Recently some philosophers have proposed that the later philosophy of Wittgenstein tends towards idealism, or even solipsism. The solipsism is said to be of a peculiar kind. It is characterized as a ‘collective’ or ‘aggregative’ solipsism. The solipsism or idealism is also said to be ‘transcendental’. In the first part of this paper I will be examining a recent essay by Professor Bernard Williams, in which he presents what he takes to be the grounds for such an interpretation of Wittgenstein. (...) After that I will try to offer convincing evidence that no tendency towards any form of idealism is to be found in Wittgenstein's later philosophy. (shrink)
Despite the emphasis on the state in the history of political philosophy, the twentieth century has been characterized by a remarkable lack of philosophical reflection on the concept. Until recently analytical philosophy had eschewed those evaluative arguments about political obligation and the limits of state authority that were typical of political theory in the past in favour of the explication of the meaning of the concept. However, even here the results have been disappointing. Logical Positivist attempts to locate some unique (...) empirical phenomenon which the word state described proved unsuccessful, and indeed led to the odd conclusion that there was nothing about the state that distinguished it from some other social institutions. For example, its coercive power was said to be not unique: in some circumstances trade unions and Churches exercised similar power over their members. Ordinary language philosophers were far more interested in the complexities that surround words such as law, authority and power than in the state. In all this there was perhaps the fear that to concentrate attention on the state was implicitly to give credence to the discredited doctrine that it stood for some metaphysical entity; propositions about which could not be translated into propositions about the actions of individuals , and which represented higher values than those of ordinary human agents. (shrink)
Perhaps the most remarkable event in social thought of the last twenty years has been the resurgence of various strands of individualism as political doctrines. The term ‘individualism’ is a kind of general rubric that encompasses elements of nineteenth century classical liberalism, laissez-faire economics, the theory of the minimal state, and an extreme mutation out of this intellectual gene pool, anarcho-capitalism. The term libertarianism itself is applied indiscriminately to all of those doctrines. It has no precise meaning, except that in (...) a general sort of way libertarianism describes a more rigorous commitment to moral and economic individualism and a more ideological approach to social affairs than conventional liberalism. I suspect that its current usage largely reflects the fact that the word with the better historical pedigree, liberalism, has been associated, in America especially, with economic doctrines that are alien to the individualist tradition. (shrink)
This monograph treats the important topic of the epistemology of diagrams in Euclidean geometry. Norman argues that diagrams play a genuine justificatory role in traditional Euclidean arguments, and he aims to account for these roles from a modified Kantian perspective. Norman considers himself a semi-Kantian in the following broad sense: he believes that Kant was right that ostensive constructions are necessary in order to follow traditional Euclidean proofs, but he wants to avoid appealing to Kantian a priori intuition (...) as the epistemological background for these constructions.Norman's main argument is limited to the thesis that certain Euclidean arguments—in particular, that of Proposition 1.32, the internal-angle-sum theorem—require inferences from diagrams. Interestingly, Norman is not committed to the view that these arguments are proofs. This becomes clear only quite late in the book, when he distinguishes argument from proofs, remarking that the argument he has been focusing on is not rigorous, and so is not a proof. Norman does not, however, explicitly classify all Euclidean arguments as non-proofs. His view is that diagrammatic reasoning can in principle feature in rigorous proofs, but he is not committed to the thesis that any particular argument, Euclidean or otherwise, provides an example of this. Rather than proofs in particular, Norman is more interested in the general issue of justification in mathematics.The argument has three components. First, Norman argues against competing accounts of Euclidean arguments such as empiricism, and ‘Leibnizianism’—the view that diagrams play only a heuristic role. Second, he provides a more direct, or positive, argument that the way we actually follow the standard argument for 1.32 does appeal to the diagram. This is an appeal to the phenomenology of following the argument. Third, he articulates and defends his semi-Kantian position against some objections.The book has a very careful and …. (shrink)
Wittgenstein was one of the most powerful influences on contemporary philosophy, yet he shunned publicity and was essentially a private man. This remarkable, vivid, personal memoir is written by one of his friends, the eminent philosopher Norman Malcolm. Reissued in paperback, this edition includes the complete text of fifty-seven letters which Wittgenstein wrote to Malcolm over a period of eleven years. Also included is a concise biographical sketch by another of Wittgenstein's philosopher friends, Georg Henrik von Wright. 'A reader (...) does not need to care about philosophy to be excited by Mr Malcolm's book; it is about Wittgenstein as a man, and its interest is human interest'. (shrink)
Recent work in the philosophy of religion has broken through disciplinary boundaries and ventured into new areas of inquiry. Examining aspects of the rationality of faith or bringing philosophical techniques to bear on particular religious texts or doctrines, this collection deepens our understanding of the connections between faith and reason.
Psychological egoism is, I suppose, regarded by most philosophers as one of the more simple-minded fallacies in the history of philosophy, and dangerous and seductive too, contriving as it does to combine cynicism about human ideals and a vague sense of scientific method, both of which make the ordinary reader feel sophisticated, with conceptual confusion, which he cannot resist. For all of these reasons it springs eternal, in one form or another, in the breasts of first-year students, and offers excellent (...) material for their philosophy instructors, who like nothing better than an edifice of sturdy appearance but with rotten foundations on which to display their skill as demolition experts. (shrink)
In this book by the award-winning author of Just Healthcare, Norman Daniels develops a comprehensive theory of justice for health that answers three key questions: what is the special moral importance of health? When are health inequalities unjust? How can we meet health needs fairly when we cannot meet them all? Daniels' theory has implications for national and global health policy: can we meet health needs fairly in ageing societies? Or protect health in the workplace while respecting individual liberty? (...) Or meet professional obligations and obligations of justice without conflict? When is an effort to reduce health disparities, or to set priorities in realising a human right to health, fair? What do richer, healthier societies owe poorer, sicker societies? Just Health: Meeting Health Needs Fairly explores the many ways that social justice is good for the health of populations in developed and developing countries. (shrink)
This paper criticizes the conception of applied ethics as the top-down application of a theory to practical issues. It is argued that a theory such as utilitarianism cannot override our intuitive moral perceptions. We cannot be radically mistaken about the kinds of considerations which count as practical reasons, and it is the task of theoretical ethics to articulate the basic kinds of considerations which we appeal to in practical discussions. Dworkin's model of doing ethics ‘from the inside out’ is used (...) to illustrate the appropriate role for theory in a broader sense. In conclusion, some sceptical questions are raised about how far theoretical ethics can contribute to public policy, especially if this requires a consensus. (shrink)
The philosophy of memory has been largely dominated by what could be called ‘the representative theory of memory’. In trying to give an account of ‘what goes on in one's mind’ when one remembers something, or of what ‘the mental content of remembering’ consists, philosophers have usually insisted that there must be some sort of mental image, picture, or copy of what is remembered. Aristotle said that there must be ‘something like a picture or impression’; William James thought that there (...) must be in the mind 'an image or copy’ of the original event; Russell said that ‘Memory demands an image’. In addition to the image or copy a variety of other mental phenomena have been thought to be necessary. In order for a memory image to be distinguished from an expectation image, the former must be accompanied by ‘a feeling of pastness’. One has confidence that the image is of something that actually occurred because the image is attended by ‘a feeling of familiarity’. And in order that you may be sure that the past event not merely occurred but that you witnessed it, your image of the event must be presented to you with a feeling of ‘warmth and intimacy’. When all the required phenomena are put together, the mental content of remembering turns out to be, as William James says, ‘a very complex representation’. (shrink)
How should medical services be distributed within society? Who should pay for them? Is it right that large amounts should be spent on sophisticated technology and expensive operations, or would the resources be better employed in, for instance, less costly preventive measures? These and others are the questions addreses in this book. Norman Daniels examines some of the dilemmas thrown up by conflicting demands for medical attention, and goes on to advance a theory of justice in the distribution of (...) health care. The central argument is that health care, both preventive and acute, has a crucial effect on equality of opportunity, and that a principle guaranteeing equality of opportunity must underly the distribution of health-care services. Access to care, preventive measures, treatment of the elderly, and the obligations of doctors and medical administrations are fully discussed, and the theory is shown to underwrite various practical policies in the area. (shrink)
In what sense can we not help thinking that every event has a cause? One answer is, that this begs the question: we can think of events as uncaused. Well, we can think of events in isolation from causes, and we can formulate the proposition that some events have no cause, or that no event needs a cause. But the first of these does not constitute thinking of an event as not caused , but thinking of an event not-as-caused ; (...) while the implications of the second, forming anti-causal propositions, are obscure. I can verbally formulate the proposition ‘some events are uncaused’; the question is, whether it makes sense to affirm it. Now I can verbally formulate the proposition ‘some triangles are quadrilateral’, and we must not say that this does not make sense ; for I know the criteria for being a triangle, and I know the criteria for being quadrilateral; and the proposition simply asserts that there are some figures which satisfy both sets of criteria. That this is logically impossible is true, but it is not unintelligible. It does not, however, make sense to affirm a logical impossibility, simply because I cannot meaningfully affirm what I do not understand and believe to be possible , and if I understand what it means to be both triangular and quadrilateral, I cannot also believe it to be possible, since to understand what it means for a plane figure to have three sides is to understand that this excludes its having any other number of sides, e.g. four. But ‘some events are not caused’ is not logically incoherent in this way, or not apparently so; for in thinking of an event I am by definition thinking of a happening in isolation from any cause; I am thinking of it not as caused . Thus ‘some events are uncaused’ is not incoherent ex vi terminorum. (shrink)
Norman Kretzmann expounds and criticizes Aquinas's theology of creation, which is `natural' in that Aquinas developed it without depending on the data of Scripture. Because of the special importance of intellective creatures like us, Aquinas's account of the divine origin and organization of the universe includes essential ingredients of his philosophy of mind. The Metaphysics of Creation is a continuation of the project Kretzmann began in The Metaphysics of Theism; as before, he not only explains Aquinas's natural theology, but (...) advocates it as the best available to us. (shrink)
In April 1939, G. E. Moore read a paper to the Cambridge University Moral Science Club entitled ‘Certainty’. In it, amongst other things, Moore made the claims that: the phrase ‘it is certain’ could be used with sense-experience-statements, such as ‘I have a pain’, to make statements such as ‘It is certain that I have a pain’; and that sense-experience-statements can be said to be certain in the same sense as some material-thing-statements can be — namely in the sense that (...) they can be safely counted on. When Moore later read his paper to Wittgenstein, Wittgenstein took violent exception to it, and the two entered into a heated exchange. The only known notes of this exchange are a previously unpublished verbatim record of part of it, taken by Norman Malcolm. This paper is an edition of Malcolm’s notes. These notes are valuable for both philosophical and scholarly reasons. They give us a glimpse of a sustained exchange between Wittgenstein and a real-life interlocutor; they contain a defence by Wittgenstein of the idea that a word’s use can illuminate its meaning; and they provide evidence of Wittgenstein’s philosophical engagement with the topic of certainty, and with Moore’s thought on it, long before he began to write the notes which make up On Certainty, in 1949. (shrink)
In a world with at least three times as many nations as states, what are the limits of legitimate nation-building? How can national self-determination be coordinated within a federal system? This book provides one of the most extensive discussions to date on the ethics of nation-building and the nature and justification of federal systems.
The chief defect of all previous materialism is that things, reality, the sensible world, are conceived only in the form of objects of observation , but not as human sense activity , not as practical activity , not subjectively. Hence, in opposition to materialism, the active side was developed abstractly by idealism, which of course does not know real sense activity as such.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, who died in Cambridge in 1951, is one of the most powerful influences on contemporary philosophy, yet he shunned publicity and was essentially a private man. His friend Norman Malcolm (himself an eminent philosopher) wrote this remarkably vivid personal memoir ofWittgenstein, which was published in 1958 and was immediately recognized as a moving and truthful portrait of this gifted, difficult man.This edition includes also the complete text of the fifty-seven letters which Wittgenstein wrote to Malcolm over a (...) period of eleven years. Apart from the quotations in the Memoir these letters are previously unpublished. They reveal how much friendships mattered to Wittgenstein, and how concerned hewas for the health and well-being of his friends. His human qualities become evident; he advises, warns, jokes. and is grateful and affectionate.The volume also features a concise biographical sketch by another leading philosopher who was a friend of Wittgenstein, Georg Henrik von Wright.Much has been published about Wittgenstein since his death, but nothing brings us closer to the man himself than this modest classic of philosophical biography. (shrink)
The Metaphysics of Theism is the definitive study of the natural theology of Thomas Aquinas, the greatest of medieval philosophers, written by one of the world's most eminent scholars of medieval thought. Natural theology is the investigation by analysis and rational argument of fundamental questions about reality, considered in relation to God. Professor Kretzmann shows the continuing value of Aquinas's doctrines to the philosophical enterprise today; he argues that natural theology offers the only route by which philosophers can, as philosophers, (...) approach theological propositions, and that the one presented in this book is the best available natural theology. (shrink)
Of all the major philosophical works, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason is one of the most rewarding, yet one of the most difficult. Norman Kemp Smith's Commentary elucidates not only textural questions and minor issues, but also the central problems which arise, he contends, from the conflicting tendencies of Kant's own thinking. Kemp Smith's Commentary continues to be in demand with Kant scholars, and it is being reissued here with a new introduction by Sebastian Gardner to set it in (...) its contemporary context. (shrink)
The rapidly increasing numbers of elderly people in our society have raised some important moral questions: How should we distribute social resources among different age groups? What does justice require from both the young and the old? In this book, Norman Daniels offers the first systematic philosophical discussion of these urgent questions, advocating what he calls a "lifespan" approach to the problem: Since, as they age, people pass through a variety of institutions, the challenge of caring for the elderly (...) becomes the prudent allocation of public resources among the various stages of people's lives. Using this philosophical approach, Daniels addresses specific public policy issues such as the allocation of medical funds, the adequacy of long-term care, current Medicare cost-containment measures, and the equitable distribution of income support over the lifespan and between generations. (shrink)