Stephen Davies taught philosophy at the University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. His research specialty is the philosophy of art. He is a former President of the American Society for Aesthetics. His books include Definitions of Art (Cornell UP, 1991), Musical Meaning and Expression (Cornell UP, 1994), Musical Works and Performances (Clarendon, 2001), Themes in the Philosophy of Music (OUP, 2003), Philosophical Perspectives on Art (OUP, 2007), Musical Understandings and Other Essays on the Philosophy of Music (OUP, 2011), The (...) Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art, and Evolution (OUP, 2012), The Philosophy of Art (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016 second ed.), and Adornment: What Self-decorations Tells Us about Who We Are, (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020). (shrink)
Aboutness has been studied from any number of angles. Brentano made it the defining feature of the mental. Phenomenologists try to pin down the aboutness-features of particular mental states. Materialists sometimes claim to have grounded aboutness in natural regularities. Attempts have even been made, in library science and information theory, to operationalize the notion. But it has played no real role in philosophical semantics. This is surprising; sentences have aboutness-properties if anything does. Aboutness is the first book to examine through (...) a philosophical lens the role of subject matter in meaning. A long-standing tradition sees meaning as truth-conditions, to be specified by listing the scenarios in which a sentence is true. Nothing is said about the principle of selection--about what in a scenario gets it onto the list. Subject matter is the missing link here. A sentence is true because of how matters stand where its subject matter is concerned. Stephen Yablo maintains that this is not just a feature of subject matter, but its essence. One indicates what a sentence is about by mapping out logical space according to its changing ways of being true or false. The notion of content that results--directed content--is brought to bear on a range of philosophical topics, including ontology, verisimilitude, knowledge, loose talk, assertive content, and philosophical methodology. Written by one of today's leading philosophers, Aboutness represents a major advance in semantics and the philosophy of language. (shrink)
A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes is a popular-science book on cosmology by British physicist Stephen Hawking. It was first published in 1988. Hawking wrote the book for readers who have no prior knowledge of the universe and people who are interested in learning.
From Descartes to Popper, philosophers have criticized and tried to improve the strategies of reasoning invoked in science and in everyday life. In recent years leading cognitive psychologists have painted a detailed, controversial, and highly critical portrait of common sense reasoning. Stephen Stich begins with a spirited defense of this work and a critique of those writers who argue that widespread irrationality is a biological or conceptual impossibility.Stich then explores the nature of rationality and irrationality: What is it that (...) distinguishes good reasoning from bad? He rejects the most widely accepted approaches to this question approaches which unpack rationality by appeal to truth, to reflective equilibrium or conceptual analysis. The alternative he defends grows out of the pragmatic tradition in which reasoning is viewed as a cognitive tool. Stich's version of pragmatism leads to a radical epistemic relativism and he argues that the widespread abhorrence of relativism is ill founded. (shrink)
Since the publication of his first book in 1953, Yves Bonnefoy has become one of the most important French poets of the postwar years. At last, we have the long-awaited English translation of Yves Bonnefoy’s celebrated work, _L’Arrière-pays_, which takes us to the heart of his creative process and to the very core of his poetic spirit. In his poem, “The Convex Mirror,” Bonnefoy writes: “Look at them down there, at that crossroads, / They seem to hesitate, then go on.” (...) The idea of the crossroads haunts Bonnefoy’s work, as he is troubled by the idea that the path not taken may lead to the _arrière-pays_, a place of greater plenitude, and of more authentic being—an “elsewhere in the absolute.” Seized by this fear that what he terms “presence” exists always somewhere else, a little further on, Bonnefoy here sets out on a labyrinthine quest to find traces of this “original place,” which he locates not only in objects of knowledge and experience as diverse as the deserts of Asia, a hill fort in India, a church in Armenia, the painting of Piero della Francesca but also, crucially, in the undivided intensity of his experiences as a child. Written with a visionary grace, _The Arrière-pays_ is a spiritual testament to art, philosophy, and poetry. Enriched by a new preface by the poet, this volume also includes three recent essays in which he returns to his original account of an ethical and aesthetic haunting, one that recounts the struggle between our instinct to idealize—what he deems our eternal Platonism—and the equally strong need to combat this and to be reconciled with our nature as finite beings, made of flesh and blood, in the world of the here and now. (shrink)
The fundamental question of political reparation is: why should a state provide redress for an injustice? The predominant answer justifies redress in terms of debts—the perpetration of an injustice creates a debt, and a state is required to make redress for the same reasons that it is required to repay its debts . Other approaches justify redress on the grounds that it will facilitate the achievement of some broader political goal, like the fair distribution of social resources or political reconciliation.In (...) Transitional Justice in Established Democracies, Stephen Winter provides a novel answer to this fundamental question in terms of political legitimacy. On Winter’s “legitimating account,” the state’s perpetuation of certain injustices compromises its political legitimacy. Redress is a required for a (liberal, democratic) state to bolster its legitimacy and to live up to its political commitments.Winter’s book makes a number of contributions to thinking about redress and transitional .. (shrink)
This paper engages with the idea at the core of my co‐symposiast's paper ‘Ethics of Substance’ : that the Aristotelian concept of substantial being has ethical implications, and an alternative understanding of existence in terms of affecting and being affected will help us more easily to accommodate relational values, which are thought to sit uneasily within the Aristotelian framework.I focus on two questions. First, is there really is a tension between an Aristotelian metaphysics of substance and concern for others? The (...) answer depends on how we understand the relation between my valuing something indeterminate but determinable and my valuing the particular way in which that determinable is contingently determined. I agree that Carpenter is correct in identifying the tension she does.Second, does the alternative Buddhist influenced view of what it is to exist shift our attention from ethical values such as independence and autonomy onto interpersonal and relational values? I consider an example which reflects another aspect of Aristotle's outlook: his account of the ontological status of the simple material elements. I suggest that once we abandon the idea that such elements exist in virtue of specific intrinsic structures, then questions about their persistence through the changes by reference to which they are identified at the very least admit of no determinate answer. This suggestion also supports the line taken in Carpenter's paper. (shrink)
Stephen Houlgate is one of the leading Hegel scholars of the English-speaking world. In this interview he explains how he became a “Hegelian” while studying in Cambridge, and he offers a fundamental profile of his account of Hegel. The interview addresses the following questions: Why does Houlgate consider Hegel’s philosophy to be the “consummate critical philosophy”? What are the main barriers to a proper access to Hegel’s thought? Why is logic as dialectical logic still indispensable for philosophical thought? And (...) finally, what can both analytical and “continental” philosophers learn from Hegel? (shrink)
To understand H.L.A. Hart's general theory of law, it is helpful to distinguish between substantive and methodological legal positivism. Substantive legal positivism is the view that there is no necessary connection between morality and the content of law. Methodological legal positivism is the view that legal theory can and should offer a normatively neutral description of a particular social phenomenon, namely law. Methodological positivism holds, we might say, not that there is no necessary connection between morality and law, but rather (...) that there is no connection, necessary or otherwise, between morality and legal theory. The respective claims of substantive and methodological positivism are, at least on the surface, logically independent. Hobbes and Bentham employed normative methodologies to defend versions of substantive positivism, and in modern times Michael Moore has developed what can be regarded as a variant of methodological positivism to defend a theory of natural law. (shrink)
Perhaps the most salient feature of Rawls's theory of justice which at once attracts supporters and repels critics is its apparent egalitarian conclusion as to how economic goods are to be distributed. Indeed, many of Rawls's sympathizers may find this result intuitively appealing, and regard it as Rawls's enduring contribution to the topic of economic justice, despite technical deficiencies in Rawls's contractarian, decision-theoretic argument for it which occupy the bulk of the critical literature. Rawls himself, having proposed a “coherence” theory (...) of justification in metaethics, must regard the claim that his distributive criterion “is a strongly egalitarian conception” as independently a part of the overarching moral argument. The alleged egalitarian impact of Rawls's theory is crucial again in normative ethics where Rawls is thought to have developed a major counter-theory to utilitarianism, one of the most popular criticisms of which has been its alleged inadequacy in handling questions of distributive justice. Utilitarians can argue, however, as Brandt recently has, that the diminishing marginal utility of money, along with ignorance of income-welfare curves, would require a utility-maximizing distribution to be substantially egalitarian. The challenge is therefore for Rawls to show that his theory yields an ethically preferable degree of equality. (shrink)
In the seventeenth century, a vision arose which was to captivate the Western imagination for the next three hundred years: the vision of Cosmopolis, a society as rationally ordered as the Newtonian view of nature. While fueling extraordinary advances in all fields of human endeavor, this vision perpetuated a hidden yet persistent agenda: the delusion that human nature and society could be fitted into precise and manageable rational categories. Stephen Toulmin confronts that agenda—its illusions and its consequences for our (...) present and future world. "By showing how different the last three centuries would have been if Montaigne, rather than Descartes, had been taken as a starting point, Toulmin helps destroy the illusion that the Cartesian quest for certainty is intrinsic to the nature of science or philosophy."—Richard M. Rorty, University of Virginia "[Toulmin] has now tackled perhaps his most ambitious theme of all. . . . His aim is nothing less than to lay before us an account of both the origins and the prospects of our distinctively modern world. By charting the evolution of modernity, he hopes to show us what intellectual posture we ought to adopt as we confront the coming millennium."—Quentin Skinner, New York Review of Books. (shrink)
[Stephen Makin] Aristotle draws two sets of distinctions in Metaphysics 9.2, first between non-rational and rational capacities, and second between one way and two way capacities. He then argues for three claims: [A] if a capacity is rational, then it is a two way capacity [B] if a capacity is non-rational, then it is a one way capacity [C] a two way capacity is not indifferently related to the opposed outcomes to which it can give rise I provide explanations (...) of Aristotle's terminology, and of how [A]-[C] should be understood. I then offer a set of arguments which are intended to show that the Aristotelian claims are plausible. \\\ [Nicholas Denyer] In De Caelo 1: 11-12 Aristotle argued that whatever is and always will be true is necessarily true. His argument works, once we grant him the highly plausible principle that if something is true, then it can be false if and only if it can come to be false. For example, assume it true that the sun is and always will be hot. No proposition of this form can ever come to be false. Hence this proposition cannot be false. Hence it is necessarily true, and so too is anything that follows from it. In particular, it is necessarily true that the sun is hot. Moreover, if the sun not only is and always will be hot, but also always has been, then it follows by similar reasoning that the sun not only cannot now fail to be hot, but also never could have failed. Anything everlastingly true is therefore, in the strictest sense of the term, necessarily true. (shrink)
This essay deals with property rights in body parts that can be exchanged in a market. The inquiry arises in the following context. With some exceptions, the laws of many countries permit only the donation, not the sale, of body parts. Yet for some years there has existed a shortage of body parts for transplantation and other medical uses. It might then appear that if more sales were legally permitted, the supply of body parts would increase, because people would have (...) more incentive to sell than they currently have to donate. To allow sales is to recognize property rights in body parts. To allow sales, however, makes body parts into “commodities”—that is, things that can be bought and sold in a market. And some view it as morally objectionable to treat body parts as commodities. (shrink)
Neo-Confucianism is a philosophically sophisticated tradition weaving classical Confucianism together with themes from Buddhism and Daoism. It began in China around the eleventh century CE, played a leading role in East Asian cultures over the last millennium, and has had a profound influence on modern Chinese society. -/- Based on the latest scholarship but presented in accessible language, Neo-Confucianism: A Philosophical Introduction is organized around themes that are central in Neo-Confucian philosophy, including the structure of the cosmos, human nature, ways (...) of knowing, personal cultivation, and approaches to governance. The authors thus accomplish two things at once: they present the Neo-Confucians in their own, distinctive terms; and they enable contemporary readers to grasp what is at stake in the great Neo-Confucian debates. (shrink)
FEW HEROES LOWER their sights in the prime of their lives; triumph leads inexorably on, often to destruction. Alexander wept because he had no new worlds to conquer; Napoleon, overextended, sealed his doom in the depth of a Russian winter. But Charles Darwin did not follow the Origin of Species (1859) with a general defense of natural selection or with its evident extension to human evolution (he waited until 1871 to publish The Descent of Man). Instead, he wrote his most (...) obscure work, a book entitled: On the Various Contrivances by Which British and Foreign Orchids Are Fertilized by Insects (1862). (shrink)
Can normative words like "good," "ought," and "reason" be defined in non-normative terms? Stephen Finlay argues that they can, advancing a new theory of the meaning of this language and providing pragmatic explanations of the specially problematic features of its moral and deliberative uses which comprise the puzzles of metaethics.
Mimesis is one of the oldest, most fundamental concepts in Western aesthetics. This book offers a new, searching treatment of its long history at the center of theories of representational art: above all, in the highly influential writings of Plato and Aristotle, but also in later Greco-Roman philosophy and criticism, and subsequently in many areas of aesthetic controversy from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Combining classical scholarship, philosophical analysis, and the history of ideas--and ranging across discussion of poetry, painting, (...) and music--Stephen Halliwell shows with a wealth of detail how mimesis, at all stages of its evolution, has been a more complex, variable concept than its conventional translation of "imitation" can now convey. Far from providing a static model of artistic representation, mimesis has generated many different models of art, encompassing a spectrum of positions from realism to idealism. Under the influence of Platonist and Aristotelian paradigms, mimesis has been a crux of debate between proponents of what Halliwell calls "world-reflecting" and "world-simulating" theories of representation in both the visual and musico-poetic arts. This debate is about not only the fraught relationship between art and reality but also the psychology and ethics of how we experience and are affected by mimetic art. Moving expertly between ancient and modern traditions, Halliwell contends that the history of mimesis hinges on problems that continue to be of urgent concern for contemporary aesthetics. (shrink)
How might epistemology build upon its past and present, so as to be better in the future? Epistemology Futures takes bold steps towards answering that question. What methods will best serve epistemology? Which phenomena and concepts deserve more attention from it? Are there approaches and assumptions that have impeded its progress until now? This volume contains provocative essays by prominent epistemologists, presenting many new ideas for possible improvements in how to do epistemology. Contributors: Paul M. Churchland, Catherine Z. Elgin, Richard (...) Feldman, A. C. Grayling, Stephen Hetherington, Christopher Hookway, Hilary Kornblith, Mark Kaplan, William G. Lycan, Adam Morton, Jonathan M. Weinberg, Linda Zagzebski. (shrink)
The authors of Habits of the Heart charge that America is losing the institutions that help “to create the kind of person who could sustain a connection to a wider political community and thus ultimately support the maintenance of free institutions.” Bellah fears that “individualism may have grown cancerous – that it may be destroying those social integuments that Tocqueville saw as moderating its more destructive potentials, that it may be threatening the survival of freedom itself.” Proponents of the liberal (...) free market order should, I will argue, take seriously the concerns that motivate Bellah and company: citizens of a liberal regime cannot live by exchanges alone. Liberal constitutionalism depends upon a certain level and quality of citizen virtue. But while the need for virtue is often neglected by liberal theorists, it is far from clear that the actual workings of liberal institutions have drastically undermined virtue in the way Bellah's dire account suggests. That analysis serves, moreover, as the springboard for a radically transformist argument that seeks, not so much to elevate and shape, but to transcend and deny, the self-interestedness that the free market exercises. Having argued against Bellah's analysis and prescriptions, I shall attempt to show how the phenomena he describes are open to an interpretation that is happier from the point of view of a concern with virtue. I shall end by using Tocqueville to suggest that combining liberal capitalism with intermediate associations like voluntary groups and state and local government helps elevate and shape self-interest, promoting a citizenry capable of and insistent upon liberal self-government. (shrink)
When philosophers try to understand the nature of knowledge, they have to confront the Gettier problem. This problem, set out in Edmund Gettier's famous paper of 1963, has yet to be solved, and has challenged our best attempts to define what knowledge is. This volume offers an organised sequence of accessible and distinctive chapters explaining the history of debate surrounding Gettier's challenge, and where that debate should take us next. The chapters describe and evaluate a wide range of ideas about (...) knowledge that have been sparked by philosophical engagements with the Gettier problem, including such phenomena as fallibility, reasoning, evidence, reliability, truth-tracking, context, luck, intellectual virtue, wisdom, conceptual analysis, intuition, experimental philosophy, and explication. The result is an authoritative survey of fifty-plus years of epistemological research - along with provocative ideas for future research – into the nature of knowledge. (shrink)
This paper seeks to explore the implementation of corporate ethical culture and policies as an adjunct to formal forms of corporate governance. The insurance industry utilises a variety of external governance structures, but is almost unique in that stock companies (which are exposed to an external market for corporate control) and mutual companies (which are owned by a subset of their customers) are in active competition. A questionnaire survey of senior executives in U.K. insurance companies was undertaken to explore the (...) implementation of ethical policies and codes, to investigate ethical attitudes, and to analyze the extent to which these policies and attitudes varied among companies. The results suggest that ethical policies have a higher profile and ethical attitudes and behaviour are more positive in mutual as opposed to stock insurance companies. These findings support the contention that a strong corporate ethical culture may be utilised to enhance formal corporate governance instruments. (shrink)
Stephen Cole Kleene was one of the greatest logicians of the twentieth century and this book is the influential textbook he wrote to teach the subject to the next generation. It was first published in 1952, some twenty years after the publication of Godel's paper on the incompleteness of arithmetic, which marked, if not the beginning of modern logic. The 1930s was a time of creativity and ferment in the subject, when the notion of computable moved from the realm (...) of philosophical speculation to the realm of science. This was accomplished by the work of Kurt Gode1, Alan Turing, and Alonzo Church, who gave three apparently different precise definitions of computable. When they all turned out to be equivalent, there was a collective realization that this was indeed the right notion. Kleene played a key role in this process. One could say that he was there at the beginning of modern logic. He showed the equivalence of lambda calculus with Turing machines and with Godel's recursion equations, and developed the modern machinery of partial recursive functions. This textbook played an invaluable part in educating the logicians of the present. It played an important role in their own logical education.". (shrink)
Tracing the leading role of emotions in the evolution of the mind, a philosopher and a psychologist pair up to reveal how thought and culture owe less to our faculty for reason than to our capacity to feel. Many accounts of the human mind concentrate on the brain’s computational power. Yet, in evolutionary terms, rational cognition emerged only the day before yesterday. For nearly 200 million years before humans developed a capacity to reason, the emotional centers of the brain were (...) hard at work. If we want to properly understand the evolution of the mind, we must explore this more primal capability that we share with other animals: the power to feel. Emotions saturate every thought and perception with the weight of feelings. The Emotional Mind reveals that many of the distinctive behaviors and social structures of our species are best discerned through the lens of emotions. Even the roots of so much that makes us uniquely human—art, mythology, religion—can be traced to feelings of caring, longing, fear, loneliness, awe, rage, lust, playfulness, and more. From prehistoric cave art to the songs of Hank Williams, Stephen T. Asma and Rami Gabriel explore how the evolution of the emotional mind stimulated our species’ cultural expression in all its rich variety. Bringing together insights and data from philosophy, biology, anthropology, neuroscience, and psychology, The Emotional Mind offers a new paradigm for understanding what it is that makes us so unique. (shrink)
Stephen Toulmin argues that the potential for reason to improve our lives has been hampered by a serious imbalance in our pursuit of knowledge. The centuries-old dominance of rationality has diminished the value of reasonableness. Toulmin issues a powerful call to redress the balance between rationality and reasonableness.
Theories of economic justice are characteristically based on abstract ethical concerns often unrelated to practical distributive results. Two decades ago, Rawls's theory of justice began as a reaction against the alleged ‘sacrifices’ condoned by utilitarian theory. One variant of this objection is that utilitarianism permits gross inequalities, severe deprivations of individual liberty, or even the enslavement of society's least well-off individuals. There are, however, more subtle forms of the objection. In Rawls, it is often waged without any claim that utilitarianism (...) does in fact imply such gross deprivations in actual realworld circumstances. A second variant hinges, rather, on the milder claim that utilitarianism could condone such deprivations or sacrifices in some possible world—the objection being that utilitarianism improperly makes justice contingent, or uncertain, in this way. A third, still more abstract, variant would be that utilitarianism is flawed—not because of any practical distributive result, actual or hypothetical, but in theory —due to the way it treats individuals' interests, or the ‘concept of persons’ it presupposes. (shrink)
RESUMEN Largamente desatendida o malinterpretada, la noción de caos en la filosofía de Nietzsche es una pieza constitutiva de la particular concepción del ser que este autor habría dejado apenas esbozada. El artículo se propone elaborar este concepto en la obra nietzscheana, siguiendo algunas de las metáforas que lo iluminan. Desde allí se busca plantear los rasgos centrales de una ontologia del caos, de sesgo no metafísico, que, al afirmar el carácter acontecimental de la realidad, puede verse como precursora de (...) la ontología hermenéutica contemporánea. ABSTRACT The notion of chaos, which has long been neglected or misinterpreted, is a constitutive element of a peculiar conception of being that the philosopher only had time to outline. The objective of this article is to elaborate on this concept in Nietzschean philosophy, guided by some of the metaphors that shed light on it. This serves as the basis to set forth the main characteristics of a non-metaphysical ontology of chaos that asserts the eventful nature of reality and can thus be seen as a precursor of contemporary hermeneutic ontology. (shrink)
A comprehensive reassessment of the concept of mimesis in the history of ancient Greek aesthetics and philosophy of art, with particular attention to Plato, Aristotle, Hellenistic philosophy, and neoplatonism. There is also a wide-ranging review of arguments pro and contra the idea of artistic mimesis from the Renaissance to modern literar theory. The book challenges standard accounts in numerous respects and builds a new dialectical model with which to make sense of the entire history of mimeticist thinking in aesthetics.