John Mackie's stimulating book is a complete and clear treatise on moral theory. His writings on normative ethics-the moral principles he recommends-offer a fresh approach on a much neglected subject, and the work as a whole is undoubtedly a major contribution to modern philosophy.The author deals first with the status of ethics, arguing that there are not objective values, that morality cannot be discovered but must be made. He examines next the content of ethics, seeing morality as a functional device, (...) basically the same at all times but changing significantly in response to changes in the human condition. He sketches a practical moral system, criticizing but also borrowing from both utilitarian and absolutist views. Thirdly, the frontiers of ethics, areas of contact with psychology, metaphysics, theology, law and politcs, are explored.Throughout, his aim is to discuss a wide range of questions that are both philosophical and practical, working within a distinctive version of subjectivism-an "error" theory of the apparent objectivity of values. John Mackie has drawn on the contributions of such classic thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant and Sidgwick, and on more recent discussions, to produce a thought-provoking account that will inspire both the general reader and the student of philosophy. (shrink)
Studies causation both as a concept and as it is 'in the objects.' Offers new accounts of the logic of singular causal statements, the form of causal regularities, the detection of causal relationships, the asymmetry of cause and effect, and necessary connection, and it relates causation to functional and statistical laws and to teleology.
In this book, J. L. Mackie makes a careful study of several philosophical issues involved in his account of causation. Mackie follows Hume's distinction between causation as a concept and causation as it is ‘in the objects’ and attempts to provide an account of both aspects. Mackie examines the treatment of causation by philosophers such as Hume, Kant, Mill, Russell, Ducasse, Kneale, Hart and Honore, and von Wright. Mackie's own account involves an analysis of causal statements in terms of counterfactual (...) conditionals though these are judged to be incapable of giving a complete account of causation. Mackie argues that regularity theory too can only offer an incomplete picture of the nature of causation. In the course of his analysis, Mackie critically examines the account of causation offered by Kant, as well as the contemporary Kantian approaches offered by philosophers such as Bennett and Strawson. Also addressed are issues such as the direction of causation, the relation of statistical laws and functional laws, the role of causal statements in legal contexts, and the understanding of causes both as ‘facts’ and ‘events’. Throughout the discussion of these topics, Mackie develops his own complex account of the nature of causation, finally bringing his analysis to bear in regard to the topic of teleology and the question of whether final causes can be justifiably reduced to efficient causes. (shrink)
This collection of John Mackie's papers on topics in epistemology, some of which have not previously been published, deal with such issues as: incorrigible empirical statements; rationalism and empiricism; the philosophy of John Anderson; self-refutation; Plato's theory of idea; ideological explanation; problems of intentionality; Popper's third world;; mind, brain, and causation; Newcomb's Paradox and the direction of causation; induction; causation in concept, knowledge, and reality; absolutism; Locke and representative perception; and anti-realisms.