When an act is right or wrong, there may be an explanation why. Different moral theories recognize different moral facts and offer different explanations of them, but they offer no account of moral explanation itself. What, then, is its nature? This thesis seeks a systematic account of moral explanation within a framework of moral realism. In Chapter 1, I develop a pluralist theory of explanation. I argue that there is a prima facie distinctive normative mode of explanation that is essential (...) to moral theory. In Chapter 2, I characterize normative explanation through its formal properties. I then draw on John Mackie’s claim that moral explanations are queer to develop a powerful form of moral scepticism. In Chapters 3–4, I reject attempts to reduce normative explanation to logical necessity, metaphysical necessity, or conceptual necessity. The failure of these accounts is taken to reinforce Mackie’s scepticism. In Chapter 5, I defend a partial analysis of normative explanation in terms of irreducible normative laws. I argue that irreducible normative laws offer a realist, though non-naturalist, answer to Mackie’s scepticism. The existence of irreducible normative laws then is defended as offering the best realist explanation of why rightness and wrongness supervene on descriptive properties. In Appendix A, I discuss the claim the normative explanation has an essential connection to the motivation of virtuous agents. I defend this claim from certain difficulties posed by Jonathan Dancy’s recent work. (shrink)
This extraordinary book offers a clear and compelling biography of Jacques Derrida along with one of Derrida's strangest and most unexpected texts. Geoffrey Bennington's account of Derrida leads the reader through the philosopher's familiar yet widely misunderstood work on language and writing to the less familiar themes of signature, sexual difference, law, and affirmation. In an unusual and unprecedented "dialogue," Derrida responds to Bennington's text by interweaving Bennington's text with surprising and disruptive "periphrases." Truly original, this dual and dueling (...) text opens new dimensions in Derrida's thought and work. "Bennington is a shrewd and well-informed commentator whose book should do something to convince the skeptics... that Jacques Derrida's work merits serious attention."—Christopher Norris, _New Statesman & Society_ "Geoffrey Bennington and Jacques Derrida have presented a fascinating example of what might be called post-structuralist autobiography."—Laurie Volpe, _French Review_ "Bennington's account of what Derrida is up to is better in almost all respects—more intelligent, more plausible, more readable, and less pretentious—than any other I have read."—Richard Rorty, _Contemporary Literature_. (shrink)
In this, the first Reader of Geoffrey Hartman's work, significant essays reflect his abiding interest in English and American poetry, focusing not only on Romanticism but also on the transition from early modern to modern and including reflections on the radical elements in artistic representation.
C. F. Beckingham, in his inaugural lecture to the Chair of Islamic Studies, discussed the manner in which European explorers sought for the elusive Prester John, and remarked that it was unusual to lecture on a person who probably did not exist. The Comparative Study of Religions has a universal scale and religions certainly exist. But it has often been held that other religions than our own are untrue, and the attitude adopted towards them by many theologians, and others, has (...) been that which was expressed by Hilaire Belloc in his Cautionary Verses, ‘And is it true? It is not true.’. (shrink)
Truth and Norms develops a novel pluralistic view of the normative role that truth exerts on judgements. This view, labeled normative alethic pluralism, provides the best explanation of the variable normative significance that disagreement exhibits in different areas of discourse and is fully compatible with a minimalist conception of truth.
Ever since the constitutional revolution of the 1930s, constitutional law and theory have been dominated by questions of civil rights. The expansion of rights under the Warren Court constituted a deep-seated shift in judicial attitudes that has proved remarkably stable over time. Despite protests in some quarters that the Burger Court and the current Rehnquist Court have undermined civil rights recognized during the Warren Court era, the fact is that the changes have been surprisingly marginal. Even precedents that were widely (...) believed to be endangered species a decade ago – such as Miranda and Roe v. Wade – continue in force, although they have indeed been pruned back. Despite their importance, however, these high-profile cases do not go to the core of the Supreme Court's agenda. The core is epitomized by Brown v. Board of Education on the one hand, representing an aggressive and interventionist attitude toward government discrimination against discrete minorities, and footnote four of the Carotene Products case, on the other hand, representing an extraordinarily deference to the political process with respect to economic regulation. The Rehnquist Court's commitment to this core agenda is not dramatically different than that of its predecessors, at least not when the broad sweep of constitutional law is taken into account. (shrink)
In this book, we interpret post-truth as a multifaceted phenomenon which involves fake news, emotion-driven rhetoric (vs fact-driven discussion), credulism in the social-media, conspiracy theories and scientific denialism. We develop three models intended to represent the multifaceted nature of post-truth in terms of deviated forms of enquiry – which we label “post-enquiries”. The first form of post-enquiry posits the existence of alternative facts; the second prioritizes emotions over facts; the third limits the scope of the norms of enquiry. We elaborate (...) on the third model in relation to scientific denialism and we apply it to analyse the case of flat-earthism. (shrink)
The words we call slurs are just plain vanilla descriptions like ‘cowboy’ and ‘coat hanger’. They don't semantically convey any disparagement of their referents, whether as content, conventional implicature, presupposition, “coloring” or mode of presentation. What distinguishes 'kraut' and 'German' is metadata rather than meaning: the former is the conventional description for Germans among Germanophobes when they are speaking in that capacity, in the same way 'mad' is the conventional expression that some teenagers use as an intensifier when they’re emphasizing (...) that social identity. That is, racists don’t use slurs because they’re derogatory; slurs are derogatory because they’re the words that racists use. To use a slur is to exploit the Maxim of Manner (or Levinson’s M-Principle) to signal one’s affiliation with a group that has a disparaging attitude towards the slur’s referent. This account is sufficient to explain all the familiar properties of slurs, such as their speaker orientation and “nondetachability,” with no need of additional linguistic mechanisms. It also explains some features of slurs that are rarely if ever explored; for example the variation in tone and strength among the different slurs for a particular group, the existence of words we count as slurs, such as 'redskin', which almost all of their users consider to be respectful, and the curious absence in Standard English of any commonly used slurs—by which I mean words used to express a negative attitude toward an entire group—for Muslims and women. (shrink)
From Geoffrey A. Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm, which has sold more than 1 million copies, The Infinite Staircase is a bold new book that combines science and philosophy to answer two fundamental questions for humanity: the metaphysical "where do I fit in the grand scheme of things?" and the ethical "how should I behave?".
Sir Geoffrey Lloyd presents a cross-disciplinary exploration of the unity and diversity of the human mind. He discusses cultural variations with regard to ideas of colour, emotion, health, the self, agency and causation, reasoning, and other fundamental aspects of human cognition. He draws together scientific, philosophical, anthropological, and historical arguments in showing how our evident psychic diversity can be reconciled with our shared humanity.
_The Ambiguity of Justice_ consists of a collection of essays that address difficulties and potential contradictions in thinking justice by focussing on Ricoeur's theory of justice and on the major thinkers that were influential for it.
In this series of dialogues, Derrida discusses and elaborates on some of the central themes of his work, such as the problems of genesis, justice, authorship and death. Combining autobiographical reflection with philosophical enquiry, Derrida illuminates the ideas that have characterized his thought from its beginning to the present day. If there is one feature that links these contributions, it is the theme of singularity - the uniqueness of the individual, the resistance of existence to philosophy, the temporality of the (...) singular and exceptional moment, and the problem of exemplarity. The second half of this book contains an essay by Maurizio Ferraris, in which he explores the questions of indication, time and the inscription of the transcendental in the empirical. A work of outstanding philosophy and scholarship, the essay is developed in close proximity to Derrida and in dialogue with figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Kant, Hegel and Heidegger. It thereby provides a useful introduction to the philosophy of one of Italy's most prominent philosophers as well as an excellent complement to Derrida's own ideas. A Taste for the Secret consists of material that has never before appeared in English. It will be of interest to second-year undergraduates, graduate students and academics in philosophy, modern languages, literature, literary theory and the humanities generally. (shrink)
According to the form of logical pluralism elaborated by Beall and Restall there is more than one relation of logical consequence. Since they take the relation of logical consequence to reside at the very heart of a logical system, different relations of logical consequence yield different logics. In this paper, we are especially interested in understanding what are the consequences of endorsing Beall and Restall’s version of logical pluralism vis-à-vis the normative guidance that logic is taken to provide to reasoners. (...) In particular, the aim of this paper is threefold. First, in Sections 2 and 3, we offer an exegesis of Beall and Restall’s logical pluralism as a thesis of semantic indeterminacy of our concept of logical consequence – i.e. understood as indeterminacy logical pluralism. Second, in Sections 4 and 5, we elaborate and critically scrutinize three models of semantic indeterminacy that we think are fit to capture Beall and Restall’s indeterminacy logical pluralism. Third, in Section 6, following Beall and Restall’s assumption that the notion of logical consequence has normative significance for deductive reasoning, we raise a series of normative problems for indeterminacy logical pluralism. The overall conclusion that we aim to establish is that Beall and Restall’s indeterminate logical pluralism cannot offer an adequate account of the normative guidance that logic is taken to provide us with in ordinary contexts of reasoning. (shrink)
David Eso and Kay Burns edition of philosopher Leo Ferraris previously unpublished 1973 manuscript brings to light a long forgotten satirical work, which, in an age of fake news, possesses renewed relevance. The editors contextualize The Earth is Flat! for the reader with a scholarly introduction and a humorous Forewarning. Author, Leo Ferrari, draws on his extensive knowledge of classical thought and its key figures to present a history of ideas that is sometimes accurate, sometimes speculative. Speculative or alternative (...) aspects of this history support his Flat Earth theme, as do a number of scientific experiments outlined, which the reader is encouraged to try. He traces the conflict between Globularist and Planoterrestrial beliefs from antiquity to his contemporary moment of the early 1970s, marked by space exploration. Later chapters chart the activities and philosophies of the Flat Earth Society of Canada, including Ferraris experience on the lecture circuit and in media platforms. The authors method is to blur the line between seriousness and humour and to show that intellectual work can also be good fun. He uses the idea of a spinning, spherical planet to symbolically represent the alienating effects of technological modernity. (shrink)
Geoffrey Lloyd engages in a wide-ranging exploration of what we can learn from the study of ancient civilizations that is relevant to fundamental problems, both intellectual and moral, that we still face today. These include, in philosophy of science, the question of the incommensurability of paradigms, the debate between realism and relativism or constructivism, and between correspondence and coherence conceptions of truth. How far is it possible to arrive at an understanding of alien systems of belief? Is it possible (...) to talk meaningfully of 'science' and of its various constituent disciplines, 'astronomy' 'geography' 'anatomy' and so on, in the ancient world? Are logic and its laws universal? Is there one ontology - a single world - to which all attempts at understanding must be considered to be directed? When we encounter apparently very different views of reality, how far can that be put down to a difference in conceptions of what needs explaining, or of what counts as an explanation, or to different preferred modes of reasoning or styles of inquiry? Do the notions of truth and belief represent reliable cross-cultural universals? In another area, what can ancient history teach us about today's social and political problems? Are the discourses of human nature and of human rights universally applicable? What political institutions do we need to help secure equity and justice within nation states and between them? Lloyd sets out to answer all these questions, and to argue that the study of the science and culture of ancient Greece and China provided a precious resource in order to advance a wealth of modern debates. (shrink)
In this volume, Geoffrey Madell develops a revised account of the self, making a compelling case for why the "simple" or "anti-criterial" view of personal identity warrants a robust defense. Madell critiques recent discussions of the self for focusing on features which are common to all selves, and which therefore fail to capture the uniqueness of each self. In establishing his own view of personal identity, Madell proposes that there is always a gap between ‘A is f and g’ (...) and ‘ I am f and g’ ; , that a complete description of the world offered without recourse to indexicals will fail to account for the contingent truth that I am one of the persons described; and , that an account of conscious perspectives on the world must take into account what it means for an apparently arbitrary one of these perspectives to be mine . Engaging with contemporary positions on the first person, embodiment, psychological continuity, and other ongoing arguments, Madell contends that there can be no such thing as a criterion of personal identity through time, that no bodily or psychological continuity approach to the issue can succeed, and that personal identity through time must be absolute, not a matter of degree. Madell’s view that the nature of the self is substantively different from that of objects in the world will generate significant discussion and debate among philosophers of mind. (shrink)
Is there life after death? Can we prove the big bang theory? In his engrossing and accessible style, Dr Kerry Spackman uses everyday examples to answer these questions and other diverse issues. the Ant and the Ferrari is a magical tour-de-force that takes on the big questions in life and answers them in Dr Kerry Spackman's easily accessible writing style. this is one of those rare books that will change your beliefs - and in doing so will change your (...) life. tHE ANt AND tHE FERRARI offers readers a clear, navigable path through the big questions that confront us all today. What is the meaning of life? Can we be ethical beings in today's world? Can we know if there is life after death? Is there such a thing as Absolute truth? What caused the Big Bang and why should you care? (shrink)
Karl Popper is a philosopher of knowledge and politics, rationality and freedom. His ideas have won acceptance and provoked controversy among an academic as well as a more general audience. This book aims to broaden our understanding of Popper's philosophy. It is one of the few studies to present his work as an evolving "system of ideas", and to take account of the full range of his writings. The book discusses Popper's early philosophy of politics, science and social science, as (...) well as his later philosophy, which offers an evolutionary account of human nature and the growth of knowledge. Contrary to many earlier interpretations, Stokes argues that we should look to Popper's political values to understand the unity of his work and the evolution of his theory of knowledge and general philosophy. The chapters in this book examine Popper's arguments, and offer critical analysis of the achievements and shortcomings of his philosophy. In particular, Stokes considers the problems of rationality, politics and ethics in the context of debates between the Frankfurt School of critical theory and critical rationalism. The book will be of interest to second-year undergraduates and above in the fields of philosophy and critical theory. (shrink)
Cinema and the automatic sweetheart. The work of art as an automatic sweetheart. Automatic sweethearts without names: the place of films in the world of art -- Cinema and new realism. Realism and trasparency in film. What is new in realism? Cinema, philosophy and the rediscovery of reality -- Cinema and documediality. The movie theatre of Babel. Toward a new ontology of film. The digital secret of the moving image -- Cinema and the ontology of the cell phone. Double signature. (...) An ontology for mobile movies. Film me, stupid. On Eco on mobile phones and stupidity -- Cinema and animality. Humans, animals, machines. Anthropocentrism and science fiction cinema. (shrink)
Why should a box of soap pads or an urinal be a cause for reflection? Avant-garde art knows how to answer better than classical and romantic art. What makes art prophetic is not a mysterious inspiration, but the creative answer to emergencies coming from technology and incorporated into objects. What are the pen and the pen drive for? They are there to make plans and renegotiate contracts. Technology does not disappear: we are not dealing with the dematerialization or sublimation of (...) an artwork that becomes pure spirit. Technology is transformed, bringing to the fore the link between artwork and reproducibility as well as between artwork and contract. Contemporary art highlights a character proper to the artworks of all times and types: a document dimension. Indeed, this dimension is not a break with the essence of traditional art: the latter postulates cooperation (and therefore an implicit contract) between author and user. (shrink)
I assess a number of connected ideas about temporal experience that are introspectively plausible, but which I believe can be argued to be incorrect. These include the idea that temporal experiences are extended experiential processes, that they have an internal structure that in some way mirrors the structure of the apparent events they present, and the idea that time in experience is in some way represented by time itself. I explain how these ideas can be developed into more sharply defined (...) views, and then argue that these views are inconsistent with certain empirical facts about how time is represented in the brain. These facts instead support a kind of atomic view, on which temporal experiences are temporally unstructured atoms. (shrink)
Geoffrey Lloyd engages in a wide-ranging exploration of what we can learn from the study of ancient civilisations that is relevant to fundamental problems, both intellectual and moral, that we still face today. How far is it possible to arrive at an understanding of alien systems of belief? Is it possible to talk meaningfully of 'science' and of its various constituent disciplines, 'astronomy', 'geography', 'anatomy', and so on, in the ancient world? Are logic and its laws universal? Is there (...) one ontology - a single world - to which all attempts at understanding must be considered to be directed? When we encounter apparently very different views of reality, how far can that be put down to a difference in conceptions of what needs explaining, or of what counts as an explanation, or to different preferred modes of reasoning or styles of inquiry? Do the notions of truth and belief represent reliable cross-cultural universals?In another area, what can ancient history teach us about today's social and political problems? Are the discourses of human nature and of human rights universally applicable? What political institutions do we need to help secure equity and justice within nation states and between them? Lloyd sets out to answer all these questions, and to convince us that the science and culture of ancient Greece and China provide precious resources to advance modern debates. (shrink)