A new axiom is proposed, the Ground Axiom, asserting that the universe is not a nontrivial set forcing extension of any inner model. The Ground Axiom is first-order expressible, and any model of ZFC has a class forcing extension which satisfies it. The Ground Axiom is independent of many well-known set-theoretic assertions including the Generalized Continuum Hypothesis, the assertion V=HOD that every set is ordinal definable, and the existence of measurable and supercompact cardinals. The related Bedrock Axiom, asserting that the (...) universe is a set forcing extension of a model satisfying the Ground Axiom, is also first-order expressible, and its negation is consistent. (shrink)
A pointwise definable model is one in which every object is \loos definable without parameters. In a model of set theory, this property strengthens $V=\HOD$, but is not first-order expressible. Nevertheless, if \ZFC\ is consistent, then there are continuum many pointwise definable models of \ZFC. If there is a transitive model of \ZFC, then there are continuum many pointwise definable transitive models of \ZFC. What is more, every countable model of \ZFC\ has a class forcing extension that is pointwise definable. (...) Indeed, for the main contribution of this article, every countable model of Gödel-Bernays set theory has a pointwise definable extension, in which every set and class is first-order definable without parameters. (shrink)
We introduce and consider the inner-model reflection principle, which asserts that whenever a statement \varphi(a) in the first-order language of set theory is true in the set-theoretic universe V, then it is also true in a proper inner model W \subset A. A stronger principle, the ground-model reflection principle, asserts that any such \varphi(a) true in V is also true in some non-trivial ground model of the universe with respect to set forcing. These principles each express a form of width (...) reflection in contrast to the usual height reflection of the Lévy–Montague reflection theorem. They are each equiconsistent with ZFC and indeed \Pi_2-conservative over ZFC, being forceable by class forcing while preserving any desired rank-initial segment of the universe. Furthermore, the inner-model reflection principle is a consequence of the existence of sufficient large cardinals, and lightface formulations of the reflection principles follow from the maximality principle MP and from the inner-model hypothesis IMH. We also consider some questions concerning the expressibility of the principles. (shrink)
Jonas Olson presents a critical survey of moral error theory, the view that there are no moral facts and so all moral claims are false. Part I explores the historical context of the debate; Part II assesses J. L. Mackie's famous arguments; Part III defends error theory against challenges and considers its implications for our moral thinking.
Moral particularism is commonly presented as an alternative to ‘principle- or rule-based’ approaches to ethics, such as consequentialism or Kantianism. This paper argues that particularists' aversions to consequentialism stem not from a structural feature of consequentialism per se, but from substantial and structural axiological views traditionally associated with consequentialism. Given a particular approach to value, there need be no conflict between moral particularism and consequentialism. We consider and reject a number of challenges holding that there is after all such a (...) conflict. We end by suggesting that our proposed position appears quite appealing since it preserves attractive elements from particularism as well as consequentialism. (shrink)
A timely addition to Henry Giroux's Critical Interventions series, Ecology and Revolution is grounded in the Frankfurt School critical theory of Herbert Marcuse. Its task is to understand the economic architecture of wealth extraction that undergirds today's intensifying inequalities of class, race, and gender, within a revolutionary ecological frame. Relying on newly discovered texts from the Frankfurt Marcuse Archive, this book builds theory and practice for an alternate world system. Ecology and radical political economy, as critical forms of systems analysis, (...) show that an alternative world system is essential - both possible and feasible - despite political forces against it. Our rights to a commonwealth economy, politics, and culture reside in our commonworks as we express ourselves as artisans of the common good. It is in this context, that Charles Reitz develops a GreenCommonWealth Counter-Offensive, a strategy for revolutionary ecological liberation with core features of racial equality, women's equality, liberation of labor, restoration of nature, leisure, abundance, and peace. (shrink)
Jonas Olson writes that "a plausible moral error theory must be an error theory about all irreducible normativity". I agree. But unlike Olson, I think we cannot believe this error theory. I first argue that Olson should say that reasons for belief are irreducibly normative. I then argue that if reasons for belief are irreducibly normative, we cannot believe an error theory about all irreducible normativity. I then explain why I think Olson's objections to this argument fail. I end (...) by showing that Olson cannot defend his view as a partly revisionary alternative to an error theory about all irreducible normativity. (shrink)
Discussing Plato's views on knowledge, recollection, dialogue, and epiphany, this ambitious volume offers a systematic analysis of the ways that Platonic approaches to education can help students navigate today's increasingly complex moral environment. Though interest in Platonic education may have waned due to a perceived view of Platonic scholarship as wholly impractical, this volume addresses common misunderstandings of Plato's work and highlights the contemporary relevance of Plato's ideas to contemporary moral education. Building on philosophical interpretations, the book argues persuasively that (...) educators might employ Platonic themes and dialogue in the classroom. Split into two parts, the book looks first to contextualise Plato's theory of moral education within political, ethical, and educational frameworks. Equipped with this knowledge, part two then offers contemporary educators the strategies needed for implementing Plato's educational theory within the pluralistic, democratic classroom setting. A Platonic Theory of Moral Education will be of interest to academics, researchers, and post-graduate students in the fields of: ethics; Plato scholarship; moral psychology; educational foundations; and the philosophy of education. This book would also benefit graduate students and scholars in teacher education. Mark E. Jonas is Professor of Education and Professor of Philosophy at Wheaton College, US. Yoshiaki Nakazawa is Assistant Professor of Education at University of Dallas, US. (shrink)
Jonas Olson defends a moral error theory in (2014). I will first argue that Olson is not justified in believing the error theory as opposed to moral nonnaturalism in his own opinion. I will then argue that Olson is not justified in believing the error theory as opposed to moral contextualism either (although the latter is not a matter of his own opinion).
Experiences—visual, emotional, or otherwise—play a role in providing us with justification to believe claims about the world. Some accounts of how experiences provide justification emphasize the role of the experiences’ distinctive phenomenology, i.e. ‘what it is like’ to have the experience. Other accounts emphasize the justificatory role to the experiences’ etiology. A number of authors have used cases of cognitively penetrated visual experience to raise an epistemic challenge for theories of perceptual justification that emphasize the justificatory role of phenomenology rather (...) than etiology. Proponents of the challenge argue that cognitively penetrated visual experiences can fail to provide the usual justification because they have improper etiologies. However, extant arguments for the challenge’s key claims are subject to formidable objections. In this paper, I present the challenge’s key claims, raise objections to previous attempts to establish them, and then offer a novel argument in support of the challenge. My argument relies on an analogy between cognitively penetrated visual and emotional experiences. I argue that some emotional experiences fail to provide the relevant justification because of their improper etiologies and conclude that analogous cognitively penetrated visual experiences fail to provide the relevant justification because of their etiologies, as well. (shrink)
In this paper, we criticize Hans Jonas’s analogy between God’s power and the operation of physical forces. We wonder why, if omnipotence had proved to be "a self-contradictory concept", does Jonas still need to invoke the occurrence of horrendous evils to support the view that "God is not all powerful". We suggest that "God’s retreating into himself in order to give room to the world, renouncing his being and divesting himself of his deity" are beautiful but inconsistent metaphors (...) of creation. Our central claim is that God’s alleged retirement, even if it were conceivable, would not the least diminish his responsibility in the occurrence of evil. (shrink)
This paper questions the adequacy of the explicit cancellability test for conversational implicature as it is commonly understood. The standard way of understanding this test relies on two assumptions: first, that that one can test whether a certain content is conversationally implicated, by checking whether that content is cancellable, and second, that a cancellation is successful only if it results in a felicitous utterance. While I accept the first of these assumptions, I reject the second one. I argue that a (...) cancellation can succeed even if it results in an infelicitous utterance, and that unless we take this possibility into account we run the risk of misdiagnosing philosophically significant cases. (shrink)
Trevor Teitel has recently argued that combining the assumption that modality reduces to essence with the assumption that possibly some objects contingently exist leads to problems if one wishes to uphold that the logic of metaphysical modality is S5. In this paper I will argue that there is a way for the essentialist to evade the problem described by Teitel. The proposed solution crucially involves the assumption that some propositions possibly fail to exist. I will show how this assumption affords (...) a motivated contingentist response to Teitel’s argument. (shrink)
Reality is hierarchically structured, or so proponents of the metaphysical posit of grounding argue. The less fundamental facts obtain in virtue of, or are grounded in, the more fundamental facts. But what exactly is it for one fact to be more fundamental than another? The aim of this paper is to provide a measure of relative fundamentality. I develop and defend an account of the metaphysical hierarchy that assigns to each fact a set of ordinals representing the levels on which (...) it occurs. The account allows one to compare any two facts with respect to their fundamentality and it uses immediate grounding as its sole primitive. In the first section, I will set the stage and point to some shortcomings of a rival account proposed by Karen Bennett. The second section will present my own proposal and the third section will discuss how it can be extended to non-foundationalist settings. The fourth section discusses potential objections. (shrink)
The debate on the ethical aspects of moral bioenhancement focuses on the desirability of using biomedical as opposed to traditional means to achieve moral betterment. The aim of this paper is to systematically review the ethical reasons presented in the literature for and against moral bioenhancement.
Nietzsche's Philosophy of Education makes the case that Nietzsche's philosophy has significant import for the theory and contemporary practice of education, arguing that some of Nietzsche's most important ideas have been misunderstood by previous interpreters. In providing novel reinterpretations of Nietzsche's ethical theory, political philosophy and philosophical anthropology and outlining concrete ways in which these ideas can enrich teaching and learning in modern democratic schools, the book sets itself apart from previous works on Nietzsche. This is one of the first (...) extended engagements with Nietzsche's philosophy which attempts to determine his true legacy for democratic education. In its engagement with both the vast secondary literature on Nietzsche's philosophy and the educational implications of his philosophical vision, this book makes a unique contribution to both the philosophy of education and Nietzsche scholarship. In addition, its development of four concrete pedagogical approaches from Nietzsche's educational ideas makes the book a potentially helpful guide to meeting the practical challenges of contemporary teaching. This book will be of great interest to Nietzsche scholars, researchers in the philosophy of education and students studying educational foundations. (shrink)
According to the communication desideratum (CD), a notion of semantic content must be adequately related to communication. In the recent debate on indexical reference, (CD) has been invoked in arguments against the view that intentions determine the semantic content of indexicals and demonstratives (intentionalism). In this paper, I argue that the interpretations of (CD) that these arguments rely on are questionable, and suggest an alternative interpretation, which is compatible with (strong) intentionalism. Moreover, I suggest an approach that combines elements of (...) intentionalism with other subjectivist approaches, and discuss the role of intuitions in developing and evaluating theories of indexical reference. (shrink)
This paper concerns how extant theorists of predictive coding conceptualize and explain possible instances of cognitive penetration. §I offers brief clarification of the predictive coding framework and relevant mechanisms, and a brief characterization of cognitive penetration and some challenges that come with defining it. §II develops more precise ways that the predictive coding framework can explain, and of course thereby allow for, genuine top-down causal effects on perceptual experience, of the kind discussed in the context of cognitive penetration. §III develops (...) these insights further with an eye towards tracking one extant criterion for cognitive penetration, namely, that the relevant cognitive effects on perception must be sufficiently direct. Throughout these discussions, we extend the analyses of the predictive coding models, as we know them. So one open question that surfaces is how much of the extended analyses are genuinely just part of the predictive coding models, or something that must be added to them in order to generate these additional explanatory benefits. In §IV, we analyze and criticize a claim made by some theorists of predictive coding, namely, that (interesting) instances of cognitive penetration tend to occur in perceptual circumstances involving substantial noise or uncertainty. It is here that our analysis is most critical. We argue that, when applied, the claim fails to explain (or perhaps even be consistent with) a large range of important and uncontroversially interesting possible cases of cognitive penetration. We conclude with a general speculation about how the recent work on the predictive mind may influence the current dialectic concerning top-down effects on perception. (shrink)
Let intentionalism be the view that what proposition is expressed in context by a sentence containing indexicals depends on the speaker’s intentions. It has recently been argued that intentionalism makes communicative success mysterious and that there are counterexamples to the intentionalist view in the form of cases of mismatch between the intended interpretation and the intuitively correct interpretation. In this paper, I argue that these objections can be met, once we acknowledge that we may distinguish what determines the correct interpretation (...) from the evidence that is available to the audience, as well as from the standards by which we judge whether or not a given interpretation is reasonable. With these distinctions in place, we see that intentionalism does not render communicative success mysterious, and that cases of mismatch between the intended interpretation and the intuitively correct one can easily be accommodated. The distinction is also useful in treating the Humpty Dumpty problem for intentionalism, since it turns out that this can be treated as an extreme special case of mismatch. (shrink)
The existence of fundamental moral disagreements is a central problem for moral realism and has often been contrasted with an alleged absence of disagreement in mathematics. However, mathematicians do in fact disagree on fundamental questions, for example on which set-theoretic axioms are true, and some philosophers have argued that this increases the plausibility of moral vis-à-vis mathematical realism. I argue that the analogy between mathematical and moral disagreement is not as straightforward as those arguments present it. In particular, I argue (...) that pluralist accounts of mathematics render fundamental mathematical disagreements compatible with mathematical realism in a way in which moral disagreements and moral realism are not. 11. (shrink)
My aim in this essay is largely defensive. I aim to discuss some problems for moral error theory and to offer plausible solutions. A full positive defense of moral error theory would require substantial investigations of rival metaethical views, but that is beyond the scope of this essay. I will, however, try to motivate moral error theory and to clarify its commitments. Moral error theorists typically accept two claims – one conceptual and one ontological – about moral facts. The conceptual (...) claim is that moral facts are or entail facts about categorical reasons (and correspondingly that moral claims are or entail claims about categorical reasons); the ontological claim is that there are no categorical reasons – and consequently no moral facts – in reality. I accept this version of moral error theory and I try to unpack what it amounts to in Section 2.1 In the course of doing so I consider two preliminary objections: that moral error theory is (probably) false because its implications are intuitively unacceptable (what I call the Moorean objection) and that the general motivation for moral error theory is self-undermining in that it rests on a hidden appeal to norms. The above characterization seems to entail the standard formulation of moral error theory, according to which first-order moral claims are uniformly false. Critics have argued that the standard formulation is incoherent since – by the law of excluded middle – the negation of a false claim is true. Hence if ‘Torture is wrong’ is false, ‘Torture is not wrong’ is true. Contrary to what moral error theorists contend, then, moral error theory seems to carry first-order moral implications that by the theory’s own lights are uniformly false. In Section 3 I suggest a formulation that is consistent with the standard formulation of moral error theory, free of first-order moral implications, and subject to no logical difficulties. In Section 4 I consider and rebut Stephen Finlay’s recent attack on moral error theory. According to Finlay the conceptual claim is false because all moral claims – and indeed all normative claims – are, or should be understood as, relativized to some moral standard or system of ends. Moral error theorists thus attribute to ordinary speakers an error that simply isn’t there. I argue that Finlay’s view has some very implausible implications and that it does not avoid commitment to various forms of error theory. This becomes especially clear when we focus on fundamental moral claims. In Section 5 I consider the worry that error theorists’ rejection of categorical reasons proves too much; in particular, the worry that error theorists’ qualms about categorical reasons apply equally to claims about hypothetical reasons, that is, claims to the effect that there is reason to take the means to one’s ends. In my view error theorists such as Mackie and Joyce have failed to pay due consideration to this problem. What the challenge establishes, I submit, is that error theorists cannot just take for granted that hypothetical reasons are metaphysically unproblematic; they must offer an account of hypothetical reasons that shows that they are. I argue that the only plausible account available to error theorists is one according to which claims about hypothetical reasons reduce to non-normative claims about relations between means and ends. (shrink)
Perception purports to help you gain knowledge of the world even if the world is not the way you expected it to be. Perception also purports to be an independent tribunal against which you can test your beliefs. It is natural to think that in order to serve these and other central functions, perceptual representations must not causally depend on your prior beliefs and expectations. In this paper, I clarify and then argue against the natural thought above. All perceptual systems (...) must solve an under-determination problem: the sensory data they receive could be caused by indefinitely many arrangements of distal objects and properties. Using a Bayesian approach to perceptual processing, I argue that in order to solve the under-determination problem, perceptual capacities must rely on prior beliefs or expectations of some kind. I then argue that perceptual states or processes can help ground knowledge of the world whether the ‘beliefs’ necessary for perceptual processing are encoded as sub-personal states within a perceptual system or cognitive states, such as person-level beliefs. My argument has two main parts. First, I give a preliminary argument that cognitive influence on perception can be appropriate, and I respond to three lines of objection. Second, I argue that cognitively influenced perceptual states can be instances of seeing that p, which makes the relevant states well suited to help ground knowledge that p. I conclude that a cognitively penetrated perceptual state or process can help ground knowledge under some circumstances. (shrink)
It is widely acknowledged that some truths or facts don’t have a minimal full ground [see e.g. Fine ]. Every full ground of them contains a smaller full ground. In this paper I’ll propose a minimality constraint on immediate grounding and I’ll show that it doesn’t fall prey to the arguments that tell against an unqualified minimality constraint. Furthermore, the assumption that all cases of grounding can be understood in terms of immediate grounding will be defended. This assumption guarantees that (...) the proposed minimality constraint is significant for all cases of grounding. With its help one can get a clear grip on the relevance of grounding, a feature that will be put to use in the penultimate section. (shrink)
According to T.M. Scanlon's buck-passing account of value, to be valuable is not to possess intrinsic value as a simple and unanalysable property, but rather to have other properties that provide reasons to take up an attitude in favour of their owner or against it. The 'wrong kind of reasons' objection to this view is that we may have reasons to respond for or against something without this having any bearing on its value. The challenge is to explain why such (...) reasons are of the wrong kind. This is what I set out to do, after illustrating the objection more thoroughly. (shrink)
Jonas' philosophical biology is an attempt to overcome the dualism, i.e., the alienation between man and world, which characterizes both Gnostic thinking and the Heiddegerian existentialist approach that Jonas had applied in its interpretation. This dualism leads both approaches to despise or, at least, to neglect nature.Jonas' philosophical biology is intended to provide an insight into the phenomenon of life that is more than a mere reflection of scientific epistemology. Rather, it regards itself as a cognitively significant (...) approach towards the living in its own right. At the same time, philosophical biology is not intended as an alternative to the scientific enterprise, but instead as a desirable and even necessary complement of it. In developing philosophical biology, Jonas additionally aims at securing a place for man in the order of the living that is more than just locating him somewhere in the order of primates. (shrink)
During the last couple of decades, several attempts have been made to come up with a theory that can handle the various semantic, logical and philosophical problems raised by the vagueness of natural languages. One of the most influential ideas that have come into fashion in recent years is the idea that vagueness should be analysed as a form of context sensitivity. Such contextualist theories of vagueness have gained some popularity, but many philosophers have remained sceptical of the prospects of (...) finding a tenable contextualist solution to the problems of vagueness. This paper provides an introduction to the most popular contextualist accounts, and a discussion of some of the most important arguments for and against them. (shrink)
It is sometimes argued that, given its detachment from our current most successful science, analytic metaphysics has no epistemic value because it contributes nothing to our knowledge of reality. Relatedly, it is also argued that metaphysics properly constrained by science can avoid that problem. In this paper we argue, however, that given the current understanding of the relation between science and metaphysics, metaphysics allegedly constrained by science suffers the same fate as its unconstrained sister; that is, what is currently thought (...) of as scientifically respectful metaphysics may end up also being without epistemic value. The core of our claim is that although much emphasis is put on the supposed difference between unconstrained analytic metaphysics, in opposition to scientifically constrained metaphysics, it is largely forgotten that no clear constraining relation of metaphysics by science is yet available. (shrink)
A bioética de V. R. Potter comemora em 2020 os seus primeiros 50 anos. O cientista preocupado com os avanços das ciências, sem o devido saber ético, propõe um diálogo entre as ciências com as humanidades, de modo a se alcançar a sabedoria necessária de como usar o conhecimento em vista do bem comum, a fim de assegurar o futuro da humanidade. A partir dessa ponte inicial entre as ciências com as humanidades, Potter mais tarde propõe outras pontes, em especial (...) com as ciências biomédicas, pois identifica que a saúde humana depende do ambiente em que o indivíduo está inserido, o que ele classifica como bioética global. A obra O princípio responsabilidade, de Hans Jonas, em 2019, celebrou 40 anos. Embora Jonas não tenha utilizado a expressão bioética, o filósofo dedicou parte da sua vida no trabalho interdisciplinar no Hastings Center, para refletir sobre temas que hoje são do universo da bioética. Desse modo, essa reflexão quer saber: como a filosofia de Hans Jonas contribui na construção de um estatuto epistemológico à bioética global de V.R. Potter? Trata-se de uma pesquisa bibliográfica, de caráter narrativo, a partir das obras do cientista e do filósofo e seus comentadores. Conclui-se que embora Jonas não tenha utilizado da expressão bioética em sua reflexão, o filósofo não ignorou os problemas emergentes de seu tempo, porém classificou-os dentro do universo da ética prática. Assim sendo, sua produção filosófica, construída principalmente a partir da prática interdisciplinar de trabalho, constitui um verdadeiro estatuto epistemológico à bioética, em busca de fundamentos éticos para proteger a vida humana e extra-humana no futuro, o que faz do filósofo, um verdadeiro bioeticista. (shrink)
In a recent article published in this journal, Kris McDaniel proposes a variant of Peter van Inwagen’s argument against the principle of sufficient reason that makes crucial use of plural grounding. In this response paper I object to McDaniel’s argument. I argue that there is no notion of plural grounding available that is both irreflexive in the sense required for the argument to go through and general enough to formulate the principle of sufficient reason as proposed by McDaniel.
Nonrelativistic quantum mechanics (QM) works perfectly well for all practical purposes. Once one admits, however, that a successful scientific theory is supposed not only to make predictions but also to tell us a story about the world in which we live, a philosophical problem emerges: in the specific case of QM, it is not possible to associate with the theory a unique scientific image of the world; there are several images. The fact that the theory may be compatible with distinct (...) ontologies, and that those ontologies may themselves be associated with a plurality of metaphysical approaches, gives rise to the problem of metaphysical underdetermination. This paper concludes that the available metametaphysical criteria fail to deliver objectivity in theory choice, and it puts forward its own criterion based on a tension between two methods of metaphysical inquiry: one that is closely related to science and another that is not. (shrink)
In the debate over what determines the reference of an indexical expression on a given occasion of use, we can distinguish between two generic positions. According to the first, the reference is determined by internal factors, such as the speaker’s intentions. According to the second, the reference is determined by external factors, like conventions or what a competent and attentive audience would take the reference to be. It has recently been argued that the first position is untenable, since there are (...) cases of mismatch where the intuitively correct reference differs from the one that would be determined by the relevant internal factors. The aim of this paper is to show that, contrary to this line of argument, it is the proponent of the second position that should be worried, since this position yields counterintuitive consequences regarding communicative success in cases of mismatch. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to introduce, elucidate and defend the usefulness of a variant of grounding, or metaphysical explanation, that has the feature that the grounds explain of some states of affairs that one of them obtains without explaining which one obtains. I will dub this variant arbitrary grounding. After informally elucidating the basic idea in the first section, I will provide three metaphysical hypotheses that are best formulated in terms of arbitrary grounding in the second section. The (...) third section will be concerned with the relation between arbitrary grounding and non-arbitrary grounding. The fourth section will compare arbitrary grounding to two extant proposals in the literature. (shrink)
Scientific realism is typically associated with metaphysics. One current incarnation of such an association concerns the requirement of a metaphysical characterization of the entities one is being a realist about. This is sometimes called “Chakravartty’s Challenge”, and codifies the claim that without a metaphysical characterization, one does not have a clear picture of the realistic commitments one is engaged with. The required connection between metaphysics and science naturally raises the question of whether such a demand is appropriately fulfilled, and how (...) metaphysics engages with science in order to produce what is called “scientific metaphysics”. Here, we map some of the options available in the literature, generating a conceptual spectrum according to how each view approximates science and metaphysics. This is done with the purpose of enlightening the current debate on the possibility of epistemic warrant that science could grant to such a metaphysics, and how different positions differently address the thorny issue concerning such a warrant. (shrink)