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)
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.
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)
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!’.
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)
Reading Kevin Hart’s creative hermeneutic of the ‘basileic’ reduction in his latest book, Kingdoms of God, naturally leads me to consider another eminent linguistic phenomenologist who continually occupies my thoughts. Although I have been reading Hart now for about 25 years, I have been reading Paul Ricoeur for a decade longer than that, and it is his theory of poetic discourse that my mind keeps tenaciously associating with Hart’s perspectives on parable. Granted, Hart never mentions Ricoeur in Kingdoms of (...) God—unless my careful reading is not so careful and I missed it! In Trespass of the Sign, however, he does note Ricoeur’s significance as a hermeneutical philosopher, specifically his emphasis on the distinction between the hermeneutics of faith and the hermeneutics of suspicion. Also, in an article on John Caputo’s postsecular philosophy of ‘religion without religion,’ Hart makes a brief comment on Ricoeur’s apparent Hegelianism with reference to a general theory of revelation as nonreligious and nontheistic. Still, nowhere that I know of does he extensively address Ricoeur’s fascinating discourse theory regarding metaphor, mimesis, narrative, and parable. If great minds think alike, then Hart and Ricoeur are, indeed, great minds, for, truly, Ricoeur’s reflections on parables and the Kingdom offer an intriguing gloss on Hart’s parabolic ‘basileiology.’ Translating Hart into Ricoeur, therefore, is, in my mind, an easy and profitable exercise that may well enhance the provocative character of Hart’s basileic reduction. Such a translation is the central purpose of this essay. (shrink)
As a general claim, most philosophers of science accept that science is not value-free. The disagreements lie in the proverbial details. The essays in Current Controversies in Values and Science, edited by Kevin Elliott and Daniel Steel focus on such details. Like other volumes in the Routledge Current Controversies in Philosophy’s series, this one asks ten well-known philosophers of science to engage with various questions. Each question receives roughly positive and negative responses, though the authors’ nuanced answers make clear (...) that the contrasting views also involve significant agreement.The first question asks whether we can distinguish epistemic from nonepistemic values. Hugh Lacey argues that such... (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.
This essay considers a historical novel of recent times in revisionist terms, Kevin McCarthy’s debut novel of 2010, Peeler. In doing so, I also address the limitations that the novel exposes within Irish revisionism. I propose that McCarthy’s novel should be regarded more properly as a post-revisionist work of literature. A piece of detective fiction that is set during the Irish War of Independence from 1919 to 1921, Peeler challenges the romantic nationalist understanding of the War as one of (...) heroic struggle by focusing its attention on a Catholic member of the Royal Irish Constabulary. In considering the circumstances in which Sergeant Seán O’Keefe finds himself as a policeman serving a community within which support for the IRA campaign against British rule is strong, the novel sheds sympathetic light on the experience of Catholic men who were members of the Royal Irish Constabulary until the force was eventually disbanded in 1922. At the same time, it demonstrates that the ambivalence in Sergeant O’Keefe’s attitudes ultimately proves unsustainable, thereby challenging the value that Irish revisionism has laid upon the ambivalent nature of political and cultural circumstances in Ireland with regard to Irish-British relations. In the process, I draw attention to important connections that McCarthy’s Peeler carries to Elizabeth Bowen’s celebrated novel of life in Anglo-Irish society in County Cork during the period of the Irish War of Independence: The Last September of 1929. (shrink)
Some people live to work, others work to live, while still others prefer to live lives of leisure. Since the Puritans, American culture and literature have been dominated by individuals who have valued hard work. However, shortly after its founding, America managed to produce the leisurely Rip Van Winkle, who, over time, has been followed by kindred spirits such as, for instance, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, Twain’s Huck Finn, Melville’s Bartleby, Jack Kerouac, Diane di Prima, the Hippies, and Christopher (...) McCandless. With the rise of the Indie Film movement of the 1990s, so came the rise of the slacker film. Films such as Slacker, Singles, Wayne’s World, Reality Bites, Clerks, Kicking and Screaming, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, The Big Lebowski, and Office Space filled theatres over the decade with characters who take an unorthodox view of work and stress the importance of leisure in life. This essay discusses two slacker films, Richard Linklater’s Slacker and Kevin Smith’s Clerks, which defined the slacker phenomenon in the 1990s and constituted two important landmarks in American independent film. While many of us may find the slacker pathetic and annoying, this essay argues that there is much value to be found in this healthy counterculture. By offering their perspectives on issues such as the Puritan work ethic, work-incited self-importance, leisure versus idleness and human relationships, Linklater and Smith join the preceding generations of slackers, providing a much needed balance to the American obsession with work and success. (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)
Kevin Olson's “When is the Time of Revolution” constructs a critical genealogy of revolutionary temporality and how it creates political normativity. This comment evaluates Olson's discussion of revolutionary temporality against the empirical historical archive of modern revolutions in order to argue that we should also be sensitive to the multiple, overlapping, and competing temporalities that not only normativize revolution, but are in fact the terrain of revolutionary struggle.
In her study Anarchism and Education, Judith Suissa argues that anarchist learning entails a constant interplay of tensions arising from emergent desires to transform society and the challenges society poises for realizing them. This is inescapable because a critical attitude is integral to an anarchist process of learning, infusing it with creative license premised on the conviction that we need not accept things as they are, that learning is not only a space for understanding, but also enactment. My purpose is (...) to explore this dynamic in the work of graphic artist Kevin Pyle, an American-born artist with a substantive body of illustrated books and comics addressing a myriad of issues. I am interested... (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)
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)
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)
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 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)
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)
Gordon Kaufman is a theologian who wrestles with essential theological issues. In a recent amplification of his position, An Essay on Theological Method , 1 he makes an honest attempt to describe the method by which a self-critical theologian might work. This paper sets out a critique of the method Kaufman proposes and from that delineates a path which theologians might choose to follow.
Disorder and suffering are increasing significantly in our society. Violent crime, unemployment, escape through drug-taking are all on the increase. It is apparent, also, that much of this disorder and suffering, and the anxiety it fosters, is rooted in science and its technological off-spring. The un-employment produced by a micro-technology is only one small example. It is also apparent that one of the principal foundation stones for the scientific enterprise was Christianity.
In this paper I will discuss Barry Smith’s and Kevin Mulligan’s revision of Husserl’s phenomenology, starting from the fact that many Italian scholars seem to follow them in a sense, by dealing with phenomenology as a sort of a priori ontology. Therefore, I will first reconstruct Smith’s and Mulligan’s attempt and its objectives, then I will show how it is rooted in the school of Brentano and, in particular, in Husserl’s phenomenology. Finally, I will provide some arguments against this (...) attempt : first of all that it does not attain a better description of the world, secondly that phenomenology does the job of formal ontology better than the latter. (shrink)
In Replacing Truth, Scharp takes the concept of truth to be fundamentally incoherent. As such, Scharp reckons it to be unsuited for systematic philosophical theorising and in need of replacement – at least for regions of thought and talk which permit liar sentences and their ilk to be formulated. This replacement methodology is radical because it not only recommends that the concept of truth be replaced, but that the word ‘true’ be replaced too. Only Tarski has attempted anything like it (...) before. I dub such a view Conceptual Marxism. In assessing this view, my goals are fourfold: to summarise the many components of Scharp’s theory of truth; to highlight what I take to be some of the excess baggage carried by the view; to assess whether, and to what extent, the extreme methodology on offer is at all called for; finally, to briefly propose a less radical replacement strategy for resolving the liar paradox. (shrink)