It was in 1792 that Kant published the first Book of his most important single work on the philosophy of religion— Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone. But it was his very interesting treatment of the biblical material in the second Book that involved the philosopher in his one serious conflict with official authority. Greene and Hudson give a good account of this conflict and its effect on the work as a whole in the introduction to their translation of (...) Religion in the Harper Torchbook Series. (shrink)
In an article contributed to Mind in 1934, the young A. J. Ayer declared war on metaphysics, claiming that his destruction of the metaphysicians' arguments rested on the establishment of the sheerly non-sensical character of their statements. Their errors were syntactical; the combination of symbols in the sentences with which they expressed their propositions violated fundamental principles of significance.
This article examines a particular debate between Eamonn Callan and William Galston concerning the need for a civic education which counters the divisive pull of pluralism by uniting the citizenry in patriotic allegiance to a single national identity. The article offers a preliminary understanding of nationalism and patriotism before setting out the terms of the debate. It then critically evaluates the central idea of Callan that one might be under an obligation morally to improve one''s own patriotic inheritance, pointing to (...) the ineliminable tension between the valuation of one''s own patria by its own terms and a detached critical reason. It concludes by suggesting that we are, in advance of our education, members of a particular patria and that any education must be particularistic. Finally, the danger is noted of presuming that, in each case, there is a single, determinate national tradition. (shrink)
It is now some years since Professor D. Daiches Raphael published his interesting book, The Paradox of Tragedy , which represented one of the first serious attempts made by a British philosopher to assess the significance of tragic drama for ethical, and indeed metaphysical theory. Since then we have had a variety of books touching on related topics: for instance, Dr George Steiner's Death of Tragedy and Mr Raymond Williams’ most recent, elusive and interesting essay, Modern Tragedy. To entitle an (...) essay Theology and Tragedy might be thought to invite needless trouble for oneself; to indulge to a dangerous degree the human intellectual obsession of supposing that ‘the meaning of a word is an object’. After all, if one confines one's regard to the Greeks, one has to recognise that between the treatments of their common theme of Electra , Sophocles and Euripides are in fact doing very different things. There is no gainsaying the significance for Euripides of the postponement of the murder of Clytemnestra till after that of Aegisthus, still less of his introduction into the play of the morally upright peasant, who has had the banished Electra in his keeping, and whose simple integrity contrasts both with the corruption of the court and the obsessive preoccupation with a dreadful, supposed duty of brother and sister. The element of propaganda is unmistakable; while in Sophocles’ Electra it is altogether absent, although Dr Victor Ehrenberg in his very interesting monograph on Sophocles and Pericles has argued strongly for an element of subtle political commentary in the treatment of Oedipus in the Oedipus Tyrannus , and of Pocreon in the Antigone. These remarks may serve to show that the title does not express a blind indifference to the multiple complexity of those works which we class together as tragedies. They are inherently complex, and various in emphasis; at best we can discern a family resemblance between them, and, in an essay like this, the author runs the risk not only of selecting examples tailor-made to his thesis, but also of imposing an appearance of similarity of conception where it is at least equally important to stress differences. (shrink)
The claim that faith is creative of its objects resides primarily in the conviction that the richness of the life of faith demands that it shall be subject only to its own laws. Its very diversity of expression is indication that it should not be fettered or confined by a restrictive model that outlaws the marvellously unexpected quality of its explorations. Yet that metaphor itself suggests caution; for exploration is necessarily of a territory that the explorer does not bring into (...) being by his voyage or journey. His travels have their own richness; thus Shackleton's famous boat journey has its place in the records of human endurance. But travel assumes a ground to be traversed, and the journey of Ernest Shackleton and the men who sailed with him was not conjured out of nothing, but an achievement made necessary as response to a situation that was itself in no sense of the explorer's contriving. Yet of course we are impatient with the suggestion that it was a mere, largely passive reaction to natural emergency, and only marginally regarded as humanly creative. (shrink)
Donald M. MacKinnon has been one of the most important and influential of post-war British theologians and religious philosophers. Generally eclectic, frequently allusive, usually intellectually generous, persistently richly challenging and always astonishingly erudite, he had a significant impact on the development and subsequent theological work of the likes of Rowan Williams, Nicholas Lash, David Ford and John Milbank. A younger generation largely emerging from Cambridge, but with influence elsewhere, has more recently brought MacKinnon's normally occasionalist writing to (...) a larger audience worldwide where it is beginning to receive noteworthy attention. In this collection several of MacKinnon's most outstanding papers not yet published in book format is collected together with an Editorial Introduction by a former student of one of MacKinnon's own students. They range from his reflections on theology as educational, the nature of moral reasoning, considerations of ecclesial practice, dogmatics and hope. Here is another reminder of MacKinnon's intellectual brilliance. (shrink)
Kenneth MacKinnon 'Curiously, Fetishism Can Be Fun' _Film-Philosophy_, vol. 5 no. 4, February 2001 David Sorfa 'Hieroglyphs and Carapaces: The Enigmatic Real in Laura Mulvey's _Fetishism and Curiosity_' _Film-Philosophy_, vol. 5 no. 5, February 2001.
Professor MacKinnon, in an essay on Philosophy and Christology , remarks that Christology confronts theology with difficult but ‘inescapable problems’ because logically ‘it is unique; and yet it overlaps here, there and everywhere’. The complexity of the task, however, does not excuse the theologian from the need to determine the logical nature of the concept of ‘incarnation’ if he wishes to use it in his work—and, as I hope to show, any theology which attempts to describe the actual nature (...) of God probably cannot avoid using this concept in some form or other. Only by appreciating the logic of this concept can the theologian be confident that he understands its proper content and implications and that he offers appropriate justification for his claims about it. In this paper I want to suggest one possible way of viewing the logic of incarnational talk in theology which is based upon the attempt to treat such talk in terms of the notion of ‘revelation’. (shrink)
This new edition of Will Kymlicka's best selling critical introduction to contemporary political theory has been fully revised to include many of the most significant developments in Anglo-American political philosophy in the last eleven years, particularly the new debates over issues of democratic citizenship and cultural pluralism. The book now includes two new chapters on citizenship theory and multiculturalism, in addition to updated chapters on utilitarianism, liberal egalitarianism, libertarianism, socialism, communitarianism, and feminism. The many thinkers discussed include G. A. Cohen, (...) Ronald Dworkin, William Galston, Carol Gilligan, R. M. Hare, Chandran Kukathas, Catherine Mackinnon, David Miller, Philippe Van Parijs, Susan Okin, Robert Nozick, John Rawls, John Roemer, Michael Sandel, Charles Taylor, Michael Walzer, and Iris Young. Extended guides to further reading have been added at the end of each chapter, listing the most important books and articles on each school of thought, as well as relevant journals and websites. Covering some of the most advanced contemporary thinking, Will Kymlicka writes in an engaging, accessible, and non-technical way to ensure that the book is suitable for students approaching these difficult concepts for the first time. This second edition promises to build on the original edition's success as a key text in the teaching of modern political theory. (shrink)
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 chapter presents David Foster Wallace's views about three positions regarding the good life—ironism, hedonism, and narrative theories. Ironism involves distancing oneself from everything one says or does, and putting on Wallace's so-called “mask of ennui.” Wallace said that the notion appeals to ironists because it insulates them from criticism. However, he reiterated that ironists can be criticized for failing to value anything. Hedonism states that a good life consists in pleasure. Wallace rejected such a notion, doubting that pleasure (...) could play a fundamental role in the good life. Lastly, narrative theories characterize the good life by fidelity to a unified narrative -- a systematic story about one's life, composed of a set of ends or principles according to which one lives. Wallace believed that these theories turn people into spectators, rather than the participants in their own lives. (shrink)
This paper provides an overview on David Lewis's writings about persistence. I focus on two issues. First, what is the relationship between the doctrine of Humean Supervenience and the rejection of endurantism? Second, why did Lewis not adopt a stage theory of persistence, given that he advocated a counterpart theory of modality?
David Bohm is one of the foremost scientific thinkers of today and one of the most distinguished scientists of his generation. His challenge to the conventional understanding of quantum theory has led scientists to reexamine what it is they are going and his ideas have been an inspiration across a wide range of disciplines. _Quantum Implications_ is a collection of original contributions by many of the world' s leading scholars and is dedicated to David Bohm, his work and (...) the issues raised by his ideas. The contributors range across physics, philosophy, biology, art, psychology, and include some of the most distinguished scientists of the day. There is an excellent introduction by the editors, putting Bohm's work in context and setting right some of the misconceptions that have persisted about the work of David Bohm. (shrink)
In 1901 Russell had envisaged the new analytic philosophy as uniquely systematic, borrowing the methods of science and mathematics. A century later, have Russell’s hopes become reality? David Lewis is often celebrated as a great systematic metaphysician, his influence proof that we live in a heyday of systematic philosophy. But, we argue, this common belief is misguided: Lewis was not a systematic philosopher, and he didn’t want to be. Although some aspects of his philosophy are systematic, mainly his pluriverse (...) of possible worlds and its many applications, that systematicity was due to the influence of his teacher Quine, who really was an heir to Russell. Drawing upon Lewis’s posthumous papers and his correspondence as well as the published record, we show that Lewis’s non- Quinean influences, including G.E. Moore and D.M. Armstrong, led Lewis to an anti- systematic methodology which leaves each philosopher’s views and starting points to his or her own personal conscience. (shrink)
In David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature, reason and passion are in constant interaction forming belief. Moral events are distinguished on three levels: moral sentiment, moral action and moral judgment, in which reason and passion interact, although with different functions at each level.
In this article Johann David Michaelis’s views of language and translation are juxtaposed with his own experience as a translated and translating author, especially with regard to the translations of his prize essay on the reciprocal influence of language and opinions (1759). Its French version originated in a close collaboration with the translators, while the pirated English edition was anonymously translated at second hand. The article reconstructs Michaelis’s relationship with the French translators and his renouncement of the English version, (...) publicly condemned in London by Robert Lowth at the author’s request. These two processes represent different contemporary modes of translation and shed new light on emerging theories of linguistic and cultural transfer. (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)
This article engages Richard Rorty’s controversial concept of ethnocentrism with the help of Randolf (Randy) S. David’s writings. The first section defines Rorty’s concept of ethnocentrism and responds to the general criticisms of relativism and divisiveness that have been made against it. The second section suggests a conceptual replacement for Rorty’s notion of a vicious ethnocentrism: egotism. Egotism is a kind of cultural ethnocentrism that is resistant to openness, creativity, and social transformation. Inspired by David’s work, the third (...) and final section suggests how the concepts of ethnocentrism and egotism might be of some use as conceptual tools for articulating contemporary social issues in the Philippines. (shrink)
David Hume: Moral Philosophy Although David Hume is commonly known for his philosophical skepticism, and empiricist theory of knowledge, he also made many important contributions to moral philosophy. Hume’s ethical thought grapples with questions about the relationship between morality and reason, the role of human emotion in thought and action, the nature of moral … Continue reading David Hume: Moral Philosophy →.
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)
In _A Companion to David Lewis_, Barry Loewer and Jonathan Schaffer bring together top philosophers to explain, discuss, and critically extend Lewis's seminal work in original ways. Students and scholars will discover the underlying themes and complex interconnections woven through the diverse range of his work in metaphysics, philosophy of language, logic, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, ethics, and aesthetics. The first and only comprehensive study of the work of David Lewis, one of the most systematic (...) and influential philosophers of the latter half of the 20th century Contributions shed light on the underlying themes and complex interconnections woven through Lewis's work across his enormous range of influence, including metaphysics, language, logic, epistemology, science, mind, ethics, and aesthetics Outstanding Lewis scholars and leading philosophers working in the fields Lewis influenced explain, discuss, and critically extend Lewis's work in original ways An essential resource for students and researchers across analytic philosophy that covers the major themes of Lewis's work. (shrink)
David Owens argues that we have interests in purely normative phenomena—in particular, in being obligated. That is, obligation is valuable not merely because our more obvious and non-normative interests are served via being obligated and doing what we are obligated to do, but because the various ways in which we obligate ourselves to others, and they to us, are valuable in and of themselves. This is our ‘normative landscape’, and we shape that landscape through our various normative undertakings, such (...) as making promises, consenting, forgiving, and the like. This way of thinking about obligation is highly inviting, and Owens’ careful exploration of both the landscape and the tools we deploy to shape it mark a significant advance in our understanding of ourselves as creatures susceptible to norms and normativity. (shrink)
David Lewis's book 'On the Plurality of Worlds' mounts an extended defense of the thesis of modal realism, that the world we inhabit the entire cosmos of which we are a part is but one of a vast plurality of worlds, or cosmoi, all causally and spatiotemporally isolated from one another. The purpose of this article is to provide an accessible summary of the main positions and arguments in Lewis's book.
In his seminal _Philosophy of David Hume_, Norman Kemp Smith called for a study of Hume "in all his manifold activities: as philosopher, as political theorist, as economist, as historian, and as man of letters," indicating that "Hume's philosophy, as the attitude of mind that found for itself these various forms of expression, will then have been presented, adequately and in due perspective, for the first time." Claudia Schmidt seeks to address this long-standing need in Hume scholarship. Against the (...) charges that Hume holds no consistent philosophical position, offers no constructive account of rationality, and sees no positive relation between philosophy and other areas of inquiry, Schmidt argues for the overall coherence of Hume's thought as a study of "reason in history." She develops this interpretation by tracing Hume's constructive account of human cognition and its historical dimension as a unifying theme across the full range of his writings. Hume, she shows, provides a positive account of the ways in which our concepts, beliefs, emotions, and standards of judgment in different areas of inquiry are shaped by experience, both in the personal history of the individual and in the life of a community. This book is valuable at many levels: for students, as an introduction to Hume's writings and issues in their interpretation; for Hume specialists, as a unified and intriguing interpretation of his thought; for philosophers generally, as a synthesis of recent developments in Hume scholarship; and for scholars in other disciplines, as a guide to Hume's contributions to their own fields. (shrink)
The death of David Lewis at the age of 60 has deprived philosophy of one of its most original and brilliant thinkers. Lewis was a systematic philosopher in a traditional sense, who created a system of thought (or metaphysical system) which attempts to reconcile the insights of modern science with pervasive elements of commonsense belief. Lewis was not a populariser and he had little to do with the more concrete and practical areas of philosophy. His work is forbiddingly abstract, (...) and deals with many of the deepest and most difficult of philosophy’s traditional concerns, including the nature of mind, causation, necessity and being. (shrink)
In this commentary I criticize David Rosenthal’s higher order thought theory of consciousness . This is one of the best articulated philosophical accounts of consciousness available. The theory is, roughly, that a mental state is conscious in virtue of there being another mental state, namely, a thought to the effect that one is in the first state. I argue that this account is open to the objection that it makes “HOT-zombies” possible, i.e., creatures that token higher order mental states, (...) but not the states that the higher order states are about. I discuss why none of the ways to accommodate this problem within HOT leads to viable positions. (shrink)
In his absorbing book Art as Performance, David Davies argues that artworks should be identified, not with artistic products such as paintings or novels, but instead with the artistic actions or processes that produced such items. Such a view had an earlier incarnation in Currie’s widely criticized “action type hypothesis”, but Davies argues that it is instead action tokens rather than types with which artworks should be identified. This rich and complex work repays the closest study in spite of (...) some basic objections to be raised concerning Davies’s central concept of an action token. (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)