Between 1787, and the end of his life in 1832, Bentham turned his attention to the development and application of economic ideas and principles within the general structure of his legislative project. For seventeen years this interest was manifested through a number of books and pamphlets, most of which remained in manuscript form, that develop a distinctive approach to economic questions. Although Bentham was influenced by Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, he (...) neither adopted a Smithian vocabulary for addressing questions of economic principle and policy, nor did he accept many of the distinctive features of Smith's economic theory. One consequence of this was that Bentham played almost no part in the development of the emerging science of political economy in the early nineteenth century. The standard histories of economics all emphasize how little he contributed to the mainstream of late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century debate by concentrating attention on his utilitarianism and the psychology of hedonism on which it is premised. Others have argued that the calculating nature of his theory of practical reason reduced the whole legislative project to a crude attempt to apply economics to all aspects of social and political life. Put at its simplest this argument amounts to the erroneous claim that Bentham's science of legislation is reducible to the science of political economy. A different but equally dangerous error would be to argue that because Bentham's conception of the science of legislation comprehends all the basic forms of social relationships, there can be no science of political economy as there is no autonomous sphere of activity governed by the principles of economics. This approach is no doubt attractive from an historical point of view given that the major premise of this argument is true, and that many of Bentham's ‘economic’ arguments are couched in terms of his theory of legislation. Yet it fails to account for the undoubted importance of political economy within Bentham's writings, not just on finance, economic policy, colonies and preventive police, but also in other aspects of his utilitarian public policy such as prison reform, pauper management, and even constitutional reform. All of these works reflect a conception of political economy in its broadest terms. However, this conception of political economy differs in many respects from that of Bentham's contemporaries, and for this reason Bentham's distinctive approach to problems of economics and political economy has largely been misunderstood. (shrink)
In his paper ‘Has the Ontological Argument Been Refuted?’, 97–110) William F. Vallicella argues that my attempt to show that the Ontological Argument begs the question is unsuccessful. 1 I believe he is wrong about this, but before endeavouring to vindicate my position I must first make clear what precisely is the point at issue between us. The Ontological Argument is not a single argument, but a family of arguments. Newly devised formulations of the argument are frequently put forward by (...) philosophers in an effort to avoid difficulties that have been pointed out in previous versions. As a consequence there is no possibility of a conclusive proof that every form of the argument embodies the same fallacy. Nevertheless, one can, I believe, prove that all the standard versions of the argument embody a certain fallacy and that, given the nature of the argument, it is therefore unlikely that the argument can be formulated in such a way as to avoid this difficulty. What I tried to show in my paper is that the six best-known versions of the argument all beg the question and that they do so at the same point in the argument, namely when it is asserted that it is possible that an absolutely perfect being exists. It is difficult to see how an ontological argument could be formulated without including this claim as one of its premises, since the distinguishing badge of the argument is the inference from the possibility of an absolutely perfect being to its actuality. It must be unlikely then, if my criticism of these six versions is correct, that there is any way of formulating the argument that avoids this fallacy. (shrink)
Theism, according to David O'Connor, has in recent centuries been on trial for its life, the charge being that the existence of so much evil in the world is incompatible with belief in a benevolent creator. But this trial, he claims is incapable of producing a reasoned verdict.
This is the collection of essays presented to Bochenski on his 60th birthday, and it contains, as a mirror of Bochenski's own work, a broad spectrum of studies ranging from formal logic and history of logic, to the philosophy of logic and language, and to the methodology of explanation in Greek philosophy. Of the seventeen articles, these are some of the more important to the reviewer: "Betrachtungen zum Sequenzen Kalkül" by Paul Bernays, which is an extensive study of Gentzen-type formulations (...) of logic; "Remarks on Formal Deduction," H. B. Curry, a further discussion of sequenzen-logics; "Marginalia on Gentzen's Sequenzen Kalkül" by Hughes Leblanc; "Method and Logic in Presocratic Explanation," Jerry Stannard; "On the Logic of Preference and Choice," H. S. Houthakker, a suggestive presentation of decision and utility theory in logical form; "Leibniz's Law in Belief Contexts," Chisholm; "On Ontology and the Province of Logic," R. M. Martin; and "N. A. Vasilev and the Development of Many-valued Logics," G. L. Kline, an important addition to the history of logic. Other contributors are: Storrs McCall, Albert Menne, E. W. Beth, Benson Mates, Ivo Thomas, J. F. Staal, F. R. Barbò, A.-T. Tymieniecka, and N. M. Luyten. There is a bibliography of Bochenski's writings through 1962.—P. J. M. (shrink)