Are we able to make objective moral judgments? This perennial philosophical topic needs often to be revisited because it is central to human life. Judging how people conduct themselves, the institutions they devise, whether, in short, they are doing what's right or what's wrong, is ubiquitous. In this essay I defend the objectivity of ethical judgments by deploying a neo-Aristotelian naturalism by which to keep the “is-ought” gap at bay and place morality on an objective footing. I do this with (...) the aid of the ideas of Ayn Rand as well as, but only by implication and association, those of Martha Nussbaum and Philippa Foot. (shrink)
There have been a number of attacks on the idea of human rights recently, both in the course of political and diplomatic encounters across the globe, as well as in the more systematic literature of political philosophy. These attacks do not always distinguish between the Lockean, negative and the more recent positive rights traditions. For example, at the 1993 summer conference on Human Rights in Vienna, Austria, many diplomats from different regions of the world raised such questions as 'When we (...) speak of human rights, are these conditions that everyone everywhere ought to enjoy?’Is it perhaps the case that human rights are one thing for people in one part of the globe and another for those in another part?' These questions were raised in large part about the rights spelled out in the United Nations Declaration of Universal Human Rights, including both negative and positive rights–e.g., the rights to freedom of expression and to public education, respectively. (shrink)
This highly readable theory of life and its origins offers a non-technical discussion of a chemical perspective on the fundamental organisation of living systems. Essays on the biological and philosophical significance of Ganti's work of thirty years indicate not only its enduring theoretical significance, but also the continuing relevance and heuristic power of Ganti's insights.
Recent work in neurophilosophy has either made reference to the work of John Dewey or independently developed positions similar to it. I review these developments in order first to show that Dewey was indeed doing neurophilosophy well before the Churchlands and others, thereby preceding many other mid-twentieth century European philosophers’ views on cognition to whom many present day philosophers refer (e.g., Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty). I also show that Dewey’s work provides useful tools for evading or overcoming many issues in contemporary neurophilosophy (...) and philosophy of mind. In this introductory review, I distinguish between three waves among neurophilosophers that revolve around the import of evolution and the degree of brain-centrism. Throughout, I emphasize and elaborate upon Dewey’s dynamic view of mind and consciousness. I conclude by introducing the consciousness-as-cooking metaphor as an alternative to both the consciousness-as-digestion and consciousness-as-dancing metaphors. Neurophilosophical pragmatism—or neuropragmatism—recognizes the import of evolutionary and cognitive neurobiology for developing a science of mind and consciousness. However, as the cooking metaphor illustrates, a science of mind and consciousness cannot rely on the brain alone—just as explaining cooking entails more than understanding the gut—and therefore must establish continuity with cultural activities and their respective fields of inquiry. Neuropragmatism advances a new and promising perspective on how to reconcile the scientific and manifest images of humanity as well as how to reconstruct the relationship between science and the humanities. (shrink)
When this classic work was first published in 1976, its central tenet--more is not necessarily better--placed it in direct conflict with mainstream thought in economics. Within a few years, however, this apparently paradoxical claim was gaining wide acceptance. Scitovsky's ground-breaking book was the first to apply theories of behaviorist psychology to questions of consumer behavior and to do so in clear, non-technical language. Setting out to analyze the failures of our consumerist lifestyle, Scitovsky concluded that people's need for stimulation is (...) so vital that it can lead to violence if not satisfied by novelty--whether in challenging work, art, fashion, gadgets, late-model cars, or scandal. Though much of the book stands as a record of American post-war prosperity and its accompanying problems, the revised edition also takes into account recent social and economic changes. A new preface and a foreword by economist Robert Frank introduce some of the issues created by those changes and two revised chapters develop them, discussing among others the assimilation of counter-cultural ideas throughout American society, especially ideas concerning quality of life. Scitovsky draws fascinating connections between the new elite of college-educated consumers and the emergence of a growing underclass plagued by drugs and violence, perceptively tracing the reactions of these disparate groups to the problems of leisure and boredom. In the wake of the so-called "decade of greed" and amidst calls for a "kindler, gentler" society, The Joyless Economy seems more timely than ever. (shrink)
Dieser neue Katalog der Codices graeci Monacenses 110–180 bietet die erste, partielle Erfassung der grössten Sammlung griechischer Handschriften in Deutschland seit fast 200 Jahren. Für die hier beschriebenen Handschriften wird somit der alte fünfbändige Katalog von Ignaz Hardt ersetzt, der noch in die Zeit der Gründung der bayerischen Monarchie fällt und trotz seiner Verdienste natürlich kaum mehr den Anforderungen der heutigen Forschung genügt. Der Veröffentlichung dieses Werkes vorausgegangen war 2002 die ebenfalls von Kerstin HAJDÚ verfasste Studie über die Geschichte (...) der Münchener Sammlung. (shrink)
The following letters were written by the distinguished British chemist Professor Brian G. Gowenlock in response to Tibor Frank’s article on “Networking, Cohorting, Bonding: Michael Polanyi in Exile,” Tradition and Discovery 23:2 : 5-19. The two letters contribute to the history of the Manchester years of Michael Polanyi with interesting details concerning several of his colleagues and contemporaries. These informative comments by a former student of Michael Polanyi will improve our knowledge of the last years of Polanyi as a (...) physical chemist. (shrink)
In Classical Individualism , Tibor R. Machan argues that individualism is far from being dead. Machan identifies, develops and defends what he calls classical individualism - an individualism humanised by classical philosophy, rooted in Aristotle rather than Hobbes. This book does not reject the social nature of human beings, but finds that every one has a self-directed agent who is responsible for what he or she does. Machan rejects all types of collectivism, including communitarianism, ethnic solidarity, racial unity, and (...) gender identity. The ideas expressed here have important social and political implications, and will be of interest to anyone concerned with the notion of individuality and individual responsibility. (shrink)
Cognitive science and its philosophy have been far too long consumed with representation. This concern is indicative of a creeping Cartesianism that many scientists and philosophers wish to evade. However, their naturalism is often insufficiently evolutionary to fully appreciate the lessons of pragmatism. If cognitive neuroscience and pragmatism are to be mutually beneficial, the representational-friendly scientists and the anti-representational pragmatists need an alternative to representation that still accounts for what many find so attractive about representation, namely intentionality. I propose that (...) instead of representations we philosophers and scientists begin thinking in terms of cultural affordances. Like Gibsonian affordances, cultural affordances are opportunities for action. However, unlike Gibsonian affordances, which are merely biological and available for immediate action in the immediately present environment, cultural affordances also present opportunities for thinking about the past and acting into the future—tasks typically attributed to representations. (shrink)
This paper presents Michael Polanyi’s escape from Berlin to Manchester as part of a major wave of intellectual migration at the time of Hitler’s rise in Germany in 1933. Many émigré scientists and social scientists from Hungary experienced forced and unexpected relocation twice in the interwar era: first in 1919-20, after the fall of the Bolshevik-type Hungarian Republic of Councils, and again after the Nazi takeover. Once in exile, they formed an unusually tight support group assisting each other by cohorting, (...) networking, and bonding. Their group included a host of major refugee scientists, scholars, visual artists, musicians, men of letters, and public figures. The rich Hungarian contribution to German and, later, U.S. culture and civilization was, to a very great extent, the result of anti-Semitic policies and practices in Hungary after 1920 and in Germany after 1933. (shrink)
This paper contributes an analysis and formalisation of Damasio’s theory on core consciousness. Three important concepts in this theory are ‘emotion’, ‘feeling’ and ‘feeling a feeling’ . In particular, a simulation model is described of the dynamics of basic mechanisms leading via emotion and feeling to core consciousness, and dynamic properties are formally specified that hold for these dynamics at a more global level. These properties have been automatically checked for the simulation model. Moreover, a formal analysis is made of (...) relevant notions of representation used by Damasio. As part of this analysis, specifications of representation relations have been verified and confirmed against the simulation model. (shrink)
Locke's defense of private property rights includes what is called a proviso— "the Lockean proviso"—and some have argued that in terms of it the right to private property can have various exceptions and it may not even be unjust to redistribute wealth that is privately owned. I argue that this cannot be right because it would imply that one's right to life could also have various exceptions, so anyone's life (and labor) could be subject to conscription if some would need (...) it badly enough. Since this could amount to enslavement and involuntary servitude, it would be morally and legally unacceptable. Key Words: rights • John Locke • Lockean proviso • scarcity. (shrink)
When we speak about the source of meaning, we are using a metaphor that is probably dead, but may still retain some of its heuristic force.1 There are several ways the human mind can understand a phenomenon. One of them is through understanding its cause. We can cope with something if we understand why it happens. Apart from the realm of cognition, the metaphor of the source also applies to legitimacy. If a piece of information has a source, it is (...) not invented, fabricated, or fictitious; therefore it can be legitimately used by somebody who is not the source. Authenticity of information is usually posited outside its entailer. Life writing may be a remarkable exception, but for the authenticity of such... (shrink)
Peter T. Leeson and Tobias Wolbring agree with me that rationality, properly clarified, should continue to assume an important theoretical role in modern social science. We disagree, however, about the precise extent of its role. In my reply to the debate I focus on two related issues that have emerged. First, can and should the concepts of rationality, or rational choice theory more generally, be employed as something more than just one tool among many? Second, can all cases of norm-following (...) be satisfactorily subsumed by rationality and RCT analysis? (shrink)
We investigate properties of accessible categories with directed colimits and their relationship with categories arising from ShelahʼsElementary Classes. We also investigate ranks of objects in accessible categories, and the effect of accessible functors on ranks.
Fifteen distinguished contributors free present up-to-date arguments for the libertarian alternative. Part One introduces libertarianism and outlines some approaches by which it might be justified. Part Two addresses how a society that embraces libertarian principles might deal with various social problems, especially those that seem to require government intervention. Part Three responds to criticisms of libertarianism from other political perspectives and presents a libertarian critique of those viewpoints. Contributors: N. Scott Arnold; James E. Chesher; Mike Gemmell; John Hospers; Gregory R. (...) Johnson; Loren E. Lomasky; Tibor R. Machan; Eric Mack; Jan Narveson; Douglas B. Rasmussen; Daniel Shapiro; Aeon Skoble; Mark Thornton; Douglas J. Den Uyl; Steven Yates. (shrink)
Pragmatism has resurged explicitly in neopragmatism and implicitly in neurophilosophy. Neopragmatists have focused primarily on ideals, like human freedom, but at the expense of science. Neurophilosophers have focused primarily on scientific facts, but with an eye toward dismissing aspects of our self-conception like free will as illusory. In both cases, these resurgences are impoverished as each neglects what Dewey referred to as the method of intelligence. Neurophilosophical pragmatism - neuropragmatism - aims to overcome the deficiencies of neopragmatism and neurophilosophy by (...) carrying forth the project of reconstruction by taking both the methods and results of experimental inquiry as the means for attaining ends-in-view such as human freedom. (shrink)
It is argued that a wrongheaded model of what a theory of knowledge must satisfy has engendered unjustified skepticism about knowledge and moral knowledge in particular. A contextualist conception of knowledge is sketched and defended and it is then argued that in terms of such an idea of what it is to know something the prospects for moral and political knowledge are significantly improved.
Sustainable development will shortly become the core issue of our everyday life. This article argues that only a nature-driven economy and society could give a final answer to sustainability questions.
I propose we discuss pluralistic humanism as an alternative to both atheism and traditional theism in an effort to establish a democratic faith to which we, despite our differences, can bind ourselves. I draw on the thought of American pragmatists to articulate a constructive criticism of new atheists. This criticism primarily focuses on the unacknowledged affinities between religion and scientific atheism – namely, a naive realism and a conversion experience – with the hope of using such common ground as a (...) starting point for not only shared experience but for self-examination. I conclude with the proposal that we take up a Deweyan conception of democracy as a common faith aimed at effecting religious or spiritual experiences despite the traditional oppression of institutional religion. (shrink)
The Man Without a Hobby is the memoir of Tibor Machan, a first generation refugee who escaped both a political and a personal tyranny early in his life and embarked upon a search for an understanding of what it means to live freely and ...
This brief discussion argues that Ayn Rand misconstrued David Hume's famous "is/ought" gap, just as innumerable others have. Hume objected to deducing ought claims (or judgments or statements) from is claims and not to deriving the former from the latter. He was silent about this but his own work in ethics and politics suggests that he would agree that one can infer ethical, moral or political beliefs from an understanding of facts (such as those of history).
TIBOR R. MACHAN argues that David Kelley's Unrugged Individualism: The Selfish Basis of Benevolence, which makes the case for including the benevolent virtues as a prominent feature of the Objectivist ethics, is too brief but filled with poignant observations and some valuable analysis. Machan discusses altruism, in response to much criticism of Rand's rendition of the position, and defends ethical egoism against widespread misrepresentations.
Government interference in free enterprise is growing. Should they intercede in business ethics and corporate responsibility; and if so, to what extent? The Morality of Business: A Profession for Human Wealthcare goes beyond the utilitarian case in discussing the various elements of business ethics, social policy, job security, outsourcing, government regulation, stakeholder theory, advertising and property rights. "Professor Machan has done it again! Profit seeking behavior by business is ethical and prudent, but it only can be ethical when a person (...) is free, and that depends upon having private property rights. Business ethics is not about ‘corporate citizenship,’ as so many others seem to believe. The contemplative life, so highly valued by many in academe, is made possible by the success of those in commerce. Which one lives a more ethical life? Read Machan’s, The Morality of Business for his answer." -Don Booth, Chapman University, California, USA. (shrink)
The existence of predatory animals is a problem in animal ethics that is often not taken as seriously as it should be. We show that it reveals a weakness in Tom Regan's theory of animal rights that also becomes apparent in his treatment of innocent human threats. We show that there are cases in which Regan's justice-prevails-approach to morality implies a duty not to assist the jeopardized, contrary to his own moral beliefs. While a modified account of animal rights that (...) recognizes the moral patient as a kind of entity that can violate moral rights avoids this counterintuitive conclusion, it makes non-human predation a rights issue that morally ought to be subjected to human regulation. Jennifer Everett, Lori Gruen and other animal advocates base their treatment of predation in part on Regan's theory and run into similar problems, demonstrating the need to radically rethink the foundations of the animal rights movement. We suggest to those who, like us, find it less plausible to introduce morality to the wild than to reject the concept of rights that makes this move necessary to read our criticism either as a modus tollens argument and reject non-human animal rights altogether or as motivating a libertarian-ish theory of animal rights. (shrink)
Among classical liberals and libertarians a serious debate has been afoot about whether any sort of government is justified. Murray N. Rothbard, Jan Narveson, Bruce Benson and Randy Barnett are usually listed as the main skeptics, while Ayn Rand, Robert Nozick, John Hospers, among others, are listed as defenders of the morality of limited government. In this paper I argue that once properly understood, the two sides arent in fundamental disagreement. Anarcho-libertarians do embrace the idea that men and women in (...) a free society are justified in establishing a legal order in defense of their basic and derivative rights, and this is also what limited government proponents advance as the basis for the system they deem to be just. I argue that no fundamental difference exists between these two legal orders. The monopoly anarcho-libertarians claim limited government proponents wrongfully sanction is, in fact, not a coercive monopoly and the legal order proposed by anarchists would also have this monopolistic characteristic. This should put an end to this fruitless dispute and free the energies on both sides to mount a really important and henceforth united defense of the free society with its just legal order.Parmi les libéraux classiques et les libertariens un important débat concerne la question de savoir si une quelconque forme de gouvernement est justifiée. Murray N. Rothbard, Jan Narveson, Bruce Benson et Randy Barnett sont habituellement classés parmi les principaux sceptiques, alors quAyn Rand, Robert Nozick, John Hospers, entre autres, sont plutôt classés en tant que défenseurs de la moralité dun gouvernement limité. Dans cet article, je soutiens quune fois correctement compris, les deux clans ne sont pas fondamentalement en désaccord. Les anarcho-libertariens soutiennent lidée que les hommes et les femmes dans une société libre sont en droit détablir un ordre législatif pour défendre leurs droits fondamentaux et leurs droits dérivés, et cest aussi ce que les partisans du gouvernement limité proposent comme fondement du système quils considèrent être juste. Je soutiens quil nexiste pas de différence fondamentale entre ces deux ordres législatifs. Le monopole du gouvernement limité que les partisans anarcholibertariens sanctionnent à tort est, en fait, non pas un monopole coercitif, et lordre législatif proposé par les anarchistes aurait lui aussi cette caractéristique monopolistique.Cela devrait mettre un terme à cette dispute stérile et libérer les énergies des deux côtés pour ériger à lavenir une défense unie réellement importante pour une société libre avec un ordre juridique juste. (shrink)