Jurgen Habermas's critical communications theory of society has excited widespread interest in recent years. The essays in this book explore the research implications of Habermas's theory for the analysis of modern problems of public life.
The landscape of the Sundarbans today is a product of two countervailing forces: conversion of wetland forests to cropland vs. sequestration of the forests in reserves to be managed for long-term sustained yield of wood products. For two centures, land-hungry peasants strove to transform the native tidal forest vegetation into an agroecosystem dominated by paddy rice and fish culture. During the colonial period, their reclamation efforts were encouraged by landlords and speculators, who were themselves encouraged by increasingly favorable state policies (...) (land grants, tax incentives, cadastral surveys, and eventually colonization projects and subsidized irrigation) designed by revenue officials to maximize the rate of transformation of wetland forest to taxable agricultural land.In the late nineteenth century, as the rate of agricultural conversion increased, the colonial Forest Department succcessfully sought to preserve large areas of the remaining Sundarbans tidal forest by giving them legal status as Reserved or Protected Forests. These forests were intensively managed to provide a sustainable supply of timber and firewood for the increasing population of southern Bengal. Institutionalization of conflicting policies by the Revenue and Forest Departments reflected the escalating needs for both food and forest products as the colony grew. Today, supplies of some economically valuable trees have been depleted, and some mammals are locally extinct (although the Bengal tiger remains), but government policy in both Bangladesh and India now favors use of the Sundarbans as forest rather than its transformation to agricultural land. Further expansion of cropland to meet the grain demands of the burgeoning Bengali population in both nations has largely taken place outside the boundaries of the Sundarbans. Overexploitation of these forests for wood products remains a possibility, but large-scale clearing for rice paddies is unlikely under present policies. (shrink)
John Horty effectively develops deontic logic (the logic of ethical concepts like obligation and permission) against the background of a formal theory of agency. He incorporates certain elements of decision theory to set out a new deontic account of what agents ought to do under various conditions over extended periods of time. Offering a conceptual rather than technical emphasis, Horty's framework allows a number of recent issues from moral theory to be set out clearly and discussed from a uniform (...) point of view. (shrink)
Originally published in 1830, this book can be called the first modern work in the philosophy of science, covering an extraordinary range of philosophical, methodological, and scientific subjects. "Herschel's book . . . brilliantly analyzes both the history and nature of science."—Keith Stewart Thomson, American Scientist.
In this volume, John Horty brings to bear his work in logic to present a framework that allows for answers to key questions about reasons and reasoning, namely: What are reasons, and how do they support actions or conclusions?
Written by a highly respected scholar of Thomas Aquinas's writings, this volume offers a comprehensive presentation of Aquinas's metaphysical thought. It is based on a thorough examination of his texts organized according to the philosophical order as he himself describes it rather than according to the theological order. -/- In the introduction and opening chapter, John F. Wippel examines Aquinas's view on the nature of metaphysics as a philosophical science and the relationship of its subject to divine being. Part (...) One is devoted to his metaphysical analysis of finite being. It considers his views on the problem of the One and the Many in the order of being, and includes his debt to Parmenides in formulating this problem and his application of analogy to finite being. Subsequent chapters are devoted to participation in being, the composition of essence and esse in finite beings, and his appeal to a kind of relative nonbeing in resolving the problem of the One and the Many. Part Two concentrates on Aquinas's views on the essential structure of finite being, and treats substance-accident composition and related issues, including, among others, the relationship between the soul and its powers and unicity of substantial form. It then considers his understanding of matter-form composition of corporeal beings and their individuation. Part Three explores Aquinas's philosophical discussion of divine being, his denial that God's existence is self-evident, and his presentation of arguments for the existence of God, first in earlier writings and then in the "Five Ways" of his Summa theologiae. A separate chapter is devoted to his views on quidditative and analogical knowledge of God. The concluding chapter revisits certain issues concerning finite being under the assumption that God's existence has now been established. -/- John F. Wippel, professor of philosophy at The Catholic University of America, was recently awarded the prestigious Aquinas Medal by the American Catholic Philosophical Association. In addition to numerous articles and papers, Wippel has coauthored or edited several other works, including Metaphysical Themes in Thomas Aquinas and The Metaphysical Thought of Godfrey of Fontaines, both published by CUA Press. (shrink)
In his “Theology and Falsification” Professor Antony Flew challenges the sophisticated religious believer to state under what conceivable occurrences he would concede that there really is no God Who loves mankind: ‘Just what would have to happen not merely to tempt but also, logically and rightly, to entitle us to say “God does not love us” or even “God does not exist”? I therefore put…the simple central questions, “What would have to occur or to have occurred to constitute for you (...) a disproof of the love of, or of the existence of, God”?’. (shrink)
IN 1903, commenting on an article he had written more than thirty years before, Charles Peirce said that he had changed his mind on many issues at least a half-dozen times but had "never been able to think differently on that question of nominalism and realism" (1.20). For anyone acquainted with Peirce's writings, this remark alone could justify a study of "that question.".
Let us say that a normative conﬂict is a situation in which an agent ought to perform an action A, and also ought to perform an action B, but in which it is impossible for the agent to perform both A and B. Not all normative conﬂicts are moral conﬂicts, of course. It may be that the agent ought to perform the action A for reasons of personal generosity, but ought to perform the action B for reasons of prudence: perhaps (...) A involves buying a lavish gift for a friend, while B involves depositing a certain amount of money in the bank. In general, our practical deliberation is shaped by a concern with a variety of morally neutral goods—not just generosity and prudence, but any number of others, such as etiquette, aesthetics, fun—many of which are capable of providing conﬂicting reasons for action. I mention these ancillary values in the present setting, however, only to put them aside. We will be concerned here, not with normative conﬂicts more generally, but precisely with moral conﬂicts—situations in which, even when our attention is restricted entirely to moral reasons for action, it is nevertheless true that an agent ought to do A and ought to do B, where it is impossible to do both. (shrink)
From a philosophical standpoint, the work presented here is based on van Fraassen . The bulk of that paper is organized around a series of arguments against the assumption, built into standard deontic logic, that moral dilemmas are impossible; and van Fraassen only briefly sketches his alternative approach. His paper ends with the conclusion that “the problem of possibly irresolvable moral conflict reveals serious flaws in the philosophical and semantic foundations of ‘orthodox’ deontic logic, but also suggests a rich set (...) of new problems and methods for such logic.” My goal has been to suggest that some of these methods might be found in current research on nonmonotonic reasoning, and that some of the problems may have been confronted there as well.I have shown that nonmonotonic logics provide a natural framework for reasoning about moral dilemmas, perhaps even more useful than the ordinary modal framework, and that the issues surrounding the treatment of exceptional information within these logics run parallel to some of the problems posed by conditional oughts. However, there is also another way in which deontic logic might benefit from a connection to nonmonotonic reasoning. A familiar criticism among ethicists of work in deontic logic is that it is too abstract, and too far removed from the kind of problems confronted by real agents in moral deliberation. It must be said that similar criticisms of abstraction and irrelevance are often lodged against work in nonmonotonic reasoning by more practically minded researchers in artificial intelligence; but here, at least, the criticisms are taken seriously. Nonmonotonic logic aims at a qualitative account of commonsense reasoning, which can be used to relate planning and action to defeasible goals and beliefs; and at least some of the theories developed in this area have been tested in realistic situations. By linking the subject of deontic logic to this research, it may be possible also to relate the idealized study of moral reasoning typical of the field to a more robust treatment of practical deliberation. (shrink)
This paper describes one way in which a precise reason model of precedent could be developed, based on the general idea that courts are constrained to reach a decision that is consistent with the assessment of the balance of reasons made in relevant earlier decisions. The account provided here has the additional advantage of showing how this reason model can be reconciled with the traditional idea that precedential constraint involves rules, as long as these rules are taken to be defeasible. (...) The account presented is firmly based on a body of work that has emerged in AI and Law. This work is discussed, and there is a particular discussion of approaches based on theory construction, and how that work relates to the model described in this paper. (shrink)
The material to follow challenges the conceptual uniqueness and contribution of the content of the field of marketing ethics. Based on a comprehensive inspection of the marketing ethics literature, this "review note" (an uncommon genre of academic manuscript – a briefly-presented review highlighting a specific point) concludes that, in terms of pragmatic behavioral guidance as well as conceptual content, marketing ethics has nothing new nor distinctive to offer. Though an initially unexpected conclusion, perhaps, explanation is provided for why marketing ethics' (...) absence of contribution is perfectly natural and appropriate. Evidence also is found to establish that the paper's contrarian-appearing position may not be extremist after all. (shrink)
This paper develops a pragmatist approach to ethical business decision-making. It draws primarily on the work of John Dewey and applies his deliberative approach to ethics to the challenges of business practitioners. In particular the paper proposes the value of Dewey’s concept of dramatic rehearsal in emphasizing the task of “constructing the good” in ethical decision-making. The contribution of the paper is, first, to build on recent foundational work to bring American pragmatism into the mainstream business ethics literature; second, (...) to offer a perspective that is accessible to practitioners and integrates ethics into their daily tasks; and third, to identify a number of related research imperatives – in particular the importance of focusing efforts on gaining a deeper understanding of the deliberative process itself. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to explore a new deontic operator for representing what an agent ought to do; the operator is cast against the background of a modal treatment of action developed by Nuel Belnap and Michael Perloff, which itself relies on Arthur Prior's indeterministic tense logic. The analysis developed here of what an agent ought to do is based on a dominance ordering adapted from the decision theoretic study of choice under uncertainty to the present account of (...) action. It is shown that this analysis gives rise to a normal deontic operator, and that the result is superior to an analysis that identifies what an agent ought to do with what it ought to be that the agent does. (shrink)
The result model of precedent holds that a legal precedent controls a fortiori cases—those cases, that is, that are at least as strong for the winning side of the precedent as the precedent case itself. This paper defends the result model against some objections by Larry Alexander, drawing on ideas from the field of Artificial Intelligence and Law in order to define an appropriate strength ordering for cases.
An acceptable empiricist account of laws of nature would havesignificant implications for a number of philosophical projects. For example, such an account may vitiate argumentsthat the fundamental constants of nature are divinelydesigned so that laws produce a life permittinguniverse. On an empiricist account, laws do not produce the universe but are designed by us to systematize theevents of a universe which does in fact contain life; so any ``fine tuning'' of natural law has a naturalistic explanation.But there are problems for (...) the empiricist project. This paper develops a ``perspectival'' version of the Humean bestsystem approach and argues that this version solves the standard problems faced by the empiricist project.Furthermore, the paper argues, this version is best able to answer the proponents of divine design while leaving scientificlaw a suitably objective matter.[I]t is possible tocondense the enormous mass of results to a large extent – that is to find laws which summarize...Richard Feynman It has become fashionable in some circles to argue thatscience is ultimately a sham, that we scientists read order into nature, not out of nature, and that the laws of physicsare our laws, not nature's. I believe this is arrant nonsense. You would be hard-pressed to convince a physicist thatNewton's inverse square law of gravitation is a purely cultural concoction. The laws of physics, I submit, reallyexist in the world out there, and the job of the scientist is to uncover them, not invent them. True, at any giventime, the laws you find in the textbooks are tentative and approximate, but they mirror, albeit imperfectly, a reallyexisting order in the physical world. Of course, many scientists do not recognize that in accepting the reality of anorder in nature-the existence of laws `out there' – they are adopting a theological world view. P. C. W. Davies. (shrink)
Is nature all there is? John Haught examines this question and in doing so addresses a fundamental issue in the dialogue of science with religion. The belief that nature is all there is and that no overall purpose exists in the universe is known broadly as 'naturalism'. Naturalism, in this context, denies the existence of any realities distinct from the natural world and human culture. Since the rise of science in the modern world has had so much influence on (...) naturalism's intellectual acceptance, the author focuses on 'scientific' naturalism and the way in which its defenders are now attempting to put a distance between contemporary thought and humanity's religious traditions. Haught seeks to provide a reasonable, scientifically informed alternative to naturalism. His approach will provide the basis for lively discussion among students, scholars, scientists, theologians and intellectually curious people in general. (shrink)
My article critically evaluates five key claims in Kerr’s interpretation of Aquinas’s De Ente et Essentia, ch. 4, proof for God. The claims are: the absolutely considered essence is a second intention, or cognitional being; à la John Wippel, the real distinction between essence and existence is known before the proof; contra David Twetten, Aristotelian form is not self-actuating and so requires actus essendi; the De Ente proof for God uses the Principle of Sufficient Reason; an infinite regress must (...) be eliminated before concluding to God. This author wonders if these questionable claims are traceable to the mindset of analytic philosophy which values precision and discreteness and so can fail to appreciate crucial paradoxes in Aquinas’s metaphysics. (shrink)