We are often told that we are morally obligated to produce equal opportunity for all. Therefore, it seems we should examine what power we have to produce that desirable state. For it would be nonsense to say we are required to provide what is beyond our power to provide. When we examine this question, we find our power limited by two sets of constraints. One set comprises formal constraints upon the idea itself of equal opportunity. We cannot do the logically (...) impossible. The other set comprises limits upon our ability to produce the directed socio-economic change, getting known outputs for known inputs. I illustrate the formal constraints by outlining the work of Douglas Rae. The constraints upon our abilities I illustrate with evidence from sociology and politics. At the end, we shall discover that our power to make opportunities equal is sharply though not unbearably limited. A critical but unbaised survey will reveal that in the past fifty years we have gone remarkably far towards doing all that we are presently capable of doing to equalize opportunities. Perhaps we shall go even farther when we learn how. The word ‘real’ in the title is opposed to ‘ideal’ or even ‘chimerical'. It may seem an interesting question what equality of opportunity should consist in were we able to produce directed socio-economic change at will. But we are not. Therefore, a more interesting and more important question is what equality of opportunity consists in given the very large number of constraints within which we must work to achieve it. (shrink)
Should a theory of meaning state what sentences mean, and can a Davidsonian theory of meaning in particular do so? Max Ko¨lbel answers both questions affirmatively. I argue, however, that the phenomena of non-homophony, non-truth-conditional aspects of meaning, semantic mood, and context-sensitivity provide prima facie obstacles for extending Davidsonian truth-theories to yield meaning-stating theorems. Assessing some natural moves in reply requires a more fully developed conception of the task of such theories than Ko¨lbel provides. A more developed conception is also (...) required to defend his positive answer to the first question above. I argue that, however Ko¨lbel might elaborate his position, it can’t be by embracing the sort of cognitivist account of Davidsonian semantics to which he sometimes alludes. (shrink)
Michael Devitt ([2006a], [2006b]) argues that, insofar as linguists possess better theories about language than non-linguists, their linguistic intuitions are more reliable. (Culbertson and Gross ) presented empirical evidence contrary to this claim. Devitt () replies that, in part because we overemphasize the distinction between acceptability and grammaticality, we misunderstand linguists' claims, fall into inconsistency, and fail to see how our empirical results can be squared with his position. We reply in this note. Inter alia we argue that Devitt's (...) focus on grammaticality intuitions, rather than acceptability intuitions, distances his discussion from actual linguistic practice. We close by questioning a demand that drives his discussion—viz., that, for linguistic intuitions to supply evidence for linguistic theorizing, a better account of why they are evidence is required. (shrink)
On his death in 2007, Richard Rorty was heralded by the New York Times as “one of the world’s most influential contemporary thinkers.” Controversial on the left and the right for his critiques of objectivity and political radicalism, Rorty experienced a renown denied to all but a handful of living philosophers. In this masterly biography, Neil Gross explores the path of Rorty’s thought over the decades in order to trace the intellectual and professional journey that led him to that (...) prominence. The child of a pair of leftist writers who worried that their precocious son “wasn’t rebellious enough,” Rorty enrolled at the University of Chicago at the age of fifteen. There he came under the tutelage of polymath Richard McKeon, whose catholic approach to philosophical systems would profoundly influence Rorty’s own thought. Doctoral work at Yale led to Rorty’s landing a job at Princeton, where his colleagues were primarily analytic philosophers. With a series of publications in the 1960s, Rorty quickly established himself as a strong thinker in that tradition—but by the late 1970s Rorty had eschewed the idea of objective truth altogether, urging philosophers to take a “relaxed attitude” toward the question of logical rigor. Drawing on the pragmatism of John Dewey, he argued that philosophers should instead open themselves up to multiple methods of thought and sources of knowledge—an approach that would culminate in the publication of Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature , one of the most seminal and controversial philosophical works of our time. In clear and compelling fashion, Gross sets that surprising shift in Rorty’s thought in the context of his life and social experiences, revealing the many disparate influences that contribute to the making of knowledge. As much a book about the growth of ideas as it is a biography of a philosopher, Richard Rorty will provide readers with a fresh understanding of both the man and the course of twentieth-century thought. (shrink)
Princess Diana’s death was a tragedy that provoked mourning across the globe; the death of a homeless person, more often than not, is met with apathy. How can we account for this uneven distribution of emotion? Can it simply be explained by the prevailing scientific understanding? Uncovering a rich tradition beginning with Aristotle, _The Secret History of Emotion_ offers a counterpoint to the way we generally understand emotions today. Through a radical rereading of Aristotle, Seneca, Thomas Hobbes, Sarah Fielding, and (...) Judith Butler, among others, Daniel M. Gross reveals a persistent intellectual current that considers emotions as psychosocial phenomena. In Gross’s historical analysis of emotion, Aristotle and Hobbes’s rhetoric show that our passions do not stem from some inherent, universal nature of men and women, but rather are conditioned by power relations and social hierarchies. He follows up with consideration of how political passions are distributed to some people but not to others using the Roman Stoics as a guide. Hume and contemporary theorists like Judith Butler, meanwhile, explain to us how psyches are shaped by power. To supplement his argument, Gross also provides a history and critique of the dominant modern view of emotions, expressed in Darwinism and neurobiology, in which they are considered organic, personal feelings independent of social circumstances. The result is a convincing work that rescues the study of the passions from science and returns it to the humanities and the art of rhetoric. (shrink)
Through an absorbing investigation into recent, high-profile scandals involving one of the largest kosher slaughterhouses in the world, located unexpectedly in Postville, Iowa, Aaron S. Gross makes a powerful case for elevating the category of the animal in the study of religion. Major theorists have almost without exception approached religion as a phenomenon that radically marks humans off from other animals, but Gross rejects this paradigm, instead matching religion more closely with the life sciences to better theorize human (...) nature. Gross begins with a detailed account of the scandals at Agriprocessors and their significance for the American and international Jewish community. He argues that without a proper theorization of "animals and religion," we cannot fully understand religiously and ethically motivated diets and how and why the events at Agriprocessors took place. Subsequent chapters recognize the significance of animals to the study of religion in the work of Ernst Cassirer, Emile Durkheim, Mircea Eliade, Jonathan Z. Smith, and Jacques Derrida and the value of indigenous peoples' understanding of animals to the study of religion in our daily lives. Gross concludes by extending the Agribusiness scandal to the activities at slaughterhouses of all kinds, calling attention to the religiosity informing the regulation of "secular" slaughterhouses and its implications for our relationship with and self-imagination through animals. (shrink)
In this collection edited by Alan G. Gross and Arthur E. Walzer, scholars in communication, rhetoric and composition, and philosophy seek to “reread” Aristotle’s Rhetoric from a purely rhetorical perspective.
This paper is a response to Keith Lehrer's ‘Reid on Common Sense and Morals.’ I start by defending the general claim that it is appropriate to call Reid a moral realist. I continue by discussing three aspects of Reid's account of moral ideas. First, our first moral conceptions are non-propositional mental states that are essential ingredients of moral perception. Our first moral conceptions are not gross, indistinct and egocentric but are uninformed mental states that might be about others. (...) Second, moral perception functions like perception of aesthetic properties and of the mental states of other humans, and this kind of perception is both immediate and informed. Third, I discuss the role of moral feelings in moral motivation. (shrink)
An advertising firm''s ethical culture (as defined by the firm''s managerial and peer ethical behaviors) may affect the employees'' comfort levels and ethical behaviors. In this research, scenarios were used to describe advertising firms with various ethical cultures. Respondents'' perceived comfort levels in working for the firms described in the scenarios and the respondents'' behavioral intentions when faced with various advertising situations were assessed. Results of the study indicate that peer ethical behavior exerts a strong influence on the comfort or (...) discomfort level and the ethical behavioral intentions of potential advertising employees. Further, the strong influence exerted by peers seems to transcend the ethical behavior of the manager and carry over to the attitude toward the entire corporate advertising environment. This study provides insights for firms and researchers interested in assessing the impact of an advertising firm''s ethical culture on potential employees. (shrink)
Aesthetics is today widely seen as the philosophy of art and/or beauty, limited to artworks and their perception. In this paper, I will argue that today's aesthetics and the original programme developed by the German Enlightenment thinker Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten in the first half of the eighteenth century have only the name in common. Baumgarten did not primarily develop his aesthetics as a philosophy of art. The making and understanding of artworks had served in his original programme only as an (...) example for the application of his philosophy. What he really attempts to present is an alternative philosophy of knowledge that goes beyond the purely rationalist, empiricist, and sensualist approaches. In short, Baumgarten transcends the old opposition between rationalism and sensualism. His core theme is the improvement (perfectio) of human knowledge and cognition and the ways to reach this goal. The study of Baumgarten's foundational works on aesthetics should not be undertaken merely out of antiquarian interest. I will argue, instead, that Baumgarten's importance and contemporary relevance lies in this: that his Aesthetica may serve as a profound contribution to the philosophy of the cultural sciences and humanities. Revisiting Baumgarten's original idea of aesthetics will lead us to a more inclusive concept of that philosophical discipline. (shrink)
In an analysis of 47 U.S. journalism ethics codes, we found that although most consider images, only 9 address a gripping issue: how to treat images of tragedy and violence, such as those produced on the battlefields of Iraq, during the 2005 London bombings, and after Hurricane Katrina. Among codes that consider violent and tragic images, there is agreement on what images are problematic and a move toward green-light considerations of ethical responsibilities. However, the special problems of violence and truth (...) telling in wartime and issues of how to handle graphic images across media platforms receive virtually no attention. (shrink)
This study examined more than 2,500 war images from U.S. television news, newspapers, news magazines, and online news sites during the first five weeks of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and found that only 10% showed injury or death. The paper analyzes which media platforms were most willing to show casualties and offers insights on when journalists should use gruesome war images or keep them secret.
Gaucher disease is a rare, chronic,ethnic-specific genetic disorder affecting Jewsof Eastern European descent. It is extremelyexpensive to treat and presents difficultdilemmas for officials and patients in Israelwhere many patients live. First, high-cost,high-benefit, but low volume treatment forGaucher creates severe allocation dilemmas forpolicy makers. Allocation policies driven bycost effectiveness, age, opportunity or needmake it difficult to justify funding. Processoriented decision making based on terms of faircooperation or decisions invoking the ``rule ofrescue'''' risk discriminating against minoritieswho may already suffer from inequitabledistribution of (...) heath care resources. Apartfrom cost, Gaucher disease prompts questionsabout abortion. Unlike severe geneticdisorders, Gaucher offers no grounds forabortion and, in many ways, is analogous togender based abortions that are prohibitedregardless of fetal age. Finally, Gaucherraises concerns about the disclosure of geneticinformation. These affect potential carriersasked to participate in population studies andcarriers and patients who must considerdisclosure to others. These concerns weigh theright to privacy against communal interests andbilateral commitments. (shrink)
If C 1 , ..., C k are members of a certain class of suitable categories (which contains those arising from models with dimension), C = C 1 × ⋯ × C k , C' is a suitable category, F: C → C' is a partial recursive combinatorial functor satisfying a certain property (which, if C = C 1 , is that F is nonconstant) and U ∈ C, then (1) if FU is regressive so is U as is each (...) U i , and (2) if FU is Dedekind then each U i is Dedekind. (shrink)
In this paper, we review Keith Lehrer’s account of the basing relation, with particular attention to the two cases he offered in support of his theory, Raco (Lehrer, Theory of knowledge, 1990; Theory of knowledge, (2nd ed.), 2000) and the earlier case of the superstitious lawyer (Lehrer, The Journal of Philosophy, 68, 311–313, 1971). We show that Lehrer’s examples succeed in making his case that beliefs need not be based on the evidence, in order to be justified. These cases (...) show that it is the justification (rather than the belief) that must be based in the evidence. We compare Lehrer’s account of basing with some alternative accounts that have been offered, and show why Lehrer’s own account is more plausible. (shrink)
While still subject to differing interpretations Perelman’s theory of audience has potential as an evaluative tool in rhetorical criticism as demonstrated by Gross and Crosswhite. I compare their explanations of how politicians address the universal audience and the respective implications for evaluating the argumentation and then argue that although Gross provides a more immediately applicable theory, Crosswhite’s interpretation recommends itself by virtue of its wider scope in regard to deliberative rhetoric.
New Waves in Philosophy, a book collection that stands out for giving a snapshot of research in all areas of philosophy is a successful editorial project addressed by Vincent F. Hendricks and Duncan Pritchard. New Waves in Philosophy of Action is one of its last titles, edited by Jesús H. Aguilar, Andrei A. Buckareff and Keith Frankish. -/- The book is aimed at the researchers of all fields and readers in general interested in this sub-discipline of philosophy very difficult (...) to localize (is it part of a sub-discipline such as metaphysics or maybe part of the philosophy of mind?). What is and how can we know the nature of intentions and its role in action? (shrink)
Under Article 63 of the Constitution, a gross violation of the Law on Elections to the Seimas is one of the grounds for discontinuation of the powers of the Member of the Seimas. The Constitution does not reveal expressis verbis as to what is a gross violation of the law on election. The establishment of this is within the discretion of the legislator. While defining what a gross violation of the Law on Elections to the Seimas is, (...) the legislator is bound by the norms and principles of the Constitution. Although the Constitution does not define expressis verbis as to what a gross violation of the law on election is, the fact that, under Item 6 of Article 63 of the Constitution, the powers of a Member of the Seimas shall cease on this ground, implies at least several things: first, not every violation of the law on election can be regarded as a gross one, thus, if the law on election has not been grossly violated, it is not permitted on this ground to recognise that the Member of the Seimas lost his mandate, or that the powers of the Member of the Seimas ceased; second, only such violations may be regarded as gross ones, upon commission of which there appear reasonable doubts whether during the election the genuine will of the voters was expressed, whether their will was not distorted to the extent that the results of the election do not reflect the genuine will of the voters and the mandates of Members of the Seimas have been distributed unfairly. (shrink)
In his recent paper ‘Gratuitous Evil and Divine Existence’. Keith Yandell declares the deductive argument from evil solved. He notes, however, that what persists is a probabilistic version of the argument from evil, one concluding from the evidence of evil that it is ‘highly improbable’ that God exists. Yandell attempts to refute this probabilistic argument from gratuitous evil; as shown below, however, he fails.