This essay attempts concisely to articulate the necessary role played within moral theology in general—and within the moral theology of grace in particular—by the metaphysics and natural philosophy of human agency. It argues for the priority of the speculative with respect to the practical inasmuch as speculative knowledge precedes desire, and desire precedes intention; for the centrality of unified normative teleology; for the primacy of being over relation; and for the primacy of sound doctrine regarding the divine causal providence (...) for the moral theology of grace and freedom. (shrink)
We began with three propositions: that people have a right not to be treated as mere means to the ends of others, that a woman who voluntarily becomes pregnant nevertheless has the right to an abortion, and that a woman who voluntarily gives birth does not have a right to abandon her child until she finds a substitute caretaker. These propositions initially seemed inconsistent, for the prohibition on treating others as mere means appeared to rule out the possibility of positive (...) rights, thus making it impossible to countenance the right to abort or the right not to be abandoned . But we have seen that the prohibition on treating people as mere means to the ends of others is best understood as ruling out basic positive rights while permitting derivative ones. Since a willing mother is responsible for bringing her child into the world in the first place, she cannot abandon it without violating its negative right not to be killed, and so such a child has a derivative positive right not to be abandoned. A pregnant woman, on the other hand, has a negative right not to have her body invaded, and from this negative right derives a positive right to abort her fetus, so long as doing so is not disproportionate to the seriousness of the threat . Therefore, far from being in conflict, propositions , , and have been shown to be in harmony with one another, the latter two being plausibly grounded in the first. Insofar as we have reason to accept , then, we have reason to accept and . Moreover, we have seen that a proper understanding of allows us to embed and in a larger moral perspective in which the limits of compulsory altruism are firmly drawn: enforceable rights to the use or assistance of others may be allowed into the moral domain only if they are “sponsored” by some negative right. Every putative positive right must find such a sponsor, or perish. (shrink)
Responsibility is often thought of as primarily a legal concept. Even when it is moral responsibility that is at issue, it is assumed that it is above all in moralities based on law-centered patterns and models that responsibility takes center stage, so that responsibility is a legal concept at its core, and is applicable to the realm of private morality only by extension and analogy.
I answer Alvin Plantinga's challenge to provide a ‘proper’ de jure objection to religious belief. What I call the ‘sophisticates’ evidential objection' concludes that sophisticated Christians lack epistemic justification for believing central Christian propositions. The SEO utilizes a theory of epistemic justification in the spirit of the evidentialism of Richard Feldman and Earl Conee. I defend philosophical interest in the SEO against objections from Reformed epistemology, by addressing Plantinga's criteria for a proper de jure objection, his anti-evidentialist arguments, and the (...) relevance of ‘impulsional evidence’. I argue that no result from Plantinga-style Reformed epistemology precludes the reasons I offer in favour of giving the SEO its due philosophical attention. (shrink)
J. S. Mill's distinction between higher and lower pleasures is often thought to conflict with his commitment to psychological and ethical hedonism: if the superiority of higher pleasures is quantitative, then the higher/lower distinction is superfluous and Mill contradicts himself; if the superiority of higher pleasures is not quantitative, then Mill's hedonism is compromised.
Libertarianism needs a theory of class. This claim may meet with resistance among some libertarians. A few will say: “The analysis of society in terms of classes and class struggles is a specifically Marxist approach, resting on assumptions that libertarians reject. Why should we care about class?” A greater number will say: “We recognize that class theory is important, but libertarianism doesn't need such a theory, because it already has a perfectly good one.”.
This paper compares and contrasts three groups that conducted biological research at Yale University during overlapping periods between 1910 and 1970. Yale University proved important as a site for this research. The leaders of these groups were Ross Granville Harrison, Grace E. Pickford, and G. Evelyn Hutchinson, and their members included both graduate students and more experienced scientists. All produced innovative research, including the opening of new subfields in embryology, endocrinology and ecology respectively, over a long period of (...) time. Harrison's is shown to have been a classic research school; Pickford's and Hutchinson's were not. Pickford's group was successful in spite of her lack of departmental or institutional position or power. Hutchinson and his graduate and post-graduate students were extremely productive but in diverse areas of ecology. His group did not have one focused area of research or use one set of research tools. The paper concludes that new models for research groups are needed, especially for those, like Hutchinson's, that included much field research. (shrink)
This essay argues that the overuse of the idiom of forgiveness has distorted our understanding of the nature and requirements of political reconciliation, and proposes its supplementation by a notion of grace. This is a mode of response to wrongs that is less hedged around by conventions and conditions, and grace complements forgiveness in contexts in which the latter is inappropriate; it is also more serviceable for maintaining inter-community harmony in the long term. Following a detailed analysis (...) of grace in the political environment, the paper concludes by tracing a concept of grace in the Sermon on the Mount. (shrink)
Christians have long understood grace both as a declaration of acceptance and as a power that transforms. This article illumines two theses while investigating the relationship between these understandings of grace in Luther, Calvin, and Barth's development of the law/gospel dialectic and the doctrines of justification and sanctification. First, though each theologian makes use of both understandings of grace, each also tends to emphasize one over the other. The unity and tension within and between these perspectives (...) help to show that while both pictures are of the greatest importance for each other and cannot be separated, they also exist in tension, as long as they are worked out in the lives of sinners. Second, the author claims that the positions of Luther and Barth are more alike than is generally recognized. (shrink)
In this collection of writings drawn from Jonathan Edwards’s essays and topical notebooks, the great American theologian deals with key Christian doctrines including the Trinity, grace, and faith. The volume includes long-established pieces in the Edwards canon, newly reedited from the original manuscripts, as well as documents that have never before been published and that in some cases reveal new aspects of his theology.
The great increase of interest in the study of spirituality and mysticism is reflected in the large number of articles that the Encyclopedia of Religion devotes to various aspects of this topic. As one would expect, there are long entries for ‘Mysticism’ and ‘Christian Spirituality’ and ‘Religious Experience’. In addition to these broad categories, attention is given to more specific aspects of spirituality such as ‘Asceticism’, ‘Silence’, ‘Prayer’, ‘Meditation’, and so on. This is complemented by entries on many of (...) the spiritual giants of the Christian tradition, both ancient and modern. I shall begin by discussing these articles on individuals, and go on to examine the more general articles later in the review. I shall suggest that, despite many merits, both sorts of entry display an editorial policy about which serious questions must be raised. (shrink)
The problems with grace and free will have prompted long-standing theological conflicts, chiefly revolving around certain disagreements over the nature of divine causality in respect to the free will's of creatures and His foreknowledge of free acts. Eleonore Stump offers a new interpretation of divine action on the will that holds God only acts by way of formal causality and that human cooperation with grace is only by way of "quiescence." I argue that this account lacks coherence (...) in certain important respects, especially in how human beings freely decide upon conversion - a process impossible on this model. I also argue that any model of divine causality cannot escape the dichotomy of holding a Molinist or a Banezian model of efficacious grace. In response, I offer a new interpretation of classical Thomist models of grace that preserves human freedom and divine sovereignty in grace. (shrink)
Combining literary and philosophical analysis, this study defends an utterly innovative reading of the early history of poetics. It is the first to argue that there is a distinctively Socratic view of poetry and the first to connect the Socratic view of poetry with earlier literary tradition.Literary theory is usually said to begin with Plato's famous critique of poetry in the Republic. Grace Ledbetter challenges this entrenched assumption by arguing that Plato's earlier dialogues Ion, Protagoras, and Apology introduce a (...) distinctively Socratic theory of poetry that responds polemically to traditional poets as rival theorists. Ledbetter tracks the sources of this Socratic response by introducing separate readings of the poetics implicit in the poetry of Homer, Hesiod, and Pindar. Examining these poets' theories from a new angle that uncovers their literary, rhetorical, and political aims, she demonstrates their decisive influence on Socratic thinking about poetry.The Socratic poetics Ledbetter elucidates focuses not on censorship, but on the interpretation of poetry as a source of moral wisdom. This philosophical approach to interpreting poetry stands at odds with the poets' own theories--and with the Sophists' treatment of poetry. Unlike the Republic's focus on exposing and banishing poetry's irrational and unavoidably corrupting influence, Socrates' theory includes poetry as subject matter for philosophical inquiry within an examined life.Reaching back into what has too long been considered literary theory's prehistory, Ledbetter advances arguments that will redefine how classicists, philosophers, and literary theorists think about Plato's poetics. (shrink)
What is forgiveness? When is it appropriate? Is it to be earned or can it be freely given? Is it a passion we cannot control, or something we choose to do? Glen Pettigrove explores the relationship between forgiving, understanding, and loving. He examines the significance of character for the debate, and revives the long-neglected virtue of grace.
Purpose This paper aims to formalize long-term trajectories of human civilization as a scientific and ethical field of study. The long-term trajectory of human civilization can be defined as the path that human civilization takes during the entire future time period in which human civilization could continue to exist. -/- Design/methodology/approach This paper focuses on four types of trajectories: status quo trajectories, in which human civilization persists in a state broadly similar to its current state into the distant (...) future; catastrophe trajectories, in which one or more events cause significant harm to human civilization; technological transformation trajectories, in which radical technological breakthroughs put human civilization on a fundamentally different course; and astronomical trajectories, in which human civilization expands beyond its home planet and into the accessible portions of the cosmos. -/- Findings Status quo trajectories appear unlikely to persist into the distant future, especially in light of long-term astronomical processes. Several catastrophe, technological transformation and astronomical trajectories appear possible. -/- Originality/value Some current actions may be able to affect the long-term trajectory. Whether these actions should be pursued depends on a mix of empirical and ethical factors. For some ethical frameworks, these actions may be especially important to pursue. (shrink)
Subjects classified visible 2-digit numbers as larger or smaller than 55. Target numbers were preceded by masked 2-digit primes that were either congruent (same relation to 55) or incongruent. Experiments 1 and 2 showed prime congruency effects for stimuli never included in the set of classified visible targets, indicating subliminal priming based on long-term semantic memory. Experiments 2 and 3 went further to demonstrate paradoxical unconscious priming effects resulting from task context. For example, after repeated practice classifying 73 as (...) larger than 55, the novel masked prime 37 paradoxically facilitated the “larger” response. In these experiments task context could induce subjects to unconsciously process only the leftmost masked prime digit, only the rightmost digit, or both independently. Across 3 experiments, subliminal priming was governed by both task context and long-term semantic memory. (shrink)
Part of a larger project of constructing a new, historically informed philosophy of dance, built on four phenomenological constructs that I call “Moves,” this essay concerns the third Move, “grace.” The etymology of the word “grace” reveals the entwined meanings of pleasing quality and authoritative power, which may be combined as “beautiful force.” I examine the treatments of grace in German philosopher Friedrich Schiller, who understands it as playful, naive transformation of matter; and in American philosopher John (...) Dewey, for whom it represents rhythmic organism/environment reversal. I conclude by showing how “grace” can be used in analyzing various types of dance, which in turn suggests transformational potential for philosophy, dance, and society as a whole. (shrink)
Against those who dismiss Kant's project in the "Religion" because it provides a Pelagian understanding of salvation, this paper offers an analysis of the deep structure of Kant's views on divine justice and grace showing them not to conflict with an authentically Christian understanding of these concepts. The first part of the paper argues that Kant's analysis of these concepts helps us to understand the necessary conditions of the Christian understanding of grace: unfolding them uncovers intrinsic relations holding (...) between God's justice and grace. Parts two and three provide an analysis of two concepts of grace used by Kant. Getting clear on their differences is the key to understanding why Kant's account is not Pelagian. (shrink)
Stump and Timpe have recently proposed Thomistic based solutions to the traditional problem in Christian theology of how to relate grace and free will. By taking a closer look at the notion of control, I subject Timpe’s account – itself an extension of Stump’s account – to extended critique. I argue that the centrepiece of Timpe’s solution, his reliance on Dowe’s notion of quasi-causation, is misguided and irrelevant to the problem. As a result, Timpe’s account fails to avoid Semi-Pelagianism. (...) I canvass two alternatives, each of which adheres to the broad theological assumptions made by Stump and Timpe, including the positing of only one “unique” grace. I conclude that each of these proposals fails, although I argue that one comes as close as it is possible to get to a solution given the assumptions made. -/- . (shrink)
Various studies on the impact of religiousness on consumer ethics have produced mixed results and suggested further clarification on the issue. Therefore, this article examines the effect of religiousness, materialism, and long-term orientation on consumer ethics in Indonesia. The results from 356 respondents in Indonesia, the largest Muslim population in the world, showed that intrinsic religiousness positively affected consumer ethics, while extrinsic social religiousness negatively affected consumer ethics. However, extrinsic personal religiousness did not affect consumer ethical beliefs dimensions. Unlike (...) other studies in developed countries, materialism and long-term orientation influenced only a few of the consumer ethical beliefs dimensions in this study. To date, the study is one of the first empirical studies to explore the impact of religiousness on consumer ethics in Indonesia. The study contributes to the debate on the impact of religiousness on consumer ethics and can assist managers and public policymakers in their effort to mitigate unethical consumer activities in Indonesia. (shrink)
The realities and myths of long-term care and the challenges it poses for the ethics of autonomy are analyzed in this perceptive work. The book defends the concept of autonomy, but argues that the standard view of autonomy as non-interference and independence has only a limited applicability for long term care. The treatment of actual autonomy stresses the developmental and social nature of human persons and the priority of identification over autonomous choice. The work balances analysis of the (...) ethical concepts associated with autonomy with discussion of the implications of the ethical analysis for long term care. A central chapter involves a phenomenological analysis of four general features of everyday experience (space, time, communication, and affectivity) and explores their practical implications for long term care. This work concludes with a discussion of the advantages associated with a phenomenologically-inspired treatment of actual autonomy for the ethics of long-term care. (shrink)
As an explicit organizing metaphor, memory aid, and conceptual framework, the prefrontal cortex may be viewed as a five-member ‘Executive Committee,’ as the prefrontal-control extensions of five sub-and-posterior-cortical systems: the ‘Perceiver’ is the frontal extension of the ventral perceptual stream which represents the world and self in object coordinates; the ‘Verbalizer’ is the frontal extension of the language stream which represents the world and self in language coordinates; the ‘Motivator’ is the frontal cortical extension of a subcortical extended-amygdala stream which (...) represents the world and self in motivational/emotional coordinates; the ‘Attender’ is the frontal cortical extension of a subcortical extended-hippocampal stream which represents the world and self in spatiotemporal coordinates and directs attention to internal and external events; and the ‘Coordinator’ is the frontal extension of the dorsal perceptual stream which represents the world and self in body- and eye-coordinates and controls willed action and working memory. This tutorial review examines the interacting roles of these five systems in perception, working memory, attention, long - term memory, motor control, and thinking. (shrink)
High temporal resolution event-related brain potential and electroencephalographic coherence studies of the neural substrate of short-term storage in working memory indicate that the sustained coactivation of both prefrontal cortex and the posterior cortical systems that participate in the initial perception and comprehension of the retained information are involved in its storage. These studies further show that short-term storage mechanisms involve an increase in neural synchrony between prefrontal cortex and posterior cortex and the enhanced activation of long-term memory representations of (...) material held in short-term memory. This activation begins during the encoding/comprehension phase and evidently is prolonged into the retention phase by attentional drive from prefrontal cortex control systems. A parsimonious interpretation of these findings is that the long-term memory systems associated with the posterior cortical processors provide the necessary representational basis for working memory, with the property of short-term memory decay being primarily due to the posterior system. In this view, there is no reason to posit specialized neural systems whose functions are limited to those of short-term storage buffers. Prefrontal cortex provides the attentional pointer system for maintaining activation in the appropriate posterior processing systems. Short-term memory capacity and phenomena such as displacement of information in short-term memory are determined by limitations on the number of pointers that can be sustained by the prefrontal control systems. Key Words: coherence; event-related potentials; imaging; long-term memory; memory; short-term memory; working memory. (shrink)
One of the more exotic and mysterious features of Leibniz’s later philosophical writings is the harmony between the kingdom of nature and the kingdom of grace. In this paper I show that this harmony is not a single doctrine, but rather a compilation of two doctrines, namely (1) that the order of nature makes possible the rewards and punishments of rational souls, and (2) that the rewards and punishments of rational souls are administered naturally. I argue that the harmony (...) is best considered as Leibniz’s distinctive collation, development, and rebranding of these doctrines, which were not themselves unique to Leibniz, nor uncommon in the seventeenth century. There follows a detailed examination of various concrete examples of the harmony in operation, from which I show that it is essentially the culmination of Leibniz’s lifelong thinking about divine justice. (shrink)
This Guide is designed to restore the theological background that informs Kant’s treatment of grace in Religion to its rightful place. This background is essential not only to understand the nature of Kant’s overall project in this book, namely, to determine the “association” or “union” between Christianity (as a historical faith) and rational religion, but also to dispel the impression of “internal contradictions” and conundrums” that contemporary interpreters associate with Kant’s treatment of grace and moral regeneration. That impression, (...) we argue, is the result of entrenched interpretative habits that can be traced back to Karl Barth’s reading of the text. Once we realize that such a reading rests on a mistake, much of the anxiety and confusion that plague current discussions on these issues can be put to rest. (shrink)
The recent detection of gravitational waves by the LIGO team has rightly been hailed as “the crowning achievemen of classical physics”. This detection, which came at the end of a decade-long quest, involved 950 investigators, and cost around one billion US dollars, was the scientific star of the year 2015. What, if any, is the philosophical impact of this scientific breakthrough, which Albert Einstein had anticipated one century earlier? To answer this question we start by examining the central equations (...) of Einstein’s theory of gravitation, also known as general relativity. Subsequently we analyze the special case of a hollow sphere, in an attempt to answer the question of the reality and even materiality of space or, rather, spacetime. As well, the view that gravitation is a manifestation of the curvature of spacetime is discussed, and the reality of gravitational waves is regarded as the coup de grâce to that view. (shrink)
While researchers have examined the types of ethical issues that arise in long-term care, few studies have explored long-term care nurses’ experiences of moral distress and fewer still have examined responses to initial moral distress. Using an interpretive description approach, 15 nurses working in long-term care settings within one city in Canada were interviewed about their responses to experiences of initial moral distress, resources or supports they identified as helpful or potentially helpful in dealing with these situations, (...) and factors that hindered nurses in their responses. Using a thematic analysis process, three major themes were identified from the nurses’ experiences: (i) the context of the situation matters; (ii) the value of coming together as a team; and (iii) looking for outside direction. The work of responding to initial moral distress was more fruitful if opportunities existed to discuss conflicts with other team members and if managers supported nurses in moving their concerns forward through meetings or conversations with the team, physician, or family. Access to objective others and opportunities for education about ethics were also identified as important for dealing with value conflicts. (shrink)
Averroes, considered to be the greatest Aristotelian commentator in the Middle Ages, has written three different types of commentary on almost all the works of this great philosopher: short, middle and long. These commentaries have been translated into Latin and Hebrew in the early period, and profoundly influenced both Medieval Europe and Jewish thought for centuries. The effect of Averroes in the West was to spread the whole of Europe under the name of Latin Averroism. The text what you (...) have consists of some remarks about the translation of the commentary on the ‘Book Alpha Meizon’, the second book of Averroes’ Tafsīr Mā Ba’d at-Tabī’a. (shrink)
Long-range correlations are often manifested in the form of 1/fβ noise in a series of repeated measurements of the same neural or behavioral variable. Recent work has demonstrated that the magnitude and nature of these long-range correlations reliably capture individual differences and variation in task performance. In sensorimotor timing experiments, task characteristics such as tapping or circle drawing affect these long-range correlations during the production of isochronous time intervals. Such correlations are highly reproducible across multiple trials for (...) the same task but do not correlate between tasks. In the present experiment, we investigate whether two behavioral variables that are simultaneously controlled by the same participant in a given experimental condition can show such differentially organized fluctuations. In order to answer this question, 13 participants were asked to produce repetitive movements with their right index finger at a specified time interval and a specified force in the absence of an auditory metronome and visual feedback of force levels following a synchronization-continuation paradigm. Although participants showed high levels of consistency in the long-range correlations for each task component separately over multiple trials/observations, the long-range fluctuations for force and timing were found to show no correlations with each other for each participant. Cross recurrence quantification analyses revealed that there was limited shared structure between the timing and force time series data. Taken together, these results suggest that complex systems can organize multiple processes in a relatively independent manner while maintaining a high degree of reliability within one task parameter. (shrink)
Do neurobiologists aim to discover natural kinds? I address this question in this chapter via a critical analysis of classification practices operative across the 43-year history of research on long-term potentiation (LTP). I argue that this 43-year history supports the idea that the structure of scientific practice surrounding LTP research has remained an obstacle to the discovery of natural kinds.
Leadership takes a central role in the public affairs agenda. This article is a review of published works on leadership focusing on the concept of grace. It discusses the role of compassion and kindness in current leadership theory and practice and whether these attributes have value in sustainable models. Findings indicate that there is conceptual confusion regarding the definition of compassion and its application in leadership practices. Kindness is not discussed within the concept of compassion and kindness itself may (...) be viewed as a weakness in contemporary self-selected leadership characteristics. The conclusions suggest there is disconnect between contemporary models of leadership and calls for sustainable ethical leadership in the spheres of public and business environments. Compassion and kindness remain in the side-lines yet the implications for future trust and commitment are neglected in times where discretionary effort of workers and volunteers is crucial to goal achievement. (shrink)
This paper discusses Kant’s assessment of the religious idea of grace in relation to autonomous ethical practice. Following Kant’s own explanation of his methods and goals in interpreting religious ideas, my focus is on the ethical import of inherited religious concepts for human beings, rather than on literal theological dogmas concerning supernatural matters. I focus on how Kant’s inquiry into the ethical significance of the idea of grace is intertwined with another less recognized concept, that of favor. The (...) latter concept plays a crucial role in understanding Kant’s analyses, because it establishes a criterion by which to adjudicate historically-formed ideas of grace. Insofar as grace is understood in ways that assimilate it to endeavors to win favor, it works against our capacity to follow the moral law. On the constructive side, insofar as the concept of grace is understood to support ethical practice based on the moral law, it can be a vehicle for what Kant calls rational religion. This two-sided analysis of grace is a key component of the project of the Religion and other related writings, wherein Kant offers both critical and constructive investigations of historically-formed religious ideas found in scripture, ecclesiastical institutions and other sources. (shrink)
Originally published in 1966 and now recognized as a classic, Norman O. Brown's meditation on the condition of humanity and its long fall from the grace of a natural, instinctual innocence is available once more for a new generation of readers. Love's Body is a continuation of the explorations begun in Brown's famous Life Against Death . Rounding out the trilogy is Brown's brilliant Apocalypse and/or Metamorphosis.
In chapter 8 of The Grace and the Severity of the Ideal, Victor Kestenbaum disputes the naturalistic-instrumentalist reading of John Dewey's A Common Faith. Rather than accept the orthodox reading, he challenges mainstream Dewey scholars to read Dewey's theism from a phenomenological perspective. From this vantage, Kestenbaum contends that Dewey was wagering on transcendence, gambling on an ideal realm of supersensible entities, and hoping that the payoff would be universal acknowledgement of "a widening of the place of transcendence and (...) faith in every area of his philosophy." In a long-neglected correspondence between John Dewey and Albert Balz, Dewey responds to Balz's misreading of his logic as a correspondence theory of truth by stating that through the translation of all the ontological into the logical in the context of inquiry, he is "on the side of the angels." I argue that Dewey is accomplishing much the same thing in A Common Faith by naturalistically unifying the real and the ideal under the heading of the religious. In this respect, Dewey's naturalism and instrumentalism, rather than Kestenbaum's transcendentalism, is firmly "on the side of the angels.". (shrink)
It has become common in medical ethics to discuss difficult cases in terms of the principles of respect for autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. These moral concepts or principles serve as maxims that are suggestive of appropriate clinical behavior. Because this language evolved primarily in the acute care setting, I consider whether it is in need of supplementation in order to be useful in the long-term care setting. Through analysis of two typical cases involving residents of long-term care (...) facilities, I argue for the additional principles of candor and responsibility for narrative integrity. (shrink)