L'avènement de l'imprimerie suscite dans le monde du judaïsme aschénaze un formidable élan de la langue yiddish. Simultanèment les grands textes sacrés sont traduits de l'hébreu et une production originale innerve tous les milieux. Pourtant, très vite, le yiddish est associé à l'émergence d'une littérature « religieuse » destinée aux femmes ou même écrite par elles, au point qu'un caractère typographique, le waybertaytch (« yiddish des femmes ») lui est réservé. C'est ce phénomène que l'auteur interroge dans l'éclairage d'une recherche (...) anthropologique sur la place des femmes dans la culture juive. Au sein de celle-ci, un rapport dialectique unit et sépare le féminin et le religieux selon un partage établi qui soumet les hommes à l'ordre de la lettre hébraïque et les femmes à l'ordre de la coutume. Traduire la Torah en yiddish, permettre que les femmes écrivent dans cette même langue, n'est-ce pas reconnaître la « part féminine » du religieux juif, celle qui leur revient comme le disent si bien les mythes et les rites qui associent la Torah et les femmes. (shrink)
In his recent Rescuing Justice and Equality, G. A. Cohen mounts a sustained critique of coerced labour, against the background of a radical egalitarian conception of distributive justice. In this article, I argue that Cohenian egalitarians are committed to holding the talented under a moral duty to choose socially useful work for the sake of the less fortunate. As I also show, Cohen's arguments against coerced labour fail, particularly in the light of his commitment to coercive taxation. In the course (...) of defending those claims, I claim that Cohen's remarks on freedom of occupational choice and taxation exhibit partiality towards the interests of the better-off to the detriment of the less fortunate – a partiality which is in tension with his commitment to equality. (shrink)
Do we have the right to deny others access to our body? What if this would harm those who need personal services or body parts from us? Ccile Fabre examines the impact that arguments for distributive justice have on the rights we have over ourselves, and on such contentious issues as organ sales, prostitution, and surrogate motherhood.
I distinguish among three senses in which meaning may be said to be normative, one trivial, the other two more robust. According to the trivial sense, meaningful expressions have conditions of correct application. According to the first robust sense, these conditions are determined by norms. According to the second robust sense, statements about these conditions have normative implications. Normativity in one or the other of the robust senses, but not in the trivial sense, is commonly thought to pose a threat (...) to naturalism. I argue that, given its trivial normativity, meaning cannot be normative in the first robust sense but it is normative in the sense that statements about the meaning of terms have hypothetical normative implications that are essential to meaning. I further argue that this normativity itself poses no threat to naturalism. Rather, this normativity follows from the fact that the trivial normativity of meaning precludes its naturalization. (shrink)
Hannah Ginsborg has recently offered a new account of normativity, according to which normative attitudes are essential to the meaningful use of language. The kind of normativity she has in mind –– not semantic but ‘primitive’ — is supposed to help us to avoid the pitfalls of both non-reductionist and reductive dispositionalist theories of meaning. For, according to her, it enables us both to account for meaning in non-semantic terms, which non-reductionism cannot do, and to make room for the normativity (...) of meaning, which reductive dispositionalism cannot do. I argue that the main problem with Ginsborg’s account is that it fails to say what makes it possible for expressions to be governed by conditions of correct application to begin with. I do believe, however, that normative attitudes are essential to meaning, but they have to be thought of as fully semantic. And I suggest that conditions of correct application can be present only when those attitudes are present. (shrink)
According to Davidson, 'triangulation' is necessary both to fix the meanings of one's thoughts and utterances and to have the concept of objectivity, both of which are necessary for thinking and talking at all. Against these claims, it has been objected that neither meaning-determination nor possession of the concept of objectivity requires triangulation; nor does the ability to think and talk require possession of the concept of objectivity. But this overlooks the important connection between the tasks that triangulation is meant (...) to perform. One cannot fix concepts or meanings, which one must do for there to be any concepts or meanings at all, without having the concept of objectivity. (shrink)
According to Donald Davidson, language is social in that only a person who has interacted linguistically with another could have a language. This paper is a discussion of Davidson’s argument in defence of that claim. I argue that he has not succeeded in establishing it, but that he has provided many of the materials out of which a successful argument could be built. Chief among these are the claims that some version of externalism about meaning is true, that possession of (...) a language requires possession of the concept of objectivity, and hence that the issue here concerns the identity of the external event that makes possible possession of the concept of objectivity. I end by presenting some reasons for thinking that only interpersonal linguistic interaction could play this role. (shrink)
It is hard to do justice, in a short reply, to Eyal's excellent review. Accordingly, I will focus on what I take to be its central claim – namely that I fail to give proper consideration to the extent to which the forced extraction of body parts undermines individuals' opportunities for self-respect. According to Eyal, ‘body exceptionalism’ can be defended on the following grounds: ‘People usually see trespass into a person and into objects they associate with a person – especially (...) into a person's body – as utterly disrespectful towards that person and her autonomy’. And later: ‘Whether or not organ confiscation is truly disrespectful. . . its widespread and intractable perception as a humiliating violation counts heavily against it, because it can thwart opportunities for self-respect’. (shrink)
According to the communitarian view, often attributed to the later Wittgenstein, language is social in the sense that having a (first) language essentially depends on meaning by one's words what members of some community mean by them. According to the interpersonal view, defended by Davidson, language is social only in the sense that having a (first) language essentially depends on having used (at least some of) one's words, whatever one means by them, to communicate with others. Even though these views (...) are importantly different, the arguments given for them--the interpretation argument in Wittgenstein's case, the triangulation argument in Davidson's--are interestingly similar. I see these arguments as complementary and argue that, contrary to what is widely thought, it is the interpersonal view, rather than the communitarian view, that they support. (shrink)
Two readings of Wittgenstein's rule-following paradox dominate the literature: either his arguments lead to skepticism, and thus to the view that only a deflated account of meaning is available, or they lead to quietism, and thus to the view that no philosophical account of meaning is called for. I argue, against both these positions, that a proper diagnosis of the paradox points the way towards a constructive, non-sceptical account of meaning.
Wittgenstein and Davidson are two of the most influential and controversial figures of twentieth-century philosophy. However, whereas Wittgenstein is often regarded as a deflationary philosopher, Davidson is considered to be a theory builder and systematic philosopher par excellence. Consequently, little work has been devoted to comparing their philosophies with each other. In this volume of new essays, leading scholars show that in fact there is much that the two share. By focusing on the similarities between Wittgenstein and Davidson, their essays (...) present compelling defences of their views and develop more coherent and convincing approaches than either philosopher was able to propose on his own. They show how philosophically fruitful and constructive reflection on Wittgenstein and Davidson continues to be, and how relevant the writings of both philosophers are to current debates in philosophy of mind, language, and action. (shrink)
While Peirce presented himself as a "scholastic realist of a somewhat extreme stripe", merely adapting the virtues involved in Scotism to the requirements of modern science to erect a plain scientific realistic metaphysics, he was also eager to emphasize that "everybody ought to be a nominalist at first" because such an hypothesis is "simpler than realism" and because "the economy of research prescribes to try the simpler one first, and to continue in that opinion", until one "is driven out of (...) it by the force majeure of irreconciliable facts". Even if, at first, he had been "blinded by nominalistic preconceptions", he also confessed that he had "never been able to think differently on that question of realism" and... (shrink)
Contra an expanding number of deflationary commentators onWittgenstein, I argue that philosophical questions about meaningare meaningful and that Wittgenstein gave us ample reason tobelieve so. Deflationists are right in claiming that Wittgensteinrejected the sceptical problem about meaning allegedly to befound in his later writings and also right in stressing Wittgenstein''s anti-reductionism. But they are wrong in taking these dismissals to entail the end of all constructive philosophizing about meaning. Rather, I argue, the rejection of the sceptical problem requires that we (...) abandon the questions that philosophers have traditionally addressed and that we replace them with more appropriate ones, to which constructive answers are forthcoming. However, though quietism is not the only alternative to reductionism, the rejection of reductionism does oblige us seriously to revise our sense of what constructive philosophy can achieve. (shrink)
The chapter first provides a detailed exposition of Davidson's triangulation argument to the effect that only someone who has interacted simultaneously with another person and the world they share could have a language and thoughts. It then examines the core objections that have been made to the argument, namely, that triangulation is not needed either to fix the propositional contents of one's thoughts and utterances or to have the concept of objective truth; that one need not have the concept of (...) objective truth in order to be a thinker and speaker; and that the account the argument gives of what makes thought and language possible is circular. (shrink)
International law and conventional morality grant that states may stand ready to defend their borders with lethal force. But what grounds the permission to kill for the sake of political sovereignty and territorial integrity? In this book leading theorists address this vexed issue, and set the terms of future debate over national defence.
The aim of the text is to evaluate Peirce's evolutionary cosmology and to try to make sense of the mixture of idealistic and naturalistic elements that may be found in it, especially by focusing on Peirce's conception of logical norms and rationality, and on the links that may be drawn between such views and some evolutionary themes in the contemporary debates on norms, belief and knowledge.
According to Barry Stroud, Wittgenstein thought that language is social only in this minimal way: we cannot make sense of the idea of someone having a language unless we can describe her as using signs in conformity with the linguistic practices of some community. Since a solitary person could meet this condition, Stroud concludes that, for Wittgenstein, solitary languages are possible. I argue that Wittgenstein in fact thought that language is social in a much more robust way. Solitary languages are (...) not possible because we cannot make sense of the idea of someone having a language unless we can think of her as actively participating in the linguistic practices that fix the standards governing the applications of her words. (shrink)
Part of the obvious revival of pragmatism, at least in Europe is linked with the present success or "boom" of moral philosophy and the increasing tendency to identify the classical pragmatists as a common group of writers who, much better than any philosophers from other traditions, knew how to define scientific inquiry as an inquiry submitted to norms and principels, and realized that "what applies to investigation in general equally applies to ethical investigation ". The paper examines such claims and (...) focuses, in particular on Peirce's arguments against any form of moral rationalism and in favor of a normative conception of rationality, closer to a conception of the possible objectivity of ethics as may appear at first sight. (shrink)
Peirce's realism is a sophisticated realism inherited from the Avicennian Scotistic tradition, which may be briefly characterized by its opposition to metaphysical realism and various forms of nominalism. In this chapter, I consider how Peirce's realism fits his approach to mathematics, which is often presented as a somewhat incoherent mixture of Platonistic and conceptualistic elements. Without denying these, I claim that Peirce's subtle position not only helps to clear up some of these so-called inconsistencies but offers many insights for contemporary (...) ways of dealing with the mathematical aspects of the problem of universals. (shrink)
The book theoretically examines the recent and topical debates over democracy and social rights, arguing that there are four fundamental rights that should be constitutionalized; minimum income; housing; healthcare; and education. The theoretical discussion is explored within an analysis of important legal cases.
Cosmopolitan War is characterized by a tension between moral demandingness and moral permissiveness. On the one hand, Fabre is strongly committed to the value of each and all human beings as precious individuals whose value does not depend on their national or other affiliation. This commitment leads to serious constraints on what may be done to others in both individual and national self-defense. Yet the book is also unambiguously permissive. It opens the gate to far more wars than traditional (...) just war theory would ever permit, in particular to what Fabre has dubbed ‘subsistence wars’, and it rejects the most fundamental constraint imposed by traditional jus in bello, namely, the prohibition against the deliberate killing of civilians. While both the demanding and the permissive aspects of the book seem troublesome to me, the latter seem more so and most of my paper is devoted to a critical examination of them. In the last part of the paper, I point to a different outlook to the one defended in the book and try to show that this outlook is less foreign to Fabre’s outlook than one might expect. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to present some important insights of C. Hookway's pragmatist analysis of knowledge viewed less in the standard way, as justified true belief, than as a dynamic natural and normative question-answer process of inquiry, a reliable and successful agent-based enterprise, consisting in virtuous dispositions explaining how we can be held responsible for our beliefs and investigations. Despite the merits of such an approach, the paper shows that it may be inefficient in accounting for some challenges (...) posed by scepticism or by the nature of epistemic normativity. In which case it might be premature to propose it as a new conception of knowledge against the standard one and worth considering a different, though still pragmatist, strategy, in which inquiry would aim at the fixation of knowledge, still viewed as justified true beliefs, i.e critical commonsensical, warrantedly assertible, intellectual and sentimental dispositions for which the epistemic agent, viewed less as an individual person than as a scientific community of inquirers, should be taken as a knowing and reliable agent, both answerable and responsible for her assertions. (shrink)
Many believe that agent-centred considerations, unlike agent-neutral reasons, cannot show that victims have the right to kill their attackers in self-defence, let alone establish that rescuers have the right to come to their help. In this paper, I argue that the right to kill in self- or other-defence is best supported by a hybrid set of reasons. In particular, agent-centred considerations account for the plausible intuition that victims have a special stake, which other parties lack, in being to thwart the (...) attackers. That special stake plays an important part justifying victims' right to obtain help, and rescuers' right to give it. (shrink)
Should governments give special rights to ethnic and cultural minorities? Should rich countries open their borders to economic immigrants or transfer resources to poor countries? When framing and implementing economic and environmental policies, should current generations take into account the interests of future generations? If our political community committed a wrong against another group a hundred years ago, do we owe reparations to current members of that group? These are just some of the pressing questions which are fully explored in (...) this accessible new analysis of justice in the contemporary world. They force us to reconsider the extent of our obligations to our fellow citizens, future generations and foreigners. Justice in a Changing World introduces the moral debates around issues such as immigration, national self-determination, cultural rights and reparations, as well as resource transfers from one generation to the next and from rich to poor countries, through the lenses of liberalism, communitarianism and libertarianism. In so doing, it helps to unravel the complexity of key ethical dilemmas facing us today. The book will be a valuable resource for students of political theory, and will appeal to anyone wishing to reflect on their deepest values and commitments by putting them to the test of practical politics. (shrink)
According to the sceptic Saul Kripke envisages in his celebrated book on Wittgenstein on rules and private language, there are no facts about an individual that determine what she means by any given expression. If there are no such facts, the question then is, what justifies the claim that she does use expressions meaningfully? Kripke’s answer, in a nutshell, is that she by and large uses her expressions in conformity with the linguistic standards of the community she belongs to. While (...) Kripke’s sceptical problem has gripped philosophers for over three decades, few, if any, have been satisfied by his proposed solution, and many have struggled to come up with one of their own. The purpose of this paper is to show that a more satisfactory answer to Kripke’s challenge can be developed on the basis of Donald Davidson’s writings on triangulation, the idea of two individuals interacting simultaneously with each other and the world they share. It follows from the triangulation argument that the facts that can be regarded as determining meaning are irreducible. Yet, contra Kripke, they are not mysterious, for the argument does spell out what is needed for an individual’s expressions to be meaningful. (shrink)
This article argues that we must sever the ethics of war termination from the ethics of war initiation: a belligerent who embarks on a just war at time t1 might be under a duty to sue for peace at t2 before it has achieved its just war aims; conversely, a belligerent who embarks on an unjust war at t1 might acquire a justification for continuing at t2. In the course of making that argument, the article evaluates the various ways in (...) which belligerents end their wars. (shrink)
Respectfulness is demanded of doctors and predicts more positive patient health-related outcomes, but research is scarce on ways to promote it. This study explores two ways to conceptualize unconditional respect from medical students, defined as respect paid to people on the basis of their humanity, in order to inform strategies to increase it. Unconditional respect conceptualized as an attitude suggests that unconditional respect and conditional respect are additive, whereas unconditional respect conceptualized as a personality trait suggests that people who are (...) high on unconditional respect afford equal respect to all humans regardless of their merits. One hundred and eighty-one medical students completed an unconditional respect measure then read a description of a respect-worthy or a non-respect-worthy man and indicated their respect towards him. The study found a main effect for unconditional respect and a main effect for target respect-worthiness but no interaction between the two when respect paid to the target was assessed, supporting the attitude-based conceptualization. This suggests that unconditional respect can be increased through relevant interventions aimed at increasing the relative salience to doctors of the human worth of individuals. Interventions to increase unconditional respect are discussed. (shrink)