This paper explores the central question of why soldiers in democratic societies might decide to fight in wars that they may have reason to believe are objectively or questionably unjust. First, I provide a framework for understanding the dilemma caused by an unjust war and a soldier's competing moral obligations; namely, the obligations to self and state. Next, I address a few traditional key thoughts concerning soldiers and jus ad bellum. This is followed by an exploration of the unique and (...) contradicting moral problems that confront modern soldiers and their officers. I argue that although traditional positions such as invincible ignorance provide a rather dangerous ‘head-in-the-sand’ mentality, soldiers serving a democratic government are nonetheless very limited in their legal and moral ability to interpret what is a justifiable war. However, a very few select senior officers are in positions to make such legal and moral decisions concerning jus ad bellum. (shrink)
If called upon would you fight in a war you thought unjust? This article attempts to explain why the majority of military officers and soldiers when faced with this question do fight despite moral misgivings they may have. I will explain why on one hand officers are morally obligated to refuse unjust orders in jus in bello cases, but on the other hand it can be argued that they are also obligated to follow orders they believe to be unjust concerning (...) jus ad bellum. The war in Iraq has and continues to presents military officers and their soldiers with a particularly difficult moral dilemma. As citizens of a democratic government it is important that we understand why our military officers act in ways that may seem counter to what we believe is right. (shrink)
Research on aggression and terror management theory suggests shortcomings in Nell's analysis of cruelty. Hostile aggression and exposure to aggressive cues are not inherently reinforcing, though they may be enjoyed if construed within a meaningful cultural framework. Terror management research suggests that human cruelty stems from the desire to defend one's cultural worldview and to participate in a heroic triumph over evil.
The essay focuses on Jeff Wall’s theoretical writings and artistic productions. The inquiry on the photograph’s medium has been re-enacted in the late 1970s and 1980s by the use of the large scale and the “tableau-form”; in Wall’s work the large scale of the images, coupled with the light box, stimulates at the same time a new relationship with the beholder’s gaze and the possibility of a historical dialogue with other media, like painting and cinema. By the analysis of (...) photographs like Mimic and A view from an Apartment the interplay between document and fiction, capture of everyday and mise en scène appears at the core of Wall’s research and a main subject in contemporary photography. (shrink)
The exhibition Off Beat: Jeff Nuttall and the International Underground showcases the archive of Jeff Nuttall, a painter, poet, editor, actor and novelist. As the exhibition illustrates, Nuttall was a central figure in the International Underground during the 1960s through to the early 1970s. During this time he collaborated with a vast network of avant-garde writers from across the globe, as well as editing the influential publication My Own Mag between 1963 and 1967.
Is the no-minimum claim true? I have argued that it is not. Andrew Cullison contends that my argument fails, since human sentience is variable; while Michael Schrynemakers has contended that the failure is my neglect of vagueness. Both, I argue, are wrong.
Jeff Jordan has recently challenged the idea, widely accepted among theistic philosophers, that “God’s love must be maximally extended and equally intense.” By way of a response, I suggest a way to sidestep Jordan’s argument entirely and then try to show that his own argument is multiply flawed. I thus conclude that his challenge is unsuccessful.
Eschewing a Marxist interpretation of the French Revolution, Jeff Horn’s work is nonetheless interesting in stressing the widespread prevalence of machine-breaking by workers in France as compared to England during industrialisation. Likewise notable is Horn’s argument that the resultant state-intervention forced France onto a path of industrialisation which differed from England’s and which has been underestimated. Breaking with the revisionist consensus, Horn further demonstrates that the effect of the Revolution was positive for French economic development. Refreshing in its stress (...) on working-class militancy, Horn’s work nonetheless exaggerates the influence of machine-breaking on French economic change as compared to other forms of working-class struggle, the slow pace of primitive accumulation and the resistance to industrialisation by small-scale urban producers. (shrink)
In his new book on Pascal's Wager, Jeff Jordan argues that only the ‘Jamesian’ version of the wager argument, as he sees it presented in William James' essay The Will to Believe , constitutes a sound pragmatic argument in favour of theism, whereas Pascal's original wager argument is doomed to fail on various grounds. This article argues that Jordan's theory is untenable. The many-gods objection is used as an example: it is demonstrated that the Jamesian Wager argument too is (...) powerless to rebut this objection. (shrink)
The main aim of Jeff McMahan's manuscript on the morality of war is to answer the question: why and accordingly when is it justified or permissible to kill people in war? However, McMahan argues that the same principles apply to individual actions and to war. McMahan rejects all doctrines of collective responsibility and liability. His claim is that every individual is liable for what he has done and not for the actions of others - even if both are part (...) of the same collective. Accordingly, McMahan challenges the common view that it is much easier to justify killing in war compared to killing in other contexts. Therefore, the scope of his project exceeds the context of war and extends to interpersonal conflicts between individuals that do not qualify as war. Many of McMahan's main claims are appealing. Particularly, appealing is his rejection of the collectivist account of war. Indeed, it seems that the simple story according to which people are responsible solely for their actions - rather than (also) to the actions of others - should be held on until a different, more complex, account of collective responsibility is put forward and its plausibility is explained. Therefore, the article focuses on the general principles advocated by McMahan with regard to the resolution of all interpersonal conflicts: Whether these conflicts are small scale or large scale (that is, whether few or a many people are involved in the conflict), and within the latter category of conflicts involving many people, whether these conflicts qualify as war (according to some standard) or not. (shrink)
Recently Jeff Jordan has argued against the view that divine perfection would require God to love every human with equal maximal intensity. He asserts that his argument depends on principles of perfect being theology which he develops and defends. In this paper I argue that Jordan’s case can be better understood as two conceptually distinct arguments, only one of which depends on his proffered principles of perfect being theology. I then critically evaluate each of these arguments, arguing that both (...) are unsuccessful. (shrink)
This essay responds to Jeff Malpas's foregoing article, itself written in response to my various publications over the past two decades concerning Donald Davidson's ideas about truth, meaning, and interpretation. It has to do mainly with our disagreement as regards the substantive content of Davidson's truth-based semantic approach in relation to the problematic legacy of logical empiricism, including Quine's incisive but no less problematical critique of that legacy. I also raise questions with respect to Malpas's coupling of Davidson with (...) Heidegger, intended to provide a more adequate depth-ontological grounding for the formalized (logico-semantic) conception of truth that Davidson adopts from Tarski. My essay then argues the case for an outlook of objectivist causal realism joined with a theory of inference to the best, most rational explanation that would satisfy this need in more philosophically (as well as scientifically) accountable terms. (shrink)
In this exceptional new book, Jeff McMahan sets out to provide such an account. Along the way, he offers nuanced and illuminating accounts of personal identity, human nature, the badness of death, the wrongness of killing, the rights of animals, abortion, and euthanasia. This book is a major contribution to both moral theory and applied ethics, and makes a strong case for the relevance of the former to the latter. It is also beautifully written and a joy to read.
Most works about the philosophy of Martin Heidegger either disregard Heidegger’s attachment to National Socialism or assume the ‘minimalist’ view that his attachment was a brief political aberration of no consequence for his philosophy. This paper contends that the minimalist view is not only factually wrong but also that its assumption promotes methodological errors and poor philosophy. To assess this contention we examine two important texts from one of the more fertile fields in current philosophy: Jeff Malpas’s Heidegger’s Topology: (...) Being, Place, World (2006) and Heidegger and the Thinking of Place (2012). Malpas claims that Heidegger’s rejection of National Socialism spurred, or was concomitant with, new directions in his philosophy. These claims are wrong. The paper concludes that any work about Heidegger’s philosophy must first acknowledge and understand his enduring attachment to National Socialism. (shrink)
Este texto observa alguns aspectos da relação entre fotografia e produção de um discurso sobre o cotidiano contemporâneo, através do trabalho de Jeff Wall. O que se inscreve nestas imagens é a proposição de um diálogo entre espaço e personagem, como duas figuras narrativas privilegiadas, vistas sob o jogo de uma inversão dos estatutos do real e do ficcional como elemento de uma estratégia visual responsável pela construção de uma releitura do cotidiano. Trata-se de observar os elementos enunciativos presentes (...) nas fotografias que articulam uma relação entre personagens e espaços (ambientes) evidenciando uma configuração específica sobre o sujeito ordinário e seu contexto, em especial, o urbano. (shrink)
Can we interpret human reason simultaneously as a product of neurochemistry and natural selection and as a transcendental standard? Jeff Mason asks the analogous question of philosophical writing. Can we interpret philosophical discourse as "rhetorical," embodied in language, and designed to persuade historical audiences, and at the same time preserve its traditional intention to disclose truths that transcend language, history, and audiences? Mason argues that these polar attitudes toward philosophical writing are untenable precisely when they exclude each other. This (...) is a significant project with important literary and metaphilosophical consequences. (shrink)
Despite publishing nearly forty books between 1963 and 2003, Jeff Nuttall remains a minor figure in the history of the International Underground of the long 1960s. Drawing on his uncatalogued papers at the John Rylands Library, this article seeks to recoup Nuttall as one of the key architects of the International Underground. In so doing, my article argues that Nuttalls contributions to global counterculture challenge the critical consensus that British avant-garde writers were merely imitators of their US counterparts. By (...) exploring the impact of Nuttalls My Own Mag and Bomb Culture, it can be shown that Nuttall was a central catalyst of, and contributor to, the International Underground. As a poet, novelist and artist, Nuttalls multidisciplinary contributions to art were at the forefront of avant-garde practices that sought to challenge the perceived limitations of the novel as a social realist document and visual art as a medium confined to canvas. (shrink)
Jeff McMahan, one of the leading contemporary writers on ‘just war thinking’, argues in the book under review, Killing in War, that one of the central tenets of the ‘ius in bello’, namely the moral equality of combatants, is both conceptually and morally untenable. This results from a reflection upon and a departure from two basic assumptions in Walzer’s work, namely the idea that war itself isn’t a relation between persons, but between political entities and their human instruments and (...) the idea that the ‘ius ad bellum’ and ‘ius in bello’ are and should be kept distinct. This book merits serious reflection. However, the disadvantages of McMahan’s position are obvious. If the rights of combatants during war depend on the justice of their cause, the immunity of the civilians on the side of the supposed ‘unjust’ enemy is seriously endangered. (shrink)
The juxtaposition of strong and weak critique, which is so common today, represents the somewhat fruitless attempt to bring to a head a multifaceted discussion. For years now—in fact, since the end of Marxism as an autonomous theory—there has been a question regarding the possibility of finding an appropriate standpoint for a probing critical examination of the underlying assumptions of liberal-democratic society without relying upon a philosophy of history. On the one hand, material questions play a large role in the (...) discussion since it is difficult to envision alternatives to the institutional framework of highly developed societies of the West that are both desirable and efficient. On the other hand, philosophical questions play an eminent role in this debate, and these philosophical questions are often of a methodological nature. Specifically, at the center of the debate stands the problem of how to describe and justify a standpoint from which one can fruitfully critique society and its institutional practices. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the defection of nuclear physicist Bruno Pontecorvo from Britain to the USSR in 1950 in an attempt to understand how government and intelligence services assess threats deriving from the unwanted spread of secret scientific information. It questions whether contingent agendas play a role in these assessments, as new evidence suggests that this is exactly what happened in the Pontecorvo case. British diplomatic personnel involved in negotiations with their US counterparts considered playing down the case. Meanwhile, the (...) press decided to play it up, claiming that Pontecorvo was an atom spy. Finally, the British secret services had evidence showing that this was a fabrication, but they did not disclose it. If all these manipulations served various purposes, then they certainly were not aimed at assessing if there was a threat and what this threat really was. (shrink)
This empirically rigorous textbook serves as an introduction to food ethics and an overview of the major issues currently discussed in this emerging subfield of environmental ethics. While the book may be too dense in places for introductory-level undergraduates, it is nonetheless a welcome addition to the scholarship in this area, since textbooks focusing specifically on food ethics remain relatively rare.
This article owes a lot to Arthur C. Danto's heuristic writings about the Artworld, which have shown us, that the ontological status of works of art is, at least when we discuss some current, maybe even dominating trends in contemporary art, dependent on our more or less philosophical interpretations of them. The effects of the Dantoan atmosphere of theory and art historical consciousness are, still, decisive for just some contemporary art. Danto's interest in the philosophical side of contemporary art makes (...) his philosophy of art exclusive in relation to art which is less philosophically appealing than the readymade tradition, to the extent that Danto did not, for a long time, even try to incorporate problems of beauty, aesthetic experience, and formal qualities, to his theory of the Artworld. (Opening paragraph.). (shrink)
This volume collects eight essays on Nietzsche and Dostoevsky written by scholars from different humanities fields. What unites them is the idea that, after more than a century, the writings of Nietzsche and Dostoevsky and the relations between them still represent a major challenge for contemporary readers. The range of subjects that the authors tackle is wide, from crime, truth, art, and nihilism to pessimism, tragedy, and the unconscious. The result is a stimulating collection of essays that explore some of (...) the similarities, as well as the radical differences, between two of the greatest minds of the nineteenth century.The first essay is written in a literary style by Geoff Waite and Francesca Cernia Slovin, who... (shrink)