Most academic efforts to understand morality and ideology come from theorists who limit the domain of morality to issues related to harm and fairness. For such theorists, conservative beliefs are puzzles requiring non-moral explanations. In contrast, we present moral foundations theory, which broadens the moral domain to match the anthropological literature on morality. We extend the theory by integrating it with a review of the sociological constructs of community, authority, and sacredness, as formulated by Emile Durkheim and others. We present (...) data supporting the theory, which also shows that liberals misunderstand the explicit moral concerns of conservatives more than conservatives misunderstand liberals. We suggest that what liberals see as a non-moral motivation for system justification may be better described as a moral motivation to protect society, groups, and the structures and constraints that are often (though not always) beneficial for individuals. Finally, we outline the possible benefits of a moral foundations perspective for System Justification Theory, including better understandings of 1) why the system-justifying motive is palliative despite some harmful effects, 2) possible evolutionary origins of the motive, and 3) the values and worldviews of conservatives in general. (shrink)
The whole of our human experience is determined by certain material conditions which cannot themselves be a part of that experience. In particular there exist objects, inaccessible to our senses, which nevertheless interact with ourselves to produce that experience. But the selves which are so affected by these objects outside our experience, and the internal mechanisms which somehow construct that experience, are also just such material conditions of, and not parts of, that experience. We might describe this appeal to material (...) conditions of experience in Kant's technical terms as the ‘intelligible’ or even ‘transcendental’ background to our empirical experience. In its attempt to provide some explanation, in terms of things in themselves, of empirical objects it forms a central part of what Adickes called Kant's ‘double affection’ theory. (shrink)
Many contemporary scholars defend the position that J. S. Mill was a ‘eudaimonist’, in a sense implying that he was not an ‘experiential’ hedonist. One ‘activist’ argument for this interpretation rests on the claim that Mill’s core axiological uses of ‘pleasure’ in Utilitarianism should be understood to refer to worthy or pleasurable activities rather than mental states. This paper offers a three-stage rebuttal of the activist interpretation. Firstly, in the Analysis, the Examination and the Logic, Mill explicitly identifies pleasures and (...) pains as mental states. Secondly, if we read Mill’s core axiological uses of ‘pleasure’ in Utilitarianism along activist lines, the text’s overall coherence and intelligibility becomes even more questionable than on the traditional experientialist reading. Finally, in his discussions of Plato, Mill seems to distance himself from the axiological view that non-hedonic features of mind or character have intrinsic value in their own right. In consequence, in the small number of cases in Utilitarianism in which Mill clearly speaks of ‘pleasures’ as activities, this is best construed as a derivative usage. (shrink)
Graham Priest presents a ground-breaking account of the semantics of intentional language--verbs such as "believes," "fears," "seeks," or "imagines." Towards Non-Being proceeds in terms of objects that may be either existent or non-existent, at worlds that may be either possible or impossible. The book will be of central interest to anyone who is concerned with intentionality in the philosophy of mind or philosophy of language, the metaphysics of existence and identity, the philosophy of fiction, the philosophy of mathematics, or (...) cognitive representation in AI. (shrink)
How does so much gender inequality endure in an era when many laws and policies endorse principles of gender equality? This essay examines this dilemma by considering Susan Moller Okin's criticism of “false gender neutrality,” research on implicit bias, and the shifting relation of gender bias to American law. I argue that these are crucial elements of the modern cycle of gender inequality, enabling it to operate through a perverse “invisible-hand” mechanism. This framework helps convey how underlying gender bias influences (...) individual behaviors that generate, legitimate, and mask broad patterns of inequality. Contemporary legal conflicts reflect many of these dynamics, which appear in controversies over gender-based violence, gender discrimination in pay and promotion, and women's reproductive health care benefits. This analysis advances our understanding of how the contemporary cycle of gender inequality operates, the complex links between individual behavior and structural bias, and the difficulty of pursuing gender justice through prevailing frameworks of law and liberalism. It also underscores the continued importance of feminists' collective work to address “invisible” as well as visible biases. (shrink)
In Contradiction advocates and defends the view that there are true contradictions, a view that flies in the face of orthodoxy in Western philosophy since Aristotle. The book has been at the center of the controversies surrounding dialetheism ever since its first publication in 1987. This second edition of the book substantially expands upon the original in various ways, and also contains the author’s reflections on developments over the last two decades. Further aspects of dialetheism are discussed in the companion (...) volume, Doubt Truth to be a Liar, also published by Oxford University Press in 2006. (shrink)
My discussion in this paper is divided into three parts. In section I, I discuss some fairly familiar lines of approach to the question how moral considerations may be shown to have rational appeal. In section II, I suggest how our existence as constituents in collective entities might also influence our practical thinking. In section III, I entertain the idea that identification with collectives might displace moral thinking to some degree, and I offer Marx's class theory as a sample of (...) collective identification for the purposes of practical deliberation. (shrink)
Graham Priest presents an original exploration of questions concerning the one and the many. He covers a wide range of issues in metaphysics--unity, identity, grounding, mereology, universals, being, intentionality and nothingness--and draws on Western and Asian philosophy as well as paraconsistent logic to offer a radically new treatment of unity.
[Michael Friedman] This paper considers the extent to which Kant's vision of a distinctively 'transcendental' task for philosophy is essentially tied to his views on the foundations of the mathematical and physical sciences. Contemporary philosophers with broadly Kantian sympathies have attempted to reinterpret his project so as to isolate a more general philosophical core not so closely tied to the details of now outmoded mathematical-physical theories (Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics). I consider two such attempts, those of Strawson and McDowell, (...) and argue that they fundamentally distort the original Kantian impulse. I then consider Buchdahl's attempt to preserve the link between Kantian philosophy and the sciences while simultaneously generalizing Kant's doctrines in light of later scientific developments. I argue that Buchdahl's view, while not adequate as in interpretation of Kant in his own eighteenth century context, is nonetheless suggestive of an historicized and relativized revision of Kantianism that can do justice to both Kant's original philosophical impulse and the radical changes in the sciences that have occurred since Kant's day. /// [Graham Bird] Michael Friedman criticises some recent accounts of Kant which 'detach' his transcendental principles from the sciences, and do so in order to evade naturalism. I argue that Friedman's rejection of that 'detachment' is ambiguous. In its strong form, which I claim Kant rejects, the principles of Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics are represented as transcendental principles. In its weak form, which I believe Kant accepts, it treats those latter principles as higher order conditions of the possibility of both science and ordinary experience. I argue also that the appeal to naturalism is unhelpful because that doctrine is seriously unclear, and because the accounts Friedman criticises are open to objections independent of any appeal to naturalism. (shrink)
The One remains, the many change and pass; Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly; Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass, Stains the white radiance of Eternity, Until Death tramples it to fragments. At its widest, ‘pluralism’ signifies simply the variety of life, the teeming multitude of forms and entities, the many different properties that living beings manifest. Life is not everywhere the same but impressively differentiated, and without it eternity would be all of a piece, uniform. That is (...) enough for life to stain the white radiance of eternity. But within the multiplicity of specifically human life there are not merely differences. There are tensions, oppositions, conflicts. In contemporary philosophical debate ‘pluralism’ then comes to signify one problematic aspect of this. Groups of people have perhaps always subscribed to very different values, and in consequence favoured very different forms of behaviour from one another, at least on a global scale. But the groups are no longer geographically separated: we live in distinct but overlapping cultures, and get in one another's way to a far greater extent than previously. Shelley's ordered image of the dome may then seem inappropriate, and it may seem unnecessary for death to trample it to fragments. Life is already fragmented, and the practical problem facing us as living creatures is to go beyond the fragments, to achieve at least a modus vivendi in the light of all our differences and incompatibilities even if not the orderliness and cohesion of a dome. Somehow, we have to live together. That is a practical problem which confronts us at every level, as members of families, neighbourhoods, departments, countries and increasingly simply as members of a world-wide human race. (shrink)
This is a philosophical investigation of the nature of the limits of thought. Drawing on recent developments in the field of logic, Graham Priest shows that the description of such limits leads to contradiction, and argues that these contradictions are in fact veridical. Beginning with an analysis of the way in which these limits arise in pre-Kantian philosophy, Priest goes on to illustrate how the nature of these limits was theorised by Kant and Hegel. He offers new interpretations of (...) Berkeley's master argument for idealism and Kant on the antimonies. He explores the paradoxes of self reference, and provides a unified account of the structure of such paradoxes. The book concludes by tracing the theme of the limits of thought in modern philosophy of language, including discussions of the ideas of Wittgenstein and Derrida. (shrink)
This revised and considerably expanded 2nd edition brings together a wide range of topics, including modal, tense, conditional, intuitionist, many-valued, paraconsistent, relevant, and fuzzy logics. Part 1, on propositional logic, is the old Introduction, but contains much new material. Part 2 is entirely new, and covers quantification and identity for all the logics in Part 1. The material is unified by the underlying theme of world semantics. All of the topics are explained clearly using devices such as tableau proofs, and (...) their relation to current philosophical issues and debates are discussed. Students with a basic understanding of classical logic will find this book an invaluable introduction to an area that has become of central importance in both logic and philosophy. It will also interest people working in mathematics and computer science who wish to know about the area. (shrink)
Graham Priest presents an exploration of the development of Buddhist metaphysics, which is viewed through the lens of the catuskoti. In its earliest and simplest form this is a logical/metaphysical principle which says that every claim is true, false, both, or neither; but Priest shows how the principle itself evolves as the metaphysics develops.
McDowell's Mind and World is a commentary on a traditional, dualist, epistemology which puzzles over, and offers accounts of, a fundamental division between mental, subjective items, and nonmental, objective items in experience. The principal responses to that tradition which McDowell considers are those of Davidson's coherentism, Evans's form of realism, and Kant; but it is Kant's famous B75 text which occupies centre stage: ‘Gedanken ohne Inhalt sind leer; Anschauungen ohne Begriffe sind blind’.
Dialetheism is the view that some contradictions are true. This is a view which runs against orthodoxy in logic and metaphysics since Aristotle, and has implications for many of the core notions of philosophy. Doubt Truth to Be a Liar explores these implications for truth, rationality, negation, and the nature of logic, and develops further the defense of dialetheism first mounted in Priest's In Contradiction, a second edition of which is also available.
Quentin Meillassoux has been described as the most rapidly prominent French philosopher in the Anglophone world since Jacques Derrida in the 1960s. With the publication of After Finitude (2006), this daring protege of Alain Badiou became one of the world's most visible younger thinkers. In this book, his fellow Speculative Realist, Graham Harman, assesses Meillassoux's publications in English so far. Also included are an insightful interview with Meillassoux and first-time translations of excerpts from L'Inexistence divine (The Divine Inexistence), his (...) famous but still unpublished major book. (shrink)
The article looks at the structure of impossible worlds, and their deployment in the analysis of some intentional notions. In particular, it is argued that one can, in fact, conceive anything, whether or not it is impossible. Thus a semantics of conceivability requires impossible worlds.
The context for these interviews was a seminar [Peter Gratton] conducted on speculative realism in the Spring 2010. There has been great interest in speculative realism and one reason Gratton surmise[s] is not just the arguments offered, though [Gratton doesn't] want to take away from them; each of these scholars are vivid writers and great pedagogues, many of whom are in constant contact with their readers via their weblogs. Thus these interviews provided an opportunity to forward student questions about their (...) respective works. Though each were conducted on different occasions, the interviews stand as a collected work, tying together the most classical questions about “realism” to ancillary movements about the non-human in politics, ecology, aesthetics, and video gaming—all to point to future movements in this philosophical area. (shrink)