Many philosophers believe that truth is grounded: True propositions depend for their truth on the world. Some philosophers believe that truth’s grounding has implications for our ontology of time. If truth is grounded, then truth supervenes on being. But if truth supervenes on being, then presentism is false since, on presentism, e.g., that there were dinosaurs fails to supervene on the whole of being plus the instantiation pattern of properties and relations. Call this the grounding argument against presentism. Many presentists (...) claim that the grounding argument fails because, despite appearances, supervenience is compatible with presentism. In this paper, I claim that the grounding argument fails because, despite appearances, truth’s grounding gives the presentist no compelling reason to adopt the sort of supervenience principle at work in the grounding argument. I begin by giving two precisifications of the grounding principle: truthmaking and supervenience. In Sect. 2, I give the grounding argument against presentism. In Sect. 3, I argue that we should distinguish between eternalist and presentist notions of grounding; once this distinction is in hand, the grounding argument is undercut. In Sect. 4, I show how the presentist’s notion of grounding leads to presentist-friendly truthmaking and supervenience principles. In Sect. 5, I address some potential objections. (shrink)
Alex Oliver and Timothy Smiley provide a new account of plural logic. They argue that there is such a thing as genuinely plural denotation in logic, and expound a framework of ideas that includes the distinction between distributive and collective predicates, the theory of plural descriptions, multivalued functions, and lists.
Origens : Alex Atala, Fernando e Humberto Campana -- Presente : Fernando e Humberto Campana e Jum Nakao -- Intermezzo : convívio : Jam Nakao e colaboradores -- Destinos : Alex Atala e Jum Nakao -- Entrevistas -- Um pouco de história.
This user-friendly text covers key issues in the philosophy of science in an accessible and philosophically serious way. It will prove valuable to students studying philosophy of science as well as science students. Prize-winning author Alex Rosenberg explores the philosophical problems that science raises by its very nature and method. He skilfully demonstrates that scientific explanation, laws, causation, theory, models, evidence, reductionism, probability, teleology, realism and instrumentalism actually pose the same questions that Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant and their (...) successors have grappled with for centuries. (shrink)
Philosophy of Science is a mid-level text for students with some grounding in philosophy. It introduces the questions that drive enquiry in the philosophy of science, and aims to educate readers in the main positions, problems and arguments in the field today. Alex Rosenberg is certainly well qualified to write such an introduction. His works cover a large area of the philosophy of natural and social sciences. In addition, the author of the argument that the ‘queen of the social (...) sciences’, economics, is not a science at all, can be counted on to show how the philosophy of science can be relevant to the understanding of the status of scientific knowledge and can provide a critical assessment of practitioners’ view of their field. (shrink)
This paper combines the ancient idea that causes necessitate their effects with Angelika Kratzer’s semantics of modality. On the resulting view, causal claims quantify over restricted domains of possible worlds determined by two contextually determined parameters. I argue that this view can explain a number of otherwise puzzling features of the way we use and evaluate causal language, including the difference between causing an effect and being a cause of it, the sensitivity of causal judgements to normative facts, and the (...) semantics of causal disagreements. (shrink)
It is standard, both in the philosophical literature and in ordinary parlance, to assume that one can fall short of responding to all one’s moral reasons without being irrational. Yet when we turn to epistemic reasons, the situation could not be more different. Most epistemologists take it as axiomatic that for a belief to be rational is for it to be well-supported by epistemic reasons. We find ourselves with a striking asymmetry, then, between the moral and epistemic domains concerning what (...) is taken for granted about whether failures to respond to reasons are failures of rationality. My aim in this paper is to interrogate this asymmetry, and ultimately to argue that the asymmetry is groundless. Instead, I will offer an error theory to explain the asymmetry in intuitions. This error theory suggests that we should amend the conventional wisdom about the relationship between epistemic reasons and rationality. (shrink)
We use probability-matching variations on Ellsberg’s single-urn experiment to assess three questions: (1) How sensitive are ambiguity attitudes to changes from a gain to a loss frame? (2) How sensitive are ambiguity attitudes to making ambiguity easier to recognize? (3) What is the relation between subjects’ consistency of choice and the ambiguity attitudes their choices display? Contrary to most other studies, we find that a switch from a gain to a loss frame does not lead to a switch from ambiguity (...) aversion to ambiguity neutrality and/or ambiguity seeking. We also find that making ambiguity easier to recognize has little effect. Finally, we find that while ambiguity aversion does not depend on consistency, other attitudes do: consistent choosers are much more likely to be ambiguity neutral, while ambiguity seeking is much more frequent among highly inconsistent choosers. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that we should amend the traditional understanding of the view known as the guise of the good. The guise of the good is traditionally understood as the view that we only want to act in ways that we believe to be good in some way. But it is argued that a more plausible view is that we only want to act in ways that we believe we have normative reason to act in. This change (...) – from formulating the view in terms of goodness to formulating it in terms of reasons – is significant because the revised view avoids various old and new counterexamples to the traditional view, because the revised view is better motivated than the traditional view, and because the revised view is better placed to explain certain features of desire than the traditional view. The paper finishes by showing that the conclusions reached are compatible with theories such as the buck passing account of value. (shrink)
According to the classical account, propositions are sui generis, abstract, intrinsically-representational entities and our cognitive attitudes, and the token states within us that realize those attitudes, represent as they do in virtue of their propositional objects. In light of a desire to explain how it could be that propositions represent, much of the recent literature on propositions has pressured various aspects of this account. In place of the classical account, revisionists have aimed to understand propositions in terms of more familiar (...) entities such as facts, types of mental or linguistic acts, and even properties. But we think that the metaphysical story about propositions is much simpler than either the classical theorist or the revisionist would have you believe. In what follows, we argue that a proper understanding of the nature of our cognitive relations to propositions shows that the question of whether propositions themselves represent is, at best, a distraction. We will argue that once this distraction is removed, the possibility of a very pleasing, minimalist story of propositions emerges; a story that appeals only to assumptions that are shared by all theorists in the relevant debate. (shrink)
How we evaluate things and what we desire are closely connected. In typical cases, the things we desire are things that we evaluate as good or desirable. According to evaluation theories of desire, this connection is a very tight one: desires are evaluations of their objects as good or as desirable. There are two main varieties of this view. According to Doxastic Evaluativism, to desire that p is to believe or judge that p is good. According to Perceptual Evaluativism, to (...) desire that p is to perceive p as being good (or for p to seem good). The present paper poses a puzzle for such views. The puzzle should be familiar to theorists interested in the normativity and metaphysics of the emotions, but I am unaware of its application to desire. The aim of the present paper is to present the puzzle as it applies to desire, which should be of independent interest, but I also hope that by shining a light on the puzzle in this domain, we might put ourselves in a better position to offer a solution in all cases. At the end of the paper, I gesture towards a promising way ahead that departs from relying on contradictory contents. (shrink)
Using an economic bargaining game, we tested for the existence of two phenomena related to social norms, namely norm manipulation – the selection of an interpretation of the norm that best suits an individual – and norm evasion – the deliberate, private violation of a social norm. We found that the manipulation of a norm of fairness was characterized by a self-serving bias in beliefs about what constituted normatively acceptable behaviour, so that an individual who made an uneven bargaining offer (...) not only genuinely believed it was fair, but also believed that recipients found it fair, even though recipients of the offer considered it to be unfair. In contrast, norm evasion operated as a highly explicit process. When they could do so without the recipient's knowledge, individuals made uneven offers despite knowing that their behaviour was unfair. (shrink)
I revisit themes from Against Borders: Why the World Needs Free Movement of People(2020) in dialogue with Gillian Brock’s Justice of People on the Move(2020) and Sarah Song’sImmigration and Democracy (2019). We share the conviction that current border regimes are deeply unjust but differ in what migration justice requires. Brock and Song continue to give states significant discretion to exclude people from entering and settling in their territories, whereas I contend that migration justice demands open borders. I reject the claim (...) that state self-determination justifies migration restrictions. Central arguments for open borders high-light the role that restrictive border controls and the state category of‘immigrant’ play in upholding racialised hierarchies and exploitative economic relations, as well as in inflicting violence against mobile people. (shrink)
This paper examines the view that desires are beliefs about normative reasons for action. It describes the view, and briefly sketches three arguments for it. But the focus of the paper is defending the view from objections. The paper argues that the view is consistent with the distinction between the direction of fit of beliefs and desires, that it is consistent with the existence of appetites such as hunger, that it can account for counterexamples that aim to show that beliefs (...) about reasons are not sufficient for desire, such as weakness of will, and that it can account for counterexamples that aim to show that beliefs about reasons are not necessary for desire, such as addiction. The paper also shows how it is superior to the view that desires are appearances of the good. (shrink)
A pragmatic approach to business ethics is argued for in this volume, which demonstrates the usefulness of the approach by applying it to a variety of issues. These issues are broad and far-reaching and include the relations between rational and moral//ethical decision-making, the limits of loyalty to employers, the impact of trust on business and the role of commercial public opinion polling during elections. The author also covers advertising, tobacco promotion, manufacture and marketing of armaments, concentration and taxation of wealth, (...) and the North American Free Trade Agreement. (shrink)
Physicalism and antireductionism are the ruling orthodoxy in the philosophy of biology. But these two theses are difficult to reconcile. Merely embracing an epistemic antireductionism will not suffice, as both reductionists and antireductionists accept that given our cognitive interests and limitations, non-molecular explanations may not be improved, corrected or grounded in molecular ones. Moreover, antireductionists themselves view their claim as a metaphysical or ontological one about the existence of facts molecular biology cannot identify, express, or explain. However, this is tantamount (...) to a rejection of physicalism and so causes the antireductionist discomfort. In this paper we argue that vindicating physicalism requires a physicalistic account of the principle of natural selection, and we provide such an account. The most important pay-off to the account is that it provides for the very sort of autonomy from the physical that antireductionists need without threatening their commitment to physicalism. (shrink)
I begin the paper by outlining one classic argument for the guise of the good: that we must think that desires represent their objects favourably in order to explain why they can make actions rational (Quinn 1995; Stampe 1987). But what exactly is the conclusion of this argument? Many have recently formulated the guise of the good as the view that desires are akin to perceptual appearances of the good (Oddie 2005; Stampe 1987; Tenenbaum 2007). But I argue that this (...) view fails to capitalize on the above argument, and that the argument is better understood as favouring a view on which desires are belief-like states. I finish by addressing some countervailing claims made by Avery Archer (2016). (shrink)
This book provides an in-depth introduction to, and analysis of, the issues relating to the implementation of the recent Responsibility to Protect principle in international relations The Responsibility to Protect has come a long way in a short space of time. It was endorsed by the General Assembly of the UN in 2005, and unanimously reaffirmed by the Security Council in 2006 and 2009. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has identified the challenge of implementing RtoP as one of the cornerstones of (...) his Secretary-Generalship. The principle has also become part of the working language of international engagement with humanitarian crises and has been debated in relation to almost every recent international crisis âe" including Sudan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Georgia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Darfur and Somalia. Concentrating mainly on implementation challenges including the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities, strengthening the UNâes capacity to respond, and the role of regional organizations, this book introducing readers to contemporary debates on R2P and provides the first book-length analysis of the implementation agenda. The book will be of great interest to students of the responsibility to protect, humanitarian intervention, human rights, foreign policy, security studies and IR and politics in general. (shrink)
We all learn about the mistake of treating ‘nothing’ as if it were a term standing for something; but is it a mistake to treat it as an empty term, denoting nothing? We argue not, and we introduce ‘zilch’, defined as ‘the non-self-identical thing’, as a term which is empty as a matter of logical necessity. We contrast its behaviour with that of the quantifier ‘nothing’, and illustrate its uses. We use the same idea to vindicate Locke’s, Descartes’ and Hume’s (...) handling of ‘nothing’, and we show how Heidegger’s ‘das Nichts nichtet’ comes out as logically true. (shrink)
To understand what non-propositional content is and whether there are any such contents, we first need to know what propositional content is. That issue will be the focus of the first section of this essay. In the second section, with an understanding of propositional content in hand, we will consider representations that fail to have propositional content. In contrast to recent literature, it will be argued that metaphysical considerations concerning what's represented, rather than linguistic considerations, are a more promising way (...) of establishing non-propositional contents. To keep the discussion containable, focus will be on representational mental states, though many of the considerations can be extended to other forms of representation. (shrink)
The most influential philosopher in the analytic tradition of his time, Willard Van Orman Quine changed the way we think about language and its relation to the world. His rejection of the analytic/synthetic distinction, his scepticism about modal logic and essentialism, his celebrated theme of the indeterminacy of translation, and his advocacy of naturalism have challenged key assumptions of the prevailing orthodoxy and helped shape the development of much of recent philosophy. This introduction to Quine's philosophical ideas provides philosophers, students (...) and generalists with an authoritative analysis of his lasting contributions to philosophy. Quine's ideas throughout are contrasted with more traditional views, as well as with contemporaries such as Frege, Russell, Carnap, Davidson, Field, Kripke and Chomsky, enabling the reader to grasp a clear sense of the place of Quine's views in twentieth-century philosophy and the important criticisms of them. (shrink)
Outside the philosophy classroom, global skeptics – skeptics about all (purported) knowledge of the external world – are rare. But there are people who describe themselves as “skeptics” about various more specific domains, including self-professed “skeptics” about the reality of anthropogenic climate change. There is little to no philosophical literature that juxtaposes the climate change skeptic with the external world skeptic. While many “traditional” epistemologists assume that the external world skeptic poses a serious philosophical challenge in a way that the (...) climate change skeptic doesn’t, many “applied” or “social” epistemologists assume that there isn’t much to be learned from debates about the external world skeptic, finding her challenge to be distant from both common sense and real-world concerns. I try to show that both of these views are mistaken. The external world skeptic raises deep questions that are important for our everyday deliberation about what to believe, and there are significant structural parallels between the arguments for external world skepticism and those for at least a form of climate change skepticism that is idealized – but not too idealized! – from the views of flesh-and-blood climate change skeptics. As such, we have strong reasons to think in parallel about how to reply to both skeptics’ challenges. I thus finish by (briefly) considering how different widespread responses to the external world skeptic might or might not generalize happily to the climate change skeptic’s challenge. (shrink)
For a long time many philosophers felt the incoherence objection was a decisive objection to rule-consequentialism, but that position has recently become less secure, because Brad Hooker has offered a clever new way for rule-consequentialists to avoid the incoherence objection. Hooker’s response defeats traditional forms of the incoherence objection, but this paper argues that another version of the problem remains. Several possible solutions fail. One other does not, but it introduces other problems into the theory. I conclude that the new (...) incoherence objection still poses a major challenge to rule-consequentialism, though not for the reasons usually assumed. It does not constitute a fatal objection to rule-consequentialism but instead highlights a theoretical drawback in the theory which must be taken into account during a more holistic evaluation of rule-consequentialism and its rivals. (shrink)
This is the first book to systematically examine the underlying theory of evidence in Anglo-American legal systems. Stein develops a detailed and innovative theory which sets aside the traditional vision of evidence law as facilitating the discovery of the truth. Combining probability theory, epistemology, economic analysis, and moral philosophy, he argues instead that the fundamental purpose of evidence law is to apportion the risk of error in conditions of uncertainty.
When we say a certain rose is red, we seem to be attributing a property, redness, to it. But are there really such properties? If so, what are they like, how do we know about them, and how are they related to the objects which have them and the linguistic devices which we use to talk about them? This collection presents these ancient problems in a modern light. In particular, it makes accessible for the first time the most important contributions (...) to the contemporary controversy about the nature of properties. Those new to the subject will find the clearly-written introduction, by two experts in the field, an invaluable guide to the intricacies of this debate. The volume illustrates very well the aims and methods of modern metaphysics and show how a thorough understanding of the metaphysics of properties is crucial to most of analytic philosophy. (shrink)
The typical kind of color realism is reductive: the color properties are identified with properties specified in other terms (as ways of altering light, for instance). If no reductive analysis is available — if the colors are primitive sui generis properties — this is often taken to be a convincing argument for eliminativism. That is, realist primitivism is usually thought to be untenable. The realist preference for reductive theories of color over the last few decades is particularly striking in light (...) of the generally anti-reductionist mood of recent philosophy of mind. The parallels between the mind—body problem and the case of color are substantial enough that the difference in trajectory is surprising. While dualism and non-reductive physicalism are staples, realist primitivism is by and large a recent addition to the color literature. And it remains a minority position, although one that is perhaps gaining support. In this paper, we investigate whether it should be accepted, and conclude it should not be. (shrink)
This book investigates context-sensitivity in natural language by examining the meaning and use of a target class of theoretically recalcitrant expressions. These expressions-including epistemic vocabulary, normative and evaluative vocabulary, and vague language -exhibit systematic differences from paradigm context-sensitive expressions in their discourse dynamics and embedding properties. Many researchers have responded by rethinking the nature of linguistic meaning and communication. Drawing on general insights about the role of context in interpretation and collaborative action, Silk develops an improved contextualist theory of CR-expressions (...) within the classical truth-conditional paradigm: Discourse Contextualism. The aim of Discourse Contextualism is to derive the distinctive linguistic behavior of a CR-expression from a particular contextualist interpretation of an independently motivated formal semantics, along with general principles of interpretation and conversation. It is shown how in using CR-expressions, speakers can exploit their mutual grammatical and world knowledge, and general pragmatic reasoning skills, to coordinate their attitudes and negotiate about how the context should evolve. The book focuses primarily on developing a Discourse Contextualist semantics and pragmatics for epistemic modals. The Discourse Contextualist framework is also applied to other categories of epistemic vocabulary, normative and evaluative vocabulary, and vague adjectives. The similarities/differences among these expressions, and among context-sensitive expressions more generally, have been underexplored. The development of Discourse Contextualism in this book sheds light on general features of meaning and communication, and the variety of ways in which context affects and is affected by uses of language. Discourse Contextualism provides a fruitful framework for theorizing about various broader issues in philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive science. (shrink)
In this paper I highlight two noteworthy features of assertions about our desires, and then highlight two ways in which they can mislead us into drawing unwarranted conclusions about desire. Some of our assertions may indicate that we are sometimes motivated independently of desire, and other assertions may suggest that there are vast divergences between our normative judgements and our desires. But I suggest that some such assertions are, in this respect, potentially misleading, and have in fact misled authors such (...) as Russ Shafer-Landau, Jack Woods, and Tim Scanlon. (shrink)
The most influential philosopher in the analytic tradition of his time, Willard Van Orman Quine changed the way we think about language and its relation to the world. His rejection of the analytic/synthetic distinction, his scepticism about modal logic and essentialism, his celebrated theme of the indeterminacy of translation, and his advocacy of naturalism have challenged key assumptions of the prevailing orthodoxy and helped shape the development of much of recent philosophy.This introduction to Quine's philosophical ideas provides philosophers, students, and (...) generalists with an authoritative analysis of Quine's lasting contributions to philosophy. The major themes covered include the adaptation of the language of modern logic to formulate a criterion of ontological commitment; Quine's own ontological commitments; Duhemian-Holistic empiricism and the attendant rejection of a priori knowledge; the nature and grounds of logical truth; Quine's criticisms of such notions as meaning, synonymy, analyticity, and necessity; the conjecture of the indeterminacy of translation; modal logic; propositional attitudes; and Quine's work on naturalized epistemology.Quine's ideas throughout are contrasted with more traditional views, as well as with contemporaries such as Frege, Russell, Carnap, Davidson, Field, Kripke, and Chomsky, enabling the reader to grasp a clear sense of the place of Quine's views in twentieth-century philosophy and the important criticisms of them. (shrink)
In this paper, I develop what I call the Justification Encroachment (JE) Dilemma for Dormandy’s Evidentialism about Faith (EaF). The dilemma is this. If JE is true, then belief about objects of faith will be very difficult to justify, perhaps even impossible. If JE is false, then beliefs about objects of faith require no greater justification than any other belief, so that faith requires no more respect for evidence than anything else. After developing each horn, I consider very briefly how (...) a proponent of EaF might respond. (shrink)
In this paper, we consider how certain longstanding philosophical questions about mental representation may be answered on the assumption that cognitive and perceptual systems implement hierarchical generative models, such as those discussed within the prediction error minimization framework. We build on existing treatments of representation via structural resemblance, such as those in Gładziejewski :559–582, 2016) and Gładziejewski and Miłkowski, to argue for a representationalist interpretation of the PEM framework. We further motivate the proposed approach to content by arguing that it (...) is consistent with approaches implicit in theories of unsupervised learning in neural networks. In the course of this discussion, we argue that the structural representation proposal, properly understood, has more in common with functional-role than with causal/informational or teleosemantic theories. In the remainder of the paper, we describe the PEM framework for approximate Bayesian inference in some detail, and discuss how structural representations might arise within the proposed Bayesian hierarchies. After explicating the notion of variational inference, we define a subjectively accessible measure of misrepresentation for hierarchical Bayesian networks by appeal to the Kullbach–Leibler divergence between posterior generative and approximate recognition densities, and discuss a related measure of objective misrepresentation in terms of correspondence with the facts. (shrink)
Priority monism is the view that the cosmos is the only independent concrete object. The paper argues that, pace its proponents, Priority monism is in conflict with the dependence of any whole on any of its parts: if the cosmos does not depend on its parts, neither does any smaller composite.
Is life a purely physical process? What is human nature? Which of our traits is essential to us? In this volume, Daniel McShea and Alex Rosenberg – a biologist and a philosopher, respectively – join forces to create a new gateway to the philosophy of biology; making the major issues accessible and relevant to biologists and philosophers alike. Exploring concepts such as supervenience; the controversies about genocentrism and genetic determinism; and the debate about major transitions central to contemporary thinking (...) about macroevolution; the authors lay out the broad terms in which we should assess the impact of biology on human capacities, social institutions and ethical values. (shrink)
Expressivism promises an illuminating account of the nature of normative judgment. But worries about the details of expressivist semantics have led many to doubt whether expressivism's putative advantages can be secured. Drawing on insights from linguistic semantics and decision theory, I develop a novel framework for implementing an expressivist semantics that I call ordering expressivism. I argue that by systematically interpreting the orderings that figure in analyses of normative terms in terms of the basic practical attitude of conditional weak preference, (...) the expressivist can explain the semantic properties of normative sentences in terms of the logical properties of that attitude. Expressivism's problems with capturing the logical relations among normative sentences can be reduced to the familiar, more tractable problem of explaining certain coherence constraints on preferences. Particular attention is given to the interpretation of wide-scope negation. The proposed solution is also extended to other types of embedded contexts—most notably, disjunctions. (shrink)
Mark Johnston has recently argued that four-dimensionalist theories of persistence are incompatible with some of our most basic ethical and prudential principles. I argue that although Johnston’s arguments succeed on a worm-theoretic account of persistence, they fail on a stage-theoretic account. So much the worse, I conclude, for the worm theory.
This paper demarcates a theoretically interesting class of "evaluational adjectives." This class includes predicates expressing various kinds of normative and epistemic evaluation, such as predicates of personal taste, aesthetic adjectives, moral adjectives, and epistemic adjectives, among others. Evaluational adjectives are distinguished, empirically, in exhibiting phenomena such as discourse-oriented use, felicitous embedding under the attitude verb `find', and sorites-susceptibility in the comparative form. A unified degree-based semantics is developed: What distinguishes evaluational adjectives, semantically, is that they denote context-dependent measure functions ("evaluational (...) perspectives")—context-dependent mappings to degrees of taste, beauty, probability, etc., depending on the adjective. This perspective-sensitivity characterizing the class of evaluational adjectives cannot be assimilated to vagueness, sensitivity to an experiencer argument, or multidimensionality; and it cannot be demarcated in terms of pretheoretic notions of subjectivity, common in the literature. I propose that certain diagnostics for "subjective" expressions be analyzed instead in terms of a precisely specified kind of discourse-oriented use of context-sensitive language. I close by applying the account to `find x PRED' ascriptions. (shrink)
Determining which moral principles should guide political action is a vexing question in political theory. This is especially true when faced with the "toleration paradox": believing that something is morally wrong but also believing that it is wrong to suppress it. In this book, Alex Tuckness argues that John Locke's potential contribution to this debate--what Tuckness terms the "legislative point of view"--has long been obscured by overemphasis on his doctrine of consent. Building on a line of reasoning Locke made (...) explicit in his later writings on religious toleration, Tuckness explores the idea that we should act politically only on those moral principles that a reasonable legislator would endorse; someone, that is, who would avoid enacting measures that could be self-defeating when applied by fallible human beings.Tuckness argues that the legislative point of view has implications that go far beyond the question of religious toleration. Locke suggests an approach to political justification that is a provocative alternative to the utilitarian, contractualist, and perfectionist approaches dominating contemporary liberalism. The legislative point of view is relevant to our thinking about many types of disputed principles, Tuckness writes. He examines claims of moral wrong, invocations of the public good, and contested political roles with emphasis on the roles of legislators and judges. This book is must reading not only for students and scholars of Locke but all those interested in liberalism, toleration, and constitutional theory. (shrink)
In this paper I first argue against one attractive formulation of the motivation argument, and against one attractive formulation of noncognitivism. I do so by example: I suggest that other-regarding normative judgments do not seem to have motivational powers and do not seem to be desires. After defending these two claims, I argue that other views can accommodate the motivational role of normative judgment without facing this objection. For example, desire-as-belief theories do so, since such theories only say that some (...) normative judgments constitute desires, not that all such judgments do so. In short, I argue that, if we are seeking a theory that explains the motivational role of normative judgement, some theories are better than others insofar as they do so without committing to the claim that all normative judgements play such a motivational role. (shrink)
Are there ‘degrees of causation’? Yes and no: causation is not a scalar relation, but different causes can contribute to a causing of an effect to different extents. In this paper, I motivate a probabilistic analysis of an event’s degree of contribution to a causing of an effect and explore some of its consequences.
It is often natural to compare two events by describing one as ‘more of a cause’ of some effect than the other. But what do such comparisons amount to, exactly? This paper aims to provide a guided tour of the recent literature on ‘degrees of causation’. Section 2 looks at what I call ‘dependence measures’, which arise from thinking of causes as difference-makers. Section 3 looks at what I call ‘production measures’, which arise from thinking of causes as jointly sufficient (...) for their effects. Finally, section 4 examines the important question of whether there is any sense in which an agent is more responsible for an outcome in virtue of her action being more of a cause of it. I describe a puzzle that emerges from this question, and explore various strategies for resolving it. (shrink)
Neuroclassicism is the view that cognition is explained by “classical” computing mechanisms in the nervous system that exhibit a clear demarcation between processing machinery and read–write memory. The psychologist C. R. Gallistel has mounted a sophisticated defense of neuroclassicism by drawing from ethology and computability theory to argue that animal brains necessarily contain read–write memory mechanisms. This argument threatens to undermine the “connectionist” orthodoxy in contemporary neuroscience, which does not seem to recognize any such mechanisms. In this paper I argue (...) that the neuroclassicist critique rests on a misunderstanding of how computability theory constrains theorizing about natural computing mechanisms. (shrink)