Monday, November 11, 2019

Forma de Vida 17 (Anscombe)

The Portuguese journal Forma de Vida has a special issue on Anscombe with articles in English by me, Nuno Venturinha, and others, and (not new) articles in Portuguese by Alasdair MacIntyre, Cora Diamond, James Conant, and others. It looks really good, partly because of photography by Ana Frias. My article is a re-working of thoughts that started out in this post.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

"A lot of things happened."

Candace Vogler's autobiographical essay is remarkable, and not only for the horrors she recounts having been done to her (and others). I hesitate to say anything critical given this context, but along the way she says this:
I had started reading work by G.E.M. Anscombe in graduate school. I loved Intention. It seemed likely that there was a ghost writer at work in that slender volume, and it seemed clear that it wasn’t Aristotle. I knew that Anscombe was a devout Catholic, a convert, so I suspected that the ghost author could be Aquinas.
Exactly what "there was a ghost writer at work in" Anscombe's book means is hard to say: it could mean that only a few parts were 'ghost-written', or that it all was. But I think this is a bad way to approach Anscombe's work. No doubt she was influenced by Aquinas, as she was by Wittgenstein and Aristotle (whom she openly talks about). It is, nevertheless, her work, the product of very difficult and careful thinking. And she deserves full credit for it. (I don't think Vogler would deny this at all, but inviting the inference is a danger inherent in what she says here. And she's not the only Anscombe scholar who makes remarks like this.)

Friday, October 18, 2019

Amazon (tedious legal notice)

UPDATE: As far as I can tell I am no longer an Amazon Associate. Phew.

I just got this email from Amazon:
Hello Associate,

This is a reminder of your disclosure obligations under the Operating Agreement. Any time you share an affiliate link, it’s important to disclose that to your audience. They will trust you more if you are transparent about where you are directing them and why. To meet the Associate Program's requirements, you must (1) include a legally compliant disclosure with your links and (2) identify yourself on your Site as an Amazon Associate with the language required by the Operating Agreement.

To comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations, your link-level disclosure must be:
1. Clear. A clear disclosure could be as simple as “(paid link)”, “#ad” or “#CommissionsEarned”.
2. Conspicuous. It should be placed near any affiliate link or product review in a location that customers will notice easily. They shouldn’t have to hunt for it.

In addition, the Operating Agreement requires that the following statement clearly and conspicuously appears on your Site: “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” For social media user-generated content, this statement must be associated with your account.

Associates should also consider the relevant social media platform’s guidelines. For example, Associates may use Facebook's Branded Content tool.

Visit this page on AC to bookmark this information about disclosures.

Thank you,

Amazon Associates Program
I will try to avoid linking to Amazon in future, since I am an Amazon Associate but don't want to jump through all these hoops. Apologies to any readers who bought books from Amazon after following a link here without realizing that I might profit as a result. (I think I have made less than $5 this way so far. But it was fun while it lasted.)

Saturday, September 28, 2019

James Klagge

... has a website. There's all sorts of good stuff here about Wittgenstein, etc. For instance, this on Wittgenstein's lectures.

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Some popular philosophy by me is available here.

Morality in a Realistic Spirit

This collection of essays is now out. Here's the publisher's description and the table of contents:
This unique collection of essays has two main purposes. The first is to honour the pioneering work of Cora Diamond, one of the most important living moral philosophers and certainly the most important working in the tradition inspired by Ludwig Wittgenstein. The second is to develop and deepen a picture of moral philosophy by carrying out new work in what Diamond has called the realistic spirit.
The contributors in this book advance a first-order moral attitude that pays close attention to actual moral life and experience. Their essays, inspired by Diamond’s work, take up pressing challenges in Anglo-American moral philosophy, including Diamond’s defence of the concept ‘human being’ in ethics, her defence of literature as a source of moral thought that does not require external sanction from philosophy, her challenge to the standard ‘fact/value’ dichotomy, and her exploration of non-argumentative forms of legitimate moral persuasion. There are also essays that apply this framework to new issues such as the nature of love, the connections of ethics to theology, and the implications of Wittgenstein’s thought for political philosophy.
Finally, the book features a new paper by Diamond in which she contests deep-rooted philosophical assumptions about language that severely limit what philosophers see as the possibilities in ethics. Morality in a Realistic Spirit offers a tribute to a great moral philosopher in the best way possible—by taking up the living ideas in her work and taking them in original and interesting directions.
Andrew Gleeson and Craig Taylor
  1. Ethics and Experience
  2. Cora Diamond
  3. Cora Diamond and the Uselessness of Argument: Distances in Metaphysics and Ethics
  4. Reshef Agam-Segal
  5. The Importance of Being Fully Human: Transformation, Contemplation and Ethics
  6. Sarah Bachelard
  7. How to be somebody else: imaginative identification in ethics and literature
  8. Sophie Chappell
  9. Different themes of love
  10. Christopher Cordner
  11. A Brilliant Perspective: Diamondian Ethics
  12. Alice Crary
  13. The Riddling God
  14. Andrew Gleeson
  15. Shakespeare, Value and Diamond
  16. Simon Haines
  17. The asymmetry of truth and the logical role of thinking guides in ethics
  18. Oskari Kuusela
  19. Difficulties of Reality, Skepticism and Moral Community: Remarks After Diamond on Cavell
  20. David Macarthur
  21. Comparison or Seeing-As? The Holocaust and Factory Farming
  22. Talia Morag
  23. Two conceptions of "community": as defined by what it is not, or as defined by what it is
  24. Rupert Read
  25. Thinking with Animals
  26. Duncan Richter
  27. Diamond on Realism in Moral Philosophy
           Craig Taylor

Saturday, September 7, 2019

"The Ethical and the Political in the Dilemma of Winch's Vere"

The last paper in the collection is by Lynette Reid. Melville's Billy Budd presents a tragic dilemma in which it can seem both that Billy Budd is essentially innocent and that he must be executed (because of the letter of the law and the danger of anything less than strict discipline in time of war). Vere, the captain of his ship, decides that he is to be hanged.

Reid's paper builds on work by Peter Winch, and is written as a response to Lilian Alweiss, who argues that Vere faces, not a moral dilemma, but a clash between a moral and a political duty. Reid explains that:
Winch gives Vere's choice as an example of a contradiction between the inner and the outer as such a contradiction may arise in the complexity of lives lived with the kinds of social concepts that create the possibility of "wearing two hats". Winch very briefly contrasts how he thinks about this kind of contradiction with how the contractarian approach would encompass it, with reference to Hobbes as a philosopher who, he says, attempts to collapse the distinction between the inner and the outer (meaning here, private conscience and political duty) (p. 271)     
Reid argues persuasively that Vere's dilemma is moral or at least normative in way that means Alweiss does not deprive Winch's argument of its force.