This article deals with one particular aspect of Livy's narrative of the Gallic Sack of Rome, told in Book 5, and traditionally placed in 390 b.c.—namely the issue over the validity of the ransom agreement struck by the Romans with the Gauls. The broader context is well known—and needs only brief reiteration here. When the Gauls march on Rome, the Romans give battle at the river Allia, leading to a resounding Gallic victory. Most of the Romans flee the battlefield and (...) then the city, except for a small group of both old and young, male and female, who hold out on the Capitoline Hill. That hill is subsequently put under siege by the Gauls. Following several months of beleaguerment, both sides are depicted as severely worn out by hunger and fighting. It is important for present purposes to stress that, when the Gauls stood at the gates and besieged the city, one of Rome's greatest heroes, Marcus Furius Camillus, was noticeably absent. Camillus was in neighbouring Ardea, some fifty miles south of Rome, training an army of Roman soldiers to challenge the Gallic invaders after his recent recall from exile and appointment to the dictatorship. But before Camillus’ return to Rome, the besieged Romans surrendered and agreed a ransom with the Gauls in order to liberate their city. The continuation of the story as given in Livy is equally well known. Camillus arrives in the middle of the ransom exchange, asking for the exchange to be stopped. Unsurprisingly, the Gauls are not keen on following Camillus’ orders, and insist on the ransom. Consequently, Camillus challenges the agreement between Romans and Gauls on a constitutional basis; the agreement was reached with a lesser magistrate after Camillus’ appointment to the dictatorship : cum illi renitentes pactos dicerent sese, negat eam pactionem ratam esse quae postquam ipse dictator creatus esset iniussu suo ab inferioris iuris magistratu facta esset, denuntiatque Gallis ut se ad proelium expediant.When they, resisting, said that they had come to an agreement, he [Camillus] denied that an agreement was valid which, after he himself had been made dictator, had been concluded by a magistrate of lower status without his instructions, and he announced to the Gauls that they should prepare themselves for battle.The constitutional argument has often been repeated by modern scholars. Ogilvie comments that ‘he dictatorship was held to put all other magistracies into suspension.’ Feldherr notes similarly that, ‘nce Camillus has been appointed dictator, his imperium supersedes that of the lesser magistrates who negotiated the surrender.’ And to explain why the Gauls nevertheless entered into negotiations in Camillus’ absence, Ross observes that ‘the Gauls, of course, could hardly have known either of Camillus’ appointment as dictator or of the fact that the dictatorship superseded all other magistracies.’. (shrink)
Affirmative action programs remain controversial, I suspect, partly because the familiar arguments for and against them start from significantly different moral perspectives. Thus I want to step back for a while from the details of debate about particular programs and give attention to the moral viewpoints presupposed in different types of argument. My aim, more specifically, is to compare the “messages” expressed when affirmative action is defended from different moral perspectives. Exclusively forward-looking arguments, I suggest, tend to express the wrong (...) message, but this is also true of exclusively backward-looking arguments. However, a moral outlook that focuses on cross-temporal narrative values suggests a more appropriate account of what affirmative action should try to express. Assessment of the message, admittedly, is only one aspect of a complex issue, but it is a relatively neglected one. My discussion takes for granted some common-sense ideas about the communicative function of action, and so I begin with these. Actions, as the saying goes, often speak louder than words. There are times, too, when only actions can effectively communicate the message we want to convey and times when giving a message is a central part of the purpose of action. What our actions say to others depends largely, though not entirely, upon our avowed reasons for acting; and this is a matter for reflective decision, not something we discover later by looking back at what we did and its effects. The decision is important because “the same act” can have very different consequences, depending upon how we choose to justify it. (shrink)
This essay first distinguishes different questions regarding moral objectivity and relativism and then sketches a broadly Kantian position on two of these questions. First, how, if at all, can we derive, justify, or support specific moral principles and judgments from more basic moral standards and values? Second, how, if at all, can the basic standards such as my broadly Kantian perspective, be defended? Regarding the first question, the broadly Kantian position is that from ideas in Kant's later formulations of the (...) Categorical Imperative, especially human dignity and rational autonomous law-making, we can develop an appropriate moral perspective for identifying and supporting more specific principles. Both the deliberative perspective and the derivative principles can be viewed as “constructed,” but in different senses. In response to the second question, the essay examines two of Kant's strategies for defending his basic perspective and the important background of his arguments against previous moral theories. (shrink)
Epistemology, as I understand it, is a branch of philosophy especially concerned with general questions about how we can know various things or at least justify our beliefs about them. It questions what counts as evidence and what are reasonable sources of doubt. Traditionally, episte-mology focuses on pervasive and apparently basic assumptions covering a wide range of claims to knowledge or justified belief rather than very specific, practical puzzles. For example, traditional epistemologists ask “How do we know there are material (...) objects?” and not “How do you know which are the female beetles?” Similarly, moral epistemology, as I understand it, is concerned with general questions about how we can know or justify our beliefs about moral matters. Its focus, again, is on quite general, pervasive, and apparently basic assumptions about what counts as evidence, what are reasonable sources of doubt, and what are the appropriate procedures for justifying particular moral claims. (shrink)
Ancient moral philosophers, especially Aristotle and his followers, typically shared the assumption that ethics is primarily concerned with how to achieve the final end for human beings, a life of “happiness” or “human flourishing.” This final end was not a subjective condition, such as contentment or the satisfaction of our preferences, but a life that could be objectively determined to be appropriate to our nature as human beings. Character traits were treated as moral virtues because they contributed well toward this (...) ideal life, either as means to it or as constitutive aspects of it. Traits that tended to prevent a “happy” life were considered vices, even if they contributed to a life that was pleasant and what a person most wanted. The idea of “happiness” was central, then, in philosophical efforts to specify what we ought to do, what sort of persons we should try to become, and what sort of life a wise person would hope for. (shrink)
Philosophers have debated for millennia about whether moral requirements are always rational to follow. The background for these debates is often what I shall call “the self-interest model.” The guiding assumption here is that the basic demand of reason, to each person, is that one must, above all, advance one's self-interest. Alternatively, debate may be framed by a related, but significantly different, assumption: the idea that the basic rational requirement is to develop and pursue a set of personal ends in (...) an informed, efficient, and coherent way, whether one's choice of ends is based on self-interested desires or not. For brevity I refer to this as “the coherence-and-efficiency model.” Advocates of both models tend to think that, while it is sufficiently clear in principle what the rational thing to do is, what remains in doubt is whether it is always rational to be moral. They typically assume that morality is concerned, entirely or primarily, with our relations to others, especially with obligations that appear to require some sacrifice or compromise with the pursuit of self-interest. (shrink)
What, if anything, are we morally required to do on behalf of others besides respecting their rights? And why is such regard for others a reasonable moral requirement? These two questions have long been major concerns of ethical theory, but the answers that philosophers give tend to vary with their beliefs about human nature. More specifically, their answers typically depend on the position they take on a third-question: To what extent, if any, is it possible for us to act altruistically?
This book presents a comprehensive theory of consciousness. The initial chapter distinguishes six main forms of consciousness and sketches an account of each one. Later chapters focus on phenomenal consciousness, consciousness of, and introspective consciousness. In discussing phenomenal consciousness, Hill develops the representational theory of mind in new directions, arguing that all awareness involves representations, even awareness of qualitative states like pain. He then uses this view to undercut dualistic accounts of qualitative states. Other topics include visual awareness, visual (...) appearances, emotional qualia, and meta-cognitive processing. This important work will interest a wide readership of students and scholars in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. (shrink)
In this paper I apply an old problem of Quine's (the inscrutability of reference in translation) to a new style of theory about mental content (causal/nomological/informational accounts of meaning) and conclude that no "naturalization" of content of the sort currently popular can solve Quine's "gavagai" enigma. I show how failure to solve the problem leads to absurd conclusions not about one's own mental life, but about the non-mental world. I discuss various ways of attempting to remedy the accounts so as (...) to avoid the problem and explain why each attempt at solving the problem would take the information theorists further from their self-assigned task of "naturalizing" semantics. (shrink)
Originally published in 1923, this title is a critical examination of Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis. A contemporary of Freud, the author sets out to evaluate his theories in a scientific manner, searching for evidence. The result is a rather scathing review of where this is lacking.
A key question in understanding visual awareness is whether any single cortical area is indispensable. In a transcranial magnetic stimulation experiment, we show that observers' awareness of activity in extrastriate area VS depends on the amount of activity in striate cortex (Vl). From the timing and pattern of effects, we infer that back-projections from extrastriate cortex influence information content in Vl, but it is Vl that determines whether that information reaches awareness.
The algorithm, a building block of computer science, is defined from an intuitive and pragmatic point of view, through a methodological lens of philosophy rather than that of formal computation. The treatment extracts properties of abstraction, control, structure, finiteness, effective mechanism, and imperativity, and intentional aspects of goal and preconditions. The focus on the algorithm as a robust conceptual object obviates issues of correctness and minimality. Neither the articulation of an algorithm nor the dynamic process constitute the algorithm itself. Analysis (...) for implications in computer science and philosophy reveals unexpected results, new questions, and new perspectives on current questions, including the relationship between our informally construed algorithms and Turing machines. Exploration in terms of current computational and philosophical thinking invites further developments. (shrink)
Thomas Hill, a leading figure in the recent development of Kantian moral philosophy, presents a set of essays exploring the implications of basic Kantian ideas for practical issues. The first part of the book provides background in central themes in Kant's ethics; the second part discusses questions regarding human welfare; the third focuses on moral worth-the nature and grounds of moral assessment of persons as deserving esteem or blame. Hill shows moral, political, and social philosophers just how valuable (...) moral theory can be in addressing practical matters. (shrink)
This stimulating collection of essays in ethics eschews the simple exposition and refinement of abstract theories. Rather, the author focuses on everyday moral issues, often neglected by philosophers, and explores the deeper theoretical questions which they raise. Such issues are: Is it wrong to tell a lie to protect someone from a painful truth? Should one commit a lesser evil to prevent another from doing something worse? Can one be both autonomous and compassionate? Other topics discussed are servility, weakness of (...) will, suicide, obligations to oneself, snobbery, and environmental concerns. A feature of the collection is the contrast of Kantian and utilitarian answers to these problems. The essays are crisply and lucidly written and will appeal to both teachers and students of philosophy. (shrink)
Respect, Pluralism, and Justice is a series of essays which sketches a broadly Kantian framework for moral deliberation, and then uses it to address important social and political issues. Hill shows how Kantian theory can be developed to deal with questions about cultural diversity, punishment, political violence, responsibility for the consequences of wrongdoing, and state coercion in a pluralistic society.
As the subtitle indicates, this book is concerned with the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. It recommends a novel and disturbingly pessimistic view about this topic that it calls “naturalistic mysterianism.” The view is naturalistic because it maintains that states of consciousness are reducible to physical properties of the brain. It counts as “mysterian” because it asserts that the physical properties in question are entirely beyond our ken—that they lie well beyond the scope of contemporary neuroscience, and quite (...) likely beyond the scope of any body of scientific knowledge that we might develop in the future. Naturalistic mysterianism thus affirms the unity of consciousness with the physical world, while also claiming that the nature of that unity will forever elude us, due to inherent limits of our cognitive capacities. (shrink)
This volume presents a selection of essays by the leading philosopher Christopher S. Hill. Together, they address central philosophical issues related to four key concerns: the nature of truth; the relation between experiences and brain states; the relation between experiences and representational states; and problems concerning knowledge.
One of the signal developments in contemporary criticism over the past several years has been the ascendancy of the colonial paradigm. In conjunction with this new turn, Frantz Fanon has now been reinstated as a global theorist, and not simply by those engaged in Third World or subaltern studies. In a recent collection centered on British romanticism, Jerome McGann opens a discussion of William Blake and Ezra Pound with an extended invocation of Fanon. Donald Pease has used Fanon to open (...) an attack on Stephen Greenblatt’s reading of the Henriad and the interdisciplinary practices of the new historicism. And Fanon, and published interpretations of Fanon, have become regularly cited in the rereading of the Renaissance that have emerged from places like Sussex, Essex, and Birmingham.1My intent is not to offer a reading of Fanon to supplant these others, but to read, even if summarily, some of these readings of Fanon. By focusing on successive appropriations of this figure, as both totem and text, I think we can chart out an itinerary through contemporary colonial discourse theory. I want to stress, then, that my ambitions here are extremely limited: what follows may be a prelude to a reading of Fanon, but does not even begin that task itself.2 1. See Jerome McGann, “The Third World of Criticism,” in Rethinking Historicism: Critical Readings in Romantic History, ed. Marjorie Levinson et al., pp. 85-107, and Donald Pease, “Toward a Sociology of Literary Knowledge: Greenblatt, Colonialism, and the New Historicism,” in Consequences of Theory, ed. Barbara Johnson and Jonathan Arac.2. A properly contextualized reading of Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, the text to which I most frequently recur, should situate it in respect to such germinal works as Jean-Paul Sartre’s Réflexions sur la question Juive, Dominique O. Mannoni’s Psychologie de la colonisation, Germaine Guex’s La Névrose d’abandon, as well as many lesser known works. But this is only to begin to sketch out the challenge of rehistoricizing Fanon. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is coeditor of Transition, a quarterly review, and the author of Figures in Black and The Signifying Monkey, which received an American Book Award. (shrink)
The first and more important section of this article lists all the known treatises in Arabic on Fine Technology – water-clocks, automata, pumps, trick vessels, fountains, etc. The ideas, techniques and components in these treatises are of great importance in the history of machine technology. For each treatise information is given on the provenance of MSS, editions in Arabic and translations, paraphrases or commentaries in modern European languages. In addition to treatises by Arabic writers, similar information is also given on (...) Greek mechanical treatises if these have survived only in Arabic versions. The second section deals with utilitarian machines such as mills and water-raising machines. The various sources of information about these machines is discussed, including Arabic works on geography and travel, iconography and archaeology. La première section de cet article et la plus importante énumère tous les traités connus en arabe portant sur la technologie d'agrément – horloges à eau, automates, pompes, ‘vases merveilleux’, fontaines, etc. Les idées, les techniques et les mécanismes que l'on rencontre dans ces traités sont d'une grande importance pour l'histoire de la technologie. Pour chacun de ces traités, des renseignements sont donnés concernant la localisation des manuscrits, les éditions en arabe et les traductions, paraphrases et commentaires existant en langues européennes. On trouvera en outre des renseignements similaires sur les traités de mécanique grecs qui n'ont survécu que dans des versions arabes. La seconde section traite des machines utilitaires telles que les moulins et les machines à élever l'eau. Les diverses sources d'information concernant ce type de machines sont discutées, y compris les livres de géographie et de voyages, l'iconographie et l'archeologie. (shrink)
Thomas E. Hill, Jr., interprets and extends Kant's moral theory in a series of essays that highlight its relevance to contemporary ethics. He introduces the major themes of Kantian ethics and explores its practical application to questions about revolution, prison reform, and forcible interventions in other countries for humanitarian purposes.
In maintaining that virtue is a legitimate concept worthy of empirical study, a strong situationist approach to the study of behavior is countered. An earlier analysis is then drawn upon to maintain that virtue has the capability of integrating several themes in positive psychology: ethics and health, embodied character, strength and resilience, communally embedded, meaningful purpose, and capacity for wisdom. The six themes are used to provide a framework for considering the unique case of moral and intellectual humility as a (...) virtue. (shrink)
Objectives: To explore how subjects in a placebo-controlled vitamin A supplementation trial among Ghanaian women aged 15–45 years perceive the trial and whether they know that not all trial capsules are the same, and to identify factors associated with this knowledge.Methods: 60 semistructured interviews and 12 focus groups were conducted to explore subjects’ perceptions of the trial. Steps were taken to address areas of low comprehension, including retraining fieldworkers. 1971 trial subjects were randomly selected for a survey measuring their knowledge (...) that not all trial capsules are the same. The subjects’ fieldworkers were also interviewed about their characteristics and trial knowledge. Factors associated with knowledge were explored using multi-level modeling.Results: Although subjects knew they were taking part in research, most thought they were receiving an active and beneficial medication. Variables associated with knowledge were education and district of residence. Radio broadcasts benefited those with some schooling. Fieldworkers’ characteristics were not associated with subjects’ knowledge.Conclusions: Research and debate on new or improved consent procedures are urgently required, particularly for subjects with little education. (shrink)
In the first chapter of his Knowledge and Lotteries, John Hawthorne argues that thinkers do not ordinarily know lottery propositions. His arguments depend on claims about the intimate connections between knowledge and assertion, epistemic possibility, practical reasoning, and theoretical reasoning. In this paper, we cast doubt on the proposed connections. We also put forward an alternative picture of belief and reasoning. In particular, we argue that assertion is governed by a Gricean constraint that makes no reference to knowledge, and that (...) practical reasoning has more to do with rational degrees of belief than with states of knowledge. (shrink)
Thomas Hill, a leading figure in the recent development of Kantian moral philosophy, presents a set of essays exploring the implications of basic Kantian ideas for practical issues. The first part of the book provides background in central themes in Kant's ethics; the second part discusses questions regarding human welfare; the third focuses on moral worth -- the nature and grounds of moral assessment of persons as deserving esteem or blame. Hill shows moral, political, and social philosophers just (...) how valuable moral theory can be in addressing practical matters. (shrink)