ABSTRACT In this wide-ranging interview Professor Douglas V. Porpora discusses a number of issues. First, how he became a Critical Realist through his early work on the concept of structure. Second, drawing on his Reconstructing Sociology, his take on the current state of American sociology. This leads to discussion of the broader range of his work as part of Margaret Archer’s various Centre for Social Ontology projects, and on moral-macro reasoning and the concept of truth in political discourse.
Discussions of Karl Popper's falsificationist philosophy of science appear regularly in the recent literature on economic methodology. In this literature, there seem to be two fundamental points of agreement about Popper. First, most economists take Popper's falsificationist method of bold conjecture and severe test to be the correct characterization of scientific conduct in the physical sciences. Second, most economists admit that economic theory fails miserably when judged by these same falsificationist standards. As Latsis states, “the development of economic analysis would (...) look a dismal affair through falsificationist spectacles.”. (shrink)
If “perfectionism” in ethics refers to those normative theories that treat the fulfillment or realization of human nature as central to an account of both goodness and moral obligation, in what sense is “human flourishing” a perfectionist notion? How much of what we take “human flourishing” to signify is the result of our understanding of human nature? Is the content of this concept simply read off an examination of our nature? Is there no place for diversity and individuality? Is the (...) belief that the content of such a normative concept can be determined by an appeal to human nature merely the result of epistemological naiveté? What is the exact character of the connection between human flourishing and human nature? These questions are the ultimate concern of this essay, but to appreciate the answers that will be offered it is necessary to understand what is meant by “human flourishing.” “Human flourishing” is a relatively recent term in ethics. It seems to have developed in the last two decades because the traditional translation of the Greek term eudaimonia as “happiness” failed to communicate clearly that eudaimonia was an objective good, not merely a subjective good. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that Brad Hooker's rule-consequentialism implausibly implies that what earthlings are morally required to sacrifice for the sake of helping their less fortunate brethren depends on whether or not other people exist on some distant planet even when these others would be too far away for earthlings to affect.
Douglas proposes a new ideal in which values serve an essential function throughout scientific inquiry, but where the role values play is constrained at key points, protecting the integrity and objectivity of science.
In this engaging book, Douglas Anderson begins with the assumption that philosophy—the Greek love of wisdom—is alive and well in American culture. At the same time, professional philosophy remains relatively invisible. Anderson traverses American life to find places in the wider culture where professional philosophy in the distinctively American tradition can strike up a conversation. How might American philosophers talk to us about our religious experience, or political engagement, or literature—or even, popular music? Anderson’s second aim is to find (...) places where philosophy happens in nonprofessional guises—cultural places such as country music, rock’n roll, and Beat literature. He not only enlarges the tradition of American philosophers such as John Dewey and William James by examining lesser-known figures such as Henry Bugbee and Thomas Davidson, but finds the theme and ideas of American philosophy in some unexpected places, such as the music of Hank Williams, Tammy Wynette, and Bruce Springsteen, and the writingsof Jack Kerouac.The idea of “philosophy Americana” trades on the emergent genre of “music Americana,” rooted in traditional themes and styles yet engaging our present experiences. The music is “popular” but not thoroughly driven by economic considerations, and Anderson seeks out an analogous role for philosophical practice, where philosophy and popular culture are co-adventurers in the life of ideas. Philosophy Americana takes seriously Emerson’s quest for the extraordinary in the ordinary and James’s belief that popular philosophy can still be philosophy. (shrink)
A rational defense of the criminal law must provide a comprehensive theory of culpability. A comprehensive theory of culpability must resolve several difficult issues; in this article I will focus on only one. The general problem arises from the lack of a systematic account of relative culpability. An account of relative culpability would identify and defend a set of considerations to assess whether, why, under what circumstances, and to what extent persons who perform a criminal act with a given culpable (...) state are more or less blameworthy than persons who perform that act with a different culpable state. (shrink)
Commonsense Consequentialism is a book about morality, rationality, and the interconnections between the two. In it, Douglas W. Portmore defends a version of consequentialism that both comports with our commonsense moral intuitions and shares with other consequentialist theories the same compelling teleological conception of practical reasons. Broadly construed, consequentialism is the view that an act's deontic status is determined by how its outcome ranks relative to those of the available alternatives on some evaluative ranking. Portmore argues that outcomes should (...) be ranked, not according to their impersonal value, but according to how much reason the relevant agent has to desire that each outcome obtains and that, when outcomes are ranked in this way, we arrive at a version of consequentialism that can better account for our commonsense moral intuitions than even many forms of deontology can. What's more, Portmore argues that we should accept this version of consequentialism, because we should accept both that an agent can be morally required to do only what she has most reason to do and that what she has most reason to do is to perform the act that would produce the outcome that she has most reason to want to obtain.Although the primary aim of the book is to defend a particular moral theory, Portmore defends this theory as part of a coherent whole concerning our commonsense views about the nature and substance of both morality and rationality. Thus, it will be of interest not only to those working on consequentialism and other areas of normative ethics, but also to those working in metaethics. Beyond offering an account of morality, Portmore offers accounts of practical reasons, practical rationality, and the objective/subjective obligation distinction. (shrink)
I. Beyond Utilitarianism In the summer of 1982, I published an article called “Missiles and Morals,” in which I argued on utilitarian grounds that nuclear deterrence in its present form is not morally justifiable. The argument of “Missiles and Morals” compared the most likely sort of nuclear war to develop under nuclear deterrence with the most likely sort of nuclear war to develop under American unilateral nuclear disaramament. For a variety of reasons, I claimed diat the number of casualties in (...) a two-sided nuclear war developing under DET would be at least fifteen times greater than the number of casualties in a one-sided nuclear attack developing under UND. If one assumes that human lives lost or saved is the principal criterion by which nuclear weapons policies should be measured, it follows that DET is morally superior to UND on utilitarian grounds only if the chance of a two-sided nuclear war under DET is more than fifteen times less dian the chance of a one-sided nuclear attack under UND. Since I did not believe that the chance of nuclear war under deterrence is fifteen times less than the chance of nuclear war under unilateral nuclear disarmament, I inferred diat utilitaranism failed to justify DET. Indeed, on utilitarian grounds, DET stood condemned. (shrink)
Old philosophical problems never die, but they can be reinterpreted. In this paper, I offer a reinterpretation of the problem of reconciling divine omniscience and human free will. Classical discussions of this problem concentrate on the nature of God and the concept of free will. The present discussion will focus attention on the concept of knowledge, drawing on developments in epistemology that resulted from the posing of a certain problem by Edmund Gettier in 1963.
This book provides a systematic analysis of many common argumentation schemes and a compendium of 96 schemes. The study of these schemes, or forms of argument that capture stereotypical patterns of human reasoning, is at the core of argumentation research. Surveying all aspects of argumentation schemes from the ground up, the book takes the reader from the elementary exposition in the first chapter to the latest state of the art in the research efforts to formalize and classify the schemes, outlined (...) in the last chapter. It provides a systematic and comprehensive account, with notation suitable for computational applications that increasingly make use of argumentation schemes. (shrink)
Fundamentals of Critical Argumentation presents the basic tools for the identification, analysis, and evaluation of common arguments for beginners. The book teaches by using examples of arguments in dialogues, both in the text itself and in the exercises. Examples of controversial legal, political, and ethical arguments are analyzed. Illustrating the most common kinds of arguments, the book also explains how to evaluate each kind by critical questioning. Douglas Walton shows how arguments can be reasonable under the right dialogue conditions (...) by using critical questions to evaluate them. The book teaches by example, both in the text itself and in exercises, but it is based on methods that have been developed through the author's thirty years of research in argumentation studies. (shrink)
Properties and objects are everywhere, but remain a philosophical mystery. Douglas Ehring argues that the idea of tropes--properties and relations understood as particulars--provides the best foundation for a metaphysical account of properties and objects. He develops and defends a new theory of trope nominalism.
During the Gulf war, CNN correspondent Peter Arnett distinguished himself with its courageous reporting in Iraq while under fire by the U.S.-led coalition which dropped more bombs on Iraq than were unleashed in World War II. Reporting live from Baghdad throughout the war, Arnett provided vivid daily accounts of life in Iraq during one of the most sustained air attacks in history. From his live telephone reporting of the early hours of the U.S. attack on Iraq in January 1991 through (...) his live satellite reports of the effects of the daily bombing of Iraq, Arnett distinguished himself through his attempts to cut through the lies and disinformation of both sides and to provide accurate reporting on the effects of the U.S.-led coalition assault against Iraq. (shrink)
This is an introductory guide to the basic principles of constructing good arguments and criticizing bad ones. It is nontechnical in its approach, and is based on 150 key examples, each discussed and evaluated in clear, illustrative detail. The author explains how errors, fallacies, and other key failures of argument occur. He shows how correct uses of argument are based on sound argument strategies for reasoned persuasion and critical questions for responding. Among the many subjects covered are: techniques of posing, (...) replying to, and criticizing questions, forms of valid argument, relevance, appeals to emotion, personal attack, uses and abuses of expert opinion, problems in deploying statistics, loaded terms, equivocation, and arguments from analogy. (shrink)
Second edition of the introductory guidebook to the basic principles of constructing sound arguments and criticising bad ones. Non-technical in approach, it is based on 186 examples, which Douglas Walton, a leading authority in the field of informal logic, discusses and evaluates in clear, illustrative detail. Walton explains how errors, fallacies, and other key failures of argument occur. He shows how correct uses of argument are based on sound strategies for reasoned persuasion and critical responses. This edition takes into (...) account many developments in the field of argumentation study that have occurred since 1989, many created by the author. Drawing on these developments, Walton includes and analyzes 36 new topical examples and also brings in work on argumentation schemes. Ideally suited for use in courses in informal logic and introduction to philosophy, this book will also be valuable to students of pragmatics, rhetoric, and speech communication. (shrink)
A growing interest in and concern about the adequacy and fairness of modern peer-review practices in publication and funding are apparent across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Although questions about reliability, accountability, reviewer bias, and competence have been raised, there has been very little direct research on these variables.
Common sense realism, by E. G. Bewkes.--Theology and religious experience, by V. Ferm.--A reasoned faith, by G. F. Thomas.--Can religion become empirical? By J. S. Bixler.--Value theory and theology, by H. R. Niebuhr.--The truth in myths, by R. Niebuhr.--Is subjectivism in value theory compatible with realism and meliorism? By C. Krusé.--The semi-detached knower: a note on radical empiricism, by R. L. Calhoun.--The new scientific and metaphysical basis for epistemological theory, by F. S. C. Northrop.--A psychological approach to reality, by H. (...) Hartshorne.--A definition of religious liberalism, by D. S. Robinson. (shrink)
Recent work in artificial intelligence has increasingly turned to argumentation as a rich, interdisciplinary area of research that can provide new methods related to evidence and reasoning in the area of law. Douglas Walton provides an introduction to basic concepts, tools and methods in argumentation theory and artificial intelligence as applied to the analysis and evaluation of witness testimony. He shows how witness testimony is by its nature inherently fallible and sometimes subject to disastrous failures. At the same time (...) such testimony can provide evidence that is not only necessary but inherently reasonable for logically guiding legal experts to accept or reject a claim. Walton shows how to overcome the traditional disdain for witness testimony as a type of evidence shown by logical positivists, and the views of trial sceptics who doubt that trial rules deal with witness testimony in a way that yields a rational decision-making process. (shrink)
Husak's primary goal is to defend a set of constraints to limit the authority of states to enact and enforce criminal offenses. In addition, Husak situates this endeavor in criminal theory as traditionally construed. This book urges the importance of this topic in the real world, while most Anglo-American legal philosophers have neglected it.
The terms ``objectivity'''' and ``objective'''' are among the mostused yet ill-defined terms in the philosophy of science and epistemology. Common to all thevarious usages is the rhetorical force of ``I endorse this and you should too'''', orto put it more mildly, that one should trust the outcome of the objectivity-producing process.The persuasive endorsement and call to trust provide some conceptual coherenceto objectivity, but the reference to objectivity is hopefully not merely an attemptat persuasive endorsement. What, in addition to epistemological endorsement,does (...) objectivity carry with it? Drawing on recent historical and philosophical work,I articulate eight operationally accessible and distinct senses of objectivity.While there are links among these senses, providing cohesion to the concept, I argue thatnone of the eight senses is strictly reducible to the others, giving objectivity itsirreducible complexity. (shrink)
Media argumentation is a powerful force in our lives. From political speeches to television commercials to war propaganda, it can effectively mobilize political action, influence the public, and market products. This book presents a new and systematic way of thinking about the influence of mass media in our lives, showing the intersection of media sources with argumentation theory, informal logic, computational theory, and theories of persuasion. Using a variety of case studies that represent arguments that typically occur in the mass (...) media, Douglas Walton demonstrates how tools recently developed in argumentation theory can be usefully applied to the identification, analysis, and evaluation of media arguments. (shrink)
Modern analytic philosophy of religion has become increasingly interested in the dogmatic substances of Christian theology. I argue that the doctrine of the Trinity provides an instance of the importance of dogmatic formulation for an appreciation of the philosophical aspect of the Christian concept of God. The starting point of mydiscussion is the recent defence of pantheism by Michael Levine, and his discussion of Neoplatonist and German Idealist models of deity. Both metaphysical theism and the alleged Neoplatonic metaphysical genealogy of (...) pantheism are considered with particular reference to St Augustine's account of creation in the Confessions . Just as it is impossible to distinguish the purely philosophical from the purely dogmatic concept of God, one cannot give an adequate modern account of theism without a rigorous and sensitive treatment of the historical models. The issue of pantheism shows how a misunderstanding of the meaning of concept of ‘unity’ can distort our view of theism as a model of deity. (shrink)
Douglas N. Walton considers the question of whether the conventions of informal conversation can be articulated more precisely than they are at present. Specifically, he addresses the problem of the fallacy of ad hominem argumentation as it occurs in natural settings. Can rules be formulated to determine if criticisms of apparent hypocrisy in an argument are defensible or refutable? Walton suggests that they can, and ultimately defends the thesis that ad hominem reasoning is not fallacious per se. He carries (...) his analysis to the core of action--theoretic reasoning--by examining a number of specimen arguments. As suggested by the title, the conclusion of ad hominem argument is demonstrated to be relative to the arguer's position. In the appendixes of the book, articles by Gerald McAuliffe and Gordon R. Lowe illustrate vivid and powerful cases in which Walton's contentions are put to the test. (shrink)
These essays engage Jin Y. Park’s recent translation of the work of Kim Iryŏp, a Buddhist nun and public intellectual in early twentieth-century Korea. Park’s translation of Iryŏp’s Reflections of a Zen Buddhist Nun was the subject of two book panels at recent conferences: the first a plenary session at the annual meeting of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy and the second at the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association on a group program session sponsored by the (...) International Society for Buddhist Philosophy. This exchange also includes a response from Park. (shrink)
This book examines three areas in which abductive reasoning is especially important: medicine, science, and law. The reader is introduced to abduction and shown how it has evolved historically into the framework of conventional wisdom in logic. Discussions draw upon recent techniques used in artificial intelligence, particularly in the areas of multi-agent systems and plan recognition, to develop a dialogue model of explanation. Cases of causal explanations in law are analyzed using abductive reasoning, and all the components are finally brought (...) together to build a new account of abductive reasoning. By clarifying the notion of abduction as a common and significant type of reasoning in everyday argumentation, _Abductive Reasoning_ will be useful to scholars and students in many fields, including argumentation, computing and artificial intelligence, psychology and cognitive science, law, philosophy, linguistics, and speech communication and rhetoric. (shrink)
Traditional scholars of philosophy and religion, both East and West, often place a major emphasis on analyzing the nature of “the self.” In recent decades, there has been a renewed interest in analyzing self, but most scholars have not claimed knowledge of an ahistorical, objective, essential self free from all cultural determinants. The contributors to this volume recognize the need to contextualize specific views of self and to analyze such views in terms of the dynamic, dialectical relations between self and (...) culture.An unusual feature of this book is that all of the chapters not only focus on traditions and individuals, East and West, but include as primary emphases comparative philosophy, religion, and culture, reinforcing individual and cultural creativity. Each chapter brings specific Eastern and Western perspectives into a dynamic, comparative relation. This comparative orientation emphasizes our growing sense of interrelatedness and interdependency. Culture and Self includes many Asian and Western philosophical, religious, and cultural perspectives. Chapters focus on Vedanta, Samkhya-Yoga, and other Hindu approaches, as well as Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist and other Indian, Chinese, and Japanese perspectives. Studies present Cartesian and other dominant Western perspectives, as well as Marx, Nietzsche, Sartre, feminism, and other Western challenges to the dominant Western interpretations of culture and self.This volume will appeal to students and readers of philosophy, religious studies, Asian studies, and cultural studies. (shrink)
It is plausible that we have moral reasons to become better at conforming to our moral reasons. However, it is not always clear what means to greater moral conformity we should adopt. John Harris has recently argued that we have reason to adopt traditional, deliberative means in preference to means that alter our affective or conative states directly—that is, without engaging our deliberative faculties. One of Harris’ concerns about direct means is that they would produce only a superficial kind of (...) moral improvement. Though they might increase our moral conformity, there is some deeper kind of moral improvement that they would fail to produce, or would produce to a lesser degree than more traditional means. I consider whether this concern might be justified by appeal to the concept of moral worth. I assess three attempts to show that, even where they were equally effective at increasing one’s moral conformity, direct interventions would be less conducive to moral worth than typical deliberative alternatives. Each of these attempts is inspired by Kant’s views on moral worth. Each, I argue, fails. (shrink)
Does criminal liability require an act? -- Motive and criminal liability -- The costs to criminal theory of supposing that intentions are irrelevant to permissibility -- Transferred intent -- The nature and justifiability of nonconsummate offenses -- Strict liability, justice, and proportionality -- The sequential principle of relative culpability -- Willful ignorance, knowledge, and the equal culpability thesis : a study of the significance of the principle of legality -- Rapes without rapists : consent and reasonable mistake -- Mistake of (...) law and culpability -- On the supposed priority of justification to excuse -- Partial defenses -- The "but everybody does that!" defense -- The de minimis "defense" to criminal liability -- Why punish the deserving -- Malum prohibitum and retributivism -- Already punished enough. (shrink)
This book offers a new theory of begging the question as an informal fallacy, within a pragmatic framework of reasoned dialogue as a normative theory of critical argumentation. The fallacy of begging the question is analyzed as a systematic tactic to evade fulfillment of a legitimate burden of proof by the proponent of an argument. The technique uses a circular structure of argument to block the further progress of dialogue and, in particular, the capability of the respondent to ask legitimate (...) critical questions in reply to the argument. Walton analyzes the concept of burden of proof in argument, and provides chapters on the use of argument diagramming as a technique of argument reconstruction. This powerful method of argument analysis developed therein is then applied to more than 100 case studies of circular argumentation where the charge of begging the question is or has been thought to be an appropriate criticism. Throughout this work, Walton throws light on the relationship between the problem of circular reasoning and broader issues in the critical analysis of argumentation. Ground-breaking use is made of the pragmatic theory of argument as interactive dialogue. Rules for several kinds of dialogue framework provide standards of good reasoning to validate or to refute the criticism that a particular argument begs the question. This book is directed to students and professionals in the fields of speech communication, philosophy, linguistics, logic, dispute mediation, and education. (shrink)
The world is populated with many different objects, to which we often attribute properties: we say, for example, that grass is green, that the earth is spherical, that humans are animals, and that murder is wrong. We also take it that these properties are things in their own right: there is something in which being green, or spherical, or an animal, or wrong, consists, and that certain scientific or normative projects are engaged in uncovering the essences of such properties. In (...) light of this, an important question arises: what kind of things should we take properties themselves to be? -/- In Properties, Douglas Edwards gives an engaging, accessible, and up-to-date introduction to the many theories of properties available. Edwards charts the central positions in the debate over properties, including the views that properties are universals, that properties are constructed from tropes, and that properties are classes of objects, and assesses the benefits and disadvantages of each. Attempts to deny the existence of properties are also considered, along with ‘pluralist’ proposals, which aim to accommodate the different kinds of properties that are found in various philosophical debates. -/- Properties is the ideal introduction to this topic and will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students wishing to learn more about the important roles that properties have played, and continue to play, in contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
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