Georgia Warnke has recently criticized Richard Rorty's claim that appropriation of Gadamer's work supports Rorty's position that hermeneutics aims not at truth but at ?edification?. On Warnke's view, however, Gadamer's work suggests that hermeneutical understanding necessarily involves the search for truth and consensus. But such an opposition between Rorty's and Gadamer's hermeneutics on this issue can be seen as primarily a matter of their intentions rather than of their actual explications of hermeneutics, which, when investigated, disclose dangers of both relativism (...) and dogmatism. Rorty's work seems to require, against his intentions, a concept of validity. Gadamer's hermeneutics, when analyzed in terms of three key themes discussed by Warnke ? prejudice and tradition, the anticipation of completeness, and the fusion of horizons ? yields no coherent account of ?truth? without a kind of ?bias? in favor of the hermeneutical ?object?. We still await an adequate account of validity in hermeneutical understanding. (shrink)
This article seeks to document the latest danger in the opioid crisis: fentanyl and related synthetic opioids. Fifty times more potent than pure heroin, cheaper to manufacture in laboratories worldwide, and easily distributed by mail and couriers, fentanyl is flooding the illicit opioid markets throughout the country.
This article examines how federal law enforcement has responded to the opioid epidemic nationally and in a variety of locales. We focus in depth on two initiatives, including prosecution in opioid-death cases, undertaken by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Connecticut.
Benefit/cost analysis is a technique for evaluating programs, procedures, and actions; it is not a moral theory. There is significant controversy over the moral justification of benefit/cost analysis. When a procedure for evaluating social policy is challenged on moral grounds, defenders frequently seek a justification by construing the procedure as the practical embodiment of a correct moral theory. This has the apparent advantage of avoiding difficult empirical questions concerning such matters as the consequences of using the procedure. So, for example, (...) defenders of benefit/cost analysis are frequently tempted to argue that this procedure just is the calculation of moral Tightness – perhaps that what it means for an action to be morally right is just for it to have the best benefit-to-cost ratio given the accounts of “benefit” and “cost” that BCA employs. They suggest, in defense of BCA, that they have found the moral calculus – Bentham's “unabashed arithmetic of morals.” To defend BCA in this manner is to commit oneself to one member of a family of moral theories and, also, to the view that if a procedure is the direct implementation of a correct moral theory, then it is a justified procedure. Neither of these commitments is desirable, and so the temptation to justify BCA by direct appeal to a B/C moral theory should be resisted; it constitutes an unwarranted short cut to moral foundations – in this case, an unsound foundation. Critics of BCA are quick to point out the flaws of B/C moral theories, and to conclude that these undermine the justification of BCA. But the failure to justify BCA by a direct appeal to B/C moral theory does not show that the technique is unjustified. There is hope for BCA, even if it does not lie with B/C moral theory. (shrink)
Like many people these days, I believe there is no general moral obligation to obey the law. I shall explain why there is no such moral obligation – and I shall clarify what I mean when I say there is no moral obligation to obey the law – as we proceed. But also like many people, I am unhappy with a position that would say there was no moral obligation to obey the law and then say no more about the (...) law's moral significance. In our thinking about law in a resonably just society, we have a strong inclination to invest law with a sort of moral halo. It does not feel right to suggest that law is a morally neutral social fact, nor to suggest that law is merely a useful social technique. In this essay, I shall try to account in part for law's moral halo. Because I share the widespread inclination to invest law with this halo, I shall not be interested in a merely historical account of how we come to see law with a halo – a pure “error theory” of law's halo, if you will. I want to justify the halo. On the other hand, the main way to justify the halo is to get clear just what law's moral significance is. It is unlikely that at the end of the process of clarification the halo will have exactly the shape or luminance that it had at the beginning. (shrink)
The concept of metaphor as primarily a vehicle for conveying ideas, even if unusual ones, seems to me as wrong as the parent idea that a metaphor has a special meaning. I agree with the view that metaphors cannot be paraphrased, but I think this is not because metaphors say something too novel for literal expression but because there is nothing there to paraphrase. Paraphrase, whether possible or not, inappropriate to what is said: we try, in paraphrase, to say it (...) another way. But if I am right, a metaphor doesn't say anything beyond its literal meaning . This is not, of course, to deny that a metaphor has a point, nor that that point can be brought out by using further words. . . . My disagreement is with the explanation of how metaphor works its wonders. To anticipate: I depend on the distinction between what words mean and what they are used to do. I think metaphor belongs exclusively to the domain of use. It is something brought off by the imaginative employment of words and sentences and depends entirely on the ordinary meanings of those words and hence on the ordinary meanings of the sentences they comprise. Donald Davidson is University Professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago. He is the author of many important essays, including "Actions, Reasons and Causes," "Causal Relations," and "Truth and Meaning," coauthor of Decision-Making: An Experimental Approach, and coeditor of Words and Objections, Semantics of Natural Language, and The Logic of Grammar. (shrink)
John Maynard Keynes, in a biographical essay that is as remarkable for the insight it provides into his own thinking as for what it says about its subject, described the trajectory of Malthus's intellectual career as follows: ‘from being a caterpillar of a moral scientist and chrysalis of an historian, he could at last spread the wings of his thought and survey the world as an economist’. Malthus himself had resisted this conclusion in the introduction to his Principles of Political (...) Economy — meant as a riposte to David Ricardo's way of proceeding — when he stated that ‘the science of political economy bears a nearer resemblance to the science of morals and politics than to that of mathematics’. For understandable reasons, however, some modern economists find Keynes's characterization more attractive, particularly when it also allows them to regret the fact that the free flight of the positive economist in Malthus was often impeded by historical and moral residues left over from earlier existences. By adopting this position they are able to discount awkward problems relating to the historical origins and professional identity of their discipline — those problems connected with Malthus's religious beliefs and theological standpoint that have to be confronted when his explicit claims as a Christian moral scientist are taken seriously. Lack of sympathy on the part of economists when faced with the moral and theological dimensions of Malthus's writings has a long history that goes back to Ricardo, who criticized his friend's confusion, as he saw it, of moral and economic considerations. James Mill, as always, was more outspoken in regretting the intellectual fetters that inevitably went with Malthus's clerical status. Some economic demographers, in modern times, have also criticized Malthus for intermingling ‘moralistic and scientific aims almost inextricably’, thereby imparting what they regard as an untestable or tautological air to his exposition of the population principle. (shrink)
Problems of Rationality is the eagerly awaited fourth volume of Donald Davidson 's philosophical writings. From the 1960s until his death in August 2003 Davidson was perhaps the most influential figure in English-language philosophy, and his work has had a profound effect upon the discipline. His unified theory of the interpretation of thought, meaning, and action holds that rationality is a necessary condition for both mind and interpretation. Davidson here develops this theory to illuminate value judgements and how we (...) understand them; to investigate what the conditions are for attributing mental states to an object or creature; and to grapple with the problems presented by thoughts and actions which seem to be irrational. Anyone working on knowledge, mind, and language will find these essays essential reading. (shrink)
Ernest Lepore and Kirk Ludwig present the definitive critical exposition of the philosophical system of Donald Davidson. Davidson 's ideas had a deep and broad influence in the central areas of philosophy; he presented them in brilliant essays over four decades, but never set out explicitly the overarching scheme in which they all have their place. Lepore's and Ludwig's book will therefore be the key work, besides Davidson 's own, for understanding one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth (...) century. (shrink)
The work of Donald Davidson (1917-2003) transformed the study of meaning. Ernie Lepore and Kirk Ludwig, two of the world's leading authorities on Davidson's work, present the definitive study of his widely admired and influential program of truth-theoretic semantics for natural languages, giving an exposition and critical examination of its foundations and applications.
Truth, Language, and History is the much-anticipated final volume of Donald Davidson's philosophical writings. In four groups of essays, Davidson continues to explore the themes that occupied him for more than fifty years: the relations between language and the world; speaker intention and linguistic meaning; language and mind; mind and body; mind and world; mind and other minds. He asks: what is the role of the concept of truth in these explorations? And, can a scientific world view make room (...) for human thought without reducing it to something material and mechanistic? Including a new introduction by his widow, Marcia Cavell, this volume completes Donald Davidson's colossal intellectual legacy. (shrink)
Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective is the long-awaited third volume of philosophical writings by Donald Davidson, whose influence on philosophy since the 1960s has been deep and broad. Davidson 's first two collections, published by OUP in the early 1980s, are recognized as contemporary classics. His ideas have continued to flow, and now he presents a selection of his best work on knowledge, mind, and language from the last two decades--a rich and rewarding feast for anyone interested in philosophy today, and (...) essential reading for anyone working on these topics. (shrink)
Donald Davidson has prepared a new edition of his classic 1980 collection of Essays on Actions and Events, including two additional essays. In this seminal investigation of the nature of human action, Davidson argues for an ontology which includes events along with persons and other objects. Certain events are identified and explained as actions when they are viewed as caused and rationalized by reasons; these same events, when described in physical, biological, or physiological terms, may be explained by appeal (...) to natural laws. The mental and the physical thus constitute irreducibly discrete ways of explaining and understanding events and their causal relations. -/- Among the topics discussed are: freedom to act; weakness of the will; the logical form of talk about actions, intentions, and causality; the logic of practical reasoning; Hume's theory of the indirect passions; and the nature and limits of decision theory. The introduction, cross-references, and appendices emphasize the relations between the essays and explain how Davidson's views have developed. -/- . (shrink)
In the never-ending debate about the scope and limits of science, the hottest argument now centres on the scientific study of man himself. Can there be a science of man at all, in any comprehensive sense? Or is the idea in some way ultimately self-defeating, like that of pulling oneself up by one's own shoelaces? My purpose in this paper is not to venture a direct answer to this ticklish question, but rather to highlight one or two desirable characteristics of (...) a science which I think must inevitably be lacking in any attempt to turn the scientific spotlight upon ourselves. Whether we call the attainable residue by the name of ‘science’ is less important than that we see clearly what not to expect of it. (shrink)
This bold and brilliant book asks the ultimate question of the life sciences: How did the human mind acquire its incomparable power? In seeking the answer, Merlin Donald traces the evolution of human culture and cognition from primitive apes to the era of artificial intelligence, and presents an original theory of how the human mind evolved from its presymbolic form. In the emergence of modern human culture, Donald proposes, there were three radical transitions. During the first, our bipedal (...) but still apelike ancestors acquired "mimetic" skill—the ability to represent knowledge through voluntary motor acts—which made Homo erectus successful for over a million years. The second transition—to "mythic" culture —coincided with the development of spoken language. Speech allowed the large-brained Homo sapiens to evolve a complex preliterate culture that survives in many parts of the world today. In the third transition, when humans constructed elaborate symbolic systems ranging from cuneiforms, hieroglyphics, and ideograms to alphabetic languages and mathematics, human biological memory became an inadequate vehicle for storing and processing our collective knowledge. The modern mind is thus a hybrid structure built from vestiges of earlier biological stages as well as new external symbolic memory devices that have radically altered its organization. According to Donald, we are symbol-using creatures, more complex than any that went before us, and we may have not yet witnessed the final modular arrangement of the human mind. (shrink)
Donald Davidson is unquestionably one of America's greatest living philosophers. His influence on Anglo-American philosophy over the last twenty years has been enormous, and his work is an unavoidable reference point in current debates in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. This book offers a systematic and accessible introduction to Davidson's work. Evnine begins by discussing Davidson's contribution to the philosophy of mind, including his views on action, events and causation. He then examines Davidson's work in (...) the philosophy of language. The link between meaning and truth, radical interpretation, and semantic holism are considered in detail. The final chapters deal with the metaphysical aspects of Davidson's work and seek to assess his philosophical project as a whole. (shrink)
SummaryNeither an infant one week old nor a snail is a rational creature. If the infant survives long enough, he will probably become rational, while this is not true of the snail. If we like, we may say of the infant from the start that he is a rational creature because he will probably become rational if he survives, or because he belongs to a species with this capacity. Whichever way we talk, there remains the difference, with respect to rationality, (...) between the infant and the snail on one hand, and the normal adult person on the other; this difference is discussed here.The difference consists, it is argued, in the having of propositional attitudes such as belief, desire, intention and shame. This raises the question how to tell when a creature has propositional attitudes; snails, we may agree, do not, but how about dogs or chimpanzees? The question is not empirical; the question is what sort of empirical evidence is relevant to deciding when a creature has propositional attitudes.It is next contended that language is a necessary concomitant of any of the propositional attitudes. This idea is not new, but there seem to be few arguments in its favor in the literature; one is attempted here.Crucial to the considerations advanced is the idea that belief depends on having the concept of objective truth, and that this comes only with language.RéuméNi un bébé d'une semaine, ni un serpent ne sont des créatures rationnelles. Si le bébé survit assez longtemps, il deviendra probablement rationnel, mais ce n'est pas vrai pour le serpent. Sil'on veut, on peut dire d'emblee du bébé qu'il est une créature rationnelle parce qu'il le deviendra s'il survit ou parce qu'il appartient à une espèce qui possède cette faculté. Quoi qu'on dise, la différence subsiste, en ce qui concerné la rationalité, entre le bébé et le serpent d'une part, la per‐sonne adulte normale de lcar;autre, et c'est cette différence qui sera discutée ici.La différence consiste, selon l'auteur, en une capacityé d'avoir des attitudes propositionnelles telles que la croyance, le désir, l'intention et la honte. Ceci pose la question de savoir quand on peut dire qu'une créature a des attitudes propositionnelles; on peut se mettre d'accord sur le fait que les serpents n'en ont pas, mais qu'en est‐il des chiens et des chimpanzés? La question n'est pas empirique, elle est de savoir quelle donnée empirique va décider si oui ou non une créature a des attitudes propositionnelles.L'auteur prétend que les attitudes propositionnelles s'accompagnent nécessairement du langage. Cette idèe n'est pas nouvelle, mais il semble qu'il y a peu d'arguments qui la soutiennent dans la littérature. On en trouvera un ici, où l'on montre qu'un élément crucial de a croyance dépend de l'acquisition du concept de vérité objective, qui ne se développe qu'avec le langage.ZusammenfassungWeder ein eine Woche altes Kind noch eine Schlange sind rationale Wesen. Wenn das Kind lange genug überlebt, wird es sich wahrscheinlich zu einem vernünftigen Wesen entwickeln, wäh‐rend das für die Schlange nicht zutrifft. Wenn wir wollen, können wir vom Kind sagen, dass es von Anfang an cin rationales Wesen ist, weil es im Fallc des Ubcrlebens vernünftig werden wird oder weil es zu einer Spezies mit dieser Fähigkeit gehört. Wie auch immer wir das ausdrücken, bleibt bezüglich der Rationalität der Unterschied zwischen dem Kind und der Schlange einerseits und der erwachsenen Person andererseits zurück. Dieser Unterschied wird hier diskutiert.Es wird argumentiert, dass der Unterschied in der Fähigkeit besteht, psychologische Haltun‐gen wie Glauben, Begierden, Absichten und Scham zu haben. Damit erhebt sich die Frage, wie man entscheiden kann, wann ein Wesen solchc Einstellungcn hat; Schlangen, wird man zugeben, haben keine; wie steht es aber mit Hunden Oder Schimpansen? Die Frage ist keine empirische, sondern betrifft die Frage, welche Art von empirischen Belegen für den Entscheid relevant ist, ob ein Wesen derartige Einstellungen hat.Es wird die These aufgestellt, dass Sprachen ein notwendiger Begleitumstand einer jeglichen propositionalen Haltung ist. Der Gedanke ist zwar nicht neu, aber es finden sich wenige Argu‐mente zu seiner Stützung in der Literatur; eines wird hier ausgeführt.Entscheidend für die vorgelegten Betrachtungen ist die Auffassung, wonach Glaube vom Begriff der objektiven Wahrheit abhängt, und dieser kommt erst mit der Sprache. (shrink)
Martin Hollis, in the introduction to the collection of Rationality and Relativism he edited recently with Steven Lukes, describes himself as the most arch of arch rationalists, “by which we mean, merely, that [we] reject the forthright relativization of truth and reason.” You might suppose that his self-description would place him unambiguously in the army of traditionalists arrayed against what Richard Rorty fondly calls the New Fuzzies. You might suppose, then, that Hollis would indulge in furious letter writing to, say, (...) Harper's, telling us that “we need to stand shoulder to shoulder against the growing army of enemies of rationality. By that I mean the followers of the fashionable cult of absolute relativism, emerging from philosophy, linguistics, semiotics, and deconstructionism.” You might suppose that he would go on in this way equivocating between “rationality” and “rationalism,” identifying the people he dislikes with the enemies of civilization: fascists, Stalinists, bikers, bomb throwing nihilists — Richard Rorty and Wayne Booth and Stephen Toulmin riding into town on their Harley- Davidsons, spurning warrants for belief and good reasons, reading pornographic comic books, and snarling at the townsfolk huddled behind the local syllogism. (shrink)
D. In doing x an agent acts incontinently if and only if: 1) the agent does x intentionally; 2) the agent believes there is an alternative action y open to him; and 3) the agent judges that, all things considered, it would be better to do y than to do x.
J. E. Malpas discusses and develops the ideas of Donald Davidson, influential in contemporary thinking on the nature of understanding and meaning, and of truth and knowledge. He provides an account of Davidson's holistic and hermeneutical conception of linguistic interpretation, and, more generally, of the mind. Outlining its Quinean origins and the elements basic to Davidson's Radical Interpretation, J. E. Malpas' book goes on to elaborate this holism and to examine the indeterminacy of interpretation and the principle of charity. (...) The metaphysical and epistemological consequences of Davidson's approach are considered, particularly in relation to scepticism and relativism, the realist/anti-realist debate, and the problem of truth. Parallels are drawn between the Davidsonian emphasis on the centrality of the notion of truth and Heidegger's notion of truth as aletheia, as the book looks to structuralist, hermeneutical and phenomenological sources to illuminate Davidson's position. (shrink)
Donald Davidson's work has been of seminal importance in the development of analytic philosophy and his views on the nature of language, mind and action remain the starting point for many of the central debates in the analytic tradition. His ideas, however, are complex, often technical, and interconnected in ways that can make them difficult to understand. This introduction to Davidson's philosophy examines the full range of his writings to provide a clear succinct overview of his ideas. This book (...) begins with an account of the assumptions and structure of Davidson's philosophy of language, introducing his compositionalism, extensionalism and commitment to a Tarski-style theory of truth as the model for theories of meaning. It goes on to show how that philosophical framework is to be applied and how it challenges the traditional picture. Marc Joseph examines Davidson's influential work on action theory and events and discusses the commonly made charge that his theory of action and mind leaves the mental as a mere 'epiphenomenon' of the physical. The final section explores Davidson's philosophy of mind, some of its consequences for traditional views of subjectivity and objectivity and, more generally, the relation between minded beings and the physical and mental world they occupy. (shrink)