This article examines the philosophical teaching of a colorful Oxford alumnus and Roman Catholic convert, Christopher Davenport, also known as Franciscus à Sancta Clara or Francis Coventry. At the peak of Puritan power during the English Interregnum and after five of his Franciscan confrères had perished for their missionary work, our author tried boldly to claim modern cosmology and atomism as the unrecognized fruits of medieval Scotism. His hope was to revive English pride in the golden age of medieval (...) Oxford and to defend English Franciscans as more legitimately patriotic and scientifically progressive than Puritan millenarians. (shrink)
In the last two decades, interest in narrative conceptions of identity has grown exponentially, though there is little agreement about what a "life-narrative" might be. In connecting Kierkegaard with virtue ethics, several scholars have recently argued that narrative models of selves and MacIntyre's concept of the unity of a life help make sense of Kierkegaard's existential stages and, in particular, explain the transition from "aesthetic" to "ethical" modes of life. But others have recently raised difficult questions both for these readings (...) of Kierkegaard and for narrative accounts of identity that draw on the work of MacIntyre in general. While some of these objections concern a strong kind of unity or "wholeheartedness" among an agent's long-term goals or cares, the fundamental objection raised by critics is that personal identity cannot _be_ a narrative, since stories are artifacts made by persons. In this book, Davenport defends the narrative approach to practical identity and autonomy in general, and to Kierkegaard's stages in particular. (shrink)
Abstract Mental representations, Swiatczak (Minds Mach 21:19–32, 2011) argues, are fundamentally biochemical and their operations depend on consciousness; hence the computational theory of mind, based as it is on multiple realisability and purely syntactic operations, must be wrong. Swiatczak, however, is mistaken. Computation, properly understood, can afford descriptions/explanations of any physical process, and since Swiatczak accepts that consciousness has a physical basis, his argument against computationalism must fail. Of course, we may not have much idea how consciousness (itself a rather (...) unclear plurality of notions) might be implemented, but we do have a hypothesis—that all of our mental life, including consciousness, is the result of computational processes and so not tied to a biochemical substrate. Like it or not, the computational theory of mind remains the only game in town. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-8 DOI 10.1007/s11023-012-9271-5 Authors David Davenport, Computer Engineering Department, Bilkent University, 06800 Ankara, Turkey Journal Minds and Machines Online ISSN 1572-8641 Print ISSN 0924-6495. (shrink)
Demonstrating Richard Rorty’s breadth of scholarship and his influence on diverse issues across the social sciences and humanities, this comprehensive bibliography contains 1,165 citations. A unique reference work on neo-pragmatism, this bibliography is essential for anyone researching Rorty’s work and its impact on philosophy, literature, the arts, religion, the social sciences, politics, and education.
As highly intelligent autonomous robots are gradually introduced into the home and workplace, ensuring public safety becomes extremely important. Given that such machines will learn from interactions with their environment, standard safety engineering methodologies may not be applicable. Instead, we need to ensure that the machines themselves know right from wrong; we need moral mechanisms. Morality, however, has traditionally been considered a defining characteristic, indeed the sole realm of human beings; that which separates us from animals. But if only humans (...) can be moral, can we build safe robots? If computationalism—roughly the thesis that cognition, including human cognition, is fundamentally computational—is correct, then morality cannot be restricted to human beings (since equivalent cognitive systems can be implemented in any medium). On the other hand, perhaps there is something special about our biological makeup that gives rise to morality, and so computationalism is effectively falsified. This paper examines these issues by looking at the nature of morals and the influence of biology. It concludes that moral behaviour is concerned solely with social well-being, independent of the nature of the individual agents that comprise the group. While our biological makeup is the root of our concept of morals and clearly affects human moral reasoning, there is no basis for believing that it will restrict the development of artificial moral agents. The consequences of such sophisticated artificial mechanisms living alongside natural human ones are also explored. (shrink)
Increasing numbers of news organizations have formal codes of ethics for their personnel. This paper looks at the content of media ethics codes, how these codes are written and what comprises a news organization's fixed value system. Results show that many written policies were devised in recent years, and a noticeable number of other news organizations said they have firmly established unwritten policies. The written codes represented in this survey clearly draw lines around certain activities and label them as acceptable (...) or unacceptable for journalists. Teaching, unpaid appearances (such as on a television talk show), and participation in charitable activities are outside interests more acceptable than political activities in behalf of another person, or holding elected or appointed office. Certain activities which remain as unfinished business include: uniformity of enforcement, management ethics, financial interests, and spouse or friend conflict of interest. (shrink)
In contemporary philosophy, the will is often regarded as a sheer philosophical fiction. In Will as Commitment and Resolve , Davenport argues not only that the will is the central power of human agency that makes decisions and forms intentions but also that it includes the capacity to generate new motivation different in structure from prepurposive desires. The concept of "projective motivation" is the central innovation in Davenport's existential account of the everyday notion of striving will. Beginning with (...) the contrast between "eastern" and "western" attitudes toward assertive willing, Davenport traces the lineage of the idea of projective motivation from NeoPlatonic and Christian conceptions of divine motivation to Scotus, Kant, Marx, Arendt, and Levinas. Rich with historical detail, this book includes an extended examination of Platonic and Aristotelian eudaimonist theories of human motivation. Drawing on contemporary critiques of egoism, Davenport argues that happiness is primarily a byproduct of activities and pursuits aimed at other agent-transcending goods for their own sake. In particular, the motives involved in virtue and in its practice as understood by Alasdair MacIntyre are projective rather than eudaimonist. This theory is supported by analyses of radical evil, accounts of intrinsic motivation in existential psychology, and contemporary theories of identity-forming commitment in analytic moral psychology. Following Viktor Frankl, Joseph Raz, and others, Davenport argues that Harry Frankfurt's conception of caring requires objective values worth caring about, which serve as rational grounds for projecting new final ends. The argument concludes with a taxonomy of values or goods, devotion to which can make life meaningful for us. (shrink)
In The Varieties of Reference, Gareth Evans argues that the content of perceptual experience is nonconceptual, in a sense I shall explain momentarily. More recently, in his book Mind and World, John McDowell has argued that the reasons Evans gives for this claim are not compelling and, moreover, that Evans’s view is a version of “the Myth of the Given”: More precisely, Evans’s view is alleged to suffer from the same sorts of problems that plague sense-datum theories of perception. In (...) particular, McDowell argues that perceptual experience must be within “the space of reasons,” that perception must be able to give us reasons for, that is, to justify, our beliefs about the world: And, according to him, no state that does not have conceptual content can be a reason for a belief. Now, there are many ways in which Evans’s basic idea, that perceptual content is nonconceptual, might be developed; some of these, I shall argue, would be vulnerable to the objections McDowell brings against him. But I shall also argue that there is a way of developing it that is not vulnerable to these objections. (shrink)
What is the good for human persons? If I am trying to lead the best possible life I could lead, not the morally best life, but the life that is best for me, what exactly am I seeking? This phrasing of the question I will be pursuing may sound tendentious, so some explanation is needed. What is good for one person, we ordinarily suppose, can conflict with what is good for other persons and with what is required by morality. A (...) prudent person seeks her own good efficiently; she selects the best available means to her good. If we call the value that a person seeks when she is being prudent “prudential value,” then an alternative rendering of the question to be addressed in this essay is “What is prudential value?” We can also say that an individual flourishes or has a life high in well-being when her life is high in prudential value. Of course, these common-sense appearances that the good for an individual, the good for other persons, and the requirements of morality often are in conflict might be deceiving. For all that I have said here, the correct theory of individual good might yield the result that sacrificing oneself for the sake of other people or for the sake of a morally worthy cause can never occur, because helping others and being moral always maximize one's own good. But this would be the surprising result of a theory, not something we should presuppose at the start of inquiry. When a friend has a baby and I express a conventional wish that the child have a good life, I mean a life that is good for the child, not a life that merely helps others or merely respects the constraints of morality. After all, a life that is altruistic and perfectly moral, we suppose, could be a life that is pure hell for the person who lives it—a succession of horrible headaches marked by no achievements or attainments of anything worthwhile and ending in agonizing death at a young age. So the question remains, what constitutes a life that is good for the person who is living it? (shrink)
This volume collects a number of important and revealing interviews with Richard Rorty, spanning more than two decades of his public intellectual commentary, engagement, and criticism. In colloquial language, Rorty discusses the relevance and nonrelevance of philosophy to American political and public life. The collection also provides a candid set of insights into Rorty's political beliefs and his commitment to the labor and union traditions in this country. Finally, the interviews reveal Rorty to be a deeply engaged social thinker (...) and observer. (shrink)
This article evaluates Emmanuel Levinas's novel "ethical metaphysics" of interpersonal relations from a religious perspective. Levinas presents a unique version of agape ethics that can be evaluated in terms of a number of the dilemmas that have traditionally attended Christian discussions of neighbor-love. Because Levinas's analysis makes our responsibility for other persons depend on their eschatological significance, it has the same problems that hamper all theories of neighbor-love that lack a sufficient role for reciprocity.
The primary purpose of government is to secure public goods that cannot be achieved by free markets. The Coordination Principle tells us to consolidate sovereign power in a single institution to overcome collective action problems that otherwise prevent secure provision of the relevant public goods. There are several public goods that require such coordination at the global level, chief among them being basic human rights. The claim that human rights require global coordination is supported in three main steps. First, I (...) consider Pogge's and Habermas's analyses as alternatives to Hobbesian conceptions of justice. Second, I consider the core conventions of international law, which are in tension with the primacy of state sovereignty in the UN system. Third, I argue that the just war tradition does not limit just causes for war to self-defense; it supports saving innocent third parties from crimes against humanity as a just reason for war. While classical authors focused less on this issue, the point is especially clear in twentieth-century just war theories, such as those offered by the American Catholic bishops, Jean Elshtain, Brian Orend, and Michael Walzer. Against Walzer, I argue that we add intractable military tyranny to the list of horrors meriting intervention if other ad bellum conditions are met. But these results require us to reexamine the "just authority" of first resort to govern such interventions. The Coordination Principle implies that we should create a transnational federation with consolidated powers in place of a treaty organization requiring near-unanimity. But to be legitimate, such a global institution must also be directly answerable to the citizens of its member states. While the UN Security Council is inadequate on both counts, a federation of democracies with a directly elected executive and legislature could meet both conditions. (shrink)
I have argued that like Harry Frankfurt, Augustine implicitly distinguishes between first-order desires and higher-order volitions; yet unlike Frankfurt, Augustineheld that the liberty to form different possible volitional identifications is essential to responsibility for our character. Like Frankfurt, Augustine recognizes that we can sometimes be responsible for the desires on which we act without being able to do or desire otherwise; but for Augustine, this is true only because such responsibility for inevitable desires and actions traces to responsibility for our (...) volitional identifications, which in turn has leeway-libertarianconditions. However, David Hunt has interpreted Augustine’s account of divine foreknowledge as implying a type of source-incompatibilism that does not require alternative possible actions or intentions. Moreover, while Eleonore Stump’s account of Augustine on sanctification supports my interpretation, Augustine’s position on predestination in his latest writings may be incompatible with liberty of the higher-order will. I will argue against Hunt’s interpretation but admit that the leeway-libertarian has to reject the ‘no autonomy’ model in some of Augustine’s late writings. (shrink)
Rudolf Carnap and W. V. Quine, two of the twentieth century's most important philosophers, corresponded at length—and over a long period of time—on matters personal, professional, and philosophical. Their friendship encompassed issues and disagreements that go to the heart of contemporary philosophic discussions. Carnap was a founder and leader of the logical positivist school. The younger Quine began as his staunch admirer but diverged from him increasingly over questions in the analysis of meaning and the justification of belief. That they (...) remained close, relishing their differences through years of correspondence, shows their stature both as thinkers and as friends. The letters are presented here, in full, for the first time. The substantial introduction by Richard Creath offers a lively overview of Carnap's and Quine's careers and backgrounds, allowing the nonspecialist to see their writings in historical and intellectual perspective. Creath also provides a judicious analysis of the philosophical divide between them, showing how deep the issues cut into the discipline, and how to a large extent they remain unresolved. (shrink)
This set of four volumes brings together seminal essays spanning the career of Richard Rorty, one of the most creative and influential anglophone philosophers of recent decades. The essays range widely over the concerns of philosophy, politics, science, religion, and culture, engaging with thinkers from Hilary Putnam to Catherine McKinnon and challenging readers to re-examine many traditional tenets in philosophy and elsewhere. They will be essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in contemporary philosophy and what it can (...) do for us in the modern world. (shrink)
Between Galileo's discovery of the moons of Jupiter and the publication of Newton's Principia, uncertainty regarding the structure of the heavens combined with a lyrical fascination for extraterrestrial life inspired a distinctly Baroque outpouring of speculation in which angels played a key part. English Catholic "recusants," haunted by a feeling of lost unity, vividly illustrate the imaginative character of Baroque speculation.
Interpretations of Aristotle's account of the relation between body and soul have been widely divergent. At one extreme, Thomas Slakey has said that in the De Anima ‘Aristotle tries to explain perception simply as an event in the sense-organs’. Wallace Matson has generalized the point. Of the Greeks in general he says, ‘Mind–body identity was taken for granted.… Indeed, in the whole classical corpus there exists no denial of the view that sensing is a bodily process throughout’. At the opposite (...) extreme, Friedrich Solmsen has said of Aristotle's theory, ‘it is doubtful whether the movement or the actualization occurring when the eye sees or the ear hears has any physical or physiological aspect.’ Similarly, Jonathan Barnes has described Aristotle as leaning hesitantly towards the view that desire and thought are wholly non-physical. But on the emotions and sense-perception, Barnes takes an intermediate position. Aristotle treats these, he says, as including physical and non-physical components. Other writers too have sought a position somewhere in the middle. Thus G. R. T. Ross concedes that we find in Aristotle ‘what looks like the crudest materialism’. It appears that objects produce changes in an organism, ‘and the reception of these changes in the sense organ is perception’. But, he maintains, this gives us only half the picture. The complete theory ‘may in a way be designated as a doctrine of psychophysical parallelism’. W. D. Ross also seeks a middle position. He thinks that Aristotle sometimes brings out ‘the distinctively mental, non-corporeal nature of the act [of sensation].… But Aristotle cannot be said to hold successfully to the notion of sensation as a purely mental activity having nothing in common with anything physical. He is still under the influence of earlier materialism’. (shrink)
There is a single unified conception of religious faith in Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling and Concluding Unscientific Postscript: existential faith is absolute trust in an eschatological promise, i.e. a miraculous realization of ethical ideals that is beyond all human power to accomplish or even predict. Faith in this sense has the precondition of "infinite resignation," which is a purified state of ethical willing in which the agent accepts her/his own inability to actualize the ethical, outwardly or inwardly. This condition is (...) explored extensively by Climacus in this discussion of "existential pathos," which shows why the resigned agent has to trust in an absolute source of eschatological possibilities to guarantee the ultimate meaningfulness of his/her ethical striving. The distinction between Religiousness A and B, along with different senses of "the absurd" and "the absolute paradox" can all be explained in terms of different kinds of eschatological possibility. /// Segundo o autor do artigo, há uma única concepção do religioso presente nas obras Temor e Tremor e Postscript Conclusivo e Não-Científico de Søren Kierkegaard, concepção essa fundada na ideia de que a fé existencial consiste numa confiança absoluta na promessa escatológica, ou seja, numa realização miraculosa de ideais éticos que estão para além de todo e qualquer poder humano de os realizar ou mesmo sequer de os antecipar. Neste sentido, a fé tem como condição prévia a "resignação infinita", a qual consiste num estado purificado de vontade ética em que o agente aceita a sua própria incapacidade de actualizar o ético, seja isso de forma exterior ou interior. Esta condição é extensivamente explorada por Climacus na sua discussão do "pathos existencial", o qual mostra precisamente por que razão o agente resignado tem que confiar numa fonte absoluta de possibilidades escatológicas em ordem a poder fazer face ao mais radical sem-sentido inerente ao seu processo de actualização do ético. Assim, o artigo pretende mostrar até que ponto a distinção kierkegaardiana entre Religiosidade A e B, bem como os diferentes sentidos do "absurdo" e do "paradoxo absolute" podem ser explicados em termos dos diferentes tipos de possibilidade escatológica que o pensamento pode identificar. (shrink)
John Donne's song was hardly written in the tradition of political philosophy, but it has a good deal to say about the theme of luck, both good and bad, which I want to address. There is no doubt but that bad luck has bad consequences for the persons who suffer from it. If there were a costless way in which the consequences of bad luck could be spread across everyone in society at large, without increasing the risk of its occurrence, (...) then most of us would pronounce ourselves better off for the change. In this sense it can be said, for example, that there is a utilitarian grounding for a moral obligation to care and provide for those persons who suffer the fortunes of bad luck. For the sake of argument I do not wish to contest this particular starting point, although there are many who would. Instead, I want to ask the question of whether this moral obligation should be converted into a legal obligation, backed by public force. The dominant answer to that question today is yes. Even those who think that markets should determine decisions on production find that the state has a proper role to reduce the adverse consequences of bad luck. My cast of mind is more skeptical. In life, or, in this instance, politics, “come bad chance, and we do join to it our strength.” In general the effort to use coercion to counter the adverse effects of luck tends only to make matters worse. (shrink)
This article critically evaluates current developments in marketing fair trade labelled products and "no sweat" manufactured goods, and argues that both the fair trade and ethical trade movements increasingly rely on strategies for bottom-up change, converting consumers "one cup at a time". This individualistic approach, which we call "shopping for a better world", must, we argue, be augmented by more collectivist approaches to affect transformative change. Specifically, we look at the concept of mission-driven organizations pursuing leadership roles in developing affinity (...) relationships to promote fair and ethical trade and developing ethical spaces. Increasingly, a range of organizations are restructuring their operations, so that their mission is reflected in ethical practices throughout their operations, including product sourcing and product sales. First, ethical purchasing policies operated by non-profits and public agencies represent markets through which fair/ethical products reach end consumers. The efforts discussed to create ethical spaces through direct democracy and electoral mandate build on a broad-based affinity with the principles of fair and ethical trade. Second, we explore the potential for "mission-driven" non-profit organiza- tions, such as zoos and aquaria for merging their mission of conservation education with their marketing activities through the operation of their shops and cafes. Interesting initiatives to link the conservation message to food choices is being undertaken by a number of zoos and aquaria, while there is scope for increased linkages in the giftware sold in their shops. (shrink)
Readers familiar with Harry Frankfurt’s argument that we do not need leeway-liberty (or the power to bring about alternative possible actions or intentions) to be morally responsible will probably also know that the most famous and popular response on behalf of leeway-libertarianism remains a dilemma posed in similar forms by David Widerker, Robert Kane, and Carl Ginet: either the agent retains significant residual leeway in Frankfurt-style cases, or these cases beg the question by presupposing causal determinism. In the last few (...) years, there have been several different attempts to defend Frankfurtian critiques of PAP in response this dilemma. In a novel approach, Derk Pereboom and Michael McKenna present cases in which all deliberatively relevant or “robust” alternatives are blocked, but the agent’s act or decision is not determined. Pereboom and McKenna argue that any plausible leeway-condition on responsibility must characterize the required alternatives as robust in two ways: being voluntary performances and having a practical relevance accessible to the agent’s mind. I agree with the requirement of robustness, and argue that we can build this notion into a complex concept of agent-possibility, or “agentive-can.” However, I argue that both McKenna’s and Pereboom’s conceptions of robustness are too demanding: they exclude alternatives that are intuitively relevant. Moreover, I argue that the alternative of refraining from deciding, or voluntarily failing to decide, is robust in the right sense. In agreement with a tradition running from Ockham back through Scotus to Aquinas, I argue that this robust alternative is necessary for responsibility. If the Frankfurt-controller eliminates it, then the agent’s responsibility is undermined. In particular, I argue that Pereboom’s tax evasion cases do not refute this leeway-condition on moral responsibility. (shrink)
Richard Kilvington was an obscure fourteenth-century philosopher whose Sophismata deal with a series of logic-linguistic conundrums of a sort which featured extensively in philosophical discussions of this period. This is the first ever translation or edition of his work. As well as an introduction to Kilvington's work, the editors provide a detailed commentary. This edition will prove of considerable interest to historians of medieval philosophy who will realise from the evidence presented here that Kilvington deserves to be studied just (...) as seriously as Duns Scotus or William of Ockham. (shrink)
This essay by S. F. Davenport won the Norrisian Prize awarded by the University of Cambridge in 1924 and was published the next year. In it, Davenport examines the idea of 'immanence', which he defines as 'indicating the rapport between God and His creatures', and the possible application of the concept to the Incarnation of Christ. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in Christology or Christian theology more generally.
This study investigated the effects of children solving addition and subtraction problems collaboratively in comparison with solving problems in the traditional manner of the classroom. Seventy-seven children were divided into experimental and control groups, the experimental children being assigned to groups of four with note taken of the ability and gender mix. Following a pre-test-intervention-post-test design, the experimental children worked together in their groups using problem-solving guidelines to solve a number of problems, thereafter 'teaching' their problem to a fellow pupil. (...) Each child worked on six problems over a 3-week period, three of the problems in their groups subsequently teaching them to another, the other three problems being taught to them by another child. Over the same time period, the control group solved the same problems working individually at their desks. The pre- and post-tests were analysed for number of problems correct or 'score', problemsolving strategy and execution of procedures, with pre-test scores being subtracted from post-test scores to give measures of change. The results indicated a main effect of ability on strategy change and a two-way interaction between gender and condition. They also indicated a main effect of condition for execution of procedures. Dialogue analyses indicated that more below average children improved their strategy understanding by listening to peers. The results themselves revealed variations in the way that children of different ability levels and gender can benefit from collaborative group work and thus have some interesting implications for the organisation of collaborative groups in the classroom. (shrink)
In a Sentences Commentary written about 1250 the Franciscan Richard Rufus subjects Anselm’s argument for God’s existence in his Proslogion to the most trenchant criticism since Gaunilon wrote his response on behalf of the “fool.” Anselm’s argument is subtle but sophistical, claims Rufus, because he fails to distinguish between signification and supposition. Rufus therefore offers five reformulations of the Anselmian argument, which we restate in modern formal logic and four of which we claim are valid, the fifth turning on (...) a possible scribal error. Rufus’s final conclusion is that the formulation in Proslogion, chapter 3, is convincing, but not that of chapter 2. (shrink)