It is commonly supposed that the philosophy of education is not a reputable area of concern for a philosopher. I have never heard a coherent, sustained and successful case made for this view. Only vague remarks about ‘autonomy’ and narrowly protectionist views of philosophy are ventured. So I shall not discuss the matter further. I shall simply be content to side with Plato, Aristotle, Comenius, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Mill and Dewey, who thought that educational issues fell within the province of (...) philosophy. Kant was so concerned with education that he interrupted his work on the Critique of Pure Reason in order to support Basedow's experimental school, the Philanthropin, and the educational reforms which it intended to institute. Kant says ‘… the greatest and most difficult problem to which man can devote himself is the problem of education.’ But if those who hold that the philosophy of education is unimportant, or even disreputable, have come to that view after examining a good deal of what is currently being said in this field, then their adverse reaction is not hard to understand, because a good deal of contemporary work here is clearly inadequate. I hope to show that the contemporary perspective is too narrow, and to advocate a return to a more traditional view of the philosophy of education in the hope that the subject may once again be given the importance which was formerly attributed to it. (shrink)
Abstract In this article, which is the first of two to examine the ideas of R. S. Peters on moral education, consideration is given to his justificatory arguments found in Ethics and Education. Here he employs presupposition arguments to show to what anyone engaging in moral discourse is committed. The result is a group of procedural principles which are recommended to be employed in moral education. This article is an attempt to examine the presupposition arguments Peters employs, to comment on (...) the procedural principles he believes are presupposed, and to consider the strength of the presupposition argument. My conclusion is that Peters's arguments fail to establish the conclusion he arrives at, and that any gains from the form of argument he uses are hollow. (shrink)
It is a pleasure to read Hume, and to watch him explore recalcitrant problems with agility of mind and grace of style. Ironically these twin abilities have worked against each other from the beginning, in the first place because in the matter of writing Hume was an innovator — nobody before him had so successfully albeit unwittingly adapted French syntax to the writing of English-and-Scottish - and in the second place because on the grace of his style subtleties of thought (...) flow past his readers, who then accuse him of obscurity. So abstruse were his writings to his contemporaries that he failed to achieve the literary recognition for which he craved; and even today, long after the elegance of his style has been received, it is said by Passmore that Hume in contrast to Berkeley ‘was a philosophical puppy-dog, picking up and worrying one problem after another, always leaving his teeth-marks in it, but casting it aside when it threatened to become wearisome.’ Similarly Selby-Bigge says in his introduction to the Enquiries : His pages, especially those of the Treatise, are so full of matter, he says so many things in so many different ways and different connexions, and with so much indifference to what he has said before, that it is very hard to say positively that he taught, or did not teach, this or that particular doctrine. He applies the same principles to such a great variety of subjects that it is not surprising that many verbal, and some real inconsistencies can be found in his statements. He is ambitious rather than shy of saying the same thing in different ways, and at the same time he is often slovenly and indifferent about his words and formulae. This makes it easy to find all philosophies in Hume, or, by setting up one statement against another, none at all. (shrink)
R. J. Hankinson traces the history of ancient Greek thinking about causation and explanation, from its earliest beginnings through more than a thousand years to the middle of the first millennium of the Christian era. He examines ways in which the Ancient Greeks dealt with questions about how and why things happen as and when they do, about the basic constitution and structure of things, about function and purpose, laws of nature, chance, coincidence, and responsibility.
Empathy is a lay term that is becoming increasingly viewed as a unitary function within the field of cognitive neuroscience. In this paper, a selective review of the empathy literature is provided. It is argued from this literature that empathy is not a unitary system but rather a loose collection of partially dissociable neurocognitive systems. In particular, three main divisions can be made: cognitive empathy , motor empathy, and emotional empathy. The two main psychiatric disorders associated with empathic dysfunction are (...) considered: autism and psychopathy. It is argued that individuals with autism show difficulties with cognitive and motor empathy but less clear difficulties with respect to emotional empathy. In contrast, individuals with psychopathy show clear difficulties with a specific form of emotional empathy but no indications of impairment with cognitive and motor empathy. (shrink)
This classic biography of Nietzsche, first published in the 1960s, was enthusiastically reviewed at the time. The biography is now reissued with its text updated in the light of recent research. Hollingdale's biography remains the single best account of the life and works for the student or non-specialist. The biography chronicles Nietzsche's intellectual evolution and discusses his friendship and breach with Wagner, his attitude towards Schopenhauer, and his indebtedness to Darwin and the Greeks. It follows the years of his maturity (...) and his mental collapse in 1889. The final part of the book considers the development of the Nietzsche legend during his years of madness. R. J. Hollingdale, one of the preeminent translators of Nietzsche, allows Nietzsche to speak for himself in a translation that transmits the vividness and virtuosity of Nietzsche's many styles. This is the ideal book for anyone interested in Nietzsche's life and work to learn why he is such a significant figure for the development of modern thought. (shrink)
In current undergraduate medical curricula, much emphasis is placed on learning the skills of communication. This paper looks at Homer’s Iliad and argues that from it we may learn that our skills can be mechanistic, shallow and simplistic. Homer was regarded in the Greek and Roman world as the father of rhetoric. This reputation rested greatly on book 9 of the Iliad, the embassy from the Greek leaders to the bitter, wrathful Achilles. The mission of the three emissaries is to (...) persuade him to return to the ranks of the Greeks, who are being routed since his refusal to fight. We learn how the outcome of a conversation may be predetermined by the previous relationship of the speakers, and how a man beyond reason responds to reason; we should reflect that Homer’s audience heard the piece knowing the outcome, giving it a tragic inevitability. We, the audience, cannot analyse the discourse rationally, because in this, as in all communication, reason is disturbed by emotion. (shrink)
Recent interest in emotion as the basis for moral development began with work involving individuals with psychopathic tendencies, and a recent paper with this population has allowed fresh insights (Glenn, Iyer, Graham, Koleva, & Haidt, 2009). Two main conclusions suggested by this paper are: (i) that systems involved in different forms of morality can be differentiated; and (ii) that systems involved in justice reasoning likely include amygdala and/or ventromedial prefrontal cortex, even if the specifics of their functional contribution to justice (...) development remain unidentified. (shrink)
Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen’s interesting criticisms of the ideal of equality of opportunity for welfare provide a welcome occasion for rethinking the requirements of egalitarian distributive justice.1 In the essay he criticizes I had proposed that insofar as we think distributive justice requires equality of any sort, we should conceive of distributive equality as equal opportunity provision. Roughly put, my suggestion was that equality of opportunity for welfare obtains among a group of people when all would have the same expected welfare over (...) the course of their lives if each behaved as prudently as it would be reasonable to expect her to behave. My specific proposal was more demanding, holding that when an age cohort reaches the onset of responsible adulthood, they enjoy equal opportunity for welfare when for each of them, the best sequence of choices that it would be reasonable to expect the person to follow would yield the same expected welfare for all, the second-best sequence of choices would also yield the same expected welfare for all, and so on through the array of lifetime choice sequences each faces. (In the jargon of my 1989 essay, equal opportunity for welfare obtains when everyone faces effectively equivalent sets of life options.). (shrink)
During the past decade some of the most provocative and controversial disputes concerning the philosophy and history of science have centered about the work of Thomas Kuhn and Sir Karl Popper. One, therefore, looks with anticipation to this volume which is based on a symposium held in July, 1965 where Kuhn, Popper and several of Popper's former students met for an intellectual confrontation. But the result is depressing. The volume is an editorial mess. Two of the main scheduled speakers never (...) appeared at the symposium, although papers by them are published here. Some of the remarks published here seem to be those spoken on the day the symposium was held while others, like Kuhn's answer to his critics, were written four years after the symposium. The result is a confusing and distracting editorial unevenness. While Kuhn's fair-minded opening paper raises some of the most important issues to be confronted, one quickly senses that the Popperians are not really very much interested in discussing Kuhn's work but rather in pushing their own pet theses. Kuhn puts this rather generously when he labels it an example of "talking-through-each-other." Most of the Popperians seem to be obsessed with Kuhn's understanding of normal science and neglect the much more interesting questions concerning his views on scientific revolutions, the sense in which science does and does not make progress, the criteria involved in adjudicating among competing theories. It is almost with relief that one reads Margaret Masterman's remark that it is a "crashingly obvious fact" that there is normal science. Ironically, Masterman's article which is basically sympathetic to Kuhn's work is the most illuminating and the most critical. More successfully than any of other contributors she shows the ambiguities involved in Kuhn's idea of a paradigm. One's wishes that the Popperians would take a good hard look at themselves and what they are doing as it is so disastrously illustrated here. Although ostensibly dedicated to serious critical rationalism, they seem more eager to score points than to understand what they are criticizing. Although they supposedly abhor clubiness, they are rapidly forming themselves into a scholastic circle where the object seems to be to show how brilliant or how stupid some other student of Popper is. Although they scorn the quest for origins, they are almost compulsive in attempting to show that anything worthwhile was previously said by Sir Karl. This book illustrates the faults of the Popperians at their worst and few of their virtues. There is much heat and wit, but little light.--R. J. B. (shrink)
Despite the enormous and growing interest in Marx and the availability of Marx's writing in paperback, it is scandalous how little care has been taken in producing careful texts and English translations of Marx's work. O'Malley's edition is an outstanding exception. It is carefully and intelligently edited. The result makes available an extremely interesting text of Marx. A number of scholars have already argued that in this early critique, one can discover some of the earliest formulations of distinctive Marxian themes. (...) Now the reader can judge for himself, for this is the first full English translation of Marx's Critique. But this Critique is not only extremely important for understanding Marx's intellectual development, it also helps to make Hegel's Philosophy of Right come alive. Marx's fundamental ambivalence toward Hegel is evidenced here. It is clear that Marx is still very much under Hegel's influence and we can see how deeply Hegel is shaping Marx's thought, but there is also a toughness and incisiveness in Marx's criticism of Hegel. O'Malley has provided a very extensive introduction which not only provides the necessary background for understanding this text but also explores the role of this work in the totality of Marx's development. Altogether this edition shows a care and judiciousness which is exceptional. It eminently serves the purpose of making an important text accessible.--R. J. B. (shrink)
Empirical ethics research is increasingly valued in bioethics and healthcare more generally, but there remain as yet under-researched areas such as pharmacy, despite the increasingly visible attempts by the profession to embrace additional roles beyond the supply of medicines. A descriptive and critical review of the extant empirical pharmacy ethics literature is provided here. A chronological change from quantitative to qualitative approaches is highlighted in this review, as well as differing theoretical approaches such as cognitive moral development and the four (...) principles of biomedical ethics. Research with pharmacy student cohorts is common, as is representation from American pharmacists. Many examples of ethical problems are identified, as well as commercial and legal influences on ethical understanding and decision making. In this paper, it is argued that as pharmacy seeks to develop additional roles with concomitant ethical responsibilities, a new prescription is needed for empirical ethics research in pharmacy—one that embraces an agenda of systematic research using a plurality of methodological and theoretical approaches to better explore this under-researched discipline. (shrink)
A new translation which is eminently readable and extremely accurate. Much of the awkwardness and unnecessary obscurity of the Ogden translation has been eliminated. The comprehensive index which combines both English and German expressions is designed to meet the special problems involved in understanding the Tractatus. Unfortunately Russell's introduction to the 1922 edition is reproduced without any indication of the controversy concerning Russell's interpretation, or subsequent interpretations of the Tractatus.--R. J. B.
Is it remarkable that the Royal Dutch Medical Association as a medical professional organization has the point of view that in particular circumstances euthanasia is an acceptable act for a physician. Seen from the viewpoints in the international community, we might say that it is highly remarkable. Frankly put: the RDMA has met strong international disapproval of its standpoint on euthanasia during the last 10 years or so. For instance, the World Medical Association still condemns physicians performing euthanasia as “unethical.” (...) So far the RDMA is the only professional medical organization that holds the view that in particular cases euthanasia is morally acceptable. However, viewed within the context of Dutch society, the Dutch system of healthcare, and the sociocultural approach to moral questions in The Netherlands, the RDMA point of view ceases to be reprehensible. (shrink)
Thought experiments in the history of science display a striking asymmetry between chemistry and physics, namely that chemistry seems to lack well-known examples, whereas physics presents many famous examples. This asymmetry, I argue, is not independent data concerning the chemistry/physics distinction. The laws of chemistry such as the periodic table are incurably special, in that they make testable predictions only for a very restricted range of physical conditions in the universe which are necessarily conditioned by the contingences of chemical investigation. (...) The argument depends on how ‚thought experiment’ is construed. Here, several recent accounts of thought experiments are surveyed to help formulate what I call ‚crucial’ thought experiments. These have a historical role in helping to judge between hypotheses in physics, but are not helpful in chemistry past or present. (shrink)
A provocative collection of technical and popular essays dealing with a variety of scientific and political topics which Popper has treated in his major works. For the most part Popper develops, sharpens, and extends to new areas, themes which he has already explored. The major theme running through the essays is that knowledge grows by unjustified and unjustifiable anticipations, guesses and conjectures. These are controlled by criticisms and refutations. Theories can never be positively justified; they can only prove to be (...) resistant to rational criticism. The boldness of Popper's conjectures demands attempted refutations on the part of the reader.--R. J. B. (shrink)
The doctrine of scientific realism has once again come into the center of attention for many philosophers of science, although of course the approaches, arguments, and emphases have somewhat changed. This book is an excellent entree to the current debates on this topic, as seen by van Fraassen who is probably the most direct and severe opponent of scientific realism. What is at stake is nothing less than the ultimate goal of science and the significance of its theories.
This is not a long book—but it is surprising that it is as long as it is. The Cyrenaics are one of a number of more or less shadowy philosophical schools which emerged in the Greek world in the 4th century BC and later. Well known are Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum; and relatively well served by the tradition are the Stoics and the Epicureans, as well as the various later varieties of sceptic; while the Cynics are remembered at least (...) by reputation and anecdote. The Cyrenaics are altogether murkier. No text composed by a Cyrenaic philosopher of any period survives. Our knowledge of them rests on a handful of sources, almost all of them reports of doctrine rather than genuine fragments, none of them detailed, most of them late, generally from the works of commentators, at best neutral, at worst positively hostile, all with their own axes to grind. The best testimony consists of a mere three pages in Sextus Empiricus’s invaluable doxography of different accounts of the criterion of truth in adversus Mathemticos 7. (shrink)
This is an ambitious and wide-ranging biography of Erasmus of Rotterdam, one of the most famous Renaissance humanists. In part a riveting narrative account of the philosopher's journeys from his monastery to service with a great Burgundian bishop, and from there to Paris, England the Low Countries and Switzerland, this comprehensive and definitive biography also looks at the history of ideas in which Erasmus played a vital role. Covering the formative years of Erasmus the humanist, this new study makes full (...) analyses of all his early writings, ncluding his Letters, his contributions to Renaissance dialogue and essay, and particularly his Adagia, the colloquies, and the Praise of Folly. After years of intensive research, and in an area which is essentially multidisciplinary, Professor Schoeck brings together serious historical, literary, theological and philosophical study in a unique way. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that human pattern recognition can be simulated by automata. In particular, I show that gestalt recognition and recognition of family resemblances are within the capabilities of sufficiently complex Turing machines. The argument rests on elementary facts of automata and computability theory which are used to explicate our preanalytic, informal concepts concerning gestalt patterns and recognition. The central idea is that of a machine which "knows" its own structure. Although the paper thus aims to support mechanism, (...) especially as a framework hypothesis for perception, it contains suggestions for philosophy of science and philosophy of language as well. Some of these suggestions are sketched in the final section. (shrink)
In the United Kingdom women have access to termination of pregnancy for maternal reasons until 24 weeks’ completed gestation, but it is accepted practice for children born at or beyond 25 weeks’ gestation to be treated according to the child’s perceived best interests even if this is not in accordance with parental wishes. The authors present a case drawn from clinical practice which highlights the discomfort that parents may feel about such an abrupt change in their rights over their child, (...) and argue that parents should have greater autonomy over treatment decisions regarding their prematurely born children. (shrink)
First published in 1975 by Leeds Books Ltd., this second, revised edition adds only a short, twelve page Postscript and an Index. The former replies to reviews of the original edition by clarifying the use of two key terms, by commenting on its principal weaknesses, and by indicating the direction of further work required by the position advocated.
A sampler of Russell's writings from 1963 to 1959 which provides representative selections from his multifarious writings. The book is designed more for the general reader than for the scholar interested in piecing together the complex mosaic of the man and his work. There is a preface by Bertrand Russell. Handsomely printed, the total effect shows once again how unique and many-sided is this twentieth-century intellectual explorer.--R. J. B.
How do physicians handle informing patients of their diagnoses and how much information do patients really want? How do registered nurses view both sides of this question? Three questionnaires were constructed and administered in a mid-size hospital in New York state. Physicians and nurses underestimate the number of patients who want detailed information. Patients who earn more than average, have a college education, and who are under age 60 are more likely to want information, and state that their physician should (...) give it to them. Only 42% of physicians state that patients want a detailed description of their diagnosis and treatment options. Physicians educated outside the USA appeared to be more likely to change their criteria for informing patients and, along with American-educated nurses, were more willing to participate in formal discussions of the issue. Physicians should comply with the wishes of patients for information and include them in the team deciding on diagnosis and treatment. (shrink)
Decety (2011) considers the cognitive neuroscience of empathy and, in particular, his three-component model of empathic responding. His position is highly influential with its emotional awareness/understanding and emotional regulation components representing clear extensions of previous theorizing on empathy. In this brief commentary, I will critically consider the third of his components: affective arousal. In particular, I will consider the implications of the literature to the proposed computations, based on perception—action coupling, that underlie this component of his model. I will suggest (...) that perception—action coupling does not underlie affective arousal but rather that this is mediated by far more simple mechanisms of emotional arousal based on conditioning. (shrink)