In recent work in political philosophy there has been much discussion of two approaches to theorizing about justice that have come to be called ‘ideal theory’ and ‘non-ideal theory’. The distinction was originally articulated by Rawls, who defended his focus on ideal theory in terms of a supposed ‘priority’ of the latter over non-ideal theory. Many critics have rejected this claim of priority and in general have questioned the usefulness of ideal theory. In diagnosing the problem with ideal theory, they (...) have frequently fingered for blame the idealization it involves. In this paper I focus on one particular, much-discussed idealization—full compliance—in order to defend it. Focusing on the assumption, I argue that Rawls’s work is not ideal in the way that it is usually thought to be, is less ideal than is widely recognized, and became less ideal over time. I also argue that critics who in effect claim that it is not realistic enough simply fail to understand Rawls’s central motivation. Finally, I defend the assumption by arguing that there is an important sense in which all theories of justice must assume full compliance. Such an assumption, I argue, is needed if we are to have a plausible basis on which to judge the normative attractiveness of a theory. (shrink)
Background: Abortion policy varies significantly between Northern Ireland and Norway. This is the first study to compare medical students’ attitudes towards abortion in two different countries. Objective: To assess medical students’ attitudes to abortion at the University of Oslo (UiO) and Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). Design: An anonymous questionnaire completed by 59 medical students at UiO and 86 medical students at QUB. Participants: Students who had completed their obstetrics and gynaecology placements during 2006/2007. Results: The students’ responses (UiO versus QUB) (...) were as follows: response rate, 95.2% vs 92.5%; stated no religious affiliation, 48.0% vs 4.7%; pro-abortion, 78.2% vs 14.3% (χ2 = 58.160, p<0.001); had seen an abortion while studying medicine, 74.6% vs 9.4% (χ2 = 73.183, p<0.001); in favour of abortion when there was a threat to the mother’s life, 100% vs 93.3% (χ2 = 6.143, p = 0.150); in favour of providing abortion on the mother’s request, 86.4% vs 9.3% (χ2 = 42.067, p<0.001); in agreement that women should have access to free abortion services (mean value on a 5-point Likert scale 1.69 out of 5), versus in disagreement (mean 3.76, p<0.001). Conclusion: There were significant differences in students’ attitudes to abortion, reflecting differences in religious, legal and educational experiences. (shrink)
For many years now Allen Buchanan has been one of the most important theorists working on the philosophy of human rights, producing a large number of papers and two books significantly devoted to the topic. In the work under consideration in this symposium, Buchanan breaks new ground by examining what he claims to be the “heart” of international human rights practice – the international legal human rights (“ILHR”) system, subjecting it to moral and philosophical analysis and criticism. Buchanan's book was (...) the subject of an author meets critics session sponsored by the APA Committee on Law and Philosophy at the 2015 Pacific APA Meeting. The following paper introduces the resulting special issue of the journal, _Law and Philosophy_, summarizing Buchanan's important contribution and criticisms by William Talbot, Brooke Ackerley, Erin Kelly, and Mathias Risse, as well as Buchanan's replies. (shrink)
The normally staid topics of judicial ethics and the standards for judicial recusal have become the focus of political debates, editorials and letter writing campaigns. Most of the recent focus falls on conservative justices of the US Supreme Court and in particular on their anticipated participation in what is expected to be an important ruling on the constitutionality of the heath care reforms championed by President Obama and the Democratic Party. But the issue is not simply about partisan politics. It's (...) also about the structure of the US federal judiciary and the need to think about the impact of two-career couples on the judicial recusal rules. (shrink)
Otto Neugebauer’s early academic career was marked by a series of transitions. His interests shifted from physics to mathematics, and finally to the history of ancient mathematics and exact sciences. Yet even from his early years in Graz, Neugebauer was strongly attracted to the mathematical culture of Göttingen. When he arrived there in 1922, he quickly established a strong personal friendship with Richard Courant, the newly appointed Director of the Mathematics Institute. Neugebauer and Courant worked together closely up until 1933, (...) when the Nazi government decimated the Göttingen scientific community. In this essay, Neugebauer’s historical work and his vision for a new approach to the study of the exact sciences are viewed through the prism of these events. By so doing, one can easily appreciate how Neugebauer’s scholarship reflects the ideals he and Courant shared as leading representatives of the Göttingen mathematical tradition. (shrink)
At the center of all medieval Christian accounts of both metaphysics and ethics stands the claim that being and goodness are necessarily connected, and that grasping the nature of this connection is fundamental to explaining the nature of goodness itself. In that vein, medievals offered two distinct ways of conceiving this necessary connection: the nature approach and the creation approach. The nature approach explains the goodness of an entity by an appeal to the entity’s nature as the type of thing (...) it is, and the extent to which it fulfills or perfects the potentialities in its nature. In contrast, the creation approach explains both the being and goodness of an entity by an appeal to God’s creative activity: on this view, both a thing’s being and its goodness are derived from, and explained in terms of, God’s being and goodness. Studies on being and goodness in medieval philosophy often culminate in the synthesizing work of Thomas Aquinas, the leading Dominican theologian at Paris in the 13th century, who brought together these two rival theories about the nature of goodness. Unfortunately, few have paid attention to a distinctively Franciscan approach to the topic around this same time period. My dissertation provides a remedy to this oversight by means of a thorough examination of John Duns Scotus’s approach to being and goodness—an approach that takes into account the shifting tide toward voluntarism at the University of Paris in the late 13th century. I argue that Scotus is also a synthesizer of sorts, harmonizing the two distinct nature approaches of Augustine and Aristotle with his own unique ideas in ways that have profound implications for the future of medieval ethical theorizing, most notably, in his rejection of both the natural law and ethical eudaimonism of Thomas Aquinas. After the introduction, I analyze the nature of primary goodness—the goodness that Scotus thinks is convertible with being and thus a transcendental attribute of everything that exists. There, I compare the notion of convertibility of being and goodness among Scotus and his contemporaries. While Scotus agrees with the mainstream tradition that being and goodness are necessarily coextensive properties of everything that exists, he argues that being and good are formally rather than conceptually distinct. I argue that when the referents of being and good are considered, both views amount to the same thing. But when the concepts of being and good are considered, positing a formal distinction does make a good deal of difference: good does not simply add something to being conceptually, but formally: it is a quasi-attribute of being that exists in the world independently of our conception of it. Thus Scotus’s formal distinction provides a novel justification for the necessary connection between being and goodness. Furthermore, I argue that Scotus holds an Augustinian hierarchy of being. This hierarchical ranking of being is based upon the magnitude or perfection of the thing’s nature. But since goodness is a necessarily coextensive perfection of being, it too comes in degrees dependent upon the type of being, arranged in terms of the same hierarchy. This account, while inspired by Augustine’s hierarchical nature approach, is expressed in terms of Aristotelian metaphysics. But this necessary connection between being and goodness in medieval philosophy faced a problem: Following Augustine, medievals claimed that “everything that exists is good insofar as it exists.”’ But how is that compatible with the existence of sinful acts: if every being, in so far as it has being, is good, then every act, insofar as it has being, is good. But if sinful acts are bad, then we seem to be committed to saying either that bad acts are good, or that not every act, in so far as it has being, is good. This first option seems infelicitous; the second denies Augustine’s claims that “everything that exists is good.” Lombard and his followers solve this problem by distinguishing ontological goodness from moral goodness and claiming that moral goodness is an accident of some acts and does not convert with being. So the sinful act, qua act, is good. But the sinful act, qua disorder is bad. Eventually, three distinctive grades of accidental or moral goodness will be applied to human acts: generic, circumstantial, and meritorious. I argue that Scotus follows the traditional account of Peter Lombard, Philip the Chancellor, Albert the Great, and Bonaventure in distinguishing ontological goodness from moral goodness, and claiming that only the former converts with being, while the latter is an accident of the act. Aquinas, in contrast, writing in the heyday of the Aristotelian renaissance, focuses instead on the role of the act in the agent’s perfection and posits his convertibility thesis of being and goodness in the moral as well as the metaphysical realm. Thus, when one begins a late medieval discussion with Aquinas, and then considers what Scotus says, it seems as though Scotus is the radical who departs from the conservative teachings of Aquinas. And this is just false: we need to situate both Aquinas and Scotus within the larger Sentence Commentary tradition extending back to Peter Lombard and his followers in order to understand their agreement and divergence from the tradition. Next, I turn the discussion to Scotus’s analysis of rightness and wrongness. I first explore the relationship between rightness and God’s will, and situate Scotus’s account within contemporary discussions of theological voluntarism. I argue Scotus holds a restricted-causal-will-theory —whereby only contingent deontological propositions depend upon God’s will for their moral status. In contrast to Aquinas, Scotus denies that contingent moral laws—the Second Table of the 10 Commandments —are grounded in human nature, and thus he limits the extent to which moral reasoning can move from natural law to the moral obligations we have toward one another. In conjunction with these claims, I argue that Scotus distinguishes goodness from rightness: An act’s rightness will depend on its conformity to either a necessary moral truth or God’s commanding some contingent moral truth. The moral goodness of an act, in contrast, involves right reason’s determination of the suitability or harmony of all factors pertaining to the act. In establishing this, also argue that much of the disparity among contemporary Scotus scholarship on the question of whether Scotus was a divine command theorist or natural law theorist should be directly attributed to a failure to recognize Scotus’s separation of the goodness of an act from the rightness of an act. (shrink)
From the early ninth century until about eight centuries later, the Middle East witnessed a series of both simple and systematic astronomical observations for the purpose of testing contemporary astronomical tables and deriving the fundamental solar, lunar, and planetary parameters. Of them, the extensive observations of lunar eclipses available before 1000 AD for testing the ephemeredes computed from the astronomical tables are in a relatively sharp contrast to the twelve lunar observations that are pertained to the four extant accounts of (...) the measurements of the basic parameters of Ptolemaic lunar model. The last of them are Taqī al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Ma‘rūf’s trio of lunar eclipses observed from Istanbul, Cairo, and Thessalonica in 1576–1577 and documented in chapter 2 of book 5 of his famous work, Sidrat muntaha al-afkar fī malakūt al-falak al-dawwār. In this article, we provide a detailed analysis of the accuracy of his solar and lunar observations. (shrink)
Steele, Peter I do not know anybody who believes that human beings are made, literally, of air, fire, earth and water. But that, say, either poets or theologians should frame their understanding of Christ by invoking these or similar terms is not necessarily due either to nostalgia or to sloth. When, for example, Aquinas speaks of the Incarnation as the Word's arriving among us 'like an aqueduct from Paradise', this is not because he was having a slow day among (...) the scribes. Rather, in a vein familiar to many of the Fathers, he was conceiving of certain human elements as being great enablers of insight into divine mysteries. It was as if those elements had borrowed an expression from later, unhappier circumstances, and each was saying, 'Here I stand: I can do no other.'. (shrink)
Using pull and push factors inspired by the migration theory, this study explains Matthew's Sondergut concerning Jesus' flight to Egypt from the perspective of possible pull-push factors associated with Egypt and Palestine during the first century. Within early Christianity, two perception strands concerning Egypt existed: on the one hand, Jews such as Celsus depicted Egypt negatively as a place of magic and oppression. Yet another perspective portrays Egypt as a place of refuge, recuperation and recovery - a view reflected (...) in Luke-Acts, Matthew and some parts of Mark. Not disregarding views that read the story as Midrash or allegory, this study focuses on Matthew's Sondergut concerning Jesus' flight to Egypt as narrative explainable from a positive migration perspective, and argues that the prosperity of Egypt and possible political turmoil in Palestine during the first century give plausible reconstruct for Matthew's Sondergut regarding Jesus' flight to Egypt as a place of refuge and sustenance. (shrink)
This article approaches the issue of Matthew's theological context by examining Matthew's use of Mark, including through redaction and supplementation, in Matthew 1-4. This is undertaken in two parts: Matthew 1-2, which is largely additional material, and Matthew 3-4, followed by a concluding assessment. Issues addressed or alluded to in these chapters frequently find resonance in the remainder of Matthew's gospel and so give important clues about Matthew's concerns and their relevance for understanding (...) its context. Such issues include the importance of messiahship; continuity with Israel, but also with John the Baptist and the Church; defence against slander; heightened christological claims; soteriology; Gentile mission; the status of Torah; and Jesus as judge to come. The article suggests a location within a Jewish religious context with a Jewish self-understanding, separate from the synagogue, but claiming to belong where its opponents would claim it did not; and a Christian tradition where the approach of 'Q' to Torah is upheld in contrast to Mark's, while embracing and expanding Mark's Christology and restoring the common understanding of Gentile mission as a post-Easter phenomenon. (shrink)
Eschewing a truncated focus on single proof-texts, Matthew's Jesus interprets Scripture by Scripture across the canon in creative and provocative ways. His hermeneutical methods and aims resist narrow profiling. Above all, Matthew's Jesus emerges as the church's authoritative biblical exegete and teacher.
This article summarises and comments on the book Studies in Matthew’s Gospel: Literary design, intertextuality, and social setting, by Wim Weren, published during 2014. The essence of this book is all about meaning: the meaning of a structure, texts, and consequently the understanding of the Gospel of Matthew. For Weren, ‘Meaning is the result of the interplay between a textual unit and such other factors as language, literary context, and cultural setting’. This relates to the three parts of (...) the content of this monograph. His approach in studying Matthew comes from three perspectives: firstly intratextuality, then intertextuality, and finally extratextuality. He has deliberately chosen this order of successive steps so that they complement each other. (shrink)
Matthew's Christology is theocentric, presenting God's rule as manifest in the life of Jesus as an alternative to the sovereignty and power of this-worldly rulers. This Christology is expressed in the narrative mode. It can be appreciated and appropriated better in the context of the narratives in which contemporary interpreters are embedded.
Simple decency, to say nothing of Matthew's law of love, demands that we allow our neighbors to define themselves rather than to impose a caricature on them ; and to speak today of the utter reprobation of the people of Israel is monstrous and obscene.
At a time rife with competing views about what it means to be a Christian, Matthew rewrote the story of Jesus to combat militant Christian pneumatics who were fomenting strife in his community and leading God's people astray.
In this chapter we shall examine the characteristic properties of a construction wide-spread in the world’s languages, the passive. In section 1 below we discuss defining characteristics of passives, contrasting them with other foregrounding and backgrounding constructions. In section 2 we present the common syntactic and semantic properties of the most wide-spread types of passives, and in section 3 we consider passives which differ in one or more ways from these. In section 4, we survey a variety of constructions that (...) resemble passive constructions in one way or another. In section 5, we briefly consider differences between languages with regard to the roles passives play in their grammars. Specifically, we show that passives are a more essential part of the grammars of some languages than of others. (shrink)
In recent years, many non-consequentialists such as Frances Kamm and Thomas Scanlon have been puzzling over what has come to be known as the Number Problem, which is how to show that the greater number in a rescue situation should be saved without aggregating the claims of the many, a typical kind of consequentialist move that seems to violate the separateness of persons. In this article, I argue that these non-consequentialists may be making the task more difficult than necessary, because (...) allowing aggregation does not prevent one from being a non-consequentialist. I shall explain how a non-consequentialist can still respect the separateness of persons while allowing for aggregation. (shrink)
:It is now well over a decade since the artist Matthew Barney's epic work the Cremaster Cycle was completed. This essay returns to the post-human becomings of man that populate Barney's elaborately cross-referenced, aesthetic pluriverse, in particular addressing how the man-form labours amidst and on his environment-worlds, inclusive of the architectural augmentations that assist in the production of such worlds. Revisiting Barney's Cremaster Cycle now offers the opportunity to ask what becomes of the exclusionary and exhaustive world-making performances of (...) the Anthrop once he has placed extreme stress on himself and his mental, social and environmental ecologies, so that any mutual support system is brought to the threshold of exhaustion. (shrink)
In this symposium introduction we outline the central arguments of Matthew Kramer's Liberalism with Excellence, and situate the articles in the symposium with respect to the book and the wider debate between perfectionists and anti-perfectionists.
Matthew Liao is to be commended for editing Moral Brains, a fine collection showcasing truly 12 excellent chapters by, among others, James Woodward, Molly Crocket, and Jana Schaich 13 Borg. In addition to Liao’s detailed, fair-minded, and comprehensive introduction, the book 14 has fourteen chapters. Of these, one is a reprint (Joshua Greene ch. 4), one a re-articulation of 15 previously published arguments (Walter Sinnott-Armstrong ch. 14), and one a literature review 16 (Oliveira-Souza, Zahn, and Moll ch. 9). The (...) rest are original contributions to the rapidly 17 developing field of neuroethics. (shrink)
Matthew Liao’s edited collection Moral Brains: The Neuroscience of Morality covers a wide range of issues in moral psychology. The collection should be of interest to philosophers, psychologist, and neuroscientists alike, particularly those interested in the relation between these disciplines. I give an overview of the content and major themes of the volume and draw some important lessons about the connection between moral neuroscience and normative ethics. In particular, I argue that moving beyond some of the dichotomies implicit in (...) some of the debates advanced in the book makes the neuroscience of moral judgment much more useful in advancing normative ethics. (shrink)
In 1987 M. A. Box identified the verse quotations in Hume’s essays “Of Essay Writing” and “The Epicurean.” It is therefore odd that in their edition of a selection of the essays, Stephen Copley and Andrew Edgar should state in a note to “Of Essay Writing” that “the source of this couplet has not been located. In his  edition of the Essays Eugene Miller has suggested that it may belong to the same author or poem as the couplet quoted (...) in ‘The Epicurean’.” Miller of course was quite right, for, as Box showed, both couplets come from Matthew Prior’s poem “Alma: or, The Progress of the Mind,” first published in 1718. (shrink)
In Feelings of Being, one of the most recent publications in the IPPP series, Matthew Ratcliffe provides a detailed phenomenological investigation of a distinct category of existential feelings in everyday life and psychiatric illness. Ratcliffe´s book is divided into three parts, each dealing with issues of remarkable complexity and scope.
This review of Matthew Lipman’s autobiography, A Life Teaching Thinking, is a reflection on the themes and patterns of his extraordinarily productive career. His book begins with memories of earliest childhood and his preoccupation with the possibility of being able to fly, moves through the years in which his family struggled with the effects of the Great Depression, through his service in the military during World War II, his discovery of the joy and beauty of philosophy, his academic rise (...) at Columbia University, his Fullbright sojourn in Paris, and his early and later career. Lipman’s educational project led in four related directions: the practice of philosophy for children, which he invented, and which presents an epistemological challenge to a second field, philosophy of education, which is as startling as was Rousseau’s two hundred years before. Third, it led to a realm of theory called philosophy of childhood, upon which the practice of philosophy for children is a kind of action-meditation, prompting adults as it does to reflect on children’s differences from and similarities to adults at the same time, and in the same discursive space. Finally, his praxis also implicitly challenged those accounts of children’s philosophies, paradigmatically represented by Piaget’s work, which represent childhood epistemology as evidence for various genetic and epigenetic stage-based theories of cognitive development. The consequence for education of this confluence was a methodology—community of inquiry—that serves as a bridge between the two most influential philosophers of education of the 20th century—John Dewey and Paulo Freire. The educational praxis that emerged from his venture, for all its apparent simplicity, operationalizes a postcolonial standpoint epistemology vis a vis childhood and children, pulls the linchpin that holds in place the school as ideological state apparatus, and empowers the elementary classroom as a primary site for democratic theory and practice. (shrink)
The recent passing of Ann Sharp, Co-Founder and Associate Director of the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children, at the age of 68, has left many of us involved in the movement of philosophy for/with children bereft, no doubt in many different ways. The warmth and intensity of her personal and professional focus, the simple clarity of her thinking, and her boundless energy in the work of international dissemination of the concept and practice of philosophizing with children, resonate (...) even more sonorously in her death. We thought it appropriate to try following at least one pathway backwards in her life story through the memory and testimony of her chief collaborator over a period of 35 years, Matthew Lipman. I interviewed Lipman, age 87, in the single room of the eldercare center in New Jersey that has become the site for his dogged and tenacious struggle with Parkinson’s Disease, and asked him to reflect on their long partnership. The transcript ends suddenly, not because we stopped talking, but because I stopped taping, sensing his fatigue, and suggesting that we return for another round, at which point we turned to other, less somber matters. (shrink)