Based on an unfinished manuscript by the late philosopher Dallas Willard, this book makes the case that the 20th century saw a massive shift in Western beliefs and attitudes concerning the possibility of moral knowledge, such that knowledge of the moral life and of its conduct is no longer routinely available from the social institutions long thought to be responsible for it. In this sense, moral knowledge--as a publicly available resource for living--has disappeared. Via a detailed survey of main developments (...) in ethical theory from the late 19th through the late 20th centuries, Willard explains philosophy's role in this shift. In pointing out the shortcomings of these developments, he shows that the shift was not the result of rational argument or discovery, but largely of arational social forces--in other words, there was no good reason for moral knowledge to have disappeared. The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge is a unique contribution to the literature on the history of ethics and social morality. Its review of historical work on moral knowledge covers a wide range of thinkers including T.H Green, G.E Moore, Charles L. Stevenson, John Rawls, and Alasdair MacIntyre. But, most importantly, it concludes with a novel proposal for how we might reclaim moral knowledge that is inspired by the phenomenological approach of Knud Logstrup and Emmanuel Levinas. Edited and eventually completed by three of Willard's former graduate students, this book marks the culmination of Willard's project to find a secure basis in knowledge for the moral life. (shrink)
In Part II of Husserl’s “great last work,” as the Crisis is sometimes called, we find two passages in which he comments upon what he took to be an important and utter failure on the part of “die modernen Logistiker”—or, as Carr well translates it, “modern mathematical logicians.” At the end of subsection 36 he says.
We argue for the mind’s independence from the body. We do so by making several moves. First, we analyze two popular kinds of reasons which have swayed many to adopt the independence of the mind from the body. Second, we advance an argument from the ontology of intentionality against the identity thesis, according to which the mind is identical to the brain. We try to show how intentionality is not reducible to or identical to the physical. Lastly, we argue that, (...) contrary to what many materialists contend, the concept of a mind, understood as an immaterial substance, existing independently of the body is both coherent and empirically evidenced. (shrink)
There is an inherent phenomenological tendency in British moral theory, especially from John Locke onward. The purpose of his Essay was, he said, to consider the discerning faculties of a man, as they are employed about the objects which they have to do with. This is language that might serve well in a general description of the work of Husserl and other phenomenologists.
I undertake to explain how the well known laws of formal logic – Barbara Syllogism, modus ponens, etc. – relate to experience by developing Edmund Husserl's critique ofFormalism and Psychologism in logical theory and then briefly explaining his positive views of the laws of logic. His view rests upon his understanding of the proposition as a complex, intentional property. The laws of formal logic are, on his view (and mine), statements about the truth values of propositions as determined by their (...) formal character and relationships alone. The laws thus understood explain how algorithms set up to mirror them can accomplish what they do to advance knowledge, even though they operate purely mechanically. Further, they explain the proper sense in which formal laws "govern," and may guide, processes of actual thinking. Husserl's theory is a realist theory in the sense that, on his interpretation, the laws of pure or formal logic hold true regardless of what any individual, culture or species may or may not think, or even if no thinking ever occurs. (shrink)
This book concerns the unity of the conscious life. How do the elements of that life—its parts and their properties and relations—come together to form our experience of our world and our self? This is, of course, an extremely important question, and one which, since Hume, philosophers have frequently taken up, but with little satisfactory result.
Twentieth Century philosophical thought has expressed itself for the most part through two great Movements: the phenomenological and the analytical. Each movement originated in reaction against idealistic—or at least anti-realistic—views of "the world". And each has collapsed back into an idealism not different in effect from that which it initially rejected. Both movements began with an appeal to meanings or concepts, regarded as objective realities capable of entering the flow of experience without loss of their objective status or of their (...) power to reveal to us an objective world as it would be if there were no subjective apprehensions of it. Both movements ended with a surrender of the objectivity of meanings and concepts in this strong sense, coming to treat them as at most more-or-less shareable components of a somehow communalized experience, but in any case incapable of revealing how things are irrespective of actual human experience. For the old Egocentric Predicament, with its "ideas" etc., is substituted a Lingocentric or Histrocentric Predicament of "language" and its elements. Hilary Putnam speaks for the current consensus: 'Internal realism says that we don't know what we are talking about when we talk about "things in themselves"' (The Many Faces of Realism , p. 36 ). (shrink)
In response to the common assumption of perpetual moral and spiritual failure in human life, this article offers a view of personal transformation and, in particular, of the role of the human will in such formation, that clears a way forward in progressive conformity to the character of Christ. Drawing from St. Paul's understanding of the “flesh” and the human “spirit,” distinctions are made between the impulsive, the reflective, and the embodied will. It is the embodied/reflective will of the person (...) that is captured by Christ through inner transformation, such that the crucifixion of the flesh and walking by the Spirit brings about routine, easy obedience to Christ, from the inside out. (shrink)