An examination of the contemporary Italian movement associated with M. P. Sciacca, and the serious application of dialectical and phenomenological methods to unveil the structure of "intentionality" or "spirit." An appraisal of Sciacca together with a sample critique of Dante follows a competent summary of the prevailing positions.--D. B. B.
John Finnis's powerfully and deservedly influential modern classic, Natural Law and Natural Rights, expounds a theory of law and morality that is based on a picture of “persons” using practical reason to pursue certain “basic goods.” While devoting much attention to practical reason and to the goods, however, Finnis says little about the nature of personhood. This relative inattention to what “persons” are creates a risk—one that Finnis himself notices—of assuming or importing an inadequate anthropology. This essay suggests that the (...) “new natural law” developed by Finnis suffers in places from the inadvertent adoption of a flawed anthropology—an anthropology under the thrall of modern individualistic commitments. To explain this suspicion, this article discusses three difficulties in his natural law theory: difficulties in accounting for the basic good of friendship, for obligations we owe to others, and for legal authority. These difficulties may seem disconnected, but this article suggests that they may all reflect an inadequate anthropology—one that Finnis does not exactly embrace but that is pervasive today and that in places may affect his theorizing. (shrink)
This review is a critical evaluation of the main points of Steven D. Hales’ significant book: Relativism and the Foundations of Philosophy. To that end, I will first summarize his major line of argument pointing out to the richness and significance of the book. After that, I will argue that Hales’ account of intuition is subject to the challenge shown by some recent works written on the topic, and that it postulates a concept of knowledge that opposes Gettier’s one, (...) without arguing why it is so. And, I will show that except rational intuition, none of the methods adopted by Hales are adequate to acquire beliefs about philosophical propositions. Next, I will argue that his method of wide reflective equilibrium is committed to foundationalism and conservatism, and that all what his criticism of skepticism show is that skepticism is true. Also, I will try to show that his form of perspectival relativism is committed to the problem of infinitum; it is incompatible with his foundationalism. It is powerless regarding some forms of skepticism, sharing the same source with some others. It is not progressive, and not perspectival enough regarding Goldman’s view, naturalists’ view, and its alternatives. And, if it is perspectival enough, then it refutes itself. (shrink)
1. Introduction The policy of deterrence, at least to avert nuclear war between the superpowers, has been a controversial one. The main controversy arises from the threat of each side to visit destruction on the other in response to an initial attack. This threat would seem irrational if carrying it out would lead to a nuclear holocaust – the worst outcome for both sides. Instead, it would seem better for the side attacked to suffer some destruction rather than to retaliate (...) in kind and, in the process of devastating the other side, seal its own doom in an all-out nuclear exchange. Yet, the superpowers persist in their adherence to deterrence, by which we mean a policy of threatening to retaliate to an attack by the other side in order to deter such an attack in the first place. To be sure, nuclear doctrine for implementing deterrence has evolved over the years, with such appellations as “massive retaliation,” “flexible response,” “mutual assured destruction”, and “counterforce” giving some flavor of the changes in United States strategic thinking. All such doctrines, however, entail some kind of response to a Soviet nuclear attack. They are operationalized in terms of preselected targets to be hit, depending on the perceived nature and magnitude of the attack. Thus, whether U.S. strategic policy at any time stresses a retaliatory attack on cities and industrial centers or on weapons systems and armed forces, the certainty of a response of some kind to an attack is not the issue. (shrink)
Humans possess great capacity for behavioral and cultural change, but our ability to manage change is still limited. This article has two major objectives: first, to sketch a basic science of intentional change centered on evolution; second, to provide examples of intentional behavioral and cultural change from the applied behavioral sciences, which are largely unknown to the basic sciences community.All species have evolved mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity that enable them to respond adaptively to their environments. Some mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity (...) count as evolutionary processes in their own right. The human capacity for symbolic thought provides an inheritance system having the same kind of combinatorial diversity as does genetic recombination and antibody formation. Taking these propositions seriously allows an integration of major traditions within the basic behavioral sciences, such as behaviorism, social constructivism, social psychology, cognitive psychology, and evolutionary psychology, which are often isolated and even conceptualized as opposed to one another.The applied behavioral sciences include well-validated examples of successfully managing behavioral and cultural change at scales ranging from individuals to small groups to large populations. However, these examples are largely unknown beyond their disciplinary boundaries, for lack of a unifying theoretical framework. Viewed from an evolutionary perspective, they are examples of managing evolved mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity, including open-ended processes of variation and selection.Once the many branches of the basic and applied behavioral sciences become conceptually unified, we are closer to a science of intentional change than one might think. (shrink)
Steven D. Martinson - Schiller as Philosopher: A Re-Examination - Journal of the History of Philosophy 45:4 Journal of the History of Philosophy 45.4 663-664 Muse Search Journals This Journal Contents Reviewed by Steven D. Martinson University of Arizona Frederick Beiser. Schiller as Philosopher: A Re-Examination. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005. Pp. xiv + 283. Cloth, $74.00. Beiser offers a sound and sensible account of the philosophical work of Friedrich Schiller . He invites philosophers to take Schiller's philosophy much (...) more seriously than they have in the past. The call is compelling since, as the author argues, only very rarely in the history of philosophy "has such sophisticated theory been.. (shrink)
Group selection is increasingly being viewed as an important force in human evolution. This paper examines the views of R.D. Alexander, one of the most influential thinkers about human behavior from an evolutionary perspective, on the subject of group selection. Alexander's general conception of evolution is based on the gene-centered approach of G.C. Williams, but he has also emphasized a potential role for group selection in the evolution of individual genomes and in human evolution. Alexander's views are internally inconsistent and (...) underestimate the importance of group selection. Specific themes that Alexander has developed in his account of human evolution are important but are best understood within the framework of multilevel selection theory. From this perspective, Alexander's views on moral systems are not the radical departure from conventional views that he claims, but remain radical in another way more compatible with conventional views. (shrink)
Attempting to realize Plato's vision of a republic governed by "reason," American constitutionalists, according to Steven D. Smith's bold new critical study, have instead reenacted the Tower of Babel myth, producing a constitutional discourse marked by rampant confusion, elaborate sophistry, and thinly veiled authoritarian bullying. How is it that the pursuit of such lofty aims by yesterday's framers and today's scholars has left us mired in a constitutional morass?This timely book ponders that question with the intellectual vigor it deserves. (...) Observing that standard accounts of constitutional law--both the "conservative" and "liberal" varieties--have lost their power to illuminate, The Constitution and the Pride of Reason explores how constitutional law hangs together by investigating the perennial claim that the Constitution and its interpretation somehow embody a commitment to governance by "reason." What does this claim mean, and is it valid? In confronting these queries, Smith offers revealing and iconoclastic assessments of constitutionalists ranging from Madison and Jefferson to Dworkin and Bork. Also detailed in these pages is a provocative overview of the whole constitutional project, from its noble aspirations to its tragic failures.A truly visionary work that investigates the scholarship, the design, and the history of the quintessential American legal document, this volume also sensibly reflects on the meaning and possibility of the ethical commitment to the "life of reason." It will appeal not only to students of constitutional law but also to those interested in political science, philosophy, and American history. (shrink)
Featuring nine new articles chosen by coeditor Steven M. Cahn, the third edition of E. D. Klemke's The Meaning of Life offers twenty-two insightful selections that explore this fascinating topic. The essays are primarily by philosophers but also include materials from literary figures and religious thinkers. As in previous editions, the readings are organized around three themes. In Part I the articles defend the view that without faith in God, life has no meaning or purpose. In Part II the (...) selections oppose this claim, defending instead a nontheistic, humanistic alternative--that life can have meaning even in the absence of theistic commitment. In Part III the contributors ask whether the question of the meaning of life is itself meaningful. The third edition adds substantial essays by Moritz Schlick, Joel Feinberg, and John Kekes as well as selections from the writings of Louis P. Pojman, Emil L. Fackenheim, Robert Nozick, Susan Wolf, and Steven M. Cahn. The only anthology of its kind, The Meaning of Life: A Reader, Third Edition, is ideal for courses in introduction to philosophy, human nature, and the meaning of life. It also offers general readers an accessible and stimulating introduction to the subject. (shrink)
Featuring nine new articles chosen by coeditor, Steven M. Cahn, the third edition of E. D. Klemke's The Meaning of Life offers twenty-two insightful selections that explore this fascinating topic. The essays are primarily by philosophers but also include materials from literary figures and religious thinkers. As in previous editions, the readings are organized around three themes. In Part I the articles defend the view that without faith in God, life has no meaning or purpose. In Part II the (...) selections oppose this claim, defending instead a nontheistic, humanistic alternative--that life can have meaning even in the absence of theistic commitment. In Part III the contributors ask whether the question of the meaning of life is itself meaningful. The third edition adds substantial essays by Moritz Schlick, Joel Feinberg, and John Kekes as well as selections from the writings of Louis P. Pojman, Emil L. Fackenheim, Robert Nozick, Susan Wolf, and Steven M. Cahn. The only anthology of its kind, The Meaning of Life: A Reader, Third Edition, is ideal for courses in introduction to philosophy, human nature, and the meaning of life. It also offers general readers an accessible and stimulating introduction to the subject. (shrink)
It is a foundational prediction of evolutionary theory that human beliefs accurately approximate reality only insofar as accurate beliefs enhance fitness. Otherwise, adaptive misbeliefs will prevail. Unlike McKay & Dennett (M&D), we think that adaptive belief systems rely heavily upon misbeliefs. However, the case for positive illusions as an example of adaptive misbelief is weak.
The Jeu d'Adam—staged outside a church, sporting an energetic vernacular dialogue—was for Hardin Craig drama “caught in the very act of leaving the church,” as for E. K. Chambers it was a herald of secularization. O. B. Hardison's investigation into the origins of medieval drama has rendered that position untenable, but at the same time has left us with no explanation for this play's innovations. Scholars of the Chambers-Craig tradition at least did not imagine that style is without meaning or (...) that innovation is unmotivated. I want to suggest that the significance of the Adam's dramaturgic novelty can be traced to particular ideological disturbances created by particular developments in ecclesiastical life. The play appropriates the liturgy of public penance to reassert traditional authoritative forms at a time when the disposition of spiritual authority was being reimagined, both in formal theological discussions and in the concrete act of sacramental absolution. The world of historical experience, which Erich Auerbach saw in the realistic vernacular dialogue, finds a place in this play only to be put in its place; the innovations express in a new way the old idea that submission to the ecclesiastical hierarchy is a healthy way to live. In placing the action before the church doors the author made the church building not merely the context of the play , but also its subject. (shrink)
Joanna Crosby and Dianna Taylor: The theme of this special section of Foucault Studies, “Foucauldian Spaces,” emerged out of the 2016 meeting of the Foucault Circle, where the four of you were participants. Each of the three individual papers contained in the special section critically deploys and/or reconceptualizes an aspect of Foucault’s work that engages and offers particular insight into the construction, experience, and utilization of space. We’d like to ask the four of you to reflect on what makes a (...) space Foucauldian, and whether or not you’d consider the space created by the convergence of and intellectual exchanges among an international group of Foucault scholars at the University of New South Wales in the summer of 2016 to be Foucauldian. (shrink)
A Brazilian perspective on philosophy and history of science Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9635-0 Authors Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Book notice Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-1 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9591-8 Authors Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
The grand and sweeping claims of many relativists might seem to amount to the argument that everything is relative--except the thesis of relativism. In this book, Steven Hales defends relativism, but in a more circumscribed form that applies specifically to philosophical propositions. His claim is that philosophical propositions are relatively true--true in some perspectives and false in others. Hales defends this argument first by examining rational intuition as the method by which philosophers come to have the beliefs they do. (...) Analytic rationalism, he claims, has a foundational reliance on rational intuition as a method of acquiring basic beliefs. He then argues that there are other methods that people use to gain beliefs about philosophical topics that are strikingly analogous to rational intuition and examines two of these: Christian revelation and the ritual use of hallucinogens. Hales argues that rational intuition is not epistemically superior to either of these alternative methods. There are only three possible outcomes: we have no philosophical knowledge ; there are no philosophical propositions ; or there are knowable philosophical propositions, but our knowledge of them is relative to doxastic perspective. Hales defends relativism against the charge that it is self-refuting and answers a variety of objections to this account of relativism. Finally, he examines the most sweeping objection to relativism: that philosophical propositions are not merely relatively true, because there are no philosophical propositions--all propositions are ultimately empirical, as the naturalists contend. Hales's somewhat disturbing conclusion--that intuition-driven philosophy does produce knowledge, but not absolute knowledge--is sure to inspire debate among philosophers. (shrink)