Human beings find themselves sharing the world with a great variety of other animals. Besides using them in various ways, we think about them and compare ourselves with them, and it is hard to envisage the difference it would make to our understanding of ourselves if they were not there. For one thing we should not have the concept of the human species, and that human beings should be thought of, however theoretically, as all belonging to one species is of (...) momentous importance for morality. The existence of other species might be significant in that way, however, even if we did not pay much attention to them and even if more particular thoughts about or observations of them did not form part of the fabric of our moral thinking. It is with some particular ways in which other species enter our moral thinking and our thinking about morals that I intend to concern myself. There are three of these that I shall discuss: first, the use of animal characters in moral tales, secondly the description of human characteristics in terms of real or supposed analogies with the characteristics of beasts; and thirdly much more briefly the application to human beings of behaviour patterns established in studies of other animals. (shrink)
Hugh H. Benson explores Plato's answer to Clitophon's challenge, the question of how one can acquire the knowledge Socrates argues is essential to human flourishing-knowledge we all seem to lack. Plato suggests two methods by which this knowledge may be gained: the first is learning from those who already have the knowledge one seeks, and the second is discovering the knowledge one seeks on one's own. The book begins with a brief look at some of the Socratic dialogues where (...) Plato appears to recommend the former approach while simultaneously indicating various difficulties in pursuing it. The remainder of the book focuses on Plato's recommendation in some of his most important and central dialogues-the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic-for carrying out the second approach: de novo inquiry. The book turns first to the famous paradox concerning the possibility of such an inquiry and explores Plato's apparent solution. Having defended the possibility of de novo inquiry as a response to Clitophon's challenge, Plato explains the method or procedure by which such inquiry is to be carried out. The book defends the controversial thesis that the method of hypothesis, as described and practiced in the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic, is, when practiced correctly, Plato's recommended method of acquiring on one's own the essential knowledge we lack. The method of hypothesis when practiced correctly is, then, Platonic dialectic, and this is Plato's response to Clitophon's challenge. (shrink)
While the early Platonic dialogues have often been explored and appreciated for their ethical content, this is the first book devoted solely to the epistemology of Plato's early dialogues. Author Hugh H. Benson argues that the characteristic features of these dialogues- -Socrates' method of questions and answers, his fascination with definition, his professions of ignorance, and his thesis that virtue is knowledge- -are decidedly epistemological. In this thoughtful study, Benson uncovers the model of knowledge that underlies these distinctively (...) Socratic views. What emerges is unfamiliar, yet closer to a contemporary conception of scientific understanding than ordinary knowledge. (shrink)
This book is an important contribution to the philosophy of music. Whereas most books in this field focus on the creation and reproduction of music, Bruce Benson's concern is the phenomenology of music making as an activity. He offers the radical thesis that it is improvisation that is primary in the moment of music making. Succinct and lucid, the book brings together a wide range of musical examples from classical music, jazz, early music and other genres. It offers a (...) rich tapestry incorporating both analytic and continental philosophy, musicology and performance-practice issues. It will be a provocative read for philosophers of art and musicologists and, because it eschews technicality, should appeal to general readers, especially those who perform. (shrink)
Bruce Ellis Benson puts forward the surprising idea that Nietzsche was never a godless nihilist, but was instead deeply religious. But how does Nietzsche affirm life and faith in the midst of decadence and decay? Benson looks carefully at Nietzsche's life history and views of three decadents, Socrates, Wagner, and Paul, to come to grips with his pietistic turn. Key to this understanding is Benson's interpretation of the powerful effect that Nietzsche thinks music has on the human (...) spirit. Benson claims that Nietzsche's improvisations at the piano were emblematic of the Dionysian or frenzied, ecstatic state he sought, but was ultimately unable to achieve, before he descended into madness. For its insights into questions of faith, decadence, and transcendence, this book is an important contribution to Nietzsche studies, philosophy, and religion. (shrink)
Presupposing no prior knowledge of philosophy, John Benson introduces the fundamentals of environmental ethics by asking whether a concern with human well-being is an adequate basis for environmental ethics. He encourages the reader to explore this question, considering techniques used to value the environment and critically examining 'light green' to 'deep green' environmentalism. Each chapter is linked to a reading from a key thinker such as J.S. Mill and E.O. Wilson. Key features include activities and exercises, enabling readers to (...) monitor their progress throughout the book, chapter summaries and guides to further reading. (shrink)
This collection of ground-breaking essays considers the many dimensions of prayer: how prayer relates us to the divine; prayer's ability to reveal what is essential about our humanity; the power of prayer to transform human desire and action; and the relation of prayer to cognition. It takes up the meaning of prayer from within a uniquely phenomenological point of view, demonstrating that the phenomenology of prayer is as much about the character and boundaries of phenomenological analysis as it is about (...) the heart of religious life.The contributors: Michael F. Andrews, Bruce Ellis Benson, Mark Cauchi, Benjamin Crowe, Mark Gedney, Philip Goodchild, Christina M. Gschwandtner, Lissa McCullough, Cleo McNelly Kearns, Edward F. Mooney, B. Keith Putt, Jill Robbins, Brian Treanor, Merold Westphal, Norman Wirzba, Terence Wright and Terence and James R. Mensch. Bruce Ellis Benson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Wheaton College. He is the author of Graven Ideologies: Nietzsche, Derrida, and Marion on Modern Idolatry and The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue: A Phenomenology of Music. Norman Wirzba is Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Georgetown College, Kentucky. He is the author of The Paradise of God and editor of The Essential Agrarian Reader. (shrink)
Some of the most intriguing and important phenomena in modern many-body physics are explainable in terms of self-consistent quantum mechanical field theory. This is the powerful theory developed by Umezawa and co-workers and modified by Benson and Hatch in applications to ferromagnetism. It is usually lengthy and involved mathematically. Thus, it is very helpful and meaningful to see its overall step-by-step progress in simple, diagrammatic flow starting from basic principles, with a ferromagnetic model as an example. As one immediately (...) notes, there are two paths leading to very powerful physical conclusions and implications, and something most interesting is that each path implies the other. Many useful examples of applications of these methods are noted and some future possible applications are cited. (shrink)
When Archimedes, while bathing, suddenly hit upon the principle of buoyancy, he ran wildly through the streets of Syracuse, stark naked, crying "eureka!" In The Moment of Proof, Donald Benson attempts to convey to general readers the feeling of eureka--the joy of discovery--that mathematicians feel when they first encounter an elegant proof. This is not an introduction to mathematics so much as an introduction to the pleasures of mathematical thinking. And indeed the delights of this book are many and (...) varied. The book is packed with intriguing conundrums--Loyd's Fifteen Puzzle, the Petersburg Paradox, the Chaos Game, the Monty Hall Problem, the Prisoners' Dilemma--as well as many mathematical curiosities. We learn how to perform the arithmetical proof called "casting out nines" and are introduced to Russian peasant multiplication, a bizarre way to multiply numbers that actually works. The book shows us how to calculate the number of ways a chef can combine ten or fewer spices to flavor his soup (1,024) and how many people we would have to gather in a room to have a 50-50 chance of two having the same birthday (23 people). But most important, Benson takes us step by step through these many mathematical wonders, so that we arrive at the solution much the way a working scientist would--and with much the same feeling of surprise. Every fan of mathematical puzzles will be enthralled by The Moment of Proof. Indeed, anyone interested in mathematics or in scientific discovery in general will want to own this book. (shrink)
In this multi-faceted volume, Christian and other religiously committed theorists find themselves at an uneasy point in history—between premodernity, modernity, and postmodernity—where disciplines and methods, cultural and linguistic traditions, and religious commitments tangle and cross. Here, leading theorists explore the state of the art of the contemporary hermeneutical terrain. As they address the work of Gadamer, Ricoeur, and Derrida, the essays collected in this wide-ranging work engage key themes in philosophical hermeneutics, hermeneutics and religion, hermeneutics and the other arts, hermeneutics (...) and literature, and hermeneutics and ethics. Readers will find lively exchanges and reflections that meet the intellectual and philosophical challenges posed by hermeneutics at the crossroads. Contributors are Bruce Ellis Benson, Christina Bieber Lake, John D. Caputo, Eduardo J. Echeverria, Benne Faber, Norman Lillegard, Roger Lundin, Brian McCrea, James K. A. Smith, Michael VanderWeele, Kevin Vanhoozer, and Nicholas Wolterstorff. (shrink)
Norman Wirzba, Bruce Ellis Benson, and an international group of philosophers and theologians describe how various expressions of philosophy are transformed by the discipline of love. What is at stake is how philosophy colors and shapes the way we receive and engage each other, our world, and God. Focusing primarily on the Continental tradition of philosophy of religion, the work presented in this volume engages thinkers such as St. Paul, Meister Eckhart, Kierkegaard, Husserl, Heidegger, Ricoeur, Derrida, Marion, Zizek, Irigaray, (...) and Michele Le Doeuff. Emerging from the book is a complex definition of the wisdom of love which challenges how we think about nature, social justice, faith, gender, creation, medicine, politics, and ethics. (shrink)
Moral psychology studies the features of cognition, judgement, perception and emotion that make human beings capable of moral action. Perspectives from feminist and race theory immensely enrich moral psychology. Writers who take these perspectives ask questions about mind, feeling, and action in contexts of social difference and unequal power and opportunity. These essays by a distinguished international cast of philosophers explore moral psychology as it connects to social life, scientific studies, and literature.
Partly as a result of much recent evidence of business and government crime, a large proportion of major corporations have adopted codes of ethics; government service is also making more use of them. The electrical manufacturing anti-trust conspiracy and 1973–1976 investigation of foreign and domestic bribery were immediate prods. There are also government codes of which the ASPA code is most widely distributed. Corporate codes discuss relations to employees, interemployee relationships, whistle blowing, effect on environment, commercial bribery, insider information, other (...) conflicts of interest, anti-trust, accounting, consumer relations, and political activities. A discussion of use of codes shows partly favorable results. A number of corporation decisions have not yet become a subject of code provisions. Codes will be more useful if the reasons behind each order are stated and team work is encouraged. (shrink)
To date, research into socially responsible investment (SRI), and in particular the socially responsible investment funds industry, has focused on whether investing in SRI assets has any differential impact on investor returns. Prior findings generally suggest that, on a risk-adjusted basis, there is no difference in performance between SRI and conventional funds. This result has led to questions about whether SRI funds are really any different from conventional funds. This paper examines whether the portfolio allocation across industry sectors and the (...) stock-picking ability of SRI managers are different when compared to conventional fund managers. The study finds that SRI funds exhibit different industry betas consistent with different portfolio positions, but that these differences vary from year to year. It is also found that there is little difference in stock-picking ability between the two groups of fund managers. (shrink)
In the Self's Place: The Approach of Saint Augustine presents Jean-Luc Marion's rethinking of the modern notion of the self by way of an original reading of Saint Augustine through the lens of a phenomenology of givenness. Here he tests the hermeneutic validity of concepts forged in his previous works. His goal is to show that the Confessiones are inscribed within the confessio, that love is an underlying epistemic condition of truth, and that God's call and our response to God (...) are both gifts. Ultimately, Marion points us toward a conception of the self that is at once postmodern and very Augustinian. (shrink)
The objective of this study—a substudy to a phase I bioequivalence study—was to compare the effect of standard and concise consent forms on research volunteers’ comprehension of and satisfaction with consent forms, as well as to assess the effect of select volunteer characteristics, such as financial motivations to participate in research, on their comprehension. A 36-item questionnaire measured volunteers’ comprehension, satisfaction, and motivations for participation. Volunteers were randomized to the standard Pfizer consent form or a concise, easier-to-read form. We approached (...) 139 volunteers to participate, and 138 completed the questionnaire . The cohorts did not differ in sociodemographic characteristics. We found that the average comprehension scores for the standard consent form cohort and the concise consent cohort were about the same, and that satisfaction with the consent form was high in both cohorts. Surprisingly, volunteers with a financial motivation had significantly greater comprehension of the study. (shrink)
How can any of my actions genuinely be my own? How can they be more than just intentional performances, with whatever investment of my will that involves, but also belong to me in the special way that makes me autonomous in performing them? How, in other words, can any of my actions be my own in such a way that they arise from or manifest my capacities for self-governance? -/- The literature on autonomous agency employs a number of metaphors to (...) characterize the difference between merely intentional action and action that is, in the fullest sense, the agent's own. Harry Frankfurt's metaphors are among the most vivid and compelling. A person who acts autonomously genuinely “participates” in the operation of her will, as opposed to being “estranged” from herself or being “a helpless or passive bystander to the forces that move” her. Agents who act intentionally but without autonomy do not do what they “really want” to do; their effective volitions are “external to” or “outside” them. The pervasive notion in this literature that persons who are autonomous in acting act upon wills that are fully their own or that really belong to them suggests an initial answer to the questions with which the chapter opened. I am autonomous in acting just when I take ownership of my actions, or at least have the unimpeded capability to take ownership of what I do and regularly exercise that capability. (shrink)
Philosophers and psychologists both investigate the self, but often in isolation from one another. this book brings together studies by philosophers and psychologists in an exploration of the self and its function. It will be of interest to all those involved in philosophy, psychology and sociology.
The last two decades have witnessed a virtual explosion of research in Socratic philosophy. This volume collects essays that represent the range and diversity of that vast literature, including historical and philosophical essays devoted to a single Platonic dialogue, as well as essays devoted to the Socratic method, Socratic epistemology, and Socratic ethics. With lists of suggested further readings, an extensive bibliography on recent Socratic research, and an index locorum, this unique and much-needed anthology makes the study of Socratic philosophy (...) accessible to both scholars and non-specialists. (shrink)
Direct-to-consumer advertising is banned in Australia, and instead pharmaceutical companies use disease awareness campaigns as a strategy to raise public awareness of conditions for which the company produces a treatment. This practice has been justified by promoting individual autonomy and public health, but it has attracted criticism regarding medicalisation of normal health and ageing, and exaggeration of the severity of the condition in question, imbalanced reporting of risks and benefits, and damaging the patient–clinician relationship. While there are benefits of disease (...) awareness promotion, there is another possible adverse consequence that has not yet been rigorously considered: the possibility of inducing a nocebo response via the campaign. We will discuss the creation of a nocebo response in this context. (shrink)
It is beyond doubt that the legal system established by the Nazi government in Germany between 1933-1945 represented a gross departure from the rule of law: the Nazis eradicated legal security and certainty; allowed for judicial and state arbitrariness; blocked epistemic access to what the law requires; issued unpredictable legal requirements; and so on. This introduction outlines the distorted nature of the Nazi legal system and looks at the main factors that contributed to this grave divergence.
This broad-ranging _Companion_ comprises original contributions from leading Platonic scholars and reflects the different ways in which they are dealing with Plato’s legacy. Covers an exceptionally broad range of subjects from diverse perspectives Contributions are devoted to topics, ranging from perception and knowledge to politics and cosmology Allows readers to see how a position advocated in one of Plato’s dialogues compares with positions advocated in others Permits readers to engage the debate concerning Plato’s philosophical development on particular topics Also includes (...) overviews of Plato’s life, works and philosophical method. (shrink)
This essay suggests that common themes in recent feminist ethical thought can dislodge the guiding assumptions of traditional theories of free agency and thereby foster an account of freedom which might be more fruitful for feminist discussion of moral and political agency. The essay proposes constructing that account around a condition of normative-competence. It argues that this view permits insight into why women's labor of reclaiming and augmenting their agency is both difficult and possible in a sexist society.
In 1935, the Nazi government introduced what came to be known as the abrogation of the pro- hibition of analogy. This measure, a feature of the new penal law, required judges to stray from the letter of the written law and to consider instead whether an action was worthy of pun- ishment according to the ‘sound perception of the people’ and the ‘underlying principle’ of existing criminal statutes. In discussions of Nazi law, an almost unanimous conclusion is that a system (...) of criminal law ought not to contain legislation of this sort. This conclusion is often based on how the abro- gation relates to the normative claim that the law ought to be predictable. In particular, it has been argued that since the law ought to be predictable, and since this type of analogy legis- lation implied, caused or contributed to the diminution of the law’s predictability, this type of legislation ought to be prohibited. In this paper, we argue that this argument is not entirely correct. While we believe that the law ought to be predictable and that there is evidence for the claim that the Nazis’ intro- duction of analogical reasoning implied, caused, or contributed to a diminution of predictability, this fact is logically too weak to ground the conclusion that necessarily a penal system ought not to contain legislation of this kind. Despite the undeniable wickedness of the Nazi penal system, this type of analogical reasoning can be made consistent with the pre- dictability of the law. We argue that consistency of this sort depends on whether the use of analogy is supplemented by certain contextual background conditions. The occurrence of these conditions blocks an inference from the fact that the law ought to be predictable to the conclusion that a penal system ought not to allow for this type of analogical reasoning. (shrink)