To understand H.L.A. Hart's general theory of law, it is helpful to distinguish between substantive and methodological legal positivism. Substantive legal positivism is the view that there is no necessary connection between morality and the content of law. Methodological legal positivism is the view that legal theory can and should offer a normatively neutral description of a particular social phenomenon, namely law. Methodological positivism holds, we might say, not that there is no necessary connection between morality and law, but rather (...) that there is no connection, necessary or otherwise, between morality and legal theory. The respective claims of substantive and methodological positivism are, at least on the surface, logically independent. Hobbes and Bentham employed normative methodologies to defend versions of substantive positivism, and in modern times Michael Moore has developed what can be regarded as a variant of methodological positivism to defend a theory of natural law. (shrink)
Perhaps the most salient feature of Rawls's theory of justice which at once attracts supporters and repels critics is its apparent egalitarian conclusion as to how economic goods are to be distributed. Indeed, many of Rawls's sympathizers may find this result intuitively appealing, and regard it as Rawls's enduring contribution to the topic of economic justice, despite technical deficiencies in Rawls's contractarian, decision-theoretic argument for it which occupy the bulk of the critical literature. Rawls himself, having proposed a “coherence” theory (...) of justification in metaethics, must regard the claim that his distributive criterion “is a strongly egalitarian conception” as independently a part of the overarching moral argument. The alleged egalitarian impact of Rawls's theory is crucial again in normative ethics where Rawls is thought to have developed a major counter-theory to utilitarianism, one of the most popular criticisms of which has been its alleged inadequacy in handling questions of distributive justice. Utilitarians can argue, however, as Brandt recently has, that the diminishing marginal utility of money, along with ignorance of income-welfare curves, would require a utility-maximizing distribution to be substantially egalitarian. The challenge is therefore for Rawls to show that his theory yields an ethically preferable degree of equality. (shrink)
Stephen Cole Kleene was one of the greatest logicians of the twentieth century and this book is the influential textbook he wrote to teach the subject to the next generation. It was first published in 1952, some twenty years after the publication of Godel's paper on the incompleteness of arithmetic, which marked, if not the beginning of modern logic. The 1930s was a time of creativity and ferment in the subject, when the notion of computable moved from the realm (...) of philosophical speculation to the realm of science. This was accomplished by the work of Kurt Gode1, Alan Turing, and Alonzo Church, who gave three apparently different precise definitions of computable. When they all turned out to be equivalent, there was a collective realization that this was indeed the right notion. Kleene played a key role in this process. One could say that he was there at the beginning of modern logic. He showed the equivalence of lambda calculus with Turing machines and with Godel's recursion equations, and developed the modern machinery of partial recursive functions. This textbook played an invaluable part in educating the logicians of the present. It played an important role in their own logical education.". (shrink)
This essay deals with property rights in body parts that can be exchanged in a market. The inquiry arises in the following context. With some exceptions, the laws of many countries permit only the donation, not the sale, of body parts. Yet for some years there has existed a shortage of body parts for transplantation and other medical uses. It might then appear that if more sales were legally permitted, the supply of body parts would increase, because people would have (...) more incentive to sell than they currently have to donate. To allow sales is to recognize property rights in body parts. To allow sales, however, makes body parts into “commodities”—that is, things that can be bought and sold in a market. And some view it as morally objectionable to treat body parts as commodities. (shrink)
[Stephen Makin] Aristotle draws two sets of distinctions in Metaphysics 9.2, first between non-rational and rational capacities, and second between one way and two way capacities. He then argues for three claims: [A] if a capacity is rational, then it is a two way capacity [B] if a capacity is non-rational, then it is a one way capacity [C] a two way capacity is not indifferently related to the opposed outcomes to which it can give rise I provide explanations (...) of Aristotle's terminology, and of how [A]-[C] should be understood. I then offer a set of arguments which are intended to show that the Aristotelian claims are plausible. \\\ [Nicholas Denyer] In De Caelo 1: 11-12 Aristotle argued that whatever is and always will be true is necessarily true. His argument works, once we grant him the highly plausible principle that if something is true, then it can be false if and only if it can come to be false. For example, assume it true that the sun is and always will be hot. No proposition of this form can ever come to be false. Hence this proposition cannot be false. Hence it is necessarily true, and so too is anything that follows from it. In particular, it is necessarily true that the sun is hot. Moreover, if the sun not only is and always will be hot, but also always has been, then it follows by similar reasoning that the sun not only cannot now fail to be hot, but also never could have failed. Anything everlastingly true is therefore, in the strictest sense of the term, necessarily true. (shrink)
Although liberals too often forget it, the health of the liberal publicorder depends on our ability to constitute not only political institutions and limits on power, but appropriate patterns of social lifeand citizen character. Liberal character traits and political virtuesdo not, after all, come about “naturally” or by the deliverance of an “invisible hand.” Even Adam Smith did not think that, as we will see below. Harry Eckstein gets closer to themark by suggesting that “stable governments…are the productof 'accidental' conjunctions (...) of conditions which do sometimes, but rarely, occur in actual societies.”. (shrink)
A central theme throughout the impressive series of philosophical books and articles Stephen Toulmin has published since 1948 is the way in which assertions and opinions concerning all sorts of topics, brought up in everyday life or in academic research, can be rationally justified. Is there one universal system of norms, by which all sorts of arguments in all sorts of fields must be judged, or must each sort of argument be judged according to its own norms? In The (...) Uses of Argument Toulmin sets out his views on these questions for the first time. In spite of initial criticisms from logicians and fellow philosophers, The Uses of Argument has been an enduring source of inspiration and discussion to students of argumentation from all kinds of disciplinary background for more than forty years. (shrink)
Between the later views of Wittgenstein and those of connectionism 1 on the subject of the mastery of language there is an impressively large number of similarities. The task of establishing this claim is carried out in the second section of this paper.
Stephen Schiffer presents a groundbreaking account of meaning and belief, and shows how it can illuminate a range of crucial problems regarding language, mind, knowledge, and ontology. He introduces the new doctrine of 'pleonastic propositions' to explain what the things we mean and believe are. He discusses the relation between semantic and psychological facts, on the one hand, and physical facts, on the other; vagueness and indeterminacy; moral truth; conditionals; and the role of propositional content in information acquisition and (...) explanation. This radical new treatment of meaning will command the attention of everyone who works on fundamental questions about language, and will attract much interest from other areas of philosophy. (shrink)
RESUMEN Largamente desatendida o malinterpretada, la noción de caos en la filosofía de Nietzsche es una pieza constitutiva de la particular concepción del ser que este autor habría dejado apenas esbozada. El artículo se propone elaborar este concepto en la obra nietzscheana, siguiendo algunas de las metáforas que lo iluminan. Desde allí se busca plantear los rasgos centrales de una ontologia del caos, de sesgo no metafísico, que, al afirmar el carácter acontecimental de la realidad, puede verse como precursora de (...) la ontología hermenéutica contemporánea. ABSTRACT The notion of chaos, which has long been neglected or misinterpreted, is a constitutive element of a peculiar conception of being that the philosopher only had time to outline. The objective of this article is to elaborate on this concept in Nietzschean philosophy, guided by some of the metaphors that shed light on it. This serves as the basis to set forth the main characteristics of a non-metaphysical ontology of chaos that asserts the eventful nature of reality and can thus be seen as a precursor of contemporary hermeneutic ontology. (shrink)
The social and environmental problems that we face at this tail end of twentieth-century progress require us to identify some cause, some spirit that transcends the petty limits of our time and place. It is easy to believe that there is no crisis. We have been told too often that the oceans will soon die, the air be poisonous, our energy reserves run dry; that the world will grow warmer, coastlands be flooded and the climate change; that plague, famine and (...) war will be the necessary checks on population growth. But here we are: sufficiently healthy and well-fed, connoisseurs of far-off catastrophe and horror movies, confident that something will turn up or that the prophecies of doom were only dreams. We are the descendants, after all, of creatures who did not despair, who hoped against hope that there would still be life tomorrow. We no more believe in the world's end than we believe that soldiers could break down the door and drag us off to torture and to death: we don't believe that they could even when we know that, somewhere altogether elsewhere, they did. Even if we can force ourselves to remember other ages, other lands or other classes, we are content enough. (shrink)
In this paper I distinguish three alternatives to the functionalist account of qualitative states such as pain. The physicalist-functionalist holds that (1) there could be subjects functionally equivalent to us whose mental states differed in their qualitative character from ours, (2) there could be subjects functionally equivalent to us whose mental states lacked qualitative character altogether and (3) there could not be subjects like us in all objective respects whose qualitative states differed from ours. The physicalist-functionalist holds (1) and (3) (...) but denies (2). The transcendentalist holds (1) and (2) and denies (3). I argue that both versions of physicalist-functionalism inherit the problem of property dualism which originally helped to motivate functionalist theories of mind. I also argue that neither version of physicalist-functionalism can distinguish in a principled way between those neurophysiological properties of a subject which are relevant to the qualitative character of that subject's mental states and those which are not. I conclude that the only alternative to a functionalist account of qualitative states is a transcendentalist account and that this alternative is not likely to appeal to the critics of functionalism. (shrink)
Aboutness has been studied from any number of angles. Brentano made it the defining feature of the mental. Phenomenologists try to pin down the aboutness-features of particular mental states. Materialists sometimes claim to have grounded aboutness in natural regularities. Attempts have even been made, in library science and information theory, to operationalize the notion. But it has played no real role in philosophical semantics. This is surprising; sentences have aboutness-properties if anything does. Aboutness is the first book to examine through (...) a philosophical lens the role of subject matter in meaning. A long-standing tradition sees meaning as truth-conditions, to be specified by listing the scenarios in which a sentence is true. Nothing is said about the principle of selection--about what in a scenario gets it onto the list. Subject matter is the missing link here. A sentence is true because of how matters stand where its subject matter is concerned. Stephen Yablo maintains that this is not just a feature of subject matter, but its essence. One indicates what a sentence is about by mapping out logical space according to its changing ways of being true or false. The notion of content that results--directed content--is brought to bear on a range of philosophical topics, including ontology, verisimilitude, knowledge, loose talk, assertive content, and philosophical methodology. Written by one of today's leading philosophers, Aboutness represents a major advance in semantics and the philosophy of language. (shrink)
Can normative words like "good," "ought," and "reason" be defined in non-normative terms? Stephen Finlay argues that they can, advancing a new theory of the meaning of this language and providing pragmatic explanations of the specially problematic features of its moral and deliberative uses which comprise the puzzles of metaethics.
I consider reasons for questioning ‘the laws of logic’, and suggest that these laws do not accord with everyday reality. Either they are rhetorical tools rather than absolute truths, or else Plato and his successors were right to think that they identify a reality distinct from the ordinary world of experience, and also from the ultimate source of reality.
This paper engages with the idea at the core of my co‐symposiast's paper ‘Ethics of Substance’ : that the Aristotelian concept of substantial being has ethical implications, and an alternative understanding of existence in terms of affecting and being affected will help us more easily to accommodate relational values, which are thought to sit uneasily within the Aristotelian framework.I focus on two questions. First, is there really is a tension between an Aristotelian metaphysics of substance and concern for others? The (...) answer depends on how we understand the relation between my valuing something indeterminate but determinable and my valuing the particular way in which that determinable is contingently determined. I agree that Carpenter is correct in identifying the tension she does.Second, does the alternative Buddhist influenced view of what it is to exist shift our attention from ethical values such as independence and autonomy onto interpersonal and relational values? I consider an example which reflects another aspect of Aristotle's outlook: his account of the ontological status of the simple material elements. I suggest that once we abandon the idea that such elements exist in virtue of specific intrinsic structures, then questions about their persistence through the changes by reference to which they are identified at the very least admit of no determinate answer. This suggestion also supports the line taken in Carpenter's paper. (shrink)
When we speak of philosophy and therapy, or of philosophy as therapy, the usual intent is to suggest that ‘philosophizing’ is or should be a way to clarify the mind or purify the soul. While there may be little point in arguing with psychoses or deeply-embedded neuroses our more ordinary misjudgements, biases and obsessions may be alleviated, at least, by trying to ‘see things clearly and to see them whole’, by carefully identifying premises and seeing what they – rationally – (...) support, and by seeking to eliminate the residual influence of premises that we have long since, rationally, dismissed. I don't intend to argue with this account – though of course it may be as well to remember that ‘philosophizing’ may have more dangerous effects. It is not obvious that philosophical argument will always help us ‘see things straight’, and the Athenian democracy was not altogether wrong to think that some of Socrates' followers or pupils learnt quite the wrong things from him. (shrink)
The fundamental question of political reparation is: why should a state provide redress for an injustice? The predominant answer justifies redress in terms of debts—the perpetration of an injustice creates a debt, and a state is required to make redress for the same reasons that it is required to repay its debts . Other approaches justify redress on the grounds that it will facilitate the achievement of some broader political goal, like the fair distribution of social resources or political reconciliation.In (...) Transitional Justice in Established Democracies, Stephen Winter provides a novel answer to this fundamental question in terms of political legitimacy. On Winter’s “legitimating account,” the state’s perpetuation of certain injustices compromises its political legitimacy. Redress is a required for a (liberal, democratic) state to bolster its legitimacy and to live up to its political commitments.Winter’s book makes a number of contributions to thinking about redress and transitional .. (shrink)
Philosophers talk routinely of ‘Hume's problem of induction’. But the usual accompanying exegesis is mistaken in a way that has led epistemologists to conceive of ‘Hume's problem’ in needlessly narrow terms. They have overlooked a way of articulating the conceptual problem, along with a potential way of solving it. Indeed, they have overlooked Hume's own way. In explaining this, I will supplement Hume's insights by adapting Ryle's thinking on knowledge-how and knowledge-that. We will also see why Hume's ‘sceptical solution’ was (...) a perfectly appropriate response to his ‘sceptical argument’ — rather than a merely descriptive response patently missing the normative sceptical point so strikingly formulated by Hume. (shrink)
My aim in what follows is to sketch with a broad brush fundamental changes involving the concept of obligation in British ethics of the early modern period, as it developed in the direction of the view that obligatory force is a species of motivational force – an idea that deeply informs present thought. I shall also suggest, although I can hardly demonstrate it conclusively here, that one important source for this view was a doctrine which we associate with Kant, and (...) which it may seem surprising to find in British ethics, especially of the early modern period, viz., that rational agents are obligated by motives available through a form of practical thinking necessary for rational autonomy. (shrink)
Philosophers of earlier ages have usually spent time in considering thenature of marital, and in general familial, duty. Paley devotes an entire book to those ‘relative duties which result from the constitution of the sexes’,1 a book notable on the one hand for its humanity and on the other for Paley‘s strange refusal to acknowledge that the evils for which he condemns any breach of pure monogamy are in large part the result of the fact that such breaches are generally (...) condemned. In a society where an unmarried mother is ruined no decent male should put a woman in such danger: but why precisely should social feeling be so severe? Marriage, the monogamist would say, must be defended at all costs, for it is a centrally important institution of our society. Political community was, in the past, understood as emerging from or imposed upon families, or similar associations. The struggle to establish the state was a struggle against families, clans and clubs; the state, once established, rested upon the social institutions to which it gave legal backing. (shrink)
Tom Phillips' painting for the dustjacket of the hardback edition of Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals depicts a faintly translucent, darkly-coloured, multi-layered lattice of letters, in which each character abuts directly upon others above, below and beside it, each overwrites or is overwritten by others of varying dimensions, but none is immediately decipherable as part of a word; and at the centre of this array is a geometrically precise, illuminated circle—perhaps emanating from a light located behind or under the (...) layers of letters, perhaps from one directed at them from above. This image is open to many interpretations. It could represent the sun from Plato's myth of the cave shining through the dialogue in which he presents it ; it could also represent the light of Miss Murdoch's attention playing over the palimpsest of texts that make up the Western tradition of metaphysical thought. But for anyone encountering it upon closing the book after a first reading, it may also seem very precisely to crystallize one's initial impression of that text. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a great deal of discussion about the prospects of developing a ‘naturalized epistemology’, though different authors tend to interpret this label in quite different ways. One goal of this paper is to sketch three projects that might lay claim to the ‘naturalized epistemology’ label, and to argue that they are not all equally attractive. Indeed, I'll maintain that the first of the three—the one I'll attribute to Quine—is simply incoherent. There is no way we (...) could get what we want from an epistemological theory by pursuing the project Quine proposes. The second project on my list is a naturalized version of reliabilism. This project is not fatally flawed in the way that Quine's is. However, it's my contention that the sort of theory this project would yield is much less interesting than might at first be thought. (shrink)
Stephen George Simpson. with definition 1.2.3 and the discussion following it. For example, taking 90(n) to be the formula n §E Y, we have an instance of comprehension, VYEIXVn(n€X<—>n¢Y), asserting that for any given set Y there exists a ...
Moral assertions express attitudes, but it is unclear how. This paper examines proposals by David Copp, Stephen Barker, and myself that moral attitudes are expressed as implicature (Grice), and Copp's and Barker's claim that this supports expressivism about moral speech acts. I reject this claim on the ground that implicatures of attitude are more plausibly conversational than conventional. I argue that Copp's and my own relational theory of moral assertions is superior to the indexical theory offered by Barker and (...) Jamie Dreier, and that since the relational theory supports conversational implicatures of attitude, expressive conventions would be redundant. Furthermore, moral expressions of attitude behave like conversational and not conventional implicatures, and there are reasons for doubting that conventions of the suggested kind could exist. (shrink)
A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes is a popular-science book on cosmology by British physicist Stephen Hawking. It was first published in 1988. Hawking wrote the book for readers who have no prior knowledge of the universe and people who are interested in learning.
In this foundational work on the theory of linguistic and mental representation, Stephen Schiffer surveys all the leading theories of meaning and content in the philosophy of language and finds them lacking. He concludes that there can be no correct, positive philosophical theory or linguistic or mental representation and, accordingly advocates the deflationary "no-theory theory of meaning and content." Along the way he takes up functionalism, the nature of propositions and their suitability as contents, the language of thought and (...) other sententialist theories of belief, intention based semantics, and related issues in ontology. Stephen Schiffer is Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York Graduate Center. A Bradford Book. (shrink)
Stephen Mumford puts forward a new theory of dispositions, showing how central their role is in metaphysics and philosophy of science. Much of our understanding of the physical and psychological world is expressed in terms of dispositional properties--from the solubility of sugar to the belief that zebras have stripes. Mumford discusses what it means to say that something has a property of this kind, and how dispositions can possibly be real things in the world. His clear, straightforward, realist account (...) reveals them to be less mysterious than they seem, and shows that an understanding of dispositions is essential to an understanding of properties, causation, and scientific laws. (shrink)
Cartesian accounts of the mental make it axiomatic that consciousness is transparent: what I feel, I know I feel, however many errors I may make about its cause. ‘I’ names a simple, unextended, irreducible substance, created ex nihilo or eternally existent, and only associated with the complete, extended, dissoluble substance or pretend-substance that is ‘my’ body by divine fiat. Good moderns take it for granted that ‘we’ now realize how shifting, foggy and deconstructible are the boundaries of the self; ‘we’ (...) know that our own motives, feelings and intentions constantly escape us; ‘I’ names only the current speaker, or the momentarily dominant self among many fluid identities. (shrink)
How, if at all, does one's intention to realize an end bear on the justification for taking the means to that end? Theories that allow that intending an end directly provides a reason to take the means are subject to a well-known "bootstrapping" objection. On the other hand, "anti-psychologistic" accounts—which seek to derive instrumental reasons directly from the reasons that support adopting the end itself—have unacceptable implications where an agent faces multiple rationally permissible options. An alternative, predictive, role for intention (...) in means-end reasoning is considered and rejected. A new proposal is then developed, according to which instrumental reasons are not merely reasons to perform an act necessary for a given end, but to perform the act for the sake of that end. (shrink)