The underdetermination of scientific theory choice by evidence is a familiar but multifaceted concept in the philosophy of science. I answer two pressing questions about underdetermination: “What is underdetermination?” and “Why should we care about underdetermination?” To answer the first question, I provide a general definition of underdetermination, identify four forms of underdetermination, and discuss major criticisms of each form. To answer the second question, I then survey two common uses of underdetermination in broader arguments against scientific realism and in (...) support of the use of values in scientific theory choice. I conclude that philosophers should also care about underdetermination because it impacts scientists in their practice. (shrink)
In discussions of religious disagreement, some epistemologists have suggested that religious disagreement is distinctive. More specifically, they have argued that religious disagreement has certain features which make it possible for theists to resist conciliatory arguments that they must adjust their religious beliefs in response to finding that peers disagree with them. I consider what I take to be the two most prominent features which are claimed to make religious disagreement distinct: religious evidence and evaluative standards in religious contexts. I argue (...) that these two features fail to distinguish religious disagreement in the ways they have been taken to. However, I show that the view that religious disagreement is not a unique form of disagreement makes religious disagreement less, rather than more, worrisome to the theist who would prefer to rationally remain steadfast in her religious beliefs. (shrink)
We provide a novel defense of the possibility of level-splitting beliefs and use this defense to show that the steadfast response to peer disagreement is not, as it is often claimed to be, unnecessarily dogmatic. To provide this defense, a neglected form of moral disagreement is analysed. Within the context of this particular kind of moral disagreement, a similarly neglected form of level-splitting belief is identified and then defended from critics of the rationality of level-splitting beliefs. The chapter concludes by (...) showing that proponents of the steadfast response to peer disagreement can adopt this form of level-splitting belief in the context of these moral disagreements while exemplifying intellectual humility, rather than dogmatism. (shrink)
Permissivism is the thesis that, for some body of evidence and a proposition p, there is more than one rational doxastic attitude any agent with that evidence can take toward p. Proponents of uniqueness deny permissivism, maintaining that every body of evidence always determines a single rational doxastic attitude. In this paper, we explore the debate between permissivism and uniqueness about evidence, outlining some of the major arguments on each side. We then consider how permissivism can be understood as an (...) underdetermination thesis, and show how this moves the debate forward in fruitful ways: in distinguishing between different types of permissivism, in dispelling classic objections to permissivism, and in shedding light on the relationship between permissivism and evidentialism. (shrink)
Most philosophical discussions of disagreement have used idealized disagreements to draw conclusions about the nature of disagreement. I closely examine an actual, non-idealized disagreement in dinosaur paleobiology and show that it can not only teach us about the features of some of our real world disagreements, but can help us to argue for the possibility of reasonable real world disagreement.
I provide a critical review of Moti Mizrahi's The Relativity of Theory, expounding on the book's strengths and then providing an extended argument that Mizrahi mischaracterizes the epistemic attitude of concern to antirealism about science as well as the practical stakes involved in adopting the antirealist position.
I’m grateful to Aleta Quinn and Studies in History and Philosophy of Science for hosting this book forum for my book, The Relativity of Theory (Springer, 2020). I’m also grateful to MargaretGreta Turnbull and Joseph Martin for their commentaries. In what follows, I address their comments as I understand them.
Margaret Gilbert offers an incisive new approach to a classic problem of political philosophy: when and why should I do what the law tells me to do? Do I have special obligations to conform to the laws of my own country and if so, why? In what sense, if any, must I fight in wars in which my country is engaged, if ordered to do so, or suffer the penalty for law-breaking the law imposes - including the death penalty? (...) Gilbert's accessible book offers a provocative and compelling case in favour of citizens' obligations to the state, while examining how these can be squared with self-interest and other competing considerations. (shrink)
Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein had an enormous influence on twentieth-century philosophy even though only one of his works, the famous Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, was published in his lifetime. Beyond this publication the impact of his thought was mainly conveyed to a small circle of students through his lectures at Cambridge University. Fortunately, many of his ideas have survived in both the dictations that were subsequently published, and the notes taken by his students, among them Alice Ambrose and the late Margaret Macdonald, (...) from 1932 to 1935. These notes, now edited by Professor Ambrose, are here published, and they shed much light on Wittgenstein's philosophical development. Among the topics considered are the meaning of a word and its relation to common usage, rules of grammar and their relation to fact, the grammar of first person statements, language games, and the nature of philosophy. This volume is indispensable to any serious discussion of Wittgenstein's work. (shrink)
Although many ecofeminists acknowledge heterosexism as a problem, a systematic exploration of the potential intersections of ecofeminist and queer theories has yet to be made. By interrogating social constructions of the "natural," the various uses of Christianity as a logic of domination, and the rhetoric of colonialism, this essay finds those theoretical intersections and argues for the importance of developing a queer ecofeminism.
One of the hallmarks of Kantian philosophy, especially in connection with its characterization of scientific knowledge, is the importance of unity, a theme that is also the driving force behind a good deal of contemporary high energy physics. There are a variety of ways that unity figures in modern science—there is unity of method where the same kinds of mathematical techniques are used in different sciences, like physics and biology; the search for unified theories like the unification of electromagnetism and (...) optics by Maxwell; and, more recently, the project of grand unification or the quest for a theory of everything which involves a reduction of the four fundamental forces under the umbrella of a single theory. In this latter case it is thought that when energies are high enough, the forces, while very different in strength, range and the types of particles on which they act, become one and the same force. The fact that these interactions are known to have many underlying mathematical features in common suggests that they can all be described by a unified field theory. Such a theory describes elementary particles in terms of force fields which further unifies all the interactions by treating particles and interactions in a technically and conceptually similar way. It is this theoretical framework that allows for the prediction that measurements made at a certain energy level will supposedly indicate that there is only one type of force. In other words, not only is there an ontological reduction of the forces themselves but the mathematical framework used to describe the fields associated with these forces facilitates their description in a unified theory. Specific types of symmetries serve an important function in establishing these kinds of unity, not only in the construction of quantum field theories but also in the classification of particles; classifications that can lead to new predictions and new ways of understanding properties like quantum numbers. Hence, in order to address issues about unification and reduction in contemporary physics we must also address the way that symmetries facilitate these processes. (shrink)
Religion has in the past, it may be truefully admitted, done more than its share of fostering the spirit of ‘we’ over against ‘they’. Economic and political factors have unfortunately, throughout history, clogged the channels of communication between men of one faith and those of another. The most unhappy aspect of the relation between religion and society has been the way in which the former has fostered the distinction between the insider and the outsider. Typical of this is the fact (...) that most religious communities have a word which describes the religious outsider and the word is never a flattering one. That there should be religious diversity in the first place should occasion no surprise. Diversification is the order of things in the biological realm and we would not expect to find a sudden departure from this, that is, a move towards convergence, in the sphere of religion. But unless diversification is matched with understanding and with communication we face the future at our peril. It is for this reason that the question of inter-religious communication, the ground of its possibility, can be regarded not only as the most pressing of problems for the student of comparative religion but as a matter of pressing urgency for all. (shrink)
This new essay collection by distinguished philosopher Margaret Gilbert provides a richly textured argument for the importance of joint commitment in our personal and public lives. Topics covered by this diverse range of essays range from marital love to patriotism, from promissory obligation to the unity of the European Union.
Humanity and the very notion of the human subject are under threat from postmodernist thinking which has declared not only the 'Death of God' but also the 'Death of Man'. This book is a revindication of the concept of humanity, rejecting contemporary social theory that seeks to diminish human properties and powers. Archer argues that being human depends on an interaction with the real world in which practice takes primacy over language in the emergence of human self-consciousness, thought, emotionality and (...) personal identity - all of which are prior to, and more basic than, our acquisition of a social identity. This original and provocative new book from leading social theorist Margaret S. Archer builds on the themes explored in her previous books Culture and Agency (CUP 1988) and Realist Social Theory (CUP 1995). It will be required reading for academics and students of social theory, cultural theory, political theory, philosophy and theology. (shrink)
Margaret Canovan argues in this book that much of the published work on Arendt has been flawed by serious misunderstandings, arising from a failure to see her work in its proper context. The author shows how such misunderstanding was possible, and offers a fundamental reinterpretation, drawing on Arendt's unpublished as well as her published work, which sheds new light on most areas of her thought.
One of the most distinguished living social philosophers, Margaret Gilbert develops and extends her application of plural subject theory of human sociality, first introduced in her earlier works On Social Facts and Living Together. Sociality and Responsibility presents an extended discussion of her proposal that joint commitments inherently involve obligations and rights, proposing, in effect, a new theory of obligations and rights. In addition, it demonstrates the extensive range and fruitfulness of plural subject theory by presenting accounts of social (...) rules, scientific change, political obligation, collective remorse, collective guilt, shared intention and an important class of rights and obligations. (shrink)
How is it possible to think new thoughts? What is creativity and can science explain it? And just how did Coleridge dream up the creatures of The Ancient Mariner? When The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms was first published, Margaret A. Boden's bold and provocative exploration of creativity broke new ground. Boden uses examples such as jazz improvisation, chess, story writing, physics, and the music of Mozart, together with computing models from the field of artificial intelligence to uncover the (...) nature of human creativity in the arts. The second edition of The Creative Mind has been updated to include recent developments in artificial intelligence, with a new preface, introduction and conclusion by the author. It is an essential work for anyone interested in the creativity of the human mind. (shrink)
: Antiracist white feminists and ecofeminists have the tools but lack the strategies for responding to issues of social and environmental justice cross-culturally, particularly in matters as complex as the Makah whale hunt. Distinguishing between ethical contexts and contents, I draw on feminist critiques of cultural essentialism, ecofeminist critiques of hunting and food consumption, and socialist feminist analyses of colonialism to develop antiracist feminist and ecofeminist strategies for cross-cultural communication and cross-cultural feminist ethics.
Antiracist white feminists and ecofeminists have the tools but lack the strategies for responding to issues of social and environmental justice cross-culturally, particularly in matters as complex as the Makah whale hunt. Distinguishing between ethical contexts and contents, I draw on feminist critiques of cultural essentialism, ecofeminist critiques of hunting and food consumption, and socialist feminist analyses of colonialism to develop antiracist feminist and ecofeminist strategies for cross-cultural communication and cross-cultural feminist ethics.
This paper argues for a methodological point that bears on a relatively long-standing debate concerning collective beliefs in the sense elaborated by Margaret Gilbert: are they cases of belief or rather of acceptance? It is argued that epistemological accounts and distinctions developed in individual epistemology on the basis of considering the individual case are not necessarily applicable to the collective case or, more generally, uncritically to be adopted in collective epistemology.
Margaret Gilbert presents the first full-length treatment of a central class of rights: demand-rights. To have such a right is to have the standing or authority to demand a particular action of another person. Gilbert argues that joint commitment is a ground of demand-rights, and gives joint commitment accounts of both agreements and promises.
Moral Repair examines the ethics and moral psychology of responses to wrongdoing. Explaining the emotional bonds and normative expectations that keep human beings responsive to moral standards and responsible to each other, Margaret Urban Walker uses realistic examples of both personal betrayal and political violence to analyze how moral bonds are damaged by serious wrongs and what must be done to repair the damage. Focusing on victims of wrong, their right to validation, and their sense of justice, Walker presents (...) a unified and detailed philosophical account of hope, trust, resentment, forgiveness, and making amends - the emotions and practices that sustain moral relations. Moral Repair joins a multidisciplinary literature concerned with transitional and restorative justice, reparations, and restoring individual dignity and mutual trust in the wake of serious wrongs. (shrink)
Margaret Whitford's study provides the ideal introduction to Irigaray's thought, offering a sustained interpretation of her whole corpus, including previously untranslated French texts. Whitford suggests that Irigaray's work should be seen as "philosophy in the feminine," actively opposing the complicity of philosophy with other social practices which exclude or marginalize women.
The everyday concept of a social group is approached by examining the concept of going for a walk together, an example of doing something together, or "shared action". Two analyses requiring shared personal goals are rejected, since they fail to explain how people walking together have obligations and rights to appropriate behavior, and corresponding rights of rebuke. An alternative account is proposed: those who walk together must constitute the "plural subject" of a goal. The nature of plural subjecthood, the thesis (...) that social groups are plural subjects, and the relation of these ideas to Rousseau's and Hobbes 's, are briefly explored. (shrink)
MARGARET LYNN SCHABAS (Toronto, 1954) is professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and served as the head of the Philosophy Department from 2004-2009. She has held professoriate positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at York University, and has also taught as a visiting professor at Michigan State University, University of Colorado-Boulder, Harvard, CalTech, the Sorbonne, and the École Normale de Cachan. As the recipient of several fellowships, she has enjoyed visiting terms at Stanford, (...) Duke, MIT, Cambridge, the LSE, and the MPI-Berlin. In addition to her doctorate in the history and philosophy of science and technology (Toronto 1983), she holds a bachelor of science in music (oboe) and the philosophy of science (Indiana 1976), a master’s degree in the history and philosophy of science (Indiana 1977), and a master’s degree in economics (Michigan1985). -/- She has published four books and over forty articles or book chapters in science studies. Some of the journals in which her articles can be found are Isis, Monist, History of Political Economy, Public Affairs Quarterly, Daedaelus, Journal of Economic Perspectives, and Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science. Her first book, A world ruled by number (1990) examines the emergence of mathematical economics in the second half of the nineteenth century. Her second book, The natural origins of economics (2005), traces the transformation of economics from a natural to a social science. She also has two co-edited collections, Oeconomies in the age of Newton (2003), with Neil De Marchi, and David Hume’s political economy (2008), with Carl Wennerlind. She is currently writing a monograph on Hume’s economics, as well as articles on the history and philosophy of bioeconomics. She is currently president of the History of Economics Society. -/- EJPE interviewed Margaret Schabas at the University of British Columbia in March 2013. In this interview, she recounts her earliest foray into the history and philosophy of economics, the conceptual trade between economics and natural science, and her most recent undertaking: the history and philosophy of bioeconomics. (shrink)
In a compelling chronicle of her search to understand Beauvoir's philosophy in The Second Sex, Margaret A. Simons offers a unique perspective on Beauvoir's wide-ranging contribution to twentieth-century thought. She details the discovery of the origins of Beauvoir's existential philosophy in her handwritten diary from 1927; uncovers evidence of the sexist exclusion of Beauvoir from the philosophical canon; reveals evidence that the African-American writer Richard Wright provided Beauvoir with the theoretical model of oppression that she used in The Second (...) Sex; shows the influence of The Second Sex in transforming Sartre's philosophy and in laying the theoretical foundations of radical feminism; and addresses feminist issues of racism, motherhood, and lesbian identity. Simons also draws on her experience as a Women's Liberation organizer as she witnessed how women used The Second Sex in defining the foundations of radical feminism. Bringing together her work as both activist and scholar, Simons offers a highly original contribution to the renaissance of Beauvoir scholarship. (shrink)
It has often been noted that Margaret Cavendish discusses God in her writings on natural philosophy far more than one might think she ought to given her explicit claim that a study of God belongs to theology which is to be kept strictly separate from studies in natural philosophy. In this article, I examine one way in which God enters substantially into her natural philosophy, namely the role he plays in her particular version of teleology. I conclude that, while (...) Cavendish has some resources with which to partially alleviate this tension, she is nonetheless left with a significant difficulty. (shrink)
Description: The book is, so to say, a bouquet in two respects. It is, first, a presentation of academic tributes, in the form of a festschrift, to a well-known Indian philosopher Professor Margaret Chatterjee; and, second, a hand-picked collection of original essays of multifaceted reflection for serious students of philosophy. Areas of study covered are various-metaphilosophy, philosophy or religion, metaphysics, aesthetics, existentialism, and Indian and comparative philosophies; and so are the lands of the philosophers who have contributed to the (...) making of this volume: India, England, Greece, America, Canada, and Japan. The work is a signal product of international cooperation and philosophy-a cause which Professor Chatterjee has been actively pursuing for long and with great success. (shrink)
When I opened the Minneapolis StarTribune one Sunday morning, hoping for thirty (or even ten) minutes of quiet reading before my toddler woke up, the headline “Miracles for Sale” caught my eye (2007). Introduced by a photo of a mother and baby, and followed by the story of that same happy “older” (age 36) mother who now has two children by egg donation, the article profiled a 24-year-old artist and antique dealer who feels “one of her eggs goes to waste (...) each month,” so she may as well sell them for $8,000. According to the article, “one in ten couples are unable to conceive on their own,” and an “infertility expert” claims the “increasing demand for eggs is fueled by the growing numbers of older women who want .. (shrink)
This book is about the methods used for unifying different scientific theories under one all-embracing theory. The process has characterized much of the history of science and is prominent in contemporary physics; the search for a 'theory of everything' involves the same attempt at unification. Margaret Morrison argues that, contrary to popular philosophical views, unification and explanation often have little to do with each other. The mechanisms that facilitate unification are not those that enable us to explain how or (...) why phenomena behave as they do. A feature of this book is an account of many case studies of theory unification in nineteenth- and twentieth-century physics and of how evolution by natural selection and Mendelian genetics were unified into what we now term evolutionary genetics. (shrink)
Poetry is the most complex and intricate of human language used across all languages and cultures. Its relation to the worlds of human experience has perplexed writers and readers for centuries, as has the question of evaluation and judgment: what makes a poem "work" and endure. The Poem as Icon focuses on the art of poetry to explore its nature and function: not interpretation but experience; not what poetry means but what it does. Using both historic and contemporary approaches of (...) embodied cognition from various disciplines, Margaret Freeman argues that a poem's success lies in its ability to become an icon of the felt "being" of reality. Freeman explains how the features of semblance, metaphor, schema, and affect work to make a poem an icon, with detailed examples from various poets. By analyzing the ways poetry provides insights into the workings of human cognition, Freeman claims that taste, beauty, and pleasure in the arts are simply products of the aesthetic faculty, and not the aesthetic faculty itself. The aesthetic faculty, she argues, should be understood as the science of human perception, and therefore constitutive of the cognitive processes of attention, imagination, memory, discrimination, expertise, and judgment. (shrink)
The Ethics of Nationalism blends philosophical discussion of the ethical merits and limits of nationalism with a detailed understanding of nationalist aspirations and a variety of national conflict zones. The author discusses the controversial and contemporary issues of rights of secession, the policies of the state in privileging a particular national group, the kinds of accommodations of minority national, and multi cultural identity groups that are justifiable and appropriate.
IDEAS. and. MECHANISM. Essays on Early Modern Philosophy MARGARET DAULER WILSON For more than three decades, Margaret Wilson's essays on early modern philosophy have influenced scholarly debate. Many are considered ...
In this paper, I argue that Margaret Cavendish’s account of freedom, and the role of education in freedom, is better able to account for the specifics of women’s lives than are Thomas Hobbes’ accounts of these topics. The differences between the two is grounded in their differing conceptions of the metaphysics of human nature, though the full richness of Cavendish’s approach to women, their minds and their freedom can be appreciated only if we take account of her plays, accepting (...) them as philosophical texts alongside her more standard philosophical treatises. (shrink)