Following the 1988 publication of Bergsonism by Gilles Deleuze, many contemporary critics such as Leonard Lawlor and Paul Douglass have re-contextualized Bergson within poststructuralism. In so doing, Bergsonian theory enables us to readdress questions associated with concepts of temporality and their relation to language. In considering this re-appropriation, Suzanne Guerlac in Thinking in Time: an introduction to Henri Bergson (2006), asks why Bergson has never been considered in relation to Derrida, given that the two philosophers share fundamental concerns about time (...) and writing. Following Derrida’s critique of Husserl in La Voix et le phénomène (1967), it is perhaps the case that many critics categorize Bergson as a phenomenologist. However, I aim to develop the argument that Guerlac instigates and show that Derrida’s critique of Husserl in fact establishes a close proximity with Bergson’s view that Western metaphysics suppresses time as durée . I will show how both Bergson and Derrida operate with the understanding of a particular rupture in the full presence of the present, an expansion of consciousness as a ‘now’ to include a constant deferral to memory. While this overlap establishes an affinity, I conclude by showing that it simultaneously marks a point of diffraction with regard to how both seek to methodologically embody such a concept of time. (shrink)
In this interview, Daniel Little provides an overview of his life and work in academia. Among other things, he discusses an actor-centred approach to theory of social ontology. For Little, this approach complements the assumptions of critical realism, in that it accords full ontological importance to social structures, causal mechanisms, and enduring and influential normative systems. The approach casts doubt, however, on the idea of ‘strong emergence' of social structures, the idea that social structures have properties and causal powers (...) that cannot, in principle be explained by their constituents (social actors) and their relationships. Little’s approach to social ontology endorses instead the idea of relative explanatory autonomy. During the interview, many points of convergence become evident between this actor-centred approach to social ontology and the fundamental insights of critical realism. According to Little, analysis of social ontology also turns out to be especially relevant to philosophy of history. (shrink)
The author replies to a letter to the editor from Felicitas Sofia Holzer concerning Wenner’s article “The Social Value Requirement in Research: From the Transactional to the Basic Structure Model of Stakeholder Obligations,” in the Hastings Center Report’s January‐February 2019 issue.
Many libertarians believe that self-ownership is a separate matter from ownership of extra-personal property. “No-proviso” libertarians hold that property ownership should be free of any “fair share” constraints, on the grounds that the inability of the very poor to control property leaves their self-ownership intact. By contrast, left-libertarians hold that while no one need compensate others for owning himself, still property owners must compensate others for owning extra-personal property. What would a “self” have to be for these claims to be (...) true? I argue that both of these camps must conceive of the boundaries of the self as including one's body but no part of the extra-personal world. However, other libertarians draw those boundaries differently, so that self-ownership cannot be separated from the right to control extra-personal property after all. In that case, property ownership must be subject to a fair share constraint, but that constraint does not require appropriators to pay compensation. This view, which I call “right libertarianism,” differs importantly from the other types primarily in its conception of the self, which I argue is independently more plausible. (shrink)
Joshua Daniel offers a reconstruction of the influence of Josiah Royce and George Herbert Mead on H. Richard Niebuhr to counter predominate strains in Christian ethics that overemphasize the role of socialization in moral formation at the expense of acknowledging the agency of individuals and their importance in preventing communities from turning in on themselves or becoming static. Daniel characterizes the driving worry of postliberal Christian ethics as “the accommodation of Christian communities to prevailing social forces and norms, (...) which is understood to radically undermine the churches’ existence and mission”. The primary accusation against these prevailing social norms is individualism. The modern... (shrink)
The psychological condition of happiness is normally considered a paradigm subjective good, and is closely associated with subjectivist accounts of well-being. This article argues that the value of happiness is best accounted for by a non-subjectivist approach to welfare: a eudaimonistic account that grounds well-being in the fulfillment of our natures, specifically in self-fulfillment. And self-fulfillment consists partly in authentic happiness. A major reason for this is that happiness, conceived in terms of emotional state, bears a special relationship to the (...) self. These arguments also point to a more sentimentalist approach to well-being than one finds in most contemporary accounts, particularly among Aristotelian forms of eudaimonism. (shrink)
It is extraordinary, when one thinks about it, how little attention has been paid by theorists of the nature and justification of punishment to the idea that punishment is essentially a matter of self-defense. H. L. A. Hart, for example, in his famous “Prolegomenon to the Principles of Punishment,” is clearly committed to the view that, at bottom, there are just three directions in which a plausible theory of punishment can go: we can try to justify punishment on purely consequentialist (...) grounds, which for Hart, I think, would be to try to construct a purely utilitarian justification of punishment; we can try to justify punishment on purely retributive grounds; or we can try to justify punishment on grounds that are some sort of shrewd combination of consequentialist and retributive considerations. Entirely absent from Hart's discussion is any consideration of the possibility that punishment might be neither a matter of maximizing the good, nor of exacting retribution for a wrongful act, nor of some imaginative combination of these things, but, rather, of something altogether different from either of them: namely, the exercise of a fundamental right of self-protection. Similarly, but much more recently, R. A. Duff, despite the fact that he himself introduces and defends an extremely interesting fourth possibility, begins his discussion by writing as though, apart from his contribution, there are available to us essentially just the options previously sketched by Hart. Again, there is no mention here, any more than in Hart's or any number of other recent discussions, of the possibility that we might be able to justify the institution of punishment on grounds that are indeed forward-looking, to use Hart's famous term, but that are not at all consequentialist in any ordinary sense of the word. (shrink)
This interview explores the key themes and ideas in Daniel Chernilo’s recent book Debating Humanity: Towards a Philosophical Sociology. It is a hugely ambitious book that tackles a range of questions around the notion of humanity and the category of the human. Drawing on a wide range of thinkers, the book pushes at a number of far-reaching issues, problems and questions concerning humanity. It’s a rich text that develops themes that are likely to be of interest across the social (...) sciences and humanities, not least because it tackles some of the most difficult and crucial questions that face social theory today. The interview was conducted in October 2017. (shrink)
Distinguished contributors take up eminent scholar Daniel R. Schwarz’s reading of modern fiction and poetry as mediating between human desire and human action. The essayists follow Schwarz’s advice, “always the text, always historicize,” thus making this book relevant to current debates about the relationships between literature, ethics, aesthetics, and historical contexts.
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Reviewed by:Reinhold Niebuhr’s Paradox: Paralysis, Violence, and Pragmatism by Daniel Malotky, and: Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics by Reinhold Niebuhr, and: An Interpretation of Christian Ethics by Reinhold NiebuhrDaniel A. MorrisReinhold Niebuhr’s Paradox: Paralysis, Violence, and Pragmatism By Daniel Malotky LANHAM, MD: LEXINGTON BOOKS, 2011. 124 PP. $52.50Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics By Reinhold Niebuhr, (...) with a foreword by Cornel West LOUISVILLE: WESTMINSTER JOHN KNOX PRESS, 2013 (ORIG. PUB. 1932) 320 PP. $30.00An Interpretation of Christian Ethics By Reinhold Niebuhr, with an introduction by Edmund N. Santurri LOUISVILLE: WESTMINSTER JOHN KNOX PRESS, 2013 (ORIG. PUB. 1935). 278 PP. $30.00Have we been passing through a revival of interest in Reinhold Niebuhr since Barack Obama reported to David Brooks in 2007 that Niebuhr “is one of my favorite philosophers”? Or did Niebuhr’s work never go out of style in the first place? Whether current publishing trends reflect a revival or the norm, these three books highlight Niebuhr’s enduring relevance. They also show that Niebuhr’s lasting influence has not made him immune to criticism. Perhaps most important, they demonstrate that his insights can speak productively to contemporary issues whose urgency he may not have recognized.The new editions of An Interpretation of Christian Ethics and Moral Man and Immoral Society from Westminster John Knox Press contain welcome contributions to scholarship on Niebuhr. Originally delivered as the 1934 Rauschenbusch Memorial Lectures at Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, Interpretation was first published in 1935. A 1956 edition added a preface in which Niebuhr summarizes the text’s central claims and expresses a desire to revise many of his arguments. The new edition of Interpretation retains Niebuhr’s 1956 preface, and adds an introduction by Edmund N. Santurri, which precedes the preface. In his introduction, Santurri claims that this text “may well be Reinhold Niebuhr’s most important work in theological ethics,” despite Niebuhr’s confession of embarrassment in the preface (ix; italics in the original). For Santurri, Interpretation provides much-needed theological background for the ethical and political claims in Moral Man and Immoral Society. Moreover, Santurri holds [End Page 207] that the important features of Niebuhr’s mature theological anthropology were present in nascent form in Interpretation. Thus, the text’s lasting influence is clear: To understand the ethical and political insights in the other works in Niebuhr’s corpus, one must understand the developing theological anthropology presented in Interpretation.Having made this case for the text’s importance, Santurri devotes the bulk of his introduction to reviewing four arguments that critics level against Niebuhr. They are, briefly, feminist arguments against the portrayal of agape as self-sacrifice, just war arguments against the claim that the Gospels prescribe nonresistance, Anabaptist arguments against Constantinian Christianity (which Santurri traces to the differing soteriologies of Yoder and Niebuhr), and theological arguments that Niebuhr’s doctrine of God is incoherent. Santurri concludes that the first three critiques of Niebuhr ultimately fail for a variety of reasons, but suggests the fourth critique is valid. Even if he dismisses the first three arguments too easily, this is a clear, responsible, and thorough review of critical receptions of Niebuhr. The footnotes point the way to excellent resources, orienting readers to four important conversations in short order. Scholars and graduate students who study Niebuhr will benefit from this introduction, as will readers who desire a concise guide to critical receptions of Niebuhr’s work.Originally published in 1932, Moral Man and Immoral Society is more recognizable than Interpretation as one of Niebuhr’s landmark works. Perhaps for this reason, Westminster John Knox Press produced another edition of this text in 2002. That edition included an introduction by Langdon B. Gilkey, which appraised the influence of Moral Man in part by describing the fresh perspective it brought to American theological ethics in the early twentieth century. The 2013 edition of Moral Man retains Gilkey’s introduction (as well as a 1960 preface by Niebuhr), which is preceded by Cornel West’s new foreword to the book. In his brief foreword, West claims that this text “is not only... (shrink)
In ordinary circumstances, human actions have a myriad of unintended and often unforeseen consequences for the lives of other people. Problems of pollution are serious examples, but spillovers and side effects are the rule, not the exception. Who knows what consequences this essay may have? This essay is concerned with the problems of justice created by spillovers. After characterizing such spillovers more precisely and relating the concept to the economist's notion of an externality, I shall then consider the moral conclusions (...) concerning spillovers that issue from a natural rights perspective and from the perspective of welfare economics supplemented with theories of distributive justice. I shall argue that these perspectives go badly awry in taking spillovers to be the exception rather than the rule in human interactions. I. Externalities Economists have discussed spillovers under the heading of “externalities.” To say this is not very helpful, since there is so much disagreement concerning both the definition and significance of externalities. (shrink)