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Philosophy: October 2011, Vol. 86, No. 4.

Desire, Infinity, and the Meaning of Life, FIONA ELLIS

In his paper 'Truth, Invention, and the Meaning of Life," David Wiggins identifies a certain framework in terms of which to tackle the question of life's meaning. In this essay, it is argued that his criticisms of this framework are justified and develop an alternative which trades upon some themes from Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Levinas. This alternative remains in the spirit of Wiggins' own preferred standpoint, although he would take issue with its theological implications. This essay argues that such misgivings are misplaced, and that a move in the direction of God may be precisely what is needed if we are to provide an adequate alternative to the framework under attack.

Prichard's Heresy, SANDY BERKOVSKI

H. A. Prichard ascribed to Aristotle a form of closeted hedonism. Aristotle allegedly misunderstood his own task: while his avowed goal in the Nicomachean Ethics is to give an account of the nature of happiness, his real goal must be to offer an account of the factors most efficiently generating happiness. The reason is that the nature of happiness is enjoyment, and this fact is supposed to have been recognized by Aristotle and his audience. While later writers judged Prichard's view obviously mistaken, this paper argues that the issue is more complex. In the process of reconstructing the logical skeleton of Prichard's argument, this paper shows that Aristotle may have had to endorse the identification of the subject's good with that subject's psychological satisfaction. But this paper also argues that, while making prior assumptions about the meaning of "eudaimonia," Aristotle made no such assumptions about the nature of eudaimonia.

Disagreement, Democracy, and the Goals of Science: Is a Normative Philosophy of Science Possible, If Ethical Inquiry Is Not? ARNON KEREN

W. V. Quine and Philip Kitcher have both developed naturalistic approaches to the philosophy of science which are partially based on a skeptical view about the possibility of rational inquiry into certain questions of value. Nonetheless, both Quine and Kitcher do not wish to give up on the normative dimension of the philosophy of science. This paper argues that Kitcher's recent argument against the specification of the goal of science in terms of truth raises a problem for Quine's account of the normative dimensions of the discipline. However, Kitcher's alternative suggestion, that the goal of science is to be specified in terms of an ideal democratic procedure, does not escape this problem, given Kitcher's own limited skepticism about rational inquiry into certain questions of value.

Why the Idea of Purpose Won't Go Away, MARY MIDGLEY

Biologists' current habit of explaining each feature of human life separately through its evolutionary function--its assumed tendency to enhance each individual's reproductive prospects--is unworkable. It also sits oddly with these scientists' official rejection of teleology, since it treats all life as a process which does have an aim, namely, to perpetuate itself. But that aim is empty because it is circular. If one wants to understand the behaviour of living things (including humans), one has to treat them seriously as subjects, creatures with needs, tendencies, and directions of their own. The supposedly objective idea of a world of objects without subjects is an unprofitable fantasy.

Moral Conflicts and Moral Awareness, CHRIS BESSEMANS

By making use of Aurel Kolnai's ethical writings, this paper offers a more adequate understanding of moral conflicts and moral dilemmas. Insisting on Kolnai's phenomenological method, in particular, focusing on the agent's moral awareness (or conscience) and his deliberation, results in an understanding of moral conflicts as moments of moral choice rather than anomalies of moral theory. In this way, the paper argues that one can account for Bernard Williams's phenomenological description of moral conflicts without having to accept his antirealist conclusions. Moreover, this approach indicates the adequacy of ordinary moral reasoning for decision-making and action guidance. Lastly and importantly, the essay illustrates the relevance of Kolnai's writings to contemporary moral philosophy.

Ethical Necessities, SORAN READER

This paper introduces its author's work in ethics, inviting others to draw on her approach to address the ethical issues that concern them. Section one sets out ethical philosophy. Section two considers some implications, for example, that in order to do good, we must pay much more attention to the beings around us, and less to ourselves. The third section is devoted to a consideration of the implications for how we should think about war and peace. Section four draws out some implications for good political practice. The final section considers some objections and concludes.
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Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2011
Previous Article:The Philosophical Review: October 2011, Vol. 120, No. 4.
Next Article:Philosophy and Phenomenological Research: September 2011, Vol. 83, No. 2.

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