I begin with a note about moral goodness as a quality, disposition, or trait of a person or human being. This has at least two different senses, one wider and one narrower. Aristotle remarked that the Greek term we translate as justice sometimes meant simply virtue or goodness as applied to a person and sometimes meant only a certain virtue or kind of goodness. The same thing is true of our word “goodness.” Sometimes being a good person means having all (...) the virtues, or at least all the moral ones; then goodness equals the whole of virtue. But sometimes, being a good person has a narrower meaning, namely, being kind, generous, and so forth. Thus, my OED sometimes equates goodness with moral excellence as a whole and sometimes with a particular moral excellence, viz., kindness, beneficence, or benevolence; and the Bible, when it speaks of God as being good sometimes means that God has all the virtues and sometimes only that he is kind, mereiful, or benevolent. When Jesus says, “Why callest thou me good: None is good, save one, that is God,” he seems to be speaking of goodness in the inclusive sense, but when the writer of Exodus has God himself say that he is “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,” God is using “goodness” in the narrower sense in which it means benevolence, for he goes on to make it clear that he is also just and severe. Similarly, “good will” may mean either “morally good will” in general, as it does in Kant, or it may mean only “benevolent will,” as it usually does; in “men of good will” it is perhaps ambiguous. (shrink)
This essay, one of the last that Frankena wrote, provides a scrupulously detailed exploration of the various possible meanings of one of Sidgwick's most famous footnotes in the Methods Long intrigued by what Sidgwick had in mind when he said that he would explain how it came about that for moderns it is not tautologous to claim that one's own good is one's only reasonable ultimate end, Frankena uses this note as a point of departure for a penetrating review of (...) Sidgwick's insights and ambiguities on the differences between ancient and modern ethics. (shrink)
The debate over the central issue confronted in Closing--the role of the university and the liberal arts in the United States--has become increasingly urgent and contentious. The goal of this collection of essays is to consider what we can learn about the dilemmas confronting American culture through a consideration of both The Closing of the American Mind and the debate it has aroused. The contributors differ among themselves as to the validity of both the diagnoses and the solutions Bloom offers, (...) yet they do not engage in "Bloom-bashing" or hero-worship. The goal of the book is to place the debate over Closing into the larger context than can be achieved in a book review format. To provide the historical perspective that has been missing in the controversy over Bloom, included in this volume is Christopher Lasch's "The Great Experiment: Where Did it Go Wrong?" Also included are essays by other leading critics: John K. Roth, Frank Caucci, William K. Buckley, Milton R. Stern, Susan Bourgeois, Margaret C. Jones, Daniel Zins, Kenneth Alan Hovey, Bonnie A. Hain, John Peacock, Patricia L. Lundberg, Peter Siedlecki, Mark W. Roche, William Thickstun, Lorraine Clark, and Gerald Graff. This volume of essays does much to illuminate the issue surrounding The Closing of the American Mind. (shrink)
First steps are taken toward a formulation of quantum mechanics which avoids the use of probability amplitudes and is expressed entirely in terms of observable probabilities. Quantum states are represented not by state vectors or density matrices but by “probability tables,” which contain only the probabilities of the outcomes of certain special measurements. The rule for computing transition probabilities, normally given by the squared modulus of the inner product of two state vectors, is re-expressed in terms of probability tables. The (...) new version of the rule is surprisingly simple, especially when one considers that the notion of complex phases, so crucial in the evaluation of inner products, is entirely absent from the representation of states used here. (shrink)
This paper analyzes in some detail what an ethics of love would be like if interpreted rigorously as an ethics of being rather than of doing. It delineates the metaethical structure of such an ethics and suggests the characteristics of love appropriate to the structure. The author then indicates some problems that arise for such an ethical theory.
Taking reduction in the traditional deductive sense, the programmatic claim that most of genetics can be reduced by molecular genetics is defended as feasible and significant. Arguments by Ruse and Hull that either the relationship is replacement or at best a weaker form of reduction are shown to rest on a mixture of historical and logical confusions about the nature of the theories involved.
This paper argues for the importance of approaching medicine, as a theoretical science, through values. The normative concepts of benefit and harm are held to provide a framework for the analysis of medicine which reflects the obligations of the doctor-patient relationship, suffices to define the key concept of medical relevance, yields a general necessary condition for the basic concepts of medicine, explains the role of such nonnormative conceptions as discomfort, dysfunction, and incapacity, and avoids the mistakes of other normative approaches (...) which hold that unhealthy conditions are disvaluable or should be treated. Neutralist analyses are criticized, especially those approaching health through proper functioning. (shrink)
I critically examine an argument, due to howard wettstein, purporting to show that sentences containing definite descriptions are semantically ambiguous between referential and attributive readings. Wettstein argues that many sentences containing nonidentifying descriptions--descriptions that apply to more than one object--cannot be given a Russellian analysis, and that the descriptions in these sentences should be understood as directly referential terms. But because Wettstein does not justify treating referential uses of nonidentifying descriptions differently than attributive uses of nonidentifying descriptions, his argument fails.
This paper examines the statistical properties of random quantum states, for four different kinds of random state:(1) a pure state chosen at random with respect to the uniform measure on the unit sphere in a finite-dimensional Hilbert space;(2) a random pure state in a real space;(3) a pure state chosen at random except that a certain expectation value is fixed;(4) a random mixed state with fixed eigenvalues. For the first two of these, we give examples of simple states of a (...) model system, the kicked top, which have the statistical properties of random states. Interestingly, examples of both kinds of randomness can be found in the same system. In studying the last two kinds of random state, we obtain new results concerning the application of information theory to quantum systems. (shrink)
The limitation on the sharing of entanglement is a basic feature of quantum theory. For example, if two qubits are completely entangled with each other, neither of them can be at all entangled with any other object. In this paper we show, at least for a certain standard definition of entanglement, that this feature is lost when one replaces the usual complex vector space of quantum states with a real vector space. Moreover, the difference between the two theories is extreme: (...) in the real-vector-space theory, there exist states of arbitrarily many binary objects, “rebits,” in which every rebit in the system is maximally entangled with each of the other rebits. (shrink)
Let us accept the quantum mechanical description of a free particle and one fact from special relativity: rest mass contributes to energy. If we add to this bare framework one additional fact—that time runs slower near the earth—we can account for our everyday experience of gravity.