Brenda Almond throws down a timely challenge to liberal consensus about personal relationships. She maintains that the traditional family is fragmenting in Western societies, causing serious social problems. She urges that we reconsider our attitudes to sex and reproduction in order to strengthen our most important social institution, the family.
Although T.L.S. Sprigge described idealist philosophy as the stage beyond religion, his pantheistic idealism, while not itself a religion, offers a conception of God that seeks to meet the aspiration of human beings to understand their own place in the universe. While he shared with most mid twentieth century British philosophers a basic assumption of the primacy of experience, Sprigge took this strong empiricist assumption in a Berkeleyian rather than a Humean direction. This enabled him to find a place for (...) the phenomenon of religious consciousness, which he saw as the source of a yearning that can be met by absolute idealism's conception of a ‘Whole’ that encompasses ourselves and all aspects of our world. He describes this recognition as the faltering adumbration of a truth – one that is sometimes encountered in aesthetic experience, and sometimes more directly in the lives of mystics. The metaphysical basis for this form of absolute idealism is provided by a concept of time in which each fleeting ‘now’ has a fixed and permanent place, and by a theory of identity according to which personal individuality is dissolved in a unitary ‘Whole’. (shrink)
Introduction -- Leibniz, historicism, and the plague of Islam -- Kant, Islam, and the preservation of boundaries -- Herder's Arab fantasies -- Keeping the Turks out of islam : Goethe's Ottoman plan -- Friedrich Schlegel and the emptying of Islam -- Hegel and the disappearance of Islam -- Marx the Moor -- Nietzsche's peace with Islam.
Those who would defend liberal democracy in today?s changing world face a new toleration debate. While we still want to help our children grow up to see the world from other perspectives than their own, we are no longer as sure as we were that we know what toleration means or what it entails. Where education is concerned, it seems the focus is on tolerance as an attitude?encouraging people to be tolerant?but where the public debate is concerned, the focus is (...) narrower. It becomes a question of what should be tolerated and what the law should allow or proscribe. But however interpreted, the underlying unclarity remains and it inevitably affects educational choices. Must we approve as well as permit? Must we refrain from judgement? Is tolerance something that is due to people themselves or does it include their views and opinions? And how should we respond if it should turn out to be impossible to tolerate one group or view without discriminating against another? In this paper I discuss two particular aspects of the new toleration debate, both of which involve presuppositions about personal and family life and religious and cultural identity. These are: (1) the moral and political issues prompted by the presence of newcomers in societies with different religious and cultural traditions from their own; and (2) a new and combative form of secularism within those societies. (shrink)
First, two aspects of the partiality issue are identified: (1) Is it right/reasonable for professionals to favour their clients interests over either those of other individuals or those of society in general? (2) Are special non-universalisable obligations attached to certain professional roles?Second, some comments are made on the notions of partiality and reasonableness. On partiality, the assumption that only two positions are possible – a detached universalism or a partialist egoism – is challenged and it is suggested that partiality, e.g. (...) to family members, lies between these two positions, being neither a form of egoism, nor of impersonal detachment. On reasonableness, it is pointed out that reasonable is an ambiguous concept, eliding the notions of the morally right and the rational. (shrink)
This book examines a series of common metaphors in the works of Derrida and the Sufism of Muhyddin Ibn 'Arabi, considered to be of the most influential figures in Islamic thought. The author addresses the significant absence of attention on the relationship between Islam and Derrida and also provides a deconstructive perspective on Ibn 'Arabi.
This timely collection of introductory essays provides a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to, and survey of, the major moral debates of today. Wide coverage and introduction to the main issues and arguments of applied ethics Each chapter specially commissioned to introduce newcomers Comprehensive notes and reading guides.
In response to Lawrence Blum?s critique of my paper ?Education for tolerance?, I argue that the state should not use its control of schools and the content of teaching to impose a new and controversial interpretation of parenthood, nor to preempt parents? right to an education for their children that is consistent with their own religious and moral convictions.
It seems a compelling idea that experience of colour plays some role in our having concepts of the various colours, but in trying to explain the role experience plays the first thing we have to describe is what sort of colour experience matters here. I will argue that the kind of experience that matters is conscious attention to the colours of objects as an aspect of them on which direct intervention is selectively possible. As I will explain this idea, it (...) is a matter of being able to use experience to inform linguistic or conceptual thought about what would happen were there to be various interventions on an object. Against this background, I will review Locke’s fundamental argument that since we can change the colour of an almond by pounding it, there must be an error embodied in our ordinary concepts of colour: there is no such thing as intervening directly on the colour of an object. The analysis I present brings out the force of Locke’s argument. But I will propose a vindication of our commonsense conception of colour as an aspect of objects on which direct intervention is selectively possible. (shrink)
This volume is a lively, wide-ranging introduction to ethics. It provides accessible coverage of the main ethical theories which offer the basis for an exploration of key issues and recent developments in applied ethics. The author's approach differs from other recent introductions, eschewing the utilitarian approach in favor of a rights and virtue ethics alternative.
There is a need to bring ethics and medical practice closer together, despite the risk and problems this may involve. Deontological ethics may promote sanctity of life considerations against the quality of life considerations favoured by consequentialists or utilitarians; while talk of respect for life and the value of life may point to more qualified ethical positions. This paper argues for a respect-for-life position, dismissing a utilitarian cost-benefit outlook as too simplistic; but an unqualified fixed principles approach is also ruled (...) out, both because of its unacceptable consequences in individual cases and also because of its reliance on the slippery slope argument which, it is argued, is logically and psychologically deficient. The case of genetic engineering provides an example in which the notion of respect may operate, but in which broad general principles also apply. A cautious conservatism towards accepted principles is recommended in the development of medical technologies. (shrink)
The present century has witnessed human crimes on an unprecedented scale. It has also seen the decline of ethics as a major element in higher education and as an academic study forming an important aspect of philosophy.
A sign seen in the Philosophy Department of the University of Uppsala reads: A philosopher is one who will deliver a paper on the Hangman's Paradox at a conference on capital punishment. I might take as a supporting example of this tendency to focus on the irrelevant or the inappropriate a real paper to a medico-legal conference on organ transplants which argued that it would be morally justifiable to remove a heart from a healthy would-be heart donor. There are also (...) many amusing and intelligent papers on the ‘survival lottery’—a hypothetical arrangement which would allow individuals to be seized and cannibalised for their organs. These articles are light-hearted exercises in argumentative ingenuity, harmless in themselves, but they are offered in a world in which street children in Brazil are snatched for their kidneys, Chinese political dissidents have their organs seized officially at their place of execution, and poor peasants in Turkey and India sell their own kidneys or those of their relatives, for money. At the same time, the most frequently cited paper on the fraught topic of abortion is one in which pregnancy is compared to the plight of one unwillingly or unintentionally connected to a violinist who temporarily needs the link in order to survive. (shrink)
In What's the Matter with Liberalism? Ronald Beiner diagnoses the ills of liberalism along the three broad fronts where it is now widely challenged: its pretensions to moral neutrality; its lack of cultural standards; and its inability to deal with crime, unemployment, family breakdown, homeless‐ness, rampant consumerism, and global environmental and economic problems. But even in its minimalist classical formulation, liberalism entails a substantive moral position, and is committed to resisting the violations of rights that lead to the crises with (...) which Beiner is concerned. (shrink)
After an initial consideration of the three main positions discernible within the current literature on the question of the relationship between mystical experience and its interpretation, attention is focused on a new model of this relationship. by utilizing wittgenstein's notion of "seeing-as" in conjunction with a more complex theory of the nexus between experience and interpretation, it is argued that there are varieties of mystical experience. on the other hand, it is maintained that there is a limiting case of mystical (...) experience, the essence of which is its undifferentiated or contentless nature. it is suggested that the contemplative method, while producing a variety of content-filled mystical experiences, nonetheless is most conducive to the attainment of this "pure" contentless mystical state. (shrink)
Irigaray offers the clearest available introduction to her own work. Focusing on power, women, gender and patriarchal mythologies, she lays out what for her has become the central problem for women in the modern world.
The malign figure of the Antichrist endures in modern culture, whether religious or secular; and the spectral shadow he has cast over the ages continues to exert a strong and powerful fascination. Philip C. Almond tells the story of the son of Satan from his early beginnings to the present day, and explores this false Messiah in theology, literature and the history of ideas. Discussing the origins of the malevolent being who at different times was cursed as Belial, Nero (...) or Damien, the author reveals how Christianity in both East and West has imagined this incarnation of absolute evil destined to appear at the end of time. For the better part of the last two thousand years, Almond suggests, the human battle between right and wrong has been envisaged as a mighty cosmic duel between good and its opposite, culminating in an epic final showdown between Christ and his deadly arch-nemesis. (shrink)
This concise overview of the perception of Islam in eight of the most important German thinkers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries allows a new and fascinating investigation of how these thinkers, within their own bodies of work, often espoused contradicting ideas about Islam and their nearest Muslim neighbors. Exploring a variety of 'neat compartmentalizations' at work in the representations of Islam, as well as distinct vocabularies employed by these key intellectuals, Ian Almond parses these vocabularies to examine the (...) importance of Islam in the very history of German thought. Almond further demonstrates the ways in which German philosophers such as Hegel, Kant, and Marx repeatedly ignored information about the Muslim world that did not harmonize with the particular landscapes they were trying to paint – a fact which in turn makes us reflect on what it means when a society possesses 'knowledge' of a foreign culture. (shrink)
I employ these words, I admit, with a glance towards the operations of childbearing–but also with a glance towards those who, in a society from which I do not exclude myself, turn their eyes away when faced by the as yet unnameable which is proclaiming itself and which can do so …only under the species of the nonspecies, in the formless, mute, infant and terrifying form of monstrosity.The question of writing could be opened only if the book was closed. The (...) joyous wandering of the graphein then became wandering without return. (shrink)
Although Almond argues that the contemporary West has lost touch with the value of tolerance, I argue that that value applied to those of different religions and sexual orientations is too minimal a standard for a pluralistic society. I suggest, in the spirit of the work of Charles Taylor and Tariq Modood, the more robust standard of respect and acceptance. In addition, I have criticised Almond?s privileging of parental values over school values, seeing in that privileging a failure (...) to recognise both the civic function of schooling in a pluralistic society and the professional responsibilities of teachers to provide a safe and stigma?free environment of learning (a goal both educational and civic in character). I argue that Almond?s briefly presented rejection of same?sex marriage and privileging of ?biological? families is insufficiently defended. Moreover within the philosophical framework of her own concerns about the weakening of a commitment to marriage in Western society in the past several decades, I argue that she should be more supportive of same?sex marriage. Finally, I argue that her account of the problems occasioned by new immigrant groups, especially Muslims, in the West is very sketchy and fails to connect with her critique of secularism. (shrink)
This article examines the question of the existence of non-Adamic persons-both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial-in early modern Europe. More particularly it looks at how the existence of non-Adamites seriously called into question the credibility of the central themes of the Christian story of the creation, fall and redemption in Jesus Christ in early modern Europe. It analyses the impact on the Christian view of history caused by the discovery of the inhabitants of the New World, speculations about the polygenetic origins of (...) the human race, and discussions about the plurality of worlds. It concludes with some reflections on the monogenetic and polygenetic accounts of the origin of humans in a post-Darwinian context. (shrink)