_ Source: _Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 229 - 233 This note announces a recent find in a private Swiss archive: Christian Wolff’s complete lecture course on Grotius’s _De iure belli ac pacis_ that he gave at the University of Marburg between June 1739 and May 1740.
Many of the things that we try to explain, in both our common sense and our scientific engagement with the world, are capable of being explained more or less finely: that is, with greater or lesser attention to the detail of the producing mechanism. A natural assumption, pervasive if not always explicit, is that other things being equal, the more finegrained an explanation, the better. Thus, Jon Elster, who also thinks there are instrumental reasons for wanting a more fine-grained explanation, (...) assumes that in any case the mere fact of getting nearer the detail of production makes such an explanation intrinsically superior: “a more detailed explanation is also an end in itself”. Michael Taylor agrees: “A good explanation should be, amongst other things, as fine-grained as possible.”. (shrink)
Institutions generate cooperative benefits that explain why they exist and persist. Therefore, their etiological function is to promote cooperation. The function of a particular institution, such as money or traffic regulations, is to solve one or more cooperation problems. We go on to argue that the teleological function of institutions is to secure values by means of norms. Values can also be used to redesign an institution and to promote social change. We argue, however, that an adequate theory of institutions (...) should not be ‘moralized’ in that they should not be defined in terms of the values they are supposed to promote. (shrink)
Frank Jackson champions the cause of conceptual analysis as central to philosophical inquiry. In recent years conceptual analysis has been undervalued and widely misunderstood, suggests Jackson. He argues that such analysis is mistakenly clouded in mystery, preventing a whole range of important questions from being productively addressed. He anchors his argument in discussions of specific philosophical issues, starting with the metaphysical doctrine of physicalism and moving on, via free will, meaning, personal identity, motion, and change, to ethics and the (...) philosophy of color. In this way the book not only offers a methodological program for philosophy, but also casts new light on some much-debated problems and their interrelations. (shrink)
I'm pleased to have been offered the chance of replying to Joseph Frank's criticisms . He is a courteous opponent, though capable of a certain asperity. . . . Frank complains that his critics appear incapable of attending to what he really said in his original essay. It is the blight critics are born for; and it is undoubtedly sometimes caused by the venal haste of reviewers, and sometimes by native dullness, and sometimes by malice. But there are (...) other reasons why an author may sometimes feel himself to be misrepresented. One is that a genuinely patient and intelligent reader may be more interested in what the piece under consideration does not quite say than in what is expressly stated. Another is the consequence of fame. Frank's original article is over thirty years old; it crystallised what had been for the most part vague notions, ideas that were in the air, and gave them a memorable name. "Spatial form" entered the jargon of the graduate school and began an almost independent existence. The term might well be used by people who had never read the essay at all; or they might casually attribute to him loose inferences made by others from the general proposition—inferences he had already disallowed and now once more contests. It must be difficult, particularly for an exasperated author, to distinguish between these causes of apparent misrepresentation. But sometimes it can be done; and then it will appear that the effect of the first is far more interesting than that of the second cause. For the suggestion then must be that the author has repressed a desire to take a position which, in his manifest argument, he differentiates from his own. This, as it happens, is what he advances as an explanation of certain ambiguities in my Sense of an Ending; the least one can say is that it is perfectly possible. Frank Kermode is the author of The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction, Continuities, and Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne: Renaissance Essays; his works also include The Classic and The Genesis of Secrecy. His contributions to Critical Inquiry are "Novels: Recognition and Deception" , "A Reply to Denis Donoghue" , and "Secrets and Narrative Sequence". (shrink)
It is a commonplace within philosophy that the ontology of institutions can be captured in terms of constitutive rules. What exactly such rules are, however, is not well understood. They are usually contrasted to regulative rules: constitutive rules (such as the rules of chess) make institutional actions possible, whereas regulative rules (such as the rules of etiquette) pertain to actions that can be performed independently of such rules. Some, however, maintain that the distinction between regulative and constitutive rules is merely (...) a linguistic one. In this paper I present the status account of constitutive rules in order to address this criticism. According to the status account constitutive rules pertain to institutional statuses and statuses are to be understood in terms of status rules. Status rules concern the enabling and constraining roles of institutions, and constitutive rules specify the preconditions that have to be met in order for them to play these roles. Even though I end up endorsing the claim that the distinction mentioned is a linguistic one, I go on to argue that there is an underlying reality that constitutive rules serve to make apparent. (shrink)
In what follows I argue for two interrelated theses: that early Buddhism is not a form of empiricism, and that consequently there is no basis for an early Buddhist apologetic which contrasts an empirical early Buddhism with either a metaphysical Hinduism on the one hand, or with a baseless Christianity on the other.
This paper argues that God may create and exist in any possible world, no matter how much suffering of any sort that world includes. It combines the traditional free will defence with the notion of an ‘occasion’ for good or evil action and limits God's responsibility to the creation of these occasions. Since no possible world contains occasions for more evil than good action, God is morally permitted to create any possible world. With regard to suffering that is not due (...) to free will, namely the suffering of beings who are not moral agents, the paper questions the idea that the relief of such suffering is a moral perfection. (shrink)
We develop a Bayesian framework for thinking about the way evidence about the here and now can bear on hypotheses about the qualitative character of the world as a whole, including hypotheses according to which the total population of the world is infinite. We show how this framework makes sense of the practice cosmologists have recently adopted in their reasoning about such hypotheses.
This essay considers Benjamin Rush's concern with the political organization of sympathy in post-Revolutionary America and how this concern shaped his response to the threat of post-Revolutionary “mobocracy.” Like many of his contemporaries, Rush worried about the contagious volatility of large public assemblies engendered by the Revolution. For Rush, regular gatherings of the people out of doors threatened to corrupt visions both of an orderly and emancipatory public sphere and of the virtuous and independent citizens required by republican government. Rush (...) feared that the unregulated communication of passion between bodies gathered in public might unleash what Michael Meranze has called an “anarchy of reciprocal imitations.” It was in eighteenth-century theories of sympathy that this idea of contagious mimesis was most rigorously developed and most widely disseminated. Rush's medico-political understanding of sympathy, acquired during his years as a medical student in Edinburgh, provides an important framework for understanding his post-Revolutionary reform efforts, particularly those focused on the spatial choreography of the American citizenry. (shrink)
We make a huge variety of claims framed in vocabularies drawn from physics and chemistry, everyday talk, neuroscience, ethics, mathematics, semantics, folk and professional psychology, and so on and so forth. We say, for example, that Jones feels cold, that Carlton might win, that there are quarks, that murder is wrong, that there are four fundamental forces, and that a certain level of neurological activity is necessary for thought. If we follow Huw Price's Carnapian lead, we can put this by (...) saying that we make many claims in many different frameworks. (shrink)
Institutions are normative social structures that are collectively accepted. In his book Making the Social World, John R. Searle maintains that these social structures are created and maintained by Status Function Declarations. The article’s author criticizes this claim and argues, first, that Searle overestimates the role that language plays in relation to institutions and, second, that Searle’s notion of a Status Function Declaration confuses more than it enlightens. The distinction is exposed between regulative and constitutive rules as being primarily a (...) linguistic one: whereas deontic powers figure explicitly in regulative rules, they feature only implicitly in constitutive rules. Furthermore, he contends that Searle’s collective acceptance account of human rights cannot adequately account for the fact that people have these rights even when they are not recognized. Finally, It is argued that a conception of collective intentionality that involves collective commitment is needed in order to do justice to the normative dimension of institutions. (shrink)
What is the nature of, and what is the relationship between, external objects and our visual perceptual experience of them? In this book, Frank Jackson defends the answers provided by the traditional Representative theory of perception. He argues, among other things that we are never immediately aware of external objects, that they are the causes of our perceptual experiences and that they have only the primary qualities. In the course of the argument, sense data and the distinction between mediate (...) and immediate perception receive detailed defences and the author criticises attempts to reduce perceiving the believing and to show that the Representative theory makes the external world unknowable. Jackson recognises that his views are unfashionable but argues in detail that they are to be preferred to their currently favoured competitors. It will become an obvious point of reference for all future work on the philosophy of perception. (shrink)
Recently Steven E. Boër gave another turn to the discussion of the free will defence by claiming that the free will defence is irrelevant to the justification of moral evil. Conceding that free will may be of real value, Boër claims that free will could have been allowed creatures without that leading to any moral evil at all. What I shall hereafter refer to as the ‘Boër reform’ is the suggestion that God could have allowed creatures to exercise free choices (...) but have intervened with ‘coincidence miracles’ to prevent all the intended evil from actually occurring. What is important to the free will defence, according to Boër, is the ability to choose freely and not the ability to succeed in effecting what we have intended to accomplish. It is no intrusion on the freedom of our wills for God to prevent us from accomplishing what we tried to do with our free wills as long as we were free to try. (shrink)
While most studies of low-carbon transitions focus on green niche-innovations, this paper shifts attention to the resistance by incumbent regime actors to fundamental change. Drawing on insights from political economy, the paper introduces politics and power into the multi-level perspective. Instrumental, discursive, material and institutional forms of power and resistance are distinguished and illustrated with examples from the UK electricity system. The paper concludes that the resistance and resilience of coal, gas and nuclear production regimes currently negates the benefits from (...) increasing renewables deployment. It further suggests that policymakers and many transition-scholars have too high hopes that ‘green’ innovation will be sufficient to bring about low-carbon transitions. Future agendas in research and policy should therefore pay much more attention to the destabilization and decline of existing fossil fuel regimes. (shrink)
Frank Ramsey was the greatest of the remarkable generation of Cambridge philosophers and logicians which included G. E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Maynard Keynes. Before his tragically early death in 1930 at the age of twenty-six, he had done seminal work in mathematics and economics as well as in logic and philosophy. This volume, with a new and extensive introduction by D. H. Mellor, contains all Ramsey's previously published writings on philosophy and the foundations of mathematics. The (...) latter gives the definitive form and defence of the reduction of mathematics to logic undertaken in Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica; the former includes the most profound and original studies of universals, truth, meaning, probability, knowledge, law and causation, all of which are still constantly referred to, and still essential reading for all serious students of these subjects. (shrink)
In At the Will of the Body , Arthur Frank told the story of his own illnesses, heart attack and cancer. That book ended by describing the existence of a "remission society," whose members all live with some form of illness or disability. The Wounded Storyteller is their collective portrait. Ill people are more than victims of disease or patients of medicine they are wounded storytellers. People tell stories to make sense of their suffering when they turn their diseases (...) into stories, they find healing. Drawing on the work of authors such as Oliver Sacks, Anatole Broyard, Norman Cousins, and Audre Lorde, as well as from people he met during the years he spent among different illness groups, Frank recounts a stirring collection of illness stories, ranging from the well-known--Gilda Radner's battle with ovarian cancer--to the private testimonials of people with cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, and disabilties. Their stories are more than accounts of personal suffering: they abound with moral choices and point to a social ethic. Frank identifies three basic narratives of illness in restitution, chaos, and quest. Restitution narratives anticipate getting well again and give prominence to the technology of cure. In chaos narratives, illness seems to stretch on forever, with no respite or redeeming insights. Quest narratives are about finding that insight as illness is transformed into a means for the ill person to become someone new. (shrink)
Animal abuse has been an acknowledged problem for centuries, but only within the past few decades has scientific research provided evidence that the maltreatment of animals often overlaps with violence toward people. The perpetrators of such inhumane trea.
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