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Philosophy.

Vol. 79, No. 2, April 2004

Time in Human Experience, JONATHAN BENNETT

This is a set of eight mini-discourses. (1) The conceivability of the physical world's running in the opposite temporal direction. (2) Augustine's reason for thinking this is not conceivable for the world of the mind. (3) Trying to imagine being a creature that lives atemporally. (4) Memory's need for causal input. (5) Acting in the knowledge that how one acts is strictly determined. (6) The Newcomb problem. (7) The idea that all voluntary action is intended to be remedial. (8) Haunted by the strangeness of the idea of the past qua past.

The Concept of Evil, MARCUS G. SINGER

Though "evil" is often used loosely as merely the generic opposite of "morally good," used precisely it is the worst possible term of opprobrium available. In this essay it is taken as applying primarily to persons, secondarily to conduct; evil deeds must flow from the volition to do something evil. An evil action is one so horrendously bad that no ordinary, decent human being can conceive of doing it, and an evil person is one who knowingly wills or orders such actions. Malignant evil--doing evil because it is evil--is not just possible but real, and it is one of several kinds of evil delineated. There are incidental discussions of cruelty, Rosenbaum on Explaining Hitler, Baumeister on Evil, and Benn on wickedness.

Literature and Philosophy: Emotion and Knowledge? ISABELLA WHEATER

Nussbaum attempts to undermine the sharp distinction between literature and philosophy by arguing that literary texts (tragic poetry particularly) distinctively appeal to emotion and imagination, that our emotional response itself is cognitive, and that Aristotle thought so too. The author argues that emotional response is not cognitive but presupposes cognition. Aristotle argued that we learn from the mimesis of action delineated in the plot, not from our emotional response. The distinctions between emotional and intellectual writing, poetry and prose, literature and philosophy, the imaginative and the unimaginative, do not cut along the same lines. That between literature and philosophy is not hard and fast: philosophy can be dramatic (for example, Plato's dialogues) and drama can be philosophical (for example, some of Shakespeare's plays), but whether either is emotional or not, or written in poetry or prose, are other questions.

Reason and History in Locke's Second Treatise, CHARLES D. TARLTON

The idea of an original contract is, ironically, inherently narrative in form; although tautological in essence, it nevertheless portrays events occurring in sequence. In response to Filmer's provocations that the idea of an original contract lacks historical veracity, Locke tries and repeatedly fails to establish a direct historical substantiation of his position in the early chapters of the Second Treatise. The most important of these various miscalculations concern the role of consent in his account of the origins of government, the tension between logical and historical evidence in describing the development of prerogative in the English monarchy, and the inescapable conclusion that conquest and not consent was the likely origin of most states. In these places, Locke's deductive argument is forced to slow, hesitate, and change direction. The general concept of individual transgression, as it emerges from Locke's depiction of the state of nature, war, and slavery, later transforms itself into the basis of governmental injustice and tyranny. These, in turn, work to generate a sort of secondary and "political" state of nature in which now "historical" people, by means of concrete acts of resistance and revolution, enact the hypotheses of the consensual theory in their own actual time and place.

Spinoza and the Unimportance of Belief, RICHARD MASON

Ebersole's Philosophical Treasure Hunt, DON S. LEVI

Frank Ebersole's extraordinary investigations of certain key philosophical ideas behind problems in epistemology and metaphysics are the subject of this article-review. The author has resisted providing what many readers will expect him to provide, namely, a critical examination of Ebersole's philosophical methodology. He does question Ebersole's unwillingness to say why his investigations only yield negative results, and he also has something to say about classifying Ebersole as an ordinary language philosopher. However, the author's main focus is on trying to engage critically with what Ebersole actually does in his work. To this end, the author provides a narrative of the investigation Ebersole carries out into the possibility of comparing the objects of perception and dreams, and he cites other works of Ebersole in support of the his understanding of that investigation. Although one of Ebersole's lengthiest essays seems to be devoted to an anticipation of an objection to his approach, the author explains why even there he is not concerned with the question of why he always seems to get negative results. After suggesting why some of Ebersole's later essays seem to be so hard to read, the author concludes by saying something about what he takes to be Ebersole's achievement.
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Title Annotation:Philosophical Abstracts
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Words:806
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