In France, John Baptist Say has the merit of producing a very superior work on the subject of Political Economy. His arrangement is luminous, ideas clear, style perspicuous, and the whole subject brought within half the volume of [Adam] Smith's work. Add to this considerable advances in correctness and extension of principles.
Many people are uncomfortable with the idea that pleasure from certain sources is genuinely beneficial. These sources can be sorted into two classes: ones that involve others’ pain; and ones that involve what seems to be damage rather than benefit to the person involved. Here’s an example of the latter: a woman who claims that she enjoys her work performing in hard-core pornographic films. Some find it hard to take such a claim at face value – they instinctively assume that (...) the woman is insincere or self-deceived.1 The reason seems a strongly paternalistic one: because the activity is assumed to be bad, it’s thought that only someone who was in some way damaged could genuinely like it. A statement from Brian Hill, the director of a documentary about such women, illustrates this: ‘I felt certain that she couldn’t enjoy what she does, that there must be some reason why she’s undergoing this kind of experience. But there was nothing: no messed-up childhood, no sense of pain or humiliation.’ (Smith, 2003, 17) Forced to conclude that the woman in question really does enjoy her work, Hill changes his view to imply that the pleasure gained cannot be truly beneficial: ‘When I hear a young woman talking about doing videos of fisting and asphyxiation, I have to wonder what it’s doing to her – even if she says that she’s having fun.’ (Smith, 2003, 17). (shrink)
The so-called ‘Humean’ view of motivation is pretty standard in the Philosophy of Mind. Its most prominent contemporary defender, Michael Smith, calls it a ‘dogma’. Humeans believe in a strict divide between beliefs and desires. Beliefs have no intrinsic motivating force: I may believe anything at all, but only with the contribution of a separate desire will I be motivated to act. This claim should be broadened out to include all cognitive states (belief, knowledge…). The Humean claim is that cognitive (...) states are wholly lacking in conative power. If some beliefs seem to us to motivate action, that can only be due to a contingent association with a separate conative state. (shrink)
The Article explores relationships between contemporary international human rights and democracy. In what respects are they two sides of the same coin, in what respects are they different coins? Do they depend on and complete each other? Can the two be in contradiction? The Article looks at these questions from several perspectives, including their historical connections, the changing definitions and understandings of each, their functional links, their determinacy, and their character as universal phenomena. It also indicates ways in which (...) courts, which have long interpreted and applied human rights, now also reach decisions about constitutional issues by drawing on their conception of democracy. (shrink)
1. Kierkegaard as theologian and the question of kenosis -- 2. The nature of kenotic Christology -- 3. Kierkegaard's knowledge of kenotic Christology -- 4. Kenosis in Philosophical fragments -- 5. Kenosis in Practice in Christianity -- 6. Kierkegaard's existential kenoticism.
Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism aims to show that naturalism is, as he puts it, ‘incoherent or self defeating’. Plantinga supposes that, in the absence of any God-like being to guide the process, natural selection is unlikely to favour true belief. Plantinga overlooks the fact that adherents of naturalism may plausibly hold that there exist certain conceptual links between belief content and behaviour. Given such links, natural selection will favour true belief. A further rather surprising consequence of the existence of (...) such links is this: even if semantic properties are epiphenomenal, unguided evolution will still favour true belief. (shrink)
I remain entirely unconvinced that anyone who claims to “just know” that the dead walk among us, or that God exists, knows any such thing. Not only do I think the rest of us have good grounds for doubting their experience, I don’t believe it’s reasonable for them to take their own experience at face value either.
This is an article that explores the question "what is the meaning of life?" particularly with respect to humanism and theism. It defends a humanist position, and refutes a number of arguments for the conclusion that a meaningful human existence requires the existence of God.
This paper argues that the demands of respect for autonomy in the context of biobanking are fewer and more limited than is often supposed. It discusses the difficulties of agreeing a concept of autonomy from which duties can easily be derived, and suggests an alternative way to determine what respect for autonomy in a biobanking context requires. These requirements, it argues, are limited to provision of adequate information and non-coercion. While neither of these is in itself negligible, this is a (...) smaller set of demands than is often suggested. In particular, it is argued here that securing ‘one time consent’ is consistent with respect for autonomy. Finally, the paper notes that while the demands of respect for autonomy may be less than some suppose, respecting autonomy is not the only way in which biobanks and their users may have moral duties to donors. (shrink)
Playing the mystery card -- "But it fits!" -- Going nuclear -- Moving the semantic goalposts -- "But I just know!" -- Pseudo-profundity -- Piling up the anecdotes -- Pressing your buttons -- Conclusion -- The Tapescrew letters.
The vast majority of Biblical historians believe there is evidence sufficient to place Jesus’ existence beyond reasonable doubt. Many believe the New Testamentdocuments alone suffice firmly to establish Jesus as an actual, historical figure. I question these views. In particular, I argue (i) that the three most popular criteria by which various non-miraculous New Testament claims made about Jesus are supposedly corroborated are not sufficient, either singly or jointly, to place his existence beyond reasonable doubt, and (ii) that a prima (...) facie plausible principle concerning how evidence should be assessed—a principle I call the contamination principle—entails that, given the large proportion of uncorroborated miracle claims made about Jesus in the New Testament documents, we should, in the absence of good independent evidence for an historical Jesus, remain sceptical about his existence. (shrink)
Awareness of boundary, both physical and mental, is seen as the beginning of perception. In any account of the world, therefore, boundary must be a ubiquitous component. In sharp contrast, accounts of God within the Christian tradition commonly have proceeded by the affirmation that God is above and beyond boundary as infinite, timeless, and simple. To overcome this “problem of transcendence,” of how such a God can relate to such a world, an eight-term grammar of boundary is developed to demonstrate (...) how God as Trinity can properly be held to be without boundary yet constitute the ground of a bounded world. This leads to a way of granting theological significance to the origin and development of life. Life is seen to exist in dynamic, intentional relationships between context (“outside”) and intext (“inside”) across permeable boundaries through which an exchange of resources and information takes place for the sake of self-continuation. Comprehending life's distinctive utilization of boundary in terms of the grammar developed here enables life to be seen not only as a vestige of the Trinity but also, precisely because of this, as a sign and parable of redemption. (shrink)
This paper develops a challenge to theism. The challenge is to explain why the hypothesis that there exists an omnipotent, omniscient and all-good god should be considered significantly more reasonable than the hypothesis that there exists an omnipotent, omniscient and all-evil god. Theists typically dismiss the evil-god hypothesis out of hand because of the problem of good–there is surely too much good in the world for it to be the creation of such a being. But then why doesn't the problem (...) of evil provide equally good grounds for dismissing belief in a good god? I develop this evil-god challenge in detail, anticipate several replies, and correct errors made in earlier discussions of the problem of good. (shrink)
In the preceding piece, Timothy Chambers agrees with some feminists that . Here, I briefly defend the view that, whatever else rape is, it is, indeed, a sexual act. Timothy will reply in another piece.
Increasingly, taxonomies are being developed and used by industry practitioners to facilitate information interoperability and retrieval. Within a single industrial domain, there exist many taxonomies that are intended for different applications. Industry specific taxonomies often represent the vocabularies that are commonly used by the practitioners. Their jobs are multi-faceted, which include checking for code and regulatory compliance. As such, it will be very desirable if industry practitioners are able to easily locate and browse regulations of interest. In practice, multiple sources (...) of government regulations exist and they are often organized and classified by the needs of the issuing agencies that enforce them rather than the needs of the communities that use them. One way to bridge these two distinct needs is to develop methods and tools that enable practitioners to browse and retrieve government regulations using their own terms and vocabularies, for example, via existing industry taxonomies. The mapping from a single taxonomy to a single regulation is a trivial keyword matching task. We examine a relatedness analysis approach for mapping a single taxonomy to multiple regulations. We then present an approach for mapping multiple taxonomies to a single regulation by measuring the relatedness of concepts. Cosine similarity, Jaccard coefficient and market basket analysis are used to measure the semantic relatedness between concepts from two different taxonomies. Preliminary evaluations of the three relatedness analysis measures are performed using examples from the civil engineering and building industry. These examples illustrate the potential benefits of regulatory usage from the mapping between various taxonomies and regulations. (shrink)
This paper suggests the adoption of a ‘capability approach’ to key concepts in healthcare. Recent developments in theoretical approaches to concepts such as ‘health’ and ‘disease’ are discussed, and a trend identified of thinking of health as a matter of having the capability to cope with life’s demands. This approach is contrasted with the WHO definition of health and Boorse’s biostatistical account. We outline the ‘capability approach’, which has become standard in development ethics and economics, and show how existing work (...) in those areas can profitably be adapted to healthcare. Cases are used to illustrate the value of adopting a capability approach. (shrink)