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)
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.
The first half of the paper consists of a philosophical reflection upon a historical exchange. I discuss Buber’s famous letter, and another letter by J. L. Magnes, to Mahatma Gandhi, both challenging the universality of the principle of ahiṃsā. I also touch on Buber’s interest and acquaintance with Indian philosophy, as an instance of dialogue de-facto across cultures. Gandhi never answered these letters, but his grandson and philosopher extraordinaire Ramchandra Gandhi ›answers‹ Buber, not on the letter but about the ideal (...) of dialogue at large, and the interconnection of dialogue and ahiṃsā. The second half of the paper focuses on the work of Daya Krishna, another ›philosopher of dialogue.‹ from within Daya Krishna’s vast philosophical corpus, I underscore one of his last projects, in which he sketches the outlines of what he refers to as »knowledge without certainty,« contrary to common and traditional ways of perceiving the concept of knowledge. I argue that the pramāṇa, means and measure of knowledge, in the intriguing case of »knowledge without certainty,« depicted by Daya Krishna as open-ended, dynamic, constantly evolving, is inevitably dialogue, and I aim to disclose the meaning and salience of dialogue in Daya Krishna’s oeuvre. However, not just the content, but also the form, or the ›how,‹ matters in my paper. I use different materials across genres and disciplines to rethink, in dialogue with Buber and Daya Krishna, the possibilities and impossibilities of dialogue. These ›materials‹ include Milan Kundera and Richard Rorty, Krishna and Arjuna, Vrinda Dalmiya who works with the notion of care as bridging between epistemology and ethics, Wes Anderson on seeing through the eyes of the other, and Ben Okri on hospitality in the realm of ideas. As author of the present paper I am moderating an imagined a multi-vocal dialogue between these ›participants‹ on dialogue as concept, as craft and especially, as a great necessity in the world in which we live. (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)