When Apollonius' Argonautica began to reemerge as an epic worthy to be read as a classic in its own right in the 1960s and following, scholarly interest focused largely on topics such as the nature of the hero, narrative technique, limited scholarly audience, realism, the poem's engagement with archaic, classical, and contemporary texts, and its reception among later writers. In the 1990s, scholars began to examine the rehabilitated epic for evidence of possible engagement with contemporary political and cultural issues. Thalmann's (...) new monograph builds upon this productive trend, offering a detailed analysis of the "space" defined by the Argonautic journey, "the medium through which it raises and probes those cultural questions". Cultural geography and anthropology inform the author's analytical method, according to which "human cultures do not just use space but produce it and are shaped in turn by it". (shrink)
Two essays on utilitarianism, written from opposite points of view, by J. J. C. Smart and Bernard Williams. In the first part of the book Professor Smart advocates a modern and sophisticated version of classical utilitarianism; he tries to formulate a consistent and persuasive elaboration of the doctrine that the rightness and wrongness of actions is determined solely by their consequences, and in particular their consequences for the sum total of human happiness. In Part II Bernard Williams offers a sustained (...) and vigorous critique of utilitarian assumptions, arguments and ideals. He finds inadequate the theory of action implied by utilitarianism, and he argues that utilitarianism fails to engage at a serious level with the real problems of moral and political philosophy, and fails to make sense of notions such as integrity, or even human happiness itself. This book should be of interest to welfare economists, political scientists and decision-theorists. (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)
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)
There are five main claims that may be made about life after death: We are reincarnated in the self-same body we had in life. We are reincarnated in another body. We are revived, or continue to live in a disembodied form.
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.
In this paper we describe the approach to critical thinking pedagogy used in our new text, Reason in the Balance: An Inquiry Approach to Critical Thinking. In this text we concentrate on develop-ing students’ ability to analyze and assess competing arguments in a dialectical context. This approach shifts the emphasis from the more common and traditional approach of evaluating individual arguments and fallacy identification. Our focus is on teaching students to analyze and assess competing arguments sur-rounding an issue with the (...) goal of achieving a reasoned and justifiable judgment. (shrink)
This paper examines the argumentation strategy prolepsis: anticipating and subsequently responding to an argument before it has been made. Although prolepsis is common to a variety of arguments, it seems insufficiently studied or understood—or, worse, misunderstood as simply a “feint.” Drawing on scholarship in rhetorical theory and cognitive and social psychology, I offer a new understanding of prolepsis, recognizing the technique’s potential in argumentative discourse—especially in the search for “common ground.”.
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 this essay I propose to offer some observations in due course on how Christian thought and practice in general might profit from a central theme in the theology of Rāmānuja, a Tamil Vaisnava Brahmin whose traditional date straddles the eleventh and twelfth centuries of the Christian era. The central theme I have in mind is expressed in Rāmānuja's view that the ‘world’ is the ‘body’ of Brahman or God. We shall go on to explain what this means, but let (...) me state first that my overall aim is to further inter-religious understanding, especially between Christian and Hindu points of view. In professing a concern for inter-religious dialogue I know that I reflect a longstanding interest of Professor H. D. Lewis. I shall seek to show that the Christian religion can profit both from the content and the method of Rāmānuja's body-of-God theology. To this end this essay is divided into two sections. Section I is the longer: it contains an analysis of what Rāmānuja did mean by his body-of-God theme – doubtless unfamiliar ground for most of the readers of this essay – and serves as a propaedeutic for what follows in section 2. In section 2 I shall attempt to ‘extrapolate’ Rāmānuja's thinking into a Christian context, with dialogue in mind. Section 2 cannot be appreciated for the promise I hope it holds out without the detail of the first section. (shrink)
J.S. Mill's plural voting proposal in Considerations on Representative Government presents political theorists with a puzzle: the elitist proposal that some individuals deserve a greater voice than others seems at odds with Mill's repeated arguments for the value of full participation in government. This essay looks at Mill's arguments for plural voting, arguing that, far from being motivated solely by elitism, Mill's account is actually driven by a commitment to both competence and participation. It goes on to argue that, for (...) Mill, much of the value of political participation lies in its unique ability to educate the participants. That ability to educate is not, however, a product of participation alone; rather, for Mill, the true educative benefits of participation obtain only when competence and participation work together in the political sphere. Plural voting, then, is a mechanism for allowing Mill to take advantage of the educative benefits that arise from the intersection of competence and participation. (shrink)