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John Niemeyer Findlay

[New Entry by Douglas Lackey on August 22, 2019.] J. N. Findlay was a twentieth century South African philosopher who taught at universities in South Africa, New Zealand, England, and North America. He was respected for his analytical abilities, and is credited by Arthur Prior with being the founder of tense logic. In the philosophy of mind and language, he maintained the tradition of Brentano, Meinong, and Husserl against the contrary tradition of Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein. In a series of Gifford lectures, he argued for a mystical metaphysics that was very much influenced [More]

I still have problems understanding why external world skepticism is a thing in

Read another response about Knowledge Knowledge Share I still have problems understanding why external world skepticism is a thing in philosophy. I've heard so many hypotheses and they all seem to revolve around the idea that consciousness is a "simulatable". Here's what I don't understand: The keywords are: Consciousness: the state of being aware of and responsive to one's surroundings. Simulation: imitation of something else. Simulation, by definition, is the imitation of something else. The "something else" in this case is consciousness. If it's the imitation of consciousness then it cannot be the real one. How on earth can consciousness not be real? It seems to me that by simulation they are trying to say that there is "illusory simulated consciousness" and "real non-simulated consciousness". How on earth can consciousness be illusory/simulated? A lot of people then say: external world skepticism is skepticism about perception not consciousness. It seems to me that perception and consciousness are more or less the same thing. Consciousness is the general state of being aware of and responsive to one's surroundings. Perception is the specific response to one's surroundings or, in other words, "consciousness of" something specific. I don't understand. Is it possible that skepticism is finally [More]

Democracy, Justice, and Equality in Ancient Greece: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives

2019.08.22 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Georgios Anagnostopoulos and Gerasimos Santas (eds.), Democracy, Justice, and Equality in Ancient Greece: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives, Springer, 2019, 316pp., $139.99 (hbk), ISBN 9783319963129. Reviewed by David J. Riesbeck, Tempe Preparatory Academy The ideas of democracy, justice, and equality were central to political thought in ancient Greece and remain so for us today. Yet the vast cultural differences between antiquity and modernity inevitably put some distance between ancient concerns and our own. Nonetheless, historical and cultural perspective plays an indispensable role in self-understanding, and this volume seeks to offer just such perspective. Ten of its thirteen chapters focus on Plato, Aristotle, or both. The emphasis therefore falls decidedly on the philosophical rather than the historical, though most of the papers give some attention to matters of context. The quality of the contributions varies, but several chapters provide novel insight or especially helpful overviews of their topics. Much of the volume will be of interest only... Read [More]

Intoxicated Consent and Intoxicated Responsibility: Is there a paradox?

Once upon a time, I used to teach criminal law. For me, the most challenging section of the course was invariably the section on sexual offences. Some students would find the subject uncomfortable, perhaps even traumatising. Others, though interested and engaged, would find it difficult to articulate their thoughts in a precise way. There would be occasionally awkward discussions about the nature of sexual consent and responsibility, as well as contentious debates about the gendered assumptions that continue to underlie the law.Every year, I would teach tutorial classes in which students were asked to consider the correct legal approach to real and hypothetical cases of sexual assault and rape. Every year, I found that one kind of hypothetical case would generate the most heated discussion, with the debate usually (though not always) breaking down along gendered lines.The case would be posed by one of the students (I don’t believe I ever brought it up). The case would involve a man and a woman, both of whom were heavily, but voluntarily, intoxicated. The man and woman would then engage in some kind of sexual* touching. This could be penetrative or not; the exact form did not matter too much to the hypothetical (though see the discussion of this issue below). If it were penetrative, it would be assumed that the man had penetrated the woman. The question would then be posed: was there a legally chargeable sexual assault or rape?This hypothetical would generate heated [More]

The Methods of Bioethics: An Essay in Meta-Bioethics

2019.08.21 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews John McMillan, The Methods of Bioethics: An Essay in Meta-Bioethics, Oxford University Press, 2018, 186pp., $60.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199603756. Reviewed by Thomas V. Cunningham, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Bioethics Program Bioethics is ripe for an investigation into its methods. The boundaries of the field are multiple and blurred, its central problems contested, and its theories and methods are frequently underdeveloped. So, John McMillan's book is a timely one. It positions itself as a pithy exploration of the methodological failings of bioethics and an expert explication of its core philosophical-methodological foundations. Were it able to accomplish this, the book would be an important addition to the field, making for an accessible introduction for an advanced undergraduate or graduate course or a useful reference text for professionals coming to bioethics from medicine, nursing, law, or other vocations. Unfortunately, this book overpromises and underperforms, so I would not recommend it for these audiences. Although it sets... Read [More]