Liberalism has often been viewed as a continuing dialogue about the relative priorities between liberty and equality. When the version of equality under discussion requires equalization of outcomes, it is easy to see how the two ideals might conflict. But when the version of equality requires only equalization of opportunities, the conflict has been treated as greatly muted since the principle of equality seems so meager in its implications. However, when one looks carefully at various versions of equal opportunity and (...) various versions of liberty, the conflict between them is, in fact, both dramatic and inescapable. Each version of the conflict poses hard choices which defy any systematic pattern granting priority to one of these basic values over the other. In this essay, I will flesh out and argue for this picture of fundamental conflict, and then turn to some more general issues about the kinds of answers we should expect to the basic questions of liberal theory. (shrink)
This paper examines the potential role of deliberative democracy in constitutional processes of higher law-making, either for the founding of constitutions or for constitutional change. It defines deliberative democracy as the combination of political equality and deliberation and situates this form of democracy in contrast to a range of alternatives. It then considers two contrasting processes—elite deliberation and plebiscitary mass democracy as approaches to higher law-making that employ deliberation without political equality or political equality without deliberation. It finally turns to (...) some institutional designs that might achieve both fundamental values at the same time, or in the process of realizing a sequence of choices. (shrink)
In 1896 William James published an essay entitled The Will to Believe, in which he defended the legitimacy of religious faith against the attacks of such champions of scientific method as W.K. Clifford and Thomas Huxley. James's work quickly became one of the most important writings in the philosophy of religious belief. James Wernham analyses James's arguments, discusses his relation to Pascal and Renouvier, and considers the interpretations, and misinterpretations, of James's major critics. Wernham shows (...) convincingly that James was unaware of many destructive ambiguitities in his own doctrines and arguments, although clear and consistent in his view that our obligation to believe in theism is not a moral but a prudential obligation -- a foolish-not-to-believe doctrine, rather than a not-immoral-to-believe one. Wernham also shows that the doctrine is best read as affirming the wisdom of gambling that God exists, a notion which James failed to distinguish from believing and which, among other things, he explicitly identified with faith. James's pragmatism, a theory concerning the meaning of truth, is shown to be quite distinct from the doctrine of The Will to Believe. In concentrating on a careful analysis of this doctrine of the will-to-believe, Wernham not only makes a major contribution to understanding James's philosophy, but also clarifies issues in the philosophy of religion and in the analysis of belief and faith. (shrink)
Part I of this essay will be devoted to Gauthier's principle of minimax relative concession. Part II will focus, more generally, on the variety of possible strategies available to liberal theory. In Part I, I will argue that the principle of minimax relative concession does not define “essential justice” as Gauthier claims. In Part II, I will argue that the difficulties facing Gauthier's strategy are common to other strategies of die same general kind. I will close by suggesting what I (...) think may prove to be a more promising approach. (shrink)
There are no signs of waning interest in William James's classic work, The Principles of Psychology as we enter the second century after its original publication in 1890. I think the time is right for undertaking the task of reconstructing his psychology, that is, his concrete or phenomenal findings, in light of his radically empiricist philosophical insights. The immediate problem for such a reappropriation is that James sharply distinguished between scientifically neutral descriptions of reality, such as are found (...) in Principles, and metaphysical or epistemological reconstructions of such findings, such as he undertakes in his philosophy of radical empiricism. In this essay I will show that James's profound ambivalence about whether we find or create experienced objects must be explicitly raised and resolved before the concrete methodology and findings of Principles can be fully integrated into his radically empirical hermeneutics of praxis and thus constitute his concrete analysis of experience. (shrink)
This essay examines one of the most important but understudied aspects of William James’s philosophy, his doctrine of pluralism. It aims to shed new light on the complex and sometimes ambiguous relationship between James’s pluralism and his doctrines of pragmatism and radical empiricism, and shows that his pluralism is a much more pervasive feature of his philosophy than has usually been thought. In particular, the essay shows that James was a pluralist not only in his metaphysical views, (...) but also in his epistemological, ethical, and religious views, and that these latter views are not always clearly dependent upon his pluralistic metaphysics. (shrink)
Ever since George Berkeley first published Principles of Human Knowledge his metaphysics has been opposed by, among others, some Christian philosophers who allege that his ideas fly in the face of orthodox Christian belief. The irony is that Berkeley’s entire professional career is marked by an unwavering commitment to demonstrating the reasonableness of the Christian faith. In fact, Berkeley’s immaterialist metaphysical system can be seen as an apologetic device. In this paper, I inquire into the question whether Berkeley’s immaterialist metaphysics (...) is congruent with the Christian scriptures. I conclude that not only are Berkeley’s principles consistent with scripture, a case can be made for the claim that certain biblical passages actually recommend his brand of immaterialism. (shrink)
With the development of the division of labor, the household has declined in importance as a unit of economic production. Yet even as the individual wage earner has assumed a central place in modern exchange economies, the household has still been seen as an important unit of distribution, in which wage earners provide for their non-income-producing family members. With the breakdown of the family in recent decades, however, the communal income-sharing function of the family has, in significant part, been taken (...) overby the state. In this essay, I examine this fundamental change in the structure of production and distribution in modern exchange economies. Going beyond this, I propose a new structure of markets–markets for rights to influence collective decision-making within a society. Such markets, I suggest, wouldprovide a source of income for each member of the society. (shrink)
William James's Pluralism: An Antidote for Contemporary Extremism and Absolutism explores extremism and the related problem of absolutism in the context of the psychology and philosophy of William James.
Neil D. Jones, Computability and Complexity. From a Programming Perspective.Neil D. Jones, T. AE. Mogensen, Computability by Functional Languages.M. H. Sorensen, Hilbert's Tenth Problem.A. M. Ben-Amram, The Existence of Optimal Algorithms.
This work is organized into five sections on overcoming nihilism and skepticism, interpretive structures of human experience, hermeneutic methods, knowledge and truth, and overcoming the tradition. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc.
This book, the ninth in a series entitled "Contemporary Studies in Philosophy and the Human Sciences," treats structuralism as a general intellectual movement spanning several disciplines and as a contribution to philosophy. In part 1, Peter Caws considers structuralism as an intellectual movement as it has manifested itself in such disciplines as linguistics, anthropology, mythology, literary criticism, and psychology. Since so many writers who have contributed to structuralism have not explored its implications with the consistency and thoroughness demanded of philosophers, (...) Caws devotes part 2 to a consideration of structuralism as a "subdiscipline of philosophy." Caws's goal is "not only to make the phenomenon intelligible, but also to acknowledge its challenge and usefulness.". (shrink)
William James’s theory of emotion has been controversial since its inception, and a basic analysis of Cannon’s critique is provided. Research on the impact of facial expressions, expressive behaviors, and visceral responses on emotional feelings are each reviewed. A good deal of evidence supports James’s theory that these types of bodily feedback, along with perceptions of situational cues, are each important parts of emotional feelings. Extensions to James’s theory are also reviewed, including evidence of individual differences in (...) the effect of bodily responses on emotional experience. (shrink)
This paper is a commentary on Joseph Corabi’s “The Misuse and Failure of the Evolutionary Argument”, this Journal, vol. VI, No. 39; pp. 199-227. It defends William James’s formulation of the evolutionary argument against charges such as mishandling of evidence. Although there are ways of attacking James’s argument, it remains formidable, and Corabi’s suggested revision is not an improvement on James’s statement of it.
This book aims to contribute significantly to the understanding of issues of value which repeatedly emerge in interdisciplinary discussions on space and society. Although a recurring feature of discussions about space in the humanities, the treatment of value questions has tended to be patchy, of uneven quality and even, on occasion, idiosyncratic rather than drawing upon a close familiarity with state-of-the-art ethical theory. One of the volume's aims is to promote a more robust and theoretically informed approach to the ethical (...) dimension of discussions on space and society. While the contributions are written in a manner which is accessible across disciplines, the book still withstands scrutiny by those whose work is primarily on ethics. At the same time it allows academics across a range of disciplines an insight into current approaches toward how the work of ethics gets done. The issues of value raised could be used to inform debates about regulation, space law and protocols for microbial discovery as well as longer-range policy debates about funding. (shrink)
The original 1907 text of James' Pragmatism is accompanied with a series of critical essays from scholars including Moore and Russell. In the introduction Olin evaluates the strength of the criticisms made against James.
It is testimony to both the incompleteness and suggestiveness of James's philosophy that commentators have argued that the "true" James is consummated in, say, Dewey, or in phenomenology, or Whitehead. Although Ford obviously thinks James's philosophy has a complete identity in its own right, he argues for the Whiteheadian interpretation. He asserts not only that this is the correct interpretation of James, but the correct philosophy simpliciter. The central theses in this argument are that James (...) is both a process philosopher and a panpsychist. (shrink)
Committing financial fraud is a serious breach of business ethics. However, there are few large scale studies of financial fraud, which involve ethical considerations. In this study, we investigate the pervasive financial scandals, which by the end of 2012 involved more than a third of the US-listed Chinese companies. Based on a sample of 262 US-listed Chinese companies, we analyze factors that differentiate between firms that commit financial fraud and those that do not. We find that firms more predisposed to (...) unethical behavior, due to their low regional social trust in the home country and low respect for regulations and laws as proxied by political connections, are more likely to commit accounting and financial fraud. They take advantage of low hurdles for listing via reverse mergers and avoid third-party monitoring through poor governance and auditors. Finally, we find evidence, after these scandals, of non-fraudulent firms differentiating themselves from the fraudulent firms by sending costly signals such as insiders purchasing shares, increasing dividends, and going private. (shrink)
This article critically analyzes Rawls’s attitude towards envy. In A Theory of Justice, Rawls is predominantly concerned with the threat that class envy – or what he calls general envy – poses to political stability. By contrast, he does not think that particular envy – the type of envy that arises between peers competing for the same objects – would be in any way problematic for his ideal political society. I contest this claim by pointing to the politically deleterious effects (...) that peer envy would likely have within a society ordered according to his principles of justice. Section 1 reconstructs Rawls’s conception of peer envy, underlining the causal connection that he draws between this emotion and rivalry. Section 2 argues that since Rawls wishes to promote rivalry within the political and economic spheres, there is good reason to believe that his ideal just society would be marked by elevated levels of peer envy – and perhaps hazardously so. In Section 3, I then briefly turn to ancient Greece, showing how its agonistic culture generated politically destabilizing levels of peer envy. This is followed by an overview of the key institutional mechanisms that the Greeks developed in order to keep peer envy within socially beneficial limits. I conclude that if Rawlsians wish to establish a society structured around political and economic rivalry, they would do well to reflect on the institutional means by which peer envy can be effectively harnessed. (shrink)
William James's 'The Will to Believe" has been criticized for offering untenable arguments in support of belief in unvalidated hypotheses. Although James is no longer accused of sug gesting we can create belief ex nihilo, critics con tinue to charge that James's defense of belief in what he called the "religious hypothesis" con fuses belief with hypothesis adoption and endorses willful persistence in unvalidated beliefs-not, as he claimed, in pursuit of truth, but merely to avoid the emotional (...) stress of abandoning them. I argue that James's position in "The Will to Believe" can be defended pro vided we give up thinking of it as ethics of belief and think of it instead as an ethics of self-experimentation. Subjective data (includ ing wants, needs, and desires) are relevant to rational consent to participation in research. (shrink)
Assuming that the reader accepts, albeit provisionally, that James's "will" to believe, early and late, implies that his ethics is traversed by a deontological streak, and by a "faith" which implies epistemic form on the relevant facts (both interpretations the writer argued for in two previous essays), a final feature of his position entitles one to interpret his "will" to believe as, not merely a willingness or readiness, but as a controlling resolve, in the strong sense, to interpret the (...) facts in a manner appropriate to our living in the "strenuous mood," a mood which is congruent to our universe viewed as "moral." Consider, as a crucial instance, the will to believe which undergirds the "keeping" of a friendship. (shrink)