Philosophy

Reasons and Persons

Author: Derek Parfit

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019824908X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 543

View: 3314

This book challenges, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity. The author claims that we have a false view of our own nature; that it is often rational to act against our own best interests; that most of us have moral views that are directly self-defeating; and that, when we consider future generations the conclusions will often be disturbing. He concludes that moral non-religious moralphilosophy is a young subject, with a promising but unpredictable future.
Identity (Philosophical concept)

Reasons Without Persons

Rationality, Identity, and Time

Author: Brian Hedden

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198732597

Category: Identity (Philosophical concept)

Page: 210

View: 5321

Brian Hedden defends a radical view about the relationship between rationality, personal identity, and time. On the standard view, personal identity over time plays a central role in thinking about rationality, because there are rational norms for how a person's attitudes and actions at one time should fit with her attitudes and actions at other times. But these norms are problematic. They make what you rationally ought to believe or do depend on facts about yourpast that aren't part of your current perspective on the world, and they make rationality depend on controversial, murky metaphysical facts about what binds different instantaneous snapshots (or'time-slices') into a single person extended in time. Hedden takes a different approach, treating the relationship between different time-slices of the same person as no different from the relationship between different people. On his account, the locus of rationality is the time-slice rather than the temporally extended agent. This impersonal, time-slice-centric approach to rationality yields a unified approach to the rationality of beliefs, preferences, and actions where what rationalitydemands of you is solely determined by your evidence, with no special weight given to your past beliefs or actions.
Philosophy

On What Matters

Volume One

Author: Derek Parfit

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199681031

Category: Philosophy

Page: 592

View: 3404

This is the first volume of a major work in moral philosophy, the long-awaited follow-up to Parfit's classic Reasons and Persons, a landmark of 20th-century philosophy. Parfit presents a powerful new treatment of reasons and a critical examination of the most prominent systematic moral theories, leading to his own ground-breaking conclusion.
Philosophy

Faith with Reason

Author: Paul Helm

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198238454

Category: Philosophy

Page: 185

View: 9916

Paul Helm presents a new study of the nature of religious faith, investigating what makes it reasonable. Religious belief needs to meet and sustain philosophical scrutiny just as any other type of belief does; nothing about religion purchases immunity from this. But at the same time religious epistemology must also respect the contours of religion, the distinctiveness of the subject-matter of religious belief. Helm looks sympathetically at two currently prominent ways of defending the rationality of religious belief: 'Reformed' epistemology and the cumulative case for theism. He argues that the reasonableness of faith depends not only on beliefs about the world but also on beliefs about oneself (for instance about what one wants, about one's hopes and fears) and on what one is willing to trust. Helm goes on to look at the relations between belief and trust, and between faith and virtue, and concludes with an exploration of one particular type of belief about oneself, the belief that one is oneself a believer. This is a book for anyone interested in the basis of religious faith.
Decision making

Weighing Reasons

Author: Barry Maguire

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199315191

Category: Decision making

Page: 312

View: 3498

In recent decades normative reasons-considerations that count in favor of one thing or another-have come to the theoretical fore in ethics and epistemology. A major attraction of normative reasons is that they have weight or strength. Reasons are particular considerations that count in favor of actions or attitudes to some degree. This feature is attractive to theorists who want to explain more complex normative phenomena in terms of a notion that is weighted. This volume aims to provide the beginnings for a theory of weight. The fourteen new essays fall into three groups. One set of essays addresses questions about the nature of weight. Topics include the relations between reasons and conditions and modifiers, between reasons and other weighted notions such as commitments, and different models of the interaction of reasons. A second set of essays addresses substantive questions: questions about weight relevant to value-first, desire-first, evidence-first and other normative research programs. A third set of essays applies issues in the theory of weight to broader ethical debates. The book thus not only makes novel contributions to debates in ethics and epistemology about the nature of normative reasons and their weight, it also makes a strong case for the theoretical fruitfulness of the ideology of normative reasons.
Philosophy

The Domain of Reasons

Author: John Skorupski

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199587639

Category: Philosophy

Page: 525

View: 5662

This book is about normativity and reasons. But by the end the subject becomes the relation between self, thought and world. Skorupski argues that the key concepts of epistemology and moral theory are normative concepts, and that what makes them normative is that they depend on reasons. The concept of a reason is fundamental to all thought.
Philosophy

On What Matters

Volume Two

Author: Derek Parfit

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019968104X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 825

View: 1633

This is the second volume of a major new work in moral philosophy. It starts with critiques of Derek Parfit's work by four eminent moral philosophers, and his responses. The largest part of the volume is a self-contained monograph on normativity. The final part comprises seven new essays on Kant, reasons, and why the universe exists.
Psychology

How We Reason

Author: Philip Nicholas Johnson-Laird

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198569769

Category: Psychology

Page: 573

View: 7040

Good reasoning can lead to success; bad reasoning can lead to catastrophe. Yet, it's not obvious how we reason, and why we make mistakes - so much of our mental life goes on outside our awareness. In recent years huge strides have been made into developing a scientific understanding of reasoning. This new book by one of the pioneers of the field, Philip Johnson-Laird, looks at the mental processes that underlie our reasoning. It provides the most accessible account yet of the science of reasoning. We can all reason from our childhood onwards - but how? 'How we reason' outlines a bold approach to understanding reasoning. According to this approach, we don't rely on the laws of logic or probability - we reason by thinking about what's possible, we reason by seeing what is common to the possibilities. As the book shows, this approach can answer many of the questions about how we reason, and what causes mistakes in our reasoning that can lead to disasters such as Chernobyl. Itshows why our irrational fears may become psychological illnesses, why terrorists develop 'crazy' ideologies, and how we can act in order to improve our reasoning. The book ends by looking at the role of reasoning in three extraordinary case histories: the Wright brothers' use of analogies in inventing their flyer, the cryptanalysts' deductions in breaking the German's Enigma code in World War II, and Dr. John Snow's inductive reasoning in discovering how cholera spread from one person to another. Accessible, stimulating, and controversial, How we Reason presents a bold new approach to understanding one of the most intriguing facets of being human.
Philosophy

Moral Reason

Author: Julia Markovits

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199567174

Category: Philosophy

Page: 224

View: 7064

What is it to have a reason to do something? is one sort of question; what is it we have reason to do? is another. These questions are often explored separately. But our answers to them may not be independent: what reasons are may have implications for what reasons there are. In Moral Reason, Julia Markovits develops and defends a version of a desire-based, internalist, account of what normative reasons are. But doesthat account entail that there are no moral reasons that apply to all of us, regardless of what we happen to desire? It may look obvious that it does--that a bullet must be bitten somewhere. But on Markovits' account, the bullet may yet be avoided. She builds on Kant's argument for his formula of humanity to provide an internalist defense ofuniversal moral reasons, and provides a more satisfying answer to the age-old question: why be moral?
Philosophy

Persons, Animals, Ourselves

Author: Paul F. Snowdon

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191056804

Category: Philosophy

Page: 272

View: 1722

The starting point for this book is a particular answer to a question that grips many of us: what kind of thing are we? The particular answer is that we are animals (of a certain sort)—a view nowadays called 'animalism'. This answer will appear obvious to many but on the whole philosophers have rejected it. Paul F. Snowdon proposes, contrary to that attitude, that there are strong reasons to believe animalism and that when properly analysed the objections against it that philosophers have given are not convincing. One way to put the idea is that we should not think of ourselves as things that need psychological states or capacities to exist, any more that other animals do. The initial chapters analyse the content and general philosophical implications of animalism—including the so-called problem of personal identity, and that of the unity of consciousness—and they provide a framework which categorises the standard philosophical objections. Snowdon then argues that animalism is consistent with a perfectly plausible account of the central notion of a 'person', and he criticises the accounts offered by John Locke and by David Wiggins of that notion. In the two next chapters Snowdon argues that there are very strong reasons to think animalism is true, and proposes some central claims about animal which are relevant to the argument. In the rest of the book the task is to formulate and to persuade the reader of the lack of cogency of the standard philosophical objections, including the conviction that it is possible for the animal that I would be if animalism were true to continue in existence after I have ceased to exist, and the argument that it is possible for us to remain in existence even when the animal has ceased to exist. In considering these types of objections the views of various philosophers, including Nagel, Shoemaker, Johnston, Wilkes, and Olson, are also explored. Snowdon concludes that animalism represents a highly commonsensical and defensible way of thinking about ourselves, and that its rejection by philosophers rests on the tendency when doing philosophy to mistake fantasy for reality.
Philosophy

Persons and Causes

The Metaphysics of Free Will

Author: Timothy O'Connor

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190288434

Category: Philosophy

Page: 160

View: 2680

This provocative book refurbishes the traditional account of freedom of will as reasons-guided "agent" causation, situating its account within a general metaphysics. O'Connor's discussion of the general concept of causation and of ontological reductionism v. emergence will specially interest metaphysicians and philosophers of mind.
Philosophy

God and the Philosophers

The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason

Author: Thomas V. Morris

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780195101195

Category: Philosophy

Page: 285

View: 7794

God and the Philosophers offers a series of highly personal, thoughtful essays by traditionally religious philosophers, such as William P. Alston, William J. Wainsright, and Marilyn McCord Adams, revealing the power of belief in their intellectually rigorous lives and work.
FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS

Deeper Than Reason

Emotion and Its Role in Literature, Music, and Art

Author: Jenefer Robinson

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 0199263655

Category: FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS

Page: 500

View: 9666

Jenefer Robinson uses modern psychological and neuroscientific research on the emotions to study our emotional involvement with the arts.
Literary Collections

The Oxford Book of Essays

Author: John Gross

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199556555

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 680

View: 5989

The essay is one of the richest of literary forms. Its most obvious characteristics are freedom, informality, and the personal touch--though it can also find room for poetry, satire, fantasy, and sustained argument. All these qualities, and many others, are on display in The Oxford Book of Essays. The most wide-ranging collection of its kind to appear for many years, it includes 140 essays by 120 writers: classics, curiosities, meditations, diversions, old favorites, recent examples that deserve to be better known. A particularly welcome feature is the amount of space allotted to American essayists, from Benjamin Franklin to John Updike and beyond. This is an anthology that opens with wise words about the nature of truth, and closes with a consideration of the novels of Judith Krantz. Some of the other topics discussed in its pages are anger, pleasure, Gandhi, Beau Brummell, wasps, party-going, gangsters, plumbers, Beethoven, potato crisps, the importance of being the right size, and the demolition of Westminster Abbey. It contains some of the most eloquent writing in English, and some of the most entertaining.
Social Science

A Dictionary of World Mythology

Author: Arthur Cotterell

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019107893X

Category: Social Science

Page: N.A

View: 7522

The powerful gods of Greece, Rome, and Scandinavia, the more mystical deities of Buddhist and Hindu India, and the stern spirits of the African and American continents all reflect very different civilizations, yet they also demonstrate the unity of mankind in its fundamental need for explanations of the unknown. Arthur Cotterell sets out clearly the chief myths of the world and explains why different mythologies arose in different lands. * Comprehensive coverage in seven main sections of West Asia, South and Central Asia, East Asia, Europe, America, Africa, and Oceania * Clear and informative section introductions highlight the history and lifestyle of ancient peoples and the landscape in which they lived * Illustrated with black-and-white photographs and maps of each key area `An excellent reference book, as well as a good book for dipping into at leisure.' Greek Review

The Oxford English dictionary

Vol. 1-

Author: John Andrew Simpson

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780198611868

Category:

Page: N.A

View: 8268

Philosophy

Against Absolute Goodness

Author: Richard Kraut

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190208244

Category: Philosophy

Page: 240

View: 1193

Are there things we should value because they are, quite simply, good? If so, such things might be said to have "absolute goodness." They would be good simpliciter or full stop - not good for someone, not good of a kind, but nonetheless good (period). They might also be called "impersonal values." The reason why we ought to value such things, if there are any, would merely be the fact that they are, quite simply, good things. In the twentieth century, G. E. Moore was the great champion of absolute goodness, but he is not the only philosopher who posits the existence and importance of this property. Against these friends of absolute goodness, Richard Kraut here builds on the argument he made in What is Good and Why, demonstrating that goodness is not a reason-giving property - in fact, there may be no such thing. It is, he holds, an insidious category of practical thought, because it can be and has been used to justify what is harmful and condemn what is beneficial. Impersonal value draws us away from what is good for persons. His strategy for opposing absolute goodness is to search for domains of practical reasoning in which it might be thought to be needed, and this leads him to an examination of a wide variety of moral phenomena: pleasure, knowledge, beauty, love, cruelty, suicide, future generations, bio-diversity, killing in self-defense, and the extinction of our species. Even persons, he proposes, should not be said to have absolute value. The special importance of human life rests instead on the great advantages that such lives normally offer. "When one reads this, one sees the possibility of real philosophical progress. If Kraut is right, I'd be wrong to say that this book is good, period. Or even great, period. But I will say that, as a work of philosophy, and for those who read it, it is excellent indeed." --Russ Shafer-Landau, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Philosophy

The Value of Rationality

Author: Ralph Wedgwood

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192523740

Category: Philosophy

Page: 256

View: 1321

Ralph Wedgwood gives a general account of the concept of rationality. The Value of Rationality is designed as the first instalment of a trilogy - to be followed by accounts of the requirements of rationality that apply specifically to beliefs and choices. The central claim of the book is that rationality is a normative concept. This claim is defended against some recent objections. Normative concepts are to be explained in terms of values (not in terms of 'ought' or reasons). Rationality is itself a value: rational thinking is in a certain way better than irrational thinking. Specifically, rationality is an internalist concept: what it is rational for you to think now depends solely on what is now present in your mind. Nonetheless, rationality has an external goal - the goal of thinking correctly, or getting things right in one's thinking. The connection between thinking rationally and thinking correctly is probabilistic: if your thinking is irrational, that is in effect bad news about your thinking's degree of correctness. This account of rationality explains how we should set about giving a theory of what it is for beliefs and choices to be rational. Wedgwood thus unifies practical and theoretical rationality, and reveals the connections between formal accounts of rationality (such as those of formal epistemologists and decision theorists) and the more metaethics-inspired recent discussions of the normativity of rationality. He does so partly by drawing on recent work in the semantics of normative and modal terms (including deontic modals like 'ought').
Reference

Pocket Oxford English Dictionary

Author: Catherine Soanes

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780198605713

Category: Reference

Page: 1083

View: 9868

This is a reissue of the ninth edition of the world's longest-established and best-selling pocket English dictionary. It is one of the new generation Oxford dictionaries derived from the database of the highly-acclaimed New Oxford Dictionary of English and is particularly user friendly with its elegant open design, with different elements starting on new lines. It offers excellent coverage of English as an international language, the defining style is straightforward and non-technical, andthousands of examples illustrate idiomatic usage. All irregular noun, verb, and adjectival inflections are spelled out in full, while guidance on grammar and good usage is provided by in-text notes. Additional features include Wordbuilder boxes giving information on related words and thematic tables on subjects such as countries, chemical elements, and nationalities. This title replaces ISBN: 0-19-861334-2.
Philosophy

Personal Identity

Author: Harold W. Noonan

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134482132

Category: Philosophy

Page: 256

View: 9557

Personal Identity is a comprehensive introduction to the nature of the self and its relation to the body. Harold Noonan places the problem of personal identity in the context of more general puzzles about identity, discussing the major historical theories and more recent debates. The second edition of Personal Identity contains a new chapter on 'animalism' and a new section on vagueness.