This book comprehensively examines the aesthetic views of Thomas Aquinas, treating both the objective nature and the subjective human experience of beauty. It locates Aquinas’s views in their historical context and illustrates their relations to other popular aesthetic views.
This paper explores the notions of hope and how individual patient autonomy can trump carefully reasoned ethical concerns and policies intended to regulate stem cell transplants. We argue that the same limits of knowledge that inform arguments to restrain and regulate unproven treatments might also undermine our ability to comprehensively dismiss or condemn them. Incautiously or indiscriminately reasoned policies and attitudes may drive critical information and data underground, impel patients away from working with clinical researchers, and tread needlessly on hope, (...) the essential motivator of patients, advocates and researchers alike. We offer recommendations to clinicians and health care providers to help balance the discourse with individuals seeking treatment while guarding against fraud, misconception, and patient harm. (shrink)
In this international and interdisciplinary collection of critical essays, distinguished contributors examine a crucial premise of traditional readings of Plato's dialogues: that Plato's own doctrines and arguments can be read off the statements made in the dialogues by Socrates and other leading characters. The authors argue in general and with reference to specific dialogues, that no character should be taken to be Plato's mouthpiece. This is essential reading for students and scholars of Plato.
[David Charles] Aristotle, it appears, sometimes identifies well-being (eudaimonia) with one activity (intellectual contemplation), sometimes with several, including ethical virtue. I argue that this appearance is misleading. In the Nicomachean Ethics, intellectual contemplation is the central case of human well-being, but is not identical with it. Ethically virtuous activity is included in human well-being because it is an analogue of intellectual contemplation. This structure allows Aristotle to hold that while ethically virtuous activity is valuable in its own right, the best (...) life available for humans is centred around, but not wholly constituted by, intellectual contemplation. /// [Dominic Scott] In Nicomachean Ethics X 7-8, Aristotle distinguishes two kinds of eudaimonia, primary and secondary. The first corresponds to contemplation, the second to activity in accordance with moral virtue and practical reason. My task in this paper is to elucidate this distinction. Like Charles, I interpret it as one between paradigm and derivative cases; unlike him, I explain it in terms of similarity, not analogy. Furthermore, once the underlying nature of the distinction is understood, we can reconcile the claim that paradigm eudaimonia consists just in contemplation with a passage in the first book requiring eudaimonia to involve all intrinsic goods. (shrink)
A problem which was widely recognised during Schleiermacher's life, and one which I think is not yet satisfactorily solved, concerned the integration of feeling and concepts within human consciousness. Within the domain of philosophy of religion it may be phrased as follows: How does religious feeling relate to rational reflection such that each complements and enriches the other? Schleiermacher was convinced that religion never originates in human understanding or autonomy and that one's understanding of the world is not necessarily dependent (...) on religious faith. But he was equally convinced that reflection and religion ought to enjoy a harmony which reflects the harmony of the universe, and this ideal motivated his continuous attempt to construct a complementary philosophy and theology. His hope was to show that ‘understanding and feeling… remain distinct, but they touch each other and form a galvanic pile.… The innermost life of the spirit consists in the galvanic action thus produced in the feeling of the understanding and the understanding of the feeling, during which, however, the two poles always remain deflected from each other.’. (shrink)
Maurice Scott, an outstanding economics scholar associated for most of his career with Nuffield College Oxford, was involved in the revolution in economic thought of the 1960s and 1970s. His major work, A New View of Economic Growth, was coolly received. Scott, who wrote an autobiography, My Life, and a philosophical study entitled Peter's Journey: A Search for the True Purpose of Life, was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 1990. Obituary by Christopher Bliss FBA.
What sorts of things are there in the world? Clearly enough, there are concrete, material things; but are there other things too, perhaps nonconcrete or non-material things? Some people believe that there are such things, which are often called abstract ; purported examples of such objects include numbers, properties, possible but non-actual states of affairs, propositions, and sets. Following a long-standing tradition, I shall describe persons who believe that there are abstract objects as ‘platonists’. In this paper, I shall not (...) directly address the plausibility of platonism, as compared with its rivals; instead, I shall confine my attention to one way in which some people have tried to combine platonism and theism. More specifically, I shall concentrate upon the claim that abstract objects depend upon God ontologically ; I shall argue that platonistic theists should reject DEP in favour of the claim that abstract objects exist independently of God . In order to evaluate the relative merits of DEP versus IND, it will be helpful to examine in some detail a particular articulation of DEP. When it comes to recent work on DEP, we can do no better in this regard than to examine the recent work of Thomas V. Morris and Christopher H. Menzel. According Morris and Menzel, there is a sense in which God literally creates such abstracta through engaging in intellective activities. (shrink)
Scott Soames has given us a clear, engaging but ultimately unsatisfying introduction to the history of analytic philosophy. Based on Soames’ impressive work in the philosophy of language, when these two volumes appeared I had high hopes that he would be successful. There is certainly a need for an introductory survey of the history of analytic philosophy. Currently, there is no resource for the beginning student or the amateur historian that will summarize our current understanding of the origins and (...) development of analytic philosophy. In what respects, then, do I find Soames’ attempt to fill this gap to be unsuccessful? The fundamental problem is that he has not succeeded in presenting what we now know about analytic philosophy and its history. Instead of drawing on the work of specialists in the field, it seems that he simply read the most famous works of the most famous philosophers and tried to figure out for himself what these philosophers were up to. Readers of Soames’ papers and other books will not be surprised to hear that this always ends in a carefully presented argument for a clearly articulated conclusion. Still, at least for the major figures considered in volume one, the interpretations offered fly in face of contemporary scholarship. I will try to justify these charges shortly by considering a few specific cases, but before I get to that, it is worth emphasizing why such an approach to the history of analytic philosophy is flawed, and why it is especially inappropriate in an introductory work. (shrink)
The last twenty years have seen an explosion in books and papers on Russell’s philosophy and its contemporary significance. There is good reason to think that this will continue as the contents of the Collected Papers are digested by Russell scholars and as more specialists contribute to the history of analytic philosophy more generally. Given all this good news, it is disconcerting to find a 100 page discussion of Russell, in a well-reviewed book by a first-rate philosopher, repeating many of (...) the errors and misconceptions about Russell that scholars have worked so hard against. Soames’ discussion of Russell in the volumes under review is in fact so distressing that it alone compromises the book as a suitable introduction to the history of analytic philosophy. After briefly reviewing the outline of the two volumes, I discuss the errors concerning Russell, and conclude by drawing some lessons for Russell scholarship. (shrink)