My project in the dissertation is to develop a constructivist account of the normative structure of political or civil obligations. The first part of the dissertation focuses on Kant's moral and political constructivism respectively. In chapter two I argue that Kant's account of the normativity of moral obligations is rooted in the idea of moral community which is an objective end that is built into the structure of our practical reasoning. Moral obligations are justified for Kant because they reflect our (...) rational agency and, in particular, the interest we have in promoting a moral community. ;In chapter three I focus on what Kant's idea of the problem of politics: the construction of a society that can successfully and universally administer justice while promoting the interest each citizen has in living in realizing their full capacities as autonomous human beings. I argue that Kant is unable to show that civil obligation---the duties we have qua citizens---are normative in the right sort of way. Kant's account of civil or juridical obligations fails to show that these obligations are normative as moral laws---that they are justified and reason-giving in virtue of their connection to our political consciousness. ;In chapters four through six I present a fully developed account of how political constructivism uses the features of practical reason to evaluate and assemble our ordinary political consciousness---fundamental ideas of free and open society---into a conception of justice, and the normativity of civil obligations---how they are justified and in what sense they are reason-giving for persons qua citizens. ;I lay out Rawls's argument that justice as fairness is a freestanding view by working out exactly how the view is put together without appeal to any particular comprehensive doctrine. After setting out the mechanics, if you will, of political constructivism, I then present an account of the normativity of the political conception: the justification of principles of justice and the prescriptivity or reason-giving force of principles of justice. (shrink)
Parasite is best seen in existential rather than moral terms. It does not issue in moral, social or economic judgements. The film describes, or perhaps portrays, the dreamlike mode of fantasy “existence” the “underground” people in a society so rigidly stratified that communication with people on the other side of the societal “lines” is literally impossible, inevitably resulting in the destruction, real or metaphorical, of everyone on both sides of those lines.
Dennis C. Rasmussen has produced an excellent account of “the greatest of all philosophical friendships” between two of the great thinkers of the underappreciated “Scottish Enlightenment”, Adam Smith, Chair of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, and, in his The Wealth of Nations, often seen as the founder of capitalism and creator of the modern science of economics, and David Hume, who never became an academic but who took “British Empiricism” to its logical sceptical conclusion and is often seen (...) as the most influential philosopher ever to write in the English language. -/- The book covers the span between Smith’s and Hume’s first meeting in 1749 until Smith’s eulogy upon Hume’s death in 1776. It describes how they commented on each other’s work, supported each other’s careers and literary ambitions and advised each other on personal issues. They had many of the same friends, joined the same clubs, and were interested in many of the same subjects beyond philosophy, including psychology, history, politics and Britain’s conflict with the American colonies. -/- Each chapter focuses on an historical episode and theme, beginning with an introduction to Hume and his works (Chap. 1), Smith’s discovery of Hume’s writings and acquaintance with Hume (Chap. 2), their developing friendship (Chap. 3), Hume’s conflict with the Church of Scotland (Chap. 4), Smith’s work on The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Chap. 5), Hume’s fruitful sojourn in France (Chap. 6), Hume’s friendship and eventual conflict with the moody paranoid Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Chap. 7), the last years of Hume’s and Smith’s friendship (Chap. 8), Smith’s publication of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (Chap. 9), the dispute over Smith’s reluctance to publish Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (Chap. 10), Hume’s final days (Chap. 11), Smith’s Eulogy to Hume (Chap. 12), and Smith’s final years in Edinburgh (Epilogue). (shrink)
One of Marx‘s and Engels‘ main claims (hereafter ―original Marxism) in their account of the historical ―inevitability of the collapse of capitalism is that one‘s material (economic) conditions, not one‘s ideas, arguments or philosophy, determines one‘s ―consciousness and actions. However, the self-reference in this characterization of philosophical views generates a paradox analogous to the 7th century B.C. Epimenides ―Liar paradox. The Epimenides-paradox arises when Epimenides, a Cretan, states that all Cretans are liars. Epimenides-statement is paradoxical in the sense that if (...) it is true then it is false. Similarly, the Marxist claim that all philosophers who purport to state the cause of all social changes must be wrong, where Marx and Engels are themselves philosophers stating just such a claim, generates a paradox analogous to the ― Epimenides Liar paradox. This leads to what Engels himself calls a―false consciousness, i.e., a failure to understand the true causes of social change. This paradox can only be escaped by abandoning at least one of original Marxism‘s core doctrines. (shrink)
§ I presents a detailed version of “Popper’s Basic Argument.” § 2 shows why Marx’s theory of historical development is a paradigm case of the kind of “historicism” that is refuted by Popper’s argument. § 3 explains the crucial difference between Marx’s and Spengler’s respective theories that makes the former but not the latter fall to Popper’s criticism. § 4 argues that the inapplicability of Popper’s argument to Spengler’s type of theory is obvious from the beginning.
§ I describes Heidegger’s account of authenticity in BT. § II describes Spengler’s account of Dasein as the being of plants.4 § III argues that Heidegger holds that authentic Dasein is rooted in a Volk as a plant is rooted in its soil. § IV shows that Heidegger’s post-Being and Time authenticity consists in embracing the plant-like dream, expressed in “primordial poetry,” of one’s Volk. § V replies to a textual objection.
Biographical account of Thomas Merton who was one of the leading Christian spiritual leaders of the 20th century. He authored more than 60 books and many reviews and essays primarily on spirituality, social justice and pacifism. His autobiographical account of his spiritual journey in The Seven Story Mountain proved immensely inspirational to many and is listed as one of the 100 best non-fiction books of the 20th century by the National Review. In later life, Merton engaged in dialogue with major (...) Eastern spiritual figures like the Dali Lama, Thai Buddhist monk Buddhadasa, Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh and Japanese writer D.T. Suzuki. Merton wrote books on Zen Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism at a time when this was not common among Christian theologians. -/- . (shrink)
Scholars have often struggled with the notion of mysticism in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus-logico-philosophicus (TLP). The paper develops a taxonomy of the multiple species of mysticism in TLP in order to show that its notion of the mystical actually has a complex hierarchial structure. A key notion in TLP’s account is its neglected notion of the “life-world” (5.621), specifically, that realm in which the “mystical” “shows itself [zeigt sich]”. A comparison is made with Heidegger’s notion in Being and Time of the fundamental (...) phenomena of phenomenology as that that sort of phenomena that “shows itself [sich zeit].” That is, TLP’s notion of the mystical is at the same time a sketch the phenomenological structure of the “life-world”. On this basis it is argued that TLP’s account of linguistic meaning is parasitic on its notion of the “mystical” dimension of the “life-world”, which has the consequence that one cannot separate the “safe” logical and scientific portion of TLP from its mysticism as Russell and the logical positivists tried to do. The “mysticism” and “phenomenology” must stay. Finally, the paper argues that TLP is not, as often thought, a proponent of Russell’s method of analysis into “logical atoms” but actually presents a powerful critique of the analytical method. (shrink)
This contribution offers some observations with regard to political identities in a popular movement largely based in the shantytowns of Durban, South Africa. It seeks to examine, via more than a decade of immersion and research, one instance of how popular organisation and mobilisation have been mediated through shifting political identities. It argues that if discourse professionals on the left are to become effective actors it will be necessary to take popular political identities a lot more seriously, and to enable (...) mutually transformative engagement between theory and actually-existing forms of popular striving and struggle. (shrink)
Many have been attracted to the idea that for something to be good there just have to be reasons to favour it. This view has come to be known as the buck-passing account of value. According to this account, for pleasure to be good there need to be reasons for us to desire and pursue it. Likewise for liberty and equality to be values there have to be reasons for us to promote and preserve them. Extensive discussion has focussed (...) on some of the problems that the buck-passing account faces, such as the 'wrong kind of reason' problem. Less attention, however, has been paid as to why we should accept the buck-passing account or what the theoretical pay-offs and other implications of accepting it are. The Normative and the Evaluative provides the first comprehensive motivation and defence of the buck-passing account of value. Richard Rowland argues that the buck-passing account explains several important features of the relationship between reasons and value, as well as the relationship between the different varieties of value, in a way that its competitors do not. He shows that alternatives to the buck-passing account are inconsistent with important views in normative ethics, uninformative, and at odds with the way in which we should see practical and epistemic normativity as related. In addition, he extends the buck-passing account to provide an account of moral properties as well as all other normative and deontic properties and concepts, such as fittingness and ought, in terms of reasons. (shrink)
2010 Reprint of 1905 edition.This work is the magnum opus of Bucke's career, a project that he researched and wrote over many years. In it, Bucke described his own experience, that of contemporaries, and the experiences and outlook of historical figures including Buddha, Jesus, Paul, Plotinus, Muhammad, Dante, Francis Bacon, and William Blake. Bucke developed a theory involving three stages in the development of consciousness: the simple consciousness of animals; the self-consciousness of the mass of humanity ; and cosmic consciousness (...) - an emerging faculty and the next stage of human development. Among the effects of this progression, he believed he detected a lengthy historical trend in which religious conceptions and theologies had become less and less fearful. A classic work. (shrink)
Sainsbury and Tye present a new theory, 'originalism', which provides natural, simple solutions to puzzles about thought that have troubled philosophers for centuries. They argue that concepts are to be individuated by their origin, rather than epistemically or semantically. Although thought is special, no special mystery attaches to its nature.
Evolutionary ethics - the application of evolutionary ideas to moral thinking and justification - began in the nineteenth century with the work of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, but was subsequently criticized as an example of the naturalistic fallacy. In recent decades, however, evolutionary ethics has found new support among both the Darwinian and the Spencerian traditions. This accessible volume looks at the history of thought about evolutionary ethics as well as current debates in the subject, examining first the claims (...) of supporters and then the responses of their critics. Topics covered include social Darwinism, moral realism, and debunking arguments. Clearly written and structured, the book guides readers through the arguments on both sides, and emphasises the continuing relevance of evolutionary theory to our understanding of ethics today. (shrink)
_Education, Ethics and Experience_ is a collection of original philosophical essays celebrating the work of one of the most influential philosophers of education of the last 40 years. Richard Pring’s substantial body of work has addressed topics ranging from curriculum integration to the comprehensive ideal, vocational education to faith schools, professional development to the privatisation of education, moral seriousness to the nature of educational research. The twelve essays collected here explore and build on Pring’s treatment of topics that are (...) central to the field of philosophy of education and high on the agenda of education policy-makers. The essays are by no means uncritical: some authors disagree sharply with Pring; others see his arguments as useful but incomplete, in need of addition or amendment. But all acknowledge their intellectual debt to him and recognise him as a giant on whose shoulders they stand. This book will be a welcome and lively read for educational academics, researchers and students of Educational Studies and Philosophy. (shrink)
This article is concerned with developing a philosophical approach to a number of significant changes to academic publishing, and specifically the global journal knowledge system wrought by a range of new digital technologies that herald the third age of the journal as an electronic, interactive and mixed-media form of scientific communication. The paper emerges from an Editors' Collective, a small New Zealand-based organisation comprised of editors and reviewers of academic journals mostly in the fields of education and philosophy. The paper (...) is the result of a collective writing process. (shrink)
We explore the idea that eye-movement strategies in reading are precisely adapted to the joint constraints of task structure, task payoff, and processing architecture. We present a model of saccadic control that separates a parametric control policy space from a parametric machine architecture, the latter based on a small set of assumptions derived from research on eye movements in reading (Engbert, Nuthmann, Richter, & Kliegl, 2005; Reichle, Warren, & McConnell, 2009). The eye-control model is embedded in a decision architecture (a (...) machine and policy space) that is capable of performing a simple linguistic task integrating information across saccades. Model predictions are derived by jointly optimizing the control of eye movements and task decisions under payoffs that quantitatively express different desired speed-accuracy trade-offs. The model yields distinct eye-movement predictions for the same task under different payoffs, including single-fixation durations, frequency effects, accuracy effects, and list position effects, and their modulation by task payoff. The predictions are compared to—and found to accord with—eye-movement data obtained from human participants performing the same task under the same payoffs, but they are found not to accord as well when the assumptions concerning payoff optimization and processing architecture are varied. These results extend work on rational analysis of oculomotor control and adaptation of reading strategy (Bicknell & Levy, ; McConkie, Rayner, & Wilson, 1973; Norris, 2009; Wotschack, 2009) by providing evidence for adaptation at low levels of saccadic control that is shaped by quantitatively varying task demands and the dynamics of processing architecture. (shrink)
Rudolf Carnap is increasingly regarded as one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century. He was one of the leading figures of the logical empiricist movement associated with the Vienna Circle and a central figure in the analytic tradition more generally. He made major contributions to philosophy of science and philosophy of logic, and, perhaps most importantly, to our understanding of the nature of philosophy as a discipline. In this volume a team of contributors explores the major themes (...) of his philosophy and discusses his relationship with the Vienna Circle and with philosophers such as Frege, Husserl, Russell, and Quine. New readers will find this the most convenient and accessible guide to Carnap currently available. Advanced students and specialists will find a conspectus of recent developments in the interpretation of Carnap. (shrink)
There are many kinds of epistemic experts to which we might wish to defer in setting our credences. These include: highly rational agents, objective chances, our own future credences, our own current credences, and evidential probabilities. But exactly what constraint does a deference requirement place on an agent's credences? In this paper we consider three answers, inspired by three principles that have been proposed for deference to objective chances. We consider how these options fare when applied to the other kinds (...) of epistemic experts mentioned above. Of the three deference principles we consider, we argue that two of the options face insuperable difficulties. The third, on the other hand, fares well|at least when it is applied in a particular way. (shrink)