The discussion of the Anthropocene makes it clear that contemporary social thought can no longer take nature, or an external ‘environment’, for granted in political discussion. Humanity is remaking its own context very rapidly, not only in the processes of urbanization but also in the larger context of global biophysical transformations that provide various forms of insecurity. Disasters such as the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns and potentially disastrous plans to geoengineer the climate in coming decades highlight that the human environment is (...) being remade in the Anthropocene. Humanity is now a geological actor, not just a biological one, and that insight, captured in the term Anthropocene, changes understandings of both security and environment in social thought, requiring a focus on production of environments rather than their protection. Disasters help clarify this key point and its significance for considering geosocial formations. (shrink)
In his paper, ‘A critique of religious fictionalism’, Benjamin Cordry raises a series of objections to a fictionalist form of religious non-realism that I proposed in my earlier paper, ‘Can an atheist believe in God?’. They fall into two main categories: those alleging that an atheist would be unjustified in adopting fictionalism, and those alleging that fictionalism could not be successfully implemented, or practised communally. I argue that these objections can be met.
In this essay I describe how contractarianism might approach interspecies welfare conflicts. I start by discussing a contractarian account of the moral status of nonhuman animals. I argue that contractors can agree to norms that would acknowledge the “moral standing” of some animals. I then discuss how the norms emerging from contractarian agreement might constrain any comparison of welfare between humans and animals. Contractarian agreement is likely to express some partiality to humans in a way that discounts the welfare of (...) some or all animals. While the norms emerging from the contract might be silent or inconsistent in some tragic or catastrophic cases, in most ordinary conflicts of welfare, contractors will agree to norms that produce some determinate resolution. What the agreement says can evolve depending upon how the contractors or the circumstances change. I close with some remarks on contractarian indeterminacy. (shrink)
Between World War I and World War II, the students of Columbia University's John Dewey and Frederick J. E. Woodbridge built up a school of philosophical naturalism sharply critical of claims to value-neutrality. In the 1930s and 1940s, the second-generation Columbia naturalists and their students who later joined the department reacted with dismay to the arrival on American shores of logical empiricism and other analytic modes of philosophy. These figures undermined their colleague Ernest Nagel's attempt to build an alliance with (...) the logical empiricists, accusing them of ignoring the scholar's primary role as a public critic. After the war, the prestige of analytic approaches and a tendency to label philosophies either???analytic??? or???Continental??? eclipsed the Columbia philosophers??? normatively inflected naturalism. Yet in their efforts to resist logical empiricism, the Columbia naturalists helped to construct a sturdy, canonical portrait of???American philosophy??? that proponents still hold up as a third way between analytic and Continental approaches. (shrink)
Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: 'objectivity of value', 'objectivity and everyday knowledge', 'objectivity in political (...) economy', 'objectivity and reflexivity', 'objectivity, postmodernism and feminism', 'objectivity and nature'. The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work. (shrink)
This important collection of essays by Andrew Feenberg presents his critical theory of technology, an innovative approach to philosophy and sociology of technology based on a synthesis of ideas drawn from STS and Frankfurt School Critical Theory. The volume includes chapters on citizenship, modernity, and Heidegger and Marcuse.
By what steps, historically, did morality emerge? Our remote ancestors evolved into social animals. Sociality requires, among other things, restraints on disruptive sexual, hostile, aggressive, vengeful, and acquisitive behavior. Since we are innately social and not social by convention, we can assume the biological evolution of the emotional equipment – numerous predispositions to want, fear, feel anxious or secure – required for social living, just as we can assume cultural evolution of various means to control antisocial behavior and reinforce the (...) prosocial kind. Small clans consisting, say, of several extended families whose members cooperated in hunting, gathering, defense, and child-rearing could not exist without a combination of innate and social restraints on individual behavior. I shall argue for a naturalistic theory of morality, by which I do not mean the definitional claims G.E. Moore sought to refute, but a broader and more complex theory that maintains that a sufficient understanding of human nature, history, and culture can fully explain morality; that nothing is left hanging. A theory that coherently brings together the needed biological, psychological, and cultural facts I shall call a philosophical anthropology; it is a theory that: 1) takes the good for humans – both an ultimate good and other important goods – to depend on human nature; 2) argues that a rudimentary but improving scientific and philosophical theory of human nature now exists, and thus denies that people are “essenceless”; 3) takes this theory to be evolutionary and historical, making the question “How did morality originate?” pivotal for ethical theory, but leaves open the empirical question of the relative importance of biological and cultural evolution; and 4) takes the origin of the moral ideas to be explainable in terms of human nature and history. (shrink)
Science as Practice and Culture explores one of the newest and most controversial developments within the rapidly changing field of science studies: the move toward studying scientific practice--the work of doing science--and the associated move toward studying scientific culture, understood as the field of resources that practice operates in and on. Andrew Pickering has invited leading historians, philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists of science to prepare original essays for this volume. The essays range over the physical and biological sciences and (...) mathematics, and are divided into two parts. In part I, the contributors map out a coherent set of perspectives on scientific practice and culture, and relate their analyses to central topics in the philosophy of science such as realism, relativism, and incommensurability. The essays in part II seek to delineate the study of science as practice in arguments across its borders with the sociology of scientific knowledge, social epistemology, and reflexive ethnography. (shrink)
The Oxford Monographs On Criminal Law And Justice series aims to cover all aspects of criminal law and procedure including criminal evidence. the scope of the series is wide, encompassing both practical and theoretical works. Series Editor: Professor Andrew Ashworth, Vinerian Professor of English Law, All Souls College, Oxford. This volume is a thematic collection of essays on sentencing theory by leading writers. The essays fall into three groups. Part I considers the underlying justifications for the imposition of punishment (...) by the State, and examines the relationship between victims, offenders and the State. Part II addresses a number of areas of sentencing policy that have given rise to particular difficulty, such as the sentencing of drug offenders, the rationale for discounting sentences for multiple offenders, the existence of special sentencing for young offenders, and cases where the injury done to the victim is of a different magnitude from what might have been expected. Part III raises various questions about the unequal impact on offenders of different sentencing measures, and examines the extent to which sentences should be adjusted to take account of these different impacts and of broader social inequalities. This volume is dedicated to Professor Andrew von Hirsch, whose continuing work on sentencing theory provided the stimulus for the collection. (shrink)
The term stakeholder is a powerful one. This is due, to a significant degree, to its conceptual breadth. The term means differentthings to different people and hence evokes praise or scorn from a wide variety of scholars and practitioners. Such breadth of interpretation, though one of stakeholder theory’s greatest strengths, is also one of its most prominent theoretical liabilities. The goal of the current paper is like that of a controlled burn that clears away some of the underbrush of misinterpretation (...) in the hope of denying easy fuel to the critical conflagration that would raze the theory. We aim to narrow its technical meaning for greater facility of use in management and organizational studies. By elaborating a number of common misinterpretations – critical and friendly - of the theory, we hope to render a stronger and more convincing theory as a starting place for future research. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against the stronger of the two views concerning the right and wrong kind of reasons for belief, i.e. the view that the only genuine normative reasons for belief are evidential. The project in this paper is primarily negative, but with an ultimately positive aim. That aim is to leave room for the possibility that there are genuine pragmatic reasons for belief. Work is required to make room for this view, because evidentialism of a strict variety (...) remains the default view in much of the debate concerning normative reasons for belief. Strict versions of evidentialism are inconsistent with the view that there are genuine pragmatic reasons for belief. (shrink)
It is now over twenty years since Premack and Woodruff posed the question, ‘Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?’—‘by which we meant’, explained Premack in a later reappraisal, ‘does the ape do what humans do: attribute states of mind to the other one, and use these states to predict and explain the behaviour of the other one? For example, does the ape wonder, while looking quizzically at another individual, What does he really want? What does he believe? What (...) are his intentions? '. (shrink)
Virtue theories have become influential in ethics and epistemology. This paper argues for a similar approach to argumentation. Several potential obstacles to virtue theories in general, and to this new application in particular, are considered and rejected. A first attempt is made at a survey of argumentational virtues, and finally it is argued that the dialectical nature of argumentation makes it particularly suited for virtue theoretic analysis.
This essay focuses upon a single speech by the Ottoman man of religion Shaykh Ahmad Tabbarah. Though short, it allows us to reconsider the ways in which we have framed intellectual production beyond Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For even as scholars have queried the diffusionist sweep of earlier narratives, asserting the intellectual agency of non-Western thinkers, they have continued to lay the emphasis on the ways the latter customized European thought to local exigencies. Tabbarah, however, engaged in (...) two-way translations and transgressions. Arraying French sources into a Khaldunian narrative even as he slotted statistics into conventional rhetorical forms, he imbued the secular with the religious, and the religious with the secular. Resolutely refusing to choose between these various elements, he laced them together into a compound creation, which drew its strength from the confluence of two seemingly incommensurable bodies of thought. (shrink)
The second edition of Andrew Skinner's essays has been updated to take account of his latest thinking on Adam Smith's system of social and moral science and his experience of teaching Smith to a student audience. The material from the first edition has been extensively rewritten in the light of recent scholarship, and four new essays have been included. Each essay can be read as a self-contained unit, supported by a full bibliography and notes; the book as a whole (...) expounds a single coherent argument which demonstrates how Smith's works are inter-related. (shrink)
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This article presents a study of how co-present individuals work out the nature of embodied engagement and disengagement displays by individuals with dementia in a Danish public care facility. Research has found that moderate to severe dementia may result, for example, in a lack of social engagement, apathy and problems in maintaining conversations. Research has, however, also found that co-present individuals indicate their right to unavailability for social interaction. This is accomplished through details of embodied and multimodal conduct such as (...) gaze behavior, which includes practices of glancing and gazing at co-present individuals or practices of gazing into space. These practices may coincide with indications of ‘lack of social engagement’ and ‘apathy’. This study falls within the framework of ethnomethodology and employs multimodal conversation analytic methods to show how co-present individuals monitor residents’ displays of engagement and disengagement, primarily gaze behavior and how they respond to them. The study is based on 20 hours of video-recordings. (shrink)
"Equality of opportunity for all" is a fine piece of political rhetoric but the ideal that lies behind it is slippery to say the least. This book defends a particular account of the ideal and its place in a more radical version of what it is to level the playing field.