Are corporations and other complex groups ever morally responsible in ways that do not reduce to the moral responsibility of their members? Christian List, Phillip Pettit, Kendy Hess, and David Copp have recently defended the idea that they can be. For them, complex groups (sometimes called collectives) can be irreducibly morally responsible because they satisfy the conditions for morally responsible agency; and this view is made more plausible by the claim (made by Theiner) that collectives can have minds. In this (...) paper I give a new argument against the idea that collectives can be irreducibly morally responsible in the ways that individuals can be. Drawing on recent work in the philosophy of mind (what Uriah Kriegel calls "the phenomenal intentionality research program") and moral theory (David Shoemaker's tripartite theory of moral responsibility), I argue that for something to have a mind, it must be phenomenally conscious, and that the fact that collectives lack phenomenal consciousness implies that they are incapable of accountability, an important form of moral responsibility. (shrink)
Some versions of the doctrine of divine simplicity imply that God lacks really differentiated parts. I present a new argument against these views based on divine beauty. The argument proceeds as follows: God is beautiful. If God is beautiful, then this beauty arises from some structure. If God’s beauty arises from a structure, then God possesses really differentiated parts. If these premises are true, then divine simplicity is false. I argue for each of the argument’s premises and defend it against (...) objections, including an objection based on analogical predication, and an objection that supposes that God is simple while appearing complex. (shrink)
The doctrine of divine simplicity has recently been ably defended, but very little work has been done considering reasons to believe God is simple. This paper begins to address this lack. I consider whether divine aseity or the related notion of divine sovereignty provide us with good reason to affirm divine simplicity. Divine complexity has sometimes been thought to imply that God would possess an efficient cause; or, alternatively, that God would be grounded by God’s constituents. I argue that divine (...) complexity implies neither of these, and so that a complex God could also exist a se. Similarly, a complex God might be thought less sovereign than a simple God, due to lacking control over the divine constituents. I argue in reply that a complex God either has just as much control as a simple God, or that a complex God’s relative lack of control should cause no theological problems. The upshot is that neither the doctrines of divine aseity or of divine sovereignty give theists good reason to endorse divine simplicity. (shrink)
I distinguish two ways of explaining our capacity for ‘transparent’ knowledge of our own present beliefs, perceptions, and intentions: an inferential and a reflective approach. Alex Byrne (2011) has defended an inferential approach, but I argue that this approach faces a basic difficulty, and that a reflective approach avoids the difficulty. I conclude with a brief sketch and defence of a reflective approach to our transparent self-knowledge, and I show how this approach is connected with the thesis that we must (...) distinguish between a kind of self-knowledge that is of oneself as agent and another kind that is of oneself as patient. (shrink)
Matthew Arnold was born at Laleham-on-Thames on 24 December 1822 as the eldest son of Dr Thomas Arnold and his wife Mary. He was educated at Winchester College, his father's old school; Rugby, where his father was headmaster; and Oxford. In 1851 he was appointed Inspector of Schools, pursuing this taxing career to support his wife and family until his retirement in 1886. He published his first volume of verse, The Strayed Reveller, and other Poems, in 1849 followed by (...) Empedocles on Etna, and other Poems and five further collections which appeared, with a diminishing number of new poems in each, between 1853 and 1867, after which his creative gift appeared to dwindle still further and he published little poetry. His career as a writer of prose began to take over after his election to the Professorship of Poetry at Oxford in 1857. Stimulated by preparing his lectures, many of the earliest published in 1865 as Essays in Criticism, he turned increasingly to the vigorous and widely ranging polemical commentaries on culture, religion, and society which were to make him known at home and abroad as the foremost critic of his day. He died suddenly of heart failure on 15 April 1888 while awaiting at Liverpool the arrival of his married daughter from America. (shrink)
Matthew Soteriou provides an original philosophical account of sensory and cognitive aspects of consciousness. He explores distinctions of temporal character in our mental lives--especially in relation to the exercise of agency--and illuminates the more general issue of the place and role of mental action in the metaphysics of mind.
A selection from Arnold's writing on education, other than Culture and Anarchy. All the pieces stem from his work as Inspector of Schools: they illustrate his concern both with the principles that must be established as a basis for the education of an industrial democracy and his practical concern with the day-to-day running of schools. 'Democracy' was first published as the introduction to The Popular Education of France. It faces the fundamental political problems and outlines the general objectives of a (...) state educational system. 'A French Eton' was the result of the same examination of French education to see what the British could learn from it; here he considers private education for the middle-classes. 'The twice-revised code' criticises the national Revised Code of 1862: a system founded on gross utilitarianism. Extracts from Arnold's reports as an inspector show the man of principle at work in particular circumstances and relating what he sees to what he would wish to see. The speech on his retirement comments on his lifetime of active involvement in education. (shrink)
Experiences of Depression is a philosophical exploration of what it is like to be depressed. In this important new book, Matthew Ratcliffe develops a detailed account of depression experiences by drawing on work in phenomenology, philosophy of mind and psychology, and several other disciplines.
It is argued that instrumentalizing the value of art does an injustice to artistic appreciation and provides a hostage to fortune. Whilst aestheticism offers an intellectual bulwark against such an approach, it focuses on what is distinctive of art at the expense of broader artistic values. It is argued that artistic appreciation and creativity involve not just skills but excellences of character. The nature of particular artistic or appreciative virtues and vices are briefly explored, such as snobbery, aestheticism and creativity, (...) in order to motivate a virtue theoretic approach. Artistic virtues are intrinsically valuable excellences of character that enable us to create or appreciate all sorts of things from everyday recipes to the finest achievements of humankind. Such an approach offers a new way to resist the age old temptation to instrumentalize the values of art. (shrink)
At the end of Matters of Exchange, Harold Cook's major revisionist account of the early modern scientific revolution, he locates the political and economic writings of Bernard Mandeville within the practices and values of contemporaneous Dutch observational medicine. Like Mandeville, Cook describes the potency of early modern capitalism and its attendant value system in generating industry and knowledge; like Mandeville, Cook finds coercive systems of moral regulation to be mistaken in their estimation of human capacities; and like Mandeville, Cook does (...) not shy away from the violence that often made the worldwide commerce in matters of fact possible. “Every Part was full of Vice,” famously rhymed Mandeville, “Yet the whole Mass a Paradise.” The practices and values of science, this book suggests, stemmed from the vices of the merchant and the consumer, not the sprezzatura of the baroque courtier, the asceticism of the Christian gentleman, the speculation of the university philosopher, or the dour appraisal of the theologian. Interest, not claims to disinterest, made modern science and its attendant values possible. Scrupulous attention to goods from around the world and right at home created the conditions for natural knowledge. (shrink)
It is through touch that we are able to interact directly with the world; it is our primary conduit of both pleasure and pain. Touch may be our most immediate and powerful sense—“the first sense" because of the central role it plays in experience. In this book, Matthew Fulkerson proposes that human touch, despite its functional diversity, is a single, unified sensory modality. Fulkerson offers a philosophical account of touch, reflecting the interests, methods, and approach that define contemporary philosophy; (...) but his argument is informed throughout by the insights and constraints of empirical work on touch. Human touch is a multidimensional object of investigation, Fulkerson writes, best served by using a variety of methods and approaches. -/- To defend his view of the unity of touch, Fulkerson describes and argues for a novel, unifying role for exploratory action in touch. He goes on to fill in the details of this unified, exploratory form of perception, offering philosophical accounts of tool use and distal touch, the representational structure of tangible properties, the spatial content of touch, and the role of pleasure in tactual experience. -/- Fulkerson’s argument for the unique role played by exploratory action departs notably from traditional vision-centric philosophical approaches to perception, challenging the received view that action plays the same role in all sensory modalities. The robust philosophical account of touch he offers in The First Sense has significant implications for our general understanding of perception and perceptual experience. (shrink)
Matthew Stuart offers a fresh interpretation of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, arguing for the work's profound contribution to metaphysics. He presents new readings of Locke's accounts of personal identity and the primary/secondary quality distinction, and explores Locke's case against materialism and his philosophy of action.
Why do we spend so much of our time passing on amusing anecdotes, making wisecracks,watching The Simpsons? In Inside Jokes, Matthew Hurley, DanielDennett, and Reginald Adams offer an evolutionary and cognitive perspective.
I argue that wrongdoers may be open to moral blame even if they lacked the capacity to respond to the moral considerations that counted against their behavior. My initial argument turns on the suggestion that even an agent who cannot respond to specific moral considerations may still guide her behavior by her judgments about reasons. I argue that this explanation of a wrongdoer’s behavior can qualify her for blame even if her capacity for moral understanding is impaired. A second argument (...) is based on the observation that even when a blameworthy wrongdoer could have responded to moral considerations, this is often not relevant to her blameworthiness. Finally, I argue against the view that because blame communicates moral demands, only agents who can be reached by such communication are properly blamed. I contend that a person victimized by a wrongdoer with an impaired capacity for moral understanding may protest her victimization in a way that counts as a form of moral blame even though it does not primarily express a moral demand or attempt to initiate moral dialogue. (shrink)
Recently Robert Forman has attempted to muster support for the largely abandoned position that mystical experiences cross-culturally include an unmediated, non-relative core. To reopen the debate he has solicited essays from likeminded scholars for his book, The Problem of Pure Consciousness. Predictably the focus of the volume rests on the refutation of the position most notably expounded by Steven Katz in his influential article of 1978, ‘Language, Epistemology and Mysticism’.
This book addresses a range of relevant theoretical issues, including the possibility of an interpersonally comparable measure of well-being, or “utility” metric; the moral value of equality, and how that bears on the form of the social welfare function; social choice under uncertainty; and the possibility of integrating considerations of individual choice and responsibility into the social-welfare-function framework. This book also deals with issues of implementation, and explores how survey data and other sources of evidence might be used to calibrate (...) both a utility metric and a social welfare function, and whether distributive goals are ever best pursued through regulation rather than the tax system. In working through this range of theoretical and practical issues, the book draws from a wide variety of literatures, including philosophical scholarship on equality, responsibility, the nature of well-being, and personal identity over time; the social choice literature within economics; applied economic literatures concerning the measurement of inequality and poverty; legal and policy-analysis scholarship on cost-benefit analysis, environmental justice, and the choice between regulation and taxation; and the burgeoning field of “happiness studies”. (shrink)
Once we accept anyone's postulates he becomes our professor and our god: for his foundations he will grab territory so ample and so easy that, if he so wishes, he will drag us up to the clouds. Montaigne During the last fifteen years, the community of philosophers interested in religion has evinced a waxing concern with the justificatory value of religious experiences for theism. Two parallel but largely discrete debates have appeared in the literature.
In recent years, many non-consequentialists such as Frances Kamm and Thomas Scanlon have been puzzling over what has come to be known as the Number Problem, which is how to show that the greater number in a rescue situation should be saved without aggregating the claims of the many, a typical kind of consequentialist move that seems to violate the separateness of persons. In this article, I argue that these non-consequentialists may be making the task more difficult than necessary, because (...) allowing aggregation does not prevent one from being a non-consequentialist. I shall explain how a non-consequentialist can still respect the separateness of persons while allowing for aggregation. (shrink)
This paper seeks to show how MacIntyre’s concept of a practice can survive a series of ‘scope problems’ which threaten to render the concept inapplicable to business ethics. I begin by outlining MacIntyre’s concept of a practice before arguing that, despite an asymmetry between productive and non-productive practices, the elasticity of the concept of a practice allows us to accommodate productive and profitable activities. This elasticity of practices allows us to sidestep the problem of adjudicating between practitioners and non-practitioners as (...) well as the problem of generic activities. I conclude by suggesting that the contemporary tendency to regard work as an object of consumption, rather than undermining MacIntyre’s account of practices, serves to demonstrate the potential breadth of its applicability. (shrink)
Constitutivists seek to locate the metaphysical foundations of ethics in nonnormative facts about what is constitutive of agency. For most constitutivists, this involves grounding authoritative norms in the teleological structure of agency. Despite a recent surge in interest, the philosophical move at the heart of this sort of constitutivism remains underdeveloped. Some constitutivists—Foot, Thomson, and Korsgaard (at least in her recent *Self-Constitution*)—adopt a broadly Aristotelian approach. They claim that the functional nature of agency grounds normative judgments about agents in much (...) the same way that the functional natures of artifacts and bodily organs ground normative judgments about those kinds of things. I argue that the neo-Aristotelian conclusions about goodness which follow so straightforwardly from teleological premises are not genuinely normative. Functions are not by their very nature normatively significant. Other constitutivists—notably J. David Velleman and Paul Katsafanas—eschew Aristotelian talk of functions in favor of an approach based on the idea that agency has a constitutive aim. Velleman and Katsafanas both claim that aims are normatively significant. I argue that the fact that agency has a constitutive aim is merely a fact about the motives that produce and regulate actions. And so we are still left with a gap between the teleological and the normative. I conclude by suggesting that constitutivists have failed to find a way to bridge this gap not because none exists, but rather because they have been looking in the wrong place. The constitutivist project can be salvaged, but only if it is supplemented with a reductive metanormative account of reasons for action, an account that links reasons to sound or successful practical reasoning. (shrink)
What are species? Are they objective features of the world? If so, what sort of features are they? Do everyday intuitions that species are real stand up to philosophical and scientific scrutiny? Two rival accounts of species' reality have dominated the discussion: that species are natural kinds defined by essential properties and that species are individuals. Unfortunately, neither account fully accommodates biological practice. In Are Species Real?, Slater presents a novel approach to this question aimed at accommodating the attractions to (...) both realism and antirealism about species. (shrink)
From Plato through Aquinas to Kant and beyond beauty has traditionally been considered the paradigmatic aesthetic quality. Thus, quite naturally following Socrates' strategy in The Meno, we are tempted to generalize from our analysis of the nature and value of beauty, a particular aesthetic value, to an account of aesthetic value generally. When we look at that which is beautiful, the object gives rise to a certain kind of pleasure within us. Thus aesthetic value is characterized in terms of that (...) which affords us pleasure. Of course, the relation cannot be merely instrumental. Many activities may lead to consequent pleasures that we would not consider to be aesthetic in any way. For example, playing tennis, going swimming or finishing a book. (shrink)
This inaugural handbook documents the distinctive research field that utilizes history and philosophy in investigation of theoretical, curricular and pedagogical issues in the teaching of science and mathematics. It is contributed to by 130 researchers from 30 countries; it provides a logically structured, fully referenced guide to the ways in which science and mathematics education is, informed by the history and philosophy of these disciplines, as well as by the philosophy of education more generally. The first handbook to cover the (...) field, it lays down a much-needed marker of progress to date and provides a platform for informed and coherent future analysis and research of the subject. -/- The publication comes at a time of heightened worldwide concern over the standard of science and mathematics education, attended by fierce debate over how best to reform curricula and enliven student engagement in the subjects There is a growing recognition among educators and policy makers that the learning of science must dovetail with learning about science; this handbook is uniquely positioned as a locus for the discussion. -/- The handbook features sections on pedagogical, theoretical, national, and biographical research, setting the literature of each tradition in its historical context. Each chapter engages in an assessment of the strengths and weakness of the research addressed, and suggests potentially fruitful avenues of future research. A key element of the handbook’s broader analytical framework is its identification and examination of unnoticed philosophical assumptions in science and mathematics research. It reminds readers at a crucial juncture that there has been a long and rich tradition of historical and philosophical engagements with science and mathematics teaching, and that lessons can be learnt from these engagements for the resolution of current theoretical, curricular and pedagogical questions that face teachers and administrators. (shrink)
In this major new work, Matthew Kramer seeks to establish two main conclusions. On the one hand, moral requirements are strongly objective. On the other hand, the objectivity of ethics is itself an ethical matter that rests primarily on ethical considerations. Moral realism - the doctrine that morality is indeed objective - is a moral doctrine. Major new volume in our new series _New Directions in Ethics_ Takes on the big picture - defending the objectivity of ethics whilst rejecting (...) the grounds of much of the existing debate between realists and anti-realists Cuts across both ethical theory and metaethics Distinguished by the quality of the scholarship and its ambitious range. (shrink)
When we make ethical claims, we invoke a kind of objective authority. A familiar worry about our ethical practices is that this invocation of authority involves a mistake. This worry was perhaps best captured by John Mackie, who argued that the fabric of the world contains nothing so queer as objective authority and thus that all our ethical claims are false. Kantians such as Christine Korsgaard and David Velleman offer accounts of the objectivity of ethics that do without the controversial (...) realist assumptions which gives rise to Mackie’s skepticism. They contend that our ethical claims correctly invoke objective authority not by corresponding to some normative pocket of the fabric of reality, but rather by expressing commitments that are inescapable. This Kantian strategy is often advertised as an alternative to traditional but “boring” metaethics. Its proponents promise to vindicate our ethical practices without entangling us in familiar metanormative disputes about the metaphysics, epistemology and semantics of ethics. In this paper, I argue that the Kantian strategy cannot make good on this promise. Considered as an attempt to sidestep traditional metaethics, it lacks the resources to produce the desired normative conclusions. The outlook for the Kantian strategy becomes more promising, though, if we pair it with one of two familiar metanormative theories: expressivism or reductionism. The resulting metaethically-loaded versions of the Kantian strategy can deliver the promised conclusions, but only by plunging straight into the quagmire of traditional metaethics. And there all of the familiar objections to expressivism and reductionism await. (shrink)
Like philosophy itself, Dune explores everything from politics to art to life to reality, but above all, the novels ponder the mysteries of mind. Voyaging through psychic expanses, Frank Herbert hits upon some of the same insights discovered by indigenous people from the Americas. Many of these ideas are repeated in mainstream American and European philosophical traditions like pragmatism and existential phenomenology. These outlooks share a regard for mind as ecological, which is more or less to say that minds extend (...) beyond the brain into the rest of the body and the surrounding environment. -/- The cross-cultural strands in Dune tie closely to Herbert’s life and interests. An outdoorsman born in the Pacific West, he had an abiding bond with a friend from the Quileute tribe, Howie Hansen. Herbert advocated for aboriginal rights and crafted well-intentioned if slightly stereotypical tales about indigenous characters, partly based on his visits with Northwest tribes. Carl Jung (1875-1961), whose idea of collective consciousness echoes aboriginal views, was among Herbert’s European influences. So was existential phenomenology, especially as developed by Martin Heidegger (1889-1976). The names of characters in one of Herbert’s novels—The Santaroga Barrier—in fact coincide with terms that Heidegger used to articulate how emotionally colored coping with our environment defines our existence. Many indigenous philosophers have treated phenomenology and its American cousin pragmatism in approving ways. Indeed, the ideas of North America’s first inhabitants seem to have been absorbed by pragmatists and even earlier by transcendentalists like Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) and Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). -/- These different philosophies all advance a place-based psychology. Anne Waters, herself of mixed tribal heritage, generalizes the mindset of her people this way: “American Indian consciousness, and hence American Indian identity is … interdependent with our land base.” Lee Hester, a Choctaw thinker, adds that practices—not mere beliefs—are most important for native thought. American transcendentalists and pragmatists, as well as European phenomenologists, similarly see hands-on practices and environmental interactions as the core of experience. Extending this a little, they sometimes suggest experience isn’t individual but instead cultural. “Culture” is here understood as interactions within communities that define our worlds and experiences, as when we talk about the “French experience,” “culture” or “world,” or the “experience of parenthood.” This theme also shows up in indigenous thought. -/- Exploring the Dune universe, we find everything from land-based concepts of personal identity, to the idea of sharpening the mind through hands-on training, to collective notions of experience in cooperative tribes or through the genetic memory of central characters. The stories explore fate versus free will in cosmic contexts, introducing views from indigenous thought and the pragmatic philosophy of William James (1842-1910). Different forms of spiritualism mingle to shape minds and cultural mixtures around the globe, and the same occurs in the Dune series. The customs and personalities of characters fuse elements from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Taoism, and especially Islam. The series not only highlights that religion shapes psychology, but also that faith connects to place, especially paralleling Judeo-Christian-Islamic desert faiths. In capturing these points, the Dune novels show that “our values, our lifestyles and even the ways we think and feel have been strongly influenced by our locations in history and geography. The study of the human mind is fundamentally the study of place.”. (shrink)
The word 'ought' is one of the core normative terms, but it is also a modal word. In this book Matthew Chrisman develops a careful account of the semantics of 'ought' as a modal operator, and uses this to motivate a novel inferentialist account of why ought-sentences have the meaning that they have. This is a metanormative account that agrees with traditional descriptivist theories in metaethics that specifying the truth-conditions of normative sentences is a central part of the explanation (...) of their meaning. But Chrisman argues that this leaves important metasemantic questions about what it is in virtue of which ought-sentences have the meanings that they have unanswered. His appeal to inferentialism aims to provide a viable anti-descriptivist but also anti-expressivist answer to these questions. (shrink)
The morality of interrogational torture has been the subject of heated debate in recent years. In explaining why torture is morally wrong, Kramer engages in deep philosophical reflections on the nature of morality and on moral conflicts.
Counterfactual thinking involves imagining hypothetical alternatives to reality. Philosopher David Lewis argued that people estimate the subjective plausibility that a counterfactual event might have occurred by comparing an imagined possible world in which the counterfactual statement is true against the current, actual world in which the counterfactual statement is false. Accordingly, counterfactuals considered to be true in possible worlds comparatively more similar to ours are judged as more plausible than counterfactuals deemed true in possible worlds comparatively less similar. Although Lewis (...) did not originally develop his notion of comparative similarity to be investigated as a psychological construct, this study builds upon his idea to empirically investigate comparative similarity as a possible psychological strategy for evaluating the perceived plausibility of counterfactual events. More specifically, we evaluate judgments of comparative similarity between episodic memories and episodic counterfactual events as a factor influencing people's judgments of plausibility in counterfactual simulations, and we also compare it against other factors thought to influence judgments of counterfactual plausibility, such as ease of simulation and prior simulation. Our results suggest that the greater the perceived similarity between the original memory and the episodic counterfactual event, the greater the perceived plausibility that the counterfactual event might have occurred. While similarity between actual and counterfactual events, ease of imagining, and prior simulation of the counterfactual event were all significantly related to counterfactual plausibility, comparative similarity best captured the variance in ratings of counterfactual plausibility. Implications for existing theories on the determinants of counterfactual plausibility are discussed. (shrink)
Surprisingly little has been written about hedged assertion. Linguists often focus on semantic or syntactic theorizing about, for example, grammatical evidentials or epistemic modals, but pay far less attention to what hedging does at the level of action. By contrast, philosophers have focused extensively on normative issues regarding what epistemic position is required for proper assertion, yet they have almost exclusively considered unqualified declaratives. This essay considers the linguistic and normative issues side-by-side. We aim to bring some order and clarity (...) to thinking about hedging, so as to illuminate aspects of interest to both linguists and philosophers. In particular, we consider three broad questions. 1) The structural question: when one hedges, what is the speaker’s commitment weakened from? 2) The functional question: what is the best way to understand how a hedge weakens? And 3) the taxonomic question: are hedged assertions genuine assertions, another speech act, or what? (shrink)