There has been much discussion in recent years of the role of moral ideas within Marxism. Marx's stringent criticisms of purely philosophical inquiry impose rather narrow limits on the form which a Marxian moral philosophy might take. For Marx often holds that moral ideas and moral theorizing are irremediably ideological. By this Marx appears to mean that moral ideas are part and parcel of a system of class domination, a way of preserving class domination through internalized norms. As many recent (...) commentators have shown, however, these criticisms of moral reasoning, though present in Marx's system, cannot be the beginning and end of his stance on moral matters. For Marx himself is committed to making normative judgments about capitalism and socialism, and there is a richly textured set of normative ideas that run through his writings from early to late. Further, and perhaps more compellingly, there is a pressing need internal to Marxism for discussion of moral ideas in order to steer the course towards the attainment of socialism. (shrink)
Professor Little presents an introduction to the philosophy of social science with an emphasis on the central forms of explanation in social science: rational-intentional, causal, functional, structural, materialist, statistical and interpretive. The book is very strong on recent developments, particularly in its treatment of rational choice theory, microfoundations for social explanation, the idea of supervenience, functionalism, and current discussions of relativism.Of special interest is Professor Little’s insight that, like the philosophy of natural science, the philosophy of social science (...) can profit from examining actual scientific examples. Throughout the book, philosophical theory is integrated with recent empirical work on both agrarian and industrial society drawn from political science, sociology, geography, anthropology, and economics.Clearly written and well structured, this text provides the logical and conceptual tools necessary for dealing with the debates at the cutting edge of contemporary philosophy of social science. It will prove indispensible for philosophers, social scientists and their students. (shrink)
In Ethics, Economics, and Politics Ian Little returns to offer a new defence of a rule-based utilitarianism as a basis for assessing the role of the State. Lucidly and elegantly he explains how the three disiplines of philosophy, economics and politics can be integrated to provide guidance on issues of public policy.
Informed consent to medical procedures tends to be construed in terms of principle-based ethics and one or other form of expected utility theory. These constructions leave problems created by imperfect communication; subjective distress and other emotions; imperfect knowledge and incomplete understanding; complexity, and previous experience or the lack of it. There is evidence that people giving consent to therapy or to research participation act intuitively and assess consequences holistically, being influenced more by the magnitude of outcomes than their probability. People (...) avoid decisions they may regret, but modern regret theory has received little attention in discussions of informed consent. This essay suggests ways in which regret may be acknowledged in the consent process and in the assessment of the information that is an intrinsic part of it. (shrink)
In this analysis of Reinhold Niebuhr's 1932 classic Moral Man, Little reviews some of the book's fundamental conclusions. He observes that, when moral language is used in international politics without self-criticism, it diverts attention from the real motives of the statesmen who use it.
In the late twentieth century the impressive achievements of modern medicine are obvious, yet medicine seems to have failed to satisfy public expectation. Government regulation of hospitals and doctors is tightening in most Western countries and health funding is a divisive political issue. Medical complaints departments are increasingly busy. In the United States medical litigation has reached alarming levels, and a similar trend can be seen in other developed countries. Is there something wrong with medical research and practice? This book, (...) written by a surgeon with more than thirty years experience of clinical medicine, examines what it is that doctors do, and what it is that patients expect of them. It finds that in the face of uncertainty, expectation and reality ofen often diverge. Starting from the communication difficulties that exist between doctors and patients, Humane Medicine explores the roles of science, ethics and the humanities in medical practice. It forcefully argues that more science cannot heal this rift, nor can better education in ethics. To foster better communication, medical teachers must change their philosophy and methods, so that value-laden issues in clinical medicine are interwoven with the necessary science. Professor Little outlines some possible ways to achieve this. This important book will be of interest to medical students and their teachers, clinicians, health policy planners and other readers concerned about the direction of the medical profession. (shrink)
Doctors are increasingly enjoined by their professional organisations to involve themselves in supraclinical advocacy, which embraces activities focused on changing practice and the system in order to address the social determinants of health. The moral basis for doctors’ decisions on whether or not to do so has been the subject of little empirical research. This opportunistic qualitative study of the values of medical graduates associated with the Sydney Medical School explores the processes that contribute to doctors’ decisions about taking (...) up the advocate role. Our findings show that personal ideals were more important than professional commitments in shaping doctors’ decisions on engagement in advocacy. Experiences in early life and during training, including exposure to power and powerlessness, significantly influenced their role choices. Doctors included supraclinical advocacy in their mature practices if it satisfied their desire to achieve excellence. These findings suggest that common approaches to promoting and facilitating advocacy as an individual professional obligation are not fully congruent with the experiences and values of doctors that are significant in creating the advocate. It would seem important to understand better the moral commitments inherent in advocacy to inform future developments in codes of medical ethics and medical education programs. (shrink)
In most socialised health systems there are formal processes that manage resource scarcity and determine the allocation of funds to health services in accordance with their priority. In this analysis, part of a larger qualitative study examining the ethical issues entailed in doctors’ participation as technical experts in priority setting, we describe the values and ethical commitments of doctors who engage in priority setting and make an empirically derived contribution towards the identification of an ethical framework for doctors’ macroallocation work. (...) We conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 doctors, each of whom participated in macroallocation at one or more levels of the Australian health system. Our sampling, data-collection, and analysis strategies were closely modelled on grounded moral analysis, an iterative empirical bioethics methodology that employs contemporaneous interchange between the ethical and empirical to support normative claims grounded in practice. The values held in common by the doctors in our sample related to the domains of personal ethics, justice, and practices of argumentation. Applying the principles of grounded moral analysis, we identified that our participants’ ideas of the good in macroallocation and their normative insights into the practice were strongly aligned with the three levels of Paul Ricoeur’s ‘little ethics’: ‘aiming at the “good life” lived with and for others in just institutions’. Our findings suggest new ways of understanding how doctors’ values might have procedural and substantive impacts on macroallocation, and challenge the prevailing assumption that doctors in this milieu are motivated primarily by deontological considerations. Our empirical bioethics approach enabled us to identify an ethical framework for medical work in macroallocation that was grounded in the values and ethical intuitions of doctors engaged in actions of distributive justice. The concordance between Ricoeur’s ‘little ethics’ and macroallocation practitioners’ experiences, and its embrace of mutuality, suggest that it has the potential to guide practice, support ethical reflection, and harmonise deliberative practices amongst actors in macroallocation generally. (shrink)
Little raises many questions of international legality in addressing the finer concepts of peace enforcing, peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peace building. He accentuates the rule of law, democracy, and human rights as foundations for each of these stages towards a Just Peace. Looking towards collectively accepted international treaties for a concept of justice, Little taps into a notion of legal validity that is at least partially composed of a legitimacy that emanates from the people themselves. Although there are valid (...) reasons for questioning who has been allowed to participate in the process developing international law, protecting the human rights of all, and labelling it justice certainly does not seem to create an untenable starting point. In fact, this approach that looks to protect the rights of all can be quite constructive because, ultimately, it is the people involved in a conflict who will determine whether a peace is just, and therefore lasting. (shrink)
The discussion in this essay is the result of a dialogue between William Gavin and the Cologne program of interactive constructiveism. First, we give an introduction to language in James and Rorty combined with constructivist reflections. Second, we provide an extended and deepened exploration of the relation of language and experience. Here we expand the discussion and also include perspectives from Dewey. Third, we draw conclusions to the important philosophical issues of relativism and arbitrariness as questions to which pragmatism (...) as well as constructivism must give constructive responses. (shrink)
In 1958, economist A. W. Phillips published an article describing what he observed to be the inverse relationship between inflation and unemployment; subsequently, the "Phillips curve" became a central concept in macroeconomic analysis and policymaking. But today's Phillips curve is not the same as the original one from fifty years ago; the economy, our understanding of price setting behavior, the determinants of inflation, and the role of monetary policy have evolved significantly since then. In this book, some of the top (...) economists working today reexamine the theoretical and empirical validity of the Phillips curve in its more recent specifications. The contributors consider such questions as what economists have learned about price and wage setting and inflation expectations that would improve the way we use and formulate the Phillips curve, what the Phillips curve approach can teach us about inflation dynamics, and how these lessons can be applied to improving the conduct of monetary policy. ContributorsLawrence Ball, Ben Bernanke, Oliver Blanchard, V. V. Chari, William T. Dickens, Stanley Fischer, Jeff Fuhrer, Jordi Gali, Michael T. Kiley, Robert G. King, Donald L. Kohn, Yolanda K. Kodrzycki, Jane Sneddon Little, Bartisz Mackowiak, N. Gregory Mankiw, Virgiliu Midrigan, Giovanni P. Olivei, Athanasios Orphanides, Adrian R. Pagan, Christopher A. Pissarides, Lucrezia Reichlin, Paul A. Samuelson, Christopher A. Sims, Frank R. Smets, Robert M. Solow, Jürgen Stark, James H. Stock, Lars E. O. Svensson, John B. Taylor, Mark W. Watson. (shrink)
Ian Little offers a new defence of utilitarianism as a basis for assessing the role of the State. Lucidly and elegantly he explains how the three disciplines of philosophy, economics, and politics can be integrated to provide guidance on issues of public policy. Anyone interested in public affairs will be enlightened by Little's crisp analysis and any student taking an interdisciplinary course in social science will find a clear framework for thinking about the subject.
Andre Gorz is one of the most important contemporary socialist thinkers, acquiring the reputation of an iconoclastic theorist who poses radical questions about the future of the Left. This full length assessment of his work is the first to critically evaluate all of his writings from the 1950s to the '90s. Highlighting the eclectic nature of Gorz's intellectual heritage beginning with his existentialist-Marxist roots in post-war France, Adrian Little creates a unique perspective, arguing that Gorz is primarily a theorist (...) of individual freedom and autonomy. In this context he can be regarded not only as a post-Marxist thinker but as a unique purveyor of individualistic socialism. This view offers a challenge to all on the Left who are concerned with the reproduction of welfare capitalism and the future of democratic socialism. (shrink)
This essay critically examines Alfred R. Mele’s attempt to solve a problem for libertarianism that he calls the problem of present luck. Many have thought that the traditional libertarian belief in basically free acts (where the latter are any free A-ings that occur at times at which the past up to that time and the laws of nature are consistent with the agent’s not A-ing at that time) entail that the acts are due to luck at the time of the (...) act (present luck) rather than to the kind of agent control required for genuinely free, morally responsible action. While libertarians frequently have tried to rebut the claim that basically free acts are due to present luck, Mele argues for the daring thesis that they should embrace present luck rather than try to explain it away. His strategy is to argue that the assumption of present luck in the decisions of very young children (or “little agents”) does not preclude us from attributing to them a small amount of moral responsibility and that this makes it possible to conceive of moral development as a gradual process in which as the frequency of the indeterministically caused free actions increases, the agents take on greater and greater moral responsibility. In this paper I give several possible reconstructions of Mele’s argument and analyze in detail why none of them succeeds. (shrink)
Gavin D'Costa has distinguished himself as a leading voice in the field of theology of religions, and not just among Roman Catholics. His Trinitarian approach to the subject has also garnered respect among Protestants, such as Reformed theologian Tan Loe-Joo. Yet Tan is concerned that D'Costa compromises the Trinitarian framework of his approach by conflating universal salvific will and salvific grace, and that his use of limbo falls short of satisfying the scriptural principle that faith comes by hearing. This (...) article is an evaluation of D'Costa's theory as it relates to the former issue concerning salvific will and grace. I seek to show that Tan's worry stems more from an incomplete theological delineation of grace than from an actual shift in D'Costa's theological position. I then suggest a solution that provides some common ground from which both Catholic and Protestant theologians can seek a resolution to the latter issue concerning the principle of faith by hearing. (shrink)
A common objection to moral enhancement is that it would undermine our moral freedom and that this is a bad thing because moral freedom is a great good. Michael Hauskeller has defended this view on a couple of occasions using an arresting thought experiment called the 'Little Alex' problem. In this paper, I reconstruct the argument Hauskeller derives from this thought experiment and subject it to critical scrutiny. I claim that the argument ultimately fails because (a) it assumes that (...) moral freedom is an intrinsic good when, in fact, it is more likely to be an axiological catalyst; and (b) there are reasons to think that moral enhancement does not undermine moral freedom. (shrink)
Generic statements (e.g., “Birds lay eggs”) express generalizations about categories. In this paper, we hypothesized that there is a paradoxical asymmetry at the core of generic meaning, such that these sentences have extremely strong implications but require little evidence to be judged true. Four experiments confirmed the hypothesized asymmetry: Participants interpreted novel generics such as “Lorches have purple feathers” as referring to nearly all lorches, but they judged the same novel generics to be true given a wide range of (...) prevalence levels (e.g., even when only 10% or 30% of lorches had purple feathers). A second hypothesis, also confirmed by the results, was that novel generic sentences about dangerous or distinctive properties would be more acceptable than generic sentences that were similar but did not have these connotations. In addition to clarifying important aspects of generics’ meaning, these findings are applicable to a range of real-world processes such as stereotyping and political discourse. (shrink)
Research into moral decision-making has been dominated by sacrificial dilemmas where, in order to save several lives, it is necessary to sacrifice the life of another person. It is widely assumed that these dilemmas draw a sharp contrast between utilitarian and deontological approaches to morality, and thereby enable us to study the psychological and neural basis of utilitarian judgment. However, it has been previously shown that some sacrificial dilemmas fail to present a genuine contrast between utilitarian and deontological options. Here, (...) I raise deeper problems for this research paradigm. Even when sacrificial dilemmas present a contrast between utilitarian and deontological options at a philosophical level, it is misleading to interpret the responses of ordinary folk in these terms. What is currently classified as “utilitarian judgment” does not in fact share essential features of a genuine utilitarian outlook, and is better explained in terms of commonsensical moral notions. When subjects deliberate about such dilemmas, they are not deciding between opposing utilitarian and deontological solutions, but engaging in a richer process of weighing opposing moral reasons. Sacrificial dilemmas therefore tell us little about utilitarian decision-making. An alternative approach to studying proto-utilitarian tendencies in everyday moral thinking is proposed. (shrink)
This article examines the drivers and barriers for corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the Norwegian graduate uniform industry, which is a market devoid of large corporations, consisting entirely of two small businesses. It finds that these small businesses' CSR activities are not particularly well explained by the existing literature on CSR in small- and medium-sized enterprises, which assumes the presence of large competitors. This raises the question of whether small businesses that do not compete against large corporations may actually behave (...) more like ‘little big firms’ when it comes to CSR. The article finds that the two businesses studied are mostly driven by external pressure to improve their social responsibility. Such pressure stems partly from news reports on their activities and partly from increasing competition leading to a situation where the small businesses operating in the market scrutinise each others' activities. (shrink)
The remarkable transition from helpless infant to sophisticatedfive-year-old has long captured the attention of scholars interested inthe discovery of knowledge. To explain these achievements, developmentalpsychologists often compare children's discovery procedures to those ofprofessional scientists. For the child to be qualified as a ``littlescientist'', however, intellectual development must be shown to derivefrom rational hypothesis selection in the face of evidence. In thepresent paper we focus on one dimension of rational theory-choice,namely, the relation between hypothesis confirmation and evidencediversity. Psychological research suggests cultural (...) variability inappreciating evidence diversity and lack of such appreciation by youngchildren. Before reaching conclusions about the ``little scientist''thesis, however, it is essential to normatively analyze the diversityissue. We undertake such an analysis within a Bayesianperspective. (shrink)
Nursing, or caring science, is mainly concerned with developing knowledge of what constitutes ideal, good health care for patients as whole persons, and how to achieve this. The aim of this study was to find clinical empirical indications of good ethical care and to investigate the substance of ideal nursing care in praxis. A hermeneutic method was employed in this clinical study, assuming the theoretical perspective of caritative caring and ethics of the understanding of life. The data consisted of two (...) Socratic dialogues: one with nurses and one with nursing students, and interviews with two former patients. The empirical data are first described from a phenomenological approach. Observations of caregivers offering `the little extra' were taken to confirm that patients were `being seen', not from the perspective of an ideal nursing model, but from that of interaction as a fellow human being. The study provides clinical evidence that, as an ontological response to suffering, 'symbolic acts' such as giving the `little extra' may work to bridge gaps in human interaction. The fact that `little things' have the power to preserve dignity and make patients feel they are valued offers hope. Witnessing benevolent acts also paves the way for both patients and caregivers to increase their understanding of life. (shrink)
The evolutionary embryologist Gavin Rylands de Beer can be viewed as one of the forerunners of modern evolutionary developmental biology in that he posed crucial questions and proposed relevant answers about the causal relationship between ontogeny and phylogeny. In his developmental approach to the phylogenetic phenomenon of homology, he emphasized that homology of morphological structures is to be identified neither with the sameness of the underlying developmental processes nor with the homology of the genes that are in involved in (...) the development of the structures. De Beer’s work on developmental evolution focused on the notion of heterochrony, arguing that paedomorphosis increases morphological evolvability and is thereby an important mode of evolution that accounts for the origin of many taxa, including higher taxa. (shrink)
In the classic study Little science, big science (New York: Columbia University Press, 1963), Derek Price traces the historical shift from what he calls little science?exemplified by early?modern ?invisible colleges? of scientific amateurs and enthusiasts engaged in small?scale, informal interactions and personal correspondence?to 20th?century big science, dominated by professional scientists and wealthy institutions, where scientific information (primarily in print form and its analogues) was mass?produced, marketed and circulated on a global scale. This article considers whether the growing use (...) of more participatory, interactive ?Web 2.0? technologies and social media in science today (e.g. wikis, blogs, tagging and bookmarking, conferencing, etc.) may signal a revival of little science modes of communication that contrast with big science conventions that continue to dominate research policy, scientific institutions, and the publishing industry. A brief historical review of responses to the scientific ?information explosion? since the early 1900s is presented, with a particular focus on the idealization of large?scale, automated information systems and the privileging of formal (document?producing) over informal (interpersonal) modes of scientific communication. Alternative frameworks for scientific communication that incorporate both documents and interaction are used to examine contemporary examples of so?called Science 2.0 and citizen science projects to determine whether such projects indicate the emergence of new modes of communication in science that bridge the immediacy and involvement of invisible colleges and the rigor of peer?reviewed publishing. The implications for traditional documentary forms such as the journal article are also discussed. (shrink)
Do we need defeasible generalizations in epistemology, generalizations that are genuinely explanatory yet ineliminably exception-laden? Do we need them to endow our epistemology with a substantial explanatory structure? Mark Lance and Margaret Little argue for the claim that we do. I will argue that we can just as well do without them – at least in epistemology. So in the paper, I am trying to very briefly sketch an alternative contextualist picture. More specifically, the claim will be that although (...) an epistemic contextualist should commit himself to epistemic holism he can nevertheless appeal to epistemic principles other than defeasible generalizations in order to provide his epistemology with a structure. (shrink)
This volume brings historians of science and social historians together to consider the role of "little tools"--such as tables, reports, questionnaires, dossiers, index cards--in establishing academic and bureaucratic claims to authority and objectivity. From at least the eighteenth century onward, our science and society have been planned, surveyed, examined, and judged according to particular techniques of collecting and storing knowledge. Recently, the seemingly self-evident nature of these mundane epistemic and administrative tools, as well as the prose in which they (...) are cast, has demanded historical examination. The essays gathered here, arranged in chronological order by subject from the late seventeenth to the late twentieth century, involve close readings of primary texts and analyses of academic and bureaucratic practices as parts of material culture. The first few essays, on the early modern period, largely point to the existence of a "juridico-theological" framework for establishing authority. Later essays demonstrate the eclipse of the role of authority per se in the modern period and the emergence of the notion of "objectivity." Most of the essays here concern the German cultural space as among the best exemplars of the academic and bureaucratic practices described above. The introduction to the volume, however, is framed at a general level the closing essays also extend the analyses beyond Germany to broader considerations on authority and objectivity in historical practice. The volume will interest scholars of European history and German studies as well as historians of science. Peter Becker is Professor of Central European History, European University Institute. William Clark is Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University. (shrink)
These are early days in the philosophical study of character. We know very little about what most peoples’ character looks like. Important virtues are surprisingly neglected. There are almost no strategies advanced by philosophers today for improving character. We have a long way to go.
Very Little ... Almost Nothing puts the question of the meaning of life back at the center of intellectual debate. Its central concern is how we can find a meaning to human finitude without recourse to anything that transcends that finitude. A profound but secular meditation on the theme of death, Critchley traces the idea of nihilism through Blanchot, Levinas, Jena Romanticism and Cavell, culminating in a reading of Beckett, in many ways the hero of the book. For this (...) Second Edition, Simon Critchley has added a revealing and extended new preface, and a new chapter on Wallace Stevens which reflects on the idea of poetry as philosophy. (shrink)
Much of the focus of programs designed to promote responsible conduct in research has traditionally been on the high crimes of fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism. We believe that equally deserving of our attention are the misdemeanors that also can occur. Viewed as individual events, these “little murders” are far less serious. Yet, we believe that in the aggregate they can do great harm, not the least because they can set the stage for far greater crimes.
Sage knowledge knows the evolution of circumstances from an early point, when tendencies may be inconspicuously, “effortlessly” diverted. This knowledge is expressed, not “represented,” being an intensive quality of action rather than of belief, proposition, or theory, and its effortlessness is not a matter of effort versus no effort, but of the intensity with which effort tends to vanish. The value of such knowledge and the explanation of its accomplishment in terms of perceiving incipience or “really seeing the little (...) things” crisscross lines among Confucians, Neo-Confucians, Daoists, and Art of War thinkers. What distinguishes these currents arises not from different definitions or justifications of knowledge but instead different ideas about how to acquire such knowledge and especially how to train it for wisdom. (shrink)
Could low-level exposure to polluting chemicals be analogous to exercise - a beneficial source of stress that strengthens the body? Some scientists studying the phenomenon of hormesis claim that that this may be the case. Is A Little Pollution Good For You? critically examines the current evidence for hormesis.
Could low-level exposure to polluting chemicals be analogous to exercise -- a beneficial source of stress that strengthens the body? Some scientists studying the phenomenon of hormesis claim that that this may be the case.s A Little Pollution Good For You? critically examines the current evidence for hormesis.
Philosophy begins with questions about the nature of reality and how we should live. These were the concerns of Socrates, who spent his days in the ancient Athenian marketplace asking awkward questions, disconcerting the people he met by showing them how little they genuinely understood. This engaging book introduces the great thinkers in Western philosophy and explores their most compelling ideas about the world and how best to live in it. In forty brief chapters, Nigel Warburton guides us on (...) a chronological tour of the major ideas in the history of philosophy. He provides interesting and often quirky stories of the lives and deaths of thought-provoking philosophers from Socrates, who chose to die by hemlock poisoning rather than live on without the freedom to think for himself, to Peter Singer, who asks the disquieting philosophical and ethical questions that haunt our own times. Warburton not only makes philosophy accessible, he offers inspiration to think, argue, reason, and ask in the tradition of Socrates. _A Little History of Philosophy_ presents the grand sweep of humanity's search for philosophical understanding and invites all to join in the discussion. (shrink)
This paper responds to David Little 's recent discussion of the author's "holistic" criticisms of "Comparative Religious Ethics". In two crucial areas, Little seems to have moved beyond his original position: first, in granting that the relation among the levels of the structure of practical justification is interactive; and second, in making explicit his conception of the point of pursuing comparative studies. Both developments are welcome, but they raise doubts about whether much of the original position survives. The (...) author articulates these doubts, and also reflects on what difference holism makes in ethics. (shrink)
This essay interprets Hannah Arendt’s concept of the “social question” through a reading of her controversial essay “Reflections on Little Rock.” I argue that Arendt’s social question refers to social climbing and not simply poverty, as she initially suggests. The social-climbing framework illuminates “Little Rock” in two ways. First, it explains why Arendt opposed mandatory school desegregation, which she saw as black social climbing, that is, African American citizens and the NAACP using the US courts and federal government (...) to raise the status of African Americans to the level of whites. Second, and more significant, it provides a framework for criticizing “Little Rock” with Arendt’s own standards and criteria in mind. Reminded by Arendt of the suspect politics of social climbing, we can see something she did not: segregation was not “natural” association but an institution established after the Civil War to protect white social climbing and social advancement. (shrink)
In this paper we attempt to interpret Little Red Riding Hood’s most famous variants in light of its recent film adaptations. With reference to René Girard’s theory of sacrifice, we will argue that the latest one of these, Catherine Hardwicke’s 2011 adaptation offers the chance to see in Perrault’s “Little Red Riding Hood” the result of a diachronical evolution in four steps of the misrecognizing narration of a collective lynching, a full-fledged scapegoating of an anonymous villager accused and (...) persecuted as werewolf. We will find further support in Vladimir Propp’s and Alan Dundes’s contributions. (shrink)
Reflections on Little Rock is one of Hannah Arendt’s most controversial writings. Read from the perspective of the political philosopher, it appears even more contentious than her famous remarks in Eichmann in Jerusalem. In the last two decades, a number of critical contributions have been published addressing this essay, highlighting how it casts serious doubts on the correctness of Arendt’s dealing with the racial question and, more generally, on the tenability of central elements of her political thought – e.g., (...) her distinction between the political and the social. However, only occasional – and, as I will try to demonstrate, quite imprecise – analyses of the implications of RLR for an understanding of Arendt’s view of judgment have been produced. The aim of the present article is to reread what both Arendt’s position on judgment and its main contemporary reformulation, advanced by Linda Zerilli, imply for the making of political choices in pluralistic societies. Special attention will be... (shrink)
The theory of justice that Hugo Grotius developed in De Jure Belli ac Pacis (The Law of War and Peace, 1625) set itself against a certain reading of Aristotle, according to which justice is conceived of as a mean between taking too much and taking too little. I argue that we can best understand the implications of Grotius' mature conception by considering the ends to which he had deployed this Aristotelian notion in his earlier work. Grotius came to perceive (...) that his earlier understanding of justice too easily ruled out the sorts of humanitarian concerns that could have a moderating effect. (shrink)
Sometimes, when I go to dinner parties organized by my partner, people ask me what I do, and I say that I'm a philosopher. But when I fumble at their questions about ‘my philosophy’, my partner will describe what I do by saying, ‘He uses big words to explain little words.’ Although this is meant tongue in cheek, it's basically right. My philosophical research is mainly in metaethics and the philosophy of language with a focus on the semantics of (...) moral words. This means, for better or worse, that I use big words to explain little words. (shrink)
William J. Gavin is a leading authority on the philosophy of William James. For over forty-five years, his work embodies Jamesian virtues of openness, interdisciplinarity, and novelty. His latest book is Jamesian in the best sense.Gavin investigates the “indissoluble marriage” between “radical empiricism” and “the will to believe”—perennial themes in the Jamesian corpus. Starting with an important heuristic distinction between “manifest” and “latent” meanings, Gavin guides the reader through a landscape where objectivity and subjectivity often collide, resulting (...) in powerful experiential implications. Questions concerning belief, will, mortality, and God reflexively fold upon themselves in ways leading to the .. (shrink)
Almost simultaneous emergence of Existentialism and Marxism at end of the Little Ice Age had coincided with rapid urbanization and prevalence of mood disorder in northern Europe. This historic configuration is cast against Relph’s notion of place in his critique of urban planning. During the LIA street walking had mitigated mood disorder triggered by sunlight deprivation of indoor spaces while, at the same time, it had also buoyed a place. It was the unplanned place in the open air—a dilapidated (...) street corner in St. Petersburg or Romanesque streetscape of Old Copenhagen—that offered authenticity, cerebral restitution, and for ardent minds also discernment and acumen. Relph’s critique continues to be of pressing relevance to winter-cities designed for automotive access, and also for the interpretation it offers on the thought and events of the late LIA and following it. (shrink)
The Little Nell Problem was formulated by Drew McDermott in 1982. It reveals unexpected complexities in the interaction of the beliefs and intentions of a planning agent. This paper discusses the problem and proposes a solution.
Helping more than “a little”: recent books on Kierkegaard and philosophy of religion Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s11153-012-9345-6 Authors J. Aaron Simmons, Department of Philosophy, Furman University, 3300 Poinsett Hwy, Greenville, SC 29613, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047.
In this paper, I will attempt a defense of Hannah Arendt's usage of the social/political distinction in her "Reflections on Little Rock," demonstrating that not only is it tenable but also helpful. After distinguishing between her famous distinction between the social and political spheres, I will use the notions of "power," which is compatible with political freedom, and "force," which is not, to analyze the strategy of governmentally enforced integration. What I hope to show is that although schools are (...) of the utmost political importance, governmental force cannot solve social prejudice, and it cannot legitimately be used outside of the sphere of establishing and protecting legal equality. I will further elucidate Arendt's illustrative passage on how an integration effort might politically engage problems of exclusion and inequality in schools without having to resort to force to solve social problems and without reducing politics to instrumental administration. (shrink)