Renowned scholar Robert Adams explores the relation between religion and ethics through a comprehensive philosophical account of a theistically-based framework for ethics. Adams' framework begins with the good rather than the right, and with excellence rather than usefulness. He argues that loving the excellent, of which adoring God is a clear example, is the most fundamental aspect of a life well lived. Developing his original and detailed theory, Adams contends that devotion, the sacred, grace, martyrdom, worship, vocation, faith, and (...) other concepts drawn from religious ethics have been sorely overlooked in moral philosophy and can enrich the texture of ethical thought. (shrink)
Where does the mind begin and end? Most philosophers and cognitive scientists take the view that the mind is bounded by the skull or skin of the individual. Robert Wilson, in this provocative and challenging 2004 book, provides the foundations for the view that the mind extends beyond the boundary of the individual. The approach adopted offers a unique blend of traditional philosophical analysis, cognitive science, and the history of psychology and the human sciences. The companion volume, Genes and (...) the Agents of Life, explores the theme in the biological sciences. Written with verve and clarity, this ambitious book will appeal to a broad swathe of professionals and students in philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, and the history of the behavioural and human sciences. You can download the table of contents here. (shrink)
Robert Batterman examines a form of scientific reasoning called asymptotic reasoning, arguing that it has important consequences for our understanding of the scientific process as a whole. He maintains that asymptotic reasoning is essential for explaining what physicists call universal behavior. With clarity and rigor, he simplifies complex questions about universal behavior, demonstrating a profound understanding of the underlying structures that ground them. This book introduces a valuable new method that is certain to fill explanatory gaps across disciplines.
Drawing on Aristotle’s notion of “ultimate responsibility,” Robert Kane argues that to be exercising a free will an agent must have taken some character forming decisions for which there were no sufficient conditions or decisive reasons.<sup>1</sup> That is, an agent whose will is free not only had the ability to develop other dispositions, but could have exercised that ability without being irrational. To say it again, a person has a free will just in case her character is the product (...) of decisions that she could have rationally avoided making. That one’s character is the product of such decisions entails ultimate responsibility for its manifestations, engendering a free will. (shrink)
Robert Merrihew Adams has been a leader in renewing philosophical respect for the idea that moral obligation may be founded on the commands of God. This collection of Adams' essays, two of which are previously unpublished, draws from his extensive writings on philosophical theology that discuss metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical issues surrounding the concept of God--whether God exists or not, what God is or would be like, and how we ought to relate ourselves to such a being. Adams studies (...) the relation between religion and ethics, delving into an analysis of moral arguments for theistic belief. In several essays, he applies contemporary studies in the metaphysics of individuality, possibility and necessity, and counterfactual conditionals to issues surrounding the existence of God and problems of evil. (shrink)
Robert Owen was one of the most extraordinary Englishmen who ever lived and a great man. In a way his history is the history of the establishment of modern industrial Britain, reflected in the mind and activities of a very intelligent, capable and responsible industrialist, alive to the best social thought of his time. The organisation of industrial labour, factory legislation, education, trade unionism, co-operation, rationalism: he was passionately and ably engaged in all of them. His community at New (...) Lanark was the nearest thing to an industrial heaven in the Britain of dark satanic mills; he tried to found a rational co-operative community in the USA. In everything he contemplated, he saw education as a key. This selection of his writings on education illustrates his rationalist concept of the formation of character and its implications for education and society; also his growing utopian concern with social reorganisation; and third, his impact on social movements. Silver's introduction shows Owen's relationship to particular educational traditions and activities and his long-term influence on attitudes to education. (shrink)
[Robert Stalnaker] Saul Kripke made a convincing case that there are necessary truths that are knowable only a posteriori as well as contingent truths that are knowable a priori. A number of philosophers have used a two-dimensional model semantic apparatus to represent and clarify the phenomena that Kripke pointed to. According to this analysis, statements have truth-conditions in two different ways depending on whether one considers a possible world 'as actual' or 'as counterfactual' in determining the truth-value of the (...) statement relative to that possible world. There are no necessary a posteriori or contingent a priori propositions: rather, contingent a priori and necessary a posteriori statements are statements that are necessary when evaluated one way, and contingent when evaluated the other way. This paper distinguishes two ways that the two-dimensional framework can be interpreted, and argues that one of them gives the better account of what it means to 'consider a world as actual', but that it provides no support for any notion of purely conceptual a priori truth. /// [Thomas Baldwin] Two-dimensional possible world semantic theory suggests that Kripke's examples of the necessary a posteriori and contingent a priori should be handled by interpreting names as implicitly indexical. Like Stalnaker, I reject this account of names and accept that Kripke's examples have to be accommodated within a metasemantic theory. But whereas Stalnaker maintains that a metasemantic approach undermines the conception of a priori truth, I argue that it offers the opportunity to develop a conception of the a priori aspect of stipulations, conceived as linguistic performances. The resulting position accommodates Kripke's examples in a way which is both intrinsically plausible and fits with Kripke's actual discussion of them. (shrink)
This book offers a unified collection of published and unpublished papers by Robert Audi, a renowned defender of the rationalist position in ethics. Taken together, the essays present a vigorous, broadly-based argument in moral epistemology and a related account of reasons for action and their bearing on moral justification and moral character. Part I details Audi's compelling moral epistemology while Part II offers a unique vision of ethical concepts and an account of moral explanation, as well as a powerful (...) model of moral realism. Part III extends this account of moral explanation to moral responsibility for both actions and character and to the relation between virtue and the actions that express it. Part IV elaborates a theory of reasons for action that locates them in relation to three of their traditionally major sources: desire, moral judgment, and value. Clear and illuminating, Audi's introduction outlines and interconnects the self-contained but cumulatively arranged essays. It also places them in relation to classical and contemporary literature, and directs readers to large segments of thematically connected material spread throughout the book. Audi ends with a powerfully synthetic final essay. (shrink)
Genes and the Agents of Life undertakes to rethink the place of the individual in the biological sciences, drawing parallels with the cognitive and social sciences. Genes, organisms, and species are all agents of life but how are each of these conceptualized within genetics, developmental biology, evolutionary biology, and systematics? The 2005 book includes highly accessible discussions of genetic encoding, species and natural kinds, and pluralism above the levels of selection, drawing on work from across the biological sciences. The book (...) is a companion to the author's Boundaries of the Mind (2004), also available from Cambridge, where the focus is the cognitive sciences. The book will appeal to a broad range of professionals and students in philosophy, biology, and the history of science. You can download the table of contents and the first chapter here. (shrink)
Neither the existence of God nor the nature of God is apparent or obvious. If God exists, why is it not entirely clear to everyone that this is so? How can theists explain God's hiddenness, and how plausible are their explanations? God, if God exists, is an omnipotent, morally good, omnipresent being, than whom none greater can be conceived. Surely it is well within the abilities of God to let God's existence and nature be known to us. Why isn't the (...) existence and nature of our Heavenly Father as apparent as, say, the existence of our various earthly fathers? (shrink)
The book also sheds new light on the nature of metaphysical theorizing by exploring the interaction of semantic and metaphysical issues, the connections between different metaphysical issues, and the nature of ontological commitment.
Dieser Beitrag bietet eine umfassende Diskussion des Textes “Humanismus und Christentum” des dänischen Philosophen und Theologen Knud E. Løgstrup. Er verortet den Text in seinem geistesgeschichtlichen Kontext und analysiert seine wichtigsten Argumente wie auch seine zentrale These, der zufolge Humanismus und Christentum einen entscheidenden Grundsatz teilen, insofern beide die Ethik als “stumm“ oder “unausgesprochen“ verstehen. Darüber hinaus wird dargelegt, wie Løgstrups Text zentrale Überlegungen in dessen späteren Publikationen, besonders in dem Hauptwerk Die ethische Forderung, vorwegnimmt.
This innovative book is the first to couch the debate about animals in the language of justice, and the first to develop both ideal and nonideal theories of justice for animals. It rejects the abolitionist animal rights position in favor of a revised version of animal rights centering on sentience.
This comprehensive reference provides an exhaustive guide to current scholarship on the perennial problem of Free Will--perhaps the most hotly and voluminously debated of all philosophical problems. While reference is made throughout to the contributions of major thinkers of the past, the emphasis is on recent research. The essays, most of which are previously unpublished, combine the work of established scholars with younger thinkers who are beginning to make significant contributions. Taken as a whole, the Handbook provides an engaging and (...) accessible roadmap to the state of the art thinking on this enduring topic. (shrink)
This collection of papers (including three completely new ones) by one of the foremost philosophers in epistemology transcends two of the most widely misunderstood positions in philosophy--foundationalism and coherentism. Audi proposes a distinctively moderate, internalist foundationalism that incorporates some of the virtues of both coherentism and reliabilism. He develops important distinctions between positive and negative epistemic dependence, substantively and conceptually naturalistic theories, dispositional beliefs and dispositions to believe, episodically and structurally inferential beliefs, first and second order internalism, and rebutting as (...) opposed to refuting skepticism. These contrasts are applied not only to rational belief, but to rational action and the rationality of desires and intentions. The overall position is a pluralist, moderately rationalistic, internalist theory of justification and a partly externalist conception of knowledge. However, by virtue of offering a theory of rationality as well as an account of knowledge and justified belief, it will interest philosophers of ethics, science, and the social sciences and teachers and students of epistemology. (shrink)
Among moral attributes true virtue alone is sublime. … [I]t is only by means of this idea [of virtue] that any judgment as to moral worth or its opposite is possible. … Everything good that is not based on a morally good disposition … is nothing but pretence and glittering misery. 1.
A bewildering array of sciences, theories, and methodologies offer researchers many difficult choices when studying emotion or designing affective technologies. Thus, clarity of focus is a prime virtue of good work, as illustrated in the Aylett and Paiva (2012) article. The social sciences remain fundamentally undecided about how to conceptualize human variations, including how to measure culture and personality, and even about whether these two commonly used words have real meaning. This disagreement is pronounced in human-centered computing, because cognitive and (...) rational-choice perspectives are technically easiest to apply, and these make little room for culture and personality. The article employs a modular approach, which can inspire researchers following alternative conceptualizations to substitute their own preferred choices. (shrink)
At the heart of this book is the age-old question of how law and morality are related. The legal positivist, insisting on the separation of the two, explicates the concept of law independently of morality. The author challenges this view, arguing that there are, first, conceptually necessary connections between law and morality and, second, normative reasons for including moral elements in the concept of law. While the conceptual argument alone is too limited to establish a sufficiently strong connection between law (...) and morality, and the normative argument alone fails to address the nature of law, the two arguments together support a nonpositivistic concept of law, toppling legal positivism qua comprehensive theory of law. (shrink)
IN THIS ESSAY I SKETCH SOME VICES OF VIRTUE ETHICS, DRAW ON INFERENCE ABOUT THE PHILOSOPHICAL SOURCE OF THE VICES, AND CONCLUDE WITH A RECOMMENDATION CONCERNING FUTURE EFFORTS IN MORAL THEORY CONSTRUCTION. THE SOURCE OF THE VICES, I ARGUE, LIES IN A MONONOMIC OR SINGLE-PRINCIPLE STRATEGY WITHIN NORMATIVE THEORY CONSTRUCTION, A REDUCTIONIST CONCEPTUAL SCHEME WHICH DISTORTS CERTAIN INTEGRAL ASPECTS OF OUR MORAL EXPERIENCE. MY RECOMMENDATION IS THAT THIS STRATEGY BE ABANDONED, FOR THE MORAL FIELD IS NOT UNITARY--MONONOMIC METHODS ARE NOT (...) THE BEST TOOLS FOR MORAL THEORISTS. (shrink)
"How do we experience time? What do we use to experience it?In a series of remarkable experiments, Robert Ornstein shows that it is difficult to maintain an “inner clock” explanation of the experience".
Presenting the most comprehensive and lucid account of the topic currently available, Robert Audi's "Practical Reasoning and Ethical Decision" is essential reading for anyone interested in the role of reason in ethics or the nature of human action. The first part of the book is a detailed critical overview of the influential theories of practical reasoning found in Aristotle, Hume and Kant, whilst the second part examines practical reasoning in the light of important topics in moral psychology - weakness (...) of will, self-deception, rationalization and others. In the third part, Audi describes the role of moral principles in practical reasoning and clarifies the way practical reasoning underlies ethical decisions. He formulates a comprehensive set of concrete ethical principles, explains how they apply to reasoning about what to do, and shows how practical reasoning guides moral conduct. (shrink)
The Eugenic Mind Project is a wide-ranging, philosophical book that explores and critiques both past and present eugenic thinking, drawing on the author’s intimate knowledge of eugenics in North America and his previous work on the cognitive, biological, and social sciences, the fragile sciences. Informed by the perspectives of Canadian eugenics survivors in the province of Alberta, The Eugenic Mind Project recounts the history of eugenics and the thinking that drove it, and critically engages contemporary manifestations of eugenic thought, newgenics. (...) An accessible, original work of scholarship adopting what the author calls a standpoint eugenics, this book focuses on the roots of eugenic thinking past and present. It will provoke and enrich discussions about human nature and human diversity, the social uses of biotechnology, and social policy governing future generations. You can download the preface and acknowledgements here. (shrink)
For most of the problems that economists consider, the assumption that agents are self-interested works well enough, generating predictions that are broadly consistent with observation. In some significant cases, however, we find economic behavior that seems to be inconsistent with self-interest. In particular, we find that some public goods and some charitable ventures are financed by the independent voluntary contributions of many thousands of individuals. In Britain, for example, the lifeboat service is entirely financed by voluntary contributions. In all rich (...) countries, charitable appeals raise large amounts of money for famine relief in the Third World. The willingness of individuals to contribute to such projects is an economic fact that requires an explanation. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that Spinoza holds a perspectivalist view of mereological composition, a form of anti-realism. The paper has two parts: In the first half of the paper, I introduce interpretive puzzles for the standard realist reading of Spinoza’s mereology. In the second half of the paper, I discuss Spinoza’s positive view on mereological composition and present a perspectivalist reading that avoids the interpretive puzzles.
The contemporary explosion of information makes intellectual responsibility more needed than ever. The uncritical tend to believe too much that is unsubstantiated; the overcritical tend to believe too little that is true. A central problem for this paper is to formulate standards to guide an intellectually rigorous search for a mean between excessive credulity and indiscriminate skepticism. A related problem is to distinguish intellectual responsibility for what we believe from moral responsibility for what we do. A third problem is how (...) to square intellectual responsibility in retaining our views with the realization that peers we respect disagree with us. Much of the paper is directed to articulating principles for dealing with such disagreements. (shrink)
In this paper, we develop an analysis of the structure and content of loneliness. We argue that this is an emotion of absence-an affective state in which certain social goods are regarded as out of reach for the subject of experience. By surveying the range of social goods that appear to be missing from the lonely person's perspective, we see what it is that can make this emotional condition so subjectively awful for those who undergo it, including the profound sense (...) of being unable to realise oneself, in collaboration with others. (shrink)
Deliberation about what to do in any context requires reasoning about what will or would happen in various alternative situations, including situations that the agent knows will never in fact be realized. In contexts that involve two or more agents who have to take account of each others' deliberation, the counterfactual reasoning may become quite complex. When I deliberate, I have to consider not only what the causal effects would be of alternative choices that I might make, but also what (...) other agents might believe about the potential effects of my choices, and how their alternative possible actions might affect my beliefs. Counterfactual possibilities are implicit in the models that game theorists and decision theorists have developed – in the alternative branches in the trees that model extensive form games and the different cells of the matrices of strategic form representations – but much of the reasoning about those possibilities remains in the informal commentary on and motivation for the models developed. Puzzlement is sometimes expressed by game theorists about the relevance of what happens in a game ‘off the equilibrium path’: of what would happen if what is both true and known by the players to be true were instead false. (shrink)
Many religious people are alarmed about features of the current age - violence in the media, a pervasive hedonism, a marginalization of religion, and widespread abortion. These concerns influence politics, but just as there should be a separation between church and state, so should there be a balance between religious commitments and secular arguments calling for social reforms. Robert Audi offers a principle of secular rationale, which does not exclude religious grounds for action but which rules out restricting freedom (...) except on grounds that any rational citizen would accept. The book describes the essential commitments of free democracy, explains how religious and secular moral considerations can be integrated to facilitate co-operation in a world of religious pluralism, and proposes ideals of civic virtue that express the mutual respect on which democracy depends. Audi offers a balanced and sophisticated treatment of the relations between religion and politics in a modern, secular society. (shrink)
A standard objection to act utilitarian theories is that they are not helpful in deciding what it is morally permissible for us to do when we actually have to make a choice between alternatives. That is, such theories are worthless as decision procedures. A standard reply to this objection is that act utilitarian theories can be evaluated solely as theories about right-making characteristics and, when so evaluated, their inadequacy as decision procedures is irrelevant. Even if somewhat unappealing, this is an (...) effective reply to the standard objection. (shrink)
What, if anything, do we epistemically owe to each other? Various “traditional” views of epistemology might hold either that we don’t epistemically owe anything to each other, because “what we owe to each other” is the realm of the moral, or that what we epistemically owe to each other is just to be epistemically responsible agents. Basu (2019) has recently argued, against such views, that morality makes extra-epistemic demands upon what we should believe about one another. So, what we owe (...) to each other is not just a matter of word and deed, but also of belief. And in fact, Basu argues, sometimes those moral demands require us to believe in ways that cut against orthodox epistemic norms. This paper has three aims. First, to offer two strategies for accommodating the kinds of cases Basu discusses while nonetheless holding that only epistemic normativity makes demands on belief. Second, to offer an alternative account of what we owe to each other that does not hold that morality demands that we sometimes believe against our evidence or in violation of epistemic norms. And third, to give a brief diagnosis of why it seems intuitive that morality makes extra-epistemic doxastic demands on us. Ultimately, I argue that what we epistemically owe to each other does not require us to violate orthodox, invariantist epistemic norms. Morality demands that we have a proper regard for others, not that we sometimes believe against our evidence. (shrink)
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