In an evocative and provocative way Harriet Beecher Stowe focused the attention of her reader on the "sympathies of Christ/' to show that where these sympathies were manifested among whites and blacks, God was present, manifesting his power, liberating all in bondage.
How should one live? This central philosophical question can be separated into at least two parts. The first concerns the conduct and attitudes morality requires of each of us. The second is about the essential elements of a worthwhile life; it's about what it means to flourish, which includes meeting certain moral demands but is not exhausted by this. Answering this two-pronged question traditionally falls within the subdiscipline of ethics, broadly construed. Philosophers have also sought to explain what makes a (...) society just or good, to specify the values and principles by which we are to evaluate institutional arrangements and political regimes. This is the traditional domain of political philosophy. This essay addresses a question that arises where ethics and political philosophy meet. (shrink)
For forty years, acclaimed photographer and native Minnesotan Tom Arndt has been documenting the faces of Minnesota with unparalleled skill and candor. In Home, Arndt presents what he calls "a poem to my home state" through a series of poignant and compelling photographs that highlight the unique character of Minnesota. From Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis to Main Street in Willmar, from carnival workers at the state fair to drag racing fans in Anoka, and from small town street dances to the (...) sidewalks of Minneapolis, Home captures everyday life in the North Star State. By allowing people's lives to speak for themselves, Arndts photographs reveal the often forgotten moments that build common bridges across a diverse and ever-changing state. Enriched with more than 100 photographs, along with a personal and insightful preface by the author and a foreword by Garrison Keillor, Home is a landmark testimony to the people and culture of Minnesota. Arndt approaches his subjects - he would call them neighbors - with honesty, empathy, and humanity, and what emerges is a portrait of Minnesota that is at once achingly familiar and surprisingly new. (shrink)
This article develops an unconventional perspective on the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill in at least four areas. First, it is shown that both authors conceived of utility as irreducibly multi-dimensional, and that Bentham in particular was very much aware of the ambiguity that multi-dimensionality imposes upon optimal choice under the greatest happiness principle. Secondly, I argue that any attribution of intrinsic worth to any form of human behaviour violates the first principles of Bentham's and Mill's utilitarianism, and that this (...) renders both authors immune to the claim by G. E. Moore that they committed a ‘naturalistic fallacy’. Thirdly, in light of these contentions, I find no flaw in Mill's ‘proof of utility’. Fourthly, I use the notion of intrapersonal utility weights to provide an interpretation of Mill's qualitative hedonism that is entirely consistent with his value monism. (shrink)
Tom Stoneham offers a clear and detailed study of Berkeley's metaphysics and epistemology, as presented in his classic work Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, originally published in 1713 and still widely studied. Stoneham shows that Berkeley is an important and systematic philosopher whose work is still of relevance to philosophers today.
'By identifying the extent to which Aristotle's thinking about ethics was shaped by notions drawn from the crafts Angier has thrown new light on a surprising number of topics and has deepened our understanding of tensions within Aristotle's thought. It is by now a rare achievement to have said something new, true and important about Aristotle.' -- Alasdair MacIntyre, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, USA.
John Dewey is celebrated for his work in the philosophy of education and acknowledged as a leading proponent of American pragmatism. His philosophy of logic, on the other hand, is largely unheard of. In Dewey's New Logic, Burke analyzes portions of the debate between Dewey and Bertrand Russell that followed the 1938 publication of Dewey's Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. Burke shows how Russell failed to understand Dewey, and how Dewey's philosophy of logic is centrally relevant to contemporary developments in (...) philosophy and cognitive science. Burke demonstrates that Russell misunderstood crucial aspects of Dewey's theory and contends that logic today, having progressed well beyond Russell's early views, is approaching Dewey's broader perspective. -/- "[This] book should be of substantial interest not only to Dewey scholars and other historians of twentieth-century philosophy, but also to devotees of situation theory, formal semantics, philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and Artificial Intelligence."--Georges Dicker, Transactions of the C.S. Peirce Society "No scholar, thus far, has offered such a sophisticated and detailed version of central themes and contentions in Dewey's Logic . This is a pathbreaking study."--John J. McDermott, editor of The Philosophy of John Dewey. (shrink)
Kant's claim that modality is a 'category' provides an approach to modality to be contrasted with Lewis's reductive analysis. Lewis's position is unsatisfactory, since it depends on an inherently modal conception of a world. This suggests that modality is 'primitive'; and the Kantian position is a prima facie plausible position of this kind, which is filled out by considering the relationship between modality and inference. This provides a context for comparing the Kantian position with Wright's non-cognitivist 'conventionalism'. Wright's position is (...) vulnerable to the type of argument used against ethical non-cognitivism, and the Kantian position is further confirmed by Blackburn's acknowledgment that modality is 'antinaturalistic to its core'. The position is further elaborated to show that it can accommodate the famous Kripkean categories of the empirically necessary and the contingent a priori, and finally defended against the criticisms used by Quine against Carnap. (shrink)
Putnam construed the aim of Carnap’s program of inductive logic as the specification of a “universal learning machine,” and presented a diagonal proof against the very possibility of such a thing. Yet the ideas of Solomonoff and Levin lead to a mathematical foundation of precisely those aspects of Carnap’s program that Putnam took issue with, and in particular, resurrect the notion of a universal mechanical rule for induction. In this paper, I take up the question whether the Solomonoff–Levin proposal is (...) successful in this respect. I expose the general strategy to evade Putnam’s argument, leading to a broader discussion of the outer limits of mechanized induction. I argue that this strategy ultimately still succumbs to diagonalization, reinforcing Putnam’s impossibility claim. (shrink)
Imposing pure risks—risks that do not materialise into harm—is sometimes wrong. The Harm Account explains this wrongness by claiming that pure risks are harms. By contrast, The Autonomy Account claims that pure risks impede autonomy. We develop two objections to these influential accounts. The Separation Objection proceeds from the observation that, if it is wrong to v then it is sometimes wrong to risk v‐ing. The intuitive plausibility of this claim does not depend on any account of the facts that (...) ground moral wrongness. This suggests a close relationship between the factors that make an act wrong and the factors that make risking that act wrong, which both accounts fail to recognise. The Determinism Objection holds that both accounts fail to explain the wrongness of pure risks in a deterministic world. We then develop an alternative—The Buck‐Passing Account—that withstands both objections. (shrink)
In this paper, I do three things. First, I unpack and outline an intriguing but neglected aspect of the thought of the Frankfurt School critical theorist Theodor W. Adorno—namely, his critique of Aristotle, which can be found in two of his lecture series: the unpublished 1956 lectures on moral philosophy and the 1965 lectures published as Metaphysics: Concept and Problems. Second, I demonstrate how Adorno's Aristotle critique constitutes a powerful critique of contemporary neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism, of the sort advocated by (...) thinkers such as Philippa Foot, Michael Thompson and John McDowell. Third, I expound upon where this critique leaves the prospect of formulating a robust ethical naturalism more generally. (shrink)
Canadian ethicists Jocelyn Downie and Udo Schuklenk seek to assess the effect of Canada’s decriminalisation of ‘medical assistance in dying’ ‘to inform Canada’s ongoing discussions and because other countries will confront the same questions if they contemplate changing their assisted dying law.’1 Their assessment focuses on two arguments earlier levied against expansion of these procedures. The first is that of a ‘slippery slope’ and the second is what they disingenuously call, ‘social determinants of health’. They conclude that, in both cases, (...) the effect of legislation permitting first limited and then expanded options for medical termination has been benign. The argument in this brief commentary is that the ‘slippery slope’ is clearly evident and support for those with chronic, progressive diagnoses a clear contributor to the ever increasing number of persons seeking MAID. Downie and Schuklenk first review the legal and legislative history of MAID. In Carter v Canada, the courts found …. (shrink)
Tom Regan's seafaring dog that is justifiably thrown out of the lifeboat built for four to save the lives of four humans has been the topic of much discussion. Critics have argued in a variety of ways that this dog nips at Regan's Achilles heel. Without reviewing previous discussions, with much of which I certainly agree, this article develops an unexplored approach to exposing the vulnerability of the position that Regan takes on sacrificing the dog to save the humans. It (...) argues that when dealing with the seafaring dog, Regan abandons his own principles, and that this is exactly what he should do. Regan should abandon his view that all subjects-of-a-life have equal inherent worth. (shrink)
Because both emotional arousal and regulation are continuous, ongoing processes, it is difficult, if not impossible, to separate them. Thus, affective dynamics can reveal the regulation of emotion as it occurs in real time. One way that this can be done is through the examination of intra- and interpersonal flexibility or the transitions into and out of affective states. The present article reviews and then expands upon the Flex3 model of real-time dynamic and reactive flexibility, specifying the ways in which (...) individual differences in emotion regulation manifest as differences in flexibility. The differences in results at the real-time scale versus diurnal variability are also discussed within an emotion regulation framework. (shrink)
Western ethics and law have been slow to come to conclusions about the right to choose the time and manner of one's death. However, policies, practices, and legal precedents have evolved quickly in the last quarter of the twentieth century, from the forgoing of respirators to the use of Do Not Resuscitate orders, to the forgoing of all medical technologies, and now, in one U.S. state, to legalized physician-assisted suicide. The sweep of history—from the Quinlan case in New Jersey to (...) legislation in Oregon that allows physician-assisted suicide—has been as rapid as it has been revolutionary. (shrink)
In 1969 the American avant-garde filmmaker Ken Jacobs gained wide recognition with a two-hour long interpretation of a 1905 silent short film. Ever since, the artist has kept on revisiting the same material, each time with a different technological approach. Originally hailed as a prime example of structural filmmaking, Jacobs’ more recent variations on the theme of Tom Tom the Piper’s Son beg for a broader understanding of his methods and the meanings implied. To gain a deeper insight in this (...) on-going mise-en-abyme, this essay expands comments by the artist himself with concepts taken from animation, media-archaeology and Warburg’s Mnemosyne atlas. Rereading a filmic text with minute attention, remediating it from an analogue to an electronic format, and reanimating the original action by adding a variety of intervals: all Jacobs’ strategies are aimed at demonstrating the afterlife of Tom Tom in a contemporary cultural context. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to begin a conversation about how we read and write about Nietzsche and, related to this, other figures in the history of philosophy. The principle of charity can appear to be a way to bridge two dif-ferent interpretative goals: getting the meaning of the text right and offering the best philosophy. I argue that the principle of charity is multiply ambiguous along three different dimensions, which I call “unit,” “mode,” and “strength”: consequently, it is (...) not a single, neutral or independent principle to which we can helpfully appeal and it cannot, in itself, perform this bridging function. Nietzsche, I suggest, is particularly ill suited to some forms of charitable reading. I compare charity to what I call “misreporting” a philosopher’s words, in order to highlight some problematic structural similarities. Finally, I assess what charity might be doing instead, if it is not intended to bridge meaning and best philosophy. (shrink)
Two centuries after his birth, Karl Marx is read almost solely through the lens of Marxism, his works examined for how they fit into the doctrine that was developed from them after his death. With Marx’s Dream, Tom Rockmore offers a much-needed alternative view, distinguishing rigorously between Marx and Marxism. Rockmore breaks with the Marxist view of Marx in three key ways. First, he shows that the concern with the relation of theory to practice—reflected in Marx’s famous claim that philosophers (...) only interpret the world, while the point is to change it—arose as early as Socrates, and has been central to philosophy in its best moments. Second, he seeks to free Marx from his unsolicited Marxist embrace in order to consider his theory on its own merits. And, crucially, Rockmore relies on the normal standards of philosophical debate, without the special pleading to which Marxist accounts too often resort. Marx’s failures as a thinker, Rockmore shows, lie less in his diagnosis of industrial capitalism’s problems than in the suggested remedies, which are often unsound. Only a philosopher of Rockmore’s stature could tackle a project this substantial, and the results are remarkable: a fresh Marx, unencumbered by doctrine and full of insights that remain salient today. (shrink)
ABSTRACT ABSTRACT: Nietzsche, we are often told, had an account of 'self' or 'mind' or a 'philosophical psychology', in which what he calls our 'drives' play a highly significant role. This underpins not merely his understanding of mind, in particular, of consciousness and action. but also his positive ethics, be they understood as authenticity, freedom, knowledge, autonomy, self-creation, or power. But Nietzsche did not have anything like a coherent account of 'the drives' according to which the self, the relationship between (...) thought and action, or consciousness could be explained; consequently, he did not have a stable account of drives on which his positive ethics could rest. By this, I do not mean that his account is incomplete or that it is philosophically indefensible: both would leave open, misleadingly, the possibility of a rational reconstruction of Nietzsche’s views; both would already assume more unity and coherence than we find in his texts. Specifically, as I show through detailed analysis, Nietzsche provides varied and inconsistent accounts of what a 'drive' is, how much we can know about drives, and the relationship between drives and conscious deliberations about action. I conclude by questioning the hunt for a Nietzschean theory: is this the best way to be reading him? (shrink)
Algorithmic information theory gives an idealized notion of compressibility that is often presented as an objective measure of simplicity. It is suggested at times that Solomonoff prediction, or algorithmic information theory in a predictive setting, can deliver an argument to justify Occam’s razor. This article explicates the relevant argument and, by converting it into a Bayesian framework, reveals why it has no such justificatory force. The supposed simplicity concept is better perceived as a specific inductive assumption, the assumption of effectiveness. (...) It is this assumption that is the characterizing element of Solomonoff prediction and wherein its philosophical interest lies. (shrink)
In Pragmatism, James promised his readers a theory of truth. However, many of his readers (even those sympathetic with other parts of James’s work) have concluded that James’s “theory” was little more than a tangle of mistakes. In this chapter, I offer an interpretation and defence of James’s theory of truth. I emphasize James’s truth pluralism.
Section 31 of Quine's Word and Object contains an eyebrow-raising argument, purporting to show that if an agent, Tom, believes one truth and one falsity and has some basic logical acumen, and if belief contexts are always transparent, then Tom believes everything. Over the decades this argument has been debated inconclusively. In this paper I clarify the situation and show that the trouble stems from bad presentation on Quine’s part.
Although John Dewey is celebrated for his work in the philosophy of education and acknowledged as a leading proponent of American pragmatism, he might also have enjoyed more of a reputation for his philosophy of logic had Bertrand Russell not attacked him so fervently on the subject. In _Dewey's New Logic_, Tom Burke analyzes the debate between Russell and Dewey that followed the 1938 publication of Dewey's _Logic: The Theory of Inquiry_. Here, he argues that Russell failed to understand Dewey's (...) logic as Dewey intended, and despite Russell's resistance, Dewey's logic is surprisingly relevant to recent developments in philosophy and cognitive science. Burke demonstrates that Russell misunderstood crucial aspects of Dewey's theory and contends that logic today has progressed beyond Russell and is approaching Dewey's broader perspective. "[This] book should be of substantial interest not only to Dewey scholars and other historians of twentieth-century philosophy, but also to devotees of situation theory, formal semantics, philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and Artificial Intelligence."—Georges Dicker, _Transactions of the C.S. Peirce Society_ "No scholar, thus far, has offered such a sophisticated and detailed version of central themes and contentions in _Dewey's Logic_. This is a pathbreaking study."—John J. McDermott, editor of _The Philosophy of John Dewey_. (shrink)
Modern animal rights debates began in the 1970s, mainly as part of the budding field of applied ethics in Anglo-American philosophy. In just a short time, these animal rights discourses received international academic respect, especially through analytically trained philosophers. Central for this development was the analysis that rights language can be principally used species neutrally. This paper’s contribution is to examine the central terms of Tom Regan’s still widely discussed theory for their actuality and usefulness. Hence strengthening these arguments for (...) modern animal rights theory as a serious approach in national ethical and legal disputes. Translated from German by Gary Steiner, Bucknell University. (shrink)
Two positions that Rosamund Rhodes puts forward are the proper starting point for this commentary: 1. Medical ethics based on the common morality that uses a body of abstract principles or rules are not ‘an adequate and appropriate guide for physicians’ actions’. 2. We need, but do not have, a true professional medical ethics for physicians, which must be ‘distinctly different’ from ethics based on common morality. I will argue that both positions are mistaken. Rhodes does not analyse what she (...) means by a professional ‘medical ethics’ and does not supply content for what she calls ‘medical professionalism’. ‘Common morality‘ is also not given a precise meaning. However, I set aside these problems of conceptual clarity and concentrate on a paradigm case of professional ethics for physicians in interactions with patients. My example is The Belmont Report. Belmont is almost certainly a document that, in the USA, has for four decades been highly influential on physicians, especially physicians engaged in clinical research. It is not merely research ethics. In full satisfaction of the American Board of Medical Specialties’ ‘definition of medical professionalism’, The Belmont Report puts forward a system of ethical principles showing that physicians and other health professionals must conduct research in the service of the public interest and the well-being of patient–subjects. The Belmont Report also satisfies the earlier delineated conditions of medical professionalism in the American Board of Internal Medicine’s ‘Physician Charter’, which are stated in terms of the ‘fundamental principles’ of the primacy of patient welfare, patient autonomy and social justice.1,1–3 Belmont more than satisfies these conditions of medical professionalism. Indeed Belmont may well be the source of the principles …. (shrink)
Examines the various explanations that have been given for Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley's losses in the 1982 and 1986 California gubernatorial campaigns. The authors offer important advice for all black candidates running against whites for office today.
A personable teenager with Down's syndrome became a Canadian cause célèbre a few months ago when University Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, denied him a position on the organ transplantation waiting list. Terry Urquart lacked “reasonable” intelligence, hospital officials said, a criterion for all transplant candidates at that hospital. Protests by the boy's family, and by groups active in the cause of those with developmental disabilities, became well-photographed stories on the nightly television news and in the nation's newspapers. It did not (...) hurt the Urquart cause one bit that the 17-year-old teenager had won a gold medal in skiing at the International Special Olympics. (shrink)
A systematic comparison between Kierkegaard's and Nietzsche's ethics. I argue that Kierkegaard supplies a proleptic and largely successful critique of Nietzsche's claims and arguments in moral philosophy.
This collection illustrates the centrality of skill within ancient ethics, including ancient Chinese ethics, showing how skill or techne has been a touchstone from the beginning of philosophical thought. Covering Socrates' search for expertise in virtue, the Republic's 'craft of justice', Aristotle's delineation of the politike techne and the Stoics' 'art of life'. Divided into four sections on Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and Chinese ethics, it brings together world-leading philosophers working across this broad topic. Yet it is not limited to (...) traditional figures and traditions, featuring essays on the importance of skill in lesser-known philosophers, such as Carneades and Antipater, and texts, such as the Zhuangzi. In doing so, it illustrates how skill, expertise and 'know how' are important in ethics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of action and cognitive science. This collection of specially-commissioned chapters is the first to foreground skill as central to Ancient and Chinese ethics specifically making it an essential for anyone interested in the value of cross-cultural philosophy today. (shrink)
Interpretation always takes place in the present tense. It is worth reminding ourselves of this, because few philosophical texts or treatises have suffered the rise and fall of the vagaries of their own contemporary Weltanschauung as Fichte's Addresses to the German Nation. Few texts in history have been simultaneously so overestimated and underestimated in their impact and importance as Fichte's Addresses; and therefore few texts can be said to be so misunderstood—and so need in of reassessment. This collection, Fichte's Addresses (...) to the German Nation Reconsidered, edited by Daniel Breazeale and Tom Rockmore, precisely seeks to fill this lacuna. The interpretative fate of the Addresses has always hinged on the... (shrink)