There has been a recent surge of interest in ancient accounts of free will. It is surprising, then, that there have been virtually no attempts to discuss whether Plato had such an account. Those who have made an attempt quickly deny that such an account is present in the dialogues. I shall argue that if we draw a distinction between two notions of free will, it is plausible that some account of free will is, in fact, present in the dialogues, (...) the Republic in particular. This is the first in depth search into the question and I demonstrate that the defender of a Platonic free will thesis has more resources than she first appears to. It also has the benefit of giving us an obvious source material for Augustine's discussion. (shrink)
Prepared by editors of the distinguished series The Works of Jonathan Edwards, this authoritative anthology includes selected treatises, sermons, and autobiographical material by early America’s greatest theologian and philosopher.
Presents an analysis of Jonathan Edwards' theological position. This book includes a study of his life and the intellectual issues in the America of his time, and examines the problem of free will in connection with Leibniz, Locke, and Hume.
This article focuses on Jonathan Berg’s Theory of Direct Belief as presented in his 2012 book Direct Belief. An Essay on the Semantics, Pragmatics, and Metaphysics of Belief. After regimenting Berg’s key theses and discussing the sources of their general unpopularity, I proceed to reconstruct Berg’s book-length argument for his conclusions. I here make explicit that Berg relies on a range of strong meta-semantic principles and assumptions. I conclude that even if Berg has brought considerable methodological rigor to the (...) on-going debate over the semantics of natural language attitude ascriptions, and has proposed an elegant and consistent theory, he has not offered compelling reasons to accept his preferred methodological constraints in light of the difficulties, which those constraints impose upon attitude ascription semantics. (shrink)
The contemporary revival of virtue ethics has focused primarily on retrieving central moral commitments of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and the Neoplatonist traditions. Christian virtue ethicists would do well to expand this retrieval further to include the writings of the Roman Stoics. This essay argues that the ethics of Jonathan Edwards exemplifies major Stoic themes and explores three noteworthy points of intersection between Stoic ethics and Edwards's thought: a conception of virtue as consent to a benevolent providence, the identification of (...) virtue as a singular and transformative good, and an account of moral formation as simultaneously self-directed and received. Common ground between Edwards and the Stoics illustrates the value of recognizing Stoic moral thought as a philosophical framework that can enhance and undergird Christian ethicists' understandings of moral development and the nature of virtue. (shrink)
Although philosophical theologians have sometimes claimed that human beings are necessarily dependent on God, few have developed the idea with any precision. Jonathan Edwards is a notable exception, providing a detailed and often novel account of humanity’s essential ontological, moral, and soteriological dependence on God.
The contemporary interest in spiritual experience has some theological and ethical ambiguity. To what extent does it reflect genuine engagement with the sacred, to what extent is it dabbling in experience without adequate interpretation or moral commitment? Jonathan Edwards faced similar challenges in his sermons on 1 Cor 13, "Charity and Its Fruits". Alasdair Maclntyre and Pierre Hadot have explored the constitutive role of practices in forming of virtues and transmitting a way of life. Their writings help show the (...) continuing relevance of the spiritual practices that Edwards advocated, particularly self-examination, healing by contraries, and solidarity. (shrink)
The incompleteness of the task of integrating the influences made upon Jonathan Edwards by Calvinism and the moral sense leaves open a great many questions central to identifying his ethical position with any detail. This should worry ethicists, theologians, and church historians alike. For the puzzle of what Edwards meant by virtue is at the heart not only of his ethics but of a great many strands of his thought. It must be pieced together from diverse sources; and there (...) are multiple meanings to be sifted through. But it is nevertheless possible to bring the concepts made available by the diverse moral traditions upon which Edwards drew into a generally coherent counterpoise. Such a counterpoise is not merely of antiquarian interest. Lacking a precise account of Edwards's ethical position, it is awkward to talk about applying it to the problems of the twenty-first, or any, century. (shrink)
Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian. His work as a whole is an expression of two themes — the absolute sovereignty of God and the beauty of God's holiness. The first is articulated in Edwards' defense of theological determinism, in a doctrine of occasionalism, and in his insistence that physical objects are only collections of sensible “ideas” while finite minds are mere assemblages of “thoughts” or “perceptions.” As the only real (...) cause or substance underlying physical and mental phenomena, God is “being in general,” the “sum of all being.” -/- Edwards' second theme is articulated in accounts of God's end in creation, and of the nature of true virtue and true beauty. God creates in order to manifest a holiness which consists in a benevolence which alone is truly beautiful. Genuine human virtue is an imitation of divine benevolence and all finite beauty is an image of divine loveliness. True virtue is needed to discern this beauty, however, and to reason rightly about “divine things.”. (shrink)
La crítica del siglo XX ha hecho ver que varias de las obras de Jonathan Swift están vinculadas tanto con las condiciones sociales, políticas y culturales irlandesas como con algunas teorías, las cuales han quedado en la oscuridad para algunas investigaciones literarias, a pesar del hecho de que pue..
Reasoning es una obra monumental de más de mil páginas editada en estrecha colaboración por el filósofo Jonathan E. Adler y el psicólogo Lance J. Rips para esclarecer el intrincado campo de investigación relacionado con los fundamentos de la inferencia y, en general, del razonamiento humano. En la actualidad, en pocos casos va unido el trabajo de compilar y editar textos científicos con el afán enciclopédico: un proyecto editorial que sobrepasa con razón los objetivos de la mayor parte de (...) los libros editados para la recopilación de artículos en torno a un mismo tema de investigación. Reasoning supone un empeño de características enciclopédicas: ha conseguido convertirse en una referencia obligada desde que saliera a la luz en 2008 para ofrecer al lector especialista artículos científicos de las más reputadas y consolidadas voces en aquellos campos de conocimiento presentes ya en los proyectos enciclopédicos europeos del siglo de las luces, a saber: el significado del racionalismo, los límites imputables a la naturaleza del conocimiento humano, las paradojas presentes en la inducción, etc. (shrink)
En este trabajo pretendemos abordar la teoría del Intuicionismo social, realizada por el psicólogo Jonathan Haidt en oposición al modelo racionalista de Piaget y Kohlberg. Analizaremos sus elementos principales y especialmente sus implicaciones normativas. En particular nos centraremos en su conocida teoría del «desconcierto moral» con la que pretende mostrar la desconexión existente entre el juicio moral y la reflexión como dos procesos independientes.
In this response to the papers on Jonathan Edwards's ethical thought by Stephen A. Wilson, Gerald R. McDermott, William C. Spohn, and Roland A. Delattre, I comment on their efforts to show that ideas drawn from Edwards can be successfully appropriated for use in contemporary ethics. I conclude that the four authors build a strong cumulative case for the view that some elements of Edwards's thought can serve as resources for our ethical reflections. But I also argue for a (...) deflationary view of how much of Edwards we will find it feasible to take on board when we engage in the task of working out a religious ethics we might accept. (shrink)
Ludwig Wittgenstein y Jonathan Swift. El primero desde la filosofía y el segundo desde la literatura. Por una parte, están las anotaciones de Wittgenstein en sus Investigaciones Filosóficas y en el libro Sobre la certeza . Por otra parte, está la novela de Swift titulada Los Viajes de Gulliver . Ambos autores, a pesar de sus diferencias discursivas, plantean un asunto problemático respecto al quehacer filosófico: los giros y malabarismos lingüísticos en los que suele caer la filosofía por su (...) afán de certezas y de establecer principios universales. A partir de las inquietudes de Wittgenstein y las parodias de Jonathan Swift, se realiza un diagnóstico del quehacer filosófico desde sus manías y sus hábitos discursivos. Wittgenstein nos deja las preguntas abiertas. Swift nos deja la posibilidad de responder desde el ámbito de la risa. Y en el presente ensayo se pretende partir de ambos autores para hablar de la filosofía desde el lugar de la comedia. (shrink)
The sixteen essays written in honour of Jonathan Barnes for this volume reflect the impressive scope of his contributions to philosophy. Six are on knowledge, five on logic and metaphysics, five on ethics. The volume ranges widely over ancient philosophy, while also finding room for two contemporary papers on truth and vagueness. Aristotle is prominent in eight of the essays; Plato, Sextus Empiricus, the Stoics, the Epicureans, and ancient Greek medical writers are also discussed. The contributors include some of (...) the most distinguished scholars of our time. (shrink)
Jonathan Dancy works within almost all fields of philosophy but is best known as the leading proponent of moral particularism. Particularism challenges “traditional” moral theories, such as Contractualism, Kantianism and Utilitarianism, in that it denies that moral thought and judgement relies upon, or is made possible by, a set of more or less well-defined, hierarchical principles. During the summer of 2006, the Philosophy Departments of Lund University (Sweden) and the University of Reading (England) began a series of exchanges to (...) take place every other year, alternating between the departments. Andreas Lind and Johan Brännmark arranged to meet Dancy during the first meeting in Lund to talk about questions regarding particularism, moral theory and the shape of the analytical tradition. The major part of the conversation is printed below. (shrink)
The Journal of "Religious Ethics" marks the tercentenary of Edwards's birth with the following collection of essays. In keeping with the overall mission of the journal, this tribute takes the form of historical and constructive reflection, in which diverse perspectives on Edwards's work and diverse forms of engagement with it supplement and correct one another. Our hope is that these essays will serve both to generate interest in Edwards's work among those who are unfamiliar with him, and to advance the (...) discussion of central issues in theological and religious ethics. In this introductory essay, we will offer some reflections on Edwards's general significance for contemporary ethics, followed by a closer examination of his main texts and a brief summary of the essays collected here. (shrink)
In this essay I address three ways in which Edwards can inform Christian understanding of public life. First I show how Edwards provides both philosophical and theological rationales for social engagement and thereby resists the separation of religion from public life, and use his consideration of poverty as an illustration. Part II examines Edwards's dialectical treatment of patriotism, demonstrating both its importance to the Christian life and its susceptibility to deceptive accommodation to culture. Finally, in Part III I discuss Edwards's (...) use of "national covenant," which despite its temptation to chauvinism Edwards used to undermine national pride. In the conclusion I assess what we can use from Edwards for contemporary Christian understandings of public life. (shrink)
This is a tricentennial riff on the Edwardsean idea that beauty is both the first principle of being and the distinguishing perfection of God. What is really distinctive about Edwards's view of beauty is that it is an ontological reality and consists in joyfully bestowing being and beauty more than in being beautiful, in creative and beautifying activity more than in being beautiful. Edwards was also a pioneer in the way he envisaged a lively universe created by God, not out (...) of nothing or out of something, but out of the very fullness of God's own life overflowing into a world as a self-enlargement of the divine life. Edwards dares to offer a vision of God as the animating soul of the universe who governs the universe by the attractive and creative power of God's own beautifying life. What might it mean for religious ethics to take this as a description of the context for its work? The answer, in part and in brief, is that a life of true virtue, grounded in the heartfelt piety of holy affections, is a beautifying life. My aim in spinning out some Edwardsean themes is to encourage the reader to think about religious ethics outside the box within which beauty and beautifying activity play no part in defining the agenda of religious ethics. Inspired by themes unique and central to Edwards in his time, we may learn things of importance to religious ethics in our time that Edwards neither knew nor believed. (shrink)
Edward Jonathan Lowe (usually cited as E. J. Lowe) was one of the most significant philosophers of the twentieth and early twenty-first century. He made sustained and significant contributions to debates in metaphysics, ontology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophical logic, and philosophy of religion, as well as contributing important scholarly work in early modern philosophy (most notably on Locke). -/- Over the length of his career, Lowe published eleven single-authored books, four co-edited collections, and well over 300 (...) papers and book reviews in journals and edited volumes. The range of topics covered in his published work is highly eclectic. Given this, and his prolific rate of publication, this article cannot aim to cover all of the questions that Lowe contributed work on. Instead, it will focus on some of his most significant contributions in metaphysics and ontology, and related topics in other areas of philosophy. -/- This choice of focus stems, in part, from Lowe’s strong belief in the inescapability of metaphysical questions. Lowe argued for the need to approach metaphysics, and philosophy more broadly, in a serious, systematic fashion, likening metaphysics to putting together the pieces of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, working with, rather than trying to overrule or being secondary to, natural science. -/- Although the sections in this article focus on different topics, the highly systematic nature of Lowe’s work means that there are many potential points of intersection that could be drawn between them. In the interests of providing a navigable summary of Lowe’s work, this article highlights only some of these connections. (shrink)
The dominant approach to environmental policy endorsed by conservative and libertarian policy thinkers, so-called “free market environmentalism”, is grounded in the recognition and protection of property rights in environmental resources. Despite this normative commitment to property rights, most self-described FME advocates adopt a utilitarian, welfare-maximization approach to climate change policy, arguing that the costs of mitigation measures could outweigh the costs of climate change itself. Yet even if anthropogenic climate change is decidedly less than catastrophic, human-induced climate change is likely (...) to contribute to environmental changes that violate traditional conceptions of property rights. Viewed globally, the actions of some countries—primarily industrialized nations—are likely to increase environmental harms suffered by other countries—less developed nations that have not made any significant contribution to climate change. It may well be that aggregate human welfare would be maximized in a warmer, wealthier world, or that the gains from climate change will offset environmental losses. Yet such claims, even if demonstrated, would not address the normative concern that the consequences of anthropogenic global warming would infringe upon the rights of people in less-developed nations. As a consequence, this paper calls for a rethinking of FME approaches to climate change policy. (shrink)
Jonathan Quong’s book, Liberalism without Perfection, provides an innovative new defense of political liberalism based on an “internal conception” of the goal of public justification. Quong argues that public justification need merely be addressed to persons who affirm liberal political values, allowing people to be coerced without a public justification if they reject liberal values or their priority over comprehensive values. But, by extensively restricting members of the justificatory public to a highly idealized constituency of liberals, Quong’s political liberalism (...) becomes objectionably sectarian. Coercing citizens without a public justification if they hold non-liberal comprehensive views is no different from the sectarian perfectionist view that people can be coerced without a public justification if they hold false comprehensive views. Quong argues that some degree of sectarianism is unavoidable in formulating a conception of political liberalism. While this may be, I maintain that the internal conception is nonetheless excessively sectarian. To demonstrate this, I develop an attractive competitor conception, the convergence conception, which addresses public justification to a diverse, moderately idealized justificatory public. If convergence is a viable interpretation of political liberalism, I argue, then the internal conception is excessively sectarian. (shrink)
Arrhenius and Rabinowicz have argued that Millian qualitative superiorities are possible without assuming that any pleasure, or type of pleasure, is infinitely superior to another. But AR's analysis is fatally flawed in the context of ethical hedonism, where the assumption in question is necessary and sufficient for Millian qualitative superiorities. Marginalist analysis of the sort pressed by AR continues to have a valid role to play within any plausible version of hedonism, provided the fundamental incoherence that infects AR's use of (...) such analysis is removed. But what AR call ‘Millian superiorities’ are never genuine qualitative superiorities in Mill's sense. Mill scholars need to appreciate this point and recognize that the interpretation of qualitative superiorities as infinite superiorities is the only interpretation which is compatible with the text of Mill's Utilitarianism. The continuing failure to appreciate the possibility of infinite superiorities has precluded any adequate understanding of the extraordinary structure of Mill's pluralistic hedonistic utilitarianism. (shrink)
This article is a response to Jonathan Smith’s attempted rebuttal to the accusations I had made that Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis’s methodical procedures did not meet generally accepted scientific criteria. Each of Smith’s defenses was carefully examined and found to be lacking. IPA’s claim to have roots in contemporary phenomenological philosophy was found to be seriously deficient and its claim that it has a basis in hermeneutics was superficial. IPA’s hesitation to proclaim fixed methods makes the possibility of replication of (...) IPA studies impossible and thus it makes the fulfillment of an important scientific criterion impossible. Its claim that its findings are subjective fails to meet the important scientific criterion of objectivity or even intersubjectivity. Consequently, the claims that I made in my original article were basically sustained and repeated. (shrink)
John Stuart Mill argued, in his Principles of Political Economy, that existing laws and customs of private property ought to be reformed to promote a far more egalitarian form of capitalism than hitherto observed anywhere. He went on to suggest that such an ideal capitalism might evolve spontaneously into a decentralized socialism involving a market system of competing worker co-operatives. That possibility of market socialism emerged only as the working classes gradually developed the intellectual and moral qualities required for worker (...) co-operatives to succeed against private firms. Workers would tend to reject the hierarchical wage relation as they developed the requisite personal qualities, he believed, and capitalists, facing escalating wages for skilled labour as a result of the diminishing supply of high-quality workers for hire, would tend to lend their capital to the worker co-operatives ‘at a diminishing rate of interest, and at last, perhaps, even to exchange their capital for terminable annuities. In this or some such mode’, he speculated, ‘the existing accumulations of capital might honestly, and by a kind of spontaneous process, become in the end the joint property of all who participate in their productive employment: a transformation which, thus effected, would be the nearest approach to social justice, and the most beneficial ordering of industrial affairs for the universal good, which it is possible at present to foresee.’. (shrink)
In The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt claims that liberals have a narrower moral outlook than conservatives?they are concerned with fairness and relief of suffering, which Haidt sees as individualistic values, while conservatives care about authority and loyalty too, values concerned with holding society together. I question Haidt?s methodology, which does not permit liberals to express concerns with social bonds that do not fit within an ?authority? or ?loyalty? framework and discounts people who support liberal positions but do not self-ascribe (...) as liberals. I also argue that of the six ?moral foundations?, fairness and relief of suffering are more fundamental values than authority and loyalty, which are virtues only if their objects are worthy. Moral education programs must also encourage students to recognize some values as more urgent than others, and permit inquiry into the actual reasons for political behavior other than professed value commitments. (shrink)
Alan Millar's paper (2011) involves two parts, which I address in order, first taking up the issues concerning the goal of inquiry, and then the issues surrounding the appeal to reflective knowledge. I argue that the upshot of the considerations Millar raises count in favour of a more important role in value-driven epistemology for the notion of understanding and for the notion of epistemic justification, rather than for the notions of knowledge and reflective knowledge.
From an early age Jonathan Edwards became intellectually equipped for the task of defining theology of the revival movements of North America. As a revivalist Edwards came from a Calvinistic theological tradition and moved along the plane of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Puritan theology. Through his studies and meditations on God’s Word Edwards realised that the great need of his time was for a change in the way the old doctrine of sovereignty needed to be understood. The realisation of this (...) fact led him to produce an explicitly and consistently Calvinistic theology of revival. For Edwards revival times represented unusual and extraordinary times. In his eyes, revival is a glorious and wonderful working of God when the Spirit of God is poured out in a far greater and more glorious measure. (shrink)
This article compares Hume’s metaphysical views with those of his contemporary, the American theologian and philosopher, Jonathan Edwards. It shows how, although the two men developed their theories in isolation from one another, their minds were nevertheless following almost identical paths on several of the most central issues in metaphysics (including the natures of body and mind, personal identity, causation, and free will). Their final conclusions were, however, radically different. In short, wherever Hume came to rest in a skeptical (...) position, Edwards would initially approach the very same position, but would then pull back at the last minute and bring in God to fill the gaps, yielding a Christian system of philosophy with an idiosyncratically Humean flavour. (shrink)
Stephen H. Daniel's novel approach interprets the thought of Jonathan Edwards thorough semiotics, the theory of signs. He explicates the theory of signs that pervades Edwards' thought and associates it with elements of post-modernist semiotics in Foucault, Kristeva, and Peirce. He contends that Edwards himself developed a viable alternative to the classical-modern philosophical outlook by drawing explicitly upon the pre-modernist Renaissance propositional logic of Peter Ramus.
The Rules of Thought, by Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa and Benjamin Jarvis, is a dense and ambitious book whose principal aim is to defend the view that philosophical inquiry is a priori inquiry into essential natures. The book covers a broad range of philosophical issues spanning the philosophy of mind and language, the epistemology of metaphysical modality and the philosophy of philosophy. It will be of considerable interest to many, since there is something in it for just about everyone. That (...) said, the authors do not do as much as one might like to make their views accessible to the uninitiated or convincing to the unconverted. (shrink)
The 18th-century American philosopher Jonathan Edwards argues that nothing endures through time. I analyze his argument, paying particular attention to a central principle it relies on, namely that “nothing can exert itself, or operate, when and where it is not existing”. I also consider what I supposed to follow from the conclusion that nothing endures. Edwards is sometimes read as the first four-dimensionalist. I argue that this is wrong. Edwards does not conclude that things persist by having different temporal (...) parts; he concludes that nothing persists. (shrink)