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)
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)
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)
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)
This article responds to Dr. Gallup's comments on animal rights. We are not yet ready to discuss whether animals have rights as long as we cannot give a better account of why human persons have rights than the account offered by Dr. Gallup. He thinks that persons have rights only if we say they do. I claim that we have rights for a very different and far more rational reason, namely because we are persons. We say we have rights not (...) to create them but to register the existence of rights which we had before we said anything on the subject. Rights are social in the sense that they can be respected or violated only by another person. But they are not social in the sense that they are conferred by a social consensus. As soon as one person encounters another, the rights of each become actual, and this whether the rights are socially recognized and vindicated or not; for they emerge necessarily as a result of the fact that it is two persons who encounter each other. The only way Dr. Gallup can resist my position is to maintain that there are no persons in reality, but that a being is a person only if we say so. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (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.
This book examines recent developments in sources of public international law, such as treaties and custom operating among nations in their mutual relations, as well as developments in some of the primary rules of law international institutions created by these processes. It finds that public international law has become increasingly dysfunctional in dealing with some of the primary problems facing the world community, such as the maintenance of international peace and security, violations of international human rights and the law of (...) armed conflict, arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, and international environmental issues, and that international law and international institutions face a problematic future. It concludes, however, that all is not lost. There are possible alternative futures for international law and legal process, but choosing among them will require the world community making hard choices. (shrink)
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)
There are a bewildering variety of claims connecting Darwin to nineteenth-century philosophy of science—including to Herschel, Whewell, Lyell, German Romanticism, Comte, and others. I argue here that Herschel’s influence on Darwin is undeniable. The form of this influence, however, is often misunderstood. Darwin was not merely taking the concept of “analogy” from Herschel, nor was he combining such an analogy with a consilience as argued for by Whewell. On the contrary, Darwin’s Origin is written in precisely the manner that one (...) would expect were Darwin attempting to model his work on the precepts found in Herschel’s Preliminary Discourse on Natural Science. While Hodge has worked out a careful interpretation of both Darwin and Herschel, drawing similar conclusions, his interpretation misreads Herschel’s use of the vera causa principle and the verification of hypotheses. The new reading that I present here resolves this trouble, combining Hodge’s careful treatment of the structure of the Origin with a more cautious understanding of Herschel’s philosophy of science. This interpretation lets us understand why Darwin laid out the Origin in the way that he did and also why Herschel so strongly disagreed, including in Herschel’s heretofore unanalyzed marginalia in his copy of Darwin’s book. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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.".