Only one traditional objection to Pascal's wager is telling: Pascal assumes a particular theology, but without justification. We produce two new objections that go deeper. We show that even if Pascal's theology is assumed to be probable, Pascal's argument does not go through. In addition, we describe a wager that Pascal never considered, which leads away from Pascal's conclusion. We then consider the impact of these considerations on other prudential arguments concerning what one should believe, and on the more general (...) question of when and why belief formation ought to be based solely on the evidence. (shrink)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
This book examines the philosophies of nature of the early Greek thinkers and argues that a significant and thoroughgoing shift is required in our understanding of them. In contrast with the natural world of the earliest Greek literature, often the result of arbitrary divine causation, in the work of early Ionian philosophers we see the idea of a cosmos: ordered worlds where there is complete regularity. How was this order generated and maintained and what underpinned those regularities? What analogies or (...) models were used for the order of the cosmos? What did they think about causation and explanatory structure? How did they frame natural laws? Andrew Gregory draws on recent work on mechanistic philosophy and its history, on the historiography of the relation of science to art, religion and magic, and on the fragments and doxography of the early Greek thinkers to argue that there has been a tendency to overestimate the extent to which these early Greek philosophies of nature can be described as 'mechanistic'. We have underestimated how far they were committed to other modes of explanation and ontologies, and we have underestimated, underappreciated and indeed underexplored how plausible and good these philosophies would have been in context. (shrink)
A textbook by Norwegian anthropologist Thomas Hylland Eriksen tells us that Gregory Bateson criticized the use of the term ‘function’ in social anthropology on the following grounds: it has no place outside of mathematics. But consulting the Bateson text referred to, he does not say that in his section on function and even endorses certain uses of the term “function” in anthropology. I look into these and his criticisms of functionalism, responding to the criticisms.
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)
What is it to want something? Or, as philosophers might ask, what is a desire? This book defends “desire-as-belief”, the view that desires are just a special subset of our beliefs: normative beliefs. This view entitles us to accept orthodox models of human motivation and rationality that explain those things with reference to desire, but nonetheless to also make room for our normative beliefs to play a role in those domains. And this view tells us to diverge from the orthodox (...) view on which desires themselves can never be right or wrong. Rather, according to desire-as-belief, our desires can themselves be assessed for their accuracy, and they are wrong when they misrepresent normative features of the world. Hume says that it is not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of your finger, but he is wrong: it is foolish to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of your finger, and this is foolish because this preference misrepresents the relative worth of these things. (shrink)
The human intestinal ecosystem, previously called the gut microflora is now known as the Human Gut Microbiota. Microbiome research has emphasized the potential role of this ecosystem in human homeostasis, offering unexpected opportunities in therapeutics, far beyond digestive diseases. It has also highlighted ethical, social and commercial concerns related to the gut microbiota. As diet factors are accepted to be the major regulator of the gut microbiota, the modulation of its composition, either by antibiotics or by food intake, should be (...) regarded as a fascinating tool for improving the human health. Scientists, the food industry, consumers and policymakers alike are involved in this new field of nutrition. Defining how knowledge about the HGM is being translated into public perception has never been addressed before. This raises the question of metaphors associated with the HGM, and how they could be used to improve public understanding, and to influence individual decision-making on healthcare policy. This article suggests that a meeting of stakeholders from the social sciences, basic research and the food industry, taking an epistemological approach to the HGM, is needed to foster close, innovative partnerships that will help shape public perception and enable novel behavioural interventions that would benefit public health. (shrink)
Beau Branson rounds out the previous two chapters, by exploring the doctrine of inseparable operations ad extra in the writings of St Gregory of Nyssa. This doctrine says that all the activities of the three hypostases of the Trinity, at least insofar as they relate to things outside of (“ad extra”) the Trinity, are not only qualitatively identical but numerically identical. Importantly, Branson focuses his attention on Gregory’s theory of action and the individuation of events that emerges from (...) his theological defense of the doctrine of inseparable operations ad extra. Through a heavy engagement with contemporary metaphysics, Branson shows that Gregory’s philosophy of action is not only coherent, anticipating current trends in the ontology of actions and events, but may provide novel solutions to longstanding problems in this field. (shrink)
Gregory Fried offers in this book a careful investigation of Martin Heidegger’s understanding of politics. Disturbing issues surround Heidegger’s commitment to National Socialism, his disdain for liberal democracy, and his rejection of the Enlightenment. Fried confronts these issues, focusing not on the historical debate over Heidegger’s personal involvement with Nazism, but on whether and how the formulation of Heidegger’s ontology relates to his political thinking as expressed in his philosophical works. The inquiry begins with Heidegger’s interpretation of Heraclitus, particularly (...) the term polemos. Fried contends that Heidegger invests polemos with broad ontological significance and that his appropriation of the word provides important insights into major strands of his thinking—his conception of the human being, understanding of truth, and interpretation of history—as well as the meaning of the so-called turn in his thought. Although Fried finds that Heidegger’s politics are continuous with his thought, he also argues that Heidegger’s work raises important questions about contemporary identity politics. Fried also shows that many postmodernists, despite attempts to distance themselves from Heidegger, fail to avoid some of the same political pitfalls his thinking entailed. (shrink)
This is a general account of the Cappadocian Christian Father Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335 - c. 395 CE) as a philosopher. The article is divided into a discussion of his life and his views on God, the world, humanity, history, knowledge, and virtue. A common thread, which would later be systematized in the Palamite essence-energies distinction, is traced in all these topics. Of particular interest to philosophers are comparisons with John Locke and Immanuel Kant.
Culture, Not Politics We live in a politicized time. Culture wars and increasingly partisan conflicts have reduced public discourse to shouting matches between ideologues. But rather than merely bemoaning the vulgarity and sloganeering of this era, says acclaimed author and editor Gregory Wolfe, we should seek to enrich the language of civil discourse. And the best way to do that, Wolfe believes, is to draw nourishment from the deepest sources of culture: art and religious faith. Wolfe has been called (...) “one of the most incisive and persuasive voices of our generation,” and this penetrating and wide-ranging book makes a powerful case for the importance of beauty and imagination to cultural renewal. He begins by tracing his own journey from a young culture warrior bent on attacking the modern world to a career devoted to nurturing the creation of culture through contemporary literature and art that renew the Western tradition. Along the way, Wolfe finds in Renaissance Christian humanists like Erasmus and Thomas More—and their belief that imagination and the arts are needed to offset the danger of ideological abstractions— a “distant mirror” in which to see our own times. Beauty Will Save the World offers a revealing introduction to the artists and thinkers who are the Christian humanists of the modern era, from well-known figures like Evelyn Waugh and Wendell Berry to lesser-known authors like Shusaku Endo, Andrew Lytle, and Geoffrey Hill. A section on visual artists Mary McCleary, Fred Folsom, and Makoto Fujimura (accompanied by reproductions of their works) demonstrates that there are artists who can reimagine the Western tradition in strikingly contemporary terms. Finally, Wolfe pays tribute to the conservative thinkers who served as his mentors: Russell Kirk, Gerhart Niemeyer, Marion Montgomery, and Malcolm Muggeridge— all of whom rejected rigid ideology and embraced culture and tradition. At a time when our public discourse has come to be dominated by warring factions with little regard for truth, Wolfe's affirmation of beauty as a redemptive force is both refreshing and encouraging. (shrink)
At the fore of concern within Whitehead scholarship are the main interpretive issues revolving around the relationships of God, creativity, and the world. Some critics have charged that Whitehead’s mature thought suffers from a lack of coherence in his formulation of the relationship between God and creativity as they function in cosmic generativity, a charge proven difficult to overcome. Such critics have posed the following question. In light of Whitehead’s commitment to the Ontological Principle, how can God and creativity stand (...) as separate formative elements in the world’s creative advance? This question illustrates, some say, how the separation of God from creativity within Whitehead’s process philosophy.. (shrink)
In describing the mystical as a swift and progressive obliteration of empirical individuality and its history, of sensation, of time and space, and of the world’s multiplicity of forms, the otherworldly mystic grossly distorts the experience by interpretive tropes that uproot it from its animal soil of impulse and habit, of human perspective, and attribute its genesis to the intermediation of supernatural factors in order to account for its simplest rudiments. What is presupposed in otherworldly interpretations is that sense experience (...) is the veil of Maya cast over Reality leading man away from the spiritual and, as John Dewey says, “tolerated only as a vehicle through which man may be brought to an intuition of .. (shrink)
Under the human flourishing theory of property, owners have obligations, positive as well as negative, that they owe to members of the various communities to which they belong. But are the members of those communities limited to living persons, or do they include non-living persons as well, i.e., future persons and the dead? This Article argues that owners owe two sorts of obligation to non-living members of our generational communities, one general, the other specific. The general obligation is to provide (...) future generations with the basic material background conditions that are necessary for them to be able to carry out what I call life-transcending projects that their forebears have transmitted to them. The specific obligation is project-specific; that is, its purpose is to enable successive generational community members to whom particular life-transcending projects have been forwarded to be carried out in their way. The future generational members to whom the project is transferred must also be given whatever resources or goods are necessary to carry the project forward in its intended way. I argue further that each generational community owes its predecessors the obligation to accept life-transcending projects transmitted to them by their forebears and make reasonable efforts to carry those projects forward into the future. The obligation is based on the past generational community members’ dependency on their successors for the projects to continue into the future, a matter that is constitutive of the project creators’ flourishing. This obligation is defeasible, rather than absolute, however. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the feast days of the Orthodox Church from the point of view of St. Gregory of Nazianzus. Liturgical scholars raise questions about the relationships between past and future, anamnesis and mimesis, the sanctification of time and longing for the eschaton. Investigation of Gregory’s liturgical theology, which has had unparalleled influence in the Byzantine rite churches, shows that all of these are false dichotomies. Gregory’s two homilies onPascha and his homilies on Christmas, Theophany, and Pentecost (...) were preached throughout his public life. They show, in the feast days, anamnesis, in which the sacred events in Christ’s life are made present, and mimesis, the repetition of past events so as to arrive at the same future in God’s eternal kingdom. Patristics and liturgical scholars, however, have understood “mimesis” in different ways. (shrink)
Gregory Lavers gives us a timeline of Waismann’s career, an overview of Waismann’s most significant publications in this later period and a detailed walkthrough from the first to the last paper of Waismann’s series on analyticity, “Analytic - Synthetic”. Lavers closes his paper with comparisons of Waismann and Quine as well as Waismann and Carnap. Both Waismann and Quine argue that the concept of analyticity is vague and both reject reductionism. However, behind these superficial similarities we find fundamentally different (...) epistemologies. According to Lavers, the web of inferential relations, spanning from every experience to any item of scientific knowledge, that supports the outlook suggested by Quine, is rejected as manifestly wrong by Waismann. Conversely, Lavers shows that despite superficial contrasts between Waismann and Carnap—Waismann being interested in the subtleties of natural language, Carnap in replacing these through explication—the two do not really oppose each other’s’ views on analyticity and necessary truth. (shrink)
Gregory Landini offers a detailed historical account of Frege's notations and the philosophical views that led Frege from Begriffssscrhrift to his mature work Grundgesetze, addressing controversial issues that surround the notations.
Although much has been written about Deleuze’s engagement with the arts, _Gilles Deleuze and the Fabulation of Philosoph_y concerns the art of his philosophy. Gregory Flaxman suggests that Deleuze’s notorious rejection of representation gives rise to a singular task—to create new concepts and invent new means of philosophical expression. Tracing this task throughout Deleuze’s vast oeuvre, Flaxman argues that Deleuze’s ambition to think and write “otherwise” constitutes the fabulation of philosophy itself. For Flaxman, Deleuze’s philosophy is organized around the (...) notion of the friend __. This book dramatizes the practice of friendship in Deleuze’s intimate affairs with philosophers—including Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Kant, and Foucault—and close encounters with a range of writers, including Homer, More, Kafka, Woolf, and Borges. Flaxman traces Deleuze’s relationship with Nietzsche, the friend from whom he learned to write “in his own name,” to explain how apprenticeship becomes the initial condition of Deleuze’s philosophical method. Detailing the transformation of Nietzsche’s genealogy into “geophilosophy,” Flaxman goes on to show how Deleuze’s philosophy of the earth precipitates his return to ancient Greece and induces his resolution to overturn Platonism. In this spirit, the book demonstrates Deleuze’s evocation of the “powers of the false” by examining how, in his battle against representation, he makes fiction the basis for a minor philosophy. This first volume draws to a close with a timely elaboration of Deleuze’s avowed, if enigmatic, “style as politics” in an age when capitalism and communication challenge the claims of philosophy as never before. A stunning and original contribution, Flaxman’s book restores the question of aesthetics to Deleuze’s thinking and writing. _Gilles Deleuze and the Fabulation of Philosophy_ not only revitalizes our sense of the philosopher but revises the sense of his philosophy, provoking critical problems and novel possibilities with which readers will wrestle for years to come. (shrink)
This book presents an original and creative enactment of a confrontation between Heidegger and Plato. Gregory Fried outlines a new approach to ethics and politics combining skeptical idealism and what he calls polemical ethics, and goes on to apply polemical ethics to the crucial questions around fascism and racism.
When the Origins of Species was published on 24 November 1859, its author, Charles Darwin, was near the end of a nine-week stay in the remote Yorkshire village of Ilkley. He had come for the 'water cure' - a regime of cold baths and wet sheets - and for relaxation. But he used his time in Ilkley to shore up support, through extensive correspondence, for the extraordinary theory that the Origin would put before the world: evolution by natural selection. In (...) Darwin in Ilkley, Mike Dixon and Gregory Radick bring to life Victorian Ilkley and the dramas of body and mind that marked Darwin's visit. (shrink)
In the early 1890s the theory of evolution gained an unexpected ally: the Edison phonograph. An amateur scientist used the new machine—one of the technological wonders of the age—to record monkey calls, play them back to the monkeys, and watch their reactions. From these soon-famous experiments he judged that he had discovered “the simian tongue,” made up of words he was beginning to translate, and containing the rudiments from which human language evolved. Yet for most of the next century, the (...) simian tongue and the means for its study existed at the scientific periphery. Both returned to great acclaim only in the early 1980s, after a team of ethologists announced that experimental playback showed certain African monkeys to have rudimentarily meaningful calls. -/- Drawing on newly discovered archival sources and interviews with key scientists, Gregory Radick here reconstructs the remarkable trajectory of a technique invented and reinvented to listen in on primate communication. Richly documented and powerfully argued, The Simian Tongue charts the scientific controversies over the evolution of language from Darwin’s day to our own, resurrecting the forgotten debts of psychology, anthropology, and other behavioral sciences to the Victorian debate about the animal roots of human language. (shrink)