This collection of essays in moral philosophy has as its intended mark of distinction the fact that moral problems of the moment are the themes of the essays. The chapter headings indicate this contemporary concern: Abortion, Sex, Human Rights and Civil Disobedience, Criminal Punishment, Violence and Pacifism, War and Suicide and Death. There are essays by: Paul Ramsey, Philippa Foot, Jonathan Bennett, Thomas Nagel, Sara Ruddick, Richard Wassenstrom, [[sic]] John Rawls, R. M. Dworkin, William Kneale, H. L. A. (...) Hart, J. R. Lucas, Newton Carver, Jan Narveson, G. E. M. Anscombe, R. M. Hare, R. F. Holland, Mary Mothersill. One might well be inclined to agree with the editor's opposition to such philosophizing about morality which abstracts from the moral problems of one's own life. A purely theoretical approach to the study of morality would almost appear contradictory. However, it is necessary to express grave reservations about such a collection of essays as this. While the arguments of the essays are thoughtful and somewhat uncommon, the conclusions of the essays, as a rule, do not differ from "advanced" liberal opinions. In other words, the essays do not challenge students' opinions. The reading of these essays will but confirm the young in their prejudices. The problems the essays are concerned with are real problems; and it is a defect of the book that with the single exception of the chapter on Abortion no real opposing arguments are presented.--J. W. S. (shrink)
HLA Hart and Joseph Raz are usually interpreted as being fundamentally opposed to Lon Fuller’s argument in The Morality of Law that the principles of the rule of law are of moral value. Hart and Raz are thought to make the ‘instrumental objection’, which says that these principles are of no moral value because they are actually principles derived from reflection on how to best allow the law to guide behaviour. Recently, many theorists have come to Fuller’s defence against Hart (...) and Raz, refuting the ‘instrumental objection’ and affirming the non-instrumental moral value of conformity to the principles of legality. This article argues that although this moral value should be affirmed, the orthodox view is incorrect, because Hart and Raz never understood their arguments about the instrumental or ‘purposive’ value of the principles of legality as denials of their moral value, as a close reading of their work shows. (shrink)
In his New Essays on Human Understanding, Leibniz presents an extended critical commentary on Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Leibniz read some of Locke’s work in English and then, a few years later, the whole of it in French, a language in which he was more comfortable. Over a period of about two further years, on and off, he wrote his New Essays, which he finished at about the time Locke died and which was not published until about half a (...) century after Leibniz’s death. (He left them unpublished partly because they had been motivated by a hope of getting Locke to reply, and Locke’s death put an end to that; though his character made it a forlorn hope in any case.) The New Essays has been an important work: for one thing, Kant read it on its first appearance, and scholars say that this was a decisive event in his philosophical development. Anyway, given that this is one of Leibniz’s only two philosophical works of substantial book length, in all the torrent that poured from his pen, and given also that it is focused - critically but with respect and careful attentiveness - on the greatest classic of English philosophy, it is surprising that the New Essays had to wait until 1981 for a usable English translation.1 In 1896 there was published a sort of translation by A. G. Langley;2 but it is inaccurate far beyond the bounds of normal incompetence, as well as being grimly unreadable for stylistic reasons. As Chesterton once said about The Origin of Species, it is surprising how many people think they have read it, but I'll bet that nobody alive has slogged through the Langley version from cover to cover. It is a pity that the work was not decently available in English for nearly three centuries, because even for those who can read the French of, say, Descartes, Leibniz’s French is difficult. He reserved his native German for writings on history and politics, using French and Latin for philosophy and mathematics; presumably French was chosen for the New Essays because Leibniz wanted to respond to a popular work by a popular work.. (shrink)
There are thirteen essays in this collection. Sophisticated disquisitions on rather disparate topics, they contain a number of statements which are obscure to me and, I wager, to many readers, including metaphysicians. There is space here to note only a few of the several recurrent themes in Miller’s essays. First and foremost is the notion of the primacy of action. The affirmation of values, he says, is not a "matter of logic but of action," and "values become real only in (...) the deed"—values being prior to mere facts. Miller’s action-philosophy entails an exaltation of will over intellect. For instance, he says that "the pursuit of truth is itself a gesture of will." Another recurrent theme is the human inescapability of history—of time, process, transitoriness, corruptibility. What Miller calls "ahistorical sublimity" is purchased at too high a price-the price of a "radical impersonality" with an "apparent irrelevance to action and values." Miller’s view of freedom can be called intellectualist: "It is," he says, "in the ‘revision’ of truth that freedom is found." He refers not to "static" truth in the impersonal mode of physics but to dynamic truth in the mode of personal creativity. For "creative adventure," by action and experiment, he holds, is the mark of freedom. The entire "midworld" of artifacts, including arts, sciences, and languages, is the province of "responsible freedom." This whole area should be marked by "skepticism" as well as freedom, because skepticism is man’s best weapon against "absolutist pretensions," Miller persuasively argues. Furthermore, he stresses the point that there is no fact within our ken which is not linguistically expressible, so that "responsible humanism" is inconceivable without responsible use of language. The desideratum, as Miller says, is "controlled receptivity" regarding the employment of all linguistic signs and instruments. For "nature," the common object of all our knowledge, embraces not only facts but artifacts as well, including languages. He says that only "purposeful artifacts"-especially languages—put us in touch with actuality and history. History alone, he argues, leads into philosophy. "Ahistoric ideals," present everywhere in classical thought, stand in the way of this wedding of history and philosophy. A happy wedding for, according to Miller, there is no human knowledge that is not historical; everything human is dated. Miller is an action-philosopher because he is a history-philosopher. He contends that there is no freedom for us outside of history. He hails skepticism regarding "ahistoric ideals" as a kind of "negative absolutism." And he says that such skepticism is an "experience, not a theory," and that it makes "metaphysics of the transcendent" possible. He does not explain what that metaphysics is. Apparently, his "skepticism" is the awareness of the limited character of all philosophies. If so, it is, for Miller, our chief safeguard against the use of bloated language in the service of the ahistoric ideal.—J.F.A. (shrink)
This work is intended to be a "philosophical analysis" of certain problems encountered by the social sciences. The aim of the book is to "help redirect modern social science from some important theoretical mistakes." According to Kaplan most of our knowledge rests on common sense. It is the mark of common sense knowledge that it is not self-conscious, that it does not engage in a critique of its own possibility. The realm of the philosophy of history, of social science, (...) and of science is opened up through the attempt at "self-consciousness concerning the limits of the various processes by which knowledge is obtained." Kaplan accepts the proposition that the "framework within which knowledge occurs can never be included in knowledge itself," that the framework within which knowledge is acquired cannot be transcended. It might appear from his acceptance of this proposition that Kaplan would accept radical historicism. This is not the case. It is a primary intention of Kaplan to suggest that we can state the standpoint from which perspectival knowing exists, what it depends upon, and what it leaves out of account. Kaplan sees a measure of transcendence being achieved through the comprehension of different perspectives. However, he explicitly rejects the possibility of a true consciousness which would be the result of a single correct perspective on the world. The book has several major flaws. The greatest is the absence of sustained argument. The author fails to give evidence for the major propositions of the book. Usually a footnote to previous writings of his is offered as substitute for argument. Another major flaw of the book stems from Kaplan's understanding of what is characteristically human in the terms of systems analysis. To one not convinced in advance of the adequacy of this language to the task of understanding man, Kaplan's work will appear to suffer from an ill-conceived use of technical jargon.--J. W. S. (shrink)
In earlier work we have described how computer algebra may be used to derive composite rate laws for complete systems of equations, using the mathematical technique of Gröbner Bases (Bennett, Davenport and Sauro, 1988). Such composite rate laws may then be fitted to experimental data to yield estimates of kinetic parameters.Recently we have been investigating the practical application of this methodology to the estimation of kinetic parameters for the closed two enzyme system of aspartate aminotransferase (AAT) and malate dehydrogenase (...) (MDH) (Fisher 1990a; Fisher 1990b; Bennett and Fisher, 1990). (shrink)
Principles and the context, by J. C. Bennett.--Love monism, by J. M. Gustafson.--Responsibility in freedom, by E. C. Gardner.--The new morality, by G. Fackre.--When love becomes excarnate, by H. L. Smith.--Situational morality, by R. W. Gleason.--The nature of heresy, by G. Kennedy.--Situation ethics under fire, by J. Fletcher.
Volume 11 Apollonius, or the Future of Psychical Research E N Bennett Originally published in 1927 "Admirably conceived, skilfully executed." Liverpool Post "His exposition of the case for psychic research is lucid and interesting." The Scotsman This volume summarizes the results secured by the scientific treatment of psychical phenomena, and to forecast the future developments of such research. 88pp ************** Socrates Or the Emancipation of Mankind H F Carlill Originally published in 1927 "One of the most brilliant and important (...) of a remarkable series." Westminster Gazette This volume examines the differences between humans and animals and discusses the freedom that a proper understanding of psychology will bring to the human race. The author argues that the whole psycho-physical organism will be regarded as what it is – a mechanism full of inherited tendencies and untapped energies which needs to be consciously adjusted and controlled. 90pp Morpheus or the Future of Sleep D F Fraser-Harris Originally published in 1928. "His arguments, clearly and ably presented, hold our interest." Clarion "Shows that the doctors do not as yet know much about the subject." Queen This volume discusses sleep and the part it plays in maintaining health. It contains suggestions for sufferers from insomnia, discusses dreams and their causes and suggests the probable line of investigation of sleep problems. 94pp Sisyphus or the Limits of Psychology M Jaeger Originally published in 1929. "Much acumen and knowledge. All students of psychology should read it." Manchester Guardian This volume argues that Psychology has just as an important role to play as Physics and Chemistry, because it affects the ordinary person and is not merely limited to the scientific community. The opportunities is provides, as well as its limits, are discussed. 88pp The Passing of The Phantoms A Study of Evolutionary Psychology and Morals C J Patten Originally published in 1924 "This bright and bracing little book." Literary Guide "Interesting and original." Medical Times This volume examines the evolution of the mental and moral faculties of animals. This knowledge, in the author’s opinion is critical for understanding the evolution of human mortality. 90pp. (shrink)
The effects in a quantum-mechanical system form a partial algebra and a partially ordered set which is the prototypical example of the effect algebras discussed in this paper. The relationships among effect algebras and such structures as orthoalgebras and orthomodular posets are investigated, as are morphisms and group- valued measures (or charges) on effect algebras. It is proved that there is a universal group for every effect algebra, as well as a universal vector space over an arbitrary field.