This new book by Michael Slater significantly extends the argument articulated in his earlier study of William James on Ethics and Faith, also published by Cambridge University Press. Slater was committed there as here to demonstrating the compatibility of pragmatism with some form of metaphysical realism. There as here he was interested in showing the affinities between James’s thought and certain ideas developed by contemporary analytical philosophers of religion. In Pragmatism and the Philosophy of Religion, however, the scope of (...) analysis is broadened from a focus on James to a consideration of pragmatism more generally conceived. Two early chapters on James are followed by chapters on Charles S. Peirce... (shrink)
The Use of Ulster Speech by Michael Longley and Tom Paulin The article examines the application and exploration of Ulster dialects in the work of two poets of Northern Irish Protestant background, Tom Paulin and Michael Longley. It depicts Paulin's attitude to the past and the present of their community of origin, the former positive and the latter negative, which is responsible for the ambiguities in his use of and his comments on the local speech. Both poets employ (...) the vernacular to refer to their immediate context, i.e. the conflict in Ulster, and in this respect linguistic difference comes to be associated with violence. Yet another vital element of their exploration of the dialect is its link to their origins, home and the intimacy it evokes, which offers a contrary perspective on the issue of languages and makes their approach equivocal. This context in Paulin's poetry is further enriched with allusions to or open discussion of the United Irishmen ideal and the international Protestant experience, and with his reworking of ancient Greek myth and tragedy, while in Longley's poetry it is set in the framework of "translations" from Homer which, strangely enough, transport the reader to contemporary Ireland. While Longley in his comments relates the dialect to his personal experience, Paulin seems to situate it in a vaster network of social and political concepts that he has developed in connection with language, which in Ireland has never seemed a neutral phenomenon detached from historical and political implications. Longley's use of local speech is seldom discussed by critics; Paulin's, on the contrary, has stirred diverse reactions and controversies. The article investigates some of these critical views chiefly concerned with the alleged artificiality of his use of local words and with his politicizing the dialects. Performing the analysis of his poems and essays, the article argues for Paulin's "consistency in inconsistency," i.e. the fact that his application of dialectal words reflects his love-hate attitude to his community of origin, and that in the clash of two realities, of the conflict and of home, his stance and literary practice is not far from Longley's, which has been regarded as quite neutral as one can infer from the lack of critical controversy about it. The voices of the two poets and their use of local speech provide a crucial insight into the Northern Irish reality with all its intricacy and paradox. (shrink)
Reading Cinema: The Dream that Kicks by Michael Chanan, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980, pp 353, £12.50 Stars by Richard Dyer, London: British Film Institute, 1979, pp 204, £2.25 Women's Pictures by Annette Kuhn, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982, pp xiv + 226, E4.95 Cultures on Celluloid by Keith Reader, London: Quartet Books, 1981, pp 216 £11.50 The Celluloid Closet by Vito Russo, New York: Harper & Row, 1981, pp xil + 276, £15.
Michael Brodrick’s book, The Ethics of Detachment in Santayana’s Philosophy, constitutes a much-needed contribution to the field of American philosophy. Although it is common for contemporary authors to claim that their preferred philosopher has been misunderstood, few can do so with as much conviction as Broderick has done for George Santayana, “a great and unjustly neglected philosopher”.The overarching goal of Brodrick’s investigation is the presentation of a conceptual framework for an “ethics of detachment” fundamentally mediated by human finitude. Setting (...) his work in opposition to the contemporary ethical conceit of an “attachment” to life, progress, and perfection, Brodrick seeks to demonstrate “how... (shrink)
Because of the difficulty posed by the contrast between the search for truth and truth itself, Michael Polanyi believes that we must alter the foundation of epistemology to include as essential to the very nature of mind, the kind of groping that constitutes the recognition of a problem. This collection of essays, assembled by Marjorie Grene, exemplifies the development of Polanyi's theory of knowledge which was first presented in _Science, Faith, and Society_ and later systematized in _Personal Knowledge_. Polanyi (...) believes that the dilemma of the modern mind arises from the peculiar relation between the positivist claim for total objectivity in scientific knowledge and the unprecedented moral dynamism characterizing the social and political aspirations of the last century. The first part of _Knowing and Being_ deals with this theme. Part two develops Polanyi's idea that centralization is incompatible with the life of science as well as his views on the role of tradition and authority in science. The essays on tacit knowing in Part Three proceed directly from his preoccupation with the nature of scientific discovery and reveal a pervasive substructure of all intelligent behavior. Polanyi believes that all knowing involves movement from internal clues to external evidence. Therefore, to explain the process of knowing, we must develop a theory of the nature of living things in general, including an account of that aspect of living things we call "mind." Part Four elaborates upon this theme. (shrink)
Michael J. Zimmerman offers a conceptual analysis of the moral ‘ought’ that focuses on moral decision-making under uncertainty. His central case, originally presented by Frank Jackson, concerns a doctor who must choose among three treatments for a minor ailment. Her evidence suggests that drug B will partially cure her patient, that one of either drug A or C would cure him completely, but that the other drug would kill him. Accepting the intuition that the doctor ought to choose drug (...) B, Zimmerman argues that moral obligation consists in performing the action that is ‘prospectively best,’ that is ‘that which, from the moral point of view, it is most reasonable for the agent to choose’ given the evidence available to her at the time .Zimmerman defends his Prospective View of moral obligation against two main competitors in the long, first chapter of the book. According to the Objective View, a person ought to choose what is, in fact, the best option. The doctor ought to give her patient whichever drug will actually cure him. The fact that the doctor cannot know whether this is drug …. (shrink)
Michael Stingl's sensitive paper links two debates now dominating contemporary Western societies: the debate on euthanasia and the debate on healthcare reform. The link is important for both practical and theoretical reasons. Given the rise of national expenditures for healthcare, most governments have a strong interest in cost containment. In various countries we see reduced accessibility to healthcare services and facilities, albeit for different reasons. Sometimes healthcare is largely a matter of private insurance, as in the United States; sometimes (...) shifts are made toward rising financial copayments for the use of particular services, as seems to be the case in Canada and in many European countries; sometimes accessibility is reduced by waiting lists, characteristic of systems with socialized medicine such as in Britain and the Netherlands. (shrink)
Through an analysis and explication of William James’s writings, such as “The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life” and The Varieties of Religious Experience, Michael Slater successfully defends the argument “that on James’s view morality cannot be finally separated from religion, because there are moral goods that only religious faith—and in some cases, only the objects of religious faith—can plausibly bring about” (7). Slater advances this argument by making two significant claims concerning James’s work. First, James’s ethics require “the (...) possession of a morally strenuous attitude” (7). By emphasizing our attitudes and dispositions, rather than the calculations or consequences of our moral actions, Slater .. (shrink)
On the 27th of October, 1949, the Department of Philosophy at the University of Manchester organized a symposium "Mind and Machine", as Michael Polanyi noted in his Personal Knowledge (1974, p. 261). This event is known, especially among scholars of Alan Turing, but it is scarcely documented. Wolfe Mays (2000) reported about the debate, which he personally had attended, and paraphrased a mimeographed document that is preserved at the Manchester University archive. He forwarded a copy to Andrew Hodges and (...) B. Jack Copeland, who in then published it on their respective websites. The basis of this interpretation here is the copy preserved in the Regenstein Library of the University of Chicago, Special Collections, Polanyi Collection (abbreviated RPC, box 22, folder 19). The same collection holds the mimeographed statement that Polanyi prepared for this symposium: "Can the mind be represented by a machine?" This text has not been studied by Polanyi scholars. (shrink)
This paper features Derk Pereboom’s replies to commentaries by Victor Tadros and Saul Smilansky on his non-retributive, incapacitation-focused proposal for treatment of dangerous criminals; by Michael McKenna on his manipulation argument against compatibilism about basic desert and causal determination; and by Alfred R. Mele on his disappearing agent argument against event-causal libertarianism.
In 1949, the Department of Philosophy at the University of Manchester organized a symposium “Mind and Machine” with Michael Polanyi, the mathematicians Alan Turing and Max Newman, the neurologists Geoff rey Jeff erson and J. Z. Young, and others as participants. Th is event is known among Turing scholars, because it laid the seed for Turing’s famous paper on “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, but it is scarcely documented. Here, the transcript of this event, together with Polanyi’s original statement and (...) his notes taken at a lecture by Jeff erson, are edited and commented for the fi rst time. Th e originals are in the Regenstein Library of the University of Chicago. Th e introduction highlights elements of the debate that included neurophysiology, mathematics, the mind-body-machine problem, and consciousness and shows that Turing’s approach, as documented here, does not lend itself to reductionism. (shrink)
At the philosophical foundations of our best and deepest theory of the structure of reality, namely quantum mechanics, there is an intellectual scandal that reflects badly on most of this century’s leading physicists and philosophers of physics. One way of making the nature of the scandal plain is simply to observe that this paper  by Lockwood is untainted by it. Lockwood gives us an up to date investigation of metaphysics, and discusses the implications of quantum theory for some of (...) the bread and butter concepts of philosophy, such as reality, the self and causality. The scandal is that there is very little other work of that description in the literature, and what little there is, is systematically disregarded by mainstream thinking in both philosophy and physics. Despite the unrivalled empirical success of quantum theory, the very suggestion that it may be literally true as a description of nature is still greeted with cynicism, incomprehension and even anger. (shrink)
Over the past few decades there has been a rebellion brewing in the world of Parmenides scholarship. Most of the things you probably think you know about the man have come under serious and sustained attack. No longer is it safe to accept on trust the view—which G. E. L. Owen so forcefully defended in his 1960 paper “Eleatic Questions”—that according to Parmenides there exists only one thing, ungenerated, indestructible, unchanging, indivisible, and spherical. Nor is it safe to assume that (...) he had no real commitment to empirical theorizing, and sought only to demolish the cosmological tradition that was initiated and developed by his Ionian predecessors Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes. All of.. (shrink)
In Dong Zhongshu: A 'Confucian' Heritage and the Chunqiu Fanlu, eminent sinologist Michael Loewe shines a bright light on the traditionally seminal but consistently understudied figure of Dong Zhongshu. Having authored several monographs on the Han dynasty over the last four decades, including a recent two-volume Biographical Dictionary (2000) and a "Companion" to those volumes (2004),1 there is probably no one more suitable to undertake such an inquiry. Loewe's contextualization of Dong and the Chunqiu fanlu is thoroughly detailed and (...) well documented. Kudos to Brill for continuing to include all the attendant Chinese graphs and for publishing books with footnotes rather than endnotes (even if junior faculty .. (shrink)
In this book Michael Slote discusses the history of ethics from a sentimentalist perspective. It can be read in two ways: first, as a tribute to great thinkers whose contributions have helped shape contemporary ethics, and second, as a defense of a sentimentalist virtue theory. This review centers on the two chapters most relevant to sentimentalist virtue theory: chapter 1, in which Slote defines and defends elevationism, and chapter 5, in which he offers a defense of sentimentalism. The first (...) essay distinguishes between three theories about the relationship between virtue and well-being. Dualist theories, like Kantianism, contend that virtue and well-being are distinct concepts. Reductionist theories .. (shrink)
Humans are pattern-seeking, storytelling animals. We look for and find patterns in our world and in our lives, then weave narratives around those patterns to bring them to life and give them meaning. Such is the stuff of which myth, religion, history, and science are made.
Michael Ignatieff is well known as a journalist and broadcaster of a distinctly intellectual kind. He has written movingly on the trauma of modern warfare and Europe following the Cold War. His CV also boasts of studies on the Scottish Enlightenment and nineteenth century penal policy. Additionally, his Booker short listed novel Scar Tissue is one of the most interesting studies of medicine and the human consequences of disease of the last decade.
Michael Landmann, one of the prominent philosophers and scholars of our time, died in Haifa, Israel on January 25, 1984 at the age of seventy. He has enriched contemporary philosophy through his numerous writings whose principal theme was man's place in the world, or 'philosophical anthropology,' summarized as the conception of man as an individual with knowledge of his place within a historical tradition; man is therefore an expression of subjective and objective spirit at the same time. I.