In this paper, we focus on whether and to what extent we judge that people are responsible for the consequences of their forgetfulness. We ran a series of behavioral studies to measure judgments of responsibility for the consequences of forgetfulness. Our results show that we are disposed to hold others responsible for some of their forgetfulness. The level of stress that the forgetful agent is under modulates judgments of responsibility, though the level of care that the agent exhibits toward performing (...) the forgotten action does not. We argue that this result has important implications for a long-running debate about the nature of responsible agency. (shrink)
The present paper tries to trace the particular contours that the problem of theodicy assumes in the Chinese Buddhist text the Awakening of Faith in the Great Vehicle. It analyses the beginning section of the main body of text – the section, that is, that outlines the major theoretical structure of the work – in terms of a problem that has been of particular concern in western theology. I believe that taking such a tack is especially valuable for highlighting the (...) central Problematik around which the text is organized. The paper will thus use the problem of theodicy as a means of exploring some of the philosophical implications of the Awakening of Faith. (shrink)
Kuhn and Moresi have proposed a useful taxonomy for classifying prisoners' dilemmas. This comment is concerned with K&M's observation that legal penalties for defection can transform PDs into cooperative games, and their argument that the role of the law may vary depending on how the PD is classified by their taxonomy. The purpose of this note is to support K&M's analysis by demonstrating that the law of damages, as understood by economic analysis, already performs the function that K&M assign to (...) legal penalties for defection. (shrink)
There is, I gloomily suspect, little which is significantly new that remain to be said about psycho-analysis by philosophers. The almost profligate theorising that goes on within the psycho-analytic journals will, no doubt, continue unabated. It simply strikes me as unlikely that such theorising will generate further issues of the kind that excite the philosophical mind. Though in making such an observation, I recognise that I lay claim upon the future in a manner that many might believe to be unwise. (...) The place of psycho-analysis upon the intellectual map, the implications that psycho-analytic theory and practice have for the various kinds of judgements that we make about human behaviour, have been exhaustively discussed in recent times. Rather more specifically, whether psycho-analysis should be accorded the dignity of being labelled a ‘science’, what the significance is of psycho-analysis for those complex problems bounded by the notions of Reason, Freedom, Motivation, have occasioned much fruitful philosophical debate. It is not any wish of mine to add to the literature on these problems in the forlorn hope that even slightly different answers might be forthcoming. (shrink)
This new and complete translation of Spinoza's famous 17th-century work fills an important gap, not only for all scholars of Spinoza, but also for everyone interested in the relationship between Western philosophy and religion, and the history of biblical exegesis.
In On the Soul and the Resurrection, St Macrina and St Gregory of Nyssa consider what the soul is, and its relationship to our body and identity. Gregory notes the way that our bodies are always changing, and asks which is most truly our ‘real’ body if we are always in a state of growth, decay and transience? What physical body will be with us at the resurrection? If our body is as important to our identity as our (...) soul, then who am I when my body changes? Macrina answers that our identity is bodily, but that the sufferings and passages of time that alter our bodies mean that we are an imperfect version of ourselves in this life. The person that we will be at the resurrection will be free from the influence of evil and the ravages of impermanence. Modern-day science fiction wrestles with Gregory’s problem—where is my identity located? If my body is altered beyond recognition, or my mind transferred to a new body, am I still me? These cyberpunk and transhumanist worries call to mind the ancient topic of mind/body dualism, and Macrina and Gregory have some surprisingly relevant insights to offer to our contemporary technological dilemmas. (shrink)
Counterfactual thinking involves imagining hypothetical alternatives to reality. Philosopher David Lewis argued that people estimate the subjective plausibility that a counterfactual event might have occurred by comparing an imagined possible world in which the counterfactual statement is true against the current, actual world in which the counterfactual statement is false. Accordingly, counterfactuals considered to be true in possible worlds comparatively more similar to ours are judged as more plausible than counterfactuals deemed true in possible worlds comparatively less similar. Although Lewis (...) did not originally develop his notion of comparative similarity to be investigated as a psychological construct, this study builds upon his idea to empirically investigate comparative similarity as a possible psychological strategy for evaluating the perceived plausibility of counterfactual events. More specifically, we evaluate judgments of comparative similarity between episodic memories and episodic counterfactual events as a factor influencing people's judgments of plausibility in counterfactual simulations, and we also compare it against other factors thought to influence judgments of counterfactual plausibility, such as ease of simulation and prior simulation. Our results suggest that the greater the perceived similarity between the original memory and the episodic counterfactual event, the greater the perceived plausibility that the counterfactual event might have occurred. While similarity between actual and counterfactual events, ease of imagining, and prior simulation of the counterfactual event were all significantly related to counterfactual plausibility, comparative similarity best captured the variance in ratings of counterfactual plausibility. Implications for existing theories on the determinants of counterfactual plausibility are discussed. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 39 - 50 The paper deals with an anonymous _Hymn to God_, which is attributed to Gregory of Nazianzus by some authors, but was most probably composed by a Christian Neoplatonist such as Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. The paper explores the hymn’s relation to Neoplatonic theories of prayer and shows that these affinities are broader in scope than has previously been recognised. Some Pagan and Christian Neoplatonists, including the author of the _Hymn to (...) God_, seem to have shared the idea of a cosmic prayer by which all beings tend towards God, a prayer founded on the knowledge of the ‘signatures’ that God rooted in our souls. (shrink)
The writings of the Scottish physician and philosopher John Gregory play an important role in the modern codification of medical ethics. It is therefore appropriate to use his work as a historical example in approaching the question how elements of aesthetics were incorporated in 18th century medical ethics. The concept of a Gentleman is pivotal to the entire medical ethics of John Gregory as it provides him with the ethical source of the duty to patients. Gregory makes (...) the trustworthiness of the physician a central point of his medical ethics, and it is in this context that Gregory declares good manners as an essential moral quality of a physician. This paper delineates how good manners are ethically justified in Gregory's medical ethics and concludes with an exploration of the importance of Gregory's conception for present day reflection on the inherence of aesthetics in ethical determinations. (shrink)
The essay follows the fil rouge of ancient Greek thinking in the work of Gregory Bateson, an unusually multi-faceted and energetically nomadic intellect in the landscape of twentieth-century hyper-specialized disciplines, whose eclectic research focused on the question of life and of human participation in a living world. Through the reverberation of Neoplatonic motifs and echoing pre-Socratic intuitions, Bateson reflects on the “pattern which connects”—the λόγος that says one and all things, and the interpenetration of one and all things, thus (...) operating as the connective tissue of all that is, the communicational web of contacts, exchanges, and transmissions, perhaps the nervous system of life. (shrink)
In a world that is becoming more ‘networked’ than ever, especially on the personal-everyday level—with for example digital media pervading our lives and the Internet of Things now being on the rise—we need to increasingly account for ‘networked realities’. But are we as human beings actually well-equipped enough, epistemologically speaking, to do so? Multiple approaches within the philosophy of technology suggest our usage of technologies to be in the first instance oriented towards efficiency and the achievement of goals. We thereby (...) neglect the actual systemic, networked nature of technology, or its wider impacts. With regard to the pressing issue of how to cross the ‘gap’ between these two ‘modes,’ the paper at hand engages with the work of Gregory Bateson, reading him as a philosopher of technology. Bateson’s notions of “conscious purpose” and “learning” offer excellent tools to understand our predicament of living in a networked world but being partly unable to sufficiently grasp and come to terms with this situation. Moreover, as the article endeavors to demonstrate, Bateson’s thought is to be cast as a crucial addition to the body of theory being developed in the philosophy of technology. (shrink)
We continue the investigation of Gregory trees and the Cantor Tree Property carried out by Hart and Kunen. We produce models of MA with the Continuum arbitrarily large in which there are Gregory trees, and in which there are no Gregory trees.
This is a general account of the Cappadocian Christian Father Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335 - c. 395 CE) as a philosopher. The article is divided into a discussion of his life and his views on God, the world, humanity, history, knowledge, and virtue. A common thread, which would later be systematized in the Palamite essence-energies distinction, is traced in all these topics. Of particular interest to philosophers are comparisons with John Locke and Immanuel Kant.
The letters published here belong to the ‘Fonds Pierre Prevost’ held by the Library of Geneva. Our presentation of the letters is modelled on that of the published correspondences of Adam Smith and Thomas Reid. Our aim in transcribing the letters that follow has been to establish a clean and reliable text with minimal editorial intervention. We have made no attempt to normalise the spellings, capitalisation, and apparently aberrant usage found in the letters or to modernise the punctuation, and we (...) have not expanded the contractions that occur in the original texts. However, Prevost’s contractions in Letters 13 and 15 are likely to provide major problems for most readers, and we have therefore added an appendix in which these contractions have been written out. (shrink)
Gregory of Nyssa made important contributions to both theological thought and the understanding of the spiritual life. He was especially significant in adapting the thought of Origen to fourth century orthodoxy. The early treatise on the inscriptions of the Psalms shows the early stages of the development of Gregory's thought. This book presents the first translation of the treatise in a modern language. The annotations show Gregory's indebtedness to the thought of classical antiquity as well as to (...) the Bible. The Introduction sets forth the structure of Gregory's treatise, and places it in the context of earlier Christian commentaries on the Psalms. It shows how his hermeneutical approach was influenced by both Iamblichus the Neo-Platonist and Origen. Finally, Dr Heine compares Gregory's understanding of the stages of the spiritual life in the treatise with that in his later and more widely known writings on the life of Moses and the Song of Songs. (shrink)
I defend a solution to the puzzle of petitionary prayer based on some ideas of Aquinas, Gregory the Great, and contemporary desert theorists. I then address a series of objections. Along the way broader issues about the nature of desert, what is required for an action to have a point, and what is required for a puzzle to have a solution are discussed.
Why do we need government? A common view is that government is necessary to constrain people's conduct toward one another, because people are not sufficiently virtuous to exercise the requisite degree of control on their own. This view was expressed perspicuously, and artfully, by liberal thinker James Madison, in The Federalist, number 51, where he wrote: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Madison's idea is shared by writers ranging across the political spectrum. It finds clear expression in (...) the Marxist view that the state will gradually wither away after a communist revolution, as unalienated “communist man” emerges. And it is implied by the libertarian view that government's only legitimate function is to control the unfortunate and immoral tendency of some individuals to violate the moral rights of others. (shrink)
In relation to a thesis put forward by Marx Wartofsky, we seek to show that a historiography of mathematics requires an analysis of the ontology of the part of mathematics under scrutiny. Following Ian Hacking, we point out that in the history of mathematics the amount of contingency is larger than is usually thought. As a case study, we analyze the historians’ approach to interpreting James Gregory’s expression ultimate terms in his paper attempting to prove the irrationality of \. (...) Here Gregory referred to the last or ultimate terms of a series. More broadly, we analyze the following questions: which modern framework is more appropriate for interpreting the procedures at work in texts from the early history of infinitesimal analysis? As well as the related question: what is a logical theory that is close to something early modern mathematicians could have used when studying infinite series and quadrature problems? We argue that what has been routinely viewed from the viewpoint of classical analysis as an example of an “unrigorous” practice, in fact finds close procedural proxies in modern infinitesimal theories. We analyze a mix of social and religious reasons that had led to the suppression of both the religious order of Gregory’s teacher degli Angeli, and Gregory’s books at Venice, in the late 1660s. (shrink)
So begins "For Anne Gregory," published by W. B. Yeats in 1933. It is surely one of his most charming poems.1 The poem's lilting rhythm and affectionate tone effectively soften—even disguise—what is arguably a dark and dismaying message. Anne is destined to be loved not for herself alone, but for an accidental physical attribute—her blond hair. Why do I claim that the poem's message is dark? Why should it dismay Anne if she is loved for the beauty of her (...) hair? Is that not better, after all, than not being loved in the first place? And what would it be to love Anne for herself "alone"? Love Anne for her sweet disposition; for her ability always to say the right thing; for her kindness; but for her yellow hair? .. (shrink)
It is commonplace to suppose that the theory of individual rational choice is considerably less problematic than the theory of collective rational choice. In particular, it is often assumed by philosophers, economists, and other social scientists that an individual's choices among outcomes accurately reflect that individual's underlying preferences or values. Further, it is now well known that if an individual's choices among outcomes satisfy certain plausible axioms of rationality or consistency, that individual's choice-behavior can be interpreted as maximizing expected utility (...) on a utility scale that is unique up to a linear transformation. Hence, there is, in principle, an empirically respectable method of measuring individuals' values and a single unified schema for explaining their actions as value maximizing. (shrink)
Reid’s rejection of the “theory of ideas” implies that sensations are not copies of external qualities such as extension and figure. Reid also says that not even the order of sensations is spatial. However, in his early manuscripts Reid did not deny that sensations are arranged spatially. He simply denied that our ideas of extension and figure are copied from any single atomic sensation. Only subsequently did Reid explicitly reject the view that sensations are arranged spatially. The question of the (...) spatiality of color sensation was a central concern of early interpreters of Reid, like Dugald Stewart, John Fearn, and William Hamilton. In particular, John Fearn thought that the denial of the spatiality of color sensations is the result of Reid’s commitment to the immateriality of the soul. Against Reid’s view, Fearn argued that the perception of visible figure necessarily implies the spatiality of color sensations. (shrink)
In this response to essays by Barbara J. King, Gregory R. Peterson, Wesley J. Wildman, and Nancy R. Howell, I present arguments to counter some of the exciting and challenging questions from my colleagues. I take the opportunity to restate my argument for an interdisciplinary public theology, and by further developing the notion of transversality I argue for the specificity of the emerging theological dialogue with paleoanthropology and primatology. By arguing for a hermeneutics of the body, I respond to (...) criticism of my notion of human uniqueness and argue for strong evolutionary continuities, as well as significant discontinuities, between primates, humans, and other hominids. In addition, I answer critical questions about theological methodology and argue how the notion of human uniqueness, theologically restated as the image of God, is enriched by transversally appropriating scientific notions of species specificity and embodied personhood. (shrink)
It seems to be a consequence of Reid’s views on sensations that colour sensations are not extended nor are they arranged in figured patterns. Reid further claimed that ‘there is no sensation appropriated to visible figure.’ As I show, Reid tried to justify these controversial claims by appeal to Cheselden’s report of the experiences of a young man affected by severe cataracts, and by appeal to cases of perception of visible figure without colour. While holding fast to the principle that (...) sensations are not extended, Dugald Stewart (1753-1828) tried to show that ‘a variety of colour sensations is a necessary means for the perception of visible figure.’ According to John Fearn (1768-1837) two motives appear to be central to Reid’s project: his commitment to the Cartesian doctrine of the immateriality of the soul, and his attempt to escape Hume’s dilemma about the existence and materiality of the soul. (shrink)