_Hume's Naturalism_ provides a clear and concise guide to the debates over whether Hume's empiricism or his 'naturalism' in the tradition of the Scottish 'Common Sense' school of philosophy gained his upper hand. This debate is central to any understanding of Hume's thought. H.O. Mounce presents a beautifully clear guide to Hume's most important works, _The Treatise on Human Nature_ and _Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion_. Accessible to anyone coming to Hume for the first time, _Hume's Naturalism_ affords a much needed (...) overview of the key concepts of empiricism, causation, scepticism, reason and morality that are essential to any understanding of Hume's philosophy. (shrink)
In recent times Wittgenstein's work in logic has had an influence on other branches of philosophy. I am thinking, in particular, of social philosophy and the philosophy of religion. In these branches, Wittgenstein's followers have made much use of his notion of a language game. It has been argued, for example, that religion forms a language game of its own, having its own standards of reason, and is therefore not subject to criticism from outside. This argument has given rise to (...) controversy, some seeing it as a subtle attempt by the religious to evade criticism. I have come myself to feel that the notion of a language game has been put to uses with which Wittgenstein himself might not have agreed, or, if he had, would have been wrong to do so. In order to explain what I mean I should like to look closely at the opening section of Peter Winch's article ‘Understanding a Primitive Society’. (shrink)
In 1958, moral philosophers were given rather startling advice. They were told that their subject was not worth pursuing further until they possessed an adequate philosophy of psychology. What is needed, they were told, is an enquiry into what type of characteristic a virtue is, and, furthermore, it was suggested that this question could be resolved in part by exploring the connection between what a man ought to do and what he needs : perhaps man needs certain things in order (...) to flourish, just as a plant needs water; and perhaps what men need are the virtues, courage, honesty, loyalty, etc. Thus, in telling a man that he ought to be honest, we should not be using any special sense of ought: a man ought to be honest just as a plant ought to be watered. The ‘ought’ is the same: it tells us what a man needs. (shrink)
My title has been taken from the following passage in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations:Describe the aroma of coffee—why can't it be done? Do we lack the words? And for what are words lacking?—But how do we get the idea that such a description must after all be possible? Have you ever felt the lack of such a description? Have you tried to describe the aroma and not succeeded?.
In 1954 F. R. Leavis wrote to the Times Literary Supplement taking issue with one of its reviewers. The reviewer had contrasted Leavis's approach to Shakespeare with that of Empson and Bradley. The latter, the reviewer had said, ‘like the plain man, or the audience in a theatre, cannot help considering the situation [in one of Shakespeare's plays] as “actual” and the characters as “real”’. Leavis, the reviewer had implied, treats the situation and characters somewhat differently.
This title was first published in 2001: Tolstoy's view of art is discussed in most courses in aesthetics, particularly his main text What is Art? He believed that the importance of art lies not in its purely aesthetic qualities but in its connection with life, and that art becomes decadent where this connection is lost. This view has often been misconceived and its strength overlooked. This book presents a clear exposition of Tolstoy's What is Art?, highlighting the value and importance (...) of Tolstoy's views in relation to aesthetics. Mounce considers the problems which exercised Tolstoy and explains their fundamental importance in contemporary disputes. Having viewed these problems of aesthetics as they arise in a classic work, Howard Mounce affords readers fresh insights not simply into the problems of aesthetics themselves, but also into their contemporary treatment. Students and interested readers of aesthetics and philosophy, as well as those exploring the works of Tolstoy in literature, will find this book of particular interest and will discover that reading What is Art? with attention, affords something of the excitement found in removing the grime from an oil painting - gradually from underneath there appears an authentic masterpiece. (shrink)
The first part of this paper deals with Mill’s influential criticism of the natural law tradition. According to Mill, this tradition is based on a mistaken conception of nature. This essay argues that Mill’s own view of nature is misconceived and that this misconception leads him to misrepresent the tradition itself. The second part deals with those modern philosophers who reject the natural law tradition but who nevertheless attempt to account for morality as being based on human nature. Certain criticisms (...) are made of their views. The chief criticism is that their views are based on an idea of nature that is no different from Mill’s. (shrink)
Hume is not a philosopher who has been viewed, on the whole, with excessive sympathy. Slips and inadequacies of argument, which are the inevitable consequence of human fallibility, are treated by his critics not with charity but with delight; and there are few who think it necessary to state his argument at its strongest before proceeding to refute it. A striking example of this procedure may be found in Antony Flew's paper ‘Another Idea of Necessary Connection’. The example is striking (...) because Flew is normally one of the most sympathetic of Hume's critics and he might have been expected, in dealing with Humes view of causal necessity, to have proceeded with exceptional fairness, the incidental being identified and discarded and the essential view standing forth at its strongest. This, as I shall show, is not what occurs; but first let us consider what we are to take the essential view to be. (shrink)
Wittgenstein is often thought to have undermined the view, attributed to Descartes, that the mental is in a special sense private. In fact this idea of privacyis more plausibly attributed to the empiricists than to Descartes. Nor is Descartes’s own view one that can easily be dismissed. In particular, it can serve to correct a tendency, among Wittgenstein’s followers, to treat the mental in behavioristic terms. The point is illustrated by reference to an issue in Christian theology.
Wittgenstein's view of philosophy in the Tractatus presupposes that thought may be revealed without remainder in the use of signs. It is commonly held, however, that in the Tractatus he treated thought as logically prior to language. If this view, expressed most lucidly by Norman Malcolm, were correct, Wittgenstein would be inconsistent in holding that thought can be revealed without remainder in the use of signs. I argue that this is not correct. Thought may be prior to language in time (...) but not in logic, for non-verbal symbols must have a logical structure in common with verbal ones. A view comparable with Malcolm's holds that Wittgenstein, under the influence of Schopenhauer, is committed to some form of solipsism. I argue that neither Schopenhauer nor Wittgenstein held any version of solipsism. For both philosophers, subject and object are correlative, so that it is incoherent to affirm the existence of the one without presupposing the existence of the other. (shrink)
Sophie Botros's criticism of my review depends in part on certain misprints which appear in the review as printed. In particular, words are omitted from my summary of her position. What I wrote was as follows.