Abstract Finding a moral justification for humanitarian intervention has been the objective of a great deal of academic inquiry in recent years. Most of these treatments, however, make certain arguments or assumptions about the morality of humanitarian intervention without fully exploring their precise philosophical underpinnings, which has led to an increasingly disjointed body of literature. The purpose of this essay, therefore, is to suggest that the conventional arguments and assumptions made about the morality of humanitarian intervention can be encompassed in (...) what is essentially a consequentialist framework. After a brief examination of consequentialist ethics, this essay reveals a number of morally relevant factors concerning humanitarian intervention, wherein I suggest that the general consensus in the literature on these factors constitutes ?commonsense morality?. In doing so, I argue that consequentialism as a theory of the right provides the best fit with commonsense morality on humanitarian intervention. This is important not only to reveal the precise philosophical underpinnings of the debate, but also to bring ethical, prudential and political considerations together in a coherent ethical discourse. (shrink)
Legal scholars’ interest in Shakespeare has often focused on conventional legal rules and procedures, such as those of The Merchant of Venice or Measure for Measure. Those plays certainly reveal systemic injustice, but within stable, prosperous societies, which enjoy a generally well-functioning legal order. In contrast, Shakespeare's first historical tetralogy explores the conditions for the very possibility of a legal system, in terms not unlike those described by Hobbes a half-century later. The first tetralogy's deeply collapsed, quasi-anarchic society lacks any (...) functioning legal regime. Its power politics are not, as in many of Shakespeare's other plays, merely latent, lurking beneath the patina of an otherwise functioning legal order. They pervade all of society. Dissenting from a long critical tradition, this article suggests that the figure of Henry VI does not merely represent antiquated medievalism or inept rule. Through Henry's constant recourse to legal process, arbitration and anti-militarism, the first tetralogy goes beyond questions about how to establish a functioning legal order. It examines the possibility, and meaning, of a just one. (shrink)
Many writers reject the notion of universal human rights, insisting on their historically recent, Western-secular character. Other theorists emphasise mutual exchange between human rights and systems such as Confucianism, Buddhism and Islam. They celebrate a common ground that would appear, moreover, to enhance the case for universality. This article acknowledges that common ground but rejects the view that it can strengthen the case for universality. Any such ‘exchange’, far from being mutual, turns out to be dictated entirely by human rights. (...) Familiar rhetoric about the supposed flexibility of human rights law, which would suggest genuinely interactive relationships between it and other belief systems, flatly contradicts its higher-law claims. Genuinely flexible human rights could only ever arise either in the trivial sense that any broadly formulated legal rule ends up applied to a range of situations or in the untenable sense that human rights law would accommodate serious violations. (shrink)
This article explores the extent to which the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 coheres with the normative precepts of liberalism as an international political theory. Beginning with a Lockean liberal theory of the state, this article first examines the evolution of international liberalism in order to identify the fundamental normative postulates of liberal theory as it pertains to international relations, especially regarding the use of military force. The article then advances two interrelated arguments: First, that the underpinnings of the (...) decision to invade Iraq embodied in the Bush Doctrine draw heavily from the liberal tradition, though still depart from it in important ways. Second, that the Bush Doctrine as manifested in the Iraq war reflects in many ways the liberal thinking that prevailed during the interwar years and is therefore susceptible to a similar charge of ‘utopianism’ that was leveled against interwar liberalism by E. H. Carr in his Twenty Years' Crisis. (shrink)
What does it mean to say that a particular war is just or unjust, that terrorism is always wrong, or that torture can sometimes be morally justified? What are the moral bases for the possession or use of nuclear weapons, intervening in other nations' civil wars, or being a bystander to genocide? Such questions take us to the heart of what is morally right and wrong behaviour in our world. Global Violence: Ethical and Political Issues provides readers with the analytical (...) tools to better understand the suppositions that underlie the debates about such questions, as well as equipping them to advance their own reasoned and informed moral analyses of these topics. The book engages different normative approaches from the fields of ethics, international relations and political philosophy and uses them to examine a set of case studies on the subjects of inter-state and civil war, nuclear weapons, terrorism, torture and genocide. (shrink)
What does it mean to say that a particular war is just or unjust, that terrorism is always wrong, or that torture can sometimes be morally justified? What are the moral bases for the possession or use of nuclear weapons, intervening in other countries’ civil wars, or being a bystander to genocide? Such questions take us to the heart of what is morally right and wrong behaviour in our world. Global Violence: Ethical and Political Issues provides readers with the analytical (...) tools to better understand the suppositions that underlie the debates about such questions, as well as advances its own reasoned and informed ethical analyses of these topics. The book engages different normative approaches from the fields of ethics, political theory, and international relations and uses them to examine a set of case studies on the subjects of inter-state and civil war, nuclear weapons, terrorism, torture and genocide. (shrink)
Introduction -- Nietzsche's echo -- Injustice as the negation of justice -- Injustice as disunity -- Injustice as mismeasurement -- Injustice as unity -- Injustice as measurement -- Measurement and modernity.
The Logic of Liberal Rights uses basic logic to develop a model of argument presupposed in all disputes about civil rights and liberties. No prior training in logic is required, as each step is explained. This analysis does not merely apply general logic to legal arguments but is also specifically tailored to the issues of civil rights and liberties. It shows that all arguments about civil rights and liberties presuppose one fixed structure and that there can be no original argument (...) in rights disputes, except within the confines of that structure. Concepts arising in disputes about rights, like 'liberal' or 'democratic', are not mere abstractions but have a fixed and precise character. This book integrates themes in legal theory, political science and moral philosophy, as well as the philosophy of logic and language. For the advanced scholar, the book provides a model presupposed by leading theoretical schools . For the student it provides a systematic theory of civil rights and liberties. Examples are drawn from the European Convention in Human Rights but no special knowledge of the Convention is assumed, as the issues analysed arise throughout the world. Such issues include problems of free speech, religious freedom, privacy, torture, unlawful detention and private property. (shrink)
This article offers a comprehensive and critical analysis of EricHeinze’s book Hate Speech and Democratic Citizenship (Oxford University Press, 2016). Heinze’s project is to formulate and defend a more theoretically complex version of the idea (also defended by people like Ronald Dworkin and James Weinstein) that general legal prohibitions on hate speech in public discourse compromises the state’s democratic legitimacy. We offer a detailed synopsis of Heinze’s view, highlighting some of its distinctive qualities and strengths. (...) We then develop a critical response to this view with three main focal points: (1) the characterisation of democratic legitimacy as something distinct from (and whose demands aren’t identical with those of) legitimacy per se; (2) the claim that the requirements of democracy are hypothetical, rather than categorical, imperatives; and relatedly (3) the question of how we should reconcile the requirements of democratic legitimacy with the costs that may follow from prioritising democratic legitimacy. We argue that there are significant difficulties for Heinze’s account on all three fronts. (shrink)
As a young scholar, Eric Voegelin wanted to prove whether the ‘race idea’ could function as a means of political integration. He published two books on race that, after his flight to the USA, were eventually passed off as an early critique of racism. This is a complete misinterpretation and inversion of his endeavor. In his tracts, Voegelin only criticized a certain direction of race thinking that he identified as a materialistic biological approach to the problem. At the same (...) time, he advocated another spiritual and metaphysical attempt, represented by the examples of Carl Gustav Carus, Othmar Spann, and Ludwig Ferdinand Clauß. Both versions of race thinking were abundant in different types of fascism and also in Nazi Germany. That is why Voegelin could publish his books in Germany—and one of them even at the recommendation of a Nazi philosopher, with a publisher close to völkisch and fascist ideology. The revaluation of his racist texts was only possible on the basis of their affirmative or superficial and uncritical reading against the backdrop of the development of a one-dimensional conception of racism. (shrink)
A proposta deste estudo é abordar de forma teórica o pensamento do filósofo e cientista político, germano-americano, Eric Voegelin, buscando compreender a relação que promove entre o gnosticismo e a modernidade, tendo como foco sua afirmação de que o gnosticismo é o fundamento da modernidade. Para esta pesquisa, são utilizados como base teórica fundamental dois conceitos de sua teoria: religiões políticas e gnosticismo. Divide-se o trabalho em uma introdução ao tema e três capítulos, seguidos da conclusão. Na introdução, se (...) aborda o contexto histórico-político que fornece o estofo para o surgimento da modernidade e movimentos totalitários; com a biografia do autor, buscam-se elementos essenciais para a compreensão de sua posição de combate irrestrito às ideologias, principalmente ao nacional-socialismo alemão e socialismo stalinista. A partir da crítica ao movimento positivista, que considera a ciência natural e seus métodos o modo por excelência de apreensão da realidade, Voegelin demonstra que a dimensão simbólica, espiritual e transcendente do ser fica relegada a uma posição inferior, inexistente ou banalizada, causando uma deformação da verdade, que pode se manifestar em dogmas ou doutrinas ideológicas. No segundo capítulo, introduz-se sua noção de que o gnosticismo é o fundamento da sociedade moderna, na medida em que a insatisfação com a ordem corrente, a crença e desejo de mudança do indivíduo por meio do conhecimento, se firmam como contrários ao desenvolvimento do ser, apontando uma tendência nos movimentos ideológicos modernos à imanentização da escatologia cristã. No terceiro capítulo, apresentam-se as principais discussões a respeito dos limites e alcances de sua teoria, sua aproximação com uma filosofia da consciência e as possibilidades de utilizá-la para a compreensão dos fenômenos totalitários na atualidade, vistos como uma doença pneumopatológica. Concluiu-se que Voegelin, categórico ao apontar para a necessidade de uma nova abordagem para a ciência social e política, evidenciou uma estrutura religiosa nos movimentos modernos, ditos seculares; o conceito de gnosticismo como fundamento da modernidade, apesar de revisto pelo próprio autor e ainda fomentar controvérsias, pode ser um ponto de partida para estudos complementares, uma vez que enfatiza a necessidade de ampliação da consciência para a restauração da ordem social e política, e de incluir o aspecto transcendente do ser, que se expressa em seus símbolos e em suas experiências religiosas ao longo da história, para a compreensão da modernidade. (shrink)
In his New Science of Politics, Eric Voegelin offers an analysis of modernity: at its heart, it is a radicalization of Christianity—a radicalization that counts as a betrayal. Like other movements of its time, Christianity judged this world in terms of another—one wherein all of us were brothers and sisters, wherein justice mattered more than victory and mercy more than justice. But rather than endure in patience their own limitations, those whom Voegelin calls “gnostics” tried to build heaven on (...) earth—inevitably, by violence. This serves as his postmortem on the twentieth century: liberalism, communism, and fascism are all, according to Voegelin, trying to do what cannot be done—specifically, to do what Voegelin calls “immanentizing the eschaton.” Each is, in its own way, a revolt against the human condition—and so a revolt against God. -/- But these gnostics would hardly have seen themselves in this demonic light. Indeed, they often called themselves “rationalists” and saw themselves as a brave few who might lead humanity out of the madness of the past. Of course, Voegelin would hardly grant that Plato or Saint Augustine were less rational than, say, Thomas Hobbes. But he would certainly grant that the gnostics hoped to render the world “rational” by abolishing whatever aspects of the human condition were “irrational”—in the case of Hobbes, our capacity for mystical experience of God. -/- Of course, this is hardly how contemporary political scientists would explain Hobbes. In the introduction to his New Science of Politics, though, Voegelin offers an indirect explanation of this. He warns that the social sciences are prisoners of their idolatry of the natural sciences: they ignore any data that cannot be rendered in language that is entirely descriptive—insisting as they do so that this methodology is only “rational.”. (shrink)
Este artigo quer mostrar que Kant descobriu, segundo Eric Weil, o problema do sentido. Entretanto, Eric Weil observa que Kant não encontrou uma linguagem apropriada para falar do sentido. A linguagem de Kant era ainda uma linguagem ontológica. Malgrado isso, Kant conseguiu fechar, na terceira Crítica, o abismo que separava natureza e liberdade.
_ Source: _Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 236 - 255 In this article I compare some elements of Eric Gans’s thought with a few aspects of the philosophy of Hermann Cohen—first and foremost, Gans’s concept of the origin and Cohen’s concept of Ursprung—while revealing the deep affinity between these two lines of thinking.
Eric Voegelin believed that a morally acceptable and in the long run successful political order (which meant for the emigrant Voegelin primarily an order that is resistant to totalitarianism) can only be built on the foundation of a healthy religiosity of the citizens and the political leaders. The question of what a healthy religiosity is was examined by Voegelin by recurring to intellectual history and to the philosophy of consciousness. In my book I offer a detailed criticism Voegelin's philosophy (...) of consciousness and of his concept of political order. (shrink)
Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin were political theorists of the first rank whose impact on the study of political science in North America has been profound. A study of their writings is one of the most expeditious ways to explore the core of political science; comparing and contrasting the positions both theorists have taken in assessing that core provides a comprehensive appreciation of the main options of the Western tradition. In fifty-three recently discovered letters, Strauss and Voegelin explore the (...) nature of their similarities and differences, offering trenchant observations about one another's work, about the state of the discipline, and about the influences working on them. The correspondence fleshes out many assumptions made in their published writings, often with a frankness and directness that removes all vestiges of ambiguity. Included with the correspondence are four pivotal re-published essays—"Jerusalem and Athens: Some Preliminary Reflections", "The Gospel and Culture", "Immortality: Experience and Symbol", and "The Mutual Influence of Theology and Philosophy" —and commentaries by James L. Wiser, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Stanley Rosen, Thomas J. J. Altizer, Timothy Fuller, Ellis Sandoz, Thomas L. Pangle, and David Walsh. (shrink)
Consciousness is at once the most obvious and mysterious feature of the human mind. Kenneth Keulman seeks a better understanding of its many dimensions through interpretations of the ideas of the twentieth-century philosopher Eric Voegelin, who viewed the complexity of modern consciousness as the result of a distinctive form of evolution combining genetic change with cultural history. Voegelin's unique contribution to political theory, Keulman shows, comes from his development of an approach to history rooted in a study of the (...) symbolisms of the history of order. It is because the problems of order in society arise from the order of consciousness that the theory of consciousness can be placed at the center of political theory. Keulman's interpretation encompasses not only Voegelin's published writings but also a substantial body of unpublished material to which Voegelin gave him access before his death in 1985, including portions of what was to become Volume V of _Order and History_. (shrink)
फेसबुक आणि ब्लॉगच्या जमान्यात तत्त्वज्ञानाची चर्चा केवळ पुस्तकांपुरती किंवा विद्यापीठीय चर्चासत्रांपुरती मर्यादित राहू नये, असे मानणारा एक चळवळय़ा प्राध्यापक, पुस्तकांच्या मानीव वर्चस्वामुळे तत्त्वज्ञान क्षेत्राचे काय नुकसान झाले, याबद्दलही बोलतो आहे आणि ही चर्चा पुस्तकांच्या बाहेरही झाली पाहिजे.. ती लोकाभिमुख झाली पाहिजे, असे सांगतो आहे..
My purpose is to analyze the peculiar thinking of Weil, according to the categories of reasoning, as a choice to avoid violence. In his definition of man, Weil recovers the notion of realization, with which man is redefined in terms of what he must be and not merely for what he is. There-to, man is ..
ABSTRACTIn a recent paper published in this journal, Eric Funkhouser argues that some of our beliefs have the primary function of signaling to others, rather than allowing us to navigate the world. Funkhouser’s case is persuasive. However, his account of beliefs as signals is underinclusive, omitting both beliefs that are signals to the self and less than full-fledged beliefs as signals. The latter set of beliefs, moreover, has a better claim to being considered as constituting a psychological kind in (...) its own right than the set of beliefs Funkhouser identifies. (shrink)
En este trabajo presento un estudio sobre el estado del arte de la llamada ‘epistemología de las simulaciones computacionales’. En particular, me centro en los varios trabajos de Eric Winsberg quién es uno de los filósofos más fructíferos y sistemáticos en este tema. Además de analizar la obra de Winsberg, y basándome en sus trabajos y en el de otros filósofos, mostraré que hay buenas razones para pensar que la epistemología tradicional de la ciencia no es suficiente para el (...) análisis de las simulaciones computacionales. (shrink)
In this essay I propose to explicate and defend a new and improved version of a Lockean proviso—the self-ownership proviso . I shall presume here that individuals possess robust rights of self-ownership. I shall take it that each individual has strong moral claims over the elements which constitute her person, e.g., her body parts, her talents, and her energies. However, in the course of the essay, I shall be challenging what I take to be the standard conception of self-ownership and (...) proposing an enrichment of that conception. The SOP is presented and in part justified as an implication of the right of self-ownership as it is more richly conceived—hence its designation as the self-ownership proviso. As an implication of the right of self-ownership which is also compatible, in theory and practice, with extensive and robust private property rights, the SOP is offered as an integral element of classical-liberal political theory. (shrink)
In 1938, doctors Eric Guttmann and Walter Maclay, two psychiatrists based at the Maudsley Hospital in London, administered the hallucinogenic drug mescaline to a group of artists, asking the participants to record their experiences visually. These artists included the painter Julian Trevelyan, who was associated with the British surrealist movement at this time. Published as ‘Mescaline hallucinations in artists’, the research took place at a crucial time for psychiatry, as the discipline was beginning to edge its way into the (...) scientific arena. Newly established, the Maudsley Hospital received Jewish émigrés from Germany to join its ranks. Sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, this group of psychiatrists brought with them an enthusiasm for psychoactive drugs and visual media in the scientific study of psychopathological states. In this case, Guttmann and Maclay enlisted the help of surrealist artists, who were harnessing hallucinogens for their own revolutionary aims. Looking behind the images, particularly how they were produced and their legacy today, tells a story of how these groups cooperated, and how their overlapping ecologies of knowledge and experience coincided in these remarkable inscriptions. (shrink)
I am grateful to Eric Schliesser for his gracious response, and to Philosophy East and West and Roger Ames for hosting this discussion. The challenges currently facing the profession regarding exclusionary practices are many, and Schliesser's work at both NewAPPS and his newer blog, Digressions&Impressions, is sensitive both to how many and how complex these challenges are. Schliesser is correct that my discussion of the profession's conversational patterns is both a bit ungenerous and more than a little ambitious, asking (...) for "revolution" in how the discipline not only talks, but operates. Likewise, Schliesser is right to point out that there are now many, and more than ever before, seeking to probe critically the... (shrink)
Following its determination of a finding of scientific misconduct the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) will seek redress for any injury sustained. Several remedies both administrative and statutory may be available depending on the strength of the evidentiary findings of the misconduct investigation. Pursuant to federal regulations administrative remedies are primarily remedial in nature and designed to protect the integrity of the affected research program, whereas statutory remedies including civil fines and criminal penalties are designed to deter and punish wrongdoers. (...) This commentary discusses the available administrative and statutory remedies in the context of a specific case, that of former University of Vermont nutrition researcher Eric Poehlman, and supplies a possible rationale for the legal result. (shrink)
In this paper I offer three main challenges to James (2011). All three turn on the nature of philosophy and secure knowledge in Spinoza. First, I criticize James's account of the epistemic role that experience plays in securing adequate ideas for Spinoza. In doing so I criticize her treatment of what is known as the ‘conatus doctrine’ in Spinoza in order to challenge her picture of the relationship between true religion and philosophy. Second, this leads me into a criticism of (...) her account of the nature of philosophy in Spinoza. I argue it is less piecemeal and less akin to what we would recognize as ‘science’ than she suggests. Third, I argue against James's core commitment that Spinoza's three kinds of knowledge differ in degree; I claim they differ in kind. My argument will offer a new interpretation of Spinoza's conception of ‘common notions’. Moreover, I argue that Spinozistic adequate knowledge involves something akin to angelic disembodiment. (shrink)
On October 1, 1988, thirty-five years after co-discovering the structure of the DNA molecule, Dr. James Watson launched an unprecedented experiment in American science policy. In response to a reporter's question at a press conference, he unilaterally set aside 3 to 5 percent of the budget of the newly launched Human Genome Project to support studies of the ethical, legal, and social implications of new advances in human genetics. The Human Genome Project, by providing geneticists with the molecular maps of (...) the human chromosomes that they use to identify specific human genes, will speed the proliferation of a class of DNA-based diagnostic and risk-assessment tests that already create professional ethical and health-policy challenges for clinicians. “The problems are with us now, independent of the genome program, but they will be associated with it,” Watson said. “We should devote real money to discussing these issues.” By 1994, the “ELSI program” had spent almost $20 million in pursuit of its mission, and gained both praise and criticism for its accomplishments. (shrink)
This new essay collection edited by Eric Watkins features distinguished and established scholars, and it will be an attractive volume for those who work in the field. The essays are divided under three headings: Part I contains essays on agency, Part II features essays on freedom, and Part III is dedicated to essays on persons. An essay by Karl Ameriks on Kant’s work “The End of All Things” concludes the collection. Most of the essays in the collection were originally (...) presented in early form at the conference “Agency, Persons, and Kant” in 2016, which was held in honor of Karl Ameriks. Although there are mentions of Ameriks’s work in the essays, the contributions largely do not discuss his work in detail. Rather... (shrink)
Sin duda estamos ante un fenómeno del nuevo modelo de transmisión científica que ha revolucionado tanto las formas de llevar a cabo los procesos editoriales, como también la forma en la que los investigadores recogen, almacenan y citan la información insumo de sus trabajos de investigación. Asumir los retos que generan estos nuevos modelos de transmisión científica significa estar en constante estudio de las nuevas tecnologías de la información académica. Las bases de datos se han desarrollado desde las últimas décadas (...) del siglo XX para facilitar el acceso a información sistematizada y relacionada por su contexto, permiten tratar una amplia cantidad de información en poco espacio, recuperarla de forma precisa y rápida, e incluso, acceder a información custodiada en soportes informáticos de larga distancia. Hoy en día, diferentes instituciones han agrupado o creado nuevos espacios de información separándolos por áreas temáticas haciendo mucho más precisa la búsqueda por disciplinas académicas. En esta oportunidad compartiremos con nuestros lectores una herramienta de suma importancia para los procesos investigativos en el área de educación: ERIC. (shrink)
In the Second Meditation, Descartes famously asks at one point, ‘But what then am I?’ – to which his immediate answer is ‘A thing that thinks.’ It is this question, or rather the plural version of it, that Eric Olson examines in this excellent book. He thinks that it is – today, at least – a rather neglected question. He points out that it is wrong to confuse the question with the much more frequently examined question of what personal (...) identity consists in. In fact, he thinks that possible answers to the two questions, even if not entirely independent of one other, constrain each other only to a rather limited extent. It is important to appreciate that Olson is not inquiring into what persons in general are, but only into what we human persons are. Olson explores all the major, and some of the less well-known, answers that have been offered to this question. He begins with the answer that he himself has defended in an earlier book, The Human Animal – the answer that we are human animals, that is, biological organisms of a certain kind. Indeed, Olson is, along with Peter van Inwagen, one of the best known ‘animalists’ – although he admits to being a little more tentative in his endorsement of this position now, for reasons that we shall come to later. The other views that he considers are these: that we are entities that are ‘constituted’ by, but not identical with, human animals (the view of Lynne Rudder …. (shrink)
In 1952, Waldemar Gurian, founding editor of The Review of Politics, commissioned Eric Voegelin, then a professor of political science at Louisiana State University, to review Hannah Arendt’s recently published The Origins of Totalitarianism . She was given the right to reply; Voegelin would furnish a concluding note. Preceding this dialogue, Voegelin wrote a letter to Arendt anticipating aspects of his review; she responded in kind. Arendt’s letter to Voegelin on totalitarianism, written in German, has never appeared in print (...) before. She wrote two drafts of it, the first and longest being the more interesting. It contained an early reference to her thinking about the relationship among plurality, politics, and philosophy. It also invoked her notion of the compelling “logic” of totalitarian ideology. But this was not the letter Voegelin received. Because of this, he misunderstood significant parts of her argument. Below, the two versions of Arendt’s letter are translated. They are prefaced by a translation of Voegelin’s initial message to Arendt. An introduction compares Arendt’s letters, offers context, and provides a snapshot of Arendt’s and Voegelin’s perceptions of each other. Their views of political religion and human nature are also highlighted. Keyed to Arendt and Voegelin’s letters are pertinent aspects of the debate in The Review of Politics that followed their epistolary exchange. (shrink)
In the years following the end of the Second World War Carol Reed directed three films, Odd Man Out, The Third Man, and The Man Between, that all dealt with individuals somehow cast alone into post-war urban environments that shared certain characteristics of division and violence. This article argues that they can be usefully analysed through the lens of Walter Benjamin's notion of the creaturely, especially through Eric Santner's explication of the concept. It considers the films from three aspects (...) of Santner's creaturely life: natural history, the state of exception, and undeadness. These qualities of the creaturely as an analysis of the human condition help to encompass some of the strangeness of Reed's apparently conventional film narratives. The films' characters can be seen as overtly modelling a kind of Benjaminian natural history, the history of the brutal twentieth century, in which the vulnerable, mortal, dying human beings at the centre of these tales stumble around in rea... (shrink)
David Silver has argued that there is an illegitimate circularity in Plantinga's account of how a Christian theist can defend herself against the potential defeater presented by Paul Draper's formulation of the problem of evil. The way out of the circle for the theist, thinks Silver, would be by adopting a kind of evidentialism: she needs to make an appeal to evidence that is independent of the reasons she has for holding theistic belief in the first place. I shall argue (...) that Silver's argument is unsuccessful, mainly because he does not get Plantinga's thought right. Silver's confusion is in taking causes of belief as reasons for belief, and in failing to account for the impact of belief holism and our web of beliefs on the very hope for independent reasons. (shrink)
My goal in this essay is to say something helpful about the philosophical foundations of deontic restraints, i.e., moral restraints on actions that are, roughly speaking, grounded in the wrongful character of the actions themselves and not merely in the disvalue of their results. An account of deontic restraints will be formulated and offered against the backdrop of three related, but broader, contrasts or puzzles within moral theory. The plausibility of this account of deontic restraints rests in part on how (...) well this account resolves the puzzles or illuminates the contrasts which make up this theoretical backdrop. (shrink)
Eric Nelson has written a very comprehensive study of the reception of Chinese and EasternBuddhist philosophy in Western thought, with a special focus on the German thinkers of theearly twentieth century. Nelson shows great erudition in bringing together a wide variety ofthinkers from both East and West, including importantly some lesser known, but very relevantthinkers from both the Western tradition and Eastern philosophy. Although Nelson focusesmostly on the encounters and interactions between German philosophers and Chinese thinkers,his aim with this (...) commendable book is wider. Nelson employs the encountersbetween German and Chinese thinkers in the wider context of comparative and/or interculturalphilosophy, and his aim is therefore stated as being an attempt to consider ‘whether amore nuanced and historically appropriate conception of philosophy can emerge through criticallyengaging and reflecting on the modern encounter between Western and non-Westernphilosophy, and articulating its intercultural and intertextual dynamics’. (shrink)
In recent years, a convergence has occurred between the disciples of Leo Strauss and those of Eric Voegelin. Spurred in part by the publication of the Strauss-Voegelin correspondence, and in part by a shared sense of persecution at the hands of the "politically correct," this convergence has taken place almost exclusively on Straussian terms. While few, if any, Straussians speak of "compactness," "differentiation," or "the ground of being," more and more Voegelinians are using Straussian catchwords and phrases like "the (...) conflict between Jerusalem and Athens," "historicism," and "natural right.". (shrink)
Eric Davidson had a deep and abiding interest in the role developmental mechanisms played in generating evolutionary patterns documented in deep time, from the origin of the euechinoids to the processes responsible for the morphological architectures of major animal clades. Although not an evolutionary biologist, Davidson’s interests long preceded the current excitement over comparative evolutionary developmental biology. Here I discuss three aspects at the intersection between his research and evolutionary patterns in deep time: First, understanding the mechanisms of body (...) plan formation, particularly those associated with the early diversification of major metazoan clades. Second, a critique of early claims about ancestral metazoans based on the discoveries of highly conserved genes across bilaterian animals. Third, Davidson’s own involvement in paleontology through a collaborative study of the fossil embryos from the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation in south China. (shrink)
This article is partly an exercise in academic autobiography, seeking to make sense of the different ways in which I have applied semiotics to secular law on the one hand, Jewish law on the other. The very fact that it can be applied to both shows that its claims are methodological. But it also indicates a possible reformulation of the semiotic issues in philosophical terms: we may view the relationship between the semantic and pragmatic levels in terms of the relationship/balance (...) between certainty/truth (the semantic level) on the one hand and trust (the pragmatic level) on the other. What may distinguish the secular and religious systems is the manner in the issue of trust is be ideologically concealed. (shrink)
This essay interprets John Locke's teachings about private societies, or free private associations. The essay proceeds by interpreting Locke's mature writings on ethics, politics, and philosophy, and then by illustrating Locke's teachings as they apply to two contemporary problems in associational freedom. Although Locke wrote about private societies primarily in the course of arguing for religious toleration, throughout his mature corpus he develops an internally consistent general theory of associational freedom. At first glance, Locke seems to suggest that all citizens (...) are entitled to associate for any end of their choosing, to control admission into and expulsion from their membership, and to enforce their own internal rules of governance. However, Locke qualifies this broad right to bar societies from organizing around ends inconsistent with the minimal moral and political conditions of liberalism. Ultimately, Locke suggests, citizens deserve a broad right of private society only to the extent that they are well enough formed by their regime and its private institutions to be capable of governing themselves in both private and public life. In contrast with contemporary practice, Locke's justification is broader in some respects and narrower in others. The essay illustrates the implications by considering how Locke's teachings justify limiting the scope of anti-discrimination laws and enlarging the scope of government efforts to dissolve seditious associations. (shrink)
Eric Nelson's Chinese and Buddhist Philosophy in Early Twentieth-Century German Thought opens with the following: "The work before you is an interpretive journey through the historical reception of Chinese and Buddhist philosophy in modern German thought, focusing in particular--albeit not exclusively--on the early twentieth century. Its intent is to describe and analyze the intertextual nexus of intersecting sources for the sake of elucidating implications and critical models for intercultural hermeneutics and intercultural philosophy. The possibility of such a philosophy is (...) confronted by the persistent myth and prejudice that philosophy is and can only be a unique and exclusive Western spiritual achievement" (p.... (shrink)
“Eric Voegelin's Philosophy of Myth” is an introduction to the eminent political philosopher's theory of the nature and function of myth in pre-modern cultures, particularly in ancient Greece and Mesopotamia. For Voegelin archaic myths and symbols provide grounds or foundations for a broad range of phenomena, from individual objects and events to the entire cosmos. They convey a sense of wholeness and interconnectedness through a type of analogical thinking. The concepts of ‘compactness’ and ‘differentiation’ are essential components in his (...) overall theory. The former designates the unity of the symbol and the symbolized, the latter their separation into immanent and transcendent poles in the reflections of Greek philosophers and of Jewish and Christian thinkers. Both compact and differentiated accounts employ the symbols of the Beginning and Beyond, viz. the originating source of all things and their transcendent goal. Voegelin's treatment of the mythical and philosophical styles of truth is not limited to the distant past. Throughout history individual myths or symbols lose their transformative power, but, he asserts, they are regenerated or replaced by new ones discovered by great souls who have experiential access to the underlying realities. (shrink)