Many of us view the world of science as a firm bastion of knowledge, with each new discovery and further illumination adding to an unshakable foundation of natural truths. Weak Knowledge aims to rattle our faith, not in core certainties of scientific findings but in their strength as accessible resources. The authors show how, throughout history, many bodies of research have become precarious due to a host of factors. These factors have included cultural or social disinterest, feeble empirical evidence or (...) theoretical justifications, and a lack of practical applications in a given field's findings. This book brings together cases from a range of historical periods and disciplines, ranging from personal medicine to climatology, to illuminate the specific forms, functions, and dynamics of so-called "weak" bodies of knowledge. (shrink)
We discuss the variety of sorts of sympathy Hume recognizes, the extent to which he thinks our sympathy with others’ feelings depends on inferences from the other’s expression, and from her perceived situation, and consider also whether he later changed his views about the nature and role of sympathy, in particular its role in morals.
A classicist, philosopher, and poet, Poul Martin Møller was an important figure in the Danish Golden Age. The traumatic event of the death of his wife led him to think more profoundly about the question of the immortality of the soul. In 1837 he published his most important philosophical treatise, "Thoughts on the Possibility of Proofs of Human Immortality," presented here in English for the first time. It was read and commented upon by the leading figures of the Golden Age, (...) such as Søren Kierkegaard. It proved to be the last important work that Møller wrote before his death in March of 1838 at the age of 43. (shrink)
David Hume has been invoked by those who want to found morality on human nature as well as by their critics. He is credited with showing us the fallacy of moving from premises about what is the case to conclusions about what ought to be the case; and yet, just a few pages after the famous is-ought remarks in A Treatise of Human Nature, he embarks on his equally famous derivation of the obligations of justice from facts about the cooperative (...) schemes accepted in human communities. Is he ambivalent on the relationship between facts about human nature and human evaluations? Does he contradict himself – and, if so, which part of his whole position is most valuable? Between the famous is-ought passage and the famous account of convention and the obligations arising from established cooperative schemes once they are morally endorsed, Hume discusses the various meanings of the term “natural.” “Shou'd it be ask'd, Whether we ought to search for these principles [upon which all our notions of morals are founded] in nature or whether we must look for them in some other origin? I wou'd reply, that our answer to this question depends upon the definition of the word, Nature, than which there is none more ambiguous and equivocal.” The natural can be opposed to the miraculous, the unusual, or the artificial. It is the last contrast that Hume wants, for his contrast between the “artificial” culturally variant, convention-dependent obligations of justice and the more invariant “natural virtues,” and what he says about that contrast in this preparation for his account of the “artificial” virtues, makes it clear why he can later refer to justice as “natural” and to the general content of the rules of justice – that is, of basic human conventions of cooperation – as “Laws of Nature”. (shrink)
This is an essay at the intersection of metaethics and the history of contemporary analytic philosophy. It explores the relationships between Allan Gibbard’s mature quasi-realist expressivism and (i) three non-naturalistic varieties of what I call “non-inflationary realism” and (ii) moral fictionalism. Moral or normative realism is frequently (if mistakenly) taken to involve certain existence-affirming external assumptions about the metaphysical status of substantive normative thought and discourse. The non-inflationary realists seek to embrace moral or normative objectivity and truth without any distinctly—as (...) they see it, “inflated”—moral or normative ontology. This position, along with a shared emphasis on the primacy of substantive moral or normative thought and discourse, brings them very close to Gibbard, and so to what it is tempting to treat as a strikingly different metaethical account. Focusing on the non-inflationary realists Ronald Dworkin, T.M. Scanlon, and Derek Parfit, I examine similarities among their views, and between each of these views and Gibbard’s. I argue that the non-inflationary realist project should be understood as including the work not only of these figures, characteristically seen as among its paradigmatic representatives, but also, crucially, that of Gibbard. They all agree that our moral or normative claims purport to state normative truths and that such claims are capable of being true or false and that when true they do not depend on the particular standpoint anyone happens to take. Our moral or normative thoughts can be characterized as beliefs. We can have moral knowledge. There are substantive moral and normative facts. These facts are not reducible to non-normative facts. Normative concepts cannot be analyzed in purely naturalistic terms; and normative facts do not depend on any robustly existent truth-makers. Focusing on these shared commitments enables me to home in on the apparent differences that nonetheless remain. They differ in significant respects, for instance, about whether—and, if so, to what extent—we can make any meaningful external (non-substantive) judgments about the moral or normative and about whether there is a role for property-based explanations that minimalism about the normative fails to capture. By investigating these and other differences, I shed light on what is at stake in giving an adequate account of our moral and normative thought and talk. I pursue this aim further by considering why it might seem that quasi-realist expressivism was a form of normative fictionalism or error theory—though it is not. I attempt here to clear up confusions stemming from common assumptions associated with terms like “realism,” “cognitivism,” or “fictionalism” with respect to morality or normativity. I distinguish some differences in the ways in which normative properties can be understood by non-inflationary realists and the roles they can play in explaining normativity. I underscore the implausibility of treating the moral domain as completely autonomous. And I attempt to offer suggestions regarding some conceptual options that remain to be further explored. I maintain that Gibbard makes explicit otherwise unacknowledged implications of Scanlon’s or Dworkin’s accounts, implications regarding deep differences between normative or moral and other domains, implications which might help explain the uneasiness that prompts Scanlon and Dworkin to resist Gibbard’s account and that pushes Parfit toward what seems to be a sort of intermediate position between non-inflationary and more ontologically committed realism. Non-inflationary realism forces us to rethink metaethics in interesting and promising ways. (shrink)
In this paper, I identify a theoretical and political role for ‘white ignorance’, present three alternative accounts of white ignorance, and assess how well each fulfils this role. On the Willful Ignorance View, white ignorance refers to white individuals’ willful ignorance about racial injustice. On the Cognitivist View, white ignorance refers to ignorance resulting from social practices that distribute faulty cognitive resources. On the Structuralist View, white ignorance refers to ignorance that (1) results as part of a social process that (...) systematically gives rise to racial injustice, and (2) is an active player in the process. I argue that, because of its greater power and flexibility, the Structuralist View better explains the patterns of ignorance that we observe, better illuminates the connection to white racial domination, and is overall better suited to the project of ameliorating racial injustice. As such, the Structuralist View should be preferred. (shrink)
This chapter reports the biography of Arthur Schopenhauer and explores his particular thoughts on musical philosophy. Schopenhauer was born on February 22, 1788. With his philosophy in general, and more specifically with his philosophy of art, Schopenhauer has probably exercised a greater effect on artists and musicians than any other thinker or writer. His reflections on music were contributions that either focused on the metaphysical significance of the art form or made factual and normative statements about the factors and forms (...) of musical composition. Schopenhauer's theory of redemption through art and of music's closeness to metaphysical origins was warmly received by Europe's cultivated bourgeoisie. (shrink)
Tasks in Primary Mathematics Teacher Education is intended to advance relevant research and innovative international practices in the preparation and professional development of mathematics teachers. Emerging from discussion at the ICMI study on teacher professional development, this volume, focused on primary and elementary teachers, culls a richness that can only be found by gathering wisdom from varied experiences around the world. The choice of tasks, and the associated pedagogies, is a key aspect of teaching and learning mathematics. Arguing that what (...) students learn is largely defined by the tasks they are given, several major themes are presented. One such major strand, the form, function and focus of tasks, is discussed throughout several chapters, offering analysis, discussion of implementation, and exemplars of a broader category of illustrative techniques for developing critical understanding. (shrink)
It is becoming more common that the decision-makers in private and public institutions are predictive algorithmic systems, not humans. This article argues that relying on algorithmic systems is procedurally unjust in contexts involving background conditions of structural injustice. Under such nonideal conditions, algorithmic systems, if left to their own devices, cannot meet a necessary condition of procedural justice, because they fail to provide a sufficiently nuanced model of which cases count as relevantly similar. Resolving this problem requires deliberative capacities uniquely (...) available to human agents. After exploring the limitations of existing formal algorithmic fairness strategies, the article argues that procedural justice requires that human agents relying wholly or in part on algorithmic systems proceed with caution: by avoiding doxastic negligence about algorithmic outputs, by exercising deliberative capacities when making similarity judgments, and by suspending belief and gathering additional information in light of higher-order uncertainty. (shrink)
"Huizenga examines the Greco-Roman moral-philosophical 'curriculum' for women by comparing these two epistolary collections. The analysis is organized around four elements: textual resources, teachers and learners, instructional strategies, and subject matter. Huizenga shows that the author of the Pastorals has adopted nearly all of the 'pagan' aspects of this curriculum, but has supplemented these with theological justifications drawn from Pauline literature and traditions"--Publisher description.
This is the first book in English on the major works of the German philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte. It examines the transcendental theory of self and world from the writings of Fichte's most influential period, and considers in detail recently discovered lectures on the Foundations of Transcendental Philosophy. At the center of that body of work stands Fichte's attempt to integrate the theories of volition and cognition into a unified but complex 'system of freedom'. The focus of this book is (...) the intricate interplay between thinking and willing in the birth of experience out of the spirit of freedom. Combining incomparable erudition, sensitive readings of some of the most difficult of philosophical texts, clarity in exposition and an acute awareness of historical context this book takes its place as the ideal introduction to Fichte's thought. (shrink)
This new translation of the first Critique forms part of a fifteen-volume English-language edition of the works of Immanuel Kant under the general editorship of this volume’s editor-translators, Paul Guyer and Allen Wood. The edition, which is almost complete by now, comprises all of Kant’s published works along with extensive selections from his literary remains, his correspondence, and student transcripts of his lecture courses in metaphysics, ethics, logic, and anthropology. The Cambridge edition aims at a consistent English rendition of Kant’s (...) works, both within a given volume and across volumes. In terms of scope and detail, the Cambridge edition is unrivaled in any language, except for the authoritative Academy edition begun under the directorship of Wilhelm Dilthey in 1900, which, however, is still not completed and several volumes of which are in serious need of re-editing. In one case, that of the Opus postumum, the best edition currently available seems to be the one in the Cambridge edition. (shrink)
In these Carus Lectures, Annette Baier looks at the relation between individual and shared reasoning, intending, and moral reflection. In each case she emphasizes the interdependence of minds and the role of social practices in setting the norms governing these activities.
This is a collection of four papers about the All-Affected Principle (AAP): the view that every person whose morally weighty interests are affected by a democratic decision has the right to participate in that decision. -/- The first paper (“Narrow Possibilism about Democratic Enfranchisement”) examines how we should distribute democratic participation rights: a plausible version of AAP must avoid treating unlike cases alike, which would be procedurally unfair. The solution is to distribute participation rights proportionately to the risk that a (...) person’s interests will be affected. AAP thus implies an account of political equality that requires adherence to the ‘one person—one vote’ model only if interests are indeed equally affected. -/- The second paper (“Economic Participation Rights and the AAP”) argues that AAP supporters have paid insufficient attention to economic participation rights. The exercise of such rights raises unique worries about democratic accountability, which is why their exercise is constrained by a number of duties. -/- The third paper (“What AAP Is, and How (Not) to Fight It”) explores how AAP fares in light of possible objections from desirability and feasibility. Unlike crude versions of AAP, a plausibly restricted version of AAP cannot be dismissed as easily as many AAP sceptics may have thought. My reflections here are useful for AAP supporters and sceptics alike: this paper helps clarify what kind of objection can cast serious doubt on AAP. -/- The fourth paper (“Criminal Disenfranchisement, Political Wrongdoing, and Affected Interests”) asks: is AAP compatible with criminal disenfranchisement? AAP, when endorsed in combination with a plausible theory of punishment, is compatible with disenfranchising a narrow set of criminal wrongdoers only: those guilty of ‘political wrongdoing’, which is wrong primarily because it undermines democratic procedures and institutions for private gain. The upshot is that current blanket policies of criminal disenfranchisement are incompatible with AAP. (shrink)
Can aesthetic concepts reflect and provide answers for ethical aspects and issues? Is "more ethics, less aesthetics" applicable, according to the motto of the Venice Biennial for architecture in the year 2000? Or isn't "more aesthetics" in fact just what is required to encourage reflection about ethical responsibilities and dimensions in architecture, art, and design? This publication is a collection of reflections about the ethical and political dimensions of creations, presented from the point of view of art, architecture, design, and (...) curatorial practice. The contributions range from historical reviews to future-oriented outlooks, illustrating interdisciplinary connections. (shrink)
Motion is both elementary and fleeting; it is a fundamental precondition to our survival and our civilisation. Motion is the functional basis to the discovery, measurement and exploration of the world that we live in. Elucidating and calculating motion are central issues within our culture, which is not only based on motion but designs it, being built upon a history of dynamics and acceleration. Representatives of different disciplines - ranging from architecture to car design, from art-, cultural- and media-studies to (...) sociology- discuss the depiction and design of motion in art, architecture, design, dance and technology. This overview of historic developments and current trends discloses some surprising, border-crossign correlations. (shrink)
The pioneering moral philosopher Annette Baier presents a series of new and recent essays in ethics, broadly conceived to include both engagements with other philosophers and personal meditations on life. Baier's unique voice and insight illuminate topics ranging from patriotism and future generations to honesty, trust, hope, and friendship.
The reference to man as animal rationale has traditionally been used to highlight rationality as marking a qualitative gap between human beings and animals. This assumption has been questioned in a similar way by the approaches of Alasdair MacIntyre and John Dewey, who agree that before we can make adequate sense of man’s rationality, we have to draw attention to animality as the common trait of human and nonhuman living beings. However, while MacIntyre takes human dependence to show ‘why human (...) beings need the virtues,’ Dewey considers it as a starting point to argue for the necessity of what he calls ‘natural piety.’ In my paper I shall elaborate some implications of this difference, guided by the question whether Dewey’s answer contributes to a re-invention of religious categories into the naturalistic view on rationality and morality. (shrink)
Annette Baier's aim is to make sense of David Hume's Treatise as a whole. Hume's family motto, which appears on his bookplate, was True to the End. Baier argues that it is not until the end of the Treatise that we get his full story about truth and falsehood, reason and folly. By the end, we can see the cause to which Hume has been true throughout the work. Baier finds Hume's Treatise of Human Nature to be a carefully (...) crafted literary and philosophical work which itself displays a philosophical progress of sentiments. His starting place is an overly abstract intellectualism that deliberately thrusts passions and social concerns into the background. In the three interrelated books of the Treatise, his self-understander proceeds through partial successes and dramatic failures to emerge with new-found optimism, expecting that the exact knowledge the morally self-conscious anatomist of human nature can acquire will itself improve and correct our vision of morality. Baier describes how, by turning philosophy toward human nature instead of toward God and the universe, Hume initiated a new philosophy, a broader discipline of reflection that can embrace Charles Darwin and Michel Foucault as well as William James and Sigmund Freud. Hume belongs both to our present and to our past. (shrink)
This excerpt from our collective biography emerges from a dialogue that commenced when Noel interjected the concept of ‘becoming-cyborg’ into our conversations about Annette’s experiences of breast cancer, which initially prompted her to interpret her experiences as a ‘chaos narrative’ of cyborgian and environmental embodiment in education contexts. The materialisation of Donna Haraway’s figuration of the cyborg in Annette’s changing body enabled new appreciations of its interpretive power, and functioned in some ways as a successor project to Noel’s (...) earlier deployment of cyborgs in what he now recognises as a ‘posthumanising’ of curriculum inquiry. Noel’s subsequent experiences with throat cancer drew us towards exploring the possibilities that concepts such as Deleuze and Guattari’s machinic assemblage and Karen Barad’s ontoepistemology offer as a mean of thinking the meetings of bodies and technologies in educational inquiry beyond Haraway’s hybrid cyborg. Through both collective biography and playfully scripted conversations with other theorists we explore what it means to perform diffractive interpretations and analyses in posthumanist educational inquiry. Our essay also contributes to contemporary conversations about the uses of collaborative biographical writing as a method of inquiry in educational research. (shrink)
In this paper, I identify a theoretical and political role for ‘white ignorance’, present three alternative accounts of white ignorance, and assess how well each fulfils this role. On the Willful Ignorance View, white ignorance refers to white individuals’ willful ignorance about racial injustice. On the Cognitivist View, white ignorance refers to ignorance resulting from social practices that distribute faulty cognitive resources. On the Structuralist View, white ignorance refers to ignorance that results as part of a social process that systematically (...) gives rise to racial injustice, and is an active player in the process. I argue that, because of its greater power and flexibility, the Structuralist View better explains the patterns of ignorance that we observe, better illuminates the connection to white racial domination, and is overall better suited to the project of ameliorating racial injustice. As such, the Structuralist View should be preferred. (shrink)