There is general agreement among ecofeminists regarding the desirability of a variety of expressions of ecofeminism, but this pluralism is under threat with the emergence of an approach that emphasizes the primacy of a philosophical ecofeminism which claims the authority to prescribe what ecofeminism should be. The recent anthology Ecological Feminism is symptomatic of this trend, with contributors who affirm the philosophical significance of ecological feminism by privileging philosophers’ voices over those of other ecofeminists, rather than by engaging in critical (...) dialogue with, and exploring connections between, different ecofeminist discourses. This colonizing strategy actively excludes many women’s voices from the creation of an environmental ethic, including those of activist, spiritual, and “Third World” ecofeminists, but fails to offer any adequate philosophical grounds for doing so. (shrink)
This is the first book published that specifically examines questions of ethics and advocacy that arise in conducting research on homelessness, exploring the issues through the deeply personal experiences of some of the field’s leading scholars. By examining the central queries from a broad range of perspectives, the authors presented here draw upon years of rich investigations to generate a framework that will be instructive for researchers across a wide spectrum of areas of inquiry.
Individualism: The Cultural Logic of Modernity is an edited collection of sixteen essays on the idea of the modern sovereign individual in the western cultural tradition. Reconsidering the eighteenth-century realist novel, twentieth-century modernism, and underappreciated topics on individualism and literature, this volume provocatively revises and enriches our understanding of individualism as the generative premise of modernity itself.
Coder’s argument is very similar to Lewis’ one: he maintains that some human beings are not able to follow Gödel’s theorem, so Lucas’ argument cannot show that their minds are not machines. The answer of Lucas is that one proposed against Lewis’ criticism, that is that Mechanism makes a universal claim and so a single counter-example – a single mind producing a singe truth not recognizable by any machine – is a disproof for it.
Plato was the first feminist. In the Republic he puts forward the view that women are just the same as men, only not quite so good. It is a view which has often been expressed in recent years, and generates strong passions. Some of these have deep biological origins, which a philosopher can only hope to recognize and not to assuage. But much of the heat engendered is due to unnecessary friction between views which are certainly compatible and probably correct. (...) And here a philosopher can help. If we can divide the issues neatly, at the joints, then we need not quarrel with one another for saying something, probably true, because what is being maintained is misconstrued and taken to mean something else, probably false. (shrink)
Wittgenstein wrote ‘While thinking philosophically we see problems in places where there are none. It is for philosophy to show that there are no problems’. He meant that the ‘problems’ philosophers grapple with are of their own making. In a related remark he said: ‘This is the essence of a philosophical problem. The question itself is the result of a muddle. And when the question is removed, this is not by answering it’. Even more explicitly he said: ‘All that philosophy (...) can do is to destroy idols’. As he understood his job, it was not to produce or construct something; his job was entirely destructive. This is how Wittgenstein thought of philosophy when he thought about it in the abstract, and I share this view of philosophy. I believe that when we see how to dispose of all philosophical categories, our job is finished. For example, in epistemology our job is not to argue that it is possible to know such-and-such because so-and-so ; rather, we undermine all those ideas that make it seem as though we could not know such-and-such. Undermining philosophical ideas takes the form: When we philosophise, we are tempted to think so-and-so, but if we consider that idea, and do so while remaining free of all philosophical jargon, we find that we cannot make sense of it. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a tendency in some quarters to see an affinity between the views of Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein on the subject of religious belief. It seems to me that this is a mistake, that Kierkegaard's views were fundamentally at odds with Wittgenstein's. That this fact is not generally recognized is, I suspect, owing to the obscurity of Kierkegaard's most fundamental assumptions. My aim here is to make those assumptions explicit and to show how they differ from (...) Wittgenstein's. (shrink)
Equality in the present age has become an idol, in much the same way as property was in the age of Locke. Many people worship it, and think that it provides the key to the proper understanding of politics, and that on it alone can a genuinely just society be reconstructed. This is a mistake. Although, like property, it is a useful concept, and although, like property, there are occasions when we want to have it in practice, it is not (...) a fundamental concept any more than property is, nor can having it vouchsafe to us the good life. In an earlier paper I argued against equality by showing that the concept of equality was confused and that many of the arguments i egalitarians adduced were either invalid or else supported conclusions I which were not really egalitarian at all. Many egalitarians, however, have complained that my arguments were not fair, because I had failed to elucidate the concept adequately, or because the position I attacked was not one that any egalitarian really wished to maintain, or because I had overlooked other arguments which were effective in establishing egalitarian conclusions, or because the positive counter-arguments of my own I put forward more as a matter of taste than of serious political commitment. In this paper, therefore, I want to elucidate the concept more fully, concede what I should to my critics, point out that, even so, their conclusions do not follow, and give further reasons not only for supposing that egalitarian arguments are invalid but for discerning positive merits in some forms of inequality. (shrink)
I find myself in profound disagreement with Wittgenstein's philosophy of religion and hence in disagreement also with those philosophers who have undertaken to elaborate and defend Wittgenstein's position. My principal objection is to the idea that religion is a language-game and that because of the kind of language-game it is, religious believers are not to be thought of as necessarily harbouring beliefs about the world over and above their secular beliefs. I reject this position, not because I think that there (...) are language-games and that religion happens not to be one, but because I find the very idea of a language-game to be indefensible. Put another way, I find myself out of sympathy with the recent idea that in philosophy of religion we ought to be discussing something called ‘religious language’ or ‘the kind of language involved in religious beliefs’. (shrink)
“Towards a Theory of Taxation” is a proper theme for an Englishman to take when giving a paper in America. After all it was from the absence of such a theory that the United States derived its existence. The Colonists felt strongly that there should be no taxation without representation, and George III was unable to explain to them convincingly why they should contribute to the cost of their defense. Since that time, understanding has not advanced much. In Britain we (...) still maintain the fiction that taxes are a voluntary gift to the Crown, and taxing statutes are given the Royal Assent with the special formula, “La Reine remercie ses bons sujets, accepte leur benevolence, et ainsi le veult” instead of the simple “La Reine le veult,” and in the United States taxes have regularly been levied on residents of the District of Columbia who until recently had no representation in Congress, and by the State of New York on those who worked but did not reside in the State, and so did not have a vote. Taxes are regularly levied, in America as elsewhere, on those who have no say on whether they should be levied or how they should be spent. I am taxed by the Federal Government on my American earnings and by state governments on my American spending, but I should be hard put to it to make out that it was unjust. Florida is wondering whether to follow California in taxing multinational corporations on their world-wide earnings. (shrink)
Whatever good or ill it did to Guy Fawkes, his resuscitation at the hands of Bernard Williams has, by any utilitarian reckoning, been a Good Thing. A casual glance at the literature that has accumulated over the past thirty-five years leaves no doubt that the topic has been reduplicated many times over, to the great enjoyment of undergraduates, who have been able to write science fiction under the guise of essays in the Philosophy of Mind, and of dons, who in (...) an age of cvs and Assessments, have been able to notch up page after page of counter-replies to replies to rebuttals of previous papers, not to mention an often welcome tally of references in the citation index. But the actual arguments adduced by Williams can be turned to support a much more traditional view of the self, as a necessarily unique agent whose individuality is established by his capacity for autonomous action. (shrink)
During Leibniz's lifetime, interest in the interpretation of the Bible and biblical prophecy became central to the theological and political concerns of Protestant Europe. Leibniz's treatment of this phenomenon will be examined in the light of his views on the nature of revelation and its role in his defence of Christianity. It will be argued that Leibniz's defence of the miracle of revelation – unlike his arguments on behalf of the core Christian mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation – is (...) demonstrable by purely natural and scientific means, especially the verification of history. (shrink)
In this article, Lucas maintains the falseness of Mechanism - the attempt to explain minds as machines - by means of Incompleteness Theorem of Gödel. Gödel’s theorem shows that in any system consistent and adequate for simple arithmetic there are formulae which cannot be proved in the system but that human minds can recognize as true; Lucas points out in his turn that Gödel’s theorem applies to machines because a machine is the concrete instantiation of a formal system: (...) therefore, for every machine consistent and able of doing simple arithmetic, there is a formula that it can’t produce as true but that we can see to be true, and so human minds and machines have to be different. Lucas considers as well in this article some possible objections to his argument: for any Gödelian formula we could, for instance, construct a machine able to produce it or we could put the Gödelian formulae that we had proved as axioms of a further machine. However - as Lucas underlines - for every of such machines we could again formulate another Gödelian formula, the Gödelian formula of these machines, that they are not able to proof but that we can recognize as true. More general arguments, such as the possibility to escape Gödelian argument by suggesting that Gödel’s theorem applies to consistent systems while we could be inconsistent ones, are moreover refuted by Lucas by maintaining that our inconsistency corresponds to occasional malfunctioning of a machine and not to his normal inconsistency; indeed, a inconsistent machine is characterized by producing any statement, on the contrary human being are selective and not disposed to assert anything. (shrink)
A co-authored article with Roy T. Cook forthcoming in a special edition on the Caesar Problem of the journal Dialectica. We argue against the appeal to equivalence classes in resolving the Caesar Problem.
Responsibility is a key concept in our moral, social, and political thinking, but it is not itself properly understood. J.R. Lucas here presents a lively, broad, and accessible discussion of responsibility in various areas of human life, from personal and sexual relations to politics.
What kind of duty do we have to try to stop other people doing wrong? The question is intelligible in just about any culture, but few of them seek to answer it in a rigorous fashion. The most striking exception is found in the Islamic tradition, where 'commanding right' and 'forbidding wrong' is a central moral tenet already mentioned in the Koran. As an historian of Islam whose research has ranged widely over space and time, Michael Cook is well (...) placed to interpret this complex subject. His book represents the first sustained attempt to map the history of Islamic reflection on this obligation. It covers the origins of Muslim thinking about 'forbidding wrong', the relevant doctrinal developments over the centuries, and its significance in Sunni and Shi'ite thought today. In this way the book contributes to the understanding of Islamic thought, its relevance to contemporary Islamic politics and ideology, and raises fundamental questions for the comparative study of ethics. (shrink)
Hua-yen is regarded as the highest form of Buddhism by most modern Japanese and Chinese scholars. This book is a description and analysis of the Chinese form of Buddhism called Hua-yen, Flower Ornament, based largely on one of the more systematic treatises of its third patriarch. Hua-yen Buddhism strongly resembles Whitehead's process philosophy, and has strong implications for modern philosophy and religion. Hua-yen Buddhism explores the philosophical system of Hua-yen in greater detail than does Garma C.C. Chang's _The Buddhist Teaching (...) of Totality _. An additional value is the development of the questions of ethics and history. Thus, Professor Cook presents a valuable sequel to Professor Chang's pioneering work. The Flower Ornament School was developed in China in the late 7th and early 8th centuries as an innovative interpretation of Indian Buddhist doctrines in the light of indigenous Chinese presuppositions, chiefly Taoist. Hua-yen is a cosmic ecology, which views all existence as an organic unity, so it has an obvious appeal to the modern individual, both students and layman. (shrink)
The scholars who defend or dispute moral relativism, the idea that a moral principle cannot be applied to people whose culture does not accept it, have concerned themselves with either the philosophical or anthropological aspects of relativism. This study, shows that in order to arrive at a definitive appraisal of moral relativism, it is necessary to understand and investigate both its anthropological and philosophical aspects. Carefully examining the arguments for and against moral relativism, Cook exposes not only that anthropologists (...) have failed in their attempt to support relativism with evidence of cultural differences, but that moral absolutists have been equally unsuccessful in their attempts to refute it. He argues that these conflicting positions are both guilty of an artificial and unrealistic view of morality and proposes a more subtle and complex account of morality. (shrink)
The Conceptual Roots of Mathematics is a comprehensive study of the foundation of mathematics. Lucas, one of the most distinguished Oxford scholars, covers a vast amount of ground in the philosophy of mathematics, showing us that it is actually at the heart of the study of epistemology and metaphysics.
In this paper Lucas suggests that many of his critics have not read carefully neither his exposition nor Penrose’s one, so they seek to refute arguments they never proposed. Therefore he offers a brief history of the Gödelian argument put forward by Gödel, Penrose and Lucas itself: Gödel argued indeed that either mathematics is incompletable – that is axioms can never be comprised in a finite rule and so human mind surpasses the power of any finite machine – (...) or there exist absolutely unsolvable diophantine problems, and he suggest that the second disjunct is untenable; on the other side, Penrose proposed an argument similar to Lucas’ one but making use of Turing’s theorem. Finally Lucas exposes again his argument and considers some of the most important objections to it. (shrink)
After a brief and informal explanation of the Gödel’s theorem as a version of the Epimenides’ paradox applied to Elementary Number Theory formulated in first-order logic, Lucas shows some of the most relevant consequences of this theorem, such as the impossibility to define truth in terms of provability and so the failure of Verificationist and Intuitionist arguments. He shows moreover how Gödel’s theorem proves that first-order arithmetic admits non-standard models, that Hilbert’s programme is untenable and that second-order logic is (...) not mechanical. There are furthermore some more general consequences: the difference between being reasonable and following a rule and the possibility that one man’s insight differs from another’s without being wrong. Finally some consequences concerning moral and political philosophy can arise from Gödel’s theorem, because it suggests that – instead of some fundamental principle from which all else follows deductively – we can seek for different arguments in different situations. (shrink)
Monte Cook - Robert Desgabets's Representation Principle - Journal of the History of Philosophy 40:2 Journal of the History of Philosophy 40.2 189-200 Robert Desgabets's Representation Principle Monte Cook THE CARTESIAN PHILOSOPHER ROBERT DESGABETS'S only philosophical publication is his Critique de la Critique de la Recherche de la vérité , in which he criticizes Simon Foucher's criticism of Malebranche's Search After Truth. This work has never been republished and is now available only in rare book collections. Desgabets also (...) wrote several unpublished works that were widely circulated during his lifetime and in which he developed a unique philosophical system of his own. Fortunately, these were published in 1983 as Robert Desgabets, Oeuvres philosophiques inédites. Drawing particularly on this volume and especially on the longest work in this volume, Supplément à la philosophie de Monsieur Descartes , I give a glimpse of Desgabets's system. I do so by discussing the surprising view of intentionality central to Desgabets's proof of the external world and to Desgabets's system in general. I note some interesting similarities and differences between Desgabets's position and the positions of Descartes and seventeenth-century Cartesians Malebranche and Arnauld. But mainly I clarify and give some needed structure to Desgabets's argument for his view of intentionality. This argument is interesting in itself as a sustained argument.. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's Metaphysics offers a radical new interpretation of the fundamental ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein. It takes issue with the conventional view that after 1930 Wittgenstein rejected the philosophy of the Tractatus and developed a wholly new conception of philosophy. By tracing the evolution of Wittgenstein's ideas Cook shows that they are neither as original nor as difficult as is often supposed. Wittgenstein was essentially an empiricist, and the difference between his early views (as set forth in the Tractatus) and (...) the later views (as expounded in the Philosophical Investigations) lies chiefly in the fact that after 1930 he replaced his version of reductionism with something subtler. Nevertheless, he ended where he began, as an empiricist armed with a theory of meaning. (shrink)
Wittgenstein made numerous pronouncements about philosophical method. But did he practice what he preached? Cook addresses this question by studying Wittgenstein’s treatment of the problem of other minds, tracing a line of argument that runs through his writings and lectures from the early 1930s to the 1950s. Cook finds that there is an inconsistency between Wittgenstein’s methodological advice and his actual practice. Instead of bringing words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use, he allows himself to use (...) uncritically words whose provenance is clearly metaphysical. (Published Online September 19 2006). (shrink)
In this paper Lucas comes back to Gödelian argument against Mecanism to clarify some points. First of all, he explains his use of Gödel’s theorem instead of Turing’s theorem, showing how Gödel’ theorem, but not Turing’s theorem, raises questions concerning truth and reasoning that bear on the nature of mind and how Turing’s theorem suggests that there is something that cannot be done by any computers but not that it can be done by human minds. He considers moreover how (...) Gödel’s theorem can be interpreted as a sophisticated form of the Cretan paradox, posed by Epimenides, able to escape the viciously self-referential nature of the Cretan paradox, and how it can be used against Mechanism as a schema of disproof. Finally, Lucas suggests some answers to the most recurrent criticisms against his argument: criticisms about the implicit idealisation in the way he set up the context between mind and machine; questions concerning modality and finitude, issues of transfinite arithmetic; questions concerning the need of formalizing rational inference and some questions about consistency. (shrink)
This provocative study exposes the ways in which Wittgenstein's philosophical views have been misunderstood, including the failure to recognize the reductionist character of Wittgenstein's work. Author John Cook provides well-documented proof that Wittgenstein did not hold views commonly attributed to him, arguing that Wittgenstein's later work was mistakenly seen as a development of G. E. Moore's philosophy--which Wittgenstein in fact vigorously attacked. He also points to an underestimation of Russell's influence on Wittgenstein's thinking. Cook goes on to show (...) how these misunderstandings have had grave consequences for philosophy at large, and proposes that a more subtle appreciation of linguistic philosophy can yield valuable results. (shrink)
There was once a leak from Hebdomadal Council. The Assessor told her husband, who told my wife, who told me that Monday afternoon had been spent discussing what Lucas would say if various courses of action were adopted, leading to the conclusion that it would be best to do nothing. I was flattered, but a bit surprised. The tide of philosophical scepticism had ebbed, and it was generally allowed that a reasonable way of discovering what someone would say was (...) to ask him. Dick Southwood did: he would quiz me in Common Room â€“ sometimes ending "Thank you for letting me bounce these ideas off you" â€“ and had reliable information about how one member of Congregation would react to various proposals. And not only me: he was a listening Vice-Chancellor, who used to bike from Wellington Square to Merton for lunch, greeting many as he passed them, and ready to stop if occasion warranted it. Of course, there are many other leaks. I remember once attending a meeting in the Town Hall to argue for cycle tracks, and someone coming up to me, and saying, "Youâ€™re having a tussle with Council, arenâ€™t you? I think you ought to see the minutes of their latest meeting"; the next day there was a copy in my pigeon hole, giving me just the ammunition I needed. What members of Congregation tend the forget is the existence â€“ the other side of the green baize door, so to speak â€“ of a corps of bedells. (shrink)
Lucas, Brian Review(s) of: Pope benedict XVI and the sexual abuse crisis - working for reform and renewal, Gregory Erlandson and Matthew Bunson, (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 2010), pb, pp.207.
Lucas, Brian Review of: Maintaining a convinced and pondered trust: The 2015 Gasson lectures, by Frank Brennan, Adelaide: ATF Theology, 2015, pp. xvii + 131, paperback, $24.95; The people's quest for leadership in church and state, by Frank Brennan, Adelaide: ATF Theology, 2015, pp. xvii + 88, paperback, $24.95.