A standard way to challenge convergence-based accounts of inductive success is to claim that they are too weak to constrain inductive inferences in the short run. We respond to such a challenge by answering some questions raised by Juhl (1994). When it comes to predicting limiting relative frequencies in the framework of Reichenbach, we show that speed-optimal convergence—a long-run success condition—induces dynamic coherence in the short run.
In this essay I propose to explicate and defend a new and improved version of a Lockean proviso—the self-ownership proviso . I shall presume here that individuals possess robust rights of self-ownership. I shall take it that each individual has strong moral claims over the elements which constitute her person, e.g., her body parts, her talents, and her energies. However, in the course of the essay, I shall be challenging what I take to be the standard conception of self-ownership and (...) proposing an enrichment of that conception. The SOP is presented and in part justified as an implication of the right of self-ownership as it is more richly conceived—hence its designation as the self-ownership proviso. As an implication of the right of self-ownership which is also compatible, in theory and practice, with extensive and robust private property rights, the SOP is offered as an integral element of classical-liberal political theory. (shrink)
Was sind wir? Wie immer man sich zu dieser Frage stellt, eines scheint offenkundig: Wir sind Tiere, genauer gesagt: menschliche Tiere, Mitglieder der Art Homo sapiens. Dabei mag es überraschen, daß viele Philosophen diese vermeintlich banale Tatsache abstreiten. Plato, Augustinus, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant und Hegel, um nur einige herausragende zu nennen, waren alle der Meinung, wir seien keine Tiere. Es mag zwar sein, daß unsere Körper Tiere sind. Doch sind wir nicht mit unseren Körpern gleichzusetzen. Wir sind etwas (...) anderes als Tiere. Kaum anderer Meinung sind Denker nicht-westlicher Traditionen. Und rund neun von zehn Philosophen, die heutzutage über Probleme der personalen Identität nachdenken, vertreten Ansichten, die ausschließen, daß wir Tiere sind. (shrink)
We think of modern liberalism as the novel product of a world reinvented on a secular basis after 1945. In The Theology of Liberalism, one of the country's most important political theorists argues that we could hardly be more wrong. Eric Nelson contends that the tradition of liberal political philosophy founded by John Rawls is, however unwittingly, the product of ancient theological debates about justice and evil. Once we understand this, he suggests, we can recognize the deep incoherence of (...) various forms of liberal political philosophy that have emerged in Rawls's wake.--. (shrink)
There continues to be a vigorous public debate in our society about the status of climate science. Much of the skepticism voiced in this debate suffers from a lack of understanding of how the science works - in particular the complex interdisciplinary scientific modeling activities such as those which are at the heart of climate science. In this book Eric Winsberg shows clearly and accessibly how philosophy of science can contribute to our understanding of climate science, and how it (...) can also shape climate policy debates and provide a starting point for research. Covering a wide range of topics including the nature of scientific data, modeling, and simulation, his book provides a detailed guide for those willing to look beyond ideological proclamations, and enriches our understanding of how climate science relates to important concepts such as chaos, unpredictability, and the extent of what we know. (shrink)
This book focuses on the unity, diversity, and centrality of the notion of law as it is employed in Kant's theoretical and practical philosophy. Eric Watkins argues that, by thinking through a number of issues in various historical, scientific, and philosophical contexts over several decades, Kant is able to develop a univocal concept of law that can nonetheless be applied to a wide range of particular cases, despite the diverse demands that these contexts give rise to. In addition, Watkins (...) shows how Kant comes to view both the generic conception of law which he develops and its different particular instances as crucial components of his systematic philosophy as a whole. This volume's new and unified account of a major current running through Kant's work will be important for scholars interested in numerous aspects of his philosophy, from the theoretical and abstract to the practical and empirical. (shrink)
Here is a thoroughly updated edition of a classic in palliative medicine. Two new chapters have been added to the 1991 edition, along with a new preface summarizing where progress has been made and where it has not in the area of pain management. This book addresses the timely issue of doctor-patient relationships arguing that the patient, not the disease, should be the central focus of medicine. Included are a number of compelling patient narratives. Praise for the first edition "Well (...) written. . .should be read by everyone in medical practice or considering a career in medicine."---JAMA. "Memorable passages, important ideas, and critical analysis. This is a book that clinicians and educators should read."---New England Journal of Medicine. (shrink)
On October 1, 1988, thirty-five years after co-discovering the structure of the DNA molecule, Dr. James Watson launched an unprecedented experiment in American science policy. In response to a reporter's question at a press conference, he unilaterally set aside 3 to 5 percent of the budget of the newly launched Human Genome Project to support studies of the ethical, legal, and social implications of new advances in human genetics. The Human Genome Project, by providing geneticists with the molecular maps of (...) the human chromosomes that they use to identify specific human genes, will speed the proliferation of a class of DNA-based diagnostic and risk-assessment tests that already create professional ethical and health-policy challenges for clinicians. “The problems are with us now, independent of the genome program, but they will be associated with it,” Watson said. “We should devote real money to discussing these issues.” By 1994, the “ELSI program” had spent almost $20 million in pursuit of its mission, and gained both praise and criticism for its accomplishments. (shrink)
In this paper I offer three main challenges to James (2011). All three turn on the nature of philosophy and secure knowledge in Spinoza. First, I criticize James's account of the epistemic role that experience plays in securing adequate ideas for Spinoza. In doing so I criticize her treatment of what is known as the ‘conatus doctrine’ in Spinoza in order to challenge her picture of the relationship between true religion and philosophy. Second, this leads me into a criticism of (...) her account of the nature of philosophy in Spinoza. I argue it is less piecemeal and less akin to what we would recognize as ‘science’ than she suggests. Third, I argue against James's core commitment that Spinoza's three kinds of knowledge differ in degree; I claim they differ in kind. My argument will offer a new interpretation of Spinoza's conception of ‘common notions’. Moreover, I argue that Spinozistic adequate knowledge involves something akin to angelic disembodiment. (shrink)
Climate change and justice are so closely associated that many people take it for granted that a global climate treaty should--indeed, must--directly address both issues together. But, in fact, this would be a serious mistake, one that, by dooming effective international limits on greenhouse gases, would actually make the world's poor and developing nations far worse off. This is the provocative and original argument of Climate Change Justice. Eric Posner and David Weisbach strongly favor both a climate change agreement (...) and efforts to improve economic justice. But they make a powerful case that the best--and possibly only--way to get an effective climate treaty is to exclude measures designed to redistribute wealth or address historical wrongs against underdeveloped countries. In clear language, Climate Change Justice proposes four basic principles for designing the only kind of climate treaty that will work--a forward-looking agreement that requires every country to make greenhouse--gas reductions but still makes every country better off in its own view. This kind of treaty has the best chance of actually controlling climate change and improving the welfare of people around the world. (shrink)
My goal in this essay is to say something helpful about the philosophical foundations of deontic restraints, i.e., moral restraints on actions that are, roughly speaking, grounded in the wrongful character of the actions themselves and not merely in the disvalue of their results. An account of deontic restraints will be formulated and offered against the backdrop of three related, but broader, contrasts or puzzles within moral theory. The plausibility of this account of deontic restraints rests in part on how (...) well this account resolves the puzzles or illuminates the contrasts which make up this theoretical backdrop. (shrink)
It is impossible to hold patently contradictory beliefs in mind together at once. Why? Because we know that it is impossible for both to be true. This impossibility is a species of rational necessity, a phenomenon that uniquely characterizes the relation between one person's beliefs. Here, Eric Marcus argues that the unity of the rational mind--what makes it one mind--is what explains why, given what we already believe, we can't believe certain things and must believe certain others in this (...) special sense. What explains this is that beliefs, and the inferences by which we acquire them, are constituted by a particular kind of endorsement of those very states and acts. This, in turn, entails that belief and inference are essentially self-conscious: to hold a belief or to make an inference is at the same time to know that one does. An examination of the nature of belief and inference, in light of the phenomenon of rational necessity, reveals how the unity of the rational mind is a function of our knowledge of ourselves as bound to believe the true. Rational self-consciousness is the form of mental togetherness. (shrink)
This book offers a state-of-the-art introduction to the basic techniques and results of neighborhood semantics for modal logic. In addition to presenting the relevant technical background, it highlights both the pitfalls and potential uses of neighborhood models – an interesting class of mathematical structures that were originally introduced to provide a semantics for weak systems of modal logic. In addition, the book discusses a broad range of topics, including standard modal logic results ; bisimulations for neighborhood models and other model-theoretic (...) constructions; comparisons with other semantics for modal logic ; neighborhood semantics for first-order modal logic, applications in game theory ; applications in epistemic logic ; and non-normal modal logics with dynamic modalities. The book can be used as the primary text for seminars on philosophical logic focused on non-normal modal logics; as a supplemental text for courses on modal logic, logic in AI, or philosophical logic ; or as the primary source for researchers interested in learning about the uses of neighborhood semantics in philosophical logic and game theory. (shrink)
Eric Osborn's book presents a major study of Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, who attacked Gnostic theosophy with positive ideas as well as negative critiques. Irenaeus's combination of argument and imagery, logic and aesthetic, was directed to the bible. Dominated by a Socratic love of truth and a classical love of beauty, he was a founder of Western humanism. Erasmus, who edited the first printed edition of Irenaeus, praised him for his freshness and vigour. He is today valued for his (...) splendid aphorisms, his optimism, love of the created world, evolutionary view of history, theology of beauty and humour. Why have two millennia of European culture been so creative? Irenaeus points to Greek ways of thinking and the Christian Bible. Irenaeus's thought is complex, yet rewarding to the critical reader, and this full study of it will be of interest to theologians, historians of ideas, classicists, scientists and students. (shrink)
Presenting a comprehensive portrayal of the reading of Chinese and Buddhist philosophy in early 20th-century German thought, Chinese and Buddhist Philosophy in early Twentieth-Century German Thought examines the implications of these readings for contemporary issues in comparative and intercultural philosophy. Through a series of case studies from the late 19th-century and early 20th-century, Eric Nelson focuses on the reception and uses of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism in German philosophy, covering figures as diverse as Buber, Heidegger, and Misch. He argues (...) that the growing intertextuality between traditions cannot be appropriately interpreted through notions of exclusive identities, closed horizons, or unitary traditions. Providing an account of the context, motivations, and hermeneutical strategies of early twentieth-century European thinkers' interpretation of Asian philosophy, Nelson also throws new light on the question of the relation between Heidegger and Asian philosophy. Reflecting the growing interest in the possibility of intercultural and global philosophy, Chinese and Buddhist Philosophy in early Twentieth-Century German Thought opens up the possibility of a more inclusive intercultural conception of philosophy. - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/chinese-and-buddhist-philosophy-in-early-twentieth-century-german-thoug ht-9781350002562/#sthash.1lY6OTYj.dpuf. (shrink)
In his latest book, Eric Scerri presents a completely original account of the nature of scientific progress. It consists of a holistic and unified approach in which science is seen as a living and evolving single organism. Instead of scientific revolutions featuring exceptionally gifted individuals, Scerri argues that the "little people" contribute as much as the "heroes" of science. To do this he examines seven case studies of virtually unknown chemists and physicists in the early 20th century quest to (...) discover the structure of the atom. They include the amateur scientist Anton van den Broek who pioneered the notion of atomic number as well as Edmund Stoner a then physics graduate student who provided the seed for Pauli's Exclusion Principle. Another case is the physicist John Nicholson who is virtually unknown and yet was the first to propose the notion of quantization of angular momentum that was soon put to good use by Niels Bohr. Instead of focusing on the logic and rationality of science, Scerri elevates the role of trial and error and multiple discovery and moves beyond the notion of scientific developments being right or wrong. While criticizing Thomas Kuhn's notion of scientific revolutions he agrees with Kuhn that science is not drawn towards an external truth but is rather driven from within. The book will enliven the long-standing debate on the nature of science, which has increasingly shied away from the big question of "what is science?". (shrink)
How did the value of freedom become so closely associated with the institution of the market? Why did the idea of market freedom hold so little appeal before the modern period and how can we explain its rise to dominance? In The Invention of Market Freedom, Eric MacGilvray addresses these questions by contrasting the market conception of freedom with the republican view that it displaced. After analyzing the ethical core and exploring the conceptual complexity of republican freedom, MacGilvray shows (...) how this way of thinking was confronted with, altered in response to, and finally overcome by the rise of modern market societies. By learning to see market freedom as something that was invented, we can become more alert to the ways in which the appeal to freedom shapes and distorts our thinking about politics. (shrink)
An enduring question in the philosophy of science is the question of whether a scientific theory deserves more credit for its successful predictions than it does for accommodating data that was already known when the theory was developed. In The Paradox of Predictivism, Eric Barnes argues that the successful prediction of evidence testifies to the general credibility of the predictor in a way that evidence does not when the evidence is used in the process of endorsing the theory. He (...) illustrates his argument with an important episode from nineteenth-century chemistry, Mendeleev's Periodic Law and its successful predictions of the existence of various elements. The consequences of this account of predictivism for the realist/anti-realist debate are considerable, and strengthen the status of the 'no miracle' argument for scientific realism. Barnes's important and original contribution to the debate will interest a wide range of readers in philosophy of science. (shrink)
From the time of Locke, discussions of personal identity have often ignored the question of our basic metaphysical nature: whether we human people are biological organisms, spatial or temporal parts of organisms, bundles of perceptions, or what have you. The result of this neglect has been centuries of wild proposals and clashing intuitions. What Are We? is the first general study of this important question. It beings by explaining what the question means and how it differs from others, such as (...) questions of personal identity and the mind-body problem. It then examines in some depth the main possible accounts of our metaphysical nature, detailing both their theoretical virtues and the often grave difficulties they face. The book does not endorse any particular account of what we are, but argues that the matter turns on more general issues in the ontology of material things. If composition is universal--if any material things whatever make up something bigger--then we are temporal parts of organisms. If things never compose anything bigger, so that there are only mereological simples, then we too are simples--perhaps the immaterial substances of Descartes--or else we do not exist at all (a view Olson takes very seriously). The intermediate view that some things compose bigger things and others do not leads almost inevitably to the conclusion that we are organisms. So we can discover what we are by working out when composition occurs. (shrink)
This book examines the logical foundations of visual information: information presented in the form of diagrams, graphs, charts, tables, and maps. The importance of visual information is clear from its frequent presence in everyday reasoning and communication, and also in compution. Chapters of the book develop the logics of familiar systems of diagrams such as Venn diagrams and Euler circles. Other chapters develop the logic of higraphs, Pierce diagrams, and a system having both diagrams and sentences among its well-formed representations. (...) Syntax, semantics , rules of inference and soundness and completeness results are provided for each of the systems. In addition to developing the logic of diagrams, key questions about the status of visual information Hammer discusses, such as the relationship between the language and visually-presented information. (shrink)
To the student of the recent history of theological ideas in the West, it sometimes seems as though, of all the ‘new’ subjects that have been intro duced into theological discussion during the last hundred or so years, only two have proved to be of permanent significance. One is, of course, biblical criticism, and the other, the subject which in my University is still called ‘comparative religion’—the dispassionate study of the religions of the world as phenomena in their own right.
The periodic table of the elements is one of the most powerful icons in science: a single document that captures the essence of chemistry in an elegant pattern. Indeed, nothing quite like it exists in biology or physics, or any other branch of science, for that matter. One sees periodic tables everywhere: in industrial labs, workshops, academic labs, and of course, lecture halls. -/- It is sometimes said that chemistry has no deep ideas, unlike physics, which can boast quantum mechanics (...) and relativity, and biology, which has produced the theory of evolution. This view is mistaken, however, since there are in fact two big ideas in chemistry. They are chemical periodicity and chemical bonding, and they are deeply interconnected. The observation that certain elements prefer to combine with speciﬁc kinds of elements prompted early chemists to classify the elements in tables of chemical afﬁnity. Later these tables would lead, somewhat indirectly, to the discovery of the periodic system, perhaps the biggest idea in the whole of chemistry. Indeed, periodic tables arose partly through the attempts by Dimitri Mendeleev and numerous others to make sense of the way in which particular elements enter into chemical bonding. (shrink)
David Silver has argued that there is an illegitimate circularity in Plantinga's account of how a Christian theist can defend herself against the potential defeater presented by Paul Draper's formulation of the problem of evil. The way out of the circle for the theist, thinks Silver, would be by adopting a kind of evidentialism: she needs to make an appeal to evidence that is independent of the reasons she has for holding theistic belief in the first place. I shall argue (...) that Silver's argument is unsuccessful, mainly because he does not get Plantinga's thought right. Silver's confusion is in taking causes of belief as reasons for belief, and in failing to account for the impact of belief holism and our web of beliefs on the very hope for independent reasons. (shrink)
The Moral Foundations of Trust seeks to explain why people place their faith in strangers, and why doing so matters. Trust is a moral value that does not depend upon personal experience or on interacting with people in civic groups or informal socializing. Instead, we learn to trust from our parents, and trust is stable over long periods of time. Trust depends on an optimistic world view: the world is a good place and we can make it better. Trusting people (...) are more likely to give through charity and volunteering. Trusting societies are more likely to redistribute resources from the rich to the poor. Trust has been in decline in the United States for over 30 years. The roots of this decline are traceable to declining optimism and increasing economic inequality, which Uslaner supports by aggregate time series in the United States and cross-sectional data across market economies. (shrink)
Although much legal scholarship discusses the meaning of the religion clauses of the U.S. Constitution, very few articles analyze the ways in which state regulation affects actors' incentives to engage in religious behavior. Yet the question of how a law influences religious behavior is important for determining whether various laws are desirable, and whether they violate constitutional constraints. This article draws on recent economic models of religious organization to analyze the ways in which laws affect the behavior of religious groups. (...) Religious groups produce collective goods for their members, and the effect of laws can be analyzed by examining how they modify the payoffs members receive for cooperating or free riding. The article examines the use of laws to establish religious groups, to subsidize them with cash or tax benefits, to provide accommodations for them, to provide symbolic support for them, to provide secular substitutes for the collective goods they produce, and to regulate disputes between members. The article also briefly discusses the constitutional implications of the analysis. (shrink)
stefanie grüne takes issue with our claim that for an object to be given, this object must exist. On her view, givenness, according to Kant, does not require the existence of the object, but only its real possibility. She develops her critique in three steps. First, she argues that the reason why Kant requires objects to be given in intuition is that otherwise our concepts would not have ‘objective reality’ and would thus not constitute cognitions. But since the objective reality (...) of a concept corresponds to the real possibility of its object, this is supposed to show that givenness does not require existence. Second, she challenges our remarks on mathematical cognition, claiming that in the... (shrink)
Self-deception poses longstanding and fascinating paradoxes. Philosophers have questioned whether, and how, self-deception is even possible; evolutionary theorists have debated whether it is adaptive. For Sigmund Freud self-deception was a fundamental key to understanding the unconscious, and from The Bible to The Great Gatsby literature abounds with characters renowned for their self-deception. But what exactly is self-deception? Why is it so puzzling? How is it performed? And is it harmful? ...
Only by classifying things into kinds can we gain knowledge beyond memory and perception. Eric Funkhouser uncovers a logical structure that is common to many, if not all, classificatory systems, given by the determination dimensions of kinds. His account of multiple realizability provides standards for establishing the autonomy of the sciences.
Do you dream in color? If you answer Yes, how can you be sure? Before you recount your vivid memory of a dream featuring all the colors of the rainbow, consider that in the 1950s researchers found that most people reported dreaming in black and white. In the 1960s, when most movies were in color and more people had color television sets, the vast majority of reported dreams contained color. The most likely explanation for this, according to the philosopher (...) class='Hi'>Eric Schwitzgebel, is not that exposure to black-and-white media made people misremember their dreams. It is that we simply don't know whether or not we dream in color. In Perplexities of Consciousness, Schwitzgebel examines various aspects of inner life and argues that we know very little about our stream of conscious experience. Drawing broadly from historical and recent philosophy and psychology to examine such topics as visual perspective, and the unreliability of introspection, Schwitzgebel finds us singularly inept in our judgments about conscious experience. (shrink)
Introduction -- Sanctioning models : theories and their scope -- Methodology for a virtual world -- A tale of two methods -- When theories shake hands -- Models of climate : values and uncertainties -- Reliability without truth -- Conclusion.
A collection of quirky, entertaining, and reader-friendly short pieces on philosophical topics that range from a theory of jerks to the ethics of ethicists. Have you ever wondered about why some people are jerks? Asked whether your driverless car should kill you so that others may live? Found a robot adorable? Considered the ethics of professional ethicists? Reflected on the philosophy of hair? In this engaging, entertaining, and enlightening book, Eric Schwitzgebel turns a philosopher's eye on these and other (...) burning questions. In a series of quirky and accessible short pieces that cover a mind-boggling variety of philosophical topics, Schwitzgebel offers incisive takes on matters both small and large. A common theme might be the ragged edge of the human intellect, where moral or philosophical reflection begins to turn against itself, lost among doubts and improbable conclusions. The history of philosophy is humbling when we see how badly wrong previous thinkers have been, despite their intellectual skills and confidence. Some of the texts resist thematic categorization—thoughts on the philosophical implications of dreidels, the diminishing offensiveness of the most profane profanity, and fatherly optimism—but are no less interesting. Schwitzgebel has selected these pieces from the more than one thousand that have appeared since 2006 in various publications and on his popular blog, The Splintered Mind, revising and updating them for this book. Philosophy has never been this much fun. (shrink)
We often rely on others for guidance about what to do. But wouldn't it be better to rely instead on only your own solo judgment? Deferring to others about moral matters, after all, can seem to conflict what Enlightenment demands. In Guided by Voices, however, Eric Wiland argues that there is nothing especially bad about relying on others in forming your moral views. You may rely on others for forming your moral views, just as you can your views about (...) anything else. You can accept moral testimony without loss. Furthermore, there are several distinctive social goods attainable by being guided by what others say. Thus, it can be better to be guided by moral testimony than by your own moral lights. Wiland also argues that relying on others for moral advice has one advantage over relying on others for moral testimony. For when you trust your adviser's advice, you both thereby form a joint agent that can achieve autonomy, moral understanding, and morally worthy action. Sometimes taking another's advice is your only way to act well. Arguing against the presumption that moral reasoning is ideally done alone, Guided by Voices is the first book to significantly address both moral testimony and advice. (shrink)
Adam Smith was a famous economist and moral philosopher. This book treats Smith also as a systematic philosopher with a distinct epistemology, an original theory of the passions, and a surprising philosophy mind. The book argues that there is a close, moral connection between Smith's systematic thought and his policy recommendations.
Most philosophers writing about personal identity in recent years claim that what it takes for us to persist through time is a matter of psychology. In this groundbreaking new book, Eric Olson argues that such approaches face daunting problems, and he defends in their place a radically non-psychological account of personal identity. He defines human beings as biological organisms, and claims that no psychological relation is either sufficient or necessary for an organism to persist. Olson rejects several famous thought-experiments (...) dealing with personal identity. He argues, instead, that one could survive the destruction of all of one's psychological contents and capabilities as long as the human organism remains alive--as long as its vital functions, such as breathing, circulation, and metabolism, continue. (shrink)
Deontic Logic goes back to Ernst Mally’s 1926 work, Grundgesetze des Sollens: Elemente der Logik des Willens [Mally. E.: 1926, Grundgesetze des Sollens: Elemente der Logik des Willens, Leuschner & Lubensky, Graz], where he presented axioms for the notion ‘p ought to be the case’. Some difficulties were found in Mally’s axioms, and the field has much developed. Logic of Knowledge goes back to Hintikka’s work Knowledge and Belief [Hintikka, J.: 1962, Knowledge and Belief: An Introduction to the Logic of (...) the Two Notions, Cornell University Press] in which he proposed formal logics of knowledge and belief. This field has also developed quite a great deal and is now the subject of the TARK conferences. However, there has been relatively little work combining the two notions of knowledge (belief) with the notion of obligation. (See, however, [Lomuscio, A. and Sergot, M.: 2003, Studia Logica 75 63–92; Moore, R. C.: 1990, In J. F. Allen, J. Hendler and A. Tate (eds.), Readings in Planning, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, San Mateo, CA]) In this paper we point out that an agent’s obligations are often dependent on what the agent knows, and indeed one cannot reasonably be expected to respond to a problem if one is not aware of its existence. For instance, a doctor cannot be expected to treat a patient unless she is aware of the fact that he is sick, and this creates a secondary obligation on the patient or someone else to inform the doctor of his situation. In other words, many obligations are situation dependent, and only apply in the presence of the relevant information. Thus a case for combining Deontic Logic with the Logic of Knowledge is clear. We introduce the notion of knowledge based obligation and offer an S5, history based Kripke semantics to express this notion, as this semantics enables us to represent how information is transmitted among agents and how knowledge changes over time as a result of communications. We consider both the case of an absolute obligation (although dependent on information) as well as the (defeasible) notion of an obligation which may be over-ridden by more relevant information. For instance a physician who is about to inject a patient with drug d may find out that the patient is allergic to d and that she should use d′ instead. Dealing with the second kind of case requires a resort to non-monotonic reasoning and the notion of justified belief which is stronger than plain belief, but weaker than absolute knowledge in that it can be over-ridden. This notion of justified belief also creates a derived notion of default obligation where an agent has, as far as the agent knows, an obligation to do some action a. A dramatic application of this notion is our analysis of the Kitty Genovese case where, in 1964, a young woman was stabbed to death while 38 neighbours watched from their windows but did nothing. The reason was not indifference, but none of the neighbours had even a default obligation to act, even though, as a group, they did have an obligation to take some action to protect Kitty. (shrink)
The mainstream tradition in recent Anglophone Zhuangzi interpretation treats spontaneous skillful responsiveness – similar to the spontaneous responsiveness of a skilled artisan, athlete, or musician – as a, or the, Zhuangzian ideal. However, this interpretation is poorly grounded in the Inner Chapters. On the contrary, in the Inner Chapters, this sort of skillfulness is at least as commonly criticized as celebrated. Even the famous passage about the ox-carving cook might be interpreted more as a celebration of the knife’s passivity than (...) as a celebration of the cook’s skillfulness. (shrink)