Immoralists hold that in at least some cases, moral ﬂ aws in artworks can increase their aesthetic value. They deny what I call the valence constraint: the view that any effect that an artwork’s moral value has on its aesthetic merit must have the same valence. The immoralist offers three arguments against the valence constraint. In this paper I argue that these arguments fail, and that this failure reveals something deep and interesting about the relationship between cognitive and moral value. (...) In the ﬁ nal section I offer a positive argument for the valence constraint. (shrink)
The topic of this essay is how non-realistic novels challenge our philosophical understanding of the moral significance of literature. I consider just one case: Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. I argue that standard philosophical views, based as they are on realistic models of literature, fail to capture the moral significance of this work. I show that Catch-22 succeeds morally because of the ways it resists using standard realistic techniques, and suggest that philosophical discussion of ethics and literature must be pluralistic if it (...) is to include all morally salient literature, and not just novels in the “Great Tradition” and their ilk. (shrink)
Two recent novels, Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin, are philosophically instructive. These books are interesting, I argue, because they reveal something about understanding and appreciating narrative. They show us that audience’s participation in narrative is much more subtle and complex than philosophers generally acknowledge. An analysis of these books reveals that narrative imagining is not static or unified, but dynamic and multipolar. I argue that once the complexity of narrative engagement is better understood, some prominent philosophical (...) problems and debates concerning narrative dissolve. (shrink)
An elementary mathematical proof is offered that mental states cannot be either intensionally or extensionally identical with brain states. the proof consists in taking a subset of mental states, namely, possible thoughts of integers and showing that this set has the cardinal number aleph null; then taking the largest physically possible set of brain states k and the number of subsets of k which is 2 to the power k, and which, no matter how large, is necessarily finite. it follows (...) that these two sets cannot correspond one to one from which it then follows that they cannot have identical elements. i conclude with answers to likely objections and with a denial that my argument supports traditional dualism. (shrink)
I explore the claim that “fictive imagining” – imagining what it is like to be a character – can be morally dangerous. In particular, I consider the controversy over William Styron’s imagining the revolutionary protagonist in his Confessions of Nat Turner. I employ Ted Cohen’s model of fictive imagining to argue, following a generally Kantian line of thought, that fictive imagining can be dangerous if one has the wrong motives. After considering several possible motives, I argue that only internally directed (...) motives can satisfy the moral concern. Finally, I suggest that when one has the right motives, fictive imagining is morally praiseworthy since it improves one’s ability to imagine the lives of others. (shrink)
Moral philosophers who differ from one another on a wide range of questions tend to agree on at least one general point. Most believe that things are worth valuing either because of their relationship to something else worth valuing, or because they are simply (in themselves) worth valuing. I value my car, because I value getting to work; I value getting to work, because I value making money and spending time productively; and I value those things because I value leading (...) a fulﬁlling life—and that valuing needs no justiﬁcation. The values that need to be justiﬁed by other values are extrinsic; those that do not are intrinsic. Most traditional philosophical approaches to value justiﬁcation are foundational in this sense: intrinsic values provide a foundation upon which other values can be justiﬁed. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that in at least some interesting cases, the moral value of a narrative work depends on the aesthetic properties of that artwork. It does not follow that a work that is aesthetically bad will be morally bad (or that it will be morally good). The argument comprises four stages. First I describe several different features of imaginative engagement with narrative artworks. Then I show that these features depend on some of the aesthetic properties of those (...) works. Third, I argue that these same features of imaginative engagement are morally salient, by virtue of inviting more or less sophisticated and reflective moral responses. Finally, I show that the overall moral value of an artwork depends in part on whether or not the prescribed response is simple or complex, passive or reflective. (shrink)
IT IS DIFFICULT for me to read Pride and Prejudice without empathizing either with Elizabeth Bennet, or sometimes with her father, Mr Bennet. Not only do my own responses to and opinions of the events and characters of the book at times resemble theirs, but even when they do not, I find myself seeing the event from Elizabeth’s or Mr Bennet’s point of view. For example, at the close of the book, Elizabeth’s former dislike of Mr Darcy has completely vanished, (...) in part because of learning of a number of good deeds that Mr Darcy has done very quietly for their family. When Mr Darcy proposes to Elizabeth (for the second time) she is delighted to accept him. However, everyone else in Elizabeth’s family despises Mr Darcy, and they also believe that Elizabeth still hates him. So it is easy to understand Mr Bennet’s surprise and distaste when Mr Darcy asks Mr Bennet for Elizabeth’s hand; after all, Mr Bennet still believes Mr Darcy to be prideful and haughty. While I am not myself surprised to hear Elizabeth’s response—the reader learns much more of Mr Darcy’s character than Mr Bennet does—I do have the experience of imagining being surprised. I am also capable of empathizing with Elizabeth, who is excited, flustered, and a bit ashamed at having so misjudged Mr Darcy early on, and I can imagine having these feelings for people I have misjudged. I can (to some degree) understand why she finds explaining all this to Mr Bennet so difficult. I go back and forth, as I read, between the perspectives of Mr Bennet and Elizabeth. These experiences of mine are experiences of the sort that I call ‘empathizing with fictions’, although we sometimes might describe such experiences by saying that we ‘identified’ with a particular character or characters in a story. (shrink)
Since Phillipa Foot’s paper ‘Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives’ was published some twenty-ﬁve years ago, questions about categorical imperatives and the alleged rationality of acting morally have been of central concern to ethicists. For critics and friends of Kantian ethical theories, these questions have special importance. One of the distinctive features of Kantian ethical theories is that they claim that there are categorical imperatives: imperatives which dictate which actions one should follow insofar as one is rational.This way of (...) parsing morally right action as a kind of rational action seems to side-step at least some of the anti-realist objections that other kinds of moral theories must face.1 Instead, the Kantian must defend the claim that failure to act morally is a failure of rationality. Rationality as a normative concept is sometimes thought to be more clear and perhaps more objective than other basic normative concepts. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that there is good reason to believe that we can be influenced by fictions in ways that matter morally, and some of the time we will be unaware that we have been so influenced. These arguments fall short of proving a clear causal link between fictions and specific changes in the audience, but they do reveal rather interesting and complex features of the moral psychology of fiction. In particular, they reveal that some Platonic worries about (...) the dangers of art cannot be dismissed lightly. (shrink)
R. Abelson argues that the identity theory is false because it is possible to have an infinite number of thoughts (e.G. Of natural numbers) while the number of possible brain states is finite. The refutation fails because it conflates the logical possibility of having infinite thoughts with the actual ability to have them. The latter depends on many contingent facts, One of which may be the number of possible brain states.
Scientific Metaphysics is a collection of essays in which prominent philosophers of science explore how metaphysics looks like that is judged by scientific standards. Common to all chapters is the requirement that scientific results and methods should be applied to metaphysical puzzle solving and, hence, the skepticism about philosophical reasoning that is based on the analysis of common-sense concepts and appeals to intuitions and a priori knowledge. It is, however, controversial what exactly naturalistic metaphysics might be, since at present there (...) is no clear-cut criterion that distinguishes between scientific metaphysics and its analytic opponent, i.e., no consensus is reached about the sense in which metaphysics can be ‘grounded’ in empirical science.In the first chapter, Anjan Chakravartty expresses some doubts that there is a coherent sense of scientific metaphysics and, as Harold Kincaid points out in the introduction , .. (shrink)
This review discusses Harold Berman’s, Law and Language, published by Cambridge University Press in 2013. It locates this short book in relation to Berman’s extensive body of publications in international and comparative law, and asks what contribution the book’s recent, posthumous publication can make to current debates over approaches to forensic linguistics. Particular attention is given to Berman’s conceptualisation of law as a ‘living language’, as well as to his coining of the term ‘communification’ to describe the value of (...) legal-lay dialogue in building a public sense of community and in sustaining the legitimacy of legal systems. (shrink)
Harold Garfinkel: Toward a Sociological Theory of Information. Ed. Anne Warfield Rawls Content Type Journal Article Pages 117-121 DOI 10.1007/s10746-010-9141-1 Authors James Aho, Idaho State University Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice Pocatello ID 83209 USA Journal Human Studies Online ISSN 1572-851X Print ISSN 0163-8548 Journal Volume Volume 33 Journal Issue Volume 33, Number 1.
Harold Jeffreys' ideas on the interpretation of probability and epistemology are reviewed. It is argued that with regard to the interpretation of probability, Jeffreys embraces a version of logicism that shares some features of the subjectivism of Ramsey and de Finetti. Jeffreys also developed a probabilistic epistemology, characterized by a pragmatical and constructivist attitude towards notions such as ‘objectivity’, ‘reality’ and ‘causality’. 1 Introductory remarks 2 The interpretation of probability 3 Jeffreys' probabilistic epistemology.
Merleau-Ponty finds a philosophical interest in the psychoanalytical clinic, especially in the the clinic of children and hallucinating people, which can support the concepts of flesh and Ineinander. But in the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty there is also a clinical interest, residing in the link he establishes between the flesh, conceived as the origin of existence, and the pathologies that Freud described as “narcissistic” and nowadays called “psychotic” or “borderline” states. To support this hypothesis, we will link Merleau-Ponty’s own “clinic of (...) the origins” and Harold Searles’ theory of narcissistic pathologies based on his clinical experience with schizophrenics. This confrontation will reveal how a philosophy of flesh provides us not only with theoretical points of reference relevant to the clinic of schizophrenia, but also fruitful technical indications regarding the direction towards a cure of such a pathology, indications that join those provided by Searles. (shrink)
The epistemological problem of objectivism in the production of sociological knowledge confronts the researcher with the question of the risk involved in substituting social reality by the idealizations and abstractions created by science. Without a doubt, the subject seems intriguing and requires its thematization facing toward and appropriate foundation of sociological concepts. In order to address that problem, the article aims to recover, from a hermeneutic perspective, a phenomenologically inspired epistemology in the works of Alfred Schutz and Harold Garfinkel. (...) To achieve this goal we first analyse Schutzian contributions in the context of the correspondence held with Talcott Parsons. There the author thoroughly discusses the difficulties that social sciences go through regarding the foundation of its concepts. Secondly, we revise unpublished bibliographical heritage from Garfinkel’s work who -interested in the epistemological debate between Schutz and Parsons- picks up the epistemological problem again. We will sustain that unlike Schutz who proposes a philosophical response consisting in the articulation of an ontology of the life-world, Garfinkel develops a methodological answer which aims to illuminate the practical reasoning and the methodological decisions of researchers in order to avoid the substitution of social reality by the idealities of the scientific reflection. El problema epistemológico del objetivismo en la producción de conocimiento sociológico confronta al investigador con la pregunta acerca del riesgo que conlleva la sustitución de la realidad social por las idealidades y las abstracciones creadas por la ciencia. A fin de abordar ese problema, el artículo se propone recuperar, desde una perspectiva hermenéutica, una epistemología de inspiración fenomenológica en los textos de Alfred Schutz y de Harold Garfinkel. Para ello se analizan, en primer lugar, los aportes de Schutz en la correspondencia mantenida con Talcott Parsons pues es allí donde el autor discute ampliamente las dificultades por las que atraviesan las ciencias sociales con relación a la fundamentación de sus conceptos. En segundo lugar, se revisan acervos bibliográficos inéditos de la obra de Garfinkel quien, interesado por el debate epistemológico entre Schutz y Parsons, retoma ese mismo problema epistemológico. Sostendremos que, a diferencia de Schutz quien propone una salida filosófica que consiste en la articulación de una ontología del mundo de la vida, Garfinkel elabora una respuesta de carácter metodológico que apunta a iluminar los razonamientos prácticos y las decisiones metodológicas de los investigadores a fin de evitar la sustitución de la realidad social por las idealidades de la reflexión científica. (shrink)
Man has always hoped to survive his bodily death, and it is a central tenet of many religions that such survival is a reality. It has been supposed by many that one form such survival might take is reincarnation in another body. Subscribers to this view include Pythagoras, Plato sometimes, and a large number of Eastern thinkers. Other thinkers have, of course, disputed that reincarnation is a fact, and some have even denied that it is a possibility. But seldom has (...) it been claimed by its opponents that reincarnation is a logical impossibility. (shrink)
A careful analysis of Harold Pinter’s screenplays, notably those written in the 1980s and early 1990s, renders an illustration of how the artist’s cinematic projects supplemented, and often heightened, the focus of his dramatic output, his resolute exploration of the workings of power, love and destruction at various levels of social interaction and bold revision of received values. It seems, however, that few of the scripts did so in such a subtle yet effective manner as Pinter’s intriguing fusion of (...) the erotic, violence and ethical concerns in the film The Comfort of Strangers, directed by Paul Schrader and based on Ian McEwan’s 1981 novel of the same name. The article centres upon Pinter’s creative adaptation of McEwan’s deeply allusive and disquieting text probing, amongst others, the intricacies and tensions of gender relations and sexual intimacy. It examines the screenplay-regarded by many critics as not merely an adaptation of the novel but another, very powerful work of art-addressing Pinter’s method as an adapter and highlighting the artist’s imaginative attempts at fostering a better appreciation of the connections between authoritarian impulses, love and justice. Similarly to a number of other Pinter filmscripts and plays of the 1980s and 1990s, the erotic and the lethal alarmingly intersect in this screenplay where the ostensibly innocent-an unmarried English couple on a holiday in Venice, who are manipulated, victimized and, ultimately, destroyed-are subtly depicted as partly complicit in their own fates. (shrink)
Since his death in the 1950s, most of the narratives of Harold Laski’s anti-imperialism have been mostly biographical rather than scholarly. Chroniclers and historians alike often found his genius and contribution amongst his protégés such as Krishna Menon, H.O. Davies, and other post-colonial leaders. In addition, explorations of his political theories paid little attention to his contributions to critiques on imperialism; in fact, his critics often interpreted Laski’s stand on imperialism as unoriginal. This chapter analyses two of Laski’s works (...) on imperialism: a 1932 chapter entitled ‘Nationalism and the Future of Civilisation’ and a 1933 chapter called ‘The Economic Foundations of Peace’. The first section of the chapter analyses his theory of sovereignty and his critique of the ideological ‘habits’ that condition liberal society. The second section contends that Laski’s theory of sovereignty resulted in his framing of imperialism within Leninist terms as a dialectical relationship between the habits of sovereignty and the habits of imperialism. The chapter suggests that Laski’s thinking on imperialism resembles less a truncated Leninism than it does a critical analysis of the way ideology can obscure domination and disciple subjects. It also reveals Laski’s contradictions due to his political activism and commitment to democracy. (shrink)
BOOK REVIEWS 139 Harold Tarrant. Thrasyllan Platonism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993. Pp. x + 26o. Cloth, $34.5 o. Most contemporary readers of Plato assign the dialogues to early, middle, and late periods. However, developmental schemes exercised much less fascination on Plato's ancient readers, especially those who looked upon him as the fount of wisdom or upon the corpus as a whole as comprising all the higher education a civilized person needed. Such was the case, certainly, with Thrasyllus, (...) the court philosopher and astrologer of the Emperor Tiberius, who arranged the thirty-six dialogues into nine tetralogies. Tarrant's central contention is that Thrasyllus' editorial activity ex- tended well beyond simply "recommending a reading order for an otherwise available collection of Plato's texts" and that he made "available a distinctive collection of texts presented in his own chosen manner" . On this view his edition of the dialogues set standards for authenticity and spuriousness. In.. (shrink)
Cet article est en partie biographique, en partie philosophique. Il retrace les échanges entre Russell et le philosophe néo-hégélien britannique Harold Joachim, depuis l’époque où Russell était étudiant dans les années 1890 jusqu’à son compte-rendu cinglant de la conférence de Joachim prononcée à l’occasion de sa leçon inaugurale en tant que professeur Wykeham de Logique à Oxford en 1920. La partie philosophique s’attache à évaluer le principal argument de Russell à l’encontre de la théorie cohérentiste de la vérité de (...) Joachim, selon lequel une telle théorie est équivalente à la doctrine des relations internes. Cet article fait usage de lettres de Russell à Joachim récemment découvertes.The paper is partly biographical and partly philosophical. It traces Russell’s philosophical interactions with the British neo-hegelian philosopher, Harold Joachim, from Russell’s days as an undergraduate in the 1890s to his scathing review of Joachim’s inaugural lecture as Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford in 1920. The philosophical part attempts to evaluate Russell’s main argument against Joachim’s coherence theory of truth, that it is equivalent to the doctrine of internal relations. The paper makes use of Russell’s recently discovered letters to Joachim. (shrink)
Abelson claims that the human mind has at least one capacity that is inconsistent with the mental state-Brain state identity thesis - namely the capacity to think of any natural number, No matter how large. His point is that each thought would have to be represented by a distinct mental state, Whereas there are only a finite number of possible states of the brain. In the present article, Issue is taken with the claim that we can think of any (...) number. It is pointed out that progressively larger numbers can only be conceived with the aid of progressively more sophisticated notations - involving mathematical functions which themselves might ultimately become unmanageable. The finitude of brain states is, In any case, Consistent with an infinity of distinct brain processes. If thoughts of numbers were to consist in successions of brain states, Only our mortality would prevent our thinking of indefinitely large numbers. (shrink)