The Essential Herman Kahn offers the public for the first time an anthology consisting of the best of Herman Kahn's work. It brings together, out of the several thousands of pages published in his life, the "essential Kahn"—the most relevant, consequential, and interesting themes, ideas, and arguments of his work in areas such as international relations, public policy, environmentalism, strategic thinking, and futurology.
Kilcullen argues that Pierre Bayle's Philosophical Commentary on the Words of the Gospel: 'Compel Them to Enter In' presents the best case extant for religious toleration. The first two essays analyze the Commentary in a seventeenth-century theological context; the final three essays examine related current philosophical themes in the works of, among others, Feinberg, Peirce, and Rawls. While the author admits that his essays--focused on the dilemmas arising out of epistemological uncertainty--may be too wide-ranging for some readers, this work, with (...) over six hundred detailed footnotes, presents the finest available exegesis of the Commentary. (shrink)
For forty years, Harvey Mansfield has been worth reading. Whether plumbing the depths of MachiavelliOs Discourses or explaining what was at stake in Bill ClintonOs impeachment, MansfieldOs work in political philosophy and political science has set the standard. In Educating the Prince, twenty-one of his students, themselves distinguished scholars, try to live up to that standard. Their essays offer penetrating analyses of Machiavellianism, liberalism, and America., all of them informed by MansfieldOs own work. The volume also includes a bibliography of (...) MansfieldOs writings. (shrink)
Through a glass darkly / Joshua Mitchell -- Skepticism, self, and toleration in Montaigne's political thought / Alan Levine -- French free-thinkers in the first decades of the Edict of Nantes / Maryanne Cline Horowitz -- Descartes and the question of toleration / Michael Gillepsie -- Toleration and the skepticism of religion in Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus / Steven B. Smith -- Monopolizing faith / Alan Houston -- Skepticism and toleration in Hobbes' political thought / Shirley Letwin -- John Locke and (...) the foundations of toleration / Nathan Tarcov -- Pierre Bayle's atheist politics / Kenneth R. Weinstein -- Of believers and barbarians / Diana Schaub -- Tolerant skepticism of Voltaire and Diderot / Patrick Riley. (shrink)
Faced with the choice between creating a risk of harm and taking a precaution against that risk, should I take the precaution? Does the proper analysis of this trade-off require a maximizing, utilitarian approach? If not, how does one properly analyze the trade-off? These questions are important, for we often are uncertain about the effects of our actions. Accordingly, we often must consider whether our actions create an unreasonable risk of injury — that is, whether our actions are negligent.
In the extended mind literature, one sometimes finds the claim that there is no neural correlate of consciousness. Instead, there is a biological or ecological correlate of consciousness. Consciousness, it is claimed, supervenes on an entire organism in action. Alva Noë is one of the leading proponents of such a view. This paper resists Noë's view. First, it challenges the evidence he offers from neuroplasticity. Second, it presses a problem with paralysis. Third, it draws attention to a challenge from the (...) existence of metamers and visual illusions. (shrink)
The Oxford English Dictionary says that a rite is ‘a formal procedure or act in a religious or other solemn observance’. The word comes into English through the French rite from the Latin ritus . Its original meaning escapes etymologists; and this is a mixed blessing, for we neither can nor must attempt a retrieval of its hidden roots. We are told by respectable etymologists that the word is associated from earliest times with Latin religious usage, but that even in (...) the early Latin it was already extended to ‘custom, usage, manner or way’ of a non-religious sort. [Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictionary .] So, too, in modern languages the terms ‘rite’ and ‘ritual’ have specifically religious meaning, but they are also used in social and cultural settings that we would not call religious. What first strikes us about the terms ’ and ‘ritual’ is an emphasis upon a certain formality, upon a regular and stable way in which an action or set of actions is to be performed. A ritual is more than a formalism, however, since there are formalisms that are not rites, such as the logical rules for making a valid argument. Moreover, the term is frequently associated with the terms ‘myth’, ‘symbol’ and ‘faith’. These, too, are primarily religious, but are also extended to non-religious contexts. Indeed, there seems to be a network of such terms whose usage touches upon some extraordinary quality in things. Like them, the term ‘ritual’ shares both a wide variety of meanings and a certain hint of impropriety. The variety of ritual forms is notorious, ranging from the most sacred religious liturgies to the absurdities of a fraternity initiation; and the impropriety of the term breaks out whenever we brand a certain action ‘ritualistic’, just as we sometimes refer slightingly to an assertion, saying it is ‘mythical’, ‘merely symbolic’ or ‘credulous’. (shrink)
Since something cannot be conscious without being a conscious subject, a complete physicalist explanation of consciousness must resolve an issue first raised by Thomas Nagel, namely to explain why a particular mass of atoms that comprises my body gives rise to me as conscious subject, rather than someone else. In this essay, I describe a thought-experiment that suggests that physicalism lacks the resources to address Nagel's question and seems to pose a counter-example to any form of non-reductive physicalism relying on (...) the mind–body supervenience thesis, which would include William Hasker's emergent dualism. Since the particular thought-experiment does not pose any problems for classical substance dualism and since the problem, as I call it, of explaining subjectivity is the central problem of mind, I conclude that CSD is better supported than any form of non-reductive physicalism. (shrink)
One version of the free-will argument relies on the claim that, other things being equal, a world in which free beings exist is morally preferable to a world in which free beings do not exist . I argue that this version of the free-will argument cannot support a theodicy that should alleviate the doubts about God's existence to which the problems of evil give rise. In particular, I argue that the value thesis has no foundation in common intuitions about morality. (...) Without some sort of intuitive support, the value thesis lacks the resources to serve as the foundation for a theodicy that addresses the powerful intuition, which affects believers and non-believers alike, that a perfect God would not allow so much evil. (shrink)
Kenneth F. Schaffner compares the practice of biological and medical research and shows how traditional topics in philosophy of science--such as the nature of theories and of explanation--can illuminate the life sciences. While Schaffner pays some attention to the conceptual questions of evolutionary biology, his chief focus is on the examples that immunology, human genetics, neuroscience, and internal medicine provide for examinations of the way scientists develop, examine, test, and apply theories. Although traditional philosophy of science has regarded scientific (...) discovery--the questions of creativity in science--as a subject for psychological rather than philosophical study, Schaffner argues that recent work in cognitive science and artificial intelligence enables researchers to rationally analyze the nature of discovery. As a philosopher of science who holds an M.D., he has examined biomedical work from the inside and uses detailed examples from the entire range of the life sciences to support the semantic approach to scientific theories, addressing whether there are "laws" in the life sciences as there are in the physical sciences. Schaffner's novel use of philosophical tools to deal with scientific research in all of its complexity provides a distinctive angle on basic questions of scientific evaluation and explanation. (shrink)
To be truly provocative and outrageous the superior philosophical sophistry will commonly possess four somewhat adventitious features. I shall rate it as classic if it has all four. First, and least adventitiously, the argument will be crisp and initially seductive. Second, by the standard the sophistry sets direct rebuttal will be laborious and diffuse. Third, the recipe for the latter will prescribe that we pick out some hitherto unarticulated logical principle such that if the principle be true then the sophistical (...) argument must be invalid, and then, on the strength of that consequence assume the principle to be true. Consequently and fourth, as an antidote parody is supreme. With a persuasive absence of fuss and bias we can turn the tables if we show that, if the sophistical argument were really valid, then some structurally similar argument would prove just as consummately far too much. In short, from the rhetorical point of view at least, Gaunilo is more lethal than Kant. Even if the similarity is defective, the sophist will lose some of his adventitious and insufferable poise, if he ventures to show why. (shrink)
Physicians have an ethical responsibility to their patients to offer the best available medical care. This responsibility conflicts with their role as gatekeepers of the limited health care resources available for all patients collectively. It is ethically untenable to expect doctors to face this trade-off during each patient encounter; the physician cannot be expected to compromise the wellbeing of the patient in the office in favour of anonymous patients elsewhere. Hence, as in other domains of public policy where individual and (...) collective interests conflict, some form of collective solution is required. Collective solutions may take the form of placing explicit resource constraints on resources available to physicians, or clinical practice guidelines that recognise cost-effective care as acceptable. Such solutions will be politically and ethically sustainable only if patients as citizens of the larger population accept the need for rationing of limited resources in health care. (shrink)
In 1949, Kurt Gödel found a solution to the field equations of general relativity that described a spacetime with some unusual properties. This “Gödel universe” permitted “closed timelike curves,” hence a kind of time travel, and it did not admit of decomposition into successive moments of time. In the same year, he published “A Remark about the Relationship between Relativity Theory and Idealistic Philosophy”, in which he used certain properties of this solution to argue for a kind of temporal idealism, (...) whereby “change [is] an illusion or an appearance due to our special mode of perception”. The paper is short and to the point, but the argument has usually been regarded as fatally flawed. In his Gödel Meets Einstein: Time Travel in the Gödel Universe, Palle Yourgrau makes a case for Gödel. (shrink)
Bell’s theorem is purported to demonstrate the impossibility of a local “hidden variable” theory underpinning quantum mechanics. It relies on the well-known assumption of ‘locality’, and also on a little-examined assumption called ‘statistical independence’ (SI). Violations of this assumption have variously been thought to suggest “backward causation”, a “conspiracy” on the part of nature, or the denial of “free will”. It will be shown here that these are spurious worries, and that denial of SI simply implies nonlocal correlation between spacelike (...) degrees of freedom. Lorentz-invariant theories in which SI does not hold are easily constructed: two are exhibited here. It is conjectured, on this basis, that quantum-mechanical phenomena may be modeled by a local theory after all. (shrink)
Groups behave in a variety of ways. To show that this behavior amounts to action, it would be best to fit it into a general account of action. However, nearly every account from the philosophy of action requires the agent to have mental states such as beliefs, desires, and intentions. Unfortunately, theorists are divided over whether groups can instantiate these states—typically depending on whether or not they are willing to accept functionalism about the mind. But we can avoid this debate. (...) I show how a more general view of action captures what is central to action without mentioning mental states, and I argue that a group’s members can fulfill the role in group action that mental states play in our actions. Group behavior is explicable in terms of reasons, regardless of whether the group itself cognizes those reasons. After discussing the kind of reasons at issue and arguing that groups can act in light of them without minds, I assess how this account bears on the question of group responsibility. (shrink)
Kant famously declares that “although all our cognition commences with experience, … it does not on that account all arise from experience”. This marks Kant’s disagreement with empiricism, and his contention that human knowledge and experience require both sensation and the use of certain a priori concepts, the Categories. However, this is only the surface of Kant’s much deeper, though neglected view about the nature of reason and judgment. Kant holds that even our a priori concepts are acquired, not from (...) sensation, but “originally,” because our mind has a fundamental capacity to judge that, upon sensory stimulation, generates the Categories through its basic logical functions of judgment. This “epigenesis” of reason and our fundamental capacity to judge that drives it is the topic of Longuenesse’s fascinating book, and the source of her title. (shrink)
Ever since the Proslogion was first circulated , critics have been bemused by St Anselm's brazen attempt to establish a matter of fact, namely, God's existence, from the simple analysis of a term or concept. Yet every critic who has proposed to ‘write the obituary’ of the Ontological Argument has found it to be remarkably resilient . At the risk of adding to a record of failures, I want to venture a new method for attacking this durable argument. Neither the (...) common version of Anselm's argument from Chapter II of the Proslogion nor the previously unrecognized modal version uncovered by Norman Malcolm from Pros , III can possibly get under way without Anselm's celebrated assertion that God is that than which no greater can be conceived. (shrink)
For both its enthusiastic adherents as well as its more generous opponents, liberalism commands considerable ethical appeal but at a price. And that price is its lack of systematic integrity or coherence. The charm of its ethical appeal stems from the great values which it celebrates. But for many these very values seem fatally incommensurable, seem to be forever colliding with and thwarting one another. As Isaiah Berlin has never tired of reminding us, liberty and equality continue to defy our (...) best efforts to reconcile them, to weave them together in some kind of orderly and compelling way. Liberalism, in other words, is flawed, if not tragically flawed. For those who nevertheless remain charmed by its ethical appeal, the tragedy of the incommensurability of its basic values is disappointing and disturbing. (shrink)
While social epistemologists have recently begun addressing questions about whether groups can possess beliefs or knowledge, little has yet been said about whether groups can properly be said to possess understanding. Here I want to make some progress on this question by considering two possible accounts of group understanding, modeled on accounts of group belief and knowledge: a deflationary account, according to which a group understands just in case most or all of its members understand, and an inflationary account, according (...) to which a group’s understanding does not depend solely on whether its members understand. I argue that both accounts face problems. The deflationary account has two such problems: aggregation problems that are familiar from discussions of group belief, and the problem of different bases, wherein members possess understanding for different but consistent reasons. The inflationary account faces what I call the problem of distributed grasping: while it is widely accepted that understanding requires a kind of “grasping”, it is hard to make sense of how this requirement could be met at the group level while not necessarily being met by any individual member. Despite its problems, I make a case for the inflationary account. This will require addressing the problem of distributed grasping: to do this, I propose a different way of thinking about the grasping relation at the group level, such that it is constituted by a dependency relationship between members. (shrink)
Much has been written about what corporations owe society and whether it is appropriate to hold them responsible. In contrast, little has been written about whether anything is owed to corporations apart from what is owed to their members. And when this question has been addressed, the answer has always been that corporations are not worthy of any distinct moral consideration. This is even claimed by proponents of corporate agency. In this paper, I argue that proponents of corporate agency should (...) recognize corporations as worthy of moral consideration. Though particular views of moral status are often taken for granted in the literature, corporations can satisfy many views of moral status given the capacities often ascribed to them. They can even meet the conditions of the views assumed. I conclude by suggesting that recognizing the moral status of corporations may not be as drastic or harmful as we might imagine. (shrink)
Behaving presents an overview of the recent history and methodology of behavioral genetics and psychiatric genetics, informed by a philosophical perspective. Kenneth F. Schaffner addresses a wide range of issues, including genetic reductionism and determinism, "free will," and quantitative and molecular genetics. The latter covers newer genome-wide association studies that have produced a paradigm shift in the subject, and generated the problem of "missing heritability." Schaffner also presents cases involving pro and con arguments for genetic testing for IQ and (...) for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Schaffner examines the nature-nurture controversy and Developmental Systems Theory using C. elegans or "worm" studies as a test case, concluding that genes are special and provide powerful tools, including "deep homology," for investigating behavior. He offers a novel account of biological knowledge emphasizing the importance of models, mechanisms, pathways, and networks, which clarifies how partial reductions provide explanations of traits and disorders. The book also includes examinations of personality genetics and of schizophrenia and its etiology, alongside interviews with prominent researchers in the area, and discusses debates about psychosis that led to changes in the DSM-5 in 2013.Schaffner concludes by discussing additional philosophical implications of the genetic analyses in the book, some major worries about "free will," and arguments pro and con about why genes and DNA are so special. Though genes are special, newer perspectives presented in this book will be needed for progress in behavioral genetics- perspectives that situate genes in complex multilevel prototypic pathways and networks. With a mix of optimism and pessimism about the state of the field and the subject, Schaffner's book will be of interest to scholars in the history and philosophy of science, medicine, and psychiatry. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to investigate appropriate methods for educating students into citizenship within a pluralistic state and to explain why civic education is itself important. In this discussion, I will offer suggestions as to how students might be best prepared for their future political roles as participants in a democracy, and how we, as theorists, ought to structure institutions and curricula in order to ensure that students are adequately trained for political decision making. The paper is divided (...) into six sections. In the first two sections, I argue that community is a learned understanding and that such education,even when it supports liberal commitments,cannot be neutral. I use the social contract tradition as an entrance into the perpetual nature of conflict within a pluralist society. In the third and fourth sections, I develop a pedagogy geared towards educating students into what I call cognitive conflict, and argue that the arts, widely understood, should be privileged over other disciplines. In the fifth section, I examine two difficulties inherent inmy pedagogy â first that it seems to demandthat all perspectives be taught, and second that it seems to promote anxiety among students. In the final section, I ask that political theory reexamine the role of harmony in justice. I conclude that a managed conflictis a more acceptable organizational description of liberal political structures. (shrink)
This paper examines the undervalued role of Herbert Spencer in Sidgwick's thinking. Sidgwick recognized Spencer's utilitarianism, but criticized him on the ground that he tried to deduce utilitarianism from evolutionary theory. In analysing these criticisms, this paper concludes that Spencer's deductive methodology was in fact closer to Sidgwick's empiricist position than Sidgwick realized. The real source of Sidgwick's unhappiness withSpencer lies with the substance of Spencer's utilitarianism, namely its espousal of indefeasible moral rights.
From the beginning of the scientific revolution, scientists, philosophers, and laypersons have been concerned about the effects of knowledge on social relations. Although views differ about the details of this knowledge-society interface, most observers have understood that the kind of knowledge that emanates from establishedscience can indeed be quite powerful in practice. In exploring both the nature of race science discourse and selected features of the practical context within which it resonates effectively, the authors' investigationsof this field and its contribution (...) to the Holocaust represent an effort to specify some of the things that make knowledge powerful. (shrink)
This book marks Kenneth Burke's breakthrough in criticism from the literary and aesthetic into social theory and the philosophy of history. In this volume we find Burke's first entry into what he calls his theory of Dramatism and here also is an important section on the nature of ritual.
Throughout his literary career Walker Percy read and studied the philosophical thought of Charles Sanders Peirce in an attempt to re-present in language the world as Percy knew it. Beginning in 1984 and ending in 1990, the year of his death, Percy corresponded with Kenneth Laine Ketner about the "semiotic" of Peirce. Their letters - honest, instructive, and often filled with down-home humor - record an epistolary friendship of two men both passionately interested in Peirce's theory of signs. This (...) volume of letters provides a rich philosophical perspective for better understanding the fiction and nonfiction of Walker Percy. (shrink)