The Death of Metaphysics; The Death of Culture

The Latin root of the English word culture ties together both worship and the tilling of the soil. In each case, the focus is the same: a rightly-directed culture produces either a bountiful harvest or falls short of the mark, materially or spiritually. This volume critically explores the nature and depth of our contemporary cultural crisis: its lack of traditional orientation and moral understanding. Prime among the issues at stake are the meaning and significance of birth, copulation, suffering, and death, expressed in debates regarding human embryo-experimentation and stem cell research, the character of moral and scientific norms, as well as more fundamentally, the character of an adequate epistemology for coming to appreciate the deep nature of reality and its normative implications. Given varying background ontological, epistemological, and axiological presuppositions, different moral positions and political objections will appear as not merely morally permissible but as socially and politically obligatory. The volume is addressed to philosophers, theologians, bioethicists and public policy professionals as it critically assesses the increasing void between the traditional Christian metaphysical and moral understandings that guided the flourishing of Christian culture and today’s very secular, and frequently empty, cultural backdrop.

The Death of Metaphysics; The Death of Culture

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The Taste for Ethics

This book marks a new departure in ethics. In our culture ethics has first and foremost been a question of the good life in relation to other people. Central to this ethic was friendship, inspired by Greek thought (not least Aristotle), and the caritas concept from the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Later moral philo- phers also included man’s relation to animals, and it was agreed that the m- treatment of animals was morally reprehensible. But no early moral teaching discussed man’s relation to the origin of foodstuffs and the system that p- duced them; doubtless the question was of little interest since the production path was so short. The interest in good-quality food is of course an ancient one, and healthy eating habits have often been underlined as a condition for the good life. But before industrialization the production of this food was easy to follow. As a rule, that is no longer the case. The field of ethics must therefore be extended to cover responsibility for the production and choice of foodstuffs, and it is this food ethic that Christian Coff sets out to trace.

The Taste for Ethics

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Body and Practice in Kant

Kant is generally conceived to have offered little attention to the fact that we experience the world in and through our bodies. This book argues that this standard image of the great German philosopher is radically wrong. Not only does Kant – throughout his career and in works published before and after the Critique of pure reason – reflect constantly upon the fact that human life is embodied, but the Critique of pure reason itself may be read as a critical reflection aimed at exploring some significant philosophical implications of this fact. Bringing this aspect of Kant’s philosophy into focus is important, not only because it sheds new light on our understanding of Kant’s work, but also because it is relevant to contemporary discussions in philosophy about embodiment, learning and practice. By taking his philosophy of embodiment into account, the author makes Kant stand out as a true contemporary in new and unexpected ways.

Body and Practice in Kant

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A Companion to Phenomenology and Existentialism

A Companion to Phenomenology and Existentialism is a complete guide to two of the dominant movements of philosophy in the twentieth century. Written by a team of leading scholars, including Dagfinn Føllesdal, J. N. Mohanty, Robert Solomon, Jean-Luc Marion Highlights the area of overlap between the two movements Features longer essays discussing each of the main schools of thought, shorter essays introducing prominent themes, and problem-oriented chapters Organised topically, around concepts such as temporality, intentionality, death and nihilism Features essays on unusual subjects, such as medicine, the emotions, artificial intelligence, and environmental philosophy

A Companion to Phenomenology and Existentialism

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Wittgenstein

This revised edition of Sir Anthony Kenny’s classic work on Wittgenstein contains a new introduction which covers developments in Wittgenstein scholarship since the book was first published. Widely praised for providing a lucid and historically informed account of Wittgenstein’s core philosophical concerns. Demonstrates the continuity between Wittgenstein’s early and later writings. Provides a persuasive argument for the unity of Wittgenstein’s thought. Kenny also assesses Wittgenstein’s influence in the latter part of the twentieth century.

Wittgenstein

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Moore and Wittgenstein on Certainty

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s On Certainty was finished just before his death in 1951 and is a running commentary on three of G.E. Moore’s greatest epistemological papers. In the early 1930s, Moore had written a lengthy commentary on Wittgenstein, anticipating some of the issues Wittgenstein would discuss in On Certainty . The philosophical relationship between these two great philosophers and their overlapping, but nevertheless differing, views is the subject of this book. Both defended the existence of certainty and thus opposed any form of skepticism. However, their defenses and conceptions of certainty differed widely, as did their understanding of the nature of skepticism and how best to combat it. Stroll’s book contains a careful and critical analysis of their differing approaches to a set of fundamental epistemological problems.

Moore and Wittgenstein on Certainty

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Minds and Bodies

In Minds and Bodies , Colin McGinn offers proof that contemporary philosophy, in the hands of a consummate reviewer, can be the occasion not only sharp critical assessment, but also writing so clear and engaging that readers with no special background in the subject but simply a taste for challenging idea can feel welcome.Gathering nearly forty review-essays printed mainly in nonspecialist publications over the past twenty years, McGinn, a distinguished philosopher and teacher, measures the best of recent Anglo-American philosophical writing, considering books by Thomas Nagel, John Searle, and Daniel Dennett, among others, and navigating with energy and wit important new work in ethics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind. Opening with a section on philosophical lives–books written on or by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, Charles Peirce, and A. J. Ayer– McGinn moves to the question of consciousness, offering readers two dozen crisp and provocative pieces on work seeking to define and illuminate the mind, its activity, and its relation to the world of physical objects. Closing with a section on ethics, McGinn brings a bold and sharply original perspective to argument in such controversial areas as animal rights and feminist moral theory.A bracing collection of masterfully written reviews that together form an accessible picture of philosophy as it is practiced today, Minds and Bodies makes permanent the critical reflections of a gifted philosopher and writer and is destined to find an appreciative audience both within the philosophical community and in the wider culture of intellectually curious readers.

Minds and Bodies

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Metaphilosophy and Free Will

Why is debate over the free will problem so intractable? In this broad and stimulating look at the philosophical enterprise, Richard Double uses the free will controversy to build on the subjectivist conclusion he developed in The Non-Reality of Free Will (OUP 1991). Double argues that various views about free will–e.g., compatibilism, incompatibilism, and even subjectivism–are compelling if, and only if, we adopt supporting metaphilosophical views. Because metaphilosophical considerations are not provable, we cannot show any free will theory to be most reasonable. Metaphilosophy and Free Will deconstructs the free will problem and, by example, challenges philosophers in other areas to show how their philosophical argumentation can succeed.

Metaphilosophy and Free Will

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Making Mortal Choices

“In this provocative study, Bedau demonstrates the usefulness of “”casuistry,”” or “”the method of cases”” in arriving at moral decisions. He examines well-known cases, including the aftermath of the sinking of the William Brown in 1841, that compel us to consider questions about who ought to survive when not all can. By doing so, we learn something about how we actually reason concerning such life and death situations, as well as about how we ought to reason if we wish both to be consistent and to properly respect human life. Bedau’s elegant book will be a valuable resource for students, philosophers, and general readers.”

Making Mortal Choices

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