November 09, 2005

Reid, Royce, Ryle, Rawls

Thomas Reid (1710-1796), Scottish philosopher, and a contemporary of David Hume, was the founder of the Scottish School of Common Sense, and played an integral role in the Scottish Enlightenment. His theory of knowledge had a strong influence on his theory of morals. He thought epistemology was an introductory part to practical ethics: When we are confirmed in our common beliefs by philosophy, all we have to do is to act according to them, because we know what is right. His moral philosophy is reminiscent of the Latin stoicism mediated by the Scholastica, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Christian way of life. He often quotes Cicero, from whom he adopted the term "sensus communis".
Josiah Royce (18551916) was an American objective idealist philosopher. His key works include The Religious Aspect of Philosophy (1885) and The World and the Individual (1900-01).The heart of Royce's idealist philosophy was his contention that the apparently external world has real existence only as known by an ideal Knower, and that this Knower must be actual rather than merely hypothetical. He offered various arguments for this contention in both of the aforementioned key works. He appears never to have repudiated this view even though his later works are largely devoted to exposition of his philosophy of community.
Gilbert Ryle (19001976), philosopher, was a representative of the generation of British ordinary language philosophers influenced by Wittgenstein's insights into language, and is principally known for his critique of Cartesian dualism, for which he coined the phrase "the ghost in the machine". In The Concept of Mind (1949), Ryle admits to having been taken in by the body-mind dualism which permeates Western philosophy, and claims that the idea of Mind as an independent entity, inhabiting and governing the body, should be rejected as redundant piece of literalism carried over from the era before the biological sciences became established. The proper function of Mind-body language, he suggests, is to describe how higher organisms such as humans demonstrate resourcefulness, strategy, the ability to abstract and hypothesize and so on from the evidences of their behaviour.
John Rawls (February 21, 1921November 24, 2002) was an American philosopher and author of A Theory of Justice (1971), Political Liberalism, and The Law of Peoples. Rawls made an important and lasting contribution to political philosophy. Rawls's later work focused on the question of stability: could a society ordered by the two principles of justice endure? The political conception of justice that Rawls introduces in Political Liberalism is the view of justice that people with conflicting, but reasonable views, would agree on to regulate the basic structure of society. As such the political conception of justice would be the overlapping consensus about justice. Wikipedia

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