Investigation of the Percept is a short work that focuses on issues of perception and epistemology. Its author, Dignaga, was one of the most influential figures in the Indian Buddhist epistemological tradition, and his ideas had a profound and wide-ranging impact in India, Tibet, and China. The work inspired more than twenty commentaries throughout East Asia and three in Tibet, the most recent in 2014.This book is the first of its kind in Buddhist studies: a comprehensive history of a text (...) and its commentarial tradition. The volume editors translate the root text and commentary, along with Indian and Tibetan commentaries, providing detailed analyses of the commentarial innovations of each author, as well as critically edited versions of all texts and extant Sanskrit fragments of passages. The team-based approach made it possible to study and translate a corpus of treatises in Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese and to employ the methods of critical philology and cross-cultural philosophy to provide readers with a rich collection of studies and translations, along with detailed philosophical analyses that open up the intriguing implications of Dignaga's thought and demonstrate the diversity of commentarial approaches to his text.This rich text has inspired some of the greatest minds in India and Tibet. It explores some of the key issues of Buddhist epistemology: the relationship between minds and their percepts, the problems of idealism and realism, and error and misperception. (shrink)
‘Ju Mipham Rinpoche, (1846-1912) an important figure in the _Ris med_, or non- sectarian movement influential in Tibet in the late 19<sup>th</sup> and early 20<sup>th</sup> Centuries, was an unusual scholar in that he was a prominent _Nying ma_ scholar and _rDzog_ _chen_ practitioner with a solid dGe lugs education. He took dGe lugs scholars like Tsong khapa and his followers seriously, appreciated their arguments and positions, but also sometimes took issue with them directly. In his commentary to Candrak¥rti’s _Madhyamakåvatåra, _Mi (...) pham argues that Tsong khapa is wrong to take Candrak¥rti’s rejection of the reflexive character of consciousness to be a rejection of the _conventional _existence of reflexive awareness. Instead, he argues, Candrak¥rti only intends to reject the reflexivity of awareness _ultimately_, and, indeed, Mipham argues, it is simply _obvious _that conventionally, consciousness is reflexive. (shrink)
I want to discuss, in some detail, a short section from Quine’s Philosophy of Logic. It runs from pages 10 to 13 of the second, revised edition of the book and carries the subheading ‘Truth and semantic ascent’.1 In these two and a half pages, Quine presents his well-known account of truth as a device of disquotation, employing what I call Quine’s Ladder. The section merits scrutiny, for it has become the central document for contemporary deflationary views about truth.
Trisvabh vanirdeśa (Treatise on the Three Natures) is Vasubandhu's most mature and explicit exposition of the Yogc c ra doctrine of the three natures and their relation to the Buddhist idealism Vasubandhu articulates. Nonetheless there are no extent commentaries on this important short test. The present work provides an introduction to the text, its context and principal philosophical theses; a new translation of the text itself; and a close, verse-by-verse commentary on the text explaining the structure of Yogacara/Cittamatra idealism and (...) comparing it to Western versions of transcendental idealism. In particular, I show how the doctrine of the three natures is used to make idealism coherent in a Buddhist context and how it sheds light on the structure and evolution of transcendental idealism in Europe. (shrink)
Bodhicaryåvatåra was composed by the Buddhist monk scholar Íåntideva at Nalandå University in India sometime during the 8th Century CE. It stands as one the great classics of world philosophy and of Buddhist literature, and is enormously influential in Tibet, where it is regarded as the principal source for the ethical thought of Mahåyåna Buddhism. The title is variously translated, most often as A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life or Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds, translations that follow the (...) canonical Tibetan translation of the title of the book (Byang chub sems pa’i spyod pa la ‘jug pa) and the commentarial tradition of Tibet. But that translation itself is a bit of a gloss on the original Sanskrit, and I think that a more natural English rendering of the Sanskrit title is simply How to Lead an Awakened Life, and that indeed describes the content of the text admirably. Taking this as the title of the text might also issue in a kind of gestalt shift in our view of the text, allowing us to see it not so much as a characterization of the extraordinary moral life of a saint, but as a guide to moral development open to any of us. So, let’s take that as the English title for now. (shrink)
(2013). Critical notice of On the people's terms: a Republican theory and model of democracy, by Philip Pettit, Cambridge University Press, 2012, xii+333pp. Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 43, No. 4, pp. 494-513.
According to Richard Gelwick, one of the fundamental implications of Polanyi’s epistemology is that all intellectual disciplines are inherently heuristic. This article draws out the implications of a heuristic vision of theology latent in Polanyi’s thought by placing contemporary theologian David Brown’s dynamic understanding of tradition, imagination, and revelation in the context of a Polanyian-inspired vision of reality. Consequently, such a theology will follow the example of science, reimagining its task as one of discovery rather than mere reflection on (...) a timeless body of divine revelation. The ongoing development of a theological tradition thus involves the attempt to bring one’s understanding of the question of God to bear on the whole of the human experience. The pursuit of theology as a heuristic endeavor is a bold attempt to construct an integrated vision of nothing less than the entirety of all that is, without absolutizing one’s vision, and without giving up on the question of truth. (shrink)
This article critically appraises David Bloor’s recent attempts to refute criticisms levelled at the Strong Programme’s social constructionist approach to scientific knowledge. Bloor has tried to argue, contrary to some critics, that the Strong Programme is not idealist in character, and it does not involve a challenge to the credibility of scientific knowledge. I argue that Bloor’s attempt to deflect the charge of idealism, which calls on the self-referential theory of social institutions, is partially successful. However, I suggest that (...) although the Strong Programme should not be accused of ‘strong idealism’, it is still vulnerable to the criticism that it entails a form of ‘weak idealism’. The article moves on to argue that, contrary to Bloor, constructionist approaches do challenge the credibility of the scientific knowledge that they analyse. I conclude the article by arguing that sociological analyses of scientific knowledge can be conducted without the weak idealism and the credibility-challenging assumptions of the Strong Programme approach.Keywords: Strong Programme; David Bloor; Social constructionism; Idealism; Self-reference; Scientific credibility. (shrink)
This article is a critical review of David Boonin's book, A Defense of Abortion (Cambridge University Press, 2002), a significant contribution to the literature on this subject and arguably the most important monograph on abortion published in the past twenty years. Boonin's defense of abortion consists almost exclusively of sophisticated critiques of a wide variety of pro-life arguments, including ones that are rarely defended by pro-life advocates. This article offers a brief presentation of the book's contents with extended assessments (...) of those arguments of Boonin's that are his unique contributions to the abortion debate and with which the author disagrees: (1) Boonin's critique of the conception criterion and his defense of organized cortical brain activity as the acquired property that imparts to the fetus a right to life: (2) Boonin's defense of J. J. Thomson's violinist argument and his distinction between responsibility for existence and responsibility for neediness and its application to pregnancy. (shrink)
A Humean Critique of David Hume's Theory of Knowledge provides the first full-length Aristotilian-Thomistic critique of Hume's most mature and familiar work. While giving Hume proper respect and appreciation for his achievement, Jeremy White engages in a thoughtful critique through an approach based in Hume's own method.
David Phillips’s Sidgwickian Ethics is a penetrating contribution to the scholarly and philosophical understanding of Henry Sidgwick’s The Methods of Ethics. This note focuses on Phillips’s understanding of (aspects of) Sidgwick’s argument for utilitarianism and the moral epistemology to which he subscribes. In § I, I briefly outline the basic features of the argument that Sidgwick provides for utilitarianism, noting some disagreements with Phillips along the way. In § II, I raise some objections to Phillips’s account of the epistemology (...) underlying the argument. In § III, I reply to the claim that there is a puzzle at the heart of Sidgwick’s epistemology. In § IV, I respond to Phillips’s claim that Sidgwick is unfair in his argument against the (deontological) morality of common sense. (shrink)
The point of departure of David Ellerman's paper is that the role of labour in economics can be looked at in a fundamentally different way than has typically been the case. The paper's purpose is, therefore, oppositional. However, it cannot simply be dismissed. It is clearly articulated, well reasoned, and most importantly, thought provoking. It requires one to rethink how one conceives some basic issues in economics. As such, one does not need to be entirely convinced by the argument (...) to consider it worthy of dissemination. At the same time, if one subscribes to the ethic of structured or critical pluralism one must also consider the pressure points of the argument. Below, I briefly reconstruct Ellerman's core claims and provide some comment on that argument. Read David Ellerman's paper "The Labour Theory of Property and Marginal Productivity Theory". (shrink)
This note is a reply to margery bedford naylor's "a note on david lewis's realism about possible worlds" . naylor asks why, if we accept david lewis's argument for real possible worlds , we should not accept an analogous argument for impossible worlds. i argue that the latter argument is invalid on the modal realist account of possibility and thus has no force for an adherent of lewis.
The recent republication of David Bloor's Knowledge and Social Imagery in a second edition provides an occasion to reappraise the celebrated work which launched the so-called Strong Programme in the sociology of scientific knowledge. This work embodies the general outlook and foundational principles in a way that is still characteristic of its descendents. Above all, the recent republication of Bloor's original book is evidence of the continuing interest and importance of the work, but it also provides the clearest evidence (...) of the shortcomings of the enterprise. The arguments presented in the bulk of the book have received relatively little attention by comparison with the principal tenets enunciated in the first few pages. Accordingly, a detailed examination is made of these original arguments which were so influential in establishing the sociology of scientific knowledge. A close analysis reveals their seemingly unnoticed vacuity, as well as a vast discrepancy between the radical tenets of the Strong Programme and the theses that are actually defended in the body of Bloor's text. In this sense, this article serves to complement and reinforce Mario Bunge's recent masterful survey of the field, which he describes as "a grotesque cartoon of scientific research.". (shrink)
In this article I argue that David Kelsey's approach to theological anthropology is problematic. I argue that a narrative basis proves inadequate to establish the doctrine of the Trinity and its relationship to human beings. Similarly, a Reformed humanist starting point, together with a Reformed extrinsicist account of revelation, I argue, cannot arrive at an orthodox Christology or an account of humanity as a divine gift. By bypassing ontology in favour of narrative and positivity, Kelsey is ironically forced to (...) deny the truth of many passages of the Bible, especially the opening of Genesis, and to reject the Biblical doctrine of the image of God in humanity. (shrink)
This paper proposes a critical analysis of that interpretation of the Nāgārjunian doctrine of the two truths as summarized—by both Mark Siderits and Jay L. Garfield—in the formula: “the ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth”. This ‘semantic reading’ of Nāgārjuna’s theory, despite its importance as a criticism of the ‘metaphysical interpretations’, would in itself be defective and improbable. Indeed, firstly, semantic interpretation presents a formal defect: it fails to clearly and explicitly express that which it contains (...) logically; the previously mentioned formula must necessarily be completed by: “the conventional truth is that nothing is conventional truth”. Secondly, after having recognized what Siderits’ and Garfield’s analyses contain implicitly, other logical and philological defects in their position emerge: the existence of the ‘conventional’ would appear—despite the efforts of semantic interpreters to demonstrate quite the contrary—definitively inconceivable without the presupposition of something ‘real’; moreover, the number of verses in Nāgārjuna that are in opposition to the semantic interpretation (even if we grant semantic interpreters that these verses do not justify a metaphysical reconstruction of Nagarjuna’s doctrine) would seem too great and significant to be ignored. (shrink)
The frequency of historical materialist explanations in evolutionary social sciences is very low even though historical materialism and evolutionism have great many shared aims towards explaining the long term social change. David Laibman in his Deep History (2007) picks up some of the standard questions of evolutionary social theory and aims at advancing the conception of historical materialism so as to develop a Marxist theory of history from an evolutionary point of view. The contribution of Laibman’s work is to (...) show that historical and materialist explanations are present both in Marxian and evolutionary interpretations of history, and moreover, the traditional borders of historical materialism can be enlarged so as to embrace evolutionary methodology in explaining social change. The unbalanced research methodology of Laibman’s work, however, reduces the evolutionary depth of his contribution. The two main shortcomings of Laibman’s work are discussed under the titles of “The Audience Problem” and “The Evolutionary Problem”. (shrink)
Available from UMI in association with The British Library. ;This study of David Hume suggests that the unity of his thought is to be found more in an attitude of mind than in a precise body of epistemological statements. His 'mitigated scepticism' was the original combination of an experimental approach with a searching mind and a rather disenchanted attitude towards the attainment of perfection in knowledge and in the practical world. But my thesis addresses these questions only implicitly. The (...) general picture of the Humean approach to things political and philosophical is depicted against the background of a close examination of two other themes: Hume's development towards a more 'popular' philosophy and the philosophical import of his moral and political theory. The first subject is studied through an analysis of the formal qualities of Hume's philosophical writings; the second, through a discussion of Hume's position on the origin of justice and government and one's obligation to them. The conclusion that my thesis tentatively advances is that both in metaphysics and politics Hume's approach is based upon the attainment of a state of equilibrium between theoretical and practical considerations, and between sceptical and naturalistic tendencies. Hume's desire for balance can only be understood within the intellectual context of eighteenth century thought. This is the reason for the considerable attention that the thesis devotes to the reconstruction of the historical setting within which Hume's thought developed. However, when correctly interpreted, Hume's ideas clearly have a contribution to make to an understanding of a world which is very different from his own. (shrink)
David Friedman posed a number of libertarian philosophical problems (Friedman 1989). This essay criticizes Walter Block’s Rothbardian responses (Block 2011) and compares them with J C Lester’s critical-rationalist, libertarian-theory responses (Lester  2012). The main issues are as follows. 1. Critical rationalism and how it applies to libertarianism. 2.1. How libertarianism is not inherently about law and is inherently about morals. 2.2. How liberty relates to property and can be maximized: carbon dioxide and radio waves. 2.3. Applying the theory (...) to flashlights. 2.4. Applying the theory to the probability of imposed risks. 2.5. “Homesteading” or initial acquisition. 2.6 What is “essential” for a “true libertarian.” 2.7. Crime and punishment. 2.8. Extent of punishment. 2.9. The libertarian response to a madman with a gun. 2.10. How contradictions in rights are possible. 2.11. The draft. 3.1. Utilitarian libertarianism and “nose counting”. 3.2. How interpersonal comparisons of utility are possible and utility monsters are not a threat. 3.3. Why it is not utilitarian in practice to kill an innocent prisoner to prevent a riot. 3.4. Why David Friedman should not be forced to give up one of his eyes. 3.5. How utilitarians can be libertarians. Conclusion: a proper theory of liberty combined with critical rationalism offers superior solutions to Friedman’s problems. Appendix: replies to two commentators. (shrink)
This paper is a response to David Oderberg's discussion of the Tristram Shandy paradox. I defend the claim that the Tristram Shandy paradox does not support the claim that it is impossible that the past is infinite.
In this pathbreaking book, which includes a powerful new translation of Hesiod's Works and Days by esteemed translator David Grene, Stephanie Nelson argues that a society's vision of farming contains deep indications about its view of the human place within nature, and our relationship to the divine. She contends that both Hesiod in the Works and Days and Vergil in the Georgics saw farming in this way, and so wrote their poems not only about farming itself, but also about (...) its deeper ethical and religious implications. Hesiod, Nelson argues, saw farming as revealing that man must live by the sweat of his brow, and that good, for human beings, must always be accompanied by hardship. Within this vision justice, competition, cooperation, and the need for labor take their place alongside the uncertainties of the seasons and even of particular lucky and unlucky days to form a meaningful whole within which human life is an integral part. Vergil, Nelson argues, deliberately modeled his poem upon the Works and Days, and did so in order to reveal that his is a very different vision. Hesiod saw the hardship in farming; Vergil sees its violence as well. Farming is for him both our life within nature, and also our battle against her. Against the background of Hesiods poem, which found a single meaning for human life, Vergil thus creates a split vision and suggests that human beings may be radically alienated from both nature and the divine. Nelson argues that both the Georgics and the Works and Days have been misread because scholars have not seen the importance of the connection between the two poems, and because they have not seen that farming is the true concern of both, farming in its deepest and most profoundly unsettling sense. (shrink)
David Chalmers and Frank Jackson have promoted a strong program of conceptual analysis, which accords a significant philosophical role to the a priori analysis of concepts. They found this methodological program on an account of concepts using two-dimensional semantics. This paper argues that Chalmers and Jackson’s account of concepts, and the related approach by David Braddon-Mitchell, is inadequate for natural kind concepts as found in biology. Two-dimensional semantics is metaphysically faulty as an account of the nature of concepts (...) and concept possession. It is also methodologically flawed as a guideline for how to study scientific concepts. Proponents of two-dimensional semantics are criticized for not taking seriously semantic variation between persons and for failing to adequately account for the rationality of semantic change. I suggest a more pragmatic approach to natural kind term meaning, arguing that the epistemic goal pursued by a term’s use is an additional semantic property. (shrink)
In his paper “The Catholic Church, the American Military, and Homosexual Reorientation Therapy,” David W. Lutz ultimately concludes that it is “appropriate, and highly ethical” for the American military to offer reorientation therapy to help homosexuals overcome “the vice of sodomy.” The major thrust of his paper, however, is to call for abandonment of the “Don't Ask/Don't Tell” policy currently in place in the military. Lutz's paper covers much ground, and this review begins by examining whether such a wide (...) view is necessary for the ultimate conclusions. It goes on to ask whether Lutz has omitted to mention important considerations bearing on this issue, and whether Lutz's call for the introduction of reorientation therapy is a serious call or a symbolic response to homosexual activities. Lutz fails to address essential issues such as the actual experiences of other nations having homosexuals in the military, and issues regarding what constitutes “reorientation therapy,” the latter leading to questions about how such a therapy would actually be implemented. (shrink)
David K. Chan wants to save the DDE from the considerable criticism levelled against it, by making the moral distinction it refers to rest on a difference in desire instead of in intention. I argue that the revised version, too, is counter-intuitive and confuses the blameworthiness of an actor with the wrongness of the act. It also invites abuse instead of preventing it. Besides, Chan's DDE omits three of the four criteria of the traditional DDE, and it is couched (...) in terms of lesser objectionability, while the traditional DDE is couched in terms of permission. Therefore, Chan's DDE has so little in common with the traditional DDE that it should not even count as a revised version of it. (shrink)
David R. Griffin’s new Whitehead’s Radically Different Postmodern Philosophy: An Argument for Its Contemporary Relevance (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2007) contains a chapterlong Whiteheadian response to several criticisms I have leveled against process theology. While encouraging his attempt to promote Whitehead as a preferred alternative to foundationalist modernism and postmodernism, I undertake to rebut Griffin’s arguments through discussions of the following topics: the one and the many (which Whitehead does not treat adequately), the finite versus (...) infinite character of God, creation ex nihilo, the nature of determinateness and the need for every determinate thing to have a creator, the applicability of the Ontological Principle to explaining a complex of first principles, the inclusion of time within ontological eternity, the goodness versus wildness of God, the nature of religious experience, and the uses of religious language. (shrink)
According to David Charles, in the Meno Socrates fleetingly distinguishes the signification from the essence question, but, in the end, he conflates them. Doing so, Charles thinks, both leads to Meno's paradox and prevents Socrates from answering it satisfactorily. I argue that Socrates doesn't conflate the two questions, and that his reply to Meno's paradox is more satisfactory than Charles allows.
David R. Griffin’s new Whitehead’s Radically Different Postmodern Philosophy: An Argument for Its Contemporary Relevance contains a chapterlong Whiteheadian response to several criticisms I have leveled against process theology. While encouraging his attempt to promote Whitehead as a preferred alternative to foundationalist modernism and postmodernism, I undertake to rebut Griffin’s arguments through discussions of the following topics: the one and the many, the finite versus infinite character of God, creation ex nihilo, the nature of determinateness and the need for (...) every determinate thing to have a creator, the applicability of the Ontological Principle to explaining a complex of first principles, the inclusion of time within ontological eternity, the goodness versus wildness of God, the nature of religious experience, and the uses of religious language. (shrink)
Many authors writing about global justice seem to take national responsibility more or less for granted. Most of them, however, offer very little argument for their position. One of the few exceptions is David Miller. He offers two models of collective responsibility: the like-minded group model and the cooperative practice model. While some authors have criticized whether these two models are applicable to nations, as Miller intends, my criticism is more radical: I argue that these two models fail as (...) accounts of collective responsibility as such. This result should not surprise us (liberals): there simply is no such thing as collective responsibility (in a strict sense), there is only individual responsibility. Thus individuals are not automatically responsible for the actions of their groups, nations or states, not even if they do not actively dissociate themselves from those actions. (shrink)
Although Henry David Thoreau stands outside the Christian canon, his outlook on the relations among spirituality, ecology, and economy highlights how Christian theologians can develop a theological work ethic in our era of economic and ecological precarity. He can furthermore help theologians counter the pro-work bias in much Christian thought. In Walden, Thoreau shows that the best work is an ascetic practice that reveals and reaps the abundance of nature and connects the person to the immanent divine and thereby (...) glimpsing eternity. Thoreau thus offers the outline of a transformed theology of work even as he challenges Protestant vocationalism in the early industrial era. He is therefore a fitting if challenging guide for formulating a theology of the self as agent and product of work, at a moment when the postindustrial ideal of work that is both meaningful and remunerative seems ever more unattainable while the negative impact of our work on nonhuman nature is ever more apparent. (shrink)
Hume's essay ‘Of Miracles’ has been a focus of controversy ever since its publication. The challenge to Christian orthodoxy was only too evident, but the balance-of-probabilities criterion advanced by Hume for determining when testimony justifies belief in miracles has also been a subject of contention among philosophers. The temptation for those familiar with Bayesian methodology to show that Hume's criterion determines a corresponding balance-of-posterior probabilities in favour of miracles is understandable, but I will argue that their attempts fail. However, I (...) show that his criterion generates a valid form of the so-called No-Miracles Argument appealed to by modern realist philosophers, whose own presentation of it, despite their possession of the probabilistic machinery Hume himself lacked, is invalid. (shrink)
REMARKS ON EVOLUTION AND TIME-SCALES, Graham Cairns-Smith; HODGSON'S BLACK BOX, Thomas Clark; DO HODGSON'S PROPOSITIONS UNIQUELY CHARACTERIZE FREE WILL?, Ravi Gomatam; WHAT SHOULD WE RETAIN FROM A PLAIN PERSON'S CONCEPT OF FREE WILL?, Gilberto Gomes; ISOLATING DISPARATE CHALLENGES TO HODGSON'S ACCOUNT OF FREE WILL, Liberty Jaswal; FREE AGENCY AND LAWS OF NATURE, Robert Kane; SCIENCE VERSUS REALIZATION OF VALUE, NOT DETERMINISM VERSUS CHOICE, Nicholas Maxwell; COMMENTS ON HODGSON, J.J.C. Smart; THE VIEW FROM WITHIN, Sean Spence; COMMENTARY ON HODGSON, Henry Stapp.
A BAYESIAN ARTICULATION OF HUME’S VIEWS IS OFFERED BASED ON A FORM OF THE BAYES-LAPLACE THEOREM THAT IS SUPERFICIALLY LIKE A FORMULA OF CONDORCET’S. INFINITESIMAL PROBABILITIES ARE EMPLOYED FOR MIRACLES AGAINST WHICH THERE ARE ’PROOFS’ THAT ARE NOT OPPOSED BY ’PROOFS’. OBJECTIONS MADE BY RICHARD PRICE ARE DEALT WITH, AND RECENT EXPERIMENTS CONDUCTED BY AMOS TVERSKY AND DANIEL KAHNEMAN ARE CONSIDERED IN WHICH PERSONS TEND TO DISCOUNT PRIOR IMPROBABILITIES WHEN ASSESSING REPORTS OF WITNESSES.
An examination of Hull's claims about the nature of interactors, replicators and selection, with special attention to how the genetic material realizes the first two types, and a critique of Hull's attempt to apply the theory of natural selection to the explanation of scientific change, and in particular the succession of theories. I conclude that difficulties attending the molecular instantiation of Hull's theory are vastly increased when it comes to be applied to memes.
This book is a presentation and critical analysis of Hume’s argument against miracles. In addition, this work contains a critique of contemporary rehabilitations of Hume’s argument by Flew, Nowell-Smith, and McKinnon, and a defense of the kalam cosmological argument for God’s existence. The author concludes that the concept of miracle is perfectly coherent and that it is possible that one can enough evidence to be epistemically justified in believing that one has occurred. This book also includes a discussion on the (...) nature of evidential standards and how they are similar to scientific law in their grounding. (shrink)
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Johnston maintains that the notion of a propositionâ€”a language independent (abstract) particularâ€”can be dispensed with in philosophical semantics and replaced with that of a propositional act. A propositional act is a component of a speech act that is responsible for the propositional content of the speech act. Traditionally, it is thought that a propositional act yields the propositional content of a speech act by being an act of expressing a (...) proposition. And it is the expressed proposition that serves as the propositional content of the speech act. Johnston points out, however, that a propositional act is a structured event consisting minimally of a referential act, a predicative act, and a time-designative act. And on Johnstonâ€™s view, the propositional content is the structured propositional act itself. (Strictly speaking, Johnston analyzes sameness of propositional content in terms of sameness of propositional act type, from which I, perhaps rashly, inferred that the propositional content of a speech act should be taken to be the propositional act itself).Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Johnston argues that a semantic analysis in terms of propositional acts enables us to reconcile the necessity of both, (1) Hesperus is Phosphorus (2) Phosphorus is Phosphorus with their intuitive difference in meaning, while maintaining the direct reference theory of proper names. Moreover, he argues that invoking propositional acts rather than propositions has the advantage of being able to capture the various senses in which distinct statements might be said to â€œsay the same thingâ€, as well as that of ontological parsimony. I will address each of these claims in turn, but first, I want to point out that the propositionalist can easily reconcile the necessity of (1) and (2) with their intuitive difference in meaning, without forsaking direct reference. All one needs to do is invoke the Fregean idea that there is a meaning shift in â€œthatâ€-clauses of (opaque) indirect discourse (and other) ascriptions.. (shrink)
La contribución de David Gauthier a la filosofía moral es poco conocida en nuestro país, a pesar de ser uno de los más novedosos y originales aportes que en materia de ética se han desarrollado en las últimas décadas en el ámbito norteamericano. El uso de la Teoría de la elección racional y de la teoría de los juegos hace que sus tesis morales contractualistas resulten muy interesantes a la luz del neocontractualismo. Algunos comentaristas han sostenido que desde la (...) Teoría de la justicia de John Rawls el contractualismo no volaba tan alto. En este trabajo se presenta de forma muy sintética la tesis de Gauthier, a la vez que se cuestiona la validez de su proyecto a la luz de sus posibilidades de aplicación práctica. (shrink)
Two recent monographs re-examine the central elements of the just war tradition and its contemporary applications. David Rodin’s War and Self-Defense analyzes, and rejects, the common doctrine that just war is an instance of national self-defense, in parallel with the right of individuals to protect themselves against violent attack. This derivation fails, and it cannot justify resort to war. In contrast, Oliver O’Donovan’s The Just War Revisited dismisses the notion that there are rules for just war and calls instead (...) for careful and deliberate practical reasoning in particular contexts. Indeed, there can be no just wars, only specific acts that pass the tests of theological, historical, and practical scrutiny. (shrink)
Consider the following examples of behavior by Smith: 1. Smith, seated at her restaurant table, gives an order to the waiter; 2. Smith gets into a cab and names a destination; 3. Smith agrees to Jones's suggestion that they go back to Jones's apartment for a few drinks; 4. Smith casts her vote in some election. In each of these instances what can Smith be understood as consenting to? Is she consenting to pay the bill for whatever meal she orders; (...) pay the fare for the journey to her named destination; sexual intimacy with Jones; and accept the authority of whatever individual or political part is elected? The fact that Smith does not actually express her consent to each of these states of affairs or outcomes need not mean that she is not giving her consent to them. The idea that individuals can give their consent in ways other than by means of a formal verbal expression of agreement is a familiar, if controversial, one. (shrink)
The pragmatist view of politics is at its very heart epistemic, for it treats morals and politics as a kind of deliberation or inquiry, not terribly unlike other kinds of inquiry. With the exception of Richard Rorty, the pragmatists argue that morals and politics, like science, aim at the truth or at getting things right and that the best method for achieving this aim is a method they sometimes call the scientific method or the method of intelligence – what would (...) now be termed deliberative democracy. Hence, the pragmatists offer an argument for democracy which appeals to the quality of the decisions supplied by democratic procedure. Why should we value decisions that are the products of voting after open debate over private decision-making and then voting, over bargaining, or over elimination of those who disagree with us? We should value them because the deliberative democratic method is more likely to give us true or right or justified answers to our questions. Rorty, of course, thinks that no inquiry aims at the truth and that nothing about pragmatism speaks in democracy's favor. This paper will show how his brand of pragmatism betrays what is good and deeply interesting in the pragmatist tradition. (shrink)