In the continuing dialogue between Western philosophy and the Christian religion, the central issue has generally been the existence of God. There has however been a discernible shift in the focus of the discussion in recent years. Rather than the existence of God, the issue now seems to be the concept of God. It is increasingly argued by philosophers critical of religion that the concept of God is basically incoherent, and that therefore the question of God's existence or non-existence does (...) not even arise. What cannot be conceived is not even a possible object of faith. (shrink)
According to many commentators, Davidson’s earlier work on philosophy of action and truth-theoretic semantics is the basis for his reputation, and his later forays into broader metaphysical and epistemological issues, and eventually into what became known as the triangulation argument, are much less successful. This book by two of his former students aims to change that perception. In Part One, Verheggen begins by providing an explanation and defense of the triangulation argument, then explores its implications for questions concerning semantic normativity (...) and reductionism, the social character of language and thought, and skepticism about the external world. In Part Two, Myers considers what the argument can tell us about reasons for action, and whether it can overcome skeptical worries based on claims about the nature of motivation, the sources of normativity and the demands of morality. The book reveals Davidson’s later writings to be full of innovative and important ideas that deserve much more attention than they are currently receiving. (shrink)
Recent decades have seen a resurgence of contractarian thinking about the nature and origins of the state. Scholars in this tradition ask what constraints rational, self-interested actors might deliberately impose upon themselves. In response, Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, and other early contractarians answered that laws of property were an attractive alternative to “the war of all against all.” More recently, James Buchanan, Russell Hardin, Mancur Olson, Gordon Tullock, and others have used contractarian principles to justify laws that solve a variety of (...) Prisoner's Dilemmas and other collective-action problems. And in the distributional realm, John Rawls and others have applied contractarian analysis to investigate how material wealth ought to be allocated among people. (shrink)
In this book, I make use of an idea from economics to suggest how noble human tendencies might not only have survived the ruthless pressures of the material world, but actually have been nurtured by them.
Tocqueville pessimistically predicted that liberty and equality would be incompatible ideas. Robert Dahl, author of the classic _A Preface to Democratic Theory,_ explores this alleged conflict, particularly in modern American society where differences in ownership and control of corporate enterprises create inequalities in resources among Americans that in turn generate inequality among them as citizens. Arguing that Americans have misconceived the relation between democracy, private property, and the economic order, the author contends that we can achieve a society of (...) real democracy and political equality without sacrificing liberty by extending democratic principles into the economic order. Although enterprise control by workers violates many conventional political and ideological assumptions of corporate capitalism as well as of state socialism. Dahl presents an empirically informed and philosophically acute defense of "workplace democracy." He argues, in the light of experiences here and abroad, that an economic system of worker-owned and worker-controlled enterprises could provide a much better foundation for democracy, political equality, and liberty than does our present system of corporate capitalism. (shrink)
(Part of a symposium on an OUP collection of Paul Russell's papers on free will and moral responsibility). Paul Russell’s The Limits of Free Will is more than the sum of its parts. Among other things, Limits offers readers a comprehensive look at Russell’s attack on the problematically idealized assumptions of the contemporary free will debate. This idealization, he argues, distorts the reality of our human predicament. Herein I pose a dilemma for Russell’s position, critical compatibilism. The dilemma illuminates the (...) tension between Russell’s critical and compatibilist commitments. The problem is not obviously insurmountable, and as a compatibilist who is sympathetic to the view, my aim is to spark further discussion. (shrink)
P.F. Strawson’s account of moral responsibility in “Freedom and Resentment” has been widely influential. In both that paper and in the contemporary literature, much attention has been paid to Strawson’s account of blame in terms of reactive attitudes like resentment and indignation. The Strawsonian view of praise in terms of gratitude has received comparatively little attention. Some, however, have noticed something puzzling about gratitude and accountability. We typically understand accountability in terms of moral demands and expectations. Yet gratitude does not (...) express or enforce moral demands or expectations. So, how is it a way to hold an agent accountable? In a more general manner, we might ask if there is even sense to be made of the idea that agents can be accountable—i.e., “on the hook”—in a positive way. In this paper, I clarify the relationship between gratitude and moral accountability. I suggest that accountability is a matter of engaging with others in a way that is basically concerned with their feelings and attitudes rather than solely a matter of moral demands. Expressions of gratitude are a paradigmatic form of this concerned engagement. I conclude by defending my view from the objection that it leads to an overly generous conception of holding accountable and suggest in reply that moral responsibility skeptics may not help themselves to as many moral emotions as they might have thought. (shrink)
Assuming that critical thinking dispositions are at least as important as critical thinking abilities, Ennis examines the concept of critical thinking disposition and suggests some criteria for judging sets of them. He considers a leading approach to their analysis and offers as an alternative a simpler set, including the disposition to seek alternatives and be open to them. After examining some gender-bias and subject-specificity challenges to promoting critical thinking dispositions, he notes some difficulties involved in assessing critical thinking dispositions, and (...) suggests an exploratory attempt to assess them. (shrink)
Menzius war ein prominenter politischer Denker des antiken China und ein hochrangiger Berater des mächtigen Fürsten von Qí. Im Werk Mèngzi “Junker Mèng” sind Dialoge zu politischen Fragen überliefert, die er mit wichtigen Fürsten, mit seinen Gefolgsleuten und mit Gegnern führte. Angesichts des Niedergangs der Zhou-Könige sind Fragen der Herrschaftsform sowie der adäquaten Verwaltung zentral. Dabei behandelte er anthropologische Aspekte der geistigen Konstitution der Menschen und verteidigte so die traditionelle verwandtschaftliche und gesellschaftliche Organisation und ihre Werte. Das Werk bietet eine (...) neue Rekonstruktion der Biographie und der Zeit des Menzius, eine darauf fussende Übersetzung in neuer Anordnung mit detaillierten Kommentaren sowie umfangreiche Anhänge zu Chronologie, Geschichte, Personen und zentralen Begriffen. Es richtet sich an ein sinologisches Fachpublikum und an ideengeschichtlich Interessierte. (shrink)
Developed as the text for the basic computer architecture course at MIT, Computation Structures integrates a thorough coverage of digital logic design with a comprehensive presentation of computer architecture.
A common compatibilist view says that we are free and morally responsible in virtue of the ability to respond aptly to reasons. Many hold a version of this view despite disagreement about whether free will requires the ability to do otherwise. The canonical version of this view is reductive. It reduces the pertinent ability to a set of modal properties that are more obviously compatible with determinism, like dispositions. I argue that this and any reductive view of abilities faces a (...) significant challenge: it cannot adequately explain the freedom-grounding element of this ability. The problem has the form of a dilemma. This leaves reasons-responsive compatibilists with two options: abandon theories of free will grounded in abilities or abandon reductive theories of abilities. (shrink)
Providing the most thorough coverage available in one volume, this comprehensive, broadly based collection offers a wide variety of selections in four major genres, and also includes a section on film. Each of the five sections contains a detailed critical introduction to each form, brief biographies of the authors, and a clear, concise editorial apparatus. Updated and revised throughout, the new Fourth Edition adds essays by Margaret Mead, Russell Baker, Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, and Alice Walker; fiction by Nathaniel Hawthorne, (...) Ursula K. LeGuin, Anton Chekov, James Joyce, Katherine Mansfield, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Alice Walker, Louise Erdrich, Donald Barthelme, and James McPherson; poems by John Donne, Robert Browning, Walt Whitman, Edwin Arlington Robinson, e.e. cummings, Langston Hughes, W.H. Auden, Philip Levine, and Louise Gluck; and plays by August Wilson, Marsha Norman, Wendy Wasserstein, and Vaclav Havel. The chapter devoted to film examines the relation of film to literature and gives the complete screenplay for Citizen Kane plus close analysis of a scene from the film. With its innovative structure, comprehensive coverage, and insightful and stimulating presentation of all kinds of literature, this is an anthology readers will turn to again and again. (shrink)
A popular three-stage argument appraisal strategy calls for (1) identifying the parts of the argument, (2) classifYing the argument as deductive, inductive, or some other type, and (3) appraising the argument using the standards appropriate for the type. This strategy fails for a number of reasons. I propose a comprehensive alternative approach that distinguishes between inductive, deductive, and other standards; calls for the successive application of standards combined with assumption-ascription, according to policies that depend for their selection on the goals (...) of the appraiser; and provides for qualified reasoning. (shrink)
While John B. Watson articulated the intellectual commitments of behaviorism with clarity and force, wove them into a coherent perspective, gave the perspective a name, and made it a cause, these commitments had adherents before him. To document the origins of behaviorism, this series collects the articles that set the terms of the behaviorist debate, includes the most important pre-Watsonian contributions to objectivism, and reprints the first full text of the new behaviorism. Contents: Functionalism, the Critque of Introspection, and the (...) Nature and Evolution of Consciousness: Theoretical Roots of Early Behaviourism: An Anthology [1842-1914] Robert H. Wozniak (Ed) 360 pp Studies of Animal and Infant Behaviour. the Experimental and Comparative Roots of Early Behaviourism: An Anthology [1840-1911] Robert H. Wozniak (Ed) 412 pp An Introuduction to Comparative Psychology [1894 edition] Conway Lloyd Morgan 628 pp Comparative Physiology of the Brain and Comparative Psychology  Jacques Loeb 342 pp Fundamental Laws of Human Behaviour. Lectures on the foundtions of Any Mental or Social Science  Max F. Meyer 264 pp Behaviour. An Introduction to Comparative Psychology [1914 edition] John B. Watson 482 pp. (shrink)
I develop an argument that key theses from Ayn Rand's ethics and political philosophy are incompatible with one another. Her ethical egoism is not compatible with her rights theory. Though Rand's version of rights theory is libertarian, the argument does not depend upon any claims peculiar to her theory, but would apply to the (in)compatibility of ethical egoism and almost any plausible rights theory.
This paper attempts to respond to the critique that critical thinking courses may reflect a cultural bias. After elaborating a list of constitutive dispositions and abilities taught in the critical thinking curriculum , the author considers arguments for why several of these might reflect Western, non-universal values. In each case, the author argues for the conclusion that these values, though they could be applied in ways that reflect a cultural bias, are not inherently biased. Next, the author offers an outline (...) of a more systematic examination of cultural bias. After reiterating the “tentative conclusion” that critical thinking is not culturally biased, the paper concludes by considering the various ways in which critical thinking might be promoted so as to ensure its sensitivity to cultural differences. (shrink)
It is a daunting task to tell the story of the lives emotions lead, how they are rooted in the deeper folds of the person’s psyche and wax and wane over a lifetime. Wollheim’s book is at times a daring attempt to cast an analytic philosopher in the role of narrator of this fascinating but hard to follow story. Two related story lines run through his book. One repeatedly criticizes contemporary philosophers for turning a blind eye to the psychological reality (...) and developmental nature of desire and emotion. The other, containing the book’s main project, develops an account of the characteristic history of an emotion from its origins in a satisfied or frustrated desire, to the formation of an attitude that lies at the core of an emotion, and finally to the fantasized critic in moral emotions such as shame and guilt. How we rate the success of the project depends in no small part on how we assess the relation between these two themes. (shrink)
There have been several attempts of late to read Yogācāra through the lens of Western phenomenology. I approach the issue through a reading of the Cheng weishi lun, a seventh-century Chinese compilation that preserves the voices of multiple Indian commentators on Vasubandhu’s Triṃśikāvijñaptikārikā. Specifically, I focus on the “five omnipresent mental factors” and the “four aspects” of cognition. These two topics seem ripe, at least on the surface, for phenomenological analysis, particularly as the latter topic includes a discussion of “self-awareness”. (...) Yet we find that the Cheng weishi lun account has little in common with the tradition associated with Husserl and his heirs. The categories and modes of analysis in the Cheng weishi lun do not emerge from or aver to a systematic reflection on the nature of “lived experience” so much as they are focused on subliminal processes and metaphysical entities that belong to the domain of the noumenal. In my conclusion I suggest that the later pramāṇa tradition associated with Dignāga and Dharmakīrti—a tradition that profoundly influenced later Yogācāra exegesis in Tibet—did indeed take a “phenomenological turn.” But my comparison shows that both traditions falter when it comes to relating conceptual content to non-conceptual experience, and thus there is reason to be skeptical about claims that phenomenology is epistemologically grounded in how the world presents itself first-personally. (shrink)
Even more so than in other areas of medicine, issues at the end of life elucidate the importance of religion and culture, as well as the role of the family and other social structures, in how these issues are framed. This article presents an overview of the variation in end-of-life treatment issues across 12 highly disparate countries. It finds that many assumptions held in the western bioethics literature are not easily transferred to other cultural settings.
And I find myself knowing the things that I knew Which is all that you can know on this side of the blueIs there such a thing as direct, non-conceptual experience, or is all experience, by its very nature, conceptually mediated? Is some notion of non-conceptual sensory awareness required to account for our ability to represent and negotiate our physical environment, or is it merely an artifact of deep-seated but ultimately misguided Cartesian metaphysical assumptions? Perhaps conscious experience in humans is (...) inextricably tied to the representational or self-reflexive capacities of language; if so, does it necessarily follow that newborn infants and animals are not conscious? Is the very notion of non-conceptual... (shrink)
As is evident from the other articles in this special issue, end-of-life treatment has engendered a vigorous dialogue in the United States over the past few decades because decision making at the end of life raises broad and difficult ethical issues that touch on health professionals, patients, and their families. This concern is exacerbated by the high cost related to the end of life in the U.S. Moreover, in light of demographic patterns, progressively scarce health care resources, and an expanding (...) array of life-saving technologies, decisions at the end of life are becoming problematic matters of public and, thus, scholarly concern in most countries. Issues at the end of life are central not only to bioethics but also raise important ancillary policy dimensions. (shrink)
Defining qualified reasoning as reasoning containing such loose qualifying words as 'probably,' 'usually,' 'probable, 'likely,' 'ceteris paribus,' and 'primafacie, Ennis argues that typical cases of qualified reasoning, though they might be good arguments, are deductively invalid, implying that such arguments fail soundness standards. He considers and rejects several possible alternative ways of viewing such cases, ending with a proposal for applying qualified soundness standards, which requires employment of sufficient background knowledge, sensitivity, experience and understanding of the situation. All of this (...) takes place as part of the process, introduced elsewhere, of successively applying different legitimate sets of standards until one is found that is satisfied, or none is found, the latter calling for rejection of the argument, the former calling for its acceptance. (shrink)
This paper accepts as given that business students want to get ahead. It criticizes business schools for their failure to reduce the incongruence between doing what is right and doing what it takes to get ahead. Because of this failure business school graduates carry negative ideas, attitudes and behaviors vis-à-vis social responsibility from business schools into the business world. Recommendations are made for increasing the social responsibility of business schools.