In a clear and interesting style that presupposes no prior knowledge of philosophy, this book states the main features of the relativist-absolutist debate over the foundations of ethics. The dialogues explore the rational basis for moral judgement and examine the question from both the perspective of moral relativism and that of moral absolutism.
This paper argues that a behavioral or functional analysis of human action is compatible with human freedom. This thesis is quite contrary to what behaviorists such as B. F. Skinner as well as their critics such as D. C. Dennett have assumed to be the case. The essential argument involves three steps. First, the paper proceeds by presenting a novel analysis of intentional or mental states in terms of the principles of reinforcement. It is argued that with the acquisition of (...) language humans are able to think about, plan for, and make rational choices about the future. Second, the paper, while not trying to define freedom, nonetheless argues that freedom is essentially a function of three conditions. These include our power over the environment, our will power, and the ability to rationally determine our value priorities. Third, and finally, it is shown that there is nothing in a behavioral or functional analysis to prevent our satisfying these three basic conditions of which our freedom is a function. (shrink)
The publication of 'Animal Rights and Souls in the 18th Century' will be welcomed by everyone interested in the development of the modern animal liberation movement, as well as by those who simply want to savour the work of enlightenment thinkers pushing back the boundaries of both science and ethics. At last these long out-of-print texts are again available to be read and enjoyed - and what texts they are! Gems like Bougeant's witty reductio of the Christian view of animals (...) are included together with path-breaking works of ethics such as Primatt's A Dissertation on the Duty of Mercy and Sin of Cruelty to Brute Animals . There are works I have never seen before, including the remarkable Cry of Nature by the Scottish revolutionary Jacobin, John Oswald. In this set, everyone will find something novel, delightful and truly enlightening. - Peter Singer The discussion of animal rights and the moral status of animals, so prevalent in the late twentieth century, has its roots in the mid to late eighteenth century. Some of the themes we consider of recent invention - the legal standing of animals, the ethical status of vegetarians, cruelty towards animals, ultimately resulting in cruelty to humans - are of long standing. But in the eighteenth-century literature they are interconnected with theological issues surrounding animal souls, the birth of the life sciences, the great chain of being and other peculiarly eighteenth-century problems. This collection explores the exciting early discussions of moral theories concerning animals, placing them within their historical and social context. It reveals that issues such as vivisection, animal souls and vegetarianism were very much live philosophical subjects 200 years ago. The six volumes reprinted here includes complete works and edited extracts from such key eighteenth-century thinkers as Oswald, Primatt, Smellie, Monboddo and Jenyns. Many of the materials are extremely rare and never previously reprinted. The collection, edited with a new introduction and bio-bibliography by Aaron V. Garrett provides valuable original source material to supplement contemporary discussions of animal rights. --18th-century material on the theme of animal rights and practical ethics --an important supplement to contemporary animal rights discussions --provides a broader account of early discussions of the 'science of human nature' through animals --widens our understanding of 18th-century ethics through an important area of practical ethics --includes many scarce texts, most of which have never been reprinted before. (shrink)
Epistemology or the Theory of Knowledge has become one of the most complicated and esoteric areas of philosophy. This paper attempts to defend a form of foundationalism in epistemology which does not require the reader to be familiar with the philosophical literature; so, it should be of interest to psychologists concerned with the nature and character of human knowledge as well as, of course, to philosophers. The heart of the foundationalism defended here is the thesis that a belief is epistemically (...) reliable unless it has been shown to be suspect. (shrink)
If one thinks of intentions as entities of some sort, states or dispositions, for example, it should eventually strike him that there are peculiar difficulties with the idea. For example, he will have trouble counting his intentions. In a particular situation, we ask someone, ‘What are you going to do about that? And this?’ And his answer might be, ‘My intention is to pay that, and, as for this, my intention is to ignore it.’ But of course he may have (...) said, ‘My intention is to pay this and ignore that.’ For this reason and, as we will see, others, there is no such thing as a complete list of intentions that a person has. If someone told us, ‘I have just eight intentions at present’, we would think he was joking, even though he intends to do eight things—grade papers, meet a class at nine, and so on. And if we ask; ‘What are you going to do today?’, he may answer that he has a class at nine, office hours at two, and lunch already scheduled. But even though he has more to do today than yesterday, he would hardly tell us, ‘I am afraid I have more intentions today than I did yesterday.’. (shrink)
Does it follow from Wittgenstein's views about indeterminism that irregularities of nature could take place? Did he believe that chairs could simply disappear and reappear, that water could behave differently than it has, and that a man throwing a fair die might throw ones for a week? Or are these things only imaginable? Is his view simply that if we adopted an indeterministic point of view we would no longer look for causes, or would not always look for causes, because (...) we would no longer assume that there must be a cause of each event? (shrink)
Hans-Georg GADAMER, Hermeneutische Entwürfe. Vorträge und Aufsätze ; Pascal MICHON, Poétique d’une anti-anthropologie: l’herméneutique deGadamer ; Robert J. DOSTAL, The Cambridge Companion to Gadamer ; Denis SERON, Le problème de la métaphysique. Recherches sur l’interprétation heideggerienne de Platon et d’Aristote ; Henry MALDINEY, Ouvrir le rien. L’art nu ; Dominique JANICAUD, Heidegger en France, I. Récit; II. Entretiens ; Maurice MERLEAU-PONTY, Fenomenologia percepţiei ; Trish GLAZEBROOK, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Science ; Richard WOLIN, Heidegger’s Children. Hannah Arendt, Karl Löwith, Hans (...) Jonas and Herbert Marcuse ; Ivo DEGENNARO, Logos – Heidegger liest Heraklit ; O. K. WIEGAND, R. J. DOSTAL, L. EMBREE, J. KOCKELMANS and J. N. MOHANTY, Phenomenology on Kant, German Idealism, Hermeneutics and Logic ; James FAULCONER and Mark WRATHALL, Appropriating Heidegger. (shrink)