This thesis proposes that key, competing theories of dispositions mistake and conflate how we identify, designate and talk about dispositions and dispositional terms for the nature of dispositions and the meaning of dispositional terms when they argue that: a) dispositions are extrinsic properties of their bearers (Boyle 1666) b) all properties are purely dispositional (Bird 2007) c) all properties are purely categorical (there are no dispositional properties) (Armstrong in AMP 1996) d) dispositional and categorical properties are separate and distinct properties (...) (Prior, Pargetter and Jackson 1982). In so doing these theories make unwarranted and unsupported ontological conclusions about dispositions. The thesis traces the principal source of this confusion and conflation to a reliance on the counterfactual analysis of dispositions that wrongly encourages the conflation of a disposition (say fragility) with its manifestation (shattering). There is good reason to hold that the counterfactual analysis of dispositions is false — the truth of a counterfactual statement (such as “if x were dropped x would break”) is neither necessary nor sufficient for the truth of a dispositional ascription (such as “x is fragile”). (shrink)
I take it as my assignment to criticize the Gauthier enterprise. At the outset, however, I should express my general agreement with David Gauthier's normative vision of a liberal social order, including the place that individual principles of morality hold in such an order. Whether the enterprise is, ultimately, judged to have succeeded or to have failed depends on the standards applied. Considered as a coherent grounding of such a social order in the rational choice behavior of persons, the enterprise (...) fails. Considered as an extended argument implying that persons should adopt the moral stance embodied in the Gauthier structure, the enterprise is, I dunk, largely successful. Considered as a set of empirically falsifiable propositions suggesting that persons do, indeed, choose as the Gauthier precepts dictate, the enterprise offers Humean hope rather than Hobbesian despair. (shrink)
To commence any answer to the question “Can democracy promote the general welfare?” requires attention to the meaning of “general welfare.” If this term is drained of all significance by being defined as “whatever the political decision process determines it to be,” then there is no content to the question. The meaning of the term can be restored only by classifying possible outcomes of democratic political processes into two sets – those that are general in application over all citizens and (...) those that are discriminatory. (shrink)
The ontological argument appears in a multiplicity of forms. Over the past ten or twelve years, however, the philosophical community seems to have been concerned principally with those versions of the proof which claim that God is a necessary being. In contemporary literature, Professors Malcolm and Hartshorne have been the chief advocates of this view, both men holding that God must be conceived as a necessary being and that, as a result, his existence is able to be demonstrated a priori (...) . This claim has not gone unchallenged; indeed, numerous writers have argued that neither Malcolm nor Hartshorne has exercised due care in his use of ‘necessary’. That is, critics charge that the arguments of both men have only the appearance of validity, for in their reasonings the defenders of the a priori proof have tacitly assumed that God is a logically necessary being. Whether or not a being can be logically necessary, however, is a quaestio disputata . In fact, until recently the question was not in dispute at all—virtually all ‘competent judges’ agreed that only propositions could be spoken of as logically necessary, and thus that God must be defined as a physically or factually necessary being. But is the statement, ‘a physically necessary being exists’, logically true? Critics of the ontological argument think not; and in support of this view they offer analyses of ‘physical necessity’ which, they feel, not only give meaning to the phrase, but also show that a physically necessary being's existence can be proven only by some kind of a posteriori investigation. (shrink)
John L. Austin believed that in the illocution he had discovered a fundamental element of our speech, the understanding of which would disclose the significance of all kinds of linguistic action: not only proposing marriage and finding guilt, but also stating, reporting, conjecturing, and all the rest of the things men can do linguistically. 2 We claim that the illocution, the full-fledged speech-act, is central to religious utterances as well, and that it provides a perspicuity in understanding them not elsewhere (...) provided in the work of recent philosophy of religion. In particular we hold that understanding religious talk through the illocution shows the way in which the representative and affective elements are connected to one another and to the utterance as a whole. There may, further, be features in such an analysis which can be extended to other forms of discourse than religious. (shrink)
This is a study of all the recent literature on william james written from a phenomenological perspective with the purpose of showing that william james made fundamental contributions to the phenomenological theory of the intentionality of consciousness, To the phenomenological theory of self-Identity, And to the phenomenological conception of noetic freedom as the basic concept of ethical theory.
According to James M. Kauffman, too much of what is said today about educational reform is nonsense that shortchanges students, parents, and taxpayers. This deforms education rather than reforming it. The primary objective of this book is to help teachers, teacher educators, policy makers, and parents think more critically about current rhetoric about education. Reason and science in the enlightenment tradition are more helpful in reforming and improving education than political agendas. Reform should focus on instruction. Education must address (...) the full range of learners, from those who are mentally retarded to those who are intellectually gifted. Special education, multicultural education, and standardized testing are among the controversial issues explored. Extremes of both left and right ideologies are rejected in favor of careful thinking and sound judgment. (shrink)
This article compares James M. Buchanan's and John Rawls's theories of democratic governance. In particular it compares their positions on the characteristics of a legitimate social contract. Where Buchanan argues that additional police force can be used to quell political demonstrations, Rawls argues for a social contract that meets the difference principle.
Theories are part and parcel of just about every human activity that involves knowing about the world and our place in it. In all areas of inquiry from the most mundane to the most esoteric and sophisticated, theorizing plays a fundamental role. What is true of our everyday existence is even more pervasive in more scholarly fields. How is thinking about the subject organized? What methods are used in moving a neophyte in a given subject matter into the position of (...) a competent student of that subject? What, in short, is the prime repository and vehicle for the knowledge that has been acquired in any discipline over the course of its development? The answer is the theories that are used, produced, and promulgated by the practitioners of those disciplines. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Theory is a landmark work serving as something of a capstone to 10 prior SAGE encyclopedias that examined theory in specific social science disciplines (psychology, sociology, education, political science, etc.). Within the pages of this more general work, readers will learn about the complex decisions that are made when framing theory, what goes into constructing a powerful theory, why some theories change or fail, how theories reflect socio-historical moments in time and how – at their best – they form the foundations for exploring and unlocking the mysteries of the world around us. Key features include: · Over 300 signed articles written by key figures across the social sciences spread across four comprehensive volumes · Further Readings and Cross References conclude each article aiding readers further in their research · A Reader’s Guide organizes entries by broad themes. · A Resource Guide takes readers to the next step in their research journeys by listing classic books in the field, key journals, associations, and websites. (shrink)
Ostrow (sociology, Bentley College) concludes that the world is inherently social because individuals are immersed in social sensitivity at a young age. Paper edition (unseen), $10.95. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.
Based on the author's more than 50 years of experience as a professional historian in academic and other capacities, Being a Historian is addressed to both aspiring and mature historians. It offers an overview of the state of the discipline of history today and the problems that confront it and its practitioners in many professions. James M. Banner, Jr. argues that historians remain inadequately prepared for their rapidly changing professional world and that the discipline as a whole has yet (...) to confront many of its deficiencies. He also argues that, no longer needing to conform automatically to the academic ideal, historians can now more safely and productively than ever before adapt to their own visions, temperaments, and goals as they take up their responsibilities as scholars, teachers, and public practitioners. Critical while also optimistic, this work suggests many topics for further scholarly and professional exploration, research, and debate. (shrink)
Swezey, C. M. Introduction.--The burden of the ethical.--Faith, unbelief, and moral life.--Education for moral responsibility.--The theologian as prophet, preserver, or participant.--Moral discernment in the Christian life.--The place of Scripture in Christian ethics.--The relation of the Gospels to the moral life.--Spiritual life and moral life.--The relevance of historical understanding.--Man--in light of social science and Christian faith.--The relationship of empirical science to moral thought.--What is the normatively human?--Basic ethical issues in the biomedical fields.--Genetic engineering and the normative view of the human.--Bibliography of (...) the writings of James M. Gustafson, 1951-1973 (p. 297-305). (shrink)
This book defends the view that any adequate account of rational decision making must take a decision maker's beliefs about causal relations into account. The early chapters of the book introduce the non-specialist to the rudiments of expected utility theory. The major technical advance offered by the book is a 'representation theorem' that shows that both causal decision theory and its main rival, Richard Jeffrey's logic of decision, are both instances of a more general conditional decision theory. The book solves (...) a long-standing problem for Jeffrey's theory by showing for the first time how to obtain a unique utility and probability representation for preferences and judgements of comparative likelihood. The book also contains a major new discussion of what it means to suppose that some event occurs or that some proposition is true. The most complete and robust defence of causal decision theory available. (shrink)
This volume offers an array of newly commissioned essays, addressing the topic of love in the Christian tradition. Drawn from a range of expert theologians and philosophers in contemporary analytic and non-analytic theology, these essays join current debates within the theology of love, and aim to propose new avenues for future research. Including the last essay written by Marilyn McCord Adams, Love, Divine and Human deals with a rich variety of issues related to divine and human love. The broad scope (...) of the book includes divine transcendence and its methodological bearing on the doctrine of divine love, the nature and scope of divine love, the interrelation between God's love and wrath, the plausibility of an impassable God of love, and the application of various conceptions of divine love to the problem of divine hiddenness, human ethics, and human free will, among other topics. This unified collection of cutting-edge papers will advance discussion for all those focused on the theology of love. (shrink)
Nancy MacLean’s book, Democracy in Chains, raised questions about James M. Buchanan’s commitment to democracy. This paper investigates the relationship of classical liberalism in general and of Buchanan in particular to democratic theory. Contrary to the simplistic classical liberal juxtaposition of “coercion vs. consent,” there have been from Antiquity onwards voluntary contractarian defenses of non-democratic government and even slavery—all little noticed by classical liberal scholars who prefer to think of democracy as just “government by the consent of the governed” (...) and slavery as being inherently coercive. Historically, democratic theory had to go beyond that simplistic notion of democracy to develop a critique of consent-based non-democratic government, e.g., the Hobbesian pactum subjectionis. That critique was based firstly on the distinction between contracts or constitutions of alienation (translatio) versus delegation (concessio). Then the contracts of alienation were ruled out based on the theory of inalienable rights that descends from the Reformation doctrine of inalienability of conscience down through the Enlightenment to modern times in the abolitionist and democratic movements. While he developed no theory of inalienability, the mature Buchanan explicitly allowed only a constitution of delegation, contrary to many modern classical liberals or libertarians who consider the choice between consent-based democratic or non-democratic governments (e.g., private cities or shareholder states) to be a pragmatic one. But Buchanan seems to not even realize that his at-most-delegation dictum would also rule out the employer-employee or human rental contract which is a contract of alienation “within the scope of the employment.”. (shrink)
In What is Disease?, renowned philosophers and medical ethicists survey and elucidate the profoundly important concepts of disease and health. Christopher Boorse begins with an extensive reexamination of his seminal definition of disease as a value-free scientific concept. In responding to all those who criticized this view, which came to be called "naturalism" or "neutralism," Boorse clarifies and updates his landmark ideas on this crucial question. Other distinguished thinkers analyze, develop, and oftentimes defend competing, nonnaturalistic theories of disease, including discussions (...) of the relevance of these concepts to the question of "diseased" sexual orientation and to alternative medicine. What is Disease? brings concerned readers up-to-date in the debate over the proper definition of "disease," a concept of central importance not only for bioethicists, but also for those throughout clinical medicine, sociology, psychology, and law who deal with disease and its associated problems on an everyday basis. (shrink)
In his 1994 A Sense of the Divine: The Natural Environment from a Theocentric Perspective, James M. Gustafson offered a long-awaited application of his theocentric ethics. In Intersections Gustafson continues to insist that theology and theological ethics must overlap with other, diverse fields of study -- particularly the hard sciences -- if they are to remain rich, vital, and relevant in the years ahead. With trademark clarity, he relentlessly pursues the fundamental questions of theological ethics: the nature of being (...) human, what distinguishes us from other species, how our self-interest conflicts with our sympathy and concern for others, and the role of religious faith. After contrasting two interpretations of human nature -- one from theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, the other from biologist Melvin Konner -- Gustafson suggests four modes of moral discourse about medicine, then examines styles of religious reflection in medical ethics. Briefly sharpening his focus on genetic therapy, he moves to larger questions of human viability, concluding with a stirring call to scholars, clergy, and laypersons alike to engage in these intellectual intersections -- intersections that have, above all, supreme practical importance in our daily lives. (shrink)
The pragmatic character of the Dutch book argument makes it unsuitable as an "epistemic" justification for the fundamental probabilist dogma that rational partial beliefs must conform to the axioms of probability. To secure an appropriately epistemic justification for this conclusion, one must explain what it means for a system of partial beliefs to accurately represent the state of the world, and then show that partial beliefs that violate the laws of probability are invariably less accurate than they could be otherwise. (...) The first task can be accomplished once we realize that the accuracy of systems of partial beliefs can be measured on a gradational scale that satisfies a small set of formal constraints, each of which has a sound epistemic motivation. When accuracy is measured in this way it can be shown that any system of degrees of belief that violates the axioms of probability can be replaced by an alternative system that obeys the axioms and yet is more accurate in every possible world. Since epistemically rational agents must strive to hold accurate beliefs, this establishes conformity with the axioms of probability as a norm of epistemic rationality whatever its prudential merits or defects might be. (shrink)
_Eros, Wisdom, and Silence_ is a close reading of Plato’s Seventh Letter and his dialogues _Symposium_ and _Phaedrus_, with significant attention also given to _Alcibiades I_. A book about love, James Rhodes’s work was conceived as a conversation and meant to be read side by side with Plato’s works and those of his worthy interlocutors. It invites lovers to participate in conversations that move their souls to love, and it also invites the reader to take part in the author’s (...) dialogues with Plato and his commentators. Rhodes addresses two closely related questions: First, what does Plato mean when he says in the Seventh Letter that he never has written and never will write anything concerning that about which he is serious? Second, what does Socrates mean when he claims to have an art of eros and that this _techne_ is the only thing he knows? Through careful analysis, Rhodes establishes answers to these questions. He determines that Plato cannot write anything concerning that about which he is serious because his most profound knowledge consists of his soul’s silent vision of ultimate, transcendent reality, which is ineffable. Rhodes also shows that, for Socrates, eros is a symbol for the soul’s experience of divine reality, which pulls every element of human nature toward its proper end, but which also leads people to evil and tyranny when human resistance causes it to become diseased. Opening up a new avenue of Plato scholarship, _Eros, Wisdom, and Silence_ is political philosophy at its conversational best. Scholars and students in political philosophy, classical studies, and religious studies will find this work invaluable. (shrink)