Bernard Williams is one of the most influential figures in ethical theory, where he has set a considerable part of the current agenda. In this collection a distinguished international team of philosophers who have been stimulated by Williams's work give responses to it. The topics covered include equality; consistency; comparisons between science and ethics; integrity; moral reasons; the moral system; and moral knowledge. Williams himself provides a substantial reply, which shows both the directions of his own thought and also his (...) present view of earlier work of his which has been extensively discussed for twenty years. This volume will be indispensable reading for all those interested in ethical theory. (shrink)
Although Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, Alvin Plantinga has developed a theodicy that is fundamentally Arminian rather than Calvinistic. Anthony Flew, although the son of an Arminian Christian minister, regards the Arminian view of ‘free will’ to be both unacceptable on its own terms and incompatible with classical Christian theism. In this paper I hope to disentangle some of the involved controversy regarding theodicy which has developed between Plantinga and Flew, and between Flew and myself. The major portion of (...) this paper is devoted to showing that Plantinga's theodicy contains some serious flaws and undesirable implications. (shrink)
Limits to Action: The Allocation of Individual Behavior presents the ideas and methods in the study of how individual organisms allocate their limited time and energy and the consequences of such allocation. The book is a survey of individual resource allocation, emphasizing the relationships of the concepts of utility, reinforcement, and Darwinian fitness. The chapters are arranged beginning with plants and general evolutionary considerations, through animal behavior in nature and laboratory, and ending with human behavior in suburb and institution. Topics (...) discussed include operant conditioning; the principle of diminishing returns; and issues in relation to mating strategies. Biologists, sociologists, economists, and psychologists will find the book interesting. (shrink)
J. E. Malpas discusses and develops the ideas of Donald Davidson, influential in contemporary thinking on the nature of understanding and meaning, and of truth and knowledge. He provides an account of Davidson's holistic and hermeneutical conception of linguistic interpretation, and, more generally, of the mind. Outlining its Quinean origins and the elements basic to Davidson's Radical Interpretation, J. E. Malpas' book goes on to elaborate this holism and to examine the indeterminacy of interpretation and the principle of charity. The (...) metaphysical and epistemological consequences of Davidson's approach are considered, particularly in relation to scepticism and relativism, the realist/anti-realist debate, and the problem of truth. Parallels are drawn between the Davidsonian emphasis on the centrality of the notion of truth and Heidegger's notion of truth as aletheia, as the book looks to structuralist, hermeneutical and phenomenological sources to illuminate Davidson's position. (shrink)
What are physical quantities, and in particular, what makes them quantitative? This book presents an original answer to this question through the novel position of substantival structuralism, arguing that quantitativeness is an irreducible feature of attributes, and quantitative attributes are best understood as substantival structured spaces.
Written over the last 18 months of his life and inspired by his interest in G. E. Moore's defence of common sense, this much discussed volume collects Wittgenstein's reflections on knowledge and certainty, on what it is to know a proposition for sure.
'To think often, and never to retain it so much as one moment, is a very useless sort of thinking' In An Essay concerning Human Understanding, John Locke sets out his theory of knowledge and how we acquire it. Eschewing doctrines of innate principles and ideas, Locke shows how all our ideas, even the most abstract and complex, are grounded in human experience and attained by sensation of external things or reflection upon our own mental activities. A thorough examination of (...) the communication of ideas through language and the conventions of taking words as signs of ideas paves the way for his penetrating critique of the limitations of ideas and the extent of our knowledge of ourselves, the world, God, and morals. Locke's masterpiece laid the foundation of British empiricism and is of enduring interest to anyone exploring the development of philosophical thought. This sensitive abridgement uses P. H. Nidditch's authoritative text, and together with an illuminating introduction and other features, makes Locke's arguments more accessible. (shrink)
Isaac Newton wrote the manuscript Questiones quaedam philosophicae at the very beginning of his scientific career. This small notebook thus affords rare insight into the beginnings of Newton's thought and the foundations of his subsequent intellectual development. The Questiones contains a series of entries in Newton's hand that range over many topics in science, philosophy, psychology, theology, and the foundations of mathematics. These notes, written in English, provide a very detailed picture of Newton's early interests, and record his critical appraisal (...) of contemporary issues in natural philosophy. Written predominantly in 1664-5, they give a significant perspective on Newton's thought just prior to his annus mirabilis, 1666. This volume provides a complete transcription of the Questiones, together with an 'expansion' into modern English, and a full editorial commentary on the content and significance of the notebook in the development of Newton's thought. It will be essential reading for all those interested in Newton and the intellectual foundations of science. (shrink)
The Legacy of Emotivism.J. E. J. Altham - 1986 - In Graham Frank Macdonald & Crispin Wright (eds.), Fact, science and morality: essays on A.J. Ayer's Language, Truth and Logic. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. pp. 275-288.details