In an influential article, A. I. Sabra identified an intellectual trend from twelfth and thirteenth-century Andalusia which he described as the ‘‘Andalusian revolt against Ptolemaic astronomy.” Philosophers such as Ibn Rushd , Ibn Tufayl , and Maimonides objected to Ptolemy’s theories on philosophic grounds, not because of shortcomings in the theories' predictive accuracy. Sabra showed how al-Bitrūjī's Kitāb al-Hay'a attempted to account for observed planetary motions in a way that met the philosophic standards of those philosophers and others. In Nūr (...) al-‘ālam , the subject of this article, Joseph ibn Joseph ibn Nahmias endeavoured to improve upon al-Bitrūjī’s models. Levi Ben Gerson's Hebrew writings on astronomy criticized al-Bitrūjī, but Ibn Nahmias did not mention them. Nūr al-‘ālam deserves attention, too, because it is the first Arabic text on theoretical astronomy by a Jewish author to come to light. In the body of this article, I will describe and analyze Ibn Nahmias’ theory, from Nūr al-‘ālam , for the motion of the sun. (shrink)
The difficulty of ascribing metaphysical predicates such as absoluteness, necessity and perfection to God while simultaneously ascribing personal predicates such as compassion, freedom and agency has often been noted. Most efforts to resolve this dilemma have tended to fall into one of three categories: a merely verbal solution such as that God is ‘compassionate in terms of our experience but…not so in terms of [God's] own’; the univocal and unqualified ascription of the metaphysical predicates to God coupled with equivocation with (...) respect to the personal predicates which results in the final elimination of the latter; the fideistic denial that intelligible language is applicable to God. Unfortunately, none of these is satisfactory. The first solution is seen to be but a version of the second, and it is arguable that the second is, as Feuerbach contends, tantamount to a ‘subtle, disguised atheism’, since ‘to deny all the qualities of a being is equivalent to denying the being himself’ or, alternatively, ‘an existence in general, an existence without qualities, is an insipidity, an absurdity’. The third ‘solution’ is no better and is hardly more than an evasive tactic. (shrink)
A Textbook, with Readings, for Ethics and Contemporary Moral Issues courses -/- * Includes clear and comprehensive discussions by David Morrow of moral reasoning, ethical theory, and contemporary moral issues along with a thorough set of readings in these areas * Readings include both standards of moral theory and classic and contemporary sources in applied ethics from an uncommonly diverse set of authors; nearly one-third of the readings are authored by women *Offers coverage of standard contemporary moral issues along (...) with more cutting-edge topics like race, sex, and climate change *Illustrates aspects of moral reasoning using actual arguments from the applied ethics literature *Explains the use of analogical reasoning, thought experiments, and counterexamples in ethics *Includes dozens of detailed case studies drawn from real events, fiction, and film Incorporates Chinese and African ethics *Provides "guiding questions" to help students understand primary sources, discussion questions for each chapter and reading, and a detailed appendix on writing an ethics paper. (shrink)
Based on a series of lectures delivered in 1840, Thomas Carlyle’s_ On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History_ considers the creation of heroes and the ways they exert heroic leadership. From the divine and prophetic to the poetic to the religious to the political, Carlyle investigates the mysterious qualities that elevate humans to cultural significance. By situating the text in the context of six essays by distinguished scholars that reevaluate both Carlyle’s work and his ideas, David Sorensen and (...) Brent Kinser argue that Carlyle's concept of heroism stresses the hero’s spiritual dimension. In Carlyle’s engagement with various heroic personalities, he dislodges religiosity from religion, myth from history, and truth from “quackery” as he describes the wondrous ways in which these “flowing light-fountains” unlock the heroic potential of ordinary human beings. (shrink)
The idea that form follows thought and feeling is not a new one to mystics, but quantum physicists have now shown this to be a scientifically proven reality. A massive shift in people's understanding is occurring to take the implications of this on board and integrate it into our lives. This book assembles the research from mainstream scientists and writers such as Gregg Braden and David Hawkins to create a convincing and inspiring case for the power of compassion and (...) kindness to make a difference in the world. (shrink)
Were Russell alive and still with us, one could apologize to him for the degree of travesty and oversimplification which the present task has involved. But his inspiration is no longer a living one and it is still a live question in the philosophy of logic whether or not it makes sense to apologize to the shades of the departed. Perhaps the author in such a predicament can take some comfort from the possibility that what he has written may interest (...) some reader in that sort of question. (shrink)
Offering students an accessible, in-depth, and highly practical introduction to ethics, this text covers argumentation and moral reasoning, various types of moral arguments, and theoretical issues that commonly arise in introductory ethics courses, including skepticism, subjectivism,relativism, religion, and normative theories. The book combines primary sources in moral theory and applied ethics with explanatory material, case studies, and pedagogical features to help students think critically about moral issues.
Climate engineering (CE), the intentional modification of the climate in order to reduce the effects of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, is sometimes touted as a potential response to climate change. Increasing interest in the topic has led to proposals for empirical tests of hypothesized CE techniques, which raise serious ethical concerns. We propose three ethical guidelines for CE researchers, derived from the ethics literature on research with human and animal subjects, applicable in the event that CE research progresses beyond computer (...) modeling. The Principle of Respect requires that the scientific community secure the global public's consent, voiced through their governmental representatives, before beginning any empirical research. The Principle of Beneficence and Justice requires that researchers strive for a favorable risk–benefit ratio and a fair distribution of risks and anticipated benefits, all while protecting the basic rights of affected individuals. Finally, the Minimization Principle requires that researchers minimize the extent and intensity of each experiment by ensuring that no experiments last longer, cover a greater geographical extent, or have a greater impact on the climate, ecosystem, or human welfare than is necessary to test the specific hypotheses in question. Field experiments that might affect humans or ecosystems in significant ways should not proceed until a full discussion of the ethics of CE research occurs and appropriate institutions for regulating such experiments are established. (shrink)
Disagreements about morally appropriate mitigation policies arise in part from implicit disagreements about the nature and moral significance of needs. One key question is what, if anything, distinguishes “needs” from “mere wants.” One approach, prominent in economics and implemented in existing integrated assessment models of climate change, rejects a hard distinction between needs and wants. An alternative approach, prominent in the philosophical literature on needs, identifies needs with the requirements for autonomous agency, which is the capacity to set and pursue (...) one’s own goals. A second key question is in what sense, if any, the satisfaction of needs should take precedence over the satisfaction of wants. Those who reject the distinction between wants and needs can say only that some desires should be weighted more heavily than others. Those who endorse the distinction can say that, given certain ethical assumptions, it is wrong to frustrate one person’s needs in order to satisfy others’ mere wants. Thus, rejecting the distinction between wants and needs tends to justify less aggressive mitigation policies, in which satisfying the so-called “wants” of present generations compensates for frustrating the so-called “needs” of future generations. Endorsing the distinction between wants and needs, along with certain ethical assumptions, tends to justify more aggressive mitigation policies. Both positions are intellectually defensible; understanding them helps illuminate disagreements over mitigation policy. (shrink)
Stephen Gardiner argues that geoengineering does not meet the “canonical technical definition” of a global public good, and that it is misleading to frame geoengineering as a public good. A public good is something that is nonrival and nonexcludable. Contrary to Gardiner’s claims, geoengineering meets both of these criteria. Framing geoengineering as a public good is useful because it allows commentators to draw on the existing economic, philosophical, and social scientific literature on the governance of public goods.
Some types of solar radiation management (SRM) research are ethically problematic because they expose persons, animals, and ecosystems to significant risks. In our earlier work, we argued for ethical norms for SRM research based on norms for biomedical research. Biomedical researchers may not conduct research on persons without their consent, but universal consent is impractical for SRM research. We argue that instead of requiring universal consent, ethical norms for SRM research require only political legitimacy in decision-making about global SRM trials. (...) Using Allen Buchanan & Robert Keohane's model of global political legitimacy, we examine several existing global institutions as possible analogues for a politically legitimate SRM decision-making body. (shrink)
_Giving Reasons_ prepares students to think independently, evaluate information, and reason clearly across disciplines. Accessible to students and effective for instructors, it provides plain-English exercises, helpful appendices, and a variety of online supplements.
"A Workbook for Arguments" builds on Anthony Weston’s "A Rulebook for Arguments" to provide a complete textbook for a course in critical thinking or informal logic. The second edition adds: Updated and improved homework exercises—nearly one third are new—to ensure that the examples continue to resonate with students. Increased coverage of scientific reasoning, demonstrating how scientific reasoning dovetails with critical thinking more generally Two new activities in which students analyze arguments in their original form, as provided in brief selections from (...) the original texts. This edition continues to include The entire text of "Rulebook," supplemented with extensive explanations and exercises. Homework exercises adapted from a wide range of arguments in a wide variety of sources. Practical advice to help students succeed. Model answers to odd-numbered problems, including commentaries on the strengths and weaknesses of selected sample answers and further discussion of some of the substantive intellectual, philosophical, or ethical issues they raise. Detailed instructions for in-class activities and take-home assignments. An appendix on mapping arguments, giving students a solid introduction to this vital skill in constructing complex and multi-step arguments and evaluating them. (shrink)
"A Workbook for Arguments" builds on Anthony Weston's "Rulebook for Arguments" to provide a complete textbook for a course in critical thinking or informal logic. "Workbook" includes: The entire text of "Rulebook," supplemented with extensive further explanations and exercises. Homework exercises adapted from a wide range of arguments from newspapers, philosophical texts, literature, movies, videos, and other sources. Practical advice to help students succeed when applying the "Rulebook's" rules to the examples in the homework exercises. Suggestions for further practice, outlining (...) activities that students can do by themselves or with classmates to improve their skills. Detailed instructions for in-class activities and take-home assignments designed to engage students. An appendix on mapping arguments, giving students a solid introduction to this vital skill in constructing complex and multi-step arguments and evaluating them. Model answers to odd-numbered problems, including commentaries on the strengths and weaknesses of selected sample answers and further discussion of some of the substantive intellectual, philosophical, or ethical issues they raise. (shrink)
Many commentators fear that climate engineering research might lead policy-makers to reduce mitigation efforts. Most of the literature on this so-called ‘moral hazard’ problem focuses on the prediction that climate engineering research would reduce mitigation efforts. This paper focuses on a related ethical question: Why would it be a bad thing if climate engineering research obstructed mitigation? If climate engineering promises to be effective enough, it might justify some reduction in mitigation. Climate policy portfolios involving sufficiently large or poorly planned (...) reductions in mitigation, however, could lead to an outcome that would be worse than the portfolio that would be chosen in the absence of further climate engineering research. This paper applies three ethical perspectives to describe the kinds of portfolios that would be worse than that ‘baseline portfolio’. The literature on climate engineering identifies various mechanisms that might cause policy-makers to choose these inferior portfolios, but it is difficult to know in advance whether the existence of these mechanisms means that climate engineering research really would lead to a worse outcome. In the light of that uncertainty, a precautionary approach suggests that researchers should take measures to reduce the risk of mitigation obstruction. Several such measures are suggested. (shrink)
The strongest arguments for the permissibility of geoengineering (also known as climate engineering) rely implicitly on non-ideal theory—roughly, the theory of justice as applied to situations of partial compliance with principles of ideal justice. In an ideally just world, such arguments acknowledge, humanity should not deploy geoengineering; but in our imperfect world, society may need to complement mitigation and adaptation with geoengineering to reduce injustices associated with anthropogenic climate change. We interpret research proponents’ arguments as an application of a particular (...) branch of non-ideal theory known as “clinical theory.” Clinical theory aims to identify politically feasible institutions or policies that would address existing (or impending) injustice without violating certain kinds of moral permissibility constraints. We argue for three implications of clinical theory: First, conditional on falling costs and feasibility, clinical theory provides strong support for some geoengineering techniques that aim to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Second, if some kinds of carbon dioxide removal technologies are supported by clinical theory, then clinical theory further supports using those technologies to enable “overshoot” scenarios in which developing countries exceed the cumulative emissions caps that would apply in ideal circumstances. Third, because of tensions between political feasibility and moral permissibility, clinical theory provides only weak support for geoengineering techniques that aim to manage incoming solar radiation. (shrink)
Understanding, as Descartes, Locke and Kant all insisted, is the primary 'faculty' of the mind; yet our modern sciences have been slow to advance a clear and testable account of what it means to understand, of children's acquisition of this concept and, in particular, how children come to ascribe understanding to themselves and others. By drawing together developmental and philosophical theories, this book provides a systematic account of children's concept of understanding and places understanding at the heart of children's 'theory (...) of mind'. Children's subjective awareness of their own minds, of what they think, depends on learning a language for ascribing mental states to themselves and others. This book will appeal to researchers in developmental psychology, cognitive science, education and philosophy who are interested in the cognitive and emotional development of children and in the more basic question of what it means to have a mind. (shrink)
Although the importance of literacy is widely acknowledged in society and remains at the top of the political agenda, writing has been slow to establish a place in the cognitive sciences. Olson argues that to understand the cognitive implications of literacy, it is necessary to see reading and writing as providing access to and consciousness of aspects of language, such as phonemes, words and sentences, that are implicit and unconscious in speech. Reading and writing create a system of metarepresentational concepts (...) that bring those features of language into consciousness as a subject of discourse. This consciousness of language is essential not only to acquiring literacy but also to the formation of systematic thought and rationality. The Mind on Paper is a compelling exploration of what literacy does for our speech and hence for our thought, and will be of interest to readers in developmental psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, and education. (shrink)
This is the best overview of Foucault's work to date. A principal architect of poststructuralism, Michel Foucault reshaped the varied disciplines of history, philosophy, literary theory, and social science. David Shumway has provided, for the nonspecialist, a systematic analysis of the works of Foucault that is both thorough and accessible. Shumway connects Foucault's various conceptual and linguistic techniques to the basic critical strategies and purpose of his philosophy.
Through a series of multidisciplinary readings, Environmental Ethics: The Big Questions contextualizes environmental ethics within the history of Western intellectual tradition and traces the development of theory since the 1970s. Includes an extended introduction that provides an historical and thematic introduction to the field of environmental ethics Features a selection of brief original essays on why to study environmental ethics by leaders in the field Contextualizes environmental ethics within the history of the Western intellectual tradition by exploring anthropocentric (human–centered) and (...) nonanthropocentric precedents Offers an interdisciplinary approach to the field by featuring seminal work from eminent philosophers, biologists, ecologists, historians, economists, sociologists, anthropologists, nature writers, business writers, and others Designed to be used with a web–site which contains a continuously updated archive of case studies: http://environmentalethics.info/. (shrink)
Significant associations have been found between specific human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles and organ transplant rejection, autoimmune disease development, and the response to infection. Traditional searches for disease associations have conventionally measured risk associated with the presence of individual HLA alleles. However, given the high level of HLA polymorphism, the pattern of amino acid variability, and the fact that most of the HLA variation occurs at functionally important sites, it may be that a combination of variable amino acid sites shared (...) by several alleles (shared epitopes) are better descriptors of the actual causative genetic variants. Here we describe a novel approach to genetic association analysis in which genes/proteins are broken down into smaller sequence features and then variant types defined for each feature, allowing for independent analysis of disease association with each sequence feature variant type. We have used this approach to analyze a cohort of systemic sclerosis patients and show that a sequence feature composed of specific amino acid residues in peptide binding pockets 4 and 7 of HLA-DRB1 explains much of the molecular determinant of risk for systemic sclerosis. (shrink)