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Archive for the ‘Philosophy of Law’ Category

Amongst many, though certainly not all, political theorists and economists there is a tendency to believe that in the absence of government, mutually beneficial voluntary economic interactions- and hence property rights- cannot exist, or, if they can, do so only infrequently (see, for instance, Murphy and Nagel (2002); Buchanan (1975); Glaeser et al. (2001); Rand (1967) pp. 329 – 337; Friedman (2002); Epstein (1985) chapter 1; Macpherson (1962)). This view has as its philosophical progenitor Thomas Hobbes, who famously concludes in his masterpiece, Leviathan, that in order to allow for mutually beneficial economic interactions- and thus property rights- a civil authority with the power to create and enforce laws is first necessary. What Hobbes (and by implication most modern political theorists and economists) fails to address adequately is that agents can establish property holdings and facilitate economic transactions in the absence of a government via self-enforcing contracts, particularly given his starting assumptions.

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Hello Fellow Philosophers!

The inspiration for this post comes from a very weird source: a Russian serial. Unlike here in the US, most Russian movies that are made (and popularly watched) have multiple parts to them, usually running between 40 – 50 minutes per part, and consisting of anywhere from 4 to 24 parts. These are referred to as “serials” (or, at least, that is the translation from Russian), and are shown on TV.

In one of the ones that I finished just recently, there was an interesting moral dilemma that came up that I thought would be nice to post up here.

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A discussion of “the difficulty of using cutting-edge science in the courtroom” … here.

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Hello Fellow Student Philosophers!

The following is something I wrote down a few weeks ago, forgot about, and then, just recently, found on one of my father’s computers in his office. Re-reading this has re-spurred by interest in the topic, so I figured I’d post it here to see what you guys think.

Enjoy!

George (“The Meager Weakling”)

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Have you ever Stepped on a nail and not felt it–then: Pain Strikes you. You’ve been standing on the nail for a minute, but because you had your mind focused on the hottie walking by, you didn’t notice it. This is revealing. It reveals that pain (the phenomenological pain) is a process of higher order functions. The “I” becomes aware of the of the pain and then it becomes “I-pain”. In psychology, there is a distinction between aversive reactions and physiological response to a stimuli and the phenomenological pain response to a stimuli. Aversive reactions can take place without pain, but are many times accompanied by pain—emotional or physical, which are processed in the same area of the brain (see last months Scientific American). Now, humans and higher order animals can feel pain, but lower order animals may not feel phenomenological pain because they don’t have the “I” concept or the ability the higher order brain functions to process suffering as anything more than a stimuli and response. When we talk about ethics with animals, we should consider degrees of suffering.

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Phillip Kitcher was here a few weeks ago and gave two talks on the intersections of science, society, freedom, and democracy. I thought that some of you might like to watch and discuss what was said. Below are the videos: (more…)

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BBC Radio 4 Program: In Our Time

The host, Melvyn Bragg, discusses the history of logic with guests A.C. Grayling, Peter Millican, and Rosanna Keefe.

The Nizkor Project’s Fallacies Section and Fallacy Files

Two sites that offer a decent exposition of informal logical fallacies (Fallacy Files also covers formal fallacies).

Sorites and Philosophers’ Imprint

Two free online journals which cover a wide range of philosophical subjects. Sorites, however, only publishes work in analytic philosophy, while Philosophers’ Imprint publishes, albeit sparingly, on continental topics.

Summer Schools in Logic and Learning

Produced by the University of Canberra, Australia, the School contains a plethora of lectures on computer science, logic, automated reasoning, and many other topics. Of particular interest to me, note the lecture in non-classical logic.

Finally, Flagler College is producing Sophocles’ Antigone. The play may be of some interest to those who are taking Philosophy of Law with Dr. Buchwalter. Amongst other themes, Sophocles addresses the (still vibrant) debate over the nature of law: is there a higher law, a law the supersedes the positive edicts of rulers? Antigone apparently thinks so!

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