Social and political scientists, historians and others, have put forward a number of widely differing views concerning the ‘character’ of Islamic millenarian and/or Mahdist movements in Africa. The same is true of course with regard to the opinions ofscholars concerning the transformative capacity of Islam as an ideology. In this paper I want to look at one aspect only of Islamic millenarianism in the West African context, viz. its allegedly revolutionary character.
First published Sat Apr 5, 2003; most recent substantive revision Mon Feb 10, 2014. -/- Samuel Clarke (1675–1729) was the most influential British philosopher in the generation between Locke and Berkeley. His philosophical interests were mostly in metaphysics, theology, and ethics.
This essay is an attempt to piece together the elements of G. A. Cohen's thought on the theory of socialism during his long intellectual voyage from Marxism to political philosophy. It begins from his theory of the maldistribution of freedom under capitalism, moves onto his critique of libertarian property rights, to his diagnosis of the “deep inegalitarian” structure of John Rawls' theory and concludes with his rejection of the “cheap” fraternity promulgated by liberal egalitarianism. The paper's exegetical contention is that (...) Cohen's work in political philosophy is best understood in the background of lifelong commitment to a form of democratic, non-market, socialism realizing the values of freedom, equality and community, as he conceived them. The first part of the essay is therefore an attempt to retrieve core socialism-related arguments by chronologically examining the development of Cohen's views, using his books as thematic signposts. The second part brings these arguments together with an eye to reconstructing his vision of socialism. It turns out that Cohen's political philosophy offers a rich conception of objective and subjective freedom, an original understanding of justice as satisfaction of genuine need, and a substantive ideal of fraternity as justificatory community with others. If properly united, these values can suggest a full-bloodied account of the just polity, and give us a glimpse into what it means, for Cohen, to treat people as equals. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that G. A. Cohen’s defense of the feminist slogan, “The personal is political”, his argument against Rawls’s restriction of principles of justice to the basic structure of society, depends for its intelligibility on the ability to distinguish—with reasonable but perhaps not perfect precision—between those situations in which what Nancy Rosenblum has called “the logic of congruence” is validly invoked and those in which it is not. More importantly, I suggest that the philosophical shape of Cohen’s (...) critique makes it difficult for him to supply the required criterion, and that the methodological “intuitionism” he claims to be committed to is at odds with his larger argument against Rawls concerning the subject of justice. (shrink)
G. A. Cohen was one of the world's leading political theorists. He was noted, in particular, for his contributions to the literature of egalitarian justice. Cohen's classic writings offer one of the most influential responses to the currency of the egalitarian justice question - the question, that is, of whether egalitarians should seek to equalize welfare, resources, opportunity, or some other indicator of well-being. Underlying Cohen's argument is the intuition that the purpose of egalitarianism is to eliminate disadvantage for which (...) it is inappropriate to hold the person responsible. His argument therefore focuses on the appropriate role of considerations regarding responsibility in egalitarian judgment. This volume comprises chapters by major scholars addressing and responding both to Cohen's account of the currency of egalitarian justice and its practical implications and to Cohen's arguments regarding the appropriate form of justificatory arguments about justice. (shrink)
This is a short, critical introduction to Cohen's book and argument: that socialism is justified on several grounds contrary to common opinion. I present Cohen's arguments together with some potential problems as well as responses to them.
Do we directly perceive physical objects? What is the significance of the qualification ‘directly’ here? Austin famously denied that there was a unique interpretation by which we could make sense of the traditional debate in the philosophy of perception. I look here at Thompson Clarke’s discussion of G. E. Moore and surface perception to answer Austin’s scepticism.
A. G. Long’s slender but significant volume traces a line in the Platonic dialogues from Socratic conversation to dialogical thought. Long’s broader project is to explore the concept that conversation is relevant to philosophy. However, the book’s main focus is more restricted to two ideas: first, whether one needs others to do philosophy, and if so, why; and second, how Socratic conversation connects to the self-sufficient exploration of ideas. Implicit in the book is perhaps also an exploration of how the (...) form of Platonic dialogue fits with contemporary academic philosophy, in which we still pursue critical thinking but rarely write in the form of dramatic dialogue.Long’s main line of argument shows that while .. (shrink)
Kurt Gdel was the most outstanding logician of the 20th century and a giant in the field. This book is part of a five volume set that makes available all of Gdel's writings. The first three volumes, already published, consist of the papers and essays of Gdel. The final two volumes of the set deal with Gdel's correspondence with his contemporary mathematicians, this fourth volume consists of material from correspondents from A-G.
Kurt Gödel was the most outstanding logician of the twentieth century, famous for his hallmark works on the completeness of logic, the incompleteness of number theory, and the consistency of the axiom of choice and the continuum hypothesis. He is also noted for his work on constructivity, the decision problem, and the foundations of computability theory, as well as for the strong individuality of his writings on the philosophy of mathematics. He is less well known for his discovery of unusual (...) cosmological models for Einstein's equations, in theory permitting time travel into the past. The Collected Works is a landmark resource that draws together a lifetime of creative thought and accomplishment. The first two volumes were devoted to Gödel's publications in full, and the third volume featured a wide selection of unpublished articles and lecture texts found in Gödel's Nachlass. These long-awaited final two volumes contain Gödel's correspondence of logical, philosophical, and scientific interest. Volume IV covers A to G, with H to Z in volume V; in addition, Volume V contains a full inventory of Gödel's Nachlass. All volumes include introductory notes that provide extensive explanatory and historical commentary on each body of work, English translations of material originally written in German, and a complete bibliography of all works cited. Kurt Gödel: Collected Works is designed to be useful and accessible to as wide an audience as possible without sacrificing scientific or historical accuracy. The only comprehensive edition of Gödel's work available, it will be an essential part of the working library of professionals and students in logic, mathematics, philosophy, history of science, and computer science and all others who wish to be acquainted with one of the great minds of the twentieth century. (shrink)
These notes are meant to continue from the paper on Consistency, in proving number-theoretic theorems from the second-order arithmetical system called FFFF. Its ultimate target is Quadratic Reciprocity, although it introduces and proves some facts about the least common multiple at the start.
R. G. Collingwood’s 'The Principles of Art' argues that art is the expression of emotion. This dissertation offers a new interpretation of that philosophy, and argues that this interpretation is both hermeneutically and philosophically plausible. The offered interpretation differs from the received interpretation most significantly in treating the concept of ‘art’ as primarily scalarly rather than binarily realisable (this is introduced in ch. 1), and in understanding Collingwood’s use of the term ‘emotion’ more broadly (introduced in ch. 2). -/- After (...) the exposition of ch. 1, the remainder of that chapter and the subsequent three chapters are each centred around one sort of objection. In ch. 1, I consider the objection that Collingwood’s scalar understanding of ‘art’ is deviant and unhelpful. I respond by first observing that the understanding is not deviant, and second that it is more philosophically and artistically illuminating. In ch. 2, I consider the objection that Collingwood’s understanding of ‘emotion’ is so narrow that it fails to do justice to the fact that art can be philosophically potent. I respond that his understanding of ‘emotion’ is broad enough that this objection fails. In ch. 3, I consider the objection that Collingwood has no theoretical room for the prima facie plausible thought that some emotions are not worth expressing in art. In response, I reinterpret the points that appear to support this contention in a way that makes them both more plausible and more Collingwoodian. Finally, in ch. 4, I consider the objection that Collingwood does not have the theoretical room to do justice to the value of the delight we take in art. I respond by arguing that although he does not have this room to say that this delight is itself an artistic value, it does yet have an important place in his philosophy. (shrink)
The theoretical and practical problems of providing incentives for people's activity in society are becoming increasingly more urgent as the role of the human factor in the development of society grows. In light of modern historical experience, we can see the onesidedness of conceptions according to which the types and directions of activity are mechanically predetermined by conditions external to it, and we can see the necessity of understanding the laws of activity itself in all their complicated dialectical essence. These (...) problems have become particularly important at the present stage of development of Soviet society, when a greater active involvement of the masses and profound changes in social psychology are becoming acutely necessary. (shrink)
Some ways of defending inequality against the charge that it is unjust require premises that egalitarians find easy to dismiss—statements, for example, about the contrasting deserts and/or entitlements of unequally placed people. But a defense of inequality suggested by John Rawls and elaborated by Brian Barry has often proved irresistible even to people of egalitarian outlook. The persuasive power of this defense of inequality has helped to drive authentic egalitarianism, of an old-fashioned, uncompromising kind, out of contemporary political philosophy. The (...) present essay is part of an attempt to bring it back in. (shrink)
Abstract G.A. Cohen has produced an influential criticism of libertarian?ism that posits joint ownership of everything in the world other than labor, with each joint owner having a veto right over any potential use of the world. According to Cohen, in that world rationality would require that wealth be divided equally, with no differential accorded to talent, ability, or effort. A closer examination shows that Cohen's argument rests on two central errors of reasoning and does not support his egalitarian conclusions, (...) even granting his assumption of joint ownership. That assumption was rejected by Locke, Pufendorf and other writers on property for reasons that Cohen does not rebut. (shrink)
This essay is written on the following premises and argues for them. “Enlightenment” is a word or signifier, and not a single or unifiable phenomenon which it consistently signifies. There is no single or unifiable phenomenon describable as “the Enlightenment,” but it is the definite article rather than the noun which is to be avoided. In studying the intellectual history of the late seventeenth century and the eighteenth, we encounter a variety of statements made, and assumptions proposed, to which the (...) term “Enlightenment” may usefully be applied, but the meanings of the term shift as we apply it. The things are connected, but not continuous; they cannot be reduced to a single narrative; and we find ourselves using the word “Enlightenment” in a family of ways and talking about a family of phenomena, resembling and related to one another in a variety of ways that permit of various generalizations about them. We are not, however, committed to a single root meaning of the word “Enlightenment,” and we do not need to reduce the phenomena of which we treat to a single process or entity to be termed “the” Enlightenment. It is a reification that we wish to avoid, but the structure of our language is such that this is difficult, and we will find ourselves talking of “the French” or “the Scottish,” “the Newtonian” or the “the Arminian” Enlightenments, and hoping that by employing qualifying adjectives we may constantly remind ourselves that the keyword “Enlightenment” is ours to use and should not master us. (shrink)
Abstract In Simple Rules for a Complex World, I outlined a set of legal rules that facilitate just and efficient social interactions among individuals. Frederick Schauer's critique of my book ignores the specific implications of my system in favor of a general critique of simplicity that overlooks the dangers to liberty when complex rules confer vast discretion on public figures. He also does not refer to the nonlibertarian features of my system that allow for overcoming holdout positions. These ?take and (...) pay? rules explain how a system broadly protective of private property responds to well?known two?person (Able?Infirm) hypothetical of the sort advanced by G. A. Cohen, which are designed to show how claims of self?ownership lend strong support to egalitarian outcomes. (shrink)
1. The present paper is a continuation of my “Self-Ownership, World Ownership, and Equality,” which began with a description of the political philosophy of Robert Nozick. I contended in that essay that the foundational claim of Nozick's philosophy is the thesis of self-ownership, which says that each person is the morally rightful owner of his own person and powers, and, consequently, that each is free to use those powers as he wishes, provided that he does not deploy them aggressively against (...) others. To be sure, he may not harm others, and he may, if necessary, be forced not to harm them, but he should never be forced to help them, as people are in fact forced to help others, according to Nozick, by redistributive taxation. (shrink)
The relationship between John Locke and Isaac Newton, his co-founder of, in the apt phrase of one recent writer, ‘the Moderate Enlightenment’ of the eighteenth century, has many dimensions. There is their friendship, which began only after each had written his major work, and which had its stormy interlude. There is the difficult question of their mutual impact. In what ways did each draw intellectually on the other? That there was some debt of each to the other is almost certain, (...) but its exact extent is problematic. Questions may be asked over a whole range of intellectual issues, but not always answered. Thus their theology, which was in many respects close, and which forms the bulk of their surviving correspondence, may yet reveal mutual influence. There is the question of their political views, where both were firmly Whig. But it is upon their philosophy, and certain aspects of their philosophy in particular, that this paper will concentrate. My main theme is the nature of their empiricism, and my main contention is that between them they produced a powerful and comprehensive philosophy. (shrink)