Emma Borg examines the relation between semantics and pragmatics, and assesses recent answers to fundamental questions of how and where to draw the divide between the two. She argues for a minimal account of the interrelation between them--a 'minimal semantics'--which holds that only rule-governed appeals to context can influence semantic content.
Rights of Women attracted much UK media attention in late 2014 by bringing a judicial review that challenged the reduced provisions for family law legal aid available for victims of domestic violence: R v The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 35. In June 2015, within Rights of Women’s 40th anniversary year, Hannah Camplin interviewed the organisation’s Director Emma Scott about the decision to bring the judicial review, the advantages and challenges of the judicial review (...) process, and the experience of strategic litigation within the context of Rights of Women’s long history of campaigning for women’s rights. What emerged is a portrait of a feminist organisation in 2015, and, in a fast changing political and financial landscape, the dual importance of collaborative working and the need for flexibility in service provision and campaigning tools. (shrink)
Some demonstrative expressions, those we might term ‘bare demonstratives’, appear without any appended descriptive content (e.g. occurrences of ‘this’ or ‘that’ simpliciter). However, it seems that the majority of demonstrative occurrences do not follow this model. ‘Complex demonstratives’ is the collective term I shall use for phrases formed by adjoining one or more common nouns to a demonstrative expression (e.g. ‘that cat’, ‘this happy man’) and I will call the combination of predicates immediately concatenated with the demonstrative in such phrases (...) the ‘matrix’ of the expression. The question, then, is how we should construe the logical form of such expressions within a semantic theory for our language; and I wish to suggest that some recent answers to this question are, in fact, mistaken. The structure of the paper is as follows: first, I wish to highlight two (often underlying) assumptions about the nature of noun phrases in general, and suggest that, if they are both adopted, they apparently constrain the possible accounts of the logical form of complex demonstratives to just three options. The second and third parts of the paper will be concerned with expanding these options and arguing that none of them are adequate; thus the major part of the paper is concerned with the negative claim that the most obvious moves to make in this area must actually fail on closer inspection. The fourth and final section will then (very briefly) sketch the positive thesis of the paper: that we can deliver a clear and cohesive account of complex demonstratives, armed simply with elements which we will draw from David Kaplan’s theory of demonstratives, but only at the cost of rejecting (or at least refining) one assumption we recognised initially. (shrink)
In this article, we aim to map out the complexities which characterise debates about the ethics of vaccine distribution, particularly those surrounding the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. In doing so, we distinguish three general principles which might be used to distribute goods and two ambiguities in how one might wish to spell them out. We then argue that we can understand actual debates around the COVID-19 vaccine – including those over prioritising vaccinating the most vulnerable – as reflecting disagreements (...) over these principles. Finally, we shift our attention away from traditional discussions of distributive justice, highlighting the importance of concerns about risk imposition, special duties, and social roles in explaining debates over the COVID-19 vaccine. We conclude that the normative complexity this article highlights deepens the need for decision-making bodies to be sensitive to public input. (shrink)
Minimal Semantics asks what a theory of literal linguistic meaning is for - if you were to be given a working theory of meaning for a language right now, what would you be able to do with it? Emma Borg sets out to defend a formal approach to semantic theorising from a relatively new type of opponent - advocates of what she call 'dual pragmatics'. According to dual pragmatists, rich pragmatic processes play two distinct roles in linguistic comprehension: as (...) well as operating in a post-semantic capacity to determine the implicatures of an utterance, they also operate prior to the determination of truth-conditional content for a sentence. That is to say, they have an integral role to play within what is usually thought of as the semantic realm. Borg believes dual pragmatic accounts constitute the strongest contemporary challenge to standard formal approaches to semantics since they challenge the formal theorist to show not merely that there is some role for formal processes on route to determination of semantic content, but that such processes are sufficient for determining content. Minimal Semantics provides a detailed examination of this school of thought, introducing readers who are unfamiliar with the topic to key ideas like relevance theory and contextualism, and looking in detail at where these accounts diverge from the formal approach. Borg's defence of formal semantics has two main parts: first, she argues that the formal approach is most naturally compatible with an important and well-grounded psychological theory, namely the Fodorian modular picture of the mind. Then she argues that the main arguments adduced by dual pragmatists against formal semantics - concerning apparent contextual intrusions into semantic content - can in fact be countered by a formal theory. The defence holds, however, only if we are sensitive to the proper conditions of success for a semantic theory. Specifically, we should reject a range of onerous constraints on semantic theorizing (e.g., that it answer epistemic or metaphysical questions, or that it explain our communicative skills) and instead adopt a quite minimal picture of semantics. (shrink)
In work on the ethics of cognitive enhancement use, there is a pervasive concern that such enhancement will—in some way—make us less authentic. Attempts to clarify what this concern amounts to and how to respond to it often lead to debates on the nature of the “true self” and what constitutes “genuine human activity”. This paper shows that a new and effective way to make progress on whether certain cases of cognitive enhancement problematically undermine authenticity is to make use of (...) considerations from the separate debate on the nature of authentic emotion. Drawing in particular on Wasserman and Liao, the present paper offers new conditions that can help us assess the impact of cognitive enhancements on authenticity. (shrink)
In _Considering Emma Goldman_ Clare Hemmings examines the significance of the anarchist activist and thinker for contemporary feminist politics. Rather than attempting to resolve the tensions and problems that Goldman's thinking about race, gender, and sexuality pose for feminist thought, Hemmings embraces them, finding them to be helpful in formulating a new queer feminist praxis. Mining three overlapping archives—Goldman's own writings, her historical and theoretical legacy, and an imaginative archive that responds creatively to gaps in those archives —Hemmings shows (...) how serious engagement with Goldman's political ambivalences opens up larger questions surrounding feminist historiography, affect, fantasy, and knowledge production. Moreover, she explores her personal affinity for Goldman to illuminate the role that affective investment plays in shaping feminist storytelling. By considering Goldman in all her contradictions and complexity, Hemmings presents a queer feminist response to the ambivalences that also saturate contemporary queer feminist race theories. (shrink)
Scientists, philosophers, and policymakers disagree about how to define microaggression. Here, we offer a taxonomy of existing definitions, clustering around (a) the psychological motives of perpetrators, (b) the experience of victims, and (c) the functional role of microaggression in oppressive social structures. We consider conceptual and epistemic challenges to each and suggest that progress may come from developing novel hybrid accounts of microaggression, combining empirically tractable features with sensitivity to the testimony of victims.
Conflict framing is key in political communication. Politicians use conflict framing in their online messages and journalists in their political coverage. Conflicts can take a variety of forms and can provoke different reactions. However, the literature still lacks a systematic and theoretically-grounded conceptual framework that accounts for the multi-dimensionality of political conflict frames. Based on literature from political epistemology, political communication, and related fields such as psychology, we present four conceptual dimensions of political conflicts: the style ; the subject ; (...) whether it is about underlying moral/epistemic principles or not ; and whether it concerns a normative or factual issue. Results of a content analysis of newspaper articles and politicians’ tweets confirm the usage of these conflict dimensions in the Netherlands during a non-election period. Interestingly, most of the conflicts are civil, substantive, and do not highlight deep fundamental clashes. In light of the current societal concerns about the lack of respect in political debates and the deepening of our political divides, these findings can be considered encouraging. (shrink)
Microaggressions are seemingly negligible slights that can cause significant damage to frequently targeted members of marginalized groups. Recently, Scott O. Lilienfeld challenged a key platform of the microaggression research project: what’s aggressive about microaggressions? To answer this challenge, Derald Wing Sue, the psychologist who has spearheaded the research on microaggressions, needs to theorize a spectrum of aggression that ranges from intentional assault to unintentional microaggressions. I suggest turning to Bonnie Mann’s “Creepers, Flirts, Heroes and Allies” for inspiration. Building from Mann’s (...) richer theoretical framework will allow Sue to answer Lilienfeld’s objection and defend the legitimacy of the concept, ‘microaggression’. (shrink)
For more than fifteen years, Melissa Ann Pinney has been making photographs of girls and women, from infancy to old age, to portray how feminine identity is constructed, taught, and communicated. Her work depicts not only the rites of American womanhood—a prom, a wedding, a baby shower, a tea party—but the informal passages of girlhood: combing a doll's hair, doing laundry with a mother, smoking a cigarette at a state fair. With each view, we gain a greater understanding of the (...) connections between mother and daughter, and by extension the larger world of family, friends, and society. Pinney's approach to interpreting girlhood became more complicated and complex when her daughter, Emma, was born eight years ago. Emma's childhood evoked in Pinney her own girlhood and gave her work new meaning and purpose. Ultimately, Regarding Emma shares with all of us the incremental and the ritualistic changes that take place in a woman's life over time. Her photographs are artistic and social documents that reveal the subtle and bold aspects of feminine identity—documents whose reach will extend well beyond the walls of America's leading galleries and museums into the hearts and homes of everyday Americans. "Melissa Ann Pinney is making powerful art. In matters of light, color, and composition she is flawless. But these are not simply constructions of elements. These photographs bear witness to the speed at which the little girl becomes the old woman, to the fleeting, breathless beauty of childhood, to life itself, which leaves us stunned in its wake."—Ann Patchett, from the Foreword "Melissa Ann Pinney provides a compelling portrait of American girls as they make their way from infancy to adulthood. Using her daughter's childhood as a point of departure, she traces the complex terrain of adolescence and budding femininity. The results are photographs marked by empathy and grace."—Sylvia Wolf, Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City "These photographs by Melissa Ann Pinney impart a sense of the special and sacred everyday rituals we take for granted. She appreciates at once the transient nature of what she finds and its gravity. Her pictures describe so well the wonder, and beauty, and centrality of the things we know best and the people we see often."—Sandra S. Phillips, Curator of Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art "Melissa Ann Pinney's record of life with her daughter, Emma, adds a new and touching chapter to our knowledge of the lives of women and girls."—Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon and a staff writer for The New Yorker "Melissa Pinney's passionate, painstaking investigation of the stages of women's lives is impressive for its rigor and courage. Her themes aren't imposed on the pictures or on the women, men, and children who people them; instead, they arise from her attentive study of particularities— of the ways human lives are etched on the surfaces of faces and the positions of bodies in real spaces and places, mundane but radiant. When she turns from the lives of others to her own life, the shift is seamless but the volume swells, the emotions grow more pointed and the paradoxes more painful, joyous, and direct. This is remarkable work by an artist at the height of her powers."—Peter Bacon Hales, author of William Henry Jackson and the Transformation of the American Landscape. (shrink)
Philosophers often assume that folk hold pain to be a mental state – to be in pain is to have a certain kind of feeling – and they think this state exhibits the classic Cartesian characteristics of privacy, subjectivity, and incorrigibility. However folk also assign pains bodily locations: unlike most other mental states, pains are held to exist in arms, feet, etc. This has led some to talk of the ‘paradox of pain’, whereby the folk notion of pain is inherently (...) conflicted. Recently, several authors have rejected the paradox view, arguing instead that folk hold a univocal, bodily view. This paper presents six objections to the bodily view of the folk concept of pain. We then outline a direction for future research – the ‘polyeidic approach’ – whereby the folk notion of pain is held to encompass various divergent strands and we suggest that certain problems surrounding the treatment and communication of pain might be usefully be viewed through the lens of the polyeidic approach. (shrink)
A standard objection to so-called ‘minimal semantics’ is that minimal contents are explanatorily redundant as they play no role in an adequate account of linguistic communication. This paper argues that this standard objection is mistaken. Furthermore, I argue that seeing why the objection is mistaken sheds light both on how we should draw the classic Gricean distinction between saying and implicating, and how we should think about the key philosophical notion of assertion. Specifically, it reveals that these ideas are best (...) understood primarily in socio-linguistic terms. (shrink)
Understanding in Epistemology Epistemology is often defined as the theory of knowledge, and talk of propositional knowledge has dominated the bulk of modern literature in epistemology. However, epistemologists have recently started to turn more attention to the epistemic state or states of understanding, asking questions about its nature, relationship … Continue reading Understanding in Epistemology →.
'Knowledge-First' constitutes what is widely regarded as one of the most significant innovations in contemporary epistemology in the past 25 years. Knowledge-first epistemology is the idea that knowledge per se should not be analysed in terms of its constituent parts (e.g., justification, belief), but rather that these and other notions should be analysed in terms of the concept of knowledge. This volume features a substantive introduction and 13 original essays from leading and up-and-coming philosophers on the topic of knowledge-first philosophy. (...) The contributors' essays range from foundational issues to applications of this project to other disciplines including the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of perception, ethics and action theory. Knowledge First: Approaches in Epistemology and Mind aims to provide a relatively open-ended forum for creative and original scholarship with the potential to contribute and advance debates connected with this philosophical project. (shrink)
Machine Learning has become a popular tool in a variety of applications in criminal justice, including sentencing and policing. Media has brought attention to the possibility of predictive policing systems causing disparate impacts and exacerbating social injustices. However, there is little academic research on the importance of fairness in machine learning applications in policing. Although prior research has shown that machine learning models can handle some tasks efficiently, they are susceptible to replicating systemic bias of previous human decision-makers. While there (...) is much research on fair machine learning in general, there is a need to investigate fair machine learning techniques as they pertain to the predictive policing. Therefore, we evaluate the existing publications in the field of fairness in machine learning and predictive policing to arrive at a set of standards for fair predictive policing. We also review the evaluations of ML applications in the area of criminal justice and potential techniques to improve these technologies going forward. We urge that the growing literature on fairness in ML be brought into conversation with the legal and social science concerns being raised about predictive policing. Lastly, in any area, including predictive policing, the pros and cons of the technology need to be evaluated holistically to determine whether and how the technology should be used in policing. (shrink)
We report the results of a cross-cultural investigation of person-body reasoning in the United Kingdom and northern Brazilian Amazon (Marajó Island). The study provides evidence that directly bears upon divergent theoretical claims in cognitive psychology and anthropology, respectively, on the cognitive origins and cross-cultural incidence of mind-body dualism. In a novel reasoning task, we found that participants across the two sample populations parsed a wide range of capacities similarly in terms of the capacities’ perceived anchoring to bodily function. Patterns of (...) reasoning concerning the respective roles of physical and biological properties in sustaining various capacities did vary between sample populations, however. Further, the data challenge prior ad-hoc categorizations in the empirical literature on the developmental origins of and cognitive constraints on psycho-physical reasoning (e.g., in afterlife concepts). We suggest cross-culturally validated categories of “Body Dependent” and “Body Independent” items for future developmental and cross-cultural research in this emerging area. (shrink)
"[N]o matter how much of a coalition space this is, it ain't nothing like the coalescing you've got to do tomorrow, and Tuesday and Wednesday."This essay is a critical reflection on the centrality of coalitional politics for decolonial feminist philosophy. Decolonial feminisms emerge from multisited struggles with colonization and, as a result, are rich and heterogeneous.1 Thus, the starting point for decolonial feminists must be one that centers on coalitional politics. Women of color have long emphasized the importance of coalition (...) to collective struggle against a matrix of systems of oppression.2 However, the work of forging coalitions is just that, work. Indeed, the work of coalition building, as Bernice... (shrink)
Professional control in the selection of treatment options for patients is changing. In light of social and legal developments emphasising patient choice and autonomy, and restricting medical paternalism and judicial deference, this article examines how far patients and families can demand NHS treatment in England and Wales. It considers situations where the patient is an adult with capacity, an adult lacking capacity and a child. In all three cases, there is judicial support for professional autonomy, but there are also inconsistencies (...) that have potential to elevate the importance of patient and family preferences. In combination, they may be perceived by healthcare professionals as an obligation to follow patient preferences, even where doing so conflicts with other professional obligations. It is argued that a more nuanced approach to shared decision-making could help clarify the boundaries of decision-making responsibility. (shrink)
Background A topic of great concern in bioethics is the medical research conducted in poor countries sponsored by wealthy nations. Western drug companies increasingly view Latin America as a proper place for clinical research trials. The region combines a large population, modern medical facilities, and low per capita incomes. Participants from developing countries may have little or non alternative means of treatment other than that offered through clinical trials. Therefore, the provision of a valid informed consent is important. Methods To (...) gain insight about some aspects of the informed consent procedure in a major cancer centre in Mexico, we conducted a three-step evaluation process: 1) a ten point multiple choice survey questionnaires, was used to explore some aspects of the patients' experiences during the informed consent process, 2) researchers' knowledge about specific aspects of the informed consent was evaluated in this study using survey questionnaires; and 3) the comprehensibility, readability and number of pages of the consent forms were analysed. The socioeconomic and educational level of the patients, were also considered. Results were reported using a numerical scale. Results Thirty five patients, 20 doctors, and 10 individuals working at the hospital agreed to participate in the study. Eighty three percent of the patients in the study were classified as living in poverty; education level was poor or non existent, and 31% of the patients were illiterate. The consent forms were difficult to understand according to 49% of the patients, most doctors agreed that the forms were not comprehensible to the patients. The average length of the IC documents analysed was 14 pages, and the readability average score was equivalent to 8TH Grade. Conclusion The results presented in this work describe some relevant characteristics of the population seen at public health care institutions in Mexico. Poverty, limited or no education, and the complexity of the information provided to the patients may question the validity of the informed consent procedure in this group of patients. (shrink)
The biomedical industry relies on the skills of animal technologists to put laboratory animal welfare into practice. This is the first study to explore how this is achieved in relation to their participation in implementing refinement and reduction, two of the three key guiding ethical principles––the “3Rs”––of what is deemed to be humane animal experimentation. The interpretative approach contributes to emerging work within the social sciences and humanities exploring care and ethics in practice. Based on qualitative analysis of participant observation (...) within animal research facilities in UK universities, in-depth interviews with ATs, facility managers, and other stakeholders, and analysis of regulatory guidelines, we draw a contrast between the minimum required of ATs by law and how their care work not only meets but often exceeds these requirements. We outline how ATs constitute a key source of innovation and insight into the refinement of animal care and the reduction of animal use, hitherto not formally acknowledged. Exploring AT care work as an example of ethics in practice makes an original contribution to broader debates within health care and animal welfare about how technology, regulation, and behavior can foster and sustain a “culture of care”. (shrink)
Feminists have long argued that women who offend are judged by who they are, not what they do, with idealised images of femininity and motherhood used as measures of culpability. The ability to meet the expectations of motherhood and femininity are particularly difficult for women who experience a crisis pregnancy, as evident in cases where women have been convicted of concealment of birth. The offence prohibits the secret disposal of the dead body of a child, to conceal knowledge of its (...) birth. Traditionally used to prosecute women suspected of killing their newborn children, analysis of court transcripts suggests the offence is also used to punish women who fail to meet expectations of motherhood. This paper analyses three contemporary cases in light of the historical origins of the offence, illustrating the legacy of prejudice against ‘deviant’ mothers. Finally, it questions the continued existence of this archaic offence. (shrink)
Uncertainty around the role ‘super-spreaders’ play in the transmission and escalation of infectious disease is compounded by its broad and vague definition. It is a term that has been much used in relation to COVID-19, particularly in social media. On its widest definition, it refers to a propensity to infect a larger than average number of people. Given the biological, behavioural and environmental variables relevant to infectivity, this might be pertinent to almost any infected individual who is not physically isolated (...) from others. Nor is the term confined to individuals with a propensity to spread infectious disease: it can potentially be used to describe events, policies or settings. This article explores the use of the term and considers circumstances in which the wide definition can be problematic. One problem is that it can lead to undeserved apportionment of moral blame to alleged super-spreaders. Another is that it can detract from scientific investigation of the heterogeneity of COVID-19 transmission. The author calls for a clearer epidemiological definition. (shrink)
Microstructuralism in the philosophy of chemistry is the thesis that chemical kinds can be individuated in terms of their microstructural properties (Hendry in Philos Sci 73:864–875, 2006 ). Elements provide paradigmatic examples, since the atomic number should suffice to individuate the kind. In theory, Microstructuralism should also characterise higher-level chemical kinds such as molecules, compounds, and macromolecules based on their constituent atomic properties. In this paper, several microstructural theses are distinguished. An analysis of macromolecules such as moonlighting proteins suggests that (...) all the forms of microstructuralism cannot accommodate them. (shrink)
Literature in epistemology tends to suppose that there are three main types of understanding – propositional, atomistic, and objectual. By showing that all apparent instances of propositional understanding can be more plausibly explained as featuring one of several other epistemic states, this paper argues that talk of propositional understanding is unhelpful and misleading. The upshot is that epistemologists can do without the notion of propositional understanding.
Presenting fifty projects from French-born, New York-based contemporary artist Pierre Huyghe's twenty-year career, this richly illustrated book provides an overview of his work across film, installation art, and live event. Since the 1990s, Huyghe's work has challenged the status of the exhibition format. With projects like the One Year Celebration and the foundation in 1995 of the collaborative Association of Freed Time, Huyghe developed a particular interest in the relationship between time and memory--an interest that has carried through to his (...) works, Untilled and the three-part The Host and the Cloud. Most recently, his projects include an untitled piece for the Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany; Amidst Karlsaue Park's compost heap--an area detached from museums and cultural institutions and not intended to be seen--Huyghe installed common park objects from different moments in art history, as well as the Documenta in years past, from one of Joseph Beuys's uprooted oaks to Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster's pink bench. Published to accompany a major exhibition of Huyghe's work opening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in November 2014, this book offers the first comprehensive overview of the artist's career. The structure of the book brings to light Huyghe's creative process, with each step in the creation of featured projects amply illustrated with photographs, drawings, and preparatory sketches. (shrink)
ABSTRACT With a particular focus on the experience of young people in higher education, this paper turns to the philosophical work of Cora Diamond to open up new ways of conceptualising mental health. We claim that Diamond offers a compelling insight into that experience of human difficulty so often subsumed by a medicalised vocabulary. We propose that she offers philosophically astute perceptions of the related human attempts at deflection. And we situate this reading of Diamond against a broader understanding of (...) the contemporary university as a place of institutional darkness. In developing this general discussion, we place ourselves within a very particular context. We draw on the narratives of a number of third-level students in Ireland, who shared their experiences as part of a hermeneutic phenomenological study into the lived experience of mental health difficulties. (shrink)
Mirror neurons are neurons which fire in two distinct conditions: (i) when an agent performs a specific action, like a precision grasp of an object using fingers, and (ii) when an agent observes that action performed by another. Some theorists have suggested that the existence of such neurons may lend support to the simulation approach to mindreading (e.g. Gallese and Goldman, 1998, 'Mirror neurons and the simulation theory of mind reading'). In this note I critically examine this suggestion, in both (...) its original and a revised form (due to Iacoboni et al., 2005, 'Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system'), and argue that the existence of mirror neurons can in fact tell us very little about how intentional attribution actually proceeds. (shrink)
In this study, we analyzed the academic integrity policies of colleges in Ontario, Canada, casting a specific lens on contract cheating. We extracted data from 28 individual documents from 22-publicly-funded colleges including policies and procedures and code of conduct. We analyzed the characteristics of the documents from three perspectives: document type and titles; policy language; and policy principles. Then we examined five core elements of the documentation including access; approach; responsibility; detail; and support. Key findings revealed that specific and direct (...) language pertaining to contract cheating was largely absent from the policy documents, that underlying policy principles lacked clear definition, and that exemplary policy has yet to be developed in this context. We conclude with recommendations for increased policy research in the area of academic integrity and a call for policy revision in Canadian higher education institutions to more explicitly address the issue of contract cheating, as well as provide more support to students and other campus stakeholders to better understand how contract cheating impacts and impedes teaching and learning. (shrink)
This article advances the idea that shareholders who seek to influence corporate behaviour can be understood analytically as norm entrepreneurs. These are actors who seek to persuade others to adopt a new standard of appropriateness. The article thus goes beyond studies which focus on the influence of shareholder activism on single instances of corporate conduct, as it recognises shareholders' potential as change agents for more widely shared norms about corporate responsibilities. The article includes the empirical example of US internet technology (...) companies who, in their Chinese operations, face conflicts of norm systems in regard to freedom of expression on the internet. Shareholders have been active in seeking to persuade these companies to adopt a norm of adhering to global standards for human rights over restrictions implied by authoritarian regimes to which they deliver services. (shrink)
Epistemic paternalism is the thesis that a paternalistic interference with an individual's inquiry is justified when it is likely to bring about an epistemic improvement in her. In this article I claim that in order to motivate epistemic paternalism we must first account for the value of epistemic improvements. I propose that the epistemic paternalist has two options: either epistemic improvements are valuable because they contribute to wellbeing, or they are epistemically valuable. I will argue that these options constitute the (...) foundations of a dilemma: either epistemic paternalism collapses into general paternalism, or a distinctive project of justified epistemic paternalism is implausible. (shrink)
This paper is based on ethnographic research of data practices in a public health project called Weather Health and Air Pollution. I examine two different kinds of practices that make air pollution data, focusing on how they relate to particular modes of sensing and articulating air pollution. I begin by describing the interstitial spaces involved in making measurements of air pollution at monitoring sites and in the running of a computer simulation. Specifically, I attend to a shared dimension of these (...) practices, the checking of a numerical reading for error. Checking a measurement for error is routine practice and a fundamental component of making data, yet these are also moments of interpretation, where the form and meaning of numbers are ambiguous. Through two case studies of modelling and monitoring data practices, I show that making a ‘good’ measurement requires developing a feeling for the instrument–air pollution interaction in terms of the intended functionality of the measurements made. These affective dimensions of practice are useful analytically, making explicit the interaction of standardised ways of knowing and embodied skill in stabilising data. I suggest that environmental data practices can be studied through researchers’ materialisation of error, which complicate normative accounts of Big Data and highlight the non-linear and entangled relations that are at work in the making of stable, accurate data. (shrink)
‘Pragmaticist’ positions posit a three-way division within utterance content between: the standing meaning of the sentence, a somewhat pragmatically enhanced meaning which captures what the speaker explicitly conveys, and further indirectly conveyed propositions which the speaker merely implies. Here I re-examine the notion of an explicature, asking how it is defined and what work explicatures are supposed to do. I argue that explicatures get defined in three different ways and that these distinct definitions can and do pull apart. Thus the (...) notion of an explicature turns out to be ill-defined. (shrink)