This article describes the development and validation of a diagnostic test of German and its integration in a programme of formative assessment during a one-year initial teacher-training course. The test focuses on linguistic aspects that cause difficulty for trainee teachers of German as a foreign language and assesses implicit and explicit grammatical knowledge as well as students' confidence in this knowledge. Administration of the test to 57 German speakers in four groups (first-year undergraduates, fourth-year undergraduates, postgraduate trainees, and native speakers) (...) provided evidence of its reliability and validity. (shrink)
As professional voice users, teachers are particularly at risk of abusing their voices and developing voice disorders during their career. In spite of this, attention paid to voice care in the initial training and further professional development of teachers is unevenly spread and insufficient. This article describes a questionnaire survey of 171 trainee teachers at the end of their Postgraduate Certificate in Education year that included the Voice Handicap Index . The survey aimed to identify the prevalence and types of (...) voice problems experienced by students during their teaching practice and to relate these to previous history and to the area of the curriculum they were teaching. The analysis suggests that over a third of trainees suffer from voice difficulties on teaching practice and that one student in 12 was classified as having a moderate handicap as defined by the VHI. Trends of symptoms particular to individual curricular areas appear to be a fruitful area for further study. (shrink)
I propose in this paper to examine and analyse the concept of śūnyatā as it is expressed in the Hrdaya sūtras of the Buddhist prajñā-pāramitā literature and in the Mū1amadhyamaka-kārikās of Nāgārjuna. I shall attempt to show some of the difficulties involved in seeking an objective referent or counter part for the concept and also in trying to preserve the tension implicit in the affirmation of the middle way. I hope to indicate that the via negativa approach has positive implications (...) for the understanding of śūnyatā and that in the final analysis we may have to look for its meaning in the way it is used. (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.
In this article I present two arguments from Brian Hebblethwaite for the conclusion that multiple incarnations are impossible, as well as the analyses of those arguments provided by three other thinkers: Oliver Crisp, Peter Kevern, and Robin Le Poidevin. I argue that both of Hebblethwaite's arguments are unsound.
Richards's theory, then, fails on three counts. By illegitimately importing a premise from outside of the theory of evolution in order to construct a valid argument, Richards has failed to achieve his objective of deriving a moral theory exclusively from biological facts. By sliding from a causal use of “ought” to a moral one, Richards commits the fallacy of ambiguity. And by insisting that action from the motive of altruism is moral while claiming that an ethical theory (...) which justifies Hitler's camps must be judged false, Richards has falsified his own ethical theory. (shrink)
One of the most important problems of twentieth century analytic philosophy concern the place of the mind – and in particular, of consciousness and intentionality – in a physical universe. Brian Loar’s essays in the philosophy of mind in this volume include his major contributions in this area. His central concern was how to understand consciousness and intentionality from the subjective perspective, and especially, how to understand subjectivity in a physical universe. He was committed to the reality and reliability (...) of the subjective perspective; and he found that subjective phenomena like intentionality and consciousness are, in a certain sense, ineliminable and irreducible to objective ones. At the same time he believed that intentionality and consciousness are grounded in the physical. One of his great contributions was showing how to reconcile these two positions by being a conceptual and explanatory anti-reductionist about both consciousness and intentionality but a metaphysical reductionist nonetheless. He had a deep commitment to both physicalism and to the reality and significance of the subjective point of view. (shrink)
Essays on Wittgensteinian Themes Dedicated to Brian McGuinness Joachim Schulte, Göran Sundholm. PREFACE For thirty-five years the international community of philosophers have known Brian McGuinness as a major authority on the ...
Human beings are peculiar. In laboratory experiments, they often cooperate in one-shot prisoners’ dilemmas, they frequently offer 1/2 and reject low offers in the ultimatum game, and they often bid 1/2 in the game of divide-the-cake All these behaviors are puzzling from the point of view of game theory. The first two are irrational, if utility is measured in a certain way.1 The last isn’t positively irrational, but it is no more rational than other possible actions, since there are infinitely (...) many other Nash equilibria besides the one in which both players bid 1/2. At the same time, these behaviors seem to indicate that people are sometimes inclined to be cooperative, fair, and just. In his stimulating new book, Brian Skyrms sets himself the task of showing why these inclinations evolved, or how they might have evolved, under the pressure of natural selection. The goal is not to justify our ethical intuitions, but to explain why we have them.2.. (shrink)
In Normative Externalism, Brian Weatherson argues that living up to one’s principles is overrated: “If one’s own principles are good, then one should conform to them. But that’s because they are good, not because they are one’s own.” (224). Weatherson argues that there is no reason to avoid being a hypocrite, or having incoherent beliefs, because Tthe first-order question of what you ought to do (or believe) is independent of the second-order question of what you ought to believe about (...) what you ought to do (or believe). (shrink)
Brian Z. Tamanaha has written extensively on realism in jurisprudence, but in his Realistic Theory of Law (2018), he uses "realism" in a commonplace way to ground a rough outline of legal history. While he refers to his method as genealogical, he does not acknowledge the complex tensions in the development of the philosophical use of that term from Nietzsche to Foucault, and the complex epistemological issues that separate them. While the book makes many interesting points, the methodological concerns (...) outweigh them in the overall assessment of the value of the work. (shrink)
Emily Paul has recently argued that Brian Leftow’s account of why the import of God’s becoming Incarnate is not temporal but modal fails. She argues that Leftow’s required modal variation is not satisfied. That is, we do not have the required variation across logical space concerning the Incarnation. Paul examines her argument on two possible worlds theories: theistic ersatzism and (what I call) Lewisian theism. She thinks that both possible worlds theories face difficulties. I argue that Paul fails to (...) provide a compelling argument against Leftow because, firstly, her defence of one her premises fails, and, secondly, she misjudges what is required for some of Leftow’s claims to be true. I also argue that some of the problematic consequences that Paul raises for theistic ersatzism and Lewisian theism either are not problematic or can be avoided. (shrink)
I criticise Brian Earp’s ‘Some Writing Tips for Philosophy.’ Earp’s paper is useful for someone who wishes to do well in analytic philosophy as currently practised but it also casts doubt on why such analytic philosophy would be of interest to someone who wants to learn something new. In addition to its good tips, Earp’s paper contains two bad tips which, if followed, will tend to produce a paper that says next-to-nothing. I list the two faulty tips, show how (...) the practices of great philosophers and scientists contradict them, then set out some contrary good tips for philosophers who aim to write a paper that makes a contribution to our knowledge. (shrink)
In my recent article in the Journal of Medical Ethics, I attacked the Laissez Choisir Argument in defence of letting individuals choose whether to sell kidneys or other organs as living donors, and I argued that such transactions should generally remain prohibited.1 The LC Argument arises as a response to a prohibitionist claim that I endorse: organ sales should be banned to protect potential poverty-stricken vendors, even if a free market could provide great benefits to potential organ recipients. The LC (...) Argument says that this is misplaced paternalism, since banning the market only takes away from willing vendors what they must regard as their best option, thereby leaving them even worse off, at least as they see things. My refutation of the LC Argument pointed out, on the contrary, that giving some people the option to sell their organs may harm them in ways they would reasonably prefer not to be harmed—even though they would reasonably prefer to take the option once it is presented. The upshot is that many potentially willing organ vendors might themselves reasonably prefer prohibition. I argued that the harms of a live donor organ market to this group would in fact be significant and unavoidable, and that it would be morally impermissible to impose these harms. And I suggested that this argument for prohibition best explicates an inchoate but widely shared moral concern about the exploitative nature of live donor organ trading.I thank Gerald Dworkin, Janet Radcliffe Richards and Adrian Walsh for their engaging and often insightful commentaries.2–4 I agree with a lot, but I will …. (shrink)
This is an excellent article, probably the best there is in defence of prohibiting the sale of organs, and it deserves a much fuller discussion of detail than there is space for here.1 My concerns, however, are with generalities rather than detail. Although some such argument might justify prohibition of organ selling in particular places and at particular times, it is difficult to see how it could support the kind of general, universal policy currently accepted by most advocates of prohibition.Whenever (...) the subject of organ selling is discussed, it is useful to keep in mind the natural history of the debate. Prohibition was instituted by most governments and professional bodies just about as quickly as possible after it was discovered that payment for kidneys was going on, and was a direct response to feelings of moral outrage. It all happened without time for debate. It was only later, as challenges appeared, that justifications began to be produced; and when they did they followed a pattern long familiar to philosophers, and more recently recognised by moral psychologists, of determined efforts to find a justification for the initial intuition that organ selling must be wrong. New arguments kept appearing in the cause as earlier attempts were shown to fail, and many were so weak that they could not have seemed plausible unless their advocates had already been committed to their conclusion. This does not mean, of course, that a good justification could never be produced. It does, however, suggest a widespread feeling that organ selling must be intrinsically …. (shrink)
In "Some Criticism of the Contextual Approach, and a Few Proposals" in Biological Theory, Brian McLoone discusses some of the points about the contextual approach that I made in a recent paper. Besides offering a reply to McLoone’s comments on my paper, in this article I show why McLoone’s discussion of the two main frameworks for thinking about group selection—the contextual and the Price approach—is partly misguided. In particular, I show that one of McLoone’s main arguments against the contextual (...) approach is missing the target and that one of his (and Elliott Sober’s) arguments in defense of the Price approach is flawed. Criticizing these arguments will help me present an entirely different picture than McLoone’s of the current status of multilevel selection theory. More precisely, I argue that the idea that we are dealing with "multilevel selection" in the type of multigroup cases in which the focal units are the individuals (and their traits) has recently come under threat. Finally, I discuss the ways in which this idea might be salvaged by appealing either to the contextual or to the Price approach. (shrink)
As the author of Justice as Impartiality, I am not ashamed to admit that I was delighted by the liveliness of the discussion generated by it at the meeting on which this symposium is based. I am likewise grateful to the six authors for finding the book worthy of the careful attention that they have bestowed on it. Between them, the symposiasts take up many more points than I can cover in this response. I shall therefore focus on some themes (...) that cluster round the contractual device that I associate with the notion of justice as impartiality. Is it necessary? If it is not necessary is it nevertheless useful? Within an overall contractual framework is the form of contract that I propose uniquely justifiable? And does the form of contract that I defend generate the implications that I claim for it? (shrink)
In teaching jurisprudence, I typically distinguish between two different families of theories of adjudication—theories of how judges do or should decide cases. “Formalist” theories claim that the law is “rationally” determinate, that is, the class of legitimate legal reasons available for a judge to offer in support of his or her decision justifies one and only one outcome either in all cases or in some significant and contested range of cases ; and adjudication is thus “autonomous” from other kinds of (...) reasoning, that is, the judge can reach the required decision without recourse to nonlegal normative considerations of morality or political philosophy. I also note that “formalism” is sometimes associated with the idea that judicial decision-making involves nothing more than mechanical deduction on the model of the syllogism—Beccaria, for example, expresses such a view. I call the latter “Vulgar Formalism” to emphasize that it is not a view to which anyone today cares to subscribe. (shrink)
William Hasker replies to my arguments against Social Trinitarianism, offers some criticism of my own view, and begins a sketch of another account of the Trinity. I reply with some defence of my own theory and some questions about his.
In a series of powerful and challenging articles emerging since the mid-1990s, Brian Leiter has argued that certain theoretical strains in contemporary legal philosophy are ‘epistemologically bankrupt’, in virtue of their reliance on misguided argumentative devices: analysing concepts, such as the concepts of law and of authority; and doing so by appealing to intuitions regarding the correct way to understand the concepts in question. In response to this state of affairs, Leiter advocates that jurisprudence ought to attempt to catch-up (...) with ‘naturalistic’ developments which have influenced the direction of other branches of philosophy – such as epistemology, philosophy of mind, and moral philosophy – in the last few decades. This article offers a critical analysis of some of Leiter’s proposals for what Jurisprudence should become, in light of his views on the relevance of naturalism for this discipline. (shrink)
If we set aside personal edification, what reasons remain for a philosopher of science to study the intellectual biography of a famous (or infamous) scientist? This question raises familiar and perhaps tired arguments about the relationship between history of science and philosophy of science, but it is also practical: why take the time to digest almost 600 pages devoted to the controversial German zoologist Ernst Haeckel? A preliminary answer is the author. The historical investigations of Robert Richards have been (...) of ongoing interest to philosophers, whether it be evolutionary explanations of mind and behavior in the nineteenth century (Dennett 1989) or his contentious claims—reinvigorated in the present volume—about Darwin’s commitment to embryonic recapitulation (Lennox 1994). Richards has a knack for unearthing details germane to conceptual reflection, in no small part because of his own philosophical predilections (e.g., a selection model of scientific theory development). Here I entertain three more reasons to follow the injunction tolle lege: the prescient synthesis exemplified in Haeckel’s evolutionary theorizing, the impact of model organism choice, and the critical role of pictures in scientific reasoning accented by Haeckel’s artistic proclivities. (shrink)
In "the semantics of singular terms," brian loar described and criticized a "causal" theory of reference and offered a new "description" theory. It is argued that the particular causal theory described is not to be found in the papers by donnellan and kripke cited as evidence for it, And is a straw man. Further "prima facie", Loar's new description theory fails to meet kripke's noncircularity condition. Should loar attempt to meet it, His theory is likely to run foul of (...) kripke's usual "arguments from ignorance and error" against description theories. (shrink)
Janet Radcliffe Richards is as always to the point and radical. We agree with her that “if it is presumptively bad to prevent sales altogether because lives will be lost . . . it is for the same reason presumptively bad to restrict the selling of organs”. Her complaint against our paper is that we are unnecessarily restrictive. John Harris indeed has argued that there are no sound ethical or philosophical reasons for objecting on principle to the sale of (...) live tissue and organs.1 If a scheme can be devised …. (shrink)
There has been a recent surge of evolutionary explanations of art. In this article I evaluate one currently influential example, Brian Boyd’s recent book On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction. The book offers a stimulating collection of findings, ideas, and hypotheses borrowed from a wide range of research disciplines, brought together under the umbrella of evolution. However, in so doing Boyd lumps together issues that need to be separated, most importantly, organic and cultural evolution. In addition, (...) he fails to consider alternative explanations to art as adaptation such as exaptation and constraint. Moreover, the neurobiological literature suggests current evidence of biological adaptation for most of the arts is weak at best. Given these considerations, I conclude by proposing to regard the arts instead as culturally evolved practices building on pre-existing biological traits. (shrink)
Brian Trainor argues that the current hostility of political theorists towards the idea of the common good is in part due to the influence of Isaiah Berlin's concept of `value pluralism', or the incommensurability of basic human values. I agree with Trainor's opposition to the `agonistic' interpretation of pluralism, associated with thinkers like Chantal Mouffe. However, it is not the case that the only alternative to the pluralism— agonism thesis is the monist defence of a thick common good advocated (...) by Trainor. Between these extremes there is a middle way that accepts the deep plurality of values in Berlin's sense, but recognizes a case for a thin conception of the common good — that is, a liberal political framework. (shrink)
In ‘The ethics of belief and Christian faith as commitment to assumptions’, Rik Peels attacks the views that I advanced in ‘Christianity and the ethics of belief’. Here, I rebut his criticisms of the claim that it is wrong to believe without sufficient evidence, of the contention that Christians are committed to that claim, and of the notion of that faith is not belief but commitment to assumptions in the hope of salvation. My original conclusions still stand.
In his recent article, ‘A Gift to Theology? Jean-Luc Marion's ‘Saturated Phenomena’ in Christological Perspective’, Brian Robinette has critiqued Marion's phenomenology for confining theology to a one-sided approach to Christology, one that stresses only the passive, mystical reception of Christ. To correct this imbalance, Robinette brings Marion into dialogue with those more active Christologies or ‘prophetical-ethical’ liberation theologies of Gustavo Gutierrez, Johann Baptist Metz and others that stress a life-praxis focused on confronting evil and suffering. In this essay I (...) am arguing that Robinette has not fully developed the ‘logic’ of Marion's phenomenology of the ‘call and the gifted’, in which both a passive and an active element are operative. I explore more fully that very dynamic phenomenological process of the call-and-the-gifted as developed in Marion's work Being Given: Toward a Phenomenology of Givenness. Once viewed in Christological perspective, and especially in light of Christ's death and resurrection, Marion's phenomenology entails an ethical trope consistent with the mission of Christ as rendered in Scriptural revelation, and thus the gap between Marion's work and the prophetical-ethical theologies of Gutierrez and Baptist Metz becomes narrowed. (shrink)