We hear nowadays in literary criticism of a type of novel that is an ‘anti-novel’ and of a type of hero who is an ‘anti-hero’. I recently read an article which argued, rather well in my opinion, that the later philosophy of Wittgenstein is an anti-philosophy. One could say the same of the philosophie positive of Auguste Comte, who is often called the father of sociology. The principle with which Comte starts off his philosophy, ‘the fundamental law of mental development’, (...) would put an end to philosophy as traditionally conceived, and would replace it by science. According to Comte, human inquiry goes through three stages. In the first stage, the theological or fictive, men try to give explanations in terms of supernatural beings. At the second stage, the metaphysical or abstract, theological explanation has given way to explanation in terms of abstract entities such as Absolute Motion or Absolute Justice. In the third stage, the scientific or positive, metaphysical explanations have given way to scientific explanations, that is to explanations which do not refer to any unobservable entities but instead simply correlate observable phenomena with each other. This is a picture of intellectual history in which philosophy takes the place of theology and then science takes the place of philosophy. (shrink)
Everybody supports freedom—even authoritarians, though what they call freedom looks suspiciously like bondage. Rousseau begins The Social Contract with a flourish: ‘Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.’ He ends up by trying to persuade us that the chains, the restraints of law and organized society, are necessary for true freedom. He wants us to believe that true freedom, the freedom essential for human existence, is not the happy-go-lucky freedom of Liberty Hall, do as you like, but (...) the straight and narrow path of duty, of conformity to law. The universal popularity of the idea of freedom does not mean that everybody is really agreed about it. Plato, Rousseau, Hegel and his followers—they all talk of a true or genuine freedom, but they oppose this to Liberty Hall, to doing as you please. (shrink)
Professor Maurice Cranston, who died suddenly on 5 November 1993, was a man of many talents. Pre-eminent as a biographer of Locke and Rousseau, he was also distinguished for his own contribution to political philosophy and for his capacity to expound the political thought of others in clear, simple language. He did this with great success not only in the lecture room but also in numerous broadcast talks and discussions, notably on the Third Programme of the BBC. In his academic (...) work he was particularly well informed on French political thought, contemporary as much as classical, and he wrote extensively on Sartre and more briefly on Camus and Foucault. He was himself fluent in the French language and he translated Rousseau's Social Contract and Discourse on Inequality for the Penguin Classics series. He was proficient in German and Italian too, and he knew enough Danish to translate a book on Wittgenstein written in that language. His love of literature often led him to illustrate philosophical points with apt examples from classical novels. He even wrote a couple of novels himself in his youth. It will be plain from this brief catalogue that he was an eminently civilized person. He was, in addition, an exceptionally friendly man and engagingly modest about his own abilities. (shrink)
In the introductory chapter of his essay on Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill says his aim is to contribute towards the understanding of utilitarianism and towards ‘such proof as it is susceptible of’. He immediately adds that ‘this cannot be proof in the ordinary and popular meaning of the term’ because ‘ultimate ends are not amenable to direct proof’. A proof that something is good has to show that it is ‘a means to something admitted to be good without proof’. But, (...) he goes on, this does not imply that a formula of ultimate ends can only be accepted on ‘blind impulse, or arbitrary choice’. It can be rationally discussed and subjected to proof in a wider sense of that word. ‘Considerations may be presented capable of determining the intellect either to give or withhold its assent to the doctrine; and this is equivalent to proof.’. (shrink)
In Plautus and elsewhere in old Latin there is an imperative suffix -mino of medio-deponential meaning: opperimino, PL True. 188, progredimino, id. Pseud. 859, arbitramino, id. Epid. 695, praefamino, Cato, RR. 141, 2, famino Paul. Fest. 62, 10, Th., all 2 sg.; in legal documents, antestamino, in the XII Tables, fruimino, CIL. 1, 199, profitemino in Lex Iulia Municipalis, all 3 sg. The generally accepted explanation of the form is that it arose from a contamination of the ordinary 2 pl. (...) medio-passive imperative in -mini and the 2, 3 sg. forms in -to, Lindsay, Latin Language, p. 517, Von Planta, Gramm. d. oskisch-umbr. Dial. II, pp. 310 sqq., Buck, Elementarb. d. oskisch-umbr. Dial. p. 112, Sommer, Hdb. d. lat. Laut- u. Formenlehre, p. 366, Stolz, Lat. Gramm*. p. 158. The Oskan and the Umbrian forms in -mo, -mu, U. spahamu, eturstahmu, persnimu, O. censamur, all of 2 or 3 sg., and U. arsmahamo, caterahamo of 2 or 3 pi., are identified with the Lat. -minō forms on the assumption that the Osk-Umbr. -mu represents an older *-mnō which in turn arose by syncope from -*menō Von Planta, l.c. This explanation is the most satisfactory that has been given, and we may suppose that Latin, Oskan, and Umbrian had an imperative form in *-menō. (shrink)
In Plautus and elsewhere in old Latin there is an imperative suffix -mino of medio-deponential meaning: opperimino, PL True. 188 , progredimino, id. Pseud. 859, arbitramino, id. Epid. 695, praefamino, Cato, RR. 141, 2, famino Paul. Fest. 62, 10, Th., all 2 sg.; in legal documents, antestamino , in the XII Tables, fruimino , CIL. 1, 199, profitemino in Lex Iulia Municipalis, all 3 sg. The generally accepted explanation of the form is that it arose from a contamination of the (...) ordinary 2 pl. medio-passive imperative in -mini and the 2, 3 sg. forms in -to, Lindsay, Latin Language, p. 517, Von Planta, Gramm. d. oskisch-umbr. Dial. II, pp. 310 sqq., Buck, Elementarb. d. oskisch-umbr. Dial. p. 112, Sommer, Hdb. d. lat. Laut- u. Formenlehre, p. 366, Stolz, Lat. Gramm*. p. 158. The Oskan and the Umbrian forms in -mo, -mu, U. spahamu, eturstahmu, persnimu, O. censamur, all of 2 or 3 sg., and U. arsmahamo, caterahamo of 2 or 3 pi., are identified with the Lat. -minō forms on the assumption that the Osk-Umbr. -mu represents an older *-mnō which in turn arose by syncope from -*menō Von Planta, l.c. This explanation is the most satisfactory that has been given, and we may suppose that Latin, Oskan, and Umbrian had an imperative form in *-menō. (shrink)
What darkness was the ‘Enlightenment’ supposed to have removed? The answer is irrational forms of religion. Most of the ‘enlightened’ took the view that revealed religion was irrational and that natural religion could be rational; but some were sceptical about natural religion too. Hume was the most honest and the most penetrating thinker of the latter group. His biographer, Professor E. C. Mossner, is not alone in believing that the Dialogues concerning Natural Religion is ‘his philosophical testament’.
A specific form of research question, for instance, “What is the probability of a certain class of weather events, given global climate change, relative to a world without?” could be answered with the use of FAR or RR as the most common approaches to discover and ascribe extreme weather events. Kevin Trenberth et al. and Theodore Shepherd have expressed doubts in their latest works whether it is the most appropriate explanatory tool or the way of public outreach concerning climate events (...) and extremes. As an alternative, these researchers focus on complementary questions, for example, “How much did climate change affect the severity of a given storm?” advocating a “storyline” approach. New methods and new research questions are neither foreign, nor controversial from the standpoint of history and philosophy of science, especially those, related to public interest. Nevertheless, the new proposal has got a tepid reception from the majority of professionals of the given field. They argued that this approach can cause weakening of standards and neglecting of scientific method. The following paper attempts to find the roots of the supposed controversy. We claim inefficiency of uncompromising approach to D&A in absolute sense and assert that errors of a particular type may have a different level of concern in society, depending on the variety of contexts. Therefore, context defines the risk of over-estimation vs. under-estimation of harm. (shrink)
D. D. Raphael examines the moral philosophy of Adam Smith (1723-90), best known for his famous work on economics, The Wealth of Nations, and shows that his thought still has much to offer philosophers today. Raphael gives particular attention to Smith's original theory of conscience, with its emphasis on the role of 'sympathy' (shared feelings).
The problem the author sets himself in this historico-critical study of the post-Kantian development of the a priori is: Can one understand the nature of the a priori as part of the explanation of knowledge, without assigning it exclusively to the subject and without radically identifying the a priori and the a posteriori? Dufrenne thinks this can be done by retaining a dualism of subject and object. Well-written and scholarly. An index would have been helpful.--D. D. O.
In this article, we develop an approach for the moral assessment of research and development networks on the basis of the reflective equilibrium approach proposed by Rawls and Daniels. The reflective equilibrium approach aims at coherence between moral judgments, principles, and background theories. We use this approach because it takes seriously the moral judgments of the actors involved in R & D, whereas it also leaves room for critical reflection about these judgments. It is shown that two norms, namely reflective (...) learning and openness and inclusiveness, which are used in the literature on policy and technological networks, contribute to achieving a justified overlapping consensus. We apply the approach to a case study about the development of an innovative sewage treatment technology and show how in this case the two norms are or could be instrumental in achieving a justified overlapping consensus on relevant moral issues. (shrink)
It is natural for those with permissive attitudes toward abortion to suppose that, if they have examined all of the arguments they know against abortion and have concluded that they fail, their moral deliberations are at an end. Surprisingly, this is not the case, as I argue. This is because the mere risk that one of those arguments succeeds can generate a moral reason that counts against the act. If this is so, then liberals may be mistaken about the morality (...) of abortion. However, conservatives who claim that considerations of risk rule out abortion in general are mistaken as well. Instead, risk-based considerations generate an important but not necessarily decisive reason to avoid abortion. The more general issue that emerges is how to accommodate fallibilism about practical judgment in our decision-making. (shrink)
This book introduces the student to active philosophical thinking about political ideas, offering a more stimulating approach to the subject than traditional chronological surveys. The first edition was hailed by The Times Literary Supplement as 'the best introduction to political philosophy for a long time'. This thoroughly revised second edition brings its coverage up-to-date for the 1990s, with material reorganised to be fully accessible for the beginner.
How does the study of society relate to the study of the people it comprises? This longstanding question is partly one of method, but mainly one of fact, of how independent the objects of these two studies, societies and people, are. It is commonly put as a question of reduction, and I shall tackle it in that form: does sociology reduce in principle to individual psychology? I follow custom in calling the claim that it does ‘individualism’ and its denial ‘holism’.