Abelardo eredita dall'Isagoge di Porfirio una questione filosofica fondamentale, relativa al problema degli universali, posto al centro della metafisica. Abelardo si pone subito fuori da questa linea interpretativa. L'A. esamina le risposte di Abelardo ai quattro quesiti di Porfirio formulati all'inizio dell'Isagoge punto per punto, attraverso l'esame di Dialectica, Logica «Ingredientibus» nella parte relativa al commento all'Isagoge, in rapporto con il Commentarius maior in Isagogen Porphyrii di Boezio, la Logica «Nostrorum petitioni sociorum», le Introductiones parvulorum, tentando di spodestare la metafisica (...) dalla sua posizione centrale in ambito filosofico. (shrink)
This article reviews 172 studies that used the Defining Issues Test to investigate the moral development of undergraduate college students and provides an organisational framework for analysing educational contexts in higher education. These studies addressed collegiate outcomes related to character or civic outcomes, selected aspects of students' collegiate experiences related to moral judgement development and changes in moral reasoning during the college years as they related to changes in other domains of development. Findings suggest that dramatic gains in moral judgement (...) are associated with collegiate participation, even after controlling for age and entering level of moral judgement. Although many studies used gross indicators of collegiate context (e.g. institutional type or academic discipline), studies that examine specific collegiate characteristics and educational experiences are better suited to identifying factors that contribute directly or indirectly to changes in moral judgement during the college years. Implications for student development practice and future research are discussed. (shrink)
The prospect of using cell-based interventions to treat neurological conditions raises several important ethical and policy questions. In this target article, we focus on issues related to the unique constellation of traits that characterize CBIs targeted at the central nervous system. In particular, there is at least a theoretical prospect that these cells will alter the recipients' cognition, mood, and behavior—brain functions that are central to our concept of the self. The potential for such changes, although perhaps remote, is cause (...) for concern and careful ethical analysis. Both to enable better informed consent in the future and as an end in itself, we argue that early human trials of CBIs for neurological conditions must monitor subjects for changes in cognition, mood, and behavior; further, we recommend concrete steps for that monitoring. Such steps will help better characterize the potential risks and benefits of CBIs as they are tested and potentially used for treatment. (shrink)
College instructors use a variety of approaches to teach students to reason more effectively about issues with a moral dimension and achieve mixed results. This pre?post study of 423 undergraduate students examined the effects of morally explicit and implicit curricular content and of selected pedagogical strategies on moral reasoning development. Using causal modelling to control for a range of student background variables as well as Time 1 scores, 52% of the variance in moral reasoning scores was explained; we found that (...) these scores were affected by type of curricular content and by three pedagogical strategies (active learning, reflection and faculty?student interaction). Students who experienced more negative interactions with diverse peers were the least likely to show positive change in moral reasoning as a result of participating in any course. Implications for the design of intervention studies are discussed, including the need to attend to selection and attenuation effects. (shrink)
If stem cell-based therapies are developed, we will likely confront a difficult problem of justice: for biological reasons alone, the new therapies might benefit only a limited range of patients. In fact, they might benefit primarily white Americans, thereby exacerbating long-standing differences in health and health care.
ABSTRACTWhat follows is an interview with William Damon and Anne Colby, pioneers in the fields of moral psychology and education. Throughout their careers, they have studied, moral identity, moral ideals, positive youth development, purpose, good work, vocation, character development in higher education, and professional responsibility. In their words, they are interested in the ‘best of humankind’—not only the competencies, but also the character necessary for living a good life—not only for the sake of the individual, but also for society. They (...) have received numerous academic and civic awards and honors. Their publications include Some Do Care, Greater Expectations, Educating Citizens, The Path to Purpose, and most recently, The Power of Ideals—in addition to editing, for example, New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development and The Handbook of Child Psychology. As a married couple, their vocational journeys have mostly been separate, but have always complemented each other and sometimes converged. This interview asks about reflections on their careers, their own sense of purpose, their greatest contributions, current needs in our field, and advice to emerging scholars. (shrink)
Academic discussion of pornography is generally restricted to issues arising from the depiction of adults. I argue that child-pornography is a more complex matter, and that generally accepted moral judgements concerning pornography in general have to be revised when children are involved. I look at the question of harm to the children involved, the consumers, and society in general, at the question of blame, and at the possibility of a morally acceptable form of child-pornography. My approach involves an objectivist meta-ethics (...) and a utilitarian view of practical ethics, and I bring out the advantages of these theories to the consideration of moral issues such as this one. (shrink)
Philosophical work on testimony has flourished in recent years. Testimony roughly involves a source affirming or stating something in an attempt to transfer information to one or more persons. It is often said that the topic of testimony has been neglected throughout most of the history of philosophy, aside from contributions by David Hume (1711–1776) and Thomas Reid (1710–1796).1 True as this may be, Hume and Reid aren’t the only ones who deserve a tip of the hat for recognizing the (...) importance of testimony: St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430) affirms the place of testimony in human cognition, at least in his later writings. (shrink)
Mediaeval psychological theory was a “faculty psychology”: a confederation of semiautonomous sub-personal agents, the interaction of which constitutes our psychological experience. One such faculty was intellective appetite, that is, the will. On what grounds was the will taken to be a distinct faculty? After a brief survey of Aristotle's criteria for identifying and distinguishing mental faculties, I look in some detail at the mainstream mediaeval view, given clear expression by Thomas Aquinas, and then at the dissenting views of John Duns (...) Scotus and William of Ockham. I conclude with some reflections on why the mainstream mediaeval view was discarded by Descartes. (shrink)
One answer: Because medieval philosophy is just the continuation of ancient philosophy by other means—the Latin language and the Catholic Church— and, as Wallace Matson pointed out some time ago, the mind-body problem isn’t ancient.
 In twelve quite demanding chapters, outstanding scholars provide an overall view of the key issues of Scotus’s philosophical thought. To this a very concise introduction is added, concerning the life and works of John Duns (very good, especially the survey of works and the information on critical editions etc.). Throughout the book, I find the information clear and the difficult topics well explained. Moreover, the volume gives a quick entrance to the vast literature. Among the topics discussed are: ‘Metaphysics’ (...) (Peter King), ‘Universals and Individuation’ (Timothy Noone), ‘Modal Theory’ (Calvin Normore), ‘Natural Theology’ (James Ross & Todd Bates), ‘Philosophy of Mind’ (Richard Cross), ‘Cognition’ (Robert Pasnau), ‘Moral Dispositions’ (Bonnie Kent). What strikes the eye is the absence of important theological subjects: Trinity, Christology, sin and grace, to name a few. Since the cover text promises that ‘the essays in this volume systematically survey the full range of Scotus’ thought’, this omission is remarkable. It stems, I guess, from the strict philosophical scope of the series of the Cambridge Companions, but such a limitation should have been recognised explicitly: this companion provides, in fact, an introduction to John Duns’s philosophy—i.e., philosophy in our modern sense. Of course, this separation of philosophical from theological thought is not from Scotus. Most of his innovative ‘philosophical’ ideas are developed in a profoundly theological context! (shrink)
stance, Scotus adopts Anselm’s notion of a ‘(pure) perfection’ and elevates it to a fundamental principle of his metaphysics. Again, he distills Anselm’s Ontological Argument into something like its original Monologion components, and then treats each component part of the argument with a rigor and attention to detail far beyond anything Anselm suggested. In the case of Anselm’s so-called ‘two-wills’ theory, however, Scotus’s revisions are so extensive that they amount to a rejection of Anselm’s account, even though Scotus retains some (...) of Anselm’s terminology. I’ll begin by looking at Anselm’s initial presentation of the two-wills theory in his De casu diaboli (§1), and his later refinements of that account in his De concordia (§2). I’ll then look at Scotus’s deployment, revision, and rejection of Anselm’s theory in his three discussions of angelic sin: Lect. 2 d. 6 q. 2 (§3), Ord. 2 d. 6 q. 2 (§4), and Rep. 2 d. 6 q. 2 (§5). This will be followed by a brief look at whether Scotus’s theory of the self-regulating will is an adequate replacement for Anselm’s account (§6). (shrink)
We report on the deliberations of an interdisciplinary group of experts in science, law, and philosophy who convened to discuss novel ethical and policy challenges in stem cell research. In this report we discuss the ethical and policy implications of safety concerns in the transition from basic laboratory research to clinical applications of cell-based therapies derived from stem cells. Although many features of this transition from lab to clinic are common to other therapies, three aspects of stem cell biology pose (...) unique challenges. First, tension regarding the use of human embryos may complicate the scientific development of safe and effective cell lines. Second, because human stem cells were not developed in the laboratory until 1998, few safety questions relating to human applications have been addressed in animal research. Third, preclinical and clinical testing of biologic agents, particularly those as inherently complex as mammalian cells, present formidable challenges, such as the need to develop suitable standardized assays and the difficulty of selecting appropriate patient populations for early phase trials. We recommend that scientists, policy makers, and the public discuss these issues responsibly, and further, that a national advisory committee to oversee human trials of cell therapies be established. **NB we did not reccommend a NAC, we think it might be appropriate**. (shrink)
I argue that Abelard was the author of the first theory of mental language in the Middle Ages, devising a “language of thought” to provide the semantics for ordinary languages, based on the idea that thoughts have linguistic character. I examine Abelard’s semantic framework with special attention to his principle of compositionality (the meaning of a whole is a function of the meanings of the parts); the results are then applied to Abelard’s distinction between complete and incomplete expressions, as well (...) as the distinction between sentences and the statements which the sentences are used to make. Abelard’s theory of mental language is shown to be subtle and sophisticated, the forerunner of the great theories of the fourteenth century. (shrink)
introduced the concept of effective demand in the nascent science of economics; his discussions of astronomy were acute enough to raise Duhem’s interest. Neither are Buridan’s credentials as a nominalist in doubt, although investigation into his precise relation to William of Ockham continues: he rejected all abstract entities, whether universals, common natures, the complexe significabile, or types above and beyond tokens; for Buridan, every thing which exists is a concrete individual. His anti-realism included an epistemological component as well, for Buridan (...) maintained that the source of all knowledge is experience. (shrink)
Children therefore, whether they be brought up and preserved by the father, or by the mother, or by whomsoever, are in most absolute subjection to him or her, that so bringeth them up, or preserveth them. And they may alienate them, that is, assign his or her dominion, by selling, or giving them, in adoption or servitude to others; or may pawn them for hostages, kill them for rebellion, or sacriﬁce them for peace, by the law of nature, when he (...) or she, in his or her conscience, think it to be necessary. —The Elements of Law 23.8.. (shrink)
In one corner Socrates; in the other, on the mat, his cat Felix. Socrates, of course, thinks (correctly) that Felix the Cat is on the mat. But there’s the rub. For Socrates to think that Felix is on the mat, he has to be able to think about Felix, that is, he has to have some sort of cognitive grasp of an individual — and not just any individual, but Felix himself. How is that possible? What is going on when (...) we think about things? (shrink)
In his commentary on Aristotle’s Peri hermeneias,1 Abelard distinguishes the form of an expression2 (oratio) from what it says, that is, its content. The content of an expression is its understanding (intellectus). This distinction is surely the most well-known and central idea in Abelard’s commentary. It provides him with the opportunity to distinguish statements (enuntiationes) from other kinds of expressions without implying a diference in their content, since the ability of a statement to signify something true or false (verum vel (...) falsum)3 cannot be found in its content. More precisely, Abelard distinguishes statements both from complete expressions (orationes perfectae) that are not statements but rather questions, requests, commands, etc. and from incomplete expressions, that is, mere word strings (orationes imperfectae), such as homo albus. These kinds of expressions, according to Abelard, do not differ in the understanding they present but in the way they present it. (shrink)
Wilfrid Sellars charged that mediaeval philosophers confused the genuine intentionality of thinking with what he called the “pseudo-intentionality” of sensing. I argue that Sellars’s charge rests on importing a form of mind/body dualism that was foreign to the Middle Ages, but that he does touch on a genuine difficulty for mediaeval theories, namely whether they have the conceptual resources to distinguish between intentionality as a feature of consciousness and mere discriminative responses to the environment. In the end, it seems, intentionality (...) cannot be “the mark of the mental” as contemporary philosophy usually takes it. (shrink)
Socrates, for example, has an essence that includes more than his human nature, which is his specific essence; he has an essence proper to himself alone, an essence that cannot be had by anyone else. Although Socrates does have singular (individualized) forms, his singular essence is not a form—there is no form Socrateity for the singular essence parallelling the form humanity for the specific essence. Instead, Socrates has his singular essence in consequence of being an individual, that is, in consequence (...) of having an ‘individual differentia’. Scotus further rejects the distinction between identity and individuality, maintaining that what it is for Socrates to be Socrates is the same as what it is for him to be an individual. Socrates, in the end, is his singular essence. (shrink)
Martin Luther King’s primary emphasis was upon ‘beloved community,’ a phrase he borrowed from Royce, but an idea that he shared with St. Augustine. Theories of the state tend to focus upon division, in which one stratum dominates another or others. King’s context is the US in the segregated South—a region whose internal divisions sharply instantiate the idea of the state as an unequal hierarchy of dominance. King’s appeal was less to end black subjugation than to end subjugation as such. (...) Hence King was called by some a ‘dreamer,’ given his background commitment to equality and community, ideals taking marginal precedence over his foreground commitment to liberty and autonomy. This article explores the notion of ‘beloved community’ broadly and then specifically in Martin Luther King along with related notions in Howard Thurman and in Josiah Royce. (shrink)
Augustine’s early works Against the Academicians (386) and The Teacher (389) belong together. In the former, which is directed at Cicero’s Academica, he defends the possibility of knowledge against the skeptical arguments of the New Academy;1 in the latter, directed at Plato’s Meno, he oﬀers his theory of illumination to explain how knowledge is acquired. As a pair, they present Augustine’s alternative to the pose of ironical detachment fashionable among late Roman intellectuals.
Augustine and Anselm form a common tradition in mediæval thought about angelic sin, a tradition rooted in patristic thought and centred on their attempts to give a philosophically coherent account of moral choice. Augustine concentrates on the reasons and causes of angelic sin, especially in reference to free will; Anselm adopts Augustine’s analysis and extends it to issues about the rationality of sinful choice. Each takes Lucifer’s primal sin to be the paradigm case. Lucifer, undistracted by bodily desires and unencumbered (...) by history, committed the first moral misdeed in an entirely good universe newly created by an entirely good God. The challenge is to give a philosophical account that permits us to understand how the best and brightest of all angels nevertheless made a sinful choice in such uniformly positive circumstances. (shrink)
The Doctrine of Original Sin seems to require that human nature has literally undergone a change from its prelapsarian to its postlapsarian condition.It is not clear that this claim makes sense. How can human nature, the feature(s) in virtue of which human beings are what they are, change in time? (Think of the parallel claim about √2.) I consider three medieval attempts to resolve this problem: (1) Augustine’s two theories about shared human nature; (2) Anselm’s proposal that original sin is (...) an individual deficiency; (3) the “biological” proposal suggested by Odo of Cambrai and developed by Pseudo-Joscelin. (shrink)
Thomas Hobbes is arguably the greatest of all English philosophers. In the second half of the twentieth century, he has been the subject of sustained critical attention. Hobbes was capable of powerful argument on virtually any level, whether logical, scriptural or historical. And he has attracted attention in all these areas and more questions of historical method, language and linguistics, metaphysics, ethics, law, politics, science and religion. Hobbes has been examined from a great variety of perspectives as an ethical positivist (...) and a deontologist, as a bourgeois advocate and a supporter of the aristocracy, as an absolutist and a proponent of parliamentary government, as a "conservative" and a "modern," as an atheist and a believer. The periodical literature on Hobbes is accordingly very rich, but it is also difficult to access. The four volumes of these critical assessments assemble an important array of material which will be invaluable to all students of Hobbes. (shrink)
possible, your investigation is unlikely ever to get off the ground), there’s no such excuse for philosophers. The philosopher should be unrestricted by fashions in thought, including the unquestioning acceptance of whatever scientific theories are currently dominant. The fact is, however, that in this field and in the philosophy of mind, many.