This festschrift includes a dozen essays on issues that have been at the focus of Kai Nielsen's research, mainly issues in ethics and political philosophy. Among these are four essays on socialism and Marxism. There are also essays on philosophy of religion, epistemology, and meta-philosophy.
Faith in the power and righteousness of retribution has taken over the American criminal justice system. Approaching punishment and responsibility from a philosophical perspective, Limits of Blame takes issue with a criminal justice system that aligns legal criteria of guilt with moral criteria of blameworthiness. Many incarcerated people do not meet the criteria of blameworthiness, even when they are guilty of crimes. The author underscores the problems of exaggerating what criminal guilt indicates, particularly when it is tied to the illusion (...) that we know how long and in what ways criminals should suffer. Our practice of assigning blame has gone beyond a pragmatic need for protection and a moral need to repudiate harmful acts publicly. It represents a desire for retribution that normalizes excessive punishment. Kelly proposes that we abandon our culture of blame and aim at reducing serious crime rather than imposing retribution. Were we to refocus our perspective to fit the relevant moral circumstances and legal criteria, we could endorse a humane, appropriately limited, and more productive approach to criminal justice.--. (shrink)
Metaphilosophy is itself philosophy about philosophy. It is not something before or independent of philosophy. Both Kai Nielsen and Richard Rorty are deeply concerned (someone might say obsessively preoccupied) with metaphilosophy. They both are thoroughly historicist and contextualist resolutely rejecting any form of a transcendental or metaphysical turn. They argue against claims to absolute validity (as well as against absolutism in any form) and a natural order of reasons: some 'Reason' to which any rational agent must be committed. They (...) both see philosophy as a transitional genre first (historically speaking) from religion then metaphysics and more latterly from scientistic conceptions of the world. But they differ about what philosophy is transitional to. For Rorty it is historical narrative and utopian proposals; for Nielsen it is critical theory. Rorty claims this, Nielsen's intentions to the contrary notwithstanding, commits him to enlightenment rationalism. Nielsen replies that his form of critical theory is deeply historicist and contextual without being resolutely atheoretical. This plays out in political orientation to Nielsen's being a socialist while Rorty is a social democrat. (shrink)
The claim that the answers we give to many of the central questions in genethics will depend crucially upon the particular rationality we adopt in addressing them is central to Matti Häyry’s thorough and admirably fair-minded book, Rationality and the Genetic Challenge. That claim implies, of course, that there exists a plurality of rationalities, or discrete styles of reasoning, that can be deployed when considering concrete moral problems. This, indeed, is Häyry’s position. Although he believes that there are certain features (...) definitive of any type of thinking that can accurately be labeled rational, he maintains that nothing about that set of features compels us to conclude that there is a single rationality. What is more, and significantly for the way in which Häyry’s book develops, there is no Archimedean point from which we are licensed to pronounce one flavor of rational deliberation to be intrinsically superior to any other or to be justified to the exclusion of all others. To this belief that “there are many divergent rationalities, all of which can be simultaneously valid,” we can perhaps give the name “the Doctrine of the Plurality of Rationalities” or, for short, “DPR.”. (shrink)
Knowledge closure is the claim that, if an agent S knows P, recognizes that P implies Q, and believes Q because it is implied by P, then S knows Q. Closure is a pivotal epistemological principle that is widely endorsed by contemporary epistemologists. Against Knowledge Closure is the first book-length treatment of the issue and the most sustained argument for closure failure to date. Unlike most prior arguments for closure failure, Marc Alspector-Kelly's critique of closure does not presuppose any (...) particular epistemological theory; his argument is, instead, intuitively compelling and applicable to a wide variety of epistemological views. His discussion ranges over much of the epistemological landscape, including skepticism, warrant, transmission and transmission failure, fallibilism, sensitivity, safety, evidentialism, reliabilism, contextualism, entitlement, circularity and bootstrapping, justification, and justification closure. As a result, the volume will be of interest to any epistemologist or student of epistemology and related subjects. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 1 - 25 This paper aims to articulate Aristotle’s general account of vice, an account that applies to all special vices, regardless of their spheres of action and emotion, and whether they are states of excess or deficiency. Vice is ignorance in the decision : the paper explains what this means.
A comprehensive and systematic reconstruction of the philosophy of Charles S. Peirce, perhaps America's most far-ranging and original philosopher, which reveals the unity of his complex and influential body of thought. We are still in the early stages of understanding the thought of C. S. Peirce (1839-1914). Although much good work has been done in isolated areas, relatively little considers the Peircean system as a whole. Peirce made it his life's work to construct a scientifically sophisticated and logically rigorous philosophical (...) system, culminating in a realist epistemology and a metaphysical theory ("synechism") that postulates the connectedness of all things in a universal evolutionary process. In The Continuity of Peirce's Thought, Kelly Parker shows how the principle of continuity functions in phenomenology and semeiotics, the two most novel and important of Peirce's philosophical sciences, which mediate between mathematics and metaphysics. Parker argues that Peirce's concept of continuity is the central organizing theme of the entire Peircean philosophical corpus. He explains how Peirce's unique conception of the mathematical continuum shapes the broad sweep of his thought, extending from mathematics to metaphysics and in religion. He thus provides a convenient and useful overview of Peirce's philosophical system, situating it within the history of ideas and mapping interconnections among the diverse areas of Peirce's work. This challenging yet helpful book adopts an innovative approach to achieve the ambitious goal of more fully understanding the interrelationship of all the elements in the entire corpus of Peirce's writings. Given Peirce's importance in fields ranging from philosophy to mathematics to literary and cultural studies, this new book should appeal to all who seek a fuller, unified understanding of the career and overarching contributions of Peirce, one of the key figures in the American philosophical tradition. (shrink)
Critically engaging the work of Immanuel Kant, Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, and Jacques Derrida together with her own observations on contemporary politics, environmental degradation, and the pursuit of a just and sustainable world, Kelly Oliver lays the groundwork for a politics and ethics that embraces otherness without exploiting difference. Rooted firmly in human beings' relationship to the planet and to each other, Oliver shows peace is possible only if we maintain our ties to earth and world. Oliver begins with (...) Immanuel Kant and his vision of politics grounded on earth as a finite surface shared by humans. She then incorporates Hannah Arendt's belief in plural worlds constituted through human relationships; Martin Heidegger's warning that alienation from the Earth endangers not only politics but also the very essence of being human; and Jacques Derrida's meditations on the singular worlds individuals, human and otherwise, create and how they inform the reality we inhabit. Each of these theorists, Oliver argues, resists the easy idealism of world citizenship and globalism, yet they all think about the earth against the globe to advance a grounded ethics. They contribute to a philosophy that avoids globalization's totalizing and homogenizing impulses and instead help build a framework for living within and among the world's rich biodiversity. (shrink)
In ____Womanizing Nietzsche,__ Kelly Oliver uses an analysis of the position of woman in Nietzsche's texts to open onto the larger question of philosophy's relation to the feminine and the maternal. Offering readings from Nietzsche, Derrida, Irigaray, Kristeva, Freud and Lacan, Oliver builds an innovative foundation for an ontology of intersubjective relationships that suggests a new approach to ethics.
Introduction: The role of animals in philosophies of man -- Part I: What's wrong with animal rights? -- The right to remain silent -- Part II: Animal pedagogy -- You are what you eat : Rousseau's cat -- Say the human responded : Herder's sheep -- Part III: Difference worthy of its name -- Hair of the dog : Derrida's and Rousseau's good taste -- Sexual difference, animal difference : Derrida's sexy silkworm -- Part IV: It's our fault -- The (...) beaver's struggle with species-being : De Beauvoir and the praying mantis -- Answering the call of nature : Lacan walking the dog -- Part V: Estranged kinship -- The abyss between humans and animals : Heidegger puts the bee in being -- Strange kinship : Merleau-Ponty's sensuous stickleback -- Stopping the anthropological machine : Agamben's tick-tocking tick -- Psychoanalysis and the science of kinship -- Psychoanalysis as animal by-product : Freud's zoophilia -- Animal abjects, maternal abjects : Kristeva's strays -- Conclusion: Sustainable ethics. (shrink)
On the basis of the Weber, Jaspers, and Arendt style ‘ideal types’ of the manager as Eichmann, Richard III, and Faust it is explained how under strong organizational pressures to obey orders and further organizational ends, different types of managers cooperate with organization behavior that harms people. On the basis of Arendt's and Tillich's action philosophies, the manager as Institution Citizen with the courage to be both as oneself and as a part is presented as alternative, contrast, and resistance model (...) to the other ‘ideal types’, particularly to the Eichmann ‘ideal type’. (shrink)
Several prominent contemporary philosophers, including Jürgen Habermas, John Caputo, and Robert Bernasconi, have at times painted a somewhat negative picture of Gadamer as not only an uncritical traditionalist, but also as one whose philosophical project fails to appreciate difference. Against such claims, I argue that Gadamer’s reflections on art exhibit a genuine appreciation for alterity not unrelated to his hermeneutical approach to the other. Thus, by bringing Gadamer’s reflections on our experience of art into conversation with key aspects of his (...) philosophical hermeneutics, we are able to better assess the viability of Gadamer’s contributions to contemporary discussions of difference and alterity. -/- Sections two through six focus on key concepts in Gadamer’s account of art’s dynamic ontology and our experience of art. Such concepts include the play structure of art, hermeneutic identity, tarrying with a work, and contemporaneity. The opening sections provide not only a discussion of these central themes, but they also (1) draw attention to the various ways in which difference and otherness are integral to Gadamer’s account, and (2) utilize relevant musical examples that prepare the reader for a more focused discussion of a Gadamerian approach to free jazz in section seven. By highlighting how Gadamer’s understanding of art possesses a dialogical play structure, is characterized by identity and difference, requires actively engaged spectators and auditors, and is amenable to what many criticize as an unintelligible musical expression, viz. free jazz, Gadamer’s project is shown as other-affirming and open to ambiguity and dynamism. That is, the essential structures and concepts characterizing Gadamer’s reflections on art are likewise central to his overall hermeneutical project, and hence are not rightly described as un-attuned to difference or other-negating. Rather, Gadamer’s philosophical project upholds difference, since it requires a dialogical interplay between self and other that creates the possibility for a transformative experience. (shrink)
Introduction: externalism and modalism -- Externalism -- Modalism -- What should the theory do? -- What's missing? -- Process reliabilism -- Goldman's causal theory -- Goldman's discrimination requirement and relevant alternatives -- Process reliabilism and why it is not enough -- Implications for skepticism -- Sensitivity -- Nozick's subjunctive conditional theory of knowledge -- Methods : an important refinement -- Objections to nozicks theory -- Safety -- Motivating safety -- Weak and strong safety : luck and induction -- Is safety (...) necessary for knowledge? -- Luck revisited : safety requires a process reliability condition -- Is reliability compatible with knowledge of the denials of skeptical hypotheses? -- Knowledge : reliably formed sensitive true belief -- The theory -- Problems and clarifications -- Closure and the value problem -- Closure -- The value problem. (shrink)
Will globalization promote or hinder social justice throughout the world? In this cogent analysis philosopher Kai Nielsen argues that in its present form capitalist globalization will only ensure that the rich get richer and the poor poorer. Noting that the ratio of the richest countries to the poorest has steadily grown larger under capitalism in the 20th century and that the total dollar value of the world economy has increased fivefold while the number of people living in poverty has (...) doubled, Nielsen clearly demonstrates that globalization has made and still is making a bad situation worse. While inveighing against capitalist globalization, he makes the important point that a globalization based on "market socialism" - to ensure both needed efficiency and an egalitarian conception of justice - would be a trend that people in all nations would welcome. Democratic socialism, despite historical betrayals and recent setbacks, Nielsen contends, is still humanity's best hope for achieving a classless, nonracist, and nonsexist world community. He devotes a number of chapters to a discussion of the critical theory that is the basis of this vision of a completely egalitarian international society, and he compares and contrasts his own position with that of such thinkers as Richard Rorty, John Rawls, Juergen Habermas, G. A. Cohen, and others. This well-argued critique of capitalist globalization and defense of democratic socialism as a viable alternative is essential reading for philosophers, political scientists, students of international relations, and anyone concerned about the future of democratic and egalitarian ideals. (shrink)
This is a clear and critical account of Foucault's political thought: what he said, how it's been used and its influence today. Michel Foucault, French philosopher, social theorist, historian of ideas and literary critic, is primarily known as a radical thinker who disturbs our understanding of society, yet little attention has been paid to his politics. Now, Mark Kelly details and criticises all of Foucault's major political ideas: the historical relativity of knowledge; exclusion and abnormality; his radical reconception of (...) power; his historical analysis of biopolitics in terms of discipline and biopower; his concept of governmentality; and his late work around ethics and subjectivity. Kelly shows how Foucault's positions changed over time, how his thought has been used in the political sphere and examines the importance of his work for politics today. It engages with Foucault's entire corpus, from his first works right up to his posthumously published College de France lectures and the unabridged version of the History of Madness. It looks at the theoretical reception of Foucault's thought and how it has been applied to real-world problems. (shrink)
This article explains how the private equity-leveraged buyout type of financial institution operates as a form of finance capitalism. PE-LBO capitalism is described and compared with other types of capitalism such as family business capitalism, managerial capitalism, and other forms of finance capitalism such as shareholder value capitalism. Ethical and social issues structurally related to the PE-LBO form are analyzed. Potential reforms and/or solutions are considered.
This book explores the problem of time and immanence for phenomenology in the work of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Jacques Derrida. Detailed readings of immanence in light of the more familiar problems of time-consciousness and temporality provide the framework for evaluating both Husserl's efforts to break free of modern philosophy's notions of immanence, and the influence Heidegger's criticism of Husserl exercised over Merleau-Ponty's and Derrida's alternatives to Husserl's phenomenology. Ultimately exploring various notions of intentionality, these in-depth analyses (...) of immanence and temporality suggest a new perspective on themes central to phenomenology's development as a movement and raise for debate the question of where phenomenology begins and ends. (shrink)
Pedersen and Wheeler (2014) and Pedersen and Wheeler (2015) offer a wide-ranging and in-depth exploration of the phenomenon of dilation. We find that these studies raise many interesting and important points. However, purportedly general characterizations of dilation are reported in them that, unfortunately, admit counterexamples. The purpose of this note is to show in some detail that these characterization results are false.
Noted philosopher Kai Nielsen offers an answer to this fundamental question - a question that reaches in to grasp at the very heart of ethics itself. Essentially, this innocent inquiry masks a confusion that so many of us get caught in as we think about moral issues. We fail to realize that there is a difference between judging human behavior within an ethical context, or set of moral principles, and justifying the principles themselves. According to Nielsen, it is (...) precisely this basic muddle that has spawned all sorts of challenges to morality, from relativism and intuitionism to egoism and skepticism. Nielsen first argues the case for these challenges in the strongest possible terms; then he shows that their failure to establish themselves demonstrates a fundamental flaw - an inability to understand what it means to have good reasons for the moral claims we make. In his search for "good reasons," Nielsen must face the innocent question "Why be moral?" He tries to show us that skirmishes among supporters of specific moral principles require a different sort of resolution than those that occur between groups of ethical principles. Justifying an action within a moral point of view is quite different from making the case for having a moral point of view in the first place. In its relentless search for the very basis of morality and the limits of moral justification, Why Be Moral? outlines the essential questions that will help us clear away confusion. Nielsen's approach will interest and delight informed readers and professionals alike. This vital work addresses itself to thoughtful people everywhere who are perplexed about morality and about the foundations of the moral life. (shrink)
In Interstitial Soundings, Cynthia R. Nielsen brings music and philosophy into a fruitful and mutually illuminating dialogue. Topics discussed include the following: music's dynamic ontology, performers and improvisers as co-composers, the communal character of music, jazz as hybrid and socially constructed, the sociopolitical import of bebop, Afro-modernism and its strategic deployments, jazz and racialized practices, continuities between Michel Foucault's discussion of self-making and creating one's musical voice, Alasdair MacIntyre on practice, and how one might harmonize MacIntyre's notion of virtue (...) development with Foucauldian resistance strategies. (shrink)
Can ethical character be stimulated and enabled? Cognitive understanding of organizational ethics issues is important and necessary, but not sufficient. Ethical behavior does not emerge automatically. Effective political method is necessary. While it may be difficult to teach ethical character, nonetheless, skill development with respect to joined ethics understanding and action-learning methods can help us develop the skills and confidence we need to actualize our ethical characters and social concerns. An action-learning approach to organizational ethics can help stimulate and enable (...) ethical character. (shrink)
Using traditional meta-analytic techniques, we compile relevant research to enhance conceptual appreciation of ethical climate theory (ECT) as it has been studied in the descriptive and applied ethics literature. We explore the various treatments of ethical climate to understand how the theoretical framework has developed. Furthermore, we provide a comprehensive picture of how the theory has been extended by describing the individual-level work climate outcomes commonly studied in this theoretical context. Meta-analysis allows us to resolve inconsistencies in previous findings as (...) well as confirm the central tenets of the overall ethical climate framework. In addition, we consider the ethical climate relationships in the larger context of the␣theoretical framework, using path analysis to test the structural relationships. Overall, our results provide evidence of the relationships between ethical climate perceptions and individual-level work outcomes. Based on our analyses, we offer future research directions important for further development of ECT. (shrink)
Kelly Aguirre, Phil Henderson, Cressida J. Heyes, Alana Lentin, and Corey Snelgrove engage with different aspects of Robert Nichols’ Theft is Property! Dispossession and Critical Theory. Henderson focuses on possible spaces for maneuver, agency, contradiction, or failure in subject formation available to individuals and communities interpellated through diremptive processes. Heyes homes in on the ritual of antiwill called “consent” that systematically conceals the operation of power. Aguirre foregrounds tensions in projects of critical theory scholarship that aim for dialogue and (...) solidarity with Indigenous decolonial struggles. Lentin draws attention to the role of race in undergirding the logic of Anglo-settler colonial domination that operates through dispossession, while Snelgrove emphasizes the link between alienation, capital, and colonialism. In his reply to his interlocutors, Nichols clarifies aspects of his “recursive logics” of dispossession, a dispossession or theft through which the right to property is generated. (shrink)
This book outlines and circumvents two serious problems that appear to attach to Kant’s moral philosophy, or more precisely to the model of rational agency that underlies that moral philosophy: the problem of experiential incongruence and the problem of misdirected moral attention. The book’s central contention is that both these problems can be sidestepped. In order to demonstrate this, it argues for an entirely novel reading of Kant’s views on action and moral motivation. In addressing the two main problems in (...) Kant’s moral philosophy, the book explains how the first problem arises because the central elements of Kant’s theory of action seem not to square with our lived experience of agency, and moral agency in particular. For example, the idea that moral deliberation invariably takes the form of testing personal policies against the Categorical Imperative seems at odds with the phenomenology of such reasoning, as does the claim that all our actions proceed from explicitly adopted general policies, or maxims. It then goes on to discuss the second problem showing how it is a result of Kant’s apparent claim that when an agent acts from duty, her reason for doing so is that her maxim is lawlike. This seems to put the moral agent’s attention in the wrong place: on the nature of her own maxims, rather than on the world of other people and morally salient situations. The book shows how its proposed novel reading of Kant’s views ultimately paints an unfamiliar but appealing picture of the Kantian good-willed agent as much more embedded in and engaged with the world than has traditionally been supposed. (shrink)
 In a recent issue of _EJAP_, Sean Kelly  defended the position that perceptual content is non-conceptual. More specifically, he claimed that John McDowell's view that concepts involved in perception can be understood as expressible through the use of demonstratives is ultimately untenable. In what follows, I want to look more closely at Kelly's position, as well as suggest possible responses one could make on McDowell's behalf.
This book sets out first to explain how two fairly recent developments in philosophy, externalism and modalism, provide the basis for a promising account of knowledge, and then works through the different modalized epistemologies extant in the literature, assessing their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, the author proposes the theory that knowledge is reliably formed, sensitive true belief, and defends the theory against objections.
Since Rorty, the crisis of method and interests in philosophy has been at the forefront of metaphilosophy. In this book, Kai Nielsen, one of the most prominent critics of philosophy-as-usual, examines critically the most important claims made on behalf of philosophy. After rejecting as chimerical the ambitious claims of traditional, especially foundational, epistemology and metaphysics, he presents the case for a more modest view of what philosophy can accomplish.Nielsen insists that philosophy must be devoted to actual problems of (...) real people in everyday life. Influenced substantively by Dewey and more methodologically by Rawls, he carves out a defensible terrain for philosophy to inhabit—a terrain cleared of the more extravagant but implausible claims made by traditional philosophy.Nielsen has been a major voice in debates about the scope of philosophy, and this latest work of his will be an important contribution to the “end of philosophy debate.”. (shrink)
Philosophical logicians proposing theories of rational belief revision have had little to say about whether their proposals assist or impede the agent's ability to reliably arrive at the truth as his beliefs change through time. On the other hand, reliability is the central concern of formal learning theory. In this paper we investigate the belief revision theory of Alchourron, Gardenfors and Makinson from a learning theoretic point of view.
Drawing extensively on Bentham's unpublished civil and distributive law writings, classical and recent Bentham scholarship, and contemporary work in moral and political philosophy, Kelly here presents the first full-length exposition and sympathetic defense of Bentham's unique utilitarian theory of justice. Kelly shows how Bentham developed a moderate welfare-state liberal theory of justice with egalitarian leanings, the aim of which was to secure the material and political conditions of each citizen's pursuit of the good life in cooperation with each (...) other. A striking and original addition to the growing literature on Bentham's legal and political thought, this incisive study also makes a valuable contribution to contemporary political philosophy. (shrink)
In Beyond Physicalism, an interdisciplinary group of physical scientists, behavioral and social scientists, and humanists from the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory and Research argue that physicalism must be replaced by an expanded scientific naturalism that accommodates something spiritual at the heart of nature.
Recent impossibility theorems for fair risk assessment extend to the domain of epistemic justice. We translate the relevant model, demonstrating that the problems of fair risk assessment and just credibility assessment are structurally the same. We motivate the fairness criteria involved in the theorems as also being appropriate in the setting of testimonial justice. Any account of testimonial justice that implies the fairness/justice criteria must be abandoned, on pain of triviality.
This important new book explores the contemporary refugee crisis and the untold realities and experiences of refugees themselves. A team of top scholars offer a critical and necessary diagnosis of the challenges, complexities, and contradictions impacting our philosophical approaches to the contemporary figure of the refugee.
The sensitivity principle is a compelling idea in epistemology and is typically characterized as a necessary condition for knowledge. This collection of thirteen new essays constitutes a state-of-the-art discussion of this important principle. Some of the essays build on and strengthen sensitivity-based accounts of knowledge and offer novel defences of those accounts. Others present original objections to sensitivity-based accounts and offer comprehensive analysis and discussion of sensitivity's virtues and problems. The resulting collection will stimulate new debate about the sensitivity principle (...) and will be of great interest and value to scholars and advanced students of epistemology. (shrink)
Addressing the end-of-philosophy debate and the challenge it presents to contemporary philosophy, this book draws on Wittgenstein, Quine, Davidson, Habermas and Foucault, among others. It develops the implications of Richard Rorty's arguments in particular.