It is a widely held belief that one can will to believe, disbelieve, and withhold belief concerning propositions. It is sometimes said that we have a duty to believe certain propositions. These theses have had a long and respected history. In one form or another they receive the support of a large number of philosophers and theologians who have written on the relationship of the will to believing. In the New Testament Jesus holds his disciples responsible for their beliefs, reprimands (...) them for doubting, and speaks of the ability to believe as if it were optional. Paul makes it clear that he thinks propositional belief is a necessary condition for salvation. If a man confesses Christ as Lord with his lips and believes in his heart that God has raised him from the dead, he shall be saved . The writer of Hebrews implies that unless we have certain propositional beliefs we cannot please God . In the New Testament most cases of pistis involve more than a propositional attitude. They involve the idea of trust and faithfulness. Nevertheless, a prima facie case for saying that the volitional theses can be found in the New Testament can be made. Forms of volitionalism can be found stated more explicitly in the writings of the early Church, in the writings of Irenaeus, in the Athanasian Creed, and in Augustine. Acquinas describes faith as an act of the intellect moved by the will. Descartes is perhaps the classic example of a volitionalist, holding that if we were not responsible for our beliefs , then God would be - which is tantamount to blasphemy in that it makes God into a deceiver. (shrink)
In debate on faith and reason two opposing positions have dominated the field. The first position asserts that faith and reason are commensurable and the second position denies that assertion. Those holding to the first position differ among themselves as to the extent of the compatibility between faith and reason, most adherents relegating the compatibility to the ‘preambles of faith’ over against the ‘articles of faith’ . Few have maintained complete harmony between reason and faith, i.e. a religious belief within (...) the realm of reason alone. The second position divides into two sub-positions: that which asserts that faith is opposed to reason , placing faith in the area of irrationality; and that which asserts that faith is higher than reason, is transrational. Calvin and Barth assert that a natural theology is inappropriate because it seeks to meet unbelief on its own ground . Revelation, however, is ‘self-authenticating’, ‘carrying with it its own evidence’. 1 We may call this position the ‘transrationalist’ view of faith. Faith is not so much against reason as above it and beyond its proper domain. Actually, Kierkegaard shows that the two sub-positions are compatible. He holds both that faith is above reason and against reason . The irrationalist and transrationalist positions are sometimes hard to separate in the incommensurabilist's arguments. At least, it seems that faith gets such a high value that reason comes off looking not simply inadequate but culpable. To use reason where faith claims the field is not only inappropriate but irreverent or faithless. (shrink)
No figure among the western Marxist theoreticians has loomed larger in the postwar period than Louis Althusser. A rebel against the Catholic tradition in which he was raised, Althusser studied philosophy and later joined both the faculty of the Ecole normal superieure and the French Communist Party in 1948. Viewed as a "structuralist Marxist," Althusser was as much admired for his independence of intellect as he was for his rigorous defense of Marx. The latter was best illustrated in For (...) Marx (1965), and Reading Capital (1968). These works, along with Lenin and Philosophy (1971) had an enormous influence on the New Left of the 1960s and continues to influence modern Marxist scholarship. This classic work, which to date has sold more than 30,000 copies, covers the range of Louis Althusser's interests and contributions in philosophy, economics, psychology, aesthetics, and political science. Marx, in Althusser's view, was subject in his earlier writings to the ruling ideology of his day. Thus for Althusser, the interpretation of Marx involves a repudiation of all efforts to draw from Marx's early writings a view of Marx as a "humanist" and "historicist." Lenin and Philosophy also contains Althusser's essay on Lenin's study of Hegel; a major essay on the state, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses," "Freud and Lacan: A letter on Art in Reply to Andre Daspre," and "Cremonini, Painter of the Abstract." The book opens with a 1968 interview in which Althusser discusses his personal, political, and intellectual history. (shrink)
David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature is famous for its extreme skepticism. Louis Loeb argues that Hume's destructive conclusions have in fact obscured a constructive stage that Hume abandons prematurely. Working within a philosophical tradition that values tranquillity, Hume favors an epistemology that links justification with settled belief. Hume appeals to psychological stability to support his own epistemological assessments, both favorable regarding causal inference, and unfavorable regarding imaginative propensities. The theory's success in explaining Hume's epistemic distinctions gives way (...) to pessimism, since Hume contends that reflection on beliefs is deeply destabilizing. So much the worse, Hume concludes, for placing a premium on reflection. Hume endorses and defends the position that stable beliefs of unreflective persons are justified, though they would not survive reflection. At the same time, Hume relishes the paradox that unreflective beliefs enjoy a preferred epistemic status and strains to establish it. Loeb introduces a series of amendments to the Treatise that secures a more positive result for justified belief while maintaining Hume's fundamental principles. In his review of Hume's applications of his epistemology, Loeb uncovers a stratum of psychological doctrine beyond associationism, a theory of conditions in which beliefs are felt to conflict and of the resolution of this uneasiness or dissonance. This theory of mental conflict is also essential to Hume's strategy for integrating empiricism about meaning with his naturalism. However, Hume fails to provide a general account of the conditions in which conflicting beliefs lead to persisting instability, so his theory is incomplete. Loeb explores Hume's concern with stability in reference to his discussions of belief, education, the probability of causes, unphilosophical probability, the belief in body, sympathy and moral judgment, and the passions, among other topics. (shrink)
Consider the kinds of macroscopic concrete objects that common sense and the sciences allege to exist: tables, raindrops, tectonic plates, galaxies, and the rest. Are there any such things? Opinions differ. Ontological liberals say they do; ontological radicals say they don't. Liberalism seems favored by its plausible acquiescence to the dictates of common sense abetted by science; radicalism by its ontological parsimony. Priority theorists claim we can have the virtues of both views. They hold that tables, raindrops, etc., exist, but (...) they aren't fundamental. The ontological liberal's ontology provides the correct inventory of existent individuals. The ontological radical's more restricted ontology provides the correct inventory of fundamental individuals. The priority theorist claims that the derivative individuals are "no addition in being" to the fundamental ones, so we can have our cake and eat it too. It would be nice if priority theorists were right. In this paper I argue, with regret, that they are not. One upshot is that the sort of explanations which underwrite the priority theorist's distinction between fundamental and derivative individuals do not mitigate our ontological commitments. Another is that we still have to choose between the charms of liberalism and radicalism. (shrink)
The need for quantitative measurement represents a unifying bond that links all the physical, biological, and social sciences. Measurements of such disparate phenomena as subatomic masses, uncertainty, information, and human values share common features whose explication is central to the achievement of foundational work in any particular mathematical science as well as for the development of a coherent philosophy of science. This book presents a theory of measurement, one that is "abstract" in that it is concerned with highly general axiomatizations (...) of empirical and qualitative settings and how these can be represented quantitatively. It was inspired by, and represents a generalization and extension of, the last major research work in this field, Foundations of Measurement Vol. I, by Krantz, Luce, Suppes, and Tversky published in 1971. (shrink)
Some metaphysicians believe that existence debates are easily resolved by trivial inferences from Moorean premises. This paper considers how the introduction of negative Moorean facts—negative existentials that command Moorean certainty—complicates this picture. In particular, it shows how such facts, when combined with certain plausible metaontological principles, generate a puzzle that commits the proponents of this method to a contradiction.
The distinguished philosopher Louis Loeb examines the epistemological framework of Scottish philosopher David Hume, as employed in his celebrated work A Treatise of Human Nature. Loeb's project is to advance an integrated interpretation of Hume's accounts of belief and justification. His thesis is that Hume, in his Treatise, has a "stability-based" theory of justification which posits that his belief is justified if it is the result of a belief producing mechanism that engenders stable beliefs. But Loeb argues that the (...) striking corollary to this theory is that no belief generating mechanism is fully stable - or fully justified - for a fully reflective person. This carefully argued and original interpretation of Hume makes sense of seemingly contradictory ideas and will provoke serious discussion among Hume scholars. (shrink)
In recent years, there has been much focus on the apparent heterogeneity of schizophrenic symptoms. By contrast, this article proposes a unifying account emphasizing basic abnormalities of consciousness that underlie and also antecede a disparate assortment of signs and symptoms. Schizophrenia, we argue, is fundamentally a self-disorder or ipseity disturbance that is characterized by complementary distortions of the act of awareness: hyperreflexivity and diminished self-affection. Hyperreflexivity refers to forms of exaggerated self-consciousness in which aspects of oneself are experienced as akin (...) to external objects. Diminished self-affection or self-presence refers to a weakened sense of existing as a vital and self-coinciding source of awareness and action. This article integrates recent psychiatric research and European phenomenological psychiatry with some current work in cognitive science and phenomenological philosophy. After introducing the phenomenological approach along with a theoretical account of normal consciousness and self-awareness, we turn to a variety of schizophrenic syndromes. We examine positive, then negative, and finally disorganization symptoms—attempting in each case to illuminate shared distortions of consciousness and the sense of self. We conclude by discussing the possible relevance of this approach for identifying early schizophrenic symptoms. (shrink)
For many religious people there is a problem of doubting various credal statements contained in their religions. Often propositional beliefs are looked upon as necessary conditions for salvation. This causes great anxiety in doubters and raises the question of the importance of belief in religion and in life in general. It is a question that has been neglected in philosophy of religion and theology. In this paper I shall explore the question of the importance of belief as a religious attitude (...) and suggest that there is at least one other attitude which may be adequate for religious faith even in the absence of belief. (shrink)
Part I: WHAT IS ETHICS? Plato: Socratic Morality: Crito. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part II: ETHICAL RELATIVISM VERSUS ETHICAL OBJECTIVISM. Herodotus: Custom is King. Thomas Aquinas: Objectivism: Natural Law. Ruth Benedict: A Defense of Ethical Relativism. Louis Pojman: A Critique of Ethical Relativism. Gilbert Harman: Moral Relativism Defended. Alan Gewirth: The Objective Status of Human Rights. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part III: MORALITY, SELF-INTEREST AND FUTURE SELVES. Plato: Why Be Moral? Richard Taylor: On the Socratic Dilemma. David Gauthier: Morality (...) and Advantage. Gregory Kavka: A Reconciliation Project. Derek Parfit: Later Selves and Moral Principles. Bernard Williams: Persons, Character, and Morality. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part IV: VALUE. Jeremy Bentham: Classical Hedonism. Robert Nozick: The Experience Machine. Richard Taylor: Value and the Origin of Right and Wrong. Friedrich Nietzsche: The Transvaluation of Values. Derek Parfit: What Makes Someone’s Life Go Best? Thomas Nagel: Value: The View from Nowhere. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part V: UTILITARIANISM AND CONSEQUENTIALISM. John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism. J.J.C. Smart: Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism. Kai Nielsen: Against Moral Conservatism. Bernard Williams: Against Utilitarianism. John Hospers: Rule-Utilitarianism. Robert Nozick: Side Constraints. Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence and Morality. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part VI: KANTIAN AND DEONTOLOGICAL SYSTEMS. Immanuel Kant: Foundation for the Metaphysic of Morals. W. D. Ross: What Makes Right Acts Right? Onora O’Neill: Kantian Formula of the End in Itself and World Hunger. Thomas Nagel: Moral Luck. Philippa Foot: Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives. Judith Jarvis Thomson: Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part VII: CONTRACTARIAN ETHICAL SYSTEMS. Thomas Hobbes: The Leviathan. David Gauthier: Why Contractarianism? John Rawls: Contractualism: Justice as Fairness. T.M. Scanlon: Contractualism and Utilitarianism. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part VIII: VIRTUE-BASED ETHICAL SYSTEMS. Aristotle: The Ethics of Virtue. Bernard Mayo: Virtue and the Moral Life. William Frankena: A Critique of Virtue-Based Ethics. Walter Schaller: Are Virtues No More than Dispositions to Obey Moral Rules? Alasdair MacIntyre: The Nature of the Virtues. Susan Wolf: Moral Saints. Louis P. Pojman: In Defense of Moral Saints. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part IX: THE FACT/VALUE PROBLEM: METAETHICS IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. David Hume: On Reason and the Emotions: The Fact/Value Distinction. G. E. Moore: Non-Naturalism. A. J. Ayer: Emotivism. R. M. Hare: Prescriptivism: The Structure of Ethics and Morals. Geoffrey Warnock: The Object of Morality. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part X: MORAL REALISM AND THE CHALLENGE OF SKEPTICISM. J.L. Mackie: The Subjectivity of Values. Jonathan Harrison: A Critique of Mackie’s Error Theory. Gilbert Harman: Moral Nihilism. Nicholas Sturgeon: Moral Explanations. Bernard Williams: Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. Bruce Russell: Two Forms of Ethical Skepticism. Michael Smith: A Defense of Moral Realism. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part XI: RELIGION AND ETHICS. Plato: Morality and Religion. Immanuel Kant: God and Immortality as Necessary Postulates of Morality. George Mavrodes: Religious and the Queerness of Morality. Kai Nielson: Ethics Without God. Suggestions for Further Reading. Part XII: CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES TO CLASSICAL ETHICAL THEORY. Part A. Sociobiology and the Question of Moral Responsibility. Charles Darwin: Ethics and the Descent of Man. E.O.Wilson: Sociobiology and Ethics. Michael Ruse: Evolution and Ethics: The Sociobiological Approach. Elliot Sober: Prospects for an Evolutionary Ethics. J.L. Mackie: The Law of the Jungle, Evolution and Morality. Suggestions for Further Readingon Sociobiology. Part B. The Challenge of Determinism to Moral Responsibility and Desert. Galen Strawson: The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility. Louis Pojman: Free Will, Determinism, and Moral Responsibility:A Response to Galen Strawson. Richard Taylor: A Libertarian Defense of Free Will and Responsibility. Suggestions for Further Reading on Moral Responsibility. Glossary of Ethical Terms. (shrink)
It has been argued recently that some basic emotions should be considered natural kinds. This is different from the question whether as a class emotions form a natural kind; that is, whether emotion is a natural kind. The consensus on that issue appears to be negative. I argue that this pessimism is unwarranted and that there are in fact good reasons for entertaining the hypothesis that emotion is a natural kind. I interpret this to mean that there exists a distinct (...) natural class of organisms whose behavior and development are governed by emotion. These are emoters. Two arguments for the natural kind status of emotion are considered. Both converge on the existence of emotion as a distinct natural domain governed by its own laws and regularities. There are then some reasons for being optimistic about the prospects for consilience in emotion theory. 1 The mantra 2 Griffiths on emotions as natural kinds 3 Panksepp on emotions as natural kinds 4 Emotion as a neurobiological kind 5 Emotion as a psychological kind 6 Response to the mantra 7 Unification or fragmentation? 8 Concluding remarks. (shrink)
Louis Pojman and Robert Westmoreland have compiled the best material on the subject of equality, ranging from classical works by Aristotle, Hobbes and Rousseau to contemporary works by John Rawls, Thomas Nagel, Michael Walzer, Harry Frankfurt, Bernard Williams and Robert Nozick; and including such topics as: the concept of equality; equal opportunity; Welfare egalitarianism; resources; equal human rights and complex equality.
Bell’s theorem admits several interpretations or ‘solutions’, the standard interpretation being ‘indeterminism’, a next one ‘nonlocality’. In this article two further solutions are investigated, termed here ‘superdeterminism’ and ‘supercorrelation’. The former is especially interesting for philosophical reasons, if only because it is always rejected on the basis of extra-physical arguments. The latter, supercorrelation, will be studied here by investigating model systems that can mimic it, namely spin lattices. It is shown that in these systems the Bell inequality can be violated, (...) even if they are local according to usual definitions. Violation of the Bell inequality is retraced to violation of ‘measurement independence’. These results emphasize the importance of studying the premises of the Bell inequality in realistic systems. (shrink)