Roger Scruton's 530-page blockbuster The Aesthetics of Music was published by Oxford University Press in 1997. A paperback edition followed two years later. Neither received more than a handful of notices, a few appreciative, but some grudging and some actually hostile. As its quality has come to be recognized, and as the resentments it provoked have either died down or found newer targets, the book has gradually achieved a certain canonical, even classic, status. Students of the subject now seem to (...) feel that, however unpalatable some of its conclusions may have been, it can no longer safely be ignored. The questions, it appears, are the right ones, even if we don't care for Scruton's answers. (shrink)
Don't look for the meaning; look for the use. A few years back the Yale deconstructionist Paul de Man wasposthumously discovered to have written repeatedly for a Belgiancollaborationist journal during the Nazi occupation. So far as I amaware, de Man in his American period espoused no particular politics. Indeed, the Left frequently regarded this as a cause for complaint, since most of them thought of de Man and deconstruction as being their natural allies.
Recent considerations of mind and world react against philosophical naturalisation strategies by maintaining that the thought of the world is normatively driven to reject reductive or bald naturalism. This paper argues that we may reject bald or ‘thoughtless’ naturalism without sacrificing nature to normativity and so retreating from metaphysics to transcendental idealism. The resources for this move can be found in the Naturphilosophie outlined by the German Idealist philosopher F.W.J. Schelling. He argues that because thought occurs in the same universe (...) as thought thinks, it remains part of that universe whose elements in consequence now additionally include that thought. A philosophy of nature beginning from such a position neither shaves thought from a thoughtless nature nor transcendentally reduces nature to the content of thought, since a thought occurring in nature only has ‘all nature’ as its content when that thought is additive rather than summative. A natural history of mind drawn from Schellingian premises therefore entails that, while a thought may have ‘all nature’ as its content, this thought is itself the partial content of the nature augmented by it. (shrink)
Medical ethics committees are increasingly called on to assist doctors, patients, and families in resolving difficult ethics issues. Although committees are becoming more sophisticated in the substance of medical ethics, little attention has been given to the processes these committees use to facilitate decision-making. In 1990, the National Institute for Dispute Resolution in Washington, D.C., provided a planning grant from its Innovation Fund to the Institute of Public Law of the University of New Mexico School of Law to look (...) at what ethics committees can learn from facilitation and mediation techniques. The study's thesis was that, if adapted for use by medical ethics committees, facilitation and mediation techniques can be helpful to those bodies in case review consultations and in other internal committee processes. This article reports on that project. (shrink)
Literary fiction is of crucial importance in human life. It is a source of understanding and insight into the nature of the human condition, yet ever since Plato, philosophers have struggled to provide a plausible explanation of how this can be the case. For surely the fictionality - the sheer invented character - of the literary text means that fiction presents not our world, but other worlds? In Fiction and the Weave of Life, John Gibson offers a novel and (...) intriguing account of the relationship between literature and everyday life, and shows how literature can give us an understanding of our world without literally being about our world. (shrink)
The primary objective of this study is to provide a description of the major ideas about void space within and beyond the world that were formulated between the fourteenth and early eighteenth centuries. The second part of the book - on infinite, extracosmic void space - is of special significance. The significance of Professor Grant's account is twofold: it provides the first comprehensive and detailed description of the scholastic Aristotelian arguments for and against the existence of void space; and (...) it presents (again for the first time) an analysis of the possible influence of scholastic ideas and arguments on the interpretations of space proposed by the nonscholastic authors who made the Scientific Revolution possible. The concluding chapter of the book is unique in not only describing the conceptualizations of space proposed by the makers of the Scientific Revolution, but in assessing the role of readily available scholastic ideas on the conception of space adopted for the Newtonian world. (shrink)
Questioning the usual judgements of political ethics, Ruth W. Grant argues that hypocrisy can actually be constructive while strictly principled behavior can be destructive. _Hypocrisy and Integrity_ offers a new conceptual framework that clarifies the differences between idealism and fanaticism while it uncovers the moral limits of compromise. "Exciting and provocative.... Grant's work is to be highly recommended, offering a fresh reading of Rousseau and Machiavelli as well as presenting a penetrating analysis of hypocrisy and integrity."—Ronald J. Terchek, (...) _American Political Science Review_ "A great refreshment.... With liberalism's best interests at heart, Grant seeks to make available a better understanding of the limits of reason in politics."—Peter Berkowitz, _New Republic_. (shrink)
John Locke is probably one of the highest-regarded English philosophers, and the first of the British empiricists. His ideas on the mind and consciousness have continued to resonate throughout philosophy and philosophical thought ever since An Essay Concerning Human Understanding first appeared in 1690. James Gibson's Locke's Theory of Knowledge and its Historical Relations was first published in 1917, and saw its fourth reprinting in 1968. Here, it is made available for the first time in paperback. This hugely detailed (...) work is an invaluable collation of Locke's theories, exploring his thoughts on the problems of knowledge, the formation of ideas, causality and the self. Furthermore, Gibson also provides an in-depth historical evaluation of the effects of these theories on contemporary philosophy as a whole, and on thinkers such as Descartes, Kant and Leibniz more specifically. As such, this book is a valuable reference work for any student of philosophy. (shrink)
This volume offers two complementary works, unabridged, in modernized, annotated texts--the only available edition priced for classroom use. Grant and Tarcov provide a concise introduction, a note on the texts, and a select bibliography.
Hackl, Koster-Hale & Varvoutis provide data that suggest that in a null context, antecedent-contained deletion relative clause structures modifying a quantified object noun phrase are easier to process than those modifying a definite object NP. HKV argue that this pattern of results supports a quantifier-raising analysis of both ACD structures and quantified NPs in object position: under the account they advocate, both ACD resolution and quantified NPs in object position require movement of the object NP to a higher syntactic position. (...) The processing advantage for quantified object NPs in ACD is hypothesized to derive from the fact that—at the point where ACD resolution must take place—the quantified NP has already undergone QR, whereas this is not the case for definite NPs. Here, we question these conclusions. In particular, our analyses of HKV’s reading time data reveal several unreported choice points, errors and concerns regarding multiple comparisons in the original HKV data analysis. Importantly, most other plausible ways to analyze these data that we describe here result in the crucial interaction being non-significant. Putting this observation together with the failure to observe the crucial interaction in Gibson & Levy, we conclude that the experiments reported by HKV should not be viewed as providing evidence for the ACD quantifier-raising processing effect. (shrink)
In this lively undergraduate textbook, Kevin Gibson explores the relationship between ethics and the world of business, and how we can serve the interests of both. He builds a philosophical groundwork that can be applied to a wide range of issues in ethics and business, and shows readers how to assess dilemmas critically and work to resolve them on a principled basis. Using case studies drawn from around the world, he examines topics including stakeholder responsibilities, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, (...) and women and business. Because business can no longer be isolated from its effects on communities and the environment, these concerns are brought to the forefront. The book also captures the dynamic nature of business ethics in the era of globalization where jobs can be outsourced, products are made of components from scores of countries and sweatshops often provide the cheap goods the public demands. (shrink)
Results from two self-paced reading experiments in English are reported in which subject- and object-extracted relative clauses (SRCs and ORCs, respectively) were presented in contexts that support both types of relative clauses (RCs). Object-extracted versions were read more slowly than subject-extracted versions across both experiments. These results are not consistent with a decay-based working memory account of dependency formation where the amount of decay is a function of the number of new discourse referents that intervene between the dependents (Gibson, (...) 1998; Warren & Gibson, 2002). Rather, these results support interference-based accounts and decay-based accounts where the amount of decay depends on the number of words or on the type of noun phrases that intervene between the dependents. In Experiment 2, presentation in supportive contexts was directly contrasted with presentation in null contexts. Whereas in the null context the extraction effect was only observed during the RC region, in a supportive context the extraction effect was numerically larger and persisted into the following region, thus showing that extraction effects are enhanced in supportive contexts. A sentence completion study demonstrated that the rate of SRCs versus ORCs was similar across null and supportive contexts (with most completions being subject-extractions), ruling out the possibility that an enhanced extraction effect in supportive contexts is due to ORCs being less expected in such contexts. However, the content of the RCs differed between contexts in the completions, such that the RCs produced in supportive contexts were more constrained, reflecting the lexical and semantic content of the preceding context. This effect, which we discuss in terms of expectations/lexico-syntactic priming, suggests that the enhancement of the extraction effect in supportive contexts is due to the facilitation of the subject-extracted condition. (shrink)
Canadians have relatively few binding national myths, but one of the most pervasive and enduring is the conviction that the country is doomed. In 1965 George Grant passionately defended Canadian identity by asking fundamental questions about the meaning and future of Canada’s political existence. In Lament for a Nation he argued that Canada – immense and underpopulated, defined in part by the border, history, and culture it shares with the United States, and torn by conflicting loyalties to Britain, Quebec, (...) and America – had ceased to exist as a sovereign state. Lament for a Nation became the seminal work in Canadian political thought and Grant became known as the father of Canadian nationalism. This edition includes a major introduction by Andrew Potter that explores Grant’s arguments in the context of changes in ethnic diversity, free trade, globalization, post-modernism, and 9/11. Potter discusses the shifting uses of the terms “liberal” and “conservative” and closes with a look at the current state of Canadian nationalism. (shrink)
Gibson, Robin The concept of dying by euthanasia and indeed physician-assisted suicide is a highly emotive one. Assisted dying arouses intense feelings both in favour and against. The prospect of enduring a long drawn out dying process generates both fear and apprehension in both terminally ill and chronically ill patients. Many of them wish to choose the time and manner of their death. On the other side, passionate, mainly religious groups have campaigned long and hard to deny suffering people (...) assistance to die. As the law currently stands in Australia, there is a complete ban on both euthanasia and assistance in suicide. Even following a request by a patient, a medical practitioner who directly takes the life of his or her patient, can be charged with murder or manslaughter. Despite the repeal of laws that forbade committing or attempting to commit suicide, laws still exist which proscribe the provision of assistance to another to commit or attempt to commit suicide. (shrink)
The Critical Imagination is a study of metaphor, imaginativeness, and criticism of the arts. Since the eighteenth century, many philosophers have argued that appreciating art is rewarding because it involves responding imaginatively to a work. Literary works can be interpreted in many ways; architecture can be seen as stately, meditative, or forbidding; and sensitive descriptions of art are often colourful metaphors: music can 'shimmer', prose can be 'perfumed', and a painter's colouring can be 'effervescent'. Engaging with art, like creating it, (...) seems to offer great scope for imagination. Hume, Kant, Oscar Wilde, Roger Scruton, and others have defended variations on this attractive idea. In this book, James Grant critically examines it. The first half explains the role imaginativeness plays in criticism. To do this, Grant answers three questions that are of interest in their own right. First, what are the aims of criticism? Is the point of criticizing a work to evaluate it, to explain it, to modify our response to it, or something else? Second, what is it to appreciate art? Third, what is imaginativeness? He gives new answers to all three questions, and uses them to explain the role of imaginativeness in criticism. The book's second half focuses on metaphor. Why are some metaphors so effective? How do we understand metaphors? Are some thoughts expressible only in metaphor? Grant's answers to these questions go against much current thinking in the philosophy of language. He uses these answers to explain why imaginative metaphors are so common in art criticism. The result is a rigorous and original theory of metaphor, criticism, imaginativeness, and their interrelations. (shrink)
George Grant's magnificent four-part meditation sums up much that is central to his own thought, including a critique of modern liberalism, an analysis of John Rawls's Theory of Justice, and insights into the larger Western philosophical ...
Separated from its anchorage in religion, ethics has followed the social sciences in seeing human beings as fundamentally characterized by self-interest, so that altruism is either naively idealistic or arrogantly self-sufficient. Colin Grant contends that, as a modern secular concept, altruism is a parody on the self-giving love of Christianity, so that its dismissal represents a social levelling that loses the depths that theology makes intelligible and religion makes possible. The Christian affirmation is that God is characterized by self-giving (...) love, then expected of Christians. Lacking this theological background, the focus on self-interest in sociobiology and economics, and on human realism in the political focus of John Rawls or the feminist sociability of Carol Gilligan, finds altruism naive or a dangerous distraction from real possibilities of mutual support. This book argues that to dispense with altruism is to dispense with God and with the divine transformation of human possibilities. (shrink)
In an earlier paper, written in reaction to those who argued that the African National Congress (ANC) had no alternative but to implement neoliberal economic policies in the context of the 'Washington Consensus', I discussed the strategic choices and ideological pitfalls of the 'political class' who took over state power in South Africa after the end of apartheid and implemented its own homegrown structural adjustment programme (Gibson 2001). Much of this transition has been scripted by political science 'transition literature' (...) and much of it is proactive, mapping out what should be done to establish a 'pacted', 'elite' democracy overseeing neoliberal economic policies (O'Donnell, Schmitter & Whitehead 1986). From another vantage point, I argued that Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth is perhaps one of the most perceptive critiques of the transition literature available. This article continues the discussion. (shrink)
Grant and Quiggin suggest that agents employ heuristics to constrain the set of acts under consideration before applying standard decision theory, based on their restricted model of the world to the remaining acts. The aim of this paper is to provide an axiomatic foundation, and an associated representation theorem, for the preference model proposed by Grant and Quiggin. The unawareness of the agent is encoded both in the specification of the states and in an elaboration of the set (...) of consequences. We illustrate how the representation can be applied to rationalize two notions of the precautionary principle that were proposed and discussed in Grant and Quiggin. (shrink)
What makes feminist theory feminist? How did so many different feminisms come to exist? In Fundamental Feminism, Judith Grant addresses these questions by offering a critical exploration of the evolution of feminist theory and the state of feminist thinking today. Grant provides a lively assessment of the major problems of contemporary feminist thought and identifies a set of common assumptions that link the wide variety of feminist theories in existence. Fundamental Feminism calls for nothing less than a substantial (...) revision of the core concepts responsible for shaping feminist theory as we now know it. Grant identifies and critiques three core concepts of feminist theory--"woman," "experience," and "personal politics"--from their origins in pamphlets and writings from the early women's liberation movement to their current construction in feminist thought. She then connects a number of major debates in feminism today to the longstanding influence of these core assumptions. These debates include the hegemony of the white female perspective, the tension between anti-pornography and pro-sex feminists, and the discussions surrounding the challenges presented by postmodernism. Grant gives readers valuable insight into the dilemma facing feminist theory today. Fundamental Feminism is a thorough and provocative analysis that will be essential reading for anyone interested in the future of feminist theory and the power of feminist politics. (shrink)