I present two challenges to the theory of moral sentimentalism that Michael Slote defends in his book. The first challenge aims to show that there are cases in which we empathize with an agent and yet judge her actions to be morally wrong. If such cases are plausible, then we have good reason to doubt Slote's claim that moral judgments are an affective attitude of warmth or chill and, thus, are purely sentiments. The second challenge is more of a (...) suggestion. At the end of my paper, I suggest that perhaps one important role that empathy plays in our moral phenomenology is to mitigate the scope of our moral judgments. If this is right, it tells not only against Slote's account but against moral sentimentalist approaches more broadly. (shrink)
Tradition II Hermeneutics, Ethics, and the Dispensation of the Good Stephen H. Watson Examines concepts of tradition in 20th-century Continental philosophy. In Tradition II, Stephen H. Watson engages post-Kantian Continental philosophy in his continuing investigation into the concept of tradition which he began in his work, Tradition. According to Watson, the problem of tradition became explicit in 20th-century philosophy, and is especially apparent in the work of Heidegger, Gadamer, Husserl, Benjamin, Adorno, Levinas, Kristeva, and Derrida, among others. (...) By formulating a series of dialogues between these philosophers and their predecessors, Watson articulates the issues and concerns surrounding tradition and traditionality. Taking on topics such as the hermeneutics of the self, the rationality of tradition, the pluralistic nature of historical interpretation, and the question of the "other," Watson emphasizes the importance of classical accounts of ethical and political discourse for contemporary philosophy and today’s multicultural world. Watson extends his analysis of tradition to include the problems of meaning and narrative and the nature of the self. He also considers the meaning of the Good and how Good is dispensed in the world. By questioning past philosophical narratives and their influence on modern and postmodern philosophy, Watson brings fresh perspective to the complex meanings of tradition for a pluralistic world. Stephen H. Watson is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Notre Dame. He is author of Extensions: Essays on Interpretation, Rationality, and the Closure of Modernism and Tradition: Refiguring Community, Remembrance, and Virtue in Classical German Thought. Studies in Continental Thought—John Sallis, general editor June 2001 320 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, index cloth 0-253-33900-6 $35.00 s / £26.50. (shrink)
This paper addresses a number of issues concerning both the status of phenomenology in the work of one of its classical expositors, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and the general relation between theoretical models and evidence in phenomenological accounts. In so doing, I will attempt to explain Merleau-Ponty’s departure from classical transcendental accounts in Husserl’s thought and why Merleau-Ponty increasingly elaborated on them through aesthetic rationality. The result is a phenomenology that no longer understands itself as foundational and no longer understands itself in (...) the strict opposition of intuition and concept. Rather both emerge from an operative experience generated in the exchange between situated embodied knowing and historical knowledge. (shrink)
Some implications of Tomasello et al.'s theory derive from incorporating a variant of a common assumption that humans are biologically adapted to take an intentional stance in relation to conspecifics. I argue that, rather than being cued, intentions and other dispositional states may be inferred logically from an evolved commitment to determinism and evidence of state-dependent behavior.
Conventional wisdom holds that C. S. Lewis was uninterested in politics and public affairs. The conventional wisdom is wrong. As Justin Buckley Dyer and Micah J. Watson show in this groundbreaking work, Lewis was deeply interested in the fundamental truths and falsehoods about human nature and how these conceptions manifest themselves in the contested and turbulent public square. Ranging from the depths of Lewis' philosophical treatments of epistemology and moral pedagogy to practical considerations of morals legislation and responsible citizenship, (...) this book explores the contours of Lewis' multi-faceted Christian engagement with political philosophy generally and the natural-law tradition in particular. Drawing from the full range of Lewis' corpus and situating his thought in relationship to both ancient and modern seminal thinkers, C. S. Lewis on Politics and the Natural Law offers an unprecedented look at politics and political thought from the perspective of one of the twentieth century's most influential writers. (shrink)
In this engrossing double volume, the work and thought of Nicolas Malebranche is examined through the eyes of Simon Foucher and Dortous de Mairan. Part 1 consists of Richard A. Watson’s translation of the first published critique, by Simon Foucher, of Malebranche’s main philosophical work, _Of the Search for the Truth. _In the second part, Marjorie Grene presents a meticulous translation of the long correspondence between Malebranche and Jean-Jacques Dortous de Mairan that ended shortly before Malebranche’s death. Both (...) class='Hi'>Watson and Grene provide insightful introductions to their translations. The influence of the works of Malebranche has been extensive, as has the influence of the lesser works of his first critic, Simon Foucher. Although Foucher was a minor philosopher of the seventeenth century, he provided arguments that led to a crucial turning point in modern philosophy. Listened to with care and treated with respect by Leibniz, Foucher’s arguments were utilized by Bayle, Berkeley, and Hume toward the destruction not only of Cartesian metaphysics but of substance philosophy as well. In this translation of Foucher’s work, it is now possible for readers of Malebranche’s _Of the Search for the Truth _to evaluate the immediate response of a young philosopher about town to one of the most important philosophical works of his day. The correspondence between Jean-Jacques Dortous de Mairan, an obscure provincial, and Nicolas Malebranche has usually been viewed as a small addendum to the works of Malebranche. Marjorie Grene, however, in her translation of this correspondence, considers it not only a contribution to the Malebranchian corpus but also an example of a reaction to Spinoza. Born at Béziers in the south of France in 1678, Mairan went to Paris in 1698, where he studied mathematics with Malebranche. Their correspondence began four years later when Mairan returned to Béziers to accept a position with the local bishop. In his letters to Malebranche, Mairan reveals himself to be one of no more than a handful of known readers of Spinoza who, in the early eighteenth century, admitted fascination with Spinoza’s presentation of his thoroughly unorthodox God and his equally unorthodox nature. (shrink)
A school of idealism: meditatio laici, by J. Cappon.--Beati possidentes, by R. M. Wenley.--Moral validity: a study in Platonism, by R. C. Lodge.--Plato and the poet's eidōla, by A. S. Ferguson.--Some reflections on Aristotle's theory of tragedy, by G. S. Brett.--The function of the phantasm in St. Thomas Aquinas, by H. Carr.--The development of the psychology of Maine de Biran, by N. J. Symons.--A plea for eclecticism, by H. W. Wright.--Some present-day tendencies in philosophy, by J. M. MacEachran.--Evolution and personality, (...) J. G. Hume.--Emergent realism, by J. Muirhead.--Bibliography of publications by Dr. John Watson (p. 343-346). (shrink)
Given the ascribed antinaturalist theory of judgment, Green’s Nietzsche cannot stop with the error theory. “Kant and Spir argue that the only way an objectively valid judgment about an object is possible is if the qualities attributed to the object are unconditionally united in the mind, that is, united in an atemporal and necessary manner”. Thoughts, and the subjects that have them, must be timeless. There must also be a “necessary connection between thought and its object”. Reality, on the other (...) hand, isn’t timeless: there is change, or becoming—this is Nietzsche’s naturalism. Thus, the connection between thoughts and reality fails, there is no timeless subject to have thoughts, and so: “We do not think”. It follows that there are no thoughts to be false—no error theory—and naturalism itself “cannot be thought”. Green calls this Nietzsche’s “noncognitivism” and concludes that the contradictions between Nietzsche’s naturalism, error theory, and noncognitivism mean that he “did not have one considered epistemological position” —a rather mild way of putting it. (shrink)
This article presents a critical analysis of two influential readings of Kant’s Second Analogy, namely, Gerd Buchdahl’s “modest reading” and Michael Friedman’s “strong reading.” After pointing out the textual and philosophical problems with each, I advance an alternative reading of the Second Analogy argument. On my reading, the Second Analogy argument proves the existence of necessary and strictly universal causal laws. This, however, does not guarantee that Kant has a solution for the problem of induction. After I explain why (...) the empirical lawfulness of nature does not guarantee the empirical uniformity of nature, I examine the modal status of empirical laws in Kant and argue contra Buchdahl and Friedman that empirical laws express two different kinds of necessity that are not reducible to each other. -/- . (shrink)
Freud justified his extensive theorizing about dreams by the observation that they were “the royal road” to something much more general: namely, our unconscious mental life. The current preoccupation with the theory of excuse in criminal law scholarship can be given a similar justification, for the excuses are the royal road to theories of responsibility generally. The thought is that if we understand why we excuse in certain situations but not others, we will have also gained a much more general (...) insight into the nature of responsibility itself. Nowhere has this thought been more evident than in the century-old focus of criminal law theoreticians on the excuse of insanity, a focus that could not be justified by the importance of the excuse itself. In this paper I wish to isolate two theories of excuse, each of which instantiates its own distinctive theory of responsibility. One is what I shall call the choice theory of excuse, according to which one is excused for the doing of a wrongful action because and only because at the moment of such action's performance, one did not have sufficient capacity or opportunity to make the choice to do otherwise. Such a choice theory of excuse instantiates a more general theory of responsibility, according to which we are responsible for wrongs we freely choose to do, and not responsible for wrongs we lacked the freedom to avoid doing. The second I shall call the character theory of excuse, according to which one is excused for the doing of a wrongful action because and only because such action is not determined by those enduring attributes of ourselves we call our characters. (shrink)
John Martin Fischer's The Metaphysics of Free Will is devoted to two major projects. First, Fischer defends the thesis that determinism is incompatible with a person's control over alternatives to the actual future. Second, Fischer defends the striking thesis that such control is not necessary for moral responsibility. This review essay examines Fischer's arguments for each thesis. Fischer's defense of the incompatibilist thesis is the most innovative to date, and I argue that his formulation restructures the free will debate. To (...) defend his second thesis Fischer relies upon examples designed to show that an agent is responsible for an unavoidable action. I criticize Fischer's account of these examples, but I also maintain that my criticisms do not compromise his theory of responsibility. I raise several other difficulties for Fischer's theory of responsibility, and I close by offering some suggestions about how he might further defend it. (shrink)
In various areas of Anglo-American law, legal liability turns on causation. In torts and contracts, we are each liable only for those harms we have caused by the actions that breach our legal duties. Such doctrines explicitly make causation an element of liability. In criminal law, sometimes the causal element for liability is equally explicit, as when a statute makes punishable any act that has “ caused … abuse to the child….” More often, the causal element in criminal liability is (...) more implicit, as when criminal statutes prohibit killings, maimings, rapings, burnings, etc. Such causally complex action verbs are correctly applied only to defendants who have caused death, caused disfigurement, caused penetration, caused fire damage, etc. (shrink)
A review, with reflections, of Michael S. Gazzaniga's (2011) book, Who's in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain. Gazzaniga, a distinguished neuroscientist, wishes to connect contemporary understandings of the functioning of the human brain to the proper functioning of the American courtroom. What effect, if any, should these current understandings (and current technologies) have on legal conceptions of personal responsibility, guilt, and punishment? If, as many neuroscientists hold, the functioning of the brain wholly determines the functioning (...) of the mind, can people rightly be held responsible for their actions? Gazzaniga argues that they can. (shrink)
September 11, 2001 brought to legal awareness an issue that has long puzzled metaphysicians. The general issue is that of event-identity, drawing the boundaries of events so that we can tell when there is one event and when there are two. The September 11th version of that issue is: how many occurrences of insured events were there on September 11, 2001 in New York? Was the collapse of the two World Trade Center Towers one event, despite the two separate airliners (...) crashing into each tower? Or were these two separate insured events? (shrink)
Michael S. Gazzaniga, a pioneer and world leader in cognitive neuroscience, has made an initial attempt to develop neuroethics into a brain-based philosophy of life that he hopes will replace the irrational religious and political belief-systems that still partly govern modern societies. This article critically examines Gazzaniga’s proposal and shows that his actual moral arguments have little to do with neuroscience. Instead, they are based on unexamined political, cultural and moral conceptions, narratives and values. A more promising way of (...) interpreting the belief-forming system of the brain is to say that we cannot avoid thinking in terms of wider frameworks and narratives that are socially embedded and historically developed; consequently, any moral discussion has to be in terms of these frameworks and narratives. (shrink)
Michael S. Mahoney, professor of the history of science at Princeton University, died in 2008. Born in 1939, Mahoney was already a seasoned historian of mathematics when he became one of the first senior historians to take an interest in the history of computing. He was by no means the first: for example, individuals such as I. B. Cohen at Harvard University and Derek de Solla Price at Yale University had been interested since the 1960s. Moreover, several institutions were (...) already actively engaged: the Smithsonian Institution, the Charles Babbage Institute (founded 1979), the Computer Museum in Boston, and similar organizations in Europe. A journal, the Annals of the History of Computing, was established in 1979. .. (shrink)
This review considers Michael Brady's account of the positive epistemic role of emotions. Brady claims that emotions can facilitate evaluative understanding because they "capture and consume" a person's attention. This review claims that there is a difference between emotions that are intrinsically productive of evaluative understanding and those are productive of evaluative understanding only because of the contribution of other, non-emotional states. Accordingly, Brady has not yet established that emotions fall in the former category, rather than the latter, and (...) thus leaves open that emotions may have a neutral or negative epistemic role on their own. (shrink)
Perhaps more than any other scholar, Michael Moore has argued that there are deep and necessary connections between metaphysics, morality, and law. Moore has developed every contour of a theory of criminal law, from philosophy of action to a theory of causation. Indeed, not only is he the central figure in retributive punishment but his moral realist position places him at the center of many jurisprudential debates. Comprised of essays by leading scholars, this volume discusses and challenges the work (...) of Michael Moore from one or more of the areas where he has made a lasting contribution, namely, law, morality, metaphysics, psychiatry, and neuroscience. The volume begins with a riveting contribution by Heidi Hurd, wherein she takes an unadorned and unabashed look at the man behind this monumental body of work, full of both triumphs and sadness. A number of essays focus on Moore's view of the purpose and justification of the criminal law, specifically his endorsement of retributivism and legal moralism. The book then addresses Moore's work in the various aspects of the general part of the criminal law, including Moore's position on how to understand criminal acts for double jeopardy purposes, Moore's claim that accomplice liability is superfluous, and Moore's views about the culpability of negligence, as well as the relationship between that view and proximate causation. Furthermore, the subject of defenses in criminal law is addressed, including self-defense, and also the intersection of psychiatry, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and the criminal law. Also discussed are features of morality, and Moore's work in general jurisprudence. Finally, Moore concludes the volume with an essay that defends and delineates the features of his views. (shrink)
This essay presents an integrated account of Michael Wyschogrod's Zionism as a function of his broader theological anthropology, eschatology, and carnal interpretation of Israel's election. Against Leora Batnitzky, I show that Wyschogrod's Zionism, while definitively messianic, is decidedly not fanatical or fundamentalist. Against Meir Soloveichik, I show that Wyschogrod has maintained this non-fanatical messianism consistently throughout his career, and so his pacific political prescriptions are organically at one with his vigorous calls for Jewish sovereignty over the land.
The eminent historian and philosopher of biology, Michael Ruse, has written several books that explore the relationship of evolutionary theory to its larger scientific and cultural setting. Among the questions he has investigated are: Is evolution progressive? What is its epistemological status? Most recently, in "Darwin and Design: Does Evolution have a Purpose?," Ruse has provided a history of the concept of teleology in biological thinking, especially in evolutionary theorizing. In his book, he moves quickly from Plato and Aristotle (...) to Kant and such British thinkers as Paley and Whewell. His main focus, though, is on Darwin's theory and its subsequent fate. Ruse rests his history on some shaky historical and philosophic assumptions, particularly the unexamined notion that evolutionary theory is an abstract entity that is unproblematically realized in different historical periods. He also assumes that Darwin conceived nature as if it were a Manchester spinning loom -- a clanking, dispassionate machine. A more subtle analysis, which Ruse eschews, might discover that Darwin's conception of nature owed a strong debt to German Romanticism and that he contrived to infuse nature with moral and aesthetic values, not to suck them from nature. Ruse proves he is a thinker to contend with, and this essay is quite contentious. (shrink)
This is a review of Michael Devitt's collection of previously published articles entitled Putting Metaphysics First: Essays on Metaphysics and Epistemology. The review also suggests a new way of formulation the realism/anti-realism contrast on the basis of Devitt's work. This contrast is understood in terms explanatory priority: should we in a given domain begin our theorizing from metaphysics (realism) or semantics (anti-realism)?
Qur'an 3:104 speaks of "commanding right and forbidding wrong" as a constitutive feature of the Muslim community. Michael Cook's careful and comprehensive study provides a wealth of information about the ways Muslims in various contexts have understood this notion. Cook also makes a number of comparative observations, and suggests that "commanding" appears to be a uniquely Muslim practice. Scholars of religious ethics should read Cook's study with great appreciation. They will also have a number of questions about his comparative (...) comments. In this article, I suggest that scholars of comparative ethics should think less about the "uniqueness" of the materials examined by Cook, and more about the ways groups of human beings discipline their members, thereby constituting and maintaining themselves as communities of virtue. (shrink)
After Heitler and London published their pioneering work on the application of quantum mechanics to chemistry in 1927, it became an almost unquestioned dogma that chemistry would soon disappear as a discipline of its own rights. Reductionism felt victorious in the hope of analytically describing the chemical bond and the structure of molecules. The old quantum theory has already produced a widely applied model for the structure of atoms and the explanation of the periodic system. This paper will show two (...) examples of the entry of quantum physics into more classical fields of chemistry: inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry. Due to their professional networking, George Hevesy and Michael Polanyi found their ways to Niels Bohr and Fritz London, respectively, to cooperate in solving together some problems of classical chemistry. Their works on rare earth elements and adsorption theory throws light to the application of quantum physics outside the reductionist areas. They support the heuristic and persuasive value of quantum thinking in the 1920–1930s. Looking at Polanyi’s later oeuvre, his experience with adsorption theory could be a starting point of his non-justificationist philosophy. (shrink)
This paper discusses how Wittgenstein’s thinking informs recent conversations about art and aesthetic practice by examining his influence on the work of the noted modernist art critic, Michael Fried. Fried considers an excerpt from Wittgenstein’s Culture and Value, with a puzzling thought experiment, to help us see more clearly the Canadian artist Jeff Wall’s photographic vision and aesthetic. I consider Fried’s account of the photographic practice of Jeff Wall, especially his photograph Morning Cleaning, Mies van der Rohe Foundation (1999).
Book Symposium on Michael Thompson's "Life and Action" -/- (downlodable here: http://fqp.luiss.it/category/numero/ns-supplementary-volume-2015-life-and-action) -/- Table of Contents: -/- Paolo Costa, "Where does our understanding of life come from? The riddle about recognizing living things" -/- Constantine Sandis, "He buttered the toast while baking a fresh loaf" -/- Matteo Bianchin, "Intentions and Intentionality" -/- Arto Laitinen, "Practices as ‘actual’ sources of goodness of actions" -/- Italo Testa, "Some consequences of Thompson’s Life and Action for social philosophy" -/- Ingrid Salvatore, "Thompson on (...) Rawls and Practices". (shrink)
Michael McKenna’s Conversation and Responsibility is an ambitious and impressive statement of a new theory of moral responsibility. McKenna’s approach builds upon the strategy advanced in P.F. Strawson’s enormously influential “Freedom and Resentment” (which was published in 1962). The account advanced aims to provide Strawson’s theory with the sort of detail that is required to fill significant gaps and respond to a wide range of criticisms and objections that have been directed against it. ....Conversation and Responsibility belongs on the (...) top shelf of any set of readings devoted to the contemporary discussion of moral responsibility. All readers, whatever their philosophical orientation may be, will find it both challenging and rewarding. Whether in the end one endorses the conversational model or not, there can be no doubt that this is a contribution that significantly advances our overall understanding of these important and complex matters. (shrink)
The tenuous claims of cost-benefit analysis to guide policy so as to promote welfare turn on measuring welfare by preference satisfaction and taking willingness-to-pay to indicate preferences. Yet it is obvious that people's preferences are not always self-interested and that false beliefs may lead people to prefer what is worse for them even when people are self-interested. So welfare is not preference satisfaction, and hence it appears that cost-benefit analysis and welfare economics in general rely on a mistaken theory of (...) well-being. This essay explores the difficulties, criticizes standard defences of welfare economics, and then offers a new partial defence that maintains that welfare economics is independent of any philosophical theory of well-being. Welfare economics requires nothing more than an evidential connection between preference and welfare: in circumstances in which people are concerned with their own interests and reasonably good judges of what will serve their interests, their preferences will be reliable indicators of what is good for them. (shrink)
Michael Brodrick’s book, The Ethics of Detachment in Santayana’s Philosophy, constitutes a much-needed contribution to the field of American philosophy. Although it is common for contemporary authors to claim that their preferred philosopher has been misunderstood, few can do so with as much conviction as Broderick has done for George Santayana, “a great and unjustly neglected philosopher”.The overarching goal of Brodrick’s investigation is the presentation of a conceptual framework for an “ethics of detachment” fundamentally mediated by human finitude. Setting (...) his work in opposition to the contemporary ethical conceit of an “attachment” to life, progress, and perfection, Brodrick seeks to demonstrate “how... (shrink)
Young argues against Michael Huemer's contention that egoism demands sacrificing others. The centrality of mutual trust in achieving vital sociallyproduced goods requires that egoism strictly limit, in degree and scope, any allowable prédation. The need for genuine and meaningful social recognition and affirmation rules out achieving mutual trust while secretly being a predator. Egoism may not support a strong Randian principle of never sacrificing others for the benefit of oneself but it plausibly supports a principle of never achieving particular (...) benefits for oneself by imposing on others costs that undermine mutual trust. (shrink)
Michael Ryan (d. 1840) remains one of the most mysterious figures in the history of medical ethics, despite the fact that he was the only British physician during the middle years of the 19th century to write about ethics in a systematic way. Michael Ryan’s Writings on Medical Ethics offers both an annotated reprint of his key ethical writings, and an extensive introductory essay that fills in many previously unknown details of Ryan’s life, analyzes the significance of his (...) ethical works, and places him within the historical trajectory of the field of medical ethics. (shrink)
In _Consciousness and persons_, Michael Tye. Consciousness and persons. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.) develops and defends a novel approach to the unity of consciousness. Rather than thinking of the unity of consciousness as involving phenomenal relations between distinct experiences, as standard accounts do, Tye argues that we should regard the unity of consciousness as involving relations between the contents of consciousness. Having developed an account of what it is for consciousness to be unified, Tye goes on to apply his (...) account of the unity of consciousness to the split-brain syndrome. I provide a critical evaluation of Tye's account of the unity of consciousness and the split-brain syndrome. (shrink)