Intellectual virtues like open-mindedness, clarity, intellectual honesty and the willingness to participate in rational discussions, are conceived as important aims of education. In this paper an attempt is made to clarify the specific nature of intellectual virtues. Firstly, the intellectual virtues are systematically compared with moral virtues. The upshot is that considering a trait of character to be an intellectual virtue implies assuming that such a trait can be derived from, or is a specification of, the cardinal virtue of concern (...) and respect for truth. Secondly, several (possible) misconceptions of intellectual virtues are avoided by making the required distinctions. For example, it is argued that our concept of an intellectual virtue should not be confused with a normative conception of intellectual virtuousness. (shrink)
Mill's most famous departure from Bentham is his distinction between higher and lower pleasures. This article argues that quality and quantity are independent and irreducible properties of pleasures that may be traded off against each other – as in the case of quality and quantity of wine. I argue that Mill is not committed to thinking that there are two distinct kinds of pleasure, or that ‘higher pleasures’ lexically dominate lower ones, and that the distinction is compatible with hedonism. I (...) show how this interpretation not only makes sense of Mill but allows him to respond to famous problems, such as Crisp's Haydn and the oyster and Nozick's experience machine. (shrink)
Consequentialists typically think that the moral quality of one's conduct depends on the difference one makes. But consequentialists may also think that even if one is not making a difference, the moral quality of one's conduct can still be affected by whether one is participating in an endeavour that does make a difference. Derek Parfit discusses this issue – the moral significance of what I call ‘participation’ – in the chapter of Reasons and Persons that he devotes to what he (...) calls ‘moral mathematics’. In my paper, I expose an inconsistency in Parfit's discussion of moral mathematics by showing how it gives conflicting answers to the question of whether participation matters. I conclude by showing how an appreciation of Parfit's error sheds some light on consequentialist thought generally, and on the debate between act- and rule-consequentialists specifically. (shrink)
While anti-exceptionalism about logic is now a popular topic within the philosophy of logic, there’s still a lack of clarity over what the proposal amounts to. currently, it is most common to conceive of AEL as the proposal that logic is continuous with the sciences. Yet, as we show here, this conception of AEL is unhelpful due to both its lack of precision, and its distortion of the current debates. Rather, AEL is better understood as the rejection of certain traditional (...) properties of logic. The picture that results is not of one singular position, but rather a cluster of often connected positions with distinct motivations, understood in terms of their rejection of clusters of the various traditional properties. In order to show the fruitfulness of this new conception of AEL, we distinguish between two prominent versions of the position, metaphysical and epistemological AEL, and show how the two positions need not stand or fall together. (shrink)
Providing a bold and original rethinking of environmental ethics, Ben Minteer's Refounding Environmental Ethics will help ethicists and their allies resolve critical debates in environmental policy and conservation practice. Minteer considers the implications of John Dewey's pragmatist philosophy for environmental ethics, politics, and practice. He provides a new and compelling intellectual foundation for the field - one that supports a more activist, collaborative, and problem-solving philosophical enterprise. Combining environmental ethics, democratic theory, philosophical pragmatism, and the environmental social sciences, Minteer makes (...) the case for a more experimental, interdisciplinary, and democratic style of environmental ethics - one that stands as an alternative to the field's historically dominant "nature-centred" outlook. Minteer also provides examples of his pragmatic approach in action, considering a wide range of application and issues, including invasive species, ecological research, biodiversity loss, protected area management, and conservation under global climate change. (shrink)
Given the plethora of competing logical theories of validity available, it’s understandable that there has been a marked increase in interest in logical epistemology within the literature. If we are to choose between these logical theories, we require a good understanding of the suitable criteria we ought to judge according to. However, so far there’s been a lack of appreciation of how logical practice could support an epistemology of logic. This paper aims to correct that error, by arguing for a (...) practice-based approach to logical epistemology. By looking at the types of evidence logicians actually appeal to in attempting to support their theories, we can provide a more detailed and realistic picture of logical epistemology. To demonstrate the fruitfulness of a practice-based approach, we look to a particular case of logical argumentation—the dialetheist’s arguments based upon the self-referential paradoxes—and show that the evidence appealed to support a particular theory of logical epistemology, logical abductivism. (shrink)
Well-Being and Death addresses philosophical questions about death and the good life: what makes a life go well? Is death bad for the one who dies? How is this possible if we go out of existence when we die? Is it worse to die as an infant or as a young adult? Is it bad for animals and fetuses to die? Can the dead be harmed? Is there any way to make death less bad for us? Ben Bradley defends the (...) following views: pleasure, rather than achievement or the satisfaction of desire, is what makes life go well; death is generally bad for its victim, in virtue of depriving the victim of more of a good life; death is bad for its victim at times after death, in particular at all those times at which the victim would have been living well; death is worse the earlier it occurs, and hence it is worse to die as an infant than as an adult; death is usually bad for animals and fetuses, in just the same way it is bad for adult humans; things that happen after someone has died cannot harm that person; the only sensible way to make death less bad is to live so long that no more good life is possible. (shrink)
Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922) remains one of the most enigmatic works of twentieth century thought. In this bold and original new study, Ben Ware argues that Wittgenstein's early masterpiece is neither an analytic treatise on language and logic, nor a quasi-mystical work seeking to communicate 'ineffable' truths. Instead, we come to understand the Tractatus by grasping it in a twofold sense: first, as a dialectical work which invites the reader to overcome certain 'illusions of thought'; and second as a (...) modernist work whose anti-philosophical ambition is intimately tied to its radical aesthetic character. By placing the Tractatus in the force field of modernism, Dialectic of the Ladder clears the ground for a new and challenging exploration of the work's ethical dimension. It also casts new light upon the cultural, aesthetic and political significances of Wittgenstein's writing, revealing hitherto unacknowledged affinities with a host of philosophical and literary authors, including Hegel, Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche, Adorno, Benjamin, and Kafka. (shrink)
This paper defends the view, put roughly, that to think that p is to guess that p is the answer to the question at hand, and that to think that p rationally is for one’s guess to that question to be in a certain sense non-arbitrary. Some theses that will be argued for along the way include: that thinking is question-sensitive and, correspondingly, that ‘thinks’ is context-sensitive; that it can be rational to think that p while having arbitrarily low credence (...) that p; that, nonetheless, rational thinking is closed under entailment; that thinking does not supervene on credence; and that in many cases what one thinks on certain matters is, in a very literal sense, a choice. Finally, since there are strong reasons to believe that thinking just is believing, there are strong reasons to think that all this goes for belief as well. (shrink)
A puzzling feature of paradigmatic cases of dehumanization is that the perpetrators often attribute uniquely human traits to their victims. This has become known as the “paradox of dehumanization.” We address the paradox by arguing that the perpetrators think of their victims as human in one sense, while denying that they are human in another sense. We do so by providing evidence that people harbor a dual character concept of humanity. Research has found that dual character concepts have two independent (...) sets of criteria for their application, one of which is descriptive and one of which is normative. Across four experiments, we found evidence that people deploy a descriptive criterion according to which being human is a matter of being a Homo sapiens; as well as a normative criterion according to which being human is a matter of possessing a deep-seated commitment to do the morally right thing. Importantly, we found that people are willing to affirm that someone is human in the descriptive sense, while denying that they are human in the normative sense, and vice versa. In addition to providing a solution to the paradox of dehumanization, these findings suggest that perceptions of moral character have a central role to play in driving dehumanization. (shrink)
Considerable attention recently has been paid to anti-exceptionalism about logic, the thesis that logic is more similar to the sciences in important respects than traditionally thought. One of AEL’s prominent claims is that logic’s methodology is similar to that of the recognised sciences, with part of this proposal being that logics provide explanations in some sense. However, insufficient attention has been given to what this proposal amounts to, and the challenges that arise in providing an account of explanations in logic. (...) This paper clarifies these challenges, and shows how the practice-based approach is best placed to meet them. (shrink)
This article offers a normative analysis of some of the most controversial incidents involving police—what I call police-generated killings. In these cases, bad police tactics create a situation where deadly force becomes necessary, becomes perceived as necessary, or occurs unintentionally. Police deserve blame for such killings because they choose tactics that unnecessarily raise the risk of deadly force, thus violating their obligation to prioritize the protection of life. Since current law in the United States fails to ban many bad tactics, (...) police- generated killings often are treated as “lawful but awful.” To address these killings, some call on changes to departmental policies or voluntary reparations by local governments, yet such measures leave in place a troubling gap between ethics and law. I argue that police-generated killings merit legal sanctions by appealing to a relevant analogy: self-generated self-defense, where the person who engages in self-defense started the trouble. The persistent lack of accountability for police-generated killings threatens life, police legitimacy, and trust in democratic institutions. The article closes by identifying tools in law and policy to address this challenge. (shrink)
The distinction between perception and cognition has always had a firm footing in both cognitive science and folk psychology. However, there is little agreement as to how the distinction should be drawn. In fact, a number of theorists have recently argued that, given the ubiquity of top-down influences, we should jettison the distinction altogether. I reject this approach, and defend a pluralist account of the distinction. At the heart of my account is the claim that each legitimate way of marking (...) a border between perception and cognition deploys a notion I call ‘stimulus-control.’ Thus, rather than being a grab bag of unrelated kinds, the various categories of the perceptual are unified into a superordinate natural kind. (shrink)
The historical consensus is that logical evidence is special. Whereas empirical evidence is used to support theories within both the natural and social sciences, logic answers solely to a priori evidence. Further, unlike other areas of research that rely upon a priori evidence, such as mathematics, logical evidence is basic. While we can assume the validity of certain inferences in order to establish truths within mathematics and test scientifi c theories, logicians cannot use results from mathematics or the empirical sciences (...) without seemingly begging the question. Appeals to rational intuition and analyticity in order to account for logical knowledge are symptomatic of these commitments to the apriority and basicness of logical evidence. This chapter argues that these historically prevalent accounts of logical evidence are mistaken, and that if we take logical practice seriously we fi nd that logical evidence is rather unexceptional, sharing many similarities to the types of evidence appealed to within other research areas. (shrink)
_Education and the Growth of Knowledge _is a collection of original contributions from a group of eminent philosophers and philosophers of education, who sketch the implications of advances in contemporary epistemology for education. New papers on education and social and virtue epistemology contributed by a range of eminent philosophers and philosophers of education Reconceives epistemology in the light of notions from social and virtue epistemology Demonstrates that a reconsideration of epistemology in the light of ideas from social and virtue epistemology (...) will in turn re-invigorate the links between epistemology and education. (shrink)
Ben Fine traces the origins of social capital through the work of Becker, Bourdieu and Coleman and comprehensively reviews the literature across the social sciences. The text is uniquely critical of social capital, explaining how it avoids a proper confrontation with political economy and has become chaotic. This highly topical text addresses some major themes, including the shifting relationship between economics and other social sciences, the 'publish or perish' concept currently burdening scholarly integrity, and how a social science interdisciplinarity requires (...) a place for political economy together with cultural and social theory. (shrink)
Motivated by weaknesses with traditional accounts of logical epistemology, considerable attention has been paid recently to the view, known as anti-exceptionalism about logic, that the subject matter and epistemology of logic may not be so different from that of the recognised sciences. One of the most prevalent claims made by advocates of AEL is that theory choice within logic is significantly similar to that within the sciences. This connection with scientific methodology highlights a considerable challenge for the anti-exceptionalist, as two (...) uncontentious claims about scientific theories are that they attempt to explain a target phenomenon and prove their worth through successful predictions. Thus, if this methodological AEL is to be viable, the anti-exceptionalist will need a reasonable account of what phenomena logics are attempting to explain, how they can explain, and in what sense they can be said to issue predictions. This paper makes sense of the anti-exceptionalist proposal with a new account of logical theory choice, logical predictivism, according to which logics are engaged in both a process of prediction and explanation. (shrink)
This paper considers some puzzling knowledge ascriptions and argues that they present prima facie counterexamples to credence, belief, and justification conditions on knowledge, as well as to many of the standard meta-semantic assumptions about the context-sensitivity of ‘know’. It argues that these ascriptions provide new evidence in favor of contextualist theories of knowledge—in particular those that take the interpretation of ‘know’ to be sensitive to the mechanisms of constraint.
We are moral apes, a difference between humans and our relatives that has received significant recent attention in the evolutionary literature. Evolutionary accounts of morality have often been recruited in support of error theory: moral language is truth-apt, but substantive moral claims are never true. In this article, we: locate evolutionary error theory within the broader framework of the relationship between folk conceptions of a domain and our best scientific conception of that same domain; within that broader framework, argue that (...) error theory and vindication are two ends of a continuum, and that in the light of our best science, many folk conceptual structures are neither hopelessly wrong nor fully vindicated; and argue that while there is no full vindication of morality, no seamless reduction of normative facts to natural facts, nevertheless one important strand in the evolutionary history of moral thinking does support reductive naturalism—moral facts are facts about cooperation, and the conditions and practices that support or undermine it. In making our case for, we first respond to the important error theoretic argument that the appeal to moral facts is explanatorily redundant, and second, we make a positive case that true moral beliefs are a ‘fuel for success’, a map by which we steer, flexibly, in a variety of social interactions. The vindication, we stress, is at most partial: moral cognition is a complex mosaic, with a complex genealogy, and selection for truth-tracking is only one thread in that genealogy. (shrink)
The devastating impact of the COVID‐19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic is prompting renewed scrutiny of practices that heighten the risk of infectious disease. One such practice is refusing available vaccines known to be effective at preventing dangerous communicable diseases. For reasons of preventing individual harm, avoiding complicity in collective harm, and fairness, there is a growing consensus among ethicists that individuals have a duty to get vaccinated. I argue that these same grounds establish an analogous duty to avoid buying and (...) eating most meat sold today, based solely on a concern for human welfare. Meat consumption is a leading driver of infectious disease. Wildlife sales at wet markets, bushmeat hunting, and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are all exceptionally risky activities that facilitate disease spread and impose immense harms on human populations. If there is a moral duty to vaccinate, we also should recognize a moral duty to avoid most meat. The paper concludes by considering the implications of this duty for policy. (shrink)
Breaks through the cultural barriers between Western, Indian, and Chinese philosophy and demonstrates that despite considerable differences between these three great philosophical traditions, there are fundamental resemblances in their abstract principles.
The issue of whether emotions are rational is at the centre of philosophical and psychological discussions. I believe that emotions are rational, but that they follow different principles to those of intellectual reasoning. The purpose of this paper is to reveal the unique logic of emotions. I begin by suggesting that we should conceive of emotions as a general mode of the mental system; other modes are the perceptual and intellectual modes. One feature distinguishing one mode from another is the (...) logical principles underlying its information processing mechanism. Before describing these principles, I clarify the notion of ‘rationality,’ arguing that in an important sense emotions can be rational. (shrink)
Recent debate in metaethics over evolutionary debunking arguments against morality has shown a tendency to abstract away from relevant empirical detail. Here, I engage the debate about Darwinian debunking of morality with relevant empirical issues. I present four conditions that must be met in order for it to be reasonable to expect an evolved cognitive faculty to be reliable: the environment, information, error, and tracking conditions. I then argue that these conditions are not met in the case of our evolved (...) faculty for moral judgement. (shrink)
The paintings, murals, and graphics of Ben Shahn have made him one of the most heralded American artists of the 20th century, but during the 1930s he was among the America's premier photographers. This book presents 100 photographs from his most ambitious FSA project, a study of small-town life in the Depression.
According to the principle Grice calls 'Modified Occam's Razor' (MOR), 'Senses are not to be multiplied beyond necessity'. More carefully, MOR says that if there are distinct ways in which an expression is regularly used, then, all other things being equal, we should favour the view that the expression is unambiguous and that certain uses of it can be explained in pragmatic terms. In this paper I argue that MOR cannot have the central role that is typically assigned to it (...) by those who deploy it. More specifically, I argue that potential justifications of the epistemic import of parsimony in semantic theorizing are problematic, and that even if MOR could be justified, it has a redundant role to play in adjudicating the debate between the ambiguity-theorist and the proponent of the pragmatic approach. (shrink)
I examine the origins of ordinary racial thinking. In doing so, I argue against the thesis that it is the byproduct of a unique module. Instead, I defend a pluralistic thesis according to which different forms of racial thinking are driven by distinct mechanisms, each with their own etiology. I begin with the belief that visible features are diagnostic of race. I argue that the mechanisms responsible for face recognition have an important, albeit delimited, role to play in sustaining this (...) belief. I then argue that essentialist beliefs about race are driven by some of the mechanisms responsible for “entitativity perception”: the tendency to perceive some aggregates of people as more genuine groups than others. Finally, I argue that coalitional thinking about race is driven by a distinctive form of entitativity perception. However, I suggest that more data is needed to determine the prevalence of this form of racial thinking. (shrink)
This paper defends the simple view that in asserting that p, one lies iff one knows that p is false. Along the way it draws some morals about deception, knowledge, Gettier cases, belief, assertion, and the relationship between first- and higher-order norms.
The evil God challenge is an argumentative strategy that has been pursued by a number of philosophers in recent years. It is apt to be understood as a parody argument: a wholly evil, omnipotent and omniscient God is absurd, as both theists and atheists will agree. But according to the challenge, belief in evil God is about as reasonable as belief in a wholly good, omnipotent and omniscient God; the two hypotheses are roughly epistemically symmetrical. Given this symmetry, thesis belief (...) in an evil God and belief in a good God are taken to be similarly preposterous. In this paper, we argue that the challenge can be met, suggesting why the three symmetries that need to hold between evil God and good God – intrinsic, natural theology and theodicy symmetries – can all be broken. As such, we take it that the evil God challenge can be met. (shrink)
In non-ideal theory, the political philosopher seeks to identify an injustice, synthesize social scientific work to diagnose its underlying causes, and propose morally permissible and potentially efficacious remedies. This paper explores the role in non-ideal theory of the identification of a plausible agent of change who might bring about the proposed remedies. I argue that the question of the agent of change is connected with the other core tasks of diagnosing injustice and proposing practical remedies. In this connection, I criticize (...) two linked postures that nonideal theorists sometimes adopt: a technocratic mode of neutral policy recommendation, whereby philosophers say what “we” must do to address some problem, without attending to the way agency enters the problem and its possible resolution; and the tendency to treat non-ideal theory as primarily consisting int eh enumeration of duties we are failing to fulfill, and specification of who is under what additional duties in light of this shortfall. My argument is that these tendencies fail to register in a coherent way the practical character of political philosophy. (shrink)
Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift argue that education is a positional good; this, they hold, implies that there is a qualified case for leveling down educational provision. In this essay, Ben Kotzee discusses Brighouse and Swift's argument for leveling down. He holds that the argument fails in its own terms and that, in presenting the problem of educational justice as one of balancing education's positional and nonpositional benefits, Brighouse and Swift lose sight of what a consideration of the nonpositional benefits (...) by itself can reveal. Instead of focusing on education's positional benefits, Kotzee investigates what emphasizing education's nonpositional benefits would imply for educational justice. Drawing on recent work in social epistemology, Kotzee holds that theories of educational justice would benefit from a consideration of the virtue of epistemic justice, and he outlines solutions to a number of problems in the area from this perspective. (shrink)
A plausible principle about the felicitous use of indicative conditionals says that there is something strange about asserting an indicative conditional when you know whether its antecedent is true. But in most contexts there is nothing strange at all about asserting indicative conditionals like ‘If Oswald didn’t shoot Kennedy, then someone else did’. This paper argues that the only compelling explanation of these facts requires the resources of contextualism about knowledge.
_Foucault’s Law_ is the first book in almost fifteen years to address the question of Foucault’s position on law. Many readings of Foucault’s conception of law start from the proposition that he failed to consider the role of law in modernity, or indeed that he deliberately marginalized it. In canvassing a wealth of primary and secondary sources, Ben Golder and Peter Fitzpatrick rebut this argument. They argue that rather than marginalize law, Foucault develops a much more radical, nuanced and coherent (...) theory of law than his critics have acknowledged. For Golder and Fitzpatrick, Foucault’s law is not the contained creature of conventional accounts, but is uncontainable and illimitable. In their radical re-reading of Foucault, they show how Foucault outlines a concept of law which is not tied to any given form or subordinated to a particular source of power, but is critically oriented towards alterity, new possibilities and different ways of being. _Foucault’s Law_ is an important and original contribution to the ongoing debate on Foucault and law, engaging not only with Foucault’s diverse writings on law and legal theory, but also with the extensive interpretive literature on the topic. It will thus be of interest to students and scholars working in the fields of law and social theory, legal theory and law and philosophy, as well as to students of Foucault’s work generally. (shrink)
Three plausible views—Presentism, Truthmaking, and Independence—form an inconsistent triad. By Presentism, all being is present being. By Truthmaking, all truth supervenes on, and is explained in terms of, being. By Independence, some past truths do not supervene on, or are not explained in terms of, present being. We survey and assess some responses to this.
The historical sciences, such as geology, evolutionary biology, and archaeology, appear to have no means to test hypotheses. However, on closer examination, reasoning in the historical sciences relies upon regularities, regularities that can be tested. I outline the role of regularities in the historical sciences, and in the process, blur the distinction between the historical sciences and the experimental sciences: all sciences deploy theories about the world in their investigations.
A recent critique of hierarchical Bayesian models of delusion argues that, contrary to a key assumption of these models, belief formation in the healthy (i.e., neurotypical) mind is manifestly non-Bayesian. Here we provide a deeper examination of the empirical evidence underlying this critique. We argue that this evidence does not convincingly refute the assumption that belief formation in the neurotypical mind approximates Bayesian inference. Our argument rests on two key points. First, evidence that purports to reveal the most damning violation (...) of Bayesian updating in human belief formation is counterweighted by substantial evidence that indicates such violations are the rare exception—not a common occurrence. Second, the remaining evidence does not demonstrate convincing violations of Bayesian inference in human belief updating; primarily because this evidence derives from study designs that produce results that are not obviously inconsistent with Bayesian principles. (shrink)
The structuring of our environment to provide cues and reminders for ourselves is common: We leave notes on the fridge, we have a particular place for our keys where we deposit them, making them easy to find. We alter our world to streamline our cognitive tasks. But how did hominins gain this capacity? What pushed our ancestors to structure their physical environment in ways that buffered thinking and began the process of using the world cognitively? I argue that the capacity (...) to engage in these behaviours is a by-product of increased tool investment and tool curation, which in turn was necessary because of increasingly heterogeneous environments. The minute tools are carried and cared for, they begin to undergo selection for added functions, becoming available as cognitive primers and as signals. I explore the trajectory of this co-evolutionary feedback loop of hominins and their tools, and demonstrate the role tools have in shaping our thinking. (shrink)
Purposeful infection of healthy volunteers with a microbial pathogen seems at odds with acceptable ethical standards, but is an important contemporary research avenue used to study infectious diseases and their treatments. Generally termed ‘controlled human infection studies’, this research is particularly useful for fast tracking the development of candidate vaccines and may provide unique insight into disease pathogenesis otherwise unavailable. However, scarce bioethical literature is currently available to assist researchers and research ethics committees in negotiating the distinct issues raised by (...) research involving purposefully infecting healthy volunteers. In this article, we present two separate challenge studies and highlight the ethical issues of human challenge studies as seen through a well-constructed framework. Beyond the same stringent ethical standards seen in other areas of medical research, we conclude that human challenge studies should also include: independent expert reviews, including systematic reviews; a publicly available rationale for the research; implementation of measures to protect the public from spread of infection beyond the research setting; and a new system for compensation for harm. We hope these additions may encourage safer and more ethical research practice and help to safeguard public confidence in this vital research alternative in years to come. (shrink)