Several philosophers have recently argued that disagreement with others undermines or precludes epistemic justification for our opinions about controversial issues. This amounts to a fascinating and disturbing kind of intellectual scepticism. A crucial piece of the sceptical argument, however, is that our opponents on such topics are epistemic peers. In this paper, I examine the reasons for why we might think that our opponents really are such peers, and I argue that those reasons are either too weak or too strong, (...) implying absurd conclusions. Thus, there is not a compelling case for disagreement-based intellectual scepticism. (shrink)
Sometimes we get what seem to be good reasons for believing that we’ve misevaluated our evidence for a proposition P. In those cases, can we use our evidence for P itself to show that we haven’t misevaluated our evidence for P? I show why doing so appears to employ viciously circular reasoning. However, I then argue that this appearance is illusory in certain cases and that we sometimes can legitimately reason in that way. This claim sheds new light on the (...) nature of epistemic undermining and epistemic circularity. In addition, it has implications for the current debate about the epistemic significance of disagreement. An important and influential position in that debate says that disagreement with others dramatically undermines our justification for a wide range of our opinions (e.g., political, religious, moral, economic, and philosophical opinions). My view on undermining and circularity implies that this position on disagreement rests on a mistake. (shrink)
In Harrison and Tanner's ‘Better Not to Have Children’, it's argued that having children is immoral as well as detrimental to one's well-being. In this article, I argue against those claims and defend the position that, for most people, having children is morally permissible and greatly enhances their well-being.
In his paper, ‘A critique of religious fictionalism’, Benjamin Cordry raises a series of objections to a fictionalist form of religious non-realism that I proposed in my earlier paper, ‘Can an atheist believe in God?’. They fall into two main categories: those alleging that an atheist would be unjustified in adopting fictionalism, and those alleging that fictionalism could not be successfully implemented, or practised communally. I argue that these objections can be met.
In this essay I describe how contractarianism might approach interspecies welfare conflicts. I start by discussing a contractarian account of the moral status of nonhuman animals. I argue that contractors can agree to norms that would acknowledge the “moral standing” of some animals. I then discuss how the norms emerging from contractarian agreement might constrain any comparison of welfare between humans and animals. Contractarian agreement is likely to express some partiality to humans in a way that discounts the welfare of (...) some or all animals. While the norms emerging from the contract might be silent or inconsistent in some tragic or catastrophic cases, in most ordinary conflicts of welfare, contractors will agree to norms that produce some determinate resolution. What the agreement says can evolve depending upon how the contractors or the circumstances change. I close with some remarks on contractarian indeterminacy. (shrink)
This paper suffers from a disconcerting generality. I need an excuse for wandering from Wittgenstein's Tractatus to Picasso's drawing of a Weeping Woman, via the philosophy of science and the theory of sense data. The thesis of the paper is that I have such an excuse. These are all areas where the concept of representation either exists in its own right, or has been found to be illuminating by philosophers. An important question is whether it could be the same concept (...) in all these cases. I wish to claim that there is an illuminating common concept, even though to find it may require some fairly drastic modifications of some of the philosophical theses that are involved. (shrink)
By what steps, historically, did morality emerge? Our remote ancestors evolved into social animals. Sociality requires, among other things, restraints on disruptive sexual, hostile, aggressive, vengeful, and acquisitive behavior. Since we are innately social and not social by convention, we can assume the biological evolution of the emotional equipment – numerous predispositions to want, fear, feel anxious or secure – required for social living, just as we can assume cultural evolution of various means to control antisocial behavior and reinforce the (...) prosocial kind. Small clans consisting, say, of several extended families whose members cooperated in hunting, gathering, defense, and child-rearing could not exist without a combination of innate and social restraints on individual behavior. I shall argue for a naturalistic theory of morality, by which I do not mean the definitional claims G.E. Moore sought to refute, but a broader and more complex theory that maintains that a sufficient understanding of human nature, history, and culture can fully explain morality; that nothing is left hanging. A theory that coherently brings together the needed biological, psychological, and cultural facts I shall call a philosophical anthropology; it is a theory that: 1) takes the good for humans – both an ultimate good and other important goods – to depend on human nature; 2) argues that a rudimentary but improving scientific and philosophical theory of human nature now exists, and thus denies that people are “essenceless”; 3) takes this theory to be evolutionary and historical, making the question “How did morality originate?” pivotal for ethical theory, but leaves open the empirical question of the relative importance of biological and cultural evolution; and 4) takes the origin of the moral ideas to be explainable in terms of human nature and history. (shrink)
This important collection of essays by Andrew Feenberg presents his critical theory of technology, an innovative approach to philosophy and sociology of technology based on a synthesis of ideas drawn from STS and Frankfurt School Critical Theory. The volume includes chapters on citizenship, modernity, and Heidegger and Marcuse.
_Utilitarianism_ is a classic work of ethical theory, arguably the most persuasive and comprehensible presentation of this widely inﬂuential position. Mill argues that it is pleasure and pain that ought to guide our decision-making&and not the pleasure and pain of any one person or group, but the summative experience of all who are affected by our actions. While he didn’t invent utilitarianism, Mill offered its clearest expression and strongest defense, and expanded the theory to account for the variety in quality (...) that we ﬁnd among speciﬁc pleasures and pains. Today, Mill’s version of the “Greatest Happiness Principle” is a standard premise in many moral arguments within the academy and in practical ethical and political deliberation. The complete text of the 1871 edition of _Utilitarianism_ is presented here, with footnote annotations added to clarify unfamiliar references and terminology for the student reader. A detailed introduction by the editor is divided into brief digestible parts discussing the context of the text and offering guidelines on how to read it accurately and critically. This edition has its origin in the acclaimed _Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought_ and adheres to the anthology’s format and high standard of accuracy and accessibility. (shrink)
Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: 'objectivity of value', 'objectivity and everyday knowledge', 'objectivity in political (...) economy', 'objectivity and reflexivity', 'objectivity, postmodernism and feminism', 'objectivity and nature'. The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work. (shrink)
Ushenko's speculative vision opened on the problem of time and its relation to logic. Profoundly concerned about the theme of time--the theme that intrinsically defines romantic irrationalism--he yet endeavored to vindicate within the bounds of temporality the sovereignty of logic so essential to the continuance of classical philosophy. The dual preoccupation with time and logic urged him into the fields of symbolic logic and relativity physics. From the flux of unrepeatable events he disengaged the laws of logic and the propositions (...) of scientific discourse, while at the same time he sought to keep both orders of entity united without injury to either. He ventured into nature as disclosed by contemporary physics and selected the category of event to supplant substance. He undertook to expound a metaphysics of events, grappled with the problem of the unity not only of nature but of the singular events that make up nature, and fixed upon the overarching structure of the space-time of relativity physics to resolve the problem. But this did not suffice. The metaphysical vision at work in these early books glimpsed at moments a principle beyond time, beyond propositions, beyond events--the principle of power. Power and Events: An Essay on Dynamics in Philosophy focused on the principle of power, integrating the other themes in terms of it. As the mature work of a significant and original thinker, Power and Events posed the principle of power as the central idea for the future course of philosophical investigation. In pursuit of its implications Ushenko embarked upon the philosophy of art in his last book Dynamics of Art and in a consistent yet startling fashion advanced the thesis that the substance of art is in effect a dynamic equilibrium of powers. (shrink)
In 1929 Ernst Cassirer and Martin Heidegger participated in a momentous debate in Davos, Switzerland, which is widely held to have marked an important division in twentieth-century European thought. Peter E. Gordon’s recent book, Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos, centers on this debate between these two philosophical adversaries. In his book Gordon examines the background of the debate, the issues that distinguished the respective positions of Cassirer and Heidegger, and the legacy of the debate for later decades. Throughout the work, (...) Gordon concisely portrays the source of disagreement between the two adversaries in terms of a difference between Cassirer’s philosophy of spontaneity and Heidegger’s philosophy of receptivity, or of “thrownness” , into a situation that finite human beings can never hope to master. Although it recognizes that this work provides an important contribution to our understanding of the Davos debate and to twentieth-century European thought, this review essay subjects Gordon’s manner of interpreting the distinction between Cassirer and Heidegger to critical scrutiny. Its purpose is to examine the possibility that important aspects of the debate, which do not conform to the grid imposed by Gordon’s interpretation, might have been set aside in the context of his analysis. (shrink)
Ushenko presented his philosophy of logic in vehement opposition to "the postulationist theory." In the endeavor to amputate logic from philosophy and absorb it within mathematics, the postulationists viewed logic as an isolated object-logic to be discussed in meta-logic and construed its symbolic formulas as a game played according to arbitrarily established rules. The objections Ushenko raised are no longer novel, but twenty years ago the entire controversy was new. Above all, he stressed the numerous difficulties entangling the meta-logic. He (...) scored the menace of an infinite regress of meta-logics, and insisted that the consequences of Gödel's work necessarily frustrate the initial great expectations of the postulationists. No purely formal system can be internally proved to be self-consistent and certainly no formal language can ever become as comprehensive as English, though the price of such comprehensiveness is the inevitable occurrence of contradictory sentences. Moreover, he argued that, despite the postulationists' pretense that rules like the principle of non-contradiction were mere conventions for playing the game of logic, these rules proved ubiquitous by trespassing from the object-logic and intruding into the ultimate reaches of the meta-logic. (shrink)
Responding to my claims in ‘Schleiermacher and Otto on religion’, A. D. Smith has argued that there is ‘nothing to distinguish’ Schleiermacher and Otto on the topics of the naturalistic explanation of religion and divine intervention in the natural order. There are respects in which Smith seems not to have understood my arguments, and his most significant challenge to my claims about Schleiermacher rests on a conflation of two different questions at issue in Schleiermacher's discussion of the incarnation. Further, Smith's (...) correct observation that I have misinterpreted Otto on an important matter is itself coupled with a similar misreading on his part. Smith's arguments prompt me to revise my view of Otto, but not to abandon the idea that he and Schleiermacher assumed different positions on the topics at issue. (shrink)
We investigated, experimentally, the contention that the folk view, or naïve theory, of time, amongst the population we investigated is dynamical. We found that amongst that population, ~ 70% have an extant theory of time that is more similar to a dynamical than a non-dynamical theory, and ~ 70% of those who deploy a naïve theory of time deploy a naïve theory that is more similar to a dynamical than a non-dynamical theory. Interestingly, while we found stable results across our (...) two experiments regarding the percentage of participants that have a dynamical or non-dynamical extant theory of time, we did not find such stability regarding which particular dynamical or non-dynamical theory of time they take to be most similar to our world. This suggests that there might be two extant theories in the population—a broadly dynamical one and a broadly non-dynamical one—but that those theories are sufficiently incomplete that participants do not stably choose the same dynamical theory as being most similar to our world. This suggests that while appeals to the ordinary view of time may do some work in the context of adjudicating disputes between dynamists and non-dynamists, they likely cannot do any such work adjudicating disputes between particular brands of dynamism. (shrink)
The Oxford Monographs On Criminal Law And Justice series aims to cover all aspects of criminal law and procedure including criminal evidence. the scope of the series is wide, encompassing both practical and theoretical works. Series Editor: Professor Andrew Ashworth, Vinerian Professor of English Law, All Souls College, Oxford. This volume is a thematic collection of essays on sentencing theory by leading writers. The essays fall into three groups. Part I considers the underlying justifications for the imposition of punishment (...) by the State, and examines the relationship between victims, offenders and the State. Part II addresses a number of areas of sentencing policy that have given rise to particular difficulty, such as the sentencing of drug offenders, the rationale for discounting sentences for multiple offenders, the existence of special sentencing for young offenders, and cases where the injury done to the victim is of a different magnitude from what might have been expected. Part III raises various questions about the unequal impact on offenders of different sentencing measures, and examines the extent to which sentences should be adjusted to take account of these different impacts and of broader social inequalities. This volume is dedicated to Professor Andrew von Hirsch, whose continuing work on sentencing theory provided the stimulus for the collection. (shrink)
Book Symposium on Andrew Feenberg’s Between Reason and Experience: Essays in Technology and Modernity Content Type Journal Article Pages 203-226 DOI 10.1007/s13347-011-0017-8 Authors Inmaculada de Melo-Martín, Division of Medical Ethics, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY 10065, USA David B. Ingram, Loyola University Chicago, 6525 North Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60626, USA Sally Wyatt, e-Humanities Group, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) & Maastricht University, Cruquiusweg 31, 1019 AT Amsterdam, The Netherlands Yoko Arisaka, Forschungsinstitut für Philosophie (...) Hannover, Gerberstrasse 26, 30169 Hannover, Germany Andrew Feenberg, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3, Canada Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433 Journal Volume Volume 24 Journal Issue Volume 24, Number 2. (shrink)
In his essay On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany, of 1834, Heinrich Heine suggested to his French audience that the German propensity for ‘metaphysical abstractions’ had led many people to condemn philosophy for its failure to have a practical effect, Germany having only had its revolution in thought, while France had its in reality. Heine, albeit somewhat ironically, refuses to join those who condemn philosophy: ‘German philosophy is an important matter, which concerns the whole of humanity, and (...) only the last grandchildren will be able to judge whether we should be blamed or praised for working out our philosophy before our revolution.’ He then makes the following prognosis: the German revolution will not be more mild and more gentle because it was preceded by Kantian critique, Fichtean transcendental idealism and even philosophy of nature. Revolutionary forces have developed via these doctrines which are just waiting for the day when they can break out and fill the world with horror and admiration. … Don't smile at my advice, the advice of a dreamer who warns you about Kantians, Fichteans and philosophers of nature. Don't smile at the fantast who expects the same revolution in the realm of appearance as took place in the realm of spirit. … A play will be performed in Germany in comparison with which the French Revolution could appear just as a harmless idyll. (shrink)
Andrew Sayer undertakes a fundamental critique of social science's difficulties in acknowledging that people's relation to the world is one of concern. As sentient beings, capable of flourishing and suffering, and particularly vulnerable to how others treat us, our view of the world is substantially evaluative. Yet modernist ways of thinking encourage the common but extraordinary belief that values are beyond reason, and merely subjective or matters of convention, with little or nothing to do with the kind of beings (...) people are, the quality of their social relations, their material circumstances or well-being. The author shows how social theory and philosophy need to change to reflect the complexity of everyday ethical concerns and the importance people attach to dignity. He argues for a robustly critical social science that explains and evaluates social life from the standpoint of human flourishing. (shrink)
This ambitious book by one of the most original and provocative thinkers in science studies offers a sophisticated new understanding of the nature of scientific, mathematical, and engineering practice and the production of scientific knowledge. Andrew Pickering offers a new approach to the unpredictable nature of change in science, taking into account the extraordinary number of factors—social, technological, conceptual, and natural—that interact to affect the creation of scientific knowledge. In his view, machines, instruments, facts, theories, conceptual and mathematical structures, (...) disciplined practices, and human beings are in constantly shifting relationships with one another—"mangled" together in unforeseeable ways that are shaped by the contingencies of culture, time, and place. Situating material as well as human agency in their larger cultural context, Pickering uses case studies to show how this picture of the open, changeable nature of science advances a richer understanding of scientific work both past and present. Pickering examines in detail the building of the bubble chamber in particle physics, the search for the quark, the construction of the quarternion system in mathematics, and the introduction of computer-controlled machine tools in industry. He uses these examples to address the most basic elements of scientific practice—the development of experimental apparatus, the production of facts, the development of theory, and the interrelation of machines and social organization. (shrink)
The Constitution of the United States was constructed by men influenced by fundamental ideas of what a republic should be. These ideas hark back to the ancient philosophers and historians, and were further articulated and developed in modern times. From time to time scholars have sought to collect and reprint selections from the classical, biblical, and modern sources upon which the Founding Fathers fed. Remarkably, however, the best anthology of these sources to understand the republican idea that undergirds the Federal (...) Constitution was prepared on the eve of the Constitutional Convention by John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, then in London as American envoy to Great Britain and eventually the second President of the United States. I refer to Adams' A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, against the attack of M. Turgot, in his letter to Dr. Price, 22 March, 1778. (shrink)
We invited five Cavell scholars to write on this topic. What follows is a vibrant exchange among Paola Marrati, Andrew Norris, Jörg Volbers, Cary Wolfe and Thomas Dumm addressing the question whether, in the contemporary political context, Cavell’s skepticism and his Emersonian perfectionism amount to a politics at all.
Andrew Youpa offers an original reading of Spinoza's moral philosophy, arguing it is fundamentally an ethics of joy. Unlike approaches to moral philosophy that center on praiseworthiness or blameworthiness, Youpa maintains that Spinoza's moral philosophy is about how to live lovingly and joyously. His reading expands to examinations of the centrality of education and friendship to Spinoza's moral framework, his theory of emotions, and the metaphysical foundation of his moral philosophy.
Science as Practice and Culture explores one of the newest and most controversial developments within the rapidly changing field of science studies: the move toward studying scientific practice--the work of doing science--and the associated move toward studying scientific culture, understood as the field of resources that practice operates in and on. Andrew Pickering has invited leading historians, philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists of science to prepare original essays for this volume. The essays range over the physical and biological sciences and (...) mathematics, and are divided into two parts. In part I, the contributors map out a coherent set of perspectives on scientific practice and culture, and relate their analyses to central topics in the philosophy of science such as realism, relativism, and incommensurability. The essays in part II seek to delineate the study of science as practice in arguments across its borders with the sociology of scientific knowledge, social epistemology, and reflexive ethnography. (shrink)