In this paper I propose a framework to understand the transition in Foucault’s work from the disciplinary model to the governmentality model. Foucault’s work on power emerges within the general context of an expression of capitalist rationality and the nature of freedom and power within it. I argue that, thus understood, Foucault’s transition to the governmentality model can be seen simultaneously as a deepening recognition of what capitalism is and how it works, but also as a recognition of the (...) changing historical nature of the actually existing capitalisms and their specifically situated historical needs. I then argue that the disciplinary model should be understood as a contingent response to the demands of early capitalism, and argue that with the maturation of the capitalist enterprise many of those responses are no longer necessary. New realities require new responses; although this does not necessarily result in the abandonment of the earlier disciplinary model, it does require their reconfiguration according to the changed situation and the new imperatives following from it. (shrink)
Kant’s account of the freedom gained through virtue builds on the Socratic tradition. On the Socratic view, when morality is our end, nothing can hinder us from attaining satisfaction: we are self-sufficient and free since moral goodness is (as Kant says) “created by us, hence is in our power.” But when our end is the fulfillment of sensible desires, our satisfaction requires luck as well as the cooperation of others. For Kant, this means that happiness requires that we get (...) other people to work for our ends; and this requires, in turn, that we gain control over the things other people value so as to have influence over them. If this plan for happiness is not subordinated to morality, then what is most valuable to us will be precisely what others value. This is the root of the “passions” that make us evil and make us slaves whose satisfaction depends on others. But, significantly, this dependence is a moral slavery and hence does not signal a loss, or even diminishment of the kind of freedom required for moral responsibility. (shrink)
This paper provides an account of Kant's categories of freedom, explaining how they fit together and what role they are supposed to play. My interpretation places particular emphasis on the structural features that the table of the categories of freedom shares with the table of judgements and the table of categories laid out by Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason. In this way we can identify two interpretative constraints, namely (i) that the categories falling under each heading (...) must form a synthetic unity whereby the third one derives from the combination of the other two. and (ii) that the first two categories falling under each heading must be morally undetermined and sensibly conditioned, while the third category is sensibly unconditioned and determined only by the moral law. (shrink)
Kant’s views on the relation between freedom and moral law seem to undergo a major, unannounced shift. In the third section of the Groundwork, Kant seems to be using the fact that we must act under the idea of freedom as a foundation for the moral law. However, in the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant claims that our awareness of our freedom depends on our awareness of the moral law. I argue that the apparent conflict between the (...) two texts depends on a reading of the opening paragraphs of Groundwork III, and on an interpretation of Kant’s claim that we “act under the idea of freedom”, that is implausible on textual and on philosophical grounds. I then present an alternative interpretation of what Kant means by “acting under the idea of freedom” and of the opening paragraphs of Groundwork III. I argue that the only substantive conclusion of these paragraphs is that no theoretical proof of freedom is necessary. Moreover I argue that although these paragraphs raise concerns about the validity of the moral law, these concerns and Kant’s answers to them, do not give rise to any significant conflict with his views in the Critique of Practical Reason. (shrink)
Three critics of Freedom Evolves (Dennett 2003) bring out important differences in philosophical outlook and method. Mele’s thought experiments are supposed to expose the importance, for autonomy, of personal history, but they depend on the dubious invocation of mere logical or conceptual possibility. Fischer defends the Basic Argument for incompatibilism, while Taylor and I choose to sidestep it instead of disposing of it. Where does the burden of proof lie? O’Connor’s candid expression of allegiance to traditional ideas that I (...) reject highlights a fundamental difference in assumptions about howFand whyFto do philosophy. There are indeed deﬁnable varieties of free will that are incompatible with determinism. Do they matter? I have argued, against philosophical tradition, that they don’t. (shrink)
Argues that standard interpretations of Merleau-Ponty's criticisms of Sartrean freedom fail and presents an alternative interpretation that argues that the fundamental issue concerns their different theories of time.
Can we reconcile the idea that we are free and responsible agents with the idea that what we do is determined according to natural laws? For centuries, philosophers have tried in different ways to show that we can. Hilary Bok takes a fresh approach here, as she seeks to show that the two ideas are compatible by drawing on the distinction between practical and theoretical reasoning.Bok argues that when we engage in practical reasoning--the kind that involves asking "what should I (...) do?" and sifting through alternatives to find the most justifiable course of action--we have reason to hold ourselves responsible for what we do. But when we engage in theoretical reasoning--searching for causal explanations of events--we have no reason to apply concepts like freedom and responsibility. Bok contends that libertarians' arguments against "compatibilist" justifications of moral responsibility fail because they describe human actions only from the standpoint of theoretical reasoning. To establish this claim, she examines which conceptions of freedom of the will and moral responsibility are relevant to practical reasoning and shows that these conceptions are not vulnerable to many objections that libertarians have directed against compatibilists. Bok concludes that the truth or falsity of the claim that we are free and responsible agents in the sense those conceptions spell out is ultimately independent of deterministic accounts of the causes of human actions.Clearly written and powerfully argued, Freedom and Responsibility is a major addition to current debate about some of philosophy's oldest and deepest questions. (shrink)
Some claim that Non-reductive Physicalism (NRP) is an unstable position, on grounds that NRP either collapses into reductive physicalism (contra Non-reduction ), or expands into emergentism of a robust or ‘strong’ variety (contra Physicalism ). I argue that this claim is unfounded, by attention to the notion of a degree of freedom—roughly, an independent parameter needed to characterize an entity as being in a state functionally relevant to its law-governed properties and behavior. I start by distinguishing three relations that (...) may hold between the degrees of freedom needed to characterize certain special science entities, and those needed to characterize (systems consisting of) their composing physical (or physically acceptable) entities; these correspond to what I call ‘reductions’, ‘restrictions’, and ‘eliminations’ in degrees of freedom. I then argue that eliminations in degrees of freedom, in particular—when strictly fewer degrees of freedom are required to characterize certain special science entities than are required to characterize (systems consisting of) their composing physical (or physically acceptable) entities—provide a basis for making sense of how certain special science entities can be both physically acceptable and ontologically irreducible to physical entities. (shrink)
Epistemic freedom is the freedom to affirm any one of several incompatible propositions without risk of being wrong. We sometimes have this freedom, strange as it seems, and our having it sheds some light on the topic of free will and determinism.
Thoughts about freedom and determinism have engaged philosophers since the days of ancient Greece.1 On the one hand, we generally regard ourselves as free and autonomous beings who are responsible for the ac- tions that we perform. But this idea of ourselves appears to conﬂict with a variety of attitudes that we also have about the inevitable workings of the world around us. For instance, some people believe that strict, universal laws of nature govern the world. Others think that (...) there is an omnipotent God who is the ultimate cause of all things. These more global views sug- gest that each particular event—including each human action—is causally necessitated, and so they suggest a conﬂict with the claim that we are free. Hence, the problem of freedom and determinism is, at base, a problem about reconciling attitudes we have toward ourselves with our more gen- eral thoughts about the world around us. It is a problem about locating our actions within those streams of events that make up the broader universe. (shrink)
In this paper I seek to identify different sorts of freedom putatively linked to moral responsibility; I then explore the relationship between such notions of freedom and the Consequence Argument, on the one hand, and the Frankfurt-examples, on the other. I focus (in part) on a dilemma: if a compatibilist adopts a broadly speaking "conditional" understanding of freedom in reply to the Consequence Argument, such a theorist becomes vulnerable in a salient way to the Frankfurt-examples.
Nietzsche writes a great deal about freedom throughout his work, but never more explicitly than in Twiling of the Idols, a book he described as 'my philosophy in a nutshell'. This paper offers an analysis of Nietzsche's conception freedom and the role it plays within Twilight.
The libertarian view of freedom has attracted considerable attention in the past three decades. It has also been subjected to numerous criticisms regarding its nature and effects on society. G. A. Cohen''s recent book, Self-Ownership, Freedom and Equality, continues this attack by linking libertarian views on freedom to their view of self-ownership. This paper formulates and evaluates Cohen''s major arguments against libertarian freedom and self-ownership. It contends that his arguments against the libertarian rights definition of (...) class='Hi'>freedom are inadequate and need modification. Similarly, Cohen''s defense of restrictions on self-ownership on behalf of autonomy are also found wanting. Finally, I argue that the thesis of self-ownership (whether in its full or partial version) ought to be rejected. (shrink)
Susan Hurley has argued against a well known argument for freedom of speech, the argument from autonomy, on the basis of two hypotheses about violence in the media and aggressive behaviour. The first hypothesis says that exposure to media violence causes aggressive behaviour; the second, that humans have an innate tendency to copy behaviour in ways that bypass conscious deliberation. I argue, first, that Hurley is not successful in setting aside the argument from autonomy. Second, I show that the (...) empirical data are irrelevant to statutory regulation of media violence. They do not yield a sufficiently strong correlation between exposure to media violence and non-autonomously copied criminal violence, and they do not yield a way ex ante to individuate the viewers who will be affected by media violence. (shrink)
While Nietzsche's rejection of metaphysical free will and moral desert has been widely recognised, the sense in which Nietzsche continues to use the term freedom affirmatively remains largely unnoticed. The aim of this article is to show that freedom and agency are among Nietzsche’s central concerns, that his much-discussed interest in power in fact originates in a first-person account of freedom, and that his understanding of the phenomenology of freedom informs his theory of agency. He develops (...) a non-reductive drive-psychological motivational theory: reflective judgement and reasons can motivate by means of affective orientations agents have due to their drives. In particular, due to a standing desire or 'instinct for freedom' agents can generate, in mental simulations, the necessary motivational affects to unify their drives in view of certain long-term goals. (shrink)
Religious freedom is often thought to protect not only religious practices but also the underlying religious beliefs of citizens. But what should be said about religious beliefs that oppose religious freedom itself or that deny the concept of equal citizenship? The author argues here that such beliefs, while protected against coercive sanction, are rightly subject to attempts at transformation by the state in its expressive capacities. Transformation is entailed by a commitment to publicizing the reasons and principles that (...) justify the basic rights of citizens. (shrink)
Some defenders of the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP) have responded to the challenge of Frankfurt-style counterexamples (FSCs) to PAP by arguing that there remains a flicker of freedom -- that is, an alternative possibility for action -- left to the agent in FSCs. I argue that the flicker of freedom strategy is unsuccessful. The strategy requires the supposition that doing an act-on-one''s-own is itself an action of sorts. I argue that either this supposition is confused and leads (...) to counter-intuitive results; or, if the supposition is acceptable, then it is possible to use it to construct a FSC in which there is no flicker of freedom at all. Either way, the flicker of freedom strategy is ineffective against FSCs. Since the flicker of freedom strategy is arguably the best defense of PAP, I conclude that FSCs are successful in showing that PAP is false. An agent can act with moral responsibility without having alternative possibilities available to her. (shrink)
Self-Ownership, Freedom and Equality is G.A. Cohens attempt to rescue something of the socialist outlook on society from the challenge of libertarianism, which Cohen identifies with the work of Robert Nozick in his famous book, Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Sympathizing with the leading idea that a person must belong to himself, and thus be unavailable for forced redistribution of his efforts, Cohen is at pains to reconcile the two. This cannot be done – they are flatly contrary. Moreover, (...) equality is a nonsense principle, calling for such things as equal distribution of natural resources. But resources, as goods, are not natural: all require work to utilize. The only thing exchanged on markets is services, and estimates of value received are relevantly made only by those party to the exchanges in question. Imposition from above on voluntary exchange can only be socially counterproductive. (shrink)
A companion volume to Free Will: A Philosophical Study , this new anthology collects influential essays on free will, including both well-known contemporary classics and exciting recent work. Agency and Responsibility: Essays on the Metaphysics of Freedom is divided into three parts. The essays in the first section address metaphysical issues concerning free will and causal determinism. The second section groups papers presenting a positive account of the nature of free action, including competing compatibilist and incompatibilist analyses. The third (...) section concerns free will and moral responsibility, including theories of moral responsibility and the challenge to an alternative possibilities condition posed by Frankurt-type scenarios. Distinguished by its balance and consistently high quality, the volume presents papers selected for their significance, innovation, and clarity of expression. Contributors include Harry Frankfurt, Peter van Inwagen, David Lewis, Elizabeth Anscombe, John Martin Fischer, Michael Bratman, Roderick Chisholm, Robert Kane, Peter Strawson, and Susan Wolf. The anthology serves as an up-to-date resource for scholars as well as a useful text for courses in ethics, philosophy of religion, or metaphysics. In addition, paired with Free Will: A Philosophical Study, it would form an excellent upper-level undergraduate or graduate-level course in free will, responsibility, motivation, or action theory. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that trying is the locus of freedom and moral responsibility. Thus, any plausible view of free and responsible action must accommodate and account for free tryings. I then consider a version of agent causation whereby the agent directly causes her tryings. On this view, the agent is afforded direct control over her efforts and there is no need to posit—as other agent-causal theorists do—an uncaused event. I discuss the potential advantages of this sort of (...) view, and its challenges. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: One-page entry on freedom in the philosophical (as opposed to political) sense in antiquity, noting (among other things) that a notion of freedom of choice that requires that the person not be causally predetermined in his/her actions is developed only in the 1st-3rd cents. CE in Alexander of Aphrodisias, building on elements of Aristotelian ethics and logic, Stoic psychology and perhaps Christian and Middle Platonic influences. Both German version (1998) and English translation (2011).
Hate groups are often thought to reveal a paradox in liberal thinking. On the one hand, such groups challenge the very foundations of liberal thought, including core values of equality and freedom. On the other hand, these same values underlie the rights such as freedom of expression and association that protect hate groups. Thus a liberal democratic state that extends those protections to such groups in the name of value neutrality and freedom of expression may be thought (...) to be undermining the values on which its legitimacy rests. In this paper, I suggest how this apparent paradox might be resolved. I argue that the state should protect the expression of illiberal beliefs, but that the state (along with its citizens) is also obligated to criticize publicly those beliefs. Distinguishing between two kinds of state action—coercive and expressive—I contend that such criticism should be pursued through the state’s expressive capacities in its roles as speaker, educator, and spender. Here I extend the familiar idea that law, to be legitimate, must be widely publicized; I contend that a proper theory of the freedom of expression obligates the legitimate state to publicize the reasons that underlie rights, in particular reasons that appeal to the entitlement of each citizen subject to coercion to be treated as free and equal. My theory of freedom of expression is thus “expressive” in two senses: it protects the entitlement of citizens to express any political viewpoint, and it emphasizes a role for the state in explaining these free-speech protections and persuading its citizens of the value of the entitlements that underlie them. (shrink)
Philosophers have tended to dismiss John Stuart Mill’s claim that ‘all silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility’. I argue that Mill’s ‘infallibility claim’ is indeed open to many objections, but that, contrary to the consensus, those objections fail to defeat the anti-authoritarian thesis which lies at its core. I then argue that Mill’s consequentialist case for the liberty of thought and discussion is likewise capable of withstanding some familiar objections. My purpose is to suggest that Mill’s anti-authoritarianism and (...) his faith in thought and discussion, when taken seriously, supply the basis for a ‘public interest’ account of ‘freedom of expression as the liberty of thought and discussion’ which is faithful to Mill in spirit, if not to the precise letter. I outline such an account, which – as I say in conclusion – can serve as a valuable safeguard against ad hoc, reactive legislation, and the demands of a spurious communitarianism. (shrink)
This paper suggests the democratic direction in which the right of freedom of expression should be conceived and applied. In the first two sections it suggests some counter-examples to, and diagnoses of, the libertarian and liberal conceptions of freedom of expression, taking Scanlon (1972) and Scanlon (1979), respectively, to be their chief proponents. The paper suggests that these conceptions cannot take into account clear examples, like fraudulent propaganda, which should not be legal. The democratic conception takes it to (...) heart that the pillars upon which the right of freedom of expression is founded are individual and collective autonomy, the right to know facts of public interest and information necessary for effective democratic control of government. The paper suggests that in a time when private powers seriously threaten these pillars, it is correct for the government to step in to provide the framework in which genuine discussion geared toward fulfilling the objectives of these pillars can take place. (shrink)
I defend pornography as an important aspect of freedom of expression, which is essential for autonomy, self-development, the growth of knowledge and human flourishing. I rebut the allegations that pornography depraves and corrupts, degrades women, is harmful to children, exposes third parties to risk of offence or assault, and violates women’s civil rights and liberties. I contend that suppressing pornography would have a range of unintended evil consequences, including loss of beneficial technology, creeping censorship, black markets, corruption and extensive (...) social costs. (shrink)
This article is my contribution to an author-meets-critics session on Daniel Dennett’s Freedom Evolves (Viking, 2003) at the 2004 meetings of the American Philosophical Association – Pacific Division. Dennett criticizes a view I defend in Autonomous Agents (Oxford University Press, 1995) about the importance of agents’ histories for autonomy, freedom, and moral responsibility and defends a competing view. Our disagreement on this issue is the major focus of this article. Additional topics are manipulation, avoidance, and avoidability.
Philosophers have advocated different kinds of freedom, but each has value and none should be neglected in a complete theory of freedom and responsibility. There are three kinds of freedom of preference and action that should be distinguished. A person S may fully prefer to do A at every level, and that is one kind of freedom. A person S may autonomously prefer to do A when S has the preference structure concerning doing A because S (...) prefers to have that very preference structure, and that is a second kind of freedom. A person S may prefer to do A when S could have preferred otherwise, and that is a third kind of freedom. These forms of freedom may be combined, but they are valuable and essentially independent. They all involve the metamental ascendence of preference over desire, but it is autonomous preference that makes a person the author of his or her preference. The responsibility a person has for what he or she does out of a preference for doing it depends on the kinds of freedom of preference the person has and must be ranked in terms of them. (shrink)
The essay recapitulates the decisive steps in Heidegger’s development of the problem of human freedom. The interpretation is set in the context of a general matrix for how freedom is treated in the tradition, as both a theoretical ontological problem, and as practical appeal. According to some readers, Heidegger’s thinking is a philosophy of freedom throughout; according to others his “turning” implies abandoning the idea of human freedom as a metaphysical remnant. The essay seeks an intermediate (...) path, by following his explicit attempts to develop an ontology based on the concept of freedom in the earlier writings, showing how this is the central theme in his confrontation and also his final break with German idealism, with Kant and with Schelling in particular, and with the prospects for a system of freedom. However, this break does not terminate his preoccupation with the problem of freedom, which is then transformed into the idea of thinking as a practice of freedom, as a way of reaching into “the free”. (shrink)
As good a definition as any of a _philosophical_ conundrum is a problem all of whose possible solutions are unsatisfactory. The problem of understanding the springs of action for morally responsible agents is commonly recognized to be such a problem. The origin, nature, and explanation of freely-willed actions puzzle us today as they did the ancients Greeks, and for much the same reasons. However, one can carry this ‘perennial-puzzle’ sentiment too far. The unsatisfactory nature of philosophical theories is a more (...) or less matter, and some of them have admitted of improvement over time. This, at any rate, is what we self-selecting metaphysicians tend to suppose, and I will pursue that high calling by suggesting a few improvements to a theory of metaphysical freedom, or freedom of the will. (shrink)
Several prominent incompatibilists, e.g., Robert Kane and Derk Pereboom, have advanced an analogical argument in which it is claimed that a deterministic world is essentially the same as a world governed by a global controller. Since the latter world is obviously one lacking in an important kind of freedom, so must any deterministic world. The argument is challenged whether it is designed to show that determinism precludes freedom as power or freedom as self-origination. Contrary to the claims (...) of its adherents, the global controller nullifies freedom because she is an agent, whereas natural forces are at work in conventional deterministic worlds. Other key differences that undermine the analogy are identified. It is also shown that the argument begs the question against the classical compatibilist, who believes that determinism does not preclude alternative possibilities. (shrink)
David Lewis has recently deployed a contextualist strategy for defending ordinary claims to know.1 In this paper, I wish to extend that strategy to ordinary claims about freedom.2 The result is a species of compatibilism that, while foreign to current debates, has a good deal going for it.
Michael Bergmann and Jan Cover summarize the essence of their paper as follows: "We argue that divine responsibility is sufficient for divine thankworthiness and consistent with the absence of divine freedom. We do this while insisting on the view that both freedom and responsibility are incompatible with causal determinism." In this response I argue that while it makes sense for believers to be thankful that God exists, it makes no sense for them to thank him for doing the (...) best act he can, given the circumstances. (shrink)
This article makes a case for the capacity of "social practice" accounts of agency and freedom to criticize, resist, and transform systemic forms of power and domination from within the context of religious and political practices and institutions. I first examine criticisms that Michel Foucault's analysis of systemic power results in normative aimlessness, and then I contrast that account with the description of agency and innovative practice that pragmatist philosopher Robert Brandom identifies as "expressive freedom." I argue that (...) Brandom can provide a normative trajectory for Foucault's diagnoses of power and domination, helping to resolve its apparent lack of ethical direction. I demonstrate that Foucault, in turn, presents Brandom with insights that might overcome the charges of abstraction and conservatism that his pragmatic inferentialism frequently encounters. The result is a vindication of social practice as an analytical lens for social criticism that is at once both immanent and radical. (shrink)
Philip Pettit’s republican conception of freedom is presented as an alternative both to negative and positive conceptions of freedom. The basic idea is to conceptualize freedom as non-domination, not as non-interference or self-mastery. When compared to negative freedom, Pettit’s republican conception comprises two controversial claims: the claim that we are unfree if we are dominated without actual interference, and the claim that we are free if we face interference without domination. Because the slave is a widely (...) accepted paradigm of the unfree person, the case of a slave with a non-interfering master is often cited as providing a good argument for the first republican claim and against a negative conception of freedom. One aim of this article is to raise doubts about whether this is true. The other aim of the article is to show that the prisoner—also a paradigm of the unfree person—presents a good argument against the second republican claim and in favour of a negative conception of freedom. This is called the ‘prisoner-argument’. It will be argued that neither Pettit’s distinction between free persons and free choices nor his distinction between compromising and conditioning factors of freedom can help to rebut the charge of the prisoner-argument. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: In contemporary discussions of freedom in Stoic philosophy we often encounter the following assumptions: (i) the Stoics discussed the problem of free will and determinis; (ii) since in Stoic philosophy freedom of the will is in the end just an illusion, the Stoics took the freedom of the sage as a substitute for it and as the only true freedom; (iii) in the c. 500 years of live Stoic philosophical debate, the Stoics were largely concerned (...) with the same philosophical problems of freedom. In this paper I argue that (i) can be upheld only in a very restricted way; (ii) is altogether untenable; and regarding (iii), that, although there may have occurred little change in the Stoic philosophical position on freedom over the centuries, we can detect more than one transformation of the philosophical problems that were at the forefront of the discussion. Moreover, that all the conceptions and problems of freedom were linked to Stoic ethics, and that the differences between them become transparent when one considers their various roles in this context. (shrink)
In his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, Kant formulates the idea of the empirical investigation of the human being as a free agent. The notion is puzzling: Does Kant not often claim that, from an empirical point of view, human beings cannot be considered as free? What sense would it make anyway to include the notion of freedom in science? The answer to these questions lies in Kant’s notion of character. While probably all concepts of character are (...) involved in the description and explanation of human action, Kant develops a specific notion of character by distinguishing character as a “mode of thought” (Denkungsart) from character as a “mode of sensing” (Sinnesart). The former notion is distinctively Kantian. Only mode of thought reveals itself in human action such that actions can be seen as linked to an agent’s first-person perspective and the capacity to rationally reflect one’s own intentions and desires. By reference to this concept human actions can be empirically explained qua free actions. The point of this paper is not only to rule out the interpretation that Kant is an incompatibilist concerning the dilemma of freedom and causal determinism. It is also argued that Kant defends a version of soft determinism which is more sophisticated and more adequate for the human sciences than Hume’s. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: A general interpretation and close textual analysis of Kant’s theory of the categories of freedom (or categories of practical reason) in his Critique of Practical Reason. My main concerns in the paper are the following: (1) I show that Kant’s categories of freedom have primarily three functions: as conditions of the possibility for actions (i) to be free, (ii) to be comprehensible as free and (iii) to be morally evaluated. (2) I show that for Kant actions, although (...) qua theoretical objects they are always already constituted by means of the theoretical categories, qua practical objects (objects of reason in its practical use, i.e. objects qua possibly good or bad) they are constituted by means of the categories of freedom; and that it is only in this way that actions, qua phenomena, can be a consequence of freedom, and can be understood and evaluated as such. (English translation in progress.). (shrink)
Chisholm's theory of freedom implies that a free action necessarily is one that has a certain causal history, Namely one leading back to a brain event (or some similar physiological occurrence) made to happen by the agent. The problem arises of the conceivability of the relation that is supposed to exist, On this theory, Between the agent and the bodily events leading up to his behavior. Furthermore, If it is a contingency whether human beings are sometimes free or always (...) determined, Then chisholm's formulation of the problem of freedom contains an assumption that may be unjustified, Namely that human beings are "responsible agents" in the sense that their free actions necessarily have a certain indeterministic history. It may be an empirical fact that every human action in fact has a sufficient causal condition. (shrink)
There have recently been a number of high profile political incidents, and legal cases, that raise questions about hate speech. At the same time, the tensions, and perceived conflicts, between religion and sexuality have become controversial topics. This paper considers the relationship between religious freedom, free speech and equality through an analysis of recent case law in Great Britain, Canada and the United States. The paper starts with a discussion of how conflicts between these values arise in areas such (...) as hate speech and explores the differences between the European and US approach to this issue. In Council of Europe member states there is an increasing use of the criminal law to regulate hate speech. This paper argues that criminalisation of hate speech poses a distinct risk to the values of free speech and proposes alternative non-legal responses such as a greater use of cultural policy. The paper also explores a range of cases where the religion and sexual orientation conflict has arisen in areas such as the workplace. An analysis of these cases suggests that although there is no perfect resolution of this issue, it is possible to develop a set of principles that encourage a balance between the values of religious freedom, free speech and equality even in difficult situations where there is a conflict between religion and sexuality. The paper concludes with some practical recommendations for managing the tensions or conflicts between religious freedom, free speech and equality in liberal democracies. (shrink)
Historically, republicans were of different minds about markets: some, such as Rousseau, reviled them, while others, like Adam Smith, praised them. The recent republican resurgence has revived this issue. Classical liberals such as Gerald Gaus contend that neo-republicanism is inherently hostile to markets, while neo-republicans like Richard Dagger and Philip Pettit reject this characterization—though with less enthusiasm than one might expect. I argue here that the right republican attitude toward competitive markets is celebratory rather than acquiescent and that republicanism demands (...) such markets for the same reason it requires the rule of law: because both are essential institutions for protecting individuals from arbitrary interference. I reveal how competition restrains—and in the limit, even eradicates—market power and thereby helps us realize “market freedom,” i.e., freedom as non-domination in the context of economic exchange. Finally, I show that such freedom necessitates “Anglo-Nordic” economic policies. (shrink)
Spanish culture has recently shown interest about Neuroethics, a new line of research and reflection. It can be said that two general, and somewhat opposing, perspectives are currently being developed in Spain about neuroethics-related topics. One originates from the neuroscientific field and the other from the philosophical field. We will see, throughout this article, that the Spanish authors, who I am going to select here, deal with very diverse neuroethical topics and that they analyse them from different intellectual assumptions. However, (...) I consider that there is one constant concern, which emerges extensively or briefly in each one of the books that I am going to present. I am referring to the problem of freedom. Spanish neuroscientists, in general, stress and accept the new determinism that emanates from recent research about the brain, whilst those who engage in the study of philosophy usually point in their texts to the limitations of empirical research that purport to "demonstrate" the new neurological determinism. I will dedicate the last section, which is more extensive in length, to the work that I consider the most valuable, at least until the present day, and whose title is Neuroética y Neuropolítica (Tecnos, Madrid, 2011). Professor Adela Cortina (chair of Moral Philosophy at Valencia University and member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Moral and Political Science) is its author. But, firstly, I am going to refer to the works written by neuroscientists, and then to those written by philosophers. This will enable us to obtain a global view of the neuroethics models that are being constructed in Spain. (shrink)
Universities can and have existed without academic freedom and academic tenure. But academic freedom is necessary for a university dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge in a democratic society. Both academic freedom and academic tenure are not only rights but also carry with them moral obligations. Furthermore academic tenure is the best defense of academic freedom that American universities have found. Academic tenure can be successfully defended from the many contemporary attacks to which it is being (...) subjected only insofar as it is necessary to defend academic freedom, and only if all involved in the system of tenure observe the ethical requirements that the system demands. (shrink)
This collection of essays is dedicated to William Rowe, with great affection, respect, and admiration. The philosophy of religion, once considered a deviation from an otherwise analytically rigorous discipline, has flourished over the past two decades. This collection of new essays by twelve distinguished philosophers of religion explores three broad themes: religious attitudes of faith, belief, acceptance, and love; human and divine freedom; and the rationality of religious belief. Contributors include: William Alston, Robert Audi, Jan Cover, Martin Curd, Peter (...) van Inwagen, Norman Kretzmann, George Nakhnikian, John Hawthorne, Philip Quinn, James Ross, Eleonore Stump, and William Wainwright. (shrink)
This paper analyzes ethical aspects of the new paradigm of Ambient Intelligence, which is a combination of Ubiquitous Computing and Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI’s). After an introduction to the approach, two key ethical dimensions will be analyzed: freedom and privacy. It is argued that Ambient Intelligence, though often designed to enhance freedom and control, has the potential to limit freedom and autonomy as well. Ambient Intelligence also harbors great privacy risks, and these are explored as well.
I seek to clarify the notion of the fixity of the past appropriate to Pike’s regimentation of the argument for the incompatibility of God’s foreknowledge and human freedom. Also, I discuss Alvin Plantinga’s famous example of Paul and the Ant Colony in light of Pike’s argument.
The article begins at the intellectual fissure between many statements coming from neuroscience and the language of faith and theology. First I show that some conclusions drawn from neuroscientific research are not as firm as they seem: neuroscientific data leave room for the interpretation that mind matters. I then take a philosophical-theological look at the notions of soul, self, and freedom, also in the light of modern scientific research (self-organization, neuronal networks), and present a view in which these theologically (...) important notions are seen in relation both to matter (brain) and to God. I show that religious insights expressed with soul and free will bear a remarkable resemblance to certain insights from neuroscience and the science of complex, self-organizing systems, including emphasis on corporeality and emphasis on organization as a form of that corporeality, and that they also show an interesting parallel --- albeit described in different terms --- concerning the crucial role of a valuation principle that generates attraction. With that, the common-sense idea that freedom simply is the same as indeterminism is refuted: freedom primarily means self-determination. I bring to the fore that the self is not a static thing but a “longing.‘ Such longing springs from something, and it is the relationship to this source that constitutes the self. The main concern is to point out the crucial role of attraction with respect to being and to life, and to draw attention not only to the astonishing parallel on this point between Thomas Aquinas and Alfred North Whitehead but also to a surprising --- albeit more implicit --- analogy between these philosophical-theological views and scientific theories of self-organization (such as those concerning neuronal networks). In short, being attracted toward what appears as “good‘ is what constitutes us as selves and what thereby signifies the primary meaning of our freedom. (shrink)
Human freedom was Jean-Paul Sartre’s central philosophical preoccupation throughout his career. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the cornerstone of his moral and political thought, Being and Nothingness, contains an extensive and subtle account of the metaphysical freedom that he considered fundamental to the kind of existence that humans have. Although rooted in phenomenology, Sartre’s account of freedom draws very little on analysis of the experience of freedom itself. It is rather based on a general phenomenological (...) account of perceptual experience and the motivation of action. The result is one of the most sophisticated portrayals of freedom in Western philosophical literature. It is certainly the most detailed account of freedom given by any of those philosophers who made the description of experience their central philosophical method. This claim is more usually made for Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s account of freedom, which he presents in critical dialogue with Sartre’s, but as we will see his account stops short of a full phenomenology of agency and owes its plausibility and popularity in part to its author having asked one question too few. (shrink)