Contains fourteen essays and an introduction addressing the main areas of scholarly interest for Richard W. Davis, Professor Emeritus, Washington University, St Louis Questions how individuals envision the public good in modern Britain and how, through religious and moral beliefs, coupled with wisdom and political savvy, they can improve the public good through the ever-changing nineteenth century political institutions Essays range from studies of local electoral politics and parliamentary reform campaign to national political party organization, high politics and the (...) role religion and empire played in the creation of national policy Examines the influence of individuals on the political process through their professional work in historical and philosophical writing, journalism and missionary work at home and abroad Provides new original research in the area of modern British political history together in Parliamentary History. (shrink)
The problem of the will has long been viewed as central to Heidegger's later thought. In the first book to focus on this problem, Bret W. Davis clarifies key issues from the philosopher's later period--particularly his critique of the culmination of the history of metaphysics in the technological "will to will" and the possibility of Gelassenheit or "releasement" from this willful way of being in the world--but also shows that the question of will is at the very heart of (...) Heidegger's thinking, a pivotal issue in his path from Being and Time (1926) to "Time and Being" (1962). Moreover, the book demonstrates why popular critical interpretations of Heidegger's relation to the will are untenable, how his so-called "turn" is not a simple "turnaround" from voluntarism to passivism. Davis explains why the later Heidegger's key notions of "non-willing" and " Gelassenheit " do not imply a mere abandonment of human action; rather, they are signposts in a search for an other way of being, a "higher activity" beyond the horizon of the will. While elucidating this search, his work also provides a critical look at the ambiguities, tensions, and inconsistencies of Heidegger's project, and does so in a way that allows us to follow the inner logic of the philosopher's struggles. As meticulous as it is bold, this comprehensive reinterpretation will change the way we think about Heidegger's politics and about the thrust of his philosophy as a whole. (shrink)
Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Cambodia, Erik W. Davis radically recasts attitudes toward the nature of Southeast Asian Buddhism's interactions with local religious practice and, by extension, reorients our understanding of Buddhism itself. Through a vivid study of contemporary Cambodian Buddhist funeral rites, he reveals the powerfully integrative role monks play as they care for the dead and negotiate the interplay of non-Buddhist spirits and formal Buddhist customs. Buddhist monks perform funeral rituals rooted in the embodied practices of (...) Khmer rice farmers and the social hierarchies of Khmer culture. The monks' realization of death underwrites key components of the Cambodian social imagination: the distinction between wild death and celibate life, the forest and the field, and moral and immoral forms of power. By connecting the performative aspects of Buddhist death rituals to Cambodian history and everyday life, Davis undermines the theory that elite Buddhist monks universally oppose rural belief systems. Instead, he shows Cambodian Buddhism to be a robust tradition with ethical and popular components extending throughout Khmer society. (shrink)
In this introduction to Part 1 of the Common Knowledge symposium, “Fuzzy Studies,” the journal's editor discusses four essays from the 1980s by Richard Rorty, in which Rorty chose to associate himself with various neopragmatists, Continental thinkers, and “left-wing Kuhnians” under the rubric of the “new fuzziness.” The term had been introduced as an insult by a philosopher of science with positivist leanings, but Rorty took it up as an “endearing” compliment, arguing that “to be less fuzzy” was also to (...) be “less genial, tolerant, open-minded, and fallibilist.” He defined the “new fuzziness” as “an attempt to blur just those distinctions between the objective and subjective and between fact and value which the critical conception of rationality has developed.” This introduction also examines W. V. Quine's essay “Speaking of Objects” (1957), which describes objects as fuzzy “half-entities”; Clifford Geertz's essay “Blurred Genres” (1980), which advises social scientists that being “taxonomically upstanding” is futile; and Lofti Zadeh's article “The Concept of a Linguistic Variable and Its Application to Approximate Reasoning” (1975), which abandons “Aristotelian, bivalent logic” in favor of a “fuzzy logic” based on Zadeh's “fuzzy set theory.” This introductory piece relates these theoretical works of the past half-century to the sorites paradox and to classical issues of vagueness raised and still unresolved in Western philosophy. Returning then to Rorty, the author questions how Rorty expected his endorsement of the “new fuzziness” to be applied, as proposed, to theology and politics. Suggesting that such applications are the natural work of historians, the author, having asked the historian Natalie Zemon Davis for comment, then quotes her response—which associates fuzzy studies, “common knowledge,” and peacemaking—at length. (shrink)
The 14 chapters in _Ethics at the End of Life: New Issues and Arguments_, all published here for the first time, focus on recent thinking in this important area, helping initiate issues and lines of argument that have not been explored previously. At the same time, a reader can use this volume to become oriented to the established questions and positions in end of life ethics, both because new questions are set in their context, and because most of the chapters—written (...) by a team of experts—survey the field as well as add to it. Each chapter includes initial summaries, final conclusions, and a Related Topics section. TABLE OF CONTENTS John K. Davis, "Introduction" Geoffrey Scarre, "Is it possible to be better off dead?" Taylor W. Cyr, "How Does Death Harm the Deceased?" Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin, "The Significance of an Afterlife" Jens Johansson, "The Severity of Death" John K. Davis, "Defining Death" James Stacey Taylor, "Autonomy, Competence, and End of Life" Eric Vogelstein, "Deciding for the Incompetent" Paul T. Menzel, "Change of Mind: An Issue for Advance Directives" Nancy S. Jecker, "Medical Futility and Respect for Patient Autonomy" Paul T. Menzel, "Refusing Lifesaving Medical Treatment and Food and Water by Mouth" Thomas S. Huddle, "Suicide, Physician-Assisted Suicide, the Doing-Allowing Distinction and Double Effect" Michael Cholbi, "Grief and End of Life Surrogate Decision-making" Bruce Jennings, "Solidarity near the End of Life: The Promise of Relational Decision-making in the Care of the Dying" Colin Farrelly, "Justice and the Aging of the Human Species". (shrink)
In this paper, we attempt to show that if Plantinga’s free will defence succeeds, his O Felix Culpa theodicy fails. For if every creaturely essence suffers from transworld depravity, then given that Jesus has a creaturely essence (as we attempt to show), it follows that Incarnation and Atonement worlds cannot be actualized by God, in which case we have anything but a felix culpa.
In a series of articles, Wes Morriston has launched what can only be considered a full-scale assault on the divine command theory (DCT) of morality. According to Morriston, proponents of this theory are committed to an alarming counterpossible: that if God did command an annual human sacrifice, it would be morally obligatory. Since only a ‘terrible’ deity would do such a ‘terrible’ thing, we should reject DCT. Indeed, if there were such a deity, the world would be a terrible place—certainly (...) far worse than it is. We argue that Morriston’s non-standard method for assessing counterpossibles of this sort is flawed. Not only is the savvy DCT-ist at liberty to reject it, but Morriston’s method badly misfires in the face of theistic activism—a metaphysical platform available to DCT-ists, according to which if God didn’t exist, neither would anything else. (shrink)