The disappearance of Catharine Macaulay’s eighteenth-century defense of the doctrines that justified the seventeeth-century republican parliament, has served to obscure an important strand of enlightenment faith, that was active in the lead up to the American and French Revolutions, and that also played a significant role in the history of feminism. This faith was made up of two intertwined strands, ‘Christian eudaimonism’ and ‘rational altruism’. Dominant contemporary accounts of the origins of republicanism and democratic theory during the eighteenth-century (...) have excluded serious consideration of Macaulay’s writing. Bringing her works into the mix, both poses difficulties for certain genealogies of the political thought of the period, and tends to favour a once popular view, which emphasized the centrality of Locke. Nevertheless, the Locke whose influence is found in Macaulay’s writing is not the possessive individualist, or rational egoist, that he and other liberals have been represented as being, but rather a rational altruist, whose political philosophy is grounded in natural law and harks back to Milton. This same philosophy provides the philosophical foundations for Wollstonecraft’s two most significant political texts, the Vindication of the Rights of Men and Vindcation of the Rights of Woman. (shrink)
Religious freedom is one of the most debated and controversial human rights in contemporary public discourse. At once a universally held human right and a flash point in the political sphere, religious freedom has resisted scholarly efforts to define its parameters. Taliaferro explores a different way of examining the tensions between the aims of religion and the needs of political communities, arguing that religious freedom is a uniquely difficult human right to uphold because it rests on two competing conceptions, human (...) and divine. Drawing on classical natural law, Taliaferro expounds a new, practical theory of religious freedom for the modern world. By examining conceptions of law such as Sophocles' Antigone, Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed, Ibn Rushd's Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Rhetoric, and Tertullian's writings, The Possibility of Religious Freedom explains how expanding our notion of law to incorporate such theories can mediate conflicts of human and divine law and provide a solid foundation for religious liberty in modernity's pluralism. (shrink)
Background Planning for the next pandemic influenza outbreak is underway in hospitals across the world. The global SARS experience has taught us that ethical frameworks to guide decision-making may help to reduce collateral damage and increase trust and solidarity within and between health care organisations. Good pandemic planning requires reflection on values because science alone cannot tell us how to prepare for a public health crisis. Discussion In this paper, we present an ethical framework for pandemic influenza planning. The ethical (...) framework was developed with expertise from clinical, organisational and public health ethics and validated through a stakeholder engagement process. The ethical framework includes both substantive and procedural elements for ethical pandemic influenza planning. The incorporation of ethics into pandemic planning can be helped by senior hospital administrators sponsoring its use, by having stakeholders vet the framework, and by designing or identifying decision review processes. We discuss the merits and limits of an applied ethical framework for hospital decision-making, as well as the robustness of the framework. Summary The need for reflection on the ethical issues raised by the spectre of a pandemic influenza outbreak is great. Our efforts to address the normative aspects of pandemic planning in hospitals have generated interest from other hospitals and from the governmental sector. The framework will require re-evaluation and refinement and we hope that this paper will generate feedback on how to make it even more robust. (shrink)
BackgroundAlthough clinical ethicists are becoming more prevalent in healthcare settings, their required training and education have not been clearly delineated. Most agree that training and education are important, but their nature and delivery remain topics of debate. One option is through completion of a clinical ethics fellowship.MethodIn this paper, the first four fellows to complete a newly developed fellowship program discuss their experiences. They describe the goals, structure, participants and activities of the fellowship. They identify key elements for succeeding as (...) a clinical ethicist and sustaining a clinical ethics program. They critically reflect upon the challenges faced in the program.ResultsThe one-year fellowship provided real-time clinical opportunities that helped them to develop the necessary knowledge and skills, gain insight into the role and scope of practice of clinical ethicists and hone valuable character traits.ConclusionThe fellowship enabled each of the fellows to assume confidently and competently a position as a clinical ethicist upon completion. (shrink)
This essay considers and rejects both the irrationalist and the supra-rationalist interpretations of Kierkegaard, arguing that a new category---Kierkegaard as “anti-rationalist”---is needed. The irrationalist reading overemphasizes the subjectivism of Kierkegaard’s thought, while the suprarationalist reading underemphasizes the degree of tension between human reason and Christian faith. An anti-rationalist reading, I argue, is both faithful to Kierkegaard’s metaphysical and alethiological realism, on the one hand, and his emphasis on the continuing opposition between reason and faith, on the other, as (...) manifested in the ongoing possibility of offense in the life of the Christian. (shrink)
This paper explores the power of womanist ethics to illuminate the Confederate monuments debate. First, I draw on Emilie Townes’s analysis of the “cultural production of evil” to construe Confederate monuments as products of the “fantastic hegemonic imagination” that render visible for whites the invisibility of “whiteness.” Second, I argue that Angela Sims’s work on lynching provides a vivid example of how “countermemory” functions as an antidote to the fantastic hegemonic imagination. Finally, I argue that Delores Williams’s re-evaluation of the (...) cross as a sacred symbol enables a reading of Confederate monuments as realist symbols of violence that require displacement from the center to the periphery of national sacred space. I conclude that although the debate on Confederate monuments is important, womanist analysis warns against an overly-narrow focus on this issue, lest we neglect the already obscured gendered, classist, homophobic, and xenophobic dimensions of structural injustice that the monuments represent. (shrink)
Despite its importance for early analytic philosophy, Gottlob Frege's account of existence statements, according to which they classify concepts, has been thought to succumb to a number of well-worn criticisms. This article does two things. First, it argues that, by remaining faithful to the letter of Frege's claim that concepts are functions, the Fregean account can be saved from many of the standard criticisms. Second, it examines the problem that Frege's account fails to generalize to cases which involve definite descriptions (...) and proper names. To deal with this the proffered analysis deviates from the letter of Frege's views, while remaining within its spirit. It proposes, in opposition to Frege, that expressions which grammatically look like singular terms should not always be read as referring to objects, but are sometimes best analysed as indicating functions. (shrink)
In the ninth century BCE, the peoples of four distinct regions of the civilized world created the religious and philosophical traditions that have continued to nourish humanity to the present day: Confucianism and Daoism in China, Hinduism and Buddhism in India, monotheism in Israel, and philosophical rationalism in Greece. Later generations further developed these initial insights, but we have never grown beyond them. Rabbinic Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, for example, were all secondary flowerings of the original Israelite vision. Now, in (...) The Great Transformation , Karen Armstrong reveals how the sages of this pivotal “Axial Age” can speak clearly and helpfully to the violence and desperation that we experience in our own times. Armstrong traces the development of the Axial Age chronologically, examining the contributions of such figures as the Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the mystics of the Upanishads, Mencius, and Euripides. All of the Axial Age faiths began in principled and visceral recoil from the unprecedented violence of their time. Despite some differences of emphasis, there was a remarkable consensus in their call for an abandonment of selfishness and a spirituality of compassion. With regard to dealing with fear, despair, hatred, rage, and violence, the Axial sages gave their people and give us, Armstrong says, two important pieces of advice: first there must be personal responsibility and self-criticism, and it must be followed by practical, effective action. In her introduction and concluding chapter, Armstrong urges us to consider how these spiritualities challenge the way we are religious today. In our various institutions, we sometimes seem to be attempting to create exactly the kind of religion that Axial sages and prophets had hoped to eliminate. We often equate faith with doctrinal conformity, but the traditions of the Axial Age were not about dogma. All insisted on the primacy of compassion even in the midst of suffering. In each Axial Age case, a disciplined revulsion from violence and hatred proved to be the major catalyst of spiritual change. (shrink)
_Repair of the Soul_ examines transformation from the perspective of Jewish mysticism and psychoanalysis, addressing the question of how one achieves self-understanding that leads not only to insight but also to meaningful change. In this beautifully written and thought-provoking book, Karen Starr draws upon a contemporary relational approach to psychoanalysis to explore the spiritual dimension of psychic change within the context of the psychoanalytic relationship. Influenced by the work of Lewis Aron, Steven Mitchell and other relational theorists, and drawing (...) upon contemporary scholarship in the field of Jewish studies, Starr brings the ideas of the Kabbalah, the ancient Jewish mystical tradition, into dialogue with modern psychoanalytic thought. _Repair of the Soul_ provides a scholarly integration of several kabbalistic and psychoanalytic themes relating to transformation, including faith, surrender, authenticity, and mutuality, as well as a unique exploration of the relationship of the individual to the universal. Starr uses the Kabbalah’s metaphors as a vivid framework with which to illuminate the experience of transformation in psychoanalytic process, and to explore the evolving view of the psychoanalytic relationship as one in which both parties - the analyst as well as the patient - are transformed. (shrink)
The novel The Brothers Karamazov shows the spiritual rebirth of man and society. At first the world of the town Skotoprigon'evsk is depicted as heathen and even demonic, where everyone is in search of earthly justice, forgetting about love and losing a connection to God; here the theme of orphanhood is dominant. The second half of the novel is dominated by the image of the Holy Trinity, the symbol of mutual love and unity. The human world, according to Dostoevskij, cannot (...) be divided into adults and children, the guilty and the innocent, insofar as all can freely participate in the redemption of humanity's sin (like Christ, the paragon of innocence). If all people are God's children, death does not have power over them. Upon completing his final novel Dostoevkskij wrote: "my Hosanna has passed through a big crucible of doubt." "The Brothers Karamazov" is Dostoevskij's Hosanna. (shrink)
The Spiral Staircase, Karen Armstrong’s self-narrative, shows the limitations of theological or religious reflections within a specific religious community. Leaving the Sisters of Charity for a tumultuous academic life, historian of religion Karen Armstrong lives a wrenching ontological dislocation that originates in her undiagnosed epilepsy and negative body experiences. Using semiotician Algirdas Greimas’s ‘Semiotic Square’ as an interpretive strategy, the unresolved tensions and contradictions exposed in the deep narrative structure of this non-traditional conversion memoir are resolved by ‘compassion’ (...) at the manifest level. Armstrong’s experiences, both in and out of the convent, will inform her academic study and lead her to compassionate solidarity with the marginalized. Armstrong’s memoir reveals various internal and external forces that shape an individual woman’s way of being in the world, and that inform her investigation of multiple faith practices and beliefs. In a time of mass refugee migration and ‘homelessness’, the one woman, the one ‘other’, matters in how one thinks about the body and about God. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Part I -- Doctors -- Dr. Joseph Messer -- Dr. Sharon Sandell -- ER -- Dr. John Barrett -- Marc and Noreen Levison, a paramedic and a nurse -- Lloyd (Pete) Haywood, a former gangbanger -- Claire Hellstern, a nurse -- Ed Reardon, a paramedic -- Law and Order -- Robert Soreghan, a homicide detective -- Delbert Lee Tibbs, a former death-row inmate -- War -- Dr. Frank Raila -- Haskell Wexler, a cinematographer -- Tammy Snider, (...) a Hiroshima survivor (hibakusha) -- Mothers and Sons -- V.I.M. (Victor Israel Marquez), a Vietnam vet -- Angelina Rossi, his mother -- Guadalupe Reyes, a mother -- God's Shepherds -- Rev. Willie T. Barrow -- Father Leonard Dubi -- Rabbi Robert Marx -- Pastor Tom Kok -- Rev. Ed Townley -- The Stranger -- Rick Rundle, a city sanitation worker -- Part II -- Seeing Things -- Randy Buescher, an associate architect -- Chaz Ebert, a lawyer -- Antoinette Korotko-Hatch, a church worker -- Karen Thompson, a student -- Dimitri Mihalas, an astronomer and physicist -- A View from the Bridge -- Hank Oettinger, a retired printer -- Ira Glass, a radio journalist -- Kid Pharaoh, a retired "collector" -- Quinn Brisben, a retired teacher -- Kurt Vonnegut, a writer -- The Boomer -- Bruce Bendinger, an advertising executive and writer -- Part III -- Fathers and Sons -- Doc Watson, a folksinger -- Vernon Jarrett, a journalist -- Country Women -- Peggy Terry, a retired mountain woman -- Bessie Jones, a Georgia Sea Island Singer (1972) -- Rosalie Sorrels, a traveling folksinger -- The Plague I -- Tico Valle, a young man -- Lori Cannon, "curator" of the Open Hand Society -- Brian Matthews, an ex-bartender, writer for a gay weekly -- Jewell Jenkins, a hospital aide -- Justin Hayford, a journalist, musician -- Matta Kelly, a case manager -- The Old Guy -- Jim Hapgood -- The Plague II -- Nancy Lanoue -- Out There -- Dr. Gary Slutkin -- Day of the Dead -- Carlos Cortez, a painter and poet -- Vine Deloria, a writer and teacher -- Helen Sclair, a cemetery familiar -- The Other Son -- Steve Young, a father -- Maurine Young, a mother -- The Job -- William Herdegen, an undertaker -- Rory Moina, a hospice nurse -- The End and the Beginning -- Mamie Mobley, a mother -- Dr. Marvin Jackson, a son -- Epilogue -- Kathy Fagan and Linda Gagnon, mothers. (shrink)
Drawing on insights from causal theories of reference, teleosemantics, and state space semantics, a theory of naturalized mental representation. In A Mark of the Mental, Karen Neander considers the representational power of mental states—described by the cognitive scientist Zenon Pylyshyn as the “second hardest puzzle” of philosophy of mind. The puzzle at the heart of the book is sometimes called “the problem of mental content,” “Brentano's problem,” or “the problem of intentionality.” Its motivating mystery is how neurobiological states can (...) have semantic properties such as meaning or reference. Neander proposes a naturalistic account for sensory-perceptual representations. Neander draws on insights from state-space semantics, causal theories of reference, and teleosemantic theories. She proposes and defends an intuitive, theoretically well-motivated but highly controversial thesis: sensory-perceptual systems have the function to produce inner state changes that are the analogs of as well as caused by their referents. Neander shows that the three main elements—functions, causal-information relations, and relations of second-order similarity—complement rather than conflict with each other. After developing an argument for teleosemantics by examining the nature of explanation in the mind and brain sciences, she develops a theory of mental content and defends it against six main content-determinacy challenges to a naturalized semantics. (shrink)
Empirical work on and common observation of the emotions tells us that our emotions sometimes key us to the presence of real and important reason-giving considerations without necessarily presenting that information to us in a way susceptible of conscious articulation and, sometimes, even despite our consciously held and internally justified judgment that the situation contains no such reasons. In this paper, I want to explore the implications of the fact that emotions show varying degrees of integration with our conscious agency—from (...) none at all to quite substantial—for our understanding of our rationality, and in particular for the traditional assumption that weakness of the will is necessarily irrational. (shrink)
We frequently speak of certain things or phenomena being built out of or based in others. Making Things Up concerns these relations, which connect more fundamental things to less fundamental things: Karen Bennett calls these 'building relations'. She aims to illuminate what it means to say that one thing is more fundamental than another.
The last thirty years has witnessed an explosion of scholarly books and articles on Locke which, claims Harpham, has "recast our most basic understanding of Locke as a historical actor and political theorist, the Two Treatises as a document, and liberalism as a coherent tradition of political discourse". The seven articles in this volume attempt to assess this "new scholarship," which is described as revisionist and historicist. This volume is now probably the best introduction to the "new scholarship." The introduction (...) by Edward Harpham, "Locke's Two Treatises in Perspective," and the bibliography provide a nice summary of key ideas, books, and articles. The essence of the new perspective is best stated by Richard Ascraft [[sic]] in "The Politics of Locke's Two Treatises of Government": "Locke's thought is thus both philosophically more conservative and politically more radical than we have hitherto supposed. In short, Locke is at once closer to Aristotle and Hooker and to the levelers and Sidney than the prevailing interpretations of his political thought maintain". Ashcraft attempts to separate Locke from the philosophy of Hobbes on such issues as resistance, toleration, justice and natural law, obligation; he directs his argument against Macpherson and Strauss, whose presences haunt the borders of the new scholarship. Eldon Eisenach, in his "Religion and Locke's Two Treatises of Government," interprets Locke's philosophy as marked by a deep skepticism regarding the reach of natural reason and informed by a "deep faith in the efficacy of biblical revelation" as the source of our moral and political duties. Eisenach comes close to dissenting from the new scholarship by wondering whether "Dunn and Ashcraft" are whistling in the dark concerning the coherence of Locke's "worldview"; but he closes ranks with the assertion that the Essay lays out a path to salvation. Eisenach concludes that Locke is not antireligious and secular, but a defender of biblical Christianity. The new scholarship must emphasize all the more a "spiritualist and assertively evangelical Locke". David Resnick, in "Rationality and the Two Treatises," attempts to recover the portrait of Locke as an antitraditionalist, committed to a critical rationalism. Resnick uses Weber's theory of rationality to render a consistent account of Locke's social analysis. Yet Resnick also insists that Locke's political philosophy is not self-interested and atomistic but is rooted in a fully Christian worldview: "Locke's deeply held theological convictions about the existence, benevolence and rationality of God ground his reasoning in a metaphysically stable framework". This religious assumption provides a basis for Locke's "rationality." But a new inconsistency is opened up by this resolution--a rationalism rooted in religious faith, by a philosopher who continually urged their distinction. Karen Iversen Vaughn, in "The Economic Background to Locke's Two Treatises of Government," attempts to correct the new scholarship's neglect of the economic premises of Locke's political philosophy; this neglect is part of an overreaction to Macpherson, but Vaughn offers a moderate economic interpretation of Locke. Vaughn shows the importance of rational self-interest in economic behavior, the necessity of political society to set conditions for economic pursuit: limit on sovereign power is an example of self-interest and evidence that "economic aspects of man's behavior permeated all aspects of life". Further, "civil society requires enforceable rules to contain the self-seeking actions of all men, so that life, liberty and property can be protected". Vaughn's essay opens the back door to the "self-interested" Locke of the "old scholarship." Ronald Hamowy, in "Cato's Letters, John Locke, and the Republican Paradigm," also seeks to redress the imbalance of the new scholarship, arguing that Locke's philosophy was not displaced by the civic humanist tradition and republican virtue. He offers a detailed analysis of Cato's Letters by John Tenchard and Thomas Gordon. Like Locke, "Cato" defines political authority in terms of inalienable rights. His analysis of liberty is strikingly Lockean, and not republican. Pocock's assessment of Locke's irrelevance to Whiggism and the American founding must be rejected. In the final essay, "Locke's Two Treatises and Contemporary Thought: Freedom, Community and the Liberal Tradition," Stephen L. Newman compares contemporary American libertarian and communitarian alternatives to the liberal welfare state. Newman offers a very trenchant criticism of libertarianism as decidedly non-Lockean by dint of its utter depoliticization of all behavior and its tendency to restore the execution of natural law to the private citizen and private groups. On the other hand, communitarianism fails to provide a sufficiently specific and robust notion of the common good, and more consistent writers like Walzer and Barber fall back not upon a teleological community, but autonomy mixed with participation. Locke's distinction of politics from economics, family, and social groups still provides the most workable and realistic account of politics available in the modern world; hence Newman concludes that libertarianism and communitarianism offer "impoverished" political theories. (shrink)
History and literature provide striking examples of people who are morally admirable, in part, because of their profound faith in people’s decency. But moral philosophers have largely ignored this trait, and I suspect that many philosophers would view such faith with suspicion, dismissing it as a form of naïvete or as some other objectionable form of irrationality. I argue that such suspicion is misplaced, and that having a certain kind of faith in people’s decency, which I call (...)faith in humanity, is a centrally important moral virtue. In order to make this view intuitively more plausible, I discuss two moral exemplars – one historical and the other literary – whose lives vividly exhibit such faith. Then I provide a rationale for the view that having such faith is morally admirable. Finally, I discuss cases in which someone’s faith in humanity can lead her to make judgments that are, to some degree, epistemically irrational. I argue that the existence of such cases does not pose a serious objection to the view that having faith in humanity is a moral virtue. Rather, it makes salient important limits on the role that epistemic, as opposed to practical, rationality should occupy in our ideals of how to live. (shrink)
This book discusses the notion that quantum gravity may represent the "breakdown" of spacetime at extremely high energy scales. If spacetime does not exist at the fundamental level, then it has to be considered "emergent", in other words an effective structure, valid at low energy scales. The author develops a conception of emergence appropriate to effective theories in physics, and shows how it applies (or could apply) in various approaches to quantum gravity, including condensed matter approaches, discrete approaches, and loop (...) quantum gravity. (shrink)
A philosophical exploration of the nature, scope, and significance of ecofeminist theory and practice. This book presents the key issues, concepts, and arguments which motivate and sustain ecofeminism from a western philosophical perspective.
_ Source: _Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 1 - 25 This paper aims to articulate Aristotle’s general account of vice, an account that applies to all special vices, regardless of their spheres of action and emotion, and whether they are states of excess or deficiency. Vice is ignorance in the decision : the paper explains what this means.
This book provides a new interpretation of Hegel's philosophy, arguing that his theory of reason and thinking revolve around the concept of organic life. Through a detailed analysis of Hegel's philosophy and Kant's influence, Karen Ng shows that Hegel's unique contribution is that cognitive capacities are indexed to species capacities, where embodiment and the relation to the environment are central in processes of mind.
This article explores and defends the idea that the etiquette conventions governing dinner parties, whether formal or informal, have moral significance. Their significance derives from the way that they foster and facilitate shared moral aims. I draw on literary and philosophical sources to make this claim, beginning with Isak Dineson's short story, Babette's Feast. I employ the concept of ritual from Confucius and Xunzi, as well as Immanuel Kant's detailed discussion of dinner parties in the Anthropology. Kant's account in particular (...) helps illuminate how properly conducted dinners can enhance our understanding and promote moral community among the people who attend. I conclude that dinner parties play an important role in the moral life, and that the etiquette conventions governing them derive their binding force from their contribution to that role. (shrink)
This book is devoted to articulating the connections between the nature and value of faith and humility. The goal is to understand these two virtues in a way that does not discriminate between religious and secular. Jon Kvanvig claims that each provides a necessary, compensating balance to the potential downside of the other.
This open access edited book provides new thinking on scientific identity formation. It thoroughly interrogates the concepts of community and identity, including both historical and contemporaneous analyses of several scientific fields. Chapters examine whether, and how, today’s scientific identities and communities are subject to fundamental changes, reacting to tangible shifts in research funding as well as more intangible transformations in our society’s understanding and expectations of technoscience. In so doing, this book reinvigorates the concept of scientific community. Readers will discover (...) empirical analyses of newly emerging fields such as synthetic biology, systems biology and nanotechnology, and accounts of the evolution of theoretical conceptions of scientific identity and community. With inspiring examples of technoscientific identity work and community constellations, along with thought-provoking hypotheses and discussion, the work has a broad appeal. Those involved in science governance will benefit particularly from this book, and it has much to offer those in scholarly fields including sociology of science, science studies, philosophy of science and history of science, as well as teachers of science and scientists themselves. (shrink)
Secular moral philosophy has devoted little attention to the nature and significance of faith. Perhaps this is unsurprising. The significance of faith is typically thought to depend on the truth of theism, and so it may seem that a careful study of faith has little to offer non-religious philosophy. But I argue that, whether or not theism holds, certain kinds of faith are centrally important virtues, that is, character traits that are morally admirable or admirable from (...) some broader perspective of human flourishing. I discuss three varieties of faith that a virtuous person has in people: faith in herself, faith in people to whom she bears certain personal relationships, and faith in humanity. Coming to understand the nature of these forms of faith and the roles they play in human life promises to deepen our understanding of aspects of moral life and aspects of human flourishing that are poorly grasped. Beyond this, it makes valuable contributions to the literature on self-trust and the literature on epistemic partiality in friendship, and it helps us better understand the relation between our epistemic and practical ideals. (shrink)
This 1994 book examines the development of the ideas of the new Austrian school from its beginnings in Vienna in the 1870s to the present. It focuses primarily in showing how the coherent theme that emerges from the thought of Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig Lachman, Israel Kirzner and a variety of new younger Austrians is an examination of the implications of time and ignorance for economic theory.
Lewis Gordon presents the first detailed existential phenomenological investigation of antiblack racism as a form of Sartrean bad faith. Bad faith, the attitude in which human beings attempt to evade freedom and responsibility, is treated as a constant possibility of human existence. Antiblack racism, the attitude and practice that involve the construction of black people as fundamentally inferior and subhuman, is examined as an effort to evade the responsibilities of a human and humane world. Gordon argues that the (...) concept of bad faith militates against any human science that is built upon a theory of human nature and as such offers an analysis of antiblack racism that stands as a challenge to our ordinary assumptions of what it means to be human. (shrink)
Recently much has been made of the grounding relation, and of the idea that it is intimately tied to fundamentality. If A grounds B, then A is more fundamental than B (though not vice versa ), and A is ungrounded if and only if it is fundamental full stop—absolutely fundamental. But here is a puzzle: is grounding itself absolutely fundamental?
Richard Swinburne presents a new edition of the final volume of his acclaimed trilogy on philosophical theology. Faith and Reason is a self-standing examination of the implications for religious faith of Swinburne's famous arguments about the coherence of theism and the existence of God.By practising a particular religion, a person seeks to achieve some or all of three goals - that he worships and obeys God, gains salvation for himself, and helps others to attain their salvation. But not (...) all religions commend worship, and different religions have different conceptions of salvation. Faced with these differences, Richard Swinburne argues that we should practice that religion which has the best goals and is more probably true than the creeds of other religions. He proposes criteria by which to determine the probabilities of different religious creeds, and he argues that, while requiring total commitment, faith does not demand fully convinced belief. While maintaining the same structure and conclusions as the original classic, this second edition has been substantially rewritten, both in order to relate its ideas more closely to those of classical theologians and philosophers and to respond to more recent views. In particular he discusses, and ultimately rejects, the view of Alvin Plantinga that the 'warrant' of a belief depends on the process which produced it, and John Hick's contention that all religions offer valid paths to salvation. (shrink)
A variety of relations widely invoked by philosophers—composition, constitution, realization, micro-basing, emergence, and many others—are species of what I call ‘building relations’. I argue that they are conceptually intertwined, articulate what it takes for a relation to count as a building relation, and argue that—contra appearances—it is an open possibility that these relations are all determinates of a common determinable, or even that there is really only one building relation.
Singularities in general relativity and quantum field theory are often taken not only to motivate the search for a more-fundamental theory (quantum gravity, QG), but also to characterise this new theory and shape expectations of what it is to achieve. Here, we first evaluate how particular types of singularities may suggest an incompleteness of current theories. We then classify four different 'attitudes' towards singularities in the search for QG, and show, through examples in the physics literature, that these lead to (...) different scenarios for the new theory. Two of the attitudes prompt singularity resolution, but only one suggests the need for a theory of QG. Rather than evaluate the different attitudes, we close with some suggestions of factors that influence the choice between them. (shrink)
There is a long-standing debate about whether poetry can make a substantive contribution to philosophy with compelling arguments to show that poetry and philosophy involve distinct modes of thought and aims, albeit with similar concerns. This paper argues that reading lyric poetry can play a substantive role in philosophy by helping the philosopher understand how to forge connections with the perspectives of others. The paper takes the view that poetry is not directly philosophical but can play an important role in (...) developing the philosopher's awareness of how perspective shapes beliefs and thought processes. Following Robert Nozick, David Lewis, and Helen Beebee, it argues for the need to broaden our conception of the aims of philosophy beyond aiming for conclusive proof, at the least where philosophical inquiry is focused on questions of value. It then shows how poetry cultivates an intellectual virtue essential to philosophy aimed at uncovering equilibria and collective understanding. (shrink)
The paper is an extended discussion of what I call the ‘dismissive attitude’ towards metaphysical questions. It has three parts. In the first part, I distinguish three quite different versions of dismissivism. I also argue that there is little reason to think that any of these positions is correct about the discipline of metaphysics as a whole; it is entirely possible that some metaphysical disputes should be dismissed and others should not be. Doing metametaphysics properly requires doing metaphysics first. I (...) then put two particular disputes on the table to be examined in the rest of the paper: the dispute over whether composite objects exist, and the dispute about whether distinct objects can be colocated. In the second part of the paper, I argue against the claim that these disputes are purely verbal disputes. In the third part of the paper, I present a new version of dismissivism, and argue that it is probably the correct view about the two disputes in question. They are not verbal disputes, and the discussion about them to date has not remotely been a waste of time. At this stage, however, our evidence has run out. I argue that neither side of either dispute is simpler than the other, and that the same objections in fact arise against both sides. (For example, the compositional nihilist does not in fact escape the problem of the many, and the one-thinger does not in fact escape the grounding problem.). (shrink)
Originally published in 1959, The Faith of a Heretic is the most personal statement of the beliefs of Nietzsche biographer and translator Walter Kaufmann. A first-rate philosopher in his own right, Kaufmann here provides the fullest account of his views on religion. Although he considered himself a heretic, he was not immune to the wellsprings and impulses from which religion originates, declaring it among the most vital and radical expressions of the human mind. Beginning with an autobiographical prologue that (...) traces his evolution from religious believer to "heretic," the book touches on theology, organized religion, morality, suffering, and death—all examined from the perspective of a "quest for honesty." Kaufmann also subjects philosophy's faith in truth, reason, and absolute morality to the same heretical treatment. The resulting exploration of the faiths of a nonbeliever in a secular age is as fresh and challenging as when it was first published. In a new foreword, Stanley Corngold vividly describes the intellectual and biographical milieu of Kaufmann’s provocative book. (shrink)