John Mackie's stimulating book is a complete and clear treatise on moral theory. His writings on normative ethics-the moral principles he recommends-offer a fresh approach on a much neglected subject, and the work as a whole is undoubtedly a major contribution to modern philosophy.The author deals first with the status of ethics, arguing that there are not objective values, that morality cannot be discovered but must be made. He examines next the content of ethics, seeing morality as a functional device, (...) basically the same at all times but changing significantly in response to changes in the human condition. He sketches a practical moral system, criticizing but also borrowing from both utilitarian and absolutist views. Thirdly, the frontiers of ethics, areas of contact with psychology, metaphysics, theology, law and politcs, are explored.Throughout, his aim is to discuss a wide range of questions that are both philosophical and practical, working within a distinctive version of subjectivism-an "error" theory of the apparent objectivity of values. John Mackie has drawn on the contributions of such classic thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant and Sidgwick, and on more recent discussions, to produce a thought-provoking account that will inspire both the general reader and the student of philosophy. (shrink)
Studies causation both as a concept and as it is 'in the objects.' Offers new accounts of the logic of singular causal statements, the form of causal regularities, the detection of causal relationships, the asymmetry of cause and effect, and necessary connection, and it relates causation to functional and statistical laws and to teleology.
This collection of John Mackie's papers on personal identity and topics in moral and political philosophy, some of which have not previously been published, deal with such issues as: multiple personality; the transcendental "I"; responsibility and language; aesthetic judgements; Sidgwick's pessimism; act-utiliarianism; right-based moral theories; cooperation, competition, and moral philosophy; universalization; rights, utility, and external costs; norms and dilemmas; Parfit's population paradox; and the combination of partially-ordered preferences.
When people speak of ‘the law of the jungle’, they usually mean unions restrained and ruthless competition, with everyone out solely for his own advantage. But the phrase was coined by Rudyard Kipling, in The Second Jungle Book , and he meant something very different. His law of the jungle is a law that wolves in a pack are supposed to obey. His poem says that ‘the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is (...) the Pack’, and it states the basic principles of social co-operation. Its provisions are a judicious mixture of individualism and collectivism, prescribing graduated and qualified rights for fathers of families, mothers with cubs, and young wolves, which constitute an elementary system of welfare services. Of course, Kipling meant his poem to give moral instruction to human children, but he probably thought it was at least roughly correct as a description of the social behaviour of wolves and other wild animals. Was he right, or is the natural world the scene of unrestrained competition, of an individualistic struggle for existence? (shrink)
This article is a clarification of different procedures in natural deduction: universal instantiation, Universal generalisation, Existential generalisation, And existential instantiation. The author discusses rules concerning universal generalisation from copi's "symbolic logic". (staff).
This collection of John Mackie's papers on topics in epistemology, some of which have not previously been published, deal with such issues as: incorrigible empirical statements; rationalism and empiricism; the philosophy of John Anderson; self-refutation; Plato's theory of idea; ideological explanation; problems of intentionality; Popper's third world;; mind, brain, and causation; Newcomb's Paradox and the direction of causation; induction; causation in concept, knowledge, and reality; absolutism; Locke and representative perception; and anti-realisms.
The paradoxical view of warnock and hodgson that act-Utilitarianism must have disutility is criticised. Simple examples in game theory style show that it does not defeat the possibility of cooperation and that it allows an approximation to truth-Telling. Promising would indeed have only a limited role in an act-Utilitarian society, But that is because its normal function is to aid compromise between divergent purposes. Also, The efforts of a single act-Utilitarian in a non-Act-Utilitarian society need not frustrate themselves, If he (...) is not too candid. (shrink)
“BUT if I suppose that someone has a pain, then I am simply supposing that he has just the same as I have so often had.”—That gets us further. It is as if I were to say: “You surely know what ‘It is 5 o'clock here’ means; so you also know what ‘It's 5 o'clock on the sun’ means. It means simply that it is just the same time there as it is here when it 5 o'clock.”—The explanation by means (...) of identity does not work here. For I know well enough that one can call 5 o'clock here and 5 o'clock there “the same time”, but what I do not know is in what cases one is to speak of its being the same time here and there. (shrink)