In Morals By Agreement, David Gauthier concludes that under certain conditions it is rational for an agent to be disposed to choose in accordance with a fair cooperative scheme rather than to choose the course of action that maximizes his utility. This is only one of a number of important claims advanced in that book. In particular, he also propounds a distinctive view concerning what counts as a fair cooperative arrangement. The thesis concerning the rationality of adopting a cooperative disposition (...) is, however, logically independent of his substantive view of a fair cooperative scheme and is itself central to the project as a whole. Gauthier's concern is to establish that certain moral principles are those that fully rational, self-interested persons would agree to take as regulative of their dealings with one another – that a contractarian approach, in this sense, can provide an adequate basis for a theory of morality. (shrink)
Butler refused to be satisfied with just one leading principle, or rational basis for human action, but in the end settled for three: self-love, to provide for our ‘own private good’; benevolence, to consider ‘the good of our fellow creatures’ ; and conscience, ‘to preside and govern’ over our lives as a whole . By so doing he hoped to ensure a completeness to our ethical scheme, so that nothing would be omitted from our moral deliberations. Yet by so doing (...) he also exposed himself to severe criticism. For any such appeal to a plurality of principles, as Green remarked, is ‘repugnant both to the philosophic craving for unity, and to that ideal of “singleness of heart” which we have been accustomed to associate with the highest virtue’. More specifically, by appealing to a plurality of principles Butler faced the charges of circularity, where the principles come to define and defend each other; inconsistency, where the principles ‘take turns’ at being primary and hence render each other superfluous; and incompleteness, where the ‘primary principle’ is itself undefined or undefended. As the tale has been told Butler stands accused of all three of these errors. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a problem for regarding the reflective equilibrium and original position methods as consistent. I do not prove that there is an inconsistency, but there is a puzzle of how the two methods can be made consistent.
Since neither of these two inordinately long responses deals seriously with what I said in “An Ideology of Difference” , both the Boyarins and Griffin are made even more absurd by actual events occurring as they wrote. The Israeli army has by now been in direct and brutal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza for twenty-one years; the intifadah, surely the most impressive and disciplined anticolonial insurrection in this century, is now in its eleventh month. The daily killings (...) of unarmed Palestinians by armed Israelis, soldiers and settlers, numbers several hundred; yesterday two more Palestinians were killed, the day before four were killed. The beatings, expulsions, wholesale collective punishments, the closure of schools and universities, as well as the imprisonment of dozens of thousands in places like Ansar III, a concentration camp, continue. A V sign flashed by a young Palestinian carries with six months in jail; a Palestinian flag can get you up to ten years; you risk burial alive by zealous Israel Defense Forces soldiers; if you are a member of a popular committee you are liable to arrest, and all professional, syndical, or community associations are now illegal. Any Palestinian can be put in jail without charge or trial for up to six months, renewable, for any offense, which needn’t be revealed to him or her. For non-Jews, approximately 1.5 million people on the West Bank and Gaza, there are thus no rights whatever. On the other hand, Jews are protected by Israeli law on the Occupied Territories. In such a state of apartheid—so named by most honest Israelis—the intifadah continues, as does the ideology of difference vainly attempting to repress and willfully misinterpret its significance. Edward W. Said is Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. His most recent contribution to Critical Inquiry is “Representing the Colonized: Anthropology’s Interlocutors”. (shrink)
"Science is rooted in conversations," wrote Werner Heisenberg, one of the twentieth century's great physicists. In Quantum Dialogue, Mara Beller shows that science is rooted not just in conversation but in disagreement, doubt, and uncertainty. She argues that it is precisely this culture of dialogue and controversy within the scientific community that fuels creativity. Beller draws her argument from her radical new reading of the history of the quantum revolution, especially the development of the Copenhagen interpretation. One of (...) several competing approaches, this version succeeded largely due to the rhetorical skills of Niels Bohr and his colleagues. Using extensive archival research, Beller shows how Bohr and others marketed their views, misrepresenting and dismissing their opponents as "unreasonable" and championing their own not always coherent or well-supported position as "inevitable." Quantum Dialogue, winner of the 1999 Morris D. Forkosch Prize of the Journal of the History of Ideas, will fascinate everyone interested in how stories of "scientific revolutions" are constructed and "scientific consensus" achieved. "[A]n intellectually stimulating piece of work, energised by a distinct point of view."—Dipankar Home, Times Higher Education Supplement "[R]emarkable and original. . . . [Beller's] arguments are thoroughly supported and her conclusions are meticulously argued. . . . This is an important book that all who are interested in the emergence of quantum mechanics will want to read."—William Evenson, History of Physics Newsletter. (shrink)
Three of the most venerable objections to anthropomorphic conceptions of the divine are traceable to Xenophanes and his critique of the early Greek gods. Though suitably revised, these ancient criticisms have persisted over the centuries, plaguing various religious communities, particularly those of classical Christian commitment. Xenophanes complained that anthropomorphism leads to unseemly characterizations, noting that both over the ages, the list of unseemly characteristics has expanded somewhat.
Presents an analysis of Jonathan Edwards' theological position. This book includes a study of his life and the intellectual issues in the America of his time, and examines the problem of free will in connection with Leibniz, Locke, and Hume.
I present two senses in which a political philosophy may be an ideal theory. They are not identified by Laura Valentini, in her much-cited paper. The paper is written as a pastiche of the writing style of the distinguished legal and political philosopher Joseph Raz, who recently passed away, with my notes at the foot of the page within square brackets.
v. 1. Freedom of the will -- v. 2. Religious affections -- v. 3. Original sin -- v. 4. The Great Awakening -- v. 5. Apocalyptic writings -- v. 6. Scientific and philosophical writings -- v. 7. The life of David Brainerd -- v. 8. Ethical writings -- v. 9. A history of the work of redemption -- v. 10. Sermons and discourses, 1720-1723 -- v. 13. The "miscellanies" (entry nos. a-z, aa-zz, 1-500) -- v. 15. Notes on Scripture -- (...) v. 17. Sermons and discourses, 1730-1733 -- v. 18. The "miscellanies" (entry nos. 501-832) -- v. 19. Sermons and discourses, 1734-1738 -- v. 20. The miscellanies -- v. 22. Sermons and discourses, 1739-1742 -- v. 24. The "blank Bible" (2 v.). (shrink)
This paper raises a worry that it is difficult to reconcile Adam Smith’s claims about the relationship of specialization to talent and character with his account of the origins of money. Specialization makes one stupid outside of one’s specialism yet money arises by specialists also providing what everyone wants.
In this paper, I present the possibility of some other analytic political philosophy, in contrast to what is usually given this label. I do so by rejecting what I call the dualism between craftsmanship and vision.
In this paper, I propose a counterexample to the proposed advantage of specialization in research. My counterexample is developed after assessing the claim that the early twentieth century essayist and editor Dora Marsden imitated Nietzsche in one of her periodicals: The New Freewoman.
I. Two topics given prominence in the early sections of Hume's Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding are those of thought and belief. Of each Hume asks two questions. One, which we might call the constitutive question: what exactly is it to have a thought, or to hold a belief?—and another, which we may call the genetic question: how do we come by our thoughts, or our capacity to think them, and how do we come to believe that certain of these thoughts (...) are true? In this lecture I shall be considering the detail of Hume's answers to these questions; but first I want to say a little about why they should have loomed large for him at all. (shrink)
This article reconsiders Sartre's seminal 1945 talk, “Existentialism is a Humanism,” and the stakes of the humanism debate in France by looking at the immediate political context that has been overlooked in previous discussions of the text. It analyses the political discussion of the term “humanism” during the French national elections of 1945 and the rumbling debate over Sartre's philosophy that culminated in his presentation to the Club Maintenant, just one week after France went to the polls. A consideration of (...) this context helps explain both the rise, and later the decline, of existentialism in France, when, in the changing political climate, humanism lost its centrality, setting the stage for new antihumanist criticisms of Sartre's work. (shrink)