The concepts of necessary being, or necessary existence, and contingent being, or contingent existence, continue to occupy a central position in philosophical appraisals of Christian theism. Some philosophers have been concerned of late to emphasize a crucial ambiguity in the terms ‘necessary’ and ‘contingent', an ambiguity which threatens seriously to bedevil assessment of the claim that God's existence is necessary and not contingent. An important consequence of getting clear on this point, it is suggested, is that certain brisk attempts to (...) demolish the concept of a necessary being may be seen at least to be premature, leaving untouched,, as they do, an apparently viable sense in which God can be said to be a, indeed the, necessary being.This, substantially, is the position advocated by Professor J.H. Hick in recent discussions of this point. Hick maintains that it is of the greatest importance to distinguish two fundamentally different and contrasting notions of necessary being or necessary existence. (shrink)
If we examine Rand's relation to Nietzsche in terms of the number of issues on which the late Rand agreed with him, the connection between them looks extremely weak. On the other hand, if we look at the relation in terms of Rand's philosophical development, the connection is much more profound. Nietzsche is where Rand began as a thinker, and though she traveled far from this source, her thinking always bore important traces of her beginnings.
In an attempt to make the idea of surviving one's own death in a disembodied state intelligible, H. H. Price has presented a possible description of what the afterlife might be like for a disembodied self or consciousness. Price suggests that the world of the disembodied self might be a kind of dream or image world. In it he would replace his present sense-perception by activating his image-producing powers, which are now inhibited by their continuous bombardment by sensory stimuli, to (...) produce mental images. Though he would be cut off from any new supply of sensory material, he might be able to draw upon his memory of his previous physical existence to create an entire environment of images. A nexus of perspectively inter-related images would constitute an object; this would serve as a substitute for the material objects which he perceived in his past life. The entire environment of the disembodied individual would be composed of such families of mental images and would serve to constitute his world. It need not, however, be a solipsistic world, for by means of telepathy the discarnate individual could communicate with other disembodied selves and in this way acquire new information. Price notes that since this world would be as real to the discarnate self as our present world is to our embodied self, in the afterlife the disembodied self in effect would create for itself a real world, though of course if it took it to be anything other than an image world it would be deceiving itself. (shrink)
Wilfrid Sellars's "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind" begins with an argument against sense-datum epistemology. There is some question about the validity of this attack, stemming in part from the assumption that Sellars is concerned with epistemic foundationalism. This paper recontextualizes Sellars's argument in two ways: by showing how the argument of EPM relates to Sellars's 1940s work, which does not concern foundationalism at all; and by considering the view of H.H. Price, Sellars's teacher at Oxford and the only classical (...) datum theorist to receive substantive comment in EPM. Timm Triplett has claimed that Sellars's discussion simply begs the question against Price, but this depends on the mistaken assumption that Sellars's concern is with foundationalism. On the contrary, Sellars's argument concerns the assumption that the innate capacity for sensory experience counts as "thinking in presence" in the way needed for empiricist accounts of content acquisition. Price's distinction between noticing universals and being aware of them encapsulates the tensions empiricists face here. (shrink)
Thought about fictional characters is special, and needs to be distinguished from ordinary world-directed thought. On my interpretation, Kendall Walton and Gareth Evans have tried to show how this serious fiction-directed thought can arise from engagement with a kind of pretending. Many criticisms of their account have focused on the methodological presupposition, that fiction-directed thought is the appropriate explanandum. In the first part of this paper, I defend the methodological claim, and thus the existence of the problem to which pretense (...) is supposed to be a solution. In the second part, I elaborate and defend the pretense theory as a solution to this problem. (shrink)
Philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand are often identified as strong critics of altruism and arch advocates of egoism. In this essay, Stephen Hicks argues that Nietzsche and Rand have much in common in their critiques of altruism but almost nothing in common in their views on egoism.
Entrepreneurship is increasingly studied as a fundamental and foundational economic phenomenon. It has, however, received less attention as an ethical phenomenon. Much contemporary business ethics assumes its core application purposes to be (1) to stop predatory business practices and (2) to encourage philanthropy and charity by business. Certainly predation is immoral and charity has a place in ethics, neither should be the first concerns of ethics. Instead, business ethics should make fundamental the values and virtues of entrepreneurs - i.e., those (...) self-responsible and productive individuals who create value and trade with others to win-win advantage. (shrink)
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is famous for his statement that “God is dead” — and for the fact that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis claimed Nietzsche as one of their great inspirations. * Were the Nazis right to do so — or did they misappropriate Nietzsche’s philosophy? * What were the key elements of Hitler and the National Socialists’ political philosophy? * How did the Nazis come to power in a nation as educated and civilized as Germany? * What was Friedrich (...) Nietzsche’s philosophy — the philosophy of “Live dangerously” and “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”? * And to what extent did Nietzsche’s philosophy provide a foundation for the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis? (shrink)
Critical attention to Wilfrid Sellars’s “Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man” (PSIM) has focused on the dubious Peircean optimism about scientific convergence that underwrites Sellars’s talk of “the” scientific image. Sellars’s ultimate Peircean ontology has led Willem deVries, for instance, to accuse him of being a naturalistic “monistic visionary.” But this complaint of monism misplays the status of the ideal end of science in Sellars’s thinking. I propose a novel reading of PSIM, foregrounding its opening methodological reflections. On this (...) reading, the central point of the paper is to accuse figures like Wittgenstein and Strawson, whom I call “analytical quietists,” of taking the unity of intellectual endeavor as somehow given. Such unity as is forthcoming is, Sellars tells us, a task. I conclude by noting that a structurally similar accusation of too easily presumed unity emerges at the end of the paper, against a familiar sort of anti-relativistic moral theorizing. Thus, Sellars’s conception of the task of philosophy is, at least potentially, a point of surprising ethico-political significance as well. (shrink)
In his "Death and Eternal Life" John Hick criticizes H.H. Price's view of disembodied existence after death on the grounds that (1) Price cannot consistently hold that this world is a public or semi-public world, the joint product of a group of telepathically-interacting minds, and that this world is formed by the power of individual desire, and (2) in a world that is the product of the individual's desires, moral progress is impossible. I argue that there is no contradiction in (...) (1), and that in the world envisioned by Price greater moral progress is possible in that one can no longer be deceived about one's motives or by the ambiguity of actions. (shrink)