Mereological nihilism (henceforth just "nihilism") is the thesis that composition never occurs. Nihilism has often been defended on the basis of its theoretical simplicity, including its ontological simplicity and its ideological simplicity (roughly, nihilism's ability to do without primitive mereological predicates). In this paper I defend nihilism on the basis of the theoretical unification conferred by nihilism, which is, roughly, nihilism's capacity to allow us to take fewer phenomena as brute and inexplicable. This represents a respect in which nihilism enjoys (...) greater theoretical simplicity than its rivals which has not yet been explored, and which is immune to many of the objections which have been leveled against previous arguments for nihilism from nihilism's theoretical simplicity. Composition as identity might be thought to confer a similar degree of theoretical unification as nihilism. I end the paper by arguing that this is not the case. (shrink)
Metaphysicians frequently appeal to the idea that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, in the sense that, all other things being equal, simpler metaphysical theories are more likely to be true. In this paper I defend the notion that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, against several recent objections. I do not give any direct arguments for the thesis that simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, since I am aware of no such arguments. I do argue, however, that (...) there is no special problem with the notion that simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics. More specifically, I argue that if you accept the idea that simplicity is truth conducive in science, then it would be objectionably arbitrary to reject the idea that simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics. (shrink)
Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composite objects—objects with proper parts—do not exist. Nihilists generally paraphrase talk of composite objects F into talk of there being “xs arranged F-wise” . Recently several philosophers have argued that nihilism is defective insofar as nihilists are either unable to say what they mean by such phrases as “there are xs arranged F-wise,” or that nihilists are unable to employ such phrases without incurring significant costs, perhaps even undermining one of the chief motivations for (...) nihilism. In this paper I defend nihilism against these objections. A key theme of the paper is this: if nihilists need to employ such phrases as “there are xs arranged F-wise,” non-nihilists will need to do so as well. Accordingly, any costs incurred by the nihilist when she employs such phrases will be shared by everyone else. What’s more, such phrases are intelligible when employed by the nihilist, as well as when they are employed by the non-nihilist, insofar as analyses of such phrases will not essentially involve mereological concepts incompatible with nihilism. (shrink)
Mereological nihilists hold that composition never occurs, so that nothing is ever a proper part of anything else. Substance dualists generally hold that we are each identical with an immaterial soul. In this paper, I argue that every popular objection to substance dualism has a parallel objection to composition. This thesis has some interesting implications. First, many of those who reject composition, but accept substance dualism, or who reject substance dualism and accept composition, have some explaining to do. Secondly, one (...) popular objection to mereological nihilism, one which contends that mereological nihilism is objectionable insofar as it is incompatible with the existence of people, is untenable. (shrink)
Let’s call the sentence “why is there something rather than nothing?” the Question. There’s no consensus, of course, regarding which proposed answer to the Question, if any, is correct, but occasionally there’s also controversy regarding the meaning of the Question itself. In this paper I argue that such controversy persists because there just isn’t one unique interpretation of the Question. Rather, the puzzlement expressed by the sentence “why is there something rather than nothing?” varies depending on the ontology implicitly or (...) explicitly endorsed by the speaker. In this paper I do three things. First, I argue that other proposals according to which the Question has one uniquely adequate interpretation are false. Second, I give several examples of the way in which the meaning of the Question can vary depending on the ontology to which it is coupled. Third, I explore the implications of my thesis for the manner in which we should approach future attempts to answer the Question. (shrink)
Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composition never occurs. Some philosophers have thought that science gives us compelling evidence against nihilism. In this article I respond to this concern. An initial challenge for nihilism stems from the fact that composition is such a ubiquitous feature of scientific theories. In response I motivate a restricted form of scientific anti-realism with respect to those components of scientific theories which make reference to composition. A second scientifically based worry for nihilism is that certain (...) specific scientific phenomena might require ineliminable quantification over composite objects. I address these concerns, and argue that there seem to be nihilist-friendly construals of the scientific phenomena in question. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas, along with many other medieval philosophers, believed that God is timeless. Aquinas’s treatment of this doctrine seems to imply a view of time that some commentators have noticed is inescapably tenseless, what we would now call a “B-theory” view of time. This is problematic because Aquinas also seems to affirm that tense and temporal becoming are real, implying that what we would now call an “A-theory” of time is correct. In this essay I attempt to adjudicate this apparent (...) conceptual tension in Aquinas’s thought. After analyzing some of the relevant passages I conclude that these passages inescapably, though perhaps inadvertently, commit Aquinas to what is fundamentally a B-theoretic notion of time. I move on to criticize some philosophers’ attempts to reconcile Aquinas’s treatment of divine timelessness with the A-theory. I argue that all these attempts are unsuccessful. I conclude with what I believe are the implications of my interpretation of Aquinas for his broader system of philosophy. (shrink)
Andrew Tooke's 1691 English translation of Samuel Pufendorf's De officio hominis et civis, published as The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature, brought Pufendorf's manual fo statist natural law into English politics at a moment of temporary equilibrium in the unfinished contest between Crown and Parliament for the rights and powers of sovereignty. Drawing on the authors' re-edition of The Whole Duty of Man, this article describes and analyses a telling instance of how--by translation--the core (...) political terms and concepts of the German natural jurist's 'absolutist' formulary were reshaped for reception in the different political culture of late seventeenth-century England. (shrink)
The Oxford Monographs On Criminal Law And Justice series aims to cover all aspects of criminal law and procedure including criminal evidence. the scope of the series is wide, encompassing both practical and theoretical works. Series Editor: Professor Andrew Ashworth, Vinerian Professor of English Law, All Souls College, Oxford. This volume is a thematic collection of essays on sentencing theory by leading writers. The essays fall into three groups. Part I considers the underlying justifications for the imposition of punishment (...) by the State, and examines the relationship between victims, offenders and the State. Part II addresses a number of areas of sentencing policy that have given rise to particular difficulty, such as the sentencing of drug offenders, the rationale for discounting sentences for multiple offenders, the existence of special sentencing for young offenders, and cases where the injury done to the victim is of a different magnitude from what might have been expected. Part III raises various questions about the unequal impact on offenders of different sentencing measures, and examines the extent to which sentences should be adjusted to take account of these different impacts and of broader social inequalities. This volume is dedicated to Professor Andrew von Hirsch, whose continuing work on sentencing theory provided the stimulus for the collection. (shrink)
Book Symposium on Andrew Feenberg’s Between Reason and Experience: Essays in Technology and Modernity Content Type Journal Article Pages 203-226 DOI 10.1007/s13347-011-0017-8 Authors Inmaculada de Melo-Martín, Division of Medical Ethics, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY 10065, USA David B. Ingram, Loyola University Chicago, 6525 North Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60626, USA Sally Wyatt, e-Humanities Group, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) & Maastricht University, Cruquiusweg 31, 1019 AT Amsterdam, The Netherlands Yoko Arisaka, Forschungsinstitut für Philosophie (...) Hannover, Gerberstrasse 26, 30169 Hannover, Germany Andrew Feenberg, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3, Canada Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433 Journal Volume Volume 24 Journal Issue Volume 24, Number 2. (shrink)
In An Essay upon Civil Government , Andrew Michael Ramsay mounted a sustained attack upon the development throughout English history of popular government. According to Ramsay, popular involvement in sovereignty had led to the decline of society and the revolutions of the seventeenth century. In his own time, Parliament had become a despotic instrument of government, riven with faction and driven by a multiplicity of laws that manifested a widespread corruption in the state. Ramsay's solution to this degeneracy was (...) the extirpation of Parliament, and its substitution with a monarchy moderated by an aristocratic senate. Ramsay's adoption of certain “Country” elements, including a return to the first principles of the constitution, claimed to reflect the principles of contemporary French aristocratic theory which called for the reform of government through the nobility. In his desire to exclude popular government, and reverse the decline of the state, however, Ramsay utilised the theory with which Bossuet had defended Louis XIV's absolute France. Intriguingly, traces of the natural law system which fortified Ramsay's theory can be found in Viscount Bolingbroke's subsequent attack on Walpole's Whig ministry and the corruption of the state. (shrink)
Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: 'objectivity of value', 'objectivity and everyday knowledge', 'objectivity in political (...) economy', 'objectivity and reflexivity', 'objectivity, postmodernism and feminism', 'objectivity and nature'. The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work. (shrink)
This important collection of essays by Andrew Feenberg presents his critical theory of technology, an innovative approach to philosophy and sociology of technology based on a synthesis of ideas drawn from STS and Frankfurt School Critical Theory. The volume includes chapters on citizenship, modernity, and Heidegger and Marcuse.
Andrew Wayne discusses some recent attempts to account, within a Bayesian framework, for the "common methodological adage" that "diverse evidence better confirms a hypothesis than does the same amount of similar evidence". One of the approaches considered by Wayne is that suggested by Howson and Urbach and dubbed the "correlation approach" by Wayne. This approach is, indeed, incomplete, in that it neglects the role of the hypothesis under consideration in determining what diversity in a body of evidence is relevant (...) diversity. In this paper, it is shown how this gap can be filled, resulting in a more satisfactory account of the evidential role of diversity of evidence. In addition, it is argued that Wayne's criticism of the correlation approach does not indicate a serious flaw in the approach. (shrink)
In his paper, ‘A critique of religious fictionalism’, Benjamin Cordry raises a series of objections to a fictionalist form of religious non-realism that I proposed in my earlier paper, ‘Can an atheist believe in God?’. They fall into two main categories: those alleging that an atheist would be unjustified in adopting fictionalism, and those alleging that fictionalism could not be successfully implemented, or practised communally. I argue that these objections can be met.
During the Cold War, the spread and fear of communism furnished the overarching ideological rationale for American foreign policy and for the deployment of United States military forces and resources. Subscribing to the domino theory and its potential impact on Southeast Asia, the Johnson Administration committed the United States to the Vietnam War. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, and the commencement of the Global War on Terrorism, Washington once again set a national agenda rooted in (...) a simplistic analysis reminiscent of Vietnam and the domino theory. Ignorant of Iraq’s mammoth sectarian, historical, ethnic, and global strategic complexities, the Bush Administration launched Operation Iraqi Freedom. The absence of critical analysis, contrarian viewpoints, and sound judgment characterized the US policy and strategy for both the Vietnam War and OIF, exhibiting the lack of moral courage that the national security enterprise seeks, but seldom attains. Faced with this challenge, this article draws attention to the ethical lessons we can learn from the dissent of William Fulbright and Andrew Bacevich. (shrink)
Andrew Feenberg's Questioning Technology (1999) is his third book in a series of studies which undertake to provide critical theoretical and democratic political perspectives to engage technology in the contemporary era. In Critical Theory of Technology (1991), Feenberg draws on neo-Marxian and other critical theories of technology, especially the Frankfurt School, to criticize determinist and essentialist theories. In this ground-breaking work (which will go into its second edition in 2001), he discusses both how the labor process, science, and technology (...) are constituted as forms of domination of nature and human beings, and how they could be democratically transformed as part of a program of radical social transformation. In Alternative Modernity (1995), Feenberg turns to focus on constructivist theories and the ways in which individuals and groups can reconstruct technology to make it serve more humane and democratic goals. His most recent book draws on his earlier work while polemically developing his own positions within contemporary debates over technology. (shrink)
Andrew H. Gleeson has written an essay commenting on an exchange between Dewi Z. Phillips and me, arguing that I was mistaken to dismiss Phillips’ criticism of the standard definition of omnipotence as unsuccessful. Furthermore, he charges Swinburne, me, and analytic theists in general, with an excessive anthropomorphism that obliterates the distinction between Creator and creature. In response, I contend that all of Gleeson’s criticisms are unsound.
In this essay I describe how contractarianism might approach interspecies welfare conflicts. I start by discussing a contractarian account of the moral status of nonhuman animals. I argue that contractors can agree to norms that would acknowledge the “moral standing” of some animals. I then discuss how the norms emerging from contractarian agreement might constrain any comparison of welfare between humans and animals. Contractarian agreement is likely to express some partiality to humans in a way that discounts the welfare of (...) some or all animals. While the norms emerging from the contract might be silent or inconsistent in some tragic or catastrophic cases, in most ordinary conflicts of welfare, contractors will agree to norms that produce some determinate resolution. What the agreement says can evolve depending upon how the contractors or the circumstances change. I close with some remarks on contractarian indeterminacy. (shrink)
A central strand in philosophical debate over the just distribution of resources attempts to juggle three competing imperatives: helping those who are worst off, helping those who will benefit the most, and then – beyond this – determining when to aggregate such ‘worst off’ and ‘benefit’ claims, and when instead to treat no such claim as greater than that which any individual by herself can exert. Yet as various philosophers have observed, ‘we have no satisfactory theoretical characterization’ as to how (...) to weigh each of the three imperatives against one another, we find it ‘difficult to state. . . precise or comprehensive conclusions’, and we do not yet have a ‘metric for integrating the three measures’. In what follows, I offer an approach to weighing the three criteria against one another that yields resolutions – in Hard Cases of the ‘saving one infant's life versus replacing ten elderly people's hips’ sort – that are cardinally definitive, intuitively satisfactory and theoretically justified. (shrink)
These reflections on Andrew Grosso’s recent book Personal Being highlight his philosophical construction of a concept of personhood based on themes from the writings Of Michael Polanyi and his use of this conception to express creatively elements of the traditional Christian doctrines on the trinity. Additional clarifications are sought regarding his formulations on the divine personhood of Jesus, the adequacy of his formulations on the intra-trinitarian relations, and the insightfulness of the absolute personhood of the divine. This study is (...) a helpful model for extending Polanyian insights into the realm of dogmatic theology. (shrink)
Andrew Benjamin’s book Disclosing Spaces (2004) presents a theory of painting. The theory is developed via a meticulous analysis of a series of individual artworks. The pivot of Benjamin’s theory of painting is the idea of relationality. The theory is critically reviewed with reference to the works of Edward Hopper, Gerhard Richter and Jacques-Louis David.
By what steps, historically, did morality emerge? Our remote ancestors evolved into social animals. Sociality requires, among other things, restraints on disruptive sexual, hostile, aggressive, vengeful, and acquisitive behavior. Since we are innately social and not social by convention, we can assume the biological evolution of the emotional equipment – numerous predispositions to want, fear, feel anxious or secure – required for social living, just as we can assume cultural evolution of various means to control antisocial behavior and reinforce the (...) prosocial kind. Small clans consisting, say, of several extended families whose members cooperated in hunting, gathering, defense, and child-rearing could not exist without a combination of innate and social restraints on individual behavior. I shall argue for a naturalistic theory of morality, by which I do not mean the definitional claims G.E. Moore sought to refute, but a broader and more complex theory that maintains that a sufficient understanding of human nature, history, and culture can fully explain morality; that nothing is left hanging. A theory that coherently brings together the needed biological, psychological, and cultural facts I shall call a philosophical anthropology; it is a theory that: 1) takes the good for humans – both an ultimate good and other important goods – to depend on human nature; 2) argues that a rudimentary but improving scientific and philosophical theory of human nature now exists, and thus denies that people are “essenceless”; 3) takes this theory to be evolutionary and historical, making the question “How did morality originate?” pivotal for ethical theory, but leaves open the empirical question of the relative importance of biological and cultural evolution; and 4) takes the origin of the moral ideas to be explainable in terms of human nature and history. (shrink)
Andrew Dickson White played a pivotal role in constructing the image of a necessary, and even violent, confrontation between religion and science that persists to this day. Though scholars have long acknowledged that his position is more complex, given that White claimed to be saving religion from theology, there has been no attempt to explore what this means in light of his overwhelming attack on existing religions. This essay draws attention to how White's role as a historian was decisive (...) in allowing him to posit a future for religion purified of dogma by science. It argues, furthermore, that this effort is better understood as religious innovation, rather than a plea for strictly secular science. In so doing it hopes to lay the foundation for a more fruitful historical treatment of White, and a range of other figures whose devotion to science has otherwise been difficult to grasp. (shrink)
Millions of Americans, as well as millions in Europe, have used or will use a library established by Andrew Carnegie. In his lifetime Carnegie gave the equivalent of several billion dollars in today's money to establish 1,689 public libraries in the United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Moreover, 660 libraries in Britain and Ireland, 125 in Canada, 17 in New Zealand, 12 in South Africa and scattered others around the world exist because of this man. 1 And this does (...) not include the extensive positive influence of the foundations and grants established by Carnegie. Aristotle would likely have called him ‘magnificent’. Carnegie had the virtue beyond mere generosity available only to those with the means and position to benefit the polis on a grand scale. Unlike generosity, magnificence involves what Irwin has called ‘the judgment and tact that are needed for large benefactions. 2 Whether ‘magnificent’ or ‘generous’ is a better term for Carnegie's character is not my major concern. Carnegie's recent biographer simply uses ‘generous’. So, for the remainder of this paper, I will use ‘generous’. 3 But was Carnegie, in fact, generous? This paper will explore both the definition of the virtue and its application to Andrew Carnegie. (shrink)
In “Friendship Amongst the Self-Sufficient: Epicurus” (this Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2, June 2001), Andrew Mitchell explores the Epicurean view of the relationship between self-sufficiency and friendship by contrasting it with the views of Aristotle and the Stoics. Epicurus, Aristotle, and the Stoics do indeed have interestingly different views on friendship that are well worth comparing. Yet Mitchell’s characterization of Aristotelian friendship is misleading, his account of Stoic friendship is inaccurate, and his interpretation of Epicurean friendship is curiously imaginative (...) but ultimately rather strange. (shrink)
Intellectual historian Andrew Jewett sets an enormous task for himself: to trace the history and context of science and values relations over the course of some hundred-odd years of U.S. history. He does this to further an argument that science was once explicitly connected to the study of human values, and that the story that explains how science became value neutral is a contingent one. It could have happened differently, he argues, and it should have. Furthermore, because that history (...) is contingent, we are free to still change our academic habits and to allow the social sciences to be sciences alongside the natural and physical sciences. The reason this would be worth doing, according to Jewett, is.. (shrink)
These comments consist of reflections on the papers Anastasios Brenner and R. N. D. Martin presented at the Conference on Pierre Duhem: Historian and Philosopher of Science. I argue they present nicely complementary accounts of Duhem's turn to history of science: Brenner emphasizes reasons internal to Duhem's philosophical concern with scientific methodology while Martin highlights reasons derived from the broader context of Duhem's engagement with religious controversies of his culture. I go on to suggest that seeing Duhem in (...) this broader perspective can help us cope with the conflicts between science and religion in our own culture. (shrink)
In this paper, we respond to Andrew Avins's recent review of methods whose use he advocates in clinical trials, to make them more ethical. He recommends in particular, “unbalanced randomisation”. However, we argue that, before such a recommendation can be made, it is important to establish why unequal randomisation might offer ethical advantages over equal randomisation, other things being equal. It is important to make a pragmatic distinction between trials of treatments that are already routinely available and trials of (...) restricted treatments. We conclude that unequal randomisation could, indeed, be an ethical compromise between protecting the interests of participants and those of society. (shrink)
I want to begin by thanking Bernard Reginster, Jorah Dannenberg, and Andrew Huddleston for their exceptionally rich and insightful critiques of my book. It is rare to find commentators who have engaged so deeply and so thoughtfully. Reginster, Dannenberg, and Huddleston have not focused on subsidiary or inessential themes: their discussions target the book’s central topics and pivotal moves in the argument. I am very grateful to them for taking the time to write such challenging and thoughtful responses to (...) my book.In my response, I will address the main points raised in these critiques. In section 1, I address Dannenberg’s concerns about whether I have adequately characterized nihilism. In section 2, I turn to... (shrink)
In his essay On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany, of 1834, Heinrich Heine suggested to his French audience that the German propensity for ‘metaphysical abstractions’ had led many people to condemn philosophy for its failure to have a practical effect, Germany having only had its revolution in thought, while France had its in reality. Heine, albeit somewhat ironically, refuses to join those who condemn philosophy: ‘German philosophy is an important matter, which concerns the whole of humanity, and (...) only the last grandchildren will be able to judge whether we should be blamed or praised for working out our philosophy before our revolution.’ He then makes the following prognosis: the German revolution will not be more mild and more gentle because it was preceded by Kantian critique, Fichtean transcendental idealism and even philosophy of nature. Revolutionary forces have developed via these doctrines which are just waiting for the day when they can break out and fill the world with horror and admiration. … Don't smile at my advice, the advice of a dreamer who warns you about Kantians, Fichteans and philosophers of nature. Don't smile at the fantast who expects the same revolution in the realm of appearance as took place in the realm of spirit. … A play will be performed in Germany in comparison with which the French Revolution could appear just as a harmless idyll. (shrink)
This essay explores Heidegger’s “The Origin of the Work of Art” and Andrew Goldsworthy’s artworks. Both Heidegger and Goldsworthy can be seen as refashioning our ontological bearings towards nature through the work of art. After introducing a set of distinctions (e.g., world/earth) in the context of Heidegger’s conception of the artwork as the event of truth, I argue that Heidegger’s releasing of the work of art from metaphysical notions of “the thing” illuminates the ambiguous status of Goldsworthy’s artworks as (...) things. Goldsworthy’s crafting of artworks from natural materials exemplifies Heidegger’s concept of technē as the bringing forth of a work in the midst of phūsis, or beings that arise of their own accord. (shrink)
This paper explores the political thought of Andrew Michael Ramsay with particular reference to his highly acclaimed book called A New Cyropaedia, or the Travels of Cyrus (1727). Dedicated to Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, to whom he was tutor, this work has been hitherto viewed as a Jacobite imitation of the Telemachus, Son of Ulysses(1699) of his eminent teacher archbishop Fénelon of Cambrai. By tracing the dual legacy of the first Persian Emperor Cyrus in Western thought, (...) I demonstrate that Ramsay was as much indebted to Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet's Discourse on Universal History (1681)as he was to Fénelon's political romance. Ramsay took advantage of Xenophon's silence about the eponymous hero's adolescent education in his Cyropaedia, or the Education of Cyrus (c.380B.C.), but he was equally inspired by the Book of Daniel, where the same Persian prince was eulogised as the liberator of the Jewish people from their captivity in Babylon. The main thrust of Ramsay's adaptation was not only to revamp the Humanist- cum-Christian theory and practice of virtuous kingship for a restored Jacobite regime, but on a more fundamental level, to tie in secular history with biblical history. In this respect, Ramsay's New Cyropaedia, or the Travels of Cyrus, was not just another Fénelonian political novel but more essentially a work of universal history. In addition to his Jacobite model of aristocratic constitutional monarchy, it was this Bossuetian motive for universal history, which was first propounded by the German reformer Philipp Melanchthon in his Chronicon Carionis (1532), that most decisively separated Ramsay from Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, author of another famous advice book for princes of the period, The Idea of a Patriot King (written in late 1738 for the education of Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales, but officially published in 1749). (shrink)