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21. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Marilyn Fischer Intentions, Rights and Wrongs: A Critique of Fried
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In this paper I argue against Fried’s thesis that a wrong must be intended by the violator in order for a person’s negative rights to be violated. With Fried’s requirement these rights become in a sense derivative from wrongs. This makes the relation between one’s negative rights and one’s moral integrity, upon which Fried wants to base rights, indirect and inappropriately weak. If rights are based on one’s status as a freely choosing, rational, moral personality, then whether one’s rights are violated should be determined by inspecting one’s own loss of integrity or function, not by examining the assailant’s intentions.
22. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
David B. Annis Informed Consent, Autonomy, and the Law
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Informed consent to therapy is the legal doctrine which imposes on a physician the duty to explain the nature and risks of a proposed treatment so the patient can make an informed decision whether to undergo the treatment. The doctrine has spawned tremendous controversy in the legal and medical professions.In this paper I examine the doctrine of informed consent as developed by the courts. The thrust of my criticism is that as the doctrine has been developed, it significantly undercuts individual autonomy. Several modifications are suggested which would provide more support for autonomy interests.
23. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Lawrence Alexander Reiman’s Libertarian Interpretation of Rawls’ Difference Principle
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John Rawls’ Difference Principle, which requires that primary goods--income, wealth, and opportunities--be distributed so as to maximize the primary goods of the least advantaged class, has both a libertarian and a welfarist interpretation. The welfarist interpretation, which fits somewhat more easily with Rawls’ method for deriving principles of justice--rational contractors choosing principles behind the veil of ignorance--and with Rawls’ contention that there is a natural affirmative duty to aid others and to help establish and maintain just institutions, is the orthodox interpretation. But there is scattered, fragmentary evidence for the libertarian interpretation as well. In this article I examine a recent version of the libertarian interpretation put forward by Jeffrey Reiman and discuss its implications as a standard for justice in cooperative arrangements.
24. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Richard Parker Bradley’s Paradox and Russell’s Theory of Relations
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A coherent theory of relations was a critical part of Russell’s metaphysics. In Appearance and Reality Bradley posed a problem that sits squarely in the way of any doctrine of “external” relations. Russell, determined to advance such a doctrine, tried several times to find a way around the paradox and apparently believed he had succeeded by making use of one of his inventions, the theory of logical types.Gilbert Ryle and Alan Donagan have advanced an argument that I read, over the objections of its authors, as a special case of Bradley’s. In this paper I argue that the ad hoc solution suggested by Donagan to the special problem is one that Russell had already indicated a willingness to accept but that the general problem of the paradox remains.What finally prevents Russell from solving the paradox is a combination of his refusal to abandon the claim that relations are constituents of facts and the necessity of distinguishing a relational fact from its converse. Following some hints that Russell left, I do some reconstruction, showing how the theory of types would (and should) have been applied had Russell followed through on his own insights. The result, I suggest, is a truly Russellian theory that escapes Bradley’s paradox.
25. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Fred Wilson Is Hume a Sceptic with Regard to Reason?
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This paper argues that, contrary to most interpretations, e.g., those of Reid, Popkin and Passmore, Hume is not a sceptic with regard to reason. The argument of Treatise I, IV. i, of course, has a sceptical conclusion with regard to reason, and a somewhat similar point is made by Cleanthes in the Dialogues. This paper argues that the argument of Treatise I, IV. i is parallel to similar arguments in Bentham and Laplace. The latter are, as far as they go, sound, and so is Hume’s. But the limitations of all mean that they cannot sustain a general argument against reason. Hume the historian is quite aware of these limitations. So is Hume the philosopher. A careful examination of the other references in the Treatise to the argument of I, IV. i reveals that Hume not only rejects but constructs a sound case against accepting the sceptical conclusion, arguing that reason can indeed show the sceptic’s argument to be unreasonable. A close reading of the Dialogues shows that Hume there also draws the same conclusion. The thrust of the paper is to go some way towards showing that it is a myth that Hume is a pyrrhonian sceptic.
26. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Gregory Mellema The Nature of Aims and Ends in Education
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In this paper it is argued that educational aims be approached as states of affairs susceptible of analysis in terms of means and ends. An educator’s various aims, in this way, can be classified according to the means-end relationship they bear to one another. This approach, which stands squarely in the tradition of Aristotle and enjoys little support among contemporary educational theorists, is defended from objections by R.S. Peters, a popular and influential proponent of an alternative approach.
27. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Michael V. Wedin Nozick on Explaining Nothing
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This paper raises some difficulties with the strategy suggested in Robert Nozick’s Philosophical Explanations for explaining why there is something rather than nothing. I am concerned less with his adoption of an egalitarian, as opposed to inegalitarian, explanatory stance (the net effect of which is to detach for independent consideration the question, “Why is there something?”) than with his use of a crucial assumption in reasoning from the egalitarian point of view. I argue that this assumption, that all possibilities exist, is fatally ambiguous, that the persuasiveness of Nozick’s reasoning depends on at once assuming and blurring the difference between the predicates “does not exist” and “nonexists” and that the attempt to wed a priori reasoning and a posteriori (mystical) practice fails.
28. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
David Basinger Griffin and Pike on Divine Power: Some Clarifications
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David Griffin and Nelson Pike recently had a spirited discussion on divine power. The essence of the discussion centered around what was labelled Premise X: “It is possible for one actual being's condition to be completely determined by a being or beings other than itself.” Pike maintains that ‘traditional’ theists have affirmed Premise X but denies that this entails that God has all the power there is and thus denies that Premise X can be considered incoherent for this reason. Griffin maintains that traditional theists have as a matter of fact affirmed that God has all the power there is and then argues that, given standard Process metaphysical assumptions, to say that God has all the power there is is incoherent. Griffin succeeds in demonstrating that, given Process assumptions, God cannot determine all of the activities of any human--i.e., all of an individual’s desires, choices and actions. But Pike is primarily interested in whether God could determine all of the bodily behaviors of any given human. And to this question, Griffin gives no response.
29. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
David V. Ward Identity: Criteria Versus Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
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This paper argues that there are no necessary and sufficient conditions for the identity through time of material objects where those conditions have a kind of empirical content necessary for them to function as criteria for identity through time. Taking Eli Hirsch’s program in The Concept of Identity as representative of attempts to formulate conditions which are logically necessary and sufficient and which also function as criteria guiding our tracing of objects’ careers through time, I argue (a) that, when such programs are constructed in a way sensitive to the criteria we actually use, they fall prey to conceivable counterexamples and (b) that, when such programs are tightened to avoid logically possible counterexamples, they fail to capture the identity criteria implicit in our ordinary experience. The paper argues that our identity criteria are incomplete and informal and that our individuative practice is partially determined by the kind of interest we have in the object(s) being traced. The relationship between this view and two versions of relative identity is also discussed.
30. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Lee C. Rice Spinoza’s Account of Sexuality
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I argue that Spinoza’s account of appetition, and its application to human sexuality, is more original than many commentators suggest; and that it offers resolutions to several puzzles in the philosophy of sex. The paper first situates these puzzles in contemporary debates, offers a detailed analysis of Spinoza’s remarks on love in general and sexual love in particular, and concludes with some of the normative consequences which Spinoza attempts to derive from these.