Academic discussion of pornography is generally restricted to issues arising from the depiction of adults. I argue that child-pornography is a more complex matter, and that generally accepted moral judgements concerning pornography in general have to be revised when children are involved. I look at the question of harm to the children involved, the consumers, and society in general, at the question of blame, and at the possibility of a morally acceptable form of child-pornography. My approach involves an objectivist meta-ethics (...) and a utilitarian view of practical ethics, and I bring out the advantages of these theories to the consideration of moral issues such as this one. (shrink)
In his 1988 review of On the Plurality of Worlds (Lycan ), William Lycan argued that what he called Lewis's 'mad-dog modal realism' (also 'rape-and-loot modal realism' and 'nuclear-holocaust modal realism' - I suspect that some reference to the supposed extremity of Lewis's position is intended) rested upon an unanalysed modal notion. Lycan accepted that actualists all seemed to be stuck with such unanalysed notions (adding that his own was the notion of compatibility as applied to pairs of properties), but (...) argued that Lewis's notion of worlds was also a modal primitive: 'World' for him has to mean 'possible world', since the very flesh-and-bloodiness [which relieves him of the sort of abstraction indulged in by actualists] prevents him from admitting impossibilia. (Lycan , p.46) Lycan's main concerns in this review go back to his earlier paper 'The Trouble with Possible Worlds' (Lycan ), and are taken up again in his PAS paper: The ruling out of impossible worlds is a serious liability [...] For semantics needs impossible worlds. Though standard modal logics may trade just in possible states of affairs, the semantics of conditionals must deal with inconsistent beliefs. (Lycan , p.224) He goes on to claim that the actualist has no problem with impossible worlds. An impossible world is just - e.g. - a set of propositions (one of which happens to be inconsistent). (loc.cit.) Whatever the truth of this in principle, most actualists have either explicitly or implicitly excluded possible worlds from their theories.* It is true, nevertheless, that Lewis has a clear problem with the very idea of worlds at which logically incompatible propositions are true. Lycan attempts to exploit this as follows. (shrink)
possible, your investigation is unlikely ever to get off the ground), there’s no such excuse for philosophers. The philosopher should be unrestricted by fashions in thought, including the unquestioning acceptance of whatever scientific theories are currently dominant. The fact is, however, that in this field and in the philosophy of mind, many.
For some of the world's great thinkers, including Aristotle, Aquinas, and Hegel, philosophy is a vast system of fixed, capital-T Truth for humankind to discover, explore and comprehend. For others, even among those with philosophies as diverse as William James and Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosophy is simply a tool, or a process for ascertaining individual factual truths specific to a given time and place. It is often said that if you ask any ten philosophers to define their subject, you're likely to (...) get ten different answers. Here, presented for non-specialist readers, is an easy-to-understand survey of ideas put forth by 100 important philosophers, from the pre-Socratics of ancient Greece to the analytic philosophers of the present day. Each thinker is summarized in a single illustrated page, or in many instances, in a two-page spread. Each entry includes the philosopher's birth and death dates, titles of major works, major influences, a capsule biographical sketch, and a brief summary of his or her most important ideas. In addition to philosophers in our own Western tradition, readers will find Chinese sages, including Confucius and Lao-tzu, the Indian Buddhist philosopher Ngrjuna, and thinkers representing other cultures. Just a few of the 100 important thinkers represented in this book are: Plato Aristotle Augustine of Hippo Roger Bacon Thomas Aquinas Thomas Hobbes John Locke Rene Descartes Baruch Spinoza Immanuel Kant G.W.F. Hegel Friedrich Nietzsche William James Ludwig Wittgenstein Martin Heidegger Jean-Paul Sartre Alfred Jules Ayer Willard V.O. Quine Thomas Kuhn Donald Davidson and many othersThe text is enhanced with more than 250 illustrations and a glossary of philosophical terms. (shrink)
A guide and a gateway to philosopy resources on the Internet. The site is organized into fourteen main catagories ranging from reasons for studying philosopy to parapsychology. Links are rigorously vetted for accuracy and usefulness.
I frequently have trouble with words that other people use with what seems to be blithe understanding (friends tell me that the problem is that I think too much about words, but I find that not thinking doesn't really seem to help). In the case of `tolerance', though, I have no trouble at all - it's a wishy-washy weasel, a mealy-mouthed mink of a word. I suppose I don't want to claim that it has no decent place in the language (...) at all. I'm not particularly worried, for example, about our tolerating bad dramatic or musical performances by friends, close relatives, or children, nor about our tolerating the short tempers of those under great stress, and so on. What concerns me is the notion of tolerance that is so often to be found floating in the nebulous rhetoric of morality, both public and private. (shrink)
Political Freedom By George G. Brenkert Routledge, 1991. Pp. 278. ISBN 0–415–03372–1. £35 hbk.Wittgenstein: A Bibliographical Guide By Guido Frongia and Brian McGuinness Basil Blackwell, 1990. Pp. x + 438. ISBN 00631–13765–3. £60.00.Metaphysics By Peter van Inwagen Oxford University Press, 1993. Pp. xiii + 222. ISBN 0–19–8751400. £11.95 pbk.The Nature of Moral Thinking By Francis Snare Routledge, 1992. Pp. 187. ISBN 0–415–04709–9. £9.99 pbk.Filosofía analitica hoy: Encuentro de tradiciones Edited by Mercedes Torrevejano Servicio de Publications Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, (...) 1991. Pp. 284. ISBN 84–7191–722‐X. $15.5 pbk.The Puzzle of Experience By J.J. Valberg Clarendon Press, 1992. Pp. 227. ISBN 0–19–824291–3. £25.Religion and Philosophy Edited by Martin Warner Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement: 31 Cambridge University Press, 1992. Pp. vi + 155. ISBN 0–521–42951‐X. £10.95 pbk.The Uses of Philosophy By Mary Warnock Blackwell, 1992. Pp. 256. ISBN 0–631–18038–9. £35.00 hbk. £11.95 pbk.The Disappearance of Time: Kurt Godel and the Idealistic Tradition in Philosophy By Palle Yourgrau Cambridge University Press, 1991. Pp. x + 182. ISBN 0–521–41012–6. £27.50. (shrink)
Ns2 is an open-source communications network simulator primarily used in research and teaching. Ns2 provides substantial support for simulation of TCP, routing, and multicast protocols over wired and wireless networks. Although Ns2 is a widely used powerful simulator, it lacks a way to measure networks that are used to assess reliability and performance metrics and it does not analyse the trace files it produces. The data obtained from the simulations are not straightforward to analyse. Ns2 is still unable to provide (...) any data analysis statistics or graphics as requested. Moreover, the analysis of the Ns2 trace file using any software scripts requires further steps by a developer to do data processing and then produce graphical outputs. Lack of standardisation of tools means that results from different users may not be strictly comparable. There are alternative tools; however, most of them are not standalone applications, requiring some additional libraries. Also, they lack a user-friendly interface. This article presents the architecture and development considerations for the NsGTFA tool, which intends to simplify the management and enable the statistical analysis of trace files generated during network simulations. NsGTFA runs under Windows and has a friendly graphical user interface. This tool is a very fast standalone application implemented in VC++, taking as input an Ns2 trace file. It can output two-dimensional and 3D graphs or data sets, whatever the trace file format. It is also possible to specify the output of standard network performance metrics. NsGTFA satisfies most user needs. There is no complex installation process, and no external libraries are needed. (shrink)
A referendum on abortion in the Republic of Ireland a while ago was strongly influenced by a curious case that aroused great controversy. You probably remember it, but I'll briefly recap the main points. A (very) young rape victim wanted an abortion (or her parents wanted it for her -- I'm not really sure, but it doesn't matter here). She was not only denied it, abortion being illegal in the Republic, but was prevented by a court ruling from going to (...) get one in a country where abortion is allowed. Now, I'm not concerned here with the moral question of abortion itself; what interests me is the confusion evinced (but apparently not felt) by most of those whose comments on the case were reported -- a confusion that afflicted those on both sides of the debate. The results of the recent referendum have reflected the confusion perfectly, with the Irish people offering their collective opinion that a woman shouldn't be allowed an abortion even if her life is endangered, but that women should be allowed free access to information about abortion and to travel to countries where abortion is legal. This would still have denied an abortion to the young rape victim, but would have allowed her to come to England for one. The confusion, it seems to me, is a symptom of two dangerous tendencies of thought concerning other people's moral beliefs -- tendencies which are often linked. (shrink)