The idea of moral reform requires that morality be more than a description of what people do value, for there has to be some measure against which to assess progress. Otherwise, any change is not reform, but simply difference. Therefore, I discuss moral reform in relation to two prescriptive approaches to common morality, which I distinguish as the foundational and the pragmatic. A foundational approach to common morality (e.g., Bernard Gert’s) suggests that there is no reform of morality , but (...) of beliefs, values, customs, and practices so as to conform with an unchanging, foundational morality. If, however, there were revision in its foundation (e.g., in rationality), then reform in morality itself would be possible. On a pragmatic view, on the other hand, common morality is relative to human flourishing, and its justification consists in its effectiveness in promoting flourishing. Morality is dependent on what in fact does promote human flourishing and therefore, could be reformed. However, a pragmatic approach, which appears more open to the possibility of moral reform, would need a more robust account of norms by which reform is measured. (shrink)
According to R.G. Swinburne in his ingenious discussion of the Euthyphro Dilemma, God, by which he means ‘the unconstrained, omnipotent, omniscient creator and sustainer of the universe’ can make actions morally obligatory, right, wrong, good and bad.In response to this claim I shall concentrate on two issues. The first is whether Swinburne establishes that God is capable of making actions morally wrong. Admittedly much of Swinburne's discussion is couched in terms of whether God can make actions morally obligatory but his (...) remarks about terminology make it abundantly clear that he thinks the same arguments show that God can make actions morally wrong; so in fixing on the latter — less equivocal — notion I shall still be dealing with the substance of his argument. My second concern is the more general one of drawing out and examining some of the implications of Swinburne's account of religious morality.Swinburne does not hold that God, if he exists, makes all morally wrong actions morally wrong; on the contrary, he maintains that some actions are necessarily wrong, such as torturing innocent children for the fun of it. (shrink)
Ethics and lexicography would seem, prima facie , to have little to do with each other. Yet Aristotle testifies that Socrates pursued both: Socrates was busying himself about ethical matters and neglecting the world of nature as a whole but seeking the universal in these ethical matters, and fixed thought for the first time on definitions. Socrates occupied himself with the excellences of character, and in connection with them became the first to raise the problem of universal definitions.
Battin et al examined data on deaths from physician-assisted suicide in Oregon and on PAS and voluntary euthanasia in The Netherlands. This paper reviews the methodology used in their examination and questions the conclusions drawn from it—namely, that there is for the most part ‘no evidence of heightened risk’ to vulnerable people from the legalisation of PAS or VE. This critique focuses on the evidence about PAS in Oregon. It suggests that vulnerability to PAS cannot be categorised simply by reference (...) to race, gender or other socioeconomic status and that the impetus to seek PAS derives from factors, including emotional state, reactions to loss, personality type and situation and possibly to PAS contagion, all factors that apply across the social spectrum. It also argues, on the basis of official reports from the Oregon Health Department on the working of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act since 2008, that, contrary to the conclusions drawn by Battin et al, the highest resort to PAS in Oregon is among the elderly and, on the basis of research published since Battin et al reported, that there is reason to believe that some terminally ill patients in Oregon are taking their own lives with lethal drugs supplied by doctors despite having had depression at the time when they were assessed and cleared for PAS. (shrink)
Evolution is littered with polyphyletic parallelism: many roads lead to functional Romes. We propose consciousness embodies one such example, and represent it here with an equivalence class structure that factors the broad realm of necessary conditions information theoretic realizations of Baars’ global workspace model. The construction suggests many different physiological systems can support rapidly shifting, highly tunable, and even simultaneous temporary assemblages of interacting unconscious cognitive modules. The discovery implies various animal taxa exhibiting behaviors we broadly recognize as conscious are, (...) in fact, expressing different forms of the same underlying phenomenon. The variety of possibilities suggests minds today may be only a small surviving fraction of ancient evolutionary radiations – bush phylogenies of consciousness pruned by selection and chance extinction. Although few traces of the radiations may be found in the fossil record, exaptations and vestiges are scattered across the living mind. (shrink)
Has Alexander Pope's prediction, made a quarter of a millennium ago , come true in our own day? No one who has lived through the last thirty years is unaware of the spectacular alterations of behavior norms that have occurred in most Western societies. It is not merely that everywhere incivility and crime are on the increase, that there are more and more violations of moral standards which nevertheless continue to be acknowledged. Rather, we witness the relaxation or disappearance of (...) the standards themselves. What was bad becomes permissible or even a positive good. (shrink)
R.I.G. Hughes presents a series of eight philosophical essays on the theoretical practices of physics. The first two essays examine these practices as they appear in physicists' treatises (e.g. Newton's Principia and Opticks ) and journal articles (by Einstein, Bohm and Pines, Aharonov and Bohm). By treating these publications as texts, Hughes casts the philosopher of science in the role of critic. This premise guides the following 6 essays which deal with various concerns of philosophy of physics such as laws, (...) disunities, models and representation, computer simulation, explanation, and the discourse of physics. (shrink)
R.I.G. Hughes presents a series of eight philosophical essays on the theoretical practices of physics. The first two essays examine these practices as they appear in physicists' treatises and journal articles. By treating these publications as texts, Hughes casts the philosopher of science in the role of critic. This premise guides the following six essays which deal with various concerns of philosophy and physics such as laws, disunities, models and representation, computer simulation, explanation, and the discourse of physics.
Posidonius was a major intellectual figure of the Hellenistic world whose interests and contribution spread over the whole intellectual field: philosophy, history, the sciences. His writings are of interest not only to philosophers and classicists, but also to historians and history of science. His work survives only in fragments. The text of these fragments, collected and edited by L. Edelstein and I. G. Kidd, was published in 1972, with a second edition in 1989. This collection, along with Vol. II The (...) Commentary by I.G. Kidd, has become established as the definitive modern edition. However, many of the fragments are extremely difficult to translate, and this volume of translations has been compiled to make this interesting material more easily accessible to scholars and students. The translations are accompanied by contextual introductions and explanatory notes where necessary. An Introduction summarises the importance of Posidonius and his work. (shrink)
The problem of baptism of the Ancient Rus is traditionally relevant to this day. She was brilliantly discussed on the pages of the journal "Proceedings of the Kiev Theological Academy" throughout the entire period of its existence. A profound analysis of the problems of the baptism of Rus devoted a number of his works published in this magazine, the famous Ukrainian historian, professor of the Kiev Theological Academy I.G.Malyseshevsky. Among his most interesting works - articles "Varyags in the initial history (...) of Christianity in Kiev", where the author considers the role of the Varangian element in the dissemination and establishment of Christianity in; "The fate of the Slavic church in Moravia, Pannonia with the students of Cyril and Methodius," which analyzes the activities of the Slavic enlighteners Cyril and Methodius, the influence of the Cyril and Methodius tradition on the affirmation of Christianity among the Slav peoples and, in particular, Ancient Rus. (shrink)
This book is a commentary on the surviving testimonia and fragments of Posidonius' work collected in Volume I of this edition. Posidonius was one of the most important philosophers and intellectuals writing in the first century BC Graeco-Roman world. The purpose of this commentary is to assess the fragmentary evidence and reports of Posidonius found in the writings of about sixty ancient authors, and to separate what Posidonius himself actually said from the interpretations and distortions of his reporters. Since Posidonius (...) also wrote at length on the sciences and on geography, and composed a large History, Kidd assesses his work against the philosophical, scientific, and historical writings of Posidonius' predecessors and contemporaries. Each fragment is explored through detailed examination of its context, philosophical and scientific content, and its relationship to Posidonius' whole thought and to contemporary ideas. This commentary proved too long for one volume and thus is issued in two separate books, which are available only as a set. (shrink)