Gregory of Nyssa made important contributions to both theological thought and the understanding of the spiritual life. He was especially significant in adapting the thought of Origen to fourth century orthodoxy. The early treatise on the inscriptions of the Psalms shows the early stages of the development of Gregory's thought. This book presents the first translation of the treatise in a modern language. The annotations show Gregory's indebtedness to the thought of classical antiquity as well as to (...) the Bible. The Introduction sets forth the structure of Gregory's treatise, and places it in the context of earlier Christian commentaries on the Psalms. It shows how his hermeneutical approach was influenced by both Iamblichus the Neo-Platonist and Origen. Finally, Dr Heine compares Gregory's understanding of the stages of the spiritual life in the treatise with that in his later and more widely known writings on the life of Moses and the Song of Songs. (shrink)
The traditional Christian view that God foreknows the future exclusively in terms of what will and will not come to pass is partially rooted in two ancient Hellenistic philosophical assumptions. Hellenistic philosophers universally assumed that propositions asserting ‘ x will occur’ contradict propositions asserting ‘ x will not occur’ and generally assumed that the gods lose significant providential advantage if they know the future partly as a domain of possibilities rather than exclusively in terms of what will and will not (...) occur. Both assumptions continue to influence people in the direction of the traditional understanding of God's knowledge of the future. In this essay I argue that the first assumption is unnecessary and the second largely misguided. (shrink)
Why do we need government? A common view is that government is necessary to constrain people's conduct toward one another, because people are not sufficiently virtuous to exercise the requisite degree of control on their own. This view was expressed perspicuously, and artfully, by liberal thinker James Madison, in The Federalist, number 51, where he wrote: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Madison's idea is shared by writers ranging across the political spectrum. It finds clear expression in (...) the Marxist view that the state will gradually wither away after a communist revolution, as unalienated “communist man” emerges. And it is implied by the libertarian view that government's only legitimate function is to control the unfortunate and immoral tendency of some individuals to violate the moral rights of others. (shrink)
It is commonplace to suppose that the theory of individual rational choice is considerably less problematic than the theory of collective rational choice. In particular, it is often assumed by philosophers, economists, and other social scientists that an individual's choices among outcomes accurately reflect that individual's underlying preferences or values. Further, it is now well known that if an individual's choices among outcomes satisfy certain plausible axioms of rationality or consistency, that individual's choice-behavior can be interpreted as maximizing expected utility (...) on a utility scale that is unique up to a linear transformation. Hence, there is, in principle, an empirically respectable method of measuring individuals' values and a single unified schema for explaining their actions as value maximizing. (shrink)
In a well-known article, 1 John Hick argues that the proposition ‘God exists' is, in principle, verifiable but is not falsifiable. Essentially, his argument is that while no experience in this life could conclusively disprove the existence of the Christian God, certain experiences one might have in the after-life would conclusively verify the existence of the Christian God. In particular, he argues that post mortem experiences of Christ ruling in the Kingdom of God would constitute a verification of the existence (...) of the Christian God. In this paper, I shall argue that on Hick's own assumptions, the existence of the Christian God turns out to be falsifiable, in principle, as well as verifiable. (shrink)
According to Brentano in a much-quoted passage, Every psychological phenomenon is characterized by…intentional inherent existence of … an object… In the idea something is conceived, in the judgement something is recognized or discovered, in loving loved, in hating hated, in desiring desired, and so on.
This paper shows that the perceived difference between utilitarianism and natural rights theories in the eighteenth century was much less sharp than that in the twentieth century. This is demonstrated by exploring Josiah Tucker's critique of Locke and his disciples and the way in which the latter responded to it. Tucker's critique of Locke was based on a sharp distinction between a conception of natural rights as individual entitlements and the conception of the public good. The disciples of Locke did (...) not share Tucker's views and his interpretation of Locke. In defending natural rights they appealed less to the notion of moral agency and more to utilitarian ideas. The extent to which the advocates of the rights of man employed utilitarian ideas is obscured by the fact that they never divested themselves of the political advantage of using the words ‘natural rights’ even when their arguments were closer to the principle of utility. (shrink)
It is, perhaps, a propitious time to discuss the economic rights of disabled persons. In recent years, the media in the United States have re-ported on such notable events as: students at the nation's only college for the deaf stage a successful protest campaign to have a deaf individual ap-pointed president of their institution; a book by a disabled British physicist on the origins of the universe becomes a best seller; a pitcher with only one arm has a successful rookie (...) season in major league baseball; a motion-picture actor wins an Oscar for his portrayal of a wheelchair-bound person, beating out another nominee playing another wheelchair-bound person; a cancer patient wins an Olympic gold medal in wrestling; a paralyzed mother trains her children to accept discipline by inserting their hands in her mouth to be gently bitten when punishment is due; and a paraplegic rock climber scales the sheer four-thousand-foot wall of Yosemite Valley's El Capitan. Most significantly, in 1990, the United States Congress passed an important bill – the Americans with Disabili-ties Act – extending to disabled people employment and access-related protections afforded to members of other disadvantaged groups by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (shrink)
Gregory Conniff's large-scale black and white pastoral images evoke the sensuality of nineteenth century photographic materials. In his affectionate and intelligent work, there is a visible connection to the history of landscape art, reaching back as far as Claude Lorrain and seventeenth-century Dutch drawing. Conniff is also a leading practitioner of a new pastoralism that is casting a contemporary eye on the current state of America's open land. Postmodern in the best sense, Conniff's pictures address the timeless human need (...) to see beauty in the world that shapes our lives. A resident of Wisconsin for more than thirty years, Conniff has focused much of his artistic energy on the rural Midwest, exploring the interdependent relationship between land and people. For the past fifteen years, Conniff has also been making pictures of rural Mississippi, again focusing on elements of the landscape that resonate with a universal sense of aesthetic familiarity. As he explains, "I am interested in work that defines and protects the vanishing, commonplace beauties that let us know we're home.". (shrink)
To the memory of Alan White The idea of mental representation occupies a rather prominent place in much contemporary discussion, both in philosophy and cognitive science, and not as a particularly controversial idea either. My reflections here, however, are intended to douse much of that discussion with some cold water. I should emphasize at the outset that I have no problems at all with the very idea of mental representation. What I find quite unsatisfactory is the philosophical or doctrinal underpinning (...) of much current theorising about it. Anyway, I shall suggest that talk of mental representation needs at least to be supplemented with, if not actually replaced by, a distinct notion of mental presentation, which cannot be reduced to it. But I start with the notion of an impression. (shrink)
This new and complete translation of Spinoza's famous 17th-century work fills an important gap, not only for all scholars of Spinoza, but also for everyone interested in the relationship between Western philosophy and religion, and the history of biblical exegesis.
We analyze ethical policies of firms in industrialized countries and try to find out whether culture is a factor that plays a significant role in explaining country differences. We look into the firm’s human rights policy, its governance of bribery and corruption, and the comprehensiveness, implementation and communication of its codes of ethics. We use a dataset on ethical policies of almost 2,700 firms in 24 countries. We find that there are significant differences among ethical policies of firms headquartered in (...) different countries. When we associate these ethical policies with Hofstede’s cultural indicators, we find that individualism and uncertainty avoidance are positively associated with a firm’s ethical policies, whereas masculinity and power distance are negatively related to these policies. (shrink)
The swamping problem is the problem of explaining why reliabilist knowledge (reliable true belief) has greater value than mere true belief. Swamping problem advocates see the lack of a solution to the swamping problem (i.e., the lack of a value-difference between reliabilist knowledge and mere true belief) as grounds for rejecting reliabilism. My aims here are (i) to specify clear requirements for a solution to the swamping problem that are as congenial to reliabilism's critics as possible, (ii) to clear away (...) various existing reliabilist solutions on the basis of these requirements, and (iii) to present a reliabilist solution that succeeds in meeting all of them. To meet all the requirements, my solution develops a more nuanced understanding of the epistemic end than is currently discussed, and with it a novel way of individuating beliefs. I close with a brief discussion of the question whether reliabilism's critics might impose further demands which reliabilism cannot possibly meet. (shrink)
The dam rush in the upper-Brahmaputra River basin and local, minority resistance to it are the result of complex geopolitical and parochial causes. India and China’s competing claims for sovereignty over the watershed depend upon British and Qing Dynasty imperial precedents respectively. And the two nation-states have extended and enhanced their predecessors’ claims on the area by continuing to erase local sovereignty, enclose the commons, and extract natural resources on a large scale. Historically, the upper basin’s terrain forestalled the thorough (...) integration of this region into both nation-states, but recent technological and economic advances have enabled the two states and their agents to dramatically transformed these landscapes. Many of their projects have perpetuated the interventionist hydrological regimes that India and China also inherited from their imperial forebears. Nevertheless, as with their definition of their borders, neither state has highlighted this historical contingency. Instead, both governments have consistently presented their hydropower projects as shining examples of necessary and benevolent development. Their economy-focused, monolithic development paradigms have, not coincidently, also enabled the systemic side-lining of non-majority cultures, religions and histories. The combination of this cultural exclusion and the nation-states’ late integration of this peripheral region has laid the ground for conflict with local groups over the dam rush. Local identities and experiences have evolved around complex religious, cultural and trade networks, many of which were heavily influenced by the now-defunct Tibetan polity, rather than via modern Chinese and Indian nationalist discourses of development. The dam clashes highlight both the basin’s complex cultural matrixes and the ambiguous relationship Asia’s two most populous nation-states have with their respective imperial pasts. And as the situation remains unresolved, the watershed is an ecological catastrophe in waiting. (shrink)
Gregory Currie defends the view that works of fiction guide the imagination, and then considers whether fiction can also guide our beliefs. He makes a case for modesty about learning from fiction, as it is easy to be too optimistic about the psychological insights of authors, and empathy is hard to acquire while not always morally advantageous.
The present paper tries to trace the particular contours that the problem of theodicy assumes in the Chinese Buddhist text the Awakening of Faith in the Great Vehicle. It analyses the beginning section of the main body of text – the section, that is, that outlines the major theoretical structure of the work – in terms of a problem that has been of particular concern in western theology. I believe that taking such a tack is especially valuable for highlighting the (...) central Problematik around which the text is organized. The paper will thus use the problem of theodicy as a means of exploring some of the philosophical implications of the Awakening of Faith. (shrink)
Our study presents an overview of the issues that were brought forward by participants of a moral case deliberation (MCD) project in two elderly care organizations. The overview was inductively derived from all case descriptions (N = 202) provided by participants of seven mixed MCD groups, consisting of care providers from various professional backgrounds, from nursing assistant to physician. The MCD groups were part of a larger MCD project within two care institutions (residential homes and nursing homes). Care providers are (...) confronted with a wide variety of largely everyday ethical issues. We distinguished three main categories: ‘resident’s behavior’, ‘divergent perspectives on good care’ and ‘organizational context’. The overview can be used for agendasetting when institutions wish to stimulate reflection and deliberation. It is important that an agenda is constructed from the bottom-up and open to a variety of issues. In addition, organizing reflection and deliberation requires effort to identify moral questions in practice whilst at the same time maintaining the connection with the organizational context and existing communication structures. Once care providers are used to dealing with divergent perspectives, inviting different perspectives (e.g. family members) to take part in the deliberation, might help to identify and address ethical ‘blind spots’. (shrink)
Nietzsche, Biology and Metaphor explores the German philosopher's response to the intellectual debates sparked by the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. By examining the abundance of biological metaphors in Nietzsche's writings, Gregory Moore questions his recent reputation as an eminently subversive and (post) modern thinker, and shows how deeply Nietzsche was immersed in late nineteenth-century debates on evolution, degeneration and race. The first part of the book provides a detailed study and new interpretation of Nietzsche's much disputed (...) relationship to Darwinism. Uniquely, Moore also considers the importance of Nietzsche's evolutionary perspective for the development of his moral and aesthetic philosophy. The second part analyzes key themes of Nietzsche's cultural criticism - his attack on the Judaeo-Christian tradition, his diagnosis of the nihilistic crisis afflicting modernity and his anti-Wagnerian polemics - against the background of fin-de-siècle fears about the imminent biological collapse of Western civilization. (shrink)
John Dewey, widely known as "America's philosopher," provided important insights into education and political philosophy, but surprisingly never set down a complete moral or ethical philosophy. Gregory Fernando Pappas presents the first systematic and comprehensive treatment of Dewey's ethics. By providing a pluralistic account of moral life that is both unified and coherent, Pappas considers ethics to be key to an understanding of Dewey's other philosophical insights, especially his views on democracy. Pappas unfolds Dewey's ethical vision by looking carefully (...) at the virtues and values of ideal character and community. Showing that Dewey's ethics are compatible with the rest of his philosophy, Pappas corrects the reputation of American pragmatism as a philosophy committed to skepticism and relativism. Readers will find a robust and boldly detailed view of Dewey's ethics in this groundbreaking book. (shrink)
There is, I gloomily suspect, little which is significantly new that remain to be said about psycho-analysis by philosophers. The almost profligate theorising that goes on within the psycho-analytic journals will, no doubt, continue unabated. It simply strikes me as unlikely that such theorising will generate further issues of the kind that excite the philosophical mind. Though in making such an observation, I recognise that I lay claim upon the future in a manner that many might believe to be unwise. (...) The place of psycho-analysis upon the intellectual map, the implications that psycho-analytic theory and practice have for the various kinds of judgements that we make about human behaviour, have been exhaustively discussed in recent times. Rather more specifically, whether psycho-analysis should be accorded the dignity of being labelled a ‘science’, what the significance is of psycho-analysis for those complex problems bounded by the notions of Reason, Freedom, Motivation, have occasioned much fruitful philosophical debate. It is not any wish of mine to add to the literature on these problems in the forlorn hope that even slightly different answers might be forthcoming. (shrink)
As an emerging film director, Yu Li has yet to be recognized by the international academic critics. By examining Hongyan/Dam Street in the Chinese cultural context with the assistance of analyzing scenes in detail and the film’s visual style, this article argues that the film illustrates the protagonist Xiaoyun is stuck between traditions and modernity, providing a sophisticated insight to an important feminist issue. The reading of the traditions involves chastity code, the image of a rouge face which is the (...) translation of the film’s Chinese title, the Chinese four-character idioms, the time-honoured terms, the development of feminism, and the characteristics of the modernity in China. The perversity of the modernity originates from the social commercialization. Prejudices from the traditions and the modernity leave little space for women to settle in. (shrink)