The purpose of this note is to defend the following reading, offered by a minority of manuscripts, at Sat. 6.6. Even if the evidence of the manuscripts showed merely that egregius… senes was an eleventh-century conjecture which gained a very moderate degree of acceptance, the reading would still have much to commend it.
Equality in the present age has become an idol, in much the same way as property was in the age of Locke. Many people worship it, and think that it provides the key to the proper understanding of politics, and that on it alone can a genuinely just society be reconstructed. This is a mistake. Although, like property, it is a useful concept, and although, like property, there are occasions when we want to have it in practice, it is not (...) a fundamental concept any more than property is, nor can having it vouchsafe to us the good life. In an earlier paper I argued against equality by showing that the concept of equality was confused and that many of the arguments i egalitarians adduced were either invalid or else supported conclusions I which were not really egalitarian at all. Many egalitarians, however, have complained that my arguments were not fair, because I had failed to elucidate the concept adequately, or because the position I attacked was not one that any egalitarian really wished to maintain, or because I had overlooked other arguments which were effective in establishing egalitarian conclusions, or because the positive counter-arguments of my own I put forward more as a matter of taste than of serious political commitment. In this paper, therefore, I want to elucidate the concept more fully, concede what I should to my critics, point out that, even so, their conclusions do not follow, and give further reasons not only for supposing that egalitarian arguments are invalid but for discerning positive merits in some forms of inequality. (shrink)
Plato was the first feminist. In the Republic he puts forward the view that women are just the same as men, only not quite so good. It is a view which has often been expressed in recent years, and generates strong passions. Some of these have deep biological origins, which a philosopher can only hope to recognize and not to assuage. But much of the heat engendered is due to unnecessary friction between views which are certainly compatible and probably correct. (...) And here a philosopher can help. If we can divide the issues neatly, at the joints, then we need not quarrel with one another for saying something, probably true, because what is being maintained is misconstrued and taken to mean something else, probably false. (shrink)
Whatever good or ill it did to Guy Fawkes, his resuscitation at the hands of Bernard Williams has, by any utilitarian reckoning, been a Good Thing. A casual glance at the literature that has accumulated over the past thirty-five years leaves no doubt that the topic has been reduplicated many times over, to the great enjoyment of undergraduates, who have been able to write science fiction under the guise of essays in the Philosophy of Mind, and of dons, who in (...) an age of cvs and Assessments, have been able to notch up page after page of counter-replies to replies to rebuttals of previous papers, not to mention an often welcome tally of references in the citation index. But the actual arguments adduced by Williams can be turned to support a much more traditional view of the self, as a necessarily unique agent whose individuality is established by his capacity for autonomous action. (shrink)
This paper considers prevailing environmental policy in the United States with the emphasis on liberty, markets, utilizing information, entrepreneurial discovery, and the economic analysis of political decisions. The general discussion is illustrated by the concern over global warming and policies for addressing this concern. The political incentives to confront environmental problems directly with mandates, restrictions, and subsidies ignore the power of liberty and market incentives to solve problems by fostering an impressive network of information transfer, increasing innovation, and expanding prosperity. (...) Indeed, most environmental policies systematically suppress liberty, censor the communication of information, and retard innovation and prosperity, with the result that they provide less environmental quality at greater cost than is possible. While such flawed policies might be justified in cases where pollution problems pose clear, serious, and immediate threats, we argue this is not true of global warming, and the most effective response to concerns over carbon emissions may be limiting the discretionary power of government to take direct action and rely on the indirect effects of liberty and market incentives to move us beyond the petroleum age more quickly and efficiently than will result from the direct action of government. (shrink)
“Towards a Theory of Taxation” is a proper theme for an Englishman to take when giving a paper in America. After all it was from the absence of such a theory that the United States derived its existence. The Colonists felt strongly that there should be no taxation without representation, and George III was unable to explain to them convincingly why they should contribute to the cost of their defense. Since that time, understanding has not advanced much. In Britain we (...) still maintain the fiction that taxes are a voluntary gift to the Crown, and taxing statutes are given the Royal Assent with the special formula, “La Reine remercie ses bons sujets, accepte leur benevolence, et ainsi le veult” instead of the simple “La Reine le veult,” and in the United States taxes have regularly been levied on residents of the District of Columbia who until recently had no representation in Congress, and by the State of New York on those who worked but did not reside in the State, and so did not have a vote. Taxes are regularly levied, in America as elsewhere, on those who have no say on whether they should be levied or how they should be spent. I am taxed by the Federal Government on my American earnings and by state governments on my American spending, but I should be hard put to it to make out that it was unjust. Florida is wondering whether to follow California in taxing multinational corporations on their world-wide earnings. (shrink)
At the beginning of Book II of the Republic , Glaucon and Adeimantus ask Socrates to tell them what it is to be just or unjust, and why a man should be the former. Socrates suggests in reply that they consider first what it is for a polis to be just or unjust—a polis is bigger than an individual, he says, so its justice should be more readily visible. Now if we were to view in imagination a polis coming into (...) existence, he goes on, we should see also its justice and injustice coming into existence, and this might help us to discover what these qualities are. (shrink)
This paper addresses the definition and the operational use of intuitions in philosophical methods in the form of a research study encompassing several regions of the globe, involving 282 philosophers from a wide array of academic backgrounds and areas of specialisation. The authors tested whether philosophers agree on the conceptual definition and the operational use of intuitions, and investigated whether specific demographic variables and philosophical specialisation influence how philosophers define and use intuitions. The results obtained point to a number of (...) significant findings, including that philosophers distinguish between intuitions used to formulate (discovery) and to test (justification) philosophical theory. The survey results suggest that strategies implemented to characterise philosophical intuition are not well motivated since, even though philosophers do not agree on a single account of intuition, they fail to capture a preferred usage of intuitions as aspects of discovery. The quantitative summary of survey findings informs the debate on this topic, and advances more defined routes for subsequent approaches to the study of intuitions. (shrink)
Responsibility is a key concept in our moral, social, and political thinking, but it is not itself properly understood. J.R. Lucas here presents a lively, broad, and accessible discussion of responsibility in various areas of human life, from personal and sexual relations to politics.
The primary purpose of this study was to explore the unique impact of individual differences (e.g. gender, managerial experience), social culture, ethical leadership, and ethical climate on the manner in which individuals analyse and interpret an organisational scenario. Furthermore, we sought to explore whether the manner in which a scenario is initially interpreted by respondents (i.e. as a legal issue, ethical issue, and/or ethical dilemma) influenced subsequent recognition of the relevant stakeholders involved and the identification of intra- and extra-organisational variables (...) significant to the scenario depicted. Data for this study were anonymously collected from professional samples in Russia (Moscow region) and in New Zealand. Findings show a strong effect of social culture (i.e. working in New Zealand or working in Russia) on the manner in which respondents characterised the scenario, on the experience of ethical climate and ethical leadership in their organisations, and on the ability to identify intra- and extra-organisational variables responsible for the situation presented in the scenario, above and beyond other individual and contextual factors. (shrink)
Philosophical hermeneutics provides a model of interreligious dialogue that acknowledges the interpretive variability of truth claims while maintaining their relation to a preinterpretive reality. The dialectic and tensive structure of philosophical hermeneutics directly parallels the tension between the diversity of belief and the ultimacy of the sacred. By placing philosophers like Gadamer, Ricoeur, Peirce, and Whitehead in conversation, J. R. Hustwit describes religious truth claims as coconstituted by the planes of linguistic convention and uninterpreted otherness. Only when we recognize that (...) religious claims emerge from a dalliance back and forth across the limits of the understanding can we appreciate the engagement between religions. In terms of dialogue, this approach treats religious truth claims as tentative hypotheses, but hypotheses that are frequently commensurable and rationally contestable. Interreligious dialogue goes beyond facilitating bonhomie or negotiating tolerance; dialogue can and should be a disciplined space for rationally adjudicating claims about what lies beyond the limits of human understanding. (shrink)
A change in sense of self is an outcome commonly associated with Buddhist meditation. However, the sense of self is construed in multiple ways, and which changes in self-related processing are expected, intended, or possible through meditation is not well understood. In a qualitative study of meditation-related challenges, six discrete changes in sense of self were reported by Buddhist meditators: change in narrative self, loss of sense of ownership, loss of sense of agency, change in sense of embodiment, change in (...) self-other or self-world boundaries, and loss of sense of basic self. Changes in sense of self could be transient or enduring, positive or distressing, enhancing or impairing. These changes were also given varied appraisals, ranging from insights associated with Buddhist doctrines to psychopathologies such as depersonalization. In this study of practitioners reporting meditation-related challenges, more global changes in sense of self were associated with higher levels of impairment. These results have implications for both Buddhist meditation as well as mindfulness-based interventions. (shrink)