A reply to Melissa Lane's "Antianarchia: interpreting political thought in Plato" In these comments I focus on how to think of antianarchia as an element of Plato's political thought, and in doing so raise some methodological questions about how to read Plato’s dialogues, focusing on what is involved in attributing views to Plato in general.
Students of Hegel will soon have at their disposal a complete translation of the Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences, "the only complete, matured, and authentic statement of Hegel's philosophical system", and the last of the four major works published by Hegel in his lifetime to be fully translated into English. Early next year, the Clarendon Press at Oxford will issue a translation of the second part of the Encyclopaedia, The Philosophy of Nature, by A.V. Miller, recent translator of Hegel's (...) Science of Logic. The translation includes the valuable Zusätze, and was supervised throughout by Professor J.N. Findlay of Yale, who has also written an Introduction for it. With it will also be published a new edition of the Philosophy of Mind, the third part of the Encyclopaedia. The text of the paragraphs is the familiar Wallace translation, but added to this volume are the Zusätze newly translated by Mr. Millet, and a new Introduction by Professor Findlay. When the present edition of the first part of the Encyclopaedia, usually referred to as "the Lesser Logic" has been exhausted, if will also be republished with some revisions and additions. Professor Findlay adds that all the proofs were done last June, and that if will appear "at a price that students will not find prohibitive". (shrink)
If it survives for a little longer, the human race will probably start to spread across its galaxy. Germ warfare, though, or environmental collapse or many another factor might shortly drive humans to extinction. Are they likely to avoid it? Well, suppose they spread across the galaxy. Of all humans who would ever have been born, maybe only one in a hundred thousand would have lived as early as you. If, in contrast, humans soon became extinct then because of (...) the population explosion you would have been 'fairly ordinary'. Roughly ten per cent of all humans would have been your contemporaries. Now (as the cosmologist Brandon Carter saw to his dismay) a scientific principle tells us not to treat observations as highly extraordinary when they could easily be fairly ordinary. How to apply the principle is controversial, yet it seems we can safely conclude that humanity's chances of galactic colonization cannot be high. Still, we should work to make them as high as possible, resisting those philosophers who argue that human extinction would be no tragedy. (shrink)
(1) Rupert Read charges that Rawls culpably overlooks the politicized Euthyphro: Do we accept our political perspective because it is right or is it right because we accept it? (2) This charge brings up the question of the deficiency dilemma: Do others disagree with us because of our failures or theirs? —where the two dilemmas appear to be independent of each other and lead to the questions of the logic of deficiency, moral epistemic deficiency, epistemic peers, and the hardness of (...) philosophy. (3) In reply, on an expanded principle of charity Rawls does not overlook the Euthyphro but rather offers ground-breaking solutions to it, (4) that nonetheless trip on the independent bootstrap (5)—as also do Dreben and Nussbaum. (6) Furthermore, Rawls's ' burdens of judgment' seek to bypass the necessity of moral epistemic deficiency and (7) suggest a wider framework for understanding disagreement that sees disagreement as arising from inquiry being in development, unpredictable and uncertain. (8) This wider framework entails that disagreement does not mean moral epistemic deficiency and (9) that our responses to the Euthyphro are 'too soon to say'. (shrink)
In the face of mounting criticism against advance directives, we describe how a novel, computer-based decision aid addresses some of these important concerns. This decision aid, Making Your Wishes Known: Planning Your Medical Future , translates an individual's values and goals into a meaningful advance directive that explicitly reflects their healthcare wishes and outlines a plan for how they wish to be treated. It does this by (1) educating users about advance care planning; (2) helping individuals identify, clarify, and prioritize (...) factors that influence their decision-making about future medical conditions; (3) explaining common end-of-life medical conditions and life-sustaining treatment; (4) helping users articulate a coherent set of wishes with regard to advance care planning—in the form of an advance directive readily interpretable by physicians; and (5) helping individuals both choose a spokesperson, and prepare to engage family, friends, and health care providers in discussions about advance care planning. (shrink)
It has been argued that, on Kantian grounds, pedophiles, rapists and murderers are morally obligated to take their own lives prior to committing a violent action that will end their moral agency. That is, to avoid destroying the agent's moral life by performing a morally suicidal action, the agent, while he still is a moral agent, should end his body's life. Although the cases of dementia and the morally reprehensible are vastly different, this Kantian interpretation might be useful in the (...) debate on the permissibility of suicide for those facing dementia's effects. If moral agents have a duty to act as moral agents, then those who will lose their moral identity as moral agents have an obligation to themselves to end their physical lives prior to losing their dignity as persons. (shrink)
The fact that the notion of ‘practice’ has achieved an ever-increasing relevance in the most various fields of knowledge must not overshadow that it can be interpreted in so many different ways as to orient fairly different historiographical paradigms and philosophical conceptions. Starting with the two main issues of Hadot’s criticism of Foucault (the lack of a distinction between joy and pleasure and the fact that his account does not underscore that the individual Self is ultimately transcended by universal Reason), (...) I have tried to show how the two scholars’ philosophical and historiographical approaches entail a different notion of ‘practice’. According to Hadot, the performativity of a practice (or spiritual exercise) is intimately tied to a universal which transcends the individual self, whereas Foucault maintains that it does not require the appeal to any universal, being exclusively grounded on the modes of exertion of the practices which constitute the individual Self. According to this address, pleasure is a fundamental notion in order to historicize the different ways in which the ethical subject structures itself. (shrink)
Anderson and Dyck claim that the current trend of almost exclusively using citation-based evaluative metrics to assess the research output of scholars is unsound. I agree with them in this, but I feel that, for practical reasons, this system will not disappear in the near future, so we must concentrate on making it fairer. Both commentators doubt whether numerically expressing each contributor's relative contribution is feasible. I admit that an important precondition for this task is the possibility of an informed, (...) democratic debate among equals about the relative contribution of each contributor to the article. Mechanisms should be established to protect vulnerable researchers in the academic field in the same way as safeguards exist today to protect vulnerable research participants. Theoretically, however, I think that the fair allocation of authorship credit is possible, and much of this task is already being performed routinely when contributors determine the order of their names in the byline, being well aware of the widespread assumption that this order mostly mirrors the order of their relative contributions. All they would have to do as an additional task is to express this order in numbers. If they cannot reach a consensus, they could always choose not to express their relative contribution in numbers, in which case the presumption would be that they contributed equally. My proposal could, at best, make the system fairer and, at worst, not reduce the options that evaluators already have. (shrink)