Natural law theory founds moral judgments on what, given the nature of human beings and ever-present circumstances, enables people to live together in thriving communities. The cognitive features of moral judgments--the claims of literal truth for these judgments about these matters and the readiness to have the judgments stand or fall with the evidence for those claims come front and centre with this characterization of natural law theory. Both what is good for human beings and what it is right and (...) wrong for them to do are matters of fact implied by what is required for their thriving; and so it is reasonable to hold that natural law theory is a variety of moral realism. So, if Hume is not a moral realist, he is not a natural law theorist. But I shall argue that Hume is not a moral realis; and this is what I shall undertake to do, in the course of establishing that he is a natural law theorist, indeed, a human nature natural law theorist. (shrink)
Models of culture and representations of changes in culture as changes between such models can be validated without making unreasonable departures from the validating conditions for basic narratives. Von Wright's logic of norms provides a useful analysis of the concept of rule and hence a basis for constructing models of cultures as systems of rules. As illustrations from historical work on the eighteenth-century origins of the British permanent civil service and on administrative developments in Tudor England show, the logic of (...) norms brings to light the logical issues that are of critical importance to changes in culture. These issues, like the models on which they depend, involve human expectations through involving human conventions; but one must also acknowledge parallel systems of description which can figure in covering-law explanations. (shrink)
On the approach to discussions of policy choices that treats such discussions as instances of issue-processing, the joint use of the logic of questions and the logic of rules gives precise formulation to two sorts of issues. To one sort of issue belong issue-circumscribing questions; to another sort, issues-simplicter, which consist of disjunctions of policy proposals â so many proposed social rules â that are answers, in the case of each disjunction, to a given issue-circumscribing question. Work in pragma-dialectics can (...) take over the issue-processing approach; and by doing so add to the pragma-dialectical repertory further dimensions in the analysis of issues and in protocol-narratives of discussion. The analysis and narratives would now include accounts of how issue-circumscribing questions generate initial standpoints and how discussions sometimes end with compromises between standpoints. Further research questions follow about transformations of issues and the comparison of successive rounds of discussion. A narrative of one period of discussion during `the War on Drugs' in the United States illustrates these points. (shrink)
There are many fine things in Alvin I. Goldman's paper 'Toward a Theory of Social Power' - much ingenuity, a good deal of exact careful thinking, some splendid feats of quasi-symbolical construction. There are also at least two places where the wiring short-circuits.