This book is a collection of secondary essays on America's most important philosophic thinkers—statesmen, judges, writers, educators, and activists—from the colonial period to the present. Each essay is a comprehensive introduction to the thought of a noted American on the fundamental meaning of the American regime.
Can corporations remain socially responsible in today's fiercely competitive global economy? For several decades after World War II, companies like IBM, which exemplified what journalist Robert J. Samuelson called the 'good corporation,' poured forth material comforts and technological ideas while guaranteeing full employment and adequate retirement. In the 1980s all of that changed, as corporations moved to 'downsize' and become lean, mean global competitors. In this collection, thirteen prominent scholars in business ethics, finance, management, and religion and six corporate (...) leaders respond to a new essay by Samuelson that sounds the death knell of the 'good corporation.' They propose new approaches to corporate integrity and social responsibility in the global economy. The book will be useful in corporate workshops and will make an excellent business ethics text in philosophy departments and business schools. (shrink)
Norbert M. Samuelson is Harold and Jean Grossman Chair of Jewish Studies at Arizona State University. Trained in analytic philosophy, he has contributed to the professionalization of Jewish philosophy in America and to the field of religion and science.
Two intellectual vices seem to always tempt us: arrogance and diffidence. Regarding the former, the world is permeated by dogmatism and table-thumping close-mindedness. From politics, to religion, to simple matters of taste, zealots and ideologues all too often define our disagreements, often making debate and dialogue completely intractable. But to the other extreme, given a world with so much pluralism and heated disagreement, intellectual apathy and a prevailing agnosticism can be simply all too alluring. So the need for intellectual humility, (...) open-mindedness, and a careful, humble commitment to the truth are apparent. In this book, Dr Church and Dr Samuelson explicate a robust and vibrant account of the philosophy and science of this most valuable virtue, and they highlight how it can be best applied and personally developed. (shrink)
This paper explores the influence of operationalism and its corollary, descriptivism, on Paul Samuelson's revealed preference theory as it developed between 1937 and 1948. Samuelson urged the disencumbering of metaphysics from economic theory. As an illustration, he showed how utility could be operationally redefined as revealed preference, and, furthermore, how from hypotheses such as maximizing behavior, operationally meaningful theorems could be deduced, thereby satisfying his demand for a scientific, empirical approach toward consumer behavior theory. In this paper I (...) discuss the ensuing debate during the 1950s and 1960s on Samuelson's operationalism that raised doubts about its efficacy. In addition, I argue that certain concepts (revealed preference, equilibrium) and theorems (e.g., weak and strong axioms) that are supposedly operational in revealed preference theory, lack operational meaning, not withstanding their mathematical implications. Finally, I suggest that, although Samuelson's methodological rhetoric did not correspond with his implicit aprioristic theorizing, he possibly thought that his methodology and theorizing would converge in the long run. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore the literature on cognitive heuristics and biases in light of virtue epistemology, specifically highlighting the two major positions—agent-reliabilism and agent-responsibilism —as they apply to dual systems theories of cognition and the role of motivation in biases. We investigate under which conditions heuristics and biases might be characterized as vicious and conclude that a certain kind of intellectual arrogance can be attributed to an inappropriate reliance on Type 1, or the improper function of Type 2, cognitive (...) processes. By the same token, the proper intervention of Type 2 processes results in the virtuous functioning of our cognitive systems. Moreover, the role of motivation in attenuating cognitive biases and the cultivation of certain epistemic habits points to the tenets of agent-responsibilism.. (shrink)
In the second half of the twentieth century, humanism— namely, the worldview that underpinned Western thought for several centuries—has been severely critiqued by philosophers who highlighted its theoretical and ethical limitations. Inspired by the emergence of cybernetics and new technologies such as robotics, prosthetics, communications, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology, there has been a desire to articulate a new worldview that will fit the posthuman condition. Posthumanism is a description of a new form of human existence in which the (...) boundaries between humans and nature and humans and machines are blurred, as well as a prescription for an ideal situation in which the limitations of human biology are transcended, replaced by machines. The transition from the human condition to the posthuman condition will be facilitated by transhumanism, the project of human enhancement that will ultimately yield the transformation of the human species from the human to the posthuman. As an intellectual movement, transhumanism is still very small, but transhumanist ideas exert deep and broad influence on contemporary culture and society. This essay highlights the religious dimension of transhumanism and argues that it should be seen as a secularist faith: transhumanism secularizes traditional religious themes, concerns, and goals, while endowing technology with religious significance. Science‐Religion Studies is the most appropriate context to explore the cultural significance of transhumanism. (shrink)
The study of intellectual humility is still in its early stages and issues of definition and measurement are only now being explored. To inform and guide the process of defining and measuring this important intellectual virtue, we conducted a series of studies into the implicit theory – or ‘folk’ understanding – of an intellectually humble person, a wise person, and an intellectually arrogant person. In Study 1, 350 adults used a free-listing procedure to generate a list of descriptors, one for (...) each person-concept. In Study 2, 335 adults rated the previously generated descriptors by how characteristic each was of the target person-concept. In Study 3, 344 adults sorted the descriptors by similarity for each person-concept. By comparing and contrasting the three person-concepts, a complex portrait of an intellectually humble person emerges with particular epistemic, self-oriented, and other-oriented dimensions. (shrink)
The topic of this book is 'creation'. It breaks down into discussions of two distinct, but interrelated, questions: what does the universe look like, and what is its origin? The opinions about creation considered by Norbert Samuelson come from the Hebrew scriptures, Greek philosophy, Jewish philosophy, and contemporary physics. His perspective is Jewish, liberal, and philosophical. It is 'Jewish' because the foundation of the discussion is biblical texts interpreted in the light of traditional rabbinic texts. It is 'philosophical' because (...) the subject matter is important in both past and present philosophical texts, and to Jewish philosophy in particular. Finally, it is 'liberal' because the authorities consulted include heterodox as well as orthodox Jewish sources. The ensuing discussion leads to original conclusions about a diversity of topics, including the limits of human reason and religious faith, and the relevance of scientific models to religious doctrine. (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.
Judaism in the twentieth century began to return to its scriptural, communal roots after a centuries-long detour through Greek-influenced natural philosophy, a detour during which science and ethics were assumed to be partners and Jewish ethics drew heavily on natural philosophy and science. Twentieth-century philosophical ethics and science, particularly biological science, have developed in such a way as to make any continuation of that historical partnership problematic. This is not altogether regrettable because the problematizing of this long-standing partnership has driven (...) Jewish ethics back to its real roots: covenantal relationship, and moral wisdom and discernment. (shrink)
It is unclear how children learn labels for multiple overlapping categories such as “Labrador,” “dog,” and “animal.” Xu and Tenenbaum suggested that learners infer correct meanings with the help of Bayesian inference. They instantiated these claims in a Bayesian model, which they tested with preschoolers and adults. Here, we report data testing a developmental prediction of the Bayesian model—that more knowledge should lead to narrower category inferences when presented with multiple subordinate exemplars. Two experiments did not support this prediction. Children (...) with more category knowledge showed broader generalization when presented with multiple subordinate exemplars, compared to less knowledgeable children and adults. This implies a U-shaped developmental trend. The Bayesian model was not able to account for these data, even with inputs that reflected the similarity judgments of children. We discuss implications for the Bayesian model, including a combined Bayesian/morphological knowledge account that could explain the demonstrated U-shaped trend. (shrink)
Philip Hefner identifies three settings in which to assess the future of science and religion: the academy, the public sphere, and the faith community. This essay argues that the discourse of science and religion could improve its standing within the secular academy in America by shifting the focus from theology to history. In the public sphere, the science-and-religion discourse could play an important role of promoting tolerance and respect toward the religious Other. For a given faith community (for example, Judaism) (...) the discourse of science and religion can ensure future intellectual depth by virtue of study and ongoing interpretation. The essay challenges the suggestion to adopt irony as a desirable posture for science-and-religion discourse. (shrink)
. John Caiazza presents the current technoculture as the latest development in the ongoing conflict of science and religion that began with Tertullian in the third century. I argue that his presentation is historically inaccurate, because for most of Western history science and religion interacted with and cross‐fertilized each other. Contrary to Caiazza's misleading presentation, Western thought did not follow the dichotomous model polemically posed by Tertullian. I take issue with Caiazza's portrayal of postmodernism and his claim that technology is (...) the foundation of an inherently secularist culture. I conclude by highlighting certain ethical challenges engendered by the prevalence of new technologies and present the dialogue of science and religion as uniquely qualified to address these challenges. (shrink)
Do axiomatic derivations advance positive economics? If economists are interested in predicting how people behave, without a pretense to change individual decision making, how can they benefit from representation theorems, which are no more than equivalence results? We address these questions. We propose several ways in which representation results can be useful and discuss their implications for axiomatic decision theory.
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)
Abstract. The object of this essay is to explain what there is about discussions of Judaism and the sciences that is distinctive from discussions about religion in general and the sciences. The description draws primarily but not exclusively from recent meetings of the Judaism, Medicine, and Science Group in Tempe, Arizona. The author's Jewish Faith and Modern Science, together with a selective bibliography of writings in this subfield, are used to generate a list of science issues—focused around the religious doctrines (...) of creation, revelation, and redemption in Judaism—that raise specific challenges to Jewish faith. Special attention is given to Leon Kass's The Hungry Soul as an example of a distinctive way to integration knowledge of both science and rabbinic Judaism on a philosophical issue. (shrink)
Revelation and the God of Israel explores the concept of revelation as it emerges from the Hebrew Scriptures and is interpreted in Jewish philosophy and theology. The first part is a study in intellectual history that attempts to answer the question, what is the best possible understanding of revelation. The second part is a study in constructive theology and attempts to answer the question, is it reasonable to affirm belief in revelation. Here Norbert M. Samuelson focuses on the challenges (...) given from a variety of contemporary academic disciplines, including evolutionary psychology, political ethics, analytic philosophy of religion, and source critical studies of the Bible. This important book offers a unique approach to theological questions and fresh solutions to them and will appeal to those interested in the history of philosophy, religious thought, and Judaism. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
In contemporary market societies, the laws do not place individuals under enforceable obligations to aid others. Perhaps the most striking exception to this broad generalization is the practice of conscription of able-bodied males into military service, particularly in time of war. Another notable exception is the legal enforcement in some contemporary societies of “Good Samaritan” obligations — obligations to provide temporary aid to victims of emergencies, such as car accident victims. The obligation applies to those who are in the immediate (...) vicinity of the emergency and who can supply aid of great value to the victim at small risk and tolerable cost to themselves. The fact that not all contemporary societies have enacted such Good Samaritan laws underscores the point that the general rule is that individuals are under no legal obligation to help others. According to some moral views, this legal situation approximately accords with the moral fact that persons who have not voluntarily incurred obligations to aid others should not be coerced into tendering such aid. Moreover, it is worth noting that these two prominent exceptions to the tendency of legal systems to eschew enforcement of positive obligations to aid others are plausibly in everyone's ex ante interest and not notably redistributive in intent. (shrink)
This paper sheds new light on Samuelson’s early methodology as presented in his Foundations of Economic Analysis by reflecting on the similarity between his mathematical economics and Edwin B. Wilson’s mathematics. Wilson was Samuelson’s professor of advanced mathematical and statistical economics; he was also a protégé of Josiah Willard Gibbs. Wilson defined mathematics as a language that consisted of three interconnected aspects: postulational, axiomatic, and operational. In his Foundations, in a Wilsonian style, Samuelson wrote in the opening (...) page, ‘Mathematics is a Language’ and claimed that he offered operationally meaningful theorems. In this paper, it is argued that these maxims embodied Wilson’s approach, which framed Samuelson’s mathematical and statistical thinking around 1940 and which led him to present his work as being mathematically, theoretically, and empirically well founded. Wilson’s and Percy Bridgman’s operational methodologies are also compared and Wilson is presented as a mediator between Bridgman and Samuelson. (shrink)
[Richard Glauser] Shaftesbury's theory of aesthetic experience is based on his conception of a natural disposition to apprehend beauty, a real 'form' of things. I examine the implications of the disposition's naturalness. I argue that the disposition is not an extra faculty or a sixth sense, and attempt to situate Shaftesbury's position on this issue between those of Locke and Hutcheson. I argue that the natural disposition is to be perfected in many different ways in order to be exercised (...) in the perception of the different degrees of beauty within Shaftesbury's hierarchy. This leads to the conclusion that the exercise of the disposition depends, from case to case, on many different cognitive and affective conditions, that are realised by the collaborative functionings of our ordinary faculties. Essential to Shaftesbury's conception of aesthetic experience is a disinterested, contemplative love, that causes (or contains) what we may call a 'disinterested pleasure', but also an interested pleasure. I argue that, within any given aesthetic experience, the role of the disinterested pleasure is secondary to that of the disinterested love. However, an important function of the disinterested pleasure is that, in combination with the interested pleasure, it leads one to aspire to pass from the aesthetic experience of lower degrees of beauty to the experience of higher ones in the hierarchy. /// [Anthony Savile] (1) If Shaftesbury is to be seen as the doyen of modern aesthetics, his most valuable legacy to us may not so much be his viewing aesthetic response as a sui generis disinterested delight as his insistence on its turning 'wholly on [experience of] what is exterior and foreign to ourselves'. Not that we cannot experience ourselves, or what is our own, as a source of such admiration. Rather our responses, favourable or no, are improperly grounded in any essentially reflexive, or first-personal, ways of taking what engages us. The suggestion is tested against the case of Narcissus. (2) Glauser interestingly emphasizes Shaftesbury's neo-Platonic conception of a hierarchy of aesthetic experience that culminates in the joyful contemplation of God. That hierarchy must be something that is less unitary and systematic than Shaftesbury himself had supposed, even when his emphasis on the tie between aesthetic pleasure and contemplative experience is allowed to extend beyond perception and to encompass episodes of thought itself. (shrink)
Left-libertarianism is a version of Lockean libertarianism that combines the idea that each person is the full rightful owner of herself and the idea that each person should have the right to own a roughly equal amount of the world's resources. This essay argues against left-libertarianism. The specific target is an interesting form of left-libertarianism proposed by Michael Otsuka that is especially stringent in its equal world ownership claim. One criticism advanced is that there is more tension than Otsuka acknowledges (...) between private ownership of self and equal ownership of the world. This emerges once one notices that self-ownership should not be conceived merely in a thin, formal way but also as a thicker substantive insistence on wide individual freedom. A second criticism is that in other respects the formal idea of self-ownership that Otsuka and other left-libertarians embrace is an extreme doctrine that merits rejection. (shrink)
The training and experience of such academic philosophers as Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam do not equip them with the economic and other social‐scientific tools necessary to make useful contributions to political discussion. In the case of Rorty, this has resulted in his being unable to make effective ripostes to left‐wing critics of his defense of “bourgeois liberalism,” his uncritical endorsement of simplistic arguments for social reform, and his embrace of false prophecies of doom, such as those found in (...) Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty‐Four. Moreover, his disdain for “theory” has blinded him to the utility of mid‐level theories, such as those of economics, in dealing with concrete social problems. (shrink)