In this book of essays, he argues that morality cannot be defined solely by rational and universal principles; instead, a major place must be found for changing and conflicting ideals, values peculiar to specific times and cultures.
This book, which inaugurates the Princeton Monographs in Philosophy series, starts from Plato's analogy in the Republic between conflict in the soul and conflict in the city. Plato's solution required reason to impose agreement and harmony on the warring passions, and this search for harmony and agreement constitutes the main tradition in political philosophy up to and including contemporary liberal theory. Hampshire undermines this tradition by developing a distinction between justice in procedures, which demands that both sides in a conflict (...) should be heard, and justice in matters of substance, which will always be disputed. Rationality in private thinking consists in adversary reasoning, and so it does in public affairs. Moral conflict is eternal, and institutionalized argument is its only universally acceptable restraint and the only alternative to tyranny.In the chapter "Against Monotheism," Hampshire argues that monotheistic beliefs are only with difficulty made compatible with pluralism in ethics. In "Conflict and Conflict Resolution," he argues that socialism, seen as the proposal of extended political solutions for natural human ills, is still a relevant, yet strongly contested, ideal. (shrink)
Stuart Hampshire's essay on human freedom offers an important analysis of concepts surrounding the central idea of intentional action. The author contrasts the powers of animals and of inanimate things; examines the relation between power and action; and distinguishes between two kinds of self-knowledge. Explaining human freedom by means of this distinction, he focuses his attention on self-knowledge gained by introspection. He writes: "...an individual who acquires more systematic knowledge of the causes of states of mind, emotion, and desires, insofar (...) as these are not the outcome of his decision, thereby becomes more free than he previously was to control and direct his own life:...there will in general be a closer correlation between that which he sets himself to do and that which he actually achieves in his life." In a postscript on determinism and psychological explanation, the author provides a detailed account of some of the ways in which explanation of states of mind differs from explanation of physical states. Originally published in 1975. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905. (shrink)
How far can we apply the same moral principles to both public and private behaviour. In the interests of effective political action, are we right to accept acts of deceit, exploitation or force which we would regard as unacceptable in private relations with individuals? What means can be properly adopted in the promotion of great public causes? The problem of 'dirty hands' in politics was posed most strikingly by Machiavelli. It has re-emerged this century in a pressing and, to some (...) extent, a new form, in connection with the two World Wars and more recently the Vietnam War, where the political decisions and the destruction, and risks of destruction, have been of a scale and character not previously experienced. The contributors, including Bernard Williams, Thomas Nagel, T. M. Scanlon, and Ronald Dworkin, examine the background to this problem in moral and political theory. (shrink)
Stuart Hampshire, one of the most eminent British philosophers of the twentieth century, will be perhaps best remembered for his work on the seventeenth-century philosopher Spinoza, all of which is gathered now in this volume. Among the great thinkers of modern times, only Spinoza created a complete system of philosophy that rivals Plato's, with crucial contributions to every major philosophical topic. Hampshire's classic 1951 book Spinoza remains the best introduction to this thinker, and it is reprinted here. But what gives (...) particular interest to this new volume is the first publication of Hampshire's last work 'Spinoza and Spinozism', an extended presentation of a Spinozist philosophical worldview. Hampshire's influential 1962 essay 'Spinoza and the Idea of Freedom' is also included. Spinoza and Spinozism is thus an ideal companion to the study and interpretation of this great philosopher. (shrink)
In this article the author is concerned with the justification of the knowledge of other minds by virtue of statements of other people's feelings based upon inductive arguments of any ordinary pattern as being inferences from the observed to the unobserved of a familiar and accepted form. The author argues that they are not logically peculiar or invalid, When considered as inductive arguments. The author also proposes that solipsism is a linguistically absurd thesis, While at the same time stopping to (...) explain why it is a thesis which tempts those who confuse epistemological distinctions with logical distinctions. (staff). (shrink)
1. It is a commonplace that contemporary empiricism, or antimetaphysical philosophy, at least in this country, is a re-statement of the essentials of Hume's position with the aid of the more complete analysis of a priori reasoning provided by logicians within the last fifty years; what logical empiricism has most substantially added to Hume's sceptical method is the means of stating and applying his distinction between purely analytic sentences and sentences conveying information about matters of fact more precisely than he (...) was able to state or apply it. It was Hume's governing purpose in every part of his writing to defend what is now generally called the language of common-sense, which is essentially what he called natural belief, against every kind of philosophical theory, whether rationalist or professedly sceptical. By “philosophical theory” is meant in this context any attempt by the use of logical or a priori arguments either to justify or to amend our common-sense beliefs or assertions; Hume tries to show that all such attempts are mistaken in logic and ineffective in fact. The work of the genuine sceptic, who is the true philosopher, is repeatedly to draw attention to the limits of human reason; to draw attention to the limits of human reason is to point to the logical impossibility of answering philosophical demands for some general, and therefore non-empirical, justification of our natural beliefs; such demands involve the substituting of some single, imposed criterion of justification in the place of the various and shifting criteria which we in fact habitually use. (shrink)
In this expanded version of his Thank-Offering to Britain Fund lectures, delivered at the British Academy in February 1976, Stuart Hampshire compares two radically different conceptions of morality, those of Aristotle and Spinoza, authors, he claims, of the most plausible of all moral philosophies. He discusses the relation between moral intuitions and moral theory, and the contrasting ideas of moral normality and moral conversion. Spinoza's theory of the relation between mind and body is expounded and its relevance to recent theories (...) is explained. (shrink)