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Are there such things as merely possible people, who would have lived if our ancestors had acted differently? Are there future people, who have not yet been conceived? Questions like those raise deep issues about both the nature of being and its logical relations with contingency and change. In Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Timothy Williamson argues for positive answers to those questions on the basis of an integrated approach to the issues, applying the technical resources of modal logic to provide structural cores for metaphysical theories. He rejects the search for a metaphysically neutral logic as futile. The book contains detailed historical discussion of how the metaphysical issues emerged in the twentieth century development of quantified modal logic, through the work of such figures as Rudolf Carnap, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Arthur Prior, and Saul Kripke. It proposes higher-order modal logic as a new setting in which to resolve such metaphysical questions scientifically, by the construction of systematic logical theories embodying rival answers and their comparison by normal scientific standards. Williamson provides both a rigorous introduction to the technical background needed to understand metaphysical questions in quantified modal logic and an extended argument for controversial, provocative answers to them. He gives original, precise treatments of topics including the relation between logic and metaphysics, the methodology of theory choice in philosophy, the nature of possible worlds and their role in semantics, plural quantification compared to quantification into predicate position, communication across metaphysical disagreement, and problems for truthmaker theory.
Connecting Virtues examines the significant advances within the fast-growing field of virtue theory and shows how research has contributed to the current debates in moral philosophy, epistemology, and political philosophy. Includes groundbreaking chapters offering cutting-edge research on the topic of the virtues Provides insights into the application of the topic of virtue, such as the role of intellectual virtues, virtuous dispositions, and the value of some neglected virtues for political philosophy Examines the relevance of the virtues in the current debates in social epistemology, the epistemology of education, and civic education Features work from world-leading and internationally recognized philosophers working on the virtues today
Ever since it was first published in 1930, William Empson (TM)s Seven Types of Ambiguity has been perceived as a milestone in literary criticism "far from being an impediment to communication, ambiguity now seemed an index of poetic richness and expressive power. Little, however, has been written on the broader trajectory of Western thought about ambiguity before Empson; as a result, the nature of his innovation has been poorly understood. A History of Ambiguity remedies this omission. Starting with classical grammar and rhetoric, and moving on to moral theology, law, biblical exegesis, German philosophy, and literary criticism, Anthony Ossa-Richardson explores the many ways in which readers and theorists posited, denied, conceptualised, and argued over the existence of multiple meanings in texts between antiquity and the twentieth century. This process took on a variety of interconnected forms, from the Renaissance delight in the ~elegance (TM) of ambiguities in Horace, through the extraordinary Catholic claim that Scripture could contain multiple literal "and not just allegorical "senses, to the theory of dramatic irony developed in the nineteenth century, a theory intertwined with discoveries of the double meanings in Greek tragedy. Such narratives are not merely of antiquarian interest: rather, they provide an insight into the foundations of modern criticism, revealing deep resonances between acts of interpretation in disparate eras and contexts. A History of Ambiguity lays bare the long tradition of efforts to liberate language, and even a poet (TM)s intention, from the strictures of a single meaning.
Michael Onfray passionately defends the potential of hedonism to resolve the dislocations and disconnections of our melancholy age. In a sweeping survey of history's engagement with and rejection of the body, he exposes the sterile conventions that prevent us from realizing a more immediate, ethical, and embodied life. He then lays the groundwork for both a radical and constructive politics of the body that adds to debates over morality, equality, sexual relations, and social engagement, demonstrating how philosophy, and not just modern scientism, can contribute to a humanistic ethics. Onfray attacks Platonic idealism and its manifestation in Judaic, Christian, and Islamic belief. He warns of the lure of attachment to the purportedly eternal, immutable truths of idealism, which detracts from the immediacy of the world and our bodily existence. Insisting that philosophy is a practice that operates in a real, material space, Onfray enlists Epicurus and Democritus to undermine idealist and theological metaphysics; Nietzsche, Bentham, and Mill to dismantle idealist ethics; and Palante and Bourdieu to collapse crypto-fascist neoliberalism. In their place, he constructs a positive, hedonistic ethics that enlarges on the work of the New Atheists to promote a joyful approach to our lives in this, our only, world.
Once Upon a Time is a collection of essays in the philosophy of literature with two central themes: the significance of story -telling for us and the question of whether the novel, perhaps the art form most closely associated with story-telling, is a legitimate source of human knowledge. Leading philosopher of art Peter Kivy explores why human beings are so enthralled by being told stories and whether story-telling is a significant source of knowledge. Starting with a study of Aristotle's Poetics, Kivy then undertakes a critical discussion of Noel Carroll's suggestion that our interaction with the artists of the past is a kind of "conversation." He goes on to defend the thesis that one of the legitimate artistic pleasures we take in novel-reading is the acquiring of knowledge and, furthermore, that the silent reading of a novel is a kind of performance, making the novel one of the performing arts. The volume concludes with a chapter about jokes, and, in particular, whether it is immoral to tell or be amused by an "immoral" joke. This volume of essays is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in literature and the conceptual problems it may raise for philosophers.
SUNDAY TIMES and GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2015 What does it mean to devote yourself wholly to helping others? In Strangers Drowning, Larissa MacFarquhar seeks out people living lives of extreme ethical commitment, and tells their intimate stories: their stubborn integrity and their compromises; their bravery and their recklessness; their wrenching dilemmas. A couple adopts two children in distress. But then they think: if they can change two lives, why not four? Or ten? They adopt twenty. But how do they weigh the needs of unknown children in distress against the needs of the children they already have? Another couple founds a leprosy colony in the wilderness in India, living in huts with no walls, knowing that their two small children may contract leprosy or be eaten by panthers. The children survive. But what if they hadn't? How would their parents' risk have been judged? We honour such generosity and high ideals; but when we call people 'do-gooders' there is scepticism in it, even hostility. Why do moral people make us uneasy? Between her stories, MacFarquhar threads a lively history of the novels, philosophy, social science, and self-help that have contributed to a deep suspicion of do-gooders in Western culture. Through its sympathetic and beautifully vivid storytelling, Strangers Drowning confronts us with fundamental questions about what it means to be human. In a world of strangers drowning in need, how much should we help, and how much can we help? Is it right to care for strangers even at the expense of those we are closest to? Moving and provocative, Strangers Drowning challenges us to think about what we value most, and why.
So many of us believe that we are free to shape our own destiny. But what if free will doesn't exist? What if our lives are largely predetermined, hardwired in our brains - and our choices over what we eat, who we fall in love with, even what we believe are not real choices at all? Neuroscience is challenging everything we think we know about ourselves, revealing how we make decisions and form our own reality, unaware of the role of our unconscious minds. Leading neuroscientist Hannah Critchlow draws vividly from everyday life and other experts in their field to show the extraordinary potential, as well as dangers, which come with being able to predict our likely futures - and looking at how we can alter what's in store for us. Lucid, illuminating, awe-inspiring The Science of Fate revolutionises our understanding of who we are - and empowers us to help shape a better future for ourselves and the wider world.
'A wonderful introduction to history's most influential scribblers' -
Four men in a cell in Rebibbia prison, Rome, awaiting trial on serious charges of subversion. One of them, the political thinker Antonio Negri, spends his days writing. Among his writings are twenty letters addressed to a young friend in France o letters in which Negri reflects on his own personal development as a philosopher, theorist and political activist and analyses the events, activities and movements in which he has been involved. The letters recount an existential journey that links a rigorous philosophical education with a powerful political passion, set against the historical backdrop of postwar Italy. Crucially, Negri recalls the pivotal moment in 1978 when the former prime minister of Italy, Aldo Moro, was kidnapped and killed by the Red Brigades, and how the institutions then pinned that killing onto him and his associates.
Published here for the first time, these letters offer a unique and invaluable insight into the factors that shaped the thinking of one of the most influential political theorists of our time and they document Negri's role in the development of political movements like Autonomia. They are a vivid testimony to one man's journey through the political upheavals and intellectual traditions of the late 20th century, in the course of which he produced a body of work that has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on radical thought and politics around the world.
This book is the first translation into English of the Reflections which Kant wrote whilst formulating his ideas in political philosophy: the preparatory drafts for Theory and Practice, Toward Perpetual Peace, the Doctrine of Right, and Conflict of the Faculties; and the only surviving student transcription of his course on Natural Right. Through these texts one can trace the development of his political thought, from his first exposure to Rousseau in the mid 1760s through to his last musings in the late 1790s after his final system of Right was published. The material covers such topics as the central role of freedom, the social contract, the nature of sovereignty, the means for achieving international peace, property rights in relation to the very possibility of human agency, the general prohibition of rebellion, and Kant's philosophical defense of the French Revolution.
A thoroughly updated and substantially expanded edition of an acclaimed anthology This is a thoroughly updated and substantially expanded new edition of one of the most popular, wide-ranging, and engaging anthologies of Western political thinking, one that spans from antiquity to the twenty-first century. In addition to the majority of the pieces that appeared in the original edition, this new edition features exciting new selections from more recent thinkers who address vital contemporary issues, including identity, cosmopolitanism, global justice, and populism. Organized chronologically, the anthology brings together a fascinating array of writings--including essays, book excerpts, speeches, and other documents--that have indelibly shaped how politics and society are understood. Each chronological section and thinker is presented with a brief, lucid introduction, making this a valuable reference as well as an essential reader. A thoroughly updated and substantially expanded edition of an acclaimed anthology of political thought Features a wide range of thinkers, including Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, Christine de Pizan, Machiavelli, Luther, Calvin, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Swift, Hume, Rousseau, Adam Smith, Jefferson, Burke, Olympes de Gouges, Wollstonecraft, Kant, Hegel, Bentham, Mill, de Tocqueville, Frederick Douglass, Lincoln, Marx, Nietzsche, Lenin, John Dewey, Gaetano Mosca, Roberto Michels, Weber, Emma Goldman, Freud, Einstein, Mussolini, Arendt, Hayek, Franklin D. Roosevelt, T. H. Marshall, Orwell, Leo Strauss, de Beauvoir, Fanon, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Havel, Fukuyama, Habermas, Foucault, Rawls, Nozick, Walzer, Iris Marion Young, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Singer, Amartya Sen, and Jan-Werner M ller Includes brief introductions for each thinker
What was it about Barack Obama's campaign of hope that resonated so much not just with Americans, but people the world over? Have we really become so despairing in the face of collapsed economies and the threat of violence around every corner that a simple rallying cry to remember hope can have such a powerful effect? In this moving and thoughtful book, Ronald Aronson explores our relationship to hope at a time some have called the end of history, others the end of politics, in order to formulate a more active stance, one in which hope is far more than a mood or feeling it is the very basis of social will and political action. Aronson examines our own heartbreaking story: a century of violence, upheaval, and the undelivered promises of progress all of which have contributed to the evaporation of social hope. As he shows, we are now in an era when hope has been privatized, when despite all the ways we are connected to each other we are desperately alone, struggling to weather the maelstrom around us, demoralized by the cynicism that permeates our culture and politics, and burdened with finding personal solutions to social problems. Yet social hope, Aronson argues, still persists. Carefully exploring what we mean when we say we "hope" and teasing hope apart from its dangerously misconstrued sibling, progress, he locates real seeds of change. He argues that always underlying our experience even if we completely ignore it is a sense of social belonging, and that this can be reactivated into a powerful collective force, an active we. He looks to various political movements, from the massive collective force of environmentalists to the stunning rise of movement-centered politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, as powerful examples of socially energized, politically determined, and actionably engaged forms of hope. The result is an illuminating and inspiring call that anyone can clearly hear: we can still create a better future for ourselves, but only if we do it together.
In this important new book, leading cultural theorist and philosopher Bernard Stiegler re-examines the relationship between politics and art in the contemporary world. Our hyper-industrial epoch represents what Stiegler terms a `katastroph of the sensible'. This katastroph is not an apocalypse or the end of everything, but the denouement of a drama; it is the final act in the process of psychic and collective individuation known as the `West'. Hyper-industrialization has brought about the loss of symbolic participation and the destruction of primordial narcissism, the very condition for individuation. It is in this context that artists have a unique role to play. When not subsumed in the capitalist economy, they are able to resist its synchronizing tendency, offering the possibility of reimagining the contemporary model of aesthetic participation. This highly original work - the second in Stiegler's Symbolic Misery series - will be of particular interest to students in philosophy, media and cultural studies, contemporary art and sociology, and will consolidate Stiegler's reputation as one of the most original cultural theorists of our time.
Faith in the power and righteousness of retribution has taken over the American criminal justice system. Approaching punishment and responsibility from a philosophical perspective, Erin Kelly challenges the moralism behind harsh treatment of criminal offenders and calls into question our society's commitment to mass incarceration. The Limits of Blame takes issue with a criminal justice system that aligns legal criteria of guilt with moral criteria of blameworthiness. Many incarcerated people do not meet the criteria of blameworthiness, even when they are guilty of crimes. Kelly underscores the problems of exaggerating what criminal guilt indicates, particularly when it is tied to the illusion that we know how long and in what ways criminals should suffer. Our practice of assigning blame has gone beyond a pragmatic need for protection and a moral need to repudiate harmful acts publicly. It represents a desire for retribution that normalizes excessive punishment. Appreciating the limits of moral blame critically undermines a commonplace rationale for long and brutal punishment practices. Kelly proposes that we abandon our culture of blame and aim at reducing serious crime rather than imposing retribution. Were we to refocus our perspective to fit the relevant moral circumstances and legal criteria, we could endorse a humane, appropriately limited, and more productive approach to criminal justice.
Patricia Churchland, the distinguished founder of neurophilosophy, reaches beyond the familiar argument of nature versus nurture to bring together insights from philosophy and revolutionary research in neuroscience. Scientific research may not be able to say with certainty what is ethical, and the definition of morality varies from person to person. But, from birth, our brains are configured to form bonds, to co-operate and to care. Delving into research studies, including work on twins and psychopaths, Churchland deepens our understanding of the brain's role in creating an ethical system. She then turns to philosophy to explore why morality is central to all societies, how it is transmitted through the generations and why different cultures live by different moral systems.
Are psychometric tests valid for a new reality of artificial intelligence systems, technology-enhanced humans, and hybrids yet to come? Are the Turing Test, the ubiquitous CAPTCHAs, and the various animal cognition tests the best alternatives? In this fascinating and provocative book, Jose Hernandez-Orallo formulates major scientific questions, integrates the most significant research developments, and offers a vision of the universal evaluation of cognition. By replacing the dominant anthropocentric stance with a universal perspective where living organisms are considered as a special case, long-standing questions in the evaluation of behavior can be addressed in a wider landscape. Can we derive task difficulty intrinsically? Is a universal g factor - a common general component for all abilities - theoretically possible? Using algorithmic information theory as a foundation, the book elaborates on the evaluation of perceptual, developmental, social, verbal and collective features and critically analyzes what the future of intelligence might look like.
The late scholastics, writing in the Baroque and Early Modern periods, discussed a wide variety of moral questions relating to political life in times of both peace and war. Is it ever permissible to bribe voters? Can tax evasion be morally justified? What are the moral duties of artists? Is it acceptable to fight in a war one believes to be unjust? May we surrender innocents to the enemy if it is necessary to save the state? These questions are no less relevant for philosophers and politicians today than they were for late scholastic thinkers. By bringing into play the opinions and arguments of numerous authors, many of them little known or entirely forgotten, this book is the first to provide an in-depth treatment of the dynamic and controversial nature of late scholastic applied moral thinking which demonstrates its richness and diversity.
The world is populated with many different objects, to which we often attribute properties: we say, for example, that grass is green, that the earth is spherical, that humans are animals, and that murder is wrong. We also take it that these properties are things in their own right: there is something in which being green, or spherical, or an animal, or wrong, consists, and that certain scientific or normative projects are engaged in uncovering the essences of such properties. In light of this, an important question arises: what kind of things should we take properties themselves to be? In Properties, Douglas Edwards gives an engaging, accessible, and up-to-date introduction to the many theories of properties available. Edwards charts the central positions in the debate over properties, including the views that properties are universals, that properties are constructed from tropes, and that properties are classes of objects, and assesses the benefits and disadvantages of each. Attempts to deny the existence of properties are also considered, along with `pluralist' proposals, which aim to accommodate the different kinds of properties that are found in various philosophical debates. Properties is the ideal introduction to this topic and will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students wishing to learn more about the important roles that properties have played, and continue to play, in contemporary philosophy.
What is human happiness and how can we promote it? These questions are central to human existence and Happiness Explained draws on scientific research from economics, psychology, and philosophy, as well as a range of other disciplines, to outline a new paradigm in which human flourishing plays a central role in the assessment of national and global progress. It shows why the traditional national income approach is limited as a measure of human wellbeing and demonstrates how the contributors to happiness, wellbeing, and quality of life can be measured and understood across the human life course. Discussing wide-ranging aspects, from parenting, decent employment, friendship, education, and health in old age, through to money, autonomy, and fairness, as well as personal strategies and governmental polices used in the pursuit of happiness, it offers a science-based understanding of human flourishing. Written by an economist involved in helping governmental organisations move 'beyond GDP', Happiness Explained shows how a wide range of factors that contribute to better and happier lives and how, together, they provide a new blueprint for the assessment of progress in terms of personal wellbeing.
In Necropolitics Achille Mbembe-a leader in the new wave of Francophone critical theory-theorizes the genealogy of the contemporary world-a world plagued by ever-increasing inequality, militarization, enmity, and terror, as well as by a resurgence of racist, fascist, and nationalist forces determined to exclude and kill. He outlines how democracy has begun to embrace its dark side, or what he calls its "nocturnal body," which is based on the desires, fears, affects, relations, and violence that drove colonialism. This shift has hollowed out democracy, thereby eroding the very values, rights, and freedoms liberal democracy routinely celebrates. As a result, war has become the sacrament of our times, in a conception of sovereignty that operates by annihilating all those considered to be enemies of the state. Despite his dire diagnosis, Mbembe draws on post-Foucault debates on biopolitics, war, and race, as well as Fanon's notion of care as a shared vulnerability, to explore how new conceptions of the human that transcend humanism might come to pass. These new conceptions would allow us to encounter the Other not as a thing to exclude, but as a person with whom to build a more just world.
Published very shortly before his death in February 1976, Meaning
is the culmination of Michael Polanyi's philosophic endeavors. With
the assistance of Harry Prosch, Polanyi goes beyond his earlier
critique of scientific "objectivity" to investigate meaning as
founded upon the imaginative and creative faculties.
The first full-length translation in English of an essential work of postmodernism.The publication of ""Simulacra et Simulation"" in 1981 marked Jean Baudrillard's first important step toward theorizing the postmodern. Moving away from the Marxist/Freudian approaches that had concerned him earlier, Baudrillard developed in this book a theory of contemporary culture that relies on displacing economic notions of cultural production with notions of cultural expenditure.Baudrillard uses the concepts of the simulacra - the copy without an original - and simulation. These terms are crucial to an understanding of the postmodern, to the extent that they address the concept of mass reproduction and reproduceability that characterizes our electronic media culture.Baudrillard's book represents a unique and original effort to rethink cultural theory from the perspective of a new concept of cultural materialism, one that radically redefines postmodern formulations of the body.
These essays by A.W. Moore are all concerned with the business of representing how things are - its nature, its scope, and its limits. The essays in Part One deal with linguistic representation and discuss topics such as rules of representation and their nature, the sorites paradox, and the very distinction between sense and nonsense. Wittgenstein's work, both early and late, figures prominently. One thesis that surfaces at various points is that some things are beyond representation. The essays in Part Two deal with representation more generally and with the character of what is represented, and owe much to Bernard Williams's argument for the possibility of representation from no point of view. They touch more or less directly on the distinction between representation from a point of view and representation from no point of view-in some cases by exploring various consequences of Kant's belief that representation of how things are physically is always, eo ipso, representation from a point of view. One thesis that surfaces at various points is that nothing is beyond representation. Each of the essays in Part Three, which draw inspiration from the early work of Wittgenstein, indicate how the resulting tension between Parts One and Two is to be resolved: namely, by construing the first part as a thesis about states of knowledge or understanding, and the second part as a thesis about facts or truths.
This comprehensive anthology of primary documents and materials explores the evolution and study of Christian ethical principles. It may be used independently, or alongside the accompanying textbook, Introducing Christian Ethics, for a complete overview of the field. * Represents the entire canon of Christian ethics, including first-hand accounts from major figures in the theological and ecclesial tradition * Introduces foundational figures such as Augustine, Aquinas, and Luther; contemporary theorists including J rgen Moltmann, Stanley Hauerwas, and Wendell Berry; in addition to work by work by non-theoretical figures, such as Ghandi and Martin Luther King * Features useful introductory material that demonstrates the significance of each extract and how they relate to each other * May be used independently or together with the accompanying textbook, Introducing Christian Ethics; both books share the same structure and are cross-referenced for ease of use
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