Following Lawrence Kohlberg it has been commonplace to regard Plato's moral theory as ‘intellectualist’, where Plato supposedly believes that becoming virtuous requires nothing other than ‘philosophical knowledge or intuition of the ideal form of the good’. This is a radical misunderstanding of Plato's educational programme, however. While Plato claims that knowledge is extremely important in the initial stages of the moral development of young adults, he also claims that knowledge must be followed by a rigorous process of imitation and (...) habituation. Like Aristotle, Plato believes that it is not possible to become virtuous if one does not practice the virtues under the guidance of virtuous role models. This paper seeks to illuminate this little recognised aspect of Plato's educational programme. When properly understood, Plato's theory offers educators important insights into how best to encourage the moral development of young adults. (shrink)
It has been argued that there is a problem oftemporary intrinsics, the problem of explaininghow it is possible for things to possesssuccessively contrary properties, if a certaintheory about time, ``eternalism'', is true. Inthis paper, I consider whether there really issuch a problem and survey some standardsolutions to it. I argue for one of them, onewhich has been offered by Mark Johnston andPeter van Inwagen, and which I call the``exemplification-solution''''. I consider avariant on that solution offered by E.J. Lowe(and Sally Haslanger), (...) and I argue that thisvariant should be rejected. (shrink)
Lawrence Johnson advocates a major change in our attitude toward the nonhuman world. He argues that nonhuman animals, and ecosystems themselves, are morally significant beings with interests and rights. The author considers recent work in environmental ethics in the introduction and then presents his case with the utmost precision and clarity. Written in an attractive, nontechnical style, the book will be of particular interest to philosophers, environmentalists and ecologists.
Focusing on Truth explores the question of what truth is, balancing historical with issue-orientated discussion. The book offers a comprehensive survey of all the major theories of truth. Lawrence Johnson investigates a number of closely related matters of truth in his inquiry, such as: What sorts of things are true or false? What is attributed to them when they are said to be true or false? What do facts have to do with truth? What can we learn from previous (...) theories? The book opens with an analysis of the coherence theory of truth and then the correspondence theory of truth, as developed by Moore, Russell and Wittgenstein. Through a study of the semantic conceptions of truth, the author reveals that an adequate theory of truth must take account of the pragmatics of person, purpose, and circumstance. A full understanding of facts and truth bearers is considered central to Johnson's criticism of the opposing truth theories of J. L. Austin and P. F. Strawson. Drawing on the merits of these theories and others, while identifying their deficiencies, Johnson presents a new account of truth, based on the correlation of referential foci and the use of linguistic conventions. This account is defended as being adequate to meet the legitimate demands made on a theory of truth. Johnson argues that the account leaves scope for statements of many different sorts to be true in their own widely varying ways, without the existence of a need to posit fundamentally different kinds of truth. (shrink)
A class of problems is called decidable if there is an algorithm which will give the answer to any problem of the class after a finite length of time. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the classes of problems that can be solved by infinitely long decision procedures in the following sense: An algorithm is given which, for any problem of the class, generates an infinitely long sequence of guesses. The problem will be said to be solved in (...) the limit if, after some finite point in the sequence, all the guesses are correct and the same. Functions, sets, and functionals which are decidable by such infinite algorithms will be calledlimiting recursive. These, together with classes of objects which can beidentified in the limit, are the subjects of this report.Without qualification,setwill mean set of numbers;functionwill mean number-theoretic function of 1 variable, possibly partial;functionalswill take numerical values and have any number of numerical and/or function variables, the latter ranging solely over total functions of 1 variable. Thus a function is a special case of a functional,xwill invariably stand for a numerical variable;φfor a function variable;gfor a guess ;nfor the numerical variable which indexes the guesses, referred to as thetime. (shrink)
I develop the thesis that species and ecosystems are living entities with morally significant interests in their own right and defend it against leading objections. Contrary to certain claims, it is possible to individuate such entities sufficiently well. Indeed, there is a sense in which such entities define their own nature. I also consider and reject the argument that species and ecosystems cannot have interests or even traits in their own right because evolution does not proceed on that level. Although (...) evolution proceeds on the level of the genotype, those selected are able to cooperate in entities of various higher orders—including species and ecosystems. Having their own nature and interests, species and ecosystems can meaningfully be said to have moral standing. (shrink)
This book offers an introductory account of the central theories of truth. A wide range of theories, from those of correspondence and coherence to Tarski's semantic conception of truth are presented and assessed in order to profit from that which is of value in them. The authot proposes a new account which it is asserted is adequate to meet the legitimate demands made on the theory of truth.
Future generations do not exist, and are not determinate in their make-up. The moral significance of future generations cannot be accounted for on the basis of a purely individualistic ethic. Yet future generations are morally significant. The Person-Affecting Principle, that (roughly) only acts which are likely to affect particular individuals are morally significant, must be augmented in such a way as to take into account the moral significance of Homo sapiens, a holistic entity which certainly does exist. Recent contributions to (...) Environmental Values by Alan Carter and Ernest Partridge are criticised (but not entirely rejected). (shrink)
The classical social theorist Emile Durkheim proposed the counterintuitive thesis that crime is beneficial for society because it provokes punishment, which enhances social solidarity. His logic, however, is blemished by a reified view of society that leads to group-selectionist thinking and a teleological account of the causes of crime. Reconceptualization of the relationship between crime and punishment in terms of evolutionary game theory, however, suggests that crime (cheating) may confer benefits on cooperating individuals by promoting stability in their patterns of (...) cooperation. (shrink)
In _Civil Society_, Lawrence Cahoone stages a critical engagement between the social-political viewpoints of liberalism, communitarianism, and conservatism in order to effect a balanced relation that will bypass or overcome the inadequacies of each position.
Disc 1. Philosophy and the modern age ; Scholasticism and the scientific revolution -- Disc 2. The rationalism and dualism of Descartes ; Locke's empiricism, Berkeley's idealism -- Disc 3. Neo-Aristotelians : Spinoza and Leibniz ; The Enlightenment and Rousseau -- Disc 4. The radical skepticism of Hume ; Kant's Copernican revolution -- Disc 5. Kant and the religion of reason ; The French Revolution and German idealism -- Disc 6. Hegel, the last great system ; Hegel and the English (...) century -- Disc 7. The economic revolution and its critic, Marx ; Kierkegaard's Critique of reason -- Disc 8. Nietzsche's Critique of morality and truth ; Freud, Weber, and the mind of modernity -- Disc 9. Rise of 20th-century philosophy, pragmatism ; analysis -- Disc 10. Rise of 20th-century philosophy, phenomenology ; Physics, positivism and early Wittgenstein -- Disc 11. Emergence and Whitehead ; Dewey's American naturalism -- Disc 12. Heidegger's Being and time ; Existentialism and the Frankfurt School -- Disc 13. Heidegger's turn against humanism ; Culture, hermeneutics, and structuralism -- Disc 14. Wittgenstein's turn to ordinary language ; Quine and the end of positivism -- Disc 15. New philosophies of science ; Derrida's deconstruction of philosophy -- Disc 16. The challenge of postmodernism ; Rorty and the end of philosophy -- Disc 17. Rediscovering the premodern ; Pragmatic realism, reforming the modern -- Disc 18. The reemergence of emergence ; Philosophy's death greatly exaggerated. (shrink)
The human race is an ongoing entity, not just a collection of individuals. It has interests which are not just the aggregated interests of individual humans. These interests are morally significant and have important implications for environmental ethics.
Approaches bioethics on the basis of a conception of life and what is needed for the affirmation of its quality in the most encompassing sense. Johnson applies this conception to discussions of controversial issues in bioethics including euthanasia, abortion, cloning and genetic engineering. His emphasis is not on providing definitive solutions to all bioethical issues but on developing an approach to coping with them that can also help us deal with new issues as they emerge. The foundation of this discussion (...) is an extensive examination of the nature of the self and its good and of various approaches to ethics. His bioethic is integrally related to his well-known work on environmental philosophy. The book also applies these principles on an individual level, offering a user-friendly discussion of how to deal with ethical slippery slopes and how and where to draw the line when dealing with difficult questions of bioethics. (shrink)
The authors of this volume elucidate the remarkable role played by religion in the shaping and reshaping of narrative forms in antiquity and late antiquity in a variety of ways. This is particularly evident in ancient Jewish and Christian narrative, which is in the focus of most of the contributions, but also in some “pagan” novels such as that of Heliodorus, which is dealt with as well in the third part of the volume, both in an illuminating comparison with Christian (...) novels and in an inspiring rethinking of Heliodorus's relation to Neoplatonism. All of these essays, from different perspectives, illuminate the interplay between narrative and religion, and show how religious concerns and agendas shaped narrative forms in Judaism and early Christianity. A series of compelling and innovative articles, all based on fresh and often groundbreaking research by eminent specialists, is divided into three large sections: part one deals with ancient Jewish narrative, and part two with ancient Christian narrative, in particular gospels, acts, biographies, and martyrdoms, while part three offers a comparison with “pagan” narrative, and especially the religious novel of Heliodorus, both in terms of social perspectives and in terms of philosophical and religious agendas. Like the essays collected by Marília Futre Pinheiro, Judith Perkins, and Richard Pervo in 2013, which investigate the core role played by narratives in Christian and Jewish self-fashioning in the Roman Empire, the present volume fruitfully bridges the disciplinary gap between classical studies and ancient Jewish and Christian studies, offers new insights, and hopefully opens up new paths of inquiry. Contributions by (in alphabetical order): Cathryn Chew, Mark J. Edwards, Erich Gruen, Vincent Hunink, David Konstan, Karen King, Dennis MacDonald, Laura S. Nasrallah, Judith Perkins, Richard Pervo, Ilaria Ramelli, Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta, Svetla Slaveva-Griffin, and Lawrence Wills. (shrink)