This six volume backlist collection brings together an assortment of seminal works by highly influential British philosopher A. C. Ewing. This comprehensive and diverse collection encompasses a fantastic selection of his work in the field of moral philosophy and the history of philosophy; ranging from the definition of good, through to his views on punishment and a study on the work of Emmanuel Kant. Spanning more than 30 years in Professor Ewing’s distinguished career, the reissued volumes in this (...) collection, originally published between 1924 and 1959, offer a thorough and engaging insight into Professor Ewing’s work. (shrink)
A little while ago I thought the ontological argument dead and buried beyond any possible hope of resurrection and no philosophical event has caused me much greater surprise than its revival by a member of the very linguistic school to whose line of thinking it seemed most alien and who were held to have given it its quietus once for all. I am tempted to welcome any relapse into metaphysics by a member of this school as being some sign of (...) grace, but on this issue I must for once take sides with the prevailing tradition against at least this kind of metaphysics. Let me make clear, however, what it is I am combating. The term ‘ontological argument’ has been used for arguments which its original supporters would certainly not have recognised as theirs. It has been used for instance to stand for the claim that it is an essential presupposition of thought that what we must think is true of the real, a claim which could not be used to prove the existence of God unless we had available another proof that we really must think that God exists. It has been used for kinds of ‘idealist’ arguments which I do not want to discuss here. It has been used for the argument that the idea of a perfect being cannot be explained as derived from any other idea and must therefore be explained as produced in us by a being who really is perfect, an argument which appears in Descartes side by side with the ontological argument but which he carefully distinguishes from it. (shrink)
Philosophers have not been sceptical only about metaphysics or religious beliefs. There are a great number of other beliefs generally held which they have had at least as much difficulty in justifying, and in the present article I ask questions as to the right philosophical attitude to these beliefs in cases where to our everyday thought they seem so obvious as to be a matter of the most ordinary common sense. A vast number of propositions go beyond what is merely (...) empirical and cannot be seen to be logically necessary but are still believed by everybody in their daily life. Into this class fall propositions about physical things, other human minds and even propositions about one's own past experiences based on memory, for we are not now ‘observing’ our past. The phenomenalist does not escape the difficulty about physical things, for he reduces physical object propositions, in so far as true, not merely to propositions about his own actual experience but to propositions about the experiences of other human beings in general under certain conditions, and he cannot either observe or logically prove what the experiences of other people are or what even his own would be under conditions which have not yet been fulfilled. What is the philosopher to say about such propositions? Even Moore, who insisted so strongly that we knew them, admitted that we did not know how we knew them. The claim which a religious man makes to a justified belief that is neither a matter of purely empirical perception nor formally provable is indeed by no means peculiar to the religious. It is made de facto by everybody in his senses, whether or not he realizes that he is doing so. There is indeed a difference: while everyone believes in the existence of other human beings and in the possibility of making some probable predictions about the future from the past, not everybody holds religious beliefs, and although this does not necessarily invalidate the claim it obviously weakens it. (shrink)
I do not think that the existence of God can be proved or even that the main justification for the belief can be found in argument in the ordinary sense of that term, but I think two of the three which have, since Kant at least, been classified as the traditional arguments of natural theology have some force and are worthy of serious consideration. This consideration I shall now proceed to give. I cannot say this of the remaining one of (...) the arguments, the ‘ontological proof’, which I shall therefore not discuss here. (shrink)
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)
An egalitarian interpretation and defence of Rawls's principles of justice and their institutional and policy implications in response to G. A. Cohen's criticisms of Rawls's alleged justification of unequalizing incentives. Keywords Applied Philosophy Social and Political Philosophy Rawls G.A. Cohen difference priciple incentives justice property-owning democracy.
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)
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)
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.
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)
A.G. van Aarde and historical Jesus research. A.G. van Aarde’s contribution to historical Jesus research is mainly expressed in his book Fatherless in Galilee: Jesus as Child of God. The book was the result of five years of Jesus research. Van Aarde is an ordained minister of the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa. Since the book’s publication in 2001, the NRCA has experienced an immense dispute regarding the book in particular but also regarding the subject of historical Jesus research in (...) general. This dispute has publicly escalated since 2010. It has often centred on Van Aarde’s notion of Jesus’ fatherlessness. This article will focus on said book in order to ascertain what is meant by the concept ‘the fatherless Jesus’. This is done to illustrate that Van Aarde’s research, as it converges in the scrutinised publication, remains of relevance to the NRCA. (shrink)
Is the existence of God a reasonable metaphysical hypothesis? So asks A. C. Ewing in his important posthumous work, Value and Reality . Thus the topic of the book is theistic religion, not in its entirety, but rather merely in its intellectual part. That it does have such a part, and further that it makes claims ‘to objective truth in the field of metaphysics’ , is defended on the grounds that a fictional ‘story’ about God has what religious or (...) ethical impact it may have because, or at least mainly because, it is taken precisely not as fictional, but as expressing an objective theological truth; and that a story, or an account, can constitute a good reason for one's acting in a certain way only if the account is, in fact, objectively true. Bearing on both points is Ewing's observation that ‘emotion, at least except in pathological cases, requires some objective belief about the real, true or false, to support it for long, and if it exists without knowledge or rationally founded belief with which it is in agreement, it is to be condemned as irrational or unfitting, as it would be unfitting to rejoice at something disastrous or be angry with an inanimate thing’ . The claim is not, we are told, that religious statements are literal as distinguished from symbolic. The door would seem to be left open, in fact, to their all being symbolic. What is essential is that some of them symbolise distinctively metaphysical truths, or truths ‘going beyond the realm of science’ and ‘throwing some light on the general nature of the real’ . We should indeed distinguish, Ewing notes, ‘belief in’ from ‘belief that’. Yet the former is not possible without the latter. ‘Unless I believe that God exists I cannot believe in God’ . So in Ewing's opinion, statements of metaphysics—if not concerning God, then at least concerning certain general aspects of reality—are most important for religion as a whole, and are, in being true, conceptually necessary to its validity, or to its ‘fittingness’. (shrink)
Is the existence of God a reasonable metaphysical hypothesis? So asks A. C. Ewing in his important posthumous work, Value and Reality. Thus the topic of the book is theistic religion, not in its entirety, but rather merely in its intellectual part. That it does have such a part, and further that it makes claims ‘to objective truth in the field of metaphysics’, is defended on the grounds that a fictional ‘story’ about God has what religious or ethical impact (...) it may have because, or at least mainly because, it is taken precisely not as fictional, but as expressing an objective theological truth; and that a story, or an account, can constitute a good reason for one's acting in a certain way only if the account is, in fact, objectively true. Bearing on both points is Ewing's observation that ‘emotion, at least except in pathological cases, requires some objective belief about the real, true or false, to support it for long, and if it exists without knowledge or rationally founded belief with which it is in agreement, it is to be condemned as irrational or unfitting, as it would be unfitting to rejoice at something disastrous or be angry with an inanimate thing’. The claim is not, we are told, that religious statements are literal as distinguished from symbolic. The door would seem to be left open, in fact, to their all being symbolic. What is essential is that some of them symbolise distinctively metaphysical truths, or truths ‘going beyond the realm of science’ and ‘throwing some light on the general nature of the real’. We should indeed distinguish, Ewing notes, ‘belief in’ from ‘belief that’. Yet the former is not possible without the latter. ‘Unless I believe that God exists I cannot believe in God’. So in Ewing's opinion, statements of metaphysics—if not concerning God, then at least concerning certain general aspects of reality—are most important for religion as a whole, and are, in being true, conceptually necessary to its validity, or to its ‘fittingness’. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
In recent years, a trend in AI research has started to pursue human-level, general artificial intelli-gence (AGI). Although the AGI framework is characterised by different viewpoints on what intelligence is and how to implement it in artificial systems, it conceptualises intelligence as flexible, general-purposed, and capable of self-adapting to different contexts and tasks. Two important ques-tions remain open: a) should AGI projects simu-late the biological, neural, and cognitive mecha-nisms realising the human intelligent behaviour? and b) what is the relationship, if (...) any, between the concept of general intelligence adopted by AGI and that adopted by psychometricians, i.e., the g factor? In this paper, we address these ques-tions and invite researchers in AI to open a dis-cussion on the theoretical conceptions and practi-cal purposes of the AGI approach. (shrink)
Mr Olding's recent attack on my exposition of the argument from design gives me an opportunity to defend the central theses of my original article. My article pointed out that there were arguments from design of two types—those which take as their premisses regularities of copresence and those which take as their premisses regularities of succession. I sought to defend an argument of the second type. One merit of such an argument is that there is no doubt about the truth (...) of its premisses. Almost all objects in the world behave in a highly regular way describable by scientific laws. Further, any scientific explanation of such a regularity must invoke some more general regularity. The most general regularities of all are, as such, scientifically inexplicable. The question arises whether there is a possible explanation of another kind which can be provided for them, and whether their occurrence gives any or much support to that explanation. I urged that we do explain some phenomena by explanation of an entirely different kind from the scientific. We explain states of affairs by the action of agents who bring them about intentionally of their own choice. Regularities of succession, as well as other phenomena may be explained in this way. Explanation of this kind I will term intentional explanation. Intentional explanation of some phenomenon E consists in adducing an agent A who brought E about of his own choice and a further end G which, he believed, would be forwarded by the production of E. (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)