Research on aggression and terror management theory suggests shortcomings in Nell's analysis of cruelty. Hostile aggression and exposure to aggressive cues are not inherently reinforcing, though they may be enjoyed if construed within a meaningful cultural framework. Terror management research suggests that human cruelty stems from the desire to defend one's cultural worldview and to participate in a heroic triumph over evil.
Is the no-minimum claim true? I have argued that it is not. Andrew Cullison contends that my argument fails, since human sentience is variable; while Michael Schrynemakers has contended that the failure is my neglect of vagueness. Both, I argue, are wrong.
In his new book on Pascal's Wager, Jeff Jordan argues that only the ‘Jamesian’ version of the wager argument, as he sees it presented in William James' essay The Will to Believe , constitutes a sound pragmatic argument in favour of theism, whereas Pascal's original wager argument is doomed to fail on various grounds. This article argues that Jordan's theory is untenable. The many-gods objection is used as an example: it is demonstrated that the Jamesian Wager argument too is (...) powerless to rebut this objection. (shrink)
The main aim of Jeff McMahan's manuscript on the morality of war is to answer the question: why and accordingly when is it justified or permissible to kill people in war? However, McMahan argues that the same principles apply to individual actions and to war. McMahan rejects all doctrines of collective responsibility and liability. His claim is that every individual is liable for what he has done and not for the actions of others - even if both are part (...) of the same collective. Accordingly, McMahan challenges the common view that it is much easier to justify killing in war compared to killing in other contexts. Therefore, the scope of his project exceeds the context of war and extends to interpersonal conflicts between individuals that do not qualify as war. Many of McMahan's main claims are appealing. Particularly, appealing is his rejection of the collectivist account of war. Indeed, it seems that the simple story according to which people are responsible solely for their actions - rather than (also) to the actions of others - should be held on until a different, more complex, account of collective responsibility is put forward and its plausibility is explained. Therefore, the article focuses on the general principles advocated by McMahan with regard to the resolution of all interpersonal conflicts: Whether these conflicts are small scale or large scale (that is, whether few or a many people are involved in the conflict), and within the latter category of conflicts involving many people, whether these conflicts qualify as war (according to some standard) or not. (shrink)
Recently Jeff Jordan has argued against the view that divine perfection would require God to love every human with equal maximal intensity. He asserts that his argument depends on principles of perfect being theology which he develops and defends. In this paper I argue that Jordan’s case can be better understood as two conceptually distinct arguments, only one of which depends on his proffered principles of perfect being theology. I then critically evaluate each of these arguments, arguing that both (...) are unsuccessful. (shrink)
Most works about the philosophy of Martin Heidegger either disregard Heidegger’s attachment to National Socialism or assume the ‘minimalist’ view that his attachment was a brief political aberration of no consequence for his philosophy. This paper contends that the minimalist view is not only factually wrong but also that its assumption promotes methodological errors and poor philosophy. To assess this contention we examine two important texts from one of the more fertile fields in current philosophy: Jeff Malpas’s Heidegger’s Topology: (...) Being, Place, World (2006) and Heidegger and the Thinking of Place (2012). Malpas claims that Heidegger’s rejection of National Socialism spurred, or was concomitant with, new directions in his philosophy. These claims are wrong. The paper concludes that any work about Heidegger’s philosophy must first acknowledge and understand his enduring attachment to National Socialism. (shrink)
This essay responds to Jeff Malpas's foregoing article, itself written in response to my various publications over the past two decades concerning Donald Davidson's ideas about truth, meaning, and interpretation. It has to do mainly with our disagreement as regards the substantive content of Davidson's truth-based semantic approach in relation to the problematic legacy of logical empiricism, including Quine's incisive but no less problematical critique of that legacy. I also raise questions with respect to Malpas's coupling of Davidson with (...) Heidegger, intended to provide a more adequate depth-ontological grounding for the formalized (logico-semantic) conception of truth that Davidson adopts from Tarski. My essay then argues the case for an outlook of objectivist causal realism joined with a theory of inference to the best, most rational explanation that would satisfy this need in more philosophically (as well as scientifically) accountable terms. (shrink)
Este texto observa alguns aspectos da relação entre fotografia e produção de um discurso sobre o cotidiano contemporâneo, através do trabalho de Jeff Wall. O que se inscreve nestas imagens é a proposição de um diálogo entre espaço e personagem, como duas figuras narrativas privilegiadas, vistas sob o jogo de uma inversão dos estatutos do real e do ficcional como elemento de uma estratégia visual responsável pela construção de uma releitura do cotidiano. Trata-se de observar os elementos enunciativos presentes (...) nas fotografias que articulam uma relação entre personagens e espaços (ambientes) evidenciando uma configuração específica sobre o sujeito ordinário e seu contexto, em especial, o urbano. (shrink)
Can we interpret human reason simultaneously as a product of neurochemistry and natural selection and as a transcendental standard? Jeff Mason asks the analogous question of philosophical writing. Can we interpret philosophical discourse as "rhetorical," embodied in language, and designed to persuade historical audiences, and at the same time preserve its traditional intention to disclose truths that transcend language, history, and audiences? Mason argues that these polar attitudes toward philosophical writing are untenable precisely when they exclude each other. This (...) is a significant project with important literary and metaphilosophical consequences. (shrink)
Jeff Jordan has recently challenged the idea, widely accepted among theistic philosophers, that “God’s love must be maximally extended and equally intense.” By way of a response, I suggest a way to sidestep Jordan’s argument entirely and then try to show that his own argument is multiply flawed. I thus conclude that his challenge is unsuccessful.
Jeff McMahan, one of the leading contemporary writers on ‘just war thinking’, argues in the book under review, Killing in War, that one of the central tenets of the ‘ius in bello’, namely the moral equality of combatants, is both conceptually and morally untenable. This results from a reflection upon and a departure from two basic assumptions in Walzer’s work, namely the idea that war itself isn’t a relation between persons, but between political entities and their human instruments and (...) the idea that the ‘ius ad bellum’ and ‘ius in bello’ are and should be kept distinct. This book merits serious reflection. However, the disadvantages of McMahan’s position are obvious. If the rights of combatants during war depend on the justice of their cause, the immunity of the civilians on the side of the supposed ‘unjust’ enemy is seriously endangered. (shrink)
The article begins with a summary of Jeffrey Bishop’s The Anticipatory Corpse. Bishop traces the malady of contemporary medicine to its reliance on the corpse as the “epistemologically normative body” and its “metaphysics of efficient causation.” He displays care for the dying as symptomatic of medicine’s malady. He closes the book with the provocative question of whether “only theology can save medicine.” The article then turns to the theology of John Calvin as a possible resource for the re-imagining of medicine, (...) for the revision of its epistemology and metaphysics, and for reforming care for the dying. Calvin’s epistemology, as developed by “Reformed epistemology,” is examined as a response to medicine’s epistemology and metaphysics. Four points are emphasized: 1) that faith is knowledge, that there is no divide between faith and knowledge; 2) that faith’s knowledge is properly basic, providing the context and standard for all knowing; 3) that faith’s knowledge is intimately related to the moral life; and 4) that faith’s knowledge is therapeutic for medicine’s malady and can provide remedies for what Bishop regards as symptomatic of its malady. (shrink)
This volume collects eight essays on Nietzsche and Dostoevsky written by scholars from different humanities fields. What unites them is the idea that, after more than a century, the writings of Nietzsche and Dostoevsky and the relations between them still represent a major challenge for contemporary readers. The range of subjects that the authors tackle is wide, from crime, truth, art, and nihilism to pessimism, tragedy, and the unconscious. The result is a stimulating collection of essays that explore some of (...) the similarities, as well as the radical differences, between two of the greatest minds of the nineteenth century.The first essay is written in a literary style by Geoff Waite and Francesca Cernia Slovin, who... (shrink)