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)
ABSTRACTDuring 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... (shrink)
Human experience manifests a necessary polarity of process and structure. Philosophy and religion, since they are "both human attempts to understand the whole world in which we live," are alike in having to take account of both these fundamental needs. The religions chosen to illustrate this thesis are the Canaanite, Greek, and Christian; the representatives of philosophy are James and Dewey, who, it is argued, had more room in their thought for structure and order than their critics have charged.--J. J.
In this review essay, I first set out and then subject to criticism the main claims advanced by William Talbott in his excellent recent book, “Which Rights Should be Universal?”. Talbott offers a conception of basic universal human rights as the minimally necessary and sufficient conditions to political legitimacy. I argue that his conception is at once too robustly liberal and democratic and too inattentive to key features of the rule of law to play this role. I suggest that (...) John Rawls’s conception of human rights comes closer to hitting the mark Talbott sets for himself and that Talbott incorrectly rejects Rawls’s view. I conclude that what likely divides Talbott and Rawls is that Rawls, but not Talbott, explicitly frames the inquiry into the minimally necessary and sufficient conditions to political legitimacy in terms of a liberal democratic people attempting to determine, as a matter of its just foreign policy, whether or not to recognize other organized polities as independent and self-determining within the international order. (shrink)
Let us call the Dependency Theses the view, first stated by Kant, that certain versions of the cosmological argument depend on the ontological argument. At least two different reasons have been given for the supposed dependence. Given the DT, some of Aquinas' views about God's essence, and about our knowledge of God's existence, can seem, at least at first, to be inconsistent. I consider two different ways of defending Aquinas against this suspicion of inconsistency. On the first defence, based on (...) a widespread understanding of his notion of ‘necessary being’, Aquinas' views fall outside the scope of the DT. The success of this defence is doubtful. There is, however, another defence to be found in Aquinas' work, one directed not to avoiding, but actually to rejecting, the DT. In this second defence, the DT is not a correct assessment even of those views that do fall within its scope. Its success means that Aquinas had available a principled refutation of the DT some five hundred years before it was first formulated. (shrink)
Several authors, such as William J. Morgan, John S. Russell and R. Scott Kretchmar, have claimed that the limits between the diverse normative theories of sport need to be revisited. Most of these works are philosophically grounded in Anglo-American philosophical approaches. For instance, William J. Morgan’s proposal is mainly based on Richard Rorty’s philosophy. But he also discusses with some European philosophers like Jürgen Habermas. However, Habermas’ central ideas are rejected by Morgan. The purpose of this paper is (...) to analyse Morgan’s rejection of Habermas’ thought and show that a more appropriate normative of sport that explains better our current sporting world can be achieved by drawing on the German philosopher’s ideas. The plan of this paper is the following. It shall analyse the limits of the distinction between broad internalism and externalism by taking Morgan’s work as its starting point. To do so, firstly, the conventionalist way in which Morgan criticises the limits of interpretivism sha.. (shrink)
In this paper I propose to examine the cognitive status of mystical experience. There are, I think, three distinct but overlapping sorts of religious experience. In the first place, there are two kinds of mystical experience. The extrovertive or nature mystic identifies himself with a world which is both transfigured and one. The introvertive mystic withdraws from the world and, after stripping the mind of concepts and images, experiences union with something which can be described as an undifferentiated unity. Introvertive (...) mysticism is a more important phenomenon than extrovertive mysticism. Numinous experiences are complex experiences involving dread, awe, wonder, and fascination. One finds oneself confronted with something which is radically unlike ordinary objects. Before its overwhelming majesty and power, one is nothing but dust and ashes. In contrasting oneself with its uncanny beauty and goodness, one experiences one's own uncleanness and ugliness. The experiences bound up with the devotional life of the ordinary believer are also religious in character. Nevertheless these more ordinary experiences should, I think, be distinguished both from numinous experiences and from mystical experiences, for they do not appear to involve the sense of immediate presence which characterises the latter. (shrink)
In the movie Regarding Henry, the main character, Henry Turner, is a lawyer who suffers brain damage as a result of being shot during a robbery. Before being wounded, the Old Henry Turner had been a successful lawyer, admired as a fierce competitor and well-known for his killer instinct. As a result of the injury to his brain, the New Henry Turner loses the personality traits that had made the Old Henry such a formidable adversary.
William J. Gavin is a leading authority on the philosophy of William James. For over forty-five years, his work embodies Jamesian virtues of openness, interdisciplinarity, and novelty. His latest book is Jamesian in the best sense.Gavin investigates the “indissoluble marriage” between “radical empiricism” and “the will to believe”—perennial themes in the Jamesian corpus. Starting with an important heuristic distinction between “manifest” and “latent” meanings, Gavin guides the reader through a landscape where objectivity and subjectivity often collide, resulting in (...) powerful experiential implications. Questions concerning belief, will, mortality, and God reflexively fold upon themselves in ways leading to the .. (shrink)
In a series of important and influential books, Wilfred Cantwell Smith has convincingly argued that religious traditions are misunderstood if one does not grasp the faith which they express, that these traditions are not static but fluid, and that as a result of greater knowledge and increased contact between members of different traditions, we have entered a period in which it is no longer possible for the traditions to develop in relative isolation. This paper is devoted to an important aspect (...) of Smith's thought – his distinction between faith and propositional belief. (shrink)
The falsifiability of theistic assertions no longer appears to be the burning issue it once was, and perhaps this is all to the good. For one thing, it was never entirely clear just what demand was being made of the theist. In this paper I shall not discuss the nature or legitimacy of the falsification requirement as applied to theistic assertions. Instead I shall argue that some of the reasons which have been offered to show that these assertions are not (...) falsifiable are by no means conclusive. Since the most plausible bit of anti-theistic evidence is the existence of evil, it would seem to be legitimate for us to devote our attention to arguments which are designed to show that the theist does not allow the presence of evil to count against his claims. (shrink)
One of the most extensive yet least conclusive methodological debates within religious studies revolves around the question of what, precisely, the phenomenology of religion is and what contribution it can make to the study of religion. I do not intend to answer this important question here. To do so satisfactorily would require a range of historical, philosophical and methodological inquiry which would go quite beyond the bounds of a single article. My intention in this paper is, by comparison, unambitious. It (...) is to take one view of what phenomenology of religion is and to consider an area outside that usually explored by students of religion which can, nonetheless, shed some light on how religions might be studied in a way which is in accordance with the phenomenology of religion so understood. What follows will offer an answer to the question of what contribution one particular understanding of phenomenology might make to the study of religion, but no attempt will be made to establish whether or not this particular understanding ought to be regarded as normative. (shrink)
When William James spoke about belief to the philosophy clubs of Yale and Brown in 1896, he forewarned his audience of the nature of his comments by describing them as a “sermon on justification by faith” (James 13), titling the talk “The Will to Believe.” Although there is disagreement about the substance of James’s remarks, it is fairly innocuous to assert that James thought they were appropriate because of the prevalence of the “logical spirit” of many of those who (...) practiced academic philosophy that led them to the conclusion that religious faith was untenable. Aware of his audience, James presents his view on the permissibility of religious faith on the terms and grounds familiar to professional philosophers. .. (shrink)
SummaryWilliam Barlow was an important if unconventional scientist, known for having developed the ‘closest-packing’ atomic models of crystal structure. He resumed an early nineteenth-century tradition of utilizing crystallographical and chemical data to determine atomic arrangements in crystals. This essay recounts Barlow's career and scientific activity in three parts: His place in the tradition of determining atomic arrangement in context of this earlier tradition and of contemporaneous developments of crystallography and chemistry, his unconventional career, and the ‘success’ of his program to (...) determine atomic arrangements in crystals and its influence on the work of William Lawrence Bragg. (shrink)
William Gavin’s William James in Focus: Willing to Believe is a brief and creative introduction to James’s philosophy aimed at students and non-specialists. As the subtitle of the book suggests, Gavin uses James’s will to believe doctrine as the organizing theme for his interpretation of James’s philosophy. One might initially think that this implies reading the latter in the light of James’s views on religion, but Gavin downplays the religious aspects of James’s will to believe doctrine and focuses (...) instead on its relevance for understanding what he terms the “latent image” of James’s personal life, which according to Gavin is primarily concerned with human mortality and the need to affirm philosophical positions.. (shrink)