A popular approach to defining fictive utterance says that, necessarily, it is intended to produce imagining. I shall argue that this is not falsified by the fact that some fictive utterances are intended to be believed, or are non-accidentally true. That this is so becomes apparent given a proper understanding of the relation of what one imagines to one's belief set. In light of this understanding, I shall then argue that being intended to produce imagining is sufficient for fictive utterance (...) as well. (shrink)
As philosophers of mind we seem to hold in common no very clear view about the relevance that work in psychology or the neurosciences may or may not have to our own favourite questions—even if we call the subject ‘philosophical psychology’. For example, in the literature we find articles on pain some of which do, some of which don't, rely more or less heavily on, for example, the work of Melzack and Wall; the puzzle cases used so extensively in discussions (...) of personal identity are drawn sometimes from the pleasant exercise of scientific fantasy, at times from surprising reports of scientific fact; and there are those who deny, as well as those who affirm, the importance of the discovery of rapid-eye-movement sleep to the philosophical treatment of dreaming. A general account of the relation between scientific, and philosophical, psychology is long overdue and of the first importance. Here I shall limit myself to just one area where the two seem to connect, discussing one type of neuropsychological research and its relevance to questions in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of psychology. (shrink)
Philosophers like to worry about luck. And well they should. Luck poses potential difficulties for knowledge, moral appraisal, and freedom. The primary target of this paper will be the last of these concerns . Recent arguments from luck have been levied against libertarian accounts of free will, including agent-causal ones. One general goal of this paper will be to demonstrate the truth of an often overlooked claim about responsibility-undermining luck. Part of this task will include illustrating what is genuinely worrisome (...) about luck in the context of free will. It will turn out that the problem is not fundamentally a problem of explanation. Another aim will be to argue that the truth of this claim about luck reveals a problem for event-causal libertarianism but has yet to reveal a problem for the agent-causal view. For the purposes of this paper, it will be assumed that luck does indeed undermine free action and moral responsibility. But it will be argued that agent-caused actions have not been shown to be "lucky.". (shrink)
The answer to the title question which I want to defend in this paper is ‘none’. That is: I doubt strongly that the notion of ‘a self’ has any use whatsoever as part of an explanans for the explanandum ‘person’.Put another way: I shall argue that the question itself is misguided, pointing the inquirer in quite the wrong direction by suggesting that the term ‘self’ points to something which can sustain a philosophically interesting or important degree of reification.
Should you care less about your distant future? What about events in your life that have already happened? How should the passage of time affect your planning and assessment of your life? Most of us think it is irrational to ignore the future but harmless to dismiss the past. But this book argues that rationality requires temporal neutrality.
Most ethicists agree that at least some nonhumans have interests that are of direct moral importance. Yet with very few exceptions, both climate ethics and climate policy have operated as though only human interests should be considered in formulating and evaluating climate policy. In this paper I argue that the anthropocentrism of current climate ethics and policy cannot be justified. I first describe the ethical claims upon which my analysis rests, arguing that they are no longer controversial within contemporary ethics. (...) Next, I review work in climate ethics and policy, demonstrating the absence of consideration of nonhuman interests in both domains. Finally, I consider five possible justifications for omitting nonhuman interests in the evaluation climate policy options, arguing that none of these arguments succeeds. (shrink)
A‐theorists of time postulate a deep distinction between the present, past and future. Settling on an appropriate logic for such a view is no easy matter. This Philosophy Compass article describes one of the most vexing formal problems facing A‐theorists. It is commonly thought that A‐theories can only be formally expressed in a tense logic: a logic with operators like P and F . And it seems natural to think that we live in a world where objects come to exist (...) and cease to exist as time passes. Indeed, this is typically a key component of the most prominent kind of A‐theory, presentism. But the temporary existence assumption cannot be upheld in any tense logic with a standard quantification theory. I will explain the problem and outline the philosophical and logical considerations that generate it. I will then consider two possible solutions to the problem – one that targets our logic of quantification and one that targets our assumptions about change. I survey the costs of each solution. (shrink)
In this paper, I will argue, contra Prinz, that empathy is a crucial component of our moral lives. In particular, I argue that empathy is sometimes epistemologically necessary for identifying the right action; that empathy is sometimes psychologically necessary for motivating the agent to perform the right action; and that empathy is sometimes necessary for the agent to be most morally praiseworthy for an action. I begin by explaining what I take empathy to be. I then discuss some alleged problems (...) for empathy and explain why some argue that empathy is unnecessary and sometimes even problematic in the moral domain. Next, I criticize a prominent alternative to an empathy-based morality. Finally, I argue that that empathy is sometimes epistemologically and psychologically necessary for doing the right thing and is sometimes necessary for moral worth. I conclude with a discussion of the important role of empathy in our everyday lives. (shrink)
This paper explores what is meant by ‘loss and damage’ within the area of climate policy focused on loss and damage. I present two possible understandings of loss and damage, one of which connects it to harm and one of which connects it to value. In both cases, I argue that the best contemporary philosophical understandings of these concepts suggest a much broader range of losses and damages than is currently being considered within the usual discussions in this area. I (...) argue that a broader understanding of loss and damage would allow a more complete assessment of potential climate impacts. I conclude by offering recommendations for evaluating loss and damage according to this broader understanding. (shrink)
High-profile failures in financial trading have led to interest in how the culture of the industry produces risky and unethical behaviours among traders. Yet, there is no established theoretical framework for studying this: we apply safety culture theory to examine ten recent high-profile trading mishaps investigated by the UK financial regulator. The results show that the dimensions of safety culture used to understand organisational accidents in domains such as aviation also explain failures in Risk Management within financial trading organisations. This (...) counters narratives focusing on traders who are unethical ‘rule breakers’, and emphasises the value of a systemic approach, whereby safety culture theory is used to explain why risky behaviours in financial trading occur. Safety culture therefore provides a conceptual basis for further research on risky and unethical behaviours in financial trading, alongside providing insights for possible intervention. (shrink)
Various authors have attempted to understand knowledge-wh—or knowledge ascriptions that include an interrogative complement. I present and explain some of the analyses offered so far and argue that each view faces some problems. I then present and explain a newanalysis of knowledge-wh that avoids these problems and that offers several other advantages. Finally I raise some problems for invariantism about knowledge-wh and I argue thatcontextualism about knowledge-wh fits nicely with a very natural understanding of the nature of questions.
Timothy Williamson thinks that every object is a necessary, eternal existent. In defense of his view, Williamson appeals primarily to considerations from modal and tense logic. While I am uncertain about his modal claims, I think there are good metaphysical reasons to believe permanentism: the principle that everything always exists. B-theorists of time and change have long denied that objects change with respect to unqualified existence. But aside from Williamson, nearly all A-theorists defend temporaryism: the principle that there are temporary (...) existents. I think A-theorists are better off without this added commitment, but I will not argue for that in any great detail here. Instead, I will contend that a very tempting A-theoretic argument for temporaryism is unsound. In the first half of the paper, I will develop the Moorean “common sense” argument for temporaryism and dispute its central premise, namely that temporaryism is a valid generalization from highly plausible beliefs about change. I will argue that given the pervasive vagueness in our ordinary beliefs about change and the background commitments of all A-theories, no party can claim to be the common sense view because no party can accommodate most of our common sense beliefs about change in existence. In the second half of the paper, I will propose a permanentist A-theory that explains all change over time as a species of property change. I call it the minimal A-theory, since it dispenses with the change in existence assumption. As we'll see, the permanentist alternative performs well enough in explaining our ordinary beliefs about change, and it has better prospects for answering some objections commonly levied against A-theories. (shrink)
I am extremely grateful to all commentators for such patient, generous, and stimulating contributions. What follows are some thoughts to enrich the conversation, but these are by no means intended to be definitive answers to the worries they have raised.
In this paper, I argue against Peter van Inwagen’s claim (in “Free Will Remains a Mystery”), that agent-causal views of free will could do nothing to solve the problem of free will (specifically, the problem of chanciness). After explaining van Inwagen’s argument, I argue that he does not consider all possible manifestations of the agent-causal position. More importantly, I claim that, in any case, van Inwagen appears to have mischaracterized the problem in some crucial ways. Once we are clear on (...) the true nature of the problem of chanciness, agent-causal views do much to eradicate it. (shrink)
The debate between legal constitutionalists and critics of constitutional rights and judicial review is an old and lively one. While the protection of minorities is a pivotal aspect of this debate, the protection of disenfranchised minorities has received little attention. Policy-focused discussion—of the merits of the Human Rights Act in Britain for example—often cites protection of non-citizen migrants, but the philosophical debate does not. Non-citizen residents or ‘denizens’ therefore provide an interesting test case for the theory of rights as trumps (...) on ordinary representative politics. Are they the ultimate success story of the human rights framework? Or was Michael Walzer correct to describe government of denizens by citizens as a modern form of ‘tyranny’? This paper argues that neither liberal rights theorists nor democratic republicans provide a coherent response to the existence of denizens. Liberal rights theorists overstate the extent to which a politically powerless status can secure individual rights, while democratic republicans idealise the political process and wrongly assume that all those affected by laws are eligible for political participation. The paper outlines an alternative model for assessing the accountability of states to their non-citizen population, informed by the republican ideal of non-domination. It identifies gaps in state accountability to denizens–such as where there is inadequate diplomatic protection—and argues that these gaps are particularly troubling if their exit costs of leaving the state are high. (shrink)
This essay provides an overview of the field of environmental ethics. I sketch the major debates in the field from its inception in the 1970s to today, explaining both the central tenets of the schools of thought within the field and the arguments that have been given for and against them. I describe the main trends within the field as a whole and review some of the criticisms that have been offered of prevailing views.
The paper discusses the utility of the notion of consciousness for the behavioural and brain sciences. It describes four distinctively different senses of 'conscious', and argues that to cope with the heterogeneous phenomena loosely indicated thereby, these sciences not only do not but should not discuss them in terms of 'consciousness'. It is thus suggested that 'the problem' allegedly posed to scientists by consciousness is unreal; one need neither adopt a realist stance with respect to it, nor include the term (...) and its cognates in the sciences' conceptual apparatus. The paper briefly examines Nagel's  article, since this presents the strongest counter to the thesis proposed. (shrink)
A-theorists think there is a fundamental difference between the present and other times. This concern shows up in what kinds of properties they take to be instantiated, what objects they think exist and how they formalize their views. Nearly every contemporary A-theorist assumes that her metaphysics requires a tense logic – a logic with operators like and. In this paper, I show that there is at least one viable A-theory that does not require a logic with tense operators. And I (...) will argue that three common indispensability arguments for tense operators are unsound. (shrink)
Commissurotomy surgery has lately attracted considerable philosophical attention. It has seemed to some that the surgical scalpel that bisects the brain bisects consciousness and the mind as well; and that the ordinary concept of a person is thereby most seriously threatened. I shall assess the extent of the threat, arguing that it is overestimated. The argument begins with section III; section II, which describes the operation and its effects, should be omitted by those already familiar with these facts.
Many recent critical discussions of anthropocentrism have focused on Bryan Norton's 'convergence hypothesis': the claim that both anthropocentric and nonanthropocentric ethics will recommend the same environmentally responsible behaviours and policies. I argue that even if we grant the truth of Norton's convergence hypothesis, there are still good reasons to worry about anthropocentric ethics. Ethics legitimately raises questions about how to feel, not just about which actions to take or which policies to adopt. From the point of view of norms for (...) feeling, anthropocentrism has very different practical implications from nonanthropocentrism; it undermines some of the common attitudes - love, respect, awe - that people think it appropriate to take toward the natural world. (shrink)
Philip McShane has had as one of his leisure specialties the provision of tantalising puzzles which are meant to provide samples of insight but sometimes, instead of promoting insight, reduce his readers to angry frustration. I will take as point of departure for my reflections a single puzzle Philip once presented on his own to some learned society – I forget which. Those present were invited to find the meaning of the letters SMTWTFS; when it was clear they were (...) getting nowhere, Philip rescued them from their frustration with the answer: the letters are the initials for the seven days of the week. Facing then the understandable chagrin of his audience at their failure and their irritated protest that they couldn’t be expected to find a sensible answer to such an absurd question, Philip informed them: ‘I gave the problem to a class in Grade School and they solved it.’ As one of the frustrated academics who didn’t solve the problem, I wish to reflect on this exchange, not just because, like the person in the Gospel, ‘I am willing to justify myself,’ but more importantly because it suggests an appropriate topic for the volume Michael Shute is editing in Philip’s honour, and gives me an opportunity to ponder once more a question we will never ponder enough or come close to exhausting: the working of the human mind as it strives to achieve and sometimes does achieve an insight. How does insight occur? How can it be encouraged to occur? And why in the present case did it not occur in the circle of academics, when it did to a Grade School class? (shrink)
In this work, Kathleen V. Wider discusses Jean-Paul Sartre's analysis of consciousness in Being and Nothingness in light of recent work by analytic philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists. She brings together phenomenological and scientific understandings of the nature of consciousness and argues that the two approaches can strengthen and suppport each other. Work on consciousness from two very different philosophical traditions—the continental and analytic—contributes to her explanation of the deep-seated intuition that all consciousness is self-consciousness.
In the first half of this book, I offer a theory of fictional content or, as it is sometimes known, ‘fictional truth’.The theory of fictional content I argue for is ‘extreme intentionalism’. The basic idea – very roughly, in ways which are made precise in the book - is that the fictional content of a particular text is equivalent to exactly what the author of the text intended the reader to imagine. The second half of the book is concerned with (...) showing how extreme intentionalism and the lessons learnt from it can illuminate cognate questions in the philosophy of fiction and imagination. For instance, I argue, my position helps us to explain how fiction can provide us with reliable testimony ; it helps explain the phenomenon of imaginative resistance ; and it fits with, and so supports, a persuasive theory of the nature of fiction itself. In my final chapter, I show how attending to intentionalist practices of interpreting fictional content can illuminate the nature of propositional imagining itself. (shrink)
Pulling from theories of social exchange, deonance, and fairness heuristics, this study focuses on the relationship between overall justice climate and both the prosocial and deviant behaviors of groups. Specifically, it considers two contextual boundary conditions on this effect—corporate social responsibility and group moral identity. Results from a laboratory experiment are presented, which show a significant effect for overall justice climate and a two-way interaction between overall justice climate and CSR on group-level prosocial and deviant behaviors, and a marginally significant (...) interaction of group moral identity with overall justice climate on group deviance. The implications of contextual influences on workplace ethics and justice are discussed. (shrink)
The vast changes in family life-the rise of single, same-sex, and two-paycheck parents-have often been blamed for declining morality and unhappy children. Drawing upon pioneering research with the children of the gender revolution, Kathleen Gerson reveals that it is not a lack of family values, but rigid social and economic forces that make it difficult to live out those values. The Unfinished Revolution makes clear recommendations for a new flexibility at work and at home that benefits families, encourages a (...) thriving economy, and helps women and men integrate love and work. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that trying is the locus of freedom and moral responsibility. Thus, any plausible view of free and responsible action must accommodate and account for free tryings. I then consider a version of agent causation whereby the agent directly causes her tryings. On this view, the agent is afforded direct control over her efforts and there is no need to posit—as other agent-causal theorists do—an uncaused event. I discuss the potential advantages of this sort of view, (...) and its challenges. (shrink)
The question of whether humans are free to make their own decisions has long been debated and it continues to be a controversial topic today. In _Free Will: The Basics_ readers are provided with a clear and accessible introduction to this central but challenging philosophical problem. The questions which are discussed include: Does free will exist? Or is it illusory? Can we be free even if everything is determined by a chain of causes? If our actions are not determined, does (...) this mean they are just random or a matter of luck? In order to have the kind of freedom required for moral responsibility, must we have alternatives? What can recent developments in science tell us about the existence of free will? Because these questions are discussed without prejudicing one view over others and all technical terminology is clearly explained, this book is an ideal introduction to free will for the uninitiated._ _. (shrink)
I defend an account of sexual orientation, understood as a reflexive disposition to be sexually attracted to people of a particular biological Sex or Sexes. An orientation is identified in terms of two aspects: the Sex of the subject who has the disposition, and whether that Sex is the same as, or different to, the Sex to which the subject is disposed to be attracted. I explore this account in some detail and defend it from several challenges. In doing so, (...) I provide a theoretical framework that justifies our continued reference to Sex-directed sexual orientation as an important means of classifying human subjects. (shrink)