The world as we experience it is full of colour. This book defends the radical thesis that no physical object has any of the colours we experience it as having. The author provides a unified account of colour that shows why we experience the illusion and why the illusion is not to be dispelled but welcomed. He develops a pluralist framework of colour-concepts in which other, more sophisticated concepts of colour are introduced to supplement the simple concept that is presupposed (...) in our ordinary colour experience. The discussion draws on philosophical and scientific literature, both historical and modern, but it is not technical, and will appeal to a broad range of philosophers, cognitive scientists and historians of science. (shrink)
We are often told that we are morally obligated to produce equal opportunity for all. Therefore, it seems we should examine what power we have to produce that desirable state. For it would be nonsense to say we are required to provide what is beyond our power to provide. When we examine this question, we find our power limited by two sets of constraints. One set comprises formal constraints upon the idea itself of equal opportunity. We cannot do the logically (...) impossible. The other set comprises limits upon our ability to produce the directed socio-economic change, getting known outputs for known inputs. I illustrate the formal constraints by outlining the work of Douglas Rae. The constraints upon our abilities I illustrate with evidence from sociology and politics. At the end, we shall discover that our power to make opportunities equal is sharply though not unbearably limited. A critical but unbaised survey will reveal that in the past fifty years we have gone remarkably far towards doing all that we are presently capable of doing to equalize opportunities. Perhaps we shall go even farther when we learn how. The word ‘real’ in the title is opposed to ‘ideal’ or even ‘chimerical'. It may seem an interesting question what equality of opportunity should consist in were we able to produce directed socio-economic change at will. But we are not. Therefore, a more interesting and more important question is what equality of opportunity consists in given the very large number of constraints within which we must work to achieve it. (shrink)
In this paper I propose a reading of Plotinus Enneads VI.1-3 [41-43] On the genera of being which regards this treatise as a coherent whole in which Aristotle's Categories is explored in a way that turns it into a decisive contribution to Plotinus' Platonic ontology. In addition, I claim that Porphyry's Isagoge and commentaries on the Categories start by adopting Plotinus' point of view, including his notion of genus, and proceed by explaining its consequences for a more detailed reading of (...) the Categories. After Plotinus' integration of the Categories into the Platonic frame of thought Porphyry saw the possibilities of exploiting the Peripatetic tradition both as a means to support the Platonic interpretation of the Categories and as a source for solutions to traditional questions. His allegiance to a division of being into ten, and his emphasis on semantics rather than ontology can be explained from this orientation. In the light of our investigation the alleged disagreement between Plotinus and Porphyry on the Categories changes its appearance completely. There are differences, but these can be best explained as confirmation and extension of Plotinus' perspective on the Categories and its role in Platonism. (shrink)
As the author of Justice as Impartiality, I am not ashamed to admit that I was delighted by the liveliness of the discussion generated by it at the meeting on which this symposium is based. I am likewise grateful to the six authors for finding the book worthy of the careful attention that they have bestowed on it. Between them, the symposiasts take up many more points than I can cover in this response. I shall therefore focus on some themes (...) that cluster round the contractual device that I associate with the notion of justice as impartiality. Is it necessary? If it is not necessary is it nevertheless useful? Within an overall contractual framework is the form of contract that I propose uniquely justifiable? And does the form of contract that I defend generate the implications that I claim for it? (shrink)
Barry Schein proposes combining a second-order treatment of plurals with DonaldDavidson's suggestion that there are positions for reference to events in ordinary predicates inorder to account for several of the more puzzling features of ...
Barry Dainton presents a fascinating new account of the self, the key to which is experiential or phenomenal continuity. Provided our mental life continues we can easily imagine ourselves surviving the most dramatic physical alterations, or even moving from one body to another. It was this fact that led John Locke to conclude that a credible account of our persistence conditions - an account which reflects how we actually conceive of ourselves - should be framed in terms of mental rather (...) than material continuity. But mental continuity comes in different forms. Most of Locke's contemporary followers agree that our continued existence is secured by psychological continuity, which they take to be made up of memories, beliefs, intentions, personality traits, and the like. Dainton argues that that a better and more believable account can be framed in terms of the sort of continuity we find in our streams of consciousness from moment to moment. Why? Simply because provided this continuity is not lost - provided our streams of consciousness flow on - we can easily imagine ourselves surviving the most dramatic psychological alterations. Phenomenal continuity seems to provide a more reliable guide to our persistence than any form of continuity. The Phenomenal Self is a full-scale defence and elaboration of this premise. The first task is arriving at an adequate understanding of phenomenal unity and continuity. This achieved, Dainton turns to the most pressing problem facing any experience-based approach: losses of consciousness. How can we survive them? He shows how the problem can be solved in a satisfactory manner by construing ourselves as systems of experiential capacities. He then moves on to explore a range of further issues. How simple can a self be? How are we related to our bodies? Is our persistence an all-or-nothing affair? Do our minds consist of parts which could enjoy an independent existence? Is it metaphysically intelligible to construe ourselves as systems of capacities? The book concludes with a novel treatment of fission and fusion. (shrink)
To translate is one thing; to say how we do it, is another. The practice is familiar enough, and there are familiar theories of it. But when we try to look more closely, theory tends to obscure rather than explain, and the familiar practice—an ancient practice, without which Western civilisation is unthinkable—appears to be just baffling, its very possibility a mystery.
_Stream of Consciousness_ is about the phenomenology of conscious experience. Barry Dainton shows us that stream of consciousness is not a mosaic of discrete fragments of experience, but rather an interconnected flowing whole. Through a deep probing into the nature of awareness, introspection, phenomenal space and time consciousness, Dainton offers a truly original understanding of the nature of consciousness.
The aim of the current study was to investigate important pathways of the Environmental Stress Hypothesis concerning the role of peer relations. First, we examined (1) the mediating role of peer problems in the association between the motor performance in daily activities and internalizing problems as a main pathway of the Environmental Stress Hypothesis. Furthermore, we explored the role of (2) children’s popularity as a mediator and (3) best friendship quality as a moderator path of the effect of motor performance (...) on both peer problems and internalizing problems. The non-clinical sample of the present study consisted of 189 children (48.6% females) aged nine to eleven years (Mage = 9.69, SDage = 0.46). Parents reported on their child’s motor performance in daily activities by completing the Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire. In addition, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire was used to assess peer problems as well as internalizing problems. The Self Description Questionnaire provided a measure of children’s self-reported popularity. Finally, the Friendship Quality Questionnaire was used to investigate children’s best friendship quality. Results of a structural equation model suggest that peer problems fully mediated the association between the motor performance in daily activities and both popularity and internalizing problems. However, no evidence for the mediating effect of popularity in the association between peer problems and internalizing problems was found. Further, best friendship quality had small but non-significant positive moderating effect on the relation between peer problems and internalizing problems. The mediating role of peer problems highlights the importance of peer relations in the motor performance of daily activities. Possible reasons for the lack of some of the expected mediating and moderating effects as well as practical implications are discussed. (shrink)
Whether we're buying a pair of jeans, ordering a cup of coffee, selecting a long-distance carrier, applying to college, choosing a doctor, or setting up a 401(k), everyday decisions ; both big and small ; have become increasingly complex due to the overwhelming abundance of choice with which we are presented. As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you (...) even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress. And, in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression. In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains at what point choice ; the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish ; becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being. In accessible, engaging, and anecdotal prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice ; from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs ; has paradoxically become a problem instead of a solution. Schwartz also shows how our obsession with choice encourages us to seek that which makes us feel worse. By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counter intuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on those that are important and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make."--provided by publisher. (shrink)
These are just some of the fundamental questions addressed in Time and Space. Writing for a primary readership of advanced undergraduate and graduate philosophy students, Barry Dainton introduces the central ideas and arguments that make space and time such philosophically challenging topics. Although recognising that many issues in the philosophy of time and space involve technical features of physics, Dainton has been careful to keep the conceptual issues accessible to students with little scientific or mathematical training. Surveying historical debates and (...) ideas at the forefront of contemporary thinking, the book is unrivaled in its coverage. Topics include McTaggart's argument for the unreality of change; static, tensed, and dynamic time; time travel and causal arrows; space as void, motion, and curved spac; as well as a non-technical introduction to the special theory of relativity and the key features of general relativity, spacetime, and strings. Dainton also addresses the relationship between the philosophy of time and broader human concerns involving actions, ethics, fatalism, and death. (shrink)
Barry Taylor's book mounts a major new argument against one of the fundamental tenets of much contemporary philosophy, the idea that we can make sense of reality as existing objectively, independently of our capacities to come to know it. He concludes that there is no defensible notion of truth which preserves the theses of traditional realism, nor any extant position sufficiently true to the ideals of that doctrine to inherit its title. In presenting his case Taylor engages with many key (...) works of contemporary metaphysics, semantics, and philosophical logic, so his book will be of interest to a broad spectrum of scholars and students. (shrink)
This book is a survey of the most important developments in Austrian philosophy in its classical period from the 1870s to the Anschluss in 1938. Thus it is intended as a contribution to the history of philosophy. But I hope that it will be seen also as a contribution to philosophy in its own right as an attempt to philosophize in the spirit of those, above all Roderick Chisholm, Rudolf Haller, Kevin Mulligan and Peter Simons, who have done so much (...) to demonstrate the continued fertility of the ideas and methods of the Austrian philosophers in our own day. For some time now, historians of philosophy have been gradually coming to terms with the idea that post-Kantian philosophy in the German-speaking world ought properly to be divided into two distinct traditions which we might refer to as the German and Austrian traditions, respectively. The main line of the first consists in a list of personages beginning with Kant, Fichte, Hegel and Schelling and ending with Heidegger, Adorno and Bloch. The main line of the second may be picked out similarly by means of a list beginning with Bolzano, Mach and Meinong, and ending with Wittgenstein, Neurath and Popper. As should be clear, it is the Austrian tradition that has contributed most to the contemporary mainstream of philosophical thinking in the Anglo-Saxon world. For while there are of course German thinkers who have made crucial contributions to the development of exact or analytic philosophy, such thinkers were outsiders when seen from the perspective of native German philosophical culture, and in fact a number of them found their philosophical home precisely in Vienna. When, in contrast, we examine the influence of the Austrian line, we encounter a whole series of familiar and unfamiliar links to the characteristic concerns of more recent philosophy of the analytic sort. As Michael Dummett points out in his Origins of Analytic Philosophy, the newly fashionable habit of referring to analytic philosophy as "Anglo-American" is in this light a "grave historical distortion". If, he says, we take into account the historical context in which analytic philosophy developed, then such philosophy "could at least as well be called "Anglo-Austrian" (1988, p. 7). Much valuable scholarly work has been done on the thinking of Husserl and Wittgenstein, Mach and the Vienna Circle. The central axis of Austrian philosophy, however, which as I hope to show in what follows is constituted by the work of Brentano and his school, is still rather poorly understood. Work on Meinong or Twardowski by contemporary philosophers still standardly rests upon simplified and often confused renderings of a few favoured theses taken out of context. Little attention is paid to original sources, and little effort is devoted to establishing what the problems were by which the Austrian philosophers in general were exercised -- in spite of the fact that many of these same problems have once more become important as a result of the contemporary burgeoning of interest on the part of philosophers in problems in the field of cognitive science. (shrink)
It is plausible that there are epistemic reasons bearing on a distinctively epistemic standard of correctness for belief. It is also plausible that there are a range of practical reasons bearing on what to believe. These theses are often thought to be in tension with each other. Most significantly for our purposes, it is obscure how epistemic reasons and practical reasons might interact in the explanation of what one ought to believe. We draw an analogy with a similar distinction between (...) types of reasons for actions in the context of activities. The analogy motivates a two-level account of the structure of normativity that explains the interaction of correctness-based and other reasons. This account relies upon a distinction between normative reasons and authoritatively normative reasons. Only the latter play the reasons role in explaining what state one ought to be in. All and only practical reasons are authoritative reasons. Hence, in one important sense, all reasons for belief are practical reasons. But this account also preserves the autonomy and importance of epistemic reasons. Given the importance of having true beliefs about the world, our epistemic standard typically plays a key role in many cases in explaining what we ought to believe. In addition to reconciling (versions of) evidentialism and pragmatism, this two-level account has implications for a range of important debates in normative theory, including the interaction of right and wrong reasons for actions and other attitudes, the significance of reasons in understanding normativity and authoritative normativity, the distinction between ‘formal’ and ‘substantive’ normativity, and whether there is a unified source of authoritative normativity. (shrink)
This review focuses on the Ogdoas scholastica by Jacob Lorhard, published in 1606. The importance of this document turns on the fact that it contains what is almost certainly the first published occurrence of the term “ontology.” The body of the work consists in a series of diagrams called “diagraphs.” Relevant features of this compendium of diagraphs are: 1. that it does not in fact contain the word “ontology,” and 2. that Lorhard himself was not responsible for its content.
A dogma of contemporary ethical theory maintains that the nature of normative support for affective attitudes is the very same as the nature of normative support for actions. The prevailing view is that normative reasons provide the support across the board. I argue that the nature of normative support for affective attitudes is importantly different from the nature of normative support for actions. Actions are indeed supported by reasons. Reasons are gradable and contributory. The support relations for affective attitudes are (...) neither. So-called reasons of the right kind for affective attitudes are facts that make those very attitudes fitting. Unlike reasons, fit-making facts for affective attitudes do not conflict with each other or combine in the explanation of further normative facts. More fit-making facts just make a more complex set of reactions fitting. This result undermines various analyses and unity theses in the philosophy of normativity. (shrink)
Jaap Mansfeld and Frans de Haas bring together in this volume a distinguished international team of ancient philosophers, presenting a systematic, chapter-by-chapter study of one of the key texts in Aristotle's science and metaphysics: the first book of On Generation and Corruption. In GC I Aristotle provides a general outline of physical processes such as generation and corruption, alteration, and growth, and inquires into their differences. He also discusses physical notions such as contact, action and passion, and mixture. These (...) notions are fundamental to Aristotle's physics and cosmology, and more specifically to his theory of the four elements and their transformations. Moreover, references to GC elsewhere in the Aristotelian corpus show that in GC I Aristotle is doing heavy conceptual groundwork for more refined applications of these notions in, for example, the psychology of perception and thought, and the study of animal generation and corruption. Ultimately, biology is the goal of the series of enquiries in which GC I demands a position of its own immediately after the Physics. The contributors deal with questions of structure and text constitution and provide thought-provoking discussions of each chapter of GC I. New approaches to the issues of how to understand first matter, and how to evaluate Aristotle's notion of mixture are given ample space. Throughout, Aristotle's views of the theories of the Presocratics and Plato are shown to be crucial in understanding his argument. (shrink)
This paper develops the Value-Based Theory of Reasons in some detail. The central part of the paper introduces a number of theoretically puzzling features of normative reasons. These include weight, transmission, overlap, and the promiscuity of reasons. It is argued that the Value-Based Theory of Reasons elegantly accounts for these features. This paper is programmatic. Its goal is to put the promising but surprisingly overlooked Value-Based Theory of Reasons on the table in discussions of normative reasons, and to draw attention (...) to a number of areas for fruitful further research. (shrink)