Reasoned disagreement is a pervasive feature of public life, and the persistence of disagreement is sometimes troublesome, reflecting the need to make difficult decisions. Fogelin suggests that parties to a deep disagreement should abandon reason and switch to non-rational persuasion. But how are the parties to know when to make such a switch? I argue that Fogelin's analysis doesn't clearly address this question, and that disputes arising in areas like medical decision making are such that the parties to them have (...) reasons to act as if they can be rationally resolved even if they are deep. Fogelin's analysis is thus of limited value as regards the practical moral demand of addressing concrete moral dilemmas. (shrink)
Formalised knowledge systems, including universities and research institutes, are important for contemporary societies. They are, however, also arguably failing humanity when their impact is measured against the level of progress being made in stimulating the societal changes needed to address challenges like climate change. In this research we used a novel futures-oriented and participatory approach that asked what future envisioned knowledge systems might need to look like and how we might get there. Findings suggest that envisioned future systems will need (...) to be much more collaborative, open, diverse, egalitarian, and able to work with values and systemic issues. They will also need to go beyond producing knowledge about our world to generating wisdom about how to act within it. To get to envisioned systems we will need to rapidly scale methodological innovations, connect innovators, and creatively accelerate learning about working with intractable challenges. We will also need to create new funding schemes, a global knowledge commons, and challenge deeply held assumptions. To genuinely be a creative force in supporting longevity of human and non-human life on our planet, the shift in knowledge systems will probably need to be at the scale of the enlightenment and speed of the scientific and technological revolution accompanying the second World War. This will require bold and strategic action from governments, scientists, civic society and sustained transformational intent. (shrink)
A curious and comparatively neglected element of death penalty jurisprudence in America is my target in this paper. That element concerns the circumstances under which severely mentally disabled persons, incarcerated on death row, may have their sentences carried out. Those circumstances are expressed in a part of the law which turns out to be indefensible. This legal doctrine—competence-for-execution —holds that a condemned, death-row inmate may not be killed if, at the time of his scheduled execution, he lacks an awareness of (...) his impending death or the reasons for it. I argue that the law of CFE should be abandoned, along with the notion that it is permissible to kill the deeply disturbed just so long as they meet some narrow test of readiness to die. By adopting CFE, the courts have been forced to give independent conceptual and moral significance to a standard for competence that simply cannot bear the weight placed upon it. To be executable, CFE requires that a condemned prisoner meet a standard demonstrating an awareness of certain facts about his death. Yet this standard both leads to confusing and counter-intuitive results and is unsupported either by the reasons advanced by the courts on its behalf or by any of the standard theoretical justifications of criminal punishment. If executing the profoundly psychotic or delusional is wrong the law needs a better account of the wrong done when prisoners like Ford are killed. I suggest wherein that wrong might be located. (shrink)
Enlightenment Cosmopolitanism brings together ten innovative contributions by outstanding scholars working across a wide array of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Interdisciplinary in its methodology and compass, with a strong comparative European dimension, the volume examines discourses ranging from literature, historiography, music and opera to anthropology and political philosophy. It makes an original contribution to the study of 18th-century ideas of universal peace, progress and wealth as the foundation of future debates on cosmopolitanism. At the same time, it (...) analyses examples of counter-reaction to these ideas and discusses the relevance of the Enlightenment for subsequent polemics on cosmopolitanism, including 21st-century debates in sociology, politics and legal theory. (shrink)
In this paper the author explores the relationship between his research and his personal development. The author is part of a community of scholars at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies that is passionate about translating faith and knowledge into practical action in culture and society. His work therefore has broader relevance. The paper highlights the need for recognising multiple identities and ‘inter-disciplines’ involved in research which can then lead to the development of the community as whole. The main question (...) it seeks to intentionally address is: What kind of person-in-community am I becoming through research? (shrink)
Memory, mother of the Muses by Zeus, has nurtured culture for nearly three millennia while her nemesis, forgetfulness, has been demonized as an agent of destruction. In the modern age, however, memory has grown increasingly burdensome, opening the way for a more positive assessment of forgetfulness. Nietzsche praises animals for an inability to remember that preserves their innocence and happiness, and Freud documents the discontents of a civilization that cannot forget. ;In tracing the recent development of these issues, the dissertation (...) focuses primarily on Walter Benjamin, Hans Blumenberg, and Thomas Pynchon. Benjamin and his anguished "angel of history" show the destructive psychological effects of trying to use human memory as a secular form of redemption. Blumenberg's philosophy of history makes it possible to trace memory's responsibility for redemption to the modern age's inflated notion of the subject. Blumenberg's work also emphasizes the importance of metaphor and narrative in mediating and creating historical understanding, and this aesthetic distance weakens memory's redemptive relation to the past. Pynchon's protagonists, too, find that their desire to make historical meaning fully present is overshadowed by their fear of such presence. By reconciling themselves to a profane aesthetic distance from the past, Blumenberg and Pynchon redeem themselves from the melancholy engendered by an overly ambitious memory. ;Thus the dissertation attempts to recover a more modest and less oppressive memory by understanding it as a way to distance rather than redeem past injustices. This reconception of the function of memory helps establish an equilibrium between the pensive memory of Benjamin's "angel of history" and the innocent oblivion of Nietzsche's animals. ;In addition to the three major figures named in the title, the dissertation devotes sections and excursuses to Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Ernst Cassirer, Martin Heidegger, Virginia Woolf, Ernst Robert Curtius, Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, Michel Foucault, and Thomas Kuhn. Translations of two essays by Blumenberg, "Pensiveness" and "Being--A MacGuffin," and a comprehensive Blumenberg bibliography are included as appendices. (shrink)
Since UNESCO launched its Culture of Peace Programme, it has helped mobilize people from all walks of life and from all continents to support the transformation from a culture of war and violence to a culture of pace. This is a report of the Programme's actions.
The traditional approach of the academy to research requires the practitioner to locate their inquiries in an academic discipline, inevitably restricting the study to a limited aspect of the challenges of practice and requiring an objectivity that removes the researcher from the action. This paper describes a fresh response to this question – a Post-graduate Programme in Professional Practice. The programme, offered by the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, draws on work-based learning and reflective practice and facilitates a process of (...) critical inquiry and transformative action in the scholar-practioner's own context. (shrink)
Several philosophers, including most prominently Theodore Benditt, have recently urged that the discourse of rights, widely thought to be a central, if not foundational feature of moral and political thought, is in reality a mere “redundant” appendage---a discourse that holds no distinctive place in moral or legal reasoning owing to the fact that it is thoroughly derivative because collapsible into other forms of moral or legal language. In this paper I attempt to (1) flesh out this “Redundancy” Thesis (RT) and (...) (2) identify and criticize at least two general arguments that might be thought to give rise to it: the claims that rights reduce (respectively) to duties (the Correlativity Thesis) or to permissions (the Permissibility Thesis). I try to show how and why these arguments fail and why they do not therefore support RT. (shrink)
Several philosophers, including most prominently Theodore Benditt, have recently urged that the discourse of rights, widely thought to be a central, if not foundational feature of moral and political thought, is in reality a mere “redundant” appendage---a discourse that holds no distinctive place in moral or legal reasoning owing to the fact that it is thoroughly derivative because collapsible into other forms of moral or legal language. In this paper I attempt to flesh out this “Redundancy” Thesis and identify and (...) criticize at least two general arguments that might be thought to give rise to it: the claims that rights reduce to duties or to permissions. I try to show how and why these arguments fail and why they do not therefore support RT. (shrink)
PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS IN THE LAW is the perfect introduction to the philosophy of law. This collection of articles and cases helps you consider philosophical problems associated with the law through examples, case studies, and decision scenarios. Case examples and recent decisions such as Boumediene v. Bush (rights of Guantanamo detainees) and Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (freedom of expression and violent video games) coupled with new readings help you see the real-world relevance of what you are learning.