This book provides an analysis of the debate surrounding cultural diversity, and attempts to reconcile the seemingly opposing views of "ethical imperialism," the belief that each individual is entitled to fundamental human rights, and cultural relativism, the belief that ethics must be relative to particular cultures and societies. The author examines the role of cultural tradition, often used as a defense against critical ethical judgments. Key issues in health and medicine are explored in the context of cultural diversity: the physician-patient (...) relationship, disclosing a diagnosis of a fatal illness, informed consent, brain death and organ transplantation, rituals surrounding birth and death, female genital mutilation, sex selection of offspring, fertility regulation, and biomedical research involving human subjects. Among the conclusions the author reaches are that ethical universals exist, but must not be confused with ethical absolutes. The existence of ethical universals is compatible with a variety of culturally relative interpretations, and some rights related to medicine and health care should be considered human rights. Illustrative examples are drawn from the author's experiences serving on international ethical review committees and her travels to countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where she conducted educational workshops and carried out out her own research. (shrink)
Whenever a thing changes, however slightly, it becomes in some ways unlike what it was. But how it is possible for anything to be both like and unlike itself? The possibility of change is a typically philosophical puzzle to which naturalistic science has no answer. In this book, Pivcevic examines the conditions that make the idea of change intelligible--in particular the connection between the possibility of change and the existence of selves.
Ehring shows the inadequacy of received theories of causation, and, introducing conceptual devices of his own, provides a wholly new account of causation as the persistence over time of individual properties, or "tropes.".
Are propositions of law true or false? If so, what does it mean to say that propositions of law are true and false? This book takes up these questions in the context of the wider philosophical debate over realism and anti-realism. Despite surface differences, Patterson argues that the leading contemporary jurisprudential theories all embrace a flawed conception of the nature of truth in law. Instead of locating that in virtue of which propositions of law are true, Patterson argues that lawyers (...) use forms of argument to show the truth of propositions of law. Additionally, Patterson argues that the realism/anti-realism debate in jurisprudence is part of a larger argument over the role of postmodernism in jurisprudence. For this, Patterson offers an analytic account of postmodernism and charts its implications for legal theory. This book will be of interest to those in legal theory, philosophy, social and political theory, and ethics. (shrink)
In this work, Henry Vyverberg traces the evolution and consequences of a crucial idea in French Enlightenment thought--the idea of human nature. Human nature was commonly seen as a broadly universal, unchanging entity, though perhaps modifiable by geographical, social, and historical factors. Enlightenment empiricism suggested a degree of cultural diversity that has often been underestimated in studies of the age. Evidence here is drawn from Diderot's celebrated Encyclopedia and from a vast range of writing by such Enlightenment notables as Voltaire, (...) Rousseau, and d'Holbach. Vyverberg explains not only the age's undoubted fascination with uniformity in human nature, but also its acknowledgment of significant limitations on that uniformity. He shows that although the Enlightenment's historical sense was often blinkered by its notions of a uniform human nature, there were also cracks in this concept that developed during the Enlightenment itself. (shrink)
Hud Hudson offers a fascinating examination of philosophical reasons to believe in hyperspace. He explores non-theistic reasons in the first chapter and theistic ones towards the end; in the intervening sections he inquires into a variety of puzzles in the metaphysics of material objects that are either generated by the hypothesis of hyperspace or else informed by it, with discussions of receptacles, boundaries, contact, occupation, and superluminal motion. Anyone engaged with contemporary metaphysics, and many philosophers of religion, will find much (...) to stimulate them here. (shrink)
The Facts of Causation grapples with one of philosophy's most enduring issues. Causation is central to all of our lives. What we see and hear causes us to believe certain facts about the world. We need that information to know how to act and how to cause the effects we desire. D. H. Mellor, a leading scholar in the philosophy of science and metaphysics, offers a comprehensive theory of causation. Many questions about causation remain unsettled. In science, the indeterminism of (...) modern physics and genetics have made such questions considerably harder for philosophers to answer. While progress has been made, a complete account of the nature and cosequences of causation is long overdue. This major study provides that account. (shrink)
This book is a major contribution to the philosophical literature on the nature of the self, personal identity, and survival. Its distinctive methodology is one that is phenomenologically descriptive rather than metaphysical and normative. On the basis of this approach Raymond Martin shows that the distinction between self and other is not nearly as fundamental a feature of our so-called egoistic values as has been traditionally thought. He explains how the belief in a self as a fixed, continuous point of (...) observation enters into our experience of ourselves and the world. He also reveals the explosive implications this thesis has for recent debates over personal identity and what matters in survival. This is the first book of analytic philosophy directly on the phenomenology of identity and survival. It builds bridges between analytic and phenomenological traditions and, thus, to open up a new field of investigation. (shrink)
In this fully revised and updated version of the highly successful first edition, Michael J. Loux provides a fresh look at the central topics in metaphysics rendering this essential reading for anyone interested in metaphysics. Wherever possible, the author relates contemporary views to their classical sources in the history of philosophy.Some of the topics addressed include: the problem of universals; the nature of abstract entities; the problem of individuation; the nature of modality; identity through time; the nature of time and (...) a new chapter on the realism/antirealism debate. (shrink)
Personal Identity and Ethics provides a lively overview of the relationship between the metaphysics of personal identity and ethics. How does personal identity affect our ethical judgments? It is a commonplace to hold that moral responsibility for past actions requires that the responsible agent is in some relevant respect identical to the agent who performed the action. Is this true? On the other hand, can ethics constrain our account of personal identity? Do the practical requirements of moral theory commit us (...) to holding that persons do remain identical over time? Or is it the case that personal identity is not, in fact, relevant to ethics? -/- Shoemaker provides the first comprehensive examination of these issues for the undergraduate audience. Topics include personal identity and prudential rationality; personal identity's significance for moral responsibility and ethical theory; and the practical consequences of accounts of personal identity for issues such as abortion, stem cell research, cloning, advance directives, populations ethics, multiple personality disorder, and the definition of death. (shrink)
This volume develops and defends critical realism whilst engaging critically with existentialist philosophy in a number of ways. The work of existentialist thinkers as diverse as Kierkegarrd, R.D. Laing, Heideggar and Sartre is discussed at length and Andrew Collier argues that there is much to be learnt from their work, especially in Heidegger's critique of the technological view of the world. However the book concludes with a defence of objectivity against the various forms of subjectivism advanced by the existentialists.
Contemporary debates in epistemology devote much attention to the nature of knowledge, but neglect the question of its sources. This book focuses on the latter, especially on the question of innateness. Carruthers' aim is to transform and reinvigorate contemporary empiricism, while also providing an introduction to a range of issues in the theory of knowledge. He gives a lively presentation and assessment of the claims of classical empiricism, particularly its denial of substantive a priori knowledge and of innate knowledge. He (...) argues that we would be right to reject the substantive a priori but not innateness, and then presents a novel account of the main motivation behind empiricism, which leaves contemporary empiricists free to accept innate knowledge and concepts. Carruthers closes with a discussion of scepticism, arguing that acceptance of innate concepts may lead to a decisive resolution of the problem in favor of realism. (shrink)
Modern philosophical thought has a manifold tradition of emphasizing "the moment". "The moment" demands questioning all-too-common notions of time, of past, present and future, uniqueness and repetition, rupture and continuity. This collection addresses the key questions posed by "the moment", considering writers such as Nietzsche, Husserl, Benjamin and Badiou, and elucidates the connections between social theory, philosophy, literary theory and history that are opened up by this notion.
The Metaphysics of Knowledge presents the thesis that knowledge is an absolutely fundamental relation, with an indispensable role to play in metaphysics, philosophical logic, and philosophy of mind and language. Knowledge has been generally assumed to be a propositional attitude like belief. But Keith Hossack argues that knowledge is not a relation to a content; rather, it a relation to a fact. This point of view allows us to explain many of the concepts of philosophical logic in terms of knowledge. (...) Hossack provides a theory of facts as structured combinations of particulars and universals, and presents a theory of content as the property of a mental act that determines its value for getting knowledge. He also defends a theory of representation in which the conceptual structure of a content is taken to picture the fact it represents. This permits definitions to be given of reference, truth, and necessity in terms of knowledge. Turning to the metaphysics of mind and language, Hossack argues that a conscious state is one that is identical with knowledge of its own occurrence. This allows us to characterize subjectivity, and, by illuminating the "I"-concept, allows us to gain a better understanding of the concept of a person. Language is then explained in terms of knowledge, as a device used by a community of persons for exchanging knowledge by testimony. The Metaphysics of Knowledge concludes that knowledge is too fundamental to be constituted by something else, such as one's functional or physical state; other things may cause knowledge, but do not constitute it. (shrink)
In this moderate realist account of the whole range of issues facing contemporary analytic philosophy, J. K. Swindler aims to fill the gap in the literature between extreme realism and extreme nominalism. He discusses such fundamental concepts as existence, property, universality, individual, and necessity; analyzes the paradoxes of negative existentials and the substitutivity of co-referential terms; and defends objectivity in philosophy. The study moves through three phases: first, an argument that objective philosophical truth is attainable; second, an extended realist analysis (...) of fundamental ontological concepts; and finally, a demonstration of advantages of this ontology over leading alternatives. Weaving: An Analysis of the Constitution of Objects will be of interest to all philosophers working in contemporary philosophy, philosophy of language, logic, and metaphysics, and will serve as an excellent text for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in metaphysics. (shrink)
Pragmatist Metaphysics proposes a pragmatist re-articulation of the nature, aims and methods of metaphysics. Rather than regarding metaphysics as a ‘first philosophy’, an inquiry into the world independent of human perspectives, the pragmatist views metaphysics as an inquiry into categorizations of reality laden with human practices. Insofar as our categorizations of reality are practice-laden, they are also, inevitably, value-laden. Sami Pihlström argues that metaphysics does not, then, study the world’s ‘own’ categorial structure, but a structure we, through our conceptual and (...) practical activities, impose on the reality we experience and interact with. Engaging with the classical American pragmatists, in particular William James, and neopragmatists, including Hilary Putnam, the author seeks to correct long-held misconceptions regarding the nature of the relationship between metaphysics and pragmatism. He argues that a coherent metaphysical alternative to the currently fashionable realist metaphysics emerges from pragmatism and that pragmatism itself should be reinterpreted in a metaphysically serious manner. Moreover, the book argues that, from a pragmatist perspective, metaphysics must be inextricably linked with ethics. (shrink)