Aesthetics and Music is a rich and interesting study. Hamilton's approach is innovative. He interleaves chapters on the history of philosophical thought about music with more theoretical discussions of music, sound, rhythm and improvisation, but does not cover the work–performance relation, depiction or expression. He draws on an atypically broad range of examples, including avant-garde, medieval, non-Western and jazz. The assumptions are humanist: ‘I wish to argue for an aesthetic conception of music as an art … according to which music (...) is a human activity grounded in the body and bodily movement and interfused with human life’.The historical chapters are valuable and not without analysis and criticism. Hamilton shows how the ancient Greek theorists were more interested in music's mathematical properties as reflecting the underlying harmony of relations between cosmic bodies than in the practice of musicians. While they equated the value of art with its contribution to an education for citizenship and while their concept of the arts differed …. (shrink)
Reflection on testimony provides novel arguments for anti-individualism. What is anti-individualism? Sanford Goldberg's book defends three main claims under this heading: first, facts about the contents of beliefs do not supervene on individualistic facts about the believers ; second, an individual's epistemic entitlement to accept a piece of testimony depends on facts about her peers ; third, processes by which some humans acquire knowledge from testimony includes activities performed for them by others. Each of these three claims is argued (...) for separately from premises about the ways in which humans, adult and child, succeed in gaining knowledge by testimony. The three arguments provide the structure for Anti-Individualism.Goldberg's argument for the first claim – that the contents of beliefs do not supervene on individualistic facts about the believers – begins from uncontroversial facts about testimony. Gaining knowledge by testimony depends on knowing the meanings of some utterances, and it is possible to know the meaning of a person's utterance while knowing little that would distinguish this person from anyone else. The best explanation of how this is possible involves postulating linguistic norms which entail facts about the linguistic meanings of utterances. Now in some cases of testimony, a hearer acquires a belief whose content is the linguistic meaning of a speaker's utterance, where the linguistic meaning of this utterance is determined by linguistic norms. But linguistic norms might have been different from what they are even while the person's and her audience's non-relational properties remained unaltered. And in such a case, the hearer would have acquired a belief with a different content. Therefore, ‘Psychological facts such as believing that p do not supervene on the individualistic facts regarding the subject’ …. (shrink)
Constitutions serve two central functions. One is to settle certain controversies by offering a definitive solution, such as adoption of a presidential or parliamentary system, a one-house or two-house legislature, or guaranteeing a certain term of years to judicial appointees. Not surprisingly, there is rarely litigation about such solutions, even if one finds them troublesome; instead, one can suggest amending the constitution or even replacing it. A second function is precisely to engender litigation by addressing certain issues—very often involving rights—that (...) don't lend themselves to the kinds of definitive textual solutions similar to those involving structural features of a polity. If the first constitution can be described as a “constitution of settlement,” this second constitution is a “constitution of legal conversation” inasmuch as lawyers constantly dispute the meanings to be assigned such terms as “equal protection,” “human dignity,” and the like. But how does this apply to the preambles commonly, though not always, found in constitutions? Preambles often claim to evoke what binds together the society for whom the constitution is being drafted—religion, ethnicity, histories, languages, or commitments to norms, including universalistic ones. But to what extent are such claims of unity attempts by political elites to marginalize sectors of the society that do not in fact share the attributes in question? In any event, there is nothing “innocent” about constitutional preambles, and they are well worth taking seriously whether or not they are useful to lawyers engaged in litigation. (shrink)
The moral status of animals is a subject of controversy both within and beyond academic philosophy, especially regarding the question of whether and when it is ethical to eat meat. A commitment to animal rights and related notions of animal protection is often thought to entail a plant-based diet, but recent philosophical work challenges this view by arguing that, even if animals warrant a high degree of moral standing, we are permitted - or even obliged - to eat meat. (...) class='Hi'>Andy Lamey provides critical analysis of past and present dialogues surrounding animal rights, discussing topics including plant agriculture, animal cognition, and in vitro meat. He documents the trend toward a new kind of omnivorism that justifies meat-eating within a framework of animal protection, and evaluates for the first time which forms of this new omnivorism can be ethically justified, providing crucial guidance for philosophers as well as researchers in culture and agriculture. (shrink)
“There’s no disputing about taste.” That’s got a nice ring to it, but it’s not quite the ring of truth. While there’s definitely something right about the aphorism – there’s a reason why it is, after all, an aphorism, and why its utterance tends to produce so much nodding of heads and muttering of “just so” and “yes, quite” – it’s surprisingly difficult to put one’s finger on just what the truth in the neighborhood is, exactly. One thing that’s pretty (...) clear is that what’s right about the aphorism, that there’s no disputing about taste, isn’t that there’s no disputing about taste. There’s heaps of disputing about taste. People engage in disputes about which movies, music, paintings, literature, meals, furniture, architectural styles, etc. are good, beautiful, tasty, fun, elegant, ugly, disgusting, etc. all the time. This is obvious to anyone who has watched dueling-movie-critics shows, read theater reviews, or negotiated with a group or partner about which movie or restaurant to go to, or which sofa or painting to put in the living room. It takes great care and good aim to fling a brick without hitting somebody who’s engaged in a dispute about taste. (shrink)
I think that there are good reasons to adopt a relativist semantics for epistemic modal claims such as ``the treasure might be under the palm tree'', according to which such utterances determine a truth value relative to something finer-grained than just a world (or a <world, time> pair). Anyone who is inclined to relativise truth to more than just worlds and times faces a problem about assertion. It's easy to be puzzled about just what purpose would be served by assertions (...) of this kind, and how to understand what we'd be up to in our use of sentences like ``the treasure might be under the palm tree'', if they have such peculiar truth conditions. After providing a very quick argument to motivate a relativist view of epistemic modals, I bring out and attempt to resolve this problem in making sense of the role of assertions with relativist truth conditions. Solving this problem should be helpful in two ways: first, it eliminates an apparently forceful objection to relativism, and second, spelling out the relativist account of assertion and communication will help to make clear just what the relativist position is, exactly, and why it's interesting. (shrink)
In this paper I argue, first, that the most influential (and perhaps only acceptable) account of the epistemology of self-knowledge, developed and defended at great length in Wright (1989b) and (1989c) (among other places), leaves unanswered a question about the psychology of self-knowledge; second, that without an answer to this question about the psychology of self-knowledge, the epistemic account cannot be considered acceptable; and third, that neither Wright's own answer, nor an interpretation-based answer (based on a proposal from Jacobsen (1997)), (...) will suffice as an acceptable answer to the psychological question. My general ambition is thus to establish that more work is needed if we are to have a full account of self-knowledge in both its epistemological and psychological aspects. I conclude by suggesting how my thesis bears on those who aim to provide an empirical account of the cognition involved in self-knowledge. (shrink)
A very simple contextualist treatment of a sentence containing an epistemic modal, e.g. a might be F, is that it is true iff for all the contextually salient community knows, a is F. It is widely agreed that the simple theory will not work in some cases, but the counterexamples produced so far seem amenable to a more complicated contextualist theory. We argue, however, that no contextualist theory can capture the evaluations speakers naturally make of sentences containing epistemic modals. If (...) we want to respect these evaluations, our best option is a relativist theory of epistemic modals. On a relativist theory, an utterance of a might be F can be true relative to one context of evaluation and false relative to another. We argue that such a theory does better than any rival approach at capturing all the behaviour of epistemic modals. (shrink)
The hypothesis that we may be living in a digital simulation is utilized as a ‘thought experiment’ to help clarify important questions in theology and philosophy, including the nature of God, the significance and importance of an afterlife, and the ultimate nature of reality. It is argued that a consideration of the simulation hypothesis renders problematic traditional conceptions of a personal, creator, omnipotent deity, makes the theological significance of a purported afterlife far less significant, and paradoxically undermines the very materialistic (...) view of reality that underlies the simulation hypothesis in the first place. It is concluded that the simulation hypothesis renders ‘science’ virtually irrelevant to ultimate questions in philosophy and theology and elevates ethics and axiology to fundamental status for our understanding of reality and any defensible conception of the divine. (shrink)
In this book, Andy Mueller examines the ways in which epistemic and practical rationality are intertwined. In the first part, he presents an overview of the contemporary debates about epistemic norms for practical reasoning, and defends the thesis that epistemic rationality can make one practically irrational. Mueller proposes a contextualist account of epistemic norms for practical reasoning and introduces novel epistemic norms pertaining to ends and hope. In the second part Mueller considers current approaches to pragmatic encroachment in epistemology, (...) ultimately arguing in favor of a new principle-based argument for pragmatic encroachment. While the book defends tenets of the knowledge-first programme, one of its main conclusions is thoroughly pragmatist: in an important sense, the practical has primacy over the epistemic. (shrink)
Sanford C. Goldberg presents a novel account of the speech act of assertion. He argues that this type of speech act is answerable to an epistemic, context-sensitive norm. On this basis he shows the philosophical importance of assertion for key debates in philosophy of language and mind, epistemology, and ethics.
There have been few attempts to answer the twin challenges for alethic pluralists to maintain standard accounts of the logical operators and of logical consequence in a sufficiently systematic and precise way. In this paper, I propose an account of logic and semantics on behalf of pluralists that answers both challenges in a sufficiently systematic and precise way. Crucially, the account accommodates mixed atomics, and its first-order extension also accommodates quantified sentences. Accordingly, pluralists can answer all the distinctively logical challenges (...) for their view. (shrink)
How is it that thoroughly physical material beings such as ourselves can think, dream, feel, create and understand ideas, theories and concepts? How does mere matter give rise to all these non-material mental states, including consciousness itself? An answer to this central question of our existence is emerging at the busy intersection of neuroscience, psychology, artificial intelligence, and robotics.In this groundbreaking work, philosopher and cognitive scientist Andy Clark explores exciting new theories from these fields that reveal minds like ours (...) to be prediction machines - devices that have evolved to anticipate the incoming streams of sensory stimulation before they arrive. These predictions then initiate actions that structure our worlds and alter the very things we need to engage and predict. Clark takes us on a journey in discovering the circular causal flows and the self-structuring of the environment that define "the predictive brain." What emerges is a bold, new, cutting-edge vision that reveals the brain as our driving force in the daily surf through the waves of sensory stimulation. (shrink)
Scholars and practitioners addressing the global food crisis have rarely incorporated perspectives from the world's religious traditions. This lacuna appears in multiple dimensions: until recently, environmentalists have tended to ignore food and agriculture; food justice advocates have focused on food quantities, rather than its method of production; and few scholars of religion have considered agriculture. Faith-based perspectives typically emphasize the dignity and sanctity of creation and offer holistic frameworks that integrate equity, economic, and environmental concerns, often called the three legs (...) of sustainability. Faith-based perspectives can provide new paradigms through which to assess food, consumption, and production and the attendant social relations; assess our scientific, economic, and social approaches; and acknowledge the moral and religious dimensions of the world food crisis. (shrink)
Many philosophers (myself included) have been converted to causal decision theory by something like the following line of argument: Evidential decision theory endorses irrational courses of action in a range of examples, and endorses “an irrational policy of managing the news”. These are fatal problems for evidential decision theory. Causal decision theory delivers the right results in the troublesome examples, and does not endorse this kind of irrational news-managing. So we should give up evidential decision theory, and be causal decision (...) theorists instead. Unfortunately, causal decision theory has its own family of problematic examples for which it endorses irrational courses of action, and its own irrational policy that it is committed to endorsing. These are, I think, fatal problems for causal decision theory. I wish that I had another theory to offer in its place. (shrink)
Very often, different people, with different constitutions and comic sensibilities, will make divergent, conflicting judgments about the comic properties of a given person, object, or event, on account of those differences in their constitutions and comic sensibilities. And in many such cases, while we are inclined to say that their comic judgments are in conflict, we are not inclined to say that anybody is in error. The comic looks like a poster domain for the phenomenon of faultless disagreement. I argue (...) that the kind of theory that does the best job of accounting for the appearance of faultless disagreement is a de se version of a response-dependence account, according to which thinking that x is funny is self-attributing a property of the type, being disposed to have R to x in C. (shrink)
Problems about the accidental properties of properties motivate us--force us, I think--not to identify properties with the sets of their instances. If we identify them instead with functions from worlds to extensions, we get a theory of properties that is neutral with respect to disputes over counterpart theory, and we avoid a problem for Lewis's theory of events. Similar problems about the temporary properties of properties motivate us--though this time they probably don't force us--to give up this theory as well, (...) and to identify properties with functions from world, time pairs to extensions. Again, the replacement theory is neutral with respect to a metaphysical dispute that the old theory (arguably) forces us to take a stand on--the dispute over whether objects have temporal parts. It also allows us to give a smoother semantics for predication, to better accommodate our intuitions about which objects temporary properties are properties of, and to make temporally self-locating beliefs genuinely self -locating. (shrink)
On many of the idealized models of human cognition and behavior in use by philosophers, agents are represented as having a single corpus of beliefs which (a) is consistent and deductively closed, and (b) guides all of their (rational, deliberate, intentional) actions all the time. In graded-belief frameworks, agents are represented as having a single, coherent distribution of credences, which guides all of their (rational, deliberate, intentional) actions all of the time. It's clear that actual human beings don't live up (...) to this idealization. The systems of belief that we in fact have are fragmented. Rather than having a single system of beliefs that guides all of our behavior all of the time, we have a number of distinct, compartmentalized systems of belief, different ones of which drive different aspects of our behavior in different contexts. It's tempting to think that, while of course people are fragmented, it would be better (from the perspective of rationality) if they weren't, and the only reason why our fragmentation is excusable is that we have limited cognitive resources, which prevents us from holding too much information before our minds at a time. Give us enough additional processing capacity, and there'd be no justification for any continued fragmentation. I argue that this is not so. There are good reasons to be fragmented rather than unified, independent of the limitations on our available processing power. In particular, there are ways our belief-forming mechanisms—including our perceptual systems—could be constructed that would make it better to be fragmented than to be unified. And there are reasons to think that some of our belief-forming mechanisms really are constructed that way. (shrink)
There is a lot that we don't know. That means that there are a lot of possibilities that are, epistemically speaking, open. For instance, we don't know whether it rained in Seattle yesterday. So, for us at least, there is an epistemic possibility where it rained in Seattle yesterday, and one where it did not. What are these epistemic possibilities? They do not match up with metaphysical possibilities - there are various cases where something is epistemically possible but not metaphysically (...) possible, and vice versa. How do we understand the semantics of statements of epistemic modality? The ten new essays in this volume explore various answers to these questions, including those offered by contextualism, relativism, and expressivism. (shrink)
Anand Pandian: Crooked Stalks Cultivating Virtue in South India Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9308-4 Authors A. Whitney Sanford, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Kant and Milton: fundamentals and foundations -- Kant's journey in the constellation of German Miltonism: toward the procedure of succession -- Kant's Miltonic transfer to exemplarity: the succession to Milton's "On his blindness" in the groundwork of the Metaphysics of morals -- Kantian tragic form and Kantian "storytelling" -- The Critique of practical reason and Samson agonistes -- Kant's Miltonic procedure of succession in a key moment of the Critique of judgment.
Are Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes works of art? This article investigates the concept of art in regard to this question in six steps. (1) First, the radical challenge of art in modernity is explained. (2) Second, the concept of art in the history of philosophy is explored. (3) What follows is a discussion of three suggestions on how to understand the concept of art. (4) In the fourth step the question of the concept of art is framed more abstractly (...) and a discussion regarding its relationship between the contingent and necessary elements is offered. (5) As a result of this investigation some elements of the concept of art are suggested. (6) The final step is an answer to the initial question regarding whether or not Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes are works of art. (shrink)
It's a presupposition of a very common way of thinking about contextsensitivity in language that the semantic contribution made by a bit of context-sensitive vocabulary is sensitive only to features of the speaker's situation at the time of utterance. I argue that this is false, and that we need a theory of context-dependence that allows for content to depend not just on the features of the utterance's origin, but also on features of its destination. There are cases in which a (...) single utterance semantically conveys different propositions to different members of its audience, which force us to say that what a sentence conveys depends not just on the context in which it is uttered, but also on the context in which it is received. (shrink)