Mark Siderits’ confluence approach to philosophy, first sketched in his landmark monograph, Personal Identity and Buddhist Philosophy (2003), is emblematic of what has arguably become the most influential way of engaging historically and culturally distant Buddhist thinkers and texts systematically and constructively. For nearly half a century, and rather fittingly for someone enthralled by Madhyamaka, Siderits has successfully charted a middle ground between the text-based, exegetical approach to Buddhist philosophy still dominant in many parts of Europe and East Asia and (...) the methods of contemporary Anglophone analytic philosophy. Indebted to both, yet unconstrained by either, the confluence approach represents Siderits’ unique brand of historically-informed systematic reflection, delivered in the characteristically forceful and tightly argued prose that defines his inimitable style. (shrink)
The article shows that an uncritical view of domination is a weakness of current accounts of realist legitimacy and it argues that an agonistic supplement can help overcome that weakness. Two accounts of realist legitimacy are discussed: the moral minimum account and the acceptance account. In each case, certain modifications of the argument are needed to establish a distance from moralism, but these modifications create an indifference to domination. The incorporation of an agonistic principle into realist legitimacy can solve this (...) problem. The agonistic case for effective possibilities for contestation endows realist legitimacy with a critical stance towards arrangements that are unresponsive to criticism on the part of those who are subject to them without, however, introducing a moralist argument. (shrink)
The divisions emanating from the Eurozone crisis have led political realists to argue that European identity should be conceived of via “basic legitimation demand” that prioritizes the creation of order in backward-looking, non-utopian terms. In contrast, I suggest that Europe would do better by building an ethically-constitutive “story of peoplehood” that looks both backward and forward. I argue that the EU should build on the ideals drawn from the continent’s shared past as well as its desire to retake control from (...) the global economic forces that threaten democratic political sovereignty in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
Recent authors, emphasizing Newman’s distaste for natural theology—especially William Paley’s design argument—have urged us to follow Newman’s lead and reject design arguments. But I argue that Newman’s own argument for God’s existence (his argument from conscience) fails without a supplementary design argument or similar reason to think our faculties are truth-oriented. In other words, Newman appears to need the kind of argument he explicitly rejects. Finding Newman’s rejection of natural theology to stem primarily from factors other than worries about cogency, (...) however, I further argue that there is little reason not to pursue design arguments in order to save the argument from conscience. (shrink)
ABSTRACT The literature surrounding Horgan and Timmons’s Moral Twin Earth scenarios has focused on whether such scenarios present a metasemantic problem for naturalist realists. But in Choosing Normative Concepts, Eklund uses a similar scenario to illuminate a novel, distinctly metaphysical problem for normative realists of both naturalist and non-naturalist stripes. The problem is that it is not clear what would suffice for the sort of ardent realist view that normative realists have in mind – the view that reality itself favors (...) certain ways of acting and valuing. Eklund then offers a metasemantic view that he thinks can provide the best solution to this problem. In this reply to Eklund, I argue that Eklund’s treatment of the problem and his solution re-entangle metaphysical and metasemantic issues that ought to be kept separate. I also argue that there is a purely metaphysical solution to the problem at hand, which Eklund’s own solution seems to implicitly rely upon. While these criticisms do not suggest that Eklund’s positive view is false, they do undermine some of the broader lessons that Eklund hopes to draw from the view. (shrink)
Morality exercises a deep and questionable influence on the way we live our lives. The influence is deep both because moral injunctions are embedded in our psyches long before we can reflect on their status and because even after we become reflective agents, the question of how we should live our lives among others is intimately bound up with the more general question of how we should live our lives: our stance toward morality and our conception of our lives as (...) having significance are of a piece. The influence is questionable because morality pretends to a level of objectivity that it may not possess. Moral injunctions are meant to be binding on us in some way that is independent of the desires or preferences we may happen to have. When one asserts that a certain action is morally worthy or shameful one is, prime facie, doing more than merely expressing approval or disapproval or trying to get others to act as instruments of one's own will. If moral assertions were shown, at bottom, to be merely such exhortations, then they would be shown to wear a disguise. Morality would be revealed as pretending to an objectivity it does not have, and such a revelation could not but have a profound impact on our lives. It is doubtful that such a revelation could be kept locked up inside our studies. (shrink)
Unbelievable Errors defends an error theory about all normative judgements: not just moral judgements, but also judgements about reasons for action, judgements about reasons for belief, and instrumental normative judgements. This theory states that normative judgements are beliefs that ascribe normative properties, but that normative properties do not exist. It therefore entails that all normative judgements are false. -/- Bart Streumer also argues, however, that we cannot believe this error theory. This may seem to be a problem for the theory. (...) But he argues that it makes this error theory more likely to be true, since it undermines objections to the theory and it makes it harder to reject the arguments for the theory. -/- He then sketches how certain other philosophical theories can be defended in a similar way. He concludes that to make philosophical progress, we need to make a sharp distinction between a theory's truth and our ability to believe it. (shrink)
This book is divided into four parts with a total of nine chapters, all of which had been previously published, some as far back as 1959. The first part, entitled "Custom versus Ideal: A Case Study in the Evolution of Law and Mores," includes two articles dealing with "The Negro in Our Law." The second part, "Of Obligation: The Citizen and the Law," also contains two articles addressing, independently, the problems of civil disobedience and the relation between the lawyer and (...) his client. The third part on "Ethical Problems of Economic Policy" includes one article comparing British and American legislation against restraint of trade, one article on the ethics of competition, and one discussing the social responsibilities of business corporations. Finally, the fourth part, entitled "Force and Morals in International Relations," consists of a single paper asking whether the United Nations Charter is not going the way of the League of Nations Covenant. (shrink)
The inquiry is an introduction to the question, what is goodness? In it, realist and anti-realist accounts are considered. In Part I, two kinds of anti-realism are considered, subjectivist and strict. Subjectivism is the belief that goodness is belief-, affect-, or convention-dependent. It is suggested that subjectivism is based on an equivocation, is circular or is difficult consistently to maintain. Strict anti-realism is the belief that there is and can be no such thing as goodness. Three strict anti-realists are considered: (...) A. J. Ayer, Charles L. Stevenson and R. M. Hare. It is suggested that strict anti-realism is a kind of nihilism and that it is inconsistent with any practice. Whether strict anti-realism is true, however, is not decided. ;In Part II, three realist accounts are considered, those of G. E. Moore, Aristotle and Plato's Socrates in the Republic. It is argued that Moore's analytic and anti-holist account is false. Aristotle's substance ontological account, i.e., his 'somehow holism', is shown to be more phenomenally adequate. The hypothetical realism of Plato's Socrates in the Republic is shown to locate the good in a hierarchical ontology. ;In the Conclusion, a 'Socratic-Aristotelian' account is considered and is seen to account for certain phenomena, to accord with usage and etymology and to avoid the 'naturalistic fallacy'. It is, however, seen to have its own difficulties the consideration of which requires an additional account. (shrink)
The central claim of this dissertation is that the most plausible form of virtue theory will incorporate a number of features from an ideal observer theory, and vice versa. Virtue theorists in ethics and epistemology often characterize the virtues as those traits required for a good human life, and right action in terms of the behaviour of virtuous persons. I argue that while such positions are mistaken , a related form of ideal observer theory can capture the virtue theorists' insights. (...) The core of my dissertation lies in developing a unified metaethical/epistemological/aesthetic theory which grounds normative properties in the judgements of ideal observers. Thus, for example, an action is morally right if and only if a virtuous ideal observer would declare it to be so. These ideal observers are identified by their possession of characteristics considered ideal by a class of semi-ideal observers, who are in turn identified by their possession of traits considered ideal by psychologically healthy humans. ;Instead of appealing to human nature, we make direct appeal to our ideals---the factors which give human nature theories much of their initial plausibility. On the other hand, our ideals reflect our human needs, our way of life, etc. They are grounded in human nature and thus of interest to us, capturing a further insight from human nature theory. Like standard ideal observer theories we arrive at a metatheory which provides an attractive blend of cognitivism, while avoiding commitment to 'queer' normative facts in the world. But the ideal observers we appeal to are much more fully characterized than standard ideal observers---their characteristics are grounded in human ideals, thus providing a basis for the judgements of the ideal observers, and providing us with reason to abide by their judgements. I motivate and develop this procedure for deriving ideal observers, consider objections to the approach, and show how the theory improves upon traditional virtue and ideal observer theories. (shrink)
This paper examines Ideal Observer Theory and uses criticisms of it to lay the foundation for a revised theory first suggested by Jonathan Harrison called Ideal Moral Reaction Theory. Harrison’s Ideal Moral Reaction Theory stipulates that the being producing an ideal moral reaction be dispassionate. This paper argues for the opposite: an Ideal Moral Reaction must be performed by a passionate being because it provides motivation for action and places ethical decision-making within human grasp.
Expressionism, holism, and deflationism are central concepts in Blackburn quasi-realistic metaethics. The paper deals with these in order to evaluate the general tenability of Blackburn’s version of non-cognitivism.
An original and independent treatment of epistemology's central question--that concerning the relation between the mind and its objects. The author's answer is that of naive realism: the mind is a spectator of its objects, and the objects themselves are real and independent of it and its activity. The classical objections to such a view are examined forthrightly and yet with care; error, e.g., appears as a function of the unclarity with which some objects are apprehended rather than as evidence that (...) all objects are fictions. Professor Earle is quite willing to spell out the somewhat startling ontological consequences of his view; since whatever is an object of consciousness is real and independent, illusions differ from, say, material objects, not as non-being differs from being, but as one kind of being differs from another. The result is a contribution to metaphysics as well as to epistemology, and its conclusions in both areas are fresh and important. Part of Chapter I first appeared in this Review, VIII, 211-24.--V. C. C. (shrink)
This volume presents fourteen original essays which explore the philosophy of Simon Blackburn, and his lifetime pursuit of a distinctive projectivist and anti-realist research program. The essays document the range and influence of Blackburn's work and reveal, among other things, the resourcefulness of his brand of philosophical pragmatism.
Dans cet article je présente le dilemme de Simon Blackburn pour les théories vériconditionnelles de la modalité, et je discute de ses limitations. Je discute la nature de circularité conceptuelle et argumentative, j’argumente que la circularité conceptuelle ne s’applique pas à toutes les théories vériconditionnelles de la modalité et que, de plus, la circularité argumentative ne s’applique pas. Il n’y a rien d’erroné, en principe, avec les théories de la modalité en termes non modaux, mais les questions épistémologiques présentes sont (...) significatives et ont été trop peu traitées. Je conclus que le dilemme de Blackburn est insuffisant pour défricher le terrain pour sa propre conception quasi-réaliste de la modalité. (shrink)
The paper proposes and defends the following characterization of response dependent property: a property is response-dependent iff there is a response-dependence biconditional for a concept signifying it which holds in virtue of the nature of the property. Finding out whether a property is such is to a large extent a posteriori matter. Finally, colors are response dependent: they are essentially tied to issuing the relevant experiences, so that having those experiences does give access to their, dispositional, nature. Finally, some important (...) contrary views are critically discussed in the paper. (shrink)