Those who have had the benefit of a reasonably lengthy familiarity with the philosophy of religion, and more particularly with the God question, may be so kind to a speaker long in exile from philosophy and only recently returned, as to subscribe, initially at least, to the following rather enormous generalization: meaning and truth, which to most propositions are the twin forces by which they are maintained, turn out in the case of claims about God, to be the centrifugal forces (...) by which they disintegrate. In simpler language, the greater the amount of intelligible meaning that can be given to the idea of God, the less grounds there would appear to be for assuming let alone asserting, that God exists, at least as a being distinguishable from all the things in this empirical world which are the source of the range of meanings available to us; on the other hand, the more we insist that God exists, a being over and above the things that make up this empirical world the less the amount of commonly available meaning we appear to be able to apply to God. Or, to put this in a manner which might obviate an obvious objection to it; either everything we know is tout ensemble , God, and then nothing in the world that we know is distinctively divine; or else nothing in this world is God, and then nothing that we appear to be able to know is God. That same formulation will work, it should be noted, even if we substitute for ‘things in the world’, ‘an aspect or aspects of things in the world’. (shrink)
Using yet untapped resources from moral and political philosophy, this book seeks to answer the question of whether an all good God who is presumed to be all powerful is logically compatible with the degree and amount of moral and natural evil that exists in our world. It is widely held by theists and atheists alike that it may be logically impossible for an all good, all powerful God to create a world with moral agents like ourselves that does not (...) also have at least some moral evil in it. James P. Sterba focuses on the further question of whether God is logically compatible with the degree and amount of moral and natural evil that exists in our world. The negative answer he provides marks a new stage in the age-old debate about God's existence. (shrink)
Almost no systematic theorizing is generality-free. Scientists test general hypotheses; set theorists prove theorems about every set; metaphysicians espouse theses about all things of any kind. But do we ever succeed in theorizing about absolutely everything? Not according to generality relativism, which J.P. Studd defends in this book.
James P. Sterba offers something that philosophers have long sought: an argument showing that morality is rationally required. Furthermore he argues that morality requires substantial equality. Even libertarian perspectives, which would seem to require minimal enforcement of morality, are shown to lead to a requirement of equality.
In this unique work, James P. Sterba argues that traditional ethics has yet to confront the three significant challenges posed by environmentalism, feminism, and multiculturalism. He maintains that while traditional ethics has been quite successful at dealing with the problems it faces, it has not addressed the possibility that its solutions to these problems are biased in favor of humans, men, and Western culture. In Three Challenges to Ethics: Environmentalism, Feminism, and Multiculturalism, Sterba examines each of these challenges. In (...) the case of environmentalism, he argues that traditional ethics must incorporate conflict resolution principles that favor nonhumans over humans in a significant range of cases. In terms of feminism, he maintains that traditional ethics should rule out gendered family structures and implement an ideal of androgyny. In regard to multiculturalism, he contends that traditional ethics must endorse an ethics that is secular in character and that can survive an extensive comparative evaluation of both Western and non-Western moral ideals and cultures. The only textbook devoted to this topic, Three Challenges to Ethics is an engaging text for introductory courses in ethics and moral problems and is also interesting and provocative reading for scholars and general readers. (shrink)
This book combines the two most common approaches used to introduce students or general readers to ethics: the historical and the applied. Using these approaches, Sterba examines traditional ethical theories and disagreements, exploring Aristotelian, Kantian, and utilitarian ethics, as well as their contemporary defenders. But rather than focusing on formal aspects of these views, Sterba applies the best practical arguments from each of these perspectives to a variety of moral problems, such as sexual harassment, affirmative action, and international terrorism and (...) the second Iraqi war. (shrink)
This book conveys the breadth and interconnectedness of questions of justice - a rarity in contemporary moral and political philosophy. James P. Sterba argues that a minimal notion of rationality requires morality, and that a minimal libertarian morality requires the welfare and equal opportunity endorsee by welfare liberals and the equality endorsed by socialists, as well as a full feminist agenda. Feminist, racial, homosexual, and multicultural justice, are also shown to be mutually supporting. The author further shows the compatibility (...) between anthropocentric and biocentric environmental ethics, as between just war and pacifist theories. Finally, he spells out when normal politics, legal protest, civil disobedience, revolutionary action, and criminal disobedience are morally permitted by justice for here and now. This highly original and potentially controversial book is ideal for courses in moral and political philosophy, applied ethics, women's studies, environmental studies, and peace studies. (shrink)
ABSTRACT I explore the viability of a Galilean relational theory of space-time—a theory that includes a three-place collinearity relation among its stock of basic relations. Two formal results are established. First, I prove the existence of a class of dynamically possible models of Newtonian mechanics in which collinearity is uninstantiated. Second, I prove that the dynamical properties of Newtonian systems fail to supervene on their Galilean relations. On the basis of these two results, I argue that Galilean relational space-time is (...) too weak of a structure to support a relational interpretation of classical mechanics. 1.Introduction 2.Completeness 3.Leibnizian Relationalism 4.Galilean Relationalism 5.Inverse-Cube Force Laws 5.1Warm-up 5.2Model 1: Zero angular momentum 5.3Model 2: Non-zero angular momentum 6.Supervenience 7.Incompleteness 8.Conclusion. (shrink)
This chapter discusses some of the most engaging natural phenomena, those in which highly structured collective behavior emerges over time from the interaction of simple subsystems. Emergence is generally understood to be a process that leads to the appearance of structure not directly described by the defining constraints and instantaneous forces which control a system. Over time “something new” appears at scales not directly specified by the equations of motion. An emergent feature also cannot be explicitly represented in the initial (...) and boundary conditions. A feature emerges when the underlying system puts some effort into its creation. These observations form an intuitive definition of emergence. For it to be useful, however, one must specify what the “something” is and in what manner it is “new.” Otherwise, the notion has little or no content, since almost any time-dependent system would exhibit emergent features. (shrink)
In this introduction, I summarize the main themes of my book, particularly those that my critics have focused on in their papers that follow. I also argue that I could not have reached the conclusions that I have if I hadn’t employed a peacemaking rather than a warmaking way of doing philosophy. I provide a characterization of a peacemaking way of doing philosophy and show how the conclusions of my book depend on doing philosophy in that way.
BackgroundPlagiarism is common and threatens the integrity of the scientific literature. However, its detection is time consuming and difficult, presenting challenges to editors and publishers who are entrusted with ensuring the integrity of published literature.MethodsIn this study, the extent of plagiarism in manuscripts submitted to a major specialty medical journal was documented. We manually curated submitted manuscripts and deemed an article contained plagiarism if one sentence had 80 % of the words copied from another published paper. Commercial plagiarism detection software (...) was utilized and its use was optimized.ResultsIn 400 consecutively submitted manuscripts, 17 % of submissions contained unacceptable levels of plagiarized material with 82 % of plagiarized manuscripts submitted from countries where English was not an official language. Using the most commonly employed commercial plagiarism detection software, sensitivity and specificity were studied with regard to the generated plagiarism score. The cutoff score maximizing both sensitivity and specificity was 15 %.ConclusionsPlagiarism was a common occurrence among manuscripts submitted for publication to a major American specialty medical journal and most manuscripts with plagiarized material were submitted from countries in which English was not an official language. The use of commercial plagiarism detection software can be optimized by selecting a cutoff score that reflects desired sensitivity and specificity. (shrink)
Drawing on and inspired by Paul Taylor’s Respect for Nature, I develop a view which I call “biocentric pluralism,” which, I claim, avoids the major criticisms that have been directed at Taylor’s account. In addition, I show that biocentric pluralism has certain advantages over biocentric utilitarianism (VanDeVeer) and concentric circle theories (Wenz and Callicott).
In this timely collection of thoughtful and provocative essays, a diverse group of prominent philosophers and political scientists discuss critical issues such as the nature and definition of terrorism.
As with the first edition, Utilitarian, Kantian, and Aristotelian viewpoints are all well represented here, and this second edition features updated sections throughout—including eighteen new readings—and an entirely new section on multiculturalism. Presents students with a unique focus on three main challenges to ethics: feminism, environmentalism, and multiculturalism Pedagogical focus on the 'big questions' motivates student interest Collects readings on all key traditional theoretical and practical questions in ethics.
Research has probed the consequences of providing people with different types of information regarding why a person possesses a certain characteristic. However, this work has largely examined the consequences of different information subsets (e.g., information focusing on internal versus societal causes). Less work has compared several types of information within the same paradigm. Using the legal system as an example domain, we provided children (N=198 6- to 8-year-olds) with several types of information—including information highlighting internal moral character, internal biological factors, (...) behavioral factors, and societal factors—about why a specific outcome (incarceration) might occur. We examined how such language shaped children’s attitudes. In Study 1, children reported the most positivity toward people who were incarcerated for societal reasons and the least positivity toward people who were incarcerated for their internal moral character; attitudes linked with behavioral information fell between these extremes. Studies 2a-2b suggested that Study 1’s effects could not be fully explained by participants drawing different about individuals in Study 1. Study 3 replicated Study 1’s results and showed that information linking incarceration with internal biological factors led to more positivity than information linking incarceration with internal moral character. Finally, Study 4 suggested that the patterns found in Studies 1 and 3 generalize to non-punitive contexts. Moreover, Study 4 found that the effects in Studies 1 and 3 emerged regardless of whether information was communicated via explanations or descriptions. These results demonstrate that how we express our beliefs about social phenomena shape the realities in which others live. (shrink)
Feminism was born in controversy and it continues to flourish in controversy. The distinguished contributors to this volume provide an array of perspectives on issues including: universal values, justice and care, a feminist philosophy of science, and the relationship of biology to social theory.
Thousands of texts discuss Egytpain cosmology and cosmogony. James Allen has selected sixteen to translate and discuss in order to shed light on one of the questions that clearly preoccupied ancient intellectuals; the origins of the world.