Offering clear and reliable guidance to the ideas of philosophers from antiquity to the present day and to the major philosophical systems around the globe, he Oxford Companion to Philosophy is the definitive philosophical reference work for readers at all levels. For ten years the original volume has served as a stimulating introduction for general readers and as an indispensable guide for students and scholars. A distinguished international assembly of 249 philosophers contributed almost 2,000 entries, and many of these have (...) now been considerably revised and updated in this major new edition; to these are added over 300 brand-new pieces on a fascinating range of current topics such as animal consciousness, cloning, corporate responsibility, the family, globalization, terrorism . Here is, indeed, a world of thought, with entries on idealism and empiricism, epicureanism and stoicism, passion and emotion, deism and pantheism. The contributors represent a veritable who's who of modern philosophy, including such eminent figures as Isaiah Berlin, Sissela Bok, Ronald Dworkin, John Searle, Michael Walzer, and W. V. Quine. We meet the great thinkers--from Aristotle and Plato, to Augustine and Aquinas, to Descartes and Kant, to Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, right up to contemporary thinkers such as Richard Rorty, Jacques Derrida, Luce Iragaray, and Noam Chomsky. There are short entries on key concepts such as personal identity and the mind-body problem, major doctrines from utilitarianism to Marxism, schools of thought such as the Heidelberg School or the Vienna Circle, and contentious public issues such as abortion, capital punishment, and welfare. In addition, the book offers short explanations of philosophical terms (qualia, supervenience, iff), puzzles (the Achilles paradox, the prisoner's dilemma), and curiosities (the philosopher's stone, slime). Almost every entry is accompanied by suggestions for further reading, and the book includes both a chronological chart of the history of philosophy and a gallery of portraits of eighty eminent philosophers. An indispensable guide and a constant source of stimulation and enlightenment, The Oxford Companion to Philosophy will appeal to everyone interested in abstract thought, the eternal questions, and the foundations of human understanding. (shrink)
_Can attitudes like those that have seemed welded to indeterminism and free will_ _actually go with determinism? Is it not a contradiction to suppose so? The little_ _Oxford University Press book_ _How Free Are You?_ _in its first edition, much_ _translated, was a summary of the indigestible or anyway not widely digested_.
There are great goods desired by all of us, and the lack of them makes for bad lives. One sample of bad African lives involves a loss of 20 million years of living time. The questions raised by these and other facts are to be answered by the Principle of Humanity, about bad lives and rationality. It is superior to morality of relationship and all else, and in a way is undeniable. The principle together with other things issues in six (...) propositions. One gives us a moral responsibility, our politicians at our head, for the terrorism of September 11. To be ordinary is not to be innocent. Another proposition is that the Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism. The latter proposition can be given still more support than in the book from which this paper derives. (shrink)
If you want a philosophically diligent exposition of a theory, something that has got through review by conventional peers, go elsewhere (Honderich, 2004). If you want an understanding made more immediate by brevity and informality, read on. The theory is a Radical Externalism about the nature of consciousness. If it is not a complete departure from the cranialism of most of the philosophy and science of consciousness, it is a fundamental departure.
In this fully revised and up-to-date edition of Ted Honderich's modern classic, he offers a concise and lively introduction to free will and the problem of determinism, advancing the debate on this key area of moral philosophy. Honderich sets out a determinist philosophy of mind, in response to the question, "Is there a really clear, consistent and complete version of determinism?" and asks instead if there is such a clear version of free will. He goes on to address the question (...) of whether determinism is true and finally asks, "What can we conclude about our lives if determinism is true?". (shrink)
Wretchedness and terrorism, and differences we make between them -- A theory of justice, an anarchism, and the obligation to obey the law -- The principle of humanity -- Our omissions and their terrorism -- On democratic terrorism -- Doctrines, commitments, and four conclusions about terrorism for humanity.
An event is something in space and time, just some of it, and so it is rightly said to be something that occurs or happens. For at least these reasons it is not a number or a proposition, or any abstract object. There are finer conceptions of an event, of course, one being a thing having a general property for a time, another being exactly an individual property of a thing -- say my computer monitor's weight (19 kg) as against (...) yours (also 19 kg). None of these finer conceptions can put in doubt that events are individuals in a stretch of time and space. (shrink)
The late J. L. Mackie and his work were a focus for much of the best philosophical thinking in the Oxford tradition. His moral thought centres on that most fundamental issue in moral philosophy – the issue of whether our moral judgements are in some way objective. The contributors to this volume, first published in 1985, are among the most distinguished figures in moral philosophy, and their essays in tribute to John Mackie present views at the forefront of the subject. (...) Five of the essays give a new understanding of the objectivity of moral judgements. These are by Simon Blackburn, R.M. Hare, John McDowell, Susan Hurley and Bernard Williams. The remaining contributors – Philippa Foot, Steven Lukes, Amartya Sen, David Wiggins – give their attention to problems which are equally compelling, such as the defence of a moral outlook based on a conception of a need and of what follows from it. The volume also includes the addresses given by Simon Blackburn and George Cawkwell at the memorial service for John Mackie, and a list of his publications, compiled by Joan Mackie. (shrink)
What is it for you to be conscious? There is no consensus in philosophy or science: it has remained a mystery. Ted Honderich develops a brand new theory of consciousness, according to which perceptual consciousness is external to the perceiver. It exists in a subjective physical world dependent on both you and the objective physical world.
Violence for Equality, first published in 1989, questions the morality of political violence and challenges the presuppositions, inconsistencies and prejudices of liberal-democratic thinking. This book should be of interest to teachers and students of philosophy and politics.
This is a draft of a paper for a book Philosophy of Action: 5 Questions edited by Jesus Aguilar and Andrei Buckareff and to be published by Automatic Press / VIP. The book contains accounts by various philosophers, including leading theorists, of their engagement with problems of action and agency, and in particular determinism and freedom. The contributors also offer thoughts as to what attracted them to the subject, what their conclusions have been, what the benefit of the subject can (...) be to other subjects, what has been neglected in it, where work and inquiry should now be concentrated, and the prospects for progress. (shrink)
A determinism of decisions and actions, despite our experience of deciding and acting and also an interpretation of Quantum Theory, is a reasonable assumption. The doctrines of Compatibilism and Incompatibilism are both false, and demonstrably so. Whole structures of culture and social life refute them, and establish the alternative of Attitudinism. The real problem of determinism has seemed to be that of accomodating ourselves to the frustration of certain attitudes, at bottom certain desires. This project of Affirmation can run up (...) against a conviction owed to reflecting on your own past life. The conviction is that an attitude akin to one tied to indeterminism, a way of holding yourself morally responsible, has some basis despite the truth of determinism. We need to look for radical ideas here, as radical as Consciousness as Existence with the problem of perceptual consciousness. Could that doctrine help with determinism and freedom? Could a problem about causation and explanation do so? (shrink)
What follows here is the first chapter, 'Change and Reform', of a book that inquires into the distinctions and rationale of the political tradition of conservatism. The book, now much enlarged and revised, was originally Conservatism, published in 1989 as a contribution to an election. Now, in particular, each chapter ends with a sizeable section on what replaced the Labour Party in Britain, the New Labour Party. For good measure, the final section of the second chapter, partly on something known (...) as The Third Way, is added to the final section of the first chapter below. To the book's progress towards finding the rationale of the tradition of conservatism, as you will anticipate, is added progress towards deciding on the nature of New Labour. An actual analysis of the ideology and reality of the tradition of conservatism is of use in deciding whether New Labour is in it, and maybe a start towards answering the question of New Labour's place in history. The other chapters, after the first one on change and reform: Theory, Other Thinking, Incentives; Human Nature, Dealing With It; Freedoms; Government; Societies; Equalities; Desert, Conclusions. The book is published by the estimable Pluto Press . -------------------------. (shrink)
The story of Ted Honderich, philosopher, a story of a perilous philosophical life, marked by critical examination, and a compelling personal life full of human drama. This is the story of Ted Honderich's perilous progress from boyhood in Canada to the Grote Professorship of Mind and Logic at University College London, A. J. Ayer's chair. It is compelling, candid and revealing about the beginning and the goal, and everything in between: early work as a journalist on The Toronto Star, travels (...) with Elvis Presley, arrival in Britain, loves and friendships, academic rivalries and battles, marriages and affairs, self-interest and empathy. It sets out resolutely to explain how and why it all happened. It is as much a narrative of Ted Honderich's philosophy. He makes hard problems real. Philosophy from consciousness and determinism to political violence and democracy comes into sharp focus. Along the way, questions keep coming up. Does the free marriage owe anything to the analytic philosophy? What are the costs of truth? Are the politics of England slowly making it an ever-better place? Is an action's rightness independent of the mixture of motives out of which it came? (shrink)
There are great goods desired by all of us, and the lack of themmakes for bad lives. One sample of bad African lives involves aloss of 20 million years of living time. The questions raised bythese and other facts are to be answered by the Principle ofHumanity, about bad lives and rationality. It is superior tomorality of relationship and all else, and in a way is undeniable.The principle together with other things issues in six propositions.One gives us a moral responsibility, (...) our politicians at our head,for the terrorism of September 11. To be ordinary is not to beinnocent. Another proposition is that the Palestinians have a moralright to their terrorism. The latter proposition can be given stillmore support than in the book from which this paper derives. (shrink)
Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility is an edited collection of new essays by an internationally recognized line-up of contributors. It is aimed at readers who wish to explore the philosophical and scientific arguments for free will skepticism and their implications.
Perceptual and other consciousness is left out of or is not adequately characterized in naturalist accounts, including eliminative materialism and neural functionalism. We need a radically new start. Phenomenologically, if you are perceptually conscious, then a world—a changing totality of things—must somehow exist. Partly because with consciousness nothing is hidden and all can be reported without inference, perceptual consciousness itself is literally to be understood as things existing spatio-temporally. This account of consciousness as existence does not reduce it to mental (...) worlds and satisfies our conviction of the reality of consciousness—mainly we do not think of it as ethereal or gossamer. The account also explains fundamental subjectivity, as the naturalist accounts cannot, and passes a test having to do with the mind-body problem. It is a near-naturalism. The account can be defended against objections about brains in vats, chairs in minds, and leaving out consciousness. (shrink)
Mind and Brain was originally published as the first two parts of a single-volume hardback edition. In this volume, Ted Honderich sets a new agenda for thinking about determinism. He expounds in detail a distinctive philosophy of mind, then defends it on the basis of contemporary neuroscience. He advances the proposition that philosophy cannot deal effectively with freewill if it stands aside from science.
The Consequences of Determinism was originally published as Part Three of the single-volume hardback edition. In this part, Ted Honderich considers the consequences of his theory that determinism is true and freewill an illusion. He argues that the traditional doctrines Compatibilism and Incompatibilism are provably false, before considering the implications this theory has for human behaviour, social institutions, and politics.
Since the rise of the theory of determinism, philosophers have argued and declared that we are diminished by it. Bishop Bramhall against Thomas Hobbes in the 17th Century, Kant against Hume in the 18th, F. H. Bradley against John Stuart Mill in the 19th, Robert Kane and Robert Nozick against such as me in the 20th Century. There must be something in this relentless tradition. It cannot, it seems to me, be the falsehood of determinism. Is it, so to speak, (...) a larger fact than either determinism or free will? Is it consciousness? The new paper below, a draft to be thought more about for the 2nd edition of Kane's summative Oxford Handbook of Free Will, comes to that conclusion by way of a look at the principal parts of the problem of determinism, one being what is called probabilistic causation. (shrink)
This paper takes forward reflections begun in my book After the Terror and then continued in a paper, “After the Terror: A Book and Further Thoughts.” Maybe this third offering on the terrible subjects in question will be the last from me for a while—despite my not having got as close as may be possible to proofs or the like of some principal propositions. It must be easier to deal with the terrible subjects if strong moral convictions about Palestine or (...) whatever come together with great confidence about the very nature of moral philosophy and the possibility of proofs. Still, silence or hesitancy is not an option. (shrink)
Consider three answers to the question of what it actually is for you to be aware of the room you are in. It is for the room in a way to exist. It is for there to be only physical activity in your head, however additionally described. It is for there to be non-spatial facts somehow in your head. The first theory, unlike the other two, satisfies five criteria for an adequate account of consciousness itself. The criteria have to do (...) with the seeming nature of this consciousness, and with subjectivity, reality including non-abstractness, mind-body causation, and the differences between perceptual, reflective and affective consciousness. The theory of consciousness as existence is not open to the objection having to do with a deluded brain in a vat. The theory, as any theory of consciousness needs to, explains its own degree of failure in characterizing consciousness. It releases neuroscience and cognitive science from nervousness about consciousness, and leaves all of consciousness a subject for science. The theory is a reconstruction of our conception of consciousness. It may be that we should carry forward several theories of consciousness. But they will have to be compared in terms of truth to the five criteria for an adequate theory. (shrink)
Ted Honderich: Professor Ayer, you wrote Language, Truth and Logic when you were only twenty-four, in 1935, and achieved fame by way of it. Tell us a bit about the writing. A. J. Ayer: After I'd taken my Schools at Oxford—I read Greats—my tutor Gilbert Ryle suggested that I go away for a couple of terms. I had already been appointed Lecturer at Christ Church, and I wanted to go to Cambridge to study under Wittgenstein, but Gilbert said no, don't (...) do that. We've got a lot of people going to Cambridge and we've a vague idea of what Wittgenstein is up to, but I believe something very interesting is happening in Vienna, under Moritz Schlick. Why don't you go to Vienna? I'd just got married for the first time, and I thought Vienna would be a nice place to go to for a honeymoon. At this point I didn't speak much German, but I thought I'd pick up some, which I did, and so I went and worked with the Vienna Circle. I couldn't really take much part in their debates, but I understood what was going on and came back very enthusiastic about what they were doing. They were extremely empiricist, very anti-metaphysical, anti-religious, and this suited my cast of mind very much. I immediately started lecturing at Oxford on—I think it was Russell, Wittgenstein and Quine. Russell was at that time almost a forbidden subject at Oxford, and Wittgenstein and Quine were people who'd not been heard of. (shrink)