Clearly, Marx thought he was promoting democratic values. In the Manifesto, the immediate goal of socialism is summed up as “to win the battle of democracy.” Marx sees the reduction of individuality as one of the greatest injuries done by a system in which most people buy and sell their labor power on terms over which they have little control. As they supervised translations and re-issues of the Manifesto, Marx and Engels singled out just one point as a major topic (...) on which their view in 1848 had been superseded. The forms of government needed to be changed to give people more control over the state, a change in structure pioneered by the Paris Commune. (shrink)
In a wide-ranging inquiry Richard W. Miller provides new resources for coping with the most troubling types of moral conflict: disagreements in moral conviction, conflicting interests, and the tension between conscience and desires. Drawing on most fields in philosophy and the social sciences, including his previous work in the philosophy of science, he presents an account of our access to moral truth, and, within this framework, develops a theory of justice and an assessment of the role of morality in (...) rational choice. In Miller's view, we are often in a position to claim that our moral judgments are true descriptions of moral facts. But others, relying on contrary ways of moral learning, would reject truths that we are in a position to assert, in dissent that does not depend on irrationality or ignorance of relevant evidence or arguments. With this mixed verdict on moral realism, Miller challenges many received views of rationality, scientific method, and the relation between moral belief and moral choice. In his discussion of justice, Miller defends the adequacy, for modern political choices, of a widely shared demand that institutions be freely and rationally acceptable to all. Drawing on social research and economic theories, he argues that this demand has dramatically egalitarian consequences, even though it is a premise of liberals and conservatives alike. In the final chapters, Miller investigates the role and limits of morality in the choice of conduct, arguing for new perspectives on reason and impartiality. (shrink)
La recepción durante el siglo XX se preguntó si la filosofía nietzscheana era a-, im- o anti-política, es decir, si podía ser asimilada por la democracia, o si era antimoderna, elitista y reaccionaria. El italiano Roberto Esposito ha propuesto leerla como formando e informando el paradigma de la biopolítica. Se discuten cuatro lecturas de esa biopolítica: como formadora del paradigma de la inmunidad, como tanatopolítica, como liberal y neoliberal, y como biopolítica afirmativa. Twentieth-century readers wondered if Nietzschean philosophy was apolitical, (...) impolitic, or anti-political; that is, if it could be assimilated by democracy or if it was antimodern, elitist, and reactionary. The Italian philosopher Robert Esposito has proposed reading Nietzsche's philosophy as forming and informing the biopolitical paradigm. Four readings of these biopolitics are discussed: as part of the paradigm of immunity, as thanatopolitics, as liberal and neoliberal, and as affirmative biopolitics. (shrink)
This is an excellent collection of critical essays on Michael Walzer’s Spheres of Justice. David Miller provides a comprehensive and lucid introduction to Walzer’s views on justice, and Walzer offers a brief—perhaps too brief—response to his critics. Contributors are drawn from philosophy, political science, and sociology, and include Judith Andre, Richard Arneson, Brian Barry, Joseph Carens, Jon Elster, Amy Gutmann, David Miller, Susan Moller Okin, Michael Rustin, Adam Swift, and Jeremy Waldron.
The propensity interpretation of probability, bred by Popper in 1957(K. R. Popper, in Observation and Interpretation in the Philosophy of Physics,S. Körner, ed. (Butterworth, London, 1957, and Dover, New York, 1962), p. 65; reprinted in Popper Selections,D. W. Miller, ed. (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1985), p. 199) from pure frequency stock, is the only extant objectivist account that provides any proper understanding of single-case probabilities as well as of probabilities in ensembles and in the long run. In Sec. 1 (...) of this paper I recall salient points of the frequency interpretations of von Mises and of Popper himself, and in Sec. 2 I filter out from Popper's numerous expositions of the propensity interpretation its most interesting and fertile strain. I then go on to assess it. First I defend it, in Sec. 3, against recent criticisms(P. Humphreys, Philos. Rev.94,557 (1985); P. Milne, Erkenntnis25,129 (1986)) to the effect that conditional [or relative] probabilities, unlike absolute probabilities, can only rarely be made sense of as propensities. I then challenge its predominance, in Sec. 4, by outlining a rival theory: an irreproachably objectivist theory of probability, fully applicable to the single case, that interprets physical probabilities asinstantaneous frequencies. (shrink)
Starting with Gottlob Frege's foundational theories of sense and reference, Miller provides a useful introduction to the formal logic used in all subsequent philosophy of language. He communicates a sense of active philosophical debate by confronting the views of the early theorists concerned with building systematic theories - such as Frege, Bertrand Russell, and the logical positivists - with the attacks mounted by sceptics - such as W.O. Quine, Saul Kripke, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. This leads to important excursions into (...) related areas of metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science that present the more recent attempts to save the notions of sense and meaning by philosophers such as Paul Grice, John Searle, Jerry Fodor, Colin McGinn, and Crispin Wright. Miller then returns to the systematic program by examining the formal theories of Donald Davidson, concluding with a chapter surveying the relevance of philosophy of language to the broader metaphysical debates between realists and anti-realists. Miller's clear, engaged, and coherently structured approach makes Philosophy of Language an ideal text for undergraduate courses. The guides to further reading provided in each chapter help the reader pursue interesting topics further and facilitate using the book in conjunction with primary sources. (shrink)
The professed aim is to make a Thomistic theory of knowledge relevant to contemporary analytic movements. Stress is laid on the dynamism of intellection, and on supraphysical esse as the only constituent of divine knowledge and as the essential feature of human knowledge. Miller also argues that knowledge through affective connaturality must be combined with intellection. Little concession is made to those not steeped in scholastic terminology. --W. L. M.
The self-communication of being and the human person’s intellectual vocation to draw it gradually into logos are important themes in the writing of W. Norris Clarke. This paper addresses two related obstacles to understanding the person’s individual essence: (1) the limited intellectual reach of the potential knower, who has no access to another’s subjectivity, (2) the person’s inability to reveal her individual essence in any one act and the need for it to be gradually unfolded. These obstacles can be partially (...) surmounted through motivational narrative, as developed by Arthur Miller, wherein persons describe those actions to which they are uniquely inclined and that bring profound fulfillment. The privileged recipient has rich access into the narrator’s subjectivity and opportunity to see in the story an ontologically stable pattern of motivated behavior that expresses her individual essence. (shrink)
Leitch speaks of his procedure with my work as employing an "abrupt asyndetic format" and as being "a metonymic montage in which themes and citations are playfully and copiously combined." One form of this playfulness is the panoply of figures he uses to describe me and my criticism. The need to use figures for this is interesting, as is their incoherence, though the figures can be shown to fall into a rough antithetical pattern. At one moment the deconstructive critic is (...) a fairy godmother able to turn the pumpkin of the Western tradition into a phantasmal coach. He is a magician or wizard who shows that things are not what they have seemed with the great texts of our tradition or who turns them into something other than what they have seemed solidly to be, pragmatic pumpkins, unequivocally there. At the next moment the deconstructer is a disco dancer, moving sideways in the "lateral dance of interpretation" . The more or less benign fairy godmother and dancer then turns into a "nihilistic magician - who dances demonically upon the broken and scattered fragments of the Western tradition." He becomes a ferocious shaman, "Ravening, raging, and uprooting that he may come/Into the desolation of reality" . He is "a bull-deconstructer loose in the china shop of Western tradition" . In the next moment the bull metamorphoses into a lamb, as Leitch realizes the conservative aspects of deconstruction, the way it claims to be rescuing and preserving aspects of our culture which have always been there, both in literary and philosophical works and in the techniques of interpreting them. The same point is made more sharply and critically by William E. Cain in another recent essay on my work . In the final paragraph of his essay, Leitch has fun inventing permutations of an image of sand in the salad from one of my essays. Will deconstruction sandblast the whole shebang, or will the alien grain of sand turn into a pearl of price? J. Hillis Miller is Frederick W. Hilles Professor of English at Yale. His previous contributions to Critical Inquiry are "Ariadne's Thread: Repetition and the Narrative Line" and "The Critic as Host". (shrink)
As a way to make medical decisions, Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) has failed. EBM's failure arises from not being founded on real-world decision-making. EBM aspires to a scientific standard for the best way to treat a disease and determine its cause, but it fails to recognise that the scientific method is inapplicable to medical and other real-world decision-making. EBM also wrongly assumes that evidence can be marshaled and applied according to an hierarchy that is determined in an argument by authority to (...) the method by which it has been obtained. If EBM had valid theoretical, practical or empirical foundations, there would be no hierarchy of evidence. In all real-world decision-making, evidence stands or falls on its inherent reliability. This has to be and can only be assessed on a case-by-case basis applying understanding and wisdom against the background of all available facts—the "factual matrix." EBM's failure is structural and was inevitable from its inception. EBM confuses the inherent reliability and probative value of evidence with the means by which it is obtained. -/- EBM is therefore an ad hoc construct and is not a valid basis for medical decision-making. This is further demonstrated by its exclusion of relevant scientific and probative real-world decision-making evidence and processes. It draws upon a narrow evidence base that is itself inherently unreliable. It fails to take adequate account of the nature of causation, the full range of evidence relevant to its determination, and differing approaches to determining cause and effect in real-world decision-making. EBM also makes a muddled attempt to emulate the scientific method and it does not acknowledge the role of experience, understanding and wisdom in making medical decisions. (shrink)
What makes an act of killing morally wrong is not that the act causes loss of life or consciousness but rather that the act causes loss of all remaining abilities. This account implies that it is not even pro tanto morally wrong to kill patients who are universally and irreversibly disabled, because they have no abilities to lose. Applied to vital organ transplantation, this account undermines the dead donor rule and shows how current practices are compatible with morality.
Medicine, like law, is a pragmatic, probabilistic activity. Both require that decisions be made on the basis of available evidence, within a limited time. In contrast to law, medicine, particularly evidence-based medicine as it is currently practiced, aspires to a scientific standard of proof, one that is more certain than the standards of proof courts apply in civil and criminal proceedings. But medicine, as Dr. William Osler put it, is an "art of probabilities," or at best, a "science of uncertainty." (...) One can better practice medicine by using other evidentiary standards in addition to the "scientific." To employ only the scientific standard of proof is inappropriate, if not impossible; furthermore, as this review will show, its application in medicine is fraught with bias. Evidence is information. It supports or undermines a proposition, whether a hypothesis in science, a diagnosis in medicine, or a fact or point in question in a legal investigation. In medicine, physicians marshal evidence to make decisions on how to best prevent, diagnose, and treat disease, and improve health. In law, courts decide the facts and render justice. Judges and juries assess evidence to establish liability, to settle custody and medical issues, and to determine a defendant's guilt or innocence. (shrink)
We are very grateful to the commentators for taking the time to respond to our little article, ‘What Makes Killing Wrong?’ They raise many points, so we cannot respond to them all, but we do want to head off a few misinterpretations.Our critics in this journal avoid one careless misinterpretation, but less informed readers have pressed this misinterpretation in popular venues, so we need to start by renouncing it. We do not deny that killing humans is morally wrong. To the (...) contrary, we argue that killing humans is almost always morally wrong, because killing humans is almost always disabling, and disabling is morally wrong. Here we do not disagree with common sense. We also do not deny that killing partially or even profoundly disabled humans is morally wrong. People who are disabled in some ways still retain many other valuable abilities. This should be obvious. To kill a person with some disabilities but many other valuable abilities is to disable that person, so that is morally wrong. Here again we do not disagree with common sense. The one and only surprising application of our theory is to humans who are alive but totally disabled. We argue that, apart from special circumstances, it is not morally wrong to kill live humans who are totally disabled, whereas many people think that it would be morally wrong to kill even in these extreme and unusual cases, because they assume that killing is morally wrong for reasons apart from disabling.What could those reasons be? DeGrazia mentions three possibilities. First, ‘the harm of killing —in those ordinary cases in …. (shrink)
Despite the importance of extrapair copulation (EPC) in human evolution, almost nothing is known about the design features of EPC detection mechanisms. We tested for sex differences in EPC inference-making mechanisms in a sample of 203 young couples. Men made more accurate inferences (φmen = 0.66, φwomen = 0.46), and the ratio of positive errors to negative errors was higher for men than for women (1.22 vs. 0.18). Since some may have been reluctant to admit EPC behavior, we modeled how (...) underreporting could have influenced these results. These analyses indicated that it would take highly sex-differentiated levels of underreporting by subjects with trusting partners for there to be no real sex difference. Further analyses indicated that men may be less willing to harbor unresolved suspicions about their partners’ EPC behavior, which may explain the sex difference in accuracy. Finally, we estimated that women underreported their own EPC behavior (10%) more than men (0%). (shrink)