Recent research has relied on trolley-type sacrificial moral dilemmas to study utilitarian versus nonutili- tarian modes of moral decision-making. This research has generated important insights into people’s attitudes toward instrumental harm—that is, the sacrifice of an individual to save a greater number. But this approach also has serious limitations. Most notably, it ignores the positive, altruistic core of utilitarianism, which is characterized by impartial concern for the well-being of everyone, whether near or far. Here, we develop, refine, and validate a (...) new scale—the Oxford Utilitarianism Scale—to dissociate individual differences in the ‘negative’ (permissive attitude toward instrumental harm) and ‘positive’ (impartial concern for the greater good) dimensions of utilitarian thinking as manifested in the general population. We show that these are two independent dimensions of proto-utilitarian tendencies in the lay population, each exhibiting a distinct psychological profile. Empathic concern, identification with the whole of humanity, and concern for future generations were positively associated with impartial beneficence but negatively associated with instrumental harm; and although instrumental harm was associated with subclinical psychopathy, impartial beneficence was associated with higher religiosity. Importantly, although these two dimensions were independent in the lay population, they were closely associated in a sample of moral philosophers. Acknowledging this dissociation between the instrumental harm and impartial beneficence components of utilitarian thinking in ordinary people can clarify existing debates about the nature of moral psychology and its relation to moral philosophy as well as generate fruitful avenues for further research. (shrink)
These volumes provide a large introduction to the works of modern value theory from their beginnings in J. Bentham, F. Nietzsche, and H. Lotze to the more recent Anglo-American studies. Volume I is concerned with "the German-Language Group." Extensive discussion is devoted to the views of F. Brentano, A. Meinong, C. von Ehrenfels, J. C. Kreibig, E. Heyde, H. Rickert, H. Münsterberg, M. Scheler, K. Wiederhold, W. Stern, F. Wilken, M. Beck, and V. Krafts. It provides a good conspectus of (...) varieties of nineteenth century value theories. The author aims at an exposition rather than critical treatment of the various philosophers. Each chapter contains a useful bibliography. Of more contemporary interest is Volume II which deals with the Anglo-American Group. One finds here a detailed presentation of the theories of W. M. Urban, J. Dewey, B. Bosanquet, D. Prall, C. G. Shaw, R. B. Perry, D. H. Parkel, W. Stern, A. C. Garnett, J. N. Findlay, E. Brightman, B. E. Jessup, C. I. Lewis, R. Lepley, S. C. Pepper, Everett Hall, R. Hartman, and W. D. Lamont. Shorter discussions deal with works of A. L. Hillard, E. M. Adams, and K. Aschenbrenner. Liberal quotations from original sources are interspersed throughout the exposition. The clarification of issues is not always successful. The author does provide a good focus, however, for important passages from the works discussed. Regrettably, one finds an omission of the view of David Pole, the absence of a summary section on each theory discussed, and the absence of an index. Nevertheless, the students of value theory can find in this work a useful tool of research. The comprehensive scope provides a rich variety of contributions to the important field of value theory.—A.S.C. (shrink)
Recent research has begun treating the perennial philosophical question, “what makes a person the same over time?” as an empirical question. A long tradition in philosophy holds that psychological continuity and connectedness of memories are at the heart of personal identity. More recent experimental work, following Strohminger & Nichols (2014), has suggested that persistence of moral character, more than memories, is perceived as essential for personal identity. While there is a growing body of evidence supporting these findings, a critique by (...) Starmans & Bloom (2018) suggests that this research program conflates personal identity with mere similarity. To address this criticism, we explore how loss of someone’s morality or memories influence perceptions of identity change, and perceptions of moral duties towards the target of the change. We present participants with a classic ‘body switch’ thought experiment and after assessing perceptions of identity persistence, we present a moral dilemma, asking participants to imagine that one of the patients must die (Study 1) or be left alone in a care home for the rest of their life (Study 2). Our results highlight the importance of the continuity of moral character, suggesting lay intuitions are tracking (something like) personal identity, not just mere similarity. (shrink)
Relations between J. A. C. Chaptal, pioneer of heavy chemical industry in France, and A. L. Lavoisier, reformer of chemical theory, are examined in the light of unpublished correspondence they exchanged in the period 1784–1790. The letters, together with Chaptal's early publications, allow a reconstruction of his conversion to Lavoisier's antiphlogistic chemistry. They also reveal a series of petitions that Chaptal made to Lavoisier, in the latter's official capacity as a director of the Régie des poudres et salpêtres, for relief (...) from the controlled price of saltpetre for his acid works in Languedoc. Finally, the relationship is explored as a window on the interplay between chemical theory and industrial practice during the period of the Industrial Revolution. (shrink)
Hume's doctrine of natural belief allows that certain beliefs are justifiably held by all men without regard to the quality of the evidence which may be produced in their favour. Examples are belief in an external world and belief in the veracity of our senses. According to R. J. Butler, Hume argues in the Dialogues that belief in God is of this sort. More recently John Hick has argued that for some people it is as natural to believe in God (...) as to believe in an external world. I shall first inquire what Hume understands by reasonable belief and by natural belief. I shall then use the results of this investigation to argue, against Butler, that belief in God is not a natural belief; and against Hick, more briefly, that his thesis is not viable in as far as it depends upon Hume's doctrine of natural belief. These discussions are important to the philosophy of religion since by means of natural beliefs it could be urged that belief in God is something justifiable without reference to reason or evidence: a position which would be of immense value to the theist. (shrink)
There is a strong tendency in the scholarly and sub-scholarly literature on terrorism to treat it as something like an ideology. There is an equally strong tendency to treat it as always immoral. Both tendencies go hand in hand with a considerable degree of unclarity about the meaning of the term ‘terrorism’. I shall try to dispel this unclarity and I shall argue that the first tendency is the product of confusion and that once this is understood, we can see, (...) in the light of a more definite analysis of terrorism, that the second tendency raises issues of inconsistency, and even hypocrisy. Finally, I shall make some tentative suggestions about what categories of target may be morally legitimate objects of revolutionary violence, and I shall discuss some lines of objection to my overall approach. (shrink)
In an article in Philosophy R. G. Swinburne set out to argue that none of Hume's formal objections to the design argument ‘have any validity against a carefully articulated version of the argument’ . This, he maintained, is largely because Hume's criticisms ‘are bad criticisms of the argument in any form’ . The ensuing controversy between Swinburne and Olding 1 has focused upon the acceptable/unacceptable aspects of the dualism presupposed in Swinburne's defence of the design argument; upon whether any simplification (...) is achieved by reducing scientific explanation to agent explanation; and upon the problems which arise from taking a man's acting upon his body as the analogy for understanding a disembodied agent acting upon matter. In this article I shall refer to the Swinburne-Olding controversy when appropriate but my main concern is to return to Swinburne's original article and argue, seriatim , that Hume's individual criticisms of the design argument are for the most part a great deal more powerful than Swinburne allowed. I shall contend that cumulatively they destroy the design argument as any sort of rational foundation for theistic belief. But first I shall indicate briefly the character of the argument together with one or two of the distinctions and refinements in terms of which it has been found helpful to carry on the discussion in recent years. (shrink)
Dr Ian Ramsey has made considerable use of the word ‘disclosure’ in what he has to say about religion and in his attempts to give an account of the meaning of religious language. He sometimes speaks of ‘discernment’ or ‘insight’ but ‘disclosure’ is the word he normally favours. In what follows I shall ask: what a disclosure is, to what extent Dr Ramsey's use of the notion leads to confusions, and what questions have to be faced in order to resolve (...) these confusions. (shrink)
Peter Geach supports his case that the religion of Thomas Hobbes was both genuine and a version of Socinianism principally by comparing the theological and scriptural sections of Leviathan with the main doctrines of Socinianism and its latter-day developments in Unitarianism and Christadelphianism. He pays particular attention to comparisons with the Racovian Catechism, the theological writings of Joseph Priestley and the Christadelphian document Christendom Astray by Robert Roberts.
Theophrasti Characteres recensuit Hermannus Diels. Oxford Classical Texts. 1909. 3s. 6d. net. Pp. xxviii + .Θεοφρστου Xαρακτxs22EFρες. The Characters of Theophrastus. An English Translation from a Revised Text. With Introduction and Notes by R. C. Jebb, M.A. A new edition. Edited by J. E. Sandys, Litt.D. Macmillan. 1909. 7s. 6d. net. c. 23×14½. Pp. xvi+229.
Although there are many different philosophical hares that could be started by the use of the term ‘historical fact’ I am interested in pursuing one that is related to the historian's attitude to testimony. By way of preliminary, however, I should say something about my use of the word ‘fact’. A contrast that sets off my use best is probably that between fact and theory. This distinction is at once methodological and epistemological in that it concerns the structure of inquiry (...) as well as the structure of secure belief. As far as inquiry is concerned it is plausible to suppose that an investigation begins with a problem or a puzzle, the delineation of which requires certain data in the form of propositions that are known to be true, or are taken for granted or commonly agreed upon as sufficiently secure to provide a grounding for the inquiry. It is to cover such data that I am using the word ‘fact’ and hence it will not refer to just any true proposition. Theories however stand as the outcome of inquiry and involve generality and inference and classification in a way that facts do not. It is interesting that the term ‘datum’ came into use in English at the same time that the word ‘fact’, which had meant ‘a deed or action’, acquired the sort of meaning that interests me here. (shrink)
Les femmes occupent dans les récits des guerres civiles de Rome une place importante, parfois présentée sous un jour favorable. Le fait peut surprendre, dans une société aussi patriarcale et dans des récits tournés vers l'exaltation d'une tradition on ne peut plus virile. On y dénonce les aventurières, telle Sempronia, qui entourent, dans les troubles du Ier s. av. J.-C., les adversaires de la République, et au premier rang un Catilina. Mais l'« audace toute virile » qui leur est prêtée, (...) si elle représente dans leur cas une perversion, une inversion des valeurs condamnée sans réserve, peut ailleurs se réclamer d'exemples plus nobles. Trois exemples positifs et plus ou moins légendaires (les Sabines, Lucrèce, Claudia Quinta), un contre-exemple historique (les Bacchantes) illustrent la manière dont les « rôles » féminins de la fin de la République s'adossent à une tradition aussi riche que nuancée. Finalement, si la femme sait se mettre au service de la famille et de la cité, sa capacité d'initiative représente une chance de salut pour tous. Tel est l'exemple proposé par la « matrone inconnue » dans l'éloge funèbre qu'a fait graver dans le marbre, au temps de Cicéron, un époux admiratif et reconnaissant. (shrink)
The ‘beautiful axiom’ to which Dickens refers is a central feature of Thomas Hobbes' thinking but its precise role in his moral philosophy remains unclear. I shall here attempt both to dispel the unclarity and to evaluate the adequacy of the position that emerges. Given the high level of contemporary interest in Hobbes' thought, both within and beyond philosophical circles, this is an enterprise of considerable importance. None the less, my interest is not merely interpretative, since the assessment of Hobbes' (...) attitude to ‘the beautiful axiom’ raises important and difficult questions about what might be termed the preconditions of morality. (shrink)
Utopian Moments is an edited volume of essays with an exceptionally wide reach, covering 250 years of the utopian canon, from More's archetype to Le Guin's The Dispossessed. The editors, Miguel A. Ramiro Avilés and J. C. Davis, clearly favor the classics, or what Lyman Tower Sargent, in his contribution, calls "exemplars of the mainstream of utopian writing". All the usual suspects are here—Campanella, Bacon, Harrington, Fourier, Owen, Bellamy, Wells, and others—plus a few "wild cards" thrown in to keep things (...) interesting. True, similar projects have been done before. Claeys's excellent Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature and Claeys and Sargent's comprehensive Utopian Reader... (shrink)
(2011). Critical Race Theory Matters: Education and Ideology. By M. Zamudio, C. Russell, M. A. Rios and J. L. Bridgeman. British Journal of Educational Studies: Vol. 59, Research capacity building, pp. 348-350.
O livro de C. A. J. Coady, Testimony: a philosophical study , ainda inédito no Brasil, é importante para o movimento de reabilitação do valor epistêmico do testemunho. O problema destacado pelo autor, que percorre os últimos decênios de disputas epistêmicas, poderia ser bem resumido na seguinte questão: o conhecimento humano possui outras fontes para sua constituição, além de sensibilidade, memória e razão? A tradição moderna, capitaneada por Hume, tende a diminuir a importância do testemunho na produção do conhecimento, privilegiando (...) as fontes epistêmicas internas ao sujeito. Nesta obra, o autor quer ocupar-se do papel fundamental que o testemunho possui enquanto fonte confiável de conteúdos epistêmicos. (shrink)
Michael Dummett, Frege and other philosophers. Oxford:Clarendon Press, 1991. xii + 330pp. £35. ISBN W.Balzer and C.U.Moulines, Structuralist theory of science:focal issues, new results, Berlin; de Gruyter, 1996. xi + 295 pp.DM 210. ISBN 3-11-014075-6 Henry Prakken, Logical tools for modeling legal argument a study of defeasible reasoning in law.Dordrecht, The Netherlands:Kluwer Academic, 1997, xiii + 314pp.£75.00/$125.00 J.Srzednicki and Z.Stachniak Lesniewski’s Systems.Protothetic.Nijhoff International Philosophy Series, 54, Dordrecht, Boston and London:Kluwer, 1998. xiv + 310 pp, £99. ISBN 0-7923-4504-5.
Christology seems to fall fairly clearly into two divisions. The first is concerned with the truth of the two propositions: ‘Christ is God’ and ‘Christ is a man’. The second is concerned with the mutual compatibility of these propositions. The first part of Christology tends to confine itself to what is sometimes called ‘positive theology’: that is to say, it is largely given over to examining the Jons revelationis —let us not prejudge currently burning issues by asking what this is—to (...) see what evidence can be found for the truth of these propositions. Clearly, the methods used will be above all those of New Testament exegesis. The second part of Christology will necessarily consist entirely of that speculative theology which is contrasted with positive theology. Even if the earliest speculation on this topic is to be found in the New Testament itself and thus becomes fair game for the exegetes, any attempt to relate the primary truths, ‘Christ is God’ and ‘Christ is a man’, to eachother is a work of reflection, and in the terminology I am using speculative. (shrink)
A great deal of modern Protestant theology looks very much like an attempt to conduct a salvage operation which is designed to make clear how it is possible to retain belief in Jesus Christ, and at the same time remain intellectually honest. For the same sceptical challenge which faces the secular historian also faces the theologian. If Christians are correct in arguing that the locus of God's revelation to man is in Jesus of Nazareth, then in order to know about (...) this supposed revelation, it is necessary to know about a period of time in the past; it is necessary to know the history of the man's life and actions. Theologians are therefore faced with the question: how, if at all, is it possible to bridge the logical gap between statements describing what Jesus of Nazareth said and did, and statements describing the evidence for what Jesus of Nazareth said and did. The solution found to this question by theologians tends to be determined by their conscious and unconscious philosophical presuppositions; just as it did in the examples discussed above of secular critical philosophies of history. (shrink)