This provocative new textbook takes up and develops the themes of rationality and irrationality in Jon Elster's earlier work. Its purposes are threefold. First, Elster shows how belief and preference formation in the realm of politics are shaped by social and political institutions. Second, he argues for an important distinction in the social sciences between mechanisms and theories. Third, he illustrates those general principles of political psychology through readings of three outstanding political psychologists: the French classical historian, Paul Veyne; the (...) Soviet dissident writer, Alexander Zinoviev; the great French political theorist, Alexis de Tocqueville. (shrink)
In arguments in support of capitalism, the following propositions are sometimes advanced or presupposed: the best life for the individual is one of consumption, understood in a broad sense that includes aesthetic pleasures and entertainment as well as consumption of goods in the ordinary sense; consumption is to be valued because it promotes happiness or welfare, which is the ultimate good; since there are not enough opportunities for consumption to provide satiation for everybody, some principles of distributive justice must be (...) chosen to decide who gets what; the total to be distributed has first to be produced. What is produced depends, among other things, on the motivation and information of the producers. The theory of justice must take account of the fact that different principles of distribution have different effects on motivation and information; economic theory tells us that the motivational and informational consequences of private ownership of the means of production are superior to those of the various forms of collective ownerships. In the traditional controversy over the relative merits of capitalism and economic systems, the focus has been on proposition. In this paper, I consider instead propositions and. Before one can even begin to discuss how values are to be allocated, one must consider what they are – what it is that ought to be valued. I shall argue that at the center of Marxism is a specific conception of the good life as one of active self-realization, rather than passive consumption. (shrink)
Technical change, defined as the manufacture and modification of tools, is generally thought to have played an important role in the evolution of intelligent life on earth, comparable to that of language. In this volume, first published in 1983, Jon Elster approaches the study of technical change from an epistemological perspective. He first sets out the main methods of scientific explanation and then applies those methods to some of the central theories of technical change. In particular, Elster considers neoclassical, evolutionary, (...) and Marxist theories, whilst also devoting a chapter to Joseph Schumpeter's influential theory. (shrink)
Scholarly attempts to analyze the history of science sometime suffer from an imprecise use of terms. In order to understand accurately how science has developed and from where it draws its roots, researchers should be careful to recognize that epistemic regimes change over time and acceptable forms of knowledge production are contingent upon the hegemonic discourse informing the epistemic regime of any given period. In order to understand the importance of this point, I apply the techniques of historical epistemology to (...) an analysis of the place of the study of astrology in the medieval and early modern periods alongside a discussion of the “language games” of these period as well as the role of the “archeology of knowledge” in uncovering meaning in our study of the past. In sum, I argue that the term “science” should never be used when studying approaches to knowledge formation prior to the seventeenth century. (shrink)
As adults age, their performance on many psychometric tests changes systematically, a finding that is widely taken to reveal that cognitive information-processing capacities decline across adulthood. Contrary to this, we suggest that older adults'; changing performance reflects memory search demands, which escalate as experience grows. A series of simulations show how the performance patterns observed across adulthood emerge naturally in learning models as they acquire knowledge. The simulations correctly identify greater variation in the cognitive performance of older adults, and successfully (...) predict that older adults will show greater sensitivity to fine-grained differences in the properties of test stimuli than younger adults. Our results indicate that older adults'; performance on cognitive tests reflects the predictable consequences of learning on information-processing, and not cognitive decline. We consider the implications of this for our scientific and cultural understanding of aging. (shrink)
Modern philosophy recognizes two major ethical theories: deontology, which encourages adherence to rules and fulfillment of duties or obligations; and consequentialism, which evaluates morally significant actions strictly on the basis of their actual or anticipated outcomes. Both involve the systematic application of universal abstract principles, reflecting the culturally dominant paradigm of technical rationality. Professional societies promulgate codes of ethics with which engineers are expected to comply, while courts and the public generally assign liability to engineers primarily in accordance with the (...) results of their work, whether intended or unintended. A third option, prominent in ancient philosophy, has reemerged recently: virtue ethics, which recognizes that sensitivity to context and practical judgment are indispensable in particular concrete situations, and therefore rightly focuses on the person who acts, rather than the action itself. Beneficial character traits—i.e., virtues—are identified within a specific social practice in light of the internal goods that are unique to it. This paper proposes a comprehensive framework for implementing virtue ethics within engineering. (shrink)
Does a proper understanding of the role of philosophical inquiry and its re- lation to scientific inquiry entail that we should replace conceptual analysis with another methodology? Brian Leiter supports that conclusion by offer- ing a methodological criticism of recent analytical legal philosophy. I argue that Leiter’s proposal for breaking the deadlock of the Hart/Raz debate by supporting an exclusivist account of the rule of recognition on the grounds of its social-scientific utility leads to an unduly narrow conception of the (...) rel- evant features of a legal system.Resumen:¿Acaso una comprensión apropiada del papel del quehacer filosófico y su relación con la investigación científica implica que deberíamos reemplazar el análisis conceptual por alguna otra metodología? Brian Leiter responde que sí al ofrecer una crítica metodológica a la filosofía del derecho analítica reciente. El autor sostiene que la propuesta de Leiter para destrabar el debate Hart/Raz, consistente en apoyar una versión excluyente de la regla de reconocimiento sobre la base de su utilidad socio-científica, nos dirige hacia una concepción sumamente estrecha de las características relevantes de un sistema jurídico. (shrink)
The Westermarck effect (sexual inhibition among individuals raised together) is argued to be mediated olfactorily. Various animals, including humans, distinguish among individuals by scent (significantly determined by MHC genotype), and some avoid cosocialized associates on this basis. Possible models of olfactory mechanisms in humans are evaluated. Evidence suggests aversions develop during an early sensitizing period, attach to persons as much as to their scents, and are more powerful among females than among males. Adult to child aversions may develop similarly, but (...) more likely result from stimulus generalization. This hypothesis accords with current evidence and yields testable predictions (e.g., anosmia will prevent inhibition) that, should they be supported, will conclusively ground the Westermarck effect in a biological mechanism. (shrink)
Introduction Grady Hendrix is an American author and journalist who is also one of the founders of the New York Asian Film Festival. Horrostör: A Novel was published in 2014 by Quirk Books, a publisher based in Philadelphia and distributed by Penguin Random House. According to its website, Quirk Books was founded in 2002 and publishes ‘a highly curated list of entertaining, enlightening, and strikingly unconventional books for adults and children in a number of genres and categories,’ which i...
How can _Wii Sports_ teach us about metaphysics? Can playing _World of Warcraft_ lead to greater self-consciousness? How can we learn about aesthetics, ethics and divine attributes from _Zork_, _Grand Theft Auto_, and _Civilization_? A variety of increasingly sophisticated video games are rapidly overtaking books, films, and television as America's most popular form of media entertainment. It is estimated that by 2011 over 30 percent of US households will own a Wii console - about the same percentage that owned a (...) television in 1953. In _Philosophy Through Video Games, _Jon Cogburn and Mark Silcox - philosophers with game industry experience - investigate the aesthetic appeal of video games, their effect on our morals, the insights they give us into our understanding of perceptual knowledge, personal identity, artificial intelligence, and the very meaning of life itself, arguing that video games are popular precisely because they engage with longstanding philosophical problems. Topics covered include: * The Problem of the External World * Dualism and Personal Identity * Artificial and Human Intelligence in the Philosophy of Mind * The Idea of Interactive Art * The Moral Effects of Video Games * Games and God's Goodness Games discussed include: _Madden Football_, _Wii Sports_, _Guitar Hero_, _World of Warcraft_, _Sims Online_, _Second Life_, _Baldur's Gate_, _Knights of the Old Republic_, _Elder Scrolls_, _Zork_, _EverQuest_ _Doom_, _Halo 2_, _Grand Theft Auto_, _Civilization_, _Mortal Kombat_, _Rome: Total War_, _Black and White_, _Aidyn Chronicles_. (shrink)
Two different versions of the ending of the first additament to C. S. Peirce's 1908 article, "A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God," appear in the Collected Papers but were omitted from The Essential Peirce. In one, he linked the hypothesis of God's Reality to his entire theory of logic as semeiotic, claiming that proving the latter would also prove the former. In the other, he offered a final outline of his cosmology, in which the Reality of God as (...) Ens necessarium is indispensable to both the origin and order of our existing universe of Signs. Exploring these passages, as well as the unpublished manuscript drafts of the article, provides important insights into the key concepts of instinct and continuity within Peirce's comprehensive system of thought. (shrink)
The Problem of Iterated Ground is to explain what grounds truths about ground: if Γ grounds φ, what grounds that Γ grounds φ? This paper develops a novel solution to this problem. The basic idea is to connect ground to explanatory arguments. By developing a rigorous account of explanatory arguments we can equip operators for factive and non-factive ground with natural introduction and elimination rules. A satisfactory account of iterated ground falls directly out of the resulting logic: non- factive grounding (...) claims, if true, are zero-grounded in the sense of Fine. (shrink)
In this paper, I link philosophical discussion of policies for trans inclusion or exclusion, to a method of policy making. I address the relationship between concerns about safety, fairness, and inclusion in policy making about the inclusion of transwomen athletes into women’s sport. I argue for an approach based on lexical priority rather than simple ‘balancing’, considering the different values in a specific order. I present justifying reasons for this approach and this lexical order, based on the special obligations of (...) International Federations such as World Rugby. As a result, I provide a justificatory framework for the WR Guidelines that exclude transwomen from the women’s game in WR competitions. Finally, I give an account of a maximally safe, maximally fair and maximally inclusive form of sex categorisation in sport. (shrink)
This is the first major study of Michel Foucault as a political thinker. Written in clear prose, Foucault and the Political explores the ramifications for political theory of the whole range of Foucault's writing, including materials only recently made available. Jon Simons argues that Foucault's work is animated by a tension between his presentation of modern life as "unbearably heavy" and his temptation to escape its limitations by aiming for "unbearable lightness." Through expositions of Foucault's ideas on power/knowledge, subjectification, governmentality, (...) political rationality and the aesthetics of existence, Simons demonstrates how Foucault resists both extremes. Foucault's thought entails an ethic of permanent resistance, best embodied in radical democracy. Simons relates Foucault's work both to contemporary political thinkers, such as Michael Walzer, Charles Taylor and Jurgen Habermas, as well as to scholars challenging conventional political categories, especially feminist and gay theorists such as Judith Butler. (shrink)
I discuss three recent counterexamples to the transitivity of grounding due to Jonathan Schaffer. I argue that the counterexamples don’t work and draw some conclusions about the relationship between grounding and explanation.
Jon Elster has written a comprehensive, wide-ranging book on the emotions in which he considers the full range of theoretical approaches. Drawing on history, literature, philosophy and psychology, Elster presents a complete account of the role of the emotions in human behaviour. While acknowledging the importance of neurophysiology and laboratory experiment for the study of emotions, Elster argues that the serious student of the emotions can learn more from the great thinkers and writers of the past, from Aristotle to Jane (...) Austen. He attaches particular importance to the work of the French moralists, notably La Rochefoucauld, who demonstrated the way esteem and self-esteem shape human motivation. The book also maintains a running dialogue with economists and rational-choice theorists. Combining methodological and theoretical arguments with empirical case-studies and written with Elster's customary verve and economy, this book has great cross-disciplinary appeal. (shrink)
This paper tries to penetrate Jon Elster’s contribution to ratioanlity in the frame of the problem ofmeans and ends rationality. To treat rationality in Elster, we will study the imperfect rationality and its relation to weakness of will,and the development of precommitment strategies. We will also point out the role of Emotions, false beliefs and cognitive fallacies in the consideration of rationality. We Will show the difference that the author makes between the thin theory and the broad theory of rationality. (...) Taking into account Hamlin’s distinction between means, beliefs, ends and extended rationality, we will explain the relation between his belief rationality and Elster’s broad theory. (shrink)
Most authors on metaphysical grounding have taken full grounding to be an internal relation in the sense that it's necessary that if the grounds and the grounded both obtain, then the grounds ground the grounded. The negative part of this essay exploits empirical and provably nonparadoxical self-reference to prove conclusively that even immediate full grounding isn't an internal relation in this sense. The positive, second part of this essay uses the notion of a “completely satisfactory explanation” to shed light on (...) the logic of ground in the presence of self-reference. This allows us to develop a satisfactory logic of ground and recover a sense in which grounding is still an internal relation. (shrink)
In Walter Chatton on Future Contingents, Jon Bornholdt presents the first full-length translation, commentary, and analysis of the various attempts by Chatton (14th century C.E.) to solve the ancient problem of the status and significance of statements about the future. At issue is the danger of so-called logical determinism: if it is true now that a human will perform a given action tomorrow, is that human truly free to perform or refrain from performing that action? Bornholdt shows that Chatton constructed (...) an original (though problematic) formal analysis that enabled him to canvass various approaches to the problem at different stages of his career, at all times showing an unusual sensitivity to the tension between formalist and metaphysical types of solution. (shrink)
Jon Erling Litland’s “Meta-Ground” is concerned with the question: If A grounds B, what grounds the fact that A grounds B? His chapter begins by discussing what turns on this question. The chapter then compares the two main existing solutions to the problem of meta-ground. It ends by discussing how the problem of meta-ground is connected to other issues in the theory of ground and what are the main issues for future research.
Social identity is a factor that is associated with well-being and community participation. Some studies have shown that ethnic identity goes along with empowerment, and that interaction between the two leads to greater indices of well-being and community participation. However, other works suggest a contextual circumstance may condition the nature of these relations. By means of a cross-sectional study, we analyzed the relations of social identification and collective psychological empowerment with personal well-being, social well-being and community participation in a sample (...) of Basques. A total of 748 Basques participated. Individuals who were highly identified or fused with Basque speakers and who were highly empowered showed higher indices of well-being and of community participation than non-fused individuals with low empowerment. The results also suggest that social identification offsets the negative effects of perceiving the group as a linguistic minority. Collective psychological empowerment proved to be an especially relevant factor that needs to continue to be explored. (shrink)
This article examines the theoretical implications of the changing relationships between NGOs and businesses that have emerged as a response to the evolving agenda around CSR and sustainable development. In particular, it focuses upon examining whether greater engagement from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in this area reflects a process of appropriation and co-optation of protest by the business community. To examine this process, the article considers two forms of appropriation—appropriation of language and appropriation via participation—as a basis for discussion. While co-optation (...) pressures are identified within both areas, the article argues that co-optation is identified almost as an inevitable outcome of engagement without significant consideration of the ability of movements to identify and respond to these processes. In identifying an alternative approach, the article utilises Mouffe’s framework of agonistic pluralism. Mouffe’s framework, it is argued, provides an understanding of the way in which agonistic relationships are emerging between NGOs and businesses while highlighting the continuance of conflict between parties struggling to influence the contested interpretations of responsible business. (shrink)
Campaigning activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have increased public awareness and concern regarding the alleged unethical and environmentally damaging practices of many major multinational companies. Companies have responded by developing corporate social responsibility strategies to demonstrate their commitment to both the societies within which they function and to the protection of the natural environment. This has often involved a move towards greater transparency in company practice and a desire to engage with stakeholders, often including many of the campaign organisations that (...) have been at the forefront of the criticisms of their activity. This article examines the ways in which stakeholder dialogue has impacted upon the relationships between NGOs and businesses. In doing so, it contributes to the call for more ‘stakeholder-focused’ research in this field (Frooman in Acad Manag Rev 24(2): 191–205, 1999; Steurer in Bus Strategy Environ 15: 15–69 2006). By adopting a stakeholder lens, and focusing more heavily upon the impact on one particular stakeholder community (NGOs) and looking in depth at one form of engagement (stakeholder dialogue), this article examines how experiences of dialogue are strategically transforming interactions between businesses and NGOs. It shows how experiences of stakeholder dialogue have led to transformations in the drivers for engagement, transformations in the processes of engagement and transformations in the terms of engagement. Examining these areas of transformation, the article argues, reveals the interactions at play in framing and shaping the evolving relationships between business and its stakeholders. (shrink)
The term “virtual reality” was first coined by Antonin Artaud to describe a value-adding characteristic of certain types of theatrical performances. The expression has more recently come to refer to a broad range of incipient digital technologies that many current philosophers regard as a serious threat to human autonomy and well-being. Their concerns, which are formulated most succinctly in “brain in a vat”-type thought experiments and in Robert Nozick's famous “experience machine” argument, reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the way that (...) such technologies would probably have to work. They also considerably underestimate the positive contributions that virtual reality technologies could make to the growth of human knowledge. Here, we examine and critique Nozick's claim that no reasonable person would want to plug into his hypothetical experience machine in light of a broadly enactivist understanding of how future VR technologies might be expected to function. We then sketch out a tentative theory of the phenomenon of truth in fiction, in order to characterize some of the distinct epistemic opportunities that VR technologies promise to provide. (shrink)