This paper argues that existing food security and food sovereignty approaches are inadequate to fully understand contradictory human development, nutrition, and productivity trends in Nepalese small-scale agriculture. In an attempt to bridge this gap, we developed a new food wellbeing approach that combines insights from food security, food sovereignty, and social wellbeing perspectives. We used the approach to frame 65 semi-structured interviews in a cluster of villages in Kaski district in the mid-hills of Nepal on various aspects of food security, (...) agriculture, off-farm livelihood opportunities, and women’s wellbeing. Our results indicate that context-specific subjective and social relational factors highlighted by the food wellbeing approach are key to understanding a paradox of increased food security, yet decreasing sustainability of small-scale agriculture. Increased levels of male out-migration and opportunities for local off-farm work have increased local capacity to purchase food. The positive consequences for food security are indicated by evidence that households with non-farm income sources had better food sufficiency, absorption capacity, nutritional quality, and stability of food supply. These off-farm employment opportunities have also led to the greater involvement of low caste groups and women in small-scale agriculture. This has been empowering for both groups and led to an increase in wellbeing, particularly for those women who have become de facto heads of household. Yet, small landholdings, persistent patterns of unequal and absentee land ownership, sharecropping, women’s overwork, and the aspirations of low caste farmers and women away from agriculture are simultaneously driving the erosion of local small-scale agricultural productivity and ecological sustainability. (shrink)
In this article, we consider similarities and differences in emotion research on older adults and individuals with bipolar disorder (BD). Recent research and theory within both areas has focused on the importance of positive emotion, but the case of older adults is generally considered a case of “adaptive” positivity whereas BD is usually considered maladaptive positivity. We explore the paradox of the same phenomenon being labeled as adaptive in one group and yet maladaptive in another, with attention to commonalities and (...) distinctions between these two groups. We identify only limited areas of overlap, and suggest a refinement of models of positive emotionality in the two populations. (shrink)
Ad hominem arguments are generally dismissed on the grounds that they are not attempts to engage in rational discourse, but are rather aimed at undermining argument by diverting attention from claims made to assessments of character of persons making claims. The manner of this dismissal however is based upon an unlikely paradigm of rationality: it is based upon the presumption that our intellectual capacities are not as limited as in fact they are, and do not vary as much as they (...) do between rational people. When we understand rationality in terms of intellectual virtues, however, which recognize these limitations and provide for the complexity of our thinking, ad hominem considerations can sometimes be relevant to assessing arguments. (shrink)
Is experiential evidence irrelevant to acceptance or rejection of belief in the existence of a Divine Being? Charles Hartshorne answers that it is indeed irrelevant, and this answer has an initial and, for me, continuing surprising ring to it. Specifically, Hartshorne makes two distinguishable claims: the traditional allegedly a posteriori arguments, the teleological and cosmological, are in fact incompatible with empiricist methodology and are disguised ontological arguments; the conception of God as necessary being demands that belief in such a being's (...) existence or non-existence in no way depend upon empirical evidence. On the contrary, I shall argue, first, that empirical evidence for God is truly empirical and second, that there is no incompatibility between empirical evidence and necessary existence. My argument will involve an attempt to understand and clarify somewhat the very difficult concepts of ‘experience’ and ‘necessity’ as they arise in the context of religious epistemology. I wish to make clear at the outset that my aim is not to eliminate ontological arguments for God in favour of empirical arguments, for I believe that Hartshorne's work on the modal ontological argument contributes substantially to providing grounds for reasonable belief in theism. Rather, my purpose is to show that ontological and empirical patterns of theistic argumentation are neither incompatible with each other nor reducible to each other. (shrink)
Of all the kinds of arguments that philosophers use to support their conclusions, the one type that I find personally to stick longest and most vividly in my mind is the verbal pictures they occasionally draw. Whether this is a result of the fact that I myself think best in pictorial terms or, as I would rather like to believe, is a tribute to the verbal artistry of the writers themselves, it remains true that, for me, the history of philosophy (...) is punctuated with pictures, some pleasing and others perplexing. I need hardly mention Plato; with the Allegory of the Cave, the Myth of Er, the Charioteer of the Soul, and countless others he is beyond question the supreme master of the art. But other examples easily come to mind. I see Descartes seated in solitude before the fire in his dressing gown, suddenly to be surprised by a malignant demon, who appears at his shoulder to whisper insinuatingly into his ear that 2 plus 2 does not equal 4 at all. Or William James on a camping trip with friends trying to decide whether one of their number who keeps circling a tree on which a squirrel clings - and in turn circles the tree at equal speed, keeping the tree between him and his tormenter and never permitting the latter to get into a position behind his back - does or does not circle the squirrel, as he undoubtedly does circle the tree to which the squirrel clings. Or, I see G. E. Moore - and it is this picture that gives rise to the present paper - carefully contemplating two complete, independent, and quite different worlds, trying to decide which of the two is intrinsically better than the other. (shrink)
Drawing on philosophical thought from the eighteenth century as well as conceptual frameworks developed in the twenty-first century, the essays in Beyond Sense and Sensibility examine moral formation as represented in or implicitly produced by literary works of late eighteenth-century British authors.
Late 1980s economic theory failed to account for Japanese-style economies. Leading thinkers ignored the success and achievements of these systems by passing them off as exceptions due to “cultural uniqueness,” or by altering the facts to fit their theories. Chalmers Johnson argues that the success of the Japanese economy is neither random nor a function of culture but due to policy, particularly to Japanese industrial policy.
According to constitutive reductionism of Derek Parfit, a subject/person is not a separate existing being but his existence consists in the existence of a brain and body, performance of actions, thinking and occurrence of other physical and mental events. The identity of the subject in time comes down only to “Relation R” - mental consistency and/or connectedness – elicited by appropriate reasons. In the following article, I will try, relying on Frank Johnson's Knowledge Argument, to argue in favour (...) of the following conclusions: a person/subject is a “fact”irreducible to body and physical relations with the environment and a subject is something/”fact” non-reducible to mental occurrences. (shrink)
Derek Parfit has recently defended the view that no one can ever deserve to suffer. Were this view correct, its implications for the thorny problem of the justification of punishment would be extraordinary: age-old debates between consequentialists and retributivists would simply vanish, as punishment would only—and simply—be justifiable along Benthamite utilitarian lines. I here suggest that Parfit’s view is linked to uncharacteristically weak arguments, and that it ought to be rejected.
In this anthology, distinguished scholars--Thomas Nagel, T.M. Scanlon, John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Samuela Scheffler, Conrad D. Johnson, Bernard Williams, Peter Railton, Amartya Sen, Philippa Foot, and Derek Parfit-- debate arguments for and against the moral doctrine of consequentialism to present a complete view of this important topic in moral philosophy.
Phillip Johnson claims that Creationism is a better explanation of the existence and characteristics of biological species than is evolutionary theory. He argues that the only reason biologists do not recognize that Creationist's negative arguments against Darwinism have proven this is that they are wedded to a biased ideological philosophy —Naturalism — which dogmatically denies the possibility of an intervening creative god. However,Johnson fails to distinguish Ontological Naturalism from Methodological Naturalism. Science makes use of the latter and I (...) show how it is not dogmatic but follows from sound requirements for empirical evidential testing. Furthermore, Johnson has no serious alternative type of positive evidence to offer for Creationism, and purely negative argumentation, despite his attempt to legitimate it, will not suffice. (shrink)
In a recent article, David Kyle Johnson has claimed to have provided a ‘refutation’ of skeptical theism. Johnson’s refutation raises several interesting issues. But in this note, I focus on only one—an implicit principle Johnson uses in his refutation to update probabilities after receiving new evidence. I argue that this principle is false. Consequently, Johnson’s refutation, as it currently stands, is undermined.
Ralph Johnson's Manifest Rationality (2000) is a major contribution to the field of informal logic, but the concept of argument that is central to its project suffers from a tension between the components that comprise it. This paper explores and addresses that tension by examining the implications of each of five aspects of the definition of ‘argument’.
Derek Jarman’s Wittgenstein (1993) is one of the very few films made about a philosopher’s life. Almost a parody of a late twentieth-century art-house movie, it contains a mimetic performance by Karl Johnson in the title role, plus cameos by Michael Gough (Bertrand Russell) and the ubiquitous Tilda Swinton (Russell’s lover, Ottoline Morrell). There is a green Martian (played by Nabil Shaban) who quizzes the young Ludwig Wittgenstein, and a collection of handsome young men sitting on deckchairs, looking (...) puzzled and gazing adoringly at the Master. The action, such as it is, takes place against a theatrical black background with a few props, and the whole thing lasts a brisk seventy minutes... (shrink)
This article is a discussion of Ralph Johnson’s concept of practice of argumentation. Such practice is characterized by three properties: (1) It is teleological, (2) it is dialectical, and (3) it is manifestly rational. I argue that Johnson’s preferred definition of practice—which is Alasdair MacIntyre’s concept of practice as a human activity with internal goods accessible through partcipation in that same activity—does not fit these properties or features. I also suggest that this failure should not require Johnson (...) to adjust the properties to make them fit the practice concept. While MacIntyre’s concept of practice clearly has some attractive features, it does not provide what Johnson wants from a concept of practice. (shrink)
This paper responds to two aspects of Ralph Johnson's Manifest Rationality (2000). The first is his critique of deductivism. The second is his failure to make room for some species of argument (e.g., visual and kisceral arguments) proposed by recent commentators. In the first case, Johnson holds that argumentation theorists have adopted a notion of argument which is too narrow. In the second, that they have adopted one which is too broad. I discuss the case Johnson makes (...) for both claims, and possible objections to his analysis. (shrink)
In this first study of the role of scepticism in literature, Fred Parker offers a lively and stimulating introduction to key issues in eighteenth-century literature and philosophy. Parker traces the presence of sceptical thinking in works by Pope, Hume, Sterne, and Johnson, relates it more broadly to the social self-consciousness of eighteenth-century culture, and discusses its source in Locke and its inspiration in Montaigne.
This volume brings together some of the most well-known and highly respected commentators on the work of Jacques Derrida from Britain and America in a series of essays written to commemorate the life and come to terms with the death of one of the most important intellectual presences of our time. Derrida’s thought reached into nearly every corner of contemporary intellectual culture and the difference he has made is incalculable. He was indeed controversial but the astonishing originality of his work, (...) always marked by the care, precision and respect with which he read the work of others, leaves us with a philosophical, ethical and political legacy that will be both lasting and decisive. The sometimes personal, always insightful essays reflect on the multiple ways in which Derrida’s work has marked intellectual culture in general and the literary and philosophical culture of Britain and America in particular. The outstanding contributors offer an interdisciplinary view, investigating areas such as deconstruction, ethics, time, irony, technology, location and truth. This book provides a rich and faithful context for thinking about the significance of Derrida’s own work as an event that arrived and perhaps still remains to arrive in our time. Contributors: Derek Attridge, Thomas Baldwin, Geoffrey Bennington, Rachel Bowlby, Alex Callinicos, David E. Cooper, Simon Critchley, Robert Eaglestone, Simon Glendinning, Marian Hobson, Christopher Johnson, Peggy Kamuf, Michael Naas, Nicholas Royle. (shrink)
The purpose of the present article is to disentangle both Parfit’s and Whitehead’s views on personal identity. Issues regarding what it means to be a singular individual, how a person can remain the same over time, and what makes an individual an original being with specific characteristics will be examined.
Why informal logic? Informal logic is a group of proposals meant to contrast with, replace, and reject formal logic, at least for the analysis and evaluation of everyday arguments. Why reject formal logic? Formal logic is criticized and claimed to be inadequate because of its commitment to the soundness doctrine. In this paper I will examine and try to respond to some of these criticisms. It is not my aim to examine every argument ever given against formal logic; I am (...) limiting myself to those that, as a matter of historical fact, were instrumental in the replacement of formal logic by informal logic and initially established informal logic as a separate discipline. If the criticism of the soundness doctrine is defective, then the move from formal logic to informal logic was not theoretically well-motivated. It is this motivation that I wish to bring into question, rather than the adequacy or inadequacy of formal or informal logic as such. While I will tend to the view that formal logic is as adequate as it is reasonable to expect, the real issue is whether it is inadequate for the reasons that, as a matter of historical fact, were used to motivate its rejection. (shrink)
[Excerpt from first lines] In answer to a friend's query about my current pursuits, I hoisted Lakoff and Johnson's six-hundred-page magnum opus into his hands. "Reviewing this." Thoughtfully weighing the imposing book in one palm, he pronounced: " Philosophy in the Flesh? It needs to go on a diet!" I laughingly agreed, then in good philosopher's form analyzed his joke. He had conceived the book metaphorically as a person, as when we speak of books "inspiring" us or being "great (...) company" and even as being "fat" or "thin." His cleverness lay in perceiving a novel entailment of this metaphor: just as an overweight person may need to diet, a long book may need to be shortened. In addition, he used a conventional metaphor in which means are conceived as paths, thus one may "go on" a diet for the purpose of losing weight as one goes on a path toward a destination. All in the spirit of Lakoff and Johnson. "The question is clear," they say. "Do you choose empirical responsibility or a priori philosophical assumptions? Most of what you believe about philosophy and much of what you believe about life will depend on your answer". Choosing the path of empirical responsibility, we are primed to accept three central findings about the mind and language that have emerged from "second generation" cognitive science …. (shrink)
Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons (1984) mounted a striking defense of Act Consequentialism against a Rawls-inspired Kantian orthodoxy in moral philosophy. On What Matters (2011) is notable for its serious engagement with Kant's ethics and for its arguments in support of the “Triple Theory,” which allies Rule Consequentialism with Kantian and Scanlonian Contractualism against Act Consequentialism as a theory of moral right. This critical notice argues that what underlies this change is a view of the deontic concept of moral (...) rightness that ties it closely to blameworthiness and accountability in a way that effectively concedes a Rawlsian publicity condition. It is also argued that Parfit's arguments that Kantian and Scanlonian Contractualism entail Rule Consequentialism can be resisted. Two elements of Parfit's metaethics are critically discussed. First, concerning Parfit's arguments against subjectivist theories of practical reason, it is argued that a form of subjectivist theory exists that is not only consistent with Parfit's claim that all reasons for acting are object rather than state given, but that can support that claim. Second, it is argued that Parfit's arguments against identifying normative with natural statements and facts do not transfer seamlessly to identifying normative with natural properties. (shrink)
Can unilateral action be an effective response to global climate change? Baylor Johnson worries that a focus on unilateral action by individuals will detract from efforts to secure collective agreements to address the problem. Although Johnson and I agree that individuals have some obligation to reduce their personal emissions, we differ in the degree to which we see personal reductions as effective in spurring broader change. I argue that 'unilateral reductions' can have communicative value and that they can (...) change the structure of collective action problems, making such problems easier to solve. Since collective action problems are much less tractable where individuals abide by the tenets of traditional game theory and much more tractable where individuals are oriented to cooperate and to trust that others will reciprocate, we need moral norms that promote individual restraint in exploitation of the commons, and we ought ourselves to abide by those norms. (shrink)