This essay was originally presented at the Rutgers Institute for Law and Philosophy as part of the Symposium on The Evolution of Criminal Law Theory. It is a Reply to Professor Donald Drippsâ politically-based justification for blackmailâs prohibition. Under Drippsâ account, by exacting payment from the victim blackmail is an impermissible form of private punishment that usurps the stateâs public monopoly on law enforcement. This essay demonstrates that Drippsâ account is either under-inclusive or over-inclusive or both. Drippsâ account is applied (...) to a number of the standard blackmail scenarios by which theories of blackmail are typically assessed. Drippsâ account is under-inclusive by failing to treat as blackmail Victim-Welcomed Blackmail, Non-Monetary Blackmail, Rebuffed Blackmail, and Non-Informational Blackmail which the law considers as blackmail. And it is over-inclusive by treating as blackmail Victim-Initiated Exchange and Unconditional Disclosure which the law does not recognize as blackmail. (shrink)
Agnotology is the study of how ignorance arises via circulation of misinformation calculated to mislead. Legates et al. had questioned the applicability of agnotology to politically-charged debates. In their reply, Bedford and Cook, seeking to apply agnotology to climate science, asserted that fossil-fuel interests had promoted doubt about a climate consensus. Their definition of climate ‘misinformation’ was contingent upon the post-modernist assumptions that scientific truth is discernible by measuring a consensus among experts, and that a near unanimous consensus exists. However, (...) inspection of a claim by Cook et al. of 97.1 % consensus, heavily relied upon by Bedford and Cook, shows just 0.3 % endorsement of the standard definition of consensus: that most warming since 1950 is anthropogenic. Agnotology, then, is a two-edged sword since either side in a debate may claim that general ignorance arises from misinformation allegedly circulated by the other. Significant questions about anthropogenic influences on climate remain. Therefore, Legates et al. appropriately asserted that partisan presentations of controversies stifle debate and have no place in education. (shrink)
Christopher Peacocke’s A Study of Concepts is a dense and rewarding work. Each chapter raises many issues for discussion. I know three different people who are writing reviews of the volume. It testifies to the depth of Peacocke’s book that each reviewer is focusing on a quite different set of topics.
With the goal of better understanding how science, religion, and poetic art came together in the work of Christopher Southgate, the authors first explore his spiritual poetry. They come away with a better understanding of the author’s commitment to a broad naturalism that contributes, along with his own faith experience, to his prose works in the emerging field of ecotheology. The authors conclude that Southgate’s work is part of the worldwide emergence of a theological rationale that supports environmentalism, the (...) protection of species, and the conservation of biodiversity. The authors find Southgate’s poetry warm, appealing, accessible, and re-readable to good effect, but with a thread of danger and warning throughout. Both features are quite appropriate for the environmental movement in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
An introduction to the March, 2005 symposium “The Political Theory of Organizations: A Retrospective Examination of Christopher McMahon’s Authority and Democracy” held in San Francisco as part of the Society for Business Ethics Group Meeting at the Pacific Division Meetings of the American Philosophical Association.
This paper is about Christopher Wren’s engravings for Thomas Willis’ The Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves of 1664. It is a study in the intersection of medicine and art in 17th century Britain. Willis, an eminent English physician and anatomist, was a major figure in the development of modern neurology, and The Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves was his most famous and influential book. Wren was Willis’ assistant and medical artist. I discuss the visual strategies employed by (...) Wren to present their research and frame it as genuine knowledge. (shrink)
An introduction to the March, 2005 symposium "The Political Theory of Organizations: A Retrospective Examination of Christopher McMahon's "Authority and Democracy" held in San Francisco as part of the Society for Business Ethics Group Meeting at the Pacific Division Meetings of the American Philosophical Association.
In his recent book, Aquinas and the Ship of Theseus, Christopher Brown has argued that the metaphysics of St. Thomas is preferable to contemporary analyticviews because it can solve the “problem of material constitution” without requiring us to relinquish any of the common-sense beliefs that generate that problem. In this critical study, I show that in the case of both substances and aggregates, Brown’s Aquinas endorses views that are extremely implausible. Consequently, even if it is granted that the solutions (...) to the PMC fall right out of his views, it is still not clear that this gives us reason to prefer his ontology to its competitors. I also consider Brown’s take on the status of the human being after death. (shrink)
In this interview, Christopher Norris discusses a wide range of issues having to do with postmodernism, deconstruction and other controversial topics of debate within present-day philosophy and critical theory. More specifically he challenges the view of deconstruction as just another offshoot of the broader postmodernist trend in cultural studies and the social sciences. Norris puts the case for deconstruction as continuing the 'unfinished project of modernity' and—in particular—for Derrida's work as sustaining the values of enlightened critical reason in various (...) spheres of thought from epistemology to ethics, sociology and politics. Along the way he addresses a number of questions that have lately been raised with particular urgency for teachers and educationalists, among them the revival of creationist doctrine and the idea of scientific knowledge as a social, cultural, or discursive construct. In this context he addresses the 'science wars' or the debate between those who uphold t. (shrink)
This article examines the philosophical teaching of a colorful Oxford alumnus and Roman Catholic convert, Christopher Davenport, also known as Franciscus à Sancta Clara or Francis Coventry. At the peak of Puritan power during the English Interregnum and after five of his Franciscan confrères had perished for their missionary work, our author tried boldly to claim modern cosmology and atomism as the unrecognized fruits of medieval Scotism. His hope was to revive English pride in the golden age of medieval (...) Oxford and to defend English Franciscans as more legitimately patriotic and scientifically progressive than Puritan millenarians. (shrink)
In this book, Christopher Peacocke proposes a general theory about what it is for a thinker to be entitled to form a given belief. This theory is distinctively rationalist: that is, it gives a large role to the a priori, while insisting that the propositions or contents that can be known a priori are not in any way “true in virtue of meaning” (and without in any other way denigrating these propositions as “trivial”, or as propositions that “tell us (...) nothing about the world”, or the like). Peacocke then applies this theory to several classical problems in epistemology — to the problem of how our sensory experiences can entitle us to form beliefs about the external world, to the problem of induction, and to the problem of what entitles us to form moral beliefs. (shrink)
With the goal of understanding how Christopher Southgate communicates his in-depth knowledge of both science and theology, we investigated the many roles he assumes as a teacher. We settled upon wide-ranging topics that all intertwine: (1) his roles as author and coordinating editor of a premier textbook on science and theology, now in its third edition; (2) his oral presentations worldwide, including plenaries, workshops, and short courses; and (3) the team teaching approach itself, which is often needed by others (...) because the knowledge of science and theology do not always reside in the same person. Southgate provides, whenever possible, teaching contexts that involve students in experiential learning, where they actively participate with other students.We conclude that Southgate’s ultimate goal is to teach students how to reconcile science and theology in their values and beliefs, so that they can take advantage of both forms of rational thinking in their own personal and professional lives. The co-authors consider several examples of models that have been successfully used by people in various fields to integrate science and religion. (shrink)
Paul Grice warned that ‘the nature of conventional implicature needs to be examined before any free use of it, for explanatory purposes, can be indulged in’ (1978/1989: 46). Christopher Potts heeds this warning, brilliantly and boldly. Starting with a definition drawn from Grice’s few brief remarks on the subject, he distinguishes conventional implicature from other phenomena with which it might be confused, identifies a variety of common but little-studied kinds of expressions that give rise to it, and develops a (...) formal, multidimensional semantic framework for systematically capturing its distinctive character. The book is a virtuosic blend of astute descriptive observations and technically sophisticated formulations. Fortunately for the technically unsophisticated reader, the descriptive observations can be appreciated on their own. (shrink)
Christopher Insole argues that we have underestimated the importance of the following theological problem in the development of Kant’s mature, critical philosophy: “How can it be said that we are free, given that we are created by God?” (p. 5). The author makes a strong case that this problem was formative for a range of Kant’s pre-critical views. What role it continues to play in the 1780s and beyond will be, as the author himself notes, controversial. Chapters 1–3 contain (...) lucid and, especially for those familiar only with Kant’s critical period, helpful discussions of several pre-critical texts together with an engagement with selected secondary literature. Thus, readers who know only Kant’s destruction of the divine proofs, in the Critique of Pure Reason (1781, 1787), may be surprised to find him defending versions of the ontological and cosmological proofs in The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God (1763). Here Insole’s exposition is nuanced... (shrink)
This collection of essays honors Christopher Fox of Notre Dame, arguably the most influential figure in Irish studies for the past quarter century. The essays address topics in which Fox has made his own enduring scholarly contributions and subjects to which he has made enduring contributions through his academic leadership.
Christopher Johnson has put forward in this journal the view that ad hominem reasoning may be more generally reasonable than is allowed by writers such as myself, basing his view on virtue epistemology. I review his account, as well as the standard account, of ad hominem reasoning, and show how the standard account would handle the cases he sketches in defense of his own view. I then give four criticisms of his view generally: the problems of virtue conflict, vagueness, (...) conflation of speech acts, and self-defeating counsel. I then discuss four reasons why the standard account is superior: it better fits legal reality, the account of other fallacies, psychological science, and political reality. (shrink)
A relatively detailed review (~ 4000 words) of Christopher Mole's (2010) book "Attention is Cognitive Unison". I suggest that Mole makes a good case against many types of reductivist accounts of attention, using the right kind of methodology. Yet, I argue that his adverbialist theory is not the best articulation of the crucial anti-reductivist insight. The distinction between adverbial and process-first phenomena he draws remains unclear, anti-reductivist process theories can escapte his arguments, and finally I provide an argument for (...) why no personal level adverbialism can provide a complete and unified theory of attention. Despite my disagreements, I have learned a lot from engaging with Mole's book. It's a central contribution to the new philosophical literature on attention. (shrink)
From the title and subtitle of Christopher D. Tirres’s book, we already ascertain that the work addresses four discrete philosophic disciplines or traditions: American pragmatism, Latin American liberation, aesthetics, and ethics. And at first glance, each of the four does not evoke an immediate connection to the other three, but Tirres is capable of putting them into a genuine conversation. Tirres’s book is organized into eight chapters, with the first and eighth serving respectively as a succinct introduction and conclusion. (...) I will analyze these eight chapters as three separate yet interrelated projects. In the introduction, entitled “American Faith in a New Key,” we find a concise statement of his.. (shrink)
Christopher Arciszewski (1592–1656), Arian mercenary and man of many facets, conducted a journal in which, it is suspected, he described military campaigns, the state of the colony and other interesting phenomena he was able to observe during his time of service in Brazil. In 1641, Gerard Vossius was completing his magnum opus De theologia. In Chapter 8 of the first volume, Vossius discusses the “cult of the demon” among various peoples. As an example the Netherlander erudite provides a colorful (...) description of such a cult among the Brazilian Tapuya tribe. Since the author never traveled to Brazil, he makes use of the observations of Christopher Arciszewski. How does an Arian, brought up in an atmosphere of intense pluralism and far-reaching tolerance towards other belief systems (or at least imbued with a strong relativism), react when he encounters, first-hand, a culture utterly different, and completely alien to him? His presentation of a hierarchically constructed morality existent among various cannibalistic tribes is, in a sense, an intellectual breakthrough. Instead of treating the nativescollectively as one homogenous culture, as simply “savages”, Arciszewski distinguishes between various cultural units, and treats them individually. The nobleman attempts to convey their own views of morality not on the basis of European ethical systems, but on the local ones in place. In his day, such ideas were nearly unthinkable for most educated Europeans. Cannibalism of any kind was perceived as godless behavior, a sort of devilry, which would eventually be abolished with coming of the “light of Christianity” to the New World and the inevitable Europeanization of the natives. The reader can marvel at the extent to which Arciszewski is willing go in his relativism, to the point of sympathizing with the Tapuya. He allows them to explain to the reader the functioning of theirendo-cannibalistic culture. Arciszewski adds to the rationalization of cannibalism a detailed description of the death-rite among the Tapuya, presenting these ceremonial customs in accordance with their own beliefs, as something potentially interesting for humanistic intellectuals back in the Old World. Vossius’ book also discusses the question of the tribe’s spiritual beliefs: their conceptions of good and evil, deities, etc. The reader once again witnesses Arciszewski’s readiness to accept beliefs and deities completely unknown to European religion. The author does not prima facie discount the possibility that the “universal laws” operating in the Old World have no place in the Brazilian wilderness. His philosophical outlook, demonstrated by his rationalization of what had before been considered “magical” or “irrational”, is surely a foreshadowing of the rationalism of Enlightenment, whose modes of thinking constitute the core-foundation for alllater philosophical and scientific inquiry. Arciszewski, as an Arian brother par excellence, essentially operated with such conceptual tools as relativism, toleration and universalism, and his intellectual arsenal did not altogether differ from our own. As such, Arciszewski, and Europeans like him, helped free the Western worldview of its mediaeval philosophically limited conceptions of the cosmos, and propelled it in new directions of inquiry. This led eventually to a decided shifting of the European worldview away from superstition towards reason: the most definitively crucial moment in European intellectual history. (shrink)
Christopher S. Hill advances a theory of conscious experience that employs the idea of representation to unify and explain a wide range of subjective phenomena, including emotions and pain. The theory shows the relevance of philosophical thought in a multidisciplinary view of the mind.
The Philosophy of Christopher Nolan collects sixteen essays written by philosophers and film theorists analyzing moral, metaphysical, epistemological, and political themes that characterize the films of Christopher Nolan.
What makes Christopher P. Long’s study of Aristotle’s ontology especially rewarding is that it is philosophically motivated. The goal is not simply to “get right what Aristotle said,” but rather to think in dialogue with Aristotle, which implies a willingness to think beyond and even against him. Long makes the general philosophical motivation of his book perfectly clear: it is the desire to find “a way between the totalizing tendencies of modernism and the anarchy of postmodernism”. This is an (...) ethical motivation, since for Long justice requires both a recognition of the fundamental autarchy of each being and a recognition of principles. But why turn back to an ancient Greek philosopher in this contemporary debate? The reason is that Long sees Aristotle as pointing “to a form of knowledge that is neither totalizing nor anarchic”. This third way of knowing is described by Long as a matter of conceptualizing the individual in such a way as to acknowledge its singularity and not reduce it to the mere instantiation of a concept. It is to see the individual neither as an inexplicable singularity nor as only the particular instantiation of a universal. Long finds this neither/nor in Aristotle’s concept of the τόδε τι, which he at one point aptly describes as “the very conceptualization of that which always escapes the concept” : “The term τόδε τι designates this individual emerging out of its isolated singularity, prior to its being reduced to particularity, the mere instantiation of a dominating concept”. Thus we get the following account of what a non-totalizing and non-anarchic form of knowledge would be like and therefore of what Long seeks to find in Aristotle. (shrink)
Pindar was read and appreciated in Byzantium, as one may detect from an analysis of poem 6 by Christopher Mitylenaios. This short text contains many references to the lyric poet both in structure and content, revealing that whoever read it needed to have studied Pindar in order to understand the parody and description of the chariot race. Thus the poem brings forward the question of readership and proposes a short list of people who definitely had read Pindar in the (...) middle eleventh century. (shrink)
Selfhood and the Soul is a collection of new and original essays in honour of Christopher Gill, Emeritus Professor of Ancient Thought at the University of Exeter. Although they all share the same concern - the experience of being a person and the question of how best to live - as in the work of the honorand himself they are distinguished by a diversity of approach and subject matter, taking the reader on a journey from ancient philosophy to medical (...) writing via discussions of topics as varied as money, love, free will, and cookery. (shrink)
‘Greek Ethics’, an undergraduate class taught by the British moral philosopher N. J. H. Dent, introduced this reviewer to the ethical philosophy of ancient Greece. The class had a modest purview—a sequence of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle—but it proved no less effective, in retrospect, than more synoptic classes for having taken this apparently limited and (for its students and academic level) appropriate focus. This excellent Companion will now serve any such class extremely well, allowing students a broader exposure than that (...) traditional sequence, without sacrificing the class’s circumscribed focus. The eighteen chapters encompass some of what went before, and surprisingly much of what came after, those three central philosophers—including, for instance, a discussion of Plotinus and his successors, as well as a discussion of Horace. The book will therefore be useful in many different types of class on ethical philosophy in the ancient world. This Companion will be useful not only to students, but also to at least three further groups: specialists in ancient Greek philosophy (since some contributors advance significant new positions, e.g. R. Kamtekar on Plato’s ethical psychology and D. Charles on Aristotle’s ‘ergon argument’ as already implicitly invoking ‘to kalon’); scholars working in academic subjects adjacent to ancient Greek philosophy; and contemporary moral philosophers. (shrink)
In these comments I shall concentrate on one topic, namely Peacocke’s proposals concerning what is involved in possessing the concept of belief. The proposals are, of course, presented by him within the framework of a general theory of concepts, some parts of which are illuminating and others of which are more debatable. But differences about these issues are not germane to what follows and for our purposes I shall assume the correctness of the broad lines of his theory.
I shall start by considering the apparently paradoxical doctrines that Wittgenstein put forward about knowledge: they show how the concept of knowledge is, as he says, ‘specialized’. This is not, as I shall show, a very important issue in itself, but it leads on to other points, of more interest: how it comes about, for example, that ‘not all corrections of our beliefs are on the same level’. I shall then discuss the idea that we inherit a certain picture of (...) the world that forms the background of our experiments and researches. This idea, which is not of course unique to Wittgenstein, is, however, developed with many fresh insights. I end with some discussion of Wittgenstein's reported views on religious belief, which should not, in my opinion, be regarded as part of his contribution to philosophy, the interest of them being, perhaps, more biographical than philosophical. (shrink)
Fairly recently, I came upon the following passage in a review of a book by Colin M. Turnbull, called The Mountain People : A child dumped on the ground is seized and eaten by a leopard. The mother is delighted; for not only does she no longer have to carry the child about and feed it, but it follows that there is likely to be a gorged leopard near by, a sleepy animal which can easily be killed and eaten. An (...) old woman who has been abandoned falls down the mountainside because she is blind, so a crowd gathers to laugh at the spectacle of her distress. A man about to die of gunshot wounds makes a last request for tea. As he feebly raises it to his lips, it is snatched from him by his sister, who runs away delighted. A child develops intestinal obstruction; so his father calls in the neighbours to enjoy the joke of his distended belly. (shrink)
For intellectuals, and probably others, one form of escapism is a kind of constricted and shallow hyper-realism—the hyper-realism of having a dead-end job, even though one has a PhD or an IQ of 170. And that sort of hyper-realism is pseudo-realism, because realism is not about having a bad life; it is having the courage to have a good life, which the intellectual with the dead end job does not have.
My response consists essentially of an attempt to throw light on Peacocke's basic proposal as to how musical expressiveness should be understood by a comparison and contrast with a somewhat similar suggestion of mine.
The sovereignty of the people, it is widely said, is the foundation of modern democracy. The truth of this claim depends on the plausibility of attributing sovereignty to “the people” in the first place, and I shall express skepticism about this possibility. I shall suggest as well that the notion of popular sovereignty is complex, and that appeals to the notion may be best understood as expressing several different ideas and ideals. This essay distinguishes many of these and suggests that (...) greater clarity at least would be obtained by focusing directly on these notions and ideals and eschewing that of sovereignty. My claim, however, will not merely be that the notion is multifaceted and complex. I shall argue as well that the doctrine that the people are, or ought to be, sovereign is misleading in potentially dangerous ways, and is conducive to a misunderstanding of the nature of politics, governance, and social order. It would be well to do without the doctrine, but it may be equally important to understand its errors. Our understandings and justifications of democracy, certainly, should dispense with popular sovereignty. (shrink)
Philosophers from the modern age and current philosophers share some common concerns. One is whether the ordinary objects of human perception—the objects humans see, hear, feel, taste, and smell—exist independently of our perception of them in a shared, stable, spatially-localized environment that also exists independently of perception. Another is whether a particular range of properties—colors, flavors, odors, sounds, feels—are properties of the ordinary objects of human perception, relations whose relata are properties of ordinary objects and types of typical human experiences, (...) or properties of, or identical with, types of typical human experiences.Because both modern and current philosophers have... (shrink)
U.S. Latino/a theologians share much with Latin American liberation theologians, but they have also explicitly differentiated themselves from their southern partners. One prominent focus in this effort is U.S. Latino/a attention to popular religion, in contrast to a Latin American stress on political, structural change. On this interpretation, U.S. Latino/as’ practice of everyday life is a form of “aesthetic resistance” to, and freedom from, WASP hegemony—quite a different situation and response from the south. However, the question has been raised whether, (...) in turning to the aesthetic dimensions of lo cotidiano, U.S. Latino/a theologians had not abandoned a critical, ethical edge essential for any.. (shrink)