In an attempt to control the 'ballooning' of (discourse about) human rights James Griffin proposes a theory of them grounded in their presumed aim of protecting what he calls 'normative agency'. This paper criticizes the resulting theory's restriction of those thereby deemed to possess human rights only to functioning human agents, and does so in part through special attention to cases of human beings trapped in non-functioning bodies. The need for a less stringent account of the conditions necessary for possession (...) of human rights is suggested, and is defended against the claim that adoption of such an account would continue to favour debasement of the language of human rights. (shrink)
How much of our ordinary moral thought can we make sense of using a model of practical reason in which value is seen as subjective? There are already problems with showing strength of will not to be irrational. If social obligations are conceived of instrumentally as in a tradition running from Hobbes through Hume to Mackie, and if we employ our strength of will to sacrifice our individual projects in favor of them, the problems become insuperable.
The papers in this collection discuss the central questions about the connections between language, reality and human understanding. The complex relations between accounts of meaning and facts about ordinary speakers’ understanding of their language are examined so as to illuminate the philosophical character of the connections between language and reality. The collection as a whole is a thematically unified treatment of some of the most central questions within contemporary philosophy of language.