The editors tell us this book is an outgrowth of their course in philosophical arguments. It contains both readings from traditional sources, and new material especially for this book. It is thus of interest as a potential text, as a source book, and for its original contributions. To consider it first as a text, it would be a challenging and valuable choice for sophisticated students. As a source-book, it is a good anthology of hard-core arguments on seven metaphysical topics. Authors (...) selected include Aristotle, Plato, Church Fathers, Rationalists, Locke and Hume, Bradley and Moore, Kant, Frege, Carnap, C. I. Lewis, Russell, and others. Selections run from a page or two to 16-page Hume excerpts. The last section, on The Nature of Metaphysics, contains essays newly written for this volume by A. J. Ayer, Brand Blanshard, John Passmore, and M. Lazerowitz. Other new material elsewhere in the book includes Alice Ambrose on Wittgenstein, and the introduction by W. E. Kennick. The latter suggests that in metaphysics there are arguments but no proofs, and that metaphysics has four curious characteristics: its disputes are never resolved; in these disputes the array of experts on each side is likely to be equally impressive; antinomies seem unavoidable; and metaphysics frequently conflicts with common sense. Ayer's article is called "Metaphysics and Common Sense." Using Carnap's distinction of "internal" and "external" questions, he finds metaphysical questions to be external. His explanation of what these are and why anyone would wish to raise them yields three legitimate ways in which metaphysics can add to our understanding of the world, and concludes that "it would be a mistake to forego the more imaginative kinds of conceptual exploration." In both tone and content this essay is a surprise for readers who know earlier work by Ayer. Passmore attempts to correct the popular tendency to confuse the philosopher with the sage. He places metaphysics, mathematics, and empirical science within "rational discussion": each is speculation, each has its characteristic control procedure. Blanshard's article attempts to defend metaphysics against criticisms such as those made by Dewey, Wittgenstein, and Freud. Lazerowitz treats the thesis that "metaphysics works by unseen paradoxes."--M. B. M. (shrink)
Many authors suggest the need to define ‘sustainable development’in operational terms. This paper looks at the problems ofattempting to ask whether peasant farming systems are sustainable.Any attempt at sustainability assessment needs to consider issuesrelated to the selected indicators or performance criteria, spatialscale or boundaries, and temporal scale. While there is certainlya need for more rigorous analysis of sustainability issues, thereis limited outlook for an approach based on indicators. Even if themany purely technical problems associated with specific indicatorscan be surmounted, will (...) accurate bio-physical data advance ourknowledge about sustainability? Peasant systems arepolitically-guided management systems, whose boundaries are the state,not the field or the farm. Given the dynamic nature of peasant farmingsystems, where do we draw the line in assessing sustainability?Attempts at sustainability assessment 100 years ago or even 20–30years ago would have been completely superseded by events. We drawattention to the system as a whole, to a web of interconnections,causes and effects – of varying significance over both time andspace. (shrink)
The March 2002 symposium Human Dignity and Reproductive Technology brought together philosophers, theologians, scientists, lawyers, and scholars from across the United States. The essays of this book are the contributions of the symposium's participants.
This paper considers the Bayesian form of the fine-tuning argument as advanced by Richard Swinburne. An expository section aims to identify the precise character of the argument, and three lines of objection are then advanced. The first of these holds that there is an inconsistency in Swinburne's procedure, the second that his argument has an unacceptable dependence on an objectivist theory of value, the third that his method is powerless to single out traditional theism from a vast number of competitors. (...) In the final section of the paper the fine-tuning argument is considered, not now as self-standing, but as one of a number of theistic arguments taken together and applied in the manner of the final chapter of Swinburne's The Existence of God. It is argued that points already made also block the way for this line of thought. (shrink)
Our view is that fundamental appetitive and defensive motivation systems evolved to mediate a complex array of adaptive behaviors that support the organism’s drive to survive—defending against threat and securing resources. Activation of these motive systems engages processes that facilitate attention allocation, information intake, sympathetic arousal, and, depending on context, will prompt tactical actions that can be directed either toward or away from the strategic goal, whether defensively or appetitively determined. Research from our laboratory that measures autonomic, central, and somatic (...) reactions when processing emotional scenes is described which indicates that motivationally relevant cues, whether appetitive or defensive, capture attention preferentially, prompt enhanced perceptual processing and information gathering, and occasion metabolic arousal that mobilizes the organism for coping actions. (shrink)
A frequent objection to the fine-tuning argument has been that although certain necessary conditions for life were admittedly exceedingly improbable, still, the many possible alternative sets of conditions were all equally improbable, so that no special significance is to be attached to the realization of the conditions of life. Some authors, however, have rejected this objection as fallacious. The object of this paper is to state the objection to the fine-tuning argument in a more telling form than has been done (...) hitherto, and to meet the charge of fallacy. (shrink)
This paper re-examines an argument of kirk's aimed at refuting quine's inference from the underdetermination of physical theory to the indeterminacy of translation. it is claimed that kirk's argument is unsuccessful; unsuccessful, at any rate, if we make what has seemed until recently the only possible assumption about quine's criterion for individuating theories. but in recent publications quine has proposed a rather different criterion, and in the light of this, it is conceded, kirk's argument may well take effect. it is (...) then argued that quine's new criterion has disastrous effects; it not merely opens a way for kirk's criticism of one of the props of the indeterminacy thesis, but puts that thesis itself at risk. (shrink)
In the Dialogues Hume attaches great importance to an objection to the design argument which states, negatively, that from phenomena which embody evil as well as good there can be no analogical inference to the morally perfect deity of traditional theism and, positively, that the proper conclusion as regards moral character is an indifferent designer. The first section of this paper sets out Hume's points, and the next three offer an updating of Hume's objection which will apply to Swinburne's Bayesian (...) form of the design argument. The final section concludes that Hume's objection, suitably developed, holds against most of the main theistic arguments, even in their Bayesian form. (shrink)
R kirk ("analysis", volume 33, 1973, pages 195-201) proposes an argument against quine's deduction of indeterminacy of translation from underdetermination of physical theory. the present paper is a reply to kirk, aimed primarily at showing that his argument is "ignoratio elenchi".
The purpose of public and community health is to improve the health of populations or groups rather than concentrating on individuals. This book examines the ethical issues associated with public and community health. The contributors analyse the major ethical issues in public health - prioritisation, public participation, health promotion and screening - all of which reflect current practice in the UK. They examine what health services should be available, who should have access to which health services, what are the best (...) strategies for preventing disease, how can professional and public views be reconciled and when can an individual's health needs override the choice of a community. The contributors apply up-to-date ethical theory to practical examples in public health practice to provide a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the key issues in public health ethics. (shrink)