In this highly original of realism, David Kelley argues that perception is the discrimination of objects as entities, that the awareness of these objects is direct, and that perception is a reliable foundation for empirical knowledge. His argument relies on the basic principle of the 'primacy of existence, ' in opposition to Cartesian representationalism and Kantian idealism.
Koonin argues that CRISPR-Cas systems present the best-known case in point for Lamarckian evolution because they satisfy his proposed criteria for the specific inheritance of acquired adaptive characteristics. We see two interrelated issues with Koonin’s characterization of CRISPR-Cas systems as Lamarckian. First, at times he appears to confuse an account of the CRISPR-Cas system with an account of the mechanism it employs. We argue there is no evidence for the CRISPR-Cas system being “Lamarckian” in any sense. Second, it is unclear (...) whether the mechanism is more “Lamarckian” than many other forms of genetic change already well-characterized in Darwinian terms. We present three conceptually distinct senses in which the mechanism of IAC may be considered Lamarckian and argue that only the strongest sense of goal-directed IAC would be difficult to accommodate in a Darwinian account. As the CRISPR-Cas mechanism does not qualify as “Lamarckian” in this strong sense, we argue there is no conceptual value in calling it “Lamarckian”. Finally, we suggest that CRISPR-Cas systems do hold the potential for genuinely non-Darwinian, directed evolution in a way that Koonin did not discuss, involving their potential use as a human gene-editing tool. (shrink)
This paper is focused on the Sapient and Sentient Intelligence Value Argument or SSIVA and the ethics of how that applies to autonomous systems and how such systems might be governed by the extension of current regulation, as well as providing a computable model of ethics for AGI research. SSIVA is based on some static core definitions of "Intelligence" as defined by the measured ability to understand, use, and generate knowledge or information independently, all of which are a function of (...) sapience and sentience. The SSIVA logic places the value of any individual human and their potential for Intelligence, and the value of other systems to the degree that they are self-aware or "intelligent", as a priority. Further, the paper lays out the case for how the current legal framework could be extended to address issues with autonomous systems to varying degrees depending on the SSIVA threshold as applied to autonomous systems. Further, from a research standpoint it is important to have a descreet model to measure against without ambiguity, which the SSIVA theory provides. (shrink)
David Kelley presents empirical evidence of the welfare state’s effects on behavior, historical research on the origins of the welfare state, and philosophical clarification of such core ideas as freedom and rights. After a careful examination of the various arguments made on behalf of welfare rights, Kelley concludes that “the concept of welfare rights is invalid.”.
In a postscript to the second edition, Kelley reviews the growth in Objectivist scholarship and the influence of Rand's ideas over the past decade." "The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand is an engaging introduction to the Objectivist movement, its core ideas, and its central fissures. At the same time, it offers a case study in the sociology of intellectual movements and a frank discussion of the issues that arise whenever thinkers leave their studies to promote their ideas in the public (...) realm."--BOOK JACKET. (shrink)
Knowledge must be grounded in evidence in accordance with epistemological principles. This monograph distinguishes two kinds of principle: rules of evidence and rules of justification. -/- Rules of evidence, such the canons of inductive and deductive logic, specify what sort of evidence is relevant to what sort of conclusion. Rules of justification specify what a person's cognitive state must be if he is to be justified in accepting a conclusion. This distinction makes it possible to explain how our knowledge can (...) be fully justified all the way down to its foundations in perception. (shrink)
Our goal is to analyze the distinction between factual statements and opinions from a philosophical—specifically an epistemological—perspective. Section 1 reviews the most common criteria for drawing the distinction, which while inadequate, as explained in Section 2, still plays an important cultural and political role. In Section 3, we argue that the difference between factual statements and opinions does not involve a single criterion. Instead, the conceptual structure of the terms ‘fact’ and ‘opinion’ is analogous to that of natural kinds—terms with (...) multiple dimensions. We expect that improved theory will lead to improvements in pedagogy, decision-making, and public discourse. But these consequences are not our chief focus. (shrink)
Ayn Rand and Friedrich Hayek were notable 20th century advocates of libertarianism, and both of them based their political views, in part, on theories in epistemology. This paper discusses the radical difference in their views on a core epistemological issue, the nature of abstractions. Rand held that we form abstractions from the observation of particular, concrete things. Hayek held the opposite view that abstractions are primary; some are innate, some acquired from our cultural environment, but neither can be independently supported (...) by observation of concretes. Kelley will show why Hayek’s view is both false and inconsistent with a fully individualist moral and political theory. (shrink)
One of the common refrains in commentary about the Islamic Middle East, especially since September 11, is that Islam needs a Reformation. The assumption is that modernist, tolerant, reformist Muslims are to the fundamentalists as the Protestants of the Christian Reformation were to the medieval Catholic Church. This is very nearly the exact opposite of the truth. The Islamists are reacting against the Enlightenment modernism of the West, which they see as a threat to Islamic culture; but their call for (...) a return to an imagined purer state of Islamic society is analogous to the Protestant goal of freeing Christianity from the worldly compromises and the scholasticism of the Church. Islam does not need a Reformation. The problem is that it’s having one now. What it needs is an Enlightenment. (shrink)
An introductory logic textbook. The Art of Reasoning, 5e, shows students how logic can be applied to everyday life in each chapter, uses real-world examples to explain core concepts, and includes a new chapter on the cognitive biases and errors students are most likely to encounter in their own thinking.
The words “liberty” and “liberalism” have a common root, reflecting the commitment of the original or classical liberals to a free society. Over the last century, the latter term has come to represent a political position that is willing to sacrifice liberty in the economic realm for the sake of equality and/or collective welfare. As a consequence, those who wish to reaffirm the classical version of liberalism – those who advocate liberty in economic as well as personal and intellectual matters (...) – have invented a new word from the old root; they call themselves libertarians. Both in doctrine and in etymology, then, partisans of this view define themselves by their allegiance to liberty. Yet they spend most of their day-to-day polemical energies defending property rights and the economic system of laissez-faire capitalism that is based upon such rights. Evidently there is a strong link between liberty and property at work here. What is that link? The history of political thought is full of ideas and controversies about precisely this question. My goal here is to raise the question in a specific form, one that I think captures a basic difference in approach between classical liberals and most libertarians today. The difference is not in the substance of the position – it is not a disagreement about how the ideal society would be constituted – but rather in the way the position is to be defended. The key question is: can the right to property be derived from the right to liberty? Of course a property right is a right to kind of freedom. (shrink)
David Kelley responds to Jonathan Jacobs' review of his The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand' Truth and Toleration in Objectivism ("A Contest of Wills," Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 2001). He argues that his goal was not to provide a technical treatise on Objectivism, but to focus on a debate within Objectivism. Toward the former end, he provides a brief bibliography of relevant technical treatments of Objectivist epistemology and ethics.
The High Line – a public park on a repurposed railway track in New York City – first opened to the public in 2009, and has been increasingly celebrated as a model public space, and as a democratic project directed by community. Artistic and amateur photographic practices have significantly informed the High Line’s design, landscaping, publicity, urban policy, use and constellations of community. This photo-conceptual essay critically considers the constitutive function of the photographic image, as photography produces, interpellates and defines (...) the public and public sphere of the High Line. However, these imaging practices have also taken increasingly regulated form, and endorse conservative forms of community, personhood and publicness. The new park’s imaging practices may be understood as supplementary to neoliberal forms of property accumulation, in fact diminishing public space even as they purport to represent it. Drawing from the historical avant-garde, feminist critiques of representation and anti-capitalist urban theory, the following photographic series critiques the High Line’s photographic apparatus, from within a practice of photography, and from a position within the field of contemporary art. (shrink)
David Kelley discusses the relationship between philosophy and sense of life and explains why he and William Thomas do not consider sense of life essential to the explanation of why art is a major human value, though it is essential to explaining how people create and experience art. Kelley also challenges the claim by Kamhi and Torres (in their article, "Critical Neglect of Ayn Rand's Theory of Art? Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 2000) that aesthetics, as a branch of (...) philosophy, is logically prior to ethics and on a par with epistemology in fundamentality. (shrink)
The operating assumption in mostdiscussions of health policy is that governmenthas some responsibility for the health of itscitizens and that it may legitimately tax,subsidize, and regulate its citizens in theexercise of that responsibility. On thisassumption, public obligations to HIV/AIDSpatients are a function of their needs inrelationship to other health needs. This paperchallenges the operating assumption by arguingthat it cannot be grounded in the obligationsthat individuals have to each other.The paper rests on its own assumption: themoral theory of individualism. On this (...) theory,individuals are ends in themselves who have theright to choose their own actions and uses oftheir resources; they do not have unchosenobligations to help others. In regard toHIV/AIDS patients, consequently, individualshave no duty to help, nor any other obligationbeyond that of respecting their rights; andthere is no valid basis for governmentregulations or subsidies on their behalf.The paper argues against the two approachescommonly used to defend a more expansive viewof individual obligations and the role ofgovernment. The first is the assumption ofwelfare rights to goods and services; thesecond is the assumption that distributivejustice requires some redistribution of healthcare resources. (shrink)