I argue that the proper way to think of the difference between A- and B-time is not as the difference between transition and the lack of transition, as is common, but as A-transition and B-transition. However, it is not evident what the difference is between these two kinds of transition. Thus, it is not evident what the difference is between A- and B-time.
The common assumption in the debate between the A- and B-theories is that there is a difference between A- and B-time. A-time has been said to be characterized by a flow, whereas B-time has been said not to consist of a flow. This way of construing the debate, however, is mistaken. Both A- and B-time possess "flow" or transition. But if this is so, we need to ask how B-time flow differs from A-time flow. I argue that none of the (...) ways in which the difference has been characterized is satisfactory. My conclusion is that the debate between A- and B-time either needs to be recast or given up. (shrink)
The history of Athenian relations with Sicily in the fifth century is beset with difficulties; and no part of it, perhaps, is more obscure than the story of what is commonly known as the First Sicilian Expedition, which set sail from Athens in the late summer of 427 under Laches, and was reinforced under Pythodorus, Sophocles and Eurymedon in the winter of 426.
The traditional description of A- and B-time is that the former consists of a mind-independent past, present, and future, and that the latter consists solely of the time relations--earlier than, simultaneous with, and later than. Although this description makes it look as if there are two clearly contrasting concepts of time, it does not differentiate the passage of A-time from the succession in B-time. Nor does it explain what it means for events in B-time to be equally real and for (...) events in A-time not to be equally real. I argue that although McTaggart and numerous others have thought that there is a difference between the two kinds of time, it remains undescribed. (shrink)
I argue that our experience of time supports the B-Theory of time and not the A-Theory of time. We do not experience pastness, presentness, and futurity as mind-independent properties of events. My method in supporting this experiential claim is to show that our experience of presentness is like our experience of hereness--in neither case are we aware of a mind-independent property over and above the events or objects to which we ascribe the presentness or hereness.
Debate between the A- and B-theories has rested on the supposition that there is a clear difference between A- and B-time. I argue that this supposition is mistaken for two reasons. We cannot distinguish the two conceptions of time by means of Bergsonian intuition. Unless we can do so, we cannot distinguish them at all. I defend by imagining various ways to intuit the two kinds of time, and maintaining that none of them works. I defend by showing that the (...) issue is an experiential one, unlike metaphysical issues that are less connected to experience. My conclusion is that no progress will be made in the debate between the two theories until it becomes clear what the difference is between the two kinds of time. (shrink)
At Theaetetus 163d-164b Socrates objects to the thesis that knowledge is perception by pointing out that a man who has seen something can still remember it, and so has knowledge of it; but this is impossible, if knowledge is perception, since he is no longer perceiving it.To this Protagoras is made to reply with two sentences at 166b 1–4: .Cornford translates ‘ For instance, do you think you will find anyone to admit that one's present memory of a past impression (...) is an impression of the same character as one had during the original experience, which is now over? It is nothing of the sort’.Cornford understands this as the suggestion that the memory and the original perception are of different things: ‘ All that the objection in fact established was that “ perception” must be stretched to include awareness of memory images’. So too Lee: ‘Protagoras’ “way out”… appears to be to say that what we now know is not properly X but rather our memory trace of X - some present πά θ ο ς quite distinct from X and very different from that ’. McDowel. (shrink)
At Theaetetus 163d-164b Socrates objects to the thesis that knowledge is perception by pointing out that a man who has seen something can still remember it, and so has knowledge of it; but this is impossible, if knowledge is perception, since he is no longer perceiving it.To this Protagoras is made to reply with two sentences at 166b 1–4:.Cornford translates ‘ For instance, do you think you will find anyone to admit that one's present memory of a past impression is (...) an impression of the same character as one had during the original experience, which is now over? It is nothing of the sort’.Cornford understands this as the suggestion that the memory and the original perception are of different things: ‘ All that the objection in fact established was that “ perception” must be stretched to include awareness of memory images’. So too Lee: ‘Protagoras’ “way out”… appears to be to say that what we now know is not properly X but rather our memory trace of X - some present πά θ ο ς quite distinct from X and very different from that ’. McDowel. (shrink)
A classic defense of the rationality of induction. Williams argues that induction (conceived as inference from sample to population in general) is justified by the proportional syllogism (direct inference), the argument form "Probably if most As are Bs and this is an A, then this is a B." It is a necessary mathematical fact that the vast majority of large samples of a population nearly match the population in composition (e.g. if they have an unknown proportion of black and (...) white). Therefore if a large sample is taken, it probably matches the population; that is, probably the population nearly matches the sample. Hence sample-to-population inference is (probabilistically) logically justified. (shrink)
This book is a collection of 18 essays portraying a "humanistic" outlook on several contemporary moral problems, and includes such essayists as Kurt Baier, Carl Rogers, B. F. Skinner, Sidney Hook, Abraham Edel, John Somerville, and Corliss Lamont. Although each was requested first to give his own definition of humanism and then to work out one application of it from his particular field or interest, these directions are not always strictly adhered to. Half of the essays had in fact, (...) already been published in some form in The Humanist. The 5 topical headings of the book show the diversity of fields and interests portrayed: Ethics, Religion and the Meaning of Life; The Good Life; The Individual: Law, Morality and Social Organization; Justice and Society; and Death. Although the essays are of unequal philosophical depth and acumen, this variety may be appealing for some uses of this as a text. However, two of the essays in particular stand out for this reviewer: "Ethics Without Religion" by Kai Nielsen, which perceptively outlines the problematic for as well as against an ethics not rooted in religion, and "The Enforcement of Morals" by Ernest Nagel which aptly analyzes the problem of the relation between the spheres of morality and law taking as a focus the noted Hart-Devlin debate of this issue. The thread which Kurtz believes unites all of these essays is their portrayal of a humanistic viewpoint, a viewpoint which he attempts to summarize in his own 14-page introduction, "What is Humanism?" But defining humanism is not an easy task. One must steer between a strictly negative view which defines it only in relation to what it opposes, and a broader but rather indefinite view of it as some form of man-centered philosophy. Although Kurtz wants to be positive in his own definition, he seems unable to move away from a negative and rhetorical presentation in which theism is simply stated to be incompatible with humanism. Moreover, his outline of a humanistic ethics is somewhat superficial. For example, he seems unaware of the problems involved in holding that ethical values are man’s own "creation" and at the same time are normative and objective. Nevertheless, the book may be of some help as a supplementary text to stimulate undergraduate students in discussion and study of the topics treated therein.—B.A.M. (shrink)
The eight relatively short papers in this volume were first presented at the International Institute of Philosophy Entretiens held at Helsinki in 1970. Four main topics are considered: the definition of knowledge, memory, Wittgenstein’s theory of knowledge, and evidence. Representing the first topic, B. A. O. Williams’ paper "Knowledge and Reasons" is chiefly directed toward examining the role of reasons in knowledge. His main thesis is that when speaking in general about knowledge, it is not necessary either that "the (...) knower be able to support or ground his true belief by reference to other propositions" or "that he be in any special state" concerning his belief. Yet it is necessary that, "given the truth of p, it is no accident that A believes p rather than not-p." The author is quick to indicate that this formula is highly schematic and, as an analysis of knowledge, insufficient. A. J. Ayer, as commentator on Williams’ paper, tends to concur with and further amplify a number of Williams’ ideas. However, he does take issue with Williams on two main points: his remarks on the possibility of "radically impersonal knowledge" and his formula that true belief should not be accidental. Concerning the latter, Ayer, while aware of the outline form of Williams’ argument, is "sceptical of its power to yield a precise formula which would differentiate between knowledge and true belief" in a satisfactory manner. (shrink)
The "Director" controls Ms. B’s life. He flatters her, beguiles her, derides her. His instructions pervade each aspect of her life, including her analytic sessions, during which he suggests promiscuous and dangerous things for Ms. B to say and do, when he suspects that her isolated state is being changed by the therapy. The "Director" is a diabolical foreign body installed in the mind who purports to protect but who keeps Ms. B feeling profoundly ill and alone. The story of (...) Ms. B’s analysis is one of many vivid illustrations presented in this collection of papers by Paul Williams, who shares his lifetime of experience working with severely disturbed patients. As the title suggests, the unifying thread of these papers is the investigation of serious mental disturbance, often characterized by the presence of intrusive and invasive thoughts and fantasies that originate in a traumatic past but which can colonize and destroy the rational mind. The diverse papers are grouped into two related sections. Part one is comprised of papers with a clinical orientation, including a summary of the analysis of Ms. B as well as a speculative paper on the psychosis and recovery of John Nash. In part two, applied psychoanalytic thinking is integrated with Williams’ other professional passion, anthropology, in a paper that exemplifies generative thought through art, poetry, and tribal masks. Other papers in this section include a short essay that takes Freud-bashers to task, a reappraisal of the Rat Man, and a lively discussion of André Green’s "central phobic position" in borderline thinking. Whether engaging in the coconstructed therapeutic relationship or the implications for "madness in society" at large, Williams’ diverse influences – psychoanalytic and otherwise – repeatedly come to the fore in an intellectually stimulating and clinically enriching way. It goes without saying that work with patients whose thinking is psychotic is a challenge, as these papers clearly demonstrate, but Williams reminds us that it is a challenge that psychoanalysis can not only engage but also treat with enduring and impressive therapeutic results. (shrink)
Behaving ethically depends on the ability to recognize that ethical issues exist, to see from an ethical point of view. This ability to see and respond ethically may be related more to attributes of corporate culture than to attributes of individual employees. Efforts to increase ethical standards and decrease pressure to behave unethically should therefore concentrate on the organization and its culture. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how total quality (TQ) techniques can facilitate the development of a (...) cooperative corporate culture that promotes and encourages ethical behavior throughout an organization. (shrink)
_The Limits of Utilitarianism _ was first published in 1982. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. Many philosophers have argued that utilitarianism is an unacceptable moral theory and that promoting the general welfare is at best only one of the legitimate goals of public policy. Utilitarian principles seem to place no limits on the extent to which society may legitimately interfere with (...) a person's liberties - provided that such actions can be shown to promote the long-term welfare of its members. These issues have played a central role in discussions of utilitarianism since the time of Bentham and Mill. Despite criticisms, utilitarianism remains the most influential and widely accepted moral theory of recent times. In this volume contemporary philosophers address four aspects of utilitarianism: the principle of utility; utilitarianism vis-à-vis contractarianism; welfare; and voluntary cooperation and helping others. The editors provide an introduction and a comprehensive bibliography that covers all books and articles published in utilitarianism since 1930. (shrink)