This is a transcript of a conversation between P F Strawson and Gareth Evans in 1973, filmed for The Open University. Under the title 'Truth', Strawson and Evans discuss the question as to whether the distinction between genuinely fact-stating uses of language and other uses can be grounded on a theory of truth, especially a 'thin' notion of truth in the tradition of F P Ramsey.
Drawing on a landscape analysis of existing data-sharing initiatives, in-depth interviews with expert stakeholders, and public deliberations with community advisory panels across the U.S., we describe features of the evolving medical information commons. We identify participant-centricity and trustworthiness as the most important features of an MIC and discuss the implications for those seeking to create a sustainable, useful, and widely available collection of linked resources for research and other purposes.
(2002). On Being a Bioethicist: A Review of John H. Evans Playing God?: Human Genetic Engineering and the Rationalization of Public Bioethical Debate. The American Journal of Bioethics: Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 65-69.
In his paper ‘Miracles: metaphysics, physics, and physicalism’, 1 Kirk McDermid appears to have two primary goals. The first is to demonstrate that my account of how God might produce a miracle without violating any laws of nature is radically flawed. The second is to suggest two alternative accounts, one suitable for a deterministic world, one suitable for an indeterministic world, which allow for the occurrence of a miracle without violation of the laws of nature, yet do not suffer from (...) the defects of what McDermid terms the ‘Larmerian’ model. I briefly describe my model, reply to McDermid's criticism of it, and evaluate his alternative accounts. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to clear up the long-standing veritable mountain of misinterpretation, perpetuated from critic to critic, concerning the admittedly problematic concept of self-authenticating religious experience. While it may well be the case, as many have argued, that a sort of ‘experience’ about which one could not be mistaken is simply a logically impossible state of affairs, this cannot be known to be the case so long as what is under attack is a bogus concept, obviously absurd, (...) having nothing whatsoever to do with the correct interpretation of ‘self-authentication’. Hence, my mission herein is essentially that of philosophical analysis or clarification of meaning. Only upon suitable clarification of this concept will we be in a position to consider the question of its possible application, i.e. whether or not there could be an instantiation of such experience. I might point out that my central concern is somewhat more explicatory than historical, though I believe that the account developed in this paper is essentially congenial with the intent of those who have been proponents of the view that there can be self-authenticating religious experience. Let us begin, then, by turning to some representative criticism of the concept in question. (shrink)
In Anselm's Discovery , Professor Hartshorne makes the rather startling and counterintuitive claim that ‘…there is indeed no issue between theism and pantheism. We all exist in the divine being, as St Paul said.’ 1 Classical or orthodox theists, it seems eminently fair to say, can be expected to recoil from any such suggestion with more than a little indignation. First of all, it might well be objected that Hartshorne - as a ‘process theist’ - is not a classical theist, (...) and, consequently, while there may be no issue between pantheism and his brand of theism, such is simply not the case in so far as classical theism is concerned. According to the latter - in contradistinction, of course, to Hartshorne's ‘neoclassical theism’ - immutability is an ‘essential’ property of God; as such, it would be a conceptual error to ascribe any contingent states to God at all. Now as is well known by philosophers of religion, Hartshorne regards this immutability doctrine of classical theism as a serious ‘logical blunder’ , one which - in so far as it reflects the ‘Greek bias’ which has always identified perfection with the absolutely unchangeable - is profoundly distortive of the biblical concept of Deity. (shrink)
Contemporary commentators on Hume's essay, ‘Of miracles’ have increasingly tended to argue that Hume never intended to suggest that testimonial evidence must always be insufficient to justify belief in a miracle. This is in marked contrast to earlier commentators who interpreted Hume as intending to demonstrate that testimonial evidence is incapable in principle of ever establishing rational belief in a miracle. In this article I argue that this traditional interpretation is the correct one.
I am grateful to Philip Quinn for his thorough and penetrating critique of my paper on classical theism and pantheism. He has given me much to think about, and it would be philosophically remiss of me not to acknowledge that – in the light of his remarks – the argument which I employed in defence of the thesis that classical theism implies a version of pantheism might well benefit from some amendment. However, the purpose of this brief counter-rejoinder is to (...) establish that the nexus of my argument has emerged from his commentary in reasonably robust health, i.e., to demonstrate that if the argument of my former paper is to be rejected, it will take something more than Professor Quinn's critique to make that clear. Very concisely, then, my response is as follows: At a preliminary point, Professor Quinn claims that my argument ‘merits careful scrutiny’ because, if it succeeds, ‘something shockingly at variance with received views’ will have been established . I find this to be somewhat odd. For it seems clear that St Paul was a ‘classical theist’, indeed a very special one in so far as the shaping of Christian theism is concerned. And while his famous and oftcited dictum that God is the One in Whom ‘we live, move, and have our being’ may be such that it is permissible to construe it in ways which do not imply any version of pantheism, it clearly seems unjustified to maintain that pantheistic doctrines are ‘shockingly at variance’ with that most intriguing statement of St Paul's. (shrink)
To the extent that Mircea Eliade is concerned with millenarianism he is concerned with it as only an instance of religious phenomena generally and is concerned with its meaning rather than its cause. Yet presupposed in the meaning he finds is a theory of its cause, and that theory is worth examining both because it elucidates Eliade's approach to religion as a whole and because as an explanation of millenarianism it is atypical and even unique.
During his first decade on the national political stage , Robert A. Taft contributed to a lively “Old Right” conservative critique of the New Deal’s efforts to achieve economic recovery, promote sustainable growth, and convert to a postwar peacetime economy. This paper examines the senator’s market rhetoric—the ideas on the market, entrepreneurship, and the role of the state that he employed in political arguments after 1935—to understand the foundation of his libertarian brand of conservatism. The following article argues that (...) Taft fused Gilded Age evolutionary naturalism with the Republican Party’s tradition of economic nationalism in order to refute Franklin Roosevelt’s statist liberalism. In particular, he asserted that extra-human natural laws governed the market; that, in the absence of federal interference, it operated flawlessly; that small-business entrepreneurs, not corporations or public enterprise, were the agents of progress; and that the federal government should facilitate, not hinder, entrepreneurial enterprise. (shrink)
This book is devoted to the work of Robert A. Dahl, who passed away in 2014. Dahl was one of the most important American political scientists and normative democratic theorists of the post-war era, and he was also an influential teacher who mentored some of the most significant academics of the next two generations of American political science. As an incredibly productive scholar he had a career that spanned more than half a century, his first book was published in (...) 1950 his last was in 2007 at the age of 92. As a political scientist, he was respected even by those who were critical of his works. This theoretical significance and profound influence is reflected in the collection of chapters in this volume, which reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the contemporary US political science scene. His co-author Bruce Stinebrickner documents the evolution of his and Dahl’s seminal text, _Modern Political Analysis_ and how it became the standard introduction to American political science for nearly fifty years. Katharine MacKinnon’s chapter is of significance for its insights upon Dahl and also represents a succinct statement of a feminist reading and critique of contemporary political science. Steven Lukes contributes a highly concise statement of the difference between one-dimensional and three-dimensional power. This work will be a standard reference work for any researchers or those interested in the work of Robert Dahl, among both established academics and students. This book was originally published as a special issue of the _Journal of Political Power_. (shrink)
Nearly thirty years ago, Robert Alexy in his book The Concept and Validity of Law as well as in other early articles raised non-positivistic arguments in the Continental European tradition against legal positivism in general, which was assumed to be held by, among others, John Austin, Hans Kelsen and H.L.A. Hart. The core thesis of legal positivism that was being discussed among contemporary German jurists, just as with their Anglo- American counterparts, is the claim that there is no necessary (...) connection between law and morality. Robert Alexy has argued, however, that the law, besides consisting conceptually of elements of authoritative issuance and social efficacy, necessarily lays a claim to substantial correctness, which is derived from analytical arguments. Furthermore, if this claim to substantial correctness necessarily requires the incorporation of moral elements into law, then the ‘necessary connection thesis’, as defended by non-positivism, can be justified. Some of the most significant objections to this sort of claim, stemming from the Anglo-American world, are those introduced by Joseph Raz. In his ‘Reply’ to Robert Alexy, Raz raises at least three interesting criticisms, including, first, the ambiguity of ‘legal theory in the positivistic tradition’, second, the indeterminate formulations of the ‘separation thesis’, and, third, the necessary claim of law to legitimate authority as a moral claim. As a point of departure, I will argue that Raz’s three criticisms are misleading. For they do not enhance our understanding of the genuine compatibility or incompatibility between legal positivism and non-positivism. Despite the frequently reformulated theses of legal positivism and the various kinds of opponents responding thereto, the essential divergence between legal positivism and non-positivism was and remains the answer to the question of the relation between law and morality. Furthermore, I will clarify that in the strictest sense there can be three and only three logically possible positions concerning the relation between law and morality: the connection between them is either necessary, or impossible (i. e. they are necessarily separate), or contingent (i. e. they are neither necessarily connected nor necessarily separate). The first position is non-positivistic, while the latter two positions are, indeed, both positivistic, but in different forms: one may be called ‘exclusive’ legal positivism, the other ‘inclusive’ legal positivism. I will continue by showing that these three positions stand to one another in the relation of contraries, not contradictories, and that, taken together, they exhaust the logically possible positions concerning the relation between law and morality, never mind the tradition or authority from which these positions are derived. Raz mentions, however, many changeable formulations of the separation thesis, which even leads him to acknowledge ‘necessary connections between law and morality’. One who is trying to understand legal positivism would no doubt be puzzled by this claim. Nevertheless, I will argue that this is an alternative strategy of legal positivism, and it points to naturalistically oriented view. Although this necessary separation between law and morality, understood naturalistically, strikes one as strengthening the separation, in the end it leads to a weakened notion of necessity. This weakened necessary separation thesis, however, cannot be justified through the so-called claim of the law to legitimate authority, defended by Raz, for it is difficult to answer the question of whether a normally justified but factual authority can gain legitimate authority. Finally, the necessary connection between law and morality in a strong sense can still be justified by the claim of law to correctness, as per Alexy’s argument. (shrink)
In a new and important book entitled TheManagedCareBluesandHowtoCureThem, a lifetime consumer advocate and a surgeon who witnessed the excesses and unaccountable errors of his colleagues under fee for service explain with deft hands the promise of managed care, its problems, and solutions to them. Walter Zelman and Robert Berenson show empathy for the consumer backlash, provider resentment, and the patients' rights movement that has spawned a thousand bills to prevent possibly unethical actions. Yet they believe these efforts to regulate (...) managed care are misdirected and will prevent it from realizing its potential. (shrink)
“Breast cancer is all around us.” This is how Robert Aronowitz, a medical doctor, opens his timely Unnatural History: Breast Cancer and American Society. We are all familiar with the truism that “one in eight American women” will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. The pink ribbon has come to symbolize both solidarity and hope. Mammograms and “Self-Breast Examination” have become part of women’s daily routine, if not a spectre haunting their daily lives. Yet the (...) evidence remains contested and the therapeutic promise, the fear and hope associated with this “obstinate” disease as problematic as ever. Unnatural History weaves all these different elements, artifactual and natural, emotional and rational, vital and morbid, in the socio-historical narrative of breast cancer in the American context. In that sense, this is an “unnatural” history, a history of how “fear” and “risk” have been reshaping a disease, which continues to be as elusive as it was two centuries ago. (shrink)
In his seminal paper, ‘Can There Be Vague Objects?’ (1978), Gareth Evans advanced an argument purporting to prove that the idea of indeterminate identity is incoherent. Aware that his argument was incomplete as it stands, Evans added a remark at the end of his paper, in which he explained how the original argument needed to be modified to arrive at an explicit contradiction. This paper aims to develop a modified version of Evans’ original argument, which I argue (...) is more promising than the modification that Evans proposed in his remark. Last, a structurally similar argument against the idea of indeterminate existence is presented. (shrink)
In chapter 7 of The Varieties of Reference, Gareth Evans claimed to have an argument that would present "an antidote" to the Cartesian conception of the self as a purely mental entity. On the basis of considerations drawn from philosophy of language and thought, Evans claimed to be able to show that bodily awareness is a form of self-awareness. The apparent basis for this claim is the datum that sometimes judgements about one’s position based on body sense are (...) immune to errors of misidentification relative to the first-person pronoun 'I'. However, Evans’s argument suffers from a crucial ambiguity. 'I' sometimes refers to the subject's mind, sometimes to the person, and sometimes to the subject's body. Once disambiguated, it turns out that Evans’s argument either begs the question against the Cartesian or fails to be plausible at all. Nonetheless, the argument is important for drawing our attention to the idea that bodily modes of awareness should be taken seriously as possible forms of self-awareness. (shrink)
We commonly identify something seriously defective in a human life that is lived in ignorance of important but unpalatable truths. At the same time, some degree of misapprehension of reality may be necessary for individual health and success. Morally speaking, it is unclear just how insistent we should be about seeking the truth. Robert Sparrow has considered such issues in discussing the manufacture and marketing of robot ‘pets’, such as Sony’s doglike ‘AIBO’ toy and whatever more advanced devices may (...) supersede it. Though it is not his only concern, Sparrow particularly criticizes such robot pets for their illusory appearance of being living things. He fears that some individuals will subconsciously buy into the illusion, and come to sentimentalize interactions that fail to constitute genuine relationships. In replying to Sparrow, I emphasize that this would be continuous with much of the minor sentimentality that we already indulge in from day to day. Although a disposition to seek the truth is morally virtuous, the virtue concerned must allow for at least some categories of exceptions. Despite Sparrow’s concerns about robot pets (and robotics more generally), we should be lenient about familiar, relatively benign, kinds of self-indulgence in forming beliefs about reality. Sentimentality about robot pets seems to fall within these categories. Such limited self-indulgence can co-exist with ordinary honesty and commitment to truth. (shrink)
For the last several decades, philosophers have wrestled with the proper place of religion in liberal societies. Usually, the debates among these philosophers have started with the articulation of various conceptions of liberalism and then proceeded to locate religion in the context of these conceptions. In the process, however, too little attention has been paid to the way religion is conceived. Drawing on the work of Robert Audi and Nicholas Wolterstorff, two scholars who are often read as holding opposing (...) views on these issues, I argue that, for the purposes of their argument about liberalism, both have implicitly accepted a concept of religion that has come under severe attack in recent work on the subject. Namely, they have accepted a concept of religion that identifies religion primarily with belief, ritual practice, and ecclesial institutions. Following recent scholarship, I suggest that religion is better conceived as a kind of culture. To conclude the essay, I gesture toward what the beginnings of a re-visioned debate about religion and liberal society might look like if one started from this revised conception of religion. (shrink)
[Robert Stalnaker] Saul Kripke made a convincing case that there are necessary truths that are knowable only a posteriori as well as contingent truths that are knowable a priori. A number of philosophers have used a two-dimensional model semantic apparatus to represent and clarify the phenomena that Kripke pointed to. According to this analysis, statements have truth-conditions in two different ways depending on whether one considers a possible world 'as actual' or 'as counterfactual' in determining the truth-value of the (...) statement relative to that possible world. There are no necessary a posteriori or contingent a priori propositions: rather, contingent a priori and necessary a posteriori statements are statements that are necessary when evaluated one way, and contingent when evaluated the other way. This paper distinguishes two ways that the two-dimensional framework can be interpreted, and argues that one of them gives the better account of what it means to 'consider a world as actual', but that it provides no support for any notion of purely conceptual a priori truth. /// [Thomas Baldwin] Two-dimensional possible world semantic theory suggests that Kripke's examples of the necessary a posteriori and contingent a priori should be handled by interpreting names as implicitly indexical. Like Stalnaker, I reject this account of names and accept that Kripke's examples have to be accommodated within a metasemantic theory. But whereas Stalnaker maintains that a metasemantic approach undermines the conception of a priori truth, I argue that it offers the opportunity to develop a conception of the a priori aspect of stipulations, conceived as linguistic performances. The resulting position accommodates Kripke's examples in a way which is both intrinsically plausible and fits with Kripke's actual discussion of them. (shrink)
To claim that Hayden White has yet to be read seriously as a philosopher of history might seem false on the face of it. But do tropes and the rest provide any epistemic rationale for differing representations of historical events found in histories? As an explanation of White’s influence on philosophy of history, such a proffered emphasis only generates a puzzle with regard to taking White seriously, and not an answer to the question of why his efforts should be worthy (...) of any philosophical attention at all. For what makes his emphasis on narrative structure and its associated tropes of philosophical relevance? What, it may well be asked, did any theory that draws its categories from a stock provided by literary criticism contribute to explicating problems with regard to the warranting of claims about knowledge, explanation, or causation that represent those concerns that philosophy typically brings to this field? Robert Doran’s anthologizing of previously uncollected pieces, ranging as they do over a literal half-century of White’s published work, offers an opportunity to identify explicitly those philosophical themes and arguments that regularly and prominently feature there. Moreover, White’s essays in this volume demonstrate a credible knowledge of and interest in mainstream analytic philosophers of his era and also reveal White as deeply influenced by or well acquainted with other important philosophers of history. White thus invites a reading of his work as philosophy, and this volume presents the opportunity for accepting it as such. (shrink)
In 2003, Martin Rees referred to the present as “mankind’s final century.” A few years later, Slavoj Žižek wrote that humankind is heading towards “apocalyptic zero-point,” when the ecological crisis will most probably lead to our complete destruction. In his 2017 collection, Diary of the Last Man, Welsh poet Robert Minhinnick offers readers a meditation upon Earth at a liminal moment—on the brink of becoming completely unpopulated. Imagining a solitary human being, living in the midst of environmental collapse, Minhinnick (...) yet entwines different voices—human and non-human—operating across vast spans of time. The speaker of the poems moves freely through different geographies and cultural contexts, but the voice that starts and ends the journey, seems to be the voice of the poet himself: he is the last man on earth, a survivor of ecological disaster. The paper discusses Minhinnick’s collection as a projection of the world we now inhabit into a future where it will exist only in the form of nostalgic memories. The analysis focuses on the role of objects in the construction of the world-within-the poem, where the fragments of human civilization are being claimed by forces of the environment—engulfing sand, progressive erosion—forming a retrospective vision of our “now” which will inevitably become our “past.”. (shrink)
Contents: Ethical principals for environmental protection / Robert Goodin -- Political representation for future generations / Gregory S. Kavka and Virginia L. Warren -- On the survival of humanity / Jan Narveson -- On deep versus shallow theories of environmental pollution / C.A. Hooker -- Preservation of wilderness and the good life / Janna L. Thompson -- The rights of the nonhuman world / Mary Anne Warren -- Are values in nature subjective or objective? / Holmes Rolston III - (...) Duties concerning islands / Mary Midgley -- Gaia and the forms of life / Stephen R.L. Clark -- Western traditions and environmental ethics / Robin Attfield -- Traditional American Indian and traditional western European attitudes toward nature / J. Baird Callicott -- Roles and limits of paradigms in environmental thought and action / Richard Routley. [Book Synopsis]. (shrink)
Anthropology is a significant matter within the church. A person's doctrine of humanity will inevitably shape the way a person thinks about the church, salvation, and in part, God. This dissertation is written out of concern for the potential harm that a faulty anthropology may do to the church. This study is concerned with exposing an approach to leadership within the church that is based on a faulty anthropology. Servant leadership has been hailed as the answer to the leadership crisis (...) that has plagued businesses, political offices, and churches. It is said that the authoritarian, monarchical style of leadership in the twentieth century no longer meets the needs of the current setting. In 1970 Robert K. Greenleaf---the chief advocate of servant leadership---proposed servant leadership as the emerging style that was prepared to address the social unrest of the 1960's and 1970's. He argued that the current leadership style must change---adapt to the emerging needs of the people. Greenleaf developed his ideas on servant leadership in the context of his reading of Hermann Hesse and Albert Camus. The repercussions of Robert K. Greenleaf's anthropology are evident in his view of human transformation. ;This study exposes the philosophical and theological underpinnings of Greenleaf's work on servant leadership as a distortion of the nature of humanity to the point that it leaves the doctrines of sin and salvation bereft of Christian significance. Since many within the church have used Greenleaf in their search for a biblical leadership paradigm, a Christian theological response to Greenleaf's assessment of humanity and human transformation will conclude this study. (shrink)
The mere exposure phenomenon (repeated exposure to a stimulus is sufficient to improve attitudes toward that stimulus) is one of the most inspiring phenomena associated with Robert Zajonc’s long and productive career in social psychology. In the first part of this article, Richard Moreland (who was trained by Zajonc in graduate school) describes his own work on exposure and learning, and on the relationships among familiarity, similarity, and attraction in person perception. In the second part, Sascha Topolinski (a recent (...) graduate who never met Zajonc, but found his ideas inspirational) describes his own work concerning embodiment and fluency in the mere exposure effect. Also, several avenues for future research on the mere exposure phenomenon are identified, further demonstrating its continuing relevance to the field. (shrink)
This is a good book. It is good because: (a) it outlines well the central arguments of the debate (that is, the arguments relating to what a miracle is, whether they are possible, whether we can have evidence of their occurrence, and what would follow from such evidence were we to have it); (b) it furthers the debate; and (c) it is a clearly written. If you are a philosopher religion whose research area is miracles, the book is a must-read. (...) If you are philosopher of religion whose research area is not miracles, then, as the book connects with core topics in this field, it will prove a valuable read. If you are merely a philosopher, there are far worse things you could be reading.Rather than provide a summary of each chapter of the book (Larmer provides such a summary on pages 3 and 4 of his introduction [which one can access freely online] and I cannot offer better), I will outline some of the book’s arguments. The type of arguments I focus on are not explicitly formulated by Larmer, t .. (shrink)