Skinner has made significant contributions to the science of the behavior of organisms, including human ones, especially through his emphasis on observable behavior. He has correctly placed psychology among the biological sciences. My disagreement with his position stems from his apparent belief that a knowledge of the pertinent neurophysiology is not necessary (though perhaps desirable) to an explanation of the behavior of an organism. I believe this is a significant conceptual shortcoming, and that correcting it will bring psychology into a (...) more consistent position with the biological sciences in general. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
In ‘The Power of God’ (Gleeson 2010) I elaborate and defend an argument by the late D.Z. Phillips against definitions of omnipotence in terms of logical possibility. In ‘Which God? What Power? A Response to Andrew Gleeson’ (Hasker 2010), William Hasker criticizes my defense of Phillips’ argument. Here I contend his criticisms do not succeed. I distinguish three definitions of omnipotence in terms of logical possibility. Hasker agrees that the first fails. The second fails because negative properties (like (...) disembodiedment and simplicity) do not amount to a nature that licenses the attribution of causal powers. The third fails because it does not identify actions that can be performed without a body. It cannot be saved by appeal to the idea of purely mental acts. (shrink)
Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: 'objectivity of value', 'objectivity and everyday knowledge', 'objectivity in political (...) economy', 'objectivity and reflexivity', 'objectivity, postmodernism and feminism', 'objectivity and nature'. The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work. (shrink)
In a seventeenth-century English landscape populated with towering political and philosophical figures like Hobbes, Harrington, Cromwell, Milton, and Locke, William Penn remains in many ways a man apart. Yet despite being widely neglected by scholars, he was a sophisticated political thinker who contributed mightily to the theory and practice of religious liberty in the early modern Atlantic world. In this long-awaited intellectual biography of William Penn, Andrew R. Murphy presents a nuanced portrait of this remarkable entrepreneur, philosopher, (...) Quaker, and politician.Liberty, Conscience, and Toleration focuses on the major political episodes that attracted William Penn's sustained attention as a political thinker and actor: the controversy over the Second Conventicle Act, the Popish Plot and Exclusion Crisis, the founding and settlement of Pennsylvania, and the contentious reign of James II. Through a careful examination of writings published in the midst of the religious and political conflicts of Restoration and Revolutionary England, Murphy contextualizes the development of Penn's thought in England and America, illuminating the mutual interconnections between Penn's political thought and his colonizing venture in America. An early advocate of representative institutions and religious freedom, William Penn remains a singular figure in the history of liberty of conscience. His political theorizing provides a window into the increasingly vocal, organized, and philosophically sophisticated tolerationist movement that gained strength over the second half of the seventeenth century. Not only did Penn attempt to articulate principles of religious liberty as a Quaker in England, but he actually governed an American polity and experienced firsthand the complex relationship between political theory and political practice. Murphy's insightful analysis shows Penn's ongoing significance to the broader study of Anglo-American political theory and practice, ultimately pointing scholars toward a new way of understanding the enterprise of political theory itself. (shrink)
The pioneering sociologist William Graham Sumner was a prolific and astute historian of the early American republic, whose work was informed by his classical liberalism and his understanding of economics. He authored seven major works including biographies and thematic studies concentrating on the vital subjects of currency, banking, business cycles, foreign trade, protectionism, and politics. Although his works are out of print, and hardly mentioned or referred to by historians or economists, they are quite valuable for understanding the politics (...) and major economic issues of the first century of the republic.1 They are: History of American Currency, Lectures on the History of Protection, Andrew Jackson, Alexander Hamilton, The Financier and Finances of the American Revolution, 2 vols., Robert Morris, History of Banking in the United States. As one can see, Sumner was most interested in the history of money and banking in America. He was a resolute opponent of inflation, inconvertible currencies, legal tender laws, bimetallic standards, and the American practice of fractional-reserve banking. His theory of the business cycle was built on the work of antebellum political economists such as Condy Raguet. Sumner’s understanding of it is sophisticated and proto- Austrian. (shrink)
Andrew H. Gleeson has written an essay commenting on an exchange between Dewi Z. Phillips and me, arguing that I was mistaken to dismiss Phillips’ criticism of the standard definition of omnipotence as unsuccessful. Furthermore, he charges Swinburne, me, and analytic theists in general, with an excessive anthropomorphism that obliterates the distinction between Creator and creature. In response, I contend that all of Gleeson’s criticisms are unsound.
One of the aspects of consciousness deserving of study is what might be called its subjective unity - the way in which, though conscious experience moves from object to object, and can be said to have distinct ‘states', it nevertheless in some sense apparently forms a singular flux divided only by periods of unconsciousness. The work of William James provides a valuable, and rather unique, source of analysis of this feature of consciousness; however, in my opinion, this component of (...) James’ theory of the mind has so far gone under-emphasized in the scholarly literature. This paper undertakes some philosophical geography, trying to draw out and elucidate some of the relevant ideas from James’ corpus, and also subjects those ideas to some analysis to try and assist in judgements of their current importance. (shrink)
In “Friendship Amongst the Self-Sufficient: Epicurus” (this Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2, June 2001), Andrew Mitchell explores the Epicurean view of the relationship between self-sufficiency and friendship by contrasting it with the views of Aristotle and the Stoics. Epicurus, Aristotle, and the Stoics do indeed have interestingly different views on friendship that are well worth comparing. Yet Mitchell’s characterization of Aristotelian friendship is misleading, his account of Stoic friendship is inaccurate, and his interpretation of Epicurean friendship is curiously imaginative (...) but ultimately rather strange. (shrink)