An important selection from the largely unknown writings of women philosophers of the early modern period. Each selection is prefaced by a headnote giving a biographical account of its author and setting the piece in historical context. Atherton’s Introduction provides a solid framework for assessing these works and their place in modern philosophy.
Cloning Human Embryos for Spare Tissue An Ethical Dilemma Content Type Journal Article Pages 22-23 Authors Donald Bruce, Religion and Technology Project, Church of Scotland, John Knox House, 45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR, Scotland Journal Human Reproduction & Genetic Ethics Online ISSN 2043-0469 Print ISSN 1028-7825 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 2 / 2002.
This paper examines the ethical andsocial questions that underlie the present UKdiscussion whether GM crops and organicagriculture can co-exist within a given regionor are mutually exclusive. A EuropeanCommission report predicted practicaldifficulties in achieving sufficientseparation distances to guarantee lowerthreshold levels proposed for GM material inorganic produce. Evidence of gene flow betweensome crops and their wild relatives has beena key issue in the recent Government consultation toconsult on whether or not to authorizecommercial planting of GM crops, following theresults of the current UK (...) farm scale trials.The admixture of imported Bt transgenes intolandrace varieties of Mexican maize alsopresents difficulties. An ethical evaluationis made of the claim that organic growersshould expect protection from adventitioustraces of GM constructs in their products. Towhat extent – on either side of the debate –can any particular group in society set upagricultural standards for itself that mayeffectively restrain others from an otherwisejust business? The assumptions behind notionslike ``purity'' and ``contamination'' areexamined, together with their underlying viewsof nature and human intervention. The 2001UK Agriculture and Environmental BiotechnologyCommission report is relevant to theseissues. While the Government wishes to promotethe UK biotechnology industry and is underpressure from US claims of trade restraint, astrong organic lobby demands purity from GMcontamination. Does this adversarial framingof the issues reflect broader public opinionin the UK public consultation? Inarriving at policy decisions, the role of thevirtue of tolerance is considered inpost-modern and Christian ethical contexts. (shrink)
Future technological developmentsconcerning food, agriculture, and theenvironment face a gulf of social legitimationfrom a skeptical public and media, in the wakeof the crises of BSE, GM food, and foot andmouth disease in the UK (House of Lords, 2000). Keyethical issues were ignored by the bioindustry,regulators, and the Government, leaving alegacy of distrust. The paper examinesagricultural biotechnology in terms of a socialcontract, whose conditions would have to be fulfilled togain acceptance of novel applications. Variouscurrent and future GM applications areevaluated against these (...) conditions. Successwould depend critically on how far a sharedvision can be found with the public. Tore-establish trust, significant changes areidentified in the planning and pursuit ofbiotechnology. (shrink)
Berkeley has made the bold claim on behalf of his theory that it is uniquely able to justify the claim that snow is white. But this claim, made most strikingly in the Third of his "Three Dialogues," has been held, most forcefully by Margaret Wilson, to conflict with Berkeley's argument in the First Dialogue that, because of various facts to do with perceptual variation, colors are merely apparent and hence, mind-dependent. This paper develops an alternative reading of the First Dialogue (...) arguments, in which their project is not to establish the mind-dependence of colors but instead to undermine the position that colors are also mind-independent. Under these circumstances, the coherence of the First and the Third Dialogue arguments is assured, just so long as the Third Dialogue claim to have established that snow is really white is not taken to mean that snow is mind-independently white, but instead, something like that our experiences of snow are stably and regularly white. (shrink)
Berkeley has been notoriously charged with inconsistency because he held that spiritual substance exists, Although he argued against the existence of material substance. Berkeley is only inconsistent on the assumption that his argument in favor of spiritual substance parallels the rejected argument for material substance. I show that berkeley is relying on quite a different argument, One perfectly consistent with his theory of ideas, Based on presuppositions the germs of which can be found in the thought of his predecessors in (...) the theory of ideas, Descartes and locke. (shrink)
The language $L_A(\Finv)$ is formed by adding the quantifier $\Finv x$ , "few x", to the infinitary logic L A on an admissible set A. A complete axiomatization is obtained for models whose universe is the set of ordinals of A and where $\Finv x$ is interpreted as there exist A-finitely many x. For well-behaved A, every consistent sentence has a model with an A-recursive diagram. A principal tool is forcing for $L_A(\Finv)$.
O'Keefe's contention that Epicurus devised the atomic swerve to counter a threat to the efficacy of reason posed by the thesis that the future is fixed regardless of what we do, is not supported by the evidence he adduces. Epicurus' own words in On nature XXV, and testimony from Lucretius and Cicero, tell far more strongly in favour of the traditional view, that Epicurus' concerns were causal determinism and its threat to moral responsiblity for our actions and characters.
Three interpretations of theprecautionary principle are identified, namely``soft,'' ``hard,'' and outright rejection. The ECCommunication of February 2000 is largely aresponse to the latter, to provide alegitimation in trade-related WTO disputes.This context leads to an over stress onscientific closure. This is critiqued asidealistic in respect of resolving long termuncertainties inherent in the GM food issue.While offering some useful guidelines in riskmanagement, the EC report seriously fails totake into account the ethical and societaldimension of risk. These are crucial both indetermining when precautionary (...) principle isinvoked and the action to be taken. The EC viewleans too much to a scientific rationalist riskperspective. However, the ``Green''interpretation of the precautionary principleas a reversal of the burden of proof is alsocriticized as inconsistent both with the natureof technology and with the nature of reality asseen in a Christian perspective. Biblicalinsights on risk reveal a balance ofintervention and conservation in a world whererisk is inherent. The notion of risk as asocial contract reveals that ethical andsocietal issues have a crucial role to play inapplying the precautionary principle. (shrink)
In The Stubborn System of Moral Responsibility (2015), Bruce Waller sets out to explain why the belief in individual moral responsibility is so strong. He begins by pointing out that there is a strange disconnect between the strength of philosophical arguments in support of moral responsibility and the strength of philosophical belief in moral responsibility. While the many arguments in favor of moral responsibility are inventive, subtle, and fascinating, Waller points out that even the most ardent supporters of moral (...) responsibility acknowledge that the arguments in its favor are far from conclusive; and some of the least confident concerning the arguments for moral responsibility—such as Van Inwagen—are most confident of the truth of moral responsibility. Thus, argues Waller, whatever the verdict on the strength of philosophical arguments for moral responsibility, it is clear that belief in moral responsibility—whether among philosophers or the folk—is based on something other than philosophical reasons. -/- He goes on to argue that there are several sources for the strong belief in moral responsibility, but the following four are particularly influential: First, moral responsibility is based in a powerful “strike back” emotion that we share with other animals. Second, there is a deep-rooted “belief in a just world”—a belief that, according to Waller, most philosophers reject when they consciously consider it, but which has a deep nonconscious influence on what we regard as just treatment and which provides subtle (but mistaken) support for belief in moral responsibility. Third, there is a pervasive moral responsibility system—extending over criminal justice as well as “common sense”—that makes the truth of moral responsibility seem obvious, and makes challenges to moral responsibility seem incoherent. Finally, there is the enormous confidence we have in the power of reason, which mistakenly leads us to believe that our conscious, rational, and critically reflective selves are constantly guiding our behavior in accordance with our deep values. -/- In these comments, I would like to discuss the many points of agreement I have with Waller, providing along the way additional fuel for his skeptical fire (i.e., his moral responsibility skepticism and his skeptical analysis of the source of our strong belief in moral responsibility). I will also discuss, however, my one main point of disagreement—i.e., his desire to preserve the conception of free will. Waller believes free will can “flourish” in the absence of moral responsibility (see Ch.8), while I maintain they that the variety of free will that is of central philosophical and practical importance is the sort required for moral responsibility in a particular but pervasive sense. This sense of moral responsibility is set apart by the notion of basic desert and is purely backward-looking and non-consequentialist (see Pereboom 2001, 2014; Caruso and Morris, forthcoming). Understood this way, the sort of free will at issue in the historical debate is a kind of power or ability an agent must possess in order to justify certain kinds of desert-based judgments, attitudes, or treatments in response to decisions or actions that the agent performed or failed to perform. (shrink)
I respond to Jonathan Chimakonam’s paper in which he presents an approach to dialogue in philosophical space, and raises questions about my own approach. I raise four questions to his understanding of conversation. First, I ask him for more details on his conception of conversation. Second, what happens if not everyone cares to enter into conversation? Third, is conversation a prerequisite to philosophy, or a part of philosophy? And fourth, how does wonder fit into conversation in and about place?
This article is the attempt at a dialogue with Bruce McCormack about the position he espoused in The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth concerning the relation between God's Election of grace and God's Triunity. I had criticized McCormack's position in my book, Divine Freedom and the Doctrine of the Immanent Trinity (2002), but I did not elaborate on it in great detail. To develop the dialogue I will: 1) consider McCormack's claim that in CD II/2 Barth made Jesus Christ (...) “rather than” the Eternal Logos the subject of election; 2) consider what Barth means when he speaks of Jesus Christ “in the beginning”; 3) compare McCormack's thesis that the Father never had regard for the Son, apart from the humanity to be assumed, with Barth's belief that we must not dispute the eternal will of God which “precedes even predestination”; 4) analyze in detail McCormack's rejection of Barth's belief that the logos asarkos in distinction from the logos incarnandus is a necessary concept in trinitarian theology; 5) discuss Barth's concept of the divine will in relation to the concept advanced by McCormack and suggest that McCormack has fallen into the error of Hermann Schell by thinking that God in some sense takes his origin from himself, so that God would only be triune if he elected us; 6) explain why it is a problem to hold, as McCormack does, that God's self-determination to be triune and his election of us should be considered one and the same act; and finally 7) explain McCormack's confusion of time and eternity in his latest article on the subject in the February, 2007 issue of the Scottish Journal of Theology, and his own espousal of a kind of indeterminacy on God's part (which he theoretically rejects). (shrink)
In a recent article in Religious Studies, Professor P. W. Gooch attempts to wean the orthodox Christian from anthropological materialism by consideration of the question of the nature of the post-mortem person in the resurrection. He argues that the view that the resurrected person is a psychophysical organism who is in some physical sense the same as the ante-mortem person is inconsistent with the Pauline view of the resurrected body; rather, according to him, Paul's view is most consistent with that (...) which affirms the disembodied survival of the person. ‘I want to argue’, he writes, ‘for the thesis that a Pauline resurrection body may well be ontologically the same as a disembodied person.’ I intend to show that Professor Gooch has failed to provide any support for this view and indeed that his own view falls prey to the criticisms which he has raised against other views. (shrink)
Traditionally, when persons were viewed as a psycho-physical unity, life after death was deemed quite impossible, particularly in the face of universal human mortality and inevitable bodily corruption. However, some modern anthropologically monistic philosophers, including most notably John Hick, have argued that life after death is possible Two objections have been raised against the re-creationist thesis that the individual human person can be re-created after death. The objection that the re-created person would not be the same person as the deceased (...) because the person would lack spatial-temporal continuity I answer by showing that spatial-temporal continuity is not a necessary condition for all cases of personal identity. To the objection that the decision to call the re-created individual the same as the deceased either uses criteria like memory which themselves presuppose bodily continuity or is merely an unjustified convention, I show that these criteria do not presuppose continuity, and though an identity decision is called for, it is not an unjustifiable or arbitrary decision. (shrink)
One of the more sustained efforts to think beyond current academic structures has been launched by CIRET, the International Centre for Transdisciplinary Research, in Paris. This centre was involved in the First World Congress of Transdisciplinarity, in Portugal, 1994, and another international congress in Locarno, Switzerland, in early May 1997. They have a project with UNESCO on transdisciplinarity, and are involved in the World Conference on Higher Education, to be held in Paris at the end of September 1998.
Ranging from Joseph Bellamy to Hilary Putnam, and from early New England Divinity Schools to contemporary university philosophy departments, historian Bruce Kuklick recounts the story of the growth of philosophical thinking in the United States. Readers will explore the thought of early American philosphers such as Jonathan Edwards and John Witherspoon and will see how the political ideas of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson influenced philosophy in colonial America. Kuklick discusses The Transcendental Club (members Henry David Thoreau, (...) Ralph Waldo Emerson) and describes the rise of pragmatism centered on Metaphysical Club of Cambridge (and members William James, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Charles Peirce). He examines the profound impact Darwinism had on American philosophy and looks at Idealists such as the Kantian Josiah Royce and the Hegelian John Dewey. The book shows how, in the twentieth century, the Nazi conquest of Europe unleashed a flood of European intellectuals onto these shores, including such major thinkers as Theodore Adorno, Erich Fromm, Rudolph Carnap, and Alfred Tarski. Finally, Kuklick examines the contributions of such contemporary philosophers as Sidney Hook and Willard Quine and such books as John Rawl's A Theory of Justice and Herbert Marcuse's One Dimensional Man. Kuklick pulls no punches in portraying the state of American philosophy today and its contested role in the intellectual life of the nation and the world. The range of philosophical thought in our nation's history has been great, from Edwards's Religious Affections to Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and Bruce Kuklick has captured it all in a book that blends intricate details with sweeping vision. (shrink)
Upshot: Are narratives systems on their own, or rather structures supporting and, if need be, subverting the reproduction of systems? Bruce Clarke inquires into the ability of social systems theory to help understand narratives - and comes across some “mysteries of cognition” concerning the questions of how systems emerge and which of them might be considered self-referential and autopoietic.
When I write about ‘American philosophy’ in this paper, I refer not to the practice of philosophizing in a certain geographic area during a certain time. Rather I mean a scholarly field defined by certain conventions, standard arguments, and major works. I hope primarily to show that that area of inquiry is befuddled. I also want to suggest, however, that it may be unhelpful to try to write about the practice of philosophizing in a certain geographic area—the continental United States—in (...) anything like the way scholars now write about it. (shrink)
I hope to persuade Charles Fried to think again about his developing views on distributive justice. Since I live at a certain remove from Cambridge, the best I can offer is a hypothetical dialogue with an imaginary person whose views seem, to me at least, of a Friedian inspiration. My central question deals with the way Fried establishes his rights to things he candidly concedes he does not deserve. To present my problems, I shall begin with a simpler case than (...) those – involving kidneys and talents – that Fried makes central to his discussion. Rather than starting with these rather special goods, I find it clarifying to focus first on more garden variety commodities – which, to emphasize their character, I shall call apples. (shrink)
Bruce Langtry's ‘God, the Best and Evil’ is a fine contribution to the literature. Here, I review the contents of the book, and then provide some critical remarks that, as fas as I know, have not been made elsewhere. In particular, I argue that his criticism of my formulations of logical arguments from evil is unsuccessful.
In an attempt to make the idea of surviving one's own death in a disembodied state intelligible, H. H. Price has presented a possible description of what the afterlife might be like for a disembodied self or consciousness. Price suggests that the world of the disembodied self might be a kind of dream or image world. In it he would replace his present sense-perception by activating his image-producing powers, which are now inhibited by their continuous bombardment by sensory stimuli, to (...) produce mental images. Though he would be cut off from any new supply of sensory material, he might be able to draw upon his memory of his previous physical existence to create an entire environment of images. A nexus of perspectively inter-related images would constitute an object; this would serve as a substitute for the material objects which he perceived in his past life. The entire environment of the disembodied individual would be composed of such families of mental images and would serve to constitute his world. It need not, however, be a solipsistic world, for by means of telepathy the discarnate individual could communicate with other disembodied selves and in this way acquire new information. Price notes that since this world would be as real to the discarnate self as our present world is to our embodied self, in the afterlife the disembodied self in effect would create for itself a real world, though of course if it took it to be anything other than an image world it would be deceiving itself. (shrink)