Philosophy Vol. 76, No. 296, April 2001. (Philosophical Abstracts)

Article excerpt

The Virtues of Common Sense, BRIAN GRANT

In this paper the author defends a version of a philosophy of common sense. The paper includes some things from Reid's account, others from Wittgenstein's. Skepticism looms large--as do the questions of arguments for and examples of common sense. At least two different notions of common sense emerge, one of which has often been overlooked by philosophers.

Wittgenstein: Science and Religion, ROM HARRE

The influences of Wittgenstein's education in the physical sciences and of his struggles with religion are often referred to but not yet given the importance they deserve. The Tractatus has been interpreted, wrongly, as a refinement of Russellian logical atomism. The influence of Hertz and Boltzmann can be seen in the picture theory of meaning, the doctrine of simple elements ontology, and the use of truth tables to display the logical structure of the world. They can be treated as generalizations of German philosophy of physics. The attempt to understand religion provided Wittgenstein with a model for the nature and resolution of philosophical problems. Religious practices can be maintained while keeping clear of unwise ontological presuppositions. The important distinction between describing on the one and justifying and explaining on the other is characteristic both of the discussion of religion in Culture and Value and of philosophical problems in the Investigations.--Correspondence to: harre@georgetown.edu

The Indispensability of Character, JOEL J. KUPPERMAN

Gilbert Harman has argued that it does not make sense to ascribe character traits to people. The notion of morally virtuous character becomes particularly suspect. How plausible this is depends on how broad character traits would have to be. Views of character as entirely invariant behavioral tendencies offer a soft target. This paper explores a view that is a less easy target: character traits as specific to kinds of situation and as involving probabilities or real possibilities. Such ascriptions are not undermined by Harman's arguments, and it remains plausible that the agent's character often is indispensable in explanation of behavior. Character is indispensable also as processes of control that impose reliability where it really matters.--Correspondence to: jkupper@uconnvm.uconn.edu

Temperance, Temptation, and Silence, TONY LYNCH

Often a concern for truthfulness becomes the celebration of radical truthfulness, where this involves both the utter refusal of deception and that all moral and political beliefs be fit to survive publicity. …