Ahmad ibn Ḥanbal's book al-Zuhd is one of the largest extant collections of renunciant sayings from the first two Islamic centuries. It was assembled by his son ʽAbd Allāh, who contributed about half the sayings in it independently of his father. The extant text is only half or a third of the version available to Ibn Ḥajar in the Mamluk period. Some of what is missing can be recovered from quotations in Abū Nuʽaym, Ḥilyat al-awliyāʼ. It is notably dominated by (...) data from Basra. Its contents are highly miscellaneous, but rejection of worldly goods appears to be the theme that comes up most often. (shrink)
History is largely about rooting out anachronisms. One that bedevils the history of Sufism is an unsurprising tendency to project later forms backward. Our idea of who was a Sufi in the ninth century tends to come from the Ṭabaqāt al-ṣūfīya of the Naysābūran al-Sulamī and a few other books, some dependent on his. Sulamī begins his first generation with notices of al-Fuḍayl ibn ʿIyāḍ, Ibrāhīm ibn Adham, Ḏū l-Nūn, Bišr al-Ḥāfī, Sarī al-Saqaṭī, and al-Muḥāsibī – the usual big names (...) for the late eighth century and, mainly, early ninth. Massignon ’s lineage of Sufism stays almost entirely within this line, and indeed I have no serious quarrel with it as a lineage of classical Ǧunaydī Sufism. (shrink)
The Musnad dictated by Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal to his son Ἁbd Allāh is the largest of the great ninth-century collections of ḥadῑṯ to survive. It did not gain a place among “the Six Books” that became more or less the Sunnī canon of ḥadῑṯ from the tenth to the twelfth century C. E. But it was included in most lists that went beyond the Six Books; for example, al-Ḥusaynī’s directory of men in the ten books. Al-Ḥusaynī, al-Taḏkira bi-maʽrifat riǧāl al-kutub (...) al-ʽašara, ed. Rifʽat Fawzī Ἁbd al-Muṭṭalib, covering the six plus a collection from each eponym, mainly Abū Ḥanīfa, Mālik, al-Ǎāfiʽī, and Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal. What follows is an attempt to determine above all how it was collected and what makes it so much longer than other collections. (shrink)
Ad hominem arguments are generally dismissed on the grounds that they are not attempts to engage in rational discourse, but are rather aimed at undermining argument by diverting attention from claims made to assessments of character of persons making claims. The manner of this dismissal however is based upon an unlikely paradigm of rationality: it is based upon the presumption that our intellectual capacities are not as limited as in fact they are, and do not vary as much as they (...) do between rational people. When we understand rationality in terms of intellectual virtues, however, which recognize these limitations and provide for the complexity of our thinking, ad hominem considerations can sometimes be relevant to assessing arguments. (shrink)
Christopher Peacocke’s A Study of Concepts is a dense and rewarding work. Each chapter raises many issues for discussion. I know three different people who are writing reviews of the volume. It testifies to the depth of Peacocke’s book that each reviewer is focusing on a quite different set of topics.
The Neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism of Philippa Foot and Rosalind Hursthouse purports to establish a naturalistic criterion for the virtues. Specifically, by developing a parallel between the natural ends of nonhuman animals and the natural ends of human beings, they argue that character traits are justified as virtues by the extent to which they promote and do not inhibit natural ends such as self-preservation, reproduction, and the well-being of one’s social group. I argue that the approach of Foot and Hursthouse cannot (...) provide a basis for moral universalism, the widely-accepted idea that each human being has moral worth and thus deserves significant moral consideration. Foot and Hursthouse both depict a virtuous agent as implicitly acting in accord with moral universalism. However, with respect to charity, a virtue they both emphasize, their naturalistic criterion at best provides a warrant for a restricted form of charity that extends only to a limited number of persons. There is nothing in the natural ends of human beings, as Foot and Hursthouse understand these, that gives us a reason for having any concern for the well-being of human beings as such. (shrink)
With the goal of understanding how Christopher Southgate communicates his in-depth knowledge of both science and theology, we investigated the many roles he assumes as a teacher. We settled upon wide-ranging topics that all intertwine: (1) his roles as author and coordinating editor of a premier textbook on science and theology, now in its third edition; (2) his oral presentations worldwide, including plenaries, workshops, and short courses; and (3) the team teaching approach itself, which is often needed by others (...) because the knowledge of science and theology do not always reside in the same person. Southgate provides, whenever possible, teaching contexts that involve students in experiential learning, where they actively participate with other students.We conclude that Southgate’s ultimate goal is to teach students how to reconcile science and theology in their values and beliefs, so that they can take advantage of both forms of rational thinking in their own personal and professional lives. The co-authors consider several examples of models that have been successfully used by people in various fields to integrate science and religion. (shrink)
Twelve retired nurses were asked to narrate a care situation in which it had been difficult for them as nurses to know what was the right and good thing to do. The transcribed interviews were examined by content analyses. Physicians were the central coactors in the nurses’ stories. Colleagues were seldom mentioned. Other ward staff were mainly called ‘the girls’. The patient was central and referred to with respect. All the nurses focused on experiential learning. Guiding ethical principles are listed.
One of the most noteworthy features of David Gauthier's rational choice, contractarian theory of morality is its appeal to self-interested rationality. This appeal, however, will undoubtedly be the source of much controversy and criticism. For while self-interestedness is characteristic of much human behavior, it is not characteristic of all such behavior, much less of that which is most admirable. Yet contractarian ethics appears to assume that humans are entirely self-interested. It is not usually thought a virtue of a theory that (...) its assumptions are literally false. What may be said on behalf of the contractarian? (shrink)
In this interview, Christopher Norris discusses a wide range of issues having to do with postmodernism, deconstruction and other controversial topics of debate within present-day philosophy and critical theory. More specifically he challenges the view of deconstruction as just another offshoot of the broader postmodernist trend in cultural studies and the social sciences. Norris puts the case for deconstruction as continuing the 'unfinished project of modernity' and—in particular—for Derrida's work as sustaining the values of enlightened critical reason in various (...) spheres of thought from epistemology to ethics, sociology and politics. Along the way he addresses a number of questions that have lately been raised with particular urgency for teachers and educationalists, among them the revival of creationist doctrine and the idea of scientific knowledge as a social, cultural, or discursive construct. In this context he addresses the 'science wars' or the debate between those who uphold t. (shrink)
Christopher G. Timpson provides the first full-length philosophical treatment of quantum information theory and the questions it raises for our understanding of the quantum world. He argues for an ontologically deflationary account of the nature of quantum information, which is grounded in a revisionary analysis of the concepts of information.
The sovereignty of the people, it is widely said, is the foundation of modern democracy. The truth of this claim depends on the plausibility of attributing sovereignty to “the people” in the first place, and I shall express skepticism about this possibility. I shall suggest as well that the notion of popular sovereignty is complex, and that appeals to the notion may be best understood as expressing several different ideas and ideals. This essay distinguishes many of these and suggests that (...) greater clarity at least would be obtained by focusing directly on these notions and ideals and eschewing that of sovereignty. My claim, however, will not merely be that the notion is multifaceted and complex. I shall argue as well that the doctrine that the people are, or ought to be, sovereign is misleading in potentially dangerous ways, and is conducive to a misunderstanding of the nature of politics, governance, and social order. It would be well to do without the doctrine, but it may be equally important to understand its errors. Our understandings and justifications of democracy, certainly, should dispense with popular sovereignty. (shrink)
I begin, as I shall end, with fictions. In a well-known tale, The Sandman , Hoffmann has a student, Nathaniel, fall in love with a beautiful doll, Olympia, whom he has spied upon as she sits at a window across the street from his lodgings. We are meant to suppose that Nathaniel mistakes an automaton for a human being . The mistake is the result of an elaborate but obscure deception on the part of the doll's designer, Professor Spalanzani. Nathaniel (...) is disabused quite by accident when he over-hears a quarrel between Spalanzani, who made Olympia's clockwork, and the sinister Coppelius, who contributed the eyes. (shrink)
Medical analogies are commonly invoked in both Indian Buddhist dharma and Hellenistic philosophy. In the Pāli Canon, nirvana is depicted as a form of health, and the Buddha is portrayed as a doctor who helps us attain it. Much later in the tradition, Śāntideva described the Buddha’s teaching as ‘the sole medicine for the ailments of the world, the mine of all success and happiness.’ Cicero expressed the view of many Hellenistic philosophers when he said that philosophy is ‘a medical (...) science for the mind.’ He thought we should ‘hand ourselves over to philosophy, and let ourselves be healed.’ ‘For as long as these ills [of the mind] remain,’ he wrote, ‘we cannot attain to happiness.’ There are many different forms of medical analogy in these two traditions, but the most general form may be stated as follows: just as medicine cures bodily diseases and brings about physical health, so Buddhist dharma or Hellenistic philosophy cures mental diseases and brings about psychological health—where psychological health is understood as the highest form of happiness or well-being. Insofar as Buddhist dharma involves philosophy, as it does, both renditions of the analogy may be said to declare that philosophy cures mental diseases and brings about psychological health. This feature of the analogy—philosophy as analogous to medical treatment—has attracted considerable attention. (shrink)
Do states have the right to prevent potential immigrants from crossing their borders, or should people have the freedom to migrate and settle wherever they wish? Christopher Heath Wellman and Phillip Cole develop and defend opposing answers to this timely and important question.
Fallacies and Argument Appraisal presents an introduction to the nature, identification, and causes of fallacious reasoning, along with key questions for evaluation. Drawing from the latest work on fallacies as well as some of the standard ideas that have remained relevant since Aristotle, Christopher Tindale investigates central cases of major fallacies in order to understand what has gone wrong and how this has occurred. Dispensing with the approach that simply assigns labels and brief descriptions of fallacies, Tindale provides fuller (...) treatments that recognize the dialectical and rhetorical contexts in which fallacies arise. This volume analyzes major fallacies through accessible, everyday examples. Critical questions are developed for each fallacy to help the student identify them and provide considered evaluations. (shrink)
Judea Pearl has been at the forefront of research in the burgeoning field of causal modeling, and Causality is the culmination of his work over the last dozen or so years. For philosophers of science with a serious interest in causal modeling, Causality is simply mandatory reading. Chapter 2, in particular, addresses many of the issues familiar from works such as Causation, Prediction and Search by Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour, and Richard Scheines. But philosophers with a more general interest in (...) causation will also profit from reading Pearl’s book, especially the material in chapters 7, 9, and 10, which is self-contained and less technical than other parts of the book. The present review is aimed primarily at readers of the second type. (shrink)
Ideal for courses in modern philosophy or modern and contemporary philosophy, The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Volume II: Descartes through Derrida and Quine covers the same material as the second half (chapters 12-25) of author Norman Melchert's longer volume, The Great Conversation. Tracing the exchange of ideas among history's key philosophers, the book demonstrates that while constructing an argument or making a claim, one philosopher almost always has others in mind. It addresses the fundamental questions of (...) human life: Who are we? What can we know? How should we live? and What sort of reality do we inhabit? -/- The sixth edition retains the distinctive feature of previous editions: author Norman Melchert provides a generous selection of excerpts from major philosophical works and makes them more easily understandable to students with his lucid and engaging explanations. Ranging from Descartes to Derrida and Quine, the selections are organized historically and include a translation of Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy (the complete work). The author's commentary offers a rich intellectual and cultural context for the philosophical ideas conveyed in the excerpts. Extensive cross-referencing shows students how philosophers respond appreciatively or critically to the thoughts of other philosophers. The text is enhanced by two types of exercises--"Basic Questions" and "For Further Thought"--and forty illustrations. -/- NEW TO THE SIXTH EDITION: -/- * Coverage of Iris Murdoch and Zen, and an expanded portrait of Jean-Paul Sartre * A more concise, single-chapter (22) treatment of Wittgenstein * Key terms, boldfaced throughout and listed at chapter ends * Brief and provocative quotations that stimulate thought and provoke questions * A new section on how to read philosophy * A new appendix: Writing a Philosophy Paper * A Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/melchert featuring resources for students including key points, flashcards, multiple-choice questions, and Internet resources * A revised Instructor's Manual and Test Bank containing key points, teaching suggestions, and multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay exam questions (available on the companion website and on CD) -/- Also available to suit your course needs: The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Sixth Edition (combined volume covering the Pre-Socratics through Derrida, Quine, and Dennett) and The Great Conversation: Volume I: Pre-Socratics through Descartes (includes chapters 1-13 of the combined volume). (shrink)
Ideal for courses in ancient philosophy or ancient and medieval philosophy, The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Volume I: Pre-Socratics through Descartes covers the same material as the first half (chapters 1-13) of author Norman Melchert's longer volume, The Great Conversation. Tracing the exchange of ideas among history's key philosophers, the book demonstrates that while constructing an argument or making a claim, one philosopher almost always has others in mind. The sixth edition features coverage of Taoism; key (...) terms, boldfaced throughout and listed at chapter ends; brief and provocative quotations that stimulate thought and provoke questions; a new section on how to read philosophy; and a new appendix--Writing a Philosophy Paper. (shrink)
Ideal for courses in ancient philosophy or ancient and medieval philosophy, The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, Volume I: Pre-Socratics through Descartes, Seventh Edition, covers the same material as the first half of author Norman Melchert's longer volume, The Great Conversation. Tracing the exchange of ideas between history's key philosophers, it demonstrates that while constructing an argument or making a claim, one philosopher almost always has others in mind. It addresses the fundamental questions of human life: Who (...) are we? What can we know? How should we live? and What sort of reality do we inhabit?Author Norman Melchert provides a generous selection of excerpts from major philosophical works and makes them more easily understandable to students with his lucid and engaging explanations. Extensive cross-referencing shows students how philosophers respond appreciatively or critically to the thoughts of other philosophers. The text is enhanced by two types of exercises--"Basic Questions" and "For Further Thought"--and numerous illustrations.Also available to suit your course needs: The seventh editions of The Great Conversation: Volume II: Descartes through Derrida and Quine and the entire book, The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy, which begins with the Pre-Socratics and ends with David Chalmers. (shrink)