After resolving the dreaming doubt at the end of the Sixth Meditation, Descartes concedes to Hobbes that one could apply the criterion for waking experience in a dream and thus be deceived, but he no longer considers this possibility to have skeptical force. I argue that this is a legitimate response by Descartes since 1) the dreaming doubt in the Sixth Meditation is no longer a global skeptical hypothesis as it is in the First, and 2) the level of certainty (...) that sensory experience must meet in the Sixth Meditation is lower than it must meet in the First. (shrink)
Rule-consequentialism has been accused of either collapsing into act-consequentialism or being internally inconsistent. I have tried to develop a form of rule-consequentialism without these flaws. In this June's issue of Utilitas, Robert Card argued that I have failed. Here I assess his arguments.
In On Virtue Ethics I offered a criterion for a character trait's being a virtue according to which a virtuous character trait must conduce to, or at least not be inimical to, four ends, one of which is the continuance of the human species. I argue here that this does not commit me to homosexuality's being a vice, since homosexuality is not a character trait and hence not up for assessment as a virtue or a vice. Vegetarianism is not up (...) for such assessment either, for the same reason, but, as a practice, may well be required by the virtue of compassion, and sacrificing one's life for an animal or alien may be required by courage. The clause about the continuance of the human species in my criterion does not specify a foundational value, because, following McDowell, I reject foundationalism. (shrink)
Rorty and the Religious: Christian Engagements with a Secular Philosopher brings together twelve essays discussing Rorty’s philosophy from a theological point of view. These essays, tackling Rorty’s epistemology, moral views, and social vision, carry out “constructive and serious” engagement with his work. The writers even declare they find “promising nuggets” in Rorty’s work for addressing particular questions within philosophy and theology.Why would Christian theologians bother to engage in this manner with a philosopher whose epistemological and moral thought has centered on (...) the notion of conversation and yet has declared religion a “conversation stopper?”1 Calling himself “religiously unmusical,”... (shrink)
The past half-century has seen a surge of interest in Aristotle’s ethics. For participants in this revived neo-Aristotelian tradition, Aristotle’s writings and distinctive ethical approach provide an important touchstone and inspiration for their own ideas. But this has happened before. In the classical world, from his own students and colleagues to the great commentator, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Aristotle’s followers adapted, debated, and reworked their master’s ideas, often in the context of debate with rival schools. Inwood’s short book outlines the trajectory (...) and main developments of this tradition, tracing a history of active and often innovative philosophers working to make sense of and defend their.. (shrink)