It is often held that people have a moral right to believe and say whatever they want. For instance, one might claim that they have a right to believe racist things as long as they keep those thoughts to themselves. Or, one might claim that they have a right to pursue any philosophical question they want as long as they do so with a civil tone. In this paper I object to those claims and argue that no one has such (...) unlimited moral rights. In Part 1 I explore the value of the freedoms of thought and expression. In Part 2 I argue against the unlimited moral right to free expression, focusing in particular on the special obligations and moral constraints that obtain for academics. In Part 3 I argue against the unlimited moral right to freethought. (shrink)
In his "Elementa Iuris Naturae et Gentium" Johann Gottlieb Heineccius presents a unique account of love as the principle of natural law, referring to the main concern of early modern protestant theories of natural law: the importance of securing subjective rights by a law. Heineccius accepts the universal character of subjective rights derived from human nature, claiming their protection as natural duties required by a law. This chapter provides an attempt to explain the specific ways in which Heineccius deals with (...) the paradoxical situation that the protection of subjective rights by a natural law theory requires certain limitations of the use of such rights, in order to avoid the mutual collision of such rights. For this purpose it focuses on the rights to freethought and free speech, which are very good example for that. While the first part reconstructs the way in which Heineccius claims the specific concern of natural law and points out continuities and discontinuities with his predecessors, the second part focuses on the requirement of natural law for limitation of freethought and free speech in case of collision of subjective rights. (shrink)
A richly detailed history of French secular thought in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. A wealth of material is introduced from unpublished manuscripts. Spink's stress on the clandestine spread of the enlightenment, in spite of official suppression, is interesting and sobering.--J. M. W.
This article aims to resolve the apparent contradiction in Rousseau's oeuvre concerning the origin of man's evil. In the Second Discourse a naturalistic explanation for the development of evil is given, whereas in Emile the Savoyard Vicar propounds a deontological account. The two can be reconciled, however, through a precise understanding of the nature and bearing of Rousseau's conception of free will. The analysis challenges O'Hagan's interpretation and suggests that the irreducible tensions within Rousseau's thought can be resolved (...) if the Kantian reading of self-mastery is abandoned. The article highlights Rousseau's metaphysical scepticism and concludes with some reflections on the relationship between faith and philosophy. (shrink)
John Stuart Mill is the philosopher of liberalism. Or so some people think. Others disagree; they may give that status to Locke, or (perhaps) to Kant. Or they may think the question frivolous and insist – boringly but, I cannot deny, sensibly – that no one thinker is the philosopher of liberalism.
Based on the analysis of narrations in Free Indirect Discourse and the Historical Present, we argue that the grammatical notion of context of speech should be ramified into a Context of Thought and a Context of Utterance. Tense and person depend on the Context of Utterance, while all other indexicals are evaluated with respect to the Context of Thought. Free Indirect Discourse and the Historical Present are analyzed as special combinatorial possibilities that arise when the two (...) contexts are distinct, and exactly one of them is presented as identical to the physical point at which the sentence is articulated. (shrink)
This article addresses issues in the philosophy of fiction from the perspective of a relevance theoretic approach to communication: first, how should we understand the notion of ‘voice’ as it is used in the analysis of free indirect style narratives; and, second, in what sense can the person responsible for free indirect representations of fictional characters' thoughts be regarded as a communicator? The background to these questions is the debate about the roles of pretence and attribution in (...) class='Hi'>free indirect style. I argue that the role of expressives in sustaining the illusion that fictional characters speak their inner thoughts suggests that ‘voice’ should be understood in two distinct ways. On the one hand, there are cases in which the use of expressive devices leads to the formation of thoughts which are understood to resemble other (attributed) thoughts. On the other hand, there are other cases in which expressives are used as a means of simulating a fictional character's behaviour or style. At the same time, I argue that in order to accommodate free indirect thought representation in a relevance theoretic model of communication, the responsibility for ensuring that the effort of processing the text will be rewarded by optimal relevance must be decoupled from the point of view that is being represented. While the (constructed) author is responsible for orchestrating our interpretation of free indirect thought representations so that the effort of processing will result in optimal relevance, the reader does not necessarily assume this function is being performed by someone who intends to communicate their own thoughts: the relevance of the act of narration may instead lie in the sense of mutuality achieved between reader and character. (shrink)
The paper deals with free will as discussed in the recent book of Michael Frede A Free Will: Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought. Besides a close view on the structure of Fredes’s main ideas and arguments, the paper aims to provide a critical discussion of Frede’s view of St. Augustine’s contribution to the development of the notion of free will. This would enable us to explore and re-think the historical and philosophical conditions of the (...) rise of the notion of free will in ancient thought. (shrink)
Much of chapters 2 to 6 of this book is in agreement with publications from the last twenty years (including those of the reviewer); so for example Frede’s points that neither Aristotle nor the Stoics had a notion of free-will; that in Epictetus (for the first time) the notions of freedom and will were combined; that an indeterminist notion of free-will occurs first in Alexander. The achievement of these chapters lies in the way Frede carefully joins them together (...) and uses them as a basis for some substantive criticism and rewriting of the history of free-will regarding late antique Pagan and Christian authors, in particular Plotinus, Origen and Augustine. (shrink)
The determinism-free will debate is perhaps as old as philosophy itself and has been engaged in from a great variety of points of view including those of scientific, theological, and logical character. This chapter focuses on two arguments from logic. First, there is an argument in support of determinism that dates back to Aristotle, if not farther. It rests on acceptance of the Law of Excluded Middle, according to which every proposition is either true or false, no matter whether (...) the proposition is about the past, present or future. In particular, the argument goes, whatever one does or does not do in the future is determined in the present by the truth or falsity of the corresponding proposition. The second argument coming from logic is much more modern and appeals to Gödel's incompleteness theorems to make the case against determinism and in favour of free will, insofar as that applies to the mathematical potentialities of human beings. The claim more precisely is that as a consequence of the incompleteness theorems, those potentialities cannot be exactly circumscribed by the output of any computing machine even allowing unlimited time and space for its work. The chapter concludes with some new considerations that may be in favour of a partial mechanist account of the mathematical mind. (shrink)
We examine here how the Syrian philosopher and theologian Bardaisan conciliates necessary fate and free will in man. Our study is based on an examination of the Book of the Laws of Countries, a dialogue on free will and astral fate, featuring Bardaisan, a few of his disciples and an opponent. Résumé Cet article examine la manière dont le philosophe et théologien syrien Bardesane concilie la nécessité du destin et le libre arbitre de l’homme. L’étude est menée sur (...) la base d’une étude du Livre des lois des pays, dialogue sur la liberté et le destin astral mettant en scène Bardesane, quelques-uns de ses disciples et un adversaire. (shrink)
Where does the notion of free will come from? How and when did it develop, and what did that development involve? In Michael Frede's radically new account of the history of this idea, the notion of a free will emerged from powerful assumptions about the relation between divine providence, correctness of individual choice, and self-enslavement due to incorrect choice. Anchoring his discussion in Stoicism, Frede begins with Aristotle--who, he argues, had no notion of a free will--and ends (...) with Augustine. Frede shows that Augustine, far from originating the idea, derived most of his thinking about it from the Stoicism developed by Epictetus. (shrink)