Experimental studies are not representative of how badly people function. We study people under relatively innocuous conditions, where their self-interests are very low. In the real world, where people's self-interests are much higher, people are much worse a good deal of the time (some illustrations are cited). This is often “adaptive” for the perpetrators, but that doesn't make it “good” behavior. That people function so badly in our experiments, where self-interest is relatively minimal, is what is really terrifying.
Know-it-All Society is about how we form and maintain our political convictions, and the ways in which political ideologies, human psychology and technology conspire to make our society more dogmatic, less intellectually humble and ultimately less democratic.
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 1999 Academic debates about pluralism and truth have become increasingly polarized in recent years. One side embraces extreme relativism, deeming any talk of objective truth as philosophically naïve. The opposition, frequently arguing that any sort of relativism leads to nihilism, insists on an objective notion of truth according to which there is only one true story of the world. Both sides agree that there is no middle path. In Truth in Context, Michael Lynch (...) argues that there is a middle path, one where metaphysical pluralism is consistent with a robust realism about truth. Drawing on the work of Hilary Putnam, W.V.O. Quine, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, among others, Lynch develops an original version of metaphysical pluralism, which he calls relativistic Kantianism. He argues that one can take facts and propositions as relative without implying that our ordinary concept of truth is a relative, epistemic, or "soft" concept. The truths may be relative, but our concept of truth need not be. (shrink)
Philosophers often distinguish in some way between two senses of life's meaning. Paul Edwards terms these a ‘cosmic’ and ‘terrestrial’ sense. The cosmic sense is that of an overall purpose of which our lives are a part and in terms of which our lives must be understood and our purposes and interests arranged. This overall purpose is often identified with God's divine scheme, but the two need not necessarily be equated. The terrestrial sense of meaning is the meaning people find (...) in their own lives apart from the place of their lives in any ultimate end or context. (shrink)
The Great New Wilderness Debate is an expansive, wide-ranging collection that addresses the pivotal environmental issues of the modern era. This eclectic volume on the varied constructions of “wilderness” reveals the recent controversies that surround those conceptions, and the gulf between those who argue for wilderness "preservation" and those who argue for "wise use." J. Baird Callicott and Michael P. Nelson have selected thirty-nine essays that provide historical context, range broadly across the issues, and set forth the positions of (...) the debate. Beginning with such well-known authors as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and Aldo Leopold, the collection moves forward to the contemporary debate and presents seminal works by a number of the most distinguished scholars in environmental history and environmental philosophy. The Great New Wilderness Debate also includes essays by conservation biologists, cultural geographers, environmental activists, and contemporary writers on the environment. (shrink)
Introduction / Alessandra Tanesini and Michael P. Lynch -- Reassessing different conceptions of argumentation / Catarina Dutilh Novaes -- Martial metaphors and argumentative virtues and vices / Ian James Kidd -- Arrogance and deep disagreement / Andrew Aberdein -- Closed-mindedness and arrogance / Heather Battaly -- Intellectual trust and the marketplace of ideas / Allan Hazlett -- Is searching the Internet making us intellectually arrogant? / J. Adam Carter and Emma C. Gordon -- Intellectual humility and the curse of (...) knowledge / Michael Hannon -- Bullshit and dogmatism : a discourse analytical perspective / Chris Heffer -- Polarization and the problem of spreading arrogance / Michael P. Lynch -- Arrogance, polarization and arguing to win / Alessandra Tanesini -- Partisanship, humility, and epistemic polarization / Thomas Nadelhoffer, Rose Graves, Gus Skorburg, Mark Leary, and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong -- Science denial, polarization, and arrogance / Lee McIntyre -- The polarization toolkit / Quassim Cassam -- Epistemic rights in a polarized world : the right to know and the abortion / Debate Lani Watson. (shrink)
A prevailing view in contemporary philosophy of mind is that zombies are logically possible. I argue, via a thought experiment, that if this prevailing view is correct, then I could be transformed into a zombie. If I could be transformed into a zombie, then surprisingly, I am not certain that I am conscious. Regrettably, this is not just an idiosyncratic fact about my psychology; I think you are in the same position. This means that we must revise or replace some (...) important positions in the philosophy of mind. We could embrace radical skepticism about our own consciousness, or maintain the complete and total infallibility of our beliefs about our own phenomenal experiences. I argue that we should actually reject the logical possibility of zombies. (shrink)
In The Existence of God Richard Swinburne argues that ‘if there is a God, any experience which seems to be of God, will be genuine – will be of God.’ On the face of it this claim of the essential veridicality of any religious experience, given the existence of God, is incredible. Consider what is being claimed by looking at a particularly dramatic example – but one that is well within the purview of Swinburne's claim. The ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ who murdered (...) at least thirteen women, claimed to hear voices telling him to kill. He took these voices to be divine. While it is easy enough to suspect the killer's sanity, it is not so easy to doubt his sincerity. Yet since Swinburne claims that God probably exists, he is committed to the view that the Ripper had a series of genuine religious experiences – so much for the arduous preparations sometime taken as necessary for a ‘vision’ of God. (shrink)
Through various applications of the ‘deep structure’ of moral and religious reasoning, I have sought to illustrate the value of a morally informed approach in helping us to understand the complexity of religious thought and practice…religions are primarily moved by rational moral concerns and…ethical theory provides the single most powerful methodology for understanding religious belief. Ronald Green, Religion and Moral Reason.
I shall argue that the question ‘Can we speak literally of God?’ is fundamentally an epistemological question concerning whether we can know that God exists. If and only if we can know that God can exist can we know that we can speak literally of God.
Environmental studies is a highly interdisciplinary field of inquiry, involving philosophers, ecologists, biologists, sociologists, activists, historians and professionals in public and private environmental organizations. It comes with no surprise, then, that the follow-up to Nelson and Callicott’s original anthology The Great Wilderness Debate (1998) features essays from authors in a broad array of disciplines. While there is considerable overlap between the two volumes, this new version offers forty-one essays, five of which are new additions, organized into four sections. What constitutes (...) wilderness? Is wilderness real or social constructed? What kinds of values are served—recreational, aesthetic, scientific, or others—by protecting wild areas? While many commentators trace these questions back to an exchange in the 1990s between two environmental ethicists, J. Baird Callicott and Holmes Rolston III, the debate over the wilderness idea actually has older roots. At least in the U.S. context, it travels back in time to the earliest part of the twentieth-century, when the American public, politicians and ecologists were pressed to justify why wilderness areas should be set aside in a new National Park system. Since then, the fundamental question fuelling the ‘Great Wilderness Debate’ is whether what is being preserved is actually wilderness. Is there such a thing or place as wilderness, that is, a quintessentially non-human or wild setting untainted by human influence? If so, why do we believe such areas deserve protection? (shrink)
Let us follow Robert Oakes in describing a self-authenticating experience of God as one that ‘would have the epistemic uniqueness of guaranteeing –all by itself – its veridicality to the person who had it.’ The idea that there could be self-authenticating experiences of God has been criticized often in recent years. It seems that the only experiences that could be self-authenticating are those about one's own current psychological states. Nevertheless, the individual who claims to have such an experience of God (...) is clearly using ‘experience’ in such a way as to suppose that one's experience of God is logically independent of the existence of God, but still self-authenticating. (shrink)
This philosophical analysis of the phenomenon of racism brings together some of the most influential analytic philosophers writing on racism today. The introduction by Tamas Pataki outlines the historical and thematic development of conceptions of race and racism, and locates the following essays against the backdrop of contemporary reactions to that development. While the framework is primarily analytic, the volume also includes essays deeply informed by psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and feminist and social theory. The fourteen chapters in this collection address three (...) interrelated questions: What is racism? What are the causes of racism? and What are the moral and political implications of racism? Although their approaches are wide ranging, the contributors to Racism in Mind broadly endorse a psychological-characterological approach to the understanding of many aspects of racism. (shrink)
Two theses are central to foundationalism. First, the foundationalist claims that there is a class of propositions, a class of empirical contingent beliefs, that are ‘immediately justified’. Alternatively, one can describe these beliefs as ‘self–evident’, ‘non–inferentially justified’, or ‘self–warranted’, though these are not always regarded as entailing one another. The justification or epistemic warrant for these beliefs is not derived from other justified beliefs through inductive evidential support or deductive methods of inference. These ‘basic beliefs’ constitute the foundations of empirical (...) knowledge. One can give a reason for the justification of a basic belief even though the justification for that belief is not based on other beliefs. Thus, according to Chisholm, if asked what one's justification was for thinking that one knew, presently, that one is thinking about a city one takes to be Albuquerque, one could simply say ‘what justifies me…is simply the fact that I am thinking about a city I take to be Albuquerque’. (shrink)
Why does the paradox play such a crucial role in Kierkegaard's notion of truth as subjectivity? Richard Schacht explains it as follows: Eternal happiness is possible for a man only if it is possible for him to relate himself to God. A man, however, is a being who exists in time; and it would not be possible for such a being to enter into a ‘God-relationship’ if God had not also at some point existed in time. Through the ‘leap of (...) faith’ in which one affirms the proposition that God did exist in time, one is able to enter a ‘God-relationship’ and thereby attains ‘an eternal happiness’. (shrink)
What is truth? Michael Lynch defends a bold new answer to this question. Traditional theories of truth hold that truth has only a single uniform nature. All truths are true in the same way. More recent deflationary theories claim that truth has no nature at all; the concept of truth is of no real philosophical importance. In this concise and clearly written book, Lynch argues that we should reject both these extremes and hold that truth is a functional property. (...) To understand truth we must understand what it does, its function in our cognitive economy. Once we understand that, we'll see that this function can be performed in more than one way. And that in turn opens the door to an appealing pluralism: beliefs about the concrete physical world needn't be true in the same way as our thoughts about matters -- like morality -- where the human stain is deepest. (shrink)
This bibliography in two volumes, originally published in 1988, lists and describes works by and about Jacques Lacan published in French, English, and seven other languages including Japanese and Russian. It incorporates and corrects where necessary all information from earlier published bibliographies of Lacan’s work. Also included as background works are books and essays that discuss Lacan in the course of a more general study, as well as all relevant items in various bibliographic sources from many fields.
Michael Hornsby-Smith offers an overview of Catholic social thought particularly in recent decades. While drawing on official teaching such as papal encyclicals and the pastoral letters of bishops' conferences, he takes seriously the need for dialogue with secular thought. The 2006 book is organized in four stages. Part I outlines the variety of domestic and international injustices and seeks to offer a social analysis of the causes of these injustices. Part II offers a theological reflection on the characteristics of (...) the kingdom of God which Christians are urged to seek. Part III reviews Catholic social thought in six main areas: human rights, the family and bioethical issues, economic life, social exclusion, authentic development, and war and peace. Part IV completes the cycle with a consideration of appropriate social action responses to the injustices which the author has identified and analysed. (shrink)
In this engaging and spirited text, Michael Lynch argues that truth does matter, in both our personal and political lives. He explains that the growing cynicism over truth stems in large part from our confusion over what truth is.
La manera en que Agustín engrana en las 'Confesiones' el pensamiento de Aristóteles revela mucho acerca de la forma en la que fue capaz de beneficiarse de fuentes no platónicas. El objeto del presente artículo es analizar ese engranaje tan a fondo como sea posible, mediante un esfuerzo por comprender mejor la relación de Agustín con las vetas no platónicas de la filosofía clásica.
J. Baud Callicott and Michael P. Nelson offer an engaging study of environmental ethics with particular emphasis on an ethics supported by the Ojibwa cultural worldview. Connecting environmental theory with diverse stories from Ojibwa Indians, Callicott and Nelson reveal the meaning and power of cultural worldviews as they inform ethical principles and practices, as they show that competing worldviews demonstrate the many ways "of cognitively organizing human experience." The authors begin with a concise treatment of environmental ethics, cultural worldviews, (...) and the problem of cultural relativism, and integrate and evaluate rarely seen narratives of Ojibwa Indians on their relationship to the environment. American Indian Environmental Ethics is the seventh book in the series, Basic Ethics in Action, edited by Michael Boylan. This series is a major new undertaking by Prentice Hall covering several areas in applied ethics, including business ethics, environmental ethics, medical ethics, and social and political ethics. (shrink)
Is the closet just a metaphor? Closet Spaces provides a highly original account of the spatial metaphor of "the closet," and is the first geography text to focus on this important issue. Using a variety of research techniques and materials the book explores the closet through diverse texts such as the oral histories of gay men in the UK and US and international travel guides and travelogues.
John Dewey points out in A Common Faith (1934) that what stands in the way of religious belief for many is the apparent commitment of Western religious traditions to supernatural phenomena and questionable historical claims. We are to accept claims that in any other context we would find laughable. Are we to believe that water can be turned into wine without the benefit of the fermentation process? Are we to swallow the claim that there is such a phenomenon as the (...) spontaneous conception of a child without the intervention of the traditional technique? Were we to confront these claims in any but a religious context, we would dismiss them as the workings of an overactive imagination or simple cover for an overactive sex life. But for the devout believer, there is no doubt even with a paucity of evidence. At the same time, the rise of science has forcibly suggested the idea that the natural world is self-contained and, if explainable, that explanation will come from within. There seems to be no room for the traditional God and, much as one might wish otherwise, nothing for him to do. Perhaps... (shrink)
El artículo aborda los llamados "Diálogos de Casiciaco" de Agustín, estableciendo a grandes rasgos las características básicas de la comprensión agustiniana del sujeto cognoscente y del subsiguiente "giro" que a él hace Agustín, respondiendo a cuatro preguntas básicas: qué es para Agustín la vuelta al sujeto, cuáles son sus características y corolarios, qué implica esto y qué produce.
ABSTRACT This article explores the necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for the recognition of a ground of unlawful discrimination. It is important not only to have a coherent understanding of the currently enumerated grounds, but also to have a theoretical framework that can assist in enumerating new grounds through the open-ended “other status” aspect of many legal frameworks. To that end, this article argues that personal characteristics that are generally morally irrelevant, and that are socially salient in that they carry (...) with them a prevalence of inequality-laden attitudes, amount to necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for recognizing a ground of unlawful discrimination. Other conditions, such as immutability and the presence of relative group disadvantage, will be assessed and dismissed as contingent but not necessary conditions. (shrink)
The Western world is currently gripped by an obsessive concern for the rights of animals - their uses and abuses. In this book, Leahy argues that this is a movement based upon a series of fundamental misconceptions about the basic nature of animals. This is a radical philosophical questioning of prevailing views on animal rights, which credit animals with a self-consciousness like ours. Leahy's conclusions have implications for issues such as bloodsports, meat eating and fur trading.
Is Leo Strauss truly an intellectual forebear of neoconservatism and a powerful force in shaping Bush administration foreign policy? _The Truth about Leo Strauss_ puts this question to rest, revealing for the first time how the popular media came to perpetuate an oversimplified view of a complex and wide-ranging philosopher. In doing so, it corrects our perception of Strauss, providing the best general introduction available to the political thought of this misunderstood figure. Catherine and Michael Zuckert—both former students of (...) Strauss—guide readers here to a nuanced understanding of how Strauss’s political thought fits into his broader philosophy. Challenging the ideas that Strauss was an inflexible conservative who followed in the footsteps of Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Carl Schmitt, the Zuckerts contend that Strauss’s signature idea was the need for a return to the ancients. Through their work, they conclude that Strauss was a sober defender of liberal democracy, aware of both its strengths and its weaknesses. Balanced and accessible, _The Truth about Leo Strauss_ is a must-read for anyone who wants to more fully comprehend this enigmatic philosopher and his much-disputed legacy. “_The Truth about Leo Strauss_ is the most balanced and insightful book yet written about Strauss’s thought, students, and political influence. It dispels myths promulgated by both friends and foes and persuasively traces the conflicting paths that American thinkers indebted to Strauss have taken.”—William Galston, Brookings Institution. (shrink)
In this book, Michael P. Berman uses Merleau-Ponty’s thought to develop a critique, grounded in his phenomenology, of certain issues in the philosophy of religion such as faith, love, vision, soul, magic and miracles, judgment, evil, and hallowing.
Evidence-based medicine has always required integration of patient values with ‘best’ clinical evidence. It is widely recognized that scientific practices and discoveries, including those of EBM, are value-laden. But to date, the science of EBM has focused primarily on methods for reducing bias in the evidence, while the role of values in the different aspects of the EBM process has been almost completely ignored.
Pluralism about truth is the view that there is more than one way for a proposition to be true. When taken to imply that there is more than one concept and property of truth, this position faces a number of troubling objections. I argue that we can overcome these objections, and yet retain pluralism's key insight, by taking truth to be a multiply realizable property of propositions.
One of the most influential analytic philosophers of the late twentieth century, William P. Alston is a leading light in epistemology, philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of language. In this volume, twelve leading philosophers critically discuss the central topics of his work in these areas, including perception, epistemic circularity, justification, the problem of religious diversity, and truth.
Beginning in earnest in the late 1990s, educational researchers devoted increasing attention to the study of “active learning,” leading to a robust literature on the topic in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Meanwhile, during largely the same period, political theorists discovered the radical philosophy of Giorgio Agamben, which soon after began to ripple through more radical forms of philosophy of education. While both the SoTL works on active learning and writings of “Agambenian” philosophers of education have offered new insights (...) into their respective fields, active learning has not yet received a systematic philosophical reflection and the community of Agambenian philosophy of education has not yet been systematized. This article addresses both gaps, first through an outline of existing Agambenian approaches to the philosophy of education and second by theorizing active learning as a form of “destituent potential.” The systematic reflection on the three threads of Agambenian philosoph... (shrink)
"Readers intimidated or puzzled by Voegelin's often daunting prose will find Federici's volume, the fourth entry in ISI's Library of Modern Thinkers series, an invaluable guide to one of the twentieth century's most imposing - and most impressive - philosophical minds."--BOOK JACKET.