It is argued that reliance on the testimony of others cannot be viewed as reliance on a kind of evidence. Speech being essentially voluntary, the speaker cannot see his own choice of words as evidence of their truth, and so cannot honestly offer them to others as such. Rather, in taking responsibility for the truth of what he says, the speaker offers a guarantee or assurance of its truth, and in believing him the hearer accepts this assurance. I argue that, (...) contrary to appearances, this account is compatible with the hearer acquiring knowledge, and in fact throws interesting light on the idea of knowledge. -/- . (shrink)
It is argued that to possess the concept of distress is to be able to apply the concept to others, and that this implies a qualified form of altruism, in the sense that to perceive another as being in distress is, other things being equal, to see them as in need of help and be moved to help them.
In Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment”, the idea of the reactive attitudes is used to provide a corrective for an over-intellectualised picture of moral responsibility and of the moral life generally. But Strawson also tells us that in reasoning with someone our attitude towards them must be reactive. Taking up that thought, I argue that Strawson has also provided us with a corrective for an over-intellectualised picture of rationality. Drawing on a Wittgensteinian conception of the relation between thought and its expression, (...) I argue that rationality presupposes participation in a form of engagement with others that is reactive in Strawson’s sense. I also throw fresh light on what Strawson understands by a reactive attitude. (shrink)
One influential approach seeks to capture the idea of society by characterising social action, or interaction, in terms of the particular kinds of awareness it involves. Another approach focuses on social order, seeing it as a form of order that arises spontaneously when rational and mutually aware individuals succeed in solving co-ordination problems. Yet another approach focuses on the role played by communication in achieving collective agreement on the way the world is to be classified and understood, where this is (...) seen as a pre-condition of co-ordination and co-operation. This encyclopedia entry provides a brief account of each approach and offers an assessment of their stengths and limitations. (shrink)
This book offers a stimulating new approach to studying social and political theory. It combines specially selected extracts from the political classics with original and insightful essays offering a commentary upon them. The reader is drawn into a dialogue with the Western political tradition’s principal thinkers, whose ideas provide a common currency in which to debate the problems facing modern societies. Each of the twelve chapters combines extracts from two (or in one case three) political philosophers on a key political (...) concept with a commentary essay. Each chapter does more than just introduce the reader to the classics; it also explains, via the commentary essay, the key concepts of political debate, and the historical contexts which led the thinkers to their different understandings of the nature of society. (shrink)
"The enterprise initiative is probably the most significant political and cultural influence to have affected Western and Eastern Europe in the last decade. In this book, academics from a range of disciplines debate Mary Douglas's distinctive Grid Group cultural theory and examine how it allows us to analyse the complex relation between the culture of enterprise and its institutions. Mary Douglas, Britain's leading cultural anthropologist, contributes several chapters."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
It is argued that if, with Dummett, we see assertion as an act governed by conditions of correctness which makes a claim to the effect that these conditions are met, then the conditions of correctness that determine its content must have the impersonal character of a requirement of truth, rather than the speaker-relative character of a requirement of justification or assertibility. For otherwise it would be impossible for different speakers to use the same words to make an assertion with the (...) same content. (shrink)