In the Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals' Kant is explicit, sometimes to the point of peevishness, in denying anthropology and psychology any part or place in his moral science. Recognizing that this will strike many as counterintuitive he is unrepentant: ‘We require no skill to make ourselves intelligible to the multitude once we renounce all profundity of thought’. That the doctrine to be defended is not exemplified in daily experience or even in imaginable encounters is necessitated by the very (...) nature of morality which cannot be served worse ‘… than by seeking to derive it from examples’. Thus, the project of the moral philosopher begins with the recognition that the moral realm is not mapped by anthropological data and does not get its content therefrom. Rather, moral philosophy must be ‘completely cleansed’ of everything that is appropriate to anthropology. (shrink)
It is sometimes suggested that the logic of religious language differs from other kinds of language. Or it is said that each ‘language-game’ has its own ‘logic’ and that, whatever usual language-games are played in the context of religion, there is something that could be called the ‘religious language-game’ which does not correspond to any other and, therefore, has its own peculiar logic. In either case, religious people are urged to make clear what this logic is, so that their utterances (...) may be understood and evaluated. (shrink)
In his book on Karl Barth Professor T. F. Torrance spoke at one point of ‘the great watershed of modern theology’. ‘There are,’ he wrote, 1 ‘two basic issues here. On the one hand, it is the very substance of the Christian faith that is at stake, and on the other hand, it is the fundamental nature of scientific method, in its critical and methodological renunciation of prior understanding, that is at stake. This is the great watershed of modern theology: (...) either we take the one way or the other – there is no third alter native… one must go either in the direction taken by Barth or in the direction taken by Bultmann.’. (shrink)
In recent years the writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein have received much attention from philosophers in general and especially from philosophers interested in religion; and there is no doubt that Wittgenstein's legacy of thought is both highly suggestive and highly problematical. It seems likely, however, that the vogue which Wittgenstein now enjoys owes not a little to his peculiar place in the development of modern philosophy and, in particular, of that empiricist tradition in philosophy which stems from what has been called (...) the revolution in philosophy in the early decades of the present century. (shrink)
It is a curious fact that the much maligned ontological argument to prove the existence of God has in recent times enjoyed a revival of interest to which even Karl Barth, the arch-enemy of natural theology has contributed; but since the revival of interest has appared in a wide diversity of intellectual contexts, both philosophical and theological, the revival is itself almost as problematic as the argument itself.
In his article ‘Professor Bartley's Theory of Rationality and Religious Belief’ Mr W. D. Hudson has brought considerable clarification to the rather confused situation occasioned by Professor W. W. Bartley's book The Retreat to Commitment and its subsequent discussion; but the process can, I think, be carried still further.
Determinism is a spectre that has haunted our scientifically-oriented culture from the beginning. I happen to think that it is literally a ‘spectre’, a trick of the vision, an appearance with an internal cause only, and that it is no more than the ghost of our own conceptual determinations projected outward into a world in which it has no place and no proper being. From one point of view it is no more than an alienated fantasy involving a number of (...) incoherent assumptions. Of these, one of the most important, and one of the most deeply eroded by much contemporary work, is the assumption that science and scientific understanding is a potentially completable system. From another point of view, however, the deterministic picture seems an inevitable product of scientific activity. (shrink)
Jenefer Robinson takes the insights of modern scientific research on the emotions and uses them to illuminate questions about our emotional involvement with the arts. Laying out a theory of emotion supported by the best evidence from current empirical work, she examines some of the ways in which the emotions function in the arts. Written in a clear and engaging style, her book will make fascinating reading for anyone interested in the emotions and how they work, as well as (...) anyone engaged with the arts and aesthetics. (shrink)
In _Neuroscience and Philosophy_ three prominent philosophers and a leading neuroscientist clash over the conceptual presuppositions of cognitive neuroscience. The book begins with an excerpt from Maxwell Bennett and Peter Hacker's _Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience_, which questions the conceptual commitments of cognitive neuroscientists. Their position is then criticized by Daniel Dennett and John Searle, two philosophers who have written extensively on the subject, and Bennett and Hacker in turn respond. Their impassioned debate encompasses a wide range of central themes: the (...) nature of consciousness, the bearer and location of psychological attributes, the intelligibility of so-called brain maps and representations, the notion of qualia, the coherence of the notion of an intentional stance, and the relationships between mind, brain, and body. Clearly argued and thoroughly engaging, the authors present fundamentally different conceptions of philosophical method, cognitive-neuroscientific explanation, and human nature, and their exchange will appeal to anyone interested in the relation of mind to brain, of psychology to neuroscience, of causal to rational explanation, and of consciousness to self-consciousness. In his conclusion Daniel Robinson explains why this confrontation is so crucial to the understanding of neuroscientific research. The project of cognitive neuroscience, he asserts, depends on the incorporation of human nature into the framework of science itself. In Robinson's estimation, Dennett and Searle fail to support this undertaking; Bennett and Hacker suggest that the project itself might be based on a conceptual mistake. Exciting and challenging, _Neuroscience and Philosophy_ is an exceptional introduction to the philosophical problems raised by cognitive neuroscience. (shrink)
Questions about perception remain some of the most difficult and insoluble in both epistemology and in the philosophy of mind. This controversial but highly accessible introduction to the area explores the philosophical importance of those questions by re-examining what had until recent times been the most popular theory of perception - the sense-datum theory. Howard Robinson surveys the history of the arguments for and against the theory from Descartes to Husserl. He then shows that the objections to the theory, (...) particularly Wittgenstein's attack on privacy and those of the physicalists, have been unsuccessful. He argues that we should return to the theory sense-data in order to understand perception. In doing so he seeks to overturn a consensus that has dominated the philosophy of perception for nearly half a century. (shrink)
William S. Robinson has for many years written insightfully about the mind-body problem. In Understanding Phenomenal Consciousness he focuses on sensory experience and perception qualities such as colours, sounds and odours to present a dualistic view of the mind, called Qualitative Event Realism, that goes against the dominant materialist views. This theory is relevant to the development of a science of consciousness which is now being pursued not only by philosophers but by researchers in psychology and the brain sciences. (...) This provocative book will interest students and professionals who work in the philosophy of mind and will also have cross-disciplinary appeal in cognitive psychology and the brain sciences. (shrink)
This book presents a strong case for substance dualism and offers a comprehensive defense of the knowledge argument, showing that materialism cannot accommodate or explain the 'hard problem' of consciousness. Bringing together the discussion of reductionism and semantic vagueness in an original and illuminating way, Howard Robinson argues that non-fundamental levels of ontology are best treated by a conceptualist account, rather than a realist one. In addition to discussing the standard versions of physicalism, he examines physicalist theories such as (...) those of McDowell and Price, and accounts of neutral monism and panpsychism from Strawson, McGinn and Stoljar. He also explores previously unnoticed historical parallels between Frege and Aristotle, and between Hume and Plotinus. His book will be a valuable resource for scholars and advanced students of philosophy of mind, in particular those looking at consciousness, dualism, and the mind-body problem. (shrink)
Drawing on the philosophy of C. S. Peirce, Robinson develops a ‘semiotic model’ of the Trinity and proposes a new theology of nature according to which the evolving cosmos may be understood as bearing ‘vestiges of the Trinity in ...
Professor Robinson provides a new critique of the often neglected problem of classification within the criminal law. He presents a discussion of the present conceptual framework of the law, and offers explanations of how and why formal structures do not match the operation of law in practice. In this scholarly exposition of applied criminal theory, Robinson argues that the current operational structure of the criminal law fails to take account of its different functions. He goes on to suggest (...) new sample codes of criminal conduct and criminal adjudication which mark a real departure from the pragmatic approach which presently dominates code-making. This rounded exploration of the structure of systems of criminal law is an important work for law teachers and policy makers world-wide. (shrink)
In the United States, targeted school shootings have become a distinct genre of violence. In this essay, Bryan Warnick, Sang Hyun Kim, and Shannon Robinson examine the social meanings that exist in American society that might contribute to this phenomenon, focusing on the question: “Why are schools conceptualized as appropriate places to enact this form of gun violence?” The authors analyze the social meaning of American schooling by using empirical data, everyday observations, films, and poetry, and then connect these (...) points of meaning to stories of individual school shooters. Through this analysis, three aspects of school stand out. First, schools are places of both real and symbolic violence, where force and power often rule the day. Second, schools are places connected to expectations of hope and refuge, friendship and romance, and when these expectations are not met, bitter resentment flows against schools. Third, suburban schools are seen as places of expressive individualism, which, in rare cases, is manifest in terms of “expressive violence.” Together, these points of meaning can make schools, for some youth, seem like appropriate places to express violent intentions. The essay concludes by speculating about how this analysis can be applied to prevent school shootings. (shrink)
In recent decades, issues that reside at the center of philosophical and psychological inquiry have been absorbed into a scientific framework variously identified as "brain science," "cognitive science," and "cognitive neuroscience." Scholars have heralded this development as revolutionary, but a revolution implies an existing method has been overturned in favor of something new. What long-held theories have been abandoned or significantly modified in light of cognitive neuroscience? _Consciousness and Mental Life_ questions our present approach to the study of consciousness and (...) the way modern discoveries either mirror or contradict understandings reached in the centuries leading up to our own. Daniel N. Robinson does not wage an attack on the emerging discipline of cognitive science. Rather, he provides the necessary historical context to properly evaluate the relationship between issues of consciousness and neuroscience and their evolution over time. Robinson begins with Aristotle and the ancient Greeks and continues through to René Descartes, David Hume, William James, Daniel Dennett, John Searle, Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam, and Derek Parfit. Approaching the issue from both a philosophical and a psychological perspective, Robinson identifies what makes the study of consciousness so problematic and asks whether cognitive neuroscience can truly reveal the origins of mental events, emotions, and preference, or if these occurrences are better understood by studying the whole person, not just the brain. Well-reasoned and thoroughly argued, _Consciousness and Mental Life_ corrects many claims made about the success of brain science and provides a valuable historical context for the study of human consciousness. (shrink)
"An American psychologist, Daniel N. Robinson, traces the development of the insanity plea...[He offers] an assured historical survey." Roy Porter, The Times [UK] "Wild Beasts and Idle Humours is truly unique. It synthesizes material that I do not believe has ever been considered in this context, and links up the historical past with contemporaneous values and politics. Robinson effortlessly weaves religious history, literary history, medical history, and political history, and demonstrates how the insanity defense cannot be fully understood (...) without consideration of all these sources." Michael L. Perlin, New York Law School "Daniel N. Robinson has written a graceful history of insanity and the law stretching from Homer to Hinckley. He attempts no final theory as to how the law should cope with the insane; he seeks, rather, to use the shifting notions of when madness exculpates criminal activity to illuminate the core self-perceptions of the cultures developing ever-evolving resolutions of the problem...[T]he grandeur of the theme...commands attention and respect." --Neal Johnston, The Nation . (shrink)
This paper was given at a London Medical Group symposium held at Middlesex Hospital Medical School in May 1979, on `Self-help groups - England's barefoot doctors'. Dr Robinson gives a brief history of some of the reasons why self-help groups have evolved and how they work. He also looks at how the `professionals' can and do relate to them.
A number of articles and empirical studies over the past decade, most by Paul Robinson and co-authors, have suggested a relationship between the extent of the criminal law's reputation for being just in its distribution of criminal liability and punishment in the eyes of the community – its "moral credibility" – and its ability to gain that community's deference and compliance through a variety of mechanisms that enhance its crime-control effectiveness. This has led to proposals to have criminal liability (...) and punishment rules reflect lay intuitions of justice – "empirical desert" – as a means of enhancing the system's moral credibility. In a recent article, Christopher Slobogin and Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein (SBR) report seven sets of studies that they argue undermine these claims of empirical desert and moral credibility and instead support SBR's proposed distributive principle of "individual prevention," a view that focuses on an offender's future dangerousness rather than on his perceived desert. -/- The idea that there is a relationship between the criminal law's reputation for justness and its crime-control effectiveness did not originate with Robinson and his co-authors. Rather, it has been a common theme among a wide range of punishment theory scholars for many decades. A particularly important conclusion of recent Robinson studies, however, is their confirmation that this relationship is a continuous one: even small nudges in moral credibility can produce corresponding changes in the community's deference to the criminal law. This is important because it shows that even piecemeal changes or changes at the margin – as in reforming even one unjust doctrine or procedure – can have real implications for crime-control. SBR's studies, rather than contradicting the crime-control power of empirical desert, in fact confirm it. Further, SBR's studies do not provide support for their proposed "individual prevention" distributive principle, contrary to what they claim. -/- While SBR try to associate their principle with the popular "limiting retributivism" adopted by the American Law Institute in its 2007 amendment of the Model Penal Code, in fact it is, in many respects, just the reverse of that principle. With limiting retributivism, the Model Code's new provision sets desert as dominant, never allowing punishment to conflict with it. SBR would have "punishment" essentially always set according to future dangerousness; it is to be constrained by desert only when the extent of the resulting injustices or failures of justice is so egregious as to significantly delegitimize the government and its law. This ignores the fact that even minor departures from justice may have an important cumulative effect on the system as a whole. What SBR propose – essentially substituting preventive detention for criminal justice – promotes the worst of the failed policies of the 1960s, where detention decisions were made at the back-end by "experts," and conflicts with the trend of the past several decades of encouraging more community involvement in criminal punishment, not less. (shrink)
In Emerson and the Conduct of Life, David M. Robinson describes Ralph Waldo Emerson's evolution from mystic to pragmatist, stressing the importance of Emerson's undervalued later writing. Emerson's reputation has rested on the addresses and essays of the 1830s and 1840s, in which he propounded a version of transcendental idealism, and memorably portrayed moments of mystical insight. But Emerson's later writings suggest an increasing concern over the elusiveness of mysticism, and an increasing stress on ethical choice and practical power. (...) These works reveal Emerson as an ethical philosopher who stressed the spiritual value of human relations, work and social action. (shrink)
Presents the Presidential address by Daniel N. Robinson at the Division of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Boston on August 11, 1990. His remarks included a series of important developments within Psychology but also outside its traditional areas of interest, in such fields as anthropology, linguistics and ethnology. 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Although this appeared after the debate between Victor and Zelm, logically it is prior, for Robinson's critique of conventional marriage sets the stage for the other two to consider the anarchist alternatives. Actually, Robinson does offer a vague alternative, on which most anarchists could agree, sexual relationships based on consent rather than compulsion. However, he also argues that this ideal was not designed to break up marriages nor to increase promiscuity, for relationships already based on consent and friendship (...) could only be strengthened by removing the aspect of compulsion. In this sense, Robinson's critique of existing marriage strongly parallels the critique of economic monopoly, and his ideal seems to be "free competition" for love and companionship. (shrink)
In editing Plato's Sophist for the new OCT vol. I, ed. E. A. Duke, W. F. Hicken, W. S. M. Nicoll, D. B. Robinson, and J. C. G. Strachan , there was less chance of giving novel information about W = Vind. Supp. Gr. 7 for this dialogue than for others in the volume, since Apelt's edition of 1897 was used by Burnet in 1900 and was based on Apelt's own collation of W. The result was better than the (...) somewhat confused information printed by Burnet, even in his 1905 reprint, for W for the other dialogues in vol. I. But in the Sophist as elsewhere in vol. I collations largely due to Dr W. S. M. Nicoll added new facts about all of BDTWP and their correctors, and the search for testimonia largely carried out by Dr E. A. Duke added new facts in that area. A reviewer counts 66 changes in our text of the Sophist, which may perhaps be a slight over-estimate. Classification of changes as substantive or as falling into different groups is sometimes difficult, but I think plausible figures are as follows. We have in 25 places made a different choice of readings from the primary mss. and testimonia. We have printed conjectures where Burnet kept a ms. reading in 17 places, but conversely we have reverted to a ms. reading where Burnet had a conjecture in 8 places. We have printed alternative conjectures to conjectures adopted by Burnet in 6 places. So we have actually departed from the primary sources on at most 9 more occasions overall than Burnet. What must be noted is that Burnet had already printed conjectures on something like 87 occasions , so our percentage addition to Burnet's departures from the primary sources is modest. Moreover Burnet printed about 25 readings from testimonia; we have followed him in 20 or so of these cases, and this in turn implies that the primary mss. are in error at these further 20 places. It needs to be underlined that though Burnet undoubtedly deserved to be regarded as a safe and cautious editor, nevertheless he departed from the primary mss. on average about twice per Stephanus page in this dialogue. Sometimes, of course, testimonia showed him right to do this, but testimonia cover only a quite small part of this dialogue. Otherwise Burnet accepted almost 90 conjectures. For the Politicus the figures are fairly similar; Burnet accepted 22 Byzantine conjectures and 35–40 more modern ones. The new OCT there adds 15 or so more conjectures. (shrink)