Recent clinical trials show that psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin can be given safely in controlled conditions, and can cause lasting psychological benefits with one or two administrations. Supervised psychedelic sessions can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and addiction, and improve well-being in healthy volunteers, for months or even years. But these benefits seem to be mediated by "mystical" experiences of cosmic consciousness, which prompts a philosophical concern: do psychedelics cause psychological benefits by inducing false or implausible beliefs about (...) the metaphysical nature of reality? This book is the first scholarly monograph in English devoted to the philosophical analysis of psychedelic drugs. Its central focus is the apparent conflict between the growing use of psychedelics in psychiatry and the philosophical worldview of naturalism. Within the book, Letheby integrates empirical evidence and philosophical considerations in the service of a simple conclusion: this "Comforting Delusion Objection" to psychedelic therapy fails. While exotic metaphysical ideas do sometimes come up, they are not, on closer inspection, the central driver of change in psychedelic therapy. Psychedelics lead to lasting benefits by altering the sense of self, and changing how people relate to their own minds and lives-not by changing their beliefs about the ultimate nature of reality. The upshot is that a traditional conception of psychedelics as agents of insight and spirituality can be reconciled with naturalism (the philosophical position that the natural world is all there is). Controlled psychedelic use can lead to genuine forms of knowledge gain and spiritual growth-even if no Cosmic Consciousness or transcendent divine Reality exists. Philosophy of Psychedelics is an indispensable guide to the literature for researchers already engaged in the field of psychedelic psychiatry, and for researchers-especially philosophers-who want to become acquainted with this increasingly topical field. (shrink)
Sciabarra replies to the seven respondents to his Fall 2002 essay on Rand, Rush, and progressive rock music. He defends the view that Rand's dialectical orientation underlies a fundamentally radical perspective. Rand shared with the counterculture—especially its libertarian progressive rock representatives—a repudiation of authoritarianism, while embracing the "unknown ideal" of capitalism. Her ability to trace the interrelationships among personal, cultural, and structural factors in social analysis and her repudiation of false alternatives is at the heart of that ideal vision, which (...) transcends left and right. (shrink)
While many are born into prosperity, hundreds of millions of people lead lives of almost unimaginable poverty. Our world remains hugely unequal, with our place of birth continuing to exert a major influence on our opportunities. -/- In this accessible book, leading political theorist Chris Armstrong engagingly examines the key moral and political questions raised by this stark global divide. Why, as a citizen of a relatively wealthy country, should you care if others have to make do with less? (...) Do we have a moral duty to try to rectify this state of affairs? What does 'global justice' mean anyway - and why does it matter? Could we make our world a more just one even if we tried? Can you as an individual make a difference? -/- This book powerfully demonstrates that global justice is something we should all be concerned about, and sketches a series of reforms that would make our divided world a fairer one. It will be essential introductory reading for students of global justice, activists and concerned citizens. (shrink)
Philogagging: an introduction -- Metaphysics -- Logic -- Epistemology -- Ethics -- Philosophy of religion -- Existentialism -- Philosophy of language -- Social and political philosophy -- Relativity -- Meta-philosophy -- Summa time : a conclusion -- Final exam -- Great moments in the history of philosophy.
This book takes concepts developed by researchers in theoretical computer science and adapts and applies them to the study of natural language meaning. Summarizing over a decade of research, Chris Barker and Chung-chieh Shan put forward the Continuation Hypothesis: that the meaning of a natural language expression can depend on its own continuation.
Mohism was an ancient Chinese philosophical movement founded in the fifth century B.C.E. by the charismatic artisan Mozi, or "Master Mo." The Mohists advanced a consequentialist ethics that anticipated Western utilitarianism by more than two thousand years and developed fascinating logical, epistemological, and political theories that set the terms of philosophical debate in China for generations. They were the earliest thinkers to outline a just war doctrine and to explain the origin of government from a state of nature. Their epistemology (...) and psychology provide intriguing alternatives to contemporary Western mentalism. The Philosophy of the Mozi is an extensive study of Mohism that immerses readers in the Mohist worldview, situates the movement's rise and decline within Chinese history, and highlights its relevance to modern thought. (shrink)
There is a recent and growing trend in philosophy that involves deferring to the claims of certain disciplines outside of philosophy, such as mathematics, the natural sciences, and linguistics. According to this trend— deferentialism , as we will call it—certain disciplines outside of philosophy make claims that have a decisive bearing on philosophical disputes, where those claims are more epistemically justified than any philosophical considerations just because those claims are made by those disciplines. Deferentialists believe that certain longstanding philosophical problems (...) can be swiftly and decisively dispatched by appeal to disciplines other than philosophy. In this paper we will argue that such an attitude of uncritical deference to any non-philosophical discipline is badly misguided. With reference to the work of John Burgess and David Lewis, we consider deference to mathematics. We show that deference to mathematics is implausible and that main arguments for it fail. With reference to the work of Michael Blome-Tillmann, we consider deference to linguistics. We show that his arguments appealing to deference to linguistics are unsuccessful. We then show that naturalism does not entail deferentialism and that naturalistic considerations even motivate some anti-deferentialist views. Finally, we set out deferentialism’s failings and present our own anti-deferentialist approach to philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
States claim the right to choose who can come to their country. They put up barriers and expose migrants to deadly journeys. Those who survive are labelled ‘illegal’ and find themselves vulnerable and unrepresented. The international state system advantages the lucky few born in rich countries and locks others into poor and often repressive ones. In this book, Christopher Bertram skilfully weaves a lucid exposition of the debates in political philosophy with original insights to argue that migration controls must be (...) justifiable to everyone, including would-be and actual immigrants. Until justice prevails, states have no credible right to exclude and no-one is obliged to obey their immigration rules. Bertram’s analysis powerfully cuts through the fog of political rhetoric that obscures this controversial topic. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in the politics and ethics of migration. (shrink)
In this précis I summarise the main ideas of my book Philosophy of Psychedelics. The book discusses philosophical issues arising from the therapeutic use of “classic” psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin and LSD. The book is organised around what I call the Comforting Delusion Objection to psychedelic therapy: the concern that this novel and promising treatment relies essentially on the induction of non-naturalistic metaphysical beliefs, rendering it epistemically objectionable. I begin the précis by summarizing material from chapters two and three (...) of the book, which review evidence for the therapeutic efficacy of psychedelics, and the facts about their clinical use that prompt the Comforting Delusion Objection. I then summarize materials from chapters four and five of the book, which argue that psychedelic therapy works neither by experience-independent processes of neuroplasticity, nor by inducing non-naturalistic metaphysical ideations, but by altering mental representations of the self. Next, I summarise the specific, speculative account of how this might work that is developed in chapters six and seven of the book. This account is based on the predictive processing theory of brain function and the self-binding theory of self-representation. Chapters eight and nine of the book argue, on the basis of this account, that psychedelic therapy can have significant epistemic and spiritual benefits that are compatible with a naturalistic worldview. I summarize this material, and then, finally, the overall conclusions about psychedelic therapy drawn in the tenth and final chapter of the book. (shrink)
The (moral) permissibility of an act is determined by the relative weights of reasons, or so I assume. But how many weights does a reason have? Weight Monism is the idea that reasons have a single weight value. There is just the weight of reasons. The simplest versions hold that the weight of each reason is either weightier than, less weighty than, or equal to every other reason. We’ll see that this simple view leads to paradox in at least two (...) ways. We must complicate the picture somehow. I consider two candidate complications. The first, Parity Monism, is inspired by Ruth Chang’s suggestion that parity is a fourth comparative beyond the traditional three (>, <, =). This view complicates the single weight relation by allowing that the weights of reasons can be on a par. Unfortunately, Parity Monism resolves only one of the two paradoxes that afflict simple versions of Weight Monism. To resolve both paradoxes, we need our second candidate complication, Weight Pluralism. This view holds that reasons have at least two weight values (e.g., justifying weight and requiring weight) and these two values aren’t always equivalent. Parity is no substitute for Pluralism. (shrink)
How do we define religious experiences? And what would be the relationship with spiritual experiences? The author claims that the cognitive turn in science gives us new opportunities to map the territory of religion and spirituality. In line with other authors, he proposes a building block approach of cognitive mechanisms that can deal with questions regarding the specificity, origin, and complexity of religious experiences. Two concepts are presented that bridge the great divide which is presumed to exist between sciences that (...) study the brain and humanities, namely the encultured brain and predictive minds. In section three, six building blocks of the structure of religious experience are formulated. New in his approach is the unexpected possible as distinctive ground between normal experiences and what we consider spiritual and religious experiences. Finally, the author presents a critical reflection on his proposal and challenges for the road ahead. (shrink)
In their recent article “A Hierarchy of Classical and Paraconsistent Logics”, Eduardo Barrio, Federico Pailos and Damien Szmuc present novel and striking results about meta-inferential validity in various three valued logics. In the process, they have thrown open the door to a hitherto unrecognized domain of non-classical logics with surprising intrinsic properties, as well as subtle and interesting relations to various familiar logics, including classical logic. One such result is that, for each natural number n, there is a logic which (...) agrees with classical logic on tautologies, inferences, meta-inferences, meta-meta-inferences, meta-meta-...-meta-inferences, but that disagrees with classical logic on n + 1-meta-inferences. They suggest that this shows that classical logic can only be characterized by defining its valid inferences at all orders. In this article, I invoke some simple symmetric generalizations of BPS’s results to show that the problem is worse than they suggest, since in fact there are logics that agree with classical logic on inferential validity to all orders but still intuitively differ from it. I then discuss the relevance of these results for truth theory and the classification problem. (shrink)
Good theory; bad politics - this is how Zizek's works have been described. Now Chris McMillan argues that Zizek's reading of global capitalism could reinvent political subversion. He highlights the political consequences of Zizek's fundamental concepts, such as the Lacanian Real, universality and the communist hypothesis. He argues that Zizek's turn to Communism represents the ultimate significance of Zizek's work for the 21st century and a marked new direction for Zizekian theory. While Zizek's work attracts a lot of labels, (...) most of them pejorative - communist, conservative, anti-semantic - Chris McMillan identifies Zizek's unique and productive contribution to social and political theory, constructing his work as a response to the difficulties of contemporary social theory and the political deadlock of global capitalism. (shrink)
Struggles over precious resources such as oil, water, and land are increasingly evident in the contemporary world. States, indigenous groups, and corporations vie to control access to those resources, and the benefits they provide. These conflicts are rapidly spilling over into new arenas, such as the deep oceans and the Polar regions. How should these precious resources be governed, and how should the benefits and burdens they generate be shared? Justice and Natural Resources provides a systematic theory of natural resource (...) justice. It argues that we should use the benefits and burdens flowing from these resources to promote greater equality across the world, and share governance over many important resources. At the same time, the book takes seriously the ways in which particular resources can matter in peoples lives. It provides invaluable guidance on a series of pressing issues, including the scope of state resource rights, the claims of indigenous communities, rights over ocean resources, the burdens of conservation, and the challenges of climate change and transnational resource governance. It will be required reading for anyone interested in natural resource governance, climate politics, and global justice. (shrink)
This paper is an enquiry into the logical, metaphysical, and physical possibility of time travel understood in the sense of the existence of closed worldlines that can be traced out by physical objects. We argue that none of the purported paradoxes rule out time travel either on grounds of logic or metaphysics. More relevantly, modern spacetime theories such as general relativity seem to permit models that feature closed worldlines. We discuss, in the context of Gödel's infamous argument for the ideality (...) of time based on his eponymous spacetime, what this apparent physical possibility of time travel means. Furthermore, we review the recent literature on so-called time machines, i.e., of devices that produce closed worldlines where none would have existed otherwise. Finally, we investigate what the implications of the quantum behaviour of matter for the possibility of time travel might be and explicate in what sense time travel might be possible according to leading contenders for full quantum theories of gravity such as string theory and loop quantum gravity. (shrink)
Building upon his previous books about Marx, Hayek, and Rand, _Total Freedom_ completes what _Lingua Franca_ has called Sciabarra’s "epic scholarly quest" to reclaim dialectics, usually associated with the Marxian left, as a methodology that can revivify libertarian thought. Part One surveys the history of dialectics from the ancient Greeks through the Austrian school of economics. Part Two investigates in detail the work of Murray Rothbard as a leading modern libertarian, in whose thought Sciabarra finds both dialectical and nondialectical elements. (...) Ultimately, Sciabarra aims for a dialectical-libertarian synthesis, highlighting the need to think of the "totality" of interconnections in a dynamic system as the way to ensure human freedom while avoiding "totalitarianism". (shrink)
Users of psychedelic drugs often report that their sense of being a self or ‘I’ distinct from the rest of the world has diminished or altogether dissolved. Neuroscientific study of such ‘ego dissolution’ experiences offers a window onto the nature of self-awareness. We argue that ego dissolution is best explained by an account that explains self-awareness as resulting from the integrated functioning of hierarchical predictive models which posit the existence of a stable and unchanging entity to which representations are bound. (...) Combining recent work on the ‘integrative self' and the phenomenon of self-binding with predictive processing principles yields an explanation of ego dissolution according to which self-representation is a useful Cartesian fiction: an ultimately false representation of a simple and enduring substance to which attributes are bound which serves to integrate and unify cognitive processing across levels and domains. The self-model is not a mere narrative posit, as some have suggested; it has a more robust and ubiquitous cognitive function than that. But this does not mean, as others have claimed, that the self-model has the right attributes to qualify as a self. It performs some of the right kinds of functions, but it is not the right kind of entity. Ego dissolution experiences reveal that the self-model plays an important binding function in cognitive processing, but the self does not exist. (shrink)
This book brings together leading international learning and attention researchers to provide both a comprehensive and wide-ranging overview of the current state of knowledge of this area as well as new perspectives and directions for the future. There are coherent themes that run throughout the book, but there are also, inevitably, fundamental disagreements between contributors on the role of attention in learning. Together, the views expressed in this book paint a picture of a vibrant and exciting area of psychological research, (...) and will be essential reading for researchers of learning and attention. (shrink)
Traditional debates, such as those regarding whether the universe is finite in spatial or temporal extent, exemplified, according to Kant, the inherent tendency of pure reason to lead us astray. Although various aspects of Kant’s arguments fail to find a footing in modern cosmology, Kant’s objections to the search for a complete objective description of the cosmos are related to three intertwined issues that are still of central importance: the applicability of universal laws, the status of distinctively cosmological laws, and (...) the explanatory sufficiency of laws. We will advocate a broadly Kantian position on these three issues as part of a critical response to a prevalent strain of Leibnizian rationalism in contemporary cosmology. (shrink)
Ethical or ‘socially sustainable’ sourcing mechanisms mandating labour standards among the suppliers and subcontractors that organisations source goods and services from are becoming more common. The issue of how labour activist groups such as trade unions can encourage organisations to adopt and strengthen these mechanisms within domestic production networks is largely unexplored. Using three cases of domestic sustainable sourcing campaigns developed by unions in Britain, the strategies used by labour activists, the characteristics of the organisations targeted and the motivations of (...) lead firms for improving sourcing practices are analysed. The article makes a significant contribution by demonstrating that organisational susceptibility to reputational risk is a key factor influencing the capacity of activist groups to convince and compel their targets to improve sourcing practices. It argues that different types of organisations are susceptible to reputational damage in different ways, that risk events provide opportunities for unions to strengthen their leverage against target organisations, and that the multidimensional nature of corporate reputation needs to be better considered for understanding how campaigns are framed and executed. (shrink)
Psychedelic ingestion and meditative practice are both ancient methods for altering consciousness that became widely known in Western society in the second half of the 20th century. Do the similarities begin and end there, or do these methods – as many have claimed over the years – share some deeper common elements? In this chapter I take a neurophilosophical approach to this question and argue that there are, indeed, deeper commonalities. Recent empirical studies show that psychedelics and meditation modulate overlapping (...) brain networks involved in the sense of self, salience, and attention; moreover, psychedelics can occasion lasting increases in “mindfulness-related capacities” for taking a non-reactive stance on one’s inner experience (e.g. Sampedro et al. 2017). The self-binding theory of psychedelic ego dissolution (Letheby and Gerrans 2017) offers a plausible explanation of these findings: by disrupting self-related beliefs implemented in high-level cortical networks, both psychedelics and meditation can “unbind” mental contents from one’s self-model, moving these contents along the continuum from phenomenal transparency to opacity (cf. Metzinger 2003). In other words, both psychedelics and meditation can expose and weaken our foundational beliefs about our own identity, allowing us to disidentify with these beliefs and see them as “just thoughts”. There are connections between these ideas and recent arguments suggesting that psychedelic use may have epistemic benefits consistent with philosophical naturalism (Letheby 2015, 2016, 2019). I conclude with a proposal: these connections may help in thinking about the putative epistemic benefits of meditation practice from a naturalistic perspective. (shrink)
In his wide-ranging study of architecture and cultural evolution, Chris Abel argues that, despite progress in sustainable development and design, resistance to changing personal and social identities shaped by a technology-based and energy-hungry culture is impeding efforts to avert drastic climate change. The book traces the roots of that culture to the coevolution of Homo sapiens and technology, from the first use of tools as artificial extensions of the human body to the motorized cities spreading around the world, whose (...) uncontrolled effects are fast changing the planet itself. Advancing a new concept of the meme, called the 'technical meme', as the primary agent of cognitive extension and technical embodiment, Abel proposes a theory of the 'extended self' as a complex and diffuse outcome of that coevolution. Challenging conventional ideas of the self as a separate and autonomous being, the extended self, he explains, encompasses material and spatial as well as psychological and social elements, including the built environment and artifacts, and now reaches out into the virtual world of cyberspace. Drawing upon research into extended cognition and embodied minds from philosophy, psychology and the neurosciences, the book presents a new approach to environmental and cultural studies. N.B. This book was the winner of the International Committee of Architectural Critics 2017 Bruno Zevi Book Award by unanimous decision of the international jury. (shrink)
This edited collection of essays brings together the author's key writings on the cultural, technological and theoretical developments reshaping modern architecture into a responsive and diverse movement for the twenty-first century. Chris Abel approaches his subject from a wide range of knowledge, including cybernetics, philosophy, new human science and development planning, as well as his experience as a teacher and critic on four continents. The result is a unique global perspective on the changing nature of modern architecture at the (...) turn of the millennium. Including two new chapters, this revised and expanded second edition offers radical insights into such topics as: the impact of information technology on customised architectural production; the relations between tradition and innovation: prospects for a global eco-culture, and the local and global forces shaping the architecture and cities of Asia. (shrink)
In this book, Chris Meyers takes the reader on a careful, rational, sustained criticism of arguments about the immorality of homosexuality. Meyers refutes anti-gay arguments by showing that they are based on unreasonable or demonstrably false ideas about the nature of morality.
Using a vague predicate can make commitments about the appropriate use of that predicate in the remaining part of the discourse. For instance, if I assert that some particular pig is fat, I am committed to judging any fatter pig to be fat as well. We can model this update effect by recognizing that truth depends both on the state of the world and on the state of the discourse: the truth conditions of ‘This pig is fat’ rule out evaluation (...) points for which the pig in question in world w is thinner than the cutoff for fatness in the discourse d. Then disagreements about taste are disagreements about the discourse. Unlike disagreements about the world, disagreements about the discourse can be faultless, given that none of the discourse participants has privileged authority to make pronouncements about conventions for appropriate use of a predicate. Thus on the dynamic view developed here, whether or not a dispute about taste turns out to be faultless depends in part on predictable features of the previous discourse. On this account, faultless disagreement involving predicates of personal taste does not force relativizing truth to a judge or assessor. (shrink)
First, we consider an argument due to Popper for maximal strength in choice of logic. We dispute this argument, taking a lead from some remarks by Susan Haack; but we defend a set of contrary considerations for minimal strength in logic. Finally, we consider the objection that Popper presupposes the distinctness of logic from science. We conclude from this that all claims to logical truth may be in equal epistemological trouble.
Narrativism, as represented by Hayden White and Frank Ankersmit, can fruitfully be analyzed as an inversion of two brands of positivism. First, narrativist epistemology can be regarded as an inversion of empiricism. Its thesis that narratives function as metaphors which do not possess a cognitive content is built on an empiricist, "picture view" of knowledge. Moreover, all the non-cognitive aspects attributed to narrative as such are dependent on this picture theory of knowledge and a picture theory of representation. Most of (...) the epistemological characteristics that White and Ankersmit attribute to historical narratives therefore share the problems of this picture theory.The article's second thesis is that the theories of narrative explanation can also fruitfully be analyzed as inversions of positivist covering-law theory. Ankersmit's brand of narrativism is the most radical in this respect because it posits an opposition between narrative and causal modes of comprehension while simultaneously eliminating causality from narrativist historical understanding. White's brand of narrativism is more of a hybrid than is Ankersmit's as far as its theory of explanation is concerned; nevertheless, it can also be fruitfully interpreted as an inversion of covering-law theory, replacing it by an indefinite multitude of explanatory strategies.Most of the striking characteristics of both White's and Ankersmit's narrativism presuppose positivism in these two senses, especially their claim that historical narratives have a metaphorical structure and therefore no truth-value. These claims are hard to reconcile with the factual characteristics of debates by historians; this problem can be tracked down to the absence in "metaphorical" narrativism of a conceptual connection between historical narratives and historical research. (shrink)
Can there be phenomenal consciousness without self-consciousness? Strong intuitions and prominent theories of consciousness say “no”: experience requires minimal self-awareness, or “subjectivity”. This “subjectivity principle” faces apparent counterexamples in the form of anomalous mental states claimed to lack self-consciousness entirely, such as “inserted thoughts” in schizophrenia and certain mental states in depersonalization disorder. However, Billon & Kriegel have defended SP by arguing that while some of these mental states may be totally selfless, those states are not phenomenally conscious and thus (...) do not constitute genuine counterexamples to SP. I argue that this defence cannot work in relation to certain experiences of ego dissolution induced by potent fast-acting serotonergic psychedelics. These mental states jointly instantiate the two features whose co-instantiation by a single mental state SP prohibits: phenomenal consciousness and total lack of self-consciousness. One possible objection is that these mental states may lack “me-ness” and “mineness” but cannot lack “for-me-ness”, a special inner awareness of mental states by the self. In response I propose a dilemma. For-me-ness can be defined either as containing a genuinely experiential component or as not. On the first horn, for-me-ness is clearly absent from my counterexamples. On the second horn, for-me-ness has been defined in a way that conflicts with the claims and methods of its proponents, and the claim that phenomenally conscious mental states can totally lack self-consciousness has been conceded. I conclude with some reflections on the intuitive plausibility of SP in light of evidence from altered states. (shrink)
_The Good Life of Teaching_ extends the recent revival of virtue ethics to professional ethics and the philosophy of teaching. It connects long-standing philosophical questions about work and human growth to questions about teacher motivation, identity, and development. Makes a significant contribution to the philosophy of teaching and also offers new insights into virtue theory and professional ethics Offers fresh and detailed readings of major figures in ethics, including Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and Bernard Williams and the practical philosophies of (...) Hannah Arendt, John Dewey and Hans-Georg Gadamer Provides illustrations to assist the reader in visualizing major points, and integrates sources such as film, literature, and teaching memoirs to exemplify arguments in an engaging and accessible way Presents a compelling vision of teaching as a reflective practice showing how this requires us to prepare teachers differently. (shrink)
International Political Theory focuses on the point where two fields of study meet - International Relations and Political Theory. It takes from the former a central concern with the 'international' broadly defined; from the latter it takes a broadly normative identity. IPT studies the 'ought' questions that have been ignored or side-lined by the modern study of International Relations and the 'international' dimension that Political Theory has in the past neglected. A central proposition of IPT is that the 'domestic' and (...) the 'international' cannot be treated as self-contained spheres, although this does not preclude states and the states-system from being regarded by some practitioners of IPT as central points of reference. This Handbook provides an authoritative account of the issues, debates, and perspectives in the field, guided by two basic questions concerning its purposes and methods of inquiry. First, how does IPT connect with real world politics? In particular, how does it engage with real world problems, and position itself in relation to the practices of real world politics? And second, following on from this, what is the relationship between IPT and empirical research in international relations? This Handbook showcases the distinctive and valuable contribution of normative inquiry not just for its own sake but also in addressing real world problems. The Oxford Handbooks of International Relations is a twelve-volume set of reference books offering authoritative and innovative engagements with the principal sub-fields of International Relations. The series as a whole is under the General Editorship of Christian Reus-Smith of the University of Queensland and Duncan Snidal of the University of Oxford, with each volume edited by a distinguished pair of specialists in their respective fields. The series both surveys the broad terrain of International Relations scholarship and reshapes it, pushing each sub-field in challenging new directions. Following the example of the original Reus-Smit and Snidal The Oxford Handbook of International Relations, each volume is organized around a strong central thematic by a pair of scholars drawn from alternative perspectives, reading its sub-field in an entirely new way, and pushing scholarship in challenging new directions. (shrink)
Choice architecture is heralded as a policy approach that does not coercively reduce freedom of choice. Still we might worry that this approach fails to respect individual choice because it subversively manipulates individuals, thus contravening their personal autonomy. In this article I address two arguments to this effect. First, I deny that choice architecture is necessarily heteronomous. I explain the reasons we have for avoiding heteronomous policy-making and offer a set of four conditions for non-heteronomy. I then provide examples of (...) nudges that meet these conditions. I argue that these policies are capable of respecting and promoting personal autonomy, and show this claim to be true across contrasting conceptions of autonomy. Second, I deny that choice architecture is disrespectful because it is epistemically paternalistic. This critique appears to loom large even against non-heteronomous nudges. However, I argue that while some of these policies may exhibit epistemically paternalistic tendencies, these tendencies do not necessarily undermine personal autonomy. Thus, if we are to find such policies objectionable, we cannot do so on the grounds of respect for autonomy. (shrink)
Author of _The Fountainhead_ and _Atlas Shrugged_, Ayn Rand is one of the most widely read philosophers of the twentieth century. Yet, despite the sale of over thirty million copies of her works, there have been few serious scholarly examinations of her thought. _Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical_ provides a comprehensive analysis of the intellectual roots and philosophy of this controversial thinker. It has been nearly twenty years since the original publication of Chris Sciabarra’s _Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical_. (...) Those years have witnessed an explosive increase in Rand sightings across the social landscape: in books on philosophy, politics, and culture; in film and literature; and in contemporary American politics, from the rise of the Tea Party to recent presidential campaigns. During this time Sciabarra continued to work toward the reclamation of the dialectical method in the service of a radical libertarian politics, culminating in his book _Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism_. This new edition of _Ayn Rand_ adds two chapters that provide in-depth analysis of the most complete transcripts to date documenting Rand’s education at Petrograd State University. It includes a new preface that places the book in the context of Sciabarra’s own research and the recent expansion of interest in Rand’s beliefs. And finally, this edition adds a postscript that answers a recent critic of Sciabarra’s historical work on Rand. Shoshana Milgram, Rand’s biographer, has tried to cast doubt on Rand’s own recollections of having studied with the famous Russian philosopher N. O. Lossky. Sciabarra shows that Milgram’s analysis fails to cast doubt on Rand’s recollections—or on Sciabarra’s historical thesis. (shrink)