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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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 doyen of living English philosophers, by these reflections, took hold of and changed the outlook of a good many other philosophers, if not quite enough. He did so, essentially, by assuming that talk of freedom and responsibility is talk not of facts or truths, in a certain sense, but of our attitudes. His more explicit concern was to look again at the question of whether determinism and freedom are consistent with one another -- by shifting attention to certain personal (...) rather than moral attitudes, first of all gratitude and resentment. In the end, he arrived at a kind of Compatibilist or, as he says, Optimist conclusion. That is no doubt a recommendation but not the largest recommendation of this splendidly rich piece of philosophy. (shrink)
This enviable piece of philosophy has been as successful as any other in the past three decades of the determinism and freedom debate. It has given rise to a continuing controversy. At its centre is what seems to be a refutation of what seems to be the cast-iron principle that in order for someone to be morally responsible for an action, it must be possible that he or she could have done otherwise. The principle has been assumed by philosophers persuaded (...) that determinism is incompatible with freedom and also by philosophers persuaded that determinism is compatible with freedom. However, Frankfurt's article has mainly been read as lending support to the Compatibilist idea. (shrink)
The difference for present purposes between ourselves and stones, chairs and our computers is that we are conscious. The difference is fundamental. Being conscious is sufficient for having a mind in one sense of the word ‘mind’, and being conscious is necessary and fundamental to having a mind in any decent sense. What is this difference between ourselves and stones, chairs and our computers? The question is not meant to imply that there is a conceptual or a nomic barrier in (...) the way of non-biological things being conscious. It may happen one decade that the other minds problem will shoot up the philosophical agenda and get a lot of attention as a result of a wonderful computer attached to perceptual and behavioural mechanisms, and that the thing will in the end be taken as conscious, rightly. Our question is not what things can be conscious, but what the Property or nature of consciousness is. (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)
_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_.
This is a new discussion in the philosophy of terrorism of the morality of Humanity, Palestine and Israel, right and wrong, liberalism, free riders, narratives, definitions of terrorism, objections to definitions not mentioning innocents, the question of who the innocents are, intentional action, objections having to do with definitions, inquiry, prejudice, pure inquiry, and advocacy, and other innocents. The discussion was prompted by a forthcoming paper by Tamar Meisels of Tel Aviv University 'Can Terrorism Ever Be Justified?', which paper and (...) the final reply to it by Ted Honderich will appear in a book edited by Stuart Gottlieb, Debating Terrorism and Counter Terrorism. Tamar Meisels' book, The Trouble With Terror, has lately been published by Cambridge University Press. She also has a paper in the collection Israel, Palestine and Terror edited by Stephen Law and containing various replies to Honderich. Another Meisels paper to which you can turn, The Trouble With Terror: The Apologetics of Terrorism -- A Refutatio n. There is also a Honderich reply to other objections, in this case by the German philosopher Georg Meggle. (shrink)
Descartes believed not only that I think therefore I am but also that consciousness is not physical, unlike the brain. That makes consciousness different, which evidently it is, but also incapable of causing arm movements, which is unbelievable.functionalism is in the same boat. Disagreement between these and more ideas and theories surely has much to do with not talking about the same thing, no adequate initial clarification of the subject matter. We can get such a thing from a database. Consciousness (...) is therefore something's being actual. What that comes to on further reflection is that it has characteristics that add up to its being subjectively physical – and partly outside a brain and partly inside. This theory of consciousness, Actualism, also passes other tests, including individuality and freedom. (shrink)
_What Thomas Hobbes has to say of the nature of causation itself in_ _Entire Causes_ _and Their Only Possible Effects_ _is carried further in the first of the two excerpts here_ _-- although not at its start. His second subject in this imperfectly sequential piece of_ _writing is determinism itself -- a deterministic philosophy of mind. In the mind, as_ _elsewhere, each event has a 'necessary cause' -- a cause that necessitates the event._ _His third subject in the first excerpt (...) is freedom, this being voluntariness, and its_ _relation to the determinism. He gives a statement of what is now known as_ _Compatibilism -- roughly the doctrine that determinism and freedom properly_ _understood do not conflict with but are consistent with one another. We can be_ _entirely subject to determinism or 'necessity' and also be perfectly free. Certainly a_ _distinction between freedom as 'the absence of opposition', which can co-exist with_ _determinism, and some other kind of freedom, had been made before Hobbes. But it_ _will take a better historian than me to say if he was anticipated by someone else who_ _said that the particular freedom consistent with determinism is all that we can_ _properly mean by the term 'freedom'. Certainly he got in ahead of lovely_. (shrink)
From before the time of Thomas Hobbes in the 17th Century, right up to John Searle's impertinent piece in Journal of Consciousness Studies a few months ago, and a major conference in Idaho in April, philosophers of determinism and freedom have divided into Compatibilists and Incompatibilists. The first regiment says that determinism is logically compatible with freedom. The second says it is logically incompatible. They can do this. In a way it is easy-peasy. The first regiment achieves its end by (...) defining free decisions and actions as voluntary: owed to certain causes rather than others -- causes somehow internal to the agent rather than external or constraining causes. The second regiment satisfies itself by defining free decisions and actions as not only voluntary but also originated -- where an originated event, however mysterious, is definitely not a causally necessitated one. (shrink)
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)
Is disagreement about consciousness largely owed to no adequate initial clarification of the subject, to people in fact answering different questions clarified as actual consciousness. Philosophical method like the scientific method includes transition from the figurative to literal theory or analysis. A new theory will also satisfy various criteria not satisfied by many existing theories. The objective physical world has specifiable general characteristics including spatiality, lawfulness, being in science, connections with perception, and so on. Actualism, the literal theory or analysis (...) of actual consciousness, deriving mainly from the figurative database, is that actual consciousness has counterpart but partly different general characteristics. Actual consciousness is thus subjectively physical. So physicality in general consists in objective and also subjective physicality. Consciousness in the case of perception is only the dependent existence of a subjective external physical world out there, often a room. But cognitive and affective consciousness, various kinds of thinking and wanting, differently subjectively physical, is internal – subjectively physical representations-with-attitude, representations that also are actual. They differ from the representations that are lines of type, sounds etc. by being actual. Thus they involve a subjectivity or individuality that is a lawful unity. Actualism, both an externalism and an internalism, does not impose on consciousness a flat uniformuity, and it uniquely satisfies the various criteria for an adequate theory, including naturalism. Actual consciousness is a right subject and is a necessary part of any inquiry whatever into consciousness. All of it is a subject for more science, a workplace. There is no unique barrier or impediment whatever to science, as often said, no want of understanding of the mind-consciousness connection, no known unique hard problem of consciousness, no insuperable difficulty having to do with physicality and the history of science, no arguable ground at all of mysterianism. (shrink)
Benjamin Libet and also Libet and collaborators claim to advance a single hypothesis, with important consequences, about the time of a conscious experience in relation to the time when there occurs a certain physical condition in the brain. This condition is spoken of as " _neural_ " _adequacy_ for the experience, or, as we can as well say, _neural adequacy_. 5 This finding has been taken to throw doubt on theories that take neural and mental events to be in necessary (...) or lawlike connection, and also certain identity theories of mind and brain, as well as determinist theories. (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)
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)
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.
This new book, published in the United Kingdom under the first title above and in the United States and Canada under the second, consists in argument about what makes for right or wrong in general, and then argument about right or wrong with respect to Palestine, 9/11, the Iraq War, 7/7, and what is to come. Hence, with respect to the latter connected things, it also makes judgements as to shares of moral responsibility. Six of its 29 sections appear below. (...) The first two are 'Our Questions' and 'A Division of Labour, Philosophy's Part'. The next one is one of three in the book on judging right and wrong by democracy. The fourth is one of several in the book about understanding, judging, and inciting terrorism. The last two sections are about the Iraq War. To locate this thinking in the context of the book as a whole, which justifies Zionism but not neo-Zionism, have a look at the table of contents at the end. There is also a German translation of the first half of the book. Have a look too if you want at a review of the book by Tam Dalyell, lately M.P. for Linlithgow and Father of the House of Commons, and a review by Steve Poole, author of Unthink, and at Italian and Belgian interviews on the subject. There is also a video of a 40-minute television programme made from the book. (shrink)