This article compares James M. Buchanan's and John Rawls's theories of democratic governance. In particular it compares their positions on the characteristics of a legitimate social contract. Where Buchanan argues that additional police force can be used to quell political demonstrations, Rawls argues for a social contract that meets the difference principle.
The author shows Maritain's view of the place of political philosophy in the hierarchy of the speculative and practical sciences. Some criticisms of Maritain are also suggested, particularly in connection with democratic theory. --S. M. W.
As these opening quotes acknowledge, the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) represents a core puzzle within the formal mathematics of game theory.3 Its rise in conspicuity is evident figure 2.1 above demonstrating a relatively steady rise in incidences of the phrase’s usage between 1960 to 1995, with a stable presence persisting into the twenty first century. This famous two-person “game,” with a stock narrative cast in terms of two prisoners who each independently must choose whether to remain silent or speak, each advancing (...) self-interest at the expense of the other and thereby achieving a mutually suboptimal outcome, mires any social interaction it is applied to into perplexity. The logic of this game proves the inverse of Adam Smith’s invisible hand: individuals acting on self interest will achieve a mutually suboptimal outcome. However, as this chapter illuminates, the assumptions underlying game theory drive this conclusion. (shrink)
This study is concerned with certainty and examines the work of Dewey for the light he sheds on this problem. Hart concentrates on the process of verification, the final stage of inquiry in Dewey's theory. He does this because he believes that, according to Dewey, through the process of verification we may attain "flexible" certainty. The first chapter discusses the background of the problem. The second chapter, "A Dewey Dictionary," contains passages selected from Dewey's works on about sixty topics which (...) Hart considers important for his later discussion. In the third chapter, a chronological account of the development of Dewey's theory of inquiry and his views on verification is meticulously presented. The fourth chapter is devoted to a systematic presentation of the place of verification in Dewey's philosophy. In the fifth chapter are the author's critical reflections: Hart holds that the basic principles of Dewey's theory cannot be justified but must be taken on faith. Here Hart does not seem sufficiently appreciative of Dewey's pragmatism. Dewey could answer: such principles are adopted because they are fruitful and will be maintained only so long as they continue to be fruitful. An epilogue concludes the study.—F. S. M. (shrink)
This essay explores the question of why M figures in the names of all of Beckett’s major characters. I connect M to the word murmuring, which proliferates in his work, and I claim that Beckett was influenced by a passage in Dante’s Purgatorio, in which each face in a group of penitents is inscribed with the letter M. With a rounded eye socket below each arch, the faces of the penitents spell omo or man. I argue that M stands for (...) man – not the humanist form of man that existed for Dante, but rather a ruined figure that is adequate to this moment. Throughout, I engage with critical approaches to Beckett that attempt to connect the posthumanism suggested in his work with the new form of ethics – and of love – that it makes possible. (shrink)
Cohen states in the last sentence of his book that his analysis in no way presupposes the controversial labor theory of value. For him, the contradictions of capitalist production result from the fact that its function is to create exchange value. The statements themselves and the fact that they come very late in the book illustrate two distinctive characteristics of the work. First, Cohen espouses what he calls a technological interpretation of Marx. For him, the driving force of history is (...) the steady increase in the capacity of productive forces. Capitalism supersedes feudalism because of its ability to produce more. This technological interpretation of Marx is a theory of history because only certain production relations allow for the development and expansion of productive forces. For example, the levels of production attained by capitalism would be unthinkable within the context of lord and serf. Secondly, it is not really clear that Cohen is defending a theory of history until he formulates the primacy thesis in chapter 6 and elaborates upon it and the rise of capitalism in chapter 7. The primacy thesis states that the production relations of society are explained by the level of development of its productive forces. Cohen seems to dispense with what is often thought of as the philosophy of history in his discussion of the Hegelian roots of Marxism in the first chapter. He proceeds to analyze the distinction between productive forces and production relations and its consequences for the phenomenon of fetishism in chapters 2-5. These first chapters, and some later ones as well, seem to have the property of belaboring at great length elementary problems raised by the preface to the Critique of Political Economy, and Capital as well. For example, in his distinction between productive forces and production relations, Cohen says that the two must not be confused because relations hold between objects while forces are properties of objects. He says that a soldier who guards peasants tilling the soil is not part of the labor power because he fulfills a social rather than an economic need. Then he presents and elaborates upon a list of production relations. Cohen might have avoided the need for such involved analysis if he had clearly delineated the methodological import of his work in the introduction or the first chapter. I refer to his theory of functional explanation. It is, however, only after he has discussed the problem of base and superstructure in chapter 8 that he comes to examine functional analysis in chapters 9 and 10. Since functional explanation is the crux of his defence of Marxism as a theory of history, the reader deserves a more thorough preparation for it in an introduction. (shrink)
This review essay of Economics Rules situates Dani Rodrik’s contribution with respect to the 2007–2008 global economic crisis. This financial meltdown, which the eurozone did not fully recover from before the Covid-19 pandemic, led to soul- searching among economists as well as a call for heterodox economic approaches. Yet, over the past decade, instead the economics profession has maintained its orthodoxy. Rodrik’s Economics Rules offers a critique of the economics profession that is castigating but mild. It calls for economists to (...) use more and diverse models without becoming wedded to any single model or an overarching vision. Yet Rodrik ratifies many of the benchmark models standard to orthodox economics and provides little ground for a fundamental rethinking of the discipline. This essay analyses the conservatism underlying Rodrik’s approach, which upholds general equilibrium theory and rational expectations underlying the efficient market hypothesis. It argues that the economics discipline’s scope-creep to maintain its applicability to all human decision-making, and its acceptance of all-inclusive utility functions, crowds out moral sentiments and civic virtue. Thus. it argues that rather than urging economists simply to be more cautious in their application of models to address particular social concerns, instead economists must recognise their discipline’s inherent limitations. (shrink)
This paper analyses the National Populist Challenges to Europe’s Center Right. It assesses the cases of the UK, Germany and France. It poses three questions for Europe: How will political integration be achieved and maintained? What policies will foster economic inclusion in the Eurozone? And, third, what are the best means to achieve economic solvency and growth. The paper make a case that neoliberal economic policies over the past decades have undermined some nations' public sector and have also contributed to (...) tensions between the geographical east and west of Europe. (shrink)
This paper examines how the concepts of utility, impartiality, and universality worked together to form the foundation of Adam Smith's jurisprudence. It argues that the theory of utility consistent with contemporary rational choice theory is insufficient to account for Smith's use of utility. Smith's jurisprudence relies on the impartial spectator's sympathetic judgment over whether third parties are injured, and not individuals' expected utility associated with individuals' expected gains from rendering judgments over innocence or guilt.
This book discusses how rational choice theory grew out of RAND's work for the US Air Force. It concentrates on the work of William J. Riker, Kenneth J. Arrow, James M. Buchanan, Russel Hardin, and John Rawls. It argues that within the context of the US Cold War with its intensive anti-communist and anti-collectivist sentiment, the foundations of capitalist democracy were grounded in the hyper individualist theory of non-cooperative games.
The author's first-hand knowledge of phenomenology enables him to select advisedly from the vast stores of available material, and to present the thought of the major figures in the movement so that neither the differences nor dependencies are obscured. The history deals with both the French and German branches of phenomenology. There are also helpful examinations of contacts and affinities between the European phenomenologists and American philosophers such as James and Royce. Altogether a thorough and first rate piece of scholarship.--S. (...) M. W. (shrink)
In this brief and readable survey of the Reformation in Scotland, Professor Renwick succeeds in supplying both a sketch of the pre-Reformation church in Scotland, and an account of the entanglements of blood, religion and politics involving the Scottish throne. Frankly written from the Protestant point of view, the author demonstrates restraint in his treatment of the role of Mary Stewart, and gives an interesting narrative of John Knox's part in bringing about the reformation of the church.--S. M. W.
Is capitalism inherently predatory? Must there be winners and losers? Is public interest outdated and free-riding rational? Is consumer choice the same as self-determination? Must bargainers abandon the no-harm principle? Prisoners of Reason recalls that classical liberal capitalism exalted the no-harm principle. Although imperfect and exclusionary, modern liberalism recognized individual human dignity alongside individuals' responsibility to respect others. Neoliberalism, by contrast, views life as ceaseless struggle. Agents vie for scarce resources in antagonistic competition in which every individual seeks dominance. This (...) political theory is codified in non-cooperative game theory; the neoliberal citizen and consumer is the strategic rational actor. Rational choice justifies ends irrespective of means. Money becomes the medium of all value. Solidarity and good will are invalidated. Relationships are conducted on a quid pro quo basis. However, agents can freely opt out of this cynical race to the bottom by embracing a more expansive range of coherent action. (shrink)
A tough-minded, controversial autobiography by a disillusioned Viennese Catholic turned Hindu monk. Swami Agehananda Bharati is not the usual ethnophile. Indeed, his view that one must regard one's cultural heritage critically continues long after his conversion and provokes many an angry rebuke from his less questioning Hindu brothers. For Bharati, nothing is sacred a priori. Neither Ramakrishna, the nineteenth-century Bengali saint, nor Swami Vivekananda, his best known disciple, nor, for that matter, the Mahatma himself escapes critical re-evaluation. Yet Bharati's knowledge (...) of the Sanskrit texts, his familiarity with half a dozen modern Indian languages, and his years of itinerant teaching on the Indian sub-continent make his voice one to be reckoned with on the topic of contemporary Hindu life. One can no doubt imagine a more sympathetic passage to India, but there could hardly be one more stimulating.--S. M. F. (shrink)
An essay in normative jurisprudence where the author is concerned with delineating and evaluating legal decision procedures. The appeal to precedent and equity are critically examined and found to be deficient. Wasserstrom proposes as an improvement a two-level decision procedure, which is like precedent in appealing to a rule of law as a necessary condition for deciding a case, and like equity "in that considerations of justice are directly relevant to the justification of any decision." He frankly admits that this (...) decision procedure is an improvement at the "price of becoming imprecise at certain crucial points." The discussion is informed throughout with an appreciation of both legal and philosophical treatments of the issues.--S. M. W. (shrink)
Schleiermacher's Copernican revolution in theology is effected through his presentation of the Christian mythos in terms of a phenomenological anthropology of self-consciousness. Moreover, as Niebuhr shows in this apt study of some features of Schleiermacher's theological thinking, the principles which determine the shape of that revolution can be deduced neither from a biblical dogmatics allegedly purified of philosophical presuppositions nor from a philosophy uninformed by theological experience. In the first part of the book, Niebuhr discusses Schleiermacher's little-known work The Christmas (...) Eve: A Dialogue, affording us a picture of the author's starting-point in the experience of a salvation or potentiated self-consciousness which is historically and socially mediated. The subsequent analysis of the lectures on hermeneutics and ethics discloses the object of Schleiermacher's inquiry to be not the supernatural being that posits the cosmos, but the creative Logos indwelling the individual and all men by means of the common, organic media of human existence in which the self both comes to be and comes to create history and culture. Finally, The Christian Faith is reviewed by Niebuhr in terms of the expression it gives to the mature Schleiermacher's theology and christology. The primordial consciousness of being-in-relation reveals the historical, societal, worldly context of the self and the various polarities of the self's existence such that religion emerges as a phenomenon coterminous with man's affective response to the relationships in which the whole of human nature is bound, and theology, the "daughter of religion," becomes the methodology by which the articulation of an affective determination of self-consciousness is achieved. The rigorously pursued explicitation [[sic]] of the forms and determinations of self-consciousness is interpreted by Niebuhr with a penetration and a sympathy at once acute and comprehensive. By giving us a series of insights into Schleiermacher's "thinking in motion," Niebuhr has contributed a cogent testimony to the nineteenth-century theologian's central importance in the fields of hermeneutical theory, philosophical ethics, philosophy of religion and culture, and theology. One would have welcomed a more critical appraisal of Schleiermacher's view of the formal and material compatibility of philosophy and theology, understanding and feeling, inasmuch as the scope of theological inquiry appears to be limited by the boundaries of reason set forth in the ethics, and philosophical anthropology is apparently reduced to a rather sophisticated phenomenology of religious experience. In any case, Niebuhr's scholarly treatment of the material should lead the reader to an informed examination of Schleiermacher's text.--J. M. S. (shrink)
This paper explores how the Leviathan that projects power through nuclear arms exercises a unique nuclearized sovereignty. In the case of nuclear superpowers, this sovereignty extends to wielding the power to destroy human civilization as we know it across the globe. Nuclearized sovereignty depends on a hybrid form of power encompassing human decision-makers in a hierarchical chain of command, and all of the technical and computerized functions necessary to maintain command and control at every moment of the sovereign's existence: this (...) sovereign power cannot sleep. This article analyzes how the form of rationality that informs this hybrid exercise of power historically developed to be computable. By definition, computable rationality must be able to function without any intelligible grasp of the context or the comprehensive significance of decision-making outcomes. Thus, maintaining nuclearized sovereignty necessarily must be able to execute momentous life and death decisions without the type of sentience we usually associate with ethical individual and collective decisions. (shrink)
The debate over financial incentives and market models for organ procurement represents a key trend in recent bioethics. In this paper, we wish to reassess one of its central premises—the idea of organ shortage. While the problem is often presented as an objective statistical fact that can be taken for granted, we will take a closer look at the underlying framework expressed in the common rhetoric of “scarcity”, “shortage” or “unfulfilled demand”. On the basis of theoretical considerations as well as (...) a socioempirical examination of public attitudes, we will argue that this rhetoric has an economic subtext that imbues the debate with normative premises that have far-reaching social and ethical consequences and need to be made explicit and discussed. (shrink)