This collection of essays, offered in honor of the distinguished career of prominent political philosophy professor Clifford Orwin, brings together internationally renowned scholars to provide a wide context and discuss various aspects of the virtue of “humanity” through the history of political philosophy.
Collected and edited by Noah Levin -/- Table of Contents: -/- UNIT ONE: INTRODUCTION TO CONTEMPORARY ETHICS: TECHNOLOGY, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, AND IMMIGRATION 1 The “Trolley Problem” and Self-Driving Cars: Your Car’s Moral Settings (Noah Levin) 2 What is Ethics and What Makes Something a Problem for Morality? (David Svolba) 3 Letter from the Birmingham City Jail (Martin Luther King, Jr) 4 A Defense of Affirmative Action (Noah Levin) 5 The Moral Issues of Immigration (B.M. Wooldridge) 6 The (...) Ethics of our Digital Selves (Noah Levin) -/- UNIT TWO: TORTURE, DEATH, AND THE “GREATER GOOD” 7 The Ethics of Torture (Martine Berenpas) 8 What Moral Obligations do we have (or not have) to Impoverished Peoples? (B.M. Wooldridge) 9 Euthanasia, or Mercy Killing (Nathan Nobis) 10 An Argument Against Capital Punishment (Noah Levin) 11 Common Arguments about Abortion (Nathan Nobis & Kristina Grob) 12 Better (Philosophical) Arguments about Abortion (Nathan Nobis & Kristina Grob) -/- UNIT THREE: PERSONS, AUTONOMY, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND RIGHTS 13 Animal Rights (Eduardo Salazar) 14 John Rawls and the “Veil of Ignorance” (Ben Davies) 15 Environmental Ethics: Climate Change (Jonathan Spelman) 16 Rape, Date Rape, and the “Affirmative Consent” Law in California (Noah Levin) 17 The Ethics of Pornography: Deliberating on a Modern Harm (Eduardo Salazar) 18 The Social Contract (Thomas Hobbes) -/- UNIT FOUR: HAPPINESS 19 Is Pleasure all that Matters? Thoughts on the “Experience Machine” (Prabhpal Singh) 20 Utilitarianism (J.S. Mill) 21 Utilitarianism: Pros and Cons (B.M. Wooldridge) 22 Existentialism, Genetic Engineering, and the Meaning of Life: The Fifths (Noah Levin) 23 The Solitude of the Self (Elizabeth Cady Stanton) 24 Game Theory, the Nash Equilibrium, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (Douglas E. Hill) -/- UNIT FIVE: RELIGION, LAW, AND ABSOLUTE MORALITY 25 The Myth of Gyges and The Crito (Plato) 26 God, Morality, and Religion (Kristin Seemuth Whaley) 27 The Categorical Imperative (Immanuel Kant) 28 The Virtues (Aristotle) 29 Beyond Good and Evil (Friedrich Nietzsche) 30 Other Moral Theories: Subjectivism, Relativism, Emotivism, Intuitionism, etc. (Jan F. Jacko). (shrink)
In her book Liberty of Conscience: In Defense of America's Tradition of Religious Equality the American philosopher Martha Nussbaum joins a chorus of American intellectuals who have criticized France and other European nations for their failure to embrace the concept of cultural pluralism. In Nussbaum's opinion, the meaning that the French attach to egalité has remained stuck in circumstances peculiar to the eighteenth century. The concept is outdated and has not in the contemporary world been able to protect cultural diversity (...) in general and religious diversity in particular. Her book takes to task what she terms “the French tradition of “coercive assimilation” that is insensitive to what George Washington stressed as the “‘delicacy and tenderness’ that is owed to other people's ‘conscientious scruples.’” The French refusal to allow Muslim schoolgirls to cover their heads with a foulard, however stylish it might be, is linked back to the French emancipation of Jews that required, in Nussbaum's analysis, a heavy requirement of cultural erasure. The French, like most Europeans, grew used to the idea “that citizens are all alike,” an idea that now haunts France as it tries to figure out what to do with its Muslim population. (shrink)
There is a way of doing moral philosophy which goes something like this: If it can be shown that it is rational for perfectly selfish people to accept the constraints of morality, then it will follow, a fortiori, that it is rational for people capable of affective bonds, and thus less selfish, to do so. On this way of proceeding the real argument – that is, the argument for the actual constraints to be adopted – proceeds with only fully rational (...) individuals who have no other concern than to maximize their nontuistic preferences. Then it is noted that the affective capacities of human beings actually make quite palatable the constraints that the fully rational persons with wholly nontuistic preferences have agreed upon. (shrink)
Noah Feldman’s elegant essay contains many attractive suggestions, especially in its final compelling discussions of various conceptions of Cosmopolitan Law. Less importantly for your purposes, dear Reader, than for mine, it also provides a fair and clear account of some of my own discussions of cosmopolitanism (in the course of which I have made a few suggestions that may be of relevance for the law). In this brief response, I should like to focus on clarifying one of the conceptual (...) distinctions that I have made: the distinction between the rational and the reasonable. In marking that distinction, I was returning to a contrast I had made many years ago, in In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture. Reading Feldman’s response, I realize that I had been a good deal too economical in explaining what I had in mind. Clarifying my view will also help to reinforce an important distinction, which Feldman both accepts and rightly finds stressed in my own work, between the context of our cosmopolitan obligations, on the one hand, and our political obligations, on the other. That is a central theme of his essay, of course; and in clarifying my view, I hope to clarify, as well, how my “reined-in” account of cosmopolitanism might relate to some of the legal and political exigencies he explores. What distinction do I mark by using the two words “rational” and “reasonable,” words that many people would treat as synonyms? I should say, first, that I take both terms to apply both to ways of thinking about what to believe—epistemic reasoning—and to ways of thinking about what to do—practical reasoning. (I think that feelings can be reasonable and unreasonable, too, but this is a complication I shall ignore here.) At a first pass, the distinction I have in mind is between epistemic and practical procedures that are likely to be successful, given the way the world is (which I call “rational”); and procedures that a normal human being has no reason to doubt will be effective, whether or not, in fact, they are (which I call “reasonable”).. (shrink)
This book offers a unique synthesis of past and current work on the structure, meaning, and use of negation and negative expressions, a topic that has engaged thinkers from Aristotle and the Buddha to Freud and Chomsky. Horn's masterful study melds a review of scholarship in philosophy, psychology, and linguistics with original research, providing a full picture of negation in natural language and thought; this new edition adds a comprehensive preface and bibliography, surveying research since the book's original publication.
Is language understanding a special case of social cognition? To help evaluate this view, we can formalize it as the rational speech-act theory: Listeners assume that speakers choose their utterances approximately optimally, and listeners interpret an utterance by using Bayesian inference to “invert” this model of the speaker. We apply this framework to model scalar implicature (“some” implies “not all,” and “N” implies “not more than N”). This model predicts an interaction between the speaker's knowledge state and the listener's interpretation. (...) We test these predictions in two experiments and find good fit between model predictions and human judgments. (shrink)
Jacques Derrida's insistence on submitting politics to the test of undecidability elicits the common accusation that an aporetic form of thought can only end in dubious conclusions concerning the pressing matter of politics and that no normative claims can emerge from a thought of radical undecidability. In this paper, I articulate the structural undecidability (aporia) that constitutes politics according to Derrida, the manner in which this structural undecidability elicits judgments, and the importance for critique of not ignoring it. In particular, (...) this structural undecidability is articulated within the event of foundation of any state or set of social relations by way of a declarative act. In addition, the aporetic structure of the political renders visible the essential relationship between (revealed) religion and politics. Ultimately, due to a necessary reference to an ultimate authority at any event of foundation, the political is always already theologico-political in character. (shrink)
This paper provides a semantic analysis of English rise-fall-rise (RFR) intonation as a focus quantifier over assertable alternative propositions. I locate RFR meaning in the conventional implicature dimension, and propose that its effect is calculated late within a dynamic model. With a minimum of machinery, this account captures disambiguation and scalar effects, as well as interactions with other focus operators like ‘only’ and clefts. Double focus data further support the analysis, and lead to a rejection of Ward and Hirschberg’s (Language (...) 61:747–776, 1985) claim that RFR never disambiguates. Finally, I draw out connections between RFR and contrastive topic (CT) intonation (Büring, Linguist Philos 26:511–545, 2003), and show that RFR cannot simply be reduced to a sub-case of CT. (shrink)
In this 2004 book, Noah Lemos presents a strong defense of the common sense tradition, the view that we may take as data for philosophical inquiry many of the things we ordinarily think we know. He discusses the main features of that tradition as expounded by Thomas Reid, G. E. Moore and Roderick Chisholm. For a long time common sense philosophers have been subject to two main objections: that they fail to give any non-circular argument for the reliability of (...) memory and perception; and that they pick out instances of knowledge without knowing a criterion for knowledge. Lemos defends the appeal to what we ordinarily think we know in both epistemology and ethics and thus rejects the charge that common sense is dogmatic, unphilosophical or question-begging. Written in a clear and engaging style, this book will appeal to students and philosophers in epistemology and ethics. (shrink)
In this essay, I defend a mind-body dualism, according to which human minds are immaterial substances that exercise non-redundant causal powers over bodies, against the notorious problem of psychophysical causation. I explicate and reply to three formulations of the problem: (i) the claim that, on dualism, psychophysical causation is inconsistent with physical causal closure, (ii) the claim that psychophysical causation on the dualist view is intolerably mysterious, and (iii) Jaegwon Kim’s claim that dualism fails to account for causal pairings. Ultimately, (...) I conclude that these objections fail and that dualist interactionism is no more problematic or mysterious than physical causation. (shrink)
This paper examines the forms and functions of religious Internet memes that relate to Covid-19, with a view to identifying the conceptual metaphors that underlie the creation of the memes. The data, which consist of thirty religious Internet memes shared in the Nigerian WhatsApp space, are analyzed qualitatively using the categorization of religious Internet memes, and the concept of multimodal metaphors. The memes contain (non-)linguistic metaphors such as the picture of Biblical Noah’s ark and expressions such as Noah’s (...) family was on lockdown, which reveal underlying conceptual metaphors such as LOCKDOWN IS A GODLY INSTRUCTION and COVID-19 IS A WAR. The memes are used to allay the fears of people in the face of the disease, and encourage adherence to lockdown orders, amongst others. The study concludes that the forms and functions of these religious memes assist in revealing the multimodal conceptual metaphors underlying the memes. (shrink)
In this incisive new book one of Britain's most eminent philosophers explores the often overlooked tension between voluntariness and involuntariness in human cognition. He seeks to counter the widespread tendency for analytic epistemology to be dominated by the concept of belief. Is scientific knowledge properly conceived as being embodied, at its best, in a passive feeling of belief or in an active policy of acceptance? Should a jury's verdict declare what its members involuntarily believe or what they voluntarily accept? And (...) should statements and assertions be presumed to express what their authors believe or what they accept? Does such a distinction between belief and acceptance help to resolve the paradoxes of self-deception and akrasia? Must people be taken to believe everything entailed by what they believe, or merely to accept everything entailed by what they accept? Through a systematic examination of these problems, the author sheds new light on issues of crucial importance in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. (shrink)
The book was planned and written as a single, sustained argument. But earlier versions of a few parts of it have appeared separately. The object of this book is both to establish the existence of the paradoxes, and also to describe a non-Pascalian concept of probability in terms of which one can analyse the structure of forensic proof without giving rise to such typical signs of theoretical misfit. Neither the complementational principle for negation nor the multiplicative principle for conjunction applies (...) to the central core of any forensic proof in the Anglo-American legal system. There are four parts included in this book. Accordingly, these parts have been written in such a way that they may be read in different orders by different kinds of reader. (shrink)
The health co-benefits of CO2 mitigation can provide a strong incentive for climate policy through reductions in air pollutant emissions that occur when targeting shared sources. However, reducing air pollutant emissions may also have an important co-harm, as the aerosols they form produce net cooling overall. Nevertheless, aerosol impacts have not been fully incorporated into cost-benefit modeling that estimates how much the world should optimally mitigate. Here we find that when both co-benefits and co-harms are taken fully into account, optimal (...) climate policy results in immediate net benefits globally, overturning previous findings from cost-benefit models that omit these effects. The global health benefits from climate policy could reach trillions of dollars annually, but will importantly depend on the air quality policies that nations adopt independently of climate change. Depending on how society values better health, economically optimal levels of mitigation may be consistent with a target of 2 °C or lower. (shrink)
Perspectival realists often appeal to the methodology of science to secure a realist account of the retention and continued success of scientific claims through the progress of science. However, in the context of modern physics, the retention and continued success of scientific claims are typically only definable within a mathematical framework. In this article, I argue that this concern leaves the perspectivist open to Cassirer’s neo-Kantian critique of the applicability of mathematics in the natural sciences. To support this criticism, I (...) present a case study on the conservation of energy in modern physics. (shrink)
This book addresses some basic questions about intrinsic value: What is it? What has it? What justifies our beliefs about it? In the first six chapters the author defends the existence of a plurality of intrinsic goods, the thesis of organic unities, the view that some goods are 'higher' than others, and the view that intrinsic value can be explicated in terms of 'fitting' emotional attitudes. The final three chapters explore the justification of our beliefs about intrinsic value, including coherence (...) theories and the idea that some value beliefs are warranted on the basis of emotional experience. Professor Lemos defends the view that some value beliefs enjoy 'modest' a priori justification. The book is intended primarily for professional philosophers and their graduate students working in ethics, value theory and epistemology. (shrink)
This paper explores the editorial influence of Joseph Banks on the Philosophical Transactions—still, at the time of his accession to the Presidency of the Royal Society in 1778, the most prestigious scientific periodical published in English. In particular, it examines how Banks forged, and wielded, personal influence over what went into the Transactions. Nominally, at least, the periodical was under the collective control of the Society's council, with significant statutory safeguards in place to prevent editorship by a presidential clique. Yet (...) this was exactly what Banks was able to speedily create and maintain. In this essay I explore how Banks accomplished this and the pressures it produced, addressing two key questions. First, I examine the social dimension of Banks's management of the Transactions (and what contemporaries thought of it), including particularly the questions of how and to whom access to the periodical was afforded or denied by Banks and his associates; and second, I consider how Banks and the Society dealt with the emerging competitive pressure of new commercial and learned society periodicals. I outline a sphere of scientific sociability partly created by informal processes of communicating, circulating, and evaluating papers developed by Banks and his close associates, and its significance for the Transactions in its engagements with other sites, genres, and conventions of scientific publication. (shrink)
In this essay, I defend a mind-body dualism, according to which human minds are immaterial substances that exercise non-redundant causal powers over bodies, against the notorious problem of psychophysical causation. I explicate and reply to three formulations of the problem: the claim that, on dualism, psychophysical causation is inconsistent with physical causal closure, the claim that psychophysical causation on the dualist view is intolerably mysterious, and Jaegwon Kim’s claim that dualism fails to account for causal pairings. Ultimately, I conclude that (...) these objections fail and that dualist interactionism is no more problematic or mysterious than physical causation. (shrink)
Recognition of the plasticity of development — from gene expression to neuroplasticity — is increasingly undermining the traditional distinction between structure and function, or anatomy and behavior. At the same time, dynamic systems theory — a set of tools and concepts drawn from the physical sciences — has emerged as a way of describing what Maurice Merleau-Ponty calls the “dynamic anatomy” of the living organism. This article surveys and synthesizes dynamic systems models of development from biology, neuroscience, and psychology in (...) order to propose an integrated account of growth, learning, and behavior. Key to this account is the concept of self-differentiation or symmetry-breaking. I argue that development can be understood as a cascade of symmetry-breaking events brought about by the ongoing interactions of multiple, nested, nonlinear dynamic systems whose self-organizing behaviors gradually alter their own anatomical conditions. I begin by introducing the concept of symmetry-breaking as a way of understanding anatomical development. I then extend this approach to motor development by arguing that the organism’s behavior grows along with its body, like a new organ. Finally, I argue that the organism’s behavior and its world grow together dialectically, each driving the other to become more complex and asymmetrical through its own increasing asymmetry. Thus development turns out to be a form of cognition or sense-making, and cognition a form of development. (shrink)
In Epistemology, Laurence Bonjour introduces the serious philosophy student to the history and concepts of epistemology, while simultaneously challenging them to take an active part in its ongoing debates. The text reflects BonJour's conviction that the place to start any discussion of the theories of knowledge is with the classical problems, beginning with and centered around Descartes.