What, if anything, has faith to do with intention? By ‘faith’ I have in mind the attitude described by William James: Suppose … that I am climbing in the Alps, and have had the illluck to work myself into a position from which the only escape is by a terrible leap. Being without similar experience, I have no evidence of my ability to perform it successfully; but hope and confidence in myself make me sure I shall not miss my aim, (...) and nerve my feet to execute what without those subjective emotions would perhaps have been impossible. But suppose that, on the contrary, the emotions of fear and mistrust preponderate; or suppose that…I feel it would be sinful to act upon an assumption unverified by previous experience,—why, then I shall hesitate so long that at last, exhausted and trembling, and launching myself in a moment of despair, I miss my foothold and roll into the abyss.… There are then cases where faith creates its own verification. Believe, and you shall be right, for you shall save yourself; doubt, and you shall again be right, for you shall perish. (shrink)
In his 1958 seminal paper “Saints and Heroes”, J. O. Urmson argued that the then dominant tripartite deontic scheme of classifying actions as being exclusively either obligatory, or optional in the sense of being morally indifferent, or wrong, ought to be expanded to include the category of the supererogatory. Colloquially, this category includes actions that are “beyond the call of duty” and hence actions that one has no duty or obligation to perform. But it is a controversial category. Some have (...) argued that the concept of supererogation is paradoxical because on one hand, supererogatory actions are supposed to be morally good, indeed morally best, actions. But then if they are morally best, why aren't they morally required, contrary to the assumption that they are morally optional? In short: how can an action that is morally best to perform fail to be what one is morally required to do? The source of this alleged paradox has been dubbed the ‘good-ought tie-up’. In our article, we address this alleged paradox by first making a phenomenological case for the reality of instances of genuine supererogatory actions, and then, by reflecting on the relevant phenomenology, explaining why there is no genuine paradox. Our explanation appeals to the idea that moral reasons can play what we call a merit conferring role. The basic idea is that moral reasons that favor supererogatory actions function to confer merit on the actions they favor—they play a merit conferring role—and can do without also requiring the actions in question. Hence, supererogatory actions can be both good and morally meritorious to perform yet still be morally optional. Recognition of a merit conferring role unties the good-ought tie up, and there are good reasons, independent of helping to resolve the alleged paradox, for recognizing this sort of role that moral reasons may play. (shrink)
Rae Langton offers a new interpretation and defense of Kant's doctrine of things in themselves. Kant distinguishes things in themselves from phenomena, and in so doing he makes a metaphysical distinction between intrinsic and relational properties of substances. Langton argues that his claim that we have no knowledge of things in themselves is not idealism, but epistemic humility: we have no knowledge of the intrinsic properties of substances. This interpretation vindicates Kant's scientific realism, and shows his primary/secondary quality distinction to (...) be superior even to modern-day competitors. And it answers the famous charge that Kant's tale of things in themselves is one that makes itself untellable. (shrink)
Rae Langton here draws together her ground-breaking and contentious work on pornography and objectification. She shows how women come to be objectified -- made subordinate and treated as things -- and she argues for the controversial feminist conclusions that pornography subordinates and silences women, and women have rights against pornography.
Something could be round even if it were the only thing in the universe, unaccompanied by anything distinct from itself. Jaegwon Kim once suggested that we define an intrinsic property as one that can belong to something unaccompanied. Wrong: unaccompaniment itself is not intrinsic, yet it can belong to something unaccompanied. But there is a better Kim-style definition. Say that P is independent of accompaniment iff four different cases are possible: something accompanied may have P or lack P, something unaccompanied (...) may have P or lack P. P is basic intrinsic iff (1) P and not-P are nondisjunctive and contingent, and (2) P is independent of accompaniment. Two things (actual or possible) are duplicates iff they have exactly the same basic intrinsic properties. P is intrinsic iff no two duplicates differ with respect to P. (shrink)
We defend the view of some feminist writers that the notion of silencing has to be taken seriously in discussions of free speech. We assume that what ought to be meant by ‘speech’, in the context ‘free speech’, is whatever it is that a correct justification of the right to free speech justifies one in protecting. And we argue that what one ought to mean includes illocution, in the sense of J.L. Austin.
My topic is a long-standing tension in the interpretation of religion. On the one hand, it seems undeniable — seems almost to go without saying — that liturgical and sacrificial practices, sacred dance, divination, procession and pilgrimage are intentional actions undertaken by persons. Yet there is a distinguished tradition in the study of religion according to which religious activity is typically caused by forces over which the agent has little or no control. Visible, latter-day members of this tradition include Hume, (...) Nietzsche, Marx, Durkheim, Freud, and, in some moods, Wittgenstein, but its roster is by no means limited to the religiously unmusical. (shrink)
If, as many suppose, pornography changes people, a question arises as to how.1 One answer to this question offers a grand and noble vision. Inspired by the idea that pornography is speech, and inspired by a certain liberal ideal about the point of speech in political life, some theorists say that pornography contributes to that liberal ideal: pornography, even at its most violent and misogynistic, and even at its most harmful, is political speech that aims to express certain views about (...) the good life, 2aims to persuade its consumers of a certain political point of view—and to some extent succeeds in persuading them. Ronald Dworkin suggests that the pornographer contributes to the ‘moral environment, by expressing his political or social convictions or tastes or prejudices informally’, that pornography ‘seeks to deliver’ a ‘message’ , that it reflects the ‘opinion’ that ‘women are submissive, or enjoy being dominated, or should be treated as if they did’, that it is comparable to speech ‘advocating that women occupy inferior roles’.3 Pornography on this view is political speech that aims to persuade its listeners of the truth of certain ideas about women, and of course ‘the government must leave to the people the evaluation of ideas’.4 Another answer offers a vision that is not grand and noble, but thoroughly reductive. Pornography is not politically persuasive speech, but speech that works by a process of psychological conditioning. This view seems common enough in the social science literature. Consider, for example, this description of an early experiment, from a time that pre-dates contemporary political debate. (shrink)
This book introduces the most important problems of reference and considers the solutions that have been proposed to explain them. Reference is at the centre of debate among linguists and philosophers and, as Barbara Abbott shows, this has been the case for centuries. She begins by examining the basic issue of how far reference is a two place (words-world) or a three place (speakers-words-world) relation. She then discusses the main aspects of the field and the issues associated with them, (...) including those concerning proper names; direct reference and individual concepts; the difference between referential and quantificational descriptions; pronouns and indexicality; concepts like definiteness and strength; and noun phrases in discourse. Professor Abbott writes with exceptional verve and wit. She presupposes no technical knowledge or background and presents issues and analyses from first principles, illustrating them at every stage with well-chosen examples. Her book is addressed in the first place to advanced undergraduate and graduate students in linguistics and philosophy of language, but it will also appeal to students and practitioners in computational linguistics, cognitive psychology, and anthropology. All will welcome the clarity this guide brings to a subject that continues to challenge the leading thinkers of the age. (shrink)
The Phenomenology of Spirit is both one of Hegel's most widely read books and one of his most obscure. The book is the most detailed commentary on Hegel's work available. It develops an independent philosophical account of the general theory of knowledge, culture, and history presented in the Phenomenology. In a clear and straightforward style, Terry Pinkard reconstructs Hegel's theoretical philosophy and shows its connection to ethical and political theory. He sets the work in a historical context and shows (...) the contemporary relevance of Hegel's thought for European and Anglo-American philosophers. The principal audience for the book is teachers and students of philosophy, but the great interest in Hegel's work and the clarity of Pinkard's exposition ensure that historians of ideas, political scientists, and literary theorists will also read it. (shrink)
This is a paper about two philosophers who wrote to each other. One is famous; the other is not. It is about two practical standpoints, the strategic and the human, and what the famous philosopher said of them. And it is about friendship and deception, duty and despair. That is enough by way of preamble.
This chapter sets forth a general theory of gender stratification. While both biological and ideological variables are taken into account, the emphasis is structural: It is proposed that the major independent variable affecting sexual inequality is each sex's economic power, understood as relative control over the means of production and allocation of surplus. For women, relative economic power is seen as varying-and not always in the same direction-at a variety of micro- and macrolevels, ranging from the household to the state. (...) A series of propositions links the antecedents of women's relative economic power, the interrelationship between economic and other forms of power, and the forms of privilege and opportunity into which each gender can translate its relative power. (shrink)
Quantum physics is believed to be the fundamental theory underlying our understanding of the physical universe. However, it is based on concepts and principles that have always been difficult to understand and controversial in their interpretation. This book aims to explain these issues using a minimum of technical language and mathematics. After a brief introduction to the ideas of quantum physics, the problems of interpretation are identified and explained. The rest of the book surveys, describes and criticises a range of (...) suggestions that have been made with the aim of resolving these problems; these include the traditional, or 'Copenhagen' interpretation, the possible role of the conscious mind in measurement, and the postulate of parallel universes. This new edition has been revised throughout to take into account developments in this field over the past fifteen years, including the idea of 'consistent histories' to which a completely new chapter is devoted. (shrink)
Prince of Networks is the rst treatment of Bruno Latour speci cally as a philosopher. Part One covers four key works that display Latour’s underrated contributions to metaphysics: Irreductions, Science in Action, We Have Never Been Modern, and Pandora’s Hope. Harman contends that Latour is one of the central gures of contemporary philosophy, with a highly original ontology centred in four key concepts: actants, irreduction, translation, and alliance.
This would have been a better book if Sampson had argued his main point, the usefulness of the Simonian principle as an explanation of the evolution, structure, and acquisition of language, on its own merits, instead of making it subsidiary to his attack on ‘limited-minders’ (e.g., Noam Chomsky). The energy he has spent on the attack he might then have been willing and able to employ in developing his argument at reasonable length and detail. He might then have found that (...) argument faulty, or even wrong. Underdeveloped as it is, however, his point about the Simonian principle does seem to have thepossibility of some significance in understanding the empirical issues of this book (and the dichotomy of ‘limited’ and ‘creative’ minds is certainly not one of these).What Sampson has done inMaking Sense has the appearance of science, and theoretical linguistics, and therefore it is somewhat puzzling to find the conclusions that the human mind cannot be scientifically studied (p. 10), and that theoretical linguistics is a “mirage” (p. 210). His statement that It may still seem worthwhile to some to work out the exact implications for present-day linguistic structure of the fact that languages are evolved systems, but I cannot see that there is much glamour or, indeed, much substance in this task (p. 210) would surely be surprising to a geneticist or ethologist. We hope his apparent misunderstanding on this point will not lead him to give up his profession, in which he seems willing and able to make a significant contribution.What in particular is required is a clear indication of how the Simonian principle imposes itself in the ontogenesis of language. Consider Chomsky's example of the rule for forming questions in English. For sentence (1) below, children able to deal with such examples would give (2) but not (3) as the corresponding question (Chomsky, 1975, p. 31).The man who is tall is in the room.Is the man who is tall in the room?*Is the man who tall is in the room?Now compare Sampson's evolutionary explanation for the structure-dependence of rules which is illustrated in (1)-(3): “once a behavior-pattern has become thoroughly established, it will tend to be treated as a fixed given when used as a constituent of a more complex, later-learned behavior-pattern” (p. 183). In order for this to account for Chomsky's example it would have to be the case that children learn relative clauses before they learn questions, which simply isn't true.In conclusion, we wish not to seem unaware of the problems with the position Sampson is attacking, or unaware of the sometimes dogmatic way it too has been presented. Chomsky's hypothesis of innate linguistic ideas seems, fundamentally, to derive from the claimed rapidity and uniformity of language acquisition in the face of limited and degenerate data. Chomsky appears to have been unwilling to argue these points directly or to show their relation to others, for which he has argued, for example, the implausibility of some abstract constraint's having been learned (cf. 1971, pp. 22–44; 1975, pp. 30–33; 1980, pp. 35–52). And almost from his first invoking of rationalism in support of his linguistic method, Chomsky has himself resorted to an unnecessarily polemical attack on empiricism (cf. 1965, p. 58, n. 33). The innateness issue is just not clear or simple enough to justify so much animus, or even conviction. (shrink)
Kant’s claim that we are ignorant of things in themselves is a claim that we cannot know ‘the intrinsic nature of things’, or so at least I argued in Kantian Humility.2 I’m delighted to find that Lucy Allais is in broad agreement with this core idea, thinking it represents, at the very least, a part of Kant’s view. She sees some of the advantages of this interpretation. It has significant textual support. It does justice to Kant’s sense that we are (...) missing out on something, in our failure to know things as they are in themselves. And it makes tellable, after all, Kant’s at first sight untellable tale, about the knowable existence of unknowable things: for we can know that things exist, without knowing what their intrinsic properties are. However, Allais is critical of the way I fill out this core idea, and she has an alternative to offer. She thinks Kant’s distinction between things in themselves and phenomena is not a distinction between two kinds of properties, intrinsic and relational. She is critical of my interpretation of causal powers, which I take to be the relevant relational properties: my idea, first, that causal powers are in fact relational properties; second, that causal powers are only contingently associated with intrinsic properties, so that creating substances with intrinsic properties is insufficient for creating causal power; and, third, that intrinsic properties are causally inert. Her criticisms of these three ideas.. (shrink)
Dan Marshall and Josh Parsons note, correctly, that the property of being either a cube or accompanied by a cube is incorrectly classified as intrinsic under the definition we have given unless it turns out to be disjunctive. Whether it is disjunctive, under the definition we gave, turns on certain judgements of the relative naturalness of properties. They doubt the judgements of relative naturalness that would classify their property as disjunctive. We disagree. They also suggest that the whole idea of (...) judging relative naturalness is a dubious business. We reply that, like them or not, such judgements cannot easily be avoided. (shrink)
In ‘The Harm in Hate Speech’ Waldron’s most interesting and ground-breaking contribution lies in a distinctive epistemological role he assigns to hate speech legislation: it is necessary for assurance of justice, and thus for justice itself. He regards public social recognition of what is owed to citizens as a public good, contributing to basic dignity and social standing of citizens. His claim that hate speech in the public social environment damages assurance of justice has wider implications, I argue: for hate (...) speech conducted in private; for pornography; and indeed for any speech that thwarts knowledge of what justice requires. (shrink)
In this study of the works of Sren Kierkegaard, Murray Rae focuses on his understanding of the Christian faith and the nature of Christian conversion. The transformation of an individual under the impact of revelation is explored both in terms of the New Testament concept of metanoia and in comparison with claims to cognitive progress in other fields.
This paper argues that the dominance of linear models has led many sociologists to construe the social world in terms of a "general linear reality." This reality assumes (1) that the social world consists of fixed entities with variable attributes, (2) that cause cannot flow from "small" to "large" attributes/events, (3) that causal attributes have only one causal pattern at once, (4) that the sequence of events does not influence their outcome, (5) that the "careers" of entities are largely independent, (...) and (6) that causal attributes are generally independent of each other. The paper discusses examples of these assumptions in empirical work, consider standard and new methods addressing them, and briefly explores alternative models for reality that employ demographic, sequential, and network perspectives. (shrink)
What, if anything, has faith to do with intention?1 By ‘faith’ I have in mind the attitude described by William James: Suppose...that I am climbing in the Alps, and have had the ill-luck to work myself into a position from which the only escape is by a terrible leap. Being without similar experience, I have no evidence of my ability to perform it successfully; but hope and confidence in myself make me sure I shall not miss my aim, and nerve (...) my feet to execute what without those subjective emotions would perhaps have been impossible. But suppose that, on the contrary, the emotions of fear and mistrust preponderate; or suppose that...I feel it would be sinful to act upon an assumption unverified by previous experience,—why, then I shall hesitate so long that at last, exhausted and trembling, and launching myself in a moment of despair, I miss my foothold and roll into the abyss....There are then cases where faith creates its own verification. Believe, and you shall be right, for you shall save yourself; doubt, and you shall again be right, for you shall perish.2.. (shrink)
Heidegger’s critique of metaphysics is central to his attempt to re-instantiate the question of being. This paper examines Heidegger’s critique of metaphysics by looking at the relationship between metaphysics and thought. This entails an identification of the intimate relationship Heidegger maintains exists between philosophy and metaphysics, an analysis of Heidegger’s critique of this association, and a discussion of his proposal that philosophy has been so damaged by its association with metaphysics that it must be replaced with meditative thinking. It is (...) not quite clear, however, how the overcoming of metaphysical thinking is to occur especially given Heidegger’s insistence that relying on human will to effect an alteration in thinking simply re-instantiates the metaphysical perspective to be overcome. While several critics have argued Heidegger has no solution to this issue, instead holding that thought must simply be open to being’s ‘self’-transformation if and when it occurs, I turn to Heidegger’s notion of trace and a number of scattered comments on the relationship between meditative thinking and willing as non-willing to show Heidegger: (a) was aware of this issue; and (b) tried to resolve it by recognising a reconceptualised notion of willing not based on or emanating from the aggressive willing of metaphysics. (shrink)
While Jacques Derrida’s influence on posthumanist theory is well established in the literature, given Martin Heidegger’s influence on Derrida, it is surprising to find that Heidegger’s relationship to posthumanist theory has been largely ignored. This article starts to fill this lacuna by showing that Heidegger’s writings not only influences but also has much to teach posthumanism, especially regarding the relationship between humanism and posthumanism. By first engaging with Heidegger’s destruction of metaphysics and related critique of anthropocentrism, I show that, while (...) rejecting Heidegger’s conclusions for being too humanist, posthumanism shares, and indeed is largely unreflectively defined by, Heidegger’s critique of the binary logic underpinning anthropocentric humanism. With this, posthumanism aims to go beyond Heidegger by overcoming all forms of humanist understanding, an attempt that brings us back to the relationship between humanism and posthumanism and Heidegger’s notion of trace. With this, I not only show that Heidegger influences posthumanism through his destruction of metaphysics, critique of anthropocentrism and notion of trace, but also point towards an understanding of posthumanism that distinguishes it from humanism and transhumanism. (shrink)
This article summarizes the multitude of empirical studies that test ethical decision making in business and suggests additional research necessary to further theory in this area. The studies are categorized and related to current theoretical ethical decision making models. The studies are related to awareness, individual and organizational factors, intent, and the role of moral intensity in ethical decision making. Summary tables provide a quick reference for the sample, findings, and publication outlet. This review provides insights for understanding organizational ethical (...) decision constructs, where ethical decision making theory currently stands, and provides insights for future empirical work on organizational ethical decision making. (shrink)
In recent years the benefit corporation has emerged as a new organizational form dedicated to legitimizing the pursuit of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Eschewing traditional governmental authority, the benefit corporation derives its moral legitimacy from the values of its owners and the oversight of a third party evaluator. This research identifies the benefit corporation as a new type of gray sector organization (GSO) and applies extant theory on GSOs to analyze its design. In particular, it shows how the theory of (...) GSO accountability can be used to assess the potential of benefit corporations for enhancing CSR. This research first examines the statutes that have established benefit corporations in five states in the US, along with bills in other states, to show how legislation defines their specific public benefits and holds them accountable for delivering these benefits. It then compares the accountability of the benefit corporation with that of other corporate - centric GSOs, e.g., GSOs that closely resemble traditional corporations. It concludes with significant design-based concerns about the utility of the benefit corporation as an effective organization for implementing CSR. (shrink)
This essay engages with Heidegger’s attempt to re-think the human being. It shows that Heidegger re-thinks the human being by challenging the way the human being has been thought, and the mode of thinking traditionally used to think about the human being. I spend significant time discussing Heidegger’s attempt before, in the final section, asking some critical questions of Heidegger’s endeavour and pointing out how his analysis can re-invigorate contemporary attempts to understand the human being.