This paper attempts to explain what a protest is by using the resources of speech-act theory. First, we distinguish the object, redress, and means of a protest. This provided a way to think of atomic acts of protest as having dual communicative aspects, viz., a negative evaluation of the object and a connected prescription of redress. Second, we use Austin’s notion of a felicity condition to further characterize the dual communicative aspects of protest. This allows us to distinguish protest from (...) some other speech acts which also involve a negative evaluation of some object and a connected prescription of redress. Finally, we turn to Kukla and Lance’s idea of a normative functionalist analysis of speech acts to advance the view that protests are a complex speech act constituted by dual input normative statuses and dual output normative statuses. (shrink)
G. E. M. Anscombe’s Intention, meticulous in its detail and its structure, ends on a puzzling note. At its conclusion, Anscombe claims that when he denied Jesus, St. Peter intentionally did what he intended not to do. This essay will examine why Anscombe construes the case as she does and what it might teach us about the nature of practical rationality.
The classical ethical questions of whether and to what extent moral criticism is a sort of rational criticism have received renewed interest in recent years. According to the approach that I refer to as rationalist, accounts of moral responsibility are grounded by explanations of the conditions under which an agent is rationally answerable for her actions and attitudes. In the sense that is relevant here, to answer for an attitude or action is to give reasons that at least purport to (...) justify it. To hold someone answerable for an attitude or action is thus to hold her rationally liable for it. T. M. Scanlon’s view is perhaps the most well-known example of this approach. The rationalist approach has recently been attacked by David Shoemaker for being too narrow: the charge is that attitudes exist for which an agent is responsible even though she cannot, in the relevant sense, answer for them. If there are morally significant attitudes that are attributable to an agent even though she cannot answer for them, then it would seem incomplete, misguided, or worse to treat morality as fundamentally a matter of demanding and giving reasons. By developing some remarks based on G. E. M. Anscombe’s _Intention_, I defend the rationalist approach against this critique. I show how an agent may be answerable for an attitude even though she cannot answer for it. The objective of this paper is thus twofold: to contribute to the discussion of the connection between rational liability and ethical responsibility, and to provide an example of the broad relevance of Anscombe’s thought to contemporary practical philosophy. (shrink)
Philosophers, political theorists, and the general public are increasingly concerned with the moral complexities of riots, especially those that occur in overtly political circumstances within democratic societies. Many believe the riots can play no constructive role in a democracy, but recently some theorists have argued that riots can be morally justifiable forms of political protest. To adjudicate this important issue, we think a better account is needed of the ways in which riots can be politically communicative, and this paper aims (...) to supply such an account. We start from the assumption that some riots are protests and then use speech-act theory to develop an account of the complex illocutionary logic of riotous protests. We argue that political riots, like all political protests, have a vocative element that is often overlooked. This element is what Martin Luther King Jr. pointed to when he described political riots as “the voice of the unheard” through which rioters demand recognition as equal participants in democratic decision making. An appreciation of the communicative structure of political riots, in particular their vocative dimension, provides a way of understanding the constructive role they can play in democratic deliberation. (shrink)
This article critiques the much-discussed notion of alief recently introduced by Tamar Gendler. The narrow goal is to show that the notion is explanatorily unnecessary; the broader goal is to demonstrate the importance of making explicit one's explanatory framework when offering a philosophical account of the mind. After introducing the concept of alief and the examples Gendler characterizes in terms of it, the article examines the explanatory framework within which appeal to such a concept can seem necessary. This framework, it (...) argues, is a generalization of the belief-desire account of action. Although Gendler introduces the notion of alief in an attempt to move beyond the belief-desire account, it argues that she nevertheless works within a generalized version of its explanatory structure. Once the framework is made explicit, we find no explanatory need that requires introducing the notion of alief into our account of the mind. (shrink)
The title of this essay describes its topic. I open by discussing the two-knowledges/one-object worry that Anscombe introduces through her famous example of the water-pumper. This sets the context for my main topic, viz., Anscombe’s remarks in _Intention_ on the similarities and differences between intentions and commands. These remarks play a key role in her argument’s shift from practical knowledge to the form of practical reasoning and in its subsequent shift back to practical knowledge. The remarks should be seen as (...) framing her account of practical reasoning’s distinctive logical form: they motivate the need for the account, and they then are then illuminated by the account in order to resolve the two-knowledges/one-object puzzle. I tackle these exegetical issues over the course of the essay, but my goals are not limited to exegesis. I think there are lessons both in the philosophy of mind and in ethics to be gleaned from a close study of these remarks on intentions and commands. Intentions, we discover, must not be understood as self-commands; once we see why, we can better understand Anscombe’s rather cryptic dismissal of Kantian ethics in "Modern Moral Philosophy ." The essay closes on this last point. (shrink)
This paper is a critical response to Mark Schroeder’s recent “The Ubiquity of State-Given Reasons.” In this essay, Schroeder claims that it is possible for a right-kind reason to bear on an intention without that reason bearing on the object of the intention. I examine Schroeder’s central argument for this claim and conclude that it does not deliver the result Schroeder desires. My critique turns on explicating and extending some of G. E. M. Anscombe’s remarks in Intention on the structure (...) of practical reasoning. (shrink)
In the past few years, the United States has seen violent street protests in response to police killing unarmed people of color, angry protests by university students concerned about the racist legacy of their institutions, and verbally disruptive protests inside rallies of the (then) Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump. Some of these acts of protest have been clearly legal, protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution; others, by contrast, have not, but may nevertheless be be defensible (...) acts of politically motivated disobedience. We are interested here in both legal and illegal acts of protest, but our focus here will be primarily on the latter, for the philosophical literature on protest has focused mostly on illegal cases. Elsewhere, we argue that a fruitful avenue for exploring these issues is to take a speech-act theoretic approach to them. In this paper we compare and contrast this approach with more prominent views of protest (viz., liberal and republican views of civil disobedience). Our goal is to explore the variety of ways in which political dissent, even when it is illegal, may be justified. (shrink)
This essay examines some of the institutional arrangements that underlie corruption in democracy. It begins with a discussion of institutions as such, elaborating and extending some of John Searle’s remarks on the topic. It then turns to an examination of specifically democratic institutions; it draws here on Joshua Cohen’s recent Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals. One of the central concerns of Cohen’s Rousseau is how to arrange civic institutions so that they are able to perform their public functions without (...) being easily abused by their members for individual gain. The view that Cohen sketches on behalf of Rousseau offers a clear framework for articulating institutional corruption in democracy. With this account of democratic institutions in place, the essay turns the discussion to the role of transparency in deterring institutional corruption. The basic thought here is perhaps unsurprising: to ensure that a democratic institution is serving its public function and not being manipulated for self-interested gain, its activities must be subject to public scrutiny, and so these activities must be transparent to the public. Saying this makes the role of transparency in a well-functioning democracy clear, but it does not settle how transparency is to be realized. The essay argues that transparency can be realized in a democracy only by an extra-governmental institution that has several of the familiar features of the press. If this is correct, it follows that in its design and in many, though not all, of its activities, WikiLeaks provides a contemporary example of such an institution. (shrink)
In spite of their materialist aspirations, both classical and neoclassical economic theories rely on non-material notions of value to explain market activity. André Orléan calls this commitment of orthodox economics "the substance hypothesis." In this essay, I show how the substance hypothesis mirrors Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's account of monads, which he called the "true atoms of nature." I argue that value is the atom of economic nature in orthodox economic theories. Like monads, it is a fantasy. The atom of economic (...) nature that governs our actual, material lives, I argue, is money. (shrink)
If Hume is correct that the descriptive and the normative are “entirely different” matters, then it would seem to follow that endorsing a given account of action-explanation does not restrict the account of practical normativity one may simultaneously endorse. In this essay, I challenge the antecedent of this conditional by targeting its consequent. Specifically, I argue that if one endorses a Humean account of action-explanation, which many find attractive, one is thereby committed to a Humean account of practical normativity, which (...) many find unattractive. The key to this argument is showing that the justificatory base of any anti-Humean normative view is a generic representation of ideal rationality, which precludes any such view from combining coherently with a Humean account of action-explanation. If my arguments are successful, they demonstrate a way in which one’s views in action theory can both limit and be limited by the ethical views one endorses. (shrink)
There is no consensus on the legitimacy of Chelsea Manning’s and Edward Snowden’s secret-revealing activities. Some see them as courageous acts of whistleblowing; to others they seem wanton acts of self-aggrandizement; still others find them traitorous acts of defiance. We can gain some clarity on these cases, I believe, if we consider them against the backdrop of Leslie Macfarlane’s “Justifying Political Disobedience.” After characterizing political disobedience, Macfarlane analyzes the possible justifiability of a politically disobedient act in terms of the act’s (...) aim, the political obligations it rejects, its means, and its consequences. I show how this analysis can be used, not as a formula for determining the justifiability of acts of political disobedience, but rather as a procedure to isolate and to order the considerations that bear on this justifiability. (shrink)
This volume puts leading pragmatists in the philosophy of language, including Robert Brandom, in contact with scholars concerned with what pragmatism has come to mean for the law. Each contribution uses the resources of pragmatism to tackle fundamental problems in the philosophy of language, the philosophy of law, and social and political philosophy. In many chapters, the version of pragmatism deployed proves a fruitful approach to its subject matter; in others, shortcomings of the specific brand of pragmatism are revealed. The (...) result is a clearer understanding of what pragmatism has meant and can mean across these tightly related philosophical areas. The book, then, is itself pragmatism in action: it seeks to clarify its unifying concept by examining the practices that centrally involve it. (shrink)
Graham Hubbs | : Philosophical accounts of self-deception have tended to focus on what is necessary for one to be in a state of self-deception or how one might arrive at such a state. Less attention has been paid to explaining why, so often, self-deceived individuals resist the proper explanation of their condition. This resistance may not be necessary for self-deception, but it is common enough to be a proper explanandum of any adequate account of the phenomenon. The goals of (...) this essay are to analyze this resistance, to argue for its importance to theories of self-deception, and to offer a view of self-deception that adequately accounts for it. The view’s key idea is that, in at least some familiar cases, self-deceived individuals maintain their condition by confusing a nonepistemic satisfaction they take in their self-deceived beliefs for the epistemic satisfaction that is characteristic of warranted beliefs. Appealing to this confusion can explain both why these self-deceived individuals maintain their unwarranted belief and why they resist the proper explanation of their condition. If successful, the essay will illuminate the nature of belief by examining the limits of the believable. | : Les explications philosophiques de l’auto-illusion ont eu tendance à mettre l’accent sur ce qui est nécessaire pour que quelqu’un soit considéré comme étant sous l’emprise de l’auto-illusion ou encore sur la façon dont quelqu’un parvient à un tel état. Moins d’efforts ont été dirigés vers les raisons pour lesquelles, si souvent, les individus sous l’emprise de l’auto-illusion opposent une résistance à l’explication véritable de leur condition. Cette résistance n’est peut-être pas essentielle à l’auto-illusion, mais elle est suffisamment courante pour constituer un explicandum approprié pour tout traitement adéquat du phénomène. Cet essai a pour buts d’analyser cette résistance, de défendre son importance pour les théories de l’auto-illusion, et de proposer une conception de l’auto-illusion qui en rend compte de manière adéquate. Cette conception repose sur l’idée suivante : au moins dans certains cas connus, les individus sous l’emprise de l’auto-illusion maintiennent leur condition en prenant la satisfaction non-épistémique qu’ils retirent de leurs croyances illusoires pour la satisfaction épistémique qui caractérise les croyances justifiées. C’est en faisant appel à cette confusion que l’on peut expliquer à la fois pourquoi ces individus conservent leur croyance infondée et pourquoi ils opposent une résistance à l’explication adéquate de leur condition. Si tant est qu’il y parvienne, cet essai éclairera la nature de la croyance en examinant les limites du croyable. (shrink)
This essay introduces the volume in which it is found. It explains how the essays of the volume belong to a single vista, one that ranges from metaethics to political philosophy, from a discussion of Hegelian recognition to an analysis of the Rwandan genocide. It articulates this explanation in terms of a variety of pragmatisms. The taxonomy it develops draws on Robert Brandom's recent discussions of pragmatism.
Cross-disciplinary scientific collaboration is emerging as standard operating procedure for many scholarly research enterprises. And yet, the skill set needed for effective collaboration is neither taught nor mentored. The goal of the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative is to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration. This book, inspired by this initiative, presents dialogue-based methods designed to increase mutual understanding among collaborators so as to enhance the quality and productivity of cross-disciplinary collaboration. It provides a theoretical context, principal activities, and evidence for effectiveness that will assist (...) readers in honing their collaborative skills. (shrink)
There is no shortage of scientists who are skeptical of the power of philosophy. Philosophers themselves have had similar reservations about philosophy, at least as it is typically studied and taught in universities. It can be easy enough to feel the force of these complaints, as it is not uncommon for academic philosophers to lose the forest for the trees. It doesn’t have to be this way. Philosophers can be better at explaining how their abstract theorizing bears on concrete problems, (...) and they can spend more time directly addressing these concrete problems. There are plenty of philosophers who acknowledge this, and many of them engage in research programs that do what we call engaged philosophy. The work of the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI) is part of this landscape. This chapter describes TDI’s engaged philosophy as practiced in its dialogue-based workshops with cross-disciplinary teams. (shrink)
It is common to think of the unauthorized copying of networked digital music as theft. This seems to presuppose that such music is a sort of private property. In this paper, I argue that networked digital music does not have the hallmark features of private property; instead, I argue, it is non-rivalrous and non-excludable and so is better understood as a public good. Coming to terms with this is important if we are to compensate musicians for their work.
Many technological advancements do not readily lend themselves to incorporation into a philosophy curriculum, but Wikipedia is an exception. Courses can be designed around implementing or improving Wikipedia pages, which will help students both learn technological skills and engage with the world beyond the classroom. In the fall of 2012 I led such a class, in which we created the Wikipedia page for (appropriately) Collective Intentionality. This essay recounts my experience leading this class, examines its pedagogical and philosophical import, and (...) provides a template for future classes. (shrink)
The topic of my dissertation is selfhood. I aim to explain what a self is such that it can sometimes succeed and other times fail at thinking and acting autonomously. I open by considering a failure of autonomy to which I return throughout the dissertation. The failure is that of self-deception. I show that in common cases of self-deception the self-deceived individual fails, due to a motive on his part, to be able to explain the cause of some belief or (...) action of his. There are several philosophical projects that arise when one reflects on this failure. They are presented by the following questions: what are our minds like, such that this failure is possible? For what should we criticize the self-deceived individual, given that he has a motivated lack of self-knowledge but does not know he is so motivated? Is the self-deceived individual epistemically criticizable for lacking explanatory self-knowledge in a way that he is not criticizable for lacking knowledge that would help him explain another's thoughts and actions? By answering these questions I provide an account of the rational unity that goes missing in self-deception and in the related phenomenon of epistemic akrasia. This unity can—and I argue, should—be present in bodily action as well. When a person acts without this unity, he acts in a weak-willed, akratic way. I provide an account of this disunity, which, when added to my account of the disunity of self-deception, reveals the rational unity of an autonomous agent, the rational unity of the self. (shrink)