Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Engaged Philosophy

Engaged Philosophy: Essays in Honour of David Braybrooke

Susan Sherwin
Peter K. Schotch
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 320
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Engaged Philosophy
    Book Description:

    Engaged Philosophyis an invaluable collection for anyone who has engaged with Braybrooke?s writings or is interested in the future directions North American philosophy might take.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8429-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. Chapter 1 Introduction: About David Braybrooke
    (pp. 3-20)
    Susan Sherwin

    This collection of original essays has been produced by faculty members who have been colleagues or students of David Braybrooke in his years of full-time teaching at Dalhousie University (1963-90).¹ Our intention is to express our collective affection, admiration, and respect for this important philosopher on the occasion of his eightieth birthday by reflecting on aspects of his life and work as they have inspired our own philosophical thinking.

    By happy coincidence, the publication of this volume coincides with the momentous publication of his own book,Analytical Political Philosophy: From Discourse, Edification, the fourth in a series of books Braybrooke...


    • Chapter 2 Teaching Class: Justice and Privatization in Education
      (pp. 23-50)
      Nathan Brett

      David Braybrooke has been a stern critic of moves toward privatization that began with the Thatcher and Reagan regimes in Britain and the United States respectively. In his work he has treated education as a need that requires a public response. This paper explores the implications of moves toward privatization in education and attempts to show why education should not continue down this path toward privatization. This will involve considering some basic differences between public and private enterprises. It will also explore the implications of Braybrooke’s views that education is one of the basic needs of human beings and that...

    • Chapter 3 Determining Health Care Needs after the Human Genome Project: Reflections on Genetic Tests for Breast Cancer
      (pp. 51-76)
      Susan Sherwin

      In his important bookMeeting Needs, David Braybrooke (1987) restores the concept of human needs to a central place in policy considerations. He is responding to a widespread tendency among modern economists and liberal political theorists to substitute individual preferences for the traditional role assigned the concept of needs in social policy deliberations. Braybrooke seeks to stem this tide and restore the concept of needs to its rightful place where it can provide ‘firm guidance in the choice of social policies’ (5). He argues that without a clear understanding of what are legitimately classified as needs, it is difficult to...

    • Chapter 4 The Mutual Limitation of Needs as Bases of Moral Entitlements: A Solution to Braybrooke’s Problem
      (pp. 77-100)
      Duncan MacIntosh

      In his bookMeeting Needs(1987), David Braybrooke argues that meeting people’s needs ought to be the primary goal of social policy. He distinguishes two types of needs. First, there are course-of-life needs. These are needs which everyone has and which must be satisfied for people to function normally in society when performing any of the roles of which the society approves and advancing any of the projects it permits people to choose. Second, there are adventitious needs, ones varying from project to project, and which must be satisfied in order for people to advance the specific projects for which they...

    • Chapter 5 Canadians and Global Beneficence: Human Security Revisited
      (pp. 101-124)
      Edna Keeble

      In ‘A Progressive Approach to Personal Responsibility for Global Beneficence,’ David Braybrooke opens with the question ‘What personal responsibilities do we, people living in rich countries, have for relieving miseries in the less fortunate countries?’¹ With this one question, Braybrooke presents an immediate challenge to students of Canadian foreign policy both to reflect on the notion of responsibility in the international arena and to focus on the role of individual Canadians who live in a rich, developed state to alleviate poverty and hardship abroad. On the one hand, Braybrooke’s challenge is a familiar one: students of Canadian foreign policy have...

    • Chapter 6 Braybrooke on Public Policy: Precautionary and Fair; Feasible and Ameliorative
      (pp. 125-164)
      Sharon Sutherland

      This chapter is an analysis and appreciation of David Braybrooke’s continuing exploration of how to improve the strategies under which public policy is formulated in regard to their responsiveness to needs and their attentiveness, in deliberative stages, to intelligibility, feasibility, and public safety. HisUtilitarianism: Restorations; Repairs; Renovations(2004) recommends an incrementalist-utilitarian policy and decision-making strategy that would encourage citizen examination and discussion of policy problems, interventions, and outcomes—activities that could improve and amend appreciation of the problem environments. He continues his ‘renovations’ in his further work on needs, rights, and consequences (Analytical Political Philosophy, 2005), in which he...

    • Chapter 7 Life of Pi and the Existence of Tigers
      (pp. 165-190)
      Steven Burns

      David Braybrooke surprised me above all by the range of his interests. I first saw the book he co-authored with Lindblom displayed on the mantel of a colleague.¹ I was being welcomed to the Dalhousie department as a new junior department member. Not noting the authors’ names, but being surprised by the sociological cast of their topic, I made a lame joke about the ubiquity of little red books with practical ambitions (this was in the 1960s, when Mao Tse-Tung’s ‘little red book’ was on everyone’s shelf). David was present, and unfazed by my tactlessness. He was soon introducing me...


    • Chapter 8 David Braybrooke’s Philosophy of Social Science
      (pp. 193-220)
      Meredith Ralston

      In the famous phrase of the now-cancelled television showThe X Files, ‘The Truth Is Out There.’ In TV land, the phrase is meant to show that conspiracies are all around us and are being covered up by sinister and unknown forces. With enough investigation, the truth will be revealed and all will be known. This idea of a universal, knowable truth is a popular idea, but how real is it? What does this idea mean for understanding our reality and the world around us? Is this a fair representation of how we know and what we know? Is knowledge...

    • Chapter 9 Empathy and Egoism
      (pp. 221-248)
      Sue Campbell

      An admirable feature of the political ethics of David Braybrooke is his insistence on a resolutely social starting place for ethics: the conviction that core questions in ethical theory concern and are addressed to members of communities who share or can be educated to share an interest in communal thriving. The conviction is evident in his attention to needs as the human imperative to which our political proposals ought to respond (Braybrooke, 1987a), and in an account of moral motivation which supports the centrality of meeting needs in his work. To wit, Braybrooke contends that the rational egoist of traditional...

    • Chapter 10 The Problem of Moral Judgement
      (pp. 249-270)
      Richmond Campbell

      Is a moral judgment a state of belief or a state of feeling and desire? We speak, reason, and feel as if a moral judgment can embody moral knowledge. We thus imply that moral judgment is a state of belief. If, for example, I say, ‘It was wrong of you not to tell her that you are married,’ and you reply, ‘That’s true’ or ‘I know that,’ you imply agreement in belief. Yet at the same time our judgments convey negative feelings about, and even motivation to refrain from doing, what we judge is morally wrong. Yours convey feelings of...

    • Chapter 11 Moral Claims and Epistemic Contexts
      (pp. 271-300)
      Michael Hymers

      In ‘What Truth Does the Emotive-Imperative Answer to the Open-Question Argument Leave to Moral Judgments?’ (2003c), David Braybrooke arrives at a conclusion that may provoke some disquiet among those with strongly objectivist intuitions about moral judgments:

      We have, in this conception of moral realism, as explained meta-ethically, ‘true’ used within one structure of ideas that figures among many logically possible structures, in this case, a structure of ideas ultimately invoking thriving, personal and social, and empirical evidence about thriving. It is a loose enough sense of thriving to accommodate some minor variations in conceptions of thriving. At the same time,...

    • Chapter 12 Braybrooke and the Formal Structure of Moral Justification
      (pp. 301-322)
      Tom Vinci

      In his recent paper, ‘What Truth Does the Emotive-Imperative Answer to the Open-Question Argument Leave to Moral Judgments?’¹ David Braybrooke develops several themes in ethical theory, including an account of the nature of moral justification. Playing supporting roles are arguments showing that the account of justification thus developed can give a measured response to the challenge posed by Moore’s ‘open-question’ argument. The account draws upon insights in Braybrooke’s own natural law approach to morality² and in the classical emotive-imperative accounts of Stevenson³ and Ayer.⁴ There is an apparent tension between these two theories regarding how to handle the concept of...

    • Chapter 13 David Braybrooke on the Track of PPE
      (pp. 323-342)
      Peter Schotch

      When I came to Dalhousie in 1972, my relationship with David Braybrooke went through a shake-down period during which we were both wondering what to make of each other. I was a brash young man and David was the established major figure—the power of the department even though he wasn’t then (nor was he ever) the administrative leader.

      We each had misgivings about the other, although perhaps misgivings is too strong a word since it implies a lack of openness, or perhaps even of goodwill and neither of those obtained. For his part, David had been dismayed by certain...

    • Chapter 14 Bootstrapping Norms: From Cause to Intention
      (pp. 343-364)
      Bryson Brown

      InLogic on the Track of Social Change(1995; hereafterTrack), Braybrooke, Brown, and Schotch present a definition of rules that includes both causal and intentional elements. Our definition appeals to a technical notion ofimperatives, which we identify asblocking operations. Blocking operations must be causally efficacious—that is, they must actually (in some relevant and substantial range of cases) prevent actions of a certain type on the part of some agent(s). But they must also beintendedto have this effect. A rule is identified with the class of imperatives (whether actual or merely possible) targeting the actions...

  7. Appendix A Another—Literary—Side of David Braybrooke:The Comic Dialectician
    (pp. 365-372)
  8. Appendix B David Braybrooke’s Publications 1955-2005
    (pp. 373-386)
  9. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 387-390)
  10. References
    (pp. 391-412)
  11. Index
    (pp. 413-425)