Angesichts der gegenwärtigen ökonomischen, ökologischen und sozialen Krisen zeichnet sich ab, dass die Wachstumsdynamik moderner Gesellschaften nicht mehr stabilisierend wirkt, sondern selbst zum Krisentreiber geworden ist. In diesem Band diskutieren die Philosophin Nancy Fraser und die Soziologen Klaus Dörre, Stephan Lessenich und Hartmut Rosa, was dies für die Gegenwart und die Zukunft der Demokratie bedeutet und welche Konzeptionen und Wege hin zu einer demokratischen Transformation vorstellbar sind. Aus ihrer demokratietheoretischen Perspektive intervenieren Viviana Asara, Banu Bargu, Ingolfur Blühdorn, Robin Celikates, Lisa (...) Herzog, Brian Milstein, Michelle Williams und Christos Zografos. (shrink)
A philosophical essay under this title faces severe rhetorical challenges. New accounts of the good life regularly and rapidly turn out to be variations of old ones, subject to a predictable range of decisive objections. Attempts to meet those objections with improved accounts regularly and rapidly lead to a familiar impasse — that while a life of contemplation, or epicurean contentment, or stoic indifference, or religious ecstasy, or creative rebellion, or self-actualization, or many another thing might count as a good (...) life, none of them can plausibly be identified with the good life, or the best life. Given the long history of that impasse, it seems futile to offer yet another candidate for the genus “good life” as if that candidate might be new, or philosophically defensible. And given the weariness, irony, and self-deprecation expected of a philosopher in such an impasse, it is difficult for any substantive proposal on this topic to avoid seeming pretentious. (shrink)
When philosophers speak of the inconclusiveness of arguments for the existence of God, they often do so as if they were talking about a matter of principle—as if it were in principle impossible to prove God's existence, that every proof was in principle inconclusive. Of course, rebutals of the cosmological, ontological, and teleological arguments are usually designed to show that these types of arguments are in principle inconclusive. But one supposes that religious experience arguments are not all in such difficulties. (...) That is, one supposes, for example, that an encounter with the deity would provide a proof of his existence which is at least as conclusive as proofs for the existence of an ‘external world’. And thus it would be false to maintain in an unqualified way that ‘Reason cannot prove the existence of God’. The most one would be able to say would be that at present , or in terms of the currently available evidence, no one can prove God's existence. Further, whether or not sufficient evidence has ever been available in the past would be seen as an historical question— a matter of contingencies, not logical possibilities. (shrink)
The tendency to reciprocate – to return good for good and evil for evil – is a potent force in human life, and the concept of reciprocity is closely connected to fundamental notions of ‘justice’, ‘obligation’ or ‘duty’, ‘gratitude’ and ‘equality’. In _Reciprocity_, first published in 1986,_ _Lawrence Becker presents a sustained argument about reciprocity, beginning with the strategy for developing a moral theory of the virtues. He considers the concept of reciprocity in detail, contending that it is a (...) basic virtue that provides the basis for parental authority, obligations to future generations, and obedience to law. Throughout the first two parts of the book, Becker intersperses short pieces of his own narrative fiction to enrich reflection on the philosophical arguments. The final part is devoted to extensive bibliographical essays, ranging over anthropology, psychology, political theory and law, as well as the relevant ethics and political philosophy. (shrink)
_Property Rights: Philosophic Foundations,_ first published in 1977, comprehensively examines the general justifications for systems of private property rights, and discusses with great clarity the major arguments as to the rights and responsibilities of property ownership. In particular, the arguments that hold that there are natural rights derived from first occupancy, labour, utility, liberty and virtue are considered, as are the standard anti-property arguments based on disutility, virtue and inequality, and the belief that justice in distribution must take precedence over (...) private ownership. Lawrence Becker goes on to contend that there are four sound lines of argument for private property that, together with what is sound in the anti-property arguments, must be co-ordinated to form the foundations of a new theory. He therefore expounds a concise but sophisticated theory of property that is relevant to the modern world, and concludes by indicating some of the implications of his theory. (shrink)
Willard Van Orman Quine's work revolutionized the fields of epistemology, semantics and ontology. At the heart of his philosophy are several interconnected doctrines: his rejection of conventionalism and of the linguistic doctrine of logical and mathematical truth, his rejection of the analytic/synthetic distinction, his thesis of the indeterminacy of translation and his thesis of the inscrutability of reference. In this book Edward Becker sets out to interpret and explain these doctrines. He offers detailed analyses of the relevant texts, discusses (...) Quine's views on meaning, reference and knowledge, and shows how Quine's views developed over the years. He also proposes a new version of the linguistic doctrine of logical truth, and a new way of rehabilitating analyticity. His rich exploration of Quine's thought will interest all those seeking to understand and evaluate the work of one of the most important philosophers of the second half of the twentieth century. (shrink)
This volume brings historians of science and social historians together to consider the role of "little tools"--such as tables, reports, questionnaires, dossiers, index cards--in establishing academic and bureaucratic claims to authority and objectivity. From at least the eighteenth century onward, our science and society have been planned, surveyed, examined, and judged according to particular techniques of collecting and storing knowledge. Recently, the seemingly self-evident nature of these mundane epistemic and administrative tools, as well as the prose in which they are (...) cast, has demanded historical examination. The essays gathered here, arranged in chronological order by subject from the late seventeenth to the late twentieth century, involve close readings of primary texts and analyses of academic and bureaucratic practices as parts of material culture. The first few essays, on the early modern period, largely point to the existence of a "juridico-theological" framework for establishing authority. Later essays demonstrate the eclipse of the role of authority per se in the modern period and the emergence of the notion of "objectivity." Most of the essays here concern the German cultural space as among the best exemplars of the academic and bureaucratic practices described above. The introduction to the volume, however, is framed at a general level the closing essays also extend the analyses beyond Germany to broader considerations on authority and objectivity in historical practice. The volume will interest scholars of European history and German studies as well as historians of science. Peter Becker is Professor of Central European History, European University Institute. William Clark is Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University. (shrink)
The aim of Becker’s book is to bring stoicism up to date and to defend a contemporary stoic ethical theory against the prejudices of the skeptical modern reader. Becker imagines what would have happened if stoicism had had a continuous history from ancient times to the present. Since the stoics are thoroughgoing naturalists, according to Becker, they would have incorporated the insights of modern biology and psychology into their theory. They would have abandoned their teleological view of (...) the universe and they would have expanded their account of human psychological development using the latest textbooks in psychology. Stoics are often caricatured as leading bleak lives of forbearance and denial. According to Becker, modern stoics, in favorable circumstances, can enjoy life as much as anyone else and, like their ancient counterparts, can hail from all walks of life. Modern stoicism does not require that one always be cool and detached. Instead, one should be so only when the situation demands it. Nor does modern stoicism require that one lower one’s sights in order not to be disappointed. Instead, it merely enjoins one not to attempt the impossible. Modern stoics are determinists, not fatalists. Finally, despite the comments on the book jacket, modern stoics do not believe that virtue is the only good, although they still believe that virtue is a unique, unconditional, and incommensurable good. (shrink)
In a recent study, Becker and Elliott [Becker, C., & Elliott, M. A. . Flicker induced color and form: Interdependencies and relation to stimulation frequency and phase. Consciousness & Cognition, 15, 175–196] described the appearance of subjective experiences of color and form induced by stimulation with intermittent light. While there have been electroencephalographic studies of similar hallucinatory forms, brain activity accompanying the appearance of hallucinatory colors was never measured. Using a priming procedure where observers were required to indicate (...) the presence of one of eight target colors we compared electrophysiological correlates of hallucinatory color with brain states associated with other visual phenomena. Different target colors were accompanied by different patterns of EEG activation. However, in general, we found that the appearance of hallucinatory colors is preceded by a power decrease in the lower alpha band alongside an increase in gamma band frequencies. We argue that decreasing activity in the lower alpha band acts as a gating mechanism, inducing a switch in perception between different colors. The increasing gamma activation may correlate with the formation of a coherent conscious percept. (shrink)
Dialektik ist eine Modevokabel geworden. In seinem Aufsatz geht Becker ihren philosophiegeschichtlichen Quellen nach. Er zeigt, daß die begrifflichen Konstruktionselemente der dialektischen Methode von Hegel und Marx dem Selbstbewußtseinstheorem der klassischen Transzendentalphilosophie entstammen. Die Wurzeln dieses Theorems reichen bis zu Descartes zurück. Die konsequenteste Ausbildung hat es jedoch erst in der Philosophie des deutschen Idealismus erhalten. B. macht klar, unter welchen Bedingungen es zu Marxens 'materialistischer Umstülpung' der dialektischen Methode kommen konnte. In einer Kurzanalyse der Warentheorie von Marx wird (...) deutlich gemacht, wie Dialektik als Methode im Rahmen einer ökonomischen Theorie fungiert und welche - irrationalen - Konsequenzen sie in diesem ökonomischen und geschichtsphilosophischen Rahmen bewirkt. (shrink)
In a recent study, Becker and Elliott [Becker, C., & Elliott, M. A.. Flicker induced color and form: Interdependencies and relation to stimulation frequency and phase. Consciousness & Cognition, 15, 175–196] described the appearance of subjective experiences of color and form induced by stimulation with intermittent light. While there have been electroencephalographic studies of similar hallucinatory forms, brain activity accompanying the appearance of hallucinatory colors was never measured. Using a priming procedure where observers were required to indicate the (...) presence of one of eight target colors we compared electrophysiological correlates of hallucinatory color with brain states associated with other visual phenomena. Different target colors were accompanied by different patterns of EEG activation. However, in general, we found that the appearance of hallucinatory colors is preceded by a power decrease in the lower alpha band alongside an increase in gamma band frequencies. We argue that decreasing activity in the lower alpha band acts as a gating mechanism, inducing a switch in perception between different colors. The increasing gamma activation may correlate with the formation of a coherent conscious percept. (shrink)
Reissue of Becker's 1973 monograph, which argues the following: Much discussion of morality presupposes that moral judgments are always, at bottom, arbitrary. Moral scepticism, or at least moral relativism, has become common currency among the liberally educated. This remains the case even while political crises become intractable, and it is increasingly apparent that the scope of public policy formulated with no reference to moral justification is extremely limited. The thesis of _On Justifying Moral Judgments_ insists, on the contrary, that (...) rigorous justifications are possible for moral judgments. Crucially, Becker argues for the coordination of the three main approaches to moral theory: axiology, deontology, and agent morality. A pluralistic account of the concept of value is expounded, and a solution to the problem of ultimate justification is suggested. Analyses of valuation, evaluation, the ‘is-ought’ issue, and the concepts of obligation, responsibility and the good person are all incorporated into the main line of argument. (shrink)
In response to Charles Taylor's book "Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity," Becker defends the Western view of ethical conceptions based on our unique identity, reasoning, and historical heritage.
Here a distinguished American historian challenges the belief that the eighteenth century was essentially modern in its temper. In crystalline prose Carl Becker demonstrates that the period commonly described as the Age of Reason was, in fact, very far from that; that Voltaire, Hume, Diderot, and Locke were living in a medieval world, and that these philosophers “demolished the Heavenly City of St. Augustine only to rebuild it with more up-to-date materials.” In a new foreword, Johnson Kent Wright looks (...) at the book’s continuing relevance within the context of current discussion about the Enlightenment. “Will remain a classic—a beautifully finished literary product.”—Charles A. Beard, _American Historical Review_ “_The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers _remains_ _one of the most distinctive American contributions to the historical literature on the Enlightenment.... [It] is likely to beguile and provoke readers for a long time to come.”—Johnson Kent Wright, from the foreword. (shrink)
Introduction: externalism and modalism -- Externalism -- Modalism -- What should the theory do? -- What's missing? -- Process reliabilism -- Goldman's causal theory -- Goldman's discrimination requirement and relevant alternatives -- Process reliabilism and why it is not enough -- Implications for skepticism -- Sensitivity -- Nozick's subjunctive conditional theory of knowledge -- Methods : an important refinement -- Objections to nozicks theory -- Safety -- Motivating safety -- Weak and strong safety : luck and induction -- Is safety (...) necessary for knowledge? -- Luck revisited : safety requires a process reliability condition -- Is reliability compatible with knowledge of the denials of skeptical hypotheses? -- Knowledge : reliably formed sensitive true belief -- The theory -- Problems and clarifications -- Closure and the value problem -- Closure -- The value problem. (shrink)
Epistemic luck has been the focus of much discussion recently. Perhaps the most general knowledge-precluding type is veritic luck, where a belief is true but might easily have been false. Veritic luck has two sources, and so eliminating it requires two distinct conditions for a theory of knowledge. I argue that, when one sets out those conditions properly, a solution to the generality problem for reliabilism emerges.
How should we respond to individuals with disabilities? What does it mean to be disabled? Over fifty million Americans, from neonates to the fragile elderly, are disabled. Some people say they have the right to full social participation, while others repudiate such claims as delusive or dangerous. In this compelling book, three experts in ethics, medicine, and the law address pressing disability questions in bioethics and public policy. Anita Silvers, David Wasserman, and Mary B. Mahowald test important theories of justice (...) by bringing them to bear on subjects of concern in a wide variety of disciplines dealing with disability. They do so in the light of recent advances in feminist, minority, and cultural studies, and of the groundbreaking Americans with Disabilities Act. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson has provided damaging counterexamples to Robert Nozick’s sensitivity principle. The examples are based on Williamson’s anti-luminosity arguments, and they show how knowledge requires a margin for error that appears to be incompatible with sensitivity. I explain how Nozick can rescue sensitivity from Williamson’s counterexamples by appeal to a specific conception of the methods by which an agent forms a belief. I also defend the proposed conception of methods against Williamson’s criticisms.
Jonathan Vogel has recently argued that counterfactual reliabilism cannot account for higher‐level knowledge that one's belief is true, or not false. His particular argument for this claim is straightforward and valid. Interestingly, there is a parallel argument, based on an alternative but plausible reinterpretation of the main premise in Vogel's argument, which squares CR with higher‐level knowledge both that one's belief is true and that one's belief is not false. I argue that, while Vogel's argument reveals the incompatibility of CR (...) and knowledge of certain higher‐level propositions, it does not establish the general claim that CR is incompatible with knowledge that any of one's beliefs is true, or not false. (shrink)
A comparison of attitudes among managers from France, Germany and the United States is made with respect to codes of ethics and ethical business philosophy. Findings are also compared with past studies by Baumhart and by Brenner and Molander where data are available. While the current data appear to be consistent with the past studies, there appear to be differences in attitudes among the managers from the three countries.
The ethical behavior of marketing managers was examined by analyzing their responses to a series of different types of ethical dilemmas presented in vignette form. The ethical dilemmas addressed dealt with the issues of (1) coercion and control, (2) conflict of interest, (3) the physical environment, (4) paternalism, and (5) personal integrity. Responses were analyzed to discover whether managers' behavior varied by type of issue faced or whether there is some continuity to ethical behavior which transcends the type of ethical (...) problem addressed. (shrink)
The question addressed by this book is what, if anything, stoic ethics would be like today if stoicism had had a continuous history to the present day as a plausible and coherent set of philosophical commitments and methods. The book answers that question by arguing that most of the ancient doctrines of Stoic ethics remain defensible today, at least when ancient Stoicism's cosmological commitments are replaced by modern scientific ones.
Reliabilism furnishes an account of basic knowledge that circumvents the problem of the given. However, reliabilism and other epistemological theories that countenance basic knowledge have been criticized for permitting all-too-easy higher-level knowledge. In this paper, I describe the problem of easy knowledge, look briefly at proposed solutions, and then develop my own. I argue that the easy knowledge problem, as it applies to reliabilism, hinges on a false and too crude understanding of ‘reliable’. With a more plausible conception of ‘reliable’, (...) a simple and elegant solution emerges. (shrink)
The editors, working with a team of 325 renowned authorities in the field of ethics, have revised, expanded, and updated this classic encyclopedia. Along with the addition of 150 new entries, all of the original articles have been newly peer-reviewed and revised, bibliographies have been updated throughout, and the overall design of the work has been enhanced for easier access to cross-references and other reference features. New entries include * Aristotelian Ethics * Avicenna * Bad Faith * Beneficence * Categorical (...) and Hypothetical Imperatives * Cheating * Civil Liberty * Conventions * Dirty hands * Evolution * Fiduciary Relationships * Gay ethics * Genetic Engineering * Holocaust * Journalism * Killing/Letting Die * Moral Imagination * Narrative Ethics * Political correctness * Population Ethics * Public and 0rivate Morality * Racism, concepts of * and many more. (shrink)
We model happiness as a measurement tool used to rank alternative actions. Evolution favors a happiness function that measures the individual’s success in relative terms. The optimal function, in particular, is based on a time-varying reference point –or performance benchmark –that is updated over time in a statistically optimal way in order to match the individual’s potential. Habits and peer comparisons arise as special cases of such updating process. This updating also results in a volatile level of happiness that continuously (...) reverts to its long-term mean. Throughout, we draw a parallel with a problem of optimal incentives, which allows us to apply statistical insights from agency theory to the study of happiness. (shrink)
Many works intended to introduce interpretive issues in quantum mechanics present John von Neumann as having a view in which measurement produces a physical collapse in the system being measured. In this paper I argue that such a reading of von Neumann is inconsistent with what von Neumann actually says. I show that much of what he says makes no sense on the physical collapse reading, but falls into place if we assume he does not have such a view. I (...) show that the physical collapse view is based on an understanding of ‘state’ which von Neumann does not share. Introduction The standard reading of von Neumann The standard reading of von Neumann and Chapter VI The Chapter VI argument The Chapter V argument The Chapters III and IV argument Conclusion. (shrink)