What kind of life best ensures human welfare? Since the ancient Greeks, this question has been as central to ethical philosophy as to ordinary reflection. But what exactly is welfare? This question has suffered from relative neglect. And, as Stephen Darwall shows, it has done so at a price. Presenting a provocative new "rational care theory of welfare," Darwall proves that a proper understanding of welfare fundamentally changes how we think about what is best for people.Most philosophers have assumed (...) that a person's welfare is what is good from her point of view, namely, what she has a distinctive reason to pursue. In the now standard terminology, welfare is assumed to have an "agent-relative normativity." Darwall by contrast argues that someone's good is what one should want for that person insofar as one cares for her. Welfare, in other words, is normative, but not peculiarly for the person whose welfare is at stake. In addition, Darwall makes the radical proposal that something's contributing to someone's welfare is the same thing as its being something one ought to want for her own sake, insofar as one cares. Darwall defends this theory with clarity, precision, and elegance, and with a subtle understanding of the place of sympathetic concern in the rich psychology of sympathy and empathy. His forceful arguments will change how we understand a concept central to ethics and our understanding of human bonds and human choices. (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)
This collection of original essays on political and legal theory concentrates on themes dealt with in the work of Felix Oppenheim, including fundamental political and legal concepts and their implications for the scope of morality in politics and international relations. Among the issues addressed are the relationship between empirical and normative definitions of "freedom", "power", and "interests", whether governments are free to act against the national interest, and whether they can ever be morally obliged to do so.
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)
On the traditional view, moral distress arises only in cases where an individual believes she knows the morally right thing to do but fails to perform that action due to various constraints. We seek to motivate a broader understanding of moral distress. We begin by presenting six types of distress that fall outside the bounds of the traditional definition and explaining why they should be recognized as forms of moral distress. We then propose and defend a new and more expansive (...) definition of moral distress and examine how it can enable the development of a taxonomy of moral distress. (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)
In this significantly expanded new edition of his acclaimed exploration of the four Alien movies, Stephen Mulhall adds several new chapters on Steven Spielberg’s Mission: Impossible trilogy and Minority Report . The first part of the book discusses the four Alien movies. Mulhall argues that the sexual significance of the aliens themselves, and of Ripley’s resistance to them, takes us deep into the question of what it is to be human. At the heart of the book is a highly (...) original and controversial argument that films themselves can philosophize. Mulhall then applies his interpretative model to another sequence of contemporary Hollywood movies: the Mission: Impossible series. A brand new chapter is devoted to each of the three films in the series, and to other films by the relevant directors that cast light on their individual contribution to it. In this discussion, the nature of television becomes as central a concern as the nature of cinema; and the shift in generic focus from science fiction to thriller also makes room for a detailed reading of Spielberg’s Minority Report . On Film, Second Edition is essential reading for anyone interested in philosophy, film theory and cultural studies, and in the way philosophy can enrich our understanding of cinema. (shrink)
In this book, Stephen Read sets out to rescue logic from its undeserved reputation as an inflexible, dogmatic discipline by demonstrating that its technicalities and processes are founded on assumptions which are themselves amenable to philosophical investigation. He examines the fundamental principles of consequence, logical truth and correct inference within the context of logic, and shows that the principles by which we delineate consequences are themselves not guaranteed free from error. Central to the notion of truth is the beguiling (...) issue of paradox. Its philosophical value, Read shows, lies in exposing the invalid assumption on which the paradox is built. Thinking About Logic also discusses logical puzzles which introduce questions relating to language, the world, and their relationship. (shrink)
The logician's central concern is with the validity of argument. A logical theory ought, therefore, to provide a general criterion of validity. This book sets out to find such a criterion, and to describe the philosophical basis and the formal theory of a logic in which the premises of a valid argument are relevant to its conclusion. The notion of relevance required for this theory is obtained by an analysis of the grounds for asserting a formula in a proof.
The authors investigated the ontological argument computationally. The premises and conclusion of the argument are represented in the syntax understood by the automated reasoning engine PROVER9. Using the logic of definite descriptions, the authors developed a valid representation of the argument that required three non-logical premises. PROVER9, however, discovered a simpler valid argument for God's existence from a single non-logical premise. Reducing the argument to one non-logical premise brings the investigation of the soundness of the argument into better focus. Also, (...) the simpler representation of the argument brings out clearly how the ontological argument constitutes an early example of a ?diagonal argument? and, moreover, one used to establish a positive conclusion rather than a paradox. (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)
The peculiar features of the climate change problem pose substantial obstacles to our ability to make the hard choices necessary to address it. Climate change involves the convergence of a set of global, intergenerational and theoretical problems. This convergence justifies calling it a 'perfect moral storm'. One consequence of this storm is that, even if the other difficult ethical questions surrounding climate change could be answered, we might still find it difficult to act. For the storm makes us extremely vulnerable (...) to moral corruption. (shrink)
Stephen Mumford puts forward a new theory of dispositions, showing how central their role is in metaphysics and philosophy of science. Much of our understanding of the physical and psychological world is expressed in terms of dispositional properties--from the solubility of sugar to the belief that zebras have stripes. Mumford discusses what it means to say that something has a property of this kind, and how dispositions can possibly be real things in the world. His clear, straightforward, realist account (...) reveals them to be less mysterious than they seem, and shows that an understanding of dispositions is essential to an understanding of properties, causation, and scientific laws. (shrink)
This book develops an alternative approach to sentence- and word-meaning, which I dub the speech-act theoretic approach, or STA. Instead of employing the syntactic and semantic forms of modern logic–principally, quantification theory–to construct semantic theories, STA employs speech-act structures. The structures it employs are those postulated by a novel theory of speech-acts. STA develops a compositional semantics in which surface grammar is integrated with semantic interpretation in a way not allowed by standard quantification-based theories. It provides a pragmatic theory of (...) truth, a treatment of logically complex discourse as expressive cognitive states, and a background metaphysics in which the world is a totality of logically simple states of affairs. The book also puts forward an account of how intentional states provide the simple, representational foundation for a superstructure of speech-act structures–a system of thoughts–that far outruns the expressive power of the intentional foundation. In short, it provides an account of cognitive foundations of a language and a naturalistic reduction of semantics through an expressive theory of semantic norms. (shrink)
Edmund Gettier's 1963 verdict about what knowledge is not has become an item of philosophical orthodoxy, accepted by philosophers as a genuine epistemological result. It assures us that - contrary to what Plato and later philosophers have thought - knowledge is not merely a true belief well supported by epistemic justification. But that orthodoxy has generated the Gettier problem - epistemology's continuing struggle to understand how to accommodate Gettier's apparent result within an improved conception of knowledge. In this book, (...) class='Hi'>Stephen Hetherington argues that none of epistemology's standard attempts to solve that problem have succeeded: he shows how subtle yet fundamental mistakes - regarding explication, methodology, properties, modality, and fallibility - have permeated those responses to Gettier's challenge. His fresh and original book outlines a new way of solving the problem, and an improved grasp of Gettier's challenge and its significance is the result. In a sense, Plato can now embrace Gettier. (shrink)
Between the later views of Wittgenstein and those of connectionism 1 on the subject of the mastery of language there is an impressively large number of similarities. The task of establishing this claim is carried out in the second section of this paper.
A critical study of two recent books in climate ethics by Dale Jamieson (Reason in a Dark Time, Oxford 2014), and Darrel Moellendorf (The Moral and Political Challenges of Climate Change, Cambridge 2014).
In today’s multi-cultural world and global economy, attention is often focused on the diversity of cultural values and practices and the need for management approaches to take these differing cultural environments into account. While there is much to be valued in this approach, the focus is often on how to navigate through distinct cultural practices in order to achieve a singular business aim, which falls within the current neoliberal paradigm of global trade. In addition, by focusing on differences in cultural (...) practices, rather than on similarities in underlying values, this approach fails to utilize an important way to achieve a greater degree of global integration in management. Despite striking cultural differences, it is possible to identify some enduring values that underlie what often appear to be quite discrete value paradigms, especially by looking at value paradigms that have endured for centuries, even millennia. This paper proposes to explore the values embedded in two such value paradigms or religious traditions, zen buddhism and Judaism, describing crucial core values in each and comparing and contrasting their ethical frameworks, in order to be able to evaluate their utility in today’s world and especially their significance for creating a more holistic, inclusive, and responsible management framework. The paper will begin by explicating the set of foundational values in each religious tradition. For example, zen buddhism, especially as expressed by Vietnamese monk Thich Nhan Hanh, utilizes the concepts of engaged mindfulness and inter-being to demonstrate the ways in which all global issues are linked together, and the collective responsibility that all humans bear for the state of our planet and the beings who live on it. This approach is inherently holistic and inclusive, and requires a management approach that takes into account the moral responsibility that we all carry. Likewise, the Jewish tradition, while using quite different terminology, also lays out a holistic and inclusive moral vision. Key concepts include the values of Tikkum Olam, to repair the world, and Tsedakah, which literally means justice or righteousness, but is commonly used to indicate charitable giving. The first value, to repair the world, emphasizes the collective moral responsibility to heal whatever damage has been done to the world in order to make the it a better place for all. It does not matter who has done the damage; what matters is each person’s obligation to improve the status quo, under the assumption that all our fates are linked together. The second value, justice and charity, is also considered to be a moral obligation, not simply a voluntary act of charity. The emphasis here is on anonymous giving, done in order to help others and without any expectation of receiving some benefit, such as positive publicity. As a moral obligation, it is not something that one should benefit from. Thus, the concept of tsekakah also emphasizes the inter-connectedness of all humanity. In addition, in the Torah, there are a series of rules about how to deal with others in business as well as the obligation, during harvest-time, to leave some grain in the fields for the less fortunate. In all, we see a focus on being mindful of others, on seeing our fates as interconnected, as in zen buddhism. The last section of the paper will explore some of the ways in which these moral imperatives can be utilized to undergird and buttress a more holistic, inclusive and responsible management approach. Some management models already include moral imperatives, such as corporal social responsibility, and this section will explore in greater detail how the above concepts have been more fully integrated into current management models. (shrink)
Although liberals too often forget it, the health of the liberal publicorder depends on our ability to constitute not only political institutions and limits on power, but appropriate patterns of social lifeand citizen character. Liberal character traits and political virtuesdo not, after all, come about “naturally” or by the deliverance of an “invisible hand.” Even Adam Smith did not think that, as we will see below. Harry Eckstein gets closer to themark by suggesting that “stable governments…are the productof 'accidental' conjunctions (...) of conditions which do sometimes, but rarely, occur in actual societies.”. (shrink)
Joseph LaPorte in an article on `Kind and Rigidity'(Philosophical Studies, Volume 97) resurrects an oldsolution to the problem of how to understand the rigidityof kind terms and other general terms. Despite LaPorte'sarguments to the contrary, his solution trivializes thenotion of rigidity when applied to general terms. Hisarguments do lead to an important insight however. Thenotions of rigidity and non-rigidity do not usefullyapply at all to kind or other general terms. Extendingthe notion of rigidity from singular terms such as propernames to (...) general terms such as natural kind terms is amistake. (shrink)
A central theme throughout the impressive series of philosophical books and articles Stephen Toulmin has published since 1948 is the way in which assertions and opinions concerning all sorts of topics, brought up in everyday life or in academic research, can be rationally justified. Is there one universal system of norms, by which all sorts of arguments in all sorts of fields must be judged, or must each sort of argument be judged according to its own norms? In The (...) Uses of Argument Toulmin sets out his views on these questions for the first time. In spite of initial criticisms from logicians and fellow philosophers, The Uses of Argument has been an enduring source of inspiration and discussion to students of argumentation from all kinds of disciplinary background for more than forty years. (shrink)
Philosophical Perspectives on Art presents a series of essays devoted to two of the most fundamental topics in the philosophy of art: the distinctive character of artworks and what is involved in understanding them as art. In Part I, Stephen Davies considers a wide range of questions about the nature and definition of art. Can art be defined, and if so, which definitions are the most plausible? Do we make and consume art because there are evolutionary advantages to doing (...) so? Has art completed the mission that guided its earlier historical development, and if so, what is to become of it now? Should architecture be classified as an art form? -/- Part II turns to the interpretation and appreciation of art. What is the target and purpose of the critic's interpretation? Is interpretation primarily directed at uncovering artists' intended meanings? Can apparently contradictory interpretations of a given piece both be true? Are interpretative evaluations entailed by descriptions of a work's aesthetic and artistic characteristics? In addition to providing fresh answers to these and other central questions in aesthetics, Davies considers the nature and content of metaphor, and the relation between the expressive qualities of a work of art and the emotions of its creator. (shrink)
Though Frege was interested primarily in reducing mathematics to logic, he succeeded in reducing an important part of logic to mathematics by defining relations in terms of functions. By contrast, Whitehead & Russell reduced an important part of mathematics to logic by defining functions in terms of relations (using the definite description operator). We argue that there is a reason to prefer Whitehead & Russell's reduction of functions to relations over Frege's reduction of relations to functions. There is an interesting (...) system having a logic that can be properly characterized in relational but not in functional type theory. This shows that relational type theory is more general than functional type theory. The simplification offered by Church in his functional type theory is an over-simplification: one can't assimilate predication to functional application.<br>. (shrink)
Stephen Schiffer presents a groundbreaking account of meaning and belief, and shows how it can illuminate a range of crucial problems regarding language, mind, knowledge, and ontology. He introduces the new doctrine of 'pleonastic propositions' to explain what the things we mean and believe are. He discusses the relation between semantic and psychological facts, on the one hand, and physical facts, on the other; vagueness and indeterminacy; moral truth; conditionals; and the role of propositional content in information acquisition and (...) explanation. This radical new treatment of meaning will command the attention of everyone who works on fundamental questions about language, and will attract much interest from other areas of philosophy. (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.
The social and environmental problems that we face at this tail end of twentieth-century progress require us to identify some cause, some spirit that transcends the petty limits of our time and place. It is easy to believe that there is no crisis. We have been told too often that the oceans will soon die, the air be poisonous, our energy reserves run dry; that the world will grow warmer, coastlands be flooded and the climate change; that plague, famine and (...) war will be the necessary checks on population growth. But here we are: sufficiently healthy and well-fed, connoisseurs of far-off catastrophe and horror movies, confident that something will turn up or that the prophecies of doom were only dreams. We are the descendants, after all, of creatures who did not despair, who hoped against hope that there would still be life tomorrow. We no more believe in the world's end than we believe that soldiers could break down the door and drag us off to torture and to death: we don't believe that they could even when we know that, somewhere altogether elsewhere, they did. Even if we can force ourselves to remember other ages, other lands or other classes, we are content enough. (shrink)
I have been asked to consider two questions: How Christian ‘oughts’ are related to Christian ‘is-es’, and, What does Christianity take flourishing to be? The background to these questions is that Christian ethics have traditionally been taken, both by supporters and opponents, as au ethic of creature-hood, sometimes quite crudely conceived. It is a sketch, but by no means a caricature, of a great deal of standard Christian thinking, to depict it as answering the two questions as follows: God is (...) your Creator: therefore you ought to obey him. The end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him for ever. (shrink)
Page generated Sun Aug 1 11:24:13 2021 on philpapers-web-65948fd446-wp78j
cache stats: hit=361, miss=1022, save= autohandler : 1153 ms called component : 1137 ms search.pl : 850 ms render loop : 542 ms addfields : 343 ms initIterator : 305 ms publicCats : 225 ms autosense : 205 ms match_other : 180 ms retrieve cache object : 153 ms next : 152 ms quotes : 105 ms menu : 71 ms search_quotes : 53 ms match_cats : 23 ms prepCit : 18 ms save cache object : 18 ms applytpl : 4 ms match_authors : 1 ms intermediate : 1 ms init renderer : 0 ms setup : 0 ms auth : 0 ms writelog : 0 ms