Analyzing the reception of Nietzsche’s work in the years following World War I is a delicate and important task, one that Nietzsche nella Rivoluzione conservatrice seeks to accomplish by focusing on the so-called Conservative Revolutionary movement and the prominent intellectuals who orbited it. The book is a rich summary of the eponymous congress held in Bologna, promoted by the University of Bologna and the Fondazione Gramsci Emilia-Romagna, and it contains fifteen essays from both young and established scholars, including the editors (...) of the volume, preceded by a short yet informative introduction. “Conservative Revolutionary” is an almost paradoxical expression, chosen by... (shrink)
The criticisms of Falk et al. are addressed, and the question of whether claims made by Falk et al. are valid is revisited. This rebuttal contends that Falk et al. misconstrue Popper’s role in philosophy of science and hence do not provide a strong test of their hypothesis. Falk et al. claim that they never made causal statements about the impact of zoo and aquarium visits in their 2007 study. Yet, this commentary shows that Falk et al. draw several unsupported, (...) strong causal conclusions. The criticism that primary documents were not used in Marino et al. is also addressed, as this refutation demonstrates that the analysis was based on all available documents. Finally, this commentary aims, through its criticisms of Falk et al. , to catalyze better-quality research on the effects of zoo and aquarium visits. (shrink)
Moral diversity is a fundamental reality of today’s world, but moral theorists have difficulty responding to it. Some take it as evidence for skepticism – the view that there are no moral truths. Others, associating moral reasoning with the search for overarching principles and unifying values, see it as the result of error. In the former case, moral reasoning is useless, since values express individual preferences; in the latter, our reasoning process is dramatically at odds with our lived experience. Moral (...) Reasoning in a Pluralistic World takes a different approach, proposing an alternative way of thinking about moral reasoning and progress by showing how diversity and disagreement are compatible with theorizing and justification. Patricia Marino demonstrates that, instead of being evidence for skepticism and error, moral disagreements often arise because we value things pluralistically. This means that although people share multiple values such as fairness, honesty, loyalty, and benevolence, we interpret and prioritize those values in various ways. Given this pluralistic evaluation process, preferences for unified single-principle theories are not justified. Focusing on finding moral compromises, prioritizing conflicting values, and judging consistently from one case to another, Marino elaborates her ideas in terms of real-life dilemmas, arguing that the moral complexity and conflict we so often encounter can be part of fruitful and logical moral reflection. Aiming to draw new connections and bridge the gap between theoretical ethics and applied ethics, Moral Reasoning in a Pluralistic World offers a sophisticated set of philosophical arguments on moral reasoning and pluralism with real world applications. (shrink)
It is now a platitude that sexual objectification is wrong. As is often pointed out, however, some objectification seems morally permissible and even quite appealing—as when lovers are so inflamed by passion that they temporarily fail to attend to the complexity and humanity of their partners. Some, such as Nussbaum, have argued that what renders objectification benign is the right sort of relationship between the participants; symmetry, mutuality, and intimacy render objectification less troubling. On this line of thought, pornography, prostitution, (...) and some kinds of casual sex are inherently morally suspect. I argue against this view: what matters is simply respect for autonomy, and whether the objectification is consensual. Intimacy, I explain, can make objectification more morally worrisome rather than less, and symmetry and mutuality are not relevant. The proper political and social context, however, is crucial, since only in its presence can consent be genuine. I defend the consent account against the objection that there is something paradoxical in consenting to objectification, and I conclude that given the right background conditions, there is nothing wrong with anonymous, one-sided, or just-for-pleasure kinds of sexual objectification. (shrink)
Is there anything irrational, or self-undermining, about having "inconsistent" attitudes of caring or valuing? In this paper, I argue that, contra suggestions of Harry Frankfurt and Charles Taylor, the answer is "No." Here I focus on "valuations," which are endorsed desires or attitudes. The proper characterization of what I call "valuational inconsistency" I claim, involves not logical form (valuing A and not-A), but rather the co-possibility of what is valued; valuations are inconsistent when there is no possible world in which (...) what is valued can co-exist. Essentially conflicting valuations, I show, are no worse for an agent than contingently conflicting ones, which are common and no threat to rationality or well-being. Partly based on reflections about a conflicted mother, who values staying at home and also having a career, I argue that valuational inconsistency does not render a person unable to act, does not make a person's actions ineffective because of vacillation, does not undermine a person's autonomy, and need not make a person dissatisfied with himself. I defend my characterization of inconsistency as an apt one; I offer some reasons to value inconsistency itself; and I draw out some implications for coherence thinking in moral philosophy. (shrink)
This paper is a critical discussion of Simon Blackburn’s recent work on lust. Blackburn develops a view on which lust is decent only when part of a pure mutuality in sex, and is best left alone—we ought not tamper with its “freedom of flow.” I argue that this treatment, which I believe reflects commonly held views, fails in several ways. First, it does not square with the fact that we pursue lust as a good in itself. Second, pure mutuality is (...) hard to come by and almost impossible to recognize, so Blackburn’s account is more restrictive than it may seem. Third, on such a view, masturbation is morally sanctioned only insofar as it mimics real sex; this doesn’t seem right. Finally, such a perspective fits ill with some recent research on the biology of lust in women. (shrink)
It is sometimes argued that having inconsistent desires is irrational or otherwise bad for an agent. If so, if agents seem to want a and not-a, then either their attitudes are being misdescribed – what they really want is some aspect x of a and some aspect y of not-a – or those desires are somehow 'inconsistent' and thus inappropriate. I argue first that the proper characterization of inconsistency here does not involve logical form, that is, whether the desires involved (...) have the form 'a and not-a', but rather the possibility of fulfilling all one's desires; and secondly, that the 'essential' conflicts involved in such inconsistencies are quite common and no worse for an agent than contingent conflicts. I draw implications concerning moral epistemology, moral realism and the logic of attitudes. (shrink)
Ruth Marcus has offered an account of moral dilemmas in which the presence of dilemmas acts as a motivating force, pushing us to try to minimize predicaments of moral conflict. In this paper, I defend a Marcus-style account of dilemmas against two objections: first, that if dilemmas are real, we are forced to blame those who have done their best, and second, that in some cases, even a stripped down version of blame seems inappropriate. My account highlights the importance of (...) collective responsibility in understanding dilemmas, and I suggest that it sheds light on understanding moral progress. (shrink)
This paper concerns the normative status of coherence of desires, in the context of moral rationalism. I argue that 'desiderative coherence' is not tied to rationality, but is rather of pragmatic, instrumental, and sometimes moral value. This means that desire-based views cannot rely on coherence to support non-agent-relative accounts of moral reasons. For example, on Michael Smith's neo-rationalist view, you have 'normative reason' to do whatever your maximally coherent and fully informed self would want you to do, whether you want (...) to do it or not. For these reasons to be non-agent-relative, coherence would have to be grounded in rationality, but I argue that it is not. I analyze, and reject, various strategies for establishing a coherence-rationality connection, considering in detail a purported analogy between desires and a priori beliefs, with particular attention to the case of mathematics. (shrink)
On an expressivist view, ethical claims are not fact stating; instead they serve the alternative function of expressing our feelings, attitudes and values. On a deflationary view, truth is not a property with a nature to be analyzed, but merely a grammatical device to aid us in endorsing sentences. Views on the relationship between expressivism and deflationism vary widely: they are compatible; they are incompatible; they are a natural pair; they doom one another. Here I explain some of these views, (...) extract some necessary distinctions, and put these to use for understanding expressivism. I argue that contrary to the opinions of some, deflationism doesnt help with problems of objectivity, knowledge and reasoning in ethics. I suggest alternative expressivist treatments of these problems, and show how expressivism as a metaethical view must have consequences for our ethical lives and beliefs. In particular it must affect the way we deal with ethical consistencywhen norms or beliefs conflictand ethical incompletenesswhen ethical questions have no right answer. (shrink)
In 2006, based on the advice of 50 international experts, the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society and the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology issued a consensus statement on the nomenclature and management of children who have a phenotype that is neither typical male nor female (Lee et al. 2006). Responding to a decade of criticism over the terminology that had been in place, including such terms as intersex, hermaphrodite, or pseudohermaphrodite, they proposed to call those conditions in which the patient (...) does not have the typical male or female gonads, chromosomes, or anatomy "disorders of sexual development."While this proposed change in nomenclature is helpful, in order to truly effect a .. (shrink)
The penultimate sentence of The Logic of Subjectivity reads, "Kierkegaard is not the sort of thinker who can easily be captured for all time in a series of syllogisms". This may be true, but let it never be said that the author of this book has not tried. In an appendix that really ought to have come first, Louis Pojman treats the how and why of Kierkegaard's method of indirect communication. With these essential pages always ahead and reservations scattered around, (...) he ferrets out arguments implicit in Kierkegaard's pseudonymous texts, primarily the Philosophical Fragments and the Concluding Unscientific Postscript. Contra Mackey, the author asserts that Kierkegaard was something more or at least other than a "kind of poet." His axial point is that Kierkegaard can and should be understood as a philosopher, and here the scholar means a maker and defender of arguments. (shrink)
Correspondence theories are frequently charged with being either implausible -- metaphysically troubling and overly general -- or trivial -- collapsing into deflationism's "'P' is true iff P." Philip Kitcher argues for a "modest" correspondence theory, on which reference relations are causal relations, but there is no general theory of denotation. In this paper, I start by showing that, understood this way, "modest" theories are open to charges of triviality. I then offer a refinement of modesty, and take the first steps (...) toward articulating a modest correspondence theory, giving a particular account of the relation between predicates, properties, and extensions. Finally, I argue that my account does not collapse into a deflationary one. (shrink)
Still edited by Frank Kermode, the Modern Masters series continues with one significant change--the masters are the authors, not the subject matter. In one of the first three works to appear in this series, now called Masterguides, Leszek Kolakowski has penned more than the introduction promised on the dust jacket of his Religion.
The reader who is acquainted with Niels Thulstrup's introduction and commentary to Kierkegaard's Philosophical Fragments will know precisely what to expect from Thulstrup's introduction and commentary to the Concluding Unscientific Postscript to those fragments. There is, however, one unsurprising difference--of the two, the Postscript is the grander, more sweeping source text and Thulstrup has mirrored this fact in the length and breadth of his prefatory remarks.
There are religious thinkers of Kierkegaard's ilk who concede that their belief in an afterlife is the expression of a wish and an offense to the understanding. Freud could not agree more. The collision that this essay plots comes when a Freud and a Kierkegaard try to decide what the individual is to do with such inherently human, unrealistic desires. Freud urges us to forsake all wish?fulfilling thoughts of everlasting life; however, this requires nothing less than the acceptance of imminent, (...) everlasting death. This is a difficult thought to think I half argue, half insist. The question is raised as to whether or not psychoanalysis can help us come to terms with the reality it compels us to face. A negative conclusion is reached. (shrink)
Thanks in large part to a stimulating article by David Wisdo, Kierkegaard scholars have of late been very much taken up with the question, Was Kierkegaard a volitionalist on matters of faith? That is, did Kierkegaard understand faith to be an act of will or an ineffable gift of grace? In this signal contribution to Kierkegaard scholarship, Ferreira tries to deconstruct this and other dichotomies.
On Harrison Hall's reading, Kierkegaard uses the terms translated ?eternal happiness? and ?salvation? to refer to a quality of this?worldly life. As I understand him, the author denies that Kierkegaard believed in an afterlife. While acknowledging the vein of meanings that ?Love and Death . . .? point to, I argue that Kierkegaard did in fact look forward to an eternal life in the traditional, Biblical, and so?called common sense of the term. In connection with his views on the question (...) of salvation, Hall holds, and I take issue, that for Kierkegaard Christianity has a minimal objective content. (shrink)
This is the third edition of a book originally published in the 1970s; it provides a systematic and nicely organized presentation of the elegant method of using Boolean-valued models to prove independence results. Four things are new in the third edition: background material on Heyting algebras, a chapter on ‘Boolean-valued analysis’, one on using Heyting algebras to understand intuitionistic set theory, and an appendix explaining how Boolean and Heyting algebras look from the perspective of category theory. The book presents results (...) from a number of set theorists and includes an insightful and informative foreword by Dana Scott. Bell's presentation is lively and pleasant to read, and the material is given in a nicely cohesive way.One obvious reason to be interested in independence proofs is that they concern the important question, what is the set-theoretic hierarchy like? The proofs in Bell's book cover some of the most basic and fundamental independence results, such as those concerning the size of the continuum, the independence of the Axiom of Choice from ZF, cardinal collapsing, Souslin's hypothesis, and Martin's Axiom.Since Gödel's incompleteness theorem, it has been known that for any serious candidate list of set-theoretic axioms, there will be statements neither provable nor disprovable from those axioms. What is really interesting, however, and what the independence proofs discussed here show, is how many of the most natural questions about sets are not decided by the standard axioms of ZFC, and how …. (shrink)
Smith et al. propose that the most parsimonious explanation for identical responses of humans and nonhumans under the same conditions is not always the simplest cognitive explanation but could be the one that has the most logical consistency across species. The authors provide convincing evidence and a reasonable argument for declarative consciousness as a shared psychological property in humans, monkeys, and dolphins.
One of the mammalian groups absent from the Finlay et al. study is cetaceans (dolphins, whales, and porpoises). Inclusion of cetaceans would be useful for assessing the generalizability of the authors' conclusions. Recent findings suggest dolphins may differ from the general pattern observed by Finlay et al. I encourage Finlay and her colleagues to include developmental neurobiological data on cetaceans, when available.
Francesco Patrizi da Cherso's Discussiones peripateticae are one of the most comprehensive analyses of the whole of Aristotelian philosophy to be published before Werner Jaeger's Aristoteles. The main thrust of the argument in the Discussiones is that whatever Aristotle had said that was true was not new, and that whatever he had said that was new was not true. The article shows how Patrizi proves this with respect to the Organon, and deals with the implications for the history af (...) ancient philosophy in general implied by his stance. (shrink)
La traduction latine des Dialoghi della historia du philosophe néo-platonicien Francesco Patrizi da Cherso est publiée à Bâle en 1570. L’étude de la circulation de ce texte et des choix de traduction permet de mieux comprendre la réception des artes historicae italiennes dans le Nord de l’Europe et les fluctuations ou limites du latin face à la montée en puissance de l’italien vernaculaire comme langue philosophique.
This paper examines the view held by Francesco Piccolomini (1523-1607) on the relation between prime matter and extension. In his discussion of prime matter in the Libri ad scientiam de natura attinentes Piccolomini develops a theory of prime matter that incorporates crucial elements of the viewpoint adhered to by the Neoplatonist Simplicius. The originality of Piccolomini’s undertaking is highlighted by contrasting it with the ideas found in Jacopo Zabarella’s De rebus naturalibus . The case of Piccolomini shows that, in (...) order to classify early modern metaphysical theories of prime matter, the category ‘prime matter as sheer dimensionality’ is indispensable. (shrink)
Abstract The role of actual works of art with philosophical writing is often reduced to the status of example or illustration. As such the materiality of art work is rarely discussed let alone deployed as the basis of philosophical reflection. In this paper works by Francesco Mosca, and Bernini are used to question Heidegger's writings on sculpture. What such an approach opens up is the possibility that art may set the measure for philosophy.
Francesco Redi’s seventeenth-century experiments on insect generation are regarded as a key contribution to the downfall of belief in spontaneous generation. Scholars praise Redi for his experiments demonstrating that meat does not generate insects, but condemn him for his claim elsewhere that trees can generate wasps and gallflies. He has been charged with rejecting spontaneous generation only to change his mind and accept it, and in the process, with failing as a rigorous experimental philosopher. In this paper I defend (...) Redi from both of these charges. In doing so, I draw some broader lessons for our understanding of spontaneous generation. ‘Spontaneous generation’ does not refer to a single theory, but rather a landscape of possible views. I analyze Redi’s theoretical commitments and situate them within this landscape, and argue that his error in the case of insects from plants is not as problematic as previous commentators have said it is. In his research on gall insects Redi was addressing a different question from that of his experiments on insect generation—the question was not “Can insects come from nonliving matter?,” but rather, “Can insects come from living organisms which are not their parents?” In the latter case, he gave an answer which we now know to be false, but this was not due to any failure in his rigor as an experimental philosopher. (shrink)