We are often told that we are morally obligated to produce equal opportunity for all. Therefore, it seems we should examine what power we have to produce that desirable state. For it would be nonsense to say we are required to provide what is beyond our power to provide. When we examine this question, we find our power limited by two sets of constraints. One set comprises formal constraints upon the idea itself of equal opportunity. We cannot do the logically (...) impossible. The other set comprises limits upon our ability to produce the directed socio-economic change, getting known outputs for known inputs. I illustrate the formal constraints by outlining the work of Douglas Rae. The constraints upon our abilities I illustrate with evidence from sociology and politics. At the end, we shall discover that our power to make opportunities equal is sharply though not unbearably limited. A critical but unbaised survey will reveal that in the past fifty years we have gone remarkably far towards doing all that we are presently capable of doing to equalize opportunities. Perhaps we shall go even farther when we learn how. The word ‘real’ in the title is opposed to ‘ideal’ or even ‘chimerical'. It may seem an interesting question what equality of opportunity should consist in were we able to produce directed socio-economic change at will. But we are not. Therefore, a more interesting and more important question is what equality of opportunity consists in given the very large number of constraints within which we must work to achieve it. (shrink)
I have chosen this title to set myself the task of commenting on the practice of philosophy in the light of my work as a philosopher in a university postgraduate department of war studies. I shall begin with some general remarks on how we are to understand ‘philosophy’, then discuss a neglected one-sidedness in the commentary which philosophers have attempted on such topics as the problems of the nuclear age.
Jaap Mansfeld and Frans de Haas bring together in this volume a distinguished international team of ancient philosophers, presenting a systematic, chapter-by-chapter study of one of the key texts in Aristotle's science and metaphysics: the first book of On Generation and Corruption.In GC I Aristotle provides a general outline of physical processes such as generation and corruption, alteration, and growth, and inquires into their differences. He also discusses physical notions such as contact, action and passion, and mixture. These notions (...) are fundamental to Aristotle's physics and cosmology, and more specifically to his theory of the four elements and their transformations. Moreover, references to GC elsewhere in the Aristotelian corpus show that in GC I Aristotle is doing heavy conceptual groundwork for more refined applications of these notions in, for example, the psychology of perception and thought, and the study of animal generation and corruption. Ultimately, biology is the goal of the series of enquiries in which GC I demands a position of its own immediately after the Physics.The contributors deal with questions of structure and text constitution and provide thought-provoking discussions of each chapter of GC I. New approaches to the issues of how to understand first matter, and how to evaluate Aristotle's notion of mixture are given ample space. Throughout, Aristotle's views of the theories of the Presocratics and Plato are shown to be crucial in understanding his argument. (shrink)
As the author of Justice as Impartiality, I am not ashamed to admit that I was delighted by the liveliness of the discussion generated by it at the meeting on which this symposium is based. I am likewise grateful to the six authors for finding the book worthy of the careful attention that they have bestowed on it. Between them, the symposiasts take up many more points than I can cover in this response. I shall therefore focus on some themes (...) that cluster round the contractual device that I associate with the notion of justice as impartiality. Is it necessary? If it is not necessary is it nevertheless useful? Within an overall contractual framework is the form of contract that I propose uniquely justifiable? And does the form of contract that I defend generate the implications that I claim for it? (shrink)
In this paper I propose a reading of Plotinus Enneads VI.1-3 [41-43] On the genera of being which regards this treatise as a coherent whole in which Aristotle's Categories is explored in a way that turns it into a decisive contribution to Plotinus' Platonic ontology. In addition, I claim that Porphyry's Isagoge and commentaries on the Categories start by adopting Plotinus' point of view, including his notion of genus, and proceed by explaining its consequences for a more detailed reading of (...) the Categories. After Plotinus' integration of the Categories into the Platonic frame of thought Porphyry saw the possibilities of exploiting the Peripatetic tradition both as a means to support the Platonic interpretation of the Categories and as a source for solutions to traditional questions. His allegiance to a division of being into ten, and his emphasis on semantics rather than ontology can be explained from this orientation. In the light of our investigation the alleged disagreement between Plotinus and Porphyry on the Categories changes its appearance completely. There are differences, but these can be best explained as confirmation and extension of Plotinus' perspective on the Categories and its role in Platonism. (shrink)
Jaap Mansfeld and Frans de Haas bring together in this volume a distinguished international team of ancient philosophers, presenting a systematic, chapter-by-chapter study of one of the key texts in Aristotle's science and metaphysics: the first book of On Generation and Corruption. In GC I Aristotle provides a general outline of physical processes such as generation and corruption, alteration, and growth, and inquires into their differences. He also discusses physical notions such as contact, action and passion, and mixture. These (...) notions are fundamental to Aristotle's physics and cosmology, and more specifically to his theory of the four elements and their transformations. Moreover, references to GC elsewhere in the Aristotelian corpus show that in GC I Aristotle is doing heavy conceptual groundwork for more refined applications of these notions in, for example, the psychology of perception and thought, and the study of animal generation and corruption. Ultimately, biology is the goal of the series of enquiries in which GC I demands a position of its own immediately after the Physics. The contributors deal with questions of structure and text constitution and provide thought-provoking discussions of each chapter of GC I. New approaches to the issues of how to understand first matter, and how to evaluate Aristotle's notion of mixture are given ample space. Throughout, Aristotle's views of the theories of the Presocratics and Plato are shown to be crucial in understanding his argument. (shrink)
Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 In this article, we will look at the political philosophical theories of Brian Barry ( Culture and Equality , 2001) and Chandran Kukathas ( The Liberal Archipelago , 2003) and see which consequences both theories have for the Belgian model of church and state. For both authors, the liberal state should be neutral toward religion but they interpret this neutrality in a different way. According to Kukathas, neutrality implies a hands-off policy and therefore, recognizing (...) and financing religions is out of the question. For Barry on the other hand, the state is neutral if equal people have equal opportunities. Consequently, state support for religions and even the recognition of religions is possible, if religions are treated in the same way. However, a hands-off policy is also in line with Barry’s theory. Both from a pragmatic and from a normative point of view, Barry’s egalitarian liberalism seems the most interesting theory as an inspiring source for the evolvement and modification of the Belgian system, towards more fairness and equality. (shrink)
While the turn to vulnerability in law responds to a recurrent critique by feminist scholars on the disembodiment of legal personhood, this article suggests that the mobilization of vulnerability in the criminal courts does not necessarily offer female drug mules a direct path to justice. Through an analysis of sentencing appeals of female drug mules in England and Wales, this article presents a feminist critique of the dispositif of the person and its relation to vulnerability. Discourses on drug mules’ vulnerability (...) mobilize the trope of the colonial victim in need of protection, which is often translated into legal mercy. But mercy is rather an expression of biopower which inscribes not only fragility onto the bodies of drug mules by figuring them as exemplar paradigms of colonial subjectivity, but also reinvigorates the dispositif of gender implicit in the legal person. In this set-up, it would appear as if law and politics totalize the registers of life, in this case the contours of vulnerable body. The article suggests we must revisit the image of the wounded body in order to carve out a space for resistance. Drawing on Elaine Scarry and Judith Butler, it suggests vulnerable bodies are marked by a semiotic openness, which renders them subject to appropriation but also able to signify the precarity produced by the law through their resistance to representation. (shrink)
The attribution of mental states to other species typically follows a scala naturae pattern. However, “simple” mental states, including emotions, sensing, and feelings are attributed to a wider range of animals as compared to the so-called “higher” cognitive abilities. We propose that such attributions are based on the perceptual quality of mental representations related to MS concepts. We hypothesized that the attribution of highly imaginable MS is more dependent on the familiarity of participants with animals when compared to the attribution (...) of MS low in imageability. In addition, we also assessed how animal agreeableness, familiarity with animals, and the type of human-animal interaction related to the judged similarity of animals to humans. Sixty-one participants with a rural and urban background rated twenty-six wild and domestic animals for their perceived similarity with humans and ability to experience a set of MS: Highly imageable MS: joy, anger, and fear, and MS low in imageability: capacity to plan and deceive. Results show that more agreeable and familiar animals were considered more human-like. Primates, followed by carnivores, suines, ungulates, and rodents were rated more human-like than xenarthrans, birds, arthropods, and reptiles. Higher MS ratings were given to more similar animals and more so if the MS attributed were high in imageability. Familiarity with animals was only relevant for the attribution of the MS high in imageability. (shrink)
To translate is one thing; to say how we do it, is another. The practice is familiar enough, and there are familiar theories of it. But when we try to look more closely, theory tends to obscure rather than explain, and the familiar practice—an ancient practice, without which Western civilisation is unthinkable—appears to be just baffling, its very possibility a mystery.
In 2006, young people were flocking to MySpace, discovering the joys of watching videos of cute animals on YouTube, and playing online games. Not many of them were watching network news on television; they got most of their information online. So when NBC and MIT launched iCue, an interactive learning venture that combined social networking, online video, and gaming in one multimedia educational site, it was perfectly in tune with the times. iCue was a surefire way for NBC to reach (...) younger viewers and for MIT to test innovative educational methods in the real world. But iCue was a failure: it never developed an audience and was canceled as if it were a sitcom with bad ratings. In _The More We Know_, Eric Klopfer and Jason Haas, both part of the MIT development team, describe the rise and fall of iCue and what it can teach us about new media, old media, education, and the challenges of innovating in educational media. Klopfer and Haas show that iCue was hampered by, among other things, an educational establishment focused on "teaching to the test," television producers uncomfortable with participatory media, and confusion about the market. But this is not just a cautionary tale; sometimes more can be learned from an interesting failure than a string of successes. Today's educational technology visionaries might keep this lesson in mind. (shrink)
Barry Taylor's book mounts a major new argument against one of the fundamental tenets of much contemporary philosophy, the idea that we can make sense of reality as existing objectively, independently of our capacities to come to know it. He concludes that there is no defensible notion of truth which preserves the theses of traditional realism, nor any extant position sufficiently true to the ideals of that doctrine to inherit its title. In presenting his case Taylor engages with many key (...) works of contemporary metaphysics, semantics, and philosophical logic, so his book will be of interest to a broad spectrum of scholars and students. (shrink)
Barry L. Gan's Violence and Nonviolence: An Introduction introduces readers to myths about the violence taken for granted in our daily lives, and advocates for more principled, nonviolent action on moral, ethical and philosophical grounds.
Open Judaism is an invitation to the spiritually seeking Jew; a clarion call for a pluralistic, inclusive Judaism; and a dynamic comparison of the remarkably wide array of thought within Judaism today.
The article deals with the dissatisfaction we can fall into in reflecting on some of our indispensable ways of thinking. This dissatisfaction brings out where consistent thought reaches its limits: in trying to investigate some of our ways of thinking, we seem to have to step beyond them in order to properly assess them, and still find ourselves making use of those very ways of thinking in order to attain any understanding of them at all. Drawing from Kant, the article (...) emphasizes the inevitability of this problem that metaphysical reflection poses for us and the need to recognize our necessarily engaged perspective upon it. Drawing from Wittgenstein, it abstains from a straightforward answer in favour of a deeper understanding of the very stakes of the problem: it leaves the reader with the question of how to make sense of the peculiar metaphysical undertaking we are drawn into in thinking about the conditions of consistent thought. (shrink)