In 1911 Gerald F. Shove, later to become a leading Cambridge economist, submitted to King's College a fellowship dissertation on the application of G.E. Moore's ethical philosophy to political theory. In the article the dissertation, hitherto unpublished, is discussed with reference to both the acceptance and elaboration of Moore's Principia Ethica by the members of the Apostles and Bloomsbury groups and Shove's intellectual and personal biography. The thesis tackles some major concepts in political theory like the nature (...) of human societies, self-government, justice and freedom. (shrink)
The last few years have seen the emergence of a more political, ‘post-Derridean’ generation, critical of the impotent messianism of the politics of deconstruction. As Žižek would have it: ‘Derrida's notion of ‘deconstruction as ethics’ seems to rely on a utopian hope which sustains the spectre of ‘infinite justice’, forever postponed, always to come’ (Žižek 2008: 225). The promise of redemption, it follows, would reside in an insubstantial promissory value, in the writing of irredeemable cheques that, if cashed in, could (...) only ever lead to default. With its ethos of play and over-investment in an empty promise, deconstruction starts to look symptomatic of the now-bankrupt age of excess. Does the current financial crisis not entail a crisis of Derrida? This reading contrives to elide what is genuinely political in Derrida, and thereby fails to recognise the deconstruction of economic theodicy implicit in his work. Jean-Luc Nancy has argued that the concept of sacrifice is irreducibly linked to the short-circuiting of the political. We see in Derrida, however, that sacrifice is at the heart of politics, a response to undecidability that is precisely opposed to the fantasy of economics without sacrifice. Furthermore, sacrificial politics is the condition of possibility of the promise, which is constructed and contingent, rather than a priori. If there is a problem with this, it is that Derrida does not sufficiently entertain the prospect of the promise becoming so distant as to be effectively meaningless. Drawing on Bernard Stiegler, this article argues for an expansion of Derrida's account, to show not only that politics is sacrifice, but moreover that the promise of redemption cannot live on in the absence of sacrifice. (shrink)
Bernard Stielger has recently emerged as one of the most significant and original thinkers in the new generation of French philosophers following Derrida and Deleuze.Drawing on art, anthropology, economics, cultural studies, psychoanalysis, politics and sociology, the essays in this collection, by a range of world-class specialists, are united around Stiegler's key concept of technics, which, he argues, constitutes what it is to be human.Stiegler is revealed as a thinker at the forefront of our contemporary concerns with consumerism, technology, inter-generational division, (...) political apathy and economic crisis. His ambitious project goes beyond these sources of social distress to uncover and examine precisely 'what makes life worth living'. (shrink)
Of liberty and necessity, by D. Hume.--The doctrine of necessity examined, by C. S. Peirce.--Determinism in history, by E. Nagel.--Some arguments for free will, by T. Reid.--Has the self free will? by C. A. Campbell.--Dialogue on free will, by L. de Valla.--Can the will be caused? by C. Ginet.--Free will, by G. E. Moore.--A modal muddle, by S. N. Thomas.--Determinism, indeterminism, and libertarianism, by C. D. Broad.--An empirical disproof of determinism? by K. Lehrer.--Free will, praise and blame, by J. (...) J. C. Smart.--Bibliographical essay. (shrink)
G.E. Moore, more than either Bertrand Russell or Ludwig Wittgenstein, was chiefly responsible for the rise of the analytic method in twentieth-century philosophy. This selection of his writings shows Moore at his very best. The classic essays are crucial to major philosophical debates that still resonate today. Amongst those included are: * A Defense of Common Sense * Certainty * Sense-Data * External and Internal Relations * Hume's Theory Explained * Is Existence a Predicate? * Proof of an (...) External World In addition, this collection also contains the key early papers in which Moore signals his break with idealism, and three important previously unpublished papers from his later work which illustrate his relationship with Wittgenstein. (shrink)
In this response to the review of Moore, Causation and Responsibility, by Larry Alexander and Kimberly Ferzan, previously published in this journal, two issues are discussed. The first is whether causation, counterfactual dependence, moral blame, and culpability, are all scalar properties or relations, that is, matters of more-or-less rather than either-or. The second issue discussed is whether deontological moral obligation is best described as a prohibition against using another as a means, or rather, as a prohibition on an agent (...) strongly causing a prohibited result that was not about to happen anyway while intending to do so. (shrink)
William Perm summarized the Magna Carta thus: “First, It asserts Englishmen to be free; that's Liberty. Secondly, they that have free-holds, that's Property.” Since at least the seventeenth century, liberals have not only understood liberty and property to be fundamental, but to be somehow intimately related or interwoven. Here, however, consensus ends; liberals present an array of competing accounts of the relation between liberty and property. Many, for instance, defend an essentially instrumental view, typically seeing private property as justified because (...) it is necessary to maintain or protect other, more basic, liberty rights. Important to our constitutional tradition has been the idea that “[t]he right to property is the guardian of every other right, and to deprive a people of this, is in fact to deprive them of their liberty.” Along similar lines, it has been argued that only an economic system based on private property disperses power and resources, ensuring that private people in civil society have the resources to oppose the state and give effect to basic liberties. Alternatively, it is sometimes claimed that only those with property develop the independent characters that are necessary to preserve a regime of liberty. But not only have liberals insisted that, property is a means of preserving liberty, they have often conceived of it as an embodiment of liberty, or as a type of liberty, or indeed as identical to liberty. This latter view is popular among contemporary libertarians or classical liberals. Jan Narveson, for instance, bluntly asserts that “Liberty is Property,” while John Gray insists that “[t]he connection between property and the basic liberties is constitutive and not just instrumental.”. (shrink)
Justificatory liberalism is liberal in an abstract and foundational sense: it respects each as free and equal, and so insists that coercive laws must be justified to all members of the public. In this essay I consider how this fundamental liberal principle relates to disputes within the liberal tradition on “the extent of the state.” It is widely thought today that this core liberal principle of respect requires that the state regulates the distribution of resources or well-being to conform to (...) principles of fairness, that all citizens be assured of employment and health care, that no one be burdened by mere brute bad luck, and that citizens' economic activities must be regulated to insure that they do not endanger the “fair value” of rights to determine political outcomes. I argue in this essay: a large family of liberal views are consistent with the justificatory liberals project, from classical to egalitarian formulations ; overall, the justificatory project tilts in the direction of classical formulations. (shrink)
Nowhere has H.L.A. Hart's influence on philosophical jurisprudence in the English-speaking world been greater than in the way its fundamental project and method are conceived by its practitioners. Disagreements abound, of course. Philosophers debate the extent to which jurisprudence can or should proceed without appeal to moral or other values. They disagree about which participant perspective—that of the judge, lawyer, citizen, or “bad man”—is primary and about what taking up the participant perspective commits the theorist to. However, virtually unchallenged is (...) the view that jurisprudence is fundamentally interpretive or “hermeneutic”; that it takes for its subject a certain kind of social practice, constituted by the behavior and understandings of its participants; that its task is to explain this practice and its relations to other important social practices; and that it can properly be explained only by taking full account of participant understandings. It is, perhaps, some measure of the hegemony of Hart's influence that Ronald Dworkin mounts his fundamental challenge to Hart's positivism squarely from within this jurisprudential orthodoxy. Dworkin may have exceeded the limits of the method as Hart conceived it, but, as Stephen Perry has argued, “the seeds of Dworkin's strong version of inter-pretivism were sown by Hart himself.”. (shrink)
In April 1939, G. E. Moore read a paper to the Cambridge University Moral Science Club entitled ‘Certainty’. In it, amongst other things, Moore made the claims that: the phrase ‘it is certain’ could be used with sense-experience-statements, such as ‘I have a pain’, to make statements such as ‘It is certain that I have a pain’; and that sense-experience-statements can be said to be certain in the same sense as some material-thing-statements can be — namely in the (...) sense that they can be safely counted on. When Moore later read his paper to Wittgenstein, Wittgenstein took violent exception to it, and the two entered into a heated exchange. The only known notes of this exchange are a previously unpublished verbatim record of part of it, taken by Norman Malcolm. This paper is an edition of Malcolm’s notes. These notes are valuable for both philosophical and scholarly reasons. They give us a glimpse of a sustained exchange between Wittgenstein and a real-life interlocutor; they contain a defence by Wittgenstein of the idea that a word’s use can illuminate its meaning; and they provide evidence of Wittgenstein’s philosophical engagement with the topic of certainty, and with Moore’s thought on it, long before he began to write the notes which make up On Certainty, in 1949. (shrink)
Kant argues that the “discipline” of reason holds us to public argument and reflective thought. When we speak the language of reasoned judgment, Kant maintains, we “speak with a universal voice,” expecting and claiming the assent of all other rational beings. This language carries with it a discipline requiring us to submit our judgments to the forum of our rational peers. Remarkably, Kant does not restrict this thought to the realm of politics, but rather treats politics as the model for (...) reason's authority in all the provinces that rational beings inhabit. (shrink)
In various areas of Anglo-American law, legal liability turns on causation. In torts and contracts, we are each liable only for those harms we have caused by the actions that breach our legal duties. Such doctrines explicitly make causation an element of liability. In criminal law, sometimes the causal element for liability is equally explicit, as when a statute makes punishable any act that has “ caused … abuse to the child….” More often, the causal element in criminal liability is (...) more implicit, as when criminal statutes prohibit killings, maimings, rapings, burnings, etc. Such causally complex action verbs are correctly applied only to defendants who have caused death, caused disfigurement, caused penetration, caused fire damage, etc. (shrink)
Freud justified his extensive theorizing about dreams by the observation that they were “the royal road” to something much more general: namely, our unconscious mental life. The current preoccupation with the theory of excuse in criminal law scholarship can be given a similar justification, for the excuses are the royal road to theories of responsibility generally. The thought is that if we understand why we excuse in certain situations but not others, we will have also gained a much more general (...) insight into the nature of responsibility itself. Nowhere has this thought been more evident than in the century-old focus of criminal law theoreticians on the excuse of insanity, a focus that could not be justified by the importance of the excuse itself. In this paper I wish to isolate two theories of excuse, each of which instantiates its own distinctive theory of responsibility. One is what I shall call the choice theory of excuse, according to which one is excused for the doing of a wrongful action because and only because at the moment of such action's performance, one did not have sufficient capacity or opportunity to make the choice to do otherwise. Such a choice theory of excuse instantiates a more general theory of responsibility, according to which we are responsible for wrongs we freely choose to do, and not responsible for wrongs we lacked the freedom to avoid doing. The second I shall call the character theory of excuse, according to which one is excused for the doing of a wrongful action because and only because such action is not determined by those enduring attributes of ourselves we call our characters. (shrink)
Part One of this essay considered familiar ways of characterizing deontology, which focus on the notions of the good and the right. Here we will take up alternative approaches, which stress the type of reasons for actions that are generated by deontological theories. Although some of these alternative conceptualizations of deontology also employ a distinction between the good and the right, all mark the basic contrast between deontology and teleology in terms of reasons to act.
Liberal political theory is all too familiar with the divide between classical and welfare-state liberals. Classical liberals, as we all know, insist on the importance of small government, negative liberty, and private property. Welfare-state liberals, on the other hand, although they too stress civil rights, tend to be sympathetic to “positive liberty,” are for a much more expansive government, and are often ambivalent about private property. Although I do not go so far as to entirely deny the usefulness of this (...) familiar distinction, I think in many ways it is misleading. In an important sense, most free-market liberals are also “welfare-state” liberals. I say this because the overwhelming number of liberals, of both the pro-market and the pro-government variety, entertain a welfarist conception of political economy. On this dominant welfarist view, the ultimate justification of the politico-economic order is that it promotes human welfare. Traditional “welfare-state liberals” such as Robert E. Goodin manifestly adopt this welfarist conception. But it is certainly not only interventionists such as Goodin who insist that advancing welfare is the overriding goal of normative political economy. J. R. McCulloch, one of the great nineteenth-century laissez-faire political economists, was adamant that “freedom is not, as some appear to think, the end of government: the advancement of public prosperity and happiness is its end.” To be sure, McCulloch would have disagreed with Goodin about the optimal welfare-maximizing economic policy: the welfarist ideal, he and his fellow classical political economists believed, would best be advanced by provision of a legal and institutional framework — most importantly, the laws of property, contract, and the criminal code — that allows individuals to pursue their own interests in the market and, by so doing, promote public welfare. In general, what might be called the “classical-liberal welfare state” claims to advance welfare by providing the framework for individuals to seek wealth for themselves, while welfarists such as Goodin insist that a market order is seriously flawed as a mechanism for advancing human welfare and, in addition, that government has the competency to “correct market failures” in the provision of welfare. (shrink)
Rosen argues that Bentham's utilitarian doctrine was sensitive to distributive concerns and would not countenance sacrifice of fundamental individual interests for aggregate gains in happiness in society. This essay seeks to extend and deepen Rosen's argument. It is argued that Bentham's equality-sensitive principle of utility is an expression of an individualist conception of human happiness which contrasts sharply with the orthodox utilitarian abstract conception. Evidence for this interpretation of the basic motivation of Bentham's doctrine is drawn from his view of (...) the relationship between happiness and expectations, from various expressions of his ‘each to count for one’ formula, and from his reformulations of the principle of utility itself late in his career. (shrink)
Bentham belongs to a long tradition of reflection on law according to which the nature of law can best be understood in terms of its distinctive contribution to the solution of certain deep and pervasive problems of collective action or collective rationality. I propose to take a critical look at Bentham's unique and penetrating contribution to this tradition. For this purpose I will rely on the interpretation of the main lines of Bentham's jurisprudence and its philosophical motivations which I have (...) developed in Bentham and the Common Law Tradition. will not attempt further to defend it here. I wish, rather, to reflect on themes and arguments which this interpretation of Bentham's jurisprudence has uncovered. (shrink)
Hume considered An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals incomparably the best of all his writings. In the argument advanced here, I propose that Hume's preference for the Enquiry may be linked to his admiration of Cicero, and his work, De Officiis. Cicero's attempt to discover the honestum of morality in De Officiis had a particular relevance and appeal for philosophers of the early eighteenth century who were seeking to establish what they called the foundation of morality. One of those (...) philosophers was Francis Hutcheson; his differences with his contemporaries and with Hume are reviewed in the second and third parts of the essay. In the fourth and final section, I examine Hume's attempt to reconcile the foundation of morality, as he under-stood it, the sentiment of humanity, with the principles of utility and agreeableness. And an attempt is made, finally, to explain why Hume's critics perceived Hume's Enquiry to be the work of an Epicurean and a sceptic. (shrink)
My title is a quotation from Davidson's essay ‘On Saying That’. And although my concerns are at some remove from his, they do connect at one significant point. We find ourselves under the continual pressure of theory to deny that ordinary familiar semantic features of ordinary familiar words equip them to serve certain ordinary familiar functions. One of Davidson's aims is to resist that pressure as far as the function of reporting indirect speech is concerned. In similar vein I want (...) to look at some common things that we do with words and show how we can hold fast to a simple common-sense view of what we are doing despite the doubts to which reflection is apt to give rise. In fact I want to look at six things we do with words, six linguistic moves we make. These six moves are related in a number of important ways. Even so, they are really the subjects of six separate essays, and I am well aware that treating them together in the way that I shall be doing—worse still, trying thereby to make some headway with solving one or two extremely difficult philosophical problems, as I shall also be doing—will mean that in each case I can at best produce something highly programmatic. (shrink)
This paper argues that justification is accessible in the sense that one has justification to believe a proposition if and only if one has higher-order justification to believe that one has justification to believe that proposition. I argue that the accessibility of justification is required for explaining what is wrong with believing Moorean conjunctions of the form, ‘p and I do not have justification to believe that p.’.
Moore’s paradox is the fact that assertions or beliefs such asBangkok is the capital of Thailand but I do not believe that Bangkok is the capital of Thailand or Bangkok is the capital of Thailand but I believe that Bangkok is not the capital of Thailand are ‘absurd’ yet possibly true. The current orthodoxy is that an explanation of the absurdity should first start with belief, on the assumption that once the absurdity in belief has been explained then this (...) will translate into an explanation of the absurdity in assertion. This assumption gives explanatory priority to belief over assertion. I show that the translation involved is much trickier than might at first appear. It is simplistic to think that Moorean absurdity in assertion is always a subsidiary product of the absurdity in belief, even when the absurdity is conceived as irrationality. Instead we should aim for explanations of Moorean absurdity in assertion and in belief that are independent even if related, while bearing in mind that some forms of irrationality may be forms of absurdity even if not conversely. (shrink)
Having laid the groundwork in his critically acclaimed books Neural Darwinism (Basic Books, 1987) and Topobiology (Basic Books, 1988), Nobel laureate Gerald M. Edelman now proposes a comprehensive theory of consciousness in The Remembered ...
It is raining but you don’t believe that it is raining. Imagine silently accepting this claim. Then you believe both that it is raining and that you don’t believe that it is raining. This would be an ‘absurd’ thing to believe,yet what you believe might be true. Itmight be raining, while at the same time, you are completely ignorant of the state of the weather. But how can it be absurd of you to believe something about yourself that might be (...) true of you? This is Moore’s paradox as it occurs in thought. Solving the paradox consists in explaining why such beliefs are absurd. I give a survey of some of the main explanations. I largely deal with explanations of the absurdity of ‘omissive’ beliefs with contents of the form p & I don’t believe that p and of ‘commissive beliefs’ with contents of the form p & I believe that not-p as well as beliefs with contents of the form p & I don’t know that p. (shrink)
I supply an argument for Evans's principle that whatever justifies me in believing that p also justifies me in believing that I believe that p. I show how this principle helps explain how I come to know my own beliefs in a way that normally makes me the best authority on them. Then I show how the principle helps to solve Moore's paradoxes.
In this innovative and important work, Gerald Gaus advances a revised and more realistic account of public reason liberalism, showing how, in the midst of fundamental disagreement about values and moral beliefs, we can achieve a moral and political order that treats all as free and equal moral persons. The first part of this work analyzes social morality as a system of authoritative moral rules. Drawing on an earlier generation of moral philosophers such as Kurt Baier and Peter Strawson (...) as well as current work in the social sciences, Gaus argues that our social morality is an evolved social fact, which is the necessary foundation of a mutually beneficial social order. The second part considers how this system of social moral authority can be justified to all moral persons. Drawing on the tools of game theory, social choice theory, experimental psychology and evolutionary theory, Gaus shows how a free society can secure a moral equilibrium that is endorsed by all, and how a just state respects, and develops, such an equilibrium. (shrink)
In Veritas, Gerald Vision defends the correspondence theory of truth -- the theory that truth has a direct relationship to reality -- against recent attacks, and critically examines its most influential alternatives. The correspondence theory, if successful, explains one way in which we are cognitively connected to the world; thus, it is claimed, truth -- while relevant to semantics, epistemology, and other studies -- also has significant metaphysical consequences. Although the correspondence theory is widely held today, Vision points to (...) an emerging orthodoxy in philosophy that claims that truth as such carries no significant weight in philosophical explanations. He devotes much of the book to a criticism of that outlook and to a less vulnerable formulation of the correspondence theory.Vision defends the correspondence theory by both presenting evidence for correspondence and examining the claims made by such alternative theories as deflationism, minimalism, and pluralism. The techniques of the argument are thoroughly analytic, but the problem confronted is broadly humanistic. The question examined -- how we, as thinking beings, are connected to and manage to cope in a world that was not designed for our comfort or convenience -- is more likely to be raised by continentalists, but is approached here with the tools of clarity and precision more highly prized in analytic philosophy. The book seeks to avoid both the obscurantism that infects much continental thought and the overly technical concerns and methodology that limit the interest of much work in analytic philosophy. It thus provides a rigorous but largely nontechnical treatment of the topic that will be of interest not only to readers familiar with philosophy but also to those with a background in literary theory and linguistics. (shrink)
Is there a Moore ’s paradox in desire? I give a normative explanation of the epistemic irrationality, and hence absurdity, of Moorean belief that builds on Green and Williams’ normative account of absurdity. This explains why Moorean beliefs are normally irrational and thus absurd, while some Moorean beliefs are absurd without being irrational. Then I defend constructing a Moorean desire as the syntactic counterpart of a Moorean belief and distinguish it from a ‘Frankfurt’ conjunction of desires. Next I discuss (...) putative examples of rational and irrational desires, suggesting that there are norms of rational desire. Then I examine David Wall’s groundbreaking argument that Moorean desires are always unreasonable. Next I show against this that there are rational as well as irrational Moorean desires. Those that are irrational are also absurd, although there seem to be absurd desires that are not irrational. I conclude that certain norms of rational desire should be rejected. (shrink)
It is raining but you don’t believe that it is raining. Imagine accepting this claim. Then you are committed to saying ‘It is raining but I don’t believe that it is raining’. This would be an ‘absurd’ thing to claim or assert, yet what you say might be true. It might be raining, while at the same time, you are completely ignorant of the state of the weather. But how can it be absurd of you to assert something about yourself (...) that might be true of you? This is Moore’s paradox as it occurs in speech. What is the source of the absurdity? And why does it strike us that a contradiction is somehow at work when there is no contradiction in the content of what is asserted? In Section 2, I describe Moore’s formulation of the paradox and evaluate his own solutions. In Section 3, I discuss Wittgenstein’s inf luence in solving the paradox. In Section 4, I discuss Shoemaker’s priority thesis that once the absurdity in belief has been explained, then this will translate into an explanation of the absurdity in assertion. In Section 5, I discuss work on omissive and commissive Moore-paradoxical assertions, i.e. those of the forms p & I don’t believe that p and p & I believe that not-p. In Section 6, I discuss work on assertions of the form p & I don’t know that p. (shrink)
Though John Stuart Mill's long employment by the East India Company did not limit him to drafting despatches on relations with the princely states, that activity must form the centrepiece of any satisfactory study of his Indian career. As yet the activity has scarcely been glimpsed. It produced, on average, about a draft a week, which he listed in his own hand. He subsequently struck out items that he sought to disown in consequence of substantial revisions made by the Company's (...) directors or the Board of Control. He also listed items that achieved publication as parliamentary papers and they amount to about ten per cent of his drafts. The two lists, published in the most recent volume of his Collected Works, reveal, at the least, the ‘political’ despatches from which he did not seek to dissociate himself. The despatches were not entirely his work and authorship in the conventional sense may not be assumed. They were the product of an elaborate process, in which many hands were engaged. At worst, they were his work in much the same way that an Act of Parliament is the work of the Crown Solicitor who drafts the bill. At best they were his as are the drafts of a civil servant who believes in policy statements that he prepares for his political masters. The greatest English philosopher and social scientist of the nineteenth century was, in his daily occupation, an employee. His Company was charged with initiating policies for the Indian states and they were subject to the control of a minister of the Crown. (shrink)
There is not, and may there never be, any treatise by me …onthese things, for the subject is not communicable in words, as othersciences are. Rather is it that, after long association in the business itself and a shared life, a light is lit in the soul, kindled, as it were, by a leaping flame, and thenceforward feeds itself.
An analysis of Moore's paradox is given in doxastic logic. Logics arising from formalizations of various introspective principles are compared; one logic, K5c, emerges as privileged in the sense that it is the weakest to avoid Moorean belief. Moreover it has other attractive properties, one of which is that it can be justified solely in terms of avoiding false belief. Introspection is therefore revealed as less relevant to the Moorean problem than first appears.