This collection complements New Essays in Philosophical Theology by displaying the influence of the later Wittgenstein on contemporary philosophers of religion. The first two papers are Peter Winch's "Understanding a Primitive Society" and Norman Malcolm's "Anselm's Ontological Arguments". Distinguishing between interpretations of experience within a system of concepts and the reality expressed by the limiting concepts presupposed by such a system, Winch will not allow us to question the validity of the portrayal of reality as such and specifically attacks MacIntyre's (...) dismissal of magic. Neither Winch nor Malcolm leave room for changes in our conception of the reality expressed which might lead to radical reappraisal of the concepts used. Building on Malcolm, the editor declares theoretical speculation and scepticism to be incompatible with religious understanding. After a typically sterile debate between Atheist, Agnostic, Protestant and Catholic and a typically judicious paper by Kemp Smith on "Is Divine Existence Credible?" we come to the gem of the collection, W. H. Poteat's "Birth, Suicide and the Doctrine of Creation: An Exploration of Analogies." This and the next unravel ambiguities in our talk of the world. Then come R. F. Holland on "The Miraculous" and some vintage Collingwood on "The Devil". Phillips on moral and religious conceptions of duty and Poteat's analysis of "I Will Die" complete the series. Almost all of the essays have been previously published, but the editor has done a good job of gathering and arranging them in a meaningful sequence. Apart from Kemp Smith and Collingwood, the writers represent "Wittgensteinian Fideism" and the book suffers for lack of the criticism of this that Kai Nielsen or MacIntyre might have supplied. Its most suggestive passages are those in which linguistic and existentialist insights are married. But the marriage is still without metaphysical issue.—C. P. S. (shrink)
This examination of C. I. Lewis’s theory of meaning and theory of value argues that while Lewis’s own statement of the connection between them is inadequate, a way can be shown which allows for a connection between the two. The amount of space devoted to this endeavor is even briefer than the length of the book indicates, for the last nineteen pages consist of an appendix on Quine’s theory of meaning, and there are numbered but blank pages between chapters. The (...) remaining pages are devoted to lengthy expositions of Lewis’s key concepts, interspersed with discussions of the issues and problems involved. Washington neither shows that Lewis’s connection between meaning and value is inadequate nor establishes an adequate connection of his own. This shortcoming, however, is secondary to a much more fundamental problem with the book: his understanding of Lewis’s key concepts. For example, Washington holds that terminating judgments are those made in ordinary discourse in which knowledge is partial because always contingent upon further corroboration. That this is not a philosophical slip of the tongue is evinced in his numerous examples, all expressed in the objective language of nonterminating judgments, such as the following: "If I send Sue a bouquet of roses she will marry me." When he examines nonterminating judgments, he contrasts them with empirical propositions and describes them as tantamount to the type of assertions made by scientists and historians—claims about events not directly associated with one’s immediate experience or one’s way of acting, morally or otherwise. (shrink)
Here, S is a sentence—or possibly a smaller or larger unit of meaningful expression for a language—that’s written by an author and c is the circumstance in which S is used. R is defined as the language conventions holding between an author and a reader (or better yet, his readership). P , probably the most important part of the equation, is the content of S or, the intended meaning of the author. We assume that the communication between an author and (...) a reader is limited only to written text. Consequently, it is not possible to ask the author about his intention for writing S; that will have to be discovered by a reader. (shrink)
C. A. Campbell has for many years defended vigorously, and often persuasively, the following libertarian claims: that the libertarian concept of freedom of choice is meaningful; that the libertarian variety of freedom of choice is necessary for moral responsibility; and that the libertarian variety of freedom of choice is a reality. This paper will be concerned with Campbell's effort of will argument for the last claim.
My project in Being For is both constructive and negative. The main aim of the book is to take the core ideas of meta-ethical expressivism as far as they can go, and to try to develop a version of expressivism that solves many of the more straightforward open problems that have faced the view without being squarely confronted. In doing so, I develop an expressivist framework that I call biforcated attitude semantics, which I claim has the minimal structural features required (...) in order to solve some of these open problems facing expressivism. I take biforcated attitude semantics to prove that expressivism is a coherent and interesting hypothesis about the semantics of natural languages.So much for the constructive part; having argued that biforcated attitude semantics incorporates the minimal moves required in order to solve a few of the more pressing open questions facing expressivism, I use it in order to productively constrain what an expressivist answer to further open questions must look like. The results, I end up arguing, are ultimately not promising; the very same structural features that expressivists need in order to answer so simple a problem as to explain why ‘P’ and ‘∼P’ are inconsistent sentences lead to a very general problem about how ordinary, non-moral sentences are to end up with the right truth-conditions, and though I show how to finesse this problem for some simple constructions – truth-conditional connectives and the quantifiers – I ultimately argue that it can’t be done for the full range of constructions in natural languages – including terms like modals, tense and binary quantifiers like ‘most’. So even if expressivism is coherent and interesting, it is an extremely unpromising hypothesis about the language that we actually speak.The main theme of the book is that the most fruitful way …. (shrink)