Duncan, Bruce Tracing the sources for the economic thinking embedded in the writings of Pope Francis is not straightforward, especially in his major documents, the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of 2013 and the full encyclical Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home of 24 May 2015. Many hands were involved in drafting Francis's documents, and there were extensive consultations with experts in critical areas, going back decades. This article gives only passing reference to the critical matters of (...) climate change and sustainability, and instead concentrates on the economic aspects in the writings of Pope Francis. (shrink)
Duncan, Bruce The continuing threat from Islamist terrorists, now not just in Africa or the Middle East, but virtually anywhere their appeal may reach, has shocked the world. The atrocities involve mass killing not just of military prisoners but of innocent men, women and children belonging to different faiths, including Muslims opposed to their militant practices and beliefs.
Duncan, Bruce Pope Francis sparked accusations that he is espousing Marxism in his November 2013 exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, because of his pointed attacks on economic liberalism or neoliberalism, the ideology behind versions of free-market economics. The conservative US radio commentator, Rush Limbaugh, with a following of 20 million listeners on a program valued at $400 million, accused the Pope of sprouting 'pure Marxism', and of not knowing what he was talking about.
Marx did not approach the state in answer to some such broad and abstract philosophical question as: What is the state? Nor did he offer a full sociological or historical or analytic account of state institutions and functions, and there are hence clear and substantial dangers in extrapolating to all or most conditions an account which is, in large part, specific to bourgeois society. Failing a comprehensive and formal treatise on politics and the state, Marx's own discussion consists of a (...) number of scattered and not altogether consistent general observations and some detailed investigation of the role and character of the state in particular historical situations. It seems sensible, then, to begin an elucidation of his account of the state with a comment on the nature of his interest in the subject. Why did he need a theory of the state? At what points does it become important to his explanatory and his revolutionary doctrines? (shrink)
In the pages of philosophy journals debate rages these days between "political" and "comprehensive liberals," a debate inaugurated by John Rawls’s seminal 1985 paper entitled "Justice as Fairness: Political not Metaphysical," from which the above quotation is drawn. As the quotation suggests, a political liberal is someone who believes that liberal justice should be defined and defended in terms that are independent of "comprehensive" philosophical and religious doctrines, that is, independent of doctrines that purport to describe, in some comprehensive way, (...) the sources of meaning, purpose, and worth in human life. A comprehensive liberal, by contrast, is someone who believes some such comprehensive doctrine must be invoked in defense of liberal justice. In this debate it is perhaps fair to say that political liberals have the more prestigious roll call, for in addition to Rawls, prominent political liberals include Thomas Nagel, Brian Barry, Ronald Dworkin, Charles Larmore, and Bruce Ackerman. (shrink)
This collection opens a dialogue between process philosophy and contemporary consciousness studies. Approaching consciousness from diverse disciplinary perspectives—philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, neuropathology, psychotherapy, biology, animal ethology, and physics—the contributors offer empirical and philosophical support for a model of consciousness inspired by the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947). Whitehead’s model is developed in ways he could not have anticipated to show how it can advance current debates beyond well-known sticking points. This has trenchant consequences for epistemology and suggests fresh and (...) promising new perspectives on such topics as the mind-body problem, the neurobiology of consciousness, animal consciousness, the evolution of consciousness, panpsychism, the unity of consciousness, epiphenomenalism, free will, and causation. Contents: Introduction, Michel Weber & Anderson Weekes I. Setting the Stage 1. Process Thought as a Heuristic for Investigating Consciousness, Michel Weber & Anderson Weekes 2. Whitehead as a Neglected Figure of 20th Century Philosophy, Michel Weber & Anderson Weekes 3. Consciousness as a Topic of Investigation in Western Thought, Anderson Weekes 4. Whitehead’s Unique Approach to the Topic of Consciousness, Anderson Weekes II. Psychology and Philosophy of Mind 5. Consciousness as a Subjective Form, David Ray Griffin 6. The Interpretation and Integration of the Literature on Consciousness from a Process Perspective, Michael W. Katzko 7. Windows on Nonhuman Minds, Donald R. Griffin III. From Metaphysics to (Neuro)Science and Back Again 8. Panexperientialism, Quantum Theory, and Neuroplasticity, George W. Shields 9. The Evolution of Consciousness, Max Velmans 10. The Carrier Theory Of Causation, Gregg H. Rosenberg IV. Clinical Applications: Consciousness as Process 11. The Microgenetic Revolution in Contemporary Neuropsychology and Neurolinguistics, Maria Pachalska and BruceDuncanMacQueen 12. From Coma to Consciousness, Avraham Schweiger, Michael Frost, Ofer Keren 13. Consciousness and Rationality from a Process Perspective, Michel Weber V. History (and Future?) of Philosophy 14. Consciousness, Memory, and Recollection according to Whitehead, Xavier Verley 15. Consciousness and Causation in Light of Whitehead’s Phenomenology of Becoming, Anderson Weekes. (shrink)
In a previous paper (Duncan, T.L., Semura, J.S. in Entropy 6:21, 2004) we considered the question, “What underlying property of nature is responsible for the second law?” A simple answer can be stated in terms of information: The fundamental loss of information gives rise to the second law. This line of thinking highlights the existence of two independent but coupled sets of laws: Information dynamics and energy dynamics. The distinction helps shed light on certain foundational questions in statistical mechanics. (...) For example, the confusion surrounding previous “derivations” of the second law from energy dynamics can be resolved by noting that such derivations incorporate one or more assumptions that correspond to the loss of information. In this paper we further develop and explore the perspective in which the second law is fundamentally a law of information dynamics. (shrink)
Libertarianism: For and Against offers dueling perspectives on the scope of legitimate government. Tibor R. Machan, a well-known libertarian philosopher, argues for a minimal government devoted solely to protecting individual rights to life, liberty, and property. Against this view, philosopher Craig Duncan defends democratic liberalism, which aims to ensure that all citizens have fair access to a life of dignity. In a dynamic exchange of arguments, the two philosophers cut to the heart of this important debate.
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.
As a recent addition to the editorial board for the journal of Philosophy in the Contemporary World, I wanted to revisit a practice from past editions of the journal—interviewing philosophers who engage philosophical practice that reflects the mission of PCW. In this interview, a model for what I hope will continue to be a regular feature, I have a dialogue with the philosopher Burcu Gurkan. Professor Gurkan currently lives and works in Turkey while I live in work in the central (...) US, so what follows is edited from an email exchange.—Taine Duncan. (shrink)
I argue that Hobbes isn't really a materialist in the early 1640s (in, e.g., the Third Objections to Descartes's Meditations). That is, he doesn't assert that bodies are the only substances. However, he does think that bodies are the only substances we can think about using imagistic ideas.
In the last two decades there have been many critics of western biomedicine's poor integration of social and psychological factors in questions of human health. Such critiques frequently begin with a rejection of Descartes' mind-body dualism, viewing this as the decisive philosophical moment, radically separating the two realms in both theory and practice. It is argued here, however, that many such readings of Descartes have been selective and misleading. Contrary to the assumptions of many recent authors, Descartes' dualism does attempt (...) to explain the union of psyche and soma - with more depth than is often appreciated. Pain plays a key role in Cartesian as well as contemporary thinking about the problem of dualism. Theories of the psychological origins of pain symptoms persisted throughout the history of modern medicine and were not necessarily discouraged by Cartesian mental philosophy. Moreover, the recently developed biopsychosocial model of pain may have more in common with Cartesian dualism than it purports to have. This article presents a rereading of Descartes' mental philosophy and his views on pain. The intention is not to defend his theories, but to re-evaluate them and to ask in what respect contemporary theories represent any significant advance in philosophical terms. (shrink)
In Kant's Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science are found a dynamist reduction of matter and an account of the communication of motion by impact. One would expect to find an analysis of the causal mechanism involved in the communication of motion between bodies given in terms of the fundamental dynamical nature of bodies. However, Kant's analysis, as given in the discussion of his third law of mechanics (an action-reaction law) is purely kinematical, invoking no causal mechanisms at all, let alone (...) dynamist mechanisms, in the explanation. It is argued that the reason for the non-incorporation of Kant's theory of matter in the account of impact is his overriding desire to provide a mathematical framework to explain the communication of motion, a provision which Kant felt to be impossible in the context of a metaphysical dynamism. (shrink)
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)
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)
This paper deals with four ethical issues in the development and application of business and management knowledge. The issues examined are: (1) failure to adopt or disclose knowledge with proven value that could benefit individuals, organizations, and society; (2) inappropriate implementation or incomplete disclosure of knowledge with proven potential; (3) use of knowledge for the exclusive benefit of a selected interest group even if harm is done to others; and (4) intentional falsification or misrepresentation of knowledge as something other than (...) what it is known to be. Each of these issues are illustrated with actual case histories and are examined using frequently accepted ethical concepts. (shrink)
This article uses the two prose Lives of Cuthbert written by an anonymous monk of Lindisfarne and by Bede in the first half of the eighth century to illustrate how an understanding of the impact of biblical language and its accompanying exegetical tradition may help in the interpretation of hagiographical works. After an examination of recent scholarly work on the relationship scripture and hagiography and the impact of signa upon the early medieval thought‐world, the paper examines the incidents that are (...) recorded as happening during Cuthbert's time as a hermit on Farne. Looking first at the Lindisfarne account, the potential symbolism inherent in miracles concerning building materials such as rock, stone and wood, as well as living water and ravens are examined by outlining biblical parallels and then looking at the development of the symbols in the exegetical tradition. It thus becomes apparent that the writer was using a shared Christian symbolic language to make statements about Cuthbert as builder of the Northumbrian Church. A similar process is undertaken with Bede's account, noting differences and additions, and reaching the conclusion that it is more developed, showing Cuthbert as a teacher and pastor. In both cases the writers were using the events to foreshadow Cuthbert's imminent episcopal career, thus connecting the contemplative preparation with the subsequent active ministry. The article concludes that the hagiographers believed that God continued to speak to His Church through signa as He had spoken in the Bible and that it was natural His words should coincide with their own polemical and didactic concerns and intentions. (shrink)