We are strongly inclined to believe in moral responsibility - the idea that certain human agents truly deserve moral praise or blame for some of their actions. However, recent philosophical discussion has put this natural belief under suspicion, and there are important reasons for thinking that moral responsibility is incompatible with both determinism and indeterminism, therefore potentially rendering it an impossibility. Presenting the major arguments for scepticism about moral responsibility, and subjecting them to sustained and penetrating critical analysis, _Moral Responsibility_ (...) lays out the intricate dialectic involved in these issues in a helpful and accessible way. A well-written and lively account, the book then goes on to suggest a way in which scepticism can be avoided, arguing that excessive pre-eminence given to the will might lie at its root. Offering an alternative to this scepticism, Carlos Moya shows how a cognitive approach to moral responsibility that stresses the importance of belief would rescue our natural and centrally important faith in the reality of moral responsibility. (shrink)
Tras su prematura muerte, se ha escrito mucho sobre la personalidad filosófica y política de Josep Lluís Blasco. Siendo sin duda importantes y admirables estos aspectos, para mí fue sobre todo una persona amiga, buena y amable, en el sentido literal de este término, y cuya pérdida me ha producido un desconsuelo irreparable. Así, la redacción de estas líneas no es para mí un mero ejercicio profesional, sino un deber de gratitud y afecto.
According to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities, an agent is morally responsible for an action of hers only if she could have done otherwise. The notion of a robust alternative plays a prominent role in recent attacks on PAP based on so-called Frankfurt cases. In this paper I defend the truth of PAP for blameworthy actions against Frankfurt cases recently proposed by Derk Pereboom and David Widerker. My defence rests on some intuitively plausible principles that yield a new understanding of (...) the concept of a robust alternative. I will leave aside whether PAP also holds for praiseworthy actions -/- Según el Principio de Posibilidades Alternativas, un agente es moralmente responsable de una acción sólo si hubiera podido actuar de otro modo. La noción de alternativa robusta desempeña un papel prominente en ataques recientes al PPA basados en los llamados casos Frankfurt. En este artículo defiendo el PPA para la culpabilidad moral frente a casos Frankfurt propuestos recientemente por Derk Pereboom y David Widerker. Mi defensa descansa en algunos principios intuitivamente plausibles que dan lugar a una comprensión nueva del concepto de alternativa robusta. No trataré la cuestión de la verdad del PPA para acciones moralmente laudables. (shrink)
This new textbook is an exceptionally clear and concise introduction to the philosophy of action, suitable for students interested in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of social sciences. Moya begins by considering the problem of agency: how are we to understand the distinction between actions and happenings, between actions we perform and things that happen to us? Moya outlines and examines a range of philosophical responses to this problem. He also develops his own original view, treating the analysis (...) of meaningful action as the basis for understanding the distinctive interplay of agency, intention and commitment. Subsequent chapters examine recent attempts to integrate our understanding of action with the view of the world provided by the natural sciences. The work of Donald Davidson is examined in detail. Moya also discusses the views of many other authors who have contributed to recent debates in the philosophy of action, including Anscombe, Churchland, Harman, Hornsby, Goldman and O'Shaughnessy. (shrink)
In this paper I deal with Richard Moran's account of self-knowledge in his book Authority and Estrangement. After presenting the main lines of his account, I contend that, in spite of its novelty and interest, it may have some shortcomings. Concerning beliefs formed through deliberation, the account would seem to face problems of circularity or regress. And it looks also wanting concerning beliefs not formed in this way. I go on to suggest a diagnosis of these problems, according to which (...) they would arise out of a view of agents too strongly dependent on the will. /// Este trabajo se ocupa de la concepción del autoconocimiento en el libro de Richard Moran Authority and Estrangement. Tras presentar las líneas maestras de dicha concepción, sostengo que ésta, a pesar de su novedad e interés, podría adolecer de defectos importantes. Así, con respecto a las creencias formadas mediante la deliberación, la propuesta de Moran parece enfrentarse a problemas de circularidad o de regreso. Y parece también insatisfactoria acerca de creencias no formadas de ese modo. Finalmente, sugiero un diagnóstico de estos problemas, según el cual éstos surgirían de una concepción de los agentes excesivamente dependiente de la voluntad. (shrink)
Este trabajo tiene como objetivo revelar el verdadero nombre de Finlay y la trascendencia de su firma a fin de salvaguardar cómo llega hasta hoy la autenticidad denominativa del científico. Para ello fue necesaria la revisión bibliográfica de diversas fuentes documentales. Destacan las Obras Completas del médico, artículos científicos de revistas indexadas de la nación y el exterior: Educación Médica Superior, Cuadernos de Historia de la Salud Pública, Biomédica, Acimed, Asclepio, entre otras; periódicos, así como entrevistas a especialistas de la (...) Casa Natal de Carlos J. Finlay. This work aims to real the true name of Finlay and the significance of his signature in order to safeguard its authenticity in present times. To this end, the bibliographic revision of several documentary sources was necessary. Revisions were made of his Complete Works, scientific articles indexed in national and foreign scientific journals, newspaper articles and interviews with specialists from the Carlos J. Finlay Birth House Museum. (shrink)
My main aim in this paper is to improve and give further support to a defense of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP) against Frankfurt cases which I put forward in some previous work. In the present paper I concentrate on a recent Frankfurt case, Pereboom's "Tax Evasion". After presenting the essentials of my defense of PAP and applying it to this case, I go on to consider several objections that have been (or might be) raised against it and argue (...) that they don't succeed. I conclude by pointing out that my criticism of Pereboom's example suggests a general strategy against other actual or possible Frankfurt cases. (shrink)
This paper is a critical comment on an article of David Widerker which also appeared in the Journal of Philosophy. In this article, Wideker held, against positions previously defended by him, that in was possible to design effective counterexamples, in the line initiated by Harry Frankfurt in 1969, to the so-called “Principle of Alternative Possibilities”. The core of my criticism of Widerker is to deny that agents, in his putative counterexamples, are morally responsible for their decisions, owing to the fact (...) they are not able to respond appropriately to moral reasons. (shrink)
El objetivo del presente trabajo es defender el Principio de posibilidades alternativas (ppa) frente a dos recientes supuestos contraejemplos a éste, inspirados en el que diseñó, hace ya cuarenta años, Harry Frankfurt. Las tres primeras secciones resumen el estado de la cuestión. A partir de la cuar..
In America, White and affluent middle-school students outperform minority students and those of low socioeconomic status on measures of academic performance. This achievement gap is partly attributable to differences in academic engagement. A promising strategy for engaging students is to elicit an academic possible identity: an image of oneself in the future as an accomplished student. Tests of this strategy’s efficacy show mixed results, however. According to Identity-Based Motivation Theory, this is because a salient possible identity enhances goal engagement when (...) it is perceived to be strongly connected to one’s current identity. Still, the connection between temporally remote identities is an abstract concept that students may have difficulty grasping. According to Conceptual Metaphor Theory, this connection may be easier to conceptualize metaphorically in terms of a dissimilar concrete experience – in particular, a physical journey between locations. Integrating these theories, prior studies show that priming a journey-metaphoric framing of an academic possible identity increased academic engagement among college students. The current study tested whether this prime would similarly motivate middle-school students in an economically disadvantaged school setting. Results show that students framing their academic possible identity as a destination on a physical path, versus without a provided metaphor, reported higher academic engagement. This finding extends metaphor priming effects to low-income and minority adolescents, a crucial population in educational research, and points to low-cost, theoretically grounded interventions for boosting academic engagement. (shrink)
In this paper I address the question whether self-knowledge is compatible with an externalist individuation of mental content. Against some approaches, I consider self-knowledge as a genuine cognitive achievement. Though it is neither incorrigible nor infallible, self-knowledge is direct, a priori (no based on empirical investigation), presumptively true and authoritative. The problem is whether self-knowledge, so understood, is compatible with externalism. My answer will be affirmative. I will defend this species of compatibilism against several objections, in particular those based on (...) the possibility of an individual’s being unwittingly switched between worlds. (shrink)
Tanto las teorías causales como las teorías no causales de la acción consideran la relación de justificación entre razones y acción como una relación no causal, de caracter puramente lógico o conceptual. Según las teodas causales, la acción intencional ha de satisfacer, independientemente de la condicion de justificación, una condición adicional de causalidad. En este artículo se sostiene, en cambio, que el concepto de justificación es ya causal, de modo que no es necesario exigir un requisito causal independiente para entender (...) el concepto de acción intencional. Esta concepción causal de la justificación y de la acción intencional no se ve expuesta al problema de las cadenas causales desviadas que afecta a las teorías causales ortodoxas ni a la amenaza deI epifenomenismo de las propiedades mentales. -/- Both causal and non-causal action theories take the justification relation to be a non-causal, purely conceptual or logical relation between reasons and action. According to causal theorists, intentional action has to satisfy, besides the justification condition, an additional and independent causal condition. In this paper it is held, however, that justification is already a causal concept, so that there is no need to resort to an independent causal requirement in order to understand the concept of intentional action. This causal view of justification and intentional action does not face either the problem of wayward causalchains which infects orthodox causal theories or the threat of epiphenomenalism of mental properties. (shrink)
En su artículo de 2000, Hookway pretende argumentar que el principio de justificación inferencial de Fumerton no tiene las consecuencias escépticas que Fumerton observa en él. Nosotros consideramos que Hookway está en lo cierto. Sin embargo, después de hacer algunos comentarios acerca de sus principales consideraciones a favor de esta tesis, desarrollamos una línea argumentativa independiente que refuerce esa misma conclusión.
In his article 'Individualism and Descartes' (Teorema, vol. 16, pp. 71-86), William Ferraiolo puts into question the widely accepted interpretation of Descartes as an individualist about mental content. In this paper, I defend this interpretation of Descartes thought against Ferraiolo's objections. I hold, first, that the interpretation is not historically misguided. Second, I try to show that Descartes’s endorsement of anti-individualism would lead either to depriving skeptical hypotheses of their force or to rejecting the epistemological privilege of the first person. (...) Finally, I argue that Ferraiolo’s objections to the individualistic interpretation rest on two important errors: a misapprehension of the argumentative order of the Meditations and a confusion between the notions of causal and constitutive dependence of content on the external environment. (shrink)
Davidson’s antisceptical considerations, like Putnam’s, are transcendental in character: they start from facts that the sceptic has to accept, and are intended to show that those facts would not be such if the sceptical hypotheses were true. It is doubtful that these considerations are finally successful. However, I do not think that Davidson was really interested in a detailed refutation of scepticism. His interest focused instead on the context which gives rise to it: the Cartesian image of the relationships between (...) subjectivity, intersubjectivity, and objectivity. Correspondingly, the true value of Davidson’s antisceptical reflections lies in the alternative image that inspires them, in the light of which scepticism no longer appears as an urgent and interesting problem. (shrink)
El neokantismo suele considerarse con frecuencia un apéndice poco significativo de la filosofía kantiana. Por esta razón, la contribución filosófica de los neokantianos ha sufrido en mucho tiempo una desatención inmerecida, aun cuando, por ejemplo, la escuela de Marburgo constituyó un interesante intento de superación de Kant. De todas formas, y afortunadamente, sí ha habido de cuando en cuando, expresiones de aprecio hacia los neokantianos, y, también, en particular, hacia la obra de Ernst Cassirer. A mediados de los sesenta, Paul (...) Ricoeur publicaba De l’interprétation: Essai sur Freud, y, quien insinuaba ya su incipiente teoría del símbolo, reconocía su deuda para con Cassirer, por haber establecido—en palabras del francés—lo simbólico como denominador común de todas las maneras de objetivar, y plantear así, por vez primera, “el problema del remembramiento del lenguaje”. A pesar de lo desafortunada que ha sido la recepción de la obra cassireriana, la vastedad temática que Cassirer tuvo la osadía de afrontar, hace posible que sus influencias sean múltiples. Pues bien, tardíamente y después de un largo olvido, en las últimas dos décadas se ha emprendido, por así decir, la rehabilitación intelectual del legado cassireriano: el proyecto de publicación de los escritos inéditos viene a coincidir con la constitución de la International Ernst Cassirer Society, y, por otra parte, el número de títulos consagrados al alemán se ha incrementado notoriamente. (shrink)
Davidson’s famous 1963 paper “Actions, Reasons, and Causes” contains, in nuce, the main lines of Davidson’s philosophy of action and mind. It also contains the seeds of some major problems of Davidson’s thought in these fields. I shall defend, following Davidson, that rationalization or reasons explanation is a species of causal explanation, but I will be contending, against Davidson’s approach, that causality is best viewed, in this kind of explanation, as an integral aspect of justification itself, and not as an (...) independent, additional condition. (shrink)
In this paper, I want to defend the proposal that one has to be a realist about the existence and causal efficacy of reasons if one wants to have rationally justified actions. On this basis, I will propose to understand intentional action in terms of justification alone, not in terms of justification plus causation. I shall argue that an action is intentional, under a certain description, if, and only if, it is justified, under that description, by the agent’s reasons. The (...) proposal recommends itself as being capable of solving the problem of wayward causal chains and is promising as a way of avoiding epiphenomenalism of mental properties. (shrink)
This paper is intended to defend the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (pap)against two recent putative counterexamples to it, inspired by the one that HarryFrankfurt designed forty years ago. The first three sections provide a summary of the state of the art. In the remaining sections, the counterexamples to pap o Widerker’s (“Brain-Malfunction-W”) and Pereboom’s (“Tax Evasion”) are successively presented and discussed. We hold that both examples breach at least one otwo conditions that are required in order to refute pap, namely, (...) (1) that the agent is morally responsible for his/her decision and (2) that s/he lacks any morally significant (“robust”) alternatives to it. Regarding (1), the examples face several problems concerning the “reasons-responsiveness” of the agent’s mechanism of deliberation and decision making, which throws doubts upon his/her moral responsibility. Regarding (2), we try to show that the respective agents have robust alternatives within their reach. We conclude, then, that pap is not refuted by these examples. (shrink)
In her recent book Causation and Free Will, Carolina Sartorio develops a distinctive version of an actual-sequence account of free will, according to which, when agents choose and act freely, their freedom is exclusively grounded in, and supervenes on, the actual causal history of such choices or actions. Against this proposal, I argue for an alternative- possibilities account, according to which agents’ freedom is partly grounded in their ability to choose or act otherwise. Actual-sequence accounts of freedom are motivated by (...) a reflection on so-called Frankfurt cases. Instead, other cases, such as two pairs of examples originally designed by van Inwagen, threaten actual-sequence accounts, including Sartorio’s. On the basis of her view of causation, Sartorio contends, however, that the two members of each pair have different causal histories, so that her view is not undermined by those cases after all. I discuss these test cases further and defend my alternative-possibilities account of freedom. (shrink)
Until recently emotion and emotional processing have been largely neglected by experimental psychology and neuroscience more generally. This paper reviews the substantial psychological and neuroscientific evidence that each emotion is localized in specific neural structures, and thus that it is not necessary to invoke souls or spirits to explain emotions or emotional processing often held to be distinctive of a soul. In addition, the paper aims to demonstrate the adaptive and biological value of emotion for humans and other animals. It (...) closes by focusing on recent research on neural processing of emotions and emotional words. -/- 1. Introduction -- 2. What are Emotions and How Many Emotions Exist? -- 3. Emotions and the Body -- 4. The Neural Substrates of Emotions and How We Know Them -- 5. Fear, Sadness, and the Amygdala -- 6. Pleasure, Happiness, and the Orbitofrontal Cortex -- 7. Conclusion. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Reviewed by:Spatializing Culture: The Ethnography of Space and Place by Setha LowCarlos J. L. BalsasSpatializing Culture: The Ethnography of Space and Placeby setha low London: Routledge, 2017Spatializing Culture: The Ethnography of Space and Place adds clarity to our understanding of the value of ethnographic scholarship in the study of socio-economic, cultural, and developmental transformations. The book is a thorough review of two established conceptual frames of analysis—the social production (...) of space and the social construction of space—coupled with an in-depth discussion of four newer ways to make sense of the world around us: embodied space, language and discourse, emotion and affect, and translocal space. As the world is transformed by a myriad of forces and events occurring simultaneously, its complexity intensifies insurmountably and we require clear and robust concepts, theories, methods, and tools to not only interpret it, but above all to attempt to change it in ways that are more beneficial to our collective co-existence while enabling the flourishing of those most at risk.Readers of Spatializing Culture will find plentiful theoretical constructs, lineages, diverse viewpoints, examples, and overall opportunities for reflecting on how the (built) environment, spaces, and places have been changing mostly due to our behavior. Inspired by Foucault’s take on genealogy, in chapter 2, Setha Low traces the history of space and place according to distinct interpretative schools of thought ranging from philosophical and mathematical, French social theory, geographical, architectural, environmental psychology, to anthropological, and even archeological. Five Venn diagrams are utilized to illustrate the main conceptual relationships between space and place. Most of the book’s in-depth case studies were researched by the author with only a small number investigated and written up by fellow scholars, which Low utilizes in the book with gratitude. The interrelated thematic and distinct geographical scope of the cases is one of the book’s hallmarks. The illustrative case studies come from such faraway places as Latin America (San José, Costa Rica), Asia (Taipei, Taiwan), North America (New York City; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and San [End Page 151] Antonio, Texas), Southern Europe (Smederevska Palanka, Serbia), and the Middle East (Beirut, Lebanon; Cairo, Egypt; and Tel Aviv, Israel).Spatializing Culture was first mentioned to me years ago by a former colleague at the University at Albany, SUNY. His ongoing work in Latin America, coupled with his ethnographic training and prior work in a region of the world also extensively examined by Low in other scholarly works, was likely the reason for bringing it up in a conversation about the latest developments in the field and potential research opportunities. I acquired the book when I was teaching Global Urbanism and Culture and International Urban Planning. I was pleasantly surprised with the book’s thorough conceptual lineage, historic characterizations, attention to detail, comprehensive ethnographic investigations, and implications for transforming reality as well as institutional processes. Spatializing Culture is a welcome addition to urban planning textbooks, which tend to be relatively less critical, are often covered with normative constructs and statistics, and are more institutional in their characterization of problems and recommendations for further action.For the most part, the ethnographic method is qualitative, participa-tory, detailed, and quite comprehensive in characterizing key variables as the researcher found them on the ground. This differs slightly from urban planning’s preoccupation with public policy, policy analysis, rules and regulations, institutionalized procedures, the public good, and overall positivist and rationalist concerns with documenting reality and helping to lead transformative planning processes, whether in the realm of land use, transportation, housing, economic development, infrastructure, or the environment. Although International Urban Planning was to be taught in a rather orthodox manner with recourse to understanding planning cultures, best practices, lessons learned, and implications for similar situations, the Global Urbanism and Culture course was slightly more aligned with the discussions put forward by Low. These included attention to postmodern ideals, the use of creativity in community planning, distinctions between popular and highbrow culture, and the building of iconic structures in contexts of urban regeneration and mega-event planning. As such, my students were somewhat already exposed to issues of embodied spaces and to ideas of... (shrink)
In his paper “What the externalist can know a priori”, Paul Boghossian rejects the compatibility between self-knowledge and content externalism by arguing that compatibilists are committed to the absurd view that a subject can know, by reasoning purely a priori, substantive truths about the world, such as that water exists. In this paper I try to show that Boghossian’s incompatibilist argument does not succeed. According to Boghossian, it is enough, for an externalist to reach the undesired conclusion, that she satisfies (...) a number of conditions that can be known by her a priori. I argue that, by an externalist’s lights, some of these conditions are simply too weak to be acceptable by her and some of them can only be known a posteriori. So, compatibilists are not committed to the absurdity Boghossian ascribes to them. (shrink)
According to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities, an agent is morally responsible for something she has done only if she could have done otherwise. Harry Frankfurt held that PAP was false on the basis of examples in which a counterfactual, and unactivated, device ensures that the agent will decide and do what she actually decides and does on her own, if she shows some sign that she is going to decide and do something else. Problems with these cases have led (...) some thinkers to design examples in which the counterfactual factor is replaced by a device that actually blocks alternative possibilities. I argue that, even if these cases did not illicitly assume determinism, they are not successful against PAP anyway, for they violate a plausible condition on moral responsibility that Fischer has called "reasons-responsiveness". \\\ Según el Principio de Posibilidades Alternativas, un agente es moralmente responsable de algo que hizo sólo si podría haber actuado de otro modo. Harry Frankfurt sostuvo que el PPA era falso sobre la base de ejemplos en los que un dispositivo contrafáctico, y no activado, asegura que el agente decidirá y hará lo que de hecho decide y hace por sí mismo, en el caso de que muestre algún signo de que va a decidir y hacer algo distinto. Los problemas que plantean estos casos han llevado a algunos pensadores a diseñar ejemplos en los que el factor contrafáctico es reemplazado por un dispositivo que bloquea de hecho las posibilidades alternativas. Sostengo que, aun cuando estos casos no asumieran ilícitamente el determinismo, no tienen éxito frente al PPA, porque violan una condición plausible de la responsabilidad moral que Fischer ha denominado "capacidad de respuesta a razones". (shrink)