Donald Broom argues that morality and the central components of religion are of great value, and presents two central ideas. He asserts that morality has a biological foundation and has evolved as a consequence of natural selection, and that religions are essentially the structures supporting morality. Many philosophers and theologians write about morality and its origins without reference to biological processes such as evolution. Likewise, biologists discuss phenomena of importance to human morality and religion without taking account of the (...) thoughts of others on these subjects. (shrink)
Using the Liber Pontificalis and Liber Pontificalis ecclesiae Ravennatis, the official records of the churches of Rome and Ravenna, the author surveys the evidence for episcopal involvement in the many crises that impinged on these two important cities and on Byzantine Italy generally in the fifth and sixth centuries. Six categories of crisis are investigated. By a comparison of the two sources Neil examines the defining differences between Roman and Ravennan approaches to crisis management in Byzantine Italy.
This study investigated the differences in responses of undergraduate business students to an ethical dilemma. Demographic characteristics were collected on the respondents and profiled as a means of examining common bases for decision. The authors found that certain demographic characteristics appear to be predictors of ethical decision behavior of future businessmen.
Objectives: To discover the current state of opinion and practice among doctors in Victoria, Australia, regarding end-of-life decisions and the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia. Longitudinal comparison with similar 1987 and 1993 studies.Design and participants: Cross-sectional postal survey of doctors in Victoria.Results: 53% of doctors in Victoria support the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia. Of doctors who have experienced requests from patients to hasten death, 35% have administered drugs with the intention of hastening death. There is substantial disagreement among doctors concerning the (...) definition of euthanasia.Conclusions: Disagreement among doctors concerning the meaning of the term euthanasia may contribute to misunderstanding in the debate over voluntary euthanasia. Among doctors in Victoria, support for the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia appears to have weakened slightly over the past 17 years. Opinion on this issue is sharply polarised. (shrink)
In his response to my essay “Out of Control,” Neil Levy contests my claims that (1) we are often responsible for acts that we do not consciously choose to perform, and that (2) despite the absence of conscious choice, there remains a relevant sense in which these actions are within our control. In this reply to Levy, I concede that claim (2) is linguistically awkward but defend the thought that it expresses, and I clarify my defense of claim (1) (...) by distinguishing my position from attributionism. (shrink)
The following is a transcript of the interview I (Yasuko Kitano) conducted with Neil Levy (The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, CAPPE) on the 23rd in July 2009, while he was in Tokyo to give a series of lectures on neuroethics at The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy. I edited his words for publication with his approval.
In a paper in this journal, Neil Levy challenges Nicholas Agar’s argument for the irrationality of mind-uploading. Mind-uploading is a futuristic process that involves scanning brains and recording relevant information which is then transferred into a computer. Its advocates suppose that mind-uploading transfers both human minds and identities from biological brains into computers. According to Agar’s original argument, mind-uploading is prudentially irrational. Success relies on the soundness of the program of Strong AI—the view that it may someday be possible (...) to build a computer that is capable of thought. Strong AI may in fact be false, an eventuality with dire consequences for mind-uploading. Levy argues that Agar’s argument relies on mistakes about the probability of failed mind-uploading and underestimates what is to be gained from successfully mind-uploading. This paper clarifies Agar’s original claims about the likelihood of mind-uploading failure and offers further defense of a pessimistic evaluation of success. (shrink)
Consider the following dilemma. If it is possible to identify the cause of a person's action and beliefs - causes that are outside the agent's own conscious reasoning - in what sense can we say that the person chooses what she does or she thinks? If the person did not consciously choose, then it is reasonable to ask whether she should be held morally responsible for any of the subsequent consequences of her actions. This is the general territory of the (...) puzzle that Neil Levy's thoughtful and elegantly written new book addresses. He explores what scientific advances in the study of consciousness might tell us about our capacity for choice and, hence, our responsibility for those choices. (shrink)
Quarrels between philosophers are never entirely disconnected from larger quarrels. There was a hidden agenda behind the split between old-fashioned “humanistic” philosophy (of the Dewey-Whitehead sort) and the positivists, and a similar agenda lies behind the current split between devotees of “analytic” and “Continental” philosophy. The heavy breathing on both sides about the immorality and stupidity of the opposition signals passions which academic power struggles cannot fully explain. Neil Gross’s monograph study on the American philosopher Richard Rorty (1931–2007) is (...) a multi-layered tapestral offering that deftly weaves together informative strands of cultural history with the binding threads of .. (shrink)
Writing about the intellectual development of a philosopher is a delicate business. My own endeavor to reinterpret the influence of Hegel on Dewey troubles some scholars because, they believe, I make Dewey seem less original.1 But if, like Dewey, we overcome Cartesian dualism, placing the development of the self firmly within a complex matrix of social processes, we are forced to reexamine, without necessarily surrendering, the notion of individual originality, or what Neil Gross calls “discourse[s] of creative genius.”2 To (...) use a mundane example, I can recall several conversations with Dewey scholars about his dislike for his home state of Vermont, all of which revolved around personal reasons he may .. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Neil Burtonwood , pp. 295–304, 1998) argued that recent attempts to balance the claims for political citizenship in a liberal democracy with the claims of cultural identity within traditional non-liberal communities are bound to fail; because liberalism cannot be neutral between cultures that value individual autonomy and those that do not, any attempts at reconciling those two perspectives are bound to fail . His claim is that whatever position we begin from, there are real (...) difficulties in achieving a reconciliation between the two perspectives, which he sees as exclusive. He refers to my papers , pp. 11–24, 1995; Educational Studies, 23, pp. 169–184, 1997) where discussion method has been suggested as a means of reconciling the two positions. I still favour this method. This paper agrees with Burtonwood that liberalism is non-neutral in relation to liberal virtues such as equality and respect for persons, and no groups including liberal ones, should be privileged with respect to non-interference from the state. Although the paper acknowledges the value of Popperian critical method, it sees this method as very limited in respect of settling conflicts arising from comprehensive or world-views. Liberals and liberal societies have long realised this and have made attempts to accommodate cultural practices of traditional groups. Although the two positions exclude each other at a deep level, at a more mundane, every-day level, they share much that is common to both, which makes intercultural understandings possible. Education must capitalise on this and take us beyond a single framework. The difficulty is, of course, what do we do and how can we assess the situation, when frameworks themselves clash? The paper argues for dialogue, tolerance and accommodation within limits, set by respect for persons. This is not to ask liberalism to give up what is foundational to liberalism, as Burtonwood suggests, but to reinforce liberalism itself, as we show below. (shrink)
In this article I deal with the impact of digitization on education by revisiting the ideas Neil Postman developed in regard with the omnipresence of screens in the American society of the 1980s and their impact on what it means to grow up and to become an educated person. Arguing, on the one hand, that traditionally education is profoundly related to the initiation into literacy, and on the other hand, that the screen may come to replace the book as (...) the prevailing educational medium, Postman’s theses are worth reconsidering. Moreover I propose to develop further one strain of thought in Postman’s work, viz. the interconnectedness of technological inventions, material practices and ideas regarding what education is all about. As such I analyse in great detail the differences between traditional and digital literacy by looking from a material and practical perspective at how we relate to books and screens. This is not a normative analysis, but one that aims at fleshing out differences in spaces of experience. As such I wind up with suggestions regarding the affordances that a new form of literacy, no longer based on the model of the book, might bring about. (shrink)
In this short, clear and engaging book, Neil Feit defends the unorthodox view that the contents of beliefs and other cognitive attitudes are properties, and not, as is usually held, propositions. The core of his argument has to do with de se beliefs, beliefs about the self. Based on examples and arguments due to Perry , Lewis and Chisholm , along with considerations about internalism and physicalism, Feit offers a battery of arguments for the conclusion that the contents of (...) de se beliefs cannot be propositions and therefore must be properties. For reasons of uniformity and simplicity Feit then extends this conclusion to all beliefs. So, according to Feit, the content of the de se belief that I am a philosopher is the property of being a philosopher, and my having this belief consists in my self-ascribing this property. For de dicto beliefs, believing that p is self-ascribing the property of being such that p, and for de re beliefs, believing that x is F is self-ascribing the property of bearing some relation of acquaintance R to something that is F. For example, to have the de dicto belief that …. (shrink)
Kant writes: If … the only aim of Nature regarding some creature possessed of reason and a will were its preservation, its well-being, in a word its happiness, then she would have come to a very bad arrangement in choosing its reason as executor of that aim. For all actions that it had to execute in this her intention, and the whole regulation of its behaviour would have been able to be prescribed to it much more precisely by instinct, and (...) that aim thereby much more certainly maintained, than ever could happen through reason …. (shrink)
Brian Leiter and Neil Sinhababu (eds), Nietzsche and Morality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10677-008-9134-6 Authors Rainer Kattel, Tallinn University of Technology Ehitajate tee 5 19086 Tallinn Estonia Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820.
Neil Tennant (Tennant, 2005) has offered an important observation about the AGM theory of belief revision (G¨ardenfors, 1988). We attempt to restate and demonstrate his result in a slightly different way. Fix a formal language L that embeds sentential logic. Given K ⊆ L and ϕ ∈ L, K ⊥ ϕ denotes the class of maximally consistent subsets of K that do not imply ϕ. That is, A ∈ K ⊥ ϕ iff A ⊆ K, A |= ϕ, and (...) there is no B ⊆ K such that B ⊃ A and.. (shrink)
Neil Smith has worked across the full range of the discipline of linguistics and explored its interfaces with other disciplines. In all this work he has maintained a commitment to a mentalist approach to the study of language and communication. The aim of this Special Issue is to honour his work and commitment with a collection of papers which brings together work by phonologists, syntacticians, psycholinguists, and pragmatists who share this interest in language as a central component of the (...) human mind and who have worked with Neil, whether as colleagues, collaborators, or students. Neil’s career can be viewed in relation to three main developments in modern linguistics. First, it reflects the development of generativism, in both syntax and phonology. For Neil, this has meant working within, and exploring the ramifications of, the groundbreaking theoretical framework for linguistics initiated and developed by Noam Chomsky. Neil has given full expression to this intellectual debt in two book-length studies of Chomsky’s ideas and principles (Smith and Wilson 1979, Smith 1999) and in many papers and commentaries. Notwithstanding his unswerving Chomskyan allegiance, Neil has been open to, and has encouraged, the exploration of alternative approaches to both syntax and phonology, including optimality theory, GPSG, word grammar, and categorial grammar. The second development reflected in Neil’s work is the trend towards placing research in linguistics in the context of research in cognitive psychology and philosophy of mind and language - in other words, the development of linguistics as one of the cognitive sciences, again very much a Chomskyan initiative. This ‘cognitive turn’ can be seen as, at least in part, a consequence of a commitment to generativism and to linguistic theories that aim to go beyond detailed description of data to achieve explanatory adequacy. In the field of phonology, this search for explanatory adequacy led to Neil’s work on the acquisition of.... (shrink)
In his article on poetry in health care education, Neil Pickering puts forward an argument of radical unpredictability: as we can never know in advance how a poem will be interpreted, it can be of no external use.1 It is, however, exactly this potential to give rise to multiple interpretations that makes the poem valuable. We hold that the poem should be read and discussed with no other intention than to discover and reflect on its possible meanings. Exactly this (...) process, preferably in dialogue with other readers, may very well serve as one of the ends of the poem, and the results of it hence constitute its external use. (shrink)
This paper discusses a much-neglected aspect of Neil MacCormick's theory of legal reasoning, namely what he calls ‘consequential reasoning’. For MacCormick, consequential reasoning is both an omnipresent feature of legal reasoning in England and Scotland, as well as being a valuable one. MacCormick articulates the value of consequential reasoning by seeing it as contributing to the forward-looking requirement of formal justice, ie, of deciding the instant case on grounds that one is willing to adopt when deciding future similar cases. (...) This paper situates consequential reasoning in the overall picture of legal reasoning MacCormick develops in Legal Reasoning and Legal Theory, going on to show the evolution of his view on consequential reasoning in later work, which culminates in Rhetoric and the Rule of Law. It is argued that MacCormick's later view of consequential reasoning, ie, of a process of testing possible rulings by evaluating the acceptability or unacceptability.. (shrink)
In Chapter 7 of The Taming of the True, Neil Tennant provides a new argument from Michael Dummett's ``manifestation requirement'' to the incorrectness of classical logic and the correctness of intuitionistic logic. I show that Tennant's new argument is only valid if one interprets crucial existence claims occurring in the proof in the manner of intuitionists. If one interprets the existence claims as a classical logician would, then one can accept Tennant's premises while rejecting his conclusion of logical revision. (...) Thus, Tennant has provided no evidence that should convince anyone who is not already an intuitionist. Since his proof is a proof for the correctness of intuitionism, it begs the question. (shrink)
Neil MacCormick says that his "version of institutional theory" about the law 'is "non positivist", or, if you wish, "post-positivist"'. He is aware, however, that his work could be perfectly labelled, from the point of view of the history of legal and moral thought, as a form of natural law theory, at least by those who adhere to some version of natural law. It is an important merit of MacCormick that, rising above the label walls and wars, his theory (...) of law has taken into account the main insights of the great authors belonging to both traditions, such as Hans Kelsen and Herbert Hart, on the so-called "positivist" side, and some authors in the Thomistic tradition, particularly John Finnis, as well as "the writings of seventeenth and eighteenth century jurists concerning natural jurisprudence and the law of nature", on the so-called "natural law" side. Writing with such openness to all sources and insights, Neil MacCormick, one of the most eminent legal philosophers of our time, does not surprise us when he chooses to end his lifetime's work with an attempt to dig into the ethical foundations of all that he has written on law and politics. Practical Reason in Law and Morality is, in a way, his most significant book. He tackles here the deeper issues that he himself realised were left open and uncertain in his salient works on legal theory. He considered this book as the last one in a quartet on "Law, State, and Practical Reason". The quartet itself has become the culmination of a life devoted to the common good, in academia and in politics, among many other endeavours. Notwithstanding its flaws, I am convinced that Neil MacCormick's last book can be illuminating for all those students, and even professors, who go about doing legal philosophy without ever reading anything antedating Hart's Concept of Law. They tend to be confused by sophisticated forms of scepticism, luxurious discussions on law and morality and metaethics, and all sorts of distrust of truth in practical matters. Hence they will surely benefit from reading how a great legal philosopher of our time, once equally confused but always honestly open to rational deliberation and fair discussion, freed himself of at least half of his misunderstandings, and learned a lot by reading some natural law theorists old and new. (shrink)
THOMAS WELSH calls for further interpretations of the lyrics of noted rock musician-artist Neil Peart; he argues that it might uncover a broader Randian influence than currently reported and thus contribute to the ongoing resurrection of her ideas in popular culture. Welsh speculates that Peart might have more in common with Rand's long-time associate, psychologist Nathaniel Branden, especially on the usage, meaning, and practice of self-esteem.
In Chapter 7 of "The Taming of the True", Neil Tennant provides a new argument from Michael Dummett's "manifestation requirement" to the incorrectness of classical logic and the correctness of intuitionistic logic. I show that Tennant's new argument is only valid if one interprets crucial existence claims occurring in the proof in the manner of intuitionists. If one interprets the existence claims as a classical logician would, then one can accept Tennant's premises while rejecting his conclusion of logical revision. (...) Thus, Tennant has provided no evidence that should convince anyone who is not already an intuitionist. Since his proof is a proof for the correctness of intuitionism, it begs the question. (shrink)
DURRELL BOWMAN suggests that Ayn Rand's influence on Neil Peart's lyrics mainly existed in a few science-fiction and technology-oriented works from the mid-1970s to the early-1980s. Peart's individualism in the 1980s had at least as much to do with Hemingway, Faulkner, religious imagery , and other influences. Many of his lyrics suggest "left-wing libertarianism," random contingencies, science, nature, the environment, relationships, and even humor. In any case, Peart's copious reading and varied lyrics contradict Rand as his "major influence.".