BackgroundInnovations in technology have contributed to rapid changes in the way that modern biomedical research is carried out. Researchers are increasingly required to endorse adaptive and flexible approaches to accommodate these innovations and comply with ethical, legal and regulatory requirements. This paper explores how Dynamic Consent may provide solutions to address challenges encountered when researchers invite individuals to participate in research and follow them up over time in a continuously changing environment.MethodsAn interdisciplinary workshop jointly organised by the University of Oxford (...) and the COST Action CHIP ME gathered clinicians, researchers, ethicists, lawyers, research participants and patient representatives to discuss experiences of using Dynamic Consent, and how such use may facilitate the conduct of specific research tasks. The data collected during the workshop were analysed using a content analysis approach.ResultsDynamic Consent can provide practical, sustainable and future-proof solutions to challenges related to participant recruitment, the attainment of informed consent, participant retention and consent management, and may bring economic efficiencies.ConclusionsDynamic Consent offers opportunities for ongoing communication between researchers and research participants that can positively impact research. Dynamic Consent supports inter-sector, cross-border approaches and large scale data-sharing. Whilst it is relatively easy to set up and maintain, its implementation will require that researchers re-consider their relationship with research participants and adopt new procedures. (shrink)
Over the past 25 years, there has been growing recognition of the importance of studying the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of genetic and genomic research. A large investment into ELSI research from the National Institutes of Health Human Genomic Project budget in 1990 stimulated the growth of this emerging field; ELSI research has continued to develop and is starting to emerge as a field in its own right. The evolving subject matter of ELSI research continues to raise new research (...) questions as well as prompt re-evaluation of earlier work and a growing number of scholars working in this area now identify themselves as ELSI scholars rather than with a particular discipline. Due to the international and interdisciplinary nature of ELSI research, scholars can often find themselves isolated from disciplinary or regionally situated support structures. We conducted a workshop with Early Career Researchers in Oxford, UK, and this paper discusses some of the particular challenges that were highlighted. While ELSI ECRs may face many of the universal challenges faced by ECRs, we argue that a number of challenges are either unique or exacerbated in the case of ELSI ECRs and discuss some of the reasons as to why this may be the case. We identify some of the most pressing issues for ELSI ECRs as: interdisciplinary angst and expertise, isolation from traditional support structures, limited resources and funding opportunities, and uncertainty regarding how research contributions will be measured. We discuss the potential opportunity to use web 2.0 technologies to transform academic support structures and address some of the challenges faced by ELSI ECRs, by helping to facilitate mentoring and support, access to resources and new accreditation metrics. As our field develops it is crucial for the ELSI community to continue looking forward to identify how emerging digital solutions can be used to facilitate the international and interdisciplinary research we perform, and to offer support for those embarking on, progressing through, and transitioning into an ELSI research career. (shrink)
Can normative words like "good," "ought," and "reason" be defined in non-normative terms? Stephen Finlay argues that they can, advancing a new theory of the meaning of this language and providing pragmatic explanations of the specially problematic features of its moral and deliberative uses which comprise the puzzles of metaethics.
Speech and thought about what the law is commonly function in practical ways, to guide or assess behavior. These functions have often been seen as problematic for legal positivism in the tradition of H.L.A. Hart. One recent response is to advance an expressivist analysis of legal statements (Toh), which faces its own, familiar problems. This paper advances a rival, positivist-friendly account of legal statements which we call “quasi-expressivist”, explicitly modeled after Finlay’s metaethical theory of moral statements. This consists in (...) a descriptivist, “rule-relational” semantics combined with a pragmatic account of the expressive and practical functions of legal discourse. We argue that this approach is at least as well-equipped as expressivism to explain the motivational and prescriptive features of “internal” legal statements, as well as a fundamental kind of legal disagreement, while being better positioned to account for various “external” uses of the same language. We develop this theory in a Hartian framework, and in the final part of the paper argue (particularly against Toh’s expressivist interpretation) that Hart’s own views in The Concept of Law are best reconstructed along such quasi-expressivist lines. (shrink)
The words 'rebellion' and 'revolution' have gained renewed prominence in the vocabulary of world politics and so has the question of justifiable armed 'resistance'. In this book Christopher J. Finlay extends just war theory to provide a rigorous and systematic account of the right to resist oppression and of the forms of armed force it can justify. He specifies the circumstances in which rebels have the right to claim recognition as legitimate actors in revolutionary wars against domestic tyranny and (...) injustice, and wars of liberation against wrongful foreign occupation and colonialism. Arguing that violence is permissible only in a narrow range of cases, Finlay shows that the rules of engagement vary during and between different conflicts and explores the potential for irregular tactics to become justifiable, such as non-uniformed guerrillas and civilian disguise, the assassination of political leaders and regime officials, and the waging of terrorist war against civilian targets. (shrink)
When faced with security threats from terrorism and other forms of nonstate political violence, how should liberal-democratic states respond? Finlay discusses books by Tamar Meisels, Seumas Miller, and Timothy Shanahan.
Bernard Williams's motivational reasons-internalism fails to capture our first-order reasons judgements, while Derek Parfit's nonnaturalistic reasons-externalism cannot explain the nature or normative authority of reasons. This paper offers an intermediary view, reformulating scepticism about external reasons as the claim not that they don't exist but rather that they don't matter. The end-relational theory of normative reasons is proposed, according to which a reason for an action is a fact that explains why the action would be good relative to some end, (...) where the relevant end for any ascription of reasons is determined by the speaker's conversational context. Because these ends need not be the agent's ends, Williams is wrong to reject the existence of external reasons. But contra Parfit, a reason for action is only important for an agent if it is motivationally internal to that agent. (shrink)
Moral error theory of the kind defended by J. L. Mackie and Richard Joyce is premised on two claims: (1) that moral judgements essentially presuppose that moral value has absolute authority, and (2) that this presupposition is false, because nothing has absolute authority. This paper accepts (2) but rejects (1). It is argued first that (1) is not the best explanation of the evidence from moral practice, and second that even if it were, the error theory would still be mistaken, (...) because the assumption does not contaminate the meaning or truth-conditions of moral claims. These are determined by the essential application conditions for moral concepts, which are relational rather than absolute. An analogy is drawn between moral judgements and motion judgements. (shrink)
We defend a contextualist account of deontic judgments as relativized both to (i) information and to (ii) standards or ends, against recent objections that turn on practices of moral disagreement. Kolodny & MacFarlane argue that information-relative contextualism cannot accommodate the connection between deliberation and advice; we suggest in response that they misidentify the basic concerns of deliberating agents. For pragmatic reasons, semantic assessments of normative claims sometimes are evaluations of propositions other than those asserted. Weatherson, Schroeder and others have raised (...) parallel objections to standard-relative contextualism; we argue for a parallel solution. (shrink)
This paper advances a reductive semantics for ‘ought’ and a naturalistic theory of normativity. It gives a unified analysis of predictive, instrumental, and categorical uses of ‘ought’: the predictive ‘ought’ is basic, and is interpreted in terms of probability. Instrumental ‘oughts’ are analyzed as predictive ‘oughts’ occurring under an ‘in order that’ modifer (the end-relational theory). The theory is then extended to categorical uses of ‘ought’: it is argued that they are special rhetorical uses of the instrumental ‘ought’. Plausible conversational (...) principles explain how this end-relational ‘ought’ can perform the expressive functions of the moral ‘ought’. The notion of an ‘ought-simpliciter’ is also discussed. (shrink)
Moral assertions express attitudes, but it is unclear how. This paper examines proposals by David Copp, Stephen Barker, and myself that moral attitudes are expressed as implicature (Grice), and Copp's and Barker's claim that this supports expressivism about moral speech acts. I reject this claim on the ground that implicatures of attitude are more plausibly conversational than conventional. I argue that Copp's and my own relational theory of moral assertions is superior to the indexical theory offered by Barker and Jamie (...) Dreier, and that since the relational theory supports conversational implicatures of attitude, expressive conventions would be redundant. Furthermore, moral expressions of attitude behave like conversational and not conventional implicatures, and there are reasons for doubting that conventions of the suggested kind could exist. (shrink)
Analyses of moral value judgements must meet a practicality requirement: moral speech acts characteristically express pro- or con-attitudes, indicate that speakers are motivated in certain ways, and exert influence on others' motivations. Nondescriptivists including Simon Blackburn and Allan Gibbard claim that no descriptivist analysis can satisfy this requirement. I argue first that while the practicality requirement is defeasible, it indeed demands a connection between value judgement and motivation that resembles a semantic or conceptual rather than merely contingent psychological link. I (...) then show how a form of descriptivism, the interest-relational theory, satisfies the requirement as a pragmatic and conversational feature of value judgement – thereby also accommodating its defeasibility. The word ``good'' is always indexed to some set of motivations: when this index is unarticulated in many contexts the speaker conversationally implicates possession of those motivations. (shrink)
This essay explains for a general philosophical audience the central issues and strategies in the contemporary moral realism debate. It critically surveys the contribution of some recent scholarship, representing expressivist and pragmatist nondescriptivism, subjectivist and nonsubjectivist naturalism, nonnaturalism and error theory. Four different faces of ‘ moral realism ’ are distinguished: semantic, ontological, metaphysical, and normative. The debate is presented as taking shape under dialectical pressure from the demands of capturing the moral appearances and reconciling morality with our understanding of (...) the mind and world. (shrink)
Some intuitive normative principles raise vexing 'detaching problems' by their failure to license modus ponens. I examine three such principles (a self-reliance principle and two different instrumental principles) and recent stategies employed to resolve their detaching problems. I show that solving these problems necessitates postulating an indefinitely large number of senses for 'ought'. The semantics for 'ought' that is standard in linguistics offers a unifying strategy for solving these problems, but I argue that an alternative approach combining an end-relational theory (...) of normativity with a comparative probabilistic semantics for 'ought' provides a more satisfactory solution. (shrink)
In his response to my paper ?The Error in the Error Theory? criticizing his and J. L. Mackie's moral error theory, Richard Joyce finds my treatment of his position inaccurate and my interpretation of morality implausible. In this reply I clarify my objection, showing that it retains its force against their error theory, and I clarify my interpretation of morality, showing that Joyce's objections miss their mark.
This paper addresses the nature and relationship of morality and self-interest, arguing that what we morally ought to do almost always conflicts with what we self-interestedly ought to do. The concept of morality is analyzed as being essentially and radically other-regarding, and the category of the supererogatory is explained as consisting in what we morally ought to do but are not socially expected to do. I express skepticism about whether there is a coherent question, ‘Which ought I all things considered (...) to obey?’ and suggest that the best substitute is a question about which is more important for me. Importance for a person, in turn, is explained as dependent upon what a person is disposed to care about. I suggest that morality and self-interest are both relatively unimportant for us when compared with our other ends. (shrink)
Since its publication in 1979, Bernard Williams' "Internal and External Reasons" has been one of the most influential and widely discussed papers in ethics. I suggest here that the paper's argument has nevertheless been universally misunderstood. On the standard interpretation, his argument—which he subsequently elaborated and defended in further discussions—is perplexingly weak. In the first section I sketch this Standard (or, more provocatively, "Supposed") argument, and detail just how terrible it is. The badness of the argument itself may not be (...) a conclusive reason not to ascribe it even to a great philosopher—perhaps every philosopher is guilty of having offered some terrible arguments—but Williams himself seems to point out blithely the very flaws that make it so terrible, making the standard reading difficult to justify. The second section proposes an interpretation on which he offers an Alternative (or, more provocatively, the "Actual") argument, one which is immune to the objections that seem fatal to the Standard argument. On this interpretation, better supported by the textual evidence and the principle of charity, Williams' conclusion seems to follow validly from defensible premises, including a substantive and interesting analysis of the concept of a normative reason. (shrink)
How does evolution grow bigger brains? It has been widely assumed that growth of individual structures and functional systems in response to niche-specific cognitive challenges is the most plausible mechanism for brain expansion in mammals. Comparison of multiple regressions on allometric data for 131 mammalian species, however, suggests that for 9 of 11 brain structures taxonomic and body size factors are less important than covariance of these major structures with each other. Which structure grows biggest is largely predicted by a (...) conserved order of neurogenesis that can be derived from the basic axial structure of the developing brain. This conserved order of neurogenesis predicts the relative scaling not only of gross brain regions like the isocortex or mesencephalon, but also the level of detail of individual thalamic nuclei. Special selection of particular areas for specific functions does occur, but it is a minor factor compared to the large-scale covariance of the whole brain. The idea that enlarged isocortex could be a a by-product of structural constraints later adapted for various behaviors, contrasts with approaches to selection of particular brain regions for cognitively advanced uses, as is commonly assumed in the case of hominid brain evolution. (shrink)
Some philosophers hold that „ought‟ is ambiguous between a sense expressing a propositional operator and a sense expressing a relation between an agent and an action. We defend the opposing view that „ought‟ always expresses a propositional operator against Mark Schroeder‟s recent objections that it cannot adequately accommodate an ambiguity in „ought‟ sentences between evaluative and deliberative readings, predicting readings of sentences that are not actually available. We show how adopting an independently well-motivated contrastivist semantics for „ought‟, according to which (...) „ought‟ is always relativized to a contrast set of relevant alternatives, enables us to explain the evaluative-deliberative ambiguity and why the availability of these readings depends on sentential grammar. (shrink)
Some of the opponents of desire-based views of normativity seek to undermine them by arguing that even the existence of instrumental normativity (reasons to pursue the means to your ends) entails the existence of a desire-independent rational norm, the instrumental norm. Once we grant the existence of one such norm, there seems to be no principled reason for not allowing others. I clarify this alleged norm, identifying two criteria that any satisfactory candidate must meet: reasonable expectation and possible violation. Some (...) interpretations meet the first criterion and others meet the second, but there are no interpretations that meet both. After surveying the interpretations of Sidgwick, Hampton, and Korsgaard, I suggest that there is no instrumental norm of reason. The final section offers an alternative, desire-based account of instrumental normativity, on which individual normative requirements to pursue means derives from each individual desire for an end. (shrink)
Often, when there is a reason for you to do something, it is the kind of thing to motivate you to do it. For example, if Max and Caroline are deciding whether to go to the Alcove for dinner, Caroline might mention as a reason in favor, the fact that the Alcove serves onion rings the size of doughnuts, and Max might mention as a reason against, the fact that it is so difficult to get parking there this time of (...) day. It is some sign—perhaps not a perfect sign, but some sign—that each of these really is a reason, that Max and Caroline feel the tug in each direction. Mention of the Alcove's onion rings makes them feel to at least some degree inclined to go, and mention of the parking arrangements makes them feel to at least some degree inclined not to. According to some philosophers, reasons for action always bear some relation like this to motivation. This idea is variously known as ‘ reasons internalism’, ‘internalism about reasons ’, or ‘the internal reasons theory’. According to other philosophers, not all reasons are related to motivation in any of the ways internalists say. This idea is known as ‘ reasons externalism’ or ‘externalism about reasons ’. (shrink)
I believe that normative force depends on desire. This view faces serious difficulties, however, and has yet to be vindicated. This paper sketches an Argument from Voluntary Response, attempting to establish this dependence of normativity on desire by appeal to the autonomous character of our experience of normative authority, and the voluntary character of our responses to it. I first offer an account of desiring as mentally aiming intrinsically at some end. I then argue that behaviour is only voluntary if (...) it results from such aiming; hence all voluntary behaviour is produced by desire. Full-blooded responses to normativity, I then argue, are voluntary actions: motivation to act arises voluntarily from perception of reasons to act. This fits the desire-based model of normativity but not its rivals. However this argument concludes merely that our responses to normativity are desire-based. I end with some observations about how I think we can bridge the gap from the nature of response to normativity to the nature of normativity itself. (shrink)
Background: The Declaration of Helsinki prohibits the publication of articles that do not meet defined ethical standards for reporting of research ethics board approval and informed consent. Despite this prohibition and a call to highlight the deficiency for the reader, articles with potential ethical shortcomings continue to be published.Objective: To determine what proportion of articles in major medical journals lack statements confirming REB approval and informed consent, and whether accompanying commentary alerts readers to this deficiency.Design: Retrospective, observational study.Setting: Online review (...) of five major medical journals.Population: All clinical research articles published online between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2006 in the BMJ, Lancet, Annals of Internal Medicine, JAMA and the New England Journal of Medicine.Measurements: Statement of REB approval and informed consent.Results: Of 1780 articles reviewed, 1133 met inclusion criteria , 36 articles lacked a statement of REB approval, 62 lacked disclosure of informed consent and 15 articles lacked both. Articles that did not state REB approval were associated with not stating informed consent . There were no editorial comments to alert readers to the lack of either REB approval or informed consent statements associated with any of the deficient articles.Conclusions: Articles that lack explicit statements of REB approval and informed consent are infrequent but continue to be published in major medical journals without editorial statements to alert the reader to this deficiency. (shrink)
This article explores the nature of "the phenomenological attitude," which is understood as the process of retaining a wonder and openness to the world while reflexively restraining pre-understandings, as it applies to psychological research. A brief history identifies key philosphical ideas outlining Husserl's formulation of the reductions and subsequent existential-hermeneutic elaborations, and how these have been applied in empirical psychological research. Then three concrete descriptions of engaging the phenomenological attitude are offered, highlighting the way the epoché of the natural sciences, (...) the psychological phenomenological reduction and the eidetic reduction can be applied during research interviews. Reflections on the impact and value of the researcher's stance show that these reductions can be intertwined with reflexivity and that, in this process, something of a dance occurs—a tango in which the researcher twists and glides through a series of improvised steps. In a context of tension and contradictory motions, the researcher slides between striving for reductive focus and reflexive self-awareness; between bracketing pre-understandings and exploiting them as a source of insight. Caught up in the dance, researchers must wage a continuous, iterative struggle to become aware of, and then manage, pre-understandings and habitualities that inevitably linger. Persistance will reward the researcher with special, if fleeting, moments of disclosure in which the phenomenon reveals something of itself in a fresh way. (shrink)
Normative concepts have a special taste, which many consider to be proof that they cannot be reductively analyzed into entirely nonnormative components. This paper demonstrates that at least some intuitively normative concepts can be reductively analyzed. I focus on so-called ‘hypothetical imperatives’ or ‘anankastic conditionals’, and show that the availability of normative readings of conditionals is determined by features of grammar, specifically features of tense. Properly interpreted, these grammatical features suggest that these deontic modals are analyzable in terms of conditional (...) necessity with a certain temporal structure. (shrink)
This paper describes the lifeworld of one individual, Ann, in an attempt to elucidate the existential impact of early stage multiple sclerosis. Drawing on Ann's own reflections captured in a relatively unstructured interview, I construct a narrative around her first year of living with the diagnosis. Then, existential-phenomenological analysis reveals how Ann's life - lived in and through a particular body and lifeworld context - is disrupted. The unity between her body and self can no longer be taken for granted. (...) The existential possibilities inherent in her lived body are diminished and have to be renegotiated. Her sense of identity, project, relations with others and present/future plans are threatened. Ann's illness is encountered in the context of her life activities and relationships. This is the intertwining of body, self and world. To live with multiple sclerosis is to experience a global sense of disorder - a disorder which incorporates a changed relation with one's body, a transformation in the surrounding world, a threat to the self, and a change in one's relation to others. (shrink)
After 50 years of being profoundly deaf, Patricia finds her world ‘transformed’—literally and metaphorically—when she receives a cochlear implant. Her sense of self and the taken-for-granted, comfortable world she knew before surgery disappear and she is thrown into an alien, surreal existence full of hyper-noise. Entry into this new world of sounds proves a mixed blessing as Pat struggles to come to terms with her changing relationships, not only with others but also with herself. On good days, she is exhilarated (...) by all her sensory gains and her feeling of being more connected with and to the world. On bad days she is distracted and overwhelmed by the intrusive noise and she is forcibly confronted with the painful reality of her own disability. The challenge she confronts is not simply the cognitive-perceptual one of learning to discriminate between sounds. Pat must also re-orientate herself and learn to cope with her transformed self and world. She must undertake a journey to come to terms with her past, present and future being. Pat shared her story with me and together we undertook collaborative existential phenomenological research, co-creating a narrative of her journey over the year and a half following her implant. This paper presents this narrative followed by an existential analysis of Pat’s disrupted, changing lifeworld. (shrink)
Over the past 25 years, there has been growing recognition of the importance of studying the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of genetic and genomic research. A large investment into ELSI research...
On Michael Walzer's influential account, "dirty hands" characterizes the political leader's choice between absolutist moral demands (to abstain from torture) and consequentialist political reasoning (to do what is necessary to prevent the loss of innocent lives). The impulse to torture a "ticking bomb terrorist" is therefore at least partly pragmatic, straining against morality, while the desire to uphold a ban on torture is purely and properly a moral one. I challenge this Machiavellian view by reinterpreting the dilemma in the framework (...) of the Humean theory of justice and moral sentiment. By interpreting the ticking bomb scenario as a dramatic narrative, I argue that it appeals to properly moral sensibilities, which speak in favour of the use of force against the terrorist. The absolute ban on torture, by contrast, is an artificial virtue and a product of political prudence. On this account, the ticking bomb terrorist dilemma therefore imposes a different burden on the political leader from Walzer's version: an ethic of political responsibility demands that the political leader be prepared to sacrifice her moral soul by upholding the law against moral but politically imprudent demands to break it; while the ticking bomb romance appeals to her feelings of compassionate moral concern towards particular individuals. She dirties her hands morally, not by authorizing torture, but by allowing the terrorist's bomb to detonate and take the lives of the innocent. (shrink)
This article critiques the idea of instrumental justification for violent means seen in Hannah Arendt's writings. A central element in Arendt's argument against theorists like Georges Sorel and Frantz Fanon in On Violence is the distinction between instrumental justifications and approaches emphasizing the `legitimacy' of violence or its intrinsic value. This doesn't really do the work Arendt needs it to in relation to rival theories. The true distinctiveness of Arendt's view is seen when we turn to On Revolution and resituate (...) the later arguments of On Violence in the context of her ideas about the separation between revolution and liberation. Arendt's commitment to the American discovery in revolutionary politics of a means that needs no further ends to justify it permits a rereading of her conception of liberation as an attempt to envisage a violence that, while tactically instrumental, is at the same time politically non-instrumental. But while Arendt's view is distinct, the article also highlights important thematic continuities with the writings of Sorel and Walter Benjamin. (shrink)
David Shoemaker argues from (A) psychopaths’ emotional deficiency, to (B) their insensitivity to moral reasons, to (C) their lack of criminal responsibility. This response observes three important ambiguities in this argument, involving the interpretation of (1) psychopaths’ emotional deficit, (2) their insensitivity to reasons, and (3) their moral judgements. Resolving these ambiguities presents Shoemaker with a dilemma: his argument either equivocates or it is falsified by the empirical evidence. An alternative perspective on psychopaths’ moral and criminal responsibility is proposed.
One way to teach or communicate embodied-relational existential understanding is to encourage the writing and reading of first person autobiographical phenomenological accounts. After briefly reviewing the field of first person phenomenological accounts, I offer my own example – one that uses a narrative-poetic form. I share my lived experience of coping with pain and hope to show how rich poetic phenomenological prose may facilitate lived understandings in others (be they our students, clients or colleagues). I argue that first person accounts (...) can powerfully evoke lived experience, especially where they focus on existential issues, use personal-reflexive and/or relational-dialogal forms, and draw on the arts. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology , Volume 12, Special Edition July 2012. (shrink)
Rationalists including Nagel and Korsgaard argue that motivation to the means to our desired ends cannot be explained by appeal to the desire for the end. They claim that a satisfactory explanation of this motivational connection must appeal to a faculty of practical reason motivated in response to desire-independent norms of reason. This paper builds on ideas in the work of Hume and Donald Davidson to demonstrate how the desire for the end is sufficient for explaining motivation to the means. (...) Desiring is analyzed as having motivation towards making the end so, which is analyzed as engaging in mental activity aimed at facilitating that end. I conclude that it is constitutive of an agent’s desiring an end that he is motivated towards what he believes to be means. (shrink)
John Stuart Mill has not been considered, for the most part, a useful contributor to debates about either the of individuals in social groups or to the resolution of conflicts between diverse social groups. But Mill's attempt to combine the role of the with the theory of social science requires him to situate the social scientific inquirer in a contingent, historical, and cultural social group and to consider both the prospects and difficulties the diversity of cultural groups presents. By examining (...) the role of and in Mill's thought, Mill's position on the just treatment of diverse groups emerges. Because of the threat posed to liberty and critical rationality by any dominant group, Mill attempts to develop institutional arrangements that prevent any group becoming dominant and that embody critical rationality. A concrete example of such an institutional arrangement is found, somewhat surprisingly, in Mill's India policy. (shrink)
Nuestra intención es apuntar hacia un marco de reflexión sobre el papel del silencio y el lenguaje a la luz del pensamiento de Oriente y Occidente. Nuestra experiencia del mundo y de nosotros mismos está siempre mediatizada por la interpretación que hacemos de ellos. El silencio por su parte puede ser un elemento adecuado para acercarnos a lo ignoto, al misterio, al “despertar”… No es de extrañar pues que hayan sido filósofos, poetas y místicos los que más han cantado las (...) excelencias del silencio. (shrink)
There is a tension apparent in Adam Ferguson's Essay on the History of Civil Society between his naturalistic account of the history of societies as emanating from principles of human nature on the one hand, and on the other, the rhetorically charged moralism that readers have generally noted in his critique of contemporary polished and commercial societies. This is related in the article to questions about the appropriate relationship between forms of rhetoric and the writing of moral and political philosophy (...) as they appeared in early-modern political thought and were taken up by other figures in the Scottish Enlightenment (most notably Hume). The article shows how reading Ferguson's text as an exercise in political rhetoric, which harnesses the additional force of forensic and demonstrative forms of eloquence, can provide a basis for understanding not only the intended relationship between the two sides of its argument but also its relationship with Ferguson's role as a teacher of morals at Edinburgh University. (shrink)
This article interprets David Hume’s social and political thought as a ‘theory of civil society’, arguing that as such it constituted an important challenge to the civic humanism of much early 18th-century British political argument. Since republican theorists invoke the historical traditions of civic thought in current debates, Hume’s theory of civil society therefore is of especial interest in relation to the foundations of contemporary neo-republicanism. The first part argues that, in A Treatise of Human Nature, by analysing various different (...) kinds of relation between human beings, Hume articulated a fundamental distinction between society and the state. The second examines Hume’s Essays and Political Discourses, focusing in particular on the relationship between the respective interests of society and government, the effects of commercial refinement on virtues and sociability, and on forms of mediation between society and the state. The concluding section reviews the historical and theoretical significance of Hume’s theory, focusing particularly on concepts of liberty. (shrink)
The translation of Schleiermacher's key phrase ‘das schlechthinnige Abhängigkeitsgefühl’ is a matter of some contention. It has been suggested that the traditional translation is in fact inaccurate and that it should be replaced with the accurate ‘absolute feeling of dependence ’. This change would have serious implications for our understanding of Schleiermacher's theology. This essay examines the case for and against a change of translation. It concedes that the change is demanded if one strictly adheres to the rules of grammar (...) but that there are several reasons for putting those rules to one side and holding firm to the traditional translation. (shrink)
En este artículo explico el problema de la circularidad, tradicionalmente achacado a la metafísica cartesiana, destacando la importancia que, según Descartes, reviste esta cuestión. Argumento que las versiones del cartesianismo que ofrecen algunos de los comentarios más populares, utilizados en lengua castellana (los de Margaret Wilson y John Cottingham), resultan incompatibles con las posiciones que Descartes mantiene en una serie de textos. Teorías de ese corte sólo podrían justificarse por su valor filosófico intrínseco, pero también sostengo que ambas reconstrucciones presentan (...) debilidades conceptuales que las llevan al fracaso, sea como pretendida solución, en el caso de Wilson; o bien como intento por desplazar o disolver el problema central, en el caso de Cottingham. The problem of logical circularity, which traditionally has been blamed on Cartesian metaphysics, was clearly seen by Descartes himself, who moreover advertised its avoidance (or its solution) as a crucial merit of his own philosophy. On this subject two of the most popular commentaries on Descartes -those of Margaret Wilson and John Cottingham, which are widely used in teaching at least in Spanish- are criticized. Some of the objections I set here against both readings are textual in nature, while other ones hinge, as I argue, on their respective conceptual weaknesses. Wilson's proposed solution is shown to the botched, while Cottingham is shown to fail in his attempt to dissolve the problem. (shrink)