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No Morality, No Self

No Morality, No Self

Author: James Doyle
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674982827
Pages: 224
Year: 2017-09-18
Elizabeth Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy” and “The First Person” have become touchstones of analytic philosophy but their significance remains controversial or misunderstood. James Doyle offers a fresh interpretation of Anscombe’s theses about ethical reasoning and individual identity that reconciles seemingly incompatible points of view.
No Morality, No Self

No Morality, No Self

Author: James Doyle
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674976509
Pages: 224
Year: 2017-09-18
Elizabeth Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy” and “The First Person” have become touchstones of analytic philosophy but their significance remains controversial or misunderstood. James Doyle offers a fresh interpretation of Anscombe’s theses about ethical reasoning and individual identity that reconciles seemingly incompatible points of view.
Inheritance of Wealth

Inheritance of Wealth

Author: Daniel Halliday
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192524992
Pages: 256
Year: 2018-01-25
Daniel Halliday examines the moral grounding of the right to bequeath or transfer wealth. He engages with contemporary concerns about wealth inequality, class hierarchy, and taxation, while also drawing on the history of the egalitarian, utilitarian, and liberal traditions in political philosophy. He presents an egalitarian case for restricting inherited wealth, arguing that unrestricted inheritance is unjust to the extent that it enables and enhances the intergenerational replication of inequality. Here, inequality is understood in a group-based sense: the unjust effects of inheritance are principally in its tendency to concentrate certain opportunities into certain groups. This results in what Halliday describes as 'economic segregation'. He defends a specific proposal about how to tax inherited wealth: roughly, inheritance should be taxed more heavily when it comes from old money. He rebuts some sceptical arguments against inheritance taxes, and makes suggestions about how tax schemes should be designed.
Plato as Critical Theorist

Plato as Critical Theorist

Author: Jonny Thakkar
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674919602
Pages: 350
Year: 2018-05-14
What is the best possible society? How would its rulers govern and its citizens behave? Such questions are sometimes dismissed as distractions from genuine political problems, but in an era when political idealism seems a relic of the past, says Jonny Thakkar, they are more urgent than ever. A daring experiment in using ancient philosophy to breathe life into our political present, Plato as Critical Theorist takes seriously one of Plato’s central claims: that philosophers should rule. What many accounts miss is the intimate connection between Plato’s politics and his metaphysics, Thakkar argues. Philosophy is the activity of articulating how parts and wholes best fit together, while ruling is the activity that shapes the parts of society into a coherent whole conducive to the good life. Plato’s ideal society is thus one in which ideal theory itself plays a leading role. Today’s liberal democracies require not philosopher-kings legislating from above but philosopher-citizens willing to work toward a vision of the best society in their daily lives. Against the claim that such idealism is inherently illiberal, Thakkar shows that it is fully compatible with the liberal theories of both Popper and Rawls while nevertheless pushing beyond them in providing a new vantage point for the Marxian critique of capitalism.
Self-Consciousness and Objectivity

Self-Consciousness and Objectivity

Author: Sebastian Rdl
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674976517
Pages: 176
Year: 2018-01-08
Sebastian Rödl undermines a foundational dogma of contemporary philosophy: that knowledge, in order to be objective, must be knowledge of something that is as it is, independent of being known to be so. This profound work revives the thought that knowledge, precisely on account of being objective, is self-knowledge: knowledge knowing itself.
Donald Davidson’s Triangulation Argument

Donald Davidson’s Triangulation Argument

Author: Robert H. Myers, Claudine Verheggen
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 113464129X
Pages: 224
Year: 2016-06-10
According to many commentators, Davidson’s earlier work on philosophy of action and truth-theoretic semantics is the basis for his reputation, and his later forays into broader metaphysical and epistemological issues, and eventually into what became known as the triangulation argument, are much less successful. This book by two of his former students aims to change that perception. In Part One, Verheggen begins by providing an explanation and defense of the triangulation argument, then explores its implications for questions concerning semantic normativity and reductionism, the social character of language and thought, and skepticism about the external world. In Part Two, Myers considers what the argument can tell us about reasons for action, and whether it can overcome skeptical worries based on claims about the nature of motivation, the sources of normativity and the demands of morality. The book reveals Davidson’s later writings to be full of innovative and important ideas that deserve much more attention than they are currently receiving.
Thinking and Being

Thinking and Being

Author: Irad Kimhi
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674985281
Pages: 126
Year: 2018-06-11
Opposing a long-standing orthodoxy of the Western philosophical tradition running from ancient Greek thought until the late nineteenth century, Frege argued that psychological laws of thought—those that explicate how we in fact think—must be distinguished from logical laws of thought—those that formulate and impose rational requirements on thinking. Logic does not describe how we actually think, but only how we should. Yet by thus sundering the logical from the psychological, Frege was unable to explain certain fundamental logical truths, most notably the psychological version of the law of non-contradiction—that one cannot think a thought and its negation simultaneously. Irad Kimhi’s Thinking and Being marks a radical break with Frege’s legacy in analytic philosophy, exposing the flaws of his approach and outlining a novel conception of judgment as a two-way capacity. In closing the gap that Frege opened, Kimhi shows that the two principles of non-contradiction—the ontological principle and the psychological principle—are in fact aspects of the very same capacity, differently manifested in thinking and being. As his argument progresses, Kimhi draws on the insights of historical figures such as Aristotle, Kant, and Wittgenstein to develop highly original accounts of topics that are of central importance to logic and philosophy more generally. Self-consciousness, language, and logic are revealed to be but different sides of the same reality. Ultimately, Kimhi’s work elucidates the essential sameness of thinking and being that has exercised Western philosophy since its inception.
Sources of Knowledge

Sources of Knowledge

Author: Andrea Kern
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674416112
Pages: 295
Year: 2017-01-02
How can human beings, who are liable to error, possess knowledge, since the grounds on which we believe do not rule out that we are wrong? Andrea Kern argues that we can disarm this skeptical doubt by conceiving knowledge as an act of a rational capacity. In this book, she develops a metaphysics of the mind as existing through knowledge of itself.
As If

As If

Author: Kwame Anthony Appiah
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674982193
Pages: 240
Year: 2017-08-14
Idealization is a basic feature of human thought. We proceed “as if” our representations were true, while knowing they are not. Kwame Anthony Appiah defends the centrality of the imagination in science, morality, and everyday life and shows that our best chance for accessing reality is to open our minds to a plurality of idealized depictions.
The Activity of Being

The Activity of Being

Author: Aryeh Kosman
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674075021
Pages: 296
Year: 2013-03-01
Understanding “what something is” has long occupied philosophers, and no Western thinker has had more influence on the nature of being than Aristotle. Focusing on a reinterpretation of the concept of energeia as “activity,” Aryeh Kosman reexamines Aristotle’s ontology and some of our most basic assumptions about the great philosopher’s thought.
Practical Knowledge

Practical Knowledge

Author: Kieran Setiya
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190462922
Pages: 320
Year: 2016-10-13
In the last forty years, action theory has revitalized moral philosophy. Philosophers have explored the nature of agency, what is involved in acting for a reason, how we know what we are doing, the role of intention, desire, and belief in motivating action, and more. At their most ambitious, philosophers have claimed that action theory is the foundation of ethics. For rationalists or constitutivists, the standards of practical reason derive from the nature of agency as a functional or teleological kind. They are no more mysterious than the standards for being a good clock or a good heart, given the function of clocks and hearts. In this collection of new and previously published essays, Kieran Setiya defends a causal theory of intentional action on which it is explained by knowledge in intention, a form of practical knowledge that transcends prior evidence. Such knowledge rests on knowing how to do the things we do. The theory is otherwise minimalist: agents need not regard their reasons as good, put means to ends, or adopt particular aims. It follows that we must reject the rationalist or constitutivist approach: the nature of agency is too thin to support the standards of practical reason. But the upshot is not nihilism. Instead, the requirement of means-end coherence is explained by the cognitive aspect of intention; and the standards of practical reason are those of ethical virtue, applied to practical thought.
Modern Moral Philosophy

Modern Moral Philosophy

Author: Anthony O'Hear
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521603269
Pages: 318
Year: 2004-11-18
Collection of original essays by leading researchers on current approaches to moral philosophy.
The Rationality of Perception

The Rationality of Perception

Author: Susanna Siegel
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198797087
Pages: 240
Year: 2017-01-05
An important division in the human mind is between perception and reasoning. Perceptual experiences are conscious, but much of our reasoning is unconscious. Reasoning can be better or worse, but perception is considered beyond reproach. We reason from information that we have already, butperception is a means of getting new information. The Rationality of Perception argues that these two divergent aspects of the mind become deeply intertwined when beliefs, fears, desires, or prejudice influence what we perceive. When the influences reach all the way to perceptual appearances, weface a philosophical problem: is it reasonable to strengthen what one believes, fears, or suspects, on the basis of an experience that was generated, unbeknownst to the perceiver, by those very same beliefs, fears, or suspicions? Susanna Siegel argues that it is not reasonable - even though it mayseem that way to the perceiver. Drawing on examples involving racism, emotion, self-defense law, and scientific theories, The Rationality of Perception makes the case that perception itself can be irrational. Siegel systematically distinguishes "cognitive penetration" from several other kinds of influence on perception, builds atheory of how such influences on perception determine what it's rational or irrational to believe, and uses the main conclusions to analyze perceptual manifestations of anti-black racism in the U.S. This book makes vivid the far-reaching consequences of psychological and cultural influences onperception. Its method shows how analytic philosophy, social psychology, history and politics can be mutually illuminating.
Moral Skepticism

Moral Skepticism

Author: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 0195342062
Pages: 288
Year: 2007-10-19
Sinnott-Armstrong here provides an extensive survey of the difficult subject of moral beliefs. He covers theories that grapple with questions of morality such as naturalism, normativism, intuitionism, and coherentism. He then defends his own theory that he calls "moderate moral skepticism," which is that moral beliefs can be justified, but not extremely justified.
Ethics

Ethics

Author: J.L. Mackie
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 0141960094
Pages: 256
Year: 1990-08-30
An insight into moral skepticism of the 20th century. The author argues that our every-day moral codes are an 'error theory' based on the presumption of moral facts which, he persuasively argues, don't exist. His refutation of such facts is based on their metaphysical 'queerness' and the observation of cultural relativity.