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The ones at the bottom took the consequences of their imprudence by losing the roof over their heads and their access to credit. Even the disadvantaged who did not borrow irresponsibly suffered. This is because the public money that has been used to repair the damage to the financial system has depleted the resources available for the welfare state. In this way the imprudent subprime borrower on a low income has been punished considerably more severely by the financial crisis than even quite irresponsible bank executives.

The Price of Doubt

The imprudent subprime borrower has been punished not only with repossession and sometimes personal bankruptcy but also by a thinning of the public safety net that they have come to need more since By contrast, many of those at the top of banks that failed have suffered little more than public disapproval and the loss of jobs they did not need in order to live comfortably or better.

Top bankers who were fired have remained extremely wealthy. It got much worse for the disadvantaged, but imprudent leading bankers have suffered very little or not at all. Not only have many of them continued to live in luxury, but, as individuals, they also have suffered less and less vilification the more the events summarized in Table 1 have receded into the past. The condition of the bankers contrasts with that of many other groups of people, even if we disregard those who are most reliant on the welfare state. These people, when combined with the worst off, may not add up to 99 percent of the population, as the Occupy movement claims.

But they are numerous and have been significantly harmed by the financial crisis. What theoretical understanding of responsibility enables us to make sense of the intuition that leading bankers have been unduly insulated from the consequences of their decisions? I shall make use of a framework that was developed to discuss the apparent insulation of public officials from blame for actions done within their official roles.

It may seem that this framework is inappropriate for the responsibility of bankers, since bank executives are not public officials. The banking system has a special public status that executives in the biggest banks, through their ostensibly private sector roles, are sometimes in a particularly good position to damage. In particular, they are open to the criticism of acting unjustly, and not just of making poor or disastrous business decisions. In order to spell out this line of thought, we need to distinguish big from small banks, banks from the banking system, and also banks from other kinds of big business.

The banking system in a capitalist economy is supposed to make savings available for productive investment. It is supposed to do this for both individual and commercial borrowers. This intermediation between investors and savers is supposed to occur without loss to savers, and indeed with a return to savers as well as banks. This is supposed to be accomplished by the differential between interest rates charged to borrowers and interest rates offered to savers.

Since the class of savers in a developed country can include most of its population, there is a significant overlap between the class of savers and the class of citizens. This distinguishes the banking sector from other business sectors. Furthermore, since personal wealth is both a Rawlsian primary good and an important component of personal welfare, the banking system has a good claim to belong to the Rawlsian basic structure—that is, to belong to the set of institutions involved in the distribution of goods that are available for the realization of Rawlsian life plans.

The banking system is not just the total number of banks interacting with one another and with savings and borrowers, but this together with the relevant regulatory institutions and their enabling and other legislation.

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In the United States, the regulatory institutions include, as we have seen, the Federal Reserve system at both the national and regional levels, and state regulators. This Act prohibited U. These include the following:. The development of products—offered in the s through money market funds—that simulate retail bank without being subject to the capital requirements and accounting rules of retail banks; Significant borrowing by banks from other banks, large companies, and sovereign wealth funds to finance investments; and Significant merger and acquisition activity involving retail banks on the one hand and insurance companies and investment dealers on the other.

Not all major banks participated equally in these developments in the decade after In particular, JPMorgan Chase was considerably less leveraged than its competitors, and less exposed to real estate. Against the background of the Great Depression, the act sought to eliminate lending for speculative investment, and it imposed capital requirements on banks designed to make them able to resist runs. They supported the Bank Modernization Act. This relaxed or abolished prohibitions on links between commercial and speculative banking.

Individual Wall Street banks also lobbied for the relaxation of laws restricting predatory lending as well as bankruptcy. Not only banks corporately but also individual bankers pressed for deregulation. Foremost among these was Sanford Weill of Citigroup, who was personally involved in the negotiations between the White House and Congress that led to the Bank Modernization Act. Citigroup was associated with the takeover of Traveler's Insurance before such a takeover was legal.

It is hard not to conclude that the Bank Modernization Act, whatever else it may have had to recommend it, was backed by Weill partly because it made possible the creation at Citigroup of a single institution offering the whole spectrum of financial services. In order to theorize the injustice of regulatory capture more precisely, we need some apparatus from John Rawls, and in order to theorize personal responsibility for both regulatory capture and high level decision making within banks, we need some apparatus related to Rawls from Thomas Nagel.

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I come to Nagel later. The institutions certainly include courts and legislatures, and also the family. Institutions for regulating the monetary supply and interest rates also seem to be included.

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There is no need for comprehensive direct planning. Individual households and firms are free to make their decisions independently, subject to the general conditions of the economy. The idea of the basic structure has been criticized for obscurity and possible incoherence by G. Cohen, 19 19 G. Maximinization means maximizing the minimum wealth. We have already seen how, when it is in crisis, it can worsen the disadvantage of those at the bottom. But there are also ways in which it can temporarily advantage the worse off—represented in our narrative in the Introduction by subprime borrowers—while eventually disabling coercive basic structure institutions for effecting transfers that would maximinize.

Competition between savings banks through unregulated interest rate offers for depositors, and in the absence of deposit insurance, left many people penniless in the Depression. Maximinization apart, there is the role of banks in traditional intermediation, that is, in the prudent transformation of savings into investment. Of course banks may also have other economically useful commercial functions, such as being sources of sophisticated acquisition and merger strategy for big businesses, and of methods of financing that extend well beyond conventional loans of deposits.

In the period leading up to the crisis, the tendency of banks to be involved in all kinds of intermediation, as well as more risky proprietary trading, made them more embedded in the informal basic structure than they might otherwise have been and more of a burden on the formal basic structure, including its legally backed bank regulatory and central banking institutions, when things went wrong. But what about the personal responsibility, if any, of particular people within these institutions? Nagel sets out to show that public office does not insulate officeholders from personal responsibility for wrongdoing committed through their offices.

Thus, according to Nagel, Robert McNamara was personally though not solely responsible for what Nagel considers to be criminal U. He was personally responsible notwithstanding the fact that he was pursuing public ends in a war. According to Nagel, public office does not free office holders from the obligations of ordinary private morality, but the purposes of public offices make results as opposed to means count more than they do in private life, and the means of accomplishing these purposes legitimately include powers that would not normally be available for the pursuit of private purposes.

These unusual powers may not be used in any way an officeholder likes: law and impartial courts are supposed to constrain office holders. This explains why, for example, shows of partiality or favoritism may be strictly outlawed in public life though they are permissible in private. The heightened power of public office derives from the public purposes of the office.

These public purposes are to bring certain publicly recognized benefits to groups, including nations. Despite the greater latitude given to office holders to pursue such goals as public defense and wealth redistribution through means—notably coercion—that are not open to individuals pursuing their personal goals, it is not permissible for public officials to pursue public goals by whatever means they choose. Avoidable harm and disproportionate mass killing are always impermissible in public office and private life alike; for example, which is why McNamara's acting as Secretary of Defense does not get him off the hook if a military policy leads to a massacre or the targeting of the harmless.

In the same way, the fact that any number of bank executives were pursuing a legitimate goal—bank profitability—and facilitating economic growth when they made a policy of reckless leveraging, does not mean that the leveraging was justified after all. In McNamara's case, the public role of Secretary of Defense did not so to speak drown out the contribution of McNamara the man to the execution of defense policy.

Although there are certain effects that any Secretary of Defense tries to bring about, it is permissible to put one's own personal stamp on one's execution of the role, and the possibility of being regarded personally as one of the great presidents or prime ministers is no doubt one of the biggest attractions of those offices. It seems to be similar for leaders of big businesses. In this respect, personal involvement seems to be as much a feature of leadership in a role in big business as it is in government service.

Now the role of bank chief executive is not necessarily a public role in the way that U. Nevertheless, it has a strong public aspect if decisions made within that role significantly affect the survival of the bank, and the role holder knows that his bank is connected to the banking system in such a way that his bank's failure or some decision of his bank would trigger significant disruption to the whole banking system. For short periods, the fate of a single bank seemed to determine that of the banking system, and so the commercial obligation of negotiating a rescue became not just a managerial responsibility but a matter of public obligation, too.

Treasury—agents that were associated with coercive power—for the sake of the survival of the banking system. More objectionable than the advantageous terms offered to some banks at the height of the crisis was the effect of bank lobbying on banking law before the crisis.

Banks were able to influence in their favor the legal regime governing their operations. This widened the area of the legally permissible in ways that Nagel's model of the constraints on public office holding does not anticipate. Nagel's model treats public offices and associated institutions as in turn constrained by further independent institutions, including judicial and legislative institutions, subject to strong norms of impartiality allied to serving the public interest.

And some figures in leading positions in the biggest banks were personally responsible for this regulatory capture, as Sanford Weill's wall decoration proclaimed. Regulatory capture reduces the claim of an office with a strong public aspect to insulate its holders from responsibility for what is done through that office.

In this way, individual bankers may be more guilty than McNamara, though of wrongdoing that is less than lethal.

Jean Bodin (c. 1529—1596)

I agree that these people have personal responsibility though of course not sole responsibility for elements of the financial crisis. But there are important points of difference between the approach behind the Time list and my own, which accounts for some disagreements between a list that would be suggested by this article and the list suggested by Time. Time sometimes chooses an individual to personify a regulatory institution or bank.

So, for example, Chris Cox is high on its list of blameworthy people, because he was in charge of the Securities and Exchange Commission SEC at the time of the crisis, and it was within the power of the SEC to require more prudent leveraging from the banks.

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In this case my approach would be to ask whether in fact Chris Cox was the SEC in any important sense. But it does not follow from the fact that someone is in charge that they are the organization in any interesting sense. So I am not sure that on my approach Cox is important to mention.

The SEC already has been mentioned. Distinctions can also be made between bankers on Time 's list. The latter two do have some claim to have personified the organizations they led. In the case of O'Neall, that is not so. So while all three bear personal responsibility on my account as well as Time 's, O'Neall has a weaker claim to be on the list, or a claim to be on the list different from Fuld and Weill, because he did not personify Merrill. In any case, here is what Time says about this class of guilty people: In the third quarter of , Americans began saving more and spending less.

We've been borrowing, borrowing, borrowing—living off and believing in the wealth effect, first in stocks, which ended badly, then in real estate, which has ended even worse. Now we're out of bubbles. We have a lot less wealth—and a lot more effect. Household debt in the U. We enjoyed living beyond our means—no wonder we wanted to believe it would never end. My account has also mentioned individual borrowers who knowingly speculated on the property market rather than invested in a place to live, and those who would not defer consumption until it was within their means.

But these people do not add up to the class of American consumers, even if most Americans or many Americans are in debt and do not save enough. Again, many of the people who speculated and who should have deferred consumption do not, on my account, deserve public blame.

Many of them personally suffered the consequences of their imprudence—through personal bankruptcy or repossession of their houses.


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Public blame in addition is unnecessary. These people have gotten off unduly lightly, on my account. Still, the number of people in the group of well off and seriously damaging agents is probably not very large. It is certainly much smaller than the class of American banking executives, smaller even than the class of American executives in companies as central to the crisis as Countrywide or Citigroup, for even in those organizations there were people in powerful roles who could see big risks and who tried and failed to get things done differently.

My account is geared to what I called the strong public aspect of decisions in banks that were able to affect the whole banking system. My account directs serious blame at relatively few people, people whose roles—I hope to have shown—are inevitably strongly publicly aspected ones, even though they are discharged in the private sector. Volume 42 , Issue 1.

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Original Article Open Access. All monarchies, aristocracies and popular states are either tyrannical, despotic, or legitimate i. These are not different species of commonwealth, Bodin observes, but diverse ways of governing the state. Tyrannical monarchy is one in which the sovereign ruler violates the laws of God, oppresses his subjects and treats their private property as his own. Tyrannical monarchy must not be confused with despotic monarchy, Bodin writes. Finally, royal or legitimate monarchy is one in which the subjects obey the laws of the sovereign prince, and the prince in his turn obeys the laws of God and of nature; natural liberty and the right to private property are secured to all citizens.

Bodin is recognized today as one of the earliest advocates of the abolition of slavery. For him, slavery was a universal phenomenon in the sense that slaves exist in all parts of the world, and slavery was widely accepted by the droit des gens. Bodin writes that there are difficulties concerning slavery that have never been resolved. He wishes to answer the following question: But if we are to consider the question according to commonly received opinions, thus allowing ourselves to be less concerned with philosophical arguments, we will soon understand that slavery is unnatural and contrary to human dignity.

First of all, he considers slavery in most cases to be unnatural, as the following passage attests: Thirdly, slavery is against human dignity, because of the countless indescribable humiliations that slaves have been forced to suffer. Bodin relies on a historical narrative to prove that slavery is incompatible with a stable commonwealth Herrel , Thus, in the following passage, he states:.

Wherefore seeing it is proved by the examples of so many worlds of years, so many inconveniences of rebellions, servile warres, conspiracies eversions and changes to have happened unto Commonweals by slaves; so many murthers, cruelties, and detestable villanies to have bene committed upon the persons of slaves by their lords and masters: The Response is an analysis of the reasons for the significant and continuous price rises that afflicted sixteenth century Europe.

It is in this work that Bodin is said to have given one of the earliest formulations of the Quantity Theory of Money. In its most elementary form, the Quantity Theory of Money is the affirmation that money supply directly affects price levels. High inflation was rampant in sixteenth century Europe.

It began in Spain, and soon spread to its neighboring states. This was mainly due to the increase in the quantity of precious metals, namely silver and gold, that were brought by boat to Europe from the Spanish colonies in the New World. In , the Chambre des Comptes de Paris decided to investigate the reasons for inflation, and the results of the investigation were published in in a study entitled The Paradoxes of the Seigneur de Malestroit on the Matter of Money.

Malestroit held that the price rises are simply changes in the unit of account that have been occasioned by debasement, and that prices of precious metals have remained constant for three hundred years. Bodin, however, cast doubt on the fact whether velvet was even known in France at such an early period. Secondly, Bodin was able to demonstrate that debasement alone did not explain the reasons for such major and significant price rises; while debasement was one of the factors that had occasioned such inflation, it was far from being the principal cause.

Bodin lists five major factors as contributory causes for such widespread inflation: Of these five causes, Bodin considered the abundance of precious metals to be the most important. Seven possible sources of income are listed. Bodin considers the public domain to be the most honest and the most reliable source of income for the commonwealth.

He writes that throughout history sovereign princes and their citizens have taken it as a universal rule that the public domain should be holy, inviolable and inalienable. Bodin considers the inalienability of the public domain, together with the Salic law, to be one of the fundamental laws Lat.

Like many of his contemporaries, Bodin held that the levying of new taxes without consent was a violation of the property rights of the individual, and, as such, contrary to the law of God and nature. He was particularly firm in opposing new taxation without proper consent and sought confirmation for his opinion in French and European history.

One of the main differences between a legitimate ruler and an illegitimate one concerns the question of how each treats the private property of their subjects. Property rights are protected by the law of God and of nature, and therefore, violation of the private property of citizens is a violation of the law of God and of nature.

A tyrant makes his subjects into his slaves, and treats their private property as if it were his own. The 16th and 17th centuries witnessed fierce internal conflict and power struggles at the heart of Christianity. The country most seriously ravaged by the combat between the Catholics and the Huguenots was France. Furthermore, a world of hugely diverse religious beliefs had been recently unveiled beyond the walls of Christendom, and the question of knowing which religion was the true religion vera religio , or that which God wanted humanity to follow, needed to be addressed.

It is believed to have been written sometime during the s, although it was circulated in manuscript for nearly three centuries before it was published in its entirety in The Colloquium is a discussion between seven men of different religions or convictions that have gathered in the home of Coronaeus, a Catholic living in Venice, Italy.


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The men engage in listening to music, reading, gastronomical delights, and discussions concerning religion. The Colloquium begins with a story that is told by Octavius. A ship leaves the port of Alexandria as gentle winds blow, but an intensive tempest soon arises. The crewmen, being from many different places and of various confessions, all pray for the one God that they have faith in. The storm calms down eventually and the ship is brought safely to port.

When Octavius had finished his story, Coronaeus asked the following question: The matter of true religion is discussed in the final three books of the Colloquium heptaplomeres. True religion, Bodin holds, is tolerant of all religions, and accepts different ways to approach God. Carnap The Logical Syntax of Language published in the series in The purpose of The International Library is to give expression, in a convenient format at moderate price, to the remarkable developments which have recently occurred in Psychology and its allied sciences.

The older philosophers were preoccupied by metaphysical interests which, for the most part, have ceased to attract the younger investigators, and their forbidding terminology too often acted as a deterrent for the general reader. The attempt to deal in clear language with current tendencies, has met with a very encouraging reception, and not only have accepted authorities been invited to explain the newer theories, but it has been found possible to include a number of original contributions of high merit.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. List of books in the series [ edit ] This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. In addition, the pursuit of fundamental questions in more or less all the core areas of philosophy often leads naturally to and is sometimes enhanced by sustained attention to questions about education e. For these reasons, and perhaps others, it is not surprising that the philosophical tradition has generally regarded education as a worthy and important target of philosophical reflection. It is therefore unfortunate that the pursuit of philosophy of education as an area of philosophical investigation has been largely abandoned by general philosophers in the last decades of the twentieth century, especially in the United States.

Hare, Alasdaire MacIntyre, A. The reasons for this loss are complex and are mainly contingent historical ones that I will not explore here. It remains, nevertheless, that this state of affairs is unfortunate for the health of philosophy of education as an area of philosophical endeavor, and for general philosophy as well.

The Price of Doubt (International Library of Philosophy)

One purpose of this volume is to rectify this situation. The essays that follow are divided in a way that reflects my own, no doubt somewhat idiosyncratic understanding of the contours of the field; other groupings would be equally sensible. In the first section, concerning the aims of education , Emily p. The next concerns a variety of issues involving thinking, reasoning, teaching, and learning.

Richard Feldman discusses epistemological aspects of thinking and reasoning as they are manifested in the educational context. Jonathan Adler offers an account, informed by recent work in cognitive science as well as epistemology, of the nature of fallibility and its educational significance. Eamonn Callan and Dylan Arena offer an account of indoctrination, while Stefaan Cuypers does the same for authenticity. David Moshman provides a psychological account of the development of rationality, while Gareth Matthews raises doubts concerning the contributions developmental psychology might make to the philosophical understanding of the various cognitive dimensions of education.

The third section focuses on moral, value, and character education. Elijah Millgram focuses on moral skepticism and possible attendant limits of moral education. Graham Oddie offers a metaphysical account of value as part of a general approach to values education. The next section treats issues arising at the intersection of knowledge, curriculum, and educational research.

David Carr addresses general questions concerning the extent to which, and the ways in which, the curriculum is and ought to be driven by our views of knowledge. Robert Audi and Richard Grandy both address questions concerning science education—the first focusing on the ways in which religious toleration and liberal neutrality might constrain science education, and the second on contemporary cognitive scientific investigations of teaching and learning in the science classroom.

Denis Phillips assesses extant philosophical critiques of educational research and discusses the scientific status, current state, and future promise of such research. The fifth section addresses social and political issues concerning education. Amy Gutmann and Meira Levinson both address contentious questions concerning education in the contemporary circumstances of multiculturalism, while Lawrence Blum treats the problematic character and effects of prejudice and the prospects for overcoming them.

Rob Reich investigates the moral and legal legitimacy of some varieties of educational authority, emphasizing the important but often overlooked interests of children. The final section includes three papers that discuss particular approaches to philosophy of education: Randall Curren considers pragmatic approaches to the subject, Nel Noddings feminist approaches, and Nicholas Burbules postmodern approaches.