Zillmer shows the benefits of having children act out situations as a way of sparking discussions with 7th and 8th graders in a philosophy class. He writes about an example from his class called "Jim and the Indians.".
John Clarke of Hull, one of the eighteenth century's staunchest proponents of psychological egoism, defended that theory in his Foundation of Morality in Theory and Practice. He did so mainly by opposing the objections to egoism in the first two editions of Francis Hutcheson's Inquiry into Virtue. But Clarke also produced a challenging, direct argument for egoism which, regrettably, has received virtually no scholarly attention. In this paper I give it some of the attention it merits. In addition to (...) reconstructing it and addressing interpretive issues about it, I show that it withstands a tempting objection. I also show that although Clarke's argument ultimately fails, to study it is instructive. It illuminates, for example, Hutcheson's likely intentions in a passage relevant to egoism. (shrink)
Among the most animating debates in eighteenth-century British ethics was the debate over psychological egoism, the view that our most basic desires are self-interested. An important episode in that debate, less well known than it should be, was the exchange between Francis Hutcheson and John Clarke of Hull. In the early editions of his Inquiry into Virtue, Hutcheson argued ingeniously against psychological egoism; in his Foundation of Morality, Clarke argued ingeniously against Hutcheson’s arguments. Later, Hutcheson attempted new arguments against (...) psychological egoism, designed to overcome Clarke’s objections. This article examines the exchange between these philosophers. Its conclusion, influenced partly by Clarke, is that psychological egoism withstands Hutcheson’s arguments. This is not to belittle those arguments—indeed, they are among the most resourceful and plausible of their kind. The fact that egoism withstands them is thus not a mere negative result, but a stimulus to consider carefully the ways in which progress in this area may be possible. (shrink)
This study provides a comprehensive reinterpretation of the meaning of Locke's political thought. John Dunn restores Locke's ideas to their exact context, and so stresses the historical question of what Locke in the Two Treatises of Government was intending to claim. By adopting this approach, he reveals the predominantly theological character of all Locke's thinking about politics and provides a convincing analysis of the development of Locke's thought. In a polemical concluding section, John Dunn argues that liberal and (...) Marxist interpretations of Locke's politics have failed to grasp his meaning. Locke emerges as not merely a contributor to the development of English constitutional thought, or as a reflector of socio-economic change in seventeenth-century England, but as essentially a Calvinist natural theologian. (shrink)
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has argued that rock and roll happens from the neck down. In this contribution to The Rolling Stones and Philosophy, edited by Luke Dick and George Reisch, I draw on neuroscience to argue that, in the parlance of John Stuart Mill, rock and roll is both a higher and a lower pleasure.
In this article I address a puzzle about one of Francis Hutcheson’s objections to psychological egoism. The puzzle concerns his premise that God receives no benefit from rewarding the virtuous. Why, in the early editions of his Inquiry Concerning Virtue, does Hutcheson leave this premise undefended? And why, in the later editions, does he continue to do so, knowing that in 1726 John Clarke of Hull had subjected the premise to plausible criticism, geared to the very audience for whom (...) Hutcheson’s objection to egoism was written? This puzzle is not negligible. Some might claim that Hutcheson ruins his objection by ignoring Clarke’s criticism. To answer the puzzle we must consider not only Hutcheson’s philosophy but also some theological assumptions of Hutcheson’s time. (shrink)
As we now know, most, if not all, philosophers in the High Middle Ages agreed that what we immediately perceive are external objects and that the immediate object of perception must not be some image present to the mind. Yet most — but not all — philosophers in the High Middle Ages also held, following Aristotle, that perception is a process wherein the percipient takes on the likeness of the external object. This likeness — called a species — is a (...) representation (of some sort) by means of which we immediately perceive external objects. But how can perception be at once direct — or immediate — and at the same time by way of representations? The usual answer here was that the species represents the external object to some percipient even though the species itself is not at all perceived: the species is that by which I perceive and not that which I perceive. John Buridan defends this traditional view — call it direct realism with representations. However, just a couple of decades before Buridan, one of the more important philosophers at Paris, Durand of St.-Pourçain, had already rejected direct realism with representation. Durand defends what I will call direct realism without representations. On his view, a species is not at all necessary during overtly direct forms of perception, neither as cause nor as representation. This paper has two parts. In the first part, I will discuss some of the more interesting arguments that Durand makes against direct realism with representations. In the second part, I will look at Buridan's defense of the view. -/- . (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the requirement for the qualitative is theory-dependent, determined by the fundamental assumptions built into the ontology. John Heil’s qualitative, in its role as individuator of objects and powers, is required only by a theory that posits a world of distinct objects or powers. Does Heil’s ‘deep’ view of the world, such that there is only one powerful object require the qualitative as individuator of objects and powers? The answer depends on whether it is (...) possible to account for the manifest objects and the ostensible spatial primacy of our perceived world without recourse to the qualitative. In this paper I outline just such an account with the intention of extending Heil’s efforts to incorporate fundamental power in the world while providing a coherent explanation for our strong intuition of spatial, as against relational, priority. (shrink)
The apparent tension between the moral codes of the Old and New Testaments constitutes a perennial problem for Christian ethics. Scholars who have taken this problem seriously have often done so in ways that presume sharp discontinuity between the Testaments. They then proceed to devise a system for identifying what is or is not relevant today, or what pertains to this or that particular social sphere. John Howard Yoder brings fresh perspectives to this perennial problem by refuting the presumption (...) of intratestamental discontinuity. Throughout multiple scattered works on the Old Testament, Yoder offers a coherent and provocative narration that culminates in the way of Christ and establishes the ethical continuity of the entire biblical canon. This essay presents the basic parameters of Yoder's Old Testament narration, suggests points where revision is needed, and highlights several implications for social ethics. (shrink)
The Reasonableness of Christianity is a major work by one of the greatest modern philosophers. Published anonymously in 1695, it entered a world upset by fierce theological conflict and immediately became a subject of controversy. At issue were the author’s intentions. John Edwards labelled it a Socinian work and charged that it was subversive not only of Christianity but of religion itself others praised it as a sure preservative of both. Few understood Locke’s intentions, and perhaps no one fully. (...) This new collection describes the background to Locke’s book and documents the disputes that followed its publication. Providing an invaluable insight into the context of its conception and reception, it includes contributions by Samuel Bold, John Edwards, Charles Blount, and Daniel Waterland, bringing the discussion up to the eighteenth century. Also included is a review of the Reasonableness found among Locke’s unpublished papers and published here for the first time. The volume will be of interest to philosophers of religion and theologians as well as historians. (shrink)
Some argue that humans should enhance their moral capacities by adopting institutions that facilitate morally good motives and behaviour. I have defended a parallel claim: that we could permissibly use biomedical technologies to enhance our moral capacities, for example by attenuating certain counter-moral emotions. John Harris has recently responded to my argument by raising three concerns about the direct modulation of emotions as a means to moral enhancement. He argues that such means will be relatively ineffective in bringing about (...) moral improvements, that direct modulation of emotions would invariably come at an unacceptable cost to our freedom, and that we might end up modulating emotions in ways that actually lead to moral decline. In this article I outline some counter-intuitive potential implications of Harris' claims. I then respond individually to his three concerns, arguing that they license only the very weak conclusion that moral enhancement via direct emotion modulation is sometimes impermissible. However I acknowledge that his third concern might, with further argument, be developed into a more troubling objection to such enhancements. (shrink)
While examining the important role of imagination in making moral judgments, John Dewey and Moral Imagination focuses new attention on the relationship between American pragmatism and ethics. Steven Fesmire takes up threads of Dewey's thought that have been largely unexplored and elaborates pragmatism's distinctive contribution to understandings of moral experience, inquiry, and judgment. Building on two Deweyan notions—that moral character, belief, and reasoning are part of a social and historical context and that moral deliberation is an imaginative, dramatic rehearsal (...) of possibilities—Fesmire shows that moral imagination can be conceived as a process of aesthetic perception and artistic creativity. Fesmire's original readings of Dewey shed new light on the imaginative process, human emotional make-up and expression, and the nature of moral judgment. This original book presents a robust and distinctly pragmatic approach to ethics, politics, moral education, and moral conduct. (shrink)
This article shows how feminism welcomed and was influenced by the pragmatism of John Dewey. While in real terms his impact on European feminism has been minimal, this was not the case in contemporary America. In this article we study both how Dewey’s ideas were received amongst American feminists, as well as certain aspects of his thinking that could be enormously useful in present-day debates between critical and postmodern feminists. We compare the Deweyan and feminist arguments against the traditional (...) dualisms that acted as philosophical support for social inequality, paying particular attention to mind–body dualism, and the consequent undervaluation of physical and emotional wellbeing. We also show that John Dewey’s proposals were, in fact, more radical than those of the feminists of the day. Indeed, democracy has to be understood as a way of life that affects every dimension of experience, and is crucial to the personal and social growth that enables the unjust social inequalities between men and women to be overcome. (shrink)
"When John Dewey died in 1952, he was memorialized as America's most famous philosopher, revered by liberal educators and deplored by conservatives, but universally acknowledged as his country's intellectual voice. Many things conspired to give Dewey an extraordinary intellectual eminence: He was immensely long-lived and immensely prolific; he died in his ninety-third year, and his intellectual productivity hardly slackened until his eighties." "Professor Alan Ryan offers new insights into Dewey's many achievements, his character, and the era in which his (...) scholarship had a remarkable impact. He investigates the question of what an American audience wanted from a public philosopher - from an intellectual figure whose credentials came from his academic standing as a philosopher, but whose audience was much wider than an academic one." "Ryan argues that Dewey's "religious" outlook illuminates his politics much more vividly than it does the politics of religion as ordinarily conceived. He examines how Dewey fit into the American radical tradition, how he was and was not like his transatlantic contemporaries, why he could for so long practice a form of philosophical inquiry that became unfashionable in England after 1914 at the latest."--BOOK JACKET. (shrink)
This article compares James M. Buchanan's and John Rawls's theories of democratic governance. In particular it compares their positions on the characteristics of a legitimate social contract. Where Buchanan argues that additional police force can be used to quell political demonstrations, Rawls argues for a social contract that meets the difference principle.
My aim in this chapter is to place John Stuart Mill’s distinctive utilitarian political philosophy in the context of the debate about luck, responsibility, and equality. I hope it will reveal the extent to which his utilitarianism provides a helpful framework for synthesizing the competing claims of luck and relational egalitarianism. I attempt to show that when Mill’s distributive justice commitments are not decided by direct appeal to overall happiness, they are guided by three main public principles: an impartiality (...) principle, a sufficiency principle, and a merit principle. The question then becomes how luck and relational considerations figure into his articulation of these public principles. I argue that relational egalitarianism is more fundamental than considerations of luck and responsibility in Mill’s thought, but I also hope to show that any fleshed out picture of Mill’s reform proposals must recognize his condemnation of the role luck plays in determining the distribution of opportunities and outcomes. (shrink)
In this essay we will take the American experimental composer John Cage’s understanding of sound as the starting point for an evaluation of that term in the field of sound studies. Drawing together two of the most influential figures in the field, Cage’s thought and work will serve as a lens through which to engage with recent debate concerning the uptake in sound studies of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. In so doing we will attempt to develop a path (...) between conflicting sides of sound studies, putting forward an understanding of sound that presents it not as an uninterrogated ontological essence, nor as only a term in a discursive web, but as a problem which must be repeatedly posed anew. We will consider points where this may yet be pushed towards a reified, essentialized understanding of the nature of sound, but move to offset this by emphasizing the production of a practical process of learning and experimentation. (shrink)
The contribution focuses on philosophical issues of justice of positive law in the light of the social teaching of John Paul II. The analyses start with consideration of anthropological foundations of justice as virtue, develop with the reflexion upon justice of actions realizing justice and finally arrive at examination of the criteria of justice of law. -/- It is argued that relations between a human being and goods (ends of actions) form ontological basis of natural law and justice of (...) actions – orders and prohibitions are secondary in respect to these relations. An aim of just law (and natural law) is not preservation or restoration of abstractly understood moral order based on norms – orders and prohibitions) but integral development (good) of a person – a being possessing dignity. John Paul’s II philosophy of law takes advantage primarily of Thomas Aquinas’ approach to law and combines it with constructions which are typical for modern human rights protection. John Paul’s II conception of natural law is anthropocentric and bases on subjective rights thinking. Human dignity and human rights which derive from it provide basic criteria for the justice of law. Human rights as subjective rights disclose natural law which is understood as a set of goods for a human person. These goods are ends of actions and as such they determine actions and their forms. This point of view is compatible with Aquinas’ definition: “law is nothing but a rational plan of operation, and … the rational plan of any kind of work is derived from the end” (Summa contra gentiles, lib. 3, cap. 114, n. 5). -/- Positive (human) law which is not just has no normative power in this sense that it does not in itself provide reasons for concrete actions of a concrete actor. Sometimes there are moral reasons for following unjust law, however if its norm prescribes actions which are wrong in themselves (internally wrong) there is moral obligation to act contrary to such a legal norm. -/- Zasadniczym przedmiotem opracowania jest filozoficzna refleksja Jana Pawła II nad sprawiedliwością prawa stanowionego. Analizy przebiegają od zagadnienia antropologicznych podstaw sprawiedliwości poprzez problematykę działań realizujących sprawiedliwość do zagadnienia sprawiedliwości prawa stanowionego. Opracowanie zamykają uwagi wskazujące na kontekst teologiczny istotny dla problematyki sprawiedliwości, którego analiza wykracza jednak poza podjęte zamierzenie koncentrujące się na problematyce filozoficznoprawnej. Argumentuje się, że u podstaw tej refleksji leży namysł nad relacją człowieka do dobra, która stanowi ontologiczną podstawę prawa naturalnego i sprawiedliwości – nakazy i zakazy są wtórne wobec tej relacji. Celem prawa i sprawiedliwości jest dobro konkretnego, obdarzonego godnością człowieka, a nie np. przywracanie abstrakcyjnie pojętego porządku moralnego. Od strony konstrukcji teoretycznej, filozofia prawa Jana Pawła II jest osadzona przede wszystkim na koncepcji Tomasza z Akwinu łączonej z konstrukcjami typowymi dla współczesnej ochrony praw człowieka. To w godności i wynikających z niej prawach człowieka poszukiwać trzeba zasadniczych treściowych kryteriów sprawiedliwości prawa. Prawa człowieka jako prawa podmiotowe są podstawowym wyrazem prawa naturalnego, stanowiącego ontyczną podstawę sprawiedliwości i które pojmowane jest jako zespół dóbr dla osoby, zatem i celów kształtujących działanie. Perspektywa pojmowania prawa naturalnego jest antropocentryczna. Prawo stanowione, które nie jest sprawiedliwe, nie ma „mocy prawa”, przede wszystkim w takim sensie, że nie stanowi samo w sobie racji działania. Niekiedy, ze względów moralnych, niesprawiedliwe prawo wymaga posłuszeństwa. Jeśli jednak prawo stanowione daje uprawnienia do czynów wewnętrznie złych i nakazuje takie czyny, to nie tylko nie obowiązuje w sumieniu i nie jest racją działania, ale obowiązkiem jest postępowanie wbrew takiemu prawu. (shrink)
John McDowell's contribution to philosophy has ranged across Greek philosophy, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics and ethics. His writings have drawn on the works of, amongst others, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Sellars, and Davidson. His contributions have made him one of the most widely read, discussed and challenging philosophers writing today. This book provides a careful account of the main claims that McDowell advances in a number of different areas of philosophy. The interconnections between the (...) different arguments are highlighted and Tim Thornton shows how these individual projects are unified in a post-Kantian framework that articulates the preconditions of thought and language. Thornton sets out the differing strands of McDowell's work prior to, and leading up to, their combination in the broader philosophical vision revealed in "Mind and World" and provides an interpretative and critical framework that will help shape ongoing debates surrounding McDowell's work. An underlying theme of the book is whether McDowell's therapeutic approach to philosophy, which owes much to the later Wittgenstein, is consistent with the substance of McDowell's discussion of nature that uses the vocabulary of other philosophers including, centrally, Kant. (shrink)
In recent years, pragmatism in general and John Dewey in particular have been of increasing interest to philosophers of science. Dewey's work provides an interesting alternative package of views to those which derive from the logical empiricists and their critics, on problems of both traditional and more recent vintage. Dewey's work ought to be of special interest to recent philosophers of science committed to the program of analyzing ``science in practice.'' The core of Dewey's philosophy of science is his (...) theory of inquiry---what he called ``logic.'' There is a major lacuna in the literature on this point, however: no contemporary philosophers of science have engaged with Dewey's logical theory, and scholars of Dewey's logic have rarely made connections with philosophy of science. This paper aims to fill this gap, to correct some significant errors in the interpretation of key ideas in Dewey's logical theory, and to show how Dewey's logic provides resources for a philosophy of science. (shrink)
There are two general routes that Augustine suggests in De Trinitate, XV, 14-16, 23-25, for a psychological account of the Father's intellectual generation of the Word. Thomas Aquinas and Henry of Ghent, in their own ways, follow the first route; John Duns Scotus follows the second. Aquinas, Henry, and Scotus's psychological accounts entail different theological opinions. For example, Aquinas (but neither Henry nor Scotus) thinks that the Father needs the Word to know the divine essence. If we compare the (...) theological views entailed by their psychologies we find a trajectory from Aquinas, through Henry, and ending with Scotus. This theological trajectory falsifies a judgment that every Augustinian psychology of the divine persons amounts to a pre-Nicene functional Trinitarianism. This study makes clear how one's awareness of the theological views entailed by these psychologies enables one to assess more thoroughly psychological accounts of the identity and distinction of the divine persons. (shrink)
The development of symbolic logic is often presented in terms of a cumulative story of consecutive innovations that led to what is known as modern logic. This narrative hides the difficulties that this new logic faced at first, which shaped its history. Indeed, negative reactions to the emergence of the new logic in the second half of the nineteenth century were numerous and we study here one case, namely logic at Oxford, where one finds Lewis Carroll, a mathematical teacher who (...) promoted symbolic logic, and John Cook Wilson, the Wykeham Professor of Logic who notoriously opposed it. An analysis of their disputes on the topic of logical symbolism shows that their opposition was not as sharp as it might look at first, as Cook Wilson was not so much opposed to the « symbolic » character of logic, but the intrusion of mathematics and what he perceived to be the futility of some of its problems, for logicians and philosophers alike. (shrink)
ISBN 0-7914-3529-6 (hard : alk. paper). — ISBN 0-7914-3530-X (pbk. : alk. paper ) 1. Dewey, John, 1854-1952. I. Title. II. Series: SUNY series in philosophy of education. B945.D4B65 1997 191— dc 21 96-52291 CIP 10 987654321 For Jayne ...
A descriptive polytheist thinks there are at least two gods. John Hick and Richard Swinburne are descriptive polytheists. In this respect, they are like Thomas Aquinas and many other theists. What sets Swinburne and Hick apart from Aquinas, however, is that unlike him they are normative polytheists. That is, Swinburne and Hick think that it is right that we, or at least some of us, worship more than one god. However, the evidence available to me shows that only Swinburne, (...) and not Hick, is a cultic polytheist: he actually worships more than one god. I conclude that only Swinburne is a polytheist par excellence. (shrink)
I argue that John Gray's modus vivendi-based justification for liberalism is preferable to the more orthodox deontological or teleological justificatory strategies, at least because of the way it can deal with the problem of diversity. But then I show how that is not good news for liberalism, for grounding liberal political authority in a modus vivendi undermines liberalism’s aspiration to occupy a privileged normative position vis-à-vis other kinds of regimes. So modus vivendi can save liberalism from moralism, but at (...) cost many liberals will not be prepared to pay. (shrink)
This article concerns John Gay’s 1731 essay ‘Preliminary Dissertation Concerning the Fundamental Principle of Virtue or Morality’. Gay undertakes two tasks here, the first of which is to supply a criterion of virtue. I argue that he is the first modern philosopher to claim that universal happiness is the aim of moral action. In other words: Gay is the first utilitarian. His second task is to explain the source of moral motivation. He draws upon the principles of association to (...) argue (a) that we develop benevolent motives by associating the idea of our happiness with that of others and (b) that we come to approve of benevolence by recognizing that our happiness is inextricably connected with the general happiness. While some scholars have taken an interest in Gay’s essay, a sustained treatment of its contents does not exist, despite its acknowledged influence on Hume, Hartley, James Mill, and John Stuart Mill. (shrink)
This essay narrates what I have learned from Søren Kierkegaard & John Dewey about teaching philosophy. It consists of three sections: 1) a Deweyan pragmatist’s translation of Kierkegaard’s religious insights on Christianity, as a way of life, into ethical insights on philosophy, as a way of life; 2) a brief description of the introductory course that I teach most frequently: Ethics, Happiness, & The Good Life; and 3) an exploration of three spiritual exercises from the course: a) self-cultivation by (...) means of writing in an Ethics Notebook, b) an “existential experiment” in which we practice one of Aristotle’s virtues for a week, and c) a 15-hour service-learning component. (shrink)
Since the beginning of the 20th Century to the present day, it has rarely been doubted that whenever formal aesthetic methods meet their iconological counterparts, the two approaches appear to be mutually exclusive. In reality, though, an ahistorical concept is challenging a historical analysis of art. It is especially Susanne K. Langer´s long-overlooked system of analogies between perceptions of the world and of artistic creations that are dependent on feelings which today allows a rapprochement of these positions. Krois’s insistence on (...) a similar point supports this analysis. - I - Unbestritten bis heute gilt, formwissenschaftliche und ikonologische Methoden scheinen sich grundsätzlich auszuschließen, da die ersteren auf ahistorischen und die letzteren auf historischen Grundlagen aufbauen. Dem entgegen soll mit diesem Beitrag gezeigt werden, wie insbesondere die Forschungen Susanne K. Langers und ergänzend diejenigen von John M. Krois eine Annäherung beider Positionen ermöglichen. (shrink)
The literature on the Cambridge Platonists abounds with references to Neoplatonism and the Alexandrian Fathers on general themes of philosophical and theological methodology. The specific theme of the spiritual senses of the soul has received scant attention however, to the detriment of our understanding of their place in this important tradition of Christian speculation. Thus, while much attention has been paid to the clear influence of Plotinus and the Florentine Academy, far less has been given to important theological figures that (...) also form a vital part of the tradition the Cambridge Platonists find irresistible. Similarly, scholarship on the spiritual senses has tended to ignore early modern Protestant developments in this tradition focusing instead on patristic, medieval, and later modern figures. In response to these oversights, the present chapter provides a close reading and analysis of the reception and modification of Origen of Alexandria’s (185-252) doctrine of the spiritual senses in the “Discourse on the True Way or Method of Attaining to Divine Knowledge” by the Cambridge Platonist, John Smith (1618-1652). Although Smith accepted much of the doctrine as he found it in Origen his allegiance to modern notions of methodology, derived especially from Descartes, as well as his Protestantism, made taking the doctrine on authority or antiquity alone unacceptable. Smith therefore offered his own case for the spiritual senses, at once intentionally mimicking the Alexandrian’s interpretive synthesis of Platonism and Scripture (“Origen as model”) and echoing Origen’s own words (“Origen as source”). Whereas Origen made spiritual sensibility intelligible by means of Middle Platonic thought, Smith’s Neoplatonism provided the conceptual tools needed to make sense of biblical passages without suggesting a merely metaphorical meaning for sensory language concerning the awareness of spiritual realities. In this way, both tradition and innovation guide Smith’s reformulation of the doctrine of the spiritual senses. In addition to demonstrating Smith’s debt to patristic thought, this chapter also discusses his influence on such leading figures in modern theology as John Wesley (1703-1791) and Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). The chapter thus presents an important moment in the development of Christian speculation about the spiritual senses that begins to bridge scholarship on the Patristic and Enlightenment periods. (shrink)
En su Tratado sobre los principios del conocimiento humano, George Berkeley ofrece una serie de argumentos cuyo objetivo es criticar la tesis materialista. Mi propósito en este artículo es reconstruir y analizar en detalle estos argumentos. Dado que la crítica de Berkeley al materialismo es, fundamentalmente, una crítica al materialismo representacionalista de John Locke, empezaré este artículo explicando cuáles son las ideas básicas de la propuesta de Locke.
How can we employ the philosophy of John Dewey to make sense of contemporary political contexts? How might Deweyan theorisations of present-day political problems inform contemporary policy approaches to, for instance, immigration, globalisation, global governance structures, or democratic institutions? What is new about contemporary political practice and thought from a pragmatist perspective? What is merely echoing the thinking and affective investments of previous political moments? And what is critical about this moment in time? These are some of the questions (...) that prompted the organisation of a conference titled “John Dewey and Critical Philosophies for Critical Political Times” at University College Dublin in October 2017. In light of the recent rise in nationalist rhetoric and unprecedented political developments, such as Brexit, the two-day event sought to draw out the confluences between the historico-political context that John Dewey was operating in and the contemporary political moment. At the same time, the conference set out to interrogate appeals to “history repeating itself” by capturing the unique inflection of the present. Conference delegates deftly examined such temporal concordances and dissonances by drawing on John Dewey’s expansive philosophical thought, theorising a host of topics ranging from structures of inequality - including gender, racial, and class inequality - to the role of inquiry in democratic practice. They made use of a wide array of Deweyan concepts and theories, encompassing, inter alia, his naturalism; his writing on democracy; his conception of the habituated, transacting self; and his meliorism. The essays collected in this special issue include some of the highlights of these presentations, as well as pieces specifically commissioned for the purposes of this publication. (shrink)
Christians have traditionally conceived of the moral life as an imitation of Christ, whereby followers enter into fellowship with God. The American Transcendentalists can be understood as extending rather than dispensing with this legacy. For Emerson, a person cultivates virtues by imitating those she loves and admires. Ultimately, however, the virtues enable her to innovate on received models, to excel by pressing beyond exemplars. Emerson's famous line, “imitation is suicide,” is not a contradiction but a fulfillment of the imitation of (...) Christ, understood in his terms. In his own time, John Brown was the public figure who, for Emerson, most nearly exemplified this innovative imitation of Christ. An examination of exemplarity, of this artful union of imitation and innovation in moral and spiritual formation, sheds light on how modern agents can cultivate the virtues needed to be at home in the modern world. (shrink)
John Rawls’ account in Law of Peoples of a realist utopia composed of a society of liberal and decent peoples is a stark contrast to his description of “outlaw states,” which seek to undermine the legal and moral frameworks that constitute a pacific global order. Rawls argues that outlaw states cannot conceive of political accommodation with their external enemies; instead, they opt for the rule of force, terror, and brutality. Rawls even urges that liberal peoples are justified in maintaining (...) a nuclear deterrent to prevent outlaw states from obtaining and then using nuclear weapons on liberal societies if the opportunity arose. This article examines the paradoxical question of liberal societies that, in the name of opposing outlaw states, undertake security policies which correspond to “outlaw” statist behavior. It then explores the implications of liberal roguishness for the legitimacy of liberal international security arrangements, such as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Regime. (shrink)
During John Dewey's lifetime, one public opinion poll after another revealed that he was esteemed to be one of the ten most important thinkers in American history. His body of thought, conventionally identified by the shorthand word "Pragmatism," has been the distinctive American philosophy of the last fifty years. His work on education is famous worldwide and is still influential today, anticipating as it did the ascendance in contemporary American pedagogy of multiculturalism and independent thinking. His University of Chicago (...) Laboratory School thrives still and is a model for schools worldwide, especially in emerging democracies. But how was this lifetime of thought enmeshed in Dewey's emotional experience, in his joys and sorrows as son and brother, husband and father, and in his political activism and spirituality? Acclaimed biographer Jay Martin recaptures the unity of Dewey's life and work, tracing important themes through the philosopher's childhood years, family history, religious experience, and influential friendships. Based on original sources, notably the vast collection of unpublished papers in the Center for Dewey Studies, this book tells the full story, for the first time, of the life and times of the eminent American philosopher, pragmatist, education reformer, and man of letters. In particular, _The Education of John Dewey_ highlights the importance of the women in Dewey's life, especially his mother, wife, and daughters, but also others, including the reformer Jane Addams and the novelist Anzia Yezierska. A fitting tribute to a master thinker, Martin has rendered a tour de force portrait of a philosopher and social activist in full, seamlessly reintegrating Dewey's thought into both his personal life and the broader historical themes of his time. (shrink)
In recent essays John Bishop proposes a model of religious faith. This author notices that a so-called doxastic venture model of theistic faith is self-defeating for the following reason: a venture suggests a process with an outcome; by definition a venture into Christian faith denies itself an outcome in virtue of the transcendent character of its claims – for what is claimed cannot be settled. Taking instruction from logical positivism, I stress the nonsensical character of religious claims while attacking (...) Bishop's model. However, I wish to avail myself of this same model to describe a state of belief among certain parties which does not refer to transcendent matters, in order to show that a doxastic venture is indeed a valid description of a state of belief, and that pursuing this model shows in relief the transformative nature of belief, along with its essentially scientific status. It is my ambition to show, turning Bishop's model against itself, that a state of religious belief suffers from a precise logical equivalence to a condition of agnosticism. I ask whether we are justified in believing in belief. (shrink)
This is a classic volume in the "library of Living Philosophers" and includes a collection of essays on Dewey's work by his contemporaries at the time of the volume's publication. It also includes a biographical essay on Dewey and his replies to the assembled essays.
I summarize John Hick’s pluralistic theory of the world’s great religions, largely in his own voice. I then focus on the core posit of his theory, what he calls “the Real,” but which I less tendentiously call “Godhick”. Godhick is supposed to be the ultimate religious reality. As such, it must be both possible and capable of explanatory and religious significance. Unfortunately, Godhick is, by definition, transcategorial, i.e. necessarily, for any creaturely conceivable substantial property F, it is neither an (...) F nor a non-F. As a result, Godhick is impossible, as shown by the Self-Identity Problem, the Number Problem, and the Pairing Problem. Moreover, even if Godhick is possible, it faces the Insignificance Problem. The upshot is that, so far as I can see, John Hick’s God is unworthy of any further interest. (shrink)
John Dewey’s famous early twentieth-century account of the relationship between education as growth and democratic societies, presented in Democracy and Education, was later rejected by him, because it failed to properly identify the role of societal structures in growth and experience. In the later Ethics, Dewey attempts to correct that omission, and adumbrates the argument required to reconstruct his theory, which is an appeal to the role of institutions in individual growth and experience. It is the contention of this (...) paper that the inadequacy Dewey finds in his early account is more comprehensively explained by means of recent analyses in philosophy of society, especially John Searle’s ontological analysis. Following in Dewey’s direction, a more complete analysis of the role of society in the theory of growth is presented in terms of the deontological analysis of institutions. It is suggested that the current analyses in philosophy of society provide the means for the completion of Dewey’s views of both growth and experience, making Dewey’s account more useful today than it was a century ago. (shrink)
John Tomasi's new book, Free Market Fairness, has been well-received as "one of the very best philosophical treatments of libertarian thought, ever" and as a "long and friendly conversation between Friedrich Hayek and John Rawls—a conversation which, astonishingly, reaches agreement". The book does present an authoritative state-of-the-debate across the spectrum from right-libertarianism on the one side to high liberalism on the other side. My point is not to question where Tomasi comes down with his own version of "market (...) democracy" as a remix of Hayek and Rawls. My point is to use his sympathetic restatements of views across the liberal spectrum to show the basic misframings and common misunderstandings that cut across the liberal-libertarian viewpoints surveyed in the book. As usual, the heart of the debate is not in the answers to carefully framed questions, but in the framing itself. (shrink)
Cognitive science of religion is a fairly young discipline with the aim of studying the cognitive basis of religious belief. Despite the great variation in theories a number of common features can be distilled and most theories can be situated in the cognitivist and modular paradigm. In this paper, I investigate how cognitive science of religion (CSR) can be made better by insights from John Dewey. I chose Dewey because he offered important insights in cognition long before there was (...) cognitive science and because his ideas are influential in the recent enactivist movement. The relevance of Dewey’s thought for CSR will be discussed under three headers: embodiedness, embeddedness and anti-modularity. I focus on these points because embodiedness and embeddedness are important features of Dewey’s view on cognition and because his ideas are useful for criticizing modularity. I will first give a brief overview of the most influential theories in CSR. Then I will discuss how existing theories in CSR can be improved on the first two points and criticized on the third. (shrink)
John Smith (1618-1652), long known for the elegance of his prose and the breadth of his erudition, has been underappreciated as a philosophical theologian. This book redresses this by showing how the spiritual senses became an essential tool for responding to early modern developments in philosophy, science, and religion for Smith. Through a close reading of the Select Discourses (1660) it is shown how Smith’s theories of theological knowledge, method, and prophecy as well as his prescriptive account of Christian (...) piety rely on his spiritual aesthetics. Smith offers a coherent system with intellectual intuition informing natural theology and revelation supplemented by spiritual perception via the imagination too. The central uniting feature of Smith’s philosophical theology is thus ‘spiritual sensation’ broadly construed. The book closes with proposals for research on Smith’s influence on the accounts of the spiritual senses developed by significant later figures including Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) and John Wesley (1703-1791). (shrink)