[David Charles] Aristotle, it appears, sometimes identifies well-being with one activity, sometimes with several, including ethical virtue. I argue that this appearance is misleading. In the Nicomachean Ethics, intellectual contemplation is the central case of human well-being, but is not identical with it. Ethically virtuous activity is included in human well-being because it is an analogue of intellectual contemplation. This structure allows Aristotle to hold that while ethically virtuous activity is valuable in its own right, the best life available (...) for humans is centred around, but not wholly constituted by, intellectual contemplation. /// [Dominic Scott] In Nicomachean Ethics X 7-8, Aristotle distinguishes two kinds of eudaimonia, primary and secondary. The first corresponds to contemplation, the second to activity in accordance with moral virtue and practical reason. My task in this paper is to elucidate this distinction. Like Charles, I interpret it as one between paradigm and derivative cases; unlike him, I explain it in terms of similarity, not analogy. Furthermore, once the underlying nature of the distinction is understood, we can reconcile the claim that paradigm eudaimonia consists just in contemplation with a passage in the first book requiring eudaimonia to involve all intrinsic goods. (shrink)
What does it mean to understand religious traditions most fundamentally as communities of inquiry? This is the question raised by Brandon Daniel-Hughes' Pragmatic Inquiry and Religious Communities, which uses Peirce's writings on inquiry to frame religious traditions as "large-scale hypotheses, expressed in religious symbols, narratives, and rituals that work to signify reality…by cultivating beliefs and rules for action that may truly indicate the real world and orient believers with it by guiding them into more harmonious relations with one another and (...) their environments". Academic interest in Peirce and religion has been steady for several decades, and has perhaps even grown in recent years. Such... (shrink)
Edgar A. Towne is Professor of Theology, Emeritus at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis. This book began as Towne’s 1967 doctoral dissertation in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. The original title, Ontological and Theological Dimensions of God in the Thought of Paul Tillich and Charles Hartshorne, clearly described the intent of his study. While the essential structure and documentation of this earlier form remains, the presentation in this present work is briefer, with additional notes referring to recent (...) study on Tillich and Hartshorne. (shrink)
The impact of Peirce's philosophy of religion on subsequent religious thinkers was almost immediate. Within five years of the appearance of Peirce's "A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God," in 1913, Josiah Royce published his brilliant Hibbert Lectures on The Problem of Christianity, delivered at Oxford earlier that year. It was the first—and in many respects remains the most impressive—attempt to adapt Peirce's ideas for the purposes of articulating a comprehensive philosophical theology. During the last 100 years, only a (...) handful of thinkers have followed Royce's lead, first Charles Hartshorne, more recently Robert Corrington, Hermann Deuser, Robert Neville and Peter Ochs. (Other scholars have set about the... (shrink)
This paper examines Taylor’s moral realism in the light of his criticisms of ‘our subjectivist civilization’. I argue that his work is valuable in its stress on the link between identity and moral judgement and its picture of human beings as ‘strong evaluators’, but I dispute that these considerations lead to moral realism if this is taken to include a claim to truth. Specifically, I argue that Taylor’s ‘Best Account’ principle may generate radical inconsistency and his depiction of practical reason (...) does not lead to any hope of convergence. His own theism serves to illustrate these difficulties. (shrink)
G.E. Moore's philosophical legacy is ambiguous. On the one hand, Moore has a special place in the hearts of many contemporary analytic philosophers. He is, after all, one of the fathers of the movement, his broadly commonsensical methodology informing how many contemporary analytic philosophers practise their craft. On the other hand, many contemporary philosophers keep Moore's own substantive positions at arm's distance. According to many epistemologists, one can find no finer example of how to beg the question than Moore's case (...) against the sceptic. And, according to many moral philosophers, one can find no more vivid case of philosophical extravagance than Moore's non-naturalism. Given this ambiguity, one wonders: How should we assess Moore's legacy in epistemology and ethics – the two areas of philosophy in which Moore did most of his work?That is the task of this welcome collection of 16 essays. The list of contributors to the book is impressive: Crispin Wright, Ernest Sosa, Ram Neta, William Lycan, C.A.J. Cody, Paul Snowdon, Michael Huemer and Roy Sorenson consider Moore's work in epistemology. Stephen Darwall, Terry Horgan, Mark Timmons, Richard Fumerton, Charles Pigden, Robert Shaver, Joshua Gert, Jonathan Dancy and the editors of the book explore Moore's views in ethics. As one might expect, given this list of contributors, the quality of the essays is very high. Moreover, there is a decidedly constructive tone to many of them. While not willing to overlook Moore's mistakes, many of the essays endeavour to explore what is valuable in Moore's thought, critically engaging with positions that, not too long …. (shrink)
In this book Gary Gutting offers a powerful account of the nature of human reason in modern times. The fundamental question addressed by the book is what authority human reason can still claim once it is acknowledged that our fundamental metaphysical and religious pictures of the world no longer command allegiance. If ethics and science remain sources of authority what is the basis of that authority? Gutting develops answers to these questions through critical analysis of the work of three (...) dominant philosophical voices in our time: Richard Rorty, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Charles Taylor. His own position is defined as 'pragmatic liberalism'. (shrink)
Joseph Morton Ransdell left a record of experimentation with the communicational process of philosophy from 1992 to his passing in 2010. This record includes the Arisbe website and the peirce-l e-forum and its archives, of which the earliest are not on the Internet, but may yet be recovered and made available. Philosophy’s communication process, and the possibility of creating and developing a telecommunity, as Ransdell called it, were among his chief theoretical and practical interests. Such interests were focused in terms (...) of the ideas of Charles S. Peirce, including fallibilism, pragmaticism, and semiotic, in particular the sign’s determination by the represented object, and iconicity in relation especially to .. (shrink)
This second edition of Life Science Ethics includes four essays not found in the first edition: -/- Richard Haynes on “Animals in Research” Stephen M. Gardiner on “Climate Change” Christopher Kelty on “Nanotechnology” Gary Comstock on “Genetically Modified Foods” -/- and a revised and expanded version of the chapter on “Farms” in which Stephen Carpenter joins Charles Taliaferro as author. -/- In addition, Part III has been thoroughly revised with the goal of focusing attention on salient examples. Three (...) new case studies have been added: -/- Robert Streiffer and Sara Gavrell Ortiz on “Enviropigs” Donald F. Boesch, et al. on “Coastal Dead Zones” Deb Bennett-Woods on “Nanotechnology and Human Enhancement” -/- The first edition was praised for providing instructors with a stimulating text that will help students hone their critical thinking skills. That text is here enhanced with treatments of critical new issues, including global warming, nanotechnology, and the possibility that bioengineering may be able to change human nature. The new edition includes classroom discussion questions for use in provoking and guiding in-class discussions. Part I introduces ethics, the relationship of religion to ethics, how we assess ethical arguments, and a method ethicists use to reason about ethical theories. Part II demonstrates the relevance of ethical reasoning to the environment, land, farms, food, biotechnology, genetically modified foods, animals in agriculture and research, climate change, and nanotechnology. Part III presents case studies for the topics found in Part II. Two appendices include exercises to help students learn systematic ways of thinking through ethical dilemmas and notes for instructors using the book as a text. (shrink)
The work develops resources in the work of Charles S. Pierce for the purposes of contemporary philosophy. It articulates 'a nested continua model' for theological interpretation, which is indebted to Pierce's creation of 'Existential Graphs', a system of diagrams designed to provide visual representation of the process of human reasoning. Gary Slater investigates how the model can be applied by looking at recent debates in historiography and concludes with an assessment of the model's theological implications.
Charles Sanders Peirce , the most important and influential of the classical American philosophers, is credited as the inventor of the philosophical school of pragmatism. The scope and significance of his work have had a lasting effect not only in several fields of philosophy but also in mathematics, the history and philosophy of science, and the theory of signs, as well as in literary and cultural studies. Largely obscure until after his death, Peirce's life has long been a subject (...) of interest and dispute. Unfortunately, previous biographies often confuse as much as they clarify crucial matters in Peirce's story. Ketner's new biographical project is remarkable not only for its entertaining aspects but also for its illuminating insights into Peirce's life, his thought, and the intellectual milieu in which he worked. (shrink)
Charles Taylor’s idea of “deep diversity” has played a major role in the debates around multiculturalism in Canada and around the world. Originally, the idea was meant to account for how the different national communities within Canada – those of the English-speaking Canadians, the French-speaking Quebeckers, and the Aboriginals – conceive of their belonging to the country in different ways. But Taylor conceives of these differences strictly in terms of irreducibility; that is, he fails to see that they also (...) exist in such a way that the country cannot be said to form a unified whole. After giving an account of the philosophical as well as religious reasons behind his position, the chapter goes on to describe some of its political implications. (shrink)
The article focuses on the Philosophy of Freedom of the Swiss philosopher Charles Secrétan (1815-1895) and on the attempt to reconcile freedom as the fundamental experience for the human being with the alleged necessitarianism that would result from the positive sciences. The notion of “fall” as it is found in the Christian tradition allows Secrétan to rediscover an original dimension from which we can conceive the laws of nature as contingent. It is space and time that impose their constraints (...) and lead to the mismatch between the different faculties (sensitivity, imagination, intelligence, will) that is constitutive for the human experience and that prevents us from “being at any moment the whole of ourselves”. A peculiarity of Secrétan’s conception of space is that he does not see it as a condition for the numerical plurality of human beings. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to reconstruct Charles L. Stevenson’s metaethical view. Since his metaethical view is a form of emotivism, I will start by explaining what the core claims of emotivism are. I will then explore and comment on the specific claims of Stevenson’s proposal. Last, I will offer an overview of the objections that have traditionally been raised against emotivism.
In this systematic introduction to the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce, the author focuses on four of Peirce's fundamental conceptions: pragmatism and Peirce's development of it into what he called 'pragmaticism'; his theory of signs; his phenomenology; and his theory that continuity is of prime importance for philosophy. He argues that at the centre of Peirce's philosophical project is a unique form of metaphysical realism, whereby continuity and evolutionary change are both necessary for our understanding of experience. In his (...) final chapter Professor Hausman applies this version of realism to contemporary controversies between anti-realists and anti-idealists. Peirce's views are compared to those of such contemporary figures as Davidson, Putnam, and Rorty. The book will be of particular interest to philosophers concerned with American philosophy and current debates on realism as well as linguists working in semiotics. (shrink)
Charles Travis has developed a distinction between “the historical” and “the conceptual”, which underlies his influential contributions to the philosophy of language and perception. The distinction is based on the observation that there are, for any thought, indefinitely many different circumstances that would render it true. The generality of thoughts and concepts contrasts with the particularity of the sensible world. I challenge the assumption that what exhibits such generality cannot belong to the sensible world. I also defend a version (...) of the claim that perception involves the exercise of conceptual capacities. (shrink)
In this chapter I discuss Charles Taylor's and Paul Ricoeur's theories of narrative identity and narratives as a central form of self-interpretation. Both Taylor and Ricoeur think that self-identity is a matter of culturally and socially mediated self-definitions, which are practically relevant for one's orientation in life. First, I will go through various characterisations that Ricoeur gives of his theory, and try to show to what extent they also apply to Taylor's theory. Then, I will analyse more closely (...) class='Hi'>Charles Taylor's, and in section three, Paul Ricoeur's views on narrative identity. (shrink)
This paper it provides a critical comparison of two leading exponents of the relationship between morality and selfhood: Charles Taylor and George Herbert Mead. It seeks to provide an assessment of the contribution each approach is able to make to a social theory of morality that has the self at its heart. Calhoun (1991: 232-233) argues that ‘Charles Taylor is perhaps the best starting point for recovering a strong and crucial understanding of the self as moral subject’, and (...) that his work is able to ‘offer extremely valuable guidelines and first steps to this potential sociological enterprise’. Contrary to this, I argue that while many of Taylor’s (1989) arguments clearly resonate with sociological approaches (such as his critique of proceduralism and the decontextualised moral subject, as well as his emphasis on cultural historicity and the intersubjective formation of moral selfhood), the way he hinges his argument on a ‘transcendental’ phenomenological account of identity (1989: 32), rather than an interactional social ontology, has problematic consequences for how Taylor understands the relationship between morality and selfhood. His attempts to use a phenomenological perspective to show how human selfhood and identity are inextricably connected with a basic moral ‘ontology of the human’ (Taylor, 1989: 5) produces a weak ontological argument, leads to an overly moralised and intellectualist conceptualisation of identity, and assumes individuated dialogic moral subjectivity to be ontologically basic, rather than developing through interaction. Indeed, his phenomenological account neglects the significance of interaction and social relations in his conceptualisation of the relationship between morality and self, which undermines the capacity of his framework to explain how moral understandings and dialogic moral subjectivity develop in a world of shared meaning. I then argue that Mead’s pragmatist interactionist approach overcomes many of the flaws in Taylor’s framework, and offers a grounded conceptualisation of the relationship between self and morality that is able to provide a basis for a properly social account of moral subjectivity. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (shrink)
Charles Sanders Peirce was born in September 1839 and died five months before the guns of August 1914. He is perhaps the most important mind the United States has ever produced. He made significant contributions throughout his life as a mathematician, astronomer, chemist, geodesist, surveyor, cartographer, metrologist, engineer, and inventor. He was a psychologist, a philologist, a lexicographer, a historian of science, a lifelong student of medicine, and, above all, a philosopher, whose special fields were logic and semiotics. He (...) is widely credited with being the founder of pragmatism. In terms of his importance as a philosopher and a scientist, he has been compared to Plato and Aristotle. He himself intended "to make a philosophy like that of Aristotle." Peirce was also a tormented and in many ways tragic figure. He suffered throughout his life from various ailments, including a painful facial neuralgia, and had wide swings of mood which frequently left him depressed to the state of inertia, and other times found him explosively violent. Despite his consistent belief that ideas could find meaning only if they "worked" in the world, he himself found it almost impossible to make satisfactory economic and social arrangements for himself. This brilliant scientist, this great philosopher, this astounding polymath was never able, throughout his long life, to find an academic post that would allow him to pursue his major interest, the study of logic, and thus also fulfill his destiny as America's greatest philosopher. Much of his work remained unpublished in his own time, and is only now finding publication in a coherent, chronologically organized edition. Even more astounding is that,despite many monographic studies, there has been no biography until now, almost eighty years after his death. Brent has studied the Peirce papers in detail and enriches his account with numerous quotations from letters by Peirce and by his friends. This is a fascinating account of a p. (shrink)
Philosophy written in English is overwhelmingly analytic philosophy, and the techniques and predilections of analytic philosophy are not only unhistorical but anti-historical, and hostile to textual commentary. Analytic usually aspires to a very high degree of clarity and precision of formulation and argument, and it often seeks to be informed by, and consistent with, current natural science. In an earlier era, analytic philosophy aimed at agreement with ordinary linguistic intuitions or common sense beliefs, or both. All of these aspects of (...) the subject sit uneasily with the use of historical texts for philosophical illumination. In this book, ten distinguished philosophers explore the tensions between, and the possibilities of reconciling, analytic philosophy and history of philosophy. Contributors: M. R. Ayers, John Cottingham, Daniel Garber, Gary Hatfield, Anthony Kenny, Steven Nadler, G. A. J. Rogers, Tom Sorell, Catherine Wilson, Yves Charles Zarka. (shrink)
Charles Taylor is one of the most influential and prolific philosophers in the English-speaking world today. The breadth of his writings is unique, ranging from reflections on artificial intelligence to analyses of contemporary multicultural societies. This thought-provoking introduction to Taylor's work outlines his ideas in a coherent and accessible way without reducing their richness and depth. His contribution to many of the enduring debates within Western philosophy is examined and the arguments of his critics assessed. Taylor's reflections on the (...) topics of moral theory, selfhood, political theory and epistemology form the core chapters within the book. Ruth Abbey engages with the secondary literature on Taylor's work and suggests that some criticisms by contemporaries have been based on misinterpretations and suggests ways in which a better understanding of Taylor's work leads to different criticisms of it. The book serves as an ideal companion to Taylor's ideas for students of philosophy and political theory, and will be welcomed by the non-specialist looking for an authoritative guide to Taylor's large and challenging body of work. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that moral realism does not, pace Charles Taylor, need “moral sources” or “constitutive goods”, and adding these concepts distorts the basic insights of what can be called “cultural” moral realism.1 Yet the ideas of “moral topography” or “moral space” as well as the idea of “ontological background pictures” are valid, if separated from those notions. What does Taylor mean by these notions?
In the introduction to his Philosophical Papers 1&2 Charles Taylor assures us that his work, while encompassing a range of issues, follows a single, tightly knit agenda. He claims that the central questions concern "philosophical anthropology". Taylor's work on these questions has been presented piecemeal, in the form of articles and papers, and the student has had to imagine what a systematic monograph by Taylor on philosophical anthropology would look like. Neither Hegel, Sources of the Self, Ethics of Authenticity, (...) Catholic Modernity nor Varieties of Religion Today, nor Taylor's forthcoming books on secularization and modern social imaginaries are such treatises on the ontology of the human being. Nicholas H. Smith's monograph Charles Taylor: Meaning, Morals and Modernity (Polity, 2002) puts forward a clear and well-argued assessment of Taylor's entire project, with details on his intellectual biography and political engagement. For the purposes of thinking through Taylor's work so far, this book is probably the best one around. It is divided into eight chapters: "Linguistic Philosophy and Phenomenology", "Science, Action and the Mind", "The Romantic Legacy", "The Self and the Good", "Interpretation and the Social Sciences", "Individual and Community", "Politics and Social Criticism", and "Modernity, Art and Religion". The chapters are thematically ordered, but the order of presentation follows roughly the temporal order of Taylor's career. In this review article, I will begin with what Smith identifies as Taylor's organizing idea, and then focus on Smith's presentation of Taylor's transcendental argumentation concerning 'human constants'. As exemplars, I will discuss two of the.. (shrink)
The Philosophy Now series promises to combine rigorous analysis with authoritative expositions. Ruth Abbey’s book lives up to this demand by being a clear, reliable and more than up-to-date introduction to Charles Taylor ’s philosophy. Although it is an introductory book, the amount of footnotes and references ought to please those who want to study the original texts more closely. Abbey’s book is structured thematically: morality, selfhood, politics and epistemology get 50 pages each. The focus is on the internal (...) coherence of Taylor ’s work, not in its critique of or defence against other positions. The chapters are self-containing, but together they give a good total picture of Taylor ’s position. The concluding chapter is a highly interesting preview of Taylor ’s unpublished work-in-progress on secularity, which according to Abbey is comparable in magnitude to Sources of the Self. (shrink)
In this essay I explore the potential contribution of Peirce's theory of scientific inquiry to moral philosophy. After a brief introduction, I outline Peirce's theory of inquiry. Next, I address why Peirce believed that this theory of inquiry is inapplicable to what he called "matters of vital importance," the latter including genuine moral problems. This leaves us in the end with two options: We can try to develop an alternative way of addressing moral problems or we can seek to reconcile (...) moral problems with scientific inquiry as described by Peirce. Though Peirce seems to argue for the former, I argue for the latter. (shrink)
This work runs counter to the traditional interpretations of Peirce's philosophy by eliciting an inherent strand of pragmatic pluralism that is embedded in the very core of his thought and that weaves his various doctrines into a systematic ...
This article investigates the history of the relation between idealism and pragmatism by examining the importance of the French idealist Charles Renouvier for the development of William James's ‘Will to Believe’. By focusing on French idealism, we obtain a broader understanding of the kinds of idealism on offer in the nineteenth century. First, I show that Renouvier's unique methodological idealism led to distinctively pragmatist doctrines and that his theory of certitude and its connection to freedom is worthy of reconsideration. (...) Second, I argue that the technical vocabulary and main structure of the argument from the ‘Will to Believe’ depend upon Renouvier's idealist theory of knowledge and psychology of belief, and that taking account of this line of influence is of crucial importance for establishing the correct interpretation of James's work. (shrink)
This paper compares the idea of embodied reasoning by Confucian Tu Wei-Ming and Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor. They have similar concerns about the problems of secular modernity, that is, the domination of instrumental reason and disembodied rationality. Both of them suggest that we have to explore a kind of embodied moral reasoning. I show that their theories of embodiment have many similarities: the body is an instrument for our moral knowledge and self-understanding; such knowledge is inevitably a kind of (...) bodily knowledge. I will also demonstrate how the differences between their theories can be mutually enriched. While Taylor has provided a philosophical account of the foundation of moral epistemology, Tu’s emphasis of ritual practice and the integration of knowing, doing and being seems to offer a more fully embodied understanding of the moral self. (shrink)