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Debate has long been waged over the morality of capital punishment, with standard arguments in its favour being marshalled against familiar arguments that oppose the practice. In The Ethics of Capital Punishment, Matthew Kramer takes a fresh look at the philosophical arguments on which the legitimacy of the death penalty stands or falls, and he develops a novel justification of that penalty for a limited range of cases. The book pursues both a project of critical debunking of the familiar rationales for capital punishment and a project of partial vindication. The critical part presents some accessible and engaging critiques of major arguments that have been offered in support of the death penalty. These chapters, suitable for use in teaching courses on capital punishment, valuably take issue with positions at the heart of contemporary debates over the morality of such punishment. The book then presents an original justification for executing truly terrible criminals, a justification that is free-standing rather than an aspect or offshoot of a general theory of punishment. Its purgative rationale, which has not heretofore been propounded in any current philosophical and practical debates over the death penalty, derives from a philosophical reconception of the nature of evil and the nature of defilement. As the book contributes to philosophical discussions of those phenomena, it also contributes importantly to general normative ethics with sustained reflections on the differences between consequentialist approaches to punishment and deontological approaches. Above all, the volume contributes to the philosophy of criminal law with a fresh rationale for the use of the death penalty and with probing assessments of all the major theories of punishment that have been broached by jurists and philosophers for centuries. Although the book is a work of philosophy by a professional philosopher, it is readily accessible to readers who have not studied philosophy. It will stir both philosophers and anyone engaged with the death penalty to reconsider whether the institution of capital punishment can be an appropriate response to extreme evil.
Bill Brewer presents, motivates, and defends a bold new solution to a fundamental problem in the philosophy of perception. What is the correct theoretical conception of perceptual experience, and how should we best understand the most fundamental nature of our perceptual relation with the physical objects in the world around us? Most theorists today analyse perception in terms of its representational content, in large part in order to avoid fatal problems attending the early modern conception of perception as a relation with particular mind-dependent objects of experience. Having set up the underlying problem and explored the lessons to be learnt from the various difficulties faced by opposing early modern responses to it, Bill Brewer argues that this contemporary approach has serious problems of its own. Furthermore, the early modern insight that perception is most fundamentally to be construed as a relation of conscious acquaintance with certain direct objects of experience is, he claims, perfectly consistent with the commonsense identification of such direct objects with persisting mind-independent physical objects themselves. Brewer here provides a critical, historical account of the philosophy of perception, in order to present a defensible vindication of empirical realism.
Frank Jackson's knowledge argument imagines a super-smart scientist, Mary, forced to investigate the mysteries of human colour vision using only black and white resources. Can she work out what it is like to see red from brain-science and physics alone? The argument says no: Mary will only really learn what red looks like when she actually sees it. Something is therefore missing from the science of the mind, and from the 'physicalist' picture of the world based on science. This powerful and controversial argument remains as pivotal as when it was first created in 1982, and this volume provides a thorough and incisive examination of its relevance in philosophy of mind today. The cutting-edge essays featured here break new ground in the debate, and also comprehensively set out the developments in the story of the knowledge argument so far, tracing its impact, past, present, and future.
'How to be Good?' is the pre-eminent question for ethics, although one that philosophers and ethicists seldom address head on. Knowing how to be good, or perhaps (more modestly and more accurately) knowing how to go about trying to be good, and the ways in which it is pointless or self-defeating to try to be good, is of immense theoretical and practical importance. And what goes for trying to be good oneself, goes also for trying to provide others with ways of being good, and for trying to make them good whether they like it or not. This is what is meant by 'moral enhancement'. There are many proposed methodologies or technologies for moral enhancement. Some of them are ancient and/or familiar: we may attempt moral enhancement by setting a good example, by good parenting, by education or training, by peer pressure, by telling stories with a moral, in words or in pictures, and so on. We can imbibe substances with mood changing or motivational effects. We can also use medical, biological, or other scientific means; we can search for and deploy chemicals, or biological or molecular agents, which we believe will change people for the better; and we can modify the environment to make bad outcomes of all sorts less likely. We can experiment with political and social systems, institutions, and arrangements designed to make the world a better place or people better people. The question whether and to what extent moral enhancement is possible is the subject of this book.
This is a fully revised edition of one of the most successful volumes in the Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought series. Incorporating extensive updates to the editorial apparatus, including the introduction, suggestions for further reading, and footnotes, this third edition of More's Utopia has been comprehensively re-worked to take into account scholarship published since the second edition in 2002. The vivid and engaging translation of the work itself by Robert M. Adams includes all the ancillary materials by More's fellow humanists that, added to the book at his own request, collectively constitute the first and best interpretive guide to Utopia. Unlike other teaching editions of Utopia, this edition keeps interpretive commentary - whether editorial annotations or the many pungent marginal glosses that are an especially attractive part of the humanist ancillary materials - on the page they illuminate instead of relegating them to endnotes, and provides students with a uniquely full and accessible experience of More's perennially fascinating masterpiece.
An excellent new translation and commentary. It will serve newcomers as an informative, accessible introduction to the Nicomachean Ethics and to many issues in Aristotle's philosophy, but also has much to offer advanced scholars. The commentary is noteworthy for its frequent citations of relevant passages from other works in Aristotle's corpus, which often shed new light on the texts. Reeve's translation is meticulous: it hits the virtuous mean--accurate and technical, yet readable--between translation's vicious extremes of faithlessness and indigestibility.--Jessica Moss, New York University
This is the first comprehensive study of the core philosophical questions posed by terrorism such as: How should we define it? Is it morally distinctive? Can it be morally justified?Igor Primoratz seeks to overcome relativism and double standards that often plague debates about terrorism. He investigates the main ethical approaches to terrorism: in terms of its consequences, rights and justice, "supreme emergency," and the collective responsibility of citizens. The book provides a rigorous, yet accessible analysis of a range of moral positions, from the acceptance of terrorism when its consequences are good on balance to its absolute rejection. Primoratz argues that terrorism is almost absolutely wrong. It may be morally justified only when an entire people is facing a true moral disaster, and this should be understood in a highly restrictive way.Conceptual analysis and normative arguments about the practice of terrorism are complemented with case studies of terror-bombing of German cities in World War II and the role of terrorism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."Terrorism: A Philosophical Investigation" will be essential reading for researchers and students of philosophy and politics, and the general reader seeking to understand and evaluate acts and campaigns of terrorism.
The great ideological cliche of our time, Cesar Rendueles argues in Sociophobia, is the idea that communication technologies can support positive social dynamics and improve economic and political conditions. We would like to believe that the Internet has given us the tools to overcome modernity's practical dilemmas and bring us into closer relation, but recent events show how technology has in fact driven us farther apart. Named one of the ten best books of the year by Babelia El Pais, Sociophobia looks at the root causes of neoliberal utopia's modern collapse. It begins by questioning the cyber-fetishist dogma that lulls us into thinking our passive relationship with technology plays a positive role in resolving longstanding differences. Rendueles claims that the World Wide Web has produced a diminished rather than augmented social reality. In other words, it has lowered our expectations with respect to political interventions and personal relations. In an effort to correct this trend, Rendueles embarks on an ambitious reassessment of our antagonistic political traditions to prove that post-capitalism is not only a feasible, intimate, and friendly system to strive for but also essential for moving past consumerism and political malaise.
Almost a decade ago, Alvin Plantinga articulated his bold and controversial "evolutionary argument against naturalism." This intriguing line of argument raises issues of importance to epistemologists and to philosophers of mind, of religion, and of science. In this, the first book to address the ongoing debate, Plantinga presents his influential thesis and responds to critiques by distinguished philosophers from a variety of subfields.
Plantinga's argument is aimed at metaphysical naturalism, or roughly, the view that no supernatural beings exist. Naturalism is typically conjoined with evolution as an explanation of the existence and diversity of life. Plantinga's claim is that one who holds to the truth of both naturalism and evolution is irrational in doing so. More specifically, because the probability that unguided evolution would have produced reliable cognitive faculties is either low or inscrutable, one who holds both naturalism and evolution acquires a "defeater" for every belief he/she holds, including the beliefs associated with naturalism and evolution.
Following Plantinga's brief summary of his thesis are eleven original pieces by his critics. The book concludes with a new essay by Plantinga in which he defends and extends his view that metaphysical naturalism is self-defeating.
Medicine and the Politics of Knowledge situates South Africa - including its history of stances and political formations around HIV/AIDS - in the broader context of questions relating to science, medicine, human experimentation, and structural violence, all of which shape the cases in the book. Putting South Africa in the context of other cases of contention and contestation about science and medicine in India, Latin America and China helps us to understand the particular history of the South African case itself. Conceived in response to the urgency of bioethical debates in medical anthropology, this ethnographic collection touches the borders of anthropology, philosophy, and public health. At a time in world history where medicine and medical practice is deeply contested in the everyday as well as in juridical terms, this book makes an essential contribution to global debates about tradition, about science, and about the politics of knowledge production.
If art and science have one thing in common, it's a hunger for the new-new ideas and innovations, new ways of seeing and depicting the world. But that desire for novelty carries with it a fundamental philosophical problem: If everything has to come from something, how can anything truly new emerge? Is novelty even possible? In Novelty, Michael North takes us on a dazzling tour of more than two millennia of thinking about the problem of the new, from the puzzles of the pre-Socratics all the way up to the art world of the 1960s and '70s. The terms of the debate, North shows, were established before Plato, and have changed very little since: novelty, philosophers argued, could only arise from either recurrence or recombination. The former, found in nature's cycles of renewal, and the latter, seen most clearly in the workings of language, between them have accounted for nearly all the ways in which novelty has been conceived in Western history, taking in reformation, renaissance, invention, revolution, and even evolution. As he pursues this idea through centuries and across disciplines, North exhibits astonishing range, drawing on figures as diverse as Charles Darwin and Robert Smithson, Thomas Kuhn and Ezra Pound, Norbert Wiener and Andy Warhol, all of whom offer different ways of grappling with the idea of originality. Novelty, North demonstrates, remains a central problem of contemporary science and literature-an ever-receding target that, in its complexity and evasiveness, continues to inspire and propel the modern. A heady, ambitious intellectual feast, Novelty is rich with insight, a masterpiece of perceptive synthesis.
How do middle-class Americans become aware of distant social problems and act against them? US colleges, congregations, and seminaries increasingly promote immersion travel as a way to bridge global distance, produce empathy, and increase global awareness. But does it? Drawing from a mixed methods study of a progressive, religious immersion travel organization at the US-Mexico border, Empathy Beyond US Borders provides a broad sociological context for the rise of immersion travel as a form of transnational civic engagement. Gary J. Adler, Jr follows alongside immersion travelers as they meet undocumented immigrants, walk desert trails, and witness deportations. His close observations combine with interviews and surveys to evaluate the potential of this civic action, while developing theory about culture, empathy, and progressive religion in transnational civic life. This timely book describes the moralization of travel, the organizational challenges of transnational engagement, and the difficulty of feeling transformed but not knowing how to help.
A timely and incisive assessment of what the success of populism means for democracy. Populist movements have recently appeared in nearly every democracy around the world. Yet our grasp of this disruptive political phenomenon remains woefully inadequate. Politicians of all stripes appeal to the interests of the people, and every opposition party campaigns against the current establishment. What, then, distinguishes populism from run-of-the-mill democratic politics? And why should we be concerned by its rise? In Me the People, Nadia Urbinati argues that populism should be regarded as a new form of representative government, one based on a direct relationship between the leader and those the leader defines as the "good" or "right" people. Populist leaders claim to speak to and for the people without the need for intermediaries-in particular, political parties and independent media-whom they blame for betraying the interests of the ordinary many. Urbinati shows that, while populist governments remain importantly distinct from dictatorial or fascist regimes, their dependence on the will of the leader, along with their willingness to exclude the interests of those deemed outside the bounds of the "good" or "right" people, stretches constitutional democracy to its limits and opens a pathway to authoritarianism. Weaving together theoretical analysis, the history of political thought, and current affairs, Me the People presents an original and illuminating account of populism and its relation to democracy.
Widely hailed as one of the most significant works in modern political philosophy, John Rawls's Political Liberalism (1993) defended a powerful vision of society that respects reasonable ways of life, both religious and secular. These core values have never been more critical as anxiety grows over political and religious difference and new restrictions are placed on peaceful protest and individual expression. This anthology of original essays suggests new, groundbreaking applications of Rawls's work in multiple disciplines and contexts. Thom Brooks, Martha Nussbaum, Onora O'Neill (University of Cambridge), Paul Weithman (University of Notre Dame), Jeremy Waldron (New York University), and Frank Michelman (Harvard University) explore political liberalism's relevance to the challenges of multiculturalism, the relationship between the state and religion, the struggle for political legitimacy, and the capabilities approach. Extending Rawls's progressive thought to the fields of law, economics, and public reason, this book helps advance the project of a free society that thrives despite disagreements over religious and moral views.
That Ernst Gombrich was one of the most important art historians of the 20th century would seem to go without saying. And so one might expect him to feature prominently in the numerous surveys, guides and introductions to the history and methods of art history produced during the past two decades. Precisely the opposite, however, is the case. One reason for this certainly was that Gombrich was an avowed enemy of 'big ideas', interested not in generalizations but in the specifics of individual cases. Avoiding jargon or rhetoric, standing for 'common sense', he always argued from clear premises, and his thought was also very wide-ranging. He never 'owned' a subject, remarking "It cannot be too often repeated that the best tribute one can pay a scholar is to take him seriously and constantly to reappraise his lines of argument." The importance of Gombrich's work on the history of taste has yet to be fully recognized, and when it comes to the application of developments in psychology to the visual arts he has remained largely, among art historians, on his own. These essays assess the nature of his empiricism, the degree to which his ideas have been adopted, overturned or developed, and his contribution to the dialogue of art and perception.
'About things that are within our power and those that are not.' Epictetus's Discourses have been the most widely read and influential of all writings of Stoic philosophy, from antiquity onwards. They set out the core ethical principles of Stoicism in a form designed to help people put them into practice and to use them as a basis for leading a good human life. Epictetus was a teacher, and a freed slave, whose discourses have a vivid informality, animated by anecdotes and dialogue. Forceful, direct, and challenging, their central message is that the basis of happiness is up to us, and that we all have the capacity, through sustained reflection and hard work, of achieving this goal. They still speak eloquently to modern readers seeking meaning in their own lives. This is the only complete modern translation of the Discourses, together with the Handbook or manual of key themes, and surviving fragments. Robin Hard's accurate and accessible translation is accompanied by Christopher Gill's full introduction and comprehensive notes. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
This book brings together philosophical approaches to cooperation and collective agency with research into human-machine interaction and cooperation from engineering, robotics, computer science and AI. Bringing these so far largely unrelated fields of study together leads to a better understanding of collective agency in natural and artificial systems and will help to improve the design and performance of hybrid systems involving human and artificial agents. Modeling collective agency with the help of computer simulations promises also philosophical insights into the emergence of collective agency. The volume consists of four sections. The first section is dedicated to the concept of agency. The second section of the book turns to human-machine cooperation. The focus of the third section is the transition from cooperation to collective agency. The last section concerns the explanatory value of social simulations of collective agency in the broader framework of cultural evolution.
Time has always been the great Given, a fact of existence which cannot be denied or wished away; but the character of lived time is changing dramatically. Medical advances extend our longevity, while digital devices compress time into ever briefer units. We can now exist in several time-zones simultaneously, but we suffer from endemic shortages of time. We are working longer hours and blurring the distinctions between labour and leisure. For many, in an inversion of the old adage, time has become more valuable than money. In this look at life's most ineffable element, spanning fields from biology and culture to psychoanalysis and neuroscience, Eva Hoffman asks: are we coming to the end of time as we know it?
"What does it mean to say that we live in a secular age?" This apparently simple question opens into the massive, provocative, and complex A Secular Age, where Charles Taylor positions secularism as a defining feature of the modern world, not the mere absence of religion, and casts light on the experience of transcendence that scientistic explanations of the world tend to neglect. In Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age, a prominent and varied group of scholars chart the conversations in which A Secular Age intervenes and address wider questions of secularism and secularity. The distinguished contributors include Robert Bellah, Jose Casanova, Nilufer Goele, William E. Connolly, Wendy Brown, Simon During, Colin Jager, Jon Butler, Jonathan Sheehan, Akeel Bilgrami, John Milbank, and Saba Mahmood. Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age succeeds in conveying to readers the complexity of secularism while serving as an invaluable guide to a landmark book.
Political theory, from antiquity to the present, has been divided over the relationship between the requirements of justice and the limitations of persons and institutions to meet those requirements. Some theorists hold that a theory of justice should be utopian or idealistic-that the derivation of the correct principles of justice should not take into account human and institutional limitations. Others insist on a realist or non-utopian view, according to which feasibility-facts about what is possible given human and institutional limitations-is a constraint on principles of justice. In recent years, the relationship between the ideal and the real has become the subject of renewed scholarly interest. This anthology aims to represent the contemporary state of this classic debate. By and large, contributors to the volume deny that the choice between realism and idealism is binary. Rather, there is a continuum between realism and idealism that locates these extremes of each view at opposite poles. The contributors, therefore, tend to occupy middle positions, only leaning in the ideal or non-ideal direction. Together, their contributions not only represent a wide array of attractive positions in the new literature on the topic, but also collectively advance how we understand the difference between idealism and realism itself.
Building on the Oxford A Level Religious Studies for OCR Student Books, this Revision Guide offers a structured approach to revising for the new AS and A Level exams. 1. RECAP key content from the Student Book, condensed into concise points. 2. APPLY your knowledge with targeted revision activities that develop the AO1 (knowledge) and AO2 (evaluation) skills that you will need for the exam. 3. REVIEW your progress with exam practice for all topics, complete with mark schemes, annotated sample answers and guidance for improving exam technique. With all the essential content condensed and made memorable, guided activities to develop your evaluative skills, sample answers annotated with examiner contents and 60 practice questions with mark schemes in a single guide, students can confidently prepare for their new exams.
The Possibility of Culture: Pleasure and Moral Development in Kant's Aesthetics presents an in-depth exploration and deconstruction of Kant's depiction of the ways in which aesthetic pursuits can promote personal moral development. Presents an in-depth exploration of the connection between Kant's aesthetics and his views on moral development Reveals the links between Kant's aesthetics and his anthropology and moral psychology Explores Kant's notion of genius and his views on the connections between the social aspects of taste and moral development Addresses aspects of Kant's ethical theory that will interest scholars working in ethics and moral psychology
From 1789 in France to 2011 in Cairo, revolutions have shaken the world. In their pursuit of social justice, revolutionaries have taken on the assembled might of monarchies, empires, and dictatorships. They have often, though not always, sparked cataclysmic violence, and have at times won miraculous victories, though at other times suffered devastating defeat. This Very Short Introduction illuminates the revolutionaries, their strategies, their successes and failures, and the ways in which revolutions continue to dominate world events and the popular imagination. Starting with the city-states of ancient Greece and Rome, Jack Goldstone traces the development of revolutions through the Renaissance and Reformation, the Enlightenment and liberal constitutional revolutions such as in America, and their opposite-the communist revolutions of the 20th century. He shows how revolutions overturned dictators in Nicaragua and Iran and brought the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and examines the new wave of non-violent "colour" revolutions-the Philippines' Yellow Revolution, Ukraine's Orange Revolution-and the Arab Uprisings of 2011-12 that rocked the Middle East. Goldstone also sheds light on the major theories of revolution, exploring the causes of revolutionary waves, the role of revolutionary leaders, the strategies and processes of revolutionary change, and the intersection between revolutions and shifting patterns of global power. Finally, the author examines the reasons for diverse revolutionary outcomes, from democracy to civil war and authoritarian rule, and the likely future of revolution in years to come. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects-from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative-yet always balanced and complete-discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
In this book, Scott Soames argues that the revolution in the study of language and mind that has taken place since the late nineteenth century must be rethought. The central insight in the reigning tradition is that propositions are representational. To know the meaning of a sentence or the content of a belief requires knowing which things it represents as being which ways, and therefore knowing what the world must be like if it is to conform to how the sentence or belief represents it. These are truth conditions of the sentence or belief. But meanings and representational contents are not truth conditions, and there is more to propositions than representational content. In addition to imposing conditions the world must satisfy if it is to be true, a proposition may also impose conditions on minds that entertain it. The study of mind and language cannot advance further without a conception of propositions that allows them to have contents of both of these sorts. Soames provides it. He does so by arguing that propositions are repeatable, purely representational cognitive acts or operations that represent the world as being a certain way, while requiring minds that perform them to satisfy certain cognitive conditions. Because they have these two types of content--one facing the world and one facing the mind--pairs of propositions can be representationally identical but cognitively distinct. Using this breakthrough, Soames offers new solutions to several of the most perplexing problems in the philosophy of language and mind.
How do people maintain their humanity during wars? Despite its importance, this question receives scant scholarly attention, perhaps because war is overwhelming. The generally accepted belief is that wars bring out the worst in us, pitting one against another. 'War is hell', William Tecumseh Sherman famously noted, and even 'just' wars are massively destructive and inhumane. Since ethics is concerned with discovering what takes us to a morally superior place, one conducive to betterment and happiness - studying what helps people survive wartime trauma thus becomes an extremely valuable enterprise. A Darkling Plain fills an important scholarly void, analyzing wartime stories that reveal much about our capacity to process trauma, heal wounds, reclaim lost spirits, and derive meaning and purpose from the most horrific of personal events.
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