These essays represent an important contribution to modern philosophical theology. They begin with an appreciation of Basil Mitchell's work and then discuss the role of reason in the justification of Christian theism, giving special attention to the nature of informal reasoning in religion and science. The latter essays examine particular arguments raised by specific religious concepts, covering such topics as the problem of evil, conspicuous sanctity, atonement, and the Eucharist. Drawn from a wide spectrum of philosophers and theologians, the (...) contributors include Maurice Wiles, Grace M. Jantzen, Gordon Kaufman, J.R. Lucas, Rom Harr'e, Richard Swinburne, and Michael Dummett. (shrink)
This review serves the function of assessing Dawkins "The God Delusion". The thesis of “The God Delusion” is that there is no scientific evidence for a god, or other supernatural entity. Dawkins makes his case through a twofold approach where he discusses the horrors of theology and shows how evolution (science) works independent of a creator. The author of this review will make the case the Dawkins was not successful in meeting the criteria, in order to meet the threshold of (...) his thesis. (shrink)
Near the beginning of the last chapter of Life's Dominion, Ronald Dworkin expounds the following problem. Margo has Alzheimer's disease. She suffers from ‘serious and permanent dementia’. It transpires that some years ago, at a time when she was mentally fully competent, Margo executed an advance directive. In this formal document she expressed her wishes concerning what should happen to her if she were to develop Alzheimer's. Should those wishes now be acceded to? For instance, suppose that in her document (...) Margo directed that she should not receive treatment for any life-threatening illness she might contract. Should a doctor therefore now refrain from such treatment? What if, more than this, Margo indicated in her will that after the definitive onset of Alzheimer's ‘she should be killed as soon and as painlessly as possible’? Could it possibly be right to grant that request? (shrink)
It is a pity that the question about the proper purpose of law has so often been formulated in terms of ‘the enforcement of morals’. Not only is that issue highly charged with emotion, but the sense of the expression is unclear and, taken in any ordinary sense, its importance is marginal. What Lord Devlin seems chiefly to be arguing, when he supports the enforcement of morals, is that there are in any society certain central institutions which receive and deserve (...) protection by law and that without such protection the society in question would disintegrate. His examples in our own society are monogamy and private property. It is true that these institutions are closely bound up with parts of our morality in two different ways: certain moral prohibitions are defined in terms of them, e.g. adultery and theft; a host of obligations is associated with them upon whose general acceptance and discharge their continuance depends. But it is only in an extended sense that one could describe the institutions themselves as parts of the common morality. It is possible, therefore, to hold that the law may properly be used to protect such institutions without necessarily taking the further step of maintaining that their protection requires and justifies legal prohibition of acts which offend against the associated morality. Professor Hart states this position clearly : ‘What is essential and to be preserved is the essential core. On this footing it would be an open and empirical question whether any particular moral rule or veto, e.g. on homosexuality, adultery or fornication, is so organically connected with the central core that its maintenance and preservation is required as a vital outwork or bastion.’. (shrink)
‘I can't believe that,’ said Alice. ‘Can't you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath and shut your eyes.’ Alice laughed. ‘There's no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can't believe impossible things.’ ‘I dare say you haven't had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘Why sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’.
_Repair of the Soul_ examines transformation from the perspective of Jewish mysticism and psychoanalysis, addressing the question of how one achieves self-understanding that leads not only to insight but also to meaningful change. In this beautifully written and thought-provoking book, Karen Starr draws upon a contemporary relational approach to psychoanalysis to explore the spiritual dimension of psychic change within the context of the psychoanalytic relationship. Influenced by the work of Lewis Aron, StevenMitchell and other relational theorists, and (...) drawing upon contemporary scholarship in the field of Jewish studies, Starr brings the ideas of the Kabbalah, the ancient Jewish mystical tradition, into dialogue with modern psychoanalytic thought. _Repair of the Soul_ provides a scholarly integration of several kabbalistic and psychoanalytic themes relating to transformation, including faith, surrender, authenticity, and mutuality, as well as a unique exploration of the relationship of the individual to the universal. Starr uses the Kabbalah’s metaphors as a vivid framework with which to illuminate the experience of transformation in psychoanalytic process, and to explore the evolving view of the psychoanalytic relationship as one in which both parties - the analyst as well as the patient - are transformed. (shrink)
Mitchell's formulation of the chemiosmotic theory of oxidative phosphorylation in 1961 lacked any experimental support for its three central postulates. The path by which Mitchell reached this theory is explored. A major factor was the role of Mitchell's philosophical system conceived in his student days at Cambridge. This system appears to have become a tacit influence on his work in the sense that Polanyi understood all knowledge to be generated by an interaction between tacit and explicit knowing. (...) Early in his life Mitchell had evolved a simple philosophy based on fluctoids, fluctids and statids which was developed in a thesis submitted for the Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, England. This aspect of his work was rejected by the examiners and became a tacit element in his intellectual development. It is argued from his various publications that this philosophy can be traced as an underlying theme behind much of Mitchell's theoretical writing in the 50's leading, through his notion of vectorial metabolism, to the formulation and amplification of the chemiosmotic theory in the sixties. This philosophy formed the basis for Mitchell of his understanding of biological systems and gave him his unique approach to cell biology. (shrink)
In the same year, 1961, Peter D. Mitchell and Robert R.J.P. Williams both put forward hypotheses for the mechanism of oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria and photophosphorylation in chloroplasts. Mitchell's proposal was ultimately adopted and became known as the chemiosmotic theory. Both hypotheses were based on protons and differed markedly from the then prevailing chemical theory originally proposed by E.C. Slater in 1953, which by 1961 was failing to account for a number of experimental observations. Immediately following the publication (...) of Williams 's hypothesis and before his own was published, Mitchell initiated a correspondence. Examination of the letters shows the development of a dispute based on the validity of the proposals, who should have priority and particularly whether Mitchell had drawn on Williams 's work without acknowledgement. We have concluded that Mitchell's proposals were original although it is evident that prior to the correspondence Williams had considered and rejected a proposition similar to Mitchell's theory. However, a major cause of the dispute was the difference in disciplinary backgrounds of Mitchell, a microbial biochemist and Williams, a chemist. (shrink)
This study assessed several ethical issues and judgments facing graduate teaching assistants (GTAs). Psychology GTAs judged the ethics of a number of teaching-related behaviors and rated how frequently they practiced those behaviors. Judgments of how ethical GTAs believed various behaviors to be, and the frequency with which they engaged in them, varied somewhat based on age, gender, training, and other factors. Moreover, several discrepancies were found between ethical judgments and practice. For example, most GTAs judged it unethical to teach without (...) adequate preparation and to ignore unethical behavior of faculty, but most reported practicing these behaviors at least on occasion. These data highlight the risk for unethical behavior among GTAs and the lack of preparation for dealing with that risk. (shrink)
Attempts to solve the puzzling problem of oxidative phosphorylation led to four very different hypotheses each of which suggested a different view of the ATP synthase, the phosphorylating enzyme. During the 1960s and 1970s evidence began to accumulate which rendered Peter Mitchell’s chemiosmotic hypothesis, the novel part of which was the proton translocating ATP synthase (ATPase), a plausible explanation. The conformational hypothesis of Paul Boyer implied an enzyme where ATP synthesis was driven by the energy of conformational changes in (...) the respiratory proteins. This was finally abandoned as an explanation of the overall process. Nevertheless the conformational understanding of the enzyme became an acceptable proposal during the early 1970s and eventually led Boyer to a view of the enzyme that incorporated both hypotheses. The correspondence between Mitchell and Boyer, both Nobel laureates, exposes their different approaches to both this enzyme and to the hypotheses of oxidative phosphorylation and illuminates a key step in the development of bioenergetics. In particular Boyer was suspicious of proton gradients, because he could not envisage a chemical mechanism for the synthesis of ATP, while Mitchell distrusted conformational arguments because he believed the proton must act vectorially at the active site of the enzyme. This resulted in two different views of the mechanisms operating in this enzyme. Ultimately while Boyer was able to marry the two approaches, Mitchell retained his insistence on the role of the proton at the active site and was thus unable to give significance to Boyer’s conformational ideas. The underlying issues in this debate are discussed particularly with reference to the differing styles of Boyer and Mitchell and the influence of molecular biology, especially the development of protein technology. (shrink)
Through a glass darkly / Joshua Mitchell -- Skepticism, self, and toleration in Montaigne's political thought / Alan Levine -- French free-thinkers in the first decades of the Edict of Nantes / Maryanne Cline Horowitz -- Descartes and the question of toleration / Michael Gillepsie -- Toleration and the skepticism of religion in Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus / Steven B. Smith -- Monopolizing faith / Alan Houston -- Skepticism and toleration in Hobbes' political thought / Shirley Letwin -- John (...) Locke and the foundations of toleration / Nathan Tarcov -- Pierre Bayle's atheist politics / Kenneth R. Weinstein -- Of believers and barbarians / Diana Schaub -- Tolerant skepticism of Voltaire and Diderot / Patrick Riley. (shrink)
First, I briefly recapitulate the main points of Rosen’s article, namely, that the word “Being” does not adequately signify the paradoxical unification of subject and object and that the Klein bottle can serve as a more appropriate sign -vehicle than the word. I then propose to apply his insight more widely; however, in order to do that, it is first necessary to identify infra- and exostructures of language, including culture, category structure, logic, metaphor, semantics, syntax, concept, and sign vehicles, that (...) preserve the status quo and keep subject and object disjunct. After analyzing those infra/exostructures, I engage a complementary process of integrating them, coagula, in order to spark ideas for innovating ways in which more of those facets of language can embrace paradox. (shrink)
This is a collection of 13 essays honoring Steven Cahn, presented to him on the occasion of his 25th year as Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York. The essays address issues concerning the teaching of philosophy, the responsibilities of professors, and the good life.
Steven Pinker's "Enlightenment NOW" is in many ways a terrific book, from which I have learnt much. But it is also deeply flawed. Science and reason are at the heart of the book, but the conceptions that Steven Pinker defends are damagingly irrational. And these defective conceptions of science and reason, as a result of being associated with the Enlightenment Programme for the past two or three centuries, have been responsible, in part, for the genesis of the global (...) problems we now suffer from, and our current inability to deal with them properly. There is not a glimmering of an awareness of any of this in Pinker’s book. This flaw in Enlightenment NOW is serious indeed. (shrink)
In "How Do We Know It Is Now Now?" David Braddon-Mitchell (Analysis 2004) develops an objection to the thesis that the past is real but the future is not. He notes my response to this, namely that the past, although real, is lifeless and (a fortiori?) lacking in sentience. He argues, however, that this response, which I call 'the past is dead hypothesis', is not tenable if combined with 'special relativity'. My purpose in this reply is to argue that, (...) on the contrary, 'special relativity' supports the thesis that the future is unreal. (shrink)
Two environmental accidents in the mining industry provide the context for this study of the Mitchell, Agle, and Wood (1997, The Academy of Management Review 22, 853–886) analysis of stakeholder salience. I examine the reactions of two stakeholder groups: shareholder response is examined in terms of changing share returns and risk; management response through change in disclosure. I find the two decision-makers reacted at different times. Management responded to the first accident, though not the second. Shareholders responded to the (...) second accident alone. My findings support the Mitchell, Agle, and Wood (MAW) assertion that stakeholder status is impermanent, and determined through the eyes of the decision-maker. (shrink)
Commentary on Andrew Mitchell and Patricia Glazebrook on plants and agriculture in the context of Heidegger's own reflections on botany and technology in which I discuss, bees, cell phone radiation, the relatively complex but fairly obvious sociological dynamics of science and powerful commercial interests (capital), and mantid copulation.
This paper analyzes S. Weir Mitchell and his son John Kearsley Mitchell’s views on phantom limb pain in late 19th c. America. Drawing on a variety of primary sources including journal articles, letters, and treatises, the paper pioneers analysis of a cache of surveys sent out by the Mitchells that contain amputee Civil War veterans’ own narratives of phantom limb pain. The paper utilizes an approach drawn from the history of ideas, documenting how changing models of medicine and (...) objectivity help explain the Mitchells’s attitudes, practices, and beliefs regarding the enigma of phantom limb pain as experienced by their patients. The paper also assesses concerns over malingering, pain, authenticity, and deception through these intellectual frameworks of somaticism and mechanical objectivity. The paper concludes that much of relevance to the ways in which the Mitchells and other late 19th c. neurologists regarded and treated their patients’ pain is explicable in terms of the larger intellectual frameworks that structured these healers’ ideas about lesionless pain. (shrink)
This paper responds to criticism presented by Steven Bland of my naturalistic approach to epistemic relativism. In my view, the central argument for epistemic relativism derives from the Pyrrhonian problem of the criterion. This opens relativism to an anti-sceptical response. I combine Roderick Chisholm’s particularist response to the problem of the criterion with a reliabilist conception of epistemic warrant. A distinction is made between epistemic norms which provide genuine warrant and those which do not. On the basis of this (...) distinction, we may reject the relativist claim that all epistemic norms have equal standing. I consider three points made by Bland against my position. These relate to epistemic pluralism, the relevance of evolution to epistemic pluralism, and empirical evidence as a basic source of knowledge. (shrink)
Reviews : Zygmunt Bauman, Intimations of Postmodernity ; Steven Seidman and David G. Wagner , Postmodernism and Social Theory ; Stephen Crook, Jan Pakulski and Malcolm Wa ters, Postmodernization: Change in Advanced Society ; Gianni Vattimo, The End of Modernity—Nihilism and Hermeneutics in Post-modern Culture.
Review of: R. Steven Turner, In the Eye's Mind: Vision and the Helmholtz-Hering Controversy. xiv + 338 pp., frontis., illus., figs., tables, bibl., index. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1994.
Steven Crowell’s book is a welcome addition to the literature in phenomenology as well as a demonstration of the importance of phenomenology for those working in other areas of contemporary philosophy, especially those areas of Anglo-American philosophy concerned with normativity, meaning and the philosophy of action. Through a series of thirteen independent but thematically linked essays, he offers a novel account of the importance of normativity to phenomenology, a carefully argued re-thinking of the Husserlian and early Heideggerian accounts of (...) intentionality in light of this account, and ample considerations of the relevance of this reading—and of the classical phenomenological tradition more generally—for broader issues of contemporary philosophical concern.Part I lays out Crowell’s conception of phenomenology as transcendental philosophy in the Kantian tradition and explains his special emphasis on meaning and normativity. He takes as his starting point a very broad conception o .. (shrink)
The “embeddedness” of economic life in social relations has become a productive analytical principle and the basis of a penetrating critique of economic orthodoxy. But this critique raises another important, social and historical question, of how the economy became “disembedded” in the first place – how the multitude of transactions designated (somewhat arbitrarily) as economic were abstracted from the rest of social life and reconstituted as an object, the economy, which behaves according to its own logic. This article investigates the (...) social sources of some innovations in economic thought that contributed to the emergence of the economy, particularly statistical indicators and mechanical models. By examining the redefinitions of the object of economic research developed by Irving Fisher and Wesley Mitchell in the 1890s and the first decades of the twentieth century, I argue that the abstraction of the economy from the remainder of social life was a strategy linked to the position of these innovators within the field of economics, conceived as a social structure. Possessing a specialized scientific cultural capital, but lacking upper class background, contacts, and dispositions that characterized the founders of academic economics, Fisher and Mitchell elaborated new definitions of their discipline's object of study, and a new type of economic expertise. (shrink)
In their essay 'Living Well', Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano argue that to live a meaningful life all we must do is find personal satisfaction and enjoyment. They argue against other philosophers who claim that 'objectively valuable' activities are what make a life meaningful. There are two problems with what they argue in the essay. The first relates to a particular criticism they make of some of those philosophers taking the contrary view, in regards to the difficulty those (...) philosophers have in deeming what is and is not of objective value. The second is more specifically to do with Cahn's and Vitrano's rejection of the idea that objectively valuable activities are what make a life meaningful, worthwhile. But both problems result from their introducing morality as relevant to what makes a life meaningful or not. (shrink)
In seinem neuen Buch vertieft Steven Crowell seine Auffassung der Phänomenologie als Transzendentalphilosophie, die es mit dem normativen Raum des Sinnes (space of meaning) zu tun habe (vgl. Crowell 2001). Sowohl Husserl als auch Heidegger führen aus seiner Sicht innerhalb der Phänomenologie die kantische Tradition der Transzendentalphilosophie weiter, indem sie der Frage nach den „transzendentalen Bedingungen der Konstitution oder Enthüllung des Sinnes“ (S. 1) nachgehen.Vgl. auch den von Steven Crowell mit herausgegebenen Band Transcendental Heidegger (2007). Da der Sinn (...) aber Crowell zufolge Normativität impliziert, hat die von ihm vertretene phänomenologische Transzendentalphilosophie einen neukantianischen Zug (vgl. S. 10). Von den vier Teilen des Buches befassen sich die ersten beiden im Wesentlichen mit Husserl, während der dritte und vierte Teil auf Heidegger eingehen. Dieser Aufbau begründet sich dadurch, dass Crowell anstatt des Bruches vielmehr die Kontinuität zwischen Husserl. (shrink)
This article critically analyzes two leading cognitive scientists, George Lakoff and Steven Pinker, as competing secular political “theologians”. The idea of Science as savior is at the heart of the set of stories modernity tells about itself. The modern world, it is assumed, has left the age of religion and reached the age of Science. Lakoff and Pinker, who advocate opposing moral and political worldviews, make their claims on the basis of their scientific work, but it is implicit narratives (...) and ontologies that give force to their broader views about morality and politics. (shrink)
The portrayal of novel neurotechnologies in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report serves to inoculate viewers from important moral considerations that are displaced by the film’s somewhat singular emphasis on the question of how to reintroduce freedom of choice into an otherwise technology driven world. This sets up a crisis mentality and presents a false dilemma regarding the appropriate use, and regulation, of neurotechnologies. On the one hand, it seems that centralized power is required to both control and effectively implement such (...) technologies and, on the other hand, individual heroic resistance is required to protect citizens from the invasions of personal privacy and state control made possible through neurotechnologies. While Minority Report, as a dystopic vision of emergent neurotechnologies, engages surface ethical issues it risks cheapening them through its rather simplistic, dichotomous analysis. Most conspicuously absent from this approach is a sense of the social matrices that work to circumscribe or augment expressions of human freedom, privacy, control and power that are all implicated in our engagement with novel neurotechnologies. Were Minority Report unique in this respect it would have little interest, but we think this type of cheapening of ethical discourse about novel technologies is common. Because science fiction film informs the social imaginary in which ethical considerations and ultimately policy decisions take place, such cheapening risks subverting pervasive and tangible ethical issues by focusing on the sensationalistic and simplistic. (shrink)
Important objections are raised by Steven Burik in his comment on Rui Zhu's response to Rorty and MacIntyre. We will try to address them without proceeding in an eristic, point-by-point manner. In general, it seems that at least some of Burik's objections are based on his misreading of Zhu's response. Burik is not to blame, however. Zhu's response was short and many of the points made there were not sufficiently explained or developed. By way of his generous commentary Burik (...) has provided us a much needed opportunity to offer some remedies.A key distinction in Zhu's response was its reference to comparative philosophy as a form of intercultural studies and as philosophy. The former compares philosophies and the... (shrink)
Peter French’s and Steven Ratner’s thoughtful comments are helpful in advancing the analysis we offered in our book On Complicity and Compromise. Inevitably, there are areas of disagreement and bones to pick. However, our primary concern in this reply will be to press, with their assistance, the more positive agenda.
Some philosophers such as Ninian Smart have claimed that mystics from different religious traditions may sometimes have the same experience , while nevertheless giving different and tradition-bound descriptive reports of that experience. In two important essays, Steven Katz has challenged such a claim. Mystics from different religious traditions do not have the same experience.
The article contests Affeldt's critique of Mulhall's "Stanley Cavell: Philosophy's Recounting of the Ordinary," by asking how deep the conflict between what Affeldt proposes as Cavell's account of Wittgenstein's notion of grammar and that of Baker and Hacker really goes. It argues that Affeldt's critique is successful against one interpretation of the claims that grammar consists of a framework of rules and that criteria function as a basis for judgment, but that other interpretations of these claims are available and appear (...) consistent with both Cavell's and Wittgenstein's positions. It concludes by suggesting that the real issue is how to combine a sense of the normativity of grammar with that of the role of the personal in grounding grammatical remarks. (shrink)
Theists believe that God is eternal, but they differ as to just what God's eternality means . The traditional, historic view of most Christian philosophers is that eternality means that God is timeless. He is ‘outside’ of time and not subject to any kind of temporal change. Indeed, God is the creator of time. Lets call this view divine timelessness.