Disorders of consciousness include coma, the vegetative state and the minimally conscious state. Such patients are often regarded as unconscious. This has consequences for end of life decisions for these patients: it is much easier to justify withdrawing life support for unconscious than conscious patients. Recent brain imaging research has however suggested that some patients may in fact be conscious.
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)
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)
This chapter presents David Foster Wallace's opinion about the 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)
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 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 _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 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)
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 the article the author rejects traditional, logical interpretation of the famous “Is-Ought Paragraph” from David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature. He argues that most of the interpreters failed to grasp the wide philosophical background of the IsOP, which is, generally speaking, a passionate discussion between ethical rationalists and ethical anti-rationalists in the 17th and 18th century British philosophy. The author shows that the Hume’s main aim in the IsOP is to strengthen his previous arguments against ethical rationalism (...) and to reinforce the common-sense systems of morality, likewise he did in the first book of the Treatise… in case of the theory of knowledge. The author argues that there is no putative thesis of logic in the IsOP, which some scholars call “Hume’s Law”. (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)
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 Lewis claims that his theory of modality successfully reduces modal items to nonmodal items. This essay will clarify this claim and argue that it is true. This is largely an exercise within ‘Ludovician Polycosmology’: I hope to show that a certain intuitive resistance to the reduction and a set of related objections misunderstand the nature of the Ludovician project. But these results are of broad interest since they show that would-be reductionists have more formidable argumentative resources than is (...) often thought. Lewis’s reduction depends on a set of methodological commitments each of which is fairly plausible or at least currently popular, and none of which is particular to modality. The choice of which of these commitments to reject I leave to the discerning antireductionist. The essay proceeds as follows: §1 discusses reduction generally and one or two relevant puzzles; §2 discusses Lewis’s reduction in particular; the longest section, §3 replies to four objections. (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)
This paper analyses the early history of David Bohm’s mechanics from the perspective of Ludwik Fleck’s thought-collectives and shows how the thought-style of the scientific community limits the possible modes of thinking and what new possibilities for the construction of a new theory arise if these limits are removed.
This article raises the need of a historical approach to philosophical texts taking as an example the case of the ethics proposal of David Hume. It shows the interest of Hume that wants to participate actively in the intellectual dialogue of his time and his intention to integrate the scientific method into the moral sciences and how his critique of reason must be understood in this light. To do this, it is quickly mention the intellectual atmosphere of the time (...) and the positions in conflict in the philosophical debate of the 18th century: relativistic skepticism, radical rationalism and naive sentimentality, noting that, deep down, Hume cannot be excluded completely from any of these positions but not typecast in any of them. (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)
Reality and Humean Supervenience confronts the reader with central aspects in the philosophy of David Lewis, whose work in ontology, metaphysics, logic, probability, philosophy of mind, and language articulates a unique and systematic foundation for modern physicalism.
To enhance the plausibility of naturalistic moral realism, David Copp develops an argument from epistemic defeaters aiming to show that strongly a priori synthetic moral truths do not exist. In making a case for the non-naturalistic position, I locate Copp’s account within the wider literature on peer disagreement; I identify key points of divergence between Copp’s doctrine and conciliatorist doctrines; I introduce the notion of ‘minimal moral competence’; I contend that some plausible benchmarks for minimal moral competence are grounded (...) in substantive moral considerations; and I discuss two forms of spinelessness that Copp’s moral naturalism could result in. (shrink)
Data-driven historiography of philosophy looks to objective modeling tools for illumination of the propagation of influence. While the system of David Lewis, the most influential philosopher of our time, raises historiographic puzzles to stymie conventional analytic methods, it proves amenable to data-driven analysis. A striking result is that Lewis only becomes the metaphysician of current legend following the midpoint of his career: his initial project is to frame a descriptive science of mind and meaning; the transition to metaphysics is (...) a rhetorically breathtaking escape from this program's (inevitable) collapse. Understanding this process both aids a more focused debate whether it counts as progress, and also presents novel affordances for partisans on both sides to learn from Lewis's right and wrong steps. (shrink)
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)
In a remarkable and utterly original work of philosophical history, Richard Allen revivifies David Hartley's Observations on Man, his Frame, his Duty, and his Expectations (1749). Though it includes a detailed and richly annotated chronology, this is not a straight intellectual biography, attentive as it might be to the intricacies of Hartley's Cambridge contacts, or the mundane rituals of his medical practice, or the internal development of the doctrine of association of ideas. Instead Allen brings Hartley's book, a psychological (...) epic with a mystical finale, sympathetically to life in a generous and ambitious historical gesture of mutual recognition. Late 20th-century readers "are in a better position to understand Hartley's work" than were earlier sympathizers like Joseph Priestley and John Stuart Mill; and in turn, Allen argues that "Hartley has something to say to us" about just how rich and strange a full mechanistic psychology might be. (shrink)
Recognized in his day as a man of letters equaling Rousseau and Voltaire in France and rivaling Samuel Johnson, David Hume passed from favor in the Victorian age--his work, it seemed, did not pursue Truth but rather indulged in popularization. Although Hume is once more considered as one of the greatest British philosophers, scholars now tend to focus on his thought rather than his writing. To round out our understanding of Hume, M. A. Box in this book charts the (...) interrelated development of Hume's literary ambitions, theories of style, and compositional practice from his Treatise in 1739 through the Enquiries. In so doing, Box makes the case for Hume's career-long concern with the presentational modes of reaching an audience for his philosophical writings. Hume reacted to the popular failure of his masterpiece, A Treatise of Human Nature, Box suggests, by self-consciously exploring strategies in his subsequent works for agreeably bringing his readership to participate in the act of philosophizing. Combining a sensitive grasp of the ways Restoration period and eighteenth-century writers conceived the relations between rhetoric and philosophy with sound readings of particular texts, Box shows how Hume's literary concerns went beyond matters of style to involve persona, structure, and doctrine. While this book helps explain long-standing ambiguities surrounding Hume, especially by pointing out the tension between his created persona and his own voice, it also serves as an excellent introduction to his philosophy. (shrink)
David Miller, Professor of Politics at Oxford University, has long been one of the most important and interesting contributors to political theory and philosophy. He is well known for insisting on the mutual relevance of philosophical reflection and political practice, an approach well captured by the title of his recent book, Justice for Earthlings. In his most recent book, Strangers in our Midst: The Political Philosophy of Immigration, Miller revises and extends the work he has been doing for several (...) years now on immigration. The result is a short yet rich defense of the right of states to control their own immigration policy. (shrink)
Norman Kemp Smith's The Philosophy of David Hume continues to be unsurpassed in its comprehensive coverage of the ideas and issues of Hume's Treatise. Now, after years of waiting, this currently out-of-print and highly sought-after classic is being re-issued. This ground-breaking book has long been regarded as a classic study by scholars in the field, yet a new introduction by Don Garrett places the book in its contemporary context, showing Humes's continuing importance in the field.
In his most recent book, National Responsibility and Global Justice, David Miller presents an account of human rights grounded on the idea of basic human needs. Miller argues that his account can overcome what he regards as a central problem for human rights theory: the need to provide a ‘non-sectarian’ justification for human rights, one that does not rely on reasons that people from non-liberal societies should find objectionable. The list of human rights that Miller’s account generates is, however, (...) minimal when compared to those found in human rights documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. This article argues that contrary to what Miller claims, his account is ‘sectarian’, since it relies on reasons that some non-liberals should find objectionable given their divergent values. It goes on to question whether ‘sectarianism’, as Miller defines it, is, in any case, a problem for human rights theory. The article concludes that Miller provides us with no reason to abandon commitment to a more extensive list of human rights. (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)
Everyday Examples. An Introduction to Philosophy. presents the student with a somewhat unorthodox approach to the grand themes of philosophy. David Cunning has chosen an alternate route into many of the standard questions put to those in an introduction to philosophy course, both organizationally and content-wise. It will be quickly evident to the instructor that this approach has both its advantages and disadvantages.
Published in 2008, Slavoj Žižek’s Violence: Six Sideways Reflections provides critical insight into the structures of power which dictate our perception and comprehension of violence in society. In particular, Žižek’s conception of the distinction between the subjective and objective modes of perceiving violence is particularly illuminating. This paper utilizes Žižek’s distinction to recontextualize and reframe a classic of Australian theatre, David Williamson’s The Removalists. [i] This approach puts Žižek’s seminal work on violence to task, teases out new meanings from (...) Williamson’s text, and most broadly, explores new methods for understanding the playing out of violence on stage. (shrink)
This article is an exploration of David Hume's philosophy of custom and habit as a way of living with skepticism. For Hume, man is a habit-forming animal, and all politics and history take place within a history of custom and habit. This is not a bad thing: life without custom and habit would be a nightmare. Hume draws on the "new science" of thinkers such as Locke, Shaftesbury, Mandeville, Hutcheson, and Butler to foreground the importance of custom and habit. (...) His own contribution is a detailed exploration of philosophical psychology that brings out the role of habits of action such as politeness and manners and habits of thinking such as opinion and reasoning. Finally, life in accordance with customs and habits is not inherently conservative or quietist: there are endogenous and exogenous sources of change and progress in custom and habits. (shrink)
This article argues that there is a great divide between semantics and metaphysics. Much of what is called metaphysics today is still stuck in the linguistic turn. This is illustrated by showing how Fraser MacBride misunderstands David Armstrong's theory of modality.
La obra del filósofo estadounidense David H. Finkelstein, Expression and the Inner, publicada originariamente en 2003 por Harvard University Press (2ª ed. 2008) puede ahora leerse en la versión española de Lino San Juan, editada por la ovetense KRK Ediciones con el título: La expresión y lo interno. Finkelstein propone en La expresión y lo interno un análisis expresivista del autoconocimiento. Podría parecer cuando menos sorprendente y aún más admirable que con tan sólo dos capítulos (“Detectivismo y constitutivismo” y (...) “Expresión”) y un Epílogo (“Deliberación y transparencia”), Finkelstein haya conseguido presentar en esta obra un planteamiento calificado por muchos como una auténtica renovación de la discusión analítica en torno al tema del autoconocimiento, o sea, acerca del problema de qué clase de autoridad quepa atribuir a las expresiones sobre nuestros propios estados de ánimo y/o nuestros estados mentales sin más. (shrink)
Quasi al termine della seconda guerra mondiale, alcuni ufficiali tedeschi diedero l’ordine di abbattere le storiche torri di San Gimignano; tutto pareva ormai deciso, quando un gruppo di civili riuscì con successo a ritardare l’esecuzione fino all’arrivo delle truppe alleate. Grazie a quei civili, le torri di San Gimignano sono ancora ben visibili a tutti, meta ogni anno di numerosi turisti; ma che cosa dire della possibilità che oggi esistessero soltanto le loro macerie? Esse rientrano in quella classe di cose (...) che chiamerò oggetti possibili, ovvero sono oggetti che avrebbero potuto esistere, ma per un qualche motivo non sono esistiti. Proprio di essi parlerò nelle prossime pagine, cercando di capire quale sia il loro statuto ontologico e in quale modo possiamo parlarne usando le espressioni del nostro linguaggio.1 Come vedremo, ci sono varie teorie che spiegano cos’è un oggetto possibile, tra loro anche molto diverse. Compito di ciascuna è quello di motivare e, se necessario, rendere plausibile una scelta filosofica. Quindi, ogni teoria degli oggetti possibili, attribuirà loro un preciso statuto ontologico e provvederà una semantica delle espressioni del linguaggio naturale sulla possibilità. Nelle poche pagine che seguono però, non scenderò nei dettagli di tutte le teorie della possibilità; piuttosto, ne considererò una particolarmente controversa e singolare: quella sostenuta da David K. Lewis. (shrink)
There are good moral reasons to support euthanasia, and these reasons are fundamentally of a utilitarian root. There are few moral reasons to oppose euthanasia in its strict sense, and they are clearly outweighed by the reasons argumented from a utilitarian perspective. Such teleological and consequentialist good reasons were originally advanced by David Hume in his brief and brilliant essay "Of Suicide" (1757), the true source for current Bioethics. Hume's arguments have been expanded in scope by some contemporary utilitarians, (...) especially by Peter Singer. Both the classical arguments of Hume as the most current by Singer (and by some other utilitarian thinkers) are evaluated here, holding, in conclusion, that, regardless of specific criticisms, and of some important discrepancies between the different kinds of utilitarianists, however, the utilitarian ethical position is a strong and solid support for the defense of the "good voluntary death" as an individual right (in fact, a legitimate interest that demands legal protection) with a dominant force over other rights or interests, both individual or collective. (shrink)