In March 1603 the mortal remains of Queen Elizabeth I, against her stated wishes, were ‘opened’ to enable their temporary preservation until arrangements for her funeral could be completed. That post-mortem office was performed by members of the Worshipful Company of Barber-Surgeons of London, to whom her father had first granted a royal warrant to retrieve executed felons from the public gallows for their ‘better learning’ through lectures in anatomical dissection. In this article, portraiture of Elizabeth that (...) appeals to the notion of her as an embodiment of the sovereign state of England is compared with a contemporary portrait of an anatomy lesson being performed by the Barber-Surgeons, drawing connections between the dissection of felons under sovereign law and the violability of the sovereign body in the liminal period between her death and the delayed formalities of ascension for James I. (shrink)
Many problems of inequality in developing countries resist treatment by formal egalitarian policies. To deal with these problems, we must shift from a distributive to a relational conception of equality, founded on opposition to social hierarchy. Yet the production of many goods requires the coordination of wills by means of commands. In these cases, egalitarians must seek to tame rather than abolish hierarchy. I argue that bureaucracy offers important constraints on command hierarchies that help promote the equality of workers in (...) bureaucratic organizations. Bureaucracy thus constitutes a vital if limited egalitarian tool applicable to developing and developed countries alike. (shrink)
The polarization of the individual and the community that underlies much of the debate between individualists and communitarians is made possible in part by the literal vanishingof civil society—the domain whose middling terms mediate the stark opposition of state and private sectors and offer women and men a space for activity that is both voluntary and public. Modern democratic ideology and the reality of our political practices sometimesseem to yield only a choice between elephantine and paternalistic government or a radically (...) solipsistic and nearly anarchic private market sector—overnment gargantuanism or private greed. Americans do not much like either one. President Clinton's callfor national service draws us out of our selfishness without kindling any affection for government. Private markets service our avarice without causing us to like ourselves. The question of how America's decentralized and multi-vocal public can secure a coherentvoice in debates over public policy under the conditions precipitated by so hollow and disjunctive a dichotomy is perhaps the most important issue facing both the political theory and social science of democracy and the practice of democratic politics in America today. Two recent stories out of Washington suggest just how grave the situation has become. Health-care reform failed in a paroxysm of mutual recrimination highlighted by the successful campaign of the private sector against a presidential program that seemed to be widely misunderstood. The public at large simply went missing in the debates. (shrink)
In his article ‘Saints and Heroes’, Urmson argues that traditional moral theories allow at most for a threefold classification of actions in terms of their worth, and that they are therefore unsatisfactory. Since the conclusion of his argument has led to the widespread use of the term ‘acts of supererogation’, and since I do not believe that such acts exist, I propose to argue that the actions with which he is concerned not only can, but should, be contained within the (...) traditional classification. (shrink)
This volume presents a selection of new articles examining the state of Irish philosophy during the lifetime of Ireland's most famous philosopher, Bishop George Berkeley (1685-1753). The thinkers examined include Berkeley, Robert Boyle, William King, William Molyneux, Robert Molesworth, Peter Browne, Jonathan Swift, John Toland, Thomas Prior, Samuel Madden, Arthur Dobbs, Francis Hutcheson, Mary Barber, Constantia Grierson, Laetitia Pilkington, Elizabeth Sican, and John Austin. This interdisciplinary collection includes attention both to local Irish concerns and to Ireland's relation to (...) the broader European context, and discusses philosophical reflections on topics as diverse as religion, economics, laughter, and motherhood. (shrink)
A common justification for retributive views of punishment is the idea that injustice is intolerable and must be answered. For instance F. H. Bradley writes: Why … do I merit punishment? It is because I have been guilty. I have done ‘wrong’… Now the plain man may not know what he means by ‘wrong’, but he is sure that, whatever it is, it ‘ought’ not to exist, that it calls and cries for obliteration; that, if he can remove it, it (...) rests also upon him, and that the destruction of guilt, whatever be the consequences, and even if there be no consequences at all, is still a good in itself; and this, not because a mere negation is a good, but because the denial of wrong is the assertion of right. A wrong is something that ought not to exist and calls to be obliterated. If anyone is able to remove it, he is obligated to do so or the wrong will also be partly his. To deny or obliterate a wrong is to assert right, Bradley says—as if the two things were counterpoised, one able to cancel the other. It reminds us of the balance held by the figure of Justice, and of debts and credits in accounts. Paying a debt erases it; the debt no longer exists. In a similar way punishment is supposed to erase wrong. (shrink)
What is the proper role of politics in higher education? Many policies and reforms in the academy, from affirmative action and a multicultural curriculum to racial and sexual harassment codes and movements to change pedagogical styles, seek justice for oppressed groups in society. They understand justice to require a comprehensive equality of membership: individuals belonging to different groups should have equal access to educational opportunities; their interests and cultures should be taken equally seriously as worthy subjects of study, their persons (...) treated with equal respect and concern in communicative interaction. Conservative critics of these egalitarian movements represent them as dangerous political meddling into the disinterested pursuit of knowledge. They cast the pursuit of equality as a threat to freedom of speech and academic standards. In response, some radical advocates of such programs agree that the quest for equality clashes with free speech, but view this as an argument for sacrificing freedom of speech. (shrink)
An important moral category—dishonest speech—has been overlooked in theoretical ethics despite its importance in legal, political, and everyday social exchanges. Discussion in this area has instead been fixated on a binary debate over the contrast between lying and ‘merely misleading’. Some see lying as a distinctive wrong; others see it as morally equivalent to deliberately omitting relevant truths, falsely insinuating, or any other species of attempted verbal deception. Parties to this debate have missed the relevance to their disagreement of the (...) notion of communicative dishonesty. Communicative dishonesty need not take the form of a lie, yet its wrongness does not reduce to the wrongness of seeking to deceive. This paper therefore proposes a major shift of attention away from the lying/misleading debate and towards the topic of communicative dishonesty. Dishonesty is not a simple notion to define, however. It presupposes a difficult distinction between what is and is not expressed in a given utterance. This differs from the more familiar distinction between what is and is not said, the distinction at the heart of the lying/misleading debate. This paper uses an idea central to speech act theory to characterize dishonesty in terms of the utterer’s communicative intentions, and applies the resulting definition to a variety of contexts. (shrink)
Although the theme of these papers is ‘Contemporary Moral Problems’ my paper is partly about Aristotelian ideas. I had originally intended to apologize for this, but I find there is no need: many other contributors have found Aristotle to be timelessly relevant, as I myself have.
Our moral convictions cannot, on the face of it, count in evidence against scientific claims with which they happen to conflict. Moral anti-realists of whatever stripe can explain this easily: science is immune to moral refutation because moral discourse is defective as a trustworthy source of true and objective judgments. Moral realists, they can add, are unable to explain this immunity. After describing how anti-realists might implement this reasoning, the paper argues that the only plausible realist comeback turns on the (...) practical nature of moral reasoning. This comeback, however, places significant constraints on the structure of evidence for moral judgments. These constraints cannot be met by coherentist defenders of reflective-equilibrium methodology or by anyone sympathetic to bottom-up, case-driven foundationalism, including those who claim we have perceptual or perception-like access to moral truths. Unfortunately for realists in these categories, alternative realism-friendly accounts of science’s apparent moral immunity are unpromising. These neither explain nor explain away our unwillingness to infer an is from an ought, as Hume might have put it. Science’s apparent immunity to moral refutation therefore poses a serious problem for any realist unhappy with top-down, theory-driven conceptions of the structure of moral evidence. (shrink)
John McDowell rejects the idea that non-conceptual content can rationally justify empirical claims—a task for which it is ill-fitted by its non-conceptual nature. This paper considers three possible objections to his views: he cannot distinguish empty conception from the perceptual experience of an object; perceptual discrimination outstrips the capacity of concepts to keep pace; and experience of the empirical world is more extensive than the conceptual focusing within it. While endorsing McDowell’s rejection of what he means by non-conceptual content, and (...) appreciating his insight into the experiential synthesis of intuition and conception (in particular, its role in grasping objects), I will argue that Edmund Husserl presents an even more comprehensive account of perceptual experience that explains how we experience the contribution of receptivity and sensibility and how they cooperate in perceptual discrimination. Further, it reveals “horizons”—a unique kind of contents, surplus content (rather than independent non-conceptual content)—beyond the synthesis of intuitive and conceptual contents through which objects are grasped. Such horizons play a constitutive role, making experience with its conceptual dimensions and justificatory potential possible; they in no way function like a bare given that is to fulfill some independent justificatory role. Whereas McDowell focuses on how experience does not take place in isolation from the exercise of conceptual capacities, Husserl complements his view by situating experience in a more encompassing whole and by elucidating the surplus-horizons that exceed the conceptual content of experience; play an inseparable, constitutive role within it; and indicate the limits of conceptual comprehension. (shrink)
What must linguistic knowledge be like if it is to explain our capacity to use language? All linguists and philosophers of language presuppose some answer to this critical question, but all too often the presupposition is tacit. In this collection of sixteen previously unpublished essays, a distinguished international line-up of philosophers and linguists address a variety of interconnected themes concerning our knowledge of language.
Money isn’t everything, so what is? Many government leaders, social policy theorists, and members of the general public have a ready answer: happiness. This paper examines an opposing view due to Robert Nozick, which centres on his experience-machine thought experiment. Despite the example's influence among philosophers, the argument behind it is riddled with difficulties. Dropping the example allows us to re-version Nozick's argument in a way that makes it far more forceful - and less dependent on people's often divergent intutions (...) about the experience machine. [DOWNLOAD AVAILABLE at oro.open.ac.uk repository, link below]. (shrink)
This essay describes some of the basic pragmatic tendencies at work in the world of working and then shows how the finite provinces of meaning of theoretical contemplation and literature act against those pragmatic tendencies. This analysis prepares the way to see how the religious province of meaning in a similar but also distinctive way acts back against these pragmatic tendencies. These three finite provinces of meaning make it possible to see the world from another center of orientation than that (...) of the ego agens and its proclivity to bring transcendences within reach, thereby freeing oneself to a degree from the fundamental anxiety and revealing the uniqueness of oneself and others, who are no longer subjected to working’s pragmatic imperatives. (shrink)
A misleading and apparently addictive practice is now prevalent in discussions of philosophy in general, and moral philosophy in particular. This is the habit of dichotomizing. We are led to believe that we have to choose between reason and sentiment as the basis of morality, that facts and values are to be found on either side of an unbridgeable gulf, and so on. This practice is harmful because it leads philosophers to take sides in unnecessary conflicts which cannot be won (...) by either side, and thus prevents progress in the discussion of extremely important issues. (shrink)
Deleuze’s philosophy of immanence, because it vigorously rejects every appeal to the beyond, is often presumed to be indifferent to the concerns of religion. This book argues against such a presumption. It does so, first of all, by emphasising how both Deleuze’s thought and the notion of religion are motivated by a demand to create new modes of existence, or to imagine and enact a future that would substantively break with the present configuration of being. If Deleuze’s thought and the (...) notion of religion intersect in this regard, then their divergence must be located elsewhere, namely in the distinction between immanence and transcendence. The book thus argues that the enemy of Deleuze’s thought is not religion in general but instead the specific operation of transcendence. Furthermore, it argues that since Deleuze’s thought is not simply anti-religious, it cannot be identified with secularism. Along these lines, the book shows how Deleuzian immanence is able both to oppose religious transcendence and to enter an allliance with immanent accounts of the name of God. The effect of this is to suspend the paralysing debate between religion and the secular in order to attend to the ways in which immanence – whether “religious” or “secular” – is able to break with the present and to create the future. (shrink)
Semanticists face substitution challenges even outside of contexts commonly recognized as opaque. Jennifer M. Saul has drawn attention to pairs of simple sentences - her term for sentences lacking a that-clause operator - of which the following are typical: -/- (1) Clark Kent went into the phone booth, and Superman came out. (1*) Clark Kent went into the phone booth, and Clark Kent came out. -/- (2) Superman is more successful with women than Clark Kent. (2*) Superman is more successful (...) with women than Superman. -/- She challenges us to explain why the upper and lower sentences in each pair differ, or at least appear to differ, in their truth-values and hence truth-conditions. This appearance of substitution failure is inherently puzzling. Moreover, it is taken by Saul to generate a dilemma for anyone hostile to direct reference accounts of that-clause constructions. Direct reference theorists regard the appearance of substitution failure in that-clause contexts as mere appearance, to be dealt with pragmatically rather than semantically. -/- Critics of such accounts need to say something about simple-sentence cases. If they choose to allow that intuitions of substitution failure can be over-ridden and explained away pragmatically in simple-sentence cases but not in that-clause cases, they lay themselves open to the charge of operating a double standard. But if they do not choose this option, they must offer a semantic explanation of apparent substitution failure in simple-sentence cases - no easy task, it turns out. Other respondents to Saul's challenge have sought to provide elaborate semantic treatments. In contrast, this paper proposes a far simpler pragmatic explanation of intuitions of substitution failure in simple sentences, an explanation that deploys no more resources than are to be found in Grice's 'Logic and Conversation'. Ironically, this proposal turns out to be incompatible with a direct reference perspective. So if it is, as I maintain, the most plausible treatment of simple-sentence cases available, Saul's initial thought gets turned around 180 degrees: the phenomenon she has drawn attention to ends up representing a challenge to supporters of direct reference theories. (shrink)
It surely would lighten the tasks of feminism tremendously if we could cut to the quick of women's lives by focusing on some essential "woman- ness." However, though all women are women, no woman is only a woman. Those of us who have ...
Psychology's fascination with memory and its imperfections dates back further than we can remember. The first careful experimental studies of memory were published in 1885 by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, and tens of thousands of memory studies have been conducted since. What has been learned, and what might the future of memory be?
outrageous remarks about contradictions. Perhaps the most striking remark he makes is that they are not false. This claim first appears in his early notebooks (Wittgenstein 1960, p.108). In the Tractatus, Wittgenstein argued that contradictions (like tautologies) are not statements (Sätze) and hence are not false (or true). This is a consequence of his theory that genuine statements are pictures.
A linguistic theory is correct exactly to the extent that it is the explicit statement of a body of knowledge possessed by a designated language-user. This popular psychological conception of the goal of linguistic theorizing is commonly paired with a preference for idiolectal over social languages, where it seems to be in the nature of idiolects that the beliefs one holds about one’s own are ipso facto correct. Unfortunately, it is also plausible that the correctness of a genuine belief cannot (...) consist merely in that belief’s being held. This paper considers how best to eliminate this tension. (shrink)