This essay calls for an independent theory of features in object-oriented philosophy. Theories of features are in general motivated by at least two interconnected demands: 1) to explain why objects have the characteristics they have, 2) to explain how regular divisions in those characteristics can be intuited. While a theory of universal properties may be the most internally consistent means of addressing these demands, an object-oriented metaphysics needs to address them without a concept of shared features. This means that regular (...) divisions of invariant features and our intuitions of them cannot be explained by the repetition of self-same characteristics or natural laws. They can instead be explained by the immanent repetition of similar features. However, this requires a new, radically aesthetic understanding of what it means to be similar in the first place, one in which similarity is an emergent process rather than a state of affairs existing between resembling particulars. (shrink)
Global debates in approaches to HIV/AIDS control have recently moved away from a uniformly strong human rights-based focus. Public health utilitarianism has become increasingly important in shaping national and international policies. However, potentially contradictory imperatives may require reconciliation of individual reproductive and other human rights with public health objectives. Current reproductive health guidelines remain largely nonprescriptive on the advisability of pregnancy amongst HIV-positive couples, mainly relying on effective counselling to enable autonomous decision-making by clients. Yet, health care provider values and (...) attitudes may substantially impact on the effectiveness of nonprescriptive guidelines, particularly where social norms and stereotypes regarding childbearing are powerful, and where providers are subjected to dual loyalty pressures, with potentially adverse impacts on rights of service users. Data from a study of user experiences and perceptions of reproductive and HIV/AIDS services are used to illustrate a rights analysis of how reproductive health policy should integrate a rights perspective into the way services engage with HIV-positive persons and their reproductive choices. The analysis draws on recognised tools developed to evaluate health policies for their human rights impacts and on a model developed for health equity research in South Africa to argue for greater recognition of agency on the part of persons affected by HIV/AIDS in the development and content of policies on reproductive choices. We conclude by proposing strategies that are based upon a synergy between human rights and public health approaches to policy on reproductive health choices for persons with HIV/AIDS. (shrink)
The masters of suspicion -- Heidegger and the rejection of humanism -- Sartre and the roads to freedom -- Marcuse and one-dimensional man -- Haberman and the fragile dignity of humanity -- Foucault and the disappearance of the human -- Derrida and the ends of man -- Fatal strategies.
Responsibility is often thought of as primarily a legal concept. Even when it is moral responsibility that is at issue, it is assumed that it is above all in moralities based on law-centered patterns and models that responsibility takes center stage, so that responsibility is a legal concept at its core, and is applicable to the realm of private morality only by extension and analogy.
J. S. Mill's distinction between higher and lower pleasures is often thought to conflict with his commitment to psychological and ethical hedonism: if the superiority of higher pleasures is quantitative, then the higher/lower distinction is superfluous and Mill contradicts himself; if the superiority of higher pleasures is not quantitative, then Mill's hedonism is compromised.
Libertarianism needs a theory of class. This claim may meet with resistance among some libertarians. A few will say: “The analysis of society in terms of classes and class struggles is a specifically Marxist approach, resting on assumptions that libertarians reject. Why should we care about class?” A greater number will say: “We recognize that class theory is important, but libertarianism doesn't need such a theory, because it already has a perfectly good one.”.
In the intellectual autobiography that opens this book, Chisholm divides philosophers into “drones” and “commentators,” placing himself in the first group. As a drone, Chisholm proposed solutions to philosophical problems and asked his students and colleagues to try to refute him. He reports that they often did, sending him back to the drawing board. Chisholm’s wry self-description says much about his manner as well as his method. A more pretentious philosopher might have spoken of his dogged search for philosophical truth (...) in an age when many have come to disparage that quest. (shrink)
We began with three propositions: that people have a right not to be treated as mere means to the ends of others, that a woman who voluntarily becomes pregnant nevertheless has the right to an abortion, and that a woman who voluntarily gives birth does not have a right to abandon her child until she finds a substitute caretaker. These propositions initially seemed inconsistent, for the prohibition on treating others as mere means appeared to rule out the possibility of positive (...) rights, thus making it impossible to countenance the right to abort or the right not to be abandoned . But we have seen that the prohibition on treating people as mere means to the ends of others is best understood as ruling out basic positive rights while permitting derivative ones. Since a willing mother is responsible for bringing her child into the world in the first place, she cannot abandon it without violating its negative right not to be killed, and so such a child has a derivative positive right not to be abandoned. A pregnant woman, on the other hand, has a negative right not to have her body invaded, and from this negative right derives a positive right to abort her fetus, so long as doing so is not disproportionate to the seriousness of the threat . Therefore, far from being in conflict, propositions , , and have been shown to be in harmony with one another, the latter two being plausibly grounded in the first. Insofar as we have reason to accept , then, we have reason to accept and . Moreover, we have seen that a proper understanding of allows us to embed and in a larger moral perspective in which the limits of compulsory altruism are firmly drawn: enforceable rights to the use or assistance of others may be allowed into the moral domain only if they are “sponsored” by some negative right. Every putative positive right must find such a sponsor, or perish. (shrink)
Roderick M. Chisholm (1916-1999) was one of the most important philosophical thinkers of the 20th century. His influence on epistemology (the theory of knowledge) and metaphysics cannot be understated; indeed, it is difficult to conceive of what these fields would be like today without the impact of Chisholm. Were there a Nobel Prize in philosophy, Chisholm surely would have won it.
Sir Roderick Murchison's Humboldtian belief in a close linkage between the sciences of geology and physical geography finds its best illustration in his prediction of the three-dimensional structure of Africa in 1852 from explorers' reports, fossil discoveries, and a theory of crustal uplift and fracturing elaborated by the Cambridge mathematician William Hopkins. From this remarkably accurate hypothesis and other theories which he had developed concerning the occurrence of coal and gold, Murchison concluded that exploitable deposits of economic minerals which (...) might justify the foundation of a series of new British colonies could be systematically discovered around the continent's elevated rim. As the simultaneous President of the Royal Geographical Society and Director-General of the British Geological Survey, Murchison subsequently organized the dispatch of numerous scientific exploring expeditions to test his theory and reconnoitre commercial opportunities in Africa. While widening the frontier of British science, he thus schooled the imperial government in the belief that science could serve the drive for national expansion. His views on the physical, biological, and cultural conservatism of Africa also provided scientific justification for Victorian schemes of improvement, and his promotional activities helped set the stage for the British annexations in the continent during its fin de siècle partition by the European powers. (shrink)