The “Why question” approach serves as a pedagogical tool to facilitate student comprehension of various forms of philosophical justification for motives, behavior, and values in arguments about cultural relativism. The author's approach focuses on two examples of justification arguments to examine and explain why and how people discover what their values are and to what extent this process is culturally relative. The first example in the model is from the perspective of the present state of Western culture and the second (...) example is derived from Inuit Eskimo culture. The philosophical significance of this approach and its application to lived examples allows students to recognize the difference between roots and causes in philosophical debates. Incorporating this approach into the classroom acquaints students with a range of legitimate forms of inquiry and equips them to situate their own philosophical inquiries within that range. (shrink)
When purged of its connection to libertarian forms of capitalism, Ayn Rand’s ethical “egoism” is not an implausible ethical theory. I argue (1) that Rand in fact fails to show the connection between her ethics and the political economy she has championed and (2) that in fact her ethics is at least as compatible with socialism as with capitalism.
But the dangers to abnormal discourse do not come from science or naturalistic philosophy. They come from the scarcity of food and from the secret police. Given leisure and libraries, the conversation which Plato began will not end in self‐objedification ‐ not because aspects of the world, or of human beings, escape being objects of scientific inquiry, but simply because free and leisured conversation generates abnormal discourse as the sparks fly upward.
Husserl and Contemporary Thought contains twelve essays that address certain key themes in Husserl's thought, each in some way confronting issues critical to the Husserlian project. The essays first appeared in the 1982 volume of Research in Phenornenology. The "contemporary thought" in the title should be understood in a limited sense as refer- ring to certain strains of thinking pursued in the present decade, build- ing however on past research. The volume shows several directions in which contemporary thinkers are taking (...) Husserlian phenomenology. The most common direction is through an evaluative contrast between Husserl's vision and the ideas of other philosophers, some of whom listened to Husserl but went their own ways. The second direction taken is represented in a series of current works by active phenomenol- ogists. Some of these essays - and here we have the greatest concentra- tion on a single theme - expand upon Husserl's analyses concerning the temporality of human experience. Other essays take up the threads of long-standing debates among Husserl scholars. I will treat each group of essays - on other philosophers, on time, and on topics other than time in turn, although the essays do not follow this order in the volume. (shrink)
Gonzalo Munevar has recently suggested that a criterion for scientific success and scientific progress can be found in the ability of a culture to "get along better" with the help of that science, and that as a consequence there is much to be said in favor of a proliferationist approach to scientific methodology. I argue that there are severe constraints upon the possibility and desirability of proliferation even under these conditions. I offer some tentative suggestions for defining areas to which (...) the limited resources available for scientific research may be most constructively put. (shrink)
Whatever is distributed must first be produced, and since the recipients are also the producers there will be constraints on distribution determined by productive necessity. Standard theories of distributive justice systematically ignore these constraints. In light of these considerations I define what it is that must be produced and how it must be distributed in order to assure continued production. Desert, equality, entitlement, and the other values normally associated with distributive justice must take a back seat to the need to (...) assure that there is anything to distribute at all. (shrink)
Do our lives have meaning? Should we create more people? Is death bad? Should we commit suicide? Would it be better to be immortal? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic? Since Life, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions first appeared, David Benatar's distinctive anthology designed to introduce students to the key existential questions of philosophy has won a devoted following among users in a variety of upper-level and even introductory courses.
When purged of its connection to libertarian forms of capitalism, Ayn Rand’s ethical “egoism” is not an implausible ethical theory. I argue that Rand in fact fails to show the connection between her ethics and the political economy she has championed and that in fact her ethics is at least as compatible with socialism as with capitalism.