My point of departure is Bernard WiIliams’ “moral luck” thesis and its claim that luck and success are an integral part of ethics. Some scholars think AristotIe’s ethics lends support to a version of the moral luck thesis. My claim is the exact opposite: Aristotle gives a subtle and interesting argument for keeping luck and ethics distinct. Luck plays Iittle role since the moral worth of action Iies in the agent’s choice, proairesis, not merely in the quality of the act (...) itself and even less the outcome or succcss of the action. Further, virtue and success are not equatable: although the courageous person must act with practical wisdom --- he must know who his enemy is and when to fight --- virtue does not require victory in battle. (shrink)
When Swiss artist Paul Klee died in 1940, he left behind not only paintings that are a testament to his prodigious skill and vision but also a trove of writings and lectures that highlight his impressive intellectual prowess. Paul Klee: Philosophical Vision: From Nature to Art is the fully illustrated catalog accompanying an eponymous exhibition opening in 2012 at the McMullen Museum of Art that focuses on the philosophical depth of Klee's art. Demonstrating how ideas developed in Klee's (...) written work are realized in his paintings, Paul Kleeputs a keen emphasis on the artist as philosopher, both in his theoretical writings and in his artistic works. Klee's philosophy of nature and of the genesis of natural things is explored, as are the ways in which Klee translated these ideas into form, line, and color. His paintings are also decoded to reveal Klee as an astute critic of modern society, taking up topics as various as the impact of technology on art and the political failures of Germany that led to the rise of Hitler and Nazism. The exhibition and catalog will also look at twentieth- and twenty-first-century philosophers who have discussed Klee's work, including Benjamin, Heidegger, Foucault, and Merleau-Ponty, and will articulate the broad impact that Klee's art has had on recent philosophical thought. This book brings together contributions by an international group of scholars and also includes a new translation of Klee's "On Modern Art." A beautiful and rigorous treatment of one of the twentiethcentury's most famous painters, Paul Klee not only reveals the man himself as a thinker and artist, but also creates a larger paradigm for how philosophical ideas shape art, and vice versa. (shrink)
Paul Horwich gives the definitive exposition of a prominent philosophical theory about truth, `minimalism'. His theory has attracted much attention since the first edition of Truth in 1990; he has now developed, refined, and updated his treatment of the subject, while preserving the distinctive format of the book. This revised edition appears simultaneously with a new companion volume, Meaning; the two books demystify central philosophical issues, and will be essential reading for all who work on the philosophy of language.
The self-portrait of an intellectual reveals his childhood in Vienna, wounds at the Russian front in the German army, encounters with the famous, innumerable love affairs, four marriages, and refusal to accept a "petrified and tyrannical ...
Causation is at once familiar and mysterious. Neither common sense nor extensive philosophical debate has led us to anything like agreement on the correct analysis of the concept of causation, or an account of the metaphysical nature of the causal relation. Causation: A User's Guide cuts a clear path through this confusing but vital landscape. L. A. Paul and Ned Hall guide the reader through the most important philosophical treatments of causation, negotiating the terrain by taking a set of (...) examples as landmarks. They clarify the central themes of the debate about causation, and cover questions about causation involving omissions or absences, preemption and other species of redundant causation, and the possibility that causation is not transitive. Along the way, Paul and Hall examine several contemporary proposals for analyzing the nature of causation and assess their merits and overall methodological cogency.The book is designed to be of value both to trained specialists and those coming to the problem of causation for the first time. It provides the reader with a broad and sophisticated view of the metaphysics of the causal relation. (shrink)
This major volume assembles leading scholars to address and explain the significance of Paul Ricoeur's extraordinary body of work. Ricoeur's work is of seminal importance to the development of hermeneutics, phenomenology, and ideology critique in the human sciences. Opening with three key essays from Ricoeur himself--on Europe, fragility and responsibility, and love and justice--this fascinating volume offers a tour of his work ranging across topics such as the hermeneutics of action, narrative force, and the other and deconstruction, while discussing (...) his work in the context of such contemporary thinkers as Heidegger, Levinas, Arendt, and Gadamer. Offering a very useful overview of Paul Ricoeur's enormous contribution to modern thought, Paul Ricoeur will be invaluable for students and academics across the social and human sciences and philosophy. (shrink)
What rational justification is there for conceiving of all living things as possessing inherent worth? In Respect for Nature, Paul Taylor draws on biology, moral philosophy, and environmental science to defend a biocentric environmental ethic in which all life has value. Without making claims for the moral rights of plants and animals, he offers a reasoned alternative to the prevailing anthropocentric view--that the natural environment and its wildlife are valued only as objects for human use or enjoyment. Respect for (...) Nature provides both a full account of the biological conditions for life--human or otherwise--and a comprehensive view of the complex relationship between human beings and the whole of nature. This classic book remains a valuable resource for philosophers, biologists, and environmentalists alike--along with all those who care about the future of life on Earth. A new foreword by Dale Jamieson looks at how the original 1986 edition of Respect for Nature has shaped the study of environmental ethics, and shows why the work remains relevant to debates today. (shrink)
To claim that Hayden White has yet to be read seriously as a philosopher of history might seem false on the face of it. But do tropes and the rest provide any epistemic rationale for differing representations of historical events found in histories? As an explanation of White’s influence on philosophy of history, such a proffered emphasis only generates a puzzle with regard to taking White seriously, and not an answer to the question of why his efforts should be worthy (...) of any philosophical attention at all. For what makes his emphasis on narrative structure and its associated tropes of philosophical relevance? What, it may well be asked, did any theory that draws its categories from a stock provided by literary criticism contribute to explicating problems with regard to the warranting of claims about knowledge, explanation, or causation that represent those concerns that philosophy typically brings to this field? Robert Doran’s anthologizing of previously uncollected pieces, ranging as they do over a literal half-century of White’s published work, offers an opportunity to identify explicitly those philosophical themes and arguments that regularly and prominently feature there. Moreover, White’s essays in this volume demonstrate a credible knowledge of and interest in mainstream analytic philosophers of his era and also reveal White as deeply influenced by or well acquainted with other important philosophers of history. White thus invites a reading of his work as philosophy, and this volume presents the opportunity for accepting it as such. (shrink)
I explore some of the ways that assumptions about the nature of substance shape metaphysical debates about the structure of Reality. Assumptions about the priority of substance play a role in an argument for monism, are embedded in certain pluralist metaphysical treatments of laws of nature, and are central to discussions of substantivalism and relationalism. I will then argue that we should reject such assumptions and collapse the categorical distinction between substance and property.
In the past century, nearly all of the biological sciences have been directly affected by discoveries and developments in genetics, a fast-evolving subject with important theoretical dimensions. In this rich and accessible book, Paul Griffiths and Karola Stotz show how the concept of the gene has evolved and diversified across the many fields that make up modern biology. By examining the molecular biology of the 'environment', they situate genetics in the developmental biology of whole organisms, and reveal how the (...) molecular biosciences have undermined the nature/nurture distinction. Their discussion gives full weight to the revolutionary impacts of molecular biology, while rejecting 'genocentrism' and 'reductionism', and brings the topic right up to date with the philosophical implications of the most recent developments in genetics. Their book will be invaluable for those studying the philosophy of biology, genetics and other life sciences. (shrink)
The paper discusses some aspects of the relationship between Feyerabend and Kuhn. First, some biographical remarks concerning their connections are made. Second, four characteristics of Feyerabend and Kuhn's concept of incommensurability are discussed. Third, Feyerabend's general criticism of Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions is reconstructed. Forth and more specifically, Feyerabend's criticism of Kuhn's evaluation of normal science is critically investigated. Finally, Feyerabend's re-evaluation of Kuhn's philosophy towards the end of his life is presented.
In an opinion piece penned at the Great War’s onset yet apparently unpublished until now, the historian of religion Hermann Gunkel outlined the opportunities he saw for the German people in anticipation of their triumph. He believed this war could consummate what the Napoleonic Wars and the Unification of Germany had not. Gunkel hoped for true German unity, more liberal domestic politics, and spiritual restoration. Further still, he referred to a resurgence of piety on account of the conflict. On the (...) Great War’s centenary, this documentation speaks to the mobilizing, nationalist activities of Gunkel in particular and of academicians and theologians more generally. (shrink)
Jean-Paul Sartre is one of the most famous philosophers of the twentieth century. The principal founder of existentialism, a political thinker and famous novelist and dramatist, his work has exerted enormous influence in philosophy, literature, politics and cultural studies. Jean-Paul Sartre: Basic Writings is the first collection of Sartre's key philosophical writings and provides an indispensable resource for readers of his work. Stephen Priest's clear and helpful introductions make the volume an ideal companion to those coming to Sartre's (...) writing for the first time. (shrink)
Jean-Paul Sartre is one of the most famous philosophers of the twentieth century. The principle founder of existentialism, a political thinker and famous novelist and dramatist, his work has exerted enormous influence in philosophy, literature, politics and cultural studies. Jean-Paul Sartre: Basic Writings is the first collection of Sartre's key philosophical writings and provides an indispensable resource for all students and readers of his work. Stephen Priest's clear and helpful introductions set each reading in context, making the volume (...) an ideal companion to those coming to Sartre's writings for the first time. (shrink)
Paul and Religion demonstrates the continuing and contemporary relevance of the most important, and most controversial, figure of early Christianity. Paul Gooch interrogates the Pauline writings for their meaning as well as implications for religion as an entire form of life, a stance on the world expressed in distinctive practices. Bringing a philosophical approach to this topic, he connects Paul's ideas to lived experience. In a conversational style, Gooch explores Paul's experience of grace and his dismissal (...) of distinctive markers of religious identity in favour of love as binding together a community. Contrary to common expectations, he finds within Paul's letters material for conversations about issues in our day, such as gender and sexuality. From his close reading of the Letters, Gooch argues that the Pauline religious form of life is not identical with institutional Christianity. Indeed, his conclusions may be welcome to those who belong to other faiths. (shrink)
This collection of essays by philosophers and educationalists of international reputation, all published here for the first time, celebrates Paul Hirst's professional career. The introductory essay by Robin Barrow and Patricia White outlines Paul Hirst's career and maps the shifts in his thought about education, showing how his views on teacher education, the curriculum and educational aims are interrelated. Contributions from leading names in British and American philosophy of education cover themes ranging from the nature of good teaching (...) to Wittgensteinian aesthetics. The collection concludes with a paper in which Paul Hirst sets out his latest views on the nature of education and its aims. The book also includes a complete bibliography of works by Hirst and a substantial set of references to his writing. (shrink)
A leading cognitive scientist argues that a deep sense of good and evil is bred in the bone. From John Locke to Sigmund Freud, philosophers and psychologists have long believed that we begin life as blank moral slates. Many of us take for granted that babies are born selfish and that it is the role of society—and especially parents—to transform them from little sociopaths into civilized beings. In Just Babies, Paul Bloom argues that humans are in fact hardwired with (...) a sense of morality. Drawing on groundbreaking research at Yale, Bloom demonstrates that, even before they can speak or walk, babies judge the goodness and badness of others’ actions; feel empathy and compassion; act to soothe those in distress; and have a rudimentary sense of justice. -/- Still, this innate morality is limited, sometimes tragically. We are naturally hostile to strangers, prone to parochialism and bigotry. Bringing together insights from psychology, behavioral economics, evolutionary biology, and philosophy, Bloom explores how we have come to surpass these limitations. Along the way, he examines the morality of chimpanzees, violent psychopaths, religious extremists, and Ivy League professors, and explores our often puzzling moral feelings about sex, politics, religion, and race. In his analysis of the morality of children and adults, Bloom rejects the fashionable view that our moral decisions are driven mainly by gut feelings and unconscious biases. Just as reason has driven our great scientific discoveries, he argues, it is reason and deliberation that makes possible our moral discoveries, such as the wrongness of slavery. Ultimately, it is through our imagination, our compassion, and our uniquely human capacity for rational thought that we can transcend the primitive sense of morality we were born with, becoming more than just babies. -/- Paul Bloom has a gift for bringing abstract ideas to life, moving seamlessly from Darwin, Herodotus, and Adam Smith to The Princess Bride, Hannibal Lecter, and Louis C.K. Vivid, witty, and intellectually probing, Just Babies offers a radical new perspective on our moral lives. (shrink)
Paul Elbourne defends the Fregean view that definite descriptions ('the table', 'the King of France') refer to individuals, and offers a new and radical account of the semantics of pronouns. He draws on a wide range of work, from Frege, Peano, and Russell to the latest findings in linguistics, philosophy of language, and psycholinguistics.