In this reinterpretation and reconstruction of Spinoza's thought, Donagan (humanities, Caltech) demonstrates that it was Spinoza's unique usage of traditional philosophical vocabulary that resulted in the history of misunderstanding that is his continuing fate. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.
This book, first published in 1987, investigates what distinguishes the part of human behaviour that is action from the part that is not. The distinction was clearly drawn by Socrates, and developed by Aristotle and the medievals, but key elements of their work became obscured in modern philosophy, and were not fully recovered when, under Wittgenstein’s influence, the theory of action was revived in analytical philosophy. This study aims to recover those elements, and to analyse them in terms of a (...) defensible semantics on Fregean lines. Among its conclusions: that actions are bodily or mental events that are causally explained by their doers’ propositional attitudes, especially by their choices or fully specific intentions; that choice cannot be reduced to desire and belief, and hence that the traditional concept of will as intellectual appetite must be revived. (shrink)
Joseph Boyle raises important questions about the place of the double-effect exception in absolutist moral theories. His own absolutist theory (held by many, but not all, Catholic moralists), which derives from the principles that fundamental human goods may not be intentionally violated, cannot dispense with such exceptions, although he rightly rejects some widely held views about what they are. By contrast, Kantian absolutist theory, which derives from the principle that lawful freedom must not be violated, has a corollary – that (...) it is a duty, where possible, to coerce those who try to violate lawful freedom – which makes superfluous many of the double-effect exceptions Boyle allows. Other implications of the two theories are contrasted. Inter alia , it is argued that, in Boyle's theory, that a violation of a fundamental human good can be viewed as a cost proportionate to a benefit obtained, cannot yield a double-effect exception to the prohibition of intentionally violating that good, because paying a cost cannot be unintentional. Keywords: cost-benefit analysis, double effect, intention, side effect CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The fundamental causal concept in Chisholm's theory of agency is that of causally contributing to, a generic concept covering both event-causal contributors (members of sets of nonredundant jointly sufficient conditions) and agent-causal contributors (not members of sets of jointly sufficient conditions). Chisholm's elucidation of agent-causation is explored and defended against objections. It is then argued that Chisholm's ontology, in particular in its treatment of the concept of an evert, generates difficulties for his theory of agency oi which two are explored: (...) (i) that it is hard to reconcile with Chisholm's own apparent analysis of the distinction between intentional and unintentional actions; and (ii) that it entails that every causal contributing has an infinite set of causal contributors, which is in conflict with the principle that any set of nonredundant conditions that are jointly sufficient for the occurrence of an event are so by the nature of things, and not by virtue of some further event. (shrink)
Sidgwick's Methods of Ethics appears to defend a revised utilitarianism against both egoism and intuitionism, while conceding that the practical results of enlightened egoism largely coincide with those of utilitarianism, and that the utilitarian greatest happiness principle can be justified only as a fundamental intuition. It is true that Sidgwick was distressed by the description of his treatment of intuitional morality as ‘mere hostile criticism from the outside', and protested that that morality ‘is my own … as much as it (...) is any man's; it is, as I say, the “Morality of Common Sense”, which I only attempt to represent so far as I share it’. However, he could not well have denied that, in The Methods of Ethics, the endorsement tentatively accorded to intuitional morality as a system is in the end withdrawn. Ultimately it is concluded that utilitarianism can define and correct what intuitional morality is vague or mistaken about, and can complete what common sense does not venture to treat at all. (shrink)
The fundamental causal concept in Chisholm's theory of agency is that of causally contributing to, a generic concept covering both event-causal contributors and agent-causal contributors. Chisholm's elucidation of agent-causation is explored and defended against objections. It is then argued that Chisholm's ontology, in particular in its treatment of the concept of an evert, generates difficulties for his theory of agency oi which two are explored: that it is hard to reconcile with Chisholm's own apparent analysis of the distinction between intentional (...) and unintentional actions; and that it entails that every causal contributing has an infinite set of causal contributors, which is in conflict with the principle that any set of nonredundant conditions that are jointly sufficient for the occurrence of an event are so by the nature of things, and not by virtue of some further event. (shrink)
I. Professor Leo Gershoy’s paper, “Some Problems of a Working Historian,” and the discussions of it by Professors R. B. Brandt and Ernest Nagel, show that the stale philosophical question, ‘What is historical explanation?’ may be refreshed by investigating what historians do when they offer an alternative to an explanation that has become generally accepted. Gershoy’s paper is a philosophical study of his own work as an historian: in particular, of his challenge, in Bertrand Barère: A Reluctant Terrorist, to the (...) analysis of the political conduct of Bertrand Barère, one of the leaders of the great French Revolution, by which Macaulay supported this celebrated invective. (shrink)