A philosophical essay under this title faces severe rhetorical challenges. New accounts of the good life regularly and rapidly turn out to be variations of old ones, subject to a predictable range of decisive objections. Attempts to meet those objections with improved accounts regularly and rapidly lead to a familiar impasse — that while a life of contemplation, or epicurean contentment, or stoic indifference, or religious ecstasy, or creative rebellion, or self-actualization, or many another thing might count as a good (...) life, none of them can plausibly be identified with the good life, or the best life. Given the long history of that impasse, it seems futile to offer yet another candidate for the genus “good life” as if that candidate might be new, or philosophically defensible. And given the weariness, irony, and self-deprecation expected of a philosopher in such an impasse, it is difficult for any substantive proposal on this topic to avoid seeming pretentious. (shrink)
Presenting the entire German text of Nietzsche's lectures on rhetoric and language and his notes for them, as well as facing page English translations, this book fills an important gap in the philosopher's corpus. Until now unavailable or existing only in fragmentary form, the lectures represent a major portion of Nietzsche's achievement. Included are an extensive editors' introduction on the background of Nietzsche's understanding of rhetoric, and critical notes identifying his sources and independent contributions.
When philosophers speak of the inconclusiveness of arguments for the existence of God, they often do so as if they were talking about a matter of principle—as if it were in principle impossible to prove God's existence, that every proof was in principle inconclusive. Of course, rebutals of the cosmological, ontological, and teleological arguments are usually designed to show that these types of arguments are in principle inconclusive. But one supposes that religious experience arguments are not all in such difficulties. (...) That is, one supposes, for example, that an encounter with the deity would provide a proof of his existence which is at least as conclusive as proofs for the existence of an ‘external world’. And thus it would be false to maintain in an unqualified way that ‘Reason cannot prove the existence of God’. The most one would be able to say would be that at present , or in terms of the currently available evidence, no one can prove God's existence. Further, whether or not sufficient evidence has ever been available in the past would be seen as an historical question— a matter of contingencies, not logical possibilities. (shrink)
The tendency to reciprocate – to return good for good and evil for evil – is a potent force in human life, and the concept of reciprocity is closely connected to fundamental notions of ‘justice’, ‘obligation’ or ‘duty’, ‘gratitude’ and ‘equality’. In _Reciprocity_, first published in 1986,_ _Lawrence Becker presents a sustained argument about reciprocity, beginning with the strategy for developing a moral theory of the virtues. He considers the concept of reciprocity in detail, contending that it is a (...) basic virtue that provides the basis for parental authority, obligations to future generations, and obedience to law. Throughout the first two parts of the book, Becker intersperses short pieces of his own narrative fiction to enrich reflection on the philosophical arguments. The final part is devoted to extensive bibliographical essays, ranging over anthropology, psychology, political theory and law, as well as the relevant ethics and political philosophy. (shrink)
_Property Rights: Philosophic Foundations,_ first published in 1977, comprehensively examines the general justifications for systems of private property rights, and discusses with great clarity the major arguments as to the rights and responsibilities of property ownership. In particular, the arguments that hold that there are natural rights derived from first occupancy, labour, utility, liberty and virtue are considered, as are the standard anti-property arguments based on disutility, virtue and inequality, and the belief that justice in distribution must take precedence over (...) private ownership. Lawrence Becker goes on to contend that there are four sound lines of argument for private property that, together with what is sound in the anti-property arguments, must be co-ordinated to form the foundations of a new theory. He therefore expounds a concise but sophisticated theory of property that is relevant to the modern world, and concludes by indicating some of the implications of his theory. (shrink)
CONTENTS James G. Hart: Wisdom, Knowledge, and Reflective Joy: Aristotle and Husserl Wayne Martin: Judgment Stroke-Truth Predicate: Frege and the Phenomenology of Judgment David R. Cerbone: Distance and Proximity in Phenomenology: Husserl and Heidegger Ra·l GutiTrrez: "The Logic of Decadence": Deficient Forms of Government in the Republic Heribert Boeder: Derrida's Endgame Jacques Derrida: Phenomenology and the Closure of Metaphysics Hans Rainer Sepp: Jan Patocka and Cultural Difference Carl Friedrich Gethmann: Hermeneutic Phenomenology and Logical Intuitionism: On Oskar Becker's Mathematical (...) Existence Essays in Honor of Heribert Boeder by Dennis J. Schmidt, Claus-Artur Scheier, Klaus Erich Kaehler, Franco Volpi, Martfn Zubirfa, Burt Hopkins, and Marcus Brainard Edmund Husserl: The Idea of a Philosophical Culture Johannes Daubert: Notes from Husserl's Mathematical-Philosophical Exercises, ed. and intro. Mark van Atten and Karl Schuhmann Jacob Klein: On Aristotle Eugen Fink and Jan Patocka: On the Phenomenological Reduction. (shrink)
There has been a lot of interest over the last fifteen years or so in no-collapse interpretations of quantum mechanics. The Bohm interpretation of quantum mechanics has received several thorough accounts, perhaps most notably by Bohm himself.
Willard Van Orman Quine's work revolutionized the fields of epistemology, semantics and ontology. At the heart of his philosophy are several interconnected doctrines: his rejection of conventionalism and of the linguistic doctrine of logical and mathematical truth, his rejection of the analytic/synthetic distinction, his thesis of the indeterminacy of translation and his thesis of the inscrutability of reference. In this book Edward Becker sets out to interpret and explain these doctrines. He offers detailed analyses of the relevant texts, discusses (...) Quine's views on meaning, reference and knowledge, and shows how Quine's views developed over the years. He also proposes a new version of the linguistic doctrine of logical truth, and a new way of rehabilitating analyticity. His rich exploration of Quine's thought will interest all those seeking to understand and evaluate the work of one of the most important philosophers of the second half of the twentieth century. (shrink)
Introduction: externalism and modalism -- Externalism -- Modalism -- What should the theory do? -- What's missing? -- Process reliabilism -- Goldman's causal theory -- Goldman's discrimination requirement and relevant alternatives -- Process reliabilism and why it is not enough -- Implications for skepticism -- Sensitivity -- Nozick's subjunctive conditional theory of knowledge -- Methods : an important refinement -- Objections to nozicks theory -- Safety -- Motivating safety -- Weak and strong safety : luck and induction -- Is safety (...) necessary for knowledge? -- Luck revisited : safety requires a process reliability condition -- Is reliability compatible with knowledge of the denials of skeptical hypotheses? -- Knowledge : reliably formed sensitive true belief -- The theory -- Problems and clarifications -- Closure and the value problem -- Closure -- The value problem. (shrink)
Here a distinguished American historian challenges the belief that the eighteenth century was essentially modern in its temper. In crystalline prose Carl Becker demonstrates that the period commonly described as the Age of Reason was, in fact, very far from that; that Voltaire, Hume, Diderot, and Locke were living in a medieval world, and that these philosophers “demolished the Heavenly City of St. Augustine only to rebuild it with more up-to-date materials.” In a new foreword, Johnson Kent Wright looks (...) at the book’s continuing relevance within the context of current discussion about the Enlightenment. “Will remain a classic—a beautifully finished literary product.”—Charles A. Beard, _American Historical Review_ “_The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers _remains_ _one of the most distinctive American contributions to the historical literature on the Enlightenment.... [It] is likely to beguile and provoke readers for a long time to come.”—Johnson Kent Wright, from the foreword. (shrink)
This article examines Becker's thesis that the hypothesis that choices maximize expected utility relative to fixed and universal tastes provides a general framework for the explanation of behaviour. Three different models of preference revision are presented and their scope evaluated. The first, the classical conditioning model, explains all changes in preferences in terms of changes in the information held by the agent, holding fundamental beliefs and desires fixed. The second, the Jeffrey conditioning model, explains them in terms of changes (...) in both the information held by the agent and changes in her prior beliefs, holding her fundamental desires fixed. The final model, that of generalized conditioning, allows for explanations in terms of changes in the values of all three variables. Key Words: preference change • decision theory • probability • desirability • attitude change. (shrink)
Many works intended to introduce interpretive issues in quantum mechanics present John von Neumann as having a view in which measurement produces a physical collapse in the system being measured. In this paper I argue that such a reading of von Neumann is inconsistent with what von Neumann actually says. I show that much of what he says makes no sense on the physical collapse reading, but falls into place if we assume he does not have such a view. I (...) show that the physical collapse view is based on an understanding of ‘state’ which von Neumann does not share. Introduction The standard reading of von Neumann The standard reading of von Neumann and Chapter VI The Chapter VI argument The Chapter V argument The Chapters III and IV argument Conclusion. (shrink)
The sensitivity principle is a compelling idea in epistemology and is typically characterized as a necessary condition for knowledge. This collection of thirteen new essays constitutes a state-of-the-art discussion of this important principle. Some of the essays build on and strengthen sensitivity-based accounts of knowledge and offer novel defences of those accounts. Others present original objections to sensitivity-based accounts and offer comprehensive analysis and discussion of sensitivity's virtues and problems. The resulting collection will stimulate new debate about the sensitivity principle (...) and will be of great interest and value to scholars and advanced students of epistemology. (shrink)
A comparison of attitudes among managers from France, Germany and the United States is made with respect to codes of ethics and ethical business philosophy. Findings are also compared with past studies by Baumhart and by Brenner and Molander where data are available. While the current data appear to be consistent with the past studies, there appear to be differences in attitudes among the managers from the three countries.