Recently, Cohen and Timmerman, 1–18, 2016) argue that actualism has control issues. The view should be rejected, they claim, as it recognizes a morally irrelevant distinction between counterfactuals over which agents exercise the same kind of control. Here we reply on behalf of actualism.
Agent-relative consequentialism is thought attractive because it can secure agent-centred constraints while retaining consequentialism's compelling idea—the idea that it is always permissible to bring about the best available outcome. We argue, however, that the commitments of agent-relative consequentialism lead it to run afoul of a plausibility requirement on moral theories. A moral theory must not be such that, in any possible circumstance, were every agent to act impermissibly, each would have more reason to prefer the world thereby actualized over the (...) world that would have been actualized if every agent had instead acted permissibly. (shrink)
The demise of the Superconducting Supercollider is often explained in terms of the strain that it placed on the federal budget of the United States, and change in national security interests with the end of the Cold War. Recent work by Steve Fuller provides a framework to re-examine this episode in epistemological terms using the work of Kuhn and Popper. Using this framework, it is tempting to explain the demise as resulting from the overly Kuhnian character of its proponents, who (...) supposedly argued for its construction by appealing to the importance of testing the predictions of a specific paradigm. On this reading, the SSC case appears as an example of how Kuhn’s paradigm-driven view of science was invoked to keep science closed and autonomous from society. I argue that the SSC episode should not be viewed as giving support to the displacement of Kuhn’s view of science for Popper’s, and that such a displacement is detrimental to the project of integrating discussion on science into the public sphere. Drawing upon Rouse and Wimsatt, I argue that understanding paradigms as practices blunts some criticisms against Kuhn’s model, and that his model should play an important epistemological role in the aforementioned project.Keywords: Thomas S. Kuhn; Karl Popper; Steve Fuller; Big Science; Superconducting Supercollider. (shrink)
This book explores the relationship between being and time —between ontology and history— in the context of both Christian theology and philosophical inquiry. Each chapter tests the limits of this thematic vis-à-vis a variety of sources — ancient, modern and contemporary.
In the Summer of 2015 Sotiris Mitralexis and Andrew T. J. Kaethler organized a conference held in Delphi, Greece, titled “Ontology and History: A Challenging and Auspicious Dialogue for Philosophy and Theology.” The conference brought together over sixty scholars from various parts of the globe, representing Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Protestantism—truly an ecumenical affair. The topic of the conference, which is well represented in this volume of Forum Philosophicum, was purposefully broad because it is a question that remains open and (...) which sits at the centre of the Christian philosophical and theological tradition. Joseph Ratzinger posited in several works that the interplay between salvation history and ontology is the most pressing concern for modern theology. In Introduction to Christianity—a modest title for a robust piece of theology—Ratzinger notes that early in the Christian tradition a division arose between theological metaphysics and theology of history, each seen as two different things; “people indulge either in ontological speculation or anti-philosophical theology of salvation history, thus losing in a really tragic way the original unity of Christian thought. At the start Christian thinking is neither merely ‘soteriological’ nor merely ‘metaphysical’ but molded by the unity of history and being. Here lies an important task for modern theological work, which is torn once again by this dilemma.”. (shrink)
Samuel Phillips Huntington was an influential American political scientist. He was also a consultant to various America government agencies. He upholds the idea of conservative realism in politics. His research covers several areas of political science, such as civil-military relations, modernization and political development, comparative politics, and international relations. Regarding the role of military, he argues for autonomous military professionalism. In discussing about modernization of developing countries, he emphasizes the priority of political order over democracy. In the case of America, (...) as well as other democratizing countries, he worries that the excess of political participation would diminish the authority and effectiveness of state governance, enhancing political instability, and, at worst, leading to the reverse of democratization. After the end of the Cold War, Huntington characterizes the international order as multicivilizational, in which the clash of civilizations will direct the development of global politics. In such a multicultural situation, Huntington urges Americans to affirm their unique national identity by revitalizing Anglo-Protestant culture and its religiosity which has defined America since its founding. (shrink)
Michael Sandel, a prominent communitarian philosopher, is famous in his criticism of John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice and his lively teaching skill demonstrated in the Harvard course ‘Justice’. He criticizes Rawls’ liberalism for assuming a notion of an unencumbered self, which is not only in tension with his principles of justice, but also denying the human capability of deep evaluation on moral good thus discouraging the public deliberation of morality. By his historical retrieval, Sandel shows how the tradition of (...) civic republicanism has been gradually replaced by liberalism in the American political history. The triumph of liberalism might be due to mass migration, the globalizing economy and the culture of consumerism, in which commodification of nearly everything and the unrestraint use of bioengineering has finally crowded out morality and corrupting human values that are important to republican self-government. In the face of modernity, Sandel calls for reviving civic republicanism with sovereignty diffused into multiplicity of political communities. (shrink)
This paper explores the philosophy of tertiary civic education in Hong Kong. It does not only investigate the role of tertiary education that can play in civic education, but also explores the way to achieve the aim of integrating liberal democratic citizenship and collective national identity in the context of persistent conflicts between two different identity politics in Hong Kong: politics of assimilation and politics of difference. As Hong Kong is part of China and is inevitably getting closer cooperation with (...) the mainland in the future, I argue that Hong Kong citizenship should affirm its own distinctiveness while also identifying with Chinese nationality. Thus, tertiary civic education should foster a trans-cultural political vision so that the two different horizons can be synthesized and the political framework and identity can be transformed in order to reduce conflicts between the two peoples. (shrink)
Tu Weiming (pinyin: Du Weiming) is one of the most famous Chinese Confucian thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries. As a prominent member of the third generation of “New Confucians,” Tu stressed the significance of religiosity within Confucianism. Inspired by his teacher Mou Zongsan as well as his decades of study and teaching at Princeton University, the University of California, and Harvard University, Tu aimed to renovate and enhance Confucianism through an encounter with Western (in particular American) social theory (...) and Christian theology. His writings about Confucianism have served as critical links between Western philosophy and religious studies and the world of modern Confucian thought. Tu asserted that Confucianism can learn something from Western modernity without losing recognition of its own heritage. By engaging in such “civilizational dialogue,” Tu hoped that different religions and cultures can learn from each other in order to develop a global ethic. From Tu’s perspective, the Confucian ideas of ren (“humaneness” or “benevolence”) and what he calls “anthropocosmic unity” can make powerful contributions to the resolution of issues facing the contemporary world. While Tu’s particular presentation of Confucian thought has proven to be both intelligible and popular among Westerners, his use of Western religious concepts and terminology to describe Confucianism has also generated controversy in the Chinese Confucian world. In particular, the cultural hybridity and explicit spirituality that are key elements of Tu’s Confucianism have been criticized by some other contemporary Chinese Confucian thinkers, who—like modern Chinese philosophy in general—have been more influenced by nationalism and secularism than Tu. Nonetheless, Tu’s influence on contemporary Confucian philosophy cannot be overestimated, especially where its reception in the West is concerned. (shrink)
Charles Taylor criticizes many liberal theories based on a kind of atomism that assumes the individual self-sufficiency outside the polity. This not only causes soft-relativism and political fragmentation but also undermines the solidarity of the community, that is, the very condition of the formation of autonomous citizens. Taylor thus argues for communitarian politics which protects certain cultural common goods for sustaining the solidarity of the community. However, Brenda Lyshaug criticizes Taylor’s communitarianism as suppressing plurality and enhancing hostility among cultural groups. (...) In the face of such controversies, I argue for modern Confucian familism which emphasizes the family as a common good that provides a safe, stable, and nurturing environment for nurturing children and cultivating civility for future generations with a sense of community and autonomy. I also defend Confucian familism from four possible criticisms: insufficiency of familism, hierarchical relationship in the family, the danger of nepotism, and challenge from postmodern families. I argue that unlike traditional Confucianism, modern moderation of the Confucian family can greatly reduce the hierarchical problem; its emphasis on the family as one of the foundations of politics can avoid the danger of being atomistic liberalism and suppressive communitarianism. (shrink)
Against non-analytic naturalism and quietist realism, I defend a robust form of non-naturalism. The argument proceeds as follows: In the face of extensional underdetermination, quietist realism cannot non-question-beggingly respond to alternative accounts that offer formally identical but substantively different interpretations of what reasons are. They face what we might call the reasons appropriation problem. In light of this problem, quietists ought to abandon their view in favor of robust realism. By permitting substantive metaphysical claims we can then argue, based on (...) reasonhood being a relation, that reasonhood is an abstract universal. If reasonhood is an abstract universal, then we can non-question-beggingly assert that the counting in favor of relation is a general kind or genus. This poses a dilemma for non-analytic naturalists: either they need to give the same reductive analysis for epistemic and practical reasons, or they can give a different analyses by treating epistemic and practical reasons as a species of the larger genus. However, the former looks extensionally implausible epistemic reasons are not desire-based and the latter entails that the reduction, via a violation of irreflexivity, fails to ground reasonhood. Naturalistic reductions of the normative, accordingly, face a damning dilemma. We should, in the face of this argument, thus accept a robust form of non-naturalist realism. (shrink)
Are the lives of those fighting on the unjust side of a war worth less than the lives of those fighting on the just side? It is tempting to answer Yes. There is a powerful and popular rationale for this verdict: Things are intrinsically better when people get what they deserve. According to this view, the goodness of a life is the product of one’s desert-adjusted welfare. In this essay, I highlight the troubling implications that adjusting for desert has in (...) the context of war. The implausibility of these implications calls into question the core idea of the desert-adjusted account: namely, that there is some level of welfare that each person deserves, and things would go best if everyone were at these levels. (shrink)
_Thinking Through Utilitarianism: A Guide to Contemporary Arguments_ offers something new among texts elucidating the ethical theory known as Utilitarianism. Intended primarily for students ready to dig deeper into moral philosophy, it examines, in a dialectical and reader-friendly manner, a set of normative principles and a set of evaluative principles leading to what is perhaps the most defensible version of Utilitarianism. With the aim of laying its weaknesses bare, each principle is serially introduced, challenged, and then defended. The result is (...) a battery of stress tests that shows with great clarity not only what is attractive about the theory, but also where its problems lie. It will fascinate any student ready for a serious investigation into what we ought to do and what is of value. (shrink)
In his latest book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Dale Allison states that, while he personally believes that Jesus resurrected, “the purely historical evidence is not, on my view, so good as to make disbelief unreasonable, and it is not so bad as to make faith untenable.” This review focuses on Allison’s discussion concerning apparitions, hallucination theory, mass hysteria, and pareidolia. While appreciative of various aspects of Allison’s work, this article points out various problems with Allison’s use of materials in other (...) disciplines, a number of fallacies of reasoning in Allison’s analyses, and demonstrates that the best skeptical hypothesis against Jesus’s resurrection suggested by Allison is untenable. (shrink)
That the category of violent causation has passed from the register of “useful” scientific categories is without question. And yet, in a time of ecological crisis, this conceptual atavism reflects not some idyllic pre-modern past, but the present ubiquity of causal violence. Tracing a course through medieval Aristotelianism will show not only that violence cannot be reduced to artificial production, but also that its operation remains phantasmatic insofar as it seeks to exclude the very condition upon which it is founded: (...) possibility. And as the possibility to end all possibility, violence neutralizes “any event worthy of its name.”. (shrink)
Both Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eckhart draw on the image of illuminated air to explain how being belongs to creatures. While for Aquinas the image reveals how an actus essendi can be a creature’s own, and yet not belong to it by means of its essential nature, Eckhart employs the image to show that being merely flows through creatures without taking up root as a real quality. Eckhart’s parsing of the image, I argue, invokes his claim that nothing is formally (...) in both the cause and effect if the cause is a true cause. Thus, whereas creatures attain an analogical similitude of being according to Aquinas, Eckhart disputes the emergence of finite being distinct from God. He instead advocates detachment from such an apparent perfection, but not because God retains all existential wealth, granting nothing to impoverished creatures. Through detachment, both creatures and God return to their uncreated ground. (shrink)
This is the introductory essay for the first of two special issues of Radical Philosophy Review marking the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of one of the twentieth century’s most provocative, subversive, and widely read works of radical theory—Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man, which we now reassess in an effort to contribute to the critical theory of our time. What are the possibilities and limits of our current situation? What are the prospects for moving beyond one-dimensionality? A summary (...) of each of the articles featured in this special issue is also provided. (shrink)
:High-fidelity simulation is a relatively new teaching modality, which is gaining widespread acceptance in medical education. To date, dozens of studies have proven the usefulness of HFS in improving student, resident, and attending physician performance, with similar results in the allied health fields. Although many studies have analyzed the utility of simulation, few have investigated why it works. A recent study illustrated that permissive failure, leading to simulated mortality, is one HFS method that can improve long-term performance. Critics maintain, however, (...) that the use of simulated death is troubling and excessive. Given the controversy regarding simulated death, we consider the data about the educational value and the emotional harms associated with them, expecting that evidence could be useful in resolving the question. The goal of this narrative review is to explore the argument against simulated mortality and provide educators with an imperative as to why it can be safely utilized. (shrink)
We explore how adding prosocial preferences to the canonical precaution model of accidents changes either the efficient damages rule or the harm from accidents. For a utilitarian lawmaker, making the potential injurer sympathetic to the victim of harm has no effect on either outcome. On the other hand, making injurers averse to harming others reduces the harm from accidents but has no effect on efficient damages. For an atomistic lawmaker — one who excludes prosocial preferences from social welfare — cultivating (...) a taste for either harm aversion or perfect sympathy can reduce efficient damages, though neither has any effect on the amount of harm from accidents. On the other hand, causing people to act as if they are averse to harm creation, such as out of habit or moral obligation, reduces both the efficient amount of damages and total harm. In general, encouraging either a distaste for, or moral commitment against, harm creation is useful while inculcating sympathy for victims of harm is not. (shrink)
Developing self-report Likert scales is an essential part of modern psychology. However, it is hard for psychologists to remain apprised of best practices as methodological developments accumulate. To address this, this current paper offers a selective review of advances in Likert scale development that have occurred over the past 25 years. We reviewed six major measurement journals between the years 1995–2019 and identified key advances, ultimately including 40 papers and offering written summaries of each. We supplemented this review with an (...) in-depth discussion of five particular advances: conceptions of construct validity, creating better construct definitions, readability tests for generating items, alternative measures of precision [e.g., coefficient omega and item response theory information], and ant colony optimization for creating short forms. The Supplementary Material provides further technical details on these advances and offers guidance on software implementation. This paper is intended to be a resource for psychological researchers to be informed about more recent psychometric progress in Likert scale creation. (shrink)
Due to the significant and often careless human impact on the natural environment, there are serious problems facing the people of today and of future generations. To date, ethical, aesthetic, religious, and economic arguments for the conservation and protection of the natural environment have made relatively little headway. Another approach, one capable of garnering attention and motivating action, would be welcome. There is another approach, one that I will call a rights approach. Speaking generally, this approach is an attempt to (...) address environmental issues via the language and theory of legal and moral rights. Ultimately, it is our duties to our fellow humans that explain why we have duties regarding the natural environment. There are three main contenders among theories that can be called rights approaches to environmental issues. The first identifies the (alleged) human right to a healthful environment as the source of our obligations to conserve and protect nature. The second approach has it that our duties to nature arise from the rights of the constituents of nature themselves, its flora and fauna. The third approach to addressing environmental problems via rights is, I argue, the best path to environmental conservation and protection. This approach—which grounds duties toward nature on the human right to health—has the benefits of being a straightforward, uncontroversial, and simple approach to issues and problems that desperately need to be resolved. (shrink)
When it comes to the duty of beneficence, a formidable class of moderate positions holds that morally significant considerations emerge when one's actions are seen as part of a larger series. Agglomeration, according to these moderates, limits the demands of beneficence, thereby avoiding the extremely demanding view forcefully defended by Peter Singer. This idea has much appeal. What morality can demand of people is, it seems, appropriately modulated by how much they have already done or will do. Here we examine (...) a number of recent proposals that appeal to agglomeration. None of them, we argue, succeeds. (shrink)
A new kind of debate about the normative error theory has emerged. Whereas longstanding debates have fixed on the error theory’s plausibility, this new debate concerns the theory’s believability. Bart Streumer is the chief proponent of the error theory’s unbelievability. In this brief essay, we argue that Streumer’s argument prevails against extant critiques, and then press a criticism of our own.
A dogma of contemporary normative theorizing holds that some reasons are distinctively moral while others are not. Call this view Reasons Pluralism. This essay looks at four approaches to vindicating the apparent distinction between moral and non-moral reasons. In the end, however, all are found wanting. Though not dispositive, the failure of these approaches supplies strong evidence that the dogma of Reasons Pluralism is ill-founded.
How should we understand the relationship between binary belief and degree of belief? To answer this question, we should look to desire. Whatever relationship we think holds between desire and degree of desire should be used as our model for the relationship we think holds between belief and degree of belief. This parity pushes us towards an account that treats the binary attitudes as primary. But if we take binary beliefs as primary, we seem to face a serious problem. Binary (...) beliefs are insufficiently discriminating. If we treat them as primary, we will lack the resources needed for fruitful theorizing. This problem can, I argue, be solved if we think of an agent’s degree of belief that p as reducible to her binary believing that p and the change in the apparent reasons that would be needed to get her to withhold. (shrink)
In recent years, an impressive research program has developed around non-analytic reductions of the normative. Nevertheless, non-analytic naturalists face a damning dilemma: either they need to give the same reductive analysis for epistemic and practical reasons, or they can give a different analyses by treating epistemic and practical reasons as a species of the larger genus, reasonhood. Since, for example, a desire-based account of epistemic reasons is implausible, the reductionist must opt for the latter. Yet, if the desire-based account of (...) practical reasons is merely a species of the larger genus, then, due to a violation of irreflexivity, the reduction fails. (shrink)
One vexing question for Desire Satisfactionism is this: At what time do you benefit from a satisfied desire? Recently Eden Lin has proposed an intriguing answer. On this proposal – Asymmetrism – when past-directed desires are satisfied, the time interval during which you benefit is the time of the desire; and, when future-directed desires are satisfied, the time interval during which you benefit is the time of the object. In this essay, I argue that Asymmetrism forces us to give implausible (...) answers to a different question: To what extent does a given satisfied desire benefit you? (shrink)
Due largely to the influential work of Ronald Dworkin, there is an ongoing debate concerning the possibility of genuine metaethical theorizing. Dworkin, and others, argue that metaethical theories collapse into first-order normative theories. In his short and widely neglected paper, L.W. Sumner provides a compelling account of how to engage in metaethical theorizing while avoiding substantive moral commitments.
This essay challenges the analogy argument. The analogy argument aims to show that the international domain satisfies the conditions of a Hobbesian state of nature: There fails to be a super-sovereign to keep all in awe, and hence, like persons in the state of nature, sovereigns are in a war every sovereign against every sovereign. By turning to Hobbes’ account of authorization, however, we see that subjects are under no obligation to obey a sovereign’s commands when doing so would contradict (...) the very end that motivated the authorization of the sovereign in the first place. There is thus an important disanalogy between natural and artificial persons, and this accordingly produces different reactions to the state of nature. (shrink)
In this essay, I raise a puzzle concerning rational emotions. The puzzle arises from the fact that a handful of very plausible claims seem to commit us to the idea that whether a subject ought to have a certain emotion at a given time in part depends on the fittingness of the intensity of the feelings it involves, and the fittingness of these feelings in part depends on the intensity of the feelings the subject has at that time. Yet this (...) idea is incompatible with another plausible claim: namely, that the deontic properties possessed by a subject having an emotion with a certain intensity are not counterfactually dependent on her having that emotion with that intensity. (shrink)
Drawing on the work of Jeremy Bentham, we can forward a parity thesis concerning formal and substantive legal invalidity. Formal and substantive invalidity are, according to this thesis, traceable to the same source, namely, the sovereign's inability to adjust expectations to motivate obedience. The parity thesis, if defensible, has great appeal for positivists. Explaining why contradictory or contrary mandates yield invalidity is unproblematic. But providing an account of content-based invalidity invites the collapse of the separation between what the law is (...) and what the law ought to be. Grounding formal and substantive invalidity in a unified source allows us to avoid bringing in any additional apparatus that might compromise this separation. This essay fleshes out and defends the parity thesis. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue, on the one hand, if we think egalitarian considerations justify libraries, we should think that these same egalitarian considerations justify stealing books online. If, on the other hand, we think that economic incentives justify a prohibition against stealing books online, we should think those same economic considerations justify a prohibition against libraries.
In this brief essay, we clarify Cohen’s ‘Facts and Principles’ argument, and then argue that the objections posed by two recent critiques of Cohen—Robert Jubb (Res Publica 15:337–353, 2009) and Edward Hall (Res Publica 19:173–181, 2013)—look especially vulnerable to the charge of being self-defeating. It may still be that Cohen’s view concerning facts and principles is false. Our aim here is merely to show that two recent attempts to demonstrate its falsity are unlikely to succeed.