This essay is an attempt to piece together the elements of G. A. Cohen's thought on the theory of socialism during his long intellectual voyage from Marxism to political philosophy. It begins from his theory of the maldistribution of freedom under capitalism, moves onto his critique of libertarian property rights, to his diagnosis of the “deep inegalitarian” structure of John Rawls' theory and concludes with his rejection of the “cheap” fraternity promulgated by liberal egalitarianism. The paper's exegetical contention is that (...) Cohen's work in political philosophy is best understood in the background of lifelong commitment to a form of democratic, non-market, socialism realizing the values of freedom, equality and community, as he conceived them. The first part of the essay is therefore an attempt to retrieve core socialism-related arguments by chronologically examining the development of Cohen's views, using his books as thematic signposts. The second part brings these arguments together with an eye to reconstructing his vision of socialism. It turns out that Cohen's political philosophy offers a rich conception of objective and subjective freedom, an original understanding of justice as satisfaction of genuine need, and a substantive ideal of fraternity as justificatory community with others. If properly united, these values can suggest a full-bloodied account of the just polity, and give us a glimpse into what it means, for Cohen, to treat people as equals. (shrink)
An egalitarian interpretation and defence of Rawls's principles of justice and their institutional and policy implications in response to G. A. Cohen's criticisms of Rawls's alleged justification of unequalizing incentives. Keywords Applied Philosophy Social and Political Philosophy Rawls G.A. Cohen difference priciple incentives justice property-owning democracy.
In this article, I argue that G. A. Cohen’s defense of the feminist slogan, “The personal is political”, his argument against Rawls’s restriction of principles of justice to the basic structure of society, depends for its intelligibility on the ability to distinguish—with reasonable but perhaps not perfect precision—between those situations in which what Nancy Rosenblum has called “the logic of congruence” is validly invoked and those in which it is not. More importantly, I suggest that the philosophical shape of Cohen’s (...) critique makes it difficult for him to supply the required criterion, and that the methodological “intuitionism” he claims to be committed to is at odds with his larger argument against Rawls concerning the subject of justice. (shrink)
G. A. Cohen was one of the world's leading political theorists. He was noted, in particular, for his contributions to the literature of egalitarian justice. Cohen's classic writings offer one of the most influential responses to the currency of the egalitarian justice question - the question, that is, of whether egalitarians should seek to equalize welfare, resources, opportunity, or some other indicator of well-being. Underlying Cohen's argument is the intuition that the purpose of egalitarianism is to eliminate disadvantage for which (...) it is inappropriate to hold the person responsible. His argument therefore focuses on the appropriate role of considerations regarding responsibility in egalitarian judgment. This volume comprises chapters by major scholars addressing and responding both to Cohen's account of the currency of egalitarian justice and its practical implications and to Cohen's arguments regarding the appropriate form of justificatory arguments about justice. (shrink)
This is a short, critical introduction to Cohen's book and argument: that socialism is justified on several grounds contrary to common opinion. I present Cohen's arguments together with some potential problems as well as responses to them.
G. A. Cohen conceptualizes socialism as luck egalitarianism constrained by a community principle. The latter mitigates certain inequalities to achieve a shared common life. This article explores the plausibility of the community constraint on inequality in light of two related problems. First, if it is voluntary, it fails as a response to “the abandonment objection” to luck egalitarianism, as it would not guarantee imprudent people sufficient resources to avoid deprivation and to function as equal citizens in a democratic society. Contra (...) Cohenite socialism, this appears unjust. Second, if it is instead enforced, coercive equalization beyond sufficiency-constrained luck egalitarianism, which is possibly necessary to achieve a shared common life, seems to require unjustified restrictions on liberty. I therefore argue that the constraint is most plausibly specified as requiring enforcement of sufficiency and only voluntary equalization thereafter. I also note, skeptically, why this constraint might be morally preferable to a purely sufficientarian alternative. (shrink)
A.G. van Aarde and historical Jesus research. A.G. van Aarde’s contribution to historical Jesus research is mainly expressed in his book Fatherless in Galilee: Jesus as Child of God. The book was the result of five years of Jesus research. Van Aarde is an ordained minister of the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa. Since the book’s publication in 2001, the NRCA has experienced an immense dispute regarding the book in particular but also regarding the subject of historical Jesus research in (...) general. This dispute has publicly escalated since 2010. It has often centred on Van Aarde’s notion of Jesus’ fatherlessness. This article will focus on said book in order to ascertain what is meant by the concept ‘the fatherless Jesus’. This is done to illustrate that Van Aarde’s research, as it converges in the scrutinised publication, remains of relevance to the NRCA. (shrink)
A. G. Long’s slender but significant volume traces a line in the Platonic dialogues from Socratic conversation to dialogical thought. Long’s broader project is to explore the concept that conversation is relevant to philosophy. However, the book’s main focus is more restricted to two ideas: first, whether one needs others to do philosophy, and if so, why; and second, how Socratic conversation connects to the self-sufficient exploration of ideas. Implicit in the book is perhaps also an exploration of how the (...) form of Platonic dialogue fits with contemporary academic philosophy, in which we still pursue critical thinking but rarely write in the form of dramatic dialogue.Long’s main line of argument shows that while .. (shrink)
Kurt Gdel was the most outstanding logician of the 20th century and a giant in the field. This book is part of a five volume set that makes available all of Gdel's writings. The first three volumes, already published, consist of the papers and essays of Gdel. The final two volumes of the set deal with Gdel's correspondence with his contemporary mathematicians, this fourth volume consists of material from correspondents from A-G.
Kurt Gödel was the most outstanding logician of the twentieth century, famous for his hallmark works on the completeness of logic, the incompleteness of number theory, and the consistency of the axiom of choice and the continuum hypothesis. He is also noted for his work on constructivity, the decision problem, and the foundations of computability theory, as well as for the strong individuality of his writings on the philosophy of mathematics. He is less well known for his discovery of unusual (...) cosmological models for Einstein's equations, in theory permitting time travel into the past. The Collected Works is a landmark resource that draws together a lifetime of creative thought and accomplishment. The first two volumes were devoted to Gödel's publications in full, and the third volume featured a wide selection of unpublished articles and lecture texts found in Gödel's Nachlass. These long-awaited final two volumes contain Gödel's correspondence of logical, philosophical, and scientific interest. Volume IV covers A to G, with H to Z in volume V; in addition, Volume V contains a full inventory of Gödel's Nachlass. All volumes include introductory notes that provide extensive explanatory and historical commentary on each body of work, English translations of material originally written in German, and a complete bibliography of all works cited. Kurt Gödel: Collected Works is designed to be useful and accessible to as wide an audience as possible without sacrificing scientific or historical accuracy. The only comprehensive edition of Gödel's work available, it will be an essential part of the working library of professionals and students in logic, mathematics, philosophy, history of science, and computer science and all others who wish to be acquainted with one of the great minds of the twentieth century. (shrink)
R. G. Collingwood’s 'The Principles of Art' argues that art is the expression of emotion. This dissertation offers a new interpretation of that philosophy, and argues that this interpretation is both hermeneutically and philosophically plausible. The offered interpretation differs from the received interpretation most significantly in treating the concept of ‘art’ as primarily scalarly rather than binarily realisable (this is introduced in ch. 1), and in understanding Collingwood’s use of the term ‘emotion’ more broadly (introduced in ch. 2). -/- After (...) the exposition of ch. 1, the remainder of that chapter and the subsequent three chapters are each centred around one sort of objection. In ch. 1, I consider the objection that Collingwood’s scalar understanding of ‘art’ is deviant and unhelpful. I respond by first observing that the understanding is not deviant, and second that it is more philosophically and artistically illuminating. In ch. 2, I consider the objection that Collingwood’s understanding of ‘emotion’ is so narrow that it fails to do justice to the fact that art can be philosophically potent. I respond that his understanding of ‘emotion’ is broad enough that this objection fails. In ch. 3, I consider the objection that Collingwood has no theoretical room for the prima facie plausible thought that some emotions are not worth expressing in art. In response, I reinterpret the points that appear to support this contention in a way that makes them both more plausible and more Collingwoodian. Finally, in ch. 4, I consider the objection that Collingwood does not have the theoretical room to do justice to the value of the delight we take in art. I respond by arguing that although he does not have this room to say that this delight is itself an artistic value, it does yet have an important place in his philosophy. (shrink)
Some ways of defending inequality against the charge that it is unjust require premises that egalitarians find easy to dismiss—statements, for example, about the contrasting deserts and/or entitlements of unequally placed people. But a defense of inequality suggested by John Rawls and elaborated by Brian Barry has often proved irresistible even to people of egalitarian outlook. The persuasive power of this defense of inequality has helped to drive authentic egalitarianism, of an old-fashioned, uncompromising kind, out of contemporary political philosophy. The (...) present essay is part of an attempt to bring it back in. (shrink)
1. The present paper is a continuation of my “Self-Ownership, World Ownership, and Equality,” which began with a description of the political philosophy of Robert Nozick. I contended in that essay that the foundational claim of Nozick's philosophy is the thesis of self-ownership, which says that each person is the morally rightful owner of his own person and powers, and, consequently, that each is free to use those powers as he wishes, provided that he does not deploy them aggressively against (...) others. To be sure, he may not harm others, and he may, if necessary, be forced not to harm them, but he should never be forced to help them, as people are in fact forced to help others, according to Nozick, by redistributive taxation. (shrink)
This essay is written on the following premises and argues for them. “Enlightenment” is a word or signifier, and not a single or unifiable phenomenon which it consistently signifies. There is no single or unifiable phenomenon describable as “the Enlightenment,” but it is the definite article rather than the noun which is to be avoided. In studying the intellectual history of the late seventeenth century and the eighteenth, we encounter a variety of statements made, and assumptions proposed, to which the (...) term “Enlightenment” may usefully be applied, but the meanings of the term shift as we apply it. The things are connected, but not continuous; they cannot be reduced to a single narrative; and we find ourselves using the word “Enlightenment” in a family of ways and talking about a family of phenomena, resembling and related to one another in a variety of ways that permit of various generalizations about them. We are not, however, committed to a single root meaning of the word “Enlightenment,” and we do not need to reduce the phenomena of which we treat to a single process or entity to be termed “the” Enlightenment. It is a reification that we wish to avoid, but the structure of our language is such that this is difficult, and we will find ourselves talking of “the French” or “the Scottish,” “the Newtonian” or the “the Arminian” Enlightenments, and hoping that by employing qualifying adjectives we may constantly remind ourselves that the keyword “Enlightenment” is ours to use and should not master us. (shrink)
Mr Olding's recent attack on my exposition of the argument from design gives me an opportunity to defend the central theses of my original article. My article pointed out that there were arguments from design of two types—those which take as their premisses regularities of copresence and those which take as their premisses regularities of succession. I sought to defend an argument of the second type. One merit of such an argument is that there is no doubt about the truth (...) of its premisses. Almost all objects in the world behave in a highly regular way describable by scientific laws. Further, any scientific explanation of such a regularity must invoke some more general regularity. The most general regularities of all are, as such, scientifically inexplicable. The question arises whether there is a possible explanation of another kind which can be provided for them, and whether their occurrence gives any or much support to that explanation. I urged that we do explain some phenomena by explanation of an entirely different kind from the scientific. We explain states of affairs by the action of agents who bring them about intentionally of their own choice. Regularities of succession, as well as other phenomena may be explained in this way. Explanation of this kind I will term intentional explanation. Intentional explanation of some phenomenon E consists in adducing an agent A who brought E about of his own choice and a further end G which, he believed, would be forwarded by the production of E. (shrink)
Abstract G.A. Cohen has produced an influential criticism of libertarian?ism that posits joint ownership of everything in the world other than labor, with each joint owner having a veto right over any potential use of the world. According to Cohen, in that world rationality would require that wealth be divided equally, with no differential accorded to talent, ability, or effort. A closer examination shows that Cohen's argument rests on two central errors of reasoning and does not support his egalitarian conclusions, (...) even granting his assumption of joint ownership. That assumption was rejected by Locke, Pufendorf and other writers on property for reasons that Cohen does not rebut. (shrink)
G.H. Mead and A.N. Whitehead agree that all causation occurs in a present, that the self is social, and that philosophical description of the new physics of relativity and quantum mechanics is a complicated task. I explore this complexity in relation to the knowledge of events unable to be observed here and now, especially past historical events. The integration of the two philosophers’ views is shown in reference to Whitehead’s criteria of respect for facts and coherence. By reference to the (...) work of Palmyre Oomen I show the inconsistency of Whitehead’s treatment of the prehensibility of God’s consequent nature with his claim thatGod is not an exception to the metaphysical principles. The integration of Mead’s and Whitehead’s views permits plausible talk about past, present, and futureconsisent with our scientific knowledge. (shrink)
Abstract In Simple Rules for a Complex World, I outlined a set of legal rules that facilitate just and efficient social interactions among individuals. Frederick Schauer's critique of my book ignores the specific implications of my system in favor of a general critique of simplicity that overlooks the dangers to liberty when complex rules confer vast discretion on public figures. He also does not refer to the nonlibertarian features of my system that allow for overcoming holdout positions. These ?take and (...) pay? rules explain how a system broadly protective of private property responds to well?known two?person (Able?Infirm) hypothetical of the sort advanced by G. A. Cohen, which are designed to show how claims of self?ownership lend strong support to egalitarian outcomes. (shrink)
The relationship between John Locke and Isaac Newton, his co-founder of, in the apt phrase of one recent writer, ‘the Moderate Enlightenment’ of the eighteenth century, has many dimensions. There is their friendship, which began only after each had written his major work, and which had its stormy interlude. There is the difficult question of their mutual impact. In what ways did each draw intellectually on the other? That there was some debt of each to the other is almost certain, (...) but its exact extent is problematic. Questions may be asked over a whole range of intellectual issues, but not always answered. Thus their theology, which was in many respects close, and which forms the bulk of their surviving correspondence, may yet reveal mutual influence. There is the question of their political views, where both were firmly Whig. But it is upon their philosophy, and certain aspects of their philosophy in particular, that this paper will concentrate. My main theme is the nature of their empiricism, and my main contention is that between them they produced a powerful and comprehensive philosophy. (shrink)
This volume, honoring the renowned historian of science, Allen G Debus, explores ideas of science - `experiences of nature' - from within a historiographical tradition that Debus has done much to define. As his work shows, the sciences do not develop exclusively as a result of a progressive and inexorable logic of discovery. A wide variety of extra-scientific factors, deriving from changing intellectual contexts and differing social millieus, play crucial roles in the overall development of scientific thought. These essays represent (...) case studies in a broad range of scientific settings - from sixteenth-century astronomy and medicine, through nineteenth-century biology and mathematics, to the social sciences in the twentieth-century - that show the impact of both social settings and the cross-fertilization of ideas on the formation of science. Aimed at a general audience interested in the history of science, this book closes with Debus's personal perspective on the development of the field. Audience: This book will appeal especially to historians of science, of chemistry, and of medicine. (shrink)
The Queen's College, Oxford, UK In his article `Facts and Principles', G.A. Cohen attempts to refute constructivist approaches to justification by showing that, contrary to what their proponents claim, fundamental normative principles are fact- in sensitive. We argue that Cohen's `fact-insensitivity thesis' does not provide a successful refutation of constructivism because it pertains to an area of meta-ethics which differs from the one tackled by constructivists. While Cohen's thesis concerns the logical structure of normative principles, constructivists ask how normative principles (...) should be justified . In particular, their claim that justified fundamental normative principles are fact-sensitive follows from a commitment to agnosticism about the existence of objective moral facts. We therefore conclude that, in order to refute constructivism, Cohen would have to address questions of justification, and take a stand on those long-standing meta-ethical debates about the ontological status of moral notions (for example, realism versus anti-realism) with respect to which he himself wants to remain agnostic. Key Words: John Rawls normative justification realism versus anti-realism methodological versus substantive principles. (shrink)
The theoretical and practical problems of providing incentives for people's activity in society are becoming increasingly more urgent as the role of the human factor in the development of society grows. In light of modern historical experience, we can see the onesidedness of conceptions according to which the types and directions of activity are mechanically predetermined by conditions external to it, and we can see the necessity of understanding the laws of activity itself in all their complicated dialectical essence. These (...) problems have become particularly important at the present stage of development of Soviet society, when a greater active involvement of the masses and profound changes in social psychology are becoming acutely necessary. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis article offers a reinterpretation of the origins and character of the so-called ‘Cambridge School’ in the history of political thought by reconstructing the intellectual background to J.G.A. Pocock's 1962 essay ‘The History of Political Thought: A Methodological Enquiry’, typically regarded as the first statement of a ‘Cambridge’ approach. I argue that neither linguistic philosophy nor the celebrated work of Peter Laslett exerted a major influence on Pocock's work between 1948 and 1962. Instead, I emphasise the importance of Pocock's interest (...) in the history of historiography and of his doctoral supervisor, Herbert Butterfield. By placing Pocock's intellectual development in these contexts, I suggest, the autonomy of diverse versions of the ‘Cambridge’ approach can more readily be perceived. (shrink)
G. A. Cohen’s claim that fundamental principles are ‘fact-insensitive’ has not received an especially warm welcome from the philosophical community. While some philosophers have expressed doubts about the plausibility of his claim, others have complained that even if his thesis is true, it is also relatively insignificant. In my paper, I argue that the fact-insensitivity thesis, if true, provides considerable support for value pluralism, and is thus of interest for that reason. Though Cohen himself assumes a plurality of fundamental principles, (...) he never argues that the fact-insensitivity thesis supports this assumption. One of my paper’s aims, then, is to fill an argumentative gap in Cohen’s meta-ethical framework. (shrink)
This is a review of CONDITIONALS: FROM PHILOSOPHY TO COMPUTER SCIENCE, edited by Crocco G., del Cerro L. Fariñas, and Herzig A., Studies in logic and computation, no. 5, Clarendon Press, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York 1995.
A century after its publication, G.E. Moore''sPrincipia Ethica stands as one of theclassic statements of anti-naturalism inethics. Moore claimed that the most basic ethicalproperties were denoted by `good'' and `bad'' andthat all naturalist accounts of thoseproperties were inadequate. His open-questionargument aimed to refute any proposedidentification of good with some naturalproperty, and Moore concluded from theargument that good must be a nonnaturalproperty.The received view is that the open-questionargument is a failure. In this paper,my aim is to breathe some life back intoMoore''s (...) argument. My plan for doing so beginsby presenting the standard interpretation ofthe argument and then showing that there isan alternative to that interpretation. Thealternative is not developed at any length byMoore and stands in need of some elaboration. Isuggest a way of elaborating theargument and then show that the standardcriticisms of Moore fail to undermine thisalternative version of the open-questionargument. (shrink)