Though some of the critical reviews of Frank M. Coleman's Hobbes and America have alluded to the affinities of his work to that of Strauss, Macpherson, Laslett, and Oakeshott, most have ignored Coleman's specifically philosophic treatment of Hobbes as the foundational thinker most responsive to political realities which emerge in the seventeenth century and still characterize American politics. Coleman's purpose is to demonstrate how the operative American constitutional philosophy can be recognized clearly only when understood in the context of its (...) Hobbesian origins. But, Coleman suggests, this does not necessarily exclude the possibility of gaining insight into the thought of Hobbes, Locke, and Madison in virtue of reflection on contemporary American political experience. (shrink)
Since the introduction of the computer in the early 1950's, the investigation of artificial intelligence has followed three chief avenues: the discovery of self-organizing systems; the building of working models of human behavior, incorporating specific psychological theories; and the building of "heuristic" machines, without bias in favor of humanoid characteristics. While this work has used philosophical logic and its results may illustrate philosophical problems, the artificial intelligence program is by now an intricate, organized specialty. This book, therefore, has a quite (...) specialized audience of its own although it can be very valuable to those philosophers who are interested and competent in using this pioneering material. Five scientific papers report attempts to solve five different kinds of problems. Bertram Raphael describes an attempt to build a memory structure that converts the information input into a systematic model by "understanding" the informational statements as they are made. Daniel Bobrow's machine can set up algebraic equations from informal verbal statements. M. Ross Quillan asks: "What sort of representational format can permit the 'meanings' of words to be stored?" Thomas Evans' machine, Analogy, serves as a model for "pattern-recognition" rather than the "common-property" method of semantic memory. Fischer Black has developed a logical deduction mechanism for question-answering which keeps track of where we are and avoids endless deduction. The editor and John McCarthy contribute more general chapters, providing the historical background of cybernetics, and dealing with the problem of formalizing a concept of causality. Minsky ends the volume with his view that our convictions on dualism, consciousness, free will, and the like are used in the attempt to explain the complicated interactions between parts of our model of ourselves.--M. B. M. (shrink)
More than six centuries of Christian and non-Christian reflection and admiration of Meister Eckhart are the subject matter of this very scholarly yet very readable work. Philosophers like Nicolas Cusanus and Hegel, great scholars like H. Denifle and a number of lesser men are examined in order to determine what they thought about Eckhart, what they learned from him, how much they knew of him. The medieval condemnations and Cusanus' admiration issued into a period of relative neglect of Eckhart, broken (...) only by the deserving attempts of Daniel Sudermann to collect Eckhart's manuscripts. The great Dominican did not come into his own until the beginning of the last century. Franz von Baader was the one who "discovered" him and who drew Hegel's attention to some of his texts. With the monographs by C. Schmidt and Bishop Martensen, Eckhart had become known to the philosophical public as a forerunner of nineteenth-century speculation and this image had not been shattered until Denifle shifted the focus of attention to the Latin texts with their more orthodox formulations. In this century there has been a renewal of interest in the German writings which continue to have a certain popular appeal, but now, thanks to the monumental edition of the complete works, a more objective and more scholarly atmosphere pervades the literature on Meister Eckhart.--M. J. V. (shrink)
An important component of souls is the capacity for free will, as the origin of agency within an individual. Belief in souls arises in part from the experience of conscious will, a compelling feeling of personal causation that accompanies almost every action we take, and suggests that an immaterial self is in charge of the physical body.
Erdelyi's account of thought suppression, which he equates with the Freudian construct of repression, is that it is mostly successful, and that it undermines memory for the suppressed material. Erdelyi has neglected to consider evidence from two decades of research on suppression which renders both these claims invalid. Contrary to Erdelyi's thesis, suppression often enhances the accessibility of unwanted material.
During disasters, clinicians may be forced to play dual roles, as both a provider and an allocator of scarce resources. At present, a clear framework to govern resource stewardship at the bedside is lacking. Clinicians who find themselves practicing in this ethical gap between clinical and public health ethics can experience significant moral distress. One provider describes her experience allocating an oxygen tank in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, immediately following the 2010 earthquake. Using a (...) clinical vignette and reflective narrative she attempts to identify the factors that influenced her allocation decision, opening up the factors for commentary and debate by an ethicist. A better paradigm for the ethical care of patients during disasters is needed to better guide provider choices in the future. (shrink)
The idea of food sovereignty has its roots primarily in the response of small producers in developing countries to decreasing levels of control over land, production practices, and food access. While the concerns of urban Chicagoans struggling with low food access may seem far from these issues, the authors believe that the ideas associated with food sovereignty will lead to the construction of solutions to what is often called the “food desert” issue that serve and empower communities in ways that (...) less democratic solutions do not. In Chicago and elsewhere, residents and activists often see and experience racial and economic inequalities through the variety of stores and other food access sites available in their community. The connections between food access, respect, and activism are first considered through a set of statements of Chicagoans living in food access poor areas. We will then discuss these connections through the work and philosophy of activists in Chicago centered in food sovereignty and food justice. Particular focus will be placed on Growing Power, an urban food production, distribution, and learning organization working primarily in Milwaukee and Chicago, and Healthy South Chicago, a community coalition focused on health issues in a working class area of the city. (shrink)
We analyzed a sample of 356 forms containing information that Colorado law legally requires both licensed and unlicensed therapists to disclose to clients. The majority of forms contained the legally mandated information; fewer forms contained ethically desirable information. The average readability grade level was 15.74, corresponding to upper-level college, and 63.9% of the forms reached the highest (most difficult) readability grade of 17 +. Therapists are obeying the law, but do not appear to be taking advantage of the opportunity to (...) provide their clients useful information in an accessible way. (shrink)
This essay criticizes the proposal recently defended by a number of prominent economists that welfare economics be redirected away from the satisfaction of people's preferences and toward making people happy instead. Although information about happiness may sometimes be of use, the notion of happiness is sufficiently ambiguous and the objections to identifying welfare with happiness are sufficiently serious that welfare economists are better off using preference satisfaction as a measure of welfare. The essay also examines and criticizes the position associated (...) with Daniel Kahneman and a number of co-authors that takes welfare to be ‘objective happiness’ – that is, the sum of momentary pleasures. (shrink)
The tenuous claims of cost-benefit analysis to guide policy so as to promote welfare turn on measuring welfare by preference satisfaction and taking willingness-to-pay to indicate preferences. Yet it is obvious that people's preferences are not always self-interested and that false beliefs may lead people to prefer what is worse for them even when people are self-interested. So welfare is not preference satisfaction, and hence it appears that cost-benefit analysis and welfare economics in general rely on a mistaken theory of (...) well-being. This essay explores the difficulties, criticizes standard defences of welfare economics, and then offers a new partial defence that maintains that welfare economics is independent of any philosophical theory of well-being. Welfare economics requires nothing more than an evidential connection between preference and welfare: in circumstances in which people are concerned with their own interests and reasonably good judges of what will serve their interests, their preferences will be reliable indicators of what is good for them. (shrink)
This essay attempts to distinguish the pressing issues for economists and economic methodologists concerning realism in economics from those issues that are of comparatively slight importance. In particular I shall argue that issues concerning the goals of science are of considerable interest in economics, unlike issues concerning the evidence for claims about unobservables, which have comparatively little relevance. In making this argument, this essay raises doubts about the two programs in contemporary economic methodology that raise the banner of realism. In (...) particular I argue that the banner makes it more difficult to relate the concerns of those who wave it to those of other methodologists. Although this essay argues that many of the debates in this century between scientific realists and their opponents are not relevant to economics, it does not attack scientific realism, and it does not urge economists or economic methodologists to reject it. (shrink)
The psychological condition of happiness is normally considered a paradigm subjective good, and is closely associated with subjectivist accounts of well-being. This article argues that the value of happiness is best accounted for by a non-subjectivist approach to welfare: a eudaimonistic account that grounds well-being in the fulfillment of our natures, specifically in self-fulfillment. And self-fulfillment consists partly in authentic happiness. A major reason for this is that happiness, conceived in terms of emotional state, bears a special relationship to the (...) self. These arguments also point to a more sentimentalist approach to well-being than one finds in most contemporary accounts, particularly among Aristotelian forms of eudaimonism. (shrink)
It is extraordinary, when one thinks about it, how little attention has been paid by theorists of the nature and justification of punishment to the idea that punishment is essentially a matter of self-defense. H. L. A. Hart, for example, in his famous “Prolegomenon to the Principles of Punishment,” is clearly committed to the view that, at bottom, there are just three directions in which a plausible theory of punishment can go: we can try to justify punishment on purely consequentialist (...) grounds, which for Hart, I think, would be to try to construct a purely utilitarian justification of punishment; we can try to justify punishment on purely retributive grounds; or we can try to justify punishment on grounds that are some sort of shrewd combination of consequentialist and retributive considerations. Entirely absent from Hart's discussion is any consideration of the possibility that punishment might be neither a matter of maximizing the good, nor of exacting retribution for a wrongful act, nor of some imaginative combination of these things, but, rather, of something altogether different from either of them: namely, the exercise of a fundamental right of self-protection. Similarly, but much more recently, R. A. Duff, despite the fact that he himself introduces and defends an extremely interesting fourth possibility, begins his discussion by writing as though, apart from his contribution, there are available to us essentially just the options previously sketched by Hart. Again, there is no mention here, any more than in Hart's or any number of other recent discussions, of the possibility that we might be able to justify the institution of punishment on grounds that are indeed forward-looking, to use Hart's famous term, but that are not at all consequentialist in any ordinary sense of the word. (shrink)
In ordinary circumstances, human actions have a myriad of unintended and often unforeseen consequences for the lives of other people. Problems of pollution are serious examples, but spillovers and side effects are the rule, not the exception. Who knows what consequences this essay may have? This essay is concerned with the problems of justice created by spillovers. After characterizing such spillovers more precisely and relating the concept to the economist's notion of an externality, I shall then consider the moral conclusions (...) concerning spillovers that issue from a natural rights perspective and from the perspective of welfare economics supplemented with theories of distributive justice. I shall argue that these perspectives go badly awry in taking spillovers to be the exception rather than the rule in human interactions. I. Externalities Economists have discussed spillovers under the heading of “externalities.” To say this is not very helpful, since there is so much disagreement concerning both the definition and significance of externalities. (shrink)
The Inexact and Separate Science of Economics offers an overview of standard microeconomics and general equilibrium theory. These are not the whole of orthodox economics, and orthodox economics is not the whole of economics. But orthodox economics dominates the profession, and the theoretical core of microeconomics and general equilibrium theory – what I called ‘equilibrium theory’ – is central to most orthodox economics. Unlike many methodological works, which focus almost exclusively on the empirical problems of equilibrium theory and its applications, (...) ISSE is also concerned with the structure, strategy and heuristics of equilibrium theorizing, and it attempts to link questions about theory appraisal to questions about structure and strategy. It is addressed both to philosophers interested in epistemological questions posed by the social sciences and to economists interested in reflecting on and improving their discipline. Its inspiration lies in the work of John Stuart Mill. (shrink)
With the collapse of the centrally controlled economies and the authoritarian governments of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics, political leaders are, with appreciable public support, espousing “liberal” economic and political transformations—the reinstitution of markets, the securing of civil and political rights, and the establishment of representative governments. But those supporting reform have many aims, and the liberalism to which they look for political guidance is not an unambiguous doctrine.