The under-representation of women on boards is a heavily discussed topic—not only in Germany. Based on critical mass theory and with the help of a hand-collected panel dataset of 151 listed German firms for the years 2000–2005, we explore whether the link between gender diversity and firm performance follows a U-shape. Controlling for reversed causality, we find evidence for gender diversity to at first negatively affect firm performance and—only after a “critical mass” of about 30 % women has been reached—to (...) be associated with higher firm performance than completely male boards. Given our sample firms, the critical mass of 30 % women translates into an absolute number of about three women on the board and hence supports recent studies on a corresponding “magic number” of women in the boardroom. (shrink)
Individual objects have potentials: paper has the potential to burn, an acorn has the potential to turn into a tree, some people have the potential to run a mile in less than four minutes. Barbara Vetter provides a systematic investigation into the metaphysics of such potentials, and an account of metaphysical modality based on them. -/- In contemporary philosophy, potentials have been recognized mostly in the form of so-called dispositions: solubility, fragility, and so on. Vetter takes dispositions as (...) her starting point, but argues for and develops a more comprehensive conception of potentiality. She shows how, with this more comprehensive conception, an account of metaphysical modality can be given that meets three crucial requirements: Extensional correctness: providing the right truth-values for statements of possibility and necessity; formal adequacy: providing the right logic for metaphysical modality; and semantic utility: providing a semantics that links ordinary modal language to the metaphysics of modality. -/- The resulting view of modality is a version of dispositionalism about modality: it takes modality to be a matter of the dispositions of individual objects. This approach has a long philosophical tradition going back to Aristotle, but has been largely neglected in contemporary philosophy. In recent years, it has become a live option again due to the rise of anti-Humean, powers-based metaphysics. The aim of Potentiality is to develop the dispositionalist view in a way that takes account of contemporary developments in metaphysics, logic, and semantics. (shrink)
How does science create knowledge? Epistemic cultures, shaped by affinity, necessity, and historical coincidence, determine how we know what we know. In this book, Karin Knorr Cetina compares two of the most important and intriguing epistemic cultures of our day, those in high energy physics and molecular biology. The first ethnographic study to systematically compare two different scientific laboratory cultures, this book sharpens our focus on epistemic cultures as the basis of the knowledge society.
The anthropological approach is the central focus of this study. Laboratories are looked upon with the innocent eye of the traveller in exotic lands, and the societies found in these places are observed with the objective yet compassionate eye of the visitor from a quite other cultural milieu. There are many surprises that await us if we enter a laboratory in this frame of mind... This study is a realistic enterprise, an attempt to truly represent the social order of life (...) in laboratories and institutes of research, just as they are. By bringing the philosophical issues to the surface as matters not of prejudgement but as matters of concern, Karin Knorr-Cetina has developed the first really positive challenge to the philosophy of science since the days of paradigms and internal definitions of meanings. (shrink)
Dispositions are modal properties. The standard conception of dispositions holds that each disposition is individuated by its stimulus condition(s) and its manifestation(s), and that their modality is best captured by some conditional construction that relates stimulus to manifestation as antecedent to consequent. I propose an alternative conception of dispositions: each disposition is individuated by its manifestation alone, and its modality is closest to that of possibility — a fragile vase, for instance, is one that can break easily. The view is (...) expounded in some detail and defended against the major objections. (shrink)
Classical conceptual distinctions in philosophy of education assume an individualistic subjectivity and hide the learning that can take place in the space between child (as educator) and adult (as learner). Grounded in two examples from experience I develop the argument that adults often put metaphorical sticks in their ears in their educational encounters with children. Hearers’ prejudices cause them to miss out on knowledge offered by the child, but not heard by the adult. This has to do with how adults (...) view education, knowledge, as much as child, and is even more extreme when child is also black. The idea is what Miranda Fricker calls ‘epistemic injustice’ which occurs when someone is wronged specifically in their capacity as a knower. Although her work concerns gender and race, I extrapolate her radical ideas to (black) child. Awareness of the epistemic injustice that is done to children and my proposal for increased epistemic modesty and epistemic equality could help transform pedagogical spaces to include child subjects as educators. A way forward is suggested that involves ‘cracking’ the concept of child and a different nonindividualised conception of education. (shrink)
Eine systematische Diskussion der Rolle von Dispositionen in den Wissenschaften, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der folgenden Positionen: (GCP) Mumford, S./Anjum, R., 2011, Getting Causes from Powers, Oxford: Ox- ford University Press. (MP) Marmodoro, A. (Hrsg.), 2010, The Metaphysics of Powers, NY: Routledge. (DC) Handfield, T. (Hrsg.), 2009, Dispositions and Causes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (DD) Damschen, G./Schnepf, R./Stüber, K.R. (Hrsg.), 2009, Debating Dispo- sitions – Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind, Berlin/ NY: DeGruyter. (LDC) Manley, D./Wasserman, R., 2008, ,On (...) Linking Dispositions and Con- ditionals‘, Mind 117: 59–84. (NM) Bird, A., 2007, Nature’s Metaphysics: Laws and Properties, Oxford: Ox- ford University Press. (DCP) Kistler, M./Gnassounou, B. (Hrsg.), 2007, Dispositions and Causal Po- wers, NY: Routledge. (shrink)
In Probability Designs, Karin Kukkonen presents the predictive processing model of cognition as a means of exploring narrative structure and reader experience. Utilizing the literary canon of various cultures, Kukkonen combines theory and cognitive science to analyze how reader expectation and prediction shape literature, and how literature accomplishes cognitive feats that determine the human capacity for free, exploratory thought.
It is a familiar point that many ordinary dispositions are multi-track, that is, not fully and adequately characterisable by a single conditional. In this paper, I argue that both the extent and the implications of this point have been severely underestimated. First, I provide new arguments to show that every disposition whose stimulus condition is a determinable quantity must be infinitely multi-track. Secondly, I argue that this result should incline us to move away from the standard assumption that dispositions are (...) in some way importantly linked to conditionals, as presupposed by the debate about various versions of the ‘conditional analysis’ of dispositions. I introduce an alternative conception of dispositionality, which is motivated by linguistic observations about dispositional adjectives and links dispositions to possibility instead of conditionals. I argue that, because of the multi-track nature of dispositions, the possibility-based conception of dispositions is to be preferred. (shrink)
Abilities are in many ways central to what being an agent means, and they are appealed to in philosophical accounts of a great many different phenomena. It is often assumed that abilities are some kind of dispositional property, but it is rarely made explicit exactly which dispositional properties are our abilities. Two recent debates provide two different answers to that question: the new dispositionalism in the debate about free will, and virtue reliabilism in epistemology. This paper argues that both answers (...) fail as general accounts of abilities, and discusses the ramifications of this result. (shrink)
According to essentialism, metaphysical modality is founded in the essences of things, where the essence of a thing is roughly akin to its real definition. According to potentialism, metaphysical modality is founded in the potentialities of things, where a potentiality is roughly the generalized notion of a disposition. Essentialism and potentialism have much in common, but little has been written about their relation to each other. The aim of this paper is to understand better the relations between essence and potentiality, (...) on the one hand, and between essentialism and potentialism, on the other. It is argued, first, that essence and potentiality are not duals but interestingly linked by a weaker relation dubbed ‘semi-duality’; second, that given this weaker relation, essentialism and potentialism are not natural allies but rather natural competitors; and third, that the semi-duality of essence and potentiality allows the potentialist to respond to an important explanatory challenge by using essentialist resources without thereby committing to essentialism. (shrink)
Philosophy with children (P4C) 1 presents significant positive challenges for educators. Its 'community of enquiry' pedagogy assumes not only an epistemological shift in the role of the educator, but also a different ontology of 'child' and balance of power between educator and learner. After a brief historical sketch and an outline of the diversity among P4C practitioners, epistemological uncertainty in teaching P4C is crystallised in a succinct overview of theoretical and practical tensions that are a direct result of the implementation (...) of P4C in mainstream education. These recurring pedagogical tensions in my practice as P4C teacher, teacher educator and mentor of teacher educators cause disequilibrium that opens up rich opportunities for philosophy of education in supporting novice P4Cers. Disequilibrium is a positive force that opens up a space in which educators need to reflect upon their values, their beliefs about learning and teaching, and ultimately encourages educators to rethink their own role. Plato's metaphor of the stingray highlights the role of the P4C teacher educator as model of the P4C teacher in any setting: 'to numb and to be numbed'. The P4C community and its institutions need to address the questions arising from these pedagogical tensions; and this needs to be done with integrity, that is, in communities of enquiry that include children. If not, in the long term, a more instrumental version of P4C may prevail. (shrink)
In her book Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing , Miranda Fricker introduces the helpful notion of “identity prejudice” as “a label for prejudices against people qua social type” . She focuses on race, class and gender, and Michael Hand in his article What Do Kids Know? A response to Karin Murris is indeed correct when he states that I have applied her arguments to age as a category of epistemic exclusion.I argue that among the usual contenders (...) of epistemic prejudices, we also need to be cognisant of adults’ implicit and explicit assumptions and prejudices about child and childhood. However, Hand incorrectly uses Fricker’s ideas to reject my proposal to include child as being on the receiving end of epistemic injustice. A close reading of some passages about stereotyping will show why this is the case and why his own claim that “children typically are immature, ill-informed and endearing” will turn out to .. (shrink)
Williamsonian modal epistemology is characterized by two commitments: realism about modality, and anti-exceptionalism about our modal knowledge. Williamson’s own counterfactual-based modal epistemology is the best known implementation of WME, but not the only option that is available. I sketch and defend an alternative implementation which takes our knowledge of metaphysical modality to arise, not from knowledge of counterfactuals, but from our knowledge of ordinary possibility statements of the form ‘x can F’. I defend this view against a criticism indicated in (...) Williamson’s own work, and argue that it is better connected to the semantics of modal language. (shrink)
Dispositionalists try to provide an account of modality—possibility, necessity, and the counterfactual conditional—in terms of dispositions. But there may be a tension between dispositionalist accounts of possibility on the one hand, and of counterfactuals on the other. Dispositionalists about possibility must hold that there are no impossible dispositions, i.e., dispositions with metaphysically impossible stimulus and/or manifestation conditions; dispositionalist accounts of counterfactuals, if they allow for non-vacuous counterpossibles, require that there are such impossible dispositions. I argue, first, that there are in (...) fact no impossible dispositions; and second, that the dispositionalist can nevertheless acknowledge the non-vacuity of some counterpossibles. The strategy in the second part is one of ‘divide and conquer’ that is not confined to the dispositionalist: it consists in arguing that counterpossibles, when non-vacuous, are read epistemically and are therefore outside the purview of a dispositional account. (shrink)
In 2015, the world's first self-defined feminist government was formed in Sweden with the explicit ambition of pursuing a feminist foreign policy. This essay seeks to unpack and highlight some of the substance and plausible future directions of a feminist foreign policy. The overarching ambition is three-fold: to probe the normative contents of feminist foreign policy in theory and in practice; to identify a number of potential challenges and ethical dilemmas that are detrimental to gender-sensitive global politics; and to advance (...) a research agenda that can deepen the normative and ethical notions of a feminist foreign policy. Sweden's feminist foreign policy is still in the making. Its conduct is mostly incremental and focused on international agenda setting and normative entrepreneurship, which is guided by an ethically informed framework of cosmopolitanism and human rights. Yet, this essay argues that this reorientation is distinct for two reasons: First, by adopting the “F-word” it elevates politics from a broadly consensual orientation of gender mainstreaming towards more controversial politics, which explicitly seeks to renegotiate and challenge power hierarchies and gendered institutions that hitherto defined global institutions and foreign and security policies. Second, it contains a normative reorientation of foreign policy, which is guided by an ethically informed framework based on broad cosmopolitan norms of global justice and peace. The article concludes by advancing a research agenda that draws upon feminist IR theory and enhances the ethical and transformative contents of the English School by making it more gender-sensitive and appropriate for the study of feminist foreign policy. (shrink)
The philosophy for children curriculum was specially written by Matthew Lipman and colleagues for the teaching of philosophy by non-philosophically educated teachers from foundation phase to further education colleges. In this article I argue that such a curriculum is neither a necessary, not a sufficient condition for the teaching of philosophical thinking. The philosophical knowledge and pedagogical tact of the teacher remains salient, in that the open-ended and unpredictable nature of philosophical enquiry demands of teachers to think in the moment (...) and draw on their own knowledge and experience of academic philosophy. Providing specialist training or induction in the P4C curriculum cannot and should not replace undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in academic philosophy at universities. However, although for academic philosophers the use of the P4C curriculum could be beneficial, I will argue that its use poses the risk of wanting to form children into the ideal ‘abnormal’ child, the thinking child—the adult philosopher’s child positioned as such by the Lipman novels. The notion of narrativity is central in my argument. With the help of two picturebooks—The Three Pigs by David Weisner and Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne—I illustrate my claim that philosophy as ‘side-shadowing’ or meta-thinking can only be generated in the space ‘in between’ text, child and educator, thereby foregrounding a ‘pedagogy of exposure’ rather than ‘teacher proof’ texts. (shrink)
How do scientists generate knowledge in groups, and how have they done so in the past? How do epistemically motivated social interactions influence or even drive this process? These questions speak to core interests of both history and philosophy of science. Idealised models and formal arguments have been suggested to illuminate the social epistemology of science, but their conclusions are not directly applicable to scientific practice. This paper uses one of these models as a lens and historiographical tool in the (...) examination of actual scientific collectives. It centres on the analysis of two episodes from the history of photosynthesis research of the late nineteenth- to mid-twentieth centuries, which display a wide and coordinated intellectual diversity similar to Kitcher’s “division of cognitive labour”. The concept, I argue, captures important aspects of the photosynthesis research communities, but the underlying process unfolded in ways that differ from the model’s assumption in interesting ways. The paper unravels how the self-organised interplay of cooperation and competition, and the dynamics of individual and collective goals within scientific communities were influential factors in the generation of knowledge. From there, some thoughts are developed on how historical and philosophical approaches in the analysis of science can productively interact. (shrink)
Lucretia Mott is widely recognized as a moral and spiritual leader in the abolitionist and early women’s rights movements. She has been characterized as a disciple of William Lloyd Garrison, a proliferator of Mary Wollstonecraft’s ideas, and a religious promoter of human rights whose efforts were surpassed by the theoretically sophisticated and politically astute Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These portrayals paradoxically elevate Mott’s status while understating the originality of her views. This analysis examines Mott’s speeches and writings in detail and finds (...) that her unique theoretical contributions are shaped by a combination of elements: a radically anti-dogmatic worldview rooted in her progressive religious faith, an unwavering commitment to autonomy for all people, and an egalitarian conception of power. Careful study of Mott’s work reveals a compelling alternative viewpoint in the early women’s rights and abolitionist movements and provides important insight into the philosophical roots of contemporary feminism and pacifism. (shrink)
This paper surveys recent "new actualist" approaches to modality that do without possible worlds and locate modality squarely in the actual world. New actualist theories include essentialism and dispositionalism about modality, each of which can come in different varieties. The commonalities and differences between these views, as well as their shared motivations, are layed out.
This article analyses the relationship between the concept of single aspect similarity and proposed measures of similarity. More precisely, it compares eleven measures of similarity in terms of how well they satisfy a list of desiderata, chosen to capture common intuitions concerning the properties of similarity and the relations between similarity and dissimilarity. Three types of measures are discussed: similarity as commonality, similarity as a function of dissimilarity, and similarity as a joint function of commonality and difference. Relative to the (...) desiderata, it is found that a measure of the second type fares the best. However, rather than recommend this measure alone as a measure of similarity, it is suggested that there are at least three separate concepts of single aspect similarity, corresponding to the three types of measures. In light of this proposal, three of the eleven measures (and variants of these) are deemed acceptable. (shrink)
This paper explores the prospects for dispositional accounts of abilities. According to so-called new dispositionalists, an agent has the ability to Φ iff they have a disposition to Φ when trying to Φ. We show that the new dispositionalism is beset by some problems that also beset its predecessor, the conditional analysis of abilities, and bring up some further problems. We then turn to a different approach, which links abilities not to motivational states but to the notion of success, and (...) consider ways of implementing that approach. Our results suggest that there are principled disanalogies between abilities and disposition which prevent any dispositional account of abilities from succeeding. (shrink)
This essay is an attempt to analyze, classify and illustrate different scholarly approaches to the Sanskrit philosophical commentaries as reflected in some influential and especially thoughtful studies of Indian philosophy; at the same time it highlights some specific features involving commentary and annotation in general, drawing from results of studies on commentaries conducted in other disciplines and fields, such as Classical and Medieval Studies, Theology, and Early English Literature. In the field of South Asian Studies, philosophical commentaries may be assessed (...) from various overlapping and not always exclusive points of view, such as preservation of otherwise lost historical information, historical authenticity and reliability, interpretational innovation, spiritual or experiential insight, philosophical creativity, intellectual liveliness, doxographic intent, degree of incidentality, expository breadth and explanatory depth. The essay provides numerous examples taken from classical to early modern philosophical literature, especially of the Brahminical and Buddhist traditions, and also discusses their diverging perception by modern scholars and interpretators. (shrink)
According to ecological psychology, animals perceive not just the qualities of things in their environment, but their affordances: in James Gibson’s words, ’what things furnish, for good or ill’. I propose a metaphysics for affordances that fits into a contemporary anti-Humean metaphysics of powers or potentialities. The goal is to connect two debates, one in the philosophy of perception and one in metaphysics, that stand to gain much from each other.
Some philosophers claim that young children cannot do philosophy. This paper examines some of those claims, and puts forward arguments against them. Our beliefs that children cannot do philosophy are based on philosophical assumptions about children, their thinking and about philosophy. Many of those assumptions remain unquestioned by critics of Philosophy with Children. My conclusion is that the idea that very young children can do philosophy has not only significant consequences for how we should educate young children, but also for (...) how adults should do philosophy; and that further research is urgently needed. (shrink)
Relational, selfless, caring, polite, nice, and kind are not how we imagine a woman giving birth in U.S. culture. Rather, we picture her as screaming, yelling, self-centered, and demanding drugs or occasionally as numbed and passive from pain-killing medication. Using in-depth interviews with women about their labor and childbirth, the author presents data to suggest that white, middle-class, heterosexual women often worry about being nice, polite, kind, and selfless in their interactions during labor and childbirth. This finding is important not (...) only because it contradicts the dominant cultural image of the birthing woman but because it reveals that an internalized sense of gender plays a role in disciplining women and their bodies during childbirth. The feminist sociological literatures on birth are concerned with how women and their bodies are controlled, yet they have overlooked this other dimension of control that is not institutional but is a product of how gender is internalized. (shrink)
As Vetter says, we are at the “beginning of the debate, not the end” (2015: 300) when it comes to evaluating her potentiality-based account of metaphysical modality. This paper contributes to this developing debate by highlighting three problems for Vetter’s account. Specifically, I begin (§1) by articulating some relevant details of Vetter’s potentiality-based view. This leads to the first issue (§2), concerning unclarity in the idea of degrees of potentiality. Similarly, the second issue (§3) raises trouble for (...)Vetter’s proposed individuation conditions for potentialities. Finally, the third issue (§4) is about apparently unmanifestable intrinsic potentialities, and suggests that there might be some deeper problems with anchoring metaphysical possibilities in concrete objects. More generally, though the issues detailed here are problematic, I do not take them to be fatal. However, they do show that, at minimum, further clarification of Vetter’s potentiality view is required. As Vetter says, we are at the “beginning of the debate, not the end” (2015: 300) when it comes to evaluating her potentiality-based account of metaphysical modality. This paper contributes to this developing debate by highlighting three problems for Vetter’s account. Specifically, I begin (§1) by articulating some relevant details of Vetter’s potentiality-based view. This leads to the first issue (§2), concerning unclarity in the idea of degrees of potentiality. Similarly, the second issue (§3) raises trouble for Vetter’s proposed individuation conditions for potentialities. Finally, the third issue (§4) is about apparently unmanifestable intrinsic potentialities, and suggests that there might be some deeper problems with anchoring metaphysical possibilities in concrete objects. More generally, though the issues detailed here are problematic, I do not take them to be fatal. However, they do show that, at minimum, further clarification of Vetter’s potentiality view is required. (shrink)
The standard Kratzerian analysis of modal auxiliaries, such as ‘may’ and ‘can’, takes them to be univocal and context-sensitive. Our first aim is to argue for an alternative view, on which such expressions are polysemous. Our second aim is to thereby shed light on the distinction between semantic context-sensitivity and polysemy. To achieve these aims, we examine the mechanisms of polysemy and context-sensitivity and provide criteria with which they can be held apart. We apply the criteria to modal auxiliaries and (...) show that the default hypothesis should be that they are polysemous, and not merely context-sensitive. We then respond to arguments against modal ambiguity. Finally, we show why modal polysemy has significant philosophical implications. (shrink)