Philosophers of religion are often caught up with the epistemic justification of their religious beliefs, rather than the qualities of the religious life that make it valuable. MarkBernier argues theory of hope, which involves the distinction between mundane and authentic hope, and makes three principal claims. Firstly, while despair involves the absence of hope, a rejection of oneself, and a turn away from one's relation to God, despair is fundamentally an unwillingness to hope. This unwillingness is directed (...) toward authentic hope, conceived of by Kierkegaard as an expectation for the possibility of the good. Secondly, hope is not simply an ancillary activity of the self; rather, the task of becoming a self is essentially constituted by hope. Thus, when in despair one is unwilling to hope, one is in fact rejecting one's task of becoming a self. Thirdly, faith stands in opposition to despair precisely because it is a willingness to hope. An essential role of faith is to secure the ground for hope, and in this way faith secures the ground for the self. In short, authentic hope is not merely a fringe element, but is essential to Kierkegaard's project of the self. (shrink)
According to the thesis of the extended mind (EM) , at least some token cognitive processes extend into the cognizing subject's environment in the sense that they are (partly) composed of manipulative, exploitative, and transformative operations performed by that subject on suitable environmental structures. EM has attracted four ostensibly distinct types of objection. This paper has two goals. First, it argues that these objections all reduce to one basic sort: all the objections can be resolved by the provision of an (...) adequate and properly motivated criterion—or mark—of the cognitive. Second, it provides such a criterion—one made up of four conditions that are sufficient for a process to count as cognitive. (shrink)
Like much in this book, the title and dust jacket illustration are clever. The first evokes Hume's remark in the Treatise that ‘Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.’ The second, which represents a cross between a dance-step and a clinch, links up with the title and anticipates an example used throughout the book to support its central claims: that Ronnie, unlike Bradley, has a reason to go to a party – namely, that there will (...) be dancing at the party – because Ronnie, unlike Bradley, loves dancing. So, the explanation of why Ronnie's and Bradley's reasons differ lies in their respective psychologies.Schroeder argues for a version of the Humean Theory of Reasons he calls Hypotheticalism, which says that every reason is explained by a desire in the same way as Ronnie's is. Schroeder argues that on almost every count, Hypotheticalism is as good as, or preferable to, the Humean and non-Humean alternatives; and he defends it against an array of objections. For example, he explains that while Hypotheticalism claims that ‘desires have to serve in the explanation of every reason because desires are part of the correct analysis of reasons’, it does not claim that a desire that explains a reason is part of that reason: rather it is a background condition for it. This, Schroeder argues, allows him to rebut a variety of objections that depend on conflating reasons with their background conditions. Other …. (shrink)
My project in Being For is both constructive and negative. The main aim of the book is to take the core ideas of meta-ethical expressivism as far as they can go, and to try to develop a version of expressivism that solves many of the more straightforward open problems that have faced the view without being squarely confronted. In doing so, I develop an expressivist framework that I call biforcated attitude semantics, which I claim has the minimal structural features required (...) in order to solve some of these open problems facing expressivism. I take biforcated attitude semantics to prove that expressivism is a coherent and interesting hypothesis about the semantics of natural languages.So much for the constructive part; having argued that biforcated attitude semantics incorporates the minimal moves required in order to solve a few of the more pressing open questions facing expressivism, I use it in order to productively constrain what an expressivist answer to further open questions must look like. The results, I end up arguing, are ultimately not promising; the very same structural features that expressivists need in order to answer so simple a problem as to explain why ‘P’ and ‘∼P’ are inconsistent sentences lead to a very general problem about how ordinary, non-moral sentences are to end up with the right truth-conditions, and though I show how to finesse this problem for some simple constructions – truth-conditional connectives and the quantifiers – I ultimately argue that it can’t be done for the full range of constructions in natural languages – including terms like modals, tense and binary quantifiers like ‘most’. So even if expressivism is coherent and interesting, it is an extremely unpromising hypothesis about the language that we actually speak.The main theme of the book is that the most fruitful way …. (shrink)
Fitting Attitudes accounts of value analogize or equate being good with being desirable, on the premise that ‘desirable’ means not, ‘able to be desired’, as Mill has been accused of mistakenly assuming, but ‘ought to be desired’, or something similar. The appeal of this idea is visible in the critical reaction to Mill, which generally goes along with his equation of ‘good’ with ‘desirable’ and only balks at the second step, and it crosses broad boundaries in terms of philosophers’ other (...) commitments. For example, Fitting Attitudes accounts play a central role both in T.M. Scanlon’s  case against teleology, and in Michael Smith , [unpublished] and Doug Portmore’s  cases for it. And of course they have a long and distinguished history. (shrink)
Mark Balaguer’s project in this book is extremely ambitious; he sets out to defend both platonism and ﬁctionalism about mathematical entities. Moreover, Balaguer argues that at the end of the day, platonism and ﬁctionalism are on an equal footing. Not content to leave the matter there, however, he advances the anti-metaphysical conclusion that there is no fact of the matter about the existence of mathematical objects.1 Despite the ambitious nature of this project, for the most part Balaguer does not (...) shortchange the reader on rigor; all the main theses advanced are argued for at length and with remarkable clarity and cogency. There are, of course, gaps in the account but these should not be allowed to overshadow the sig-. (shrink)
Philosophers have come to distinguish between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ kinds of reasons for belief, intention, and other attitudes. Several theories about the nature of this distinction have been offered, by far the most prevalent of which is the idea that it is, at bottom, the distinction between what are known as ‘object-given’ and ‘state-given’ reasons. This paper argues that the object-given/state-given theory vastly overgeneralizes on a small set of data points, and in particular that any adequate account of the distinction (...) between the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ kinds of reason must allow state-given reasons to be of the right kind. The paper has three main goals, corresponding to its three main parts. In part 1 I set up the problem by introducing the right-kind/wrong-kind distinction, the object-given/state-given distinction, and the object-given/state-given theory, according to which the former distinction simply amounts to the latter. Part 2 presents the main argument of the paper: I argue against the object-given/state-given theory by showing that all of the earmarks of the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ kinds of reason apply to reasons not to intend and not to believe, but that these cases can’t be captured by the object-given/state-given theory. Finally, in part 3 I use these arguments to motivate and explore a more general hypothesis about the rightkind/wrong-kind distinction, and explore some of the consequences of rejecting the object-given/stategiven theory. (shrink)
How can one establish if a corporate code of ethics is ethical in terms of its content? One important first step might be the establishment of core universal moral values by which corporate codes of ethics can be ethically constructed and evaluated. Following a review of normative research on corporate codes of ethics, a set of universal moral values is generated by considering three sources: (1) corporate codes of ethics; (2) global codes of ethics; and (3) the business ethics literature. (...) Based on the convergence of the three sources of standards, six universal moral values for corporate codes of ethics are proposed including: (1) trustworthiness; (2) respect; (3) responsibility; (4) fairness; (5) caring; and (6) citizenship. Relying on the proposed set of universal moral values, implications are discussed as to what the content of corporate codes of ethics should consist of. The paper concludes with its limitations. (shrink)
Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics is an annual forum for new work in normative ethical theory. Leading philosophers present original contributions to our understanding of a wide range of moral issues and positions, from analysis of competing approaches to normative ethics to questions of how we should act and live well. OSNE will be an essential resource for scholars and students working in moral philosophy.
An archive of Mark Sharlow's two blogs, "The Unfinishable Scroll" and "Religion: the Next Version." Covers Sharlow's views on metaphysics, epistemology, mind, science, religion, and politics. Includes topics and ideas not found in his papers.
In the second volume of his Wissenschaftslehre from 1837, the Bohemian philosopher, theologian, and mathematician Bernard Bolzano introduced his concept of consequence, named derivability, together with a variety of theorems and further considerations. Derivability is an implication relation between sentences in themselves, which are not meant to be linguistic symbols but the contents of declarative sentences as well as of certain mental episodes. When Schmidt utters the sentence ‘Schnee ist weiß’, and Jones judges that snow is white, the sentence in (...) itself expressed by Schmidt is the same as the one to which Jones agrees in thought. This sentence in itself is an abstract entity: in some sense, it exists; but it is unreal insofar as it lacks a position in space and time, does not stand in causal relationships, and is independent of the existence of thinking beings and languages. (shrink)
The term “value theory” is used in at least three different ways in philosophy. In its broadest sense, “value theory” is a catch-all label used to encompass all branches of moral philosophy, social and political philosophy, aesthetics, and sometimes feminist philosophy and the philosophy of religion — whatever areas of philosophy are deemed to encompass some “evaluative” aspect. In its narrowest sense, “value theory” is used for a relatively narrow area of normative ethical theory of particular concern to consequentialists. In (...) this narrow sense, “value theory” is roughly synonymous with “axiology”. Axiology can be thought of as primarily concerned with classifying what things are good, and how good they are. For instance, a traditional question of axiology concerns whether the objects of value are subjective psychological states, or objective states of the world. (shrink)
The recent philosophical literature on religious experience has mostly been concerned with experiences which are taken by the subject of the experience to be directly of God or some other supernatural entity, or to involve some suspension of the subject–object structure of conventional experience. In this paper I consider a further kind of experience, where the sense of God is mediated by way of an appreciation of the existential meanings which are presented by a material context. In this way the (...) paper aims to extend the standard philosophical concept of religious experience so as to take account of phenomenological treatments of sacred place, and to give more prominence to the materially mediated or sacramental character of much religious experience. (shrink)
In _Buddhism As Philosophy_, Mark Siderits makes the Buddhist philosophical tradition accessible to a Western audience. Offering generous selections from the canonical Buddhist texts and providing an engaging, analytical introduction to the fundamental tenets of Buddhist thought, this revised, expanded, and updated edition builds on the success of the first edition in clarifying the basic concepts and arguments of the Buddhist philosophers.
J. L. Schellenberg has constructed major arguments for atheism based on divine hiddenness in two separate works. This paper reviews these arguments and highlights how they are grounded in reflections on perfect divine love. However, Schellenberg also defends what he calls the ‘subject mode’ of religious scepticism. I argue that if one accepts Schellenberg's scepticism, then the foundation of his divine-hiddenness arguments is undermined by calling into question some of his conclusions regarding perfect divine love. In other words, if his (...) scepticism is correct, then Schellenberg's case for atheism cannot stand. Finally, I demonstrate how my argument avoids the many defences that Schellenberg has employed thus far in defending these particular atheistic arguments. (shrink)
In the twenty-four years since the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, a body of high-quality scholarship on socialism has slowly accumulated. Here I discuss two superb additions to this incipient post–Cold War canon, Mark Bevir’s The Making of British Socialism and Jonathan Sperber’s Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life. Both authors take it as axiomatic that the socialist utopia, with its quasi-eschatological promise of complete human emancipation, is an idea whose time has passed. But Bevir and, to a lesser (...) degree, Sperber discern a utopian afterglow that warrants our interest—and is still quite capable of providing inspiration. “This book has been a long time in the making,” Mark Bevir admits in the .. (shrink)
Geach's problem, the problem of accounting for the fact that judgements expressed using moral terms function logically like other judgements, stands in the way of most noncognitive analyses of moral judgements. The non-cognitivist must offer a plausible interpretation of such terms when they appear in conditionals that also explains their logical interaction with straightforward moral assertions. Blackburn and Gibbard have offered a series of accounts each of which interprets such conditionals as expressing higher order commitments. Each then invokes norms for (...) the coherent acceptance of attitudes to explain why we hold certain combinations inconsistent. Against these accounts the paper presses two related objections: (1) The norms needed to do the explanatory work cannot be strong enough to do that work without also ruling clearly consistent attitudes inconsistent. And (2), the norms of rational attitude acceptance do not neatly track the distinction between consistent and inconsistent attitudes. (shrink)
One of the gravest charges that has been brought against Hume’s essay “Of the Standard of Taste” is that of circularity. Hume is accused of defining good art in terms of “true judges,” and of defining true judges in terms of their ability to judge good art. First, I argue that Hume avoids circularity since he offers a way of identifying good art that is logically independent of the verdict of true judges. Second, I argue that this clarifies an enduring (...) puzzle in the scholarship on Hume’s essay: why he appears to offer not one but two standards of taste. Hume’s standard does not consist of general rules; however, Hume needs general rules to establish that some individuals’ tastes are more “delicate” than others’. (shrink)
In this paper, I shall consider four approaches to the idea that the world points towards or represents God. I shall argue that the relation of resemblance may not offer the best initial way of expounding this idea, and that the relation of necessary complement may provide the basis of a more useful model. I begin by examining three accounts which draw primarily upon the notion of resemblance in order to explain the sense in which the world represents God. I (...) shall then survey a further approach, which seeks to interpret the idea of resemblance in terms of the more fundamental idea of complementarity. (shrink)