Max van Manen offers an extensive exploration of phenomenological traditions and methods for the human sciences. It is his first comprehensive statement of phenomenological thought and research in over a decade. Phenomenology of practice refers to the meaning and practice of phenomenology in professional contexts such as psychology, education, and health care, as well as to the practice of phenomenological methods in contexts of everyday living. Van Manen presents a detailed description of key phenomenological ideas as they (...) have evolved over the past century; he then thoughtfully works through the methodological issues of phenomenological reflection, empirical methods, and writing that a phenomenology of practice offers to the researcher. Van Manen’s comprehensive work will be of great interest to all concerned with the interrelationship between being and acting in human sciences research and in everyday life. (shrink)
Practical Reason and Norms focuses on three problems: In what way are rules normative, and how do they differ from ordinary reasons? What makes normative systems systematic? What distinguishes legal systems, and in what consists their normativity? All three questions are answered by taking reasons as the basic normative concept, and showing the distinctive role reasons have in every case, thus paving the way to a unified account of normativity. Rules are a structure of reasons to perform the required act (...) and an exclusionary reason not to follow some competing reasons. Exclusionary reasons are explained, and used to unlock the secrets of orders, promises, and decisions as well as rules. Games are used to exemplify normative systems. Inevitably, the analysis extends to some aspects of normative discourse, which is truth-apt, but with a diminished assertoric force. (shrink)
Why did such highly abstract ideas as truth, knowledge, or justice become so important to us? What was the point of coming to think in these terms? This book presents a philosophical method designed to answer such questions: the method of pragmatic genealogy. Pragmatic genealogies are partly fictional, partly historical narratives exploring what might have driven us to develop certain ideas in order to discover what these do for us. The book uncovers an under-appreciated tradition of pragmatic genealogy which cuts (...) across the analytic-continental divide, running from the state-of-nature stories of David Hume and the early genealogies of Friedrich Nietzsche to recent work in analytic philosophy by Edward Craig, Bernard Williams, and Miranda Fricker. However, these genealogies combine fictionalizing and historicizing in ways that even philosophers sympathetic to the use of state-of-nature fictions or real history have found puzzling. To make sense of why both fictionalizing and historicizing are called for, the book offers a systematic account of pragmatic genealogies as dynamic models serving to reverse-engineer the points of ideas in relation not only to near-universal human needs, but also to socio-historically situated needs. This allows the method to offer us explanation without reduction and to help us understand what led our ideas to shed the traces of their practical origins. Far from being normatively inert, moreover, pragmatic genealogy can affect the space of reasons, guiding attempts to improve our conceptual repertoire by helping us determine whether and when our ideas are worth having. (shrink)
For thirty years, Peter Singer's Practical Ethics has been the classic introduction to applied ethics. For this third edition, the author has revised and updated all the chapters and added a new chapter addressing climate change, one of the most important ethical challenges of our generation. Some of the questions discussed in this book concern our daily lives. Is it ethical to buy luxuries when others do not have enough to eat? Should we buy meat from intensively reared animals? Am (...) I doing something wrong if my carbon footprint is above the global average? Other questions confront us as concerned citizens: equality and discrimination on the grounds of race or sex; abortion, the use of embryos for research and euthanasia; political violence and terrorism; and the preservation of our planet's environment. This book's lucid style and provocative arguments make it an ideal text for university courses and for anyone willing to think about how she or he ought to live. (shrink)
Is it impossible for a person to do something intentionally without knowing that she is doing it? The phenomenon of self-deceived agency might seem to show otherwise. Here the agent is not lying, yet disavows a correct description of her intentional action. This disavowal might seem expressive of ignorance. However, I show that the self-deceived agent does know what she's doing. I argue that we should understand the factors that explain self-deception as masking rather than negating the practical knowledge characteristic (...) of intentional action. This masking takes roughly the following form: when we are deceiving ourselves about what we are intentionally doing, we don't think about our action because it's painful to do so. (shrink)
In their theories of know how, proponents of Intellectualism routinely appeal to ‘practical modes of presentation’. But what are practical modes of presentation? And what makes them distinctively practical? In this essay, I develop a Fregean account of practical modes of presentation: I argue that there are such things as practical senses and I give a theory of what they are. One of the challenges facing the proponent of a distinctively Fregean construal of practical modes of presentation is to provide (...) an account of their nature on which they are plausible qua Fregean senses. I take up this challenge, arguing that we find examples of practical senses in the semantic values assigned to programs by operational semantics for programming languages. By looking at a species of practical senses, we will have taken one important step towards legitimizing the genus. In particular, I show that certain features of operational semantic values can be generalized towards a comprehensive theory of practical senses. The upshot is a full-fledged account of what practical senses are, which can be put to use in an explanatory theory of know how. (shrink)
According to one interpretation of Aristotle’s famous thesis, to say that action is the conclusion of practical reasoning is to say that action is itself a judgment about what to do. A central motivation for the thesis is that it suggests a path for understanding the non-observational character of practical knowledge. If actions are judgments, then whatever explains an agent’s knowledge of the relevant judgment can explain her knowledge of the action. I call the approach to action that accepts Aristotle’s (...) thesis so understood Normativism. There are many reasons to doubt Normativism. My aim in this paper is to defend Normativism from a pair of arguments that purport to show that a normative judgment could not constitute an event in material reality and also the knowledge of such a happening. Both highlight a putative mismatch between the natures of, on the one hand, an agent’s knowledge of her normative judgment and, on the other, her knowledge of her own action. According to these objections, knowledge of action includes (a) perceptual knowledge and (b) knowledge of what one has already done. But knowledge of a normative judgment includes neither. Hence knowledge of action cannot simply be knowledge of a normative judgment. (shrink)
What is it for a duty or obligation to be directed? Thinking about paradigmatic cases such as the obligations generated by promises will take us only so far in answering this question. This paper starts by surveying several approaches for understanding directed duties, as well as the challenges they face. It turns out that shared agency features something similar to the directedness of duties. This suggests an account of directedness in terms of shared agency – specifically, in terms of the (...) so-called practical intimacy that holds between individuals when they act together. The final section addresses a challenge to the shared agency approach posed by legal wronging in tort law. (shrink)
“What do you see when you look at your face in the mirror?” asks J. David Velleman in introducing his philosophical theory of action. He takes this simple act of self-scrutiny as a model for the reflective reasoning of rational agents: our efforts to understand our existence and conduct are aided by our efforts to make it intelligible. Reflective reasoning, Velleman argues, constitutes practical reasoning. By applying this conception, Practical Reflection develops philosophical accounts of intention, free will, and the foundation (...) of morals. This new edition of Practical Reflection contains the original 1989 text along with a new introduction and is the latest entry in The David Hume Series of Philosophy and Cognitive Science Reissues, which keeps in print previously published indispensable works in the area of cognitive science. (shrink)
This book provides a look at philosophical practice from the viewpoint of the practitioner or prospective practitioner. It answers the questions: What is philosophical practice? What are its aims and methods? How does philosophical counseling differ from psychological counseling and other forms of psychotherapy. How are philosophical practitioners educated and trained? How do philosophical practitioners relate to other professions? What are the politics of philosophical practice? How does one become a practitioner? What is APPA Certification? What are (...) the prospects for philosophical practice in the USA and elsewhere? Handbook of Philosophical Practice provides an account of philosophy's current renaissance as a discipline of applied practice while critiquing the historical, social, and cultural forces which have contributed to its earlier descent into obscurity. (shrink)
The concept of practical knowledge is central to G.E.M. Anscombe's argument in Intention, yet its meaning is little understood. There are several reasons for this, including a lack of attention to Anscombe's ancient and medieval sources for the concept, and an emphasis on the more straightforward concept of knowledge "without observation" in the interpretation of Anscombe's position. This paper remedies the situation, first by appealing to the writings of Thomas Aquinas to develop an account of practical knowledge as a distinctive (...) form of thought that "aims at production" of things that lie within an agent's power; and then by showing how this Thomistic understanding of practical cognition seems to have been Anscombe's, too. Having done this, I question whether the thesis that agential knowledge is practical knowledge entails that an agent always has non-observational knowledge of what she is intentionally doing. I answer "Not": Anscombe's claims to the contrary rest on a misleading assimilation of human beings' finite agency to that of an infinite agent like God. (shrink)
In the present paper, I want to contribute to a correct understanding of Aristotle's action theory by explaining just how two of the key concepts which it involves are connected and by showing that, contrary to what a number of commentators have said, there are causal concepts. The concepts in question are those of deliberation and the so-called "practical syllogism.".
What is morality? In Practical Expressivism, I argue that morality is a purely natural interpersonal co-ordination device, whereby human beings express their attitudes in order to influence the attitudes and actions of others. -/- The ultimate goal of these expressions is to find acceptable ways of living together. This 'expressivist' model for understanding morality faces well-known challenges concerning 'saving the appearances' of morality, because morality presents itself to us as a practice of objective discovery, not pure expression. -/- This (...) book demonstrates how a properly developed expressivist view can overcome this objection, by showing that even if moral practice is fundamentally expressive, it can still come to possess those features that make it appear objective (features such as talk and thought of moral disagreement, truth and belief, and the applicability of logical notions to moral sentences). The key to this development is to emphasise the unique and intricate practical role that morality plays in our lives. Practical expressivism is also practical in the further sense that it provides repeatable patterns that expressivists can deploy in coming to understand the apparently objective features of morality. (shrink)
This book addresses key topics in social theory such as the basic structures of social life, the character of human activity, and the nature of individuality. Drawing on the work of Wittgenstein, the author develops an account of social existence that argues that social practices are the fundamental phenomenon in social life. This approach offers insight into the social formation of individuals, surpassing and critiquing the existing practice theories of Bourdieu, Giddens, Lyotard and Oakeshott. In bringing Wittgenstein's work to (...) bear on issues of social theory the book shows the relevance of his work to a body of thought to which it has never been applied. The book will be of particular interest to philosophers of the social sciences, a wide range of social theorists in political science and sociology, as well as some literary theorists. (shrink)
Practical Reality is a lucid original study of the relation between the reasons why we do things and the reasons why we should. Jonathan Dancy maintains that current philosophical orthodoxy bowdlerizes this relation, making it impossible to understand how anyone can act for a good reason. By giving a fresh account of values and reasons, he finds a place for normativity in philosophy of mind and action, and strengthens the connection between these areas and ethics.
Sidgwick claimed Kant as one of his moral philosophical masters. This did not prevent Sidgwick from registering pointed criticisms of most of Kant’s main claims in ethics. This paper explores the practical ethics of Sidgwick and Kant. In § I, I outline the element of Kant’s theoretical ethics that Sidgwick endorsed. In §§ II and III, I outline and adjudicate some of their sharpest disagreements in practical ethics, on the permissibility of lying and on the demands of beneficence. In § (...) IV, I argue that compared to Kant, Sidgwick has a better strategy for overcoming disagreement in practical ethics. §V sums things up. (shrink)
A certain order or stability of nature has often been seen as a necessary presupposition of many of our scientific practices, in particular of our use of information gained in one kind of circumstance to explain or predict what happens in quite different situations. John Maynard Keynes and, more recently, Nancy Cartwright have argued that these practices commit us to the existence of stable ‘atoms’ or ‘natures’ or ‘tendencies.’ The phenomena we observe in nature are, on this view, the result (...) of superimposing the invariable, context-independent effects of all the different tendencies involved. (shrink)
Some prominent evidentialists argue that practical considerations cannot be normative reasons for belief because they can’t be motivating reasons for belief. Existing pragmatist responses turn out to depend on the assumption that it’s possible to believe in the absence of evidence. The evidentialist may deny this, at which point the debate ends in an impasse. I propose a new strategy for the pragmatist. This involves conceding that belief in the absence of evidence is impossible. We then argue that evidence can (...) play a role in bringing about belief without being a motivating reason for belief, thereby leaving room for practical considerations to serve as motivating reasons. I present two ways in which this can happen. First, agents can use evidence as a mere means by which to believe, with practical considerations serving as motivating reasons for belief, just as we use tools (e.g. a brake pedal) as mere means by which to do something (e.g. slow down) which we are motivated to do for practical reasons. Second, evidence can make it possible for one to choose whether or not to believe – a choice one can then make for practical reasons. These arguments push the debate between the evidentialist and the pragmatist into new territory. It is no longer enough for an evidentialist to insist that belief is impossible without evidence. Even if this is right, the outcome of the debate remains unsettled. It will hang on the ability of the evidentialist to respond to the new pragmatist strategy presented here. (shrink)
Traditionally, discussions of moral participation – and in particular moral agency – have focused on fully formed human actors. There has been some interest in the development of morality in humans, as well as interest in cultural differences when it comes to moral practices, commitments, and actions. However, until relatively recently, there has been little focus on the possibility that nonhuman animals have any role to play in morality, save being the objects of moral concern. Moreover, when nonhuman cases are (...) considered as evidence of moral agency or subjecthood, there has been an anthropocentric tendency to focus on those behaviors that inform our attributions of moral agency to humans. For example, some argue that the ability to evaluate the principles upon which a moral norm is grounded is required for full moral agency. Certainly, if a moral agent must understand what makes an action right or wrong, then most nonhuman animals would not qualify (and perhaps some humans too). However, if we are to understand the evolution of moral psychology and moral practice, we need to turn our attention to the foundations of full moral agency. We must first pay attention to the more broadly normative practices of other animals. Here, we begin that project by considering evidence that great apes and cetaceans participate in normative practices. (shrink)
This book is an exploration of the epistemological, metaphysical, and psychological foundations of the Nicomachean Ethics. In a striking reversal of current orthodoxy, Reeve argues that scientific knowledge (episteme) is possible in ethics, that dialectic and understanding (nous) play essentially the same role in ethics as in an Aristotelian science, and that the distinctive role of practical wisdom (phronesis) is to use the knowledge of universals provided by science, dialectic, and understanding so as to best promote happiness (eudaimonia) in particular (...) circumstances and to ensure a happy life. Turning to happiness itself, Reeves develops a new account of Aristotle's views on ends and functions, exposing their twofold nature. He argues that the activation of theoretical wisdom is primary happiness, and that the activation of practical wisdom--when it is for the sake of primary happiness--is happiness of a secondary kind. He concludes with an account of the virtues of character, external goods, and friends, and their place in the happy life. (shrink)
Practical rationality is best regarded as a virtue: an excellence in the exercise of one’s cognitive capacities in one’s practical endeavors. The author develops this idea so as to yield a Humean conception of practical rationality. Nevertheless, one of the crucial features of the approach is not distinctively Humean and sets it apart from the most familiar neo-Humean approaches: an agent’s practical rationality has to do with the presence and form of his cognitive activity, as weIl as with how it (...) engages his emotional and motivational states, rather than with the impact that his actions have on his utility or with how his actions relate to his expected utility. The approach also contrasts with full-information accounts of rationality. The paper ends with a discussion of our interest in operating with the conception of practical rationalitythat emerges from this approach, even if it is so demanding that it would be humanly impossible to be perfectly practically rational. (shrink)
Contrary to most current epistemologists who concentrate on core cases of rather ‘spontaneous’ trust and belief in the face of assertions, Classical rhetoricians addressed the study of ‘testimony’ as an two-acts phenomenon: that of the ‘disclosure’ of information and that of the ‘appeal’ to its authority in subsequent discursive practices. Moreover, they primarily focused on this second phase as they assumed that it was such argumentative setting that finally gave ‘testimonial’ relevance to the first act. According to this ‘rhetorical’ model, (...) then, it is the dynamics and pragmatics of such complex process that is the core issue regarding ‘testimony’. (shrink)
Some things are reasons for us to perform certain actions. That it will spare you great pain in the future, for example, is a reason for you to go to the dentist now, and that you are already late for work is a reason for you not to read the next article in the morning paper. Why are such considerations reasons for or against certain actions? Constructivism offers an intriguing answer to this question. Its basic idea is often encapsulated in (...) the slogan that reasons are not discovered but made by us. This book elaborates the constructivist idea into a fully fledged account of practical reasons, makes its theoretical commitments explicit, and defends it against some well-known objections. It begins with an examination of the distinctive role that reason judgements play in the process of practical reasoning. This provides the resources for an anti-representationalist conception of the nature of those judgements, according to which they are true, if they are true, not because they accurately represent certain normative facts, but because of their role in sound reasoning. On the resulting view, a consideration owes its status as a reason to the truth of the corresponding reason judgement and thus, ultimately, to the soundness of a certain episode of reasoning. Consequently, our practical reasons exhibit a kind of mind-dependence, but this does not force us to deny their objectivity. (shrink)
Henry Richardson argues that we can determine our ends rationally. He constructs a rich and original theory of how we can reason about our final goals. Richardson defuses the counter-arguments for the limits of rational deliberation, and develops interesting ideas about how his model might be extended to interpersonal deliberation of ends, taking him to the borders of political theory. Along the way Richardson offers illuminating discussions of, inter alia, Aristotle, Aquinas, Sidgwick, and Dewey, as well as the work of (...) several contemporary philosophers. (shrink)
Unruly Practices brings together a series of widely discussed essays in feminism and social theory. Read together, they constitute a sustained critical encounter with leading European and American approaches to social theory. In addition, Nancy Fraser develops a new and original socialist-feminist critical theory that overcomes many of the limitations of current alternatives. First, in a series of critical essays, she deploys philosophical and literary techniques to assess the work of Michael Foucault, the French deconstructionists, Richard Rorty, and Jürgen Habermas. (...) Then, in a group of constructive essays, she incorporates their respective strengths in a new critical theory of late-capitalist political culture. Fraser breaks new ground methodologically by integrating the previously divergent insights of poststructuralism, critical social theory, feminist theory, and pragmatism. Thematically, she deals with varied forms of dominance and subordination in modern, industrial, late-capitalist societies. These themes are integrated in an original theory of 'the politics of need interpretation.' This concept becomes the linchpin of the socialist-feminist critical theory. (shrink)
We argue that any strong version of a knowledge condition on intentional action, the practical knowledge principle, on which knowledge of what I am doing (under some description: call it A-ing) is necessary for that A-ing to qualify as an intentional action, is false. Our argument involves a new kind of case, one that centers the agent’s control appropriately and thus improves upon Davidson’s well-known carbon copier case. After discussing this case, offering an initial argument against the knowledge condition, and (...) discussing recent treatments that cover nearby ground, we consider several objections. One we consider at some length maintains that although contemplative knowledge may be disconnected from intentional action, specifically practical knowledge of the sort Anscombe elucidated escapes our argument. We demonstrate that this is not so. Our argument illuminates an important truth, often overlooked in discussions of the knowledge-intentional action relationship: intentional action and knowledge have different levels of permissiveness regarding failure in similar circumstances. (shrink)
Truth has always been a controversial subject in Aristotelian scholarship. In most cases, including some well-known passages in the Categories, De Interpretatione and Metaphysics, Aristotle uses the predicate ‘true’ for assertions, although exceptions are many and impossible to ignore. One of the most complicated cases is the concept of practical truth in the sixth book of Nicomachean Ethics: its entanglement with action and desire raises doubts about the possibility of its inclusion to the propositional model of truth. Nevertheless, in one (...) of the most extensive studies on the subject, C. Olfert has tried to show that this is not only possible but also necessary. In this paper, we explain why trying to fit practical truth into the propositional model comes with insurmountable problems. In order to overcome these problems, we focus on multiple aspects of practical syllogism and correlate them with Aristotle’s account of desire, happiness and the good. Identifying the role of such concepts in the specific steps of practical reasoning, we reach the conclusion that practical truth is best explained as the culmination of a well-executed practical syllogism taken as a whole, which ultimately explains why this type of syllogism demands a different approach and a different kind of truth than the theoretical one. (shrink)
The paper argues that normative reasons are of two fundamental kinds, practical which are value related, and adaptive, which are not related to any value, but indicate how our beliefs and emotions should adjust to fit how things are in the world. The distinction is applied and defended, in part through an additional distinction between standard and non-standard reasons (for actions, intentions, emotions or belief).
This chapter discusses recent attempts to clarify the notion of practical representation and its theoretical fruitfulness. The ultimate goal is not just to show that intellectualists are on good grounds when they appeal to practical representation in their theories of know-how. Rather, it is to argue that any plausible theory of skill and know-how has to appeal to the notion of practical representation developed here. §1 explains the notion of a mode of presentation and introduces practical modes of presentation. (...) §2 illustrates practical representation by discussing models of motor control in current theories of sensori-motor psychology; §3 puts forward an argument for positing practical representation. §4 goes from practical non-conceptual representations to practical conceptual representations — to practical concepts. §5 concludes. (shrink)
This book provides an exciting and diverse philosophical exploration of the role of practice and practices in human activity. It contains original essays and critiques of this philosophical and sociological attempt to move beyond current problematic ways of thinking in the humanities and social sciences. It will be useful across many disciplines, including philosophy, sociology, science, cultural theory, history and anthropology.
In a series of tightly argued essays, Turner traces out the implications that discarding the notion of shared frameworks has for relativism, social constructionism, normativity, and a number of other concepts. He suggests ways in which these ideas might be reformulated more productively, in part through extended critiques of the work of scholars such as Ian Hacking, Andrew Pickering, Pierre Bourdieu, Quentin Skinner, Robert Brandom, Clifford Geertz, and Edward Shils.
The Practice of Value explores the nature of value and its relation to the social and historical conditions under which human agents live. At the core of the book are the Tanner Lectures delivered at Berkeley in 2001 by Joseph Raz, who has been one of the leading figures in moral and legal philosophy since the 1970's. Raz argues that values depend importantly on social practices, but that we can make sense of this dependence without falling back on cultural (...) relativism. In response, three eminent philosophers, Christine Korsgaard, Robert Pippin, and Bernard Williams, offer their own distinctive reflections on the connections between value and practice. The book begins with an introduction by Jay Wallace, setting the scene for what follows, and ends with a response from Raz to his commentators. The result is a fascinating debate, accessible to readers throughout and beyond philosophy, about the relations between human values and human life. (shrink)