For forty years, Harvey Mansfield has been worth reading. Whether plumbing the depths of MachiavelliOs Discourses or explaining what was at stake in Bill ClintonOs impeachment, MansfieldOs work in political philosophy and political science has set the standard. In Educating the Prince, twenty-one of his students, themselves distinguished scholars, try to live up to that standard. Their essays offer penetrating analyses of Machiavellianism, liberalism, and America., all of them informed by MansfieldOs own work. The volume also includes a bibliography of (...) MansfieldOs writings. (shrink)
Charles Beitz rejects two highly influential conceptions of international theory as empirically inaccurate and theoretically misleading. In one, international relations is a Hobbesian state of nature in which moral judgments are entirely inappropriate, and in the other, states are analogous to persons in domestic society in having rights of autonomy that insulate them from external moral assessment and political interference. Beitz postulates that a theory of international politics should include a revised principle of state autonomy based on the justice (...) of a state's domestic institutions, and a principle of international distributive justice to establish a fair division of resources and wealth among persons situated in diverse national societies. (shrink)
Human rights have become one of the most important moral concepts in global political life over the last 60 years. Charles Beitz, one of the world's leading philosophers, offers a compelling new examination of the idea of a human right.
l. There is an antinomy in Hare's thought between Ought-Implies-Can and No-Indicatives-from-Imperatives. It cannot be resolved by drawing a distinction between implication and entailment. 2. Luther resolved this antinomy in the l6th century, but to understand his solution, we need to understand his problem. He thought the necessity of Divine foreknowledge removed contingency from human acts, thus making it impossible for sinners to do otherwise than sin. 3. Erasmus objected (on behalf of Free Will) that this violates Ought-Implies-Can which he (...) supported with Hare-style ordinary language arguments. 4. Luther a) pointed out the antinomy and b) resolved it by undermining the prescriptivist arguments for Ought-Implies-Can. 5. We can reinforce Luther's argument with an example due to David Lewis. 6. Whatever its merits as a moral principle, Ought-Implies-Can is not a logical truth and should not be included in deontic logics. Most deontic logics, and maybe the discipline itself, should therefore be abandoned. 7. Could it be that Ought-Conversationally-Implies-Can? Yes - in some contexts. But a) even if these contexts are central to the evolution of Ought, the implication is not built into the semantics of the word; b) nor is the parallel implication built into the semantics of orders; and c) in some cases Ought conversationally implies Can, only because Ought-Implies-Can is a background moral belief. d) Points a) and b) suggest a criticism of prescriptivism - that Oughts do not entail imperatives but that the relation is one of conversational implicature. 8. If Ought-Implies-Can is treated as a moral principle, Erasmus' argument for Free Will can be revived (given his Christian assumptions). But it does not 'prove' Pelagianism as Luther supposed. A semi-Pelagian alternative is available. (shrink)
Nihilism, Nietzsche and the Doppelganger Problem Was Nietzsche a nihilist? Yes, because, like J. L. Mackie, he was an error-theorist about morality, including the elitist morality to which he himself subscribed. But he was variously a diagnostician, an opponent and a survivor of certain other kinds of nihilism. Schacht argues that Nietzsche cannot have been an error theorist, since meta-ethical nihilism is inconsistent with the moral commitment that Nietzsche displayed. Schacht’s exegetical argument parallels the substantive argument (advocated in recent years (...) by Wright and Blackburn) that Mackie’s error theory can’t be true because if it were, we would have to give up morality or give up moralizing. I answer this argument with a little bit of help from Nietzsche. I then pose a problem, the Doppelganger Problem, for the meta-ethical nihilism that I attribute to Mackie and Nietzsche. (If A is a moral proposition then not-A is a moral proposition: hence not all moral propositions can be false.) I solve the problem by reformulating the error theory and also deal with a variant of the problem, the Reinforced Doppelganger, glancing at a famous paper of Ronald Dworkin’s. Thus, whatever its demerits, the error theory, is not self-refuting, nor does it require us to give up morality. (shrink)
Professor Flathman's main aim in this interesting paper is to set forth what we might call the “moderation thesis.” It holds that there may be occasions when the best thing to do, all things considered, is to violate a right – at least if the violation takes the form of what Flathman calls “civil encroachment” or “civil non-enforcement.” Moreover, it would be desirable, in a society whose practices include rights, for this belief to be generally accepted, so that those who (...) engaged with good reason in “civil encroachment” would receive the sympathetic support of the community. Let me begin by trying to explain the source of the problem to which this thesis is a response. As Flathman notes, rights have a discretionary character: if I have a right to do or to have something, it is up to me whether to do it or to have it. Having a right, I am entitled to make a choice. Since we cannot say, in advance, what choice I will make, we cannot say, in advance, what will be the state of the world after I make it. But since it seems plain that some states of the world are more desirable than others, it will always be possible that the consequences of my choice will be worse, on the whole, than the consequences of some other choice that I might have made but did not. To moderate rights is apparently to act in ways that redress or compensate for the undesirable results of their exercise. (shrink)
Philosophical attention to problems about global justice is flourishing in a way it has not in any time in memory. This paper considers some reasons for the rise of interest in the subject and reflects on some dilemmas about the meaning of the idea of the cosmopolitan in reasoning about social institutions, concentrating on the two principal dimensions of global justice, the economic and the political.
My first paper on the Is/Ought issue. The young Arthur Prior endorsed the Autonomy of Ethics, in the form of Hume’s No-Ought-From-Is (NOFI) but the later Prior developed a seemingly devastating counter-argument. I defend Prior's earlier logical thesis (albeit in a modified form) against his later self. However it is important to distinguish between three versions of the Autonomy of Ethics: Ontological, Semantic and Ontological. Ontological Autonomy is the thesis that moral judgments, to be true, must answer to a realm (...) of sui generis non-natural PROPERTIES. Semantic autonomy insists on a realm of sui generis non-natural PREDICATES which do not mean the same as any natural counterparts. Logical Autonomy maintains that moral conclusions cannot be derived from non-moral premises.-moral premises with the aid of logic alone. Logical Autonomy does not entail Semantic Autonomy and Semantic Autonomy does not entail Ontological Autonomy. But, given some plausible assumptions Ontological Autonomy entails Semantic Autonomy and given the conservativeness of logic – the idea that in a valid argument you don’t get out what you haven’t put in – Semantic Autonomy entails Logical Autonomy. So if Logical Autonomy is false – as Prior appears to prove – then Semantic and Ontological Autonomy would appear to be false too! I develop a version of Logical Autonomy (or NOFI) and vindicate it against Prior’s counterexamples, which are also counterexamples to the conservativeness of logic as traditionally conceived. The key concept here is an idea derived in part from Quine - that of INFERENCE-RELATIVE VACUITY. I prove that you cannot derive conclusions in which the moral terms appear non-vacuously from premises from which they are absent. But this is because you cannot derive conclusions in which ANY (non-logical) terms appear non-vacuously from premises from which they are absent Thus NOFI or Logical Autonomy comes out as an instance of the conservativeness of logic. This means that the reverse entailment that I have suggested turns out to be a mistake. The falsehood of Logical Autonomy would not entail either the falsehood Semantic Autonomy or the falsehood of Ontological Autonomy, since Semantic Autonomy only entails Logical Autonomy with the aid of the conservativeness of logic of which Logical Autonomy is simply an instance. Thus NOFI or Logical Autonomy is vindicated, but it turns out to be a less world-shattering thesis than some have supposed. It provides no support for either non-cognitivism or non-naturalism. (shrink)
"The Moral Standing of States" is the title of an essay Michael Walzer wrote in response to four critics of the theory of nonintervention defended in "Just and Unjust Wars." It states a theme to which he has returned in subsequent work. Beitz offers four sets of comments.
The paper reconstructs Moore's Open Question Argument (OQA) and discusses its rise and fall. There are three basic objections to the OQA: Geach's point, that Moore presupposes that ?good? is a predicative adjective (whereas it is in fact attributive); Lewy's point, that it leads straight to the Paradox of Analysis; and Durrant's point that even if 'good' is not synonymous with any naturalistic predicate, goodness might be synthetically identical with a naturalistic property. As against Geach, I argue that 'good' has (...) both predicative and attributive uses and that in moral contexts it is difficult to give a naturalistic account of the attributive 'good'. To deal with Lewy, I reformulate the OQA. But the bulk of the paper is devoted to Durrant's objection. I argue that the post-Moorean programme of looking for synthetic identities between moral and naturalistic properties is either redundant or impossible. For it can be carried through only if 'good' expresses an empirical concept, in which case it is redundant since naturalism is true. But 'good' does not express an empirical concept (a point proved by the reformulated OQA). Hence synthetic naturalism is impossible. I discuss direct reference as a possible way out for the synthetic naturalist and conclude that it will not work. The OQA may be a bit battered but it works after a fashion. (shrink)
Proponents of the view that social structures are ontologically distinct from the people in whose actions they are immanent have assumed that structures can stand in causal relations to individual practices. Were causality to be no more than Humean concomitance correlations between structure and practices would be unproblematic. But two prominent advocates of the ontological account of structures, Bhaskar and Giddens, have also espoused a powers theory of causality. According to that theory causation is brought about by the activity of (...) particulars, in the social psychological case, individuals of some sort. Consistence would demand that structure be those individuals. But neither Giddens nor Bhaskar wish to reify structure to the extent that would fit it for a role as a powerful particular. If only human beings can be powerful particulars in these contexts, the only way that structures can be real must be as properties of conversational interactions. Human action is social just in so far as people direct themselves to engage well in joint activities with others. (shrink)
The myth of the homeland -- The Nietzschean self-assertion of the German University -- The geo-politics of Heidegger's Mitteleuropa -- Heidegger's Greeks and the myth of autochthony -- Heidegger's "Nietzsche".
In his celebrated 'Good and Evil' (l956) Professor Geach argues as against the non-naturalists that ‘good’ is attributive and that the predicative 'good', as used by Moore, is senseless.. 'Good' when properly used is attributive. 'There is no such thing as being just good or bad, [that is, no predicative 'good'] there is only being a good or bad so and so'. On the other hand, Geach insists, as against non-cognitivists, that good-judgments are entirely 'descriptive'. By a consideration of what (...) it is to be an A, we can determine what it is to be a good A, even where the ‘A’ in question is ‘human being’. These battles are fought on behalf of naturalism, indeed, of an up-to-date Aristotelianism. Geach plans to 'pass' from the 'purely descriptive' man to good/bad man, and from human act to good/bad human act. I argue: (l) That the predicative 'good' does have a genuine sense and that it is a mistake to suppose that ‘good’ is a purely attributive adjective. This does not entail that the predicative good (as used by Moore) denotes a non-natural property, but his mistake, if any is metaphysical or ontological not conceptual. (2) That the attributive 'good' cannot be used to generate a naturalistic ethic. It is difficult to extract a set of biologically based requirements out of human nature that are a) reasonably specific; b) rationally binding or at least highly persuasive; and c) morally credible. -/- On the way I protest against Geach’s tendency to try to win arguments by affecting not to understand things. -/- My views to some extent anticipate those of Kraut in *Against Absolute Goodness*. (shrink)
James's Fairness in Trade seeks to offer an account of fair trade that is “internal” to an existing practice he describes as “mutual market reliance.” This paper distinguishes several senses of the distinction between “internal” and “external” that occur in the book and asks how, in its various senses, the distinction shapes and influences judgments about the fairness of the practice.
In the 18th century, the pre-modern Judeo-Greco-Christian problem of freedom and determinism is transformed by Kant into the modern problem of the freedom of human agency in the natural and cultural worlds of deterministic structures; it is this version of the freedom and determinism issue which centres the Science and Humanism debates, and thus marks the history of the social sciences. Anthony Giddens is credited with providing the new vocabulary of ‘structure’ and ‘agency’ in order to formulate the problem of (...) freedom and determinism in those terms, thus making this formulation fruitful. In this book, Charles R. Varela proposes that Kant originally formulated this problem, and makes a series of wide-ranging and groundbreaking observations based on Kant's metaphysics of realism which enables Varela to propose a solution to the structure/agency problem. Subjects revisited in this book include: · "Giddens’ Call" · The stalemate of the social and psychological sciences · The determinist tradition of modern science · Postmodernism This breadth of themes, drawn together by Varela with his work on Kant, fully realizes Giddens’ principle that human agency is a real causal force. It is Kant's conception of causal power that is the causal force Giddens' has called for. _Science For Humanism: The Recovery of Human Agency_ will be of particular interest to students of humanism and therefore realism, Kant and Giddens. (shrink)
We present a probabilistic extension to active path analyses of token causation (Halpern & Pearl 2001, forthcoming; Hitchcock 2001). The extension uses the generalized notion of intervention presented in (Korb et al. 2004): we allow an intervention to set any probability distribution over the intervention variables, not just a single value. The resulting account can handle a wide range of examples. We do not claim the account is complete --- only that it fills an obvious gap in previous active-path approaches. (...) It still succumbs to recent counterexamples by Hiddleston (2005), because it does not explicitly consider causal processes. We claim three benefits: a detailed comparison of three active-path approaches, a probabilistic extension for each, and an algorithmic formulation. (shrink)
The investigation of probabilistic causality has been plagued by a variety of misconceptions and misunderstandings. One has been the thought that the aim of the probabilistic account of causality is the reduction of causal claims to probabilistic claims. Nancy Cartwright (1979) has clearly rebutted that idea. Another ill-conceived idea continues to haunt the debate, namely the idea that contextual unanimity can do the work of objective homogeneity. It cannot. We argue that only objective homogeneity in combination with a causal interpretation (...) of Bayesian networks can provide the desired criterion of probabilistic causality. (shrink)
Contemporary ethical thought owes a great deal to David Hume whose work has inspired theories as diverse as non-cognitivism, error theory, quasi-realism, and instrumentalism about practical reason. This timely volume brings together an international range of distinguished scholars to discuss and dispute issues revolving around three closely related Humean themes which have recently come under close scrutiny. First is Hume's infamous claim that 'Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions'. Second, the Motivation Argument for the (...) view that 'The rules of morality...are not conclusions of our reason'. The third and final theme is that of virtue, re-examined here in the context of new interpretational debates concerning Hume's thought on moral motivation. Contributors: Annette Baier, Stephen Finlay, Kent Hurtig, Rosalind Hursthouse, Richard Joyce, Norva Y. S. Lo, Graham Oddie, Herlinde Pauer-Studer, Luke Russell, Constantine Sandis, Michael Smith, Christine Swanton. (shrink)
Global Basic Rights brings together many of the most influential contemporary writers in political philosophy and international relations to explore some of the most challenging theoretical and practical questions provoked by Henry Shue's classic book Basic Rights.
Taking my cue from Michael Smith, I try to extract a decent argument for non-cognitivism from the text of the Treatise. I argue that the premises are false and that the whole thing rests on a petitio principi. I then re-jig the argument so as to support that conclusion that Hume actually believed (namely that an action is virtuous if it would excite the approbation of a suitably qualified spectator). This argument too rests on false premises and a begged question. (...) Thus the Motivation Argument fails BOTH as an argument for noncognitivism AND as an argument for what Hume actually believed, that moral distinctions are not derived from reason and that moral properties are akin to secondary qualities. So far as the Motivation Argument is concerned, both cognitivists and rationalists can rest easy. Themes: 1) Hume’s Slavery of Reason thesis is only defensible if passions are not only desires but sometimes dispositions to acquire desires (DTADs). 2) A desire for our good on the whole, which Humeans need to posit to fend off apparent counterexamples to the Slavery of Reason Thesis, does not sit well with the Humean theory of how novel desires arise (an objection due originally to Reid). 3) Hume is wrong to suppose that ‘abstract or demonstrative reasoning never influences any of our actions, but only as it directs our judgment concerning causes and effects’ as the examples of Russell and Hobbes convincingly demonstrate. This ironic as both Russell and Hobbes subscribed to the Slavery of Reason Thesis. 4) I critique Michael Smith’s critique of motivational externalism. (shrink)
Hebb's conception of instinctive behavior permits the conclusion that it is just not human nature to be instinctive: while the ant brain is built for instinctive behavior, the human brain is built for intelligent behavior. Since drives cannot be instincts, even when a human driver becomes driven, human motives are not instincts either. This understanding allows us to dismiss the determinism of the old instinctivism found in Freud's bio-psychological unconscious, and of the new instinctivism, exemplified by Wilson's sociobiology. The latter (...) entails an explanatory shift from instincts to genes, in which the deterministic character of instincts is carried over to genes. Since genes are not instincts this is a mistake. (shrink)
Major topics: the nature and moral stutus of animals, animal experimentation and alternatives, use of animals for food, and environmental ethics. A bibliography of works historically important to animal rights and a list of 181 animal rights and animal welfare organizations worldwide enhance the book's usefulness. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.
Today's international community may well view covert action and democracy as mutually exclusive policies. This article examines the practice of covert action in American foreign policy in light of events of the mid-1970s and 1980s, focusing on the scandalous misuse of executive authority and lack of accountability associated with covert means. Often manipulative and sometimes anonymous, covert operations raise critical morality concerns in a democratic society. Whether "any form of accountability is likely to be sufficient to bring the unauthorized use (...) of executive power under control" is the crucial issue to be addressed when examining the practicality of covert actions by the executive branch. (shrink)
Milgram’s experiments, subjects were induced to inflict what they believed to be electric shocks in obedience to a man in a white coat. This suggests that many of us can be persuaded to torture, and perhaps kill, another person simply on the say-so of an authority figure. But the experiments have been attacked on methodological, moral and methodologico-moral grounds. Patten argues that the subjects probably were not taken in by the charade; Bok argues that lies should not be used in (...) research; and Patten insists that any excuse for Milgram’s conduct can be adapted on behalf of his subjects. (Either he was wrong to conduct the experiments or they do not establish the phenomenon of immoral obedience). We argue a) that the subjects were indeed taken in b) that there are good historical reasons for regarding the experiments as ecologically valid, c) that lies (though usually wrong) were in this case legitimate, d) that there were excuses available to Milgram which were not available to his subjects and e) that even if he was wrong to conduct the experiments this does not mean that he failed to establish immoral obedience. So far from ‘disrespecting’ his subjects, Milgram enhanced their autonomy as rational agents. We concede however that it might (now) be right to prohibit what it was (then) right to do. (shrink)
This paper is a critique of coercive theories of meaning, that is, theories (or criteria) of meaning designed to do down ones opponents by representing their views as meaningless or unintelligible. Many philosophers from Hobbes through Berkeley and Hume to the pragmatists, the logical positivists and (above all) Wittgenstein have devised such theories and criteria in order to discredit their opponents. I argue 1) that such theories and criteria are morally obnoxious, a) because they smack of the totalitarian linguistic tactics (...) of the Party in Orwell’s 1984 and b) because they dehumanize the opposition by portraying them as mere spouters of gibberish; 2) that they are profoundly illiberal since if true, they would undermine Mill’s arguments for free speech; 3) that such theories are prone to self-contradiction, pragmatic and otherwise; 4) that they often turn against their creators including what they were meant to exclude and excluding what they were meant to include; 5) that such theories are susceptible to a modus tollens pioneered by Richard Price in his Review Concerning the Principle Questions of Morals(1758); and 6) that such theories are prima facie false since they fail to ‘predict’ the data that is it their business to explain (or, in the case of criteria, fail to capture the concept that they allegedly represent). The butcher’s bill is quite considerable: some of Hobbes, a fair bit of Locke, half of Berkeley, large chunks of Hume, Russell's Theory of Types, verificationism in its positivist and Dummettian variants, much of pragmatism and most of Wittgenstein - all these have to be sacrificed if we are to save our souls as philosophic liberals. (shrink)