Davidson's account of weakness of will dependsupon a parallel that he draws between practicaland theoretical reasoning. I argue that theparallel generates a misleading picture oftheoretical reasoning. Once the misleadingpicture is corrected, I conclude that theattempt to model akratic belief on Davidson'saccount of akratic action cannot work. Thearguments that deny the possibility of akraticbelief also undermine, more generally, variousattempts to assimilate theoretical to practicalreasoning.
Conductive Arguments are held to be defeasible, non-conclusive, and neither inductive nor deductive (Blair and Johnson in Conductive argument: An overlooked type of defeasible reasoning. College, London, 2011). Of the different kinds of Conductive Arguments, I am concerned only with those for which it is claimed that countervailing considerations detract from the support for the conclusion, complimentary to the positive reasons increasing that support. Here’s an example from Wellman (Challenge and response: justification in ethics. Southern Illinois University Press, Chicago, 1971): (...) Although your lawn needs cutting, you ought to take your son to the movies because the picture is ideal for children and will be gone by tomorrow. (1971: 57) I argue that Conductive Arguments are not possible—the “ought” conclusion only holds if countervailing considerations are nullified. (shrink)
Discusses how Zhou Dunyi’s thought became a cornerstone of neo-Confucianism. Zhu Xi, the twelfth-century architect of the neo-Confucian canon, declared Zhou Dunyi to be the first true sage since Mencius. This was controversial, as many of Zhu Xi’s contemporaries were critical of Zhou Dunyi’s Daoist leanings, and other figures had clearly been more significant to the Song dynasty Confucian resurgence. Why was Zhou Dunyi accorded such importance? Joseph A. Adler finds that the earlier thinker provided an underpinning for Zhu Xi’s (...) religious practice. Zhou Dunyi’s theory of the interpenetration of activity and stillness allowed Zhu Xi to proclaim that his own theory of mental and spiritual cultivation mirrored the fundamental principle immanent in the natural world. This book revives Zhu Xi as a religious thinker, challenging longstanding characterizations of him. Readers will appreciate the inclusion of complete translations of Zhou Dunyi’s major texts, Zhu Xi’s published commentaries, and other primary source material. (shrink)
This interdisciplinary work is a collection of major essays on reasoning: deductive, inductive, abductive, belief revision, defeasible, cross cultural, conversational, and argumentative. They are each oriented toward contemporary empirical studies. The book focuses on foundational issues, including paradoxes, fallacies, and debates about the nature of rationality, the traditional modes of reasoning, as well as counterfactual and causal reasoning. It also includes chapters on the interface between reasoning and other forms of thought. In general, this last set of essays represents growth (...) points in reasoning research, drawing connections to pragmatics, cross-cultural studies, emotion and evolution. (shrink)
Samuel Shirley's splendid new translation, with critical annotation reflecting research of the last half-century, is the only edition of the complete text of Spinoza's correspondence available in English. An historical-philosophical Introduction, detailed annotation, a chronology, and a bibliography are also included.
The knowledge norm of assertion is mainly in competition with a high probability or rational credibility norm. The argument for the knowledge norm that I offer turns on cases in which a hearer responds to a speaker's assertion by asserting another sentence that would lower the probability of the speaker's assertion, were its probability less than one. In cases like this, though with qualifications, is the hearer's contribution a challenge to the speaker's assertion or complementary to it? My answer is (...) the latter, and that only the knowledge norm yields that answer.The cases that I rely on follow from an elementary probability relation, though one that is inconsistent with the still influential relevance criterion for confirmation and evidence . Assume, for illustrative purposes, that p is in your belief corpus, as a consequence of your believing ∨ ∨ . 1 You learn that ∼ & ∼ , which would lessen the probability of p, were its probability less than one, 2 since it eliminates two rows of the truth-table in which p holds. What conclusion do you reach about p?Rather than withdrawing p, you acquire the belief that p & ∼ s & ∼ r, even though Formula where pr would be the subjective or epistemic probability of p on a probabilistic view of the knowledge norm before learning ∼ & ∼ . Instead of withdrawal …. (shrink)
A critique of conversational epistemic contextualism focusing initially on why pragmatic encroachment for knowledge is to be avoided. The data for pragmatic encroachment by way of greater costs of error and the complementary means to raise standards of introducing counter-possibilities are argued to be accountable for by prudence, fallibility and pragmatics. This theme is sharpened by a contrast in recommendations: holding a number of factors constant, when allegedly higher standards for knowing hold, invariantists still recommend assertion (action), while contextualists do (...) not. Given the knowledge norm of assertion, if one recommendation is preferable to the other, the result favors the preferred recommendation's account of knowledge. In the final section, I offer a unification of these criticisms centering on the contextualist use of 'epistemic position'. Their use imposes on threshold notions of justification, warrant, or knowledge tests that are suitable only to unlimited comparative or scalar notions like confidence or certainty and places them at one with an important strand of sceptical reasoning. (shrink)
Fair lotteries offer familiar ways to pose a number of epistemological problems, prominently those of closure and of scepticism. Although these problems apply to many epistemological positions, in this paper I develop a variant of a lottery case to raise a difficulty with the reliabilist's fundamental claim that justification or knowledge is to be analyzed as a high truth-ratio (of the relevant belief-forming processes). In developing the difficulty broader issues are joined including fallibility and the relation of reliability to understanding.
The dominant approach to environmental policy endorsed by conservative and libertarian policy thinkers, so-called “free market environmentalism”, is grounded in the recognition and protection of property rights in environmental resources. Despite this normative commitment to property rights, most self-described FME advocates adopt a utilitarian, welfare-maximization approach to climate change policy, arguing that the costs of mitigation measures could outweigh the costs of climate change itself. Yet even if anthropogenic climate change is decidedly less than catastrophic, human-induced climate change is likely (...) to contribute to environmental changes that violate traditional conceptions of property rights. Viewed globally, the actions of some countries—primarily industrialized nations—are likely to increase environmental harms suffered by other countries—less developed nations that have not made any significant contribution to climate change. It may well be that aggregate human welfare would be maximized in a warmer, wealthier world, or that the gains from climate change will offset environmental losses. Yet such claims, even if demonstrated, would not address the normative concern that the consequences of anthropogenic global warming would infringe upon the rights of people in less-developed nations. As a consequence, this paper calls for a rethinking of FME approaches to climate change policy. (shrink)
The tsunami effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting many aspects of scientific activities. Multidisciplinary experimental studies with international collaborators are hindered by the closing of the national borders, logistic issues due to lockdown, quarantine restrictions, and social distancing requirements. The full impact of this crisis on science is not clear yet, but the above-mentioned issues have most certainly restrained academic research activities. Sharing innovative solutions between researchers is in high demand in this situation. The aim of this paper is (...) to share our successful practice of using web-based communication and remote control software for real-time long-distance control of brain stimulation. This solution may guide and encourage researchers to cope with restrictions and has the potential to help expanding international collaborations by lowering travel time and costs. (shrink)
Analogies must be symmetric. If a is like b, then b is like a. So if a has property R, and if R is within the scope of the analogy, then b (probably) has R. However, analogical arguments generally single out, or depend upon, only one of a or b to serve as the basis for the inference. In this respect, analogical arguments are directed by an asymmetry. I defend the importance of this neglected – even when explicitly mentioned – (...) feature in understanding analogical arguments. (shrink)
When someone presents an argument on a charged topic and it is alleged that the arguer has a strong personal interest and investment in the conclusion, the allegation, directed to the reception or evaluation of the argument, typically gives rise to two seemingly conflicting reactions:I. The allegation is an unwarranted diversion. The prejudices or biases of the arguer are irrelevant to the cogency of the argument. In particular, it is a distraction from the crucial judgment of whether the argument is (...) cogent to press the question of whether the arguer truly holds his conclusion on the grounds that he offers, or whether he believes it on some illicit or suspect basis. (shrink)
Is there a duty to respond to objections in order to present a good argument? Ralph Johnson argues that there is such a duty, which he refers to as the ‘dialectical tier’ of an argument. I deny the (alleged) duty primarily on grounds that it would exert too great a demand on arguers, harming argumentation practices. The valuable aim of responding to objections, which Johnson’s dialectical tier is meant to satisfy, can be achieved in better ways, as argumentation is a (...) social-epistemic activity. (shrink)
My critical comments focus mainly on premises,, and. However, in treating these I will address other of James’s assumptions—particularly, the presupposition of his argument that it is possible to will to believe. Later I will try to accommodate existential aspects of James’s argument that retain value, even if my objections to his argument stand.
Most people who write about punishment ask, Why may we punish the guilty? I want to ask, Why should the guilty put up with it? or, more specifically, To what extent does a person guilty of an offense have a duty to submit to punishment? ;This question forms the topic of the thesis. The work is divided into two parts, of three chapters each. In Part 1, I argue for the importance of the question. In Part 2, I try to (...) answer the question. ;In Chapter 1, I argue for the claim that the question of submission to punishment is in fact the central question of the theory of punishment. This being conceded, I argue in chapters 2 and 3 that we must consequently change our conception of punishment. We cannot define 'punishment' in the traditional way, as necessarily involving pain, suffering, or other sorts of disvalue ; rather, 'punishment' is to be defined by the justificatory connection between punishment and offense . ;In Chapter 4, I develop what I call the rectificatory theory of punishment. This theory views some punishments as required in order to maintain the equality of basic liberties: people who commit certain offenses thereby arrogate excess basic liberties, and must by way of punishment give up an equivalent body of liberties. In Chapter 5, I incorporate the rectificatory theory into a more general theory of punishment, a theory derived from John Rawls's version of the social contract. I argue there that punishment derives from the social contract in three distinct ways: by literal application, by reinterpretation, and by repudiation. Finally, in Chapter 6, I argue that this theory of punishment requires us to look at the contract in a certain way: the contract establishes a relationship of fraternity among the parties, not merely as a pleasant after-effect, but as something essential to the contract. (shrink)
n 1902, 70 million years after it tripped lightly through the Mesozoic forests in search of meat, the skeleton of a 20-foothightyrannosaurus was dynamited out of a sandstone bluff near Hell Creek, Mont. Wrapped in burlap and plaster and shipped back to New York, the bones were painstakingly reassembled by fossil curator Barnum Brown of the American Museum of Natural History. It was there, one day in 1947, that they happened to scare the bejesus out of 5-year-old Stephen Jay Gould. (...) With a mouthful of teeth as big as bananas, the great reptile gaped down at the little mammal who had usurped its place at the head of the food chain and set him scurrying for the safety of his daddy's pant leg. It was a sublime epiphany. Long after Gould could stare with equanimity at the skull of tyrannosaurus, he was left with the essential mystery that still motivates him as perhaps America's foremost writer and thinker on evolution: why should dinosaurs have ended up in human museums instead of—as one among an infinite number of evolutionary possibilities—the other way around? (shrink)