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)
Relations between J. A. C. Chaptal, pioneer of heavy chemical industry in France, and A. L. Lavoisier, reformer of chemical theory, are examined in the light of unpublished correspondence they exchanged in the period 1784–1790. The letters, together with Chaptal's early publications, allow a reconstruction of his conversion to Lavoisier's antiphlogistic chemistry. They also reveal a series of petitions that Chaptal made to Lavoisier, in the latter's official capacity as a director of the Régie des poudres et salpêtres, for relief (...) from the controlled price of saltpetre for his acid works in Languedoc. Finally, the relationship is explored as a window on the interplay between chemical theory and industrial practice during the period of the Industrial Revolution. (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)
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.
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)
One of the most extensive yet least conclusive methodological debates within religious studies revolves around the question of what, precisely, the phenomenology of religion is and what contribution it can make to the study of religion. I do not intend to answer this important question here. To do so satisfactorily would require a range of historical, philosophical and methodological inquiry which would go quite beyond the bounds of a single article. My intention in this paper is, by comparison, unambitious. It (...) is to take one view of what phenomenology of religion is and to consider an area outside that usually explored by students of religion which can, nonetheless, shed some light on how religions might be studied in a way which is in accordance with the phenomenology of religion so understood. What follows will offer an answer to the question of what contribution one particular understanding of phenomenology might make to the study of religion, but no attempt will be made to establish whether or not this particular understanding ought to be regarded as normative. (shrink)
There is a strong tendency in the scholarly and sub-scholarly literature on terrorism to treat it as something like an ideology. There is an equally strong tendency to treat it as always immoral. Both tendencies go hand in hand with a considerable degree of unclarity about the meaning of the term ‘terrorism’. I shall try to dispel this unclarity and I shall argue that the first tendency is the product of confusion and that once this is understood, we can see, (...) in the light of a more definite analysis of terrorism, that the second tendency raises issues of inconsistency, and even hypocrisy. Finally, I shall make some tentative suggestions about what categories of target may be morally legitimate objects of revolutionary violence, and I shall discuss some lines of objection to my overall approach. (shrink)
Notwithstanding the general rise of experimental disciplines in biology in the first decades of our century, in Germany and in the Netherlands the interest in the idealistic morphological tradition flourished, and compensated for a reductionistic causal approach to natural phenomena. This article analyses the influence of the German idealistic morphologists W. Lubosch and A. Meyer on the development of C.J. van der Klaauw's epistemology. It discusses the gradual incorporation of non-causal principles into van der Klaauw's concept of biology. Van der (...) Klaauw's epistemological concept of holistic biology was shaped in a critical confrontation with German idealistic morphology, and his early considerations can be interpreted as a direct impulse towards the development of his theory of functional components. Van der Klaauw's theories, being an alternative to the reductionistic experimental sciences, were among the causes of the fact that in the first half of our century biology in the Netherlands took a course deviating from the development of biology in the Anglo-American countries. (shrink)
Christology seems to fall fairly clearly into two divisions. The first is concerned with the truth of the two propositions: ‘Christ is God’ and ‘Christ is a man’. The second is concerned with the mutual compatibility of these propositions. The first part of Christology tends to confine itself to what is sometimes called ‘positive theology’: that is to say, it is largely given over to examining the Jons revelationis —let us not prejudge currently burning issues by asking what this is—to (...) see what evidence can be found for the truth of these propositions. Clearly, the methods used will be above all those of New Testament exegesis. The second part of Christology will necessarily consist entirely of that speculative theology which is contrasted with positive theology. Even if the earliest speculation on this topic is to be found in the New Testament itself and thus becomes fair game for the exegetes, any attempt to relate the primary truths, ‘Christ is God’ and ‘Christ is a man’, to eachother is a work of reflection, and in the terminology I am using speculative. (shrink)
In a discussion-note in Mind, Father P. M. Farrell, O.P., gave an account, in what he admitted to be an embarrassingly brief compass, of the Thomist doctrine concerning evil. There is one sentence in this discussion which at first glance appears paradoxical. Father Farrell has been arguing that a universe containing ‘corruptible good’ as well as incorruptible is better than one containing ‘incorruptible good’ only. He continues: ‘If, however, they are to manifest this corruptible good, they must be corruptible and (...) they must sometimes corrupt.’ The final words, despite Father Farrell's italics, strike one as expressing, not a self-evident truth, but a non sequitur. The fact that I am capable of committing murder does not entail that I will at some time commit it. It is not immediately obvious that a similar entailment holds in the case of corruption and corruptibility. (shrink)
The texts before us are relatively early works. They predate the famous Manifesto of the Communist Party of 1848. Their importance lies in this: that here historical materialism is outlined and defended for the first time. This new philosophy is elaborated in the course of Marx and Engels' effort to settle accounts with previous German philosophy—and, perhaps, with philosophy as such. The new outlook is developed, therefore, in the context of polemic against Hegel and Feuerbach, precisely the thinkers that they (...) most admired earlier in fact. (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)
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)
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 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)