This book contains studies of four of the most influential political theorists in the Western tradition: Machiavelli, whose name is a byword for duplicity, Hobbes, the first great English political philosopher, Mill, liberal thinker and champion of individual liberty, and Marx, whose legacy has affected the lives of millions.
Quentin Meillassoux has been described as the most rapidly prominent French philosopher in the Anglophone world since Jacques Derrida in the 1960s. With the publication of After Finitude (2006), this daring protege of Alain Badiou became one of the world's most visible younger thinkers. In this book, his fellow Speculative Realist, Graham Harman, assesses Meillassoux's publications in English so far. Also included are an insightful interview with Meillassoux and first-time translations of excerpts from L'Inexistence divine (The Divine Inexistence), his (...) famous but still unpublished major book. (shrink)
Alfred Marshall's ethics, critically examined by Parsons in the 1930s and often the target of unfair remarks in the past, has become the object of more sympathetic and detailed studies in recent years. These studies have tried to redress the balance that had been upset by routine criticisms, and to prove that Marshall's interest in ethics was neither lip-service to conventional morality nor uncritical acceptance thereof. Moreover, they have vindicated Marshall's claim that his economics, though unconnected to any ethical philosophy, (...) was still one of the moral sciences, inseparable from ethical considerations. (shrink)
The kilogram prototype is an object manufactured in late nineteenth century to serve as the standard unit of mass worldwide. Since then, the kilogram definition has been determined by this unique object, making it a peculiar case in metrological studies. However, after realizing that the prototype’s mass was unexpectedly changing, scientists are seeking a new way to define the kilogram in pure mathematical terms.
Quentin Skinner is one of the leading thinkers in the social sciences and humanities today. Since the publication of his first important articles some two decades ago, debate has continued to develop over his distinctive contributions to contemporary political philosophy, the history of political theory, the philosophy of social science, and the discussion of interpretation and hermeneutics across the humanities and social sciences. Nevertheless, his most valuable essays and the best critical articles concerning his work have been scattered in (...) various journals and difficult to obtain. Meaning and Context includes five of the most widely discussed articles by Skinner, which present his approach to the study of political thought and the interpretation of texts. Following these are seven articles by his critics, five of these drawn from earlier publications and two, by John Keane and Charles Taylor, written especially for this volume. Finally, there appears a fifty-seven page reply by Skinner--a major new statement in which he defends and reformulates his method and lays out new lines of research. The editorial introduction provides a systematic overview of the evolution of Skinner's work and of the main reactions to it.Besides James Tully, John Keane, and Charles Taylor, the contributors include Joseph V. Femia, Keith Graham, Martin Hollis, Kenneth Minogue, and Nathan Tarcov. (shrink)
3. From. evolutionary. psychology. to. evolutionary. economics. 3.1 Shaken foundations Marshall's move from psychology to economics can be described as a slow shift rather than a sudden switch: Psychology seemed to hold out good ...
Reputation monitoring and the punishment of cheats are thought to be crucial to the viability and maintenance of human cooperation in large groups of non-kin. However, since the cost of policing moral norms must fall to those in the group, policing is itself a public good subject to exploitation by free riders. Recently, it has been suggested that belief in supernatural monitoring and punishment may discourage individuals from violating established moral norms and so facilitate human cooperation. Here we use cross-cultural (...) survey data from a global sample of 87 countries to show that beliefs about two related sources of supernatural monitoring and punishment — God and the afterlife —independently predict respondents' assessment of the justifiability of a range of moral transgressions. This relationship holds even after controlling for frequency of religious participation, country of origin, religious denomination and level of education. As well as corroborating experimental work, our findings suggest that, across cultural and religious backgrounds, beliefs about the permissibility of moral transgressions are tied to beliefs about supernatural monitoring and punishment, supporting arguments that these beliefs may be important promoters of cooperation in human groups. (shrink)
In Big Gods, Norenzayan (2013) presents the most comprehensive treatment yet of the Big Gods question. The book is a commendable attempt to synthesize the rapidly growing body of survey and experimental research on prosocial effects of religious primes together with cross-cultural data on the distribution of Big Gods. There are, however, a number of problems with the current cross-cultural evidence that weaken support for a causal link between big societies and certain types of Big Gods. Here we attempt to (...) clarify these problems and, in so doing, correct any potential misinterpretation of the cross-cultural findings, provide new insight into the processes generating the patterns observed, and flag directions for future research. (shrink)
Game theory has proved to be a powerful research tool both in the social and in the natural sciences. Originally confined to the strategy of pure conflict, in zero-sum games, its field of application has been extended to cooperation, coordination and the whole range of strategic interactions in which conflict and cooperation coexist. One of its main achievements is a better understanding of how these interactions evolve and tend to become stable. Since it deals with the anticipation of each other’s (...) behaviour, love seems to be a promising field of analysis. And indeed, interesting research has been done on gift giving, commitment, strategies for mate choice, and other issues. The aim of this paper is to call attention to some of these recent developments. (shrink)
In a recent commendable article, Quentin Smith (1987) exposes fatal flaws in several recent attempts to demonstrate that it is logically impossible for the past to be infinite. However, his analysis of one of these flawed arguments--involving an interesting version of Russell's "Tristram Shandy paradox"--is off the mark, as I show in this paper.
Quentin Smith offers powerful arguments against the New Theory of Reference propounded by leading thhinkers in the philosophy of language. Smith defends the tensed theory of time and argues that the simultaneity is absoltue, basing this position on the theory that all propositions exist in time. Using detailed propostitions and a theory of cognitive significance, he introduces an alternative interpretation of reference that will be relevant to metaphysicians, philosophers of science and philosophers of language and may come to be (...) recognised as the definitive statement on the tensed theory of time. (shrink)
We propose a construct, the Trust Triangle, that highlights three primary mechanisms that provide ex post accountability for opportunistic behavior and motivate ex ante trust in economic relationships. The mechanisms are a society’s legal and regulatory framework, market-based discipline and reputational capital, and culture, including individual ethics and social norms. The Trust Triangle provides a framework to conceptualize the relationships between trust, corporate accountability, legal liability, reputation, and culture. We use the Trust Triangle to summarize recent developments in the empirical (...) finance literature that examine how trust is formed and how trust, or its absence, affects financial markets, firm performance, and the incidence of financial fraud. To date, most studies examine only one leg of the Trust Triangle in isolation. The evidence, however, indicates that all three legs of the Trust Triangle have first-order effects on a wide range of financial outcomes and that they are interrelated. Attempts to model trust and trustworthiness that do not incorporate all three aspects of the Trust Triangle will therefore miss essential aspects of the basic economic problem of how counterparties overcome the risks of moral hazard, asymmetric information, and opportunism to engage in mutually beneficial exchange and production activities. We focus especially on culture-related mechanisms, a recently developed area in empirical finance research that has potential to influence the more established research on laws and reputation. (shrink)
The article examines Quentin Skinner's influential interpretation of Machiavelli's views on liberty, and the sharp divergence between his methodological ideas and his actual practice. The paper explores how Skinner's political ideals directed his interpretation against his own methodological precepts, to offer a basis for a ‘revival’ of republican theory. Skinner's reinterpretation of Machiavelli as a theorist of negative liberty is examined, and refuted. The article analyses Skinner's claim about liberty as the key political value for Machiavelli, and demonstrates that (...) liberty is secondary to empire on the list of Machiavelli's priorities. Skinner's vocabulary and efforts to tone down or ignore Machiavelli's more aggressive ideas are closely examined. The analysis offered in the article, it is suggested, has wider implications, showing the difficulty of applying contextualism in practice, by the very founder of this approach in the history of ideas. (shrink)
Philosophe politique parmi les plus controversés du monde anglo-saxon, Michael Oakeshott est quasiment inconnu en France où son œuvre n'a pratiquement pas été traduite. Il est célèbre pour sa critique du rationalisme en politique et du danger mortel que représentent pour une société les tentatives d'uniformisation abstraite imposées par l'État. Mais sa défense de la tradition en politique est loin d'être traditionnelle contrairement à Burke, Oakeshott est avant tout un individualiste. Aussi son scepticisme vis-à-vis de la politique est-il paradoxal : (...) d'un côté il ouvre la voie à une définition de l'État minimal chère aux néo-libéraux ; de l'autre il exalte les vertus de la vie en société d'une manière qui rappelle Aristote. Ce traditionalisme réflexif permet ainsi à Oakshott de suggérer, plutôt que d'affirmer, les bases d'un droit naturel démocratique. (shrink)
Quentin Meillassoux: After finitude: an essay on the necessity of contingency, trans. Ray Brassier. London and New York: Continuum, 2008, 27.95 ( hb );19.95 (pb). Graham Harman, Quentin Meillassoux: Philosophy in the making, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011, viii and 247 pp. 110.00 ( hb );32.00 (pb). Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s11153-012-9341-x Authors Clayton Crockett, University of Central Arkansas, 201 Donaghey Ave., Conway, AR 72035, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion (...) Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047. (shrink)
The relational interpretation of quantum mechanics proposes to solve the measurement problem and reconcile completeness and locality of quantum mechanics by postulating relativity to the observer for events and facts, instead of an absolute “view from nowhere”. The aim of this paper is to clarify this interpretation, and in particular, one of its central claims concerning the possibility for an observer to have knowledge about other observer’s events. I consider three possible readings of this claim, and develop the most promising (...) one, relativism, to show how it fares when confronted with the traditional interpretative problems of quantum mechanics. Although it provides answers to some problems, I claim that there is currently no adapted locality criterion to evaluate whether the resulting interpretation is local or not. (shrink)
Callender and Cohen have proposed to apply a “Gricean strategy” to the constitution problem of scientific representation, taking inspiration from Grice’s reduction of linguistic meaning to mental states. They suggest that scientific representation can be reduced to stipulation by epistemic agents. This account has been criticised for not making a distinction between symbolic and epistemic representation and not taking into account the communal aspects of scientific representation. I argue that these criticisms would not apply if Grice’s actual strategy were properly (...) employed. I present Grice’s account of linguistic meaning and transpose his actual strategy and method to epistemic representation. This results in a reduction of epistemic representation to mental states that does not fall prey to the same criticisms. The main novelty of the resulting account is a distinction between contextual representational use and general representational status, which I address using the notion of indexicality. (shrink)
"A collection of essays that addresses philosophical aspects of the films of Quentin Tarantino, focusing on topics in ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, language, and cultural identity"--Provided by publisher.
Many activities towards plants are directly related to environmental crisis issues. However, our actions towards plants are little theorized in philosophy and ethics. After a brief presentation of the history, state of the art, and current issues of plant ethics, I critically illustrate how the theoretical threads of current ethics should be clarified, and, more importantly, contextualised, to promote the application of concrete measures. Particular attention is paid to the ethics of plant flourishing as applied to different fields and types (...) of plants. The treatment of wild and ornamental plants is, thus, explicitly distinguished from that of improved agricultural varieties, themselves distinguishable according to modes of cultivation. I thus propose and discuss several recommendations and concrete courses of action to promote an ethics of plants, while pointing out its limitations. (shrink)
Structural realism has been suggested as the best compromise in the debate on scientific realism. It proposes that we should be realist about the relational structure of the world, not its nature. However, it faces an important objection, first raised by Newman against Russell: if relations are not qualified, then the position is either trivial or collapses into empiricism, but if relations are too strongly qualified, then it is no longer SR. A way to overcome this difficulty is to talk (...) about modal, or nomological relations instead of purely extensional relations. I argue that this is insufficient, for then, SR collapses into modal empiricism. I suggest, however, that ME could be the best position in the debate on scientific realism. 1Introduction2Objections to Structural Realism3How to Escape Newman’s Objection4Which Modal Relations Are Retained in Theory Change?5Are Modal Relations Real?6Relativity and Fundamentality7Is Modal Empiricism Really Empiricism?8Could Modal Empiricism Be the Best of Both Worlds? (shrink)
The first of three volumes of essays by Quentin Skinner, one of the world's leading intellectual historians. This collection includes some of his most important philosophical and methodological statements written over the past four decades, each carefully revised for publication in this form. In a series of seminal essays Professor Skinner sets forth the intellectual principles that inform his work. Writing as a practising historian, he considers the theoretical difficulties inherent in the pursuit of knowledge and interpretation, and elucidates (...) the methodology which finds its expression in his two successive volumes. All of Professor Skinner's work is characterised by philosophical power, limpid clarity, and elegance of exposition; these essays, many of which are now recognised classics, provide a fascinating and convenient digest of the development of his thought. (shrink)
Apres avoir introduit les concepts de base de Fūdo, je propose une interpretation du texte problematisee autour du statut de la vegetation. Il s’agira de montrer pourquoi et comment la place que tient la vegetation joue un role mediateur fondamental en tant que principe de premiere importance, y compris et surtout ici pour la vie humaine decrite par Watsuji. Ce faisant, l’objectif est double. D’une part, montrer, a la suite d’Augustin Berque, la coherence de la visee mesologique initiale de l’auteur (...) en donnant un fondement theorique a ses exemples vegetaux. D’autre part, se recentrer sur le role mesologique de la vegetation permet de relativiser la place du climat et donc du determinisme environnemental souvent surevalues dans beaucoup de traductions et commentaires de Fūdo. (shrink)
Primitive ontology is a program which seeks to make explicit the ontological commitments of physical theories in terms of a distribution of matter in ordinary space-time. This program targets wave-function realism, which interprets the high-dimensional configuration space on which wave-functions are defined as our fundamental physical space. Wave-function realism allegedly fails to account for a correspondence between the ontology it postulates and the ‘manifest image’ of the world in which experimental tests of the theory are performed, and therefore the wave-function (...) must be completed with an additional structure which describes what fundamentally exists in ordinary space-time: the ‘primitive ontology’. However primitive ontologies face some difficulties, in particular concerning the ontological status of the wave-function. In this paper, I defend a realist interpretation of the wave-function as describing objects in ordinary space-time, which does not require supplementing the theory with additional structure. The main difference between this proposal and other primitive ontology proposals is that the fundamental constituents of reality are not conceived of as localised objects, but as primitive relations. This interpretation purports to share the advantages of both wave-function realism and primitive ontologies without facing the same difficulties. I argue that the need for an additional structure stems from a commitment to the locality of the fundamental constituents of reality, and that such commitment is unnecessary for recovering the manifest image of the world. (shrink)