Simon Blackburn has not shied away from the use of vivid imagery in developing, over a long and prolific career, a large-scale philosophical vision. Here one might think, for instance, of ‘Practical Tortoise Raising’ or ‘Ramsey's Ladder’ or ‘Frege's Abyss’. Blackburn develops a ‘quasi-realist’ account of many of our philosophical and everyday commitments, both theoretical (e.g., modality and causation) and practical (e.g., moral judgement and normative reasons). Quasi-realism aims to provide a naturalistic treatment of its targeted phenomena while earning the (...) right to deploy all of the ‘trappings’ of realism—i.e., while eschewing any idea that our normal thought and talk about such phenomena are pervasively in error. The quasi-realist project is that of explaining how (as Huw Price puts it here) ‘the folk come to “talk the realist talk” without committing ourselves—us theorists, as it were—to “walking the metaphysical walk”’ (p. 136). Quasi-realism, too, can speak of truth, facts, properties, belief, knowledge, and so on. The imagery in this collection also abounds, though, in capturing a different view of quasi-realism: No fewer than three of the contributors picture Blackburn as wanting to have his cake and eat it too (Louise Antony asking, in addition, ‘Who doesn't? It's cake’ [p. 19]). (shrink)
"Michael Psellos was the 'Cicero of Byzantium,' except that his interests were more wide-ranging than those of his Roman predecessor. In addition to being a politician, poet, and writer of letters, speeches, and treatises on philosophy and rhetoric, he was an innovative historian and a practical educator who interested himself in all aspects of learning, from mathematics and medicine to theurgy. Before now, only his 'Chronographia' has been at all well known. Anthony Kaldellis has done a great service in making (...) accessible a collection of texts bearing upon personal familial relationships, of which we know so little in Byzantium. His translations read well, are accurate, and reflect Psellos' literary subtlety. His commentaries are scholarly and give vital information for the better understanding of this facet of Byzantine society." —_Antony R. Littlewood, University of Western Ontario_ “Anthony Kaldellis is a skilled and gifted translator, one of the best I have ever encountered. I am very excited that we will have access to Psellos’ two important encomia of his mother and daughter in an accurate and readable translation, so that more scholars and students will be able to read these works which offer such fascinating insights into family life in eleventh-century Byzantium. This book will be an excellent lead-off volume in the Psellos series, and make scholars anxious for the subsequent volumes to appear.” —_Alice-Mary Talbot, Director, Byzantine Studies, Dumbarton Oaks_ _Mothers and Sons, Fathers and Daughters_ makes available for the first time complete English translations from the works of Michael Psellos, a key philosopher of the Byzantine Empire. This book contains the works that Psellos wrote about his family, including a long funeral oration for his mother that features unique recollections from a childhood spent in Constantinople; a funeral oration for his young daughter Styliane, which includes a detailed description of her physical appearance and a moving account of her illness and death; a legal work pertaining to the engagement of his second, adopted, daughter; and various letters and other works that relate to the private life of this Byzantine family. (shrink)
Drawing on Aristotle’s notion of “ultimate responsibility,” Robert Kane argues that to be exercising a free will an agent must have taken some character forming decisions for which there were no sufficient conditions or decisive reasons.<sup>1</sup> That is, an agent whose will is free not only had the ability to develop other dispositions, but could have exercised that ability without being irrational. To say it again, a person has a free will just in case her character is the product (...) of decisions that she could have rationally avoided making. That one’s character is the product of such decisions entails ultimate responsibility for its manifestations, engendering a free will. (shrink)
Nearly thirty years ago, Robert Alexy in his book The Concept and Validity of Law as well as in other early articles raised non-positivistic arguments in the Continental European tradition against legal positivism in general, which was assumed to be held by, among others, John Austin, Hans Kelsen and H.L.A. Hart. The core thesis of legal positivism that was being discussed among contemporary German jurists, just as with their Anglo- American counterparts, is the claim that there is no necessary (...) connection between law and morality. Robert Alexy has argued, however, that the law, besides consisting conceptually of elements of authoritative issuance and social efficacy, necessarily lays a claim to substantial correctness, which is derived from analytical arguments. Furthermore, if this claim to substantial correctness necessarily requires the incorporation of moral elements into law, then the ‘necessary connection thesis’, as defended by non-positivism, can be justified. Some of the most significant objections to this sort of claim, stemming from the Anglo-American world, are those introduced by Joseph Raz. In his ‘Reply’ to Robert Alexy, Raz raises at least three interesting criticisms, including, first, the ambiguity of ‘legal theory in the positivistic tradition’, second, the indeterminate formulations of the ‘separation thesis’, and, third, the necessary claim of law to legitimate authority as a moral claim. As a point of departure, I will argue that Raz’s three criticisms are misleading. For they do not enhance our understanding of the genuine compatibility or incompatibility between legal positivism and non-positivism. Despite the frequently reformulated theses of legal positivism and the various kinds of opponents responding thereto, the essential divergence between legal positivism and non-positivism was and remains the answer to the question of the relation between law and morality. Furthermore, I will clarify that in the strictest sense there can be three and only three logically possible positions concerning the relation between law and morality: the connection between them is either necessary, or impossible (i. e. they are necessarily separate), or contingent (i. e. they are neither necessarily connected nor necessarily separate). The first position is non-positivistic, while the latter two positions are, indeed, both positivistic, but in different forms: one may be called ‘exclusive’ legal positivism, the other ‘inclusive’ legal positivism. I will continue by showing that these three positions stand to one another in the relation of contraries, not contradictories, and that, taken together, they exhaust the logically possible positions concerning the relation between law and morality, never mind the tradition or authority from which these positions are derived. Raz mentions, however, many changeable formulations of the separation thesis, which even leads him to acknowledge ‘necessary connections between law and morality’. One who is trying to understand legal positivism would no doubt be puzzled by this claim. Nevertheless, I will argue that this is an alternative strategy of legal positivism, and it points to naturalistically oriented view. Although this necessary separation between law and morality, understood naturalistically, strikes one as strengthening the separation, in the end it leads to a weakened notion of necessity. This weakened necessary separation thesis, however, cannot be justified through the so-called claim of the law to legitimate authority, defended by Raz, for it is difficult to answer the question of whether a normally justified but factual authority can gain legitimate authority. Finally, the necessary connection between law and morality in a strong sense can still be justified by the claim of law to correctness, as per Alexy’s argument. (shrink)
This study is about an aspect of the reception of Herbatianism in Austria which has not been thoroughly investigated so far. It pertains to a controversy opposing Robert Zimmermann and Franz Brentano in the context of discussions which took place in the Philosophical Society of the University of Vienna. This study looks more specifically at three important episodes involving the Philosophical Society, first, the controversy over Herbartianism, second that over the evaluation of Schelling’s philosophy, and finally the reception of (...) Bolzano in Austria. I will first describe the circumstances that led Zimmermann to get involved in the Philosophical Society and the source of his controversy with Brentano and his followers. I will then comment Zimmermann’s address as chairman of the Philosophical Society and Brentano’s reaction to Zimmermann’s remarks on Schelling and the historical period to which he belongs. I will complete my analysis of Brentano’s reaction with a summary of his evaluation of Herbart’s philosophical program to which Zimmermann adhered. The last part focuses on Zimmermann’s decisive role in the reception of Bolzano in Vienna in connection with the Bolzano Commission established by the Philosophical Society. I will conclude with brief remarks on Zimmermann’s legacy in Vienna. (shrink)
This article discusses the theories of perception of Robert Kilwardby and Peter of John Olivi. Our aim is to show how in challenging certain assumptions of medieval Aristotelian theories of perception they drew on Augustine and argued for the active nature of the soul in sense perception. For both Kilwardby and Olivi, the soul is not passive with respect to perceived objects; rather, it causes its own cognitive acts with respect to external objects and thus allows the subject to (...) perceive them. We also show that Kilwardby and Olivi differ substantially regarding where the activity of the soul is directed to and the role of the sensible species in the process, and we demonstrate that there are similarities between their ideas of intentionality and the attention of the soul towards the corporeal world. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to describe and analyze the epistemological justification of a proposal initially made by the biomathematician Robert Rosen in 1958. In this theoretical proposal, Rosen suggests using the mathematical concept of “category” and the correlative concept of “natural equivalence” in mathematical modeling applied to living beings. Our questions are the following: According to Rosen, to what extent does the mathematical notion of category give access to more “natural” formalisms in the modeling of living beings? (...) Is the so -called “naturalness” of some kinds of equivalences (which the mathematical notion of category makes it possible to generalize and to put at the forefront) analogous to the naturalness of living systems? Rosen appears to answer “yes” and to ground this transfer of the concept of “natural equivalence” in biology on such an analogy. But this hypothesis, although fertile, remains debatable. Finally, this paper makes a brief account of the later evolution of Rosen’s arguments about this topic. In particular, it sheds light on the new role played by the notion of “category” in his more recent objections to the computational models that have pervaded almost every domain of biology since the 1990s. (shrink)
In his new book, "The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe," Robert J. Richards argues that Charles Darwin's true evolutionary roots lie in the German Romantic biology that flourished around the beginning of the nineteenth century. It is argued that Richards is quite wrong in this claim and that Darwin's roots are in the British society within which he was born, educated, and lived.
Traditional eschatology clashes with the theory of entropy. Trying to bridge the gap, Robert John Russell assumes that theology and science are based on contradictory, yet equally valid, metaphysical assumptions, each one capable of questioning and impacting the other. The author doubts that Russell's proposal will convince empirically oriented scientists and attempts to provide a viable alternative. Historical‐critical analysis suggests that biblical future expectations were redemptive responses to changing human needs. Apocalyptic visions were occasioned by heavy suffering in postexilic (...) times. Interpreted in realistic terms, they have since proved to be untenable. The expectation of a new creation without evil, suffering, and death is not constitutive for the substantive content of the biblical message as such. Biblical future expectations must be reconceptualized in terms of best contemporary insight and in line with a dynamic reading of the biblical witness as God's vision of comprehensive optimal well‐being that operates like a shifting horizon and opens up ever new vistas, challenges, and opportunities. (shrink)
Quentin Skinner’s appropriation of speech act theory for intellectual history has been extremely influential. Even as the model continues to be important for historians, however, philosophers now regard the original speech act theory paradigm as dated. Are there more recent initiatives that might reignite theoretical work in this area? This article argues that the inferentialism of Robert Brandom is one of the most interesting contemporary philosophical projects with historical implications. It shows how Brandom’s work emerged out of the broad (...) shift in the philosophy of language from semantics to pragmatics that also informed speech act theory. The article then goes on to unpack the rich implications of Brandom’s inferentialism for the theory and practice of intellectual history. It contends that inferentialism clarifies, legitimizes, and informs intellectual historical practice, and it concludes with a consideration of the challenges faced by inferentialist intellectual history, together with an argument for the broader implications of Brandom’s work. (shrink)
We commonly identify something seriously defective in a human life that is lived in ignorance of important but unpalatable truths. At the same time, some degree of misapprehension of reality may be necessary for individual health and success. Morally speaking, it is unclear just how insistent we should be about seeking the truth. Robert Sparrow has considered such issues in discussing the manufacture and marketing of robot ‘pets’, such as Sony’s doglike ‘AIBO’ toy and whatever more advanced devices may (...) supersede it. Though it is not his only concern, Sparrow particularly criticizes such robot pets for their illusory appearance of being living things. He fears that some individuals will subconsciously buy into the illusion, and come to sentimentalize interactions that fail to constitute genuine relationships. In replying to Sparrow, I emphasize that this would be continuous with much of the minor sentimentality that we already indulge in from day to day. Although a disposition to seek the truth is morally virtuous, the virtue concerned must allow for at least some categories of exceptions. Despite Sparrow’s concerns about robot pets (and robotics more generally), we should be lenient about familiar, relatively benign, kinds of self-indulgence in forming beliefs about reality. Sentimentality about robot pets seems to fall within these categories. Such limited self-indulgence can co-exist with ordinary honesty and commitment to truth. (shrink)
I summarise Robert Audi's 'Moral Perception.' I concede that there is such a thing as moral perception. However, moral perceptions are culturally-relative, which refutes Audi’s claims that moral perception may ground moral knowledge and that it provides inter-subjectively accessible grounds which make ethical objectivity possible. Audi's attempt to avoid the refutation tends to convert rational disputes into ad hominem ones. I illustrate that with the example of the ethics of prostitution.
An individual is in the lowest phase of moral development if he thinks only of his own personal interest and has only his own selfish agenda in his mind as he encounters other humans. This lowest phase corresponds well with sixteenth century British moral egoism which reflects the rise of the new economic order. Adam Smith (1723–1790) wanted to defend this new economic order which is based on economic exchange between egoistic individuals. Nevertheless, he surely did not want to support (...) the moral theory of British egoism. His book The Wealth of Nations suits well into the world view of British moral egoism, but in the book The Theory of Moral Sentiments, he presents a moral theory which is the total opposite of moral egoism. Contemporary German intellectuals saw contradiction in Adam Smith’s moral (social) philosophy which they called as Das Adam - Smith - Problem . Smith himself didn’t think that there is any contradiction in a situation where in economic sphere (civil society) individual act egoistically and in ethical sphere (encounter with the imagined Other) he feels humanity and compassion toward his fellow men. Hegel was a passionate reader of Adam Smith and he acknowledged Das Adam - Smith - Problem . He set the task of his social philosophy to overcome this paradox. He wanted to create a theory of a social totality where economic egoism and feelings of humanity are not in contradiction. In the same time Hegel wanted to create a theory on Bildung process where human spirit develops from moral un-freedom (heteronomy) to moral freedom and maturity (autonomy) taking care both aspect of love and reason. In certain Hegel’s texts notion of recognition plays crucial role. That is why modern Hegelians Ludwig Siep, Axel Honneth and Robert Williams consider the notion of recognition to be elementary in Hegel’s threefold theory of developing human spirit from family via civil society to sittliche state . For Hegel family is a sphere where people love their “concrete other” and where feeling surpasses reason. Civil Society is a sphere of private contracts and economic exchanges where cold egoistic and calculative reason surpasses feelings. In the sphere of State the contradiction between family and Civil Society ( Das Adam - Smith - Problem ) is solved by “rational feeling”. According to Hegel State should protect citizens from alienating effect of egoistic reason of Civil Society and cultivate “family-feelings” to rational feelings which integrate citizen into “sittliche community” through reciprocal process of recognition. In this article I want to consider Hegelians Honneth’s and Williams’s relevance to the theory of moral development. (shrink)
This paper is an extended discussion of Robert Ulanowicz’s critique of mechanistic and reductionistic metaphysics of science. He proposes “process ecology” as an alternative. In this paper I discuss four sets of question coming out of Ulanowicz’s proposal. First, I argue that universality remains one of the hallmarks of the scientific enterprise even with his new process metaphysics. I then discuss the Second Law of Thermodynamics in the interpretation of the history of the universe. I question Ulanowicz’s use of (...) the terms “random” and “chance” in his definition of process. Finally, I discuss what difference a relational and process metaphysics might make in addressing the political and practical problems in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
THERE IS WIDESPREAD AGREEMENT among historians that the writings of Robert Boyle (1697-1691) constitute a valuable archive for understanding the concerns of seventeenth-century British natural philosophers. His writings have often been seen as representing, in one fashion or another, all of the leading intellectual currents of his day. ~ There is somewhat less consensus, however, on the proper historiographic method for interpreting these writings, as well as on the specific details of the beliefs expressed in them. Studies seeking to (...) explicate Boyle's thought have been, roughly speaking, of two general sorts. On the one hand there are those studies of a broadly "intellectualist" orientation which situate his natural philosophy within the intellectual context provided by metaphysics, religion, and early modern science. In this connection his corpuscularianism has been shown to be motivated by specific epistemological, theological, as well as empirical concerns. One of the central aims of such studies has been to show that apparently discordant elements in his scientific thought are rendered coherent by referring them to such "non-scientific" commitments. Among studies of this sort might be mentioned the works of John Hedley Brooke, E. A. Burtt, Gary B. Deason, J. E. McGuire, R. Hooykaas, Robert H. Kargon, Eugene M. Klaaren, P. M. Rattansi, and Richard S. Westfall. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that Robert Kane’s defense of event-causal libertarianism, as presented in Responsibility, Luck, and Chance: Reflections on Free Will and Indeterminism, fails because his event-causal reconstruction is incoherent. I focus on the notions of efforts and self-forming actions essential to his defense.
The aim of this paper is to describe and analyze the epistemological justification of a proposal initially made by the bio-mathematician Robert Rosen in 1958. In this theoretical proposal, Rosen suggests using the mathematical concept of « category » and the correlative concept of « natural equivalence » in mathematical modeling applied to living beings. Our questions are the following: according to Rosen, to what extent does the mathematical notion of category give access to more « natural » formalisms (...) in the modeling of living beings? Is the so-called « naturalness » of some kinds of equivalences (which the mathematical notion of category makes it possible to generalize and to put at the forefront) analogous to the naturalness of living systems? Rosen appears to answer « yes » and to ground this transfer of the concept of « natural equivalence » in biology on such an analogy. But this hypothesis, although fertile, remains debatable. Finally, this paper makes a brief account of the later evolution of Rosen’s arguments about this topic. In particular, it sheds light on the new role played by the notion of « category » in his more recent objections against computational models that since the 1990’s are pervading almost every domain of biology. (shrink)
Robert Adams’s Finite and Infinite Goods is one of the most important and innovative contributions to theistic ethics in recent memory. This article identifies two major flaws at the heart of Adams’s theory: his notion of intrinsic value and his claim that ‘excellence’ or finite goodness is constituted by resemblance to God. I first elucidate Adams’s complex, frequently misunderstood claims concerning intrinsic value and Godlikeness. I then contend that Adams’s notion of intrinsic value cannot explain what it could mean (...) for countless finite goods to be intrinsically valuable. Next, I articulate a criticism of his Godlikeness thesis altogether unlike those he has previously addressed: I show that, on Adams’s own account of Godlikeness, a diverse myriad of excellences could not possibly count as resembling God. His theory thus fails to account for a whole world of finite goods. I defend my two criticisms against objections and briefly sketch a more Aristotelian and Christian way forward. (shrink)
This article examines the nature of Robert Grosseteste's commentary on Aristotle's Posterior Analytics with particular reference to his “conclusions” . It is argued that the simple demonstrative appearance of the commentary, which is very much the result of the 64 conclusions, is in part an illusion. Thus, the exposition in the commentary is not simply based on the strict principles of the Posterior Analytics and on the proof-procedures of Euclidean geometry; rather the commentary is a complicated mixture of different (...) elements of twelfth-century texts and the scholarship of Grosseteste's day. (shrink)
On the publication of Robert Lowell’s Life Studies in 1959, some critics were shocked by the poet’s use of seemingly frank autobiographical material, in particular the portrayal of his hospitalizations for bipolar disorder. During the late fifties and throughout the sixties, a rich vein, influenced by Lowell , developed in American poetry. Also during this time, the nascent science of psychopharmacology competed with and complemented the more established somatic treatments, such as psychosurgery, shock treatments, and psychoanalytical therapies. The development (...) of Thorazine was a remarkable breakthrough allowing patients previously thought incurable to leave hospital. In 1955, the release of Miltown, the first ‘minor’ tranquilizer, was heralded with a media fanfare promising a new dawn of psychological cure-all. These two events blurred the boundary between ‘normality’ and madness by making treatment in the community more widely possible and by medicalizing more commonplace distress. Lowell’s early depictions of madness situate it as emblematic of the cultural malaise of ‘the tranquilized fifties. ’ By his final collection, Day by Day (1977), mental illness had lost its symbolic power. These late poems explore the power of art as a way of representing and remedying suffering in a culture where psychopharmacology has normalized madness. (shrink)
Robert Grosseteste was the initiator of the English scientific tradition, one of the first chancellors of Oxford University, and a famous teacher and commentator on the newly discovered works of Aristotle. In this book, James McEvoy provides the first general, inclusive overview of the entire range of Grosseteste's massive intellectual achievement.
For the last several decades, philosophers have wrestled with the proper place of religion in liberal societies. Usually, the debates among these philosophers have started with the articulation of various conceptions of liberalism and then proceeded to locate religion in the context of these conceptions. In the process, however, too little attention has been paid to the way religion is conceived. Drawing on the work of Robert Audi and Nicholas Wolterstorff, two scholars who are often read as holding opposing (...) views on these issues, I argue that, for the purposes of their argument about liberalism, both have implicitly accepted a concept of religion that has come under severe attack in recent work on the subject. Namely, they have accepted a concept of religion that identifies religion primarily with belief, ritual practice, and ecclesial institutions. Following recent scholarship, I suggest that religion is better conceived as a kind of culture. To conclude the essay, I gesture toward what the beginnings of a re-visioned debate about religion and liberal society might look like if one started from this revised conception of religion. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to provide an extensive account of Robert Leslie Ellisʼs largely forgotten work on philosophy of science and probability theory. On the one hand, it is suggested that both his ‘idealist’ renovation of the Baconian theory of induction and a ‘realism’ vis-à-vis natural kinds were the result of a complex dialogue with the work of William Whewell. On the other hand, it is shown to what extent the combining of these two positions contributed to (...) Ellisʼs reformulation of the metaphysical foundations of traditional probability theory. This parallel is assessed with reference to the disagreement between Ellis and Whewell on the nature of (pure) mathematics and its relation to scientific knowledge. (shrink)
This paper asks questions about 'trauma' and its cultural representation specifically, trauma's representation in the cinema. In this respect, it compares and contrasts the work of Robert Bresson, in particular his 1967 masterpiece, Mouchette , with contemporary Hollywood film. James Mangold's 1999 'Oscar-winning' Girl, Interrupted offers an interesting example for cultural comparison. In both Mouchette and Girl, Interrupted the subject matter includes, amongst other traumatic experiences, rape, childhood abuse and suicide. The paper ponders the question of whether such aspects (...) of trauma can ever be authentically represented on film; or, whether, on the contrary, through the deployment of cultural stereotypes, cinematic representation tends rather to reproduce the very forms of structural power which are, in the first place, trauma's primary cause. Bresson emerges from this analysis in a favourable light for, whereas Mangold stereotypes victims of trauma and represents traumatic experience itself as inevitable and over-determined, Bresson always retains for the victim a sense of critical agency. By contrasting key scenes from both films, the paper suggests that contemporary popular cinema (the 'Hollywood-ized' form), working in tandem with institutions of social control, such as psychiatry, does not subvert but, in fact, reproduces patterns of structural power. This argument has particular significance for the cultural representation of women. The paper is theoretically framed by Simone Weil's reflections on both 'representation' and 'structural power'. (shrink)
El presente texto pretende presentar dos propuestas de actualización de la crítica de la economía política marxiana: las de Moishe Postone y Robert Kurz. Sus planteamientos, gestados a partir de los años ochenta, ofrecen claves para superar las insuficiencias del marxismo tradicional y abren perspectivas fructíferas para actualizar la teoría crítica. Partiendo de una reinterpretación común de las categorías de Marx, ambos autores presentan sin embargo diagnósticos diferentes: mientras Postone incide en cómo el capitalismo origina la posibilidad de un (...) nuevo orden social, Kurz señala que el capitalismo contemporáneo habría alcanzado su límite interno y entrado en una fase irreversible de declive y desintegración. (shrink)
Abstract Two distinguishing marks of voluntaristic conceptions of human action can be found already in the 12th century, not only in the work of Bonaventura's successors: 1. the will is free to act against reasons's dictates; 2. moral responsibility depends on this conception of the will's freedom. A number of theologians from the 1130s to the 1170s accepted those claims, which have been originally formulated by Bernard of Clairvaux. Robert of Melun elaborated them in a systematical way and coined (...) the terminological distinctions which were controversely discussed in the following centuries. The paper edits and interprets some of his texts about voluntary action. Furthermore, it shows that Bernard's and Robert's ideas have been transported by their intellectualist critics in the 13th century. (shrink)
This essay shows how, in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, the relation between the protagonists can be seen as an insurmountable contrast between two different cultures – on the one hand, the “diurnal” and “rational” culture of Rome and, on the other hand, the “nocturnal” and “passionate” culture of Egypt –, but also as an opposition between two different ways of understanding the relation between illusion and reality, appearance and truth, and thus between theatre and life. More specifically, what emerges (...) is the awareness that art, embodied in Cleopatra’s beauty, constantly reminds us of the unredeemable finitude and transience of the human being, who is inevitably immersed in time. In this light, if art is able to become a manifestation of truth, the fact remains that such truth, as final sense, is something that art can “show”, but only to indicate its perpetually elusive character. It is indeed a truth which, like the indecipherable secret kept in the Mausoleum, cannot be “told” or “represented” once and for all. (shrink)
This textbook reflects the buoyant state of contemporary political philosophy, and the development of the subject in the past two decades. It includes seminal papers on fundamental philosophical issues such as: the nature of social explanation distributive justice liberalism and communitarianism citizenship and multiculturalism nationalism democracy criminal justice. A range of views is represented, demonstrating the richness of the philosophical contribution to some of the most contested areas of public policy and political decision making. Each section has an introduction by (...) the editors that situates the papers in the ongoing debate. Further Reading sections feature at the end of each chapter. Readings from the following thinkers are included: Steven Lukes, Robert Nozick, John Rawls, Bhikhu Parekh, Antony Duff, G.A. Cohen, Derek Parfit, Roger Scruton, Michael Sandel, Alasdair MacIntrye. _Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy_ will be a valuable resource for upper-level students interested in current thinking in this area. (shrink)
This review presents the principal themes of Robert Spaemann's Persons: The Difference between ‘Someone’ and ‘Something.’ To be a person is not to be identical with one's teleological nature, but rather, to have that nature. Personal consciousness is necessarily temporal consciousness. Persons have a range of distinctively personal acts, such as recognizing and respecting one another, understanding their lives as wholes, making judgments of conscience, promising, and forgiving. All members of the human species, whatever their stage of development or (...) limitations, are persons. The present review also briefly considers certain objections that have been raised against Spaemann's position. (shrink)
Although Darwinian concepts have largely been banned from the social sciences of the last century, they have recently seen a revival in several disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, or economics. Most of the current proponents of evolutionary theorizing in the social sciences avoid references to the older literature on social evolution. On that background, this article presents a contribution to Darwinist thinking in early American sociology that has mainly been overlooked in the literature. As the leading figure of the Human (...) Ecology Approach, which was established during the 1920s and 1930s, Robert Ezra Park drew heavily on evolutionary concepts to explain human evolution. A systematic presentation of these concepts in the light of the modern discussion on sociocultural evolution is given, followed by a conclusion about what can be learned from Park today. (shrink)
Hegel’s aesthetic ideal is the perfect integration of form and content within a work of art. This ideal is incompatible with the predominant 20th-century principle of formalist criticism, that form is the sole important factor in a work of art. Although the formalist dichotomy between form and content has been criticized on philosophical grounds, that does not suffice to justify Hegel’s ideal. Justifying Hegel’s ideal requires detailed art criticism that shows how form and content are, and why they should be, (...) integrated in good works of art. This essay provides some of this criticism. By focusing on the work of the contemporary artist, Robert Turner, this criticism further suggests that Hegel’s aesthetic ideal is still relevant. Moreover, the nature of Turner’s work suggests that art is still relevant in our day in ways Hegel did not expect. (shrink)