, Locke and Hume, another that fits better with Aquinas's definition of hope. The former relies heavily on a sharp distinction between the cognitive and conative aspects of hope. It is argued that while this approach provides a valuable source of insights, its focus is too narrow and it rests on a problematic rationalistic psychology. The argument is supported by (...) a discussion of hope understood as a stance and by a consideration of the phenomenological contrast between expectation and anticipation. The paper concludes with some reflections on the relation between hope and illusion and the idea of responsible hope. (shrink)
Social networking sites (SNS) such as MySpace and Facebook have become among the most popular sites on the Internet. The extent of self-disclosure on these sites makes them an attractive source of information for employers. This paper reviews the advantages and criticisms of SNS use during the recruiting and selection process, the existing research on SNS and consider legal and normative implications of this trend.
In this article, I consider the significance of the discovery of spermatozoa for Leibniz's deeply held beliefs that (i) no true substance can ever be generated or destroyed, except miraculously; and (ii) that every substance must be perpetually organically embodied. I further consider the way these beliefs are transformed as Leibniz's basic middle-period commitment to corporeal substance gives way (though not entirely) to a metaphysics of monadological immaterialsm. What endures throughout, I show, is the conviction that whatever is real must (...) be indestructible, whether this is conceived as a form-matter compound in which the two components can never be entirely sundered from one another, or as a node of perception “absolutely destitute of parts”. Whatever the deepest metaphysical account of corporeality, Leibniz never abandons his interest in spermatozoa as the corporeal hosts of preexisting animals. (shrink)