Two views of Plato’s politics in the Republic predominate in the literature. Political organicism is the view that the polis is an organism and implies that individual happiness is defined by an individual’s contribution to the polis’s good. Individualism is the view that the polis is reducible to individuals, which implies that the polis’s good is nothing but individual happiness aggregated. This article develops a middle-of-the-road view called weak organicism, which qualifies Plato’s organicism and includes a Platonic account of the (...) mereological relations of the polis. These relations imply that individuals as such are not structurally dependent on the whole polis, thereby making conceptual space for Plato’s expressly stated thesis that the polis’s good is over and above individual happiness without necessarily implying that individual happiness is reducible to the polis’s good, which the literature generally supposes to be a corollary of political organicism. (shrink)
William Perm summarized the Magna Carta thus: “First, It asserts Englishmen to be free; that's Liberty. Secondly, they that have free-holds, that's Property.” Since at least the seventeenth century, liberals have not only understood liberty and property to be fundamental, but to be somehow intimately related or interwoven. Here, however, consensus ends; liberals present an array of competing accounts of the relation between liberty and property. Many, for instance, defend an essentially instrumental view, typically seeing private property as justified because (...) it is necessary to maintain or protect other, more basic, liberty rights. Important to our constitutional tradition has been the idea that “[t]he right to property is the guardian of every other right, and to deprive a people of this, is in fact to deprive them of their liberty.” Along similar lines, it has been argued that only an economic system based on private property disperses power and resources, ensuring that private people in civil society have the resources to oppose the state and give effect to basic liberties. Alternatively, it is sometimes claimed that only those with property develop the independent characters that are necessary to preserve a regime of liberty. But not only have liberals insisted that, property is a means of preserving liberty, they have often conceived of it as an embodiment of liberty, or as a type of liberty, or indeed as identical to liberty. This latter view is popular among contemporary libertarians or classical liberals. Jan Narveson, for instance, bluntly asserts that “Liberty is Property,” while John Gray insists that “[t]he connection between property and the basic liberties is constitutive and not just instrumental.”. (shrink)
Justificatory liberalism is liberal in an abstract and foundational sense: it respects each as free and equal, and so insists that coercive laws must be justified to all members of the public. In this essay I consider how this fundamental liberal principle relates to disputes within the liberal tradition on “the extent of the state.” It is widely thought today that this core liberal principle of respect requires that the state regulates the distribution of resources or well-being to conform to (...) principles of fairness, that all citizens be assured of employment and health care, that no one be burdened by mere brute bad luck, and that citizens' economic activities must be regulated to insure that they do not endanger the “fair value” of rights to determine political outcomes. I argue in this essay: a large family of liberal views are consistent with the justificatory liberals project, from classical to egalitarian formulations ; overall, the justificatory project tilts in the direction of classical formulations. (shrink)
Nowhere has H.L.A. Hart's influence on philosophical jurisprudence in the English-speaking world been greater than in the way its fundamental project and method are conceived by its practitioners. Disagreements abound, of course. Philosophers debate the extent to which jurisprudence can or should proceed without appeal to moral or other values. They disagree about which participant perspective—that of the judge, lawyer, citizen, or “bad man”—is primary and about what taking up the participant perspective commits the theorist to. However, virtually unchallenged is (...) the view that jurisprudence is fundamentally interpretive or “hermeneutic”; that it takes for its subject a certain kind of social practice, constituted by the behavior and understandings of its participants; that its task is to explain this practice and its relations to other important social practices; and that it can properly be explained only by taking full account of participant understandings. It is, perhaps, some measure of the hegemony of Hart's influence that Ronald Dworkin mounts his fundamental challenge to Hart's positivism squarely from within this jurisprudential orthodoxy. Dworkin may have exceeded the limits of the method as Hart conceived it, but, as Stephen Perry has argued, “the seeds of Dworkin's strong version of inter-pretivism were sown by Hart himself.”. (shrink)
Kant argues that the “discipline” of reason holds us to public argument and reflective thought. When we speak the language of reasoned judgment, Kant maintains, we “speak with a universal voice,” expecting and claiming the assent of all other rational beings. This language carries with it a discipline requiring us to submit our judgments to the forum of our rational peers. Remarkably, Kant does not restrict this thought to the realm of politics, but rather treats politics as the model for (...) reason's authority in all the provinces that rational beings inhabit. (shrink)
Part One of this essay considered familiar ways of characterizing deontology, which focus on the notions of the good and the right. Here we will take up alternative approaches, which stress the type of reasons for actions that are generated by deontological theories. Although some of these alternative conceptualizations of deontology also employ a distinction between the good and the right, all mark the basic contrast between deontology and teleology in terms of reasons to act.
Liberal political theory is all too familiar with the divide between classical and welfare-state liberals. Classical liberals, as we all know, insist on the importance of small government, negative liberty, and private property. Welfare-state liberals, on the other hand, although they too stress civil rights, tend to be sympathetic to “positive liberty,” are for a much more expansive government, and are often ambivalent about private property. Although I do not go so far as to entirely deny the usefulness of this (...) familiar distinction, I think in many ways it is misleading. In an important sense, most free-market liberals are also “welfare-state” liberals. I say this because the overwhelming number of liberals, of both the pro-market and the pro-government variety, entertain a welfarist conception of political economy. On this dominant welfarist view, the ultimate justification of the politico-economic order is that it promotes human welfare. Traditional “welfare-state liberals” such as Robert E. Goodin manifestly adopt this welfarist conception. But it is certainly not only interventionists such as Goodin who insist that advancing welfare is the overriding goal of normative political economy. J. R. McCulloch, one of the great nineteenth-century laissez-faire political economists, was adamant that “freedom is not, as some appear to think, the end of government: the advancement of public prosperity and happiness is its end.” To be sure, McCulloch would have disagreed with Goodin about the optimal welfare-maximizing economic policy: the welfarist ideal, he and his fellow classical political economists believed, would best be advanced by provision of a legal and institutional framework — most importantly, the laws of property, contract, and the criminal code — that allows individuals to pursue their own interests in the market and, by so doing, promote public welfare. In general, what might be called the “classical-liberal welfare state” claims to advance welfare by providing the framework for individuals to seek wealth for themselves, while welfarists such as Goodin insist that a market order is seriously flawed as a mechanism for advancing human welfare and, in addition, that government has the competency to “correct market failures” in the provision of welfare. (shrink)
Rosen argues that Bentham's utilitarian doctrine was sensitive to distributive concerns and would not countenance sacrifice of fundamental individual interests for aggregate gains in happiness in society. This essay seeks to extend and deepen Rosen's argument. It is argued that Bentham's equality-sensitive principle of utility is an expression of an individualist conception of human happiness which contrasts sharply with the orthodox utilitarian abstract conception. Evidence for this interpretation of the basic motivation of Bentham's doctrine is drawn from his view of (...) the relationship between happiness and expectations, from various expressions of his ‘each to count for one’ formula, and from his reformulations of the principle of utility itself late in his career. (shrink)
Bentham belongs to a long tradition of reflection on law according to which the nature of law can best be understood in terms of its distinctive contribution to the solution of certain deep and pervasive problems of collective action or collective rationality. I propose to take a critical look at Bentham's unique and penetrating contribution to this tradition. For this purpose I will rely on the interpretation of the main lines of Bentham's jurisprudence and its philosophical motivations which I have (...) developed in Bentham and the Common Law Tradition. will not attempt further to defend it here. I wish, rather, to reflect on themes and arguments which this interpretation of Bentham's jurisprudence has uncovered. (shrink)
Having laid the groundwork in his critically acclaimed books Neural Darwinism (Basic Books, 1987) and Topobiology (Basic Books, 1988), Nobel laureate Gerald M. Edelman now proposes a comprehensive theory of consciousness in The Remembered ...
The paper analyses the role played by the concept of ‘common ground’ in argumentation theories. If a common agreement on all the rules of a discursive exchange is required, either at the beginning or at the end of an argumentative practice, then no violation of the rules is possible. The paper suggests an alternative understanding of ‘common ground’ as something that can change during the development of the argumentative practice, and in particular something that can change without the practice being (...) stopped, just as one sometimes violates the rule of a game without stopping playing. The analysis of some historical examples shows that the violation of rules sometimes leads to a consensual change of a set of beliefs and values. The argumentative rationality thus needs to be reconsidered in the light of the analysis of the conditions under which it would be legitimate to change the rules of an argumentative practice: ‘common ground’ and the right to disagreement, even radical or violent, could then be defended as essential components of argumentative rationality. (shrink)
The author takes the reader on a tour that covers such topics as computers, evolution, Descartes, Schrodinger, and the nature of perception, language, and invididuality. He argues that biology provides the key to understanding the brain. Underlying his argument is the evolutionary view that the mind arose at a definite time in history. This book ponders connections between psychology and physics, medicine, philosophy, and more. Frequently contentious, Edelman attacks cognitive and behavioral approaches, which leave biology out of the picture, as (...) well as the currently fashionable view of the brain as a computer. (shrink)
In Veritas, Gerald Vision defends the correspondence theory of truth -- the theory that truth has a direct relationship to reality -- against recent attacks, and critically examines its most influential alternatives. The correspondence theory, if successful, explains one way in which we are cognitively connected to the world; thus, it is claimed, truth -- while relevant to semantics, epistemology, and other studies -- also has significant metaphysical consequences. Although the correspondence theory is widely held today, Vision points to (...) an emerging orthodoxy in philosophy that claims that truth as such carries no significant weight in philosophical explanations. He devotes much of the book to a criticism of that outlook and to a less vulnerable formulation of the correspondence theory.Vision defends the correspondence theory by both presenting evidence for correspondence and examining the claims made by such alternative theories as deflationism, minimalism, and pluralism. The techniques of the argument are thoroughly analytic, but the problem confronted is broadly humanistic. The question examined -- how we, as thinking beings, are connected to and manage to cope in a world that was not designed for our comfort or convenience -- is more likely to be raised by continentalists, but is approached here with the tools of clarity and precision more highly prized in analytic philosophy. The book seeks to avoid both the obscurantism that infects much continental thought and the overly technical concerns and methodology that limit the interest of much work in analytic philosophy. It thus provides a rigorous but largely nontechnical treatment of the topic that will be of interest not only to readers familiar with philosophy but also to those with a background in literary theory and linguistics. (shrink)
This important new book develops a new concept of autonomy. The notion of autonomy has emerged as central to contemporary moral and political philosophy, particularly in the area of applied ethics. professor Dworkin examines the nature and value of autonomy and uses the concept to analyse various practical moral issues such as proxy consent in the medical context, paternalism, and entrapment by law enforcement officials.
This book advances a theory of personal, public and political justification. Drawing on current work in epistemology and cognitive psychology, the work develops a theory of personally justified belief. Building on this account, it advances an account of public justification that is more normative and less "populist" than that of "political liberals." Following the social contract theories of Hobbes, Locke and Kant, the work then argues that citizens have conclusive reason to appoint an umpire to resolve disputes arising from inconclusive (...) public justifications. The rule of law, liberal democracy and limited judicial review are defended as elements of a publicly justified umpiring procedure. (shrink)
Is socialism desirable? Is it even possible? In this concise book, one of the world's leading political philosophers presents with clarity and wit a compelling moral case for socialism and argues that the obstacles in its way are exaggerated. There are times, G. A. Cohen notes, when we all behave like socialists. On a camping trip, for example, campers wouldn't dream of charging each other to use a soccer ball or for fish that they happened to catch. Campers do not (...) give merely to get, but relate to each other in a spirit of equality and community. Would such socialist norms be desirable across society as a whole? Why not? Whole societies may differ from camping trips, but it is still attractive when people treat each other with the equal regard that such trips exhibit. But, however desirable it may be, many claim that socialism is impossible. Cohen writes that the biggest obstacle to socialism isn't, as often argued, intractable human selfishness--it's rather the lack of obvious means to harness the human generosity that is there. Lacking those means, we rely on the market. But there are many ways of confining the sway of the market: there are desirable changes that can move us toward a socialist society in which, to quote Albert Einstein, humanity has "overcome and advanced beyond the predatory stage of human development.". (shrink)
The article evaluates the Domain Postulate of the Classical Model of Science and the related Aristotelian prohibition rule on kind-crossing as interpretative tools in the history of the development of mathematics into a general science of quantities. Special reference is made to Proclus’ commentary to Euclid’s first book of Elements , to the sixteenth century translations of Euclid’s work into Latin and to the works of Stevin, Wallis, Viète and Descartes. The prohibition rule on kind-crossing formulated by Aristotle in Posterior (...) analytics is used to distinguish between conceptions that share the same name but are substantively different: for example the search for a broader genus including all mathematical objects; the search for a common character of different species of mathematical objects; and the effort to treat magnitudes as numbers. (shrink)
Whether one's interests lie in psychological practice, counseling, research, or the classroom, psychologists today must deal with a broad range of ethical issues--from charging fees to maintaining a client's confidentiality, and from conducting research to respecting clients, colleagues, and students. Now in a new edition, Ethics in Psychology, the most widely read and cited ethics textbook in psychology, considers many of the ethical questions and dilemmas that psychologists encounter in their everyday practice, research, and teaching. The book has been completely (...) updated in response to evolving trends in psychological research and practice, as well as extensive changes in the American Psychological Association's ethics code. Taking a practical, common sense approach to ethics in modern-day psychological practice, this useful book offers constructive means for both preventing problems and resolving ethical predicaments. This new edition retains the key features which have contributed to its popularity, including extensive case studies that provide illustrative guidance on a wide variety of topics, such as fee setting, advertising for clients, research ethics, sexual attraction, classroom ethics, managed care issues, confidentiality, and much more. Highly readable, the book unites an accessible style with humorous anecdotes that highlight the human side of ethics and make the book a pleasure to read. Ethics in Psychology will be an indispensable guide to ethical decision-making for all psychologists and students in psychology. (shrink)
The question of the applicability of mathematics is an epistemological issue that was explicitly raised by Kant, and which has played different roles in the works of neo-Kantian philosophers, before becoming an essential issue in early analytic philosophy. This paper will first distinguish three main issues that are related to the application of mathematics: indispensability arguments that are aimed at justifying mathematics itself; philosophical justifications of the successful application of mathematics to scientific theories; and discussions on the application of real (...) numbers to the measurement of physical magnitudes. A refinement of this tripartition is suggested and supported by a historical investigation of the differences between Kant’s position on the problem, several neo-Kantian perspectives, early analytic philosophy, and late 19th century mathematicians. Finally, the debate on the cogency of an application constraint in the definition of real numbers is discussed in relation to a contemporary debate in neo-logicism, in order to suggest a comparison not only with Frege’s original positions, but also with the ideas of several neo-Kantian scholars, including Hölder, Cassirer, and Helmholtz. (shrink)
The indexical thesis says that the indexical terms, “I”, “here” and “now” necessarily refer to the person, place and time of utterance, respectively, with the result that the sentence, “I am here now” cannot express a false proposition. Gerald Vision offers supposed counter-examples: he says, “I am here now”, while pointing to the wrong place on a map; or he says it in a note he puts in the kitchen for his wife so she’ll know he’s home even though (...) he’s gone upstairs for a nap, but then he leaves the house, forgetting to remove the note. The first sentence is false by virtue of “here” not necessarily referring to the place of utterance, the second sentence, by virtue of “now” not necessarily referring to the time of utterance. We argue that these sentences express falsehoods only because the terms are being used demonstratively, not indexically – the distinction pertains not to words simpliciter, but to uses of words. When used indexically, the terms refer in accord with the indexical thesis; but when used demonstratively, their referents depend on how devices of ostension are used with their utterance – pointings, and the like. Thus Vision’s first sentence really says, “I am there now”, referring to the place on the map the finger is pointing to. As for his second sentence, we distinguish the time of utterance or production of a sentence from the time of its uptake. Due to the pragmatics of interpretation, the sentence really says “I” – the person ‘uttering’ the note – “am here” – here where the note is, with the note serving as a kind of proxy ‘finger’ – “now” – where “now” refers to the time of uptake of the note, i.e., when it is read. “I” refers indexically, “here”, demonstratively, and “now”, indexically, but indexically to the time of uptake. Since the sentence is not purely indexical, its falsehood doesn’t threaten the indexical thesis. A similar treatment is given of teletyped messages about the typer’s location. (shrink)
Psychologists today must deal with a broad range of ethical issues--from charging fees to maintaining a client's confidentiality, and from conducting research to respecting clients, colleagues, and students. As the field of psychology has grown in size and scope, the role of ethics has become more important and complex whether the psychologist is involved in teaching, counseling, research, or practice. Now this most widely read and cited ethics text in psychology has been revised to reflect the ethics questions and dilemmas (...) that psychologists encounter in their everyday work. Ethics in Psychology has been completely updated in response to evolving trends in psychological research and practice, as well as extensive changes in the American Psychological Association's ethics code. Gerald P. Koocher and Patricia Keith-Spiegel take a practical, commonsense approach to ethics in modern-day psychological practice, and offer constructive suggestions for both preventing problems and resolving ethical predicaments. In this book, their main intent is to present the full range of contemporary ethical issues in psychology as not only relevant and intriguing, but also as integral and unavoidable aspects of the profession. The authors make extensive use of actual case studies in order to illustrate how the APA guidelines apply to specific situations, such as fee setting, advertising for clients, research ethics, sexual attraction, classroom ethics, managed care issues, confidentiality, and much more. The most recent ethics code of the American Psychological Association (1992) is used here only as a starting point. The authors go well beyond the APA code and incorporate the input of many experts. In addition to the analysis of a wide variety of general situations, new problematic areas are identified and explored. The book includes two appendixes - Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, adopted by American Psychological Association, Rules and Procedures of the Ethics Committee of the American Psychological Association - both in an easy-to-use format. In addition, each chapter lists summary guidelines along with current and valuable references. Highly readable, the book unites a straightforward, lively writing style with humorous anecdotes that highlight the human side of ethics and make the book a pleasure to read. Ethics in Psychology will be an indispensable guide to ethical decision-making for all psychologists and students in psychology. (shrink)
The aim of this essay is to argue for a new version of ‘inference-to-the-best-explanation’ scientific realism, which I characterize as Best Theory Realism or ‘BTR’. On BTR, the realist needs only to embrace a commitment to the truth or approximate truth of the best theories in a field, those which are unique in satisfying the highest standards of empirical success in a mature field with many successful but falsified predecessors. I argue that taking our best theories to be true is (...) justified because it provides the best explanation of the predictive success of their predecessors and their own special success. Against standard and especially structural realism, I argue against the claim that the best explanations of the success of theories is provided by identifying their true components, such as structural relations between unobservable, which are preserved across theory change. In particular, I criticize Ladyman's and Carrier’s structural account of the success of phlogiston theory, and Worrall's well-known structural account of the success of Fresnel’s theory of light. I argue that these accounts tacitly assume the truth of our best theories, which in any case provides a better explanation of these theories’ success than the structural account. Structural realism is now defended as the only version of realism that is able to surmount the pessimistic meta-induction and the general problem that successful theories involve ontological claims concerning unobservable entities that are abandoned and falsified in theory-change. I argue that Best Theory Realism can overcome the pessimistic meta-induction and this general problem posed by theory-change. Our best theories possess a characteristic which sharply distinguishes them from their successful but false predecessors. Furthermore ‘inference-to-the-best-explanation’ confirmation can establish the truth of our best theories and thus trumps the pessimistic inductive reasoning which is supposed to show that even our best theories are most likely false in their claims concerning unobservable entities and processes. (shrink)
Using firsthand accounts gleaned from notebooks, interviews, and correspondence of such twentieth-century scientists as Einstein, Fermi, and Millikan, Holton shows how the idea of the scientific imagination has practical implications for the history and philosophy of science and the larger understanding of the place of science in our culture.
This important new book takes as its points of departure two questions: What is the nature of valuing? and What morality can be justified in a society that deeply disagrees on what is truly valuable? In Part One, the author develops a theory of value that attempts to reconcile reason with passions. Part Two explores how this theory of value grounds our commitment to moral action. The author argues that rational moral action can neither be seen as a way of (...) simply maximising one's own values, nor derived from reason independent of one's values. Rather, our commitment to the moral point of view is presupposed by our value systems. The book concludes with a defense of liberal political morality. (shrink)
From 1968 until his death in 2003, Gerald Hanratty was professor of philosophy at University College Dublin. In this volume to his memory, Fran O'Rourke has assembled twenty-six essays reflecting Hanratty's broad philosophical interests, dealing with central questions of human existence and the ultimate meaning of the universe. Whether engaged in historical investigations into Gnosticism or the Enlightenment, Hanratty was concerned with fundamental themes in the philosophy of religion and philosophical anthropology. _Human Destinies_ brings together a wide range of (...) approaches to central questions of human nature and destiny. Included are historical studies of classical thinkers of the ancient and medieval periods and of modern authors. "This volume offers a significant contribution to the various fields within philosophy addressed by its authors. Many of the essays have an intrinsic contemporary appeal to scholars and intellectuals concerned with matters touching on both philosophical and theological issues of significance." —_Glenn Hughes, St. Mary's University, San Antonio_. (shrink)
This is the second of three volumes of posthumously collected writings of G. A. Cohen, who was one of the leading, and most progressive, figures in contemporary political philosophy. This volume brings together some of Cohen's most personal philosophical and nonphilosophical essays, many of them previously unpublished. Rich in first-person narration, insight, and humor, these pieces vividly demonstrate why Thomas Nagel described Cohen as a "wonderful raconteur." The nonphilosophical highlight of the book is Cohen's remarkable account of his first trip (...) to India, which includes unforgettable vignettes of encounters with strangers and reflections on poverty and begging. Other biographical pieces include his valedictory lecture at Oxford, in which he describes his philosophical development and offers his impressions of other philosophers, and "Isaiah's Marx, and Mine," a tribute to his mentor Isaiah Berlin. Other essays address such topics as the truth in "small-c conservatism," who can and can't condemn terrorists, and the essence of bullshit. A recurring theme is finding completion in relation to the world of other human beings. Engaging, perceptive, and empathetic, these writings reveal a more personal side of one of the most influential philosophers of our time. (shrink)
This article attempts to develop a rational reconstruction of Kuhn's epistemological relativism which effectively defends it against an influential line of criticism in the work of Shapere and Scheffler. Against the latter's reading of Kuhn, it is argued (1) that it is the incommensurability of scientific problems, data, and standards, not that of scientific meanings which primarily grounds the relativism argument; and (2) that Kuhnian incommensurability is compatible with far greater epistemological continuity from one theory to another than is implied (...) by the criticisms in question. The reconstruction of Kuhn is then used to show that while it constitutes a provocative form of relativism, it can also plausibly account for the sense in which scientific development is rational, involves standards external to particular paradigms, and exhibits progress of a sort. Finally, the article attempts to develop an adequate critical perspective on Kuhn's relativism by distinguishing a ?short?run? from a ?long?run? relativism, and a relativism concerning scientific knowledge from one concerning scientific rationality in Kuhn; the challenge each poses to positi?vist philosophy of science is distinguished and separately evaluated. (shrink)
This article presents six ideas about the construction of emotion: (a) Emotions are more readily distinguished by the situations they signify than by patterns of bodily responses; (b) emotions emerge from, rather than cause, emotional thoughts, feelings, and expressions; (c) the impact of emotions is constrained by the nature of the situations they represent; (d) in the OCC account (the model proposed by Ortony, Clore, and Collins in 1988), appraisals are psychological aspects of situations that distinguish one emotion from another, (...) rather than triggers that elicit emotions; (e) analyses of the affective lexicon indicate that emotion words refer to internal mental states focused on affect; (f) the modularity of emotion, long sought in biology and behavior, exists as mental schemas for interpreting human experience in story, song, drama, and conversation. (shrink)
This book offers a philosophical interpretation of the historical debate between Bentham and classical Common Law Theory, a debate that is fundamental to philosophical thought and has shaped contemporary conceptions of nature, tasks, and limits of law and adjudication. The author explores the philosophical foundations of Common Law theory, focusing particularly on the writings of Sir Mathew Hale and David Hume.
Some of the most difficult and wrenching social and political issues in U.S. society today are about the relationship between strongly held moral values and the laws of the land. There is no consensus about whether the law should deal with morality at all, and if it is to do so, there is no agreement over whose morality is to be reflected in the law.In this compact and carefully edited anthology, Gerald Dworkin presents the readings necessary for an understanding (...) of these issues. The volume contains classical and contemporary philosophical statements as well as a generous sampling of legal cases and opinions, including such topics of current interest as flag-burning, nude dancing, the sale of human organs, and sexual behavior. The volume represents the best in applied legal and moral philosophy. (shrink)
Benatar’s central argument for antinatalism develops an asymmetry between the pain and pleasure in a potential life. I am going to present an alternative route to the antinatalist conclusion. I argue that duties require victims and that as a result there is no duty to create the pleasures contained within a prospective life but a duty not to create any of its sufferings. My argument can supplement Benatar’s, but it also enjoys some advantages: it achieves a better fit with our (...) intuitions; it does not require us to acknowledge that life is a harm, or that a world devoid of life is a good thing; and it is easy to see why it does not have any pro-mortalist implications. (shrink)
Business people often consider spirituality a means of increasing integrity, motivation and job satisfaction. Yet certain spiritualities are superficial and unstable. Religion gives depth and duration to a spirituality, but may also sew divisiveness. A spirituality's ability to develop good moral habits provides a positive test of the "appropriateness" of that spirituality for business. Many successful business executives demonstrate a spirituality that does develop good moral habits.
I defend a realist commitment to the truth of our most empirically successful current scientific theories—on the ground that it provides the best explanation of their success and the success of their falsified predecessors. I argue that this Best Current Theory Realism (BCTR) is superior to preservative realism (PR) and the structural realism (SR). I show that PR and SR rest on the implausible assumption that the success of outdated theories requires the realist to hold that these theories possessed truthful (...) components. PR is undone by the fact that past theories succeeded even though their ontological claims about unobservables are false. SR backpeddles to argue that the realist is only committed to the truth about the structure of relations implied by the outdated theory, in order to explain its success. I argue that the structural component of theories is too bare-bones thin to explain the predictive/explanatory success of outdated theories. I conclude that BCTR can meet these objections to PR and SR, and also overcome the pessimistic meta-induction. (shrink)
Current moral philosophy is often seen as essentially a debate between the two great traditions of consequentialism and deontology. Although there has been considerable work clarifying consequentialism, deontology is more often attacked or defended than analyzed. Just how we are to understand the very idea of a deontological ethic? We shall see that competing conceptions of deontology have been advanced in recent ethical thinking, leading to differences in classifying ethical theories. If we do not focus on implausible versions, the idea (...) of a deontological ethic is far more attractive than most philosophers have thought. Indeed, I shall argue that in an important sense, only a deontological ethic can be plausible. (shrink)
The paper aims to establish if Grassmann’s notion of an extensive form involved an epistemological change in the understanding of geometry and of mathematical knowledge. Firstly, it will examine if an ontological shift in geometry is determined by the vectorial representation of extended magnitudes. Giving up homogeneity, and considering geometry as an application of extension theory, Grassmann developed a different notion of a geometrical object, based on abstract constraints concerning the construction of forms rather than on the homogeneity conditions required (...) by the modern version of the theory of proportions. Secondly, Grassmann’s conception of mathematical knowledge will be investigated. Parting from the traditional definition of mathematics as a science of magnitudes, Grassmann considered mathematical forms as particulars rather than universals: the classification of the branches of mathematics was thus based on different operational rules, rather than on empirical criteria of abstraction or on the distinction of different species belonging to a common genus. It will be argued that a different notion of generalization is thus involved, and that the knowledge of mathematical forms relies on the understanding of the rules of generation of the forms themselves. Finally, the paper will analyse if Grassmann’s approach in the first edition of the Ausdehnungslehre should be explained in terms of the notion of purity of method, and if it clashes with Grassmann’s later conventionalism. Although in the second edition the features of the operations are chosen by convention, as it is the case for the anti-commutative property of the multiplication, the choice is oriented by our understanding of the resulting forms: a simplification in the algebraic calculus need not correspond to a simplification in the ‘dimensional’ interpretation of the result of the multiplicative operation. (shrink)
Gerald L. Bruns. the spell of another, to liberate the language imprisoned in a work in his recreation of that work" (p. 80). The notion of a pure language, a language uncontaminated by mere speech, may be one of modernity's great unkillable ...