The paper aims to put certain basic mathematical elements and operations into an empirical perspective, evaluate the empirical status of various analytic operations widely used within psychology and suggest alternatives to procedures criticized as inadequate. Experimentation shows the "manyness" of items to be a perceptual quality for both young children and animals and that natural operations are performed by naive children analogous to those performed by persons tutored in arithmetic. Number, counting, arithmetic operations therefore can make distinctions that are not (...) inevitably arbitrary, and conceptual operations can obviously have a status as natural events with psychology. If the elements and conceptual operations involved in mathematical systems were not inherent in physiological process, various primitive discriminations could not be possible. Also, since some calculi have a natural status in a given empirical circumstance, the axioms of others can not be satisfied. Therefore the psychologist when acting as an empirical scientist seeks a calculus having a structure whose elements are isomorphic with natural units of stimulus and response and whose operations are isomorphic with whatever natural processes are involved. Measurement poses a special problem for the empirical scientist. It concerns but a single class of natural qualities and this only in a limited way. The concept of quantity has a natural counterpart but quantity and measurement are not wholly analogous. Measurement is defined, as H. S. Leonard suggests, as a theoretical activity. Measurement theory has a formal structure but empirical end. Measurement hypothesizes about the position of a particular quality within a definite range of qualities. It therefore is beholden to definite empirical restrictions. Some hypotheses-making systems use terms and relations per se as the context and starting point for dealing with discriminable events. Such procedures are 'transcendent." In empirical science, questions are part of problem-solving activity and their reference is naturally restricted. In providing description and explanation, psychological researchers frequently use calculi in a transcendent way. This results in theories that are only quasi-empirical and "half" true. The roles measurement plays in psychology are discussed. Of particular concern are those cases in which the results of measuring or a theory of measurement are used to define the "real" units, or the "real" relations involved in problematic psychological events, and thence to describe and explain behaviors of interest. Metaphysical or ontological usages of measurement sometimes occur. The implication of these arguments with regard to a view of empirical science is discussed. (shrink)
In _The Priority of Prudence_, Daniel Mark Nelson proposes a reappropriation of a moral perspective that focuses on the cardinal virtues of courage, temperance, justice, and prudence. The study aims to recover and rehabilitate the virtue of prudence as a way of resuming a moral conversation that has been stalemated for too long. Nelson's main source for reviving the virtue of prudence is St. Thomas Aquinas's account of the cardinal virtues in the _Summa Theologica_. A primary problem (...) with using Aquinas as a source for reviving an ethics of virtue centered on prudence is that he is commonly perceived as the most prominent figure in the conflicting natural-law tradition. According to Nelson's reinterpretation, however, Aquinas teaches that moral understanding depends first and foremost on prudence working in accord with other cardinal virtues and that natural law functions to explain moral reasoning rather than to guide it. This study serves to advance the debate about the contemporary relevance of an ethics of virtue by way of its significantly more detailed explication of prudence. Nelson makes important connections between influential reinterpretations of the ethical theory of Aquinas that have been published during the last thirty years and widespread interest in an ethics of virtue that has been expressed by Alasdair Maclntyre, Stanley Hauerwas, William Sullivan, Robert Bellah, and others. _The Priority of Prudence _represents a significant contribution to the scholarly literature both in the study of Aquinas and in the debate on the ethics of virtue. (shrink)
Eric Nelson presents the first critical edition of the translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey composed by the great seventeenth-century philosopher and political theorist Thomas Hobbes. Nelson shows that these translations are not only of great literary interest but offer special insights into Hobbes's own thought.
We are currently seeing a revival of interest in Aquinas's moral thought among Christian ethicists, both Protestant and Catholic. Although recent studies of his moral thought have touched on a number of topics, the majority of these have focused on his account of the virtues and their place in the Christian life. Probing the questions of the relation of virtue and law, the role of reason and will, and the place of the passions in Aquinas's moral theology, I will examine (...) recent studies by Diana Cates, Pamela Hall, Simon Harak, James Keenan, Daniel Nelson, Daniel Westberg, and Paul Waddell. In different ways these studies return us repeatedly to the vexed and unresolved question of the scope of human freedom. (shrink)
On the day before Christmas, 1170, Robert de Broc, member of a family of royal servants that had taken up King Henry II's fierce opposition to Thomas Becket, seized a horse bringing goods to the archbishop and cut off its tail. The next day, Archbishop Thomas noted this incident after his Christmas sermon when renewing his excommunication of Robert and several others, and he discussed it again four days later in his initial meeting with the men who would (...) shortly murder him. The excision of the horse's tail appears in five of the biographies of the martyr and subsequently in the national chronicles of Roger of Howden and Ralph of Diceto. Why did a minor act of cruelty inflicted on a horse seem so noteworthy to contemporaries? The sources recording it resound with the rich Latin vocabulary of shame: “dedecus, contemptus, ignominia, dehonestatio, opprobrium.” Robert's highly symbolic act, part of a pattern of harassment by the Brocs, was designed not just to threaten Becket but also to humiliate him. (shrink)
What rights govern heterosexual and homosexual behaviors? Two distinguished philosophers debate this important issue in Sexual Orientation and Human Rights. Laurence M. Thomas argues that a society which has the constitutional resources to protect hate groups can protect homosexuals without valorizing the homosexual life-style. He defends the view that the Bible cannot warrant the venom that, in the name of religion, is often expressed against homosexuals. Michael E. Levin defends the unorthodox view that the aversion some people experience toward (...) homosexuality deserves respect. He further argues that while homosexuals enjoy the same rights as others to be free of violence and discrimination, they do not have more extensive rights. (shrink)