The following questions are discussed here. Is induction a reasonable procedure in the context of a denial of physically necessary connections? What is physical necessity? If induction does presuppose physical necessity, what amount of it is presupposed? It is argued that with logic as the only restriction on what is to count as a possible world, it is unreasonable to claim that observed connections, whether universal or statistical, will continue to hold. The concept of physical necessity is no more problematic (...) than that of logical necessity, once it is recognized that the necessity of physical and logical necessity is the same. A variant of Keynes' principle of limited independent variety answers the question of the amount of physical necessity presupposed. (shrink)
Some see health care as primarily an individual responsibility. Others see it as a public responsibility. Behind these approaches are strong conflicting beliefs about ethical matters, specifically about the kind of good that health care is. On the one side the underlying belief is that health care is no more than an individual good and hence calls for a distributive policy based on the market. On the other side the underlying belief is that it is a public good and hence (...) calls for a distributive policy based on widespread agreement.' There will be intermediate approaches which try with varying success to justify themselves by piecing together beliefs from both sides. I shall explain what is involved in calling something a public good. Then I shall try to show that, if health care is to satisfy some rather plausible criteria, it must have the character of a public good. (shrink)
This book offers a political theory combining elements from the Marxist and liberal traditions. It presents the reader with a disturbing view of the contemporary state as at war with itself. This internal conflict is no accident but stems from the state's having the double task of spurring on the economy and protecting the welfare and rights of all its citizens. Such conflict does not end at national boundaries but extends through the system of any imperial state. This perspective illuminates (...) the fractures and instability within the imperial system. This book will be of particular interest to political scientists, political philosophers, and those engaged in policy studies. (shrink)
These original essays by seven leading contemporary political philosophers spanning the political spectrum explore the possibility of achieving agreement in political theory. Each philosopher defends in a principal essay his or her own view of social justice and also comments on two or more of the other essays. The result is a lively exchange that leaves the reader to judge to what degree the contributors achieve agreement or reconciliation.
I. The Metaphysics Behind the New Idealism. My remarks in this paper focus on the question of the connection between thought and the world from the perspective of recent critical discussions of the correspondence theory of truth. In some of these discussions, the notion of the world has been branded a will o’ the wisp. The plain implication of these discussions is the reintroduction of something like “objective idealism” back into the philosophical arena. For, the world is countenanced only in (...) a sense that ties it closely to a common set of beliefs, while it is rejected in the sense that would make it other than thought. There is no attempt, within the new idealism, to eliminate familiar physical objects or to insist that the set of beliefs are those of the first person. And so neither of the important characteristics of “subjective idealism” are present. (shrink)
During the periods when logical positivism and ordinary language philosophy were ascendant, Brand Blanshard was defending necessity in his writing and in his teaching. The last five chapters of the second volume of The Nature of Thought, published in 1940, were devoted to necessity, and no less than four chapters of Reason and Analysis, appearing in 1962, were on the same subject. The new realism that has supplanted positivism and language philosophy on the American scene should, it would seem, be (...) sympathetic to Blanshard’s insistence that there are physical necessities. For, according to the new realism, the constituents of gross things are real entities that account for the behavior of these things. One would think that it would be recognized that this is possible only if that behavior were a necessary outcome of having those constituents. For, were it only contingent, the behavior could not genuinely be laid at the feet of those constituents. All expectations have been disappointed here, for the new realism remains uncompromisingly Humean when it comes to necessity. Necessity is still, as in the days of positivism and language philosophy, a matter of concepts or linguistic terms and not a matter of things. But if I am right that the new realism is thus far developed only in a one-sided way, then in the near future we shall see a more coherent realism that has embodied many of the features of the doctrine of necessity elaborated by Blanshard. (shrink)
This essay attempts to interpret John Rawls's concept of the state in hisTheory of Justice. His concept is not an analysis of the existing monopoly capitalist state. Such an analysis can be found in, for example,The Fiscal Crisis of the State by James O'Connor. Rawls's concept is, by contrast, not one of the actual state but of an idealized state. Ideals, though, touch reality at some point. At what point does Rawls's concept of the state touch reality?The market is the (...) key to a realistic interpretation of Rawls's concept of the state. His view of the market is even at the basis of his renowned principles of justice. (shrink)
The view that analytic propositions are those which are true in virtue of rules of use is basically correct. But there are many kinds of rules of use, and rules of some of these kinds do not generate truth. There is nothing like a grammatical analytic, though grammatical rules are rules of use. So, this rules-of-use view falls short of being an explanatory account. My problem is to find what it is that is special about those rules of use which (...) do generate truth. I shall argue that they are distinguished from others by their purpose rather than their content. Given their special purpose, one can explain how they generate truth. It will follow that linguistic regularities, considered apart from the purposes of those who use language, fail to provide a basis for understanding analyticity. On my account of it, analyticity turns out to be a less important characteristic of propositions than necessity. This is be- cause necessity, unlike analyticity, has its roots, not just in a contemporary system of usage, but in a wide family of systems of belief and usage. My efforts to deflate the philosophical value of the analytic will be summed up in the conclusion that analytic propositions can be contingent. I think this conclusion is behind the feeling that the propositions of logic and arithmetic are not merely analytic. For, if they were merely analytic, that is, true only in virtue of transitory conventions, then they would be contingent. Justice can be done to this feeling by the view that they are both analytic and necessary. (shrink)
Specifically, the aim of a philosophical investigation of science which is cosmological in orientation would be formulated differently in the light of different views of the status of scientific theories. The realist, who treats theory as a literal description of the world, will, predictably, set his sights on, say, finding from theory the nature of time itself. The time of everyday experience is then explained as a by-product of interaction with the world. The positivist, who does not treat theory as (...) a literal description of the world, will instead set his sights on describing the concept of time in a certain theory or, if he shares the present historical mood, on describing the development of that concept through successive theories. His particular epistemological bias does not bar the way to an investigation of the time of everyday experience which would proceed independently of science. (shrink)
This book contains a variety of essays aimed at developing a philosophical defense of public goods against neo-liberal criticisms. Looking at concepts such as collective action, common property, intellectual property and issues such as health, education, welfare, environment, media, cities, and the prison industrial complex.
Toward a New Socialism offers a critical analysis of capitalism's failings and the imminent need for socialism as an alternative form of government. Dr. Richard Schmitt joins with Dr. Anatole Anton to compile a volume of essays exploring the benefits and consequences of a socialist system as an avenue of increased human solidarity and ethical principle.
When speaking of society’s role in ethics, one tends to think of society as regimenting people through its customs. _Ethics and Social Survival_ rejects theories that treat ethics as having justification within itself and contends that ethics can have a grip on humans only if it serves their deep-seated need to live together. It takes a social-survival view of ethical life and its norms by arguing that ethics looks to society not for regimentation by customs, but rather for the viability (...) of society. Fisk traces this theme through the work of various philosophers and builds a consideration of social divisions to show how rationalists fail to realize their aim of justifying ethical norms across divisions. The book also explores the relation of power and authority to ethics—without simply dismissing them as impediments—and explains how personal values such as honesty, modesty, and self-esteem still retain ethical importance. Finally, it shows that basing ethics on avoiding social collapse helps support familiar norms of liberty, justice, and democracy, and strives to connect global and local ethics. (shrink)
The focus here will be on democracy as a social good. Today people want to live in a democratic society. But why do they see this as a good? Exploring this question will lead us to a justification of democracy. I shall not be concerned primarily with justifying full or ideal democracy; for it is important to show the positive effects of even modest democratic gains. I do not think one can justify democracy in the more demanding sense of showing (...) it has consequences that any rational being would desire. So I shall be content to give what might seem merely a social, or group-based, rather than a purely rational justification of democracy. (shrink)
I shall enumerate concepts which pick out the chief components of causation and describe the interrelations between them. There will be no full dress refutation of the necessary sequence view, my main concern here being to paint a detailed picture of the causal action view. Further, I shall not concern myself with how one knows in a given instance of causation that there is causal action and not just the sequence one observes. In fact, I shall assume from the start (...) that the relation of causation to action can be established prior to settling this epistemological issue. (shrink)
The recent publication of The Logic of Scientific Discovery makes available for the first time an English translation of Popper’s Logik der Forschung. Numerous footnotes and 155 pages of new appendices have been added to the original text. However, the original text itself has been left unchanged. For an elaboration of many of the points sketched in the new material the author refers to a forthcoming sequel to this volume, Postscript: After Twenty Years.
This essay attempts to interpret John Rawls's concept of the state in his "Theory of Justice". His concept is not an analysis of the existing monopoly capitalist state. Such an analysis can be found in, for example, "The Fiscal Crisis of the State" by James O'Connor. Rawls's concept is, by contrast, not one of the actual state but of an idealized state. Ideals, though, touch reality at some point. At what point does Rawls's concept of the state touch reality? The (...) market is the key to a realistic interpretation of Rawls's concept of the state. His view of the market is even at the basis of his renowned principles of justice. The 'efficiency' and 'freedom' of the market are prized by Rawls and other liberal theorists. Income inequality and large capital concentration threaten these prized virtues of the market. Rawls requires a strongly interventionist state to counteract the dangers of monopoly. His idealized state intervenes, not to promote concentration in the manner of the monopoly capitalist state, but to promote greater equality. This equality is needed if the market is to display efficiency and freedom. It is through this intervention that the state promotes justice. Properly interpreted, the assurance problem on which Rawls bases the need for the state arises from market tendencies. The market enables initial advantages to be increased. This is ultimately why people with advantages support the market, whether the context is private ownership or bureaucratic control within so-called market socialism. The inequality resulting from increasing initial advantages interferes with efficiency and freedom. Rawls's state intervenes to preserve the market while restraining it. This can be seen as an attempt to preserve class society from itself. Consequently, Rawls's conception of justice is founded on classes. (shrink)
After an extended period in which Marxism received relatively little attention, many of its tenets are now playing a more important role within the left. This essay argues for the relevance today of a number of Marx’s major themes. The Marx I offer here is a conservative Marx. I base this view on his insistence that socialism is needed not to makes us perfect but to save society, in a general sense, from the threats of destruction that it encounters under (...) capitalism. His criticism of utopianism requires that change be anchored in steps humanity has prepared itself to take, rather than in steps that it has no reason to believe will be effective. The importance of class has survived attacks on it as a relic of industrialism and the dominance of the male proletariat. But the working class is more extensive than it ever was. It now encompasses diverse races, genders, and cultures in what can become a front against capitalism. Finally, Marx’s politics posits an inversion of the power relation in capitalist society with capitalism’s subordination of citizens to the state. The global ferment against the failures of capitalism opens new possibilities for the growth of anti-capitalist currents. (shrink)