This article begins the task of assessing polygamy as a moral ideal. The structure of traditional polygamy, in which only one central spouse may marry multiple partners, necessarily yields two inequalities. The central spouse has greater rights and expectations within each marriage and greater control over the wider family. However, two alternative structures for polygamy can remove these inequalities. In polyfidelity, each spouse marries every other spouse in the family. In “molecular” polygamy, any spouses may marry a new spouse outside (...) the family. These new models of polygamy face additional difficulties, but they can be egalitarian in principle. (shrink)
A transcript of Leo Strauss’s key seminars on Plato’s Protagoras. This book offers a transcript of Strauss’s seminar on Plato’s Protagoras taught at the University of Chicago in the spring quarter of 1965, edited and introduced by renowned scholar Robert C. Bartlett. These lectures have several important features. Unlike his published writings, they are less dense and more conversational. Additionally, while Strauss regarded himself as a Platonist and published some work on Plato, he published little on individual (...) dialogues. In these lectures Strauss treats many of the great Platonic and Straussian themes: the difference between the Socratic political science or art and the Sophistic political science or art of Protagoras; the character and teachability of virtue, its relation to knowledge, and the relations among the virtues, courage, justice, moderation, and wisdom; the good and the pleasant; frankness and concealment; the role of myth; and the relation between freedom of thought and freedom of speech. In these lectures, Strauss examines Protagoras and the sophists, providing a detailed discussion of Protagoras as it relates to Plato’s other dialogues and the work of modern thinkers. This book should be of special interest to students both of Plato and of Strauss. (shrink)
In the winter of 1965, Leo Strauss taught a seminar on Hegel at the University of Chicago. While Strauss neither considered himself a Hegelian nor wrote about Hegel at any length, his writings contain intriguing references to the philosopher, particularly in connection with his studies of Hobbes, in his debate in On Tyranny with Alexandre Kojève; and in his account of the “three waves” of modern political philosophy. Leo Strauss on Hegel reconstructs Strauss’s seminar on Hegel, (...) supplemented by passages from an earlier version of the seminar from which only fragments of a transcript remain. Strauss focused his seminar on the lectures collected in The Philosophy of History, which he considered more accessible than Hegel’s written works. In his own lectures on Hegel, Strauss continues his project of demonstrating how modern philosophers related to ancient thought and explores the development and weaknesses of modern political theory. Strauss is especially concerned with the relationship in Hegel between empirical history and his philosophy of history, and he argues for the primacy of religion in Hegel’s understanding of history and society. In addition to a relatively complete transcript, Leo Strauss on Hegel also includes annotations, which bring context and clarity to the text. (shrink)
Natural Right and History is widely recognized as Strauss’s most influential work. The six lectures, written while Strauss was at the New School, and a full transcript of the 1949 Walgreen Lectures show Strauss working toward the ideas he would present in fully matured form in his landmark work. In them, he explores natural right and the relationship between modern philosophers and the thought of the ancient Greek philosophers, as well as the relation of political philosophy to (...) contemporary political science and to major political and historical events, especially the Holocaust and World War II. Previously unpublished in book form, Strauss’s lectures are presented here in a thematic order that mirrors Natural Right and History and with interpretive essays by J. A. Colen, Christopher Lynch, Svetozar Minkov, Daniel Tanguay, Nathan Tarcov, and Michael Zuckert that establish their relation to the work. Rounding out the book are copious annotations and notes to facilitate further study. (shrink)
Within the criminal justice system, one of the most prominent justifications for legal punishment is retributivism. The retributive justification of legal punishment maintains that wrongdoers are morally responsible for their actions and deserve to be punished in proportion to their wrongdoing. This book argues against retributivism and develops a viable alternative that is both ethically defensible and practical. Introducing six distinct reasons for rejecting retributivism, Gregg D. Caruso contends that it is unclear that agents possess the kind of free (...) will and moral responsibility needed to justify this view of punishment. While a number of alternatives to retributivism exist - including consequentialist deterrence, educational, and communicative theories - they have ethical problems of their own. Moving beyond existing theories, Caruso presents a new non-retributive approach called the public health-quarantine model. In stark contrast to retributivism, the public health-quarantine model provides a more human, holistic, and effective approach to dealing with criminal behavior. (shrink)
Presents the early published writings of the distinguished political philosopher Leo Strauss, available here for the first time in English. “Zank places at the reader’s disposal the young Strauss’s passionate advocacy of political Zionism and his early confrontations with Spinoza, consideration of whom helped lead Strauss to formulate his teaching on ‘the quarrel between the ancients and the moderns.’” — National Review.
Leo Strauss's essays and lectures on Maimonides -- Point of departure: why study medieval thinkers? -- How to study medieval philosophy (1944) -- On Maimonides -- Spinoza's critique of Maimonides (1930) -- Cohen and Maimonides (1931) -- The philosophic foundation of the law: Maimonides' doctrine of prophecy and its sources.
Leo Strauss's introductions to ten writings of Moses Mendelssohn -- Preliminary remark by Alexander Altmann -- Introduction to Pope a metaphysician! -- Introduction to "Epistle to Mr. Lessing in Leipzig" -- Introduction to Commentary on Moses Maimonides' "Logical terms" -- Introduction to Treatise on evidence in metaphysical sciences -- Introduction to Phädon -- Introduction to Treatise on the incorporeality of the human soul -- Introduction to "On a handwritten essay of Mr. de Luc's" -- Introduction to The soul -- (...) Introduction to Morning hours and to the friends of Lessing -- Introduction to God's cause, or providence vindicated. (shrink)
Some thinkers argue that our best scientific theories about the world prove that free will is an illusion. Others disagree. The concept of free will is profoundly important to our self-understanding, our interpersonal relationships, and our moral and legal practices. If it turns out that no one is ever free and morally responsible, what would that mean for society, morality, meaning, and the law? Just Deserts brings together two philosophers – Daniel C. Dennett and Gregg D. Caruso – to (...) debate their respective views on free will, moral responsibility, and legal punishment. In three extended conversations, Dennett and Caruso present their arguments for and against the existence of free will and debate their implications. Dennett argues that the kind of free will required for moral responsibility is compatible with determinism – for him, self-control is key; we are not responsible for becoming responsible, but are responsible for staying responsible, for keeping would-be puppeteers at bay. Caruso takes the opposite view, arguing that who we are and what we do is ultimately the result of factors beyond our control, and because of this we are never morally responsible for our actions in the sense that would make us truly deserving of blame and praise, punishment and reward. These two leading thinkers introduce the concepts central to the debate about free will and moral responsibility by way of an entertaining, rigorous and sometimes heated philosophical dialogue. What emerges is a clear account of the latest thinking on free will, and what is at stake for our moral and legal practices. (shrink)
The first major piece of unpublished work by Leo Strauss to appear in more than thirty years, "Leo Strauss On Plato's "Symposium"" offers the public the unprecedented experience of encountering this renowned scholar as his students did.
What place does consciousness have in the natural world? If we reject materialism, could there be a credible alternative? In one classic example, philosophers ask whether we can ever know what is it is like for bats to sense the world using sonar. It seems obvious to many that any amount of information about a bat's physical structure and information processing leaves us guessing about the central questions concerning the character of its experience. A Place for Consciousness begins with reflections (...) on the existence of this gap. Is it just a psychological shortcoming in our merely human understanding of the physical world? Is it a trivial consequence of the simple fact that we just cannot be bats? Or does it mean there really are facts about consciousness over and above the physical facts? If so, what does consciousness do? Why does it exist? Rosenberg sorts out these problems, especially those centering on the causal role of consciousness. He introduces a new paradigm called Liberal Naturalism for thinking about what causation is, about the natural world, and about how to create a detailed model to go along with the new paradigm. Arguing that experience is part of the categorical foundations of causality, he shows that within this new paradigm there is a place for something essentially like consciousness in all its traditional mysterious respects. A striking feature of Liberal Naturalism is that its central tenets are motivated independently of the mind-body problem, by analyzing causation itself. Because of this approach, when consciousness shows up in the picture it is not introduced in an ad hoc way, and its most puzzling features can be explained from first principles. Ultimately, Rosenberg's final solution gives consciousness a causally important role without supposing either that it is physical or that it interacts with the physical. (shrink)
On Tyranny is Leo Strauss’s classic reading of Xenophon’s dialogue Hiero, or Tyrannicus, in which the tyrant Hiero and the poet Simonides discuss the advantages and disadvantages of exercising tyranny. Included are a translation of the dialogue from its original Greek, a critique of Strauss’s commentary by the French philosopher Alexandre Kojève, and the complete correspondence between the two. This revised and expanded edition introduces important corrections throughout and expands Strauss’s restatement of his position in light of (...) Kojève’s commentary to bring it into conformity with the text as it was originally published in France. (shrink)
This book argues two main things: The first is that there is no such thing as free will—at least not in the sense most ordinary folk take to be central or fundamental; the second is that the strong and pervasive belief in free will can be accounted for through a careful analysis of our phenomenology and a proper theoretical understanding of consciousness.
There are a number of important links and similarities between public health and safety. In this extended essay, Gregg D. Caruso defends and expands his public health-quarantine model, which is a non-retributive alternative for addressing criminal behavior that draws on the public health framework and prioritizes prevention and social justice. In developing his account, he explores the relationship between public health and safety, focusing on how social inequalities and systemic injustices affect health outcomes and crime rates, how poverty affects (...) brain development, how offenders often have pre-existing medical conditions (especially mental health issues), how involvement in the criminal justice system itself can lead to or worsen health and cognitive problems, how treatment and rehabilitation methods can best be employed to reduce recidivism and reintegrate offenders back into society, and how a public health approach could be successfully applied within the criminal justice system. Caruso's approach draws on research from the health sciences, social sciences, public policy, law, psychiatry, medical ethics, neuroscience, and philosophy, and he delivers a set of ethically defensible and practically workable proposals for implementing the public health-quarantine model. The essay begins by discussing recent empirical findings in psychology, neuroscience, and the social sciences that provide us with an increased understanding of the social and neurological determinants of health and criminal behavior. It then turns to Caruso's public health-quarantine model and argues that the model provides the most justified, humane, and effective approach for addressing criminal behavior. Caruso concludes by proposing a capability approach to social justice grounded in six key features of human well-being. He argues that we cannot successfully address concerns over public health and safety without simultaneously addressing issues of social justice—including the social determinants of health (SDH) and the social determinants of criminal behavior (SDCB)—and he recommends eight general policy proposals consistent with his model. (shrink)
Skepticism about moral responsibility, or what is more commonly referred to as moral responsibility skepticism, refers to a family of views that all take seriously the possibility that human beings are never morally responsible for their actions in a particular but pervasive sense. This sense is typically set apart by the notion of basic desert and is defined in terms of the control in action needed for an agent to be truly deserving of blame and praise. Some moral responsibility skeptics (...) wholly reject this notion of moral responsibility because they believe it to be incoherent or impossible. Others maintain that, though possible, our best philosophical and scientific theories about the world provide strong and compelling reasons for adopting skepticism about moral responsibility. What all varieties of moral responsibility skepticism share, however, is the belief that the justification needed to ground basic desert moral responsibility and the practices associated with it—such as backward-looking praise and blame, punishment and reward (including retributive punishment), and the reactive attitudes of resentment and indignation—is not met. Versions of moral responsibility skepticism have historically been defended by Spinoza, Voltaire, Diderot, d’Holbach, Priestley, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Clarence Darrow, B.F. Skinner, and Paul Edwards, and more recently by Galen Strawson, Derk Pereboom, Bruce Waller, Neil Levy, Tamler Sommers, and Gregg D. Caruso. -/- Critics of these views tend to focus both on the arguments for skepticism about moral responsibility and on the implications of such views. They worry that adopting such a view would have dire consequences for our interpersonal relationships, society, morality, meaning, and the law. They fear, for instance, that relinquishing belief in moral responsibility would undermine morality, leave us unable to adequately deal with criminal behavior, increase anti-social conduct, and destroy meaning in life. Optimistic skeptics, however, respond by arguing that life without free will and basic desert moral responsibility would not be as destructive as many people believe. These optimistic skeptics argue that prospects of finding meaning in life or of sustaining good interpersonal relationships, for instance, would not be threatened. They further maintain that morality and moral judgments would remain intact. And although retributivism and severe punishment, such as the death penalty, would be ruled out, they argue that the imposition of sanctions could serve purposes other than the punishment of the guilty—e.g., it can also be justified by its role in incapacitating, rehabilitating, and deterring offenders. (shrink)
Leo Strauss and Emmanuel Levinas, two twentieth-century Jewish philosophers and two extremely provocative thinkers whose reputations have grown considerably over the last twenty years, are rarely studied together. This is due to the disparate interests of many of their intellectual heirs. Strauss has influenced political theorists and policy makers on the right while Levinas has been championed in the humanities by different cadres associated with postmodernist thought. In Leo Strauss and Emmanuel Levinas: Philosophy and the Politics of (...) Revelation, Leora Batnitzky brings together these two seemingly incongruous contemporaries, demonstrating that they often had the same philosophical sources and their projects had many formal parallels. While such a comparison is valuable in itself for better understanding each figure, it also raises profound questions in the current debate on the definitions of 'religion', suggesting new ways that religion makes claims on both philosophy and politics. (shrink)
Sustaining Loss explores the uncanny, traumatic weaving together of the living and the dead in art, and the morbid fascination it holds for modern philosophical aesthetics. Beginning with Kant, the author traces how aesthetic theory has been drawn back repeatedly to the moving power of the undead body of the work of art. He locates the most potent expressions of this philosophical compulsion in Hegel's thesis that art is a thing of the past, and in Freud's view that the work (...) of art is the haunting of the present by the endless suffering of what is dead but still has claims over the living. Sustaining Loss examines not only Kant, Hegel, and Freud, but also the contemporary artists Gerhard Richter and Ilya Kabakov, whose art turns fruitfully against art's own past. (shrink)
Exploring the Illusion of Free Will and Moral Responsibility is an edited collection of new essays by an internationally recognized line-up of contributors. It is aimed at readers who wish to explore the philosophical and scientific arguments for free will skepticism and their implications.
This book explores the philosophical and scientific arguments for free will skepticism and their implications. Skepticism about free will and moral responsibility has been on the rise in recent years. In fact, a significant number of philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists now either doubt or outright deny the existence of free will and/or moral responsibility—and the list of prominent skeptics appears to grow by the day. Given the profound importance that the concepts of free will and moral responsibility play in our (...) lives—in understanding ourselves, society, and the law—it is important that we explore what is behind this new wave of skepticism. It is also important that we explore the potential consequences of skepticism for ourselves and society. This edited collection of new essays brings together an internationally recognized line-up of contributors, most of whom hold skeptical positions of some sort, to display and explore the leading arguments for free will skepticism and to debate their implications. It includes original contributions by Derk Pereboom, Galen Strawson, Ted Honderich, Bruce Waller, Neil Levy, Saul Smilansky, Thomas Nadelhoffer and Daniela Goya Tocchetto, Benjamin Vilhauer, Susan Blackmore, Manuel Vargas, Shaun Nichols, John-Dylan Haynes and Michael Pauen, Thomas Clark, Mark Hallett, Susan Pockett, and Maureen Sie. (shrink)
Within the United States, the most prominent justification for criminal punishment is retributivism. This retributivist justification for punishment maintains that punishment of a wrongdoer is justified for the reason that she deserves something bad to happen to her just because she has knowingly done wrong—this could include pain, deprivation, or death. For the retributivist, it is the basic desert attached to the criminal’s immoral action alone that provides the justification for punishment. This means that the retributivist position is not reducible (...) to consequentialist considerations nor in justifying punishment does it appeal to wider goods such as the safety of society or the moral improvement of those being punished. A number of sentencing guidelines in the U.S. have adopted desert as their distributive principle, and it is increasingly given deference in the “purposes” section of state criminal codes, where it can be the guiding principle in the interpretation and application of the code’s provisions. Indeed, the American Law Institute recently revised the Model Penal Code so as to set desert as the official dominate principle for sentencing. And courts have identified desert as the guiding principle in a variety of contexts, as with the Supreme Court’s enthroning retributivism as the “primary justification for the death penalty.” While retributivism provides one of the main sources of justification for punishment within the criminal justice system, there are good philosophical and practical reasons for rejecting it. One such reason is that it is unclear that agents truly deserve to suffer for the wrongs they have done in the sense required by retributivism. In the first section, I explore the retributivist justification of punishment and explain why it is inconsistent with free will skepticism. In the second section, I then argue that even if one is not convinced by the arguments for free will skepticism, there remains a strong epistemic argument against causing harm on retributivist grounds that undermines both libertarian and compatibilist attempts to justify it. I maintain that this argument provides sufficient reason for rejecting the retributive justification of criminal punishment. I conclude in the third section by briefly sketching my public health-quarantine model, a non-retributive alternative for addressing criminal behavior that draws on the public health framework and prioritizes prevention and social justice. I argue that the model is not only consistent with free will skepticism and the epistemic argument against retributivism, it also provides the most justified, humane, and effective way of dealing with criminal behavior. (shrink)
'At last one of the most famous generalizing works in anthropology by the field's most stimulating and controversial contemporary figure has been translated, beautifully, and with the enlightening preface of the second French edition.
One of the most frequently voiced criticisms of free will skepticism is that it is unable to adequately deal with criminal behavior and that the responses it would permit as justified are insufficient for acceptable social policy. This concern is fueled by two factors. The first is that one of the most prominent justifications for punishing criminals, retributivism, is incompatible with free will skepticism. The second concern is that alternative justifications that are not ruled out by the skeptical view per (...) se face significant independent moral objections. Yet despite these concerns, I maintain that free will skepticism leaves intact other ways to respond to criminal behavior—in particular preventive detention, rehabilitation, and alteration of relevant social conditions—and that these methods are both morally justifiable and sufficient for good social policy. The position I defend is similar to Derk Pereboom’s, taking as its starting point his quarantine analogy, but it sets out to develop the quarantine model within a broader justificatory framework drawn from public health ethics. The resulting model—which I call the public health -quarantine model—provides a framework for justifying quarantine and criminal sanctions that is more humane than retributivism and preferable to other non-retributive alternatives. It also provides a broader approach to criminal behavior than Pereboom’s quarantine analogy does on its own. (shrink)
Neuroexistentialism brings together some of the world's leading philosophers, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and legal scholars to tackle our neuroexistentialist predicament and explore what the mind sciences can tell us about morality, love, emotion, autonomy, consciousness, selfhood, free will, moral responsibility, criminal punishment, meaning in life, and purpose.
This book presents the first full translation of the correspondence of Leo Strauss and Gerhard Krüger, showing for each the development of key and influential ideas, along with seven interpretative essays by leading Strauss scholars. During the early to mid-1930’s, Leo Strauss carried on an intense, and sometimes deeply personal, correspondence with one of the leading intellectual lights among Heidegger’s circle of recent students and younger associates. A fellow traveler in the effort to “return to Plato” and (...) reject neo-Kantian conventions of the day, Krüger was also a serious student of Rudolf Bultmann and the neo-orthodox movement in which Strauss also took an early interest. During the most intense years of their correspondence, each underwent significant intellectual development: in Krüger’s case, through a penetrating series of studies of Kant and Descartes, respectively, ultimately leading to Krüger’s conversion to Catholicism; and, in Strauss’s case, through the complex stages of what he subsequently called his “reorientation,” involving what he for the first time calls “political philosophy.” Readers interested in tracing the development of Strauss’s thoughts regarding a theological alternative that he found helpfully challenging—if not ultimately compelling—will find this correspondence to be an accessible point of entry. (shrink)
Entanglement was initially thought by some to be an oddity restricted to the realm of thought experiments. However, Bell’s inequality delimiting local - behavior and the experimental demonstration of its violation more than 25 years ago made it entirely clear that non-local properties of pure quantum states are more than an intellectual curiosity. Entanglement and non-locality are now understood to figure prominently in the microphysical world, a realm into which technology is rapidly hurtling. Information theory is also increasingly recognized by (...) physicists and philosophers as intimately related to the foundations of mechanics. The clearest indicator of this relationship is that between quantum information and entanglement. To some degree, a deep relationship between information and mechanics in the quantum context was already there to be seen upon the introduction by Max Born and Wolfgang Pauli of the idea that the essence of pure quantum states lies in their provision of probabilities regarding the behavior of quantum systems, via what has come to be known as the Born rule. The significance of the relationship between mechanics and information became even clearer with Leo Szilard’s analysis of James Clerk Maxwell’s infamous demon thought experiment. Here, in addition to examining both entanglement and quantum information and their relationship, I endeavor to critically assess the influence of the study of these subjects on the interpretation of quantum theory. (shrink)
This monograph identifies the essential characteristics of the objects described by current quantum theory and considers their relationship to space-time. In the process, it explicates the senses in which quantum objects may be consistently considered to have parts of which they may be composed or into which they may be decomposed. The book also demonstrates the degree to which reduction is possible in quantum mechanics, showing it to be related to the objective indefiniteness of quantum properties and the strong non-local (...) correlations that can occur between the physical quantities of quantum subsystems. Careful attention is paid to the relationships among such property correlations, physical causation, probability, and symmetry in quantum theory. In this way, the text identifies and clarifies the conceptual grounds underlying the unique nature of many quantum phenomena. (shrink)
Leo Strauss is known primarily for reviving classical political philosophy. Strauss recovered that great tradition of thought largely lost to the West by beginning his study of classical thought with its teaching on politics rather than its metaphysics. What brought Strauss to this way of reading the classics, however, was a discovery he made as a young political scientist studying the obscure texts of Islamic and Jewish medieval political thought. In this volume, Joshua Parens examines Strauss's (...) investigations of medieval political philosophy, offering interpretations of his writings on the great thinkers of that tradition, including interpretations of his most difficult writings on Alfarabi and Maimonides. In addition Parens explicates Strauss's statements on Christian medieval thought and his argument for rejecting the Scholastic paradigm as a method for interpreting Islamic and Jewish thought. Contrasting Scholasticism with Islamic and Jewish medieval political philosophy, Parens clarifies the theme of Strauss's thought, what Strauss calls the "theologico-political problem," and reveals the significance of medieval political philosophy in the Western tradition. (shrink)
This book gives an overview for practitioners and students of quantum physics and information science. It provides ready access to essential information on quantum information processing and communication, such as definitions, protocols and algorithms. Quantum information science is rarely found in clear and concise form. This book brings together this information from its various sources. It allows researchers and students in a range of areas including physics, photonics, solid-state electronics, nuclear magnetic resonance and information technology, in their applied and theoretical (...) branches, to have this vital material directly at hand. (shrink)
Human genetic enhancement, examined from the standpoint of the new field of political bioethics, displaces the age-old question of truth: What is human nature? This book displaces that question with another: What kind of human nature should humans want to create for themselves? To answer that question, this book answers two others: What constraints should limit the applications of rapidly developing biotechnologies? What could possibly form the basis for corresponding public policy in a democratic society? Benjamin Gregg focuses on (...) the distinctly political dimensions of human nature, where politics refers to competition among competing values on which to base public policy, legislation, and political culture. This book offers citizens of democratic communities a broad perspective on how they together might best approach urgent questions of how to deal with the socially and morally challenging potential for human genetic engineering. (shrink)
Much of the recent philosophical discussion about free will has been focused on whether compatibilists can adequately defend how a determined agent could exercise the type of free will that would enable the agent to be morally responsible in what has been called the basic desert sense :5–24, 1994; Fischer in Four views on free will, Wiley, Hoboken, 2007; Vargas in Four views on free will, Wiley, Hoboken, 2007; Vargas in Philos Stud, 144:45–62, 2009). While we agree with Derk Pereboom (...) and others that the compatibilist’s burden should be properly understood as providing a compelling account of how a determined agent could be morally responsible in the basic desert sense, the exact nature of this burden has been rendered somewhat unclear by the fact that there has been no definitive account given as to what the basic desert sense of moral responsibility amounts to. In Sect. 1 we set out to clarify the compatibilist’s burden by presenting our account of basic desert moral responsibility—which we call retributivist desert moral responsibility for purposes of clarity—and explain why it is of central philosophical and practical importance to the free will debate. In Sect. 2 we employ a thought experiment to illustrate the kind of difficulty that compatibilists of any stripe are likely to encounter in attempting to explain how determined agents can exercise the kind of free will needed for retributivist desert moral responsibility. (shrink)