Philosophers since ancient times have pondered how we can know whether moral claims are true or false. The first half of the twentieth century witnessed widespread skepticism concerning the possibility of moral knowledge. Indeed, some argued that moral statements lacked cognitive content altogether, because they were not susceptible to empirical verification. The British philosopher A. J. Ayer contends that 'They are pure expressions of feeling and as such do not come under the category of truth and falsehood. They are unverifiable (...) … because they do not express genuine propositions.' The second half of the twentieth century brought a revival of interest among philosophers in moral and political questions. Whether or not ethics can be founded upon a rational basis continues to preoccupy the philosophical community even now. (shrink)
This collects some of the remarks made at the 2016 Pacific APA Memorial session for Patrick Suppes and Jaakko Hintikka. The full list of speakers on behalf of these two philosophers: Dagfinn Follesdal; Dana Scott; Nancy Cartwright; Paul Humphreys; Juliet Floyd; Gabriel Sandu; John Symons.
Institutional review boards are almost universally considered to be overworked and understaffed. They also require substantial commitments of time and resources from their members. Although some surveys report average IRB memberships of 15 people or more, federal regulations require only five. We present data on IRB meetings at eight of the top 25 academic medical centers in the United States funded by the National Institutes of Health. These data indicate substantial contributions from primary reviewers and chairs during protocol discussions but (...) little from other members, which implies that it may be possible for smaller IRBs to accomplish the same tasks with no reduction in the quality of review. (shrink)
Summary This paper traces a mutually reinforcing set of arguments about the practice of history in the work of J. G. A. Pocock and Paul Ricoeur that responds to challenges posed to the autonomy of selves and their communities raised by both thinkers. It begins with their respective views on language, texts and actions, moves to the construction of narrative and historiography, and concludes with their account of selves and the communities to which they belong. Corresponding to these three (...) considerations are a set of conclusions drawn with different emphases: first, that both texts and acts are potentially open to indefinite and plural interpretations; second, that narrative and historiography are constitutively contested modes of critical discourse continually open to the construction of new meaning; and third, that the contested, capable, narrative self, and the community to which that mediated self belongs, exercises autonomy as an active, responsible, reflective citizen and/or critical historian. It concludes from this study that the limited openness of language, narrative and identity constitutes the promise and risk of history as a contested and affective representation. (shrink)
Western Buddhology, the responsible scholarly study of Buddhist languages, history and ideas, is now more than a century and a half old. For most of that time scholars working in this field have been primarily concerned to understand and expound their sources, not to criticize or assess the views found therein, much less to make any attempt at deciding whether the central views of Buddhist philosophers are likely to be true statements of the way things are. There are good reasons (...) for this restriction; before a given set of philosophical views can be assessed it must be understood, and in the case of Buddhism the gaining of such understanding has involved the collective philological labours of several generations of scholars and is still in many respects in its infancy. What is the case for the scholarly community as a whole is magnified for the individual working in this field; the effort involved in becoming competent in several Buddhist canonical languages and in becoming familiar with a range of philosophical ideas and preconceptions which are in many respects alien to one's own culture tends to mean that the Buddhologist's apprenticeship is long, his publications so clogged with jargon as to be inaccessible to any non-specialist, and his appetite for truth stifled by Sanskrit syntax and Tibetan declensions. There is the added problem that the Western intellectual who makes the study of Buddhism his avocation is likely to be, in some more or less well defined sense, a Buddhist; and the dangers of making religious commitment the major motivation for scholarly study have been so amply illustrated by Christian history that they scarcely need rehearsing here. (shrink)
Nicolas Malebranche is now recognised as a major figure in the history of philosophy, occupying a crucial place in the Rationalist tradition of Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz. The Search after Truth is his first, longest and most important work; this volume also presents the Elucidations which accompanied its third edition, the result of comments that Malebranche solicited on the original work and an important repository of his theories of ideas and causation. Together, the two texts constitute the complete expression of (...) his mature thought, and are written in his subtle, argumentative and thoroughly readable style. They are presented in the distinguished translations by Thomas M. Lennon and Paul J. Olscamp, together with a historical introduction, a chronology of Malebranche's life, and useful notes on further reading. (shrink)