Written by a non-Jewish analytic philosopher, this book addresses the issue of whether, and to what extent, current opposition to Israel on the liberal-left embodies anti-Semitic stances. It argues that the dominant climate of liberal opinion disseminates, however inadvertently, a range of anti-Semitic assertions and motifs of the most traditional kind. It advocates a return to an unrestricted anti-racism which would allow liberals to defend Palestinian interests without demonizing Jews.
This paper attempts to refute the familiar sceptical argument based upon the theoretical possibility of systematic transpositions of colours in different observers? colour?vision. The force of this argument lies in its apparent demonstration that cases of transposed colour?vision would be on a quite different cognitive footing from ordinary cases of colour?blindness; since colour transposition, unlike colour?blindness, could not possibly have any effect on the use of language by a person who suffered from it. It is argued (1) that this demonstration (...) works only if we assume the truth of a certain theory of the logical nature of our colour vocabulary, and (2) that this theory is false. (shrink)
What makes us responsive, however occasionally, to moral demands? Why do people sometimes own up, go off to fight unwillingly in what they consider to be just wars, refrain from stealing a march on friends, and so on, even when they could by doing otherwise reap advantages far outweighing, in the scales of ordinary prudential rationality, any consequent disadvantage? Why has morality such a hold over us?
‘I see well enough what poor Kant would be at’ said James Mill on first looking into the Kritik der reinen Vernunft . No one would wish to say that the reception of Kant in England has remained at this level: abundance of sound scholarship, innumerable Kant seminars and the swell of interest in transcendental argument which has developed since the Second World War all exist to prove the contrary. But in spite of all that, Mill's response still touches a (...) chord in English breasts. We are prone to think Kant a conjurer. If we are to accept, or even to work seriously with, any version of Kantianism it must be a demythologized, logically aseptic version. Strawson's Kant, for instance, is a Kant freed from the ‘strained analogy’ between the study of the conditions of sense, or intelligibility, and the study of the human cognitive system. And in moral philosophy too, the English Kantianism chiefly represented by the work of Professor R. M. Hare has scrupulously avoided those parts of Kant's ethics which have a suspiciously speculative flavour: the notion of an unqualified good, for example, or that of treating moral agents as Ends-in-Themselves; and more generally the whole notion, which permeates Kant's moral philosophy, that morality can only ultimately be understood in terms of a set of ideal relationships that entirely transcend all considerations of common-sense mutual accommodation or rational self-interest: transcend all such considerations so radically, in fact, as to point mutely towards the possibility of a life after death. (shrink)
I think of myself as an anti-philosopher, which is what a literary critic ought to be.For a number of years my work has been partly occupied with the examination of various points of contact between philosophy and literature. It involved, however, no more than marginal reference to the work of F. R. Leavis, certainly because of a culpable lack on my part of extended acquaintance with his work, but also to some extent, no doubt, because of Leavis’s own resolute denial (...) of the possibility of any useful interchange between philosophy and literary criticism as he conceived it.Recently, however, one or two readers, in particular Danièle Moyal-Sharrock, to whom I am much indebted for the tip, took me to task for this... (shrink)
Palmer's “isomorphism constraint” presupposes the logical possibility of two qualitatively disparate sets of sensory experiences exhibiting the same relationships. Two arguments are presented to demonstrate that, because such a state of affairs cannot be coherently specified, its occurrence is not logically possible. The prospects for behavioral and biological science are better than Palmer suggests; those for functionalism are worse.
Among the miscellany of philosophical achievements bequeathed us by the Enlightenment is the account, worked out by Hobbes, Locke, Hume and others, of the conditions for the existence of the kind of civil or commercial association that depends upon contract. The theory of civil association has subsequently exercised the kind of fascination for moral philosophers that a highly successful theory is apt to exercise in any field of enquiry: it has, that is, both inspired later writers and to some extent (...) restricted their horizons. (shrink)