In a recent paper (Denis, 2004b) I argued that the neoclassical use of the concept of equilibrium was guilty of a hypostatisation: an equilibrium which is only an abstraction and extrapolation, the logical terminus of a component process taken in isolation, is extracted and one-sidedly substituted for the whole. The temporary is made permanent, and process subordinated to stasis, with clearly apologetic results. I concluded by suggesting that this hypostatisation exemplified the contrast between formal and dialectical modes of thought, (...) and that it may be in the application of a dialectical notion of equilibrium that the heterodoxy can make its most telling contribution. This paper develops the line of thought that, while heterodox currents may superficially appear as divided amongst themselves as they are from the orthodoxy, there is truly something profound uniting the apparently disparate heterodox trends: the adoption of a dialectical method. I draw on the work of Sciabarra (1995, 2000), who argues that making process primary, which we might expect of Austrian economists, is the essence of dialectics, which we might (wrongly, in his view) identify with Marxism. If this view is, as I believe, fundamentally correct, perhaps (a) we can only understand the method of neoclassical economics by contrasting it with a dialectical approach, and (b) we can explore the potential for common ground between the various heterodox currents by examining their attitude, both implicit and explicit, to dialectics. (shrink)
The background to this paper is as follows. In 1998 Glen Whitman published a paper in Constitutional Political Economy called ‘Hayek contra Pangloss on Evolutionary Systems’. At the same time and unaware of Whitman’s work, I posted my draft PhD chapter ‘Friedrich Hayek: a Panglossian evolutionary theorist’ (Denis, 2001, contains the final version) on my web page. Alain Albert (personal communication), having read the PhD chapter, drew my attention to Whitman’s article, and the result was a paper ‘Was Hayek (...) a Panglossian Evolutionary Theorist? A Reply to Whitman’ in the same journal in 2002. This in turn led to Whitman’s ‘Hayek Contra Pangloss: A Rejoinder’, also in Constitutional Political Economy, in December 2003. Now read on …. (shrink)
Building Better Health Care Leadership for Canada explains the development and implementation of the Executive Training in Research Application program. Managed and funded by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation in partnership with the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Nursing Association, and the Canadian College of Health Care executives, EXTRA is a two-year national fellowship program that uses the principles of adult learning theory as well as practical projects to educate senior health care leaders in making more consistent use of (...) research evidence in their management roles. Fellows apply the theory learned in residency sessions and educational activities to projects within their home organizations. The authors identify the imperative for better use of evidence, outline the core elements of the curriculum, and capture the real-world experience of regional leaders and fellows involved in making specific changes informed by research-based evidence within their organization. Contributors include Jean-Louis Denis, Terrence Sullivan, Owen Adams, Malcolm Anderson, Lynda Atack, Robert Bell, Sam G Campbell, Sylvie Cantin, Ward Flemons, Dorothy Forbes, J. Sonja Glass, Paula Goering, Karen Golden-Biddle, Jeffrey S. Hoch, Paul Lamarche, Ann Langley, John N. Lavis, Jonathan Lomas, Margo Orchard, Raynald Pineault, Brian D. Postl, Christine Power, Trish Reay, Jean Rochon, Denis A. Roy, Andrea Seymour, Samuel B. Sheps, Micheline Ste-Marie, Nina Stipich, David Streiner, Carl Taillon, and Muriah Umoquit. (shrink)
In this paper, I explicate Kant’s theory of virtue and situate it within the context of theories of virtue before Kant (such as Aristotle, Hobbes, and Hume) and after Kant (such as Schiller and Schopenhauer). I explore Kant’s notions of virtue as a disposition to do one’s duty out of respect for the moral law, as moral strength in non-holy wills, as the moral disposition in conflict, and as moral self-constraint based on inner freedom. I distinguish between Kant’s notions of (...) virtue and of the good will. I discuss Kant’s duties of virtue (and so particular virtues and vices), the relationships between virtue and happiness and virtue and the emotions, and Kant’s criticisms of his predecessors’ views of virtue. I close with a discussion of Kant and contemporary virtue ethics. Although the paper reflects my own interpretation of Kant, it strives less to argue for a particular thesis about Kant on virtue than to illuminate important aspects of Kant’s theory of virtue. (shrink)
This paper investigates the nature and foundation of duties to oneself in Kant's moral theory. Duties to oneself embody the requirement of the formula of humanity that agents respect rational nature in them-selves as well as in others. So understood, duties to oneself are not subject to the sorts of conceptual objections often raised against duties to oneself; nor do these duties support objections that Kant's moral theory is overly demanding or produces agents who are preoccupied with their own virtue. (...) Duties to oneself emerge as an essential and compelling part of Kant's moral theory. (shrink)
This paper situates abortion in the context of women’s duties to themselves. I argue that Kant’s fundamental moral requirement to respect oneself as a rational being, combined with Kant’s view of our animal nature, form the basis for a view of pregnancy and abortion that focuses on women’s agency and moral character without diminishing the importance of their bodies and emotions. The Kantian view of abortion that emerges takes abortion to be morally problematic, but sometimes permissible, and sometimes even required. (...) I first sketch Kant’s account to duties to oneself, highlighting duties to oneself as an animal and moral being. Next, I discuss pregnancy and the challenges it poses to women’s self-preservation, development, and efficacy as rational human agents. I then give my main argument: that abortion is morally problematic because it is antagonistic to an important subset of morally useful emotions that we have self-regarding duties to protect and cultivate. I argue that self-regarding moral considerations ground a rebuttable deliberative presumption against maxims of abortion for inclination-based ends. Finally, I consider three objections to this account of abortion : that it rests on implausible assumptions about the effects of abortion on women’s morally useful sentiments; that it portrays the virtuous agent’s reasoning about abortion as objectionably self-regarding; and that it fails adequately to recognize the moral significance of the fetus as a potential rational being. (shrink)
Some Kantian ethicists, myself included, have been trying to show how, contrary to popular belief, Kant makes an important place in his moral theory for emotions–especially love and sympathy. This paper confronts claims of Kant that seem to endorse an absence of sympathetic emotions. I analyze Kant’s accounts of different sorts of emotions (“affects,” “passions,” and “feelings”), and different sorts of emotional coolness (“apathy,” “self-mastery,” and “cold-bloodedness”). I focus on the particular way that Kant praises apathy, as “sublime,” in order (...) to argue that his praise of extreme emotional self-control is not incompatible with, but rather complementary to, his praise of sympathy. (shrink)
Kant’s ethics conceives of rational beings as autonomous–capable of legislating the moral law, and of motivating themselves to act out of respect for that law. Kant’s ethics also includes a notion of the highest good, the union of virtue with happiness proportional to, and consequent on, virtue. According to Kant, morality sets forth the highest good as an object of the totality of all things good as ends. Much about Kant’s conception of the highest good is controversial. This paper focuses (...) on the apparent conflict between Kant’s claim that we are autonomous, and passages in which he seems to suggest that we require belief in the possibility of the highest good to motivate moral action. I distinguish three distinct versions of these problematic claims that seem to be present in Kant’s texts: that the highest good serves as (1) a motivational supplement to respect for the moral law, (2) a fundamental spring of right action, and (3) a condition of the bindingness of moral requirements. I argue that the texts are better interpreted to yield alternatives to (2) and (3) that do not conflict with our autonomy. I also argue that, properly understood, (1) does not conflict with our autonomy. In arguing for the last claim, I explore Kant’s notion of radical evil and its implications for human agency and virtue. (shrink)
In Kant’s moral theory, we do not have duties to animals, though we have duties with regard to them. I reconstruct Kant’s arguments for several types of duties with regard to animals and show that Kant’s theory imposes far more robust requirements on our treatment of animals than one would expect. Kant’s duties regarding animals are perfect and imperfect; they are primarily but not exclusively duties to oneself; and they condemn not merely cruelty to animals for its own sake, but (...) also, such things as killing them for food when our health does not require it and ingratitude to service animals. Central to understanding these duties is appreciating Kant’s concern for our morally useful emotions, for it is primarily because of the effect that cruelty to animals has on our sympathetic emotions—which greatly help us treat other rational beings appropriately—that we have duties not to be cruel to animals. Yet cruelty and callousness toward animals are not problematic only because they may weaken some of our morally useful emotions. Cruelty and callousness toward animals are problematic also because they oppose our morally useful emotions; these emotions, as part of the perfection of our nature, should be honored, supported, and furthered, unless there are compelling reasons not to do so in particular cases. (shrink)
This is a survey article in which I explore some important recent work on the topic in question, Kant’s formula of the end in itself (or “formula of humanity”). I first provide an overview of the formulation, including what the formula seems roughly to be saying, and what Kant’s main argument for it seems to be. I then call the reader’s attention to a variety of questions one might have about the import of and argument for this formula, alluding to (...) some of the works in which philosophers have recently raised or tried to answer these questions. Then, for the bulk of the paper, I focus my discussion on two issues of contention: the identity of the “end in itself” that the formula refers to, and the relation between the value of the end in itself and the value of other ends. I do not attempt to argue for a particular position of my own regarding these issues. Instead, I explain a number of the more interesting or influential recent attempts to answer these questions, compare these approaches in various ways, draw implications from them, and raise concerns about some of them. I also suggest that an important link connects the question about the identity of the end in itself and the question about the relation between the value of the end in itself in relation to the value of other ends: How one answers these questions commits one to a position on the thorny issue of whether, how, and how fully, autonomy is manifested through empirical (not simply pure) practical reason. (shrink)
Humanity is an important notion within Kant's moral theory. The humanity formulation of the categorical imperative commands: ‘So act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means’ . Kant's analysis of ethical obligation and his expositions of rights and duties in the Metaphysics of Morals refer frequently to humanity. How we understand this concept, then, has signifcant implications for how (...) we understand Kant's ethics. (shrink)
Although Kant argues that morality is prior to and independent of religion, Kant nevertheless claims that religion of a certain sort (“moral theism”) follows from morality, and that atheism poses threats to morality. Kant criticizes atheism as morally problematic in four ways: atheism robs the atheist of springs for moral action, leads the atheist to moral despair, corrupts the atheist’s moral character, and has a pernicious influence on the atheist’s community. I argue that Kant is right to say that moral (...) theism can help support morality, and that (for some people), morality leads to religion. But I also argue that one may refrain from accepting the existence of God and still act from respect for the moral law, resist despair, cultivate and retain a virtuous character, and pose no moral threat to one’s community. Indeed, theism, even moral theism, raises moral risks of its own. This article includes discussions of different versions of the highest good, and of two main types of atheism (skeptical and dogmatic). (shrink)
The formula of universal law (FUL) is a natural starting point for philosophers interested in a Kantian perspective on the morality of abortion. I argue, however, that FUL does not yield much in the way of promising or substantive conclusions regarding the morality of abortion. I first reveal how two philosophers' (Hare's and Gensler's) attempts to use Kantian considerations of universality and prescriptivity fail to provide analyses of abortion that are either compelling or true to Kant=s understanding of FUL. I (...) then turn to some recent interpretations of Kant=s FUL contradiction in conception (CC) and contradiction in will (CW) tests. I argue that none of the interpretations of the CC testBincluding the practical interpretation favored by KorsgaardBdoes much to reveal moral problems with maxims of abortion. The CW test (as developed by Herman) is more helpful. Nevertheless, I argue that neither by considering abortion maxims as a subset of maxims of convenience killing, nor by considering such maxims as maxims of refusing to aid, can the CW test generate a general prohibition of abortion. At best, the CW test illuminates the abortion issue because by forcing us to think about how killing a fetus differs from killing other human beings, what attitudes we may reasonably have toward a fetus, and whether Kant's moral theory must be amended to do justice to the problem of abortion. But to pursue these questions, we must look beyond FUL; Kant’s formula of humanity and doctrine of virtue may well have more to offer. (shrink)
I consider Kant’s use of claims about “nature’s ends” in his arguments to establish maxims of homosexual sex, masturbation, and bestiality as constituting “unnatural” sexual vices, which are contrary to one’s duties to oneself as an animal and moral being. I argue, first, that the formula of humanity is the principle best suited for understanding duties to oneself as an animal and moral being; and second, that although natural teleology is relevant to some degree in specifying these duties, it cannot (...) play a sufficiently robust role to establish Kant’s conclusion. I also discuss what the formula of humanity (along with warranted attention to natural teleology) suggests about the morality of homosexual sex, masturbation, and bestiality. (shrink)
This paper forms part of a research project investigating conceptions of the relationship between micro-level selfseeking agent behaviour and the desirability or otherwise of the resulting macro-level social outcomes in the history of economics.
Smith is generally regarded as an individualist without qualification. This paper argues that his predominantly individualist policy prescription is rooted in a more complex philosophy. He sees nature, including human nature, as a vast machine supervised by God and designed to maximise human happiness. Human weaknesses, as well as strengths, display the wisdom of God and play their part in this scheme. While Smith pays lip service to justice, it is really social order that pre-occupies him, and within that, the (...) defence of property. Individuals are valued as bearers of property. As persons, individuals are deceived by nature into acting in a socially beneficial way. In different ways Smith systematically denies the autonomy of the individual with respect to the whole of which he is part. For Smith, individual liberty is, not the end, but the means, of sustaining social order and property. (shrink)
To understand the work of economic theorists it is often helpful to situate it in the context of the rhetorical strategy they were pursuing. Two ontologically distinct rhetorical strategies of laissez-faire may be distinguished by the way they articulate the individual interest with the general interest. A reductionist approach, exemplified by Friedman and Lucas, suggests that the properties and behaviour of an entity can be understood in terms of the properties and behaviour of the constituent lower-level components, taken in isolation. (...) The contrary – holistic – stance, viewing the qualities of phenomena as products of the inter-relations between their component parts, is characteristic of Smith and Hayek. While the reductionist approach naturally issues in a laissez- faire policy prescription, the holistic account is more problematic. Reconciling a holistic ontology with a reductionist policy prescription requires the intercalation of a black box, such as an evolutionary process or the invisible hand of a deity. (shrink)
Bunge (2000) distinguishes two main methodological approaches of holism and individualism, and associates with them policy prescriptions of centralism and laissez-faire. He identifies systemism as a superior approach to both the study and management of society. The present paper, seeking to correct and develop this line of thought, suggests a more complex relation between policy and methodology. There are two possible methodological underpinnings for laissez-faire: while writers such as Friedman and Lucas fit Bunge’s pattern, more sophisticated advocates of laissez-faire, such (...) as Smith and Hayek, base their policy prescription in a methodology quite divergent from the individualism Bunge describes. (shrink)
By means of a consideration of Whitman (1998) the present paper considers the meanings of ‘Panglossianism’ and the relation between group and individual levels in evolution. It establishes the connection between the Panglossian policy prescription of laissez-faire and the mistaken evolutionary theory of group selection. Analysis of the passages in Hayek cited by Whitman shows that, once these passages are taken in context, and once the appropriate meaning of the term ‘Panglossian’ has been clarified, they fail to defend Hayek from (...) this charge, but, on the contrary, confirm that Hayek was, indeed, ‘a Panglossian evolutionary theorist’. (shrink)
writings, however, reveals a profoundly medieval outlook. Smith is preoccupied with the need to preserve order in society. His scientific methodology emphasises reconciliation with the world we live in rather than investigation of it. He invokes a version of natural law in which the universe is a harmonious machine administered by a providential deity. Nobody is uncared for and, in real happiness, we are all substantially equal. No action is without its appropriate reward – in this life or the next. (...) The social desirability of individual self-seeking activity is ensured by the ‘invisible hand’, that is, the hand of a god who has moulded us so to behave, that the quantity of happiness in the world is always maximised. (shrink)
Many feminist philosophers have been highly critical of Kant’s ethics, either because of his rationalism or because of particular claims he makes about women in his writings on anthropology and political philosophy. In this paper, I call attention to the aspects of Kant’s ethical theory that make it attractive from a feminist standpoint. Kant’s duties to oneself are rich resource for feminism. These duties require women to act in ways that show respect for themselves as rational human agents by, e.g., (...) avoiding servility, self-deception, self-mutilation, and sexual self-degradation, and cultivating their natural talents (as well as their virtue). Duties to others demand that other people treat women respectfully by requiring that they avoid mocking, degrading, or acting arrogantly toward others. Indeed, even when one sets out to promote others’ happiness, Kant’s ethics requires that one not act paternalistically. Kant’s ethics insists that every rational agent recognize the equality and dignity of all rational agents. Thus, it pushes women to respect themselves and to demand respect from others; and it pushes men to respect women as a basic moral requirement. (shrink)
Kant claims that we have a duty to promote our own moral perfection, but not the moral perfection of others. I examine three types of argument for this asymmetry, as well as the implications of these arguments--and their success or failure--for Kantian theory. The arguments I consider say that (first) to promote others’ perfection is impossible; (second) to try to promote others’ perfection is impermissible; and (third) one cannot be obligated to promote both others’ perfection and one’s own. I argue (...) that none of these arguments establishes Kant’s conclusion. Since the formula of humanity grounds a duty to promote our own perfection out of respect for our rational nature, the absence of an argument denying that we must promote others’ perfection suggests that we must do so (out of respect for their rational nature). Even so, Kant’s theory discourages moral paternalism and takes perfection to be a primarily self-regarding project. Thus, I also show that a Kantian duty to promote the moral perfection of others would be unobjectionable, despite the problems such a duty might initially seem to invite. (shrink)
In a world of partially overlapping and partially conflicting interests there is good reason to doubt that self-seeking behaviour at the micro-level will spontaneously lead to desirable social outcomes at the macro-level. Nevertheless, some sophisticated economic writers advocating a laissez-faire policy prescription have proposed various 'invisible hand' mechanisms which can supposedly be relied upon to 'educe good from ill'. Smith defended the 'simple system of natural liberty' as giving the greatest scope to the unfolding of God's will and the working (...) out of 'natural' providential processes free of interference by 'artificial' state intervention - the expression not of divine order but of fallible human reason. Hayek, adopting a similar policy stance, based it in an evolutionary process in which those institutional forms best adapted to reconciling individual interests would, he believed, spontaneously be selected for in the inter-group struggle for survival. Keynes shares the holistic approach of Smith and Hayek, but without their reliance on invisible hand mechanisms. If spontaneous processes cannot be relied upon to generate desirable social outcomes then we have to take responsibility for achieving this ourselves by establishing the appropriate institutional framework. Keynes takes a historical view of the role of capitalism and analyses its pathology as rooted in what we would now refer to as a multi-player prisoners' dilemma. The paper draws out the significance of his methodological standpoint here. Keynes's policy standpoint assigns a critical role to his own class, the 'educated bourgeoisie' in the reform process he maps out. A distinction, but also an intimate connection, is highlighted between, on the one hand, micro-level individualism (the 'Manchester System, and, on the other, the macro-level collective action ('planning') required to preserve it. Finally Keynes is considered in relation to the themes of laissez-faire, holism, reductionism, providentialism and the invisible hand. (shrink)
Formal systems are standardly envisaged in terms of a grammar specifying well-formed formulae together with a set of axioms and rules. Derivations are ordered lists of formulae each of which is either an axiom or is generated from earlier items on the list by means of the rules of the system; the theorems of a formal system are simply those formulae for which there are derivations. Here we outline a set of alternative and explicitly visual ways of envisaging and analyzing (...) at least simple formal systems using fractal patterns of infinite depth. Progressively deeper dimensions of such a fractal can be used to map increasingly complex wffs or increasingly complex 'value spaces', with tautologies, contradictions, and various forms of contingency coded in terms of color. This and related approaches, it turns out, offer not only visually immediate and geometrically intriguing representations of formal systems as a whole but also promising formal links (1) between standard systems and classical patterns in fractal geometry, (2) between quite different kinds of value spaces in classical and infinite-valued logics, and (3) between cellular automata and logic. It is hoped that pattern analysis of this kind may open possibilities for a geometrical approach to further questions within logic and metalogic. (shrink)
This significant, stimulating contribution to Kantian practical philosophy strives to interpret Kant’s theory of action in ways that will increase readers’ understanding and appreciation of Kant’s moral theory. Its thesis is that Kant combines metaphysical freedom and psychological determinism: our actions within the phenomenal world are causally determined by our prior psychological states in that world and are appearances of our free action in the noumenal world. McCarty argues for a metaphysical, “two-worlds” interpretation of Kant’s transcendental distinction between appearances and (...) things in themselves over epistemological or methodological “two-standpoints” interpretations familiar from Christine Korsgaard. (shrink)
Zeno's paradoxes of motion and the semantic paradoxes of the Liar have long been thought to have metaphorical affinities. There are, in fact, isomorphisms between variations of Zeno's paradoxes and variations of the Liar paradox in infinite-valued logic. Representing these paradoxes in dynamical systems theory reveals fractal images and provides other geometric ways of visualizing and conceptualizing the paradoxes.
This paper explores how a virtuous Kantian agent would regard and express her sexuality. I argue both that Kant has a rich account of virtue, and that a virtuous Kantian agent should view her sexuality as a good thing–as an important aspect of her animal nature. On my view, the virtuous agent does not seek to suppress her sexuality, but rather to find modes and contexts for its expression that allow the agent to maintain her self-respect and to avoid degrading (...) others. The paper begins by considering reasons, grounded in Kant’s texts, why one might reasonably think that Kant has a pejorative view of sexuality, and only the thinnest account of virtue, to offer. I then aim to correct this picture by more carefully and fully exploring Kant’s work, putting his apparently negative comments about sex, and apparently narrow account of virtue, in their proper context. I also dispute—based on Kant’s own principles—some of Kant’s claims about homosexual sex and masturbation as violations of duties to oneself as an animal and moral being. Finally, I conclude the paper with an account of the virtuous Kantian agent’s proper attitude toward her sexuality. (shrink)
methodology both of neoclassical and Austrian economics, as well as other approaches, from New Keynesianism to analytical Marxism. Yet there is considerable controversy as to what the phrase means. Moreover, the methodologies of those to whom the theoretical practice of MI is ascribed differ profoundly on the status of the individual economic agent: economics.
Hayek’s Challenge is subtitled ‘an intellectual biography’ of Hayek, and the publisher describes it as ‘the first full intellectual biography’ of Hayek (front flap). But Caldwell himself appears to disagree: it was ‘never my goal’ to write ‘a comprehensive intellectual biography’ (177, note 10). Further, the book has a ‘secret title’: Caldwell’s Challenge (4). To assess what Caldwell has done, it is important to be very clear about what he was trying to do. Caldwell spells out in detail, in engaging (...) autobiographical passages, that his own interest is very much in the area of methodology; and.. (shrink)
Hayek Revisited consists of papers presented at four conferences held by the Ludwig von Mises Institute between 1993 and 1996 ‘in honour of Hayek’s] ideas’ xi), and, according to the front flap, the purpose of the volume is ‘to celebrate’, ‘to celebrate … and pay testament to’ Hayek’s contribution. The very first phrase of the Introduction speaks of “The awesome scope of..
The purpose of this paper is to discuss how women managers themselves interpret the factors that constrain and those that facilitate management careers for women. We will do this by first reviewing some of the interpretations that have been put forward in the academic literature to explain the relatively small number of women managers and particularly the small number of very senior women managers. In the light of these interpretations, we will examine the opinions of a sample of intermediate and (...) senior women managers in the public and private sectors in Ontario and Québec. More specifically we will look at their answers to questions about what blocks and what facilitates management careers for women generally and what obstacles they themselves have met. We will then compare their interpretations of their own career development with the interpretations that exist in the literature. (shrink)
The concept of equilibrium has long been a focus for dissent between orthodox and heterodox schools of thought in economics. The paper explores the meanings of ‘equilibrium’ and attempts to tease apart salient appropriate and inappropriate modes of deployment of the concept. Under far-from-equilibrium conditions, equilibrium is not even an approximate description of the condition of the system, but an abstraction – a state of affairs which might obtain should a process under consideration run to its conclusion. The order of (...) the system is viewed from this standpoint, not as an equilibrium, but as a temporary and ephemeral balance of forces, destined to be disturbed by the passage of time. A specific instance of the deployment of the concept of equilibrium by a neoclassical writer – Robert Lucas – is examined and the conclusion drawn that the concept has been hypostatised: an aspect of a process has been one-sidedly emphasised and substituted for the whole. The temporary is made permanent, and process subordinated to stasis, with clear apologetic results. The paper concludes by suggesting that this hypostatisation exemplifies the contrast between formal and dialectical modes of thought, and that it is in the application of a dialectical notion of equilibrium that the heterodoxy can make its most telling contribution. (shrink)
This significant, stimulating contribution to Kantian practical philosophy strives to interpret Kant’s theory of action in ways that will increase readers’ understanding and appreciation of Kant’s moral theory. Its thesis is that Kant combines metaphysical freedom and psychological determinism: our actions within the phenomenal world are causally determined by our prior psychological states in that world and are appearances of our free action in the noumenal world. McCarty argues for a metaphysical, “two-worlds” interpretation of Kant’s transcendental distinction between appearances and (...) things in themselves over epistemological or methodological “two-standpoints” interpretations familiar from Christine Korsgaard and Henry Allison. Some of the book’s arguments are textual, displaying perceptive readings of Kant’s lecture notes, published works, and philosophical influences. Others primarily concern the philosophical plausibility or moral tenability of various positions one might attribute to Kant. The book’s greatest strength is McCarty’s positive account of Kant’s theory of action. He presents a coherent, even elegant, two-worlds model. His interpretations of maxims, incentives, empirical character, and Gesinnung are insightful. (shrink)
Dans quelle mesure, et de quelle manière, la confrontation d’un texte à un corpus en modifie-t-elle l’analyse ? Symétriquement, de quelle approche du texte la constitution d’un corpus est-elle tributaire ? L’exemple du projet éditorial de L’Astrée, aux deux volets complémentaires (édition critique / site internet), permet d’ébaucher quelques réponses à ces questions qui engagent tout autant une méthodologie qu’un arrière-plan épistémologique. Cette contribution se réclame d’une philologie actualisée, soucieuse de tenir compte des nouveaux espaces de dialogue entre linguistique et (...) littérature. (shrink)
This note argues that the charge of reductionism levelled against Richard Dawkins is false. It does so by examining the development of his notion of the genes in his books The Selfish Gene (TSG), and The Extended Phenotype (TEP).
La connaissance que l’on s’évertue à faire avancer à l’intérieur des sphères hyperspécialisées doit-elle ou peut-elle servir également dans l’espace public? Tentant de répondre à cette question, cet essai explore les multiples visages de Maitreya, l’auteur d’un texte bouddhique de l’Inde du IVe siècle. Aussi étonnant que cela puisse paraître, la présence de Maitreya s’étend jusque dans l’espace public québécois actuel. Un tel constat amène à poser une réflexion critique sur le rôle des spécialistes dans l’espace public. On peut même (...) se demander si ces spécialistes, parfois même sans le savoir, n’y joueraient pas un rôle clef. (shrink)
The question of whether the phenomenon of passionate love is a natural phenomenon, as for naturalist psychologists, or rather a cultural product of Western civilization, was asked already by Nietzsche. This article deals with Denis de Rougemont’s essay L’amour et l’occident, in which the Swiss French intellectual answers the question decidedly in the sense of the second alternative. According to Rougement, passionate love finds its source in the movement of Catharism, which developed in Southern France in the 12th and (...) 13th centuries. Courtois love is expression of a transfigured love towards God combined with a gnostic disdain of the created world. The article also discusses the critiques that have been raised against Rougemont’s thesis, but emphasizes that Rougemont’s thesis has to be read at a higher level of explanatory abstraction than that of its critiques. (shrink)