What if human joy went on endlessly? Suppose, for example, that each human generation were followed by another, or that the Western religions are right when they teach that each human being lives eternally after death. If any such possibility is true in the actual world, then an agent might sometimes be so situated that more than one course of action would produce an infinite amount of utility. Deciding whether to have a child born this year rather than next is (...) a situation wherein an agent may face several alternatives whose effects could well ramify endlessly on such suppositions, for the child born this year would be a different person—one who preferred different things, performed different actions, and had different descendants—from a child born next year. It has recently been suggested that traditional utilitarianism stumbles on such cases of infinite utility. Specifically, utilitarianism seems to require, for its application, that all experience of pleasure and pain cease at some time in the future or asymptotically approach zero.2 If neither of these conditions holds, then the utility produced by each of two alternative actions may turn out to be infinite, and utilitarianism thus loses its ability to discriminate morally between them. (shrink)
It is a pleasure for me to give this opening address to the Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference on ‘Explanation’ for two reasons. The first is that it is succeeded by exciting symposia and other papers concerned with various special aspects of the topic of explanation. The second is that the conference is being held in my old alma mater , the University of Glasgow, where I did my first degree. Especially due to C. A. Campbell and George Brown there (...) was in the Logic Department a big emphasis on absolute idealism, especially F. H. Bradley. My inclinations were to oppose this line of thought and to espouse the empiricism and realism of Russell, Broad and the like. Empiricism was represented in the department by D. R. Cousin, a modest man who published relatively little, but who was of quite extraordinary philosophical acumen and lucidity, and by Miss M. J. Levett, whose translation of Plato's Theaetetus formed an important part of the philosophy syllabus. (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)
Definition of the problem: In Germany, clinical ethics is still in the state of development. Ethics consultation is very new and rare in the clinical setting in German university hospitals. Therefore this paper describes the clinical ethics activities at the Medical Center of Philipps University, Marburg, regard to ethics consultation in a case report. Clinical ethics rounds at the Surgical Intensive Care Unit are organized according to the theory and practice of the ethics consultation service at the Medical Center of (...) the University of Virginia, established by J.C. Fletcher, F.G. Miller and J.J. Fins. (shrink)
It is characteristic of realists to separate ontology from epistemology and of idealists to mix the two things up. By ‘idealists’ here I am mainly referring to the British neo-Hegelians but the charge of mixing up ontology and epistemology can be made against at least one ‘subjective idealist’, namely Bishop Berkeley, as his wellknown dictum ‘esse ispercipi’ testifies. The objective idealists rejected the correspondence theory of truth and on the whole accepted a coherence theory. The qualification is needed here because (...) H. H. Joachim, in The Nature of Truth, found the coherence theory unable to deal with the problem of error. (shrink)
It has frequently been lamented that while the human species has made immense progress in science it is nevertheless ethically backward. This ethical backwardness is all the more dangerous because the advanced state of scientific knowledge has made available a technology with which we are able to destroy ourselves—indeed a technology which may have got so much out of hand that we may not even have the capacity to prevent it from destroying us.
This paper is partly to get rid of some irritation which I have felt at the quite common tendency of philosophers to elucidate ‘is red’ in terms of ‘looks red’. For a relatively recent example see, for example, Frank Jackson and Robert Pargetter, ‘An Objectivist′s Guide to Subjectivism about Colour’. However rather than try to make a long list of references, I would rather say ‘No names, no pack drill’. I have even been disturbed to find the use of the (...) words ‘looks red’ that I am opposing ascribed to me by Keith Campbell in his useful article ‘David Armstrong and Realism about Colour’. I am not saying that such talk is necessarily wrong. Talk of ‘looks red’ may be a way of harmlessly referring to the behavioural discriminations with respect to colour of a human percipient. Where it is dangerous, at least to those of us who wish to argue for a broadly physicalist account of the mind, is that it may have concealed overtones of reference to epiphenomenal and irreducibly psychic properties of experiences. Moreover even if it does not do so it may be fence sitting on this issue and liable to misinterpretation. (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)
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)
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)
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 prevailing view in bioethics is that the relationship between doctors and their patients was largely a silent one before the landmark court decisions of the twentieth century. Some have proposed that this was not always the case. This paper provides historical evidence of consent and negotiation in one nineteenth century gynecological practice. The Clinical Records and writings of Dr. Alexander J.C. Skene, who practiced in Brooklyn, New York from 1863 to 1900, have been examined for evidence of discussion, consent (...) and even negotiation with patients. Although this evidence comes from only one practice, it is especially significant because it was largely a gynecological practice with women who were varied in socioeconomic status and ethnic origin. The importance of documenting physician-patient relationships which included patients in decision-making before Schloendorff established the legal doctrine of informed consent cannot be underestimated. (shrink)
Cette étude a pour but d'éprouver la validité de la caractérologie au regard de l'épistémologie de J.C. Pariente. Cette épistémologie, exposée dans Le langage et l'individuel, requiert certaines conditions pour qu'une connaissance de l'individuel soit valable, c'est-à-dire, pour qu'elle soit à la fois conceptuelle et appropriée à son objet individuel.En suivant l'analyse de l'entreprise de connaissance caractérologique sur un exemple concret — l'étude du caractère de Pascal —, l'étude permet de conclure que dans leurs démarches, les caractérologues ont satisfait aux (...) exigences de l'épistémologie de Pariente. De la caractérologie, on ne pourra pas dire que, à l'instar de l'histoire, « elle n'est pas une connaissance conceptuelle de son objet ».This study aims at putting characterology to the test of the epistemology presented in J.C. Pariente's work, Language and the Individual. This epistemology requires certain conditions for a knowledge of the individual to be valid, i.e., to be at the same time conceptual and adapted to its individual object.By following characterologists in their work, the study concludes that the characterological processes have met the conditions demanded by Pariente's epistemology. So, one cannot say that characterology, like history, "is not a conceptual knowledge of its object". (shrink)
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.