Herbert Lionel Adolphus Hart was born in Yorkshire in 1907 to second generation Jewish immigrants. Having won a scholarship to Oxford University, he went on to become the most famous legal philosopher of the twentieth century. From 1932-40 H.L.A Hart practised as a barrister in London. He was pronounced physically unfit for military service in 1940, and was recruited by MI5, where he worked until 1945. During his time at the Bar he had continued to study philosophy and at M15 (...) his interest was further stimulated by his philosopher colleagues in M16, Stuart Hampshire and Gilbert Ryle. After the war, Hart returned to Oxford to take up a philosophy fellowship, later to become Professor of Jurisprudence. H.L.A Hart single-handedly reinvented the philosophy of law and influenced the nation's thinking in the 1960s on abortion, the legalization of homosexuality, and on capital punishment. Hart's approach to legal philosophy was at once disarmingly simple and breathtakingly ambitious, combining as it did the insights of Austin and Bentham and the new linguistic philosophy of J.L. Austin and Ludwig Wittgenstein. He sought to elucidate a concept of law which would be of relevance to all forms of law, wherever or whenever they arose: his bestselling book, The Concept of Law, has sold tens of thousands of copies worldwide. In 1941, he married Jenifer Williams (a high-ranking civil servant, later an Oxford academic) with whom he had four children. Their relationship was an enduring if unconventional one. In the early 1950s, Jenifer was rumoured to be having a long-standing affair with Isaiah Berlin, one of Hart's closest friends. She was also, falsely, accused by the Sunday Times of having been a Russian spy, an allegation which was all the more scandalous given Hart's position at MI5 during the War. Nicola Lacey draws on Hart's previously unpublished diaries and letters to reveal a complex inner life. Outwardly successful, Hart was in fact tormented by doubts about his intellectual abilities, his sexual identity and his capacity to form close relationships. Her biography also sheds fascinating light on the origins of his ideas, and assesses his overall contribution. Above all, it chronicles of a life which had a depth ands impact far greater than many of Hart's readers have realized. (shrink)
Background: Recent research demonstrates that people sometimes make different medical decisions for others than they would make for themselves. This finding is particularly relevant to end-of-life decisions, which are often made by surrogates and require a trade-off between prolonging life and maintaining quality of life. We examine the impact of decision role, patient age, decision maker age and multiple individual differences on these treatment decisions. Methods: Participants read a scenario about a terminally ill cancer patient faced with a choice between (...) an aggressive chemotherapy regimen that will extend life by two years and palliative treatments to control discomfort for one remaining month. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three decision roles (patient, physician, or an abstract other) and the scenario randomly varied whether the patient was described as 25 or 65-years old. Results: When deciding for a 65-year old patient, approximately 60% of participants selected aggressive chemotherapy regardless of decision role. When deciding for a 25-year old patient, however, participants were more likely to select chemotherapy for a patient (physician role) or another person (abstract other) than for themselves (70%, 67%, and 59%, respectively). In addition, confidence that powerful others (eg, physicians) control one’s health, as well as respondents’ age and race, consistently predicted treatment choices. Conclusions: Patient age appears to influence medical decisions made for others but not those that we make for ourselves. These findings may help to explain the discord that often occurs when younger cancer patients refuse life-extending treatments. (shrink)
Unlike natural agents, artificial agents are, to varying extent, designed according to sets of principles or assumptions. We argue that the designers philosophical position on truth, belief and knowledge has far reaching implications for the design and performance of the resulting agents. Of the many sources of design information and background we believe philosophical theories are under-rated as valuable influences on the design process. To explore this idea we have implemented some computer-based agents with their control algorithms inspired by two (...) strongly contrasting philosophical positions. A series of experiments on these agents shows that, despite having common tasks and goals, the behaviour of the agents is markedly different and this can be attributed to their individual approaches to belief and knowledge. We discuss these findings and their support for the view that epistemological theories have a particular relevance for artificial agent design. (shrink)
Dialectic is a method of investigation which has enjoyed a long history and has been invoked and involved in a great variety of intellectual causes. Aristotle was one of the first thinkers to develop a full theory of dialectic, and his account has remained one of the most influential and philosophically substantial. Dr Evans here offers a systematic account of Aristotle's theory. He explores how dialectic is related to other forms of enquiry, both scientific and philosophical, and demonstrates the central (...) part which dialectic occupies in Aristotle's thought; he establishes the importance and originality of the Topics in which this theory is developed, and contrasts Aristotle's account with those of Plato and the Academy. This book will be of interest to philosophers and historians of ideas as well as to specialists in Greek philosophy. All quotations are translated into English and there is a glossary of key Greek terms. (shrink)
I argue in this essay that today’s conservatives have proven themselves radical—i.e., completely out of step with the history of western political thought—in their refusal to acknowledge the existence of collective action problems and the role government must often play to solve them.
Robert J. Lacey has reservations about both the philosophical roots and the institutional legacy of American participatory democracy. In his combination of political philosophy and intellectual history, Lacey explores several ideas that he takes to be central to participatory democracy in America. Although students of pragmatism may be unsatisfied with some of Lacey’s evaluative conclusions, this book looks at a well-worn topic with new eyes, and offers a fresh interpretation of democratic thought in America. The central event (...) around which this book pivots is the 1962 meeting of Students for a Democratic Society, which culminated in the Port Huron Statement. For Lacey, we can understand this moment .. (shrink)
The paper, drawing on articles by J. M. E. McTaggart, G. E. Moore, D. Davidson, J. L. Austin, B. Russell, A. J. Ayer and G. E. M. Anscombe, argues that the philosophy of language in the analytic tradition has developed an “inchoative“ view of time, and history is a problem as regards the existence of events in the past and how these events can be known. An alternative view is hinted at through the work of L. Wittgenstein and S. Cavell.