Adam Ferguson has received little of the renewed attention that contemporary philosophers have given to the philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment, most notably David Hume, Thomas Reid and Adam Smith. There are good reasons for this difference. Yet, the conception of moral philosophy at work in Ferguson's writings can nevertheless be called upon to throw important critical light on the current enthusiasm for philosophical ethics and applied philosophy. Eighteenth century ‘moral science’ took its significance from a context that modern philosophers (...) who seek to be practically ‘relevant’ need, but lack. (shrink)
_The Internet: A Philosophical Inquiry_ develops many of the themes Gordon Graham presented in his highly successful radio series, _The Silicon Society_. Exploring the tensions between the warnings of the Neo-Luddites and the bright optimism of the Technophiles, Graham offers the first concise and accessible exploration of the issues which arise as we enter further into the world of Cyberspace. This original and fascinating study takes us to the heart of questions that none of us can afford to ignore: how (...) does the Internet affect our concepts of identity, moral anarchy, censorship, community, democracy, virtual reality and imagination? Free of jargon and full of stimulating ideas, this is essential reading for anyone wishing to think clearly and informatively about the complexities of our technological future. (shrink)
Adam Smith and J-J Rousseau share some common ground when it comes to religion, namely that they were born into and educated in cultural contexts deeply shaped by Reformed Christianity. However, close consideration of their writings on religion reveal marked difference. This paper explores those differences and finds that Rousseau and Smith are radically at odds on this score. Smith has almost nothing to say about personal spirituality, and locates the significance of religion in its social role. Rousseau, on the (...) other hand, accords religion no social role whatever, and finds its value to be purely of a personal and spiritual nature. This difference is not without some contemporary relevance, since it highlights some of the issues surrounding the distinction between ‘religion’ and ‘spirituality’ in modern secularized societies. (shrink)
_Ethics and International Relations_, Second Edition, offers a comprehensive introduction to the philosophical issues raised by international politics. Presupposing no prior philosophical knowledge and deliberately avoiding the use of technical language, it is ideally suited for political philosophy, applied ethics and international relations courses. Revised and updated, new material includes coverage of the war on terror, the impact of globalization, and ideas of cosmopolitan governance. Clearly and thoughtfully organized, it proceeds logically from general morality and international relations to issues surrounding (...) just war theory and global justice A crisp, analytical treatment presented with a student-sensitive approach and informed by real world issues Covers a wide array of subtopics. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that neither the simple majority rule conception of democracy nor representative democracy can be shown to be politically valuable in themselves. Certain arguments of brian barry's to the effect that democracy is special are examined and found wanting. A conclusion is that democratic institutions are valuable only as constitutional checks and balances, And whether this is so in any particular case is a contingent question.
'It's all in the genes'. Is this true, and if so, _what_ is all in the genes? _Genes: A Philosophical Inquiry_ is a crystal clear and highly informative guide to a debate none of us can afford to ignore. Beginning with a much-needed overview of the relationship between science and technology, Gordon Graham lucidly explains and assesses the most important and controversial aspects of the genes debate: Darwinian theory and its critics, the idea of the 'selfish' gene, evolutionary psychology, memes, (...) genetic screening and modification, including the risks of cloning and 'designer' babies. He considers areas often left out of the genes debate, such as the environmental risks of genetic engineering and how we should think about genes in the wider context of debates on science, knowledge and religion. Gordon Graham asks whether genetic engineering might be introducing God back into the debate and whether the risks of a brave new genetic world outweigh the potential benefits. Essential reading for anyone interested in science, technology, and philosophy, _Genes: A Philosophical Inquiry_ is ideal for those wanting to find out more about the ethical implications of genetics and the future of biotechnology. (shrink)
Research assessment exercises, teaching quality assessment, line management, staff appraisal, student course evaluation, modularization, student fees — these are all names of innovations in modern British universities. How far do they reflect a more conscientious approach to the effective promotion of higher education, and how far do they constitute a significant departure from traditional academic concerns and values? Using some themes of Cardinal Newman's classic _The Idea of a University_ as a springboard, this extended essay aims to address these questions.
This is a philosophical exploration of the role of art and religion as sources of meaning in an increasingly material world dominated by science. Relating themes in the history of European philosophy to topics in contemporary philosophy, Gordon Graham investigates the idea that art has the potential to re-enchant an irreligious world.
Eight Theories of Ethics is a comprehensive introduction to the fundamental theories of ethics . Gordon Graham begins by introducing fundamental issues that underpin the concept of ethics, such as relativism and objectivity, before introducing eight major theories: * Egoism * Hedonism * Naturalism and Virtue Theory * Existentialism * Kantianism * Utilitarianism * Contractualism * Religion The author brings often abstract issues to life by drawing on examples from the great moral philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Mill, Nietzsche, Kant (...) and Sartre. Contemporary examples, such as Darwinism, debates over human nature, the environment and citizenship are given. (shrink)
1. The appearance of Islam upon the stage of international politics hasbeen greeted by some commentators as a return to the Middle Ages. Preciselywhat they mean by this is not very clear, to themselves no less than their readers perhaps. In part, no doubt, they refer to the kinds of punishment Islamic law requires, which have a brutality associated in the common mind with medieval Europe. In part too there is the feeling that the phenomena of religion in politics, inquisitions, (...) holy wars, government by clergy, are things of the past and that the undesirability of theocracy is a question long since settled. (shrink)
This paper argues that a recurrent mistake is made about Scottish moral philosophy in the 18th century with respect to its account of the relation between morality and feeling. This mistake arises because Hume is taken to be the main, as opposed to the best known, exponent of a version of moral sense theory. In fact, far from occupying common ground, the other main philosophers of the period—Hutcheson, Reid, Beattie—understood themselves to be engaged in refuting Hume. Despite striking surface similarities, (...) closer examination reveals a deep difference between Hume's and Reid's conception of ‘the science mind’ which marked the philosophy of the period. Properly understood, this difference shows that mainstream Scottish moral philosophy, far from subscribing to Hume's dictum about morality being ‘more properly felt than judged of’, held that morality is ‘more properly judged than felt of’. (shrink)
This paper first elaborates ‘Art’ and the aesthetic as these concepts emerged in the eighteenth century, and uncovers the conflict between the resulting ideal of ‘art for art’s sake’ and the increasing use ‘art therapy’ for personal and social purposes. Taking this conflict to be a reason for the rejection of ‘Art’, it considers two accounts of ‘the end of Art’, one by Arthur Danto and the other by Nicholas Wolterstorff. The paper argues that both accounts fall short of adequately (...) recognizing the presence of the aesthetic in everyday life, and that once we do acknowledge the properly aesthetic character of ‘Design’, a way of thinking is opened up that can make better sense of art therapy. The paper concludes with a brief indication of where the next philosophical question about art therapy lies. (shrink)
This paper draws on some lines of thought in Kant’s Critique of Judgment to construct an aesthetic counterpart to the moral argument for the existence of God that Kant formulates in the Critique of Practical Reason. The paper offers this aesthetic version as a theistic way of explaining how the natural world can be thought valuable independently of human desires and purposes. It further argues that such an argument must commend itself to anyone who is as deeply committed to the (...) preservation of nature as to the promotion of justice. (shrink)
This concluding chapter addresses the conceptual questions that arise in connection with identifying a philosophical tradition, and giving it a distinctive national label. It argues against the common identification of ‘Scottish philosophy’ with the ‘School of Common Sense’, and argues that Francis Hutcheson initiated an approach to philosophical questions that pre-dates the appeal to common sense developed by Reid. It contends that the ‘School of Common Sense’ was just one attempt to formulate a satisfactory response to David Hume. By examining (...) the work of Andrew Seth and Henry Jones, it explores the idea of a shared philosophical agenda, and argues that a common project rooted in a long-standing institutional framework is what sustained the Scottish philosophical intellectual tradition. The chapter ends by considering the factors that may be said to have brought that tradition to an end. (shrink)
The ideas of modernity and post-modernity have recently come to figure prominently in social thought. Their importance for social thought about religion, however, has not generally been explored. Yet recent concern with modernity and its aftermath is closely related to the widespread interest that used to be taken in secularization. Indeed, I hope to show that some of the basic questions at issue are much the same.