In his book from 1799 "Einleitung zu dem Entwurf eines Systems der Naturphilosophie" Schelling defines philosophy of nature (Naturphilosophie) as science of nature (Wissenschaft der Natur) a priori but emphasises nonetheless the importance of experience to develop such a science of nature. This raises the problematical question of how this science of nature as an science a priori that has concrete phenomena (Naturerscheinungen) as it's objects can be possible. In this text the author argues that it is Schelling's critical concept (...) of system respective systematicity of nature itself that allows him to develop a (philosophical) system of nature that for us might be known through experience but - as systematical knowledge - must be considered as necessary and therefor a priori. (shrink)
In this paper I develop a novel challenge for sceptical theists. I present a line of reasoning that appeals to sceptical theism to support scepticism about divine assertions. I claim that this reasoning is at least as plausible as one popular sceptical theistic strategy for responding to evidential arguments from evil. Thus, I seek to impale sceptical theists on the horns of a dilemma: concede that either sceptical theism implies scepticism about divine assertions, or the sceptical theistic strategy for responding (...) to evidential arguments from evil fails. An implication of is that sceptical theism is at odds with any religious tradition according to which there are certain claims that we can know to be true solely in virtue of the fact that God has told us that they are true. This result will render conceding unattractive to many sceptical theists. (shrink)
Perspectives on global warming Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-29 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9639-9 Authors Steven Yearley, ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AQ UK David Mercer, Science and Technology Studies Program, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia Andy Pitman, Climate Change Research Centre, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia Naomi Oreskes, Department of History, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0104, USA Erik Conway, (...) Caltech, 1200 East California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91125, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
Erik J. Wielenberg draws on recent work in analytic philosophy and empirical moral psychology to defend non-theistic robust normative realism, according to which there are objective ethical features of the universe that do not depend on God for their existence. He goes on to develop an empirically-grounded account of human moral knowledge.
In everyday life we often act adequately, yet without deliberation. For instance, we immediately obtain and maintain an appropriate distance from others in an elevator. The notion of normativity implied here is a very basic one, namely distinguishing adequate from inadequate, correct from incorrect, or better from worse in the context of a particular situation. In the ﬁrst part of this paper I investigate such ‘situated normativity’ by focusing on unreﬂective expert action. More particularly, I use Wittgenstein’s examples of craftsmen (...) (tailors and architects) absorbed in action to introduce situated normativity. Situated normativity can be understood as the normative aspect of embodied cognition in unreﬂective skillful action. I develop Wittgenstein’s insight that a peculiar type of aﬀective behaviour, ‘directed discontent’, is essential for getting things right without reﬂection. Directed discontent is a reaction of appreciation in action and is introduced as a paradigmatic expression of situated normativity. In the second part I discuss Wittgenstein’s ideas on the normativity of what he calls ‘blind’ rule-following and the ‘bedrock’ of immediate action. What matters for understanding the normativity of (even ‘blind’) rule-following, is not that one has the capacity for linguistic articulation or reﬂection but that one is reliably participating in a communal custom. In the third part I further investigate the complex relationships between unreﬂective skillful action, perception, emotion, and normativity. Part of this entails an account of the link between normativity at the level of the expert’s socio-cultural practice and the individual’s situated and lived normativity. (shrink)
Logical pluralism is the view that there is more than one correct logic. This very general characterization gives rise to a whole family of positions. I argue that not all of them are stable. The main argument in the paper is inspired by considerations known as the “collapse problem”, and it aims at the most popular form of logical pluralism advocated by JC Beall and Greg Restall. I argue that there is a more general argument available that challenges all variants (...) of logical pluralism that meet the following three conditions: that there are at least two correct logical systems characterized in terms of different consequence relations, that there is some sort of rivalry among the correct logics, and that logical consequence is normative. The hypothesis I argue for amounts to conditional claim: If a position satisfies all these conditions, then that position is unstable in the sense that it collapses into competing positions. (shrink)
It is tempting to think that, if a person's beliefs are coherent, they are also likely to be true. This truth conduciveness claim is the cornerstone of the popular coherence theory of knowledge and justification. Erik Olsson's new book is the most extensive and detailed study of coherence and probable truth to date. Setting new standards of precision and clarity, Olsson argues that the value of coherence has been widely overestimated. Provocative and readable, Against Coherence will make stimulating reading (...) for epistemologists and anyone with a serious interest in truth. (shrink)
One can (for the most part) formulate a model of a classical system in either the Lagrangian or the Hamiltonian framework. Though it is often thought that those two formulations are equivalent in all important ways, this is not true: the underlying geometrical structures one uses to formulate each theory are not isomorphic. This raises the question of whether one of the two is a more natural framework for the representation of classical systems. In the event, the answer is yes: (...) I state and sketch proofs of two technical results—inspired by simple physical arguments about the generic properties of classical systems—to the effect that, in a precise sense, classical systems evince exactly the geometric structure Lagrangian mechanics provides for the representation of systems, and none provided by Hamiltonian. The argument not only clarifies the conceptual structure of the two systems of mechanics, but also their relations to each other and their respective mechanisms for representing physical systems. It also shows why naïvely structural approaches to the representational content of physical theories cannot work. [Lagrange] grasped that he had gained a method of stating dynamical truths in a way, which is perfectly indifferent to the particular methods of measurement employed in fixing the positions of the various parts of the system. Accordingly, he went on to deduce equations of motion, which are equally applicable whatever quantitative measurements have been made, provided that they are adequate to fix positions. The beauty and almost divine simplicity of these equations is such that these formulae are worthy to rank with those mysterious symbols which in ancient times were held directly to indicate the Supreme Reason at the base of all things. (Whitehead , p. 63)1. Introduction2.Classical Systems3. The Possible Interactions of a Classical System and the Structure of Its Space of States4. Classical Systems Are Lagrangian5. Classical Systems Are Not Hamiltonian6. How Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Mechanics Represent Classical Systems7. The Conceptual Structure of Classical Mechanics. (shrink)
There are important structural similarities in the way that animals and humans engage in unreflective activities, including unreflective social interactions in the case of higher animals. Firstly, it is a form of unreflective embodied intelligence that is ‘motivated’ by the situation. Secondly, both humans and non-human animals are responsive to ‘affordances’ (Gibson 1979); to possibilities for action offered by an environment. Thirdly, both humans and animals are selectively responsive to one affordance rather than another. Social affordances are a subcategory of (...) affordances, namely possibilities for social interaction offered by an environment: a friend’s sad face invites comforting behavior, a person waiting for a coffee machine can afford a conversation, and an extended hand affords a handshake. I will review recent insights in the nature of the bodily intentionality characteristic of unreflective action. Such ‘motor intentionality’ can be characterized as “our direct bodily inclination to act in a situated, environmental context” (Kelly 2005, p. 106). Standard interpretations of bodily intentionality see grasping an object as the paradigmatic example of motor intentionality. I will discuss the implications of another, novel perspective that emphasizes the importance of unreflective switches from one activity to another (Rietveld 2004) and understands bodily intentionality in terms of adequate responsiveness to a field of relevant affordances. In the final section I will discuss some implications for cognitive neuroscientists who use empirical findings related to the ‘mirror neuron system’ as a starting point for a theory of motor intentionality and social cognition. (shrink)
In a seminal book, Alvin I. Goldman outlines a theory for how to evaluate social practices with respect to their , i.e., their tendency to promote the acquisition of true beliefs (and impede the acquisition of false beliefs) in society. In the same work, Goldman raises a number of serious worries for his account. Two of them concern the possibility of determining the veritistic value of a practice in a concrete case because (1) we often don't know what beliefs are (...) actually true, and (2) even if we did, the task of determining the veritistic value would be computationally extremely difficult. Neither problem is specific to Goldman's theory and both can be expected to arise for just about any account of veritistic value. It is argued here that the first problem does not pose a serious threat to large classes of interesting practices. The bulk of the paper is devoted to the computational problem, which, it is submitted, can be addressed in promising terms by means of computer simulation. In an attempt to add vividness to this proposal, an up-and-running simulation environment (Laputa) is presented and put to some preliminary tests. (shrink)
Within philosophy there is not yet an integrative account of unreflective skillful action. As a starting point, contributions would be required from philosophers from both the analytic and continental traditions. Starting from the McDowell-Dreyfus debate, shared Aristotelian-Wittgensteinian common ground is identified. McDowell and Dreyfus agree about the importance of embodied skills, situation-specific discernment and responsiveness to relevant affordances. This sheds light on the embodied and situated nature of adequate unreflective action and provides a starting point for the development of an (...) account that does justice to insights from both philosophical traditions. (shrink)
An energy condition, in the context of a wide class of spacetime theories, is, crudely speaking, a relation one demands the stress-energy tensor of matter satisfy in order to try to capture the idea that "energy should be positive". The remarkable fact I will discuss in this paper is that such simple, general, almost trivial seeming propositions have profound and far-reaching import for our understanding of the structure of relativistic spacetimes. It is therefore especially surprising when one also learns that (...) we have no clear understanding of the nature of these conditions, what theoretical status they have with respect to fundamental physics, what epistemic status they may have, when we should and should not expect them to be satisfied, and even in many cases how they and their consequences should be interpreted physically. Or so I shall argue, by a detailed analysis of the technical and conceptual character of all the standard conditions used in physics today, including examination of their consequences and the circumstances in which they are believed to be violated. (shrink)
A growing literature documents the existence of individuals who make a living by participating in phase I clinical trials for money. Several scholars have noted that the concerns about risks, consent, and exploitation raised by this phenomenon apply to many jobs, too, and therefore proposed improving subject protections by regulating phase I trial participation as work. This article contributes to the debate over this proposal by exploring a largely neglected worry. Unlike most workers, subjects are not paid to produce or (...) achieve anything but to have things done to them. I argue that this passivity is problematic for reasons of distributive justice. Specifically, it fails to enable subjects to realize what Gheaus and Herzog call “the goods of work”—a failure not offset by adequate opportunities to realize these goods outside of the research context. I also consider whether granting subjects worker-type protections would accommodate this concern. (shrink)
The E-Z Reader model (Reichle et al. 1998; 1999) provides a theoretical framework for understanding how word identification, visual processing, attention, and oculomotor control jointly determine when and where the eyes move during reading. In this article, we first review what is known about eye movements during reading. Then we provide an updated version of the model (E-Z Reader 7) and describe how it accounts for basic findings about eye movement control in reading. We then review several alternative models of (...) eye movement control in reading, discussing both their core assumptions and their theoretical scope. On the basis of this discussion, we conclude that E-Z Reader provides the most comprehensive account of eye movement control during reading. Finally, we provide a brief overview of what is known about the neural systems that support the various components of reading, and suggest how the cognitive constructs of our model might map onto this neural architecture. Key Words: attention; eye-movement control; E-Z Reader; fixations; lexical access; models; reading; regressions; saccades. (shrink)
A popular view of harming is the causal account (CA), on which harming is causing harm. CA has several attractive features. In particular, it appears well equipped to deal with the most important problems for its main competitor, the counterfactual comparative account (CCA). However, we argue that, despite its advantages, CA is ultimately an unacceptable theory of harming. Indeed, while CA avoids several counterexamples to CCA, it is vulnerable to close variants of some of the problems that beset CCA.
This paper challenges the view that bans on kidney sales are unjustifiably paternalistic, that is, that they unduly deny people the freedom to make decisions about their own bodies in order to protect them from harm. I argue that not even principled anti-paternalists need to reject such bans. This is because their rationale is not hard paternalism, which anti-paternalists repudiate, but soft paternalism, which they in principle accept. More precisely, I suggest that their rationale is what Franklin Miller and Alan (...) Wertheimer call ‘group soft paternalism’. Group soft paternalistic policies restrict the freedom of autonomous individuals, not for their own good (hard paternalism), but as an unavoidable consequence of seeking to protect other, non-autonomous individuals from harms that they have not voluntarily chosen (soft paternalism). Group soft paternalism supports prohibiting kidney sales on three conditions: (1) that such sales are potentially harmful to vendors, (2) that many vendors would suffer impaired autonomy, and (3) that distinguishing between autonomous and non-autonomous vendors and interfering only with the latter is unfeasible. I provide reasons for thinking that these conditions will often hold. (shrink)
We propose to understand social affordances in the broader context of responsiveness to a field of relevant affordances in general. This perspective clarifies our everyday ability to unreflectively switch between social and other affordances. Moreover, based on our experience with Deep Brain Stimulation for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) patients, we suggest that psychiatric disorders may affect skilled intentionality, including responsiveness to social affordances.
John Broome has argued that alleged cases of value incomparability are really examples of vagueness in the betterness relation. The main premiss of his argument is ‘the collapsing principle’. I argue that this principle is dubious, and that Broome's argument is therefore unconvincing. Correspondence:c1 Erik[email protected]
Suppose there is no God. This might imply that human life is meaningless, that there are no moral obligations and hence people can do whatever they want, and that the notions of virtue and vice and good and evil have no place. Erik J. Wielenberg believes this view to be mistaken and in this book he explains why. He argues that even if God does not exist, human life can have meaning, we do have moral obligations, and virtue is (...) possible. Naturally, the author sees virtue in a Godless universe as different from virtue in a Christian universe, and he develops naturalistic accounts of humility, charity, and hope. The moral landscape in a Godless universe is different from the moral landscape in a Christian universe, but it does indeed exist. Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe is a tour of some of the central landmarks of this under-explored territory. (shrink)
The ongoing ‘enhancement’ debate pits critics of new self-shaping technologies against enthusiasts. One important thread of that debate concerns medicalization, the process whereby ‘non-medical’ problems become framed as ‘medical’ problems.In this paper I consider the charge of medicalization, which critics often level at new forms of technological self-shaping, and explain how that charge can illuminate – and obfuscate. Then, more briefly, I examine the charge of pharmacological Calvinism, which enthusiasts, in their support of technological self-shaping, often level at critics. And (...) I suggest how that charge, too, can illuminate and obfuscate.Exploring the broad charge of medicalization and the narrower counter charge of pharmacological Calvinism leads me to conclude that, as satisfying as it can be to level one of those charges at our intellectual opponents, and as tempting as it is to lie down and rest with our favorite insight, we need to gather the energy to have a conversation about the difference between good and bad forms of medicalization. Specifically, I suggest that if we consider the ‘medicalization of love,’ we can see why critics of and enthusiasts about technological self-shaping should want (and in some cases have already begun) to distinguish between good and bad forms of such medicalization. (shrink)
In a seminal book, Alvin I. Goldman outlines a theory for how to evaluate social practices with respect to their “veritistic value”, i.e., their tendency to promote the acquisition of true beliefs in society. In the same work, Goldman raises a number of serious worries for his account. Two of them concern the possibility of determining the veritistic value of a practice in a concrete case because we often don't know what beliefs are actually true, and even if we did, (...) the task of determining the veritistic value would be computationally extremely difficult. Neither problem is specific to Goldman's theory and both can be expected to arise for just about any account of veritistic value. It is argued here that the first problem does not pose a serious threat to large classes of interesting practices. The bulk of the paper is devoted to the computational problem, which, it is submitted, can be addressed in promising terms by means of computer simulation. In an attempt to add vividness to this proposal, an up-and-running simulation environment is presented and put to some preliminary tests. (shrink)
In this article we move beyond the problematic distinction between ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ cognition by accounting for so-called ‘higher’ cognitive capacities in terms of skillful activities in practices, and in terms of the affordances exploited in those practices. Through ethnographic research we aim to further develop the new notion of skilled intentionality by turning to the phenomenon of the tendency towards an optimal grip on a situation in real-life situations in the field of architecture. Tending towards an optimal grip is (...) an inherently affective and dynamic phenomenon. It has been under explored in philosophy, despite its central place in Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology. When the architects experience discontent, attention is typically solicited by the affordances through which possible ways of continuing the improvement of the design can be explored. In various ways this tension or disequilibrium - fueling a tendency towards an optimal grip - is encountered in the complex architectural design practices that we observed. Based on our field material we distinguish between: a) grip in visual perception, b) grip on the design, and c) grip on ‘how to design’. The move towards an optimal grip takes shape by joining forces with a landscape of affordances. This landscape includes, for instance, affordances for grasping a cup of coffee, affordances provided by a cardboard model to improve it, as well as for engaging with a person who is not physically present. Because they are skilled, the architects can be responsive to these different affordances in similar ways. Furthermore, in practice the architects are responsive to multiple affordances simultaneously. Through our analysis of the tendency towards an optimal grip we show that our surroundings contribute to skillful action and cognition in a far more complex way than is currently acknowledged in philosophy and cognitive science. (shrink)
Epistemologists can be divided into two camps: those who think that nothing short of certainty or (subjective) probability 1 can warrant assertion and those who disagree with this claim. This paper addressed this issue by inquiring into the problem of setting the probability threshold required for assertion in such a way that that the social epistemic good is maximized, where the latter is taken to be the veritistic value in the sense of Goldman (Knowledge in a social world, 1999). We (...) provide a Bayesian model of a test case involving a community of inquirers in a social network engaged in group deliberation regarding the truth or falsity of a proposition $p.$ p . Results obtained by means of computer simulation indicate that the certainty rule is optimal in the limit of inquiry and communication but that a lower threshold is preferable in less idealized cases. (shrink)
In cognitive science, long-term anticipation, such as when planning to do something next year, is typically seen as a form of ‘higher’ cognition, requiring a different account than the more basic activities that can be understood in terms of responsiveness to ‘affordances,’ i.e. to possibilities for action. Starting from architects that anticipate the possibility to make an architectural installation over the course of many months, in this paper we develop a process-based account of affordances that includes long-term anticipation within its (...) scope. We present a framework in which situations and their affordances unfold, and can be thought of as continuing a history of practices into a current situational activity. In this activity affordances invite skilled participants to act further. Via these invitations one situation develops into the other; an unfolding process that sets up the conditions for its own continuation. Central to our process account of affordances is the idea that engaged individuals can be responsive to the direction of the process to which their actions contribute. Anticipation, at any temporal scale, is then part and parcel of keeping attuned to the movement of the unfolding situations to which an individual contributes. We concretize our account by returning to the example of anticipation observed in architectural practice. This account of anticipation opens the door to considering a wide array of human activities traditionally characterized as ‘higher’ cognition in terms of engaging with affordances. (shrink)
Many believe that objective morality requires a theistic foundation. I maintain that there are sui generis objective ethical facts that do not reduce to natural or supernatural facts. On my view, objective morality does not require an external foundation of any kind. After explaining my view, I defend it against a variety of objections posed by William Wainwright, William Lane Craig, and J. P. Moreland.
Neutral monism is a position in metaphysics defended by Mach, James, and Russell in the early twentieth century. It holds that minds and physical objects are essentially two different orderings of the same underlying neutral elements of nature. This paper sets out some of the central concepts, theses and the historical background of ideas that inform this doctrine of elements. The discussion begins with the classic neutral monism of Mach, James, and Russell in the first part of the paper, then (...) considers recent neo-Russellian versions in the second half. The chances for a revival of neutral monism are probably slight; its key ideas and starting points lie far from those in contemporary philosophy of mind. A better route might be through the philosophy of science and a deeper understanding of causation. (shrink)
In an attempt to shape the development of nanotechnologies, ethics policy programs promote engagement in the hope of broadening the scope of considerations that scientists and engineers take into account. While enhancing the reflexivity of scientists theoretically implies changes in technoscientific practice, few empirical studies demonstrate such effects. To investigate the real-time effects on engineering research practices, a laboratory engagement study was undertaken to specify the interplay of technical and social considerations during the normal course of research. The study employed (...) an ethnographic invention in the form of a decision model to structure reflection on ongoing social processes. A short series of interactions with one engineering researcher illustrates the deployment of the model in the form of an interview protocol. The cultural embedment of the protocol allowed it to function as a feedback mechanism, creating a more self-critical environment for knowledge production, and perturbing the system in research-tolerable ways. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, Federica Russo and Jon Williamson argue that an analysis of causality in terms of probabilistic relationships does not do justice to the use of mechanistic evidence to support causal claims. I will present Ronald Giere's theory of probabilistic causation, and show that it can account for the use of mechanistic evidence (both in the health sciences—on which Russo and Williamson focus—and elsewhere). I also review some other probabilistic theories of causation (of Suppes, Eells, (...) and Humphreys) and show that they cannot account for the use of mechanistic evidence. I argue that these theories are also inferior to Giere's theory in other respects. (shrink)
Every physical theory has two different forms of mathematical equations to represent its target systems: the dynamical and the kinematical. Kinematical constraints are differentiated from equations of motion by the fact that their particular form is fixed once and for all, irrespective of the interactions the system enters into. By contrast, the particular form of a system's equations of motion depends essentially on the particular interaction the system enters into. All contemporary accounts of the structure and semantics of physical theory (...) treat dynamics, i.e., the equations of motion, as the most important feature of a theory for the purposes of its philosophical analysis. I argue to the contrary that it is the kinematical constraints that determine the structure and empirical content of a physical theory in the most important ways: they function as necessary preconditions for the appropriate application of the theory; they differentiate types of physical systems; they are necessary for the equations of motion to be well posed or even just cogent; and they guide the experimentalist in the design of tools for measurement and observation. It is thus satisfaction of the kinematical constraints that renders meaning to those terms representing a system's physical quantities in the first place, even before one can ask whether or not the system satisfies the theory's equations of motion. (shrink)
Logical pluralism is the view that there is more than one correct logic. Most logical pluralists think that logic is normative in the sense that you make a mistake if you accept the premisses of a valid argument but reject its conclusion. Some authors have argued that this combination is self-undermining: Suppose that L1 and L2 are correct logics that coincide except for the argument from Γ to φ, which is valid in L1 but invalid in L2. If you accept (...) all sentences in Γ, then, by normativity, you make a mistake if you reject φ. In order to avoid mistakes, you should accept φ or suspend judgment about φ. Both options are problematic for pluralism. Can pluralists avoid this worry by rejecting the normativity of logic? I argue that they cannot. All else being equal, the argument goes through even if logic is not normative. (shrink)
Suppose that, for every possible event and person who would exist whether or not the event were to occur, there is a well-being level that the person would occupy if the event were to occur, and a well-being level that the person would occupy if the event were not to occur. Do facts about such connections between events and wellbeing levels always suffice to determine whether an event would harm or benefit a person? Many seemingly attractive accounts of harm and (...) benefit entail an affirmative answer to this question, including the widely held Counterfactual Comparative Account. In this paper, however, we argue that all such accounts will be unsuccessful. (shrink)
This article interrogates the relationship between two apparently disjointed themes: the consensual presentation and mainstreaming of the global problem of climate change on the one hand and the debate in political theory/philosophy that centers around the emergence and consolidation of a post-political and post-democratic condition on the other. The argument advanced in this article attempts to tease out this apparently paradoxical condition. On the one hand, the climate is seemingly politicized as never before and has been propelled high on the (...) policy agenda. On the other hand, a number of increasingly influential political philosophers insist on how the post-politicization of the public sphere have been key markers of the political process over the past few decades. We proceed in four steps. First, we briefly outline the basic contours of the argument and its premises. Second, we explore the ways in which the present climate conundrum is predominantly staged through the mobilization of particular apocalyptic imaginaries. Third, we argue that this specific presentation of climate change and its associated policies is sustained by decidedly populist gestures. Finally, we discuss how this particular choreographing of climate change is one of the arenas through which a post-political frame and post-democratic political configuration have been mediated. (shrink)