This book addresses a dilemma at the heart of counter-terrorism: Is it ever justifiable to torture terrorists when innocent lives are at stake? The book analyses the moral arguments and presents a passionate defence of prohibition. It also examines current State practice and the models of legalising torture suggested in Israel and the US.
Dreams are a remarkable experiment in psychology and neuroscience, conducted every night in every sleeping person. They show that the human brain, disconnected from the environment, can generate an entire world of conscious experiences by itself. Content analysis and developmental studies have promoted understanding of dream phenomenology. In parallel, brain lesion studies, functional imaging and neurophysiology have advanced current knowledge of the neural basis of dreaming. It is now possible to start integrating these two strands of research to address fundamental (...) questions that dreams pose for cognitive neuroscience: how conscious experiences in sleep relate to underlying brain activity; why the dreamer is largely disconnected from the environment; and whether dreaming is more closely related to mental imagery or to perception. (shrink)
Spinoza is commonly perceived as the great metaphysician of coherence. The Euclidean manner in which he presented his philosophy in the _Ethics _has led readers to assume they are facing a strict and consistent philosophical system that necessarily follows from itself. As opposed to the prevailing understanding of Spinoza and his work, _The Role of Contradictions in Spinoza's Philosophy_ explores an array of profound and pervasive contradictions in Spinoza’s system and argues they are deliberate and constitutive of his philosophical thinking (...) and the notion of God at its heart. Relying on a meticulous and careful reading of the _Theological-Political Treatise_ and the _Ethics_, this book reconstructs Spinoza's philosophy of contradictions as a key to the ascending three degrees of knowledge leading to the _Amor intellectualis Dei_. Offering an exciting and clearly-argued interpretation of Spinoza’s philosophy, this book will interest students and scholars of modern philosophy and philosophy of religion, as well as Jewish studies. Yuval Jobani is Assistant Professor at the Department of Hebrew Culture Studies and the School of Education at Tel-Aviv University. (shrink)
A well known skeptical paradox rests on the claim that we lack warrant to believe that we are not brains in a vat. The argument for that claim is the apparent impossibility of any evidence or argument that we are not BIVs. Many contemporary philosophers resist this argument by insisting that we have a sort of warrant for believing that we are not BIVs that does not require having any evidence or argument. I call this view ‘New Rationalism’. I argue (...) that New Rationalists are committed to there being some evidence or argument for believing that we are not BIVs anyway. Therefore, New Rationalism, since its appeal is that it purportedly avoids the problematic commitment to such evidence or argument, undermines its own appeal. We cannot avoid the difficult work of coming up with evidence or argument by positing some permissive sort of warrant. (shrink)
The scandal to philosophy and human reason, wrote Kant, is that we must take the existence of material objects on mere faith . In contrast, the skeptical paradox that has scandalized recent philosophy is not formulated in terms of faith, but rather in terms of justification, warrant, and entitlement. I argue that most contemporary approaches to the paradox (both dogmatist/liberal and default/conservative) do not address the traditional problem that scandalized Kant, and that the status of having a warrant (or justification) (...) that is derived from entitlement is irrelevant to whether we take our beliefs on mere faith. For, one can have the sort of warrant that most contemporary anti-skeptics posit while still taking one’s belief on mere faith. An alternative approach to the traditional problem is sketched, one that still makes use of contemporary insights about “entitlement.”. (shrink)
Currently, the dominant enforcement paradigm is based on the idea that states deal with 'bad people' - or those pursuing their own self-interests - with laws that exact a price for misbehavior through sanctions and punishment. At the same time, by contrast, behavioral ethics posits that 'good people' are guided by cognitive processes and biases that enable them to bend the laws within the confines of their conscience. In this illuminating book, Yuval Feldman analyzes these paradigms and provides a (...) broad theoretical and empirical comparison of traditional and non-traditional enforcement mechanisms to advance our understanding of how states can better deal with misdeeds committed by normative citizens blinded by cognitive biases regarding their own ethicality. By bridging the gap between new findings of behavioral ethics and traditional methods used to modify behavior, Feldman proposes a 'law of good people' that should be read by scholars and policymakers around the world. (shrink)
This article is a response to an important objection that Sherrilyn Roush has made to the standard closure-based argument for skepticism, an argument that has been studied over the past couple of decades. If Roush's objection is on the mark, then this would be a quite significant finding. We argue that her objection fails.
In this paper I argue that physics is, always was, and probably always will be voiceless with respect to tense and passage, and that, therefore, if, as I believe, tense and passage are the essence of time, physics’ contribution to our understanding of time can only be limited. The argument, in a nutshell, is that if "physics has no possibility of expression for the Now", to quote Einstein, then it cannot add anything to the study of tense and passage, and (...) specifically, cannot add anything to the debate between deniers and affirmers of the existence or reality of tense and passage. Since relativity theory did not equip physics with a new language with which to speak of tense and passage, I draw the further conclusion that relativity theory has not generated the revolution to our conception of time that is attributed to it. In the last section I discuss the motivations behind the continued but misguided attempts to integrate tense into a relativistic setting, and assess the manners in which relativity theory has nevertheless enhanced, albeit indirectly, our understanding of tense and passage. (shrink)
Most solutions to the skeptical paradox about justified belief assume closure for justification, since the rejection of closure is widely regarded as a non-starter. I argue that the rejection of closure is not a non-starter, and that its problems are no greater than the problems associated with the more standard anti-skeptical strategies. I do this by sketching a simple version of the unpopular strategy and rebutting the three best objections to it. The general upshot for theories of justification is that (...) it is not a constraint on such theories that we must somehow have justification to believe that we are not massively deceived. (shrink)
This article explores various analytical issues involved in conceptualizing the interrelationships of gender, class, race and ethnicity and other social divisions. It compares the debate on these issues that took place in Britain in the 1980s and around the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism. It examines issues such as the relative helpfulness of additive or mutually constitutive models of intersectional social divisions; the different analytical levels at which social divisions need to be studied, their ontological base and their relations (...) to each other. The final section of the article attempts critically to assess a specific intersectional methodological approach for engaging in aid and human rights work in the South. (shrink)
To sell a new drug, pharmaceutical companies must discover a compound, run clinical trials to test its efficacy and safety, get it approved by regulatory bodies, produce the drug, and market it. As this process brings the drug through so many hands, there are risks of many kinds of corruption. The pharmaceutical industry has recently gone from being one of the most admired industries to being described by the majority of Americans as “dishonest, unethical, and more concerned with profits than (...) with individual and public health.” Legal scholar Marc Rodwin suggested that the pharmaceutical industry can be viewed through the lens of institutional corruption as defined by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig, whereby widespread or systemic practices undermine the main purposes of drug therapy — healing illness, preventing medical problems, and alleviating suffering. Many drugs do serve these goals, yet a significant number of drugs churned out by pharmaceutical companies are ineffective or have dangerous side effects that could have been predicted had the companies conducted the appropriate research. (shrink)
Dolev's ambitious project is to show that the traditional debate in the philosophy of time between the so-called ‘tensed’ and ‘tenseless’ theorists is not a sustainable one. The key to the negative portion argument is that both the tensed and tenseless view of time can be understood only from within their respective ontological frameworks. Moreover, that there is only really an appearance of understanding within these frameworks, since neither framework furnishes us with the wherewithal to genuinely understand temporal language. Moving (...) past these frameworks is the goal Dolev sets us. The positive aspect of the text tries to teach us how to transcend this merely ontological dispute and engage in phenomenological considerations of time itself. The conclusion to the positive project is that we cannot postulate an adequate metaphysical system of time, though we can understand what time is if we treat it as the time of our experiences in everyday life .The prospect that we might be able to move past the existing debate into fresh philosophical terrain is exciting. But I am not quite persuaded by the arguments that are intended to motivate the move to pastures new. First, on occasion Dolev seems to slightly …. (shrink)
What intelligent person has never pondered the meaning of life? For Yuval Lurie, this is more than a puzzling philosophical question; it is a journey, and in this book he takes readers on a search that ranges from ancient quests for the purpose of life to the ruminations of postmodern thinkers on meaning. He shows that the question about the meaning of life expresses philosophical puzzlement regarding life in general as well as personal concern about one’s own life in (...) particular. Lurie traces the emergence of this question as a modern philosophical quandary, riddled with shifts and turns that have arisen over the years in response to it. _Tracking the Meaning of Life _is written as a critical philosophical investigation stretching over several traditions, such as analytic philosophy, phenomenology, and existentialism. It maps out a journey that explores pivotal responses to this question, drawing especially on the thought of Tolstoy, Wittgenstein, Sartre, and Camus and exploring in depth the insights these thinkers offer regarding their own difficulties concerning the meaning of life. In the book’s four sections, Lurie discusses Tolstoy’s challenge to experience the religious and transcendental meaning of life by choosing a simple, hardworking existence; Wittgenstein’s focus on ethics and discovering the sense of the world, his conclusion that the question of the meaning of life makes no sense, and his turning to experience the mystical aspect of the world; Sartre’s positing of freedom as the basis of human life, stipulating a personal answer to the question of the meaning of life; and Camus’ view of the absurdity of life, unalleviated by any personal meaning. Guided by these views, Lurie imparts new insight to ideas that underlie our concern with life’s meaning, such as the difference between attitudes toward life and beliefs and opinions about life, the meaning of words versus the meaning of events, shared meanings versus personal meanings, and the link between ethics and personal identity. _Tracking the Meaning of Life_ is no mere dry philosophical study but a journey that dramatically illustrates the poignancy of the quest for meaning, showing that along the way it gradually becomes more obvious how personal meaning may be found in the pulsations of everyday life. The book offers stimulating reading not only for scholars in philosophy but also for general readers who wish to see how their personal concerns are echoed in modern philosophical thought. More than a description of a journey, it is a map to anxieties and puzzlements we all face, pointing to ideas that can guide readers on their own search for meaning. (shrink)
Two insights of psychology on which we would like to draw are that people react to law in more complex ways than rational-choice models assume and that good people sometimes do bad things. With that starting point, this article provides a behavioral perspective on some of the factors that policymakers seeking to reduce the level of misconduct in the pharmaceutical industry should consider. Effective regulation and enforcement need to address the following questions: Who are the regulation's targeted actors — researchers (...) or executives? Are the regulations directed toward research or marketing activities? Is the misconduct a product of explicit rational choice or implicit processes of which the actor is unaware? Is it reasonable to address all types of misconduct using the same approach? Certain misconduct — particularly by researchers — is due to automatic, intuitive, and unconscious decisions and needs to be addressed through different means than those used to address misconduct due to controlled, deliberate decisions. This article therefore recommends using different sorts of regulation depending on the context. It suggests more tailored enforcement mechanisms that will be sensitive to the pharmaceutical researchers’ unique work motivations and to their awareness or lack of awareness of their own misconduct. (shrink)
In a recent article, Wilson argues that Cartesian Scepticism leads to a vicious regress that can only be stopped by rejecting Cartesian Scepticism. If she is right, Wilson has solved one of philosophy's enduring problems. However, her regress is irrelevant to Cartesian Scepticism. This is evident once the proposition that we should have doubts, the person who has doubts, and the person who thinks that we should have doubts are carefully distinguished.
For millennia, war was viewed as a supreme test. In the period 1750-1850 war became much more than a test: it became a secular revelation. This new understanding of war as revelation completely transformed Western war culture, revolutionizing politics, the personal experience of war, the status of common soldiers, and the tenets of military theory.
In this paper I claim that as bitter as the eternalist/presentist rivalry is, as far as both camps are concerned, a third position—which I defend—is more disturbing. The reason is that what eternalists and presentists agree on is more fundamental than what they disagree about. They agree that time carves, to use Orilia’s term, “ontological inventories.” This in a way answers the “fundamental question”—what is time? They disagree about the contents of the inventories, but that, I suggest, is a secondary (...) issue. Thus, an argument against what they agree about would be more detrimental to their joint project—analyzing tense in ontological terms—than the internal disagreement they are engaged in. I develop this thesis by responding to Orilia’s paper “Two Metaphysical Perspectives on the Duration of the Present”. I criticize the specialized use Orilia makes of the notion of an “ontological inventory” in the context of the metaphysics of time, but also Quine’s approach to ontology, on which Orilia’s account relies. The gist of my criticism is that it is question begging to rely on the notion of an “ontological inventory” for giving content to the presentism/eternalism debate, and for arguing that there can’t be an alternative. (shrink)
Growing recognition in both the psychological and management literature of the concept of “good people” has caused a paradigm shift in our understanding of wrongful behavior: Wrongdoings that were previously assumed to be based on conscious choice—that is, deliberate decisions—are often the product of intuitive processes that prevent people from recognizing the wrongfulness of their behavior. Several leading scholars have dubbed this process as an ethical “blind spot.” This study explores the main implications of the good people paradigm on the (...) regulation of employees’ conflicts of interest. In two experiments, we examined the efficacy of traditional deterrence- and morality-based interventions in encouraging people to maintain their professional integrity and objectivity at the cost of their own self-interest. Results demonstrate that while the manipulated conflict was likely to “corrupt” people under intuitive/automatic mindset, explicit/deliberative mechanisms had a much larger constraining effect overall on participants’ judgment than did implicit measures, with no differences between deterrence and morality. The findings demonstrate how little is needed to compromise the employees’ ethical integrity, but they also suggest that a modest explicit/deliberative intervention can easily prevent much of the wrongdoing that may otherwise result. (shrink)
We present and defend a view labeled “practiceism” which provides a solution to the incompatibility problems. The classic incompatibility problem is inconsistency of:1. Someone who intentionally violates the rules of a game is not playing the game.2. In many cases, players intentionally violate the rules as part of playing the game.The problem has a normative counterpart:1’. In normal cases, it is wrong for a player to intentionally violate the rules of the game.2’. In many normal cases, it is not wrong (...) for a player to intentionally violate the rules of the game.According to both formalism and informalism, the rules of the game include the formal rules of the game. Both traditional positions avoid the incompatibility problems by rejecting 1 and 1'. Practiceism rejects 2 and 2’: it maintains that the rules are the rules manifested in playing the game, not the formal rules.Practiceism presents two theses: (... (shrink)
The problem of skepticism is often understood as a paradox: a valid argument with plausible premises whose conclusion is that we lack justification for perceptual beliefs. Typically, this conclusion is deemed unacceptable, so a theory is offered that posits conditions for justification on which some premise is false. The theory defended here is more general, and explains why the paradox arises in the first place. Like Strawson’s (Introduction to logical theory, Wiley, New York, 1952) “ordinary language” approach to induction, the (...) theory posits something built into the very notion of justification: it is loaded with a bias towards the proposition that we are not massively deceived. Beyond the paradox, remaining skeptical problems consist of metaphysical and practical questions: whether we are massively deceived, or why we should use our loaded notion rather than some other. Such challenges have pro- found epistemological significance, but they are not problems that an a priori theory of justification can solve. (shrink)
In this essay I defend a solution to a skeptical paradox. The paradox I focus on concerns epistemic justification (rather than knowledge), and skeptical scenarios that entail that most of our ordinary beliefs about the external world are false. This familiar skeptical paradox hinges on a “closure” principle. The solution is to restrict closure, despite its first appearing as a fully general principle, so that it can no longer give rise to the paradox. This has some extra advantages. First, it (...) suggests a general strategy that provides solutions to other versions of the paradox, not just those that depend on closure. Second, it clarifies the relation between the paradox and other kinds of skeptical problem. (shrink)
The conceptual history of Bildung, the German term for self-formation, encapsulates the ethical revolution of modern German thought, associated with the Kantian moment and its aftermath. Reshaped in modernity to respond to a post-Kantian, critical sensibility, the modern term emphasizes the reflexive, active process of self-formation, in contrast with the medieval theological sensibility which emphasized the receptive imprint of the image of God. In this article, I unpack Moses Mendelsohn’s idiosyncratic notion of Bildung. I show that what is unique, indeed, (...) singular in Mendelssohn’s notion of Bildung is the way it merges the traditional, theological notion with the modern one. For Mendelssohn, to imitate God is to come to value one’s contingent being. The imitation of the ideal, the most perfect, is tantamount to embracing the perfectible, and the process of perfection or self-actualization. Jacobi, Mendelssohn, Bildung, Contingency, Pantheism affair, Moral Perfectionism. (shrink)
The article discusses some of the major issues which need to be examined in a gendered reading of citizenship. However, its basic claim is that a comparative study of citizenship should consider the issue of women's citizenship not only by contrast to that of men, but also in relation to women's affiliation to dominant or subordinate groups, their ethnicity, origin and urban or rural residence. It should also take into consideration global and transnational positionings of these citizenships. The article challenges (...) the gender-blind and Westocentric character of many of the most hegemonic theorizations of citizenship, focusing in particular on the questions of membership in ‘the community’, group rights and social difference and the ways binaries of public/private and active/passive have been constructed to differentiate between different kinds of citizenships. The article argues that in order to be able to analyse adequately people's citizenship, especially in this era of ethnicization on the one hand and globalization on the other hand, and with the rapid pace at which relationships between states and their civil societies are changing, citizenship should best be analysed as a multi-tiered construct which applies, at the same time to people's membership in sub-, cross- and supra-national collectivities as well as in states. (shrink)
Universities in the USA have become bastions of secularity in a distinctly religious society. As such, they are subjected to a variety of robust and rigorous religious critiques. In this paper I do not seek to engage in the debate between the supporters of the secular university and its opponents. Furthermore, I do not claim to summarize the history of the critique of the secular university, nor to present an exhaustive map of its current articulations. My purpose is rather more (...) limited and modest, namely, to locate some of the key arguments of the current religious criticism of the secular university and put them in a wider philosophical context. Exploring the philosophical infrastructure of this criticism enables not only a more comprehensive and profound understanding of it, but also urges us to rethink the purpose and essence of the university as an institution that both reflects and forms our society and culture. The article is structured as follows; first section puts the religious criticism of the secular university in the context of the latest wave of criticism levelled at contemporary universities. Second section explores the argument according to which the secularization of the university led to the loss of the ideal of education for excellence in the wide, classical sense of the term. Third section examines the theoretical foundations of the call to reintegrate religion in contemporary universities, while fourth section explores the various practical consequences of this demand. (shrink)