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)
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.
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)
The present paper looks at one of the most thorough articles on the intelligence of GPT, research conducted by engineers at Microsoft. Although there is a great deal of value in their work, I will argue that, for familiar philosophical reasons, their methodology, ‘Black-box Interpretability’ is wrongheaded. But there is a better way. There is an exciting and emerging discipline of ‘Inner Interpretability’ (also sometimes called ‘White-box Interpretability’) that aims to uncover the internal activations and weights of models in order (...) to understand what they represent and the algorithms they implement. In my view, a crucial mistake in Black-box Interpretability is the failure to appreciate that how processes are carried out matters when it comes to intelligence and understanding. I can’t pretend to have a full story that provides both necessary and sufficient conditions for being intelligent, but I do think that Inner Interpretability dovetails nicely with plausible philosophical views of what intelligence requires. So the conclusion is modest, but the important point in my view is seeing how to get the research on the right track. Towards the end of the paper, I will show how some of the philosophical concepts can be used to further refine how Inner Interpretability is approached, so the paper helps draw out a profitable, future two-way exchange between Philosophers and Computer Scientists. (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.
Background Reasonable disagreement about the role awarded to gamete donors in decision-making on the use of embryos created by gamete donation for research purposes emphasises the importance of considering the implementation of participatory, adaptive, and trustworthy policies and guidelines for consent procedures. However, the perspectives of gamete donors and recipients about decision-making regarding research with EGDs are still under-researched, which precludes the development of policies and guidelines informed by evidence. This study seeks to explore the views of donors and recipients (...) about who should take part in consent processes for the use of EGDs in research. Methods From July 2017 to June 2018, 72 gamete donors and 175 recipients completed a self-report structured questionnaire at the Portuguese Public Bank of Gametes. Agreement with dual consent was defined as the belief that the use of EGDs in research should be consented by both donors and recipients. Results The majority of participants were willing to donate embryos for research. Almost half of the donors and half of the recipients considered that a dual consent procedure is desirable. This view was more frequent among employed recipients than among non-employed. Donors were less likely to believe that only recipients should be involved in giving consent for the use of EGDs in research and were more frequently favourable to the idea of exclusive donors’ consent. Conclusions Divergent views on dual consent among donors and recipients indicate the need to develop evidence-based and ethically sustainable policies and guidelines to protect well-being, autonomy and reproductive rights of both stakeholder groups. More empirical research and further theoretical normative analyses are needed to inform people-centred policy and guidelines for shared decision-making concerning the use of EGDs for research. (shrink)
Some combinations of attitudes--of beliefs, credences, intentions, preferences, hopes, fears, and so on--do not fit together right: they are incoherent. A natural idea is that there are requirements of "structural rationality" that forbid us from being in these incoherent states. Yet a number of surprisingly difficult challenges arise for this idea. These challenges have recently led many philosophers to attempt to minimize or eliminate structural rationality, arguing that it is just a "shadow" of "substantive rationality"--that is, correctly responding to one's (...) reasons. -/- In *Fitting Things Together*, Alex Worsnip pushes back against this trend--defending the view that structural rationality is a genuine kind of rationality, distinct from and irreducible to substantive rationality, and tackling the most important challenges for this view. In so doing, he gives an original positive theory of the nature of coherence and structural rationality that explains how the diverse range of instances of incoherence can be unified under a general account, and how facts about coherence are normatively significant. He also shows how a failure to focus on coherence requirements as a distinctive phenomenon and distinguish them adequately from requirements of substantive rationality has led to confusion and mistakes in several substantive debates in epistemology and ethics. -/- Taken as a whole, Fitting Things Together provides the first sustained defense of the view that structural rationality is a genuine, autonomous, unified, and normatively significant phenomenon. (shrink)
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)
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)
Interpreters of Plato’s Parmenides have long agreed that it is a canonical work in the history of ontology. In the first part, the aged Parmenides presents a devastating critique of Platonic ontology, followed in the second by what purports to be a response to that critique. But despite the scholarly agreement as to the general subject matter of the dialogue, what makes it one whole has nevertheless eluded its readers, so much so that some have even speculated it to be (...) a patchwork of two dimly related dialogues. -/- In Becoming Socrates, Alex Priou shows that the Parmenides’ unity remains elusive due to scholarly neglect of a particular passage in Parmenides’ critique—a passage Parmenides identifies as the hinge between the dialogue’s two parts and as the “greatest impasse” facing Platonic ontology. There Parmenides situates the concern with ontology or the question of being within the concern with political philosophy or the question of good rule. In this way, the Parmenides shows us how a youthful Socrates first learned of the centrality of political philosophy that would become the hallmark of his life—that it, and not ontology, is “first philosophy.”. (shrink)
This paper develops an account of the meaning of `ought', and the distinction between weak necessity modals (`ought', `should') and strong necessity modals (`must', `have to'). I argue that there is nothing specially ``strong'' about strong necessity modals per se: uses of `Must p' predicate the (deontic/epistemic/etc.) necessity of the prejacent p of the actual world (evaluation world). The apparent ``weakness'' of weak necessity modals derives from their bracketing whether the necessity of the prejacent is verified in the actual world. (...) `Ought p' can be accepted without needing to settle that the relevant considerations (norms, expectations, etc.) that actually apply verify the necessity of p. I call the basic account a modal-past approach to the weak/strong necessity modal distinction (for reasons that become evident). Several ways of implementing the approach in the formal semantics/pragmatics are critically examined. The account systematizes a wide range of linguistic phenomena: it generalizes across flavors of modality; it elucidates a special role that weak necessity modals play in discourse and planning; it captures contrasting logical, expressive, and illocutionary properties of weak and strong necessity modals; and it sheds light on how a notion of `ought' is often expressed in other languages. These phenomena have resisted systematic explanation. In closing I briefly consider how linguistic inquiry into differences among necessity modals may improve theorizing on broader philosophical issues. (shrink)
Response-dependence theories have historically been very popular in aesthetics, and aesthetic response-dependence has motivated response-dependence in ethics. This chapter closely examines the prospects for such theories. It breaks this category down into dispositional and fittingness strands of response-dependence, corresponding to descriptive and normative ideal observer theories. It argues that the latter have advantages over the former but are not themselves without issue. Special attention is paid to the relationship between hedonism and response-dependence. The chapter also introduces two aesthetic properties that (...) lead to wrong kinds of reasons problems for aesthetic response-dependence: insightfulness and the capacity to change one’s perspective. These properties do not have obvious parallels in the ethical domain, and so present an obstacle for response-dependence even in aesthetics. The chapter ends by examining replies on behalf of the response-dependence theorist, ultimately suggesting that a restricted form of response-dependence is the most promising way forward for fans of such theories. (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.
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.
The foundations of research ethics are riven with fault lines emanating from a fear that if research is too closely connected to weighty social purposes an imperative to advance the common good through research will justify abrogating the rights and welfare of study participants. The result is an impoverished conception of the nature of research, an incomplete focus on actors who bear important moral responsibilities, and a system of ethics and oversight highly attuned to the dangers of research but largely (...) silent about threats of ineffective, inefficient, and inequitable medical practices and health systems. -/- In For the Common Good: Philosophical Foundations of Research Ethics, Alex John London defends a conception of the common good that grounds a moral imperative with two requirements. The first is to promote research that generates the information necessary to enable key social institutions to effectively, efficiently, and equitably safeguard the basic interests of individuals. The second is to ensure that research is organized as a voluntary scheme of social cooperation that respects its various contributors' moral claims to be treated as free and equal. Connecting research to the goals of a just social order grounds a framework for assessing and managing research risk that reconciles these requirements and justifies key oversight practices in non-paternalistic terms. Reconceiving research ethics as resolving coordination problems and providing credible assurance that these requirements are being met expands the issues and actors that fall within the purview of the field and provides the foundation for a more unified and coherent approach to domestic and international research. -/- This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. It is free to read at Oxford Scholarship Online and offered as a free PDF download from OUP and selected open access locations. (shrink)
May Day was the most popular holiday of the two major wings of the German labor movement, Social Democratic and Communist, during the Weimar Republic (1918-1933). While the political importance and ideological significance of May Day celebrations for the German labor movement have been extensively researched, its geographicity, the inherently spatialized and spatializing moment of lived experience, as well as the content of that geographicity have been relatively neglected. Examining working-class May Day celebrations in a specific built environment like the (...) Lustgarten permits detailed consideration of the ways that the festive has involved spatializing and spatialized moments of lived experience which were part of the spatial reproduction of class relations and class experiences at the local level in Berlin in the Weimar Republic. (shrink)
This chapter is centered around an apparent tension that research on implicit bias raises between virtue and social knowledge. Research suggests that simply knowing what the prevalent stereotypes are leads individuals to act in prejudiced ways—biasing decisions about whom to trust and whom to ignore, whom to promote and whom to imprison—even if they reflectively reject those stereotypes. Because efforts to combat discrimination obviously depend on knowledge of stereotypes, a question arises about what to do next. This chapter argues that (...) the obstacle to virtue is not knowledge of stereotypes as such, but the “accessibility” of such knowledge to the agent who has it. “Accessibility” refers to how easily knowledge comes to mind. Social agents can acquire the requisite knowledge of stereotypes while resisting their pernicious influence, so long as that knowledge remains, in relevant contexts, relatively inaccessible. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that theories of perception that appeal to Helmholtz’s idea of unconscious inference (“Helmholtzian” theories) should be taken literally, i.e. that the inferences appealed to in such theories are inferences in the full sense of the term, as employed elsewhere in philosophy and in ordinary discourse. -/- In the course of the argument, I consider constraints on inference based on the idea that inference is a deliberate acton, and on the idea that inferences depend on the (...) syntactic structure of representations. I argue that inference is a personal-level but sometimes unconscious process that cannot in general be distinguished from association on the basis of the structures of the representations over which it’s defined. I also critique arguments against representationalist interpretations of Helmholtzian theories, and argue against the view that perceptual inference is encapsulated in a module. (shrink)
Recent work on rationality has been increasingly attentive to “coherence requirements”, with heated debates about both the content of such requirements and their normative status (e.g., whether there is necessarily reason to comply with them). Yet there is little to no work on the metanormative status of coherence requirements. Metaphysically: what is it for two or more mental states to be jointly incoherent, such that they are banned by a coherence requirement? In virtue of what are some putative requirements genuine (...) and others not? Epistemologically: how are we to know which of the requirements are genuine and which aren’t? This paper tries to offer an account that answers these questions. On my account, the incoherence of a set of attitudinal mental states is a matter of its being (partially) constitutive of the mental states in question that, for any agent that holds these attitudes jointly, the agent is disposed, when conditions of full transparency are met, to give up at least one of the attitudes. (shrink)
El presente trabajo de Alex Ibarra Peña recoge los resultados de una investigación cuyo tema es la constitución de un campo de estudios ligado a la filosofía analítica en Chile. El autor se propone una tarea informativa y crítica en la que cifra la novedad de su propuesta. En otros términos, la suya es una labor de rescate, de algunos filósofos y corrientes de pensamiento relegados en las narraciones hegemónicas de la institucionalización de la filosofía en Chile y una (...) tarea que busca corregir el papel asignado a Chile en las visiones panorámicas de mayor circulación sobre la emergencia de la filosofía analítica en nuestro continente. En el cruce de estos dos vectores radica la novedad de la empresa de Ibarra Peña: proponer una visión más ajustada de la recepción de los filósofos analíticos en Chile. En nuestra reseña comentamos los núcleos centrales del trabajo y proponemos algunas hiótesis sobre los conflictos internos al campo cultural que subyacen a las opciones realizadas por el autor. Para finalizar indicamos lo que nos parece ser una falencia del trabajo: un estudio de la constitución de la filosofía analística como campo de estudios no debería dejar de tener en cuenta que el énfasis en la delimitación de la cientificidad por la filosofía analítica tenía en los años 60 y 70 adversarios concretos en el marxismo y el psicoanálisis. (shrink)
What can we do—and what should we do—to fight against bias? This final chapter introduces empirically-tested interventions for combating implicit (and explicit) bias and promoting a fairer world, from small daily-life debiasing tricks to larger structural interventions. Along the way, this chapter raises a range of moral, political, and strategic questions about these interventions. This chapter further stresses the importance of admitting that we don’t have all the answers. We should be humble about how much we still don’t know and (...) dedicate efforts to gathering as much knowledge as possible. Even so, we know enough now to start making a difference, and this chapter ultimately aims to chip away at the gap between our abstract commitments to treat people fairly and our lived habits and experiences, which continue to be shaped by implicit and explicit prejudices and stereotypes about race, gender, and other social categories. (shrink)
While the central ideal of Roman philosophy exemplified by Lucretius, Cicero and Seneca appears to be the masculine values of self-sufficiency and domination, this book argues, through close attention to metaphor and figures, that the Romans also recognized, as constitutive parts of human experience, what for them were feminine concepts such as embodiment, vulnerability and dependency. Expressed especially in the personification of grammatically feminine nouns such as Nature and Philosophy 'herself', the Roman's recognition of this private 'feminine' part of himself (...) presents a contrast with his acknowledged, public self and challenges the common philosophical narrative of the emergence of subjectivity and individuality with modernity. To meet this challenge, Alex Dressler offers both theoretical exposition and case studies, developing robust typologies of personification and personhood that will be useable for a variety of subjects beyond classics, including rhetoric, comparative literature, gender studies, political theory and the history of ideas. (shrink)
Background: how mind functions is subject to continuing scientific discussion. A simplistic approach says that, since no convincing way has been found to model subjective experience, mind cannot exist. A second holds that, since mind cannot be described by classical physics, it must be described by quantum physics. Another perspective concerns mind's hypothesized ability to interact with the world of quanta: it should be responsible for reduction of quantum wave packets; physics producing 'Objective Reduction' is postulated to form the basis (...) for mind-matter interactions. This presentation describes results derived from a new approach to these problems. It is based on well-established biology involving physics not previously applied to the fields of mind, or consciousness studies, that of critical feedback instability. -/- Methods: 'self-organized criticality' in complexity biology places system loci of control at critical instabilities, physical properties of which, including information properties, are presented. Their elucidation shows that they can model hitherto unexplained properties of experience. -/- Results: All results depend on physical properties of critical instabilities. First, at least one feed-back or feed-forward loop must have feedback gain, g = 1: information flows round the loop impress perfect images of system states back on themselves: they represent processes of perfect self-observation. This annihilates system quanta: system excitations are instability fluctuations, which cannot be quantized. Major results follow: -/- 1. Information vectors representing criticality states must include at least one attached information loop denoting self-observation. -/- 2. Such loop structures are attributed a function, 'registering the state's own existence', explaining -/- a. Subjective 'awareness of one's own presence' -/- b. How content-free states of awareness can be remembered (Jon Shear) -/- c. Subjective experience of time duration (Immanuel Kant) -/- d. The 'witness' property of experience – often mentioned by athletes 'in the zone' -/- e. The natural association between consciousness and intelligence -/- This novel, physically and biologically sound approach seems to satisfactorily model subjectivity. -/- Further significant results follow: -/- 1. Registration of external information in excited states of systems at criticality reduces external wave-packets: the new model exhibits 'Objective Reduction' of wave packets. -/- 2. High internal coherence (postulated by Domash & Penrose) leading to a. Non-separable information vector bundles. b. Non-reductive states (Chalmers's criterion for experience). -/- 3. Information that is: a. encoded in coherence negentropy; b. non-digitizable, and therefore c. computationally without digital equivalent (posited by Penrose). -/- Discussion and Conclusions: instability physics implies anharmonic motion, preventing excitation quantization, and totally different from the quantum physics of simple harmonic motion at stability. Instability excitations are different from anything hitherto conceived in information science. They can model aspects of mind never previously treated, including genuine subjectivity, objective reduction of wave-packets, and inter alia all properties given above. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend the view that it is wrong for us to consume only, or overwhelmingly, media that broadly aligns with our own political viewpoints: that is, it is wrong to be politically “partisan” in our decisions about what media to consume. We are obligated to consume media that aligns with political viewpoints other than our own – to “diversify our sources”. This is so even if our own views are, as a matter of fact, substantively correct.
Social psychologists often describe “implicit” racial biases as entirely unconscious, and as mere associations between groups and traits, which lack intentional content, e.g., we associate “black” and “athletic” in much the same way we associate “salt” and “pepper.” However, recent empirical evidence consistently suggests that individuals are aware of their implicit biases, albeit in partial, inarticulate, or even distorted ways. Moreover, evidence suggests that implicit biases are not “dumb” semantic associations, but instead reflect our skillful, norm-sensitive, and embodied engagement with (...) social reality. This essay draws on phenomenological and hermeneutic methods and concepts to better understand what social-psychological research has begun to reveal about the conscious access individuals have to their own racial attitudes, as well as the intentional contents of the attitudes themselves. -/- First, I argue that implicit racial biases form part of the “background” of social experience. That is, while they exert a pervasive influence on our perceptions, judgments, and actions, they are frequently felt but not noticed, or noticed but misinterpreted. Second, I argue that our unreflective racial attitudes are neither mere associations nor fully articulated, propositionally structured beliefs or emotions. Their intentional contents are fundamentally indeterminate. For example, when a white person experiences a “gut feeling” of discomfort during an interaction with a black person, there is a question about the meaning or nature of that discomfort. Is it a fear of black people? Is it anxiety about appearing racist? There is, I argue, no general, determinate answer to such questions. The contents of our unreflective racial attitudes are fundamentally vague and open-ended, although I explain how they nevertheless take on particular shapes and implications—that is, their content can become determinate—depending on context, social meaning, and structural power relations. (If, for example, a perceived authority figure, such as a politician, parent, or scientist, encourages you to believe that your uncomfortable gut feeling is a justified fear of other social groups, then that is what your gut feeling is likely to become.). (shrink)
Disagreement is a hot topic in epistemology. A fast-growing literature centers around a dispute between the ‘steadfast’ view, on which one may maintain one’s beliefs even in the light of disagreement with epistemic peers who have all the same evidence, and the ‘conciliationist’ view, on which such disagreement requires a revision of attitudes. In this paper, however, I argue that there is less separating the main rivals in the debate about peer disagreement than is commonly thought. The extreme versions of (...) both views are clearly indefensible, while more moderate versions of the views converge on the idea that how much revision of belief is called for by an instance of peer disagreement varies from case to case. Those tempted by this diagnosis are sometimes pessimistic about the prospects for giving a unified account which clearly predicts when more or less extensive revisions will be called for. By contrast, in this paper I give an account that aspires to such unity and predictive power, centering on the notion of the net resilience of your estimate of your own reliability against your estimate of your interlocutor’s reliability. The view I present thus amounts to a new, moderate theory of how one should respond to disagreement. I argue that ultimately, when we weaken conciliationism and the steadfast view to account for exception cases and to make them adequately plausible, they end up converging on the moderate view I present. Much of the seeming disagreement about disagreement is, then, illusory. (shrink)
This chapter focuses on what’s novel in the perspective that the prediction error minimization (PEM) framework affords on the cognitive-scientific project of explaining intelligence by appeal to internal representations. It shows how truth-conditional and resemblance-based approaches to representation in generative models may be integrated. The PEM framework in cognitive science is an approach to cognition and perception centered on a simple idea: organisms represent the world by constantly predicting their own internal states. PEM theories often stress the hierarchical structure of (...) the generative models they posit. The novel explanatory power of the PEM account derives largely from the way in which pairs of generative and recognition models interact. “Predictive coding” refers to an encoding strategy in which predicted portions of an input signal are subtracted from the actual signal received, so that only the difference between the two is passed as output to the next stage of information processing. (shrink)
You know what someone else is thinking and feeling by observing them. But how do you know what you are thinking and feeling? This is the problem of self-knowledge: Alex Byrne tries to solve it. The idea is that you know this not by taking a special kind of look at your own mind, but by an inference from a premise about your environment.
This paper argues that a standard analysis of modals from formal semantics suggests a solution to the detaching problem — the problem of whether un-embedded 'ought'-claims can "detach" (be derived) from hypothetical imperatives and their antecedent conditions. On a broadly Kratzerian analysis, modals have a skeletal conventional meaning and receive a particular reading (e.g., deontic, epistemic, teleological) only relative to certain forms of contextual supplementation. I argue that 'ought'-claims can detach — subject to an important qualification — but only as (...) long as the 'ought's in the conditional premise and conclusion are interpreted relative to the same ordering sources. Although modus ponens can be shown to fail with hypothetical imperatives, the cases in question do not constitute a failure of detachment in the sense that ethicists have cared about. Rival wide-scoping accounts are proven to be linguistically problematic. They make incorrect predictions about the meanings of hypothetical imperatives, and founder in response to quantificational variants of the detaching problem. (shrink)
What is it to want something? Or, as philosophers might ask, what is a desire? This book defends “desire-as-belief”, the view that desires are just a special subset of our beliefs: normative beliefs. This view entitles us to accept orthodox models of human motivation and rationality that explain those things with reference to desire, but nonetheless to also make room for our normative beliefs to play a role in those domains. And this view tells us to diverge from the orthodox (...) view on which desires themselves can never be right or wrong. Rather, according to desire-as-belief, our desires can themselves be assessed for their accuracy, and they are wrong when they misrepresent normative features of the world. Hume says that it is not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of your finger, but he is wrong: it is foolish to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of your finger, and this is foolish because this preference misrepresents the relative worth of these things. (shrink)
I defend Fricker’s virtue-theoretic proposals for grappling with epistemic injustice, arguing that her account is both empirically oriented and plausible. I agree with Fricker that an integral component of what we ought to do in the face of pervasive epistemic injustice is working to cultivate epistemic habits that aim to consistently neutralize the effects of such prejudices on their credibility estimates. But Fricker does not claim that her specific proposals constitute the only means through which individuals and institutions should combat (...) epistemic injustice. I therefore build on Fricker’s account by beginning to sketch a fuller picture of the structure of cultivating epistemic virtue. Virtue cultivation must, I argue, occur on two broad but interrelated fronts: first, the direct retraining of more automatic and unreflective patterns of thinking, feeling, and reacting to epistemic social reality, and second, the cultivation of more reflective, metacognitive virtues, such as the ability to swiftly identify contexts in which our first-order epistemic intuitions are likely astray. Although I articulate a range of individual-level obligations, my account is not individualistic. With Fricker, I argue that individual self-transformation is a necessary but not sufficient component of the struggle for epistemic justice. Accordingly, I sketch several ways in which individual virtue cultivation must be a socially and institutionally embedded process. Moreover, I argue that this process is ongoing. While most individuals cannot actually achieve such moral-epistemic ideals, many can (and therefore should try to) get much closer than they already are. (shrink)
Is it possible to change the past—to make something that has happened not have happened? Past-alteration is widely believed to be ‘logically impossible’. But despite this, there have been few attempts to actually apply logical resources to the question of whether it is possible to change the past. This chapter articulates a novel tense logic and uses it to argue that past-alteration is possible—with just a single dimension of time—so long as it’s possible for time to have a certain kind (...) of structure: one which is ‘backwards-branching’ and in which the relation of precedence ‘comes apart’ from the relation of succession. The remainder of the chapter explores some of the metaphysical implications of this account of what it is to change the past. (shrink)
Evidence from functional neuroimaging of the human brain indicates that information about salient properties of an object¿such as what it looks like, how it moves, and how it is used¿is stored in sensory and motor systems active when that information was acquired. As a result, object concepts belonging to different categories like animals and tools are represented in partially distinct, sensory- and motor property-based neural networks. This suggests that object concepts are not explicitly represented, but rather emerge from weighted activity (...) within property-based brain regions. However, some property-based regions seem to show a categorical organization, thus providing evidence consistent with category-based, domain-specific formulations as well.Acronyms and DefinitionsBiological motion: motion of animate agents characterized by highly flexible, fully articulated motion vectors, in contrast to the rigid, unarticulated motion vectors associated with most tools.Category-specific disorder: a relatively greater impairment in retrieving information about members of one superordinate object category (e.g., animals) as compared with other categories following brain injury or diseaseIPS: intraparietal sulcusLO: lateral occipital cortexObject concept: memory representations of a class or category of objects. Necessary for numerous cognitive functions including identifying an object as a member of a specific category and drawing inferences about object propertiespMTG: posterior middle temporal gyruspSTS: posterior superior temporal sulcusRepetition suppression: decreased neural response associated with repeated presentation of an identical, or a semantically/conceptually related, stimulusSD: semantic dementiaSemantic memory: a large division of long-term memory containing knowledge about the world including facts, ideas, beliefs, and conceptsSemantic priming: a short-lasting facilitation in processing a stimulus due to the prior presentation of a semantically related stimulusTMS: transcranial magnetic stimulationVPMC: ventral premotor cortex. (shrink)
This book carefully engages philosophical arguments for and against open borders, bringing together major approaches to open borders across disciplines and establishing the feasibility of open borders against the charge of utopianism.
This text was first published on Critical Legal Thinking 14 May 2013. Accelerationism pushes towards a future that is more modern, an alternative modernity that neoliberalism is inherently unable to generate. 01. INTRODUCTION : On the Conjuncture 1. At the beginning of the second decade of the Twenty-First Century, global civilization faces a new breed of cataclysm. These coming apocalypses ridicule the norms and organisational structures of the politics which were forged in the birth - Débats.
In what circumstances is it legitimate to use force? How should force be used? These are two of the most crucial questions confronting world politics today. The Just War tradition provides a set of criteria which political leaders and soldiers use to defend and rationalize war. This book explores the evolution of thinking about just wars and examines its role in shaping contemporary judgements about the use of force, from grand strategic issues of whether states have a right to pre-emptive (...) self-defence, to the minutiae of targeting. Bellamy maps the evolution of the Just War tradition, demonstrating how it arose from a myriad of sub-traditions, including scholasticism, the holy war tradition, chivalry, natural law, positive law, Erasmus and Kant's reformism, and realism from Machiavelli to Morgenthau. He then applies this tradition to a range of contemporary normative dilemmas related to terrorism, pre-emption, aerial bombardment and humanitarian intervention. (shrink)
_‘For geographers across the globe this book provides the arguments for a return to the teaching of geography and why they should reject the politicisation of the subject by education policy makers and politicians. Standish’s careful critique shows the necessity of a depoliticised geography curriculum the irony of which would be that it would ensure that every child could point to Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan on a map.’_ Prof. Dennis Hayes – Oxford Brookes University, UK _'A prescient and critical analysis (...) of the changing face of geography teaching. This book deserves to be widely read and debated. Alex Standish's book puts current trends in geography teaching in historical and critical context. It comprises a forthright and timely defence of geographical education for its own sake.'_ Dr Jim Butcher, FRSA, Department of Sport Science, Tourism and Leisure, Canterbury Christ Church University. Since the early 1990s, educational policy makers and some subject leaders have been seeking to fundamentally change the teaching of geography in UK and US schools, from a subject which encourages students to explore spatial concepts, ideas and skills, to a more ethics based subject concerned with the promotion of environmentalism, cultural diversity and social justice. In this book the new approach is critically examined, within a historical and ideological context, addressing a number of fundamental questions: Should geography be used as a tool for the delivery of citizenship ideals? How does this affect the intellectual and moral value of geographical education for young people? If the state and teachers are taking more responsibility for the values, attitudes and emotional responses of students, how will they learn to develop these qualities for themselves? If global perspectives shift the focus of education from learning about the outside world to learning about the self, what is its vision of social progress and conception of social change? This book advocates a return to liberal models of education, arguing that the new approach to geography currently being promoted for schools fundamentally undermines the educational value of the subject, and the freedom of young people to shape the world in which they live. A vital resource for teachers and student teachers alike, Global Perspectives in the Geography Curriculum makes a significant contribution to the growing debate about the future direction of the discipline itself. (shrink)
This chapter develops an account of the meaning and use of various types of legal claims, and uses this account to inform debates about the nature and normativity of law. The account draws on a general framework for implementing a contextualist theory, called 'Discourse Contextualism' (Silk 2016). The aim of Discourse Contextualism is to derive the apparent normativity of claims of law from a particular contextualist interpretation of a standard semantics for modals, along with general principles of interpretation and conversation. (...) Though the semantics is descriptivist, it avoids Dworkin’s influential criticism of so-called “semantic theories of law,” and elucidates the nature of “theoretical disagreements” about the criteria of legal validity. The account sheds light on the social, interpersonal function of normative uses of language in legal discourse. It also gives precise expression to Hart’s and Raz’s intuitive distinctions among types of legal claims (internal/external, committed/detached), while giving them a uniform type of analysis. The proposed semantics and pragmatics of legal claims provides a fruitful framework for further theorizing about the nature and metaphysics of law, the relation between law and morality, and the apparent practical character of legal language and judgment. Discourse Contextualism provides a solid linguistic basis for a broader account of legal discourse and practice. (shrink)
This paper presents a novel challenge for the panpsychist solution to the problem of consciousness. It advances three main claims. First, that the problem of consciousness is really an instance of a more general problem: that of grounding the qualitative. Second, that we should want a general solution to this problem. Third, that panpsychism cannot provide it. I also suggest two further things: (1) that alternative kinds of Russellian monism may avoid the problem in ways panpsychists cannot, and (2) that (...) a kind of neo-Aristotelian or ground-theoretical physicalism fares just as well here if not better. (shrink)
Public life abounds with examples of people whose beliefs—especially political beliefs—seem suspiciously convenient: consider, for example, the billionaire who believes that all taxation is unjust, or the Supreme Court Justice whose interpretation of what the law says reliably line up with her personal political convictions. After presenting what I take to be the best argument for the epistemological relevance of suspicious convenience, I diagnose how attempts to resist this argument rest on a kind of epistemological ideal theory, in a sense (...) to be made precise. And I argue that the ways in which this ideal theory can be deployed in defense of suspiciously convenient beliefs brings out the pernicious and distorting nature of such ideal theory in epistemology. (shrink)