Most of us take it for granted that we are free agents: that we can sometimes act so as to shape our own lives and those of others, that we have choices about how to do so and that we are responsible for what we do. But are we really justified in believing this? For centuries philosophers have argued about whether free will and moral responsibility are compatible with determinism or natural causation, and they seem no closer to agreeing about (...) it now than at any time in the past. Many contemporary philosophers have come to the conclusion that the intractability of the old argument about free will and determinism is caused by deep rooted illusions and inconsistencies in our unreflective attitudes about moral responsibility and freedom to act. Kevin Magill challenges this view and argues that the philosophical stalemate about free will has arisen through lack of attention to the content of the experiences that shape our understanding of free will and agency and through a mistaken belief that the concept of moral responsibility requires a moral and metaphysical justification. The book sets out an original account of the various ways we experience choosing, deciding and acting, which reconciles the apparently opposing intuitions that have fuelled the traditional dispute. (shrink)
In so-called Christian countries an increasing number of people openly reject Christian morality. It is a commonplace that they do this for values that can be shown to be Christian. How did this state of affairs come about? An examination of the beginning of Christian ethical thought shows that, within great personal variety, certain patterns or concepts remain constant. Righteousness, discipleship, faith and love are traced in this book from the New Testament through to Augustine. There is a necessary tension (...) between high ideals and practical performance, or between perfection and contingency. When this tension is lost, Christian ethics can easily go wrong. The amoral perfectionism of second-century Gnostics is remarkably similar to the mysticism of communal movements; the opposite threat of legalism has always been present in conservative forms of Christianity. Dr Osborn is concerned to explain rather than to defend, to look at the way conclusions are reached, and to show the rich diversity of early Christian thought. Successive chapters deal with the New Testament, Clement of Alexandria, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom and Augustine. (shrink)
Humanism and the Death of God is a critical exploration of secular humanism and its discontents. Through close readings of three exemplary nineteenth-century philosophical naturalists or materialists, who perhaps more than anyone set the stage for our contemporary quandaries when it comes to questions of human nature and moral obligation, Ronald E. Osborn argues that "the death of God" ultimately tends toward the death of liberal understandings of the human as well. Any fully persuasive defense of humanistic values--including the (...) core humanistic concepts of inviolable dignity, rights, and equality attaching to each individual--requires an essentially religious vision of personhood. Osborn shows such a vision is found in an especially dramatic and historically consequential way in the scandalous particularity of the Christian narrative of God becoming a human. He does not attempt to provide logical proofs for the central claims of Christian humanism along the lines some philosophers might demand. Instead, this study demonstrates how philosophical naturalism or materialism, and secular humanisms and anti-humanisms, might be persuasively read from the perspective of a classically orthodox Christian faith. (shrink)
Eric Osborn's book presents a major study of Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, who attacked Gnostic theosophy with positive ideas as well as negative critiques. Irenaeus's combination of argument and imagery, logic and aesthetic, was directed to the bible. Dominated by a Socratic love of truth and a classical love of beauty, he was a founder of Western humanism. Erasmus, who edited the first printed edition of Irenaeus, praised him for his freshness and vigour. He is today valued for his (...) splendid aphorisms, his optimism, love of the created world, evolutionary view of history, theology of beauty and humour. Why have two millennia of European culture been so creative? Irenaeus points to Greek ways of thinking and the Christian Bible. Irenaeus's thought is complex, yet rewarding to the critical reader, and this full study of it will be of interest to theologians, historians of ideas, classicists, scientists and students. (shrink)
The changing world of health care finance has led to a paradigm shift in health care with health care being viewed more and more as a commodity. Many have argued that such a paradigm shift is incompatible with the very nature of medicine and health care. But such arguments raise more questions than they answer. There are important assumptions about basic concepts of health care and markets that frame such arguments.
Approaching Plato is a comprehensive research guide to all (fifteen) of Plato’s early and middle dialogues. Each of the dialogues is covered with a short outline, a detailed outline (including some Greek text), and an interpretive essay. Also included (among other things) is an essay distinguishing Plato’s idea of eudaimonia from our contemporary notion of happiness and brief descriptions of the dialogues’ main characters.
It is an exciting time to pursue philosophy of religion, not least because of an earnest and widening conversation about what philosophers of religion should be doing in the future. This conversation is driven by factors including the growing presence of philosophers who do not presume as normative the subject position of so-called western traditions of thought, the relentless historicization—especially along Foucaultian lines—of the modern study of religion by critics working across the range of implicated disciplines, and by newly energized (...) emphases in existing methods of the study of religion upon embodiment and upon materiality more generally.Kevin Schilbrack’s Philosophy and the Study of Religions: a Manifesto enters the conversation with an exhibition of clarity and wit, logical strength, and breadth of ambition. Schilbrack argues for expanding the work of philosophy of religion from its traditional task—the examination of theism—to a more inclusive self-understan .. (shrink)
Kevin Schilbrack’s recent book sets out a series of well-considered, well-wrought arguments promoting a lively future for philosophy of religion. In the following comments on selected chapters, I seek to raise questions that require further elaboration of Schilbrack’s constructive vision and/or distinction from alternative visions with which he disagrees.Chapter 1: ‘The Full Task of Philosophy of Religion’Schilbrack begins this chapter characterizing ‘traditional philosophy of religion’ in terms of the task that the discipline sets for itself: to evaluate the rationality (...) of theism. In an illuminating decision tree, Schilbrack analyzes and organizes the variety within TPR, including counter-traditions in Continental and feminist philosophy. More importantly, this procedure helps substantiate the author’s overall critique of TPR as inadequate to the ‘full task’ of philosophy of religion because it is narrow, intellectualistic, and insular. Schilbrack identifies three subordinate ta .. (shrink)
Discussion of J. Kevin O’Regan’s “Why Red Doesn’t Sound Like a Bell: Understanding the Feel of Consciousness” Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-20 DOI 10.1007/s13164-012-0090-7 Authors J. Kevin O’Regan, Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, CNRS - Université Paris Descartes, Centre Biomédical des Saints Pères, 45 rue des Sts Pères, 75270 Paris cedex 06, France Ned Block, Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Center for Neural Science, New York University, 5 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA Journal Review of (...) Philosophy and Psychology Online ISSN 1878-5166 Print ISSN 1878-5158. (shrink)
How accurate is Kevin Carson’s characterization of “freed” markets? Carson, a left-libertarian “free market anti-capitalist,” portrays free markets as so radically different from actually-existing markets that they are almost unrecognizable. In The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low Overhead Manifesto, he provides an alternative history of industrialization that argues that large-scale industrial organization and production are largely creatures of state intervention and that truly free markets would be characterized mainly by small-scale production for local markets. This paper evaluates Carson’s narrative (...) in order to determine whether his vision of the freed market is credible. I find that Carson fails to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that, but for government intervention, national markets would only exist for a few goods. Furthermore, many of the features he believes freed markets would possess are based on fallacious views of competition, knowledge, capital, and entrepreneurship. (shrink)
: How accurate is Kevin Carson’s characterization of “freed” markets? Carson, a left-libertarian “free market anti-capitalist,” portrays free markets as so radically different from actually-existing markets that they are almost unrecognizable. In The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low Overhead Manifesto, he provides an alternative history of industrialization that argues that large-scale industrial organization and production are largely […] The post “Kevin Carson and the Freed Market: Is His Left-Libertarian Vision Plausible?” appeared first on Libertarian Papers.
Most advocates of the so-called “neologicist” movement in the philosophy of mathematics identify themselves as “Neo-Fregeans” (e.g., Hale and Wright): presenting an updated and revised version of Frege’s form of logicism. Russell’s form of logicism is scarcely discussed in this literature, and when it is, often dismissed as not really logicism at all (in lights of its assumption of axioms of infinity, reducibiity and so on). In this paper I have three aims: firstly, to identify more clearly the primary metaontological (...) and methodological differences between Russell’s logicism and the more recent forms; secondly, to argue that Russell’s form of logicism offers more elegant and satisfactory solutions to a variety of problems that continue to plague the neo-logicist movement (the bad company objection, the embarassment of richness objection, worries about a bloated ontology, etc.); thirdly, to argue that Neo- Russellian forms of neologicism remain viable positions for current philosophers of mathematics. (shrink)
J. S. Mill's role as a transitional figure between classical and egalitarian liberalism can be partly explained by developments in his often unappreciated economic views. Specifically, I argue that Mill's separation of economic production and distribution had an important effect on his political theory. Mill made two distinctions between economic production and the distribution of wealth. I argue that these separations helped lead Mill to abandon the wages-fund doctrine and adopt a more favorable view of organized labor. I also show (...) how Mill's developments impacted later philosophers, economists, and historians. Understanding the relationship between Mill's political theory and economic theory does not only matter for Mill scholarship, however. Contemporary philosophers often ignore the economic views of their predecessors. I argue that paying insufficient attention to historical political philosophers' economic ideas obscures significant motivations for their political views. (shrink)
This book is presumably a collection of essays delivered at a conference, though it's hard to say. There is no cover description and the editors' introduction, where this information might have been found, is missing from the volume (at least from my copy) in spite of being listed in the table of contents. A curious editorial slip. In fact, from an editorial perspective this book is a disaster. Not only is the format reminiscent of those camera ready volumes that jammed (...) our libraries in the late Eighties, when word processors began to spread and people started using them to produce entire books without knowing how to handle line spacing and hyphenation -- not to mention orphans and widows, footnotes, tabs, apostrophes, etc. There are also lots of typos, English infelicities, punctuation disorders. Obviously nobody checked the page proofs. There are even formulas that were not properly converted from the original files and have been printed with the infamous boxes in place of the logical symbols. Publishing academic books in analytic philosophy is becoming increasingly difficult and not every publisher can afford serious copy editing. But charging 74 euros for such a poorly manufactured item is appalling. (shrink)
Discontented people might talk of corruption in the Commons, closeness in the Commons and the necessity of reforming the Commons, said Mr. Spenlow solemnly, in conclusion; but when the price of wheat per bushel had been the highest, the Commons had been the busiest; and a man might lay his hand upon his heart, and say this to the whole world, – ‘Touch the Commons, and down comes the country!’.
This comment responds to Kevin Warwick’s article on the uses of implants. It foregrounds how human frailty can undermine the promise that new ICTs will assist the vulnerable and deliver better services, safety and security. For example, the type of data in an RFID implant could readily be used to identify and eradicate certain kinds of individuals. We need to question the priority of values in our societies, and there is a need for swift critical thinking, looking beyond the (...) mantra of “convenience” in order to sort out what the real societal benefits could be. Ethical deployment and use of ICTs hinges on the implementation of accountable, open, transparent and responsive government, the rule of law and justice, and societal respect for human dignity and equality. (shrink)
In my response to Kevin Carnahan, I explain the concept of religion that I have been working with in my writings on the place of religious reasons in public political discourse. While acknowledging that religion is often privatized, my concern has been with religion as a way of life. It is religion so understood that raises the most serious issues concerning the role of religion in public discourse. In my response to Erik A. Anderson, I go beyond what I (...) have previously said about the role of religious reasons in public discourse. As an alternative to Rawlsian public reason, I argue that the essence of liberal democracy is that every citizen is to have equal political voice. I go on to consider what it is to exercise one’s equal political voice as a moral engagement. (shrink)
Kevin Vallier’s book, Liberal Politics and Public Faith. Beyond Separation, constitutes an essential reading for anyone interested in public reason liberalism and in the debate concerning the role of religion in contemporary democratic societies. Vallier argues for a strong version of convergence in public justification, aiming at defending an account of liberalism friendly towards religion and religious citizens. Against traditional forms of liberalism built on the idea of neutrality and embodied in a secularized view of social institutions, Vallier’s goal (...) is to reconcile public reason liberalism with religion by showing that his theory “realizes foundational liberal values while according religion a prominent and powerful role in public life” .The topic of Vallier’s book is clearly of fundamental importance. That of the supposedly needed separation between religion and the state is not only one of the most long-standing issues in political philosophy, but it is also extremely r .. (shrink)
We argue that uncomputability and classical scepticism are both re ections of inductive underdetermination, so that Church's thesis and Hume's problem ought to receive equal emphasis in a balanced approach to the philosophy of induction. As an illustration of such an approach, we investigate how uncomputable the predictions of a hypothesis can be if the hypothesis is to be reliably investigated by a computable scienti c method.
Philosophical logicians proposing theories of rational belief revision have had little to say about whether their proposals assist or impede the agent's ability to reliably arrive at the truth as his beliefs change through time. On the other hand, reliability is the central concern of formal learning theory. In this paper we investigate the belief revision theory of Alchourron, Gardenfors and Makinson from a learning theoretic point of view.
In a recent issue of this journal, Kevin Corcoran has argued that the metaphysical theory one holds to about the nature of human persons is irrelevant to the sort of ethical questions that occupy bioethicists as well as the general public. Specifically, he argues that whether one holds a constitution view of human persons, an animalist view, or a substance dualist view, the real work in one’s ethical reasoning is done by certain moral principles rather than by metaphysical ones. (...) I raise objections to his analysis and propose that it is a combination of ethical principles and metaphysical principles that does the work in our judgements about the morality of abortion and other actions. (shrink)
Kevin Schilbrack’s manifesto Philosophy and the Study of Religions is an important foundational work for two fields: philosophy of religion and religious studies. The philosophers of religion sometimes appear to better fit Donald Wiebe’s characterization of religionists as crypto-theologians. They seem only really concerned with Christian theology or at the most theism, despite the fact that Christianity only accounts for about a third of what we could call religious people on the planet and theism only about half. They seem (...) to have taken the part of Mr. Thwackum, the Divine, at least in part against Mr. Square, the Philosopher, in that wonderful dispute in Henry Fielding’s The Adventures of Tom Jones:Thwackum replied, this was arguing with the usual malice of all the enemies to the true Church. He said, he doubted not but that all the infidels and hereticks in the world would, if they could, confine honour to their own absurd errors and damnable deceptions; ‘but honour,’ he says, ‘is .. (shrink)
I respond to questions and criticisms of my book from Jana Sawicki and Kevin Thompson. I address Jana Sawicki’s questions about my method and the limits of a Foucaudian critique. In response to Kevin Thompson’s questions, I explicate my understanding of the governmentalization of violence, immanent critique, and political spirituality.
In this essay I note some surprisingly deep parallels between the accounts of technology offered by Martin Heidegger and by Kevin Kelly. While Heidegger's insight is panoramic and almost prophetic, and grounded in his reading of the history of philosophy, Kelly's account is grounded in empirical and historical data, driven by a naturalistic and scientific understanding of our world. The similarities between these two authors are surprising in light of their different methodological frameworks and theu antithetical attitudes about the (...) benefits and dangers of technology. After setting them in conversation, I ask: "Who has the correct methodological approach and evaluative attitude toward technology"? With some hesitation, I side with Kelly's more hopeful outlook. (shrink)
The latest attempt by a determined, well-resourced lobby to introduce a law to permit assisted suicide/euthanasia in the UK was announced 15 May 2013 in the House of Lords. There are many dangerous facets to their arguments, not least of which is the rôle they cast for doctors in this debate. Rush Rhees' remarks on the topic display a depth that is lacking in the current debate in the public square, which needs to be lifted from its current low level. (...) I try to show inter alia why the question of who is ‘qualified to speak’ in this deep moral dilemma is important ; why resistance is vital against a law, which must be general, permitting assisted suicide/euthanasia ; how one group of people judging another group of people as candidates for elimination, is based on the false notion that a disabled life is ‘not worth living’; that so many of the deep moral questions raised by assisted suicide/euthanasia are not even considered in the contemporary impoverished public debate. (shrink)
Neuroeconomics is the newest of the economic sciences with a focus on how the embodied human brain interacts with its institutional and social environment to make economic decisions. This paper presents an overview of neuroeconomics methods and reviews a number of results in this emerging field of study.