You 遊 is a crucial term for understanding the Zhuangzi . Translated as “play,” “free play,” and “wandering,” it is usually defined as an ideal, playful Zhuangzian way of being. There are two problems with this definition. The first is logical: the Zhuangzi cannot consistently recommend playfulness as an ideal, since doing so vitiates the essence of you —it becomes an ethical imperative instead of an activity freely undertaken for its own sake. The second problem is performative: arguments for playful (...) Zhuangzi as exemplar resemble those of the logicians and philosophers who appear to come in for Zhuangzian criticism. This essay addresses these tensions by demonstrating how the Zhuangzi ambiguates the nature and value of you . Apparent endorsements of you are not freestanding, instead occurring in grudging replies of teachers to overly zealous students. In light of this recontextualization, a new version of you is offered that accommodates “non-playful” ways of being. (shrink)
The distinction between toys and games is built into grammar itself: one plays games but plays with toys. Although some thinkers have recognized the importance of the distinction, their insights are often contradictory and vague, and the word toy is used unsystematically to refer to a wide range of objects and associated play-activities. To remedy this problem a phenomenological approach to play could be helpful, but those that exist rarely discuss the difference between forms of play, instead using playfulness as (...) ambiguous shorthand for freedom from rules. Beginning with Charles Baudelaire’s 1853 essay, “The Philosophy of Toys,” the author surveys and synthesizes various theories of toys to produce a detailed account of those objects that conduce to toy-play, focusing on insignificance as the defining phenomenological quality of toys. He then uses speech act theory to offer a definition of a toy—an invitation to play with its identity—and explores how the existence of such an invitation depends not only on the intrinsic qualities of the object of play, but also its context and the identity of the player. (shrink)
An explanation is given of why it is in the nature of inquiry into whether or not p that its aim is fully achieved only if one comes to know that p or to know that not-p and, further, comes to know how one knows, either way. In the absence of the latter one is in no position to take the inquiry to be successfully completed or to vouch for the truth of the matter in hand. An upshot is that (...) although knowledge matters because truth matters this should not be understood to mean that knowledge matters because true belief matters. (shrink)
[Alan Weir] This paper addresses the problem of how to account for objective content-for the distinction between how we actually apply terms and the conditions in which we ought to apply them-from within a naturalistic framework. Though behaviourist or dispositionalist approaches are generally held to be unsuccessful in naturalising objective content or 'normativity', I attempt to restore the credibility of such approaches by sketching a behaviouristic programme for explicating objective content. /// [Alexander Miller] Paul Boghossian (1989, 1990) has argued, (...) on grounds concerning the holistic nature of belief fixation, that there are principled reasons for thinking that 'optimal conditions' versions of reductive dispositionalism about content cannot hope to satisfy a condition of extensional accuracy. I discern three separable strands of argument in Boghossian's work-the circularity objection, the open-endedness objection, and the certification objection-and argue that each of these objections fails. My conclusion is that for all that Boghossian has shown, 'optimal conditions' versions of reductive dispositionalism have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
Economic approaches to both social evaluation and decision-making are typically Paretian or utilitarian in nature and so display commitments to both welfarism and consequentialism. The contrast between the economic approach and any rights-based social philosophy has spawned a large literature that may be divided into two branches. The first is concerned with the compatibility of rights and utilitarianism seen as independent moral forces. This branch of the literature may be characterized as an example of the broader debate between the teleological (...) and deontological approaches. The second is concerned with the possibility that substantial rights may be grounded in utilitarianism with the moral force of rights being derived from more basic commitments to welfarism and consequentialism. This branch of the literature may be characterized as an exploration of the flexibility of the teleological approach, and, in particular, its ability to give rise to views more normally associated with the deontological approach. This essay is concerned with the second branch of the literature. (shrink)
As a preliminary to the justification of equal opportunity, we require a few words on the concept. An opportunity is a chance to attain some goal or obtain some benefit. More precisely, it is the lack of some obstacle or obstacles to the attainment of some goal or benefit. Opportunities are equal in some specified or understood sense when persons face roughly the same obstacles or obstacles of roughly the same difficulty of some specified or understood sort. In different contexts (...) we might have different sorts of benefits or obstacles in mind. But in the current social context, and in the context of this discussion, we refer to educational and occupational opportunities, chances to attain the benefits of higher education and of socially and economically desirable positions, benefits assumed to be desired by many or most individuals, other things being equal. And we generally divide obstacles into two broad classes: those imposed by the social system or by other persons in the society, for example, the hardships of life in the lower economic classes or barriers from prejudices based on race, sex, or ethnic background; and those imposed by natural disabilities, for example, low intelligence or lack of talents. The initial question is whether a moral society is obligated to create equality in opportunities in the senses just defined. I shall assume here initially that there is some such obligation on the part of society or the state, although I shall specify its nature and limits more precisely below. With the exception of certain libertarians, almost everyone, liberal and conservative alike, agrees in this assumption. (shrink)
I propose to consider the question, "Can machines think?" This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms "machine" and "think." The definitions might be framed so as to reflect so far as possible the normal use of the words, but this attitude is dangerous, If the meaning of the words "machine" and "think" are to be found by examining how they are commonly used it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the meaning and the answer to (...) the question, "Can machines think?" is to be sought in a statistical survey such as a Gallup poll. But this is absurd. Instead of attempting such a definition I shall replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words. The new form of the problem can be described in terms of a game which we call the 'imitation game." It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays in a room apart front the other two. The object of the game for the interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman. He knows them by labels X and Y, and at the end of the game he says either "X is A and Y is B" or "X is B and Y is A." The interrogator is allowed to put questions to A and B. We now ask the question, "What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game?" Will the interrogator decide wrongly as often when the game is played like this as he does when the game is played between a man and a woman? These questions replace our original, "Can machines think?". (shrink)
In this book, Alan Wertheimer seeks to identify when a transaction or relationship can be properly regarded as exploitative--and not oppressive, manipulative, or morally deficient in some other way--and explores the moral weight of taking ...
In this essay I wish to defend the intuition that God transcends time, of which he is the Creator. To do this, I will develop a new understanding of the term ‘timeless eternity’ as it applies to God. This assumes the inadequacy of the traditional notion of divine eternity, as it is found in Boethius, Anselm and Aquinas. Very briefly, the reasons for this inadequacy are as follows. God sustains the universe, which means in part that he is responsible for (...) the fundamental ontological status of things. Because the universe is an everchanging reality, things do change in their fundamental ontological status at different times – a change we must ascribe to God, and cannot ascribe to the objects themselves, since this has to do with their very existence. God himself, therefore, does different things at different times. This implies change in God. Whenever a change occurs, a duration occurs. Therefore, God is in time. But I do not think it is proper to say that God is in our time. God transcends time, and he is the Creator of our space-time. It is theologically more proper to say that we are in God's time, and I will adopt this language here. (shrink)
A substantial body of literature has been produced in the twentieth century by religious and philosophical writers on the ethics of belief. Discussion of this topic has generally focused on the processes leading up to belief within the individual, so that it would not be inaccurate to say that for most of these writers ‘the ethics of belief’ means ‘the ethics of coming–to–believe’. There has been little attention among these writers, however, to the moral questions which surround the production or (...) inducement of beliefs in others, to the ethics of persuasion . An extension of the ethics of belief to cover moral issues which arise in connection with persuasion seems reasonable; the ethics of belief, widely construed, might be said to encompass questions about both the production of beliefs within oneself and the inducement of beliefs in others. (shrink)
This book is a major contribution to the history of analytic philosophy in general and of logical positivism in particular. It provides the first detailed and comprehensive study of Rudolf Carnap, one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century philosophy. The focus of the book is Carnap's first major work: Der logische Aufbau der Welt. It reveals tensions within the context of German epistemology and philosophy of science in the early twentieth century. Alan Richardson argues that Carnap's move to (...) philosophy of science in the 1930s was largely an attempt to dissolve the tension in his early epistemology. This book fills a significant gap in the literature on the history of twentieth-century philosophy. It will be of particular importance to historians of analytic philosophy, philosophers of science, and historians of science. (shrink)
In a detailed and spirited critique, Professor James M. Humber has found my defence of the ontological argument unconvincing. Humber's case rests upon his claim that my ‘error’ is due to my ‘having accepted an incorrect definition of “physically necessary being” … ’. Now I do indeed claim that God must be conceived as a factuall necessary being, i.e. as eternally independent. I take the notion of God's aseity or eternal independence to be relatively straightforward and uncontroversial; it is accepted (...) as an essential component of the concept God by many philosophers who also insist that there is no acceptable form of demonstrative theism. Thus, it is widely held that ‘God is a factually necessary being’ does not imply ‘God is a logically necessary being’; that God is eternally independent does not imply that he exists in all possible worlds. But it is precisely this view that I have argued is incorrect. While I concur that there is an intelligible concept of God as factually necessary, I deny that the existence of such a being is logically contingent, a mere matter of empirical fact. Indeed, a rigorous inspection of the concept of an eternally independent being reveals that whether that concept is instantiated, i.e. whether there exists a being exemplifying that concept, is knowable a priori . My claim is in fact stronger than this. I argue that the existence of an eternal, independent, omniscient and omnipotent being is demonstrable by conceptual analysis. It is Humber's contention that my alleged demonstration of God's existence crumbles upon the discovery of the unacceptability of my definition of ‘factually necessary being’. Let us see. (shrink)
This essay develops a liberal account of the mens rea requirement of criminal liability and identifies the fault level required by that account. By “a liberal account” is meant one that interprets the meaning of mens rea in a way that reconciles liability to coercion with the individual's inviolability. The article argues that the wrongdoer's choice to interfere or to risk interfering with another agent's capacity to act on his own ends is the level of fault required to make punishment (...) implicitly self-imposed by the recipient and thus distinguishable from the wrongdoer's violence. Such a choice is one to which a denial of rights of agency may be logically imputed, a denial by which the wrongdoer implicitly authorizes his own coercibility. This version of subjectivism is, I argue, invulnerable against criticisms leveled against other versions. While staking out defensible subjectivist ground, the article criticizes the character, choice, and opportunity theories of mens rea proposed by Fletcher, Moore, and Hart, and elaborates the interpretations of exculpatory conditions flowing from the subjectivist thesis. Finally, it addresses arguments advanced by Ripstein, Duff, and Horder for eliminating the requirement of a conscious choice to do that which amounts to a denial of rights. (shrink)
"When John Dewey died in 1952, he was memorialized as America's most famous philosopher, revered by liberal educators and deplored by conservatives, but universally acknowledged as his country's intellectual voice. Many things conspired to give Dewey an extraordinary intellectual eminence: He was immensely long-lived and immensely prolific; he died in his ninety-third year, and his intellectual productivity hardly slackened until his eighties." "Professor Alan Ryan offers new insights into Dewey's many achievements, his character, and the era in which his (...) scholarship had a remarkable impact. He investigates the question of what an American audience wanted from a public philosopher - from an intellectual figure whose credentials came from his academic standing as a philosopher, but whose audience was much wider than an academic one." "Ryan argues that Dewey's "religious" outlook illuminates his politics much more vividly than it does the politics of religion as ordinarily conceived. He examines how Dewey fit into the American radical tradition, how he was and was not like his transatlantic contemporaries, why he could for so long practice a form of philosophical inquiry that became unfashionable in England after 1914 at the latest."--BOOK JACKET. (shrink)
Alan Miller offers a focused account of perceptual knowledge, the knowledge that we gain by means of seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting. He explains perceptual knowledge in terms of general recognitional abilities, then situates that account within a broader perspective on epistemology and philosophical method more generally.
A major voice in late twentieth-century philosophy, Alan Donagan is distinguished for his theories on the history of philosophy and the nature of morality. The Philosophical Papers of Alan Donagan, volumes 1 and 2, collect 28 of Donagan's most important and best-known essays on historical understanding and ethics from 1957 to 1991. Volume 2 addresses issues in the philosophy of action and moral theory. With papers on Kant, von Wright, Sellars, and Chisholm, this volume also covers a range (...) of questions in applied ethics--from the morality of Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to ethical questions in medicine and law. (shrink)
When does a woman give valid consent to sexual relations? When does her consent render it morally or legally permissible for a man to have sexual relations with her? Why is sexual consent generally regarded as an issue about female consent? And what is the moral significance of consent? These are some of the questions discussed in this important book, which will appeal to a wide readership in philosophy, law, and the social sciences. Alan Wertheimer develops a theory of (...) consent to sexual relations that applies to both law and morality in the light of the psychology of sexual relations, the psychology of perpetrators, and the psychology of the victims. He considers a wide variety of difficult cases such as coercion, fraud, retardation, and intoxication. We can all agree that 'no' means 'no'. This book suggests that the difficult question is whether 'yes' means 'yes'. (shrink)
In Value and Context Alan Thomas articulates and defends the view that human beings do possess moral and political knowledge but it is historically and culturally contextual knowledge in ways that, say, mathematical or chemical knowledge is not. In his exposition of "cognitive contextualism" in ethics and politics he makes wide-ranging use of contemporary work in epistemology, moral philosophy, and political theory.
Alan Millar examines our understanding of why people think and act as they do. His key theme is that normative considerations form an indispensable part of the explanatory framework which we use to understand each other. Millar offers illuminating discussions of reasons for belief and reasons for action, the explanation of beliefs and actions in terms of the subject's reasons, the idea that simulation has a key role in understanding people, and the limits of explanation in terms of propositional (...) attitudes. (shrink)
In 1996, Alan Sokal, a Professor of Physics at New York University, wrote a paper for the cultural-studies journal Social Text, entitled: 'Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity'. It was reviewed, accepted and published. Sokal immediately confessed that the whole article was a hoax - a cunningly worded paper designed to expose and parody the style of extreme postmodernist criticism of science. The story became front-page news around the world and triggered fierce and wide-ranging controversy. (...) -/- Sokal is one of the most powerful voices in the continuing debate about the status of evidence-based knowledge. In Beyond the Hoax he turns his attention to a new set of targets - pseudo-science, religion, and misinformation in public life. 'Whether my targets are the postmodernists of the left, the fundamentalists of the right, or the muddle-headed of all political and apolitical stripes, the bottom line is that clear thinking, combined with a respect for evidence, are of the utmost importance to the survival of the human race in the twenty-first century.' The book also includes a hugely illuminating annotated text of the Hoax itself, and a reflection on the furore it provoked. (shrink)
Introduction -- Facing up to paternalism in research ethics -- Preface to a theory of consent transactions in research : beyond valid consent -- Should we worry about money? -- Exploitation in clinical research -- The interaction principle.
More than any other figure, Friedrich Nietzsche is cited as the philosopher who anticipates and previews the philosophical themes that have dominated French theory since structuralism. Informed by the latest developments in both contemporary French philosophy and Nietzsche scholarship, Alan Schrift's Nietzsche's French Legacy provides a detailed examination and analysis of the way the French have appropriated Nietzsche in developing their own critical projects. Using Nietzsche's thought as a springboard, this study makes accessible the ideas of some of the (...) most important and difficult of contemporary French poststructuralist theorists including Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault and Helene Cixous. Through a careful analysis and close reading of the texts of Nietzsche and French poststructuralism, Schrift illuminates the ways in which Nietzsche's thought prefigures certain poststructuralist motifs. He demonstrates how several dominant themes in contemporary Frenchphilosophy emerge out of Nietzsche's own thinking. As one of the first books to critically examine the work of the new French anti-Nietzschean's, Schrift defends the value of poststructuralism and Nietzsche as critical resources for confronting the present. (shrink)
Linked by Donagan's commitment to the central importance of history for philosophy and his interest in problems of historical understanding, these essays represent the remarkable scope of Donagan's thought.
With papers on Kant, von Wright, Sellars, and Chisholm, this volume also covers a range of questions in applied ethics—from the morality of Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to ethical questions in medicine ...
In a recent article Brian Leiter concluded that a useful normative theory of adjudication is impossible. A normative theory of adjudication would be a theory that, among other things, identified the moral and political norms that judges ought to follow in determining the law for any particular legal dispute. Letter's elegant and subtle argument, stripped to its bones, runs as follows: Philosophers of law regard a correct normative theory of adjudication as being dependent upon an antecedent descriptive theory. The dependence (...) here, as Leiter describes it, is of a very strong sort and unique among philosophical theories: Any normative theory, to be acceptable, cannot depart from the actual practice of judges and lawyers. Consequently, the content of the normative side of the theory is simply to “continue to do what you've been doing,” supplemented, perhaps, by Holme's injunction to do it more selfconsciously and explicitly. (shrink)