If philosophy has any business in the world, it is the clarification of our thinking and the clearing away of ideas that cloud the mind. In this book, one of the world's preeminent philosophers takes issue with an idea that has found an all-too-prominent place in popular culture and philosophical thought: the idea that while factual claims can be rationally established or refuted, claims about value are wholly subjective, not capable of being rationally argued for or against. Although it is on occasion important and useful to distinguish between factual claims and value judgments, the distinction becomes, Hilary Putnam argues, positively harmful when identified with a dichotomy between the objective and the purely "subjective." Putnam explores the arguments that led so much of the analytic philosophy of language, metaphysics, and epistemology to become openly hostile to the idea that talk of value and human flourishing can be right or wrong, rational or irrational; and by which, following philosophy, social sciences such as economics have fallen victim to the bankrupt metaphysics of Logical Positivism. Tracing the problem back to Hume's conception of a "matter of fact" as well as to Kant's distinction between "analytic" and "synthetic" judgments, Putnam identifies a path forward in the work of Amartya Sen. Lively, concise, and wise, his book prepares the way for a renewed mutual fruition of philosophy and the social sciences.
Author: Martin Schlag
Publisher: CUA Press
Release Date: 2016-03-25
Genre: Business & Economics
The contributors to Free Markets with Sustainability and Solidarity, who represent a unique combination of European and American scholars, present their reflections on evolving forms of economics. All are unified by a holistic, Christian anthropology, from which they draw epistemological consequences for free markets and a free society.
This book is the third volume of selected papers from the Central European Pragmatist Forum (CEPF). It deals with the general question of education, and the papers are organized into sections on Education and Democracy, Education and Values, Education and Social Reconstruction, and Education and the Self. The authors are among the leading specialists in American philosophy from universities across the U.S. and in Central and Eastern Europe. The series Studies in Pragmatism and Values promotes the study of pragmatism’s traditions and figures, and the explorations of pragmatic inquiries in all areas of philosophical thought.
We are caught between tendencies toward moral paralysis and postures of violence, with their intellectual birthing grounds reflected even among those who consciously seek to avoid them. Reinhold Niebuhr’s paradoxical conception of the self, and his defense of traditional Christian convictions in this light, opens the door to a deeper understanding of the problem as well as its potential solution.
Author: Owen F. Cummings
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
Release Date: 2011-09-22
The last decade or so has seen many books from what might be called the new atheists. One thinks, for example, of Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens. They have captured the interest of the general reading public and have sold well. Often, however, they have loaded the dice against Christian belief in a most unfair fashion. Arguments and issues have been summarily dismissed after the most cursory of treatments. Thinking God, written by a philosopher and a theologian, father and son, invites the reader to a more reflective consideration of the issues around God and the traditional fabric of Christian belief in a fair and openhanded fashion. Issues, both traditional and more contemporary, have been engaged. The result is an invitation to think of Christian faith seriously, reflectively, and critically.
Author: Rosa M. Calcaterra
Release Date: 2011-04
The strong influence of pragmatism in the early 20th-century international debate, its subsequent and apparently inexorable decline, and its recent revival are intertwined with the fate of other currents of thought that have marked the development of contemporary philosophy. This volume clarifies the most recent events of this development focusing on key theoretical issues common both to American classic philosophical tradition and analytical thought. Many essays in this volume belong to what we can call “new” pragmatism, namely a pragmatist perspective that is different from the postmodernist “neo” pragmatism à la Rorty. The volume shows that both pragmatists and analytic thinkers stress the importance of logic and scientific method in order to deal with philosophical problems and seek for a clarification of the relation between our ethical values and our understanding of natural facts. Moreover, the anti-skeptic attitude that characterizes pragmatism as well as most part of analytic philosophy, and their common attention to the problems of language and communication are emphasized. The more sophisticated tools for addressing both theoretical and methodological problems developed by analytic philosophy are pointed out, and the essays show the possible integration of these two forms of speculation that, for too a long time, mutually disregarded one another.
Author: Alessandro Ferrara
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2008-06-12
During the twentieth century, the view that assertions and norms are valid insofar as they respond to principles independent of all local and temporal contexts came under attack from two perspectives: the partiality of translation and the intersubjective constitution of the self, understood as responsive to recognition. Defenses of universalism have by and large taken the form of a thinning out of substantive universalism into various forms of proceduralism. Alessandro Ferrara instead launches an entirely different strategy for transcending the particularity of context without contradicting our pluralistic intuitions: a strategy centered on the exemplary universalism of judgment. Whereas exemplarity has long been thought to belong to the domain of aesthetics, this book explores the other uses to which it can be put in our philosophical predicament, especially in the field of politics. After defining exemplarity and describing how something unique can possess universal significance, Ferrara addresses the force exerted by exemplarity, the nature of the judgment that discloses exemplarity, and the way in which the force of the example can bridge the difference between various contexts. Drawing not only on Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment but also on the work of Hannah Arendt, John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and Jürgen Habermas, Ferrara outlines a view of exemplary validity that is applicable to today's central philosophical issues, including public reason, human rights, radical evil, sovereignty, republicanism and liberalism, and religion in the public sphere.
Author: Susan C. C. Hawthorne
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2013-10-14
In Accidental Intolerance, Susan Hawthorne argues that in the past few decades, our medical, scientific, and social approaches to ADHD have jointly -- but unintentionally-reinforced intolerance of ADHD-- diagnosed people. We have packed social values, such as interests in efficiency and productivity, into science and medicine. In turn, scientific results and medical practice reinforce the social values, and stigmatize those considered "disordered." Overreliance on the DSM model of ADHD contributes to this process; it may also slow the growth in our knowledge of mental health. Yet many of our current practices are optional. For ethical, practical, and scientific reasons, then, Hawthorne argues that those involved with ADHD-including clinicians, scientists, educators, parents, policy-makers, and diagnosed individuals-need to examine and change the attitudes, concepts, and practices typical of today's approaches. To make this case, Hawthorne examines both standard practices and ongoing controversies in medical, scientific, and social approaches to ADHD, showing why professionals in each setting have chosen the practices and concepts they have. She then explains how the varying approaches influence one another, and how we might interrupt the pattern. Shared goals-decreasing stigmatization, providing new options for diagnosed people, and increasing knowledge-can drive the much-needed change. Adopting inclusive, responsive decision making in all areas of practice will foster it. "Susan Hawthorne offers us a multifaceted, sensitive (and sensible) study of the emergence of ADHD as a distinct diagnostic condition in the last decade or so. Carefully analyzing the research from different disciplines and orientations, as well as the reports of experience of those so diagnosed and their families, she uncovers the ways in which values and factual findings from many directions have interacted to shape this psychiatric category. She concludes with recommendations intended to improve the scientific and clinical understanding of the phenomenon as well as the experience of ADHD-diagnosed individuals. An excellent contribution to contemporary science studies." - Helen Longino, Stanford University
The book is a study of pragmatism and pragmatic pluralism in the philosophy of religion. Through critical examinations of James's, Dewey's, and recent neopragmatists' ideas, it argues that key issues in the field--including the debate between evidentialism and fideism, and the problem of evil--need rearticulation from a pragmatic pluralistic perspective.
Author: Rainer Forst
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2011-12-27
Contemporary philosophical pluralism recognizes the inevitability and legitimacy of multiple ethical perspectives and values, making it difficult to isolate the higher-order principles on which to base a theory of justice. Rising up to meet this challenge, Rainer Forst, a leading member of the Frankfurt School's newest generation of philosophers, conceives of an "autonomous" construction of justice founded on what he calls the basic moral right to justification. Forst begins by identifying this right from the perspective of moral philosophy. Then, through an innovative, detailed critical analysis, he ties together the central components of social and political justice freedom, democracy, equality, and toleration and joins them to the right to justification. The resulting theory treats "justificatory power" as the central question of justice, and by adopting this approach, Forst argues, we can discursively work out, or "construct," principles of justice, especially with respect to transnational justice and human rights issues. As he builds his theory, Forst engages with the work of Anglo-American philosophers such as John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, and Amartya Sen, and critical theorists such as Jürgen Habermas, Nancy Fraser, and Axel Honneth. Straddling multiple subjects, from politics and law to social protest and philosophical conceptions of practical reason, Forst brilliantly gathers contesting claims around a single, elastic theory of justice.
Author: Erik Parens
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2014-09-24
When bioethicists debate the use of technologies like surgery and pharmacology to shape our selves, they are, ultimately, debating what it means for human beings to flourish. They are debating what makes animals like us truly happy, and whether the technologies at issue will bring us closer to or farther from such happiness. The positions that participants adopt in debates regarding such ancient and fundamental questions are often polarized, and cannot help but be deeply personal. It is no wonder that the debates are sometimes acrimonious. How, then, should critics of and enthusiasts about technological self-transformation move forward? Based on his experience at the oldest free-standing bioethics research institute in the world, Erik Parens proposes a habit of thinking, which he calls "binocular." As our brains integrate slightly different information from our two eyes to achieve depth of visual perception, we need to try to integrate greatly different insights on the two sides of the debates about technologically shaping our selves-if depth of intellectual understanding is what we are after. Binocular thinking lets us benefit from the insights that are visible from the stance of the enthusiast, who emphasizes that using technology to creatively transform our selves will make us happier, and to benefit from the insights that are visible from the stance of the critic, who emphasizes that learning to let our selves be will make us happier. Parens observes that in debates as personal as these, we all-critics and enthusiasts alike-give reasons that we are partial to. In the throes of our passion to make our case, we exaggerate our insights and all-too-often fall into the conceptual traps that language sets for us. Foolishly, we make conceptual choices that no one who truly wanted understanding would accept: Are technologies value-free or value-laden? Are human beings by nature creators or creatures? Is disability a medical or a social phenomenon? Indeed, are we free or determined? Parens explains how participating in these debates for two decades helped him articulate the binocular habit of thinking that is better at benefiting from the insights in both poles of those binaries than was the habit of thinking he originally brought to the debates. Finally, Parens celebrates that bioethics doesn't aspire only to deeper thinking, but also to better acting. He embraces not only the intellectual aspiration to think deeply about meaning questions that don't admit of final answers, but also the ethical demand to give clear answers to practical questions. To show how to respect both that aspiration and that demand, the book culminates in the description of a process of truly informed consent, in the context of one specific form of using technology to shape our selves: families making decisions about appearance normalizing surgeries for children with atypical bodies.
Author: D. Scott Henderson
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
Release Date: 2011-08-08
Since its inception in 1968, the brain-death criterion for human death has enjoyed the status of one of the few relatively well-settled issues in bioethics. However, over the last fifteen years or so, a growing number of experts in medicine, philosophy, and religion have come to regard brain death as an untenable criterion for the determination of death. Given that the debate about brain death has occupied a relatively small group of professionals, few are aware that brain death fails to correspond to any coherent biological or philosophical conception of death. This is significant, for if the brain-dead are not dead, then the removal of their vital organs for transplantation is the direct cause of their deaths, and a violation of the Dead Donor Rule. This unique monograph synthesizes the social, legal, medical, religious, and philosophical problems inherent in current social policy allowing for organ donation under the brain-death criterion. In so doing, this bioethical appraisal offers a provocative investigation of the ethical quandaries inherent in the way transplantable organs are currently procured. Drawing together these multidisciplinary threads, this book advocates the abandonment of the brain-death criterion in light of its adverse failures, and concludes by laying the groundwork for a new policy of death in an effort to further the good of organ donation and transplantation.
Writing for educators and education leaders, Cunningham shows that combining a philosophy of pragmatism with thinking about education as systems can illuminate challenges in contemporary schooling and provide practical solutions for creating a democratic education.
Author: Hélène Landemore
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2012-12-23
Genre: Political Science
Individual decision making can often be wrong due to misinformation, impulses, or biases. Collective decision making, on the other hand, can be surprisingly accurate. In Democratic Reason, Hélène Landemore demonstrates that the very factors behind the superiority of collective decision making add up to a strong case for democracy. She shows that the processes and procedures of democratic decision making form a cognitive system that ensures that decisions taken by the many are more likely to be right than decisions taken by the few. Democracy as a form of government is therefore valuable not only because it is legitimate and just, but also because it is smart. Landemore considers how the argument plays out with respect to two main mechanisms of democratic politics: inclusive deliberation and majority rule. In deliberative settings, the truth-tracking properties of deliberation are enhanced more by inclusiveness than by individual competence. Landemore explores this idea in the contexts of representative democracy and the selection of representatives. She also discusses several models for the "wisdom of crowds" channeled by majority rule, examining the trade-offs between inclusiveness and individual competence in voting. When inclusive deliberation and majority rule are combined, they beat less inclusive methods, in which one person or a small group decide. Democratic Reason thus establishes the superiority of democracy as a way of making decisions for the common good.