In Polanyian Meditations: In Search of a Post-Critical Logic, Poteat draws upon Polanyi to explicate what he calls an “oral/aural logic,” which he thinks informs Polanyi’s thought and which is different from the conventional “visual logic” of the Western philosophical tradition, and then argues that this oral/aural logic is implied in the Hebraic understanding of reality. This idea is a key to understanding the genesis of the modern worldview, which can be conceptualized as involving certain elements of the Hebraic worldview (...) distorted byan excessively visual orientation. (shrink)
Earthcare: Readings and Cases in Environmental Ethics presents a diverse collection of writings from a variety of authors on environmental ethics, environmental science, and the environmental movement overall. Exploring a broad range of world views, religions and philosophies, David W. Clowney and Patricia Mosto bring together insightful thoughts on the ethical issues arising in various areas of environmental concern.
The volume documents, and makes an original contribution to, an astonishing period in twentieth-century philosophy—the progress of Arne Naess's ecophilosophy from its inception to the present. It includes Naess's most crucial polemics with leading thinkers, drawn from sources as diverse as scholarly articles, correspondence, TV interviews and unpublished exchanges. The book testifies to the skeptical and self-correcting aspects of Naess's vision, which has deepened and broadened to include third world and feminist perspectives. Philosophical Dialogues is an essential addition to the (...) literature on environmental philosophy. (shrink)
For a century and a half, the artists and intellectuals of Europe have scorned the bourgeoisie. And for a millennium and a half, the philosophers and theologians of Europe have scorned the marketplace. The bourgeois life, capitalism, Mencken’s “booboisie” and David Brooks’s “bobos”—all have been, and still are, framed as being responsible for everything from financial to moral poverty, world wars, and spiritual desuetude. Countering these centuries of assumptions and unexamined thinking is Deirdre McCloskey’s _The Bourgeois Virtues_, a magnum opus (...) that offers a radical view: capitalism is good for us. McCloskey’s sweeping, charming, and even humorous survey of ethical thought and economic realities—from Plato to Barbara Ehrenreich—overturns every assumption we have about being bourgeois. Can you be virtuous and bourgeois? Do markets improve ethics? Has capitalism made us better as well as richer? Yes, yes, and yes, argues McCloskey, who takes on centuries of capitalism’s critics with her erudition and sheer scope of knowledge. Applying a new tradition of “virtue ethics” to our lives in modern economies, she affirms American capitalism without ignoring its faults and celebrates the bourgeois lives we actually live, without supposing that they must be lives without ethical foundations. _High Noon_, Kant, BillMurray, the modern novel, van Gogh, and of course economics and the economy all come into play in a book that can only be described as a monumental project and a life’s work. _The Bourgeois Virtues _is nothing less than a dazzling reinterpretation of Western intellectual history, a dead-serious reply to the critics of capitalism—and a surprising page-turner. (shrink)
Recently in the U.S. a near-consensus has formed around the idea that it would be desirable to "end welfare as we know it," in the words of President Bill Clinton.1 In this context, the term "welfare" does not refer to the entire panoply of welfare state provision including government sponsored old age pensions, government provided medical care for the elderly, unemployment benefits for workers who have lost their jobs without being fired for cause, or aid to the disabled. "Welfare" (...) in contemporary debates means "cash, food, or housing assistance to healthy nonaged persons with low incomes."2 In the U.S., the main policy that qualifies as welfare in this sense is Aid to Families with Dependent Children.3 Although contemporary attacks on welfare are identified with conservative policy analysts such as Charles Murray, in fact dissatisfaction with the policies Murray targets for criticism is widespread among liberal intellectuals. For example, in a sharply critical review essay on Murray's book Losing Ground, Christopher Jencks worries that "the social policies that prevailed from 1964 to 1980 often seemed to reward vice" instead of rewarding virtuous conduct by the poor. The problem as Jencks, following Murray, views it is not easy to repair, because "if you set out to help people who are in trouble, you almost always find that most of them are to some extent responsible for their present troubles. Few victims are completely innocent. Helping those who are not doing their best to help themselves poses extraordinarily difficult moral and political problems."4 David T. Ellwood writes that Murray “is almost certainly correct in stating that welfare does not reflect or reinforce our most basic values. He is also correct in stating that no amount of tinkering with benefit levels or work rules will change that.”. (shrink)
What is the role of conscious experience in the epistemology of perceptual knowledge: how should we characterise what is going on in seeing that o is F in order to illuminate the contribution of seeing o to their status as cases of knowing that o is F? My proposal is that seeing o involves conscious acquaintance with o itself, the concrete worldly source of the truth that o is F, in a way that may make it evident to the subject (...) that o is an instance of ‘x is F’ as she understands this, and hence evident that o is F. Seeing that o is F is thus a way of its being evident that o is F and is therefore a way of knowing that o is F. (shrink)
One of the most important and contentious policy issues surrounding genetics is whether genetic information should be treated separately from other medical information. The view that genetics raises distinct issues is what Thomas Murray labeled “genetic exceptionalism,” borrowing from the earlier term “HIV exceptional-ism.” The issue of whether the use of genetic information should be addressed separately from other health information is not merely an academic concern, however. Since the Human Genome Project began in 1990, nearly every state has (...) enacted legislation prohibiting genetic discrimination in health insurance; two-thirds of the states have enacted laws prohibiting genetic discrimination in employment, and other state laws have been enacted dealing with genetic discrimination in life insurance, genetic privacy, and genetic testing. Bills in Congress also would prohibit genetic discrimination in health insurance and employment. (shrink)
The first anthology to highlight the problems of environmental justice and sustainable development, Reflecting on Nature provides a multicultural perspective on questions of environmental concern, featuring contributions from feminist and minority scholars and scholars from developing countries. Selections examine immediate global needs, addressing some of the most crucial problems we now face: biodiversity loss, the meaning and significance of wilderness, population and overconsumption, and the human use of other animals. Spanning centuries of philosophical, naturalist, and environmental reflection, readings include the (...) work of Aristotle, Locke, Darwin, and Thoreau, as well as that of contemporary, mainstream figures like Bernard Williams, Thomas Hill, Jr., and Jonathan Glover. Works by Val Plumwood, Bill Devall, Murray Bookchin, and John Dryzek comprise a radical ecology section. Featuring insightful section introductions by the editors, this comprehensive and timely collection of philosophical and environmental writing will inform, enlighten, and encourage debate. (shrink)
Physical objects are such things as stones, tables, trees, people and other animals: the persisting macroscopic constituents of the world we live in. therefore expresses a commonsense commitment to physical realism: the persisting macroscopic constituents of the world we live in exist, and are as they are, quite independently of anyone.
Short commentaries on Christian de Quincey' paper by Michael Beaton, Jonathan Bricklin, Louis Charland, Jonathan Edwards, Ilya Farber, Bill Faw, Rocco Gennaro, Christian Kaernbach, Chris Nunn, Jaak Panksepp, Jesse Prinz, Matthew Ratcliffe, J. Andrew Ross, Murray Shanahan, Henry Stapp, Douglas Watt.
The standard view in epistemology is that propositional knowledge entails belief. Positive arguments are seldom given for this entailment thesis, however; instead, its truth is typically assumed. Against the entailment thesis, Myers-Schulz and Schwitzgebel (Noûs, forthcoming) report that a non-trivial percentage of people think that there can be propositional knowledge without belief. In this paper, we add further fuel to the fire, presenting the results of four new studies. Based on our results, we argue that the entailment thesis does not (...) deserve the default status that it is typically granted. We conclude by considering the alternative account of knowledge that Myers-Schulz and Schwitzgebel propose to explain their results, arguing that it does not explain ours. In its place we offer a different explanation of both sets of findings—the conviction account, according to which belief, but not knowledge, requires mental assent. (shrink)
This is the most thorough philosophical analysis available of the principle of religious freedom. It draws on the thought of philosophers and political theorists (Rawls, Habermas, Murray, Rorty, Greenawalt, and Mead) rather than on the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Bill Brewer presents an original view of the role of conscious experience in the acquisition of empirical knowledge. He argues that perceptual experiences must provide reasons for empirical beliefs if there are to be any determinate beliefs at all about particular objects in the world. This fresh approach to epistemology turns away from the search for necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge and works instead from a theory of understanding in a particular area.
The question I am interested in is this. What exactly is the role of conscious experience in the acquisition of knowledge on the basis of perception? The problem here, as I see it, is to solve simultaneously for the nature of this experience, and its role in acquiring and sustaining the relevant beliefs, in such a way as to vindicate what I regard as an undeniable datum, that perception is a basic source of knowledge about the mind-independent world, in a (...) sense of ‘basic’ which is also to be elucidated. I shall sketch the way in which I think that this should be done. In section I, I argue that perceptual experiences must provide reasons for empirical beliefs. In section II, I explain how they do so. My thesis is that a correct account of the sense in which perceptual experiences are experiences of mind-independent things is itself an account of the way in which they provide peculiarly basic reasons for beliefs about the world around the perceiver. (shrink)
We perceive things in the external world as spatially located both with respect to each other and to ourselves, such that they are in principle accessible from where we seem to be. I hear the door bang behind me; I feel the pen on the desk over to my right; and I see you walking beneath the line of pictures, from left to right in front of me. By displaying these spatial relations between its objects and us, the perceivers, perception (...) places us in the perceived world: our world and the world we perceive are one. Clearly this is not achieved by our continually perceiving ourselves along with the things around us, and thus recovering our position with respect to them. Indeed I shall argue that there are serious difficulties with the suggestion that this might be the basic mechanism for perceptual self- location. Furthermore, I shall argue that our existence as an element of the objective order cannot be inferred from the raw given in sense perception. Hence it cannot even be on the right lines as an answer to the question 'What is it for perception to represent its objects as environmental to the subject?', that it should present these objects, along with the perceiving subject himself, or along with something from which his existence in the perceived world could be deduced, in the very same frame so to speak. Nevertheless it yields him an awareness of himself as there in the wings of that scene, genuinely located with respect to the action, yet somehow not normally quite getting onto the stage. And I shall argue here, that perceptual contents succeed in being self-locating in this way in.. (shrink)
A taped conversational interview with Daniel Dennett and Bill Uzgalis covers a wide range of topics arising from Dennett’s thoughts about computing and human beings. The background of Dennett’s work is explored as are his views about mind-brain identity theory, artificial intelligence, functionalism, human exceptionalism, animal culture, language, pain, freedom and determinism, and quality of life.
Bill Cosby’s immorality has raised intriguing aesthetic and ethical issues. Do the crimes that he has been convicted of lessen the aesthetic value of his stand-up and, even if we can enjoy it, should we? This article first discusses the intimate relationship between the comedian and audience. The art form itself is structurally intimate, and at the same time the comedian claims to express an authentic self on stage. After drawing an analogy between the question of the moral character (...) of comedians and the aesthetic value of their stand-up and the debate over the ethical criticism of art, this article argues that it is reasonable to find a comedian’s performance less funny, because stand-up’s artistic success relies on this intimacy. It contrasts the comedy of Bill Cosby with that of Louis C.K. C.K.’s moral flaws are much more present in his comedy, and it is therefore more difficult to find him funny. Last, it is ethically permissible to enjoy their comedy, if no harm to others results, both because it does not corrupt the audience’s character and because amusement is valuable. (shrink)
Consider the following situation. It is the first day of school, and the new third-grade students file into the classroom to be shown to their seats for the coming year. As they enter, the third-grade teacher notices one small boy who is particularly unkempt. He looks to be in desperate need of bathing, and his clothes are dirty, torn and tight-fitting. During recess, the teacher pulls aside the boy's previous teacher and asks about his wretched condition. The other teacher informs (...) her that he always looks that way, even though the boy's family is quite wealthy. The reason he appears as he does, she continues, is that the family observes an odd practice according to which the children do not receive many important things – food, clothing, bathing, even shelter – unless they specifically request them. Since the boy, like many third-graders, has little interest in bathing and clean clothes, he just never asks for them. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss a number of different relationships between two kinds of obligation: those which have individuals as their subject, and those which have groups of individuals as their subject. I use the name collective obligations to refer to obligations of the second sort. I argue that there are collective obligations, in this sense; that such obligations can give rise to and explain obligations which fall on individuals; that because of these facts collective obligations are not simply reducible (...) to individual obligations; and that collective obligations supervene on individual obligations, without being reducible to them. The sort of supervenience I have in mind here is what is sometimes called ‘global supervenience’. In other words, there cannot be two worlds which differ in respect of the collective obligations which exist in them without also differing in respect of the individual obligations which exist in them. (shrink)
Many philosophers hold that punishment has an expressive dimension. Advocates of expressive theories have different views about what makes punishment expressive, what kinds of mental states and what kinds of claims are, or legitimately can be expressed in punishment, and to what kind of audience or recipients, if any, punishment might express whatever it expresses. I shall argue that in order to assess the plausibility of an expressivist approach to justifying punishment we need to pay careful attention to whether the (...) things which punishment is supposed to express are aimed at an audience. For the ability of any version of expressivism to withstand two important challenges, which I call the harsh treatment challenge’ and the ‘publicity challenge’ respectively. will depend on the way it answers them. The first of these challenges has received considerable discussion in the literature on expressive theories of punishment; the second considerably less. This is unfortunate. For careful consideration of the publicity challenge should lead us to favor a version of the expressive theory which has been under-discussed: the view on which punishment has an intended audience, and on which the audience is society at large, rather than—as on the most popular version of that view—the criminal. Furthermore, this view turns out to be better equipped to meet the harsh treatment challenge, and to be so precisely because of the way in which it meets the publicity challenge. (shrink)
My primary target in this paper is a puzzle that emerges from the conjunction of several seemingly innocent assumptions in action theory and the metaphysics of moral responsibility. The puzzle I have in mind is this. On one widely held account of moral responsibility, an agent is morally responsible only for those actions or outcomes over which that agent exercises control. Recently, however, some have cited cases where agents appear to be morally responsible without exercising any control. This leads some (...) to abandon the control-based account of responsibility and replace it with an alternative account. It leads others to deny the intuition that agents are responsible in these troublesome cases. After outlining the account of moral responsibility I have in mind, I look at some of the arguments made against the viability of this theory. I show that there are conceptual resources for salvaging the control account, focusing in particular on the nature of vigilance. I also argue that there is empirical data that supports the control account so conceived. (shrink)
The question how to account for illusion has had a prominent role in shaping theories of perception throughout the history of philosophy. Prevailing philosophical wisdom today has it that phenomena of illusion force us to choose between the following two options. First, reject altogether the early modern empiricist idea that the core subjective character of perceptual experience is to be given simply by citing the object presented in that experience. Instead we must characterize perceptual experience entirely in terms of its (...) representational content. Second, retain the early modern idea that the core subjective character of experience is simply constituted by the identity of its direct objects, but admit that these must be mind-dependent entities, distinct from the mind-independent physical objects we all know and love. I argue here that the early modern empiricists had an indispensable insight. The idea that the core subjective character of perceptual experience is to be given simply by citing the object presented in that experience is more fundamental than any appeal to perceptual content, and can account for illusion, and indeed hallucination, without resorting to the problematic postulation of any such mind-dependent objects. (shrink)
From time to time we explain what people do by referring to their habits. We explain somebody’s putting the kettle on in the morning as done through “force of habit”. We explain somebody’s missing a turning by saying that she carried straight on “out of habit”. And we explain somebody’s biting her nails as a manifestation of “a bad habit”. These are all examples of what will be referred to here as habit explanations. Roughly speaking, they explain by referring to (...) a pattern of a particular kind of behaviour which is regularly performed in characteristic circumstances, and has become automatic for that agent due to this repetition. (shrink)
It has recently been suggested that the fact that punishment involves an intention to cause suffering undermines expressive justifications of punishment. I argue that while punishment must involve harsh treatment, harsh treatment need not involve an intention to cause suffering. Expressivists should adopt this conception of harsh treatment.
In this paper, I discuss a distinctively non-paradigmatic instance of punishment: the punishment of non-citizens. I shall argue that the punishment of non-citizens presents considerable difficulties for one currently popular account of criminal punishment: Antony Duff’s communicative expressive theory of punishment. Duff presents his theory explicitly as an account of the punishment of citizens - and as I shall argue, this is not merely an incidental feature of his account. However, it is plausible that a general account of the criminal (...) law of the kind of idealized state that Duff focusses on will need to say something about how that law deals with non-citizens. In particular, I claim, it will need to provide a justification for punishing them. Because Duff's account says nothing about the punishment of non-citizens, it cannot do so. Furthermore, although Duff's more recent suggestion that non-citizens should be thought of as being guests in the state on whose territory they are present may provide for an account of their criminalization, it cannot easily be extended into an account that provides a justification for their punishment. (shrink)
Many authors hold that collectives, as well as individuals can be the subjects of obligations. Typically these authors have focussed on the obligations of highly structured groups, and of small, informal groups. One might wonder, however, whether there could also be collective obligations which fall on everyone – what I shall call ' global collective obligations '. One reason for thinking that this is not possible has to do with considerations about agency : it seems as though an entity can (...) only be the subject of obligations if it is an agent. In this paper, I try to show that the argument from agency is not a good reason for being sceptical about the existence of global collective obligations : it derives whatever plausibility it has from the idea that claims about obligation need to be addressable to some agent. My suggestion is that we should accept this principle about the addressability of obligations, but deny that the addressee of an obligation need be the subject of that obligation. The collective obligations of unstructured collections of individuals, including global collective obligations, meet the addressability requirement insofar as they require something of the individuals who make up the collective. (shrink)
Traditional ecocentric ethics relies on an ecology that emphasizes the stability and integrity of ecosystems. Numerous ecologists now focus on natural systems that are less clearly characterized by these properties. We use the elimination and restoration of wolves in Yellowstone to illustrate troubles for traditional ecocentric ethics caused by ecological models emphasizing instability in natural systems. We identify several other problems for a stability-integrity based ecocentrism as well. We show how an ecocentric ethic can avoid these difficulties by emphasizing the (...) value of the wildness of natural systems and we defend wildness value from a rising tide of criticisms. (shrink)
Nathan Hanna has recently argued against a position I defend in a 2013 paper in this journal and in my 2016 book on punishment, namely that we can punish someone without intending to harm them. In this discussion note I explain why two alleged counterexamples to my view put forward by Hanna are not in fact counterexamples to any view I hold, produce an example which shows that, if we accept a number of Hanna’s own assumptions, punishment does not require (...) an intention to harm, and discuss whether a definition and counter-example approach is the best way to proceed in the philosophy of punishment. I conclude with a brief exegetical discussion of H.L.A Hart’s Prolegomenon to the Principles of Punishment. (shrink)
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