The Repugnant Conclusion served an important purpose in catalyzing and inspiring the pioneering stage of population ethics research. We believe, however, that the Repugnant Conclusion now receives too much focus. Avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion should no longer be the central goal driving population ethics research, despite its importance to the fundamental accomplishments of the existing literature.
This paper asks about the climate damages that Indian policymakers can expect. What is the likely magnitude of climate damages, and how sensitive are they to the level of warming? How much worse would climate damages be for Indians under, say, 5° of warming rather than 3°? Understanding the magnitude of climate damages and how rapidly they increase as temperature change increases is critical for finding the right climate mitigation policy. This paper provides projections of India’s climate vulnerability on the (...) basis of new microeconomic and macroeconomic evidence. The authors’ quantifications show that India is highly vulnerable to climate damage. Their baseline macroeconomic approach suggests that climate change peaking at 5°C, rather than 3°C, would be as detrimental to Indian well-being as a reduction in GDP by about 18 percent for each of the years from 2020 to 2040. Such an equivalent threat to near-term economic outcomes would be an overriding policy priority if political leaders anticipated it. The authors’ microeconomic results suggest that this may be an underestimate, because it ignores humidity. Emerging evidence suggests that humans are especially vulnerable to exposure to high temperatures in contexts of high humidity; humidity is a previously underappreciated and unquantified reason way in which India may be more climate-vulnerable even than some hotter developing and middle-income countries. (shrink)
Discussion of J. Kevin O’Regan’s “Why Red Doesn’t Sound Like a Bell: Understanding the Feel of Consciousness” Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-20 DOI 10.1007/s13164-012-0090-7 Authors J. Kevin O’Regan, Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, CNRS - Université Paris Descartes, Centre Biomédical des Saints Pères, 45 rue des Sts Pères, 75270 Paris cedex 06, France Ned Block, Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Center for Neural Science, New York University, 5 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA Journal Review of (...) Philosophy and Psychology Online ISSN 1878-5166 Print ISSN 1878-5158. (shrink)
We argue that uncomputability and classical scepticism are both re ections of inductive underdetermination, so that Church's thesis and Hume's problem ought to receive equal emphasis in a balanced approach to the philosophy of induction. As an illustration of such an approach, we investigate how uncomputable the predictions of a hypothesis can be if the hypothesis is to be reliably investigated by a computable scienti c method.
Philosophical logicians proposing theories of rational belief revision have had little to say about whether their proposals assist or impede the agent's ability to reliably arrive at the truth as his beliefs change through time. On the other hand, reliability is the central concern of formal learning theory. In this paper we investigate the belief revision theory of Alchourron, Gardenfors and Makinson from a learning theoretic point of view.
Discontented people might talk of corruption in the Commons, closeness in the Commons and the necessity of reforming the Commons, said Mr. Spenlow solemnly, in conclusion; but when the price of wheat per bushel had been the highest, the Commons had been the busiest; and a man might lay his hand upon his heart, and say this to the whole world, – ‘Touch the Commons, and down comes the country!’.
This book is a tribute to Kevin Kelly, who has been one of the most influential British theologians for a number of decades. On its own merits, however, it is groundbreaking collection of essays on key themes, issues and concepts in contemporary moral theology and Christian ethics. The focus is on perspectives to inform moral debate and discernment in the future. The main themes covered are shown in the list of contents below. Several of the of the contributors are (...) from the United States, three others live and work in Continental Europe and the rest are from various parts of the British Isles. Many of the authors are among the best known in their fields on both sides of the Atlantic. (shrink)
The Rawlsian texts appear not to be consistent with regard to the status of the right of freedom of association. Interestingly, Rawls's early work omits mention of freedom of association as among the basic liberties, but in his later work he explicitly includes freedom of association as among the basic liberties. However, freedom of association would appear to have an economic component as well. If one turns to such “private ordering”, we find a similar ambiguity in the Rawlsian texts, as (...) well as sharp divisions in the contemporary literature on Rawlsianism. This ambiguity has engendered widespread confusion over the scope of the two principles of justice—leading to the contemporary dispute over the breadth of what Rawls calls the “basic structure” and the question of whether the principles of justice are properly understood to govern private ordering. There is significant disagreement over the breadth of Rawls's basic structure—one aspect is whether the principles of justice apply to the private law. In a controversial passage in Political Liberalism Rawls addresses this question. This passage has, however, led commentators to reach divergent conclusions. We argue that this disagreement is explained by an instructive confusion in the passage over the distinction between what we characterize as “pre-institutional” and “post-institutional” freedom. The passage, we argue, illicitly shifts from invoking the post-institutional sense of “freedom” to the pre-institutional sense, thereby causing significant though understandable disagreement. Rawls's lapse into the pre-institutional conception of “freedom” provides interpretive grounds for the narrow understanding of the basic structure. If Rawls, however, had invoked the sense of “freedom” to which he is entitled at this stage of his theory—the post-institutional conception—such disagreement need not have arisen. (shrink)
Kevin Scharp proposes an original theory of the nature and logic of truth on which truth is an inconsistent concept that should be replaced for certain theoretical purposes. He argues that truth is best understood as an inconsistent concept, and proposes a detailed theory of inconsistent concepts that can be applied to the case of truth. Truth also happens to be a useful concept, but its inconsistency inhibits its utility; as such, it should be replaced with consistent concepts that (...) can do truth's job without giving rise to paradoxes. To this end, Scharp offers a pair of replacements, which he dubs ascending truth and descending truth, along with an axiomatic theory of them and a new kind of possible-worlds semantics for this theory. He goes to develop Davidson's idea that truth is best understood as the core of a measurement system for rational phenomena, and offers a semantic theory that treats truth predicates as assessment-sensitive and solves the problems posed by the liar and other paradoxes. (shrink)
J. S. Mill's role as a transitional figure between classical and egalitarian liberalism can be partly explained by developments in his often unappreciated economic views. Specifically, I argue that Mill's separation of economic production and distribution had an important effect on his political theory. Mill made two distinctions between economic production and the distribution of wealth. I argue that these separations helped lead Mill to abandon the wages-fund doctrine and adopt a more favorable view of organized labor. I also show (...) how Mill's developments impacted later philosophers, economists, and historians. Understanding the relationship between Mill's political theory and economic theory does not only matter for Mill scholarship, however. Contemporary philosophers often ignore the economic views of their predecessors. I argue that paying insufficient attention to historical political philosophers' economic ideas obscures significant motivations for their political views. (shrink)
Disorder and suffering are increasing significantly in our society. Violent crime, unemployment, escape through drug-taking are all on the increase. It is apparent, also, that much of this disorder and suffering, and the anxiety it fosters, is rooted in science and its technological off-spring. The un-employment produced by a micro-technology is only one small example. It is also apparent that one of the principal foundation stones for the scientific enterprise was Christianity.
The latest attempt by a determined, well-resourced lobby to introduce a law to permit assisted suicide/euthanasia in the UK was announced 15 May 2013 in the House of Lords. There are many dangerous facets to their arguments, not least of which is the rôle they cast for doctors in this debate. Rush Rhees' remarks on the topic display a depth that is lacking in the current debate in the public square, which needs to be lifted from its current low level. (...) I try to show inter alia why the question of who is ‘qualified to speak’ in this deep moral dilemma is important ; why resistance is vital against a law, which must be general, permitting assisted suicide/euthanasia ; how one group of people judging another group of people as candidates for elimination, is based on the false notion that a disabled life is ‘not worth living’; that so many of the deep moral questions raised by assisted suicide/euthanasia are not even considered in the contemporary impoverished public debate. (shrink)
Gordon Kaufman is a theologian who wrestles with essential theological issues. In a recent amplification of his position, An Essay on Theological Method , 1 he makes an honest attempt to describe the method by which a self-critical theologian might work. This paper sets out a critique of the method Kaufman proposes and from that delineates a path which theologians might choose to follow.
There is growing interest in understanding and eliciting division of labor within groups of scientists. This paper illustrates the need for this division of labor through a historical example, and a formal model is presented to better analyze situations of this type. Analysis of this model reveals that a division of labor can be maintained in two different ways: by limiting information or by endowing the scientists with extreme beliefs. If both features are present however, cognitive diversity is maintained indefinitely, (...) and as a result agents fail to converge to the truth. Beyond the mechanisms for creating diversity suggested here, this shows that the real epistemic goal is not diversity but transient diversity. (shrink)
This book is presumably a collection of essays delivered at a conference, though it's hard to say. There is no cover description and the editors' introduction, where this information might have been found, is missing from the volume (at least from my copy) in spite of being listed in the table of contents. A curious editorial slip. In fact, from an editorial perspective this book is a disaster. Not only is the format reminiscent of those camera ready volumes that jammed (...) our libraries in the late Eighties, when word processors began to spread and people started using them to produce entire books without knowing how to handle line spacing and hyphenation -- not to mention orphans and widows, footnotes, tabs, apostrophes, etc. There are also lots of typos, English infelicities, punctuation disorders. Obviously nobody checked the page proofs. There are even formulas that were not properly converted from the original files and have been printed with the infamous boxes in place of the logical symbols. Publishing academic books in analytic philosophy is becoming increasingly difficult and not every publisher can afford serious copy editing. But charging 74 euros for such a poorly manufactured item is appalling. (shrink)
The role of values in scientific research has become an important topic of discussion in both scholarly and popular debates. Pundits across the political spectrum worry that research on topics like climate change, evolutionary theory, vaccine safety, and genetically modified foods has become overly politicized. At the same time, it is clear that values play an important role in science by limiting unethical forms of research and by deciding what areas of research have the greatest relevance for society. Deciding how (...) to distinguish legitimate and illegitimate influences of values in scientific research is a matter of vital importance.Recently, philosophers of science have written a great deal on this topic, but most of their work has been directed toward a scholarly audience. This book makes the contemporary philosophical literature on science and values accessible to a wide readership. It examines case studies from a variety of research areas, including climate science, anthropology, chemical risk assessment, ecology, neurobiology, biomedical research, and agriculture. These cases show that values have necessary roles to play in identifying research topics, choosing research questions, determining the aims of inquiry, responding to uncertainty, and deciding how to communicate information. Kevin Elliott focuses not just on describing roles for values but also on determining when their influences are actually appropriate. He emphasizes several conditions for incorporating values in a legitimate fashion, and highlights multiple strategies for fostering engagement between stakeholders so that value influences can be subjected to careful and critical scrutiny. (shrink)
In _Marx at the Margins_, Kevin Anderson uncovers a variety of extensive but neglected texts by the well-known political economist which cast what we thought we knew about his work in a startlingly different light. Analyzing a variety of Marx’s writings, including journalistic work written for the _New York Tribune_, Anderson presents us with a Marx quite at odds with our conventional interpretations. Rather than providing us with an account of Marx as an exclusively class-based thinker, Anderson here offers (...) a portrait of Marx for the twenty-first century: a global theorist whose social critique was sensitive to the varieties of human social and historical development, including not just class, but nationalism, race, and ethnicity, as well. _Marx at the Margins _ultimately argues that alongside his overarching critique of capital, Marx created a theory of history that was multi-layered and not easily reduced to a single model of development or revolution. Through highly-informed readings on work ranging from Marx’s unpublished 1879–82 notebooks to his passionate writings about the antislavery cause in the United States, this volume delivers a groundbreaking and canon-changing vision of Karl Marx that is sure to provoke lively debate in Marxist scholarship and beyond. (shrink)
Increasingly, epistemologists are becoming interested in social structures and their effect on epistemic enterprises, but little attention has been paid to the proper distribution of experimental results among scientists. This paper will analyze a model first suggested by two economists, which nicely captures one type of learning situation faced by scientists. The results of a computer simulation study of this model provide two interesting conclusions. First, in some contexts, a community of scientists is, as a whole, more reliable when its (...) members are less aware of their colleagues' experimental results. Second, there is a robust tradeoff between the reliability of a community and the speed with which it reaches a correct conclusion. ‡The author would like to thank Brian Skyrms, Kyle Stanford, Jeffrey Barrett, Bruce Glymour, and the participants in the Social Dynamics Seminar at University of California–Irvine for their helpful comments. Generous financial support was provided by the School of Social Science and Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences at UCI. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Baker Hall 135, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890; e-mail: [email protected] (shrink)
Theories of scientific rationality typically pertain to belief. In this paper, the author argues that we should expand our focus to include motivations as well as belief. An economic model is used to evaluate whether science is best served by scientists motivated only by truth, only by credit, or by both truth and credit. In many, but not all, situations, scientists motivated by both truth and credit should be judged as the most rational scientists.
Of the dozens of purported solutions to the liar paradox published in the past fifty years, the vast majority are "traditional" in the sense that they reject one of the premises or inference rules that are used to derive the paradoxical conclusion. Over the years, however, several philosophers have developed an alternative to the traditional approaches; according to them, our very competence with the concept of truth leads us to accept that the reasoning used to derive the paradox is sound. (...) That is, our conceptual competence leads us into inconsistency. I call this alternative the inconsistency approach to the liar. Although this approach has many positive features, I argue that several of the well-developed versions of it that have appeared recently are unacceptable. In particular, they do not recognize that if truth is an inconsistent concept, then we should replace it with new concepts that do the work of truth without giving rise to paradoxes. I outline an inconsistency approach to the liar paradox that satisfies this condition. (shrink)
In the eyes of many, liberalism requires the aggressive secularization of social institutions, especially public media and public schools. The unfortunate result is that many Americans have become alienated from the liberal tradition because they believe it threatens their most sacred forms of life. This was not always the case: in American history, the relation between liberalism and religion has often been one of mutual respect and support. In Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation , Kevin Vallier attempts (...) to reestablish mutual respect by developing a liberal political theory that avoids the standard liberal hostility to religious voices in public life. He claims that the dominant form of academic liberalism, public reason liberalism, is far friendlier to religious influences in public life than either its proponents or detractors suppose. The best interpretation of public reason, convergence liberalism, rejects the much-derided "privatization" of religious belief, instead viewing religious contributions to politics as a resource for liberal political institutions. Many books reject privatization, Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation is unique in doing so on liberal grounds. (shrink)
This book offers cutting edge research on the modifications and disruptions of bodily experience in the context of anxiety, depression, trauma, chronic illness, pain, and aging. It presents original contributions in applied phenomenology, biomedical ethics, and the use of medical technologies.
This book asks whether evolution can help us to understand human behaviour and explores diverse evolutionary methods and arguments. It provides a short, readable introduction to the science behind the works of Dawkins, Dennett, Wilson and Pinker. It is widely used in undergraduate courses around the world.
Much of contemporary knowledge is generated by groups not single individuals. A natural question to ask is, what features make groups better or worse at generating knowledge? This paper surveys research that spans several disciplines which focuses on one aspect of epistemic communities: the way they communicate internally. This research has revealed that a wide number of different communication structures are best, but what is best in a given situation depends on particular details of the problem being confronted by the (...) group. (shrink)
_Existentialism: An Introduction_ provides an accessible and scholarly introduction to the core ideas of the existentialist tradition. Kevin Aho draws on a wide range of existentialist thinkers in chapters centering on the key themes of freedom, being-in-the-world, alienation, nihilism, anxiety and authenticity. He also addresses important but often overlooked issues in the canon of existentialism, with discussions devoted to the role of embodiment, the movement’s contribution to ethics, politics, and environmental and comparative philosophies, as well as its influence on (...) contemporary psychiatry and psychotherapy. The enduring relevance of existentialism is shown by applying existentialist ideas to contemporary philosophical discussions of interest to a wide audience. The book covers secular thinkers such as Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus, and Beauvoir as well as religious authors, such as Buber, Dostoevsky, Marcel, and Kierkegaard. In this engaging and accessible text Aho shows why existentialism cannot be easily dismissed as a moribund or outdated movement. In the aftermath of 'God’s death', existentialist philosophy engages questions with lasting philosophical significance, questions such as 'Who am I?' and 'How should I live?' By showing how existentialism offers insight into what it means to be human, the author illuminates existentialism’s enduring value. _Existentialism: An Introduction_ provides the ideal introduction for upper level students and anyone interested in knowing more about one of the most vibrant and important areas of philosophy today. (shrink)
It is well known that in Reformed circles there is significant doubt about the extent of the role natural theology might play in warranting Christian belief. I argue that even if we accept the core theological reservations and philosophical commitments shared by the likes of Karl Barth and Reformed epistemologists, there remains room for the arguments of natural theology to serve a vital, positive function. I offer a proposal for how we might think about the co-ordination of multiple sources of (...) warrant for Christian belief such that arguments function as catalysts to or extensions of the deliverances of faith. (shrink)
The standard view in philosophy treats pains as phenomenally conscious mental states. This view has a number of corollaries, including that it is generally taken to rule out the existence of unfelt pains. The primary argument in support of the standard view is that it supposedly corresponds with the commonsense conception of pain. In this paper, we challenge this doctrine about the commonsense conception of pain, and with it the support offered for the standard view, by presenting the results of (...) a series of new empirical studies that indicate that lay people not only tend to believe that unfelt pains are possible, but actually, quite common. (shrink)
Could low-level exposure to polluting chemicals be analogous to exercise -- a beneficial source of stress that strengthens the body? Some scientists studying the phenomenon of hormesis claim that that this may be the case.s A Little Pollution Good For You? critically examines the current evidence for hormesis.
This paper approaches the problem of testimony from a new direction. Rather than focusing on the epistemic grounds for testimony, it considers the problem from the perspective of an individual who must choose whom to trust from a population of many would-be testifiers. A computer simulation is presented which illustrates that in many plausible situations, those who trust without attempting to judge the reliability of testifiers outperform those who attempt to seek out the more reliable members of the community. In (...) so doing, it presents a novel defense for the credulist position that argues one should trust testimony without considering the underlying reliability of the testifier. (shrink)
We propose a conceptual model that maps the causal pathways relating biological evolution to cultural change. It builds on conventional evolutionary theory by placing emphasis on the capacity of organisms to modify sources of natural selection in their environment (niche construction) and by broadening the evolutionary dynamic to incorporate ontogenetic and cultural processes. In this model, phenotypes have a much more active role in evolution than generally conceived. This sheds light on hominid evolution, on the evolution of culture, and on (...) altruism and cooperation. Culture amplifies the capacity of human beings to modify sources of natural selection in their environments to the point where that capacity raises some new questions about the processes of human adaptation. Key Words: adaptation; altruism; cooperation; evolutionary psychology; gene-culture coevolution; human evolution; human genetics; niche construction; sociobiology. (shrink)
This essay explores the unique temporal experience in anxiety. Drawing on first-person accounts as well as examples from literature, I attempt to show how anxiety not only disrupts our physiological and cognitive timing but also disturbs the embodied rhythms of everyday social life. The primary goal, however, is to articulate the extent to which human existence itself is a temporally structured event and to identity the ways that anxiety disrupts this structure. Using Martin Heidegger’s account of human existence as a (...) point of departure, I show how the mood of anxiety has the power to alter our self-interpretations by closing down or constricting our experience of the future. I argue that a constricted future impedes our ability ‘to be’ because it closes off the range of projective meanings that we would ordinarily draw on to create or fashion our identities. (shrink)
Grounding pluralism is the view that there are multiple kinds of grounding. In this essay, I motivate and defend an explanation-theoretic view of grounding pluralism. Specifically, I argue that there are two kinds of grounding: why-grounding—which tells us why things are the case—and how-grounding—which tells us how things are the case.
Colonial encounters in the 1850s: the European impact on India, Indonesia, and China -- Russia and Poland: the relationship of national emancipation to revolution -- Race, class, and slavery: the Civil War as a second American revolution -- Ireland: nationalism, class, and the labor movement -- From the Grundrisse to Capital: multilinear themes -- Late writings on non-western and precapitalist societies -- Conclusion -- Appendix: the vicissitudes of the Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe from the 1920s to today.
In 1961, Ernst Mayr published a highly influential article on the nature of causation in biology, in which he distinguished between proximate and ultimate causes. Mayr argued that proximate causes (e.g. physiological factors) and ultimate causes (e.g. natural selection) addressed distinct ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions and were not competing alternatives. That distinction retains explanatory value today. However, the adoption of Mayr’s heuristic led to the widespread belief that ontogenetic processes are irrelevant to evolutionary questions, a belief that has (1) hindered (...) progress within evolutionary biology, (2) forged divisions between evolutionary biology and adjacent disciplines and (3) obstructed several contemporary debates in biology. Here we expand on our earlier (Laland et al. in Science 334:1512–1516, 2011) argument that Mayr’s dichotomous formulation has now run its useful course, and that evolutionary biology would be better served by a concept of reciprocal causation, in which causation is perceived to cycle through biological systems recursively. We further suggest that a newer evolutionary synthesis is unlikely to emerge without this change in thinking about causation. (shrink)
You can perceive things, in many respects, as they really are. For example, you can correctly see a coin as circular from most angles. Nonetheless, your perception of the world is perspectival. The coin looks different when slanted than when head-on, and there is some respect in which the slanted coin looks similar to a head-on ellipse. Many hold that perception is perspectival because you perceive certain properties that correspond to the “looks” of things. I argue that this view is (...) misguided. I consider the two standard versions of this view. What I call the PLURALIST APPROACH fails to give a unified account of the perspectival character of perception, while what I call the PERSPECTIVAL PROPERTIES APPROACH violates central commitments of contemporary psychology. I propose instead that perception is perspectival because of the way perceptual states are structured from their parts. (shrink)