The founders and 19th-Century leaders of the American democratic experiment sought to base their institution on a rationalist and individualist model of political reality. As characterized by D. M. Levitan, they distrusted representative government and powerful executives, subscribing to a laissez-faire philosophy: he governs best who governs least. Levitan goes on to accentuate the intimate relationship of the political system to its philosophical foundation. While he notes that Liberal ideas were well adapted to the needs of the plutocracy, he does (...) not play down the importance of Liberalism to the particular form taken by political institutions in democracy. A paradigm of this Liberal doctrine is John Stuart Mill's famous Principle: “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will is to prevent harm to others.” This Principle, if not the source, can certainly qualify as a rationalization for a great part of what passes for “policy” in a democracy. (shrink)
It was December - a bright frozen day in the early morning. Far out in the country there was an old Negro woman with her head tied in a red rag, coming along a path through the pinewoods. Her name was Phoenix Jackson. She was very old and small and she walked slowly in the dark pine shadows, moving a little from side to side in her steps, with the balanced heaviness and lightness of a pendulum in a grandfather clock. (...) She carried a thin, small cane made from an umbrella, and with this she kept tapping the frozen earth in front of her. This made a grave and persistent noise in the still air, that seemed meditative like the chirping of a solitary little bird. Eudora Welty received the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for her novel, The Optimist's Daughter. Among her other works are The Shoe Bird, Losing Battles, and One Time, One Place. (shrink)
Philosopher GregWelty contributed a chapter entitled ‘Molinist Gunslingers: God and the Authorship of Sin’, to a book devoted to answering the charge that Calvinism makes God the author of sin. Welty argues that Molinism has the same problems as Calvinism concerning God’s relationship to sin, regardless of what view of human freedom Molinism may affirm. The Molinist believes that God generally uses his knowledge of the possible choices of libertarianly free creatures in order to accomplish his (...) will. But affirming libertarian freedom for humans, he argues, does not help in dealing with the question of God’s relationship to evil. Therefore, Molinism is no better than Calvinism, at least concerning this issue. In response to Welty, I agree with him that Molinism does not have a moral advantage over what he calls ‘mysterian, apophatic’ Calvinism, but Molinists don’t claim that it does, and I argue that, contra Welty, Molinism indeed does have a moral advantage over the Calvinist versions that do employ causal determinism. Welty does not take ‘intentions’ into consideration in his argument, and this is a serious flaw. In the libertarian model of Molinism, intent originates in the doer of evil. However, in the compatibilist model of causal determinism, ultimately God implants intent. Thus, adherents of causal determinism have difficulty not laying responsibility at the feet of God. (shrink)
In this paper we offer a new argument for the existence of God. We contend that the laws of logic are metaphysically dependent on the existence of God, understood as a necessarily existent, personal, spiritual being; thus anyone who grants that there are laws of logic should also accept that there is a God. We argue that if our most natural intuitions about them are correct, and if they are to play the role in our intellectual activities that we take (...) them to play, then the laws of logic are best construed as necessarily existent thoughts -- more specifically, as divine thoughts about divine thoughts. We conclude by highlighting some implications for both theistic arguments and antitheistic arguments. (shrink)
This introduction to the second international conference on Formal Ontology and Information Systems presents a brief history of ontology as a discipline spanning the boundaries of philosophy and information science. We sketch some of the reasons for the growth of ontology in the information science field, and offer a preliminary stocktaking of how the term ‘ontology’ is currently used. We conclude by suggesting some grounds for optimism as concerns the future collaboration between philosophical ontologists and information scientists.
I had not meant to mystify readers by withholding any facts; it is not a writer's business to tease. The story is told through Phoenix's mind as she undertakes her errand. As the author at one with the character as I tell it, I must assume that the boy is alive. As the reader, you are free to think as you like, of course: the story invites you to believe that no matter what happens, Phoenix, for as long as she (...) is able to walk and can hold to her purpose, will make her journey. The possibility that she would keep on even if he were dead is there in her devotion and its single-minded, single-track errand. Certainly the artistic truth, which should be good enough for the fact, lies in Phoenix's own answer to that question. When the nurse asks, "He isn't dead, is he?" she speaks for herself: "He still the same. He going to last." Eudora Welty received the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for her novel, The Optimist's Daughter. Among her other works are The Shoe Bird, Losing Battles, and One Time, One Place. (shrink)
A.P. Martinich's interpretation that in Leviathan Thomas Hobbes believed that the laws of nature are the commands of God and that he did not rely on the Bible to prove this has been criticized by Greg Forster in this journal (2003). Forster uses these criticisms to develop his own view that Hobbes was insincere when he professed religious beliefs. We argue that Forster misrepresents Martinich's view, is mistaken about what evidence is relevant to interpreting whether Hobbes was sincere or (...) not, and is mistaken about some of Hobbes's central doctrines. Forster's criticisms are worth discussing at length for at least three reasons. He takes the debate about Hobbes's sincerity to a new level of sophistication; his misinterpretations of Hobbes may become accepted as correct; and his criticisms raise issues about the proper method of interpreting historical texts. (shrink)
BOOK REVIEW Extract: Integrity, it seems, is a matter of remaining true to oneself, or rather, it is a matter of remaining true to what one reasonably judges to be the best of oneself. In Integrity and the Virtues of Reason, Greg Scherkoske seeks to overturn this piece of conventional wisdom. It is a fine book and I learned a lot from it. Scherkoske elaborates and defends the idea that integrity is an epistemic virtue; that it is not fundamentally (...) a matter of being true to oneself but of being a good and responsible epistemic agent. What is wrong with the conventional picture, Scherkoske thinks, is that it invites moral danger. The moral danger Scherkoske has in mind takes two forms. One is self-indulgence. When faced with demands from others, fidelity to one's own commitments just because they are one's own can easily lead to a promotion of one's own interests over the interests of others. The second danger is blind allegiance. "Even if a person's commitments cannot be construed as self-indulgent or egoistic, an individual's belief that something is a matter of integrity might be taken to foreclose the possibility of challenge and revision". (shrink)
Molinists generally see Calvinism as possessing certain liabilities from which Molinism is immune. For example, Molinists have traditionally rejected Calvinism, in part, because it allegedly makes God the author of sin. According to Molina, we ‘should not infer that He is in any way a cause of sin’. However, GregWelty has recently argued by way of his Gunslingers Argument that, when it comes to God’s relationship to evil, Molinism is susceptible to the same liabilities as Calvinism. If (...) his argument is successful, he has undercut, at least partially, justification for believing in Molinism. While I concede that Welty’s argument is successful in that it does undercut some justification for believing in Molinism, this concession does not entail that, as it relates to the problem of evil, the Calvinist and the Molinist are in the same epistemic position. In this article, I argue that, when it comes to God’s relationship to evil, the Molinist is in a superior epistemic situation to the Calvinist. I do this in two steps. First, I argue for what I call the Robust Felix Culpa Theodicy. Second, I argue that the Robust Felix Culpa Theodicy is incompatible with Calvinism. (shrink)
This is my main contribution to P. Gould (ed.) Beyond the Control of God?: Six Views on the Problem of God and Abstract Objects Bloomsbury. (The other contibutors to this work are: Keith Yandell; Paul Gould and Rich Davis; GregWelty; William Lane Craig; and Scott Shalkowski.) I argue that, when it comes to a comparative assessment of the merits of theism and atheism, it makes no difference whether one opts for realism or fictionalism concerning abstract objects.
This article analyzes the impact of the rights-oriented business ethics course on student's ethical orientation. This approach, which is predominant in business schools, excludes the care-oriented approach used by a majority of women as well as some men and minorities. The results of this study showed that although students did not shift significantly in their ethical orientation, a majority of the men and an even greater majority of the women were care-oriented before and after a course in business ethics. If (...) business schools are to address society's increasing diversity then the perspective of women and others who are care-oriented must be assimilated into the curriculum. This can only be done by rethinking how the business ethics course (and the entire business curriculum) are taught to include a care-oriented approach. (shrink)
Next SectionObjectives To evaluate the adequacy of paediatric informed consent and its augmentation by a supplemental computer-based module in paediatric endoscopy. Methods The Consent-20 instrument was developed and piloted on 47 subjects. Subsequently, parents of 101 children undergoing first-time, diagnostic upper endoscopy performed under moderate IV sedation were prospectively and consecutively, blinded, randomised and enrolled into two groups that received either standard form-based informed consent or standard form-based informed consent plus a commercial (Emmi Solutions, Inc, Chicago, Il), sixth grade level, (...) interactive learning module (electronic assisted consent). Anonymously and electronically, the subjects' anxiety (State Trait Anxiety Inventory), satisfaction (Modified Group Health Association of America), number of questions asked, and attainment of informed consent were assessed (Consent-20). Statistics were calculated using t test, paired t test, and Mann Whitney tests. Results The ability to achieve informed consent, as measured by the new instrument, was 10% in the control form-based consent group and 33% in the electronic assisted consent group (p<0.0001). Electronically assisting form-based informed consent did not alter secondary outcome measures of subject satisfaction, anxiety or number of questions asked in a paediatric endoscopy unit. Conclusions This study demonstrates the limitations of form-based informed consent methods for paediatric endoscopy. It also shows that even when necessary information was repeated electronically in a comprehensive and standardised video, informed consent as measured by our instrument was incompletely achieved. The supplemental information did, however, significantly improve understanding in a manner that did not negatively impact workflow, subject anxiety or subject satisfaction. Additional study of informed consent is required. Clinical trial registration number ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT00899392. (shrink)
The role of reading in educating a future writer is discussed through study of memoirs by writers including Janet Frame, James Baldwin, and Eudora Welty. The memoirs show reading books to have been a transformative way of melding forms of experience. The following features of childhood reading are examined: (1) the role of the physical book, (2) the cognitive-aesthetic-affective impact of letters, words and ‘voices’, (3) the partially unplanned and challenging path of children’s exposure to texts, and (4) absorption (...) of models that can be imitated and outgrown. The discussion links sympathetically to views in philosophy of education about the importance of content and beauty and of influences whose impact cannot be planned, measured or captured as generic skills. The autobiographical evidence considered here suggests that these influences can nonetheless be crucial to expanding learners’ horizons and stimulating their educational and artistic progress. (shrink)
Graham Priest has asked whether the consequence relation associated with the Anderson–Belnap system of Tautological Entailment,1 in the language with connectives ¬, ∧, ∨, and countably many propositional variables as tomic formulas, maximal amongst the substitution-invariant relevant consequence relations on this language. Here a consequence relation is said to be relevant just in case whenever for a set of formulas Γ and formula B, we have Γ B only if some propositional variable occurring in B occurs in at least one (...) formula in Γ. (It follows that relevant consequence relations are atheorematic in the sense that whenever Γ B for some such consequence relation , Γ = ∅.) Here I write up in more detail the upshot of the conversation – returning an aﬃrmative answer to Priest’s question – about this in the common room that Greg Restall and I were participating in last Friday [ = October 6, 2006], dotting some “i”s and crossing some “t”s (and adding the odd further reﬂection). (shrink)
It is well known that in early Greek epic old age was something that could be scraped off a man, and it is the purpose of this note to explore the image and to suggest a possible origin. The idea is first attested in a counterfactual conditional sentence in Phoenix's speech atIl.9.445–6: ‘nor even if [a god] himself were to undertake to render me young and flourishing after scraping off old age …’ ; in a description of Medea's magical rejuvenation (...) of Aeson in theNostoi; and in the account of Eos' botched attempt to make Tithonus immortal in theHomeric Hymn to Aphrodite:οὐδ' ἐνόησε μετὰ ϕρεσὶ πότνια Ἠώςἥβην αἰτῆσαι, ξῦσαί τ' ἄπο γῆρας ὀλοιόν.Nor did lady Dawn think in her mind to ask for youth and to scrape off ruinous old age.This language also occurs in Late Antiquity, and Andrew Faulkner in his commentary on theHymn cites Greg. Nanz.Carm.18.104.22.1683 in the fourth centurya.d.and the much later Cometas,Anth. Pal.15.37.2. So far as the imagery implicit in these passages is concerned, S. D. Olson writes, ‘old age is imagined as a scurf or patina that can be scoured off a person’. Faulkner, however, prefers a more precise reference: ‘Griffin … relates it to the idea of old age as a skin that can be shed, as that of a snake’, and he helpfully cites Theodoros Prodromos,Carmina historica24.18, ἀπόξυσαι τὸ γῆρας ὥσπερ ὄϕις. (shrink)
Is Rabinowitz seriously suggesting that his “rules” of reading are equally applicable to the analysis of British and American forms of popular writing and their readerships between 1920 and the 1960s? Is he seriously suggesting that Gone with the Wind, for example, would be “read” in the same way and for the same meanings in the southern states, the northern states, in Yorkshire and London? In this particular case the issue of cultural reproduction is also crucial—the complex relations between the (...) book and film “texts” and readerships for both. Is the book now read “through” the film and the mythos of Hollywood? Can the novel’s “history” of the Civil War and the period of Reconstruction be seen in relation to experience of the Depression on the one hand and to dominant historical discourses of the period privileged within American educational institutions on the other?2Or, if we take a British example like A. J. Cronin, whose work was regarded as both “serious” and “popular” in the late 1930s, what happens to Rabinowitz’s distinction? Clearly, Cronin’s fiction is not “acceptable” in the literary canon but his example illustrates the weakness of any critical analysis of the popular rooted in “literary” assumptions. Very important questions are raised by the commercial success of The Citadel, not among “the people” in any generalized sense but among specific constituencies of professional, middle-class readerships in both New Deal American and in Britain during a period of history remarkable for the regrouping of the forces of social-democratic consensus politics—an alliance between “sympathetic” fractions of the professional middle class and “the people” which culminated eventually in the postwar Labour party election victory. Thus readers are not only readers, and the processes of reading—especially perhaps of popular fiction—are not reducible to abstract rules which exclude all considerations of cultural=political institutions and discourses. 2. This example is partly indebted to discussion with Greg Gaut and Jane P. Tompkins during a University of Minnesota Conference, “On the Social Edge” . Derek Longhurst is principal lecturer and course leader in communication studies at Sunderland Polytechnic and general editor of the forthcoming series Culture and Popular Fiction. His publications include chapters in Re-Reading English and An Introduction to Contemporary Cultural Studies. He is currently working on a book about the political thriller. (shrink)
In its comprehensive overview of Alain Locke's pragmatist philosophy this book captures the radical implications of Locke's approach within pragmatism, the critical temper embedded in Locke's works, the central role of power and empowerment of the oppressed and the concept of broad democracy Locke employed.
_Philosophy Through Science Fiction_ offers a fun, challenging, and accessible way in to the issues of philosophy through the genre of science fiction. Tackling problems such as the possibility of time travel, or what makes someone the same person over time, the authors take a four-pronged approach to each issue, providing · a clear and concise introduction to each subject · a science fiction story that exemplifies a feature of the philosophical discussion · historical and contemporary philosophical texts that investigate (...) the issue with rigor, and · glossary, plot profiles of pertinent science fiction stories and films, and questions for further reflection. _Philosophy Through Science Fiction_ includes stories from contemporary science fiction writers including Greg Egan and Mike Resnick, as well as from classic authors like Philip K. Dick and Robert Heinlein. Philosophy readings include historical pieces by René Descartes and David Hume, and contemporary pieces by John Searle and Mary Midgley. (shrink)