Relativism, the position that things are for each as they seem to each, was first formulated in Western philosophy by Protagoras, the 5th century BC Greek orator and teacher. Mi-Kyoung Lee focuses on the challenge to the possibility of expert knowledge posed by Protagoras, together with responses by the three most important philosophers of the next generation, Plato, Aristotle, and Democritus. In his book Truth, Protagoras made vivid use of two provocative but imperfectly spelled out ideas: first, that we are (...) all "measures" of the truth and that we are each already capable of determining how things are for ourselves, since the senses are our best and most credible guides to the truth; second, given that things appear differently to different people, there is no basis on which to decide that one appearance is true rather than the other. Plato developed these ideas into a more fully worked-out theory, which he then subjected to refutation in the Theaetetus. Aristotle argued that Protagoras' ideas lead to skepticism in Metaphysics Book G, a chapter which reflects awareness of Plato's reaction in the Theaetetus. And finally Democritus incorporated modified Protagorean ideas and arguments into his theory of knowledge and perception. There have been many important recent studies of these thinkers in isolation. However, there has been no attempt to tell a single, coherent story about how Democritus, Plato, and Aristotle responded to Protagoras' striking claim, and to its perceived implications about knowledge, perception, and truth. By studying these four figures in relation to each other, we arrive at a better understanding of an important chapter in the development of Greek epistemology. (shrink)
This paper explores two ideas in Aristotle: the idea that a just person is necessarily a lawful and law-abiding citizen, and second, the idea that the virtuous person necessarily cares about the common good. In this paper, I show that justice and its concern for the common good is central to Aristotle’s conception of the virtuous agent, and that justice, in turn, cannot be understood apart from the various laws that states devise for the common benefit.
The purpose of this study was to identify how older Korean people seek information and their desire to participate in decision making about their health care. A total of 165 elderly people living in Seoul, South Korea, participated in the study. Data were collected during individual interviews using the Autonomy Preference Index. The mean information-seeking score was high. The mean score for their desire to participate with a physician in decision making was lower, but this was higher when family members (...) were involved. The study indicates that many older people want to receive information about their health care. Families (or guardians), as well as older people themselves, should be included in the decision-making process. Nurses can encourage older people to express their wishes, while treating each individual with respect. (shrink)
This study assessed the knowledge and perception of human biological materials and biorepositories among three study groups in South Korea. The relationship between the knowledge and the perception among different groups was also examined by using factor and regression analyses. In a self-reporting survey of 440 respondents, the expert group was found more likely to be knowledgeable and positively perceived than the others. Four factors emerged: Sale and Consent, Flexible Use, Self-Confidence, and Korean Bioethics and Biosafety Action restriction perception. The (...) results indicate that those who are well aware of the existence of biobanks were more positively inclined to receive the Sale and Consent perception. As a result of the need for high quality HBMs and the use of appropriate sampling procedures for every aspect of the collection and use process, the biorepository community should pay attention to ethical, legal, and policy issues. (shrink)
This study investigated the role of dispositional mindful attention in immediate reactivity to, and subsequent recovery from, laboratory-induced negative emotion. One hundred and fourteen undergraduates viewed blocks of negative pictures followed by neutral pictures. Participants’ emotional responses to negative pictures and subsequent neutral pictures were assessed via self-reported ratings. Participants’ emotional response to negative pictures was used to index level of emotional reactivity to unpleasant stimuli; emotional response to neutral pictures presented immediately after the negative pictures was used to index (...) level of emotional recovery from pre-induced negative emotion. Results indicated that mindful attention was not associated with the emotional response to negative pictures, but it was associated with reduced negative emotion in response to the neutral pictures presented immediately after the negative pictures, suggesting better recovery as opposed to reduced reactivity. This effect was especially pronounced in later experimental blocks when the accumulation of negative stimuli produced greater negative emotion from which participants had to recover. The current study extends previous findings on the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and reduced negative emotion by demonstrating that mindful attention may facilitate better recovery from negative emotion, possibly through more effective disengagement from previous stimuli. (shrink)
Epicurus is usually credited with being the first to recognize, and disavow, determinism as a threat to freedom of the will . This common assumption has recently come under attack by Susanne Bobzien , and now also by Tim O’Keefe, who, in this rigorously argued but eminently readable book, examines the extant evidence for Epicurus’ views, and concludes that Epicurus was not concerned with the “modern” problem of free will at all.
Comparative Political Theory and Cross-Cultural Philosophy explores new forms of philosophizing in the age of globalization by challenging the conventional border between the East and the West, as well as the traditional boundaries among different academic disciplines. This rich investigation demonstrates the importance of cross-cultural thinking in our reading of philosophical texts and explores how cross-cultural thinking transforms our understanding of the traditional philosophical paradigm.
In this thesis, I present an account of the development of early Greek epistemology, according to which Protagoras' measure doctrine, and his argument from conflicting appearances, was the starting point for work on perception and knowledge by Plato in the Theaetetus, Aristotle in Metaphysics IV and Democritus. In Chapter One, I argue against the assumption that Protagoras' Aletheia contained a philosophical theory. It was probably not a treatise, but a virtuoso show-piece, with the aim of "knocking down" views according to (...) which truth is only known by gods, and, with difficulty, by privileged humans--namely, philosophers. For this, it need not have contained more than some well-chosen examples of perceptual and value beliefs, and arguments that one cannot decide which are true. In Chapter Two, I argue that Democritus should be seen as Protagoras' heir. Democritus argued Protagoras' general claim is self-refuting, but thought he was right about perceptual appearances. In Confirmations, he defended the senses, attributing to them knowledge and "power of proof." However, his theory led to an ancestor of the primary/secondary quality distinction, and this threatened to undermine the theory itself because of implications--that one can only know how things appear and not how things are by nature--which were later taken up in Pyrrhonist skepticism. In Chapter Three, I present a reading of the Secret Doctrine in Plato's Theaetetus as a defense and diagnosis of Protagoras' claim, in particular, an explanation of the global relativization which Protagoras' claim seems to recommend. This reading is meant to avoid the well-known difficulties concerning the prevailing interpretation of Protagoras' "Secret Doctrine" as a flux doctrine. I also argue that Plato developed the Secret Doctrine with Democritus in mind. In Chapter Four, I argue that Plato's "self-refutation argument" is aimed at relativism, but not relativism about truth. The latter, which Aristotle dismisses as eristical, is a position Protagoras can take, but Plato's argument works against it as well. In Chapter Five, I examine why Aristotle seems to treat Protagoras in Metaphysics IV as being committed to a denial of the principle of non-contradiction. (shrink)
This paper will argue for a conception of intrinsic value which, it is hoped, will do justice to the following issues: that Nature need not and should not be understood to refer only to what exists on this planet, Earth; that an environmental ethics informed by features unique to Earth may be misleading and prove inadequate as technology increasingly threatens to invade and colonize other planets in the solar system; that a comprehensive environmental ethics must encompass not only our attitude (...) to Earth, but to other planets as well—in other words, it must not simply be an Earthbound but virtually an astronomically bounded ethics. (shrink)
The following brief memoir of Wittgenstein needs a few preliminary words of explanation. Among those who attended his lectures and discussions in the years it covers was D. G. James, who later became Professor of English at Bristol University and then Vice-Chancellor of Southampton University. I met him both in Bristol and Southampton, and on one occasion suggested to him that some of us who had known Wittgenstein, but who had not become professional philosophers, might write down our recollections of (...) him, and that he and I should start. What prompted the suggestion was, I think, the publication of Norman Malcolm's book, and a feeling that the non-professionals might have something to contribute to the assessment of Wittgenstein, particularly as a person. I wrote a preliminary draft and sent it to James; but he never responded, there was much else to do, I let the matter rest, and now James is dead. I wrote in about the year 1960 on holiday and away from any books of reference and from my own notes of Wittgenstein's lectures and conversations. I have shown the typescript to a few interested people, but because of its preliminary and unfinished nature have not previously thought of publication. It has recently been suggested to me that it might be of more general interest, and I publish it now as it was written, with one or two trifling alterations. I am well aware of its limitations. It was intended to give an impression of Wittgenstein as a person rather than as a philosopher, and the rather miscellaneous collection of remarks in section 3 have that in view rather than any more strictly ‘philosophical’ intention. Others may well question some of the detail and disagree with some of the opinions expressed. And there are some things which I might put rather differently today. But if the memoir has any interest it is best left as it was written. (shrink)