Harry Eckstein’s long-standing (but ever-changing) hypothesis that a nation’s political stability is a function of “congruence” between the “authority patterns” exhibited by the government and those displayed by nearly every sort of institution under that government’s aegis involved a highly complex politico-psychological theory. As a result, it was quite difficult either to confirm or disconfirm. While there have been a number of suggested revisions that apparently simplify his thesis, they suffer either from vagueness or a failure to take democracy to (...) be a system that requires an actual commitment to majoritarianism. In this paper a revision is offered that utilizes a small number of completely dichotomous variables that are easily subject to empirical tests. This revised theory (of “consonance” rather than congruence) is also explicitly majoritarian, enabling it to shed light on the essential nature of democratic regimes. (shrink)
In spite of the intuitiveness of epistemic closure, there has been a stubborn stalemate regarding whether it is true, largely because some of the “Moorean” things we seem to know easily seem clearly to entail “heavyweight” philosophical things that we apparently cannot know easily—or perhaps even at all. In this paper, I will show that two widely accepted facts about what we do and don’t know—facts with which any minimally acceptable understanding of knowledge must comport—are jointly inconsistent with the truth (...) of CLR. The proof works by supposing the truth of “Categorialism,” a thesis about the relation between basic categories and common nouns and predicates, which is itself a heavyweight claim that cannot be easily known to be either true or false. (shrink)
The word “populism” commonly elicits images of hordes of angry townspeople with pitchforks and torches. That is the classic picture of “the mob,” bolstered by countless movie and television productions, and it is clearly based on such historical events as the English civil wars, the sans-culottes’ terror, the Bolshevik revolution, and the recent genocides in Rwanda and Burundi. Many of the leaders involved in fostering such horrors are seen as radical democrats whose successors today should also be feared. In this (...) paper, I argue that any mob takeovers of the feared sort are actually antithetical to radical democracy. This is because an authentically democratic regime, even of the most extreme type, is necessarily inconsistent with “mobocracy” or any sort of “tyranny of the majority” given its essential procedural aspects. It is argued, in fact, that leaders of legitimately democratic movements have generally been quite vapid because of the fallibilistic, plebiscitary proceduralism inherent in any authentic attempt to require government policy to reflect the “general will.” And this vapidity is argued to inhere regardless of the extent of rhetorical powers of the advocate or advocacy. (shrink)
It is customary to think that Objective List (“OL), Desire-Satisfaction (“D-S”) and Hedonistic (“HED”) theories of prudential value pretty much cover the waterfront, and that those of the three that are “subjective” are naturalistic (in the sense attacked by Moore, Ross and Ewing), while those that are “objective” must be Platonic, Aristotelian or commit the naturalist fallacy. I here argue for a theory that is both naturalistic (because voluntaristic) and objective but neither Platonic, Aristotelian, nor (I hope) fallacious. In addition, (...) this proposal, called “CHOICE,” is an example of neither an OL, D-S, nor HED theory. It is a theory according to which uncoerced choosings create objective values that we (even everyone) may be wrong about, because valuations are conative rather than epistemic activities. On this view, intrinsic prudential goods necessarily involve likely (pursuant to lawlike regularities) net increases in successful free choosings . (shrink)
It has been claimed by Diana Raffman, that atonal (and in particular serial) music can have no aesthetic value, because it is in an important sense meaningless. This worthlessness is claimed to result from cognitive/psychological facts about human listeners that have been confirmed by empirical investigations such as those conducted by Lerdahl and Jackendoff. Similar assertions about the necessary inferiority of 12-tone music have been made by, among others, Taruskin, Cavell, and Goldman, some of whom echo Raffman’s suggestion that both (...) composers and performers of atonal music are committing a kind of fraud. This paper responds to all of those allegations. In particular, it points out that even if the empirical claim about human cognitive capacities with respect to the discernment of “local structure” in atonal works is assumed to be correct (which is actually quite doubtful), all the arguments brought by the “prosecution” against atonal music that rely on this claim are invalid. It is noted that such arguments by tonality advocates somewhat ironically rely on their own variety of what Taruskin has called “the poietic fallacy,” a gaff which he has frequently accused serialists (and perhaps alea supporters) of committing. Readers are reminded that the main basis for claims of aesthetic worth (or worthlessness) can never be primarily theoretical, but must be principally based on the experiences of beholders. (shrink)
Epistemological realists have long struggled to explain perceptual error without introducing a tertium quid between perceivers and physical objects. Two leading realist philosophers, Thomas Reid and Everett Hall, agreed in denying that mental entities are the immediate objects of perceptions of the external world, but each relied upon strange metaphysical entities of his own in the construction of a realist philosophy of perception. Reid added ‘visible figures’ to sensory impressions and specific sorts of mental events, while Hall utilized an array (...) of ways that he maintained properties may participate in the world. This paper assesses each realist's attempt to explain perceptual relativity and illusion without contradicting either the science of his time or the structure of common sense. (shrink)
A proof is offered according to which if a psychological premise held by many diverse philosophers through the centuries to the effect that any represented physical property will be held to be exemplified unless some conflicting physical property is simultaneously represented is considered to be necessary, then there are physical objects in every possible world.
Two arguments Paul Snowdon has brought against the causal theory of perception are examined. One involves the claim that, based on the phenomenology of perceptual situations, it cannot be the case that perception is an essentially causal concept. The other is a reductio , according to which causal theorists’ arguments imply that a proposition Snowdon takes to be obviously non-causal ( A is married to B ) can be analyzed into some sort of indefinite ‘spousal connection’ plus a causal ingredient (...) . I conclude that neither argument is sound. The reason that Snowdon’s critiques fail is that, since causal theories need not be about ‘effect ends’ that are internally manifest to perceivers, no such ostensibly separable, non-causal property as it being to S as if he were perceiving O need be an essential element in a causal theory of perception. (shrink)
"Populism" has long been a dirty word. To some, it suggests the tyranny of the mob, to others, a xenophobic nativism. It is sometimes considered conducive to (if not simply identical to) fascism. In this timely book, Walter Horn acquits populism by "distilling" it, in order to finally give the people the power to govern themselves, free from constraints imposed either by conservatives (or libertarians) on the right or liberals (or Marxists) on the left. Beginning with explanations of what it (...) means to vote and what makes one society better off than another, Horn progresses to issues involving what makes for fair aggregation and appropriate, deliberative representation. From suggesting solutions to contemporary problems like gerrymandering, immigration control, and campaign finance, to offering answers to age-old questions like why dissenters should want to obey the majority and who should have the right to vote in various elections, Horn, using his new theory of "CHOICE Voluntarism," provides solutions to some of the most perplexing problems in the history of democratic theory. -/- The Introduction and first chapter can now be read free at Amazon. (shrink)
American philosopher Everett W. Hall was among the first epistemologists writing in English to have promoted “representationism,” a currently popular explanation of cognition. According to this school, there are no private sense-data or qualia, because the ascription of public properties that are exemplified in the world of common sense is believed to be sufficient to explain mental content. In this timely volume, Walter Horn, perhaps the foremost living expert on Hall’s philosophy, not only provides copious excerpts from Hall’s works in (...) epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of language--as well as his own commentaries on those writings--but also includes articles by Richard Rorty, Amie Thomasson, Fred Dretske, Thomas Natsoulas, and Romane Clark that are pertinent to Hall’s unique blend of linguistic idealism and intentional, common-sense realism. Covering metaphilosophy, the intentionality of perception, naïve realism, linguistic relativism, and Hall's public disagreements with such luminaries as Moore, Carnap, Wittgenstein, Quine, and Sellars, The Roots of Representationism is essential reading for students of 20th Century analytic philosophy. (shrink)
In the direct realist tradition of Reid and Austin, disjunctivism has joined its precursors inproudly trumpeting its allegiance with naïve realism. And the theory gains plausibility, par-ticularly as compared with adverbialism, if one considers a Wittgensteinian line of argumentregarding the use of sensation words. But ‘no common factor’ doctrines can be shown to beinconsistent with the naïve realism that has served as their main support. This does notmean that either disjunctivism or the Wittgensteinian perspective on language acquisitionthat informed it must (...) be false. It does indicate, however, that linguistic arguments againstprivate or internal meanings do not imply perceptual directness and that the espousal of direct realism—naïve or not—does not require adherence to disjunctivism. (shrink)
Whether or not we have any natural right to landownership, like life and liberty, the institution of private property is agood. The utility produced by private property in land is overshadowed by the evils produced by the speculative withholding of supramarginal land unless compensatory payments are required of landowners. Such payments should be made to those living in the same “rental area” and should be of an amount that will eliminate all incentive to land speculation. It is not always either (...) desirable or possible to require that all of one's land value be paid in compensation. and even if such payments could be accomplished, they would not always be enough to redistribute the product stemming from the “monopolization” of real property The proper compensatory payment should reflect real increases in the value of real estate since its purchase, minus the value of improvements to the site made by the owner. (shrink)
In his classic paper on social costs, social scientist R. H. Coase has argued that in a world without transaction costs in the "buying and selling," of social benefits and damages, resource allocation would be unaffected by a change in the apportioning of liabilities. That is, whether or not a social nuisance-causer must pay damages to those to whom he is a nuisance, will not, in an efficient economy with no transaction costs, have any effect on resource allocation. In this (...) paper, the author intends to show that there is a certain class of nuisances that are not amenable to Coasean solutions even if one grants Coase 's intuitive notions of prudence and rationality, it is considered these situations only in the short term, and considerations of equity are ignored. This class of nuisances comprises certain of those instances in which the interests of a tenant are not identical with those of his landlord. The article also purposes to shed light on the merits of an "unearned increment" tax on the value of land. (shrink)
The positions on private landownership of two libertarian scholars thought to have a wide following in that movement are examined The libertarians —Murray Rothbard and Robert Nozick—hold positions which are untenable. Rothbard's theory is almost indistinguishable from John Locke's and rests on the labor theory of ownership and the admixture theory of labor; standards which are too vague. Nozick believes that making something valuable gives a right of ownership, but again the standard is too ambiguous. And it is necessary to (...) appropriate a thing before one can improve it. The value added theory permits a utilitarian justification of landownership involving the payment of compensation to non-owners. (shrink)
Mediation is generally considered faster and less expensive than adjudication. However, if cases undergoing mediation cannot be resolved by such means, the time and cost must simply be added to the cost of adjudicating the matter. This paper suggests marks by which particular workers' compensation disputes can be determined to be good candidates for mediation.