‘[Valerius'] Argonautica is a story of high adventure, not a poème à thèse’: so stated Garson in 1965. Strand later added that the essential nature of this poem and the choice of subject-matter was determined by poetic inability; he describes the prooemium to Valerius' Argonautica as ‘a recusatio: the theme of the fall of Jerusalem is beyond his powers, and it would instead be treated by Domitian who was fit for such an arduous task; Valerius had to content himself with (...) the theme of an old myth’. It is these two opinions that I wish to question in this article. Indeed, alarm bells immediately sound at Strand's interpretation of the poet's recusatio. It has long been recognized that the original Callimachean recusatio was twisted by the Augustan poets. Gordon Williams analyses their practice thus: ‘They sadly regret that their poor talents will not rise to great subjects – and the subjects to which they will not rise are not the old mythological tales but the great affairs of contemporary Roman history and, in particular, the deeds of Augustus. It is clear, however, that they are using this form of poem to enumerate and praise the great deeds of Augustus, under the guise of proposing their own inability.’ No-one hesitates to agree that Valerius was well versed in the Augustan poets. It is dangerous, therefore, to assume without question that he was deceived by their insincerity. There is in fact good reason to examine the alternative possibility, namely that Valerius understood well the practice of his literary predecessors, that he dared to tread in their footsteps and that he succeeded in the supreme duty of a poet, that is to say, the business of ensuring that ars celavit artem. (shrink)
In May 2009 the World Health Assembly passed a resolution on reducing health inequities through action on the social determinants of health, based on the work of the global Commission on Social Determinants of Health, 2005–2008. The Commission's genesis and findings raise some important questions for global health governance. We draw out some of the essential elements, themes, and mechanisms that shaped the Commission. We start by examining the evolving nature of global health and the Commission's foundational inspiration – the (...) universal pattern of health inequity and the imperative, driven by a sense of social justice, to make better and more equal health a global goal. We look at how the Commission was established, how it was structured internally, and how it developed external relationships – with the World Health Organization, with global networks of academics and practitioners, with country governments eager to spearhead action on health equity, and with civil society. We outline the Commission's recommendations as they relate to the architecture of global health governance. Finally, we look at how the Commission is catalyzing a movement to bring social determinants of health to the forefront of international and national policy discourse. (shrink)
On August 28, 2008, Michael Marmot, Chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, formally handed over the Commission’s Final Report to Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. It was a significant moment. Dr. Chan addressed a hall packed with representatives of the world’s communications media in a speech that was remarkably direct. Dr. Chan reiterated the Commission’s position that to improve health and health equity action needs to be (...) taken not just across the health sector but across all social and economic policy areas, and stated, “Social deprivation is not a matter of fate. It is a marker of policy failure.” This was a bold statement from one of the world’s leading diplomats. Policy failure! The phrase echoes the Commission’s assertion that “a toxic combination of poor social policies, unfair economic arrangements and bad politics is killing people on a grand scale.” The Commission’s messages are far reaching. (shrink)
Part I: WHAT IS ETHICS? Plato: Socratic Morality: Crito. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part II: ETHICAL RELATIVISM VERSUS ETHICAL OBJECTIVISM. Herodotus: Custom is King. Thomas Aquinas: Objectivism: Natural Law. Ruth Benedict: A Defense of Ethical Relativism. Louis Pojman: A Critique of Ethical Relativism. Gilbert Harman: Moral Relativism Defended. Alan Gewirth: The Objective Status of Human Rights. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part III: MORALITY, SELF-INTEREST AND FUTURE SELVES. Plato: Why Be Moral? Richard Taylor: On the Socratic Dilemma. David Gauthier: (...) Morality and Advantage. Gregory Kavka: A Reconciliation Project. Derek Parfit: Later Selves and Moral Principles. Bernard Williams: Persons, Character, and Morality. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part IV: VALUE. Jeremy Bentham: Classical Hedonism. Robert Nozick: The Experience Machine. Richard Taylor: Value and the Origin of Right and Wrong. Friedrich Nietzsche: The Transvaluation of Values. Derek Parfit: What Makes Someone’s Life Go Best? Thomas Nagel: Value: The View from Nowhere. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part V: UTILITARIANISM AND CONSEQUENTIALISM. John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism. J.J.C. Smart: Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism. Kai Nielsen: Against Moral Conservatism. Bernard Williams: Against Utilitarianism. John Hospers: Rule-Utilitarianism. Robert Nozick: Side Constraints. Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence and Morality. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part VI: KANTIAN AND DEONTOLOGICAL SYSTEMS. Immanuel Kant: Foundation for the Metaphysic of Morals. W. D. Ross: What Makes Right Acts Right? Onora O’Neill: Kantian Formula of the End in Itself and World Hunger. Thomas Nagel: Moral Luck. Philippa Foot: Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives. Judith Jarvis Thomson: Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part VII: CONTRACTARIAN ETHICAL SYSTEMS. Thomas Hobbes: The Leviathan. David Gauthier: Why Contractarianism? John Rawls: Contractualism: Justice as Fairness. T.M. Scanlon: Contractualism and Utilitarianism. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part VIII: VIRTUE-BASED ETHICAL SYSTEMS. Aristotle: The Ethics of Virtue. Bernard Mayo: Virtue and the Moral Life. William Frankena: A Critique of Virtue-Based Ethics. Walter Schaller: Are Virtues No More than Dispositions to Obey Moral Rules? Alasdair MacIntyre: The Nature of the Virtues. Susan Wolf: Moral Saints. Louis P. Pojman: In Defense of Moral Saints. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part IX: THE FACT/VALUE PROBLEM: METAETHICS IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. David Hume: On Reason and the Emotions: The Fact/Value Distinction. G. E. Moore: Non-Naturalism. A. J. Ayer: Emotivism. R. M. Hare: Prescriptivism: The Structure of Ethics and Morals. Geoffrey Warnock: The Object of Morality. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part X: MORAL REALISM AND THE CHALLENGE OF SKEPTICISM. J.L. Mackie: The Subjectivity of Values. Jonathan Harrison: A Critique of Mackie’s Error Theory. Gilbert Harman: Moral Nihilism. Nicholas Sturgeon: Moral Explanations. Bernard Williams: Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. Bruce Russell: Two Forms of Ethical Skepticism. Michael Smith: A Defense of Moral Realism. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part XI: RELIGION AND ETHICS. Plato: Morality and Religion. Immanuel Kant: God and Immortality as Necessary Postulates of Morality. George Mavrodes: Religious and the Queerness of Morality. Kai Nielson: Ethics Without God. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part XII: CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES TO CLASSICAL ETHICAL THEORY. Part A. Sociobiology and the Question of Moral Responsibility. Charles Darwin: Ethics and the Descent of Man. E.O.Wilson: Sociobiology and Ethics. Michael Ruse: Evolution and Ethics: The Sociobiological Approach. Elliot Sober: Prospects for an Evolutionary Ethics. J.L. Mackie: The Law of the Jungle, Evolution and Morality. Suggestions for Further Readingon Sociobiology. Part B. The Challenge of Determinism to Moral Responsibility and Desert. Galen Strawson: The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility. Louis Pojman: Free Will, Determinism, and Moral Responsibility:A Response to Galen Strawson. Richard Taylor: A Libertarian Defense of Free Will and Responsibility. Suggestions for Further Reading on Moral Responsibility. Glossary of Ethical Terms. (shrink)
Anne Conway’s Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy, first published in 1690, is probably the most ambitious contribution to early modern metaphysics by a woman writing in the English language. This beautifully prepared edition makes Conway’s treatise available to twentieth-century readers in an accessible English translation of the 1690 Latin text—itself a translation of an original English manuscript that has long been lost.
Charles Taylor is one of the most influential and prolific philosophers in the English-speaking world today. The breadth of his writings is unique, ranging from reflections on artificial intelligence to analyses of contemporary multicultural societies. This thought-provoking introduction to Taylor's work outlines his ideas in a coherent and accessible way without reducing their richness and depth. His contribution to many of the enduring debates within Western philosophy is examined and the arguments of his critics assessed. Taylor's reflections (...) on the topics of moral theory, selfhood, political theory and epistemology form the core chapters within the book. Ruth Abbey engages with the secondary literature on Taylor's work and suggests that some criticisms by contemporaries have been based on misinterpretations and suggests ways in which a better understanding of Taylor's work leads to different criticisms of it. The book serves as an ideal companion to Taylor's ideas for students of philosophy and political theory, and will be welcomed by the non-specialist looking for an authoritative guide to Taylor's large and challenging body of work. (shrink)
Throughout the biological and biomedical sciences there is a growing need for, prescriptive ‘minimum information’ (MI) checklists specifying the key information to include when reporting experimental results are beginning to find favor with experimentalists, analysts, publishers and funders alike. Such checklists aim to ensure that methods, data, analyses and results are described to a level sufficient to support the unambiguous interpretation, sophisticated search, reanalysis and experimental corroboration and reuse of data sets, facilitating the extraction of maximum value from data sets (...) them. However, such ‘minimum information’ MI checklists are usually developed independently by groups working within representatives of particular biologically- or technologically-delineated domains. Consequently, an overview of the full range of checklists can be difficult to establish without intensive searching, and even tracking thetheir individual evolution of single checklists may be a non-trivial exercise. Checklists are also inevitably partially redundant when measured one against another, and where they overlap is far from straightforward. Furthermore, conflicts in scope and arbitrary decisions on wording and sub-structuring make integration difficult. This presents inhibit their use in combination. Overall, these issues present significant difficulties for the users of checklists, especially those in areas such as systems biology, who routinely combine information from multiple biological domains and technology platforms. To address all of the above, we present MIBBI (Minimum Information for Biological and Biomedical Investigations); a web-based communal resource for such checklists, designed to act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for those exploring the range of extant checklist projects, and to foster collaborative, integrative development and ultimately promote gradual integration of checklists. (shrink)
This article identifies a prevalent strand of feminist writing on beauty and aesthetic surgery and explores some of the contradictions and inconsistencies inscribed within it. In particular, we concentrate on three central feminist claims: that living in a misogynist culture produces aesthetic surgery as an issue predominantly concerning women; that pain - both physical and psychic - is a central conceptual frame through which aesthetic surgery should be viewed; and that aesthetic surgery is inherently a normalizing technology. Engaging with these (...) ‘myths’, we explore the tensions uncovered through a historical analysis of the practices of aesthetic surgery as well as the challenges to feminist claims offered by post-feminism. In particular we seek to destabilize the connection in feminist writing between beauty and passivity. We argue that through aesthetic references to denigrated black and working-class bodies, young women may mobilize aesthetic surgeries to reinscribe active sexuality on the feminine body. (shrink)
I argue that four-dimensionalism and the desire satisfaction account of well-being are incompatible. For every person whose desires are satisfied, there will be many shorter-lived individuals (‘person-stages’ or ‘subpersons’) who share the person’s desires but who do not exist long enough to see those desires satisfied; not only this, but in many cases their desires are frustrated so that the desires of the beings in whom they are embedded as proper temporal parts may be fulfilled. I call this the frustrating (...) problem for four-dimensionalism. In the first half of the paper I lay the groundwork for understanding the frustrating problem, and then in the second half, I will examine six possible responses to the frustrating problem on behalf of the four-dimensionalist, (i) the Parfit (1984) inspired claim that identity is not what matters, (ii) the personal pronoun revisionism of Noonan (2010), (iii) the indirect concern account of Hudson (2001), (iv) the sensible stages account of Lewis (1986), (v) a multiple-concepts account of desire satisfaction, and (vi) a No Desire View according to which subpersons have no mental states and thus no desires to frustrate. I argue that none of these solutions will help the four-dimensionalist; she does better to reject the desire satisfaction theory, while the defender of the desire satisfaction theory does better to reject four-dimensionalism. (shrink)
The population of Campobasso Province shows a level of inbreeding that is distinct from most Italian rural populations, regardless of their geographic location (Fr=0·0040; Fn=0·0102; Ft=0·0142). The genetic structure of the ItalianGreeks of Reggio Calabria Province is similar to other Italians of Campobasso Province (Fr=0·0041; Fn=0·0127; Ft=0·0168). The Italian–Greeks of Lecce Province show random mating, and their inbreeding is in fact very low (Fr=0·0038; Fn=0·0024; Ft=0·0062).
Anne Conway was an extraordinary figure in a remarkable age. Her mastery of the intricate doctrines of the Lurianic Kabbalah, her authorship of a treatise criticising the philosophy of Descartes, Hobbes, and Spinoza, and her scandalous conversion to the despised sect of Quakers indicate a strength of character and independence of mind wholly unexpected in a woman at the time. Translated for the first time into modern English, her Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy is the most interesting (...) and original philosophical work written by a woman in the seventeenth century. Her radical and unorthodox ideas are important not only because they anticipated the more tolerant, ecumenical, and optimistic philosophy of the Enlightenment, but also because of their influence on Leibniz. This fully annotated edition includes an introduction which places Conway in her historical and philosophical contexts, together with a chronology of her life and a bibliography. (shrink)
This article examines the 2008 report of the Quebec Government’s Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences which was co-authored by Charles Taylor. Summarizing its main themes, it identifies points of intersection with Taylor’s political thought. Issues of citizen equality, including gender equality, secularism, integration and interculturalism, receive special attention.
Charles Taylor's work has recently taken a religious turn, with Taylor becoming more explicit about his own religious faith and its influence on his thinking. Ian Fraser offers a systematic, critical exploration of the nature of Taylor's Catholicism as it appears in his writings. This reply to Fraser endorses his belief in the importance of looking carefully at Taylor's religious views. However, it raises doubts about some of Fraser's particular arguments and conclusions, and aims to foster (...) a clearer understanding of Taylor's religious beliefs. It poses questions for Fraser about what Taylor is setting out to do in A Catholic Modernity?; why he invokes the figure of Matteo Ricci; whether he believes that acts of practical benevolence are impossible without a religious foundation; and whether his religiously-inspired pluralism suffers an inherent contradiction. (shrink)
I propose an account truthmaking that provides truthmakers for negative truths. The account replaces Truthmaker Necessitarianism with a "Duplication Principle", according to which a suitable entity T is a truthmaker for a proposition P just in case the existence of an appropriate counterpart of T entails the truth of P, where the counterpart relation is cashed out in terms of qualitative duplication. My account captures an intuitive notion of truthmakers as "things the way they are", validates two appealing principles about (...) entailment and containment proposed by David Armstrong, and invalidates the controversial Disjunction Thesis. (shrink)
This review article outlines some of the major contributions made to political theory by Charles Taylor. It focuses on his relationship to liberalism, his contribution to the understanding of democracy and his analysis of the politics of recognition. Several lines of critique of Taylor's thought on these issues are also explored. Some reflections on Taylor's style of theorising about politics are offered, and the question of whether he is a conservative or critical theorist is examined.
Thomas Taylor in England, by K. Raine.--Thomas Taylor in America, by G. M. Harper.--Biographical accounts of Thomas Taylor.--Concerning the beautiful.--The hymns of Orpheus.--Concerning the cave of the nymphs.--A dissertation on the Eleusinian and Bacchic mysteries.--Introduction to The fable of Cupid and Psyche.--The Platonic philosopher's creed.--An apology for the fables of Homer.--Bibliography (p. -538).
Dr Taylor, an English psychiatrist, considers the issue of the symposium in the context of the Mental Health (Amendment) Act 1982. This, she says, gives little guidance on how judgment of a patient's competency or capability to consent to treatment should be made, although it specifies that unless compulsorily detained patients competently consent to ECT a special second medical opinion is required. Although some guidelines from the Department of Health may be offered before implementation of the Act in September (...) 1983 all those working with psychiatric patients will have to consider the issues. After discussing her criteria for informed consent, some practical approaches for obtaining it and problems arising from these, and problems of surrogate consent, Dr Taylor concludes that there is no single or simple solution to the dilemma. She ends by asking: `Can refusal of ECT for severe depression ever be a competent decision?'. (shrink)