This book is an excellent collection of papers which partly spring from, and partly bear on the Study Group on the Unity of Knowledge held in various universities, October, 1967-March, 1970. The papers all bear on the problem of reduction. In "Unity of Physical Law and Levels of Description," Ilya Prigogine argues that organized structures need physical laws of organization, not of entropy only, to explain their genesis and operation." The editor’s paper, "Reducibility: Another Side Issue," argues, following Polanyi, that (...) living things as machines already transcend physics, since they demand both chemical and engineering principles for their explanation." "How is Mechanism Conceivable?" points out that ordinary ways of talking about and explaining behavior, i.e., as involving intention and purpose, differs in logic from mechanistic explanation. But this difference in logic of the two languages is "never an obstacle to the reduction of one theory to another, indeed, there is always such a noncongruence of the conceptual mesh." Anthony J. P. Kenny’s "The Homunculus Fallacy" argues against "the reckless application of human-being predicates to insufficiently human-like objects." In "Behavior, Belief, and Emotion," A. C. MacIntyre argues for the thesis that "there is no necessary connection between at least some emotions and particular forms of behavior." In "The Critique of Artificial Reason," H. Dreyfus criticizes both the empirical and a priori arguments for optimism underlying the work in artificial intelligence. It displays the underlying philosophical assumption inherent in Western philosophical tradition since Plato. The last two papers concern Polanyi’s theory of knowledge. In "Tacit Knowledge and the Concept of Mind," W. T. Scott shows how Ryle’s "Concept of Mind can be significantly extended by considering certain features of the philosophical position that Michael Polanyi has developed around the concept of tacit knowing." R. S. Cohen’s "Tacit, Social and Hopeful" discusses the difficulties in Polanyi’s epistemology and the merits of the logical reconstruction work in science. Only the papers by Dreyfus and Scott have been previously published. Throughout the collection, the editor has provided useful introductory remarks focusing upon the unifying themes in the collection.—A. S. C. (shrink)
In his review of Getting Even: Revenge as a Form of Justice (Open Court: Chicago. 1999). Michael Davis challenges the view put forward in the book that revenge is personal retributive punishment. Davis also claims that “the purpose Barton seeks to achieve under the banner of ‘victims rights’ has no more to do with punishment than with revenge.” In my response, I argue that Davis’s views and conclusions are based partly on a misreading of Getting Even, and partly (...) on mistaken assumptions about the nature of victim rights, justice, punishment, and revenge. (shrink)
In his review of Getting Even: Revenge as a Form of Justice. Michael Davis challenges the view put forward in the book that revenge is personal retributive punishment. Davis also claims that “the purpose Barton seeks to achieve under the banner of ‘victims rights’ has no more to do with punishment than with revenge.” In my response, I argue that Davis’s views and conclusions are based partly on a misreading of Getting Even, and partly on mistaken assumptions about (...) the nature of victim rights, justice, punishment, and revenge. (shrink)
Repression has remained controversial for nearly a century on account of the lack of well-controlled evidence validating it. Here we argue that the conceptual and methodological tools now exist for a rigorous scientific examination of repression, and that a nascent cognitive neuroscience of repression is emerging. We review progress in this area and highlight important questions for this field to address.
The arguments for redistribution of wealth, and for prohibiting certain transactions such as price-gouging, both are based in mistaken conceptions of exchange. This paper proposes a neologism, “euvoluntary” exchange, meaning both that the exchange is truly voluntary and that it benefits both parties to the transaction. The argument has two parts: First, all euvoluntary exchanges should be permitted, and there is no justification for redistribution of wealth if disparities result only from euvoluntary exchanges. Second, even exchanges that are not euvoluntary (...) should generally be permitted, because access to market exchange may be the only means by which people in desperate circumstances can improve their position. (shrink)
In this book, law professors Sherry F. Colb and Michael C. Dorf argue that: -/- many non-human animals, at least vertebrates, are morally considerable and prima facie wrong to harm because they are sentient, i.e., conscious and capable of experiencing pains and pleasures; most aborted human fetuses are not sentient -- their brains and nervous systems are not yet developed enough for sentience -- and so the motivating moral concern for animals doesn't apply to most abortions; later abortions affecting (...) sentient fetuses, while rare, raise serious moral concerns, but these abortions -- like all abortions -- invariably involve the interests and rights of the pregnant woman, which can make these abortions morally permissible. For a book claiming to explore the "connections" between debates about the two issues, just the summary from the book flap -- basically, what's above -- makes it appear that there really isn't much connection between the topics, at least at the core ethical level. Animals are sentient, early fetuses are not, and so the moral arguments about the two issues don't overlap or share premises. While the authors hope to use insights from one issue to shed light on the other, I find that differences in the issues limit these insights. (shrink)
This article challenges conventional readings of Michel Foucault by examining his fascination with neoliberalism in the late 1970s. Foucault did not critique neoliberalism during this period; rather, he strategically endorsed it. The necessary cause for this approval lies in the broader rehabilitation of economic liberalism in France during the 1970s. The sufficient cause lies in Foucault's own intellectual development: drawing on his long-standing critique of the state as a model for conceptualizing power, Foucault concluded, during the 1970s, that economic liberalism, (...) rather than “discipline,” was modernity's paradigmatic power form. Moreover, this article seeks to clarify the relationship between Foucault's philosophical antihumanism and his assessment of liberalism. Rather than arguing that Foucault's antihumanism precluded a positive appraisal of liberalism, or that the apparent reorientation of his politics in a more liberal direction in the late 1970s entailed a partial retreat from antihumanism, this article contends that Foucault's brief, strategic, and contingent endorsement of liberalism was possible precisely because he saw no incompatibility between antihumanism and liberalism—but only liberalism of the economic variety. Economic liberalism alone, and not its political iteration, was compatible with the philosophical antihumanism that is the hallmark of Foucault's thought. (shrink)