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)
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.
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.
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)
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)
In the colonial period since 1492, the colonial masters of Europe sent perpetrators within the colonised territories to other colonies where they became slaves – forced migration and diaspora. These slaves started a new life and became, like Cain’s children, the ancestors of a few notable families – a typical postcolonial situation of creating hybrid identities where East met West in Africa to procreate. The question this article asks is the following: how can one link migration and diaspora to Cain’s (...) situation? Cain’s punishment was twofold: the earth would no longer yield to him any fruit, and he would become a fugitive and a wanderer. It is as if the first logically led to the second in the Hebrew text. Cain’s vulnerability had a positive effect, so that later on in the story he seemed to have settled and procreated to the extent that his children became founders of arts, science and technology. The LXX partly solves this contradiction by making Cain physically handicapped with trembling and groaning. Significantly, in both traditions he is said to leave the presence of the deity to live elsewhere where he would not be confronted with either the deity or his parents. In both instances, a migration is clearly taking place with the implication that once being branded a perpetrator one can no longer reside within the community or society in whose midst the transgression took place. The perpetrator is removed from the victims and the latter need no longer confront him or her. This article will subsequently consider the following: the value of migration in the biblical text, the significance of Cain moving away from his clan and deity, and the effect of settling elsewhere. (shrink)
Avtor se loteva postapartheidovskega branja »spomenika ženskam«, ki so ga leta 1913 odkrili v Južni Afriki. Oris družbene funkcije podobnih spomenikov služi, da bi poudarili estetsko ideologijo »Spomenika ženskam«. Avtor meni, da bi spomenik, takšnega kot je, lahko rehabilitirali v postapartheidovski družbi, če bi njegovo percepcijo dopolnjevalo širše poznavanje vojnega trpljenja. Spomenik bi lahko rekontekstualizirali tako, da bi omogočili slišanje drugih glasov, tj. glasov ženskih in črnskih žrtev davnega spopada med Buri in Britanci.
An investigation into some of the literary features of the book of Malachi reveals that each unit is structured in a twofold way. The macrostructure of the book also shows that the book can be divided into two parts. The results of this investigation strengthens the recent trend in the research of Malachi that it is unlikely that the book underwent an extensive redactional process over a period of time and that it is rather more likely that the book was (...) written in a relatively short period of time. (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)
Originally published in 1963. In an introductory chapter the author argues that philosophy ought to be more than the art of clarifying thought and that it should concern itself with outlining a scientifically plausible world view. Early chapters deal with phenomenalism and the reality of theoretical entities, and with the relation between the physical and biological sciences. Free will, issues of time and space and man’s place in nature are covered in later chapters.
In this article I try to refute the so-called "libertarian" theory of free will, and to examine how our conclusion ought to modify our common attitudes of praise and blame. In attacking the libertarian view, I shall try to show that it cannot be consistently stated. That is, my dscussion will be an "analytic-philosophic" one. I shall neglect what I think is in practice an equally powerful method of attack on the libertarian: a challenge to state his theory in such (...) a way that it will fit in the modern biology and psychology, which are becoming increasingly physicalistic. (shrink)
I propose, in this paper, to offer a simple, even perhaps a simplified, version of Spinoza's metaphysical views, and to show how these views sometimes affected his epistemological views. When they did affect his epistemological views the effect was always a bad one, since Spinoza's metaphysical system is quite unworkable. It is helpful, and sometimes even inspiring, but it is wrong. In the end, with the epistemology as with the metaphysics, nothing of substance will be salvageable, but Spinoza's new and (...) even radical perspective is worth observing for its own sake, and there are points of detail along the way, ranging from inspired falsehoods to cloudy truths, that still deserve the effort to untangle them. (shrink)