This article systematically challenges Kripke's modal argument and Soames's defence of this argument by arguing that, just like descriptions, names can take narrow or wide scopes over modalities, and that there is a big difference between the wide scope reading and the narrow scope reading of a modal sentence with a name. Its final conclusions are that all of Kripke's and Soames's arguments are untenable due to some fallacies or mistakes; names are not “rigid designators”; if there were rigid designators, (...) description(s) could be rigidified to refer fixedly to objects; so names cannot be distinguished in this way from the corresponding descriptions. A descriptivist account of names is still correct; and there is no justification for Kripke's theory of rigid designation and its consequences. (shrink)
After a brief review of the notions of necessity and a priority, this paper scrutinizes Kripke's arguments for supposedly contingent a priori propositions and necessary a posteriori propositions involving proper names, and reaches a negative conclusion, i.e. there are no such propositions, or at least the propositions Kripke gives as examples are not such propositions. All of us, including Kripke himself, still have to face the old question raised by Hume, i.e. how can we justify the necessity and universality of (...) general statements on the basis of sensory or empirical evidence? (shrink)
In Denmark, which alone in Western Europe has not accepted brain death as the criterion of death, the newly established Danish Council of Ethics has issued a report suggesting that in Denmark the criterion of death should still be the cessation of cardiac activity. The council bases its conclusion on the concept of death in everyday experience and its ethical implications.
Jin Yuelin (1895?1984), a Chinese logician and philosopher, is greatly influenced by Hume's and Russell's philosophies. How should we respond to Hume's problem of induction? This is an important clue to understand Jin's whole philosophical career. The first section of this paper gives a brief historical review of Russell and Jin. The second section outlines Hume's skeptical arguments against causality and induction. The third section expounds Russell's justification of induction by discussing his views on Hume's skepticism, causality, principle of induction, (...) and empirical postulates. The fourth section clarifies Jin's justification of induction by discussing his critique of Hume's epistemology and his arguments for the reliability of causality and the eternal truth and apriority of the principle of induction. The final section compares Jin's justification of induction with Russell's and concludes that there are similarities and differences between their projects and that both their attempts fail. This paper takes the similar responses to the problem of induction by Jin and Russell to demonstrate the communication that there has been between Chinese philosophers and the Western ones. (shrink)
The so-called ‘morning-after pill’ is a drug that prevents pregnancy if taken no later than 72 hours after presumably fertile sexual intercourse. This article argues against a right of conscientious objection for pharmacists with regard to dispensing this drug. Some arguments that might be advanced in support of this right will be considered and rejected. Section 2 argues that from a philosophical point of view, the most relevant question is not whether the morning-after pill prevents implantation nor is it whether (...) preventing implantation is tantamount to abortion. Section 3 suggests a more general philosophical question as most pertinent, namely whether and to what extent a pharmacist can justifiably be exempted from dispensing the morning-after pill when to do so would entail participating in something that goes against his or her deepest moral or religious convictions. Section 4 explains why, within liberal institutions, pharmacists should not have the right to conscientious objection to dispensing the morning-after pill. (shrink)
This paper divides the sophisms and paradoxes put forth by Chinese thinkers of the pre-Qin period of China into six groups: paradoxes of motion and infinity, paradoxes of class membership, semantic paradoxes, epistemic paradoxes, paradoxes of relativization, other logical contradictions. It focuses on the comparison between the Chinese items and the counterparts of ancient Greek and even of contemporary Western philosophy, and concludes that there turn out to be many similar elements of philosophy and logic at the beginnings of Chinese (...) and Greek civilizations. (shrink)
Instead of impeding access to essential medicines in developing countries, the essay explores why and how patents can serve as a source of funding for the much needed access to medicine. Instead of a weakening of patents, prolonged protection periods are suggested in circumstances where there is widespread lack of access. The revenues from extended patents are seen as a source of funding for drug donations to the least developed countries.
The emergence of any idea must have a deep-seated social background, and at the same time there must be an intellectual source that cannot be neglected. That is to say, every idea must have as its foundation some piece of intellectual material that has been handed down by people of the past. Lao Zi once said: "All Things Under Heaven [tianxia wanwu] are born of Existence [you]; Existence [you] is born of Nonexistence [wu]." This does not mean that existence is (...) born out of nothingness or nonexistence [xuwu]. In reality, what Lao Zi meant by "Nonexistence" [wu] is actually itself a kind of existence; but because its state of existence [cunzai zhuangtai] is different from that of Existence [you], it is called "Nonexistence" [wu] instead. This difference of the states of existence lies in [the following]: Existence has form, and therefore can be sensed; Non-existence has no form, and therefore cannot be sensed. In the chapter "Fei ming" of the book Mo Zi there is the passage that says: "Something can be heard, something can be seen; we call it Existence; something cannot be heard, cannot be seen; we call it Destruction [wang] [wu]." Even though the meanings of "Existence" and "Nonexistence" here are different from those in Lao Zi's idea, we may still trust that the general interpretation of "Existence" and "Nonexistence" here would still meet with Lao Zi's approval. In Lao Zi's view, even though Nonexistence cannot be comprehended through sensation, it can be grasped by metaphysical and mystical "vision." Lao Zi's expression that "Existence is born of Nonexistence" was not only an expression of his viewpoint on the question of the origin of "all things under heaven," but also a general rule for us to follow in examining the evolution of human thought. On the one hand, it demonstrates that every single idea must have its source, its intellectual origin; on the other hand, it points out that the idea that serves another as intellectual source may be hidden, not overt, at times. On the surface, some ideas may appear to have no "genealogical origin"—water without a fountainhead or well spring, and yet, perhaps, if we were to conduct further investigation and research, we would discover that they all have some ancient source, some long-forgotten well spring. That is precisely what this essay hopes to accomplish—to attempt to explore in a preliminary way the ancient source of Lao Zi's thought. (shrink)
Although I do not have any final thoughts about the present topic, it might still be valuable to identify what questions are bothering many Chinese scholars. During an academic meeting last month Professor Yu Dunkang summarized the embarrassing situation confronting the study of Chinese philosophy today, as follows: "The object remains unclear, and the value is misplaced." The phrase "the object remains unclear" means that scholars are not sure what questions need to be studied in relation to what is called (...) "Chinese philosophy," while the phrase "the value is misplaced" means that scholars misunderstand the value and the meaning of their own work. To a large extent, this summary is correct; but the question is how this particular situation came into being. (shrink)
The article examines the developments that made the legend of an Asian migration into Europe part of mainstream historiography during the eighteenth century. It was believed that the Norse god Odin was in fact a historical person, who had migrated from Asia to with the north of Europe with his tribe. The significance of this legend to how medieval poetry was received and debated in England has received little attention. The study falls into three sections. The first will trace the (...) significance of the Odin migration legend in discovering Germanic cultural origins. The second section examines the impact of the legend on philological studies, primarily in establishing a new category: the Gothic poetic tradition. The final section will focus on the debate between two of the most important eighteenth-century pioneers of vernacular poetic tradition: Thomas Percy and Thomas Warton. Their discussion over whether the Asian foundation of Germanic tradition had paved the way for later Arabian influences is instructive, as it shows how Eastern “others” were negotiated in the discovery of cultural and national roots. (shrink)